Disclaimer: I own nothing recognizable.
A note before the story begins: This is pretty much AU, despite the fact that it's set in Konoha (Note the many ramen places). Also, the characters are a bit… OOC. So BEWARE… Oh yeah, and it's based on Rat Race (the movie).
Naruto was eating at Ichiraku one day when he started choking and coughing and fell to the ground squirming. Ayame had to run out from the behind the counter and perform the Heimlich Maneuver on him, sending something flying out of his throat.
"Whew! You gave me quite a scare there, Naruto! Be more careful next time!"
Ayame wiped her forehead and went back behind the counter, leaving Naruto in a daze on the floor next to the thing that had nearly choked him to death. Thirty seconds later, the blond boy sat up and rubbed his head. What exactly had he swallowed, anyways? He looked down and saw something round and shiny lying next to his knee.
"What was that doing in the ramen?" He wondered out loud, eyes narrowed into slits as he picked up the lump and inspected it.
When held up about an inch from his eye, he saw that the thing was a miniature ramen bowl, gold in color and about the size of a fat marble.
"Well, what do you know? It's a golden ramen bowl! I think I'll keep it as memory of the time I nearly died."
He stuck the bowl into his pocket and walked out of the shop. Or stand. Or whatever it was called.
"I know! I'll go visit Sasuke-teme and show off my real gold ramen bowl! Haha, that sucker'll be sorry he didn't come along with me today! LALALALA…"
As Naruto headed to Sasuke's house, he failed to notice the HUGE poster on the wall next to him…
"Whosoever finds a golden ramen bowl is eligible to win $50,000,000 and a lifetime supply of ramen! RAARGH! I must get a golden ramen bowl NOW!" Sakura screamed, shaking the poster on the wall before her.
The pink-haired kunoichi was still angry about the fact that earlier that morning, Ino had called her a moocher and told her to go find a paying job so she could stop freeloading off her friends and family. Haruno Sakura was so not a moocher! Konoha might not've had any missions for her lately. It was true that she didn't have an extra job like some of her other friends did. But she didn't rely on other people for money! Why, she had paid for the meal…
"…last month! When I… had money…" Sakura hung her head in defeat and stared up at the poster again. She had been eating at home more often, now that she thought about it. And whenever she went out, she was never alone, but with a friend. Preferably one that was willing to pay the bill…
This was her one chance to strike it rich, the easy way! All she had to do was get her hands on one of those ugly lumpy little gold bowls… and she knew just how!
"Hmm… the poster says that the fourteen ramen bowls have been scattered throughout shops that belong in, or have a contract with, the RamenCo. Chain in Konoha, so I'll start with the Ichiraku…"
She turned right and started walking up the street, rubbing her hands and cackling to herself, causing passersby to stare and back away…
Hinata shut the door of the Hyuuga mansion behind her and skipped, yes, SKIPPED, excitedly up the long flight of stairs (this may or may not exist in the series, I can't remember) to her cousin's room. She had stopped by the new fancy ramen restaurant a few blocks away on her way home to pick up some dinner for herself and her cousin, since they were actually home alone today and they were hungry.
The Hyuuga heiress had been so hungry in fact that she had pulled out her Fate Cake (a new feature of the RamenCo. Chain, similar to fortune cookies), broken it in half, and started eating it right there. That's when she saw the glint from the center of the remaining half of cake. The little papers that were used in Fate Cakes usually weren't shiny like that…
And so Hinata became eligible to win $50,000,000, which she didn't really need, being the Hyuuga heiress and all, but wanted anyways, to prove she COULD achieve something great after all.
Kiba and Akamaru were heading home after training when they passed by the ramen stand near Kiba's house. Kiba was just about to ignore it and keep walking, but Akamaru started barking and running towards-
"ALL RIGHT, A VENDING MACHINE!" Kiba ran up to the shiny new machine standing in front of the shop. " 'Children's comic book characters'. Heh." And that's when he saw-
"SNOOPY! I want that one! And I can attach it to my kunai pouch zipper, too!" He dug in his pockets and found some change. "Snoopy, Snoopy, Snoopy…" he chanted under his breath as the coin clinked and something rolled out of the slot at the bottom…
"NOOOOOO! This isn't Snoopy! It's not even a character! I've been ripped off! I-"
And that's when Akamaru barked, causing Kiba to look up from his little blue-capped container with the lump inside and see… the poster!
A week later, Naruto still hadn't found Sasuke, and he was slightly annoyed. Forget it, he was EXTREMELY annoyed!
He had heard from Shikamaru who had heard from Ino who had heard from somewhere else that Sasuke had gone on some strange pilgrimage up to the mountains to meditate and train with monks to find his inner peace, but he doubted that was true. Sasuke was too busy being 'an avenger!' to be able to find peace in any way, much less inner peace.
He had given up his search and was just about to go have lunch at the Ichiraku when he heard a loud blaring noise coming from the Hokage tower and had to run to investigate. Upon reaching the place, he saw a huge sign posted at the front saying,
'RAMEN RACE CONTESTANTS GO UP TO GONDAIME'S OFFICE AT 3 PM.'
"What's a ramen race?" Naruto asked out loud again, scratching his head. "I want to participate!"
"Hey! Naruto! What're you doing here?" Naruto spun around to come face-to-face with a pair of very bushy eyebrows.
"Rock Lee? I just came to see who was making the blaring noises. What are you here for?"
"I came to enter the Ramen Race for $50,000,000! I'm eligible to be one of the fourteen contestants!" Lee said, or rather shouted, punching a fist into the air.
"How do you become eligible? I want to be in the race, too!"
"All you have to do is find a golden ramen bowl. But that in itself could be a fairly difficult task, I suppose…" The green-clad boy reached into his pocket and pulled out something small and shiny. "Here, see for yourself. I found it in a bowl of ramen I was eating." He held out his hand and a look of understanding dawned on Naruto's face.
"Hey, I have one, too! All right, I'm in!" Naruto also punched his fist in the air.
"That's great! Let's go up to the hokage's office and enter our names!"
Lee cautiously pushed open the wooden door and peered inside, with Naruto standing on tiptoe to see past him.
Standing in one corner of the large room were Neji, Shikamaru, Kiba, and Shino, looking bored. Next to them were Tenten, Hinata, Ino and Chouji at a little round table. Next to the table was Sakura and-
"SASUKE-TEME!" Naruto yelled in triumph, bursting into the room and jabbing a finger into Sasuke's chest. "Where have you been?"
"Don't call Sasuke-kun that, idiot!" Sakura snapped at him (Naruto), knocking his hand away from Sasuke. "And where he was is none of your business!" She added crossly.
Ino appeared over Sakura's shoulder. "Whatever, forehead-girl. You're just jealous that Sasuke-kun's been with ME all week!"
Ino just grinned evilly in return.
Naruto stared at each person in turn. "Seriously, teme? You spent a whole week with HER? Hahahahaha- OW!"
"Shut up, dobe. We were on a mission, you hear? A MISSION."
Naruto was just about to retaliate when Tsunade appeared at a little podium next to her desk and switched on her microphone.
"All right, we have twelve of you here. We're supposed to wait for two more contestants to arrive, but we're already fifteen minutes behind schedule, so I'll start now. All of you know about this contest and all its rules and regulations, correct?" The hokage said, tapping her fingers on her messy desk.
"Not exactly. The 'game piece' just fell onto my head while I was walking by a kitchen window." Sasuke said, frowning as he fingered the golden ramen bowl in his hand.
Ino nodded understandingly. "That's right. It just fell right onto poor Sasuke's head along with the contents of an entire ramen pot and SPLASHED ALL OVER MY NEW CLOTHES!" She screeched the last bit out and shook her fist.
To his teammate and Ino's annoyance, Naruto burst out laughing, and others in the room started to join in.
"AHEM! TWENTY minutes behind schedule now!" Tsunade snarled into the microphone.
Immediate silence (almost) fell upon the room (though you could still hear Naruto's snickering) as the hokage picked up a roll of paper lying beside her.
"Since you people appear to be a bit… ignorant, about the rules of this contest, I shall enlighten you a bit. The Ramen Race For Fifty is a contest established by the RamenCo. Ramen company. There are fourteen contestants who will compete for a grand prize of $50,000,000 and a lifetime supply of ramen."
"Ramen? ALL RIGHT!" Naruto and Chouji high-fived each other out of joy.
"Whatever. There's nothing there we didn't know before." Ino said disapprovingly.
"Here are the rules. It's not called a race for nothing. The fourteen contestants will have to rush as fast as they can towards the RamenCo. Headquarters, and the first person to arrive there wins the grand prize. Got that?"
"Question! How will we get there?" Tenten asked, raising her hand like a schoolgirl.
"Haha, that's just it. You'll have to find a way to get there yourself. It doesn't matter how. Just get there!"
"So we can just rent a plane and go there?" Sakura asked.
"Forehead-girl, you can't afford a plane!" Ino said.
"Be quiet, Ino-pig!" Sakura yelled back. Stupid Ino-pig! Sakura would show her! She'd win the fifty mil, buy a mansion and have her own private jet, and Sasuke would fall in love with her and her only! HA! Unknowingly, an evil grin started to creep onto her face, which freaked Lee and Naruto (who were next to her) out and made them scoot away.
"All right, any other questions?" Tsunade shouted above the noise in the room.
Suddenly the door creaked and slammed shut with a loud boom. (Yes, a wooden door can do that.) Everyone turned to stare at the newcomers.
"Yes. I wish to know if it is possible to dispose of any participants in the way of my prize. Kukukuku…" The eleven genin and one chuunin in the room felt shivers run up and down their spine as they heard that scary yet familiar laugh…
Preview of the next chapter:
"What! Orochimaru! But he's not allowed in this contest! He's wanted by ANBU!" Naruto shouted, pointing a finger at the snake-sannin.
Tsunade brandished the huge roll of paper and skimmed over it. "Actually, nowhere in the rules does it state that criminals aren't allowed to participate…"
A/N: IF there is to be a next chapter. I'm not sure if I should continue or not. This is the longest chapter I've written yet, so don't flame me if you don't like it! Simply tell me what I can do better, and I'll try to improve, yes?