I do not own Naruto
The next morning started out pretty normal for Naruto. He woke up early and got himself ready to eat at Ichiraku's. Anko had harassed him all the way out the door and Haruhi gave him a kiss goodbye.
Okay, so technically it was all new, and anything but normal. So far though, the walk was peaceful, as most of the village wasn't even awake at the moment. Probably for the best, seeing as otherwise the village folk would probably take that as a sign of impending doom.
Ichiraku's was close to being the same-old same-old. Ayame though, was acting a bit more… how should Naruto put it… clingy. For one thing, Ayame promptly hugged Naruto as soon as she saw the little blond, which was something she rarely did. The chef's daughter also made a bigger portion for Naruto than normal.
Other than that it was relatively the same.
Naruto talked to Ayame about the party and how he had possibly made a friend out of Sasuke. Ayame smiled wistfully at the thought of Naruto playing with Moka and Yuki, wishing that she was there to witness such a cute sight. Ayame hugged Naruto again right before he left. Naruto didn't mind, but once again… different.
At Training Ground Seven, Naruto was greeted with the usual. Sasuke was up in a tree while Sakura stayed close by underneath. Sakura was quieter than usual though, this time around. It seemed that Sasuke's words from earlier had blatantly showed that he wasn't interested, but over the last day the pink-haired girl must have found a reason to keep pursuing Sasuke. Sakura was much less determined than before though, and it showed that morning. Naruto couldn't help but feel sorry for the girl, not that it took much for him to, and several ideas went through his head to cheer up his long-time crush.
Naruto then looked up at Sasuke as the blond walked closer.
Sasuke, noticing the blond for the first time, looked up from his normal 'brooding pose' and, with a small nod, acknowledged Naruto. Naruto, for his part, was shocked beyond understanding. Naruto had to blink several times to make sure he wasn't seeing things, and then pinched himself to make sure he wasn't dreaming.
Sasuke could do nothing but look on with a raised eyebrow.
Sasuke's nod didn't go unnoticed by Sakura and it justly floored her when she turned around to see Naruto at the end of the nod. Sakura's head was spinning; she just couldn't comprehend what she had just seen. Sasuke hadn't acknowledged Naruto…ever, to the best of her knowledge. Pink herself had rarely gotten anything out of Sasuke other than a grunt for a response. Thus the confusion spreads forth to Sakura, and the circle of confusion is now complete.
Naruto didn't say a word, but just watched Sasuke as he walked up to his teammates. He wasn't sure what was going on at all, so Naruto decided to test the waters. "Hey guys, what's up?"
Sasuke nodded again to Naruto, "Nothing at all." Sasuke answered the blond. Sasuke spoke with an aloof tone, but it was still a reply.
Okay, forget all attempts at 'relatively normal'. Things were just different today.
Sakura's jaw dropped and eyes bulged from their sockets. The pre-teen girl had been trying to get something out of Sasuke for as long as she had followed him around, with barely anything more than animal noises deemed as a proper response. Naruto however, had managed to get more words out of Sasuke than the brooder had ever spoken to the screaming fan-girls that follow him.
Naruto was about to continue his conversation or what passes for it anyways with Sasuke, but Sakura's grabbing him by the neck and dragging him flailing into the woods canceled that plan pretty thoroughly.
Sasuke just watched them go without any comment. The Uchiha may have decided to acknowledge Naruto as a rival, but he didn't care enough to go after them.
Though he had to admit, the dust trail that followed them was fairly impressive. Not to mention the small animals that they managed to scare away with all the noise.
Once Naruto and Sakura were far enough into the woods that she judged even Sasuke couldn't hear them, Sakura threw Naruto into a tree and was in his face before Naruto even knew what was going on.
"What did you do?"
Naruto scratched the back of his head where a lump was growing. "Owww…Sakura that hurt."
Sakura grabbed Naruto by the collar and shook him violently. "I don't care how you feel stupid! All I want to know is how you got Sasuke-kun to talk with you." Naruto couldn't stop the sweat bubble from forming. "Well!?!" Sakura continued.
Naruto gulped, "O.K., calm down Sakura-chan, I'll tell you."
Sakura let him go and just waited for Naruto to continue. When it looked like Naruto wasn't going to say anything, Sakura narrowed her eyes and looked as though she was about to consider beating up the blond.
Naruto gulped again. "Alright, all I did was beat the teme in a fight." The fight was really inconclusive, but Naruto wasn't going to say that.
Sakura didn't make a noise and she didn't move at all. Having no survival sense what-so-ever, Naruto waved a hand in front of her face in hopes of gaining a response.
"Hello, Sakura are you all…"
"YOU CAN"T THINK THAT I WOULD SERIOUSLY BELIEVE THAT, DO YOU BAKA!?!?!" Sakura roared at Naruto.
Naruto crawled backwards as far as he could into a hollow tree. Sakura moved closer to Naruto slowly and anger was all over her face.
"You could never beat Sasuke-kun and a joke of a ninja like you has no right to be talking with my Sasuke-kun
At this point, Naruto was so scared that he barely even registered the insult. Naruto pointed to a bruises on his face, "See, I did get in a fight with him." Sakura finally noticed the bruises she had ignored before, but that didn't stop her.
"You could have been beaten by someone that finally had enough of your pranks. You better tell me what you did or you'll die nice and slow." Sakura cracked her knuckles to emphasize her point.
Naruto just cowered at Sakura's imposing anger, and in turn, his fate was sealed.
Sasuke was just staring at the sky. The Uchiha was bored. He would never say this out loud, but at least with Naruto was around he had something to do. That was when he picked up the 'scream that was heard round the world'.
Sasuke made no visible motion other than a sigh. "Perhaps I was wrong about making Naruto my rival."
Kakashi arrived at the training ground right on time, 3 hours late, exactly on the mark. With that Kakashi gave a look at his genin.
Sakura was huffing with her arms crossed, making it clear that the female was agitated about something… perhaps it had to do with that high-pitch scream he heard a little while back. Sasuke had jumped out of the tree and was waiting for instructions, near-boredom on his features. Naruto was asleep or at least that was what you would have thought at first… before you saw his face. Naruto had healed for the most part, but Sakura's assault had left him pretty black and blue. Needless to say, the blond was officially unconscious.
Kakashi lazily walked over to Naruto and pressed a pressure point on the back of his head. This would only work if Naruto was already close to waking up; luckily the blond was and the jonin's action only sped up the process.
Naruto groggily sat up. "What happened…? All I remember was Sakura and… oh shit!" Naruto jumped up looked around quickly and when he saw the pink haired teammate, the blond retreated several feet behind his teacher.
Kakshi could deduct what happened easily enough. Sasuke said something to Sakura and Naruto defended his teammate. Sakura didn't like it and hit Naruto repeatedly. It had happened several times already. The only problem was Kakashi was wrong and if he knew the real reason, Kakashi's one eyebrow probably would have risen in curiosity.
Kakshi looked over the blond again to make sure nothing else was wrong and it appeared that most of Naruto's wounds were already healing; the clothes on the other hand…. "Naruto, where did you get those clothes?"
Naruto looked at himself and smiled as he looked back at his sensei "You like them sensei?" Kakashi didn't say anything, but Sakura certainly did.
"That is one of the ugliest outfits I have ever seen." Sakura was so focused on finding out how Naruto got into Sasuke's good graces that she had completely overlooked Naruto's new clothes.
Naruto was currently wearing the khakis that were the end-result of the family excursion to the mall. The only problem was he was in a bright, neon orange pattern. Haruhi had agreed that the clothes were much better than his jumpsuit, but it didn't take long for Naruto to find a loop hole in his end of the bargain. Naruto thought of a field of bright glowing orange flowers, and the khakis just followed orders when Naruto added his chakra.
Naruto pouted a little at his crushes words, but didn't say anything. Sasuke just got tired of waiting and cut straight to the point. "What are we doing today?" It was short, simple, and got the message through it was Sasuke.
Kakashi looked at the boy and his visible eye widened a little then went back to normal. Sasuke caught that little gesture and narrowed his eyes in a warning to his sensei. Kakashi got the hint and dropped it.
Kakashi decided that it would be best to get started; "Today we are going to work on our tracking skills. Our friend Toro gave us some trouble."
The three genin looked at Kakashi with annoyed grimaces. 'What does he mean 'us'?' was the shared thought between the three. Kakashi just told them the objective and left them to their own devices. It was only due to Naruto sacrificing his body to Toro's claws that finally allowed them to even capture that deranged feline.
Kakashi ignored his team's faces and continued in his lazy tone. "One of you is going to hide while the other two will hunt you down. The goal is not to be found. The harder it is the more you'll improve. First, Sakura will hide while Sasuke and Naruto will work together to find you. Sakura, you have 10 minutes to hide."
Sakura nodded and ran off, but before she left, "I hope you find me Sasuke-kun." And the pink haired girl was gone. Sasuke just ignored the girl and Naruto frowned at being ignored again. The 10 minutes seemed to take forever for the boys, but time came for them to move out.
"I know you both have gone through basic tracking at the academy, but that was just what it was 'basic.' Now what did they teach you?" Kakashi said.
Naruto stepped forward. "Well, they told us to look for anything that stood out, like foot-prints or a path that was made when they passed through." Sasuke maintained his silence. It was odd enough that Naruto paid attention in class.
Kakashi smiled with his one eye, "Very good, but what if the person you're tracking knows how to avoid making a path or the ground is too hard to leave foot prints?" Naruto frowned and Sasuke impatiently waited for the real lesson to start.
Kakashi walk to where Sakura walked into the woods. The jonin could see a path and foot prints left behind, and he could not help but sighed heavily. 'Next, we'll work on actually hiding our movements.'
"Okay, ignore the path and footprints; look for something else." The path easily guided the two boy's eyes for anything.
Sasuke grunted and pointed to a bush. Kakashi and Naruto followed the finger and spotted what he was pointing at. Several of the leaves were pointing in different directions than the rest of the bush. It took good eyes to see it. "Nicely done, Sasuke. Naruto you see anything?"
Naruto shook his head, "Not really sensei, but I can smell her. Does that count?"
Kakashi didn't smell anything, but then not everyone had the same level of sensitivity when concerning their senses. If an Inuzuka was here, then smell would defiantly play a part. "Yes it does Naruto. Smell can tell you a lot like where the person might be. Now go and find as many clues as possible while you look for Sakura."
Naruto and Sasuke nodded and got to work. At first it was simple, but as they moved forward, the simple job of finding Sakura turned into a competition on who could find the most clues. Sasuke had found seven clues while Naruto only found three. The competition ended upon finding Sakura.
The pink haired girl was in the most provocative pose she could think of. "Sasuke-kun you found me! I'm so… HEY… come back…"
Sasuke just quietly turned around and promptly walked away.
Naruto just looked at Sakura with a confused expression. "What are you doing?" What Sakura was trying to accomplish completely flew right over Naruto's head.
"Shut up, Naruto!" Sakura walked after Sasuke in a huff. Naruto followed, wondering what he said.
Next was Sasuke's turn to go hide. Kakashi did a quick rundown of what he told the two boys with Sakura and then let them go. Luckily for them all, Sasuke was better at hiding his path than Sakura.
Sakura was a disappointment. The girl understood the basics and had a list a mile long on what to look for, but in practice…. She was horrible. It took about half an hour to find Sasuke. Naruto was the one to find Sasuke and although Sasuke would never say it but he was happy that Sakura wasn't the one who found him.
"Very good Naruto, now it's your turn to hide. Remember, the harder you make it, the better it will be for your teammates." Kakashi said with a smile.
Naruto nodded an affirmative and walked off. The two genin waited their ten minutes and as soon as time was up they walked to the spot Naruto disappeared to.
Both Sakura and Sasuke stopped in their tracks at what greeted them. Not a clue, not one leaf moved, not one rock overturned, they watched Naruto walk right through this spot. Kakashi was impressed. Sakura was speechless. Sasuke was shocked, how could the dope be this good? Memories of Anko praising her otouto on these very skills that they were working on today came back to answer him.
Sasuke walked into the woods, he wouldn't lose to Naruto. The fact that he hadn't found a clue within 50 yards was only adding fuel to his fire.
"Wait up Sasuke, maybe Naruto didn't come this way?" Sakura yelled after her crush.
Sasuke didn't listen. 'The dope came this way, I know it.'
Sasuke walked into a small clearing and stopped. Sakura finally caught up. The girl could see frustration painted all over his face. "What's wrong Sasuke-kun?" Sasuke ignored her and looked from side to side. Sakura watched Sasuke's head snap to several different directions.
Sakura looked up to see what Sasuke was looking at and gasped. There were several paths in every direction and if you looked closely you could see that they broke off into several more paths and crisscrossed everywhere. It was a drastic change from earlier. Before, there was not a single clue… anywhere; now it was 'clues heaven'. It was obvious that most were fakes, and it was also entirely possible that they were all fakes, what with the skill Naruto showed earlier.
Kakashi was in the trees watching and held back a whistle. This was truly impressive. Kakashi had no idea Naruto was this good at hiding, but upon remembering how he got these skills was all he needed for an explanation. This would take a jonin to find Naruto… or at least Iruka. Kakashi decided to give Sasuke and Sakura 2 hours to find Naruto. If they couldn't find Naruto, Kakashi will call off the search.
Naruto was far into the woods, near a small waterfall. It was peaceful here. Naruto decided to wait to be found here, but he fully expects that it would take them a while. He had his kage bushine running all over the woods for that matter. Kakashi said to make it difficult, so Naruto treated it like a real situation where he needed to get away.
In the mean time, Naruto decided that it was time to work on the jutsu that his mother destroyed his clock with. "Yosh!! Let's get to work! Dattebayo!!"
The two hours went as fast as a snail running a mile long race. Sasuke was going to have an ulcer just trying to grasp the idea that Naruto was nowhere to be found. Sakura had simply given up a long time ago. With Kakashi, he had made his own shadow clones to find Naruto. The real Kakshi found the boy sleeping by the waterfall and wearing different clothes, or rather, different colors.
Instead of being lazy or succumbing to his bruises, which were now gone, he found that Naruto was worn out from chakra exhaustion. Luckily, it wasn't serious. Kakashi honestly wanted to let the boy sleep, but he still had to get a mission in.
Kakashi dropped down and grabbed the boy gently. Kakashi was about to return to his other genin, but when he turned around, he froze. The trees were peppered blast holes, with some of the trees being close to falling over.
Kakashi just looked at the destruction. The craters were not very big, but put one of those on a person and they would be in the hospital for a while. Kakashi looked down at the sleeping blond. 'Did you do all of this?' Naruto mumbled something as a reply. Kakashi just smiled, picked Naruto up in his arms and jump off to find the rest of his team.
Upon arrival, Kakashi suggested they all go get something to eat. At first there was confusion on where Naruto had changed his clothes. Sasuke just gave a sleeping Naruto a death glare. Sakura's gurgling stomach cut the curiosity short and answered the food question. Kakashi led them to the only place he knew that could reliably and cheaply revitalize Naruto… Ichiraku's.
Though this may sound surprising, this was the first time either Sakura or Sasuke had ever been to a ramen stand. Sasuke was in a wealthy family, and only ate out at nice restaurants. It would be un-proper for a clan to eat anywhere else after all, even though Mikoto rather hated it.
Sakura's family on the other hand, just thought highly of themselves. They weren't a clan, but they did earn a good living, and as such avoided places like Ichiraku's like the plague. Kakashi on the other hand was a ninja and eating at places like this was a fact of life. Even some of the smart members of noble clans eat at food stands every now and then.
"Hello, how may I…aah! NARUTO!!!" Ayame yelled as she showed a great deal of athleticism, jumping over the counter and rushing Kakashi. "Naruto? Naruto are you okay? Naruto?"
Kakashi was doing his best to keep Naruto from being grabbed by the panic-stricken girl. The boy slept through the worst of the yelling and Kakshi didn't want to wake him if he could help it. Kakashi was doing a good job of it until Ayame grabbed Kakashi by the collar and roughly pulled him down to her eye-level. "If you did anything to my otouto…"
The seething girl left the statement unfinished and let Kakashi fill in the blanks. Ayame had an edge in her eyes that Kakashi had only seen in people about to kill something in cold blood…well that and Anko.
Kakshi gulped, 'Why is Naruto always making crazy women his sisters?'
With the scene proceeding in front of them, was it any wonder that Sasuke and Sakura had sweat bubbles?
Kakashi thought fast to save himself. "Calm down, Naruto is fine. He just wore himself out while we were training. I planned to wake him up when the food was ready." Ayame looked at blond closely and upon inspection found no signs of injury. Ayame gave the cyclopse one last glare that suggested pain if he was lying and let the man go.
Kakashi let out the breath he was holding. Sasuke and Sakura didn't know what to make of their jonin instructor being scared of a civilian girl that worked at a ramen stand. They had heard about Ayame from Naruto, but they always thought she sounded nice… not psychotic.
It didn't take long for the food to come out and Kakshi balanced Naruto on his stool. Ayame placed the bowl under Naruto's nose and once the aroma reached the blonde's brain, everyone was given a show of 'Who Can Eat Ramen Faster Than The Speed Of Light!' It was sleeping straight to eating, then drowsiness. It was as if Naruto took 'waking up and eating' and reversed the order.
"Wh…Where am I?" the blond asked to no one in particular, eyes still narrow from grogginess. Sasuke face-palmed and Sakura sighed. Kakashi just chuckled a bit and Ayame smiled at her little brother.
"You-are-at-the-number-one-greatest-food-stand!" Ayame sang
"Ichiraku's." Naruto replied.
Ayame ruffled Naruto's hair for giving the correct answer. Kakashi just chuckled some more and Sasuke and Sakura repeated their expression from earlier, but this time in reverse. Sasuke sighed and Sakura face-palmed.
Naruto was fully awake as another bowl was placed in front of him. Team Seven was quiet as they ate. Nobody was really in any talking mood, and just filled their mouths with food. Ayame was just happy her otouto came by as she made another bowl for the blond.
That was until curiosity got the better of Sakura. "Hey Naruto, Where were you when you were hiding?" Pinky asked. Sasuke tuned in also wanting to know the answer.
Naruto finished his bowl before he answered. "I was at the waterfall."
"There wasn't a waterfall out there." Sakura replied.
Kakashi cut in, "Acually, if you go from where Naruto entered, straight ahead about two and a half miles, there is a small waterfall."
Sakura nodded, but Sasuke was straight back to furious. 'He was only 2 and a-half miles away… in a straight line.' That wasn't very far considering that they were dealing with several miles of woods.
"How did you get so good at covering your tracks Naruto." Sakura was truly curious as to how Naruto could ever beat Sasuke at anything. To her surprise Naruto didn't blush at her praise. Sakura rarely ever praised Naruto for anything, but once in a blue moon it happened and Naruto always blushed.
Instead Naruto gave a weak laugh. "I just picked it up, I guess." Naruto didn't want to tell Sakura that it was to avoid… certain unpleasant peoples. Kakashi knew of course, and wished that it wasn't the case. Ayame also knew; she had hidden Naruto on several occasions. Ayame had a sad look on her face and turned back to her cooking to avoid being spotted by Naruto's teammates.
Sasuke and Sakura both felt and made note of how the mood fell in the room. Sakura had no clue on why, but Sasuke had a pretty good idea. After Sasuke figured out that Naruto was part Kyuubi, he figured out a lot of things. Sasuke even confronted Mikoto on several topics. The Uchiha still didn't know the whole story, but he knew enough to frown at Naruto's answer.
Kakshi changed the topic quickly, so as to prevent too much information from coming out. "Naruto, what were you doing out there? When I got there, the trees in the area all had holes in them."
Naruto beamed at this question. "My Kaa-chan showed me an awesome jutsu, and I'm trying to learn it. I can't do everything she did, but I figured out some of it."
Kakashi smiled at Naruto. He was a firm believer that every ninja should have their on jutsu's. It always made it harder to win a fight when your opponent keeps throwing new jutsu's at you. He hated how some of the clans would shun any other style other than their clan's own style.
Sasuke was mixed between anger and interest. The boy was upset that Naruto was learning something new while he wasn't. The fact that his rival was learning something that he could test himself against and even better learn himself was always a good thing though.
Sakura on the other hand ignored the new jutsu, and tuned into the conversation that was news to her; specifically, the kaa-chan part. "I thought you were an orphan?"
Naruto always liked to talk about this. "My mother came out of her coma a few days ago. Kaa-chan is the greatest, and she said she was going to teach me all sorts of stuff."
Sasuke rolled his eyes. He knew better, but Sakura was still blissfully unaware. Sakura was surprised to hear that Naruto had family at all. Years of thinking he was an orphan at birth tend to do that. Even though technically he was with Haruhi gone, but Sakura didn't need to know that yet.
Sakura still found a way to insult Naruto with it though. "Good, maybe with her help you'll become competent, right Sasuke-kun?"
Kakshi sighed and Sasuke avoided looking at the girls hoping she would get the hint to leave him out of this. The Uchiha may have had his own set of insults for Naruto, but he honestly believes Naruto was of more use than Sakura was.
Something in the back with Ayame crashed. Ayame came out with death in her eyes. "What did you say?" It was clear that Ayame was not happy with pink at all.
Sakura just eep-ed and turned to Sasuke for help, but the brooder knew better than to get in the way of a sister defending her brother. He had 2 sisters and both tortured his ass for a weak when he call Kensuke 'annoying' once. 'How was I supposed to know he would be so sensitive about it?'
Everything was silenced though when Naruto asked a question. "Um…what does competent mean?" All at once, everyone face planted into the dirt. When they all got back up, Ayame explained what competent meant.
After which, it was pretty easy to say that Naruto wasn't happy at that point. The blond chose to keep his thoughts to himself though. Ayame on the other hand just sent glares at Sakura's way, and Sakura had the distinct feeling she wouldn't be welcomed here if she didn't keep her mouth shut.
Kakashi soon realized that they overstayed their welcome and, directed the team to the tower. From there on, the rest of the day became an attempt by normalcy to reassert it-self.
The Hokage gave them a mission to pull weeds at some lazy guy's house; the genin got into a fight middle of it because Sasuke told Sakura to leave him alone; Naruto came to her rescue, and finally Sakura came to Sasuke's rescue. When the mission was done, Kakashi told them that they could go home.
Before they left though….
"Sasuke, you shouldn't hide those bruises with a henge. Naruto must've fought pretty well to leave them on you." Kakashi had figured that Sasuke had received the bruises from Naruto, but he didn't know when or why.
Sakura whipped her head around, but Sasuke ignored her and narrowed his eyes at the retreating figure of his sensei. Sakura was going to ask, but the look Sasuke had been nothing short of murder, and thus silenced her.
The group started to leave; Naruto made his near constant attempt to ask Sakura out, and was yelled at, again, in response. Putting what she just heard aside, Sakura asked Sasuke out and was subsequently ignored in response, also again, and all three walked to their respective homes. However, it did not take long for Sakura to notice that Sasuke and Naruto were walking towards the same direction together.
"Hey Naruto, don't you live that way!?" Sakura yelled pointing in the opposite direction.
Naruto just shrugged, "I live this way now."
"Oh," was all Sakura said and walked away. It would only hit her later after she got home that Naruto was heading into the clan housing district. This basically meant that Naruto was either living at a clan's compound or at his own compound. Sakura would ask tomorrow.
The walk back for Sasuke and Naruto was quiet. Neither of them really had anything to say. Sasuke broke off when they reached his compound and Naruto was just going to keep walking, but before he could Sasuke stopped him. "Moka and Suki both asked if you could come by once in a while.
Naruto was surprised at first, but then smiled. "Sure. Tell them I'll come over sometime."
Sasuke nodded and went into his compound. Naruto had a smile on his face till he was grabbed from behind, hog tied, and dragged to the back of his compound blind folded.
When they stopped, the blind fold was removed to reveal a smiling Anko. "My, my otouto, those foxes were right! You don't see an ambushes coming. Which is weird, considering you could detect Kaa-chan when she was trying to avoid being spotted."
Naruto looked around. They were in the back yard. Anko was walking around Naruto like a shark circuling its prey. Blaze, Storm, and Luna were lying several feet away just watching. Haruhi was sitting on the porch with the biggest book Naruto had ever seen on her lap.
"Kaa-chan, help me! Anko-neechan is looking at me like a piece of meat!" Anko did have a gleam in her eye.
Haruhi didn't even take her eyes off the book when she replied. "If she was your sister then I would help, but right now Anko is your sensei and I have no right to interfere with her training methods."
"Even in the result of my death?" Naruto yelled.
"Even in the result of your death baby." Haruhi answered back, the tone not sounding worried one bit.
Naruto was quickly turned to the three foxes for help, but Haruhi cut him off. "Don't bother with those three. I instructed them not to interfere with Anko's training, oh, and Anko, you won't interfere when they train Naruto."
Naruto was gushing waterfalls while Anko stuck her tongue out at Haruhi. With that out of the way, Anko turned back to Naruto with that gleam in her eye that does not bode well for Naruto.
"Alright gaki, what did the instructors tell you about killing people." Needless to say, Anko had decided to proceed with the topics that she excelled at.
All three foxes perk up at that. Even Haruhi stopped reading and looked up. After all, his was an important topic that all ninja had to go though. The first kill was always a make-or-break situation.
Most shinobi 'grew up' a little and started taking the job more seriously. Some would quit the job instead. Either way, it was important to make sure that the person's first kill didn't break them. Trying to prevent a suicide from happening was the main goal of the whole exercise.
Naruto turned his head away, eyes darkening. The academy started the process of helping the genin in a counseling session that usually explained what they would most likely feel after the aforementioned act. It was up to the shinobi and their families to finish the job. There were also counseling centers shinobi could go to in order to get help, additional or otherwise. However Naruto's counseling was… different.
Everyone in the field saw Naruto's reaction and were immediately on edge. Once Anko realized something was wrong, she cut Naruto free and sat down in front of the blond. "Come on Otouto, tell me what they told you."
Naruto hated that day. The day the counselor talked to him. He had never told anyone what the man said to him. Naruto was too scared of what people would say. This was his family though; he trusted them.
Naruto took in a deep breath. Every time Naruto thought about the counselors words, he felt sick. "The counselor said… he said that I would 'probably like it'…. How it wouldn't surprise him if I felt a craving for it."
The fox's jaws dropped. Haruhi was speechless as her eyes grew. Anko eyes were also wide, but narrowed soon after. The next question came out more as a hiss. "Did he say anything else?"
While Naruto can have bouts of inspiration when it comes to reading people, it can come off as very selective at times. Thus, he could not tell what Anko was thinking at the time, and in his state of distress, was worried that she might be mad at him.
Naruto fought back tears as this was always the words that really hurt. "He said that I would like it so much, that I would start killing everyone and wouldn't be able to stop myself. That ANBU would have to kill me to get me to stop the 'killing-spree'."
Naruto looked away in shame, "Please don't hate me." The last sentence was little more than a whisper.
Many things proceeded to occur after this bit of revelation, for one thing, Anko was shocked that he would even think that she would hate him. Not only that, she was pissed beyond comprehension; not for Naruto to even think that, but for the ass who actually had the gall to tell him something like that. And from there, Anko looked at Haruhi, unspoken questions in her eyes.
The mother nodded and was gone with a shushine leaving a nice pile of leaves. Anko turned back to Naruto and saw the tears. This 'counselor' will pay dearly. With a tired sigh, Anko bopped Naruto on the head and asked, "How could you ever think I would hate you?"
Naruto looked up at his nee-chan with hopeful eyes.
Anko continued, "Naruto, what that man told you was a fucking lie. It takes a certain type of person to like killing people. You're not that type of person. You care about people, and try to help when you can."
"But the counselor said…" Naruto tried to say.
"Forget what the counselor said. He lied to you. Know what I think you'll go through? I think you will go through 'the norm'." Anko said.
"What's 'the norm'?" Naruto asked.
"The norm is what ninja's call what happens when a normal person kills for the first time. You see first, you'll kill the person. Then you'll stand there and look at the body as your brain processes what you did. Then you'll puke your guts out, and finally you'll accept what you did. A norm's biggest problem is after. A norm tends to remember the face of their first kill and it haunts them for the rest of their life."
"Is that what you went through nee-chan?" Naruto asked, feeling a little better from Anko's words.
However the question got him a swift bop on the head. "Do I seem like a 'normal person', gaki?" Anko sighed, "I happen to be an interrogator, gaki. There are far worse thing you can do to a man than killing them. Those… are the things that haunt me."
Naruto remained quiet and just stared at his nee-chan. In public, she never showed this side of herself; probably couldn't afford to. It shouldn't be surprising that Naruto understood how hard it could be to open up, nor the fact that Anko did it for his sake.
"All right gaki, I'm going to go over what you should have heard, okay?" Naruto nodded and Anko's lesson began.
While Anko was teaching her little bro what he should've learned years ago, Haruhi was at the Hokage tower. Her anger, if such a word can do it justice, had skyrocketed upon learning what Naruto went through.
Haruhi had shushine-ed as close to the tower as possible, but the tower had seals so as to prevent any unauthorized entry. That was why Haruhi didn't shushine directly into the tower, and why her form could be seen slowly approaching said tower. The few people she did pass by, while she made way to the entrance felt the killer intent radiating off of her, and thus quickly shied away from the enraged fox.
Soon enough, ANBU had Haruhi completely surrounded but didn't make a move. They had orders to leave Haruhi alone, but that much killer intent warranted extreme caution. Haruhi could be felt for quite some distance, though not enough to alert her friends and family.
Sarutobi was still in the Mission Room at the time. Team 8 and Team Gai had finished their missions and were reporting to the Hokage their success, when the killer intent washed over them.
Neji, who had been pointedly ignoring Hinata to the point of rudeness, had quickly forgotten all about the girl as he readied himself. Meanwhile Hinata found that she could barely breathe as the wave encompassed her. Akamaru was shivering and whined, while Shino's bugs were going nuts inside his jacket.
The team leaders just looked at each other to confirm, then at the Hokage for instructions. The Hokage just sat and waited. Iruka was still there and he also wasn't certain what to do. Iruka was the former instructor of the genin, so he played a role in choosing jobs for them till the hokage gave them more important jobs.
They didn't have to wait long as Haruhi busted through the doors. "Sarutobi, we must talk NOW!" Sarutobi was going to suggest going to his office, but Gai beat him to it.
Gai placed a hand on Haruhi. "Ma'am I understand that you're upset about something but this is very un…" He never got to finish as Haruhi spun around and punched Gai so hard that he went flying through the doors and was imbedded into the wall across the hall.
"GAI-SENSEI!" Lee yelled as he went over to check on his sensei.
Tenten jaw hung open and Neji just stared wide eye at Haruhi. Both the genin had only seen that speed and power from Gai. Kureni and her team took a few steps back from Haruhi. Haruhi turned back around and stared at the Hokage. "Do you know what the counselor at the academy told Naruto about his first kill?"
The Hokage was on alert at that question. "Maybe we should take this to my office."
Haruhi ignored the man's suggestion and continued her line of questioning. "Well?"
Sarutobi saw that she wasn't going to move. "I do not, but I assumed he did his job; very few genin have had problems after we hired him."
"Would you like to know?" Sarutobi remained quiet. "He told Naruto that he would enjoy killing and that he would have to be put down like a raving dog to get him to stop."
As her heated words left her mouth, Haruhi's killer intent spiked even higher just remembering how Naruto looked when he told them what was said to him. Sarutobi's eyes enlarged several sizes in response.
Haruhi was about to go on in her tirade, when Iruka quickly stood up. "Haruhi-san!" Haruhi turned to tell the man to shut up, but upon seeing that it was Iruka, stopped. Iruka just indicated to a spot right behind her. When Haruhi turned, what she saw was Team 8 held in fear.
Shino was motionless, but the buzzing from the bugs was a clear indication he wasn't doing well. Kiba was trying to calm Akamaru down, but what with being extremely stressed himself, was achieving nothing. Then Haruhi saw Hinata.
The fox had instantly recognized her as the girl with a crush on her son. Hinata was trembling and visibly terrified. Kureni determinedly placed herself between her team and Haruhi, as if to protect them. Team Gai were in a similar state, but hid it better, seemingly in better form at least.
Haruhi realized what exactly she was doing and did her best to calm down. As the killer intent died, so did the tension… a little bit.
"Where is Naruto right now?" Iruka asked.
Haruhi looked back at the scarred man. "He is with Anko, at the compound."
Iruka nodded and jumped out of an open window. Both the Hokage and Haruhi knew where Iruka was going. Haruhi looked Sarutobi dead in the eye. "I highly suggest that you do something about this, or I'll make sure something happens, and you really don't want me to find this man."
Sarutobi nodded, "An investigation will take place and I will make sure something is done." Haruhi nodded, when Sarutobi said he would get it done, it got done. Haruhi much calmer now left the same way Iruka did.
"Who was that?" Tenten asked after a short pause, jaw still hung open at what had just occurred.
"I recognize her from somewhere." Kurenai stated. Turning to her team, she asked, "Is everyone alright?"
Shino and Kiba nodded in answer, but to her surprise found that Hinata was gone from their midst.
"Where is Hinata?" The two boys looked at each other, but neither had an answer.
"Gai-sensei, Gai-sensei; wake up." Lee said with worry. Gai was out like a light from Haruhi's attack. Tenten found a new target to admire. After all, not too many people could knock Gai out with one punch, and that was only one woman from what she could remember… until now at least. Neji just stared at the open window he saw Haruhi and Hinata jumped out of.
When Haruhi returned to the compound she was greeted with Anko and Iruka, smiling with Naruto. Apparently, Iruka had just told a funny joke. Haruhi was glad to see that Naruto was feeling better and would have joined them if it wasn't for the little genin following her. "You know it isn't proper to follow someone and spy on others." Haruhi hated 'proper', but it was useful in making clan members feel like dicks.
Hinata eeped at being found out. "I-I-I-I'm s-sorry," as she stepped out from the bushes.
Haruhi just smiled at the girl. "Don't be, you were just worried about Naruto-kun, right?"
When Haruhi realized Hinata was following her, Haruhi had slowed down so that the Hyuuga could keep up. Drastically slowing the fox down, while Iruka was at full speed.
Hinata nodded, "Naruto-kun is a good person. How could anyone say such a thing to him?"
Haruhi found that she had to remind herself about Sarutobi's stupid law. Sasuke found out on his own, but even Haruhi couldn't just tell someone about Naruto's secret. "Tell me… Hinata was it? What do you think?"
Hinata looked up at Haruhi and as lavender met red, she turned away. "I t-think Naruto-kun is a g-good person. H-He would never h-hurt someone intentionally."
Haruhi smiled, 'At least someone Naruto's own age thinks well of my kit.' "Why don't you tell him that? I think hearing it from a friend would be better than hearing it from us."
"I-I couldn't do that. Me and N-N-Naruto-kun, we really aren't f-friends." Hinata stuttered out. Her face was redder than an apple at the thought though.
Haruhi nudged Hinata towards Naruto, "How would you know if you don't talk to him?"
Well, Haruhi saw that Hinata wasn't going to move in her n indecisiveness. In response, Haruhi grabbed Hinata and threw her toward Naruto's direction. "NARUTO, HEADS UP."
Naruto, Iruka, and Anko looked up to see a screaming Hinata missile smash into Naruto. The two genin slid to a stop several feet away, completely dazed from the impact. To her credit, Anko immediately caught on after seeing what Haruhi had thrown. Only a fellow crazy people would understand something like that, luckily that is what Anko was. Iruka was about to go check on the two children when Anko grabbed him.
"Don't get involved." She whispered. Iruka wasn't sure what was going on, but followed Anko's orders.
"Owwww," Hinata said rubbing her head were a nasty goose egg was forming. Naruto was sprawled under Hinata, and was more or less in a similar state Hinata was in. Soon, Hinata finally realized who she was on and scrambled to get off. As a result, the Hyuuga was beat red and stuttering like no other. "N-N-N-N-Naruto-k-kun, g-g-gomen; are y-y-you o-okay?"
Naruto sat up. "Yah… owwww. Dammit kaa-chan, you could have hurt Hinata! What were you thinking?" Haruhi just gave him a wicked smile and shrugged. Naruto turned back to Hinata. "Are you okay Hinata?"
Hinata was beat red, 'Naruto-kun is concerned about me.' "I t-think I'm f-f-fine Naruto-kun."
With a dubious, "You sure?" Naruto still checked to make sure Hinata was fine, which only made Hinata blush even more.
"Naruto-kun, I h-heard about w-what was s-said to you." At that, Naruto stopped what he was doing and stared at Hinata. Hinata was a little unnerved, but she already made it this far. "I-I think the counselor was w-wrong. Y-you are a g-good p-person and I think y-you will n-never do what that m-man said y-you would do."
There she said it. It felt good to actually tell Naruto how she felt.
"Do… do you really think so Hinata?" Naruto face hadn't changed since Hinata started.
Hinata wasn't sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing. "Y-yes" was all she got out. In a blink of an eye, Naruto had Hinata in a bear hug.
"Thank you. Everyone says I'm a monster. They're wrong, but it still hurts."
Anko and Iruka smiled at the touching moment between the two, and Haruhi was seconds away from dancing at her success. Unfortunately, Hinata never heard the words, for as soon as the paled-eyed girl registered Naruto was hugging her, Hinata was out like a light.
Naruto was feeling a lot better after Hinata's statement of her faith in his humanity.
While Haruhi was gone, Anko had gone over what the counselor should have told Naruto. When Iruka had arrived, the scarred man actually told Naruto about his first kill and how he felt afterwards. Naruto had his doubts, but Hinata had smashed them. It was actually… what's that word, where your chest feels all warm and fuzzy inside?... ah whatever, to hear those words, coming from someone his own age when few even tried to learn anything about him….
Haruhi walked up to her son. "You can always talk to us if you have any problems. Remember that always Naru-kun." Naruto smiled at his mother. It wasn't a fake smile and Haruhi was getting better at telling them apart.
Iruka was going to join them when he suddenly found a set of hands wrapping themselves around his neck. "You know, you're gonna be getting tons of brownie points for what you've done for my otouto." Anko whispered in his ear. It was making Iruka… nervous though. "I should reward you."
Anko licked the side of Iruka's face to emphasize the point. O.K…. Iruka was attracted to Anko physically, he can't lie about that, but he wasn't like that.
"Uh-Thank you Anko-san but I must be going. Naruto if you ever need to talk. I'm always free." With that said Iruka shushine-ed the fuck out of there.
Anko just looked between her arms where the attractive young man once stood. "He likes a good chase too, huh? I'm coming for you Iruka-kun." Anko sang with a near-maniacal smirk as she shushined after him.
Naruto had a sweat bubble. "Iruka-sensei is in real trouble, isn't he Kaa-chan?"
Haruhi was going to say that Anko wouldn't hurt him before she decided to think of a better way to put it.
Once again Haruhi thought over what she knew of Anko.
"Yah, he's screwed." She finally said and Naruto just nodded in agreement.
It was two hours later and Anko hadn't returned and Hinata was still out.
In that time, Haruhi had been watching over Naruto's training with Luna. Luna had two jobs; build up Naruto's chakra control and figure out what fighting style would best suit the blond. The white fox was currently teaching Naruto how to tree walk, and suffice to say, it was slow going.
Naruto was now about 6 feet from the ground and wasn't getting any higher. He had tried to use less chakra and promptly fell on his butt for his efforts. The next time he tried more chakra and got sent flying from the tree.
Luna had to explain that, too much chakra and it would push Naruto off. Naruto needed better control if he was going to tap into his fox chakra. If the genin didn't have enough control then he could be seriously hurt from his own chakra.
Fox chakra was more condensed and several times stronger than normal human chakra. It was like a raging river to a mere garden hose. Naruto's coils would be pushed to their limits and he would receive chakra burns more easily. And so, the young one needed to get better control if she was going to teach him anything.
"Oh, Naruto-kun." Haruhi perked up at hearing that. Haruhi spun in all direction, trying to find where that voice came from. Then there was a soft giggle and a "Naruto-kun stop, not here."
Haruhi looked down to see Hinata rolling around and smiling from ear to ear. "mmmmm Naruto-kun."
Haruhi couldn't believe what she was hearing. Seriously. 'Was this girl having a sex dream with Naruto?' Another moan confirmed Haruhi's thoughts.
"Hey Naruto, tell me again why you won't ask this girl out?" Haruhi yelled out to her son causing Naruto to fall again.
Naruto groaned, "What did you say Kaa-chan?"
A rather loud knock on the door caught Haruhi's attention. "Never-mind!"
Naruto frowned and went back to his training while Haruhi went to see who could be at the door. When she arrived to the door, Haruhi checked herself to make sure she looked presentable as a clan head.
"Hello and welc…" Her greeting stopped short when she saw who was on the other side of the door.
It was none other than the head of the famous Hyuuga clan, Hiashi.
When Neji returned to the Hyuuga compound, he went to Hiashi's office. After all, it was his job to inform Hiashi if anything went on in the village. Neji hated going to see Hiashi and Haishi knew this. However knowing the happenings of Konoha was Hiashi's job, and all Hyuuga were to report to him if they found something of interest.
Thus, Neji informed Hiashi about what the counselor had said to Naruto, much to Hiashi's surprise. Hiashi was admittedly impressed with the counselors work at the time, but even he could not stand to support a man that would say something like that to a future Konoha nin. Especially if that nin could destroy the entire village should his prisoner take control.
Neji also informed Hiashi that a white haired woman was demanding something should be done and that the Hokage had started an investigation. Hiashi could understand that. Any parent would demand the same and knowing how much Sarutobi cared for Naruto, it was clear what would happen.
Hiashi was surprised to hear that Gai was K.O.-ed in one punch from Haruhi though. To explain, at one point Gai had asked to teach Neji other forms of taijutsu, to which one member of the Main Family, rather arrogantly, proclaim that the Gentle Fist style was more than enough. To no one's surprise, Gai disagreed, and in the end had to fight the Hyuuga from the main family.
Suffice it to say, Gai wiped the floor with the main family member. Hiashi could attest to that incident, as he himself was present to that spectacular humiliation and had to admit to himself that Gai was an 'elite' for a reason.
The last thing that Neji reported had annoyed Hiashi to no end however.
Hinata went with Haruhi.
Hiashi knew this would create a stir in the Hyuuga counsel, and worst yet, if the rest of the village found out? Rumors would be flying all over the place. Hiashi got ready and went to retrieve his daughter. As clan head, he didn't have to go. After all, Hiashi could have sent Neji; but he himself wanted to exchange a few words with the new clan's founder.
It was his first time seeing the Uzumaki compound. He had to admit that it was rather beautiful. The houses were well kept and the gardens and park were full of life from flower and trees, even if the place was empty of human life. When Hiashi first saw the main house, his exact words were "I've seen better."
Now here Hiashi was looking right into Haruhi's red eyes. "I am sorry if I came at an inconvenient time, but I believe my daughter is here."
Haruhi looked at Hiashi for a little bit before answering, "Yes, I'll go fetch her."
"While I'm here, I would also like to engage in a discussion with you, Miss Uzumaki." That stopped Haruhi in her tracks.
Haruhi was once again looking Hiashi up and down. The mother wanted to know what exactly Hiashi was up to before she let the man into her home. He was keeping his Hyuuga demeanor up, and it was impossible to read…. If you weren't a Kyuubi of course, but even then Haruhi wasn't sure what this was about.
"Very well, please come in." Haruhi lead the leader of the strongest clan in Konoha to her living room.
Hiashi sat quietly on the couch while Haruhi sat across from him. "Would you like something to drink?" Haruhi was only following proper edict.
"No, thank you, I won't be here that long I believe. Tell me, has the clan been doing well?" Hiashi asked watching Haruhi carefully.
Haruhi smirked, "It's fine. We made new friends with the Uchiha and the Inuzuka. Naruto is training to become the Hokage and I would like to think he's doing rather well."
Just then several loud yelps of colorful profanity and yelling about how trees were stupid came through the open back door. Hiashi slowly leaned over to peer out the door.
"Just keep working at it dear!" Haruhi yelled to her son as she brought a cup of tea to her lips.
'When did she get tea?' Hiashi thought when he looked back at Haruhi.
Hiashi, was at the meeting that formed Haruhi's clan, he had sat idle and worked out every possible way to make this… strange occurrence, work in his favor. When he returned home later that day, the Hyuuga head went to look up any records on Minato's wife that the Hyuuga had. He found to his surprise that there was very little on the woman.
The description matched, but anything else was either missing or non-existant.
And now, if he were to challenge the Uzumaki, he would also be up against the Uchiha and the Inuzuka. Hiashi wasn't worried about the Uchiha. The only two people in that clan that could even fight were Mikoto and Sasuke, and neither had the Sharingan. In the mother's case, Mikoto will never gain them. Politically, their only power came from the masses giving them support, whatever good that'll do them.
The Inuzuka, on the other hand were equal to the Hyuuga. Politically, the Inuzuka actually beat the Hyuuga more often because they also had more support from the villagers. If things should also come to a fight, the Inuzuka outnumbered the Hyuuga thanks to their dogs. Hiashi also had known that a very well trained Inuzuka could beat a Hyuuga…not easily, but they could.
"You don't want to talk with me about my clan. You are not as welcomed to our family yet, unlike your daughter. Please get to the point." Haruhi said, irritation beginning to lace her words.
Hiashi looked at Haruhi for a bit before answering. "You know that my daughter has feelings toward your son, correct?"
Haruhi smirked, "Your daughter has good taste."
Hiashi ignored the comment. "Tell me, what do you think would happen if people saw my daughter coming here to see Naruto on a regular basis?" Hiashi asked in his Hyuuga 'hide all emotions' tone.
Immediately, Haruhi saw where this was going and narrowed her eyes. "People would start rumors about our children and our clans. I don't see a problem though." Haruhi really didn't want to get rid of one of the few people that wanted to be around her son.
Hiashi nodded his head in agreement. "That's right. You see, as clan heads we must also look out for not only our family, but their reputations as well." The way Haishi was talking gave her the impression that he was attempting to teach a child.
"Are you saying that you think the Uzumaki clan will hurt the Hyuuga's reputation if we are seen together?" Haruhi was growling that sentence out, but Hiashi chose to ignore the obvious anger in Haruhi's voice.
"To put it bluntly… yes; however this has nothing to do with my clan's reputation and more to do with my daughter's reputation." Hiashi said without batting an eye.
Haruhi couldn't believe her ears. The man had the balls to walk into her house and insult her family! "I suggest you choose your words more carefully, Hyuuga-san."
"…That is why I propose an alliance." Hiashi said without a beat, nearly overrunning her previous statement.
"If you think you can…come again?" Haruhi was confused. Weren't they just talking about how her son would hurt his daughter? So why was Hiashi suddenly proposing an alliance?
"'I propose an alliance'. It would be public knowledge that our clans are helping each other, much like you with the Uchiha and Inuzuka. You see, my daughter will come see Naruto whether I forbid it or not. You may not know it, but it is one of the very few things she will disobey me with."
"You told her to stay away from Naruto before, haven't you?" Haruhi asked. The anger was no longer there and it was replaced with curiosity.
Hiashi nodded, "Yes, I have; but even I will admit that your son helps my daughter."
Haruhi was going to ask what he meant, but Hiashi in a rare moment just gave her a look that said it was his secret.
"When you announce the formation of your clan, there will be an up-roar for answers, and an even larger one saying that this clan should not exist. However, if you have the backing of the Uchiha, the Inuzuka, and the Hyuuga? Then your clan will be more readily accepted amongst the populace than if you were by yourselves." Hiashi said smoothly, as he gave the reason for saying yes.
Now it was time for the catch. "What would you get out of such an alliance?" Haruhi asked intrigued.
"We would be seen as the clan that helped the Fourth start his clan." Hiashi said flatly.
Haruhi didn't like the sounds of that. "You want to ride on my husband's legacy." It wasn't a question, but a realization.
"Yes, as well as it would allow my daughter to come here more freely and see your son. Now that he isn't an orphan and has become the to-be heir of the Fourth's clan, this would also be more accepted as well." Hiashi added.
Haruhi was going to say no until that last bit of information. Fact is, Naruto had almost no friends his age, and this was her chance to have a real one that truly cared for him. Haruhi thought over all the possibilities, and one thought brought a large smile to her face, making Haruhi stare into space.
Hiashi watched Haruhi and wondered where he had seen that face before. It didn't take long. He had seen that look on his wife's face several times, and every time he asked, it was always the same answer…
Haruhi giggled a little and Hiashi started to second-guess if he was doing the right thing. Before he could go back on the deal though, Haruhi had already grabbed Hiashi's hand from nowhere and was shaking it with much vigor.
"I heartily accept your proposal, Hiashi-kun." Haruhi said with a big smile from ear to ear.
Hiashi on the other hand was thinking. 'Oh dear kami, what did I just do?'
At this point, Hiashi wanted to cry. His plans had horribly back fired, but it was too late now. The Hyuuga could protest now, but if Haruhi was anything like his wife, then there wasn't any point. All his arguments would go in one ear and out another.
Haruhi left the bewildered Hyuuga to go cheerily fetch Hinata. When the white haired fox went outside, she saw Hinata watching Naruto from the porch, smiling as the blond once again raced up a tree. This only brought a bigger smile to Haruhi's face. "Naruto-kun, come say goodbye to Hinata!" Haruhi called out.
The yell got both of the genins attention. Hinata blushed at being caught watching her favorite show "The Never Give Up Show, staring Uzumaki Naruto."
Naruto on the other hand fell again from the tree, but this time landing on his head. Once again colorful profanity filled the backyard.
"N-Naruto-kun are you alright?" Hinata called out in worry, but Naruto just rolled over and gave Hinata a thumbs-up. Hinata sighed in relief. Haruhi had seen the whole thing and an even larger smile was on her face, threatening to split her face in two. Haruhi and Hinata waited for Naruto to join them before they went into the compound.
Hinata gasped in surprise at seeing her father sitting in the living room. Hiashi had never personally come to get her from anywhere. The Hyuuga head had always sent a branch member or expected her to come home on time. "Father, why are you here?"
"I have come to discuss some issues with Uzumaki-san, and also to retrieve you." Hiashi's look turned cold. It was a slight gesture, nearly unnoticeable, but Hinata was a Hyuuga all her life and saw it. However, it was not so slight that Haruhi couldn't see it either. "Considering my daughter ran off without telling anyone where she was going…. I thought it might be necessary to apologize if my daughter wasn't welcomed."
Hinata looked down at her feet. "I'm sorry, Father."
Haruhi didn't like the fact that Hinata was being scolded in front of her, but Hiashi had brought up good points that she herself would bring up with Naruto if he had done the same thing. Haruhi knew however that Naruto would not say sorry like Hinata. The blond would have defended his action with something about being worried about his friends.
Naruto on the other hand stepped in front of Hinata as if to shield her. "It is okay, Hinata was worried about me and just wanted to make sure I was okay. She shouldn't be punished for that. Not to mention, Hinata is always welcomed here."
Hinata looked up at Naruto with a beat red face. "D-Do you m-mean t-that Naruto-kun."
Naruto looked over his shoulder and gave Hinata a big smile. "Of course, Hinata. You are now officially one of my 'precious people'."
Hinata found herself eep-ing at Naruto's remark and fought desperately not to pass out.
Hiashi watched the whole scene in silence with a furrowed brow, annoyed that the blond destroyed his attempt to scold his daughter. Hiashi looked up to Haruhi for some help in the matter. What he saw instead was Haruhi just giving him a smile that spoke of nothing but pride for what her son was doing. Or was she smirking instead?
From that, Hiashi actually found himself sighing in front of someone other than a Hyuuga, "Come, Hinata. I still have work to do, and you need to get your studies done."
Hinata was the heir and that meant she had to be fluent in running a clan."Yes father. I'll see you later Naruto-kun and thank you."
With that Hinata moved to Hiashi's side and the Hyuugas left the Uzumaki compound.
Naruto was turning to go back to his training when Haruhi grabbed her son in a missive bear hug. "You're so cute, Naruto! I'm so glad you're my son! You defended a girl against her own father. You'll make a fine husband one day!" Haruhi was rubbing her cheek to Naruto's and holding the boy off the ground.
"Kaa-chan…can't…breath…" Naruto gasped out. Haruhi just squeezed tighter which subsequently made Naruto release whatever air he had left like a balloon.
In the mean time Hiashi was scolding his daughter as they were walking home, and had been doing so for most of the way, until he looked down at Hinata, and saw her smiling in content from ear to ear.
"Hinata are you listening to me?"
Still no reply.
Hinata jumped a little and looked up at her father. "I-I'm sorry father. Did you say something? I was just enjoying this wonderful day."
With that said Hinata went back to smiling like an idiot and even started humming a melody her mother had taught her before she died.
Hiashi just stared at Hinata, 'She's ignoring me… she is becoming too much like her mother.' Hiashi knew that it was pointless to tell any women anything if they didn't want to hear it and right now, Hinata was so happy with Naruto's words that they were drowning out anything Hiashi was saying.
Hiashi turned back to the road, giving up on trying to speak with Hinata. Instead, he decided to focus on how he was going to inform the Hyuuga counsel of his decision.
The fact that he formed an alliance without any advisement wasn't going to sit well with any of the Hyuugas. Hiashi knew that even if they didn't like it, they would support it as long as he gave reasonable reason why. Hiashi wouldn't use his daughter, especially because rumors of her being stripped of her position as heir was already spreading. Hiashi didn't want any more strikes against Hinata.
He was impressed with Naruto though. The boy had defended Hinata without any fear of him. Either he was brave or stupid. Good thing he wasn't a betting man because, Hiashi should have picked stupid. He would have been more accurate, but currently the Hyuuga was leaning towards bravery. Hiashi didn't want the same thing that Haruhi did, but if Naruto did prove to be a boon to the Hyuuga clan, he would support such a union. Right now though, Naruto was just an annoyance, and unfit to see his daughter in such a way.
Looking down at his daughter again and seeing a smile he hadn't seen in a long time, was making him think that maybe this was going to be a very good thing.
"Iruka-kun… where are you?" Anko called out as she was walking down the streets of Konoha. Anko had already checked Iruka's apartment and the school. Needless to say, the snake mistress had scared some of the genin hopefuls with a sudden shushine from out of nowhere. Anko had also inadvertently started a new fan club at the place, as boys who grew a crush or is that lust? and girls that like Anko's additude joined the 'we love Anko club.' At this point though, Anko was now prowling the street for the scarred chunin, thoughts of the academy brats the furthest thing from her mind. Whilst in her hunt, Anko happened to walk past Ichiraku's.
"Okay, Iruka-kun she's gone, you can come out." Ayame whispered to a frozen Iruka, who was hiding behind the counter.
Iruka slowly rose and leaned on the counter with a sigh, which stemmed from both relief and exhaustion. He had been running from Anko since he left Naruto's compound after all, and he didn't think endurance was exactly his strong suit. "Thanks for the hiding spot, Ayame."
Ayame gave a bright smile in response to her crush. She would pretty much let Iruka do anything, and that also meant a few things that left Ayame blushing about when she really thought about it. Ayame was a healthy young woman after all.
Ayame's father was currently out getting supplies for the shop, which explains their being alone. "Mind telling me why you are running from that woman, Iruka-kun?" Ayame asked.
Iruka sighed in response, as he himself didn't know exactly why he was running. Iruka had filled Ayame in on what happened at Naruto's. It was brief, but the girl got the general idea. "I don't know. I am attracted to her."
That one comment brought Ayame so low that she could have sworn her heart stopped.
"But….." Hope filled Ayame's life once again. "I just don't feel that way."
Ayame moved a little closer to Iruka. This was her chance, "Is there someone else? Is that why you are avoiding her?"
Pulling another Naruto move in 'foot into mouth', "No, there is no one that would prevent me from seeing Anko."
Ayame was a little upset at hearing that, but before she could say anything, "Iruka-kun, are you in there!" Anko called out and Iruka was once again crouched behind the counter.
Ayame turned to Anko with irritation in her eyes. "What are you doing here?" Ayame greeted Anko.
Anko smirked, "Hi to you too, Sis."
"….What did you call me?" Ayame asked not believing her ears.
"Naruto considers both of us his big sisters and we both consider him our little brother. I think that makes us family. We might not like each other, but we agree that Naruto is important." The entire time, Anko had an air of arrogance that Ayame didn't like, but then, that was how Anko was.
"We may both be Naruto's sisters, but we are not each others." Ayame said. Ayame would normally be friendly with Anko about this, but right now her crush was hiding from this woman.
Anko just smirk, "Sorry 'Sis', but that's your nick name for me. Now, have you seen Iruka-kun?"
Ayame tilted her head to the side, while narrowing her eyes. "Why do you want to know?"
At that, Anko knew something was up and decided to play a mind-game with her… what? Mind Games are fun!
"I want to know where he is so I can tie him up and have my way with him all night every night. I'm sure he will enjoy it as much as me."
Iruka was blushing, mostly for the audacity of it all, (I mean in public? Saying all of this, in public!? Where his students can hear? And their freaking parents? Good grief, he's a school teacher!!! Or close enough!!!), but Ayame was red for other reasons.
"First you want my otouto, and now you want my Iruka-kun?!" Ayame slammed her hand over her mouth realizing what she said.
Anko just laughed, "I see we're competition in more than just Naruto's best nee-chan! I won't lose to you! When I find Iruka-kun I'll make him mine, all mine!"
With that said she left laughing rather maniacally even more. Anko knew Iruka was close enough to hear what Ayame had said. Anko was going home now, seeing as she had accomplished something rather fun.
Ayame watched her go in silence, not knowing what to say. After Anko was out of sight, the brunette looked at where Iruka was and saw that he was long gone. Ayame's heart stopped and a feeling of dread washed over her. Ayame hoped against all hope that Iruka was gone before she had made a fool of herself.
Iruka in the mean time was in the training ground were his team once trained. It was in the woods with small clearings here and there. He had heard what Ayame said and had to admit to himself that he was attracted to both girls…physically. Iruka would never start a relationship on that alone though. Sighing to himself, Iruka thought of the old times when he was a genin and the times he had spent with Lora. It was the main reason he never looked for love with anyone. Sighing again, Iruka had a lot to think over.
'It's going to be a long night, isn't it?' he thought to himself…
I hope you liked the chapter. Once again review and if you seen something, be free to tell me. My only request is give me ideas to fix it.
Orannis4: I will admit that I didn't see that, but now that I look at it. I like the way it is. Naruto would say something like that more than being politically correct.
The JP: I would agree with you after the wave mission. In the beginning Sasuke was clearly better. After Naruto gets some real training though, yes he is equal if not better than Sasuke.
Both of you and all the other people who have reviewed, thank you for your opinions and your help.
And everyone else who has placed me on favorites and alerts, thank you. It is nice to have fans.