Ore Wa Kimi No Mono

Chapter 18 – We Made It

"We've found them!" a call echoed through the snow covered clearing. Naruto and Sasuke immediately left the tent and sought out the caller. But before they could even reach the area, another call made their hearts drop, "They're dead!" Their worst fears were confirmed. But how could this have happened?

"What happened? Did they freeze?" a woman asked.

Another man shook his head sadly, "Their throats have been torn out…"

"Who could have d-done this terrible thing?!" the Cat demon Hinata cried out, hands over her mouth, lavender eyes wide as she gazed at the two mangled bodies.

"Good question," Neji muttered, his own brown Cat ears pressed back in anger just as Sasuke came up beside him.

Jiraiya arrived immediately after and the crowd only grew as the rest of the refugees came to view the dead. "Back up! Everyone make some space! Get the children away from here and clean up camp! We need to be moving on! I'll need a few men to help me here!" Jiraiya the Toad Sage immediately barked his orders. Many were happy to follow them. Some were less so.

Now there was suspicion and doubt in their minds. Who killed these men? Who was the perpetrator amongst them? No one was a friend. Not even this man leading their group to freedom. And some didn't mind voicing their opinions about it either.

"Wait a minute! Who says you're in charge here?" one man demanded. He was a Dog demon with pointy, short ears with short brown fur and a long, whip like tail. "You think just because you're showing us the way to this so-called 'Konoha' that you are leader of this pack?"

Jiraiya stood immediately, hands covered in blood from trying to move the bodies from their frozen grave. "I do not pretend to be leader of this pack, I am only trying to help and do what is right! I didn't see anyone else taking charge!"

The Dog demon growled and pointed an accusing finger, "How do we know you aren't just leading us all to our deaths? How do we know this 'Konoha' even exists?! I think this is a wild goose chase to keep us occupied while you kill us off one by one!" The few left collectively gasped and only stared, dumbfounded as this exchange occurred. Was it true?

As the man moved forward, intending to attack Jiraiya who stood at the ready, Naruto jumped in front of him with his hand out, orange fox ears back and tail swishing irritated behind him. "Enough! Jiraiya-San has been nothing but a help and a guide and a leader! He's done more for all of us than any of us even have right to ask him for! He's taking care of us. You are just upset and paranoid and rightly so! But you don't need to accuse the first person you see just because you are afraid! Be useful and look for clues as to who the real killer is, or go pack up camp!" the Kitsune commanded, his blue eyes fierce and his stance solid despite almost freezing to death only an hour ago. He wasn't going to move an inch.

The Dog demon backed down, grumbling and sauntering off to the camp to lick his wounds. But the seed of doubt had been planted. The killer was here, amongst them. Who was it? Sasuke and Naruto went to Jiraiya's side and asked what they could do to help. The white-haired old man only shook his head, "There isn't much for you pups to do… go help the others pack up and the men and I will take care of these poor souls."

Obediently, the boys went back to camp. Sasuke coyly grabbed Naruto's hand along the way, earning him a warm, accepting smile. Finally. He was finally earning Naruto's trust back after over a month of grovelling and feeling guilty. Despite the terrible events that seemed to be happening, he was thankful and happy. Grateful. As selfish as it may sound, he really needed this…

They helped pack up camp, chased the children around and got them back to their mothers, and made sure that the morning rations were distributed evenly. They were running dangerously low on supplies and Naruto secretly hoped they were close to Konoha. At this rate, there were only enough rations for another two days… maybe three if they cut down on portions. Possibly four if some of the men passed on theirs to the women, children and elderly. But they were in a tight spot. Though that wouldn't stop Naruto from encouraging the refugees and comforting their fears.

"How close do you think we are to Konoha, Naruto-kun?" a lady asked, her Rabbit ears drooping and her eyes dull. The mother of five was exhausted and just wanted to rest.

Naruto gave her a warm smile, cradling one of the babies as she fussed with another to do up his jacket. "We are really close. It's not much further at all. Jiraiya-San will get us there before you know it! No need to worry at all!" he assured her, bouncing the giggling Bunny around in his arms. The mother smiled tiredly and nodded, accepting his answer.

Sasuke watched with a sad smile as he watched Naruto with the baby. Yeah, they may be 16 but that was the age where most animals started mating and joining together in families. Naruto was a natural with the kids. During their journey he had entertained them, played with them, carried a few, and even changed diapers to help out the mothers. The Kitsune was meant to be a father at some point. This made Sasuke sad. Though he might want the boy all to himself and claim him as a mate… he just wasn't a female… they couldn't mate and make pups. They could never have a family. Not the way that Naruto might perhaps want.

Naruto tossed the baby in the air, earning him an excited squeal of joy and laughter and begging from the other Bunny eared toddlers, "Me too! Me too!"

Sasuke didn't want to hold Naruto back from a happy life… and that is just what he'd be doing if he selfishly claimed Naruto for himself. Could he do it? Could he push aside the greater good and keep this fine specimen of a man and never have pups? Could he even set aside his own selfishness and jealousy and give Naruto the chance to breed?

"Sasuke, could I have a word?" Neji came up to the black haired Wolf demon and beckoned to the side. Without anything else to do but brood, he consented and followed the Cat demon. A little ways away, out of earshot of the others, Neji turned to Sasuke and spoke stiffly. "Are you really sure this is right?"

"Jiraiya-San wouldn't lead us wrong. He's been to Konoha before," Sasuke explained, his brows furrowed. Did Neji doubt this journey too?

Neji shook his head, his long brown hair swishing around, much like his agitated cat tail, "No. I meant being with Naruto… He's a Fox Demon… and the son of the Village Leader. He's powerful and valuable to the clans…any clan… is it right for you, a male, to claim him?"

The Wolf demon laid back his ears and growled threateningly. "That is none of your concern. That is between Naruto and me," he snapped. It was almost like Neji had read his mind! The Wolfs' heart constricted painfully. He didn't want to hear anything this Cat had to say.

"Surely you know it's true… You know it's important to have him breed and carry on the Fox Clan. You're holding him back Sasuke. You're being self-interested." The Cat's words cut deep into Sasuke's heart like a knife, confirming what the Wolf already knew as true. He may not have wanted to hear it but there was no way of avoiding it. But he also didn't want anyone else questioning his choices! This was between him and his beloved Fox.

"Sasuke! I think everyone is ready to go!" Naruto called, jogging over to the pair. "Neji, are you ready to go too?"

Neji nodded curtly and looked back at Sasuke. "Think about it." Then he walked away to gather his cousin Hinata and their belongings.

Naruto frowned and looked at Sasuke. "Thank about what? What were you guys talking about?"

Sasuke shook his black haired head and smiled weakly at his lover. "Nothing, Naruto. Let's get our things together." The pair packed up their own possessions and headed back over to Jiraiya who had put the frozen, dead bodies in a covered cart.

"Wait," the older man frowned and scanned the entire clearing and all the people there, ready to go. "Where's Sai?"

"WOLVES!" a scream suddenly warned the rest of the traveling refugees only moments before they were all surrounded. Sai suddenly appeared there at the edge, transformed, as he pulled a screaming woman out of harms way. A giant white paw slammed the ground where she had been only a heartbeat ago. The black and white Wolf held off a few of the attacking wolves on his own with skill and Naruto leapt to action immediately, joining in the fight. There was no time for questions, no time to group or plan. The only option was to fight and hold them off.

And only moments after that, Sasuke, Jiraiya and all the other demons able to fight, shot to combat. The women and children huddled together by the carts and tried to stay out of the way as massive demons, friend and foe, whirled around in a chaotic mass of fur, claws, teeth and blood.

"Where have you been?!" Sasuke demanded, pinning down a light brown Wolf as Sai struggled to free himself from being pinned against a tree. In a flurry of claws and teeth, Sai stood victorious and panting for only a moment, a black and white warrior.

"Scouting for the murderer of those men! Trying to find clues while everyone was milling around uselessly!" Sai snapped back. Truthfully, he had been trying to locate a certain missing Snake demon. He was pretty sure though that these two incidents were related.

"Well, did you find anything?!" Sasuke demanded, his pure black fur covered in flakes of cold, white snow from his scuffle.

"I think it was Ka-AH!" another Wolf jumped onto his back from behind and was trying to bite and break Sai's neck. Sasuke kicked him off and tumbled as another rammed into him from the side.

The group was greatly out numbered and they were starting to be pressed back, circled in, cut off… no escape. Naruto was fighting as hard as he could, trying his best not to reveal that he was Kyuubi's vessel as that was the only weapon, the only advantage he had but he was still weak. He wanted to keep this Godly power secret and he also wanted to reserve his energy to fight longer. "Form a circle around the carts! Protect them!" Naruto ordered, his blue eyes flashing crimson for only a brief moment before he stood his ground against the approaching Wolves. What were they gonna do? They were outnumbered and losing… Would they be able to make it out of this?

"Jiraiya! Take everyone and get out! Take some other path! I'll hold them off!" the Kitsune shouted, his massive Fox tail stiff, ears back, massive jaws scowling, paws wide and stance low, ready for an attack.

"Naruto, you can't keep-"

"Yes, I can! Get them out of here! I'll catch up with you later!"

Jiraiya didn't want to leave the boy to his fate. He was so young and still had a lot of training to do! He couldn't be left behind to fend off an army of Wolves himself! Especially this close to the village and his family! But these people needed to leave and get to safety. So reluctantly, the Toad Sage started leading the women, children and elderly away, taking a few men with them to haul the carts and protect the rest of the party as they made their escape.

Sasuke and Sai stayed behind, standing on either side of the Fox. "What's the plan?" Sai asked, eyeing the massive number of Wolves left and doing a mental inventory of his own sore and tired body. There were as many as 60 enemies here and less than 20 friends… The odds weren't good.

"I'm not sure but we can't let them take us down! Any suggestions?" Naruto glanced at Sai and Sasuke, looking for hope. No one had any. "They're counting on us to protect them… we can't fail…" but the fear and the defeat was writ clearly on their faces. They couldn't possibly hope to hold up against this legion of soldiers.

Sasuke wondered where all these Wolves came from. There had hardly been any in the last village they were in and here was a small army. Did his father send these after them? How did they manage to find them? What would happen if they were captured or killed? Would the others be able to get away? Was this the end?

Too many questions, not enough answers. Nothing left to do but fight till they were dead or caught. The demons were resigned to their fate. All but Naruto…he was so close to seeing his family. So close to finally reaching his Clan and finding where he belonged. Just to end up Wolf food? Naruto wasn't ready for that! He would go down fighting!

But just as they prepared for an attack, with their hearts hammering in their chests, a Wolf in the back yelped and fell. Then another further to the left. Then another, and another. The Wolf pack suddenly had a different enemy. Seeing their confusion and break in formation as many scurried away, Naruto jumped to action, taking advantage of the opportunity. With a snarl and gnashing teeth, he took down a Wolf just as one beside him fell, death by arrow.

Unseen friends were helping take down the foes at a speed that frightened them and made a few cry and try to retreat. Then the saviours finally revealed themselves. They swarmed out of the snowy trees and behind rocks and overwhelmed the Wolves like bees to a hive. There was no escaping the wrath, fury and precision that was the battle waged by the Fox Clan.

It was a sea of orange, red, brown, white and black. All colours and shades and species of Fox imaginable mobbed together and took down the Wolves with indescribable ease. Seeing that they might only get in the way, Sasuke, Sai, Naruto and the few other demons left on their side backed off and watched the take down a safe distance away. They caught their breath and thanked their stars that they had been so lucky!

"What's going on?!" Neji asked breathlessly, watching some of the Fox Clan group to chase the ones that escaped. He had stayed behind to help, not looking as fierce as Naruto or Sasuke as he was a Cat. But still dangerous and lethal in his own right. He had great agility and strategy on the field.

Naruto only smiled and relaxed as a few of the Foxes approached their small group cautiously, curiously. Their many eyes were wide as they approached Naruto, muttering to them selves in surprise. "We made it."

Oh my goodness! This was fun to write. I was just getting so excited that I realized I had left out some parts and had to go back to add them in and make this silly chapter make sense!

Who murdered those men? Who did Sai suspect? Where was Kabuto? Who sent all those Wolves? Finally! The long and arduous journey led them to the very doorstep of the Legendary Fox Clan! How will things turn out from here?

I have to say this story is turning into a much larger project than I had originally intended… Ah well, I'm so glad it is being so enjoyed. Please let me know what you guys think! I like to know your opinions!

Please READ & REVIEW!

All my love,

TLC