Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto nor any of the characters from the series.
Note: This is based loosely upon the FireKeeper Series by Jane Linskold.

Through Fox's Eyes
Chapter Twenty

Depending on whom you spoke to in the Uchiha-Hatake-Umino-Uzumaki household, Kitsune learning how to use Kage no Bunshin was a good or a bad thing.

First, there was Kitsune, who thought it was the best thing in the world. He could call forth friends who understood exactly what he was saying, understood his moods and wants and what he needed better than his human family. Even though they were just clones of him, he made a close knit fox family that he created whenever he could and wanted to do everything together with them. They didn't care if he rolled in the mud or ate his meat raw and they understood and loved the Hunt and took pride in stalking their prey and taking it down with stealth and power, not weapons.

Then there was Umino Iruka, who was having a hard time deciding if it was a good or bad thing, possibly both. While he was thrilled that the blonde remembered something from when he was just Naruto and now had a chance to be a ninja, it did certainly make things harder—like punishment. If Kitsune didn't want to do the punishment, he'd just make a copy of himself to wait out the punishment instead of himself, allowing him to wander off and find more trouble while the household was under the assumption that the Kitsune sitting on the sofa was the Kitsune. Or, if they were playing together and something got damaged or broken, they'd all point at each other if Iruka asked who did it. The poor chunin was stuck punishing them all and then making sure they actually followed through with their punishment, which was just as much of a punishment for himself as it was for them!

Hatake Kakashi just shrugged and accepted it as it was—a pain. Whenever the Kitsune pack was getting too rambunctious, he'd just disappear until after things calmed down. It was too much of a hassle to actually deal with Kitsune and the last time he had, he found himself at the bottom of a dog pile as the Kitsunes jumped him as a joke. They could be fast when they really wanted to and when they're coming at you from all directions with no sensible pattern, it made it hard to escape without hurting them, even for a jonin! Thus, he'd usually sneak off to read his latest book until things calmed down and then pretend he had no idea things were out of hand while he wasn't there. Though he didn't think Iruka was buying that anymore…

And lastly, there was Uchiha Sasuke, who originally thought the jutsu was quite fascinating and had since changed his mind as more and more of his house began to see ruin. "Dobe!" He growled, eyes flashing red with the Sharingan as he stared at what used to be his living room. The sofa had been flipped as well as the cushions ripped and strewn about, the plants that "livened the place up" according to Iruka were knocked over with the potting soil spilled across the floor. Black dirt in the shape of foot and handprints littered the floor (and walls) and he didn't dare take a step towards the kitchen where he could hear rummaging.

At the sound of Sasuke's voice, four blonde heads popped from around the corner of the kitchen, their faces lighting up at their den mate returning. Yipping, the four started towards him until murderous red eyes zeroed in on them, the glare chilling them to the bone and stopping them in their tracks.

"That's it, no clones in the house!" He almost yelled, his usual cool demeanor shredded just like the living room drapes were. "And clean…this!" He added, making a sweeping gesture towards the living room before stomping upstairs to his room, which was thankfully untouched. There'd be one very dead blonde if even one thing in his room was ruined. Throwing his gear down on the floor beside his bed, he collapsed onto his bed and just closed his eyes as he felt the onset of a migraine starting. It figured Iruka left this morning for his own mission while they had just arrived back from theirs and within the hour window Kitsune was alone, he managed to destroy part of his house. God forbid they ever leave him alone for a full day, they might return to kindling!

They had finally gotten another mission, a low ranking C mission since they were down a member, but it was still something to add to their roster and another step closer to becoming a chunin. Sakura had been clingy though and kept talking about finally having time alone without Kitsune following them, but he couldn't help but think he'd rather Kitsune be with him than the pink ninpo hanging off his arm and trying to interest him in the latest fashions.

While the mission wasn't specifically hard, it was exhausting as it entailed hand delivering messages from one family to the next while a third family kept trying to intercept them. The two families, while wealthy and powerful, were civilian business families while the third family was lesser, but had ninjitsu users within their ranks. They had a few skirmishes between themselves and low ranking ninjas, but for the most part, it was a test of their stamina as they continuously ran messages between the families until the two came to an agreement.

Why the family heads didn't just meet with each other was beyond him, but he assumed it had to do with a show of power and prestige. At least he got a decent workout in…

Sasuke startled awake at the knocking at his door, cursing as he sat up and stumbled from the bed. He hadn't remembered falling asleep and who knows now what the blonde fox had gotten into now! Opening the door, he came face to face with Kitsune who, suspiciously enough, looked clean and sheepish.

"Kitsune…" he frowned, thinking about to the words Sasuke had used earlier, "clean." He then pointed downstairs and grabbed at Sasuke's hand to show him what he had done.

Sasuke looked and was surprised to find the house in order, though his sofa was dilapidated now and his drapes were still shredded, the blonde had picked up the plants, gotten rid of the dirt, flipped the sofa back over and returned the cushions to their rightful place and even the walls looked spotless. A small smile graced the Uchiha's lips as he patted Kitsune on the head, "Good job, Kitsune."

The blonde beamed at the praise and dragged Sasuke downstairs to play with him, "Outside?" He asked, pointing out into the training field behind them.

"Hn." But Sasuke allowed the blonde to continue to drag him outside and watched as the foxling ran around the training yard, chasing whatever the wind blew and making clones of himself to join in the fun. "Dobe!" He called after a few minutes and the blonde(s) immediately made his way to Sasuke's side. "Let's spar."

"S-spar?" Kitsune asked, cocking his head to the side as he pondered the word. He was sure he'd heard it before, but he couldn't place where he had heard the word before.

"Hai. Play fight." He answered, trying to clarify.

Kitsune's face lit up as understanding dawned on him and he nodded vigorously, excited to play with his den mate. Looking at his clones, he questioningly looked from them to Sasuke. "Stay or go?"

"They can stay." He shrugged, stretching his muscles so he wouldn't damage anything. He looked at the four shadow clones who were still playing and decided to try something else. "Do you remember about chakra?"

Expression souring, Kitsune nodded, but he didn't like that word though. The humans always wanted him to use this chakra thing, but whenever he tried, he felt an evil lurking there and it scared him. He didn't want to use it. Growling, he narrowed his eyes and crouched low to the ground, Sasuke was certain if his ears allowed it, they'd be plastered against his skull in aversion.

"Chakra is good," he tried to explain, pointing at the other Kitsunes, "your clones are made from chakra, but you need to control it better."

Kitsune looked at his friends, frowning as he contemplated the words. Control he knew, it was a word the fox within him constantly talked about—he wanted to take control, wanted him to give up control—and better he understood too, but why would he need better control? He made his friends, what else did he need?

Seeing the question there, Sasuke sighed, "Better control of your chakra means you can make more clones."

The blonde perked up at the word "more" and smiled up at the dark haired shinobi. "Kitsune like more."

Jerking his head towards the forest nearby, Sasuke brought him to a large oak tree and told Kitsune to watch him. Focusing his chakra to his feet, he slowly stepped onto the bark and began walking up it as he had learned while at the Land of the Waves. Looking down, he smirked at the comical expression on Kitsune's face as his eyes filled with horror as they grew and his mouth dropped open, "This is chakra control." He stated, allowing the chakra to leave his feet as he flipped to the ground, landing gracefully beside Kitsune.

Kitsune sniffed at the ground and at his feet, but he found nothing that would allow him to do that. Growling, he charged the tree and tried running up it, only to fall down immediately on his head. Letting out a cry of surprise and pain, he grabbed his head and glared at the tree, turning that glare to Sasuke when he heard his den mate laughing at him.

"You have to use chakra."

Sitting on the ground, he huffed and crossed his arms as he glared at the young Uchiha.

Sitting down, Sasuke picked up some dirt and showed it to the blonde fox, "This is chakra, yes?" He said, watching as Kitsune steadily stared at the dirt, "Chakra is here," he continued, pointing to his chest, "you need to move chakra to where you need it." He pooled the dirt into his hand, hoping the blonde would understand. Then pointing at his chest again, he moved his hand down to his foot while saying "Move chakra from here to here, understand?"

Kitsune remained still for a long time, contemplating Raven-Hair's words and trying to recall to the weird human's instructions on feeling his chakra. A high strung human had visited him daily while he was in the hospital, working with him to…meditate, yes meditate…to find his chakra and pull at it.

"Iruka-san told me Ebisu-san was teaching you to meditate, yes?"

He nodded and slowly stood, thoughtfully looking at the tree and then at his feet and the dirt. Closing his eyes, he tried to focus on finding his chakra again and quickly found it within him, but that evil feeling remained nearby. Growling, he pushed forward and tried to pull at the chakra, picturing grains of dirt and moving them elsewhere. Eyes snapping open, he grinned at Sasuke and charged the tree again, his foot hit the bark and stuck, but as soon as his second foot hit the bark, it crumbled beneath him and the tree creaked as it swayed. Squeaking with surprise, Kitsune kicked away from the tree and stared at the birds twittering as they flew away from the swaying tree.

"Too much chakra. Try again, but less chakra this time." Sasuke instructed, watching closely as Kitsune tried again.

And so went the next four hours as Kitsune slowly began to figure out how to pull and pool chakra and was finally having some success with walking up the tree. He had made it 10 feet before falling off again when he turned to look at his den mate again, who was still watching his every move. "Sasuke go." He said, pointing up the tree.

"How high can I go?"

Kitsune nodded, cocking his head as he watched closely as Sasuke pooled his chakra and flitted up the tree, making it a good 15 feet higher than him before he had lost control. He growled, disliking how much better Raven-Hair was and began again, trying to get further up the tree. Kitsune knew Raven-Hair would be better than him, he was the stronger of the two, but he thought they were closer in power than that. Bursting up the tree, Kitsune looked down to where his den mate stood and lost his control, tumbling back down to the ground. His clones had long since dissipated as he continued to expel chakra and a sheen of sweat could be seen covering his body, but he continued with the exercise.

Another hour came and went and Kitsune was still practicing in the dark, finally making it as high as Sasuke did and crowing at his success.

The dark haired genin tsked and charged the tree, just making it a few inches over where Kitsune had been. Marking the tree with a kunai, he fell back to the ground, smirking at the blonde who was now growling menacingly at him. "Maybe next time, dobe."

Jumping down from the tree branch he had been standing on, he grabbed Sasuke's hand before he could get too far away. "No. Again." He growled, momentarily focusing his chakra again before taking to the tree again. He got just as high as Sasuke and, using his claws, marked the tree before tumbling back down. Sasuke was running up the tree before Kitsune even hit the ground and marked it just a few inches higher than him again.

Glaring, Kitsune tried again and again and again, each time Sasuke getting a few inches higher than him, but never more. By the time Kakashi went to find them, the two teens were covered in dirt and sweat and exhausted, but standing at the top of the tree grinning at each other.

"What have you two been up to?" He asked, staring at the two as they looked like they were about to topple over.

"Heh," Sasuke huffed, "Practicing chakra control."

Kakashi smiled beneath his mask, "You taught him to use chakra?"

Sasuke nodded, grinning at the blonde fox, "Caught on pretty quickly too."

"Excellent. Well, its past curfew, so we need to head back before Iruka returns back from his mission. You know how he gets…"

"Hai." Yet as soon as the two tried to move, exhaustion overcame them and Kakashi watched as they began to fall from the tree, unconscious.

"K'so!" He cursed quietly; flitting from the tree he'd been perched on, he grabbed the two boys midair and tried to maneuver through the tree branches with the dead weight. He quickly pooled chakra to his feet and latched onto a thick tree branch, the three swaying capaciously for a moment before Kakashi steadied them all. "I don't think I like you two right now…" He muttered, flitting to the ground and heaving them onto his shoulders. Turning towards the house, he could only hope that Sasuke wouldn't have the energy kill the blonde when he saw the towels, water and dirt that covered the bathroom, but for now it was going to be a long walk back.

The two teens slept in late that day, their energy sapped from their late night escapades, but Kakashi was up early for once so that he could discuss some things with Iruka. The chunin had returned late last night, but was still up by 6am and sipping on tea by the time the jonin came downstairs.

Looking up from his tea with dark circles under his eyes, Iruka nodded, "Ohaiyou. Where are Sasuke and Naruto?"

"Still sleeping." He answered, "Sasuke was teaching him how to control his chakra."

"And Naruto didn't balk?"

Kakashi shrugged, "If he did, he isn't anymore. They were able to control their chakras long enough to climb to the top of the tree, that's quite impressive, neh?"

Iruka smiled, "Very!"

"Did the Council accept your proposition?" Kakashi asked after a moment of silence. He watched the chunin's shoulders droop and took that as a negative, "Even with the Nara clan backing your decision?"

"I need another clan or the Hokage to back my decision." He sighed, "And Naruto needs to show two other skills—Substitution and Replication—before they will agree to him being a genin. I believe they would accept Kage no Bunshin as a Replication skill, but his chances are slim at learning another new skill so quickly, let alone finding another clan to back me."

"You do have another clan, Iruka-sensei." A third voice stated and the two ninjas turned to where Sasuke stood, leaning up against the kitchen doorway. "As the last surviving member of the Uchiha clan, I am the Head."

The blonde woman sighed, staring at the gates to a city she had never thought to see again. It wasn't just the memories that had kept her away, but also the shame. The shame of having a lover who would attack a young boy, who was able to deceive all those around him that he had the best intentions when it came to Naruto and then tried to kill him.

She tried to hate the little blonde boy, she hardened her heart against him to try and keep the memories of Dan pure, but even though she spoke brashly to Jiraiya about Naruto being a demon, she knew it wasn't true. She left not long after the incident, burying her memories beneath sake and gambling.

"Welcome back, Tsunade-sama." Shizune said as she stepped up next to the blonde Sannin, smiling. "It seems that not much has changed in the past 8 years."

Tsunade smirked, rolling up her sleeve as she stormed towards the gate. "Oh trust me, change will be coming now."

A lone figure hobbled along the road, his face swollen and bleeding, his arm twisted oddly while the other arm held his aching ribs. "Hey!" He yelled through bloodied lips at the disappearing figures, "Wait for me! Don't leave me!" How was he supposed to know that Shizune was off limits too?

Page 7


I know, I'm sorry for not updating on the monthly basis I had planned. Things went to shit recently with my daughter and other personal issues.

On top of that, my new job is super hectic and so finding time to actually get this uploaded (since I don't have internet at home except on my phone and can't upload files that way) has been hard.

AND on top of that, FanFiction wouldn't let me login. When I did "forgot password", I kept getting a server error, so it took like 2 weeks just to get into the site!

I hope you guys liked this installment of "Through Fox's Eyes" and there is still more to come!