"That should about do it."
She said to herself before pulling back to face herself in the mirror. Black and red hair littered the sink in front of her, empty bottles of bleach and dye were lined perfectly along it's edge. The girl who looked back at Kioko was one she hardly recognized. For once her hair wasn't asymmetrical. For once that lock of red didn't hang down, taunting her. She let out a sigh of relief, a whole lifetime worth of discomfort washed away in an instant. She ran a hair through her now shortened hair as a smile tugged at her lips.
A few hours, if that, ago she had been sharing thoughts and feelings with the Kazekage. His stifling aura still left her uneasy but something had changed afterward. She had been on her way to find Ritsuki when people began approaching her, suffocating her with questions or laughter from a joke she hadn't told. In her attempt to flee from them, she found herself in a nearby shop. She had always admired the hair dye there but had never been bold enough to try it for herself. Her encounter with the Kazekage had shook her down to the foundations. Perhaps this was the right time to build herself back up?
It was a herculean effort to purchase the dye from the store as other shoppers flocked or passed so slowly they almost haunted the Yamanaka. Despite that claustrophobic experience, she honestly couldn't remember feeling so good. Perhaps it was being away from the Kazekage's deathly aura, or perhaps it was because she finally had a question whose answer she could search after. What was it that made her clan special and moreover, what made her special? She had no clues or any kind of trail to follow after, but she had time, and she had Inahara to look up to.
The growing commotion of the village had prompted a few impromptu missions for the Genin to suddenly go on. While this was likely a way to keep the less trained away from serious danger, it was a welcome reprieve. Kioko wasn't sure if she could go back into anything as stressful as her last mission. Walking along the dirt paths she took meticulous steps. Each foot landed on flat earth. She stumbled here or there when there were too many twigs to step where she had felt comfortable, but in time she had managed to make her way to the clearing the mission had informed her of. She'd be working alongside only a single other Genin if the details had been correct. Two was infinitely better than three she thought. As always, however, she found herself early and waiting for her partner to arrive.