Naruto smiled slightly before he stood and walked out of the house, calling over his shoulder as he did.
"I'll speak with the Hokage about this. For now just wait here for me to return."
With that he was gone, leaving Kyuubi trying to control the tears of joy that now slid down her cheeks.
"... And I tell you again that it's not possible. The contract is set up in a very specific way. It's not possible for it to work both ways."
The voice that replied was ancient though it held no wheeze nor waver.
"You know what I was, You know what we are. He is the first. Now that it has been established the barrier has been broken. Granted it will only be those willing to sign the accord on their end, but the pact has been created. Speak to your children Sage.They hold pact with the first."
"As you command first. Will you tell me at least what the name of the first is?"
In the darkness the eldest of the toads. The originator of their contract opened an eye, and the current sage trembled, fearing he had called down the wrath of the first. After a moment however the eye closed again.
"The Kyuubi is... back?"
"and currently waiting for me back at my apartment. Yes Tsunade-hime."
Tsunade closed her eyes and took a couple of deep breaths. Briefly she considered the fact that Naruto might be delusional, but he was too calm. Too still. He wanted desperately for her to believe him, and despite his professional attitude that desire was bleeding into his speech.
"Is she a threat."
Naruto considered the question very carefully before replying.
"I don't believe so. She seems repentant, and she very well could have just blitzed the town again if she intended to destroy us. She's... well... She thinks she's in love with me."
Tsunade stared until Naruto began shifting under her gaze
"What? I didn't say I love her back."
Tsunade was quiet for a little longer.
"Embodiment of chaos and destruction."
"Fifteen Story demon that decimated our ninja population and destroyed nearly a third of our village."
"She did apologize for that."
"And 'She' is currently sitting in your kitchen, waiting for you to come back with me."
Naruto shrugged, and Tsunade closed her eyes before continuing
"And have you been hearing any other voices? Seeing other apparitions?"
"DAMN IT BAA-CHAN!"
"COME ON BRAT! YOU CAN'T HONESTLY EXPECT ME TO BELIEVE THAT!"
The two glared at each other as Naruto bit out his reply.
"I. Am. Well Aware. Of. How. Insane. It. Sounds."
"Are you really? Because my first impulse here is to have you strapped to a stretcher and taken to Inoichi! The Kyuubi, Who YOU told me was dead, is currently in your apartment kitchen and looking like a redheaded version of Tenten? You're off your rocker!"
Naruto gritted his teeth.
"Do you trust me?"
Tsunade's eyes closed again and she let out a heartbroken sigh. After everything he'd been through, he'd finally snapped, Just as he'd gotten free.
"You know I'd like to Naruto, but you are telling me that out of the blue the Kyuubi-no-yoko has returned, looking like a 17 year old girl and informed you that the two of you are soul-mates. Tell me what part of that sounds even slightly probable to you."
Like a popped balloon Naruto's anger left him.
"Believe me Nee-chan. I know how insane it sounds. So I tell you what. Come back with me. If you can't see her I'll willingly turn myself over to T and I to be fixed. I swear to you though. This is real."
Tsunade sighed again and grabbed her hat.
"Fine. Let's get this over with."
"You want a what?"
"A summoning contract."
The wolf demon looked at him funny
"and what makes you think I'd give you that even if I could."
Shikamaru's gaze didn't waver
"You want more freedom."
The wolf nodded.
"Very true. Unfortunately however it's not something within my power. First off, I'm nowhere near powerful enough to manifest the scroll while I'm sealed in you. Second You're not the type we usually ally with, and third we already have a sage in the world. Simply put, it can't be done."
Shikamaru tilted his head to one side, his mind carefully going over everything the demon had said.
"How about a personal contract then?"
Eiji mulled that thought over in his head for a bit.
"It's... possible I suppose. You wouldn't be able to bring me a corporeal form since I'm already on this plane, but if you found me an avatar we could probably make it work."
"Another wolf to..."
Eiji pouted for a minute before sighing.
"Ya... I figured you wouldn't go for it... How about a blade?"
"Sure. All the best Swords and whatnot seem a little intelligent right? I'll impress my mind and a bit of my spirit into a weapon for you. Since I'm sealed in you right now I'll be able to help you control it even after it's left your hand."
Eiji missed the skepticism in Shikamaru's voice
"You bet! If you do it properly you'll even be able to enhance the blade with my energy."
"And what would it take to do that?"
Despite himself Shikamaru was curious. It sounded almost too good to be true.
"A masterwork weapon of some kind with chakra pathways folded into the metal. A standard conductor won't work properly as the channels only go straight down the outer edge. You'd need a weapon that has a conductive material folded into it so tightly that it's nearly indistinguishable from the Base metal."
"If you are willing to give me that, then I'd say we've reached an accord."
The Grin on the demon's face was a frightening thing to behold, and it's voice took a hollow ringing quality as it replied
"THE BARGAN IS STUCK. SO MOTE IT BE."
Shikamaru convulsively clutched his chest as pain raced out, white hot from a place just over his heart. He fell to his knees, tearing at his clothes, trying with all his might to get the... whatever it was out of his body.
"I... I changed..."
And he knew no more.
Tsunade stared in shock at the redhead who was sitting calmly at Naruto's kitchen table. She had obviously been crying recently, her hair was an absolute mess, and her clothes were at least a size to small for her frame, but she was still there.
All of a sudden Tsunade snapped out of her shock and glared at the girl.
"Who are you, and how do you know what happened?"
The girl smiled nervously
"um... I don't really have a name Per-say but my title is 'Kyuubi-no-Yoko' and..."
Tsunade took a swing at her. It wasn't enough to kill the girl, but it was more than enough to knock her out for a while.
"Naruto. I don't know how she found out about the Kyuubi, but she's obviously not..."
Tsunade didn't get any further as she barely got her guard up in time to block the counterattack. She was glad she had subconsciously reinforce her arm with chakra too, because the return shot would have easily snapped her arm if she hadn't. As it was she was pushed back several inches and winced in pain a bit. That hit was going to bruise.
"You want to dance, let's dance!"
With that the redhead was on her like a whirling dervish. For the first minute or so it was all she could do to block and re-direct the attacks, but as her blood started pumping properly she started to give as good as she got. In next to no time Naruto's apartment was trashed (again), and when the two women finally broke apart for a breath they had drawn quite the audience.
"Like I said. Just a reflex test that got a little out of hand. No need to interfere just yet."
Glancing over, Tsunade noticed Naruto had managed to keep the ANBU from joining the fray, but he had been doing some very fast talking. The redhead hadn't dropped her guard, but neither was she attacking.
"Naruto-kun is there somewhere else Tsunade and I can finish this? I suspect I already owe you new furniture on top of everything."
Glancing around Tsunade frowned, wincing as she recalled that she had been the one using Naruto's furniture as throwing weapons. Slowly she straightened up.
"I believe that's an adequate test of your physical skills for now. Perhaps we should retire to my offices to finish our talk about your position as..." there was hardly a glitch in the sentence, and only Naruto and the Kyuubi caught it as Tsunade change what she had intended to say "... Naruto's apparent retainer."
The ANBU shared a glance, but a subtle shake of Tsunade's head kept them from manhandling the unknown girl. The Kyuubi, though nervous, nodded her agreement and finally dropped her guard, though she kept Naruto between her and the Hokage, wary of another sucker punch.
Hanabi's eyes Narrowed as she watched the procession out of the apartment complex. She had been stalking... She froze and immediately re-wrote the thought. She had been 'Trailing' And 'Information Gathering' gathering on Naruto for several days now, and was somewhat surprised at the slight tightness in her chest as she watched the redhead hanging from her... Target!
Obviously anticipation... Obviously...
Without a backward glance she started trailing the party. Revenge would be hers!
Yugito cocked her head slightly to one side as she watched the little blue haired Hyuuga stalking the blonde.
Fan-girl? With his reputation?
She shivered slightly. She'd had her own share of creepy stalkers, and could certainly empathize with the poor boy. She'd been here long enough... Almost too long truth be told. Sighing she stood and openly followed the procession. She didn't like what she was going to have to do, but the Easy ways were so incredibility unlikely to succeed that she felt it was the only real option she had left to complete her task.
The things I do for my... I mean... The Raikage.
"You've got to admit that it's an outrageous story."
The Kyuubi sighed
"Believe me I know, What do you think it more probable though? What I told you? Or that some 'evil human' put a genjustu on me? Or maybe that I decided to drop an ELE on you because someone wants your city destroyed and can control a force of Nature though a bloodline of some kind?"
Kyuubi glanced over toward where Naruto was leaning against the window
"Not 'Elly' an 'E L E'."
at his continued confused look she elaborated
"an Extinction Level Event. ELE get it?"
Naruto nodded and they both turned back to Tsunade
"anything you can do to prove this?"
"You mean outside of a turning into an eight foot tall talking fox and letting you count my tails?"
Tsunade's expression turned wry
"Preferably aside from that yes."
the Kyuubi shrugged
"there's no in-between stage. I'm a fox, or I'm a human. It's only in Naruto's head that I could go half way and stop."
Naruto was just opening his mouth to make a smart remark when the three were interrupted by a commotion outside the office.
"STOP I said! She's in a Meeting! You can't just..."
All three of them turned to look as the doors were kicked open by the blonde girl who was studiously ignoring the receptionist.
"Tsunade-hime? My name is Yugito. I'm a Jounin for Kumogakure and I have a message for you."
The room instantly went quiet, and the appearance of Five ANBU between her and their leader wasn't even slightly surprising, nor was the senbon held to the back of her neck. She did a remarkable job of ignoring them as she continued.
"I'm unarmed. I have information for you as a sign of my sincerity, and a message to deliver to one of your citizens."
Nobody moved for a moment
"Very well. Speak."
"Someone has been feeding Iwa information on your force sizes and troop deployments. The scroll with all the information we recovered from their spy is in my right breast pocket.
One of the ANBU moved and carefully extracted it, Yugito held as still as she possibly could while he was doing so.
"And who do you need to talk to?"
Yugito's mouth pulled up in a small smile as her eyes tracked across the redhead to her blonde target.
"Your Uncle says 'We need to talk' and extends you an invitation to visit Kumo at your earliest convenience."
Naruto's eyes widened as it sunk in that she was talking to him. He pointed at himself and Yugito nodded.
"Yes Naruto-kun, The Raikage Says 'Hi'"
She couldn't help but grin at the shocked expressions on everyone else's face.
Neji Frowned as he activated his Bloodline, it wasn't that what he was doing was in any way not allowed, but it would certainly be suspicious if someone were to stumbling on him this far from his clan compound at this time of the night. Sighing he settled himself on a grassy knoll and centered his thoughts before focusing his eyesight inward, Following the thread of foreign power that had become more and more pervasive lately. This was his fourth night straight trying to trace his new source of power, and as best he could tell, it was centered somewhere near the small of his back.
"Where are you... What are you? Why are you screwing up my Juuken? And how do I get... rid..."
Neji stopped. Something had been tickling the back of his mind for a few minutes now.
Carefully he extracted himself. It was dangerous to shut down his eyes quickly with the amount of chakra he'd built up in them while doing his dousing. As he did so he heard a voice asking...
"Out a little late aren't we?"
"I'm a Genin of Konoha. I have no Curfew. I was just doing a... little..."
As his eyes returned to normal Neji scanned the Area, and was somewhat surprised to find only a Raven sitting on the branch opposite of him and staring at him intently. He was somewhat, but not completely surprised when its beak opened and it spoke in a rather melodious Baritone.
" A little?"
"Searching for enlightenment are we?"
Neji didn't reply. He knew about summons of course, but there was something funny about this bird... odder than usual anyway.
"what are you?"
The bird threw back its head and 'Cawed' loudly several times
"Forward aren't we! And perceptive as well. I could have done worse."
"What do you mean you could have done worse?"
"For a Jailer. It's my energy you've been following. It's me You've been trying to find."
"How am I keeping you jailed? How are you feeding me energy?"
"Thus has it always been for the Human Sacrifice. Admittedly this seal is much more refined than the last one that contained me. It's much harder to manifest with this one. I probably wouldn't have managed it if you hadn't nearly killed yourself fighting that spider."
"So I am like Naruto? I am Jinchuuriki?"
"The blonde boy? Somewhat. This new seal of yours seems to vary depending on the needs of the jailer, and the abilities of the captured."
"And what do you want."
"The same thing you do. Freedom."
Neji's eyes narrowed.
"And what happens if you get your freedom?"
"I'll Raze this paltry city to the ground and feast on your desiccated corpses."
"Not the best argument to get me to release you."
"You couldn't if you wanted to, Not without cutting yourself open again."
"You don't remember?"
The Raven Gave Several loud 'Caw's again which Neji reasoned to be how it laughed.
"How Extraordinary. 'Tell them Hyuuga Taromaru sends his Regards.' You said. 'Not a bad way to go if it protects my brothers.' You claimed. Well the joke's on you Hyuuga! I repaired your pitiful body even as the seal reverted you! I won't pass so quietly no matter what tricks you ninja have figured out. My only regret was that I didn't manage to finish eviscerating you before you managed to complete your seal."
And suddenly it was eye to eye with him, barely three inches away, Reflexively Neji Lashed out, the spike of chakra dispersing the bird into a cloud of orange chakra that burned as it seeped back into his body. In his mind however he heard it's last message
I may have been forced to heal my own handiwork Hyuuga. But that is all you'll get from me. I don't like you. I will never like you, and you can't be rid of me. I'll be back Hyuuga... This is far from over.
And then the voice was gone. Were it not for the burning in his hand, and the occasional orange sparks bridging his fingertips, he'd have though he imagined it all.
Taro...Maru? But... I'm Neji? Am I not?
"Sage? Are you certain of this?"
The Sage of Mt. Myuboken serenely puffed His pipe as he contemplated the question posed to him By Gamabunta.
"There can be no doubt. The cosmos, Neigh, the very Soul of our world has spoken to me! Summon him Gama. Summon the boy."
"I will fetch Ma and Pa. We can have the reverse summoning circle ready in..."
"No. Do not get your parents. Do not reverse summon him."
"But you just said..."
the sage cracked open an eye and gave 'the boss' toad a bleary (and truth be told rather drunken) grin.
"No, I told you to summon him. Cut your hand, form the long forgotten seals of their realm. Summon the boy."
"That's... that absurd! It's impossible! The Snake's summoner has been trying to become the equivalent of us for most of his adult life! There's no way that..."
"Boy... DO IT!"
The sage rarely spoke. The sage was neigh impossible to anger, and the sage never... Never... gave a direct command while using the power at his disposal... yet he just had, and the hills Rang like a struck gong with the power that reverberated in his voice.
Gamabunta trembled for a moment at the power contained in those two words, and as he glanced up he saw a sight he hadn't thought was possible...
The Sage was sober. Kami have mercy, The Sage was Sober!
Thank NaNoWriMo for the majority of this chapter. It was done in time but getting to to my beta (Thank you! Thank you! Thank You! to Lahmikhara By the way) and getting it back took a bit of time.
Loved it? Hated it? We missed a spelling on something? Feel Free to tell me about it.