Disclaimer/Legend: See first chapter
The sun shone through the trees, its light filtering to the forest in dazzling patterns as the dew dripped from the leaves. Squirrels and the odd rabbit did the things that cute forest creatures do. Hanabi walked deeper into the woods, noticing the trees and other growth thinning out as she came across a clearing, where a cabin of immense size stood. Carefully she began to tread across the clearing, taking notice of the large outdoor bath.
Now that she was close enough, she began to peer through windows in search of the occupants. The first window she checked has the blind drawn, but from what she could see through the crack; the owner of the room was a man with black hair seemed to be sleep amidst boxes of sweets. Stepping back, she moved down to the next window. There she could see a room that is the opposite of the last. Along a wall she spied a bookcase, filled to the brim with books from all corners of the elemental nations; all about the art of culinary delights.
Hanabi sensed movement from the corner of your perception. Glancing in the direction you sensed it from, you see an old man with long white hair, clad in only a towel. Holding back the reflex to gag at the sight of sagging man chest; she made her way to the last window she thought was a bedroom. A look inside confirms her suspicions; she could see a large bed along with its occupants. From Hanabi's view, she could see the larger one was the subject of her fantasies and now the subject of her highest ranked mission, but she couldn't identify the smaller one.
Pulling a small metal shim from her vest, Hanabi prepared to jimmy open the window when she saw the bedroom door beginning to open. Revealing a tall man she easily recognized as Kakashi, and adding to the surreal feeling this situation, was the fact he had a fox sitting on his head. Hanabi knew the stories about the man, he was always aware of his surroundings, could always feel when he was being watched and never forget a face. She started to back away lest she be caught spying. Slinking away, Hanabi threw one last glance back at the sleeping form then to the older man. Only to have him raise a hand to wave and possibly a wink, she couldn't quite tell with the view of his other eye covered.
After performing a Shunshin, Hanabi found herself standing on a branch of a tree that bordered the clearing. Giving one last look at the house, she turned and began to make her way towards the village. Plots of bagging herself a fox flowing throughout your mind…
Kakashi smiled under his mask as he watched the fleeting form of a girl jumping through the trees at the outskirts of the lot. 'Didn't have a chance to get a good look at her, but from her size I can assume it was a teenage girl, maybe early twenties, but enough of that. I need to get a picture of this. Jiraiya would love it…' Kakashi thought to himself as he watched the two sleepers before him. Naruto and Temari was sleeping peacefully, both were spooning as they laid in slumber together. It would've been a sweet scene if Kakashi had the thought processes needed, but to him it was a scene from Icha Icha brought to life. Added to the fact that Naruto had a hand on Temari's chest whilst giving it a healthy squeeze at odd intervals.
"Well ain't that sweet Kashi?" Kyuubi remarked from his silver haired perch as he gazed down to what could be described as simply lovers.
"Aye, we need to get these pictures taken before they wake up. I've heard stories of what Naruto can do when he's pissed and I'm sure Temari isn't a slouch either." Kakashi said as he pulled a disposable camera from a pocket and begin taking pictures.
Naruto could feel himself pulling from the grasp of slumber as he heard a small whirr and saw flashes beyond his eyelids. Letting a small groan escape from his lips, he pulled Temari closer and snuggled into her neck, causing her to giggle in her sleep. Then he heard the snickers, the smaller sounding one obviously came from Kyu. He would have that sound forever ingrained in his memory. The other he couldn't quite place, he heard it before somewhere but couldn't remember where off the top of his head.
Finally cracking an eye open, he looked at the source of the snickers. Standing at the foot of his bed was Kakashi with a Kyuubi style hat, correction that really was Kyuubi. Letting loose another groan, he untangled himself from Temari. Sitting up, he gave the two a pointed glare before turning to look at the beauty sleeping next to him. He reached over to rouse her but an arm on his shoulder stopped him. Turning, he found himself staring into Kakashi's face.
"Let her sleep Naruto, she was really worried about you yesterday." Kashi said in a quiet tone as he gave his student a hidden smile.
Naruto gave her a glance before getting up out of bed softly as he could so he wouldn't wake Temari. Once standing, he smacked Kashi upside the head, launching Kyuubi through the open the doorway. As soon as they were out of ear shot of the sleeping girl, he would get to the bottom of the sneaking pair. Walking slowly, Naruto felt various pops throughout his body, a sign that he was healed a little too well. The pops being caused as bones were being placed in their normal spots and full range of motion brought back.
Walking into the kitchen he gave Shika and Kisame a small grunt, the typical morning greeting at the house, as he walked to the fridge for some juice. As the liquid poured down his throat, he let his vision travel up to the rafters, only to see some remnants of food splattered across a few of the beams. Shaking his head slightly he looked towards the resident cook of the house.
"Kisame, what are you making?" Naruto asked as he placed the juice bottle back in the fridge.
The man in question looked up from his work to give his friend a smirk.
"You'll see when it's done" The large man said as he popped another piece of sugared dough into the dish.
"This isn't going to make us sick again right? I don't think Itachi will ever forget the buttermilk incident."
"Hey now, I didn't tell him to leave it out of the cooler all day last summer. Besides me and you were fine; not my fault the Uchihas have weak stomachs."
Naruto just shook his head as he noticed a nude Kiba strolling into the kitchen with Akamaru at his heels. Normally this was an everyday occurrence as the boy liked to feel the breeze on every inch of skin and Naruto would look past this as a quirk not that it mattered. All of them were guys and as far as he could tell, none of them looked at each other in different light. It was then Naruto realized something, it wasn't just the guys here at the moment. There was a girl sleeping in his bed, and she didn't need to see Kiba's bare ass in the morning. This was a situation that needed to be remedied…
Temari rolled over in sleep, only to be disappointed that she was now alone in that big bed. Groaning, she sat up and rubbed her eyes, blinking a couple times to clear the blurriness from them. Now that was done, she took a moment to take in her surroundings. At least this time she knew she would be sleeping in Naruto's room and wouldn't have any surprises popping up. This was a good situation! It would give Temari a chance to snoop around and that was just what she did.
Using every technique she was taught in the rules of observation and intelligence gathering she began her search. First thing she did was search underneath the bed, only to find it bare with the odd bit of dust. Next she checked his dresser, Shika had told her that Naruto read that abomination and it was her sworn duty as a woman to destroy all copies she came in contact with. With this line of determination she continued her search.
A few minutes later…
Temari was having a conniption. She had searched everywhere in Naruto's room, through his dresser, behind the mirror that hung on the wall, even between the mattress and box springs of his bed. Where he could hide those books, she didn't know. The only place she didn't look was his night stand. 'Wait a minute, how could I miss such an obvious place?' Temari thought to herself as she walked over. It did make sense, Naruto was a guy, and most likely did 'guy' things, so he must've kept his books nearby for easy access.
Throwing a glance to the door and listening for a minute to see if Naruto was coming back. Hearing only the sound of her breathing, Temari slid the drawer open only to find a cigar case, an ashtray, and a lighter. That was it, nothing else. If she was Sakura, she surely would've screamed in anger. But she wasn't like that, well not most of the time she did have a limit and certain buttons could be pushed to bring that limit to the surface. Heaving a sigh, she flopped down on Naruto's bed.
It was one thing after another when it came to discovering things about another when it came to Naruto. Now she had the thought of Naruto as a smoker to think about. She just hoped he wasn't as bad as Asuma. She had been around the man several times when she hung with Shika and she could see why Kurenai tried to get him to quit. The man reeked of cigarettes, to a point that Temari wonder how he managed to complete any mission that required any form of stealth. She never understood how people could smoke like that, not only that it will kill you at some point; it can turn your teeth yellow and make your breath stink, heck it was one of the things a lot of apartments won't allow.
But how did Naruto cover the fact he smoked. His room just smelled… fresh, similar to how the morning after a rainstorm smelled. Then there was the fact that he himself didn't smell of smoke, 'or taste like it' she mentally added with a mild blush. Reaching into the drawer, she pulled out once from the pack and drew it under her nose. While it was still wrapped in plastic, she could smell a hint of cherry. Pulling it back, she held it out and examined it. It didn't look like any type a cigarette she knew of. First thing that set it apart was the bit of wood at the one end, it seemed reminiscent to a mouth piece of a woodwind instrument. It looked like something she would see a yakuza boss have clamped between his teeth while the boys shook down a store.
Oddly enough this drew her imagination to draw an image of Naruto as a yakuza boss. She could imagine how he would look with a blood red kimono, left open to reveal a stomach wrapped with white bandages, holding a wooden katana over his shoulder. Needless to say it was a sexy image that even inner Temari approved of.
Letting her curiosity get the better of her, she got up from the bed and walked to the mirror Naruto had placed on the wall. Unwrapping the cigar, she placed it into her mouth, finally realizing what the tip was for, it was a bit. Turning to face the mirror, she mustered up her toughest tough girl image, as if she was yakuza herself.
"Myah…" Temari started to say as she looked into the mirror. "We can do this the easy way lady, or we could do this the hard way myah…"
Naruto smiled to himself as he walked to his bedroom to wake Temari up for breakfast. Moving to the side as Kiba passed, obviously not happy with the 'talk' Naruto and Kisame gave him about being decent in the presence of a lady, Naruto made his way to the door. Opening it quietly as he could incase the girl was still sleeping, he came up another scene that will also be etched into his memory till his death.
Temari wasn't asleep as he thought, instead standing in front of his mirror, talking to herself in her sleeping clothes which consisted of her boy shorts and one of his tees, and she had one of his cigars in his mouth. Only one word came to mind to describe this scene, it was pure sexiness.
"Beautiful" Naruto whispered to himself as he watched.
"I agree" a voice said from below.
Naruto broke his sight from the girl to look down, only to see the long white hair of Jiraiya below him, sketching madly in a notepad. Naruto did the first thing that came to mind, slamming the door shut on his teacher's head, stunning Jiraiya and alerting the girl that she had an audience. With the groaning man away from the door (aided by a foot to the face) Naruto let himself in.
Throwing the slightly blushing girl a glance he had to ask one thing…
Temari was about to say something when she heard the sound of a door slamming into something other than a door jam. Spinning in the direction of the doorway, she found herself staring at a smirking Naruto. Realizing that her childish antics had been observed, she blushed. She didn't even think to remove the cigar from her mouth as she waited for him to say something.
"Myah?" Naruto asked, amusement shining in his eyes.
Temari could feel her face heat up. She hadn't expected for him to hear that. Hell, she wasn't even sure if it was a real word or not, it was just something she expected to hear a gangster say. She didn't even notice Naruto move towards or the fact that he pulled his cigar from her lips.
"Do I want to know?" Naruto asked as he pulled his lighter from the drawer and headed to the window.
"What?!" Temari yelled, "You act like you never fooled around."
Naruto just gave her a look as he opened the window, pausing to take in a scent he didn't recognize. It seemed to be a mix of talcum powder and some type of flower, in his subconscious he recognized it from somewhere but the need for nicotine came first before memory retrieval. With the window open he turned around so he could sit on the sill and lit up. He smiled to himself as he observed Temari watching him smoke. Tapping a bit of ash outside, he decided to make some conversation.
"You know Tem-chan, while I do appreciate the view. It would perhaps to be wiser to wear something more than your sleeping clothes."
Naruto just gestured to her attire as he took another drag, chuckling mentally at her expression as she realized she was once again flashing Naruto her underwear. Once the blushing stopped, she gave Naruto a glare that would have frozen liquid nitrogen.
"You just going to stare or you going to let a girl have some privacy so she can get dressed?"
"It's nothing I haven't seen before." Naruto said casually, not expecting the reaction he received.
Temari's glare just turned absolute zero, Naruto had to give in to her demands, lest bodily harm would incur.
"Fine, I'll look out the window while you change, I promise I won't peek."
"How can I believe you? You did train with that pervert." Temari stated with a bit of disdain, disdain that Naruto hoped wasn't focused on him.
"Temari, you know I don't break promises, it's my ninja way."
Hearing this, Temari let her glare up, giving herself a moment to examine Naruto as he smoked. He still was in his sleeping clothes as well, and for once her inner and herself could agree on something for once, the view was awesome.
'But enough of staring at him girl; get dressed so we can eat. I don't know about you but I'm hungry enough to eat a horse.'
'How can you be hungry? You're not even real!' Temari mentally shouted as she watched Naruto smoke.
"Okay, I'll trust you this time, but you better not peek." Temari spoke as she gathered yesterday's clothes, receiving a grunt for an answer as Naruto mumbled to himself.
'Jesus, all I did was train with the old man for a few years. While I'll admit I did pick up some traits and quirks from him; being an open perv isn't one of them,' Naruto voiced mentally as he listened to the sound of shuffling cloth. He tapped another bit of ash outside when he found his vision blocked, pulling the offending material away, he noticed that it was a shirt. The shirt Temari wore to bed to be exactly. 'Which means she topless behind me…'
Naruto tried to will his body to listen to him, as it turned on its own accord so he would be able to see Temari's half nude form. Luckily she was dressed and in the process of fixing her hair and hadn't noticed that he didn't exactly keep to his promise. Then he felt something he would never want to feel again. He had forgotten that he was still smoking, and a bit of hot ash fell in his lap when he turned. Naruto didn't even realized what had happened till it burnt through his underwear and started on his thigh…
Shika laid in his bed, marveling at how soft the mattress felt. First thing he had planned to do if, and he did mean if in this situation, moved out. He would have to ask Naruto where he bought the beds. He was sure that all the Nara men would bow to him if he suggested replacing their beds with this type. But alas it was midmorning and even though he wanted to sleep longer, his body didn't.
So with a heavy heart he had to leave the inanimate love of his life and start the day. With a groan that sounded oddly like an elk in rut, he made his way to his window for a morning smoke. Reveling in the morning breeze, he lit up. He had a chance to take one good drag before a shout and the sounds of someone hitting the ground a couple windows down.
Ignoring the need to say troublesome, he looked to the source of commotion, only to find himself laughing to an almost hysterical degree at the site. One of his best friends and the friend, who was graciously letting him crash here, was lying on the ground quickly patting his crotch and one leg furiously while cursing. It took a moment for him to realize what had happened and the laughing stopped. It was obvious that Naruto had dropped hot ash into his lap, one of the lesser known dangers of smoking, well lesser known compared to heart attacks and lung cancer.
Shika was about to ask Naruto if he was okay before he was beaten to the punch when he saw Temari's head sticking out of Naruto's window. Now this caused to the resident genius to raise an eyebrow. He knew Temari had spent the night once again (he still had the bruises to prove it) but he was sure that she went to one of the spare rooms to sleep. Now that he thought about it, she was supposed to sleep in the room next to his, meaning she must've snuck out in the middle of the night…
Realization hit home, her asking all those questions about Naruto. She had it for Naruto, in a sense this made him feel bad since that would have meant she was moving on. 'Now that I think about it, maybe it's time I do the same. I can't be the only one from the crew without a girlfriend. Just need one that I can keep away from ma…'
One can say that breakfast at the Namikaze estate was interesting at the least, crazy at other times though. But what would you have expected when you put people with each of their own eccentric ways together. Temari had seen many a strange things in her life, but this scene was soon to take the cake. All of the housemates were sitting around a large table, waiting for Kisame to bring breakfast, well maybe not all. Itachi appeared to be sleeping in.
As she sat next to Naruto at the head of the table, she looked at the others. Jiraiya and Kakashi sat directly across them, the former scribbling in a notepad as the latter whispered into his ear and threw glances at the two. Kiba and Akamaru sat to the side, both practically drooling as they waited for food. Shika was in the kitchen talking with Kisame as he put coffee into a carafe and put some orange juice with glasses on a tray to bring to the table. Temari idly wondered if this was like breakfast with a large family was like. Turning to the boy next to her, she noticed that Itachi finally had graced the group with his presence, and it took all her will not to bust out in giggles.
One could say Itachi wasn't exactly a morning person. He didn't like to sleep late, but with the amount of sugar he took in during an average day, the coming down from the sugar high put him in a coma-like state whenever he hit sack. While he slept like a log, he did move a lot in his sleep, usually resulting in bed head that would rival lightning strike victims. This morning would be no different. Add to the fact his three long time companions seemed to be able to wake and be ready for the day. Itachi was the opposite; he needed outside persuasion, usually in the form of cold water or coffee. Luckily for him he could get the latter.
"Morning Itachi," Naruto chirped, inwardly chuckling at the man appearance.
"Hnn?" Temari seemed to ask Naruto, he would surely have a way of translating the man's more primitive vocalizations.
"That's Uchiha for 'morning'" Naruto whispered to her.
"Hnnnn?" Itachi grunted out as he looked at the table in search of something.
"He asking where the coffee is," Naruto whispered once again.
Itachi was about to grunt once more when Shika placed one of the carafes before him. Forgoing the grunt, he quickly poured himself a cup and downing it. After a moment, the drink took effect and Itachi looked more awake. Now his black eyes were watching Kisame's every move. While he wasn't afraid of the man, he couldn't say the same for his cooking. A large percent of the time he stuck with the things that were tried and true, but the other times… Itachi had to get his shuddering under control, lest it be thought of a sign of weakness. Thankfully this has changed since Naruto had new housemates.
While Itachi was reminiscing, Kisame was putting his latest creations on two plates and bringing them to the table. He was well aware of the various stares he was getting but he ignored them. Placing a plate at each end of the table, he spoke.
"Dig in kids."
Most of them were hesitant at first. All waiting for their resident taster…. meaning Kiba, to try it first. All watched as the feral man pulled a piece away from the rest and popped it into his mouth. They had watched for almost a full minute to see if Kiba would show signs of something wrong with the food, so far it looked like it wouldn't mess with them. Hesitantly the rest began to pull pieces for themselves, Temari would have been the first, but Naruto had stopped her, while giving a look that told her to wait. With each of them giving each other a glance, they began to eat.
It was a situation that made Kisame chuckle as he watched the others tear into his creation. Eventually the plates had been stripped of their doughy sugary goodness and normal conversation would begin and begin it would, if only Jiraiya had kept his mouth shut.
"I must say you two kids make a cute couple."
Jiraiya stated it, hoping to get the reaction he wanted so. After all Naruto wasn't one for taking any comment with a smile, no matter the type, and this was just like every other time.
"What are you getting at old man? Naruto asked, his eye brow ticking.
'There's the Namikaze tick, the way he's going he'll be the second coming of Minato!' Jiraiya thought to himself as he thought of how else he could push the blonde's buttons. 'I know just the thing…'
"Well what's the situation then? Are you two friends? Are you dating?"
"IF you must know, Temari-chan and I have decided to try and date" Naruto said as he hugged the silent girl closer to him.
"Dating you say? So that would explain why she was sleeping in your room when I checked up on you this morning before my bath."
One could almost hear a pin drop, well maybe if you could get over Kakashi and Kiba's snickering, Shika's mumbling, Itachi and Kisame's chuckling and the sound of steel under strain. Naruto glanced at Temari, noticing the she was trying to make herself look as small as possible. That clinched it for Naruto, Jiraiya was going to die. He didn't care if the old man embarrassed him, but when he embarrassed a girl he cared about…
Grasping a teaspoon, Naruto lunged, he wasn't quite sure how much damage a spoon could do to a Sannin, but he was going to find out with a quick field test. He had almost struck flesh before someone interrupted his forward momentum. Glaring at Kakashi as he held the collar of his shirt, then he heard the giggle. Turning from the cause of his ire, he gave the only person with the double X chromosome a look.
Temari was trying to keep it laughter under control, but snickers and giggles still burst forth from behind her hand. Pausing for a moment, she realized that the rest of the table had gone silent; with all eyes on her she finished with a small snort.
With that one question, everything returned to normalcy. Kakashi and Jiraiya were speaking to each other in quiet whispers, while the others just chatted amongst themselves; leaving Naruto to glare at the two perverts. Soon the chatter quieted as they finished their drinks. Giving Naruto a chance to hang out with Temari before he had to leave for his training with Gai. Gathering his dishes as well as Temari's, he stood up to place them in the sink, accomplishing the act as well as giving his lecher of a teacher a glare and middle finger for good measure.
He was walking back from the sink when his good for nothing masked roommate decided to surprise him yet again.
"You know Naruto. You don't have to hurry. Tsunade gave you today and tomorrow off?"
That comment piqued Naruto's interest. From his understanding, the old bag wanted Gai to get his Taijutsu on par with an average Jounin, even if it meant grinding him into the ground to do so. She knew how fast he could heal, hell she saw him recuperate from a hole in the chest in less than a day. 'Something doesn't add up…'
"You have any idea why she gave me the day off?"
Kakashi just shrugged, "She didn't say anything, except no training and that she wants to see you this afternoon for a checkup."
'Great, I know her game plan. Get me all excited for not having to see super brow so I'll be vulnerable, then she'll beat the hell out of me when she gets me alone' Naruto thought to himself.
"Mah mah," Jiraiya gestured with his hand as he finished his coffee, "don't get that look Naruto. You should use this as a chance to take Temari-chan on a real date."
Naruto had to admit, the old perv actually had a good idea for once. But the bad ones greatly outnumbered the good ones. A fact he couldn't help but voice…
Ino sighed as she flipped through her magazine as she voiced her thoughts to the empty store, "Today is just going to be one of those days…"
"I don't see why I have to spend my two days off helping you piglet," said a voice to her side, "I could be out there trying to get Naruto to go on a date with me, but no, I'm stuck here watching your flower shop with you."
"Sakura, you are my best friend, you wouldn't let me suffer this boredom alone would you?" Ino asked, fluttering her eyes at the pink haired girl next to her.
"Yes Ino, I would let you suffer in this situation. Why would I, a young maiden in search of true love, with a hellish career that barely gives her a chance to relax, want to spend her first bit of vacation in a long time watching over a store?"
"Because you're my best friend?" Ino asked a glaring Sakura, resulting in the glare turning borderline murderous, "Fine! Lunch time is coming up; you can go out and pick something up while I tend the counter."
Sakura immediately perked up hearing this, if luck was on her side she might be able to find Naruto and ask him to join them for lunch…
Naruto walked slowly through the village, aware that some of the populace was watching him. 'Least I remembered to wear a mask this time' Naruto thought to himself as he examined his attire. It just consisted of some khaki pants with a navy blue long sleeve shirt that he rolled up to his elbows. Nothing that should have been out of the ordinary, well the mask made him look like a relative of Kakashi. Naruto still wondered if that could be taken as a good thing or not.
Glancing to his right, he couldn't help but chuckle at the sight of Temari as she held his arm close, all the while glaring at every female that crossed her line of sight. 'She seems to be a bit possessive doesn't she?' Naruto mentally asked himself as he looked to the left. Walking along with Temari and himself was the rest of the motley crew minus Kiba and Akamaru. 'Okay I can understand the staring now.'
"What are you staring at brat?" Jiraiya asked.
"Just wondering why are all of you following me and Temari-chan."
Jiraiya just snorted, "You're not the only one who has appointments. I'm taking Kakashi with me to meet my publisher, something big came up that needs my attention."
"Oh, can you tell Mrs. Mishimodo I said hi, old man?"
Kakashi's ears perked up when he heard 'Mrs.', he always thought the publisher for Icha Icha was male, since it seemed to be the bane of every woman's existence.
"Yeah yeah, I'll be sure to tell her that for you. No idea why the rest of you are here though," Jiraiya asked the others.
"I do have a job, you perv," Shika grunted out as he lit up, "Tsunade-sama has something big that she wants the Intelligence bureau to figure out."
"I need to do some shopping," Kisame stated quite clearly.
"I have no idea," Itachi said, noticing everyone was staring at him, "What?"
Everyone soon parted ways after that. Jiraiya headed towards the secret location of his publisher with Kakashi in tow. Kisame made his way towards the market district with Shika heading to work. Leaving Naruto, Temari, and Itachi to the own, the latter quickly disappearing to the rooftops, leaving the formers to decide what to do next.
"So…" Naruto began.
"So…" Temari followed.
"What do you want to do now Temari-chan?"
The girl in question stood there for a moment in thought, before speaking her mind.
"You are going to walk me to my apartment so I can get cleaned up and into some clean clothes, and then you're going to treat me to lunch at any place of my choosing."
All Naruto could do was nod and agree to her demands. Once again he offered her arm to take and told her to lead the way.
It didn't take long for them to reach her apartment. Hers was located in a building that was a few blocks away from the village wall. First thing noted was the fact that the building seems to share the same architecture as his old apartment. All the entrances to the apartments were located on the outside with concrete halls and stairs leading to each floor. Naruto honestly expected her to be have one of those apartments that had a front desk as well as a doorman, considering that she was the Kazekage's sister.
Pulling himself from his thoughts, he followed the bouncing blonde up three flights of stairs, giving him a sense of déjà vu, his old apartment was on the fourth floor after all. As they walked down the hallway, he began to mentally count the doors they passed. 'If she stops at 410 this is going to from weird to plain creepy.' And as fate would have it, the two stopped just outside that door. Temari not making any movement or indication that she was going to open the door and let them in.
"What are we waiting for, an invitation from the council?" Naruto asked as he looked around, worried that people would recognize him.
"Can you turn around for a moment I need to get my key out." Temari asked while blushing mildly.
"What, afraid I might take it? Probably hid it under your doormat or something right?"
"Yeah…" Temari glanced to the side, "let's go with that."
Naruto shook his head as he turned around once again to give her a bit of privacy. After a moment and the sound of some cloth moving, he could hear the key enter its hole and the sound of the locking mechanisms, he felt it was safe to turn around. Letting Temari through the threshold first, he took his time to look around the apartment from the doorway.
It had the exact same layout as his old apartment did. The door led into a large room he would've called the common room with the kitchen and living room taking the same space, the only light coming from small opening in the curtains. He waited till he was invited in, one of the few manners Kisame managed to beat into his head on their journey.
"You don't have to stand out there Naruto. You can come in you know."
Seeing that he got his invitation to enter, he stepped through and began his further examination of the small apartment. He could now see that it was shaped like a rectangle; there was a short hallway to his left that led to two rooms. Naruto assumed the first door would be the bathroom, with the following one the bedroom, same as his apartment. He was interrupted from his inner musing when he felt a light tap on his shoulder.
"Make yourself comfortable Naruto, I won't be gone long. Why don't you watch something?" Temari said before she walked to her bedroom.
Naruto nodded to her before flopping down on the sofa. If luck was with him something on the TV could keep him occupied till Temari was ready to go, but he was reminded why morning programming sucked. Out of the thirty channels Konoha had, only one had anything on that could be barely considered decent and that was a game show hosted by a man that had to be older than Tsunade.
Naruto watched for a few minutes, mentally shouting at the contestants for their idiocy. The last straw was the old man who overbid on a washer by several thousand ryo. Holding back the urge to hurl the remote through Temari's TV, he shut it off and stood up; all the while grumbling about idiotic elderly and old men's needs to castrate pets. With that off his chest, he took his time to look around the room he sat in.
It was even obvious to him that this apartment belonged to a girl, one with a love of all things purple or lavender. The walls were finished in a light shade of purple while the curtains were a dark violet. 'In a way it fits her' he idly thought as he wandered around the room. Then he saw them along the balcony, several plants that looked like they had seen better days.
Now being one that practiced gardening and had an apartment of well tended house plants, Naruto had to check them out. Walking to the window, he pushed the drapes aside and opened the glass doors. Seeing that the doors led to a balcony would be an overstatement, it was more of a ledge with iron rails placed to prevent someone falling out, but it was enough to hold several plants. A few that Naruto easily recognized, such as the aloe and poinsettia plants, but he could see that they needed some attention. So like an experienced gardener he liked to claim to be, he stuck his index finger into the soil of the closest pot, finding it to be dry as a desert. 'Hmm, poor guys probably haven't been watered in a few days, and with the weather being so hot. I can honestly say I'm surprised that these haven't died yet.'
With this bit of information, he looked around for something that he could use to water the plants, before finding an old watering can tucked between one of the pots. Grabbing the tin implement, he walked to the sink and began to fill it, idly wondering what was taking Temari so long, completely unaware of the blue-green eyes that watched his moves from around the corner.
Temari smiled to herself as she watched Naruto check her plants while mumbling to himself. She was surprised how caring he seemed to be towards the inanimate things while mildly disappointed in herself for forgetting to tend her plants for the past few days. Especially so considering that she always told people that gardening was one of her hobbies. But this wasn't the time to bite her own head off at her irresponsibility. It was time to cause a bit of mischief.
Padding silently to the completely unaware blonde, Temari prepared to give him a small nudge that would make it seem like she was attempting to push him off. It was childish but Naruto was a ninja, he would be able to catch himself in case something went wrong. Seeing that the plus of having a good chuckle overrode the thought that she might kill her pseudo boyfriend went through with her plan. Reaching forward, she gave him a push, with more force than planned, sending the blonde man flying over the edge, Naruto screaming the whole way down before ending abruptly.
Fearing the worse, along with the fear of how she was going to explain to Gaara that she had killed his best friend, she peered over the ledge. Lying on the ground in a growing pool of blood was Naruto. Never did it occur to her that his skill as a ninja as well as adaption of the shadow clone jutsu or the fact she should always look up when in the presence of the legendary prankster. No, the fact that she killed the target of her mission took precedence.
It wasn't until she noticed the sound and presence of a snickering man above her, did she tear herself from the corpse on the ground below and look up. Seeing Naruto alive, Temari felt relief flow through herself, then she noticed he was laughing at her. Glancing back down at the seemingly dead Naruto, she was surprised to see him lying on his back, waving before dispersing in a cloud of smoke. Growling at the fact her prank had been turned against her, she glared at the now chuckling man above her. He would have to pay, in more ways than one…
Kakashi followed Jiraiya through the back alleys of the market section, both pausing at the sounds of anguish that was oddly familiar to them, before continuing their way. As they passed shop after shop, Kakashi noticed something odd about this place. Every one of the shops were manned by old people and he didn't mean old like someone in their sixties, these were people whose only noticeable feature was the lack of features, it was just sagging flesh.
After passing the umpteenth store run by the elderly, they stopped at what appeared to be a pharmacy/alchemist shop.
"We're here." Jiraiya said quietly as if not wanting to alert anyone to their presence.
Kakashi just nodded at his superior's words before following him into the small shop. Once inside Kakashi took note of what he saw on the various shelves and bins that lined the walls. On one shelf there were boxes of something that he couldn't identify, next to a basket filled with dried lizards. All that seemed to be missing was a hand floating in a jar of preservatives. Biting back the shudder that threatened to break, Kakashi followed Jiraiya to the counter where the owner seemed to be napping.
Kakashi just stood there, trying to look as professional as he could as he waited for Jiraiya to do something, like check if the man was asleep or passed on, but when a black eye snapped opened and glared at him, Kakashi couldn't help but jump in fright. Then another black eye joined the first before turning towards Jiraiya. Both old men looked at each other for a moment before the owner seemed to fall back asleep.
"Mishimodo is in the back waiting for us. Follow me and just keep silent unless spoken to and whatever you do, do not harm her cats in any way."
Kakashi just gulped and nodded in understanding. Whoever this Mishimodo, she must be somebody big for even making Jiraiya act serious. Maybe a mob boss or something else as nefarious, or possibly a relation to the Daimyo. Whatever it was, it was enough for him to warrant being on his best behavior. Straightening his posture, he once again followed Jiraiya as they walked towards the back of the shop. Passing boxes and boxes of things that were all foreign to Kakashi, when they finally got to a closed door. Jiraiya was about to knock but a voice from inside ushered them to enter.
Seeing the invitation to enter was given, Jiraiya slowly opened the door but not before giving Kakashi one last look before entering the room. Kakashi understood what Jiraiya had said silently and gave himself a once over to make sure everything was in place before following the larger man. Once inside, the first thing he noticed was it was dark, and the air was rich with the aroma of tobacco. Once his eyes adjusted to the lack of light, Kakashi saw that they were now standing in a small office, the owner of which was sitting at her desk scribbling away, only stopping now and then to tap ash from her cigarette into an ashtray. It seemed that she was ignoring their presence completely but Jiraiya remained silent, he was taking his own advice to heart as well.
Finally with one last movement and a stamp, the woman turned to face them. Her piercing brown eyes examined them underneath her sagging brow, starting at Kakashi before turning her attention to Jiraiya. Minutes passed as she stared at the man, before a smile appeared on her face.
"You're late Jira-chan, hadn't sent me a message in so long or even come to visit lil ole me. It was almost as if you forgot I existed…" The elderly woman said, frowning and seemingly trying to guilt trip the Sannin.
"How could I ever forget the first woman to catch me peeping when I was a Genin, much less when she is the publisher/editor of my legendary books?"
Instantly the woman was back into a happy mode, rushing at a speed that surprised the Jounin as hugged the white haired man. Then the fact settled in his mind that Jiraiya had peeped on her, causing Kakashi to shudder as she was quite old and the image of her naked was quite unpleasant, then he remembered Jiraiya saying that he peeped on her when he was a Genin. Which had to be at least forty years ago, which meant she was probably a lot better looking then… but before he could press into his thoughts further, he felt something pressing against his leg.
Looking down, he was slightly surprised to find a grey tiger colored cat rubbing against him affectionately. Kakashi was unsure what to do, Jiraiya's warning was still fresh in his mind, and he wasn't quite fond of cats himself, much preferring to be a dog person and the nightmares of having to retrieve the daimyo's wife's cat still gave him nightmares. But the animal still continued its rubbing, pausing to look up at him and mew at him most pathetically. Finally going against his better judgment, he reached down and lightly scratched at the base of its ears, receiving a purr for his efforts from the delighted feline. It wasn't until he stood back up that he noticed two pairs of his eyes looking at him.
"What?" Kakashi asked as Jiraiya and Mishimodo kept staring at him.
Finally after a minute of an impromptu inspection that left Kakashi feeling mildly disturbed, the two elders turned back to each other and started to whisper to another.
"So Jira-chan, who's the scarecrow?" Mishimodo asked with a small movement to gesture to Kakashi.
"That's Kakashi Hatake; he was a student of Minato, and the teacher to my new apprentice."
Almost instantaneously, the old woman was now across the room and embracing Kakashi strongly, much to his and Jiraiya's surprise. It was quickly becoming something beyond awkward.
"Umm…" Kakashi started, not quite sure what to do in this situation. Looking to Jiraiya who returned with a shrug and smirk, he looked down and stumbled around in his mind to come up with what to say next…
Thankfully Mishimodo decided to speak, all the while nuzzling into Kakashi's chest.
"Jiraiya! Why didn't you tell me our biggest fan was with you and that he's adorable? And where the hell is Naruto-kun? I haven't seen that boy in over a year!"
Jiraiya just chuckled sheepishly while rubbing his head in a Narutoesque way.
"Well, I didn't think Kakashi was that big of a fan…?" He tried to ignore the canvas sack that sat against one of the walls that had the words 'From Kakashi Hatake' emblazoned on its side in red ink. "And Naruto is out on a date."
Once again, in a move that defied all known physics, Mishimodo had teleported across the room and was now tugging at Jiraiya's ear, beckoning him to lean down to her.
"You didn't do anything to corrupt the boy did you? This date doesn't have a lady of the night involved right? We had a long talk about the consequences if something like that happened…" She growled out, letting the threat hang.
" Nononono!" Jiraiya yelled out, gesturing with his hands wildly. "He's out with a nice girl, beautiful even!"
Mishimodo didn't believe him, twisting his ear a bit more painfully, bringing one of the strongest ninjas in the village to his knees.
"She's the Kazekage's sister!"
"Oh, I've heard of Temari-chan, bit of a tomboy, but a nice girl." She glanced at a sack, much smaller than Kakashi's but still grand in its own way with 'From Kankuro Subaku'.
"Can you let go of my ear now?! You're about to tear it off!"
"Bah, suck it up brat. What kind of ninja are you that you can't even take a little pain?"
"A wound from a blade or jutsu is beyond different than someone twisting your ear off! Now what did you want? I already gave you my manuscript months ago and it's going into print next week. Only Naruto has an advanced copy." Kakashi immediately perked up hearing this. "What could you possibly need to see me for now?"
Instantly the mood went downhill. Mishimodo released her hold and strode over to her desk, digging through the contents in search of something. After several moments, she found what she was looking for, tossing the object to Jiraiya speaking as she did.
"We have troubles."
Jiraiya looked down at the object in his hands, finding a book in his hands. Turning it over so he could read the cover, he sucked in a breath as he read the title. In bright, gold print, was the words 'Yaoi Paradise'.
Naruto just walked along Temari as she led him to the dining establishment of her choice, absently rubbing his chest the whole while. His prank on the blonde girl didn't quite turn out as planned. He had expected a slap; maybe a punch to the shoulder after it was obvious that she didn't see the humor in his little stunt. Instead he was greeted to two vice like grips on his nipples, before they were twisted… HARD. He had heard of many forms of unorthodox methods of torture, but they had nothing on what Temari had done to him.
Now he was walking along with a sadist of a girl who seemed to be a bit too pleased with herself. Then there was the feeling that he was being watched, but that didn't really mean anything. He could feel all the eyes on him from the women they came across. Some were small glances accompanied with a gentle smile, others were open gawking. This was nothing out of the norm since he came back to the village.
Now if he had paid better attention to his surroundings, he would have noticed the two heads of hair, one bluish black, the other pure black, which poked over the ledges of the surrounding buildings, or the pink that was weaving through the crowds.
Sakura smiled to herself as she saw that head of blonde hair that stood over the rest of the crowd. From her line of sight, she couldn't see that he was accompanied by a rival for his affections. She tried to call out to him, but her voice was lost over the din of the crowd. Seeing that being vocal was of no use, she decided to watch where he was going, smiling wider when she saw him entering a restaurant that was known for its grilled food.
'Well, look at that, guess I can kill two birds with one stone…" Sakura thought to herself as she made her way to where Naruto has gone.
Naruto found himself blinking, trying to make his eyes adjust to the dimmed atmosphere of the somewhat large eatery. He just stood there looking around, taking in the sights of several couples eating along with an assortment of merchants and what he assumed was their hired help. He just stood there with Temari as he waited for someone to point them towards an open booth or something, hopefully away from people so he could eat without his mask. Now if he could get Kakashi to teach him the speed eating trick and he'd be set.
As he pondered the questions of how Kakashi manages to eat and swallow food in the blink of the eye, and the question of 'Does he even have time to taste it?' a teenager had come up to the two.
"Can I help you?" The girl asked with the chipper tone that all hostesses seemed to have.
"Yes…" Naruto said as he looked for a booth away from people, "Table or booth for two, preferably away from people."
The girl just smiled at the giant of a man before turning to the blonde that stood next to him, before breaking out into a wide grin.
"Are you two on a date?"
All she got for an answer was a stutter from the large man before her, accented with an embarrassed hand rubbing through his blonde hair, in all instances it was very cute, now if she could've seen his face. She was sure that the man would be blushing, but alas all was not right in her world and he had worn a mask similar to that silver haired pervert she had seen wandering the streets. Giggling slightly over the memory of said pervert being chastised by an old woman, she turned to the man's date, surprised that the young woman was glaring at her.
"Um…" The hostess tried to shake the feeling that the blonde woman was trying to murder her with her eyes. "If you two would follow me, I'll find you some seating."
With a nod from Naruto and a still glaring Temari, the young woman led them through the crowd of patrons, expertly weaving between the tables that were arranged haphazardly, before finally stopping at a corner booth. Standing quietly as the two took their seats, giggling slightly as the man had to move in farther so his legs wouldn't interfere with his dates. Once the two were situated, she placed their menus before them before taking their drink orders.
"So what can I get ya two to drink?"
"Sweet tea," Temari practically growled out as she watched the girl write down the order before turning to Naruto.
"I'll take the same please." Naruto said quietly, trying to ignore the cloud of ill intent that Temari was projecting.
The girl smiled brightly before turning and heading back to the front of the shop, leaving the two to do their own things, such as trying to figure something to use to begin the much needed small talk. So with a smile hidden beneath a layer of cloth, Naruto began the conversation, none the wiser to the trouble that was brewing outside.
Hinata growled to herself as she watched Temari lead Naruto into the eatery. As it was standing she hadn't a chance to meet up with Naruto in a way that wouldn't seem odd to the blonde, somehow letting Temari get a chance to hook her talons into him and this would surely not due. With this thought came others unbidden, thoughts of how the blonde had changed over the years, the biggest being his size. Men in fire country held an average height of around five feet eight inches; with very few breaking the six foot measure, yet Naruto was easily half a head taller than that.
Yet he wasn't lanky, everything about his body was proportioned to others. He was built yet not overly so; everything seemed to work as if part of something more complex. Then the thought of proportions came back to her, pulling with itself some desires that were buried deep, bringing with them a mental image that had the Hyuuga blushing most profusely.
Only the small pulse of chakra nearby brought her back to her senses. The pulse was something quite familiar to her, familiar to any Hyuuga really. The pulse signified the activation of the bloodline that brought fame to the clan. Scrunching her brow in thought, she activated her Byakugan, ignoring the light headedness that came with being able to see almost around her, and began to search in the direction she felt the chakra emanate from.
Hinata almost felt her vision bleed into red when she saw the source though. The pulse had come from the rooftop next to her, from her darling little succubus of a sister. A sister she had explained to many times that Naruto was off limits, and one who had ignored her yet again. So Hinata, deciding to be the ever caring older sister, tried to remind her poor delusional sibling that Naruto was forbidden in the only way she knew. With liberal use of kunai with countless Senbon added to the mix.
But alas it seemed that it wasn't meant to be the Hanabi she was aiming at disappeared with a smirk and burst of smoke.
"Shadow clone?" Hinata asked the empty space of the rooftops, before she felt a presence in her blind spot.
"My my, trying to kill your little sister Oneesan? What would father think?" A sweet sounding voice chided, causing Hinata to tense before she swept around in a leg sweep.
The move served its purpose, putting her opponent on the defensive and gaining much needed space, as well letting Hinata blow off a miniscule amount of steam before she could tear into her adversary. So with a glare that would've made her father proud, she leveled her gaze onto Hanabi.
"What are you doing here Hanabi?"
"Oh, just doing some reconnaissance for the mission. Wouldn't do well to get myself into something over my head. You?"
"Same…" Hinata growled out "Thought I told you not to get involved with this? You don't know him. You never talked to him. You don't know his dreams or his aspirations…"
Hanabi interrupted "Doesn't mean I can't get to know him, get close to him, have him tell me about all that. I'm willing to go the lengths for him." She accentuated her speech with a grin that she picked up from her teacher.
Hinata just ground her teeth and glared. 'How dare that brat think of Naruto-kun with such ill intentions?' Her mind whirling at her sister's statement, along with the intent that wasn't spoken and was yet obvious, she prepared to straighten her out.
Tensing her legs, she prepared to leap at her sister, but Hanabi raised a hand to stop her.
"We don't have time to argue Neesan; Haruno seems to have spotted our quarry and decided to make herself known."
Hinata stopped the train of thoughts of harming her sister, turning them into thoughts of Naruto's ex-teammate. If Hanabi wasn't supposed to pursue Naruto, Sakura would have to go over Hinata's dead body before she could even harbor the thought of seeking anything beyond friendship with the blonde. But she was reminded of her partner and competitor that stood next to her. Hanabi was no better than the Haruno in her eyes. She didn't grow up alongside the man she loved; she didn't know his hardships and accomplishments outside the Chuunin exam years prior.
Yet she was in a conundrum. She had to stop Sakura from interrupting his lunch, but she couldn't leave Hanabi to her own dealings. She was too similar to her Jounin instructor for her tastes and would surely do something as devious as Anko was known for. Glancing at Hanabi then back at Sakura's form. She had two problems that needed to be straightened out, but only one was an immediate threat.
So once again she tensed her legs, preparing them for maximum momentum and speed before she leapt…
Sakura felt herself grinning as she entered the restaurant. Ino and her had come to this place several times since its opening and it never failed to impress. Now she had another reason to be here besides the food. Standing just inside the entrance, she turned her head as she tried to locate the blonde that was on her mind almost constantly. It took her a moment of glancing over the heads of the other people who were eating their meals before she spotted the telltale blonde hair that could only belong to one person.
Ignoring the girl that came up to her that asked if she needed a table, she walked towards the corner booth, a noticeable bounce in her step. While her outer appearance was bright and cheerful, inside she was giggling like a schoolgirl as she thought of ways to surprise the blonde before deciding on the 'guess who' approach. Sure it was childish and something immature but it had a cute endearing quality tied to it, something that Naruto would surely get.
So with her plan arranged in her head, her jaw firmly set. Sakura began her walk towards her target. Only to be disappointed when she was close enough to see around his large form and see that Temari was sitting across from him. That was enough to let some red bleed into her vision and I.S. to begin ranting, but then the talk with her teacher came into her mind. Tsunade told her never to back down from a challenge, any kind of challenge, especially those that dealt with love.
So setting a smile back on her face, she quickened her step to the point that she was next to Naruto in a flash, and clasped her hands over his eyes.
"Guess who?" She asked sweetly as she brushed her face against his in hopes of making him slightly flustered, only to be disappointed that he was wearing the mask again.
"Hmm?" Naruto questioned, oblivious to the fact that Temari was glaring at him and Sakura. Instead of wondering why the air got chilled for a moment, he sniffed the air, unconsciously using a bit of wind manipulation to stir the scent particles up and bring them to his nose. 'Hmm, jasmine undertone with cherry. Hints of other flowers along with soil. This has to be either Sakura or Ino.' Dreading the thought of possibly answering wrong and bringing the feminine fury down upon himself, he decided to guess and hope for the best. "Sakura?"
Instantly the hands were off his face, the sudden intrusion of light causing him to blink a couple times till his eyes adjusted. Then with another blink he could see the hair that framed the face next to his. He was lucky, he guessed right and thus prevented a beating. Then he noticed Temari. He tried to ignore the glare, he really did, but the fact that Sakura had yet to move. Preferring to rub her face against his.
"Um… Sakura?" He asked quietly.
"What are you doing?"
"You smell nice…" Sakura continued her ministrations, ignoring Temari whose grip on the edge of the table was starting to splinter some of the wood.
"Okay… that's good to know. Any other reason you're here?"
"Well…" Sakura started, trying to figure out how to word what she was going to say next, "I came here to pick up some lunch for Ino and myself."
"I bet" Temari cut in.
Ignoring the remark from the sand Nin Sakura continued. "Then I saw you and decided to come over and say hi. So what are you two doing here? You on a date?"
"Actually…" Naruto was about to explain it wasn't exactly a 'date' date, Temari beat him to the punch.
"My, aren't you a bright one. I would've thought all those years off the active roster would take a toll on your deduction ability, but you've proved me wrong, even got it in one guess…" Temari ground out, narrowing a glare at her pink haired opposition.
Sakura of course, didn't take the thinly veiled barb lightly, so she answered with one of her own.
"Well Miss Subaku, even though I've been off the active roster for a bit, I didn't let my skills rust, a girl needs to keep herself in shape, mentally as well as physically…"
Naruto just sat there trying to comprehend what was going on; the tension that the two females seemed to be emitting was confusing. It seemed like they were about to throw down at the slightest thing. 'I mean what's wrong with letting yourself slack a bit…' Yes Naruto may have gained a bit in things, but he was as dense as a lead weight when it came to sensing the atmosphere among the female gender.
"You trying to say something Haruno?" Temari gritted out, clenching a chopstick in her hand.
Needless to say, when a Haruno senses an opening, they swoop in for the kill.
"Just making an observation. Suna must have cold nights, so a little insulation around the midsection probably handy to have."
Naruto just did the only sensible thing at a time like this, though making sure to keep an eye on the blonde across from him. If the way she was gripping that chopstick was anything to go by. Then he caught movement from the corner of his eye, pink hair coming closer and closer. Soon a hand brushed along his cheek, green eyes staring into his blue.
"Well Naruto, Ino pig is waiting for me to bring lunch so I must be going. Why don't we go out for a bite to eat sometime? Just the two of us."
Naruto didn't see it, but he felt the air displace as a chopstick was used as a lethal weapon, and just how close he was to having an extra hole in his head. Sakura though, saw the deadly eating utensil and moved just enough to dodge without it being obvious, brushing her nose against Naruto's. The man in the booth across from theirs couldn't quite say the same; his club sandwich had a wooden spike through it.
"I'll see you around Naruto-kun."
With those words spoken, Sakura sashayed away, pausing only to glance back at Naruto and wink; leaving him with an irate blonde who was murmuring plans of mutilation and decapitations. Naruto wisely chose to keep his mouth shut and wait for their drinks to arrive. So with no words spoken aside from giving the waitress who took their orders and Temari's mumbling. Naruto sat and thought oh how the hell his life became so strange, oblivious to what is happening on the roof across from him or the building crowd outside.
A/N: Had this sitting around for awhile so did a few touch up here and there so I could throw it up. Forgot how much of a pain in the ass starting a new story is so bringing this version out of retirement. As always, read and review. Till next time kids.