Kakashi, Sasuke, and Sakura watched the sinking sun with a mixture of irritation and worry. "Where the hell are they?" Sasuke asked in his mind as a strong wind kicked up a few papers scattered along the street.
Sakura turned her head to her sensei. "Should we go look for them?" she asked, biting her lower lip.
Kakashi sighed. "We'll give them another fifteen minutes. If they're not back by that time, I'll go," he replied calmly as he turned another page in his book.
Sakura nodded, but somehow she felt that it would not be so simple.
"Pleeeeeease, Tsunade-sama?" TenTen begged.
"As I told you at Naruto's party, I simply don't have the time to take on another student," Tsunade answered with a sigh.
"Just while they're gone then?"
"That's not enough time to teach you much of anything," Tsunade said with a frown.
"I'm already an expert in twenty-seven weapons. A katana shouldn't be that difficult," TenTen rebutted in a last ditch effort to get the Fifth to agree.
Tsunade sighed in defeat. "Alright." Ignoring the utterly gleeful expression in TenTen's eyes, she added, "But you still won't learn much from me. I didn't get very far in my katana training."
Tsunade smirked. "I never did have much use for any weapon besides my fists."
The brunette-haired chief of police looked up from instructing the rookie in front of her when she heard the front doors open. Two teenagers entered the building; well, two teenagers and a corpse. She ran to the strange group at once. "What happened?" she asked, looking at the girl in alarm.
Naruto looked down and stayed silent.
"We're n...injas from Konoha," Hinata spoke up. "Can...can someone take her from him?" she said with a nod in Naruto's direction.
The chief frowned in thought, not sure if she could trust them. Finally, she nodded in agreement. "Alright." She turned her head to the rookie she had been instructing a moment ago. "Higurashi, take this poor kid to the morgue," she commanded grimly.
The blonde rookie cringed. "H...hai, Emiko-san." He got up from his desk and gingerly took the girl from Naruto's arms.
"Alright. You two, follow me," Emiko instructed as Higurashi carried the girl away.
Hinata nodded and, putting her hand in Naruto's, followed Emiko into her office.
Emiko closed the door behind them and sat down heavily into her chair. "Now, what happened?" she asked sternly as she waved a hand at the chairs in front of her desk.
Hinata and Naruto took the cue and sat down. Seeing her boyfriend wasn't in the mood for talking, Hinata took the initiative. "We were hired by Mayor Kurata to eliminate the Youkai gang."
"Hm. I remember Tate saying something about that. Please continue."
"We were conducting a s...search of the area they were suspected to be in when...I noticed we were being followed..." she said with a quick glance at Naruto. "Naruto-kun a...ambushed her and she fought back. He kicked her and when she landed she...fell on a metal s...sign pole," she finished with a grimace and a swallow as she noticed Naruto grit his teeth.
Emiko blew out a long puff of air. "I see."
"Naruto-kun didn't mean to k...kill her. It was an accident. He d...didn't know the pole was there," Hinata added, becoming louder and a little squeaky near the end of her sentence, her eyes begging Emiko to believe her.
Suddenly, Naruto's fist slammed down on the desk, making both girls jump. He hung his head so that his hair covered his eyes. "I...I'm sorry. She...she wasn't even..." he said as two fresh tears moistened his cheeks.
Hinata frowned sadly. "Naruto-kun..."
"She wasn't even our age. We...we don't even know if she was really an enemy," Naruto continued, wiping the wetness from his face.
"I...it was an accident, Naruto-kun," Hinata said, offering the only comfort she could think of at the moment.
Naruto frowned. "Her family won't care about that," he said sadly.
Hinata, not knowing what else to say, put her arms around the boy she loved.
A knock sounded on the door. "Yes?" Emiko asked.
The door opened and Higurashi poked his head in. "We have a positive I.D on that girl."
"Alright." Emiko stood and looked at Naruto and Hinata. "I'll be back in a moment," she said as she placed a comforting hand on Hinata's shoulder.
Emiko walked outside the office, closing the door behind her. Hinata relaxed a bit, realizing that Emiko's actions indicated that she believed them. She watched the two shadows in the frosted glass window of the door with a nervous tension that threatened to make her sick to her stomach.
Emiko came back after roughly two minutes and re-took her seat. She had a short stack of papers in her hands. "Her name was Katsura. And you can relax, Naruto. She had been arrested several times for crimes relating to the Youkai gang."
Naruto sighed with partial relief. "Thank you," he said, brightening a bit. It was obvious, however, that he still hadn't completely recovered from the whole experience.
Hinata gripped Naruto's hand. "A...ano, our s...sensei is expecting us. May we go now?" she asked.
Emiko put a curled, thoughtful index finger to her chin. "Hmm. I suppose I've gotten all I need from you. Go ahead," she said in a serious tone of voice.