Chapter One

Naruto heaved violently into his toilet bowl, his hands clutching the slick slides of the porcelain bowl as he spilled the contents of his stomach into the clear water. When he'd finished he groaned and sat back on his legs, moving his hands to wipe off his soiled lips and then clutch his stomach as if that would help to stave off another episode. After a few minutes, when he felt his stomach was steady enough to shift, Naruto came slowly to his feet, having to lean against the countertop of his sink.

Kit, I think you should take it easy. A rumbling voice from deep inside Naruto spoke out, heard only by Naruto though it seemed to echo off of the walls.

"Erm—" Naruto groaned, "I'm fine, Kyuubi." He stepped forward and tumbled into the half closed door of the bathroom, crushing his nose against the wood. "Or, I'll be fine." He mumbled and stepped backwards.

Inside of Naruto, Kyuubi grumbled but said nothing further, knowing from past experience that it wouldn't do any good. Instead he settled down carefully, feeling as if a sudden movement from him could upset the Kit's stomach again, and despite popular belief, Kyuubi had no ill wishes towards his Kit. In fact—

"Oh god," Naruto groaned and then turned quickly to the sink and heaved a yellowed stomach acid into the reflective basin.

Over the past month Naruto had been vomiting up everything he ate and even things he hadn't eaten. He'd been running a high fever and could hardly keep his eyes open, he was so tired. He sweated like a pig in the night, even when he opened his windows, lay naked on his sheets, and turned on all of the two fans he owned. He knew he was sick, that much was obvious. After the first week he'd visited all of Konoha's finest doctors and they either turned him away immediately, or pronounced that there was nothing wrong with him. Even Grandma Tsunade had told him nothing was notably wrong with him, though she was curious as to why he'd suddenly wanted a quick health exam. And because he hadn't told her his reasons, she hadn't allowed him to go on missions for three days, convinced he was ill. Which was Naruto's main motivation for not telling anyone about his illness, though it was pretty obvious that he wasn't in perfect health.

You're not planning on going to training today, are you? Kyuubi rumbled in a tone that already knew the answer to his question.

Naruto said nothing nor thought anything in return as he cupped his hands under the now running water, sipping the liquid from his cupped palms he swished it around in his mouth slowly, feeling weak as he spit it into the sink. He made quick work of brushing his teeth, rinsing the sink of his sickness, and then meandering into the front room of his apartment.

You're being ridiculous, Kit. Kyuubi rumbled. You're going to keel over if you keep this up. Someone as sick as you shouldn't be training. Someone as sick as you shouldn't be doing anything except lying in bed.

"Kyuubi, shut up." Naruto mumbled as he pulled his black shirt over his head and blinked slowly. "Oh god, did it just get really hot in here?" He gasped as he pulled on his usual orange pants and slipped on his blue sandals.

Inside of Naruto, Kyuubi blinked curiously and hefted himself to his paws; he padded across the expanse of the room he was allowed until his nose was poking through the bars of his cage. He carefully thrust a paw out into the depths of Naruto and then drew it back as quickly as he could, pulling his searing paw to his tongue. Naruto was having one hell of a hot flash.

Kit, you're getting sicker.

"Am not." Naruto groaned and wiped sweat from his forehead, taking a deep breath as the heat went just as quickly as it had come. "See? I'm better all ready." He smiled and pulled his jacket on lazily, only barely remembering to tie his head-band around his forehead as he headed out the door.

Kyuubi growled as he settled back down, scooting away from the bars of the cage. He wished there was something more he could do to help the blonde. For the past fourteen years, Kyuubi had been with Naruto; at times he was the only one there for Naruto. Times like now, for instance. It was not hard at all to see Naruto was sick, and yet, even though it had been a month, none of his teammates or fellow villagers, even his sensei, no one had noticed or said anything. No one had tried to help, or even cared enough to make a passing comment of concern. These were the times in which Kyuubi loved and hated Naruto the most.

And he did love Naruto. He'd accepted that years ago. Everything about the boy was pure and innocent and the opposite of Kyuubi. Opposites attract, right? But what he both loved and hated about Naruto (as previously stated) was the way the boy was able to love people who were cruel to him, the way the boy was able to take the bad things and shove them aside while keeping his faith, but he hated the way the boy was completely okay with being an after-thought. He hated that Naruto was fine with being brushed aside and unthought-of. He hated that Naruto stayed by the sides of people who were never they for him.

"Hey, Sakura!" Naruto chirped, his forced cheerfulness echoing in Kyuubi's ears.

The cotton candy haired girl said nothing as she stared at Naruto with a careful eye. "Where were you? Usually you're the first person here." She bit off and Kyuubi and Naruto quickly gathered that the girl had had another unfortunate run-in with Sasuke. "I was beginning to think that we'd have to come drag you from your bed, knowing the lazy, immature loser you are, I wouldn't have been surprised."

Kyuubi watched as Naruto's memories of this morning flooded across his mind along with a quick flash of resentment towards the girl. And then a rush of guilt at such a feeling. The fox rolled his eyes and was tempted to let loose a flood of unkind words at the pinkette, but since only Naruto would hear him, it would do much more bad then good.

"I'm sorry, Sakura." He said and forced a sheepish smile. "I had a bit of trouble this morning." He confessed but didn't push his problems on the girl like he should have.

Sakura rolled her eyes and put her hands on her hips. "Yeah, I'm sure you had loads of trouble. I mean, rolling out of bed at whatever time you please, eating whatever you want, and having the whole bathroom to yourself? Yeah, I'm sure that was just so difficult for you." She scoffed. "I had to get up at a horribly early time, make breakfast for my whole family, and then fight with the whole family just so I could take a shower."

Which means she slept in late, ate food her mother slaved over without saying thanks, and then hogged the bathroom. Kyuubi translated for Naruto dispassionately.

Kyuubi, I don't feel so good… Naruto thought to his companion as he apologized to Sakura and then moved clumsily to sit against a tree, trying not to breathe to loudly while he clutched his side in pain. It really hurts. He thought and Kyuubi was positive that to an on-looker, Naruto looked just like he always did, if not a little tired.

Just take it easy, Kit. Kyuubi said slowly. You're going to kill yourself if you keep using all this energy.

"Dobe." A flat, uncaring voice greeted and Naruto looked up and managed a glare that didn't even harbor half of the malice it usually did… at a minimum. "Dobe?" The greeting turned to a question.

"Tch, Teme." Naruto gasped out and Kyuubi felt Naruto's mask slipping away. Once more he padded over to the bars and reached his palm out so he could feel exactly what Naruto was feeling. The fox groaned and pulled back; his poor Kit… in so much pain.

"Stop being so weird, Dobe." Sasuke said flatly just as Kakashi arrived, late as usual.

Kyuubi listened to what was going on and ground his teeth together in anger. Did no one see how much pain Naruto was is? The way he was clutching his side and squeezing his eyes shut? How could they miss the beads of sweat that dotted his pale face? Why were they all so ready to take everything he offered and give him nothing in return? Kyuubi growled.

"Naruto, will you stop fooling around. I know you can do better than that." Kakashi said flatly, without looking up from his book.

"Sorry, Kakashi-sensei." Naruto panted and blinked tears of frustration from his eyes. This was his usual training routine; he shouldn't feel like he was dying.

Kyuubi could feel the Kit's body weakening around him. He could feel his immune system crashing and his chakra falling to bits. His stamina was dissipating and his self-control and careful mask was being torn to shreds. The fox blinked slowly as he thought quickly. If the boy was reduced to nothing but a sack of useless blood cells, there would be nothing to hold the Kyuubi back from escaping from his host. Right? The fourth Hokage's seal was powerful, but when it came right down to it, it was Naruto's chakra and will that held it in place most of the time, even if it was only subconsciously.

Kyuubi, what was that? Naruto thought sluggishly, as though even thinking took a toll on his energy. Is that… is that really true?

I think so, Kit. But don't worry, I promise I won't go running around destroying villages. You have my word. He promised without second thought, he already knew that if he was let out the first thing he'd do would be to take care of his Kit.

Kyuubi felt Naruto nod. That's good, Kyuubi. Because I really don't think I'm going to last much longer…

As he thought this, the blonde came to his knees in the grassy clearing his team had gathered in, where they were supposed to be listening to their lineup of missions. Naruto clutched as his stomach as he heaved foreword, an awful retching noise tearing from his throat as he puked up a glistening steam of blood. He heaved again, and again, and his teammates and teacher watched in stunned silence.

"Naruto. Is this some kind of joke?" Sakura asked as Naruto clamped his hands over his mouth to keep from retching a fifth times. It did nothing to help.

"Yeah…" Naruto gasped out between an empty retch. "Just… just a joke. It's just a joke." He said as the retches stopped and his eyelids slid half shut as he sank to his bottom, wrapping his arms around his shoulders as he waiting for the violent tremors that were sure to begin soon.

"We should get him to a hospital." Sasuke stated needlessly as he watched the blonde boy's lips slowly turn blue. "Naruto, are you cold?" He demanded as he got to his knees besides his friends who he'd claimed to care for and touched his hand to the boy's forehead. "He can't have just gotten sick. How long has this been going on for?"

Naruto opened his mouth to brush off their concern, but his eyes rolled back into his head and he fell like a sack of potatoes to the ground, his head making a crude cracking noise against the hard soil. When his eyelids were next peeled open, it was to reveal animalistic red eyes.

"A little more than a month." A nightmare-ish voice ground out from behind Naruto's lips. "And not one of you bastards cared enough to notice. Are you happy now? I swear to Kami, if my Kit dies I'm going to rip out your throats and feed them to you."

Kakashi's one single grey eyes flashed carefully as none other than the Kyuubi addressed him. "We would have noticed." He said flatly.

"Oh, really? So you've simply been letting Naruto suffer all this time?" Kyuubi snapped. "No. Not a damn one of you people, the people who matter to him, cared about him enough to notice. Do you know what his morning routine has consisted of lately? He wakes up, pukes his guts out, runs out here only to get an earful from that pink haired bitch, and then has to waste energy on the two of you, just to keep up appearances," Kyuubi's eyes glared at the trio of stony faced ninja, "and then he has to shovel ramen into his throat, puke that up, and then he goes home, goes to bed wear he nearly sweats to death and then wakes up to do it all over again. Not to mention all the stupid things he does to make your lives more comfortable in between." Kyuubi sniffed angrily. "And they call me a monster."

"It's not our fault. Why didn't he tell us?" Sakura snapped, angry at being singled out.

Naruto's body snapped up and his hand made harsh contact with Sakura's cheek. "He didn't want to worry you." The Kyuubi spat out. "But not to worry, Kit's not going to be so neglected for long. If he gets any worse, and he's going to, I'll be let out. And then I'll be there to care for him. And I'll be there to make your lives a living hell."

Kakashi's eye snapped open. "You'll be let out?"

"Yes, I will. But I promised my Kit I wouldn't wreak any havoc, and I'll keep my word." Kyuubi said slowly and blinked. "But you had better get him to a hospital, because when I'm let out, it's going to hurt like a bitch."