Seventeen-year-old Kurai Eikyo sat on a tree branch, overlooking the road into Kinikakure. She watched the way the tree leaves swayed gently in the wind, her chestnut hair matching the rhythm perfectly. She fiddled with with the feathers in her hair and sighed.
Her sigh turned into a groan of annoyance as two arguing voices made their way through the air to her ears.
"Would you mind shutting up for a single moment?" Tojiro Shiki said.
"I swear, one day I'm going to knock you on your tail!" Hajime Zuro's voice answered.
Hana Toya rolled her eyes a little way off from Kurai. The corner of Kurai's mouth twitched.
"Hey guys," she called back to the bickering pair. "Can you stop arguing for five minutes?"
"Don't worry, Kurai!" Hajime called back. "Once I'm finished with Tojiro here I'll be coming for you!"
"Wait a second," Kurai pretended to think hard, "I think I've heard that line before!"
"You should take your own advice."
"Be quiet!" Hana said sharply.
"Hana-sensei," Hajime said angrily, "this is between me and -"
"I said be quiet! I can hear something!"
There was immediate silence. Kurai closed her eyes and focused on her hearing. Sure enough, voices could be heard, traveling on the wind. The four ninja in the trees - Hana, Kurai, Hajime and Tojiro - immediately jumped up into higher branches and concealed themselves in the leaves.
Four ninja came into view: one man, two boys and one girl. Kurai looked towards Hana, barely moving her head, so their position wouldn't be given away. She noticed Hajime and Tojiro watching her intently too. Slowly Hana held up three fingers and started putting them down.
Three. Two. One.
Kurai made some quick hand signs. "Earth style! Earth prison jutsu!" A prison of earth surrounded the four ninja on the road, and before they had time to think they were trapped. Kurai and the others surrounded the intruders.
"What the hell?" One of the boys shouted.
"What's going on?" The girl demanded.
"Who are you?" Hana demanded of the four of them. "And why are you here?"
The man held up his hands. "We're Shinobi of Konohagakure."
Hana eyed him and opened her mouth to speak. Then she stopped and tiled her head. "Kakashi?" She asked.
"Hana." The man, Kakashi, nodded. Hana relaxed and nodded towards Kurai, who released the jutsu and the earth prison sank back into the ground.
"What the hell was that for?" The first boy yelled. "Kakashi-sensei, what's going on?"