At the time of writing the first chapter of the sequel to Bakemono Ai, the original has exactly 38,576 words, 14 chapters, 125 reviews, 27,852 hits (and growing), is a member of 14 C2s, and has been made a fav and currently being watched by 72 people. I plan to top that with this sequel dattebayo! Of course, I'll need all my readers' help. So, this is dedicated to all of you who have reviewed, watched, read, and added Bakemono Ai to your favorites. On to the story:
Ai no Tsubasa
Chapter 1: One Week, One Day
Uzumaki Naruto quickly learned a week after he and Jiraiya left Konohagakure that he could multi-task very well. In fact, the perverted old man actually told him that he admired the way he could spin his chakra and concentrate on nothing other than that "fire-haired raccoon boy from Sunagakure." This, of course, led to Naruto realizing he could do three things at once, for he started blushing furiously and couldn't stop for the rest of the day. It worsened when Jiraiya made his hands into rings and held them up to his eyes and made a poor attempt to talk like Gaara. So yes indeed, Naruto could multi-task very well.
It wasn't long into their journey before the Legendary ninja decided to make camp outside a small village that was known for its beautiful but easy girls, flowing hot sake, and dirty gambling on every street corner and sometimes in between. Needless to say, Naruto wasn't allowed to go there unless it was daylight and he only went down the market street. Naruto huffed at that and pondered why the old pervert would even think that he'd want to go there. Sake didn't stay in his system long because of the Kyuubi, not to mention they wouldn't even serve it to him because of his age. Even if he won anything gambling, Ero-sennin would just steal it all and use it for things Naruto would deny approval. Girls, he'd learned, just weren't his kind of thing. With a second thought, neither were boys.
The fox boy was well known for his determination and one-track mind set to his goals. He wanted to be Hokage, he wanted recognition, and he wanted Gaara. And he'd rather be dead than not have it all.
Naruto decided that in order to obtain any of those, he'd have to stop imaging Tanuki and hearts and gourds in the clouds and start working on sealing off the training dummy's chakra. Jiraiya created a scarecrow that had a chakra system which glowed a faint blue where it flowed, stuck it in the ground just outside of the camp and demanded the impossible of his student. Naruto had to make a seal that he had never even seen before and only a short sentence description of what it did and looked like. It seals chakra and in a circular pattern.
In his head, Naruto screamed, "Aren't all seals circular!"
Ero-sennin apparently didn't realize that he didn't have the Byakugan or an immense medical knowledge. Naruto didn't know where the seals should be placed in order specifically block the flow of chakra to one area of the body. He couldn't help but completely stop the flow of all the chakra in the scarecrow. At least he was getting really good at removing the fuuinjutsu that he created by himself. Jiraiya had said that the seal was already deep inside his blood and he already knew how to create it. He had also told Naruto that screwing up with it over and over again would eventually bring it to the surface. That only furthered Naruto's frustration. The constant failure was killing him.
Not to mention he hadn't ate anything since dawn and it was well past sunset. The forest was so dark without a fire, the blond boy hadn't seen a tree, much less his feet, in hours. All he could see was his hands, and the dummy right in front of him.
"All right, this is my last try for tonight. That means I gotta get it right so I can see Gaara sooner," Naruto yelled to no one but himself.
Naruto made one last series of hand signs that he thought was correct. His hands moved through the twenty signs in a blink of an eye. While that wasn't so spectacular for a ninja, he was still wearing the five pound each wrist weights that Lee had given him to train with. Though, it may be time to up the weight. The entire chakra flow stopped again as he pressed his right hand's index finger to the dummy and a small black seal appeared. It was a four-point shape with loops for corners and made a diamond shape in the center. Naruto sighed deeply as the dummy's glow vanished completely. With a quick motion, the seal he had placed was gone. Naruto turned away from the scarecrow in defeat and trudged back to camp.
Naruto looked towards the pit with twigs and a couple logs in the middle of camp, waiting to be lit. A series of quick hand signs and in an instant fire shot out of his finger tips towards the pre-constructed fire pit as he was still walking towards it. The twigs ignited and the fire was soon blazing and warm. Naruto had used the technique Jiraiya taught him the first night they made camp. It was the only katon jutsu that he knew, and Jiraiya promised that it was the only one that he'd ever need or ever teach him. According to the old geezer, the Kyuubi's chakra could burn opponents if he really needed it to. He also promised to teach him to control it that well.
Naruto walked to the fire with a pot of water from a nearby stream. In his sack, he found a cup of instant ramen complimentary of Ichiraku. One of the 10 he brought with him, he didn't think they'd be gone long enough for him to get a serious craving for their ramen. And even then, from his last trip with Jiraiya, he knew that there were plenty of good ones scattered about the continent. He opened his cup and sat in silence, waiting for the whistle of the water. He tried to think of what he was doing wrong with the fuuinjutsu but nothing came to him. It probably didn't help that his mind kept wandering to Gaara and how much he missed him after only a week. Still, it was a week since he last looked into those endless green eyes. Since he touched that cool, pale skin. Since he ran his hands through red, silky strands of hair. Since he felt the warmth and coldness of the desert radiate off of Gaara and into his soul. Naruto sighed.
The water had come to a boil. Slowly, Naruto stood with his open cup, ignoring the sounds of animals scattering from the trees around him. He carefully filled his cup of dry ramen with the hot water and decided to add on a cup of green tea. Then, Naruto began the treacherous journey back to the log upon which he was sitting. One minute, the blond was looking to the log where he was headed. The next, he was staring at a spider skittering across the ground mere centimeters from his face. He could feel the hot water from the tea and ramen begin soaking into his orange sleeves. The Konohagakure genin scrambled to his feet as the spider was washed away by the near boiling liquid. Naruto glared at the root beneath his feet, and maybe, just maybe it sunk lower into the ground. He knew it wasn't the poor root's fault that he tripped and that he should get his head out of the clouds, but his pride wanted to blame the root anyway. He walked down to the stream, minding his step, and proceeded to put another kettle of water on the fire.
He just couldn't seem to get the sand-wielding boy out of his head. Gaara's face almost haunted Naruto in every place he looked. The clouds, the stream, the trees, the fire, the stars. Hell, even his ramen formed Gaara's round face within his cup. Naruto stirred with his chopsticks to make it disappear, but only succeeded in writing the kanji of 'ai' instead of mere twirling.
His training wasn't going anywhere. Expect maybe the fact that he could expertly remove seals from a training dummy that where placed there by none other than himself. Jiraiya refused to help him, much to his dismay. He missed Gaara more than he could bear. He wasted a cup of precious Ichiraku brand instant ramen. And he was pretty damn sure that the direction Ero-sennin was taking them was opposite of the way to Sunagakure. Naruto felt bloody miserable, and he didn't even have anyone to share it with. He just wanted to talk to Gaara somehow.
Naruto his two empty cups down. He then pushed himself backwards off the log that was starting be become uncomfortable. With his head and back on the ground, Naruto gazed up at the stars. He knew Gaara could see these same stars, and took comfort in that fact. He connected the astral bodies to find pictures within them. Gaara's gourd. A bowl of hot Ichiraku ramen. A Konoha leaf. Kakashi-sensei's face. He just kept drawing the lines between the stars and connecting them. He was amazed at all he could find.
That was it.
All of the chakra in a body was connected. He didn't need to find the "right spot" to hit. A seal was a seal, no matter where it was placed on the dummy. It didn't depend on injuring a spot to stop the flow like Neji's techniques, only a simple seal. The fuuinjutsu had to be created to specifically target the area, not be placed on a specific area. It had to be given the order to stop the flow of chakra to a certain area or else it simply wouldn't work.
Naruto was about to get up to try, but the thought of using only more of his chakra without rest nearly put him to sleep on the spot. He slowly sat up and rummaged though his belongings to find his sleeping pad, a writing pad, and a thin marker. The blond rolled out his sleeping bag next to the fire. He knew that bring the paper along was a good idea because now, it provided him with the comfort of writing a letter to Gaara. Naruto wasn't sure if there was a bird carrier in the small town that would take his letter to Sunagakure, but there was no harm in being prepared when he did find one. He tapped the butt of the marker against his whisker marks as he stared at the blank paper in front of him. He didn't know exactly where to start the letter. Should he tell Gaara of everything that's happened? Should he summarize? Would a long letter or a short letter be better? How could he explain in words how much he missed that damned raccoon boy already?
A lot has happened in a week. It's mainly me missing you, but Jiraiya took me on another training trip. And get this, he promised me that I'll get to go to Sunagakure AT LEAST once. Can you believe that? I'm excited to see you again. Let's start from the beginning.
Ero-sennin taught me a katon technique to light camp fires. It is pretty useful, no matter how perverted that old geezer is. After that, he began building a training dummy for me and worked on it every night when we camped. He told me that I had to compile a mental list of all the seals that I have ever saw used and then try and write their names down, or at least draw them with a description. Sadly, the only seals that I've seen are the one on me, the one on you, the one on Sasuke from Orochimaru, and the one that the Third Hokage performed and it ate his soul. None of those I want to perform or remove anytime soon. Then, the pervert told me to think of ones that I haven't seen that are waiting deep in my mind. I found one. It was so cool. Ero-sennin actually recognized it! So, he started doing weird things to that dummy he was making. And the next day we found a village to camp outside of at the same time that he finally finished whatever it was. So now, he's stuck me out here. Trying to make the seal work right. I can seal off all the chakra in the dummy but he wants to me seal off only certain areas, like the flow of chakra to an arm.
I thought it was impossible, and only a Hyuuga could do it. But tonight, looking at the stars, and thinking of you, I figured it out! Ain't I cool? It's all thanks to you, too. I owe credit for the idea to you and the stars.
Hey… Did I mention that I miss you? And I want to see you?
I'm not sure if the town I'm in has a bird carrier, but if it does, I'll wait here until I get a reply from you. I won't let Ero-sennin know that I figured out how to do it just yet.
Hope to hear from you soon.
I love you. I miss you.
Naruto shut his writing pad and tucked it under his pillow. He rolled over and looked up at the stars through the clearing in the trees. The flicker of low flames from the fire that was once burning so bright danced among the leaves of the trees that framed his view of the celestial bodies that also twinkled above Gaara's head. Naruto smiled as he made out the shape of a tanuki among the stars.
"Gaara… I love you," Naruto whispered at the stars, relying on them to carry his message across countries.
The exhausted boy drifted off to sleep with thoughts of his beloved. He never realized that there were three sets of eyes watching him from the dark forest. They hid when they heard loud footsteps of a tall, old, drunken pervert headed the way of the camp.
Jiraiya checked on the training dummy to find that Naruto hadn't completed his task. He, too, rolled out a sleeping bag. He flopped down to the grown with a loud thud and kicked off his red geta. As soon as his head hit the pillow, he was out and snoring. Naruto didn't mind because he was already far off in his dream world of being Hokage and having Gaara by his side for the rest of their demon-possessed lives. Naruto rolled over in his sleep and sighed happily.
The three pairs of eyes were back. Slowly, they crept forward as the light of the fire dimmed more and more.