A Kitsune Riding on my Shoulder

Alright, I know it's short, and I know it took forever and yet not as long as the last forever I took, but life's been crazy busy so….. worship the ground I stand on!... or just review………. Either of them will help my plans for world domination shrug

(story start)

Neji brushed past another branch member that dared to not move out of his way immediately. He paused in his half run, half elegant stroll to turn and glare at the man old enough to be his father coolly. Said man only had to look into Neji's cold, emotionless eyes before he realized his mistake. He bowed so low his forehead touched the floor.

"I apologize for my mistake, next time I will remember to stay out of your way when you are in a hurry." He glanced up anioxsly to see if his apology had placated the angry eyes that had scared him into humility, but only saw his back as the young boy continued on his path, completely ignoring the old branch member who couldn't help but wonder if the Uzumaki kid was the only demon currently residing in Konoha.

Neji rapped smartly on the door to Hiashi's office and waited for a response. He could hear Hiashi shuffling around papers on his desk through the thin doors, purposefully making Neji wait outside for no reason other than that he could.

Neji stood unmoving outside the office for several minutes before Hiashi finally decided to call him in. Neji opened the door and in one smooth motion slipped, closed the door before him, and knelt down in front of Hiashi's desk to wait even longer to be acknowledged so that he could report his news.

Hiashi slowly stood up from his desk and walked over to where Neji remained kneeling with his posture submissive and his face tilted toward the ground. Hiashi activated his Byakugan and exaimined his tenketsu and chakra coils.

Neji clenched his hand at his side while his uncle observed him like a scientist observes a rat after experimenting on it. He barely resisted the urge to leap to his feet and punch his uncle when he started probing him experimentaly, humming to himself slightly in thought. Hiashi walked around and stopped in front of Neji tilting his head up, he looked deep into his eyes.

"Very interesting. I'll have to write about the side effects suffered from the chakra supplier, they were very vague in the old documents I read." He let go of Neji's head disdainfully and walked back to his desk to jot down some notes on a piece of paper. "Have you been feeling any different then usual lately?" He asked, glancing up at Neji to gauge his response.

"Not yet Hiasi-sama. I have refrained from using the Byakugan since the energy transfer and have not felt any side effects" Neji didn't bother to mention how his eyes continued to ache even hours after the transfer, that was merely due to his own weakness and was not worth bringing to Hiashi's attention.

"Yes, you may have trouble using the Byakugan for a while after the transfer" Hiashi told Neji absently, "But the eyes… who would have thought that would happen? No, it can't be permanent…." Neji didn't say anything in response to Hiashi's questions because they were not being addressed directly to him and a branch member never spoke in the presence of the Head of the clan unless he asked it of them.

Hiashi glanced up at Neji, seeming to realize that he was still in the room. He locked eyes with Neji for a second and seemed to get lost in his thoughts again, looking deep into his nephiew's eyes as if they held the answers to all his questions. Then, he shook his head, coming back to his senses and refocused his attention on the papers in front of him. "You are dismissed for now." His voice sounded troubled as he looked over his papers once again.

"But Hiashi-sama" Neji ventured. Hiashi had gone off on some random tangent and he hadn't been able to tell him the important news yet. His punishment for not telling Hiashi would certainly be worse than talking without permission. But Hiashi would not have it. He slammed one hand on his desk and glared at the young boy in front of him.

"I said you are dismissed branch member, or is hearing loss another of the side effects of the ritual we performed earlier today?" His voice had an angry edge to it that said he would not hesitate to punish the boy in front of him if he continued to be so disrespectful. Neji merely bowed and backed out of the room, without turning his back to his uncle and slid the door closed behind him.

Neji slumped his shoulders once he was out of his uncle's office before going over what he had heard while he was in there. Why had his uncle been so interested in his eyes? Sure, they still ached somewhat, but surely his uncle could not tell that merely by looking at them. His eyes took this chance to send a lance of pain that made his vision go white. He steadied himself on the wall behind him and slid to the ground, the pain becoming overwhelming.

What could be causing his eyes so much pain? It was worse than the time when he had used the Byakugan excessively and suffered from a mild burn on his tenketsu. Which was much the same as a regular burn, but could only happen if someone had chakra flow through their tenketsu too many times in a certain period of time.

Curiosity peaked, Neji ran off to his room to look at his eyes in the mirror, glaring at anyone that looked at him and daring them to comment on his rush.

He slammed open the door to his room and rushed over to his dresser, shoving off anything in his way until he found his rarely used mirror. Dusting it off on his sleeve he closed his eyes for a second, preparing himself for what he would see in his reflection.

The mirror fell from his hands and shattered on the ground at his feet, but Neji didn't even notice. All he could see were those eyes, his eyes, staring back at him, straight into his soul.


"Naruto!" Ichiro called from the kitchen banging his spatula on the pot he was cooking in to ensure he had the boy's attention, "Lunch is ready, eat now or not at all!" At the word lunch Naruto fled from his bedroom and scooted into his chair at the table in record time. Ichiro smiled at his enthusiasm before frowning lightly as he noticed something, "Naruto, why didn't you brink Neko-chan?" He couldn't remember the last time he saw the boy without his stuffed toy willingly. It had taken him weeks to get it away from Naruto so he could fix it up.

Naruto's eyes followed the pot that Ichiro was cooking in as the ANBU took it from the stove to the table and started to put some on the plates that were set out for them. When he realized Ichiro was looking at him expectantly his mind rewound and he did some quick thinking. "uhh…. Could you repeat that?" He asked innocently switching his attention from the food in front of him.

"Where's Neko-chan Naruto?" Ichiro repeated patiently looking at the boy worried.

"Oh! She's not feeling good right now…" Naruto informed his guardian a tiny frown of worry on his young face, "I think she might have the chicken pox." He ventured, trying to sound professional. He wasn't really sure what chicken pox was, but he had heard someone talking about it and they didn't sound happy, so it had to be something bad…… right?

Ichiro gave Naruto a doubtful look, "I'm not so sure that cat's can get chicken pox Naruto." He explained kindly. "But, if you want, I can take a look at her and see what's wrong." Naruto immediately brightened at the thought and tackled Ichiro in a bear hug.

"Thank you so much Ichiro! I was getting really worried about her! She can't talk in full sentences and her eyes are all swirly, like she's dizzy or something, but I don't know why she could be dizzy…." Naruto trailed off looking worried about his best friend.

"Oh, that's an easy one Naruto." Ichiro explained as he sat down at the table to eat his lunch. "When I was cleaning up Neko-chan for you, I put her in the washer so that she could get clean, and then in the dryer after that, so she's probably a little disoriented after that experience." Ichiro and Katsu were both used to talking with Naruto as if Neko-chan was a real person, the Hokage told them that it was just a stage Naruto was going through after being in isolation for so long, and that after he made some friends at the academy he would begin to be less dependant on the stuffed animal. But, until then they had to nourish Naruto's imagination and treat Neko-chan as part of the family.

Naruto's appetite quickly returned after he was reassured that nothing was wrong with his best friend and he attacked the food in front of him with more vigor than Ichiro had seen in a while and the food was gone in seconds. When he was done, Naruto jumped up out of his chair and ran to the door, but was stopped by Ichiro's voice.

"Where do you think you're going Naruto-kun?" He asked in a deceptively calm voice that made a chill run down Naruto's spine.

"uhhh…. To nurse Neko-chan back to health?" Naruto ventured shifting from foot to foot nervously. But Ichiro only gave him a disapproving look that made him bow his head as he remembered something he had promised his guardian.

"You said that if I didn't bother you about your homework on Friday or Saturday that you would do it on today." Here Ichiro gave the backpack stuffed with papers a significant look, "I'd get started if I were you. Even starting this early it could take you until late at night and you'll have to get up early tomorrow if you want to get to the academy on time."

Naruto gave a defeated sigh and lugged the backpack stuffed with worksheets to his room to work on, grumbling about slave driving guardians and how carrying their backpack to and from the academy was probably part of their physical training because it weighed so much.

Naruto collapsed onto the floor in his bedroom and dumped the contents of his backpack onto the floor in front of him. He grabbed Neko-chan from her perch on his bed and set her next to him, presumably to help him with his work if she was feeling well enough.

Grabbing a random piece of paper from the mountain in front of him Naruto gave it a once over before glancing at his stuffed friend, "Neko-chan, what is chakra?"

"Waffles. With peanut butter filling and exploding scrolls inside that tell you your fortune when you break them in half." His stuffed animal answered, sounding not quite right, but Naruto figured that the fact that she was forming full sentences was a good sign and decided to take her word for it and quickly jotted it down her answer in the provided blank space.

"Alright, next question. What's a shuriken?" he asked his most trusted friend while chewing on his eraser. Neko-chan giggled insanely at this question, earning her a funny look from her companion. She cleared her throat embarrassedly and answered his question.

"They're those egg rolls you can get at the BBQ. You know, the ones that are deep fried and dipped in sweet and sour sauce. I always enjoyed them with a side dish of kunai, those little candy dumplings that are filled with grape jam and artichokes." Neko-chan answered with a distant look in her eyes.

"Great! That answers the next question too!" Naruto cried out happily while scribbling down the questionable answers he was receiving from his friend, "What is a kunai, candy dumpling with grape jam and….. ardychokes? Perfect!"

(final break)