Sorry for the late update, I've been on vacation.

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The kid slept for almost a week, completely healed yet unmoving and unresponsive to the world.

At least that's how it appeared from the outside.

Inside his inner world he…. Well he was only asleep for about three days in there. Man, that boy can snore loudly for such a small kid.

He also sported a fancy new pair of whiskers on his cheeks. Come to think of it those might be my fault and not scars from his fall… whatever he's alive and I sacrificed a possible chance of freedom for that. Why did I do that again?

The answer hung happily in front of my cell, innocently driving me even further past the brink of insanity.

Oh. Right. That.

Currently said host was attempting to scale the wooden bars of my cell to reach said marble, upon my request of course.

He honestly responded pretty well to the situation of, you know, finding out he had a giant supremely powerful fox hollow in side his head.

He… well see for your self.

/Flashback courtesy of the giant flat screen TV//

The small blonde boy opened bleary blue eyes and sat up, cutely yawning while scrubbing at his face with a tight fist.

Having finished his morning ritual he stared in awe at the giant seemingly empty dark cage in front of him.

Eventually even he grew bored with that and fearfully spread his attention to the dark dank sewer around him.

"Hello?" he called, "is anyone there?"

A deep voice that shook the entire world answered.

"Yes."

Now let's stop for a minute and take a detour down psychology lane. It is a given fact that small children are known to put up faces of self-bravo to impress their piers or respected authority figures. Naruto subconsciously uses this tactic in the vain hope of gaining acknowledgement from the aforementioned group of people. He also has had to use this tactic when running from bullies or the occasional overly drunk civilian on his birthday. Detour over; you should not be surprised at what came out of Naruto's mouth next.

Quickly masking his fright the tiny boy stilled his trembling lips and shouted, "I'm not scared of you!"

The dark voice chuckled, " You will be in a minute."

"Nuh Uh!"

"Oh?"

"Ya! I'm Not scared of anything! Especially scary voices that don't come out of the dark! I dare you to come out, 'cuz I still wont be scared!"

"Hahaha, alright, I'll come out. Just remember, I promise not to hurt you ok?"

"I said I wasn't scared of anything!"

" … That you did. Alright ,here I come."

From the clinging shadows in the darkness beyond the cage door a pair of glowing red eyes opened. Naruto watched ,face slack, as an enormous four-legged monster emerged from the dark and smiled down at him with fangs longer than a man was tall.

Naruto sat in silence, having fallen back to the floor unknowingly.

"Are you scared now?"

Naruto screamed.

//End//

When the boy had finally screamed himself hoarse, which wasn't soon enough to preserve the visord's hearing, Ichigo calmly tried to explain what he was, where they were, and why the 'shiny marble up there' was so important.

Naruto was convinced that it all was a very strange dream.

"So you got sick and got turned into a giant monster and need my help to get the shiny thing to get better so you can go home and find your friends?"

Ichigo sighed, "Sure, that's a pretty good summary."

The blonde's face set itself into an expression of sincere heartfelt determination.

"Ok. Everyone wants to go home." And just like that he started an arduous climb up the side of the fox's cage.

In reality the seal containing the hougyoku was at most equivalent to the distance one must climb from the floor to reach the jar of cookies on the top shelf of the pantry, but Naruto was only about five, and those cookies are put in exactly that place to deter wandering toddlers intent on spoiling their dinner.

So ya, in proportion it was a long climb.

After a while even Ichigo became nervous of the boys determination and increasingly tall falls.

After one such fall caused by the surprise of his fingers brushing the ice cold charm's surface, Ichigo descended into a flurry of concern.

"Are you alright? You didn't hit your head did you? Are you bleeding?"

The blonde sat up unscathed, but this time his nose was scrunched up, drawing his expression to one of discomfort or confusion.

Ichigo was all of a flutter with worry. He may not be the best with kids ,but he was in possession of a protective streak which had in the past led his sister Karin to calling him a mother hen.

"Are you ok? What's Wrong?"

The child's confused expression depended and finally he said, "Why do you care?"

Ichigo's worries questions fell silent.

The blonde continued, " Why do you care so much about me? No one else does at the orphanage, not even the nurse lady who likes everyone and gives them lollypops, so why do you?"

The sound of dripping water filled the cell, and the boy stared up into the face of what unknowingly caused his turmoil, eyes moist.

Ichigo meanwhile was at a loss for words. " I care," he said at last "because you are important to me."

This time the kid did cry.

Before Ichigo could settle his frantic mind and attempt to comfort the blonde, the child had already begun once again to climb up the side of the cage.

"I'll get the shiny thing for sure this time!"

And the vizard could honestly say later that he was completely surprised when the tiny blonde did just that. His fingers stretching, reaching, clawing for the scrap of paper and the jewel attached to it.

With a soft rip and a crash Naruto was once again splayed across the ground , but this time he held his prize aloft in triumph.

The bottom portion of the seal suffered a minor tear but luckily still held.

"I got it!" proudly the wet tear streaked boy held the hougyoku in hand.

"Very good!" ichigo was trying to contain his excitement and keeping both his voice and reitsu under control, lest he frighten his host. "Now give it to me, quick!"

The blonde child scurried to the bars of the cage and reached his fist as far as he could into the darkness.

The jewel began to glow through his fingers, piercing the darkness with its blinding power and causing the water to boil into a thick mist.

I chigo made a strangled yelp before he too was enveloped.

As soon as it started it stopped. Very slowly Naruto opened his large blue eyes.

"Hey monster-san are you still there?"

Through the mist on the other side of the cage door something moved closer gaining definition.

First it was just a hand, tan and well calloused, then a torso clad in a tight black flowing jacket; Naruto's mouth fell open as he gazed up at the figure's face which was framed by long spikes of orange hair.

The figure knelt down and gently clasped the child's tight fist in his own. The top portion of his face was covered by a bone white mask which curved back around his head with two long horns that mimicked some animal's ears. The man smiled and Naruto noticed that he had three red stripes on each masked cheek.

"Call me Ichigo."

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sorry for the late updates on everything, I've been on vacation!!!!