Chapter One: A World Away
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto or Yu-gi-oh!
The busty blonde eyed the letter in her hand over again, smiling despite herself. Folding it again, she wrote out a reply, signing it and sealing it with her stamp before handing it to her aid.
"Oh! And, Shizune, fetch Sakura for me while you're out." She added just before the ebony-haired female disappeared through the office door.
She turned around, glancing out across the village she that called not only her home, but her duty. It had been quiet for quite some time, and following a small war with Oto and a battle they were called into between Suna and Tsuchi, she had been giving many of her best and brightest time off. But she had desperately needed most of her medic nin on call while the treaties and agreements were worked out; they often acted as not only the embassy to Konoha, given their natural proclivity to switch roles, but peace keepers. After all, a combat medical ninja was not only a healer, but a warrior. It was that duality to their persona that made them so valuable. They were so used to switching instantly between roles in a cell that they made excellent ambassadors and counselors (and given the very nature of shinobi interactions, it wasn't uncommon for a treatise meeting to dissolve into violence).
There was a knock on her door that jarred her from her thoughts, and she called out in approval. The door swung up, revealing a pink-haired kunoichi, who, if looks were any indication, had been called from a training session.
"You asked for me, Lady Tsunade-shishou?"
The Hokage smiled, "Yes. Sit down. I want to talk to you."
The kunoichi did as she was bidden and took a seat.
"How do you feel about a vacation?" She asked.
"A vacation?" Sakura replied, pursing her lips slightly. She had known that a lot of shinobi had been given time off. She had been responsible, in her off time, as assistant to Tsunade, for writing receipts and reimbursing resorts and the like.
"I'm really happy, shishou, and please don't take this the wrong way, but can you afford to do without me?"
Sakura held no delusions about her own abilities. She knew that she was valuable as a shinobi and a medical expert, even if she didn't put on a huge show about it. And she knew that given the recent, and very shaky, politics, she was worried about who would fill the gap left in her leave.
Tsunade smirked, "We can manage. No offense."
Sakura smiled, "Great! So, where am I going? The Land of Tea? Land of Spring?"
Tsunade smiled back as she reached into her desk drawer with her free hand and pulled out a brochure. She had considered both, of course. The Land of Spring was renowned for its luxurious resorts and year-round beauty. And the Land of Tea was a quiet little retreat far outside the borders of the Great Shinobi Nations, making it very peaceful. But she wanted the pink-haired teen to go somewhere new, somewhere she could really unwind and have some fun.
"Actually, you'll be going to Domino City. Outside of the shionbi nations." The honey-haired Kage replied as she slid the pamphlet across the desk.
The chunin snapped it up, flipping it open easily as she glanced between it and her Kage. Her lips pulled up in a radiant smile a moment later.
"This is really exciting! Thank you!" She cried as she nearly leapt across the desk, embracing her stunned Kage before she jumped out of the open window of the office in true shinobi fashion.
Tsunade chuckled to herself as she thought back on the last 'vacation' Sakura had had. Of course, they were still required to keep records of their travels and the like in their standard journals. And the last one, the only real report the kunoichi had ever written (not just the facts, but actual statements of feelings and the like), had been a real trip. Apparently, Naruto had been playing with a kunai when he tripped, taking Kakashi down with him, who reflexively let his own kunai fly. Sai, in his bid to knock the dagger aside, has brought up his katana a little too closely, very nearly eviscerating her. She had done quite a bit of subsequent harm to all three…
"That was nice of you, Lady Tsunade." Shizune remarked, TonTon, still caged in her arms, giving a squeal of approval.
"She deserves it. I haven't seen a kunoichi work that hard since you." Tsunade replied. "She'll surpass me soon…"
"Lady Tsunade!" Shizune cried, not out of anger for the younger's success, but in outrage of even the vaguest implication of Tsunade's slowing down.
The Kage glanced up with soft hazel eyes, a smile playing on her lips. "It was going to happen eventually, Shizune."
"Do me a favor," She added, holding up a piece of parchment, "Get this delivered for me."
As the aide disappeared back through the door, Tsunade smoothed open the letter on her desk and read it again.
My dearest friend Tsunade,
It's been far too long, my old friend. How have you been fairing? That village of your still top notch? I have no doubt in my mind that you're making a fine Hokage. The villagers should be happy and proud they have such a beautiful woman watching over them and keeping them safe.
Now, as for your letter, I have to admit I was surprised to hear you're giving one of your most talented medics some time off. But good for you. You've been talking a lot about this young lady Sakura and I must say you've peaked my interest.
I would be delighted to have her share my home! It's the least I could do after what you did for me what with that whole gambling problem. I've already informed my grandson and I can tell how excited he is to meet someone new, especially from a far away land.
You remember Yugi, don't you? Ha ha, he's grown up to be such a fine boy and wonderful duelist.
Well, I'll be expecting to hear from you! Tell that young lady Sakura she won't have to worry about a thing! We'll take good care of her!
Yugi looked around patiently, watching the masses shifting around the airport. Beside him, his grandfather studied a watch hanging on his wrist. They knew about what time her plane was landing, and they knew she had pink hair. Honestly, that was more than enough to find her. Then again, odd hair color really shouldn't have struck the teenager as anything interesting, given his was tri-colored.
Sakura stepped off of the plane, her carry-on slung over her shoulder and her suitcase wheeled behind her. She glanced around the crowded airport and felt an icy shiver slip down her spine…how easy would it be, in this massive crowd, for someone to get behind her, or in a blind spot…
She shook her head. Maybe that flight had gotten to her. For the most part, she thought ninja should stay in the trees...not thousands of feet in the air...but stranger things had happened before, she reasoned.
Sakura smoothed over the jeans she was wearing before tugging her sparkly white blouse into place on her torso. She rarely got to wear civilian clothes, let alone snug, form fitting civilian clothes. It was odd to not have her loose tunic and biker shorts, which just seemed to fit. But she loved that for once she had gotten to do her hair and make-up: the shock of spiky pink strands had been clipped up in a fan at the back of her head, her bangs framing her face. And her eyelids were dusted in gold, her lips painted a pale pink. But she could have done without the black, strappy heels that seemed intent on eating her feet alive...Even if they did do amazing things for her self-confidence.
She looked around again, resisting the urge to let her hand drop to a holster she knew wasn't there to retrieve a dagger she knew wasn't there.
"Over here, young lady!"
She turned to greet the voice, and smiled at the man she recognized as Solomon from the picture Tsunade had provided her.
He caught himself almost in mid-step as her viridian eyes met his. He had been warned by Tsunade about a few things, but even he hadn't been expecting this…
"You didn't have to get dressed up for us." He chuckled, recovering quickly from the shock of the intensity of her gaze. "But you look beautiful."
Sakura smiled, "It's alright. I don't get a lot of chances to dress up, so it was fun."
Yugi took a good look at her, a smile plastered across his face. Even though she had pink hair, it matched her perfectly, this coming from someone with three colors instead of one. Her green eyes just seemed to sparkle, matching the gold while the clothes seemed to hug her healthy ninja body. Feeling his cheeks flush again, he quickly looked away as his grandpa introduced them.
"This is my grandson, Yugi." He continued, motioning with his hand as the teenager smiled up at the pinkette. "And I'm Solomon. And old friend of Tsunade's."
"It's very nice to meet you, Sakura-chan." Yugi stated. "Tsunade-sama talks a lot about you."
Sakura blushed modestly; she had never really been anyone's pride until Tsunade came along. And, naturally, Tsunade rarely displayed pride over her even when they were alone. But it made her want to work that much harder.
"It's lovely to meet you guys, too." She replied, bowing deeply to both of them.
"Well then, why don't we head home so you can get settled? Are you hungry? I can whip up something for you."
"A little." Sakura replied as they began to walk before adding, "Lady Tsunade-shishou told me you lived differently, but I didn't realize how differently. It's fascinating, really."
Solomon hailed a cab, and he helped her load her bags into the trunk before motioning for her to climb in. She slid in next to Yugi, who sat as his grandfather explained a few things.
"I understand some things will be new and might catch you off guard slightly, but a talented smart kunoichi like you should have no problem fitting right in!"
"Me and my friends can show you around!" Yugi piped up, his violet eyes sparkling. His outfit consisted of his usual black boots, blue jeans, a black tank top and his blue jacket. But what stood out was his golden Millennium Puzzle around his neck, connected by a chain with the belt around his neck.
Yugi didn't speak that much as he listened to his grandfather explained everything about Domino and even bringing up the game that was so popular here: Duel Monsters. But there was little time to ask questions as the cab pulled up the Game Shop.
As Solomon paid the fare, Yugi helped her unload her bags. Thanking him, she waved to the driver as he sped back down the street.
She was just about to comment on how lovely the shop was when something silver flashed in her peripherals. Her hand snapped up automatically as she twisted to meet the threat. To her surprise, it was a man not much older than maybe twenty. He had obviously thrown the card, and was making no attempt to hide it; his arm was still drawn back…
There was something she instantly disliked about him, about the way his eyes raked over her before turning maliciously on Yugi. She gave a derisive laugh, "Is a card supposed to scare me?" as she sent it flying back at him. Amazingly, he caught it with equal ease.
"Kaiba? What do you want?" Yugi asked.
"You know what I want, Yugi." He smirked, before asking coldly, "Who's the new girl?"
"None of your business, Kaiba." He replied. "But if you want a duel, then let's duel!"
His amethyst eyes turned to Sakura and he smiled, "Don't mind him. But, please excuse me."
Solomon sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose as he muttered, "Here we go…"
Sakura turned to ask what was going on when Solomon gently pulled her back a few steps, telling her, "Now you'll see what we mean by the game…"
Her emerald eyes snapped up…