Kyubed: Shinobi's Revenge on Naruto

Part 35

The conversation.

OooOOooOO

Yugao smiled as her group stood before the gates of Konoha. "Ah, home at last."

Ino gave a nod and looked back at the two boys behind her. They both looked winded and sweaty. "Yeah. Look at those two, it's pathetic."

The violet haired woman gave a small sigh. "Well, the team part of the exam is over. The three of you are on your own."

Ino narrowed her eyes. "Hey. Technically, we're on your team until the exams are over right?"

The older kunoichi seemed a little surprised and nodded. "Yes. You won't be getting any missions or assignments, and I'm responsible for you."

Genji frowned. "So what?"

"Yeah, we'll see you in a couple of weeks." Ryoji seemed to agree.

Neither of them liked the way the conversation was going and looked suspicious of Ino. The blond girl glanced back and put her hand on her hip. "Can I get you to give these two lazy slugs to me until we leave? I know I'm still a Genin and all, but if they don't pass, the next exam, some other poor Genin is going to get stuck with them. Heck, they might even ruin two perfectly good teams with their presence."

Yugao looked back at them and then at her. "Well, just don't break them. Seeing as your 'status' isn't really a secret in this group, they should both know that you outrank them, even if only on a technicality."

Ino smiled and looked at them both. "Great. Well, I'll see you both tomorrow morning then. Even if I have to come get you and drag you away. It'll hurt less if I don't."

"Hey!" Genji looked annoyed. "No way! You can't do this to us!"

Ryoji nodded. "He's right. We can see to our own training. We've always done it before, and we'll be fine."

Yugao frowned at them both as a dark shadow fell over her face. "Look where it's gotten you both. Are you disobeying a direct order? Maybe I should help out too? Just to make sure, I'd hate to be responsible for two failures. I'm sure their parents won't mind. I know Genji's father, and I'm definitely sure it won't bother him. I've met Ryoji's parents as well, and I can say the same about him."

The two boys backed away and looked at Ino. "What time do we have to be here?" asked Genji as his shoulders slumped as he just gave up all at once.

"Yeah. Just let us know where to be. I suppose getting tutored won't hurt," agreed Ryoji as he did the same.

Ino shrugged. "Well, yeah it will actually, just not as much if you do what you're told." She seemed to think on it. "I guess since tomorrow is our first day, we'll go easy and start at six A.M." She turned to skip away and waved. "Enjoy your day off!"

Yugao gave a small sigh and seemed pleased as the two boys sulked off. "I like that girl. I'm looking forward to working with her." She turned into the village and stalled for a moment. Hiashi was standing in the crowd looking on with his youngest daughter at his side. The man was watching Ino out of the corner of his eyes, and didn't look very pleased to see her. He lifted Hinabi into his arms and started walking away.

OooOOooOO

Kira smiled as she opened the door and found a young blond kunoichi standing in front of the doorway. "Huh? Can I help you?"

Ino recalled her, she was the most familiar of the home's residents to her besides Naruto himself. "Oh. Hey. Is Naruto around? I need to talk to him about something. It's kind of important."

The violet haired kitsune shook her head. "Well, no. Would you like to leave him a message? He's down at the Den right now."

The kunoichi cocked her eyebrow. "The Den? Um, it's kind of important. Someone is trying to kill us and all. It's better if I just tell him myself. What the hell is the Den anyway?"

Kira blinked and something seemed to dawn on her. "Oh. A skinny blond girl with no chest or hips! You must be Ino. Hello." She cheered up. "You've been away at the exam right? I guess you wouldn't know." She paused. "Wait. What do you mean 'someone is trying to kill us'?"

The blond was irritated. "Skinny blond girl with no chest or hips? What? Who told you that? I'm hot damn it! I'll bet it was Naruto! That jerk!"

The violet haired girl shook her head. "No. It was Sasuke who mentioned what you looked like."

Ino's eye twitched. "Huh?"

The Kitsune gave a small sigh. "Well, I'm afraid I'm watching Kitsuma at the moment, or I'd show you. Just head down towards Ichiraku and you can't miss it."

The young kunoichi sulked off in that general direction.

OooOOooOO

Ino's eye was twitching again as she looked at the rather garish neon sign. It was a half naked woman with a fox's tail and ears sitting between the words 'The Fox Den' while kicking one of her legs up and down. Ichiraku was still there, but was now right up next to a large building with red lighted windows, and a pair of doors labeled entrance and exit. A dull thumping could be heard from within as bass heavy music played in the rather long building that now took up about half the square that had once only been occupied by the Ramen booth. "What the hell?"

The owner of the booth had a grin on his face and all but one of the seats were filled. Teuchi grinned at her. "Ah, hello. Welcome."

The girl pointed at the building. "Hey. When did this get here? What the hell is this place anyway?"

The man shook his head and crossed his arms. "Well, you're a bit young for that place. I gotta admit though, it's really done wonders for my business." The Ramen booth had been expanded, and was now attached to the side of the building with a kitchen space and storage on the side, leaving the opposite side of the original counter open for more seats. "The best part is, now I pay my rent in Ramen! The owner of this place gets a free meal whenever he wants. Usually once or twice a day. I've been making a killing since this place opened!"

Ino looked annoyed. "How long has it been here anyway? I've only been gone two weeks."

Teuchi nodded. "About that long. You must have just missed it. What does it matter anyway? Like I said, wouldn't you rather have a bowl of Ramen? You're not old enough for that place yet kid. Hey. Oh well." He didn't care much, the girl would figure it out soon enough.

The girl ignored him and walked into the bar. She got a bit wide eyed as half naked women strolled around small tables with serving trays, with a few dancing on small stages with poles. A vaguely familiar redhead was dancing on the main stage, with a half naked green haired DJ playing music in a small raised booth next to it. There were several large speakers, and while the bass was heavy, they weren't turned up very loud. It was early in the day, but the place was pretty crowded regardless. There were no plain lights, but only colored ones. The place was set up so some sections were lit red, yellow, blue, or blacklit. The whole place could be lit up by any one of those colors.

One of the girls walked up and smiled at her. She had short cut brown hair and a smirk on her face. "You lost? You're a little young..." She put her arm around her shoulder and started directing her towards the exit gently.

Ino just shoved her arm off. "Where's Naruto?"

The strange girl blinked. "Huh? The Boss?"

The blond was getting irate. "Yeah. Where is he?" She looked around and shook her head. "Never mind. I'll find him." She walked over to a familiar face, two of them actually.

Sakura had her face in her hands and looked annoyed and tired. Shizune was beside her looking much the same. The older Kunoichi gave a small sigh and a weak smile at her pink haired companion. "At least I've got someone to sit with."

The young kunoichi glowered at her. "How did you put up with this?"

The dark haired woman gave a small shrug. "The training is good. She's a wonderful person, just...flawed."

Ino walked up to the scene. "Hey. What's up? What the heck are you doing here?"

Her teammate looked up at her. "Huh? Ino? When did you get back?"

The blond scratched her head. "About an hour ago. What are you doing in here? Have you seen Naruto?"

"I'm here with the Hokage." The pink haired girl shook her head. "Nobody 'sees' Naruto unless he wants you to find him. He's around. Just go up to the bar and ask for him."

Tsunade was cheerfully sitting at a long table for dice with a flushed face and cocky grin on her face. She was shaking the cup and looking pleased. "All right! Come on Seven!"

Ino hung her head a little. "Oh. That's right. That whole 'Legendary Sucker' thing."

Sakura gave a small nod. "Yeah." Shizune put her arm across her shoulder and gave her a small reassuring shake.

The blond made her way towards the bar. Another half naked girl she didn't know was standing behind it, there were three of them. All of the others were showing off and tossing mixers and bottles about as they served various Nin and villagers. There were a surprising amount of women present. Anko was sitting in one of the back booths, and several more were at the bar. The bartender she approached gave a small frown. "You're a little young. We can't serve anyone under eighteen Alcohol by order of the Hokage, so..."

Ino sat on the stool in front of her. "I need to see Naruto, it's important."

The strange girl nodded and moved off. Ino sat for a few moments and turned around to look about at the bar. Kakashi was sitting quietly in a back corner with a drink in his hands next to Gai. The recently returned Jounin was looking about and seemed to be taking the place in.

A familiar voice piped up right next to her as she looked about. "What do you think? Not bad I guess."

In the past, Ino would have jumped out of her skin. She just turned to look at Naruto. "It's all right I guess. I don't know any of these girls."

The boy gave a shrug he was seated next to her with a soda in his hands. "They're all Kitsune. I'm just here helping them open things up. I had to sign some stuff and all." At first, Naruto thought he couldn't make any contracts, but it turned out that he could do certain things like rentals and owning things. It was in the fine print, but he could get into contracts that involve cash payments or property. He kind of had to just to live like a normal person. He just couldn't use himself as payment, or collateral, or form any sort of 'relationship' contract. That pretty much ruled out summoning Jutsu, or signing away his soul, or getting married, and that sort of thing. "It's pretty easy really, I get an office and all, but I don't really have to do anything. They take care of it all themselves. Legally it's my place, but I'm really just signing my name to it for them. Turns out they've been trying to do something like this for a while, but something to do with property laws made it difficult or something. Anyway, what brings you? How did the exam go?" He turned to look at her. "You didn't fail did you? You'd better not have failed."

The blond girl nodded. "I guess it's nice...for what it is. A strip club? The Fifth must be pretty lax. Seriously, the Third never would have..."

Naruto chuckled as the old man walked by between two buxom figures looking quite pleased and spry as they walked with him towards one of the booths. "Don't be so sure. Anyway, you didn't fail right? I had to stick my neck out you know, if you make me look bad to the Hokage by failing. I'm afraid..."

The girl glared at him. "I'm doing fine. I'm in the finals all right. We have to be back in Kumogakure in about a month." She turned back to the bar again. "We need to get the team together. We've got a problem."

Naruto arched his eyebrow. "We do? What do you mean 'we'?"

The young Genin hung her head and gave a deep sigh. "I'd rather just tell everyone at once. We need to have a team meeting soon. Where's Sasuke? Sakura is right over there."

Naruto hopped off his seat and gave a heavy sigh. "All right. Come on. There's a room in the back we can use." He looked at the fox girl behind the bar. "Hey, do me a favor and make sure Sasuke and Sakura meet me in the office?"

The blond girl sucked in a sharp breath. "Sasuke is here? Where is he? What's he doing in a place like this?"

Naruto ignored her and moved towards the back waving for her to follow.

OooOOooOO

Hiashi frowned as he sat in front of Ayume and Neji. "I did not ask how your exam was going."

Ayume balled up her fist a little and stifled a growl. Neji looked as calm as ever and didn't seem to care about his uncle snapping at him.

"Why is Yamanaka Ino still alive? You were given instructions to kill her. Nishi is dead, and the two of you have failed. Explain."

Ayume turned her eyes further away despite already bowing. "Nishi attacked her on his own. I tried to get him to help me and ambush her after she acquired a key, so we could better use the exam to hide our intent. He was overconfident and impatient."

The man closed his eyes and nodded. "I do not care about passing the exam or appearances. I expected results, both of you have failed."

Neji shook his head. "I have not even attempted yet. I know better than to try chasing that girl around the woods. She has an advantage in such an environment. That's why we're after her in the first place. It was foolish to bother with her in the second exam. Once the finals start, she will be confined, and forced to face us directly. That is the best time to strike."

Ayume gasped and glared at him. "What? And if she didn't make it to the finals? Then what?"

Neji shook his head. "I knew better. There was no way she was going to fail the second exam. The only way she might have failed is if you or Nishi managed to surprise her and kill one of her teammates. Once she was alerted to your presence, you weren't able to track her. Just her two teammates. A lot of good that did you. You never got the opportunity to attack her did you? You were doomed to failure, and if she didn't make it to the finals, it would have been your fault for trying and failing to kill her in an environment where she had the advantage."

Hiashi grunted. "Enough. I can see at least one of you has some sort of plan at least. That doesn't excuse this though. Failure is not an option. We may not get another opportunity like this. They must all die, and we'll be risking enough just eliminating the other three. Missing this opportunity will only make things more difficult in the future. She had better die."

The two young Hyuuga both nodded.

The man waved his hand. "Now go. You've both got a lot of preparation to do. Forget about the exam, kill Yamanaka. This is the focus of your training. Being promoted to Chunin should not concern you."

The pair stood up and left him. Ayume growled at Neji as she stepped in front of him. "What the hell was that? Are you trying to get us both killed?"

The boy snorted. "Don't be foolish. He needs us both right now. If we succeed he'll forget if I'm a little rude."

His cousin turned her eyes away. "Yeah. Maybe. You've always had an attitude Neji, but if you're going to provoke our uncle, do it when I'm not right next to you."

The boy put his hands in his pockets. "You can train as hard as you want, but you won't beat Yamanaka. Just try not to get killed. I'll take care of the rest."

The girl frowned at him over her shoulder. "Fuck you, Neji. I'll kill her, you just sit back and watch."

OooOOooOO

Ino was glaring at Naruto with her arms crossed as she sat in front of the desk with Sakura. The pink haired girl looked annoyed as well, but also a bit relieved to be away from Tsunade. The hooded nin had his feet up on the desk and his hands behind his head.

"What's this about?" The pink haired girl glanced over at the blond Kunoichi.

Ino flushed and turned her eyes away. "It's complicated. I'll explain once...Ooooh!"

"Wow!" Both Sakura and Ino both got rather large hearts in their eyes.

Sasuke walked into the room without a shirt on with a towel over his shoulders as he leaned against the door. "Hey. What's up? Some kind of team meeting? Better be good, I'm still a little stiff."

Ino was latched onto his arm and seemed to be drooling a little. "Sasuke. I had no idea you were so cut!"

Sakura was on his other arm. "Yeah. I..." She seemed to come back out of her stupor a little. "Wait. What are you doing here, and where is your shirt?"

The black haired boy gave a small sigh. "When did she get back?" He frowned at Ino and jerked his thumb at her.

"Today. I'm glad I found your chest, I mean butt, I mean abs. It's nice to see you again." She also seemed to snap out of it a little. "Say. Are you oiled up? What are you doing half naked and oiled up in a place like this?"

He narrowed his eyes at both girls. "I was getting a massage. This place is a massage parlor you know. Mind your own business."

Naruto gave a nod. "Yeah. The Kitsune are really good at it. You should both try it some time. Anyone is welcome, and it's free for the team."

Ino shook her head. "You should have just asked me. I'd have been glad to take care of it."

Sakura shoved her aside. "Forget her. I'm training as a medic! I'm a trained professional!"

Sasuke slipped from their grip and moved beside Naruto behind the desk. "I'm not here just to say hello to Ino am I?"

The blond boy shook his head. "No. At least, that had better not be it. She said something about an important matter and we needed to get together."

Sakura cocked her head and put her finger to her lips. "Oh yeah. This is some kind of meeting, right?"

The other kunoichi blushed a little. Sasuke's skin was glistening in the light of the desk lamp. "Oh. Right. I almost forgot." She took a breath and seemed to shake herself out of it again. "The Hyuuga are trying to kill us. They tried to assassinate me at the exams. Neji and this other Hyuuga girl named Ayume are both going to try and kill me in the finals. I'm sure of it. It turns out that they're under orders from the Hyuuga Main Branch, probably from the clan head Hiashi."

Naruto fell over in his chair and scrambled to his knees to look over the desk with wide eyes. "Huh?"

Sasuke crossed his arms and glared at her. "Say what?"

Sakura looked a bit like a fish working her mouth open and closed. "I uh...huh?"

Ino nodded. "Yeah. It turns out that that Chakra sealing technique Naruto taught us is a counter to the Byakugan."

The raven haired boy snorted and shrugged. "Yeah. So what?" It was effective against the Sharingan in his experience as well, but he wasn't about to say it out loud either.

Naruto nodded. "Yeah. I already knew that too." He stood up and dusted off his knees. "What's this about them trying to kill us."

Ino frowned at him. "Well, it turns out it's also a counter to the Gentle Fist Style. It's pretty much ineffective against us. I don't think the Hyuuga know about that part though."

Naruto narrowed his eyes and crossed his arms. "Neji does. I already knew about that part. I wouldn't rely on it either. It's nice to know they probably can't hurt us with Gentle Fist, but standing there and taking it isn't a good idea either." He kicked up his chair and sat back down. "What's this about Hiashi and killing us?"

The blond girl rolled her eyes. "You haven't figured it out? Hiashi sees us as a threat. I'm pretty sure he only knows that we've countered the Byakugan. That's a serious problem for the Hyuuga, and they've sent Branch Family assassins to kill me in the exam. I already killed one Hyuuga in the second exam. I'm sure that Ayume is trying to kill me, and Neji has outright said that he intends to as well. I believe him too. He's looking to fight you again, but I don't think he's happy about being used as an assassin. He's the one who told me about the Main Branch wanting us dead. He didn't directly say it, but it was pretty clear what he meant. I'm also pretty sure they aren't just out to get rid of me. I'm just the easiest target right now because of the exams. We can't trust the Hyuuga."

The Jounin nodded and seemed to think about it. "Well, that's not good."

Sasuke rubbed at his shoulder. "Well, I'm not that surprised."

Ino nodded and looked serious. "All of us need to be on guard. The Hyuuga clan will be looking for any opportunity to get at any one of us."

Sakura looked a bit upset. "What do we do though? We can't just sit and do nothing!" She looked over at Ino. "We should tell the Hokage. I'm her apprentice, so..."

The blond kunoichi shrugged back at her. "I wouldn't worry about it. Yugao sensei and Gai both know. They said they were going to say something to her about it."

Naruto sat back again. "Well, not much we can do at the moment. I mean, Ino is going to have to take care of herself in the exams." He looked at her. "Watch out for Neji most of all. Don't forget he and I have fought before. I can guarantee you that he knows about our resistance to Gentle Fist, and how we can counter the Byakugan. I don't know how much that girl might know, but yous should assume he's mentioned it to her."

The kunoichi nodded and her face grew a little firmer. "Right. No way I'm gonna lose. I'm looking forward to kicking that brat Ayume's face in. I've got her as my first match in the finals. I can deal with her no problem."

Naruto stood up and turned his back to the group. "Well, this explains a lot. I was wondering who put that price on our head."

Sakura gasped, and even Sasuke seemed a bit surprised at that one. Ino narrowed her eyes at him. "What do you mean price?"

The hooded nin turned to face them again. "Two days ago, I got word that there was a price on all of us. A big one. It totals about a half million Ryo for all of us dead. It's an anonymous bounty, and I was trying to figure out where it came from." He scratched at his chin and seemed to think. "I was thinking that Orochimaru guy, but it's pretty clear that's not the case anymore. The Hyuuga Clan has put a price on all of us."

Sasuke seemed a bit irate with him. "And you were planning on telling us when?"

Their Jounin shrugged as he realized they all looked a bit irate with him. "I was looking into it. I was going to bring it up, none of us is leaving Konoha for a while. I was waiting for Ino to get back and hoping to dig up a little more before I brought it up."

The raven haired boy frowned. "How did you hear about this?"

Naruto looked away from him. "I've got my ways."

Sakura smirked and leaned towards the raven haired boy. "The Foxes. He's using them as a spy network. It's the real reason for this bar of his too."

Ino blinked. "Hey. I noticed a few during the exam and while we were on the way there and back. You mean, they were watching me for him? You were spying on me?"

The hooded nin didn't make direct eye contact. "Well, no. I mean, I heard about how you were doing, but there are foxes pretty much everywhere. I'm the king of all of them. They weren't following you or anything. They were just doing what they do naturally, and letting me in on anything they noticed. That's all."

Sasuke seemed to think about it. "Well, I guess that makes sense. Never really thought that much of it before. I mean, I remember you using them to find things out about an area before and checking up on things for us while we were on missions before..." He paused and seemed to realize. "Hey. A global spy network? Man, must be pretty useful."

Naruto nodded and gave a small sigh. "Yeah. A lot more so if you don't ever mention it. So shut the hell up about it. I've got them working on stuff as it its, and it's a lot more dangerous for them if they get compromised. So just forget about it. I don't have any spies, and you don't know anything about it. Get me? It's a topic that's off limits, and it's a lot more useful if nobody ever finds out about it." He leaned across the desk and got a very dark tone. "I seriously will cut out your tongue to shut you up about it if I have too."

The group gave a collective nod. Sasuke looked the least disturbed. "So, people want to kill us. What else is new? Are we done? I only got half my back done. I'm still a little stiff."

Naruto gave a nod. "Yeah. Not much else we can do right now."

Ino stood up. "I'll be glad to...ooof!"

Sakura elbowed her in the gut to shove her aside. "...finish that up for you!"

He tossed the towel over his shoulder and shook his head. "I'd rather not have a conversation and I don't want someone trying to turn it into a date. I'll let the kitsune handle it. Most of them have had a few hundred years of practice. See you." He left the room leaving two disappointed looking girls.

Naruto gave a small sigh. "You know. You don't have to be a guy to get a massage here. There's a couple different kinds if massages offered, plus spa treatments like mud baths, hot oil, seaweed wraps, saunas, a couple of tanning beds, manicures and pedicures, waxing, hairstylists, all sorts of stuff. We specialize in massages, but we're also home to a combined more than one hundred thousand years of health and beauty experience."

The two girls looked at him with wide eyes and hanging jaws.

Sakura stammered. "S..spa?"

Ino scrunched up her eyebrows. "So, it's a titty bar, and health spa?"

The hooded nin gave a nod. "Yeah. The titty bar is there for the guys, but we're here to service all of Konoha and Fire Country's health and beauty needs as well. You can get to the spa and stylist by going down the hall, but there's another entrance on the other side of the building so you don't have to go through the bar if you don't want."

Ino seemed to think on it. "F-free?"

Naruto nodded. "Yeah. As a perk of being on Team Seven and all. If you want to drink alcohol you've got to pay, but anything else is free for the team."

Sakura just managed to snap out of her stupor. "Wait. Sasuke is half naked and all alone in this place!"

The blond girl snapped around to look at her. "Wh...well. Um...he did say free. I do need to get my hair done, and my hands and feet are a mess. I've been running around the mountains again because of the exam."

Naruto sat in silence hoping to not get any further involved. He knew it was best to not add anything to this particular conversation.

The pink haired girl grabbed the blond by her collar. "Did you even hear me? Sasuke is alone, and half naked in a brothel." She pointed her finger at Naruto. "He won't say anything, but you and I both know what this place really is."

Ino waved her hand and smiled. "Come on. It's Sasuke we're talking about. He could have his way with either of us for free and he knows it. Why would he come to a place like this? Get real, he's not the type for that sort of thing. He's so shy he'll barely talk to us. Do you really think these Kitsune could do any better than us?"

Naruto remained silent and deliberately picked up a magazine to read.

Sakura gave a small sigh and seemed to think on it. "Hey. You're right. If it was anyone but Sasuke, I might worry a little. With that attitude of his, there's no way he's coming to a place like this. Thanks, I feel better. I mean, why come to a brothel when he's got two hot girls like us to take care of him. I mean, neither of us is shy about letting him know. You're right. There's nothing to worry about, he's known us for years, and he's got difficulty opening up. No way he's doing anything with some girl he doesn't even know in a place like this. Especially a prostitute. It's silly. We'd both do it for free."

"Well, at least, one hot girl anyway." Ino nodded and walked out with her. "Hey. I'm going to head home and let Mom and Dad know I'm back. I'll meet you up here and we'll get our hair done and get a manicure and pedicure! It'll be fun!"

The pink haired kunoichi seemed to agree. "All right. I haven't had a manicure in ages."

Naruto kept his face in his magazine until they left and peered over it. That had been close. As much fun as it would have been to point out to them that Sasuke also had free access to the services. He also always had a 'Happy Ending Special' when he got a massage. He didn't do it very often, but he'd been in twice since they opened. He mentioned that he liked the idea of no attachment. It might have been funny, but he didn't really want the two girls tearing through his brand new bar and brothel tearing the place to shreds while terrorizing the foxes and customers.

OooOOooOO

Hyuuga Hiashi was alone in his room. He had a small candle lighting his desk and was writing out a few letters before bed. A small tray was beside him, with a small kettle and cup of green tea that was half gone and cooling. His bedroll was spread out behind him and the moon was high in the sky. The door to his room was cracked a little revealing the inky black sky, sparkling stars, and half moon.

The man carefully folded the letter he was writing, placed his seal on it, and set it aside. He finished the last half of his warm tea and stood up. As he reached for the candle on the corner of the desk, a small wind seemed to snuff it out, leaving him sitting in the dark shadows of a room without light. He pulled his hand away and ignored it as he was about to turn in regardless.

He'd taken no more than two steps when he fell to his knees. His hand went up to his mouth and he leaned forward, splattering a few drops of blood onto the ground below his face from between his fingers. His vision blurred and went in and out as he collapsed to his side. The moonlight was the only light he had to see with, and the room was a pale black and bluish white filled with shadows.

One of the shadows from the corner moved, seeming to melt from the larger darkness of the room, stepping over his bedroll as two fuzzy legs strolled out and stood before him. The man managed to roll onto his side, the Byakugan going full force as he felt the rush of his heart pumping blood through his veins at an alarming rate. "Assassin."

The figure squatted down beside him, it's features a blur of black, hollow and without the light of life within it. He saw it move fast and hard at his face and squeezed his eyes shut.

When he opened them again he found himself in the same position, and he wasn't sure how much time had passed. The moon had grown higher in the sky and he could see he was facing the moon. His vision had cleared up and he could see a small hooded boy leaning against the doorway looking up at the sky and ignoring him. He struggled to move and found himself unable, he was paralyzed. His face grew red as he struggled to move his lips to speak.

The figure turned to look at him, the bridge of his nose and the area around his eyes the only part of his face he could see. The dead looking shadow just looked at him, not speaking and seemed peaceful and serene. Hiashi's eyes grew wide as eyes began to open in the shadows around him. Yellow and cold as small lines of chakra began to form out of the darkness. It was blue and seemed to be made of small tendrils of blue flames. There were dozens of them, looking at him, watching him as he lie helpless on the floor of his bedroom.

"Should we curse him? Curse his clan? It's been so long." One of the creatures spoke up.

"Yes, we'll curse his family, destroy them," another agreed. "It's been done before, we'll crush them, ruin them, break them."

"Let us have him, he'll be destroyed."

"Curse him! He intends to kill you. Our King, our Prince, this bounty is a danger to them both."

"His family, it would be nothing for us to destroy them all. Ruin them!"

"Yes, we can destroy them. In a months time, nothing will remain of the Hyuuga Clan."

"Let us take care of it."

"Yes, Highness. No one would ever know it was you. We can destroy them all, leave you blameless."

"What would it matter? Even if they know, what he has done is Treason, he's declared war against us! He's betrayed his own village. He's a murderer."

Hiashi struggled to move, to stand, to run.

The shadowy figure just looked at him, not speaking or moving as it relaxed in his doorway as if it was his own room.

The shadows seemed to look towards the figure in the doorway. "He has declared war upon our kind. He has sent assassins to our king!"

"Yes, we'll kill them all! The Hyuuga should be destroyed!"

"This one at least! Let us have him! The others will learn if we make an example."

The shadow boy in his doorway turned to look up at the moon. He spoke in a quiet even tone. "That could be bothersome."

"You intend to ignore this?" The creature closest to him seemed confused. "He's tried to kill you, murder your friends."

The boy stood up and turned his back. "He's not succeeded. It might be a bother in the future to kill him now. We'll see what he does. I'm sure he's aware the poison he drank could have been much more lethal."

Hiashi growled and managed to speak. "Uzumaki."

The boy looked over his shoulder. "I know what you have done. I know what you are doing. There's nothing I can do to stop you from trying to kill Ino in the exams. The rules protect you and your clan from the laws of Konoha."

"You won't get away with this." The man muttered.

The boy looked away again. "I only said you are protected from Konohagakure."

The man still couldn't move and struggled to sit up for a moment before giving up and relaxing. "You are a threat to my clan. I had no choice but to act. Do your really think this will go unpunished?"

The shadow closest to the boy chuckled. "You fool. Do you not understand? He is the King of Kitsune, every last one of our kind on this world is his subject."

Another agreed. "Yes. Do you really think the Hokage would risk war with all of our kind over you and your pathetic clan? Do not be a fool. For every shinobi in this village, there are a thousand of our kind. Your clan alone is nothing to us."

The boy looked down at him with a cold glare and didn't speak.

Hiashi looked up at the ceiling. "So, you intend to kill me then? My clan..."

Naruto removed his hood and gave him a dark smirk. "If I had, you would already be dead."

The man growled and went quiet.

The Fox King put his hood back on and looked up at the moon. "I suggest you consider your options carefully, Hiashi. My wife, is not as forgiving as I am."

The creatures in the shadows of his room chuckled and hissed with a dark glee at that statement.

Hiashi managed to shift his head. "Is that some kind of threat?"

Naruto gave a nod. "Yes. That's exactly what it is."

The head of the Hyuuga clan didn't speak and remained frozen on the floor of his room. His head was swimming and his vision becoming blurred again. "I won't forget this, Uzumaki."

The boy's voice spoke up again as the night faded away. "See that you don't, Hiashi."

OooOOooOO

It was still dark when the head of the Hyuuga house opened his eyes again. He gasped as his eyes found a kunai stabbed into the ground beside his face. He sat up and gasped as he staggered to his feet and stared at it. It was one of his own, from the clan armory.

Hiashi's head was swimming as he pulled it out of the ground and staggered to his doorway. He looked around, pale and gasping. The moon was growing close to the horizon in the distance behind his home. "How long?" He muttered and put his hand up to his face. He was covered in a cold sweat and staggered out of his room into his home.

Hinabi's room was closest, he rushed towards it and opened the door. As soon as he walked in, he froze. Another kunai from his own armory, marked with his clan's symbol was resting beside her head on her pillow. His eyes grew cold and hard as he frowned and took it. He took care not to wake her and moved through his home. Hinata had another beside her head resting on her pillow as well.

The man went from room to room, and in each room that contained a sleeping member of the Hyuuga clan there was another kunai resting beside their head. Sitting on the pillow next to the undisturbed slumber of the resident right next to their head. He growled as he collected them, one by one. By the time he was finished, he was carrying a dozen knives, each found next to the head of a sleeping member of the Main Branch.

He returned to his room and set them out on the floor in a neat row. He sat down in front of them and glared at them all, a deep anger boiling within him. He was ashamed, angry, and something else much more primal. Hiashi was afraid. "What is he?"

The man balled up his fists and growled. He slammed his hands into the ground and groaned in frustration and rage. He simply sat there, gasping for breath glaring at the knives from his own armory. The ones he'd found beside his children, and his family. Hiashi closed his eyes and growled.

OooOOooOO

The Hokage's office, the next day...

"Hyuuga." Tsunade was sitting behind her desk and frowning at the man as he entered. She had her fingers pressed together in front of her face. The head of the Hyuuga clan entered her office and stood before her.

His head was low, and his fists balled up as he walked in to meet her. "Hokage. You asked to see me?"

The woman narrowed her eyes. "I've heard some interesting rumors."

Hiashi just stood there and said nothing.

"Nothing to say?" she cocked her eyebrow.

"I'm not sure what you mean," he replied.

The woman gave a small sigh. "Just rumors. Something about a counter for the Byakugan, and..." She paused for a moment to consider her words. "...things related to that."

The man gave a snort. "Counter?"

Tsunade stood up and leaned over her desk. "Well, I already know about that. Team Seven has the ability to be virtually invisible to the Byakugan, and I suspect the Sharingan as well. Uchiha Sasuke isn't about to say anything, and it's a rather moot point anyway I suppose. Seeing as he's in on it."

The man's back arched slightly, but he didn't respond.

The woman sat back in her chair. "I didn't hear about it from him, but I called him into my office this morning and spoke with him about it."

Hiashi didn't waver, he looked every bit as calm as when he had entered. "Might I ask from who these reports came?"

She smirked at him and gave him a rather devilish glance. "No."

Hiashi tensed again, but did his best to hide it. "Then what do we have to speak about?"

Tsunade sat back. "Uzumaki told me the two of you had a conversation recently. He asked that I only consider the future, not the past."

The man's jaw went tight and cleared his throat. "Did he?"

The Hokage sat back down and seemed to relax. "Yes. I suggest you do the same. Whatever it is that you have done, forget about it."

"I have admitted nothing." The man replied in a diplomatic tone.

"Yes. I know. Don't take that to mean I don't know what's going on here, Hiashi. I'm not a fool." She leaned forward again and there was a little bit of a threat in her tone.

The head of the Hyuuga clan gave a small sigh. "I do not know, Uzumaki. I've never had dealings with him before our...conversation."

Another voice entered the conversation. "I gathered as much. You wouldn't have been so careless if you knew him." The third was standing in the corner of the room reading a scroll with a pipe in his mouth. "You really have no idea what it is you are toying with Hiashi."

The man glanced over at him, not surprised at his presence. "Sarutobi, I trust you are well. Enjoying your retirement?"

The old man chuckled. "Getting rid of Uzumaki and his team won't get rid of this technique. Someone else taught it to him. Someone you don't know, and I think it's best if it remains that way. You would not have destroyed it, even if your plan succeeded. You acted without bothering to discover the true origins of your problem." He put his hand behind his back and set the scroll down. "Rather rash for you. I must admit it was a surprise to me to learn of this. Uzumaki is indeed a genius, but I'm afraid he is not the origin of the technique you seek to destroy."

Hiashi was doing his best to hold back a glare. "Is that so?"

Tsunade nodded. "I'm afraid that is true. Now, pleasantries aside, you should be aware, Hiashi."

Hyuuga turned to look at her, keeping his cool throughout it all. "Aware?"

"There's a contract on Team Seven's head. A contract on Konohagakure Ninja. I believe that it originates from Konohagakure. It's anonymous, but I'm convinced it was you."

The man narrowed his eyes at that. "A strong accusation. A murder charge is a serious offence, and I assure you..."

The woman sat back. "Stop talking and pay attention." She put her hands up in front of her mouth again. "This isn't murder Hiashi. It's treason."

The man arched his back a little again. A small reaction, but both Sarutobi and Tsunade noticed it. "Treason?" He sounded a little confused.

The Hokage frowned at him. "Yes. They are my ANBU. Even then, it would normally be just a murder charge. However, there is the little detail of a contract that puts the entire village at risk."

Hiashi nodded. "I see your concern, but if I might play devil's advocate for a moment. It only relates to the child. Uzumaki would be a great loss, but as long as the child is safe, so is the village."

Tsunade narrowed her eyes at him and leaned forward. "You sound like you're making a defense. It doesn't matter anyway. As far as I'm concerned, it's treason. A bounty hunter or mercenary won't care about the safety of that child if it means collecting that bounty. It's quite high. Whoever placed it on Naruto's head has put the entire village at risk."

The man gave a slow nod. "I understand."

The woman stood up and walked around her desk. "You're being a much bigger fool than you think. If Naruto hadn't spoken for you, I would have you in chains right now. He asked that I stay my hand to spare the village the trouble of a scandal."

The Hyuuga head turned his eyes away. "I see."

Tsunade put her finger on his cheek and turned his face to look at her. "You'd better, for your sake. You're not just messing with Uzumaki and Konohagakure. You're poking a much bigger hornets nest than you think. The truth of the matter is, I only let it go, because I'm very aware that he doesn't need our protection from the likes of you and your clan."

Hiashi glared at her. "What do you mean?"

Sarutobi spoke up again. "Hiashi, you and I always got on well. You're starting off on the wrong foot with the Fifth, and you look a fool. Had you bothered to learn more before acting, you would never have done something so stupid to that boy."

Tsunade turned away and moved back behind her desk. "He's the King of the Kitsune. You wouldn't be the first family cursed out if existence by their kind. Far more powerful and prominent families than yours have fallen in the wake of their wrath before."

The old man nodded. "Yes. That alone makes what you've done foolish enough. However, there is another matter that only makes it worse, and more dangerous to your clan than a simple counter to an eye jutsu could ever be."

The Clan head glanced at him. "What would that be?"

Sarutobi gave him a somewhat evil looking grin with a sparkle in his eye. "The Kyuubi of course. The contract with Uzumaki protects Konohagakure, but it does not protect individuals, or any specific clan. The wording is very precise. It protects Naruto's friends, the people he cares about, and the village as a whole. If you were to murder him, there's nothing to spare you or your family from her wrath should she discover it. You and your family would be wiped from this world forever, and there would be little Konohagakure could do to stop her."

Hiashi's eyes were twitching a little.

Tsunade spoke up again as she opened a scroll on her desk. "Believe me, they would find out."

The man gave a cordial nod. "I appreciate the warning. I have no intent to take his life, or threaten any of your ANBU."

The Hokage didn't look up from her scroll and started writing. "I hope so for the sake of you and your clan. If that's true then you can forget this conversation ever happened. Just be aware that I'm mindful of it, and will be in the future."

Hiashi nodded. He knew exactly what it meant. The Hyuuga clan was being watched. "I shall remember that."

The woman nodded. "Good. I'd prefer to be able to pretend this conversation never happened. You may go."

The Hyuuga man gave a slight bow. "I shall take my leave then."

As he reached the door Tsunade looked up. "Oh, Hiashi, one more thing. Naruto asked that I relay a message concerning Yamanaka Ino and the exams.

He paused with his hand on the doorknob and turned his head. "Yes?"

"He asked that I tell you 'take your best shot'. I'll be attending the finals, and I look forward to the matches. I do hope Neji and Ayume do not disappoint. We are in need of Chunin." She looked up at him. "I expect your orders to them won't change, as the rules of the exam protect them from charges. I will honor that."

Sarutobi puffed on his pipe and didn't speak up. Hiashi gave a nod and left the room. After the man left, the former Hokage spoke up. "Are you sure that was wise?"

Tsunade looked over at him. "She's an ANBU. If she can't handle two Genin by now, even Hyuuga Genin, then she won't last long."

The old man frowned at that. "I see. Still, provoking such a thing worries me. The Yamanaka clan will not be pleased, and Akamichi and Nara will support them."

Tsunade glanced at him. "If Yamanaka Ino fails these exams, you can have your hat back."

The old man gave a snort. "Not a chance. I know better than to make a bet like that with you. She'll die for sure."

The Fifth growled a little and glared at him with her eyes getting a little bloodshot. She calmed after a moment. "I've heard enough from Yugao, and I was keeping a close eye on the training of that group. My apprentice is with them after all. Yamanaka won't fail, there are things about her the Hyuuga are unaware of. She's got an ace up her sleeve."

The old man narrowed his eyes. "Don't be so sure. Neji has faced Naruto. That boy is a genius as well if you remember. I do not think he has forgotten that battle and I do not expect him to be unprepared. This might be more dangerous than you think. The Hyuuga might be more aware of what they are up against than you think."

Tsunade nodded. "Perhaps, but there are things even Neji doesn't know about that group. Uzumaki faced him as a Genin, and he's grown far stronger since then."

The old man nodded. "Yes. I'm aware of that. Yamanaka Ino is not Uzumaki. Neji will prove a powerful and cunning adversary. I do hope you are right, but I have my reservations about this."

The Fifth looked over at him with a smirk on her face. "I understand, but I also know that Uzumaki has shared more than just his little chakra sealing trick with his team. She's been through ANBU training and performed admirably, far better than anyone expected. She's no fool, even if she is a bit of a loud mouth." She sat back in her chair and put her hands behind her head. "Naruto requested that she become the fourth member of his team. I expected her to fail despite it. I assumed we'd pull her half dead off that mountain if she made it even that far."

The Third gave a small sigh. "I see. Well, I suppose I cannot argue against that. He requested her?"

Tsunade gave a nod. "Yes. I found it odd myself. I believe it had something to do with the time she spent with Sakura after the last exams. Though, I'm not so sure annoying Uchiha didn't have more to do with it."

Sarutobi chuckled at that. "Yes. That does sound like him."

The woman closed her eyes and yawned as she stretched her arms. "Yeah. I'm pretty sure he was going to kill her if I refused."

The old man shook his head. "Now, I doubt that. Still, it does make me feel a little better about this. I'm still not sure it was the wisest move to make. I hope you don't have a great regret waiting to burden your time as Hokage. There will be enough of that for you to deal with. I hope for the best, but you should prepare for the worst."

Tsunade gave a nod as he walked out of the room and left her alone. As harsh as it sounded, she intentionally gave Hiashi permission. She wasn't kidding when she spoke her mind about the weight of the ANBU. They were all very young, but if Ino could not handle a couple of Genin, even one as powerful as Neji, she had little chance of surviving as an ANBU. Even though they were only thirteen, none of them could afford to be children, none of them could be innocent any longer. They had to be strong, their very survival depended on it. Ino had the least experience, and now the time had come for her to prove her worth in her eyes. She had to be forged from steel into a silent blade.

Naruto's team specialized as assassins and spies, and she had every intention of using them for just that once they were prepared. Ino's exam was the last test. Once she returned, as a Chunin or not, the time of training was finished. They would be thrown to the wolves headlong.

Hiashi and the Hyuuga were no the only thing Naruto had spoken of when he had met with her. The boy had been gathering information. Sound had bases within Fire Country, though their locations were not pinned down yet. He believed he was very close to discovering more than one such place. Given what he'd told her and shown her, they were closing in on at least three locations possibly more.

She could guess where he was getting his intelligence. The Kitsune seemed quite willing to serve their king, and that was a very large benefit to Konohagakure. He didn't mention it, and she didn't press him. She knew he wasn't leaving the village to go scouting. She was also aware that the Fox Den, and it's five other sister locations within Fire Country, were more than just a bar and brothel. He was turning out to be a master spy, and had a network of informants that spanned every inhabited land in the world.

He was the ruler of a race with numbers that easily rivaled any country in the world. He was royalty, a dignitary, and an ambassador. Though, she wasn't sure just how aware he was of that. It also worried her on some level. She doubted he would remain as a Konohagakure ninja for the rest of his life. Konoha was his home, and she wanted to keep good relations with him. Both for personal reasons, and diplomatic ones. He was a far more important figure than she believed he'd yet realized.

Naruto would not be able to remain as an active Ninja forever, whether he knew it or not. Sooner or later his wife would show up, and Tsunade had little doubt she would expect him to take his place at her side as her King. Kitsune were odd creatures, promiscuous, free spirited, mischievous, tricksters. They were flighty, had short attention spans, and often shallow dispositions. They were also dangerous, especially in large numbers. They were sometimes malicious, violent, prone to hold grudges, and were creatures of shadow. Their Queen was an absolute monster, dark, angry, malevolent, cold hearted, and evil.

However, there was another side to their kind, and it included Kyuubi. Their loyalty once given was very strong. Kitsune, despite their personalities and fickle dispositions, were devoted to those they loved. If Kyuubi was willing to marry Naruto, he had her heart as impossible as it sounded. Tsunade had reservations about having such a creature in her village despite the contract. However, she was also aware that if he honored his bargain she would be a devoted wife, especially considering he was the mother of her child and aware of what she was.

She had no intention of souring Konohagakure's relationship with the Kitsune. If not for the contract, she never would have allowed so many within the village. If not for Naruto and his son to keep them under control, the situation that had manifested in Konoha would be very dangerous indeed. The entire village was charged with protecting that child, and it would work in their favor in their relationship with the Kitsune.

OooOOooOO

TBC...

Next time: Preparing for the exams.