My goodness… It's been so long since I got a laugh…
Well, guess it's time to revisit the Nut House!
Disclaimer: I own nothing, and I hope to leave you all laughing, chuckling, or even simply smiling wherever you read this!
Chapter Seven: Preparations
"You do realize that you're putting yourself at risk by telling me about this, don't you?" Sarutobi asked the kunoichi sitting before him.
Kin nodded firmly. "I do, sir. But, I want no part in Orochimaru's plans for the Leaf or anyone else. I'm only asking for sanctuary here for both myself and my friend, Tayuya." She took a moment to think before adding, "Actually, maybe you should add another girl I know; Karin."
"Why them specifically?"
"Tayuya is my friend. We've known one another since we met in Sound. She was already climbing the ranks when I met her, and she made sure I understood what it took to stay alive."
"I added her because I heard that she was an Uzumaki; so, that makes her a family member of Naruto's." She gave the elderly man a small smile and finished, "I think he'd be happy to meet someone from his clan."
The Hokage caught the faint blush the girl tried to fight, and he easily hid his smirk. 'Naruto, my boy, you're as much of a lady killer as your father.' Nodding to her in understanding, he replied, "Very well. I'll need solid descriptions of those two so that I could inform my forces if they run into them."
"Lord Hokage, are you going to let this invasion happen?"
"Yes, but only so that I could turn it around and hopefully put an end to my wayward student. You know what's going to happen, so I must request you to tell me everything you've been informed of."
"All I know is that it's during the finals and that Gaara guy from the Hidden Sand is a key part of it. if I had to guess, it's because he's the Jinchūriki of the Ichibi."
Sarutobi hummed thoughtfully. "Which means that the Hidden Sand is taking part in this invasion…"
"I…don't know if they're doing it willingly, sir."
"What do you mean?"
"Tayuya told me that their Kazekage was killed by Orochimaru, and that a decoy would be taking his place."
"That's worrying… However, maybe I could turn this around more effectively," the man mused. "Thank you for telling me about this, Tsuchi-san. On my word as Hokage, you will receive sanctuary here and I will do my best to bring your friend and acquaintance here as well."
Kin smiled in relief. "Thank you, sir."
Sasuke Uchiha was not in a good mood. Ever since he found out that he'd be facing that whisker-faced loser for his first match in the Finals, his sensei had warned him nonstop how he needed to be prepared for anything.
He didn't see the point to the man's worry. The Uzumaki was an idiot, and he'd once rented a room in the nut house. What's the worst thing an idiot could do to the last member of an elite warrior clan?
It had been a week since he decided that Naruto wasn't worth his concern, and he had found himself the victim strange circumstances all throughout the week. He had nearly been crushed by a falling piano, nearly fell into a pit full of whoopie cushions, somehow became the target of the demon cat (Tora) during her heat cycle, and had lost his clothes by a sudden gust of wind…MULTIPLE TIMES!
He was willing to bet that the idiot was behind everything; possibly out of fear of facing an Uchiha in front of a massive audience. Sasuke smirked at that, his ego being stoked at the idea of someone fearing him because of his clan heritage.
Another gust of wind roared past him, forcing him to close his eyes from the dust being picked up. When his vison cleared, he felt a draft and quickly bolted before anyone could see him in the buff. The last thing he wanted was for his fangirls to see him like that…again.
He swore he heard evil laughter in the distance as he shuddered.
"I'm sorry I can't stay any longer," Shizuka said to Naruto, standing with her fellow Nadeshiko at the village gates. She had been able to convince her teacher to allow them to stay for the week, hoping to use the time to establish a better connection with the redheaded loon who was to be her husband.
"It's okay," Naruto reassured her with a smile, unaware of the faint blush on her face. "I know that you need to get back home. We could always message each other, though."
She perked up at that. "Yes, we can. Please," she grabbed his hands in hers, making him blink as she looked to him with a beautiful smile, "stay in touch, Naruto-kun. I promise that I'll return soon." She then leaned in and kissed him softly on the cheek, making him resemble a tomato.
The Kyuubi growled at that, grumbling about squashed tomatoes.
"I'll see you again, my betrothed," she bid before she reluctantly released his hands and followed her team. Just before she passed the first hilltop, she looked back and smiled when she saw that he was still there. Giving him a final wave, she turned back around and resumed her trek home.
After seeing her out of view, Naruto turned around to get some ramen. However, he froze in place when he wound up face-to-face with Samui, whose face looked calm and betrayed nothing.
"Hey, Samui-chan," Naruto greeted brightly, taking a step back so he wasn't in her personal space. "What's up?"
"…You saw Shizuka-san off?" she asked plainly.
"Hmm? Oh yeah, I did. She asked me to so that she could say goodbye." His smile remained, innocent and oblivious as ever.
"Was that all?" she pressed calmly, simply raising a brow.
"Well, she said that she would be coming back, called me her betrothed – whatever that means," he never noticed her brow twitch, "and she kissed my cheek."
A tic mark appeared, but her face remained calm. "I see…"
"I don't know what she means, but it's okay. I'm actually happy that you're here."
She blinked, losing her growing anger for curiosity. "You are?"
"Yeah! We never went out yet!" he pointed out, grinning with his arms behind his head.
She blushed at that, realizing that he was right. "O-Oh… Did you…want to go do something now?"
"Sure! I was going to get some ramen. Did you want some, too?"
There was no fighting the chuckle that escaped her lips. She honestly should've expected that. "A couple bowls would be cool."
"Awesome! Let's go, then!" he cheered, grasping her hand as he walked and missing her cheeks turn pink.
As she was led by him, a smile formed on her lips and she gently tightened her grip on his hand. She didn't even care that their first date was getting some ramen; she was just happy to spend time with the kindhearted loon.
"Good to see you again, Naruto-kun," Unohana greeted the young Uzumaki as he sat in her office once again. "How have your preparations for the Chunin Exam Finals been going?"
"Nearly finished!" Naruto boasted happily. "I got the song needed thanks to Kin," Unohana looked intrigued at that, "and I just need to put the finishing touches on the main performance."
"You…do realize that this is meant to test your combative capabilities, yes?" she queried hesitantly.
"Oh, I know that," he waved off. "I'll be sure to take other people seriously after I have some fun with Sasuke."
"Oh? The Uchiha boy is your first opponent?"
Nodding, the Uzumaki clarified, "Yeah, he and I drew the numbers for the last match of the first bracket. I'm going to give everyone a great show with Sasuke as an unwilling support character!"
She looked amused at his words. "You believe you could string Uchiha-san along like a puppet?"
"Nah, more like he's going to be the log to my Substitution Jutsu."
"That'll be interesting, but why would you describe it like that?"
"Because what I'm going to do will make his fangirls change their targeting from me out of rage to him out of amazement."
"…I'm not sure I want to know what you have planned, now," she admitted.
"Good, because I wasn't going to spoil anyway!"
"Well, other than planning your scapegoat, what else have you been up to?"
Here, Naruto turned bashful and rubbed the back of his head. "I uh… I had a small date with Samui-chan."
"Ara~!" she teased, making him blush. "I was right about her catching your eye, then. Well, good for you, Naruto-kun. It's nice to see someone see you for who you are and enjoy it."
"…Is it wrong to like more than one person?" he asked hesitantly, catching her interest. "Because…I do like Samui-chan…but Kin was so nice, and she likes my music…and Shizuka calls me her betrothed. What does that mean?"
"It means that she's declared you as her future husband," she answered honestly. "She was from the Nadeshiko, yes?"
"Then, when you bested her, you fulfilled their people's customs and she is to become your wife so that you both may have a potentially strong child." She sighed and shook her head. "I wasn't a real fan of those customs. It's why I left…"
"Oh, Yachiru…" Naruto heard from the Kyuubi, her voice distant and saddened.
"…Yachiru?" he repeated, confusion in his voice as Unohana froze.
"W…Where did you…?" she asked in shock, cutting off the recorder used during their session.
"Kaa-chan said it… She sounded sad when she said it… Who are they, Doc?"
Taking a shuddering breath, she got out of her chair and moved over to sit beside him on the couch. "…Yachiru was my name before I left Nadeshiko, Naruto-kun. I gave it up when I moved here, taking on the name of Retsu and pretending to be the younger sibling of Yachiru."
"But why?" he asked, looking to her sadly. "Why would you give up your name? Wasn't it important to you?"
She smiled sadly, reaching over to cup his cheek. "Some names…carry a lot of pain or memories that you wish to bury… I had hoped that, by dropping the name, I would also drop the memories of who I used to be…"
"Doc…" Naruto whispered, feeling her sadness. "It doesn't matter to me who you used to be…" She turned to him once more, witnessing him give her a warm smile. "You are and always will be Doc to me, Doc! You're someone I can always talk to if I'm feeling unsure… I've heard stories of people who do everything for their friends and for people they care about…" His smile became his signature grin as he finished, "And I care about you too, Doc!"
Her eyes widened at that, her heart tugging at how much he looked like her old friend; the only person in the village she ever told her real name to. 'Kushina-chan… He's so much like you…'
"I think kaa-chan worries about you, but I'll make sure she doesn't have to! You won't ever have to be sad anymore, I promise! I'll make you smile every day, Doc!"
She was touched at his words, giving him a gentle smile and surprising him when she pulled him in for a warm embrace. "…Thank you, Naruto-kun…"
He was confused at first, but he settled on just hugging her back and enjoying the warmth the hug gave. From the Kyuubi, he heard, "Good job, Kit…"
'No problem, kaa-chan.'
"…Do me a favor and have her bump her fist with yours, Naruto-kun."
Curious, Naruto pulled away from the hug and held his fist out to Unohana. She raised a brow at his gesture, but when she saw him smiling at her, she couldn't help but return it and gently bumped her fist to his. Her eyes widened when the area around her distorted and she found herself facing the Kyuubi herself.
At first, she was worried and prepared to defend herself; but, she hesitated when she saw the vixen smile at her without any maliciousness. "It's been too long, Yachiru…"
Her brows furrowed at that. "How do you know my name?"
"You told it to me when we became best friends," Kyuubi answered with a smirk. "If I remember right…we also gave one another our first times."
Blushing up a storm, Unohana's jaw slowly fell. "…Kushina…?"
The vixen merely had her smirk grow into a grin at that.
Naruto was seen sitting on the head of the Fourth Hokage, smiling as he saw the nightlife starting in his village. The sun had set, but the village was still aglow with the lights below.
"There you are," he heard someone speak up, looking over his shoulder and spotting Kin. "I've been looking for you, Naruto-kun."
"Hey, Kin-chan!" he greeted, patting the ground next to him for her to sit. When she settled herself beside him, he asked, "Where've you been? I haven't seen you for over a week."
"I've been busy," she answered. "You know, getting ready for the Finals and all that." She mentally growled at how the preparations and talks with the Hokage had kept her from spending time with him. "How about you?"
"I've been getting things ready for Sasuke. It's gonna be great!"
The way he chuckled evilly made her sweatdrop; which grew when she saw comical devil horns poking out of his head. Curious, she reached up and poked the tip, and the sweatdrop was double its original size when she felt that they were real.
"I…see…" she replied awkwardly. "The song we worked on wouldn't happen to be a part of it, would it?"
"Nah, our song is for something else," he answered, earning a bright blush from Kin when he called it their song.
"Good to hear," she breathed out, enjoying the moment with him. Feeling a bit bold, she scooted next to him so that their arms nearly touched. "So…" she drew out, "are you going to be doing anymore performances at that music bar?"
"Nope," he answered. "I've been busy with other things."
"Oh…" An idea popped up in her mind. "Maybe we could do a duet there one night?"
"That sounds awesome!" he agreed with a grin. "You could provide the beat and I'll bring the lyrics!"
"Just you? What if I wanted to sing too, Naruto-kun?" she challenged with a smirk.
"Oh, then we could come up with something else! Either way, a duet with you will probably be one of that place's best performances!"
She blushed prettily at the praise; even if claiming that spot would be child's play based on the other acts. Leaning her head on his shoulder, she got his attention and stared into his multi-colored eyes. "I'm sure it will…" she said softly, smiling at him.
She was pleased to see him blush and look away shyly, taking it as a sign that he was interested in her. Unfortunately for her, the moment was ruined when someone else arrived; someone she vaguely remembered from the Preliminaries.
"Naruto," Samui greeted, prompting Kin to take her head off his shoulder. "I thought we were going to spar together?"
"Oh!" Naruto exclaimed, looking sheepish. "Sorry, Samui-chan," he missed Kin frowning at the blonde kunoichi, "I lost track of time. By the way, have you met Kin-chan? She helped me with some music a little while ago, and she whistled for me at the Preliminaries."
"I remember her," Samui answered stoically, locking her frigid blue eyes with the black pools the Sound kunoichi had. "I'm Samui, Naruto's girlfriend," she introduced, a metaphorical lioness staring down a tigress.
"Girlfriend, huh?" Kin repeated, her tone slightly challenging. "Wonder how you two will handle such a long-distance relationship when you head back home."
"We'll make it work," assured Samui.
"Better make sure, or else someone else may just sink her claws into Naruto-kun here," was the rebuttal, a gleam appearing in Kin's black orbs.
Naruto looked lost at what was happening while Kushina palmed her muzzle at the territorial dispute the two kunoichi were having. Real Estate over a boy's heart was a serious business, and these two realtors were both trying to set up shop in her Kit's heart.
"Whatever happens, let them work things out between themselves."
'Okay… But what are they trying to work out?'
"You'll find out someday…" was her answer before she cut the link and sighed to herself. 'Never thought that my little boy might have to invoke the CRA… But, I'll be happy if these girls make him happy,' she then frowned with a faint growl, 'and I'll destroy them if they break his heart."
The rest of the month went off without much issue. Naruto had his weekly scheduled visits with Unohana, and she seemed more cheerful in his opinion. His kaa-chan didn't even mind when the kind Doctor hugged him again and they took a nap together.
It was honestly one of the best moments of rest he could remember.
Anko, who had been away on a super-secret mission from the Old Man, had come back in the middle of the final week and the two pseudo-siblings terrorized the town with pranks and mischief to celebrate her return. He still chuckled to himself when he remembered his nee-chan scaring the crap out of the Academy Students with a snake that had given him permission to paint with a skeleton design.
Samui hung out with him on occasion, and Kin would tag along almost every time. He couldn't help but see himself as a fox kit caught between two lionesses. Though, he had no clue why he saw himself that way. When he asked his kaa-chan and Doc about it, both women told him to "Leave it be and wait".
He found himself honestly worried about what he was waiting for.
And lastly, his pranking spree on the elite Uchiha had continued without any setbacks. He had to pat himself on the back when he was able to swap out Sasuke's regular clothes for a slightly off-colored pair with a little message for his fangirls; a message they eagerly responded to.
After all, what girl would say No to an open invite to kiss her Prince Charming?
Now, he found himself at the arena where the Finals would be taking place. He was giddy with excitement, his hand twitching for a scroll attached to a holster on his belt. He ignored the proctor, who was some guy who coughed too much, explaining the rules and followed the other Genin to the waiting area while Shino and Omoi remained for the first fight.
He found himself standing beside Samui and Kin, missing them give each other sideways glares as he cheered out, "You got this, Bugsy! He'll tire himself out thinking of the consequences!"
Karui snickered at that while Samui smirked. Down below, Omoi shifted the sucker in his mouth to show his lack of amusement at the statement while Shino fixed his shades to hide his amusement.
"Let the first match of the Chunin Exam Finals," Gekko Hayate began, taking a moment to cough, "begin!"
I am SO sorry that this story hasn't gotten any love lately! I have no excuse other than work getting in the way, new ideas, and honest laziness. BUT, I'll try to do better by you guys!
So, Unohana's former name has been revealed, as has the identity of the Kyuubi within Naruto! But, HOW did Kushina become the Kyuubi? WHY would she willingly break the mind of her child? WHAT was the relationship between Kushina and Yachiru?
And WHAT will our Looney Fox Kit do when the three lionesses after his heart duke it out? You'll have to stay tuned to see!
Until next time!