A/N - Fantomo: I know, I know…I have a lot of other fics going at the moment, so what the hell am I doing writing another?! I'd like to know that myself…-grumbles- Fear not, I have not stopped the others. I just got the idea for a Naruto fic and HAD to write it! This is my first Naruto fic so forgive me if it sucks. Co-authored by the wonderful inukagome15!

Note: I got this idea from the episodes when Mizuki escaped from prison, so it's set during filler (original series, not Shippuuden).

Disclaimer: I own the first 3 Naruto movies and the first 3 volumes of the original series. I'm hoping to get them all, but that'll have to wait a long time until I save enough money to do such a thing. If I can't even do that, what makes you think I own it? I wouldn't need to be buying all the episodes and movies then!

Chapter One: Cunning as a Fox

It was a fairly nice night. The stars could be clearly seen, twinkling overhead like miniature guardians of those they watched during the night. A small, chilly breeze was the only thing that one could say ruined it. For one man, however, it was the best night of his life.

'After many, many hours of long, hard work it will all pay off tonight!' He inwardly smiled, barely able to contain his excitement. He managed to, though. It wouldn't do to give the game away, after all. He could not afford even one tiny slip-up.

In fact, even now, as he was walking towards the familiar ramen shop that he constantly saw it go to, he was trying to keep his face neutral. It was all he could do not to break out into a full smile and salivate at the possibilities of what could happen. No, he needed to be calm.

'And it's all thanks to you, Orochimaru-sama,' he thought, smiling secretly. The shinobi stopped in front of Ichiraku Ramen, lifting up the cloth and pulling out a stool.

"Hey there!" Teuchi, the old man with the white hat, greeted him. "Anything I can get you this late hour?"

"I'd like a bowl of ramen with all the specials," the man responded as polite and business-like as he could. "In a box, please."

"Coming right up!" Teuchi and Ayame got to work, leaving the man to treasure the potion he had hidden in his vest. He knew he was probably raising eyebrows at such a late night order but he had an excuse for that as well.

"Well, here you go!" Teuchi laid the wrapped up ramen bowl in front of him. "Eating it tomorrow?"

"It's not for me," the man explained. "It's for Uzumaki Naruto. You know, that blond-haired kid that used to pull pranks?"

"Oh! Naruto!" Teuchi laid one hand against his chest and rested the elbow of the other one on top of that, fingering his chin. "A present?"

"Yes, but not from me," he said, lying smoothly. "It's from Lady Hokage."

"But why would she give Naruto a bowl of ramen?" Ayame asked. "It's not quite like her."

"Well…" The shinobi leaned in as if he had a secret — which he did, in fact. "Just between you and me, the lady's got a soft spot for the kid." He inwardly grimaced at that comment. How could anyone get feelings for that monster? "She thought it'd be a nice idea to give the kid a bowl of ramen for that mission he worked so hard on." That last bit was a lie but they wouldn't need to know that.

"Which one?" Ayame inquired innocently.

The shinobi had studied his target well whenever he had not been meddling with the serum he now held. He knew all the missions and whatnot that the brat had undertaken. "The one where he travelled to a place called…Crescent Island, I believe?"

"Oh, yes, that one! He ended up escorting a circus along with the original clients. It was quite the adventure as he told it!" she said in recognition. Her father and her always loved listening to Naruto relay his ninja adventures and the one concerning Crescent Island had been particularly interesting.

Teuchi nodded, smiling. "That sounds just like the Hokage to me! It's a pity the Third isn't here anymore. He probably would have been happy to see one of his students, and one of the legendary Sannin no less, continue his legacy."

"Yes, but one bowl won't be enough for Naruto," Ayame piped up. "He has an average of eight bowls in one sitting. I wonder if Lady Hokage knows that?"

"I don't suppose she does, since she only said 'one big bowl'," the man said as normally as he could. He had not been prepared for such a question and had hastily improvised. Since, unlike the Third Hokage, the Fifth never came here, there was a high chance the lie would remain undetected. 'It just depends on how much about the Fifth that wretched little brat says to these two.'

"No matter," Teuchi interposed and the ninja almost sighed in relief. "Naruto will appreciate ramen in any way, shape or form. He'll be very happy with this."

"Oh yeah…" The shinobi pretended that an idea had just struck him. "Could you two write a small note to him? Just tell him that it's a surprise from Lady Hokage."

"Shouldn't the Hokage write that herself?"

The man shrugged. "You know her, doesn't do anything unless she wants to. In this case, she didn't really have time to write a note." He laid down a pen and paper he had snatched before leaving his house earlier.

"We'll sign it with our names," Ayame said, waiting as Teuchi wrote down a small, congratulatory message and signed it. She then signed her own name.

"Thanks." The man laid down the money for the order and took the box. "Have a nice night."

"You, too!" Ayame waved back, smiling cheerfully.

The man ignored their goodbye waves besides throwing back a small wave in return. He was too busy trying to get to the brat's place as fast as he could.

In a few minutes, he had arrived. He dug into his vest and took out a small bottle filled with a clear liquid. Smirking, he opened the box and poured the liquid into the ramen. The ramen turned a lighter colour for a brief moment before resuming its normal hue. For a split second, the shinobi was tempted to eat it himself but just stopped in time. It wouldn't do find out what that potion could do him and he didn't particularly want to find out.

After he set the box of ramen down with the note from the Ichiraku people on top of it, he slunk back into the shadows. Tomorrow would mark its beginning…

'It's time to reveal you for who you truly are, Kyuubi.'

A/N: So, it wasn't too bad, was it? Anyway, an enormous thanks needs to be given to inukagome15 for writing practically this entire chapter! I only wrote, say, the first two paragraphs and a bit about two thirds of the way through. Go give her a big hug!

I was really stuck, see, and so I requested help. I only thought she'd write one or two lines, just to get me started. Imagine my surprise when an entire prologue came back! -HUGS-

Constructive criticism is highly appreciated, but flames will be used to teach my cat to stay away from fire so he doesn't stick his tail on another lit candle…

Please review! ~FantomoDrako