Chapter Four: Nightmares and Missions
Kazumi's Point of View, Dream Sequence:
Not long after falling asleep, I find myself walking through a forest of thick trees in the middle of the night. My only light source was the dim, silver moonlight that managed to seep pass the large branches and multiple leaves. Before long, I enter into a large open field. As I continue to move forward, something immediately catches my attention. As I focus my attention forward, my eyes land on a dark figure that was standing in the center of the pasture. Staring at the figure, I could only make out their eyes. They were a bright, golden, yellow color with a slit down the middle of them both. To be honest, they definitely looked like snake eyes.
"Kazumi…" The figure hissed in a dark tone of voice. "Kazumi..."
I could only stand there, staring blankly at the figure. My ability to move was somehow lost to me. My mind was telling me to turn around and run, but my body wasn't registering the command at all. I knew I had to stay calm. I couldn't allow fear to be shown on my face or in my eyes for that matter. Showing any kind of emotion, necessary or not, was a sign of weakness. Yeah, it was easier to think it then actually doing it.
"Who… who are you? And how do you know my name?" I ask, making my voice sound a little braver than how I felt.
"Very soon, you will be mine." The figure hisses.
"Who are you?" I growl.
By this point, I was becoming irritated. Fear was slowly disappearing. I wanted answers and this figure wasn't giving me anything. As I stood there, I suddenly felt an eerie presence. I also started to hear a feral growling coming from behind me as well. I slowly and cautiously turn my head to glance back. To my surprise, I found a large silver wolf standing there, baring its bright white canines. I also realized that the wolf had markings on its face. Surprisingly, its markings were very similar to my own. The wolf suddenly turns its sights onto me. Its liquid silver eyes staring into my slate gray ones.
"Kazumi Hatake." I hear the wolf growl.
I just stood there, completely silent. I thought I couldn’t move before, but now, now I really couldn’t even process the thought.
Suddenly the large wolf lunges forward, and on instinct, I snap my eyes shut and waited for the wolf to attack me. But after waiting for a few seconds, nothing happened. I slowly reopen my eyes to find the wolf running after the dark figure that stood across the field. Before the wolf could reach the figure, everything goes blank in an instant.
End of Dream Sequence:
Waking up, I snap my eyes open to find myself staring blankly at the darkened ceiling inside my bedroom. Lying there, a chill runs through my body, as a result from the thin layer of sweat that covered my body. My heart continues to race inside my chest as my breathing came out in quick, slightly panicked pants. Sighing quietly, I just close my eyes as I try to gather my thoughts.
“That stupid dream again.” I mumble quietly to myself.
Turning my head to the right, I glance at my clock to see it was ten minutes till five. Groaning quietly, I turn my attention down to my half-covered form. Raising my shirt, I look at my stomach to find the sealing mark had manifested. Closing my eyes, I concentrated on calming myself down. As I did so, the seal slowly disappeared back into my skin. Opening my eyes after a few seconds, I find the markings were gone. Pulling my shirt down, I just lay there, listening to the silence that surrounded the room.
About fifteen minutes later, I finally decided to get up and get ready for the day. After showering and getting dressed into my normal attire, I decided to take a little walk. But before leaving the house, I left a note to Kakashi, just in case he woke up before I got back. I quietly left the apartment and began walking down the streets of Konoha.
Even though it was early, I saw there were quite a few people walking about. Many were getting their shops ready for another day of hard work. I simply sent the civilians a quiet nod as I walked pass them, proceeding towards my destination. Before long, I make it to the Memorial Stone. I sat right in front of the monument, Indian-style. I bowed my head and said a small prayer before opening my eyes and lifting my head up once more.
"Otou-san. Okaa-san. I'm sorry for not visiting you sooner. It's been awhile and a lot has happen since my last visit." I mutter quietly. "For one, I graduated the academy in the top five of my class and became a Genin. And get this; Onii-chan is my Sensei. Can you believe it? What were the odds of that ever happening? I know you both would be proud of Onii-chan and I. We’re both doing well."
I just sat there with a smile on my face, even though it couldn't be seen. I placed a hand on the stone and just rubbed it gently. I soon just let the smile disappear and just placed my normal, plain, laid back look back on. Sighing quietly, I lower my glance and focused on the patterns that decorated the cement around the stone.
"I really miss you both." I say quietly. "Although Kakashi has told me so much about you two, I just wish I could have gotten to know you both a little better. I wish I could have memorable memories with you, just like Onii-chan does. However, I want you both to know that I'm really proud of you both and no matter what, I’ll always will be proud of you."
After sitting there in silence for nearly an hour, which honestly didn’t feel that long, I stand up from my seat, returning back to my full height. I knew that if I wasn’t back in time, there was no doubt that Onii-chan would come out looking for me. Before leaving the grounds, I step closer to the stone and place my hand on top of the two names that stood out the most to me. Once again, a small smile manages to reappear on my face.
“I promise I'll be back soon. And I'll tell you more stories.” I say in a quiet tone. “Take care, Otou-san, Okaa-san." With that, I let my fingers drag off the stone as I walked away. Facing forward, I proceed to leave the Memorial Stone, making my way back home. When I returned home, I saw Onii-chan walking away from the stove, carrying two plates of pancakes.
"Morning, Onii-chan." I greet with a light, cheery tone as I closed the door behind me.
"Imouto, right on time." Kakashi says as he sends me a smile. "I just finished making breakfast."
"Hmm, I see. And I'm surprised to see that you didn't burn down the kitchen this time around." I add, sending him a smile as I took my seat at the table.
"Come on, Imouto. You know I'm a great cook." Kakashi states.
"Yeah, I agree you are." I tell him. "But when it comes to certain things, you might just want to give up on them." I laugh, causing him to laugh too. After finishing breakfast, Kakashi and I cleaned the dishes before returning to our rooms to finishing getting ready for the day. About twenty minutes later, we were both walking out the door.
"I'll meet you and the others in a little bit, okay Imouto." He tells me.
"Okay, Onii-chan. See you in a little bit." I reply back.
With that, Kakashi disappeared. I simply turn on my heels and proceeded to head in the opposite direction. While walking down the street, the image of that black figure, as well as the golden snake eyes shining in the darkness, suddenly flashes inside my head, causing me to involuntarily jump a bit.
No matter what I did, I could not get the thought to stay away. Wanting nothing more to distract myself, I decide to take a little detour. So changing directions, I start making my way towards the training grounds. After entering the ground, I took a seat underneath one of the main trees that stood in the area and just allowed my mind to roam freely for a bit. For awhile, it was pleasingly quiet. But that suddenly came to a screeching halt.
I quickly shot open my eyes and shook my head a little. I instantly started to scan the area, looking for anyone or anything that could have made that voice. Unfortunately, I didn’t find or sense anyone around. Sighing to myself, I tried to get my mind off anything that was distracting. Mainly that dream. After sitting there for a few minutes more, I finally got up and started moving to go meet up with my teammates.
"Kazumi-chan!" I hear Naruto yell as soon as he saw me approaching him and the others.
"Hey, Naruto." I say quietly.
"You're late, Kazumi." Sakura states afterwards.
"Whatever Sakura, I know." I reply back in an uninterested tone.
I really didn't care that I was late, so I didn't bother arguing with her. Walking pass my pink-haired teammate, I take a seat, sitting Indian-style, in between Naruto and Sasuke. Placing my hands behind my head, I lean back against the pole of the bridge and close my eyes. About an hour and fifteen minutes later, Kakashi finally appeared.
"Good morning, everyone." He says as he stood on top of the pole, above the bridge.
"KAKASHI SENSEI! YOU'RE LATE!" Sakura and Naruto both exclaim together.
"Sorry, I got lost on the path of life." Kakashi tries to explain.
"LIAR!" Sakura and Naruto yell.
"Geez, two of our members being late. What are the odds of that?" Sakura states with much sarcasm in her voice.
"Oh? Who else was late?" Kakashi asks, sounding a bit interested.
"Kazumi." Sakura answers as she points an accusing finger at me.
"Damn it. Note to self: Sakura will rat you out in a heartbeat." I thought to myself while keeping my eyes close, pretending that I didn’t even hear Sakura to begin with.
"Oh really?" he says. I could feel his eyes looking straight at me." And why were you late, Imouto?"
"Well, I have a valid excuse for that, Onii-chan. You see, a black cat crossed my path, so I had no other choice but to take the long way around to get here." I explain as I looked up at him with half-lidded eyes.
"WHAT! YOU LIAR!" Sakura quickly yells.
"Okay, okay let's calm down." Kakashi tells her. "Now then, how about we get started on today's mission."
Three hours later…
We were deep inside a forest, looking for our target. Suddenly something jumps out of the bushes and quickly runs away in a blink of an eye. In an instant, we quickly jump out of our own hiding spots and started chasing the target. Before long, we spotted it sitting still in a small open area.
"Sakura. I'm at Point A." Sakura states over her receiver.
"Sasuke, Point B." mutters Sasuke.
"Kazumi, Point C." I tell them.
"….Naruto, I'm at Point D, believe it!" Naruto says, a few moments late.
"Keep up, Naruto. You're late." Kakashi tells him over his receiver. "Okay, how far is the target."
"Target is exactly seven meters away." I announce. "We’re closing in as we speak."
"I'm ready, just give me the signal." Naruto tells us.
"Okay….now!" Kakashi orders.
With that, Naruto jumps forward and lunges right at the target. He quickly caught it and held it with both hands. But soon the target started clawing at him furiously. Sasuke, Sakura and I all came forward and saw the cat attacking Naruto. I came forward and started petting the cat, causing it to purr. After removing my hand, the small animal looks back and stares at me. Then after a second a two, he releases Naruto and jumps into my arms.
"Does the target have a red bow tied to its left ear?" Kakashi asks.
"Affirmative." Sasuke responds. "Target matches the description."
"Then lost pet, Tora, has been retrieved." Kakashi says over our receivers. "Mission Accomplished."
"CAN WE HAVE A MISSION THAT DOESN'T NVOLVE CATS!?" Naruto yells, causing Kakashi to jump. "I HATE CATS!"
When we arrived back to the office, we gave Tora back to its owner. We watched quietly as Tora’s owner continued to squeeze him to death. I felt bad for him. Naruto, however, was laughing his head off. Apparently he enjoyed what was happening to the cat.
"Stupid cat. He deserves that." He laughs.
"You know, now, I don’t blame him. If I had an owner like that, I would run away like a bat out of hell too." I mumble under my breath.
"Kazumi." Kakashi says. I just shrug my shoulders, signaling that I was sticking to my statement.
"Now then. The mission: "Lost Pet Tora" was a success." The Third Hokage announces to us as we stood in front of him.
"Can we have another mission, a real mission?" Naruto yelled. "I mean one that doesn't involve picking weeds, vegetables, finding lost pets or babysitting."
"Naruto…" Iruka Sensei says as he was about to lecture Naruto.
"Its fine, Iruka. If they want a mission then I'll give them one." The Third tells him. "In fact, we have a C rank mission." With that an old man carrying a bottle of alcohol entered. If you ask me, the man looked like a drunk. "Tazuna is from the Hidden Mist Village, located in the Land of Waves. He requires an escort back to his village. There you go."
"Oh boy, I can't wait." Naruto states in an excited tone. "I have never been outside the village before."
"Wait a minute. You are going to let these shrimps escort me back to my village?" Tazuna asks. "Is this some kind of joke?"
"What you called me!?" Naruto yells.
"Not to worry. I'm an elite ninja and will be accompanying them." Kakashi assures him. "So there's nothing to worry about."
"This is going to be an interesting trip, to say the least." I thought.
After leaving the office, we all headed to our homes to gather the necessary equipment and other things for our trip to the Land of Waves. Of course, Kakashi disappeared like he always did. Sakura and Sasuke went into a different direction then where Naruto and I headed. We decided to walk together since our apartments were in the same area.
"So our mission is to protect that drunken old man?" Naruto questions. "I asked for a mission, not a babysitting job."
"Babysitting. That’s exactly what this mission sounds like.” I mumble. “Trust me, Naruto. I'm not so excited about this either, but a mission is a mission." I remind him. "Besides, at least we get to travel out of the Village."
"Oh yeah, that's right!" Naruto yells. "I can't wait! This will be my first time outside the village! Kazumi-chan, I meet you at the gate."
"Okay, Naruto." I tell him.
With that, Naruto quickly takes off into a full sprint. He was running so fast that he left a dust trail behind him. Well, if that didn't tell me how excited he was, I didn't know what did. I just shook my head, laughing a little as I made my way back to my apartment. Once I made it home, I quickly grabbed my backpack and started packing. Once finished, I quickly left, locking up, and proceeded towards the Grand Gates of the Village.
"Hmm? The Land of Waves." I thought to myself. "I wonder. This is a C-rank mission, but there could be a chance that we could run into a few enemy ninja. What if there are enemy ninja in the Land of Waves itself."
I quickly shook those thoughts out of my head, well, for the time being at least. About every mission is dangerous. Well, except for babysitting real kids, picking vegetables and chasing around animals. Man these D-rank missions suck. But we have to start from somewhere. Shifting my sword and backpack to a more comfortable position, I continued to move forward. The only way to see what awaited us was to wait and see. No need to over think it.