I felt like writing something new. People who read An Alternate path, don't worry I only spent two days on this. Not even that relaly, I spent most of the time playing Neverwinter nights. i'll start on chapter 23 tomorrow If I'm allowed to. Otherwise, You'll haev to wait until wednesday, bauwhuahwa. On an awesome note, I have a Graphic Tablet. :D
I'm nice, so this stories pairing will be entirely decidable by the votes it gets, in other words,
PICK WHO YOU WANT IT TO BE!
Hinata? Sakura?( Please don't) Ino? Tenten? Temari? Kin? Tayuya? Shizune? Tsunade? Kurenai? Anko? Female!Kyuubi? Female!Haku? Female!Gaara( Just threw that in to see if anyone would scream and claw their eyes out)
Entirely up to you, I have nothing really in mind for this story- Except awesomeness.
She stood upon the tops of the trees along with a squad of Konoha Jounin and Chuunin. She had no idea how her life had boiled down to what it was; In front of them stood a vision of the deepest nightmares. Glancing to her comrades she saw looks of hidden terror, and awe upon their faces. She snorted lightly; they were all supposedly more experienced then her. If that was true then why did she feel nothing at the sight of the monstrosity which threatened to end their lives? Had she, like they all said lost her humanity?
"Our orders are to stop it at all costs until the Hokage arrives." stated the leader of the group as he stared out towards the colossal beast.
A snort almost escaped her once again. Was she truly the only one among them that did not want to be simply discarded, thrown away like trash? Was she the only one with nothing left to lose except her life? That must have been it, ever since he tainted her with his mark; she had lost everything, every semblance to respect from her fellow shinobi.
Before them The Nine Tailed Demon Fox, Kyuubi stood in all its dreaded glory. Scattered around it countless bodies laid upon the ground, none of them fully intact. It was a massacre. No one could say anything less. Slowly a smirk began to form upon her face as she watched her fellow Konoha ninjas begin to attack again. Wave after wave attacks, and in each wave at least one met their end.
The self-righteous who attacked head-on were always cut down by Kyuubi. Those who attacked from its blind spots were swapped down like flies, crushed underneath its enormous tails. The smell of blood was thick in the air, even as far as they were from the Kyuubi the smell reached them. But despite the scene she felt at ease. It was what her beloved-sensei taught her; 'Always keep a calm head, even if you are in a pile of dead bodies, if you act out, you will join them in being just that; a body'
She did not want to be reduced to a body; she did not want to die. But she would not abandon her duty and allow the beast to destroy her home. There was only one option viable. Stop it and Stay alive until the Hokage arrived. If the blond haired freak could not beat it, all hope was lost for Konoha; the village would be destroyed.
She glanced around to her comrades. They were all tensed, and glaring at the beast who had slaughtered so many of their own, their comrades, their friends, and even their family. They wanted revenge, they wanted to see the beast bleed, they wanted to defeat it. As Anko stared at the face of the captain, she realised she could say the same for him as well.
'Why can't I feel as they do?' she wondered as she turned her eyes back to the single enemy. 'Why do I feel out of place?' A snide voice inside her head answered her.
'Because you aren't truly alive any more girl, you're heart is as dead as those lying prone in front of you.'
A frown appeared on her face, she had not expected an answer, much less an answer she couldn't control. Had she finally snapped? Was that why she held no fear at facing the giant beast? Was it because she wasn't alive any longer?
Slowly she brought her hand up to her chest and slid it under her coat, placing it over where her heart was. At first she could not feel anything except the rise and fall of her chest with the breaths she took, but slowly, a soft thump began to echo in her mind. She was alive, she wasn't dead.
"Anko now isn't the time for that." remarked someone from her right.
Anko's left eye twitched agitatedly. Morino Ibiki stood next to her. She would have hit him if it were a different situation. Instead she simply sighed and removed her hand from her chest.
"Lewd Bastard." snapped Anko half heartedly.
She really could not muster the anger towards the man. It was obvious that he was simply trying to loosen the tension in the group. She'd have to hurt him later, or rather if she got any comments from anyone he'd be a broken man, in four ways. Slowly Anko turned to face Ibiki, as she did, a sadistic smile formed upon her lips. As the smile reached its zenith the whites of her teeth were just revealed along with the points of her teeth. Had it been anyone else they would have flinched, but alas Ibiki was not any normal man.
He was declared to be the most gifted Torture and Interrogation specialist in Konoha, if not the five major Hidden villages. For a moment she entertained the idea of a contest between the main interrogators in each village to see who could extract the information from a person the quickest. The rational part of her brain quickly decided that it would not be possible to find enough Victi-guinea pigs that every village hated.
The irrational side of her brain instantly supplied the answer; Missing-Nin's no one would care about those who deserted their village, it would even work better if each 'contestant' were given a traitor from their own village. The rationality of her brain quickly conceded, even it had to agree with the idea.
"Alright, get ready, we attack in half a minute." yelled the leader of the squad.
Both Anko and Ibiki turned their attention to the matter at hand; there was no time for jokes when the battles began. Joking meant death, and no one wanted anyone to die, unless they happened to be a big ass demonic fox.
Anko's right hand slid down to her outer thigh, quickly feeling through the material of her weapons pouch. She quickly counted the content in her mind. Once again her left eye twitched as she finalised the numbers.
Eleven meters of wire
Three explosive tags
Four flash bombs.
She almost swore out loud, she had been sure that she had already gone to the weapons shop to stock up on battle supplies. Painstakingly past she calmed herself down. It did not truly matter, although they would help in her opening attack, her specialties were far from simple weapons.
"Go!" yelled the leader as he kicked off from his place mong the trees and launched himself towards the Kyuubi with such speed he appeared as a dark blur. Anko would have laughed if the matter wasn't so serious. Who would have thought he would have been foolish enough to attack the beast directly?
She wasn't the only one who seemed to think that way; most of the squad began rushing to the far sides of the enemy, trying to stay out of its attack range as they got closer. Glancing to her right, Anko was surprised to see Ibiki still standing there. The Surprise vanished as his hands slipped into a single hand seal.
"Bunshin no Jutsu." He stated calmly.
The area around them was instantly covered in smoke. As the smoke began to flow away with the night time breeze Dozens upon Dozens of Ibiki's were revealed. One by one they began to charge at the Kyuubi, dodging sporadically and drawing the Kyuubi's attention by the vast number.
"Don't take too long to attack, you'll miss all the fun." remarked Ibiki as he leapt from his position among the trees and out of sight. A hollow laugh took flight into the wind from Anko's lips as she reached into her weapons pouch and withdrew what she needed. She had only one attack before the attention of the Kyuubi was drawn to her, if she messed up, then she would be dead a lot quicker then she would otherwise.
It had taken her a few moments to prepare her attack; half of Ibiki's clones were already decimated. It seemed the Kyuubi had found itself a game; it was only targeting the multitude of Ibiki's surrounding it; giving the rest of the squad openings to attack it without it noticing.
A smirk became pronounced on Anko's face as she readied herself for her move, there was no way she would let Ibiki take all the credit. Anko's eyes flashed slightly as she watched the Kyuubi turn its head towards her. In an instant she had channelled a considerable amount of Chakra towards her legs.
Without any reason to remain Anko jumped towards the Kyuubi. In her right hand the various linked weapons rattled as she dodged by tree after tree. Silently she burst from the forest.
"Raien, HEAD'S UP!" screamed Anko as her eyes landed on one of the few squad members that talked to her. The man's dark eyes flashed as he took quick note of the implements in her hand. Turning around to face Anko, he crouched down on the ground and placed both of his hands palm side up against each other on the ground in front of him.
Anko smirked as she barrelled along the terrain towards Raien. As soon as her right foot landed on his hands she felt herself being thrown upwards, going along with the movements she kicked off hard from the pair of hands launching her skywards. She had to admit, from directly above the battlefield it looked a lot worse then it did from the trees. But she had no time to dwell on the scene of carnage. Kyuubi's head was less then ten meter's from her, it was time to make her move and hopefully not be eaten.
Gripping the two Kunai within the palm of her hand, Anko watched the Kyuubi turn its head toward a source of noise conveniently created by Morino Ibiki. It was now or never, she decided. A battle cry erupted from her lips as she arched her arm in front of her body, releasing the two projectiles as her arm reached its full length. The shout had drawn Kyuubi's attention back to her jut in time. For a moment Kyuubi's blood red eyes stared directly into her own unable to comprehend of what she was doing. A feeling of horror overcame all her senses as she found herself lost within the massive orbs.
But she need not have paid it any attention, her attack had been successful, with a howl of pain from Kyuubi, the two Kunai pierced the sides of its eyes, stretching the cable between them to its full length.
"Boom." whispered Anko.
A thundered shockwave tore from Kyuubi's face as four flash bombs and three explosive notes exploded simultaneously. Anko smiled in satisfaction as the Kyuubi began to thrash around, scratching at its face. It was short lived. In its mindless thrashing, one of the Kyuubi's paws somehow managed to slam into her body.
With a silent scream Anko was sent plummeting downwards to one of the many trees scattered through the area. But she wasn't finished yet. Her attack had brought a renewed assault from every direction as the Kyuubi was blinded. Skilfully Anko twisted her body as she landed against the tree, allowing her to place her feet between her and the trunk.
A sadistic smirk took place upon her lips as she with all her might kicked off the tree and flew towards another tree opposite her. Once again she repeated the manoeuvre until she was once again in the air. Her hands began to flash through hand-seals as she stared own at the Kyuubi. The only seal repeated was the seal of Hebi.
"Ninpou: Hebi shikon akumu" echoed Anko as she finished the series of hand seals.
Instantly a large serpent head diagram appeared in front of Anko. The eyes of the serpent were burning blue as it opened it's mouth and continued to do so until the entire energy mesh diagram was encompassed with the inside of it's mouth.
"Execute!" snarled Anko as her body began to succumb to gravity and fall earthwards. The energy symbol however remained in the air, gathering all the energy in it towards the centre. The outer rim began to fade as the energy left it. With a shattering sound, the attack exploded, sending fragments of Chakra outwards in every direction. Slowly they all began to curve towards the Kyuubi, until the sky was alight with the flying blue fangs. A booming howl of pain erupted from Kyuubi as the shards pierced its skin.
Fear began to course through Anko's veins as the Kyuubi's eyes locked onto her falling form. She watched in morbid fascination as the Kyuubi began to turn. Nine long tails sliced through the air towards her. She could almost feel the air in the area distort from the speed they were moving. She had been too show offish. In the distance she could see the growing form of a toad. A smile formed upon her lips as the tails of the Kyuubi slammed into her form. Only to be replaced by a grimace of pain as the spine like hair's sliced her body as it sent her flying helplessly away.
A short scream tore from her lips as her back slammed into a thick trunk. She could feel the splintering wood dig into her back, piercing her skin. A bitter smile took form on her face as she felt the tremors of Gamabunta moving closer. Her eyes began to feel droopy, but with all her might she kept them open, fixated on the Kyuubi's body.
"You look like hell." remarked a voice from Anko's right.
A soft smile took form on Anko's lips as she recognised the voice.
"You don't look that good yourself you know, Ibiki." retorted Anko weakly.
"How bad is it?" Ibiki asked after a moment.
Anko remained silent as she twitched the various parts of her body, wincing each time she found something that was, for lack of a better word broken. A bemused smile took place upon her face as she watched the hulking form of Gamabunta attract Kyuubi's attention.
"Is this the end for Mitarashi Anko? I think so." She murmured emotionlessly.
"You're certain?" asked Ibiki blankly.
Anko could only nod; she was already losing feeling in her lower body. She watched in wonder as the minuscule form of the Yondaime began to shift his hands through a never ending set of hand seals. Upon the final seal, The Yondaime seemed to point towards the colossal demon in front of him.
A blinding flash of white light washed over the battlefield. Anko's eyes widened as a ghastly form appeared behind the Hokage.
'The Shinigami.' thought Anko in awe.
The awe turned to morbid fascination as she watched the demonic god reach through the Yondaimes body towards the Kyuubi. Slowly her vision began to blur, no matter how hard she fought it, the darkness at the corners of her eyes began to consume the light. She could see nothing, all she could do was feel, feel the slowing thud of her heart as it tried to keep her alive.
"Be well, Anko." was the last thing she heard before total darkness met her.
Was this death? Anko wondered it wasn't as unpleasant as they had thought it would be, it wasn't pleasant, it wasn't anything, or was it? There was nothing, no taste, no sound, nothing to feel. Nothing existed, as paradoxical as it sounded, Nothing did exist, she was in it, was she apart of it? She didn't know.
A glimmer of something appeared in front of her. In the nothingness around her something began to slowly manifest from the nothing. Anko stared emotionlessly into the eyes of the Shinigami as loomed ominously in her vision. Slowly it reached up to its mouth and took hold of the handle of the knife held with its teeth.
"Do you wish to remain in the world of the living?" it asked coldly as it drew the weapon from its mouth.
Anko's mind raced at the possibility of remaining alive. Quickly she tried to open her mouth, only to find, that she did not have one. An alarmed feeling took root in her mind, only to vanish at the grim smile upon the Shinigami's mouth. It was a terrifying sight to behold.
"So be it." it rasped out as it placed the ceremonial knife back within its mouth.
A flash of pain took hold of her body as the nothingness faded away to the forest. She stared straight ahead, only barely realizing that the Kyuubi's body was dematerializing. The shock quickly wore off as she turned her head towards where she had last seen the Shinigami It had disappeared, and the Yondaime was motionless upon the top of the giant summon.
'I'm alive?' she wondered in fascination as she brought her hand up to her face. Turning her head to Ibiki she smiled, expecting him to smile down at her worriedly. The moment her eyes landed upon him a sickening lurch took hold of her body, pulling backwards. Her eyes widened as she for a moment stared at her pale blood soaked body, lying against the splintered tree she had been slammed against.
With a quick glance over her shoulder's Anko's eyes widened as she watched a large tree rush towards her, her morbid fascination remained as she watched the tree until it came within meters of her, her eyes instinctively shut as she awaited the immense pain which would no doubt come from being pulled into a large tree. Instead of the pain she had expected, an unpleasant sensation ran through her entire body, it as if she was under water, the pressure was very similar, but she could still breath.
The sensation quickly vanished and with it, Anko opened her eyes, glancing away from the direction she was flying towards. Her eyes widened as she noticed the large tree she had supposedly hit remained upright. Slowly at first the pull began to lessen, soon the world stopped flying away from her. A small wince escaped her as she tumbled backwards along the ground by her own momentum.
Anko remained motionless as she stared blankly up at the sky, wondering what had happened to her, if she was alive or dead. The longer she stared, the more she realised she wasn't living, neither was she entirely dead. She had already died; she was not in her body. Was she a ghost? Her thoughts were soon interrupted as an unpleasant wail broke the silence of the post-battle mourn.
The cry gradually got louder and louder, until Anko could no longer stand it. Slowly she brought her limbs into a dignified position and pushed herself off her back. Her eyes were immediately drawn to the middle of the small clearing she was in.
Six candles were burning lightly on top of a platform in the shape of a hexagon; it was made out of stone. Anko stood up and dusted her coat off. Quietly she moved closer towards the 'centrepiece' of the clearing. Her eyes softened slightly as they fell upon the sight of a baby, lying upon a white cushion.
"What are you doing out here, little boy?" she asked curiously, Anko didn't expect an answer, or for him to even acknowledge her presence, after all he was just a child, and she was, well dead. It was to her immense surprise that the crying instantly stopped. Slowly, the child opened its eyes, until Anko was staring into the bluest eyes she had ever seen. A frown slowly formed upon her lips as her eyes trailed down to three parallel scratches upon the baby's cheeks. Hesitantly Anko brought her hand up from her side and reached into the crib like basket.
Gently she caressed the boy's cheek, her eyes widened as the boy's cheek depressed slightly under the contact from her hand. She could feel the soft skin of his cheek. Quickly she brought her hand away from the Childs face and gripped the pillow underneath him. Only to tense as her finger's slipped through the material, as if it did not exist.
"Well isn't this odd?" murmured Anko as she shifted her focus back to the child to take a good look at him.
The baby hair was a dull yellow, it looked quite damp. But Anko was hesitant to test it if it were. The big blue eyes stared up at her innocently. Could he really see her? From the size of the baby she doubted that it was even a month old. Was it another weird unexplainable thing? Her eyes slowly drifted down to the ink black seal upon the baby's stomach.
Lazily she traced the design from the outside in; she had never seen something like it before.
"Aren't you full of mysteries?" she murmured softly.
A soft giggling sound soon fell upon her ears, drawing her attention from the seal to the child's face, there was a smile upon it, and giggles were escaping his mouth.
"Ticklish, are we?" she asked amusedly, as she brought her finger tips down over the boy's bellybutton.
The sounds of foot steps from behind her caused Anko to turn around just in time to watch the Sandaime Hokage walk into the clearing, his eyes were not upon her; instead they were focused beside her, on the bundle of giggles that she had met moments before.
"Hokage-sama?" asked Anko blankly.
Her confusion became paramount as the Hokage continued forwards, his eyes still upon the child. Still she resisted the urge to scream out to ask if he could see her. As he came into range of the candle surrounded basket, Anko reached out to his shoulder, intent on letting her presence be known; her hand glided through the older mans shoulder, as if he did not exist at all. Or rather she did not exist at all. But the strange feeling of pressure was still there.
"I had expected you to be crying, Naruto-kun." murmured the Sandaime softly as he stared down at the post-giggling now named Naruto.
"So you're named Naruto?" Anko asked to no one in particular as she turned back to the crib and stared down at the happily squirming form of 'Naruto.'
"You're braver then I thought you would be. But then, for what you have been cursed with, it is most fortunate and welcome."
'Cursed with…?' thought Anko as she shifted her gaze from the blue eyed baby to the current Hokage.
"Your father's last wish was that you be seen as a hero. Hopefully we can make that come true. For you are a hero aren't you? The container of the Kyuubi, the protector of Konoha." He trailed off as he realised that Naruto could not understand him.
While Naruto could not understand him yet, Anko had no such problems. Wide eyed, she stared down at the innocent form of Naruto. She was hard pressed to imagine such a child being able to both hold back the demon Kyuubi and be so happy.
"Are you really what he says you are? Is that what the whisker marks, are? Do they mark you as with such a curse? Is that what the diagram on your stomach is for? It's the seal that holds the beast back?" Anko asked down to the boy in the cot.
Naruto's eyes quickly shifted to her and he gurgled happily. Something that surprised both Anko herself and The Sandaime, who glanced towards Anko, only to see no one and turn back to the small boy. Gingerly he reached down to the boy and picked him up.
"We must get you properly dressed and then present you too Konoha. If all goes well, you will remain as happy as you are today." Declared the Sandaime gruffly as he held Naruto close to him and kicked off from the clearing; towards Konoha.
Anko watched blankly as the Sandaime and Naruto rose up into the sky. A familiar lurch of her body was all she had time to feel before her body was flying after them. A short scream echoed from her lips as her back made a sickening crunch. Grinding her teeth together, Anko forced her eyes to remain open as she thought over the past few minutes. This had happened before once the Kyuubi had been sealed. The Kyuubi was sealed inside Naruto? She had been pulled to Naruto. She was being pulled by Naruto.
She was stuck with the kid.
Anko sighed softly as she let her body be dragged across the sky after the Ex-Hokage and the Demon container. The Shinigami had asked her if she wanted to stay in this world. She had assumed he had meant that she would be living and free. It had a sick way of bringing truth to its words. She was still in the world of the living, yes- But she wasn't alive. Another sigh escaped her as she glanced at the small tuff of blond hair visible from her trailing position. It was going to be a long eternity.
Anko watched with unrestrained boredom as the small bundle of energy known as Uzumaki Naruto began to wake from his sleep. The first thing, as always, would be his arms raising up above his head and stretching. After that, always he would roll over and accidentally fall onto the floor.
Next he would stand up and rub his head, mumbling a good morning once his eyes were laid upon her.
"Good morning Anko-sama."
As always it brought a smile to her face. Anko knew that asking the little boy to refer to her as such was pathetic, but she really didn't care. After five years of having nothing to do but baby sit the blond haired boy, she deserved something. And as every morning came, so did Naruto's morning hug attack.
It was something that she had never been able to figure out. Why was Naruto the only thing she was able to touch? Probably for the same reason that she was stuck to him, she reasoned. Without thinking about it, Anko wrapped her right arm loosely around Naruto's back, hugging him gently.
There was one thing that Anko had insisted as soon as Naruto had been able to speak and understand words. He was never allowed to let anyone know she was there. After the first few years of constantly being around the small boy, she had become more attached to him then the actual bond between them. It probably helped that he would do whatever she asked him to without asking why.
It was a good thing too, without her, he may have ended up dead already from how the villagers looked at him. The Fourth's wish never came true, in the eyes of the villagers Naruto was as bad as the Kyuubi, the whisker marks did nothing to lessen the thoughts. He was Kyuubi in human form to them. It was something Anko had never been able to understand. If they truly thought that Naruto was Kyuubi, why did they treat him so?
Anko could admit easily that if she was still alive, the thought of harassing a demon outright was a bad idea. If Naruto was a demon they would all be dead. Thoughtlessly Anko brought her hand up to Naruto's ehad and gently brushed a few stray locks of his spiky hair behind his ear.
"You still have the money I told you to keep right, Naruto-kun?" Anko asked flatly.
Naruto's ehad bobbed up and down quickly.
"Yeah yeah! In the…uh…" Naruto's enthusiastic reply stumbled as he tried to remember the name of the place he had put the money.
A smile lit up upon Anko's face as she watched his brow furrow in concentration.
"In the drawer thingy!" said Naruto excitedly after a few more moments, pointing towards one of the few pieces of furniture in the room.
Anko grinned sadistically, only to falter as she watched Naruto try to mimic her facial expression. A small chuckle escaped her lips as she watched Naruto try to look as devious as herself and continuously fail. It was endearing to watch the small boy try so hard.
"Alright, after you have a shower and then get dressed we will go search for her alright?" Anko said brightly, hoping to stop the mimicking boy from practicing her trade mark facial expression.
It wasn't long before Naruto was washed and ready. He was wearing a plain black shirt and shorts. Nothing spectacular, it was all he could afford. It was a big day for him, if they found the person they were looking for, and if they were able to trick her. They had a grand total of ¥10,000. With it if Anko's plans went accordingly Naruto would be able to live a bit better for at least a few weeks.
Her sensei had talked about the woman quite often, even fondly, a surprising thing for him. It instantly made her a role model for Anko. That was until she had found out some of her bad habits. Then it just went down to respect. But as the saying went, 'Need before greed' and Naruto definitely needed it.
The first place they decided to check was the last place they would need to. They had found their target quite quickly. Luck was on their side for the day, but they didn't need that, after all, they had Anko.
"Repeat after me." Anko ordered as they stood behind the woman.
Naruto did not even make the slightest acknowledgement of Anko's words. It was one of the things she had drilled into his head continuously. To everyone else she didn't exist. And if they found out that Naruto thought she existed, he would be locked away or worse killed.
"Excuse me Tsunade-hime?" echoed Naruto as soon as Anko spoke.
The woman in green slowly turned around and glanced down to Naruto, he could see that she was only slightly intoxicated; he could barely smell the sake upon her breath. Her eyes widened slightly for a moment, before they returned to normal. Recognition had flashed through her eyes for a moment, before fading away and leaving only disappointment.
"Want to play poker?" Naruto asked innocently as he repeated Anko's words.
The Youthful looking woman snorted lightly as she turned back to the bar she was sitting at, giving Naruto a nice view of the blond hair covered back of her head.
"No thanks kid, I bet you don't even know how to play Poker." She mumbled softly.
"I bet I can beat you with ease." Naruto retorted heatedly at the recommendation of Anko.
As Anko told Naruto what to say, she was sitting beside Tsunade checking her face for signs of emotion. A smirk appeared on Anko's face as the first signs of anger appeared on Tsunade's face.
"Put your money where your mouth is boy." retorted Tsunade casually, she had expected that the boy had no money at all, and it was just a friendly request.
"Alright, you put, you put YOUR money where your mouth is." retorted Naruto childishly.
Anko's eyes narrowed slightly as she shot a glare at Naruto, one that he outwardly didn't even acknowledge, but she had been a round him to long for him to hide anything from her, the sign was there, it was the small twitch of his left eye, almost invisible.
She let out a shaky breath as she awaited Tsunade's reaction. As luck would have it, a superior smirk had appeared on the older woman's face, a good sign; she had been unable to stop herself from getting annoyed at Naruto.
"Alright kid, come with me, let's get a table before I take your money." She said casually as she slipped from the bar and dropped a small amount of money on the counter. Naruto and Anko smiled in satisfaction as they followed the well endowed woman down the street.
"Good work Naruto-kun." praised Anko lightly as she imagined what she would be able to get for Naruto after some…sneaky tricks.
After a small walk they arrived at their destination, and the game instantly began once Naruto showed Tsunade his pack of cards. Needless to say, with Anko there Tsunade did not stand a chance. Game after game Naruto either folded or won.
Tsunade yelled in frustration, making Naruto wince. He had started off with ¥10,000 and much to Tsunade's frustration that had periodically increased to a massive ¥450,000. Behind Tsunade Anko was literally jumping for joy. Naruto however much he wanted to mimic his 'Role model' he remained as stoic as possible, only giving a small smile to Tsunade.
Neither Naruto nor Anko could have guessed what would happen next. Tsunade took on a thoughtful expression as she stared down at Naruto.
"Kid, what did you say your name was?" she asked innocently, and for all intents and purposes she was, for now.
Anko nodded lightly to Naruto, it would do nothing to endanger them or anything foreseeable.
"Uzumaki Naruto, my name is Naruto, Tsunade-hime." answered Naruto happily.
Tsunade nodded lightly.
"Tell me, Naruto-kun do you like it here?" she asked curiously, Anko could see the calculating gleam in her eye; it was starting to worry her.
"Answer her truthfully." Ordered Anko, she herself wanted to know how Naruto found his life. She would never have asked if Tsunade hadn't mentioned it.
"I…it can be bad sometimes, because they…are mean, but I'm happy." Naruto answered hesitantly, glancing to Anko for a moment accidentally. Tsunade however seemed to not notice it, her thoughtful expression turned upon Naruto as she gazed into his blue eyes.
"Do you want to come with me when I leave the village? You don't have to answer straight away, I'll give you a few days alright? In three days where you met me today I'll be there, come and tell me your answer."
With that Tsunade left Naruto and the ghostly Anko.
Both of them seemed to be at a loss for words. Tsunade had offered Naruto a way out of the village. What did it mean for Naruto? Anko knew what it meant in conjunction. Tsunade would make teach Naruto, Anko was sure of that, the price was obvious, she had seen Naruto's 'skill' at poker. She would want him to gamble.
In the end, Anko knew it was Naruto's decision, she would have no input on it, she decided, it was up to Naruto decide what happened. With a single glance to Naruto, she knew that he was stunned with the offer, especially after he had managed to take ¥440,000 from the blond woman.
"The choice is entirely yours Naruto." stated Anko emotionlessly.
In truth nothing would really change. Except that their relationship would become a lot more one way. With Tsunade around as much as she assumed the blond woman would be, Naruto would have little time to speak to her. But the same could be said in a few years for Naruto. She had no doubt that he would want to be a ninja after hearing of what she had done while alive, to be able to make his own stories to tell people.
"Can we go home now?" asked Naruto quietly as he turned his gaze down to the table.
"Of course." Anko said softly, before trying to lighten the mood.
"Collect our winnings Naruto, Tomorrow I'm going to show you where to buy the best thing in the entire world." She teased lightly.
It was enough to bring Naruto out of his stupor; his eyes were quickly alight with enthusiasm as he reached across the table and pooled all the money he had won into a small pile. From within his pocket he withdrew a thin plastic bag and shovelled his winnings into it, before replacing it into his pants pocket, resulting in a severe bulge in the material.
Anko had to bite her lip to stop herself from commenting on what it would look like if the pocket was on the front of his pants. Instead of making a lewd comment, Anko thrust her fist up into he air and yelled out.
"Onwards towards Home!"
Naruto repeated Anko's gesture before beginning to run back to his apartment, wobbling slightly when the weight in his pants became too much and his pants began to sag.
The next day Anko had Naruto treat himself to, as she described it 'Heaven given the form of food' also known as Dango. After the first taste Naruto had been hooked. When they had gotten back to the safety of the apartment Naruto had pleaded and pleaded to only buy dango with the rest of the money, but Anko, despite her Dango-fanatic personality, refused, she reasoned with Naruto that they would need the money for other things. But secretly she envied Naruto, as she herself was unable to sample the food.
The day had rushed by, and Naruto still had not been able to decide on how it was he should go along. Should he stay in Konoha with Anko? Or should both he and Anko take to the road with Tsunade and live a life of travelling and gambling? He had to admit, it didn't sound too bad. The only thing he could see that was bad about it was not being able to talk to Anko when he wanted to. He had seen that with other children their parents were always around and they had to do everything with them.
Would that make Tsunade his mother if he said yes? He didn't know. He couldn't comprehend it. With all conflicting thoughts running through his mind Naruto did the only thing he could do, he decided…then fell asleep.
The morning came too soon for Anko. She was sure she knew Naruto's choice. It was as obvious as the fact that she had just made him a dango addict. Naruto would want to leave the village, and they would travel. It wasn't a bad option after all; the only thing that would suffer would be the time he would be able to talk to her. That to her however, was the worse thing possible, he was the only one who was able to hear her. She had been able to keep sane from the attention Naruto put on her.
A frown appeared on her lips as she thought over…her thoughts. All the reasons either way she had brought down to herself. Did she really assume that Naruto relied on her that much, that without her he would be unable to live his life? It troubled her to think that she was making him as dependant on her as she was on him. With that, she decided on one thing, either way if Naruto chose to stay or leave Konoha she would stick to it, and maybe, just maybe Naruto would not hate her for it.
"Morning sunshine." She whispered softly as Naruto had begun to stir. Unlike the usual mornings, Anko had chosen to sit upon the bed next to Naruto, something that required a bit of concentration to do. It was well worth it, to be the first thing Naruto saw when he woke from his slumber.
Sleeping was one of the things Anko missed doing; it allowed her to detach herself from life. But it seemed ghosts did not need sleep. The most she could get was a good amount of meditation.
"Morning Anko-sama." Naruto said tiredly as he rolled over towards her and nuzzled Anko's side lightly.
A sigh escaped Anko's lips as she recognised the telltale signs of Naruto trying to fall back to sleep. With a gentle rap upon the top of his head, Naruto was wide awake, rubbing the sore spot where Anko had kindly woken him.
"I'm awake." He whined softly as Anko slipped off the bed and beckoned for him to do likewise.
"You've decided right?" Anko asked curiously, she no longer held fear of which way Naruto would choose to go.
Naruto nodded hesitantly, before smiling naively up at Anko. Anko returned the smile after a moment. Naruto didn't notice, but the smile was not of happiness, it was a smile of sorrow.
"Once you get ready we can go tell Tsunade-sama your answer." Anko remarked.
Slower then normally, Naruto began to get ready for the meeting, he had a shower, brushed his hair even though it never worked, got dressed and finally he had breakfast before both he and his Spiritual companion made their way out of the apartment and towards the bar they had met Tsunade at two days prior.
It was a case of Déjà vu to see Tsunade sitting in the exact spot she had been when they had first met. Slowly Naruto made his way forwards to Tsunade and stopped behind her. It seemed Tsunade was not as intoxicated as Naruto had first thought she would be. The moment he stopped she spoke.
"Have you come to a decision, Naruto-kun?" she asked calmly as she swivelled on her stool. A knowing look was apparent on her face as she gazed down at Naruto. It annoyed Anko to no end that Tsunade thought she knew what Naruto would choose. Even she didn't know what he would choose. And she had been with him for most of his life.
"I-I'm gonna stay." declared Naruto shakily.
It was not the answer Tsunade had been expecting, her mouth instantly fell open as shock hit her, she had been sure that Naruto would have rather come with her then stay in the village. A snort issued from her nose before she nodded to Naruto and turned back to the bar.
"I'm sorry." Naruto whispered softly, before turning away from Tsunade and beginning to walk back to his home. Before Naruto got more then five steps away from the bar, Tsunade called out again.
"If you ever change your mind, talk to the Sandaime, tell him to contact me and I'll come and pick you up." She spoke calmly, before returning to whatever she was doing prior to Naruto showing up.
Neither Naruto nor Anko spoke on the walk back, Naruto for obvious reason, and Anko because she was beginning to feel guilty over her decision, she kept repeating in her mind that it was the right decision. As Anko stepped through the door to Naruto's apartment, she came to a final resolve.
"Naruto-kun, we need to talk." She tried to keep her voice as even as possible.
Naruto turned to Anko and stared curiously up into her eyes.
Anko smiled tenderly as she knelt down in front of Naruto so she was on eye level with the small boy. Gently she reached up to his face and brushed a stray lock of hair from his forehead.
"I'm afraid I have to leave you Naruto-kun." she murmured sadly.
Instantly Naruto's body slammed into hers, almost knocking her backwards.
"No!" he yelled as his arms ensnared their way around Anko's neck. "I don't want you to go!" he whimpered.
Anko wrapped her arms around the little boy's body, holding him gently as she whispered into his ear.
"I know, but I have to." She said carefully.
And had to she did, she had never heard of a child having an imaginary friend who was a ghost before, most children grew out of it, she did not want Naruto to be seen as 'special' in the head. It was one of the things that had cemented the idea.
"I'll do anything, I'll gamble more, I-I'll…Never eat Dango again!" Naruto's mumbling became incoherent as he buried his face upon Anko's shoulder. A frown appeared on Anko's face as she slowly pushed the small boy off her.
"I'll make you a deal." She said in her old cocky voice.
Naruto sniffed lightly as he turned his watery eyes up to stare into hers again.
"W-what do you m-mean?" he hiccuped out lightly.
"When you become strong like me, I'll be back alright?" a superior grin adorned Anko's face. Despite how her personality had abruptly changed, she still felt horrible over what she had to do to the small boy.
"But I don't want you to go." He whispered softly as he turned his gaze to the ground.
Anko looked away from the small boy. She did not want to see him cry. A sigh escaped her lips, the longer she waited the more weak her resolve became. Carefully she wrapped her arms around his body, hugging him close to her as she whispered one final thing into his ear.
"Did I ever tell you I love you?"
With that Anko released the tearful boy and gifted him with a soft smile. Slowly, Anko began to fade away, the outlines of her clothing and hair becoming fainter with every passing moment, until only her eyes remained. And then, they were gone.
Naruto released a wail of sorrow as he collapsed forwards onto his knees, he could no longer feel the cool touch of her arms on him. He knew she was gone. Gone until he became stronger, gone unless he wanted her back.
And want her back, he did.
Onwards, towards destiny!