Legacy here. I've hit a rough patch on the latest PoS chapter, and since it's been a while, I thought I'd get a new Konoha Playboy chapter out for you all. Not a lot to say here other than thanks for the reviews, and I hope you enjoy it. I'll also be going back and editing the mistakes found in the last two chapters as well...eventually.
Read on, if you will.
The Dangers of Being a Konoha Playboy
By Legendary Legacy
A Naruto Harem-fic
Standard Disclaimers Still Apply
Chapter 2--Revelations of A Good & Bad Sort
"Ero-sennin, if we already know that the snake bastard and Sasuke aren't here, then what are we looking for?"
"Clues, dummy," the hermit answered in an obvious tone. "Evidence, anything we can use that might give us some sort of idea as to where they really are or what they've been up to all this time."
"Oh, that's a good idea," Naruto admitted. "I'm surprised you thought of that, Ero-sennin."
"And I'm NOT surprised that you DIDN'T think of it, brat!"
Naruto crossed his arms and stuck his tongue out at him. Jiraiya returned the feeling with an obscene hand gesture.
"Start searching," he commanded. "And for God's sake, watch out for traps this time!"
"Yeah, yeah, I know," Naruto grumbled. "Jeez, you set off one little trap that drops you into a spiked pit full of venomous snakes with dozens of kunai raining down on you and they never let you forget it."
The whole underground lab was surprisingly simple. It was basically just a round room, about a hundred feet in diameter, with a bunch of assorted junk scattered around on lab tables and rusty old cabinets. With the amount of dust that everything had collected, it almost looked more like an abandoned warehouse than a place for wickedly evil experiments.
As Jiraiya moved to the middle of the room, examining bottles and flasks on the tables, Naruto began circling around the room. The whole place really was a big junk heap. Stopping at a large filing cabinet, Naruto tentatively pulled the top drawer open, almost expecting more snakes or bats to come spilling out of it. Fortunately, all he found inside were folders filled to the seams with papers.
Pulling a slip out and scanning it, Naruto found that he couldn't make heads or tails of it. It was just a large group of numbers and random letters with a smattering of large words that he couldn't comprehend. He tossed it aside and picked up another, finding more of the same. Sighing in irritation, he dropped the folder back into the drawer, closed it, and pulled on the second, only to find it stuck tight.
Frowning, he tugged on the handle again, but it still wouldn't budge. He took a step back and cracked his knuckles. Then he grasped the handle with both hands, braced his feet up against the sides of the cabinet, and jerked with all his strength. Not only did the drawer fly completely out of the cabinet, but the force of the push against the cabinet sent it crashing through the wall it sat against, leaving a large hole in its place.
"Damnit, Naruto!" Jiraiya shouted after the resulting crash has stopped echoing through the lair. "Would you be a little quieter? There could still be people here!"
"Sorry," Naruto groaned, pushing the drawer off of his midsection. Looking inside, he was dismayed to find that whatever had been inside had completely shattered, leaving nothing but glass shards in its place. Standing up, he moved back to the cabinet, which was now sticking halfway out of a newly made hole in the stone wall behind it. With a great heave, he lifted the large metal object and pushed it back where it had been. But as he went to inspect the last drawer, he happened to look inside the hole behind it.
It was nearly pitch-black within, but there was just enough light pouring in through the hole to show Naruto that there was something inside.
"Hey, Ero-sennin," he called over his shoulder. "I think I found something!"
"Just a minute, Naruto," Jiraiya replied distractedly. The sannin's brow was furrowed deeply as he scanned through a small black notebook that he'd found under a stack of papers on the desk.
Naruto, impatient as always, went against better judgment and crawled through the hole anyway.
He gazed around the new room, trying to force his eyes to adjust to the darkness quicker. Slowly but surely, the outlines of many large objects began coming into focus, and Naruto started baby-stepping his way toward them, being extra wary of traps this time.
He hadn't walked more than ten feet in when he unceremoniously banged his knee against something metal in front of him. Cussing sharply at the sudden pain, he brought his fist down to bang on top of the offending object, and as luck would have it, he managed to slam it down on a large red button.
A soft beeping sounded the second the button was hit. A computer screen suddenly flashed on, illuminating the small keyboard that Naruto had just struck and a mechanized voice began speaking from it.
"STAND BY FOR INITIAL POD SCAN." the monotone voice buzzed, causing Naruto to fall backward in panic. He had no idea what he'd done, but he also didn't dare take the risk of pressing another button. He waited on pins and needles as a series of beeps, whirls and clicks generated throughout the room.
"POD SCAN COMPLETE." the computer informed him. "LIFE-FORM STATUS OF PODS 1 THROUGH 9: EMPTY. LIFE-FORM STATUS OF PODS 10 THROUGH 27: INCOMPLETE. LIFE-FORM STATUS OF PODS 28 THROUGH 30: COMPLETE. LIFE-FORM STATUS OF PODS 31 THROUGH 38: INCOMPLETE. LIFE-FORM STATUS OF PODS 38 THROUGH 50: EMPTY. INITIATING REVITALIZATION PROCESS FOR COMPLETED PODS. PLEASE STAND BY."
From the opposite end of the room, three large glass 'pods', as the computer had identified them, lit up. From his distance, Naruto could see that each of them held what looked like a human inside them, though he was unable to make out their appearance. Paranoid to the point where he believed that merely taking a single step might cause the entire room to crash down upon him, Naruto did the only thing he could think of.
Moments later, a head with billowing white hair appeared in the hole that Naruto had entered. "Naruto, what-?" he froze at the sight of the operating computer that stood behind the boy. "What did you do?!" he demanded.
"It was an accident, I swear!" the boy cried. "I just accidentally hit a button and now-!"
The computer chose that moment to interject. "REVITALIZATION FOR POD 28 LIFE-FORM, KD-1, COMPLETE."
The hermit and genin duo turned to the lit pods, watching with bated breath as the glass lifted off the ground, spilling a mass of unknown liquid across the floor. The occupant of the pod soon followed, collapsing in a heap in the spreading puddle.
"REVITALIZATION FOR POD 29 LIFE-FORM, AZ-1. COMPLETE."
The process repeated itself as the pod next to the first released it's occupant as well.
"WARNING: UNFORSEEN PROBLEMS HAVE OCCURED WITH REVITALIZATION FOR POD 30 LIFE-FORM, TK-1. REVITALIZATION INCOMPLETE. PLEASE PERFORM MANUAL RESUSCITATION IMMEDIATELY."
The final lit tube rose just like the others, letting the final 'life-form' fall limply to the floor next to the others.
"REVITALIZATION PROCESS COMPLETE. INITIATING AUTO-SYSTEM SHUT DOWN." And with that, the screen went blank.
Naruto and Jiraiya glanced at each other, wary to approach whatever had come from the tubes when two of the three began to move. With the computer and the lights over the pods out, the only light left was from a small torch that Jiraiya had brought along. The shadowy figures rose, one to its knees, the other to a seated position, and glanced around.
"What the hell?" they heard one of them speak. "Where am I?"
"Wha...? Zaku? That you?" the other questioned.
"Dosu? What the hell's going on? Where are we? ...Why are we both naked and wet?!"
"Beat's the hell outta me. My head's a bit fuzzy...feels like I've been asleep for a long time."
"Yeah, same here, now that you mention it..."
Naruto and Jiraiya shared a quick look, then moved toward the conversing boys. They made it less than halfway when their footsteps caught the boy's attention.
"Shit!" One of them shouted. "Let's get outta here!"
The other grunted an agreement, but his head turned back to the unmoving body next to him. "But what about-?"
"Forget her!" the first growled. "If she can't move on her own she'll just slow us down! Come on!"
Both boy's leapt to their feet and made a mad dash up a stairway at the end of the long line of pods, never looking back at their abandoned companion.
Silence reigned for several long moments before Naruto came to his senses. "Shouldn't we have chased after them, Ero-sennin?"
In truth, Jiraiya wasn't sure if that would have been the better choice or not. He needed some explanation for what this place was and what was going on in it, but judging for the short talk he'd picked up from the two, he highly doubted if they would have been able to tell him anything.
"Dosu and Zaku..." he muttered while rubbing his chin. "Either of those names familiar to you, boy?"
Naruto pondered that as well. "I think I've heard the names before somewhere...but I can't remember. Maybe if I had seen their faces..."
Jiraiya hummed softly, many conflicting thoughts going through his head before setting his eyes on the remaining person, who still had yet to show any signs of life. He approached the curled up body and gently rolled it over onto its back.
His eyes examined the slim body carefully, looking it up and down, then up again, then down again. Then a sharp blow to the head snapped him out of his trance.
"What?" he demanded.
Naruto was giving him a look quite similar to one that he had seen thousands of times on the face of Tsunade.
"Ogling a naked unconscious girl; that's about as low as you can get, Ero-sennin!"
"I was NOT ogling, I was examining her for injuries!" he argued.
"The drool at the edge of your mouth calls you a liar!"
"Whatever. Do you know who she is, by any chance?"
"She's naked! I can't look at-"
"Her face, damnit! Do you recognize her face!?"
Glowing red in embarrassment and irritation, Naruto moved next to girl and ever-so-slowly let his eyes drift down to her face, using his hands to block his field of vision of everything below her neckline.
This was pointless, he felt sure. What were the chances that he was going to know who this girl was?
"Hey! I know her!"
Jiraiya's eyebrows rose. "Really?"
"Yeah! She's uh...uhh..."
Who was she? He was certain that he recognized that face and the long, dark hair, but he couldn't put a name or a place with it. ...Haku? No wait, that had turned out to be a guy, and this was most clearly a woman. Who else...
"Well," Jiraiya urged impatiently. "She's who?"
"Gimmie a minute, I'm trying to remember!" he snapped.
It was someone more recent than Haku anyway. Someone from the time of the Chunin Exams, maybe?
His eyes lit up and he snapped his fingers. "Got it! She was one of the Sound genin from the Chunin Exams who was trying to help Orochimaru capture Sasuke! Those other two who ran away, Dosu and Zaku, they were her teammates. I remember that much."
"What's her name?"
"Umm...It started with a 'K', I know. Kim or something... It's weird though, once the third round of the chunin exams ended, I never saw any of them again. The one wrapped in bandages was supposed to be at the finals, but he never showed up."
"Then it's safe to say she's not dangerous, correct?"
Naruto scratched his face. "I suppose not. I saw her match against Shikamaru and he beat her pretty easily. Why?"
Jiraiya didn't answer. He turned his gaze back to the motionless girl and, after a moment of mental deliberation, reached down and placed his hand on her chest, mere centimeters above her left breast.
Naruto's eyes nearly popped out of his head. "What the hell are you doing!?" he screeched.
"Would you keep it down?" the sannin requested without looking up from the girl.
"You're GROPING her now!" the boy continued. "Don't you have any shame AT ALL?!"
Jiraiya looked up long enough to give him a firm glare. "I'm not groping anyone. I'm just going to give the girl a small chakra injection."
He gestured absently toward the computer behind them with his free hand. "You heard what the computer said. Something went wrong with her reawakening and told us to perform manual resuscitation, and that's what I'm going to do in order to possibly get some information out of her. Now, there's two ways to do this. The quick and easy way is to inject a tiny amount of chakra into her body, which should be enough to shock her system into running normally again. Or we can do it the other way."
"What's the other way?" Naruto asked cautiously.
"One of us," Jiraiya continued, putting a lot of emphasis on the three words. "-will have to give her mouth-to-mouth until she responds to that."
His face burning brighter than the last time that Jiraiya had forced him to read a chapter of his new Icha Icha novel, he again stared down at the peaceful sleeping face of the girl, then quickly turned away before his eyes betrayed him by looking any further. He wanted nothing more than to help the girl, but he wouldn't be any help at all if he passed out first.
"Just...don't try anything perverted with her, got it?" he finally relented.
Satisfied that he could do what needed to be done without further interruption, Jiraiya applied a light pressure to the girl's chest and placed his other hand on her stomach, directly over the bellybutton.
Damn but this girl's got some soft skin, he thought, letting a smirk bloom across his face. Who says you can't mix business with pleasure?
"Alright," he said as his hands began to glow a light blue. "Let's hope this works."
Naruto's eyes widened. "What do you mean, 'hope this works'? Haven't you done this before?"
"Not once," the man stated calmly. "But I've seen Tsunade do it plenty of times and she made it seem pretty easy."
"Now hold on a-"
"Here we go!" And before Naruto could protest further, the sannin's hands flared brightly and at the exact same moment, the girl's eyes shot open and a sharp gasp of breath escaped her mouth. Jiraiya quickly pulled his hands away and the girl sat up, sucking in air like someone who had just finished a marathon.
The two males stepped back as the girl began looking around her. She appeared very disoriented, but her breathing was beginning to level out. When she set eyes on the two men standing next to her, she didn't speak, just regarded them curiously.
Naruto decided to take the initiative, hoping to keep her calm. "Er...hi."
The girl focused on him, a dull look of recognition appearing in her eyes. "Who are...?" Then recognition turned to confusion and she slowly looked down at herself, for the first time noticing her own nakedness.
"Oh shit," Jiraiya muttered gravely. "Now I know what that nagging feeling I had was all about."
Even from the wilderness outside of the underground base, the shrill female shriek followed by several whip-cracking slaps could be heard loud and clear.
Tsunade sat back, the cross look on her face fading by a fraction. "You didn't just add that last part to the story to keep me from beating you myself, did you?"
"Do you really think that I could have myself in a situation like that and not get the snot beat out of me in the end?" he asked her seriously.
Tsunade wanted to be able to argue that point, but having known her perverted partner for decades, she realized he was right.
"...So what happened after that?" she urged impatiently.
Jiraiya turned his gaze to the hole he'd made in the wall with a faraway look in his eyes. "After we got her calmed down, I told him to take her outside and said I'd catch up. He actually listened to me that time...thank God."
"At least tell me you figured some things out about all of this," she asked. "Did the girl know anything?"
"Not as much as I'd hoped," he admitted. "For about five days after that she couldn't remember anything. Nothing more than her own name, that is. One night we heard her screaming in her sleep about how she'd been killed. After that her past started coming back to her, but only up to the point where Orochimaru sacrificed her for his Edo Tensei. She couldn't tell us a thing about the lab that we found her in."
"So what is she?" Tsunade demanded. "Revitalizing...was she brought back with Edo Tensei too?"
He shook his head. "It most definitely wasn't Edo Tensei. I know that for a fact. But as to how he did it, or even who or what the girl and the others really are, I just can't say."
"Others...? So does that mean-?"
"Once she and Naruto were gone, I checked out the rest of those pod things. Half of them were empty, but the rest, well..."
Tsunade felt her throat go dry, and cleared it a few times before asking the big question. "Who were they of?"
Jiraiya involuntarily shivered, feeling for the first time in his life like his actual age. "Well, there were at least half a dozen teenage shinobi who, if I looked through our record books, would probably be identified as Orochimaru's Sound Five team who helped Uchiha Sasuke escape from Konoha. ...Oh, and the Uchiha boy himself."
"WHAT?!" The Godaime shouted, almost overturning her desk from standing so quickly. "But Sasuke is still alive, isn't he?"
"That's how I know that whatever this is isn't due to Edo Tensei," he explained, sounding far calmer than he felt. "But it gets worse... The brat was in another one...Kami, I was there, you were there, sensei was there..."
Tsunade was stunned. She fell back into her chair as she felt her legs go weak. "How can that be?"
Jiraiya's grim face grew even darker. "Well...if you think that's bad...there was one more person there that we're both rather familiar with..."
A look of confusion crossed Tsunade's face. "Who...?" Then the confusion turned to dread as realization dawned on her. "You can't possibly mean..."
The look on the hermit's face told her all she needed to confirm her fears. "Oh God." The Hokage took another sake bottle out of her cupboard and drained it in a flash, waiting for it to calm her frayed nerves. "Did you destroy them?"
"No. I couldn't take the risk of accidentally waking any more of them. There's no telling what would have happened then."
"So what did you do?" she prompted.
"I sealed off the entire base with my Seals of Lord Buddha's Mala. One hundred and eight seals placed around the proximity of the base, and they must be dispelled in a precise order. One mistake and the seals reset themselves and you have to start over. Until all one hundred and eight seals are dispelled, no one can enter or leave the area. Even if more of those... things do wake up, they won't be going anywhere for quite a while."
"And what do we do when they eventually do get past it?"
Jiraiya stood up and moved to the window. "By then I hope to have tracked down Orochimaru and gotten a few answers from him about it."
"Is that wise?"
"It's the only option I see. I want to know what sort of technique or technology he's using to create permanent clones of both living and dead people like that."
"...When will you leave?"
Jiraiya smiled weakly. "Not for a while. Until I get some clue as to where he might be hiding I'd just be searching blind. Besides, there're things that I need to do here before I set out again."
"You mean with the girl?" Tsunade inquired.
"That's part of it, but I've been keeping a close eye on her over the last few weeks-"
"I bet you have."
The toad sennin cleared his throat. "-And I can say with utmost certainty that she's not a danger to the village or anyone in it."
Tsunade still looked unconvinced, but didn't comment further. "So what's the other thing?"
A true smirk appeared on Jiraiya's face as he produced a sheet of paper from his vest and held it up for her to see. Grabbing the paper and inspecting it closer, Tsunade had to mentally force herself not to twitch, though she couldn't manage to stop her teeth from grinding.
"You can't be serious!"
"Serious as Desert Fever, honey!" he declared, striking a power-pose. "I've been waiting for this for years, and you'll thank me once it's here!"
"I highly doubt that," she retorted, crumpling up the paper and tossing it back to him. "And don't ever call me 'honey' again."
"Whatever you say, dear."
"I'm warning you, Jiraiya-!"
A sharp knock on the door broke the woman away from her impending threat. "What is it?" she called a little harsher than she'd intended.
The door opened and Shizune stuck her head into the room. "Tsunade-sama, a Tsumaki Ashida and Hitokiri Mokoto are here to see you."
Tsunade gave her a blank look.
"...The men that you put in charge of the Interrogator's Project?"
The blank look didn't waver for several more seconds. "Oh...right, them. Yeah, send them in."
Shizune moved into the room, allowing two men in filthy-looking lab coats to enter next to her. The man in front, with short, black hair and square, wire-rimmed glasses, bowed his head respectfully. "Please pardon our intrusion, Hokage-sama."
His partner, not looking nearly as flustered as his partner if the exceedingly cheerful smile was any indication, stepped forward as well. "Pleasure to see you again, Tsunade-hime. You're looking as lovely as ever today. Muffin?" he offered, presenting said object to her.
Tsunade rolled her eyes at the compliment and refused the muffin. "Do you have-?"
"Oh, Jiraiya-sama," Mokoto interrupted, finally noticing the hermit standing by the window. "A pleasure to see you again as well!" He edged his way over to him and lowered his voice, though everyone else in the room was still able to hear him speak. "Tell me, not to be a pest or anything, but when approximately will the next Icha Icha volume be out?"
"Week from Tuesday," Jiraiya replied. "Though I can't imagine you having the courage to read them. I know your wife..."
The scientist chuckled fearfully. "Believe me, if she knew about it I'm sure she'd remove my...err...interest for your books rather quickly, if you catch my drift."
Jiraiya turned pale as the thought of such a thing caused him to reflexively cross his legs. "Indeed." He jerked his head to the doorway. "Your friend doing okay?"
Mokoto looked over his shoulder to Ashida, who was visibly quivering as he directed death glares at his partner. Undaunted, he turned back to Jiraiya. "Don't worry about him, Jiraiya-sama. He's just had a stressful day."
"AND WHO'S FAULT IS THAT?!" the bespeculated scientist snarled.
"Now, now, Ashida, let's not bring up unnecessary things. We're here for an important reason, after all; let's try to stay focused on that."
Just as the glass beaker was about to shatter in Ashida's tightening grip, Mokoto snatched it away and presented it to Tsunade. "Here it is, Tsunade-hime: Quite possibly the most potent truth serum to ever be concocted."
Tsunade held the liquid-filled vile up to her face, examining the contents. "Quite possibly?" she questioned.
"Well yeah," he replied with a sheepish grin. "It's still untested, so there's always the chance that it isn't a truth serum at all, you know?"
"Why would you bring me something like this if it hasn't been tested?"
"Oh, funny story, actually-"
But before he had a chance to elaborate further, the door was kicked open with a resounding crash, causing Shizune to jump to the side, colliding with Ashida and tumbling to the floor.
"TSUNADE-BAACHAN!" the black and orange blur cried, nearly running over Tsunade and Mokoto in his haste.
"Tsunade...-baachan...trouble...big...Ino...lost it..." he gasped while bent over and trying to catch his breath.
"I can see that two and a half years have done nothing to improve your manners when entering someone else's room," Tsunade greeted the boy dryly. "Now settle down and try again."
Naruto took three more deep breaths and straightened up to look her in the face. "Tsunade-baachan, I think Ino is-"
He stopped himself as his ears suddenly perked up. "Shit!" he cursed. In a flash, he had leapt over the Hokage and the scientist and ducked down underneath the Hokage's desk. Then, on an afterthought, he popped his head back out and very forcefully declared, "You haven't seen me!" and disappeared from view again.
Just as Tsunade was about to yell at him to start explaining himself, the door, for the second time in less than twenty seconds, flew inward, this time hitting Ashida in the back as he attempted to help Shizune back to her feet, and sending them both back into a pile on the floor. The other's attention was set firmly on the new arrival.
"Naruto-chan!" Ino called in a syrupy-sweet voice. She looked around the room, drooping when she didn't find what she was looking for. "That's strange, I'm sure I saw him come in here." She began searching the room a little more thoroughly; oblivious to the looks she was receiving.
"Yamanaka Ino," Tsunade started calmly. "To what do I owe this unexpected visit?"
"I think I know," Mokoto stated. "She must have come after us because she wanted to help Ashida with his women problems." For that, he received a fierce knock on the head from his ill-fated partner.
"I'm looking for my Naruto-chan," Ino said, still looking in every conceivable place that Naruto might be (as well as some places where he couldn't possibly be), unaware of the two sets of eyebrows that rose due to the words 'my Naruto-chan'.
"I...see," Tsunade said. "Why exactly are you looking for him?"
Ino positively turned feral at the question. "Because that Forehead bitch hurt him, and then he ran off for no reason while I was trying to treat his injuries! I know I saw him come in here, but..." Her eyes narrowed as she turned to look at the Hokage. "You're hiding him from me, aren't you?" she accused.
Tsunade's eyes widened to meet her still-raised eyebrows. "Excuse me?"
"Don't play innocent with me! I've seen the way you look at him!"
Tsunade found she was running out of ways to express her ever-increasing confusion. "Excuse me?" she repeated a bit more forcefully.
"I'm warning you right now," Ino growled. "You had better keep away from my man, you old hag!"
Everyone froze in place as they all felt the room temperature drop a good fifteen degrees. Jiraiya, having known Tsunade longer than anyone, slowly began crawling out the hole he'd made in the wall. Shizune was quick to follow his example by escaping into the hallway, not liking her chances of trying to calm Tsunade after this. The two scientists found themselves too terrified to run, and settled for huddling in the corner out of the Hokage's eyesight.
"What. Did. You. Call. Me?" she managed to force out.
Ino stood defiantly against the older woman's killing intent, and was about to fire off a retort when Naruto boldly, but some would call it stupidly, moved himself between the two angry women.
"Wait, Tsunade-baachan! Ino's-"
And that's as far as he got before being flung into the wall, not hard enough to fly right through it, but still enough to embed him into it. Jiraiya stuck his head back in through the hole next to him.
"It's a little late for this now Naruto, but just for future reference: Never ever, under any circumstances, get in the way of a kunoichi catfight."
"I'll keep that in mind," he slurred. Once the room stopped shaking, he saw that the two women were still locked in a battle of glares, and neither seemed to be winning. From the corner of his eye, he noticed the two quivering scientists still in the corner.
"Hey you two," he shouted, drawing their attention. "Ino started acting weird right after you guys left the restaurant! Did one of you do something to make act like this?"
The men blinked in unison. "Do?" Mokoto asked. "We didn't do anything, just tried to have some friendly conversation is all, right Ashida? ...Ashida?"
Not getting a response, Mokoto nudged his partner with his elbow before realizing that Ashida wasn't even looking at him, but at something on the desk behind Tsunade. Mokoto followed his gaze to the black beaker that held their new formula. The carefree man stared at the beaker, then at his partner, then at Ino, then back to Ashida. "You don't think?"
"We did end up spilling a little at the Date-ken," he pointed out.
"Well technically, you're the one who spilled it."
"THAT'S BECAUSE YOU..." Ashida bit back his outburst and slowly got to his feet. "Regardless, I have the feeling that Yamanaka-san has inadvertently become our experiment's test subject."
It took several minutes to calm the situation down, but through the combined efforts of everyone present, Tsunade and Ino managed to end their mental battle long enough to hear the two scientists out.
Mokoto, Ashida, Shizune and the two sannin were all staring with mixed expressions at the main topic of discussion, who was currently sitting on the lap of a very uncomfortable Naruto. The boy was trying very hard to keep up with the conversation, but with Ino's head on his shoulder, he was finding himself growing increasingly distracted.
"So, what you're saying is- s-stop that!" he cut off as Ino began nibbling gently on his earlobe. The girl just smiled lovingly at him and settled in even deeper against his body.
Seeing that Naruto was beginning to lose himself to the seductions of the girl (and absolutely not feeling even the slightest bit of jealousy over it, no sir), Jiraiya picked up the beaker. "So you believe that she accidentally ingested some of this...truth serum?"
"That appears to be the case," Ashida said, nodding.
"And then she called me an 'old hag'," Tsunade added darkly.
The bespeculated man sweatdropped. "Well...yes, but-"
"And why, exactly, should I not be maiming her right now?" she demanded, causing the others to shiver.
"If it makes you feel any better, Tsunade-hime," Mokoto interjected. "Nobody else here thinks you're an old hag."
"You're just saying that," she said in what could only be called a pout.
"No, really! You could easily pass as being younger than Ashida!" he continued. "Granted, he's only twenty-seven and he's already getting gray hairs, but-OWCH!"
Ashida calmly removed his foot from Mokoto's and moved in front of Ino, who was now nuzzling her face into the crook of Naruto's neck. "Yamanaka-san."
"Yes?" she asked, not letting the man's interruption stop her from her activities.
"May I please ask you a few questions?"
She took a second to think it over. "I guess, just make it quick. Naruto-chan and I have things we could be doing."
A single drop of blood dripped from Naruto's nose. Unseen by anyone else, Jiraiya pulled his notepad and pencil out and began scribbling.
"Very well then," Ashida went on. "While we're on the subject, what exactly are your feelings for Uzumaki-san here?"
"I want to have his children," she stated without a second thought.
That was the final straw for Naruto, who calmly lifted Ino off of him, stood up, set her back on the chair, and promptly collapsed next to it. Ino let out a small giggle. "You're so adorable, Naruto-chan."
"...I see," Ashida said as he readjusted his glasses. "In that case, I have a couple more questions for you, but for the sake of experimentation, I would like to you answer 'yes' to all questions, even if it's not true, all right?"
"Is your name Yamanaka Ino?"
"Okay. Did we meet earlier today at the Date-ken?"
"Do you have red hair?"
Ino looked ready to say no, but caught herself. "Yes?"
Ashida frowned. "Are you currently a kunoichi of Iwagakure?"
The frown deepened. "Does your family own a blacksmith shop?"
"Yes. What kind of questions are these?"
Ashida didn't respond. He turned and picked up the vile of formula from the desk, giving it a discerning look.
"This is not a truth serum," he concluded. "We must have made a mistake."
"How could that be?" Mokoto asked. "I mean, you even did all of the important stuff to make sure that I didn't screw any of it up."
"Do you know what it might be then?" Shizune asked.
Ashida shrugged. "Could be any number of things." He glanced down to his side where Ino was attempting to revive Naruto by raining dozens of light kisses all across his face. "Judging by her actions, however, I could probably narrow it down to anything from a love or lust potion, possibly a drought that attaches the subject to the first person, or object, that she sees, or maybe just something that causes them to lose inhibitions and act without rational thought."
"Is there anything you can do about it?" Tsunade asked. "She won't be of any use as a kunoichi if the only thing she can think of doing is playing kissy-face with Naruto."
Ashida sighed and pushed up on the bridge of his glasses again. "It will take some time, that's for certain. It took several months for us to create this concoction. First we'll need to run additional tests to find out exactly what this is and where we went wrong with it before we can even begin working on an antidote for it."
Tsunade rubbed her temples. "Fine, get to work on it at once."
"Will we get paid extra for this?" Mokoto asked eagerly.
"I suggest you get back to work immediately before I decide to fire you both for screwing up in the first place!"
"Good answer, Tsunade-hime," he laughed. "Let's make haste, buddy!"
"Don't call me 'buddy'!" Ashida yelled. He placed a hand on Ino's shoulder. "Yamanaka-san, I need you to come with us for a little while. We'd like to run a few tests."
Ino clutched Naruto's head to her chest. "But I have to stay with Naruto-chan!"
Jiraiya slipped his notepad back into his pocket and stood up. "Don't worry Ino; I'll take him back to his house. Hurry up with your tests and you can go spend time with him then."
Ino eyed him warily, but relented. "Well, I guess it's okay as long as it's you taking him, Jiraiya-sama." She shot dual glares at both Tsunade and a surprised Shizune to emphasize what she meant.
She exited along with Ashida and Mokoto, and Tsunade turned to Shizune. "Get Asuma and the rest of Team Ten over here."
"If I have to put up with a borderline maniacal love obsession between those two and end up subjected to all the insults and death glares that go with it until those two bumbling fools find a cure for her, I'm afraid I might just kill the poor girl. She's part of Team Ten, so until the whole thing is resolved, she's their problem."
"A-at once, Tsunade-sama," she stammered, and left the room as well, leaving Tsunade alone with Jiraiya and Naruto, who was still sprawled on the floor. Jiraiya reached down and picked him up by the back of his jacket, in the same fashion that a mother cat might carry her kittens by the scruff of their neck.
As he walked to the door, he glanced back over his shoulder. "Bar in fifteen?"
"Yes, definitely," she agreed. "I assume you still have plenty to tell me?"
Jiraiya smirked and looked away. "We could be up all night."
A noise from the prone Naruto caught both of their attention, as they could have sworn the boy had muttered the word 'pervert' in his sleep.
Jiraiya took extra care to make sure Naruto hit his head on the doorway as he walked out.
End Chapter 2
Yeah, not a lot in the way of romance in this chapter, but I'm hoping that my explanation of Kin is acceptable. It was really the only thing I could think of without using the 'She didn't really die from Edo Tensei' line that I've mostly seen before.
Anyway, I've gotten a few of the girl's hot in pursuit of Naruto now, and the next chapter will deal with the rest. I don't know how long it will take to get the next one out (hopefully not another four and a half months), but I'll do my best with it.