Chapter Two: Midsummer Night's Dream
The eve of the festival had arrived and all of Konoha was alive. As he walked through the streets of Konoha, rubbing the four lumps that had graced his head, he took his time to ask himself and Kami sama, what he had done to deserve such a cruel and unusual fate?
'How the hell did Ino come up with that jutsu anyway?' he asked himself.
He entered Ichiraku ramen stand, before sighing dejectedly. "Women are so troublesome.." he remarked.
"Haaa." Someone sighed in agreement.
"Too true…" a second person offered. "What happened to you?" he asked Naruto.
"Well, she asked me if she looked to fat to me, and I told her no. So she says " would you accompany me to the shopping district then?" and I tell "No" cause I got a meeting with Ichiraku, and Pow!" he struck his hand into his fist, emphasizing the pain he felt. "Some random mallet pops out of nowhere hitting me in four spots on the head simultaneously." He told them.
The two other man grimaced at the blonde boy's explanation.
"So you've met Mallet sama?" another guy asked.
"Mallet sama?" Naruto asked curiously.
"Hai…Mallet sama, the greatest weapon ever created. It is said that it was forged in the fiery pits of the great volcanoes of an island that was believed to be the nesting grounds of Giants. The weapon itself is said to have decimated entire cities, killing thousands in its wake. But for some reason, only women can summon it." The man answered.
"You aren't joking aren't you?" Naruto asked sarcastically.
"No he isn't boy." Old man Ichiraku told him. "It is often called the 'Bane of womanly Rage' because of its great power." He said.
The three other guys nodded in agreement.
"Yeah, people often classify it as a bloodline, because it manifests it self only on women. Most times, it chooses the most violent and most dangerous woman to show itself to." The fat one continued for Ichiraku.
"Is it that strong?" Naruto asked, a bit afraid now.
"Yeah…… I've been facing it for years now. The minute it casts as itself over your life, it is said that your are forever bound to the slavery of the one that had brought it upon you." The skinny one said to him.
"Let me guess……. This isn't the first time you've had an encounter with Mallet sama." The blonde one asked him, when he saw the blonde boy tremble.
"I'm doomed!" the blonde boy cried, rivers of tears streamed down his face. Sucking up his breath, Naruto stood up. If he was going to die this young in life he might as well have his last meal.
"NARUTO!" the guys hared a female voice roar.
"Don't let her get me!" the blonde boy cried, jumping into the arms of the Ichiraku Ayame.
"Naruto! You promised me to that we'd train together, so what the hell are you doing here?" the feminine voice asked.
Naruto had his eyes closed the minute he hared that voice. He feared for the worst, so he took it onto himself to write down his last will and testament.
"Naruto! Naruto! Naruto! Are you even listening!" the voice asked, as the said female looked at the blonde bewildered.
"In the name of Kami sama, impure souls of the living dead shall be cast forever into eternal damnation. Amen." He told the said demon when he finished his will. Putting one chopstick into another and forming a cross, the blonde strode forward bravely.
Only to be cast aside like an insect in the face of "Mallet sama".
"Hey dad." Ino called to her father. "We're going to practice at the Uzumaki estates, so tell mom I'm going to be late." She said before dragging the twitching blonde boy out of Ichiraku.
"He was a brave one." Chojimaru commented when they were out of sight.
"Indeed…To face the wrath of a Mallet sama with out even blinking…."Shikato continued, mournfully.
"Aye…..If my daughter had inherited even a bit of her mother's temper, then we could be sure that this might be the last time we will ever see the boy." Inoshi told them.
"Let us have a moment of silence for the dearly departed Uzumaki." Ichiraku addressed them. And four thirty full seconds, Ichiraku ramen stand was quite in mourning.
"INOSHI!" a certain female blonde woman yelled from a distance.
"WE'RE DOOMED." All four man jumped behind the counter, preparing for the fight of their lives.
The men of Konoha looked on in silent admiration at the blonde that had stridden so bravely in face of great danger. They too remembered times when they suffered such terrible fates as he just had moments before. Now, as the blonde girl dragged his twitching form across the streets of Konoha, they took of their hats and mourned for the passing of one as great as he was.
That was before they too, hared the familiar screams of their wives and daughters.
And thus it was that the youth of Konoha found out one inevitable truth that lay beyond all truths:
"The male race was forever cursed with the fate of being 'So whipped'"
"Naruto?" Choji asked as they spared.
"Yeah?" Naruto responded.
"How did you get Tenten to blush?" he asked the blonde.
"Don't know. Just lucky I guess. Why do you want to know, though?" Naruto asked.
"Well……There's this girl that I've been meaning to talk to….." he told the blonde. " And I want to know how to make her blush like you did Tenten." Choji finished.
"Well….That's pretty easy. All you need to do is stay polite like Ayane obassan told me. She says that women will always fall for politeness." Naruto said to him. "But…….are you sure you want to get this girl's attention?" he asked Choji.
"Yeah…." Choji responded.
"You got to know the dangers though." Naruto said as he punched forward.
"And those are?" Choji asked, blocking.
"Well, one must never anger females, for to face the furry of 'Mallet Sama' is the greatest danger, one would face." Naruto told him sagely, blocking Choji's hand.
"And on would assume you'd follow your own advice." Their teacher commented.
"Huh?" Naruto looked at Asuma bewilderedly. "But Asuma sensei, I'm always polite to women." He told him.
"What about Ino?" Asuma asked.
Ino and Shikamaru stopped sparing to look and hear what the blonde boy would say.
"Ino ain't no lady." He told his sensei. "A lady must always remain proper, even at the face of ridicule. That's what Obaa san told me." He finished.
Ino seriously considered pummeling Naruto when he made that 'Ain't no lady comment'. She refused to act with such violence that her mother had pointed out when they talked together. She did however hit him with Mallet sama when he told what he shouldn't have told Asuma.
"Besides, why would one be polite to an Uncute tomboy like her?" he asked offhandedly.
He flew off towards the horizon, as his friends and teacher shook their heads in disappointment.
"Hey!" Naruto called out as he flew. He saw the red spec about thirty seconds into his flight, and now he aimed to start a conversation.
"How'd you get up here?" he asked the red head as they flew into a parallel flight trajectory.
"Isn't it obvious?" the read head asked him. "The same way as you did, by mallet sama." He finished.
"Ohhhhh." Naruto responded.
"Yeah." The red head responded dejectedly. "So what did you do?" He asked the blonde.
"I just told my teacher the truth." Naruto answered.
"And what's that?" the red head asked.
"That the girl we're sitting next to was an Uncute tomboy." He told the red head.
The red head smiled at that.
"Hey!" he said excitedly. "That's why I'm here too."
"By the way, I'm Naruto." Naruto told the red head, stretching his hand forward to shake.
"Ranma." The redhead told him.
"KYAAAAAAA" the two teens heard as another male fly into the same flight trajectory as they had.
"Hey Keitaro! Caught peeking again?" Ranma asked the brown haired twenty year old as they came parallel.
"I was an accident!" the guy yelled at them, "and, Oh….who might you be?" Keitaro asked Naruto.
"Uzumaki Naruto, at your service." The blonde told him, repeating the gesture he had with Ranma.
"Urashima Keitaro, like wise." Responded the man.
"Uhh guys…..What the hell is that?" Ranma asked his two acquaintances.
"I don't know…..Looks like a giant…….Wait a minuet, Is that an island!" Naruto asked stupidly.
"New guy?" Keitaro asked Ranma.
"Yeah." The redhead answered before the group fell down, screeching at the top of their lungs.
It was a dripping wet Uzumaki Naruto that strode into Ichiraku ramen stand that night. He took his seat besides Shikato, and his group before ordering a bowl of miso ramen from old man Ichiraku. He had a lot of things to think about tonight, and a bowl or twenty of ramen just might help relive some of his stress.
"So tomorrow's the festival eh?" he asked his counter parts.
"Yeah." Replied Shikato, before turning to him mischievously, "Is there some special girl your going to ask out for the festival?" he asked Naruto.
Naruto used his time to chew on his ramen, trying to think up a good excuse for the grinning Shikato, the sniggering Chojimaru and a…
'Wait a minute…..Is Inoshi san glaring at me?' he asked himself.
"Ummm…..No." he told them. "I know who Shikamaru wants to ask though, and who Choji's going with." He told them.
Shikato and Chojimaru cried with pride, their boys were definitely just like them.
"So, who's Choji going with?" Chojimaru asked excitedly. "Is it a Hyuuga, the Haruno girl, or maybe even Kurenai." He asked, feeling his pride swell.
"Actually no… He told me it was some woman named Anko. Don't know who she is though." Naruto told him.
Chojimaru paled, whispering something about sadists and snakes before he passed out from what Naruto assumed was pride.
'This Anko must be one hot number.' He thought.
"And why aren't you going with someone?" asked the blonde haired father.
"Ohhh… Um…Don't know, never thought about going with someone I guess. Besides, I gotta look after Ayane Obba san's daughter, Rei." Naruto told him.
"Well, I could always get Ino to help you." Inoshi told him.
"No, that wouldn't be right, she deserves her time off. Besides, I think she'd rather ran off chasing the bastard Uchiha before she'd give me the time of day." Naruto replied.
'If you only knew.' The three fathers thought when they heard Naruto's remark.
"No no no, I'm sure she'd be more than glad to help you with Rei chan." Inoshi told him before returning to his ramen.
With his hunger sedated, the blonde boy started his trek home. The estates weren't very far, but from his midday flight, to his long trek home, to the argument that broke out with him and Inoshi when he commented that Ino was an "Uncute tomboy", Naruto was worn out. He strode tiredly across the bridge that was once the meeting spot for his old team and sighed. Before him, Sakura stood, watching across the night sky, looking as beautiful as ever.
"Hey." He called out to the girl. "What are you up to?" he asked.
"Oh….Just admiring the harvest moon." She told him.
Despite the answer, Naruto could hear the telltale signs of despondence that was present in the girl's voice. She'd been talking to Sasuke, he concluded.
"Told you, you were annoying huh?" he asked.
"Yeah….." she answered dejectedly.
"You know……He isn't worth your time right?" he asked her.
The girl turned to him in disbelief. He just smiled and turned skywards, his blue eyes accentuated by the glow of the harvest moon.
"You shouldn't spend too much time vying for someone's attention, when the fool keeps leading you on." He told her.
"Like you?" she asked, smiling sadly.
"No…… I spent my time flirting with a girl that told me off. Sasuke just leads you one, never telling you if he likes you or not…." He trailed of at the end.
"Maybe you should spend sometime with Ino……. Mend up old wound that should've healed a long time ago……" he said.
"Maybe." She said, starting to smile.
"And if you ever need someone to talk to, I'm always here for you……….Sakura chan." He told her while he walked off, disappearing into the night as he had appeared.
Sakura smiled as the blonde left. Since when had he become so cool and understanding? She asked herself as the boy vanished. Staring up at the glorious moon, she smiled a bit at the way he had mended up her little genin heart.
"Just like a big brother." She told herself, smiling a bit at the remark.
In his hidden perch, Kakashi smiled at the interaction between Naruto and Sakura.
"At least he's still warm hearted." He said offhandedly.
The morning sun rose upwards into the heavens, intent on torturing the little fox boy. It had become a hobby of his, waking up the little genin in the middle of his sleep. And never a day went by that his cruel tricks always found its way into the blonde boy's life. He was the sun, he always told himself, he was the supreme commander of this universe, and thus it was his duty to train his charges to follow his strict regimen. It was only a coincidence that Naruto was the only one he shined brightly for. Besides, he liked the little fox boy.
As the said fox boy slowly awoke to the morning sun, he for the thousand time in his life, asked himself if the sun was out to get him. He had become a bit suspicious at the said offender, for some reason, he always felt the rays of the morning sun more brightly than other people.
"Damned Naruto, now that's just ridiculous." He told himself. He strode into the indoor onsen, taking off his cloths and relaxing in the heated bath.
"Kami sama's gift to humanity." He commented offhandedly.
Settling himself to a comfortable position, he let his mind wander to the subject of Team Seven, and the survivor of the Wave mission. Haku, one of the most beautiful girl he had ever laid eyes on had lived. In his blind rage at the Uchiha for putting him into a dangerous position, he had forgotten to eliminate the said female.
When he was brought out of his stupor, he had noticed the man that had hired the two missing nins, as he commented on their worthlessness. Zabuza, in his final act of honor and redemption had paid with his life for the freedom of the girl, making Kakashi promise to bring her to the Leaf.
Then he remembered something. He promised Zabuza on his honor as an Uzumaki, that he'd look after the girl as he would his own blood. When the man died, he could see the distinct smile that had graced his face. That smile, he thought, was the same smile he'd wish he would were on the day of his death. The smile of a man that didn't look back, a man that didn't regret living for he had lived to the fullest.
"What are you smiling about Naruto sama?" a feminine voice asked him.
"Oh….just fond memories of a man I look up to as a forgotten hero." He told the disembodied voice.
"May I know this hero's name?" the voice asked him.
"Oh…. Its just……Kyaaaaaaa!" he screamed, running out of the onsen , when he realized something was amiss.
The Uzumaki-Kazama-Yamanaka household woke up to a screaming heir that morning. The male servants and retainers would later comment with pride that their lord was indeed a man among men, while the females would just blush and smile dreamily when the said lord graced them with his presence.
As this all happened, Uzumaki Ayane stared fondly at his nephew as he ran out of the onsen buck naked. A few hours before Naruto had arrived last night, a girl name Haku had arrived, pledging her eternal loyalty to the three clans and to her 'Naruto sama' as she had put it. This morning it seemed, she had been graced with the presence of her new lord.
The elders of the three great clans gathered around in the meeting hall to discuss the subject of Haku. While they had decided unanimously that the girl would stay with them as Naruto's new personal retainer and servant, the blonde boy had declined, arguing that servant hood was something he didn't need.
"But Naruto sama, you told Zabuza that you'd take care of me." Haku argued tearly. "Is Naruto sama not pleased with me?" she asked softly.
"No Haku chan." Responded the blushing blonde boy. "It isn't that I'm not happy with you or anything, its just that, I promised to look after you and take care of you. Not put you into servant hood." He told her.
"But I'm happy with these arrangement." She told him. "Am I not worthy of the honor that I wish to bestowed upon?" she asked.
"B bu b b b b but." He tried to respond, he honestly did, but Naruto nor any foolish male had or could ever design a good countermeasure to 'teary eyed beautiful girl no jutsu'.
"Fine." He relented. "I Uzumaki Naruto accept the terms of servant hood and retainer ship of Haku. But under the conditions that she is to become a member of the three great houses, with all the rights and privileges that is shared among us."
The council would not object to the boy's demands for he was the shining example of all heirs they wished to have. And the addition of Haku into their midst was a good enough reason not to object. The soft spoken girl was a good cook, and one must always accept the gifts that Kami sama graces them with unquestionable loyalty. After all, was it not fate that gave them such a marvelous chef?
The trio walked down the street, marveling the sights and wonders at every vendor in the shopping district. The morning had been disastrous with Naruto, with Haku trying to assist him in everything, from getting his kimono on, to feeding him personally at the breakfast table. When she had found out that he would take Rei into town to visit the festival vendors, her eyes had started to glitter. As he walked, with his blonde haired cousin on his shoulders, down the street, he knew just what Haku planed for them this day.
"Hey Naruto!" he heard his teammate's calls from behind them. The group turned to see the sight of Choji, Shikamaru, and Ino running towards them.
"Whose this?" Ino asked as they had closed.
"Ohh…this is Haku chan. Haku chan, this is Yamanaka Ino, Nara Shikamaru, and Akemichi Choji, their my team mates." He said.
"Dozo yoroshiku." Haku remarked to her lord's friends.
"Like wise." Ino responded, looking at Naruto suspiciously.
"I'm Naruto sama's new retainer." She told the group.
"Hi Ino nee san!" Rei yelled from her perch.
The blonde girl smiled, stretching her arms at the little blonde Uzumaki. Rei jumped into Ino's arms readlily, smiling at her sister figure before yelling for them to go get candy. The group strode off into the crowds, looking for things to do.
"So Naruto, who are you taking to the festival tonight?" Haku asked a the group walked through the crowded streets.
"Don't know yet. Anyone who'd like to look after Rei with me, I guess." He told her truthfully.
"Yeah, about that…." Ino said, breaking into the conversation. "Dad told me help you with that…….Said something about strengthening the bonds between us two."
"What the hell does that mean, though?" the blonde boy asked her.
"Well Naruto, what she means is, he fath…" Choji tried to finish but Shikamaru had his hand over his mouth.
"What he means is that you two need to stop fighting." He finished for Choji.
"Che, only if she stops using that damned mallet on me." Naruto told Shikamaru indifferently.
"By the way, where were you yesterday? Naruto sama." Asked Haku.
Naruto blushed when he thought about yesterday's bashing.
"I was……umm…I was training." He lied.
Choji and Shikamaru shook their heads, while Rei giggled.
"Ano Naru chan?" the little blonde girl asked. "How come you had all those bumps on your head? Oka san told me you only train with the sword. Did you hit your self by mistake?" she continued cutely.
Naruto's embarrassed blush only intensified. He was about to answer her when Rei caught sight of her mother.
"OKA SAN!" she yelled running towards his aunt.
"Hello Rei chan. How was your day?" Ayane asked as she neared the group.
"It was good oka san. Haku chan took me to all the candy stalls, see." She said holding up her bag of candy. "Then Ino nee chan, bashed Naru chan with a big hammer." She continued giggling. "And then, Chi chi got into an yelled at a stall person. He said that the Bar bi kuu tasted funny." She finished.
"What's bar bi kuu , oka san? Is it something good to eat?" she asked her mother.
Ayane only kept nodding to her little girl, keeping her attention on her nephew.
"Hai Rei chan. And its nor Bar bi kuu, its Barbeque." She told her before addressing her nephew.
"Naruto kun, are you ready for your first performance with Rei chan?" she asked.
"Hai, Ayane oba san. We'll go home and get dressed at sunset. Rei chan's kimono should be ready by now, and her I had Hiroshi san clean her ceremonial sword for tonight." He answered.
"Good….Then all is going well for tonight. Be sure to take Ino chan and Haku chan to a good restaurant before sundown." She said knowingly.
"Huhh?" he questioned bewilderedly.
"Or would you three boys rather go with the girls shopping?" she asked them.
"Ohh….Ayane sama we don't have any money." Ino pointed out.
"Didn't Naruto tell you? He had several hundred ryos taken out of the family bank for tonight's festival. That should be enough for Haku chan's new wardrobe and some new clothes for you Ino chan. Besides, Tadashi san told me that some merchant friends of the Yamanaka main house would be arriving today to sell their products, and knowing them, they should have some fine silk kimonos for purchase." Ayane informed.
The three boys palled at the notion of spending the day at the shopping district. They tried to run away, but two newcomers prevented their great escape.
"INO CHAN!" Sakura yelled from a distance. "There's some new stands opening, and their sell great kimonos for extremely low prices." She told them.
"Yeah." Another voice continued. "And we NEED STRONG MEN to HELP us carry our bags." Tenten told her.
Clutching Gema Chan, his wallet, possessively, Naruto stared up to the morning sky in despair.
"NOOOOOOO!" he cried, but alas, Gema chan's fate was decided the day she was purchased.
Choji and Shikamaru cried out for an entirely different reason, but as the children of the Leaf found out yesterday, the Males of the world were indeed truly and utterly 'Whipped.'
Elsewhere in the Leaf, the three amigos, otherwise known as Shikato, Inoshi and Chojimaru, entered the greatest café that had ever graced the village of Konoha. A few months ago, old man Ichiraku and Uzumaki Ayane had struck a deal, forming the new Ichiraku/Uzumaki ramen café. With Ayane's pastry of the gods and Ichiraku's world renowned ramen, the two knew they'd make a killing. They had decided to open the new ramen bar/ tea shop-café on the day of the festival to attract more customers. And it looked as if their plan had indeed worked.
As the three amigos strode into the ramen bar/ tea shop café , they cried tears of joy, tears they had once shed only at their wedding and on the night the became 'men'. All the sake they would ever need, all the ramen they could ever want and cheap but extremely good tea and pastries to boot. This place the three concluded, was indeed heaven on earth. And it was here in this sanctuary, they believed, that even the evils of the notorious 'Mallet Sama' would not deter them from enjoying life to its fullest.
As the moon raised itself to the highest peak in the sky, Yamanaka Ino watched, with a blushing face, as the boy that had plagued her mind these past few months approached the stage with his little cute cousin. Walking forward in all his gory, Ino concluded that the blonde, indeed, did look extremely handsome when he wanted to be. As he took the center stage along with Rei, Ino noticed other blushing faces in the audience.
"Naruto Kun….." she heard the some random girl whisper dreamily as the boy introduced himself and his little cousin. She knew that the boy didn't know these girls and for that she had faith that she had time to sort out her emotions. Haku had told her today when they were alone that she looked at Naruto only as a good lord rather than a potential boyfriend. Haku, in fact, was very much interested in their teammate Shikamaru, and that was further proved when she glared at the girl Shikamaru brought to the festival that night.
She watched in awe as the blonde and his little cousin settled into the first stance of Uzumaki Ryu. The other stance she had seen him use was more of a practical stance than that of beauty, this stance was created solely for the practice of the Dance of the Swirling crane, a renowned dance that had blessed the eyes of only the nobles of the shinobi country.
"Beautiful…" Tenten's caught up voice startled her. She turned to the girl curiously, hoping against hope that she had not caught on to the blonde boy's rarity.
"Tenten?" Ino asked, with a bit of dread in her voice.
"Ohh….Its just that, the way Naruto kun and Rei chan…….The grace their displaying, the simultaneous slashes and strikes….Its a skill to be admired……Though it is expected from a samurai noble family, it is still beautiful all the same." The older girl told her distantly.
"Ohhh…." Ino replyed, a bit relieved. 'At least she isn't going after them…….. And she right too…..They dance together as if they were a part of each other.' She thought as she watched the swirling motions of the Uzumakis on stage. A little while longer, all the lights were extinguished and only the brilliant glow of the high moon illuminated the area. Off to the side, Haku performed a silent jutsu, allowing snow to fall in onto the stage where her lord and master danced along with his little blonde cousin.
As the snow fell onto the Uzumaki duo, ki illuminated the white flakes of ice, forming beautiful patterns of light never before seen by the eyes of the Leaf. As the danced progressed, the Uzumakis' synchronization came closer to near perfection. The blurry spells of light started to gain form, and through the marveling eyes of the children of Konohageru, a tale of two lovers was told.
The shapes of a couple formed on the darkened stage, by the blades of both Uzumakis. Their little dance told the story of a tragedy and a love that had graced the world centuries before the emergence of shinobis. As story of vengeance and sacrifice that had been long lost in the literature of the great countries.
As the duo danced on the darkened stage, two other sets of eyes watched in marvel. The first one, a paled eyed girl of high stature but with a meek personality, watched the one she had admired for so long, telling the story of a love she wished she had with him. She closed her eyes, to watch the display with the gift of her family.
"Beautiful……" her meek voice, was never heard by the boy she admired.
Another, a sandy blonde from the lands of the wind, watched on, a little ashamed that she lacked the grace the boy had. She had grown up being a shinobi and she never had time to learn such things. Admiration, however, found its way into her heart as she recognized the dreams and wishes of the story the blonde boy along with his cousin told. They were the same dreams, the same wishes, she had when she was young, and still has now as she grew.
To Be continued.
Author notes: I know the story is progressing a bit slowly, but bare with me. I feel that the characters need to be further evolved for this story to progress. And by the way, the chunin exams are up next.
The beauty of all good stories do not lie with in violence or the main characters show of power, but rather the imagination the author uses to create one. Stories like Bloodlines, Child of Two worlds, and Foxhound are some inspirations that I'm using. I suggest you read those if
Please review and tell me what you think.