This is my first crossover, I hope you like it.

Reviews would be greatly appreciated, that way I know where to go with this story.

*This chapter HAS been edited. It was originally written in a lazy, half-assed way. I edited it to make it the relatively same quality as all the other chapters. First impressions are everything, and this Chapter did not make the cut in my mind. Thank you Sendicard for helping me decide if I wanted to redo this or not! You influenced the editing of this chapter greatly!


The forests outside Konoha were lovely places. Animals of all sizes and shapes took the majority of their day sitting on the highest tree that overlooked the village and its vast greens. Lately, however, such menial tasks had become a bore. The great Konoha wasn't as it once was. Quite frankly, Konoha had become an eye-sore. Pein had destroyed anything and everything that was of worth or beauty. Even the animals were smart enough to know this, and they migrated accordingly. Birds flew over to Kumogakure for clear skies and a clean, tidy view; amphibians slunk their way to Sunagakure the nestle in the sand. The only animal that stayed true to Konoha was the ever-so endangered hawk.

One hawk in particular had found a very quaint place to perch for hours on end. From that place he spied many things. Currently, he spotted two blurs that weaved in and out through the trees. The pink blur always trailed behind the yellow blur. The hawk found this humorous. Every time the two blurs got close, the yellow one would suddenly be pushed back and into a tree with such force that annihilated the very tree it hit. The blurs were brutal, but it was nothing to the hawk.

Of course, even the hawk knew when it was his time to go. The voices got closer, the blurs gradually gaining shape and becoming colorful blobs. Remorseful to leave his tree at the mercy of the destructive blurs, the hawk flew away. A good choice, considering the noise that pierced the air right after his ascent caused every animal to jump out of their bones.

"NARUTO!"

The bird had been right when he spotted pink and yellow. Only they weren't just colors, they were people. The hawk hadn't the fortune of knowing the blurs by name like many of the villagers in Konoha did. The pink was Haruno Sakura. Whereas the yellow was considered blond, and he was the ever-so rowdy Uzumaki Naruto. Those two gave Pein a run for his money when it came to destroying. Naruto could easily get Sakura to unbottle all the pent-up rage and anger she held. It was just a matter of sealing it back up again...

Her voice was so loud and obtrusive, and she was ignorant to the fact that people miles away could hear her. She was not a quiet girl, and she was not about to forgive Naruto for his horribly rude jokes. She could only take so much in a day, and he'd pulled the last straw only hours ago. Somehow Naruto had managed to steal 'Makeout Paradise' and hide it, planning to exchange it for a quick view of mask-less Kakashi. That was downright disrespect!

Sakura's strong sense of right and wrong rivaled her interest in Kakashi's bare face. She knew, deep down to the deepest part of her stomach, that what Naruto was doing was wrong. However, was it not also right? Kakashi should have expected something like this happening sooner or later. The man hid his face under a mask, surely he didn't think nobody would take action. For a moment her resolve slipped, the urge to let Naruto go free nearly getting to her. Fortunately for her, she still had Inner Sakura to keep her in line.

When did you become such a wimp? What happened to divine intervention? Her voice taunted, causing Sakura to roll her eyes, Naruto has to learn sometime that his pranks are pointless!

She didn't necessarily agree with her inner-self, but she'd proved a good point. Although his pranks had the ability to lighten the mood in these dark times, they were starting to become tedious. Verbally humiliating a noble of the village is one thing, but stealing Kakashi's book crossed the line. Someone had to teach Naruto that.

She could see him, only a few tree-branches away. With that classic head of bright yellow hair he was so easy to spot! Naruto was surprisingly bad at planning pranks. He was so good with strategic moves during fights (case of point: the battle with Pein) but when it came to thinking ahead in every day situations...he failed miserably.

The roseate rolled up her sleeves as she bounded towards him like a tight coil that had just been set free. Anger welled up inside of her as she thought of the trouble he was causing. Naruto didn't realize it, but when Kakashi realized his book was gone, he mentally veered off course. She could only grimace as she remembered the state she had left him in; a dark, serious face, and order after order shooting from his mouth. Everyone was Kakashi's pet.

Loudly, the kunoichi barked, "NARUTO! YOU'RE NOT GOING TO GET AWAY WITH THIS!"

Hearing her voice, Naruto sped up. He didn't bother to look back, no doubt Sakura's face looked horrifying. She probably had "justice" on her mind. Everyone in town knew that Sakura's form of justice and payback always hurt the next day. Even Naruto, hero of Konoha, was afraid of that girl. No amount of jutsu could ever make him fearless of her. The fact that he was now much stronger (being a sage did those things) didn't cross his mind at all during his flee. The only thing he could see was her razor-sharp death glare.

A cold sweat broke out on his skin when he felt a hand on his shoulder. Her hand dug deep enough for bruises to form, not only inflicting pain but pulling the poor victim backwards. Everything happened so fast after that point. One moment Naruto had been running away, and the next he was soaring through the air. Sakura's angry form got further and further away as he flew back, his back hitting a tree. He let out a pained gasp as he slid down, his back equally as bruised as his shoulder.

"Why, Sakura-chan?" He pleaded, rubbing his head. His sweet, classic anime voice would do nothing. No matter how innocent he tried to sound, Sakura would never fall for it. His heart was already pounding for the worst of reasons; she looked especially mad today.

She jumped down from the branch, softly landing on her feet. The girl made wild gestures with her hands, which Naruto noted were forming clenched fists. "You knucklehead! You can't just go around and take whatever you want, even if you defeated Pein! What were you thinking?" She ranted, her hands on her hips.

Naruto held his hands up defensively, as if they could fend Sakura off. He knew two hands would do nothing. "Don't you wonder what Kakashi's face looks like? It's been nearly five years since we met him, and we still haven't seen it!" He pointed out that little tidbit of useless information. She was hardly amused, and was completely unaware that the whole reason Naruto was doing this was for her and her wish to see what Kakashi's bare face looked like.

"NOBODY has seen it!" She chastised, taking a step forward.

Naruto flinched, he didn't want to get hit again. At least, that's what Sakura saw. His flinching was not because of his fear. It was because he was absorbing too much natural energy. Under all this pressure, changing to Sade Mode was becoming increasingly difficult. He'd simply screwed up, and in effort to prevent his nose from growing warts, he had lost his concentration thus breaking his invisible ties.

His opponent, great friend, and known love-interest didn't notice the eerie stillness his body took for the next few moments. "Where did you hide the book, Naruto?" She said, leaning over to look him in the eye menacingly.

He heard her question, but he didn't answer. Sure, he knew perfectly well where the book was hidden: in his own windbreaker. Of course, Sakura would never guess that. Everyone was accustomed to his baggy attire, always unaware of the treasures he could hide beneath the cloth.

The fact that he gave no answer angered her. Irritation was taking over her mind like a disease, replacing any feelings of understanding or amusement. (Even she had to admit, the things Naruto did at times could be pretty darn comical.) Bubbling and boiling, her anger took control of the muscles in her dominant arm. She raised it in the air at the unmoving Naruto, and without warning she swung it down towards his whisker-marked cheek.

Of all times to bring out Sage Mode, it was surprising to Sakura that he had saved it until just now. Why didn't he use it while he was running away? That would have proved more useful, she knew she would never be able to keep up with his speed. Never.

At first she had doubted it was Sage Mode she saw, her beliefs from earlier clouding her better judgement. Her jaw clenched when she recognized the orange colorization around his eyelids, and the abnormal frog-like appearance his eyes had taken on. Would those markings ever lie to her? They were clear proof that Naruto was using Sage Mode...but for what?

A sinking feeling overtook her gut; he was going to run away.

All while she thought that, Naruto's newly reformed speed had allowed him to counter by grabbing her wrist. He held her hand up in the air, never releasing. "Matte, matte. I can't tell you where I have it, at least not yet anyways." He told her, shrugging. "Besides, Kakashi-sensei can survive an hour or two more before he finally brea-"

"Why can't you tell me? And why do I have to wait?" Her reply cleanly cut his speech short. Of course it had little effect when it came through clenched teeth.

He let go of her wrist, letting it fall back into place at her side. She was grateful to him for letting her go, but it wasn't like that ended this. Naruto was sensible enough to understand that. He didn't lower his defenses, or release Sage Mode.

This matter, however important it may seem, was easily pushed aside by a noise in the horizon. She could have sworn she'd heard something… The sound of leaves being kicked up from the ground by feet. Not paws, claws, or slimy appendages: human feet. As Sakura continued to look towards the source, she began to see things, too. A flash of black this way and that, zig-zagging towards them. Her posture got stiff, but for situation's sake, she kept calm.

Sage Mode permitted Naruto's senses to rise exponentially. Thus, he had heard the approaching noises first, but hadn't said anything. He had a feeling that whatever it was, it would pass right along them and never return. He could feel the urgency radiate off the being far away, and it seeped into his skin. Something as urgent as this was wouldn't stop for a couple of people. He deemed it as no big deal.

Sakura, however, didn't have the fortune of absorbing the feelings it felt. All she could do was stand and watch the colors rise up over the hill and zoom towards them at an alarmingly fast rate. (Which was actually considerably slow considering their distance from it.) She craned her neck, and in doing so managed to spy a third color.

Orange.

In the midst of all the confusion, Naruto managed to detach himself from Sakura's attention. He lightly side-stepped away, fearful that Sakura would hear him escaping and desperately claw after him. If she did that, he'd be forced to counter yet again, and this time it wouldn't be so gentle. No matter what, he didn't want to hurt Sakura. But if worse came to worse... He shook that thought off. Just because he had some ultra-special new power didn't mean he had the authority to hurt anybody.

After a second or so, Naruto felt relieved. She seemed so focused on the noises and the colors that she was yet to see him slink away. In fact he was so convinced of his stealth that he emitted a rather long, stretched-out sigh. Oh, how little he knew! Even in Sage Mode he could make silly mistakes like that!

Sakura heard that sigh and immediately turned her attention back to the empty space in front of her. Her wide eyes shot to the retreating Naruto. He looked cocky, and proud of himself. He'd managed to put a good five yards between them. It was a great distance, they both knew it. With five yards, Naruto could managed a massive head-start.

As always, Naruto had a grand exit to make. He saluted her smugly, his smile stretching farther than the highest point of his whiskers. Yes, he knew that by leaving her there he was typically putting her into a dangerous situation. However, he was confident in his earlier assumption of their oncoming unidentified person. They would pass right by Sakura, providing she didn't get in their way.

"See you later, Sakura-chan!"

He was gone in the blink of an eye. Despite his speed, Sakura who usually would have followed, stayed right in her place. She was surprised at herself, and Inner-Sakura was screaming not to let him go so easily. Her initial shock from the turn of events was short-lived. She was preoccupied by the thing she saw ahead of her.

As a Konoha shinobi, it was Sakura's duty to figure out what was in the forest, quickly approaching. It moved so extremely fast, she could hardly see anything but a dark blur. Speed was this thing's gift. Imbedded in that blur was the strange orange color she had seen earlier. Just what did the color orange have to do with anything?

The figure was actively approaching, and Sakura took matters into her own hands. She wouldn't obey Naruto's mental will for her; she would take this situation into her own hands and stop this stranger from passing. She took two steps to the left with her hands authoritatively crossed behind her back. She was now a stable road-block, and this black blur (which simply refused to take any turns; the quickest way between two points was a straight line) would have to figure out a way to get around her if it wanted to continue on. Sakura figured that by standing there it would veer off, leaving the Land of Fire completely. Unfortunately enough, that didn't seem to be the case. The closer the black got, the more it slowed. Until eventually, a person stood before Sakura.

Such a tall person this was indeed. There weren't many people in Konoha that rivaled his height. Though the first thing she noticed was not his height, but his spiky orange hair that reminded her faintly of Naruto's. His face was daring, and cut in several places like he had just left a big fight. Her brows furrowed as she looked at him, obviously a teenager like herself. Nonetheless, she held a hand out not to shake hands but to block his path even further. "Halt." She stated. She was a little surprised; she hadn't expected the person to stop right in front of her. Something like this was uncalled for, and she hadn't planned it out farther than this point...

At first she thought he was an enemy ninja, but that thought was easily dismissed when she took a look at his strange attire. It looked ancient -not dirty, but as if it was made long ago. The fabric was black, and was like one flowing robe. Only it had two legs, different than a mere robe. She noted that, like his skin, it had cuts in various places. Telltale signs of a disagreement.

"W-who are you?" Sakura mumbled. She was unable to keep her voice steady. With increasing embarrassment, she realized that this stranger was quite handsome.

He was accustomed to being a ghost; invisible to the eyes of many. He could easily weave his way in and out of the busy Karakura streets in this form. Nobody ever saw him, and it was as if he didn't exist. Thus, he didn't think the pink-haired girl would step out in front of him, let alone see him. It was a complete surprise, but also a blessing. She was here, and she had information. But first thing was first, figure out one major detail.

"You can see me?"

Sakura rolled her eyes. His question was an insult to her intelligence. He was a person, being a person generally meant other people could see you. Here her mind went again, off in its own little world. As mentioned beforehand, his question was an insult. It irritated her, giving her the idea that this was just another person who thought they were stealthier than the rest. Another conceited human being. The female once again rested her hands on her hips, a slightly annoyed expression as she said, "Well of course I can see you." She shook her head. "And you can't answer a question with a question. You're almost as dull as Naruto!"

"Oh, ah, sorry about that." He grumbled, not at all appreciating the tone of her voice. He just went along with it, since he had no idea who this 'Naruto' was. Sakura smiled at this. "The name's Ichigo Kurosaki."

Ichigo...Ichigo...ICHIGO? "…strawberry…?" She mumbled, once again looking over him. He looked nothing like his name suggested. A strawberry was bulbous and red, he was thin and orange.

Ichigo's lips twitched. He'd heard that comment many times. The curse of being named after a fruit...

"No, not strawberry!" He countered, sighing. "But that's besides the point… Who are you?"

Sakura raised her eyebrows. It wasn't surprising he had no idea who she was, or who he was dealing with. He was obviously an outsider, a fact that posed a great many questions. One of them being where he came from. Yet she didn't shoot off her curiosity at him. Doing so would make her a hypocrite, since she'd clearly stated before that it wasn't good to 'answer a question with a question'. Indefinitely, she'd just have to make do with answering his. Stately, she answered, "Sakura Haruno, Chuunin."

"What's a Chuunin?"

Sakura was astounded. He didn't know what a Chuunin was? "You've gotta be kidding me!" She stated, crossing her arms and shifting her weight to one leg.

Crickets.

"You don't know what a Chuunin is? As in Genin, Chuunin, Jounin?" She asked, leaning forward to poke a finger at his chest accusingly. Was this kid an alien or something? Did he not understand the ranking system of the great shinobi culture?

Now Ichigo felt he was being made fun of. It agitated him. "How am I supposed know what those are, I've never heard those words until just now!" Thoroughly irritated, he swiveled to face the opposite direction and began to walk away.

The large sword on his back caught Sakura's eye. It was an abnormal size, even for the Seven Swordsmen of the mist. It was wrapped tightly, only small glimmers of metal shining through here and there. It was a beauty to behold. Not only did it seem like a deadly weapon, but it had a certain elegance that Sakura couldn't peg on any other thing on the world. This weapon was uniquely its own.

"Hey, wait! Ichigo!" She mumbled, catching up to him. He'd walked a fair ways since her distraction with the sword, and she had to (regrettably) use energy to catch up. "You must be a foreigner. I should have realized it sooner. I mean, come on, look at the clothes you're wearing." She shrugged.

Her comment only made Ichigo even more irritated. He pace came to a halt as he looked down at her. "Now you're making fun of my clothing?" That was how Ichigo interpreted her words. To him, it was blatantly obvious that she was mocking him. She had nothing to back it up, considering the clothing she was wearing. "You have no right to say that, you're not even supposed to see me!" He barked, making wild hand gestures. He shook his head to end his crazy flailing arms and continued on. "Now just where the hell am I?"

Sakura narrowed her eyes. What a hot-headed person! She was prepared to let him go, not wanting to associate herself with someone who blew up at the simplest of words. She hadn't been trying to insult him. The words had come out on their own accord. His reaction, despite all the patience she had been giving him for the last minute or so, equally peeved her and she stopped abruptly to let him walk off. Then again...he didn't look like he had anywhere to go. She felt shockingly bad for just letting him walk away, his questions unanswered. Thus she once again rushed to catch up with him. "You're in the Land of Fire, or more specifically, Konohagakure." She told him reproachfully.

Ichigo didn't bother to look to her. He kept his attention straight ahead as he continued on. "I have no idea what you're talking about." He told her. He did his best to imagine this 'Konohagakure', but his mind saw nothing. Ichigo had a hard time believing that this place was even real. There was no 'Village Hidden in the Leaves' in Japan!

Whatever he said, Sakura did not hear. She was immersed in her own thoughts, curious about this strangely-cloaked foreigner. "How did you even get here?" She asked, raising an eyebrow.

In response all he did was shrug. But when a few moments of intense silence followed, he sighed. "I don't really know. One moment I was fighting a Hollow, and the next I was running through this forest." He told her, rubbing his forearm. The forests in this strange land were so very eerie…

"Do you know how to get back home?" She asked him. She chose to ignore the 'hollow' bit. She didn't know what it was, and she assumed he was referring to someone with a hollow heart, as an expression. Not in a million years would she have guessed that a Hollow was a vengeful, power-hungry beast hunting for some tasty human souls.

For a brief moment, the orange-haired shinigami looked down at Sakura. (Who was a good two or three inches shorter than him.) Her question posed a string of his own questions to arise. He had no place to stay, his body was somewhere back in Karakura Town so he wouldn't be seen by anybody, and he was yet to find his way home.

Disappointed in himself, he answered, "No."