"Things never turn out the way you'd expect them to," thought Uzumaki Naruto as he woke up smiling, and without regrets.
He took in crisp morning air with measured breaths, deeply and slowly.
Inhale for five heartbeats.
Hold for three.
Exhale in five.
With a serene look on his face, his expression verged on the meditativeness of an aged holy man.
The genin was at peace, and stereotypically at one with the world as his breath cycle continued, unabated.
Inhale for five heartbeats.
Hold for three.
Exhale in five.
The stillness of the day reflected his mental tranquility...
...Until he opened his mouth.
"That was motherfucking awesome!" proclaimed the blonde at the top of his lungs, disturbing a number of nearby neighbors.
The Cost of Dreams
Disclaimer: Naruto is not mine. If he was, he'd cure Hinata's stuttering, Sakura's propensity for violence, Ino's nagging, Anko's boredom, and Tsunade's heartache all with same useful multi-tool.
When boiled down to its essence, everything could be traced back to Ero-Sennin.
After about a year into his training trip, puberty struck like a blackjack to the back of an unsuspecting Uzumaki Naruto's skull. His voice cracked like a pane of glass catching a brick, and the old perv couldn't possibly have managed to laugh any harder.
"Shut the HE-ll up, Ero-Se-NNIN!" squeaked Naruto uncontrollably at his pitiless mentor.
Thanks to peerless self-control, Jiraya managed to stifle his guffaws momentarily as he caught his breath.
"Hey Brat, maybe when your balls finish dropping we'll celebrate in style, okay?" offered the older ninja as a placating gesture, "You know, as many of the shinobi vices you can handle, on my coin even."
Jiraya made a circle with the tips of index finger and thumb of his left hand and rhythmically thrust his other index finger in and out of it, nodding all the while as if expecting his apprentice to agree.
"You could even spring on something a little more deviant, if that's what flicks your wick."
Jiraiya withdrew his pistoning index finger and licked it, and, after tightening the circle his index and thumb formed to a near-pinhole, resumed his previous actions, but added comments in a creepily high falsetto.
"Ooh, not there, Naruto-sama...I've never...It hurts, but I'm starting to like it..." exclaimed the legendary shinobi, adapting lines from his line of published novels.
Not trusting his own voice and damning his vision and hearing all the while, Naruto stoically gave Jiraiya the middle finger, mustering all the righteous fury he could without accessing the Kyuubi's energy, before walking away.
To be honest, Jiraiya had been praying for the day when Naruto's hormones would be able to run wild and free. Not just to simply run free, but to rampage like a mini-kyuubi in a forest consisting of beautiful women leaving behind an aftermath of tangled, sweaty and/or sticky bodies.
The legendary ninja was frankly tired of the nagging, the complaining, and the childish bitching from his apprentice about his active nightlife. "Why won't you spend more time with me?" and "I'm tired of you staying out at all hours and never helping me out," were common complaints. If Jiraiya wanted to deal with shit like that, he would have married someone like Nara Yoshino a long time ago.
A little understanding or parity was all the Toad Sage wanted from his protege. Would it hurt the young man to see things from his perspective every now and then, mainly from between a pair of lightly perfumed, silky thighs?
Uzumaki Naruto needed balance in his life.
Life was more than battle, more than rescuing a traitorous comrade from the consequences of his own screwed-up decisions, and more than getting stronger.
As it was, Jiraiya had a perfectly reasonable rationale for encouraging Naruto to "unload." The Toad hermit was Konoha's spymaster and Naruto, as his student, would have to prove himself competent in the areas of infiltration and seduction if he were to inherit the position.
It was hopefully excuse enough to prevent Tsunade-hime from tearing him apart like so much wet tissue paper if she (the Heavens forbid) ever found out.
More than that, Jiraiya did not want Naruto to repeat the same mistakes he had made over the course of his lifetime.
Sometimes in real life, the hero never ends up getting the girl. Sometimes, she's so hung up over the past that they both end up lonely and childless.
There were other deeply guarded motivations that were painful for Jiraiya to even consider.
For one, he knew that he was a horrible godfather.
He, of course, had a perfectly legitimate excuse in citing his duties as Konoha's spymaster. The Toad sage was THE foremost operative for Konoha's intelligence network. As a hedonistic author of fine erotica with only "loose" ties to his home village, Jiraiya's cover was flawless. It enabled him to travel freely from country to country on booksigning tours without undue questioning, and to dig up the latest gossip from starstruck fans and friends from the "entertainment" industry that he could relay back to Konohagakure.
Having a child with him would been a horrific liability in his covert position. Specifically, having Minato's child with him would have been like painting a giant bullseye on Naruto's back. Sooner or later, the uncomfortable question of "Why is the infamous bachelor Jiraiya babysitting a blond child who looks suspiciously like his former protégé the 4th Hokage?" would have arisen.
That would mean enemies crawling out of the woodwork and desperately fighting battles on the run with a child strapped to his back.
That was not a formula for success, or even survival.
In a sense, Uzumaki Naruto was an inadvertent victim of his father's successes.
While a normal (relatively-speaking) S-ranked nin was a major threat to an entire ninja village, the Yondaime managed to single-handedly turn the tide of a major Shinobi war, and effectively crippled the Country of Iwa for years, maybe even decades. None of Konoha's enemies knew exactly how he did it, whether through a bloodline or kinjutsu, but they all sought the truth behind his techniques.
It was for this reason Namikaze Minato's body was cremated immediately after his death and his ashes scattered to the four winds. If word that a trace of his bloodline leaked, Konoha's enemies would be stumbling over themselves trying to capture and dissect it in their thirst for power.
Jiraiya knew that the safest place for Uzumaki Naruto to be was in Konohagakure, living in goddamn obscurity. That was one of the rare points that the gray-haired hermit reluctantly agreed to with the Sandaime.
The near-total social isolation Naruto experienced as a child was a protective measure that was solely the Sandaime's doing.
Well-aware that giving up his position as Konoha's spymaster and center of its intelligence network would jeopardize the village, Jiraiya asked the old man's permission to take on Naruto as an apprentice at for at least a few weeks or months out of every year in Konoha. While not ideal, this plan would have allowed Jiraya to look over Naruto for a decent-sized portion of the time had Old Man Sarutobi not shot down that plan immediately and pissed on the flaming wreckage.
"Why the fuck not, you old monkey?!" exclaimed Jiraiya.
"Both the village council and Danzo want him groomed to be Konoha's weapon. I can't in good conscience allow that," stated the Sandaime firmly.
Massaging his temples, the older man continued.
"I've have officially declared him off limits to any shinobi apprenticeship while he is still a civilian. He needs to have a childhood, and he needs to choose for himself. I'll not have him claimed and dehumanized by Root, as Uchiha Itachi was. By allowing a part time apprenticeship with you, I would inadvertently be strengthening Danzo's claim calling for Naruto to be a weapon and nothing more."
The Sandaime looked his former pupil dead in the eyes.
"It has to be all or nothing, Jiraiya. You're only in Konohagakure part of the year, but guess who will be here to pick up the slack when you leave? Tsunade is gone, Kakashi is in no position to take care of a child, you're needed in the field, and I'm trying to hold this village together. I have already forbidden most of his ANBU detail from speaking with him directly, as we currently don't know how deeply Root has infiltrated our forces. Do you understand?"
When Jiraiya asked the Hokage his reasons for not telling the crusty old bastards to fuck off, the answer the old man supplied surprised him.
"The Kyuubi's attack has left us at a precipice, Jiraiya. The situation is as worse as you have feared. If I make any movements to remove the Council or Danzo from power, Konoha's leadership will be fractured. Think of our past bloodshed: coups, assassination attempts, kidnapping. We need to present a united front, otherwise our enemies will jump on any weakness we present them and Konoha will fall. I WILL NOT allow that to happen."
After an intense debate with the Sandaime where Jiraya mentally went over a checklist of the pros and cons of turning traitor to his own village and simply running away with his godson, they had finally reached a compromise for their dilemma after very nearly coming to blows over it.
The Sandaime's blanket proclamation would stand unchallenged to stalemate the machinations of any parties disloyal to the Hokage. Uzumaki Naruto would not be forced to become a ninja, a tool to be discarded, or a pawn to be manipulated. If and when he became a genin, Jiraya could then later claim him as a full time apprentice.
The 3rd Hokage promised to bend what rules he could if Naruto showed any definite interest in becoming a shinobi, including early admission to the academy.
Although an agreement had been reached, the 3rd Hokage's decision started a rift between him and his former student that would never heal.
In the meanwhile, Jiraiya did his best to adhere to the letter of the Hokage's law, but every now and then snuck past the stationed ANBU patrol to sneak his godson an anonymous gift or two. The Toad Sage made sure that his gifts were innocuous enough to escape the notice of any curious ANBU member: a cute sleeping cap here, a small stack of kick-ass shinobi-themed manga there, and even an awesome toad-shaped wallet. These could be construed as any number of sundry items a child with a modest stipend might be able to purchase for himself.
Only after the Sandaime's death could Jiraiya ultimately make some sort of peace with the old man's decision. No one had coddled the Uzumaki Naruto as he grew up, and no one had forced him into killing his heart off to embody some bullshit shinobi ideal. His ambition to be Hokage was his own and not motivated by a desire for power, but by his desire to protect the people of his village and be acknowledged by them as someone worthwhile.
Although Naruto had a mostly lonely childhood, it was still a childhood after all. Maybe the old man had been right?
While not the aficionado that Tsunade-hime was, Sarutobi-sensei was a gambler at heart. The chances he took with Orochimaru had cost him dearly at the end, but Jiraiya knew that gamble the old monkey had made on the strength of Uzumaki Naruto's character would pay off in spades.
Honestly, Jiraiya looked forward to being the only person in the history of Konohagakure to mentor two Hokages without ever being one himself.
Regardless of the results, Jiraiya could never, ever forgive himself for being an absentee figure in his godson's early life, good intentions be damned. He had missed Naruto's first steps, his first words, his first day at the academy, and even his graduation. The gray haired man wanted to be there for the milestones in Naruto's life, but so many had passed already.
Jiraiya knew for damn sure of one first that had yet to be reached.
By hook or by crook, Uzumaki Naruto would have the happiest goddamn birthday ever!
Uzumaki Naruto was dreading his upcoming 15th birthday much like a condemned prisoner would awaiting a particularly drawn out and messy execution.
Looking over his shoulder and jumping at shadows, he was constantly flinching, waiting for the proverbial hammer to fall.
It wasn't as if he had anything against birthday celebrations, quite the opposite in fact. Still, the warning klaxons were blaring in his head.
Something huge was brewing, the first rumblings of a storm.
The first clue was Ero-sennin.
Jiraiya sported a perpetually half giddy/half pervy look on his face. It was one Naruto hadn't seen since the 3-day book convention they had attended a few months ago devoted to Jiraiya's infamous series.
The event's dress code was well-enforced recalled Naruto as his face blushed crimson in remembrance of the various costumes, or lack thereof, that people paraded in, not to mention the "private" booths and "group" events.
Ewww... What was the appeal of those anyway? Wasn't it kinda like everyone blowing their noses in the same handkerchief?
"Mind bleach! Mind bleach! Mind bleach!" grumbled Naruto, repeating a mantra to hopefully banish a number of soul-searing mental images.
The second clue was from Ero-sennin again.
The troubling thing was that Jiraiya had his look of lascivious self-satisfaction before they even reached their destination, with no women in sight.
This was going to be bad, in the same sense Orochimaru or the members of the Akatsuki were "naughty."
Shit, this was going to be a catastrophe.
The morning of his birthday set Naruto on a razor's edge. Like a missing-nin dodging a team of assassins, he kept himself on high alert looking out for obvious traps and elaborately hidden ruses.
Ero-sennin was entirely too nice, and the accommodations for the both of them at their swanky resort town were top notch.
That fact drove Uzumaki Naruto into a near state of panic. Normally, the both of them would stay in a single room and Jiraiya would reserve the option to boot him out if he needed to "entertain" a guest there, or Naruto would be designated a separate suite of measurably inferior quality compared to the old perv's.
(Not that the blond complained much about it. After all, although Jiraya occasionally borrowed from Gama-chan to pay for "research expeditions," Naruto technically never had to pay a cent for having a roof over his head and for grub while he trained with Jiraiya.)
Upon entering his hotel room, Naruto openly gaped at its lavishness. The ceiling and walls were mirrored, the floors were marble and covered in places by expensive rugs fine enough to be mistaken for tapestries, the bed Naruto had for himself was sizable enough to fit a sprawled out family of four, and the bathtub was almost big enough to swim laps in.
After a sizable birthday dinner courtesy of Ero-Sennin, Naruto's mentor left him with a few parting words that turned his blood to ice in his veins.
"Oy Brat. By the way, I've left you a birthday present in your hotel room," shared Jiraiya, as he nudged his protege with an elbow.
"You should hurry back and upwrap it..."
Jiraya's smile turned devious.
"...Unless you want to take the coward's way out."
Jiraiya made a few clucking noises in a roughly hewn imitation of a chicken.
Before Naruto could ask him any further questions, the older man vanished into thin air as if he were a serious ninja for a change.
There went that idea.
Naruto made the short walk to his hotel, only to pace in front of his door like a madman.
A lone question prodded his thoughts like a kunai to kidneys: "Should I open this mystery door or should I flee as if my fucking life depended on it?"
The young blonde teen recalled the clucking sounds Ero-sennin made, and he angrily clamped his hand on the door handle.
He was most likely stepping into a trap, but Uzumaki naruto was no coward. Naruto opened the door.
He had company.
Naruto dove inside and rolled to a stop, popping up with kunai exposed in each hand to greet his unexpected guests.
His kunai swiftly clattered to the ground thereafter at the sight of long lustrous hair, full red lips, and creamy exposed flesh.
Naruto brought his hands together and yelled out "Kai!" in order to dispel the obviously too-good-to-be-true vision that teased his eyes.
Konoha's jinchuuriki was not greeted by the sight of a single, stunningly beautiful dark-haired woman clothed in the latest fashions consisting of air.
He was greeted by stunningly beautiful, dark-haired twins, clothed in the latest fashions consisting of air.
"Happy Birthday, Naruto. I'm Satori," greeted a young woman, older than him by a few scant years, wearing her hair in two loose ponytails that trailed down her back, a sultry smile, and not much else.
"I'm Kaori," greeted Satori's mirror image, except for her unbound hair and the hint of a kind of feral wildness in her eyes.
"We're here to give you the time of your life," stated the sisters simultaneously as they closed in on him.
It had taken Jiraiya an enormous amount of legwork and finagling to set up Naruto's birthday present.
Twins were hard to come by in any line of work, let alone the cream of the crop in the "entertainment" industry.
The Nishitani twins were infamous, expensive, and very, very, very exclusive. Born to a famous courtesan, Satori and Kaori grew up with a healthy sense of their own personal worth and were cost-prohibitive to the point that even Jiraiya could not comfortably justify spending that kind of exorbitant amount of money on himself in the pursuit of pleasure.
Naruto, however, was a different story.
While the Toad Sage could never truly rectify his absence in his godson's life, he tried to make up for it in various small and not-so-small ways.
Setting up a not-so-random encounter with the Nishitani twins was a not-so-small way, much in the same vein as teaching the boy the Rasengan at age 12 and teaching him how to summon Gamabunta by throwing him off a cliff.
Giving him whole and inexperienced to the sisters was a bit like throwing him to a pack of starving wolves while wrapped a suit made out of marinated steaks, but Naruto always had a knack for learning things on the fly and rising up to meet any challenges.
There was one major caveat: The Nishitani twins were notoriously fickle. They were born into prosperity and did not work in the field for a living. They did it because of whimsy at times, and a sense of ennui at others. They refused wealthy, yet immoral patrons, like Gato and his ilk, and were not impressed by fame, meaning Jiraiya's only other currency would be useless to them.
Jiraiya had to get creative, and in particular make Naruto interesting to them. That wouldn't be too difficult. After all, the blond brat, even from a young age, had never stopped being an attention getter.
Still, Konoha's spymaster found himself misleading the mercurial duo with all the meager acting skills he had developed over the course of decades from delivering some of the most wince-inducing pick-up lines known to man with a completely straight face. (For example: "Excuse me, Miss. Did you just fart? Insert vehement denial by an attractive girl ...because you just blew me away.)
There were only two rules that Jiraiya adhered to when it came to the art of deception. The first was to hide in plain sight whenever possible. He knew from firsthand experience that actively trying not to look suspicious was blatantly conspicuous. Jiraiya's second rule was that lies were best swallowed after being seasoned with liberal amounts of truth.
"My nephew has a deadly serious, life threatening condition. It's eating away at him and we don't know how much time he has left," mentioned Jiraiya gravely as he thought of Naruto's status as a demon carrier.
"You have our condolences," nodded Satori respectfully, being the calmer of the Nishitani twins.
"He's in a stubborn state of denial about it, but I worry for him. His time is growing shorter and shorter and he has yet to truly live. He really has no clue about women. That's why I came to you two. I want you to make up for all the years we'll never have together as nephew and uncle for however as long as it takes," stated the hermit with all complete sincerity, preparing to metaphorically throw his apprentice off another cliff.
"Do you have a picture?" asked Kaori intrigued.
Hook, line, and sinker.
Jiraiya pulled out a photo of Naruto that, if she were a little bit younger, could've have made Tsunade swoon. It was of photo of a bare-chested Naruto, stealthily taken after a intense workout, all sweaty and glistening, with his hair unbound and free after removing his hitai-ite. It was a blatant cheesecake photo made all the more believable by Naruto's innocent obliviousness.
"Sold!" remarked Kaori, not hiding her interest in the slightest.
Satori glanced at her sister amusedly.
"Well...It's for a good cause, right?" added Kaori with a smirk, "Aren't we philanthropists?"
The sisters had a swift, wordless exchange consisting of two looks, a pout, and a shrug.
"I have just two questions then, Jiraiya-san," decided Satori with a smile.
"Where and when?"
Being greeted by the Nishitani twins, Uzumaki Naruto felt an incredible weakness in his knees. He couldn't flee as his legs felt like jelly. He couldn't avert his gaze as his neck and eyes did not want to seem to move.
"I'm a pervert, and this is what it's like to be a victim of my Harem no Jutsu," thought the blond genin. "I'm a horrible, horrible person."
Satori slid behind him to lightly nibble on his left earlobe, as Kaori sandwiched him in front and whispered all sorts of dirty little things she wanted to do to him, and vice versa.
Most of the things she described were terms Naruto had no understanding of.
"Wait a sec, what's a salad got to do with anything? I'm not a big fan of lettuce," asked a bewildered and flustered Naruto out loud.
Kaori whispered some more in his ear.
The klaxons of childhood trauma blared in Naruto's head.
"Y-you want put your... in m-my..." stammered the genin.
Flashbacks of Naruto's only non-toilet-based experience of that area of his body was Kakashi-sensei's Sennen Goroshi or Thousand Years of Death, which was, unbeknownst to naruto, technically considered a kind of sexual assault in most civilized nations. Naruto's memories of the incident burned fiercely with feelings of pain, surprise and embarrassment.
"IIIEEEEEEEEEE!!" yelled Naruto as he shushin-ed so fast that he bowled over the Nishitani twins, ass over teakettle, and even rattled the windows and other fixtures of his room.
"Great work, Kaori. You scared him off," groaned Satori on the floor next to her sister, clearly distressed.
From a nearby suite, Jiraiya heard Naruto's cry and felt the floor tremble.
The boy was certainly doing him proud.
Jiraiya danced a merry little jig.
After drying a misty eye, the toad sage gave himself a pat on the back for his worthwhile investment.
"...IIIEEEEEEEEEE!!" continued shrieking Naruto as he came to a dead halt, several blocks away from his hotel room.
The successive chain of body flickers barely phased him, but it was the farthest he could get with the single yell that had started in his suite. The traumatized teen paused to catch his breath.
He needed to forget, to fast forward his way past this evening, and to wake up in a ditch somewhere, clothes dirty but physically unsullied.
Maybe he could find a sizable rock and get a kage bunshin to run up and conk him something fierce.
Something sleep inducing and preferably non-fatal would be just the thing.
Or he could hold his breath until he passed out, just like how he used to when he was little explicitly for the purposes of scaring the Hokage. Naruto had stopped the practice in the past after the old man informed him he could cause irreparable brain damage or death.
Naruto quickly wrote off the idea as being a childish and dangerous thing to do, and also for the fact it was unlikely to keep him insensate for the rest of the night.
The Toad Sage's apprentice simply sighed.
It was his birthday. He should've been doing something more special, more mature.
Okay, maybe not to the extent of having a complete stranger do things to his butt, but more...
So Naruto wandered for a few feet before coming to a another complete stop at a dimly lit bar.
Maybe he could drink. It seemed to do a decent job of incapacitating Ero-sennin. It was not as if he wanted to emulate the perverted bastard, especially now, but feeling as he did right now, Naruto guessed that if he were the drinking type he would be doing so now with copious amounts of the stuff.
The blonde shrugged his shoulders at the thought of such moderate experimentation in comparison to this evening's developments and made his way inside the establishment.
Naruto, at first, was struck by the feel of the place. It was clearly not first rate from the look of things, but it had a well-worn, comfortable character of a friendly neighborhood hole-in-the-wall sparsely occupied by relaxing patrons.
The shinobi slid up to the bar cautiously. The middle-aged bartender spotted him and almost asked him for some form of ID before noticing the hitai-ite and mentally going "Fuck it, not my problem."
"What'll it be, chief?"
The genin considered how many normal beverages he could comfortably imbibe before stating, "How about two bottles of whatever's good...um...for a special occasion."
"Do you want something kinda fruity, or a beverage that'll put some hair on yer chest?"
"Get me whatever you'd drink to celebrate your birthday," shrugged Naruto.
The bartender nodded enthusiastically.
"Two fine bottles of whiskey for the birthday boy then. Enjoy,"
The older man grinned, plunking down two bottles and a small glass on the countertop, as Naruto sat himself on a wooden barstool.
The blonde uncorked the first bottle and took an experimental sniff. The aroma was intense and rich, quite unlike anything he had tried before. On second thought, it actually smelled kinda like gasoline.
What the hell was he getting himself into?
Naruto pinched his nose shut and gulped down the liquid straight from the bottle as it were a sports drink instead of the 100 proof beverage it actually was.
He promptly coughed when it hit the back of his throat like an angry fist. Naruto ended up spraying a portion of his drink all over the countertop.
The barkeep simply snorted.
"What are you doing, kid?" asked a amused female voice behind him.
Naruto turned around to see a tanned young woman with shoulder-length silvery hair looking perpetually wind-blown, and oddly purple eyes. She looked to be 4-5 years older than himself, wiry and toned with an olive complexion, but with undeniably feminine curves. From the cheeky grin on her face, she seemed friendly enough.
Naruto matched her grin with his own and answered honestly.
"I'm trying to drink myself into a stupor for the first time. Unsuccessfully, I guess. I'm Naruto by the way."
"Sayoko," replied the newcomer with a handshake. "If you're going to do this, do it right. Could we get two glasses with an ice cube a piece, Mister Bartender?"
Sayoko poured drinks for herself and Naruto.
"This beverage, like all good things in life, should be savored. You have to take your time with it, or it'll all go to waste."
She motioned for Naruto to sip and savor, and he mimicked her actions to a T.
"Wow! This is much better. Thanks Sayoko!"
"First rule of drinking: Never drink alone, especially if you're depressed. Everything is better with good company. Second Rule: If you've got an interesting story, you should damn well share it. Looks like you've got one," invited the silver haired woman.
Naruto's story came tumbling forth, jumbled and rant-filled at parts, but it remained thoroughly entertaining in a way that only a story about the horrible embarrassments of youth could be.
"Seriously? Your teacher sounds like a real piece of work," chuckled Naruto's newfound friend.
Sayoko seemed to consider his account for a moment.
"Just curious, but would you happen to remember the names of those girls who ambushed you in your room?"
"Kaori and Satori, I think..."
Sayoko interrupted the rest of his answer by laughing as if it were funniest goddamn thing she had ever heard in her life.
"I can't believe you rejected the Nishitani twins! Hahahaha. Oh man, my ribs hurt," exclaimed Sayoko, wiping tears of laughter from her eyes.
"...Nishitani twins? Wha?"
"Dude, there are men out there who would sell their mothers' pelts for an hour or two of their time. You are an odd fucking duck."
"I just screwed up something up spectacularly, didn't I?" wondered Naruto out loud, looking forlorn.
"Don't worry, birthday boy. It's not as if kinky threesomes with twin sisters are in short supply," chuckled Sayoko.
"Yeah, thanks," muttered Naruto with tidbit of sarcasm.
"You just weren't ready for it, there's no shame in it. Your mentor really threw you into the deep end for that one. Is he a 'sink or swim' kinda guy or what?"
The genin sighed.
"You have no idea. When I was learning summoning, he pushed me off a cliff to 'inspire' me to gather the chakra needed to summon the Gamabunta."
Sayoko choked a bit on her drink, and narrowly avoided a repeat of Naruto's spit take.
"THE GAMABUNTA?! The 4th Hokage's famed battle mount?"
"He'd probably get offended by the word 'mount' and step on you, but yeah. The toad boss," affirmed Naruto.
Sayoko started ticking off fingers, making mental calculations.
"Hold on, that would mean you had to have been taught by the Legendary Toad Sage Jiraiya."
The blond teenager nodded.
"That's the old perv, all right. How'd you know that?"
"I'm a former chuunin from Grass Country, I did my research, Naruto... ...Wait a sec, you wouldn't happen to have a bridge named after you in Wave Country?"
"Old Man Tazuna's bridge? Yeah, so far I've gotten a bridge, a canyon, two hot springs, a tiny island, and a milkshake stand named after me. Not my idea, I swear, but things just kinda happen that way," replied Naruto slightly embarrassed.
He grinned infectiously.
"What about your story, Sayoko? Are you retired or did you go missing-nin?" said Naruto, whispering the last part.
"Oh, I retired from active duty legitimately. I was always too rough and tumble to end up as one of those demure infiltration and seduction specialists, those Poison Lilies that Grass Country is known for. I got mostly overt assassination missions, run and knife kinda stuff, and I got tired."
"Of killing people for no discernable reason other than money. There stopped being any purpose to it. Just money."
"Why couldn't you do something else then?"
"Since Grass is a smaller nation, It doesn't have the mission diversity of place like Konohagakure. You get the assignments that you get, for good or shit. That's why I'm doing security here instead of there. I can comfortably sleep at night again without needing something like this," gestured Sayoko, swilling the amber liquid in her glass.
"That's why I know firsthand that drinking depressed and alone is no fun at all."
"When I become Hokage, I'll welcome you to Konoha, let you be whatever type of nin you wanted. You wouldn't have to kill needlessly. Maybe you'd kick ass at the Academy like Iruka-sensei, or at the hospital as a medic like Shizune-neechan."
Sayoko let out a small, sad smile, before noticing the nearly empty bottle bottle near her hand.
"Damn kid, you hardly look phased. You must have one hell of a metabolism to keep up, especially for a first timer. Those gals in Grass would love to get their hands on you."
"Huh, why is that?" asked Naruto intrigued and only feeling a sense of warmth and relaxation from his repeated drinks.
"The Poison Lillies of Grass Country are adepts at using all sorts of poisons. Their bodies are just filled with them. A simple caress or an embrace from them is fatal for most people. Outside of the job, they end up being cut off from regular physical contact. Most of them are terribly lonely individuals. A nice guy like you with a degree of toxin resistence, they would just gobble up. Like that," said Sayoko grinning and snapping her fingers.
Naruto blushed at the thought.
"Hey, you wanna ditch this place in a bit and escort me back to my suite? I've got work in the morning, but we still have enough time to properly celebrate your birthday in style."
"W-wait a sec. Y-you don't mean...?"
"Oh, I do. I don't tend to mince words. I'm not saying we're soulmates, or that I want your babies, or shit like that, but I think you're cute and a good guy to know. Unless you have someone saving themself for you back in Konoha..."
Naruto thought of home, and of his childhood crush Haruno Sakura waiting for him to come back, so they could bring Uchiha Sasuke back to the village. He glanced at the striking woman in front of him, friendly, exciting and with a body to die for.
"I certainly wouldn't mind the company," stated Sayoko, coloring slightly, "Maybe I just want bragging rights in the future for when you become Hokage like you've said."
They both chuckled at that.
Sometimes Naruto liked to argue with people just for the hell of it. He actually liked arguing with Sasuke, Sakura, Tsunade, and Ero-sennin. Now, he just couldn't think of a good reason to fight.
Not a single one.
What would it be like if he just gave up, gave in, and just did what he wanted?
He thought for a moment, not trusting his voice to not squeak.
Uzumaki Naruto breathed in deeply and slowly, taking everything in, and choose freely.
"I'm not the type to go back on my word."
"I thought so," said Sayoko.
Naruto and Sayoko finished off the remnants of their nearly empty first bottle, savoring it slowly with each sip feeling like the first and the last.
Upon exiting the bar, the silvery haired woman took the blond by the hand to lead him to places unknown.
Naruto woke up in Sayoko's hotel room, tangled in sheets that smelled of her, and of their exertions.
After a period of meditative silence followed by a period where he simply lost his shit with hooting and hollering, Naruto regained his composure, not easily mind you.
He found his clothes folded neatly on a chair in the corner, along with his remaining bottle of birthday alcohol, and a note from Sayoko written on a photo of her.
All it said was "Happy Birthday -Bizen Sayoko" and a phone number that Naruto committed to memory as if were a secret passcode needed to prevent an apocalyptic war.
Naruto dressed, smiling as if he had won a lifetime of free ramen at Ichiraku's. He retrieved a storage scroll from a jacket pocket and sealed the container of whiskey within for a special occasion.
With everything in order, he made his way to the giganto-suite Ero-sennin had sprung for.
Upon making his way back to his now empty hotel room, Naruto peeled off his jacket and laid on top of the covers face up, staring at a mirrored ceiling.
He did this for about twenty minutes before a knock at his door tore his attention away from the reflection of his own shit-eating grin. The Kyuubi's jailor leisurely peeled himself away from the small island nation consisting of pillows that the staff of his hotel had mistaken for a bed.
He was expecting some sort of harsh scolding from Ero-sennin, but opened the door to reveal the Nishitani Twins, clothed this time.
Satori immediately entered big sister mode.
"Naruto-san, Kaori-chan has something to say. Go on," said the older twin elbowing the younger.
"Um...Sorry for moving too fast. This time we'll do everything proper. Whatever you like, cross my heart," stated a cutely flustered Kaori, making the customary heart-crossing gesture.
"I, uh...thanks. How about we grab some food first, I was just going to take a shower..."
Kaori whimpered almost piteously, and made puppy dog eyes at him.
She whimpered again.
"Shit, just come on in," replied Naruto opening the door to his suite wide open for the both of them.
Days later on the road
"So Naruto, how were things really?" asked Jiraiya with a leer. "I want the nasty, dirty, greasy details on everything. Leave nothing out. What did they like? What did they lick? Inspire me, boy."
"Huh," responded Naruto surprised.
"The Nishitani twins, brat. How many kage bunshin did you use? Any creative uses of henge?"
Naruto, shrugged with a cheerfully clueless smile on his face, and continued walking away, not saying a single word for a change.
Tsunade's favorite genin sincerely doubted Ero-sennin's ability to ask perverted questions being able to outlast his capacity to play dumb.
"Hey that's not fair!"
"What, did you say something?"
The Toad Sage wouldn't get an anecdote, a detail, or even a peep out of him. It was exactly how he had always wanted things in the past.
Naruto smiled gleefully like a child burning ants alive with a magnifying glass.
Revenge was a cold, cold, silent bitch.
AN: If you can figure out where Bizen Sayoko is from. You are a pervert. If you want to accuse me of being a pervert, my penname is freaking BukkakeNoJutsu so if you want to climb aboard that train, that time has come and passed.
If you really want to know what happens during the "" parts, you'll just have to suffer the same as Jiraiya. Hahaha.
Uzumaki Naruto isn't the type to kiss and tell.