Disclaimer: I do not claim any rights to Naruto or any characters associated with the anime and manga. They are the property of Masashi Kishimoto. All I do is play around with the characters for fun, not profit!

It Should Be Obvious

Summary: Naruto is captured by the Akatsuki and the only way to survive is to agree to merge with Kyuubi. Now Naruto has to deal with his new circumstances, as well as rescue his best friend. Can Naruto still achieve all his goals? SasuNaruSasu Shounen-Ai, Yaoi

There will be other implied pairings in this story, but they will not be focused on. Naruto is 15 and Sasuke is 16.

Warnings: You should have read up to chapter 309 of the manga to understand certain events that are mentioned in this story (or to know what is being talked about), especially events at the beginning of this story. If you haven't read up to that chapter, then be prepared for spoilers. This story starts not long after the events of chapter 309 and because of that, this story will veer off from the events that happened in the manga after that chapter. It is very possible that there will be a M-Preg in this story. If you hate M-Preg stories, then you have been warned before you start reading.

"talk" normal talk '

talk' thoughts of the character

that man Sasuke's way of referring to Itachi

Chapter One: Oh, Shit!

Naruto couldn't believe that he had found himself in such a horrifying predicament. There would be no one to save him, unlike what had happened with Gaara. No one would know that something had happened to him for at least a week. He was supposed to be on a mission to find Jiraiya and get him to return to Konoha in order to train him. Since Naruto knew all of the perverted hermit's favorite places to do research and he could use his frog summons to try and track down the other frog summoner, he had used that to persuade Tsunade into letting him go off alone for a week to find the perverted sannin. Actually, what he really did was encourage her to get drunk on sake first and then tricked her into letting him go on this mission, with the excuse that he needed the pervert to finish training him so he could become stronger.

Rumors had been floating around that the Akatsuki were very close to having captured all of the jinchuuriki and stolen their bijuu. It wouldn't be long before they came to the Leaf village to get Naruto. He knew that the elders didn't want him to leave the village. But Naruto had to save Sasuke no matter what. That is why he came up with the plan to trick the Hokage in order to be able to hunt for clues about the whereabouts of Orochimaru instead. He knew that Sasuke could give his body to the snake at any moment and Naruto just couldn't allow that to happen. He also knew that he would probably be in big trouble with Tsunade, and the elders, as soon as he got back.

But Naruto really didn't care about any of that, because for him, saving Sasuke was the most important thing. He would die to save his friend. But now here he was, captured by the Akatsuki after only having left Konoha the day before. The jutsu for extracting a bijuu from it's jinchuuriki had already been started, and Naruto, who was trapped inside himself with only Kyuubi for company, could do nothing to stop it. He had awakened to find himself outside the fox's cage. Kyuubi had told him what was happening in a very pissed off voice. Naruto was in severe pain and so was Kyuubi. Both felt as if they were being torn apart, which literally, they were.

"Damn it!! I can't believe how stupid I was!" Naruto was lying in front of the cage in a fetal position, trying to ease the pain he was in by holding tightly onto himself. It wasn't working too well.

The fox looked at his container and growled. "I really had hoped you were getting smarter, Brat. You should have learned long ago not to trust humans. Now we are both paying the price for your stupidity!" Kyuubi glared hatefully at the little human in front of him.

Naruto growled back but wouldn't look up at the fox because he was too afraid to move, believing that it would make the pain feel worse. "I'm not like you! I believe there are many good people in the world. I just got unlucky this time. How was I supposed to know that the Akatsuki had recruited a little girl as a member?" Naruto then grumbled under his breath. "She was so cute and innocent looking too, damn it."

"Innocent, my ass! Why did I have to be sealed up inside of an idiot? So, how are you going to get out of this one, Brat."

'Damn. That's a good question. There's no way I can let these assholes win.' Naruto forced himself to not think about the pain he was in, and instead he tried to think of a way to escape from the jutsu.

The fox looked at his host slyly and grinned. "I have an idea! You do know that we've been slowly merging ever since you first started using my power, right?"

Naruto forgot about his pain momentarily and jerked his head up to look at the demon. But then he regretted the action right after, as he hissed in pain. "What do you mean by merging?"

Kyuubi chuckled evilly and smirked. "Idiot. What do you think has been happening whenever you take on my form and grow tails?" Before Naruto could answer, the fox continued. "You and I have been becoming one. When you get the nine-tails, you will be completely demon. But now, we are going to have to speed up the process because we've run out of time."

Naruto became frightened at the thought of being merged with the fox. He didn't want to become a demon. He had been called a demon and even a monster by many of the villagers of Konoha for most of his life, and had worked so hard to become a good shinobi so that people would acknowledge him as that instead. Now Kyuubi was telling him that he had been slowly becoming a demon for the past several years. 'Why didn't I ever realize that this was happening to me? Have I been so blind? I've only been thinking about getting powerful enough to save Sasuke, but I've never thought about the consequences. I've become just like Sasuke.' Naruto bowed his head down to the top of his knees and shuddered. His mental pain was now overpowering the physical pain he had been feeling from the separation jutsu. He whispered, "Wouldn't it be better for me to just die? You won't die because they want to use your power. You'll survive this."

Concern briefly flickered in the fox's eyes but then was replaced with disgust. "What, are you giving up? After all the bragging you have done, when you've come to me for power? Saying you won't give up. Not only are you an idiot but you are a coward too."

Naruto flinched at the insult but didn't lift his heard. "If surviving means I have to become the monster that people think I am, then I'd rather be dead. I won't become a monster!"

Kyuubi laughed and then smirked at the boy. "Idiot! You won't become a monster unless you want to become one. When we merge, you will still have your own mind. Unless you'd rather let me take complete control. I wouldn't say no to that."

Naruto looked up at the fox. His eyes filled with confusion and a little hope. "You mean I have a choice? I can still be me?" 'What if he's trying to trick me though?'
Kyuubi scoffed at his host. "Of course, you fool! And you better hurry up and decide to work with me on this. Otherwise it will be too late. If you haven't noticed yet, almost half of my body is missing." Naruto gasped and sat up. Again, he had to force himself to bear with the pain running through his body. He looked over the fox's body and saw that only the front half of it was fully visible. The rest of his body was nearly transparent. "What do I have to do?"

"You have to break the seal and hold on to me immediately after."

"No! You're just trying to trick me so you can get free!" Naruto glared at the fox.

Kyuubi glared right back and hissed. "You fool! Of course I want to get free because if you and I don't merge soon, I'll be sucked up into that statue they are trying to seal me in and you will be dead. You are the only one that can keep that from happening. You and I can become one and survive this. They can't take me out of you once we are one. And..." The fox grinned evilly at the boy and winked. "We will take them all out with a powerful surge of chakra when that happens. While I'm sealed, my powers are limited. Especially since a human can't handle all of my power. But once we are one, your body will be able to handle all of my power because it will be re-created." He decided not to bring up again the fact that Naruto's new body would be a demon one. He didn't want the boy to change his mind again.

Naruto was afraid to believe the fox but what choice did he have? Time was running out. 'I still have to save Sasuke, too. That idiot is planning on giving his body over to the snake bastard. I'm not even sure when that will happen either. Once I escape from here and have the full power of Kyuubi, I can go find Sasuke and save him. I will be able to kill Orochimaru, too.' Naruto narrowed his eyes at the demon. "Hey! If I agree to this, I want to leave this place and hunt down Orochimaru and kill him. You don't have a problem with that, do you?"

Kyuubi knew he now had the boy. He smiled in as friendly a way as a demon fox can smile. "I would love to help you kill that snake. Just one more thing before we do this, Brat. You seem to have no problem with killing the snake. Well, being a blood-thirsty demon, I do get hungry sometimes."

Naruto glared at Kyuubi. "I will not allow you to kill innocent people! The deal is off if you are thinking I would."

"Oh no, silly little boy. I can handle killing just the evil ones. If you can." He smirked at Naruto. "I promise to behave as long as you let me have some fun once in a while."

Naruto looked away. 'Evil people only. I can handle that, right? Shinobi have to kill sometimes anyway. And if I become ANBU, then I could give Kyuubi what he wants and still be helping my village. And by merging, I will be able to save Sasuke. But... I'll have to keep the merge a secret if I want to be able to stay in Konoha and if I still want to become Hokage. That will be hard. Will I be able to keep a secret like this?'

Kyuubi growled out angrily. "Hurry up and decide, idiot! More of me is disappearing and I'm getting really sick of this pain. Yes or no?"

Naruto grimaced and then looked at the fox. 'I have no choice really.' "Yes, I'll do it. But just so you understand... I'm the boss. Once we are merged, you will listen to me. Got it?"

'Ha ha. Stupid brat. As if.' Kyuubi made his expression look serious and sincere. "I got it, Brat. Now break the damn seal!"

Naruto shivered a bit as he felt a cool breeze on his body, then he slowly opened his eyes. 'Huh? Where the hell am I?' He saw blue sky and white, puffy clouds above him. 'What the hell?' Naruto tried to think of the last thing he could remember. He sat up quickly in shock, as he remembered everything that had happened, and then he looked around. He saw that he was in a clearing near a lake, that was surrounded by woods, and that he was alone. Everything seemed peaceful and quiet. All of a sudden, Naruto realized that he felt sticky all over. He looked down at his body and gasped in shock. 'I'm covered in blood and naked. Where are my clothes?' He looked around again, this time looking for the clothes he should have been wearing. 'Wait. I'm covered in blood.' He looked at his body again. 'Where did all this blood come from?' Naruto felt very confused and scared. "Kyuubi!! Why I am naked and covered in blood? What the hell did you do with my body?" He heard a laugh and looked around until he realized who it was.

"How are you feeling, Brat? Feel good?"

"Damn it, Kyuubi! Answer my questions! What did you do?"

"You're bloody and naked because you got a new body. Geez, idiot, don't you remember me telling you that would happen? You're clothes burned off and the blood is from the body being destroyed and then re-made. There's a lake right over there. Go take a bath, Brat." 'He doesn't need to know that not all of the blood is his, though. Telling him would be too troublesome.'

Naruto glared even though he didn't have the fox in front of him to see it. He got up from the ground and started walking to the water. "How did I get out here in the middle of nowhere? Where the hell am I?"

"I have no idea where we are, Brat. I just ran until I found someplace comfortable to rest at. Now, let me get back to my nap."

Naruto stepped into the lake and waded through it until it was waist high. He started washing the blood off of him. He dunked his head under the water and scrubbed at it until he felt like he had gotten all the blood out of it. 'Weird. I can talk to the fox now without having to go visit him at his cage.' "Hey, bastard! Are you now in my head or something? Or are you still hanging around that cage."

Kyuubi growled in irritation. "I'm part of you now, Brat. Stop asking me things that you should already know. We are one now, get it? We share this body together. I'm still alive, you're still alive. But I'm no longer caged and you now have complete access to all of my power. Now, leave me alone! I had to do most of the work to save us. So I deserve a nap."

"Geez, grumpy old fox. You expect me to know everything? Go to sleep then. I'll figure out where we are on my own." 'First thing I need to do though is find some damn clothes. I can't go running around everywhere like this. Wait. New body.' Naruto looked into the water and tried to see his reflection. He wasn't able to see himself too clearly because of the wind causing ripples in the water, but he could see enough to shock him. 'Fuck! The damn fox made me look like a girl! I'm going to kill him!'

Naruto's face now looked like a face that could easily fit on a man or a woman. His cheekbones were more prominent now because his cheeks were thinner and his eyes looked more slanted. Granted, they were still blue, but they didn't look entirely human anymore. The pupils were slitted. His hair now had red streaks mixed in with the blond. And while still thick, his hair now fell in layers down to the top of his shoulders. His bangs were longer than they had been before, coming down to frame his face on each side and reaching to the middle of his cheeks, on which his whisker marks were now darker and more pronounced.

He looked too...pretty. And he was pissed. Just about pissed enough to wake the fox up again and rip into him. 'I really, really, really hate Kyuubi. That asshole did this on purpose. Why the hell would he want to make me look a girl? A big prank on the prankster? Well, when he wakes up, I'll make him change me back. There's no way in hell that I'm going to go around looking prettier than Sakura-chan.'

At the thought of his female team-mate, Naruto frowned. 'If I tell her what happened to me, what would she do? Could she keep it a secret? She's become like a sister to me and I don't want to keep something so important from her. She already knows about Kyuubi and she accepted it and stayed my friend. But this is something totally different. If what Kyuubi said was true, then when we merged, I became a demon. Well, I still feel like myself. I don't feel the urge to start maiming and killing people. So that is good news, I guess. But if the villagers, or even the elders, find out about what happened, they would either try to kill me or they would run me out of the village. Or... They could try to seal me like they did to Kyuubi.'

Naruto took a deep breath and forced himself to not think about what might happen when he got back to Konoha. Instead, he finished washing off all the blood from his body. Then he walked out of the water and headed for a patch of grass where he then sat down to rest. He tried his best not to think about all the things he had had to go through recently. He was just too mentally drained to deal with it all right now. He rested his elbows on his upraised knees and placed his hands on the sides of his head. When he felt his ears, he blinked and then started touching the tips. 'Why didn't I notice this before?' He jumped up and ran back to the lake and looked at his reflection, pushing his hair back so that he could get a good look at his ears. 'Yep, they're furry and pointed alright. Shit! How the hell does Kyuubi think I can pass myself off as a human when I've got fucking fox ears?' Naruto started swearing under his breath but then his voice became louder. "Kyuubi!! You damn fox!! I don't care if you are sleeping! Wake up and fix this!"

Kyuubi growled in anger. "What do you want now, Brat!! Didn't I tell you to leave me alone so I could sleep? Ungrateful idiot."

"Asshole! Fix me right now, damn it! Not only do I look like a fucking girl, but I have fox ears too! Do you think this is funny? Are you having a good laugh?"

"You woke me up for this? Fix it yourself, Brat! You have the same power as me. You can shape-shift with it, idiot. Geez, you're such a crybaby. Now leave me alone or I'll punish you!"

"Like this wasn't punishment enough? Fine, I don't need your help!" 'Shape-shift? Is that like a powerful type of henge?' Naruto drew on some of his new chakra and concentrated on forming a henge to make himself look like he used to look. He smirked when he saw his old face again. But when he reached up to feel his ears, he realized they still felt furry and pointed, even though they didn't look it in his reflection. 'Well, that sucks. I thought that being a demon now, I could create a more powerful henge. Guess I'll have to make sure no one touches my ears. It's strange though that my hair seems to feel like it used to. So why only the ears? Well, I don't feel like begging the bastard to show me how to fix this now. He's been acting like a bitch all morning.'

Inside, the fox smirked. 'That brat can be so amusing at times. To keep things amusing, I won't even tell him that I can read his thoughts. Let him think he has some privacy. And of course, I did mess with his shape-shifting so that the ears weren't included with it. He thinks he used a henge to change his looks, but the only henge that was performed is one that I made on the ears.' The fox chuckled to himself. 'So, he hates looking like a girl, huh? I think I'll wait to tell him what fox demons really are, some other day. I really don't feel like dealing with his hysterics right now, anyway.'

Naruto suddenly remembered that he could henge clothes on himself, so he performed a simple henge to make it look like he was wearing his old jumpsuit. Naruto sighed and felt a little depressed. 'I miss my real jumpsuit.' He decided to go looking for a village where not only could he find out where he was, but also be able to borrow some real clothes. He had no money on him and he was really hungry, too. So he needed to borrow some money in order to be able to eat. He did plan on leaving IOU's though, so technically he wouldn't really be stealing. He much preferred the word, borrowing. 'Hopefully, I'll be able to find some clothes that have orange in them. Then I need to find a ramen stand. After that, I'll go looking for Sasuke-bastard. I'll take out the snake and then drag Sasuke's sorry ass back home.'

Naruto felt happy at the thought of seeing his friend again and being able to save him this time. 'Once Sasuke is back in Konoha, everything will be like it's supposed to be. Well, as long as people don't know what I really am. I'll just live like I always have and work on my goal to become the next Hokage. So what if I'm a little different now. Okay, maybe a lot different... But that's not the point! The point is... The point is that Sasuke will be home where he belongs and I won't have to worry about him anymore.' Naruto smiled happily and started whistling until he heard a loud growl. 'Okay, this sucks. I can't even whistle? Well, whatever.' Naruto shrugged and then smiled again and ran up the nearest tall tree. He looked around to see if he could see anything other than trees. To the right of where he was, he saw a trail and started traveling through the trees, staying parallel to the trail and hoping he was heading in the direction of a village.

Sasuke grunted in annoyance and flipped over onto his back. 'I can't fucking sleep! And it's all that idiot's fault. Why do I have to think about him every night, anyway? Every time I try to force my mind to become blank, his face pops right back up into my head. With that moronic grin on it, too. I should have killed him the last time we met. But no, just like before, I couldn't. And no matter how many times I try to tell myself that I let him live because I don't want to be like that man, I can't fool myself into believing it. Gaining power to avenge my clan is the most important goal I have. But I just can't kill Naruto. I left him alive at the Valley of the End, because I can't kill him. I can't kill that bond.'

Sasuke put his hands behind his head and stared up at the ceiling. 'When Naruto, and the new Team Seven, showed up at our previous location to get me, I was given yet another opportunity to kill him. But instead, I deliberately took my time, hoping he would save himself, even though I should have killed him, because he's my weakness. Of course, the idiot just stood there and would have let me kill him. Luckily for him, and for me, that guy they replaced me with, jumped in to save him. That was a surprise. It really pissed me off, too. Sure, he saved the dumbass and kept me from having to actually kill him, but it still pissed me off. Not only did they replace me with that guy on the team, but it looks like Naruto may have replaced me with him, as a best friend. How could that moron do that to me?' Sasuke then sighed in relief, as he remembered what his replacement had said to him about Naruto. 'Oh right. Naruto told him about our bond. So maybe he hasn't replaced me yet. Maybe, I still have a chance. After I kill that man. If I survive. Then maybe Naruto and I can rebuild our friendship. He seems to have forgiven me for what happened at the Valley of the End. I don't believe that he would still be trying to save me and talking to other people about our bond, if he hadn't forgiven me. Anyone else would have ended our friendship, but luckily for me, my best friend is a moron.'

Sasuke decided it was time to stop thinking and get some much needed sleep. He rolled over to face the wall again. He only had a few hours left before he would have to get up. If he didn't get enough sleep, he would end up taking it out on Kabuto and Orochimaru. And then he'd probably get punished for it later, by not being allowed to train with the snake sannin. He didn't want that to happen, because there still was a lot he needed to learn from him.

Naruto slurped down the last of the broth from his last bowl of ramen and then put the bowl down on the counter and grinned. He had stuffed himself with ten bowls and was now very content. He paid for his ramen with some of the money he had borrowed yesterday from a man, who luckily for Naruto, hadn't been home when he was looking around for a place to borrow clothes from. He got up from his stool and left the food stand. He had found out the day before, that he was still in Fire Country, which was a stroke of luck, since Naruto knew his way around Fire Country pretty well. Since he had been able to stay in a hotel room last night, and was able to get a good rest and now had a full belly, he was feeling very good. 'It's time to hunt for Sasuke'. Orochimaru had been staying close enough to Konoha in the past, in order to be ready to attack it once he took over Sasuke's body. Naruto felt that Orochimaru was probably still hiding out somewhere near the border. 'Still, I think I need the fox's help to find him. I know foxes are supposed to have keen senses so surely he can help me sniff out that snake bastard.'

Naruto headed out of town and once he was far enough away to not be overheard by anyone, he decided that the fox had slept long enough. After all, the fox had been sleeping since yesterday morning. "Hey, Kyuubi! Wake up, you old bastard!" A loud growl was his answer. "I need your help to find the snake. You can sniff out a snake, can't you?"

"Damn it, can someone please tell me why I had to be stuck in the body of an idiot? I wish that bastard that had sealed me inside you was still alive right now so I could kill him!"

"Ha! He would just beat you again. Anyway, I need your help. You owe me for that prank you pulled on me yesterday."

"Listen. I'm only going to tell you this one more time. Get it through that thick skull of yours! You are a demon now. You can do what I can do. So use the powers we share to find that Orochimaru bastard yourself. Stop asking me for help all the time. Start using that little pea brain of yours instead."

Naruto glared and growled. "Stop insulting me all the time, asshole! I saved your fucking life! I let you merge with me and I put up with you making me all girly!"

Kyuubi snorted. "Get used to it."


"Nevermind. Concentrate chakra into our eyes, ears and nose. That will enhance those senses and allow you to hunt for your prey. Also, while you are out hunting, search for the feel of that snake's chakra. You've fought with him enough to know not only his smell but also his chakra. Use all of that to find him."

"Fine. I'll do this myself then." 'I keep forgetting what I am now and that I can use my senses like a real fox can. I guess I've been afraid to fully embrace this new power. I wish I was still a human. But... That wish will never come true. I need to stop relying so much on Kyuubi and do things on my own. I don't know why I let myself become so dependent on him, when before I always depended on my own strength. I can do this.' Naruto nodded to himself and then followed Kyuubi's instructions.

Naruto jumped up into the trees and started moving farther away from the town. He concentrated chakra into his feet and found that he could fly through the forest a lot faster than he had ever done before. He did his best to keep concentrating on hunting for a particular smell and chakra signature. He headed out northwest of the town because that was a direction that he knew would take him where there were lots of areas where Orochimaru could have hideouts at. Places where not many civilians lived in.

"It's almost time, Orochimaru-sama." The medic-nin pushed his glasses up higher on the bridge of his nose. He had a slight smirk on his face. The snake sannin smiled in anticipation.

"Yes, Kabuto. In two days, I will finally have the sharingan and will be even closer to having my revenge. He still suspects nothing, correct?"

Kabuto's smirk turned into an evil grin. "He has no idea. I can't wait until he gets what he deserves." A frown then came over Kabuto's face. "His arrogance has been extremely hard to tolerate over the past few years."

Orochimaru nodded in agreement, no longer smiling himself. "Yes, you have shown great patience, Kabuto."

"As have you, Orochimaru-sama."

"Should I tell him the truth before he has completely disappeared?"

Kabuto smirked. "Oh, yes. I think he deserves that, don't you?"

Orochimaru laughed. "I do. I very much do." 'Ah, Sasuke-kun, you are even more of a fool than that fox container. To think I would actually risk my own life to give you your revenge? How foolish.' "Kabuto, I think I will train with Sasuke one last time."

"As you wish, Orochimaru-sama. I will go inform him." Kabuto bowed and then turned and walked away. 'Just two more days until that bastard gets what he deserves. I don't think I have ever hated anyone as much as I hate that Uchiha brat.'

Naruto had traveled about five days, before he finally felt the familiar and disgusting chakra of Orochimaru. He had tracked the chakra to within five miles of the border, inside the Fire Country. It was a heavily wooded area, but there was one section that looked like it had been recently cleared. There were no buildings or structures visible in which the snake could be hiding, but his chakra was definitely concentrated in this one area. And the whole place reeked of snakes. 'The bastard has to be under the ground. But where the hell is the entrance? I can sense Sasuke's chakra, too. They have to be around here somewhere.' Naruto looked around again and then his gaze stopped on a large tree. He grinned. 'Found it!'

Naruto leaped down to the ground and walked up to the tree. He could now see the door better. He had missed it before because the door was part of the tree, and no one would know it was there unless they were right up on it and could see the irregular lines in the tree. There was also a trap on it. Naruto chuckled and then disabled the trap, which would have blown off the hand of anyone that tried to open the door. He pushed at the door and that caused it to swing outward. Looking around, and using all his senses, he found that there were no more traps in the immediate vicinity, so he boldly walked through the doorway and then down the steps, that were just inside.

'Okay, this has been way too easy so far. That kind of makes me nervous. But hey! Why should I be nervous? I'm more powerful than Orochimaru now. I nearly killed him with four tails. Now I have nine and all of Kyuubi's power. I couldn't use all of it before. This should be a piece of cake!' Naruto forced himself to think positively and continued down the long winding stairway. After five minutes of still walking down, Naruto was starting to get annoyed. 'What the hell is this? It's taking forever to get to the end! This is so boring! And I'm hungry. I haven't had any ramen since I left that village and I could really go for a few bowls right now. I wonder if there is any ramen here? Okay, maybe I should run down these stairs instead of walking.'

Naruto concentrated chakra to his feet and took off at a near flying pace down the stairs. 'Hmm, this is fun!' It was fun until he ran into a door. He did see the door before he got to it, but he was flying down the stairs so fast that he couldn't stop in time to avoid the collision. 'Fuck, that hurt! What is that door made of anyway? Steel?' Naruto rubbed his forehead and used some of his chakra to take the pain away. Then he checked the door for any traps and found a couple that he was able to disable, before he turned the knob and opened the door. He walked into a hallway that looked very long from where he was standing. 'Shit. Well, need to see where the snake is before I start running down this hall.' Naruto looked for where he could feel Orochimaru's chakra the strongest. He could feel it all over the place but he was finally able to pinpoint where he felt the snake was actually at.

It seemed he wouldn't have to go all the way down to the end of the hall, after all. To his right, Naruto looked for a door but couldn't see one. Not wanting to take the long way when he felt a short-cut would be better, Naruto felt now would be a good time to go into nine-tails mode. He let himself think about what the snake bastard wanted to do to Sasuke and let that anger fuel the chakra and make it stronger. Then somehow, without him really knowing it would be so easy to do, he shape-shifted into an almost human-sized, nine-tailed fox form. The experience was nothing like what had happened to him when he was still human and trying to use the power of Kyuubi. There was no pain when he changed form and he felt in complete control of himself now. With his demon chakra covering his whole body, Naruto ran right into and through the wall in front of him. He kept running and going through every wall and obstacle that came before him. He didn't stop until he had reached Orochimaru.

Orochimaru had felt the presence of a demon before it had even entered his underground lair. He had told Kabuto to go set up traps in all the other rooms in order to confuse and delay the demon. That would give Orochimaru time to get prepared for when he met with the demon. He wanted to capture the demon, not destroy it. He figured he could find some way to use it. But he hadn't planned on the demon bulldozing it's way through all the walls, concrete walls at that. He was caught by surprise when the demon burst through one of the walls in his study and stopped right in front of him, grinning rather smugly and even evilly at him.

Even though Orochimaru had known his hideout was being invaded by a demon, he hadn't known which demon it was at the time. It hadn't been close enough to him before, in order for him to know. But now he did. And he felt surprise again, when he realized that it was Uzumaki Naruto and that he had obviously merged with Kyuubi. He knew this because of the nine tails that were waving back and forth behind the fox. He also knew this, because why else would the fox demon be here? Kyuubi wouldn't have tracked him down on his own. Not when there were hundreds of humans he could be feasting on instead. No, only Naruto would want to come here to save his friend. So a full merge was the only explanation that fit with what he was seeing. He tried to smile at Naruto. It wasn't easy, when he was faced with a really big fox. Fighting a nine-tailed fox would be so much different than fighting a four-tailed one. But since Orochimaru thought that he would only be dealing with Naruto, and he considered the boy to be a weak person, in spite of how he looked at the moment, Orochimaru didn't believe that his life was really in any danger. He felt confident that he knew how to handle the fox boy.

Orochimaru smiled and spoke in a condescending manner. "Hello, Naruto-kun. My, what a surprise. I suppose you came to get Sasuke-kun?"

"Brat, let me out! You said I could have him! Let me taste his blood and then I'll let you find that Uchiha brat!"

"Fine, but if you try to do anything more on your own, I'm taking control again." Naruto let Kyuubi have control of his body.

Orochimaru had gone cold inside after hearing Naruto's words. He hadn't heard Kyuubi's voice because the fox had talked to Naruto inside his head. But Naruto had spoken out loud. Orochimaru quickly started forming the seals that would allow him to substitute his body and transport his real body away. At the moment, getting away from the demon was all he could think about.

Kyuubi growled with pleasure at having control of the body once again. 'Now I get to feast again. I haven't had anything to eat since I was sealed, except for a few of those Akatsuki bastards that didn't get burned up during my merging with the brat. That wasn't nearly enough to make up for all the years I had to starve. There's another person hiding around here somewhere that I will get to next. The brat can just wait until I'm done, before finding his little friend.' Kyuubi knew that the man that reeked of snakes had used a jutsu to get away, while Naruto was giving control over to him. So he quickly ran right around the clone in front of him, slashing it with one of his claws as he headed for where he smelled the disgusting scent of snakes, that also had the delightful smell of fear mixed in with it.

Orochimaru had left the room and re-appeared where he expected Kabuto to be. He decided that he would use Kabuto as a distraction for Kyuubi, while he performed an immobilizing jutsu on the demon. It wouldn't hold the demon for long, but hopefully it would last long enough for Orochimaru to be able get to Sasuke and take over the boy's body. When the fox found him again, he would be safe because Naruto would never allow Kyuubi to destroy the body of his dear friend. 'I could probably even trick Naruto into believing that his precious Sasuke-kun is still alive, even after having his body taken over. Maybe I could even talk him into working for me.' Orochimaru looked around in annoyance. His fear had started to fade away as he was going over his plan. But the plan wouldn't work if he couldn't find his missing subordinate. 'Where the hell is Kabuto?' He had felt the man's chakra in this room, which is why he had transported himself here. But it seems like Kabuto was trying to avoid him.

"Got you!"

Orochimaru, who hadn't even felt the demon's chakra in the room, was surprised for the very last time in his stolen life. He didn't even have time to scream or to get away, as he felt his body being ripped apart and then there was nothing.

Sasuke awoke from a nightmare he'd been having about Naruto. In it, Kyuubi had killed Naruto and stolen his body. As he was trying to rid his mind of the horrible images from the nightmare, he felt the powerful chakra of the demon itself. 'Am I still dreaming?' He shook his head and got up from the bed. 'That's Kyuubi's chakra.' He armed himself with his katana and then headed for the door. Sasuke knew what the fox's chakra felt like, because he had been inside Naruto and come face to face with it. He had already known about the fox, even before that event. Orochimaru had told him about Naruto being it's container, not long after Sasuke had come to him for power. Sasuke had wanted to meet the demon not only because he wanted to see the thing that had caused Naruto to be hated by so many, but also because it had protected the idiot and kept him alive. For the second reason, Sasuke was very grateful to the demon. But Kyuubi wasn't the one that gave Naruto all of his power and strength. Sasuke knew that Naruto was strong all on his own. But he would never tell the moron that.

Sasuke left his room and headed towards where he could feel the demon's chakra. He needed to see Naruto. Needed to make sure that the idiot was still alive. His nightmare before and then waking up to feel the presence of Kyuubi, had him afraid for his friend's life. Sasuke nearly jumped in fright when he heard a scream. 'Was that Kabuto? It almost sounded like him.' He started running then, heading towards where the scream had come from, which also happened to be where he felt the monstrous chakra of the fox. He stopped at the door to the medical lab, which was Kabuto's domain. Sasuke took a deep breath and forced himself to walk into the room. What he saw nearly made him want to bend over and empty his stomach of all it's contents. Forcing himself not to turn and run, Sasuke pointed his katana at the fox that was still gnawing on one of Kabuto's leg bones. "Where's Naruto?"

Naruto heard Sasuke's voice and took control over his body again, he quickly shape-shifted back into human form but didn't realize he had forgotten to make himself look like his old self, and that he didn't have any clothes on.

Kyuubi hadn't bothered to put up a fight when Naruto took control. He had had a good meal and now felt like having a long nap. "Thanks for the fun and the meal, Brat!"

Naruto chose to ignore Kyuubi. Frankly, he felt sick and just wanted to forget what had happened and get cleaned up. Naruto threw away the bone that was still in his hand and then started coughing and trying to spit out whatever was still left in his throat and mouth. He looked at over at Sasuke when he was finished. "Give me some time to clean up, Sasuke, before asking any questions. I really need to get out of this room and wash out my mouth. The taste and smell of blood is making me feel really sick."

Sasuke had felt relief when he realized that Naruto was still alive, but he had a lot of questions that he wanted answers for. He especially wanted to know why Naruto hadn't changed back to his real form. Even though he now looked more human, his eyes and ears were definitely not human. And his face was a lot thinner than it had been the last time he had seen him. And the hair. 'And why the hell is Naruto naked? Well, I'll make him tell me everything later. Right now, I want him to get cleaned up too, so I can stop feeling so nauseous myself.'
"I'll take you to a room where you can clean up, but you're going to have to answer all my questions when you're finished. You've got a lot of explaining to do."

When he saw Naruto nod his head in agreement, he backed out of the room, not turning his back to Naruto. He wasn't sure if the fox would take control again and he wasn't going to take any chances. As soon as Naruto came out of the room, Sasuke nodded his head in the direction that he wanted the other boy to go, then he followed along behind him. He kept a tight grip on his katana in case he should have to use it. "Second door on your right." Sasuke followed Naruto into the large bathroom. There was a shower and a very large sunken tub in the room.

Naruto went over to the shower and turned on the water. He adjusted the temperature of it to suit him. He finally realized that he had lost his clothes again. But he couldn't get up the energy to really care about it. The fear of losing Sasuke to Orochimaru forever had kept Naruto hunting for the last five days and nights. He had barely gotten any rest during that time. But now that he didn't have to fear that anymore, the lack of proper rest had finally caught up to him. All he really wanted to do now was to find a bed and stay in it for as long as possible. He stepped under the water and let it rinse all the blood off of him. He spent several minutes doing that and also rinsing out his mouth, before he picked up an unused bar of soap and started washing his body and his hair. During all the time that Naruto was cleaning himself, he could feel Sasuke's eyes on him, watching him. 'That bastard won't even give me any privacy. Doesn't he realize that if I wanted him dead, he would already be dead?'

Sasuke knew he should have given Naruto his privacy, but he just couldn't bring himself to leave. He wasn't afraid anymore that Kyuubi would all of a sudden appear and attack him. But if Naruto asked him why he didn't leave, he would use that as an excuse. There was no way he would tell him the truth. Sasuke found himself fascinated with Naruto's new body. He had already realized it was really Naruto's body, when he couldn't detect any type of jutsu being used to make him look like that. His sharingan would have been able to see it. Not only that, but the boy appeared very tired and had no reason to be trying to look like something he was not. 'So, if this is what he really looks like now, then Naruto and Kyuubi must have merged. That would explain the ears and the eyes and also how Naruto was able to let the Kyuubi out and then take back control again. Naruto had used the fox's chakra and power before but he had never let the Kyuubi take over his body completely. But back to his looks...' Sasuke wondered why Naruto didn't have any tails now. 'Tails would have been cute. Hell, the ears are cute.' He really liked the way that Naruto looked now. He liked it too much though. He saw that Naruto was just about finished with his shower, so he pulled a robe off of a rack, that was near the door, and then when Naruto got out of the shower and had dried off, he handed it to him. "Put this on and then start explaining."