AN: I have returned! Alright people, this is the second installment of my first story: The Fox's Shadow, hence the title of this one...Anyway, I hope you guys enjoy it, and I can't wait to share what I have planned with you as I write this story! Lots of fun things to cover! As before, your thoughts are appreciated more than you know, so let me know what you think about the story! And away we go!

Chapter 1:

Konohagakure, or The Village Hidden in the Leaves had not really changed much in the last five years. Of course, people had changed; but the village itself remained very much the same it had been for years. One such place that remained a pinnacle of pride for the denizens of Konoha; a symbol of their endurance and status as the first and greatest of all hidden villages: was the Hokage Mountain, home to the world-renowned, Hokage Monument.

Four large stone faces were carved in the visages of the four great leaders that had led Konoha to become a name to be reckoned with. Starting with the First Hokage, Hashirama Senju, of the Senju Clan. The man that, with the alliance of their once-bitter rivals, the Uchiha Clan, came to found the great village itself. Possessor of the rare kekkei-genkai, Mokuton, which allowed him to create plant life seemingly out of thin air!

Hashirama was succeeded by his younger brother, Tobirama Senju, who in turn became the Second Hokage. Known far and wide as a master of Suiton jutsu, it was said the man could create an ocean in a desert, using only his chakra! Tobirama was also known for being the Hokage who put down many laws and practices that Konoha still abides by today. He also created much of the village's infrastructure, seeing that his older brother was not much for planning...

Tobirama chose one of his students, Hiruzen Sarutobi to become the Third Hokage, after his untimely death. Also known as the God of Shinobi, but mostly as the Professor, Sarutobi is known to have complete knowledge of over one thousand jutsu! Sarutobi is also the current Hokage, after an unfortunate disaster took the life of his successor, The Fourth Hokage, who was none other than the famed Minato Namikaze, also known as The Yellow Flash of Konoha.

Minato was given his name for his legendary technique known as the Hiraishin. Using this extraordinary jutsu, the man could move at the blink of an eye. Minato once defeated an entire army of Iwa ninja using just this technique alone! He is also known to be the only shinobi to ever possess a SS Rank in the Bingo Book. Unfortunately, Minato perished after saving the village from the fearsome Nine-Tailed Fox, or Kyuubi. A little known fact however, is that Minato did not kill the Kyuubi as many would believe. In fact, it is still alive to this day, but sealed. Where you ask? Why, it's quite simple, really. The fox is sealed into a boy. A boy who was currently hanging from a harness with another boy beside him, doodling spiral markings on Minato Namikaze's face with orange paint...

Naruto Uzumaki was having a blast. Instead of going to the Academy for practice exams like he was supposed to this morning, he had convinced his brother (in all but blood) to come do a prank with him. Sasuke, eager to skive off Iruka's boring lectures and redundant practice exams, readily agreed.

Little did Sasuke know that Naruto was planning the prank to top all of his previous pranks.

"So, let me get this straight," Sasuke asked, as the two of them stood in Naruto's room. The two boys had gone towards the Academy at their regular time, only to turn around shortly after and backtrack to their home. Naruto was digging through his closet, tossing out clothes, ninja supplies, and other such things as he frantically searched for something. What that something was however, Sasuke could only guess. "You want to paint the Hokage Monument. In broad daylight!?"

Naruto wheeled around quickly and scowled at Sasuke ruefully.

"Keep it down!" Naruto hissed. "Do you want Kaa-chan to hear us!?"

Sasuke rolled his eyes.

"You know as well as I do that mom's running errands right now." He replied, coolly.

Naruto continued to scowl at Sasuke for a few more seconds before he turned back to his closet and continued his search. After several more moments of rearranging, Naruto seemed to find what he was looking for.

"Got them!" He declared as he stood up from the closet and held out his hand to Sasuke, who glanced down in confusion.

"What are those supposed to be?" He asked, completely bewildered.

Naruto rolled his eyes.

"Haven't you ever seen anyone rock climb before? They use these!" Naruto said, indicating the long, elastic ropes and belts in his hands. " It helps make sure they don't fall!"

Sasuke deadpanned at his brother for several seconds. Finally, Naruto, who couldn't stand his silence any longer, bellowed:


Sasuke sighed and shook his head.

"Did you forget that we can easily climb the Hokage Mountain using chakra?" He asked, smirking seconds later when Naruto's face fell.

Naruto recovered quickly however, and smiled at Sasuke.

"Yeah, but that's boring!" Naruto countered. "We need to do this in a really crazy way! Something that Konoha has never seen before!"

Sasuke snorted.

"Why don't you try having a good idea for once?" He asked. "I'm sure Konoha's never seen you do that."

Naruto sneered at Sasuke while he shoved the harnesses and ropes into his Academy bag and zipped it up.

"Ha, ha," Naruto spat sarcastically. "What a comedian. Maybe you should try singing a song without messing up the melody: that's something Konoha's never heard before!"

Sasuke's ears went bright pink as he chased his brother out of the Uchiha household and into the streets.

"I'M AN EXCELLENT SINGER, NARUTO!" Sasuke hollered, causing many villagers and shinobi to look at him in a mixture of shock, annoyance, and confusion as the two boys sped past them.

Sasame smiled as she looked at her reflection in the mirror of Anko's and her's shared apartment. She had let her hair grow out until it passed her lower back, and tied the hair on top of her head into a top-knot of sorts. She examined her clothes. Anko had insisted that Sasame dress more...openly. At first, Sasame had no idea what the older woman meant; but she soon found out. Currently, she was wearing a green T-shirt with the Konoha insignia on it on top of a fishnet body suit, very much like Anko's. She also took after her older sister figure by wearing an orange mini-skirt. On top of her head was a black beanie, that was cut on top to allow her top-knot to stick out. She wore sandals, like most Konoha ninja wore on their feet.

Sasame had also grown over the five years considerably. Her once slim body had filled out slightly, as a result of training and nutritious eating. She now stood at about four foot eight, which put her at an average height amongst her female classmates. Not that she was complaining. Her mother was rather short; so Sasame was happy she didn't take after her in that regard.

Glancing at herself once more, Sasame went and got ready for another day at the Konoha Academy and Iruka-sensei's tedious lectures. She frowned as she walked away from the mirror. She was getting really sick of those.

She sighed as she slung her schoolbag over her shoulder and made her way out the door. She had meant to say goodbye to Anko, but the woman was currently passed out on the couch after a long night out with her friends Yugao and Kurenai for drinks. This happened at least twice a week, and Sasame had learned the hard way that it was best to not try and wake the woman up...She could be quite irritable.

Careful to open and shut the door to their apartment quietly, Sasame blinked as she stepped into the bright morning light cast by the sun on the horizon. She smiled widely when she realized that she only had to endure class at the Academy for one more day before she took her exam to see if she could become an official ninja, along with her classmates! She had Anko-nee-chan to thank for that.

Over the past five years, Anko had begun to train Sasame to become a kunoichi. Originally, Sasame was hesitant to decide whether she wanted to or not, but she soon found out that it wasn't something she got to decide for herself. Anko practically declared that Sasame had to be one if they were going to live together. When Sasame had asked the Snake Mistress why, Anko had explained that Sasame needed to be able to defend herself when she wasn't around to help. Apparently, Anko suffered the occasional break-in and trashing of her stuff every so often from unruly shinobi she refused to go on dates with. That had scared Sasame greatly until Anko also told her that she usually found out who did it and beat them to a bloody pulp. Needless to say, Sasame was so terrified by the casual way Anko had told her this, that she readily agreed to do whatever Anko wanted if it would make the woman happy. And Anko wanted her to train to be a kunoichi. So Sasame agreed.

She soon found out that she actually had an innate talent for the ninja arts; no doubt because of her clan. Speaking of her clan, Sasame found that she was a dead-eye when it came to ninja tools. Kunai, shuriken, senbon: you name it, she could use each one with almost complete mastery. Then again, the Fuma clan was known for their weapons proficiency, so Sasame wasn't too surprised when she discovered this talent. Her chakra control was above-average, but that was thanks to Anko drilling her in every exercise in the book. The Snake Mistress was currently trying to teach Sasame how to balance a kunai on her finger, but Sasame had nothing to show for it except a lot of band-aids.

She smiled contently as she strolled down the busy morning streets of Konohagakure. The village had at last become home to her. It was hard her first year, but with the help of people like Ino, Sakura, and especially Naruto; Sasame grew more comfortable in the village, and her comfort level had finally reached a point where she didn't feel the slightest bit unsure if she belonged here or not.

Several villagers smiled at her as she passed by, and she smiled kindly in return. However, on the inside, she was silently fuming with anger. She thought about Naruto, and how he had told her and the rest of his friends about being the Jinchuuriki of the Kyuubi five years ago. He had mentioned that he tended to ignore villagers in general because they never had a kind smile or a nice thing to say to him. Sasame couldn't understand how these people she walked by could be so prejudiced. If they would simply take the time to get to know Naruto, there opinion would surely change!

As she got closer to the Academy, Sasame decided to take a detour through the former Uchiha District. It was her second favorite place in the village, after Dangoya, which Anko had caused to grow on her. The Uchiha District was always very festive, with banners and bright colored signs outside of the numerous shops and stalls along the streets. It was also the only place in the village where Sasame didn't get mad at the villager's treatment of Naruto. This was simply due to the fact that, over the five years that Naruto had lived here, the whole of the Uchiha Clan had come to love him as one of their own, and would not tolerate any bad-mouthing about him. The thought of her blonde-haired friend having a safe-haven away from the general animosity of the village made Sasame smile brightly. If anyone deserved a break: it was Naruto.

She stopped and bought a bento from the Uchiha-ya, and continued on her way. She wondered if Naruto and Sasuke were already at the Academy. Knowing the two of them, they would probably be late, as usual. She had no idea why the two boys could never seem to show up on time, but Iruka had threatened to hold both of them back a year if they didn't get their acts together. This was funny to Sasame, seeing that the two boys were almost tied for the top boy of the year. Sasuke was winning, only because he took his academic work more seriously than Naruto, who could care less about homework. He preferred practical ninja exercises.

Speaking of Naruto and Sasuke, Sasame witnessed the two boys flying towards her at an unbelievable speed down the street. She blinked as the two passed by.

"MORNING, SASAME-CHAN!" Naruto yelled as he flashed by her, causing her hair to ripple with the wind he had created. Sasuke followed close behind, screaming something at Naruto about his singing voice. What that was all about, Sasame had no idea.

She scowled as she turned around to look at the receding figures of the two boys. She hadn't thought about it as they passed, but now that she watched the direction they were running in, she realized that they were heading away from the Academy which could only mean they were planning on skipping class again. She huffed as she stuffed her bento into her school bag and glared in the direction the two had just run off in.

Bracing her legs with chakra, Sasame quickly jumped to the nearest rooftop and took off after them. She did this for two reasons. One: she was really tired of having to listen to Ino whine when Naruto didn't show up. Just the thought of having to endure that again this morning prompted her into action. The second was that she didn't want the two boys to be held back. She was actually hoping that they'd get placed on the same squad together if they could all graduate; a prospect that seemed slimmer and slimmer each day the two knuckleheads decided to skive off class.

She followed the boy's progress until the two of them disappeared into a thick patch of forest. She paused on the nearest rooftop to the woods and narrowed her eyes suspiciously.

'What are those two up to?' She thought.

No sooner had she finished the thought, Naruto and Sasuke came bursting out the other side, carrying something in both of their hands. From the distance she was currently at, Sasame couldn't make out the specifics, but if she didn't know any better she could've sworn they were carrying some sort of over-sized cans.

Frowning in annoyance, Sasame took off after them again, eager to know what they could possibly be up to that merited skipping their last day at the Academy.

"Ropes secure?"


"Harness comfy?"


"Paintbrush and can ready?"


"Come on, Sasuke!" Naruto sighed in exasperation. "You're supposed to say 'Roger!'

Sasuke raised an eyebrow.

"Why should I?" He asked.

Naruto palmed his face.

"Because," he explained. "You need to treat a prank this big like a mission! Think of it as training!"

Sasuke snorted as he tied an extra knot in his rope harness.

"Training for what, exactly?" He replied skeptically. "How to attempt what might possibly be your dumbest idea yet?"

Naruto grinned.

"Hey," he reasoned cheekily. "You agreed to tag along, remember?"


The two boys were now on top of the head of Minato Namikaze, and were preparing to propel themselves down to his face level to begin Operation: Super-Amazing-Prank-of-Pranks. Sasuke thought Naruto's name for the prank was overkill, but the blonde-haired boy had insisted upon it. 'An awesome name for an awesome idea' he had said. Sasuke was beginning to have second thoughts about his involvement in the prank.

Regardless, the two of them now hung on either side of Minato's giant stone face and opened their paintcans. Naruto had gone with orange, (no surprise there) while Sasuke preferred pastel blue. When Naruto had asked him why in Kami's name he had chosen such a sissy color, Sasuke had indignantly replied that 'it would really pop in the sunlight, and that Naruto had no artistic sense for these kinds of things, so he wouldn't understand.' Yet another typical argument between the two brothers.

Sasame's eyes widened when she saw what the two boys were planning. She was conflicted between bursting out in laughter and wanting to throw something at both of them. Anko-nee-chan would have said she could do the latter and then laugh afterwards, but Sasame wasn't so sure about that. She was almost certain that her sandals wouldn't be able to reach the two of them so high up.

She watched from her perch atop a nearby water tower as the two boys began painting on the Fourth Hokage's face. She face-palmed at their stupidity.

"Don't they realize that they're doing that in broad daylight!?" She whispered incredulously to herself. "They'll be caught any time now!"

But to Sasame's surprise, no one: not even the many shinobi in the village seemed to noticed that the Hokage Monument was being desecrated right in front of their eyes. Sasame was dumbfounded. How was it possible that Naruto and Sasuke were able to perform such a feat and not be seen! It was ridiculous! Didn't anyone ever bother to look at the monument at least once as it came into view!?

She hopped down from the water tower and began making her way towards the monument. Someone had to stop them. Better her than the ANBU.

Naruto and Sasuke had just finished up with Hashirama's face when they were both startled by a loud female voice calling to them.

"ARE YOU TWO IDIOTS!?" Cried Sasame, who now stood atop Hashirama's head, scowling down at them.

Naruto grinned.

"Hey, Sasame-chan!" He greeted amicably. "Shouldn't you be in class?"

Sasuke, who only took a few moments to get over his surprise at seeing the girl, shrugged and went back to finishing up some last minute detail work on Hashirama's eyelid.

Sasame's eyes narrowed at Naruto, making the boy's smile fade slightly.

"SHOULDN'T YOU BE THERE TOO?!" She countered angrily. She sighed and shook her head in resignation. "Seriously, you two. It's our last day! And you heard what Iruka-sensei said he'd do if you two didn't stop skipping!"

Sasuke rolled his eyes as he dipped his paintbrush back into his can.

"Chill out, Sasame," he said tiredly. "Naruto and I are at the top of the class; we know everything that Iruka is always going on and on about! We just skip because we're bored..."

Naruto nodded at his brother.

"Yeah, Sasuke's right, Sasame-chan!" He added, turning back to her. "Besides, you have to admit: this is the best work we've ever done!"

Sasame's face softened. No matter how irritated she was at Naruto and Sasuke she always ended up forgiving them. Besides, they were right: their current prank was the best she's ever seen.

"Fine, you win." She sighed with a small smile as she plopped down on Hashirama's head. She glanced at the village and basked in the warm, early morning sunlight while the two boys worked.

"Naruto." Came the voice of Sasuke. Naruto turned away from the drool lines he was painting down Hashirama's mouth and looked at him.


"How do I erase this?" Sasuke asked.

Naruto deadpanned at him.

"You serious?"

Sasuke nodded and cupped his chin with his hand, as he appraised his work.

"Yes. I feel like the contour of this line is way off," Sasuke explained. "I'm trying to make Lord Hashirama's tears look realistic, you know what I mean?"

Sasame giggled at Sasuke's remark, causing the Uchiha boy to glare at her.

"What!?" Sasuke roared in outrage. "I take my work very seriously!"

Sasame giggle harder, making Naruto begin to chuckle along as well.

Sasuke glared at the both of them, turned his head away with a huff, and simply continued appraising his work with a critical eye.

Naruto smiled up at Sasame, paint smears all over his face.

"So, Sasame-chan," he began enthusiastically, causing the girl to peer down at him curiously. "Are you excited to graduate tomorrow?"

Sasame grinned and nodded.

"You bet!" She replied cheerfully. "I just hope I get placed on a squad with Anko-nee-chan leading it! She's really adamant about making sure the three of us are paired together!"

Naruto laughed and rubbed the back of his head.

"That's Anko-sensei for you!" He said. "I just hope she doesn't try and threaten the Old Man into doing it!"

Sasame giggled.

"I wouldn't be so sure that she hasn't tried that already!"

The two of them guffawed, their laughs echoing through the area.

Sasuke's eye twitched in irritation.


Naruto began laughing harder when he realized that Sasuke's lines were all over the place.

"S-Sasuke," Naruto gasped, trying to speak through his laughter. "D-Did Kaa-chan ever teach you how to draw a straight line?!"

Sasuke scowled at him, and braced his legs with chakra. With a grunt, he pushed himself off of Hashirama's face to get a better view of his overall area. When he reached the highest point of his arc, his face contorted into a look of horror.

"Oh, Kami NO!" He cried in anguish. "WHAT HAVE I DONE!?"

Naruto and Sasame doubled over in laughter as Sasuke swung back to his original spot and began smacking his head off of Hashirama's chin repeatedly, cursing under his breath. They all stopped their respective actions however, when a new, but very familiar voice called out:


Naruto looked at Sasame who looked at Sasuke. The three of them gulped in unison and slowly turned their heads to see the outraged face of their sensei: Iruka.


Naruto blinked.

"Umm," he stammered nervously. "Just...hanging out?"

Sasame had to hold back a giggle at Naruto's bad joke. Iruka however, was not amused.

"YOU THREE ARE IN SO MUCH TROUBLE!" He bellowed, pointing at each of them in turn. Sasame's face paled.

"Iruka-sensei!" She reasoned. "I didn't paint anything!"

Iruka glared at her, causing Sasame to shut up at once.

"I don't care." He snarled. "As far as I can see, you're an accomplice!"

Sasuke, once again showing how indifferent he was to the situation at hand , went back to trying to repair his artwork.

"SASUKE!" Iruka cried indignantly. "STOP PAINTING AT ONCE!"

Sasuke dropped his paintbrush hesitantly and crossed his arms with a pout. Iruka quickly shunshined to both boys; Sasuke first and then Naruto and threw them on top of Hashirama's head. The two boys struggled to get out of their climbing equipment, and did so just as Iruka leapt up towards them, after scrutinizing their handiwork.

Landing in front of them, he crossed his arms and stared down at the three Academy students imperiously.

"Now," he said in a dark tone. "We are going to class. You are not going to leave my sight. After class, you will explain to Lord Hokage what you have done and apologize, and then we will come back here...AND YOU WILL CLEAN THE MONUMENT UNTIL IT IS SPOTLESS!"

All three of them nodded furiously in understanding, while Iruka rubbed his temples and sighed heavily.

"Now," he said at last. "Get moving: and if I even suspect any of you of trying to sneak off..."

He left it at that as he pointed in the direction of the Academy, and glared at each of his students as they marched past them, all of whom were thinking their own thoughts.

'This is ridiculous!' Thought Sasame with a scowl at Naruto and Sasuke. 'I could've just warned them and went to class...but NOOOO...I had to stay and hang around! You're an idiot, Sasame!'

Naruto had a shit-eating grin upon his face, very much in contrast to his other friends.

'I can't wait to snap a picture of this glorious work of art! Trouble or not: this was so totally worth it!'

Sasuke scowled deeply as he walked, hands in his pockets. He glanced over his shoulder, as they walked down the streets of Konoha, at the Hokage Monument, and his side of Hashirama's face. His scowl deepened.

'I should've gone with canary yellow paint.' He thought dejectedly. 'Yeah: canary yellow definitely would've popped more. The blue just isn't doing my work justice.'

Iruka walked behind his students, with a deep scowl etched upon his features as he observed the three troublemakers in front of him. However, on the inside, he was laughing his ass off.

'The nosebleed coming out of Lord Third's nose! That is brilliant!'

Needless to say, for Naruto Uzumaki and friends, life was good. But little did they know, the peace they had enjoyed over the last five years would come to an abrupt end, very soon.

AN: A very light-hearted start to an otherwise darker plot, but I always wanted to do my own interpretation of Naruto's Hokage Monument prank! So, how did you like it? Afroman007, signing out! Thanks for reading!