Important AN: Guys go to my profile and read my little note. It concerns all us internet surfers and quite frankly I getting scared and pissed at the same time.
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto however I do own the Yousobetsushori Yuukai no Uzumaki. If you want details on this go to my profile. Comment on my grammar and such because I want to improve and make it more enjoyable. Tell me a preferred format or something like that. Offer suggestions on fusions too
Disclaimer 2: I do not own the characters that appear from other fields though the OCs are mine. But when and how I'll use them is at my discretion.
Beta: Danni Lea
"Bold" – jutsu being announced
"Bold Italic" – demon lord speech/ inner persona
'Normal' – thoughts
"Normal" – humans/ minor demons speech
Kankuro was not paying attention as the Suna council continued to discuss the current situation. His thoughts were focused on his comatose brother and mysterious girl that showed up in the middle of that deadly mid-air battle. They were poisoned with a toxin no one has ever seen. He was sure that Gaara was immune to nearly all poisons but to affect him that much means that stuff was seriously strong and the medics had no idea how to neutralize or extract it. He can't help but feel sorry for the girl who has no such luck but he had no doubt the girl wasn't normal for one, no one in the long history of Suna had manipulated the winds and sand to that extent except vessels of Shukaku.
He continued to feign attentiveness as the one of them suggested acquiring the help of the revered Suna twins as he was thinking, 'How the hell they create another jinchuriki?! Did they split the demon in half during the sealing? Or maybe Gaara had it transferred?' A scowl made its way into his, for once, paint free face, 'No, Gaara wouldn't wish the life he had on anyone…but I can't think way for that girl to have that much power…unless she's Shukaku.' He chuckled silently as he was comparing a cute teenager with a giant beer-bellied tanuki who could use a trip to a padded cell. Baki raised an eyebrow at his antics before shaking his head in exasperation.
Baki stood up and faced the Suna council, "Now we move on to the next agenda, what is our next plan of action against with Aka Suna no Sasori?"
Upon leaving the village they had chanced upon Temari who was walking home. They briefly explained the situation to her but she stopped paying attention the second they mentioned Gaara was unconscious from a battle with the Akatsuki thus she missed the bit a about a girl saving her brother. She bit her lip as she remembered the cracked cup from earlier when she enjoyed a light snack. "I knew something was wrong," she mumbled silently. It wasn't until Kakashi spoke up did she snap out of her thoughts.
"It will take three days to get to sand with all of us. Let us hurry," gesturing to their rather large squad of six people, two which Temari never seen before. She eyed them curiously before nodding back to him and all them sprinted away at full speed. She turned her head slightly to observe them.
She can't help it but she just couldn't let her guard down from those two even if most the Konoha shinobis aren't worried at all with of the exception of the pink haired kunoichi. She only felt this way when she was around Gaara when he was younger and unstable and only when Natsumi was using her demon's power to fight him in the chunnin exams. She had a nagging feeling that these two aren't normal at all. 'Now that I think about it…' she trailed off in her head as she narrowed her eyes on her blonde comrade, '…this presence…it's the same…is her demon getting stronger?'
On the other hand Natsumi was becoming more and more agitated as she recalled Jiraiya's warning. Their goal wasn't her. It was what was inside her. She impulsively rubbed her now seal less stomach and thought about what had happened in the past three years. She smirked slightly, 'Well at least they'll never capture Tou-san now.' The notion cheered her up slightly and with a burst of chakra as sprinted ahead of the group.
"Oi, dobe get back in formation. Don't go rushing into things again. Didn't your perverted teacher remind you of that," Sasuke called out to her in an annoyed tone as he rushed ahead as well to catch up.
"He was all alone you know," she said in sad tone, much to everyone's surprise. She landed on a nearby branch and released her genjutsu making her tail and ears visible to all before leaping ahead much to Temari's shock and Sakura's irritation. She moved faster through the trees as she was back in her natural body further distancing herself away from the group.
Kurohana and Shirogane exchanged worried glances but kept their silence and increased their pace as well. Natsumi spoke up once again as she ran on all fours like a fox on the ground, "Temari-san do you know why they are after me and Gaara?" Silence greeted her but she continued, "I told you before, haven't I? About my seal, well it seems that what they're after, are the demons sealed in our bodies."
Everyone was silent. Sasuke recalled how she was treated back then and even now. Open animosity and nearly complete isolation. Nobody deserved that, nobody…
"To them we're noting more than a means to an end," she said flatly, "nothing more than monsters that don't deserve to exist…" her tone was strange and terrifyingly calm. Natsumi was closed her eyes for a moment. Now that she thought about it she was the luckier one. She now had a father in the form of her bijuu, grandparents in the form of the Sannin and a brother as her best friend. But in the end she can't help but feel ashamed on forgetting how lonely it truly was as Gaara's past words echoed through her mind.
Resolved and anger burned in her now crimson eyes as she started to use her youki. "We're a lot alike me and Gaara, lonely. He said I saved him from that…maybe I can save him again this time." She turned her head back and let her scarlet demonic eyes stare straight into Temari's.
Temari's eyes widened and she was left speechless. She shivered involuntarily as she felt the awesome and more terrifying power of the Kyuubi wash over her but she kept her silence and thanked the young hanyou in her mind.
'…Uzumaki Natsumi…Thank you…'
They continued to travel at high speeds with Natsumi and her guards in the lead. Noting that all of them were exhausted from continuous high speed travel with the exception of the three demons, Kakashi looked up to the sky and said, "It's getting dark. We'll stop at the nearest clearing."
Seven blurs landed noiselessly in the center of a large clearing, Sakura arriving last. The moment she stopped, she collapsed and sat down ungracefully throwing tired glares at a currently clueless blonde who was discussing something with Kakashi and the two youkai. Sasuke on the other hand has more stamina than her and he just looked slightly winded but in reality he was dead tired. Only his Uchiha pride of not letting anyone see him fall face first into to the comfortable looking ground kept him up. He was muttering a string of curses about annoying blondes who have way too much stamina.
Temari was lying on the ground, all dignity forgotten. They had covered one and half days of travel in just half a day and were near the border between Wind country and Fire country. "I'm going to kill her…" she grumbled from the ground. Honestly were all jinchuriki like this, she barely kept up with Gaara back when they were a team.
"Tch, get in line," spoke the Uchiha as he awkwardly seated himself on a nearby rock. Throwing tired glares at everyone and everything that comes within field of vision. He saw Kakashi lazily argue with his usually hyperactive teammate. His interests pique he wearily made his way over so he can get a better grasp on what they were talking about.
"I'm begging you Kakashi-sensei let me go ahead. Gaara's in danger and we're wasting time!" he heard her plead to their team captain. She had a worried and desperate expression on her face, her ears dropped to the side of her head and her tail wasn't wagging and swaying joyfully behind her like it always did.
Kakashi let out a mental sigh. He really wished he could let her go with her two guardians he really did. But his long experience as a shinobi and his concern as a teacher wouldn't let her. Breaking up the team and making them go ahead would be foolish by distancing themselves from whatever backup the three of them could offer. Other than that their only competent medic was heaving on the forest floor. Also he knew her too well. She would attack the Akatsuki the moment she sees them. She can't fight them without back up, not yet at least.
"Look I know you're worried but calm down. You won't accomplish anything if you arrive there dead tired," he said trying to make her listen to reason.
"But I'm not tired, Kakashi-sensei. You know as well as I do I won't get tired so just send me ahead already. Kuso, the more time we're wasting here the more danger Gaara's in. The Akatsuki that went after him might come back!" she yelled stubbornly back at her teacher.
Kakashi's lazy eye narrowed slightly, "And you'll just abandon us just like that?" he questioned neutrally.
Natsumi gasped and immediately shook her head, "No…I didn't mean it like that…" she trailed off her rubbing her left arm and looking away from her teacher's gaze.
Kakashi sighed audibly this time. He fished out his book, leaned back lazily and walked away after ruffling her hair affectionately, "I know you didn't," he said with his eye in a smiling upside down U.
Kurohana bit her lip and swiftly placed her hand on her princess' shoulder and said, "Hime-sama your heart is in the right place but in times like this is when you need to think with your mind as well." She paused for a bit to let it sink in, "He must also watch out for not only the mission but also his team. That includes you and them. Since you are the only one who isn't experiencing fatigue it is advisable for you to be kept as a sentry rather than a scout," she continued calmly explaining to her why her teacher acted like he did while gesturing to her obviously exhausted teammates.
Her bangs covered her eyes and said, "I know…I'm going over there to train a bit. Is that okay?"
She smiled uneasily but nodded just the same, "Careful not to exhaust yourself Hime-sama." The young blonde smiled at her and proceeded off to edge of the clearing. Kurohana was uneasy leaving her young princess alone but she was held back by Shirogane. Confused she turned to where he was staring at. She smiled as she found Uchiha Sasuke calmly and quietly followed the young hanyou.
She reached in her flame trimmed cloak rubbing a bit off blood on the embroidered containment seal. A rather large and old scroll with the kanji for "Demonic Kitsune Arts" written on it appeared in a poof of smoke. She sighed as she settled down and skimmed down the scroll to the point where she left off, "Let's see…ah here it is, the Kokuhou." (1)
As she was reading up on her new jutsu, Sasuke soundlessly stepped up behind her. She heard him though, through her extremely sensitive hearing. She rolled up her scroll and faced him, "Oi, teme what do you want?" she spat out.
"Just making you won't be going anywhere dobe," he jokingly sneered at her causing to huff in annoyance as she returned her attention back to her scroll. He smirked as lied down right next to her.
Natsumi smiled as she felt the grass shift at the additional weight. Deciding that she had read enough on the technique for the night she rolled it up once again and resealed in her cloak before lying down eagle spread on the grass. A few precious moments of comfortable silence passed as they stared at the evening sky before she asked, "Hey, Sasuke?"
"Hn," he replied causing Natsumi to roll her eyes at his ever eloquent vocabulary. She caught however his underlying curiosity. She can't really explain it but she was always able to read his grunts from annoyed ones, to curious ones, to affirmative ones she always able to tell what he means.
"If you were in my place, what would you do right now?" she asked turning over to face him properly.
Sasuke closed his eyes for a moment as if thinking over his answer before turning his head. To his surprise he found himself staring at her form. She strangely attractive when she wasn't shooting her mouth off, sapphire eyes glisten reflecting the stars in the sky. Golden hair splayed behind her as she tilted her head waiting for his answer along with her blood tipped tail that swayed gently back and forth. He snapped out of his thoughts when said girl punched lightly him in his arm shouting, "Hello? Are you still there Sasuke-teme?"
He sighed audibly and answered in monotone, "I'll wait." He saw her ears droop slightly, but he continued, "Till another group arrives to join mine then I can request to take a full squad with me to go ahead."
He heard her mumble, "Right, standard shinobi protocol." Things went quiet once more as both teenagers lied back down. Natsumi broke the silence yet again and asked, "If I was in Gaara's place what would you do?"
He answered immediately much to her surprise, "I'll get you back as fast as I can so I can scold you on how stupid you are for being captured. With or without back-up," he said in voice full of seriousness and left no room for arguments as he continued to star gaze along with his best friend.
She blinked in surprise in what he just said before smiling contently, "I see." She stood up, dusted herself and stretched her body. She smiled at him once more before turning around and walking away but not before saying, "Thanks Sasuke, I'm going ask Kakashi-sensei for the first watch. Good night."
"Hn, good night," he quietly replied before he turned to his side and decided to get some sleep.
Unbeknownst to the two, Kakashi was silently observing from afar. The Sharingan in his left eye spun lazily as he read their lips to catch whatever they were talking about. He pulled down his hitaite and turned to his companion his only visible eye in a U once more, "See I told you there was nothing to worry about Kurohana-san."
"Thank you Kakashi-san," she said as she nodded and stopped channeling youki in her eyes. She felt slightly jealous and impressed at the reading capability of the Sharingan as she listened to Kakashi relay Natsumi's conversation with Sasuke. Even with her excellent eye sight she can only pick bits and pieces of the words that were spoken. She should have expected as much from a doujutsu that is said to be capable of controlling even her overlord, Kyuubi.
"It was my pleasure Kurohana-san. Now if you'll excuse me I have a student or should I say comrade to attend to," spoke Kakashi as he opened his book and waved goodbye to the fox demon.
"Kakashi-san you care about your allies a lot, don't you?" she suddenly said making Kakashi freeze in his tracks. "I also noticed that you are also itching to run non-stop to Suna right now," she continued with a smirk.
Kakashi looked sheepish as he rubbed the back of head, "Mah, mah am I really that obvious?"
"No not really. Nothing a human can pick up that's for sure. In fact I find it an admirable trait," she droned on as if talking about the weather. "Aside from the high ranking vassals of the Nine Tailed Overlords, like us, most demons do not have that trait. It is rather refreshing," she said as she walked beside him, making their way back to the main camp.
"I'm still having trouble believing that my sensei's daughter is now a hanyou and is the daughter of the Kyuubi," he mumbled shaking his head, "but I promised my sensei that I'll take care of her and I will," he replied lazily as their walk through the forest seem strangely long.
"Is that all the reason that you are watching her for?" she questioned with a raised brow the tone of her voice is unreadable.
"No," he answered confidently looking straight into her amber eyes, "She is a comrade, a friend, and I will never abandon a friend," 'Never again' he thought in the end.
"I see," she replied turning forward with a smile on her face as the camp nearly came to view. They were still out of sight so she swiftly pecked Kakashi's cheek and walked away. Kakashi dropped his book and only eye widened to dinner plates. "Ku-Kuroha-na-sa-san?!"
"All youkai are flirtatious by nature Kakashi," she replied mischievously, "Oh and just call me Kurohana," she flipped her raven hair behind and smirked as she left Kakashi gaping like fish.
A few minutes later and still rubbing his left cheek, Kakashi finally picked up his jaw from the floor when the wind was knocked out of him by a hyperactive ball of blonde yelling, "Where the hell have you been, you lazy pervert?!"
'What is it…? This hand….Is it my hand…?'
Was the first thought that entered Gaara's comatose mind. He looked around and saw only bleak whiteness that seems to go on for eternity. He held his hand in front of him his thoughts swimming with questions about himself… about so many things.
'Have I ever become…an existence needed by anyone…?'
Before he could think of answer a young feminine hand placed hers over his. Gaara turned slowly and gazed at Shukaku in her human form. Her light brown hair flowed behind her, as her golden eyes stared into his teal ones. She offered a soft and sweet smile and said in a powerful yet ethereal voice, "Yes…Gaara…yes you have. By your family…"
Images of Temari, Kankuro and strangely enough Baki appeared behind him. Smiling or in Kankuro's case grinning with all his teeth showing.
"…by your students…by your village…"
Matsuri and her team came running from behind him grasping him in large hug. They were talking animatedly around him as if he was part of their group for a long time. Two chunnins that seem to inhabit his office like their house came running towards with an apologetic smile and pointed to the paperwork his partner was carrying. Shinobi he worked with as he made his arduous climb to Kage, waving behind him smiling and cheering him on like in his battle with the blonde bomber.
The figures of the Konoha 12 with their teachers, friends and allies were suddenly standing next to him. Natsumi and Lee came up behind him and placed their arms over his shoulder both grinning like no tomorrow. Kiba was laughing like a mad man next to him sitting cross legged on top of Akamaru with Shino standing behind him in silent support and Hinata waving back shyly. Tenten leaning on Neji's shoulder like he was a wall as the ever stoic Hyuuga mouth twitched upwards in smirk. Sasuke detached but still with them, settled himself with the jounin teachers. Chouji waving with one hand over to him, the other is in a bag of chips, with the ever the lazy Shikamaru lying on the grass giving him a stern nod of support. (Their clothes are like their Shippuden outfits with the change of course in Natsumi's and Sasuke's)
Shukaku placed both her hands on Gaara's stern yet shocked face and moved his head to face her. Her gold eyes bore into his as she leaned in next to his ear and whispered…
"…and by me."
He slowly touched her hand with his. Enjoying their feel against his skin as he slowly placed his other hand on her face. He found himself smiling as he said, "…Thank you."
And then the world went white.
He looked up and saw the white ceiling tiles of the hospital. The first thing he heard was, "See? Told you it would work!" and he was suddenly pulled up to see the room full of with the shinobi of Suna. He turned to the one responsible for his rude awakening.
Natsumi and the Suna shinobis' was cheering with all their worth, while Sasuke, Kakashi and a tall man wearing a black hakama and gi preferred to stay out of the blonde wrecking ball's way. Next to him were Sakura rolling up what seem to be a very large scroll and a long black haired miko who pushed him back into bed. But one thing crept into his mind; he turned his head to the other bed and found Shukaku, hidden under the covers away from everyone, smiling the same smile the shared before in his mind as she slowly dissolved into sand. He found himself smiling once again.
His thoughts were interrupted when he heard a very enthusiastic shout of, "Now let's get ready to hunt down and kick some Akatsuki butt!"
END Chapter Seventeen
Sorry it took so long to put this up…studies and all. But I hope my writing improved over the break. Read and review. Oh wait…
Fox Roar Cannon – (as seen in anime) a devastating youki attack in which an insane amount of youki is concentrated into a ball, swallowed and fired with beam like consistency straight forward. Due to its taxing nature only very high ranking kitsune use this attack. A note is that hanyous should not use this attack recklessly as this could exceed the youki limit their body can handle in one shot alone thus often leaving the hanyou powerless or in a frenzied state.
That's all for now, I hope I didn't made Shukaku's and Gaara's relationship move too fast.
Till next time…
Note from the Beta because she is very sorry: Um, you see… Shadow was supposed to have this up weeks ago, but um…it took a really long time to get this edited because schools was starting back up and I was suddenly a hell of lot busier than I would have liked, and I'm really sorry! It's my fault!