No, this story is not discontinued. It's just not updated as often as you (or I) would like. And now enjoy the ninth chapter of Identity Crisis! (Finally.)
Recap: Sasuke's soul is trapped in Naruto's body. Naruto wants to find a way to get Sasuke a new body, but Sasuke's not too happy about the idea. His body is lost, so why be trapped in a weaker body? He'd rather share Naruto's body than be trapped in a lesser being.
Meanwhile, Naruto's long last family still doesn't know about Naruto's houseguests – Sasuke or Kyuubi – and they are expecting quite a bit from him.
Sleeping also hasn't been too easy for Naruto. He keeps dreaming about his father who only gives him cryptic warnings, but he can't figure out what to make of the dreams. Naruto's got a lot on his plate, and it doesn't help that Sasuke takes control of his body when he sleeps. Sasuke's too restless. A restless Sasuke is never a good thing.
In addition to complications with Sasuke, his family (especially his great-grandmother) has made his life more complicated. His great-grandmother sent out flyers with information about Naruto, stating that he was interested in finding a love interest. Now females have been hounding Naruto in hopes of a romantic relationship with him. He doesn't have time to deal with them as he's trying to get his body sorted out! (Besides, he's got Sasuke – he's taken.) While Tsunade has finally realized that he's not crazy, and that Sasuke's soul is residing in his body, she needs to do some tests to see why he keeps waking up with a different appearance each morning. And Tsunade has some interesting news for the two ninja lovers…
Chapter 9: Real or Fake?
"I think that the other part of Sasuke's soul, may in fact, be residing in another body. To be more specific, I believe that his soul is still residing in his original body."
It felt like the wind had been knocked out of Naruto at that statement, but ironically enough, Naruto felt Sasuke take a sharp in take of breath at her comment.
"His body was burned. We're too late," Naruto said miserably.
"No. There has to be another explanation," Sasuke said defiantly.
"I don't think you're truly dead Sasuke," Tsunade explained. Naruto rolled his eyes.
"Haven't we been through this? Sasuke's soul is inside my body. Of course he's not dead!" Naruto replied angrily.
"No, not just that. I mean, I don't think Sasuke's body is dead. I don't think that the body that we burned was Sasuke's actual body."
"Umm, baa-chan. I think you're-"
"Tell me," Tsunade said, interrupting Naruto, "what happened to Kabuto?"
The question caught Naruto off guard.
"What? Kabuto? I dunno. Didn't he sorta disappear?"
"What happened to Kisame's body?"
"Umm..." Naruto thought for a moment. It seemed like so long ago. Sasuke had been dead, and everyone else had been put on the back burner in his mind. Vaguely he remembered that he had killed Kisame with his odaima rasengan. There had been an explosion that had killed him. At least, the contact should have killed Kisame and maybe destroyed his body, right?
But that wasn't right. The body wouldn't have been destroyed completely. Even if parts of him had been decapitated, the ANBU ops would have picked up the pieces and analyzed them to death. No pun intended.
He vaguely remembered that he hadn't checked Kisame's body because Itachi had engaged him in his sharingan immediately after he had killed Kisame. Itachi had distracted him and everyone else, and then they'd been even further distracted when Sasuke stuck his hand through both of their chests.
Then with Sasuke's death, who had double checked what had happened to Kisame's body? Nothing else had truly mattered to Naruto. What had everyone else done? Had anyone else checked?
"Did Kisame's body disappear too?" Naruto asked worriedly.
"Yes. And do you know what happened to Itachi's body?" Tsunade asked pointedly.
"His body disappeared as well," Tsunade murmured.
"What?" Naruto gasped. Sasuke was livid, and Naruto could feel Sasuke's body tensing, his eyes narrowing.
"How could you lose his body?! He was dead! At least I cut off his head. He was dead, definitely dead!" Sasuke hissed angrily.
"Why didn't anyone tell me his body went missing?" Naruto demanded. Tsunade raised her eyebrows at him.
"You honestly expected us to tell you something like that with the distress you showed over Sasuke's apparent death, and then with your seemingly bizarre claim that Sasuke was inside your head? While I mused telling you as it would keep your mind off Sasuke, I didn't know what it would do for your obsessive nature."
"My obsessive nature?" Naruto asked incredulous.
"Once you put your mind to something, you stop at nothing until you have achieved your goal and gotten your way. You might have done something foolish when there was nothing you could have done without a lead."
"She has a point," Sasuke conceded, thinking it over. He knew that many considered him to have obsessed over his revenge against his brother, but at the same time, Naruto had also obsessed over his training to become the best shinobi possible and to help Sasuke. Naruto's obsessive nature might be worse than his own.
"What are you trying to get at? There's a bunch of people missing. What does that have to do with Sasuke and his body? Are you implying you think his body was switched?"
It didn't make sense. What Tsunade was proposing didn't register in Naruto's brain. It seemed too good to be true. Then again, when Naruto looked at all the facts, the outcome actually looked even worse.
Even if for some reason Sasuke's body hadn't been burned, Naruto had seen the chidori wound that Kakashi had given Sasuke. It had gone through his heart. It was fatal. Not to mention what Sasuke had said was right. Itachi was definitely dead as well; Sasuke had cut off his head. So no matter if a portion of Sasuke's soul had attached itself to another body, the other part of his soul would be dead, not alive.
"Something to that extent. Kabuto has known to carry body types to mislead people to think someone is dead. After all, he had a body that was similar in size to Sai's body, and he used a jutsu to make it look like he had killed Sai. While after further examination of the body it was clear that the body was not really Sai, it shows that Kabuto has the capability to make a cadaver look like someone else. Sasuke was with Orochimaru and Kabuto for years. What's not to say that Kabuto wouldn't have been able to duplicate a body to make it look like Sasuke's?"
"Impossible. You cannot duplicate eyes that carry the sharingan," Sasuke said.
"Yeah, I agree with Sasuke, who, er, said you can't duplicate his sharingan eyes. You did check for those, right?" Naruto asked.
"Yes, and the body had the sharingan. But you're forgetting something. Itachi was dead. He also had the sharingan."
"So you're saying Kabuto switched Itachi's eyes out and put them in a look a like of Sasuke?" Naruto said. "I don't believe it. Sakura or you wouldn't have missed something like that."
Even as he said those words, a surge of hope swelled within him. Maybe Sasuke's body wasn't completely gone. They could get Sasuke's body back, and Naruto would be with Sasuke again!
Then the thought of how they had called him obsessive sprung to life, and he didn't mention how excited the news made him. He kept it to himself, ready to follow all leads on that idea when he was sure he could persuade Sasuke at the right point and time that he really did want a body.
"You might be surprised. Besides, it's just a theory. But before I investigate my theory any further, I think it best for you to show me your original problem and the reason you are here spending the night. I want to see what you mean when Sasuke 'takes over' your body while you're sleeping."
For a moment, with the excitement of new answers to how and why Sasuke's soul resided in Naruto's body, Naruto had temporarily forgotten his own issues with Sasuke's soul sharing his body: namely that his body wasn't reacting properly to it.
Of course being pushed down a dark hole into a strange room had also distracted him, and Naruto took a moment to look around, idly wondering if this was Tsunade's apartment.
It was well furnished, and once the lights were on, had a very comfortable look. He had expected the walls to be the yellow-orange rock that Konoha was commonly known for. Instead, the walls were painted a cream color and were decorated with paintings and pictures.
"That's me," Naruto noted with surprise. A picture of himself with Jiraiya was hung on one of the walls. It was a picture that had been taken with Jiraiya during his training outside of Konoha. There had been a festival at the town where they'd stopped, and there had been a booth that took pictures. Naruto had insisted that the two of them should take a picture together.
Jiraiya's arms were crossed, and he looked at the camera with a smug and confident look. Naruto stood next to him, his eyes squinted up in happiness with a wide grin on his face.
"Jiraiya sent it to me to show that the two of you were doing well," Tsunade said lightly. "It was his way of getting out of writing a mission report by showing you were in good health. Not exactly efficient, but I liked the picture."
"Picture?" Sasuke asked.
"This is why you need to get a body so you can see things again," Naruto grumbled, but he grudgingly described the picture and the story behind it to Sasuke.
"If what the two of you say is true, then Sasuke will be able to see the picture himself once you fall asleep Naruto," Tsunade said. She pointed through a doorway off to the right. "The spare bedroom is in there which is where we will observe you. As I said earlier, Shizune and Sakura will also come to help with the observations. While I do care what happens to you, as this is not a pressing matter we all need our share of sleep. They should arrive shortly. Until they arrive, you should prepare yourself, or rather, selves for bed."
Naruto nodded and headed off to the extra bedroom. He hadn't brought an extra change of clothes for bed as Sasuke was still "awake" in his body after Naruto had fallen asleep anyway. Even so, Naruto took off the top part his jumper suit. He wore a black t-shirt and fish-net underneath. He quickly took off his t-shirt so that he could remove his fish-net and put his t-shirt back on to look more casual.
Quickly he went to the bathroom and did his business before coming out again.
"You're quiet," Naruto finally said to Sasuke.
"What was with you today?" Naruto asked.
"Nothing was "with" me today," Sasuke grunted in reply. Naruto rolled his eyes, hoping his "spirit self" was showing his disbelieving movement to Sasuke.
"Why don't you want a body of your own? We could be together," Naruto said grumpily.
"I told you already. I'd never get my normal body back. There'd be limitations. And do you think people would really accept the two of us together as a couple?"
Another thought had also started to bother Sasuke. The idea of being in someone else's body and using that body to pleasure and be pleasured by Naruto seemed wrong to him. Naruto would be pleasing someone else's body. It made him strangely jealous. Not that he would tell that to Naruto though.
"Yes," Naruto answered without hesitation. "Kakashi-sensei and Dokueki already know about us. They're okay with it. And my grandmother thinks it's fine too."
Neither mentioned the fact that Tsunade seemed to think that Sasuke could get his body back. Naruto, ever the optimist, was at least realistic when it came to realizing Sasuke wouldn't want to talk about it. Sasuke obviously didn't mention it because he didn't want to think about the idea. For him, he didn't want to get his hopes up and then have that hope horribly torn down around him.
"What about your great-grandparents? What about Sakura?" Sasuke asked. "How do you think she'll feel when she finds out about the two of us?" Sasuke asked.
Naruto didn't answer. He had thought that his great-grandparents would come around soon enough and see that he didn't really want to be with anyone but Sasuke. Not to mention the fact that he wasn't overly looking forward to their idea of becoming daimyo. It just wasn't his dream, and he didn't feel like he would be able to be a very good daimyo. If he were to disappoint them, he might as well do it all at once. As for Sakura's reaction – he hadn't given it too much thought.
She was their friend. Yes, she'd liked Sasuke, but she'd be happy for them.
"She'll be happy for us," Naruto said confidentially. "Plus, I think she's a closet yaoi-pervert. She's into guy on guy."
"So you mean if I do get another body and we're intimate, she'll want to watch?"
"I didn't mean it like that!" Naruto snapped. Somehow, Sasuke wasn't convinced.
"Naruto? Are you ready?" Sakura's voice came muffled through the door. Naruto started, wondering if she had heard any part of their conversation. Then he relaxed, realizing only if she could hear Sasuke would she know what they were talking about.
She also didn't sound angry, even though she had a right to be. He should have told her about Sasuke. Taking a deep breath, he prepared himself to explain why he hadn't told her that Sasuke was still residing in his body.
"Coming," Naruto said as he opened the door and let Sakura, Shizune, and Tsunade walk in. However, upon seeing all of their serious looks, it didn't quite seem like the time to talk to Sakura as the three women started preparing the room to observe him.
Awkward wasn't a strong enough word to cover how Naruto felt with the way they looked at him when they finished setting-up their equipment to monitor him.
"Umm, what do I do? Just go to sleep?" Naruto asked, looking between the three of them and the bed. Off to the side he noticed they had set-up several chairs to record data from.
"In a minute. First I need to put these on you. They're chakra readers. They'll take a reading of how your chakra reacts during this time," Tsunade said, holding out what looked like small, white sponges. Tsunade peeled off a thin piece of paper from one side, and Naruto could see how one end looked shinier than the other due to the adhesive.
"Where do those go?" Naruto asked.
"One on your back near your spine, one close to your heart, one on your forehead, one on the palm of each hand, and one on the bottom of your feet. Seven in all."
Naruto frowned, looking at the square, sponge-like things. They didn't look like they would be comfortable to sleep with on. Even so, he let Tsunade place one in each spot, doing his best not to watch the way Sakura seemed to look at him sadly. He idly wondered if perhaps Sasuke had had an inkling of how people would react better than Naruto had. She did seem hurt he hadn't confided in her.
Thinking about it more, if she hadn't told him if their roles were reverse, he'd probably be crestfallen too. He resolved to talk with her once this was over.
Once the chakra readers were all on, Naruto lied down on the bed. It felt a bit ridiculous to have the chakra readers on while knowing there were people there watching him, but he closed his eyes to try and sleep anyway.
"Just think of something calming to go to sleep," Tsunade said soothingly.
"Think of me," Sasuke murmured with a smirk. Somehow, Naruto thought that might be more exciting than calming.
And Naruto fell asleep rather quickly thinking of nothing at all.
Sasuke opened Naruto's eyes and sat up.
"Naruto, try and relax otherwise you won't fall asleep," Tsunade said a little impatiently. Sasuke narrowed his eyes slightly at the tone.
"I'm not Naruto."
Sakura's mouth dropped open, Shizune looked puzzled, and Tsunade raised her eyebrow.
"No, no you're not. The voice is Naruto's, but the tone inflection, the posture, and the glare is definitely not his."
"Sasuke?" Sakura asked hesitantly, looking surprised. Sasuke gave a short nod of affirmation.
"I didn't realize how drastic the difference between the two would be. Even though I could read the slight lip movements over Naruto's own, this is very different."
The next few hours Sasuke found himself lounging lazily, talking to Tsunade about his time in Sound as well as getting chewed out about "kidnapping" Naruto and almost killing him. They all spoke as they watched the physical transformation slowly take place. Sasuke's black eyes began to bleed through into Naruto's blue, Sasuke's dark hair replaced Naruto's blond, paws replaced his hands, with an addition of two blond tails to complete the night's transformation.
"That's bizarre," Tsunade murmured. At the moment, Sakura had gone for her shift of sleep while Shizune and Tsunade scribbled down notes on Sasuke and Naruto's join appearance.
Personally Sasuke thought having paws and two tails should result in a more drastic reaction than just 'that's bizarre,' but held his tongue. Naruto would whine if Tsunade hit him while 'sleeping.' The adhesive of the chakra readers was also rather annoying now that it was sticking to the soft, velvety pad on the bottom of his hands and feet-turned-into-paws.
"Shizune, why don't you go lie down for a bit," Tsunade said. Shizune turned to look at Tsunade, looking ready to protest that she didn't need more sleep, but the look on the Hokage's face stopped her.
"I'll leave you two alone," Shizune said wisely. Once Shizune left the room, Tsunade turned her golden eyes to gaze sharply at Sasuke.
"Why don't you want your own body?"
They'd briefly discussed this earlier when Sakura and Shizune had been there, but Tsunade hadn't pressed the issue then.
"I already told you, I won't have my original body back. It will be less than efficient."
"So you're willing to jeopardize Naruto's health and his entire existence just because you can't have your normal body back? Do you realize how lucky you are that you're even alive?"
Yes, Sasuke knew how lucky he was. He knew how lucky that he was stuck in Naruto's body, and not someone else's. He didn't think he would be able to stand being stuck with a person he despised, which was just about everyone other than Naruto.
"It's better all around."
"Sasuke, your soul is pressing for sole ownership of Naruto's body. Your soul is trying to push his out."
The news shocked Sasuke.
"I don't mean to-"
"And because your soul is vying for full attention, Naruto's soul is suppressing yours. Eventually, his soul will suppress yours. If it weren't for the fact that he wants you there with him, you would be a shell of what you are now, locked away in the deepest recess of Naruto's mind."
"If we don't find a body of your own soon, your soul will be locked away in Naruto's body until his death. How do you think that would make Naruto feel, knowing that you are there, but out of reach? Not to mention you would go mad locked away in the recess of Naruto's mind."
What was Sasuke supposed to say to such news?
Tsunade realized he needed time to think, and they didn't speak any more.
"You don't have much time left," Yondaime spoke quietly.
"Time for what?" Naruto asked. He was dreaming, he could tell. Yondaime was speaking with him, so obviously that couldn't be real. Yet for some reason, this dream was different that what had happened before. He felt as though he had been dreaming about something else before this. It felt like he was lying down about ready to wake up. It was also difficult for him to speak. Everything was black, and he couldn't see his father. He could only hear him as though he were in the back of his mind.
"Sasuke's right," Yondaime murmured.
"You said that before," Naruto managed to get out, his lips feeling strangely fat as he tried to speak.
"His body. Only his body will do. Anything else would mean death."
"Body?" Naruto tried asking, but this time his lips refused to move, and his memories were slipping away from him as his body got heavier and lighter all at once…
"Isn't this freaky or what?" Naruto asked, looking at Sakura, holding up his paws, swishing the two tails behind him and tossing his head back and forth to have silky black bangs sway in front of his black eyes.
Experimentally, he stretched his paws and watched as the chakra readers stuck and unstuck slightly to his slightly furry pads of his paws.
"No, this is perfectly normal," Sasuke deadpanned.
"I was talking to Sakura, not you," Naruto muttered.
"It's definitely strange," Sakura said, nodding. There was a twitch in her hand as though she wanted to reach out and pet him. Naruto grinned widely, and swished his two blond tails back and forth in front of her, taunting her. She batted at them playfully.
"Why are you shaking your ass around so much?" Sasuke asked, nonplussed. Naruto gave a slight chuckle, guessing that his soul didn't change "forms" like his body did; therefore it must have looked weird for him to be moving around with non-existent tails.
What Naruto wanted to respond with was "to get your horny," but there were too many people in the room.
Naruto had woken up five minutes previously, and his body was slowly returning to normal.
After another twenty minutes, he looked completely like his usual self.
"So what all did you guys talk about?" Naruto asked curiously, his hands stretched behind his head, feeling strangely at ease.
Despite learning that something was off with his body, that two supposedly dead Akatsuki members' bodies were missing, as was Orochimaru's lab rat, Kabuto, Naruto felt utterly peaceful.
Sasuke was here with him, and his closest friends didn't think he was insane. For the moment, life felt good. It was an illusion; he knew that. Right now, his life was really screwed up, and he only had a fake sense of happiness in that he wasn't able to have what he truly wanted, and the peaceful air wasn't bound to last past morning, but for now, everything felt wonderful.
"Sasuke explained about his time in Sound," Tsunade said crisply. She rubbed her eyes sleepily. Out of everyone, she had gotten the least about of sleep – Sasuke not included. "Come back later tonight. I have several important meetings today. I need some actual sleep before I can face the day." She yawned widely for emphasis.
"But Tsunade-sama, you have a meeting this morning in just an hour with the delegate-"
"They can wait. I need sleep," Tsunade said, waving a dismissive hand.
Naruto snickered, Sakura rolled her eyes, and Shizune looked exasperated at Tsunade.
"How do we get out of here?" Naruto asked, as he walked back through Tsunade's apartment with Sakura toward that weird hole that he had been pushed down. He looked at her walls, his eyes glancing at the picture he had taken with Jiraiya and wondered if Sasuke had actually gone out to look at it.
"Stairs," Sakura said, and she showed a little door in the wall that seemed to spiral around the hole he had fallen down. "Ne, Naruto," Sakura started.
"Want to go to Ichiraku ramen with me?" Sakura wondered, her eyes looking sad.
Naruto gulped, feeling guilty. He really should have told Sakura sooner. He would almost rather have had her punching him than have Sakura look so sad and disappointed in him.
"That would be great. Sakura," Naruto said, quickly trying to get his apology out in a rush, "I'm so sorry. I should have told you as soon as-"
His apology was cut off as a fist slammed right into his face.
"Shannoro! Damn right you should have told me straight away!"
Naruto lay twitching on the ground, realizing that he had spoken too soon; he'd rather not have had his face punched in.
"Come on," Sakura said, picking him up by his arm and dragging him off. At least she hadn't beaten him too much, and there was ramen to look forward to eating.
Hope swelled in him as they left Tsunade's apartment. Sakura didn't hate him for not telling her. She knew now, and there was an insanely small possibility (but still a possibility) that Sasuke could get his body back. For the moment, life felt good.
Next Chapter: Body Hunter or Snatcher?
Insert standard excuse here for lateness of chapter. You may choose: life problems, wedding planning, internet/computer problems (stupid conficker virus!), writer's block, or all of the above to sate your curiosity as to why it took me so long to update. And before you ask why isn't this chapter longer I have two reasons: first because I wanted to update sooner rather than later, and second, because I would have left another cliff-hangar. I didn't think that would be very nice.
Sorry for the wait and I hope you liked the chapter. ~ Jelp