Sorry for reposting this twice, but it disappeared twice. It appears to be there now since it showed up when I clicked the link that was sent to me. Now on with the story, and for those of you who haven't read it yet, enjoy...

When he looked back on it later, the only explanation Momochi Zabuza could come up with for how he'd woken up in the Konoha drunk tank with a small blond toddler wrapped in his arms like a little teddy bear was that he'd already been smashed before he'd done whatever the hell it was he'd done that had caused his evening to take a rather interesting and either fortunately or unfortunately unremembered turn for the unusual. Naruto on the other hand had forgotten the entire incident. It was completely understandable, considering the fact that he'd just turned three that day. Meeting Momochi Zabuza who had been a seventeen year-old Chunin with a measly B-Rank entry in the Bingo Book at the time and ending up in the KMPF drunk tank had just been another incident in a rather eventful day.

Having learned his lesson earlier that year, Uchiha Itachi had managed to convince his team to pass on the C-Rank baby-sitting mission the next time it came up while they were present despite the fact that it was "easy money", and therefore the responsibility for babysitting Naruto on his third birthday fell to the team in which one Umino Iruka who was unaware of the fate that lay ahead of him was a member. Iruka, not having been warned of Naruto's propensity for wandering off, had made the mistake of turning away for one second when he'd brought the kid down to the store which had turned out to be closed because he'd noticed that the kid was out of juice.

In that second, one Uzumaki Naruto had wandered off and gate-crashed the memorial service that was being held on the anniversary of the Kyuubi attack. Naturally, there were some cries of dismay at this, but nothing more came of it because the Hokage, a sizable portion of Konoha's ANBU, and Konoha's Military Police were present. Knowing that anything that could be considered a threat towards the Uzumaki child would have dire consequences, nobody dared set one toe out of line as Naruto wandered through the crowd, completely unaware of the disturbance he had caused.

It had finally been Uchiha Fugaku who had picked the child up as he passed by, since nobody else was doing anything about it, not even the other parents in the crowd who should have known full well how to deal with an unruly toddler since they'd had one or more of their own. When he caught sight of the expressions on the other villagers' faces as he set the boy on his hip opposite Sasuke however, he scowled, set the tot down, and pushed the kid towards Hyuuga Hiashi who was standing nearby with his family, firmly resolving not to bother helping out in any more incidents involving said toddler in the future.

Rather than grabbing the toddler and holding him close-by until the service was over, Hyuuga Hiashi allowed Naruto to wander, and wander he did until a covert signal from the Hokage caused one of the ANBU to break ranks, grab the toddler who was becoming more of a nuisance with every passing minute, and deliver him to his now frantic caretakers along with a reprimand and a stern warning.

The warning had caused Umino Iruka's Genin team to be vigilant for about an hour, but then, Iruka's sensei went to answer a call of nature, Iruka had gone into the kitchen ostensibly to get a snack for the child, but to actually avoid him and the bad memories he was bringing up, and Iruka's teammates, having been lulled into a false sense of security by Naruto's silence, had turned to individual pursuits to pass the time until their mission was over. That was all the opening Naruto needed to make his way out the open window and shimmy down the nearby drainpipe that had been located much too close to the apartment's balcony.

Back out into the world, Naruto had made his way across Konoha in a different direction. With the memorial over, the citizens had disbursed and life was starting to return to normal once more. Naruto, who was happy that he wasn't being chased by yelling Genin as was often the case, made his way through the village as business returned to usual. As he made his way through the streets, the people either glared at him, ignored him, or whispered something uncomplimentary about him once they were sure he was out of earshot. Sensing the ill-will if not the reason why, Naruto started making his way to somewhere where there were less people so he wouldn't have to feel the stares and the uncomfortable feeling that he'd done something wrong.

As he was passing by a fence somewhere in the suburbs, he spotted a one-eyed man. He knew what one-eyed men were. The pretty cat lady had told him what they were when she and the one-eyed man with the orange book had been watching him.

"Pervert!" Naruto yelled happily, pointing at the one-eyed man.

At this cry, several heads popped over the fence which just happened to belong to the female side of one of the local onsen. Three seconds later, Shimura Danzo was torn between cursing and thanking Naruto when the angry mob of naked and towel-clad Kunoichi leapt over the fence and attacked him.

Naruto departed, unknowing of the chaos he'd sown in his wake, especially after a certain woman who had been nearing menopause who'd had a crush on Danzo since forever had gotten it into her head that Danzo had been spying on her, and decided to chase off all of the other women before they could get their filthy hands on her Danzo-kun. Let's just say that the Naked Kunoichi Battle Royal became a Konoha legend, and that the next morning Shimura Danzo's smile had to be surgically removed. Nine months later, the Kunoichi in question ended up naming her son Udon in - somewhat disguised - honor of the small child who had gotten her and Danzo together, even though it was only for one night.

After unknowingly sowing chaos at one of the local onsen, Naruto ended up wending his way through the village, unknowing and uncaring of the frantic Genin team that were searching everywhere for him, and getting a small taste of why no team ever willingly took the Naruto babysitting mission for a second time. Eventually, as the sun was going down, after a number of minor adventures such as the play-date with the black cats that belonged to the old lady on Life Street who constantly needed help with her groceries because of all of the cat food she had to buy, he'd ended up in a seedier section of town where a number of bars that were frequented by off-duty shinobi were located.

It was outside a bar called the Spiral Den that tended to attract foreign shinobi who had legitimate business in Konoha that the not-so-fateful meeting took place. Momochi Zabuza, who had recently joined Kirigakure's ANBU had come to Konoha with the Hunter-nin Ao two weeks earlier for a joint mission with a pair of their opposites from Konoha. Now that the mission he and Ao had been sent on was complete, they had been free to make a bar-crawl that had started the instant they had filed their joint report with the Hokage and sent another copy of it winging its way to the Mizukage. The good thing about Shinobi bars was that they tended to be open 24 hours, which meant that you could come in for a quick drink at two in the afternoon, and be completely bombed by sunset.

The Spiral Den had been the third bar they'd decided to hit that afternoon/evening. The Spiral Den had originally been named ROOT - as the roots of the Great Tree constantly needed watering - when it had been built shortly after the founding of Konoha. The bar, and the land that surrounded it for two feet in every direction from the walls and the doors was technically territory of the sovereign nation of Uzu thanks to a bet the Shodai Hokage had made with his wife and subsequently lost three years after the founding of Konoha. One of the more interesting things about the island nation of Uzu and its territories was that they didn't have a minimum drinking age since it was usually up to the parents to teach their kids restraint or at the very least provide some sort of restraint for their children if they couldn't teach it.

As Zabuza and Ao had slightly unsteadily approached the bar, Naruto had been sitting in the middle of the street playing with a couple of coins that he'd found earlier. When Naruto had heard laughter, rather than the usual silence that was punctuated by the rapid pattering of feet, he looked up in curiosity. What he saw was a pair of grownups who were staggering down the street, coming towards him and laughing. One of the grownups only had one eye, and he knew what that meant.

"Pervert!" Naruto yelled, pointing directly at Ao.

Several ninja heard this cry, and a number of them poked their heads out the doors of the various drinking establishments they were patronizing in order to investigate. What they saw was a small child pointing at a vaguely creepy looking foreigner and shrieking "Pervert!".

The lynch mob was organized in under fifteen seconds.

"Good one kid!" the moderately intoxicated Momochi Zabuza said as he stepped out of the shadows of the alley he'd ducked into and watched Ao and the pursuing lynch mob turn the corner and vanish into Konoha's labyrinthine streets.

Noticing the spiral on the front of the kid's shirt, and the spiral on the door of the bar that he and Ao had been heading to before Ao had been chased off by that ninja lynch mob, which Zabuza found to be exceedingly funny at the moment because he was the sort of drunk who found just about everything funny when he was under the influence, he put two and two together and got "the kid belonged to the bar". Deciding to return the kid to his family, he picked him up and carried him inside. Once inside the bar, Zabuza thought that it would be funny to get the kid a drink, and ordered some Sake, figuring that his parents would either not deliver it or take it from him before he got more than a sip or two.

Noticing that he was a bit short because he'd been buying at the last bar and it was now supposed to be Ao's turn to pay, he grabbed the coins that Naruto had been playing with and plunked them down on the counter along with the rest of the payment. A red-haired cattle drover who'd been born in a certain island nation saw this and said "Kid shouldn' havta pay, 's his birthday" before scooping up Naruto's coins and returning them, and setting down some coins of his own.

"Alright then." Zabuza called with a laugh. "Drinks for the birthday boy!"

Years later, he would put the kid's having drunken him under the table during an impromptu drinking contest down as a figment of his imagination. It was frankly impossible for a toddler to do something like that without dying of alcohol poisoning. The last clear memory Momochi Zabuza had before he'd woken up with a bad hangover and the sort of blond he didn't want to see in his arms was of him trying to steal a roadsign for FUBAR Street to ship to Kiri so he could hang it in the Swordsman's breakroom while a bunch of red-heads cheered him on.

He'd ended up waking up and finding himself in the drunk tank of the Uchiha Police Station when a pair of strangers who had turned out to be the Chief of Police and the Hokage himself approached the cell sometime the next morning. The first thing he noticed was the usual headache and light sensitivity that followed a night of drinking. The second thing he'd noticed was the small blond child who was snuggled up against him and securely wrapped in his arms, the small blond child who had wet himself.

"Here he is Hokage...sama. Safe and sound." the Chief of Police said as he lay there racking his brains in an attempt to figure out where the hell the kid had come from.

"What's Naruto doing in the drunk tank?" the Hokage asked, not sounding very happy.

"Ask him." the Chief of Police said with a shrug before he walked off, leaving the Hokage to retrieve the toddler.

A very peeved Ao who had spent the night hiding in the woods and using all of the Fire Country Survival tricks that one prayed one would never have to use came to get him several hours later, and they both vowed to never speak of that night again, glad to put the insane Leaf village behind them as they left, and hoping that they'd never have to return. If the other swordsmen ever heard of what had happened here, his reputation would be completely ruined.

As a consequence of that evening, Sarutobi Hiruzen issued an edict that one Uzumaki Naruto wasn't allowed within a hundred yards of The Spiral Den until he made Chunin.

Several years down the line, when Zabuza found the blond Genin on Hatake Kakashi's team to be familiar, he quickly dismissed the thought as inconsequential to his upcoming fight, and never thought about it again.