Disclaimer: Before anyone gets any funny ideas I'll deny any ownership of Naruto, his world and its characters. They are the property of some wickedly cool artist that lives somewhere on the other side of the planet, so don't think you can come all the way here to slap me with a law suit, got it? Good.

Warning: This fic will contain Yaoi of an explicit nature on later chapters. If you are not aware of this terminology, it means that two guys will be wearing a scandalous amount of clothing (read: none at all) in close proximity to each other, whereupon they will participate in an act better known as sex. Of the male variety, of course.

Deal with it.

Author's Notes: Right! For all of you that stayed around to read this, here's the deal. This is a Naruto/Sasuke fic that will loosely fallow the Cannon of the Naruto-verse. I say 'loosely' because the circumstances will not be the same and I will be taking several liberties with a few things and changing a whole lot of other stuff.

And yes, this story will actually have a plot besides putting a pairing I like in the same place, under dubious circumstances and have them hook up; Though that might happed in here too now that I think about it, just at a much slower pace. And the plot might be a bit flimsy, but what the hell, eh?

Now, my other fic will be updated soon, so don't worry about it. I'll take turns between the two and try to update more often if I can manage it. You should know, though, that if I didn't start writing this then Sasuke would have popped up in Peculiar Circumstances and taken too much of the spotlight by prancing nekkid where Naruto can ogle him, and Neji-kun would get jealous if that happened; that would have been terrible, right? Right?

Right!

So there you are. Read this and leave a review why don't 'cha?

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Undercover

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A large plum of smoke erupted in the middle of the Third Hokage's office, and had he been anyone else the old man would have assumed that one of the tallest shinobi within Konoha had arrived in front of his desk, seeing as very few ninjas would produce such a tall pillar of smoke upon appearing with that particular technique.

Indeed, it took all of the Hokage's considerable skill to just avoid coughing and waving the nin-smoke away from his face. He had a reputation to maintain after all. It wouldn't do for the leader of the most powerful ninja village of the continent to be sputtering around and coughing his lungs out, now would it?

Of course not!

In any case, when the air cleared he was not surprised to see one of his shortest subordinates standing before him, seeing as all the smoke was probably a way to compensate for his size. After all, this particular shinobi was very sensitive about both his age and his height, even to the point of looking for techniques to accelerate puberty, which were unsuccessful, of course. But that's a story for another day...

Then again, maybe the old man wasn't surprised because he was the one who had summoned the shinobi to his office in the first place; otherwise he might not have been as uncaring as he was at the moment. He remembered a time when even with all his training of expecting the unexpected and looking underneath the underneath, he was still horrible surprised and put into many embarrassing situations...

But he thought better than dwelling on those thoughts, since they always left him feeling somewhat self-conscious. Needless to say, he had stopped making assumptions about just who and what was appearing before him when the teleportation technique was being used a long time ago.

"You summoned me, Hokage-sama?" came the young voice from the middle of his office after the smoke cleared up, which the Hokage noted took more time then it should. Nin-smoke, after all, was supposed to dissipate quickly.

It just looked cooler that way.

Who heard about waiting five minutes for a technique to be revealed anyways?

The Sandaime just shook his head slightly as he ordered his thoughts for this particular meeting while he shuffled the papers in his desk into some semblance of order. He nodded to the question and left it at that. He needed to get a bit more serious at the moment, even if it was somewhat difficult in the presence of this ninja; the vertically-hampered-nin always made such things somewhat difficult for him.

Especially when his mind began going over some of his more humiliating memories.

Still, he had heard some rather disturbing rumors and as such, precautions needed to be taken, even if he wasn't completely sure that assigning this mission would be the best solution, so he needed to sober up some and ignore that time that all his paperwork had been replaced with porn...

He shook his head and whipped the small drop of blood that came out of his nose. He needed to focus!

Yosh!

He was the Hokage, damnit! He was known as the Shinobi no Kami! He could do this! So he frowned slightly and brought his considerable mind to bear on the situation at hand, studiously ignoring that memory of the time...right. Focus!

Whatever the case, he knew that assigning this mission was the better alternative, and he trusted this shinobi to adapt should the situation get out of hand. After all, uncertain missions were this ninja's specialty.

When his paperwork was neatly stacked he rose from behind his desk and headed toward the cabinet on the left of his roomy office. He opened the small chest where he kept most of the tobacco for his pipe and set to preparing one of his favorite blends; it was from a combination of a particularly rare leaf from snow country and the regular fire country stock. He looked forlornly at a very special weed that never failed to relax him, but he knew that now was not the time and the soothing taste of his current blend would have to do.

All the while the young man that stood in front of his desk remained completely silent and still, knowing that he would be addressed soon enough. He waited patently for the Sandaime to regain his wits once again. For some reason, his presence never failed to scatter the usually composed Hokage's thoughts to the four winds.

No one really knew the reason, and anyone who asked the strange, short-nin would only receive a look of such innocence that all questions were instantly dropped.

When he finished, Sarutobi simply turned around to survey his subordinate while taking a puff from his pipe, making sure it was evenly lit. He relaxed almost immediately and he assured himself that his discomfiture was due to nicotine withdrawal.

He nodded to himself in certainty, his professionalism back in full force as he surveyed the prior source of his loss of mental composure.

The young shinobi wore a dirty white cloak with its hood up and a detailed mask of a passive dragon on his face, marking him as an ANBU Captain in his forces and one of the most skilled ninjas in all of Konoha. If that weren't enough, he was also the youngest to have reached such a rank in the history of the village, and the Sandaime would have gladly selected him as his successor for the position of Kage if it weren't for his age.

But even if he thought the young ninja ready for his position, the council was another matter entirely. Indeed, they still resented the itching powder from three years ago.

As he saw it, he just had to hold on to his job for a few more years until it could be done. Still, he had never ceased to be impressed by the young shinobi and this new assignment was difficult enough to warrant his expertise. To be sure, the mission could go wrong in so many ways and any given moment that anyone else would be completely unsuited for it.

Walking toward his desk once more and clearing his throat, finally in complete control of his mind and memories, he took a small scroll out of his pocket and tossed it to the young ANBU captain. "Remove your mask Ryu-chan," he commanded, his voice brooking no argument yet tinged with warmth that could be easily detected.

The mild teasing from the old man was hard to ignore as well, in fact.

The masked face snapped up to look at him and he swore that he heard some cracking bones from the whiplash. It was the first time that he made it an order and not a request and he just knew that it would be ignored until a good enough reason was presented. Not that he expected anything less from this particular shinobi.

"Don't call me that, ojiisama," came the low, growling voice of the dragon-ANBU. It was a silky voice that made you defensive immediately upon hearing it. It conveyed both danger and menace in such quantities that anyone would be frozen in fear upon hearing the first syllables spoken. It held no killing intent, but a promise of pain so great within it that it could not easily be ignored.

Of course, the Sandaime just brushed it off as if it were a common thing, which for him, it probably was. It didn't even matter to him that the young shinobi could overpower him or humiliate him as the case might be. "I am your Hokage, Ryu-chan, I can call you however I so desire," Sarutobi said, teasing humor tainting his tone even more and a wagging finger fallowing his declaration. "Besides, you are the youngest ANBU in the force at the moment, so the term is rather fitting."

With a sigh, the white-cloaked ANBU shook his head and started reading his mission scroll, doing his best to calm his indignation. Still, he had only so much self-control when dealing with the old man, so he spoke without even looking up from the scroll, "I have not been the youngest ANBU in the force for a whole year old man," he stated through clenched teeth, already irritated, "If I remember correctly, that honor belongs to someone who is three weeks younger then me and was placed in the infiltration unit of the Nezumi squad."

Taking a puff from his pipe, Sarutobi nodded sagely, trying not to laugh at the youngsters irritation, after all, he had to get even somehow. "Indeed, it seems that I had forgotten the recent addition to the Rat-unit," he said pensively, watching as the young Captain read the mission scroll without giving any reaction, "but I also remember that she is not a full part of that squad and thus not a permanent part of our ANBU forces."

He almost smirked when the Dragon-mask drooped slightly at his point. It was more of a reaction than he would have expected while the young shinobi was still in uniform; his only reactions were usually vocal and nothing more. Still, it could also be from some of the mission parameters within the scroll.

He knew that it would be a tedious mission.

The next few minutes passed in silence, and Sarutobi was sure that the young ANBU had already read the scroll more then a few times. "Could you remove your mask, Ryu-kun?" he asked, this time knowing that the digs toward the Captain's young age would not be as well received.

"Very well," came the young silky voice, this time devoid of all menace and tinted with reluctant, if fond, exasperation, before first the hood was removed and then the Dragon-mask, before the cloak was thrown over the young shinobi's shoulders.

Sarutobi couldn't help the simile that appeared in his face as he took in the ANBU captain's face; clear blue eyes stared steadily back at him as soft blond hair fell in cow-licks around the lean face of the Kyuubi's vessel, and more importantly, the Yondaime's legacy; The whisker marks that defined him as the Jinchuriki of the Nine-tails were slightly more prominent than when the demon was sealed, but not extremely so. Still, the boy was very handsome, even at such a young age.

"Stand down, Ryu-kun," he ordered as he moved to take a seat while gesturing the young shinobi to do the same.

At his order, the impassive expression melted off and a grin formed upon that lean face. It was both warm and cheerful; something that always astonished him, seeing that the boy had been part of the ANBU for close to five years. He always enjoyed seeing that face since it never failed to lift his spirits; knowing that the boy had grown to become so strong in body, mind and soul; knowing that he had fulfilled his promise with his predecessor.

Knowing that the boy was a bigger pain in the ass then the Yondaime ever was. And if anyone asked him, that was saying something. Powerful the Yondaime might have been. Mature and full of dignity most of the time? Hell no!

"Now," he cleared his throat and focused on the mission at hand, pushing the memory of the tadpole infestation that the administration suffered when Arashi was learning the Summoning Technique, "do you have any questions?"

"Of course I do! Its not everyday that I get assigned something like this after all, in fact, I've never been assigned such a vague mission in my life, and I specialize in them!" the boy said as he waved the mission scroll about, clearly agitated. It never ceased to amaze him how different the boy was when he removed his mask. Still, it took a few minutes for the younger shinobi to calm down and focus steadily on the Hokage, "but lets start with the easiest part; why me?"

"Simple, my boy, you are the only one that could actually pull this off; you fill the requirements needed for this assignment to a tee. For anyone else this mission would be a suicide assignment that would end in failure. For you, however, there is a seventy-five percent chance of success."

"That's a lousy reason, but I understand the need," the boy said with a sigh, slumping slightly on his chair as he asked, "but wouldn't long distance surveillance do the trick as well?"

The Sandaime his nodded, "It would, but at the same time it would make you easier to expose. This mission doesn't have a time limit; it could last months, or even years. Should conditions not allow close proximity then other arrangements would have to be made, still, at this point in time this is the best way to go about it. Besides that, it would allow you to become more publicly known within the village, which needed to be done sooner or later."

"Very well," came the clearly reluctant response, "What will happen to my unit if I will be indisposed for such a long amount of time?"

"Another captain will be selected and your status within the ANBU will be sealed off. For all intents and purposes, on public records and otherwise, you will be a Genin of Konoha. Should you desire your previous position within the ANBU once your assignment is completed is up to you."

"I see," he said in a soft tone, understanding the full implications of his assignment and beginning to see the brighter side as well, "Are you sure this cover story will work?" he asked. While his mission scroll held all the details, there were some things that just looked a bit too convenient.

"Yamashiro Aoba arrived in Konoha this morning and the ANBU team guarding the East Gate has reported that Uzumaki Naruto has arrived with him. After all, it is public knowledge that Naruto was sent away to live and train in the Temple of Fire," the Sandaime stated with a straight face, something that became rather difficult when the young shinobi's face turned both sulky and reminiscent at the same time. He was sure that the boy remembered his youth within the Temple, and the blond probably missed some of his mentors and teachers, if not all of them.

Still, that was five years ago before he was immediately recruited by the ANBU. For all that everyone else knew, Uzumaki Naruto was just finishing his basic training from the Temple of Fire and was coming to Konoha to become a Genin. Besides, Aoba and the boy were close as well, since they served as partners in the same squad for some time before he was promoted and Aoba left the Corps. This would help him explain thing of he needed to use some of the techniques that Aoba had taught him, or even some of the techniques that the boy had taught Aoba.

"Which reminds me," Sarutobi said, bringing Naruto's attention back on himself, "sealed within your mission scroll are both your new forehead protector and the keys to your new apartment, which is located rather close to that of your target. You will have to pack all of your things from ANBU Headquarters and not leave a trace, understood?"

"Yes, sir," Naruto said, taking the tone as one of dismissal and standing up, raising his hood and placing his Dragon-mask once again.

"If you have anymore questions, just come find me. The mission starts once you leave this office," the old man trailed off, and as Naruto was ready to depart, the Hokage called him once again, "Oh. And Ryu-chan? Your father would have been very proud of you today."

Naruto simply bobbed his head in acknowledgement, "Hai, Hokage-sama," and bowed before disappearing from the office with a small wisp of smoke.

"Now, why can't he arrive the same way he leaves?" the Sandaime grumbled to himself as he turned back to his paperwork, "I still remember the time when he filled my entire office with nin-smoke when he was nine years old..."

oOOoOOo

It took Naruto no more then two hours to clear out his residence in ANBU Headquarters. He sealed away most of his things, taking special care to seal his ANBU issue uniform, mask and armor in a special scroll. He would not need them at the moment.

The tattoo on his left arm was concealed with a technique that made it sink into the lowest layer of his skin, so as not to give away his prior involvement with the Konoha Back Ops. He changed into a dark orange sleeveless shirt with a high collar that felt like a second skin and had a white flame-type swirl in the front, black baggy shorts that reached the middle of his calves whose lining, pockets and hems were dark orange as well; he made sure to tie his new forehead protector with its black sash around his head and slip on a pair of black ninja sandals.

He placed his pair of black forearm bracers and gloves into his backpack for later use, but strapped his shuriken and kunai holsters in their respective places. After triple checking everything, he transported himself to a secluded area before wondering around in search of his new apartment, being dutifully distracted by the sights within the village as if it were the first time he had seen it in a long time, which was part of his cover.

A smile still lit up his face at being able to wonder around freely and without his mask. True, he loved his job and the challenge that his missions presented, but his identity remaining secret had always been paramount.

He waved and nodded at some of the passersby that looked at him curiously and kept on his way. Sure, this assignment would be a very difficult one, and yes, having to pretend to be a Genin would be a pain in the ass, but at the same time it would give him a chance to relax slightly and roam around his village freely and openly.

Just for that it was well worth it.

Now, he just needed to find his apartment and get settled in. If he wasn't mistaken the Genin exams were yesterday, so tomorrow would be the team selection...which meant that he would have to study the files and profiles that the Sandaime gave him on each of his teammates to get a better feel for them, among other things.

Finding his new apartment easily, he slipped the key and opened the door, ready to set everything up to his liking.

However, not long after the front door closed did a nondescript figure step out of it again, looking around before slipping into the shadows to scout the surroundings and locate his target.

If nothing else, Kage Bunshin was an excellent technique for surveillance, and besides, he was just happy to be able to relax for once, so he decided to be lazy and let his clone do all the mission work for today. Then again, he still needed to unpack and get settled, so he set out to do just that, thinking about what he could do to the old man for giving him a mission like this...

oOOoOOo

The day of the Genin's team placement started rather uneventfully, but then, when you are accustomed to the clandestine movement and cloak and dagger shenanigans that the ANBU pull off on an hourly basis it is not hard to label a normal morning as uneventful.

Uzumaki Naruto was rather glad for the peace and quiet, especially since he wouldn't have anyone from his squad trying to sneak into his room to get even after some training, premature wake-up call or the rotten eggs in their kunai pouch when they didn't take good care of their tools.

He smiled impishly at the thought and smirked as he stretched. He was sure to miss the almost constant happenings in Headquarters and the easy camaraderie of his subordinates. But he wouldn't miss the constant ambushes and bids for his position. There was only so much backstabbing that one could take, after all, even if it was all part of the routine and mostly lighthearted in nature.

It didn't take him long to get ready and out of his apartment. He had time to do some grocery shopping before having to meet his teammates. Some breakfast would not be amiss either, so he leisurely made his way out of his apartment and out into the streets of Konoha, nodding at a few of the villagers that were looking his way and smiling at the ability to actually show his face. Ramen sounded like a good breakfast at the moment, especially since his mission scroll told him of a particularly good stand that was close by.

Who knew, maybe he should spare the old man for giving him the tip. If the ramen was as good as the scroll said, he would even consider leaving the tadpoles out of his revenge.

If nothing else, it needed a bit more consideration.

When he walked into the ramen stand he was welcomed warmly by an old man and his daughter and he had to admit that the food was delicious. After tasting most of the flavors that they sold he knew that Miso would take a good place in his little ANBU heart. The stuff tasted like ambrosia.

Ok, maybe it tasted even better then that. Maybe he should drop the idea about gluing the Hokages hat to he's head after modifying the kanji of 'Fire' for that if 'Hentai.'

He would still have to thank the Third for his recommendation, though it was no secret that he had a particular fondness for Ramen, so maybe the old man thought he could buy his way out of his retaliation?

Nah, the geezer knew better then to try that.

Still, he was just happy to be out and about since he didn't have the same privilege as the rest of the corps had in that they could just take their mask off and walk around Konoha without problems, this was actually the first time that he could do the same. Even if he could disguise himself, someone could still spot him and blow his cover, something that was particularly risky as no one but a select few knew of his true identity. It was something that he had craved for a long time, and he never thought that he would attain it from a mission assignment of all things.

And especially not from an undercover mission where his real name was all the alias he needed. Maybe he should just give the old Hokage a break after all...

With a happy sigh he paid for his meal and thanked the cook and his daughter, promising to come again before setting out toward his next destination. He was sure that his Clones was done with the shopping, and while he was slightly late to the Academy, he knew enough about his supposed sensei to know that it would be a couple of more hours before he showed up.

Then again, maybe meeting with the Copy-nin before the rest of his team wouldn't be a bad idea...

Somewhere within the Administration building and old man was leaning over a crystal ball, relief showing clearly in his face as the scheming glint within the blue eyes that before held the promise of retribution against him slowly cleared. He was safe.

For now, at least.

oOOoOOo

"I knew you would be here, Kakashi-sempai," came a young happy voice from beside him.

Had he been anyone else, Hatake Kakashi would have jumped at knowing that someone had so effectively snuck up on him. However, he was never what you would call normal, so he simply nodded slightly after seeing who was beside him and then turned his sights back toward the memorial stone and the names carved upon it.

He didn't give any though of what the young shinobi was doing out in plain view, seeing as he was on the Genin team that he was supposed to teach. He imagined that there was more to his sudden appearance in the public light then what he was informed of, but the Sandaime had been particularly tight-lipped about the situation. After all, he was one of the few who knew of the blue eyed boy.

Simply put, he just knew that the young ANBU captain was placed on his team because of an extremely classified mission. No more information had been forthcoming. It had surprised him when he had learned about it since the blond could literally wipe the floor with him, but he was sure that things would be explained when they needed to be.

For now, he would follow the flow and see where it leads them.

After all, the boy had passed through his own ANBU squad some four years ago, where they specialized in tracking above all else, and soon made it to the special combat unit of the Dragon-squad where he had risen in both skill and rank at an amazing rate. Even if he had left the Corps soon after, the boy still addressed him as his superior when it had been the other way around for some time now. But he knew it was more out of respect then anything else.

Still, there should be some reason for him to be out here.

"I am not as unpredictable as you Naruto-teichou," Kakashi finally answered with a smile, wanting to know a bit more of their current situation. And while referring to the boy as Captain in the open was a risk, it would be enough to get at least some answers. That and he had always had to use the boy's station or rank to refer to him and never his name.

He could imagine the kind of identity crisis that a young boy would go through within those types of condition and couldn't help but marvel that the younger shinobi had come out of it intact and in good humor when other had been broken by the pressure of the Black Ops.

Still, he watched as the boy's face closed and became impassive. He knew that face, and it meant that the young shinobi had taken the jab as it was meant to be, yet didn't want to become either overemotional or dismissive of the risks presented by the utterance of his rank in such an open place and in such a way as well. It was something that astonished him, that the boy could retain his emotions and his caring nature.

"Be that as it may, I am now one of your subordinates until further notice, Kakashi-sensei. For all intents and purposes I am a Genin level shinobi of Konoha; no more, no less. This however poses some slight difficulties."

"Such as?" asked Kakashi, already knowing many of them himself. If he wasn't wrong then the blond had come to inform him of a course of action; the message was clear, after today Naruto would be a Genin and no more, and he would act as such until his mission was completed.

"One of my secondary missions is to guard and protect Uchiha Sasuke. I am to act with above average skill and attempt to challenge the boy into progressing at a faster rate. My level of skill could be attributed to my being a year older, since I would have graduated last year if I had attended the Academy as a regular cadet."

Kakashi nodded slightly, thinking it through. It would mean that he couldn't exactly count on Naruto's expertise when on the field unless absolutely necessary, but also that he should avoid making Naruto reveal more then what he was willing to reveal. It would be a tricky balance to maintain, especially since he knew what the boy was capable of.

On the other hand, with Naruto taking an active role in Sasuke's development, his worries about teaching were greatly lessened. He knew what a good leader and trainer the blond was, and it was plainly visible in how the Dragon unit of the ANBU Black Ops operated. They were the best, after all.

If there were ever a person that Kakashi could fit in the 'younger but stronger then me,' it would be this boy. So as he turned his attention back to the blond when he spoke again, it was with no small amount of anticipation of what the future might hold.

"Other then that, I came to inquire about your usual bell test. Under the circumstances, it would be a moot point since I already know its purpose."

He just nodded at the comment, having already thought about that particular point after speaking with the Hokage, "I know. Besides, if I were to dismiss this team, not only would your mission be jeopardized, but the Council of Elders would protest. After all, there is no one else in Konoha who can teach the Uchiha how to use his Sharingan. At least, no one that they know of," he finished with a side-ways glance and a sly wink.

"Very well then," Naruto said, ignoring the comment and bowing in respect toward the memorial before his face cleared and a small smile stretched across his lips. "I'll see you later then, Kakashi-sensei!" and with a wave and the sound of running feet, Uzumaki Naruto left his side, seeming like any normal 13 year old boy.

He knew that precious little would make the boy break his cover from now on, and he wondered just what type of mission would need someone like him to be placed in a Genin team of all things, even if it were a team with the last member of the Uchiha clan.

As he turned his thoughts toward the memorial stone once again, he knew that he was in for some interesting times.

oOOoOOo

Uchiha Sasuke was many things; the last loyal survivor of the Uchiha clan, this year's rooky of the year, the most sought after male in his generation and a genius shinobi or astonishing potential. But there was one thing he was not; he was not a patient person.

Even as a small child, Uchiha Sasuke was anything but patient.

So it is little wonder that he would be somewhat irritated, for he did not anger easily, when the clock marked that a whole hour had passed and his Jonin-sensei had not appeared. Not only that, but the third member of his team, someone called Uzumaki Naruto, who he had never heard of before, was also absent.

The fact that one of his most vociferous fan-girls, Haruno Sakura, was both trying to rip out his right arm or at least prevent blood from circulating in it with her death-like grip, and seemingly attempting to make him loose his hearing was not making his nerves any less frayed.

If he could, he would kill the Hokage for putting the girl in his team.

Indeed, he didn't need any teammates at all; they would only slow him down and hamper his ability to grow strong enough to hunt him down and kill him. A dark frown formed in his brow as his black eyes narrowed, ignoring the incessant chatter for the next twenty or so minutes; irritation growing with the ticking of the clock. And if it was absolutely necessary to be placed in a three man cell, well, why the hell did they have to place him in one with such an annoyance?

His thoughts were distracted by the sound of footsteps and his frown turned into a glare when the door opened and someone stepped in.

A blond boy that looked somewhat older then they stood in the doorway with an arched golden eyebrow and a small paper in his right hand. He looked from the scowling and glaring Uchiha to the green eyed, pink haired girl at his side, "Haruno Sakura and Uchiha Sasuke of Genin team 7, I presume?" the boy asked and continued at the girls nod, "My name is Uzumaki Naruto," he introduced himself with a small bow, "it is a pleasure to meet you both."

With that, he boy entered the silent classroom and closed the door before heading toward the teacher's desk and sat on top of it, looking at his teammates curiously, "I apologize for being late, but Hokage-sama didn't tell me when and where to meet my new team when I arrived yesterday morning, so I had to return to his office and ask for directions."

If Kakashi had heard this, it would have made him proud. After all, not even a day after being assigned to his team and the blond was picking up some of his habits, even if the excuses sounded a bit too plausible for the Copy-nins tastes.

Sasuke however, was slightly appeased and simply grunted as his scowl disappeared and he began assessing his supposed teammate, which was quickly detected by the blond, who returned the look with a wink at him and a cheeky, yet strangely warm smile.

The Uchiha would have blushed if his blood circulation was in working order, what with Sakura almost ripping his arm off, especially since no-one had ever winked at him like that. The most the fan girls that followed him around would do was flutter their eyes at him in the most nauseating fashion. It made him blink blankly at the blond boy, whose piercing blue eyes had been focused on the avenger the whole time before his eyes left Sasuke and wondered over to Sakura and her death-grip no jutsu.

"So, are you guys a couple or something?" came the completely innocent question, too innocent of anyone was actually paying attention, throwing both Sasuke and Sakura of guard. Sakura, however, immediately let her imagination go into overdrive and her eyes glazed over at the thought of being the Uchiha's girlfriend, which in turn allowed said Uchiha to untangle his arm from the girls grip and use the Substitution Technique with a log.

It was too fast for a normal person to follow, but Naruto was not exactly normal, now, was he?

Still, the blond was not entirely surprised by the action, or the very succinct "No" with which the Uchiha answered his question after he was seated three rows and five chairs away from the pink-haired girl. So he just gave a curious nod and folded his legs underneath him and made himself comfortable.

He didn't miss that Sakura hast noticed the change, or the fact that her death-grip no jutsu was now applied to a branch and not the Uchiha's arm, and Naruto really dint feel like informing her of this fact, so he let the girl figure it out for herself.

He would be extremely surprised that the girl didn't notice the change until after Kakashi entered the room, much to the Uchiha's obvious relief.

All in all, Naruto thought as he settled down for a long wait; it's not a bad start.

-

TBC…

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Author's Notes: Did you like it? Did you hate it? Leave a review and let me know, ne?