There was laughing. There was booze. Lots and lots of both. Giggles, sake, chuckles, beer, hearty laughs, wine, snickers, rum, snorts and mixed drinks.
There was also fighting. The booze and laughter continued through the fight.
There were pills. There were broken glass ampules of sickly sweet smelling liquids that made everything funnier. There was more booze. There was more fighting. There were cheers. There were wails. There was kissing and fondling and more booze and powders and dusts. There were pipes of carved wood and earnest, stammered conversations followed by helpless laughter. There was indignant screaming followed by bland confessions and toasted with more booze and more fighting and more laughter.
There was more booze, more fairy dust, more kissing, and oh, oh so much pleasure.
Sakura woke up.
There was a strange muff on her forehead.
Ignorance is Bliss
By strange, of course, it was not hers, and the owner wasn't immediately someone that sprang to mind. However, it certainly seemed familiar, or, at least, it should have seemed familiar, since she was in such an intimate proximity to her. The other woman's clitorus was directly between Sakura's eyes, and her knees were on each side of Sakura's head. That implies at least a reasonably high level of mutual aqquaintanceship.
It was a tidy muff, Sakura supposed. What little her bleary eyes could focus on got back an image of dark red hair, and it didn't smell bad. Smelled like sex.
Sakura attempted to sit up, but her arms seemed pinned and asleep due to the circulation being cut off. This startled her a little, and she wiggled, waking up the girl on her forehead.
Karin pulled the rolled up high denomination bill out of her right nostril and yawned hugely pulling back from the bare female bottom sticking into the air on the footboard and sitting up straighter, stretching her arms high above her head. She was actually still wearing her glasses.
This also had the result that she rolled backwards and ended up sitting on Sakura's face.
"Mmmph!" came the startled mumble from between her legs.
"Mmm, Cherri-chan," she sighed, rocking slightly.
"AIYAAA!" she exclaimed in a squeaky, offended voice, rising back onto her knees quickly, then rolling off to Sakura's left side, freeing Sakura's arm from beneath her leg in the process.
Sakura tried to sit up again, but her right arm was still pinned, and there was something heavy across her chest. Now, though, she could look.
Naruto lay collapsed on his side to her right, her arm beneath him and his leg across her completely bare torso. He was naked and very, very blond in the sunlight streaming in the open window, and he was still breathing in the slow rythmn of deep sleep.
She squinted at him incomprehendingly. Some effort freed her arm, pushed his leg off, and then she levered herself up and backwards. Her legs were spread and sticking into the air.
Sasuke was between them, passed out against the headboard. Though naked from the waist down just like the rest of them, he was the only one even partially dressed, wearing a shirt that said 'I'm with stupid' and had an arrow on it pointing to the side, coincidentally at where Naruto lay.
"Kai," Sakura said desperately. "Kai! Kai!"
"Oww, my head…" Karin complained sitting on the edge of the bed with her back to the sunlight. Sakura noticed that she was absolutely covered in bite marks and hickeys, some of them clearly deep enough to have drawn blood.
The scene resolutely failed to disappear.
"Who are you?" Sakura asked plaintively.
"I told you my name was Karin," the she complained. "You've forgotten already? Damn, Cherri-chan, you were wasted."
"My name is Sakura, not Cherri-chan," Sakura insisted.
"Are you sure?"
"Well, 'Sakura', if that is your real name, who are you and what the hell happened last night? And why can't I remember where we are?"
"Genjutsu?" Sakura hoped.
"Kai!" Karin tried.
Naruto suddenly groaned and shifted, giving Sakura a really good look at his morning wood. He opened one eye and smacked his lips.
"Sakura-chan?" he asked. Then her state of undress hit him and he recoiled, hastily sliding backwards and falling off the bed with a thump. He rose to his feet almost instantly, a pillow covering his privates.
"Sakura! You're naked! Why are you naked! Why am I naked? Why is Sasuke naked? Why is Karin… Why are you even here, Karin? Where are we?" As his torrent of questions continued, each new question was said more quietly and more pathetically. He finished it up with a plaintive "Not my fault don't hit me!" and a cringe.
Sasuke slept on.
"Be quiet, Naruto," Karin hissed, waving her hand irritably. "My head hurts."
"My head hurts," Sakura admitted, laying back. She felt drained, like she had absolutely no energy at all. Other than the headache, though, she felt good. Maybe a little sore between her legs.
"Who's the girl on the foot of the bed?" Naruto asked. "And who's this guy in the corner? Is this a genjutsu? Kai! Kai!" A veritable tidal wave of chakra rolled off him, but the scene remained unchanged.
Sasuke snorted and snapped awake.
"Owwwww…" Sasuke moaned, pressing both hands over his eyes and leaning his head back against the wall.
"Why is there hair in my mouth?" Naruto asked, trying not to notice the color in case it scared the hell out of him. "What's this white powder on the table?"
"Naruto, stop asking questions," Sakura said desperately.
"Naruto," Sasuke said.
Naruto looked at him.
"Naruto. Naaruuutoooo." Sasuke's eyes snapped open and he tried to spring to his feet, but between the hangover, residual high, and Sakura's legs still being on top of his thighs, he managed nothing but a kind of lunge in the other direction, also falling off the bed.
"Ow," he complained from the floor, staying there.
"Woohoo, healing factor beats the hangover yet again," Naruto cheered quietly, the only one in the room even somewhat functional.
Sakura felt so incredibly lazy. Like it was too much effort to think about what she was doing or what was happening around her. On some level she recognized that as an effect of a number of powerful sedative drugs, but such was their effect that she didn't actually care. She turned her head slightly to the side where Karin was still hunched over on the side of the bed.
A pair of sharingan eyes stared back at her. She blinked. They were right at the waistline of Karin's lower back.
She reached out and touched them, slowly.
Karin squeaked and shifted when Sakura's finger prodded her sharply. "Cherri, what the hell?"
"Sakura," she corrected. "You've got eyes tattooed on your lower back."
"I have a tramp stamp? Since when?" Karin mumbled, trying to crane her head around and look. She caught a better look at Sakura when she did. "Umm, you've got a little something…" she said hesitantly, motioning at her neck.
Sakura pawed at her neck in response, still laying on her back. She found it pretty quickly, and held it up to see what it was.
A used orange condom dangled from her fingers. She stared. A glob of thick clear fluid dripped out the end and fell on her face.
Okay, that was enough. She rolled over and sat up, wiping at her face in disgust.
"It's in my mouth, it's in my mouth, pbbbbbfffft! Pbbbbfffttt!" she complained.
Naruto, on the other hand, went over to the guy passed out in the corner and nudged him with his foot. "Hey, wake up. Who are you and what happened here?"
He wasn't anyone any of them recognized, being around twice their age and bearded, with an abused beret on his head and an extremely rumpled uniform of some sort on. He snorted, roused a bit, and looked at Naruto.
"You look like hell, dude," Naruto informed him seriously.
He coughed out a partially burned cigarrette into his hand. Then, heedless of the damp slime covering it, he lit it with a lighter produced from a pocket and took a drag.
"Mmaasgrarg," he mumbled indistinctly, and levered himself to his feet.
Naruto blinked and stepped back.
The man waved vaguely and slowly staggered out of the room. "G'ta g't t' work," he said by way of farewell.
"Naruto has a tramp stamp too?"
Naruto turned at Karin's comment. "What? I have a what?"
"It's a bunch of fox tails right above your ass," Sakura explained helpfully.
Naruto groaned. "Oh, that's tasteful. I thought only women got tramp stamps."
"I still remember sexy no jutsu, why don't you?" Sasuke asked from the floor.
"Last thing I remember, Sakura and I were helping rebuild the village after Pain attacked, and I did not have a tattoo on my ass at the time." He walked over to the strange woman bent over the foot of the bed and poked her dubiously. "I have no idea how we somehow ended up having an orgy with a dead hooker."
"She's dead?" Sakura asked, too shocked to muster real horror.
"She's a hooker?" Karin asked.
"Yeah, she's got a collar around her neck that says 'Property of Madame Choo', and she ain't breathing. I don't know what the white powder on her is, though."
Karin, who'd woken up face down in said powder with a tube in her nose, didn't comment.
Naruto poked the corpse with one finger in a contemplative sort of manner, then stepped back. "I take no responsibility for actions I can't remember," he announced in complete seriousness.
"Same," Sasuke agreed immediately.
"Easy for you to say, but what if one of us ends up pregnant?" Sakura snapped. "Who's gonna take responsibility then, huh?"
"Well, I'd say we at least used condoms," Naruto replied. "You've got a…" He blushed furiously.
Sakura looked down at her crotch. For one thing, she had a pair of cherries tattooed beside a small, neatly trimmed patch of pubic hair in the shape of a heart. For another, something blue was between her legs. She pulled it out, and it was another used condom, this time blue.
"I feel like I'm going to throw up," she said faintly.
Naruto quickly handed her a trashcan from beside the bed, and she retched into it noisily.
Karin turned positively green at the sound and rushed into the bathroom. They heard the toilet flushing soon after.
"Do you know what this means?" Naruto asked. "We must have had the most incredible party in history!"
"And we can't remember any of it? Or even why we got together and didn't try to kill each other?" Sasuke said angrily, still on the floor and irritated because of his headache. "The last thing I remember was joining Akatsuki!"
"You joined Akatsuki?" Sakura said in horror. "And that's why you didn't come home after defeating Itachi?"
"Man, this party must have been REALLY awesome," Naruto said, torn between amazment and pride.
Sasuke felt nauseous. It was hard to think, and his body felt like it was about fifty feet tall and made of lead, but as long as he lay on the floor very quietly his gorge didn't rise. He realized that meant in his current condition he was supremely vulnerable to attack, and that bothered him on a deep and personal level, but at the same time, the only other person in the room who seemed capable of such an attack was Naruto, and Naruto was remarking on a Leaf symbol drawn in white powder on a small table beneath the window and hunting for clothes. The blond also made some sort of inane comment about not recognizing the city they were in.
The phone rang, startling them all.
Naruto picked it up. "Um, hello?" he asked dubiously.
"Oh, Naruto-sama!" the voice said happily. "I'm glad I caught you! We have your customary delivery ready, but I'm afraid there's a problem. We really must ask that you return our delivery boys for us to continue to provide you with the service I'm sure you've come to expect." He sounded positively regretful that he would have to ask for something so trivial.
"Who is this?" Naruto asked.
"Oh, my apologies, Naruto-sama! I'm sure you must have a lot of business going on right now, how remiss of me to not state my name at the beginning! This is Supervisor Barang down at the Golden Imports warehouse, we've got your order of liquor ready for delivery. Some very fine selections, as befitting a man of your tastes, Sir. We just need our delivery boys returned and we'll get them right out to you!"
"Right. I'll see if I can find them."
"Oh, thank you, Sir! And may you have a wonderful day!"
Naruto hung up with a click and turned to the others. "That was some guy claiming we've got a booze shipment ready, but apparently we kept their delivery boys."
"Dobe, we don't need any more booze," Sasuke complained, feeling sick at the very thought. "You should have canceled the delivery."
"We don't need to act out of character, either," Naruto replied. "What if we're on a mission? Or we have enemies?"
There was a long moment of silence.
"This has to be a genjutsu," Sasuke muttered to himself. "Naruto isn't an idiot. Kai! Kai!"
"Hah hah," Naruto deadpanned. "I'm gonna see if I can find pants or delivery boys or some clue as to what's going on."
He opened the door to the bedroom, peeked around outside, then stepped out.
The next room turned out to be a huge, palatial sitting room, with expensive furniture and a large TV, fancy paintings on the wall, potted plants, lovely woven rugs over decorative tile, and piles and piles of debris. There was a young man passed out on the couch, his pants and underwear around his ankles and a wide smile on his sleeping face. He decided to deal with that in a few minutes.
Empty sake, wine, whiskey, and beer bottles littered the floor and about half the available surfaces. Clothes and, somewhat shockingly, used condoms littered everywhere else. He was perversely pleased that clearly more than half of them were orange. He liked orange. It was an awesome color.
Nearly all the female clothes were ripped to shreds (awesome!), but he found a pair of dark grey pants that beat being naked and quickly slipped into them. A snore from behind the couch brought his attention to an overlooked area where another young man lay, partially covered by empty bottles.
A room close to the bedroom had an absolutely enormous jaccuzzi, and there was also a large kitchen with half empty booze bottles, fruit, and various other cocktail ingredients, as well as yet another half naked young man wearing panties on his head. A dining room completed the suite, and the sole remaining exit from the living room went to an entry hall. Shoes littered the floor, and Naruto finally found what he'd been looking for.
An entire rack of expensive looking clothes, fresh from the cleaners, stood against one wall of the entryway, apparently delivered quietly sometime earlier. He grabbed the whole rack and simply bulldozed his way back to the bedroom with it.
"I found clothes!" he announced cheerfully. "You should all see this place, it's nice. Kinda trashed, though. I found the delivery boys, too, but they're still passed out. Looks like the girls did a number on a couple of them."
"The hooker did it," Karin replied immediately to deny a rapidly forming mental image of herself as a slut.
"The dead one?"
"Fair enough," Naruto agreed. No point arguing about it.
Karin had already gotten an extremely quick shower while she was in the bathroom, quick both because she didn't think she had time for a long one and because the pressure of water on her head made her headache worse. She'd also found another used condom in a place she'd never expected a condom to end up since she had been pretty sure that the mechanics that would leave a condom in that place would hurt. Apparently she'd been enthusiastically trying a lot of new things in the period she couldn't remember. Still, she felt better for the shower and the time spent collecting herself, and she was rather pleased when Naruto showed up with clothes. There was basically no privacy, but no one seemed to care so she rooted through the two levels of hangers in her towel and quickly got dressed in tiger striped underwear and spandex short shorts, with a tight, shimmery silk blouse on top. It was hardly ninja, even compared to what she remembered as her usual outfit, but it felt good to be dressed.
Sakura was nowhere to be found, having ran for the bathroom as soon as Karin emerged. They'd heard the sound of running water since.
"What's with all those hickeys?" Naruto asked, nodding at Karin.
"Orgy?" she mused. "I think I was doing most of the drugs and you were getting them filtered through my body. Orochimaru used to use me as a way of delivering chemicals to his experiments."
That lead to a brief explaination of her ability to heal people who sucked on her blood and chakra.
"Oh. Oh, well that must suck," Naruto said after the explaination.
"It's not that bad, I don't mind it," she replied.
"Oh. OH." He paused awkwardly at the realization that she liked being nibbled on. "So what's the last thing you remember?" he asked, changing the subject.
She winced and glanced at Sasuke. Fortunately, he noticed.
"Go ahead. The old rules clearly do not apply."
"We uh, we'd joined Akatsuki, fought the Eight tails jinchuriki, and just found out that all we caught was a clone and he'd gotten away." She sounded kinda embarrassed by it, talking to the man she knew as the Nine tails jinchuriki.
"My memory stops at about a month after that," Sasuke noted, still on the floor, since there was no compelling reason to move and he was in a nice patch of shadow thrown by the bed. "And yes, that was not too long after you killed Pain, Naruto."
"That doesn't make any sense," Naruto complained. "Look at us. I'm at least ten cm taller, Sakura went up like a whole cup size, and we're in a strange city. I don't care how much we partied, there's no reason for us to forget an entire year, probably more. Something is wrong here, more so than just us all waking up together after, you know, doing this and that all night."
"When did you stop being an idiot, Naruto?" Sasuke asked.
"What? You thought I was gonna be one forever?"
"And I didn't kill Pain," Naruto replied testily. "Everyone kept saying that, but he wasn't that bad of a guy, just misguided. He sacrificed himself to bring everyone he'd killed in Konoha back to life."
Sasuke stared up at him from the floor. "How in the hell do you keep doing that? The redemption thing?"
"I dunno, but apparently I finally managed to do it to you," Naruto replied, brightening considerably. "There's no way I'd party with a member of Akatsuki who was out to kill me."
"We're not in Konoha."
Naruto deflated, then brightened again. "No, but we might have stopped there. Hey, yeah, maybe this is like some big celebratory vacation! We finally got you to pull your head out of your ass and now we're just wandering around having a good time!"
"I will provide a devastating counterargument to prove you're an overly optimistic fool just as soon as I can think of one," Sasuke promised.
"Well, at the very least, we seem to be friendly," Naruto continued on cheerfully. "So, truce?"
Sasuke sighed. "At least until we figure out what's going on."
"Yay! I'm friends with Sasuke again! This day is turning out to be pretty good after all!"
Karin shook her head sadly and left the bedroom to explore the place.
Immediately, Sasuke and Naruto were by her side, followed about two seconds later by a dripping wet Sakura. All of them were positively alight with violent, destructive chakra, ready to fight to the death at a moment's notice.
Karin babbled apology and blushed, waving her hands in the air.
"What?! What happened?" Naruto demanded.
Sasuke's sharingan spun into kalaidescope shapes as it scanned the room, and Sakura checked her for injuries.
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry," Karin babbled. "I just saw the room, and I couldn't help it. That was my liver screaming in horror." She indicated the obscene numbers of empty liquor bottles.
Sakura's face crinkled in disgust, and then she got a good look at the room, too.
"AIIIIEEE! How are we even alive?" she gasped, her hands covering her mouth.
"We're so awesome," Naruto answered with a grin.
The young man with his pants around his ankles on the couch lifted his head and looked at them blearily. "Oh god," he mumbled. "I don't know if I can't take another one." He smiled. "I guess I'm willing to try…"
Sakura eeped and hurried her nakedness back into the bathroom, while Sasuke hunted for pants in the bedroom.
"Pull up your pants, kid," Naruto told him.
"No more, huh? Okay." He tried to cover himself, but only managed to get his pants and boxers up to around his knees before he ran out of energy.
"No, no, up, up!" Naruto insisted, yanking him to his feet and shaking him lightly. "You! You're a delivery boy, right?"
"Yeah… yeah! Oh, I'm gonna be late for work!" he said, suddenly panicked.
"Focus, kid, focus!" Naruto insisted. "Who are we?"
His head lolled around, then finally straightened. He looked Naruto in the eyes.
"Wow, you guys were really wasted last night," he said in admiration.
"Tell me something I don't already know," Naruto said with a groan.
"Please, just tell us what you know about who we are," Karin said, trying the nice girl routine.
"Uzumaki Naruto! The strongest man in the world!" the young man said hastily.
Naruto blinked. He shook the man again, and brought his face in really close, staring at him with eyes of purest blue. "Listen to me. Listen. This may be the most important question anyone has asked you. Who else knows this?"
The kid gulped nervously, his toes barely touching the floor. "Um, everybody…"
Naruto abrubtly broke into a huge grin. "AWESOME! That's how it's supposed to be!"
His captive gave him a tentative smile and laughed nervously.
"And me?" Karin demanded, her fingers closing around his throat, nice girl ploy forgotten. "What about me?"
"K-squeak!-Karin!" the poor boy gasped.
"Do I have a nickname or title?" she demanded again.
"U-Uchiha-sama's b-b-bitch-" he stuttered.
"Who else knows?" she growled, resisting Naruto's gentle efforts to free the young man.
"Awesome! I finally landed Sasuke!"
"Well, you're one of his bitches," the delivery boy added, perhaps unwisely.
"Wild Cherry the mud wrestling queen is one, too," he explained.
"Aww, man, Sakura too?" Naruto complained, no longer feeling like saving him.
"And me, and Ju over there, and I don't see Huang…"
"Wait, wait, how many bitches does Sasuke have?" Naruto was starting to feel kinda jealous.
"Um, as of last night? He stood on the balcony out there and rather dramatically proclaimed that we were all his bitches. And then you replied that he was your bitch so all us bitches belonged to you, too, and you both argued a lot, and you both left, and there was like thirty minutes of huge explosions out at sea, and then you came back and Sasuke agreed he was your bitch and you danced a lot with the girls and humped everything that moved."
The young man leaned in and whispered in an extremely conspiratory sort of voice. "I sat really still," he said solemnly.
"Huh. Smart move."
"Thank you, Sir."
"What else do you know about us?" Naruto continued, finally prying his little informant out of Karin's gently throttling grip.
"Um, not much, Naruto-sama. You six arrived on a ship about two weeks ago and you've been living the kind of life people like me can only dream of. I don't know where you got your money or where you're from, but since you've been here you've beaten up two of the Triads, closed down six bars, rooted the corruption out of the city police force, and pantsed the Sessei in public, twice. And that was just what I heard the first week. You've been very busy."
"Six?" Karin thought rapidly. "Were the other two a pointy toothed idiot and a big but nice guy?"
He nodded. "I haven't seen them lately, though. Just you four."
"Anything else that you can tell us?"
He shrugged helplessly.
"Okay, well, thanks. You're supposed to report back to your job and bring us more booze, so we might have more questions later. And take your friends with you." Orders given, Naruto went to the kitchen to wake up the last guy.
"Huh? Wazzat?" Huang asked blearily.
"Wakey wakey!" Naruto said cheerfully, rolling him off the counter and setting him on his feet, but making sure he didn't fall. "If you're gonna party with us, you've got to get up with us. No slacking."
Huang groaned in pain.
"You need to find your pants and get them on, you're all headed back to work."
"Sir, you're wearing my pants," Huang protested.
Naruto blinked. "Oh. I thought they were kinda tight. Hold on," he said, propping him against the counter and preparing to remove them.
"No! No, please, Sir, keep the pants on this time," Huang begged hastily. "Keep them, it's an honor. I don't need pants anway, Sir."
"Are you sure?"
"Yessir!" Huang seemed panicked, bowing repeatedly as he backed out of the kitchen.
"Well, your boxers are in there somewhere…" Naruto trailed off.
"Huang!" came the cry from the other room. "You survived! You're a hell of a man, Huang!"
Naruto only caught a flash of them leaving as they all hurried out the door.
He sniffed. "Lightweights." To hell with them. Naruto felt like the king of the world. This was the best morning ever.
The first assassin came for them the moment they set foot outside the hotel room.
"Boss Chang sends his regards!" the young man screamed and charged headfirst at Naruto, his right hand brandishing a kitchen knife that he drove towards Naruto's chest.
Naruto stopped him by the simple expedient of placing a hand on his head and holding him back just out of reach. He caught the man's knife hand as he tried to swing it at Naruto's arm. Naruto raised one eyebrow incredulously.
"Was that okay, Naruto-sama?" the man asked. "Was it just like the movie? Was it just like Run Lion Run?"
Naruto blinked. "Huhmmmm yes?"
"Great! Do you want me to do it again?"
"Mmmm not now?" Naruto said in confusion.
"Wait, wait, wait," Sakura said, shielding her eyes from the bright sun and trying to fight off an incipient headache. "Naruto told you to do that?"
"Unh huh! When he hired us to kill him," the young man agreed enthusiastically. "Just like the Triad assassins that kept going after Chao in Run Lion Run."
"You hired a gang to kill you because you saw it in a movie?!" Sakura growled.
"Hey, it was an awesome movie!" Naruto said in defense, despite having no memory of the movie whatsoever.
The would be assassin nodded in agreement, and Sakura's expression darkened.
"We don't usually take contracts like that but he gave us a lot of money, and everyone knows you can't kill the Strongest Man in the World anyway. It's kinda fun." He turned back to Naruto. "It's an honor, Sir. And might I add, thank you for not breaking my face."
"No problem," Naruto said easily, letting him go. "After all, you're just doing your job, right? Better luck next time."
"Yes, Sir! Thank you, Sir! I'll try again later, Sir, but I think Qu Zi is up next." He gave them a wave and scampered off.
"We… are so awesome," Naruto said happily.
Sakura bonked him on the head.
"Hey! I thought we agreed, no responsibility for things we can't remember?" he complained, rubbing the new lump.
"That wasn't from me now, that was from the me a couple days ago to the you from a couple of days ago that did remember hiring a gang to kill you for fun. It just arrived now."
Naruto blinked and totally didn't get it, so he slid to the other side of Sasuke to get out of reach.
"You are an idiot," Sasuke told him.
Naruto looked slightly hurt.
"Hiring a gang? They never have any actually good fighters unless they contract out. Why didn't you hire someone from the government? Maybe they would have found someone worth our time."
Naruto grinned suddenly. "Hey, Sakura-chan, Sasuke thought it was a good idea."
"The fundamental theory only. Then you screwed it up."
"What's that?" Karin asked, pointing at the beach about a thousand yards down the shore.
"A sea monster," Sasuke replied, having already noticed it, stared at it, identified it, and put it out of his mind. "A hydra of some sort."
"Whoaaaaa!" Naruto exclaimed, finally noticing it. "And there's a bunch of people around it! We've got to check it out! Maybe it's a clue!" He sprinted off down the beach.
"Idiot," Sakura said with a sigh, and followed.
"Right!" Karin exclaimed, about to follow as well, then realized that Sasuke wasn't as enthusiastic, or indeed interested at all. "I mean, ah, right," she said, readjusting her glasses nervously as she held herself in check. "It could be a clue. Who else besides you two would have the power to kill something like that?"
Sasuke huffed and started walking that direction. Karin trailed after.
The sea monster, or hydra as Sasuke called it, was incredibly huge, whale sized or bigger, with a long, slender paddle tail that trailed into the ocean, four paddle like flippers, and three necks coming out of a body that towered three times the height of a man over the people standing on the beach beside it. It had once had three heads as well, but two of the necks ended in ragged stumps and the other seemed to, in Sakura's opinion, have a somewhat shocked expression permanently fixed on its reptilian features.
The whole carcass was absolutely surrounded by people, most of whom were diligently working on it with flensing knives and machetes to peel off the valuable meat by the cartload. They'd been working on it for hours but the gigantic hulk of a carcass was still mostly untouched.
Naruto and Sakura waved at Karin and Sasuke from beside an impromptu food stall that had been set up to take advantage of the ready supply of meat and the mass of workers and gawkers. The smell of spices, sizzling meat, and charcoal smoke wafted their way. Giving Sasuke a dubious look, Karin broke away from his leisurely stroll and hurried over.
Naruto pressed a skewer of roasted hydra strips into her hand and grinned.
"I told you it was a clue," he said proudly.
Whispering among the workers and gawkers spread quickly, and shortly there was a tremendous cheer from the crowd, and a surge forward to thank and congratulate the four ninja, apparently all equally, though Karin had her doubts that she deserved any praise. Naruto took the acclaim better than Sasuke, of course, who mostly glowered at everyone and looked murderous if anyone tried to touch him, but Naruto was friendly enough for all of them.
After the crowd had generally returned to their work, Naruto passed Sasuke a sea monster skewer and nibbled on his own.
"Let me guess. We killed it," Sasuke noted.
"You didn't know?" the stall operator asked incredulously, half distracted from serving other, paying customers.
"I forgot," Sasuke said in a deadpan.
"Happens more often than you'd think," Naruto added ruefully.
"We were really intoxicated," Sakura explained. She paused. "Really really."
"My liver is still screaming," Karin agreed.
"So did you see the fight?" Sakura asked cautiously. "I'd like to know if this was just an ordinary giant monster fight like we always have or something special that I should have paid more attention to."
"Huh," the man replied, bemused. "Well, no, I didn't see it directly. I heard the explosions and saw the lightning and winds, of course, we all did, but I live on the other side of the city. I think Kyoko saw it, though, she doesn't live far from here." He turned and yelled at a man hacking at blubber with an axe. "Hey! NOOKIE! Holler at Kyoko for me! Cherri-sama wants to talk to her!"
Karin nudged Sakura with an I-told-you-so look, and Sakura grimaced.
Nookie, presumably a nickname, yelled to another man on top, who in turn yelled down at someone on the other side of the tremendous beast. Within a few minutes an older woman, heavily tanned with deep wrinkles yet still fit, came walking around the carcass wiping her hands on a nasty, stained rag. Her clothes were drab and streaked with dark monster blood and giblets.
"Oh, wow!" she said. "Wild Cherri the Unstoppable wants to see me? I heard about your match with Hulking Soba. They say she's still crying!"
"I… thanks?" Sakura replied, looking confused. "Anyway, we'd like to hear about the fight that killed this sea monster from your perspective." She looked embarrassed. "You see… we were all too drunk to remember it."
"I know, right?" the woman replied happily. "Naruto-sama was amazing but he kept stopping to pee in the middle of the fight. You know, once you pop the cork you'll be peeing all night…"
Naruto chuckled and rubbed the back of his head absently.
"Now, you have to understand, I don't know who you were fighting, exactly," she explained reluctantly. "I missed the first part of the fight and I never got close enough to hear what all was said later, but I think he was somehow related to the Senzouku Pirates, because they have some sort of thing going on with the hydras and ships have to pay them protection money or they get munched. So this guy in some sort of scale outfit was fighting you guys. Mostly Naruto-sama and Uchiha-sama, Cherri-sama and Karin-san kept distracting him, and Naruto and Uchiha, and pretty much all of the rest of the people watching by standing on the sides and yelling and flashing them at random. I think you were hurting Naruto's fighting more than anyone else but he didn't seem to mind. I wish my tits were still that perky," Kyoko said wistfully.
Sakura blushed lightly and covered her face with her hand. "I showed my breasts to how many people?" she asked faintly.
"I dunno, most of 'em?" Kyoko replied, puzzled.
"And it didn't really seem like Naruto and Uchiha were fighting the guy so much as they were fighting each other over who got to fight the guy. It was all very confusing, everyone was moving so fast I couldn't keep up." Her voice rose as she got more and more excited, really getting into her storytelling. "One moment there'd be this blur in the air, then you'd all be standing on the side of a freaking building insulting each other, then Uchiha-san called a lightning storm while Naruto peed in the bushes, and the guy called this big ass hydra out of the water and people were running and screaming, and then like ten thousand birds invisible birds came out of nowhere and there was this grinding noise like GRRRNNNNN FWOOP FWOOP BRRRZWOOO and the guy was all 'You killed my pet prepare to die!' and Naruto was too busy motorboating Cherri's tits to fight for like five minutes and then everyone ran out of sight. It was really really amazing!"
"Oh, so it was just the regular us versus a giant monster fight. No wonder we didn't remember it," Sasuke said, sounding disappointed.
Everyone stared at him.
Sasuke stared back. He blinked.
"Karin, am I still on drugs?" he asked.
"Yes," Karin replied, looking puzzled. They all were. Except maybe Naruto. Hard to tell with him.
"So we've been here a week getting into fights and drunken, drug fueled perversions the like of which you can't even legally WRITE about and annoying people and killing monsters, is that it?" Sakura asked.
"Truly, the stuff legends are made of. You're even better than your rep," Kyoko said, nodding.
"Thank you," Sakura said politely. "You can have my grilled sea monster. I'm going to be sick now." She paused. "Well, no, but I feel like I should be."
"Thanks!" Kyoko said, accepting the skewer and taking a big bite.
"Good, right?" Naruto said, still nibbling on his. "What's that spice, anyway? I don't recognize it."
"Saffron and tea!" the stall owner said proudly.
Authors Lie: Don't mind me, just indulging in another little side story. This one isn't related to the Lies series in any way shape form. This is sort of a future 'what if' fic set around five years in the future from just post the end of the Pain/Naruto fight, or thereabouts. Each of them remembers a little more or a little less, depending. I'll probably finish it next chapter, this will not be a long work. For one thing, the premise would wear thin mighty quick.
No, I haven't seen The Hangover, but I have seen Dude, Where's My Car. I've been wanting to do a fic where various characters wake up in a hotel room with a dead hooker with half a line of coke on her ass for a while now. It's good to have goals.