Alternate Hosting

By TwinEnigma

Warnings: AU, Follows timeline.

Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto or its characters nor do I make profit from the writing of this.

Tail One:

Shino didn't understand why he had to be careful with his chakra at first. He knew, somehow, that it had to do with the fact his chakra wasn't quite the same as everyone else's and it had an effect on the bugs he played host to. It was worrisome, a little, and he didn't like not knowing why.

His parents knew why, but they always said, "When you're older."

He suspected the adults in the village knew, too, by the way they tried not to look at him.

It hurt his parents, he could see it. They didn't like the looks and they'd always pull him closer, as though a threat he couldn't see surrounded them.

His chakra resisted him at times, surging forward in leaps that would disorient and overwhelm his bugs, driving them into a frenzied state or frying them alive. It took years of extra training and careful cultivation of the survivors to allow him to use them as he was supposed to. Even then, he didn't understand why this happened and it hurt so bad each time.

Finally, Mizuki-sensei had taken pity on him after graduation and offered to explain everything to him in secret, at an old storehouse.

Shino arrived to find the class clown, Naruto, trying to read a scroll of forbidden jutsu. Naruto was as bewildered as he was, having been told to bring the scroll and learn something on it as part of his graduation test.

When Mizuki-sensei arrived, his words were not what either boy expected, but they explained so, so much and so very little: "You are the monster fox, a killer. And Naruto, as the legacy of the fourth, has every right to want to kill you, monster."

In his worst nightmares, he could not have fathomed that this would be the thing his parents had kept from him all this time. Was he really human? Was he the real Shino or just an illusion of a person created by the fox? All this time, had the fox been killing his bugs on purpose?

His answers came to him not in words, but in actions.

Mizuki-sensei took advantage of their shock to attack, flinging his large shuriken at Naruto and the scroll.

Shino leapt in front of Naruto without thinking, taking the brunt of the attack himself, and yelled at him to run for help.

A monster would not do that.

Monsters wouldn't even think about it.

Yeah, he definitely wasn't a monster.

AN: It was interesting deciding how to handle Shino as the host of Kyuubi. I figured it wouldn't do well with the bugs.

Each of the drabbles in this story focuses on a single member of the Rookie Nine as host and goes in order of birth (save for Naruto, who is placed out of that order - you'll see why). The drabbles also go in time order.

This one covers at the Mizuki incident.