Disclaimer: The anime/manga series Naruto belongs to Kishimoto Masashi, Shueisha, TV Tokyo, GAINAX, etc. The author of this specific fiction claims no connection to neither the creation nor the sales of the said work of animation... Honestly, Naruto is very sane, even though GAINAX was involved, so this work can not be mine. All characters and logos associated with the series belong to their respective owners.

Note: I can not think of a word in English that would correctly portray the definition of 'manazashi'. It's a certain... light to the eyes. The way you would look at someone. The emotions within one's eyes. The closest translation to English would be...'The Gaze is Eternally...' or something along those lines.

Naruto-tachi are 17 in this fiction, and it is assumed that they had passed the chuunin exam sometime before they became 17.

* * * * *

Shit.

The profanity 'shit' was the first word that crossed Naruto's mind as he stared at Sasuke in horror. This was about the worst time in his life that he could have met Sasuke. Damn Sasuke. Damn all his ancestors. Damn everyone else he could think of. Why? Why did he have to encounter Sasuke when he was in such a state? Sasuke stared back at him, even though his eyes portrayed none of the shock and discomfort that Naruto's eyes were reflecting. Naruto awkwardly bit his lips as he attempted a grin. He slowly backed away. Sasuke tilted his head to one side.

"...who are you?"

* * * * *

"WHAT?!!!"

The fifth hokage, Kakashi, and Iruka cringed, plugged up his ears, and/or stared at Naruto humorlessly as the outraged boy hopped up and down in his anger. Naruto quickly started to pace back and forth in front of the hokage's desk, waving his arms up and down frantically. He vaguely resembled a chicken that had her head chopped off.

"Look, you can't do this to me! I mean, I know what you're trying to say and all, but it just won't work! Do you have any idea as to what you're asking of me? I..."

"Would you prefer that we send that Haruno girl, then, brat?" Tsunade coolly asked, resting her head on her left arm as she looked up at Naruto. Was it just his imagination, or did he see sadistic smirk in the fifth's eyes?

"Of... Of course not! But why me?! Come on, how about someone more skilled at ninjutsu than me? There are plenty of boys... men! Why does it have to be me?"

"What is this sudden modesty, Naruto?" Kakashi asked, his eyebrows lifting somewhat. "Usually you are more then enthusiastic to be entrusted with a mission of this danger and responsibility."

"Yeah, but I'm not a pervert!" Naruto shot back, his blue eyes flashing. He deeply sighed and plopped onto a vacant chair, burying his head into his hands. "I can't believe even you would agree to something as disgusting as this, Professor Iruka..."

Iruka guiltily lowered his eyes. "But you are the only one capable of doing this mission, Naruto. Please understand that."

"Just imagine Chouji doing this mission. This mission will fail in zero point five seconds flat," Kakashi said, sniggering. Iruka shot him a look, and Kakashi decided that this was a very good time to shut his mouth. Naruto looked from Tsunade's gleeful face to Kakashi's amused face to Iruka's downcast face. And he knew that he had no choice.

"...damn it all to hell."

* * * * *

Naruto slowly turned around, feeling like an animal on display at the zoo. Iruka's expression was unreadable. Kakashi was red from keeping his laughter inside. And Tsunade-- who made that old hag into a hokage again?-- did nothing to conceal her mirth.

"So?" Naruto dryly asked, crossing his arms in front of his chest. A scowl was firmly planted upon his features and his lips curled into a sneer. "Do I look gorgeous, or do I look gorgeous?"

"You are the most beautiful little girl I've ever laid my eyes on," Kakashi solemnly said. Then he burst into laughter. Iruka jabbed Kakashi's waist with his elbow. Kakashi shut his mouth. Naruto was thankful.

Naruto honestly did not understand the point of changing himself into a female for this mission. He knew that stamina of a male and charms of a female would make the spying mission much easier, but he was still only a teenager. Surely no one would suspect a sweet little boy like Naruto to be a spy? But Tsunade insisted that people least suspected sweet little girls to be a spy, and no other girl-- or boy, for that matter-- was young and small yet powerful enough to pull this mission off. It also did not help that Naruto was an expert of sexy no jutsu, a skill which made him the one most capable of transforming into a female.

The motif of this mission was 'inconspicuous.' No huge breasts, no nudity. Naruto had managed to make himself look like a normal and sweet 17-years-old girl. His hair came down to his shoulders in silky golden locks, and his body was well-proportioned and slender to match his age. Naruto was frankly extremely uncomfortable in this form, since he had to actually maintain it for a while this time. All the softness and curves in this body felt foreign to him. Even his skin had turned a shade paler. His normal feminine features were exaggerated, and his masculine features had all but disappeared. What happened to all that muscle he had worked so hard to achieve over the years?

Tsunade critically appraised Naruto, then started to rub face powder on his face.

"Wha... What in the hell are you doing, hag?!" Naruto screeched. Iruka and Kakashi exchanged looks. Naruto's voice was more feminine, but his tone of speech was as masculine as ever. Tsunade shrugged as she looked at Naruto's face more carefully.

"If you have that kyuubi(nine-tailed fox)'s symbol on your cheek, brat, even 3-years-old can tell your true identity. Whenever you are on a mission, be sure to cover up those whisker marks with this powder."

"You want me to wear make-up?!"

"Powder, brat. Disguise. Stop making a fuss. And stop using 'ore(male form of I).' It's 'atashi(female form of I)' from now on. Better yet, just use 'watashi'(formal form of I)."

Naruto looked horror-stricken. He groaned and plopped down into the chair he had occupied previously.

"Someone, just kill me now..."

* * * * *

No one had been kind enough to kill him. So it was Naruto, on a fine Monday morning, who grudgingly stood in front of Kakashi's doorstep to receive detailed instructions about the mission. The last person that Naruto, in his female form and wearing disgusting white dress that Tsunade provided him, expected to encounter was Sasuke. But Sasuke it was. When Naruto had knocked on the door, Sasuke appeared on the other side of the door and curiously looked at him. Naruto could have screamed and torn his hair out and chopped Kakashi's head off. Sasuke would never let him live this down.

What he did not expect was Sasuke asking him who the hell he was.

"Aa... Eto. Ore wa na(I am)..."

"Ore?" Sasuke echoed, frowning. Naruto mentally gave a kick to himself.

"Janakutte(that's not it)... Iya(no)... Sono(that's)... Boku wa ne(I am)..."

Naruto fiddled with the front of his dress skirt, biting down on his lower lip. He frankly had no idea what to tell Sasuke. Sasuke opened the door wider and stepped aside so that Naruto can enter Kakashi's home. Naruto reluctantly did so, but kept his eyes lowered so that he won't have to face Sasuke.

"It's all right if you can not tell me why you're here, but you can at least provide me with your name?"

"Oh, Na..." Naruto grimaced innerly. He was certain Tsunade would have thought up of some disgustingly cute girl's name for him, but he was not informed of one yet. Then he got to choose! Oh, joy. "...Narue."

While Naruto was mentally beating himself up for being so original, Sasuke said something that made Naruto wonder if he had damaged his ears while he was changing into a female.

"That's a nice name--"

'What?!' Naruto's subconscious immediately screamed back.

"--I am Uchiha Sasuke. I am pleased to make your acquaintance, Miss...?"

Naruto had a strange urge to kill Sasuke, Tsunade, Kakashi, and Iruka, in that order, very painfully and slowly. He smiled instead. Why was Sasuke so freaking inquisitive today?!

"Um, er, Satou. The pleasure is all mine, Sasuke."

Naruto bit down on his lower lip again as Sasuke frowned yet again. Only very vulgar people or a close friend would call another by his first name without any suffix attached. No girl in her right mind would call someone she had just met by his first name without any suffix.

"-san," Naruto added lamely. He fidgeted uncomfortably as Sasuke scrutinized him. Then Sasuke lifted his hand up, and Naruto automatically recoiled as he thought that Sasuke would smack him on the head and laugh at him as he finally realized that he was Uzumaki Naruto, not Satou Narue. Sasuke did no such thing. He instead firmly shook Naruto's hand and walked away to retrieve Kakashi.

Naruto stared down at his hand, which still felt warm from being held by Sasuke, then stared after Sasuke and wondered if he would still be sane by the time he finished this mission.

* * * * *

*bangs his head against the keyboard* This fiction doesn't work in English! Nuooo! English does not have different speech patterns for different genders...!!! Argh. Naruto will be using 'boku' when he is in Narue's form. 'Boku' is used by young males, and some very tomboy girls would use it, even though such a case is extremely rare. I will not be evil enough to make him use 'atashi'. Naruto will still be a 'he', even when he is Narue, because he's a boy, no matter what his outer appearance may be.

To give you an idea of difference between male and female speech:

Sasuke: Urusee na. Omae, mou shizukani shirou yo. Ore no sei janai ze?

Sakura: Urusai wa yo ne. Anta, mou shizukani shinasai. Atashi no sei janain desho?

English: You're noisy. Be quiet already, you. It's not my fault, you know?

Where did the last name "Satou" come from? You see, that is my ingenious idea of incorporating Sasuke x Naruto to make SaTo, which became the last name Satou...! Nah, it's just one of the most common last name in Japan. ^^;;

Version 2, 1/28/2004