Busy, busy life… No, this story isn't dead. I have half a mind to go back and redo some chapters, but not at the moment. I'll see how things go for now before I go back to edit them.
That said, for those that read and is expecting my other stories, I cannot promise updates for them. Inspiration and planning only works so far, and if it doesn't work, it doesn't work. I'm trying to make everyone happy (that means readers and me) with them, so be patient ne?
And without further ado…
Disclaimer: Me no bloody own Kingdom Hearts, Naruto, or anything in this story except the plot, and perhaps the occasional unknown people (OC) thrown in for plot development. There, I said it.
Read and beta-ed by: Tenebrosus
Penelope sighed as she watched the man that called himself Tobi getting used to walking around with a cane. The woman wondered just what it is that makes her keep him around when he is really more trouble than he appears to be. First of all they can't communicate due to a language barrier between that. Whatever they get done is through tedious amount of trial and error as well as an annoying amount of embarrassing situations. Being blind means groping around, and boy did he grope around; at the very least he received more bruising on his cheeks than anything else.
Second of all, the man is… a little bit on the nutty side. Oh who is she kidding? The man is simply crazy, period. He seems to have two personalities: one childish side and one that feels… well, she couldn't really explain.
Finally, the man has a certain charisma and charm to him even though he looks haggard from hardship and suffering from injuries. The man speaks nonsense to her simply because she couldn't understand him, but regardless she can feel his authority as well as untold power within his grasp.
Too bad to someone like Penelope, that sort of authority and power mean nothing to her. That power felt tainted, cursed, and despite his charm and charisma Penelope finds herself holding little to no respect for him. He has power, but unlike Penelope who worked for her own power, his feels like it was cheated and stolen from others.
Thus it begs the question of what has her keeping him under her roof this entire time when she herself finds little to like about the man.
In the words of her ever busy cook: "If you do not like him, throw him out. Otherwise you feel something in your bones that tells you that you have to keep him."
That is probably it, but to tell the truth, Penelope is far from sure of her own indecisiveness in this peculiar situation.
With Naruto, it's more of a combination of reluctance, sympathy, and Alice's insistence. With this Tobi man however… "Just what am I to do with you?" Penelope asks to no one in particular before releasing another sigh. She has been doing a lot of that lately… Is she getting old or is her life simply too full of problems recently? "I am not getting old…"
"Miss, here is your tea." One of the maids call out before setting a tray filled with one large tea pot, two cups with their complimentary plates, a cup full of sugar cubes, and a small pot of cream. Smiling at the maid and thanking her, the head of the house pours herself a cup of tea, drops two cubes of sugar into it, pours a small amount of cream, and then stirs with one of the small spoons lying on the tray. Once she is satisfied with the mixture, she carefully picks up the cup and brings it to her lips and sips at the hot liquid. As the sweet solution washes past her tongue and pours down her throat, the woman lets out a contented sigh. Nothing beats a good cup of tea.
Returning her attention back to the man, Penelope raises one fine eyebrow as she sees him settles into a crouch of sort, his hands held together to form some strange hand gesture and his face full of concentration. If nothing else, the action itself looks odd. As far as Penelope knows the man has been stumbling around blindly (no pun intended) for the entire time he could get to his feet… which he really shouldn't be seeing as how his wounds aren't exactly healed yet.
How that man even musters up the strength to get OUT of bed is beyond her. Seriously, cracked and bruised ribs, a fractured leg and a broken arm, and let's not forget about the several large gashes upon his body. How the hell did the man even survived is beyond her, but Penelope won't question it.
Still, as she watches with curiosity the man starts to mumble out a stream of something under his breath. Whatever it is, Penelope can see that he is rather serious about what he intends to do. Her paranoia born through years of hardship pokes its ugly head up for a moment and she tenses, only to smash it down ruthlessly. It wouldn't do to suspect him, seeing as if he wants to harm them, he has had ample opportunity. Besides, she doubts that someone can blind themselves, sneak into her house, and then pretend to be all weak and whatnot just for some big plot against her.
Then her skin prickles as something… washes over her. A shiver travels down her spine as Penelope grips the edge of the table with wide eyes, wondering what just happened. In all her years, nothing like that ever made her skin crawl. And just as sudden as that feeling reaches her, it is again gone.
Letting out a breath she didn't know that she was holding Penelope shakily gets to her feet, inching a little to the side just in case she needs to bolt. Keeping her eyes upon the strange man that is now frowning while scratching his chin, the woman suspects that whatever it was he just did will most likely happen again, though there is no proof of it. Sighing through her nose as she once again toss her feeling to the side, Penelope sits back down and leans back into her chair letting the tension drain out of her.
For all that is holy, she hopes she doesn't regret letting the man stay after something like this.
…It has been a while now since Alice and Naruto disappeared…
"Ne, ne, onii-chan, did you catch a cold?" Alice asks more out of curiosity than concern. As far as the blonde girl knows, Naruto never gets tired or sick or anything that's even remotely detrimental to his health. Over working himself, sure, but he never showed signs of being sick or anything of the like.
If she has to guess, he wouldn't even get sick from soured milk… then again that's probably going a little far.
Regardless as Naruto peers into the sky with what looks like curiosity, Alice asks, "Onii-chan? Are you alright? You're not sick a-choo? Ara?" The girl blinks her eyes as she rubes her nose before she too peers into the sky. "That's strange…"
Turning her head back to Naruto, the girl smiles and asks, "Hai onii-chan? Is something the matter?"
"Just how long do you plan to stay in this place?" The older blonde asks his voice serious and his eyes sharp. That look would put most people on edge. Alice sadly is not part of "most people" as she proved time and again. In return, she just tilts her head and asks, "Eh? Does this bother you? Kushina-san insisted that we stay longer, and it'd be rude of us not to."
Naruto sighed dejectedly before swiping a hand through his hair, mumbling, "I know that, but if we keep staying here, it'll be a problem…"
"Oi, both of you, get down here! It's dangerous there!" A voice they're getting more familiar with by the day reaches their ears. The two blondes look down from their perch on top of Kushina's house's roof to see the red head glaring at them, fists planted on her hips and lips formed into a grim line. "Especially for you Alice. Get down here before you hurt yourself!"
"Ah, I'll be right down!" The girl replies before she starts to head down, but not before sending Naruto a curious look, asking, "Ne, onii-chan, were you going to say something before?"
Shaking his head the negative, Naruto quickly sends Alice down though he himself stays. Folding his hands and resting his elbows on his knees, the young man looks down just as Alice hops over to Kushina, eyes bright and excited only to cringe as the red head laid into her about safety. Watching the two makes the shinobi smiles, but he quickly wipes it away as the problem that plagues him resurfaces.
This place is too peaceful. His father is too welcoming despite Naruto having practically made him bedridden. Having the Kyuubi meant an advanced healing factor, and Minato sorely lacks that factor. That is why even two days after that fight, Minato is still lying in bed recovering. The truth is that Kushina forbid him from leaving after discovering multiple fractured bones.
Regardless of that fact, Kushina has been a little clingy. There is no mistake that she is Minato's lady, but there is just some reason that is out of Naruto's reach as to why she clings to him. The huge, oversized breakfast, the shopping trips, the outdoor excursions, and even the beach side picnic; she insisted that he and Alice accompany her on all of those. There is that vibe in him that tells him that Kushina is doing all of that for some reason that keeps eluding him. Whenever he asks Minato, the guy just gives him this secretive smirk and sends him on his way with a wave of his hand. It drives Naruto nuts, but he can't do anything about it.
Without Alice, he can't leave this world.
Larxene refuses to cooperate, stating that she wants a good vacation after all the crap she went through or something like that.
Suigintou simply doesn't know what he wants. As far as she is concerned, she can travel to any place within the world, but she never tried to travel out of one before. That and she wouldn't want to try without a medium. At the mention of a medium, she also clammed up once again, thus leading to where he is right now: sitting on top of the roof top and wondering just how is he going to hold onto his drive.
The peace here is affecting him. It makes him wonder if he really needs to go and save the worlds.
Sora is enough for that right? From what Master Yen Sid said, that boy has already done that twice now.
"Really now, what could possibly be occupying that tiny space inside your head Baka Ningen?"
Sighing once more, Naruto turns his head only to duck as something light lands on top of it. Grumbling, he reaches up and easily plucks the offender off despite her protests. Sitting her down onto his lap and putting one hand on top of her head, Naruto effectively silences any protest, though grumbling is another matter. Not that he cares. "Ne, Suigintou, what do you think of this place?"
"It's boring." The doll answers without the slightest hesitation and Naruto sweat drops at the instant decision. With her small hands, the silver haired doll grabs Naruto's own and shifts it slightly on her head, all the while saying, "I don't see what it is that's bothering you. I know that if you wanted to leave badly enough, that girl would comply with your wish… I think."
"What confidence… Don't you know the word 'restraint'?"
"Ara? What's that?" Even without looking, Naruto just know that she has a sly smirk on her face. Still, sighing for who know how many times that day, the blonde lets his body falls backward so that he is lying on the roof. With his hands acting as pillows, his eyes gaze into the sky just as Suigintou takes it upon herself to sit on his chest. "Really Baka Ningen, that face doesn't suit you. Now tell your better what is troubling your puny mind."
"Shut it Kuso Ningyou. The adult is thinking." Naruto replies with a lazy tone before closing his eyes. Letting out a hum, the young man says, "Well, I can't really think… It's too quiet here."
Suigintou laughs. "That's quite interesting. Usually people can't think because it's too noisy. Aren't you just the summit of strangeness?" Laughing a little more, the doll leans forwards to rest her elbows on his chest before propping her chin up with her hands, the First Maiden's smirks remain strong as she says, "Regardless, I wonder what is going on in that head of yours. You really do have a strange expression… It's oddly enticing."
A shiver runs up Naruto's spine as he stares at Suigintou with shock. "Did you… just try to seduce me?"
She hums for a second then says, "Now you're just flattering yourself."
Tsking, Naruto lies back down and goes back to staring at the cloud. His mind drifts for a moment to Shikamaru and smirks thinking that his lazy ass of a friend knows his past time. The clouds are indeed very relaxing and… free. "Man, I really do wish sometimes that I'm like the clouds. They're so free…"
Suigintou frowns as she turns around to stare at the cloud as well and comments, "But they're boring. They just drift around without doing anything." Tilting her head up as much as she can to try and see Naruto's face, she continues, "I mean, where is the action? A life without struggle is so pointless that it isn't even worth thinking about."
"But peace is something that's precious… You could use some of it yourself I'm sure." Naruto answered back and allows a smile to grace his lips. Ignoring the glare from his companion in cloud gazing, the blonde shinobi slowly lets his eyelids drift lower.
Before he falls into slumber, his mind comes to the conclusion that such peaceful life really is making him loose his motivation.
When she was absolutely sure that Naruto had fallen asleep, Suigintou carefully sat up, turned around, and slowly crawled so that she is within reaching distance of his face. Looking at it with scrutiny, her amethyst eyes narrowed before relaxing. Sighing, she scratching her head with one hand and says, "Mataku, for someone like him, he sleeps like a baby."
Extending one finger to poke at his whiskers, Suigintou blinked at the way they're just slightly different than his actual skin texture. Just to be sure, she carefully trailed a finger along his jaw line, absentmindedly wondering if he'll grow a beard in the future before running her finger once more over one of the whisker marks. Sure enough, they're just slightly different than the rest of his skin. "How… interesting. I wonder if he's broken a few hearts before."
Blinking once more though this time in astonishment, the First Maiden frowns and says, "Not that it matters. He's just a baka ningen anyway." Yet despite what she said, her finger continues to trail along the marks that adorn Naruto's cheeks with feather light touch. On one particular stroke, Naruto purred, and Suigintou's eyebrows disappear into her hairline before a devious smirk makes it way up her face, saying, "Hoho? Blackmail material acquired!"
"Now if I actually cared, I'd say you're enjoying this." Suigintou tenses at the voice not too far from her side. She knows who that is. "But since I don't, I'll just chuck it up to one of your fancies." Larxene purred out with a lazy smile. Crouched a few steps away with her arms resting on her knees, the Nobody's eyes are half-lidded but hold a hint of playfulness. How something that is incapable of feeling can replicate emotions to such an extent is beyond Suigintou's comprehension, but she shoves that aside in favorite of annoyance. "Ara? Did I make the doll angry?"
"Hush you imbecile. You know not what you are saying. Now leave me well alone before you embarrass yourself." Suigintou replies haughtily, hoping to drive the Nobody away or annoy her at the very least. Of course Larxene just smirks a knowing smirk before she says, "Kushina wants the blondie. I suggest you wake him up now before she comes up here herself."
"Oh? Now I wonder what that red head wants." The First Maiden questions to herself before shrugging. "Ma, not like it matters. Now let us see what I can do with this…"
One arm, dressed in black silk sleeves with lace frills decoration reaches into the sky with the hand stretched into a palm.
Kushina jumps at the yelp as she looks around in worry. The red head then focuses her attention to the origin of the voice: on top of her roof. "KUSO NINGYOU! JUST WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU ARE! SLAP! ARGH! STOP THAT!"
"Urusai ne baka ningen. A little manner would do you good. Then again I suppose your pea sized brain cannot comprehend such complicated gestures."
"Why I ought to…"
"Turn me into firewood? I said it before and I shall continue to say until your limited intelligence understands: I am made of CLAY!"
"I don't give a damn! You're going down!"
"Huh? D-don't shake me baka ningen! That is not how you treat a lady!"
"I don't not a lady. I see a spoiled brat that needs a long overdue spanking!"
"How RUDE!" SLAP!
"Hoo…?" The Uzumaki girl mumbles, her eyes wide in surprise and understanding. She blinks once when the third slap sounds out. "Hmm… I wonder if I should interfere… It would serve to get Naru-chan down faster…"
"I wouldn't bother. They seem to be having fun." Turning to her side, Kushina watches as Larxene approaching her from the place she landed on upon leaping off the roof. With her hands folded behind her head, the woman holds eye contact with the red head and says, "Besides, I personally think that she's good at teaching him manners."
"…I think his manners are good enough…" The red head finds herself pouting before she shrugs and heads for the house. "But if they are having fun, I suppose I could leave them alone… Besides, you have just so wonderfully volunteered yourself!"
"Eh? Wait just a minute!"
"Right?" Kushina never lets Larxene finish her protests, because just as the blonde woman is about to continue, the red head turns around and offers her a sweet smile. It isn't the smile that froze Larxene mid tirade, but rather the way Kushina's hair, flows around her without wind. The Nobody could swear that there is a sinister aura about the teenager girl. "Now come along. There is much to do!"
Rubbing his sore cheeks, the blonde shinobi grumbles as he glares at the triumphant doll floating not too far away from him. The doll packs quite a punch. "So… why did you wake me up?"
Suigintou blinks as she peers down over the roof. Naruto follows her sight just in time to see Kushina pulling a very reluctant Larxene into the house. Blinking his eyes, Naruto turns his attention back to Suigintou just in times to see her smile sweetly and says, "Not a thing I suppose. Larxene apparently decided to… ah, volunteer in your place."
Naruto feels a surge of emotion in him, though he is unsure whether he should feel annoyed or –oddly enough- jealous. There is a hint of relief though as he sort of dreads what Kushina would have him do. Past experience told him that if a girl wants something and asks you to go with them, more than half of the time it were to drag you around as a pack mule to their shopping spree. He has yet to experience that with Kushina, though he was convinced to tag along with her on a trip to the store nearby.
In exchange she fed him home-made ramen…
Lots and lots of home-made ramen.
"Baka ningen, stop staring. You might give others the wrong idea."
Sending glare at the teasing smirk on Suigintou's face, Naruto stands up and stretches, wondering just how long he'd slept. He suppose not long, because the sun's position didn't really shift much. Tilting his head, he allows his eyes to wander the horizon before they land upon the dock. Remembering that they came upon a boat and hid it there, Naruto scratches his cheeks and said, "Say… I think I'll go explore that island we came upon before."
"Not that I mind or anything, but why would you bother? Besides I doubt that girl will be happy when she finds you missing." Suigintou voices out with an airy wave of her hand and an I-can-care-less shrug. Naruto in returns just tilts his head and says, "I don't know. I just feel like I should."
Suigintou offers a nod before wordlessly settles herself onto his shoulder. Naruto raises an eyebrow in question and she just says, "Someone has to make sure you stay out of trouble. With how much of a trouble magnet you are, I doubt the trip would be peaceful."
"It's call confidence. Know the difference please baka ningen."
Without answering, Naruto settles a hand on Suigintou's lap – much to her blushing protest- and takes a great leap. The only reason Suigintou isn't screaming is because she was somewhat used to this from when Larxene chased him around with lightning. That doesn't mean she didn't fist her hands into Naruto's hair to get a better grip while ignoring his brief wince of pain.
It doesn't take them long at all to reach the boat tucked safely away. With a quick hand sign, Naruto creates a clone and has it push the boat into the water while he himself gets in and holds out the oar. Soon enough the blond shinobi finds his feet firmly planted on the sandy beach of the island his company and he dropped on. A quick circle around it serves to remind him that there really isn't anything special about this particular place.
Well, if you rule out the tree that gives out star-shaped fruits, then it really isn't anything to look at.
Most likely, and Naruto really does believe that, this island served as a sort of play ground for children.
"Ah? You're that guy who Kushina-senpai has been dragging around lately! What was it again? Naru… something!" A cheerful voice calls out from behind Naruto after his second lap around the small island. The blond shinobi turns around, almost dropping into a combat stance when he finds himself faced with a big, cheerful smile and bright, green eyes. The girl has brown hair that curls at the end, making what would be shoulder length strands defy gravity and gives her a sort of a "bouncy" manner. Dressed in a yellow sundress and white slippers, the girl currently has her hands folded behind her while leaning forward and inspecting him as if one would inspect a friend one hasn't seen in a long time. "Hmm… You REALLY do look like Minato-senpai's clone! Amazing!"
Gentling switching Suigintou from his shoulder to the crock of his elbow –and silently thanking her for being quiet and still- Naruto asks hesitantly, "And… you are?"
The girl giggles in delight at the hesitation in Naruto's voice and answers, "I'm Solphie! Tilmitt Solphie! What's your name?"
"MAELSTROM! IT MEANS MAELSTROM DAMN IT!"
Light hearted giggles fill the air as the girl covers her mouth with one hand while the other holds her stomach. Naruto just pouts and grumbles, taking care not to squeeze Suigintou too tight at the same time in his frustration. "You're funny nii-san." Naruto finds his face softening at the innocent reply. The girl smiles brightly and asks, "What are you doing here nii-san? And is that your doll? She's so pretty!"
Coughing, the young man finds himself at a loss of word. He isn't used to interacting with civilians. His past experience with them includes either angry glares, harsh whispers, or annoying hero worship that he wanted to avoid. Here is a girl that has a small frame with those unquestioned innocent eyes firing questions at him despite him being practically a stranger. She is either too trusting –the shinobi side of him noted- or a very good judge of character –the Naruto side noted.
"Ne, ne~~! Are you ignoring me? Nii-san? Hello?" The girl calls out while pouting, though she still manages to look quite cheerful. Naruto snaps out of his thoughts only to offer a sheepish smile in return. The girl "mou"-ed with another pout, though that is quickly replaced by a curious smile. "Ne, what is nii-san doing out here?"
Without thinking much, Naruto replies, "I'm thinking I suppose…"
"Eh? What are you thinking about?" Solphie asks, her smile stretching in a thirst to know before it turns teasing. "You're not being ecchi are you? After all, this sundress isn't exactly… innocent."
"Huh?" Rather unsure of what to say, Naruto finds himself turning his attention to her sundress. Indeed the dress is JUST decent with how it stops on her thighs, and the straps are JUST a little too long, and the lines JUST a little too low, showing that yes, she does have cleavage despite how young she looks. The young man finds himself blushing only to turn away quickly, offering up a quick denial that is practically ruined by his reaction. Solphie just giggled.
"Nii-san no ecchi!" Solphie teases and Naruto visibly deflates in sorrow. The girl giggles some more before she skips around him and faces him once more. "So what IS nii-san thinking about?"
"Eh… It's complicated." This time Naruto attempts to dodge the question while absent-mindedly stroke Suigintou's hair. He could swear that the doll shivered, but he chalks it up into his imagination. "You probably won't get it."
"Mou! I'm not a kid! Besides, kaa-chan always says that telling others, even if it's just a stranger, is better than bottling it up inside." Solphie counsels with a sagely nod, though Naruto deadpans and thinks, Apparently she doesn't know that talking to the wrong person can be quite horrible. "So… are you going to tell me?"
"Not if I can help it." The answer has Solphie pouting again. Naruto only offers her a smile that doesn't really have any meaning behind it. The girl's eyes narrow in contemplation before she snaps her finger and says, "Alright. I'll get it out of you somehow! Before then, how about I give you a tour of this here island? I'm sure just walking around it is boring."
"Do you usually talk to strangers like this?" Naruto blurts out with a deadpan, and if she could, Suigintou would have nodded her head in agreement. This Solphie is really too trusting.
"No actually. It's just that anyone Kushina-senpai associates with, no matter how they look, is not bad people. Kushina-senpai knows what she is doing after all!" Solphie replies and Naruto has to admire her loyalty to his hostess. So without much as a question, he starts to follow the energetic girl into a rather specific and detailed tour around the island.
Truth be told, it isn't anything special. She went over things that usually consisted of her and her friends, with many mention of Kairi and Sora and Riku. Tossing the names around in musing, Naruto keeps half a mind on Solphie as she show off the "secret entrance" just slightly to the side of the only waterfall on the island. Naruto has to blink at that, wondering just HOW he missed it, but chalked it up to negligence.
Solphie tells Naruto many stories, though most if not all are things that he isn't interested in. But to not upset the girl, he keeps a smile on and nods at the appropriate time. Suigintou surprisingly didn't make a single whispered snide comment the entire time, but he isn't going to look a gift horse in the mouth.
She also mentioned something about a blue haired lady with blue eyes in a halter top, bike shorts, and some half skirt. When Naruto questions upon that, the girl just giggles and says, "Sora and Riku wouldn't stop talking about that for two days. Nobody knew who that is and nobody saw her. Only Sora and Riku saw her. But then again they wouldn't lie for any reason."
Pondering upon that strange piece of random information, Naruto finally shrugs before resuming listening to Solphie. However, that piece of information oddly enough keeps plaguing his mind.
So something happened when Sora and Riku are very young…? People with noticeable traits like that don't just appear then disappear… Except maybe Konan… Speaking of whom, I wonder what happened to her…
"So you're really not going to tell me?" Solphie drills the blond young man with narrowed eyes. After the tour that surprisingly took almost an hour to complete, the two have settle down on the lone paopu fruit tree that jutted out and leaned to the side like a make shift bench.
Somehow, Solphie has managed to drag Naruto there and produced a stick of Sea Salt Ice Cream from… somewhere.
"Nope. The bribe failed by the way." Naruto replies before adding, and just to make a point, he takes a long suck from the ice cream with a smug look upon his face. The girl pouts once more before shrugging as she too takes a few licks from her own ice cream. "So now that the tour is over, what else do you have in mind? In fact, what ARE you doing here yourself?"
"Hoo? I was just going to go someplace that's a little quieter than where I am usually at." Solphie replies with a shrug, though upon seeing the disbelief on Naruto's face, she glares, "Hey! Just because I'm cheerful and chirpy doesn't mean I don't like peace and quiet once in a while!"
Naruto chuckles before shifting so that Suigintou is leaning against his side more naturally. The doll has yet to utter a single sound or made a single gesture, however tiny. "I suppose."
"Of course! It's the absolute truth. Even cheerful people need a break every now and then." The girl exclaims happily, a beaming smile her face and her free hand pumping into the air. A second later she appears more subdued, her smile softening into a small melancholy one while her shoulders slouching slightly. "Besides, it's not like there's anyone to play around with."
Upon seeing Naruto's raised eyebrow, Solphie says, "Well, Kairi disappeared to who knows where with Sora and Riku. Kushina-senpai is busy with something as well as running the tennis team. She's the captain by the way if you didn't know." The blond is more curious about what tennis is than what Kushina does when she's not in her house. "The boys are off being rowdy somewhere. I don't fancy getting myself covered in their sweat. Don't get me wrong! They're good people, but sometimes they can be a little bit overbearing." Naruto wonders if that is what the kunoichis back in the Leaf thought about the general male shinobi population. "Then there is Lulu. She's so quiet and serious! Only Kairi seems to be able to make her crack a smile; make that Kairi and Wakka. I think Wakka likes Lulu, but don't tell him that I told you that!" Who the hell is Wakka, let alone Lulu? "The other girls are all too… fan-girlish. It bugs me." A shiver travels down Naruto's spine, though it come and goes unnoticed by the girl. "And the adults… well, I can't exactly find anything to talk to them with. I suppose it's the age gap… By the way, you never did answer me about the doll."
"This?" Naruto gently moves Suigintou into his lap –least he draw her wrath later for not "properly handling her"- and then gives a pause. The young man hums and then says, "Well, Suigintou here isn't exactly mine… She's WITH me, but she's not exactly mine. She belongs more to herself I suppose, though Alice keeps insisting that she's mine. Alice is that blonde haired girl with Kushina by the way."
Solphie makes an "O" with her mouth as she nods her head before she blinks her eyes in confusion. "Belongs to herself? What do you mean by that?"
Naruto silently curses himself for the small slip before saying, "Eh, it's just that she doesn't really belong to anyone. It is more like she's here as a companion instead of some simple decoration, yes?" Cue internal wince at the rebukes the First Maiden will lay into him later. "Besides, she keeps Alice busy when there is nothing else to do." However his idea is very different from what Solphie imagined… definitely.
"Oh… So her name is Suigintou? Mercury Lamp? Interesting name…"
"Yes… She was named that, but I don't know why. She was entrusted to us you see…" Naruto says before quickly explaining, his smile sheepishly and a hand scratching at the back of his neck. Solphie nods with an understanding smile before taking another lick of her now almost-gone ice cream. The girl then hums before asking, "Hey, you wouldn't happen to know where Kairi and Riku went now would you?"
Eye brow raised, Naruto asks, "No Sora? Just Riku?"
Blush. The other eyebrow raised. Blushes further.
Cue diabolical grin. "Ah…"
"I-I-I-IT'S NOT WHAT YOU THINK! I'M JUST WORRIED IS ALL! A-AH!"
"Right… But hey, since you told me one of your secret, I'll give you why I'm here." That immediately calms the girl down from her blushing storm, though a light blush is still present on her face. "I'm here to try to figure out a sort of a… dilemma."
Solphie hums in thought before making a gesture for him to continue. Naruto does as instructed. "There is something I have to do, somewhere I have to be. I don't exactly know what, but it's sort of my duty to go there, do it, and return with a triumphant smile and say that I kicked ass." Solphie giggles at that, and Naruto offers a soft smile in return before he continues. "But I like it here… I don't want to leave. There are other people that can do that job, so why do I have to go then?"
"Oh… I guess that make sense… Is this thing that you're supposed to do important?"
"Eh? I suppose it is… But I don't exactly know what it is I'm doing though."
"Ah… Soka… is it dangerous?"
"I don't know either. I don't even know where I'm supposed to go… Though from past experience, it does involve its risk."
"Ah…" Solphie mutters as she stares up into the sky for a moment before nodding. "Kaa-chan said that sometimes, there are things we just have to do. It may not be pretty and it may not be nice, but it is right. She also said that if by doing this, you can spare someone else from the trouble, then why wouldn't you? …I don't really understand what she was trying to say though." The girl adds on the last part with a sheepish grin, an embarrassed blush on her face, and one finger gently scratching at her cheek. "Ma, kaa-chan was always into this weird advice. I don't get most of it, but people usually say that they make sense."
Of course, when she finally focuses on Naruto, she finds him to be nowhere in sight. In fact, even Suigintou is gone. All that was left was a finished ice cream stick stuck in the ground with a message written in the dirt.
It says, Thanks. That really does make sense. Your mom is a genius, so treat her well.
The girl blinks once, twice, before smiling softly and says to no one in particular, "Even he gets it, and I thought he was sort of an idiot… though I can't exactly judge him. Oh well, not like it matters… But he better not tell anyone about me liking Riku. I'll castrate him with a blunt spoon…"
Minato sighs as Kushina probes and pokes at his bruises and injuries. Other than some tingling, the blonde teen really doesn't feel that bad. Actually he can pretty much ignore his sore muscles and the way certain actions cause a bruise to flare up.
Of course, his beloved Ku-chan would have none of it. In fact, she somehow managed to grab Larxene –who he doesn't really know other than what Kushina blabs to him when changing his medicine and bandages- to help out. The woman looks extremely reluctant though.
He would even go as far as to say that she is more inclined to put him down for a longer period of time, if the way her eyebrow twitches is any indication.
So if she's here to help… "Ku-chan, did you go "Hot-Blooded Habanero" on her?"
That earns him a spine-shivering smile and teeth-rottingly sweet reply of "Not at all Minato. Not at all…"
"Err… right, of course you didn't." Minato says with a nervous laugh. Kushina returns a soft smile before clapping her hands, stating, "Alright. I think you're okay now. I don't know why, but you always heal fast."
You heal fast too… In fact you Uzumaki members are known for their long lives… Minato mentally deadpans while physically he offers a smile. Swinging his legs over the bed Minato stands up and stretches, popping stiff joints and pulling at tight muscles. Once he is satisfied, the ex-Hokage grins and says, "Alright then. I think I need to track Naruto down for a long overdue talk. That is assuming he hasn't figured out things yet."
"Oh? You think he'll be leaving soon?" Kushina asks with a smile between sadness and understanding. Minato returns a smile that's nearly identical, though there are hints of pride in it. Larxene raises an eyebrow at all that and shifts her weight around from one foot to the other. Seeing that look, Kushina smiles and says, "Don't think too much on it. He'll figure it out sometime, and I'm sure he'll tell you."
"It doesn't really matter to me. I don't really give a damn about what he does. My… acquaintance just threw me in the same direction Naruto went." Larxene says while shrugging. There is a distinctive air of annoyance around her, though she really doesn't notice it. "Still, if I want to, I can leave anytime I want."
"Hoo?" Kushina mumbles before a knowing smirk reaches onto her face. A sharp glance at Minato later has him flying out of the room and the door slamming close behind him.
The blonde teen protests, "Oi! That's my room damn it!"
"Urusai! I'm having girl talk. Go out and play or something." Is Kushina's reply from beyond the barrier of his door, making Minato slump in defeat and before sighing in exasperation.
"Oh well… now let's see where Naruto is…"
Speak of the devil… "So that's where you were hiding…"
"It's called tending to my wounds." Minato replies with a mock frown, his cheeks puffing up in a pout that makes Naruto blink back blankly. Seeing that reaction the ex-Hokage sighs and says, "You're no fun. Anyway, I was just about to look for you. Let's take a walk and talk while we're at it. We never really did have enough time to talk when you went Eight-Tailed last time."
Naruto blinks once more. "You know about that…? Actually, how did you know about that?"
"Hmm… Time is a strange thing. I remember sealing the Kyuubi then fighting non-stop in the Shinigami's stomach. I also remember finding myself in the seal with you and talking to you. Then I find myself here as a new born baby, lived an ordinary life, met Ku-chan again, and then met you two to three years older than what I remembered." Minato pauses here with a tilt of his head. "Ma, it's all confusing. I don't really get it though I have some idea, but nothing solid mind you. Either way, let's talk about something else. How do you like the island so far?"
Naruto makes a non-committing sound at that. He blinks as he finds himself walking down a street with Minato while having no idea where they're going. He has to smirk at that as he gets a taste of his actual skill. To be able to nondescriptly lead him around without him noticing is not easy. The blonde shinobi mentally shrugs as he says, "It's peaceful here."
"Ahaha, I suppose it is. Nothing special ever happens here. Well, at least nothing TOO special." Minato comments before correcting himself thinking of the various strange things that happened here and there in the past. For example he sort of remembers the place breaking down and getting sucked into a portal, only to be restored with pretty much everyone either not noticing or simply forgetting it. Then there is the occasional humanoid creature that pops out of these black bubbles; small things with yellow eyes and antennas on their head. Those were usually quickly disposed of with a kick from Kushina or a punch from Minato –there is just this need to get rid of them. "Regardless of that, Destiny Island is in general a very peaceful place. It's good for retirement haha."
"Aren't you a little young to be retired?" Naruto asks with a blank face. Minato just smirks and says, "You know what I mean. Or could you be just a tad too slow hmm?" The ex-Hokage dodges a punch at that, laughing up a storm with a fuming Naruto glaring at him; probably wishing to bury him alive with his look alone.
If looks could kill… that is.
"Ma, you need to learn to relax. If you don't, I'll call you Kakashi the Second."
"Huh? Kakashi-sensei doesn't know how to relax? But he was usually so lazy!" Naruto exclaims in shock, and Minato blinks back saying, "Really? I guess time can change anyone. Either way, you should stop being so serious."
"By the way…" Stopping in his walk, Minato points a finger at Naruto. Or rather, he points at what is on top of Naruto's head. "What is she doing here?"
"Suigintou decided to tag along…" Is the answer Naruto provides.
"I am here to keep him out of trouble." Is what Suigintou says with a smirk.
Minato has to wonder about his son's insane life at times…
Talking about nothing and everything is a good way to get to know his son Minato figures, and he isn't wrong. It's just that Naruto isn't the most forth coming person when it comes to certain things. The only way that seems to snap him out of any brooding at the moment is Suigintou's insults, and those only have so much effect.
The hardest thing to pry out of Naruto is information about any of his friends in Konoha. Who, what, when, where, how and why are all unknowns when it comes to most of his friends. He learned that Kakashi was his teacher. He learned that there was an Uchiha on his team. He learned that he knew two Hyuuga members, one main and one branch.
Basically, he learned nothing at all. That sort of annoyed Minato, but he understands.
Naruto did mention something about a war sometime into their walk. 'It must be painful.' That's what Minato thought with an understanding smile, though Naruto doesn't return any.
Then, as if by some unknown signal, Minato just knew that it's now or never. So with the smile still in place, he asks, "Won't you stay for a few more days?"
Naruto just had a sense of déjà vu. That is what his expression says, though as he opens his mouth to answer… "Of course we will. I personally would like to taste Kushina-san's cooking a little longer. Besides, I rather like Alice's baking. It would be a sad thing to not be able to taste them because we're constantly on the move." Suigintou cuts in with a smirk, arms folded and head tilted to the side with her legs crossed. It makes for an imposing imagine, but it is sadly ruined with her size and her location: on top of Naruto's head.
Still, when Naruto didn't protest and instead gives him a small shrug, Minato knows that things will keep going for a few more days.
With that in mind, he easily picks up where the casual conversation drops off. Just like that, the trio wonders the street with no clear destination in mind, the two men speaking with no restriction and the only female within them keeping a quiet but observant eye on them.
Minato truly wished that things would stay like this forever…
"I guess we should be going now." Sora says with dejection, his shoulders slump and his head low. This is due to his inability to pry further information from Squall ("Call me Leon for Merlin's sake!") despite all his effort.
Sweat, tears, and blood are used, but the result is hardly worth it in the Keyblade wielder's opinion. In fact, the consequences for when they return to Destiny Island seems to out weight any justification for staying any longer. Those consequences are inevitable, so no matter how long he stalls he will have to face it.
After all, Kairi puts it best: The Hot-Blooded Habanero can holds onto grudges like no other.
"Yes. We should be going. We ended up staying for more than the one day I planned… I want to get this over with before Kushina-senpai has any more reason to increase her wrath." Kairi half moans half sighs, shoulders slightly shaking at the terror that is her senpai. She debates about wiping away the tear that gathers at the corner of her eyes before thinking better of it since they'll just return in a new batch. Sighing once more, the Princess of Hearts says, "I am beginning to doubt that Alice is even in any trouble at all. Leon seems to be keeping quite tight lipped on this…"
"I personally find it to be rather strange." Riku comments as he slowly checks over their temporary rooms for anything left behind. A scowl currently on his face as he imagines the horror Kushina-sempai will lay on them for 'keeping Kairi away from her responsibility' and 'being a bad influence to the sweet and cute kouhai.' "I mean why are Leon and the rest keeping such tight lips on it if this Naruto person is really dangerous? In fact, why aren't they panicking about Alice missing at all?"
"Well… it's possible that this Naruto guy knows some magic that alters memories?" Sora suggests hesitantly, though Kairi and Riku shares a knowing look at it that is completely lost to the boy. He voices that by saying, "Oi, oi, is there something I should know?"
Sora's two friends turn to him as one and chorus, "Naminé."
"Huh? What does Naminé has to do with… Oh… Ooohh… You don't suppose he has someone like Naminé… do you?"
"It's possible, but not likely." Riku answers with a shrug. His muscular arms are currently crossed over his chest while he leans against the bed that Sora has been using for the past few days. "It isn't impossible for someone like that to exist, though I doubt this Naruto guy has someone like that under his control. We shouldn't rule out that possibility though."
"Yeah, I suppose you're right." Sora says nodding then stretching. A big grin blossoms onto his face and he says, "Well, I suppose we really should be going. If there isn't anything to worry about and no Heartless or Nobody activity, we should head back and take care of things." He tries to ignore the way Kairi pales and shivers, but he fails miserably. "Ah… if it makes you feel better Kairi, I'll stand right next to you…"
"Thanks… try not to die." Kairi answers sincerely, and Sora shivers and pales at the last part, his grin meeting quite a horrible death too. Riku gives them both a sympathetic smile, but that smile vanishes when they both glare at him.
"Fine… I'll be there too… But if I die and you two survive, consider your asses haunted."
"…By the way, you two do remember summer school… right?" Kairi asks, casting off her terror in favor of reminding the two boys of their own responsibilities. Judging by the way they pale… "You don't…? Wait, don't tell me… You guys have being goofing off haven't you?"
"OH SHIT! I FORGOT! MOM IS GOING TO KILL ME!" Sora exclaims with hands fisted in his hair, eyes wide and tearing. His teeth are gritting so hard that sparks practically fly from them. "Oh MAN! I'm so GROUNDED!"
Riku on the other hand is the exact opposite. He is calm and unruffled about it… if you ignore the dead look in his eyes. "Oh damn… I just remember that project I was supposed to do with a partner… Namikaze Minato… was it?" At this part he lets out a creepy laugh that is just above a whisper, but not quite on his normal volume. It's more of an "ohohohoho" to tell the truth.
Upon seeing this, Kairi lets loose a nervous laugh while trying and failing spectacularly to come up with encouragements. After struggling for a few seconds, her head drops and her chin meets her chest, saying, "We are so doomed…"
Outside the room, just by the door that leads into it, Leon, Yuffie, Aerith, Merlin, Cid, Tifa and surprisingly Cloud are all eavesdropping on their conversation. At first it was to get an idea of what the trio are thinking about Naruto and what they are planning to do about it (after the group pounds the fact into Cloud's head that he isn't a menace), but now it's more out of worry for their seemingly inevitable doom that hang over their head. The groups' reactions vary from person to person from what they just heard, though there is a general design between them all.
Yuffie puts it best into words. "They are so fucking screwed… aren't they?"
The collective nods from everyone answer that question. They all silently send a prayer to whoever is listening up there to keep this trio safe.
Before anyone gives me grief about Madara/Tobi, he has a role to play, though not as the villain. Sure he will be "evil" in a sense, but not "world-domination-bitch" sense. That and I plugged off his eyes. They are for something else…
The chapter is proof read and beta-ed. However mistakes can be glossed over. If you find one, don't be afraid to point them out. Keep in mind too that the English grammar is as annoying as anything one can possibly imagine, so don't expect them to be perfect.
I'm half tempted to have you guys submit omake ideas, but I rather not disappoint anyone. You CAN do that, just not to expect too much since I may or may not find the place to use them. In fact, I sometimes think that I might not even be able to use any omake at all! Speaking of submitting ideas, I'm curious as to what worlds you guys think will suit Naruto's travel. This won't affect me as much, but some inspiration won't hurt. That said, give me some ideas.
Where do you think Naruto should go to? Just keep the place only slightly dark. I can't have you guys traumatizing Alice as of yet.
Well, that's all there is to say. There isn't a "things I think you should know" part this time because I'm too lazy to make one and I can't seem to remember where I want them made. So… umm… right.
Hope you enjoyed this chapter. Leave a review if you can and tell me what you think and how I can possibly improve this story.
APH signing off!