Okay, here is the newest chapter of Cherry Lips. I have received some very nice words from a lot of people and it has made my eyes open up a lot! I now feel very confident in the direction where this fic is going. Sometimes, with fanfics, you can just let it go in whichever way you want it too and let your instinct take over. Enjoy, people!
Disclaimer: The standard disclaimer applies here. I don't own Naruto.
I opened my eyes slowly, blinking a few times and watched the blurry images run before me like scattered kaleidoscope beads. It made my foggy mind whirl at the speed of it all. Oh, what just happened?
I blinked rapidly and slowly, very slowly, the images became clear. I was aware of looking into these eyes that were big, framed with thick long lashes. I saw that it was a young woman, fair skinned, with beautiful pale blonde hair that seemed to reach the small of her back and which she tied in two low pigtails. Beautiful...She was very young and very beautiful, my mind could identify with that but there was something about her aura that gave off the impression she was far older than she looked. Or maybe just wiser...Like she'd live fifty lives instead of her meager years (she only looked to be about twenty five). My gut feeling said to me then, "This is no ordinary woman" and I eyed her wearily.
I tried to sit up, lifting my head but it just made me dizzier than ever. The young woman put her cool palm on my forehead and gently pushed my head back on the pillow.
"Ah, ah," she scolded gently, "Lay down, sweetie, you're not ready to get up yet."
"Where am I? Who are you?" I asked, my throat contracting painfully as my voice cracked, "Wh-who am I?"
My mind struggled again for some sort of meaning and explanation. Who was I? How come I can't remember anything anymore! There was just nothing but a blank black canvas that seemed to stretch forever and ever into eternity. Nothing turned up though. I couldn't find anything at all. Not my name, not my friends or family. I didn't even know if I had any. I didn't know what type of person I was. It was just so scary not to remember anything at all about yourself. The fear gripped my stomach and I reached to grab my collar so I could tug at it a bit. I suddenly felt like I couldn't breathe very well.
"What happened to me? Who am I? What's going on here?" I asked, my voice escalating up to whole other volume. Well, whoever I was before, I expect she must have been quite a verbal person and pretty loud too.
The beautiful lady pinned me with a comforting motherly look. She smiled softly at me and patted my head gently. My eyes closed at the contact. I seemed to be reaching out to the motherly treatment. Maybe I am a mommy's girl and crave for motherly attention? What sort of person am I? The question bugged me more and more after each passing second. Not to know anything at all about yourself makes you want someone to answer you as quickly as possible.
"Tell me who I am, lady," I whimpered as she stroked my forehead again with her palms, "I need to know!"
The woman nodded and then she answered, "You're name is Naruto. Uzumaki Naruto. You are here under inspection. You fell down just now and gave us quite a shock. You need to rest. All will come back to you soon."
"But I - !" I cried out but my eyes had a will of their own. I wanted to ask her about who I was and how did she know my name, if that was really my name but my eyes felt heavy and I closed them. Darkness consumed me and I could vaguely hear their voices in the background saying something. Then I realised there were other people in the room as well.
"She's lost her memories due to shock. It's quite common. Her reaction before she fainted clearly shows that she was already delusional by then," the lady spoke softly.
"Yare, yare, this is tough, Hokage-sama," spoke a male voice, he sounded concerned, "How soon will she regain her memories?"
"Hard to say," replied the Hokage, "Sometimes patients suffering from amnesia takes years to regain their memories but others take a much shorter time span than that. Her amnesia was triggered by her state of mental shock, so if her shock could wear off with the right amount of guidance and support, she might just remember."
I am pretty sure that "Hn" was probably from another person that was in the room and I was slightly surprised. I thought there were only two people in the room. Somehow, that "Hn" sounded a little familiar...
This was getting very annoying. It was turning more and more complicated than I would like and the way these idiots seemed to be taking their own sweet time on these things made me want to kill somebody.
"Hokage-sama, if I may, isn't there some sort of jutsu that could speed up her memory recovery," I drawled out, my eyes fixing on the female Hokage, "We cannot afford to linger and take our time here. She is a jinchuuriki and we need to question her. How can she answer us if she's not able to remember her own name? If it's really true that she has lost her mind that is."
The last part of my words were just muttered under my breath but I purposely made everyone able to hear it.
"Gaki," the Hokage said coldly, "I am a medic nin and my knowledge on these matters far surpasses yours. Do you think that if I knew of such a jutsu I would have used it by now? Now, I don't know if this girl is actually telling the truth or not. But I will know for certain soon enough. We have methods of getting people to be truthful."
I glared at her openly. I've never liked the bitch and it's always good to just show her that just because she is Hokage, it does not mean that I am going to roll over and pant at her feet. Other men found her beautiful but all I could see was a jaded old woman pretending to be young again by keeping up that ridiculous jutsu. She looked utterly pathetic in my mind's eye.
"What do you mean by 'methods of getting people to be truthful', Hokage-sama?" Kakashi asked, his eyes still held onto that concerned look he had on a few times since he's met Naruto. "You don't mean to send her to Ibiki-san, do you?"
Kakashi sounded horrified at the thought and he visibly shuddered. What was wrong with him? Why was he behaving like such a protective idiot toward the dobe? I've known Kakashi for years but I've never seen him like this. He was quite protective of his students, yes, but this sort of concern felt more personal than any of our relationship with him. Did he...like the dobe?
My mind reeled at the thought and I felt my grip tighten on my katana. I knew Kakashi was always a perverted man what with reading those repulsive erotica novels he had but I never pegged him to actually like a girl almost two decades younger than him. The thought was unnerving and I felt like stabbing the dirty bastard right then and there. Naruto was mine.
"Oh, no, no, Kakashi," Tsunade said comfortingly, "She has been innocent so far, the Uchiha has confirmed that she was not aware that she has been a vessel for the Kyuubi and we will merely just question her under the influence of some drugs."
"What kind of drugs, Hokage-sama?" Kakashi asked, that god damn concern still tingeing his voice.
"I'll have Sakura brew some later on," Tusnade answered, "They are not harmful to anyone and is perfectly safe to consume. The effects are very useful for interrogation though and we usually use this on normal civilians, so you don't need to worry. What the drugs do is that it makes an expert in body language can tell when a person is lying."
"The interrogator need not only be good at reading a person's body language but they will be highly skilled with their five senses; the nose can sniff the smell of sweat that is produced when one is nervous due to lying and you can imagine what the rest can detect," she continued, "This person will no doubt be a shinobi, so you can rest easy, Kakashi-san. No one will harm Naruto."
The woman pinned me with a glare as she said the last bit about Naruto. I merely ignored her.
"So what are we going to do now?" I asked, arching my dark eyebrow at Tsunade and Kakashi.
"Right now...," Tsunade boomed at me, glare still very much intact, "We will tell Naruto that she is going to train as a shinobi from this day forward. I agree with Kakashi on the grounds that no jinchuuriki should be kept helpless and without any training whatsoever. Even her predecessor was a kunoichi so I expect her to be one too. She needs to be able to at least defend herself should the situation for that ever arises."
Tsunade turned away, whispered something to Shizune as she gestured at the patient's chart she had in her hand.
"I will appoint Kakashi-san to be her teacher," Tsunade said once she finished talking to Shizune, "She will learn under his guidance and you are to help her as well. I want you to assist her in her training since you are the one who seems most familiar with her right now."
"What? Why me?" I growled darkly, eyes blazing at her.
"As I have said, Uchiha," she spat my surname out as if it was fur ball that had been stuck in her throat, "You are currently the one most familiar with her. I need you to spend as much time with her."
"Yes," I said scathingly, "but you still haven't answered my question, why me?"
Then the heartless bitch had the grace to smirk at me in a smug and all-knowing way. It was infuriating to see her so pleased with herself like that. I tried to calm myself down from lashing out at her.
"That is because, gaki, you have known her longer than any of us have," she started, "So you know her best. Since Naruto has lost her memories, what could help generate them back would be someone she was quite familiar with before her amnesia. This could help remind her of her past."
Damn it all! The old bitch had a point. I had heard of people who lost their memories usually tend to remember much more if people from their past could help remind them of things forgotten. And it always seemed to work...Damn, I didn't have time to sit around and babysit a stupid little girl who couldn't even remember her own name.
"What about her mother then?" I challenged, "We'll have to tell her that we are going to train her daughter in the arts of becoming a ninja. I'm telling you now that that woman is not going to sit by idly while Kakashi tries to teach her."
Tsunade waved a hand in the air impatiently as she focused on picking out bottles of medicine from a nearby cabinet. She didn't even bother looking at me.
"I've already sent a couple of ANBU members to take a visit at their house. You gave me the address just now...Now, where is that goddamn aspirin...? Ah, found it!," Tsunade muttered triumphantly and she went on searching the cabinet, "Her mother needs to be taken into custody for further questioning as well. I think there is something seriously fishy going on around here and I expect it must all boil down to that woman. If what you've said is true, then she is certainly a suspicious character..."
I closed my eyes sharply and looked away from her back icily. There was certainly something up with that demented woman. I had seen her a few times when she cared to step out of that dreaded little hut they call a house but I had also spied on her a few times without Naruto's knowledge. Her movements were...off. It was difficult to tell what was going on inside that demented head of hers. She was definitely bad news, the mother...
"I want you to train her at genin level, Kakashi-san," Tsunade went on, "We can't afford to waste time teaching her from below genin level. Teach her how to travel like a shinobi and then quickly move on to the chakra control exercises. As the Uchiha has said, we happen to be on a tight schedule, what with Akatsuki moving so quickly right now."
Kakashi nodded and looked at me briefly.
"And you, Uchiha," she turned to me with that same disgusted intonation she'd used earlier, "I want you to just assist Kakashi-san as much as possible and to follow her around and keep her company. I'll be separating her mother from her for a while until we confirm the woman is not a threat; I don't want Naruto spending time with a possible criminal."
I smirked at the irony of that. I happened to be a Konohagakure criminal as well. Of course, I had been pardoned for my crimes but if they trusted me then they are nothing but complete idiots. I would watch Konohagakure burn if it meant getting rid of Itachi.
"Since she doesn't remember much, I want you to pretend you're someone close to her, a best friend or a brother figure or something," Tsunade elaborated, eyeing me sternly, "Do as you see fit, Uchiha, and tell me every single time she regains her memories. Report back to me what you do every day."
I groaned mentally at the tedious tasks she's giving me. Not only do I have to help train her but I also have to be her friend. I have to pretend and try to get close to her so that she could remember faster. Why the fuck did the dobe had to go and lose her head at a time like this? If I were that Nara bastard I would've probably muttered the word 'troublesome' for the enth time.
"If it's possible, Kakashi-san," Tsunade turned to Kakashi then, "I would hope for you to give her a crash course on shinobi training. I need her to be as strong as she possibly can. I'll also try and locate Jiraiya to take over her training once she is quite good. We'll need all the help we can get. In the mean time, I'm going to be asking the elders a shitload of questions regarding this matter. You're all dismissed."
Kakashi bowed at Tsunade and he left the hospital in a flash. Tsunade gave me another one of her cold looks and she tossed her head before going out of the room. I lingered a bit longer in the room with the dobe sleeping peacefully in the bed. I looked at her smooth skin save for the whisker-like marks on each cheek, took in her cupid bow shaped lips and long eye lashes that spread out like little fans, casting shadows over her cheeks. What beauty. The dobe was certainly a beautiful girl to look at but I knew that I must not develop feelings for her. She would be a dangerous weakness and something that I do not need if I was bent on getting rid of Itachi. Pretending to get close to her was going to be a risk but if I had remained detached from the likes of Kakashi and Sakura then this was more than possible. Naruto was just after all only another girl.
I stroked her brow with my thumb gently and bent over her face. My body was moving on its own volition. Kissing her lightly on her forehead, I walked out the door without a word. I didn't know why I kissed her in her sleep like that. I was just thinking that I needed to keep my distance from her and then I go and do something that is completely opposite of what I had planned. This Naruto was certainly a danger to me. She made me do things, think things that are very much unlike me. I need to have better control of my emotions when it comes to her...It was just...She was so lovely to look at when she slept that I had felt my resistance crumble.
Naruto was certainly more trouble than I had expected...Babysitting her would be more of a nuisance than I ever thought.
I woke up today in what looked like a hospital room. The ceiling was white; the bed sheets were white and so were the walls. I nearly groaned at all the whiteness of it all. Blinking a few times, I slowly sat up in my bed and then I moved my body to the side so I could step out of it more easily.
"Naruto, you need to take your medicine," came a young girly voice. I turned and saw a pink haired girl who looked closer to my age standing there in my room with a small bottle of what I suspected was the medicine she was referring to.
"Who are you?" I asked lowly, "What is that stuff?"
"My name is Haruno Sakura," the girl replied smiling this tight little smile, "You and I are friends actually. We've met before but you probably can't remember me anymore. Tsunade-sama told me that..."
I eyed her wearily. Sakura was looking down slightly and she looked a little sad when she said that we used to be friends. I don't remember anything anymore and I certainly don't know if I can trust this girl but she did seem sincere.
"We were friends?" I asked her disbelievingly, "How do I know you? Where did we meet? This...Tsunade-sama you mentioned...She was here earlier, wasn't she? The lady with pale gold hair..."
Sakura nodded happily when I said all this. Her sparkling emerald eyes seemed to light up significantly at my mentioning this Tsunade woman.
"Yes, yes! Tsunade-sama is the current Hokage right now," Sakura explained, "She is also the best medic nin in the whole world so she was checking up on you earlier."
My eyes widened in shock at everything she just said. The Hokage had come and visited me in my hospital room to personally check up on me? Why would someone that important ever bother with a nobody like me? The minute the thought entered my mind, I could feel a sense that contradicted with that thought. I was someone important...I think...Or was it I had something to do with something else that was important...Oh, dear god, I can't remember anything.
"You...You said you're my friend," I spoke up, my voice barely a whisper, "What happened to me? Why can't I remember who you are or my past? Do I have any family or anything? Any other friends that I know of?"
Sakura cast me another one of her melancholic looks before she answered me. She seemed to feel genuinely sorry for what had happened to me and I felt my heart reach out to her a little for the kind concern she had for me. Maybe she really was my friend? Hope flared up in my chest at the thought. The silent voice in my head suddenly told me that maybe I was also someone who didn't really have that many friends to begin with.
"Not that I know of...You have me and Sasuke-kun as your friends but I'm sure you'll make more," Sakura said reassuringly, "You will also be beginning your shinobi training with Kakashi-sensei soon, hopefully by tomorrow, if you're feeling well that is."
"Really? Shinobi training, Sakura-chan?" I perked up immediately at that, "Is it okay if I call you Sakura-chan? I don't mean to be rude or anything...I just figured that, since we were friends..."
Sakura waved her hands off as she grinned at me.
"No, it's okay. Just go ahead and call me Sakura-chan. You used to call me that before you blacked out! And yes, you will be trained to become a kunoichi just like me!" she cried happily.
A kunoichi? My heart made loud thumping noises in my rib cage as I contemplated the idea of becoming a kunoichi. To be honest, it sounded rather exciting and another indicator seemed to point out that I probably harboured a secret dream of becoming a kunoichi.
"Why have I only started training now?" I asked Sakura as she took my hand and maneuvered me to the bed, making me sit down, "I don't remember my past much, Sakura-chan, but I do know that ninjas are trained from a very young age, sometimes even in infancy. I know I'm not that young."
"Here drink this," Sakura instructed as she tried to feed my medicine that she poured into a teaspoon, "Look, Naru-chan, I don't know the details myself but Hokage-sama has declared that you should be trained and has issued Kakashi-sensei an order so there's nothing much you or I can do about it. I think maybe she saw some qualities in you that looked suitable to become a kunoichi. It's perfectly possibly, y'know."
I drank the liquid down and blanched at the bitter taste.
"What's in that nasty stuff?" I asked, trying my best not to gag.
"Ehhhhhh?" Sakura grinned in this sickly sweet way, "Did you just call it nasty? I made this medicine myself, y'know, for my dear friend and what did you just call it...?"
"N-n-never mind!" I cried out in fear as she cracked her knuckles. Man, this Sakura was quite scary when she was insulted. I had better watch my tongue if I were to talk to her. Something about this whole situation gave me a sense of familiarity. It was then, I decided that I liked this Sakura girl and I believed that she was truly my friend.
"Shinobi training can be tough...Heck, studying under Tsunade-sama's tutelage is seriously back-breaking stuff but it is very rewarding and the paycheque's awesome as well," Sakura further explained, "Kakashi-sensei is extremely powerful too, and I know for sure that he is an awfully good teacher althouh he certainly doesn't look it. The man taught me himself when I was a mere genin."
I frowned a bit when the sense of familiarity grew in my chest like a warm flow of energy spreading out to my every bone.
"Somehow, this all seems very familiar, Sakura-chan," I muttered, frowning as I tried my best to recall my memories.
"Really? It does? That's great!" she cried out joyfully, "Of course this would seem familiar to you! I told you all about this way back when you still remembered me!"
"D-don't I have any parents, Sakura-chan?" I asked her slowly, fear beginning to creep into me, "Don't they know about this? Would they allow me to become a kunoichi?"
Sakura turned away sadly from me then and I knew I wasn't going to like the answer.
"No, Naruto-chan, I'm so sorry," she began, looking as it was really hard for her to tell me all this, "But you're an orphan and you don't have any parents."
Disbelief shone through my eyes when I heard this.
"No parents? Not-, not even a mother?" I asked her, my voice high pitched and choking slightly.
Sakura shook her head, "No, no one. You only have me and Sasuke-kun as your best friends."
Her emerald green eyes dimmed a bit and her lashes lowered as she looked away from me. I could tell that she felt truly sorry for me. However, there was something about all this that made me think something didn't add up much.
But Sakura-chan was a friend and she did seem very familiar and my heart also seemed to call out to her so maybe I should just put aside the feelings of doubt and just trust her for the time being.
"Who is this Sasuke-kun, Sakura-chan?" I asked, reaching out to touch her hand gently, "His name sounds so familiar! But it doesn't feel the same as it felt with you..."
Sakura's green eyes snapped up at me and widened into the size of saucers.
"What do you mean, it feels different from with me?" she questioned, her interest obviously piqued.
"W-well, I...I feel like I know him just as the way I feel like I know you, but...," I licked my chapped lips before I continued, "His name makes my heart beat faster...It also gives me a sense of dread but at the same time like, there's a thrill of excitement...I don't know how to describe it...It just feels weird."
Sakura stared at me and she just stood like that for a minute or two before I squirmed slightly.
"It sounds like you do remember him, Naruto-chan," Sakura said when she finally snapped out of it, "Don't worry, Sasuke-kun is your closest friend. But he can be very grumpy and cold sometimes so maybe that explains the reason why you feel a sense of dread lurking up every time I mention his name."
I chewed on my lower lip thoughtfully as I tried to digest her words. That still didn't explain the feeling of excitement though. It made me become even more curious at who this Sasuke person was and what did he truly mean in my life?
Then Sakura was holding me by my shoulders and I couldn't help but look into her determined pair of eyes.
"Look, Naruto-chan," she started, her voice sounded serious and nothing at all like her cheery tones before, "I think you feel that excitement for him because you harbour a little crush on him. And I also think he likes you too."
"WHAT?" I cried out in shock, scrambling backwards on my bed until I fell over on the other side. My rump hit the cold hard hospital floor and I yelped in pain.
"Me? I have a crush on one of my best friends?" I sputtered as I blushed furiously, my head dizzy at the pain and thought of crushing on this boy that I have no recollection of.
"Well, that's about the only explanation I can come up with, Naruto-chan," Sakura answered, grinning a bit at me, "You guys are very close with one another and I have seen the look in both your eyes...I am only saying all this based on the subtle signs of course. To be honest, you yourself have never admitted to liking him even when you knew who we were."
I snapped my eyes to her as a sudden realization hits me.
"Sakura-chan, you didn't answer one of my first questions ever!" I said, steeling my voice so that I could sound more serious, "How do we know each other? How did we meet? If you are a shinobi as you've mentioned and I'm guessing this Sasuke-kun is as well, how come I'm a mere civilian?"
Sakura looked a little flustered and she opened her mouth hesitantly when suddenly a gust of wind blew in from the direction if the door and I squinted to see a tall figure in the doorway.
"Whoops, sorry Sakura-chan," the man said sounding not the least bit apologetic, "Got held up a bit when a dog stole my hitai-ate and I had to run around the whole of Konohagakure just to get it back."
"Kakashi-sensei...!" Sakura groaned loudly, "At least come up with a more believable excuse, would you? You expect me to believe a kage-level Jonin such as yourself can't even chase after a stupid mutt?"
The man called Kakashi chuckled lightly and I could see that he was wearing the typical Jonin shinobi attire, with the hitai-ate, green vest, dark sandals and everything. What was really unique about this man though was the fact that he wore a face mask that covered most of his face and with his hitai-ate drooping to one side; I could only make out one eye. The fact that he had silver hair also was intriguing. Curioser and curiouser.
"Hello there, little missy," Kakashi waved at me, and I suppose he was smiling because his eye had curved upward in a moon crescent, "I'm just here to introduce myself so that we can get better acquainted. I will start on our training right away. So hopefully by tomorrow, if Sakura-chan says you are feeling better, we can start."
I looked at him with my eyes wide as I took in every detail about this man who was going to be my sensei. He looked completely unreliable but if Sakura-chan had said positive things about him as a teacher then maybe looks can be deceiving...
"My name is Hatake Kakashi," he introduced himself, bowing deeply at me in a gentlemanly manner but it looked more like he just did it for show because I could see Sakura-chan rolling her eyes at him. "I am a Jonin of Konohagakure and I will be your sensei from this day forward. I will be teaching you everything you need to know from the basics to the most advanced levels if I can. Now, what I usually do when I get new students is that I ask them to introduce themselves; y'know, tell me their likes, dislikes, future goals, etc. But since you've lost your memories, I suppose that cannot be done."
He seemed to think this was quite amusing because again I saw his eye crinkle upward once more. This time I was the one who rolled her eyes at this man. There's nothing at all funny about my current situation of memory loss.
"What is the training going to be like? Will it be very difficult? How many hours a day are we going to train with each other?" I asked rapidly.
"Whoa, there little missy," he said, his tone amused, "I haven't even given the word go for questions yet. The training is going to be extremely grueling and hard, you can bet your butt on that, missy. And since this is going to be a crash course, the number of hours is going to be from 9 to 6 or 7pm depending on my mood. Heh heh."
I think I looked at him with horror written all over my face at what he had just said. 9 to 6pm? Is he crazy? That's already like a full time working person! I was just a simple civilian! There's no way I could keep up with that kind of training!
"Oh, don't worry, Naruto-chan," Kakashi said lightly, for the first time he was using my name, "We will start from the very bottom and most simplest exercises. I will assist you every step of the way and Sasuke will also guide you in the sidelines. That happens to be part of his tasks now."
"Forgive me for asking, Kakashi-sensei," I spoke, holding my hand up before he could say anything else, "But why is the Hokage demanding so much out of a mere civilian like me? I understand, from what Sakura-chan has told me that is, that I am only an orphan with barely any ties with society. Why now?"
Kakashi stroked his chin silently as he pondered how to answer my question. He looked like he was trying to decide what was best to be said.
"Naruto-chan, I suppose you're not aware of the fact that you are a jinchuuriki, are you?" he asked slowly, and at my puzzled look, he shook his head, "No, of course you're not. Well, Naruto-chan, you happen to be a human vessel that the Yondaime had used to contain and seal the Kyuubi inside you. Do you still remember or know of the nine tailed demon fox? Well, it's inside you right now and since jinchuurikis are very valuable to the village in which the jinchuuriki resides in, then you need to be well prepared for future threats."
"F-future threats?" I stammered out in shock and disbelief, "You mean, because I'm Konohagakure's treasure, people will be trying to steal me or kill me or something?"
It...It can't be...
But then I saw gleaming red eyes with slit-like pupils and rows and rows of jagged sharp teeth. There was a putrid breath and I could almost hear its claws stretch out from its paws. It was a...large monstrous fox with nine tails, all of which were swishing around menacingly as if to whip me with one of them should I dare to do something it didn't like. It was like living in a dream that was fast becoming a nightmare. I was still there in the hospital room, aware of Kakashi and Sakura-chan but in my mind's eye I could see the demonic fox clearly.
"It's real...You're not lying to me," I whispered hoarsely as I stared into the demon's glowing red eyes.
'Welcome back, kit,' the fox growled at me. It seemed to even grin evilly at my apparent state of shock.
'Looks like you've seriously lost your head this time 'round, kit, to not even remember me...What a stupid pathetic little ningen you are...'
"Stop it!" I cried out in distress, clutching my ears tightly because its roar was so loud, "I'm not pathetic!"
It started to bark in laughter at what I said but then it started to quiet down and fix me with a most horrifying stare.
'I cannot believe the very mention of my name could make you visit me in my prison but I guess I also wanted to be found...,' it muttered.
'I could give you back your memories and I think I will because it would be better for us if you could remember who you really are...,' the Kyuubi growled lowly, 'But I think I'll do it gradually...See how it goes...For the time being, I'll give you your memories of that Uchiha bastard you seem to be so fond of.'
"Why?" I tried to say but my voice got choked up and the sound of it didn't really come out. But it seemed like the fox could understand my thoughts without my having to voice them out.
'Heh. Because, kit, that Uchiha filth is the one that is the most dangerous threat to us right now. If you die, I die. So I would rather we both stay alive...and that Uchiha seems to have ulterior motives...,' it hissed, 'You need to be aware of his every move...'
'Well, kit, that's it for now...I'll catch up with you later,' it howled with laughter and I felt like my body was spinning in a spiral.
"Naruto-chan, oi, Naruto-chan!" Kakashi called to me as he snapped his fingers in my face, "What was it, Naruto-chan, you just blanked out suddenly? Did you just remember something?"
I blinked a few times and stared in a daze, the ringing laughter of the Kyuubi still so vivid in my ears.
"I...I...I remember," I said slowly, swallowing my saliva as I tried to wet my throat, "I remember who Sasuke-kun is...I know him Kakashi-sensei but some of the parts are missing!"
"Just Sasuke-kun? You remember nothing else?" Sakura said looking at me seriously.
"Yes...The Kyuubi...It spoke!" I cried, "The Kyuubi gave me back the memories on Sasuke-kun but he didn't give me anything else...And he didn't say much either."
"We were so worried about you," Sakura-chan said concern washing over her face. She checked my pulse and put up a hand to my forehead to feel my temperature. "You were talking to someone but you weren't even looking at us...Your face, it turned ashen and pale so suddenly I thought you were going to have a seizure!"
"No...It was just the Kyuubi...I wonder why it's suddenly chosen to show up now..." I muttered, "Why didn't it come out earlier. He told me that I was the one who visited him in his prison. I don't know what that means."
Kakashi looked at me carefully before he spoke up, "I think the Kyuubi has its own agenda, Naruto-chan. It chose to return only a limited amount of your memories. That in itself says that the Kyuubi is planning on something. Do not trust the Kyuubi, Naruto-chan. It is a demonic spirit with menacing capabilities and intent, best not to believe in him too much."
I nodded at that and looked about the room.
"So what now?" I drawled out feeling suddenly very sleepy.
"Right now, little missy," Kakashi said, "You need to go to sleep. Get some rest. Tomorrow's gonna be a long day."
"But - !" I tried to protest but my eyelids just grew heavier and I yawned loudly. Must be the medicine taking effect...
"Go to sleep, Naruto-chan!" Sakura scolded as she tucked me in bed.
My eyelids fluttered close and more images of Sasuke flooded my mind. Sasuke holding me, kissing me, and screaming at me. Of him coldly telling me that he didn't need my sympathy. That day and for the rest of the night, I only dreamt of the last Uchiha and the nine tailed beast I had concealed inside me.
Kakashi motioned for Sakura to step outside of the hospital room so they could talk privately. He was quite grateful that even though he'd arrived later then the appointed time, he had come in at just the right time before Sakura could say much about Naruto's question. The pinkette wasn't very good at lying much. She was never the type of kunoichi one sent on missions for infiltrations. Sakura was more suited for the head on, open combat missions instead of the sneaky seductive type meant for most kunoichis. Tsunade knew where her students' strengths lay so she was rather kind in that regard.
"You need to rehearse your stories better, Sakura-chan," Kakashi began lightly scolding her, "Remember what Tsunade-sama said, you guys met her during a mission that involved taking care of orphans at the orphanage back when you were genin and taking care of D-rank missions. I know this is difficult for you, Sakura-chan, especially since you were probably closest to her but this is important and we cannot afford to fail."
Sakura nodded lamely. Her downcast eyes shone with disappointment and sadness and Kakashi couldn't help but sigh and patted her head affectionately.
"Sakura-chan, I know it came as a shock to you that Naruto-chan is in actuality a jinchuuriki but we need to move on from the shock now," he gently spoke, "A jinchuuriki is considered each village's treasure and should be guarded well. The Akatsuki has also been trying to capture them, with tremendous success too so we cannot let this mission fail."
Sakura wiped a tear away and looked into Kakashi's eyes briefly.
"I know, Kakashi-sensei," she mumbled, "But I just can't help but feel so sorry for her! I never knew she was a girl and definitely never suspected she was a jinchuuriki. I can't believe her mother dressed her up as a boy and masqueraded her around as a male instead of a girl! She adored her mother, Kakashi-sensei! You should have seen the way her eyes would lit up every time she talked about her."
"Now, I'm just not convinced whether to lie to her is the right thing to do…," Sakura trailed off, her eyes looking in the direction of where they'd come from almost as if she expected Naruto to be there.
"Sakura-chan, the right thing to do is to ensure that she does not fall into the hands of Akatsuki," Kakashi explained patiently, "And we must do that at all costs, including lying to her and pretending to be someone else…"
Sakura nodded then and smiled a bit more brightly. The whole secret when it had been revealed to her had thoroughly shocked her! She had gasped loudly and had kept looking at Sasuke back and forth in between Tsunade and Kakashi. It just seemed so far fetched.
Tsunade had been quick to come up with a disguise for Sasuke and her and also explained the mission to Sakura carefully so that she knew just how vital this mission was. They told her that Naruto was a jinchuuriki, they told her that they were going to bring the mother in for questioning, they told her that Naruto was in truth a girl and they also told her that it was Sasuke who had discovered the truth about the true gender of the girl.
Sakura had been speechless of course but then a lot of her mental gears started working and clicking and soon, everything fell into place. That explained why Sasuke had grabbed the young blonde and practically kidnapped her from the Hyuuga heiress' party! It also made sense why he hadn't been coming for their usual training and why he was keeping away from them lately. He was spending more time with the blonde boy-in-truth-a-girl! It also explained why she hadn't been seeing much of Naruto either.
'Does he like the b- I mean, girl?' Sakura wondered to herself as she watched Sasuke's vacant expression. He was very good at concealing his emotions and Sakura didn't know what the hell was going on in that manipulative, bordering-on-evil mind he had!
Sakura wanted to ask Sasuke a million questions and even though she knew he would probably get angry and then brush her off; she was still determined to find out more. However, just when she was cornering Sasuke after their meeting with Tsunade, Kakashi had intervened and gave her a look that clearly said 'follow me and leave emo boy alone'. She had glared at Sasuke a bit then but it was more of a warning glare that meant to say he wasn't off the hook yet but she'd left Sasuke and followed Kakashi nonetheless.
That was when her silver haired sensei had proceeded to tell her a rather vague account of what he had seen transpiring between Sasuke and Naruto. Sakura was once gain left stunned. Sasuke was doing what with the girl? Was he totally out of his mind? And since when has Sasuke ever shown any interest toward the fairer sex? She had always assumed he was either gay or just asexual since he had never really been attracted to a girl.
'Guess that's not the case anymore,' Sakura thought almost in humour.
"So he was…trying to make love to her, Kakashi-sensei?" the pinkette asked once more just to make sure she'd heard right.
"Oh, uhm, yes…Yes, they were…uh…*cough*, in that…position," Kakashi sputtered and Sakura rolled her eyes because he was obviously blushing. And this from a man who read pornography almost every day!
"So he was literally trying to impale her with his penis then?" she couldn't resist teasing her sensei some more.
"W-well…!" Kakashi blushed and his eye darted back and forth from her face to the floor.
"You know, Kakashi-sensei, you sound just like Hinata-chan!" Sakura cried out, giggling, "Honestly, you read all that pornographic junk everyday, so why the heck are you even blushing?"
"Well, it's highly inappropriate talk to have with students!" Kakashi protested, "I read the novels, yes, but have you actually even seen me behave like a pervert? And you even said such foul words, Sakura-chan!"
"What? You mean penis?" Sakura asked innocently, "It is a perfectly acceptable word. I am a medic nin and we most certainly always refer to the male appendage as penis! Penis! Penis! PENIS!"
Kakashi grimaced and muttered something that sounded a lot like 'oh, what happened to the days when my students were such innocents'.
Sakura then thoughtfully put her hand to her jaw and wondered about Sasuke's intentions. Kakashi had also told her what the surviving Uchiha was planning to do with the jinchuuriki; use her as bait for Itachi. Sakura didn't like that idea but now that Tsunade was involved with the whole case, she did feel a bit better about it. At least, Sasuke wouldn't be able to pull off any funny business with the Hokage, Kakashi and herself involved.
She turned her head suddenly as a gust of wind blew. Sakura had a bad feeling about this…
"You bastards actually think that you're going to catch me just like that? Who do you think I am?" the red haired woman smirked almost evilly. She'd knocked out two of their ANBU members already and she was now circling the other two who were still conscious.
They'd attacked her when she was just about to go outside and find that meddlesome pink haired kunoichi for a neighbour and demand to know where her son was when she was ambushed. Despite her initial surprise, Kushina had held her ground and so far she was having the upper hand.
"Please, Uzumaki-san," one of them tried to reason with her, "We only just want to bring you in for questioning. It's only regarding your daughter!"
Kushina's eyes narrowed to slits as she focused her attention on the ANBU who had just spoken. He wore a bear mask and she couldn't see his face but Kushina had never felt the intent to kill in a long while and she sorely hoped he knew she was serious.
"What did you say…?" she asked slowly and dangerously.
"It's your daughter, Uzumaki-san. She is at the Konohagakure hospital and we only wanted to inform you that," said the other one with the otter mask on. Kushina was no fool though. They were already in battle stances and had kunais and tantos in hand.
"I don't have a daughter!" Kushina cried out and she charged at the one in the bear mask, nearly stabbing him with her kunai. Quickly, she grabbed a hold of his arm and flung him around so that he would crash into his teammate.
"I only have a son! He is a BOY! I've never had a girl before in my entire life! Now get off my property!" she yelled out furiously. She held a handful of kunai in each hand and was just about to throw them all at ther opponents when suddenly two hands imprisoned her from behind.
"That is enough, Uzumaki-san!" the ANBU who held her tightly said sternly, "Either come quietly or we will be forced to subdue you!"
"Go ahead and try, you degenerate!" she barked out struggling when she realised that he was imprisoning her with a genjutsu and not his real body.
He sighed and suddenly she was hit by gas in point blank range, right in front of her face. He'd hidden the device on his wrist beneath his glove and Kushina mentally cursed him before she fell into a peaceful slumber.
She vowed not to say a word no matter how much they asked her…
A big shout out and thank you to almost everyone who reviewed and sent me PMs for my previous queries. I have basically made up my mind on what to do next. I will total up the votes and decide where to go from there.
Thank you to all of you:
The King in White
I hope I managed to get everyone! Do tell me if I missed a few! Am currently at work right now and I just cannot wait to post this up! Sorry for the delay but work has been consuming me! Thank you everyone who gave me their thoughts and opinions. It really means a lot to me! :) Do review me!