The Misadventures of Detective Lee

Disclaimer- I do not own Naruto or Sherlock Holmes

The day I solved my first case is as clear in my head today as it was all those years ago. The cloudless autumn sky as the sun shined in through my window made for the perfect setting. The smell of just eaten ramen still filled my office, as it would for a long time. I remember clearly my partner, Uzumaki Naruto, as he sat there eyeing the door, waiting for something to happen. We had opened our detective business, at the young ages of 13, a week ago and had yet to get a single client.

Our enthusiastic caretaker, Guy-sensei, as we generally referred to him as, kept telling us, "Keep your flames burning brightly! Someday you will truly make a difference in someone's youthful life!" How I wished his words will prove to be true. It was just as I was thinking this when it happened. The most beautiful girl I have ever laid eyes on walked into my office. Her beautiful pink hair blew slightly from the wind that came when she opened our door. She took a nervous step in and looked between my partner and myself. Her first words still remind me of an angel even today.

"I need help locating something. Am I in the right place?" Her name was Haruno Sakura. It was like heaven was smiling down on me. At least, that's what I thought at the time.

"Yes, you happen to be the in very best place for something like that! We can definitely help you find whatever it is you are looking for." I said as I stood up and walked around to the other side of my desk.

She gave me and my partner a skeptical look. I couldn't blame her for it though. We didn't look like professional detectives after all. Naruto wore the same orange jumpsuit he had since the day I first met him. Me…well, between my thick eyebrows, bowl cut, and green spandex, I definitely didn't blame her for being skeptical.

"This is my partner, Uzumaki Naruto." I pointed to the blond who was staring at the pink-haired beauty with an open mouth and a string of drool rolling down his chin.

"Hi…" Naruto whispered dreamily. Sakura took a slight step back.

"Umm…how do you do?" Sakura greeted with a look that could have been a mix between disgust and disbelief. Maybe some indigestion too.

"And I am Rock Lee! We are the Flames of Youth Detective Agency!" The name too, was inspired by Guy-sensei.

"Right, well I'll just be leaving than." Sakura turned around to do just that. I'm not sure what really possessed me to do it. Maybe it was the fact that we were about to lose our first client before we even started. Maybe it was just because she was so beautiful. Maybe my own youthful energy just got the better of me. Whatever the reason, I used the intense training I had gone through and immediately appeared in front of her path.

"Please do not leave! I know we do not look like much, but I swear, we will dedicate every ounce of our youth to locating your lost item!" Sakura had reacted swiftly to my sudden appearance. She jumped backwards and immediately had a kunai armed and in front of her. It was at this moment that I realized she was a ninja. A kunoichi.

"You're fast!" At least I wasn't the only surprised one. "Are you a shinobi?" She slowly started to put her kunai away, still on guard.

"No." I said with contempt heavy in my voice. "I had attended the academy but was unable to graduate." Bitter memories were suddenly brought forth. The cruelty of the instructors as they told me they would never move me on, simply because I was unable to mold chakra. I heard later, that Guy-sensei had fought to have me graduated and placed on his team. Yet they had rejected him too. I realized that I had to change the subject quickly, before more unpleasant thoughts entered my mind.

"If you will please take a seat, we can work out the details…umm, I apologize I did not ask your name." I gestured to the seat in front of my desk.

"Haruno Sakura." She said as she turned and walked over to it. My speed must have intrigued her enough to stay. I promptly walked to the other side of my desk. Naruto walked over and took his spot next to me.

I took out my notepad and quickly organized my thoughts. I had to make this look professional or risk losing the small progress I just made. "Now, please tell me all of the details you know. What you lost, where you think you lo-"

"It wasn't lost, my red ribbon was stolen." I stared at her incredulously.

"Your ribbon?" I asked. Was that really why she came to us? A Konoha kunoichi came to us because of a ribbon?

"Yeah, it was that damn Ino-pig, I just know it. She took it from me." The seemly beautiful girl suddenly looked much scarier.

"Forgive me, I do not understand. Why come to us? Surely you could get it back on your own?" Naruto nudged me hard in the shoulder. I quickly turned on him. He was shaking his head at me. I got the meaning. The reason didn't matter, we finally had a client.

I turned back to Sakura. "You know for sure it was this Ino? You have concrete proof?"

"I do!" She reached into her pouch and pulled out a zip lock bag. "There was blonde hair located at the crime scene! It had to have been her!" I reached out and took the bag from her.

"Where exactly was the crime scene?" I asked as I pulled out a magnifying glass and inspected the contents of the bag. It wasn't really necessary but I felt cool doing it.

"My bedroom. I kept the ribbon in a box on my dresser. When I got home from missions today, my window had been opened and my box lay on the floor. The ribbon was gone." Sakura folded her arms. I noticed that she kept sneaking a peek at Naruto. For some reason, this caused jealousy to form in the pit of my stomach.

"Why would Ino-san want to steal your ribbon?" I slipped the hair back into the bag. While doing that, I snuck my own peek at Naruto. His eyes hadn't left Sakura's face.

"As if I'd know! She's just the type to do something like that! Are you going to go get it for me or not?" Her question spurred me into motion.

"Of course we will!" I stood up and opened my desk drawer. From the drawer, I removed my detective cap and a smoking pipe. I of course didn't smoke, the pipe actually blew bubbles. They just seemed like something detectives would have, so I bought them when we started our business.

"Naruto. Let us head out!" I said dramatically and started for the door. "Visit us here in two hours, Sakura-chan! I promise we will have your ribbon by then!" I walked out the door with my cap on. Naruto slammed the door behind him as he stepped out. We both winced at the loud noise it made and I spun on him.

He gave a guilty shrug. "Sorry, I was in the moment." It was understandable. I turned to go find Ino and then realized I too had been lost in the moment. I forgot to ask what she even looked like.

"Don't worry, I know who we're looking for." Naruto must have realized why I paused. He walked on ahead of me. "She was in my class at the ninja academy." Naruto answered my next question before I could even ask it. I took a couple quick steps and fell into place beside him.

"Can you believe it. It's only been six months since she's graduated and she doesn't even recognized me." Naruto kicked a stray rock that had been laying on the street.

"Sakura-chan?" I asked incredulously. Suddenly the brief glances she had been sneaking at him started to make sense. She had been trying to remember where she knew him from.

"I guess it shouldn't surprise me. It had always been all about "Sasuke-kun" with her anyways." Naruto practically spit his old rivals name out. Caught up in his rant, Naruto accidentally ran straight into another man walking down the street.

"Hey! Watch where you're going, hell-spawn!" The over-weight man gave Naruto a look that one would have given gum on their shoe. I had learned of Naruto's tenant awhile ago but it still made me mad to see the way people treated him. I was painfully reminded of the day I had first met Naruto.

Six months ago.

I had intended on sneaking into the academy to test out my skills and get a sneak peek at the new crop of genin this year. I had figured that if my skills were good enough to get in and out unnoticed, maybe they would be forced to reconsider their decision to not make me a genin.

I never even got passed the front gate. Standing there, looking longingly into the building was none other than the orange clad boy who is now my best friend today.

"Why the long face?" I asked him as I patted him on the shoulder. I took notice of a pair of green goggles in his right hand.

The boy quickly rubbed his eyes. He must have been crying recently. "Nothings the matter! Why would I be sad?" He flashed me the most fake smile I'd ever seen my whole life. "What's a bushy-browed-weirdo like you doing here?"

I let my hand slip from his shoulder and changed my gaze to the academy building. "Just thinking about my youth." I ignored his comment about my eyebrows. It was nothing new anymore.

I could feel his eyes trained on me. "They wouldn't let you pass either, huh?" His voice was much more humble now. I nodded my head. "That really sucks. I even went and mastered an A-rank jutsu and even at Iruka-sensei's request, they still wouldn't let me pass." He stared at the building again and his face grew hard.

"Well screw them! I'll become Hokage even if I'm not a shinobi!" He picked up a rock and whipped it towards the building.

I couldn't help but laugh at his sudden fire. Guy-sensei would like this little guy. "You laughin' at me too? You don't think I can do it?" He pointed an accusing finger at me.

I quickly managed to snap my mouth shut. I then took a few deep breaths to calm myself. "I am not laughing at your dream. I think it is most admirable. Your flames of youth burn most brightly!" The boy withdrew his finger.

"You really mean that?" He asked, his eyes becoming teary.

"Of course. Those academy instructors do not know anything. They would not recognized youthful talent if it slapped them in the face!" I gave the boy my perfected nice-guy pose.

"You know. You're a real weirdo." I let my head drop in shame. "But I think I like you. The name is Uzumaki Naruto! Remember it!" He stuck his hand out.

"Rock Lee! Likewise!" I shook his hand.

"I'll tell you what, Bushy Brow." So much for remembering my name. "I'm leaving this place with a bang, you want to help me out?" Naruto slipped his goggles on over his head.

"What do you have in mind?" I smiled deviously and rubbed my hands together. A little payback sounded good to me.

"Yesterday, I rewired the fire sprinklers with red paint. All we have to do is set them off and everyone will be in for the surprise of their life! Problem is, they'll catch me in no time. I need someone fast to get in there and get out." He pulled a smoke-bomb out of his pocket.

"How did you manage to do that?" I stared at him with something akin to awe. I could not believe they wouldn't pass a boy capable of doing that.

"Let's just say I had some help." He gave me a mischievous wink. "So what do you say? You think you're fast enough for the job?"

I gave him a big smile. "Speed happens to be a specialty of mine!" I took the smoke bomb from his hand.

We've been best friends ever since.

"Naruto, you okay?" I put my hand on his shoulder.

"Yeah, it's no big." He shrugged my hand off. "Let's get going, we're on a time schedule here! We can't let Sakura-chan down!" He took off running down the street.

"Naruto, wait!" I started running to keep up. "I know your flames are bursting with passion but do you even know where to start?"

"Of course! She's a girl so she must be shopping for clothes right now!" I had to give him credit. It was a brilliant deduction.

It just so happened it was the correct one at that. We only had to check one clothing store before we found her. "Alright, let's go get her!" Naruto began to march in.

"Wait a second." I grabbed him by the collar and pulled him back.

"What the hell are you doing?" He struggled to get free from my iron grip.

"Simple my dear Naruto. Every man knows it is suicide to interrupt a women as she shops." He quit struggling and I let go of his collar.

"I hope she's quick about it." Naruto sat down on a bench in front of the store. I took a seat next to him and began blowing bubbles.

An hour and a half later.

"Darn it Naruto, you had to say something." I cursed the boy who was now dozing lightly on my shoulder. Just as I began to blow another set of bubbles, the girl finally walked out.

"Naruto!" I jostled my partner awake.

"Who, what?" Naruto quickly shot up and looked around in bewilderment.

"Get up! She is going the other way!" I pulled him to his feet and we began to run after her. "Ino-san, please wait." I called. The girl stopped and turned around. I swear her eyes practically fell out of their sockets at the sight of us.

"Who are you guys? What do you want? More importantly, why are you dressed that way? Didn't your mother's teach you anything about fashion sense?" We were both orphans but I figured telling her that wasn't going to help move things along. Instead I whipped out a badge me and Naruto had made.

"We are the FYDA." It sounded much more official than the full title. "We believe you have something that belongs to our client. We just have a few questions to ask you."

"The what? What are you talking about? Are you accusing me of having stolen something?" The girl's shock was quickly turning to anger. I had calm her fast. I put my badge away and whipped out my notepad.

"We are not accusing you of anything. You are just a suspect. That is all." The girl gave me an enraged look and was about to retort but I beat her to it. "Tell me, do you know a Haruno Sakura?"

Ino's anger died away. "Sakura? Yeah I know her."

"Would you happen to know where Haruno-san's house is?" I asked as I scribbled on my notepad.

"Of course. I used to go there as a little kid. Is she accusing me of something again?" Her anger was starting to return.

"Ma'am. I am the one asking the questions here." Not a smart thing to say to a peeved woman, but it just felt so cool to finally say it. "Have you ever been in Haruno-san's room?"

If looks could kill I would be little more than ash on the ground right now. "Yes." She said through clenched teeth.

"Yes, and would you know where Sakura keeps her prized red ribbon?" Ino's eyes grew wide and her jaw slackened a little.

"That's what this is about! That ribbon of hers?"

"It is a yes or no question." Bad move. That last remark threw her over the edge.

"Why the hell would I take that ribbon from her? I gave her the freakin' thing!" She yelled and started approaching us.

"Ma'am, I need you to remain calm." I waved my hands defensively in front of myself. She kept walking. "If you refuse to answer my questions then we are going to have to frisk you." I wish I could've sounded more confident when I said that but if there was one thing I learned from being with Naruto, it was that woman were scary when mad.

Ino kept walking still. "Naruto, apprehend her!" I ordered while taking a nervous step back. Naruto actually listened to me and made a move at her. It was definitely a poor choice. One powerful palm to the face later and Naruto was down. I could do nothing but pray I survived as the same fate rained down on me.

We both lay on the ground for a few minutes even after Ino stormed off. "Boss, I'd hate to say it. But she makes a pretty convincing argument." Naruto slowly sat up. He had a big hand-print on his left cheek.

"Yeah, I think I see why Sakura-chan got someone else to do it." I began to sit up too. I pressed my hand to my own cheek and felt a very similar mark.

"So if it wasn't her, who took it than?" Naruto was on his feet now.

"I think the bigger question is, why did they take it? Is it supposed to be of some kind of value to anyone?


"Is it worth a lot of money?" I ignored my partner and kept asking questions. "Does it have rubies wound into it?" I just couldn't think of a good reason for someone to take it.

"Hey…boss." I finally glanced up at my partner. He was gazing across the street. I immediately knew what he was looking at. It was our Godaime Hokage, Tsunade-sama.

"Naruto, you do realize that despite her curvy body, she happens to be fifty, right?" I wasn't about to speak poorly about our Hokage but seriously, she was a little far past her springtime of youth.

"No, not that!" Naruto gave me a disgusted glare. "Look at her hair you pervert!" Naruto gestured back over to our village leader.

I did as he told me. It was true that her hair was different today. Usually she wore it in pigtails but today it was in a ponytail behind her head. And the thing keeping her hair like that was a red ribbon!

"You cannot really be suggesting…" I didn't need to complete that sentence.

"Look, her hair is even blonde. All the evidence points to her!" That wasn't really a lot of evidence but Naruto began moving anyways.

"I am not questioning Hokage-sama!" I followed slightly behind my partner. "I have heard of her legendary strength and temper. One slap from her might really kill us!"

"Then we won't question her, we'll just take it." Naruto formed a seal and immediately a clone popped up next to him. "You know what to do!" Naruto's clone saluted and ran up to the slug princess.

"Naruto! We cannot steal from her! Are you crazy?" I grabbed and whirled him around to face me.

"You better do it fast Bushy Brow! My clone is already about to distract her." I turned just in time to see Naruto's clone call the Hokage "Granny".

"Darn it!" I let go of Naruto and started moving as our newest suspect turned to Naruto's clone.

"What did you call me, punk?" The clone almost took a step back.

"You heard me you old hag!" I had to admit, it had balls. Even if it was a clone I'm sure it must feel some pain before it disappears. "I heard all about how you mask your appearance. Aren't you ashamed of yourself? Someone like you should just hand the title of Hokage to me!"

"You're pissing me off brat. I'm going to give you to the count of three to leave before I do something we're both going to regret!" Naruto responded by sticking his tongue out at her.

"One." The clone kept his tongue out.

"Two." Tsunade cocked her fist back.

"Three." She swung and I made my move. Just as her fist connected with the clone my hand closed over the ribbon. By the time the clone disappeared I had pulled the ribbon free and was making a break for it.

"What the hell?" The Hokage's hair whipped wildly as she turned to look at me.

"Nice going Boss!" Naruto drew her attention the other way. He immediately ran in the other direction.

"Hey, get back here you brats! Don't you know who I am? I'll crush you!" I ran a little faster.

I weaved throughout the city, taking numerous turns as I ran. The odds of me being followed weren't very high but I wasn't taking any chances. Naruto and I arrived outside our office at about the same time.

"I cannot believe we just did that!" I managed to say in between big gasps of breath.

"Me either! I didn't really think you'd go for it!" Naruto was also breathing heavily while holding his side.

"You what?" I shouted. "Then why did you send the clone to distract her? Wasn't it to get the ribbon?" I dangled it in front of him.

"I just thought it'd be funny. But, hey, we got it, so no worries, right?" Naruto opened to door and walked into our office.

Sakura sat there waiting. "You're late. It's been two hours and fifteen minutes." What was it with woman and punctuality?

"Yes, we apologize. However, we got your ribbon!" I held it up triumphantly for her to see.

"That's awesome, I knew I could count on you guys." She ran up and went to grab it. She paused just before doing so, however.

I gave her a small frown. "Is something wrong?"

"Yeah, that's not my ribbon." She let her hand drop to her side.

My eyes grew wide. "It is not your ribbon." I barely managed to repeat. This wasn't good.

"Oops. Looks like we messed up." Naruto put his hand behind his head and started laughing.

"Oops?" I couldn't believe that was all he had to say. "Maybe you forgot, but we stole this from the Hokage! We are dead!" I waved the ribbon around wildly.

"You guys did what?"

I ignored her question. "We need to return this right away! She is bound to have ANBU after us soon!"

"You need to return it." I wasn't quite sure I heard him right. I quickly cleaned out my ears.

"Could you repeat that?" It may have just been my imagination but the ribbon started feeling very hot in my hands. Almost like it was on fire.

"You're the one who stole it, not me! You return it while I ask Sakura-chan some more questions about what we're looking for." Naruto moved to go sit down at the desk. I gritted my teeth at my best friend.

Instead of saying something unyouthful I kept my mouth shut and walked out of the room. I couldn't waste time arguing with him. I really needed to return the ribbon, now.

I immediately made a break for the Hokage Tower. If I ran fast enough maybe I could beat her there. If she walked in and found it lying there on her desk maybe she would just act like the whole thing had never happened.

Definitely not something Guy-sensei would approve of, but at the moment, my life seemed a little more important then some silly morals.

I reached the Hokage Tower in a record of five minutes. Not bad considering our office was located on the other side of town. Perhaps the reason we didn't get business was our location. We were located in a more deserted part of town and not a lot of people, except the neighborhood residents made it over there. Unfortunately, it was the most Naruto and myself could afford at our age. Okay, so Guy-sensei actually paid for most of it, but still, we didn't want to impose.

I stepped lightly into the building and walked up to the receptionist. "Excuse me." I had to try really hard not to sound as nervous as I felt. "Is Hokage-sama in at the moment?"

The receptionist didn't even glance at me. She appeared to be immersed in a book. "No, I'm afraid she is not. She went for a walk and has yet to return."

"Ah, excel-I mean…darn, I will just have a seat down here and wait for her return!" I took two wide steps back.

"You do that." She did not glance up from her book. I smiled slightly and instead of heading for a seat went for the stairs. Once I was sure no one was watching I began to make a quick assent up them. When at last I arrived at the top floor I found it completely empty. Yet another good sign. If the Hokage was in, she would have had two chunin bodyguards stationed outside.

Nevertheless, I still had to be cautious. I walked slowly over to the door without making the slightest sound. I gently put my hand around the doorknob. If anyone had been watching, they might have thought it was going to shock me. Thankfully it didn't.

The door wasn't locked. Today just might be my lucky day. I creaked it open slowly. When it was open just enough I stuck my head inside. It was empty. I was finally able to breathe easy. I opened the door the rest of the way and walked inside. Halfway to the desk I stopped. I don't know how, but I suddenly realized that something was very wrong. If the Hokage wasn't here than the door should've been locked. There were many sensitive documents in here after all.

A feeling of dread came over me. I wasn't alone. I slowly turned around. The last thing I saw was a fist with painted fingernails.

"Boss. Boss, wake up!" My hearing came back to me before anything else. Next I was able to feel again. Someone was shaking me. "Damn it Bushy Brow, get up!" I creaked my eyes open but closed them quickly. The light was very bright. A slight groan of pain escaped my lips.

"Finally! Come on, Boss! I'll help you up." I felt Naruto's hands slip behind my back and lift me very gently to a sitting position. I slowly opened my eyes again. The light didn't sting quite as bad this time but I still didn't open them all the way.

"Natuto." At least my voice was working A bit groggy, but working. "Where am I? What happened to me?" I couldn't remember a thing.

"You're on a bench outside the Hokage Tower. I can't say for sure but I think the Hokage nailed you good. You got a black eye." I quickly lifted a hand to my right eye. When I touched the skin around it I pulled back quickly and let out a hiss of pain. The memory of what happened suddenly came flying back to me. Not that there was a lot to remember.

"Guess she is not the Hokage for nothing." I attempted to laugh but the reality of my joke was still a little too fresh.

"This is no time for poor humor, Bushy Brow! We gotta hurry, Sakura-chan's been kidnapped!" I was immediately on full alert.

"Kidnapped? What do you mean kidnapped? How? Why?" A note was suddenly forced into my hand. I looked at Naruto in confusion.

"Just read it." I did as he said and the first thing that struck me was the hand-writing looked incredibly familiar.

To the Flame's of Youth Detective Agency,

Give up on looking for the ribbon. It is ours now. We heard about how you acquired the Hokage's ribbon. We want that one as well. Bring it to us on the rooftop of the Konoha General Hospital. We will trade it for the girl. You have until six o'clock. If you don't cooperate she will die.

I flipped the letter over. "It is not signed by anyone." Naruto shook his head. "I do not understand. What do they want with these ribbons? Are they of some sort of value?" Too much was happening at once. "How did they take her? What happened while I was gone?"

"I don't know, sorry. I got up to use the bathroom and the next thing I know and I was lying face down on the floor. The letter was on the desk." I thought the paper had looked familiar too. It was from one of my notepads.

"This is way over our heads. We have to let Hokage-sama know." I stood up to go back into her office.

"There's no time for that!" Naruto ran in front of me. "It's quarter to six already! I was hoping to get to you before you gave the ribbon back but it looks like we'll have to confront them without it!"

"Naruto! Whoever they were they took down a trained kunoichi! We do not have a chance!" I tried to push passed him but he stood firm.

"We haven't been sitting idle this whole six months Lee!" He had my attention. Naruto rarely used my actually name. "You work out harder than any shinobi I've ever seen! You are the fastest guy I know next to Guy-sensei! I may not be much of a fighter but even I could outnumber them with all my shadow clones! Please, we don't have much time to save Sakura-chan!"

I stared at my partner and best friend for a full minute. I could just hear the clock ticking in my head. I finally sighed. "Okay, we have no time to waste! Let us go save Sakura-chan!" I pumped my fist into the air. I was suddenly knocked backwards by a hug from Naruto.

"Thank you Bushy Brow!" I smiled down at him as I regained my balance. He quickly released the hug and stepped back.

"Shall we go?" I turned towards the hospital.

"Wait a second, Boss!" I turned back to Naruto who was holding out my cap and pipe. "You might want these!"

I gave my teammate another shiny smile. "Yes! Thank you, Naruto." I put the hat back on and stuck the pipe in my mouth. After a good blow of bubbles we were off.

It took us no time at all to get from the Hokage Tower to the Hospital. They were in the same neighborhood after all. We burst in with a rush and every set of eyes turned on us. I quickly ran over to the service desk.

"Quickly, what is the fastest way to the roof!" The receptionist did not look like she had expected that question and quickly began fumbling for the answer. I didn't have time for this.

"Bushy Brow, I can see the stairs!" I whipped my head towards Naruto who was making a mad dash to the door that led to the steps. I wasted no time in rushing after him. Naruto threw the door open and immediately started ascending them. I ran in before the door had a chance to close.

"Naruto, do you have a plan?" I shouted after him. He was only a couple steps ahead of me.

"I thought you did!" Of course. We would run in without one. I guess that was just our style.

"We cannot run in there in a rush like this! We can slow down, we still have time, we will make it!" Naruto reluctantly slowed his pace down to a brisk walk. "Listen, when we get up there, the first step is to stall for time. We need to know what we are up against."

"Got it!" I wasn't so sure he did. All the same we proceeded slowly. Finally, we stood at the top of the stairs. There was just one door between us and Sakura now. Not to mention her kidnappers.

"Let's do this!" Naruto grabbed the handle and looked to me for confirmation. I blew another set of bubbles before I put the pipe and cap into my back pouch. I then nodded my okay.

He swung the door completely open. What awaited us was worse than I could have ever feared. There was at least dozen of them. They stood in various places all over the rooftop. Long black cloaks, with hoods and face-masks covered their whole bodies. They each stood tall with a kunai in one hand. Upon closer inspection they all also seemed to have shuriken holsters as well. Unmarked headbands completed their look.

Finally, I saw Sakura. On top of the hospital were two water towers. Sakura was chained to one that was higher off the ground. She did not look happy either. "Let go of me you bastards! I'll kill every one of you!"

They all ignored her as they took in the sight of me and my partner. "So you've come!" One towards the back said in a scratchy voice as he stepped forward.

"That is right!" I shouted, trying to look brave. "Now give Sakura-chan back!"

"The ribbon first! And be warned! If you try anything, we have exploding tags attached to the legs of the water tower! One false move and little missy goes tumbling to her death!"

I grit my teeth. This was not a good situation. They were all armed. As civilians, Naruto and I weren't allowed to have kunai or shuriken. The only thing we had was our brute strength. Well, I did have one other weapon. Guy-sensei wasn't allowed to teach us non-shinobi any of the ninja arts. However, he had managed to find a loop hole and teach me how to use one weapon. Nunchaku. Not really a ninja weapon, but one for the martial arts.

"Naruto." I whispered out of the corner of my mouth. I saw him give a very small nod. "I am going to walk up and pretend I have the ribbon. When I am up there I will use my nunchaku to knock the one who comes to receive it back. When I do, I need you to make a bunch of clones. Distract these guys however you can. I will have just a few seconds to get to Sakura before the tower collapses."

"I got it, you can count on me!" Naruto whispered back.

"Well? What is your answer?" The one who had talked before spoke again.

"I will meet you in front of her water tower!" The man let out a big throaty laugh.

"You'll meet me half-way or no deal!" I cursed internally.

"Fine!" I reached my hand into my back pouch where I kept my nunchaku and started walking forward. The man I was talking to jumped down and did the same. We met exactly halfway on the rooftop.

"The ribbon?" He stuck his hand out expectantly. Looks like he didn't suspect a thing.

"Right here!" I whipped my weapon out and swung it hard. The man took a step back. His cloak must have been a little long because he stepped on it and tumbled backwards. It did save him from being nailed by my nunchaku

"Kage Bunshin no Jutsu!" I heard a stampede of footsteps behind me now. I had no time to waste. I ignored the downed shinobi and charged. Two more of the shinobi landed in front of me.

"Out of my way!" I swung at them but they jumped back again. I swung yet again but they did little more than back up. They weren't looking to fight me. Just keep me busy. I realized this too late. With a big boom and a scream from Sakura the water tower began leaning backwards. It was about to fall off the building. Naruto's clones flew over my head and tackled the two guys in front of me.

"Boss! Get moving!" I didn't need to be told twice. I reached the tower just as what was left of the beams snapped and it tipped completely backwards. Without any hesitation at all I jumped and delivered my most powerful punch right into the part of the tower next to Sakura. It created a huge dent. The chains around Sakura instantly became looser and I was easily able to pull her out. Carrying her bridal style I picked out a balcony outside one of the hospitals rooms and jumped for it. We landed safely just as I heard another loud crash as the water tower made contact with the ground and broke.

I looked down and was relieved to see no one down there seemed really hurt. A few bystanders had been knocked over from the water that now partially flooded the street, but nothing serious.

I then turned my attention back to Sakura who was rubbing her sore arms. "Are you alright?"

"Alright? Is that really the question to be asking? What is going on here? Who the hell are those guys?" Sakura pointed angrily upwards.

"I do not know. If you are okay then just wait here. I have to make sure Naruto is well." No sooner did I say this then all of the perpetrates came flying down passed me. I again looked over the side to see them landing and making a break for it.

"Boss! They're escaping!" Thank you captain obvious.

"Naruto! Take care of Sakura-chan. I will pursue them!" I vaulted over the side of the balcony.

"Aye aye Captain!" I heard Naruto shout as I plummeted towards the wet street. I took off before my feet even hit the ground.

"Stop right there!" I don't know why I was really chasing these guys. If I could at least catch one then I could interrogate him. Or at least turn him in. That made sense I guess. I was gaining on them too. Shinobi or not, no one was faster than me. The evildoers turned down an alley corner. I really had them now. It was a dead-end. The last one turned the corner. Three steps later and I swung around the corner only to discover…they were all gone.

I didn't understand. There was no way they could have just vanished like that. I cautiously stepped into the alley. Maybe they were just camouflaged. If that was the case I was walking into a trap. All the same, I edged further into the alley. Further and further I went until I was halfway through it. Footsteps suddenly started echoing behind me. I swung around with my nunchaku ready. It turned out to only be Naruto. I lowered my weapon.

"Why'd you stop in this smelly alley?" Naruto pinched his nose shut as he slowed his pace and walked up to me.

I sighed and slipped my nunchaku back into my pouch. The enemy was gone. Naruto was right though, this place did smell. Probably because there were dumpsters just lining the whole alleyway.

"Where's the enemy?" Naruto's voice came out nasally.

"I lost them." I admitted looking away. I couldn't even look my partner in the face I was so disappointed right now.

"Lost them? How? You're the fastest guy around!" Naruto pulled his hand away from his nose.

"I thought I told you to watch Sakura!" I snapped.

"Whoa there, calm down Boss! Sakura is fine. She's just around the corner. She didn't want to be in this smelly place." Naruto pointed his thumb behind him.

"Sorry, Naruto, I am just upset. I cannot believe I let them slip away. I turned this corner and it is like they went poof!" I leaned against the wall.

"Poof!" My partner chuckled a little. I ran my hand through my hair.

Poof…that word reminded me of something, but what?


That was it!

"I figured it out!" I shouted so suddenly I made my partner jump.

"Figured what out, Boss?" I spun on my teammate and gave him a knowing smile.

"I figured out who stole Sakura's ribbon!" Naruto gave me a confused look.

"Boss, have you lost it? We saw the guys who took it." My smile got just a little bigger.

"Did they? Or were they just an attempt to distract me from the real thief?" I began pacing back and forth. "I should have seen it sooner. All the signs were right in front of me!"

"Well, don't keep me in suspense, who was it?" I quit pacing and looked at my partner.

"The one who stole Sakura's ribbon, created all those shinobi and set this whole thing up…"

I blew a set of bubbles from my pipe.

"…was you."

I pointed my finger right at Naruto.

"Me?" He gave a big roar of laughter. "You've really lost it Bushy Brow!"

"Have I?" His laughter died down quickly. "I already told you! All the clues were right in front of me."

"What clues? I'm dying to know." My partner's good humor was gone now.

"I will start at the beginning. The blonde hair." I whipped the zip lock bag out and dangled it in front of myself.

"A lot of people have blonde hair." He argued.

"Okay, then onto my next clue. Who was all present when Sakura-chan was kidnapped?" I made a point of stressing the last word.

"That's just ridiculous! Just because I was the only one there means I made it up? You saw all the guys too!" Naruto was starting to sweat. I could tell now. And I wasn't done either.

"That would be true, except they were not really people at all were they?" I took a big step toward my partner. "They were Shadow Clones!"

"How on earth could you prove that one? When they're hit they would've popped." Naruto folded his arms and smiled at me. He thought he'd won.

"Where should I start first?" I tapped my chin thoughtfully with my pipe, something that irked my partner. "I know, how about the fact that they took extreme measures to avoid getting hit by me. You are the only one who actually landed any blows! You could have pulled your punches enough so as not to pop them. Now the big give away is the fact that they disappeared. People don't just poof into thin air. They dismissed themselves!" I was sure to use the word "poof".

"Is that really all you have? Hair and some theory about clones?" Naruto bounced gently on the balls of his feet.

"If you want physical proof, I have that letter you wrote." I reached into my pouch as I spoke.

"I-I don't know what you're talking about." He stuttered. I had him now.

"Really? You mean you do not remember writing this?" I said as I pulled out the letter. "I thought the hand writing looked familiar and now I know why. It was yours!"

"What's my motivation? Tell me that!" He was starting to play dirty. Fortunately I'd thought of that one too.

"You explained it yourself. You had the biggest crush on Sakura-chan. Sorry, you have the biggest crush on Sakura-chan. You haven't seen her for six months and when you realized she'd forgotten all about you, you got desperate. So you stole her ribbon so she would come to us for help in finding it!"

Naruto stared hard at me for a good thirty seconds. I could hear his heavy breathing as he struggled to find a way out. Something to prove his innocence. Finally he caved in. "Okay, I admit it! But you can't deny it! This was fun! This was exciting! You even got to meet Sakura-chan!"

"Naruto…" I walked over to him and draped an arm around his shoulder. "Nice idea!" I gave him a big thumbs up. He looked at me incredulously. "I will admit, this was fun, and like you said, I got to meet Sakura-chan!"

"So you won't turn me in?" I smiled brightly at my partner.

"I won't turn you in. However, we are ending this now. Do you have the ribbon on you?" Naruto nodded and reached into his back pocket and pulled it out. "Good, we will tell her they dropped it here when fleeing. It cannot possibly go wrong!" I patted him on the chest.

"It couldn't go wrong…" Said a voice that froze my blood. "…only problem is I heard every word you guys said." We both turned around very slowly. Lo and behold, Sakura was standing right there, cracking her knuckles.

One ass beating later.

"Damn that hurt!" Naruto slowly opened the lid of the dumpster Sakura threw us into.

"Indeed. That is the third woman to beat me up in one day! I must really be doing something wrong here." I lifted my body out from the dumpster. "I must say though, I am surprised your clones managed to take her out."

"No joke, I'm glad they managed to do it so fast myself." Naruto landed down right next to me. We both started ambling our way out of the alley.

"Another thing, did you really have to bring down the water tower? We are going to get into serious trouble if we are found out." I pulled my hat out and gave it a good sniff. Yep, it reeked too.

"I didn't tell them to do that! Sometimes they get a little…creative. That's all." We both looked at each other and shared a good laugh.

"Well, Naruto! I am proud to say our first case is officially closed!" We both emerged into the main street just as a man ran passed us with a purse in his hand.

"Hey give that back, it has my ribbon in it!" We both turned to see Sakura running after the man. I looked to my partner.

He gave an innocent shrug. "Not me this time." I nodded. With a flick of my wrist I threw my hat into the air. It landed neatly on my head.

"Case reopen!"