Why didn't I die?

I should have died, I should be dead.

I miss them, mom, dad, Nii-san...


"Well well, what have we here?"

She started in surprise, falling off the log she'd nearly fell asleep on. Her entire being screamed to run, but something told her she couldn't get away. Too late, she realized the fire hadn't been put out, and those sputtering embers had attracted unwanted attention from the night.

There he was, a tall dark, figure, staring at her, just beyond the comforting light of the campfire. But whoever this was, he made no move to attack, instead, he seemed to take in her appearance. Slitted yellow eyes peered out from an unruly, dirty mess of long hair, dark as the night itself. She had pale skin, unnaturally pale, bordering on silvery gray. She wore little more than rags, the tattered remains of a kimono.

They met amused sapphire orbs, hidden behind what looked like a fox mask. He didn't look to be that old, maybe around fifteen perhaps, a year older than she, and clad in all black, plus what looked like light armor about the arms, legs and chest. But it was the way that he held himself that irritated her. He was confident, this one, just like the ones who'd destroyed her town and murdered her parents.

He unnerved her, as no one ever had before.

"I have no quarrel with you." She replied blandly, reaching for the pocketknife she'd picked off her father's corpse, once she'd realized he wasn't going to wake up from the eternal sleep of death. "But I will ask you to leave."

"Ah, but you see, I was sent to find you." He replied, and now, much to her horror, that same knife was in his open palm, dangling at his fingertips. Though she had no recollection of giving the trinket to him. "And I can't disobey orders."

She moved again to pass him, and he moved to block her, and it was almost with relief that she struck out at his face. It was just a feint, and when he ducked, she jammed at his stomach with her knee, but he twisted so that the blow didn't fall true, and came back with a fist to her stomach.


She took the blow, just to see how well she hit, and then immediately wished he hadn't. This wasn't a mindless animal, one who could barely even touch her, even with a hundred of them on him at once. This one, he could knock the wind, the fight, right out of her.

Shinobi. The word popped into her head.

This one was a ninja.

A small smirk twisted his face. She really could fight, and so a fight would be had.

Dropping his cane, he jumped, and in response, she kicked at his chest. He crashed to the ground, and she threw herself on top of him, struck him in the face, once, twice, three times, and kneed him in the side before he was able to throw her off. She was on him again in an instant, but as she tried to pin his arms, he flipped her onto her back, pinning her with the weight of his body.

She curled her legs up and heaved him away, and then they were on their feet again, crouching, circling, striking at each other with hands and feet. She kicked at his stomach, and barreled into his chest, and they were on the ground again. Hand to hand combat wasn't exactly her forte, but with little left to do but survive, she'd been forced to brush up on other skills, namely physical combat.

And she was getting pretty good at it, hand to hand combat that is.

She didn't know how long they'd been grappling when she realized...he was laughing. As she flipped him, she understood his joy, understood it completely. She'd never had such a fight, she'd never had such an opponent. She was faster than he was offensively, much faster, but he was her better in strength and stamina, and she'd never known a fighter with such tenacity as this strange fellow She was calling up moves she hadn't tried since she could barely stand, blows she'd only ever imagined having the opportunity to use on anyone but Nii-san.

Yet this was different than her basic sparring practice with father and mother, back when they'd been trying to improve herskills. They were playing. It was a game for the two of them now, to see who could pin the other, before he/she pinned you. When the blond wriggled out of her hold, pinned her arms behind her back, and grabbed a soft fistful of her hair, shoving her face roughly, but not too roughly now, into the dirt, she was laughing as well.

Seconds later, she reversed the position.

"Genjutsu, eh? You tricked me." He panted, irritated that he'd been baited, more out of frustration than anything, but that he'd fallen for it only amused him further, and when she felt him move, she tightened her grip, just enough to hold him, or so she thought.

"However," He kicked his feet up at her and squirmed his arms out of her grasp. Rounding on her, he elbowed her in the face, and when she jumped to avoid what would've been a crippling blow, he flew at her, flattening the girl to the ground. He pinned her arms just as she had done, and shoved her face into the dirt. Finally, he dug one knee into the small of her back.

"Surrender."His ponytail had come loose at some point during their little scuffle, and now it was tickling at her mumbled something into the dirt, and he arched an eyebrow, pulling her head out of the muck so he could hear her properly.

"Excuse me?"

She spat out a clod of dirt and sulked as he released her, yet refused to get off her back. "Just kill me."

"Killing isn't everything." The blond replied. "To kill, you have to have a strong will."

"That doesn't mean it isn't important!" She twisted her neck to scowl at him. "And who are you to lecture me?!"

"Simply put, I have experience on my side."He sighed, ignoring her, tying his hair back once more. "You've only just started training yourself. It makes sense that you'd lose to someone like me. In fact," He rolled his shoulders, popping the joints there. "I'd say its only natural."

"It's still not fair." She sulked, looking away, refusing to admit it. "Damn you shinobi, you're all alike." A single tear spilled over onto her cheek, and she immediately bit her lip to strangle a sob. "Bastard, why can't you just kill me and send me to join my parents?"

"Oh," he blinked, getting off her. "You lost your folks too, huh?" He now reached down to her, extending a hand, and offering her a smile. "Here, I apologize for my actions. What say we start fresh, you and I?"

"Shut up!" She shrieked at him, slapping his hand away. "I don't need your pity!"

"It's not pity." He replied, pulling away his mask to reveal his headband, that of the the Leaf. "It's respect. How long have you been out here? A week, a month?"

"Why should I tell you?"

A loud explosion interrupted them, followed by a mighty crash as a tree gave way, slamming into the ground with a cloud of debris. The man made some comment about finally having a chance to kill someone, and reached for his pouch, withdrawing several shuriken.

With a flick of his wrist, the stars flew into the tree, and moments later a body, that of an Iwa shinobi, fell to the ground, gasping for air. The shuriken, all three throwing stars, were embedded firmly in his neck, and his mouth opened in a death rattle as he vomitted blood.

He seemed to notice her then, and raised a trembling hand.


In response, the blond threw another shuriken, this one sticking square in the man's mouth, ending his life.

"You know...they say it's easy to die."

"What?" She blinked at him, trying to be angry, but she was just so tired...so horrified at what she'd just witnessed.

"You heard me." He replied, bending down to retrieve his cane. "In this world, its easy for us to die, to just give up on it all. I've known many who've taken that road. However, my sensei taught me, that though its so much more difficult to go on living, you never regret it in the end."

With that being said, he simply walked past her.

"Ja ne. Have a nice life."

His words spurred something in her.

"Wait!" She ran after him, and he slowed, allowing her to catch up. "Who are you?" She asked at length, stopping a ways before him, then as if realizing the desperation in her words, hastily added: "You...you can't be a shinobi, not with an attitude like that."

He grinned, looking over his shoulder at her, and slowly turned to face her. There was something about those eyes, something that pinned her down, held her fast, preventing any and all sort of escape.

"I'll give you mine if you give me yours."

"Orochimaru." She muttered quietly. "I've been called that as long as I can remember."

"Doesn't really sound like a girl's name-

"Bite me." She hissed through clenched teeth.

"You ever thought of becoming a ninja?" The question was so sudden, so obvious, that she started a bit, more-so at the sudden change of pace, then his words. "W-What?" She asked with a blank look."Me? A ninja?"

"You have talent." He replied calmly. "With a little effort and dedication, you'd make a fine shinobi."

"Give me your name first." She tapped a bare foot impatiently upon the tattered, torn up soil. "I refuse to associate myself with a complete and total stranger." He laughed at that, as if he'd found her words amusing. "Naruto Uzumaki, Leaf Chunin." He said at last, extending his hand, though when she glared at him, refusing to shake, he shrugged nonchalantly and withdrew his palm and kept going, witht he sound of her footsteps falling after him.

"Ah well, nice to meet you too, Orochimaru."

Yeah, I figured this is the only legit way I could pair these two together. Note, this is currently when the sanin are still young.