AN: Hi, this took me quite a while but here's the next chapter. And yeah, there's a variation of the Mizuki, Iruka and Naruto scene here. I hope this isn't too much like the anime. Also I must warn you the action sucks. I can't write action scenes at all and there's supposed to be quite some action in this .

Um, anyway I hope the characters aren't too OOC and I hope there aren't that many grammar or spelling mistakes. I haven't re-read this yet. I think I should get a beta or something. I'm still kind of trying to set the scene here and also build some plot or beginnings of it anyway, so I hope you bear with me. I really want to get into the relationship between Sasuke and Naruto, as well as Naruto's relationship with all the other guys (Shika, Chouji, Neji, Shino and Kiba) since both will play an important role much later in this story.

Anyway enough from me. I just hope you enjoy this chapter.

Cherry Daze -V

Warning: SasukexNaruto (Don't say I didn't warn you)

Disclaimer: Naruto doesn't belong to me and neither does Uryuu Ishida who rightfully belongs to the creators of Bleach. I made Sasuke use his name coz Ishida is also voiced by the same man who does the voice of Sasuke. Besides they kinda look alike also.

To Win A Prince's Heart

"Damn dress," Naruto swore, ripping at the puffy folds as he moved rapidly from tree to tree. When he was finally done all that remained of his orange mess of a gown was a jagged skirt that finished just below where his boxers began.

Despite being an inconceivable bastard Mizuki was still a very capable ninja and as expected from one the moment he sensed he was being following the man was quick to hasten his pace. Although more than able to keep up Naruto knew he could go faster. After years of scrambling away from angry mobs alongside his perverted teacher his speed had improved considerably, though to be quite honest being threatened by castration was enough to make any male find speeds they never even knew themselves capable of.

Without once breaking his stride he tossed the offending material away. The heavy folds entangling his legs had been restricting his movements and now that he had dealt with it there was nothing holding him back. He lifted his head only to find himself frowning when he found his target absolutely nowhere in sight. He slowed down. Taking a moment before coming to a complete halt on one of the thick overhanging branches, remembering the tree and water walking exercises he steadied himself on the rough surface. Even without a visual he knew the bastard was still around. He could feel him, and something else. He frowned for a moment. His eyes suddenly widened when he realized it was another person, one he realized had been following for quite some time.

Angry at himself for not detecting the presence sooner he grabbed at the kunai strapped to his thigh. Crouching low he readied himself for any oncoming attacks. His senses heightened he heard, before he even saw, the barrage of kunais that sudden rained down on him. Quick to action he immediately dodged most and parried others with the aid of his own blade. Distracted and hearing impaired by the clang of metal it wasn't until it was too late that he finally spotted the fuuma shuriken spinning towards him.

"Naruto, duck," he faintly heard a panicked voice cry.

Quickly he made a move to evade but knew even then it was too late. Closing his eyes he felt a sudden weight push against his chest. The first thought to come to mind was that he'd been hit but he soon realized there was no pain. It was only when he felt arms quickly encircling him and someone safely guiding him down to the ground below that he dared to open his eyes. As soon as he did so he found himself staring down at the back of what looked like a suit. His gaze trailed over the sleek black material to fall upon the sight of the giant shuriken embedded in his savior's back. The moment they touched the ground his back hit the soft grass with a muted thump as soon as he was released. Two arms quickly followed to brace themselves on either side of his head, the man who'd just saved him struggling to hold himself up over the suddenly frozen blond.

Blue eyes wide Naruto could do no more than stare at the familiar face he saw hovering over him. Iruka, the same man he'd been cursing, the same man he thought was no more than just another ignorant villager. Why did he save him? Of course he could've so easily justified it with the thought that the academy teacher had only been protecting what he saw as an innocent girl, but he knew that wasn't it. Iruka had called out to warn him and what's more he was looking down at him as if he knew, as if he actually cared.

Naruto moved his mouth as if to speak but no words came. He tried again and this time, this time he managed to murmur, "W-why?"

"Because you're the same as me," was the quiet reply. "After my parents died no one complimented or recognized me. Being the bad student I screwed up a lot during class. I wanted everybody's attention and I couldn't get anyone's attention by being good. So I acted like an idiot." Iruka's voice began to shake and looking up Naruto realized the older man was crying. Eyes filled with a pain he only knew too well stared pleadingly back. "It was tough. Isn't that right Naruto? You were lonely, weren't you? You just wanted someone to acknowledge you, to know you were alive, that you existed."

Naruto felt himself trembling, his fist clenching as Iruka continued.

"I'm sorry Naruto," he choked. "I'm sorry. I don't hate you. I've never hated you. If anyone deserved to be hated it's me. You wouldn't have suffered so much. You wouldn't have been so quick to believe Mizuki's words if I'd been more aware."

"Did I hear right, that vile nine-tailed demon has returned again to plague us with its disgusting presence," a sneering voice interrupted. "I knew it'll come back. Probably to finish what it started all those years ago when it tried to destroy the village."

With barely concealed surprise Iruka turned to his former friend. His eyes narrowed when he saw the scroll, shock quickly turning to anger as he fought to regain his footing. He reached back. Wincing he pulled out the large star out from his back and with a burst of energy he shouldn't even be capable of in his state sent the shuriken flying towards the other man with a yell of, "Shut up. Naruto would never do that. He's not the demon."

Easily side stepping the clumsy throw Mizuki turned to look at the fallen boy and smirked at what he saw. "Don't be so sure. His eyes, they're the eyes of the monster fox." He turned to Naruto with a superior smirk. "You hate this village, don't you?"

There was nothing but silence. Iruka slowly turned around and saw the conflicted expression on the young boy's face. Quietly, hesitantly, he murmured, "Naruto?"

"Yes," the small blonde murmured.

The moment the words left his mouth Iruka felt his whole world shatter. What he had done? What had the whole goddamned village done? Because surely this was their fault, all their faults, especially those who had just stood by and let this happen, those like him. He heard Mizuki's mocking laughter and despite the words he'd just heard uttered from his one time pupil he felt his anger boil at what he heard next.

"Aren't you now wishing they'd killed him when he was nothing more than a little whelp, eh, Iruka."

"Shut up!" Angered beyond comprehension Iruka shot forward, intent on making sure Mizuki stop only to have his punches blocked. A sharp pain soon exploded in his stomach as he Mizuki countered with a swift kick to his abdomen, the force pushing him across the small clearing to slam painfully against the trunk of the nearest tree. The second the impact occurred he broke out into a painful cough, blood splattering from his lips as he tried desperately to remain conscious. He could feel the hot liquid drenching his back and knew he was losing blood fast. Blindly he searched for Naruto and upon spotting the orange blur whispered, "I know it's too late now but I wanted you to know I've always acknowledged you, accepted you. To me you're just Naruto, not Kyuubi, never Kyuubi. Just Naruto."

Not moving a muscle Naruto glanced to the fallen man, tears burning in his eyes as he heard the words. Words that he knew were true. Iruka acknowledged him. But then again, deep inside he always knew the academy teacher did.

"That day, when I left, when I saw the glares and felt the hatred, I hated this village," Naruto began as he slowly rose to his feet, head bowed and eyes shadowed from view. "But then I realized I'll be just like them and if I let this hate manifest I'll be proving them right. I'll be exactly what they wanted me to be, a monster. I can stand the heated glares, even the insults, but what I can't stand, what I'd hate more than anything would be to see their satisfied faces." He lifted his head and with clenched fist forcefully yelled, "I would never let them be right. I'll prove them all wrong. I'll make them all acknowledge me even if it's the last thing I do."

Mizuki growled and sneered, "The last thing you'll do will be to see Iruka die, but don't worry you'll join him soon enough."

The grey haired man reached for the remaining fuuma shuriken still strapped to his back. Blades spinning he charged, right at the defenseless chunin. Before he could strike however he found himself unexpectedly being forcefully pushed back by a blur of orange and gold. Regaining his footing he landed heavily on his feet with an angered snarl. There, standing before the weakling was the even weaker fox brat, eyes narrowed and positioned in a defensive stance. It looked as if the kid actually thought he had a chance.

"No. Run Naruto. Just run," the fallen ninja cried helplessly.

"Yes, listen to Iruka, brat. Run and save yourself," Mizuki added with a derisive snort.

Naruto growled low in his throat and bit out, "Don't you dare lay a finger on Iruka. I'll kill you if you do."

"You think you can defeat me you," screamed the enraged man. "You're nothing but a stupid kid. You're nothing but another stupid mistake of this damnable kingdom. One I'm going to rectify right now." He let out a maniacal laugh at that. "I'll probably be rewarded with this scroll for killing you."

Bringing his hands together Naruto quickly performed a series of seals before yelling, "Taju Kage Bunshin no Jutsu."

To the shock of both chunin's the entire forest was suddenly lit up by an army of orange. As one they quickly descended but rather than just simply passing through Mizuki got an even bigger shock when the punch aimed at his face by one of the clones connected with a sickening crunch. With a start he realized they were solid.

While all this was happening all Iruka could do was watch as the mass of Narutos retrieved the scroll and made short work of the older chunin. As he saw his young pupil kneel down before him, effectively drawing his attention away from the fight and to the bright pools of blue staring questioningly at him, he felt his eyes beginning to burn once more. He wanted to talk, to say something, anything but in the end he remained silent and did the one thing he should've done four years ago. He reached into his jacket and pulled out a headband, his headband.

"I know that this might not mean anything to you right now but I want you to have it," he choked out, eyes becoming even more watery as the tears flowed freely. "No one deserves this more than you."

With the utmost care the visibly trembling teen gratefully accepted the gift, giving his former teacher a watery smile. He looked up and was just about to give him his thanks when out of nowhere a single senbon needle flew right by him. Though he didn't see where it landed the sudden slumping of the brown haired man before him told him that it definitely hit its mark. He quickly got to his feet and turned around, the instant he did he found himself face to face with a pale, raven-haired girl. At least at first glance that was what it looked like.

"Haku?" he questioned, eyes squinting at the 'girl' in a pretty blue dress standing before him with what looked like two identical pins pinned to his neckline. "What the hell are you doing here and what did you do to Iruka?"

"No time to explain. We have to get out of here," the older boy quickly said, grabbing hold of his arm. "Five guards are headed this way."

"But Iruka-"

"Is going to be just fine," he quickly interrupted. "I slowed down the circulation of blood in his body so that he won't lose too much more blood before help arrives. He'll be okay but we won't be if they find us. We have to get out of here Naru, now."

Giving the unconscious academy teacher one last worried glance he turned to Haku with an affirmative nod. Then without another word they both set off, quickly lowering their chakra levels as they swiftly moved through the forest, being careful not to be detected.

Gripping Iruka's headband tightly in his hand Naruto smiled softly as he whispered a quiet, "Thank you" back to the unconscious man whose lips tipped up every so slightly, content even in his oblivion.

Once in the safety of his room Naruto found that news in the palace spread like wildfire. Before he even had the chance to worry he'd already heard through the grapevine about the two injured ninjas found in the woods. If it weren't for the fact his appearance might raise more than a few eyebrows he would've been at Iruka's side right now but as it was the only thing he could do was to remain in his room and hope the brown haired chunin was well enough to be released the next day. He let out a sigh at that before quickly finding himself turning back to the problem at hand. What else but his perverted mentor.

Dressed in his favorite orange spiral pajamas with a ridiculous walrus nightcap resting on his mop of blonde hair Naruto crossed his arms and pouted. He glared at the smiling boy beside him and muttered, "Damn stupid perverted hermit. Underestimating me like this. Doesn't he think I could do this all on my own? And why didn't you reveal yourself to me sooner."

"Jiraiya thought it'd be best if I was to remain hidden to you and not make myself known until it was absolutely necessary. It was so that if either of us arouses any kind of suspicions the other can keep going without being implicated by association."

"Damn hermit, didn't even trust me with that," he continued angrily, not at all placated by the reasoning.

Giggling softly Haku gently pinched a scarred cheek, still plump with unshed baby fat, and soothingly explained, "Ah, don't be like that Naru. Your mission is to remain in the competition and keep up appearances, make sure Orochimaru thinks you're playing into whatever he has planned. And mine is to keep an eye on him and make sure we find out whatever that is and prevent it from happening. You've got the more important job here."

Swatting the hand away he jutted his lower lip out even more and turned away, more for show than anything. He wasn't really mad, extremely annoyed but not mad, at least not at Haku. "Yeah, very important, I'm the bait," he mumbled.

The long haired boy leaned down and with a smile whispered, "Ah yes and a very cute one at that. I'll certainly give you a bite."

His face turning bright red Naruto scrambled away and pointed an accusing finger at his giggling friend as he yelled, "Stop teasing me. I get that enough from the perverted hermit and your grisly of a mentor."

"Tsk, tsk, Naruto," Haku responded in mock reproach. "Zabuza wouldn't like hearing you talking about him that way."

Poking out his tongue at the other boy he stated confidently, "Well, he's not here is he."

"Guess again brat," came a gruff growl.

At that Naruto immediately felt his skin crawl. Despite knowing the man well enough to know that to those he was fond of he was more bark than bite the 'Demon of the Hidden Mist' Zabuza Momochi was still one very intimidating man. It was just too bad for him one of the nukenin's favorite pastimes was to scare the living daylights out of him every chance he got. At the feel of a hand on his shoulder Naruto found himself almost jumping ten feet in the air as he spun around to point at the older man. In a very high and squeaky voice he yelled, "What the hell are you doing here? How did you get in? Wah! And how many times do I have to tell you to stop sneaking up on me like that."

With a grunt Zabuza bit out, "Shut it brat or do you want to alert everyone within a hundred mile radius." He rolled his eyes. "Loud, annoying pipsqueak, how the hell does the old fart handle you?"

"He doesn't handle me. I handle him," the blond muttered with an even more pronounced pout, giving his lower lip quite a workout tonight.

Under his bandages the Mist-nin grinned. He wouldn't admit it but he did kind of miss the kid. After the Gatou incident the toad sanin had decided to go off in order to do what he claimed to be 'research'. With more than a little cajoling he'd somehow ended up agreeing to allow the blond haired punk to travel with Haku and him. That is, at least until his teacher came looking for him again. Needless to say it wasn't until two months later, and a whole lot of ramen and abuse to his eardrums, that the old man finally came to retrieve his charge.

"You're probably right on that one," Zabuza conceded, albeit a little reluctantly. He then narrowed his eyes and turning to the expectant pair asked, "Is the place secure?"

With a slight tic the older Nin noticed the blank look being directed his way by a rather clueless blond. Unable to restrain himself he bopped the boy over the head and growled, "Idiot. Didn't anything I taught you get through that thick skull of yours?"

"Owie," was the responding cry. "You didn't have to hit me so hard Zabuza-bastard."

Twitching at the name he was just about to give the teen another whack when a soft melodious voice stopped him. "Yes, I've already made sure that no one will be able to eavesdrop on our conversation."

With barely concealed pride and a not so discreet heated glare directed at the blond who was busily nursing the bump on his head Zabuza purposely drawled, "Well, I'm glad that someone here uses his brain once in a while." His glare intensified at the answering finger but otherwise he chose to ignore it. At least for now. "Naruto you have another task. Jiraiya wants you to keep a close eye on the Uchiha. He has suspicions that Orochimaru has some kind of hold on the boy and right now he needs you to confirm whether or not this is true."

Naruto nodded with a slight smirk. Finally he was going to get some action that didn't involve panty hoses and dresses. He then frowned slightly, tilting his head to one side. "How do I do that?"

A truly devilish smirk curved at Zabuza's lips as he replied, "Seduce him."


"If his has three commas imprinted anywhere on his body it means Orochimaru has gotten to him. You need to somehow get a good look at him and I mean a very good look."

If Zabuza had eyebrows Naruto was very sure they would be waggling very suggestively right back at him. In that instant he felt like beating his head over and over again with a hard mental pipe. Perverts. If he wasn't sure before he was sure now, he was a magnet for them.

"Though if you don't think you're up to this simple mission I'm more than sure Haku would be up for the job," he suggested with an all too nonchalant shrug.

"I'm more than capable of doing it. I'll show you," Naruto returned with a heated glare.

If there was one thing he couldn't stand it was being underestimated. The continued drive to prove himself was still there, very much so that even the slightest hint of challenge always brought some kind of a rise out of him. A fact he realized Zabuza was more than aware of upon hearing the barking laughter that soon followed his declaration. He'd fallen right into the nukenin's trap.

"Good then," was the smug reply. "I'll be counting on it. I don't want to have to say Naruto Uzumaki couldn't keep his word."

At that the blond twitched, mentally damning the Mist-nin to all nine hells for knowing all his weak points so clearly. Unable to do anything, less be called a hypocrite, he dragged himself to the nearest corner and could do no more than sulk at his current predicament.

"That was mean Zabuza," Haku softly admonished.

"He'll get over it," the older man responded with a shrug. "Besides it's not like I'm doing this for my own amusement. We do need this information."

"Yeah but from the profile I got on him the prince sneaks off to the public baths sometimes under a Henge. He could've confirm this by just going there as himself when the prince does."

"Not my fault the kid didn't get that little note," he answered, then with a slightly raised brow added, "Of course you can always inform him of this little tidbit and put him out of his misery."

Haku let out a soft sigh and with a small smile murmured, "I know."

His companion scoffed. "And yet I'm the cruel one."

Zabuza looked to his charge. At the gentle far away look in his eyes he followed Haku's gaze to the clearly unhappy midget still refusing to move from underneath the stormy cloud of his self-appointed corner. He knew what had happened in the forest and he knew the kid was worried and feeling helpless right now. To protect his precious people, it was a lesson Haku had taught the blond not so long ago and he knew he'd taken it to heart. The kid annoyed him to no end and though he liked tormenting the brat there was just something about him, something that just demanded attention and respect, however grudgingly.

It was just three years ago they'd been on opposing sides, fighting each other in order to successfully complete their missions. However, enemies were soon made allies. Before they could damage one other to the point of no return Gatou made the stupidest mistake of his life. He turned on them. Although he did one smart thing that day and that was to wait until they were nearly depleted of chakra to strike. He had expected to see his death, only wishing to be killed last so that Haku didn't have the added pain of witnessing his demise beforehand but just as the mob of gathered nukenins were about to descend a wall of orange blocked their approach. Naruto's naivety had saved them that day. The sanin knew the score. It wasn't their fight anymore. But the blond had refused to accept it. It was as if he was determined to save everyone, even an unredeemable monster like him.

This wasn't their fight but Zabuza Momochi was a man of honor. Both he and Haku owed a debt to the hyperactive blond and his perverted sensei and he was determined to repay them for their kindness. He walked over to where Naruto sat and placing a hand on top of that abominable nightcap of his said, "He'll be released tomorrow afternoon under the care of someone named Kakashi. They wanted to keep him longer but he refused to stay, something about wanting to take some blond haired brat out for ramen for old time's sake."

Eyes visibly widening Naruto looked up and spluttered, "How… how did you know?"

"You're like a magnet for trouble. Who else but you would be involved in something like this?" he snorted in return. "And as for his condition, well, if this is the kind of security we have to look forward to, then I'm not surprised that snake bastard's plans have been able to progress so far. The guards are pathetic and the ninjas are nothing more than a bunch of weaklings. It's disgusting." His face scrunched up before finally relaxing once again. He gave the boy below him a quick, if not affectionate, pat to the head and said, "I'll talk to you later brat. The two sanins are expecting me."

"The old hag is here too," the blond repeated with furrowed brows. "This is serious, isn't it?"

"Yeah, it is," he replied. "This isn't going to be mere child's play. We're expecting another war."

Expression set Naruto gave him an affirmative nod and simply stated, "I won't let you down, any of you. I refuse to lose any of my precious people to that snake, even a bastard grisly like you."

"Yare, yare, whatever kid," was his nonchalant reply, though to anyone who knew him they would instantly recognize the slight softening of his eyes. He lifted his head and upon seeing the knowing look Haku was giving him immediately scowled. Turing away he gave the blond another light whack, knocking the nightcap off just as he made his way to the opened window. "Don't get yourself killed brat. I need someone to smack around when this is all over." He paused for a moment then turned to Haku. "Stay safe."

"You too," the raven haired teen replied with a warm smile.

Naruto gingerly touched the rapidly forming bumps on his head and glared at the now empty window, rushing over just in time to see Zabuza disappearing into the gardens. He held up a hand and was about to start shouting for all he was worth when he thought better of it and instead stuck out his tongue at the quickly retreating figure. He spun back around and was just about to suggest sleep when he saw Haku getting rather comfortable on one of the settees by his bed.

"We have a lot of work to do. The sooner we start, the sooner we can both go to sleep."

"Huh?" was his ever intelligent reply.

"Tomorrow's test, we are expected to have knowledge of some of the trade issues and laws, as well as the local politics concerning this kingdom. We both need to pass and since I'm already well versed on the subject matter we only have to get you up to speed."


"Naruto, you were the one who said you weren't going to let any of us down and we need you to remain in this," his friend responded in a soft tone.

The said blond immediately deflated at that. Haku was his master's pupil after all. They both loved to use his own words against him. Defeated he reluctantly hauled himself over. And so began what would forever be known as the most boring four hours of his so very short life.

Barely able to keep his eyes opened Naruto tried his hardest to remain awake as he sat among the excitable group of chattering teens, wanting nothing more than to just leave and hopefully go find Iruka. But no, instead he was stuck here, bored out of his mind and barely able to keep his eyes opened.

After breakfast all the remaining contestants had been ushered into a makeshift waiting room where they were to remain until told otherwise. For what seemed like hours one by the one they were called up and then taken through a plain looking door to whatever awaited them on the other side. He let out another loud yawn, much to the disgust of a few of his fellow contestants whose constant jabbering sounded more like distant whispers to his fuzzy mind. Slowly everything around him disappeared as darkness began to consume him, lulling him gradually into the peaceful sleep he so very much needed.

"Naruto Tanemura," he heard a loud voice yell. When there wasn't a response the same voice yelled once again, "NARUTO TANEMURA."

He immediately shot up and with a tic on his forehead screamed back, "WHAT THE HELL DO YOU WANT? I WAS TRYING TO SLEEP YOU GODDAMN SON OF A BITCH!"

Visibly shaken by the outburst the attendant immediately recoiled and stuttered, "I-It's your turn. The delegates are awaiting your arrival."

More than a little agitated Naruto stormed pass and not once stopping to see where he was plopped down on the first empty chair he saw. The moment he did his eyes closed and what sounded like a loud snore broke the silence that had descended upon the room.

"Idiot," he heard a faint voice grumble.

Still lost in a very pleasant dream Naruto felt himself being shook and thinking his ramen was mad at him for some reason grabbed onto his attacking beloved and began nuzzling the angry noodles. Softly he purred, "Aw, don't be mad at me. It's not my fault I haven't been to see you. It's this damn palace. No ramen, just weird foreign food. I'll make it up to you, starting now."

With that he sunk his teeth into what he thought was his beloved ramen. The moment he did he felt himself falling out of his chair with yet another bump on his head. Slowly emerging from his dream he rubbed his wide blue eyes and wailed, "Wah! Ramen hates me now."

"Shut up you idiot," came a harsh mutter, causing Naruto to finally open his eyes and really take in his surroundings.

On a chair, nursing his arm was a very familiar boy who was currently glaring heatedly down at him with what looked like a dusting of color on his cheeks. The moment his mind registered who it was that sat before him he shot up to his feet and pointing down at the other boy shouted, "Bastard, what the hell are you doing here?"

Growling, the so dubbed bastard answered, "I'm one of your examiners."

"Huh? Examiners?" he murmured to himself before taking his gaze away from the raven haired teen to take in all the faces residing on the long oval table. He was surprised to find himself recognizing a few faces. Freaky panda man, the blonde girl and also the other boy from yesterday's run in were all there, along with the silver haired pervert, all of whom were currently watching him with either amusement or slight shock. With a sheepish grin he scratched the back of his head and bowing quickly apologized. "Sorry about that. I'm Naruto Uzu-Tanemura."

"We know. It's printed on your name tag," the boy beside him deadpanned.

Grumbling he looked down and sure enough there was his name written in big bold letters.

"Shut up you damn Uryuu-bastard," screeched the blond, much to the confusion of the many present. "And stop being such a prick." With that Naruto quickly sat down and began mumbling something along the lines of, 'Damn stuck up nobles' and 'Bastard.'

Sasuke sent an abrupt glare to the gathered assembly, as if to say 'correct her and die' and though most got the message loud and clear there were others he knew would chose to blatantly ignore it. But for some reason of them spoke up. His eyes then shot back to the currently fuming girl and in his usual monotone announced, "Let's get this meeting underway. I call to order the issue of-"

As the people around him continued to drone on Naruto began to daydream, giggling once and again at the images he was conjuring up of the pranks he could play on the perverted sanin when this mission was over. It wasn't until he heard a particularly loud slam that he was finally startled back into reality. He looked up to see the boy in a black one-piece suit that made him look very much like an oversized teddy bear snarling across the table at the emotionless bastard next him.

"What the hell do you think we are? Don't you dare look down on us you asshole, I'm sick of you Konoha idiots always thinking you're better than us," he growled, eyes burning with anger.

"Calm down Kankuro. This isn't getting us anywhere," the blond beside him said before also turning to the raven haired bastard with a look that was far from friendly. "Though I have to agree with my brother, what you have proposed is an insult to our country and everybody within it. You're mistaken if you think you can just walk all over us like you do everybody else. We're not just another one of your subordinates so don't think you have any power over us or Suna."

Looking at the tense faces Naruto couldn't help but feel that everybody was sure taking this whole mock meeting thing a little bit too seriously. If he didn't know any better he would think that this was real. Then again maybe they had to make this realistic in order to make this test work. They wanted to know how he would handle pressure situations, how he would resolve confrontations. See if he could cut it with all the big guns out there.

"Yosh," he shouted, slamming a fist on the table as he shot to his feet. "That's it."

At the rather unexpected interruption the rising tension in the room suddenly lowered for an instant as all turned to the nearly forgotten blond at the far end of the table.

Face scrunched up in distaste an aging man at the other end suggested, "Can someone please take her out. This isn't something a mere commoner should be privy to."

"Shut it you old geezer," came the instant response. "I have the perfect answer to your problem."

Unable to control himself any longer Kankuro barked, "See how they mock us, letting this slip of a girl in here to disrupt proceedings as if this is nothing but a goddamn joke to them."

"Sit down and be quiet. Your only job here is to keep your mouth shut," Sasuke snapped at the stupid girl. Inwardly he seethed, not liking where this was going at all. He then looked to the Sand siblings and with as much control as he could possibly manage said, "Konoha has yet to fully recover from our last attacks and we are currently vulnerable. As our allies we simply ask for your aid in this time of need."

""Unless you provide us with something of equal value there is no more need for us to talk. And the way I see it if you all pulled out that stick out of your asses' maybe you wouldn't be the target of so many attacks," Kankuro scoffed.

"Haha, good one," Naruto couldn't help but say, earning glares from all involved. Deciding that now was as good a time as ever he hopped onto the table and announced, "Look I have a great way to solve this."

"And what the hell is that blondie?"

He glared at the one named Kankuro. Then noticing all eyes were currently on him reached up and pulled out a coin, holding it up for all to see as he happily proclaimed, "Tada, heads or tails."

"What the fuck?" the enraged teen screamed.

Sasuke immediately got up and grabbed the idiot's arm roughly as he demanded in a low growl, "What the hell do you think you're doing?"

Soon a number of other voices joined in the burst of outrage.

"This is completely ridiculous."

"I can't believe our time is being wasted like this."

"Who does that child think she is? Coming in here and suggesting such a thing."

As the noise level rose a sudden solitary voice instantly restored the silence once more with the simple order of, "Let her speak."

All eyes suddenly turned to the usually silent redhead who did no more than stared blankly back.

"You can't be serious Gaa-" Kankuro began, only to be silenced by a glare from his younger brother just like the last time he tried to speak out against him.

"Mother wants blood and unless you want to be the ones to sate her I suggest you finish this quickly," was all he said before closing eyes once again.

Exchanging nervous glances with one another everybody hesitantly looked to the blond on the table. Naruto instantly broke out in a fox-like grin and then said, "Alrighty, here's the deal. Heads, Uryuu-bastard here gets want he wants but Konoha has to repay Suna when they are on their feet again. Um, let's say this must be done over a ten year period. Tails, he will still get what he wants but you guys can name what you want in return, of course it must be within reason. The current state of this kingdom must also be taken into account and blah, blah, whatever. I'm sure you should all be well aware of your limitations." He turned to the most vocal pair. "Before we even go anywhere I guess you should like, you know, name your price or something and see what the bastard thinks about it."

Despite their clear disbelief both Kankuro and Temari found themselves both nodding. The terms were actually quite fair. Either way it was better than what the Uchiha had proposed. This way they still got something back in return. Now that was a trade. The asshole had just wanted to play politics with them.

Being the oldest of the three Temari cleared her throat and did as was requested of her, "We only want what is rightfully ours. After the last war your kingdom has laid claim to land upon our soil. It is nothing but forest and yet you refuse to relinquish your hold over it. We simply want it back."

"So, do you agree Uryuu-bastard?"

"Whatever," Sasuke returned reluctantly, still glaring at whatever dared to even move without his permission. Grudgingly he had to admit it was a fair deal. They weren't really losing anything but this wasn't about loss or gain. It was about power and right now neither had any. They were all putting it on the line with a toss of a coin.

"Okay, here goes," Naruto said just before tossing his coin in the air and allowing it to spin. He then quickly caught it and grinned at the assembled audience watching him with bated breath. He took off the hand covering the coin and looked down. With a smile he revealed what it was to everybody, accompanied by a loud yell of, "Tails."

He saw the most vocal pair from 'Suna' nod in agreement and beamed as he saw a much similar resignation in the now not so smug teen to his left. Happy with a job well done he was just about to step off when he suddenly felt himself slipping. He let out a loud wail as he tumbled forward but instead of the hard ground he fell straight into a mess of cloth and skin. Blinking rapidly he found himself staring straight into widened onyx eyes. It took all of five seconds for him to realize his lips were pressed upon something just as soft and five more to realize it was someone else's lips. He hopped up from his straddled position atop the fallen boy with a surprised cry. Only to have it quickly turning to anguish when he saw who it was that had stolen his first kiss. He held his neck and began to gag, cheeks burning he glared down murderously at the broody bastard who although was still in his chair, had been thrown back by the impact so that he was now parallel with the floor.

"Bastard, you stole my first kiss," he screeched angrily. "Give it back, give it back."

"Do you think I'm happy about this," the blushing Uchiha retorted just as heatedly, still yet to move from his position in his shock. "You were the one who fell on me you idiot. If anything you stole my first kiss. I wouldn't be surprised if you planned it."

"Egotistic jerk, who would want to kiss you," Naruto screamed, poking his tongue out. He gave the fallen boy a quick kick to the ribs before finding the nearest door and making a hasty exit, not before cheekily adding, "Especially when you kiss like a cold fish."

"That girl," the Uchiha slowly bit out as he got to his feet. "I'm going to kill her."

Without a second thought to the delegates still in the room he shot out after the daring blonde. Although many were appalled to see their usually calm and composed prince act in such a juvenile way a single silver-haired jounin simply smiled to himself. Unlike the council members he was glad to see the stoic boy finally reacting to something. There was hope for him after all. From the next room he suddenly heard loud cries of "I love you" just as the whole table began to literally shake from what felt like a stampede. He smirked. Things were certainly beginning to get interesting around here, he noted as he saw the youngest Suna heir get up and leave the proceedings as silently as he had came.