The Laughing Fox
by Lord Dragon Claw
Disclaimer: whoever told you that I owned these characters was lying.
Chapter Eighteen: Return of the Weasel
Temari had asked Naruto where his favorite place in the whole village was. He would have said that it was his home, or the DTI, or the Hokage's office, or the Forest of Death, or even Ichiraku's, but he actually spent some time thinking about it.
While he rarely went, he did have one place that he felt at peace at and could organize his chaotic mind to avoid massacring Konoha citizens. He figured she would want to go there.
He took her to the top of the Hokage Monument - more specifically, the Yondaime's head. As he limped along on his crutches, he thought he probably looked like a shambling zombie. Hmmm... I wonder if I can use my chakra to make zombies?
They finally arrived on top of the effigy of Minato to view the Village from above.
"I come here to collect myself," Naruto said. "I don't need to do it often, but it is very quiet."
He turned to her as she sighed. "It's very beautiful up here, Naruto-kun."
Wait, -kun? Are we that close already?
As he puzzled over this, she slowly started advancing towards him, eyes closed and lips puckered.
"Wait," Naruto said, starting to back up. "Temari, what are you doing?"
She leaned forward to kiss her fellow blonde.
"Hey! You're invading my personal SPAAAAAAAAAA-" screamed Naruto as he backed off of the edge of the Yondaime's hair and into open air.
"Oh shit!" swore the girl from Suna. She knew she was dead. If the Hokage didn't have her killed, Naruto's mother would do her in!
Naruto stared at the fox within his cage. "Feedback? So that's the reason you haven't been active?"
"Yes, gaki. The last time I fed you some of my chakra, a lot of yours flooded into me, damaging me greatly. I can no longer control my own chakra."
"Sooo, that means that there's nothing really stopping me from taking a hold of your chakra on my own, is there?"
The Kyuubi blinked. "KUSO!"
"Yeah, I guess that makes ME the Kyuubi from now on, doesn't it!?"
The fox sobbed pathetically at that. "My chakra. The plaything of that little psychopath," he cried. "Remaining sealed within Kushina would have been preferable to this!"
"-AAAAACE!" Naruto screamed as he channeled the fox's chakra into his legs, regenerating the damage to them and re-setting his bones. Feeling more energized, he flipped backwards and landed gracefully on the roof of a random building.
The blonde blinked before laughing. "Oh HELL YES! The Laughing Fox is back on his two legs!"
So overjoyed at no longer being crippled, he brought his crutches over his head and smashed them into his crainium, snapping them into pieces. Despite the fact they were made of steel.
Jiraiya was walking along with Naruto on their way out of town.
"So Temari is not going to get in trouble?" asked the Sage.
"Not unless she tells Hinata that she tried to kiss me, no."
Shaking his head, he gestured to Naruto's sake bottle. "So, what do you have in there?"
"Hydrochloric acid mixed in a one-to-one ratio, by weight, with concentrated rattlesnake venom. Why? You want some?"
"Uh..." Jiraiya hesitated to snatch the bottle from his godson, but then he remembered Naruto's bloodline. "No thanks. I thought it was straight sake."
Naruto paused for a moment before nodding. "Sorry, I forget that most people are featherweights when it comes to poisons."
"That's alright," the older man chuckled. "I forget how hardcore your family is when it comes to drinking."
Naruto chuckled briefly. "So where was Tsunade seen last?"
"The last any of my contacts had seen her was two weeks ago at a town to the northwest."
"Oh?" the blonde replied, putting a rubber stopper in his bottle of poison. "Nothing but gambling dens in that direction for a few days as the ninja jumps."
"She's... a gambling addict," Jiraiya admitted.
Naruto shrugged. "And I'm a psychopath with rather violent tendencies. I don't see a problem with that."
Naruto and Jiraiya traded notes on their individual sealing styles while traveling between Konoha and Pleasure Street Town. Being a traditionalist when it came to seals and having more than forty years' experience in the field, the older man was able to teach Naruto a great deal. On the other hand, the blonde was legitimately insane and the biological son of a sealing prodigy and had discovered many shortcuts through dangerous experimentation and was able to teach them to Jiraiya.
When they arrived at the town, a beautiful raven-haired woman wearing a black, strapless number winked at Jiraiya.
"WHOA!" groaned the older man. He quickly turned to the blonde. "Naruto!"
Rolling his eyes at the Toad Sage's antics, Naruto responded. "Yeah?"
"Book us a place at that hotel! I'll meet up with you later!"
"Have fun, you damned pervert."
Naruto heard a knocking at the door to the hotel room. He snorted in amusement.
Must have been rejected already, he thought as he made a clone and sent it to answer the door.
He bolted for the window when he heard his clone laugh out a "Hello, Itachi!"
A missing-ninja just happens to knock on my door? he mused as he quietly slipped out the window and jumped away. Not likely. He must be after me and not Jiraiya. Not that I blame him.
Naruto saw Sasuke running towards the hotel he had just left and threw a kunai that just missed the Uchiha youth to get his attention. As Naruto jumped to the next roof, Sasuke landed next to him.
"Where's Itachi?" he demanded.
At that moment, a major explosion occurred in the hotel Naruto had booked. Sickly green gasses were pouring from the holes in the structure.
"Hopefully suffocating on Smilex," Naruto retorted. "But not likely."
Sasuke glared at the blonde. "Why would you try to take my revenge from me?"
"Look, I knew Itachi when he was still loyal to Konoha," Naruto responded as he led Sasuke away from the hotel. "Back then, he was stronger than most Jounin. Now, he probably rivals most Kage. Neither of us are at that level yet, but if he dies to a cheap shot, then all the better."
Sasuke finally calmed down, seeing the logic in it.
"That said, we're being chased."
Sasuke suggested splitting up and trying to find Jiraiya individually. Naruto went with the plan because it would divide the pursuer's attention. Sasuke went west when Naruto made a feint to the northeast but instead went directly south. Unfortunately, that led him right through a wooden fence.
He immediately stopped.
He stared at a bunch of naked women trying to enjoy the hot springs.
They stared back at him.
Before any of them could say anything, he turned right around and walked out of the fenced-in area. Maybe northeast was a preferable direction after all?
He started running when he heard feminine screams of indignant rage.
Sasuke's mind was racing. He had to find Jiraiya! If he found the Toad Sage, then he'd be able to bring the old ninja to Naruto. After that, he'd be able to find a way to get in a "cheap shot" once Jiraiya and Itachi began fighting! It was a perfect plan!
If only he hadn't literally run into Might Guy.
"YOSH! Sasuke! I must inform Naruto and Jiraiya that two S-Ranked missing-nin are trying to hunt Naruto down!"
"Naruto already knows! We have to find Jiraiya!"
"They split up?" If Guy's face looked any dumber at that moment, Sasuke would have thought he was braindead.
"So I really was chasing the Uchiha runt after all," Kisame growled. He gave a toothy grin. "On the bright side, I get another chance at killing you."
He suddenly swiped Samehada towards Guy but the taijutsu specialist dodged the attack with ease.
Naruto managed to hide himself from the few kunoichi that had been bathing in the hot springs. There were several foreigners staying there, and from their pronunciation he deduced that they were probably from Kumogakure (Hidden Cloud).
"I thought you were interested in that crazy Hyuuga bitch," a voice whispered into Naruto's ear. "Be a shame if she found out about your peeping habits, no?"
Shoving a live squid into Itachi's face, he bolted from his hiding place and nearly ran straight into one of the Kumo kunoichi. She managed to grab him by the collar before he could dart past.
She had long blonde hair, bound tightly with bandages (which Naruto found weird). Her dark eyes held contempt for Naruto, but held a great deal of curiosity. Her black and purple blouse was nearly skin-tight though her black slacks were fairly loose. Above her fingerless gloves on her left arm was a tightly-wound white bead chain.
Naruto felt a thrumming from his seal as he looked up at the woman's face and the Kyuubi whispered the number two in the back of his mind.
Itachi chose that moment to step out from the garbage pile, the squid clinging desperately to his right arm. He gestured towards Naruto with his left.
"I'll be happy to rid you of that nuisance," he said.
Before the woman could speak, Naruto responded, pointing at the kunoichi. "I could understand if you hated me, but what do you have against her?"
Itachi raised an eyebrow. "I actually have nothing against either of you. I simply want what is inside of the boy."
"Because that doesn't sound perverted at all," the woman deadpanned. The two other kunoichi who were with her started pulling out weapons.
"Wait," Naruto started, "you're after my Biju?" The women seemed startled by it. "Are you after her Biju too?"
Itachi narrowed his eyes as the woman growled at Naruto.
"How would you know that I have a Biju?"
"Second of all, you just confirmed it for me," Naruto grinned at the kunoichi. "But I knew because the Kyuubi told me that you have the Nibi."
"Give me one reason why I shouldn't let him have you."
"Why would he be after the Kyuubi and just the Kyuubi?" Naruto turned to the Uchiha traitor. "I'm guessing that the weasel would come after the cat after he's done with the fox."
She turned her gaze towards Itachi. "We'll set aside our differences for now, Konoha scum."
"Just don't look into his eyes," Naruto advised as he pulled out a pair of cod. "He's got the Sharingan."
Itachi chuckled. "I thought you were trying to get away, Naruto. Now you turn to fight me?"
Naruto's hands made the horse and monkey seals. "I'm merely fighting to run away." He grinned, showing the yellowish tint his teeth were slowly developing. "The 'Caustic Fist' is a nice jutsu, but I figured I'd take it a step further." He swiftly inverted the monkey seal. "Akuna no Yoroi!" (Armor of Poison)
Naruto's skin paled as his hair became green. Bubbles of caustic chakra formed around his hands just as with the 'Caustic Fist', but they were much larger than those of the 'Caustic Fist'. His entire form seemed to shimmer and blur - it would hurt one's eyes to look directly at him due to the chakra/light distortion.
Itatchi took a step back as Naruto's eyes shifted to purple with red sclera. Itachi's eyes hurt to simply look at the boy as he was covered in a shroud of chakra, making his eyes unable to predict what the young Uzumaki was going to do next though they were automatically trying to do just that anyway.
The lead Cloud kunoichi brought her hands up. Her nails each grew to be about a meter long and became gunmetal gray.
"You're about to find out why they call me Hellcat Yugito," she growled, allowing some of her Biju's killing intent to leak through.
Naruto suddenly dashed forwards before he darted to the left while Itachi had tried to dodge to his right. The Uchiha had to stop his momentum instantly as several shuriken passed through his path. He jumped over Naruto's kick while using a kunai to deflect Yugito's stab. He used his free hand to catch the kunai thrown by the third kunoichi while trying to mule kick the blonde maniac. Naruto barely managed to dodge it, but he grabbed onto Itachi's leg with his hands. The caustic chakra began to eat through fabric and epidermis alike when Naruto yelled out "DUCK AND COVER!"
Itachi's body exploded, revealing that it had been a shadow clone. Both of Yugito's associates were caught by more shadow clones of Itachi, each with a kunai pointed at the womens' throats.
Yugito managed to land on her feet while Naruto climbed out of the garbage pile. Whatever was touching his body was withering, melting, and/or dissolving as he pulled himself to his feet.
"Bunshin Daibakuha?" the boy asked. (Clone Great Explosion)
A wooden beam hit Naruto across the back of the head, causing him to tumble forwards. Yet another Itachi was holding the piece of lumber, and it was this one that responded. "Correct. It seems it was wrong of me to have Kisame chase after my worthless brother." He turned to Yugito. "Keep out of this affair and your associates might yet live."
The blonde woman growled, the noise coming from deep in her gut. "I'M ALREADY INVOLVED!"
"Back out now," Itachi commanded, "and you won't have to explain to A why two good kunoichi had to die today just to save a single Leaf scum." He immediately twisted out of the way of Naruto's dive and hit the boy across the kidneys with the beam, cracking the wood. The boy's technique broke, splashing corrosive energy onto the ground.
Naruto coughed while lying prone in the dirt. "Gonna wizz red," he murmured. No you're not! You have my chakra! "Shut up, Kyuubi! Don'tcha know what a reference is?"
"Are you going to come quietly?" Itachi asked.
"Pretty sure I'm a screamer," Naruto said as he rolled onto his back, channeling the fox's chakra throughout his body.
Itachi paused. "What?"
"Think like the sexual deviant you are," he grinned weakly as his colors returned to normal. "Also, Hiru Banshou: Bouka no jutsu." (Leech All Creation: Attack Prevention technique)
Naruto sank into the ground as if it were made of water and he of lead. Itachi gave a derisive snort.
"Kuchiyose: Yaiba no Hachiman!" (Summoning: Hachiman's Blade)
Naruto was sticking out of the wall into a small smuggling tunnel as he summoned the sword form of the three-headed jackal.
"What're we killing now?"
"Someone strong, no doubt."
"Can we get some ice cream?"
"We're going to be a landshark!" Naruto declared as he pulled the blade into the wall after him.
Itachi was mentally going through what Earth Release jutsu he had learned before he had to dive to the side to avoid being impaled by a blade.
"Missed," it said.
"He dodged to the west," it spoke again in a different voice.
"Blood smells like copper!" it giggled in a third before it slid back into the ground.
Itachi had to dart away again when it shot out of the ground a second time.
However, an ethereal jackal muzzle materialized out of the side of the blade and caught the rogue shinobi by his left big toe.
"Eeney meeney mine-y moe-" sang the first voice.
"Catch a weasel by the toe-" continued the second.
"If he hollers BITE IT OFF!" they finished in unison while the mouth crunched down on Itachi's foot.
The Uchiha gasped in pain before tearing himself away from the sword. He was disoriented now that he was missing one of his vital toes, so it was no surprise that he fell onto his backside when the jackal face spat the toe at his forehead.
"Eeney meeney mine-y toe!" the third voice laughed.
Before Naruto could pull Kubikiri Honchou back into the ground, Itachi's shadow clones appeared near their fallen creator. Using a fireman's carry to pick him up, the three Itachis disappeared in a swirl of leaves.
"The weasel ran away!" sang the three voices of Hachiman.
Naruto pulled himself out of the ground and dismissed Hachiman. He turned to find Yugito and her two companions approaching him.
"Thanks for the help," the boy groaned as his legs gave out from under him, plopping him down onto his behind.
"You have the Kyuubi, then?" Yugito asked, ignoring his gratitude.
"Yeah. Just like how you have the Nibi."
"I wonder how much ransom money Konoha would pay to have you ba-"
Naruto's raucous laughter interrupted her. He fell onto his back and held his sides, cackling with mirth. "GOOD ONE!"
"What's so funny?" asked one of the other kunoichi.
Naruto paused. "Oh, you were serious. Here, let me laugh harder!" His legs began kicking in the air as he rolled around in the dirt, laughing for all he was worth.
"So they wouldn't pay a ransom for you," concluded Yugito.
The boy's laughter subsided into chuckles. "Naw. My dad wouldn't let them. He'd figure that if I could get myself into such a situation, I can get myself out. Also, Mom would charge Kumogakure no Sato by herself just to get me back."
"Who are your parents?"
"Huh? Oh riiiiiight. You don't know," Naruto said as he flipped to his feet and dusted himself off. "Dad is known as 'Mister J'." He snorted at the paling faces of the women. "With Mom's help, he managed to kill the Kazekage."
He turned away from them and started walking off. "Thanks for distracting Itachi long enough for me to summon Hachiman! Maybe we can work together again someday, ja?"
One of Yugito's companions kicked him in the back of the head, her boot making a solid impact. Naruto rolled forwards and landed on his feet.
"What was that for!?"
"Your father tortured my older brother to death! And you think you can just walk away!?"
"Attack me again!" Naruto challenged. "I dare you! I double dare you! They won't find enough of your body to fill a sake saucer!"
A red chakra shroud enveloped the boy, giving him a fox's outline. Before he could attack the woman, or vice-versa, Yugito got her in a chokehold. As the woman began to black out, Naruto allowed the chakra to dissipate.
"Sorry about that," the blonde woman said. "I'll make sure she isn't allowed back into Fire Country. It was interesting to work with you."
As the kunoichi all disappeared, Naruto snorted. "Translation: she's gotta report to the Raikage about how strong Konoha's Jinchuuriki is."
"Undoubtedly," agreed Jiraiya, standing just behind the boy. He turned to see the older man carrying the woman who had winked at him earlier that day. The woman was unconscious.
"How long have you been watching?"
"A good spy master never reveals his secrets."
Naruto blinked, and then kicked Jiraiya in the shin. It was funny to watch the old man trying to not drop the woman as he cradled his injured leg with his other hand.
"It's magician, you senile old goat! A good magician never reveals his secrets!"
When he stopped hopping around, Jiraiya got a serious look on his face. "So..."
"So?" responded Naruto.
"You realized that Itachi and Kisame were way out of your league, eh? Is that why you bolted from the hotel?"
"Well, duh. I don't have enough tricks up my sleeves to be able to deal with those two. I did know Itachi before he killed his clan, and he was pretty strong back then."
"And allying yourself with another Jinchuuriki?"
"Finding her was dumb luck, honestly."
Jiraiya nodded, then looked over at Naruto. "What do you have there, gaki?"
"The weasel's wallet."
End Chapter 18.
Next Chapter: "You sure she's the same age as you?"
"... shut up."
I will NOT apologize for how long this chapter has taken to write. Sixteen months for roughly 3,000 words is not a good writing rate. Stupid real life...
I have a tumblr now. Two, actually. One of them is 5007 dot tumblr dot com and the other is kidssayweirdstuff dot tumblr dot com.
For those of you who do not care for Pony, don't read the remainder of this paragraph. Did they all skip ahead? No? HEY STRAGGLERS! SKIP ALREADY! They gone now? Good. "Your Summon is Pink" is the next fic I'll try to work on.
Thanks to Dumbledork for being my beta.