Chapter 11 It's about time, right? Sorry. I'm trying. I promise!

"Naruto! How many times do I have to-" Sakura stopped short in Naruto's doorway. "Naruto?" She hurried to the bed and flung the blankets off. "Naruto!?" Sakura searched the room frantically but Naru was nowhere to be found.

"Okay, calm down." Sakura took a deep breath in and let it out slowly. "She's probably just gone to see the Kyubi." She took another deep breath and tried to relax. Then she spotted a note on Naruto's bed stand. It read,

"Will return soon. Do not worry. Appreciate your understanding."

Sakura's eyes bulged nearly out of her sockets. "WHAT!?"

Naruto wandered the town, searching. "Oh!" She toppled backward as a small boy ran into her. He fell on top of her.

She sat up quickly, helping him up as she did so. He seemed to be in a hurry.

"Are you okay?" She bent over to help him pick up the armful of apples he had dropped.

The boy looked around quickly. "Sorry," he said quickly.

She handed him his apples. "You're not hurt, are you?" She waited for an answer but he seemed preoccupied.

"Hey! You! BOY!"

Naruto searched for the source of the noise the screaming. Three police were barreling down the street toward them. Naruto gasped. She looked behind her but the boy was gone.

"Where did that boy go?" One of the officers approached her as the other two searched nearby stores.

"…I don't know. He..uh-" Naruto froze as she felt movement under her skirt. Crap. "I think he went that way." She pointed down an alley to her left.

"Thank you, Ma'am. MEN!" All three of them took off down the alley.

As soon as they were out of sight Naruto lifted her skirt a tiny bit. "Out!" The boy crawled out from under her.

"Thank you so much! I thought for sure they were gonna get me!"

Naruto put a delicate hand on her hip. "Why exactly are they after you?"

"Uh…heh heh…." The boy put a hand behind his head. "Um…" He blushed a bit. "Well," he muttered, "We were hungry, and we don't have any money. I figured I'd pay 'em back when I got the money."

Naruto ruffled the boy's hair. "What's your name?"

The boy glared childishly as he patted his hair down. "Hindan."

Naruto smiled. "Hindan. That's cute…now, hindan, who is we?"

The boy gazed at her suspiciously for a moment. "How do I know you won't turn us all in?"

Naruto pulled a small purse out of her sleeve. She waved it tauntingly in front of Hindan. "Well," she said slyly, "I WAS going to treat you to ramen…but if you won't tell me how many of you there are…" She shrugged and put the purse back into her sleeve.

Hindan's eyes were huge. "No! No, wait. Um…there's six of us!!"

"Aw," Naruto cooed. "Six of you? And you're all going without food?"

"We get food sometimes. We usually just have to find it somewhere, that's all."

Naruto looked compassionately down at the boy. "And when is the last time that you've had an actual meal?"

Hindan kicked at the dirt with his foot. "I dunno. Dei found most of a turkey last week. We picked off the green stuff growing on it, and it tasted good enough."

"Oh, you poor thing." Naruto shook her head. I guess I'll have to look for Itachi later. She reached out her hand. "I'd like to meet everyone," she said sweetly.

Hindan glanced at her hand, obviously not interested in taking it. "Kay, come on, Lady." He swept past her.

Naruto smiled at the little boy's attitude. "Alright, let's go."

Itachi sighed deeply. He was sitting on the rail of Naruto's balcony, envelope in hand. The day was late, and the cool autumn breeze blew through Itachi's hair, sweeping it behind him. Naruto was not at the house, and though that made his job easier, he felt a strong sense of disappointment at not being able to see her.

"Somehow I thought I'd find you here."

Itachi's head swung around. He hadn't heard anyone approaching.

Hiashi stood in the doorway to Naru's room. He walked toward Itachi slowly. "I think it is time we had a serious talk."

Itachi stepped down onto the balcony quickly. "Sir, I meant no harm in coming up here I only-"

Hiashi raised a hand for silence. "I know you would not Naru. I can see that she means a great deal to you…and it would seem that the feeling is mutual. However, I cannot allow you to be with her as long as you insist on keeping secrets from her."

Itachi froze. "Secrets."

"Yes. I do not know what lead you to believe that no one would realize who you are, but, Uchiha Itachi, I have known since the moment you walked through the front door."

Itachi automatically took a defensive stance but Hiashi remained at ease. "How? No one knows. No one has seen-"

"Seen you in the act? That's true. But that does not matter. I knew you were an Uchiha. You see, I knew you brother."

Itachi gripped the balcony railing, prepared to jump off at any moment. "What?"

Hiashi shook his head. His eyes revealed the pity he felt. "Uchiha Sasuke was…" he hesitated slightly, "Engaged to Lady Naru."

Itachi's head swam. "What?" was all he could manage.

Hiashi stepped slowly toward Itachi. "Itachi," he sat beside him on the railing. "I…am very sorry. I need you to listen to me. Naruto was comfortable with you from the moment she met you. You have to understand that is mostly because she loved your brother. They loved each other."

Itachi shook his head. "No, no. Sasuke never even mentioned-"

Hiashi shrugged. "Why would he? When Naruto found out who he was she was scared. She panicked, and he ran. That kind of pain is so personal; it takes a hold of a person's very soul. I can say with utmost certainty that Sasuke would never share that kind of pain with another living soul."

Itachi's mouth opened and closed wordlessly. After a moment of wordless sputter, he closed his mouth and calmly pushed away from the balcony, launching himself toward the ground below.

Hiashi picked up the envelope that Itachi had left behind. "And Itachi, will you please bring Naruto back? She seems to have run off to find you."

"This is Deidara…and this is Tobi…and this is Kisame, Sasori, and Zetsu." Each child stood as his name was called. Tobi, Kisame, Sasori, and Zetsu all approached Naruto to touch her hands. Deidara stood back and smiled.

Naru smiled at the children, none of whom could have been any older then eleven. "My, there are quite a few of you aren't there?" She looked up at Dei who had still not moved and held out a hand for his. Dei's face showed a tiny bit of uncertainty.

Sasori looked at Dei and shook his head. Then he turned his attention to Naruto. "Don't touch Dei's hands. He has a bit of trouble controlling them sometimes."

Naruto blushed slightly. "Oh."

Sasori giggled. "No, I mean…Deidara, hold your hands up."

Shyly, the young boy lifted his hands. Each had what appeared to be a mouth in the palm. Naruto gasped lightly, and the boy, embarrassed, tucked his hands behind his back. Slowly, Naruto approached him. "Can I see?"

The boy bit his bottom lip and looked at Sasori, who nodded. Dei put his hands out straight in front of him. Naruto put her hands under his, careful not to touch his palms. She looked at his hands and then his face. "It's very nice to meet you Deidara."

"Tobi good boy!" Naruto turned to face the boy who was yanking gently on her skirt. She smiled at the familiar exclamation. He was wearing a mask, which he promptly pulled off for her. He looked like a normal boy except for the bandage over his left eye. Naruto smiled.

"Is this everyone?"

Hindan fidgeted. "Well, there was another but…he left."

"When do you expect him back?"

"Um.." Hindan fidgeted.

Sasori shrugged. "We don't."

"Oh, my. Well…" Naruto took a look around the dingy room. It was dirty, smelly, certainly NOT healthy for young children. "I know we have all just met but…would you like to have a slumber party?"

The boys looked around. Sasori, whom, by this point, Naruto was starting to suspect was in charge, spoke up. "We couldn't ask a lady like you to stay in a place like this."

Naruto smiled. "No, no. I meant for you to stay with me."

"Really?" All of the boys looked excited.

Dei jumped up and down. "I wanna go! I wanna go!"

Tobi joined him with, "Tobi go! Tobi go!"

Naruto laughed. "Alright, let's go." She took a look around. "But first, who wants to eat?"

Again, the suggestion was followed by a riot of excitement.

They left immediately. None of the boys owned anything, so they had no packing.

Naruto took them to a sit down ramen shop. Ramentane was her favorite restaurant. She pushed open the glass door for the boys but as Tobi walked in, he was promptly chased out.

The manager stood in the doorway. "Out!" he shrieked. "Lady Naru, it is very nice to see you but this is out of the question!"

Naruto tilted her head in confusion. "You've never had a problem with children before."

"The children themselves are not a problem! But look at their clothes! This is a restaurant, not a dumpster! I am afraid I cannot let them in here wearing those …rags!" He shut the door.

Naruto stood for a moment, stunned. "Well," She looked down at Dei who was crying and Sasori who was comforting him, his face obviously red with anger for the manager. "Now, it is alright. We'll make it better." She looked down at the children's dirty, torn clothes. "I'm sure you would all like to go shopping?"

Hindan was the only one who seemed annoyed by the suggestion. But, he went along anyway.

Naruto took the boys to a tailor who also refused to let them inside. She told the boys to stay right outside the door while she went inside and explained things to the tailor. A few moments later the man walked out and bowed humbly and deeply to the boys. "Sirs, forgive me. Thank goodness you are all alright. I am so glad that you are alright." He stood and turned toward the door. "Let me get you a few examples so we may find some clothing to suit you. He stepped inside.

Sasori lifted an eyebrow. "Wha-"

Naruto smiled. "I told him you were my long lost ship wrecked nephews."

"And he believed that?"

Naruto shrugged. "What can I say? He's gullible."

Naruto watched the six boys gaping at the rows of fine materials that the tailor had stacked. She grinned. They were all so excited.

"One...two…three…four…five…six of you? Oh goodness!" The tailor shook his head. "Lady Naru, I am afraid that this may take some time."

"Take all the time you need."

"The tailor nodded. "Very well."

The boys poured over materials, obviously amazed by all of it. No one wanted to pick something. Finally, the tailor brought out black shirts and pants for the boys and suggested they change (Mostly because they were getting the carpet dirty). The boys all stripped down on the spot. Naruto turned her back, a tiny bit embarassed.

When the boys were dressed, they ran to Naruto and hugged her legs. They thanked her profusely. Naruto laughed. "Those are only meant to be worn until you get your clothes made."

All the boys were beaming. "We like these, very much," Hindan said.

Naruto looked up at the tailor. "Well," she said. "I suppose we'll take these then."

The tailor raised an eyebrow. "That will be all?"

"Lady?" Dei raised a piece of paper over his head.

Sasori nudged Dei in the ribs. "That's not polite," he whispered. "Don't ask her for things."

But Naruto took the drawing anyway and smiled. "It is very nice, Deidara." She crouched to show the boys the picture. "Do you all like it?"

The boys looked at the Dei's picture. "Oooh…"

Naruto smiled. "Okay," She handed the tailor the picture. I need six of these cloaks. Three hours later, all six boys had black cloaks decorated with red clouds.

Naruto could not help but laugh as she watched the boys walk down the street in their cloaks. They all looked like they were gliding. Like a tiny gang, she thought.

Oh! My babies! hug hug hug hug hug hug hug hahahaha. anywho. thats the end of that chap. i promise im already working on the next one!! Plz review!! And don't be afraid to leave suggestions if you have some