Chapter 4 – Bonds
"So let me get this straight." Minato said exasperatedly, "The nine tailed demon fox tried to rape you in your sleep."
A breeze of winter blew into the room through the open window. Konoha shivered against the rope that tied her to the breakfast table chair.
Konoha wrinkled her nose. "I just sat on him. Don't go making something out of nothing."
"You had no business sitting on him naked. Regardless of that, you didn't have to knock me out." Mikoto added.
Konoha had a condescending grin on her face, "I don't like you, Uchiha. And I just couldn't resist, you were so weak."
Slamming her hands on the table, Mikoto stomped toward Konoha. Their faces were inches apart. "I dare you to say that again."
A melodic laughter filled the room. "I'll indulge you. You are weak."
Mikoto raised her hand to strike, but a flying steamed bun caused her to act instinctively.
"Breakfast, Hime. You should at least eat before you lose your composure."
"Shut up!" Mikoto took a big bite, although reluctantly.
Minato scratched the back of his head and faced Konoha. "Care to explain what happened last night?"
"Mind your own business, Blondie."
"Naruto, if you would, please?"
"Konoha, explain. I am curious also."
"Yes Master." She sheepishly glanced at him. "You denied me of what was rightfully mine."
Konoha sighed tiredly, "I wanted to connect to you. To help you understand."
"I told you. Konoha, I do not need a servant. There is no debt for you to repay."
Konoha recoiled as if struck. "That's just it. You still don't understand! I wasn't offering to be your servant. The bond between us is can never be severed. Let me help you."
The neutral expression on Naruto's face belied his feelings. Whatever Konoha was, she was the only one in this world that validated his existence. His past had vanished: his lover, his friends, teachers, and enemies. The loss was hard to deal with. It wasn't as if they had died – no, it was far worse than that. They did not exist, and never will exist as far as Naruto was concerned.
"There is no need." Naruto repeated dully.
She screamed, "You!"
A miasma of putrid chakra seeped out of Konoha as her features became feral. Her canines lengthened as her pupils narrowed into a slit. The rope that tied her to the chair eroded.
Her voice boomed, "You brat. Even after giving you my life, you still deny the bond that ties us?"
"Konoha, please calm down." Minato tried to appease her.
Her eyes shifted toward the Yondaime, "You pest! Be silent unless you want to see this forsaken village in ashes."
Corrosive chakra continued to pour out of her.
"Minato, Mikoto, stay away from her and under no circumstances allow her chakra to touch you. It acts as a poison and will rot flesh."
"How sweet of you to remember, Naruto-kun." Konoha spoke through clenched teeth. Bubbling chakra condensed in her palm and formed a long edged sword. Raising the blade, she set in stance to pounce.
A scream resonated throughout the apartment.
"Mikoto, no, back down!"
Naruto's plea did not reach her in time. The kaleidoscope blades in her eyes spun madly as she charged toward Konoha, lighting crackling in her palm. "You will not harm Naruto. He has a promise to keep."
Konoha easily side stepped the oncoming attack. Amusement was evident in her feline eyes. "Oh, so little time in this world and you're already making promises to other women?" She pointed her sword at Naruto, "Don't you think you're moving a little too fast?"
She took a step closer to Naruto, sword still leveled. "Have you forgotten your place? Have you forgotten the fact that you belong to me?"
Tendrils of chakra shot out from her aura. Naruto tried to dodge, but the small apartment left little space for maneuvering. Necrosis set in as Konoha's chakra wrapped around him.
"Too slow, darling!" Her tone was saccharine.
Konoha rushed at him with a manic smile. Before her sword struck, however, the world around them changed.
"Tsukuyomi!" Mikoto shouted.
Her strike followed through. Konoha's katana embedded into Naruto to its helt. "I'll show you," she whispered to him. With a gentle tug, she pulled sword out. "I'll show you." Konoha repeated. Her blade rammed into him once more. Over and over again, she stabbed him. "If you won't recognize me, if you won't acknowledge me, if you won't accept me..." She chanted as tears rolled down her cheek.
Mikoto's footsteps alerted Konoha. Her head whipped around and her crazed gaze focused on Mikoto.
"You thieving whore. If your kind didn't exist, this would never have happened." Seals flashed through Konoha's hands.
Mikoto didn't panic. They were in her world – she was the queen bitch of this universe. Spires of black flame shot out of the ground at her will and interrupted Konoha mid-seal.
"Such tricks cannot harm me, Uchiha." Konoha taunted. Katana in hand, she edged around the spires with ease. Crimson flames of her own erupted from her blade and she effortlessly cut down the pillars.
Mikoto whispered, "Mokuton: Jubaku Eisō!"
Obsidian trees abruptly grew under and around Konoha. Panic flashed through her eyes as she was enclosed by its branches. "Impossible!"
Mikoto walked toward Konoha with a leisure pace. "Think of it as a little gift from Naruto." She provoked. Her eyes glanced down at the bound demon. "I was one with Naruto. He possessed me and gave me glances into his past. This is just one of the few hundred techniques he showed me." Mikoto smirked "This is my world, I make the rules. I have no need for the Shoudai's bloodline to use this technique."
The dark aura around Konoha erupted. She was furious. "You dare to violate Naruto's memories!?"
In a split second, the tree binding her became nothing more than flakes of char. "Uchiha, I will show you the depth of my bond with Naruto."
Bones broke through Konoha's flesh and her form morphed. "I will show you the difference between a shared lifetime and just a few stolen seconds of his past!"
If Mikoto felt fear, she did not show it. The monstrosity before her retained its humanoid form. But its mouth was stretched wide across its face and bared rows of razor-like teeth. Its skin was black as the night while alabaster blades protruded from its joints.
The corner of her eyes caught movement. Two copies of the demoness popped into existence and flanked her with impossible speed.
Mikoto quickly erected wooden barriers around herself. Shards of bone nailed into the barrier and the demon clones used them as stairs to flip over the barrier. When Mikoto looked up, the shadows each held a spinning ball of raging chakra.
"You die now, Uchiha."
Konoha's rasengan descended down onto Mikoto.
Naruto's bleeding form stirred. His vision was blurred and his breathing ragged. A shrill scream pierced his eardrums. Not far off in the distance, he saw three black forms standing over a still body.
No matter how much he willed his broken body to move, it refused. One of the humanoid shapes noticed his return to consciousness. It turned quickly in an animal-like fashion, and rushed toward him on all fours.
Although his vision was cloudy, Naruto still managed to see its movements. The demon tenderly sat down on him; its skin was scorching. Naruto heard the sound of tearing flesh. The being on top of him ripped out its own ulna. Naruto gasped for air as he felt intense pain in his chest. His flesh posed no resistance to the blood drenched dagger.
"Naruto-kun. Where were we?" It asked. "Oh yes," It tilted its head innocently, "You were about to tell me how much you need me."
The stabbing resumed. The pain eventually faded into an unpleasant numbness. He was barely able to breathe. Naruto locked gaze with the demon – its ruby eyes burned with madness. His hands reached up and gently pulled it into his embrace. His hand burned, but he endured.
Lips almost touching its earlobe, Naruto whispered. "That's enough, Konoha."
The two figures looming over Mikoto faded away from existence.
"You're mine," It choked out, "Why do you deny me? Am I not as important to you as they are?"
Its form returned to that of a woman. Konoha gingerly returned the embrace. "They're not real, Naruto-kun, they're not like us, only I am."
A pained expression showed on Naruto's face. "I know."
He felt warm tears rain down on him. The Kyuubi's avatar held him closer. "Then why?"
"I have nothing else here; this is all that I can do. I have to save Konoha."
"But I'm Konoha! You'll always have me"
Naruto weakly grunted in response. No words were exchanged as the two stayed wrapped in each other.
"Understood," Naruto broke the silence, "Konoha, from now on, please stay by my side."
The magnitude of her embrace became crushing.
Twenty meters from where the two lay, Mikoto's chest stopped heaving. The apartment shifted back into view.
An irritated Minato looked at him. "You need to tell Mikoto to stop pulling you into a Tsukuyomi every damn morning. What happened?"
Completely ignoring the Hokage, Naruto rushed to Mikoto's still form.
"Konoha, I need your help."
She pouted. "Do I have to?"
Naruto didn't amuse her with a response.
"Naruto, what's going on?" Minato pressed on.
Naruto calmly answered. "Mikoto is dead."
Before the Hokage can protest, Mikoto's corpse was brought into Naruto's bedroom.
"Minato, wait in the living room."
The door slammed shut.
With mechanical speed and precision, seals were grafted over Mikoto chest.
"I'm close to chakra depletion. Konoha, pump chakra into the seal."
Konoha wordlessly complied. The seal glowed dark red. But as seconds ticked by, Mikoto's condition remained unchanged.
"This isn't working." Konoha almost sounded glad.
The human brain consumed more than twenty percent of the body's oxygen intake. Once the heart is stopped, the brain had a little more than six minutes before it dies. Even if oxygen supply is resumed within that time, any damage to brain is irreversible.
Naruto cursed. The seal was gamble. In theory, when Mikoto had died in the Tsukuyomi, her soul was severed from her body. Since a soulless body could not survive, the seal's purpose was to act like a medium for chakra to bridge the soul to the body.
"Twenty seconds till cerebral anoxia, Naruto-kun."
Naruto decisively made a cut on his wrist and to Mikoto's chest. Smearing blood over Mikoto's bleeding bosom, he commanded Konoha, "Chakra, now."
Mikoto coughed and opened her eyes.
Naruto sighed in relief. It worked. His blood was needed to bridge Konoha's chakra to the seal. Through Konoha's chakra, his blood and seal, he stitched Mikoto's soul back to its body.
Fear and loathing filled Mikoto as her recognized Konoha's form. Instinctively, she grabbed onto Naruto arm.
"Hime, I don't believe you two have been properly introduced." Naruto said calmly. "This is Konoha, one of my very own demons."
Konoha chuckled dryly, "Ha ha, funny, Master, I never knew you were into puns."
"She would like to apologize to you," His eyes focused on Konoha, "Isn't that right, Konoha?"
"Sorry," Konoha said to Mikoto half-heartedly. "I'm Konoha, someone bound to Master for life, nice to meet you."
Mikoto blinked. "I'm Mikoto Uchiha."
An awkward silence followed.
"I'll go deal with Minato, you two work something out and put something on."
Konoha's clothing had been burned by her chakra; the Uchiha princess' yukata's had been ripped open in the front for the sealing procedure. Neither of the red-eyed women had noticed their exposed skin until that moment.
Naruto was ever so grateful for privacy seals as Mikoto's embarrassed shrieking was cut off as the door closed.
"So they both know about you?" Minato inquired after he was briefed on the morning's events.
"Correct. Konoha, in essence, has been with me way before this fiasco started. And Mikoto has seen snapshots of my memories."
"What are you going to do about the Kyuubi?"
"Hey! My name is Konoha, Blondie." Konoha yelled as she walked into the living room with Mikoto trailing behind. They kept a distance between each other. But they weren't trying to kill one another. Naruto assumed that they had come to an understanding of some sort.
The said blond made a face, "I don't like her."
Handing the Fourth Hokage a cold steamed bun, Naruto sighed. "You don't know the half of it."
Konoha pouted. "Master..."
"Konoha will stay with me here. She is my responsibility now."
"Master is mean. Don't talk about me as if I'm a burden."
Naruto stared at Konoha blankly and chuckled. "I'm sorry. You are right, you are not a burden."
A happy smile graced Konoha's face, "It's okay, as long as you..."
Naruto finished his sentence. "You're a demon."
"If master doesn't stop being a smart-ass, I'm going to start stabbing."
Both Mikoto and Naruto shuddered.
Minato cleared his throat. "Anyway, dinner today at seven at Hokkaidō. Jiraiya and Tsunade will be there. Dress formal and don't be late."
"Understood." Naruto answered.
Mikoto and Konoha replied simultaneously, "I'll be there."
"Don't steal my line."
"Don't steal my line."
Minato chuckled. "Oh man, sensei is going to get a kick out of this."
A soft smile tugged at Naruto's lips. "I'll bet."
The restaurant Minato had picked was extravagant. From the ornaments to the staff, everything was a shining beacon to the service industry. Minato and Kushina were happily chatting with the two Sannin when Naruto and his two guests arrived.
Jiraiya and Minato wore traditional dress robes of bold colors, but Naruto had opted to go with a fitted western suit. Each claiming one of his arms, Naruto's companions were like sinkholes that sucked in attention. To his left, Mikoto wore a little chic black dress. To his right, Konoha wore a tastefully decorated lavender kimono.
"Lucky bastard," Minato muttered, only to be elbowed in his ribs.
The dinner attendants comfortably exchanged greetings.
"So, Naruto, Minato has told us all about you." Jiraiya said to him.
Naruto glanced over to the Yondaime, "Did he now?"
Rather candidly, Minato replied, "I didn't think you would mind. I thought I'd save you the trouble of forcing years of memories into them."
Naruto stared at the Hokage for a moment, "Thanks, I suppose."
Unexpectedly, Kushina lounged in and started pinching his cheeks, "To think my son would grow up so fast!" she squealed.
Naruto never knew his mother, but from what he had learned from Jiraiya, his used to take much after her personality-wise. Naruto edged away from her grasping fingers. "I would prefer if you did not do that."
Naruto's companions had to stifle their giggles, Kushina pouted, "Ne, Minato, you weren't kidding. Our son has no personality what so ever, he's like a rock."
Naruto almost glared at Minato.
"Let's go inside, I'm sure at least one of us is hungry."
Dinner had been a light-hearted event. They avoided heavier topics but instead shared stories and laughs at Naruto's expense. However, Tsunade remained mostly quiet, her eyes frequently lingering on Naruto. From what she has seen so far, Tsunade had no reason to doubt Minato's words; that bothered her. The decisions that this child was forced to make made her uneasy.
"Naruto," She asked, "How are you doing?"
"I am fine, thank you for your concern."
"I mean really, how are you?"
Both Minato and Jiraiya looked at her warningly. But Tsunade persisted.
"Your environment changed quite a bit in coming to this world. Yet it seems like you didn't need to adjust at all. It doesn't seem like you harbor any blame for Rin. You barely smiled once during the whole dinner, which should have been a great opportunities for you to get to know us."
"I am sorry if my behavior bothers you, Tsunade-dono."
One of Tsunade's brows ticked. "You're always calm. Your dysphoria is likely a sign of post traumatic stress disorder. As the Chief Overseer of Shinobi Health, I believe that it is in your best interest to see a therapist."
Naruto glanced at Tsunade and coolly replied, "While I do appreciate your concern, I must decline."
Mikoto and Kushina were shocked at Naruto's prompt refusal. Mikoto casted a worried side glance at him. "It could help, Naruto, why don't you try it?"
"I'm fine." He said to her. Then he returned his attention to Tsunade, "I understand your reasoning, but I know full well the effects and symptoms of PTSD. My mental health is perfectly adequate."
Tsunade opened her mouth to retort. The building shook. Explosions far off in the distance rumbled through the earth.
Two ANBU appeared by the Hokage's side. "Sir! They came out of nowhere! The West and South gate has already been compromised and we're taking heavy artillery fire!"
Minato's eyes hardened. "Tsunade, Jiraiya, Konoha needs your strength."
There was no need for the Sannin to consider the request. "I'll be at the hospital. You boys stay safe."
As Tsunade left in a swirl of leaves, she said, "Don't think this conversation is over, Naruto-kun."
AN: It's a bit late, but better that than never. The rest of the story is pretty much plotted out. So you can expect updates about once a week from now on. Don't worry, this isn't going to turn into a "lol emo Naruto broods around" sort of thing.
I'm not a fan of harem fics. But toying with these multiple characters is just so damn fun. We'll see. You like the crazy Konoha?