Chapter 1

"Naruto, I'm sure you know why I called you here today." The hokage offered, her face forming a serious expression that he wasn't quite used to seeing on the woman he called Baa-chan, she interlocked her fingers before resting her chin upon them, waiting for the blondes response.

Naruto rubbed the back of his neck nervously; in all honesty he really wasn't sure what it could be, after only just being released from hospital after a nasty brawl with a certain Uchiha the only thought that came to mind was that new information had been obtained on the raven haired boy's whereabouts.

"Um…It's not about him is it?" He questioned nervously, still rubbing the back of his neck as he looked towards the proud blonde situated behind the old wooden desk. Tsunade winced slightly at the thought of Naruto being enthusiastic to hear about Sasuke when in fact that was not the reason she had called him to her office.

"Actually it's more to do with the rescue mission that took place. You see, after scouting the area in which the series of battles took place, we came across a member of the Sound four who was still alive..." Tsunade paused unsure on how to continue as she gauged the blonde's response.

"Still alive!? Are they dangerous?!" He interrogated as he quickly angered, those sound four really did a number on the rescue team, in fact most of the members of said team were left hospitalized and fighting to survive.

"Not quite…" Tsunade answered before scratching her head, she was unsure of how to go about this but thought it may just be best to get it over with.
"In fact they're not dangerous at all in their current condition. However they are no longer aligned with Orochimaru and it is of vital importance that they are well cared for. They'll be a lot to deal with… but honestly, Naruto; you're the only one I can count on for this." She briefed almost feeling guilty for what she was about to drop on the blonde.

"What do you mean baa-chan? I don't really get it" He said with a nervous chuckle, suddenly feeling a little under pressure, not to mention being somewhat embarrassed by her faith in him. Tsunade sighed, unable to think of a better option she decided to just go with her current plan.

"Shizune, bring Tayuya in here." As the Hokage ordered, the door crept open as the overly polite assistant wheeled in a girl with shocking red hair, now free from the hat it was once contained in, Tayuya's wild hair flowed down her back. She sat arms folded in an act of defiance; all though she had agreed to become an ordinary Konoha citizen she didn't say she was going to enjoy it.

"Naruto, this is Tayuya, she'll be living with you at your apartment. She'll need exclusive care and as such you will not be going on any missions until she has recovered." The Hokage said, as expected the blonde looked disheartened. Naruto glanced towards the red head sadly, he considered that she needed someone right now, though he would miss going on missions, he had already been given a mission, one that his baa-chan could only turn to him for, he'd do his best no matter what.

"The fuck are you looking at?!" The redhead challenged noticing the blonde looking her way for an extended amount of time, he was lost in thought but to her it appeared as if he was staring at her.
'I know not being able to stand is weird and all but does he really have to fucking stare at me like im a freak!?' Tayuya raged inwardly.

Naruto shook his head clear of thoughts as he came back to reality, he smiled at the red head ignoring her earlier comment, it wouldn't be wise to start bickering, especially in front of the Hokage
"Nice to meet you Tayuya, my name is Naruto Uzumaki." He gave her a foxy grin before turning to the fifth once again.

The cogs slowly turned in Naruto's mind as he processed what was actually going on.
"Wait…She's going to be living with me!?" He bellowed suddenly outraged with the idea, how come he was getting someone randomly thrust into his home, what about the medical staff or the hospital, what made him any better suited for the situation than anyone else?

"Hey it's not like I wanna sit around in some shit pit while you run around after me asshole!" Tayuya roared, her anger peaking as the blonde talked about her as if she wasn't even in the room, she glanced downwards at her legs, broken and battered they were left in no working condition.
The word 'burden' echoed through her mind but she refused to acknowledge it
'Why do I care!? If they wanna give me my own personal slaves, then that's up to them!' She thought to herself, letting out a low growl aloud.

Tsunade glared at the blonde boy in her office causing him to let out a defeated sigh. He turned to the red head who also seemed to be glaring at him, nervously he offered a smile before scratching the back of his head.
"G-Gomen…It's just well…I've lived alone my whole life, its kinda sudden, y'know?" He apologised before nervously chuckling but to his dismay the redhead merely huffed before turning away.

"Well it's settled then, Naruto from here on out Tayuya is your responsibility, you're dismissed." Tsunade spoke until she had to correct herself.
"Oh and Naruto, due to the way Tayuya's legs are broken, it would be best if you carried her, it's not good for her to be sat in that position for an extended amount of time, please try to keep this in mind." She said calmly, she leant over her desk and began looking through the drawers signifying the meeting was over.

"Well Naruto, what are you waiting for?!" she said suddenly appearing above the desk once more seemingly annoyed. Naruto was stood clueless in the office; he wasn't sure how to approach the delicate matter of picking up the red head from out of her chair.

"What the hell are you doing asshole?! Didn't you hear her?! I'm not supposed to sit like this!" Tayuya roared at the blonde who was currently suffering awkwardly.
"Naruto! What are you doing?!" The hokage shouted allying herself with the ex-sound ninja.

"Alright! Alright! I didn't wanna hurt her, jeez!" Naruto shouted back, letting out a heavy sigh, he crouched down in front of the chair, Tayuya following his plan, wrapped her arms around his shoulders, as gently as he could manage, Naruto held the girls legs before standing with her, carrying her in a 'piggy back'.

Tayuya felt slightly guilty as she heard him announce that he didn't want to hurt her, for some reason that she didn't understand she felt that he truly had no intention of harming her.

"Awhh don't you two look cute! Look Shizune don't they make the best couple?" Tsunade teased, her mischievous side out in force causing her assistance to giggle at the two in front of them.
Naruto couldn't help but blush, though it didn't help that Tayuya nuzzled against his back in an attempt to hide her blushing face.

"What are you waiting for asshole!? Get the hell going already!" Tayuya demanded as she fought back her embarrassment, she never did take teasing well, besides it wasn't as if she wanted to be carried around!

"R-right!" Naruto too embarrassed to function properly merely agreed to the command, opening the door fully intending on racing to his apartment to escape from any further teasing. As he opened the door, he saw Sakura stood there, the cherry blossom had her mouth ajar in shock as she saw her blonde team mate carrying an attractive girl who seemed to be snuggling into his back.

Sakura shook off her momentary shock, giving a light cough before speaking, unsure what to say
"N-Naruto…it's uhh…good to see that you're feeling better…" She offered awkwardly before squeezing past the two to escape into the office, she looked at the hokage who sat with a knowing smirk, unable to resist she glanced back at the two with a questioning gaze, it appeared the girl really was nuzzling into the blondes back. Letting out a short 'hmph', Sakura turned to the Hokage for orders.

Naruto was soon carefully jumping from rooftop to rooftop, landing delicately to make sure he didn't hurt his passenger, he couldn't imagine that she was in any mood to talk, so stayed silent as he travelled across the village hidden in the leafs, to his surprise however the red head spoke up.

"So…I guess we'll be living together then…" She thought aloud hoping to start some form of conversation, looking at the back of the blondes head waiting for a response. Naruto landed before speaking, to ensure that he didn't accidently land with unexpected force.
"I guess so…" Naruto answered much to Tayuya's disappointment, she frowned, from what she remembered the blonde was pretty outgoing; she found it odd that he'd be so quiet.

"I guess you're not exactly excited about it, especially with me being an ex-member of that squad…" She pushed, this time he had to respond properly, the silence was deafening, she really didn't know if she'd be able to sit through it day in day out, Naruto landed, he had stopped at his front door…
'Our…front door.' He corrected in his head.
"Don't worry about that, what's done is done, let's just start fresh." Naruto replied, she could somehow guess that he was smiling; she had to admit she was somewhat thankful, though she wouldn't let it show.

Naruto pushed open the door and revealed a spotless one bedroom apartment, there was wooden flooring running right through the place and the living room area was the first thing visible upon entering. A tired looking brown couch sat in the centre of the 'room' with a small oak coffee table within reaching distance of it.

Looking around the place, still on Naruto's back, Tayuya noticed the door leading to boy's bedroom, it was left open slightly and from what she could make out, the bedroom; much like the rest of the apartment, was clinically clean.

She couldn't help but notice the fresh smell that filled the air, glancing around once more she presumed it was due to the plant life that were proudly on display around the small apartment, to her surprise they looked incredibly healthy, their leaves a luscious green, it was easy to see that they were well cared for. Still she couldn't shake off the underlying aroma of beef ramen.

Not wanting to give in to silence once again, Tayuya continued the conversation.
"So, what made you wanna chase that faggot so bad anyway?" She said hoping to get an answer, she wasn't sure on how to approach the topic but was more than a little curious, so she decided to be her usual self, brash and rather insensitive.

She felt the blonde carrying her wince as he closed the door, memories of the fight at death valley returning to him, a weak smile decorated his face as he tried to ignore the rather tasteless way the girl had asked her question, it was his job to take care of her, no one mentioned that she was going to be co-operative.

"He's my only real friend…" Naruto said glumly a sad smile gracing his features as he carefully set down the red head on the old brown couch, she was laid comfortably across it and Naruto was soon out of her field of view as he walked away from her, she couldn't help but wonder just how much that Uchiha meant to this blonde, it was rather bizarre for her, a ninja caring about someone else so much.

"There were times when we couldn't stand each other…we'd always fight, never wanting to lose to the other." Naruto continued softly from the other room, stealing a glance at his team's photo as he spoke, though he soon reappeared much to the comfort of the girl. The idea of being alone in this hidden village was not exactly pleasant, though for some reason the blondes facial expression made her feel guilty for even bringing up the subject of the raven.

'This stupid ass village is making me soft…' she thought to herself trying to shake it off, to her surprise she felt two warm hands around her waist, she realised however that Naruto was merely adjusting her sitting position by providing her with soft pillows to rest on.

"I'm sure you got other friends, what was so good about him? Do you love him or somethin'?" The red head asked mocking the blonde with a smirk, to her shock however he simply closed his eyes momentarily, let out a soft sigh then offered her another smile, she didn't really understand but then again she didn't really care either.

"I have other friends…sorta…" he said scratching at the back of his head. He frowned, thinking deeply about this or so it seemed, he sat down by her feet on the beaten couch as if to help him with the matter, then spoke again.
"Honestly if people saw us they'd doubt we were really friends at all, but that was the only way we knew how to be friends." He said leaning back against the sofa arm as he did, a hint of regret in his voice was present throughout the conversation.

Suddenly Naruto stood with an overly large grin on his face
"Well! There's no use in thinking too much about it, I'll bring him back one day…" He said enthusiastically, then turned away giving a disheartened look to the ground
"I promised…" he muttered to himself, leaving Tayuya slightly confused, though she decided she was now bored of hearing the blonde talk about the love of his life.

"Hey asshole, as fascinating as all that was I'm hungry." She said in a voice that told him she pretty much didn't care about what he had to say, Naruto, much to her annoyance was now focused on reading the list of instructions left on his counter by the fifth hokage.
"Oi! I said im hungry!" She declared. It wasn't like she could get up and make something herself after all.

"Hmm… says here that you should bathe before you eat, something about the hot water being good for your legs." He said, not all that educated when it came to medical stuff, sure he could look after himself and knew symptoms of certain common things, this however did not mean he was a qualified doctor. He wondered if he would in fact be capable of caring for this girl, in honesty he didn't mind having her around, it livened up the place at least. He'd just have to do his best.

"Great lemme just go ahead an' do that then…ohhh yeah, how could I have been so stupid!? My fucking legs don't work you asshole." She raged at the blonde, she hated not being able to do things that could be considered everyday things, it made her feel useless.

Naruto just sighed and went into the bathroom; she heard the water running as it hit the bath below, suddenly filling the silent apartment with sound. She considered for a moment that she had truly hurt the blonde, he was trying, she could tell that much.
'That alone is more than anyone else has done…' She considered before angrily shaking her head confused once more by her sudden attitude change…though she had to admit she was a tiny bit concerned that the blonde still hadn't replied to her.

He walked back into the living room, the bath still running as he headed towards the sink, the red head couldn't help but follow him with her eyes unknowingly, she expected an answer. To her frustration though the blonde merely filled up a small jug with water then made a beeline to his prized plant life.

He slowly poured water into the different plant pots with an amount of care that was strange to witness as the ex-sound ninja watched over him, he seemed to genuinely enjoy feeding them she mused, as a warm smile graced his features. It wasn't long until the blonde had fed all of the plants around the room, in silence much to Tayuya's irritation.

Naruto, hearing the water still running went to check on the bath, seeing it he decided that it was full enough, putting his hand in he stirred the water checking its temperature, seemingly pleased he stood in the door way and smiled, silently telling the girl that her bath was indeed ready.

She had to admit she didn't enjoy this, for some reason it just wasn't funny that she had hurt the blonde, with the way she was treating him since the Hokages office she considered he didn't care what she thought of him, though now she wasn't so sure.

"Oi…" she spoke, Naruto sighed interrupting her and hurriedly came to her side. She felt his gentle touch before he picked her up bridal style, leaving her head softly lean against his chest, she noted that it wasn't exactly unpleasant, then gave a 'hmph' as if to correct herself.

Naruto, doing his best to be mature about the awkward situation that he now found himself in, gently rest the girl on the floor, her back propped up against the bath allowing her to sit up.
Soon she was wrapped up in a soft cream towel, she didn't understand at first, then the blonde began to remove her sandals, after removing them he looked up at her to check if she was okay with his method, Tayuya, now rather embarrassed merely turned her head away, allowing the boy to continue.

Soon Naruto had carefully removed her combat pants, making sure not to hurt the girl by taking them off slowly. Still looking away the red head co-operated momentarily as the blonde lifted her arms in order to take off her shirt, though the towel did help with the awkwardness somewhat the ex-sound ninja still found herself blushing a shade that matched her hair as her arms disappeared into the towel.

The blonde thankfully looked away, making it a little less embarrassing as the girl that was now a permanent resident in his home took off her remaining items of clothing, she gave a nervous cough, subtly informing him that she was finished, he turned slowly unsure of how to proceed.

The girl in front of him, now blushing heavily as she looked away, was now sat naked in his bathroom, with a only a towel covering her, deciding to just deal with the situation at hand, Naruto lifted her bridal style, then carefully lowered her into the bath, effectively soaking the towel much to her confusion.

As Tayuya was lowered into the bath she let out a soothed 'ahhh' of relief, slightly embarrassed by the action she was once more facing away from the blonde. Naruto just opened the simple white bathroom cupboard, revealing a soft looking collection of cream towels much like the one that was currently wrapped around the girl.

The blonde then set them out, leaving them folded over the bath at a distance she could reach, then left the room, closing the door to allow the girl some privacy. Tayuya removed the now irritating wet towel then lay back, stretching out as she allowed the water to wash over her; the temperature was just how she liked it, not that she'd ever mention that.

What the blonde had been told was correct, the soothing effect of the hot water was indescribable as she sunk even lower enjoying the relaxing sensation, her red mane now flowing around her as she stared up at the ceiling, she let out a sigh as she considered that the blonde still hadn't spoken to her, it echoed around the bathroom due to the acoustics, making her feel even more disheartened.
'Maybe he's given up…' She thought to herself a little saddened, in the privacy she now had, she didn't bother fighting against the thought, she had always been lonely, no one had ever cared.

She realised of course that getting to know her was incredibly difficult due to her defence mechanisms, her brash way of speaking that often hurt people and of course her inability to allow anyone in, now though it seemed she didn't really have a choice.

The redhead was now in a foreign village, after agreeing to become a citizen of Konoha this would also be where she would be staying, honestly she felt a little lucky to even be alive at this point. While looking up at the blank white ceiling she remembered the conversation she had with Tsunade before meeting the blonde.

"You're making me live with someone?" Tayuya spoke, doing her best to keep herself in check; this was the Hokage she was speaking to after all.
"You're lucky you haven't been executed, you're in no position to start making demands." The Hokage spoke sternly, glaring at the red head that had been brought to her attention.

"Don't worry, the person you'll be staying with is the most caring person I've ever met…in fact even though you were his enemy, if I told him I'd be executing a girl who couldn't even walk…well I'd be willing to bet my life that he'd fight for your freedom with everything he had" The hokage explained, a sad smile graced her features, momentarily confusing the ex-sound ninja before she softly continued.
"…even if it killed him."

"Why?" was the only answer Tayuya could manage to reply with, to her surprise the fifth just shrugged
"he doesn't care much about himself but if you were to tell him someone was in trouble he'd do whatever he could to make them better…heh that brat is the only reason im sat behind this desk right now and not sat in some bar drinking." Tsunade sighed, realizing she may have gotten a little too personal.

"Listen…" The hokage started again as Tayuya's attention snapped back to her
"He might have a lot of problems, well he hasn't exactly lead a great life…but the kid's got a heart of gold, even if you step on him, push him around, hurt him until he wished he didn't exist… if he's decided you're a good person he'll be there for you always." Tsunade said, surprising herself almost at the love she held for the young blonde.

Tayuya looked to be in thought, did such a person really exist? It had to be some kinda deception…
"What do you mean 'hasn't exactly lead a great life'?" Tayuya questioned however the fifth just shook her head solemnly showing that she wasn't willing to talk about it, with that Shizune wheeled her out of the office.

The bath water, though still warm was beginning to lose its initial soothing feeling as the red head began to wonder just how long she had been laid there.
'Heh…I've even managed to drive away someone the Hokage considers a saint.' Tayuya thought to herself, to her surprise a wet streak was suddenly present across her cheek, followed by another then another.

She soon realised she was crying, aggressively wiping away the tears she blamed her strange behaviour on the fact that she had been in the bath too long. Removing the plug she laid there, as the bath drained of its contents, and after a short while the water had left her. Reaching over to the soft cream towel she began drying herself, struggling somewhat though she managed.

After she was done, with a stretch she was able to reach her underwear, after partly dressing herself she did her best to wrap herself in one of the unused, dry towels, letting out a large sigh she knew she needed help at this stage.

"Oiiii…" She shouted weakly, honestly she hadn't even heard the blonde, for all she knew he may not even be in the other room as she hoped…he really could have left her and worst of all there was nothing she could do about it, cutting off her thoughts rather suddenly though the door creaked open.

He offered a sad smile, one that she thought she may have caused, unable to take it she glanced away, uncomfortable with new situation. His warm hands gently touched her legs before he picked her up in a bridal style, her head once against softly resting against his chest, her hair still somewhat wet left streaks down his black tank top, the white Uzumaki swirl that decorated the centre was now becoming almost grey due to the moisture.

As soon as she was carried out of the bathroom she was overwhelmed by a pleasant smell, she could see a simple chicken curry cooking alongside some boiling white rice but for some reason she knew that a certain amount of care had been taken when preparing it, causing her lips to curve upwards slightly without her realising it.

He lay her down on the discoloured brown sofa, the pillows keeping her upright, and despite its age she had to admit the couch was pretty comfortable, far more comfortable than she was used to anyway. She noticed the simple brush that was left well within her reach as Naruto went to tend to the cooking, still silent, she couldn't help but notice.

Again she felt guilty, the boy was still looking out for her, even in small ways that she wouldn't even consider, she pulled on the clothes left on the couch for her before picking up the brush,struggling a little to balance,she did her best to comb through her long hair. Quickly becoming infuriated by the tangled locks she began aggressively tugging at them in an attempt to comb through them.

Naruto, hearing the violent noise turned around without her noticing and was soon stood behind her. Gently his hand touched hers, stopping the violent motion before relieving her of the brush. She was confused, embarrassed and once again feeling guilty, not knowing what to say however she sat in place silently.

She felt warm fingers gently stroke through her strawberry locks which almost caused her to shudder at the gentle touch, this continued for a just a moment then she felt the brush glide through her now untangled mane. As much as she hated to admit it, and never would, she found the feeling extremely relaxing although incredibly foreign.

"You should take better care of it…" the blonde spoke quietly while continuing to comb her tangled hair.
"Why the fuck do you care?" She snapped, not even shouting, she wondered why she said what she did, wondering if it was the fact she felt she didn't deserve his kindness, perhaps she was actually trying to drive him a way. She considered maybe; maybe she even wanted him to deal with everything she could through at him and still be there for her…
'Maybe im going fucking soft more like!' she raged to herself suddenly.

Naruto wasn't sure if it was wise to give his reason, but decided it was better to be honest.
"W-Well…it's just really pretty, it would be a shame if you didn't look after it…" he said nervously, adding a chuckle to hopefully make the compliment less awkward, he considered he was not one to mention hair care seeing as his now long hair had out grew it usual style.

"W-Whatever!" Tayuya retorted as she fought down a blush, hearing a soft chuckle from behind her which only served to add fuel to the fire, the red head became infuriated.
"What the fuck is so funny!?" she roared at the blonde who was still gently caring for her hair.
"It's just that, despite the way you act, you're a good person Tayuya-chan." The ex-sound ninja was suddenly glancing down at her knees as she remembered what Tsunade had said to her, before realising the honorific, confident that she was being mocked Tayuya twisted her body, ready to bite the blondes head off but to her surprise she was only met with a warm smile, making her falter.

"T-Thanks…i guess, I mean…isn't the food burning or something?" She said softly, her crappy attempt to change the subject almost making her cringe at the sound of her voice saying it aloud.
"T-That's right I better check on it" he said with a smile, happy to be free from the somewhat awkward moment, he handed her the brush back and was pleased to see from the corner of his eye that the red head was in fact combing through her hair with a lot more care.

"Who the fuck taught you to cook!?" Tayuya yelled as she took her first mouthful of the simple chicken curry, the blonde seemingly a little hurt from the outburst was happy when she continued
"Seriously if I get to eat like this every night living with your sorry ass might not be so bad!" She announced before tucking into her food at a speed that surprised even Naruto.

Happy with the compliment the blonde merely finished his meal with a smile, sat at the side of his new flatmate's feet, he considered that having the redhead around may not be so bad after all.
Soon the two had finished, Naruto was seen at the sink as he set to cleaning up, he hated it when the place was a mess, to him if it was messy it seemed like the person didn't care about the place they were living in, which was the exact opposite of Naruto.

To the blondes surprise there was a knock on the door, Tayuya looked at the door with distaste, she was comfortable stretched out on the sofa and no way in hell was she moving, though it was okay for Naruto to sit beside her she supposed, it was his apartment after all.

"Oh! Hey Sakura-chan!" Naruto said happily, his voice a tone that Tayuya hadn't heard him use, he opened the door wider allowing the cherry blossom girl to enter, who then smiled towards the red head, Tayuyamerely growled before looking away.
"Wow something smells good! You should have told me you could cook Naruto!" Sakura declared before giggling innocently as the blonde rubbed the back of his head in embarrassment.

"W-Well it's nothing special really" he replied offering a nervous chuckle in his defence
"I hope you're taking care of you new roommate!" Sakura yelled happily, although she sounded somewhat stern she knew Naruto would have probably been fussing over his guest already.
"He is." Tayuya said flatly before smirking towards the pinkette who couldn't help but frown
"What the hell are you doing here anyway pinkie? Did the Hokage send you to check on me?" the red head continued, bored of listening to the two team mates talk without her.

Sakura's frown deepened at the way the girl had spoken to her, but trying to keep face she offered a fake smile as she tried to fight back her rage.
"No Tsunade-sama didn't send me…I just dropped by to visit Naruto to make sure he wasn't still injured, he has a tendency to leave the hospital without resting properly." Sakura said a little saddened at the mention of Naruto and his frequent visits to the hospital.
"Well I can see you're looking much better now Naruto, goodnight!" The cherry blossom spoke with a smile but before Naruto could respond the pinkette hugged him tightly whispering something to him.

Tayuya glared at the scene, she didn't know why but she did not like what she was witnessing one bit, some girl came into her new home and started well…she just wasn't comfortable with it, it was awkward!
'Who the hell does she think she is?! Coming here acting all smug like she owns the place! Telling secrets n' shit! If she has something to say she should just say it!" The red head raged inwardly, unsure of why she was so angry.

Sakura un-hugged the embarrassed, confused blonde before heading over to the doorway
"O-Oh uhh…good night Sakura-chan." He said with an embarrassed grin, Tayuya shot daggers at him at the use of 'chan' after Sakura's name, letting out a low growl the red head decided waiting any longer for the pinkette to leave would be too sickening for her to take.

"Goodnight pinkie." Tayuya said coldly, earning a look from the cherry blossom girl, knowing where she was not welcome she managed to flash a smile to the ex-sound ninja before taking her leave.

"So!?" Tayuya immediately questioned as soon as the door closed, Naruto tilted his head, confused at what the girl situated on his couch meant by her question.
"What the hell did she say to you?!" Tayuya roared from her seat, folding her arms to make her impatience known, the blonde just chuckled nervously.
"W-Well she just wanted to thank me for trying to bring Sasuke back, she's always…" The blonde stopped himself a little heavy hearted before steeling himself to continue
"well…she's always liked Sasuke." He finished, a sad smile present on his face, Tayuya noted the way he paused though for some reason she couldn't help but smile inwardly as she heard that the pink banshee already had her eyes on some one.

Naruto disappeared into the bedroom without saying anything further, unknown to him however Tayuya could see into the room from where she was, she watched the blonde curiously as he pulled something off of his bedside table, it was what looked to be a small picture frame.

Naruto sighed heavily as he looked down at the only photo he owned, his team photo, the smiling pinkette in the centre while he and Sasuke flat out refused to accept one another, to him it was his team in a nutshell, Kakashi was even smiling ignoring the petty bickering that was taking place.

His lips were pulled upwards slightly as he remembered some of his happier team seven moments, a soft genuine laugh echoed around the apartment as he thought about their jounin test
'Even the great Sasuke Uchiha was forced to feed me' he chuckled again, a little more sadly this time.
Gently setting the frame back on the bedside table he left the bedroom, just in time to hear the red head that would now be a permanent guest at his home, let out a rather large yawn.

"Tired?" He asked with a warm smile, the red head not feeling like snapping at the boy after what she just saw only nodded sleepily in response, the blonde was soon by her side and like the other times he had carried her around, he picked her up bridal style, being careful not to cause her discomfort.

She had to say she was momentarily surprised that Naruto switched to holding her with just one arm while pulling back the bed quilt, feeling relaxed however she didn't feel like even mentioning it as he softly placed her on to the comfortable mattress below.

Naruto looked down at her as he pulled the blanket over her, he was glad; she looked at lot happier than when she first arrived in his care, he found himself hoping that he was something to do with it as she stared back up at him, her chocolate brown eyes looking deep into his cerulean blue ones, before she could speak however, Naruto smiled and spoke.

"Goodnight Tayuya-chan" He said softly, then gave her another warming smile, she couldn't help but avert her gaze before responding
"Y-Yeah…goodnight…" she cleared her throat then said something at a speed that Naruto struggled to understand
"N-Naruto-kun." Still looking away as a blush formed on her face, she was happy that the blonde never made a big deal out of it, in fact, she was happy. A smile came her features causing Naruto's smile to grow wider. The blonde turned and left the room, leaving the door open as he turned the living room light off.

Pulling the blanket over himself Naruto did his best to get comfortable on his trusty old couch, and after a few minutes of fidgeting he managed to find a position he was happy with. Letting out a content sigh he now was pleased that he didn't live alone, he felt needed in a way that he couldn't quite describe.

The blonde resting on the sofa eventually closed his eyes, though he lay awake thinking like he did most nights, having to stroke the long blonde hair out of his eyes every now and again due to laying on his side didn't really help, still he wasn't complaining.

Almost an hour passed or so he'd imagined, he'd heard the gentle noise of Tayuya's blankets being shifted around for a long time, making him consider that she'd been asleep for quite some time.
Until he heard the aggravated:
"Arghh!…" that she let out as she struggled sleep.

"Asshole!" She shouted quietly only to get no response
"Asshole? ..." She yelled in a hushed tone once again, this time wondering if he was actually asleep, Naruto realised there was a pause, as if the red head had given up then he heard a gentle cough.
"N-nn…N-Naruto-Kun? …" She questioned with no small amount of embarrassment.

"What is it Tayu-chan?" He answered softly; the red head looking up at the plain white ceiling now sported a blush as she heard her newly given affectionate nickname.
"Can you come in here already?" she asked softly, Naruto a little taken back by the request figured it was something important, pulling off his blanket and removing himself from the comfortable position he had managed to find, he headed towards his bedroom…well what used to be his bedroom.

She saw him enter the bedroom from the corner of her eye, her nervousness coming back in force as soon as he did, it would have been easier to ask him without him being in the room.
'Good going…' She chastised herself as he now peered down at her.

As he looked down at her, for some reason she thought it was a good idea to remember that he had complimented her hair, causing her cheeks to become a similar shade of red.
"Is everything okay, Tayu-chan?" he asked, leaning over her slightly to make sure she could see him in the dimly lit room, although the window was directly right of the bed, the cloudy night didn't do well in providing a source of light.

"I c-cant sleep." She said flatly, her embarrassment clear as she stuttered out her words while fighting down a soft blush, thankful that the room was not brightly lit.
"Is there anything I can do to help?" He asked softly, smiling down at her as he once again got the feeling of being needed.

"Well…I'm not really used to sleeping alone, at the hideouts we always had to share a bed…I had to sleep top to bottom with Kin..." She said opening up to the blonde a little while rambling to try and beat around the bush, it was difficult for her to ask this kinda thing.

"Soo…you'd like me to sleep like that with you?" Naruto asked, not sure where the red head was going with this. A fierce blush lit up her cheeks as she answered.
"W-Well…I mean…sorta but like…k-kinda…well… you don't have to sleep at the other end…" She spat out, shrinking back under the blankets a little in an attempt to hide herself from the mockery that would surely be thrown upon her.

To her surprise Naruto just left the room, before she could complain though he was back, armed with his pillows as he placed them down next to the ex-sound ninja's. He pulled back the sheets while looking at her, silently asking her if she was sure, the redhead only looked at him expectedly, almost forcing him in with her stare.

Naruto climbed in the bed in one quick movement, pulled the blanket over them and rested his head on the pillows. Then came the awkward part, he turned on his side, glancing at the girl next to him, and suddenly the two were both aware of just how close they actually were. Naruto was thankful that the girl was staring up at the ceiling and not facing him, somehow it made this situation a little less embarrassing.

Then the red head turned on her cheek, facing him, her hair following her movement as it fell over her eyes, to her surprise though, a finger gently stroked it away then continued to comb through her hair, she shivered from the soft touch, biting back her embarrassment she threw one of her arms around the blonde, using him to allow herself to roll on her side.

Naruto surprised her a second time as a hand softly trailed across her stomach until an arm was roped around her waist, not being given the time to voice her opinion she was carefully pulled close to him, her head resting underneath his chin.

Not caring about her incredible embarrassment any longer the red head nuzzled against the boys chest, as her grip around him tightened. The feeling of being held close was completely foreign to her but she couldn't help but feel warm and safe.

His hand traced through her soft red mane as he continue to stroke it, the girl nuzzling into his chest was letting out soft hitched breathes as he did so, he rested his chin upon her head as he hugged her a little tighter. He shivered slightly as he felt Tayuya trace her fingers up and down his back lightly, letting out a giggle that he didn't know she could produce.

Deciding to get his own back he leant over her slightly then blown a soft stream of cold air against her neck, almost immediately causing her to shiver and nuzzle against him in defiance, letting out a soft yawn as she did so. The red head squeezed her blonde care taker softly as a feeling of happiness she had never experienced washed over her.

"G-Goodnight Naruto-kun..." she whispered, still a little embarrassed, though she felt her gentle squeeze returned as the blonde held her close.
"Night, night Tayu-chan." He replied, barely audible as the two drifted off into a peaceful sleep.

My apologies! I know it's not 'The Hunted' but I intend for Chapter 13 to have a lot of stuff going on, and im not quite sure what all of it is yet, haha. NaruxTayu is one of my favourite pairings, and wanted to write a story more based around them, of course I will still be working on 'The Hunted' I intend to write alot and in case you're wondering this chapter only took a day to write! Productive is so unlike me…I must be getting sick haha.

Favourites, alerts and Groups are always super appreciated! I also try to answer all reviews via PM.

Ja ne!