Disclaimer- I Naruto not own.

Left.

Right.

Parry.

Slash.

Block.

Sweep.

Thrust.

Itachi's eyes widened in human surprise as the katana buried itself in his throat.

Ten year old Uchiha Sasuke snarled, pushing it deeper, an animal bloodlust filling his eyes as he drove the weapon deeper.

It was futile. The real Itachi wouldn't have even been hit, or would have had his own katana and easily impaled his younger brother upon it.

Sasuke pulled back, glaring at the training pole he had impaled viciously. He doubted he'd ever get a chance to use this katana for awhile, considering that those who used the swords were nearly all ANBU.

It wouldn't look right for a genin to be seen carrying around an ANBU sword, especially not the brother of a former ANBU captain gone traitor.

But when he was ANBU, hunting down Itachi... he'd be ready nonetheless. Besides, knowledge of weapons was as essential as jutsu. Being able to grab any weapon on hand and fight well was something Sasuke strived to achieve.

As his breath deepened and slowed, he closed his eyes, gathering his energy for another kata.

Then he felt it.

A single black orb opened.

"Who's there?" Sasuke demanded, turning and pointing the katana toward the woods with a particularly threatening gesture.

A girl came out from behind the trees, her hands raised in the universal "Look, I'm not going to fight" gesture.

Sasuke didn't recognize her from the mob of fangirls (he made a point to know their faces; that way, he could stay un-glomped longer). From her appearance, she was about his age, maybe a little older. Her brown hair was done up in tightly woven buns, and her brown eyes were gazing at him with a hint of respectful challenge.

"Sorry. I didn't know anyone was using this training ground." She apologized, but it didn't come with the gushing, tittering voice of a fangirl, confirming, much to his relief, that she was not about to try and glomp him.

"Hn." Sasuke turned away, not interested in hearing her out any further.

Until she spoke again.

"Training with a sword is rather monotone alone. Do you want a spar?"

Sasuke glanced at her again, this time with a bit more curiosity. "Where's your weapon?" he asked.

The girl grinned; not a sunny, "Everything is just dandy!" smile but the grin of a competitor. She reached into a pouch behind her back, retrieving a scroll.

Sasuke arched an eyebrow.

The girl bit her thumb tightly. "Kuchiyose no Jutsu! (Summoning Technique)"

It was a type of longsword, with a slightly curved guard protecting the straight handle. At the end of the pommel, a yellow tassel extended outward.

"A jian?" Sasuke said dubiously, glancing at the girl again. The jian was a foreign sword, not like the more traditional katana.

"Is that a problem?" she asked, smiling fiercely.

Sasuke shook his head. Unusual opponents meant more things to learn. He shifted his weight, moving into a traditional forward stance, the katana pointing diagonally from his pelvis.

The girl shifted into the same stance, still smiling that smile that made his heart feel strange for a moment.

Lightly, she touched her blade to his, a gesture of respect between warriors.

"Tch." Sasuke lightly tapped her blade in return, and then lashed forward, a downward slash coming in a humming blur of motion.

His opponent expertly caught the katana against her guard hilt, and then shoved his weapon back.

Sasuke suddenly found himself on the defensive as she moved in a series of blurring swipes and slashes and thrusts, the sound of the harsh thrumming of metal weaving through the air.

He responded with an array of blocks that left his ears ringing from the booming clap of metal against metal, and his hands warm from the sparks created by the impact. Sasuke tried again and again to parry or to find an opening, but the girl's assault was simply too quick and too skilled to do so.

Finally, gritting his teeth in frustration, Sasuke kicked off the ground, leaping backwards, hoping to gain some breathing room.

She gave him no such room as she came forward with a powerful forward thrust, the blade's tip flashing in the blazing sun.

Sasuke ducked the blade as she came toward him, twisted, and spun away with a powerful sideswiping slash, hoping to be able to press the katana against her neck and declare himself the winner.

And then, suddenly, she flicked her wrist and the yellow tassel hit him directly in the face, temporarily blinding him and disorienting him.

Sasuke staggered backwards, pawing at his eyes with one hand, trying to keep up a guard with his other hand.

He felt the cold metal of the jian press against his finger for a second as his eyes opened, and then suddenly it flicked upwards and caught against the hilt of his katana, sending it flying upwards.

Sasuke's arms fell to his sides, limp in shock.

She pressed the tip of the jian against his throat, still smiling that beautiful, fierce smile.

In the background, somewhere in the woods, his katana hit the ground with a solid, resounding thud.

Sasuke swallowed, hard.

"I win." She smiled gently this time, and removed the blade from his throat. She glanced at the sun, and her eyes widened. "I'm late for my meeting with the Hokage! Sorry, got to go!" in a puff of smoke, the jian disappeared.

And then she was gone, like an apparition from the woods who had come, beaten him, and then departed.

Sasuke stood there for a few moments, barely comprehending the fact that he had been so resoundingly defeated.

And then a second thought occurred to him.

"I never asked for her name..." Sasuke muttered, and, though no one could see it, his lip curved gently upwards.

---

"Tenten! You're late!" Gai admonished, his loud, energetic voice ringing throughout the room.

Neji glanced at her once, frowning. Lee shouted, "Tenten! You mustn't delay our missions! It detracts from the fires of youth if you become lazy!"

Tenten bowed deeply toward both her sensei and the Hokage. "I'm sorry, Gai-sensei, Hokage-sama. I was training and lost track of the time."

The Sandaime smiled gently. "No need to apologize, my dear."

As the Hokage began to describe the mission parameters, Tenten realized that she had forgotten to get the boy's name.

Which was a shame, really.

He was cute.

A/N- The jian is a real type of sword in China. The use of the pommel tassel as a weapon is also part of some Chinese swordfighting schools.