I know its been almost two years. Wow, I've been gone for quite a long time now and I wish to express my sincerest apologizes for just disappearing, leaving my story to rot. But, as I've said multiple times in the past, life calls louder than Fanfiction. But, that isn't the only reason for my absence. The major reason for my disappearance is because I had taken to RPing on the Naruto Roleplay forum. I met a lot of people there, made a lot of friends there as well. They have given me a lot of ideas, and I've made a lot of OC's that I very well may introduce into the story later on.
But, enough of this, please enjoy this chapter of Naruto: Fox with a Dog's Fang!
"Speaking" Kyuubi or Summon Talking
'Speaking' Kyuubi or Summon Thinking
"Speaking" Demon Naruto Talking
I don't own Naruto or anyone/thing from Inuyasha
Slit pupil blue eyes cracked open as a single beam of sunlight shined upon his face, earning a hiss of pain to escape his lips due to the brightness of the said sunlight. He attempted to adjust himself, to escape the radiant lights from above, only to his once again as he rolled onto his right arm. His arm felt as if it was disconnected from his shoulder, and his hand had a sensation of thousands of tiny needles being dug into it, from the tips of his fingers all the way down to his wrist. It was an annoying and painful experience to have to endure whilst attempting to sleep for at least a few more minutes.
The blonde let out a low growl of annoyance as he slowly and carefully cracked his eyes open once gain. This annoying soreness wasn't going to be leaving him anytime soon. As he slowly began to rise from his sleeping position, he wondered exactly what the reason behind this soreness was.
"Oh yeah." Murmured the young man groggily as he shifted his gaze towards his right hand. "I finally popped that damn balloon."
Upon those words being spoken aloud, he realized exactly what it was that he had just said. He had popped the balloon, he had popped it last night.
"I FINISHED THE SECOND STEP!" Rejoiced the young man with a grin so large that his cheeks even felt rather strained. He had finally done it! He was finally passed that stupid little road-block that had been an obstruction in his progress for all this time. He could finally go onto the next step to mastering this technique. It was in this moment, grogginess and the soreness in his arm were forgotten, and were replaced with a feeling of great pride in his progress. If he was to sound even more arrogant, he could honestly claim that he felt was on top of the world in this moment.
"SHUT UP YOU BRAT!" That was, until someone decided to make their presence known by smacking him in the face with a rolled-up sleeping bag. This sudden action, resulted in Naruto falling onto his back, surprise clearly visible on his face as he pushed aside the object to gaze at the person who had thrown it at him.
It appeared that, in his grogginess, he had not taken note of the fact that he was in a tent, a forest green one at that. In that same moment, he had not been aware that he wasn't the only occupant in it either. For, not even a few feet away from him, was Hana. Currently, the woman was leveling him with a glare that made it clear that she was not happy with his wake-up call.
Again, not even five minutes upon his awakening, did another realization occure to him. He was in the same tent as Hana. Shifting his gaze to where he once was he found that, from where he assumed he was once laying, was right next to where the woman was currently sitting. That meant that, when he had passed out last night….someone had brought him here. And since he doubted that Hana's dogs could carry him all the way back here and actually get back into the tent meant that it had to be only one of two people.
"I'm going to kill Ero-Sennin." Grumbled the young man to himself as he shifted his gaze towards the exit to the tent.
"Why?" Questioned the woman, easily able to hear the blonde's grumblings as clear as day. "What did he do?"
"He put me in here with you didn't h-" Naruto's remark quickly ceased as a thought randomly occurred to him. "Hey, why aren't you freaking out about me being in here?"
Hana, merely scuffed at the question as she began to stand up to stretch. The tent itself was rather big, big enough to where she could stand just fine and still have a bit of room left above her. "You're just a kid, what do I have to freak out for? Besides, you don't look like the type to do stupid shit to someone while they're asleep…..though I could be wrong."
Naruto had to refrain from staring at the woman as she said this, a thin line of red appearing along his cheeks as Hana stood. She was in nothing more than some rather short, clinging, shorts and a sports-bra. Her hair was down, which stopped a bit passed the center of her back, and the strange tattoo on her right arm was now clearly visible to see. Not wanting to irritate her any more than necessary, he turned his head away from her, finding Fujino's still prone form gazing back at him, her tail wagging frantically.
He was mentally calculating how long her excitement would last before she decided to pounce on him….again.
"Wait a minute." Murmured the blond to himself, realizing something that should have clicked in his head the far sooner than it did. When it did click, however, he was quick to snap his head back in the direction of Hana, his expression now that of clear annoyance. "Hey! Don't refer to me as 'just a kid' you bitch!"
Hane, however, didn't bother to retort to the statement, only sighing before turning her back to the blond and kneeling down to pick up her clothes for the day. This, however, only made Naruto huff in annoyance before turning his attention away from her once more, feeling quite irritated with how the woman ignored his statement. Even-still, he did not take his eyes off of Fujino for a second, and was honestly glad he did. For the moment he had turned his attention away from her, Fujino had risen slightly from her prone position and was about to pounce on him. But, upon turning his attention back on her, the dog had quickly reverted back to a prone position, her gaze still locked onto his form and her tail still wagging furiously.
Finding this situation more troublesome than it was worth, the blond simply stood and exited to tent, which only earned him a whine from the canine inside. Upon zipping up the tent, his body was greeted with the gentle breeze of the area, something that Naruto honestly was grateful for. The scent of the wilderness was something that he didn't get to experience much while in Konoha, due to the many other scents from the village's inhabitance. To breath in some fresh air, without many other human scents lingering around, was something that he had grown fond of over the course of this mission.
"Yo, Naruto!" The blissful feeling, however, was abruptly broken by the call of the perverted sage, Jiraiya.
Slit pupils snapped over towards the direction in which the voice had come from, and there the man was with a small grin fixed to his face. The same blue spheres narrowed as the man approached him, not liking the grin on the hermit's lips. Upon reaching the lad, Jiraiya's eyes shifted towards the tent which he knew belonged to the Inuzuka, then back towards Naruto. The hermits grin only widened further and Naruto was mentally counting down to when the man would open his big mouth and begin being his normal, perverted, self.
"Sleep well?" Asked Jiraiya, still grinning ear-to-ear in amusement. Naruto, however, was far from amused and the look that he blond was giving him could have possibly caused the man to spontaneously combust if it were to be any fiercer. Noting this, Jiraiya's grin slowly began to die down and actually take on a curious expression. "What?"
"You know damn well what." Was the deadpan response in which Naruto responded with, his eyes narrowed and his facial expression appearing quite annoyed at the moment.
Jiraiya, on the other hand, still appeared to be clueless as to why the boy looked so irritated. "No, honestly, I don't."
"You took me, while I was asleep, and put me in Hana's tent; that's what."
It was here that Naruto had to give the man before him some credit. Either he was a very good liar or the guy really didn't know what he was talking about. Before the same blank expression remained in place as he stared back at the blond.
"What are you talking about?"
Before Naruto could further explain, the sound of Hana's tent opening was heard, which was shortly followed by Fujino as she pounced on the blond, who yelped at the sudden action as he fell to the ground. There was a brief silence between the group, as Naruto lay on his back with Fujino on his chest, licking away at his face. All the while, the blonde making a mental note to stay as far away from Hana's tent in the morning as possible from here on.
The Inuzuka, soon after watching her canine companion tackle the young man, snorted as she stepped out of her tent and was followed shortly by Setsuna and Akane. If there was anything that she had taken to enjoying on this mission, it was seeing Fujino tackling the blonde almost on a daily bases. It was funny at first but, after seeing it occur so many times already, she found it quite easy to ignore.
"In Jiraiya-sama's defense, it was me who brought you in here last night." Spoke the woman calmly, pointing to the tent behind her with her thumb. "It just so happened that these three saw you do something stupid, so Setsuna came to get me while Fujino and Akane watched over your sorry ass."
The blond, upon removing the dog off his chest, grinned sheepishly as he sat up off the ground, his right hand scratching the back of his head. Jiraiya could only stare at the two, shifting his gaze from the blonde to the brunette every so often. The man's attention abruptly shifted towards Naruto when he noticed him stiffen in place, before the said blond whipped his head back towards him. The difference this time around was that he was now grinning triumphantly at him and barely repressed excitement.
"That's right! Jiraiya-san, I finally popped that rubber ball last night!"
That information, earned the blond a look of surprise to show itself on the older male's face, only for it to be replaced with pride. To say that Jiraiya was impressed wasn't acceptable. Naruto was slowly proving to him that he was hidden prodigy. He was already impressed with the lad when he accomplished the first step in a single day. But this blew all of his expectations for the boy right out of the water. Yes, it did take him significantly longer to accomplish the second stage of the technique, but hell if it didn't beat how long it too him to do it.
"You'd have been proud to see this." Whispered the man to himself, just as a grin slowly began to spread across his face.
"Who would have?"
"The Yondaime of course!" Responded the man, forgetting just how acute the blond's hearing was. He was simply glad that he didn't say Minato's name out loud as well. Even he wasn't sure just how the boy would take that.
Naruto only let out a snicker as he stood up once more, tucking his hands in the sleeves of his cloak whilst continuing to grin triumphantly at Jiraiya. "I bet he'd be pissed, hearing that a twelve year old Genin has almost mastered a technique that took him three years to make."
"And that is why I think of you as just a kid, kid." Retorted the Hana, crossing her arms while giving the blond a toothy smirk.
"Screw you! You try learning this technique and see how far you get!" Was the angry response provided by the said kid, shooting the smirking woman a mildly heated glare.
"Now, now children, lets act like adults here." Spoke up Jiraiya, not wanting to deal with an argument this early in the morning. "Let's just pack everything up and keep moving. We're not far from our next destination so come on."
Naruto's gaze lingered on the Inuzuka for a few moments more seconds before finally turning and walking away. He didn't have anything to pack up really, just his sleeping bag and that would only take him a few seconds to do anyway. Hana only continued to smirk as she turned around and proceeded to re-seal her tent back into the sealing scroll she brought. Jiraiya just rolled his eyes as he watched the two proceed with their tasks, all the while questioning if it was a good idea to bring the Inuzuka along for this mission.
If there was something that Yamanaka Ino hated more than anything else, it was boredom. She disliked being bored, plain and simple. She enjoyed relaxing, she enjoyed shopping, she enjoyed a lot of things she did in her free-time. But eventually relaxing meant being lazy, shopping cost money, and most of the things she did in her free time just weren't appealing when you did them all by yourself.
She guessed that now would be a good time to train, but again that didn't do much when you did it by yourself. That isn't to say that she shouldn't do it, but there was more improvement when you had someone to spar with aside from just a test-dummy or a post. She had tried to pass some time with Sakura, in an attempt to rebuild their stained relationship, but the girl had apparently went off somewhere to train. Where this place was, neither she nor the Haruno's knew.
Ino was discouraged by this only a bit, before deciding to next track down her teammates. While their team meetings were usually held later on in the day, it wouldn't hurt to get something done beforehand. Unfortunately, Chouji was actually having some training going on with his father, and Shikamaru was off somewhere cloud-gazing. This only made her frustration grow further and thus, was now heading towards a training ground to do something to pass the time. It was rather annoying when one of the few times she wants to do something everyone else is too busy or indisposed to join her.
It was with a frustrated sigh that Ino slowly approached the training ground that her team had used when not lazing about as Asuna and Shikamaru played Shogi. Yet, as she approached, she took notice of something that she wasn't honestly expecting.
In the center of the training ground, stood a young man garbed in black standing in front of one of the posts in the center. Upon closer inspection, she realized that it was the same young man who had visited her shop almost three weeks ago. Said young man didn't appear to have noticed her approach, which in turn lead her to staying back to observe, her gaze curious as to what he was doing.
She had heard through her father that the Raikage had left a week ago, but did not bring back all of shinobi with him. A couple of them remained to assist in the repairs to the village and to negotiate with the council about reforming a treaty. While she didn't get all the details on the situation Ino did know that the final verdict of this alliance was going to be made once the Godaime Hokage was appointed. As it stood, the whole idea was sketchy, but the Raikage had done something to maintain the coucil's interest.
He had left a specific, and valuable, member of their ranks to remain in the village until the Godaime was appointed and gave the verdict. It was rather high gamble from what she heard from her father, but it did at least show how serious they were about it. And while Konoha still had other allies, Kumo was a big country and a powerful ally to have. It was just the issue of how trustworthy they were that was the issue, but that was apparently being addressed and so far, they appeared quite serious about this alliance.
Then again, with Kumo and Konoha's stained reputation between eachother, it wouldn't surprise anyone if Kumo tried to stab Konoha in the back once again.
Back to the situation at hand, Ino didn't need to be Sakura to know that this was one of the shinobi that had remained in the village. A Genin, yes, but if he was accepted to come to the Chuunin exam and made it all the way to the third test then that had to mean something. It wasn't everyday that you send your best Genin to another nation to advance in rank after-all. Knowing this, and seeing how fast he was in the preliminary rounds, she was curious as to what he was about to do.
Her train of thought was abruptly broken when a heavy breeze swept through the clearing, rustling the trees around her resulting in multiple leaves to go fluttering around in the air. It was in that moment that the young man finally moved, his right hand reaching for his blade before swiftly removing it from its scabbard in a blink of an eye. Ino could only watch as the young man proceeded to cleave every leaf that approached him, waving and avoiding any contact leaves and cutting them down effortlessly as they passed. Seeing this sight reminded her of when the boy had done this against the girl Tenten.
It made her realize just how amazing it was to witness up-close and personal. Unfortunately, it made her realize something else; that she was envious of him. Watching the way he moved, avoiding every leaf and cut it down was something she honestly wished she could do. As it stood, she didn't have that kind of skill, and honestly doubted she ever would. Watching this spectacle was making her feel self-conscious about her own skills…or lack of for that mater.
"I wish I could do that." Muttered the girl, forgetting the fact that she was practically spying on the young man as she continued to watch him perform this rather impressive feat take-place.
With one last swipe of his sword, the last leaf spit in half before fluttering passed him. With a content sigh, Metaru twirled his blade in his hand before sheathing it back into its scabbard. While this training method wasn't like it was in Kumo, it certainly did help him retain his Kenjutsu skills. To his surprise, however, the sound of slow-beat clapping could be heard behind him. Snapping his gaze over in the direction that the sound was originating from, he found the girl from the flower shop standing by the edge of the training ground.
Ino herself was surprised that she was clapping at the display she had witnessed. He did deserve it, but she didn't know what gave her the incentive to actually go through with it. But, regardless of reason, he did deserve this since it was the first time she had seen someone use a blade that effectively up close.
"Nice job." Complemented the blond as continued to clap.
Metaru smirked a bit at this before turning his body to face her and give a mock bow. Being the teammate of a Jinchuuriki and a proclaimed super human made his sword skills shadow in comparison to theirs. So it was quite refreshing to see someone commend on his own skills for a change.
Surprisingly, the mock-bow earned a small snicker to escape from the blonde's lips. It couldn't honestly be helped, since it was rather amusing to see. As her clapping ceased, Metaru straitened himself before taking a few steps back and leaning up against the post behind him.
"Thank you very much." Was his response before his expression changed to confusion. "I guess you where there the entire time?"
"Sorta." Spoke the girl truthfully as she stepped further into the clearing. "I showed up just before that big breeze, so I was just in time to see you do…well that."
"Ah, I see."
"You practice like this in Kumo too?"
"Whenever I'm able to, yes."
"When did you start training in using a sword?"
"When I was quite young, actually." By this point, Ino was now directly in front of him, seated in the grass with her elbows propped on her knees and both hands under her chin, her gaze staring directly at his face. "My family owns a blacksmith shop, so I have always been around swords and other assortment of weapons."
"My family just owns a flower shop; you know the one you visited that one time. I know all sorts of things about plants, some minor poisons, and other stuff. Not a lot really interesting or very useful things though."
"I'd prefer that than being covered and coal, sweat, and hot iron all day." Was the rather blunt response of Metaru, who now had his arms crossed over his chest.
"Yeah, I guess its better than doing that." Admitted Ino sheepishly, not finding that information all that appealing herself. Yes, dealing with plants and flowers definitely beat the hell out of that kind of work.
"The pay's good though, if we get a special order."
That, however, was something that Ino couldn't deny was a benefit. Blacksmiths did make good money, since kunai, shuriken, and all sorts of everyday weapons needed to be made somewhere. Since half of the time shinobi usually used up all their equipment in conflicts anyway, it was a real pain to go retrieve all of them and was just easier to buy more. Not to mention that making bigger, more lethal, weapons like Fuuma shurikens meant more money you were making.
"So, since your family owns a blacksmith shop, does that mean you made that sword yourself?"
Upon hearing this question, Metaru simply nodded before removing the blade from its scabbard once more. "My dad told me once that a blade is an extension of yourself. If that sword is made by someone else, then it isn't an extension of yourself, and is just another tool. Making your own sword, though, truly makes that blade yours, and thus apart of your being."
As she listened to this, she watched as he examined the blade in his hand with a calm, yet distant, expression. While she herself didn't understand it that much, for in her eyes a sword was just a sword, but it apparently held some sort of meaning to the guy. Then again, was it really that different to how she was with her flowers? She knew what just about every flower in her shop and what each of them symbolized. It was something she took pride in knowing, as silly as it may sound to some.
She guessed that, even if both of them had complete different family businesses, one can find something they take pride in knowing and doing. With that thought in mind, moved her left arm out from under her chin and gave the young man a small, polite, smile.
"Do you mind if I see it?" Questioned the blond, which earned her a raised eyebrow from Metaru.
He only stared for a few seconds before pushing himself off the post and knelt down to place the blade down in front of her. Taking the blade by the hilt, Ino delicately lifted it up, noting that it felt lighter than what she had expected. Now, she didn't know much about swords, but it didn't take an expert to note that he took great care of the blade. It was polished, and expertly sharpened, as the pattern along the edge seemed almost perfect. She could even see her own reflection clear as day along the side of it, and even used it to fix a few stray hairs. This immediately made Metaru chuckle, which caused Ino to immediately cease her actions and place the sword back down in front of her.
"What?" Snapped the girl, not understanding what was so funny about adjusting her hair.
"Nothing, nothing." Responded the boy, waving the issue off as he retrieved the blade and promptly put it away. "I just don't see people use my sword as a mirror is all."
"Well I don't see many dark-garbed guys come into a flower shop all flustered."
Metaru had the decency to blush a bit at that. Not that was entirely uncalled for in his humble opinion. He didn't voice those thoughts though, since he didn't want to embarrass himself anymore than necessary. It was humiliating enough that he actually bought those flowers in the first place, but to be reminded of it was just as humiliating.
"Oh crap, I gotta go!" Shouted the blonde abruptly, startling Metaru as she bolted to her feet. She did, however, stop herself from rushing off without another word. Without thinking, she hastily grabbed his left hand and shaking it once before hastily saying. "I'm Yamanaka Ino, it was nice talking to you but I gotta go!"
Without missing a beat, she quickly whirled around and began running out of the clearing, having forgotten something rather important. Her mother had informed her that she would need to watch the store for a while as she did some errands. While her mom would relieve her once it was time for her to go to her team meeting, she had to be there at a certain time. In her state of boredom, she had forgotten this and it had been far passed the appointed time for her to be at the shop.
Her mom was going to kill her. But at the very least she learned a little something about the dark-garbed Kumo Genin.
Metaru, who simply watched her retreating form, merely stared in amusement before glancing at his left hand. All the while, asking himself one simple question:
'I wonder if she noticed?'
After nearly half a day of traveling, Naruto's patience finally paid off as they arrived at their next destination. While the trip could have been considered uneventful, he could honestly attest to that.
Along the way, Jiraiya had taken to explain the second test to the blond concerning the Rasengan. What had happened was that Naruto had to use an extraordinary amount of chakra to force the ball to pop, whilst maintaining that constant flow and chakra output used in the first step. However, the key to that step wasn't just flow and output, but also intense focus. The way Jiraiya had explained it was like a blank sheet of paper, and how one would look everywhere. But when if there was a dot or something in the center, your eyes focus in on that spot and doesn't waver away from it as much.
To prove this, Jiraiya had shown him a small mark he had drawn on the palm of his hand, which acted as his focus point. It was then that Naruto realized that he had unknowingly done the same thing. The kanji he had written on his own palm, acted as his focus point, which was why he was able to finally complete the second step. Upon gaining this explanation, Jiraiya had allowed him to go to the final step of the Rasengan; control.
In this step, the object was a simple balloon filled with air. However, attest to the first two steps, he was required to not pop the balloon, but apply what he had learned in the first two steps to the point that he could create a perfect sphere without popping the balloon. This step, while something he could do as they traveled, was somewhat difficult to do since even a bit to much chakra would burst the balloon. The result being multiple burst balloons and strong sudden gusts of wind to erupt on occasion. Fortunately enough, these sudden moments were beneficial to Naruto as it kept Fujino at a safe distance, so he wasn't disturbed from his concentration.
That however, soon changed as the continued to advance closer and closer towards the city. Something in the air stuck out to him, something heavy and quite familiar to him. Turning his attention away from the balloon in his hand, he glanced about whilst sniffing the air trying to catch a better whiff of it. This act was abruptly ceased when he took note a large cloud of debris and dust being kicked up in the city.
Upon noticing this, he didn't even have the time to say a word before Hana and Jiraiya rushed passed him, making a bee-line down the trail with Fujino, Setsuna, and Akane tailing right behind them. With a curse, the blonde's finger's flexed, causing his sharp claws to burst the balloon in his hand before fallowing after the group.
It went without saying that it didn't take them long to enter the city, nor did it take any longer to get to the desired location. The scene was a mess to put it lightly, as the castle that was supposed to be in this city, from what Jiraiya had told them, was now demolished. One of the walls in the area was now a broken mess, but after some observation there didn't seem to be anyone injured. The one thing that stuck out to both himself and Hana was the scent that strongly lingered in the air.
It was the smell of snakes; and lord if it didn't stink.
"God this place reeks!" Proclaimed the blonde, pinching his nose in an attempt to avoid taking any more of the fowl smell.
"Reminds me of a certain incident at the Inuzuka compound." Was the deadpan response from Hana, who was also covering her nose with her left hand. "Now you know how we felt back then."
The blond didn't have a retort for that, since he honestly deserved it. Now that he had this heightened sense of smell it was, as Hana had explained before, like fire was going up his nose. It sucked, and he really wanted to just get out of here as quickly as possible. Jiraiya, fortunately, wasn't gifted with their sensory skills and was busy inspecting the damage done. Judging from the destruction, it had to have obviously been something big, big enough to destroy a building of this size. The fact that both Naruto and Hana were claiming that the air 'stank' of snakes lead him to assume that Orochimaru had done this. The question at hand was why he did it, which also led to another assumption.
"She's here." Muttered the man to himself as he continued to observe the area. "She's definitely here."
"Hey, Ero-Sennin!" Unknown to all but himself, the Sage felt his eyebrow twitch in annoyance at the blonde's call. "Can we get moving now? We're dying over here!"
"Fine, fine, let's move." Was the irritated response as he turned to face the two, obviously, uncomfortable, teens. "Lets get ourselves situated here first, then we'll begin searching the city. She's here somewhere, we just need to find her as quickly as possible before she leaves again."
"Yeah, yeah, we get it. Can we get out of here now?"
With a sigh, he nodded and watched as the two, not counting the dogs, practically bolted out of the area. It was at this point in time that he was glad he didn't share the same abilities as those two, otherwise he more than likely would have been in the same boat as them. Though, he did ponder what it felt like before dismissing the thought and raced off to catch up with them.
Not long after he caught up with the two, they found a place to say, sticking with the two sharing a room and him in his own, before beginning their search. There was, however, only one major issue concerning the said search. Due to the overwhelming and lingering scent at the now destroyed castle, it was still far to strong and ended up protracted all over city, thus disrupting Hana, along with the triplets, from picking up their target's scent. While it was far more bearable than before, the stench was still something that was still difficult to block out. Fortunately, Jiraiya had picked up on a lead that further proved that their target was in the city, thanks to a casino owner informing him of her recently winning a good chunk of money from the place.
But, aside from that, there weren't any further sightings of her in any casinos, or at least in this area of the city. By the time he decided to call it a day, it was nightfall. Currently, both he and Hana where at the designated meeting place. Now all that was left was Naruto, who had taken to continue working on the Rasengan training in the hotel room. While Jiraiya had informed him of the meeting place, and the approximate time to meet them there, he was unsurprisingly late. Both himself and Hana were scanning the streets, looking for the red-clad youngster to show up.
"Where the hell is that brat?" Muttered Jiraiya to himself as he leaned himself against the wall behind him.
Hana, who easily heard this, merely rolled her eyes and turned her attention back towards Setsuna, stroking the top of the canine's head calmly. Every so often, she would glance down the street to see if the blond was there, and again finding nothing. Though she was curious as to what was taking the kid so long, she wasn't that troubled by it. His feat during the attack on the village was proof enough that he could take care of himself. Still, she did have something on her mind, and since the brat wasn't here now, she felt it was the best time to go ahead and ask.
"Jiraiya-sama," Spoke the woman, and almost immediately felt that the man's gaze had turned toward her. "Why are you teaching him that technique for anyway? Don't get me wrong, your free to teach whoever you want, but why him? Doesn't he already have enough skills to get by?"
Jiraiya, upon hearing that, gave the woman a small, stained, smile before turning his attention away from her and towards the sky. He had a few reasons as to why he was teaching Naruto the technique, some of them for his own selfishness. He wasn't there for the boy when he needed someone; nobody was, with the exception for his sensei. In teaching him the technique, he felt that it would at least make up for the lack of time he should have spent with his godson. He would be the first to admit that it was just to sooth his guilty conscious, but there was another reason for him doing this, one that he knew was to be true.
"Because he would have wanted Naruto to learn it." Was the simple, yet earnest, answer Jiraiya responded with.
He knew that the woman beside him was going to eventually connect the dots about who he was referring to. Course, with Naruto's new appearance, the similarities between Naruto and Minato were completely different. But this woman had known of Naruto prior to his change, and thus she would piece together and come to the conclusion that the beloved Yondaime was indeed Naruto's father. He didn't care at this point though. Frankly, he was tired of people not knowing the truth of Naruto's parents. Everyone wanted what was best for him, and he was no exception to this rule. But denying a boy the truth of his family, a family he never met or knew of, was something he himself wouldn't stand for. Naruto deserved the truth, and once Naruto mastered the Rasengan, he was going to tell him the said truth.
How everything played out in the end, was up to the blond.
Hana, upon hearing this, gave the man a skeptical glance. By he, she knew he meant the Yondaime, but why would he want some brat to learn a technique of his own creation? Surely there was a reason behind that. But before she could retort to his statement, Fujino suddenly sprang up and took off down the road, barking up a storm as she went. HAna didn't even get a chance to face the direction her dog was going before a loud, and familiar, yelp was heard.
Lord and behind, her eyes landed on the sight of Naruto, once again on his back, with Fujino licking away at his face. Snorting, she made her way over towards the boy before letting out a sharp whistle, which immediately made her dog cease her actions and remove herself from the blonde and back by her side.
"Where've you been?" Growled out Hana, mildly annoyed at how late the young man was. Said boy, merely grinned sheepishly up at her whilst scratching the back of his head.
"On the road of life?"
It was easily noted that the Inuzuka was not amused by this, her gaze narrowing more so than before as she stared down at him. Said boy only continued to chuckle until someone else, surprisingly, joined his chuckling. Said person was Jiraiya as he too approached and helped the lad to his feet. On Jiraiya's case, he found the fact that he was taking after Kakashi's bad habit rather amusing.
"Only you and Kakashi would get lost on a one-way street."
"Oh relax, I'm joking." Waving off the lad's annoyance, he gestured them towards the restaurant across the street. "Come on, let's get something to eat. We'll continue the search early tomorrow morning."
It was at that point Naruto's stomach decided to announce its need of nutrition, which was promptly followed by Hana's own stomach growling shortly after. Yes, something to eat would definitely be good right now after having to deal with the terrible smell that had been assaulting their noses the entire day. Upon stepping into the building, however, Jiraiya's steps ceased as he simply stared out in front of him.
Not even a couple feet away, sat the very individual whom they had been searching for the entire time; Tsunade. He honestly couldn't believe it, all that searching and she simply popped out of the blue here of all places. For a few seconds, he thought that he was seeing things, but this was proven inconclusive as the said woman had taken notice to him and immediately scuffed before turning her attention away from the door.
Naruto, tired of the man blocking the entrance, pushed passed him before also taking note of the woman Jiraiya was staring at. The first thing that he took notice to, despite himself, was the woman's chest. That was something nobody wouldn't notice first thing, and he was no exception. Once he was able to tear his eyes away from the chest area, he found that she too was a blonde, only a darker shade, which was quite long and were tied into two loose pony tails. From what he could see, she was wearing a blouse that looked similar to a kimono only that there weren't any sleeves on the article of clothing. While her skin was quite fair, the thing that really stuck out was the strange mark on her forehead, something he couldn't make out from where he was at the moment.
All in all, he could understand why Jiraiya was standing there gawking; cause frankly the lady was hot. Though, he had expected the man to make some sort of comment by now, which in tern made him turn to see his expression. Much to his disbelief, the man wasn't drooling at the sight of her like he had expected, but instead looked quite serious. He would later regret thinking what he did about the woman they were both staring at upon hearing the man's next words.
"Fancy seeing you here, Tsunade."
Tsunade scuffed as she raised a glass of Sake she had just poured prior to the man's arrive. "It's a small world after all."
If it was possible, Naruto's jaw would have slammed to the ground. Shifting from Jiraiya, to the woman whom they had been searching for, he continued this cycle before finally pointing at the woman, who merely responded with a raised eyebrow upon the glass in her hand reaching her lips.
"This lady is supposed to be the one we're looking for?" It wasn't a question as it was an accusation. "I thought you said she was your teammate? She looks old enough to be my mom."
Tsunade didn't know whether to take the boy's statement as a complement or an insult. Instead, she took to remaining silent and not answer.
"Would you two hurry up so I can get in." Growled a third, unseen, person from the outside. Realizing that they were indeed blocking the door, both males moved further into the establishment so that the Inuzuka could enter. She briefly gave the two men, or man and child, a mild glare before also taking note of the woman ahead. It didn't take but a few seconds to realize that what she was hearing outside wasn't inaccurate. Taking a few sniffs, she, it was proven that the woman in front of her was indeed Tsunade.
"Damn." Apparently, she had also noted the ridiculous bust size which the woman had. It further proved the point that those were indeed the first things people noted about the woman.
Naruto, despite himself, couldn't help but nod in agreement. He had a feeling he knew what she was commenting on and couldn't agree more.
"Tsunade-sama?" Question a new voice, whom was now the new focus-point now that they had taken note of Tsunade's presence. "What's going on?"
The originator of the voice, was from another young woman, who was sitting beside the blonde at the table. She had shoulder length black hair with bangs and dark eyes. From what Naruto could make out, she had a long, blueish-black, kimono with white trimmings, which was held closed by a white obi. Once again, Naruto had to admit that she did look rather attractive herself. Unfortunately, he wasn't going to assume her age like he had with the other woman, as he was still finding it hard to believe that a woman of her appearance was the same age as Jiraiya.
Before anyone could answer the woman's question, Tsunade chose to speak. "Why are you here Jiraiya?"
Said man merely shrugged before advancing towards the table, with Hana following not far behind him. The last to follow was Naruto, who was still in denial that Tsunade was really fifty years old.
"Mind if we have a seat?" Regardless of her answer, he chose to seat himself in the seat opposite from her, scooting over enough for the other two to sit. Tsunade merely waved the question off as un-important, knowing full well that he would have sat down even if she had denied him his request. It wasn't like she had any authority over him, and so long as he didn't try any of his antics on her, she could care less.
Naruto was the last person to sit down, with the dark-haired young woman opposite him. Deciding to be polite for a change, he gave the girl a friendly grin and small wave. Much to his enjoyment, he received a polite smile in return. She had a rather cute smile honestly, and thus he felt his cheeks flair a bit upon seeing the sight. This, however, was ceased when Hana jabbed him in the ribs with her elbow, which resulting in a glare directed at the Inuzuka. She merely gave him a deadpanned look before shifting her gaze over towards the direction of the two older individual's in the booth.
He got her message pretty quickly, upon noticing the rather moody atmosphere. Thus, he wisely focused his attention on the two, his gaze shifting from Jiraiya, then back towards Tsunade.
After several moments of tense silence, Jiriaya was the first to break. "Why'd you say it was a small world? I know it's been a while, but that wasn't the kind of reaction I was expecting from you."
"If you were expecting a heartfelt greeting, then your age is catching up to you." Was the woman's retort, which earned a snicker from Naruto only to be silenced by another jab to his ribs via Hana's elbow. "Truthfully, I ran into our teammate earlier today by coincidence."
This instantly got everyone's attention, especially Jiraiya's. "Anything happen?"
"Nothing much, just a little greeting." If she was hoping to fool anyone, nobody was buying it. The destruction of an entire castle and the intense stench of snakes was prove enough of that. It was obvious to everyone at the booth, excluding the other woman, that they had done more than just 'greet' eachother. She knew this, but again didn't care all that much. She was too drunk to care about if these people bought her remark or not. Deciding that to switch topics, she asked the big question that was on her mind. "Why are you three here anyway?"
Jiraiya, who's stern expression did not falter in the slightest, let out a sigh before dropping the bombshell. "Konohagakure has issued a request for you to be the Godaime Hokage. In case you aren't already aware, Sensei's-"
"Gone, I know." Interrupted the blonde opposite him, her expression still the same is it was prior to the man's statement. While the news had surprised her at first, along with this new development, it didn't last long after drowning herself in alcohol for that passed few hours. "Orochimaru had told me himself, along with the fact that he was responsible for his death."
"I see." Jiraiya, too, was far passed fazed by the man's death. Part of him was still angered by his former teammates actions, he couldn't let that affect him in this situation. Everyone had to move on in some way or another. Tsunade did this with booze and gambling, he did it with his 'research' and other activities. Still, he came here for a reason and wasn't going to let her go without at least getting an answer. "So, are you willing to accept Konoha's request?"
The woman, for the longest time, hesitated in giving the man an answer. All the while, everyone was practically on the edge of their seat, awaiting to hear the woman's eventual answer. While it still bothered him that the Sandaime was being replaced so soon, the words that Jiraiya had spoken to him the day before their departure were still fresh in his mind. There was no getting around it, there needed to be a replacement for the village's sake. And if this woman was capable of filling out the role as Hokage, then he would have no choice than to just accept it.
After several moments of silence, Tsunade finally spoke.
And just like that, Naruto's expression changed to great confusion. Why? Why would someone decline such an offer? To be regarded, and respected, as the strongest shinobi in an entire village of shinobi was the greatest honor he knew of. Sure, there was a lot of work envolved in the job, but there was no doubt, in his mind, that that being Hokage was the possibly the greatest achievement one can gain in their lifetime. To decline such a thing was almost blasphemous to his ears.
But, apparently, Tsunade had far more to say than just that.
"Even he died quickly. Hehad talent, he was a genius, he was reliable, handsome, and one of the very best in Konoha….maybe even in the world. Yet, even with all those traits, the Yondaime still died an early death once he became Hokage. Going as far as formfitting his own life for the sake of protecting the village."
It was here, than Naruto took note of the drastic change in tone which she was currently speaking. It was as if she was disregarding and practically spitting out the world Hokage each time she said it, as if it left a nasty taste in her mouth. Naruto wasn't taking too kindly to this change in attitude, even more so due to the fact that she was referring to the Yondaime, a hero, in the same manor. It must have shown on his expression, for Hana had decided to jab him once again, only this time he didn't pay it any mind. He was getting pissed, and if this woman didn't shut her mouth soon, he was going to be inclined to shut it for her.
What the blond didn't know was that Jiraiya was on the very same train of thought. The only difference was that he had a lot more restraint than one gave him credit for. However, even he had his limits and Tsunade was already pushing it by talking about the student who was everything but a son to him.
But Tsunade was far from done. It had been too long since she had spoken her mind on the issue. This request had been the trigger for her to express her opinion on the matter.
"Life is far different from money. You can waste as much as you want, but there's always a chance for you to win it back. Life, however, isn't something you can get back; so once you lose it its gone forever. My grandfather and Niidaime had both strived for peace in our home, and look where it got them. Both ended up dead in the middle of their dreams, and I don't pity them in the slightest. They chose to do that, and that is what makes them nothing more than fools."
At this point, even Hana was now finding the woman's words to be angering. She might not have a drive to become a Hokage, like Naruto, or a prized student who died, like Jiraiya, but to insult your ancestors was something else entirely. The woman was practically spitting on everything that Konoha stood for. Peace wasn't just a dream, and it was something worth dying for. She had experienced the outside world long enough to desire such a world; a world without anymore murder or bloodshed. If being a fool meant risking your life for the sake of obtaining peace; then she would gladly do so without a shadow of doubt in her heart.
"The times have changed you, haven't they Tsunade?" It was a rhetorical question in Jiraiya's eyes. More than likely, it was in everyone's opinion.
"I'm in my fifties Jiraiya, age changes people." Retorted the woman as she raised herself another glass of Saki, swirling its contents around inside the glass in front of her. "Same can be said for Sarutobi-sensei. Its no wonder he croaked, he was too old to live in his dreams."
That earned a very daunting glare from Jiraiya, a low snarl from Hana, and significantly louder growl from Naruto.
"Only a suicidal fool would willingly take the piece of shit title of Hokage."
That was the last straw.
Naruto's patience had reached its end and thus, he raised his hand and relentlessly slammed his clenched fist into the side of the table. There was no resistance, as the area he had struck was broken off as if it was nothing. Utensils, food, glasses, and dishes rose into the air due to the force of this action, whilst Naruto stood from his seat, the tip of his middle and index finger's glowing with yellowish-green energy. With his finger's positioned by his left side, he was just about to extend his youki whip to lash out at the woman. He didn't care if he put enough energy into it to cut her, he just wanted to get her in some way, shape, or form. He wanted to make her pay for those remarks.
He wanted her to learn to never insult the title of Hokage in front of him.
Yet, before he could even extend his whip to lash at the woman, a larger hand grasped him by his wrist, and held it firmly like a vice. Slit eyes flickered from blue to gold as he shifted his gaze towards Jiraiya, who currently had one foot propped up onto the table. His expression was still stern as he eyed the young man, as giving him a silent warning not to do anything stupid.
Too bad Naruto had all but run out of patience and tolerance with the woman.
"Is this your newest student Jiraiya?" Her voice sounded smug, and it was doing nothing more than fueling the flames of anger inside the boy's heart. "Not much to look at."
"Say whatever you want about me, but don't you ever say shit about Ojii-san or Yondaime-sama in front of me." Growled out Naruto, his eyes still flickering from blue to gold every passing second. "To me, you sound like a fucking coward who doesn't want to die."
Tsunade only snorted in amusement as she eyed the boy idly, not at all phased by his little show a moment ago. "Call it whatever you want, but when you grow up you'll see things from my point of view, you ignorant brat."
"Naruto, calm down." Credit must be given to Jiraiya for at least attempting to calm the lad down. Naruto was picking a fight with the worst possible person he could think of at the moment. Tsunade was on a hold other level in comparison to the offending blond, and he really didn't want to watch the kid get beaten to the inch of his life by his own teammate.
"No, I'm not going to calm down!" Snapped the blonde, wrenching his wrist free from the man's grip and turning his gaze back towards the woman before him. "I don't give a rat's ass who she is! Woman or not, I'm going to kick her old-ass!"
Tsunade, however, was not intimidated by this in the slightest. She merely gave the fellow blond a small smirk, before slapping her hand onto the table before raising herself up out of her seat. She gazed into the boy's eyes, taking note of his irises shifting colors, which were filled with rage so intense that it made her ponder, if only for a moment, why he was taking everything she had said so seriously. Did a stupid title mean so much to this child? Maybe it was her comment about Sarutobi that made him so infuriated. Whatever the case was, he had already made his proclamation to fight her. She didn't mind roughing up the kid to show him just how big the gap was between herself and him. Though, a small part of her honestly wanted to kick his ass for the brat calling her old.
Alcohol made you act irrationally, and she was no exception to this rule.
"Fine, lets see if you can back up all that talk you have there boy." Retorted the woman, her tone holding a hint of mockery. "Let's take this outside."
The only response she received was a snarl from the young man as glared back at the woman before him.
Unknown to him, beneath all the layers of his clothing, three diamond-like markings on his collarbone began to faintly glow bright red. And, in darkest depths of Naruto's own mind, something within the darkness began to snicker, the noise echoing off all four walls of its room, and continuing down through the vast, vacant, hallways.
Well, there you have it people. Again, I apologize for my absence. God, this is going to sound corny as hell, but I feel like Dr. Dre right now. I've been gone for too long, and I'm trying to get back into my old flow. It sucks, but I hope I'm still decent enough to where I could make a good enough chapter for everyone to enjoy. My main concern is with Ino and Metaru in this chapter, because frankly I don't think I made Ino a bit out of character there.
I do want to say though, I appritiate everyone's reviews and to those who have been waiting patiently all this time for my return. I hope I didn't let you guys down with this chapter. Frankly, reading the reviews for the first time in a long, long, time had given me the drive to pick this back up again.
Thank you, everyone. I truly mean that and I aim to keep going with this. I'm not going to put this off for another two years. I will try my damned hardest to update this story as often as I can. Life calls a lot, but I will put that phone on vibrate for a while to work on this.
Again, I apologize for being gone for so long. I just felt that everyone who was following this story deserved an apology from me.
So, from myself and all the cast of the Jinchuuriki Chat, I'm proud to this: I'm back bitches!