Hello again


Weed is AWESOME.

I would never do that while writing...or would I?

Okay Okay, enough joking around, I want to get back to what matters and that is the story.

I know, I know... my last chapter was...a flashback. But that's okay because this one isn't, it actually contributes to the story, so I hope you enjoy. If you don't then you'll be attacked by me of course. Oh... you didn't know? I'm a ninja too, an urban ninja that is. Seriously, I've been working on some things, things like learning how to free-run. Yeah, I've taken up parkour... and frankly...its REALLY, REALLY hard. I'm talking like insanely hard. But enough about me, I've rambled on long enough about myself and not enough about the story.

I'll be concise, simply put, its short part of the mission in the beginning, after that there will be stuff to read. So read it. This probably has a lot of mistakes in it, I didn't bother to proofread, forgive me.

And the quote is...originally by me of course:

~In a boring world of black and white, always strive to add the colors of fun, in other words, get high~ The life's motto of a pothead

Crimson Dawn: Uzumaki Naruto

"So what did you want to speak about?

Sarutobi sat in his chair, leaning back, the glare of the sun at his back and shadowing his facial features. He looked older than he normally appeared, which, evidently wasn't that much older. It didn't matter, shine or no shine, Sarutobi Hiruzen was an old ass...


Gently he rested his hand on top of his desk, sliding over the glaborous surface of the wood with slow, elegant strokes. His had moved up to meet his other, fingers intertwining before they settled in front of his winkled facial skin, his eyes centered on Anko.

"Yes," he said, he then blinked once and sighed. "I would like to..." the words hung in the air, unsure of whether or not they wanted to come out or not. Finally they did, "I would like to extend to you my deepest apologies, Anko-san, I am sorry for my imprudent actions."

For a moment, she didn't say anything, she just leaned back, throwing her arm behind her chair. Her eyebrow lifted with skepticism. He sighed once more, he knew this wouldn't be easy, but then again everything the Hokage did was never easy. He couldn't really remember the last thing he did that was a "piece of cake", be it paperwork or political matters. Anko for one didn't look too enthralled to be in this room with this old man, who unjustly chastised her, put her in the asylum sector of a hospital; and now was just going to try and apologize.

No, that would not roll over well with her. Interest would be needed, he could tell by the way she bore her eyes into him. Anko expected more than just an apology, hell, she deserved it.

"Yes, you are sorry" her words were cold and confirming, "is that all?" She asked, fighting off the urge to smile.

She had the Hokage, the mother freaking, old skinned, saggy scrotum, pipe smoking, Hokage, apologizing... to her of all people! Normally it would be the other way around, but today was different, circumstances were different, she would grasp the opportunity and milk it for everything that it was worth.

Sarutobi sputtered for a bit, not taking his gaze from Anko's glum expression. He cleared his throat rather loudly. "No Anko-san, I acted rashly and without regard for your side of the story. I really would like you to know that I am sincerely sorry, but you must understand, while it was not of your own accord, you placed depredation upon the village, and as the Hokage I had to act quickly... but I did not think things through all the way. I was blinded by my own rage towards you. And I beseech you, if you can find it in that unique heart of yours to forgive me, I would deeply appreciate it. In addition, I can tell you that the spoils of your action will not be withheld from you if you cannot find it in your mind to forgive me of my sins; you will still receive what you deserve."

Anko leaned in, palming her chin and huffed, "Okay, If I forgive you, I get what I want; If I don't forgive you, I still get what I want. Tell me Hokage-sama, why should I forgive you?"

Sarutobi cleared his throat once more but resigned to his fate of yet another unnecessary explanation. "Anko-san, you don't have to forgive me, I merely wanted to know how you felt on the matter and whether or not you would forgive me, I do not want you to hate me. I am your Hokage, and I watch over all those here, and as Hokage, I can't have my loyal villagers and shinobi, not even one, look at me with such disdain. Even if it is proper. I just want you to understand what was going through my mind both then and now so-" He stopped mid-sentence, put to a halt by the palm of Anko's hand.

Inwardly she smiled; she just silenced him, much like he had done her so many times before.

And she loved it!

In fact she drank it in, it was only a sip, probably the only one she'd have but nevertheless, a small sip from the fountain that was the Hokage's authority. It coursed through her and slithered around like the many snakes in her sleeves. Unquestioned power, all of it the Hokage's, now, some of it was hers, be it the residue.

Whether or not the Hokage knew it or not-Anko certainly did-she had influence over him. Be it minute, influence was influence and she would exploit it... later.

For now.

"Fine, I forgive you Hokage-sama, I understand how you felt about the entire situation, back then I could not see it, but now I do. I assure you, I don't hate you, I might strongly dislike you after this and I might never forgive you, but I don't hate you and I am still loyal."

The Hokage smiled, closing his eyes contentedly, "Thank you... Anko-san. Now, about those spoils I mentioned." As expected, Anko's eyes lit up like child's spotting a new toy. She was such a simple person, he thought, while at the same time, she was one of the most complex. Anko was a mystery to many, unraveled only to a few scarcely handpicked individuals, but he was glad to know that she still supported his endeavors.

He knew it, he felt it, that in the future, she would have a bigger influence on him, he was sure of it. His Hokage's sense of principle would ensure that.

His thoughts were interrupted when Anko slapped her hands together, rubbing them excitedly. "Spoils you say Hokage-sama, why you shouldn't have!" He gave her a few fluttering waves of his wrinkled hand.

"Settle down," he said as he reached down into his desk, producing from a drawer a new, burnished hitae-ite, "I believe this is yours?" He asked knowingly as he let go just in time. Anko swiped it childishly from his hand holding it to her bosom like it was her very own heart. She let out a sigh.

"Oh...man how I've missed the feel of this thing, cold, polished metal, smooth velvety cloth, the best! Arigato, Hokage-sama."

"Mitarashi Anko," he said, "Officially re-accepted into the Konoha Shinobi personnel, position: Tokubetsu Jounin. Do well Anko-san, you have proven that despite hard times you will remain with the village, you could have easily swayed from us during the bombing fiasco a while back, yet you remained, juxtaposed with the very Shinobi who looked down upon you. Be proud."

And she was, hell, if she could she would hug him. But hugging her headband was much better than embracing old skin, less saggy...you know? She was nodding vehemently when Sarutobi smiled and opened his mouth yet again. "Also, Mitarashi Anko; awarded a month of extra vacation during your normal vacation time, I don't do that often so..." Anko simply sat there, mouth agape.


Getting the Hokage to give his nin extra days of vacation was like... trying to see the underneath of Hatake Kakashi's mask! Fucking impossible, but so fucking sweet once you did!

Hitae-ite still in hand, Anko clasped the Hokage's hands into hers, shaking wildly. "Oh thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you! You won't regret this, I'll be the best kunoichi I can be!" Sarutobi smiled; incentive, it was the ultimate peace offering.

After a few more seconds, Anko calmed herself, drawing gradually out of her jubilation and seating herself formally in her seat. She cleared her throat, no annoyance present.

"Thank you Hokage-sama, but considering what you have done for me, I would like to know. My students, what about them?"

"Do you want them?" Anko's face seemed to grow smaller as her visage constricted. After a moment, she shook her head. "And why not?" He asked.

She elaborated somberly, "Not yet at least. Well, they seemed... scared of me, you know, on that day... I don't know whether or not they would take me back. And what's a team that isn't fully in sync? It's nothing. I think it would be stupid to have them see me after such a short amount of time, especially considering their last image of me. For now, may I ask this; can they train with Uzumaki Naruto's team?"

The Hokage seemed apprehensive at first, he narrowed his eyes. He then complied. "It shall be done. The benefits, if my expectations for Naruto are met, will be salutary. But eventually they'll have to come back to you, before the chunin exams, agreeable?"

"Agreeable," Anko confirmed, then she slid into a much more jovial demeanor, putting on a cheeky smile. "Now, can you tell me one last thing?"

Sarutobi nodded.

"Tell me about Naruto. We spoke a lot during my weeks in the loony bin, but I'm feeling that he left out a lot about himself, a lot that you," she pointed, "would know about."

Sarutobi's eyes widened for a moment, opening his mouth and closing it several times. Soon he sighed and submitted to the inevitable. "Fine, but let me tell you, speak to him about it afterwards. I will tell you this because Naruto seems to be quite fond of you, he even seems to trust you."

Anko only smiled.

Influence, bitches.


Hinata landed on top of the concrete wall, the night air was chilly against her neck but her jacket protected the rest of her body from the chill. Her Byakugan eyes were indicated by the bulging veins that throbbed on both sides of her head, near her temples. Her pupils, clear and translucent swiveled quickly from left to right. The radio in her headset erupted with static.

"Hinata, can you see them?" She tapped it once before replying, her attention partially concentrated on the furry masses darting betwixt the alleyways. There were so many of them, too many of them. And she was supposed to track them all? That was ridiculous! Still she replied with the patented reserve that all Hyuuga were famous for, despite her frantic disposition.

"Yes, there's a lot of them." She answered.

Shino's voice cut in. "How many?"

Her mind went through the numbers. Two, four..seven... "Ten," she replied, "there's ten of them. I can see three of them, they're heading your way Shino-kun, to your right."

Shino nodded, cutting off the link from his perch on the side of a dank alleyway wall. The floors of the alley were mottled with brown puddles of liquid that stunk pretty badly. It seemed that these animals had been peeing all over the place, an annoying nuance to the mission that Shino nor his highly smell-sensitive insects had anticipated. "Ugh" He groaned, but was cut off when the scratchy patter of three clawed paws grew loud around the corner of the alley. He could hear them now, three, just like Hinata had said, huffing their way between the narrow space.

A few seconds later they came rushing at him, but he did not move. They had dark fur, sleek and shiny while at the same time untamed. Simply reaching into his kunai holster, he snapped the taut, invisible wire in front of him. Two of the large quadrupeds let out startled ululations, howls, when dozens of thin wires sprang from the puddles and bit into their fur-covered flesh, lifting them high into the air until they were about eye-level with Shino. The wire net bounced up and down a few times until it came to a stop, leaving the two squirming animals hanging. Shino didn't bother to pursue the last one, his insects had already done their job.

Before the last beast turned the corner onto the street, his insects had already drained the life out of the third beast. "I've got my three," he said stoically.

There was a brief moment of static before Hinata responded, "Naruto just disabled his three, and so did Kurenai sensei... I think."

Shino raised his brow, "You think?"

"Yeah, she's sort of walking down the road... and they're just...following her, obediently."

"Genjutsu," Kurenai's voice explained. But as she was beginning to cut off their link, a thought struck her and her red gaze widened. "Wait, you said that there were ten of them right? We've only got nine."

Hinata immediately understood her implication and the answer immediately came to Kurenai in the form of feral growling over on Hinata's end. Hinata herself, not distracted at all by the struggling canine underneath the groove of her armpit said, "Ano...I've... got him here," and with that said, Hinata pressed her finger to the beast's neck, pushing a little chakra into her touch. It went limp.

"Alrighty then," Naruto interjected, "We've got our perpetrators, let's head home gang." His voice held a cheerful tone that made all but Shino giggle.

They met in the center of the town, it was still nighttime but the rim of dawn was beginning to reach the edge of the horizon, painting the sky purple. On account of the animals, which they captured, nobody was out on the streets, unlikely for a trade town set betwixt the borders of two lands.

By a large fountain, they dumped their four-legged "captives". Hinata carefully lay hers down on the cold stone, careful not to hurt it more than she'd already did. It had brown, dirty fur and its breathing was coarse, but it looked okay nonetheless. Unlike Hinata, Shino held no empathy for their pain; dragging two by dozens of wires entangled into a makeshift net and one hoisted limply over his shoulder. He threw them in a pile next to Hinata's and walked away.

Kurenai simply told her bunch to go and sit next to the crumpled heap of bodies. Naruto, well all three of him, gently placed their victims on the ground at the fore of the pile. The two Naruto's on the side turned around and disappeared with a soft pop of smoke, leaving the one real one in the middle to scratch the back of his head lazily. "They're wolves," he said.

"I think we noticed Naruto."

"Shut up Shino."


They arrived at the village only a few hours later, their road being the forest of course. That was the nin's way of course. The gargantuan green gates attributed only to Konoha gleamed with luster, almost like the Hokage monument did.

"Let's hurry up and report to the Hokage," Kurenai instructed, "After that you are all free to go for the rest of the day." Team eight nodded accordingly. "Good." Kurenai said before spinning around on her heel, beginning team eight's departure to the Hokage's office.

They walked through the districts and small streets without too much trouble, barely anyone stared at Naruto, the streets were moderately empty today though. It was odd, Konoha's streets were never empty. Today must have been one of the relaxation days for one of all the new religions that the village was being exposed to due to its diverse trade routes. Today was Sunday, and if he remembered correctly, one of the new religions rising in the village called for a complete stop to daily labors every Sunday.

I think that's it, he thought. And his thoughts served him well, for the Hokage tower came quickly, only after ten minutes of walking to be exact and Naruto was glad for it. He hadn't even felt the walk. When they ascended the spiral stairways of the structure and approached the Hokage's office Kurenai stopped and turned around. She stared at Naruto.

"What?" he said defensively.

"No funny business Naruto. Don't call them wimps okay? Be polite to them."

Naruto looked dismayed, but smiled lightly. "Hai..." he responded. That was the first thing he planned on talking about... well played Kurenai.

"Good." Without turning she knocked on the Hokage's door twice, after a brief pause, his voice came.

"You may enter." Kurenai turned.

When the door was opened, it was Kurenai who froze, mouth agape, something had shocked her so much that she still had her hand attached to the doorknob.

"Why did you-" Naruto began to say, but stopped when he heard a distinctively feminine voice come from inside.

"Hey Kure-chan, long time no see."

Naruto's eyes lit up, he knew that voice! Yeah of course he did, but he just could not see the person. Kurenai was still blocking the way. He leaned left and right to peep around his sensei's shoulder, trying to get a better look. He found himself frustrated the fact that despite her lithe frame, Kurenai still fit the width of the door. Annoyed with his futile tactics he boosted himself up on the tips of his toes. He almost immediately cursed his shortness.

"Hey... Kurenai-sensei...hey could you move?" Naruto said while hopping up just enough to descry Anko's spiky bun of hair over the rim of Kurenai's shoulder. He hopped higher so that his full head could be seen over his sensei's shoulder, he smiled when he saw Anko's eyes looking at him. No more gold, no more Orochimaru in them. "Hey Anko-neechan!" He said during another hop. "I'm back!"

Behind him, Hinata and Shino traded glances, and simultaneously they raised their eyebrows.


During another one of Naruto's jumps Kurenai squealed, girlishly, her red eyes locked fully onto the gleaming Hitae-ite on Anko's shoulder. Until now Naruto hadn't known Kurenai could move so fast, as she literally blurred up to Anko's side, hugging her like a sister who had been separated from her at birth. No, more than that, she hugged her like they were twin sisters separated at birth... hmm... twin sisters who were both ninjas. Twinjas.

"You got it back?" Kurenai sensei asked frantically.



"Fifteen minutes ago."

"Um.." Kurenai turned to her students and then quickly back to Anko and the Hokage; this wasn't the time to be acting like a little girl, all though she wanted to. She cleared her throat. "Erm...well Hokage-sama, team eight has completed their mission, we're reporting back." The Hokage simply stared wide-eyed at the red eyed Jounin.

A thought came to mind, it was true, Anko and Kurenai really were best friends, they even knew how to act like each other. Naruto simply smiled at the sight, funny-yes-very, but it was warming as well.

Kurenai continued, regaining her erstwhile-formal demeanor and began spilling out the results of their mission. What had transpired, who the culprits were, how much of a let down the mission actually was. Actually, that part wasn't Kurenai, it was Naruto who added in that bit of info. Through it all the Hokage kept his visage observant, carefully absorbing every word uttered, his hands were intertwined, fingers placed just above the ridge of his nose.

Naruto listened well to how his sensei recalled all the events that occurred during the mission, describing each happening with so much detail that it seemed as if he were reliving the entire boring ordeal...

"How dull it must have been Kurenai-san." The Hokage said evenly, his words were accompanied by few shakes of the head courtesy of Anko. "But I'm am glad that you've returned, Kami only knows how many nin have gone out on missions similar to that and not come back, let's be thankful that you came back safely." But with Naruto and Kurenai on that team, it was not a surprise that they came back without a scratch, however he did notice that both and Hinata and Shino were looking a bit scruffy.

"Hinata-san, Shino-san, you look... tired."

Hinata merely smiled and nodded, Shino said the words for her. "The results of our water walking exercises." He elaborated.

The Hokage nodded, "I see well, I hope that these are enough to make up for your... strenuous training." He reach down into his desk and pulled out three slips of paper. "Here are your vouchers, take these to the bank and exchange them for your credit." He handed one to Hinata, Shino and Kurenai.

"A-ano... H-hokage-sama, w-what about Naruto...ku..ah-san?" Hinata asked, pocketing her voucher with clumsy fingers. The Hokage smiled.

"It has already been transferred to his bank account... by me, personally."

"Oh...um-..." Hinata mumbled back.

"Aw, she cares," Anko chimed.

"I-... uh...um" Hinata blushed all the way down to her toes, and in Naruto's opinion it was actually rather cute. Not that he thought that she was cute.

"But I'm glad that you care enough for your comrade enough to ensure that he gets his due." Hinata's face, well, it gave the word red a new meaning. For a moment, Naruto glanced at her face and then at his sensei's eyes, then wondered which was redder. In the end, Hinata won. The Hokage spoke once more, his voice cutting through the air like a shuriken. "If that is all, you may all leave, I myself have a mountainous amount of work to tend to..." The Hokage palmed his face, shaking his head pitifully.

Naruto smiled, amused at his mentor's dismay.

"Kure-tan hey let's go somewhere." Anko said suddenly.


"I don't know, anywhere."

"Fine." Kurenai responded. You three are dismissed for the day, meet at the training ground tomorrow." Her words echoed as she and Anko made a hand seal and disappeared in a swirl of leaves.


Yuuji Saito leaned on the old bark of a tall tree he'd made his personal spot whenever he he patrolled, he liked to think of it as a sort of break area for him. Anbu didn't get that many nowadays and he thought this one area of solitude to be one of his most prized secrets. Other Anbu didn't get peace and quiet like this.

His radio buzzed in his ear, it seemed that it'd been doing that more often than now ever since the bombing fiasco. This time it wasn't a message of dire panic; it was the sweet sound of a comrade's voice. He tapped his ear, "Yeah?" Inwardly he chuckled at how casual he was being. It was strange, for an Anbu casual attitudes where awkward, maybe that's why his team was so weird, especially with Naruto on it now.

"Well Taichou, you seem happy," It was Yukari, her feminine voice wasn't at all marred by the scratchy distortion of his earpiece. He heard her loud and clear. "Its about Naruto, and the information we've got about Orochimaru's presence in the village. Looks like our little teammate can help us out more than we thought."

Saito perked up, actually leaning off of the tree trunk; he paced the grass with excitement. "Really?"

"Anko-san's two students were bitten, and Naruto just so happens to be the best friend of those two girls... the Fuminas." Her voice held a certain rise in tone, as if she was expecting him to understand something unsaid but implied. It clicked, then he smiled

"Ah... I see, espionage, smart."

"I knew you'd say that Taichou," Yukari giggled girlishly. "But let's not give me all the credit, Touei suggested it ; I simply said that it'd better to make Naruto do it."

Saito smiled, gazing at the rays of sunlight filtering through the canopy. "Well now you just sound like you didn't want to do it yourself, lazy." He said teasingly. But surprisingly, Yukari didn't answer. No giggle, no denial of the fact, not even the slightest iota of resistance. Saito pinched the ridge of his nose, shaking his head dispiritedly.

The Anbu of this generation had really become much too comfortable...

"Touei looked into a couple of files surrounding the girls," she continued, "and he found something: A name that kept popping up."

"Really now?"

"Yes, Yakushi Kabuto...It seems that in every one of the cases that involved Anko or anyone involved with her, he'd been the doctor on duty. When Fumina Konoe was sent to the hospital, he was there. When Anko herself was in the loony bin, he was there! And finally when the Fumina sisters were were placed in the intensive care ward, he just so happens to pop up again!" Saito jerked his head, wincing beneath his mask.

"You're getting too excited Yukari-san." He said.

"Oh... my bad Taichou."

"It's okay. I'll contact Naruto, so we'll begin with this Yakushi guy today, understood?"



Being released before her sister felt, for lack of a better word, weird. It just didn't feel right to leave her sister alone in that place, she just didn't feel right about it. The sun was high and hot, its bright rays burned her face. At least the hospital was air conditioned, at this rate Konoe considered stepping back into the hospital just to escape the heat.

But for some reason, nobody else seemed bother by it. It was incredibly hot, yet children and adults alike roamed the streets as if it were nothing, shrugging off the heat and all of its skin-damaging significance. She'd been immersed within her thoughts, so she let her body guide itself. Her stomach growled hungrily, setting the location of her next stop: the Ichiraku District.

The sun was still tormenting her skin so she blocked it out with her hand, every now and then she'd bring it back down to rub her ululating stomach. It had been a long time since she'd had ramen, too long in fact. She could barely recall what it tasted like, the dullness of hospital food had all but replaced everything in her diet. She shook her head side to side, flinging some of her auburn-now red in the sunlight-hair into her mouth. She spit it out hastily, it reminded her of that disgusting food.

"Ugh... I don't even want to think about that stuff," She said to herself. She closed her eyes, concentrating on the salty-sweet vegetable ramen that awaited her in less then a few minutes. When the smell of the Ichiraku District hit her nose, she knew she was getting closer. How had she even become so enamored with the food, there was really nothing special about it: just a combination of flavored broth and noodles. It was commoners food, a plain and humble meal.

The picture of Naruto's blond hair and wide blue-eyed smile entered her mind, maybe that was the reason. She found herself blushing at the fact. She'd been so caught up in her daydreaming that she failed to notice the boy with unruly blond hair leaning on a wooden fence, gazing right at her.

She walked right past Naruto without so much as a word.

"Oh... yeah, don't mind me... I'm just leaning here, not waiting for anyone." He said sarcastically. Konoe jumped at the sound of his voice, a giving a startled "eh" as she turned around. They locked eyes, and her mouth curled into a smile. She was embracing him before he had time to wave at her, burying her head into his neck, her hair tickled but it was smooth enough for him to not chuckle.

"Naruto-kun!" She yelled happily, she rubbed her head from side to side, the point of her nose ran gently along his clothing. He palmed the back of her head.

"Hey, Konoe-chan... you feeling better?"

She hid the sound of her own relieved sniffled in the fabric of his shirt, "A little," she muttered. "Sanae still can't leave the hospital yet." She looked him in eye.

Naruto rose his eyebrow, he began walking and she followed with him. "Then we'll have to pay her a visit later." He said jovially. Konoe nodded in accordance.

"You heading to Ichiraku's I assume?"


"Then I'll come with."

"What, you had better things to do?" She teased.

"Yeah, why hang with you when I could be reading a nice book?" He glanced at her sideways with a small smirk etched onto his face.

"Shut up Naruto, baka." She unlatched herself from him and folded her arms turning her face away from him. "Hmph!" Knowing him he probably meant it to some degree or another.

The smell of the streets and gone from mild to sweet in minutes, they were a few steps away from the white, decorated cloth that served as Ichiraku's front door when they heard someone laugh loud an heartily. They looked back; across from Ichiraku's on top of one of the stools posted in front of a dango shop was Anko spinning round and round in her seat, holding a saucer of sake in her hand with her eyes closed. The clear liquid spilled minutely from the edges of the saucer. In her other hand she held a stick impaling three multi-colored balls of dango: green, blue, green.

Next to her Kurenai sat smiling, she seemed to notice them, but for safety's sake, she motioned for them to keep moving: the gentle flicks of her wrist.

Naruto scowled, but he stopped when he heard Konoe glance behind him. He felt her hand clench the back of his shirt, and for a moment he thought about leaving. "You okay?"

"Y-yeah, I'll wait inside, I-I mean if you wanna go and..." she let her words hang in the air, severing off her sentence.

"N-no, I don't. You sure you..uh.. won't mind being here?"

She shook her head sternly, her blue eyes unwavering. Naruto turned, placing his hand on her back, and led her underneath the flap to Ichiraku's. He cast one final glance at Kurenai, flicking his wrist gently three times. Kurenai simply shook her head.

Once inside, they took their seats, Konoe laid her head on the bar table and sighed deeply. They were the only ones there.

"What have we here?" A familiar female voice said.

"Ayame-chan, just your favorite customers!" Naruto replied cheerfully. Ayame twirled a lock of her plain light-brown hair around her finger, "My dad isn't here so it's just me today."

She leaned over Konoe, glanced at Naruto, then back to Konoe.

"You okay?"

Konoe didn't reply, she simply nodded, rubbing the side of her head against the table as well.

"She...heh...sheee's uh, just a little tired." He silently mouth 'hospital food' to Ayame.

The older girl perked up. "Well, let's see what we can do about that!" Konoe lifted up her hand, "I know, vegetable ramen right?"

Konoe rubbed the side of her head against the table once more.

"Comin' right up, what'll it be for you Naruto-kun, I know you like a little variety every now and then."

"Uhhh...double that order, can't make up my mind anyway. Oh and tell the old man I said hi."

Ayame nodded and hurried to the back kitchen. Naruto then turned to Konoe, resting his his elbow against the bar table.

"Konoe, if you're bothered by being this close to Anko then let's just leave," he was frowning, "Seriously don't try and force yourself to endure the proximity, you don't have to be brave."

"Shut up, that's not what I'm mad about." She was trying not to think about the reason why when she first saw Naruto but just seeing his face reminded her every second about what she had been trying to deny.

Naruto's eyes grew dull with skepticism. Yeah...right, he thought to himself, but Konoe was twitching awkwardly so he humored her. "Then what?"

"S-sanae... told me about you!" She did not raise her head but she somehow poked him right in the forehead with her finger when she pointed. Naruto cringed, he opened his mouth to speak but left it hanging. Konoe turned her head so that one of her eyes could glare at Naruto through her veil of hair.

"Konoe...I-I was going to tell you but..." he stopped when he felt the familiar pressure of a hand on his shoulder. He immediately recognized who it was. He could tell by the icy-cool prick of sensation, that near to nonexistent presence.

"He would have told you but he had other duties to attend to."

Naruto's head whipped to the left and he found himself staring right into the eye-holes of a modified tiger mask. "T-taichou," he spoke quietly.

Yuuji Saito was standing there, resting his hand on his shoulder... as if nobody could simply walk in and see them, not that that would have been a problem. But why he chose to approach him now of all times had Naruto flummoxed, considering that it was in front of Konoe must have made the reason important.

"Now that she knows I can assume that it's safe to approach you when you're around her, correct?"

Naruto glanced at Konoe, who was now upright; her mouth was limply hung open and she teetered dangerously on the edge of her seat. She said nothing, her eyes simply repeated their rhythmic glances between Naruto and his captain. The shock must have been something for her.

"Yeah I guess." Naruto responded.

"Good, come with me." Saito said.

"First," Naruto turned to Konoe and gripped her by the shoulders, they were shaking. "We'll talk later, okay?" He said. She didn't say anything back. He tried to look into her eyes but her eyes stayed attached to Saito's ominous mask, she still nodded her head absently though.

"Okay! Two fresh orders of vegetable ramen!" Ayame yelled, emerging from the back kitchen holding two hot steaming bowls of ramen.

She wore gloves. The smell of the food and the sound of her voice turned Konoe's head in that direction. She barely felt Naruto's hands leave her shoulders. "Ara...what happened to...Naruto-kun?" Ayame asked, her expression saddening.

Konoe snapped back from her trance, flicking her head violently. When she looked she saw that neither Naruto nor his creepy Anbu partner was there anymore, they simply vanished without a trace.

"H-he said that he... had another mission," Konoe lied, staring blankly at the spot where Naruto had just been.

Something twinkled on the table, a couple of bills had been placed on bar counter in front of Naruto's seat, just enough money to pay for the both of them.


If emotion could be captured through the smell then you could say that the Ichiraku district always smelled cheerful. Every person had a smile on while they stuffed their faces, eating until they literally dropped from their seats. All was content apparently, but why did Sasuke have a scowl on his face. He was all for brooding and angst but even he should have at least felt somewhat neutral when he walked through the good vibes of the district. Perhaps it was this unbearable heat.

"Where we goin' exactly, Akamaru and I are getting hungry over here." Kiba stated, resting his hands in his pockets; sitting atop his hooded head, Akamaru barked in accordance. Sakura walked beside him, Sasuke walked right in between. He tuned the dog-boy out, his left hand gently fiddling with the syringe in his pocket. He hadn't taken that hand out of his pocket since he'd placed the needle in, he'd even stolen a needle cap from the hospital to keep from stabbing himself.

He couldn't get his mind off of the thing, it was so arcane to him. Part of him wanted to throw the thing away the instant he'd gotten and another part was insatiably curious to find out what would happen if he were to actually put this stuff, whatever it was, in his system.

Although there was something that distracted him from his left pocket; a blond bush of hair walking directly next to a girl with freely flowing auburn hair, it looked much more red in the sunlight though. Sasuke stopped abruptly, his teammates tried to speak but he shushed them with a wag of his finger.

It was Naruto and that Fumina girl he was so close with, one of them at least. The girl, Konoe, walked closely by Naruto's side, her cheeks a distinct rosy pink.

They were far enough that Naruto couldn't see them, but apparently close enough for him to hear a woman's distasteful laughter. Her guffaws sounded a bit more like mild chuckles from his distance though. He could just barely descry young woman spinning wildly in a dango shop stool with a saucer in her hands, the top of her dark purplish hair was fixed in a spiky bun. Beside her, another woman with curly black hair and surprisingly red eyes was sitting next to her, smiling.

The woman with the red eyes then did something odd, she glanced at Naruto and waved him off with three flicks of his wrist. Naruto stared back, turning his head to whisper something to Konoe. She shook her head quickly, and he then placed his hand on her back and led her into Ichiraku's.

Sasuke narrowed his eyes, bouncing between glances at Naruto's and Konoe's disappearing backs and the two women by the dango shop; he made an attempt not to look at the spinning purple-hair lady's swinging tits... but his will wasn't that strong.

"I found somewhere we can eat,"

"Finally!" Kiba exclaimed. He looked where Sasuke pointed and said "What, Ichiraku's? Ramen is so lame!" Akamaru whimpered. "Amen to that," Kiba responded.

"Shut up Kiba," Sakura said, punching Kiba in the arm, "How can you even understand him?"

"Why can't you understand him?" Kiba shot back.

"Because I'm not a freak," She responded.

"Well... that forehead says otherwise," Kiba muttered quietly.

Sakura's face went red, "What did you say?"

"A-ah, nothing! O-oh look Sasuke's leaving us!" Kiba babbled quickly, blurring away in order to catch up with Sasuke.

Sasuke who was slowly getting closer to Ichiraku's, scrunched his face into a frown again. He sped his pace up. He had just seen something very weird. Underneath the flap to Ichiraku's, someone else ankles could be seen besides Naruto and Konoe's. But...

...he hadn't seen anyone else enter beside them.

Sasuke looked up and broke into a little jog which then switched to a sprint. His team followed on his heels. They approached Ichiraku's quickly, Sasuke swiped the flimsy cloth away with his right hand.

"Naruto!" He exclaimed loudly.

The kitchen's orchestra was loud against the silence Sasuke's entrance had created. Naruto himself wasn't there anymore, just the Fumina and an older brown-haired teenage girl; both of which looked at him with startled expressions. The brown haired girl held two steaming bowls of ramen in her hands, the steam rose from the bowls like smoke from a chimney.

"Sasuke...kun?" Sakura asked.

"Weirdo," Kiba muttered.

"Um... he was just...here." The brown haired girl said, the shiny name-tag she wore said her name was Ayame. Ayame then looked up at the ceiling lights which weren't on, "Although he didn't even eat his ramen, that's so not like him. "

Sasuke shook his head, "I'll... find him later." He said before he took a seat right next to Konoe. She looked at him nervously with sideways glances. His teammates took their seats to his right, confused expressions on their faces.

Ayame placed one piping hot bowl in front of Konoe. "Here ya' go Konoe-chan."

"Ah, um could you save that for me?" Konoe asked, "I'll give it to Naruto later."

Ayame nodded, "Sure thing," she said and then looked at Sasuke, "What will it be?"

"Pork, and white rice on the side." Ayame nodded and went to the back."I'll be back to get your orders!" She yelled to Kiba and Sakura.

Sasuke turned to Konoe who seemed to shy away from his gaze. "So, you're Naruto's friend huh?"

Her brow arched, " Yeah, a-aren't you?"

"Not really," Sasuke replied, his lids slowly lowering. What could ever make a person think that he and Naruto of all people were friends?

"W-well, back in the academy didn't you two come bursting in through the doors with all those girls?"

Sasuke groaned, rubbing the bridge of his nose. Maybe something like that. "Don't make me think about it, that was just a unfortunate coincidence, that's all." He then glared back at Sakura who blushed and chuckled at him nervously. Kiba only sighed in response and Akamaru barked happily. "Me and that dobe are more like..." he searched hard for the word and scrunched his face when he could not find the proper word.

"Rivals, maybe?" Konoe suggested.

"As if!" Sakura exclaimed, "Naruto can't come close to Sasuke." She stared at Sasuke's back for a moment hoping for a reaction from her crush, she deflated when he did nothing but shrug. He wouldn't agree, he also wouldn't disagree either.

Konoe rested her head atop her palms, "Is that so?" After what she just saw a minute ago, she would go ahead and assume that Sasuke couldn't hold out for a minute against Naruto. But she didn't know whether or not what she'd witnessed was to be kept esoteric, so she opted not to divulge the truth about Naruto. However she did contemplate telling Ayame, or at least telling Naruto to do it.

"Well of course..."

"Ok then I believe you," She said in a dry tone. She had no reason to feel offended given that she knew what knew. She picked up her chopsticks, gently lowering them past the rim of her bowl, watching as they soaked up the light brown broth. She at slowly and with little emotion. Sasuke watched her attentively and she tried glancing back but her lack of feeling had her gazing right back into her bowl. At one point, she was deeply aware of his eyes but she simply stopped caring after awhile. Some draining emotion had come over her for the moment and all she wanted to do was wallow in it.

So she ate in melancholy. Ayame had already placed Sasuke's bowl in front of him and a package bowl of ramen in something similar to a lunchbox for Naruto next to her but she barely noticed.

She did feel something else though and it drew her eyes back down to Sasuke's pants. In his left pocket, although she could not see but feel, there was something that kept prodding at her, something that was probably a contributor to her melancholy. A strong undertow, and she was definitely feeling it, a physical reaction. She slurped the last of her noodles up, and brought the bowl to her lips, quaffing down the salty broth.

How had his teammates not noticed the foulness of that pocket.

"I-I gotta go," She said. She wiped her mouth with her forearm and grabbed the packed ramen Ayame had set down for her. It was placed in a small box frame, the bowl itself had a lid placed over it. She picked it up by its metal handle. "Ayame-chan, the money's on the counter," she then turned to Sasuke and his team. Kiba's attentiveness to her was scarce, he was more concerned with feeding Akamaru scraps of barbecued pork.

Sakura seemed to be glaring at her now, her scowl moved from Sasuke and then to her. Sakura huffed and looked down into her bowl. Sasuke still gazed with that bored expression. "O-okay, I'll get out of here." She said quickly backing out behind the cloth.

She backed away until she couldn't see Sasuke's unnerving stare anymore. When she turned around she jumped, almost dropping Naruto's food. Yuuhi Kurenai's eyes up close were much more than what Naruto had described them to be. They were fucking terrifying! Naruto's sensei, the elegantly beautiful woman that she was, smiled disarmingly.

Konoe ignored it, looking past her at Anko who was now alone. Her former sensei only spared small glances in their direction, not daring to make any eye contact. Kurenai stepped back into her ken, her smiled back in sight.

"Anko-chan and Naruto-kun has told me a lot about you."

"R-really?" She tried to look back at her Anko but Kurenai's shoulders blocked the way. She resisted the urge to stand on her toes.

"Yeah, and I know you don't have a sensei right now, so... " she gently placed her hand on Konoe's shoulder, "how would you and your sister like to join our training sessions?"

Konoe did not say anything for a moment, her mouth was open. "I uh," she finally got out, "guess when she gets better...we could... try and-"

Kurenai patted her firmly on the shoulder, "Great... meet my team at training ground nineteen around six tomorrow."

Konoe nodded.

"Great," Kurenai responded, turning around, she stopped when Konoe pulled her back softly by the arm.

"W-wait, Kurenai-sensei, I've got to ask you something first. It's about Naruto." Kurenai turned around, noticing that behind Konoe, Uchiha Sasuke poked his head through the entrance cloth of Ichiraku's. She glared at him, but he did not budge, matching her stern gaze with an equally intense stare as well. She returned to Konoe's eyes. "Do you... know about... him?"

Kurenai's eyes narrowed, "Yes, he told on the first day I met him."

"Oh, I see then, that's all I wanted to know. Tomorrow, six o' clock sharp..." Konoe then bowed. Kurenai watched her as she slowly walked away, Anko's eyes were also looking as well...


Naruto whistled happily as he walked through the hospital doors. He made his way to the receptionist, leaning on the counter of her desk, throwing on his most charming smile. His team was out there somewhere, looming in the shadows as all Anbu did, watching and waiting like the job called for.

"Hi," he said, "could you tell what room Fumina Sanae is in?" He already knew the answer, her just wanted to put on a show for his team.

The receptionist, brown-haired with perky blue eyes did not spare him a glance. She absently flipped through a magazine, her eyelids almost touching as she did so. She could have at least looked like she was doing her job. She switched to another booklet that was laid off to the side, it had white pages, black ink filling the lines. She checked the book thoroughly, running her finger, the nail polished a sanguine red, slowly down the page. "Fumina... hm. Sorry, but nobody is allowed to see her."

"Why not?" Naruto asked, sticking out his lip. This time the lady actually looked up, an amused chuckled escaping her.

"Cute." She said, "But I'm sorry, I still can't let you go through, says here that she just finished some major blood work, let here rest and come by later, visiting hours will still be open until eleven this evening. Okay... cutie-pie?" She gave Naruto a pat on his head, which he excepted with internal reluctance. Externally he kept up his ruse and smiled.

"Alright then, I'll come by later. Oh and I almost forgot; I have a thank you letter from her family, they asked me to give it to Dr. Yakushi to show their gratitude for helping save their daughter."

The receptionist took the small envelope Naruto produced from his back pocket, slightly crumpled and bent, and said she'd put it in his mailbox. She also mentioned something Naruto payed keen attention to. "Just so you know, Dr. Yakushi is not in the village right now, your friend's been put under the care of another doctor. Right now he's away on a private call for him in...," She tapped her chin, "Tanzaku town."

"Thanks miss," he said cheerfully.

She laughed again and smiled. "Oh please, call me Momoka."

Naruto bowed, jogging away while looking back and waving at Momoka, the perky brunette receptionist, "Bye Miss Momoka!" He shouted, "I'll be back later!"

She waved at him all the way until he ran through the automatic sliding doors, which were awesome by the way.

When Naruto rounded the corner, he stopped running, slowing into a calm stride, and placed his hands in his pockets, his eyes narrowed. Nobody else was on the street with him.

"You heard that right?" he asked.

"Of course we did," Saito said from beside him. Naruto wasn't in the least bit startled by his sudden appearance.

"Wow, look at you, Mr. Big time actor. You sure did fool that lady. Bye miss Momoka!" Sakai taunted, walking jauntily beside them. Yukari giggled from behind. And sure enough he knew Touei wouldn't say anything. It seemed odd, right now he was walking with an entire Anbu squad out in the open, anyone could have seen them just as easily as they could have not seen them.

His captain placed a hand on his head, Naruto grumbled, "Well, now we know where we can start looking," Saito said.

"Yeah," Naruto agreed, he turned the corner. The feeling of his captain's hand ruffling his hair vanished. On this street there were few villagers lurking about, a couple of stray faces there to buy goods and run around playing ninja. He glanced back and as he predicted his team was gone. He stopped walking, resting one hand on his hip, and glanced at the sky. It was bathed in a light-orange glow that Naruto took in with nothing short of appreciation. With his free hand he made a half ram seal and faded away in a swirl of leaves and wind.


He opened his eyes a moment later, he was in front of his apartment door. The brass knob gleamed dimly in the afternoon light, its burnished surface felt warm and smooth against his palm as he opened the door. He was to be quick and efficient, he was to grab only the essentials, what he truly needed for the mission. He knew it would not look good if he were the one who held the team up.

He set a quick pace of walking past his living room, clicking off the lights as he did, and making his way to his bedroom. He already had the images of what he needed in his mind. His kunai holsters, some scrolls...his new mask.

He glided swiftly through the hallways moving past the small kitchen but something resting on the counter top made him do a double take. Atop the counter, beside the refrigerator was something like a lunchbox, its spiral patterned decor told him that it was from Ichiraku's. He glanced at it for a moment until his eyes bulged open and he hurried down the hallway to his room.

The door was already open, light streamed out through the small crack left from someone else's entrance. He pushed the door opened, banging it violently against the wall.

She must have let herself in.

Konoe was sitting on his bed, in her hand she held his mask. Despite Konoe's heavy breathing, the room was quiet. It was the type of stagnant silence that made a person not want to stick around; the type of quiet that shouldn't have been traded between best friends. Naruto held his hand out for the mask.

"W-what are you doing here Konoe-chan?" She did not answer.

Konoe looked at the mask then into the blue of his eyes, opening her mouth as if to say something then biting her lip close. She handed it over reluctantly, still keeping eye contact. The next thing he knew she was glaring at him, narrowing her eyes so tightly that the skin around them had begun to tighten.

Naruto inched away, he never liked it when she gave him that look. Of course he consistently got that look from Sanae but with Konoe it was different, there was true feeling behind the glare. He wanted to say something but she beat him to the punch.

She huffed, "Naruto do you like me?" She said quickly.

Naruto's eyes widened, "W-well of course, you're my best friend."

"Then why didn't you tell me sooner!" She shot back, she jutted out and pointed her finger at him. "You liar, you didn't wanna tell me...you...you... why couldn't you just tell me like you told my sister?"


"Do you trust her more than me or something?" She sounded gentle, as if she would gracefully accept any answer he gave her.

"No," he placed his mask on the dresser behind him and sat down next to Konoe, taking her hands into his, "You've got it all wrong. I was going to tell both of you at the same time but Sanae got into some trouble and she ended up finding out on her own. I just wanted to tell you in a different way."

Konoe still looked skeptical, so Naruto elaborated.

"I had this whole idea about you experiencing what I could do instead of me just telling you."

"W-well how about now?" An awkward silence crept over the two.

"Now?" He raised a brow.

"Yes" she said with a voice that sounded slightly more provocative, "Make me experience it now."

"How am I supposed to-" but before he could say anything more Konoe leaned forward, pressing her lips firmly against his. Their hands moved comfortably until they were intertwined and they stayed liked that for a moment. Konoe closed her eyes in bliss while Naruto reciprocated it as best as he could. He could feel her intense breathing through her nose, each breath filled with an overflow of emotion.

And slowly fading away like the sunset, the emotion ended, the magic dwindled and Konoe slowly pulled away, opening her eyes. She was blushing from head to toe.

If he had to guess, he would guess that Konoe just surprised herself, she sure did surprise him. Who knew she even had in her?

"I-I'll just take th-that as your apology," She stammered out quickly before rising to her feet and removing herself from the room. Naruto thought about saying something as he watched her run down the hall but fought against it, opting to let her go. He looked at his mask, its white surface gleamed with the small light shining through the window.

"Why did I let her do that?" He asked himself.

On the opposite end, Konoe did not really get far after leaving Naruto's apartment. She ended up leaning her back against the outside of his front door the minute she'd stepped out. Her lips were still warm because his lips were. They were perfect, just like she'd imagined them to be.

She slapped her forehead and gazed at the sky, her lips were curled in a smile. Sighing deeply she said, "Why did I do that?"


Saito had handed Naruto a small brown scroll which he had looked at with an angered expression.

"What the hell do you mean I'm not coming?" That was the first thing he'd said when he was informed that he would not be going to Tanzaku town. He was supposedly was not qualified to participate mainly because of the possibility of his emotions getting in the way of his better judgment.

They were already outside the village walls. Naruto already had Konoe's little romantic stunt to deal with and now he had this. Now he wasn't qualified for the mission, he wasn't emotionally detached enough to engage in Kabuto's pursuit. But he couldn't help but accept it for what it was, there was some truth in those words.

He cursed to himself; he knew he wasn't ready. The thought of it just made him clench his fist even tighter.

So what was he to do now?

The small brown scroll that was in his pocket was the answer to all his anger, and knowing his mentor, it was to be used as a stress reliever. Ojii-san knew he'd be mad about it and hopefully this mission would be a good way to blow off some steam. Naruto sighed; blow off some steam?

He sure didn't feel like he was Anbu. Black ops members shouldn't have felt the need to blow off any steam, they were supposed to be stolid shells of composure and professionalism and Naruto could only do that to a certain point. Eventually his emotions would get the best of him... kind of like now.

He took a deep breath, putting on his mask. The wide eye holes allowed for more light to reach him, and also gave him, although limited, slightly larger peripherals than most masks. The mission details, simply put, cut down to one word: intercept. The scroll, hand written by his grandfather, said to do only one thing and that was to follow and learn the destinations of any and all petty trade merchants who did not carry Konoha's insignia. His ultimate goal was to snuff out any potential alliances between other villages and sound.

The sky was already beginning to darken, the dark blue of the horizon was beginning to fade to black. The vespertine sounds coming of forest lining either side of the dirt road were beginning to indicate that the nocturnal were already active. Naruto had posted himself beside the largest trade route running north of Fire country, connecting Sound with Sand, it then skewed south where it connected to fire country.

The crickets chirped loudly in the tall grass that Naruto had gone prone in, the mask kept the strands of grass from irritating his face. Now all he needed to do was wait for the signs of an traders passing by. He would look for torch lights and listen for horse hooves, keeping at a safe distance so that if detected he could easily fade away into evanescence if need be.

It was a small wait though, time seemed to rush into his first heard his first signs of his targets before he saw them, the rataplan of hoarse hooves caught his ear, the robust sent catching his nose. He removed his mask to sniff, the smell of the grass kept him from sniffing too vigorously but he could still tell that he was being approached from the left. He raised himself ever so slightly above the grass, just enough for a person to descry a hint of white within the skinny greenish-brown stalks.

Then he saw the torch lights, the warm orange glow illuminated the trade carriage's village symbol clearly. Naruto had understood why the gist of his scroll had instructed him to stay hidden, at all costs. Ojii-san knew what he was doing when it came to him. Underneath his mask he smiled.

He wasn't supposed to be here, nor were any other nin who weren't crossing by on official matters. This sort of espionage was illegal. As of now he was basically positioned in tandem with Oto, sound, and if he got caught snooping around a recognized border on unofficial business between the countries then questions would be asked.

"Way to provide some excitement, Ojii-san," Naruto said calmly as his head turned with the illuminated Sand village trade carriage cruising by. "That better be for us," he murmured. Because if it wasn't for Fire country then who else?

There were only a few possibilities if they were using a trade route this far north of Konoha and the options did not go in favor of the leaf. Either sound or cloud, both of which harbored bad blood for the fire country and its esteemed hidden leaf. If the sand village was trading with sound or cloud that most likely meant that they were...allies.


By the time sunlight hit, Konoe was already prepared to walk out the door. She'd woken up around 5:30 in hopes of being the first person out on the field. She knew virtually nothing about Kurenai, except that she was her former sensei's best friend, bust not to test her new sensei's patience she'd be prepared before everyone else.

She told Sanae the news, that she'd spoken to Naruto and about their new temporary training positions on team eight. Sanae failed to seem excited, she didn't even crack a smile when she told her. Konoe left the hospital puzzled after that, her mind focused solely around pondering Sanae's mood.

She'd arrived at the training ground at 5:45, Shino and Hinata had already been sitting by a tree resting at the edge of its copse. Apparently they made it a habit to come before their sensei. Their eyes were closed, Hinata sat cross-legged while Shino simply leaned against the trunk-although she couldn't really tell whether or not Shino really had his eyes closed.

She raised her hand to wave at them and, expectedly, got no response. "Um, guy's wha-"

"Shh!" Shino said soon after adding in, "sit and remain silent for the time being," His head raised a bit as he spoke giving off the impression that he raised it to look at her. When Konoe nodded, Shino's head went back down, his chin disappearing beneath the rim of his color. She'd watched Hinata also; she opened one eye to glance with and patted the ground softly.

She took the gesture as a clear indication and took a seat on Hinata's left side by the trunk. The grass was cool and wet, and a few tall strands actually went up and tickled the lower part of her back. She taken a seat in a spot where the hard roots of the tree extended far and high enough to prod into her butt. It was only natural that Konoe grumbled and shifted uncomfortably.

Hinata placed her hand on one of her now crossed legs, and opening both eyes now. Konoe drew a lot from the look. It instructed her to remain still and meditate. She really took her meditation seriously, didn't she?

She dealt with her position the best she could, not moving because she didn't want to interrupt the session anymore than she already had. Taxing as it was, she found some comfort in the stark beauty of this silence that team eight indulged in. It was definitely something she could grow to appreciate, if not try out herself, because it honestly this just felt kind of good. Konoe felt kind of at peace for the first time in ages.

The flow of cool air, the chirps of birds, the brief moment where it all stopped and then started again a second later. It allowed her mind float, and maybe just maybe that would help her sort out her mind. She needed to make sense of certain things.

This is where meditation ended for Konoe; no more free flowing thoughts of everything, no she'd be soing some actual thinking. Thinking about what was most important to her right now.

She moved her left hand and touch her lips. She kissed Naruto! The thought of it left her tingling with conceal emotion, all of it withheld behind her calm yet rosy expression.

She recalled the feeling, the physical aspect and Naruto's soft lips; the emotional as well and her own beating heart. It all felt so great. It was as if she had lost herself in a cloud of hazy bliss only to find herself again through his mouth. A deep osculation occurred between her and her best friend yesterday.

Now all she wanted to know was...

What would become of her and Naruto?

"I see, we're all accounted for." Kurenai's voice said. Konoe snapped open her eyes; Kurenai was standing over her and Hinata. "Ohayou," She said.

Konoe quickly shuffled to her feet, rubbing her back against the tree bark, dirtying her shirt a bit. "O-ohayougozaimasu!" she said once she was on her feet.

"Oh don't be so formal," Kurenai said waving her hand dismissively.

"Gomen... uh I mean okay..."

"You sound sort of like Hinata."

"Um," Konoe glanced at Hinata, who smiled at the joke, although Konoe didn't really understand.

Kurenai switched topics quickly, "So are you ready for today?"

"Yeah, but you should know that Naruto isn't," she stopped for a moment, thinking about whether or not Shino or Hinata knew about Naruto, "going to be here.." she finished lamely.

Kurenai raised her brow, "Oh I know, why do you think Naruto's captain even showed up there, to inform me that Naruto would be gone for some hours."

Konoe then glanced at Shino and Hinata.

"We all know," Kurenai elaborated.

"Oh..." Konoe said stupidly.

On this inside she huffed, it seemed that Naruto was pretty open about his secret with everyone except for his two best friends. What a pal he was.


Hey so yeah that's it, I'm done. I hope you guys liked it. So just tell me what you think in either a Pm or a review, whichever is fine for you. And um yeah I once again am sorry for the wait, for those of you who actually wait this long for me, I seriously thank you.

So as a little gift, I want to see what people really want. So just for a little while I'll do what you want, a lil' FANSERVICE. So message me or say it in a review, tell what you'd like to read and whichever idea pops up in people's heads the most I'll place it in. But ONE restriction, it can't be about the pairing, because that I won't do.

Okay...um...Bye now!

Next Chapter: Something New for Someone Old