AN: Hate to say, but I am not the best at writing conversations between two six y/o kids, so this chapter may be slightly inaccurate. Pls bear w/ me.

Hope you enjoy!

Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto

Chapter 4: The Meeting

Minutes earlier…

Satsuki had just finished buying her clothes from the store when she started walking back to the compound; though on the way past the Hokage Tower, she saw a crowd surrounding something.

Curiosity got the better of her, as she used her small size to navigate through the crowd; just to see them all staring down at a little blonde boy.

Satsuki could see all these people around her staring at the boy with eyes full of hatred and disgust, and whispering nasty things to each other about him. Confusing things like, 'It's him' 'That boy.'

The young Uchiha noticed the adults pulling their children away from the boy saying, 'stay away from that boy, he's no good.'

The odd thing was that the blonde boy being scrutinized was… grinning. An odd smile that stretched from ear-to-ear with his eyes closed.

He looked quite like a fox with his grin, which for some reason seemed to anger the crowd even more.

After a few more moments of glares and insults, she saw his fists clench as he ran towards the academy.

As the crowd snarled and dispersed, Satsuki was left with one thought, 'Why are they looking at him like that?... And why is he smiling?'

She would have most definitely snapped back at them if they glared at her like that, yet he smiled.

She needs to find out more…

Outside of Ninja Academy

Satsuki arrived outside the place she would be attending in a month's time.

Looking around for the boy, she saw him softly swaying on a wooden swing. Satsuki walked slowly up behind the boy.

"E-Excuse me?" Satsuki timidly asked. Although she was an energetic girl at home, she could be quite shy around people she doesn't know, especially when she was the first person to reach out.

She could also be quite introverted, not wanting other kids to talk to her...

The Uchiha waits a few moments, with no reply from the boy.

She sighed, "Excuse me." Satsuki asked again, getting a little impatient. The oblivious blonde continued to swing back and forth, seemingly in his own world.

After she asked again and once-more got no response, she is now really annoyed and irritated at his denseness.

"Grrrr!" The raven-haired girl growled out, from the lack of response.

She noticed the lips of the blonde twitch into a sad smile, but she thought he was mocking her; Satsuki forgets all previous bashfulness and stomps her foot down on the ground and shouts at the oblivious boy...

"OIIIII!" The girl roared, causing the blonde to fall off the swing in surprise and land on his butt.

The boy stared wide-eyed at Satsuki, who glared down at him in annoyance.

Though the blonde continued gazing at her closely, which caused her pale cheeks to gain a hint of pink at the attention. No one ever stared at her with such interest before, other than her mother and brother.

The blue-eyed boy managed to get out of his shock and demanded, "W-Who are you, dattebayo!?" He stood up and patted the dirt off of him; Satsuki was still taller than him, which she thought was funny.

Satsuki blinked at his verbal tic, but just ignored it and crossed her arms over her chest and commanded, "No, I want to know who you are?"

This boy interested her for some reason. Probably because she could tell his smile was more than meets the eye.

His jaw slackened at the question for some reason, but he answered meekly.

"N-Naruto Uzumaki" Satsuki raised an eyebrow at that. It was quite a strange name, but she was compassionate enough not to mention it.

She went to speak her question about the crowd and his smile when he got his voice back…

"And who are you!?" The short boy demanded loudly, with more confidence in his voice.

Satsuki's onyx eyes widened slightly; it was rare for someone to shout back at her. Whenever she went to the park and saw other kids who wanted to mess around or play with her, she would usually give off the aura of superiority and dominance. This boy just ignored it and gave off his own aura of confidence and ignorance.

While she was embarrassed by the high-class treatment of her status in the clan compound, for some reason, bragging about it to an outsider felt good; so she simply smirked, proud to show off her name and said...

"Satsuki… Satsuki Uchiha."

Naruto stared at the girl, who in return, stared back at him.

She was wearing a black high-collar t-shirt and a white skirt, as well as a weird red and white thing on her back.

He was wearing an old white t-shirt with a Land of Fire emblem in the center.

This girl, Satsuki, is giving him a look he has never seen before.

While the villagers stare at him with looks of disgust, hatred, and ultimately fear.

The shinobi look at him with looks of worthlessness, slight fear, and also some disgust (it's quite mixed).

Sometimes, Teuchi-jiichan and the Hokage give him concealed looks of pity that they try to hide… but he can see them.

Even those annoying bullies that beat him up and destroyed his favorite red scarf from when he helped that girl with the weird eyes. They had looks of being 'high-and-mighty' as well as full of arrogance.

That girl he saved from the bullies also had a look of fear, but it was probably towards the bullies. She left as he fell unconscious, so he suspected she feared him too.

But this girl… She was looking at him with…


He never got looked at like with this look. It was always fear, pity, or hatred.

"Satsuki…. Uchiha?" He tested the words out on the tongue. The girl in question looked a little smug when he said her name for some reason.

Satsuki smirked slightly, assuming the boy was surprised to meet a member of the Uchiha clan. It wasn't everyday a member of the village's most prestigious clan would come and talk to you.

That line of thinking ended though, when Satsuki quickly reminded herself about upholding her clan's honor. Her mother and brother have gotten it into her head that using the clan's name to inflate your ego will cause overconfidence as a shinobi, a.k.a death.

Satsuki thought about a lecture her mother gave her, 'Kaa-san also told me that the women of the clan have to be elegant and polite, always smiling and treating people with respec-' Her musing was cut off when Naruto started talking...

"That's a stupid name." Naruto scrunched his nose up at the name.

Satsuki gaped in shock at Naruto's bold proclamation. She has NEVER had her name insulted.. At least not to her face.

"W-what" She stammered, still in shock from Naruto's insult.

"Your name... Satsuki" Naruto said it like it was obvious, "it sounds dumb..."

The Uchiha got out of her surprised trance, before her face heated up in both embarrassment and anger. Her thoughts about acting polite and elegant are long discarded.

She wanted to tear this annoying blonde a new one.

She pointed a threatening finger right at Naruto's nose, "You can't told about dumb names! You're named after a topping for that disgusting soup!" She shouted at the boy, who blinked in confusion, before his face quickly morphed in comical anger matching Satsuki's.

"It means maelstrom! Like swirling whirlpools! It's a cool name!" Naruto defended his name, before he recalled Satsuki's second (personal) insult, "And ramen is NOT disgusting! It's the Food of Gods!" He screamed back at the red-cheeked girl, who was still glaring at him.

"Ramen is NOT the Food of Gods! Tomatoes are!" Satsuki's 'Uchiha honor' has now been forgotten; she is now competing in a screaming contest about food with a boy she met less than 10 minutes ago.

"You LOOK like a tomato!" For whatever reason, Naruto felt a shiver from the after-life for that comment.

Satsuki quickly put a hand to feel her burning, red cheeks, causing her blush to exponentially increase. She started shaking in a type of embarrassed rage. Naruto actually took a step back when he felt her aura.

Satsuki then pointed right at Naruto's cheek, "At least I don't have stupid whiskers on my cheeks! You look like a cat!" That was a lie. Satsuki actually thought the whisker looked cute, but she'd rather die than admit it.

Naruto's eyes widened at the insult, but instead of continuing the chain of insults like she expected (and secretly enjoyed), he bashfully mumbled something quietly. Too quiet for her to hear.

"What was that!?" She demanded from the boy, whose cheeks surprisingly lit up.

Naruto looked up at her and mumbled, "I said… It's more like a fox." His embarrassed blush spread across his face.

Naruto used to be very self-conscious about his whiskers. They were considered different and he hadn't seen anyone else with them, maybe his family had them. He saw that dog family have marks on their face but that was the closest to a connection. He learned to love his whiskers though, as it was something that made him unique and special.

Satsuki gasped quietly at his confession, before surprising the both of them, by giggling.

That cute giggle soon turned into hearty laughter. Naruto stood as still as a statue. Other than Hiruzen and Teuchi, he never heard any laughter other than overhearing it in the streets.

This wasn't a mocking laughter, like those bullies had after he failed to make clones... this was a happy laugh. Soon enough, Naruto realized what he said was pretty funny, and he started laughing too.

Satsuki felt something different about this boy. From his reaction to the public's distaste towards him (for whatever reason it was); how he talked back to her and doesn't let up; his warm laughter; and an odd sense of comfort when being around the blonde... it feels relaxing.

The two children continued to laugh along with each other, until Satsuki stopped and rubbed her eyes that had a few tears in them. She then smiled at Naruto and apologized. He may have insulted her name first, but the Uchiha could tell the boy wasn't trying to be mean.

"I'm sorry." She bowed slightly, while Naruto stood uncomfortably. He wasn't used to being treated formally. "I shouldn't have made fun of you."

Naruto just shook his head and gave off his foxy grin and put his hands behind his head, "No problem! I'm sorry for what I said too!" He replied sincerely, scratching his cheek with a finger. Satsuki gave off her own closed-eye grin in response, not quite as big as his, but enough to show there were no hard feelings.

There was no more tension in the air.

"What are you doing here?" Satsuki asked Naruto, changing the subject completely. Naruto just smiled and pointed down at the swing.

"Just going on the swing!" Before looking at the academy building. "Also visiting the academy. I get to go this month -ttebayo!" Naruto said excitedly, Satsuki gasped in response.

"No way! Me too!" She replied joyously. Naruto smiled happily, glad he would know somebody in the academy, even if she teased him.

"Awesome! We will be classmates!" What Naruto didn't know was that there are three classes for each age group, so there was a chance they wouldn't be together.

Satsuki didn't know that either so she nodded merrily, "Yep!" She let out another smile, "I can't wait to become a shinobi!" Naruto nodded rapidly with a 'mhm' in agreement.

He gave the girl another grin and threw his arms back behind his neck. "I gotta get strong really fast -ttebayo!." At the girl's questioning look, his grin widened, "I'm gonna be Hokage one day!" He proudly stated, while looking up at the monument at the side, more specifically the fourth face to the right.

"Really?" Satsuki asked, in awe. Naruto smiled and nodded at the girl. Satsuki couldn't help herself but tease the boy, so she smirked lightly at him, "I didn't know the Hokage was supposed to be tiny." Naruto blinked in confusion, before growling 'up' at the girl.

He never realized how short he was until he saw someone his own age. That didn't mean he would let her get the last laugh.

"I'm not short! You're just a giant!" He mocked Satsuki, making the black-haired girl growl back at him. She wasn't big at all, only a little taller to him. For some reason, she still felt insulted.

"Who are you calling giant!?"

"Who are you calling tiny!?"

They went into another back-and-forth string of insults. For whatever reason, doing it was quite fun. The two children already have a weird sort of connection, where they are able to keep in sync with one-another.

Satsuki enjoyed it because she rarely gets to interact with people her own age, other than being put on a pedestal due to her clan-head family status; she also isn't the most sociable person outside her family members, subconsciously considering any non-Uchiha as 'below' her, as a way to cope with her inferiority complex in the clan towards her brother. Yet Naruto is different from the other kids she has met.

Naruto enjoys having company in general. He never gets a chance to talk one-on-one with someone his age, and even if it is a match of insults, it feels nice.

Eventually they tired themselves out by shouting and went to lie down.

Satsuki still had an hour before she had to get home, so she decided to stay with the blonde enigma, as she still has to ask her question.

The two sat on the ground, being shaded by the tree outside the academy. There wasn't much talking; just relaxing in the breeze.

"So, I told you my dream." Naruto said as he looked over at Satsuki, "What's yours?" He asked curiously.

Satsuki smiled, "I want to gain respect from my father and do well for my clan! I also want to surpass my brother!" Satsuki replied happily, though her face was full of determination.

Naruto pushed away any jealousy about her having a family, so he tilted his head in confusion, "What's a clan?" to which the girl stared at him like he was an idiot.

"You… don't know what a clan is?" Satsuki asked, baffled. Naruto just shook his head seriously.

"No." He looked down sadly, "I grew up in the orphanage and never got to learn about that kind of thing, -ttebayo." Satsuki looked surprised, and then sympathetically.

"You're an orphan?" She asked solemnly. Naruto just nodded, but he gave her a big grin…

"Yep! But I'm not gonna let that stop me from being Hokage! I won't give up until I do it!" He passionately declares. The girl was quite moved by his optimism, and smiles in return.

"I believe in you!" She gave him a closed eye smile, just like her mother did. Naruto beamed at her confidence in him.

He's never had anyone really take him seriously when he made that declaration. The old man wished him good luck, but this was different… more genuine.

"Thanks, Suki!" The girl's cheeks reddened at the nickname. It was the same one her mother would use to tease her, but it was also quite affectionate.

"But can you tell me what a clan is?" Naruto asked, now embarrassed that he doesn't know what it is. Satsuki recalled his previous question and nodded with a small grin.

"Sure!" Satsuki happily replied, before abruptly turning around while sitting down. Naruto was confused as to why this girl was showing him her back, that was before she pointed to the symbol on the back of her shirt.

"This," She pointed to the fan on her shirt, "is the symbol of the Uchiha Clan. It's the emblem of my family!" She answered proudly. Naruto squinted his eyes at the symbol.

"It looks like a lollipop." The blonde bluntly remarked.

Instead of looking offended, Satsuki chortled cutely, "You're funny!" Naruto smiled widely at the complement.

Satsuki, at first, thought it was a lollipop as well, but she was too afraid to say it to her family. It wasn't until Itachi told her it was a fan while he informed her the history of their clan when she was younger.

"It's actually a fan!" Naruto's mouth formed an 'o' shape in understanding, as Satsuki continued, "The Uchiha clan is centered around fire, so we use wind from the fan to make the fire bigger!" She dramatically retold him the same story Itachi told her. Naruto sat there in awe.

"Wowww." He stated in astonishment. He wonders if he might have a clan, but buried that thought away. "That's so cool! So you can make those big fireballs!?" He queried, with stars in his eyes. Naruto had seen them whenever he observed the training grounds.

Satsuki puffed out her chest proudly, "Of course! My tou-san is going to teach it to me soon!" Her smile dimmed a little, "After I get his attention..." She looked down and mumbled to herself, but Naruto was able to hear her.

Naruto may be pretty dense, but he could tell that this girl wanted the same acknowledgement from her father than he wanted from the village; so he attempted to clumsily comfort her.

Satsuki was thinking about her father never treating her like she matters, 'I know nii-san is older, b-but the least he can do is c-care. I don't w-want him to see me as a-a burden.' The more Satsuki thought about it, the more it hurt. She had recently overheard her brother and father arguing about her being pushed into an arranged marriage with this annoying boy, Kenshin. He was the son of her father's comrade, Inabi.

Kenshin is a really arrogant boy, who loves parading his Uchiha name to others, in order to seem superior. She doesn't want her father to push her off to that boy, so she needs to get strong and win his acknowledgement, even if she is a girl. Her sad thoughts were cut off when Naruto poked her arm, she yelped slightly in surprise.

"Do you want to... talk about it?" Naruto asks softly, he didn't really know what to do in a situation to comfort others. Satsuki looks up at him and he saw her eyes are brimming with tears; so the blonde hesitantly wiped them away, surprising the girl.

Satsuki stared at the boy next to her, a light blush on her pale cheeks. She thought for a moment, did she want to tell Naruto her problems? She is never able to vent about her issues to her family, in fear of stepping out of line.

She doesn't know Naruto very well, other than his name and dream, yet she feels comfortable enough to cry in front of him. Something about his presence is very welcoming and warm, so she decides to let it out.

The six year old girl nodded slowly and looks at him, "I.. It's about my family." She doesn't want to come across as insensitive to Naruto; talking about family problems when he doesn't even have one.

Naruto doesn't seem affected at all, all his concerns are entirely focused on the girl in front of him, "What about them?" He asked slowly.

Satsuki sighed quietly, "I-In my family, the role of a woman is different from a man. We are able to become shinobi, but we have to also get married young." Naruto was quite confused by her issue. From what he heard, marriage was a good thing, when two people like each other a lot… that's at least what Teuchi-jiichan told him about his late-wife.

"What's wrong with that? Isn't getting married good?" Naruto naively questioned, to which Satsuki shook her head.

"It is good... it's just… w-we don't have a choice o-on who w-we marry." Tears built up in her eyes again.

Being a member of the Uchiha clan and clan head's family, Satsuki needs to be ahead in terms of education. This means she can understand concepts far beyond her years; despite only being six, she can understand the consequences of an arranged marriage. Naruto, on the other hand, is very much six years old.

"Why not?" Satsuki knows that the questions he asked are natural, but it was annoying having to repeat her problems.

"Because my opinion doesn't matter!" She screamed out, more-so at herself than the shocked blonde beside her. Tears ran down her eyes as she vented, "I'm forced to b-be married w-with this g-guy I don't even like!" The waterworks continued falling down her big onyx eyes.

Naruto's eyes widened as he finally understood why she was so upset. He couldn't imagine being forced to be with someone he didn't like.

He suddenly got really angry on her behalf, "Why are they making you do this!?" He was furious as to why someone was treating Satsuki like this; for whatever reason, this momentarily stopped Satsuki's crying.

"I-It's because of the clan." At Naruto's perplexed expression, she elaborated, "The Uchiha clan has a special ability." She didn't think Naruto would understand how bloodlines or the sharingan works, so she didn't mention it, "This ability needs to stay in the clan, and so the women are forced to arrange marriages with other clan members around their age, to… keep the blood pure." Satsuki didn't really understand how it kept it pure, but that was what her mother told her after her eavesdropping.

Naruto's face filled with dread, "That's terrible!" He shouted in horror. The young jinchuuriki didn't exactly know what she meant by special ability or pure blood, but he could understand that Satsuki is forced to do something she doesn't want to do; that thought made Naruto really angry.

"What are we going to do about it!?" Satsuki blinked in surprise at the blonde's determined question and tilted her head.

"We?" She confusedly asked.

Naruto looked at her as if to say, 'duh!' and just stated, "Yes, we!" He jumped to his feet and pointed down at her, who still sat there, looking adorably confused.

"I promise to help you in any way I can, -ttebayo!" A foxy grin formed on his face, "And I don't break my promises!"

Satsuki sat still, staring up at the confident blonde, wide-eyed and speechless. She had never seen such conviction from anyone before. This boy, Naruto, who she barely knew, promised to help her achieve her dreams!

"R-Really?" She bashfully asked, Naruto just nodded his head rapidly, in a serious manner.

"Of course!" The blonde pumped his fist out towards her, "Now…" He started, thinking for a moment.

He suddenly rubbed the back of his head, sheepishly, "How do we do it?" He had an apologetic grin, with his eyes closed. He didn't really know how to help.

Satsuki hung her head down in despair, "Idiot..." she muttered quietly, but Naruto could still hear her clearly. Instead of retorting to her insult, he maturely stuck his tongue out at the girl. She used her hand to cover up a giggle; Naruto smiled, pleased to make her laugh.

Satsuki sighed sadly, "I… I don't know." She admitted. "I just have to get my tou-san to recognize me as a shinobi, just like my nii-san!" She passionately stated. Naruto, once again, blinked in confusion.

"Nii-san?" He heard her mention a brother, but didn't really know about him.

Satsuki's eyes brightened at the chance to talk about her brother, "My nii-san is amazing!" She proudly said, looking up with a smile on her face, "He's already joining ANBU, and he only turns twelve next month!" Naruto's eyes widened; the ANBU, like Dog, are supposed to be really strong!

"Wow.. He's already that strong?" Naruto breathed out in amazement. Satsuki nodded with a smile, obviously proud to be Itachi's sister.

"Yup!" She puffed out her chest again, "He's said to be a talent like the Yondaime!" Naruto's ears perked up at the mention of his favorite Hokage. Satsuki continued singing her brother's praises, "Itachi-nii is already really strong… " She suddenly stood up and stared with determination at the shorter blonde, "But I am going to surpass him! And fulfill my dreams!" She exclaimed, smiling brightly at the boy, who mirrored the grin back at her. He gave her a big thumbs up.

"I believe you can surpass your brother as well!" Satsuki's eyes widened at the boy, who didn't notice and went on, "I mean you're awesome dattebayo!" He passionately declared to the frozen girl, "Whoever this I..Itachi guy is must be lucky to have you as a sister!" Satsuki couldn't move. "I mean you're funny, nice…" He listed the words off on his fingers, "You're all really pretty…" He mumbled with a blush on his face.

Satsuki's wide eyes began brimming with tears, she couldn't breath as he continued to praise her. All her life, she has been viewed as the second to everything. Even if covertly, she always felt looked down on by her clan, being considered 'Itachi's little sister' or 'Fugaku-sama's youngest.' Never viewed as 'Satsuki' other than by her immediate family; never treated seriously in her ambitions to surpass the prodigy; always coddled like a princess and not a shinobi. Yet this boy, who she just met, is giving her his faith to fulfill her dreams.

She had never seen so much confidence in someone's words. He sounded like he genuinely believed she would surpass Itachi.

While others would be nice to her, they always assumed she would set her expectations low; wanting to merely be a housewife or mother, but she wanted to be a strong shinobi and help lead the clan in the future! The only ones to truly acknowledge her dreams are her brother and mother; but Satsuki can tell they have hidden skepticism as well, which broke her heart.

Naruto, however, has 100% faith in her dreams. She gave him a watery smile, and suddenly jumped towards him and hugged him tightly, causing the six year old boy to stiffen immediately. He hardly ever had physical contact with others.

"Thank you… Naruto." The raven-haired girl whispered. Naruto nodded slowly, and gently hugged her in return.

The two separate with slightly reddened faces, feeling a little awkward from their brief hug.

They both go back to lying down in the shade under the tree. Satsuki glanced over at Naruto, who looked close to falling asleep.

'His whiskers are pretty cute.' She mentally giggled. It was odd seeing someone have a feral look like him, but she liked it.

That's when Satsuki got back to why she was here in the first place.

"Um… Naruto?" Satsuki asked the boy gently, causing Naruto to tilt his head in her direction, before nodding.

"Back on the main street, I saw you getting…um… looks." Naruto quickly started to panic at that.

He had only just gotten along with this girl. Maybe her parents weren't there to tell her that he was a 'bad influence' and that was the only reason she was still here.

So he tried to play ignorant, "I don't know what you're talking about." Naruto answered innocently. Satsuki merely puffed out her cheeks, before playfully poking him.

"I. saw. you." She poked the boy at each word, receiving mock whines of pain from the blonde in response, "Why do they look at you like that!?" Satsuki seemed to get angry at the thought of Naruto receiving those looks she saw, even if she didn't know why he got them.

Naruto looked into Satsuki's eyes, and he could tell that her anger was towards the villagers. This caused something warm to blossom in the boy's chest.

He didn't know what a friend was, but maybe he would be able to consider Satsuki one. After all, she actually talked and laughed with him.

So Naruto decides; if Satsuki can tell him her problems, he can trust Satsuki with his. He stared down with sad eyes and fidgeting slightly, getting a worried look from the girl beside him.

"Ever since I can remember, I've been getting stares from people." He started sadly. "People just look down at me w-with such hatred..." The blonde boy's lips quivered as he spoke...

Naruto's breathing quickened as he continued to talk, "I don't know why… b-but they just keep looking at me w-with… thos-those e-eyes." It took all his willpower to prevent any tears from appearing in his eyes as he is reminded of his greatest nightmare of loneliness, "T-They follow me everywhere I-I g-go! I don't k-know what I d-did to d-d-deserve those s-stares!" Naruto progressively got louder as he talked, and he could stop a few tears from falling down his eyes as his frail body began to shake.

He didn't know why exactly he chose to show his genuine emotions to Satsuki; he never showed them to anyone before, but he felt a connection to her. A feeling where he could trust himself to open up to the girl, even if he hardly knew her.

That feeling proved to be true when he felt a pair of arms encase him in another tight hug. He felt himself go rigid, still not used to getting a hug by anyone other than Ayame.

Satsuki copied what her mother would do to her whenever she would cry for whatever reason; be it from Itachi lying about playing and blowing her off, or her father ignoring her.

She rubbed his back gently and placed his shaking head in the crook of her neck, allowing him to cry out his sorrows.

Not even an hour ago, Naruto was contemplating leaving the village because he couldn't find any proper attachment to Konoha; yet he suddenly feels connected to this pretty, black-haired girl he just met. It allows him to escape from the loneliness and despair of his life and the hatred from the people in the village.

Unaware of Naruto, Satsuki felt a similar attachment to him. It lets her momentarily forget about her responsibilities in the clan, and she doesn't feel like she's trapped in Itachi's shadow here.

They both felt completely content and peaceful.

Unbeknownst to each other, they both had genuine smiles on their faces.

'I hope we can be friends.' They simultaneously thought.

Naruto pulled away from the hug after a few minutes, the tears now dried away, but he still had red, puffy eyes.

Once again, the two looked away from one-another, having matching blushes on their faces.

Satsuki takes a moment before asking, "Are you alright... Naruto?" To which the boy nods with a smile.

"Y-Yeah. I'm feeling better." His voice was still a little rough from crying, but she could understand perfectly, as she nodded.

Satsuki was about to ask another question when she noticed the position of the sun. 'It's already THAT close to 3!?' Realizing she needs to be home very soon, or her mother will scold her... badly.

She turned to her friend, "Naruto?" He turned to look at her and said 'hm?'

Satsuki apologetically looked at him, "I'm sorry, but I have to go home now." She saw the downhearted expression on Naruto's face, and quickly reassured him, "Don't worry!" she said with a smile, "We can see each other again!… if you want." She excitedly said, but had a bit of hesitation at the end; a little self-conscious about whether Naruto would actually want to spend more time with her.

Naruto looked surprised. While Satsuki was feeling self-conscious about herself, Naruto was feeling self-conscious about whether Satsuki would want to actually spend more time with him.

"A-Are you sure?" He asked timidly. Satsuki nodded rapidly with a smile.

"Yep! Where can you meet?" The Uchiha asked, wanting to know a place to meet her friend.

"Hmmm" Naruto closed his eyes and rubbed his chin in a thoughtful expression, Satsuki thought he looked funny when he tried to look serious.

Naruto wondered for a moment, 'I don't know if I can take her to the UzuCove... maybe the other place.' He looked at the patient girl and grinned.

"What about the top of the Hokage Mountain? After lunchtime?" He asked hopefully.

Satsuki wondered if she would be allowed to leave then. Her mother was giving her more freedom around now, and Itachi would be joining that new position, so he would sadly be absent a lot more.

She nodded happily, allowing her spiky black frames to bounce up and down.

"Okay!" Satsuki called out, "I'll see you… tomorrow!" She said as she started skipping away, waving back at the sad, but grinning blonde. He doesn't want Satsuki to leave yet, but he guessed she has a family… at least he had something to look forward to.

But then she turned around and happily said, "I can't wait to tell my kaa-san about you!" She shouted cheerfully, but Naruto started to become alarmed.

'What if her mom stops us from meeting again?!" Naruto didn't want to lose his first friend before he actually found out more about her, he remembered all the other parents.

"Wait! Satsuki!" He ran up towards the confused Uchiha.

"What is it?" She questioned, tilting her head to the side. Naruto was still huffing from running to catch up to her.

"Can y-you not tell your kaa-chan?" He softly pleaded, Satsuki blinked at the request but her eyes widened as she remembered those looks.

She shook her head quickly, "My mom isn't like that!" She defended Mikoto, but Naruto still had that nervous look in his eyes, so she sighed.

"Fine." The boy released a breath of relief and gave a quick thank you to the girl "I'll see you tomorrow, Naruto!" She called out again, as she ran back towards the Uchiha Compound, hopefully not getting there too late.

Naruto merely smiled in the direction his friend ran off too, before making his way back to his apartment.

He was clearly in a better mood now than when he entered the academy.

'A friend, huh?' He thought with a big face-splitting grin.

The next day, Satsuki saw Naruto sitting on the head of the Yondaime Hokage. He was wearing a pair of green goggles and a black shirt with a red swirl in the center. When he heard her, his eyes lit up in happiness.

"Suki!" He shouted in joy, actually surprised the girl came today. The Uchiha smiled brightly in return before jumping down gracefully from the cliff to join him on the stone head.

"Hi Naruto!" Satsuki greeted him, the boy just grinned and surprised her by grabbing her hand and guiding them to the edge of the cliff.

"Look!" The blonde called out happily, while pointed to the view of the village before them.

"Woahhh." Satsuki whispered, awestruck. She's never been up here before, and seeing the village from above put the size into perspective. Her dark eyes scanning the horizon, astonished seeing her homeland from this angle and height.

"Doesn't it make you feel small?" Naruto asked with a smile, still staring out at the village. Satsuki tilted her head to the side, causing her long black hair to fall to the side.

"...Small?" She asked, confused. Naruto nodded with a melancholy smile.

He pointed down towards the busy village below them, "We're so tiny compared to the rest of the village… and the world, -ttebayo!" Dramatically gesturing to the sky. He repeated the same thing the Hokage told him by the campfire, when they first met.

Satsuki nodded, absentmindedly. When he put it like that, they were really small. "So… is that why you want to be Hokage?" The blonde looked at her. She pointed down at the stone head below them, "So you can get your big head on the monument?" The Uchiha smirked as she teased him.

Naruto gave her a foxy grin while scratching the back of his head. "W-Well that's one of the reasons…" He said sheepishly, the girl rolled her black eyes playfully. Naruto's face then morphed into a content look, "I've seen how the Hokage gets all this love and respect from the people in the village, and if I can get that hat…" He smiled optimistically while looking down at the village, "Maybe they'll look at me the same way, ya know."

Satsuki stares at Naruto with speechless awe, because she really respected his determination towards his goal. Though as she thought of it, something about Naruto's goal didn't sit right with her, and it made her remember her original question about why he smiles when they look at him.

She couldn't believe he wanted to get those people's respect. "Why?" She whispered. Naruto raised an eyebrow in her direction, so she elaborated, "Why do you want to get respect from people that look at you that way?" Her black brows furrowed, obviously unhappy. Naruto just looked at her oddly.

"Because if I get their respect, they will acknowledge me and notice me." He said it like it was obvious. Satsuki started to glare at the boy, who flinched back a bit.

"Why?!" She raised her voice, "Why do you need to gain their acknowledgement?! You said they've been mean to you all your life! Why do you have to 'earn' their respect when you've gone nothing to be treated this way?! Why don't you want revenge?!" The two six year olds were both shocked. Naruto from how angry Satsuki was and Satsuki from what came out of her own mouth.

Satsuki didn't know why it came out, but she gets really passionate about the people she cares about. From seeing Naruto in that crowd and receiving so much scorn and hate from those around him, and for him to simply brush it off made her angry.

Angry at the people for giving Naruto those glares and whispers, and also angry at Naruto for just accepting them without retaliating.

"...Revenge?" Naruto hesitantly asked the girl. Naruto doesn't really understand the concept of the word, and hopes that Satsuki can explain it. Satsuki nodded, seriously, after calming down a bit.

"Why don't you want to get payback on them and show them how they treat you?" Naruto's blue eyes widened at the thought of releasing his resentment towards the village.

"W-Why would I want revenge?" Naruto is horrified to think of himself letting his anger towards the village. From the fuming look of the girl, he could tell she looked ready to breath fire.

"Why not?!" She shouted, wanting to know his justification for simply accepting their hatred. Naruto doesn't even hesitate to answer.

"What would be the point?"

Satsuki stared at him, jaw-slackened, as he merely shrugged his shoulders and continued, "I want to be better than these people. Even if I prank all the time, I still don't want to hurt 'em, ya know." He looked down, seemingly in his own world, but Satsuki was still listening.

"I want their acknowledgement because I feel that they aren't bad people… just confused." He clenched his fists and locked his determined, blue eyes with shocked onyx. "I want to prove them wrong about me… That I am not a 'nuisance' and that I am a person too...!" He began raising his voice to the speechless girl.

"...That I'm Naruto Uzumaki! And I will become Hokage one day!" Naruto passionately declared. His grin returned in full force, and the Uchiha beside him couldn't help but smile softly at the boy.

His optimism is truly remarkable; to be able to endure that hate with a smile on his face just shows how pure-hearted he is. While Satsuki doesn't like to admit it, Naruto has a stronger will than her; she knew she would have cracked under those stares, yet he stands firm and wants to get their acceptance.

While the girl doesn't agree with his reasons, as she doesn't think the villagers deserve Naruto's efforts; she acknowledges his dream and goals, so she nodded in acceptance.

"I guess you're right… " She admitted, causing Naruto to listen intently, "I'm sorry." She bowed slightly, just like her parents taught her when she needed to apologize; Naruto immediately gets embarrassed, still not used to being treated with etiquette. .

"I shouldn't have spoken out against your dream... please forgive me." She softly asked, that stopped when she felt a finger poke her forehead. Her head immediately snapped up in shock from the same gesture her brother uses on her; though instead of seeing Itachi, she saw a blushing blonde.

"T-There's nothing to worry about." He sheepishly reassures her, while frantically waving his hands in front of him in a forgiving gesture; his cheeks still tinted red in embarrassment.

Satsuki nodded hesitantly, before realizing this is Naruto; he isn't someone who gets angry at others, so the girl gave him a closed-eye smile.

"So…" Satsuki said, looking to move on the conservation, "What do you want to talk about?" She asked the boy beside her, who in response, puts on his 'thinking face.'

"We… can talk about what we do for fun?" He offered, as the two of them sat down and leaned against the rock. Satsuki nodded with a smile.

The Uchiha and the Uzumaki went on an hour long discussion about their favorite things to do, from 'pranking, gardening, and sealing' to 'shurikenjutsu, hide-and-seek, and taking walks.' They moved onto talking about what they look forward to from the academy next month.

They separated after their discussion to go back to their respective homes. Both left with smiles on their faces.

It has been a week since Naruto and Satsuki first met, and they have met up everyday since at the top of the Hokage Monument!

Her family have been curious as to why she would leave the house for an hour or two after lunchtime, but she just said that she wanted to go for a walk in the woods, a common thing for her to do around the Uchiha Compound. They decided to respect her privacy.

True to her word, Satsuki kept her meetings with Naruto secret from her family. While she wanted to introduce him to them, the young girl could tell that Naruto was quite self-conscious about his treatment, even if he tries to hide it.

Satsuki still doesn't understand why Naruto is hated so much. The boy told her about his love for pranks and how he performs them to get scowled or any attention, saying it's better than getting whispers behind his back. He actually said he started doing pranks because of the treatment, so the pranks weren't the cause of his scorn.

The blonde told her that he was the one to do that prank that kept her father at work over lunchtime. She hit him for that, much to his confusion. But other than pranking, the boy was as clueless as her about what he did to deserve the people's hatred.

It infuriated her to see Naruto get chewed out for no apparent reason. Even if they didn't meet each other in public, she would sometimes follow him for a bit; to see if he still gets glared at...

She definitely wasn't a stalker or anything! Just curious...

Back to the matter of her family, Itachi was getting suspicious, but he knew she was safe so he left it be… for now. Her parents weren't shinobi for nothing, and could tell she was lying about going for a walk. They just said for her to stay safe and come home after an hour or two, or else they'd send a Police Force member to search for her.

Itachi had left this morning to head towards the ANBU headquarters for his first day, Fugaku was held up at work again and Mikoto went to help him.

This gave Satsuki the house to herself, something she didn't enjoy. While she would like to be alone sometimes, she loves getting attention from her family.

Her onyx eyes quietly lit up at the reminder that she would meet with her best friend again today.

Yes, best friend. Over the week, Satsuki had given it some thoughts and she definitely considers Naruto her best friend.

Believe it or not, Satsuki doesn't really have many friends. Her aura makes her mostly unapproachable for kids her age from outside the clan, but she has a few Uchiha girls she plays with from time to time.

Naruto's happy and kind personality is really welcoming, but she also likes his competitive nature. That is what really makes Naruto stick out from the other kids she's met. The blonde wears his heart on his sleeve and shows his true feelings; he isn't afraid to cry in front of her, unlike others.

She does get annoyed at times with the fact he always smiles through the neglect he receives from the village. He merely says, 'I have to win their acknowledgement, and become Hokage!'

Today she was very excited though!

Naruto said he had somewhere to show her; a secret place he goes that is really pretty! So the Uchiha made two bentos for both herself and Naruto, and set out towards the Hokage Monument.

Hokage Monument

Stood restlessly on the top of the Hokage Monument was Naruto Uzumaki. He was pacing back and forth, nervously waiting for the arrival of his best friend.

This had probably been the greatest week of the young blonde's life! Each day after lunch, he would meet with the female Uchiha on top of the Hokage Monument; they would talk about all kinds of things and learn more about each other.

Apparently when she's older, Satsuki's eyes turn red! He really likes her black eyes though, so he hopes it doesn't happen anytime soon.

Naruto would talk to Satsuki about his pranks, as well as how he can make seals. Satsuki was awestruck by the fact Naruto could make such cool things, even if he wasn't very good at other stuff.

Satsuki swore she would catch up and learn all kinds of fire jutsu and shurikenjutsu! Naruto knows that Satsuki is a lot smarter than he is; using words he doesn't understand and being able to do things he can't. She already knows taijutsu stances!

He's already calling her his rival for the future! Satsuki seems to agree and they have gotten very competitive in their conversations about trivial things, as well as some physical fights.

While Satsuki is a lot more elegant and agile in her movement due to her body shape and weight, Naruto is a lot more sturdy and is stronger than Satsuki (despite being shorter). His physical form gives him an advantage over the girl, though he does have some unpredictable movements that can catch Satsuki off-guard.

Satsuki is currently winning in their fights, much to Naruto's dismay and the Uchiha's elation.

For the last couple of days, Satsuki has started to bring wrapped up bentos as lunch for him! They were really good meals, full of rice, meat, and vegetables (which he usually doesn't like). It was really nice of Satsuki to make them for him; it started after she found out he only ate cup ramen and Ichiraku's.

It also saves some of his allowance!

When she found out about his ramen-only diet, she promptly wacked him across the head. Lecturing him about, 'You'll stay short forever if you only eat that trash! Idiot!' Naruto maturely turned his head away from her with a pout, letting out a 'hn'. This led to another of their physical fights… Satsuki won.

The two of them have gotten quite comfortable around each other now. They would have playful jokes with one-another and began to use nicknames. Satsuki stuck to her original impression of the boy, and referred to him as 'idiot' while Naruto picked up a word he heard on the streets, to call her a 'bastard'. She fumed red at the nickname at first, but now she just gets annoyed.

Aside from their small skirmishes, Naruto and Satsuki have gotten along really well! She would always listen intently to his stories, and laugh along with him at his pranks and jokes he makes. He would also listen to her tales, cheer her up when she told him about her problems, and they would simply cherish each other's company.

Naruto had promised he would show the UzuCove to Satsuki today; something he was very nervous about. It sort of slipped into one of their conversations that Naruto revealed he has a secret place he likes to go.

Satsuki started pestering him to tell her where he goes, and he finally relented by letting her he'd let her come to the UzuCove with her. She thanked him greatly with a big hug, obviously happy to see this hidden place.

When he asked why she was so insistent to go to the UzuCove, she said, "With Itachi-nii joining ANBU, I would have much to do around the compound. I wanna spend more time with you at this secret hiding-spot!" Satsuki gave him a big smile, which he returned.

That said, he was still nervous. No one other than him has been to the hidden waterfall area he found a year ago, and he has told no one about it. He has been there almost everyday for the last year, and that is where he practices his seals and calligraphy. So to have an outsider come to his safe haven made him feel a little anxious, but he reminded himself that Satsuki is his best friend and he trusts her more than anyone.

His thoughts get interrupted by the sound of running coming from the stairs that lead up the mountain. He turns around to see Satsuki jogging towards him waving her arm.

"Hey, Naruto!" The Uchiha happily called out, running up the boy with her black hair bouncing behind her. Naruto grinned at her and replied, "Hey Suki!"

They both got down onto the head to overlook the village, sitting down on the rock of Minato Namikaze. Satsuki handed over the wrapped box to him.

"Here!" She called out. Naruto undid the wrapping to see a bento for him, and his blue eyes brightened at the sign of the food. He opened the box to see the goods. His mouth began to water at the sight of lunch.

"Wow..." He drooled, while reaching to take the chopsticks, "It looks so good!" He complimented the blushing girl beside him, who was also opening up her bento.

"T-Thank you." Satsuki wasn't used to compliments about her cooking. "My kaa-san has been teaching me how to cook." Naruto nodded absentmindedly, before lifting his chopsticks up.

"Thank you for the food!" He called out, using the standard phrase of thanks before eating, before greedily digging into the lunch. Satsuki gave a softer thanks before she started eating as well, but at a modest pace than Naruto and eating with more formality.

A black eyebrow began twitching in annoyance at Naruto's improper eating, "Slow down!" She called out to the blonde, who stopped his chewing to tilt his head at her, curiously. He still had rice on his face. Satsuki sighed, "It's not a race. You'll choke if you eat too fast!" The girl lectured the boy, who nodded with a sheepish grin. Ayame told him the same thing.

"S-Sorry, Suki!" He apologized with a slightly red-face. Satsuki giggled at his blush; she really likes it when he gets embarrassed. Her chortle made his blush grow, as well as make Satsuki's laugh louder.

The two fell into comfortable silence as they continued to eat their bento at a relaxing pace; both overlooking the village.

They had finished their bento when Naruto jumped to his feet and slammed his fist into his palm. "Ok!" He grinned as he turned to face Satsuki, who got up as well. "Ready to go?" He asked, referring to the UzuCove.

Satsuki nodded rapidly with a megawatt smile, "mhm!" Excited to see her best friend's favorite spot.

They both climbed up the rock to get on the mountainside, and Naruto grabbed Satsuki's hand.

He looked back and grinned foxily at the red-faced girl, "Let's go!" He exclaimed, excitedly as he dragged his blushing friend.

"W-Wait!" Her protests didn't reach Naruto's ears, as he laughed happily while leading the both of them to the west forest on the outskirts of the village.


Satsuki was stunned.

As Naruto navigated them through a complex path, with many tight passages that grown adults couldn't fit though, they came across the Uzumaki's sanctuary.

She was speechless as she took in the environment. There was a large waterfall coming down from high above in the forest, likely a part of the Naka River, that would fall into a large pond (similar to the Waterfall of Truth). The wildlife was wonderful as well; vast plants and animals, loads of koi fish swimming in the crystal-clear pond that the waterfall comes into, and lush, green grass that essentially breathes life. Trees of all colors and textures: pink-Sakura Trees, beautiful cherry-blossoms swaying in the wind; yellow-Maple Trees, golden leaves falling signifying the end of summer; cleanly-cut Bonsai Trees situated around the edges of the clearing, obvious that Naruto tended them regularly; and the tall bamboo trees surrounding the area, hiding it completely.

It is a natural paradise, more beautiful than anything Satsuki has seen before.

Naruto has brought in some new additions over the last year he has spent at the cove: with some of the surrounding wood, he made a campfire that can easily cook his hunted food. There is also another rock-made table that Naruto made, just for his sealing practice.

He got some inspiration from the clan compounds he pranked for some other extra stuff. Using the survival tips he picked up when he was hunting for food sometimes, he cut down a thin bamboo tree and used the wood and some rope to make a small torii gate at the front of the pond; nothing fancy, just to look cool. He used some pranking-paint to make it red and even more awesome!

Something else he picked up on from a clan compound was rock-writing! Some compounds would have phrases carved into a stone tablet, so he did the same. He currently has two stones carved with 'Uzumaki' and 'Naruto' on either side of the torii gate, giving it a mystical, shrine-like vibe.

What is different from a year ago is also the size of the hide-out. At first, Naruto thought it was just a tiny area with a waterfall, but after exploring the area and removing all excess branch waste, it turns out there is close to an acre of land hidden in the clearing!

That's like a miniature training ground!

It was almost like Mother Nature wanted to hide the place, and opened it up to Naruto. Only a narrow entrance of bamboo trees to the left of the waterfall let Naruto and Satsuki in; all the other areas surrounding the clearing were sealed off with trees too thick to cut through, even for a wind-manipulation master.

Naruto used the expanded training area to put up hand-made target boards and tree stumps to practice taijutsu. He hasn't acquired any kunais or shurikens yet, but when he starts the academy he will.

He has only mastered the storage scroll so far, but he hopes to pan out to more advanced sealing techniques.

Satsuki was still staring speechlessly at the terrain when Naruto spoke, "What do you think?" He asked the raven-haired girl, as she got out of her thoughts.

"I-It's amazing, Naruto." She whispered in awe. Naruto scratched the back of his head, embarrassed.

"I know right!" He agreed, before running into a bush nearby to pick out some flowers he grew. He ran back to the girl with a handful of pretty flowers.

"Here." He presented the flowers to his best friend, who started blushing up a storm at the gift; in Naruto's hand were 10 red roses.

While Naruto was oblivious to the meaning of flowers, Satsuki knew that red roses were the symbol for love and romance. She has already had a few annoying boys her age and older (including Kenshin) present her with red roses as a way to convey their feelings; she would always harshly turn them down, with no intention of accepting their gift.

In front of her stood Naruto, who had an innocence, foxy grin on his face. For all she knew, Naruto had no idea what the flowers meant.

"T-Thank you, Naruto" She hesitantly took them from him, Naruto nodded with a grin and a thumbs up.

"I didn't know what your favorite color is, so I just picked red… because of your sh-shargangan!" He admits with a smile; Satsuki mirrors the smile, coming to the conclusion that Naruto didn't know what flower symbolism was.

"I love red!" She sniffed the roses, and looked up at Naruto, "And it's called a sharingan." Satsuki corrected the name of her bloodline. Naruto rubbed the back of his head sheepishly, he probably should have remembered the name by now. He started walking towards the torii gate in front of the waterfall.

"But Naruto…" Naruto turned around to see Satsuki give him a pointed look, he gulped even though he didn't do anything wrong; Satsuki can be really scary when she is mad.

"Y-Yes?" He asked the girl, who's eyes darkened slightly.

"Don't give red roses to anyone else." She darkly muttered. Naruto felt a shiver down his spin at her tone. "Understand?"

"Uh..Uh.." Naruto's mouth agape, but he nodded slowly. Satsuki seemed angry about something, and he didn't want to get beat up again. He has a bunch of different colored flowers.

Her darkened features suddenly lit up again as she smiled at Naruto. "Great!" She beamed, before skipping up to torii gate. Naruto remained still, he blinked in confusion at his friend's mood change. 'Girls are weird...' He shook his head before following Satsuki to the gate.

Naruto gave the girl a quick tour around the cove and the clearing, she grinned at the sight of the target boards. "I'll bring kunais the next time I come here!" Naruto looked towards her, as she continued, "Nii-san taught me how to hit the bullseye, so I can teach you!" Naruto's eyes widened before grinning and pumping his fist towards her. Satsuki looked down at the fist in confusion.

"And I'll spar with you!" He felt his blood pump in excitement and the thought of his skills getting better on his quest to be Hokage. "And I'll show you how to seal stuff!" Satsuki smiled in return before following Naruto's lead and softly pumping her fist with his.

They released their fist-pump with Naruto smugly saying, "But don't fall behind…" Satsuki narrowed her eyes to see Naruto putting his hands behind his head with a mock-patronizing look on his face, "Who knows?... I'm probably a better kunai thrower than Itachi." Satsuki scoffed and turned her head from him.

"Hn" She grunted, still looking away from Naruto, "You don't even know what a kunai looks like."

Naruto grumbled, "Of course I do."

Satsuki turned to raise an eyebrow at the boy, as if to tell him, 'go on.'

"It's that four-sided spinning thing."

"Idiot! That's a shuriken!"

Naruto blushed but didn't let up, "It's the same thing!"

Satsuki slapped her hand on her face, "They are completely different!"

Naruto pointed at the target in front of them, "They're both metal and you throw 'em!"

"You really are an idiot! Idiot!"

"At least I'm not a bastard! Bastard!"

Lightning sparked between the two before they tackled each other and began another round of their fight in the clearing.

Satsuki arrived home an hour later, with empty bento boxes and her bouquet of red roses from Naruto.

She smiled as she looked down at roses, with a slight blush on her face.

Naruto and her both finished fighting after about 10 minutes, when they both barreled into the pond filled with koi fish. They started laughing about it and got dried off fast in the summer heat in the clearing. After getting dry, Satsuki found that she needed to get home before her mother to avoid questions about why she smelled like fish.

She took her roses and put them in a vase for her room, as a nice reminder of her time with her best friend; excited about the prospect of going back to the UzuCove again soon.

Naruto got back to his apartment with a smile on his face. His nervousness about showing off his safe haven had vanished, as he couldn't wait to see Satsuki again!

The more time he spends with Satsuki, the more the emptiness in his heart starts to fill up with love and comfort. His relationship with Satsuki proves that he has a hope in winning the respect of people, especially after she acknowledged his dream.

Her mere presence makes Naruto feel at peace.

At the same time it gives him a responsibility. He remembered the old man telling him about how the Hokage protects the village with their lives; being with Satsuki makes him want to protect her just like a Hokage should protect its people. This increases his determination tenfold; not just for himself, but for his best friend.

2 weeks later

Itachi is not a genius for nothing...

He can tell exactly when his little sister lies to him or not. He is the master of telling lies, after all.

For the past three weeks, Satsuki has been a lot happier and more open. Even when he has to softly deny her requests for things with a poke on the forehead, she accepted it and was less downcast... sometimes she would even skip away.

He knows this is directly related to her after-lunch trips she has started taking for 3 hours a day, ever since she went skirt-shopping three weeks ago.

Today is his day off from the ANBU duties and it is a well-needed break. Only two weeks into his new assignment, and both the clan and the village sides are taking their toll on him. Being the clan's 'pipeline' to the Hokage's actions, in order to warn the clan about any threats to their plans; also being indirectly told by Hokage-sama and Danzo-sama to keep an eye out for the Uchiha is starting to make him go crazy.

The teenager has been introduced to Kakashi-senpai and the rest of Team Ro; he now has the codename, Weasel.

Itachi slept in for his day off, waking up around lunchtime to the smell of grilled fish and fried rice. He sighed as he stomach grumbled, clearly he was hungrier than he thought.

"Definitely better than rations..." He mumbled to himself, as he made his way downstairs to see his little sister working on some fish and rice. He raised his eyebrow at the sight; as far as he knew, Satsuki didn't like cooking. Their mother apparently went to the shops to get some groceries, so Satsuki used up what was available.

"What are you doing?" Itachi queried, from right behind her, causing his sister to jump out of her skin. Itachi was clearly amused by her inability to sense him, as he smirked at her frightened reaction.

"Nii-san! Stop doing that!" It was definitely not the first time Itachi caught her off guard… and won't be the last.

"Doing what?" He innocently asked. His sister just grumbled in response, causing a chuckle to come from Itachi as he walked up to pat her on the head.

Itachi ignored her cute glare and just said, "You just need better awareness of your surroundings." He cheekily replied, poking her forehead. Satsuki attempted and failed to swat the hand away before releasing a 'hn!' and returning to her cooking.

Itachi looked at what she was cooking and narrowed his eyes, 'Koi fish?' As far as he knew, their mother doesn't buy koi fish from the market, and Satsuki wouldn't be caught dead fishing for the koi fish in their backyard pond. So what was Satsuki doing with a grilled koi fish?

"Satsuki?" He asked, said-girl turned and nodded with a 'yeah?'

Itachi pointed down at the fish, "Have you recently gone fishing?" He noticed her black eyes widen slightly, "It's just that we don't buy that type of fish." He attempted to play ignorant to let her open up.

Satsuki was caught in two-minds. After these three weeks with Naruto, she quickly realized that she didn't want anyone in her family to know about her spending time with him. It wasn't that she was ashamed of introducing the blonde to her family, she has got quite possessive of Naruto over the time with him, and she doesn't want to 'share' him with anyone else.

It was also the fact that it was secret… and she always wanted to keep one.

Itachi and her parents always keep things from her; so as revenge, she will keep her meeting with Naruto secret. Yet it seems that Itachi is beginning to piece it all together. Especially with her recently going Koi fishing with Naruto in the pond in the UzuCove.

"Y-Yeah." She nodded, attempting to think of an excuse… "I went to the dock along the Naka River a-and caught a koi fish." Satsuki mentally patted herself on the back for the excuse.

Itachi nodded with a smile, "I see..." His sister beamed up at him, "Well, nicely done." Satsuki blushed at the praise and nodded happily, before returning to turn the fish, humming a happy tone.

She was oblivious to Itachi's internal thoughts, 'There are no koi fish by that dock…' He narrowed his black eyes, 'That is the traditional training place where Uchiha children gain their right-of-passage in the clan with the fireball jutsu.' The ANBU agent closed his eyes and crossed his arms, 'The water temperature around that area is too high due to the constant fire chakra released there; it would scare off any koi fish.' He looked at the back of his happy, six year old sibling, 'What are you hiding, Satsuki?'

By the end of the day, Itachi noticed Satsuki would do some odd things: The young girl would ask Mikoto if she knew anything about fuinjutsu, to which their mother said a late friend was a master, but she never learned much; Satsuki would zone out when they were walking through the compound, even when they were being bowed to by the other Uchihas; Satsuki even asked him if he wanted to go to that ramen stand near the center of the village.

Another thing that made Itachi curious and slightly nervous was their earlier interaction with Itachi's friend, who they met in the park in the afternoon.


Itachi was once-again carrying Satsuki on his back, who got sore legs from their taijutsu practice in the forest. They were currently walking around the quiet park of Uchiha in the mid-afternoon.

"Ugh…" Satsuki groaned into Itachi's back, "Why are you so strong, nii-san?" She mumbled the question.

"Hm… I just practiced a lot." He vaguely answered, Satsuki banged her forehead into the back of his neck. "Oww…" He drly said from the 'assault' of his sister, "You've gotten strong too..." Satsuki looked up at him. "You could have hit me on a couple of instances." He praised her, but the girl just growled quietly.

"You were using only one hand." She pointed out, deadpanned. Itachi had the decency to look a little sheepish. "This is so unfair." She whined under her breath, but Itachi heard her.

"What's unfair?" He asked. Satsuki looked at him with a slightly quivering lip, making the ANBU a little nervous.

"I-I'm only joining the academy next week, and y-you already graduated at the age of 7." Satsuki, once again, feeling so far off from surpassing Itachi. "I-I need to get strong and graduate in the n-next year if I have any hope of getting stronger than you" Satsuki mumbled to herself, reciting her goal of surpassing Itachi. She was shocked when Itachi lowered her to the ground and made her walk for herself.

She winced slightly from the soreness in her legs and looked up to see Itachi staring down at her with slightly-hardened eyes, which made her gulp.

"No." He firmly said. Putting a hand on Satsuki's shoulder. The girl was still looking up with her big, onyx eyes.

"...N-No?" She asked her brother, who shook his head and crouched down to her eye-level.

"No. Stop putting yourself through this." He told the girl, as he stared into her watery eyes. "You and I are different; we have grown up separate ways, and experienced different childhoods."

Satsuki just remained silent as her brother lectured her, "I… was only in the academy for a year before I was put into the shinobi forces." He admitted to the girl, who looked down. She knew that she should be that level as well.

She was shocked when Itachi lifted her chin up, to make her stare at him. "It was a big mistake." The girl's eyes widened at what Itachi said.

"W-Wha-" Itachi put a hand up to stop her questioning as he continued, "I was just a 7 year old boy, and I had to start experiencing the life of an adult." Itachi was thinking back to his days as a genin and having the weight of expectation put on his tiny shoulders.

"It's not that I didn't learn all I could at the academy, because I did..." He admitted, "I was ahead of the other kids in the age groups above me, so I was made a shinobi from early on with some older kids." Itachi remembers his old teammates Tenma and Shinko in Team 2.

"This boy in my team… Tenma was quite a boasty boy, but didn't have the skills to back it up." He said fondly about his late-friend. Satsuki giggled at that; she got the instant reminder of Naruto, who is also all-talk, especially with kunai-throwing.

Itachi's fond face morphed into a sad one, which made his sister worry. "When I joined my team, I was cocky." He admitted his arrogance. Satsuki was surprised that her brother acted like that; he is always so humble at home. "Being considered a prodigy and graduating several years early definitely inflated my ego, making me think those around were inferior to me." Itachi sighed at the reminder, "But as time went on, my team went on a mission where we were ambushed by a powerful shinobi. Tenma came in front to protect me and the team, but he wasn't strong enough…" He looked down to the ground, remembering Tenma's sacrifice. "He didn't make it." Satsuki gasped, as she knew that meant he died.

Itachi held onto Satsuki's shoulders and looked her dead-in-the-eye, as she looked back in stunned silence. The intensity and seriousness in her brother's eyes were completely different from his usual stoic face. "The point is…" He began... "Rushing through the academy isn't always good. We're thankfully at a momentary peace right now, with no need to send children to war." He thanked god that there was no war for his sister to witness.

"I have all the hope in the world that you will outlearn all you need to in the academy early on, but keeping your childhood intact is more important than starting missions before you even become a teenager." Satsuki slowly nodded her head, finally understanding what her brother wanted. "You will surpass me, little sister." The girl looked stunned at her brother, as he continued with a soft smile, "But not everything happens overnight."

He poked her forehead and both siblings smiled at one-another. Satsuki did a mock-pout for the poke but she knew it was more affectionate than anything else.

Before Satsuki could speak again, they heard footsteps rapidly approaching them, and they turned to see a brunette girl who was Itachi's age. She had dark eyes and a small mole under her right eye. The girl wore a purple, sleeveless shirt and displayed proudly on her forehead was a blue, Konoha headband.

She came running up to them with a big smile on her face, waving at Itachi. "Itachi-kun! I haven't seen you all summer!'" The girl pouted at her crush, who raised an eyebrow in response. "Look!" She pointed at her forehead with a smile, "I graduated as well!" She puffed out her chest, and beamed proudly.

Itachi smiled at his childhood friend, "Well done, Izumi. It was only a matter of time." He praised her, causing the girl-in-question to blush.

"W-Well it's not quite ANBU..." She trailed off, bashfully making circling in the dirt with her foot, "I still have a long way to catch up to you and Shisui-san" She mumbled, downhearted. Izumi has known Itachi since before the Kyuubi Attack, and has idolized him since; she is determined to get close to the strength he has.

Izumi is only a half-Uchiha, which is a rare occurrence for the clan. She became an official member after awakening her sharingan at the age of 5, after witnessing the death of her non-Uchiha father during the Kyuubi Attack. She was initially in the same academy class as Itachi, before he jumped up the age groups; she started developing feelings for him then.

Satsuki just looked on in confusion, as Itachi just smiled and shook his head, "You will be great." The 12 year old boy encouraged the girl who awakened her sharingan before him, making Izumi look up at him with reddened cheeks.. "I'm just surprised you are not joining the police force." It was very common for Uchiha to join the Military Police Force after graduating from the academy or after they became chunin. He and Shisui were obvious exceptions, though even Shisui works for them from time to time.

Izumi blushed in response, "I-I will eventually…" She admitted, "Maybe when I'm a chunin." Izumi's timidness quickly vanished, as she jumped into Itachi's surprised grasp and gave him a tight, friendly hug; he hesitantly hugged back, "I'll be catching up in no time!" She beamed happily, her cheeks lighting up from her bold intimacy with her crush.

Unseen to both Izumi and Satsuki, Itachi's face heated up in a rare instance of flusterness. Itachi isn't the most extroverted person, but he can't deny he does have some feelings for Izumi, something Shisui constantly teases him about. Their close moment stopped when a growl came from below the two teen's positions, causing them both to look down at the vexed six-year old.

Satsuki narrowed her eyes and crossed her arms on her chest, annoyed this girl was taking her brother's attention away from her. She blinked in confusion though, when the girl's eyes sparkled in realization when she saw her. It turned to shock when the girl began to squish her cheeks and cooed over her.

"SATSUKI-CHAN!?" Izumi called out, in delight. "Look at how big you got! I haven't seen you since you were a baby!" The brunette remembered trying to hold an infant Satsuki after the Kyuubi Attack, but the baby wouldn't stop crying.

Satsuki was frozen in place as this unknown girl started rubbing her cheek against her own pale cheek. "You're sooo CUTE!" Satsuki stayed motionless, as her cheek continued to get assaulted by this person. She glanced up to her amused brother, who was having trouble keeping from laughing. She silently pleaded for help, to which her brother 'reluctantly' did.

"Izumi…" Itachi said, causing the girl to stop her cooing to look at her crush. "I think you should properly introduce yourself before doing that." He smirked at Satsuki's embarrassed face. Izumi suddenly looked very sheepish, rubbing the back of her head.

"S-Sorry Satsuki-chan, I shouldn't have done that to you." Izumi gave an apologetic grin, much like how Naruto does. Satsuki grunted and turned around, hiding her embarrassed face from the stranger.

Itachi sighed at his sister's poor social skills, so he walked up to her and turned her to face Izumi. "Satsuki…" He started; the girl looked at him, cheeks still red. "This is my friend, Izumi." Satsuki looked up at the teen who was still smiling down at her. "She is an Uchiha as well, and an aspiring kunoichi… just like you."

Satsuki looked surprised at the girl, as she had a lot in common with her; Izumi then puffed out her cheeks in annoyance, with her hands on her hips. "I'm not 'aspiring' anymore, Itachi-kun." She whined maturely, pointing proudly at her headband, "I'm a real kunoichi now!"

Itachi just smirked at the girl, "Of course, but I assume you are still taking D-rank missions..." Izumi's shiver at the mention of the missions was all he needed to know, "Come back to me after you take a C-rank or higher." The prodigy said, with a playful undertone; Izumi looked at him with fierce determination, intent on taking higher missions.

Before Izumi could talk again, Satsuki gently bowed at her, "Nice to meet you, Izumi-san." The younger girl said, showing off her etiquette. "I am Satsuki Uchiha, youngest of Fugaku and Mikoto." She narrated the introduction she had to say every time she met someone new of the clan.

A poke of her forehead stopped her formal intro, as Itachi looked at her with an amused stare. "You don't have to do that every time, Satsuki; she already knows you, as you found out earlier." He said, referencing the awkward interaction between the two female Uchihas.

Satsuki pouted, while rubbing her sore forehead, "You don't have to poke me every time either." She grumbled under her breath, but Itachi heard her and gave her a smirk; but didn't rebuke her statement, as it was true he liked to tease her constantly.

It's what older brothers do...

"Wow…" Satsuki turned to face awestruck Izumi, who was looking intently at her. "You must be in the academy by now, right Satsuki-chan?" Izumi remembered she and Itachi joined the academy at the age of 6; though the Sandaime might have raised the starting age, due to the lack of war.

Satsuki nodded with a timid smile, still not very comfortable around new people, "I'll be joining next week..." She replied quickly, though both other kids could hear her excitement in her voice.

Satsuki's facial expression showed she was really excited about joining the academy; Itachi mentally wondered what made her so much more thrilled about joining...

"Ohh.. you seem excited about the academy Satsuki-chan." Izumi's remark broke Itachi out of his thoughts. Satsuki had a slight blush at that, which caused the genin to smirk as she saw the look on Satsuki's face… "I can tell from that look you have a special someone to go with..."

Both Itachi and Satsuki's eyes widened, for different reasons; Izumi didn't notice so she went on, "Do you have a friend there for you?" When Satsuki's cheeks light up, Izumi's eyes brighten in realization, "A boyfriend?" The six-year old's cheeks went atomic red with wide eyes; was she that easy to read?

Izumi had much experience with 'that look' as she had the same look around Itachi during the academy days, just like all the other 'fangirls' Itachi had.

Itachi stood as still as a statue as he processed what he just heard. Did his precious, innocent, foolish little sister have a-a-a b-b-boyfriend? At the age of six? Without him knowing!?

The only boy that Itachi knew Satsuki interacted with was that brat Kenshin, but that was due to family ties, rather than Satsuki wanting to be there. Kenshin would just be desperate for Satsuki's attention and attempt to brag and gloat about stuff to make himself seem cool, but Itachi would rather stick a rusty kunai in his own eye than let Satsuki end up with that spoiled little shit.

Satsuki rapidly shook her head to deny Izumi's assumption, "No!" She unintentionally shouted. "I-I'm just excited t-to join the academy and catch up to nii-san!" She mentally cursed her stutter, as Izumi just smiled and nodded in acceptance.

Izumi assumed that whatever Satsuki was hiding, she didn't want to reveal to Itachi; so she would respect the younger girl's privacy, with no intention of destroying their relationship just minutes after meeting.

Izumi nodded in acknowledgement with a smile. "That's a good dream." She ruffled her crush's sister's raven-black hair, annoying the girl in the process. Why did everyone do that!? Izumi ignored the pouting girl and continued to smile softly, "I have a similar dream… even if we're girls, we can be stronger than a housewife."

Satsuki fiercely nodded in agreement; she was beginning to like this older girl. "Thank you, Izumi-san!" She beamed to Izumi, who grinned in acknowledgement; before turning her attention back to Itachi, who was just getting out of his stupor from whatever Izumi said earlier.

He assumed that what Izumi said was a joke, but he still gets nervous with the mention of his sister and a b-boy.

It will be a cold day in Hell before he so much as allows his sister to interact with male outside of basic camaraderie, unless they pass his 'test.'

"Itachi-kun?..." Izumi started, bashfully. "D-Do you want to get d-dango sometime?" She remembered years ago when they shared some dango by the dock, and would like to do it again.

Itachi smiled and gave the meek girl a nod. "Of course…" Izumi beamed in response, as Itachi continued, "I can go with you tomorrow, after my squad training." He still has ANBU training, but he won't have a mission for a while longer. Izumi grinned; she ran up to Itachi to give him a light kiss on the cheek, leaving the prodigy a flustered mess.

"Bye! Itachi-kun! Satsuki-chan!" She sprinted away, to hide her embarrassed face from being so upfront with Itachi.

Itachi's cheeks were hinted red from the kiss, as he touched the area of the kiss. A soft smile appeared on his face; he turned his attention to his curious, little sister, who was confused as to why her brother was acting so odd.

"Come on, Satsuki…" Itachi said, with a smile still on his face, "Let's get home." Satsuki smiled, with a nod in agreement before she leaped back onto her big brother's back to get carried home.

On the walk back, Itachi still couldn't help but worry about Izumi's mentions of a boyfriend; but he had no proof or any reason to believe it, Satsuki always got embarrassed about stuff, whether they were truthful or not.


Flashback End

All these things led Itachi to the conclusion that Satsuki was either befriending someone outside the clan or gaining an odd passion for fishing.

His first theory proved to be correct when he walked into Satsuki's bedroom and saw something that made his blood freeze.

There were two vases… both vases filled with 10 red roses each, one looking two weeks older than the other. It was clear that someone had gifted them to his little sister...

While Itachi was well aware of the fact that many young boys, both Uchiha or not would attempt to get Satsuki's attention with roses or gifts, Itachi knew that Satsuki turned them all down without a second of remorse.

It really inflated her ego, being an ice princess...

But to see that Satsuki had this many roses meant that she accepted them from someone with romantic intentions.

Itachi's 3-tomoe sharingans began to spin frantically as he looked for clues about the bastard that was seducing his innocent sister. 'What the hell!?' Itachi shouted in his mind; of all the pressuring things going on his life right now, Satsuki's safety was #1 on his priority list.

He heard his sister's happy laughter from downstairs, obviously from a joke Shisui made, as he came over for dinner. Itachi took a deep breath to calm himself down; he didn't want to come across a paranoid for no reason, so he will work his recent ANBU training to solve this case tomorrow by following Satsuki after lunch...

Espionage and Interrogation.

The next day, Satsuki left after lunch just like she normally does; intent on getting to the UzuCove before Naruto, so she can devise a plan to prank him back.

Over the last two weeks she has come to the UzuCove, it has been after Naruto had already arrived, giving him time to come up with an annoying prank to get her. He always manages to succeed.

He would do stupid stuff: like paint seals; jumping out and scaring her when she didn't know he was there; stink bombs; buckets on water that come down from a tree and land on her head, making her soaking wet, and many, many more.

While she plays it off as if it doesn't bother her, both her and Naruto know it is merely a front. They annoyed the hell out of her and she wants revenge; so she left right after lunch, taking some rice cakes with her, and she will attempt to use her advanced shurikenjutsu skills to scare Naruto.

Unbeknownst to her, she was being trailed by a shadowy figure with menacing, crimson eyes.


Satsuki arrived at the UzuCove though the secret, bamboo entrance, unaware that she was being followed, and began devising her prank on her blonde friend.

She walked over to the unoccupied target board, which had a spare set of kunai and shurikens she took from the Uchiha clan inventory.

Recently, she started learning how to implement ninja wire to change the trajectory of the shurikens and kunai, but today she will use them to terrorize a troublemaking, whiskered boy. So she began to scheme a way to manipulate the wire to trap the boy.

She stroked her hand on her chin in a thinking gesture before her eyes sparkled with an idea, as she looked at the pink, cherry blossom trees. 'I can lead him towards the sakura tree, because he won't expect anything there; then I can use the wire trap to hang him by his foot! Hahaha! Beat that, Uzumaki!" She mentally cheered for herself for the ingenious idea, glad the blonde menace will be knocked down a peg.

Watching from a branch of a nearby tree in the UzuCove was Itachi Uchiha.

He just finished his morning training session at ANBU, before he needed to report back at HQ in 30 minutes. He was surprised that he had to follow his little sister to the other side of the village, as she seemed to know exactly where she was going.

Satsuki looked quite nervous about being followed; as she would tense every time there was a noise around, and frantically looked around whenever she stood still.

Clearly she needs to work on her senses...

It came to a shock when Satsuki navigated through a bamboo forest that led him into a natural sanctuary. It was a very beautiful clearing that looked very well looked-after.

'Who knew Konoha had such lovely wildlife…' The ANBU mused to himself; he narrowed his eyes when he caught sight of a patch of various flowers, especially the red ones, 'That must be where she got the red roses in her room…' He thought for a moment, 'Could it be that she just picked some flowers for herself?... Am I reading too much into this?' I didn't come as a surprise if he jumped too fast to conclusions.

That line of thinking stopped when he saw his sister setting up a classic wire trip on a sakura tree. 'Is she just practicing trap making?' He smirked when he saw his sister use the ninja wire so diligently; she must have practiced a lot.

The trap was a simple one with ninja wire; all it required was someone to get their foot wrapped up in it. It was a good trap for animals, but anyone with half a brain would be able to bypass it. So why was Satsuki making an animal trap-

"FINALLY!" A loud boastful voice broke Itachi from his musing, he turned to see a young boy with blonde hair holding a steaming cup of ramen in his hand.

"After months of training, I have finally got to the UzuCove before my cup ramen gets cold!" The boy said with a self-satisfied cheer. Itachi narrowed his eyes at the boy, 'UzuCove?' He attempted to look for his sister, though she had vanished from view, leaving only a rice cake on the ground next to the trap. He used his sensing skills to find out that she was hiding in a sakura tree… but why?

He looked back at the strange, blonde boy; he couldn't help but notice the whisker marks, 'Naruto Uzumaki…' It was a name he had come to be familiar with during his first 3 week with the ANBU. The fact that Naruto is the Jinchuuriki, it made him a 'valuable asset' to the future of Konoha.

Being an ANBU agent, he had to learn all of the important information; including the decree that the Sandaime implemented when Itachi was 8 years old about the blonde child's burden. Naruto's love for pranking also gained his attention, as it was the ANBU's job to stop any commotions in the village, but they tend to make the chunin deal with the pranking jinchuuriki.

'He's also Yondaime-sama and Kushina-san's son...' Yes, Itachi knows the truth about Naruto's heritage. With his level of intelligence, he can easily piece two-and-two together.

Itachi didn't get much interaction with the late-Hokage and his aunty figure; but from the brief time when he was just a child, he can see that Naruto takes after Kushina, in terms of his personality.

One of the most important things the Hokage told him was to make sure Naruto stayed away from the Uchiha clan, as it would cause more unnecessary distrust between the village and the clan, due to Naruto's burden and reputation. He didn't have anything against the young Uzumaki; he was just following Hokage's orders.

That was why he was worried as to why Satsuki was interacting with the one boy the Hokage told him to keep at a distance.

He would wait it out, as he didn't want to jump to any conclusion.

Naruto was ecstatic!

He once again got here before Satsuki, giving him the perfect opportunity to prank her with a new genius idea.

He bought some tomatoes with the monthly allowance he got, and decided to feel them with flaming hot chili peppers!

Satsuki would also boast about how she will be learning how to spit fire soon, so he wanted to put it to the test...

He grinned mischievously, as he thought about his best friend running around with a burnt tongue, before she would jump into the pond to cool it down.

His daydreaming was cut off when he noticed something by the sakura trees. His eyes lit up as he caught sight of a fresh rice cake on a stone under the tree. It was really his lucky day today! He could use a side dish for his cup ramen.

Seeing no reason not to follow his stomach, he ran over to the rice cake; though before he could reach out, he felt something pull on his foot, and then he found himself swinging back and forth, with the world upside down. His beautiful cup ramen now now spilled all to the leafy ground.

"AHAHAHAHA!" Naruto 'tried' to turn to the sound of loud laughter of a girl who just jumped down from a tree branch, but he was currently swinging off a branch of a sakura tree, with his foot attached to a thread of ninja wire.

When the swinging stopped, he was greeted with the sight of his best friend rolling on the ground, trying to control her laughter. He just grumbled while crossing his arms in an irritated gesture, annoyed he got pranked so easily.

"ha.. ha.. ha… good one…" The blonde sarcastic said, in his driest voice possible; but the position he was in made Satsuki laugh even more. Naruto just decided to ignore the hysterical Uchiha and attempted to grab the rope, and pull it off his leg; it proved much harder than it seemed.

"H-Here!" Satsuki said, finally wiping the last of her tears of laughter; intent on helping her struggling friend get down. Naruto smiled as he assumed Satsuki would safely let him back down.

That proved to be incorrect, when Satsuki took out a shuriken; after a deep breath, she flung it to cut the wire, causing the blonde boy to fall to the ground with a big 'thump!'

"OWWWW!" Naruto dramatically rubbed his bruised lump on his head; Satsuki rolled her eyes at Naruto's antics, though she did have a smug smirk. Naruto seemed to notice her cocky face, making him super angry, as he jumped right up into her face.

"Bastard! The heck do you think you're doing, 'ttebayo!" His face was beet red in both anger and embarrassment. His nose was essentially touching Satsuki's; Naruto had no awareness of personal space.

Satsuki just snorted, "I was merely getting payback for all those pranks you played on me." She nonchalantly relied. Naruto seemed to calm down a bit after her reasoning; it was true, he did prank her a lot the last two weeks. Satsuki stared deadpan at him, "I bet you were planning to prank me as you walked in here… especially with that grin you had earlier." Naruto simply rubbed the back of his head with a sheepish grin; she can read him like a book...

Naruto crossed his arms and closed his eyes for a moment, seemingly in deep thought. Satsuki raised an eyebrow, wondering what her weird friend was doing.

His eyes shot open, as he gave her a big thumbs up and a grin, "It was pretty good, ya know!" He complemented, "I, Naruto Uzumaki! Prank King of Konoha gives you a 7/10!" Satsuki blinked dryly at Naruto's lame antics, she just sighed and shook her head.

"Idiot..." She definitely deserved higher than a 7, dammit!

"Soooo…." Naruto started, wanting to move on from his embarrassing moment, "What do you wanna do today?" They could go fishing, or swimming, or play hide-and-seek, or practice shuriken (he still couldn't hit the target), or something new.

Before Satsuki had a chance to respond, a new voice cut through them, "How about you answer my questions…" Satsuki's eyes widened, she knew that voice better than any other.

"N-Nii-san?..." She stuttered, turning to face her brother who was casually leaning against a tree; he still had his ANBU attire on.

Naruto squinted his eyes at the new person, 'Nii-san?' He was about to question who this person was, before something occurred to him, "HEY!" The blonde shouted to the older boy, who raised an eyebrow at him, "You can't be here!" Naruto pointed an accusing finger at the ANBU, "There's no way you could have found an entrance to this place, dattebayo!" He was pretty pissed off that someone found his safe haven so easily.

Itachi looked boredly at the boy, "I saw you come this way… I merely followed." That may have been a lie, but he didn't want his sister to be blamed for something out of her control.

Speaking of his sister, Satsuki was pale as a ghost. She tried so hard to keep this a secret, but for Itachi to find out so easily meant she might have been followed by more people.

Satsuki turned to her best friend, who was mumbling something about trying to learn security seals and barriers, "Naruto…" She started, making the boy look at her. Satsuki pointed at the older Uchiha, "This is my brother… Itachi Uchiha." She was proud to introduce Itachi to Naruto, even if it was slightly bittersweet that her secret was found out.

Naruto gaped in shock. This was 'The Itachi' that Satsuki would mention 10 times a day!

He looked the stoic boy up and down, before squinting his eyes at him, "He doesn't look like much..." He bluntly remarked, causing Satsuki's eyes to widen and Itachi to raise another delicate eyebrow.

"IDIOT!" She banged Naruto's already bruised head, "Don't say that about nii-san!" As much as Satsuki likes Naruto, she will not tolerate any Itachi slander...

Naruto's retort was cut off, when Itachi spoke, "It's nice to finally meet you, Naruto-kun." He walked away from his tree towards the frozen blonde, before taking his little hand and giving it a manual shake.

"Satsuki hasn't mentioned you at home." He looked for his sister's reaction, and saw her gulp slightly; before looking back at Naruto, whose mouth was agape, yet no words came out. Itachi gave Naruto a slightly hard stare, still without activating his sharingan, "Any particular reason for that?" He asked, though he had already come to a logical conclusion.

He could tell that Naruto was afraid of scaring Satsuki off if an adult told her to stay away from him; Itachi had seen the looks the public gives Naruto from his patrol, and some mission around the village, including cleaning up after one of his pranks. Satsuki, who can be very loyal, agreed not to tell her family.

But he wanted to hear it from the boy himself.

"W-W-Well y-you see..." Bad start, Itachi thought. "...S-Suki and I m-met a few w-weeks ago, and s-since t-then we p-play sometimes." Naruto managed to stutter out.

Itachi cocked an eyebrow in interest, 'She lets him call her Suki?' That was a surprise; what kind of influence has this boy had on her? He had never seen his sister so comfortable around someone that wasn't in their family. Before Itachi could ask him more, Satsuki stepped in.

"Nii-san! Wait!" She ran in between Naruto and Itachi putting her hands up in a defensive gesture, protecting Naruto from questioning. "Don't blame Naruto!" She defended Naruto; Itachi just gave her a curious look, asking her to elaborate.

Satsuki sighed in defeat, knowing she had to tell her secret encounters to Itachi, who might stop her meeting with her best friend, "When I went shopping in Main Street a few weeks ago… I-I met Naruto outside the academy." She didn't want to mention anything about the looks Naruto got; she would ask that later, "We talked a lot and had fun, so we started meeting after lunch…" she trailed off, meekly.

She hoped that Itachi would not force her to stay away from Naruto.

Itachi mentally approved of her frienship with Naruto, glad she wouldn't be stuck following the clan blindly, and making friends outside the confinement of the Uchiha clan...

Itachi was in deep thought, wondering what to do, 'While I think her spending time with Naruto will be a good influence on her, if anyone finds out the Uchiha 'princess' is befriending the jinchuuriki, the reputation and distrust towards the clan will increase, sadly…' He sighed, then he thought for a moment, as he looked around the beautiful clearing, 'Getting in here was pretty difficult; I doubt I would have found it if I didn't follow Satsuki. Maybe if they just spend time here, and at the academy it will be fine.'

"Alright…" Itachi's voice made the two six-year olds turn their attention back to him, "As long as you only meet here, it will be fine if you spend time together." Both children's eyes lit up in happiness, "but…" they dimmed slightly, "Satsuki, I want you to cover up your Uchiha clothing whenever you come here." At Satsuki's confused stare, he elaborated, "Having an Uchiha running around the other side of the village from the compound can bring unnecessary attention to you." Satsuki nodded, as she noticed she would get stares whenever she walked through the areas away from the compound.

"Naruto-kun…" Naruto nervously nodded to the older boy, "I can put up a genjutsu to better hide the area." Naruto just looked at him like he grew a second head.

"What's a 'genjutsu?'" He ignorantly asked, making Itachi sigh. He should have expected Naruto to lack the knowledge of genjutsu. He turned to his little sister, wanting her to explain his specialty to the blonde, which she excitingly did, eager to show off her knowledge to her stupid friend.

"A genjutsu is an illusionary technique!" She happily recited the definition she found in a scroll, "It can affect all 5 senses of the person it's used on! And can make them see something that's not there, to confuse them!" Satsuki was really excited about the prospect of learning genjutsu; once she awakens her sharingan, she will be super good at them!

Naruto looked awestruck, "Wowww." He whispered out. He wanted to do that too! But that could wait; he still had to know what was going on, "Wait, Itachi-san?" He still looked confused, "How will a genjutsu help hide the UzuCove?" Itachi looked at the boy.

"I can cast a double-layer genjutsu at that bamboo entrance, making it seem sealed off, as anyone who comes across won't think twice about; though you and Satsuki will know it is open." Itachi is already considered one of the best genjutsu specialists in the village, up there with Shisui, his father, Kurenai Yuhi, and members of the Kurama Clan. Nobody below high-jonin level should be able to break through one of his precise genjutsu, even if it is very simple. It shows how powerful he is, that it would take a skilled sensor to see through his illusions.

Naruto formed an 'o' face in understanding; Satsuki also intently listened in, interested in learning more about her brother's speciality. "But how will I see through it?" Naruto scrunched his nose up in confusion, "You said genjutsu affects people's senses, right?..." Itachi nodded, so Naruto continued, "So won't I also be affected? I don't know how to see through that stuff." He admitted, making Itachi smirk. It was a good question.

"I can dispel the genjutsu on both you and Satsuki, Naruto-kun..." He explained, "...Once it is dispelled, you will be able to walk through the area without anyone noticing you, as they will be caught up in the illusion." Naruto nodded his head rapidly with closed eyes, he still didn't understand but he would pretend he did.

Itachi looked down at his watch and saw he had 15 minutes to get back to ANBU HQ. "Satsuki…" The girl looked up at her brother, "I need to get back to work, so don't come home too late." Satsuki nodded; Itachi smirked at the target board with several kunai pierced into the center. "Keep up the good work with shurikenjutsu." Satsuki beamed with a happy smile.

"Naruto-kun…" Itachi said to the knucklehead blonde, who hummed in question, "Good luck in the academy next week." He gave the boy a smile, "Satsuki will need a friend… so look out for her." Satsuki's cheeks lit up in embarrassment, it was true she didn't have many friends; Naruto gave Itachi a big salute.

"You bet!" He promised, with a foxy grin, "Someone has to keep her safe!" He offended her offhandedly, making Satsuki growl at Naruto.

"I don't need protection from someone who can't even hit the target board with a shuriken!" Satsuki snapped back, making Naruto blush.

"I was aiming for the tree!" He attempted to defend himself.

"Yeah right! You couldn't even hit the tree!"

"I'll hit you!"

"You couldn't even hit me if I stood in front of you with a big sign!" She smugly retorted. The two six years got in each other's faces, both clenching their teeths with scowls.



Itachi merely blinked at the odd sight before him before he began walking away from the duo with a small smile on his face, 'Naruto Uzumaki… please look out for her.'


Author's Note: Thank you for all the reviews and favorites, and everyone else who read!

You've gotta love overprotective Itachi...

Next chapter will dive into the academy as well as an introduction to the Uchiha's situation...

Thanks for reading! See you soon!