This idea has been lurking around in the back of my mind for months, and will not go away until I write it down. I thought I'd share it, and see if anyone else thinks it was worth it.

If you recognise a character's name, they're probably not mine.


I should feel more guilty about this than I do, Kakashi mused as he wandered towards the bridge where he met his students each morning. After all, I tell them to meet me every day before dawn, when I know that I never wake before midmorning. Well, it's good for their training. It teaches them discipline and patience, vital skills for a ninja, and ones that Naruto, at least, is lacking. Internal conflict happily resolved, Kakashi let his lips curve upward in a slight smile, and increased his pace a little.

His inner peace was abruptly disturbed when a kunai came flying at him from a tree he was passing. Instincts kicking in, Kakashi whipped his own kunai from his leg pouch and brought it up to meet it mid-air. With a clang, it dropped to the ground, followed by its caster.

"So, the rumours about you are true, Kakashi," the newcomer greeted him. Though the ninja's face was hidden behind a thick layer of gauze, he could tell it was a woman. "You are quick."

"Quick enough to see that coming," he replied, lowering his blade. "Is there a reason you're disturbing me this morning?"

She lifted one shoulder in a shrug. "I've heard a lot about you, and wanted to see if any of it was true. Your speed is all they say, but I've yet to see you attack."

"If you want to fight me, don't expect me to hold back," he warned. "I have somewhere to be this morning."

"Good. I want to see everything you've got!" she said as she sprang forward. Kakashi dashed forward as well, and their kunai rang as they met. Almost as soon as they clashed, the woman flipped herself backwards and with a few quick hand signs, disappeared into thin air. Sensing her movements, Kakashi whirled and deftly flung three shuriken at her. Twisting in midair, she landed in a crouch, and laughed as her mask fell down her face, cut by the shuriken.

"Oh, you are good!" she said in delight. She was young, only a few years older than his students, with fine features and deep green eyes. "Very few men have seen my face. But let's see how you do with ninjutsu!"

She stood, and began forming a long string of complex hand signs. Kakashi crouched defensively, and his own fingers began to flicker through hand signs, preparing for the defensive Bubble Shield jutsu. As he finished and the shield sprang up, a thin stream of silver light whipped from her hands and curled around him and the bubble.

"What…?" he asked, but got no further as the light widened until all he could see was silver…

x

"Well, I guess the great Kakashi isn't so great after all," the woman murmured as the silver light vanished, leaving no trace of the silver-haired ninja behind. "Weren't expecting that, were you?"

x

"But I'm bored!" Luffy wailed, kicking his feet. The captain of the Straw-hat Pirates had just had lunch, so he was full of energy and ready to do something. Unfortunately for him, most of his crew was still trying to recover from the lack of sleep caused by Luffy's snoring the previous night, which had been so loud that it carried throughout the entire ship.

"Shut up, Luffy," Zolo moaned without opening his eyes.

"Why don't you go and bother Usopp or Chopper?" Nami mumbled, turning in her deckchair to be further away from her noisy captain.

Luffy pouted sulkily. "They're sleeping too," he muttered.

Suddenly, there was a blinding flash of silver light, followed by a splash as something hit the water a short way ahead of them. "What was that?" Luffy shouted, his sulkiness forgotten in the face of something new.

"Was it lightning?" Sanji asked, coming out of the kitchen to lean on the railing, ever-present cigarette dangling from the corner of his mouth.

"No," said Nami, sitting up. "I didn't sense any coming, and I would have. Besides, did you hear any thunder?"

"Nope. Just the splash when that guy fell in the water," Luffy said cheerfully, pointing to the ripples spreading from the point of impact.

"Someone is in the water?" Robin asked, lifting an eyebrow.

"I'll get him," Zolo grumbled, pulling himself up and over to the side railing.

"Not if I get there first, seaweed-head," Sanji said with a smirk as he dove overboard. The two men matched each other stroke for stroke as they swam powerfully to where Luffy had pointed. Taking a deep breath, they dived, and soon resurfaced with a limp man between them.

"They'll need a rope to get back up," Robin reminded as she turned the page of her book.

"R-right!" Usopp stuttered, having been woken by the commotion. He stumbled across the deck to where they kept coils of rope, and securely tying an end to the ladder, threw the rest to where Sanji was waving.

x

Everyone stared at the new arrival as Zolo and Sanji brought him up and laid him on the deck. "Get out of the way," Chopper said, pushing his way through them with his medical bag in tow. "I need to see him."

Reluctantly, the others moved, allowing Chopper to kneel by the man's side. He pulled out a stethoscope, and leaned forward.

x

The first thing Kakashi saw upon regaining consciousness was a strange creature covered in fur leaning towards him with a metal instrument, so his reaction was understandable. One hand darted into his leg pouch for his kunai, and the other moved to capture the creature and hold it. In a single fluid movement, he was on his knees behind the creature, kunai at its throat, staring at its stunned companions.

x

"Don't you dare threaten Chopper!" Luffy seethed, hands clenched into fists.

"What? This?" the silver-haired man asked, his one visible eye wide with confusion. He tilted his blade to bring it closer to Chopper's throat. "It has a name?"

"It certainly does," said Robin dryly, getting up from her deckchair and joining the others as they stared at him. With a gesture, she had four of her extra arms sprout from the deck and take hold of him, then gently moved his arm so Chopper could scramble free.

"What sort of jutsu is that?" he nearly gasped, shaken. "I've never seen anything like it!"

Robin lifted an eyebrow. "It's a Devil Fruit ability. Surely you've seen one of those before?"

He shook his head, and the rest of the crew (minus Luffy, who was still frowning at him after the way he treated Chopper) exchanged glances. What sort of person had never seen a Devil Fruit ability before?

"If I let you go, will you attack us?" Robin asked. "Because it would be easy to capture you again."

"You have my word that I will not attack," he said, inclining his head solemnly.

Robin allowed her arms to disappear, and Kakashi stood, resisting the urge to rub his wrists. "I am Hatake Kakashi, a shinobi of the Village Hidden in the Leaves," he offered, bowing to the group.

"I am Sanji, the ship's cook," Sanji replied. "These lovely ladies are Nami and Robin, this is our doctor Chopper, our marksman Usopp, and this is our marimo."

"Hee hee, he's Zolo, not Marimo," Luffy giggled. "And I'm Monkey D. Luffy, future king of the pirates!"

"Pirates?" Kakashi asked, puzzled. "Exactly where am I, and how did I get here?"


So, what do we think? Worth continuing?