Title: A Fateful Meeting

Title: A Fateful Meeting
Rating: K+ (10)
Anime: Naruto

#--...--#
Sasuke

His footsteps echoed across the hard wood floor of the outer landing. It was an average day, clear skies, bird song filtering through the air, and warm with a delicate breeze. Nothing out of the ordinary could possible take place on a day such as this. So he breathed it in, a smile on his face as the warm air filled his lungs.

"Sasuke dear, could you come inside please." His mother's voice filtered through the door screen closed to his left.

..

The door slid open and he stood in the doorway. His dark hair was spiked, just like she remembered him from their classes together, and his eyes black like shadows. She allowed her gaze to shift towards him only momentarily, than she returned her gaze to his mother and father. His eyes, however, remained upon her back.

His father made a slight, almost imaginary, nod towards the floor beside her where Sasuke than seated himself.

"Sasuke," His father's voice was strong and matter-of-fact, the kind of voice that makes you know the person isn't joking when they speak "This is Shogai Ryokan, one of your classmates I believe. She will be living with our family for a while."

The shift of surprise could be felt through the small floor space between them. Ryo felt herself tense as well.

"Why?" Was the only word that managed to pass through Sasuke's lips in his confusion.

His mother and father exchanged a glance before his mother took the chance to speak.

"Well, you see Sasuke, Ryo's parents are no longer with us and she can't continue living with the family who has been taking care of her. Her mother was a very good friend of mine, so I promised if the other family couldn't," A pause passed her sentence as she glanced nervously at Sasuke's father "That I would."

Sasuke took that opportunity subconsciously to look at Ryo and she returned the gesture, but only with her eyes. Then she looked away and instead focused her gaze upon the hard wood floor beneath her.

"I," Her gaze didn't falter but her voice suggested otherwise "I apologize if I am a burden."

"No, not at all." Sasuke's mother smiled.

After a few more words were said, information on sleeping arrangements and other small changes, the two kids were excused from the room.

For the next few days Sasuke and Ryo only exchanged hesitant glances towards each other when their presence was crossed, which was rare. Ryo spent most of her time locked away in her room not talking to anyway. Sometimes Sasuke would find himself standing outside her doorway waiting to hear some sort of noise, some sign of movement, but it was like once she closed the door she no longer existed. And in the next two weeks that followed, Sasuke never heard her speak. Even in class, she suddenly stood out as the most quiet, well behaved, brightest girl in class. If nothing else, she was rather… boring. Sasuke felt bad, because he didn't even know her, but he found himself annoyed at her for being so boring. Until the fifteenth day that is, when it rained.

The rain was hard, and classes had been canceled, so Sasuke sat at the table reading while his mother washed some neglected dishes. Once the silence had become too much to bare he closed his book, let out a deep sigh, and stretch out upon the floor. The dishes stopped.

"What's the matter Sasuke?" His mother looked down upon his puzzled expression as she wiped down a dish. "Is something bothering you?"

"It's her." Sasuke didn't bother to hesitate with the explanation of his problem. "All she does is go to school, eat, and sleep. Actually, I don't even know if she eats or sleeps because I never see or hear her do any of it. She's just… there. What's her problem, being all locked up like that. Can't she even come out and talk to us? Can she even talk, because I haven't heard it. I mean, she has to be lonely sitting in her room all the time like that, right?"

Sasuke stopped to breath and looked up at his moms smile. She had a soft smile. One that could always understand, no matter what the problem.

"Sasuke, she might just be shy. Give her some time, this is a new place to her and she is getting used to seeing new people every day. If it really bothers you that much, try talking to her. Make her feel like part of the family. And as for her not being able to talk, well, that's not true. Not according to Itachi anyway…"

"What? Itachi heard her speak? When?"

She looked down at her dishes now when she spoke, but the smile could be heard in her voice, like she found humor in the concept of her own words "That boy is so funny. He seems to have a fondness for that girl. From what I hear, he will spend hours just walking around talking to that girl. He says she is different and that she understands what should be far beyond her years. And," She paused.

"And what?" The expression on Sasuke's face couldn't hide is longing to know the rest.

"She makes him laugh."

He hadn't been expecting that answer "So what, he laughs with me too."

"Yes," her smile didn't seem so real with those words, almost like she was trying to comfort a lie "Yes, I suppose he does."

Sasuke let the conversation drop at that, almost disturbed by the way his mother replied to his last statement. So he picked up his book and heading out of the kitchen.

The footsteps were drowned out by the sound of the rain hitting the roof above the outer landing. His motions were aimed towards his own room but something in his mind stopped him once he passed in front of the door that opened to Ryo's. He stood in front of it, unsure if he should open it or run from it. Shaking from nerves, he knew he couldn't just stand there, so he reached his hand out to open the sliding door. However, he didn't make it in time.

Face to face Ryo framed herself motionless in the middle of the doorway, hand upon the door, eyes piercing into Sasuke's. As if that was the only way they had ever lived there lives, the staring contest continued until something loud roared over the heavy rain. Ryo and Sasuke both jumped, but Ryo jumped right in the direction of a shelf which quickly fell under the pressure of her body falling against it. Everything, from empty boxes, the random cloth, to several books came toppling down upon Ryo lying on the floor. Sasuke flinched with the loudness from the falling objects but recovered quickly.

"Ryo, are you…?!"

She sat up, box over her head and draped in a number of colorful fabrics. Without finishing his sentence, or even waiting for an answer, Sasuke began to laugh. The sight was so ridiculous that even with injuries a possibility he found himself laughing. Gripping at the stitch in his side he reached out for the wall to support the body he could not carry under all the laugher but he missed it by several inches. The fault was enough and he too went toppling over onto op the heap now scattered around Ryo's finally free body. This time they both became entangled within the mess. Sasuke's arm and face became wrapped in a large piece of fabric and as well as a piece twisting itself around his ankles awkwardly. Ryo tangled as well and in the process of standing from it all Sasuke fell once more and caused both he and Ryo to fall into the box. The stopped to breath, and in the moment of looking upon each others disastrous state, they both burst out into fits of laughter.

"You… look… so lame." Sasuke finally choked out.

"Me?" Ryo had better control over her laughter, but her words still came out in random chunks "What would your… fan club… say… about the great Sasuke… a closet klutz?"

"Nothing… they would… be too distracted… by how lame you are."

The two stopped laughing long enough to exchange smiles, and then the laughter continued. A secret bond between the two broken ninjas.