Author's Note: Ah! My third fic. But this is going to be my first multi-chapter and I am going to try my hardest to see its way through to the end. I've been looking through my fics (I know, I know. There's only two, which is pathetic.) and I've noticed that "I'll Come Back" was really out of character. Embarrassingly so. Well, so this is my attempt in trying to write a decent fic with characters that are more true to their original personality. Lets see how I go. And again, this is a fanfic based on the anime/manga "Naruto" and is dedicated to the pairing sasunaru. Enjoy!

Warning: YAOI (content may be explicit in later chapters)

Disclaimer: I do not own 'Naruto' or any of the characters from the anime/manga.

This is an AU fic, but still in the ninja-verse. And this is NOT a fem!Naruto fic!

The Art of Fabrication

By: Nine1991

Chapter 1: Missions and First Appearances

Not a single sound permeated the still silence. It was dark, dank and completely morose in a way that left tingles running up and down your spine, coaxed the tiny hairs at the back of your neck to stand on end and left you anxious, urging you to peer around your shoulder because you were so sure that something was there – watching, waiting. But, then again, that was the way he liked it. He liked the silence, liked the dark, liked how the atmosphere pressed around him so tightly that he felt as if he'd choke. Well, maybe not him personally, Orochimaru smiled. But it was just so delicious watching his visitors squirm and shake, the way he could practically see their nerves stretching, stretching, stretching, before –

His eyes flickered towards the shadows in the corner of the room, where the slight shift in air pressure had been the only sign to indicate that he was no longer alone. "You requested my presence?" the visitor asked, voice emotionless except for that touch of haughtiness that managed to steer his tone into a drawl.

Orochimaru inwardly scoffed. Requested? He had not 'requested', he had ordered. That child was getting too confident of himself, overstepping his mark. No matter, he would soon learn his place. All in due time…

Orochimaru leaned back in his chair, thin fingers that were pale to the point of being ghastly splaying across the armrest in a relaxed, almost lazy manner. "I have a mission for you," he declared.

The figure in the shadows didn't reply, but Orochimaru could almost feel the arrogantly raised eyebrow, a silent enquiry for more information. His eyes narrowed before continuing smoothly, "You are to go to Fire Country, to the village of Konoha. You will find out everything you can about it – its strengths, its weaknesses, everything. I trust you have heard about Kumogakure's(1) failed attempt at conquering the village. I want to know how that was possible. You will be working under the guise of a transferred Suna nin." At this point, Orochimaru pulled out an object from the folds of his robes, before thrusting it in the direction of the shadowed figure. There was a slight glimpse of pale, milky skin as the nin shot out a hand to catch the aforementioned object.

It was a headband, the metal plate bearing the symbol of the hidden village of Suna. It didn't take much for the nin to recognize the dark red speckles amidst the engravings to be dried blood. He looked back to the sinister yellow eyes of his master as he continued.

"You will report back to me regularly. Do you understand?"

The figure tilted his head slightly, regardless of if the gesture could be seen or not. "Yes, Orochimaru-sama," he replied, before turning to leave.

"Oh, and one more thing, Sasuke-kun."

He stopped, his head turned to the side as he waited for the Sannin to continue.

Orochimaru smiled, a smile so evil and sinister that it would have sent any lesser man cowering. "Please do not get caught."

The ninja's lips curled into a sneer, but the only sound he uttered was a quiet 'Hn'.

As the ninja left and Orochimaru was once again left to an empty room, he rose up from his chair and strode gracefully towards the window where moonlight served as the only source of illumination. He looked out upon the village down below, quiet and peaceful in its slumber, acting at such a contradiction to its name – the Village of Sound. His gaze swept past the village, peering into the distance where the curve of the world hid everything beyond his view.

How is it, he thought, as his fingers tightened on the window ledge. How is it that one ninja village can single-handedly hold back the advances of another, not to mention completely obliterate it in the process. So easily, so effortlessly. "Konoha," he hissed, his eyes flashing in the darkness, "What powers do you hold?"

-LineBreak-

Uchiha Sasuke stood in front of Konoha's village gates. The towering doors were open, and he would have walked straight through if not for the two Chunins that had approached him the moment he stepped within 50 metres of their beloved village. He was sorely tempted to roll his eyes at the calculating gazes directed at him from the two Leaf nins. Was he supposed to feel intimidated? Well, it wasn't working.

One of the two stepped forward, eyes flickering towards the headband on Sasuke's forehead before starting in a gruff voice, "State your name, position and what business you have here in Konoha."

Sasuke's eyes zoned in on the Chunin talking to him, committing the man's appearance to memory for future references. He was older than him, but by no means old. Probably around his early 20s, and, from the tenseness of his jaw and awkwardness of his stance, not to mention the stark 'newness' of the Chunin vest he was sporting, Sasuke presumed he was a newbie, just newly promoted to his current rank. His eyes bore into the Chunin's and he could tell, with an inward smirk, that the Chunin was probably more intimidated by him then he was supposed to be. "Uchiha Sasuke. Jounin. I've been transferred here from Suna under request from your Hokage. I believe she is expecting me?" He raised an eyebrow arrogantly, daring them to question his reason.

The Chunin stepped back, eyes meeting his partner's briefly in silent discussion before seemingly coming to an agreement. He nodded to Sasuke, "Of course. We will escort you to the Hokage tower." He turned around and proceeded to walk, a silent indication for Sasuke to follow.

As all three of them entered Konoha, Sasuke took to discretely observing the village around him. It was nothing special, not grand or rich to the point of breathtaking or ominous in anyway that would decree it to be a deadly ninja village. Rather, everything seemed peaceful and contentedly serene. Sickeningly so, Sasuke thought. Like a scene from a frickin' fairytale book. There was nothing that indicated that Konoha was deserving of the way the other villages would whisper its name in fear, the way it was known to be one of the most powerful ninja villages in all the countries combined. Sure, it was prosperous. But only comfortably so.

As they delved deeper into the village, Sasuke was vaguely aware of the attention he was drawing. Mostly, to his disgust, from the female part of the population. They whispered as he walked past, giggled to each other in high pitched voices that made him want to grind his teeth together in annoyance. He ignored them, something he learned to do from a very young age. After all, to pay any attention was to encourage, and god forbid they (the rabid female population) were bad enough without any encouragement to fuel their actions.

They walked towards the looming tower that, no doubt, was the Hokage tower. Upon entering the tower and climbing up the numerous amounts of staircases, the three-man-group came to a stop in front of a set of oak doors flanked by two Jounins. The Chunin who had interrogated Sasuke walked up to one of the Jounin, whispered something into his ear before, with a contemplative look in Sasuke's direction and a curt nod at the Chunin, the Jounin disappeared through the oak doors, no doubt to inform their Hokage of his arrival.

-LineBreak-

Tsunade had been procrastinating again, taking rhythmic sips from the sake bottle hidden beneath her table as she stared at the paperwork in front of her. Staring, but not reading. She had to at least look like she was working. After all, it would not do for any of Konoha's residents to walk in on their village leader shirking her civic duties. It would also not do for the village leader to lose her supply of sake due to the hands of her own assistant once said assistant finds her not doing her paperwork. Tsunade smirked as she took another deep sip of sake. Yes, she was smart. Very smart.

A faint knocking from the doors caused Tsunade to jump slightly, almost spilling her precious sake in her haste to hide the bottle from view. As a Jounin stepped into the room, she straightened up and glared at him, as if showing disgruntlement for being disrupted from the many documents she was "reading" through. The Jounin tilted his head slightly in the correct manner of respect, before saying, "Hokage-sama. There is a Jounin from Suna here to see you. He says that you are expecting hi-"

"Yes, yes, send him in," Tsunade said, with a lazy wave of her hand as she reclined back in her seat, acting every bit the fearsome village leader if it weren't for the wet patches of sake across her top. The Jounin disappeared through the doors, only to have a young dark haired man enter mere seconds later. She stared at him, amber eyes narrowed speculatively.

When Uchiha Sasuke had entered the Hokage's office, he had been surprised (though he did not show it) at seeing the person behind the desk. From his research, he had known that Konoha's Hokage was a woman, and a powerful one at that, being one of the three Legendary Sannin. He also knew that she was a renowned medic-nin, the best in all of Fire Country and possibly all the other countries as well. But this woman, this ample breasted female who sat lazily in her chair and, if his nose and eyes were not deceiving him, enjoyed drinking copious amounts of sake during her work, was not what he had expected of the leader of the almighty village of Konoha. Still, he found himself tempted to fidget as he was faced with her sharp gaze. She was analyzing him, he could tell. Sizing him up, seeing if he was worthy for…what he did not know. And it took all of his pride to stare her down, because he'd be damned if an Uchiha was deemed unworthy of anything.

"You are Uchiha Sasuke?" she asked, eyes not once leaving his.

"Yes," he replied, making sure to keep his voice emotionless.

"You are a ninja of Suna."

It wasn't really a question, but he felt obligated to answer anyway. "Yes," he grunted.

"You are a Jounin."

And at this he felt the urge to roll his eyes. Wasn't it pretty damn obvious he was a Jounin from the vest he was wearing? "Yes."

"How old are you, boy?" she drawled, leaning forward in her chair as if the new position would allow her better hearing of his answer.

"Seventeen."

A golden brow rose at his answer. "Impressive," she mused, before chuckling silently as she muttered to herself, "Naruto's going to have a fit." She cleared her throat and recovered her composure, her voice turning brisk as she addressed Sasuke once again. "Uchiha Sasuke. Your job is to be a bodyguard for one of my subordinates. His name is Uzumaki-"

Crash!!!

Both heads turned simultaneously just in time to catch a glimpse of a yellow blur zooming into the room. And it was…cackling?! The blur – and Sasuke now realized that it was actually a person – rushed through the office before screeching to a stop behind the form of the Hokage, just in time for the doors to crash open a second time, signaling the entrance of an angry Jounin. The Jounin was red in the face, all stony composure (that was the norm for all ninjas of high ranking) lost as he seemed intent on chasing the blur that was currently shaking behind the Hokage.

Tsunade frowned, her glare piercing. "What is the meaning of this!" she snapped.

The Jounin, who had seemed to finally realize that he had, in fact, just barged into the Hokage's office while she was in the middle of a discussion with a guest, stood poker straight before bowing down low. "My apologies, Tsunade-sama," he said, still wheezing slightly from the chase, "But I am under orders from the elders to take in Uzumaki Naruto for punishment." Sasuke's ears perked at the name. Uzumaki? So this was the person he was assigned to.

The Hokage let out a deep sigh, fingers tiredly rubbing her temples. "What has the brat done this time?"

The Jounin fidgeted slightly, before coughing lightly into his hand, seemingly reluctant to depart with the information. Sasuke's eyebrows raised at the dash of pink across the Jounin's cheeks and ears. Was the man blushing!? "It was…um…that jutsu of his. He turned into…well..." the Jounin muttered, turning redder and redder as he went on.

Tsunade, taking pity on the poor man, cut him off. "Fine, fine. Tell the elders that I'll take care of it. He'll receive a fitting punishment, rest assured." She waved him away and the Jounin left, but not before Sasuke was able to hear a very relieved sigh.

The door closed with a gentle click and Sasuke was once again left to the company of the Hokage…and the yellow bundle behind her. Tsunade's lips pursed, eyes closed as if scooping up every ounce of patience she had left, before opening her eyes again, swiveling her chair to the side and (Sasuke vaguely noticed that the figure had been shaking, not out of fear as he had first thought, but out of suppressed laughter) delivering a powerful punch on the head of aforementioned blond bundle.

"Itai!" the figure screeched, standing up straight as she caressed her bruised scalp. And now that the person wasn't huddled behind the Hokage's chair, Sasuke could see that it was a girl, a girl with long blond hair tied in two pigtails, big boobs, a tiny waist and long slim legs, all encased in a risqué orange bikini that failed to cover much of anything. Sasuke vaguely wondered how she was able to stand without the weight of her breasts causing her to keel over or without her suffering severe excruciating back pains at the very least.

His face remained indifferent as the girl turned simpering eyes towards him, finally realizing that she and the Hokage were not the only occupants of the room. She smiled coyly, mischief glinting in her blue eyes as she sauntered over to Sasuke. Sasuke inwardly groaned. Great, that's just what he needed. To be assigned to some dumb, ditzy blond who'd use his position as bodyguard to hang all over him.

She grinned when she reached him, flashing her pearly whites as she placed a dainty hand on his shoulder. Sasuke stiffened, glaring daggers at the blond in front of him, daring her to take it one step further and, if she did, guaranteeing overwhelming amounts of pain. But it seemed the blond didn't get his silent message (or was incredibly stupid) for she started reaching out a hand towards his face. Started, that is.

Quick as a flash, the dainty hand was encased in a vice-like grip as Sasuke bore down on the blond. "I would appreciate it," he gritted out, "If you refrained from touching me." And with that, he shoved the hand (and the girl attached to it) away from him. The girl staggered, catching her balance before standing straight, looking at him with wide eyes. Sasuke rolled his eyes. Oh great. She's probably going to start crying now. He stood back, fully expecting her to breakdown in tears and start pouting all over the place at his harsh rejection.

What he didn't expect, however, was to be on the receiving end of a glare almost as harsh as his own. "What…the…hell," the girl growled out, and Sasuke felt his eyebrows rise for about the tenth time that day, "Got shoved up your ass this morning!" Sasuke looked on in interest. This was not the reaction he was expecting. No girl, heck, no one had ever talked to him like that before.

What came next though, even his stiff composure could not stop his eyebrows from shooting into his hairline. There was a soft Poof! as smoke erupted around the girl, and when it cleared, what was left in her place was her male counterpart. Though slightly short, the figure standing amidst the disappearing smoke was most definitely a boy – a boy with blond spiky hair and intense blue eyes that flashed with annoyance as apposed to the coy mischievousness that was there before. And one definitely could not miss the garish orange jumpsuit that had replaced the bikini.

The girl-newly-turned-boy peered at Sasuke through narrowed eyes, lips curled into a sneer. "And what the hell is wrong with you," he grunted, expression a mix between annoyance and genuine confusion as he stared at Sasuke as if, if he stared hard enough, he would be able to figure Sasuke out.

The blonde boy's eyes lit up, like he had finally discovered the answer to a very hard conundrum. "Ah!" he declared, and Sasuke felt a strange feeling of foreboding. The blond looked at him smack in the eyes, lips tilted into a lopsided grin, before asking in a voice laced with smugness, "Are you gay or something?"

- TBC -

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(1). Kumogakure: The Hidden Village of Cloud – basically, it's the village of the ninja that tried to kidnap Hinata when she was younger (in the manga/anime).

Please review! I know that it's probably much easier to just click the 'Back' button and move on to another fic, but I truly appreciate every little bit of feedback I get. Constructive criticism is very much welcomed. But please, don't be nasty. Anyway, hope you enjoyed the first chapter!

- Nine1991 -