Ok, sorry it took me so long, but I had to find my inspiration and to get back on track. Er…Still not inspired but that's ok!
This chapter is pretty worthless…it's just snap shots of Naruto's childhood with Yusuke. Maybe I'll do one for Yusuke later?
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto or Yu Yu Hakusho.
Meeting of Importance
By: Akki no Tama
Chapter Two: Meet Childhood
Five year old Naruto stared at the orange haired weirdo in front of him.
"Alright, you can call me Uncle Kazuma!" The man gave him a wide grin as he knelt on the ground to be on eye level.
"…Where's 'nii-san?" the blond demanded, crossing his chubby, child arms. A pout made its way on his face.
"He's…um…" The man fumbled. 'Is the kid supposed to know about the Makai…?'
"Where's Yusuke?" A touch of anger and…was that fear?
"He's gone away for-"
"He left me?" Tears began to form in those impossibly blue eyes. The lower lip, belonging to the same face, gave an almighty tremble.
"Well, yeah," Kuwabara said, not noticing the reaction and unknowingly adding to the boy's fear. "He's really busy and-"
He was interrupted for the second time when Naruto gave a wail and began to cry.
"Oh, whoa, wait! What's wrong with you?" 'Kids are weird…'
When Kuwabara tried to touch Naruto, the blond jerked away and ran to the bathroom, locking the door. Kuwabara tried to talk to the child but every time he tried, his voice was drowned out by the wails.
This was the scene Yusuke walked into three hours later.
Hurriedly shoving his friend away from the door, Yusuke asked, voice raised to be heard over the noise, "Naruto? What's wrong with you?"
The wailing stopped to be replacing by sniffling.
"Naruto…? It's me, Yusuke! Are you ok?"
Next thing the demon lord knew, he had an armful of a sobbing child. He caught words like, "left me" and "he said" and "gone." Hugging the blond close, Yusuke glared at Kuwabara.
Yusuke left the house carrying a crying and clinging blond.
'Never leaving him alone with Naruto again.' Another thought made its way into Yusuke's mind. 'Huh. I almost forgot about my daily beating with Kuwabara. Man, it feels like old times.'
Six year old Naruto glared at the orange haired teen. Said teen was occupying his older brother's attention. The blond sat with his arms crossed and with a pout on the couch.
Yusuke gave Kuwabara a wide grin as he bashed his virtual opponent. "Ha! Twenty three points to me!"
"I'll beat you, Urameshi!"
"You wish!" Yusuke furiously and frantically pushed the buttons on his controller.
Not to be out done, Kuwabara did the same.
Naruto didn't like this at all. Yusuke was supposed to be his brother. Stupid orange haired…orange haired…orange haired poo-poo-head! Naruto nodded with his mental insult. Yes, that would do for now.
The small blond glared at Kuwabara. He will win back his brother, for sure!
Of course, this wasn't the first time. Naruto had been dragged over to Kuwabara's house before. Yusuke said he had wanted them to get to know each other. Naruto still remembered when Kuwabara had "tricked" him into believing Yusuke had left him.
Frankly, Naruto didn't like him. He was ugly and stupid. And had tricked him. And took his brother's attention away from him. He was stealing his brother away, and Naruto definitely wasn't going to let that happen!
In short, Naruto was jealous of Kuwabara Kazuma, which fueled most of his dislike for the teen.
Hiei would be laughing hysterically if he ever knew.
"Time for bed, little man," Yusuke said with a grin, gently pushing his charge to his bedroom.
"I don't wanna!" his charge, Naruto, complained. However, he yawned, ruining whatever argument he might have had.
Kurama, sitting on the couch, smiled at the small boy. "Naruto, you have school tomorrow."
"All right," he agreed sulkily.
The spirit detective led the boy to his bed and tucked him in. "You know, if anyone saw me doing this, it would shred my punk reputation into little pieces."
"But you won't stop 'cause you love me," Naruto said cheekily. The other smirked and lightly hit him on the head. "Hey, 'nii-san, read me a story."
"I need to get ready for my night job in an hour."
A smile. "Ok." The brunette walked over to the small book self on the side of the room and took out a big book of fairy tales he had bought (with Kuwabara's recommendation) when he had adopted Naruto. "How about…" He opened the book and it landed on a story. "The Ugly Duckling?"
"What's it about? You never read it to me before."
"There was once an ugly duckling…"
"Why was he ugly?"
Another light hit on the head. "Don't matter. He was so ugly that none of the other creatures around the pond wanted to play with him. In fact, they all made fun of him."
A roll of the eyes. "Yeah, anyway…so he was so ashamed of how he looked, he ran away."
"Did he have another place to stay?"
"Stop interrupting me," Yusuke said with a mock glare. Naruto replied by sticking his tongue out at him, but he didn't interrupt again. "For a while, he lived by himself at another pond. One day, these beautiful birds came flying down, landing in his pond. They were called swans. The ugly duckling was ashamed to be near such beauty that he hid his face. One of the swans went to him and asked him, 'Why are you hiding your face?'
"The ugly duckling peeked under his wing and replied, 'Because I am so ugly, no one would wish to look upon my face.'
"'Why say such a thing?' the swan asked. 'Just look at your reflection and you would know that you are as beautiful as everyone else!' The ugly duckling looked at his image and realized the swan was right, he was now a beautiful swan.
"…So the little ugly duckling was now a beautiful swan loved by everyone," Yusuke finished as he closed the book, looking at the blond.
Said blond snuggled deeper in his blankets and crossed his arms with a pout. He stared at Yusuke.
"What's wrong?" the half demon asked.
"…I don't like it."
"Don't like what?" the older one asked.
"…Because it's true."
Yusuke quietly closed the door behind him and leaned against it, a sigh escaped his lips.
Kurama, who glanced when he heard the sigh, frowned at the look his fellow demon held. "What's wrong, Yusuke?" he asked softly.
"I read him the Ugly Duckling." Yusuke stood up and went to his room to dress. He had a new job as a bouncer at a local club, a club he only went to when he was sure Naruto wasn't following him.
When the eighteen year old walked outside, Kurama asked him a question. "What happened?"
"He told me he didn't like the story, I asked him why. He replied that it was because it was true."
"…I often forget his life experiences."
"Me too. Times like these makes me want to be like most demons and kill a couple of humans. Particularly those leaf shinobi…" A growl followed the statement.
"You know you can't. You're job centers around protecting them."
"But not my life," was the reply.
The door slammed shut behind him.
Yusuke got out of his car, slamming the door shut.
As he walked to the club, he cursed whoever wrote The Ugly Duckling. It was a stupid and shallow story anyway. He remembered thinking the same thing when he was first read it in school. 'At least 'kaa-san never bothered to read crap like that to me. Plus one for her drinking,' the brunette thought ruefully.
"Hey, Urameshi, you're ten minutes late!" The bartender scowled at him.
"Fuck off, old man," Yusuke replied with equal venom.
"Why were you late, man?" one of the regular customers asked.
Yusuke lied, "Had to go somewhere first." He liked his reputation very much, thank you. No need to know he was late because he was reading a bedtime story.
Ryo, the customer who asked Yusuke the question, frowned. "At this rate, you're gonna get fired." He took a sip from his chocolate martini.
"The boss likes me," Yusuke said with a shrug. "Plus, I could find another job."
"A guy like you…" Ryo started, then shook his head. He pulled out a cigarette packet and offered it to Yusuke, who had taken a seat next to him. "Wanna smoke?"
"You know I've been trying to cut back over the years."
"It's just one."
The detective took one, put it in his mouth, and patted his pockets for a lighter. "Hey…"
Ryo laughed and flicked his lighter open.
When he got home, he was received with a, "You smell like smoke and alcohol."
"I don't need you lecturing me, K'rama," Yusuke said, striding pass the kitsune. He walked inside the bathroom and closed the door. He heaved a heavy sigh and placed his hands on the sink, bowing his head. After a moment his proceeded to brush his teeth and washed his face.
'What was the fox doing up so late, anyway?' Yusuke scowled at his reflection. He was not up to talking at the moment.
The demon lord got out and when he was about to enter his bedroom, he heard Kurama say softly without looking up from his book, "Goodnight, Lord Toushin."
Damn the kitsune.
"Do I have to go to school today?" Naruto whined the next morning. He didn't notice Yusuke tense up, his hands tightening around his coffee mug, or Kurama glancing at the brunette. "It's so boring."
"Hurry before you're late, Naruto-kun," the fox said, ignoring what was said. He handed him his backpack and pushed him gently outside.
"Bye, 'nii-san! Bye onii-san!" Naruto waved. Kurama smiled and Yusuke gave a slugish wave, looking at the table he sat in front of. 'That's weird. Oh well, he probably didn't have enough coffee yet,' Naruto mused.
The red head sat in front of the demon lord. And waited.
Yusuke avoided his eyes.
Finally, when it became clear the other would not start the conversation, the kitsune said in his soft, calm tone, "You smoked and drank last night."
"You stopped when you adopted Naruto-kun. You no longer drank alcohol, smoked, or did drugs."
"Because of Naruto-kun, you stopped. For no one else, not for your mother, not for your friends, not for yourself…not even for Keiko."
The red head smoothly dodged the coffee mug thrown at him, not even a glance was thrown at the wall with the dripping black liquid.
"Don't you ever-"
"Yusuke, don't you realize-"
Angry brown eyes glared at his friend. "Shut up."
"…Yes, Lord Toushin."
The red head got up, supposedly finding the argument not worth pursuing. He left the house to go to his job at the laboratory.
'Damn,' the brunette thought. He only called Yusuke "Lord Toushin" whenever he was upset or teasing with the young lord. No doubt which one it was right now.
The sound of fluttering wings brought him out of his thoughts. He turned his head to the window. A small demon was staring at him, then quickly brought down its gaze in respect. So it was a messenger demon.
Yusuke stood up and opened the window. "What?" he growled out.
"Lord Toushin is needed back in the Makai."
"Tadaime!" Naruto yelled out energetically.
Kurama glanced at him before returning his gaze back to dinner. The blond frowned. Something was wrong. He looked at the dinner table and picked up the note on the table. "Did 'nii-san have to go back?" Naruto finally asked.
"For three weeks."
Naruto sighed. He didn't understand everything that went on in the Makai, their concepts, way of life, or what his older brother had to deal with, but he accepted it. That didn't mean he had to like it.
"That long?" Naruto asked rhetorically.
Kurama was chopping the vegetable awfully loud and hard in the small boy's opinion. He probably didn't like it either…but he never seemed to be bothered by it before.
"Is it something really dangerous?" the blond asked worriedly.
"Nothing you should worry about."
The blond looked at the floor. He didn't notice the red head giving him a glance. "He won't die on you."
"What?" Naruto blurted out, surprised. Kurama was rarely ever direct about things. The fox very much preferred to go about the subtle, sly way.
"Yusuke won't leave you," Kurama said with conviction. "He won't die. I think he just went to the Makai to skip dinner, it was his turn to cook tonight."
That caused a surprised giggle to escape from Naruto. "Ok, onii-san," Naruto said with a wide grin.
"By the way, Hiei might be dropping by for dessert."
"Hiei-onii-san," the blond said with a smirk that mimicked Yusuke's, "is obsessed about ice cream."
Kurama chuckled in that deep voice of his.
"You know…" Naruto began when he started to dig into his ice cream. Kurama looked at him with his always calm eyes. Hiei didn't even look up. "We have a weird family."
"Ah…how so?" the red head asked.
"How come I don't have an okaa-san?"
Kurama put down his spoon. He shared a quick glance with Hiei, who immediately looked at his dessert again. He never did like talking about these sort of issues. Too many memories that were better left buried.
"You were adopted, Naruto-kun," Kurama said with a calm smile.
"I know, but how come 'nii-san doesn't have a girlfriend?" Naruto mused out loud pushing his ice cream around with his spoon. "Or you? Aren't girls attracted to you? I mean, sure you look kinda girly too but…I thought girls liked that sort of thing?"
He didn't notice Hiei tensing (from repressing his laughter and guilt) or Kurama's eyes darting to the door, as if afraid someone would walk through it.
"Naruto-kun…please do not say anything of the sort in front of Yusuke."
"Why?" Naruto asked. He looked at Hiei when the red head didn't answer, just stared with blank eyes. Hiei stopped eating, which was strange, and was looking at Naruto, too.
"It is not a request, but an order. Never mention it again." A firm command, there was no arguing it, this Naruto understood. He wasn't going to ask, but…
He did want to know…"Why?" the blond asked, confused. What was wrong, he didn't understand. Why did they look at him so carefully, without emotion? He hated that look. Had he done something wrong?
"…When you're older, you may ask."
Naruto chewed on his bottom lip. Even after three years of living with them, he still felt insecure about things. Rationally he knew he wasn't ever going to be forced out, but a small part of him was always wondering. Still, even after all this time, he knew that what he really knew of his guardians was little. They guarded their pasts like a dragon would his treasure and only gave him vague outlines about their "other jobs," as Naruto labeled the jobs concerning demons.
'Still,' Naruto decided, 'I don't care. Their pasts don't matter. What does matter is their personality and actions right now. I'm not gonna give up what I have right now just because of something that happened a really long time ago.'
"He asked me why you didn't have a girlfriend, Yusuke," Kurama stated blandly when the brunette arrived home.
The brunette froze, then forced himself to relax. "And so?"
"I told him not to ask."
Yusuke didn't reply but shed the outer part of his robes. He always came home with a different set of clothes after a trip to the Makai.
"…What's your problem, Yusuke?"
"You're not setting a good example."
"Do not start this again. After all this time, I would have expected you to be able to trust us."
"It's not you, alright? I'm just having some issues."
Kurama paused. "Are you finally realizing how hard it will be to raise a child?"
"You did adopt him on a whim, Yusuke. You're used to doing things your way without interference, except for when someone would tell you to not do something but make no real effort in stopping you. After you adopted Naruto-kun you realized you had to make sacrifices, are you now saying that you do not wish to?" Kurama settled his cool, collected eyes at him in a stern stare.
"No! It's not like that," Yusuke immediately said. "It's just…hard. Don't you feel the same way?"
"Yes. It surprised me when you took him in. My first thought was that you would make an unsuitable parent, even though you seemed fond of the child. The second thought to cross my mind was how the other demons would react to the news. But, after you decided to move in with me, I finally saw how you interacted with each other and left it alone."
"It's been three years, though," Yusuke began. "I should be over this. Why do I have these second thoughts? I dunno…maybe I shouldn't have taken him in, he needs someone here for him at all times. I always have to make trips to the Makai."
"Half the time you're over there, partly the reason why you didn't have these thoughts before now. However, even though I am the one who mainly takes care of Naruto-kun's needs, you are the one he cares about and needs most."
"How? Shouldn't he like you more? You're the one who's always here."
"You were the one to offer him sanctuary. You are the one who he needs and gets the most emotional support. To him, the amount of time you spend with him isn't as important as the fact that you do spend time with him."
Yusuke sighed and ran a hand through his long hair.
"Right now, it is not about Naruto-kun."
"What? But isn't this about how much he needs me? I mean, I can't just abandon him! I-"
"Please do not interrupt me," Kurama cut in calmly. "Right now, it is about you. The question isn't whether Naruto-kun needs you, but if you are ready to accept the responsibility of raising him."
"…If I'm not?"
"Then we send him to an orphanage-"
"-or," Kurama said as if the demon lord did not interrupt him, "give him to Kuwabara. Did you know he proposed to Yukina four days ago? She accepted, and I think Naruto-kun will do well in their care."
"I…" Yusuke looked at the floor. "Why can't he stay with you? He's likes you more than them."
"If you are not willing to take care of the child, I suspect you will want to move out. I can not care for a child by myself, no matter how fond I am of him."
A pause. "I…it's just that…" The brunette made a frustrated sound, pulling on a strand of his hair. "He's important to me…but…I gave up a lot for him. Like you said, not even f-for…her did I stop drinking…I just miss how I didn't have to worry about things like what time I have to get home or if I'm forgetting to go to a school play or even what I say."
"…So what is your answer?"
The sound of a door opening and then a cry of, "You're home!" was the only warning before Yusuke had a hand full of a certain blond.
"Hey, shouldn't you be asleep?" A smile unknowingly made its way on Yusuke's lips.
"I heard you," Naruto's muffled voice said. He had his head pressed against the teen's chest.
"Well, you need to go back to sleep. Don't you have school tomorrow?"
"Awww! Can't I stay up a little longer?"
Yusuke smirked but didn't bother to reply. He carried the blond back to bed. After a few moments, he came back out.
"I miss it, but I'd miss him more."
Kurama didn't know what to think. Should he be angry or exasperated?
He laughed instead.
"What's for dinner?" Naruto asked when he came inside. Muddy foot steps followed him.
"You have to take a bath first," came Kurama's amused reply.
"But I hate baths!"
"What's for din-you're taking a bath." Yusuke quietly closed the door behind him.
Naruto's face immediately brightened. "You're back, 'nii-san!"
"Of course," the other said. A smirk formed. "You're still taking that bath."
The blond pouted. "Do I have to?"
Yusuke took a good look at the boy before him. The blond had mud splattered on his overalls, twigs on his hair, and dirt under his nails. Wait-was that a worm sticking out of his pocket?
He smirked. "Nah, you don't look that bad-"
Kurama politely coughed behind a hand.
"On second thought, go take that bath."
Naruto pouted but went to the bathroom. The sound of running water signaled them of the start of his bath.
Yusuke undid his sash on the way to his room. He removed the heavy and expensive clothing from his person. The robes fell unceremoniously to the floor, being replaced by black drawstring pants and a white sleeveless shirt. Yusuke exited the room and sat tiredly at the dinner table, laying his head on it.
"Oh no, it's your turn to cook dinner," Kurama said with an amused smirk.
"Can't we order take out?" Yusuke whined.
The red head almost snorted, almost.
Hiei, however, actually did. "How unbefitting for a demon, especially one of your station, rank, and power."
"Shut up, Hiei," Yusuke grumbled. "What are you-it better not be another report."
"…I was hungry."
Yusuke lazily got up and went to the refrigerator. He removed some food and began to chop some carrots.
Kurama suppressed a smile. Honestly, the demon lord acted as if cooking was the most horrible act imaginable. He frowned thoughtfully. When Yusuke moved in with the blond energy ball, he had hid his ability to cook for three months before Kurama found out by accident from Kuwabara. The red head made sure to not do chores for half a year, forcing the dark haired teen to do his own cooking and cleaning. Of course, Yusuke had not cleaned the house for about a month before he couldn't stand the filth anymore.
His thoughts turned to the blond. Naruto had changed the way things worked around here. Kurama knew Yusuke wasn't one to think far ahead in the future and so the task of worrying about how the blond would receive proper care fell to him. That meant nutritional foods (no, ramen did not count, as he had told Naruto so many times) to clothes. Orange was a horrid color, in Kurama's opinion. Yusuke, who had absolutely no fashion sense, (he had people back in the Makai make clothes for him when he was ruling his section of the demon world, then he had Botan or Kurama pick clothes for him to wear in the living world) was inclined to agree with him.
On the occasions when both Yusuke and Kurama were busy, Naruto was taken care of by Yukina and Botan. Yusuke did not trust the blond in the care of Kuwabara unless Shizuru was with the orange haired teen. If, for some reason, everyone was busy, Hiei took care of the child. It wasn't as if Yusuke or Kurama didn't trust the short demon, it was the fact Hiei disliked children. You could even say hated, but strangely the demon tolerated (Yusuke dared to even say "liked," but that was just Yusuke) the blond child. That didn't mean he was willing to care for the child by himself.
Kurama would freely admit to his friends he liked Naruto. The boy was lovable, if a bit excitable like all children, but he had a pleasant feeling around him. The only thing that put Kurama on guard was the feeling of the Kyuubi. The red head was suspicious, despite Yusuke's reassurances (the detective had always been a good judge of character, if a bit too trusting for a demon), of the blond for about a week before accepting the blond. It wasn't that he was paranoid, just careful. Perhaps he might have even been a little afraid. The Kyubi was, after all, a nine-tailed fox. Kurama himself had only five tails, one of them had been given up so that he could transfer to a new body. Another thing was that the other fox was of fire while the red head was attuned to plants.
Though Kurama could still feel the Kyuubi a little bit, being sensitive to other foxes (in case they dared to enter his territory), it was small and insignificant. The seal on the blond's stomach was truly remarkable, worthy of praise from even Hiei, no matter how indirect it was. Kurama came to like Naruto like a distant cousin. Besides, the Kyuubi would not stand a chance against Yusuke, never mind the added power of Hiei, Kurama, and even Kuwabara.
"What's for dinner?" Naruto asked as he came up to Kurama.
"Yusuke's cooking, so who knows."
"I remember the last time you cooked, 'nii-san. It wasn't pretty."
"It was edible, what does it matter if it tasted awful?" Hiei joined in with a smirk.
Yusuke rolled his eyes.
As Kurama ate dinner, he began thinking again.
Taking the child in was harder than the kitsune anticipated. It was also very stressful. The blond had nightmares the first month, though it diminished over time. Still, occasionally he would still have them. Naruto felt weak because he had nightmares. Yusuke assured him it was normal for someone like him, the demon lord even admitted after a particularly bad night that he had them. Naruto didn't have to know that Hiei had wards that prevented Yusuke from waking anyone up should he have one. It was rare that they were needed, but who had ever said being a demon lord was easy?
Sometimes the red head felt sorry for the half demon. Yusuke had not wanted the responsibility of taking care of a portion of the Makai, but if he had not, war would have ensued from those that wanted the position. No one could really deny the throne to the blood heir, after all. On his first week as a lord, Yusuke noticed how there was constant fighting between the Spirit World and the Demon World. He tried his best to control these disputes, but it often ended up in bloodshed. Still, there was a strange sort of peace that fell over the Makai.
He wondered how long the peace would last.
Hiei could not believe Kurama would do this to him. Yusuke he would readily believe, but Kurama too?
He cast a disdainful look to the back of the blond child he was looking after. Said blond was far too busy reading that awful shinobi book of his to notice the demon.
He silently cursed Yusuke's demon lord duties, Kurama's mission that had to deal with a ghost that would not die, that oaf-Kuwabara-(he was denying the fact that the moron would become his brother-in-law) being busy with the wedding arrangements, and his sister's plans to get the wedding dress. Thus leaving him, alone, with the blond ball of energy.
He cursed the three worlds.
"Hiei-onii-san-" oh how he hated being called that by a human, no matter who it was, "what does… 'jutsu' mean?"
Gritting his teeth, he replied as calmly as he could, "It is what shinobi call a technique that uses spirit energy."
A moment later, "What's 'chakra'?"
"It's what shinobi," a sneer for the word, "call spirit energy."
"Why don't they just call it that?"
"Because shinobi are-" Hiei bit his tongue, remembering how Kurama reacted when he used certain "words" in front of the child. Yusuke had commented that he would learn them anyway. Kurama had actually glared at him. "Just do not."
"I do not know."
"But aren't you like, centuries old?"
Hiei glared at the child, which caused the boy to turn back to his book.
The demon stifled a sigh. It wasn't as if he hated or disliked the child. He just did not handle children well. He glanced at Naruto. The boy was better than most children, Hiei admitted silently, but he was still too loud.
Still, he would dare to even say he…li-tolerated the boy. Tolerated, of course. The boy did contain Kyuubi, he reasoned, though he showed no signs of it besides the scars and the faint shimmer of his aura. Hiei mourned the loss of power that could rival his own, but perhaps the child would grow to control the fox, unlikely as it was.
Hiei had once suggested to Yusuke that the Jagan could be used to communicate with Kyuubi. Yusuke had cautiously agreed. After one visit, Kyuubi became very humble towards the young demon lord. After all, a demon could always appreciate power. The fox still resented his prison and could not contact the blond unless the child initiated it, (which Naruto was terrified to do, despite Yusuke's protection) so the kitsune became very bored. Every once in a while, from sheer guilt Hiei suspected, Naruto would send the fox some of his memories, but still refused to talk with him.
Hiei sneered at his cowardice. Humans were certainly weak.
Let the three worlds end before he even considers the thought of liking a human. Yusuke did not count, since he turned out to be a demon after all (Hiei would rather not think of his human blood). And Kuwabara…well, he tolerated him to a certain extent and respected him, but he didn't like him. Still, he supposed he'd have to learn even more patience and tolerance if that oaf was going to marry Yukina. His sister deserved better.
Yes, humans were weak.
Hiei didn't notice that whenever the blond moved,he wouldunconsciously scan the area for danger.
Kuwabara was contented. He was delighted. He was delirious with happiness. He could not believe that Yukina agreed to marry him. He knew he wasn't the best looking person, nor the smartest, not even the strongest, but she had picked him over all others. The good guys really do come out on top.
'Sometimes,' he thought.
His mind wondered over to Yusuke and…Keiko. He felt bad for his friend and rival, though he long ago accepted that the demon lord was out of his league when it came to strength. Video games, on the other hand…
Jerking out of thoughts incase it ruined his good mood, he went to the bakery shop.
He hummed as he entered the shop, a swift glance around the shop.
"May I help you, sir?" the person behind the cashier asked politely.
"Yeah. I want to buy a wedding cake…"
"Yay! A wedding!" Naruto cheered happily. His face quickly changed, though, when he remembered who's wedding it was. 'Him! But…maybe now he'll be too busy and won't have enough time to take Yusuke away from me!'
"Damn, a wedding," Yusuke muttered, not loud enough for the enthusiastic blond to notice. His fingers played with the unopened invitation. "That means sake, people, and…dancing."
Kurama chuckled softly, keen ears picking the words up with ease. Skillful fingers quickly and quietly picked up the invitation before Yusuke even noticed the red head had moved.
"He wants you to be the best man," the kitsune said thoughtfully after he read part of it. "And Yukina wrote that she wants one of us to tell Hiei to be the one to walk her down the aisle, since she doesn't know where he is." He skimmed down the letter until he came to a certain spot. "It appears Yukina wishes to invite…the koorime people she lived with."
Kurama and Yusuke shared a look.
"Why do you guys look so nervous?" Naruto asked, holding himself up with one hand. An upside down smile appeared on his face. "Are they demons? I get to meet more demons?"
"You'll get hurt if you continue doing that," the red head said absently as he picked up the small boy and set him properly on the ground. The blond pouted.
Yusuke sighed. "You want to go to the Makai or do I go?"
Naruto climbed on the counter top, crawling to a jar.
"I'll go. I need the collect a few plants," Kurama said, running a hand through his long hair.
"What sort of plants?" Naruto asked as he reached for a cookie in the cookie jar.
"Plants that would tell me when a little boy is trying to take a cookie before dinner," Kurama said with a smile, picking the blond up before he could grab a cookie. He settled the eight year old on his lap. "Do I need to cut off your hands, kit?"
"I think he's taking after you," Yusuke said with a smirk. "Behold, Naruto, master thief at the age of eight."
"Don't be ridiculous, stealing a cookie is nothing to brag about."
"It is when you're around," Naruto muttered, arms crossed and a pout on his lips.
Naruto jerked abruptly in his bed and groggily sat up. He struggled to open his eyes and stared with glazed eyes at Yusuke, who was glaring at him. The blond mumbled, "Wha' ish it?"
The nineteen year old did not look impressed and held something out with one arm. It was a suit case. "You're late for school."
Naruto was instantly awake. "What? What time is it? Why didn't you wake me up sooner!" He hastily got out of bed and looked for his clothes. Luckily the school he went to didn't require uniforms.
The darker haired boy rolled his eyes with a soft playing on his lips. He dropped the case next to the door and walked out of the room, closing the door behind him. He made his way downstairs and calmly sat down at the table where a certain red head was making breakfast.
"Good morning," Kurama said pleasantly. "Is Naruto-kun awake yet?"
"Yeah, he's getting ready for school right now." Yusuke stifled a yawn and then drank some orange juice as Kurama laid a plate of pancakes in front of him. "Put a pop tart in the toaster for him, he'll be grabbing that as he runs out of the house."
The red head glanced at the clock. "Ah…He's running later than usual. Do you think he'll make it to school on time?" He said this as he put a pop tart in the toaster.
The top spirit detective didn't even look up as he asked, "How long does he have?"
"Plenty of time to burst through the door as the bell rings."
Kurama chuckled a little.
Naruto came rushing into the kitchen and gulped down a glass of orange juice. He slammed the glass on the table and grabbed the pop tart when it jumped in the air. "Morning! Bye, 'nii-san! Bye onii-san!" The eight year old threw over his shoulder as he ran out of the door, stuffing the pop tart into his mouth.
"You know…" Yusuke began as he poured syrup over his pancakes. "I don't think it's very healthy for him to be wearing black all the time."
"It's just a phase, I'm sure," Kurama said calmly as he sat down. "Hiei wears black."
"I'll go buy him some new clothes after breakfast."
Naruto ran into the classroom just as the bell rang.
"Take your seat, Naruto," The teacher said pleasantly, though a little nervously.
Ever since Naruto could remember, the teachers and most of the student population had been a little afraid of him. Or, to be more precise, of his older brother, Yusuke. Even after all these years, Yusuke was still known as the type of guy to not hang around with, dangerous and bad to the core. Some of the older kids of his school could still remember when Yusuke would beat the shit out of them for one reason or another, never mind the fact he stopped mysteriously a few years ago.
There were even some rumors that Yusuke killed a teacher once for failing him, which, of course, was preposterous. Yusuke failed all of his classes before he dropped out, he wouldn't have singled one teacher out.
Naruto always thought it was amazing he even got a job at all, but apparently he had some pretty good connections when he was still a bad ass gangster. Lots of people owed him something…or was too scared to deny him something. Naruto would even go as far as to think Yusuke just might have connections in the yakuza.
Anyway, none of this helped Naruto make friends. Most tended to avoid him and steered away from him. Lots of girls thought he was kind of cute in that baby brother kind of way but also avoided him since they were scared of his brother. So, basically Naruto was sort of a loner. He had people to talk to in class but no real friends. He ate alone at lunch on the roof top. Not even the gangsters wanted to be friends with him, but they were more awed than scared.
Naruto sat down with a sigh. Oh well, it was better than Konoha any day.
"Today, we will be looking at adding three digit numbers," The teacher began.
Naruto tuned him out, already knowing the material. If you had Yusuke as an older brother, that's one thing, but if you also had Kurama as an older brother figure, you would be beyond the normal school curriculum. Naruto sighed again. He was at least two years ahead of his class mates.
The teacher handed out worksheets for everybody. Naruto finished it in half the amount of time it took his class mates. He spent the rest of the period reading a book he brought along for cases just like this one.
"…That color is too bright."
"Perhaps. What about this one?"
"I guess…do I have to stay here and pick out clothes for Naruto?"
"You were the one complaining about his clothes."
Yusuke groaned and leaned against the wall. Kurama smiled at his expense. Yusuke looked around the clothing store. How the red head managed to drag him into this surprised even him. Yusuke was known to not care what he wore as long as it fit and was clean. But he didn't want to be blamed when Kurama came home with those "proper" (as the red head would say) and "nerdy" (as the brunette would say) clothes.
Kurama looked at a rack with a Chinese styled outfit. It looked something more like what Kurama himself would wear.
"Come on, he's only eight. Let's just get him some jeans, shorts, and a couple of t-shirts," Yusuke said with a roll of his eyes.
"I suppose that would work…hmm…What about this?"
"Kurama, if you buy that for him, I'll just blast it into little pieces."
"It's not that bad."
"Kurama, children are cruel little monsters with no sense of right or wrong. They'll all laugh at him. That has got to be the worst article of clothing out there."
Kurama just smiled and put the orange jump suit back on the rack.
Naruto sighed and slumped on the couch when he got home, not even bothering to even say, "Tadaime."
Yusuke raised an eyebrow at the blond and turned off the television. He took one last drink of his soda and put the can down. He had to quit alcohol when he had adopted Naruto. A small part of him missed what he had to give up because of the blond but he was glad he had the kid in his life. He turned to Naruto and said, "Alright, what's up, little man?"
"You know the whole ninja thing…I don't know…I've been having second thoughts…" Naruto said as he chewed his lower lip. "It bothered me around lunch time. It just hit me, you won't be there…or Kurama…not even Kuwabara…" He thought about it. "Or Hiei…"
"Is that what's bothering you?" Yusuke laughed a little. He ruffled the blonde's hair. "Don't worry about it. I'm sure you'll make lots of new friends."
Naruto looked at him, doubt obviously in his eyes.
"Ok…some friends," Yusuke corrected. "Look, I know this ain't gonna be easy." Yusuke started to frown. He muttered under his breath. "I would have liked to blow that whole village up…"
"But," Naruto said, ignoring his older brother's mutter, "Whatever doesn't kill me makes me stronger, right?"
"Yep!" The older teen said, forgetting his frown. "Besides, it's three years from now. That's a long time for a human. You shouldn't be worrying about it. You should be worrying about the training I'm going to put you through." Here, Yusuke smirked.
Naruto sneaked a glance at Hiei.
To him, the short demon (thought Naruto really shouldn't be thinking that) was a mystery. Sure, the black clad demon had baby sat him a couple of times (two, if he was counting correctly) but he didn't know him.
Hiei rarely visited, and when he did, it was only for an hour or two. During those times, he either sat silently while observing them or exchanging a few words with Kurama and Yusuke. He rarely spoke to the blond at all. When he did pay attention, Naruto was distinctly uncomfortable with those piercing red eyes staring at him.
Yusuke and Kurama didn't know this, they thought Naruto liked Hiei. Naruto did, after all, call him "onii-san." They knew it was to annoy Hiei, but didn't know that was the only reason. Naruto had a small, tiny grudge against Hiei. To him, Hiei's presence meant Yusuke could be leaving. Meaning, leaving him. It happened enough times that Naruto was wary.
Still, Naruto didn't know him. He was practically a stranger, so Naruto couldn't really hate him.
A small imp was banging against the glass window. Yusuke walked over and let the imp in.
Naruto glared at the gray creature. He definitely hated those, though.
A ten year old Naruto muttered curses under his breath as he trudged through the sand. He had on goggles and a cloth covered the lower part of his face. He squinted as sandy winds swept past him. He angrily wiped his shoulder length hair off his face.
'Oh that 'nii-san of mine! Survival training? SURVIVAL TRAINING? I knew I shouldn't have decided to become a Shinobi but nooo, I had to honor my dead father's wishes! Stupid, stupid me!' Were the thoughts of one Uzumaki Naruto. 'Chapter ten of the Shinobi handbook, all ninja should have a decent understanding of survival in all elements. Stupid book, what does it know? They dumped me in the middle of the desert with a canteen of water, some rations, and the clothes on my back and expect me to survive? Ugh…humph…this stupid test won't end until I find the "Sand Village." Why would anyone want to build a village in the middle of the desert?'
Naruto glared at everything around him. He hissed in anger and continued the direction he was going, hoping it was the right direction. After a few hours of walking and struggling against the wind, he noticed the sand storm wasn't as strong anymore. After another hour, there no longer was a sand storm.
The blond sighed in relief and saw someone in the corner of his eye. He turned to curiously look at the person. It looked like a shinobi and he had training three kids. The kids were probably shinobi too. Naruto smiled. Finally, some good luck. Maybe they would be able to help him.
He walked up to them and said politely, "Excuse me, but do you know where the Sand Village is?"
The man eyed him critically. After a moment of staring, he finally said something. "Why do you want to know?"
"I'm lost," Naruto said calmly. By now, the other children-who looked to be around thirteen-stopped what they were doing (sparing) and looked at him curiously.
"Were you with someone?" one of the children asked. "You look too young to be traveling alone." She raised an eyebrow.
"Well, we got separated. We were traveling to the Sand when that sand storm hit us." The blond eyed each of them carefully.
The jounin was wearing the standard attire for a sand shinobi. The children wore something unique to each of them. The girl who spoke earlier was a dark skinned brunette who wore beige pants, a white shirt, and the ninja sandals. She wore gold bracelets, gold necklaces, gold earrings, and gold rings. Naruto quickly looked away. The sun bounced off the jewelry and blinded him.
Her male teammate was tan but not as dark as her. His pale, long hair reached around his waist in a braid. Personally, Naruto thought it was rather girly. He wore a light colored cloth that acted like a coat or robe that covered his body from view. Naruto could still see his shoes, which were not open toed.
The last member of their team…Naruto stared at him the longest. He looked like a mummy. He wore a wide brimmed hat which covered the top part of his head and shadowed his face, which only showed his mouth and chin. His arms, legs, and body were wrapped in bandages. Even his feet since he wore no shoes. He did wear a poncho though.
Each wore a headband with their village signature somewhere.
"Why were you traveling to our village?" the jounin asked.
"I was just traveling, that's all."
"Do you have passports?" he asked suspiciously.
"Er…I think my brother has those…"
"Very well. It's that way," the jounin finally said as he gestured to a direction.
Naruto nodded and said his thanks, then left. He walked, not wanting anyone to think he was a shinobi spy or something equally ridiculous. After two hours worth of walking, which Naruto drank all of his water and ate half of his rations, he arrived to the village. The guards let him in without much hassle, they didn't really think a child could do much harm anyway.
Yusuke, who was on top of a sand dune and hiding behind a rock, peered anxiously through his binoculars.
"Why are you so nervous?" Hiei asked irritably. Yet again, he was dragged into one of these ridiculous outings.
Yusuke looked this way and that, binoculars moving in pace with his head. He sighed and put them down. "I just have an uneasy feeling."
"I told you that this was stupid."
The demon lord rolled his eyes. He picked up a canteen and took a quick swing from it. "Yeah, yeah. You also lectured me about my behavior. Sorry if I zoned out. I think you're hanging out with Botan too much."
Yusuke successfully kept his head on his shoulders.
Naruto checked his pockets. 'Damn, I don't have any money, how am I supposed to get a bottle of water?' Naruto decided to aimlessly wonder around, not really knowing where to go. At some point of his wondering, he saw something strange. Everyone avoided a red haired boy. They cleared a path for him and tried not to touch him. The strangest thing was, they held a look of utmost fear in their eyes whenever they laid eyes on him.
A child, who was playing with a ball, accidentally kicked it too hard. He was only three or so, too young to know anything about danger. And walked right in front of it. He accidentally touched the red headed boy. Naruto realized something was very wrong when the older boy's eyes narrowed in anger.
Using all his speed and agility, he rushed forward and grabbed the boy, leaving the ball behind him. The child gave a surprised yelp. Naruto ducked and rolled, the three year old safely in his arms. When he looked back, he saw a pile of sand and an enraged boy. Since he met Yusuke, he never had to fear anything again, since he knew his older brother would protect him from something he couldn't deal with. This boy made him forget everything but the fear.
Everyone ran away from them, they all knew what was going to happen. The red head raised his hand and the sand followed his movement. Naruto pushed the kid with the ball behind him, who stared with wide, horrified eyes. Naruto shut his eyes and knew he was going to die.
He heard the sand crash, but it wasn't on him.
The blond shakily opened his eyes and he saw a protective Yusuke standing over him, the sand bounding off his hand.
"'Nii-san!" Naruto exclaimed.
"Yo," Yusuke said with a grin. He dropped the grin and turned to the red head. "Who, exactly, are you?"
"Gaara of the Desert…and I'll kill you," the red head said with such calm it was creepy.
Yusuke laughed, startling Gaara. "One thing: you're like, what? Nine? Ten? I obviously have more battle experience than you, what could you possibly have to make you think you can beat me?" Yusuke asked, a bit smug.
A wave of sand nearly crashed into Yusuke, but the demon king quickly picked up the two boys and placed them in a safe distance from the red head.
Yusuke reappeared in front of Gaara, whose eyes went wide with surprise. The demon lord smirked and flicked the other's forehead. It shouldn't have done much, Yusuke didn't add any youki or spirit energy into it, but the other boy fell and sat on the ground, staring at Yusuke in amazement.
"What are you doing?" Hiei asked glaring at the red headed boy. Naruto jumped in surprise from Hiei's sudden appearance. Hiei ignored him and narrowed his blood red eyes. "Does he…feel strange to you?"
Yusuke raised an eyebrow. "Did you just hesitate?" He frowned, then glanced at the boy he flicked. "Are you…thinking what I'm thinking?"
The full blooded demon sneered. "Shinobi." He turned on his heel and disappeared.
Naruto was confused. He didn't understand what Hiei meant. He turned his bemused face towards his elder brother. Yusuke just shook his head as he examined the strange boy. He kneeled until they were eye level and he raked his eyes over the red head. Naruto was even more confused. Yusuke slowly, deliberately raised a finger and poked Gaara on the forehead, over a strange tattoo. The red head recoiled and scooted away, fear in his eyes.
That was definitely weird.
"If you ever get a tattoo, you'll be grounded for life."
Naruto burst out laughing, it was so out of place and completely random.
Yusuke stood up and helped the red haired boy stand. He ignored the flinch the boy produced at being touched.
"Damn. Hiei could of stayed a little longer to help me figure something out." Yusuke stood there for a while before he raised his hand and pressed it lightly against Gaara's forehead. The boy was too afraid to move. For about a moment, they stood like that. Naruto just stood there, utterly confused. He didn't even notice a woman running up to them and quickly leaving with the child from earlier tucked under her arm.
Finally, Yusuke pulled away. Gaara was staring at him in awe now. Yusuke patted his head and turned to leave.
Naruto stared at Yusuke's retreating back before risking a glance at the red head. Gaara stood stock still, eyes wide, and mouth slightly hanging open. The blond frowned. 'He sort of…reminds me of me…' Quickly making up his mind, he ran up to the boy and smiled at him before running after Yusuke.
Gaara, after a few moments, stared at the gem winking at him from his palm. The soothing green color of it made a small smile tug at his lips. Those smiles would forever be imprited in his mind.
Kurama rubbed his forehead. He looked up at Naruto before looking down again. After a few moments, he finally decided to ask a question. "You gave away one of Yusuke's priceless gems?"
"Er-yeah. Is that ok?" Naruto shifted uncomfortably.
Yusuke suppressed a smile.
"You did hear the 'priceless' part, right?" Yusuke asked. He couldn't keep the amused tone out of his voice.
Naruto looked between them. "Am I in trouble?"
Kurama sat down heavily.
"No biggie," Yusuke said with a smirk.
The red head was definitely glaring at him. "What I would like to know is how you even had one to begin with," Kurama said slowly. He was giving Yusuke suspicious looks.
"Three," Naruto said. At Kurama's look, he smiled sheepishly. "Er, two now. I saw Yusuke holding one once, I thought it was kind of pretty and asked for one."
Kurama turned a poisonous look to Yusuke.
"Oh please!" Yusuke said, desperately trying to hold back his laughter. "You're just angry 'cause after years of trying to break into a demon king's vault, you couldn't get one. And, Naruto got three by just asking!"
"Those are priceless! Priceless demon gems, being given freely!" Kurama moaned in despair.
"Well, do you want one too?" Yusuke asked graciously.
The red head actually thought about it. "No," Kurama said without much care, collecting his cool. "It's not worth nearly as much now."
End Chapter Two: Meet Childhood
How was that? I'm going to go for it, I'm going to be original! Or, at least more so than my other fics…I think.
Reviews? Give me some ideas to inspire me and maybe I'll update faster!
Ok, seriously, I really need some inspiration here! Not to mention motivation!
Er, what do you think about their relationship? I thought it's be kinda interesting for Naruto to be jealous of Kuwabara, of all people. Hiei…I don't know if you guys like their relationship, since I made them kind of like strangers. Hiei just doesn't strike me as someone who…would be fond of Naruto, you know? I can't stand him being all friendly and caring. He's a bit protective of Naruto, but it's not because he likes him. I'll explain later. It links with Keiko.
Ideas welcome. Criticism even more so. It can only improve me, right?