Naruto and Wolf

Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto or Spice and Wolf

Chapter 9

His footsteps echoed ominously in the dark barely lit cathedral. Wooden benches of fancy makes lined the majority of the space leading to a podium. Despite the holy setting the darkness only made the place seem haunting in his opinion.

Naruto never really understood the church and their need to make themselves look pretty. The benches themselves looked like if he was to sell them the return would amount to at least enough to buy a small house. They were supposed to be the good that helped the poor yet while he looked around it made him think it was the other way around.

The church was the symbol that brought the people out from under dark times. The time after the fall of an empire and people were scattered once again into lawlessness. He had seen the power that faith could have on people. He had seen the good, yet he had also seen the bad. It's only with this knowledge did he feel nothing but detachment for what the religion had become.

He knew it would have been only a matter of time before belief and hope turned into selfishness and opportunity. Of course it wasn't something that he wished to happen. No he actually hoped that somehow the power of influence could somehow stay true to course. He didn't want to be right in his predictions but he was. It was almost too predictable as the cycle continued unimpeded.

The sound of his footsteps continued to echo around the room as he slowly walked towards the podium. If not for the lit prayer candles the whole cathedral would have been devoid of light. Naruto stood silently staring at the crucified form of the son hanging on the wall. A crown of thorns hung on his head as the depiction of blood trailed down from all his wounds. Despite a mocking crown, the nailed up limbs, and the pierced side it was the small content smile on the son's face that really irked him.

"It is late my son. Is there something I can help you with?"

He already knew that he was there behind him. Despite silent footsteps he already knew the priest that Norah had spoken with was watching him when he entered. He didn't think that the man was trying to sneak up on him but it was still a slightly amusing thought, a priest trying to sneak up on someone like him.

"I find myself lost father."

There was a pause as the priest seemed to mull over his words. Naruto had a feeling that the man already knew who he was, or at least knew who he was associated with. Yarei's words to him reverberated in his mind. He was not as invisible as he once was.

"Despite the wording I believe that there is more to your words than simply not knowing where you are." The tone was light hearted but it was also probing. Anyone would have found his words and felt at ease yet Naruto could not, being where he was. "Tell me son, are you lost in the sense that you do not know where you are or are you looking for guidance from our lord?"

"Does it really matter? Does not those two mean the same thing."

"I do not follow," he didn't need to turn around to know that the priest was confused by what he said.

"Tell me father doesn't the church preach that there is a reason for us. That for every man, woman, and child 'God' has a plan." Again he didn't need to look back to know that the priest was not entirely amused by the way he said God. "Should I decide to ask where to go or ask for this guidance would it not matter? It would still be 'God's' plan."

"Yes child it would still be God's plan," he spoke in a calm tone as if to educate someone. "Yet God has also given us the greatest gift. He had given us the gift of choice, the ability to choose to follow those plans or not."

"I see," Naruto said turning to finally face the priest. "So I have a choice to act if I want to or just wander as an observer."

"Of course, you are free to choose. You are free from all judgement in your decisions. Only yourself and God as your witness can decide if you have made the right call."

"You have given me a lot to think about father," he walked by him aiming to leave. "I hope you do too."

"Yes, yes as brief as it was this conversation was very stimulating."

Naruto said nothing else as he finally made it outside. The fresh air made him glad to finally be out from that place. The conversation with that priest would have seemed simple to most outside parties but it was a conversation veiled with parting shots and hidden agendas. Really he had only one agenda when he entered the church and that was to know it they knew of him. And there wasn't a doubt in Naruto's mind that the man knew who he was and who he kept in company.

Yarei had made it clear to him that they were now in the churches sights. Not him per say but Holo, and in turn him due to association. Naruto didn't think he was thought of as nothing more than Holo's companion but Yarei's words made it seem like Holo's existence was at least suspected.

If he was to follow that logic of association then it would mean that Norah was somehow a part of the machinations of higher ups. The conversation between the priest and the young girl only made that more apparent.

He had no idea what their plans were but he wasn't entirely concerned. At the worst they were only a mild annoyance as he had no doubt in his mind that he could protect his and Holo's identities quite easily. The only thing that bothered him was Norah's part in this little play.

She was a third part in this that he didn't want involved and from the looks of things she was just as reluctant. Yet he knew the influence the church had. It would be her decision to get involved and he could only let her make her choice.

Naruto knew he was in trouble the second he entered the room to find the light had been blown out and the huddled form of Holo tucked underneath the bed covers. It had taken him some time to find the food she was craving and the little detour at the church didn't help matters.

He had a feeling he would be walking back into a potentially hazardous situation but the darkness and silence was a much more foreboding scenario than what he had imagined. He figured Holo would have been a haughty mass of anger and spitfire in his return but the way she hid herself away from him was infinitely worse than what he expected.

He lit the lamp with fire once more and sat at the foot of the bed still clutching the bag that contained their meal but if Holo had noticed his presence or smelled the food she didn't acknowledge. Naruto couldn't even tell if she was asleep with the covers still covering her but he had a feeling that she was wide awake and had been waiting for his return. She had never once not waited for him. The thought brought a strange glimmer in his chest but was overcome by the sudden onset of guilt.

Before he could even say the words of apology the covers over Holo pulled down. "You took far too long." She didn't look angry or annoyed, if anything she looked as if she had expected his later arrival. "I had almost believed that you had forgotten of me but such a thing is impossible as we both know."

He didn't know how to respond to this calmness when he expected more of an explosion. Yet he couldn't help the slight grin on his lips at her usual quips. "Perhaps I did forget you and only just did remember that you would be alone and hungry should I have not returned."

She rolled her eyes in exaggerated manner and sat up, "Alas you may tease all you want but we both are quite aware 'tis impossible, you could never forget a fair maiden such as I." Holo quickly took the bag from his hands and grinned toothily at the contents inside. "Now I can finally devour those enticing little critters that's been flaunting around me all evening."

"More wolf than maiden," Naruto said laughing as she devoured the meat inside. "You do know that those aren't actually Norah's sheep's you're eating right now."

The glare she sent him would have been more menacing if her cheeks weren't puffed up full of food. "Do not make sport of me. Of course I'm perfectly aware of that fact but I can at least imagine that they are if only to sate my annoyance over letting so many of my prey just scatter about."

He could only smile at her answer knowing her well enough that everything she said was true. She truly was annoyed at having to let the sheep's roam free when her wolfish nature called for her to embody the wolf that she was. It was a good thing he had found her the muttons she had been craving or else he didn't even want to imagine the mood she'd be in if he didn't.

He sat there in silence as Holo ate her meal with gusto. Despite the ravenous way she was eating she still held a sense of regality that he didn't think was possible when pigging out. He reached over in his daze over his observation of her not noticing his hands moving as he wiped her cheek of the juice from the meat. He only realized his actions when Holo had caught his hand and held it against her cheek.

She was very warm, strangely so, and oh so soft against the palm of his hand. His eyes met hers and the only thoughts in his head were the ones that escaped his lips, "Why are you not angry with me?"

He could see the smile form on those pert lips but with his hand still pressed up against her he could also feel it. The warmth she exuded did not seem so strange anymore. "What was there to be angry about? You returned like I knew you would."

Naruto didn't know how to respond to her words. In those few little utterance he felt her convey so much. The level of trust she seemed to have for him was so much more than he thought.

He wet his dry lips before answering, "What if I did not return?"

"You would have returned," she said in a tone that made it seem like it was the only truth in the world. "Of this I have not doubt."

He felt a stirring in his chest that he hadn't felt in a long time. Her words seemed to pierce right through him and strike where he was most vulnerable, perhaps where he was only vulnerable. He still didn't know if he could, if he could throw himself into the wind once again but he was willing now, at least, to take another step. If only just one more step.

He drew back his hand finding it far colder now that it was devoid of her warmth. "The church is suspicious of your existence."

It was his own way of saying that he would trust her as well. Instead of keeping this piece of information, that was not anyway related to business, he was willing to confide in her a little bit more of the inner workings of his mind and troubles. He was willing to let her shoulder some of his burdens.

Instead of a negative response to the news Holo just smiled as if he had just told her that it would be bright and sunny tomorrow. "I suppose you were able to work this out after your encounter with the little shepherdess?"

His eyes widened slightly at her words. How did she—

"I could smell her on you when you returned." It was as if she had read right through him. "The stench was far more apparent than when you had left so I assumed you had somehow stumbled upon her while out." She bit into the mutton in her hand with scowl. "'Twould be a lie if I were to say that the thought does not annoy me but I suppose it can't be helped."

"The church or Norah?"

"Why both of course," she said glaring as if it was the obvious answer. "I am not quite as taken with the frail shepherdess like you, I find her presence quite vexing. While the church is only a nuisance that is hardly worth mentioning."

He quirked an amused eyebrow at the way she dismissed the current most powerful group. "Oh and what makes the church so irrelevant. I would think that it'd be a problem if they set their sights on you."

A teasing smirk crossed Holo's lips as she brought her hand up to her mouth and licked the juices off in a slow and tantalizing manner. With eyes firmly locked with his she draped herself over him and whispered in his ear letting her warm breath caress him. "Why it's because I have you. As long as I have you I have nothing to fear from anyone."

She drew back with mirth dancing in her eyes and jumped under covers. She patted the bed as if to beckon him and he felt his body moving to slip under with her. Warmth spread around him as Holo pressed herself against him with her arms wrapped around his waist.

"You'll protect me won't you?"

He turned his head and found her face extremely close to his with their noses almost touching and warm puff of breath hitting his lips seductively. He nodded slowly bringing them even closer to each other. Their lips almost touching.

A smile spread across her face. "And I shall do the same for you as any equal should."

Abruptly she turned around leaving him at a loss at what exactly had just happened. They had been so close to each other and just a mere sudden movement and they would have—

"Just because I did not seem it I want you to know that I am still quite angry with you." Holo said with her back turned to him. "And this is your punishment."

In any other situation he would have found the 'punishment' to have been a gift but at the moment he couldn't help but think that it was quite cruel.

It would take him a little bit longer to fall asleep that night. He told himself that it was because he wasn't as tired but he knew the truth. It was due to the woman lying beside him with her back turned to him, 'punishing' him.

Naruto had awoken far earlier than usual. The sun was not even out, yet his eyes fluttered open without a care for the time. While the bed he shared with his companion was warm and inviting his sleep did not bring him the same feeling.

He wouldn't quite say that nightmares had plagued him rest but he wouldn't exactly call them pleasant either. His night was filled with contradictions that wrenched him on opposite sides. He heart tugged painfully at his dreams of wide set eyes eerily similar to his that both haunted and entranced him.

While his past still burdened him to some degree he had never actively dwelled upon them as they were vast and filled with memories that would only bring him longing. Still he could never truly hide from them as sometimes even something simple as the grass upon a plain could trigger a memory that stayed dormant within his very soul.

Naruto sat up knowing that there would be no more sleep for him to claim and instead strapped on his boots. He wasn't entirely sure where he was going but the crispy morning air felt cool against his flushed faces. That alone made the decision to go outside infinitely better than letting his mind wanders aimlessly.

The town was much quieter without the bustle of daily life rambunctiously littering the streets. Only a select few people were even awake and even they were silent as if they too were unwilling to break the tranquility. Still the few that did whisper in conversation could be heard due to the stillness of the morning.

"I fear that my shipments will take longer to reach Lamtra." He could hear the conversation despite the hushed tones they spoke in. "My business is losing money having to take such a roundabout way to reach the town."

"Have the situation in the forest worsen?"

"Worsen? It's well beyond such a simple way of describing the situation." The tidbit of information piqued his interest. "The wolves are not normal I tell you and the amount is irregular."

He strained to hear any more of the whispers between the two men as they disappeared off into a corner until it was once again silent. When the streets were like this it reminded him of Poroson. The sister town on Ruvenheigen while quite a deal smaller was also quieter and less lively yet had a humbleness about it that its sibling town lacked.

While Ruvenheigen was certainly aesthetically beautiful with its imposing structure and fine cathedrals it didn't have the restraint that Poroson possessed. So it was a contrast to find that even in all its wonder Ruvenheigen's streets were like any city town in regards to the homeless.

While it would be a stretch to say that the streets were littered with beggars lying in ditches it wouldn't be fair to say that there were only a few. Though not as much as some places there were still an amount that showed that even a places as prosperous as Ruvenheigen that not all shared in its bounty.

Perhaps in his youth he would have cared more about the lack of human necessities those people lacked but he had seen all too much that the sight didn't even cause him to glance twice. Yet some still drew his eyes in the midst of those faceless demographic.

Small and frail as if a small breeze would be able to knock her over, huddled tightly into a small bundle as a way to stave off the morning chill. He could see that a small bundle of fur was pressed firmly against her side as if the little animal would have been enough to keep her warm. The dog looked to be asleep as was its master.

Her bright blonde hair was like a bright light among the dark morning and he felt himself walking towards her. As he drew closer he could see that despite the cloak wrapped tightly around her that she still shivered in chill.

In a way Naruto was relieved that her eyes were shut as the dreams of similarly blue eyes had been torturous enough but to see an imitation in reality would have been worst. Perhaps he was projecting his past onto the girl but he felt compelled to ease her burden.

He took off the furred shawl around his shoulders and gently wrapped it around hers. Already he had done more for her than he had even considered for those in a similar position. He did not believe in God, or at least the same God that the priest had talked about, but there was something to consider when his path constantly crossed the young girl's. It was like no matter what he did he was being pulled against his will, making him face things he had long tried to forget. He would be long gone before the young girl stopped her shivering as his act of kindness brought her the warmth she had been missing.

Naruto felt the tugging on his arm as he was led from street to street by Holo but no matter how hard or how insistent she became he refused to walk any faster than he already was. Somehow he found himself as the pack mule to the sudden shopping spree that Holo had decided was a necessity. Only this type of shopping consisted of many food trials and whatever odd trinkets that caught the girl's eye.

He had already spent the better part of the morning going stall to stall with her and it looked like this type of excursion was going to last well until sundown so he was not about to hurry up his pace and cover the amount of ground that Holo seemed to want to sweep. If he was forced to 'shop' the whole day then he could at least do his best to at least make it manageable.

"Why is it that you males are so insistent on being so difficult with everything?"

Naruto gave the pouting girl a dry look while she continued to pull at him in an effort to speed him up. "I think I've been more than fair letting you drag me around."

"Yes, with only a fair hint of resistance and grumbling." She spared him a glance in mocking sarcasm as they came upon an open bar with tables designed for standing. "Though I suppose you've earned yourself a reward for accompanying me, at least more so than just my presence."

"And what exactly is this reward?"

A wicked smiled formed on her face as the proprietor of the establishment came to them for their order. "Why, the reward of sharing a drink with me—sir a mug of your best ale for the both of us!"

The man chuckled at her energy before whispering to his, "I see that you've fallen for a woman unafraid to spend your money. I do admit if one were to fall victim to such a woman you have picked quite a beautiful one to empty your pockets with."

Naruto gave the man a dry stare causing him to laugh boisterously as he left to fetch their ale. They were in the more commercialized part of town which was filled with street attractions and stores of various kinds. Similarly though were the religious sect's that spoke from the scripture through its audience. The light feel that the city had was a complete turnaround from the uptight atmosphere of its sister town. While it's people just as religious, if not more so, than Poroson the ambiance of Ruvenheigen was quite lively.

Street performer's danced and performed tricks that enamored the audience while people of all types busied the streets. His eyes were drawn particularly to a pair of clown like performers dressed in bright clothing. They captivated their audience in awe as one breathed fire from his mouth while the other hilariously mimed a look of surprise. The trick brought gasps and applause from the young children in the crowd while some dropped brown copper coins at their feet.

He couldn't help the slight curve of at the end of his mouth from forming at the sight. The people of the now were amazed by the most mundane things—or at least mundane during the shinobi age, now not so much.

By the time his gaze returned to his companion she had already taken a few gulps of the ale brought to them and had a bright smile on her face along with the faint glow of satisfaction dusting her cheeks. He drank his own mug in a much calmer manner but still kept along, if not just slightly slower.

"You are not quite as cunning as you believe yourself to be, you know."

He glanced up at Holo to find the bottom half of her face covered behind her mug yet he had a faint idea that her lips were curled up in mirth. He could see her eyes twinkling as she kept gaze with him, hiding herself behind her drink. It was a look that said 'I know what you're trying to do'.

"I had thought myself to be leading this whole time when it was I that was being herded like cattle to a call." She didn't look angry despite the slow and slightly frigid tone she spoke in. "I had been enjoying myself so much and you were all too keen to let me be in my ignorance."

He snorted at her words causing a flash of anger to manifest itself in her eyes as she downed the rest of her drink and slammed the mug onto the table with a little more force than necessary, "Did I say something amusing!?"

"Don't act like you didn't know."

Holo growled at his but didn't look to deny what he said, "That doesn't mean I have to like it!" She took his drink now that hers was gone and downed it as well making the slight flush on her cheeks to deepen. She turned on her seat to face the direction he was looking at and spoke in a more chipper tone as if the ale had miraculously cooled her temper. "Now are we merely stalking our prey?"

Amidst the crowd of people watching the street performers was the same frail girl with straw colored hair that had traveled with them. Her ever faithful companion was by her side yapping at the flames as if his barking would somehow dispel the phenomenon. It was easy to tell her apart from the rest of the group because the people seemed to give her a wide berth yet it didn't seem to faze her as if the treatment was not something new.

"Our?" He repeated her words as if to make certain he heard right.

A small hand wrapped around his that had tightened into a fist unbeknownst to him under the table in a calming manner. Naruto didn't even notice that his hands had balled up yet somehow Holo did.

Her eyes peered into his with a calm soothing gaze. There was something about those amber red eyes that seemed to just pierce right through him. No words were spoken but there was no need. He could see in her eyes the unyielding support she would give him. He didn't think that she really understood the reason behind his hesitation but those kinds of things didn't seem to matter to her. Her eyes told all that she would be right there with him.

"Ahem," Holo and Naruto were interrupted by proprietor who had seemingly appeared out of nowhere with a bemused expression. "Am I interrupting?"

The irritation that morphed on Holo's face only lasted for a moment before that deceiving charming smile reappeared.

"No, we were just about to leave."

A ghost of a smile spread on his lips at her seamless transition and laid down the necessary amount of coins to pay for their order. Holo trailed behind him as he walked through the crowd of people.

He felt a soft tug on the hem of his shirt as Holo gripped the edge to keep herself from being separated from him. Midday was always a busy time and it was more so in such a commercialized part of the town. Instead of having Holo cling to his shirt like some hanger on he grasped the hand that held on to him and intertwined his fingers with hers. A pull and she was beside him instead of trailing behind.

The crowd of people seemed to part for them almost subconsciously. The busy streets were packed with people yet the pair weren't hindered at all with the way others seemed to step to side as they walked by to make a little bit more room for them.

In mere moments the two stood within the space people gave a berth to and regarded the girl with mismatched expressions. While Naruto was unreadable and detached like usual Holo's was marred with a scowl.

It took a moment for Norah to realize that she was not alone anymore. When she turned to regard who had broken the little bubble made around her, her face went from surprised to a mixture of apprehension and guilt.

She stared at him with those bright blue eyes and he fought not to flinch at her gaze. Thankfully her eyes shifted elsewhere and she instantly brightened when she noticed Holo.

"Holo, Naruto," it seems that her unusual admiration for the scowling woman had not lessened at all. "I'm so glad to see you both again!" Though her eyes flickered to him as a flash of guilt seemed to emanate from her yet the smile stayed plaster on her lips.

"Norah," he said gaining her attention. "I have a business proposition for you."

Author's Note:

Well it's been a while since I've updated this and really I didn't mean to take so long. I got caught up in my other stories and this kind of took a bit of a back seat. This is still active and I haven't hit any writers block or anything like that. I'm actually still full of ideas and have a decent idea of where this story is leading so don't worry I'll have the next chapter out a lot sooner than it took for this one! I hope you all enjoy this chapter and let me know what you think!

Leave me a nice long Review!