Kurama in Narutoland

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Chapter Forty-five:

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Quick summary of the few changes made:

Basically, all I did was change Naruto's core ability and get rid of the last two chapters. This chapter is just all the old stuff, and all future chapters will be brand new. Sorry for being such a lazy ass, my faithful reviewers!

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Naruto and Kurama stared at the strange sight before them. Little blobs of blue floated around the clearing Occasionally, a blob would glow some seemingly random colour as it bounced along through the air.

"What the HELL is THAT supposed to be?" Naruto asked incredulously, poking at one of the blobs.

Kurama tilted his head to the side and walked up to one of the blobs. He poked it with his finger and gasped when some of his ki was sucked into it. He quickly pulled back his finger and backed away from the phenomenon. "It would seem… that they absorb energy."

Naruto blinked at the redhead before turning his attention back to the blob. "How come they don't steal my energy?"

Kurama gave Naruto a small smile. "Because they're your energy Naruto. Your energy can't steal your energy."

The blond blinked before saying, "I knew that."

Kurama just shook his head, his green eyes dancing with amusement. Naruto could be so simple sometimes, but it was a cute sort of simple. "So, I suppose you'll have to experiment with this new ability of yours, Naru-chan. I can't really tell you how to use it… so…"

Naruto grinned and started hitting the blobs around with his hands. He was going to enjoy fiddling around with these things.

They had had no lunch break (Naruto had been too caught up in learning to control the movement of the blobs and making them into funny shapes) and both were starving (Naruto more than Kurama). They decided to go out for dinner (Kurama paying). Since the redhead was paying, he managed to convince Naruto to go to an actual restaurant.

Once they got there, they ordered drinks and their meals. Naruto ordered (you guessed it) ramen, and Kurama ordered an onigiri dish.

"Kurama," Naruto said as they waited for their food to come, "When we go back to Konoha with Tsunade, where are you taking me to train?"

Kurama blinked. He really hadn't thought much about that. "Well, I guess we could just travel around, go to a few different villages and offer to do missions for money to live off of. First we'll have to gain permission from Tsunade, and then we'll have to leave our hitai-ate behind, so we can't be linked back to here in case of prejudices. It would be bad for work," he thought out loud.

Naruto looked thoughtful. "What about those Akatsuki guys Jiraiya told us about a while ago?" he asked before taking a gulp of juice.

A small smirk touched Kurama's lips. "If they do, we'll be ready," he said, eyes laced with gold for that instant.

Naruto grinned as their food came, and began gulping down the giant bowl of ramen with gusto. Kurama only shook his head as he ate his onigiri, wondering where all that food went. Once they were done, Kurama paid the bill and the two of them made their way back to the hotel. Jiraiya wasn't there.

"He's probably out drinking sake," Kurama said absently as they brushed their teeth and got ready for bed. Naruto fell asleep as soon as he hit the futon. Kurama stared up at the moon from his window sill for a while before falling asleep as well.

oOo Third Morning oOo

Naruto woke up to find Kurama and his bag no where in sight. Remembering what the redhead said yesterday, he got out of bed and got dressed. Today he was going to figure out exactly what kinds of things he could pull chakra from.

oOo

Kurama smiled blissfully as he ran full speed through the forest, his eyes just barely able to keep up with his body's movements, although they adjusted pretty quickly. Soon he would be weighed down again, and could get back to his regular training tomorrow, when his hand was fully healed. He had taken off the bandages this morning and the skin was raw and sensitive. It would be back to normal tomorrow.

Arriving at the village in no time at all, Kurama came to an almost immediate stop. Climbing down the stairway into the village below, he went in search of the shop he had commissioned to weight his vest. Once he arrived, he opened the door with his left hand and entered the shop.

"Good morning, Kito. Is my vest finished yet?" Kurama asked Kito, who had been writing something on some papers at the counter.

Kito looked up at the sound of a voice, surprised at the stealth with which the boy entered the shop. "Yes, I finished it last night," Kito said, "However, I can't lift it..." Kito sweatdropped.

Kurama smiled and followed Kito into the back. Seeing the vest on a table, he went over and picked it up easily with his left hand. Kito's eyes widened in shock as the boy swung the vest on with one hand and put the other gently through the arm opening.

"I see your hand's almost healed," Kito said pleasantly, although he was still shocked at the strength of a child.

Kurama smiled. "Yes, it is. The skin is just a little raw still. Thank you for making the vest, but I should be on my way now," he said, leaving the store with a wave of his left hand.

Leaving the town, Kurama searched for the tree he had hid his other weights in. Finding them quickly, he took off his vest, cover, and shirt. Putting the weights on as quickly as he could with his tender hand, he wondered how Naruto was doing with his training. After getting redressed, he pulled on the vest and thought absently to himself how bad of a fashion horror he must be at the moment.

Running as fast as he could through the forest, he took an hour to get back to the town where Naruto and Jiraiya were staying. Going directly to the clearing where they trained, Kurama smiled upon the sight of Naruto surrounded by various blobby animals.

"Kurama! You're back!" Naruto said with a grin on his face.

Pain flashed through Kurama's eyes for a moment before disappearing. Naruto had had such a horrible childhood, and yet, here he was, smiling bright as day. It was cruel, the world, leaving one so young to carry such a burden…

"Kurama? What's wrong?" Naruto asked curiously, blinking. Here with Kurama, he didn't have to act like an idiot to be accepted. He didn't have to belittle his intelligence. With Kurama, he could relax and just be himself. Or, almost himself, as his sadder side had yet to make an appearance.

"Nothing is wrong, Naru-chan," Kurama said tenderly, a smile on his face. The shock on Naruto's face caused Kurama's smile to widen. Making his way over to the blonde boy, he sat down with him amongst the flowers, which had moved over to make room. Putting an arm around Naruto, Kurama sighed. "You know, Naruto…" Kurama began, eyes shadowed, "It's okay to cry to let out the sadness. That way, it will heal."

Naruto's eyes widened further and tears gathered in the corners. Kurama could understand him and accept him for what and who he was instantly without a thought… he was like the brother he never had. "Arigatou… Kurama," he said, snuggling into the protective hold and letting it all out. All his pain from the hatred of the village, the pain of being an outcast, the pain… of never belonging…

It was a while later when Naruto finally fell asleep amongst his tears. The child-like innocence on the boy's face elicited a smile from Kurama, and he wrapped the boy in his arms and lied down upon the grass, the flowers sharing Kurama's sorrow for the blonde. They remained that way until late into the night, relaxing in eachother's presence. Naruto was the first to awaken, and smiled at the sight of Kurama's relaxed and unguarded face. He had never seen him so peaceful before… not even when he had slept at the hotel.

"Kurama," Naruto said, shaking the redhead.

Kurama woke instantly, opening his jade eyes. Blinking up at Naruto, he smiled gently. "What do you want to do now? Go for a walk? Train some more? Eat?" he asked.

Naruto looked thoughtful for a moment before asking, "Kurama… what do brothers usually do together?"

Slightly surprised at the random question, Kurama thought for a moment. "Well, brothers look out for each other, play games together, and do things together…"

"What kinds of things?" Naruto asked with an adorably innocent expression.

Kurama smiled widely at the look on Naruto's face. "Well, they could watch movies together, hang out together, that sort of stuff, I guess. I've never really had a brother before… really close friends, sure, but never a brother…"

"Why don't we go and have some fun in the town? Play video games together? I've never done that before…" Naruto said in a soft voice.

Kurama stood up, pulling Naruto with him. "Let's do it then!" he said enthusiastically. "First, though, I want to get changed into a different outfit," Kurama said with a wink.

oOo

"WHOA! WHAT'S THAT!" Naruto exclaimed as he turned around and saw Kurama in blood red cargo pants and vest, with a black sleeveless shirt underneath a long-sleeved net shirt that clung to the body. The weighted arm protectors looked just like real ones, and would arouse no suspicion.

Kurama only smirked at Naruto and did a turn-around. "If you want, we can get you an outfit like this, or similar to this," he said with a smile. "After all, that ridiculously orange outfit would do you no good if you were ever on a stealth mission," he said pleasantly.

Naruto only glared at him and huffed. "I like orange," he said childishly.

Kurama rolled his eyes and sighed, "Regardless, if you're going to be traveling and training with me, then you ARE going to get a different outfit. Better sooner rather than later."

The blonde didn't say anything as they left the hotel to go for a night on the town. Together they played video games, went and watched a late night movie, and had junk food and candy. It was the best day of Naruto's life, and he enjoyed it to its fullest.

oOo Fourth Morning oOo

Naruto groggily opened his eyes, a killer headache on the loose. It wasn't that he had had a lot of sake… he'd just had a lot of sake. Courtesy of Kurama, of course, who had used henge to look like an old man and buy the alcohol. "My head hurts," he complained softly as he sat up on his futon.

"You're the one who decided that you could handle three bottles of sake. I only had one, and I'm fine," Kurama said with a smirk on his face from the window sill.

Naruto only glared and stumbled to the bathroom.

Kurama shook his head after Naruto left the room, an amused expression on his face. His expression turned calm and serene after a moment as he thought, 'We have a lot of work to do today. Now that he knows how to access his core, he needs to learn how to control Kyuubi's core. That I can help him with, and this endeavor will definitely take some time.'

oOo

After Kurama had given Naruto a plant that helped with hangovers, he was back to normal and ready to have some fun. "What are we doing today, Kurama?" Naruto asked curiously as they arrived at the clearing.

Kurama smiled slightly. "Today, you and Kyuubi are getting better acquainted. I want you able to control meager amounts of his chakra reserves within the day, enough to create a relatively strong Rasengan."

Blue eyes widened in surprise and anticipation. "Really! We get to work on the Rasengan!"

Nodding with a small smile, Kurama motioned for Naruto to sit down. "Now, both you and Kyuubi and have some sort of agreement at the moment, right?"

"Yep. He gives me chakra as rent for living in my body."

"Our goal will be to make the two of you friends. It is better for you to get along opposed to being enemies connected with a small and fragile truce. If Kyuubi were to be given the chance at freedom this very moment, he would take it. We need you to be his friend, although you are his host. That way, he may not wish to leave you if the time comes," Kurama said slowly and calmly to make sure Naruto didn't miss anything.

Seeing Kurama's seriousness, Naruto nodded his head and accepted the fact that he would have to become friends with the stupid fox.

Kurama smiled at Naruto acceptance and moved his hands to the boy's temples, sending them into his mind.

oOo

Kurama's eyes opened to the sight of a waterlogged hallway and dripping pipes. Following Naruto through the maze, they soon arrived at Kyuubi's cage.

"What do you want THIS time, human?" Kyuubi said to Naruto, his eyes and teeth showing through the shadows.

Naruto glanced at Kurama before turning his attention back to Kyuubi. "I want us to be friends. Are you willing to try?" he asked, ignoring his fear of the giant fox.

"You wish to be friends, with me? Why?"

"So that your condition may not be a burden to the both of you for as long as Naruto lives? Perhaps it would be advantageous if the two of you trusted and liked each other? Perhaps you could leave Naruto's body now and then, Kyuubi, and not be trapped in here with your host hating your very existence?" Kurama said persuasively.

Kyuubi seemed to be thoughtful for a moment before retreating into the shadows, only to come out again in his humanoid form. "How do you suppose I could come out?" Kyuubi asked curiously.

Kurama smiled. "Well, I'm sure you know of a way he could summon you in your fox form, and perhaps you two, together, can develop a way for you to come out humanoid. Something like… Kuchiyose Kyuubi Bunshin no Jutsu?" he supplied.

Kyuubi seemed genuinely intrigued.

"As the two of you will be stuck together for Naruto's life-time, maybe both of you could enjoy it to its fullest and help each other out?" Kurama said.

Slitted red eyes turned to Naruto, who was watching the exchange curiously. "Would you willingly share your body with me?" he asked with no expression.

Naruto looked thoughtful for a moment before saying, "If we become friends, then we could also share control of the body itself. However, how will I know that you won't turn your back on me if you are ever given the opportunity to leave me?"

"It is physically impossible for me to leave this place and take control of your body. The seal must be removed for us to share the body that intimately. The Kuchiyose Kyuubi Bunshin no Jutsu could work, however. A Kuchiyose Kyuubi no Jutsu could also work. I also believe that a Kyuubi Bunshin no Jutsu would work as well. With the first I would be summoned in my humanoid form, the second in my fox form, and the last as a Naruto bunshin with me in control. That is as close as I can get to 'coming out' with the seal still in place. If we don't remove it, I will also eventually be absorbed into your chakra, and exist no more. This would adversely affect you, and your physical appearance as well as chakra may change in ways you would not want it. If we kept the two separate, then you wouldn't have to worry about controlling a massive amount of chakra if something… strange happens," Kyuubi explained to Naruto, who was looking rather amazed.

"You mean, we could have done this from the start and not hated each other so much? Imagine the benefits of getting along…" Naruto trailed off as ideas flashed through his mind.

"Not only that, but Kyuubi could teach you many amazing things. You two would become great together. There is also a negative side to that. If the relationship ever becomes sour, or Naruto's will is changed somehow, then the world could very well come to an end. The two of you have to understand the fine line you will be standing on between good and evil," Kurama said with a serious expression on his face.

Kyuubi looked thoughtful for a moment before saying with a small smile, "I agree to a friendship between the two of us."

Naruto promptly gaped at Kyuubi in shock, and the demon merely started laughing at the expression on the blonde's face.

"You didn't think that I was really some all-evil-demon-from-another-dimension-bent-on world-destruction, did you?" Kyuubi said with amusement shining in his sharp eyes.

"Then why did you attack Konoha?" Kurama asked curiously.

"I didn't do it of my own free will, if that's what you're thinking. Some pathetic little human just came along and thought they could control me after they had summoned me from the demon realm. I believe they held a grudge against the village for some stupid reason," Kyuubi said dismissively, shrugging his shoulders.

"What was the human's name?" Naruto asked.

Kyuubi's eyes flashed coldly. "I believe he called himself Orochimaru."

-Toki Mirage-

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Nice lil' cliffhanger, ne? Not sure if it's true in the manga, but as you've noticed, I've FINALLY come near the point where I branch off from the manga. THANK GOODNESS! Copying manga is SO boring! You have no idea! )shudder( bleagh!

Kurama in Narutoland

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Undoubtedly, you have all wondered, at some point, about NEJI! All I'll tell you is that I'm not sure what I'm going to do with the two of them yet. For all I know, Neji DIES.

oOo

Chapter Forty-six:

oOo

Naruto's breath was ragged as he rested his exhausted body. He had managed to successfully execute the Kyuubi Bunshin no Jutsu, but it took a lot of energy out of him to get Kyuubi to remain in existence for more than a few seconds. "What am I doing wrong?" he breathlessly asked Kurama.

A gentle frown had been occupying Kurama's face for a while now as he watched Naruto struggle with the Jutsu. "You're chakra control is far better than normal, and you waste very little when doing a jutsu. However, it seems that your chakra reserves aren't strong enough to support Kyuubi's energy. We're going to have to increase your chakra, and in order to do that, we'll also have to increase physical strength. Does Kyuubi have any different ideas?"

Naruto spaced out for a moment before saying, "He agrees with you."

"Then we're going to have to get you some weights and new clothes. I don't have any money right now, though, so we're going to have to 'borrow' some from Jiraiya…" Kurama said with a mischievous smirk.

Naruto grinned as the two of them planned a way to swipe some money from Jiraiya's wallet.

Later that night, when Kurama had gotten Jiraiya sufficiently drunk to the point where he passed out, the redhead slipped some money from Jiraiya's pocket after taking him back to the hotel. After having completed their little 'mission', Kurama and Naruto headed back out into the forest to train until it was time to sleep. The next day they would go buy Naruto a nice outfit and a whole crap load of weights.

Kurama had long since managed to perfect the Rasengan up to level 3, and was helping Naruto with focusing the energy and pouring power into it. Kurama would force him to keep the Rasengan activated for hours at a time, constantly pouring more power into it and trying to keep the upped amount of chakra under control.

Around midnight the two of them fell asleep in the flowers again, Naruto extremely exhausted and Kurama tired from the extra weight.

oOo Fifth Morning oOo

Naruto blearily opened his eyes to find Kurama nowhere in sight. Blinking, he sat up and yawned. Looking up at the sky, he saw that it was around noon. 'Kurama let me sleep in… why?' he thought to himself with a confused frown on his face.

"Perfect time to wake up, I just finished shopping."

Blue eyes looked up to see a grinning Kurama, a few bags hanging from his hands. "What did you get?" he asked sleepily.

A warm chuckle filled the air as Kurama sat down beside Naruto. "First of all, I bought you a wicked new outfit. Then I got you some weights, and some ramen to go," Kurama said, pulling stuff out of the bags as he spoke. Smirking, Kurama handed Naruto a pair of black cargo pants and shirt with net sleeves. "Go put those on, as well as these boots and socks," he said, shoving the purchased items into Naruto's arms.

The blond boy blinked and went into the bushes to do as he was told.

When he came back, he saw Kurama smile at the site of him. Naruto blushed lightly as he stared down at the outfit. He watched as Kurama stood up and walked over to him. He put a black vest on Naruto's shoulders, and the boy put his arms through the holes. It hung nicely on him, going a little ways past his hips. A belt with pouches on it was placed on his hips, which was full of kunai, medical supplies, shuriken and a few other things. To finish it all off, Kurama put on shin-guards and arm-guards that were incredibly heavy and suited the outfit well.

"There. Now I'm not embarrassed to be walking along the street with you," Kurama said playfully, shoving Naruto a little with his arm. The slight nudge caused the boy to lose his balance, and he went toppling to the ground with a thud. Kurama blinked innocently. "Wow, looks like those weights are heavier than I thought they'd be…"

Naruto glared at him from the ground and slowly pulled himself up, struggling. "Kurama! How am I supposed to be able to move with these things!"

The redhead only smirked. "We're going to play a game of tag. If you catch me, I'll let you eat your lunch. If you don't, then I'll eat it all by myself."

Naruto's eyes widened, but before he could say anything, Kurama had run off with the ramen. Grimacing, Naruto ran after Kurama, forcing his strained muscles to work under the pressure of gravity.

oOo Sixth Morning oOo

Naruto grimaced as he woke the next morning. (Not only had Kurama not let him eat the day before, but he'd had to nurse his bruises on his own with his new medical supplies). They trained all day, running, and doing pushups and other such exercises. Once Naruto was exhausted that evening (and after they ate supper), they practiced chakra control by walking on the stream, climbing trees, and battling eachother with small balls of chakra.

Naruto was out like a light as soon as his head hit the grass. Kurama stayed up a little while longer to train himself to get used to the weights. Because of his and Naruto's quick healing, they excelled quickly after a good night sleep.

oOo

"Tomorrow is the end of the bet with Naruto, Right?"

Tsunade was silent as she fiddled with something in her hand.

"I wonder how he is doing…" Jiraiya said as he tipped back his glass of sake.

While he wasn't looking, Tsunade slipped some powder into the sake bottle. She watched as he poured some in his cup and got ready to drink.

"Thanks for waiting! Your radish is ready," the man behind the bar said, placing the dish on the counter.

"Ah! That looks good…" Jiraiya said, before drinking the sake in one gulp.

oOo

"Tomorrow..." Shizune began, "please, don't go!"

Tsunade didn't say anything, and continued to stare out the window.

"Why won't you say anything? Tsunade-sama! Answer my request! If…. You say you're going…" Shizune trailed off.

"What will you do?"

"Even if it costs me my life… I will stop you!" Shizune said bravely.

"Shizune…" Tsunade began with a deadly expression, "who do you think you're talking too…?"

Tsunade walked by and punched her in the stomach. The last thing Shizune saw was Tsunade walking out the door.

oOo Final Morning oOo

"Sir! It's morning! Please, wake up already!" the owner of a small stall called to an old man sleeping on the counter. "Geez! Yo?" he yelled, shoving the old man. The limp body fell off the counter. "H-Hey! What's wrong!"

oOo

Meanwhile, Orochimaru and Kabuto were running through the forest, heading to the place they had made the deal with Tsunade. "It would be a problem if there was interference during the exchange," Orochimaru said to Kabuto.

"What are you suggesting?" Kabuto asked calmly.

"Tsunade's associate… It might be best to kill her…"

Kabuto's expression darkened as he pulled out a kunai, stopped himself against a tree, and shot off to the side.

oOo

Naruto and Kurama stared at the sight of Shizune on the floor of her apartment. Both of them had come to see Tsunade because Naruto wanted to show her he had won the bet. However, there was no sign of Tsunade and Shizune was off in dreamland.

"Hey! Wake up!" Naruto said, shaking Shizune roughly.

When she woke up, she exclaimed, "Oh no! What day is it!"

Naruto backed off, surprised. "M-Monday… why?" he asked, blinking.

"Where is Tsunade?" Kurama asked the wincing woman, who was clutching her stomach.

"Yeah! Today's the day of the bet, and I wanna show her that I can do it!" Naruto said with a grin on his face.

'Oh, yea… I have to get moving!' Shizune thought, remembering what was supposed to happen that day. "Naruto-kun, Kurama-kun, stay here!" she yelled as she prepared to jump out the window. A thrown kunai stopped her in her tracks, however.

Kurama, Naruto, and Shizune looked at the one who had thrown the kunai.

"Shizune… Wait…" a sweating and weak-looking Jiraiya said.

The three of them helped him to sit down and listened to his explanation.

"That damn Tsunade drugged my sake. I can't release my chakra well and my whole body stings… I can't even hold chopsticks…" he managed to get out.

Kurama rolled his eyes and bashed Jiraiya over the head. "Couldn't you be more cautious around people? One of these days we won't be around to save your ass," he said indifferently, his expression rather cold.

Naruto looked at Kurama in surprise before turning to look at Jiraiya's indignant look. He sniggered quietly to himself.

oOo AN: this is mangacopying, (which is boring as HELL) so if you want to skip ahead, I'll have a bunch of oOo symbols where it's changed. (there might be small irregularities in the copied bit). oOo

Kabuto watched the exchange with surprise on his face. 'Jiraiya-sama is with them…? This complicates thing… I'll have to report this to Orochimaru-sama. But Naruto-kun… why are you here…?'

oOo

Kurama gave Jiaiya a significant look and a tiny jerk of his head in the direction of a ninja he sensed nearby. Jiraiya looked and caught sight of gray hair disappearing around the corner.

"Hey… Shizune… Your negotiations with Orochimaru… It's about time you tell us…" Jiraiya trailed off, giving Shizune the look.

"Orochimaru?" Naruto muttered to himself in surprise.

"…I wished to believe in Tsunade-sama… So I remained silent… But now…" Shizune lowered her head, eyes shadowed. Standing up, she exclaimed in a determined voice, "We don't have much time! Follow me! I'll explain on the way!

"Right!"

"I'm coming too!"

"…"

oOo

Tsunade stood, back turned to the newly arrived Orochimaru.

"Your decision?" he asked her in that cold snake-like voice of his.

Tsunade was silent.

oOo

"She has to say no!" Naruto exclaimed as they jumped through the trees. Kurama silently agreed with him.

'This could get really nasty…' Jiraiya thought to himself, a dark look on his face. 'Tsunade still hasn't been able to release their memory and move on…' he thought as they glimpsed the place of meeting through the trees. 'Depending on her answer… I may really have to kill her!" Jiraiya thought grimly.

Naruto's eyes were narrowed as they approached the destroyed castle, while Kurama's expression remained impassive.

oOo

"I will heal your arms… In exchange, you will not touch the village…" Tsunade finally spoke.

"Heh heh… All right," Orochimaru said with an evil smirk on his face.

Images of Tsunade's younger brother and boyfriend flashed through her mind. Tears leaked down her face as she walked towards Orochimaru.

oOo

"If his arms are healed, he will attach the leaf again!" Shizune called to Jiraiya.

"If we don't stop Orochimaru now, an even more dangerous situation may occur."

'Damnit!' Naruto projected the thought at Kurama.

)That would be agreed upon, Naruto. I have yet to show Orochimaru my 'appreciation' for the damned seal he 'bestowed' upon me,( Kurama projected back, sarcasm lacing his every word.

Naruto turned to look at Kurama, but his face did not betray the hatred he felt for the snaky bastard.

oOo

Kabuto landed on the tile roofed wall, a thoughtful expression on his face as he watched a ball of energy appear between Tsunade's hands. The two of them jumped apart when he threw a kunai at between the two of them, sensing her wish to kill. Jumping down from the wall, he landed a ways behind Orochimaru.

"What is this… To come this far, and betray me…" Orochimaru said, his eyes widening angrily as he finished, "TSUNADE!"

Kabuto remained silent behind Orochimaru.

"How could come to an answer like this, Tsunade-hime? To try to kill me... But I trust you, Kabuto from the bottom of my heart. Your loyalty, and the ability to see Tsunade's attack…"

"Yes… We both began from the medical field, so… Her chakra was full of intent to kill," Kabuto explained.

"Tsunade, I really intended to revive those two. I even promised not to destroy the Leaf…" Orochimaru said.

Tsunade looked down. "Heh. Orochimaru, I know that you not touching the Leaf was a lie. I knew that but… I… Those two people… Even for just one more time… I wanted to see them… Even for just one more time… their smiling faces… But… I'll really be able to see Nawaki and Dan again. The moment I felt that on my skin, I realized to myself… that I am a total fool." Tsunade, said, tears falling from her eyes. "Those two's faces, from just remembering them… For me to become this blind… I loved them, because I truly love them1 I wanted to see and hug them! But I couldn't," Tsunade said as she thought of Naruto. "Because of that brat., because I now remember those two's dreams. I had tried to forget. The dream to become Hokage. Having those dreams come true was also my wish. All things that have shape eventually decay, you've said that. But… Only this feeling… will not decay," she said, a sad frown on her faces as she cried.

"So the deal if off… No choice then, we'll have to force you to do it."

Tsunade wiped the tears from her face and stared at Orochimaru with steely eyes. Jumping up, she slammed her high-heeled foot down onto Orochimaru, who jumped out of the way. The ground cracked and broke like a spider-web, the walls around the road collapsing under the tremendous force of the woman.

"Let's do it, Kabuto!" Orochimaru said from where he had landed with Kabuto.

"I told you… this medicine is going to be beyond bitter!"

"…come! OROCHIMARU!" Tsunade said, anger rolling off her in waves.

"Now that I think about it, I realize I never fought against you before…" Orochimaru said, trailing off.

"THAT'S TRUE…" Tsunade said, throwing off her 'coat' as she charged at Orochimaru.

"I wonder how you could say that… It's me who is fighting her now…" Kabuto said.

"YOU BASTARDS, I'LL KILL ALL OF YOU HERE NOW!" Tsunade yelled, pulling back a fist as she punched down the wall from beneath them.

"Even one hit can end your life…" Orochimaru warned Kabuto.

"Yes, I can tell…" Kabuto said. "This place is a bit too crowded for this kind of fight…"

"Are you planning on moving this fight elsewhere?"

"I think that would be wise. There was also someone with Tsunade's servant who worries me… we don't know when he might come and help her out."

"Who is it?" Orochimaru asked.

"Jiraiya."

Orochimaru's eyes widened a fraction in surprise.

'I won't let you escape,' Tsunade thought to herself as she watched Kabuto and Orochimaru jump away.

oOo

The four ninja (and pig) stared at the destruction in awe.

"Whoa… that Tsunade-hime has gone pretty wild," Jiraiya said with a smirk.

'So… Tsunade-sama has declined!' Shizune thought to herself in worry.

"Ton-ton! Which way did she go!" Shizune asked the pig, who began following its nose.

oOo

Tsunade huffed, surrounded by indents in the ground and half-destroyed rocks. Kabuto stood across from her, in a similar condition.

"Tsunade seems to be running out of breath," Orochimaru commented. "It might be good to use 'it' now…"

"Although I'm not that strong with taijutsu…" Kabuto said, reaching into his pouch. He plopped a soldier pill in his mouth. After he was done chewing, he did a bunch of fast seals before pulling his hands apart to reveal them covered with chakra.

'So this child also knows medical ninja techniques,' Tsunade thought to herself as she watched Kabuto disappear with a poof of smoke. He reappeared below her, and she jumped up before slamming her fist into where Kabuto just was.

Kabuto kicked a rock, breaking it into many small pieces before appearing behind Tsunade, who had flipped backwards. He touched a few places on her body with his chakra-covered hands before she managed to hit him away.

"Ouch!" Tsunade exclaimed as she tried to move her body. 'Muscles!' she thought in surprise as she stared at her trembling biceps.

"I've cut your biceps and abdominal muscles. You won't be able to use your powerful strength."

"Chakra scalpel… Why aren't you aiming at my arteries?" Tsunade asked from her place on the ground.

"Certainly, with this chakra scalpel, I could have severed al l your muscles and blood vessels… However, during a fight, I can't maintain one long and precise enough to penetrate all the way to your arteries and hear muscles. Well, either way, as long as I aim for your neck, there shouldn't be a problem…" Kabuto said as he rushed at Tsunade, who was trying to stand.

Tsunade tried to dodge, but Kabuto's hand hit her upper chest. She burst into a fit of coughs. "Shit! You hit my lung muscles… can't breathe…" 'This boy is not an ordinary medical ninja. His senses and strength may exceed even my own in my prime.'

"It would be troublesome if you were to die now… So I won't aim for your neck. But you won't be able to move around," Kabuto said confidently as he pushed the bridge of his glasses up. His eyes widened in surprise as Tsunade hit him on the back of the neck with a chop. His body was sent flying across the ground. 'I see… she isn't ordinary… an average person would just suffer and not be able to move at all… Did it not penetrate deep enough because of her fat breasts?' Kabuto wondered as Tsunade collapsed coughing. 'It seems that… I need to be a little more serious… What?' Kabuto's eyes widened as he stared down at his body. 'I'm trying to move my hand… but my leg is moving? Is this…!' Kabuto's thoughts were interrupted by Tsunade punching him in the face. 'This… this isn't caused by my muscles… it's caused by the nervous system…!'

"You seem to have realized… Yes, it is a result of your nerves. I changed my chakra into electricity and sent the electric waves into your nervous system!" Tsunade announced before doing some quick hand seals and healing her chest.

Meanwhile, Kabuto was doing a quick check over his body to figure out what made his body move which way. 'It's tiresome, but… Now I've figured out how to use 80 of my body.' "Don't think with that level of technique, you will be able to defeat me!" Kabuto said as he pulled out a kunai.

'What! He already figured out how to control his body? This boy is no ordinary ninja…'

"You're afraid of blood, right! I'll show you some now! I'll scatter just enough blood until you are at the brink of death…" Kabuto said as he ran at Tsunade. However, he was interrupted by an explosion of smoke.

When the smoke had floated away with the wind, it revealed Jiraiya, Naruto, Shizune, Kurama, and Ton-ton.

"Long time no see, Jiraiya," Orochimaru said coldly.

"You haven't changed at all, Orochimaru. Those wild eyes…" Jiraiya said cockily.

"Naruto-kun…" Kabuto greeted.

"WHA!" Naruto exclaimed in surprise.

"Kabuto-san. Fancy seeing you here," Kurama said calmly, his voice betraying no surprise or emotion (though he wasn't surprised anyway).

"I see you know who he is…" Jiraiya commented, looking side-ways at Kurama and Naruto.

Tsunade gritted her teeth and hit Jiraiya out of the way. "MOVE!" she shouted as she ran at Kabuto.

"Hey!" Jiraiya shouted indignantly.

Kabuto raised his kunai and slashed his wrist right in front of Tsunade, who stopped and stared at the blood in horror as she began to shake. "My body has finally started to move." 'It is bad even for me to go against two of the three great ninjas… I'LL STOP THEM!' Kabuto thought to himself as he punched Tsunade back.

Shizune caught Tsunade as she was sent flying.

"Hey! Hey! What the heck's going on! Why is Kabuto fighting Tsunade!" Naruto exclaimed in surprise.

"You are so thick, Naruto-kun. That's why you can't compare to Sasuke-kun," Kabuto said as he huffed slightly.

oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo

"Naruto. His headband," Kurama stated calmly. )Naruto, your emotions are on display. You and I are going to have to work on that.(

)I can't believe that bastard betrayed the leaf!(

"Unlike Sasuke-kun, you have no talent in becoming a shinobi," Kabuto said factually.

Naruto's eyes widened slightly before turning to look at Kurama, who was chuckling gently.

"And you are one to judge," Kurama said serenely, a disarming smile on his face as he shrugged out of his vest and gently placed it on the ground. "Naruto will become a very skilled shinobi over time, and everybody has their special talents. My talent…" Kurama suddenly disappeared, reappearing instantly behind Kabuto. A kunai stabbed itself through Kabuto's shoulder before he could move and twisted roughly.

"…is the ability to kill."

+Toki Mirage+

(Runs and hides from people who are scary and hate cliffhangers.)

Kurama in Narutoland:

oOo

Chapter Forty-seven:

oOo

My talent…" Kurama suddenly disappeared, reappearing instantly behind Kabuto. A kunai stabbed itself through Kabuto's shoulder before he could move and twisted roughly.

"…is the ability to kill."

Kabuto's eyes widened in shock before his roughly pulled away from Kurama and jumped towards Orochimaru. Using a medical jutsu, Kabuto quickly healed his wound. "What would you have me do, Orochimaru?" he whispered.

Orochimaru thought for a moment before smirking. "Kill Tsunade and the redhead brat. I will not have them interfering with my fight with Jiraiya."

"Yes Orochimaru-sama," Kabuto said before appearing beside Tsunade, who was covered with Shizune's coat. Shizune jumped forward to protect the paralyzed Tsunade and kill Kabuto. Holding a kunai in her hand, she stabbed at Kabuto only to have him kick her away. As Kabuto went in for the kill, Kurama appeared in his way and nailed him in the stomach. The white-haired jounin flew backwards across the ground, and his body dug a trench in the dirt. When Kabuto looked up, his eyes were met with smirking amber gems. The killer-intent radiated off of Kurama in waves of dark energy as the curse reacted to his lust for blood and began spreading across his body.

Becoming quickly annoyed by the dark seal eating away at his chakra, Kurama quickly burnt off all the chakra of the curse seal in a huge burst of energy. The tainted chakra oozed out and killed any small signs of life in the barren area. Smirking at Kabuto's shocked expression, Kurama accessed his chakra reserves to increase his speed to rush at Kabuto. His chakra-enhanced muscles increased his speed to the point where it looked like a flash of light to even Orochimaru's eyes.

Before he could react, Kabuto had a Rasengan in his stomach. The chakra ate away at his organs and exploded outwards when Kurama released control of it. The result was bloody. His body was literally torn to shreds with bits of bone, organ, skin, and blood flying everywhere. Kurama's expression was indifferent as he 'powered down' and golden eyes faded to green.

Naruto was shocked. Not only had Kurama easily defeated a jounin, but he had done it so... ruthlessly. Naruto emptied his stomach on the ground and turned his eyes away from the sight. Shizune was glad that Tsunade had been turned away from it, and Orochimaru and Jiraiya stopped their fight to stare.

Kurama merely walked back to Naruto and stood there calmly and emotionlessly. He was just like the roses he loved. Beautiful but deadly. "It seems I killed your servant, Orochimaru," he stated as if talking about the weather.

Orochimaru glared at Kurama and sweated slightly as he looked back and forth between Jiraiya and the others. "I'll be back to kill you, Kurama!" Orochimaru vowed nastily before disappearing into the ground and fading from the area.

Kurama walked calmly over to Naruto and rubbed his back gently. "Be aware that that will be the result of the Rasengan if you use it on a person, Naruto," he said gently before standing and pulling Naruto up with him. "Sometimes, regardless of the gore, you must do things you would rather not."

Tsunade looked up at Kurama as he said those words and then over at the bloody splatter that had been Kabuto. Her shuddering increased drastically before slowly quieting. Kurama's calm and gentle words finally pierced through her and made her come to terms with her fear of blood.

"Even if you have a fear of blood, you must do things that you must or you will never live your life," Kurama said, aiming the comment (obviously) at Tsunade. She relaxed and stared down at her hands before smiling slightly.

"Perhaps a brat like you is right. I must move on," Tsunade said as she stood up with her hands holding Shizune's coat on her shoulders. "Jiraiya, I have decided to become the Godaime," she said with a smile on her face; she looked at Naruto. "Have you mastered the Rasengan?" she asked.

Naruto smirked before forming a perfect Rasengan in the palm of his hand with little effort. "Of course, obaa-chan," he said with a smirk.

Tsunade's eye twitched in irritation and she went to smack Naruto into the ground. As he closed his eyes, she smiled and put the necklace around his neck. He blinked in surprise after feeling it put on before smiling back.

"Good job, Naruto," she said and kissed him on the forehead.

Kurama smirked at Naruto with a suggestive expression. Naruto quickly bashed him up the side of the head and chased him playfully around the group; both were grinning.

oOo

They decided to spend the night at a nice restaurant and enjoy the last evening they would have together before they had to get to work. It was then that Kurama told Jiraiya about him taking Naruto away to train.

"Five years? That long?" Jiraiya asked in surprise.

Kurama resisted the urge to roll his eyes. "Five years isn't nearly ENOUGH. It is the minimum. If I have to, I will extend it with or without your permission. Naruto MUST learn how to fully access its chakra and forms."

"In the end, it is my decision," Tsunade said, a slight blush on her face from the sake. "I am the Hokage after all."

Kurama sighed. "Yes Hokage-sama. I would never be able to go against your orders, but I must stress how important this is."

Tsunade blinked. "Why wouldn't you just ignore my orders?"

A red eyebrow twitched in annoyance. "I had pledged my allegiance to Sandaime and agreed to take orders from all Hokage after him. I am Konoha's secret weapon, and I cannot go against a direct order unless I think that Konoha's system has become corrupted or otherwise," he stated as calmly and slowly as he could.

Tsunade stared at Kurama. "You mean I could ask you to do anything and you'd just up and do it?"

"If it were your orders."

Tsunade blinked. "Wow. I got me the perfect little assistant," she said with a grin. "Now I don't have to do all the paperwork."

Kurama stared at Tsunade like she was stupid. He hit his head repeatedly on the table. "I am a weapon, not a servant. I will NOT do paperwork."

Tsunade grinned. "What if I ordered you to have sex with me?"

Naruto passed out from a nosebleed then and there. Jiraiya and Shizune stared at Tsunade in shock. Kurama's expression was carefully clear of any emotion.

"For one, I happen to be gay. For another, a Hokage ordering shinobi around for their personal pleasure (pun intended) would be a sign of corruption," he said casually, sipping on his sake.

Tsunade chuckled and acted like she wasn't serious. On the inside, however, she was thinking, 'Damnit! He's gay!' "Well, I suppose you could leave for five years. When will you leave, though?" she asked.

Kurama smiled slightly. "We will be leaving immediately. I need to find a secure place to put up a barrier to keep others from detecting his chakra. That will take a few months of very fast traveling."

Tsunade nodded, and they continued to enjoy their last evening together.

oOo

The next morning Kurama and Naruto left into the sunset in a classic farewell.

-Toki Mirage-

I'm VERY sorry for this taking so long (and being so short)! I've been really busy for these last two months, I just got back from a two week band trip a week ago, and I'm just REALLY BUSY! Plus my stupid brother fuckin fried the hard drive, trying to hook it up with another one. Sparks flew, literally. So I had to rewrite this chapter and stuff. I know the fight was lame, but Orochimaru is rather insignificant in the large sceme of things, so I'm killing him soon. Remember, this is (finally) breaking off from the manga! (cheers inside.) Copying manga is REALLY boring! X.x

Kurama in Narutoland

oOo

Chapter Forty-eight:

oOo

Naruto smiled as they made their way at a leisurely pace through the forest. The sun was shining, the wind was blowing, and the natural scent of the forest plumed around them like smoke. "Kurama," Naruto said with a cute curious look, "where are we going, anyway?"

Kurama merely smiled mysteriously.

"And what about Neji? Wouldn't he be mad if he didn't see you for five years?"

Kurama's smile was wiped off his face immediately and was replaced by one of contemplation. "I could always leave you to a set of training exercises and visit him," he said simply.

A horrified look made its way to Naruto's face. "You aren't going to be like ero-sennin, are you?" he asked with wide eyes.

Kurama's melodious laugh spread through the foliage at the question. "Of course not, but I can't baby you along either. You have to become independent, as I won't always be there to help you out in the future."

"That makes sense," Naruto said carefully after a pause.

"Of course, this will be no easy training. Not by a long shot," Kurama said with a sadistic grin.

Naruto's eyes widened and he groaned slightly. "You're as bad as that second exam examiner," he complained.

Kurama merely chuckled. "I'm sure."

-Toki Mirage-

Kurama in Narutoland

oOo

Chapter Forty-nine:

oOo

It was barely lunch time, yet Tsunade was already sick of the mounds of paperwork on her desk. If she'd known the Hokage had to do THIS much paperwork, she would never have accepted the proposition. Rubbing at her temples, she groaned softly. This called the attention of Shizune to her.

"Are you are right, Tsunade-sama?" she asked as she added another pile of paper to the pile.

"Just tense," she said, rubbing at her neck with her hands.

Shizune silently walked up behind her and began giving her a massage with chakra. She worked out all the knots of a grateful Tsunade and proceeded to get rid of her headache. "Maybe you should take a break if it's this stressful?" she suggested softly.

"I would love to, but if I did, the pile would only get bigger," she grumbled. Shizune nodded and began to leave. "Shizune. Thank you for the massage," Tsunade said with a smile and got a smile in return.

"I see that things are normal around here," a voice said from somewhere to Tsunade's right. The Hokage turned her attention to the intruder and had the shock of her life. Kurama stood there with his arms crossed and a smirk upon his face. He looked just as he did three years ago, except that his hair was a little longer. Beside him was a young man with blond hair and intense blue eyes. His mouth was covered by a black mask, and he wore black cargo pants, a black net shirt, and a black jacket that was left open at the front. Naruto had his headband around his waist as a belt to keep his pants up, and Kurama had his tied around his left bicep.

"Nice to see you again, obaa-chan," Naruto said with amusement in his eyes, and Tsunade could swear he was smirking.

"Brat," Tsunade said with affection, grinning at the two. "I thought you were going to be gone for five years, not three?" she asked with curiosity in her voice.

"We were. However, some things have come up, and Naruto is a very quick learner. He is not done training, but he will be shortly if I have the time to finish with him. What brought us back to Konoha is this: the Akatsuki. From spying on them during Naruto's training, I can say that they will begin their operations within a month or two. I don't know what the operation is, but I know it has to do with the demon vessels. Do you know anything I don't, Hokage-sama?" Kurama asked politely.

Tsunade's expression was serious. "They want the demons. However, we don't know what for."

Kurama nodded his head. "What is the status of our previous teams?" he asked.

"Team Gai have stayed together, even with you gone. I have been training Sakura, so that's left Kakashi doing missions."

Naruto frowned. "What happened to Sasuke?"

A dark expression crossed Tsunade's face. "Uchiha Sasuke is a missing-nin. He betrayed the leaf three years ago and ran to Orochimaru. A team consisting of Hyuuga Neji, Nara Shikamaru, Akamichi Chouji, Inuzuka Kiba, Rock Lee, and Aburame Shino were sent after him. If the team from Sand, consisting of Gaara, Temari, and Kankuro, hadn't shown up when they did, then we could have lost half of them, for two were in critical condition and two others had nasty injuries. The sound four were killed, but Sasuke still managed to escape."

Naruto had a dark and closed off expression, while Kurama had one of mild surprise. "So he was power hungry for some reason and decided to get it the easy way? Somehow that doesn't surprise me. Genius-types rarely work hard for what they have, so they aren't used to putting effort into things when push comes to shove," he said flippantly.

Tsunade looked surprised. "What type are you?" she asked.

Kurama smiled. "I'm a genius-type. However, with all my years of experience on the battlefield and in life, I find training hard for things a nice change. Naruto is a hard-working-type, yet is still a genius in his own way. If you give him something really hard to learn and give him time, he'll figure it out quickly. Take the Rasengan for example. He figured out the first two steps quickly and only needed my help to get his chakra control better to make it perfect. It took him a week. I learned it within three days, but that's not saying much for someone who's been working with youki for a couple thousand years."

Tsunade blinked. "What's youki?"

"Where I come from there are two types of energies. Reiki and youki. Reiki is spirit energy. Youki is demonic energy. Chakra is a combination of spirit energy and physical energy. Demons don't have reiki and humans don't have youki. Unless of course it is a hanyou. However, a hanyou comes from a human and demon parent having a child. So while Naruto and I control both chakra and youki, we're not hanyou. I am the spirit of a demon inside a human body with no human soul in it, and Naruto is the host of Kyuubi's soul and chakra," Kurama explained to a surprised Tsunade.

"So I am technically talking to a demon right now?" Tsunade asked.

"Not exactly. I grew up in this body as a human child will, so you could say my personality is kind of split for the most part. When I change this body to my true demon form or humanoid form, my demonic tendencies and personality come to the surface more noticeably. Demons aren't just rampaging beasts, however. Take Kyuubi for example, Orochimaru summoned him and tried to control him and look at what happened. Kyuubi went berserk and attacked Konoha. I've spoken to Kyuubi now that he is sealed, and he is angry with Orochimaru because it's all that snake's fault that he's trapped within a human. Once I talked with him and got Naruto and him in a mutual agreement, he was quite an interesting person," Kurama said with a slight smile.

Tsunade nodded her head and said gravely, "That still wouldn't change the minds of the fools in the village and council, however. They still want Naruto banished or dead. It has been quite the experience these last few years to get them to keep their mouths shut." A lot of anger and irritation had sneaked into her voice during the last bit.

Kurama sighed. "Imagine what they would say if they knew I was a demon without a human vessel to control me," he said with a smirk.

Tsunade smirked right back. "It'd scare the shit out of them, that's for sure."

During the conversation, Naruto had carefully kept his expression blank. He knew the villagers hated him and always would. Not that he cared. After all, he had his precious people and that's all that mattered. However, it seemed his list had become one name short with the betrayal of Sasuke.

"So, Tsunade, what are our orders? Do you want us to go back to our previous teams?"

Tsunade shook her head. "First of all, I'm not sure if you knew this before you left, Kurama, but you are already a chuunin. With your killing Kabuto, however, I'm in serious doubt that that reflects your skills adequately. So, I will be making you a jounin. As for Naruto, I'm afraid that you'll have to wait till the next chuunin exam, though I'm sure you'll pass with flying colours," Tsunade said with a smile. Naruto nodded with gratitude in his eyes, and Tsunade assumed he was smiling.

"Who will Naruto be doing missions with?" Kurama asked.

Tsunade looked thoughtful. "Well, I don't suppose Naruto can decide if he wants to go back with Kakashi and Sakura as a team or join up with someone else. Ne, brat?" she asked with a grin.

Naruto returned the grin (not that she could see it) and thought about his options. He could always join up with one of the other gennin teams. He didn't really want to go with Kakashi again. After all, the jounin hadn't really taught him anything in the past except for tree climbing. If he went with Kurama, though, then they could finish their training and do missions together… "I would like to go with Kurama."

If Tsunade was surprised that he didn't go with Kakashi, she didn't show it. "Very well. Kurama, is there any one in particular you want on your gennin team besides Naruto?"

Kurama blinked. "Well, I'm not sure who would need my tutelage in particular. I would like to take on Neji. From what I've seen, Gai hasn't really taught him anything because Neji is so focused on his family's jutsu. I would like to remedy that because I'm the only one he listens to. As for Lee, I think it would be good if Gai could give him personal attention. He certainly deserves it at this point. As for any other gennin, I'm not sure if their teachers would be willing to give them up or break them up. It might be good for them to have new teammates, though."

Tsunade nodded. "If I were to give you Neji, who do you think would be good for the third?"

Kurama thought for a moment. It suddenly hit him. "Hinata."

Tsunade's eyes widened in shock. "Why Hinata?"

Kurama smiled brightly. "Well, for one, Hinata has no confidence whatsoever. Being with Naruto will remedy that. For another, Neji used to hate Hinata and although that has toned down a bit, he still doesn't like her. Hinata's weak at the family jutsu, and I will have Neji work with her while he trains."

Tsunade frowned slightly. "Two Byakugan on one team?"

A shrug. "It's necessary."

"Okay," Tsunade said with a shrug of her own. "If you think it will help her, then I have no objections. I will inform the jounin and gennin involved of the changes. I'll inform you of the meeting place of your new team later," Tsunade said in a clear dismissal.

"There is one more thing I'd like to talk to you about," Kurama said with a slight question in his voice. At Tsunade's nod to continue, he did so, "Considering the amount of trouble Naruto gets into regularly, I would like to have a medic-nin on the team incase someone sustains an injury that can't be healed by normal means. Hinata would be the best choice, but I can't have her being the weak link on the team because she wouldn't focus as much on the team training. Therefore, I would like to request that you train me to become a medic-nin. Since I am a quick learner and you are so busy, it would be better if I could pass it on to Hinata when she is ready. Do you disagree?"

Tsunade looked thoughtful for a moment. "My training with Sakura has ended, so I don't see why I can't train you. It would be advantageous for someone as powerful as you to be able to heal people as well. The lessons will begin tomorrow in the evenings from 6 to 9. That is the time that both of us are the least busy, I presume?" Tsunade asked.

Kurama nodded and offered a smile. "Thank you, Hokage-sama."

"Just call me Tsunade, Kurama. You make me feel old," Tsunade said with a slight quirk of her mouth in a half-smile.

"Is the anything else?" Kurama asked. At Tsunade's negative, he gave her a slight bow before he and Naruto disappeared. Tsunade blinked at them, as they hadn't poofed out like normal. They just… disappeared. Shrugging to herself, she took out a scroll that had teams on it and made the changes she would initiate later that day. After doing so, she looked it over.

Maito Gai:

Rock Lee

Minamino Kurama:

Hyuuga Neji

Hyuuga Hinata

Uzumaki Naruto

Sarutobi Asuma:

Akimichi Chouji

Yamanaka Ino

Yuuhi Kurenai:

Inuzuka Kiba

Aburame Shino

Haruno Sakura

Hatake Kakashi:

Tsunade sighed. With Shikamaru gone from Asuma's team, it wasn't much of a team before. Shuffling a few papers, she thought for a moment. When Shikamaru was with them, however, they were too lazy to do anything… maybe it would be good if they went with Gai. He would get them to work hard, in the very least… However, Lee was on a completely different level than the other gennin, and it wouldn't be fair. So, she decided to put a new graduate on the team and leave things as they were. Calling for a messenger, she asked the man to call Gai, Kakashi, Kurenai, and Asuma to her office.

oOo

Kurama flipped backwards to dodge a series of kicks and punches. One landed on an unfortunate tree, cracking it in half. "You're definitely improving, Naruto," he said with a smile as he did a series of complicated movements to slip through a barrage of kunai.

Naruto smirked although it was hidden by his mask. "Glad you think so, Kurama," he said calmly as he barely missed Kurama's cheek with his claws. The chakra there, however, didn't miss.

A bead of blood slipped down from the minor cut and pooled at the corner of his mouth. Kurama licked it away and brought out his own claws. The sparring match proceded with a series of slashes and jabs, and the two of them caused eachother slight wounds. Using his (still) superior speed, Kurama slipped behind Naruto and held him in a lock with his claws to the younger boy's throat.

"I yield," Naruto said, wary of the sharp nails even though he knew Kurama would never actually threaten his life.

Kurama let him go. "Do you want to go to Ichiraku before I go visit Neji?" he asked with a raised brow.

Naruto grinned beneath his mask. "Yes!" he said, a lot quieter than he would have three years ago.

oOo

"What! Kurama's a jounin?" a shocked Kurenai exclaimed.

Asuma stood to the side with a cigarette in his mouth looking like he could care less.

Tears streamed down Gai's face in happiness. "THE POWER OF YOUTH! KURAMA IS ALL GROWN UP! What do you say to THAT, rival!" Gai shouted enthusiastically at Kakashi.

Kakashi looked up from his book. "What were you saying?"

Gai's (monstrous) eyebrow twitched in annoyance. "HOW DARE YOU IGNORE ME, RIVAL!"

Tsunade stared at the very strange scene before her and shook her head. She would never get used to Gai's weirdness… She silenced the noise with a hand slammed down on her desk. All eyes turned to her (two of them from watching Gai). "Inform your students of the change immediately tomorrow. Kurenai, please stop by Haruno Sakura's house to tell her of the change and your team's meeting spot. Also tell Hyuuga Hinata of her changed teams and that Kurama will be by later to tell her of the meeting spot and time. Gai, tell Lee of his private training with you, and tell Hyuuga Neji the same as Kurenai is telling Hyuuga Hinata. Asuma, your team will have to wait a while until a new team member is chosen. Kakashi, you will begin doing jounin level missions tomorrow. Any questions?" she asked. Receiving silence, she dismissed them all and sent a messenger to fetch Kurama.

oOo

They were just finishing their supper when Kurama was called away. Naruto's only response was to shrug as he paid for their meal and make his way to his old apartment, wondering if it was still his. To his hidden surprise, no one seemed to recognize him. This, for some strange reason, only made him more uncomfortable. He felt like any moment someone was going to start pelting rocks at him.

Arriving at his apartment rather quickly, Naruto used his old, slightly rusted key to open the door. To his surprise, he came face to face with Iruka, who seemed to be leaving after having... cleaned his house?

"Naruto! You're back!" Iruka exclaimed in surprise with a smile on his face.

"Iruka-sensei…" Naruto said, trailing off as he looked around his spiffed up apartment.

"Ah… I hope you don't mind, but I've been taking care of it these past three years for when you come home… Can't have you living in a dump, now can…we?" Iruka trailed off when Naruto grasped him in a firm hug. "Naruto?" he questioned, returning the hug with a small smile.

"Arigatou… Iruka-sensei," Naruto said softly, his eyes watering slightly. It was small, thoughtful things like this that reminded him how much he cared for his precious people.

Iruka's smile grew. "You're welcome. Want to go for Ichiraku? My treat?"

Naruto pulled back and nodded, his eyes closed slightly in content and happiness. Just then, Iruka noticed all the changes Naruto had undergone. His hair was longer, and framed his face. He wore all black and a face mask, and his headband was used as a belt to hold up his cargo pants. His black jacket had a few pockets and was open at the front to reveal some of his chest covered with netting. He also seemed more… reserved… and calm, like he was perfectly comfortable with the way things were going.

After leading Naruto out the door, Iruka locked the door behind him with a spare key. Together they made their way to Ichiraku, Naruto not wanting to mention the fact that he'd already eaten. As they walked, they talked about how things had gone the past three years, what they'd been doing, and anything else that came to mind. Iruka was rather surprised that Naruto only had a few bowls through the course of the evening, but didn't mention it because he enjoyed just talking with Naruto. Once it got rather late, the two said their goodbyes with promises to get back together again soon. Naruto headed home with a content smile on his hidden face.

oOo

"You wanted me, Tsunade-sama?" Kurama asked as he phased into existence in the Hokage's office.

Tsunade his her surprise at his sudden appearance and nodded. "I would like you to go to the Hyuuga manor and inform Hyuuga Neji and Hyuuga Hinata of the change in teams as well as the place you're going to meet in the morning and the time. Since Kakashi no longer has a team – and Naruto was originally from Team 7 – your new team will be called Team 7. Your training grounds are also number 7. Any questions?"

"When is the next chuunin exam?"

"That has yet to be decided. Because of incident at the one where you were promoted, there have been only two since. Only a few long time gennin passed, and none of the ones you are familiar with. The next one may be within a few months or half a year," Tsunade said gravely.

Kurama nodded in acknowledgement and promptly disappeared.

Tsunade shook her head and went back to her paperwork.

oOo

"Hinata-sama?" a soft, yet firm voice spoke through the door of the heir to the Hyuuga clan's rooms.

"Y-yes?" Hinata replied softly.

"There is someone who requests to speak to you and Neji-sama waiting with your father in the meetings room," the servant said.

"T-thank you," Hinata said just as softly as before. Looking back at the scroll in front of her, she sighed. It was a scroll on medical jutsu, but she had only learned a few of the easy techniques on it so far. Rolling it and hiding it among her other general scrolls, she left the room after making sure she was presentable.

When she arrived in the room the servant mentioned, she was quite surprised. Neji was already there, as was her father and… Kurama? In a JOUNIN vest! Quite confused, she sat down at the table away from both her father (who was at the head of the table), Neji (who was opposite her), and Kurama (who sat opposite her father).

"Hinata, Neji, it has come to my attention that both of you are switching sensei," Hiashi said calmly, looking at each in turn. "Kurama, please explain."

Kurama nodded calmly. "Naruto and I left three years ago to train outside of Konoha. We have returned early for reasons I am unable to verify. Because of certain events before our leaving, Tsunade-sama thought it necessary that I be named jounin, as that is my skill level. She gave Naruto the choice of who he wanted to continue training with, and he chose me. Because I have already trained him privately for three years, I wished to take on students the same age as him to have my own gennin team. Tsunade-sama granted me the choice, and I picked Hyuuga Neji and Hyuuga Hinata as my two other students," he explained slowly and calmly, no emotion betraying his expression.

Neji's expression remained emotionless except for a tiny bit of surprise hidden in his eyes. Hinata did her best to hide her confusion and surprise, but she knew she didn't do a good job.

"May I ask why you chose two Hyuuga as your students?" Hiashi asked emotionlessly.

Kurama remained silent for a moment. "Neji shows promise as a genius, yet he could go so much farther if he tried different forms of training. I have a unique training regimen that may increase the effectiveness of his use of the Hyuuga Taijutsu. Not meaning to be rude or disrespectful, but I have also noticed that the Hyuuga rarely broaden their skills beyond Hyuuga techniques. This is a severe disadvantage in the battle field. If someone had a technique or defense that made the Hyuuga techniques useless, then that Hyuuga may be utterly defensless."

"The Hyuuga have no weaknesses," Hiashi cut in, obviously not pleased.

Kurama resisted the urge to let his eyebrow tick in annoyance. "I have developed a technique that renders the Byakugan and all the Hyuuga styles useless." Hiashi's eyes widened slightly. However, before he could say anything, Kurama continued. "I'm not saying this to make myself feel superior to you. The Hyuuga styles can have huge effectiveness in battle. However, if my students were to meet someone in battle who has a technique similar to mine, then I would have to narrow my focus to protecting them and leave Naruto to do the rest of the fighting. I will not allow that to happen," Kurama said firmly.

Hiashi looked thoughtful for a moment before asking, "And Hinata? Why did you choose her?"

Kurama prepared himself. "Hinata-san has no confidence. She is shy and timid. Obviously you have not tried to remedy this yet, and so I will do so for you. I'm not saying this to verbally attack you, Hyuuga-san," Kurama said at the indignation on Hiashi's face. "It is the truth and I want Hinata to be successful in her career as a ninja."

Hiashi didn't say anything for a minute before he finally nodded his head. "Very well. I have no qualms with Neji and Hinata being your students. Thank you for telling us personally," he said with a small bow.

Kurama gave a polite bow as well and waited until Hiashi had stood before he did as well. "You are welcome, Hyuuga-san," Kurama said to Hiashi before he left the room. Turning to the two gennin, Kurama smiled. "Neji, Hinata-san, the please meet at training ground 7 at 6:30 tomorrow morning."

"Kurama, before you leave…"

Kurama turned his attention to Neji, who looked annoyed. "Yes?"

"You and I have some things to talk about," he said with a firm expression.

"Eheh…" Kurama said with a sweatdrop. "Of course… Where would you like to talk?"

Hinata watched the exchange with a little confusion as Neji walked up to Kurama and said something too softly for her to hear. Kurama nodded, and the two of them left the Hyuuga manor together.

Once Kurama and Neji had reached the small lake they had visited during the festival a few years ago, Neji slammed Kurama against a tree and kissed him brutally. After pulling away from a flushed Kurama, he asked angrily, "Why didn't you tell me before you left for three years! I found out from Gai! How could you do that to me!"

Kurama in Narutoland

oOo

Chapter Fifty:

oOo

Once Kurama and Neji had reached the small lake they had visited during the festival a few years ago, Neji slammed Kurama against a tree and kissed him brutally. After pulling away from a flushed Kurama, he asked angrily, "Why didn't you tell me before you left for three years! I found out from Gai! How could you do that to me!"

Kurama stared at Neji with a stupid look on his face before he smiled nervously. "I'm sorry, Neji. I didn't have time to tell you. Naruto and I had to leave Konoha immediately."

Neji glared at Kurama for a moment before kissing him gently. The youko melted against the tree and wrapped his arms around Neji's waist. Their tongues battled for dominance before Kurama allowed Neji full control as a silent apology. When they finally separated, Kurama had an adorable little blush on his face that made Neji smirk. "I'll see you tomorrow," he said before walking off, leaving an irritated Kurama behind.

'Little bastard. If he gets me all hot and bothered, the least he can do is help me take care of my problem,' Kurama thought, pouting to himself. With a small smile, he vanished from the spot and made his way to Naruto's apartment with incredible speed.

oOo

Naruto smiled as he looked around his clean apartment. Iruka had really outdone himself. It was absolutely spotless, and all of his old outfits were dust-free and in his closet. Shaking his head, he proceeded to pull out a garbage bag and pack them all into it. He really needed to go shopping.

"Hi Kurama. How nice of you to drop in," Naruto said with a smirk on his face as he sensed the slight displacement of air in the room.

"You're senses are good as ever, Naru-chan," Kurama said with an affectionate smile as he rumpled Naruto's hair. Naruto gave a half-hearted glare over his shoulder as he tied up the bag and threw it by the door.

"I need to go shopping, Kura. Those outfits are ugly and too small for me," Naruto said as he walked into the kitchen to check if there was anything left - and if there was, he was going to throw it away. To his surprise, Iruka had even seen fit to clean the cupboards as well as the fridge. The kitchen was bare.

Kurama looked thoughtful for a moment. "Actually, I think it's about time that you moved out of here. I doubt that I'll be living with Kakashi anymore, so why don't we go and buy a house together? I might even be able to convince Neji to move in with us eventually… perhaps even Hinata," Kurama said the last part slyly.

Naruto blinked innocently. "Why Hinata?"

Kurama grinned. He had totally set himself up that time. "Why, because she's cute of course. And she has that crush on you? Or did you forget that?" he said with a smirk.

Naruto blushed and shook his head, attempting to glare at Kurama and failing miserably. "I can't believe I never noticed and had to have you tell me during 'the talk'," Naruto muttered, shuddering at the memory.

Kurama grinned. He had made that night by the fire a living hell for the blonde. He'd enjoyed it too. "I can't believe you didn't either. But then again, you're Naruto, so what's one to expect?" Kurama dodged the punch thrown in his direction with a foxy smirk.

Naruto glared at Kurama for a moment before getting a thoughtful look on his face. "I suppose us living together would be a good idea. Then you could live with your boyfriend, too," Naruto gave a suggestive grin, "just don't keep me awake at night.

Blushing, Kurama hit Naruto gently up the side of the head. "Only you would make such a vulgar comment."

Naruto got a playfully offended look on his face. "I only made it because I've been living with you for the past three years. I can't help it if you're rubbing off on me."

"Are you insinuating that I'm a vulgar person?"

"No, just that you have vulgar… tendencies."

"As you're jounin instructor, I CAN, and WILL make you're life a living hell. You realize this, right?"

"Oops," was the cheeky reply. They loved their sarcastic banter. Two witty minds came up with the most interesting of conversations. And the best part about it, was that when someone was watching it happen, they got this utterly confused or stupefied expression on their face. It was quite amusing.

Kurama looked thoughtful for a moment. "Do you want a house or a bigger apartment?" he asked Naruto.

The Kyuubi vessel grinned. "A house. That way I can play music as loud as I want to without pissing off people below me or above me."

"What about those beside you?"

"They're all losers anyway."

"Aren't all the villagers losers?"

"Yeah..."

"Then why do you give a rat's ass what they think?"

Naruto looked thoughtful for a moment. Then he sighed and gave up. "Okay, you win that round."

Kurama just smirked. "That's 456 to 454. You're falling behind, Naruto."

The blonde just glared. "Get lookin' for a house, prat."

Kurama grinned and left the apartment to search out the real-estate company.

oOo

It only took Kurama a few hours to find the perfect house and "convince" the one selling it to sell it for less than it was worth. Naruto chipped in half and voila, house. The reason they had so much money was from all the missions they did for other countries during the three years they were out of Konoha.

It was a cozy little place on the edge of town, near the forest. Conveniently, the training areas were a short walk away. It was two stories, had four bed rooms, a kitchen, a dining room, and a TV room (not that they had a TV-yet). It came with most furniture, though they had to buy a table for the dining room and one extra bed (if the fourth room was going to be used). Kurama had plans to turn it into a little library of scrolls and such although Naruto didn't know about it. They settled in nicely, and Kurama went to the grocery store to buy some 'proper food' instead of ramen.

Kurama sighed as he put the bag of groceries on the table. So much to do in so little time… it was tiring. Putting the groceries away, he pondered ways to invite Neji to come and live with them. How the hell would he convince Hinata to come here? She was so timid and shy… He really had to work on that. The only problem was what would make her more confident? Throwing some supper together as he pondered possibilities, Kurama made plans for his new genin team. It would be fun for him – a devilish smirk – and hell for them.

oOo

"GAH!" Naruto yelled after Kurama dumped a bucket of water on him. "WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT FOR!" he asked angrily and threw his water-logged pillow at the invading kitsune.

Kurama merely smiled that annoying patient smile of his. "To wake you up, of course," he said before dodging the pillow and slipping out of the room.

Naruto growled to himself as he fell out of bed and stared at the mess that was his room. "Damnit. Now I gotta dry it out. Getting an idea, he focused his chakra and heated up the air around and within his bed, making the water evaporate. Once there was nothing but mist and his bed was dry, Naruto condensed the mist inside the bucket and released his control over it. Breathing heavily and having a killer headache, Naruto smiled goofily at his good work. "Kurama always says to practice you're chakra control whenever you can," he mused to himself before pulling off his wet pajamas and throwing them in the hamper before getting dressed for the new day. Sniffing his shirt and making a face, he mumbled to himself, "Definitely gotta go shopping…"

The smell of breakfast wafted through the air, and Naruto gravitated towards the kitchen. Licking his lips at the sight of bacon, eggs, toast, and hash browns, Naruto plopped into his seat with a grin and waited impatiently for Kurama to finish placing the last of the toast on the table. Once the redhead had taken his seat, Naruto dug in with fervor.

"It's not healthy to inhale you're food," Kurama commented facetiously as Naruto choked on a bit of bacon.

Naruto made no response to the playfully jocular remark and continued to eat after clearing his windpipe.

Kurama shook his head and looked at the time. They had twenty minutes to get to training grounds seven. Finishing the last of his breakfast, Kurama began collecting the plates. Naruto finished three fourths of the prepared breakfast a few moments after and helped. Kurama cleaned the dishes while Naruto dried them and put them away. "Naruto, is there anything that you need from the store?" Kurama asked as he finished up the dishes and pulled the plug.

"I need a new wardrobe as well as some shuriken and kunai. Can I get some new jutsu scrolls too? I've mastered the ones I have," Naruto replied instantly.

Kurama looked thoughtful. "I agree on the wardrobe and weapons, we both need replacements. As for jutsu scrolls, you and I both need to learn some genjutsu. Yours is strangely weak considering you have a kitsune in your head. You and I will also be working on that rare taijutsu we picked up in cloud country. I've had no more than a glance at the scrolls we stole since we acquired them."

Naruto nodded his head in agreement. "What taijutsu form are you going to teach to Hinata-chan and Neji-san?" he asked curiously, wondering what the youko had in store for the team.

Kurama smiled. "I'm going to teach each of you something different. I've learned a few styles during my time here and when I was in the makai. I'm going to teach Hinata and Neji two styles that are so opposite that the two can work as the perfect tag team," Kurama said with a grin.

Naruto raised an eyebrow. "Then where would my techniques fit in?" he asked.

Kurama smiled. "That's the beauty of it. They don't. You are to be the wild card. Completely unpredictable and the best at utilizing power, speed, stealth, and accuracy in different combinations. That's why I've been teaching you such a large variety of taijutsus that each demand different skills. Switching between your different styles would confuse the hell out of your opponent, as they wouldn't know what to expect next from you.

Naruto got a thoughtful expression. "And where would you fit in?" he asked curiously.

Kurama smiled. "I will be many things. I will follow in the shadows. I will team up with you to create a duo of disaster," Kurama smirked, "and I will keep an eye on all of you."

Nodding, Naruto put the last of the dishes away and went to the door to put his boots on. They were getting a little worn he noticed as he tied up the laces and did a secure knot at the top so they wouldn't loosen or come undone.

oOo

Neji and Hinata waited for their teammate and jounin sensei to arrive. Hinata, in particular, was rather anxious. What if she wassn't good enough for the team? Both Neji and Naruto were far superior to her. Neji, on the other hand, was anxious to get started. He couldn't wait to learn something different, especially from his boyfriend.

"Good morning Neji, Hinata-chan," Kurama called with a pleasant smile as he and Naruto arrived.

"Good morning Kurama-sensei, Naruto-kun," Hinata said timidly and put her index fingers together. Kurama filed away the action for future reference.

Neji merely inclined his head and mumbled a 'good morning'.

"Morning Neji-san, Hinata-chan," Naruto said with a pleasant smile hidden beneath his mask.

After the greetings were exchanged, Kurama motioned the group over to a tree and jumped into the branches. The team followed suit. Naruto reclined in a relaxed but alert fashion on one of the broader branches while Kurama leaned against the trunk. Neji was the highest in the tree, right above Kurama, and Hinata was on the other side of the trunk to Naruto.

"The plan for today is to bring you up to speed on my plans and get Hinata-chan and Neji a set of weights. First of all, chakra control and speed training are going to be very important to the team. Everyone will be close in speed so that we can operate well as a group with no one lagging behind. You won't be allowed to use chakra during the weight training. Hinata-chan and Neji, you two are going to be a tag team. You two will be learning opposite taijutsu styles that compliment eachother well and make you damn near unbeatable. Naruto will be training in a variety of styles and will be the wild card of the group. He'll be there to shake up enemies and start some chaos. I will watch your backs and occasionally team up with Naruto. However, the team is not to be split in half. There must be a "method to our madness", as some call it, but the key is for the enemy to not see how we work in co-ordination. On your own time I want you to work on your weaknesses. Hinata, you and I will be working on your confidence and I'm going to be teaching you to be a medic-nin after Tsunade-sama teaches me. Neji, I want you to keep working on your gentle fist taijutsu style. Hinata won't be delving as deeply into the techniques as you will, and I want you to do this on your own time. Naruto, you will be working on genjutsu and your chakra control as well as any other jutsu you want to. Over all, I want Hinata to be our medic-nin and have the physical strength of Tsunade-sama. Neji, I want you to be accurate and deal fatal blows as well as our Byakugan expert. Naruto will be the jutsu expert, assassin, and intelligence gatherer of the group. Any questions?" Kurama asked.

"How much time are you going to spend with us separately?" Neji asked.

Kurama looked thoughtful. "Hinata will get the most attention for a while till I bring her up to speed. Naruto I am teaching so that he may become well rounded enough for the job of Hokage as well as to protect himself from Akatsuki. Neji is pretty good at working on his own. If you need or want some special training, however, just let me know, "Kurama said, looking at Neji.

The Hyuuga nodded his head thoughtfully before voicing another question. "What is this Akatsuki that you mentioned?"

Kurama turned to look at Naruto, whose gaze was intense and posture stiff. "It is not my place to tell you why, but a group is out there that wants to get their hands on Naruto. Once you get to know each other better, perhaps he will tell you more. I don't want you bothering him about it though."

Hinata and Neji nodded their consent and watched Naruto curiously. His eyes gave nothing away and they couldn't see the rest of his face.

Kurama smirked suddenly. "Now that you know the plan we're going to go get you some weights."

oOo

Kurama sighed in relief that most of the day was over. The entire morning had been hectic. He had got their weights ordered and started them separately on the new styles they were going to learn while the others did chakra control or laps. Hinata was proving to be difficult to help, but Kurama was determined to turn her into a mean kunoichi yet. He smiled in amusement at the thought as he headed to Tsunade's office. She was going to begin his medic-nin training that evening. He was looking forward to learning something new and having a challenge. Naruto had been sent to the store to shop for a wardrobe for himself and weapons and supplies for both of them. Kurama would buy his own clothes another time.

"Good evening, Tsunade-sama," Kurama said as he entered her office.

Tsunade smirked. "I hope you're ready for hell, Kurama," she said and began the first lesson.

oOo

Things continued as planned for a month. Hinata slowly became a more confidant individual as Kurama trained her personally in the ways of the ninja and the medic-nin. The Neji-Hinata tag team flourished as the two got over their differences and used their Byakugans to work in the most perfect synchronization Kurama had ever seen. As a group, they managed to get to know how the other thought amazingly quickly and became the craziest genin team in Konoha in both skill and teamwork.

However, the chaos hit a bump in the road all too soon for Kurama's liking.

A small yip sounded from behind the redheaded sensei and he turned around. A smile touched his lips. "Shinrin. I've been waiting for you to come back. What is the news on Akatsuki?" He caught the small silver fox as it jumped at him and listened to its soft yips and growls. Kurama's eyebrows rose in surprise. "They're going after Gaara?"

-Toki Mirage-

I'm Back! And I might not update often (cuz school is BUSY O.o'), but this story's off the back burner once again!

Kurama in Narutoland

oOo

Chapter Fifty-one:

oOo

A small yip sounded from behind the redheaded sensei and he turned around. A smile touched his lips. "Shinrin. I've been waiting for you to come back. What is the news on Akatsuki?" He caught the small silver fox as it jumped at him and listened to its soft yips and growls. Kurama's eyebrows rose in surprise. "They're going after Gaara?"

After a small nod of its head, he placed it on his shoulder and disappeared from the house.

oOo

Tsunade glared at the evil paperwork. Why couldn't someone come and interrupt her already?

"Tsunade-sama…"

Tsunade fell off her chair in surprise.

A small smirk. "How graceful of you. Tsunade-sama, we have a problem. The Akatsuki are moving against Gaara. If Naruto and I move quickly, we may be able to save him," Kurama said to the Godaime as she straightened in her chair. Her eyes had widened considerably. "There are very few jounin or ANBU teams inside Konoha right now. The sand is our ally, and we must send someone to help them."

Tsunade's expression was one of utter seriousness. "I want you to take your team as well as Team Gai and Kakashi. Leave immediately for the sand to help Gaara."

Kurama bowed and vanished from the office.

oOo

Naruto yawned as he climbed out of the shower and scratched his head. Turning bleary eyes to the mirror, he was surprised when the door opened abruptly and Kurama stood before him. "Get ready for an A class mission. We're leaving as soon as the team's together," he said quickly before disappearing to pull the rest of the team together. Naruto sleepy look disappeared immediately and he smirked. It was time to have some FUN for once.

oOo

Once Kurama had pulled the group together, he briefed them on the mission. "Recent intel has informed us that the Akatsuki are moving against the first demon hosts. We're going to Suna to assist Gaara and to prevent his kidnapping. Any questions?" Kurama asked.

Gai and Kakashi exchanged glances. The genin were absolutely confused as to what was going on. Tenten was the first to voice any questions. "First of all, what are demon hosts?"

Kurama blinked. "You mean… none of the genin even know what I'm talking about?" he asked and turned to Kakashi and Gai in confusion. The two jounin just gave him a rather stupid look and shrugged. Rolling his eyes, Kurama turned back to Tenten, Lee, Neji, and Sakura and began to explain. "Demon hosts are people who had demons sealed inside them at a very young age so the chakra system could adapt properly. Normally this information is confidential, but because of certain circumstances and the current situation in Konoha I have to disclose it to you. You are to swear absolute secrecy." He watched them for a response and smiled when they all nodded seriously. "Good. Gaara is one such demon host. He holds the one tailed tanuki demon, Shukaku. We think that there are nine demon hosts total, and we don't know much about many of the others. As to the Akatsuki, they are an organization bent on stealing the demons from their hosts, therefore killing the host, and keeping the power for themselves. Now, any questions?"

The four genin shook their heads. Kakashi was the first to speak, "How do you know all of this, Kurama? It is all very confidential information," he questioned with his normal lazy look.

Kurama smiled. "I'm afraid that that information is beyond your clearance, Kakashi."

Kakashi's eye widened slightly at the hint of bigger things going on behind the scenes and was about to ask another question when Naruto interrupted. "Kurama, can we go already? The Akatsuki aren't gonna wait for us to get our asses over there," Naruto pouted and crossed his arms.

Kurama smirked slightly. "Oh but of course. Lead the way, Naru-chan," he said cheekily. Naruto only stuck his tongue out at him before shooting off into the forest. Lee was quick to follow at the same speed, as were the two jounin. Even with all of the training she had received from Tsunade, Sakura was just barely keeping up. The other two genin of Gai's team were struggling too. Kurama saw this immediately and slowed down to talk with them while Naruto led the group.

"Meaning nothing personal, this is for the benefit of the mission, you three are much too slow and I would like you to ride on Shinrin. I don't want you completely tired out for when we get to Suna." Not waiting for a response, he held out his arm and Shinrin ran across it and into the air. With a weird displacement of air and light he was many sizes larger and just big enough to hold three people. Neji was the first to jump on, and that broke the ice for the other two. Seeing that the three of them were settled, Kurama whistled sharply and he and Shinrin leapt forward to catch up with the rest of the group.

oOo

The trip was uneventful for the most part. No surprise attacks, no random accidents, and nothing that was suspicouslyout of the ordinary and called for serious consideration. They made good time to Suna but were in for a surprise when they arrived at the front gate and saw blood splattered everywhere. The mess was extensive and what had been rivers of blood were slowing to a dribble.

Eyes narrowed, the jounin surveyed the damage. Since Kurama was in charge of the mission and technically had a higher ranking than them, Kakashi and Gai turned their attention to him as if to ask, 'what now?' Closing his eyes for a moment in preparation to think over a plan, Kurama was surprised when his clearing of his mind revealed that a slight genjutsu had been placed over a small area to their left. Searching with his demonic senses, he detected a presence ten meters to his left. Opening his eyes slowly so he didn't give away that he knew something was up, Kurama turned to the other two jounin and started firing of a bunch of seemingly random signals. To those who hadn't been part of the ANBU or darker shinobi circles of Konoha it would merely look like Kurama was thinking pretty hard and had an itch on his elbow. Kakashi caught on quickly to Kurama's message of enemy alien 10 meters to the left and the order for he and Gai to guard the students while Kurama revealed the unknown person or creature.

Naruto, whom Kurama had taught everything he knew (and consequentially all Tsunade had taught him), followed the 'conversation' with ease and watched Kurama carefully to deduce what the redhead would do next. His blue eyes watched intensely as Kurama dashed in the indicated direction at a much slower speed than he was capable of. Said eyes widened immensely when the questionable area suddenly flashed with chakra before the genjutsu was torn down to reveal an ugly, large man hunching over the ground.

Kurama attacked him without pause and was shocked to see various poisoned needles shoot out at him. Growing a leaf shield from a bit of plant wrapped purposefully arouond his finger like a ring, Kurama deflected the sharp needles with the rock-hard surface. Growing a sword from the other ring, this time on his right hand, Kurama sped up to his full capabilities once he was in close and cut the creature (for it wasn't really human-looking) into tiny little bits. To his (and everyone else's) surprise, what seemed to be a mutilated shell fell apart to reveal a weakened boy on the inside with various lacerations littering his skin. Rather, his... container. The cuts didn't bleed.

Rather unnerved at the obvious damage and lack of blood, Kurama cautiously ordered Naruto to help him before attacking the 'person' from behind with his sword. To his utter shock, something flew out from the body of the 'boy' and impaled Kurama. Luckily for the redhead, he had good enough reflexes to make sure that it didn't pierce anything that couldn't be fixed. Jumping back from the scene, Kurama watched with sharp green eyes tinted with gold as Naruto punched the guy out of the blue and sent him coliding into the wall of Suna. The force of the attack caused the 'boy's body to crack a gigantic spider web littered with small craters into the wall of sand. Naruto, completely stoic and indifferent summoned a blade of chakra into his hand like Kurama had taught him and ran the dazed boy through the 'heart' with it. To his surprise, the scroll-like thing didn't bleed either. His blue chakra tinged with red raced through his chakra blade and burned up the scroll with its fierce power. What remained, which was just a puppet, fell to the ground with a hollow thump that quickly dissipated into the dry air of the desert.

The two jounin and five genin watched the scene with shock painted on their faces. They had just witnessed two boys, one who even used to be a dunce totally tear apart what seemed to be a very, very powerful ninja in less than a minute.

Naruto, still not paying attention to his fellow teammates, examined the 'corpse' looking for clues as to what it was doing here. Not entirely surprised, he located the Akatsuki signet ring upon one of his fingers. Slipping the ugly-looking bit of metal off the wooden finger, Naruto turned to look at Kurama. Seeing his nii-san injured, Naruto turned away from the body and made his way to the redhead.

Kurama watched for a moment as Naruto examined the body before turning his attention to the rest of his collected team. Seeing the looks of shock on their faces he smiled slightly before wincing as another wave of pain hit him, saying 'don't ignore me now, I'm just getting started!' Gritting his teeth he pulled a small seed from his hair and placed it inside the wound. Using a little bit of youki to stimulate the growth of the plant, he watched as it spread through the wound and sealed it up, both the entry and exit holes. The plant would hold everything together with its tiny vines until he had a moment and spare chakra to heal it. At the moment the success of the mission was more important than the wound. The hole wouldn't get any worse, although it'd cause pain, and he needed all the chakra he could get for the next battle.

Standing from his kneeling position, Kurama walked up to Naruto and gave his shoulder a slight, comforting squeeze. Naruto gave him a small, but true, smile and slipped the Akatsuki ring into his hand. Examining the bit of metal work, Kurama frowned slightly. So this was the signet ring of the band of missing-nin causing trouble all over the place...

"Kurama?" a wary voice interrupted his musings. Kakashi's eye was serious as he examined the redhead in front of him. Seeing that he had the ninja's attention, he asked, "Why did you bring us along if you two have such hidden skills?"

A small smile touched Kurama's lips. "Because each of you has unique skills that Naruto and I may or may not be able to do up to par... For instance, your Sharingan, jutsu inventory, and experience in ninja matters is priceless. Gai, you and your student's amazing taijutsu skills could become imperative if we run into someone or something that makes nin- and genjutsu useless. Neji can see chakra pathways and his Byakugan is incredibly useful for seeing around the area. Sakura has more medical training than I do, and Tenten's abilities with weapons are perfect for long range attacks and if we run into another weapons user that has things we've never heard of. Over all, a very useful team. Naruto and I may be two perfect killing machines with many skills, but we don't have some of the skills that you all do or the experience of the jounin."

After the rather long-winded and thorouogh explanation, no one was really willing to question Kurama further and looked ready to follow his orders without complaints.

"Nice speech, Kura-chan," Naruto said with a smirk.

Kurama glared playfully at him before turning back to the group. "Now, I can still sense another malicious presence inside of Suna. I want Gai, Lee, Tenten and Sakura to watch our backs and help out if things go bad. Gai is the leader of Team B. Team A consists of Kakashi, Neji, Naruto, and me. We're going to attack the enemy alien. I will be leading with an attack to confuse the enemy, and I want all of you to try to take him out as soon as possible. Once we're out there you have the discretion to come up with whatever strategies possible to protect Gaara and Suna. Any questions?"

When no on said anything, Kurama smiled grimly and motioned them to follow him into Sunagakure.

-Toki Mirage-