Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto (what on earth would make you think that I do?), I'm not making any money by writing or posting this, so pretty please no suing. I'm unemployed!

Notes: AU, modern-era, non-ninja, pre-Naruto, spoiler-lite. A short four-part story inspired by a few pictures I've seen on the internet (links in my profile).

Kirei: pretty/beautiful (at least, as far as I know that's what it translates to...)



Uzumaki Kushina despised school. It was long and boring and started way too early. And since her father insisted that she attend private school, she was required to wear a uniform.

She had to wear a skirt.

Dresses were inventions of evil. Skirts were even worse. They were short, and cold, and if you weren't careful the whole world would see what kind of panties you were wearing.

Kushina exercised her vocabulary of curses as she ran.

Her father had suddenly been transferred a month ago from the capital of the small seaside country of Whirlpool to Konoha in Fire Country. That meant leaving all her friends and her old school behind. It meant transferring to a new school near the end of the term. It meant misery.

She damned her brothers to every circle of hell, and a few new ones that she made up on the fly. Arashi had started college. Ichi-tora and Ni-tora were close to graduating college. And Kenshin had a nice job back in Whirlpool Country and a pretty fiancée. She was the only one affected by their father's transfer. They were safe and unbothered.

Damn lucky bastards.

Her curses returned to school. Why did it have to start so early? Why did she have to wear an evil skirt? Why did her stupid alarm clock have to fail her today?!

Damn it! I'm gonna be late! I hate being late!

She also cursed her hair and herself for making that stupid, stupid bet. Back in elementary school, her bitchy cousin had mocked her mercilessly for being an ugly tomboy and having a boy's haircut. Kushina had let it get to her, and ended up betting that she could grow her hair out long and look pretty. And ever since she had let her hair grow out, and now it was ridiculously long.

Waking up late meant that she had less time to get ready for school. She hadn't had the time to braid her hair, like she always did. Now it was in her face and blowing around her head as she ran—an annoying, blinding tangle of red.

The light snow of pale pink cherry blossom petals carried by the breeze didn't help, either.

Running full tilt, she rounded a corner—


Blue eyes, bright and clear and staring up at her, startled and wide. She blinked down through her messed red locks at… Sun-yellow hair, spiky and soft-looking as a dandelion, a bit long for a boy—

Oh my god I'm sitting on a boy!

He was sprawled out on his back on the sidewalk. She was sprawled on top of him, hovering over his face. Her bag was off to the side somewhere and his probably his, too.

A tiny corner of her brain which was somehow still functioning noted that he wasn't wearing a uniform. He was dressed in black jeans and a hoodie sweatshirt almost as blue as his eyes with some kind of long-sleeved dark shirt underneath. That meant that he attended a public school…and was a lucky bastard.

…And god was he pretty.

She felt frozen, paralyzed. She wanted to apologize but her mouth wouldn't move. She wanted to get off of him and run away, but she kept sitting there, on his chest, his heartbeat thumping underneath her hand.

What's wrong with me?

Uzumaki Kushina was not mesmerized by pretty boys. She was a tomboy, for all her long hair and stupid skirted sailor school uniform. Boys were things to punch or hang out with, not drool over and dream about—

I'm getting up now.

She started to sit up—

"Wait!" he blurted, hand upraised beseechingly.

Kushina froze.

"Wait, I think I have something… Let me see…" His hand dug around in his pants pocket for a moment. "Where, where… I'm sure I still have it…"

And then his fingers were in her hair! His fingers were in her hair, combing through it, doing something to it. There was a snap and most of her loose, long red hair was pinned out of her eyes.

She couldn't move. She couldn't blink. She couldn't breathe.

Her face burned.

His fingers were still in her hair.


Trance broken, she staggered off him, scooped up her book bag, and ran for all she was worth. She ran and ran, all the way until she reached her locker inside her evil new private school. Gasping for breath, she put her lunch and some of her books into her locker—

—And in her tiny mirror saw the little black barrette he'd put in her hair…

Minato lay on his back on the sidewalk staring up at the clear blue sky as tiny pink sakura petals fell around him like a light snow.

"Kirei…" he repeated softly, a dreamy smile tugging at the corner of his mouth. "What a beautiful girl."

She had the reddest hair he'd ever seen; so soft when he'd touched it. Her eyes were pretty, too—a pale blue-green. And she just looked so cute when she'd blushed.

Helping her was well-worth sacrificing his young neighbor Rin's barrette.

Judging by the blouse and skirt she'd been wearing, she attended the private school, which explained why he'd never seen her before. It was a real shame. He would've liked to get to know her.

"…I should've asked for her name," he sighed and reluctantly got up. "Oh well."

He pulled his backpack on, turned towards school, and started to run. He was cutting it close, but he'd make it on time. He wasn't star of the track team for nothing.

There was a reason his friends called him Kiroi Senkou—the Yellow Flash.