Hello my lovers, my haters, my friends, my enemies, my brothers, my sisters.
Well, first semester to my second year of college is over and it was a bitch. 5 classes, 12 hours of work (I know that some of you are probably like "Oh I work 12 hours in a day" but it was a first for me), and the harshness of the world has made this an interestingly problematic amount of time. Oh, well. It could be worse.
Anyway, I have been struck by a lethargic streak a mile wide and a mile deep. Don't know why. Its hampered not only my fanifcs but also my academic writing as well. This does not mean that I have not thought up new fanfic as well as actual ideas for real novels. Besides that I have decided (once again) to focus on a couple of things when it comes to my fanfics. Ten Thousand Fists, All Black, and a one-shot or two every so often will be my focus, now I know that I said I would try to start a new fanfic but seeing as I have barely any motivation to do the fanfics I am are my flagships then trying to start another one is just plain foolish.
Onto my new loves: I have learned to love webcomics! Catena, Las Lindas, Dan and Mabs Furry Adventure, Questionable Content, SNAFU comics, Dreamkeepers, and Jolly Jack's Collected Curious. These comics are great examples of what I would do if I could draw. Damn I wish I could draw. These have also reaffirmed my love for furries.
I LOVE VOORTMAN COOKIES! That is all.
Other than that there is nothing really new in my neck of the woods. Oh, my. What a week/day/month/year so far.
Disclaimer: I own nothing that will be in this chapter/fic. I do not own Naruto, any other anime, or any music that will be seen/heard in this story. What I do own is quite a few sheep that currently look like giant cotton balls will stick legs.
XxXxX Back with Naruto XxXxX
"So where are the others…?" asked Naruto timidly as he sat on the large couch in the apartment, big enough to sit at least three people, if not more. He recognized it as the one that they put him on during the time that they kidnapped and detained in yesterday.
"Hana-chan is at her Vet Clinic and Nai-chan is at a Jounin meeting about the passing Genin teams," Anko shouted from within the kitchen, as she fished around for something.
Naruto watched as she seemingly tore apart the innocent kitchen as she continued searching for…whatever it was that she was looking for. "So, uh…where is the other girl, the one with purple hair?"
"Oh Yu-chan," with that, and her back still to the blonde, as she began throwing random objects out of the refrigerator, Anko made a motion towards the ceiling.
Naruto quirked an eyebrow at the motion, but raised his eyes towards the ceiling nonetheless. As he did so, he couldn't stop wondering why she pointed to the ceiling, it was such a strange and, in his personal opinion, almost retarded motion, but he followed her directions for fear of angering the 'psychotic' woman. What he found on the ceiling made him cry out in alarm and shoot to the other side of the couch he was currently sitting on. On the ceiling, sitting cross-legged, sat one Uzuki Yuugao, reading one of her many books, clad in her usual gray sweatshirt and sweat pants. Her hair was flowing towards the floor, due to gravity of course, and she seemed not to even notice his presence.
"Yes, I am indeed still here," she muttered without looking away from her book, Complete Idiots guide to the top Ten Government cover-ups.
Naruto just stood there in shock as he stared at the purple-haired kunoichi sitting on the ceiling as comfortably as if it was the carpet beneath his feet. Naruto knew that shinobi were able to do fantastic and remarkable things, but sitting on the ceiling upside-down? He heard stories of shinobi clinging to walls and other such strange and angled areas in order to observe or eliminate their target, but he thought it was either an over exaggeration, or a blatant lie, but it seemed that it was indeed true. He began to examine her with a critical eye, wishing to find her secret so that he too could add that technique into his own collection of skills.
"Naruto-sama," came the voice of the woman on the ceiling, "I take it that you are now an official Genin of Konohagakure no Sato…"
He regarded her as she stared at him from over her book, unsure of how to answer her, or what to think of her. She still insisted on referring to him with the superior suffix of –sama and, although it was not a bad thing, it reminded him that the only reason she did it was because of his lineage, and not for his person. "Yes I am, but could you please stop using that suffix? I have done nothing to warrant it yet, and it makes me feel funny…"
"Aw~," cooed Anko, as she suddenly came up from behind him and draped her arms around his neck, which in turn caused her breasts to rest on his shoulders, "Let Yu-chan be. She ain't hurtin' anyone…"
He looked up at her smiling visage and scowled. He would have turned his head to reprimand her, but if he were to do that, then he would once again get a face full of her chest, an action he secretly wouldn't mind, but then again, thoughts such as those unnerved the young man. "And you," he tried to make his voice as intimidating as possible, but it seemed that it was failing as her cat-like grin only seemed to widen, "Can you please stop with the touchy-feely stuff?"
Her Cheshire grin only seemed to intensify as she leaned her face closer to his, "Aw~ Foxy-kun doesn't like my lovin'?" a very uncomfortable look spread across Naruto's face as she inched closer, her breasts pressed harder against the side of his head and shoulders, "Oh, but Foxy-kun… I just love gettin' all touchy-feely with you…" if there was ever a voice that dripped with pure allure and seduction, then that was it.
Her face drew closer, dangerously close in Naruto's opinion, until she was no more than two inches away. The scent of her was beginning to cloud his prepubescent mind, and his eyes began to drift close and his lips unconsciously puckered themselves up as his body began anticipating what was going to come, the intimate and close action.
The door to the apartment suddenly burst open, cracking the adjacent wood with the reinforced doorknob. In stalked an extremely ill-tempered Kurenai, her hair subconsciously flaring around her as she made her way to one of the lone chairs besides the far end of the couch. Naruto was about to open his mouth in greeting, but when he felt the air around the stunning woman, he felt something similar to what Kakashi's aura felt like, an air of 'Come near me, and I will eviscerate you with a spork and a sake bottle…'
Now Naruto, in seeing that she had an air of death and torture around her, wisely decided to forgo the question in hopes of saving himself from bodily harm. Her current state not only reminded him slightly of Kakashi during their 'exam,' but also when he angered Sakura for whatever reason, and he had a similar feeling in the pit of his stomach when he remembered associating Yoko's actions with the same violent tendencies as Sakura. If he were to place Kurenai in the place of Yoko, though she would be considerably weaker, she could indeed still instill fear and/or horrible torture.
"Oh Nai-chan," Anko said childishly as she craned her neck back, all the while keeping her hold on Naruto secure, thus forcing the young Genin to be pressed into her breasts even more, "What's got your panties in a twist?"
By now, Kurenai sat down in the reclining chair, kicked her feet up, and retrieved a book from the nearby side table. The book had a black and silver cover with what looked like a rose on its cover, and judging by the title of the book, Unrequited Desires, it was most likely a romance based novel. It answered Anko's question as Kurenai tipped her novel towards her, and set one of the most powerful glares towards the snake charmer, a glare that seemed not to affect the woman in the slightest, but nearly sent Naruto into an epileptic shock. "Asuma…" Kurenai said darkly before returning to her novel.
This perked Anko's interest, as well as Naruto's interest. Anko because she knew of the past that Kurenai and he had history and Naruto was curious because he remembered the bearded man as the Sensei for Shikamaru's team. A gleam entered Anko's eyes and she leaned back even further, nearly choking Naruto in the process. "Oh? Did he hit on you again," said Anko slyly, waggling her eyebrows.
An unladylike grunt sounded from behind the novel as her slim fingers dented the cover of the book, gripping the book in frustration.
Now, Anko was giddy with anticipation, she was so thrilled that she even let go of her impromptu plushy and focused her full attention at Kurenai. "So he did!" she squealed out, "What did he say? What did you say? Did you crush him? What? What?"
Kurenai growled and looked at Anko over the top of her book. "The prick had enough balls to ask me if I wanted to 'come over to my apartment and 'discuss' the placement of our teams.' He's just lucky that Hokage-sama was there, otherwise he would truly know what the meaning of despair is…"
Anko giggled. It was not often that Kurenai became as agitated as she was now, but when she did, it was a remarkable sight. Now, Anko loved seeing Kurenai like this. She loved it when her best friend let loose her hair and hid behind her books in anger. It was rare and a well-needed release of emotion, something Anko loved doing. She believed that if something angered you, pissed you off, or insulted you that you do not bottle it up inside, but rather unleash it upon the world; if the world pissed you off, then you piss off the world, easy as that.
Naruto was confused, a goldfish looking out of his round bowl. It seemed that there was some bad blood between the raven-haired beauty and the son of Sarutobi. His curiosity wished him to find out why there was such bad blood, and his conscious egged him to find a way to sooth it. By now, Anko sat beside him, an arm draped across his shoulders, sipping a cup of tea that miraculously materialized out of what seemed like thin air. The young man all but ignored her as he focused on the beauty before him.
"If you don't mind me asking…what do you have against Asuma-Sensei?" the blonde asked, not realizing it was the wrong thing to say.
Kurenai again peered over her book to regard the blonde, nearly forgetting that he was there. The way he looked at her almost unnerved her, his large eyes gazing at her with childlike innocence, as if he could understand what she felt or was going through. "It does not concern you Naruto-kun…"
He bristled slightly at her comment, "That may be true, but seeing as how you seem upset about it, it could only mean that something relatively 'bad' happened, so could you please tell me what's wrong? I might not be any help, but I'll try to lend an ear…"
Kurenai's gaze returned to him with smoldering force. If it were not for Anko, who brought Naruto's body close to her own and causing Naruto's face to flare up, then he would be on the receiving end of a powerful, and harsh, tongue-lashing. He would not deserve it of course, but then again, the woman in front of her was feeling nothing but irritation and annoyance at the male gender as a whole.
"Well, we all have pasts that we don't want to talk about…" Anko said wistfully, as she took another sip of her tea, dragging Naruto further into her embrace, "The only thing we can do is learn from it, so that we can make our present, and future, that much better."
Though Naruto wished not to believe it, he noticed that the woman besides him held much knowledge and emotion underneath her mask of insanity. Just like me, he thought to himself, relinquishing himself to her embrace. She was surprisingly warm, soft, and horrendously comfortable, something that he found hard to associate with the psychotic woman. Her softness and warmth was slowly beginning to lull the young man to sleep, something that the blonde both welcomed and dreaded. He welcomed the endeavor because the thought of more sleep sounded appealing to his still tired mind, but at the same time, he dreaded falling asleep against her in fear of what would happen. Last time he lost consciousness around her, he ended up chained to the ceiling and surrounded by scantily clad women, something that he didn't fully mind, but it was still unnerving.
"Ah, that's where you went off to," spoke the small voice of Kitenhime, as she and Nimaru entered the apartment via the front door, Nimaru nudging the door open with his nose to let them both inside the room.
Naruto nearly forgot about the two and quickly excused himself from Anko's clutches, making his way towards the two. "Hey," he said joyfully, stooping down to his haunches to scratch Nimaru behind his ears, much to his joy, and to allow Kitenhime to slither up his arm and onto his shoulder. "Sorry I forgot about you guys. I didn't mean to."
"Well," Kitenhime said lazily as she snuggled up against his head, something he didn't notice, but Anko did, "Considering that you were having such a fun time with Hinata-chan, I would say that I understand."
This comment caught Kurenai's foul attention. She silently pushed her footrest down and closed her book. Naruto had yet to notice her, as he continued to converse with Nimaru and Kitenhime, but when a cold wind chilled his spine and when some unseen form blotted out the light of his world, Naruto knew something was wrong and that something, most likely, was going to lead to pain. He turned, unsteadily, towards the source of the chill to see the tall figure of Yuhi Kurenai. Only one thought crossed his mind as he fell onto his rear in fear and shock, scooting away from the irate woman, only to bump up against the coffee table; this woman was wonderfully gorgeous when she was angry.
"And what, pray tell, did this 'fun' consist of Namikaze Naruto?" her voice was quiet, but just by the tone; Naruto knew she was serious, seeing as she used his actual name instead of his given name.
Something within told him to tell her the truth, a truth that held no convicting evidence against him that would possibly lead to pain and torture if he didn't, so that is what he did. "We didn't do anything!" his voice was small and high in pitch but he quickly continued, "She came over, I napped, she cooked, we ate, we cleaned, she left, that's all!" it was not entirely false, but it was not entirely true as well, but she didn't need to know that though.
"But Foxy-kun~," Anko cooed, interrupting the conversation, causing both the irritable Kurenai and the pleading Naruto to turn towards her as she sat on the three-seater couch, sipping her tea with an impish grin. "You and little Hina-chan just seemed to be enjoying yourselves so…much…," it didn't help Naruto in his plight the way she spoke, or in the way that she worded things just seemed to make things that much more difficult.
Before Naruto could plead his case, Kurenai hoisted the boy into the air, her eyes ablaze with fury, and her hair wriggling around her as if blown around by a mighty wind. She began shaking him back and forth; saying words that were not reaching his ears, let alone his mind. She suddenly brought him closer, her ruby rose orbs staring into his frightened blues, her lips dangerously close to the blonde, unnerving him to no ends. Kurenai whispered into his ear "If you make that little girl cry, I swear to all that is holy…I will make you pay…and you will regret it." Her voice was nothing more than a whisper, but to Naruto, it was if she was screaming into his delicate ears.
Naruto fell to the floor in a heap, Kitenhime squeaking as he bounced slightly on the landing, and saw the still fuming ruby-eyed woman. Yep, slightly beautiful when she's angry… he couldn't help think to himself as she stalked back to her chair and sat back down. As Naruto sent a questioning glance towards Kitenhime, he missed some movement towards his left, movement and words between the Illusion Mistress and the Snake Charmer. Nimaru came up to his side and nuzzled the boy's cheek in reassurance; he knew all too well the mood swings of women, so when it came to a greenhorn, he could easily sympathize with him. The other part of the problem was that these three women were some of the extreme in the entire village: no woman, civilian, shinobi, or otherwise, could come close to what these four were capable of when pissed off.
Sighing, Naruto turned back to Anko and Kurenai, Kitenhime and Nimaru still by his side as he sat comfortably on the floor. Again, their appeal struck him. He wasn't quite sure how to put it, but Anko had a, how could he say it…'bad girl'…no that wasn't quite it. It was more like the sassy and playful girl next door; you know…the one that would flirt with you, but stay just out of reach. No, that wasn't it either. The only definition, or explanation, that could give this Anko woman was just that, she was Anko; she was not the 'bad girl,' she was not the sassy girl next door, nor was she any other stereotypical classification of the female gender. She was just Anko, plain and simple. Maybe in the future he would be able to fix her with a more detailed and concrete 'label' but for now, he was going to stick with the 'Anko was Anko' category.
Kurenai, on the other hand, seemed to be the mold for her 'genre'. She was beautiful, seemingly protective of Hinata, most likely seeing her as family, and she held a type of coldness around her. Well, the coldness came off, at least to Naruto, as some kind of shield, like an ultimate defense. Just by seeing how protective of Hinata this woman was, it could only mean that she was a kind and well-rounded person. Maybe her coldness, her anger, and her near narrow-mindedness were for an entirely different reason. It was true that he knew nothing of the woman: not her likes, dislikes, or her past, so maybe, for both Anko and Kurenai, his assumptions were entirely wrong; it was a possibility.
He sighed again to himself. Thoughts, theorems, and possibilities began running rampant within his mind again, something that Yuugao, in her aerial view, noticed as she stared intently at her charge. She knew that over thinking things usually led to two things, headaches and stress. That was when Naruto remembered his other plight for later that evening, his date with Ayame. This was something that he placed in the back of his mind, but now, knowing that he was in need of some assistance and expertise, he knew that he was going to have to do something he was going to regret.
"Uh…I was wondering if you girls could help me with something," he started, shaking at the mere thought of asking some of the most chaotic and mentally 'unstable' women how to court another, albeit younger, woman.
"And what's that, Foxy-kun?" Anko asked, as she licked her teacup clean of its remaining contents. Kurenai, as well as Yuugao, was also curious as to what the young shinobi was requesting. Was he going to ask for training advice or maybe advanced techniques?
"Well…," now, he grew exceptionally timid and nervous, especially since he normally never asked for help, since no one would give any, so this was a major step out of his comfort zone. "Well, you see…I have this…this…"
"Come on kid, spit it out."
"I have a date tonight and I was wondering if you could teach me what I should do on it," he spat out hastily, forming one whole sentence into one single word. A few moments of silence passed as the kunoichi in the room translated the sentence.
All was silent for a good while. Kurenai just stared at him from over the corner of her book; her eyes slightly widened at the revelation of what he just said struck her irritable mind and weary soul. He, had a date? Had he and Hinata progressed so far that she, or he depending, asked him out as a way to finally display her affection and feelings for the cumbersome and awkward blonde? She smiled quietly. Good for Hinata, she finally asked the man that she loved out. Now hopefully, this boy wouldn't be a dog, no offence to Hana, and hound her for things that he should not be thinking of at this time. If that boy became like all those other men roaming the streets looking for carnal pleasure and sweet release, then she was going to teach that boy a lesson for thinking such thoughts towards the pure and innocent Hyuuga Hinata.
Anko was again giddy; this boy was just so fun, and he always made it so easy for her and the others to tease him. Now, he was asking for help on a future date…oh, this could be fun.
"I'm surprised that Hinata-chan asked you out on a date so soon," Anko said as she leaned towards the young man, giving him a good view of her chest.
Blushing horribly and trying not to focus on her chest, Naruto quickly corrected her. "Actually it's not Hinata-chan that I am taking out tonight…its Ichiraku Ayame…the waitress from Ichiraku's Ramen Bar."
The atmosphere of the apartment's living room all but instantly plummeted to subzero temperatures. Kurenai was once again to her feet, her maternal instincts kicking in overdrive. She slowly, steadily, and calculated stalked towards the young man as he realized that something was definitely wrong. Naruto once again tried to back away from the infuriated woman, Anko's cackling not helping to ease Naruto's unease any either. She was suddenly upon him, towering over him just as before, but this time her malice and killing intent almost consumed him. He could not fathom why she was so angry with him.
Before he knew it, an angered Kurenai, once again, hoisted Naruto into the air as she shook his body like some kind of rag doll. She was yelling at him for some reason, saying things around the lines of betraying purity, or something like that. He didn't do anything wrong or at least that was what he thought. Maybe it was that time of the month for her. Ugh, all girls during that time seemed to be exceptionally harsh to him, well all but Hinata and Ayame. Hinata, he couldn't even think of her having that time of the month what with her ease and her blatant kindness at all moments in time, and Ayame would just flat out say that she was going to have her time of the month and would apologize ahead of time in case she did anything that hurt his feelings or body.
Kurenai was stopped in her premeditated murder by Yuugao, her hand gripped the ruby-eyed woman's shoulder in a vice grip. "Do not let your emotions rule you," she spoke with spine-chilling coolness.
The woman in question regarded Yuugao with equal coolness. With a huff, she let the young blonde fall to the floor again in a heap, a yelp of alarm erupting from his lips as he rubbed his rear in pain, and stalked back to her seat.
"Yeah, we'll help you," Anko said, breaking the strained atmosphere that Kurenai produced.
Naruto's eyes were alight with gratitude and admiration. "You will? Thank you, thank you!" he barked happily, crawling over to her legs and giving her legs, and in extension, her, a hug.
Anko laughed joyously at his action, reveling in the feeling of superiority, as he groveled and thanked her profusely. "Yep, we'll help you…but…" Naruto barely registered the 'but' as he continued to thank her graciously, "…but you'll have to survive."
Now, Naruto was curious. Attentively, he looked up to her smiling face, taking great care not to look up her tan skirt in the process, and gazed wearily into her eyes. "What, uh, what do you mean 'survive'?" his blood was slowly beginning to run cold as her face split into a bone-chilling smile.
"Your date's not 'til later, right?" with a nod of his head, Naruto confirmed her question, "Then for the next hour, you will have to run from me. Use all of your non-lethal Ninja skills to avoid me and you cannot use your 'Fists'. You have two minutes."
"What are you talking about?" he yelped, rocketing to his feet, Kitenhime falling from his shoulders and onto Anko's lap with a curse as he did so.
"Advice comes with a price, and in this case, the price is alleviating my boredom," she grinned cheekily. She sent a quick glance towards the clock on the wall, "and you now have one minute and forty-five seconds…"
His jaw dropped as he realized that she was serious. This couldn't possibly be happening…again! However, it seemed that it was indeed happening as she rose to her feet; Kitenhime draped around her neck, and placed her hand within his golden locks. She combed her hand through his hair several times; mindless of the looks she was receiving from both Kurenai and Yuugao, and leaned down, still smiling blissfully, towards his ears. She giggled slightly as he seemingly purred at her ministering, not many men would do that if she had her hands on them, rather they would shudder in horror at what she was going to do to them. A warm sensation blossomed in her breast as she thought of how this boy seemed to trust her enough not to be afraid of her as she partook in such an intimate action. Oh, he'll learn, eventually, she cooed to herself.
"One minute," she whispered into his ear and with wide eyes, he was off like a flash, rocketing towards the sliding glass door that led to the apartment's balcony.
Anko cackled as she watched him disappear into the city, sending curses at her once he was sure that he was at a safe distance to do so. 'This was going to be fun' was her only thought as she sat herself back down on the couch. Kurenai did not even try to hide the contempt in her eyes as she glazed at the snake charmer.
"What do you think you are doing?" she hissed between clenched teeth.
"What do you mean?"
"You know exactly what I'm talking about. Why are you acting so…so clingy and affectionate? You just met this boy!"
Anko sighed at her counterpart's insecurity, "We've been over this…"
"No, we really haven't."
"Oh? So what do you want to talk about regarding Naruto then, hmm?"
Kurenai bristled and sputtered, "Well for one, we've just met the boy not more than a day ago, he is still a boy not even into his first term of service, and he is just that, a boy!"
"So?" Anko stated as a scowl marring her beautifully sinister face.
"So, there is no reason for you to be gallivanting around with this child! What do you think others will say? What do you think others will think? I know you're having your fun and that you don't give a damn about what others think, but sometimes, you can be a little too…too…trusting or blind!"
"Is that what you think?" Anko nearly hissed as Kitenhime tightened her hold on her companion as Anko leaned towards her longtime friend. "You think I'm doing this for shits and giggles?"
"In all honesty, I think you are," Kurenai said as she began to lay the record straight. "I think you're not really thinking about your actions, and just doing these things to satisfy yourself."
"Really?" Anko asked as she sat back on the couch as her friend began saying what she thought her friend was doing.
"Yes. You're toying with this boy, and not considering his feelings. You're leading him around for your own amusement," she finished, near panting.
"I know that you don't necessarily like men at the moment, but Naruto is not that kind of guy…" Anko said offhandedly.
"Grr, how can you be so sure? All men can only think with one thing: their dicks! They don't give a damn about anything other than getting laid and bragging to their friends!" the harm and pain that Kurenai experienced earlier was evident on her face, her emotions worn on her sleeve, just like some kind of glistening jewelry.
A snort sounded from the young snake summon as she heard Kurenai's claim. With Kurenai's questioning glare piercing her skull, Kitenhime snorted again and elaborated with a cold voice. "You should be ashamed of yourself for doubting that man! You have no idea who or what that young man is!"
"Oh? And what makes him so different than any other slime that crawls through these streets?" her ruby rose eyes narrowed with her rage as she glared at the snake summon.
"Because," Kitenhime screamed back, "because he has fa—"
"You'll know why I do what I do when you see and hear it with your own eyes and ears," interrupted Anko, clasping two slender fingers around Kitenhime's jaws, silencing the snake summon from saying more.
Kurenai just sighed heatedly as she sat back down, returning to her book. It wasn't that she 'distrusted' the boy, it was just that the boy was young, had the prospect of growing into a raging beast with only sex and violence on his mind, and Hinata already laid claim to the young boy. It did not help that she had trust issues when it came to men, and that Anko tended to leap without looking. Why could Anko not understand that she was only looking out for her? Why didn't she see that the boy could be ruined, or ruin someone else? Why was she the only one that saw the boy's harmful potential when it came to women? He was too young to understand, he was at the age where someone could manipulate him, and had yet to see the world. He was too young.
Anko walked past her towards the sliding glass door, but not before stopping and placing her hand on the troubled woman's shoulder. No words passed between the two as they wallowed in each other's presence. Now, it was Anko's turn to wonder and speculate. The two were together ever since Orochimaru took her under his wing. They had been through the good times and the worst times. Kurenai, it was true, had horrible luck with men, always seeming to find the swine within the crowds rather than the knights. Anko understood her best friend's wariness and slight stereotyping of men; hell, she had the same view of men, nothing other than sex-driven dogs that only thought of pleasure, rather than commitment but she knew, knew, that this young man was different. He knew what it was like to grow up within the worst possible conditions: emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically. She still couldn't believe that he went through what most others would consider hell that this earth could create and, for the most part, come out alive and mostly sane.
She squeezed her long-time friend's shoulder. "You gave me a chance once…why don't you give him one…," her voice was quiet and sincere, something Anko rarely did.
Kurenai did not look up from her novel when Anko spoke, and it wasn't until Anko placed a small silver and rectangular object into her lap that the illusion mistress finally showed some kind of reaction. It was a camcorder, a rather new, and not well-known, piece of technology. She was about to send a curious glance towards Anko, but her next words ended her curiosity. "You might be interested in the fun that Hinata-chan and Foxy-kun had…," the ploy was a barely concealed subject change, but it was a needed one, and the current subject intrigued Kurenai greatly.
"Now, if you'll excuse us," Anko stated, sending an infectious grin towards Kitenhime on her shoulder, "We have a Fox to hunt."
XxXxX Kurenai's Apartment; Time: 16:04 XxXxX
Kurenai watched what Anko gave her, flabbergasted as to what she saw. In fact, she was so flabbergasted that anyone wouldn't even find her in the basement of their apartment, but several meters below even that. What she just witnessed via the camcorder that Anko handed her was something that she never expected from either Naruto or Hinata. The pure raw emotions that Naruto displayed, the comfort and maternal instinct that Hinata enacted on, the way the two interacted as if they had been doing so for near a millennia; it was mind boggling, unnerving, and extremely heartwarming all at the same time. Part of her mind could not believe that Hinata, her little darling and shy Hinata actually did those things on the tape. It was near mind blowing, but not only that, but also the actions of Naruto nearly made her fall out of her chair. The emotions that he released, unsealed was more like it, were something that sent chills down her spine. Kurenai had had her fair share of emotional outbreaks, but this, this moment that she saw, was something that put her many terms in the kunoichi ranks to shame. As he screamed, shouted, cursed, swore, and abused that poor wall, Kurenai glimpsed something, something near frightening. She saw raw and unabridged pain. She saw pure horror, pure loss, and pure loneliness. She saw hell; she saw a cold, lonely, hell that Naruto lived in.
She thought she saw hell before, the death of her friends on the battlefield and the coldness of a murderer's eyes as he thought of forty ways to defile you, and then ten ways to kill you, or the weeks and months of solitude as you monitored a target with only yourself as company. However, this, this was a true survivor of hell. Her eyes watered as she listened to his screams, his rage and sorrow. She barely registered Yuugao as she stood over her shoulder, watching the young man's breakdown, physically, mentally and emotionally. It was truly amazing. It was like seeing an eclipse, like seeing a meteor shower, in both Naruto's and Hinata's cases.
Yuugao had stayed silent, watching the tape from a distance, seemingly detached and alone. She long ago shed the peskiness of emotions, or at least she had for the most part, but, this look into her Lord's soul, his inner thoughts and emotions, stirred something within her. She heard his words while Kurenai only saw his emotions. She saw his plight while Kurenai only heard his sorrow. She felt his enemies while Kurenai only felt his hell. Where Kurenai was a genius when it came to thoughts and formulae, Yuugao was a genius of battle, and bred as such by her one time mentor and commander. Bred to follow orders, find the threat of her master, seek it out, and destroy it. Her order was simple: to bring her master happiness, even at the cost of her own. It was that simple, no thought, no emotion, just the master's will. However, this video, this glimpse of events meant for closed doors awoke something within her, something other than obligation or duty, but something deep, near primal even. However, she would need a firsthand account of what she was feeling. Seeing her master with both Nimaru and Kitenhime, she knew that if she was patient, she would gain the information.
Suddenly, the two could feel a ruckus from behind the front door of Kurenai's apartment as they heard shouts and cackles coming from the hallway. Kurenai quickly hid the camcorder within her outfit, knowing that no one, besides Anko in her currently frisky state, would dare to search her personally for the object. What tickled her senses once she focused on the noisy individuals was the fact that Anko was holding a hogtied, and frothing, Naruto slung over her shoulder like a knap sack with a giggling and pestering Hana following close behind. 'Close behind' would not be the correct term, as Hana was actually clinging to Naruto's bound form, causing Anko to showcase her surprising strength, carrying both into the apartment, a grin like none other gracing her lips.
It seemed as if Hana had met up with the two as she was heading home from her Veterinarian Clinic, and knowing Hana, she probably heard the two first. Because of this, she most likely decided to join in on Anko's impromptu chase, thoroughly enjoying herself in the processes. Then again, with the grin adorning her features, how could she have not? Kurenai realized that besides Anko, Hana was another person who changed drastically once this blonde-haired young man entered her life. She was now livelier, no longer sitting on the couch with her figurative tail between her legs, inwardly sulking at what her mother and brother were saying towards her practices and beliefs. Although Hana was a hard fighter, ruthless and seductively destructive with her own strengths and the aid of her three allies, her weakness was that she was emotionally feeble. If it wasn't her brother criticizing her about her preferred profession, then her mother was always nagging her about her relationship issues. A girl could only take so much, but now… now, it seemed as if she was as she should be, mindless of the criticism, the taunting, and the harsh words. She was now just a girl: flirting, laughing, playing, and enjoying herself.
It was all because of this young man, even though it pained her to refer to him as a man, and not a boy, or child. He brought these two women back to their former selves, the selves that she found herself drawn to. Not only that, but also this man stole the heart of her young Hinata, capturing it and holding it within his warm life-hardened hands without even knowing it. It was hard to believe all of that as she listened to Naruto curse both Anko and Hana out, while said women continued to taunt and flirt with the young man.
Once their banter fizzled down to a blushing and fuming Naruto with a smiling Hana snuggling with the young man, the conversation trickled back to the reason the whole chase had commenced in the first place. With Naruto still bound and used as a large plushy by a smiling, and near purring, Hana, he finally got the nerve to speak up. "O-ok, so your fun is done now. Can we please move onto the task at hand, the one where you help me not make a complete fool out of myself on my first date…?"
"You have a date?" Hana suddenly questioned.
"Yes, that's the whole reason I was being chased. Anko chasing me would equal advice for my date…"
"Well, your date's at seven, so that gives us a total of around three hours to prep you for the fireworks!" Anko said gleefully as she rubbed her hands together, standing over Naruto.
"I would prefer if nothing exploded while I'm taking this girl out, she's really nice and she means a lot to me…"
Anko, as well as the rest of the girls besides Yuugao, who was back to the ceiling reading her book, quirked an eyebrow at his confession, "So, you like this girl?" Anko asked slyly.
Naruto had the decency to blush and angle his head towards the coffee table as to avert his gaze from the women around him. "She's one of my oldest friends. For the longest time, she was my only friend. She means a lot to me and because of that, I would like to make this her best date ever…" he spoke honestly.
The other women around the room softened at his confession, though he probably didn't know that the young woman in question asked him out for an entirely different reason, but he would most likely find out later. Coughing nervously, not entirely use to emotions like compassion and heart-warming feelings, Anko drew her young toy's attention back to her.
"So, what did you have in mind for your date? Like dinner, outfit, flowers, compliments, what?"
"Well," he drew out his words as he contemplated how to respond, "Most restaurants won't have me," the women took brief note of his dejected tone of voice, "so I was thinking something a little more personal…"
"Like a picnic maybe?" Kurenai interjected. Naruto sent her a lukewarm glare as she threw her two cents in, but Kurenai countered him with her own, more powerful, glare, "If you're going on a date, then I'll be damned if you mess it up. Besides, who better to help you then the Ice Queen of Konoha?" Kurenai asked.
"She's got a point," Anko said, seating herself before Naruto on the coffee table, "little Miss Ruby-Red over here is a master when it comes to the stereotypical romantic mumbo jumbo. Hell that's all she reads!"
"ANKO!" Kurenai shouted, as she created a new shade of red with her blush. It wasn't the fact of embarrassment that she was a lover of romantic novels, but she didn't need all of Konoha knowing that she was a hopeless romantic at heart. She was such a romantic that she already planned out her wedding, their honeymoon and what they would do on said honeymoon at one of the many peninsulas high-class resorts in Hi no Kuni.
"What?" she asked innocently, her viper smile in place as she looked at Kurenai.
Kurenai was about to retort, but she stopped suddenly when she saw the Naruto sticking out his lower lip in a pout-like manner, the shimmering eyes, and the innocent face, she stopped.
"Pwease, Kurenai-sama? Will you pwease help me with my date and make my date the happiest girw on da pwanet?" he said in his best childish voice, a good one he thought, and boy was it good.
Kurenai all but became putty in his figurative hands. He was just so cute, even without doing such an act, another thing she would not mention to the others. He was just so hard to deny. Moreover, he made a rather good point; she would be planning a young woman's dream date. She could make this girl the happiest girl on the planet; allowing her to have the date that women only dreamed of having. This was just too good to pass up.
A sudden, uncharacteristic, sneer made its way onto Kurenai's face as she rose to her feet again. "Oh…" her voice was quiet, but louder than thunder in Naruto's ears, "…I'll give you a date that neither of you will ever forget…," and as she said this, Naruto got a chill up his spine.
XxXxX Outside of the Ichiraku household; Time 18:45 XxXxX
Who knew that two and a half hours could be so torturous? Who knew that women could be so insane? Who knew that cooking could be so hard? Naruto learned those three things, along with other important knowledge that he would need for his date with the young and earthly beautiful, Ichiraku Ayame.
Currently, he stood before the side door to the Ichiraku household, clad in a pair of civilian blue jeans that he forgot that he owned, the same long-sleeved black and red mixed turtleneck that he used for his new Shinobi wear, and a pair of Iruka's old civilian shoes, which had surprisingly fit the young blonde. His hair was as rebellious as always, even though the three girls: Anko, Kurenai, and Hana, took nearly a half hour trying to put some order to it.
He shuddered at the thought of those three girls. They nearly tore him limb from limb as they gave him a crash course through Dating 101. Drilled into his head by the girls for two hours were manners, complements, know how, body language, and procedures. Kurenai took the helm as she instructed him of these five things, as she helped Naruto make a three-course bento box for his date. Naruto whined when she told him that he would have to make most of it, but the death glare that she directed at him silenced him instantly. It was as if he was looking into the maw of a great, and powerful, lioness and felt a fear that rivaled the fear he felt whenever his life was in danger.
As Naruto cooked, via Kurenai's orders, the ruby-eyed woman taught him the surface layer of the female mindset. She educated him in several things, but most importantly, she made him understand how women interpreted things. Such as when a man mentioned an old love interest in passing, the woman would take that as a questioning of her abilities and take it as an offence. She also told him that woman may think that courtesy is sweet, but if a man coddled a woman too much, she would think that the man thought she was fragile and always in need of help. He sighed at the headache that Kurenai brought on, but that was then, and this…this was now. This was the decisive moment: do or die, sink or swim, eat or eaten.
Gulping, Naruto shifted the weight of the basket that was under his arm. The basket was a traditional picnic basket, woven with a wood-like material, light tan, and double lidded. A dark blue blanket lay over the two lids and underneath the double handles; Kurenai suggested that they would need the blanket later during the date; she also mentioned that the blanket would serve as a vital role in the significance of the date's memory, so Naruto just nodded and did as told. Inside the picnic basket was a red and white-checkered picnic blanket, the prepared three-course bento, a thermos of tea, and a small tub of Neapolitan ice. As he did a mental checklist of the contents, and a brief overlook of the date plan, a plan created, orchestrated, and edited by Kurenai. Naruto took one final deep breath, calmed his shivering nerves, and knocked on the worn wood of the Ichiraku household's side door.
He waited for several seconds within the alleyway. While the Ichiraku's had an entrance through the Ramen Bar, the other 'main' entrance was in the alley to the right of the Ramen Bar. Even though it was a two-story building, only the Ichiraku's lived there, something that Teuchi thanked God daily for, for he would have hated to deal with both the storefront business as well as tenants. Therefore, Naruto waited patiently, his heart desperately trying to rip through his ribcage and return to his apartment to hide under his bed. Never in his life had Naruto been this nervous. Sure when he took his first three failing Genin exams, he was nervous, but this…this was on a completely higher tier of existence compared to that.
There were noises on the other side of the door: laughter, shouts of irritation, shuffling of feet, and soft words. The clattering of the doorknob and the creaking of the hinges signaled Naruto that the door to his new 'adult' life was opening and ushering him into its seductively smooth clutches. As the door opened, it revealed a dark hallway with a small side table and full-length mirror leading into the house, but what caught Naruto's attention was the figure blocking the doorway. When he saw her in her black mid-thigh length skirt, white sleeveless button up blouse, and free hair, he almost forgot to breathe. This was definitely not the same Ayame he saw when he visited Ichiraku's Ramen Bar on a daily basis. This girl was…amazing. She stole his breath from his lungs, she robbed him of his focus, and she kidnapped his mind.
She was beautiful; her hair, no longer held within its normal ponytail, but rather fell around her shoulders and pooled just between her shoulder blades was like a chestnut silk scarf. Her skirt revealed smooth, most likely freshly shaved, legs that were perfectly straight and proportioned. Her blouse showed off her slim and slender arms as well as her bust, something that Naruto nearly forgot she had. Her face had a light amount of blush on it, her lips shown in the dim light as if glossed, and her eyes seemed to pop from her face due to the eyeliner framing them. Naruto could not stop his mouth from hanging open as he gazed upon her refined form, awed that the girl before him was the same girl that served him ramen and laughed with him when he was young. How could he have not noticed that she was now a wonderful beauty? How had he missed her blossoming? Yes, he was a little dense when it came to women, but this was ridiculous.
Her face was down turned and a deep shade of red; it seemed that the reaction she got from Naruto made her slightly embarrassed. She, too, approved of her date's attire as the blush deepened as she inspected Naruto. The jeans he wore were a nice change of pace, and the way that the pants sat securely against his hardened frame nearly made Ayame drool. His shirt, even though it was the same shirt he started wearing usually, also seemed to bring a mental smile to Ayame's face, as his body teased her with the hard torso of her date and the way that his hair framed his face…oh yeah, she was a very happy girl at the moment.
Now, if someone was to look into the mind of Ayame and see such thoughts drifting through her mind, then they may have been startled, wondering how such a pure and innocent girl could suddenly think of such impure things. The truth was that Ayame truly and deeply cared for the young blonde; he was one of the only males in her life who did not constantly hit on her. He was sweet, kind, and never once hit on her or tried getting into her pants. He had seen her through when she was sick, PMSing, and overall pissed, and had never said anything about it. This was both a good thing and a bad thing at the same time; on one hand, it was good that he respected her enough not to try to seduce her, but on the other hand, it showed that he did not see her in an attractive light. Hopefully, this date would change that.
It took several seconds for Naruto to pick his jaw up from the floor, but once he did, he nearly lost it again. He tried to form sentences, he truly did, but when Ayame took a short-sleeved jean jacket from off a hook and proceeded towards him, he nearly lost it again. This Ayame was definitely not the same person with whom he did business. She strode up to him, a slightly swagger to her step, and when she finally reached Naruto she leaned forward. She was nearly a head taller than Naruto and her slight high-heeled sandals did not help in the slightest. When her lips were beside his ear, she whispered, "You're drooling Naruto-kun~"
Indeed he was. It was only a small smidgen of drool, but the setting sun made it easily seeable. Hastily, he wiped it off with the back of his hand as Ayame covered her own mouth as she giggled. Once Naruto thoroughly cleaned the drool off, Naruto beamed up at Ayame.
"You are…you are…," he could still not make complete sentences, but Ayame waited patiently as he finally completed one.
After taking several deep breaths and with a surprisingly calm smile, Naruto finally placed words together into a complete sentence. "You look absolutely fantastic, breathtaking," he all but whispered to the blushing woman before him. "Wow."
"Well, I'm glad you like how I look," she said with another giggle, "and I have to say: you don't look half bad yourself, stud," she finished, adding a wink for good measure.
Now it was Naruto's turn to blush at the complement of his own looks. It was not often that people complemented him on his looks, the lack of acknowledgment actually doing a number on his self-esteem. By having someone saying that he was attractive was something far out of his comfort zone. When he finally brought his blushing face up to confront Ayame about their date, he saw Teuchi leaning against the doorframe of his house, clad in civilian clothes and grinning widely. Ayame turned at Naruto's wide eyes to see her father taking calculated steps towards the two, both having a slightly fearful look on their face.
Once he was standing in front of Naruto, Ayame stepping to the side as her father approached, he placed a kind hand on the young man's shoulder. "You have fun tonight, you two," he said as he squeezed the blonde's shoulder, and then hugged his daughter. "Curfew is at 11 o'clock, so I would like to have Ayame home before that. Other than that, anything else is ok." He then stroked his chin, missing the blushing faces of Naruto and Ayame at the prospect of anything, "Well, ok not 'anything', but you know what I mean…" he finished as he rubbed the back of his head at his mistake.
Large beads of sweat grew on the back of both of the young adult's heads at the actions of the older man. It was hard to think that this man, on occasion, could instill fear in the hearts of rambunctious, disrespectful, or crass men and women who entered his shop. Moreover, Naruto knew that fear; once a pair of older teens were both hitting on Ayame rather crudely, as well as insulting Naruto in ways that would cause a lesser man to dissolve into tears, and as a result, Teuchi released an aura so fearsome, horrible, and terror inducing that Naruto had nightmares for days afterwards. He silently shuddered at the idea of having that aura directed at him.
Naruto straightened his shoulders as he stood before the elder Ichiraku. "I promise you right now Ichiraku Teuchi," Naruto said with a surprisingly convicted and deep voice, "that I will do only what would be good in your sight. I will have Ichiraku Ayame back to this very door at the stroke of 11, and not a minute later."
Teuchi took some time to consider the young man and his fine words. The boy meant what he said, that much was easy to divulge. If it were any other man taking his daughter from his sight…well, let's just say that even a team of Inuzaku's and a fully equipped squadron of ANBU would have difficulty in finding all the remains. He had full faith in this young man, and he knew that this man would not let him down. He would show his daughter an unforgettable night, not sexually wise. He knew that Naruto would be unable to even make himself do something like that now, but he would show her a night of splendor, of glitter and fun.
Nodding to the blonde in blessing, Teuchi made his way back into his home, closing his door with a secure and definite 'click'. Both Ayame and Naruto released breaths of hot, condensed air, not knowing they were holding them, both thinking something along the same lines of, 'Oh God that was scary…' in their heads. They turned to each other, small pants of breath entering and exiting their lips, and before long, small grins formed across their faces. With a new air of confidence, the same air she had before her father gave his instructions and hidden warning to her date, Ayame strode up to Naruto and wrapped herself around his arm before he could protest, anchoring herself to her date before he could shake her from him.
"So…," her voice was quiet in his ear, as she allowed her mind and body to slip into 'Date Mode', "What do you have planned for us tonight?"
Naruto stuttered as he became acquainted with his date's closeness, and the feeling of her young body against his. It took him several tries to realize that his mouth would not form words, so instead of talking, he stiffly moved his arm which was holding the picnic basket, so that it gained Ayame's attention.
She eyed the basket with anticipation, almost giddy anticipation, her eyes flashed with an inner smile and her lips broke apart with an actual smile. Her dazzling white teeth shone in the setting sun, and she quickly turned to face Naruto with glee. "A picnic?" she asked. All Naruto could do was nod in response. Her grip on his arm grew as she mentally cheered. "And where, oh fine date, are we to be heading?"
"T-t-to the Hokage m-m-monument," Naruto finally got out.
The grin on Ayame's face only grew in intensity as she took in that new bit of information. Usually, the monument did not enter people's minds when they thought of as a romantic setting; the reasoning behind it was that the walk up the long and winding stairs would hamper the romantic atmosphere. Nevertheless, that was for civilians who weren't currently on a date with a Shinobi. It also helped that he had those, oh so handy 'Fists', but the thought of her in the arms of someone other than her original date did not settle to well in Ayame's mind. Instead, she just clutched his arm tighter and steered him towards the street.
"Well, what are we waiting for?" she asked quietly in his ear, "Let's hop to it!"
Naruto could only nod in agreement, as she half dragged him out from the alleyway and towards the large mountain considered the Hokage Monument. The mountain was indeed a mountain, maybe not like the towering Titans found in Kumo, or the silent forms that surrounded Kiri, but this lone and singular explosion of rock and foliage was definitely a mountain. It was actually a little strange, Naruto commented to himself as he subconsciously led Ayame towards the monument. Out of an enormous forest, there was one lone mountain. Why was there this mountain in the middle of this massive forest? Why was this village next to it, for protection? No, that couldn't be, the mountain was only about one and three quarters of a mile wide, and about two and a half miles long. It was more like that giant rock found in that large island nation far past Kiri. Airs rock, was it called? Regardless, it was a wonderful thing. It was like their massive sentry, ever watching, ever waiting, and with the faces of the villages past great Hokages on it, it only made it seem that more protective.
Ayame did not say a single word once they entered the street, but still clung to his arm like a lifeline. It was smart of her to do so; they were currently entering twilight, the time when men and women of the older generation foraged out into the taverns and streets to take part in relaxation and pleasure. This nightly atmosphere was dangerous to Naruto, and Ayame kept that in mind as they made their way to the monument's long and winding staircase. She may not know why exactly the men and women of the older generation hated him, but she saw enough of the emotional scars that he wore to know that bringing attention to them now would most likely be a bad thing to do.
By now, in their silence, the two finally reached the foot of the tall staircase. Looking up as if leading to heaven, the staircase slightly intimidated both Ayame and Naruto by is massive height and the sheer size of it. They were supposed to climb each step in order to reach the top, as if. Now, it was the time to set the pre-thought plan into action. Many of the things driven into Naruto by Kurenai were manners, women treatment, and other such things that would make the date go along smoothly and effortlessly. It also helped that Kurenai took the time to plan the date from start to finish with potential dialogue no less. This was the moment where Naruto was truly to begin the date.
Turning to the woman besides him, and taking a deep calming breath to steady his nerves, Naruto bowed majestically to Ayame stating, "It would honor me greatly if you would permit me to carry you to our destination, milady," he said, with a deep and masculine sounding voice.
Ayame, who placed her short-sleeved jacket on, quirked a happy eyebrow at the tone of his voice and actions, pleasantly surprised at his course of action. Now, this was not Naruto in the slightest. Usually, he was flamboyant, harsh, exuberant, and slightly clumsy, but this chivalrous attitude, though also something that Naruto did, though not as sturdy and solidly, was appreciatively new. She smiled at his bowed form and followed his lead into the throes of classical human interaction.
"And how, oh prince of mine, would you carry me to our destination?" she countered as she, too, took on an elegant and suave tone of voice. "Surely, you don't mean to carry me over all these tedious flights of stairs? That would be far too ghastly to ask of you. Furthermore, with your arms as full at it is, how can you possibly hold one such as me?"
Happy that Ayame took the initiative to play along, Naruto rose from his submissive posture and offered his free hand to her saying, "I do intend to, and don't call me Surely," he joked to her, then he continued. "My dear, I would not ever think of you tiring before the main events were to begin, that would just be unbecoming of a man such as I. As for my hands…" he quickly preformed a quickly flash of his hands, and another Naruto appeared, identical to the first, "I can easily create an army, so I will never have to worry of such things. Now, would you do me the honor of allowing this lone gentleman to carry his fine princess to the top of these treacherous stairs?"
She smiled and curtsied in her skirt, like the maidens farther inland were said to do, and waited for Naruto to take her away. What Kurenai had instructed next was that "If she's wearing a skirt, for the love of God don't piggyback the girl. Doing so will allow on lookers to see up her skirt, and there is no greater humiliation than having a man you don't know ogling your panties." When he asked how he should carry the young Ayame, Kurenai motioned for Hana and Anko to demonstrate 'bridal style.' The hold was where one drapes the other between their arms as they held them in front of them. It was a rather fun display, as Hana snuggled into Anko's impressive chest, but, as Kurenai explained, if Ayame was held in such a way, it would help deter the possible panty shot, if only a little.
Therefore, after handing the picnic basket and extra blanket over to the Shadow Doppelganger, Naruto flashed into movement and literally swept Ayame off her feet. She squealed with glee as she was lifted and giggled as Naruto, with Doppelganger in tow, rocketed up the stairs and bounced from one handrail to the other as he made his assent. One thing the blonde noticed as he made his way to the top of the monument, was that Ayame was surprisingly light and delicate.
Are all women like this? Naruto wondered to himself as Ayame looped one of her arms around her date's neck, and pressed her face to his chest. Are even Anko-san, Yuugao-san, Hana-san, and Kurenai-san delicate like this? He continued thinking as he jumped the last ten feet of his journey, a final thought came to his mind, Why are they so delicate?
Silently, he and his Doppelganger landed upon the top of the monument, a giddy and bouncing Ayame leaning against the original's chest, and a picnic basket in the Doppelganger's hands. With a sigh, Naruto placed Ayame back on the ground. She landed on her feet, and quickly shot out and began spinning around and around in joy, like an ecstatic ballerina. As she spun, she sprouted out words of awe and gratitude as she described the flight to the top of the Hokage monument. She was saying things like 'No wonder you shinobi have so much fun' and 'Now, I wish I had become a shinobi' and finally 'So that's what it is like to fly'. As she continued to twirl and whirl about with childish glee, Naruto called over his Doppelganger and gave it some quick instructions. Once the Doppelganger nodded in understanding, the original Naruto walked towards the enthusiastic Ayame to distract her, as his Shadow Doppelganger set forth to prepare their dining area and picnic.
As Naruto reached her, the young woman took a turn a little too quickly as she nearly shouted how the wind felt against her skin and in her hair, as she tumbled towards the ground. Thinking quickly, Naruto caught her with his superior shinobi training, and as he helped her back to her feet, he finally saw how thrilled she was with the simple mode of transportation that shinobi used effortlessly to get from point 'A' to point 'B'. Her face was aglow with so much joy that one would have thought that someone just asked her to be a bride. A good-natured chuckle escaped Naruto's lips as Ayame clung to him and asked him questions about his abilities and techniques in the Shinobi Arts, asking him if he did that sort of traveling all the time. All Naruto could do was smile and answer all of her questions about his skills, as she showered him with awe and admiration.
Suddenly, the sound of the Shadow Doppelganger dispersing himself brought the attention of Ayame and Naruto to the perfectly laden picnic blanket. Ayame whistled softly as she came down from her flying high, inspecting the picnic spread that was ready for their consumption.
"Wow, you really went all out now, didn't you?" Ayame asked in an awed voice as she saw bentos brimming with rice, seafood, beef hamburger, stir-fried vegetables, boiled eggs, deep fried shrimp, fish, and other things that her mind could not name. Not because she did not know what they were, but because she was too thunderstruck at the knowledge that Naruto had in fact made it all, and for her no less.
"Well," he said sheepishly as he scratched the back, "I wanted to make this date memorable, so I thought going all out would be a little price to pay…"
While he talked, he took her hand and led her towards the prepared picnic. As she got closer, she realized that the extra blanket was unfolded as a makeshift pillow for the two to sit on as they ate their meal together. Another thing she noticed was Naruto motioned for her to sit where there was no wind in the air, but even without the extra breeze, the heavenly scent of the meal drifted through the air like an intoxicating perfume. Ayame inhaled deeply as Naruto served her some tea out of a thermos and reveled in the smells of the meats and the vegetables as they mixed in the air.
Ayame smiled as she accepted a cup of tea from Naruto and took a sip of it with another sigh. "Delicious," she said, as she sat back down on her knees and took in the sight of the food once again.
"Thank you," Naruto replied bashfully, as he, too, sat back besides her, his legs folded haphazardly in front of him. He then produced a plate and began to place a little of everything on it from the many bentos before handing the readied plate to Ayame, who accepted it with a wistful 'Thanks'.
They ate their meal in relative silence, only speaking here and there when they felt obligated too. Overall, the meal was uneventful, yet very pleasant for both of them. It was also nice to learn that Naruto was capable of humane manners when in the company of a woman; for he ate his meal with relative cleanliness and finesse, that Ayame never saw before. One thing nagged Ayame in the back of her mind, though, and that was how Naruto came up with the idea of a picnic, as well as cooking such wonderful food. Now she did not mean to, but Ayame knew that Naruto was not the 'fluffiest sheep in the flock,' and for him to come up with such an idea would be nearly impossible for him. There was only one question she needed answered. Who helped Naruto with the planning and cooking?
"So," she started nonchalantly as she sipped on her tea, having finished with her meal some minutes before, "who helped with the food?"
Naruto nearly choked on a piece of deep-fried shrimp. His mind began to spiral down as he stole fleeting glance at the slyly smiling woman besides him. What was she going to do, now that she knew it was not solely him that made the meal? What was she going to do when she found out that he had help in his endeavor by a multitude of older women? Now that was the thought he truly feared. Naruto saw how Sakura reacted when other women were trying, or were involved, with her 'love', and that was not a pretty sight. Therefore, should he lie? No, lying was never good because eventually, Ayame would find out the truth and most likely beat him within an inch of his life. Should he try to use his shinobi training and sidestep the question? No, that wouldn't do either; Ayame knew him too well, so she could easily uncover when he was trying to avoid a subject.
That only left one other alternative. "Well, I did have a little help…"
"Oh?" she said, with an air of command. Knowing that she had him now, she was going to enjoy it, enjoy watching him squirm under her gaze.
"Yeah…" he was beginning to sweat now. She was giving him one of her stares, the stare that told him that she wasn't going to let up until she knew everything she wanted to know.
"And, who are they?"
Naruto shivered at this statement. Now was the moment of truth; either she would yell at him for bringing another woman, or set of women in his case, into their 'personal time,' or she would…no, that was pretty much the only outcome…
Sending a brief prayer to God, Naruto resigned himself to his fate. "Some of the girls in my new apartment floor decided to help me with my…our date…," he braced himself for the emotional onslaught that was to come.
Ayame was silent as she continued to sip on her delicious tea, and before she could make her reply, Naruto hastily interrupted saying, "—they did help me, like with the ideas of what to do, but Kurenai-san made me do all the work! She only helped when something was going really wrong! Like when the first batch of rice caught fire, or when I kept on stepping on Yuugao-san's toes, or when Anko-chan tried dragging me off somewhere to tell me something about 'after date excursions'…"
Ayame was now slightly surprised. Naruto had, in fact, done all the work, and only required assistance when the time called for. She smiled into her teacup, taking some precious time to allow Naruto to fear for his life as she enjoyed the show. It was good to know that the Naruto before her, the one that had help planning their date, was still the clumsy and foolhardy Naruto she befriended all those years ago.
Feeling that Naruto suffered enough, and feeling that she should finally commend him, Ayame placed her teacup on her empty tray of food and turned to address him with a kind and heartwarming smile. "Well," she started, "I guess I will have to thank these girls for helping my precious Naruto-kun in making this one of the best dates I have ever had the pleasure of taking part in." She also couldn't help but giggle when Naruto released a breath he did not know he was holding.
Hearing her giggle also made Naruto chuckle, and before long the two of them were laughing good-naturedly. To Naruto, it was finally good to have some normalcy, no psychotic Senseis, no tidbits about his dead family, no emotional breakdowns, no chases, and none of the insane women teaching him manners, educate, or chivalry; it was just a normal day with normal people doing normal things, and for that, Naruto was happy.
Ayame was happy as well, as she soon started leaning against Naruto as they laughed. Naruto was back to normal, or as normal as one of the most surprising people in Konohagakure no Sato could be. He wasn't depressed, worried, downtrodden, or angry. He was himself again: laughing, telling the truth, and being funny. He was now the man she loved. Yes, she loved Naruto. Maybe not to the extent that lover's loved each other, but she loved his jokes, his laugh, and his smile. She loved how he worried about her when she was sick, or when she was on her time of the month. Furthermore, it was how he would come by and just talk, asking her how she was doing, or asking if there was anything he could do for her that made her fall in love with him. He was the man that cared for her, not her beauty or her body, but her as an individual. He was her family, and she loved him dearly.
However, the thought of love irked the question of a deeper love. Would there be a day that she would fall head over heels in love with Naruto, like the Hyuuga heiress had, and if she did…what would happen? Who would get the blonde? Would Hinata lay claim to him and wish never to let go, or would she beat the lavender eyed woman to the punch and take the blonde for her own?
What did Naruto want; that was the true question. What did Naruto want in life? Did he want a girlfriend later? Did he want her…or Hinata? Did he want someone else? Like Sakura or that Ino girl…or, maybe even more shocking, would he want an older woman like the Kurenai woman he mentioned earlier? What about that Yuugao woman or that Anko woman, would he want them? Maybe, he didn't even want a woman at that point in time. Maybe he wanted to focus on his training and not wish to have a significant other.
The thoughts swarming in her skull were beginning to form a headache just above her right eye, so she ceased such thoughts and just enjoy her date's warmth. Luckily for her, Naruto had yet realized that she was currently using his shoulder as a makeshift pillow as she gazed out into the setting sun. The thing was, if Naruto realized that they were partaking in an 'intimate' moment like this, then his natural reaction would most likely be that of horror and overreaction. It was something that Ayame found endearing, but at the same time, she would curse mentally and wish that the blonde would 'grow a pair' and actually understand that some women, in fact, did not mind it when he entered their personal bubble. In fact, some women, Ayame and the young Hyuuga heiress included, would most likely welcome it. Now, with her leaning against his surprisingly firm shoulder and with him not losing his head at the close contact, Ayame couldn't help but smile blissfully.
Now this was a date, she mused to herself. She made a mental note to personally thank this Kurenai woman; it seemed that she was the head of the date planning operation and everything that she planned, assuming that this woman had in fact did most, if not all, of the planning rather than just the food preparation. However, even that thought brought the impending headache closer to crushing her. She just sighed again and refocused her attention on the sunset.
"Well, I have to say, Naruto-kun," Ayame said as she gazed out onto the growing shadows of Konoha, "this is a mighty fine way to end a date…"
Naruto, lucky that Ayame couldn't see his face, both grimaced and smiled. The reason for the grimace was that he just realized that Ayame was leaning against him in a rather loving and cherished way. Now, Naruto did not mind the closeness, in fact he welcomed it. However, when all of your past memories involving closeness, or attempts on getting close, ended with a harsh bump on the head and a bruised and battered heart, it was understandable why Naruto would suffer from brief fits of insanity when he accidentally bumped and/or touched a young woman. The reason why Naruto was also smiling during his grimace was that he was truly happy Ayame was enjoying herself, and that's all Naruto could ask for.
He smiled to himself for a moment, allowing himself to wrap his arm around the bare shoulder of Ayame, who took her coat off once the picnic began, and as he gazed out onto the village, he couldn't help but send a silent 'Thank You' to Kurenai for her planning. She did indeed know what she was talking about when it came to making a girl happy on a date, if Ayame's reaction were any indication. He had to admit though; some of the girls had a rather unique way of teaching him things about women and mannerisms.
Kurenai tried teaching him proper dinner etiquette while forced to make the dinner that they enjoyed. Luckily for Naruto, Kurenai was a good cook and knew not to throw water on an oil fire, otherwise her apartment, and probably all the others on the same floor, would have gone up in flames. It was actually creating the food that took up the most time, if he remembered correctly. The ruby-eyed woman was a slave driver, but she was also a kind one; when he made a mistake of adding powdered sugar instead of flour to the breading for the shrimp, she had disciplined him. However, she did so with a calm voice and a light tap on the head with a wooden spoon. As he observed the woman's teaching practices, he mentally thanked her, again, because he saw that she would in fact make a good Sensei for his 'newer' friend, Hinata.
However, while Kurenai was justly kind in her teaching processes Anko and Hana were not as 'kind'. In fact, the two young women actually reminded him of himself, as they would play verbal pranks on the young man. The thing was that Kurenai placed the two in charge of teaching Naruto how to handle a woman verbally, from compliments to flattery. The way that the two playful girls took to teaching this was by acting as if they were the girl he was dating, and they would strike up a conversation with Naruto, who replied to what they said normally. When he made a mistake, such as falling into a woman's vile trap of asking if she was fat, he would again be playfully hit on the head with a rolled up newspaper, and instructed how not to respond or comment. It also did not help Naruto that Anko and Hana were excellent actors, sometimes making instances for Naruto awkward, pretending to take offense by the young man after he slipped up in his words. His smile deepened slightly when he remembered how Anko threw herself into his arms after he complimented her on how her psychotic tendencies weren't 'that' bad. However, with the insane women aside, there was still one aspect to the date that remained, and if Naruto wasn't wrong, then the final act was about to begin.
Turning his head so he could see the drooping eyes and smiling face of Ayame, he shook her slightly and whispered to her, "The date isn't over yet…"
Ayame, looking up into her date's azure eyes, could only ask in confusion, with a slight undertone of giddy excitement, "W-what do you mean?"
As if to answer her question, a soft melody began to drift through the stilled air. It sounded familiar to her, like a song she heard recently, but could not place the name, and as it drifted into her, through her, she could not help but wiggle to the subtle beat. A thought crept into her mind as she listened to the music play: what was the music's purpose? Why was the music playing? She smiled to herself when she thought of a different question. What did Naruto have planned for the music?
As she was enjoying the soft playing music, she soon felt the arm of her date leave her shoulder and felt his warmth leave her as well when he rose to his feet. From her position on the ground, Ayame threw him a questioning glance as to why he was leaving her, but when she saw him hold out his hand to her, her heart nearly stopped.
"It would honor me if you would permit me a dance," he spoke softly, giving her one of his genuine smiles.
As Ayame stared at his hand, and then to his face and back at his hand, she nearly forgot to breath. The music played, this time with more volume, and before the young woman knew what was happening, she was on her feet. It was as if she was watching what was happening to her body from outside of it, as if she was floating above the scene. The music had a soft tone to it, even though she could hear the song throughout the area. Naruto led her about, holding her one hand with one of his as his other hand lay dormant on her hip. With her hand clasped firmly in his own, her other hand could only find its home on his shoulder.
He swayed with the music with an ease that surprised her and made her envy him as well. One instance, the two of them would be swaying about the clearing, and the next he would let go of her waist and spin her in place. One thing was evident; he wasn't listening to the music. It was indeed a shame, she thought to herself, especially since it was a beautiful melody. Rather, he was focusing on his footwork, keeping each step to the script that the women forced him to learn earlier. Therefore, she allowed him to have complete control as she enjoyed the music for the both of them.
There's something in your eyes
Is everything alright?
You look up to the sky
You long for something more,
Give me your right hand
I think I understand,
follow me and you will never have to wish again I know that after tonight
You don't have to look up at the stars
I know that after tonight
No no no no
And I know by the end of tonight
You don't have to look up at the stars
And I know if the love is alright
You don't have to look up at the stars
No no no no
I know by the end of tonight
You don't have to look up at the stars
No no no no no no no no no
As she listened to the words of the upbeat song, she couldn't help but blush. Luckily, Ayame's face was to the left of Naruto and her hair draped over her face. Otherwise, Naruto would notice her embarrassment as they danced. The song, in her opinion, was just so raw, so forward and blunt, and the strange thing was, as Naruto swung and dipped her during the verses, that she could only see Naruto during this song. It was not because of the fact that he was standing beside her and leading her in the dance, but rather she saw him with her. She saw his emotions for her, his deep affection and longing. Suddenly, a fluid dip from her date brought her eyes to his face, and her attention back to the music.
Tell me how you feel
And if I'm getting near
I'll tell you where to steer
You tell me where to steer,
Way above the clouds Cause I know that after tonight
And high above the stars
Through the unknown black holes
No one knows where we are
But we'll return to earth
And do it all over again
You don't have to look up at the stars
Cause I know that after tonight
No no no no
And I know by the end of tonight
You don't have to look up at the stars
And I know if the love is alright
You don't have to look up at the stars
No no no no
I know by the end of tonight
You don't have to look up at the stars
Her blush doubled when she heard the last set of verses, and as she stared into her date's sparkling eyes, she realized something, something mind blowing. He held her to him and guided her through steps that she did not know. The thoughts that battered her mind earlier, the same thoughts that brought her to the brink of mental overload, came back to her in a rush.
Now come away with me
Come fly away with me
Just for one night
No one will ever know
Darlin' I will leave you satisfied
Forever past time
You don't have to hide
Your free to fly
The lyrics invaded her thoughts, and the prior thoughts blew away from her mind, as Naruto figuratively took her to the moon. She, again, marveled at his grace and his flexibility as he paraded her around the clearing, and soon she was no longer dumbfounded into blind obedience. Rather, she felt the music as he did and decided to take command. She twirled around herself and broke away from his warmth and hands. Before the lyrics picked up again, she saucily beckoned him back to her as she began to sway and shake, just like the female dancers from the southern edges of Kaze no Kuni.
I know that after tonight
You don't have to look up at the stars
No no no no
And I know by the end of tonight
You don't have to look up at the stars
And I know if the love is alright
You don't have to look up at the stars
No no no no
I know by the end of tonight
You don't have to look up at the stars
He smirked for the first time during the date and complied, spinning and bobbing his way over towards his lovely date. He reached for her, but Ayame had other plans. She dashed from his arms and beckoned for him again, creating a game of tag almost instantly as they danced towards and around one another, until Naruto finally caught his allusive date and held her tightly.
Said I know that after tonight
You don't have to look up at the stars
No no no no
And I know by the end of tonight
You don't have to look up at the stars
And I know if the love is alright
You don't have to look up at the stars
No no no no
I know by the end of tonight
You'll be looking down upon them
Oh no no, oh na na na~na na na
ooh na na na~~oh
Naruto and Ayame no longer held one another like elegant waltzers, but held each other with their arms around a toned neck and around a healthy waist. The music died out eventually, leaving Ayame with her temple resting against Naruto's, Naruto reveling in Ayame light perfume. It was then after that, the words became her, after the lyrics entered her soul and told her the truth. It was then that Ayame understood.
Ayame was indeed in love with Naruto. She had probably been in love since many years ago, but it just took this one night, these few events, for her to realize it and the thing was, it was not like the brother/sister love that she first suspected, but rather the romantic love, the love of close bodies and of kindred souls.
She giggled softly to herself as a slower beat song condensed in the air around them. She thought of her Naruto-inscribed pillow that she created. At first, the idea of the pillow was to keep her seamstress talents well-tuned, so she decided to make it a full-sized pillow, with some kind of design sown into the front of it. She debated on what kind of image she should place on the front for a long amount of time. It had been days since she first thought of the endeavor and had yet decided on a set image.
However, that day changed everything. Ayame was working the Ramen Bar as usual, when three young men entered the storefront business, the same men that were notorious for hitting on her. As she took their orders, and sidestepping their pitiful attempts of advances, she saw Naruto out of the corner of her eye standing outside the Ramen Bar. He seemed to be analyzing the situation, but before she could mouth something to him, he disappeared. Seconds later, a gorgeous blonde-haired woman entered the Ramen Bar as well. Due to her beauty, a superficial and haughty beauty at that, the three teens quickly forgot about Ayame, and they focused their joint efforts towards the new woman. The woman would only smile and wave, as well as flirting shamelessly with the three. Soon after, by using some choice phrases and compliments, she had the three boys fighting amongst themselves. It was then, when the fight was about to tear the Ramen Bar apart, that Teuchi appeared; he was out talking to an associate of his about fresh meats. The older man threw the hormonal teens out of the Ramen Bar faster than Naruto and Ayame had thought possible. When Ayame turned to the woman, she found Naruto standing there with a large smile on his face. His smile and the acts he did were what stole Ayame's attention. That night, she stitched a perfect replica of that smile into her pillow, and she slept with it ever since.
Therefore, the construction of the Naruto pillow was rather innocent at the time, but as she came to terms with what she was feeling, new revelations were overtaking her. She now understood why she decided to make the pillow in her date's image all those years ago. She understood why she was so happy to see him every day. She finally understood why she demanded the date with the blonde. She fell out of family love with the blonde and into romantic love.
She was in love with Uzumaki Naruto, the same man that her good friend was also in love with.
The headache from what felt like hours ago threatened her sanity again. By now, the two were just rocking in place as the slow music blanketed them. Ayame's arms were around Naruto's neck, and her fingers played softly with his hair. Seeing that she was taller than her date, Ayame rested her temple against his, causing their cheeks to graze one another's without meaning too. Naruto, who was blushing up a storm as he felt his date's body against his own, allowed himself a small reward for a date well done and inhaled Ayame's scent unashamed, just as he did with Hinata. She smelt of work, of oil and sweat, but instead of offending Naruto, it pleased him; it meant that Ayame was a girl who was not ashamed to get down and dirty, willing to work rigorously for her pay.
Both of the teens' minds were in a state of mild turmoil. While Ayame's mind was coming to terms with the new emotions that were encompassing her towards the blonde, Naruto's mind was giving him confusing thoughts. He was having the same feelings that he felt whenever he was with Yoko and Hinata. However, as their minds ran rampant, their faces and bodies never betrayed their thoughts, but rather moved on some type of 'auto-pilot' as the music continued. Soon, when the thoughts of the two were on the verge of consuming them, the music wound down, before coming to a stop altogether.
Ayame clung to Naruto even though the music was silent, and Naruto did the same. It was as if the two were using each other like some kind of lifeline. If they let go of one another, the world would end and all time would cease. Nevertheless, their embrace also ended, but the two did not fully unravel themselves from the other. Instead, the stood in the clearing staring up into the star-studded skies, the sun disappearing past the horizon sometime during their Ball, with Naruto keeping one arm circled around Ayame's waist. Even with all the hectic thoughts that attacked Ayame, she could not stop from smiling up at the heavens. It was perfect; it was as if God finally showed her the truth in her life. A content sigh escaped her lips as she leaned into Naruto, unashamed by the action.
Naruto, too, was smiling; he was happy that Ayame was happy. He was happy that she enjoyed herself and that she was content. To him, that was all that mattered. He also gazed up into the stars and soon lost himself to the vastness of it all. The same sensation that 'plagued' him when he was around Yoko and Hinata was settling upon him again, and he didn't know what to think of it. It was like a warm and full feeling that made its home in his belly, like eating a healthy and filling meal. The feeling left as if he under a wool blanket and lying on a heavy downy mattress; warm and secure. The only sensation that Naruto could akin it too would be the few times in his life that he was truly content.
It was then that the blonde noticed that his date was shivering, even with his impressive warmth. Thinking of the blanket given to him, Naruto quickly steered Ayame back towards the picnic, all the while keeping his arm around her to help her fend off the cold, but when he saw the chaos that was the picnic blanket, he was slightly ashamed. The bentos were still open and the other things he brought with him were still out in the open. Therefore, he quickly created a Shadow Doppelganger with a flash of his hands and set it forth to pack up the picnic, as he collected the spare blanket and went to wrap her in it.
Ayame, once the warmth of the blanket and her date touched her chilled nerves, smiled contently and leaned further into Naruto's embrace. She looked into Naruto's eyes, his sparkling and deep blue eyes, and smiled again, but this time, her smile held something different. It was not her normal friendly smile or her 'Thank you for dining with us' smile. No, this smile was something that Naruto never saw before. It was as if all was right in her world, as if she was truly happy. He sat her down beside him, both looking out over the monument's edge, and onto the villages many lights.
Before he could look farther into the smile Ayame's voice broke his concentration. She leaned her head against his shoulder as she said, "What else do you have planned Naruto?"
The lack of suffix was evident to Naruto and caused him to raise an eyebrow. Though their relationship was a close one, they had yet to drop suffixes. He just shrugged it off mentally before he answered her. "I was thinking about having dessert, ice cream actually, but seeing as we are both a little cold, I guess we could skip it. It's all up to you, so what do you want to do?"
She mulled over his honesty for several seconds, as she continued to gaze into the village. It was true that the two of them were cold, and the thought of ingesting something that was equally cold did not suit her. Therefore, in response she asked another question, "What time do you think it is?"
Naruto quickly calculated an estimate and said, "I think it's somewhere between 9:45 and 10:15…"
"Hmmm…" was her response.
The date was pretty close to being done anyways. Ayame, this time, sighed out of annoyance. She really wanted the date to continue until the end of time, but seeing as she was on the verge of falling into a blissful sleep, lulled there by her happiness and Naruto's warmth, she decided that the date ended perfectly.
"If you don't mind, I think we should call it a night," she said with a cute yawn.
Naruto mentally agreed with her; he was also on the verge of falling asleep, lulled there by his happiness in her happiness and out of weary fatigue. However, the mischievous side of his brain nagged at him with a playful thought. Smirking, he said innocently, "Oh, I see what you're saying. I was so boring that you just wish to get away from me that much quicker, huh?"
Ayame's eyes snapped wide open at the thought that she, in fact, insulted her date with her words. Whipping towards Naruto, she quickly elaborated. "No, no, no, no! It's not that at all! I actually had the best time of my life. It's just that I fear that I will fall asleep if I stay out any longer…"
Naruto just chuckled at her face. "I'm kidding. I feel the same way; I feel like I could zonk out at any second."
Realizing that Naruto tricked her, she slapped him half-heartily on the shoulder. "That wasn't very nice," she scolded.
"Oh, you girls get to do it all the time to us guys. What's wrong with me getting some revenge every once and a while?"
"Whatever…" she pouted, arms crossed over her chest in annoyance.
Naruto could only chuckle again before he rose to his feet, draping the blanket fully over Ayame. He soon rolled his shoulders and stretched, unknowingly giving Ayame an up-close view of his trained and coiling muscles. Now that she understood what she was feeling, she felt less guilty about checking out the physical makeup of her date. Once he was thoroughly prepped and ready for travel, Naruto offered his hand to Ayame again.
"Would you permit this lonely knight to escort you back to your castle, milady?" he asked in the same noble and masculine voice he used at the beginning of their date.
Smirking, Ayame took his hand in hers, taking the time to caress his knuckles with her thumb, and allowed him to help her to her feet. "I would indeed be greatly honored if my knight would see me home," she said.
Naruto bowed in acceptance. Moving quickly once again, Naruto appeared besides her and scooped her up into his arms, taking extreme care to make sure that the blanket was firmly around her so that the night's air did not bother her during their decent. He soon nodded towards the Shadow Doppelganger that was carrying the picnic basket, as well as Ayame's discarded coat and shoes, the shoes that she discarded once the dance begun.
Without any sort of warning, Naruto barreled towards the stairs of the monument and shot down them. Unlike before, Ayame did not worry as she had when Naruto took her up the tall and daunting stairs, but rather, she closed her eyes and placed her ear to his chest. The steady sound of his throbbing heart eased her fear and worry. It told her that no matter what was going on or no matter what was happening; she would always be safe in his arms; that Naruto would be there for her no matter what, and he would even be there when she did not want him to be.
In what seemed like seconds the three of them, Ayame and two Naruto's, were before the door to the Ichiraku's household. What Naruto did not know, while he had been jumping from rooftop to rooftop, was that Ayame was silently plotting her own end to her date. Even though she was eternally grateful to this Kurenai woman for helping her Naruto in constructing such on unforgettable date, but for the final part of the date, Ayame wanted control of the script.
As Naruto set her down, he signaled to his Shadow Doppelganger to head towards the apartment to take care of the picnic basket and supplies. With a firm nod, the Doppelganger disappeared into the night by bounding over the alley and across the rooftops of the village. Once the Doppelganger left, Naruto turned to the flush face of Ayame and chuckled sheepishly.
"I guess this is goodnight, huh?" he asked rhetorically.
"Indeed it is Naruto. I have to say that was the best thing that has ever happened in my life," Ayame replied cheekily.
"Oh come on," Naruto modestly countered, "You're beautiful, kind, caring, and great. There has to be better dates than this?"
Ayame's smile morphed into one of saddened honesty. "Naruto, I haven't been on a date before this one. All the other guys just want to score with me, more than anything else."
Naruto paused for several seconds as he thought of his comeback. It was somewhat difficult for him to conceive the idea that Ichiraku Ayame, one of the few pure girls he ever had the pleasure of knowing, never knew what a date was like before tonight.
"You deserve better," he said to himself.
Ayame smiled good-naturedly to his words. "Thank you Naruto," she said in response.
"No, I mean it," his words took over him, and before he knew what he was saying, it was already coming out of his mouth. "I don't just say that because it's the right thing to say. I mean it. Hell, you are one of the perfect people I know, and trust me I know; I can count every living good person in my life on one hand, and you're one of them. You should have been on at least a hundred different dates by now, ten times greater than this one." By the time he ended his tirade, he was panting slightly.
Ayame, while slightly stunned by his words, smiled the same smile from before. "Thank you, Naruto."
Nodding to her tone, a tone so true that spoke not only to his ears, but also to his heart, Naruto smiled sheepishly at his own actions. "Sorry about that," he apologized, "sometimes my mouth speaks before my mind can sort out what I want to say and well…"
"That's the only way I would have you Naruto," she quietly said, as she rocked back on her heels and grasped her hands behind her back.
Slightly 'unnerved' by her words, Naruto decided that now would be a good time to end the date and head out. "Well, goodnight Ayame-chan. I'll see you tomorrow." He turned to leave via the street, but the firm grip of Ayame's hand on his wrist stopped him from leaving.
"Naruto~," she all, but cooed from behind him, "Didn't Kurenai-san tell you how you properly end a date?"
"Uh…no?" he truly did not know how to respond, because he honestly didn't know.
"Well~, usually dates end in a…kiss…"
Naruto's blood ran cold when he heard that one word. Before he could react, he found himself against the opposite wall of the alley with Ayame standing before him like some kind of superior predator. "You wouldn't be thinking of ending this perfect date improperly, would you?" she asked with a childish pout. "You wouldn't think of leaving me here, all alone?"
His mind was barely processing what she was saying. All he knew was that she had one thing on her mind, the same thing that could 'enslave' her to him. He couldn't let that happen to such a kind and perfect girl. He could not allow her to fall into an inescapable relationship when she had yet to find her true love. He could not, and would not, permit her from making that mistake.
By now, she was descending upon his entrapped form, about to claim her 'end date prize'. Deep down inside, she felt a little ashamed of herself for what she was about to do, but Hinata pined after this one boy for several years, more years than Ayame even knew. Yet, here she was, swooping in like some hawk and stealing a juicy mouse from the field. She honestly felt bad, but those who stood idle waiting for a chance to come their way would lose their prize.
I'm sorry Hinata-chan, Ayame thought remorsefully, But for right now…he is mine…
Just as she was about to claim her ultimate prize, she found the tables turned; she was now the one pressed against the walls of the alleyway. She didn't know what happened, but she was enjoying the outcome as a slender appendage pressed itself against the throbbing flesh of her neck. Naruto seemed to take control once again, but she doubted it was due to the date's script, but for whatever reason he 'snapped,' she would not complain.
Naruto, in his desperation, once again fell into a strange trance. He lost control of his body and mind, leaving him with nothing but the barest of cognitive thinking. What he could discern though, was that he was currently making a feast out of Ayame's sleek neck, and if he were to be honest with himself, she tasted delicious.
Ayame was for a loss of words and thought. She knew from listening through the grapevine that certain places on the female's body could bring about untold amounts of pleasure, but she never thought that such pleasure would come from the juncture of her throat and neck. It felt as if she were no longer her own person, but belonged solely to Naruto. She felt her world explode, and her seas shake. To her, there was no longer an alleyway, there was no longer Konoha, there were no longer the Elemental Countries, but rather there was only Naruto and her. There was only the sensation of his lips as he suckled on her flesh, as he nipped her throbbing vein, and kissing her throat. She knew she should not be enjoying the assault as much as she was, but the person who was doing the 'assault' was Naruto, a man that held her complete trust, even before she knew she gave it to him. She knew that he would never harm her; even if possessed by the greatest beast in the land, he would not harm her.
He suddenly switched from the left side of her neck to the right side, nipping, suckling, and kissing with a new vigor that she did not know he possess. She tried to suppress her voice, she truly did, but when he found a new nerve center, a shock as if none she ever felt before rocked her body. She was his slave and she was enjoying every minute of it. Nevertheless, like all good things, they must all end eventually. With one last harsh suck, which brought forth a throaty moan from Ayame, Naruto disengaged himself from his date's neck.
His eyes were half-lidded, and the slit of his pupils reverted into whole circles, something that Ayame missed due to her pleasure haze. His lips were moist with his saliva, and he had to lick his lips in fear that some of the saliva might fall to the ground, or worse yet, onto his dates clothes.
When Naruto's mind came back to himself, he noticed several things. One thing was that Ayame was literally glowing with a shamelessly silly grin on her face. The second thing that he noticed was that her hands were currently threading through his hair as if she tried anchoring him to her for some reason, and the third, and more terrifying, thing that Naruto noticed was that there were two red, coin-shaped marks on her neck. When he noticed the two darkened areas of flesh on her neck, he instantly knew that something 'bad' happened while he was out of it.
So without thinking, or comprehending what happened, Naruto disappeared from Ayame's view, leaving the young Ichiraku alone in the alleyway, but nonetheless happy as could be. She did not mind that he fled. She understood that he ran out of fear of what he just did. He most likely did not know that what he did was not harmful, but in fact pleasurable. There would be enough time to explain things in the near future.
Therefore, she picked herself off the alley's wall and smiled in the direction she knew that Naruto took. She did not know how she knew where he went, but she did not care. All that mattered was that Naruto returned her feelings in his own unique way, just as he usually did.
"I would have you no other way," she whispered into the dark, and with that final line, she made her way into her home on shaky legs, a smile across her face.
XxXxX Anko's apartment; Time: 22:20 XxXxX
The plan was to let Naruto stick to the date script with Yuugao looking over his shoulder the whole time. The young Uzuki was on duty during the time that the date was taking place, so having her look after the young man was well within her power. Yuugao also played a special role in the date. Her role was to play the music from a hidden location, and to stop the music once the two seemed to have had their fill. Other than that, the only other objective that Yuugao had was to protect Naruto and his date from any unworthy individuals, and video tape the entire experience. There was no way that any of the other girls were going to let a chance of young love theater slip through their fingers.
Therefore, Hana, Anko, and Kurenai were waiting for the young Uzuki to return with their new entertainment, but they were also waiting for an entirely different reason. Nimaru and Kitenhime had yet to deliver their reports, and the only member that was missing was the aforementioned Yuugao.
They did not have to wait long, for like a shadow, Yuugao slipped into the living room of Anko's dark apartment. The mood in the room would be one of joyous tomfoolery, if not for the words, "You're not going to like this," passed through Kitenhime's lips to summarize the day when Anko asked her to do so earlier; all the girls were on edge. Now with Yuugao finally there, the debriefing could commence.
A thought came to Kitenhime as she was waiting for all the key players to converge, and once they were all present, she sprang from her position in the center of the coffee table of the living room and unto the floor. Before anyone could question her motives, a plume of smoke engulfed the area in which the small snake landed. Anko's eyebrow escaped into her hairline at the sign of the smoke; that could only mean one thing, but why was the summon performing such an act? When questioning looks were sent towards Anko, hoping for her to elaborate as to the reason of the smoke, a slender and mocha-toned arm dispersed the smoke with a few swings. When the smoke completely dispersed, what the ladies saw in front of them was a tall, long-legged, metallic purple-haired woman.
She was nude, but that did not surprise the other women. Rather, her skin tone surprised them. This new woman was entirely mocha-toned, a woman with black skin. Such a skin color was not common in the Elemental Countries. In fact, the only places that such a skin tone was, was within the borders of the Land of Lightning. Seeing that this woman was not from such a land, this meant only one thing: that this was the small snake summon Kitenhime, all the girls let out a whistle of surprise and awe. Her body was one of lithe and slender beauty: slender, tone legs, a slim waist, and breasts that filled one's hand, if not a little more. Her face was slightly angular, like her serpent-like head before, but her metallic purple hair framed her face and sprouted behind her head in a style reminiscent of Anko's. The only other thing that was peculiar with Kitenhime's human appearance was that she had an eye patch, with the symbol for 'Serpent' inscribed on the front, placed over her right eye.
Looking down, Kitenhime saw her immodesty and blushed, making her dark face even darker in the lack of light. To remedy the lack of clothing, Kitenhime quickly took a blanket from a nearby chair and securely wrapped it around her torso to hide her shame. The beautiful mocha-skinned woman made a mental note to persuade Anko into taking her clothes shopping. The reason being was that the novel Icha Icha Pursuit sparked her interest in the aspect of her human figure, but what solidified her thought were the actions that occurred to Naruto. Though she only knew the young man for less than twelve hours, she found herself impressed by the boy. The young man showed traits that reminded her of her own kind: conviction, independence, strength, and cunning. After she had time to digest the events of the day, she decided that she would do what she did with Anko; she would support the young man and help him in any way she could. It was a difficult decision for her to make, especially since snakes were an independent race and usually place their elegance with no one. Orochimaru still did not have the full allegiance of Manda with the head summon stating that, "Your blood is so foul that not even a hundred sacrifices would amend it", and the only other person that had a slight respect from the snakes was Anko. Therefore, for a snake to take an interest in a non-summoner was unheard of. However, to the snake summon, that did not matter; she knew what she witnessed and she already made up her mind.
Now fully clothed, and before any of the girls could spring forth questions, Kitenhime walked towards the living room's window and opened it wide. She quickly made a beckoning motion with her hand, and before anyone could say anything, four male figures were instantly in the living room along with the four women. She sensed the Fox Corp arrive around Anko's apartment building and knew that they would want to hear the debriefing as well. She saw the conviction in the men's eyes when they stood before Naruto, and she instinctively knew that they would stand by the young man when few would.
Seeing that all of the actors were in place, Kitenhime turned to her audience before her and whispered, "You're not going to like this…"
With that, Kitenhime began her debriefing, her tale of the days horrors and terrors.
XxXxX Within Naruto's mind XxXxX
Before the day could end for Naruto, there was one last thing he needed to do, one last end he had to tie up. She laid waiting for him on her bed. She did not seem angry or sad. If anything, she looked relieved and happy. A smile spread on her face and her eyes sparkled like never before as he approached. She was wearing her usual wine-red slacks and wine-red top, and it was as if nothing in the day happened between them. It seemed as if she forgot his angry outburst from before, as well as his complete act of avoiding her. It was that face, that happy understanding face, which made Naruto so sad. He could deal with insulting men and cursing women, but when it came to one that only showed him affection and endearment, he could not. He had even acted like a complete ass, yet her face shown as if he had come home from a war…he did not know what to do.
Therefore, he sat on the edge of her bed, his back to her and he waited. He did not know what he was waiting for, maybe a verbal reprimand or a physical reminder, but what he did know was that he needed to wait. He was willing to wait until the end of time to hear her tirade, to weather her disappointment, for he knew that he deserved it. Memories of his actions towards her, or his lack of interactions, filtered into his mind, and the more he recounted them, the worse he felt.
He did not have to wallow long in his self-reflection, for he felt her moving before he saw her. Yoko decided to leave her bed and stand before him, her beauty almost blinding him. She moved again, this time onto his open lap, straddling him like some kind of chair, and pressed the fullness of her body against his. He knew that she did not mean anything provocative by the action. In fact, the action only served to display nothing but love and commitment, something that he felt ashamed of receiving. She was relaying her feelings of him through her body and into his. For Yoko, she knew that words would have no hope in relaying the emotions she felt. While she could use words to describe the feelings she felt, only the actions of the body would connect via their souls.
"Yoko, I'm so—" his voice cut off as her lips silenced him.
Her lips were soft against his, like fine silk, and when she set her weight against him, feeling her body and being against his own, he forgot to breathe. They crashed to the mattress, yet their lips never once left another. There was something in their connection, something that Naruto could not place, but whatever it was, it did not matter. All that mattered was that Yoko was with him again, and that he was not alone. His arms wrapped around her waist and anchored her to him, and her hands ensnared themselves in his hair. They were not leaving each other for some time.
He broke away panting, the need for air to great. However, once he got his fill, he took command. Moving with ease, Naruto rolled so that Yoko was underneath him. There was no protest in her eyes when he gazed into her scarlet depths. The only thing that he was able to see was understanding, forgiveness, and devotion. The last one sent Naruto's mind for a loop before he lost himself again to her lips, wishing to lose his mind in her, before it could run away with him.
The battle of their lips lasted for a few more minutes, but it never went past that. As Naruto kissed his mate, he did not do so as a means of sexual relief, but rather he did so to revel in her. He missed her, no matter how hard he tried hiding it. One whole day without her nearly drove him mad. Luckily, he had distractions in the form of other women to help him cope with her lack of contact. He missed her warmth, he missed her words, and most importantly, he missed her. He needed her now more than anything, more than food, more than sleep, and more than air.
In a flash of inspiration, Naruto broke from his mate's reddened lips and attacked her neck. Her scent, it was so different from Ayame's or Hinata's scent. It seemed as if every girl had her own special scent. Yoko's scent was that of heat, of spice, of passion and power, but she also had an underlining scent of calmness, of clear skies and clean fields. Yoko's scent was so unlike the other girls'; rather, her scent was otherworldly. When he recounted the scents of Hinata and Ayame, he noticed that their scents had physical names. Hinata smelled of soft flowers and cleanliness, while Ayame smelled of oils and sweat. Yoko's scents were something entirely different. She did not smell of a nameable thing, but rather, she was part of that scent. It was as if she possessed the scent even before the scent had a name, and even now, as he tried to explain the scent, he could not. Her scent was hers and no one else could duplicate it.
In fear that he would lose himself too much to his mate, Naruto reined his passions and his emotions in, and tore himself away from Yoko's slim neck, much to her sorrow. He lay above her, panting and heaving, and before he could utter a single word to her, she silenced him with her long index finger.
"All is well now, Naru-kun. You do not need to worry about anything else. For now, sleep, especially since your day has been long and hard…"
He wanted to protest, he wanted to tell her she was wrong, that he did need to talk to her, but with one press of her finger against the conjunction between his shoulder and neck, all went dark and sleep consumed him.
XxXxX End XxXxX
And so brings the end to my little arc. I call it 'Day in the life of Naruto' arc. The main reason for this arc/set of chapters was to show you readers what Naruto's new life holds. It will set the tone for the rest of the fic in means of conflicts, romance, silliness.
Luckily for you guys I am a hopeless romantic so I was glad to show you my fantasies into what I wish I could do. Oh well, being a recluse never comes with companionship so why not create your own ideal date/relationship so it can be used on a later date.
As for the song, it is Justin Nozuka's After Tonight. I was originally intending to use Michael Buble's Save the Last Dance for Me but I felt that the lyrics did not mix well with the message I was trying to portray. Luckily this one did.
Hmm, what else to say… well the next chapter will go right into the Wave Arc so look forward to that. I'm going to enjoy this Arc, more so than any of the other Arcs in the Narutoverse. Trust me you will enjoy it too with what I have planned.
Well, that's all for me. Like always, please review but Do Unto Others. Meaning, review as you would want someone to review your works. Tell me what you think, what you liked, disliked, and advice if you have any.
PS: I hope this is a good Christmas gift to you all.