The Translation: Harriet Potter y la Escalera que Pudo con Ella - AquaviriusMaggot - Harry Potter (2024)

Chapter 1

Chapter Text

She had been claiming to be 100 years old for the last 20 years, and why? Because, what person in their right mind would believe she was 120 years old when she barely looked 70? And she didn’t look like a 70-year-old with a limp and Alzheimer’s. Harriet Potter wasn’t just any old fool, oh no, she was someone who had lost the fear of what people would say. Since Voldemort had died, she had rebuilt her life, got a job, married, had a family, retired... She had done everything she was supposed to do and then what she wanted to do. Learned everything and more.

As time went by, it became easier for her to care less about other people's opinions, most of them being sheep. The truth was that she didn’t care if they didn’t believe her if she said she was 120 years old. She said she was 100 because messing with people was one of her few pleasures at “her age,” as her granddaughter reminded her every time she got it into her head that she had to behave like a “normal” grandmother. Harriet responded with sudden selective hearing until she got tired and gave up.

Of course, she knew that sooner or later her retirement would come to an end. What she didn’t think was that it would come so early. She didn’t die dramatically, betrayed by her supposed right-hand like Dumbledore, nor did she die in battle after being hit by a ridiculous expelliarmus spell after screwing someone over for years like Voldemort, nor did she die peacefully in her bed after suffering from such a strange lung disease that it turned out to be incurable like George... No, fate had a humiliation prepared for her as punishment for laughing so hard she broke a rib at last year's Gala after causing a series of catastrophic mishaps with Weasley's joke products.

One summer day, she was playing with her youngest granddaughters, drawing on the walls with colored chalks, eating junk food, taking out her clothes and using them as costumes. The attic was trashed, but Harriet didn’t care because her granddaughters were happy amidst the chaos, and at 120 years old, being able to fix the mess with a wave of her hand, she didn’t care much either. Hours later, they had moved from the attic to the playroom on the second floor until Caroline had the brilliant idea to play tag.

What she didn’t foresee was the stupid plastic doll left on the second step of the stairs. She ran, laughing, with her granddaughter chasing her as fast as her six-year-old legs could, and of course, she tripped. Before she could realize the precarious and pathetic situation, she hit her head on the stone banister and was instantly knocked unconscious, falling and tumbling down the remaining 25 marble steps when, if she had been conscious, she would have stopped the fall with a snap of her fingers. During one of those hits, she broke her neck like it was butter, and that was the end of her long existence.

Voldemort hadn’t been able to kill her countless times, nor had her uncles, who had passively and actively tried to get rid of her, nor the cerberus, the basilisk, the acromantulas, the dragon, the inferi, Nagini, or the criminals she had hunted... Nothing had managed to. A simple marble staircase had killed her. Contrary to what she would have speculated, she didn’t meet anyone on the other side of the mystical veil where all living mortals, for some unknown reason, thought someone awaited them once dead. It simply felt like she had been put in a giant washing machine, whose spinning made her nauseous. After what seemed like centuries, it stopped, and she saw a faint light while the screams of a woman made her ears explode.

Completely surprised, as she hadn’t had time to process her death or the subsequent hellish trip, she found herself in silence, waiting to figure out what was happening. She was surrounded by a liquid substance, something sticky, and she almost thought she could feel a touch of skin against her body which, now that she thought about it, was naked. Suddenly she felt everything contract around her and slowly, she was almost pushed until she put two and two together and realized, as if she had been slapped, that she was being born. Her surprise and amazement were such that when she came out, she was as silent as at a wake.

“What’s wrong with her?”, asked a voice, and she recognized the words even though they were spoken in Japanese, but if being an auror, having money, and time had served her for anything, it was to learn languages, "Why isn’t she crying!?”

The female voice asked tiredly, but quickly started screaming again, and she realized that she was giving birth again. She had a brother or sister. The sensation was so strange. She had never had any living blood relatives besides the ones she had engendered, and now she was within reach of her mother, with a brother or sister on the way, and surely the arms she had just been placed in were her father's.

“There’s nothing wrong with her,” cooed a female voice but rough with age, “Some babies don’t cry.”

“I’ll take your word for it, Biwako-sama,” a male voice whispered enchantingly.

Then she heard the powerful cries of another baby and her mother’s sobs of happiness.

“Look, Minato...”

“I’m watching you, Kushina.”

Her eyelids felt heavy, as if someone were forcibly pressing them shut, and she fell asleep. She did it so quickly but not without first learning that now, supposedly, her name was Seina Namikaze. There were several things that almost kept her from sleeping. First, she had died and been reborn practically at the same time. How was that possible? Was the baby’s body she inhabited soulless? Second, she had a younger brother, a brother... She didn’t know how to process the news. In the end, she fell asleep and thought she would have time to assimilate it all. Or so she thought.

Shortly after, and by that, she meant a few minutes later, she woke up forcibly. With her blurred eyes, she could barely understand what was happening. She felt totally helpless with her small, uncoordinated limbs, compromised vision, and magic out of reach. She had something inside, something like magic, but at the same time totally different. So different that it was impossible to determine how to use it as she wanted. At most, she could have caused some damage like small children do when their magic rebels accidentally.

The screams and roars were deafening, and she wondered if she really wanted to know what was going on. Her brother cried loudly beside her while she stayed quiet, trying to catch something, anything. After what seemed like an eternity, she felt something enter her, and although she wanted to scream and ask what the hell was happening, she only gurgled and cried, unable to use her newly acquired vocal cords.

Days later, when all that nightmare passed and she regained consciousness from what seemed like a constant period of sleep, she found out that her parents had died. Wow. What a surprise. Despite having heard her new parents’ farewell, she harbored the hope that, somehow, they had survived, but fate existed to screw her over in any dimension. The next thing she understood was that she and her brother had been sent to an orphanage because apparently no one could adopt them since their existence or rather, their parents’ identity, was a big and terrible secret, and being adopted by one of their many friends was a no-no.

She hadn’t heard such a bunch of nonsense in over a century, but of course, with exactly five days of age, how could she complain. Then she found out that she lived in a ninja village and that her parents had been ninjas, and the best part was that her late father had been the most powerful ninja in the village. Wow. She felt like she was in one of those movies her fat, clumsy cousin Dudley liked, though this was real life and she was more screwed up than the protagonist’s.

This is how she found herself waking up day after day next to her brother, who no one had dared to separate from her side due to the incredible tantrums and fits he was capable of throwing whenever someone even thought of feeding him out of her reach. She didn’t know how, but either her twin brother was a genius or the fact that they were twins had something to do with him sensing her presence. When she pondered over it, having nothing else to do except stare at the walls of what she supposed was the worn paper of the orphanage and look out the window, straining her vision to its limit at the idiotic wall of the same building next door, day after day, she realized that if she tried consciously, she could sense where Naruto was even with her eyes closed. Perhaps Naruto, with his infantile mind and dulled senses, found it easier to locate her than she did him, since she couldn't stop thinking and was so aware of her surroundings that she sometimes overlooked her brother's innocent presence.

Slowly, the days passed, and she tried to grasp everything she could about her surroundings, but the truth was that she barely knew anything new. The orphanage matrons avoided contact with them as much as possible, unless they had to feed them, change their diapers, and bathe them. It was a ritual where no words were exchanged, perhaps because they were too young to speak. Still, it became clear to her what her new situation was when one of the girls called her 'demon.' In fact, she was sure the girl would have tried to drown her if it weren’t for the fact that the orphanage was being watched by a hidden presence that she was aware of thanks to that strange power inside her, which she occasionally touched with her metaphorical internal fingers out of curiosity.

After a month, she wondered if she still had her mental barriers and, realizing they were still intact, she set about reviewing them. To her surprise, after seeing everything was intact, she noticed there were two doors that hadn’t been there before. Seeing the marble stairs behind the first door made her let out an ironic laugh, but it wasn’t difficult, after creating a mental avatar of her former self, to go down the stairs to see what mystery awaited her below. Despite her 120 years, what she saw left her speechless for a few minutes.

There, behind a wall of what seemed to be the largest red bars she had ever seen, and whose 'door' was a simple seal that could be mistaken for a jumble of runes if it weren't for the fact that it was in Japanese and she didn't recognize the design, was a gigantic fox. Its fur was dark orange, almost red brown, and it had 9 tails lying placidly around it. She closed her mouth when she realized it was open and retreated as quietly as possible up the stairs, trying not to wake it.

Naturally, when she emerged from her mental sewers, she reinforced the door with runes and all the protective spells she knew until, when she finished, she realized she had used magic when, initially, she had been unable to sense its presence at birth. The first thing she had noticed was that strange energy so abundant inside her that perhaps, now that she thought about it, had eclipsed her magic. Maybe it was easier to use magic in her mind since she was used to it, and with an adult mental avatar, she could have control over her body that she didn't have in reality…

In any case, she was grateful for it and told herself she should meditate on the new discovery. The second door was, to her surprise, a corridor directly to Naruto's mind. Apparently, her twin was also minimally magical because, otherwise, how could she explain such a magical conduit? Although, on second thought, maybe it was due to her magic.

When she explored Naruto's mind, she realized he was really a baby. She didn’t know what she had expected, but she felt a weight lifted off her shoulders when she saw that her brother’s innocence was still largely intact. Seeing the identical door in her brother's mind gave her a pang of fear. She went down the stairs and, as she had thought, there was the fox, but its fur was noticeably lighter than her inner demon. She seriously wondered what her brother and she had gotten into without wanting to, just days after being born.

She left there as if Filch and his stupid cat were chasing her on one of her nights at Hogwarts, running. She spent hours thinking about the matter. Studying that strange energy that had become her main source of power became secondary, but no matter how much she racked her brain, the only clues she had to solve the mystery were that strange sensation on the day of her birth when she felt something being introduced into her and the fact that the matrons constantly called them 'demons.'

The answer came to her a week later when, just a month old, she found herself in the arms of an older man everyone called Hokage-sama. From the deference they showed him, he must have been someone important, but even he didn't realize that the baby he was holding in his arms, and wasn’t crying, was straining her hearing as much as possible to gather all the information she could.

“The orphanage matrons adequately care for the babies, Hokage-sama, despite the obvious hatred and resentment,” a ninja reported, though she could only notice his outline kneeling on the floor.

“Why do you say that?”

“They frequently call the babies demons, sir, and talk among themselves when they think I can't hear them.”

“Mmm… I see,” sighed the old man, “However, this is the fate that awaits them since Minato decided to seal each half of the Kyubi in his twins. For better or worse, we can’t do anything as long as they don’t directly harm them.”

“And what about the secret? The whole village is whispering about the demon's whereabouts. The matrons are trying to influence the older children to leak the information.”

“The nurse guilty of the crime is already being interrogated,” the Hokage said harshly, passing her to the ninja, who stood up, “Why don't you give this scroll to the head matron? I would like to talk to her about the matter”

“I will do so, Hokage-sama.”

And that was how she put the pieces together. A demon that her father had somehow split in two with some ritual and had sealed in his children. Despite wanting to hate him, she couldn’t feel a shred of resentment. She had lost her scruples many years ago and had been screwed over so many times that she had learned to take her anger and use it for more productive things, like getting revenge and coming out victorious in any situation.

Besides, her father hadn’t seemed like a bad person during the short time she knew him, so she was sure he had done what he could in a desperate situation. If he hadn’t killed the fox, it was probably because he couldn’t. The last thing he could try was to seal it somewhere, and apparently, the first thing that came to his mind was his newborns. What a miserable life, she thought.

At least now she had a second chance to live. With a brother. With new powers to discover. In a new world. She couldn’t complain, really. She had lived her old life to the fullest and had no regrets. Her family was safe, they had a great and substantial inheritance, and they were happy. She couldn’t ask for more after dying playing with her granddaughters, actually her great-granddaughters, and enjoying every last second. And yes, she had died from a fall on the stairs, but at least she hadn’t suffered for months like George before dying sedated to the gills. It was clear she couldn’t complain about how it all ended.

With that epiphany, she truly began her new life, and within her was born again that mischievous feeling that pushed her to move forward and, more importantly, to take on this new reality she now called life and maybe even make fun of some people meanwhile. Starting with the orphanage matrons.

If there was one thing she had learned with 3 children, 6 grandchildren, and 13 great-grandchildren, it was how babies develop. Who had been the fool who, retired, had cared for her grandchildren for long, tedious hours? Harriet Potter. Who had been vomited on, sneezed on, spit on, peed on, and pooped on a trillion times? Harriet Potter. Yes, she had a few things clear about a baby's growth, so she knew that at one month old, she should behave like a nearly blind vegetable that cries and soils itself. Just thinking that she would have to be like that, pretending, for a long time made her stomach turn, and she told herself that sooner or later she would slip up and make a mistake that the orphanage’s invisible guardian would notice. So, it was easier to let it be known that she wasn’t a normal baby so that they would slowly get used to the mischief in Loki's name that she would soon be doing. That way, she could pretend her adult behavior was more like a baby genius.

However, despite wanting to move, her body was still a hindrance. Until she was 4 or 5 months old, it would be impossible even to sit up, so she resigned herself to hoping those months would pass quickly, or she would go completely crazy. In the meantime, she thought, looking at the gray ceiling of her room, she would do the only thing she could: figure out how to use her new power and strike up a conversation with her inner demon.

"Hello," greeted Harriet, Seina, descending the mental stairs, "You're finally awake from your slumber. You've been making quite a racket in here. Are you okay?"

"Mmm… You'd make noise too if you were stuffed into a wretched human like you," retorted the dark half of the Kyubi, who had awoken a couple of days ago and had vented his frustrations to the four winds when he thought no one was listening, "Although, now that I see you... Curious, very curious. Where's the brat they've put me into, woman?"

Harriet smiled. She had been debating whether to appear in her new form, presenting herself as a child with a more developed brain, but she had ultimately dismissed that option. She didn't know much about the demons they talked about in this dimension, but she didn't believe the Kyubi was one, or at least not the type of demon she knew from her original dimension. Taking that into account, and the fact that it seemed she was going to have the demon inside her for the rest of her days, she knew that if she wanted to gain his trust and have any kind of relationship that didn't end in tragedy, she had to be honest.

"I am that brat. This is my former body, the body where I died just over a week ago."

Kyubi watched as she changed her appearance, showing him her current face, with a raised eyebrow, but he seemed to believe her.

"You reincarnated into the Fourth's brat."

"I don't know who the Fourth is, but I suppose you're talking about my father, to whom, apparently, my brother and I owe our appearance."

"You resemble your father, but you have your mother's eyes."

Harriet felt her heart skip a beat at those words. The same ones that had haunted her for years. It was curious that her destiny repeated the old patterns. Seina. That was her new name. The name her parents, once again sacrificed for the greater good, had given her with love. She was thankful for having lived a full life because, otherwise, the similarities between her two selves would have traumatized her for years. Now, even though it didn't seem like it, she was an old woman who was cured of frights. Changing names, homes, parents, powers... was nothing new to her.

"This isn't the first time I've been told that. My name was Harriet, now I'm called Seina. I know our circ*mstances aren't the best, me being a helpless baby and you a demon trapped in here... but if there's one thing I've learned in my previous life, it's survival."

The Kyubi's large red eyes followed her attentively as she approached his cage.

"What do you want?" he finally asked, reclining on his paws and bringing his eyes as close to the bars as possible.

Harriet smiled dangerously.

"I want to cooperate."

Days later, Harriet, no, Seina, had devised a routine. When she was awake, she interacted as best she could with her brother, Naruto, who apparently was as blond as she was and who, unlike her, had three faint parallel marks on his cheeks that seemed to be a birthmark. She also practiced using her new power, which, compared to her magic, had reserves so gigantic that she could hide her magical core inside. Which left her dumbfounded, as she was one of the most powerful witches on the planet in her previous life. Discovering that her magic was still there was a relief. In fact, her magic seemed to have fueled Naruto's magical core. Although, in comparison, he was practically little more than a squib. He wouldn’t do great things like her, but at least he could use runes, arithmancy, potions, and other more passive branches.

Her chakra, as the Kyubi called it, was a much lighter energy than magic, almost like air. In fact, the best analogy to explain chakra was like the air that fills a balloon. Chakra was light like a gas, shapeless on its own but easily moldable once you knew how to introduce the air into the balloon. Magic, on the other hand, was denser, like honey; capable of maintaining its form long enough to be used without a spell. That's why children, and some adults, were able to use magic without a wand, although it was easier to try to mold magic to cast spells with a magical focus.

The most curious thing of all was that no one seemed to be able to detect magic. The first time she used it to enlarge the Kyubi's cage, who still didn’t fully trust her, the giant fox was dumbfounded.

"How did you do this!?" asked the Kyubi, and she shrugged.

"With my powers, obviously. Don't you want me to improve your cage?"

"It's impossible! I haven't sensed your chakra!"

Harriet, no, Seina, debated whether to tell him the truth, but in the end, she told herself that it was a matter of trust. And who was the fox going to tell that she was really an old woman trapped in a baby's body with powers different from chakra?

"It's magic. In my past life, I was a witch. Magic resides in the soul, you know?" she explained, conjuring a chair and sitting across from the astonished gaze of the demon, "My soul is the one trapped in this body."

"So not only do you have chakra but also magic... What else can you do?"

Seina smiled widely. To the Kyubi's stunned gaze, she enlarged the cage, turned the ceiling into an enchanted sky, transformed the concrete floor into earth, stone, grass, and forest, and conjured a mountain in the distance with a snow-capped peak from which a river flowed into a grand lake. The sewage water vanished completely, and that piece of her mind turned into a forest on both sides. To finish, she shrank the demon and conjured all kinds of animals to share his cage with him.

She got up from her chair, conjured in the middle of a meadow right now, and approached the cage. She looked at the small fox that now only reached her waist.

"What do you think of your new home?"

The Kyubi looked at her with something indescribable in his red eyes and then ventured into the forest. Seina let him go without further ado. Not only had she destroyed his worldview, but she had also treated him much better than any other jinchuriki. Simply because she had the power to do so. Right now, he must be in an emotional crossroads: he tried to hate her, but she wasn't to blame for his imprisonment, and, what's worse, she was able to improve his life if he put aside his old resentment, but how could he do that if it was all he had known for years?

She left his mind, content to see her protections, and having learned that magic left no trace, unlike chakra. The problem with using her magic was that she was being watched every hour of the day. Sooner or later, they could realize that something was happening, not necessarily by noticing her magic but by seeing the effects of her spells. After all, if the matron started treating them like royalty when until now, she seemed to want to suffocate them, it would be strange. Still, that left plenty of leeway.

To start with, she cast a locator spell on her brother Naruto. Since only she could sense it, she wasn't worried about using it. Then, she used a medical spell that would alert her if Naruto was in danger of death. The last spell she wanted to cast on Naruto was a protective one, but there was a problem. Unlike the other two spells, this spell would make her brother glow for a second. Irritated, she mentally noted to cast it as soon as she could. What she could do, however, was protect the room where they slept, a room the size of a shoebox with a single crib they shared. That way, when sleep inevitably overtook her, she would rest easy.

She considered protecting the entire room but ultimately decided to focus on the crib. After all, despite the numerous ninjas watching over them, none of them dared to take them from their crib except for the orphanage matrons. Still, she cast a spell to alert her if anyone with ill intentions entered their room. If she found herself in that situation, she would figure out what to do. That was precisely her plan for everything else, as for now, all she did was sleep, eat, and excrete.

Chapter 2

Chapter Text

The first year of life passed quickly. More than half the time was spent sleeping, so in what seemed like the blink of an eye, the next October arrived. It seemed like a bad joke that her most hated month was precisely the month when she was born in this new life. Luckily, they hadn't been born on Samhain or she would have started crying.

To her little surprise, the spell alerted her a couple of times to an intruder in her room, but they were instantly subdued by the invisible ninjas watching over them. They were ANBU, from what she could gather, all dressed in black and gray uniforms with animal masks with two eye holes. When she saw them for the first time, she shuddered to realize the resemblance to Voldemort's Death Eaters. It was eerie to think that their bodyguards were precisely the Hokage's most lethal lackeys, just like Voldemort's Death Eaters. The only difference between them was the rather neutral presence of the ANBU instead of the malice radiating from the Death Eaters. Still, since they protected her brother and her, she metaphorically shrugged. She had lost her scruples years ago, so she didn't care if hired killers were their protectors, as long as they did their job well.

Despite those few exceptions, the year passed without much incident. Then the next year passed. The only good thing that happened during that time was her relationship with the Kyubi, who gradually seemed to soften his heart with their infrequent talks and the continuous improvements she made to his cage when the demon requested it. He had gone from hating her to tolerating her with some degree of trust.

"And you say you lived for over 120 years?" the Kyubi asked, lying on the grass barely less than a meter away from her. "What was that other place like?"

"Much bigger. One could spend their life traveling and still wouldn't have seen it all," she explained, her gaze lost in her memories. "The world was much more advanced too, but technology caused a distancing between people that didn't exist before, nor seems to exist here."

"And what about the ninjas?"

"They didn't exist. Nor did the bijuus like you. There were normal people and magical people, as well as multiple animals and magical creatures. Humans, however, were still humans. Fearing and exterminating what they didn't understand," she said with a sad smile. "You're lucky you weren't there. They wouldn't have put you in a baby's stomach, that's for sure. They would have locked you up while they debated whether to kill you or use you for their own purposes."

"Humans..." the Kyubi scoffed angrily.

"I know. During my second year at the wizarding school, Hogwarts, I found out I could talk to snakes, you know? I found out by chance. I didn't think much of it, but people didn't like it. The murderer of my parents had killed many others before, causing 2 civil wars. Do you know what his main skill was?"

"Don't tell me. Talking to snakes. I see. You became a pariah, didn't you?

"That's right. I was only 12 years old and had grown up with my non-magical aunt. What the hell did I know about all that? Still, even though they convinced me to feel guilty for having that ability, over time I realized it was just a magical language."

"Human. Tell me your story from the beginning," the Kyubi requested, much more polite and cordial than before.

"It will take some time, but I think you'll find it interesting. My name was Harriet Potter, daughter of James and Lily Potter. When I was a year and a half old, my parents were hidden under a Fidelius Charm. This charm has the ability to...

Months later, when she finished telling the Kyubi in great detail her entire life story, from birth to marriage, she saw how the demon was unable to look at her with eyes full of hatred. Harriet hadn't been a demon, but in less than 20 years, she had been treated much worse than the Kyubi himself. If anyone could understand what he was going through, trapped inside her, it was her and vice versa.

"Humans failed you. That's something they're very good at," he said, with a hint of resentment and sadness. "My father was human. He created us, my siblings and me. For a while, we were free, but other humans were terrified of our power. They didn't realize that we, beings of pure chakra, were just as neutral as nature."

"Humans have always been very hypocritical," Seina agreed.

"Perhaps some more than others," he said contemplatively. "My father left us when we needed him most. We begged his name to free us, but we forgot that he too was human."

"I'm sorry."

"Why? It wasn't your fault. Just as this confinement isn't your fault but your father's, those before him who locked me in your mother, and the person who forced your father's hand, forcing him to lock me in you."

"I know, but I know what it feels like when someone you admire and love betrays you. It’s like you'll never trust anyone again, the pain and loneliness that entails... I’m sorry that other humans, people of my species, are unable to tolerate creatures like you simply because you're different and have more power than us. I’m sorry that you, and your siblings, are treated like slaves just for being born as you are, even though none of you asked to be born."

The Kyubi hid his face, and Seina saw that he seemed genuinely moved. She understood perfectly well what the fox had gone through because she had gone through the same. Putting oneself in another's shoes, indeed.

"Human. My name is Kurama."

"My name is Seina. Nice to meet you, Kurama."

Just as she got up to continue erecting new mental barriers, as she did every night while asleep, Kurama spoke. She turned, but only saw the fox's profile among some trees illuminated by the false stars.

"Seina. Thank you."

After that, things changed. Since they were already talking and walking, the matrons started teaching them to read and write at the orders of the Hokage. At first, they had refused to do so, but a visit from the ANBU and the Hokage quickly changed their minds. They did it grudgingly but efficiently, knowing they were being watched at all times. Seina tried to keep up with the other children her age, making sure to excel a little so she could have an excuse to help her brother, who found it hard to focus on one thing, having so much energy.

From age 3 to 5, she dedicated herself to using all sorts of invisible spells not only to improve their stay in the orphanage, like environmental spells, but also to ensure she had as much information as possible. Basically, she was spying on everyone. She not only used spells but also Legilimency on the matrons.

She knew, from probing into others' minds, that the adults knew what they had inside them. They weren't aware of their parents' names, but that didn't matter to them either. They were determined to hate them because they believed that, one way or another, they were the demons and not their caretakers. Useless ignorant people. Still, she was used to dealing with incompetents, so slowly but surely, she manipulated their minds so that, instead of potentially being violent, the matrons settled for treating them with resentment and indifference.

When a new matron arrived, young and generally friendly, she didn't hesitate for a second. Before she could interact with them and show herself as resentful as the other matrons, she sunk her mental teeth. She saw how the Hokage had interrogated her before hiring her for the position at the orphanage and knew she could use it to her advantage, making Yumi believe that the Namikaze twins, whom everyone called Uzumaki, were not really demons but just a pair of misunderstood children.

"Your technique is very useful," Kurama urged, when she told him the news that night, as she had for years. "Do you plan to use it to improve your position in the orphanage?

"More food and blankets wouldn't be bad," she said coldly, remembering that everything Naruto and she had was always the worst of everything. "The orphanage is a safe place as long as the ANBU are there. The problem is internal. If I can make her my puppet, I will."

"Mmm... maybe the fact that she treats you decently won't sit well with the other matrons... Be careful.

Seina kept it in mind, but for quite some time, nothing happened. Except that Naruto wanted to play with her all the time.

"Come on, nee-chan! I want to play renegade ninjas!"

"We played that yesterday," she avoided sighing. "Don't you have to read that book Yumi gave you?"

"It's just so boring!"

Seina watched as Naruto crossed his arms and seemed to vibrate with energy.

"Why don't we go to the park?" she finally said.

The truth was that Naruto needed much more exercise than her since he didn't have her mental discipline. She didn't even know if she wanted to teach him to meditate because she was horrified of what might happen if Naruto found his other half of Kurama in his mind at only 5 years old. That's why Naruto needed to tire himself out three times as much as a normal child. Hence why she had made him some weights for his feet and arms and they played some kind of game every day.

However, playing with kids her age exhausted her. They screamed, cried, fought over anything, weren't afraid to bash their heads against the ground, were stubborn, reckless, ignorant... Certainly, at her 125 mental years old, she wasn't in the age to play with little kids except for a couple of hours a week. The problem was that Naruto wanted to play with her all the time because she was the only one who treated him well, his family, and with whom he didn't have problems relating. If she had had less patience, or less mental age, she would have left him alone more often, but Seina knew the danger her innocent brother was in.

That's why she gave him some of her food when he was still hungry, and she took care of stealing food from several kids without anyone noticing that they were missing one or two lettuce leaves, a couple of chicken pieces, or a spoonful of rice. Fortunately, since no child complained about the theft except for the fact that they were still hungry, no matron watched her at mealtime. Naruto ate a portion large enough to satisfy his appetite, and she did exactly the same at the expense of other children.

"Old Uruchi didn't give us dessert," Naruto said one day, staring at her intently.

"Oh, didn't she?" she smiled, calmly eating her dessert.

Naruto frowned as he contemplated where she got it from, then shrugged, but Seina realized that her brother was starting to notice things he used to overlook. One day, as she was stealing food from other kids as usual, she saw out of the corner of her eye how Naruto threw his glass against a wall, unnoticed by anyone. Everyone turned to the noise, so Seina grabbed a glass from another kid when she predicted what was about to happen.

"Who did it!?"

"It was Naruto!" a tattletale kid yelled. Seina suppressed the urge to strangle him.

The matrons turned, but she saw that both she and Naruto had their own glasses. They took the kid by the ear for lying and the other kid she had left without a glass, too, for breaking plates.

"Why did you do that?" she asked, curious, at the opposite end of the individual bed they shared.

"I saw old Mako coming towards you."

Seina realized, somewhat astonished, that Naruto had tried to cover for her. She looked at her brother lying on the other side of the bed, with his arms under his head, and felt something warm inside her. She knew they wouldn't have caught her because she had put on a few spells, but she decided not to take credit away from her brother when he had done it to save her.

"Thank you, Naruto."

"Is that why you give me some of your food?" he asked, extremely serious for a 5-year-old.

"Yes. I can take a little from everyone's plates without them noticing. If they're hungry, they can always have seconds, but not us. How long have you known?"

"Since always," he shrugged. "You're my sister. I can always feel you."

Naruto nodded and that was the end of that conversation, but Seina was somewhat astonished. Could it be that her mental barriers interfered with the connection Naruto spoke of? She had reinforced Naruto's mental barriers against his Kurama but wouldn't have imagined that, somehow, that would affect her side of the... link with Naruto. Since she didn't have an adult to ask, she asked Kurama.

"Mmm... It's possible. And you say you can't feel him unless you seek the connection with him, unlike what Naruto does?"

"That's right."

"Why don't you try strengthening your connection with him from within, in addition to protecting his mind against my other half?"

The next day, Seina tried it at night. Naruto was awake, lying on the bed, when she moved the door connecting them to the other side of her mind, building a hallway between them. She saw Naruto's eyes snap open and knew before he spoke what he was going to say.

"Shut up, Naruto!" she thought towards her brother and he closed his mouth abruptly, staring at her. "Can you hear me?"

"Seina-nee?” Naruto asked hesitantly in his thoughts.

"Yes. We're talking with our minds."

"Sugoi! How is that possible?

"I've been thinking about the connection you told me about."

Seina saw Naruto didn't quite understand what she was telling him, but he nodded when she told him she had simply "opened" her side of the door that connected them and now they could talk mentally. On Naruto's part, his mind was now more than ever an open book. He had no filter and wasn't aware of everything he sent inadvertently. For her part, thanks to her mental barriers, she was able to send exactly what she wanted.

She realized that, although she could establish contact with his Kurama, Naruto needed to have mental barriers so that, when he grew up, he would have his own privacy and wouldn't be flooded by both their feelings or they would end up being one in two bodies, if she got distracted or lost her mental barriers for some reason.

"You could look for him at night, like you do with me, and explain the technique while you're in his own mind."

"Maybe you're right. If I could, it would be easier than making him enter his mind voluntarily with meditation. What will be more difficult is explaining to Naruto about his Kurama and having to explain who I am to your other half.”

"Not at all. When the time comes, come to me. I'll give you something and he'll accept it."

"A memory?"

"Exactly. He'll accept it. After all, we're the same entity."

Just when Seina began teaching Naruto Occlumency, things took a turn. Kurama was right to think that the old matrons wouldn't appreciate Yumi's favoritism, if you could call it that. They had hired her thinking she would treat them both badly, like all the others, and they weren't willing to let anyone treat them well.

That day, there was an argument, and the kids were sent to bed early. Naruto and she pressed their ears to the door to eavesdrop, even though she could hear over 20 meters around with the spell she always had active when awake.

"Naruto, listen," she said, speaking to him mentally.

"How can you help those demons!? Didn't you lose your family too!?"

"These kids aren't demons! They're only 5 years old! It wasn't their fault!"

"OF COURSE, IT WAS! BECAUSE OF THEM, I LOST MY SON!"

"I don't know how your son would feel seeing you treat the kids you're supposed to care for like garbage!"

They heard the sound of a slap, then silence. She heard an older person panting with effort and the surprised sound of someone younger. Naruto looked at her horrified, and she took his hand.

"Get out of here and don't come back," the old woman Uruchi hissed.

"No. Only the Hokage can dismiss me," Yumi said firmly. "Until then, I'll treat these kids as they deserve."

"I SAID LEAVE!"

Seina and Naruto listened as there was a struggle between them, furniture colliding, yelling and insulting each other. Seina heard the characteristic sound of a knife sliding on a surface, as if someone had grabbed it hastily, and then the sound of wind and flesh hitting flesh.

"I'm afraid we must intervene," a muted voice interjected, and she knew it was one of the ANBU. "As Yumi-san informed you, only Hokage-sama can dismiss the workers of this orphanage. Due to your violent behavior, you will be interrogated and investigated. The orphanage remains under Yumi-san's temporary care and will continue to be monitored by the ANBU."

They heard Uruchi being dragged away, screaming and ranting not only against Yumi but also against them, and then there was tense silence. Seina disconnected her brother from her mind to keep listening in silence, but she knew it wouldn't end there. The only person on their side was Yumi, while the other two matrons were as angry as Uruchi but didn't dare to voice their thoughts out loud for fear of the ANBU hearing them. Idiots. If she was hearing them, what hadn't the ninjas already heard?

The next day, not only had Uruchi disappeared, but the other matrons, including Yumi, had also been taken for interrogation. Two days later, it was Naruto and her turn to be interrogated. Surprised, she found herself sitting in front of the Hokage next to her brother. She let Naruto answer questions about how they were treated in the orphanage by the matrons, the other children, and even infrequent visitors like the doctor or the food provider.

"I'll be honest with you, children," the Hokage sighed wearily. "The orphanage may not be the best option for you. Yumi-san is only one person and is the exception to the rule. Even if she replaces the other matrons, your situation may not change."

"What can we do then?" she asked, frowning.

Although Sarutobi wasn't trying to downplay the seriousness of the situation, he also wasn't offering a solution. If he, the most powerful person in the village, couldn't fix it, what did that mean for her brother and her?

"You could live in an apartment on your own. My ninjas have told me that you've shown great responsibility and can take care of yourselves. I know it's extraordinary, considering you're only 6 years old, but I'm convinced it's the best for everyone."

"How are we going to pay for food and the apartment?" she asked, ignoring the incredulity of him giving a flat to a couple of 5-year-old children.

"You'll have a monthly allowance from which the rent for the apartment will be automatically deducted. The rest of the money will be yours for food, clothes, and whatever else you may need."

"What about bills?" she asked, seeing that he was simplifying it too much.

The Hokage raised an eyebrow but answered.

"I've made an agreement with a landlord. He has small, old apartments that no one wants to rent due to the new constructions in recent years. I've assured him that the apartment would be rented for at least 5 years or until you graduate from the academy. In return, the water and electricity bills are included in the price of the apartment."

"How much is the allowance? And how much is the rent for the apartment?"

"The allowance is 10,000 ryo per month, of which 4,000 will be deducted for the apartment."

Seina calculated the price of the apartment. Supposedly, a genin received about 5,000 to 50,000 ryo on a D-rank mission, so paying only the apartment every month would cost a couple of missions. However, it was a cheap price considering that they could do 1 or 2 D-rank missions each week when they graduated, and they were two of them to pay rent.

"That sounds good."

Seina finished addressing a few more doubts, such as when they would receive the money, how they would receive it, etc. They left accompanied by a ninja to their new apartment. The building was tall and somewhat rundown, perhaps four floors. They were on the top floor, in the apartment where there was only one other. They entered, and the first thing they saw was a tiny entryway to leave their shoes next to a small built-in closet, followed by a short hallway leading to a medium-sized living room-kitchen. It wasn't extremely large, but enough for the kitchen and living room to be clearly differentiated by space and for a small square table to fit. On the other side of the living room, following the path of the hallway, there was a square room with a couple of single beds, one next to the other, covering an entire wall. The last door of the apartment, in front of the kitchen and next to the bedroom, was a bathroom with a small bathtub and shower, quite modest.

"Yatta!" Naruto shouted upon seeing it and ran in, leaving his slippers lying anywhere.

Seina chuckled and accepted the purse with the money and the key to the apartment from the ninja who had accompanied them. She saw that someone had left their few belongings in the middle of the bedroom, so she called Naruto to put his few clothes in the double closet in the bedroom. She searched the drawers and saw that someone had bought food to last them several weeks, as well as several sets of sheets and blankets. They also bought towels, a bathroom rug, and shower supplies. She checked the money and saw that they had the remaining 6,000 ryo, so she wondered where all that had come from. Still, she shrugged it off and took it as a gift from the Hokage.

"What are we going to eat?" Naruto asked, who normally thought with his stomach.

"How about instant ramen?" she said, not feeling like cooking right away.

While Naruto prepared the instant ramen dish with a kettle plugged into the only visible socket in the kitchen, Seina set about casting various spells in their new apartment. First, she used a modified spell to make the floor amplify their voices rather than silencing them, ensuring that anyone nearby would hear them talking about any nonsense imaginable. Then, she cast spells to close off all the entrances to the apartment and other enchantments to suppress the desire to enter the property with ill intentions, anchored to the windows and door.

She didn't want to overly protect the apartment, as it might raise suspicions if people found it impossible to enter. However, by using the individual intentions of each visitor, those who wished them harm would be unable to enter. Thus, this should allow the Hokage's ninjas to enter without getting hurt or arousing suspicion.

"We should keep the money in a safe place," Seina said to her brother.

"Will it be safe here?" Naruto frowned.

"Leave it to me."

Naruto nodded and handed her the food.

"I'd like to handle the money. We have 6,000 ryo left per month, which means we need to spend only on food and we can save the remaining money."

"How much can food cost?" Naruto asked, totally bewildered.

"I don't know. Tomorrow, we'll go check out stores and see the prices. That way, we'll get an idea."

She also wanted to buy a small chest to store the money. With runes, she could expand its interior, and they could keep everything valuable inside, including the money. She also planned to buy another purse so that both Naruto and she would have individual allowances. She figured that if they spent 3,000 ryo monthly on food, they'd have 3,000 left. They could split what remained among the three of them: 1,000 for each and another 1,000 to save. If she managed things well, she was sure she could save much more, especially since she could clean the clothes and the apartment with a spell, saving on cleaning products, despite having a small washing machine of their own in the apartment.

The next day, they went to the academy as usual and then walked around the village in search of a market near their apartment. She thanked Merlin for having had the great idea of enchanting herself with a weak charm to avoid most people, except those most determined to hate them, as they walked the streets without adult supervision. Even under the charm, she could feel a couple of hateful glares on her back. Luckily, nothing bad happened, and soon they saw their building standing out among the others.

"Look, Naruto. That's our apartment. We need to explore the area."

"Great! Let's start with this street!" exclaimed her twin, and they began walking down the street, "A ramen shop!"

Seina looked at the shop and saw that it was more like a stall with three seats. It seemed like a rectangular space with no room for indoor tables. Fortunately, that meant fewer people watching them if they ever decided to eat there. They saw that there was a small market on the back street with a fruit shop, a butcher shop, a fish shop, and an imported goods store. Also, a little further down the road, there were several clothing stores, a drugstore, a weapons shop, a dojo, and even a veterinary center.

As they passed by, despite having the charm active, she saw some vendors look at them disdainfully and knew that if they sold them anything, it would probably be food about to expire, expired, and/or with inflated prices. She avoided sending them a scornful grimace in response and contented herself with knowing that those people couldn't harm them in any way. She simply had to shop alone and use her magic to change her appearance and influence them to sell her the best they had cheaper.

Luckily, they still had clothes from the orphanage that fit them. It was basic clothing in dark and neutral colors, but as long as it fit, it was fine with her. She knew they would soon have to buy their own kunais for practice, so she planned to stop by the weapon shop to equip their backpacks and Naruto's. Plus, now that she had money, maybe they could hire some extra classes at the dojo to help them improve their taijutsu.

At the academy, as everywhere else, almost all the teachers tried to sabotage them. They gave them outdated materials, punished them at the slightest excuse, making them lose training time outside of school, ignored them when they had doubts, and when other children bullied them, taking away their lunch or stealing their books, the teachers said it was just kids being kids but didn't help them get their things back.

All this happened in the first few months after being enrolled in the academy, when they turned 6 years old. Naruto tried to complain the first few times about such abuse, but he was ignored and punished, much to his colossal anger. Still, his brother, who was beginning to understand that his sister had a series of secret powers that he didn't have, calmed down when Seina told him. After all, for her, it was easy to duplicate a couple of books from clan children with a gemino spell or enchant their lunch boxes so that no one noticed they were there.

When Naruto saw how she behaved, knowing all the tricks in the book to avoid being punished, he began to imitate her, and the teachers had to grit their teeth when they realized they had no reason to punish them. The only problem with all this was the unresolved doubts and learning to fight. Seina had been an auror, but although she had some notions of self-defense, she was by no means an expert like the ninjas. Simply put, for a wizard or witch, that kind of knowledge wasn't necessary. Doubts, on the other hand, could be resolved by Kurama, to her astonishment and amusem*nt. The problem was that Naruto wasn't yet advanced enough in meditation to converse with his own Kurama, so he didn't have anyone to help him like she did.

"I've looked at the prices of food," Seina informed her brother that night. "I think we can eat for less than 3,000 ryo a month. If we split what's left between us and save a bit, we could live without problems."

Naruto gasped with joy. "And we'll each have money!?"

"Yes. We'll buy another purse, and each of us will have money to spend as we please. Still, Naruto, if you run out of money one month, you can't take from the savings, you understand?"

Her brother nodded, swearing he wouldn't, and she believed him. That night, when Naruto was fast asleep, she looked at the bills they had and thought about using her abilities to duplicate the money. After all, it was just paper. She really preferred not to, but everything, and it was no joke, everything in the village exceeded their monthly allowance. For starters, just 5 kunais cost 5,000 ryo if bought in packs; if bought individually, they were 1,500 ryo each. The hospital cost 5,000 ryo for admission, and each cure or remedy used had a price if the person wasn't admitted; at least until they became genin, then they wouldn't have to pay for hospital stays. Not to mention food or clothing.

If a genin did a D-rank mission every week for a month, and assuming they were paid the maximum, at the end of the month, they'd earn a salary of 200,000 ryo. They could afford their own accommodation in the cheapest areas of the village and eat. Anyone would think that 200,000 ryo was a lot of money, but when compared to the cost of living in Konoha, things changed. So, even though Naruto thought it was outrageous that they had 6,000 ryo monthly for themselves, it really wasn't much since the cost of living was sky-high.

She could try asking the Hokage if their parents owned any property in their name, but considering they hadn't been given a house already paid for, that would mean either they didn't have one or they weren't planning to give it to them. If their parents had bought an apartment in Konoha, even though it had been destroyed in Kurama's attack, they would still have the deed to the house, and when the village was rebuilt, a new house would be theirs. That was one of the few good things about ninja villages. Perhaps because, if not for that, with the number of times the village could be destroyed in less than 10 years, no one would buy a single house.

In the worst-case scenario, Naruto and she didn't own anything. Until they had something of their own, they would always depend on the Hokage's influence for someone to rent them an apartment. From what she had glimpsed in the real estate agency windows in the neighborhood, a fairly good area very close to the academy, an apartment like the one they were renting cost a little over 1 million ryo. Something they wouldn't have even if they saved their whole lives with the allowance they had been given.

The neighborhoods further away, on the outskirts of the village, cost at most a third of that price according to what she had heard with her spying spells. That was more affordable, especially if they bought a house that needed few repairs or something similar that would lower the price and that they could easily fix with their powers. Still, that would mean doing many missions and/or saving as much as possible, and they were still in the academy, so they could only save a pittance until they graduated.

"What are you thinking, nee-chan?" Naruto asked suddenly, making her jump.

"I'm thinking we need to step up and train on our own. No one's going to help us."

Naruto nodded, looking at the ceiling. "Do you think we'll graduate soon?"

"I don't think so right now. I've looked into the graduation requirements, and they're barely starting to teach us henge."

"Could we practice tomorrow?" Naruto asked, and she nodded.

"Tomorrow."

Chapter 3

Chapter Text

Years passed living in that apartment. The routine was always the same. In the morning, they went to the academy and avoided being punished while learning as much as possible. In the afternoon, Seina answered Naruto's questions, and they both did their homework for the next day before having a snack and lazing around for a while. Then, they practiced the jutsus taught at the academy or reviewed the material for an hour and a half and then another hour and a half of taijutsu following the instructions of the dojo they attended a couple of times a month when they could afford it. Every night, before bed, Seina and Naruto meditated for half an hour. Gradually, Naruto was able to meditate without complaining, but he still couldn't enter his mind.

On weekends in the mornings, they both took inventory of the food they needed, and Seina went to buy it under a charm so they wouldn't be cheated. Since several people had thought of cheating her, she didn't feel bad about cheating them with some counterfeit bills that disappeared in a few days. Over time, their savings, kept in a small wooden chest protected with runes, blood magic, and enchantments, began to bear fruit. In less than 2 years, she had gathered almost 40,000 ryo in real money.

Individually, Naruto had spent part of his personal savings on ramen, various clothing items with toads, and gifts for her. He even had a purse, which she enchanted, that he called Gama-chan. Seina, on the other hand, had hardly touched the money they had agreed upon as individual allowance, so she had another 30,000 ryo set aside that they could use if needed. After all, she only spent her personal allowance on gifts for Naruto and the occasional indulgence for herself, like better bath products or an occasional outfit for her free time.

When Naruto turned 7, she began teaching him runes. Knowing how her brother worked, she gave him a rune puzzle she had transformed from a few stones she found in the park. She created a game of memory and speed with several rules so they could play in their free time, and Naruto would learn without realizing it. In less than 3 months, Naruto became an expert at identifying runes and which runes went together in certain "game" situations.

Since Seina had demanded years ago that her brother do his homework with a brush, as Japanese calligraphy was traditionally written, she knew he could write the runes without any problems. Plus, if she saw that the lines weren't quite polished, she would be there to correct him. The only thing missing for Naruto to start writing runic sequences was to explain what they were for and what patterns to use to write them, so for Christmas, she made another game for her brother, but this time with wooden tiles with different geometric designs drawn on them.

As soon as Naruto learned to recognize and identify what each one was for, thinking it was another game, she sat him down at the table to talk to him about what they were.

"Naruto, do you remember the rune game?" she asked, taking out the game and placing each "tile" on the table. Her brother nodded. "I just wanted to tell you it's not a game."

"Eh!? What do you mean, nee-chan?"

"Do you remember fuinjutsu?" Her brother nodded enthusiastically. "Runes are similar. It's like learning another language: fuinjutsu is Japanese, and runes are another language. Both are used for communication, but their basis is different. Do you understand?"

Naruto nodded and frowned. "So... are runes used like fuinjutsu?"

"Exactly. With these two games, I've taught you the basics without you realizing it. Now that you've memorized that information, I can explain how to use them."

"Did you learn this in the library too!? Sugoi!" Naruto exclaimed. "I've never seen these before."

"Uh... no, Naruto. I didn't learn it in the library," she avoided shrinking when she realized the time of truth had come.

Her brother furrowed his brow. "Does this have to do with your... special powers?"

Seina was surprised to hear him, but she nodded. "Yes, it does."

"I see... How can I use them if I don't have this power?"

"You don't have the same amount of power as me, but our connection, being twins, has allowed you to receive a minimum. For certain things, like runes, I would say that the little power you have might be enough to make them work."

"And how do you know all this?" Naruto asked, strangely serious.

"...What I'm about to tell you, you can't tell anyone, okay?" she sighed, wondering if she should be telling a child barely over 7 years old the truth. "When I was born, I remembered my previous life. Somehow, my powers from that life transferred to this one, and through our bond, to you as well."

There was silence as her 7-year-old brother tried to take in what she was telling him. They stared at each other for what seemed like an eternity, and then Naruto shrugged and smiled.

"Still, you're my sister, just with superpowers."

Seina hugged Naruto, feeling as if a weight she didn't even know she carried had been lifted off her shoulders. Naruto hugged her back tightly, sensing her emotions through their bond, which was almost always open but whose voices were somewhat... muted. She knew nothing had changed. Sitting back in her seat, she smiled at her brother, clearing her throat.

"I'd like to teach you runes and other things, but we'll take it step by step."

Seina went on to explain the basics of each rune, even though her brother had already memorized the condensed explanation of each one and the geometric patterns. She listed examples of how they could be used, their purposes, and what could go wrong if he rushed through without supervision. She also handed him a diary with blank pages that she had enchanted to be infinite and protected with runes to prevent damage.

"I've written down all the theory I'm explaining to you here, as well as some pre-made examples of runic sequences."

"Wow!" Naruto whispered in amazement as he tried to reach the diary's last page and found it impossible.

"You can take all your notes and write-ups in the same notebook. You'll never run out of pages, and it won't tear or lose pages, unless you choose to remove them yourself. Moreover, nobody will see what's written inside unless they're direct blood relatives," she explained, smiling at her brother's excitement-induced tears. "Anyone who opens it and reads it will think it's a child's personal diary. I have another one where I jot down my ideas and information I remember from my other self."

"Incredible! Magic is amazing!"

"It is. With my help, you'll not only be able to use runes, which is like practicing wandless magic, but you'll also be able to brew many potions that don't require magic and use arithmancy as a divinatory method."

Naruto seemed stunned by the realization of all he could do once he learned everything she knew. She was grateful for her own interest in studying for pleasure over her 120 years, otherwise, she was sure they would both have died or lived very different lives. At the very least, Naruto would have suffered malnutrition and been the worst in the academy due to constant sabotage attempts.

"You've used your magic before, right?" Naruto asked, his thoughts heading in the same direction. "That's why most people treat us with indifference instead of violence, why you go shopping alone, and why we've never experienced any robbery attempts."

"That's right. Not only that, this apartment is protected, and nobody can hear what we're really saying when we're inside. That's why I always tell you to wait until we get home... Remember the wooden chest I bought? That's where I keep all our money, and nobody can take it. I don't trust that they won't try to take it from our bank account if we leave it there. I also clean the apartment with spells, as well as our clothes, and make our clothes last longer than they should to save money."

"And the kunais you found?" Naruto asked. "Did you really find them?"

Seina smiled. "I bought the first kunais so nobody would suspect where they came from, then I transformed several rocks into different weapons and used runes to prevent them from turning back into rocks, however unlikely that might be. I did the same with clothes. Nobody knows exactly what I buy in the different stores, so I can transform clothing from rocks or wooden sticks. That's how I've saved so much money these past two years."

"Incredible! That means we have unlimited weapons and clothes! Yatta!"

They talked for several hours. She explained how she had enchanted the shower so that water always came out at the desired temperature as soon as the tap was touched, as the landlord had disconnected the water heater months ago. She used her powers to make some foods last longer and produce less waste. She also explained how she could study so much, thanks to duplicate scrolls she had in her possession without anyone noticing, even if they were sometimes kicked out of the library early... The only thing she didn't tell him was how she had used Yumi, the youngest matron at the orphanage, to benefit them.

The truth was that her previous life had taught her many things. One shouldn't distrust everyone, but one shouldn't be overly trusting either. She knew people were motivated by various things: money, their loved ones, and fear. That's why she had been using her spells to spy on people and steal their secrets. If she ever needed to blackmail someone, the Blacks had taught her how. It was only thanks to her constant spying that she had avoided more than one violent altercation and managed to escape the abuse from the village's adult civilians. It had also helped her realize that there were certain teachers at the academy who wanted to ruin their shinobi careers. Not to mention her knowledge of how they could get away with it without accusing them of cheating or copying.

On the other hand, if there was one thing she had learned living with the Dursleys, it was how to go unnoticed, ration the little food the Weasleys sent her, and prepare to live comfortably on the streets if necessary. Not to mention what she had learned during her time at Hogwarts: hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. She thanked Hermione for teaching her that studying wasn't punishment, as it was at her aunt's house, but a gift, as she remembered all the knowledge she had amassed in her 120 years of life.

The fact that Naruto wasn't the worst in his class but the fourth, had more than enough clothes, ate a balanced diet, and wasn't treated violently when they walked down the street was all thanks to her, and she didn't say that arrogantly. She knew that if she stopped using her powers, things would be very different. However, she also saw his graduation approaching, slowly but inexorably. There would come a day when Naruto wouldn't have her constantly by his side, and she worried about how he would survive if she didn't help him become self-sufficient now.

That's why she was willing to teach him runes, even knowing that it would raise many questions for Naruto and that she might have to tell him the truth, as had happened, putting herself in danger. Still, she had at least three years to teach him runes, potions, and, if possible, arithmancy, to a 7-year-old. She relaxed, thinking she had time and that Naruto wasn't stupid.

One day, since Naruto already knew about her abilities, she thought about buying a ninja tent to modify it. She could turn its interior into a city, if she wanted, but she wondered if it was practical considering that ninja only slept in tents under special circ*mstances. Still, she needed some kind of trunk or suitcase where she could neatly store all the scrolls she was copying and keeping in a mountain in the enlarged chest of money.

In the end, she gave up. They didn't have so many things to store secretly, and the last thing she wanted was for someone to discover a chest capable of containing an entire city. She postponed that idea until Naruto and she were at least genin, but she began to modify the typical ninja hip pouches and lower back packs with spells and runes. Usually, ninjas were limited regarding what items they could carry on a mission and have at hand, and not inside a scroll. If she modified the pouches, she could contain all sorts of weaponry within reach in the hip pouch, and any other items, like clothing or medicine, in the back pack.

The weight wouldn't matter. They couldn't be stolen, and nothing would break while inside the pouch. She knew it would be an essential piece of a ninja's equipment.

"Are you okay, Seina-san?" asked a serious voice, and she snapped out of her reverie.

She looked at Shino, to her right, and nodded. The truth was, she found classes boring. Being an adult in a child's body, as much as some of the things she was learning were entirely new, felt like cheating. Not only was she the top kunoichi in her class regarding theoretical exams, but also in taijutsu. After all, for her, memorizing and internalizing the curriculum with the help of occlumency and the library she had at home, which she could consult whenever she wanted, was like a walk in the park. Taijutsu, on the other hand, was something new, but with her adult mind, she could get distracted much less than the other kids. If she added to that the fact that she knew many combat strategies, thanks to her past as an auror, and that she could predict the unimaginative attacks of the children she attended class with... The academy was ridiculously easy.

The only thing that motivated her to keep going was Naruto, learning new techniques, as they were called in this world, and physical combat and weapons training. While it was true that she was skilled with a sword because the Gryffindor sword kept appearing to her when she was alive, she didn't know how to combine ninja acrobatic taijutsu with wielding a weapon at the same time. So, those classes interested her quite a bit.

"I thought we were going to learn something more interesting," Naruto complained once when they explained what they were going to teach them.

"Naruto, can't you see the potential these jutsus have?" she said, vibrating with excitement. "With henge, we can transform into anything. While it's true that many people can see through a henge or notice the differences if someone transforms into another person... can you imagine transforming into an object? You could turn into bandages and use the replacement jutsu to get into your enemies' pouches! Can you imagine what it would mean if that enemy enters their territory without realizing they're carrying their enemy with them and introducing them into their protected territory?"

Naruto's eyes began to widen with a manic gleam as he realized she was right. As soon as she listed the many uses of the 6 techniques they were going to teach him, she knew she had him. That's how Naruto, without even having to be urged to practice, spent hours practicing the E-type jutsus from the academy and then used them so that nobody caught him while he got back at the villagers with pranks and other childish antics. Seina only asked him not to get caught, not to let anyone know it was him, and not to hurt anyone. Everything else, he could get away with.

Her brother's best qualities were his perseverance and his creativity. Despite not being good at hitting the books, she knew that once he had a teacher for his team, he would improve incredibly. After all, Naruto liked to learn by doing. The same had happened to her, not because she struggled to study and retain information, but because the Dursleys had conditioned her when it came to studying. Hermione had needed almost 5 years to break those habits, and by then, she couldn't study runes or arithmancy at school because it had been years since optional classes had started. So, she had to study them on her own in the following years.

"This suck!" Naruto shouted when practicing clone creation.

"Mmm... What do you do before releasing the technique?"

She could create them, but she needed total control over her chakra because otherwise, they exploded.

"I add as much chakra as possible," Naruto sighed, and she shook her head.

"That's the problem. They're not meant for that much chakra. It's a technique for academy kids."

"Eh!? Are you saying I'm adding too much chakra?"

"Exactly. Try using the minimum chakra for the clone."

Naruto frowned and tried, his forehead beaded with sweat, but nothing. The clone had improved in appearance, but still looked like a zombie.

"I think you'll have to do chakra control exercises. I read it somewhere... Aha! Look at this," she showed him the scroll with the instructions and several examples. "Normally, academy students don't need to do them for these techniques, but you and I must have too much chakra for certain jutsus."

"How come you can perform a clone?" Naruto muttered, looking at the diagrams with an inferiority complex.

"Remember the occlumency I told you about?" she said, getting to the heart of the matter. "That's why. I can measure the chakra flow a jutsu requires, so I never use more or less chakra than necessary. Look at this."

She took a calligraphy pen and stuck it to her forehead with chakra, just as the scroll indicated. For her, whose occlumency barriers acted like a tap she could turn on and off at will, something she had taken years to learn to hide her magic and blend in on her missions as an auror, regulating the chakra she used was as easy as breathing. She hadn't imagined Naruto would have problems with some jutsus due to an excess of chakra.

She helped her brother start the chakra exercises and ordered him to practice every possible hour of the day. In the academy during theoretical classes, while eating, and during free time. In less than 3 weeks, Seina saw a clear improvement. Naruto went from getting angry because he couldn't keep a single leaf on his forehead to continuously keeping one and then two leaves. Over time, the clone looked less like a mannequin created by a blind 5-year-old and more like Naruto himself.

“Naruto is improving a lot," her classmates had said when it was time to demonstrate their skills.

"He was putting too much chakra into the technique," she commented in response to Chouji's remark.

"Hence the leaf on his forearm, I suppose," yawned Shikamaru, and she smiled. "At this rate, he might even graduate early."

She didn't say anything. She could have graduated a long time ago, but she didn't want to leave Naruto alone, and even though Naruto could keep up with her, she didn't want to put herself in danger prematurely. Until their graduation, they would receive a monthly stipend, so they didn't have to worry about working to live. Moreover, they were protected within the village and could learn peacefully thanks to all the free time they had. Why rush their graduation when they didn't have to take the exam until they were 11 years old? The only thing they would gain would be prestige, and even then, attracting the attention of certain people didn't interest her as it was potentially dangerous. No. It didn't make sense to stray from the path.

She saw Shikamaru glancing at her out of the corner of his eye, and she winked, losing her serious expression. Shikamaru cleared his throat with a slight blush, and Seina smiled even wider, if that was possible. Kids, some of them were adorable. She wondered which one of them would be part of her genin team and thought that as long as they didn't pair her with some hysterical Sasuke fangirl, she didn't care. Her head wouldn't withstand such constant screaming.

"Attention, kids! Today we're going to examine your taijutsu. I hope you've practiced in your spare time."

Suddenly, everyone started talking and cheering as they realized they would lose a few hours of class. Seina avoided rolling her eyes at the childish behavior of the other kids and stood up. In the years she had been in the academy, she hadn't lost a single fight, and she wasn't going to let 7 or 8-year-old kids beat her. To her surprise, the first match turned out to be Sasuke versus Naruto. She hadn't seen them fight before, but judging by Sasuke's cold glare, it didn't seem like either of them wanted to lose to the other.

The match lasted for 10 minutes, during which neither seemed willing to give up. Sasuke was more flexible and faster than Naruto, but her brother had more stamina and strength. She watched as Sasuke changed tactics as soon as he realized the same in the first few minutes and started attacking Naruto with feints and distractions, which, to his annoyance, didn't work. If there was one thing she had taught her brother during their multiple practice fights, it was how to fight against someone who used dirty tricks.

"Stop! The match ends at 10 minutes with a tie!" said Iruka-sensei and noted the result in his notebook.

Sasuke refused to shake Naruto's hand. He left with his hands in his pockets and a resentful look on his face. The other kids talked about the match, and some complained that Naruto had cheated. Fortunately, Iruka silenced them with a glance and a few words of reproach.

"Trying to belittle a classmate's achievements is not a good quality for a ninja," Seina mentally noted the 3 idiots who had insulted her brother, among whom was Sakura, and thought they would regret opening their mouths. She watched the other matches with total attention, and soon it was her turn.

"Seina Uzumaki versus Ino Yamanaka."

She entered the circle and saw Ino tightening her ponytail with a somewhat nervous expression. Both took their positions, and when Iruka started the match, Seina waited for Ino to launch herself at her. She tried to intimidate her by throwing a volley of punches and kicks, but Seina simply deflected them, using Ino's force against her. Within a few minutes, Ino grew tired as she hadn't landed a single blow, had used up a lot of her strength, and had also received several punches to the ribs when Seina redirected her arms and exposed her torso.

When she saw Ino panting, trying to catch her breath, Seina stepped forward and started throwing her own volley of kicks, punches, knee strikes, elbow strikes, and more. Ino could only go on the defensive, trying not to get knocked out, but she was tired, and Seina took only a minute to bring her down. She won the match in less than 5 minutes.

"The winner of this match: Seina Uzumaki."

She reached out her hand to Ino and helped her up. Her opponent seemed relieved that she didn't mock her and leave her on the ground, perhaps because some kids did just that. What could a 127-year-old gain from humiliating a young child? What was strange was that, after that fight, Ino approached her.

"How do you last so long in a fight? You didn't seem tired at all!" she asked at lunchtime.

"For starters, I don't diet," Seina replied calmly, and the kids around her laughed at her words. "I don't even know why you're dieting if you don't need to. Secondly, I saved my strength and redirected yours, using the gaps in your defense to hit you. Finally, I didn't let you recover, choosing that moment for my counterattack and putting you on the defensive."

"Do you think I should diet?" Ino asked, and Kiba laughed beside her. She elbowed him, silencing him instantly.

"Ino, you have a slender build," she began, exasperated. "Moreover, you're training to be a ninja. Your metabolism is much higher than many people's, which means you need to eat more than an adult civilian. If, on top of that, instead of eating more, you eat less than you need... Do you understand why you get tired so quickly? You have no reserves!"

She watched as Ino sighed, contemplating her words. Since she hadn't said it in a mean way and had given her logical reasons, Ino didn't seem upset by her scolding. With a downcast look, she sat with Naruto and her, who almost always ate together with Shikamaru, Chouji, Kiba, Shino, and Hinata. With a sigh, Seina offered her bento box and a pair of spare chopsticks.

"Eat."

Ino accepted the offering and thanked her almost timidly. She ate the food she had prepared for Naruto and her: rice with sauce, seasoned chicken, a salad with carrots, tuna, and cucumber, and fruits that she had peeled and cut into a fruit salad. They usually ate the same thing, but varied the first course. It had taken her some time to learn to cook Japanese dishes, but fortunately, she knew how to cook and could follow a recipe.

"Where's Sasuke-teme?" Naruto asked, and everyone shrugged.

"The last time I saw him, he was leaving the academy heading towards the nearest park," Ino sighed. "I saw Sakura following him."

"And you're not there!?" Kiba asked astonished, and Seina gave him a light slap on the head. "Hey!"

“Don't you know what tact is?" she asked rhetorically.

"Kiba is incapable of not putting his foot in his mouth at least once a day," Shino commented, examining the bugs on the nearest tree with a serious voice.

"HEY! What have I done to you guys?" Kiba protested.

"The truth is, I didn't feel like fighting with Sakura again today," Ino confessed, ignoring Kiba.

"You know that with your behavior, all you're doing is pushing Sasuke further away, right?" Seina stated.

Ino shrunk, looking at the ground. It seemed like she had lost her usual impulsive character after her defeat in the ring.

"Is that why you're ignoring him, Seina?" Kiba asked, chewing with his mouth open. "To make him like you?"

"Ew, Kiba, close your mouth!" Ino ordered, making a disgusted face.

Seina rolled her eyes and avoided crying out of frustration. How could she like a 7-year-old boy like Sasuke? Shikamaru chuckled while Naruto yelled at Kiba that his sister could never like a bastard like Sasuke.

"Seina doesn't like Sasuke, Kiba," Shikamaru informed with a yawn. "In fact, she's indifferent to him."

To her astonishment, the others, even Ino, nodded. She didn't think everyone would agree, but apparently, even kids almost 8 years old could feel her emotional state.

"I think he's been through a lot. I don't deny that," she said. "But right now, Sasuke doesn't have any qualities that appeal to me in that way."

"What do you mean?" Ino asked, confused.

"Basically, he's asking you what you see in that bastard," Naruto cut in, eating dessert.

"Not to offend, but basically, yes," she laughed. "Sasuke is intelligent, yes, but he's also cold and looks down on practically all of us. He's antisocial and distrustful, and he craves power. Those are not qualities I look for in a boyfriend."

"And what do you look for in a boyfriend?" Shikamaru raised an eyebrow in her direction, stopping his cloud watching.

Seina couldn't believe the conversation they were having right now. She wondered if she should give a troll response or tell the truth, but looking at Ino, perhaps if she understood why Seina thought some qualities were better than others, she would give up her futile interest in Sasuke.

"I'm looking for someone who is intelligent, reliable, and respectful," she thought aloud. "Someone I can talk to about anything and who truly listens to me. Someone who is a good person."

There was silence as everyone finished eating and pondered her words. Ino, in particular, seemed to be deep in thought with a furrowed brow. Shikamaru and Shino, however, turned to look at her with curiosity and contemplation. Perhaps her answer had been too mature? She metaphorically shrugged and put away her chopsticks in her empty bento box.

"T-those are g-good qualities, Seina-chan," Hinata said, looking flushed and glancing at her brother sideways. She smiled.

"I'm sure we'll both find someone like that," she winked.

Since they started the academy, Seina had gradually been befriending this group of people. The first person they met was Hinata when Naruto saved her from bullies one winter years ago. At first, being in Hinata's presence had irritated her due to her constant stuttering and extreme shyness, but soon she realized it was simply a result of how she was treated at home. Frustrated, she vowed to help her gain confidence so she could stop fainting at any social contact.

Now, although she still stuttered, the frequency of her stuttering had decreased exponentially, her blush no longer outshone tomatoes, and she almost never lowered her gaze or fumbled her fingers in discomfort. Like with Neville when he was a child, Seina had been able to relate to Hinata through their shared interests such as gardening, flower pressing, calligraphy, or medicine.

Something similar had happened with Shino, who wasn't shy but lonely. As she wasn't afraid of bugs, it had been easy to gradually gain his trust to the point that Shino always sat next to her or behind her in class. On the other hand, Kiba and Chouji were just as social as Naruto, so she hadn't had to do anything except bake a few cakes and cookies.

The most surprising was Shikamaru. He was the only one who approached her first, not the other way around. He challenged her to a game of shogi, and when she won after a game that lasted almost an hour, he seemed to decide that she wasn't as bad as a friend. After that, he started sitting behind her, sleeping next to Chouji, and then sleeping next to her at lunchtime while Kiba, Naruto, and Chouji played on the swings or with the ball.

More than once, she wondered what Naruto's childhood would have been like without her there to socialize with these kids. Would he have been able to pique Shino's interest? Would Hinata be able to be in Naruto's presence for a minute without fainting? Would Shikamaru be isolated from everyone else, except for Chouji, because of his intelligence? She dismissed those thoughts as they served no purpose and walked to class.

From that moment on, Ino stopped dieting and started sitting with them instead of chasing after Sasuke. Sakura, puzzled, sent haughty glares her way upon realizing she no longer had "competition," but Ino seemed oblivious to her. With Ino's help, practically the most extroverted person among them besides Kiba and Naruto, they were able to coax Hinata out of her shell.

"If only we could give her some new clothes..." Ino sighed exasperatedly. "She must be boiling in that jacket."

Seina nodded. Konoha was located in the Fire Country, so the climate was practically Mediterranean, if compared to something else. Still, Hinata always wore a lined jacket. Probably to blend in due to her shyness.

"Why don't you grow your hair out, Hinata?" Ino asked, touching Hinata's dark hair.

"My father says it would be a nuisance for me on missions," Hinata spoke quietly, looking at the ground, and Seina lifted her chin as usual.

"You don't necessarily have to wear it long," she said, always the voice of reason. "You could grow it to shoulder-length. It would look really good on you and wouldn't hinder you in fights."

Ino nodded fervently without saying a word, seeing that Hinata was considering it. After a while, Hinata agreed to let it grow a little.

"Besides, having long hair doesn't mean anything," Ino scoffed later. "Look at me. Look at Seina! She's never lost a fight and has hair just as long as mine!"

Seina had long hair, though in a triple braid, as she had seen pictures of her parents and noticed that her mother had extremely long hair. When she went to the salon under a different appearance, she only cut the bare minimum and asked them to layer her hair. Unlike her mother Kushina's red hair, she had her father's golden hair, just like Naruto. Her father Minato's blue eyes had reappeared in her brother, while she had her mother's dark violet eyes.

When Seina showed him pictures of their parents for the first time a year ago, he had started crying. It had affected him so much that he even asked her to change the bright orange tone of the jumpsuit he had fallen in love with and bought, for a white jacket with black sleeves and matching black pants. Seina agreed quickly. She had been trying for months to convince him to change the color of his clothes, but according to Naruto, as long as he wasn't a genin, wearing orange wouldn't kill him in the village. From that moment on, Naruto seemed more like her brother than ever before. They both wore dark pants, although she wore leggings, matching short-sleeved shirts, and a light-colored hoodie, hers in a pastel turquoise shade.

When they turned 9, Naruto finally managed to enter his mind, to his horror. That was the day she had to tell him about Kurama and how their parents had died.

"What IS THAT!? And HOW DID IT GET HERE!? SEINA!" Naruto shouted, and she calmed him down and took him away from there.

"That's called a demon. It's the Kyubi."

Naruto stood still like a statue as he finally understood why some people called them demons. She explained how she remembered the night their parents died and how Kurama attacked the village on orders from someone pretending to be the late Madara Uchiha. How their father had no choice but to seal the demon inside them and give his life in exchange for the village's survival.

It took her brother 5 days to speak to her again, to her irritation and pain. What could she have done? Told him when he was 5 years old? In the end, Naruto came to her with a guilty and hurt expression. That day they apologized for their first real fight and talked at length. She explained how she had cultivated her own relationship with Kurama all that time, how she had helped him despite being trapped in a cage from which she couldn't easily release him, and how Kurama helped her when she asked for help with anything.

"You need to talk to him," she advised. "I can help him like I've helped his other half, but you're the one who has to convince him that you're worthy of his friendship."

Naruto nodded with a determined expression, and they returned to his mind, where they transformed it from a sewer to his apartment at Naruto's request, surrounded by the Konoha forest. Seina helped her brother in every way she could and stayed when he woke up his half of Kurama. She gave him the orb her Kurama had given her, and although apprehensive, he accepted it.

"I need to think. Leave me."

He turned around and entered the cage, just as her Kurama had done. Naruto, discouraged by his reaction, sighed.

"You can't expect him to accept you just like that," she whispered, and they left Naruto's mind. "In the next few days, try to explain your life and how you feel to him. He has to see that you're not like the others, that you don't hate him."

"How could I hate him? He's just another victim of that attack!" Naruto asserted.

Seina nodded. The truth was, she had been thinking about the information her Kurama had given her, the Yin Kurama, for some time now, and she wasn't sure what to think. For starters, when they were born, a man with the Sharingan had pretended to be one of their ancestors and used Kurama to attack the village. Kurama was sure his chakra wasn't Madara Uchiha's, so who was he? Since he wore a mask and only one eye was visible, she couldn't even be sure the attacker was an Uchiha. It could have been anyone with a stolen eye.

However, everything took an unexpected turn when she started hearing rumors about a coup by the Uchiha clan, and then Itachi Uchiha killed his entire clan, leaving only his brother Sasuke alive. With her spy spells, she overheard some people wondering how it was possible for one person to kill all the adults, even though he had the element of surprise. Especially since it was Itachi Uchiha, supposedly a pacifist. So, was it possible that the masked man, supposedly an Uchiha, was related to something that happened only 6 years later? She didn't know, but it was clear that something else was going on, and that it wasn't just a transient act of madness from a genius broken by pressure.

Since then, she had started detecting the presence of hidden ninjas. Some of them watched Naruto and her periodically. The strange thing was that they seemed to be ANBU, but from what she heard from the other ANBU, those who had protected them at the orphanage, they didn't seem to be aware that they were there. The only thing she could find out during all that time was the name Danzo, which surprisingly turned out to be one of the Hokage's advisors.

"I haven't heard that name before," Kurama said, thoughtfully, "but he must be someone important if he can give orders to elite ninjas. Be careful."

Kurama was right. Still, since they didn't seem to be doing anything else besides watching them, she decided she didn't need to actively investigate it yet. She continued to listen attentively, but she didn't discover anything else, except that they seemed to be monitoring key locations.

"We should tell someone about this," Naruto urged her when she told him.

"And what are we going to say? 'Hi, I've discovered ninjas that no one else seems to see, and all I know is that Danzo, the Hokage's advisor, has something to do with it.' Even if it were true, how do I tell them I found out? With my tarot cards?"

Naruto deflated, realizing she was right.

"And what are we going to do?"

"Nothing. For now, they don't seem to have bad intentions, but I'll keep watch."

The truth was, she was already investigating everything she could on her own. For starters, she had been building a Uchiha family tree to see which candidates could be the masked man, if he really was an Uchiha. According to the memories she saw from Kurama, he seemed to be a teenager close to adulthood, judging by his voice and physique. However, since no one talked about the Uchiha anymore and there weren't many public records she could access, the family tree project became more complicated than expected, and she had to give it up for the time being.

It seemed that trying to solve this mystery was more complicated than she could have imagined...

Chapter 4

Chapter Text

By the time they turned 10, Naruto had also developed something of a relationship with the yang Kurama, managed to reproduce the runes on his own, and even learned to make some medical potions. Seina, who had been studying the scrolls from the now fully copied library on her own, learned not only D-rank jutsus but also some C-rank techniques and medical protocols, which she insisted Naruto learn with her.

Fortunately for Naruto, the occlumency barriers he worked on every night had exponentially helped him control his chakra, and now he could perform techniques much faster than before. As for money, they had managed to save about 100,000 ryo in their joint piggy bank, and separately, Seina had saved 48,000 ryo while Naruto, who took longer to learn how to manage his expenses, had only saved about 15,000 ryo.

"If we could save another 50,000 in a couple of years, we could buy one of the houses on the outskirts," Seina had said to her brother. "I've been looking at the real estate in the suburbs, and for 180,000 ryo, we could buy a one-story house with a couple of bedrooms and a small garden, ready to move in."

Naruto nodded.

"Anyway, we won't be able to buy any property until we're genin. Do you think we'll save that money?"

"If we do missions three times a week, we would earn about 18,000 ryo gross per month. In a couple of months, we could save what's left and recover a bit."

"Do you really think the old man will kick us out of here?" Naruto thought sadly, looking around.

"Naruto, do you really want to share a room with me for the rest of your life?" she rolled her eyes. "We both need our own space, and it wouldn't be bad to have a garden to grow what's needed for our potions or to train. Besides, if we buy a house for the two of us, I can protect it properly, and no one would be able to find out our address to attack or spy on us. If I did the same with an apartment, people would wonder why a certain apartment doesn't exist."

"You'd use that spell you told me about... the Fidelus."

"Exactly. If I do it, we'd never have to worry about security. Only I can be the Secret Keeper, and I don't plan to tell anyone where we live. Besides, once we're genin, the Hokage will likely stop sending his Anbu to protect us. We're getting fewer visits now, you know? It used to be daily, and now we barely get a visit once a month."

"Yeah… and with those other weird Anbu spying on us, maybe it's for the best."

"Also, we don't need a huge house," she said with a smile. "All I need is the base of the house and a piece of garden. Then I can enlarge the house and garden to our liking and we could add rooms or even another floor."

"It wouldn't be bad to have a pool!" Naruto exclaimed, forgetting his melancholy as he realized the possibilities.

Seina took out her muggle notebook, transformed from a stone, and made a list.

"We'll need 2 bedrooms, 2 studies, 3 bathrooms, a kitchen-dining room, a living room, a pantry-storage room, a library, a pool, the garden, maybe a greenhouse and a vegetable patch."

"We could have a guest room," Naruto requested, and she rolled her eyes. "I know it will be secret, but… we'll be part of a team. Maybe we could invite trustworthy people."

"Alright. Let's add 3 guest rooms and another bathroom. Hmm… It’s clear we’ll attract less attention from guests if we add at least one more floor besides enlarging the entire house."

"We could put the vegetable patch on the roof," Naruto suggested. "That way, it would always get sunlight and we wouldn't accidentally destroy it if we train in the garden."

Seina nodded. She drew a three-story house. On the ground floor, she drew a small entrance, the living-dining room, the kitchen with access to the pantry-storage room, the library, and a guest bathroom. On the second floor, she drew their bedrooms with their own bathrooms and both studies. On the top floor, she sketched the 3 guest rooms and a full-sized bathroom. In the garden, she drew a rectangular pool on the right side, separated by a row of trees from the rest of the garden and surrounded by stone pavement.

Naruto, smiling, made unconscious noises of satisfaction as he looked at it.

"I'll save everything I can this year," he assured her, and she promised the same.

"We’ll need to start collecting rocks and material so I can transform everything quickly when we buy the house."

They agreed to start gathering rocks and storing them in an enlarged, bottomless chest she would enchant once she bought it. With a bit of luck, they'd have enough material to furnish both floors and build the different levels. With runes, they’d fix the materials and space to prevent them from reverting to their original state, and they could also disconnect from the water and electricity systems. They wouldn’t need heating, cleaning, or many other things she could build with runes for Naruto to use, like a waterless washing machine or a self-cleaning refrigerator cabinet with light and multiple compartments to prevent food from spoiling.

Just thinking about everything she could do made her vibrate with excitement. She wanted a house because, once it was theirs, she could make it disappear and practice all the magic she wanted without endangering her brother. If they ever had a family, all they’d need to do was build an identical house next door and, even if they shared the garden and pool, they wouldn’t have to pay more money for something that was already theirs.

That year, besides planning to buy a house, another teacher arrived at the academy. His name was Mizuki, and every time she saw him, a shiver ran down her spine. This guy was the first ninja to have the pleasure of being read by her legilimency. When she saw the hatred he harbored towards them and his greed, his plan to use them as scapegoats to steal the scroll with the village’s secret techniques… She almost wanted to strangle him right there, but settled for making him bald, as she had done with those kids who accused Naruto of cheating, and then planned how to use him to their advantage.

The thing is, she couldn’t report him since she had no proof and didn’t want to reveal her magical powers, so her only option was to use Mizuki and get him caught red-handed. In fact, it was Naruto who gave her the idea.

"Why don't we steal the scroll and blame him?" her brother asked, and she looked at him a bit stunned. "If we do it right, we can make him confess without realizing it in front of other teachers. Actually, I should steal it alone. No one would believe you would let someone so dumb trick you."

"Mmm… Not bad, Naru. We could make him confess in front of Iruka. Yes, not bad at all. Besides, I’m interested to know what techniques are in that scroll that I didn’t know about."

Naruto snorted a laugh.

"You mean, copy the scroll."

"How well you know me. Alright. This is what we'll do."

They planned to steal the scroll before graduation, saying Mizuki had told them it was an additional exam. For Seina, it wasn’t difficult to implant that idea in him and gradually manipulated him to think the plan he was drawing up was his own idea, not an invention of his students he wanted to deceive. The day before graduation, Mizuki approached them with his brilliant "plan."

"What an idiot," Naruto rolled his eyes, walking to steal the scroll with his hands behind his head. "See you later."

Seina nodded and went to the agreed place. Naruto, with his invisibility and silencing bracelet, could steal that scroll with his eyes closed. In less than half an hour, he had it in his possession.

"Look at this. It’s huge!" Naruto exclaimed, handing her the scroll that was as tall as his torso and had a diameter larger than even his head.

"Give it to me."

She copied it and put the duplicate in her bottomless black pouch. Then, she became invisible and followed Naruto to the meeting place with Mizuki. Iruka, who they had been leaving clues for to distrust Mizuki, saw his fellow teacher leaving the academy towards the forest. Seina, who was spying on them, gave Iruka a mental push. She followed both silently and listened as Mizuki tried to hurt her brother by telling him the truth about the nine-tailed fox. She watched as Iruka clenched his fists, enraged, and went to Naruto's rescue.

The situation didn’t escalate. The only surprising thing was the dozens of clones Naruto, bored, had created thanks to a jutsu he had learned by opening the scroll, to her exasperation.

"Where's your sister?" Iruka asked, once Mizuki was subdued and left unconscious.

"Seina must be walking around the village or buying a book," Naruto shrugged, as if nothing happened. "She doesn’t know I’m here. She thinks I’m in the apartment."

Iruka sighed. When she saw that nothing would happen to her brother, Seina slowly left and went to the bookstore and walked around the village, just as Naruto had said. Smiling, she went home and started preparing dinner. When Naruto returned, he was accompanied by Iruka, but since her brother warned her through their mental bond, she wasn’t surprised.

"Seina… I’m bringing your brother back," Iruka sighed in exasperation.

"What happened?"

"I'll let Naruto tell you all the details. Luckily, it wasn't that bad."

"Mizuki-teme tried to use me to get a secret scroll!" Naruto said, pretending to be angry. "But we gave him a beating!"

"Yeah, something like that," Iruka laughed. "I'll leave you to your dinner. Remember, tomorrow you have your graduation exam at 10 o'clock sharp. Don't be late! See you tomorrow!"

"Goodbye, sensei!"

As soon as the door closed and the protections reactivated, Seina looked at her brother.

"Did you really open the scroll?"

"I just wanted to see what it contained! You won't believe it! Look at this! Kage Bunshin no Jutsu!"

Three more Narutos identical to her brother appeared, and Naruto asked her to whisper a number into each of their ears. When they disappeared in a small cloud of smoke, Naruto smiled.

"The numbers were 10, 546, and 1001."

"How is that possible?" she asked, astonished.

"Everything my clones do, I can remember. Also, they only disappear if they get a fatal blow or if I deactivate them."

"Do you know what that means?" Seina whispered, containing her excitement as she realized the gift they had received almost by accident thanks to the idiot Mizuki.

"Yes! Think of all the pranks we can pull! I will have perfect alibis, nee-chan!"

"No, Naruto! I mean that if your clone transfers all its knowledge to you, we can use them for training, and you'll be training twice as much with just one clone."

Naruto looked at her with his mouth open, realizing she was right. That night they went to bed early after she tried the jutsu, although both were too excited about the discovery to really sleep.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, the next day had finally come, and it was time for their graduation. Iruka called them in alphabetical order.

"Shino Aburame."

"Hinata Hyuuga."

"...Shikamaru Nara..."

"...Sasuke Uchiha."

Seina stopped her brother's nervous leg and sent him a mental message.

"Stay still."

"Naruto Uzumaki."

Seina bit her lip as she watched her brother go down, but within minutes she felt Naruto's great happiness through their bond and avoided sighing in relief.

"Seina Uzumaki."

She nervously stepped forward and stood in front of Iruka and two other ninjas she didn't recognize. Iruka smiled and gestured with his hand.

"Welcome, Seina. We'd like you to start with a henge."

She nodded and transformed into her brother without any problem. She had been using this technique and spells for years to buy food without being cheated. She saw them examining her and nodding for her to release the jutsu, noting something down.

"Next, we'd like you to perform a body replacement."

"With what object?" she asked.

"Anything you want."

She looked around and focused on a trash can in the corner. In less than an instant, she replaced herself with it and appeared on the other side of the classroom. She replaced herself with the trash can again and smiled at the amused looks of the examiners.

"Finally, the cloning technique."

She used the academy technique, and a couple of identical copies of her appeared. The examiners checked all the details before asking her to release the jutsu. She stood much calmer, realizing it had been extremely easy.

"Well, Seina," Iruka smiled. "I must congratulate you. You have received excellent marks in all the demonstrated techniques, as well as in taijutsu, theoretical exams, and shurikenjutsu. You are the top kunoichi of the class. Congratulations! You are now a genin!"

"Thank you very much, Iruka-sensei," she thanked, bowing and choosing the black headband.

"You may go. Tomorrow at 10 o'clock you will return to classroom A1 to find out your team."

Seina nodded and left with the ninja headband in her hand. She smiled, realizing that now they could move out of the apartment and buy their own house. When she walked out to the yard where everyone was waiting, she smiled at her brother first and then at her friends.

"YATTA!" Naruto shouted, jumping on her.

"How could she fail, Naruto?" Ino asked exasperatedly. "She's the best in the class."

Seina saw that Naruto had taken the black headband, just like her, and was already wearing it on his forehead, as were Shino, Kiba, and Chouji. Ino had it tied around her waist, Shikamaru on his right arm, and Hinata around her neck.

"So, where are you going to wear it?" Naruto asked, feeling her thoughts.

"Around my neck, obviously," she smiled, putting it on like Hinata. "That way my throat is less exposed. It could even save my life since it's metal."

Ino looked at the band on her waist and took it off. "I hadn't even thought of that. Well done, girls!"

Hinata blushed slightly but smiled. They all went to Chouji's family restaurant, where they were invited as a celebration. They spent a couple of hours eating and then went to their respective homes to celebrate with their families. Naruto and Seina went back to their apartment, where Seina had prepared a gift for her brother, identical to what she had bought for herself.

"Here, Naru, this is for you," she said, offering him the cardboard box where she had stored everything. "I have one just like it. I hope you like it and find it useful."

"I also have something for you!"

Seina took the small package Naruto handed her and opened it excitedly. To her astonishment, she saw a silver locket on a matching chain. It was round, with a green four-leaf clover engraved on it. When she opened it, she saw a mirror instead of a photograph and frowned.

"A mirror?"

"Do you remember the mirrors you mentioned having in the other world?" Naruto said, grinning from ear to ear. "Well, I managed to replicate the runes on this mirror. So we can always communicate whenever we want or in case of an emergency."

Seina was stunned. She had never considered making something like this because she lived with her brother, the only person who knew about her abilities, and it didn't make sense. Also, she could talk to him through her mind, so a communication mirror wouldn't be extremely useful. Still, the fact that Naruto wanted her to have it meant that despite their mental bond, he wanted to talk to her. It must have taken him several tries since she knew it wasn't an easy sequence.

"Thank you, Naruto. I love it."

"I've tested them, so I know they work," her brother blushed at her words. "Well, I'm going to open your gift."

Seina watched as he took out the pouch, the kunai holster for his thigh, a small case full of potions, ointments, and antidotes that she had been making and storing under spells to keep them intact, the new clothes, the weapons, and a small jewelry box containing various items.

"Sugoi... You included instructions!" Naruto laughed as he saw the instructions pasted on the lid of the potion case.

"That's right. The potions won’t perish if you don't use them; until you break the seal of each vial, the spell preserving them won't break."

She explained the spells and runes she had sewn and placed on the clothes, making it nearly impossible for them to be destroyed, and how they were enchanted to be the right temperature depending on the weather conditions. The weapons, despite being transformed from rocks, had been enchanted to never break or need sharpening.

"Additionally, they're connected to your holster. You just need to press the button for three seconds, and they'll appear in their compartments, ready to use. The pouch, on the other hand, is bottomless. Right now, it's empty, but you can put anything you want in it. To retrieve something, just reach inside and think of the item. Like the clothes and weapons, it's indestructible, and no one can steal it without getting electrocuted."

"And I suppose that even if someone does steal it, they won't be able to take anything out without my blood."

"Exactly."

"Could you make me a copy of all the scrolls you've copied?" Naruto asked. "I might need them someday, and I'd like to have them in my backpack."

She nodded and took out the jewelry box.

"You're going to like this."

"Are these earrings?" Naruto asked, looking at the small silver ball-tipped jewelry.

"Yes. One of them will let you hear from about 20 meters away when activated. You'll need to practice as it's a bit strange. Another one is a poison detector, but keep in mind the limitations: it can only detect poison within a range similar to the diameter of your head, with the origin being the earring, of course."

"I see. So, if I put something poisoned in my mouth or the air is poisoned, it will detect it. But if someone tries to poison me with a wound on my leg, I won't know."

"Correct! When it detects something, you'll feel it turn cold and it will vibrate a bit."

"And the bracelet?"

"It's not a bracelet. It's an anklet. It's enchanted so that no one but you and I can see it. It's a portkey, or it will be. I want to anchor it to the house we buy. We'll need to think of an activation phrase."

Naruto's eyes were wide.

"Now that I think about it, I might use our locket as a portkey too. Yours will take you to me, and vice versa."

"And can it take people with me?" Naruto asked, jumping in his seat.

"As long as they're touching you, yes, so be careful."

Seina put the earrings on Naruto and let him explore his new belongings.

She had also bought clothes for herself, realizing it would be more effective to blend in with dark clothing than with a light blue jacket. She bought several pairs of black pants and leggings, black closed boots, and various dark-colored shirts with sleeves and straps. She also bought several ninja bras in black, gray, and navy blue, and a reversible winter jacket, white on one side and black on the other, with padding inside, as well as reversible hats for cold weather and the same for gloves and a neck gaiter. For warmer climates, she bought a white cotton jacket for the desert and another dark gray, almost black, zippered jacket for everyday use, which also had a couple of external diagonal pockets and an internal pocket, all with zippers.

Of course, chainmail shirts to wear under her clothes were a must, along with sewn runes and dozens of enchantments she had placed on the clothes to make them last a long time and not outgrow her. She was sure that, over time, she would come up with more things to add to them.

"Congratulations, kid," Kurama said when she told him that night. "I was sure you would make it."

"Thanks, Kurama."

"What are you going to do with your apartment now? Are you moving soon?" asked the bijuu, who was aware of all their plans.

"Tomorrow we'll find out our team. We might be out all day, so we've decided to go house hunting the day after tomorrow on the outskirts. We've saved almost 190,000 ryo over this time, so we should be able to buy something," she shrugged. "We don't have to decide whether to renew the lease on this apartment or move out until the end of the month, in two weeks."

"Humans, always in such a rush."

"Hey! It's not my fault. I'm going to sleep. I know when I’m not wanted!"

The next day, Naruto woke her up at 7 in the morning.

"Narutoooo!" she groaned when she saw the time. "What are you doing? There's still 3 hours until the meeting!"

"I couldn't sleep, nee-chan!"

"Ugh..."

She got up and went to shower. When she came out, she saw that Naruto was too excited to even make breakfast, so she sent him to shower while she prepared breakfast and a bento, just in case. They ate breakfast in silence and rested on the couch for a while until it was time to leave.

"Can you believe this day has finally come?" her brother asked, dressed in his new clothes.

"Yes. It was only a matter of time."

Naruto rolled his eyes at her exasperation. "Don't be like that, Seina! Aren't you at least a little curious to know who will be on your team for the next few years?"

"Of course, I am, but we're about to find out. I can control myself. Unlike you."

Naruto smiled but didn't argue. They entered the academy, and she saw that Naruto wasn't the only one excited. Despite being 20 minutes early, most were already present, chatting with their friends and classmates. They sat in their usual seats, and Naruto immediately started talking to Kiba, who was to his left.

"I don't know what we're doing here," yawned Shikamaru, wiping a tear. "I already know I'm going to be with Chouji and Ino."

"They might surprise us," Chouji said, eating some chips.

Ino sighed and agreed with Shikamaru. "I don't think so. The surprise will be knowing who our sensei is."

They waited the remaining time, and then a couple of jounin appeared, accompanying Iruka, who had a scroll in hand. One of them seemed to be sick and kept coughing, while the other was the Hokage's son. Iruka called for their attention to quiet down, and everyone obeyed in record time.

"Welcome, everyone. First, I wanted to congratulate you on passing the exam and becoming true ninjas. As I know you're eager to know your team, I'll start reading your names," he cleared his throat and opened the scroll. "Team 1: Hakuto Nohara, Sakura Haruno, and Mamoru Ikebana. Your jonin sensei is Hayate Gekko."

"WHAT!?" Sakura shouted. Everyone turned to look at her, except for the one she wanted to notice her. "THIS IS NOT POSSIBLE!"

"Sakura! Stop screaming like a little girl!" Iruka reprimanded her. "You are a genin now! Act like it!"

"Team 1. Come with me," the sickly man coughed, and everyone followed him, despite Sakura looking like she was about to cry.

Seina and her friends exchanged amused and exasperated glances. Shikamaru even seemed irritated by Sakura's predictable outburst. They continued listening to the groups being called and saw several more jonin sensei appear. Finally, it was time for Team 7.

"Team 7: Sasuke Uchiha, Seina Uzumaki, and Naruto Uzumaki. Your jonin sensei is Kakashi Hatake."

Naruto and Seina whipped around to look at each other, surprised, but then Naruto began to smile. Meanwhile, Seina thought about how strange it was for them to be together. Normally, family members were not placed on the same team since it was a weakness. If Naruto were in an extreme situation where he had to choose between saving her, his sister, or saving Sasuke, a stranger but necessary for the mission, what would he do? For Seina, the answer was clear. She would save Naruto.

"It’s obvious this has to do with me," Kurama commented, speaking to her mentally. "Maybe they think your sensei can control a possible 'episode' if I misbehave and try to escape… Or perhaps it’s easier to manage one team with two jinchuriki than two separate teams."

"Is that why we’re together?"

"Could be. Who is this Kakashi Hatake?"

"I think I’ve heard something about him. Rumors say he has a sharingan in one of his eyes."

"Then I think I’m right. The sharingan, when used properly, can control a bijuu. The only other person with such potential is the angry brat, Sasuke, and he hasn’t awakened it yet, though, interestingly, he’s also on your team. Makes you think, doesn’t it…?"

Seina realized he was right. She frowned. Were Naruto and she on the same team with two people who had the sharingan in case Kurama acted up? At the same time, their sensei would be able to help Sasuke with his sharingan. Killing two birds with one stone. Very typical of the ninja mentality. Regardless, she thought it didn’t matter. On one hand, she was glad to be able to look after her brother and be on the same team with him.

"Team 10: Shikamaru Nara, Ino Yamanaka, Chouji Akimichi. Your sensei is Asuma Sarutobi."

She snapped back to reality and saw that all her friends, except Naruto and herself, had left with their sensei. She noticed Sasuke was still in the classroom and realized their new teacher hadn’t shown up yet. She looked at the clock and saw it was almost 25 minutes past the scheduled time. Perfect. Kakashi Hatake must be the only ninja in the village who was late.

Chapter 5

Chapter Text

When the classroom emptied, except for the three of them, Iruka looked at them with a mix of pity and amusem*nt.

"He's sure to arrive soon, guys. Don't get discouraged. You can stay here in the meantime."

"What!?" exclaimed Naruto, annoyed. "Do we really have to wait for someone this unpunctual? Who is this Kakashi Hatake?"

"I'll let you find out for yourselves. Ja ne!"

Sasuke stifled a sigh that she heard with her enchanted ears. Naruto sat down in his seat begrudgingly, and she leaned over the table. Gradually, the academy emptied. Only the custodians and a couple of teachers remained, as she could detect with her hearing. Them, and the ninja in the tree. She had heard him land quite some time ago but hadn't paid much attention. Maybe he was one of the ANBU protecting them. Then she had a hunch. What if that stranger was really their new sensei?

"Naruto," she called mentally to her twin and saw him focus his attention on her without moving. "Cover me from the window."

Her brother turned around in his chair, twisting his torso towards her and looking at her with a raised eyebrow. She conjured some glasses and enchanted them with a spell similar to X-rays, allowing her to see through Naruto, the wall, and the tree. She saw him sitting on a high branch, leaning against the trunk, watching them closely. He had silver hair, his ninja headband covering one eye, and a mask covering the lower half of his face, including his nose. He wore the typical jonin uniform with black pants, black sandals, bandages on his ankles, a dark blue long-sleeve shirt, a dark green vest, and black fingerless gloves.

She made the glasses disappear and saw Naruto, who had been in her mind while she looked, frown. It seemed he had also deduced who that man was.

"Is that our jonin sensei?" he asked, and she shrugged before nodding. "What's he doing up there instead of presenting himself to us?"

"Maybe he's observing to see how we communicate with each other? Or perhaps testing our patience. Or both."

"Should we say something to the bastard?"

"I brought a bento for the three of us. Maybe we can offer him some food while we wait. That way, Kakashi-sensei will see that we're willing to interact with him and that we have enough patience not to lose our temper."

"Sounds good to me. You talk to him; he hates you less."

Seina smiled and took out her bento from the enchanted waist bag. Naruto sat properly in his seat, leaving her in view of the stranger, and she looked at Sasuke in the front row.

"Sasuke? I brought a bento for my team. If you want, we can eat together while we wait for Kakashi-sensei."

Sasuke stared at her and then at the bento she had placed on the table. A few minutes passed in silence, but seeing that it didn't seem like the aforementioned would appear, he approached them and sat down without a word. She handed him a new pair of chopsticks, and the three of them started eating. She thanked Merlin that Naruto had bitten his tongue while Sasuke debated whether to eat with them or not.

They had lunch for almost an hour, unhurriedly, until the stranger descended from the tree and headed toward the academy. A few minutes later, just as she had thought, he appeared at the door and called them.

"Team 7. Follow me," he said and disappeared after pointing to the ceiling.

"Is he on the roof?" asked Naruto, and she nodded. Sasuke looked at her and started walking. "What are we waiting for then?"

"Do you sense his chakra?" asked Sasuke, suddenly starting a conversation.

"Not exactly. I could if I wanted to, but I actually have good hearing."

Naruto smiled at her joke and said nothing. Sasuke seemed somewhat incredulous. However, when they found Kakashi-sensei on the roof, he looked at her with a raised eyebrow.

"You're finally here, Team 7. You took your time."

His single gray eye lingered on each of them for a few seconds, and when he looked at her, Seina raised an eyebrow at his audacity. For a moment, Kakashi-sensei's serious expression changed, and she sensed a hint of a smile that he quickly controlled.

"Well, since we're here, why don't we get to know each other a bit. Introduce yourselves and tell me what you like, what you hate, and your future desires."

"Why don't you start?" asked Sasuke, sending him an irritated look.

"Alright. My name is Kakashi Hatake. Things I like and things I hate… I don't feel like telling you that. My dreams for the future… I've never thought about it."

Seina couldn't suppress a laugh of disbelief, realizing he hadn't told them anything except his name, which they already knew. Naruto, with a tic in his eye, seemed more irritated than Sasuke and her, if possible.

"WHAT THE HELL!? YOU DIDN'T TELL US ANYTHING!" he shouted. Seina felt her shoulders shake with laughter.

"You, the emo, you're up," he said as if he hadn't heard him. She had to stifle another chuckle. "We don't have all day."

"My name is Sasuke Uchiha. What I have is not a dream because I will make it a reality. I'm going to kill a certain person and restore my clan."

A silence ensued where everyone looked at Sasuke, who stared into the distance, and Seina couldn't help but roll her eyes at her teammate's response. She turned to look at their new sensei, shaking her head slowly with some incredulity, and Kakashi-sensei seemed to ignore Sasuke and looked at her.

"My name is Seina Uzumaki. I like many things. I hate prejudiced and intolerant people. As for dreams… Hmm… Having a Pokémon in real life."

Sasuke glanced at her, confused at the mention of a Pokémon, and Kakashi seemed to smile behind his mask with a raised eyebrow.

"And finally, the other blonde."

"My name is Naruto Uzumaki. I like my sister, ramen, and learning new techniques. I hate the time it takes to prepare food and stupid people. My dream is to become Hokage so that people have to take back their words."

Seina patted him on the shoulder. Kakashi-sensei looked at the three of them again and sighed.

"Alright. Tomorrow you'll have a test to see if you're capable of being genin. If you fail, you'll go back to the academy. If you pass, you'll become my genin."

Seina squeezed Naruto's arm when she knew he was about to complain, an act that didn't go unnoticed by their sensei's eye. Kakashi-sensei stood up and leaned over them menacingly.

"I'll see you tomorrow at 5 in the morning, at training ground 33. I wouldn't eat breakfast if I were you, or you'll vomit it."

He disappeared in a swirl of leaves, and they stood there for a few seconds. She knew he had left, although he could have been too far away for her spells to hear him.

"Is anyone going to listen to him?" Seina asked. "I plan on eating. It's better to vomit than to starve. Besides, don't they say in the academy that we should always eat?"

"Do you think he's testing us?" Sasuke asked, understanding her words.

"I think so. Look. So far, he's been testing the basics they teach us in the academy: being patient before entering combat, knowing how to keep secrets and confidential information, the act of eating... Even, depending on how you look at it, he's testing if we're capable of disobeying an order from a superior."

"So, shouldn't we listen to him?"

"Naruto, we're ninja, but we still have free will. If someone told you to jump off a bridge for no apparent reason and no need, would you do it?" Seina rolled her eyes. "Kakashi-sensei doesn't seem like an ordinary person. I have a feeling he wants us to think with our heads instead of blindly following his orders like sheep."

"Fair enough," Sasuke agreed. "I think you're right. See you tomorrow at the training ground."

"Until tomorrow, Sasuke."

Seina and Naruto, realizing they had more time than expected, ate at the ramen stand and then went to visit the real estate agency in the suburban neighborhood.

"Use henge to change your appearance. We don't want to get ripped off. These people don't care who we are as long as we're ninja and have the money, but it's better not to risk it."

"Alright."

They entered one of the real estate agencies and looked at the information sheets with photographs of each house. An agent approached them from behind, and they turned to look at him.

"Welcome to Maki Properties! How can I help you?"

"We're looking for an independent property with a garden. Our maximum price is 190,000 ryo."

"You've come to the right place. We have several properties that might interest you. Please, have a seat."

Seina and her brother sat down, and they saw him pull out several sheets whose prices were below their budget. She saw a few that needed several repairs for much less money than their budget, and there was also a house with a lot of land that only had one floor.

"What do you think of these?" the agent asked. "If you tell me your requirements, we can start ruling some out."

"To start with, we'd like any renovations to be purely cosmetic," she said, seeing that Naruto had no idea what to say. "At least one kitchen, one bathroom, 2 bedrooms, a living-dining room, and the garden. Oh, and they shouldn't be made of wood."

"I think we have a couple of those. They're below your budget, but they're not furnished. That's the downside."

He showed them a couple of houses. Both had 2 floors and a spacious garden. One had a white facade with mahogany brown window frames matching the door. She looked at the pictures inside the house, and, as expected, she realized that the layout was practically the same as their apartment, but it had a medium-sized entrance with a closet and shoe rack, and the kitchen was separated from the living-dining room by a one-meter wall, if she wasn't mistaken with the measurements. The kitchen was large, enough to have a modest-sized island, and was loaded with cabinets. The ground floor had a small, complete bathroom, and upstairs there was another larger, complete bathroom and 3 bedrooms. The garden was in pretty bad condition but was decent in size.

The other house also had 2 floors, although it looked older due to its dark appearance. The house's layout was practically identical, but, as it was smaller, instead of having 3 bedrooms, there were 2, one larger with its own private bathroom. The garden was larger than the other house, though in equally bad condition.

The cost was 180,000 ryo for the first and 165,000 for the second. She also noticed that the houses seemed to be in opposite directions in the village. While the first seemed to be located on a hill west of Konoha's main entrance, the second house was near the river and seemed to be behind another hill.

"What do you think?"

"I like the first one better," Naruto agreed, and she nodded. "We can easily furnish it with your skills, and we could move in without having to repair anything, except clean it and fix the garden."

"Also, I don't know if you noticed its location on the map, but the second house is in a shaded area. Maybe that's why the price is much cheaper despite being closer to the center,” she said to her brother. And then, to the other man, “Could we go see the first house? The white one."

The agent, a friendly-looking young man with brown hair and eyes, nodded. "It's relatively close. We can get there in a 10-minute walk."

That same afternoon, they visited their first house. To their surprise, they both loved it. It was quite far from the center, but with their skills, they could quickly get to anywhere. Besides, it didn't need any repairs, as Naruto had said, and it was in a neighborhood where the neighboring houses were quite far apart, surrounded by a clearing and a bit further, they had the forest. Moreover, the sun seemed to shine on it at all times because there were no neighboring buildings casting shadows.

When they finished the tour, Naruto was practically bouncing with excitement. "What do you think? I love it! Look at all the sunshine and the land! We can see part of the village from up here!"

Seina nodded and turned to the agent, Makoto. "When could we sign the papers?"

"So, you liked it?" Makoto smiled. "Great! We can sign them this afternoon if you have the money in cash or a check. We close in 2 hours so you can sort out the paperwork if necessary. We just need to check that your ninja license is valid and the money."

Seina nodded, not mentioning that she had the money with her. They went back to the real estate agency, and Makoto sat in his corner, as before.

"Should I assume you have the money in cash?"

"Is that very common?" Naruto asked when he saw that Makoto didn't seem surprised.

Makoto shrugged, smiling. "Ninjas often don't trust anyone. We're used to receiving cash payments. If you hand me your ninja licenses, I'll start the paperwork."

Seina and Naruto handed over their civilian licenses. They were different from ninja licenses. They only had the ninja registration code and their names. Since civilians didn't usually interact with ninja, even if they might know their names, they never associated it with a ninja's appearance. Moreover, all ninja paperwork was never filed in civilian offices but was transferred to ninja offices to protect the shinobi's identity as well as their home addresses, among other things. That way, the village's shinobi could interact with civilians without compromising their security.

While Makoto finished filling out the paperwork, she took out the money and counted the necessary bundles.

"All right. Here you go. Sign with your name and your fingerprint."

Seina read all the data and saw that everything was correct. She even used her powers but found nothing suspicious. She signed with her name and fingerprint, and then Naruto did the same. Meanwhile, Makoto was counting the money with a special machine. The transaction lasted barely half an hour.

"Here's the key to your new house. The documentation will be archived this afternoon, as usual. I'll give you a copy of the contract and all the documents you'll need to keep."

She put it in her fanny pack, along with the key, and got up followed by her brother.

"A pleasure doing business with you! Enjoy your new home!"

They left without further ado. She could hardly believe it. While it was true that transactions in ninja villages were very quick, she was used to the bureaucracy of her old world. She never would have imagined that they would walk out with a house on the first and only day of visiting a real estate agency. She had thought that they would probably need a couple or more days to decide and buy.

"Yatta! We have our own house, nee-chan!" Naruto exclaimed when they were far from the agency. "Let's go see it!"

She nodded. "I want to put up some protections so no one can break in while we sort out the apartment issue."

When they arrived at their apartment that night, they were exhausted. Not only had they protected the new house, but they had also checked that their documentation had been delivered to the appropriate office, as Makoto promised.

"Our rent ends in 2 weeks," she reminded her brother. "We'll have to take advantage of it to move and furnish it before the end of the month."

"We can use clones to clean the house and fix it. We'll surely get it done in less than a day," Naruto said, eating the rice and meat. "Plus, before furnishing it, we could expand it."

"Not just that. The ground floor is practically how we wanted it, except for a pantry-storage room. However, the second floor has 3 bedrooms and a bathroom... We can easily change the bathroom door inside one of the rooms, and the remaining room can be one of the studies. The hardest part will be building a bathroom in one of the rooms."

"And how will we make the third floor?"

"That's easy. I just have to expand the space vertically and add the floor, creating a completely new floor above. What's missing is building a suitable staircase."

"Do you think you can do it in 2 weeks?"

"Yes. Now that I think about it -, the second floor is exactly how we want the third floor to be in our draft… Maybe we could leave it as it is and make the second floor new starting from the first floor."

"Well, I'll leave it up to you," Naruto chuckled, somewhat confused. "Will you need more stones for the furniture?"

"For now, I think we have enough. We've accumulated enough to make 2 new floors. Maybe even have some left over," she sighed. "We should prepare the bento and breakfast for tomorrow. We have to wake up very early."

Naruto groaned at the reminder and then helped her prepare the food. Later, they showered and went to bed.

When she woke up, she could swear she had only closed her eyes 5 minutes ago. She even woke up earlier than Naruto, who was exhausted from the previous day, and heated up breakfast before waking her brother up. Unfortunately, the area they had agreed to meet was quite far away so they had to run to get there in half an hour.

"At least this way we warm up before we arrive," she said, but Naruto was more asleep than awake.

When they arrived, they found Sasuke leaning against a tree. As expected, the teacher was not there. He didn't even hear anything strange with his enchanted ears.

"Good morning, Sasuke."

"Uzumaki," he nodded curtly.

"You can call me Seina if you want."

"And I'm Naruto."

"I'll call you dobe, if you don't mind," he said, almost jokingly, in a dry and cold tone. Seina couldn't help but laugh at her brother's face.

"…Teme!" Naruto sighed deeply but said nothing more. "Couldn't you use some spell to know if he's here or not?"

"He's not here," she replied, after using one of her spells to detect presences.

Naruto groaned in frustration and threw himself to the ground. Fortunately, it was warm despite being so early, so they both closed their eyes and relaxed. She felt Sasuke's penetrating gaze on her face before he looked away. They spent the time and she almost fell asleep from how quiet the forest was. 8 o'clock came and Kakashi-sensei didn't show up. An hour later, Naruto, Sasuke, and Seina were eating when she heard the sound of shoes hitting a branch.

"He's here," she told her brother, but Naruto pretended not to hear her.

They packed up their things and sat in the shade to escape the sun. Only when it was 10 o'clock did Kakashi-sensei show up reading an orange book that Seina knew was p*rn.

"You're late!" Naruto scolded with a shout that must have been heard all the way to the Hokage Tower.

Sasuke sent a murderous glance at his new teacher while Seina raised an eyebrow, suppressing a laugh at his bullsh*t excuses. A black cat? Kakashi Hatake was a troll from head to toe. She was starting to like him.

"Well, let's start the exercise. You have a couple of hours, until noon, to take one of these bells from me," he explained, showing them some small bells he had tied to his pants' waist. "Whoever is left without a bell will not only be tied to one of those posts, but I will also eat in front of them, and furthermore, they will be returned to the academy. Any questions? No? Then you can start."

Seina and Sasuke hid while Naruto challenged Kakashi-sensei to a hand-to-hand combat. She watched as he dodged all the attacks with incredible speed, still reading his p*rn book as if nothing, and how he sent her brother flying into the river. She used that distraction to approach Sasuke, whom she could hear perfectly.

"Sasuke," Seina whispered and gestured for him to come closer. "This is a trap. There are only 2 bells and there are 3 of us."

"It's clear that your brother will go back to the academy," he assured, not realizing what she was trying to tell him.

"Don't be dumb," she rolled her eyes at his stupefaction. "How many genin teams do you know that only have 2 genin and their jonin sensei?"

"…None," Sasuke thought aloud.

"And what's Konoha's motto? Something we've been told a thousand times in the academy."

"…The Will of Fire?"

"What? No," she avoided laughing at his hesitant response. "Teamwork. Kakashi-sensei is still testing us. We have to take those 2 bells from him by working as a team, otherwise it's impossible for us to get one individually. Not even 50 freshly graduated genin would be able to take down an elite ninja."

"I must admit it makes sense, but how are we going to explain it to the dobe... He's out there fighting against Kakashi-sensei."

"He's gathering information," Seina smiled. "Don't worry, he already knows what we're planning."

"Alright."

"Naruto, retreat. We need to come up with a plan with Sasuke. Leave a few clones to distract him in the meantime," she mentally sent to her twin and then looked at Sasuke. "Let's go, let's find a safe place to talk the 3 of us."

"He won't let go of that damn book," Naruto grumbled quietly when the 3 of them were together. "He told me he won't release it until he finds out what happens at the end of the chapter! He wasn't even paying attention to me! Ugh! If I knew what it's about, I could ruin the plot for him. Let's see who would laugh then!"

"Mmm… How much time do we have?" she thought aloud, having a brilliant and wicked idea.

"Just over an hour," Sasuke reported.

"I have an idea. It might not work, but we can try," she smiled mischievously imagining her sensei's face. "Naruto, send one of your clones to buy the book Kakashi-sensei is reading. If he cares so much about the content, he won't want us to tell him what happens in the final chapter. He'll have to cover his ears and, if he's able to read lips, close his eyes."

Sasuke and Naruto smiled widely, maliciously, as they listened.

"I see. That way he won't hear or see us as we advance towards him."

"Still, it's risky. What if we run out of time?" asked Sasuke.

"That's easy," Naruto said to them. "All we have to do is set the clock back a couple of hours. If we keep him distracted, he won't even realize what time it is until the alarm goes off."

Sasuke looked at Naruto as if he didn't recognize him. Convinced, Sasuke accepted the plan and decided to attack Kakashi so he wouldn't suspect anything. Naruto transformed one of his clones into an adult to go buy the book with the money Seina handed him, then joined Sasuke to distract the teacher. Seina took advantage of becoming invisible and changed the time on the clock. Then, while her brother and Sasuke kept Kakashi-sensei entertained, she set about laying traps around the training ground just in case they needed a Plan B.

"Hmm... I wonder where Seina is," Kakashi muttered aloud, ignoring his brother and Sasuke.

Just when he was about to be discovered, he heard the clone's footsteps and hurried to meet him at the tree line before the jonin noticed his presence.

"I got it, Naruto!"

"Retreat, teme!"

Naruto and Sasuke disappeared to their meeting point, and then she appeared with the orange book in hand. She read the last page of the book as quickly as possible to get an idea of what was going on and nodded. She put the book in her fanny pack and smiled. They jumped out of their hiding spot and surrounded their teacher.

"Ah... finally you decide to attack as a team," Kakashi nodded with a bored expression. "It's about time."

"Attack?" she asked innocently, causing Kakashi-sensei to squint at her and straighten up. "Why would we waste time when you're much better than us?"

"And how are you supposed to take the bells from me if you don't attack?" Kakashi-sensei asked, smiling with his one eye, using the same annoying tone she had used.

"By being smarter than you. What do you think of this?" she reached into her fanny pack and pulled out the orange book Kakashi-sensei was reading. "It's a newly published book. I don't think you've reached the end, have you?"

"Maa, maa... W-wait a moment, Seina," Kakashi-sensei tried to calm her, paling. "Those books aren't for little kids. Why don't you give it to me?"

"Why not? The clerk told me that Icha Icha Paradise is a story about Koyuki and her stepbrother! And Koharu knows how to use fire, see! Here it says he’s very hot," she shook the book, open at the end, playing dumb. "Do you want me to summarize it for you?"

"One moment! W-w-wait!" Kakashi said, his face as red as a tomato, covering his ears. Seina smiled, holding back her laughter, unable to believe how nervous the jonin was.

"KOYUKI CLUTCHED THE TREASURE TIGHTLY TO HER VOLUPTUOUS CHEST AND KOHARU GAZED AT HER, THINKING OF THE PASSIONATE NIGHTS THEY HAD SPENT TOGETHER AND-

"No! No, no, no... Crap!" he shouted and closed his eye while humming loudly so he wouldn't hear her.

"...-AND HOW MANY TIMES HE HAD TOUCHED THOSE BREASTS! EVEN SO, THE HARP'S TREASURE WAS ENOUGH TO SEPARATE THEM!"

Sasuke and Naruto looked blankly at their jonin sensei and took the bells from him without him even trying to defend himself. She closed the book with a loud thud, put it in her fanny pack, and waited with a maniacal smile for Kakashi-sensei to open his eyes. Five minutes passed before he realized she wasn't talking. As soon as he saw that she had put the book away, he sat up and saw that he had lost the bells.

"It's not possible," he muttered, indignant and incredulous.

"It's totally possible!" Naruto shouted with a grin from ear to ear. "You should've seen your face!"

Kakashi-sensei sat in the grass in front of them and breathed deeply. He looked at the clock with a confused expression and saw that it was 11 o'clock again.

"It's still 11? Impossible. You've changed the time!"

"While Naruto and Sasuke distracted you," she said, taking out her half-eaten bento to the astonished gaze of the jonin.

"Did you really read the ending?" he asked, somewhat fearful.

"Ah... who knows," she smiled the same smile he had given them when he excused his lateness.

Kakashi-sensei chuckled in surprise and took the bento he had brought to share with them, even though they were already eating.

"You've beaten me. Using dirty tactics, too."

"Since when does a ninja win a fight cleanly?" Naruto asked. Kakashi-sensei looked at him and ignored him.

"My head hurts from being with you guys, but... you worked as a team. Despite the unorthodox plan, you got the bells. You passed!"

A little while later, the whole team was walking towards the village. As usual, Naruto and Sasuke were arguing about something while Seina walked beside Kakashi-sensei, who, for the first time, wasn't holding the adult book in his hand.

"Did you really buy the book and did the shopkeeper tell you all that?" the ninja asked discreetly.

Seina chuckled when she saw that he seemed worried. "Of course not! I sent a clone of Naruto under a transformation. The shopkeeper probably didn't even realize who he was selling the book to."

Kakashi-sensei looked at her, surprised, and sighed. "I should have guessed. Wait a moment! That means you tricked me! You made up the stuff about Koharu and the Koyuki story!"

Seina suppressed her laughter when she saw the jonin's expression. Did Kakashi-sensei really think he was the only troll on the team? Oh, poor man!

"What did you do with the book?" he finally asked.

"I kept it. I'll read it when I have time."

"What!?" Kakashi-sensei shouted. Naruto and Sasuke turned to look at them. "That kind of book isn't for someone so... young!"

"Kakashi-sensei," she rolled her eyes, "I'm a teenager, not a cloistered nun. Besides, from what I glanced at, the plot is pretty lame, but the p*rn isn't bad."

Her sensei turned as red as a tomato upon hearing her. He remained silent for the rest of the way. Seina wondered for a moment if she had caused him a cerebral aneurysm with her words. Just as they were about to say goodbye, she turned to look at him.

"By the way, when is your birthday?"

"Why do you want to know?" the jonin asked curiously.

She shrugged. "Teams are practically family, aren't they? It makes me happy to give gifts to my family whenever I can."

"September 15th," Kakashi-sensei said without hesitation, and she smiled.

"See you tomorrow, Kakashi-sensei!" Naruto said goodbye.

"Until tomorrow," Seina smiled in his direction and turned around to continue walking beside Naruto and Sasuke.

She felt her teacher's gaze on her head and wondered what he was thinking.

Chapter 6

Chapter Text

In the following days, after Kakashi-sensei accepted them as his first genin team in history, marked the beginning of their ninja career. D-rank missions.

"Well, team. Let's go on our first mission!" Kakashi-sensei said on the first day with a smile. "It's sure to be exciting!"

"Sure..." Naruto muttered, knowing well what kind of missions awaited them for quite some time.

"Team 7 reporting for our first mission," the jonin informed the Hokage and the chunin accompanying him.

"Oh? Are you sure you're ready for your first mission?" the Hokage asked jokingly, clearly pleased to see them. "Say no more. Daikoku."

The chunin nodded and began to flip through his records. He pulled out a sheet and handed it to Kakashi-sensei.

"Here you go. A D-rank mission to clean up the river of garbage. The pay is 50,000 ryo per person."

Naruto groaned upon hearing it, but said nothing. Kakashi-sensei accepted the mission, and they left the Hokage's tower.

"When are we going to start training with you?" Seina asked, knowing that D-rank missions wouldn't help them improve in anything except coordinating as a team.

Kakashi-sensei glanced at her. "Maa... We could go to the training field later if you want."

They nodded, relieved to hear it.

"I assume they've taught you how to write a report in the academy, right?" They nodded again. "Great. From now on, you three will write the reports for all the missions."

Seina sighed. She should have seen that coming. Still, it wasn't a big deal to write a report for a D-rank mission, and as long as they did one per team, it would be more than enough for the time being. She looked at the village somewhat lazily and walked with her team to the area nearest to the river's source.

"All right. We're here. We'll clean up following the direction of the water. You can organize yourselves however you want, but before moving on to the next stretch of the river, it must be clean, understood?"

"What you mean is that we'll clean and you'll sit there reading your p*rn book, right?" she asked, exasperated.

"Seina!" Kakashi-sensei blushed, unable to suppress a groan of embarrassment. "We don't talk about those things."

"But you're the one reading an erotic novel in public!" her brother defended her, while also criticizing Kakashi-sensei's bad habits.

"See you later! Do your best!" Kakashi-sensei completely ignored them.

They groaned in frustration at seeing him disappear. Seina heard how he actually sat on a branch of the nearest tree instead of leaving them alone. She was pleasantly surprised to realize that, for an elite jonin, he was embarrassed to be talked about his erotic novels.

"How do we do this?" Sasuke sighed, looking distrustfully at the river.

"I propose a deal," she said. "Naruto and I will use shadow clones to clean the river from top to bottom. With a dozen each, we'll finish it in no time. In exchange, you'll do all the reports for the next 10 missions."

"Make it the next 5 missions," Sasuke bargained without thinking.

"8 missions."

"6 missions."

"7 missions."

"Deal," Sasuke accepted, and Naruto nodded.

"Kage Bunshin no Jutsu!"

From a white cloud, about thirty clones, hers and Naruto's, appeared and began cleaning as they had ordered. Seina, Sasuke, and Naruto lay on the grass, but only 15 minutes later that stretch of the river was cleaned, and they had to get up. They checked the river before walking downstream, watching as the clones cleaned up as they moved along. In the end, the mission consisted of slowly walking along the riverbank while their clones cleaned it up and took the bags to the disposal point. In less than 3 hours, they were done.

As soon as she regained the memories of her clones, she shuddered, remembering the amount of garbage in some areas of the river, especially in the most isolated ones where people felt bolder to throw trash without being seen. Sasuke wrote the report as agreed, sitting on the ramen shelf, and handed it to Kakashi-sensei.

"Are you finished already?" Daikoku asked, checking the time. "I'm impressed."

"Affirmative. Here's the report," Kakashi-sensei handed over the scroll.

The chunin reviewed it and accepted it as correct. He signed a check with their pay for each one, and they left without further ado.

"How does your first mission feel?"

Naruto complained, "Wet," remembering the hours he had spent submerged in the water, just like her.

She saw Kakashi-sensei's lips curl into a smile, sighing. She couldn't believe that their first mission had turned out to be one of the highest-paying ones and possibly the worst of all. Well, at least they had recovered a good portion of their savings.

"As it's still 4 in the afternoon, we can train for a couple of hours. My idea is to alternate a day of mission with a day of training. So, on average, you'll do about 15 missions per month, at a minimum."

"And what are you going to teach us?" Sasuke asked.

"I think we'll start by assessing your individual levels. As I imagine you've noticed, Team 7 is intended to be a combat team. Other teams, like Team 8, for example, will specialize in tracking."

"And Shikamaru's team and the others?" Naruto asked.

"Capture and interrogation?" she asked, thinking about her friends' abilities.

"That's right."

When they reached their predetermined training field, number 33, they sat on the grass to continue talking about the team's expectations.

"As I was saying. This team is a combat team. That means good taijutsu, good ninjutsu, good genjutsu. Improving your taijutsu will be the easiest. From what I know about you, all three of you are pretty good in that aspect. I'll teach you different fighting styles that you don't see in school and improve your physical qualities," Kakashi-sensei assured them. "As for ninjutsu... I'd like you to tell me what jutsus you know to date. Tomorrow I'll bring a special paper that will allow me to know your main chakra natures, if you have more than one, and I'll look for ninjutsu for you to practice. As for genjutsu, I'll measure your resistance, and then we'll talk."

"Really?" Naruto smiled excitedly, and Kakashi-sensei nodded. "Okay. Well... what jutsus do I know? The ones from the academy, obviously, the Shadow Clone, and the Kanashibari. I'm also about to learn the Body Flicker."

Kakashi-sensei and Sasuke looked at Naruto with surprise. The jonin quickly recovered, but Sasuke seemed to be wondering how Naruto had learned all that if he sometimes acted like a clown in class. Kakashi-sensei looked at her with a nod.

"I've managed to use the Body Flicker, unlike Naruto. Besides the techniques Naruto mentioned, I also know a couple of genjutsu, like Demonic Illusion: False Surroundings and Demonic Illusion: Hell Viewing."

"Sasuke?"

"I can use the academy jutsus and fire jutsus."

"Great. Out of curiosity, do any of you know how to walk on walls using chakra on your feet?"

Naruto and she nodded, to Sasuke's amazement. Kakashi-sensei didn't seem surprised after all he had heard.

"And walk on water?"

"We haven't reached that yet."

"All right. Now I'll put you under a genjutsu. I'll time how long it takes for you to dispel it."

Seina waited and waited, and waited, but nothing happened. She felt the presence of alien chakra clashing against her mental barriers, and, avoiding showing surprise, she realized that she wasn't trapped in an illusion because Kakashi-sensei's chakra couldn't penetrate her mind. She glanced at her brother out of the corner of her eye, and he seemed to have quickly shaken off the genjutsu, just like Sasuke.

"What was that?" Naruto asked mentally. "I fell into his genjutsu, but I knew I was in an illusion from the beginning."

"Mental barriers prevent chakra from reaching the brain. He couldn't put me under the genjutsu because of that," she replied mentally. "You don't have active magic to repel his attack, but your barriers allow you to perceive it."

"Curious," Kakashi-sensei interrupted their conversation, alternating glances between Naruto and her. "Naruto, you broke out of the genjutsu almost instantly, just like Sasuke. And Seina... I was unable to put you under my genjutsu. I expected it from Sasuke, being an Uchiha, but how did you two manage it?"

Naruto and she exchanged glances.

"What do we tell him?" her brother asked, somewhat nervously.

"Nothing," she said. "I don't know. I knew Naruto has some immunity since I practiced illusions with him, but since Naruto doesn't know how to use genjutsu against me yet, I had no idea that I..."

"What, that you seem to be immune to genjutsu?" Kakashi-sensei finished her sentence. "Do you mind if I use a more powerful genjutsu, Seina?"

She nodded. She wasn't the only one curious about what she had just discovered. She watched as Kakashi-sensei attempted to put her under his genjutsu once again. This time, she felt a greater pressure against her barriers, but it wasn't enough to penetrate her mind or to require active defense. Kakashi-sensei ceased his attempt and then tried with another even more powerful genjutsu. The same thing happened. As the complexity and power of the genjutsu increased, she felt more pressure against her mental barriers, but the chakra couldn't breach her magical protections.

In fact, now that she thought about it, it made a lot of sense. From what she knew about genjutsu, the enemy's chakra tried to attack the central nervous system, which happened to be in the brain, where her mind was located and where she had built her mental barriers. Therefore, her brain was overflowing with magic, just like, to a lesser extent, her body. If the foreign chakra couldn't reach her brain, there was no illusion. She hadn't realized this until now.

"You're immune," confirmed Kakashi-sensei. "I used A and S-rank genjutsu, and you didn't even blink."

"I could feel you trying to get into my head," she informed him, and Kakashi-sensei frowned.

"So, besides being immune, you can perceive the genjutsu. That will be very useful for you and your comrades," the jonin smiled, then turned to Naruto. "And you? How did you do it?"

"I think I have some of the protection against genjutsu that Seina has. I could feel your chakra in my head, but it wasn't enough to prevent me from falling into the illusion," Naruto replied.

"I see. Sensing that strange chakra in your brain was enough for you to realize that you were in a genjutsu and to break out of it quickly," the jonin nodded. "All right. Sasuke and you will train to improve your response time against genjutsu. When you least expect it, I'll put you under genjutsu, and you'll have to get out of it."

To conclude, he ordered them to use their weapons to hit several targets and made them fight only with taijutsu against him. When they finished, Seina was looking forward to taking a bath in the tiny tub in their apartment, which they would soon say goodbye to.

"When will you put the house under the Fidelius Charm?" Naruto asked as they had dinner in their pajamas.

"Tomorrow after training. Officially, the house is ours, so we can do whatever we want with it."

"There's nothing left here anyway," Naruto muttered as he looked at the few things they had in the apartment. "We could move in tomorrow."

"If that's what you want," she agreed. There was no harm in leaving 10 days earlier than their lease ended. "Usually, we'd just have to talk to the landlord, but considering how we got the apartment, it's better to go straight to the Hokage. After that, I'll put the house under the Fidelius Charm."

Since all the furniture in the apartment belonged to the landlord, all they had to move were clothes, some kitchen utensils they had bought, the chest of materials for building, and the chest with their savings and copied scrolls. Everything had fit into her hip bag, so the apartment was just as they had found it when they moved in over 5 years ago.

"As soon as we leave here, remind me to remove all the protections."

"We could leave a gift for the old man," Naruto grinned mischievously. "How about a charm to attract bugs to this apartment?"

"Nah," she said. "The apartment isn't to blame, and neither are the next tenants, but I have an idea."

The next day, they headed back to the training field. They spent the morning training taijutsu, and then Kakashi-sensei gave them some special papers to determine their chakra nature.

"Lightning," said Sasuke, looking at his paper as if it had betrayed him.

"Wind," Naruto smiled, recalling what they had read about his father.

"And water," she finished, seeing her paper was damp.

"Interesting," their teacher muttered aloud. "Although wind and lightning don't usually combine, both elements can be combined with water. For example, if you combine water and lightning, not only will the lightning have greater range, but the water will become paralyzing depending on the power of the lightning. Something similar happens with wind and water; when combined, it's possible to create a typhoon."

"Awesome!" Naruto exclaimed, and then they exchanged glances among the three of them.

That same afternoon, after spending the whole day at the training ground, Seina and Naruto went to speak with the Hokage. Fortunately, they were able to see him without having to make an appointment.

"Ah, Seina, Naruto. How's it going with your new team?"

"Great! Kakashi-sensei is going to teach us new jutsu and how to walk on water."

"I thought, given his reputation, it would be harder to convince him to teach us, but in the end, it wasn't so bad," she said, knowing well what some people thought of Kakashi-sensei.

"I'm glad. Kakashi is a great ninja. You'll learn a lot from him."

"Yes, sir!"

"So, how can I help you?"

"We want to end the lease for our apartment," she informed him. She saw that the Hokage didn't seem surprised at all.

"I already suspected as much. I saw that you bought a house on the outskirts. Not bad at all. It must have been tough saving up all that money," the Hokage smiled with a hint of pride. "Will you wait for the lease to end or do you want to hand over the key now?"

"We just have to pick up a few more things, but we can leave the apartment tomorrow."

"All right. I'll notify your landlord of the change. You just have to leave the key in his office, and that's it."

"Thank you so much, jiji!" Naruto said, and Seina stifled a laugh at the nickname.

"Goodbye, jiji," she said with a mischievous smile as she saw the Hokage's exasperated expression when the door closed.

As soon as the door closed, she heard silence and knew there was some kind of fuinjutsu barrier. She knew, since it wasn't the first barrier she had encountered while eavesdropping, that if she wanted, she could pierce the protections with her magic without them noticing. However, she preferred not to do so with the Hokage.

"Why did you tell him we have something to pick up?" Naruto asked as they walked through the village to the apartment.

"Don't you remember our little plan?" she reminded him mentally. "When I'm done with him, our dear landlord won't have a decent shower ever again. Every time he wants water at a temperature, it'll come out at the opposite temperature. The funny thing is, the idiot will think it's the heater and not the shower itself."

Naruto burst into laughter. Some people looked at him with a smile, something unusual, and others with indifference. That night, while everyone slept, she entered the landlord's apartment on the first floor. It was so unprotected that anyone could have killed him.

"Civilians..." she thought as she saw him sleeping and snoring loudly.

She enchanted the shower as she had promised Naruto and then, upon second thought, charmed the apartment to get dirtier than usual. Additionally, she cursed the landlord to be bald for life.

"Did you do it?" Naruto asked, who was waiting for her in bed.

She nodded. She explained what she had added, and Naruto had to bite his fist to keep from howling with laughter. They went to sleep with a smile on their faces.

The week passed quickly with the novelty of doing missions, training with a jonin, and moving to their own house.

"You seem more tired than usual," Kakashi-sensei said to Naruto and her.

"We're moving," Naruto replied, "and doing renovations in the new house."

Kakashi-sensei raised an eyebrow but didn't ask further.

"Well, maybe it will cheer you up to know that today we have a very special mission," the jonin smiled, and they all groaned upon hearing him. Kakashi-sensei seemed to suppress a laugh. "It's a tradition in the village."

The special mission turned out to be capturing a hysterical noble's pet. Honestly, Seina wasn't surprised that the cat had fled with its tail between its legs. Fortunately, it was an easy task to accomplish, and they would be paid 20,000 ryo for it.

"So, how do we do it?" Naruto said, and they watched as Kakashi-sensei took out his p*rn book and proceeded to pretend he was ignoring them.

"Leave it to me."

She used a modified locating spell, which only worked when you knew what or who you were looking for, and saw a golden thread appear before her eyes. She began to walk, and Sasuke and Naruto followed her, confused but willing to go along with it. It took only 10 minutes to find Tora perched on a tree.

"There it is," she said, pointing at it. "Any plan?"

Sasuke and Naruto exchanged glances.

"We can surround it with your clones and use some food to lure it wherever we want."

"Can genjutsu be used on animals?" she suddenly asked.

Sasuke and Naruto stared at her. She glanced at Kakashi-sensei, but he was leaning against a wall, reading his book without even looking at her. She knew he was doing it on purpose.

"Why do you ask?" Sasuke inquired.

"We could use genjutsu to make it believe there's food and then just grab it," she shrugged. "That way, it won't know we're about to capture it."

"Give it a try," Naruto nodded, and she performed the necessary hand seals.

She focused on the cat, making it believe that the most delicious food in the world was at the base of the tree and that there was no one else around. They watched as Tora stood still, staring at nothing, and Sasuke elbowed Naruto.

"Grab it, dobe."

"You grab it, teme."

"Do you want to catch the cat already!" she cut in, exasperated.

In the end, Naruto caught it. She kept the cat under the illusion until they reached the meeting point, at the Hokage Tower. Kakashi-sensei, who hadn't spoken a word until then, gave them a contemplative look. Seina deactivated the genjutsu. She watched as Tora seemed confused, docile in her brother's arms, until he realized he wasn't in his tree. He tried to flee, hissing and yowling, but to no avail. As soon as she heard him, his owner came running like lightning.

"My dear Tora-chan! Where have you been!? Why did you run away, darling!?"

"Good job, team," Kakashi-sensei whispered as they received thanks from the client, and she left with the cat in her arms.

"Are you already here?" another chunin asked, checking the time. "And you don't even look injured! Not bad!"

Seina questioned the effectiveness of the other teams if they couldn't capture a domestic animal in less than an hour. She wondered if she was really making things too easy for her team, but why wouldn't she use her powers if they were useful and she could use them without anyone noticing? She knew that sooner or later, someone would realize that, in addition to chakra, she had some kind of kekkei genkai like Sasuke. It was very likely that some mission would go wrong, perhaps putting their lives in danger. In that case, would she choose to keep her secret at the cost of a life? She knew it was impossible.

The only thing she could do, as Kurama had advised her, was to keep the secret of her reincarnation, as well as the fact that she still had magic, and gradually release bits of information. She could pass off the runes as a type of fuinjutsu invented by her, as well as the potions and ointments. After all, ninjas were constantly inventing new techniques and medicines. The problem was some of her spells, curses, and incantations. It was clear that she should choose very carefully which abilities to keep secret, and which ones not to.

Furthermore, for someone as experienced as Kakashi-sensei, noticing some inconsistencies was normal. It was clear that if he hadn't already, he would soon realize that her fanny packs and pockets were not normal. How her clothes seemed indestructible, how her weapons reappeared in her hands when she hasn’t gone to pick them up, how she seemed to have a supernatural hearing, how they spoke to each other mentally...

"That was a good idea, using genjutsu on Tora," Kakashi-sensei praised them. "No team before has thought of that, as far as I know."

"Why not?" Naruto asked. "It was really the most effective option."

"Few genin think rationally with their heads on their first missions," Kakashi-sensei smiled, "and even fewer have enough knowledge of genjutsu to do something like that. Well, team, since we finished that mission very quickly, we have time to train."

They walked to a distant area by the river. Kakashi-sensei explained how to climb trees with chakra and how to walk on water. Seina furrowed her brow and tried it without much success. Her brother seemed even more lost.

"Imagine you're standing on stilts submerged in the water," Kakashi-sensei said, approaching her, "but instead of wood, they're made of chakra. Gradually, this stilt should diminish until there comes a point where it's no longer necessary to use it. Do you understand?"

Seina looked at him, surprised, and then nodded. It made more sense than what she had been trying. Visualizing transparent chakra sandals precisely, she was able to do it on her first try.

"Yatta!" she laughed, and Naruto fell into the river again. "Look at this, Naru."

She sent him a mental image of what had worked for her, and saw Naruto accomplish it shortly after. She heard the thoughtful, husky sound of a throat beside her, and when she turned around, she saw Kakashi-sensei looking at her with a raised eyebrow.

"Curious," he shook his head. "Try it again without using so much chakra."

It took her only half an hour to learn the trick to easily walk on water. Her brother, able to see her memories, took barely 5 minutes more. In that time, Sasuke had managed to climb the trunk of a tree running before jumping back to the ground. From what she could see, she was sure he would succeed in a couple of hours. Moreover, she was sure he would continue practicing alone when no one could see him.

Suddenly, Kakashi-sensei used a genjutsu, and Naruto fell into the water for the umpteenth time, and Sasuke stumbled against the tree, falling face-first into the grass. A few seconds later, her brother reappeared, shouting expletives.

"You could have waited, Kaka-sensei! I could have drowned!" her brother yelled, totally irritated.

"But you didn't," he smiled with his eye. "I see Sasuke has managed to learn the trick to walking on trees with chakra. While he practices and then starts learning the basics for walking on water, you two will do something different."

He took out a couple of small scrolls and threw one to each of them. Seina opened it and saw that they were water jutsu instructions.

"Where did you get this? I searched the library and didn't find a single one!" she exclaimed with surprise and excitement.

"They're from personal collection," he replied. Seina looked at him impressed. "They're the easiest ones. As you learn, I'll teach you more difficult ones."

Seina smiled from ear to ear and then looked at her brother. "Clones?"

"Clones, dattebayo!"

"Clones?" Sasuke and Kakashi-sensei asked at the same time. "Are you using clones to learn?"

Kakashi-sensei seemed astonished. In the few days she had known him, she had never seen him so visibly surprised as in that moment. Meanwhile, Sasuke seemed confused about why they would use clones to learn a jutsu.

"The clones they use aren't the typical ones from the academy," Kakashi-sensei informed him. "They can fight and withstand certain hits, and when they disperse, the memories return to the original self."

"Which means they can use it to shorten the time learning anything," Sasuke concluded, amazed. "Seina. Could you teach me this technique?"

"Wait a moment, cowboy! If it's not taught in the academy, that is because there's a reason for it," interjected the jonin. "The chakra consumption of this technique is extremely high. Even I can only create about 20 at a time, and I have a fair amount of chakra reserve. Unlike the two of them who seem to have summoned 50 each as if it were nothing."

"What?" exclaimed Sasuke, then turned to look at them with wide eyes. "How is that possible?"

"It's possible for 2 reasons: we are Uzumaki and the jinchuriki of the Kyubi," replied Seina, when she saw that Kakashi-sensei didn't seem inclined to answer.

There was silence as Sasuke absorbed her words. He watched them with his black eyes, but finally seemed to conclude that it wasn't relevant except for the fact that he couldn't use that technique like Naruto and her until he had increased his chakra reserves through training.

"How is it possible that both of you have the Kyubi?" he asked, furrowing his brow.

Naruto and she exchanged glances. If they explained how it was possible, they would also have to explain how they knew. Seina would have to admit that she remembered everything, even that it was her own father who sealed the demon inside her.

"Sooner or later, you'll have to start trusting some of your secrets to your teammates. Otherwise, what kind of team will you be?" Kurama spoke, trying to help her. "Besides, if you tell them what happened, that you can remember what you saw, you can inform them about the unknown man. That false Madara."

"Naruto has the yang half of the Kyubi and I have the yin half," she finally said.

"How do you know?" Kakashi-sensei asked completely seriously. "That information is confidential."

"I remember everything."

Kakashi-sensei paled at her words. He seemed more affected than usual, and she wondered why. Naruto and Sasuke watched their jonin sensei, who sat on the grass almost defeated.

"You remember... that day?" he asked, almost fearful. She nodded. "Then, do you know?"

"Do I know what? That our mother was Kushina Uzumaki, the wife of the Fourth Hokage? That Minato Namikaze was our father?" she shot back. "I heard them die, how could I not know?"

Sasuke seemed completely out of place, somewhat uncomfortable with the conversation but unable to leave. Naruto, on the other hand, was more serious than ever as he listened to her words. He had heard, and seen, it all before, so it was nothing new to him. That didn't mean it wasn't tough to relive. Interestingly, Kakashi-sensei seemed the most affected of all. He hadn't even regained his skin color.

"Why are you so affected?" Naruto asked, sensing her thoughts.

"Your father... was my sensei," he confessed. "I was only 14 years old when the last member of my team died."

For a few seconds, no one moved a muscle. Then, seeing his sorrow, Seina ended up embracing him slowly, as if he were a wounded wild animal. She felt him freeze between her arms and then relax, hugging her tightly. He buried his face in her shoulder, who now turned out to be her father's protégé, abandoned to his fate. She knew, since she had researched about the jonin, that her own father committed suicide and that her mother died even before her father. She hadn't even thought that Kakashi-sensei's genin team could be all dead. She couldn't imagine what he must have gone through, all those years without anyone trustworthy by his side. Without family.

She snapped out of it when she felt one of his hands stroking her hair while she continued to hold him tightly. She sensed Naruto's presence beside her, his hand on Kakashi-sensei's other shoulder, supporting them both. The jonin cleared his throat, and Seina moved away, sitting beside him on the grass.

"Kakashi-sensei..." she whispered, realizing that she could uncover the whole story if she made a mistake trusting him, “That night… there was someone else there”.

Her teacher lifted her chin to look her in the eyes, and she wiped away the tears that had escaped her control. He had regained his usual skin color and seemed serious.

"What do you mean? Someone else besides your parents and the ninjas who helped your mother with her childbirth?" he asked.

"Sasuke is here, nee-chan. Maybe it's better not to mention Madara Uchiha in his presence."

Damn! She hadn't even thought about that. She looked at Naruto and then at Kakashi-sensei, and surprisingly, even though she hadn't said anything, the jonin understood her gaze.

"Come. Let's find something to eat and drink," he offered his hand and she stood up. "You two, keep practicing walking on water. We'll be back in a few minutes."

"That was a poor excuse," she said when they were out of earshot. "I think Sasuke knows I always carry food with me."

"Maa! But I didn't have to know," Kakashi-sensei smiled and winked at her before becoming serious. "What is it that you didn't want to tell me in front of him?"

"That night, someone claiming to be Madara Uchiha attacked my parents and extracted the bijuu from my mother."

Kakashi-sensei came to a halt and turned to look at her. "Are you sure about that?"

"If you say yes, he'll ask how you know. Even worse if you say it wasn't the real Madara Uchiha."

"Then what do I do? I've already uncovered the whole story now!" she frowned, feeling nervous for not having thought it through better.

"Seina?" Kakashi-sensei asked, and she saw him watching her closely, as if decoding a bomb code.

She groaned in frustration and sighed. "I'm going to end up in a cell for this... Fine! I can talk to my Kyubi half."

"...What?" her sensei asked, astonished, and then shook his head. "Of course. Why not. And from what I've seen, you can also speak mentally with your twin brother, right?"

Seina sighed again, and that was enough for him to accept it as true.

"I think we're going to have a long talk, Seina," Kakashi said, calmer than expected, "but not here. In a safer place."

Chapter 7

Chapter Text

The "talk" that Kakashi-sensei spoke of happened later that afternoon, in the Hokage's tower. She was grateful that Naruto was with her, as the Hokage was accompanied by who seemed to be Ino and Shikamaru's fathers.

"Kakashi told me you can remember everything you've experienced, Seina," the Hokage began in a calm voice, and she nodded. "And that you remember what happened on the night of your birth. Today, we'll try to understand what happened that night with the help of your sensei, Shikaku Nara, and Inoichi Yamanaka. Could you explain to me what happened?"

"That night, I remember being born first, minutes before Naruto. Minutes after his birth, a stranger entered the... place where we were and took Naruto. My vision was blurry, but I heard several screams. At least two people died there: Biwako and Taji. My father rescued Naruto, then took my mother and me and brought us to another place, but before that, we were attacked again by this man, and the Kyubi was extracted from my mother's seal... He attacked the city under the orders of the stranger while my father said goodbye to us before trying to stop him. Finally, he used the Shiki Fujin and sealed a part of it in Naruto and another in me."

There was a heavy silence as they internalized her words and tried not to fall apart. She saw the Hokage seem to age suddenly upon hearing her account.

"How do you know that the stranger was Madara Uchiha?" Shikaku asked, with a serious expression.

"The stranger himself said his name was Madara Uchiha just after extracting the Kyubi."

"You think it wasn't him," Shikaku stated, and she nodded at such affirmation. "Why?"

"The Kyubi has sensed Madara Uchiha's chakra before. He told me that. Also, the person's voice... it was a man, but he seemed to be a teenager or a young adult. I don't think he was very old."

"Would you mind if I 'looked' into that memory, Seina?" Inoichi asked, and she shrugged.

She prepared her mind and memory for Inoichi's intrusion and allowed him to enter her mind, staying on the sidelines. Along with Ino's father, she heard what happened that day. When she saw him ready to leave her mind, she took him by his metaphorical hand and pulled him. She presented him with another memory. The memory of Kurama from that day. Minutes later, Inoichi came out of her mind with a sweaty forehead and a pale face.

"Inoichi? What can you tell us?" the Hokage asked, leaning forward in his seat.

"She's right. She heard everything that happened that night," and then he turned to look at her with an astonished expression. "You've shown me the Kyubi's memory. How did you do that?"

"I've always had control over my mind," she shrugged. "I've been meditating for years."

Shikaku and Kakashi-sensei suppressed a disbelieving laugh that Naruto couldn't help but let out. The Hokage, on the other hand, seemed surprised.

"Seina... are you able to interact with the Kyubi without it attacking you?" he asked, and she nodded.

"I've been talking to him for years. He knows I didn't seal him; I was just a baby then. He doesn't hold any resentment towards me for that."

The Hokage looked at his brother.

"I can also talk to my half from time to time, jiji. Seina-nee is right. The Kyubi isn't so bad. He's just angry because he was sealed years ago."

"Well..." the Hokage sighed. "We'll discuss that another time. The seal is intact so I know it can't influence or escape from you. Inoichi, could you describe what you've seen?"

"The Kyubi didn't recognize the enemy as Madara Uchiha because it knew his chakra, and upon comparison, it knew he was lying. Despite this, the stranger identified himself as Madara Uchiha to Kushina-hime. He was a man with short, unruly brown hair, pale skin judging by a hand without a glove, approximately 1.75 meters tall and weighing around 60 kilograms, with a young voice, athletic and slim build. He wore dark pants and a shirt and a black cloak with a hood. The only distinctive clue was a white mask with black horizontal lines with a single hole for the right eye, in which a Sharingan could be observed. The Kyubi didn't observe anything else about the enemy before being dominated by the Sharingan."

"I want a drawing of the stranger as soon as possible," the Hokage ordered. "Shikaku, assuming the fox's memory is true, what are the chances that it's Madara Uchiha and the Kyubi is lying?"

"We can't completely rule it out, but we must consider that at that time, he would have been 74 years old. Assuming what Inoichi saw is true, and the voice Seina heard, the only reliable evidence of this mess, verified by Inoichi, is indeed from a teenager or young adult... I'd say it's not Madara Uchiha. The fact that he wore a mask is also strange, as is using only one of his eyes. What person would identify themselves by name and, at the same time, hide their face under a mask? It may have been for a number of reasons, but collectively, it doesn't seem to make sense."

The Hokage nodded and turned to them. "Is there anything else I should know? Any other memory or recollection that might be useful?"

Seina thought for a moment, but she couldn't remember hearing anything else about that incident. She shook her head.

"The non-anbu," Naruto said, and everyone turned to look at him, but his brother looked at her. "The ninjas who were spying on us and the hospital and the tower."

"Non-anbu?" Kakashi-sensei asked, who had been silently standing by her side like a statue. "What do you mean, Naruto?"

"They were ninjas similar to anbu, but our anbu never seemed to have any contact with them," Seina explained, shrugging. "The only thing I heard about them was something about a base and the name Danzo."

"Since he's one of jiji's advisors, we didn't pay much attention to it."

Shikaku seemed about to throw himself out the window.

"Very troublesome... Are you sure about this?"

"And how do you know this?" Kakashi-sensei asked exasperated.

"We heard them," Seina said. "Naruto and I are very good at going unnoticed when we want to."

"How do you think we've pulled off so many pranks without getting caught?"

Kakashi-sensei exhaled exasperatedly while the others smiled. The Hokage lit his pipe with a fire jutsu while Inoichi tried not to laugh at Kakashi-sensei's tired face. Nevertheless, she felt a hand squeezing her shoulder in a sign of support and smiled.

"I think you're going to be very busy in the future, Kakashi."

Minutes later, after answering a few more questions, the Hokage ushered them out of his office, and Kakashi-sensei left with them.

"So, pranks, huh?" he sighed again. "Why do I sense multiple headaches coming?"

Naruto chuckled, resting his head on his crossed arms, and she smiled.

"If you don't show up three hours late, there won't be any need to worry, Kakashi-sensei," Seina assured him. "What are we going to tell Sasuke? It's clear he knows something's going on."

"We'll have to tell him the truth. Perhaps Sasuke can help us identify the assailant, if he really is an Uchiha. Besides, if we don't trust our teammates, we're destined to fail."

"And what about the... other?"

"Don't worry about that. If you hear or see anything strange, tell me immediately, but don't attempt anything on your own, understood?"

Naruto and she nodded. "Sensei... can you tell us about our parents?"

Kakashi-sensei didn't seem to hear them for a while, but then he looked up at the sky and began to speak. He explained how brilliant her father was as a ninja, as well as being a good person, how her mother was stubborn and passionate and a great fuinjutsu master. He talked about some missions they had done, everything they had taught him, and how they had embraced him, especially his father, when Sakumo committed suicide.

Listening to his sad, melancholic voice, Seina lightly touched his arm, and Kakashi-sensei gave her a tiny smile. They said goodbye in the center, and Naruto and Seina headed home, which had finally been placed under the Fidelius Charm.

"What a day..." Naruto sighed tiredly. They lay down on the couch. "I need to do anything else and forget that all this has happened."

"Why don't we continue with our renovation? There's still a couple of hours of sunlight left."

"Yosh! What do we do?"

Seina picked up the Muggle notebook they had just for drafting and saw what they had written down. They had barely cleaned the entire house from top to bottom and had started pulling weeds from the front yard. She could really do it all by herself, but Naruto wanted to get involved, so she gave him a couple of tasks. She looked at everything they had to do.

"Alright. How about fixing the garden? You'll need to pull out all the weeds, mow the lawn, and then dig a hole for the pool."

"How big should this hole be?"

"What do you think about 4 x 8 meters and 2 meters deep?" she asked. "That's a good size for swimming."

"Should I leave the dirt in a pile? We could use it for our garden."

"Hmm... you're right. I'll make you a bottomless barrel to put it in while we're not using it. I'll try to add the second floor and make the room divisions."

Luckily, the other day, after hiding the house, she had already expanded the property horizontally, adding a few more windows to let in more light. Now, all they had to do was enlarge it vertically and then remodel the spaces. She transformed one of the logs into a wooden barrel and charmed it to have no bottom. Naruto took it and set to work on the agreed-upon part.

She thanked the Weasleys for teaching her how to build a magical house because otherwise, she wouldn't have had a clue how to do it. She enlarged the walls vertically and watched as the staircase steps expanded. When she measured the exact length of the height they wanted in their rooms, she started adding the iron beams she had prepared earlier. Like all the transformed material, it had originally been a huge stone turned into metal and reinforced with runes.

It took almost an hour to fix the staircase steps, adding one more between each elongated step, and to place the beams straight and securely. Then, she made the ceiling of the ground floor from large white plaster boards, attached to the beams with permanent magic and runes. She filled the gap between the beams and the new ceiling with stones, which she then transformed into concrete. On top, she placed identical parquet boards to the rest of the house.

"Wow!" Naruto exclaimed when he saw her placing the last pieces of wood on the floor of the new second floor. "It looks incredible!"

"Have you done all the work already?" she asked, surprised, getting up from the floor.

"Nah. My clones are finishing digging the hole in the ground. I think we're only halfway there. The garden has been mowed, and the weeds removed."

"If you finish early, you can dig holes for the trees around the plot and the area between the pool and the rest of the garden."

Naruto nodded. "Do you need help around here?"

"No. With my clones, I just have to do the magical work," she denied. Clones couldn't do magic, but they saved her a lot of time, so everything was going smoothly. "You know, I've been thinking it might be better to leave the roof as it is."

"Hmm... yeah, maybe it's too much work. We could put the vegetable garden in the front yard."

"I was thinking the same thing. We can attach it to the wall in front of the house, and it wouldn't be intrusive. We'd still have plenty of front yard between the house and the vegetable gardens by the wall."

"Right."

Naruto returned to the garden, and Seina took advantage of the opportunity to finish the day's hard work by placing the vertical load-bearing walls, separating each room. Perhaps they had gone a bit overboard, she thought to herself. Each floor must have at least 150 square meters. More than enough for what they wanted. Fortunately, no one knew the exact meters they had bought from the real estate agency, neither land nor built, so she didn't worry. It's not like she was going to invite many people to her house anyway.

"Not bad," Naruto said when they reviewed everything they had done. "At this rate, you'll finish building the floor tomorrow."

"I still have to paint it, furnish it, decorate it, put up the magical lights, add the windows, doors, and bathrooms. I don't think I'll finish it in less than 3 days."

"Well, I dug the pool hole and the holes for the trees we plan to plant. The garden is tidied up, and we'll need to build the separations for the vegetable garden."

"The garden beds."

"What?"

"That's another name for the separations of the vegetable garden, from the rest of the garden."

"Garden beds. Okay. That's what I meant. What trees do you want me to buy? It would be nice to pick our own fruit."

"Ask the seller for fruit trees suitable for this climate and buy one of each," she shrugged. "Did you leave the walls of the pool hole smooth?"

"Yep."

"Then tomorrow I'll finish the pool. I just need to coat the walls with concrete and then choose a design for the tiles. What color do you want the pool water to be?"

"Sky blue! No! Turquoise!" Naruto sent her an image of a tropical beach.

"Hmm... sounds good to me. We'd better go have dinner and sleep."

The next day, they found that Kakashi-sensei had appeared at 8 in the morning instead of arriving an hour late. Astonished, Naruto couldn't believe it until he saw him preparing to talk to Sasuke about the Madara fiasco. It took exactly an hour for him to return with his teammate. In the meantime, he left them with a clone so they could practice taijutsu, with weights on their arms and legs, and shurikenjutsu, which included kunais, shurikens, and senbons.

"Let's let him cool off," Kakashi-sensei told them when they saw Sasuke clenching his fists in anger. "A couple of fights, and he'll get over it."

The jonin used his clones to calm Sasuke while he watched them practice their new ninjutsu techniques. Seina and Naruto practiced as they always did: adding more chakra than necessary and decreasing the flow until they mastered the technique. That, plus visualization and the correct mixing of chakra, supposedly were enough to perform the technique correctly.

"Suiton: suidan no jutsu!"

Se expelled the chakra through her mouth and, to her amazement, saw the chakra turn into a huge water cannon that ended up creating a small lake in the middle of the training field. She stopped the stream by destabilizing her chakra and wiped the water droplets that had splashed on her cheeks.

"SUGOI!" Naruto shouted when he saw it, with a wide grin. "That was incredible! Now it's my turn!"

Seina watched as Naruto used a similar technique, but of wind nature. She was grateful that he was aiming in another direction when she saw a tree split in two. In the distance, she saw her clones practicing the other two jutsus: a water sphere with whips that pierced through multiple enemies and a water shield capable of protecting its creator and pushing away enemies.

"Kakashi-sensei, could we learn some medical jutsu?" she asked, realizing that if they were attacked and she became unconscious, they were screwed.

"Hmm... Good question. The truth is, I have no idea about medical jutsu," he confessed, ignoring their raised eyebrows. "But we can ask for classes at the hospital."

"Oh, really? Great!"

"Would you like me to ask for you, Seina?" she nodded. "And what about you two?"

"Nah, my control isn't as good as Seina's. Plus, whatever she learns, she'll end up teaching me," Sasuke glanced at Seina, silently pleading her not to force him to go to the hospital despite wanting to learn new techniques. She rolled her eyes and nodded.

"All right, jerks! I'll go alone!"

They spent the whole day training the new ninjutsu, taijutsu against the jonin's clones, dodging genjutsu, and teaching Sasuke the shunshin and paralyzing jutsu. When she dispelled all the shadow clones, she felt her magical barriers strain as they received information from 50 different clones in a single second. She decided that next time, she would deactivate them gradually. Still, as she walked home next to Naruto, she smiled, realizing that she had practiced three different jutsus to perfection.

"I want to practice these jutsus with one hand and in silence," Seina said to Naruto as they snacked in the living room. "If I can do that, it could be very useful."

Naruto nodded, slurping instant ramen noodles. When they finished snacking, they went out to the garden ready to finish the pool.

"What do you think of this size? It's what we agreed on."

"It's perfect, Naru. You can go buy the trees while I finish up here."

"I'll take the savings wallet with me! Ja ne!"

Seina didn't even turn around, waving her hand over her head in farewell. She took out a few stones and began the work. It didn't take her more than 20 minutes to leave the walls smooth and gray with transformed concrete. Then, she laid tiles of a pale turquoise color inside the pool and rough-textured ivory-colored tiles around the pool to walk on and prevent slipping. Finally, she added a ladder with 2 metal steps fixed with several enchantments and supports around the pool where a cover would be attached, if necessary, to cover it. She used runes on the interior tiles to prevent the water from being contaminated and always staying temperate, and more runes on the ladder to prevent it from rusting.

When Naruto arrived with a bunch of clones carrying trees, Seina had already filled the entire pool with her new water technique.

"Wow... It's incredible! And huge!" Naruto exclaimed, leaving his tree in the first hole he saw.

Naruto's clones planted the different trees, still young, and then she used magic to make them grow a few meters.

"A fig tree?" she asked, looking at the tree. "Clearly, you don't know how figs grow."

"What are you talking about? Can't figs be eaten?" Naruto asked, confused.

"Well, in a very summarized way, female wasps lay eggs inside the figs, and then the males come and fertilize them," she explained, avoiding laughing at Naruto's horrified expression. "Then the wasp dies inside the fig."

"NANI!?"

It wasn't technically correct, the explanation, but for what Naruto needed to know, it was more than enough. It was clear, from his disgusted expression, that he wasn't going to eat a single fig.

"We can give the figs to Sasuke," Naruto nodded, looking at the tree. "I'm sure he'll like them."

Seina laughed and let Naruto finish planting and watering the trees. She went to the second floor and put the windows in their corresponding places, transforming the stones into glass. Then she made the door and window frames, placed the doors, separated the rooms with walls and their respective fillings, and modified the lamps with runes.

Meanwhile, Naruto had built the garden beds in the front of the house and had gone to buy seeds of plants they used for their potions. Fortunately, one of Hermione and Draco's retirement hobbies had been replacing magical ingredients with more common ones so, except for some more complex potions they wouldn't use, most medical potions could be made at home with common plants. Even though the effectiveness wasn't the same.

"I don't know what I would do without you, Hermione..." she whispered and smiled as she began to prepare dinner.

"What's left to do on the second floor?" Naruto asked, wiping his forehead with his arm.

"We still need to put up the walls for each room on the second floor and the entire bathroom."

"And furnish it."

"Exactly. Start thinking about what you want in your two rooms."

"Where are we going to put the greenhouse?" Naruto asked, stealing a piece of carrot from the plate.

"Honestly, I'd leave the greenhouse for later," she shrugged. "Whenever we want, we can add another room on the first floor."

Naruto nodded.

"Now that I think about it, we have a spare guest room. We could turn it into something."

They fell silent, pondering what they could put there. Seina planned to have a complete wall in her study with shelves for scrolls and books. A station to prepare potions with her inventory cabinet taking up another entire wall and a desk.

"We could put an armory. With all the equipment for missions and such."

"Hmm... Not a bad idea. I was thinking of having a wall in my study for weapons, but it's actually better to have everything in one place," Naruto murmured. "What's left to do on the third floor?"

"We need to add the runes in the bathroom to eliminate residues, cleaning runes, faucet runes, and lamp runes."

"Okay. I'll do that tomorrow while you finish the second floor."

"Perfect. Then we'll need to do the same on the first floor and create a pantry in the kitchen. We can remove the fridge and create a refrigerating cupboard with runes."

"There's more left than I thought."

"Not that much. I think we'll finish the whole house in 3 days."

They ate dinner in silence, tired, and went to bed.

The next day, another mind-numbing D-rank mission awaited them.

"What do we have to do?" Naruto asked, bored. "Pull weeds from all the gardens in Konoha?"

"No. Paint the walls of the new hotel in Konoha. You almost guessed it, Naruto."

Kakashi-sensei didn't even look at them. He had his face buried in his book, the one he seemed to be rereading, and walked calmly toward the mission department. Seina sighed in boredom. She knew it was a rite of passage for all genin to do these kinds of missions. They were necessary to save money, get familiar with their team, and be able to train daily with their jonin sensei without the pressure and danger of a normal mission. Still, that didn't mean she wasn't tired of having to paint, clean, and rescue animals. At least they paid much more than a civilian would.

"Why do people hire ninjas to do this kind of work?" she asked. "Anyone could paint a wall."

"Well, yes, but few people do it in a few hours. A painting job like this could take a couple of days, as well as the need to hire more than 3 people and rent ladders or other materials that ninjas don't need," Kakashi-sensei replied, turning the page. "Plus, the presence of ninjas always acts as a deterrent to potential saboteurs."

Seina raised an eyebrow, pondering what she had just heard. If the owner painted the walls himself, he wouldn't have to hire anyone, even if it took him a week to paint everything. The only thing that seemed to make sense was the deterrent aspect. She shrugged and accepted the explanation. They received the scroll with the mission details and headed towards the newly constructed hotel. Right away, she noticed that the wood on the facade needed at least one coat of varnish.

"And this place is new?" Naruto asked, with his usual tact. Seina flicked his ear. "Hey!"

"Those things are meant to be thought, not said, Naruto."

"You're such a dobe," Sasuke teased, walking into the hotel.

"But I didn't say anything wrong!"

"Guys," Kakashi-sensei called their attention, and they all fell silent.

She watched as he spoke with the owner, who seemed very happy to see them. After a brief courtesy chat, the owner explained what he wanted and handed them the materials. Since there were 3 floors, they each took one initially.

"Seina," Sasuke called before she could leave. "Let's make a deal."

Seina grinned from ear to ear upon hearing him. Sasuke had done the reports for the other 2 missions, and he still had 5 more to do as agreed. It was clear he had gotten used to letting them do the hard work while he took the free time to write the report.

"5 more," he said, and she burst out laughing realizing he was right.

"10."

Sasuke sighed. "Fine, another 7 reports."

"Yay!" Naruto cheered, preferring to do the work and skip the writing.

"One moment, guys," Kakashi chuckled. "You can't always avoid Sasuke's work by negotiating who writes the reports."

"Why not?" Naruto retorted, and Sasuke nodded with his arms crossed. "Isn't negotiating part of being a ninja?"

"Um... yes, but that's beside the point. How will Sasuke learn to paint a wall in his house in the future, for example?" Kakashi-sensei tried to reason with them. They all looked at him incredulously.

"Right, because painting a wall requires a college degree in engineering," Seina laughed, hearing Kakashi-sensei's weak argument.

"Besides, I'd hire a team of genin," Sasuke said slyly, with an arrogant smile.

Naruto and Seina laughed at Kakashi-sensei's exasperated expression. He knew why he was trying to get Sasuke to cooperate, but with D-rank missions, it was practically useless for them to waste time when they could expedite the job with clones. They gained nothing as a team if Sasuke helped paint a measly wall. Similarly, by compartmentalizing the work, they were acting as a team, coordinating and distributing tasks in the most efficient way.

"Well... I tried," the jonin said to the air and buried his face in his book again.

"I'll add the missions to your list of reports," Seina assured, ignoring her teacher, and then created a dozen clones.

They didn't take more than a couple of hours to finish painting everything. Meanwhile, Sasuke and Kakashi-sensei sat at a table to write the report and read the book, respectively. Seina couldn't help but smile all day long, noticing the harmony in her team, and thought that perhaps Kurama was right when he said she should trust them more if she wanted them to be a real team.

"I'm always right, midget," Kurama joked. She smiled again.

"Hai, hai."

Chapter 8

Chapter Text

The week ended and March began. Seina and Naruto completed the renovations on their house and furnished the bedrooms, studies, and bathrooms to their liking. They planted seeds of necessary plants for their potions and the fruit trees Naruto bought. The spare room, previously for guests, was converted into an armory/infirmary where they also added a pantry from wall to wall with all the potions they were producing and the bottomless trunk filled with scrolls.

When they finished decorating and furnishing the entire house, they almost cried with relief. They completed the renovation by adding the finishing touches with runes and spells and dove headfirst into the pool.

"CANNONBALL!" Naruto yelled, jumping in wearing conjured swim trunks. He surfaced to take a breath before continuing to yell, "This is AMAZING!"

Seina laughed at her brother's joy and happiness, knowing he had never had a home of his own before, unlike her. She looked up at the sky, thinking of her new parents, and promised to take care of him. A wave of water to her face made her cough.

"What are you doing, Naruto!"

"You're too serious!"

"Serious? Take this," and she used the new jutsu to shoot a mini stream of water at his face. "Suiton: suidan no jutsu!"

"ARGH! THAT'S CHEATING!" Naruto yelled, shielding his face with his arms.

They played for a long time until their fingers wrinkled, and hunger began to roar in their stomachs. They prepared dinner and ate while talking about the house, the village, the nearest stores to buy food, and the missions.

"I'm tired of always doing the same D-rank missions," Naruto grumbled, eating his portion of salad. "Why can't we do something more interesting?"

"Kakashi-sensei decides if we're ready for a higher-ranked mission," Seina shrugged. "You have to convince him."

"How could we not be ready, Seina-nee?" he asked irritably. "From what Ino told me, they're still teaching them how to walk on trees, and they don't even train with weights to improve their taijutsu."

"Yeah. It's really weird," Seina thought out loud. "At first, I got the impression that we would have to beg Kakashi-sensei to train us. Don't you remember that day? He called Sasuke emo and was totally distant."

Naruto thought about that day and nodded when he realized she was right.

"Is it because we beat him the next day?" Naruto asked uncertainly. She shrugged.

"It could be... actually, no, I don't think so. I get the feeling he realized that treating us like all the other genin wasn't going to work. We beat him by changing the time on the clock and using his p*rn book against him," she chuckled, and Naruto smiled broadly. "That's the last thing a normal genin team would have done."

Seina, thinking about it a bit, realized that Kakashi Hatake himself wasn't a normal jonin. If she compared him to the other jonin, it was obvious that Kakashi-sensei not only was much brighter but also seemed more distant. Different. Did he feel that way, or was it just her imagination? Perhaps he had seen something in them that reminded him of his old team, of himself. What she was sure of was that the day they took those two bells, something changed regarding Kakashi from the previous day.

"I'm going to bed, I'm exhausted," her brother told her, and she nodded.

"Goodnight, Naru."

The next day, Seina yawned as she walked alongside Naruto to the training field. Naruto, who seemed to have had an energy drink instead of a glass of milk, couldn't stop talking about his plan to get Kakashi-sensei to give them a C-rank mission.

"Ugh, Naruto. You know I don't care if it's a D or C-rank mission. You have to convince Sasuke before Kakashi-sensei. If the three of us aren't on board, I don't think Kakashi-sensei will even consider it."

"Couldn't you talk to him now? Kakashi-sensei will take an hour to get here, we have time."

"No. You're the one with the plan. Talk to Sasuke."

"Ugh. Fine. I'll talk to the teme."

"What are you talking about, dobe?" a voice asked from behind them.

Seina saw Sasuke catch up to them and left a space in the middle for him to talk to Naruto while she tried to shake off the morning drowsiness. Sasuke, as usual, ignored her generous offer and walked on her left side, leaving her sandwiched between both idiots. She spent the next few minutes listening as, amidst insults, they agreed to pressure Kakashi-sensei into giving them a mission that didn't involve domestic chores.

"You guys do realize we've only done like 8 missions, right? There are teams that take months before their sensei accepts a mission like this for their genin."

Naruto and Sasuke groaned in frustration.

"Whose side are you on?"

"I'm on the side of let me sleep," she grumbled and flopped onto the grass, using her fanny pack as a pillow.

Knowing Naruto was awake and present, and that Kakashi-sensei would take a while to show up, she closed her eyes, ready to sleep. Then she had an idea. Could her clones sleep while she slept? Could they sleep while she was awake and then send her the "rest" they had recovered without her having to sleep? If so, she could stay awake for several days. Interesting.

"What the hell... Kage bunshin no jutsu."

Naruto and Sasuke stopped arguing. They watched as Seina's clone positioned itself like her in the grass, ready to sleep.

"What are you doing?" Sasuke asked incredulously.

"An experiment. Wake me up when he gets here."

And she fell asleep.

She snapped awake when she felt someone gently nudging her foot. She looked around and saw Kakashi-sensei looming over her with an amused look. Naruto scolded him, for the umpteenth time, for being late while she stretched and sat up on the grass, yawning. Her brother turned out to be a Naruto clone left beside her.

"I know, Naruto. I saw an old lady and had to stop to help her. You know how it is," he waved a hand, as if that explained everything, the troll. "Good nap, Seina?"

"Incredible," she said, then looked at her clone and saw that it was asleep. "Huh. Now, that's weird."

She dispelled the clone and suddenly felt even more energized. She raised an eyebrow, realizing that it had indeed worked.

"Don't tell me you used the clone to sleep twice as much..."

Kakashi-sensei's voice snapped her out of her musings, and she smiled, saying nothing. The jonin looked at her intently, with that expression she was starting to recognize as bafflement and astonishment, then shook his head.

"And? Did it work?"

"Yes. I'm feeling much better now!" she heard Naruto's shouts and the clashing of kunais in the distance. "Are Naruto and Sasuke training?"

"It seems so," Kakashi-sensei raised an eyebrow. He noticed she had turned in the direction of the sound. "Let's go find them. Today, I'm going to teach you something new."

"Oh, really? What is it?"

"What is what?" Sasuke asked, pushing Naruto's head away and resting his posture.

"Kenjutsu!" Kakashi-sensei said with a smile. "I know you've only used the weapons from the academy so far, but I'd like you to choose another weapon to practice with. You never know when you might need something with greater range than a kunai. Plus, it will take you a long time to learn to handle another weapon and become proficient, so I thought the sooner we start, the better."

"Sugoi!" Naruto exclaimed, delighted with the idea. "What weapons could I pick? A sword? No! A hammer!"

"It has to be something manageable, Naruto," the jonin shook his head. He looked at Sasuke and her. "And what about you? What catches your interest?"

"A katana," Sasuke said.

"Hmm... I'm not sure. I'd like something that doesn't take up much space and that I can attack with quickly."

"A short sword or a wakizashi could be useful for you," Kakashi-sensei said, examining her up and down. "They usually measure 60 cm so you could carry it without a problem. It's twice as long as a tanto so the distance between you and your enemy will be greater. Plus, since it's not as long as a katana, it's perfect for combat in confined spaces.

"I like the sound of that."

"Alright. Let's go to the armory right away. Seina and Naruto, you can leave a few clones here and practice your aim in the meantime."

The journey to the armory was somewhat long, but luckily, there was no one there when they arrived. It wasn't the first time Seina had entered, as she had bought shurikens and kunais there before making them herself at home, along with explosive paper and other items. She saw the walls filled with different weapons, and her eyes went to the short weapons, just as Kakashi-sensei had pointed out, while Naruto was unable to decide what he wanted.

"You again, Kakashi?" the shopkeeper asked with a smile. "And accompanied by your genin! I never thought this day would come."

"Guys, meet Daisuke, retired ninja and professional blacksmith. Daisuke, these are Naruto, Sasuke, and Seina, my genin," he introduced them, patting their heads. "We're here because they need some kind of weapon to learn kenjutsu."

"Pleasure to meet you, Team Kakashi. You've come to the right place. So, what kind of weapon do you want?"

"Sasuke wants a katana."

"With his build, he could wield one perfectly," Daisuke nodded and turned to look at the swords. "Perhaps one of these will suit you."

Seina left them looking at the swords while she approached to explore the short weapons. There were many types, from short scythes to staffs, spears, and even axes and maces. An axe wouldn't be bad either since it would also serve her for chopping wood, but it would be more cumbersome to carry. One wrong move and she could cut herself. Plus, she didn't need an axe to cut wood. She saw the tantos Kakashi-sensei had talked about, but passed them by. They were little more than oversized kunais. She needed something more substantial. Then she saw the perfect weapon.

It had the typical handle of a katana, black and silver, as well as the characteristic curvature of the blade. The difference was the length of the weapon. She took the weapon from the wall and unsheathed it. She felt the weight in her hand but, although it was heavy, she could hold it without any problems. She sheathed it again just as the footsteps of the stranger approached from behind her.

"Ah! I see you've discovered the wakizashi," the blacksmith said, nodding his head. "Good eye. It's perfect for you. Do you like this one? How does it feel?"

"It's perfect."

She examined the black sheath and saw that it had cords near the handle so she could tie it to her waist. She already knew where she planned to tie it.

"How much does it cost?" Seina asked.

"About 55,000 ryo."

"I'll take it."

She approached Sasuke, who seemed to be amazed by a rather long katana, and waited for Naruto to finally decide on a single item. In the end, he chose a ninjato. Basically, it was a wakizashi, but longer. They left with their new toys. Seina wasted no time in tying the wakizashi to her fanny pack, putting the weapon between her waist and her backpack so it wouldn't sway with her steps. Plus, there was no safer place since no one could take it away from her except herself.

"Well, guys, now comes the fun part."

When they arrived, she dispelled the clones and waited for the jonin to give them new instructions.

"Sit down, sit down... I'll start by talking about how to take care of your new weapons, as well as anything else I can think of that you should know," he informed them. Naruto groaned in frustration, but didn't say anything. "Then we'll move on to the practical part."

Seina listened attentively to how she should take care of her weapon. How to sharpen it, how to clean it, how to unsheathe and sheathe it, where she couldn't carry it tied, where she could tie it to increase speed and strength when wielding it... Kakashi-sensei knew much more than she had imagined about weapons. Not only about katanas, the favorite weapon of many ninjas, but also about swords and the wakizashi. Despite having received sword classes for years in her previous life, she learned things she didn't know. Without a doubt, Kakashi-sensei had spent years practicing and noticing the small differences that gave him an advantage when using a weapon in real combat.

"All right. The long-awaited moment has come! Who wants to go first?"

"ME!" Naruto shouted, like a little child about to receive a prize.

Sasuke rolled his eyes, but didn't complain. Both of them watched, seated on the grass, as Kakashi-sensei instructed him on the proper stance to hold his ninjato and taught him a few combos. Then he did the same with Sasuke, also showing him how to consider the length of his blade relative to his teenage body.

"It's your turn, Seina," Kakashi-sensei smiled.

She got up from the ground and adopted her usual stance as if wielding Gryffindor's sword. Kakashi-sensei raised an eyebrow when he saw her, but just nodded.

"Not bad. Move your feet a bit to shorten your stance," he said, and she did as he ordered. "Your form would be perfect if you were wielding a sword the length of Sasuke's katana or if you were taller, but with the wakizashi, you need to consider the reduced length of the blade. Otherwise, you'll lose balance more easily."

She nodded. Her teacher went on to explain a few combos, then picked up a log from the ground. He swung it a couple of times like a sword and took the same stance as Sasuke, who was practicing a few meters away. He signaled her to attack. She was surprised, but then shrugged. She swung the wakizashi a couple of times to get used to its weight and feel and then launched herself at the jonin.

She lost track of time. Suddenly, it was like being back in her training at Potter Manor. It took her a few minutes to notice the differences in the weapon and to compensate automatically, never stopping attacking Kakashi-sensei. The jonin, on the other hand, seemed very focused on their combat. They exchanged blows, feints, stabs, low blows, high blows... She didn't stop moving her body for a second to prevent Kakashi-sensei from having more chances to hit her.

"Stop," he said finally, when he saw that she didn't seem tired. "Where did you learn to fight like that?"

She shrugged, sheathing her weapon. She noticed that both Naruto and Sasuke seemed to have stopped their training and were watching her confrontation intently. Kakashi-sensei didn't say anything more at her response, but she knew he wouldn't forget it. Even so, he did her the favor of not probing further on the matter.

"You did well. You could become an expert in kenjutsu in a relatively short time if you keep this up."

"Thank you, Kakashi-sensei."

"As for you two... from what I've seen, you need to train hard, but I think you'll quickly reach a good level."

That day they practiced with their new weapons for hours. At the end of the day, Kakashi-sensei gave each of them three more ninjutsus to learn for the next day of training. Sasuke, who was already able to use shunshin and paralyzing jutsu, gladly accepted the lightning nature ninjutsus that the jonin gave him. He seemed determined to catch up to both of them, especially her. Seina didn't mind. She had taught him the paralyzing jutsu and also the kage bunshin, although Sasuke still didn't have enough reserves to create more than a couple of clones half the time.

"Rest well, little genin!" Kakashi-sensei bid them farewell that afternoon. "Tomorrow we'll have a new mission. Be at the mission department at 8 sharp!"

Kakashi-sensei disappeared using shunshin, to the confusion of all of them.

"He seemed to be in a hurry."

"Hn," Sasuke said, nonchalantly. Then he turned to her with an expression that she had begun to understand. "Seina... could you teach me to fight like you with the katana?"

"HEY! ME TOO!" Naruto shouted, not wanting to be left behind.

Seina sighed. She knew she was going to say yes simply because Sasuke had made an effort to ask for her help. At first, when they started as a team, Sasuke was totally distant from them. When he saw how Seina, and Naruto, surpassed him in some things, he spent a couple of days deciding whether or not to approach her; who wasn't his eternal rival, unlike his brother, nor one of his hysterical fans. Not wanting him to think he couldn't trust her, she offered to help him before he could ask himself, instead of forcing him to ask himself. She knew that for someone as proud as Sasuke, asking for help should be downright painful. In fact, every time he did, he seemed reluctant, but as she didn't mock him, not even Naruto, little by little it became easier for him to relate to the two of them and come out of his shell.

At the moment, the team was hanging by a thread, something she had more than emphasized to Naruto so that he wouldn't mess things up with Sasuke. Any wrong move and Sasuke would retreat like a scared stray dog. She knew because she had been like that many years ago. Sasuke had been a child when he saw his brother kill his entire clan. Like them, he had no family to take him in, but rather anbu who cared for him from afar or at least observed him. He learned to take care of himself without the help of others. The sad thing about Sasuke was that he didn't have a twin sister to remind him that he wasn't alone. It was distressing to think that the only family left to Sasuke was precisely the murderer who took away all the other relatives.

In the academy, Sasuke made sure he was left alone, probably out of fear of getting close to someone only to lose them later. Perhaps also because he was used to not depending on anyone for anything. There, as no one forced him to work as a team, he spent the years away from everyone. However, now he was forced to be on a team and interact with Naruto and her. Surprisingly, Sasuke was trying. If the two of them messed up now, just the first time Sasuke exposed himself to people in years, she knew something terrible could happen. That's why she couldn't refuse him, not on the important things. So, she could only respond with one thing.

"Okay. I don't know if I'll be much help, but we can practice."

Sasuke nodded, visibly less tense.

"When can we start?"

"We can practice tomorrow after the mission," she thought out loud. "Where do you live? We could train somewhere closer than field 33 that suits both of us."

"I live in the Uchiha complex."

Seina stopped abruptly, in shock. She felt, even before seeing Naruto's expression, the feeling of horror that froze her body. Sasuke, seeing that they had stopped walking, looked at them over his shoulder with a raised eyebrow. He almost seemed not to understand why they were astonished and frightened.

"Why?" she asked, almost afraid to touch his sensitive spot.

Sasuke looked ahead, giving them his back, and was silent for a long time.

"That house is the only memory I have left of my family."

"No. No, no, no..." she denied, unable to let it be.

"It's late. We should go home," he interrupted her and began to walk as if nothing had happened.

Seina and Naruto watched him disappear into the crowd. Through their bond, she felt Naruto was no longer horrified but deeply saddened. She wasn't the only one. It was the first time in her new life that she felt like sobbing for real. She choked back the tears and pushed the lump in her throat as far down as possible. When they arrived home, she couldn't contain herself, overwhelmed by Naruto's identical emotions. She didn't know how long she had been trying to dry the tears that kept falling from her eyes.

"This world sucks," she thought aloud.

"What are we going to do, Seina-nee? We can't let him live there!"

She thought about how to remedy the situation. Sasuke was living in the house where his parents had been killed by his brother, and it seemed like NO ONE was able to realize what a terrible idea it was. She became infuriated realizing that they had left him there, abandoned. Perhaps it had been at Sasuke's own request, but damn it, wouldn't it have been better to upset a child and endure a tantrum than leave him alone in that house? She thought about how she had coped with the death of her parents, the few memories she had, and an idea struck her.

Naruto looked at her hopefully, sensing the drastic change in her emotions.

"Sasuke feels connected to that house because of his memories. That's what he said. All we have to do is give him something else that reminds him of his parents and allows him to leave that house."

"Like what?"

"Like a photo album," she said, knowing that ninja photographs weren't very common in this new world. "Maybe he has one, but shinobi don't usually take many photos, for security reasons."

"Yosh! We have to get photos of Sasuke's parents!" He turned towards the door. Seina grabbed him by the jacket and rolled her eyes. "Hey!"

"Wait, Naruto. Where are we going to get the photos from? Maybe it would be better to wait until tomorrow and ask for Kakashi-sensei's help. Besides, it's very late. What would we do with that album now if we can't give it to him until tomorrow?"

"No!" Naruto shouted, his expression serious as he faced her. "We can't waste time! Every hour that passes is an hour he's surrounded by those bad memories. Weren't you the one who said we have to include Sasuke and help him feel normal again? We have to help him now! Not in 3 days!"

Seina looked at Naruto surprised. She could hardly recognize the joking clown in his serious, determined blue eyes. She thought about what she had just heard, her brother's wise words, and realized he was right. What did it matter if it was late? What did it matter if it was difficult to find those photographs? Damn it, maybe she was too old to remember what it was like to be young and impulsive like her brother.

"You're right."

She turned around and walked out the door. She didn't even know where to start. Luckily, Naruto seemed to have had an epiphany because he headed towards the Hokage Tower and sent a few clones around the village.

"I sent them to the library, the academy, and the old archives. Maybe we'll find something there."

"We could send a clone to the Uchiha clan," she thought aloud, getting herself into gear as she felt her twin's emotions. "Maybe one of the other houses has photographs."

When they arrived at the Hokage Tower, there weren't many people around. It wasn't very late, but the sun was already setting. The secretary, upon seeing them, informed the Hokage and then ushered them in. She thanked the heavens that they didn't have to ask for an appointment. It’s the least they could do for the two of them after swallowing so much sh*t from the village.

"Naruto, Seina! What a joy to see you! What's going on?"

"Jiji, Sasuke is still living in his parents' house!" Naruto shouted as soon as they entered. "How could you let him stay there!?"

The Hokage seemed to shrink with sorrow and sighed.

"It wasn't my idea, I assure you. The council requested that those lands be requisitioned, as no one lived on them. While it's true that it's a lot of land that could be used to house many villagers, it still belongs to the Uchiha family. To Sasuke."

"And if Sasuke lives on the property, legally it can't be requisitioned," Seina retorted, having just realized everything.

"That's right. This possibility was presented to Sasuke, and he didn't want his family's lands, his parents' house, to be sold."

"Did you talk to Sasuke about this when he was 6 years old, after he found out his whole family was dead!? Are you crazy!?" Naruto shouted, more furious than ever.

Seina vibrated with anger. It was worse than she thought. Seizing the lands of a clan, despite not being extinct, taking advantage of a defenseless child. Trying to pressure the Hokage and Sasuke himself to leave there on his own when he was unable to bear that house any longer, only to then keep all the cake for themselves. She heard Naruto's teeth grinding with anger and knew she had to calm down, or she would explode.

"Calm down. We're not going to let that happen," she assured him, and then she had an idea.

"What are you thinking?" Naruto asked, sensing her malice and excitement.

"That the Uchiha complex should disappear under the Fidelius once Sasuke moves out of there."

Naruto understood instantly, seeing her thoughts, and began to laugh like a maniac. The Hokage looked at him alarmed, and Seina mentally urged him to shut up as quickly as possible. After the last few weeks, the last thing she wanted was for the Hokage to think they needed a mental evaluation.

"Ask him about the photographs of Sasuke's parents," she said, too exhausted for more confrontations.

Seina listened in silence as Naruto asked the Hokage for help gathering photographs of Sasuke's parents. Luckily, the Hokage provided them with a few photographs that, curiously, he kept in one of the filing cabinets next to his desk. When they left the tower, Naruto informed her that his clones had obtained a few more at the academy, from when they were children and graduates, and from the archives, from Fugaku and Mikoto Uchiha's wedding.

"Let's see if my clone found anything," Seina said, heading towards the Uchiha complex with Naruto.

"Here," Naruto handed her several stones from the ground, "for the album and the portrait."

When they arrived, the lights of the floors and houses were on, and there were few people on the streets. Seina took advantage of the fact that the Uchiha complex was practically a ghost town to transform the materials into the album and the frame.

"What do you think of this photograph?" she asked her brother, putting the Uchiha wedding photograph in the frame. "They seem happy."

Naruto nodded. Seina heard her clones approaching and saw that they had a few more photographs to add to the album. When everything was ready, they ventured into the Uchiha complex in search of the only house with light. Seina and Naruto looked around, seeing the large blood stains that time had not been able to erase. She wondered if anyone could live like that forever without going crazy.

"Look, there it is."

She saw the two-story house in the distance. Dimly lit by the light from a window on the lower floor. Even dimly lit, it seemed like a desolate home. How did Sasuke manage to live like that? She couldn't imagine living in Godric's Hollow, alone, for years. It was no wonder he couldn't relate to other kids normally if he lived in the house where his parents were killed since he was 6 years old. When they reached the house, Seina knocked on the door a couple of times. There was a cold silence as they waited for Sasuke to open the door, but it didn't. Naruto looked at her strangely. Seina knocked on the door again, louder.

"Sasuke! Open the door!" Naruto shouted, and heard the echo of his voice resounding through the empty streets.

She heard Sasuke walking to the door, first hesitantly and then with firm steps. He opened the door with a completely surprised expression.

"What are you doing here?"

"We've come to get you," she replied firmly, "take this."

She handed him the album and the frame with the wedding photo. Sasuke took it, confused, and then realized what it was. Speechless, he stared at the photograph of his parents smiling at the camera. Naruto, uneasy, vibrated in his place as he waited for Sasuke to say something, but he just kept staring at the photograph.

"We want you to come with us. Home," she continued, unable to bear another moment there.

"What?"

"We're not going to leave you alone, Sasuke! Forget it!"

"Dobe, you don't even know what you're talking about," Sasuke said, more disheartened than angry.

"Yes, we do," she interrupted, and Sasuke looked at her, surprised again. "We've spoken to the Hokage. We know what's going on. Please... take all your things, come with us, and trust me. These lands will remain yours until you decide otherwise, not a second before. I give you my word."

Seina and Sasuke looked at each other. She felt her heart beating strongly. She wasn't just nervous about Sasuke's refusal, but also about what she was going to do. Reveal a secret. Since when had she become so distrustful of showing her abilities? She couldn't believe that if she showed what she was capable of, someone wouldn't try to use it against her. For so many years, in the magical world, they had made her do what they wanted. Even Dumbledore had sacrificed her. When she had the power to defend herself by any means necessary, she realized what true freedom was and vowed that no one would ever subdue her again. A vow she kept until her death. And yet, in this new and strange world, she was weak again and at the mercy of others. Perhaps-

"Alright," said Sasuke, and she blinked, losing track of her thoughts. "Give me 15 minutes."

Naruto and she took a deep breath, relieved, and heard Sasuke moving around the house, gathering his things and storing them in scrolls. In less than 15 minutes, Sasuke appeared at the door with several scrolls, a backpack, and his new weapon. They left the property and, after making sure they weren't being watched, Seina turned to the walls of the Uchiha estate.

"Fidelio," she intoned, and the spell began to come to life.

She knew, from Naruto's thoughts and Sasuke's surprised gasp, she had succeeded. Then, she reached into her pouch and pretended to search for a piece of paper and a pen. She took the conjured items and wrote down the address of the Uchiha complex that she perceived in her soul.

"Here. Read this."

Sasuke took the piece of paper and read the address of his property, still in disbelief. Then, astonished, he watched with wide eyes as the houses appeared before him.

"W-what is this?" he whispered. "Genjutsu?"

"No. It's a technique that allows hiding something under a secret. I am the bearer of that secret and the only one who can tell others where your property is. Basically, it's like I've put all of this into a pocket dimension to which only I have access."

"Does that mean no one knows where the p-pro-"

"You can't say it. Only me," she reminded him, and Sasuke stopped trying. "Now no one remembers, except the three of us, where it is. So, no matter how much they try to requisition these lands, they won't be able to because they won't even be able to find them. Not even if they try to find the address in the registry. Every trace has vanished."

Sasuke's lips trembled and then slowly widened into a grin from ear to ear that turned into laughter. When he recovered minutes later, some of his previous coldness had disappeared. Seina and Naruto pretended as if nothing extraordinary had happened.

"Let's go. I'm starving," Naruto ordered.

"Have you had dinner yet?"

"No. Wasn't hungry."

Seina felt Naruto's compassion. She engaged in conversation for the remainder of the journey, asking them what they wanted for dinner and what they thought about the mission for the next day. When they arrived home, Seina told him the secret of the property, and she saw how Sasuke looked impressed at the improved three-story house.

"Come in. You're home, teme."

"You can take one of the rooms on the third floor for yourself," Seina told him. "That same floor has a large full bathroom that you'll use alone. Decorate the room however you like, it's yours."

Sasuke went to put his things away, and they began to prepare dinner. She realized, standing next to Naruto and boiling the rice, that her anger and horror from an hour ago had already passed. My, how quickly things could change. They dined amidst jokes and ridiculous arguments between Naruto and Sasuke. Later, defeated, they went to bed.

Naruto entered his room after saying goodnight. She was about to do the same when she felt a hand grab her arm. She looked at Sasuke and saw him watching her with something she couldn't identify, besides gratitude and relief.

"Thank you."

"You're part of the team, and the team is family. You don't have to thank me."

Sasuke looked at the ground, contemplative and sad, and she approached him to give him a hug. He stayed frozen in her arms until, like Kakashi-sensei, he relaxed and hugged her back, burying his face in her neck. Seina pretended not to notice the tears falling onto her skin and hugged him tighter.

"You're not alone anymore."

Chapter 9

Chapter Text

The next morning, Sasuke and Seina found themselves in the kitchen first, already dressed.

“Good morning, Sasuke,” she smiled. “How do you like your room?”

“It’s fine.”

“I’m making breakfast and bentos. If you want, we can show you the whole house afterward.”

“Let the clones cook, nee-chan, and let’s go show it to him.”

Seina, who didn’t usually use clones to cook but rather her magic, nodded. She left a couple of clones cooking and they went for a tour around the house. First, they showed him the vegetable gardens by the entrance wall, the garden surrounded by fruit trees, the back porch, and the pool.

“You have a pool,” he said, surprised. “How much did all this cost?”

“We made it ourselves. We also fixed the garden, planted the trees, and made the vegetable gardens.”

“And we just finished building the second floor since it wasn’t completed.”

“You did all this in less than a month?” he asked incredulously, but then seemed to understand. “Of course, the clones. But how did you know how to do it?”

“We had been planning to buy a house for a while and, due to our budget, we knew we’d have to do renovations,” she shrugged since it was true. “So we’ve known for a long time how to do it and saved up for the materials.”

They showed him the first-floor bathroom, living-dining room, the large pantry, and the small laundry room. Then they toured the second floor, showing him their rooms and studies. Sasuke raised an eyebrow at the wall full of scrolls and the cauldron on the potion station, but said nothing. Finally, they showed him the other guest room, which he had likely seen already, and the armory.

“What do you think?” Naruto asked proudly.

Sasuke smiled faintly.

“It’s fine.”

“What!? What do you mean, ‘it’s fine’?” and they started arguing again.

Seina stifled a laugh. Coming from Sasuke, who sometimes answered questions with a “Hn” and was one of the most negative people she knew, “it’s fine” was a high compliment. She deactivated her clones when she saw they were finished and only needed to plate the food. She accepted Sasuke’s help in preparing the bentos while Naruto set the table with plates and glasses. They ate in silence and then quickly cleaned up.

“We should go, it’s almost time,” she said, looking at the wall clock.

“You’ll see, we’ll end up with another D-rank mission,” Naruto complained again.

“Didn’t you agree to talk to Kakashi-sensei?” she asked, bored of the topic.

“I’ll remind him today.”

“Hn. I don’t think he’ll listen to us.”

“He’ll have to listen, dattebayo!”

Seina rolled her eyes. As soon as they saw Kakashi-sensei, they noticed he seemed more cheerful than usual, euphoric even. Naruto, with his usual tact, couldn’t hold back.

“What’s up with you? You’re acting like Sakura-chan!”

“Uh… who are you talking about?”

“A Sasuke fan. Hmm… now that I think about it, Naruto’s right.”

“For your information,” he said, raising his nose in the air, mocking them, “yesterday the author of- a famous author signed a book for me.”

“Are you talking about Jiraiya?” she asked, and the jonin stumbled slightly but recovered instantly.

“You don’t miss a thing, Seina.”

“Who is this Jiraiya?”

“He’s the author of Kakashi-sensei’s p*rn book.”

The mentioned person blushed as the nearby people looked scandalized. Seina, who had done it on purpose, pressed her lips together to keep from laughing. Naruto wasn’t as compassionate. Even Sasuke seemed to smile next to her, turning his face away to hide his shoulders shaking with laughter.

“Kids these days!” Kakashi-sensei excused himself with a fake laugh, grabbing her by the shoulders and walking faster. Then he whispered in a loud tone, “You don’t say those things in public!”

“Okay. I won’t talk about your p*rn book around other people,” she rolled her eyes, and Kakashi-sensei groaned in frustration hearing her mention it again. “Do you really read it or just pretend to?”

Kakashi-sensei looked at her, then glanced at Naruto and Sasuke behind them, laughing in the distance. He seemed to debate intensely whether to lie or not but, as had started to happen, decided on the truth instead of a deflective answer. Maybe because he knew she didn’t believe half the nonsense he said to mislead others.

“Many times I use it as a shield, it’s true.”

“Why? So people don’t approach and talk to you?”

“With the book in hand, only determined people approach me,” Kakashi-sensei shrugged, and a comfortable silence fell.

Seina walked beside her sensei, grateful to have Kakashi-sensei as their jonin team leader. She didn’t know if it was thanks to him or all of them, but the team’s harmony was a relief. She knew, since Iruka-sensei had told Naruto, that they were surprised Kakashi-sensei had accepted them. Apparently, they were his first genin team among countless failures.

“Kakashi-sensei…”

“Yes?”

“I’m glad you’re our jonin-sensei,” she confessed.

Kakashi-sensei slowed his pace and, as he was about to look at her face, she caught the end of a slightly moved expression before he smiled.

“Will you ever stop surprising me?”

“Surprising you with what?” she asked, not understanding why some things seemed so strange to him.

Had she behaved so differently with him compared to others? All she had done was comfort him when he was on the verge of collapse and tell him that she appreciated him. She felt sad realizing that maybe no one had comforted him in a long time. While she thought about all this, the jonin shook his head and ruffled her hair as best he could, considering that this time it was tied up in a careless bun.

"Kakashi-sensei, you know that if you need us, we’re here for you, right?" she said seriously.

"And you? Do you know that I’m here for you?" her teacher asked, and she was surprised. "Sometimes you seem to try to carry everything alone. I hope someday you trust me more because I assure you I won’t betray you. Until then, I’m going to earn your trust, Seina."

They entered the mission department right after. Meanwhile, she tried to regain her usual calm after hearing Kakashi-sensei’s words. He had spoken to her differently. It wasn’t Kakashi-sensei talking to his genin; it was Kakashi Hatake talking to Seina Uzumaki. She knew it was impossible for him not to notice how different she sometimes was from Naruto, simply due to her mental age. She hadn’t hidden her quirks since it was exhausting and painful to pretend to be someone else, an ordinary 11-year-old girl. However, Kakashi-sensei, Kakashi, wanted to earn her trust without exposing her first, despite knowing she was different. Never before, not even in her previous life, had anything like this happened to her.

When she had a secret to hide, Hermione and Ron were there to ask her and extract the information. Sometimes that had put her in a very bad mood because no one respected her privacy. And yes, it had saved her life a couple of times, but it had also dehumanized her throughout her adolescence because everyone had a piece of her, taken against her will, except her. In her adulthood, she got used to keeping her secrets, even information that didn’t need to be secret, because she felt she had to compensate for that feeling of not being in control of herself she had felt as a child. The only reason she didn’t end up alone and pushed all her loved ones away when she went through that phase was realizing, with horror, that she was behaving like Dumbledore. That helped her correct her behavior until she became a normal and functional person. That, and therapy.

Now, Kakashi-sensei had broken her defenses like nothing. As if he weren’t the first person to want her trust without expecting anything in return. Damn Kakashi-sensei. Naruto discreetly touched her arm, noticing her turbulent emotions, and she calmed down. She realized they were in front of the chunin on duty and that Kakashi-sensei was accepting a mission of which she hadn’t heard a single word.

"It’s another D-rank mission. We have to do the shopping for all the grandmothers in a building."

Seina nodded and stopped thinking about what had just happened. She would have time that night, in her bed, to meditate on the memory while working on her mental barriers.

"Well, team 7. We have several shopping errands to run," said Kakashi-sensei, taking the wad of money and the list from each grandmother. "We might need to visit several stores to buy at the lowest price."

Sasuke turned to look at her, Naruto smiled widely, and Kakashi-sensei shrugged with a sigh.

"Seven more."

"Done," Sasuke didn’t even try to haggle.

"Kage bunshin no jutsu," ten clones of his appeared, and he proceeded to give them half the lists and the money. "You know what to do. Find me when you’re done."

The other 10 clones of Naruto ran off behind theirs. Kakashi-sensei, instead of pulling out his book and accompanying them to some place to do nothing in the meantime, closed the book abruptly and stood up straight.

"Alright. Since we have a lot of downtime, let's go train. See you there," and he disappeared.

Seina used the shunshin without thinking, followed by her brother and Sasuke.

"Okay, okay. Today we'll practice kenjutsu. We'll add a couple of kilos to your weights on your arms and legs. Kage bunshin no jutsu. Perfect," said Kakashi-sensei, seeing the pair of clones. "Each of you will fight me using your new weapon. When the clones finish shopping, we'll complete the mission and take a break to eat. Any questions?"

"When can we practice the new ninjutsus?" asked Sasuke.

"Tomorrow we'll practice ninjutsu and taijutsu. By the way, Seina, the hospital has agreed to teach you some iryo ninjutsus. You'll need to go there this afternoon. They've confirmed that they can give you classes for a couple of hours two days a week, if that works for you and they accept you."

"Really?" she said, almost having forgotten. The jonin nodded.

"How are you doing with genjutsu?" asked Kakashi-sensei, looking at Naruto and then Sasuke.

"I've managed to learn the genjutsus that Seina taught me," affirmed Sasuke.

"I haven't yet," Naruto frowned.

"No problem. We have time. Well, let's start training."

The next hour flew by. She made several clones and attacked her sensei with sticks and the wakizashi, knowing she wasn't going to be able to do much damage. Kakashi-sensei, contrary to what she had expected, pushed her to the limit. Making her jump, roll, feint, duck, dodge. Again. Each blow weighed more and more, and she realized that the new weight on her arms and legs was taking its toll. Fortunately, every time one of her clones exploded, she learned a little more. She adjusted her stance a bit, gripped the handle of her weapon tighter when needed, minimized her movements when falling to conserve energy...

"Stop," said Kakashi-sensei, and everyone halted.

Seina was breathing deeply, almost panting from exhaustion, and saw that she wasn't the only one. She deactivated the clones and lay down on the grass, exhausted. The jonin made them drink water and eat some cereal bars which, by the way, were disgusting. She mentally noted, as she ate it, that she would cook some that tasted better than the ones on the market.

"Look, there are your clones," informed Sasuke, pointing into the distance.

Seina didn't even lift her head from the ground. When she had the clones by her side, she made them put the bags on the ground and hand the change to Kakashi-sensei before disappearing.

"The cucumber is on sale," she informed them, retrieving that bit of information from her clone.

Kakashi-sensei chuckled. He let them rest for a while, and Sasuke wrote the report, and then he made them get up to finish the mission. It took them half an hour to give the bags to their owners and collect the mission reward.

"I think from now on, we'll use this time to train," commented the jonin. "After all, if your clones do the work, we’ll have plenty of time to do other things. How about we go eat ramen?"

"Yatta!" exclaimed Naruto, suddenly more animated.

And that how they ended up eating ramen instead of the bentos they had prepared. When she thought about it, she realized that Kakashi-sensei almost never ate with them unless they went to a restaurant. She wondered if it was really for security reasons, which didn't seem likely, or because he didn't have bentos like they did.

"Kakashi-sensei. Why don't you ever bring a bento for yourself like we do?" she asked, with the background noise of noodles being slurped.

Naruto and Sasuke looked at him, surprised and clearly curious. They had been trying to see the jonin's face since day one but, to their misfortune, Kakashi-sensei was too fast to uncover his face. It was to be expected from an elite ninja. Seina hadn't even joined her brother and Sasuke in their game. For one, she knew how irritating and obnoxious it was when people didn't respect your privacy and, secondly, it was clear that she wouldn't see her teacher's face unless he wanted her to.

"Ah… The truth is, I'm the kind of person incapable of cooking a single dish."

Naruto mocked him while Sasuke narrowed his eyes in his direction, not believing him. Seina didn't know whether to trust his response, to be honest. Then she realized that maybe he didn't mean incapable because he was a lousy cook, but incapable for another reason. Maybe cooking brought back bad memories, or it reminded him that no one had cooked for him for years since his father had committed suicide, or some other trauma he had, which didn't seem to be few. She didn't press the issue, but made a mental note to prepare an extra bento from that day on.

Naruto, who had been perceiving her thoughts due to not closing the bond out of exhaustion, frowned. Sometimes Naruto behaved like the kid he was: disrespectful, tactless, eager to prove his worth... She knew that much of the maturity he normally showed was due to the connection they shared since, when she meditated on something and realized things that escaped her brother's young understanding, Naruto would learn something new all at once. He would realize the reasons behind many things thanks to her understanding and, remorseful, promised himself not to mess up again

She saw him slurp the noodles much more slowly, in a silence that did not go unnoticed by Sasuke or Kakashi-sensei. Sasuke looked at him confused by his radical change in attitude, but the jonin knew immediately what had happened and looked at her. Seina shrugged, eating her soy ramen. Kakashi-sensei stretched his arm over her head, and Sasuke's next to her, and ruffled Naruto's hair, who was sitting at the other end to make room for his more than 5 empty ramen bowls, and counting.

"Not all ninjas know how to cook, birdbrain."

Naruto smiled, accepting the implicit apology, and straightened in his seat. After eating, Kakashi-sensei continued talking to them about military strategy and team formations. When it was time for her to go to the hospital for those 2 hours of class, Kakashi-sensei accompanied her to the crossroads leading to the hospital.

"Naruto will learn," he assured her, without reproaching her for anything.

"I know. I didn't say anything, he just perceived my thoughts," she replied and saw him raise an eyebrow in question. "Sometimes people hide what they really want to say by saying part of the truth."

Kakashi-sensei understood that she didn't believe him when he said he couldn't cook a single dish. He looked at the sky, as if gathering strength to talk about it, but Seina spared him from having to answer and put himself in an emotional bind.

"See you tomorrow, sensei."

"...See you tomorrow, Seina," the jonin finally said, watching her walk away, standing in the middle of the street.

The 2 hours at the hospital flew by. First, she had to demonstrate that her chakra control was good, passing a couple of tests that she did without much trouble. Then, they taught her her first medical ninjutsu. A kind of medical orb that she could direct over wounds, healing them as it passed.

"It works for superficial and intermediate wounds. With this jutsu, you won't be able to heal severe wounds or internal bleeding. For severe cases, you'll need another jutsu, which we'll teach you later, and in life-or-death cases, a team of at least 3 or 4 medics is necessary," Mina-senpai explained to her.

"Is there a jutsu to extract poison?" she asked, which was what concerned her the most.

"There is. Before I teach you that, I'd like you to learn about anatomy, physiology, and cytology."

Seina raised an eyebrow and took the stack of books the medic handed her. She glanced through the books and saw that it wasn't too much. One of her granddaughters had been a surgeon, so it wasn't the first time she had heard about cells or something similar. In fact, she had studied quite a bit of science to graduate remotely from her muggle studies, after much insistence from Hermione. She had even attended university to study psychology and criminology, fields that were very useful in her work as an Auror.

"I'd like you to start reading the cytology book first," she instructed. "Next week, on Tuesday, I'll ask you questions about the text. I expect you to give your best effort. If you impress me, I'll consider teaching you for 2 hours every day, instead of a couple of days a week. But only if you impress me! Is that clear?"

"Hai!"

She planned to impress them so much their jaws would drop. She left having learned her first medical jutsu and with three books of over 300 pages each. She wasn't worried, despite everything. She had studied much more in much less time for her final exams at the muggle university, and there she didn't even have her shadow clones. As soon as she got home, she saw that no one was there yet, so she left a clone making dinner, took a shower, and started studying. She duplicated the cytology book 20 times and summoned 20 clones. She wouldn't stop until she had memorized and understood every concept.

Hours later, Naruto walked through the door followed by Sasuke. They looked more tired than she did. As soon as they saw her, they raised a hand, breathless, and collapsed on the sofa.

"You look like you've been running a marathon," she commented, raising an eyebrow above the book.

"Kakashi-sensei made us run a few laps around Konoha."

"Why?" she asked, surprised. "What did you do?"

"Naruto, the dobe. He kept complaining about the C-rank mission," Sasuke grumbled with an annoyed expression. "What did you do at the hospital?"

"They taught me a medical jutsu for superficial and intermediate wounds. Next week, they'll test me on theoretical knowledge."

"Pff... Better you than me, nee-chan."

She rolled her eyes and continued reading. The clone indicated that dinner was ready and vanished in a cloud of smoke. Naruto and Sasuke went to shower, and she kept reading.

"Kakashi-sensei heard Naruto talking about my situation," Sasuke informed her minutes later, appearing in his pajamas with wet hair. "I think he suspects I don't live there."

"It doesn't matter," she shrugged. "Kakashi-sensei isn't going to force you to go back, even if he knows the truth. And even if the council asks for explanations and you have to tell them you've moved, it won't change anything."

"Are you sure?" Sasuke asked, and she nodded. "Okay."

"Besides, sooner or later, it was obvious that Kakashi-sensei would find out."

"Find out that you have special powers?" Sasuke said nonchalantly and started setting the table with placemats and glasses. She raised an eyebrow. "It's not like you've been trying to hide it from us. So far, I haven't seen you put anything in your pouch, but I've seen you pull out a bento the size of a backpack, a thermos full of water that you've never refilled in my presence, a diary, several pieces of parchment, pens, a medical kit... Do you want me to go on?"

She couldn't help but laugh at his observation. From that point of view, it was obvious that her pouch wasn't very normal. Sasuke smiled that arrogant smirk that drove some of his fans crazy and served the plates.

"What do you want for one of those?"

"You want a pouch like ours?" she asked with a smile. "It'll cost you making breakfast tomorrow."

"Deal."

Seina gathered her things and sent her clones to study in her room. While eating dinner, listening to Naruto's stories with occasional comments from Sasuke, she promised them that she would teach them the medical ninjutsu the next day. Thinking about the pouch and kunai holster she was going to make for Sasuke as a welcome home gift reminded her of Kakashi-sensei. Without a doubt, the pouch and holster would be very useful for any ninja, but if she gave it to him like she did for Sasuke, she would probably have to explain how she made it. It might even reach the ears of the Hokage.

The same was true for the potions and ointments. She had potions that were ten times more effective than the pills for recovering energy or blood, and without most of the side effects. However, if she started distributing them, people would wonder where she had acquired such knowledge. What was she supposed to say? That she had created them out of thin air? That’s why she was so interested in learning at the hospital. Once she demonstrated a good theoretical level, and if she showed interest in studying poisons and antidotes, no one would be surprised if she started creating her own medicines. No matter how impressive their efficacy was. But, for that, she needed to be accepted at the hospital as an apprentice.

Most potions, however, could be produced by any ninja, but the runes required magic to be activated. Naruto could use some sequences without her help. Other, more complex ones, she activated herself initially. Then they were maintained by the ambient chakra, which in this world substituted for magic as natural energy, even though it wasn't exactly the same. That meant no one could use the runes without her activating them, no matter how well they knew how to draw them.

"Sooner or later they'll figure out you have a kekkei genkai that Naruto doesn't have," Kurama spoke up, making her jump. "So far they've overlooked you thanks to your orange clown of a brother, but you've heard the emo. An eleven-year-old has figured you out in less than a month."

"That's because I don't want to hide all my life. If I had wanted to, he wouldn’t have caught on because I would have used spells to confuse him," she reminded him.

"So, what are you waiting for to tell your teacher you have a kekkei genkai?"

"To be stronger. Kakashi-sensei can protect me to a certain extent, but he isn't the leader of this village, and I don't know if I trust the Hokage. Look how he's left Sasuke to fend for himself in the Uchiha compound after everything that happened there, instead of standing up to his advisors. Or how he let the whole village know that we are your jinchuriki, putting us in danger... It seems the Hokage always chooses the option that avoids the most confrontations possible, but sometimes that’s at the cost of the people he should be protecting."

"Clearly his power is waning or someone is intervening from the shadows. Maybe both. Remember he retired years ago, passing the baton to your father. He shouldn’t be in command anymore. He's too old to handle the real problems of a ninja village."

"I know. Do you understand why I can't risk revealing certain things yet? Sasuke is different; he's a genin and doesn't answer to the Hokage like Kakashi-sensei does. Besides, I know he wouldn't betray me after what I did for him." And there was the crux of the matter. Kakashi-sensei was under the Hokage's command. No matter how much he might not want to betray her, he might be forced to.

"You think Kakashi could betray you if he has no choice."

"Exactly. However, I've learned some things in my 131 years of life, you know?" she thought with a mischievous undertone she couldn't help. "I don't have to tell him directly. I can let him figure it out on his own. If he doesn't have solid proof, even if he knows the truth, he won't be obligated to report me until the Hokage asks him directly about me."

"And you think Kakashi wouldn’t go to the Hokage with his suspicions?"

"I do. In fact, I think he’s realized what I just told you. That's why he doesn't ask me so that I don't have to lie or tell him the truth. He was the one who said he would earn my trust. I don't think he's talking about letting him read my diary. He only told the Hokage about the fake Madara Uchiha because Naruto and I might be in danger, as well as the whole village. As soon as I told him, I knew the Hokage would find out because withholding that information would have been treason, and dangerous."

"Mmm... Maybe you're right. From what I've seen of him, I can say he's not just any ninja."

Seina sighed and hoped Kurama was right. Otherwise, she didn't know how things might unfold.

The Translation: Harriet Potter y la Escalera que Pudo con Ella - AquaviriusMaggot - Harry Potter (2024)
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