Hey all, this is my first-ish fanfic so keep that in mind when criticising it. This being the first chapter doesn't really have much in it, it's mostly setting the scene, but any criticism or even *gasp* encouragement will be most appreciated ^_^ Just... be gentle ;)

Oh and by the way, I own none of Naruto or its characters. If I did then I'd have given Orochimaru to flightless-chan and have taken Anko for myself ^_^

This story is set back prior to Orochimaru left Konoha. Orochimaru is 26 while Anko is 17 years old. Oh and if anyone can tell me if they know the real name of the Yondaime it would be most appreciated. I can't call him Yondaime when he's only a chuunin _

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Orochimaru-sama?" whispered the young chuunin hesitantly. She knew her sensei disliked interruptions while he was training. So mysterious were his practices, she didn't know what to make of the man, though she was often spellbound by the very nature of the man. One might say he was not human… and yet that was all the more intoxicating. That pale white face, contrasted by those bright yellow eyes of his. He was truly unique; a man unlike any other.

The chuunin tapped upon the door to his room once more. "Orochima-" Anko started. "What is it Anko?" a voice questioned softly through the thin door. "You know I don't like being disturbed when I'm training."

"I know Orochimaru-sama… I finished mastering the technique you taught me" Anko said proudly, silently hoping her accomplishment would overrule his annoyance at being interrupted. This time it seemed her wish came true as the door slid open. Once more she was struck by the peculiarity of the man that stood before her, as he gazed down into her glassy brown eyes. She had never gotten used to his eyes, even in all the years he had spent training her.

"Good work Anko. I thought it would take you a few days to master it at least, I only left you a few hours ago." Orochimaru said smiling, proud of his students accomplishments. "Come. Show me what you've learnt" Orochimaru said, placing a hand on Anko's shoulder and leading her outside.

--------------------

Not long after they stood at training grounds thirteen. It was a curious place; curious for Konoha at least. The ground was mostly sand or hard dirt, no grass grew here. An assortment of thick branched tree's littered the area. It was the perfect place for Anko to test out her new technique.

"Start whenever you're ready Anko" Orochimaru said softly. There was no mistaking the confidence of the jounin. Such incredible talent as Orochimaru's was truly rare. Anko knew she had almost no chance of mounting any real competition… "Still I may be able to surprise him" Anko muttered, a mischievous smile tugging at her lips.

The chuunin swiftly slung several shurikens towards the jounin. Not waiting to see if they struck – for she knew they wouldn't – she ran to cover behind one of the tree's. Quickly performing a few seals she created three bunshin. Each bunshin splitting up, heading behind several tree's while Anko remained where she was. Deftly scrambling to the top of the tree she spied down where Orochimaru was… or rather, where he should have been. There was no sign of him, or the shurikens she had thrown.

"Come now Anko. You'll need to do much better than this." Orochimaru muttered smiling from his nearby perch upon a tree branch; the shurikens harmlessly lay upon his fingers like little more than some kind of odd jewelry

Anko narrowed her eyes at this. Normally Orochimaru would wait for her to make her actual attack before making any movement; it seemed he wasn't going to go easy on her today. A sudden flash of movement caught Anko's eyes as the jounin's hand cast Anko's shurikens towards her. Pushing off quickly from the tree the chuunin narrowly avoided the shurikens, one managing to scratch her face drawing a few drops of blood.

Silently landing on the ground, she set off immediately. Quickly forming a seal once more she divided up into no less than twenty bunshin, ever single one running quickly in all directions. She knew it wouldn't fool Orochimaru for long, she just wanted to buy some time. "Still… what's up with him today? He's drawn blood from me before, but never so early on. He's being very hard on me today. I need to do my best."

Her hands were a flurry of movement as she formed another, far more complicated set of seals. The sequence complete she reached her hands out towards a nearby tree, her hands moved through the tree itself, encountering mild resistance. She kept pushing against the tree until finally her entire body was enveloped by its wooden frame.

One by one her bunshin disappeared until no more remained. Anko waited for a few seconds before peeking out from her hiding place. There he was, right in front of her! He stood calmly, his back to her. His head moved about slowly, apparently scanning for some sign of her. "Now's the perfect time to use that technique" thought Anko. Extending her arm outside of the tree, Anko channeled chakra into her arm, just as she had before.

"Senai Jashuu!*" Anko shouted, the tree thankfully muffling her voice somewhat. Though not enough it seemed as Orochimaru's head snapped around, alerted to Anko's presence. It was too late for the jounin to dodge however. A slender snake sprang from Anko's sleeve, charging towards the jounin, latching on viciously to his arm.

*Shadow Snake Hand

Orochimaru disappeared in a puff of smoke. "Damn! A bunshin! I should have known that was too perfect!" Anko muttered angrily. She attempted to get out of the tree, but was stopped by a sudden booming voice across the training grounds. "Katon Goukakyuu no Jutsu!*" came Orochimaru's serpentine voice. A burst of flame's rushed towards the partially exposed Anko. "Shit! I can't get out of the tree before it hit's!" Anko's mind cried desperately.

*Grand Fireball Technique

Anko did the only thing she could in that situation. She pulled herself back inside the tree, and prayed. The fireball consumed the small tree, rending its slender branches to become blackened ash. Anko lay frozen within as the tree heated up around her. She knew she should move; try to get out of the tree before she was consumed like the burning embers that surrounded her, but her body would not cooperate.

A slender white hand saved her, pulling her out with a not so gentle tug upon the neck of her dark black shirt. "What happened Anko?" questioned Orochimaru. There was no worry, nor anger in his voice. Devoid of emotion his question was, a simple enquiry it was. "I… I just froze." Anko admitted ashamedly. It wasn't like her to be finished so easily, usually she'd be fighting her sensei until he forced her to stop to prevent any serious harm coming to either of them.

Orochimaru stared down at his student impassively, but there was something different about his eyes, a mixture of pride and shame seemed to linger at the edges of his golden, snakelike eyes. "Good work learning that technique." Orochimaru said simply. The happiness that had been in him earlier when Anko had told him of her accomplishments was gone. There was no happiness in his voice.

"What's wrong Orochimaru-sama?" Anko asked timidly. She wasn't used to this sadness that now seemed to hold her sensei, usually he was forever smiling. His optimism was boundless, annoyingly so at times. What could have brought her sensei down so?

"Nothing Anko. We're done today." Orochimaru said softly. Turning his head slightly he offered her a small smile. "You did well Anko." She couldn't help but feel that there was more he wanted to say, but he was soon gone; walking back towards his room to train.

---------------------

Anko trudged slowly back towards Konoha. She wasn't sure what to do with herself now. Normally Orochimaru and her would be sparring until the moon hung high in the sky. Sometimes even to the time when the sun started to grace Konoha's grassy plains. Never before had they finished so early, it was barely the afternoon! Despite having mastered a rather hard technique - and quite a rare technique too based on the number of people she had seen use it, a list that started and ended with Orochimaru – she felt distinctly empty. No pride filled her for her accomplishments today. Her sensei despite his kind words was obviously hoping for more from his student. She felt anger at herself for being unable to give it.

"Dammit!" she yelled, a gloved hand lashing out at a nearby tree. The tree shook violently in response, countless leaves floating down to the ground around her. She had worked so hard. Ever since she had become a genin and been taken under Orochimaru's wing she had worked hard to be the strong student he so obviously desired. Under his guidance she had ascended to the rank of chuunin quickly. No small feat by any measure. But still it wasn't enough. "Dammit!" she shouted again, preparing to strike the tree once more, however she was interrupted by the murmur of voices not far from her. Curious, and with little else to do, Anko chose to investigate.

Creeping silently through the tree's Anko soon found the source of the voices. A young blonde haired boy and the person who was obviously his sensei, a curious man with long grey hair and red markings across his face. "Jiraiya." Anko muttered with contempt. She had never thought much of the jounin. She could never understand how he could be any competition to Orochimaru, but still, it was obvious that Orochimaru was very much competing with the silver haired man. Just by the way Orochimaru's slender form would tighten slightly at the mention of his name.

"Now just write your name in blood, here" motioned the jounin, pointing towards a large scroll that lay open upon the ground. Quickly the young boy bit the end of his thumb and quickly wrote his name upon the scroll, Anko failed to catch the name and was curious to learn the identity of this boy. She had seen him before of course, always training with Jiraiya, but she had never seen anything like what the pair were doing here, not even in her training with Orochimaru. She hated to admit it, but she was slightly intrigued by the pair.

"Now do the following series of seals" said Jiraiya, carefully showing the young boy each seal as he performed it. "Then place your hand on the ground and that should be it. Though I warn you, this is a tricky technique. It may take you sometime to get good with it."

The boy didn't seem to be phased in the least by the jounin's warning. Performing the seals quickly, and with great elegance Anko had to admit, the young boy finally pushed his hand down to the ground. A burst of smoke shrouded the area; when it finally cleared, what she saw almost knocked her out of her tree. The blonde haired boy now stood upon a large red frog. It was almost as tall as a human, and much greater in mass.

The jounin appeared surprised too, though was obviously pleased by the result. "Great work. I didn't expect even you to do so well." Jiraiya said smiling proudly as he stroked the face of the red frog. The boy smiled proudly at the praise. The relationship of those two very much reminded her of the relationship she had… or use to have with Orochimaru. Suddenly it hit her. "Is it that boy? Is he the reason for Orochimaru-sama's unhappiness? Because he is stronger than I am?" Anko wondered silently. It was no small thing for her to admit her weakness, but she couldn't deny the strength that boy showed, summoning that powerful frog the way he had. She doubted she could do the same.

Climbing down quickly from the tree, Anko ran back to the training ground where she had previously sparred with her sensei. "I need to train!" Anko announced as she ran.