I really don't know what in blazes possessed me to write a Naruto fic. Anyway, this is the first attempt I'm going to make. Hopefully not the last. And hopefully I get to finish this one. Enjoy.

Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto. If I did, I would have traded him in for an iPod. Maybe two.

One: Chance Encounter

"I can't believe Tsunade-baachan made us play messenger for her!"

The loud, rambunctious blonde had begun ranting early in the day, even for him. Sasuke shook his head in disgust. That's why you'll always be dead last, he said to himself. Sakura smacked Naruto upside his head and the fox-boy yelped in pain. "Idiot!" she yelled. "Delivering a priority one message is still a C-class mission. At least we aren't plowing some farm somewhere." Uzumaki rubbed his head with a pout, muttering something about ramen and how a bowl of the stuff would hit the spot right now.

Kakashi was walking slightly behind the trio, his face buried in that vile book of his. Every so often he would giggle slightly before reverting all of his attention on the latest Icha-Icha novel. Having met the author of the series itself supercharged the Copy Nin's perverted instincts like nobody would believe. Jiraiya and the silver-haired jounin would often spend hours at a time doing research together, often the younger ninja contributing his own material for the later releases of the novel. This later resulted in, however accidentally, the creation of a rather influential women's rights group right in Fire Country borders.

Add that to the fact that the fifth Hokage is female and one would realize why Kakashi needed to have his health insurance reevaluated rather frequently as of late.

Team 7 had already delivered the letter to the ruling Kage of Komogakure three days before, and had traveled alongside a group of chuunin who will be training students in the hidden village's academy. Still, the mission had been uneventful, eliciting a stream of complaints from Konoha's number one comedy ninja.

Hidden Leaf was still a good two and a half days away, and as Sakura realized in horror, two and a half days before Naruto was near enough the Ichiraku that she wouldn't have to pay attention to his ranting. She had better things to do.

Like ogle a certain member of the Uchiha clan (who at this point will remain nameless) for instance.

She stared wistfully at the boy in blue to her left and couldn't help feel that the two of them were meant to be together. No matter what Ino-pig believed, the pink-haired kunoichi was sure to marry the Sasuke someday. It was her birthright, damn it! The universe could not conspire to create a more perfect union. She would be the one to help her raven-haired prince resurrect his clan to its former greatness.

Yes! It is Haruno Sakura, not Yamanaka Ino, who would one day become Mrs. Uchiha Sasuke!

Needless to say the sight of Sakura slowly cackling under her breath was too disturbing, even for a group of genin who had been given lessons on how to kill without mercy since the age of four. The three men subconsciously congregated on the other side of the path, unwilling to share in Sakura's schizophrenic fantasies. It was almost nightfall when something perked their ears.

"You hear that?" It was Naruto speaking.

The other genin strained their ears. Kakashi pocketed his book, pointing in the distant horizon at a plume of smoke (no doubt coming form a camp fire) in the distance. "Whatever it is, it must be coming from over there," the jounin stated.

It took team 7 a couple of minutes to follow the trail before the sweet sound of a bamboo flute caressed their ears like a mother's lullaby. Sakura closed her eyes to take in the complex harmony. "Beautiful," she breathed. Before long they found themselves in a campsite, where a young woman lay seated on a log playing the flute. From where they stood they judged her to be at least fifteen or sixteen. And a very good sixteen at that.

She was dressed in a traditional Japanese kimono, with hand painted decorations of a pack of white wolves running through the deep blue fabric. On her feet were wooden geta, a bit worn from the long travel she must have gone through. Her porcelain skin glowed in the eerie light of the fire, casting an almost supernatural aura on her.

The woman was as beautiful and captivating as the music she played.

The music was cut short as the woman opened her eyes to take in the presence of visitors. "Oh I'm sorry," she said. "I did not realize there was anyone here. Would you be kind enough to join me? I had not anyone to talk to for the past days and there is food enough for all," the woman gestured at the fish roasting in sticks stuck around the fire.

"No, it is we who must apologize," Kakashi said, bowing. "We did not mean to disturb your flute playing." Sakura gaped. Kakashi being courtly? When did this come around? Even Sasuke couldn't stop staring. Naruto was quiet, an unusual occurrence for him.

"Wow! That was great! Where did you learn to play like that!"

Sakura sighed. I knew it couldn't last, she said to herself. The blonde genin, in typical Naruto fashion, had already plopped down beside the flute player and asked a whole stream of questions, often not even stopping to let the woman reply. Fortunately she took it all with a grain of salt, nodding at the appropriate times until Sasuke slammed a fist into the blonde's head.

"Stop pestering the woman with useless questions, dobe."

"Damn you Sasuke-bastard! You're just pissed off cause I talked to her first!"

"You think that's something to be proud of, idiot?"

"Why you…"

"Excuse me young sir," the kimono-clad lady said, addressing Sasuke. "I think it flattering that the young man would think so highly of my music. Please do not fight him for something as trivial as his over enthusiasm." Naruto grinned and stuck his tongue out at the Uchiha, who glowered at the blonde.

"I'm really sorry," the pink-haired kunoichi apologized. "We're on a journey to our home village and it's been three days since we've seen any sign of civilization." The kimono woman perked up. "Oh? It appears that our paths are meant to cross then. I myself am on a journey to find a new home. Will your village accept a stranger in its borders?"

Sakura was about to reply when a blur of orange flashed before her. "If the guards don't let you in," Naruto said, cracking his knuckles "I'll beat up anyone who stands in your way!" Kakashi and Sasuke slapped their foreheads. The woman bowed.

"I'm honored to think that you'd go to such lengths for someone you barely know. But I thank you all the same young man."

"I intend to keep all my promises! This is my Ninja Way!"

The kimono lady laughed daintily, with a sleeve covering her mouth. The three men were surprised to feel a flush come to their faces. Sakura wasn't surprised much, really. The woman was incredibly beautiful.

"May we be so bold as to inquire your name, m'lady?" said the silver haired jounin.

"Why yes. My name is Asakura Yukio."

If you're wondering why Sasuke and Kakashi were so speechless in that last sequence, imagine facing the most beautiful Japanese girl on the planet addressing you from three feet away. Do you get it yet?

Anyway, please review.