So here's the next chapter, and wrapping up their respite in the small town. Jiraiya will have taught Naruto much more during the times skip in this fic, as it seems more logical than just trying to control the Kyuubi and a few other basic things, so that's going to be a fairly major difference that will lead to Naruto having access to more jutsu overall. Also, I'll be answering a few reviewer questions and in general responding as long as it won't spoil plot points that I have planned, so here goes.

Windwolf777: Thanks for pointing that out, and glad you're enjoying the story so far.

Waa7x: Yeah sorry for the short chapters, they'll be much longer from this point onwards hopefully.

Not too many questions or responses needed for this one, but I'll try to do this at the beginning of each chapter to answer and reply to reviewers.

I don't own Naruto, which should be pretty obvious by now.

Small Town Troubles Part 2

Tayuya woke the next morning somewhat earlier than she usually would have, being woken by the sudden torrent of rain that was coming down. Siting up groggily, she was surprised by the smell of something delicious coming from the small kitchenette that had come with their hotel room and, looking over, she saw the reason for this delicious smell. Standing in front of the two-burner stove was a very focused and very shirtless Uzumaki, cooking a breakfast of eggs and rice as well as what smelled like fried pork. Getting up slowly, the redhead walked quietly over to the entryway that separated the two areas, watching her blonde companion and somewhat admiring the look of complete concentration on his face.

'Well then, I'm surprised shithead can cook things that aren't ramen.' Not realizing she had giggled aloud at the thought, Tayuya opened her eyes to find a pair of blue eyes looking back at her as Naruto turned to face her.

"Oh, good morning Tayuya, I'm making breakfast and then I thought we could go out of the village to train since the festival probably won't happen with all the rain." Smiling, the blonde turned back to his cooking, completely missing the look that the former Oto nin was giving him now.

"What the fuck are you talking about shithead, it's raining, what kind of training could we get done in this shitty weather?" Looking at the blonde incredulously, she was somewhat surprised when he stared at her like she was the idiot in this conversation, instead of himself.

"I mean we're both shinobi, so the rain shouldn't stop us from training, right? Plus, it's been almost two weeks since I did anything really, and I don't want to get rusty in the meantime." The redhead blinked a few times, surprised at the amount of sense that he was making, and also because she hadn't realized that it had indeed been almost two weeks since either had don't any form of training. Between travelling and trying to avoid detection there hadn't been much time to do so but, now that they were fairly far out from Konoha and Oto both, there wasn't much reason not to. Besides, she was feeling a bit out of practice compared to the daily training she received while in Oto.

"Alright then shithead, once we eat we can go train, but don't blame me when I kick your ass." The grin she got in return pissed Tayuya off more than she'd like to admit, and she resolved to make the blonde idiot swallow that grin by the end of their training.

After eating the small yet delicious breakfast, the two shinobi collected their respective tools and began the trek to the outskirts of the village, knowing that would be the safest place for them to spar and train.

Sakura hated the rain, actually scratch that she despised the rain. After travelling through it all the way from the border of the Land of Fire, being soaked the entire way, she was looking forward to spending some time where it was dry. By her calculations she was between a half day or a day at most from a small village halfway between her starting point and the border of the Land of Waves. Despite the bad weather and the delays that finding their path had caused, the Haruno could tell she was slowly closing in on her blonde teammate and whoever had kidnapped him.

'Don't worry Naruto-Baka I'll get you back, then we can start the search for Sasuke-kun with Kakashi-sensei.' Looking forward once more, the pinkette remembered to slow down and mark her path for the team that would be following to rendezvous with her once she found her hyperactive teammate. According to the message she had received from Tsunade via Katsuya, the three-man team was maybe a day behind her. Consisting of Neji, Ino, and Shikimaru; Sakura had no doubt that they would be able to bring Naruto back and defeat whoever it was that had kidnapped him.

Arriving at one of the small clearings that dotted the outside of the village, the blonde and redhead looked at each other, both wondering what exactly the other was capable of after two and a half years.

"So shithead, I know you have Shadow Clones and that crazy ass Rasengan, but what else do you know?" Tayuya asked bluntly, wanting to know exactly how strong her training partner was, especially after two and a half years training with one of the sanin.

"Well I have a summoning contract with the toads, and I know the hand signs for several Futon jutsu but otherwise there's not much I can really say I've mastered heh. I'm trying to master my Futon chakra, but so far progress is slow." Picking a leaf off a nearby tree, the blonde focused his chakra and showed the redhead a partially cut leaf after a moment.

"What about you Tayuya? I know you use sound based genjutsu and those Doki, but that's all that Shikimaru really had to report from your battle two and a half years ago." Tayuya was slightly taken aback that he had remembered so much about her techniques, especially with how long it had been since that mission to retrieve the Uchiha, and also considering that her entire former was considered killed in action herself included.

"That's basically it shithead, if my genjutsu and Doki can't stop someone I'm decent at taijutsu, but I was never trained in very many ninjutsu other than a few to help if things got hairy so I don't even know my chakra nature. The fucking pedo snake decided that it wasn't necessary." The blonde simply nodded, taking in all this information before he suddenly pulled a small slip of paper out of his bag.

"Alright, well let's find out your chakra nature, then maybe we can think about who would make a good teacher and get you some ninjutsu." Tayuya was once again surprised at her companion's response, this time because it would cause such a huge shift in their plans.

'He's willing to search out a teacher just so I can learn ninjutsu…Gah why the fuck is he so nice?!' Blushing slightly, she just huffed then nodded her head before taking the slip of paper. Knowing how it worked from watching her former team use the same process several years earlier, Tayuya concentrated her chakra into the small slip and watched as it slowly turned to dust and crumpled away before her eyes.

"Well then, I guess you're a primary Earth nature then heh." Smiling, Naruto looked at the former Oto kunoichi without having to think much on the subject. "In that case I think I know the perfect teacher."

Tayuya simply raised an eyebrow before she remembered one person she had met almost three years prior that seemed to use a lot of earth, or more accurately sand. "Oh no, you better not be fucking thinking what I think you are shithead, there's no damn way!"

Naruto simply chuckled and scratched the back of his head before grinning broadly. "We're going to Suna after this week, and Gaara can teach you earth release."

Seeing the grin and also noticing the stubbornness behind it, the redhead sighed. "Fine, but if I see that wind bitch I swear I'm going to gut her with a rusty kunai. Now let's fucking train, show me what you've been working on."

The blonde shinobi sighed, hoping that Temari would in fact still be in Konoha for the moment, then picked a leaf off a nearby tree before focusing his chakra into it. After a moment, he revealed a minute cut in the leaf then sighed. "I've been working on it for a few months now, but for some reason it's taking me a long time to figure it out."

"Wait shithead, don't you have shadow clones that you can make like I don't fucking know, a million of?" Seeing the blonde shake his head but still with a look of confusion she sighed, then created a single shadow clone much to Naruto's surprise. Seeing the surprised expression both redheads simply smirked, enjoying the shock written on his face before the original spoke.

"What, the snake bastard was a former leaf ninja. He decided that it might be a helpful jutsu to confuse my opponents while I cast my genjutsu, and also to help in a tough situation." Watching as the blonde slowly thought over what she said, then began nodding his head in acceptance of the explanation before she continued.

"Now, make one shadow clone, and hopefully you'll fucking learn something." After he did so, Tayuya told both clones to go off into the woods until they were out of sight, then the clone would take charge. Seeing the looks of utter confusion on both Naruto's faces, the redhead sighed and rolled her eyes slightly before her clone grabbed his and walked into the woods, barely hiding the smirk as she watched them go.

Shikimaru couldn't believe it, first he was made to escort around Temari for the duration of the Chunin exams, then all of a sudden he was placed in charge of a three-man team for an A-ranked mission. Following the trail left behind by Sakura, the young Nara was wondering why exactly his rambunctious friend had decided so suddenly to leave the village, and why they were informed to bring back both him and his travelling companion unharmed if possible. The strangest part was that it was still officially considered a kidnapping, but the Godaime Hokage herself had told them that whoever Naruto was travelling with was not to be harmed unless there was absolutely no other choice.

"Alright guys, let's stop here for a few. It looks like we're starting to catch up with Sakura, and I'd rather not be exhausted and useless whenever we find Naruto." Receiving two nods of agreement, Shikimaru dropped down into a clearing before sighing to himself and staring up at the stormy sky above them. 'This is such a drag..'

Naruto stood still, looking curiously over at the redhead as she was simply smirking, still curious as to what the point of this entire thing was. He couldn't see a point in sending the shadow clones into the woods, especially since they couldn't see them anymore, and after another minute he sighed before preparing to say something so they could get back to training. Just then Naruto received a rush of memories, although he was sure these weren't his. Reaching up the blonde touched his lips as the memories finally finished flooding in, his face a shade of red that could rival his companion's hair.

"U-uh Tayuya, what was that...?" Turning to look at her, the blonde could see that there was a dusting of red on her face as well as a somewhat surprised expression which, if those memories were real, he could completely understand.

"Fuck shithead, didn't know you had it in you." Tayuya smirked, getting over her temporary surprise when her clones memories came back.

Tayuya's clone led the other into the woods, smirking at the plan that the original had come up with but also hiding a slightly red face. Stopping after she was sure they were far enough away from the originals, she turned to the blonde clone who simply wore a confused expression.

"Alright shithead, since you were never told we're going to do something out of sight of those two and, once we dispel they'll gain memories of whatever it is we did." Seeing the surprise on his face, the redhead couldn't help but wonder who had taught Naruto about the shadow clone jutsu and why this had never been explained to him.

"Alright I think, so what are we going to do ex-" The question was cut short as Tayuya's clone suddenly walked forward and pressed her lips against the blondes. Feeling him tense at first, she was surprised when he relaxed and returned her kiss, even going so far as to place his hands on her hips. Raising an eyebrow before shrugging slightly, the redhead just accepted this fact as her hands found their way up his chest and onto his shoulders.

'Ah fuck it, we're just clones anyways.' After a moment, the clone pulled away from the kiss and, seeing the goofy look of contentment on the blonde's face, smirked slightly. However, she was surprised once again when the blonde kissed her again, also feeling as a hand moved up her stomach and traced the side of her bust, causing a small gasp to escape into the kiss from the redhead. A minute later the two separated once more, Tayuya feeling the ghost of those few tentative touches that the blonde had made around and, at the end, directly on her breasts.

"Well fuck, looks like someone is quite the damn pervert." Seeing the blush that adorned his face, the red-haired clone simply grinned before punching his gut, watching the other clone poof away in a cloud of white smoke before dispelling herself.

Naruto gulped slightly, finishing his look into his clone's memories and glancing over at Tayuya. The The blonde shinobi couldn't quite believe that her clone had kissed his, and probably even more unbelievable was how forward his clone had been afterwards. Seeing a slight grin come to the redhead's face he couldn't stop the sense of dread he felt, though there was no denying the other emotions that had already begun swirling around as well.

"Ok shithead, so you've apparently got more balls than I originally gave you credit for." Walking over to the blonde she kept the grin on her face before letting it turn slightly malicious.

"Just remember, you try any shit like that without my permission and you won't have to worry about kids ever again." After receiving a nod that relayed all the understanding she needed, Tayuya looked around the clearing, her mind now back to how to use these clones to their advantage before she was caught off guard once again.

"So, does that mean I can if I get your permission first?" The blonde was looking at her now with a slight smirk, one that looked quite attractive to the redhead.

"You'll have to fucking earn it you damn pervy shithead. Anyways, make as many clones as you can, and all of them are going to concentrate on their wind chakra training. Once one makes a breakthrough, then that one can disperse and pass all the information along to the other and you." Naruto nodded, understanding the gist of the exercise and thinking of all the progress he could make now that he had this new method to accelerate his training. Crossing his fingers in a now familiar handsign, the blonde began by creating a hundred clones all of which grabbed a leaf and immediately got to work. In the meantime, the original looked over at the former Oto kunoichi and smiled.

"Thanks for teaching me that Tayuya, you want help with your training while my clones work on wind chakra?" Seeing the redhead raise her eyebrow at him, Naruto simply gave a small grin of his own, though this one held no animosity unlike the one she had shown a few moments prior.

"Sure shithead, if you have the chakra then we'll spar, but don't blame me if you die of chakra exhaustion." Seeing the grin once more, Tayuya simply sighed before getting ready for her own training, wondering exactly how much chakra he could actually manipulate.

"God fucking damnit shithead, why the fuck would you train until you can't move?! Now I'm having to carry your heavy ass all the way back." While this wasn't wholly true, Tayuya was indeed supporting the blonde shinobi, his arm draped over her shoulder as they shuffled back to the hotel after a full day of training in the rain. Truth be told, the redhead was just as tired as the blonde, having spent the majority of the day either sparring with him or his clones or practicing her genjutsu techniques, and she was leaning against her companion just as much as he was her not that she would tell him that.

"Heh sorry Tayuya, I didn't think that the clones would take that much out of me, getting all those memories back gave me a major headache." Wincing at a particularly bright sign, Naruto continued to shuffle onward as the two walked through the streets before finally arriving in front of the hotel. Right before going inside, the blonde could have sworn he saw a flash of pink down the street just before walking inside, but then again it was crowded and he was probably just seeing things due to the sheer exhaustion of the day.

"Yeah yeah, well next time be more fucking careful, I'm not going to be carrying you around the elemental nations just because your dumb ass overdoes it." Smirking slightly, Tayuya was somewhat glad when she saw that this time the blonde had caught on to her somewhat strange sense of humor. 'Huh, guess shithead is learning after all.'

Entering their room, the redhead let Naruto plop down onto his bed before stretching herself, grabbing a set of clothes, and walking towards the bathroom while savoring the thought of a long hot shower after the harsh training of the day. 'I haven't trained myself that hard in a long fucking time, it actually feels pretty damn good to push it that far.'

As Tayuya went to take her shower, Naruto was left alone laying on the bed as he waited patiently for his turn. Reaching up for maybe the hundredth time that day to run a hand over his lips, still not quite believing that his first real kiss was with a former enemy kunoichi who was trying to assassinate him less than a month before that. Chuckling a little at the irony of it all, the blonde shinobi looked up at the ceiling and simply relaxed, realizing for the first time that he didn't have to remove the 'mask' he had created many years ago, the reason being that the boy simply hadn't worn it the entire day. Naruto for the life of him couldn't remember the last time he had gone a full day without donning that mask at least once, and with a start he was surprised at the feeling of lightness that came with being his true self for the whole day.

'Heh who would've guessed the only person I can be myself around is a loud and brash redhead who has the worst temper I've ever seen to boot.' The blonde could have sworn he heard a set of faint chuckles somewhere, but shrugged it off after a moment when he heard an all too real voice in his subconscious.

'I'm surprised it took you this long to start bitching again you damn fox.'

'Tch that sage you travelled with put me into some kind of trance and you know it. Who would have thought that I'd wake up to find that my host had left the village he adored so much?' Chuckling darkly, the Kyuubi No Kitsune looked down at the blonde as he stood before the large cage, the constant drip in the sewer like mindscape reminding the two constantly of where they were.

'You don't know anything you damn demon, I have my reasons for leaving...' Hearing another chuckle Naruto glared up at the Kyuubi, only to see a less than feral grin on the fox's face.

'Oh, trust me I've already seen the memories from the past few weeks, looks like someone finally grew some balls at least. Also, you got over the pink one, I was growing tired of healing you after each of those beatings.' Continuing to sift through the memories, the Kyuubi noticed something as he got closer to the present day, namely a redhead who in many ways reminded him of his last Jinchuriki host.

'Well well, looks like the little kit has found a potential mate. Is this why you're over the pink one now? I must say I like her better than the last one at least.' Grinning at his host's evident embarrassment, the fox laughed maniacally while also taking a moment to appreciate the boys resolve in the previous few weeks. Truth be told, the Biju had a fair level of respect for his Jinchuriki after watching him grow up facing adversity daily, only to use that as a way to get stronger. The boy had even defeated the Ichibi with minimal assistance from the fox. The Kyuubi would never let the blonde shinobi know this of course, but it did bode well if he ever decided to let the boy use more of his power.

'Shut up you giant fur ball, anyways why did you bring me in here? I'm guessing it wasn't just to talk about my choice in women.' Seeing the fox nod, Naruto waited for the Nine Tails to speak, knowing it wouldn't do him much good to try to rush the beast.

'So, you aren't still acting like a complete idiot, good to know. The reason I brought you in here is so we could talk about making you stronger, after all if I'm going to be staying in here I need my Jinchuriki to be as strong as possible.' While he was telling the truth so far, what the Kyuubi didn't mention was that the Toad Sage had informed him that he would die should the boy die. The reason behind this was because, when the Fourth Hokage sealed the fox into his own son, he had taken the Yin half with him into the Shinigami's stomach. This resulted in Kyuubi only having the Yang chakra, meaning that once he was unleashed he would not be able to take form without both chakras and would be stuck in a semipermeable form until the chakra eventually ran out and Kyuubi disappeared completely.

'Fine, but no more of this trying to make me remove the seal crap, that's not happening and you know it.' Seeing the fox grin once more Naruto gulped slightly, hearing the low rumble of his chuckle. 'What's so funny?'

'Oh nothing, I'm just going to enjoy this training.' The blonde groaned, already regretting his arrangement to let the fox help in his training, knowing that if it was anything the fox thought would be fun it was going to be painful for him.

Tayuya walked back into the room after spending nearly a half hour under the hot water, being fairly sure that was the longest shower she had ever taken. Currently dressed in an over large T-shirt courtesy of Naruto and a pair of loose shorts with her hair in a towel so it would dry more quickly, the former Oto nin saw that said blonde was currently laying out on his bed and was apparently asleep. Walking over Tayuya slapped his stomach, causing the boys eyes to open and suddenly double over in slight pain.

"Hey shithead, the showers open for you now." Hearing him grumble something about redheads and damn fur balls as he walked into the bathroom, she couldn't help but giggle at the hilarity of it all. After a moment she realized that she was giggling like a school girl and immediately stopped, sighing in resignation as she couldn't even manage to be pissed off at herself anymore. After a few weeks being with the blonde, Tayuya had come to accept that he made emotions she didn't even know she had come out with a force. Though she didn't completely understand why that was, the redhead couldn't help but feel that it wasn't wholly a bad thing.

'He seems a bit distracted though, wonder what's on shithead's mind now?' Plopping unceremoniously onto her own bed, the redhead looked around the room and couldn't help but notice something orange poking out from the blonde's bag. Glancing a few times at the bathroom door before walking over and pulling out a small orange book.

"Icha Icha: Paradise, what the fuck is this?" Vaguely remembering something or another about a similar orange book making its way through the sound four, minus her of course, she went back over to her bed and cracked open the book to its first page to begin reading. After a few chapters, the redhead found that she couldn't put the book down even if she tried.

"Hey Tayuya, what do you want to eat I'm starving!" Smiling as he walked out of the bathroom in a fresh set of clothes, Naruto looked over only to see the redhead concentrating on reading a small and extremely familiar orange book before she turned to face him.

"Heh well well, didn't know that you were such a pervert shithead." Grinning to hide her blush, Tayuya quickly saved her place before setting the book down and standing, raising an eyebrow slightly when the blonde simply sighed in response.

"Those aren't mine, Pervy Sage stuck copies of his damn books in and around all my stuffs trying to get me to turn into some kind of super perv like him." Tayuya blinked a few times, surprised at the explanation and even having the decency to openly blush as she realized the implications of what he had just said.

"S-so you've never actually read these books?" The former Oto kunoichi suddenly felt somewhat sheepish, and couldn't keep a small stutter from her voice as she spoke. However, Naruto sighed once again and shook his head in response.

"I've read the whole series, Pervy Sage wouldn't let me continue our training until I read each book and gave him a written summary for the main plot points, he called it 'literary appreciation' which basically translated to him wanting me to become some kind of super perv like he is." Walking over and sitting on his bed, the blonde looked at his travelling companion.

"Hah he sounds like a fucking pervert, why do you stick around him then? I mean I get he's one of the Sanin but there's still a limit to how much anyone can stand." Hearing a chuckle emanate from the other bed, Tayuya looked over wondering what was so funny.

"Yeah, he can be a handful, especially when we're within fifty miles of any brothel or hot springs, but he's also become like a father to me. He trained and taught me so much during the Chunin exams and when we were trying to find Baa-chan and he taught me other jutsu. Then when we were gone for two and a half years he taught me so much more, not just about Ninjutsu but about being a ninja and he showed me his ideals." Seeing the unbelieving look on the redhead's face, Naruto chuckled once again.

"Yeah, I thought it would be perverted at first…but his dream was something amazing. 'Even I can tell that hatred is spreading. I wanted to do something about it … but I don't know what … but I believe… that someday the day will come when people truly understand one another. If I can't find the answer, it will be up to you to do it.'" Naruto smiled fondly at the memory, realizing that if he had any regrets about leaving Konoha, it was not telling the man he had learned so much from that he was leaving. Telling him the truth may have made their escape more difficult but it would have been worth it to let the man know the truth, even afterwards at the hot springs Naruto hadn't been able to bring himself to tell the toad Sanin what was really happening.

"Well then, I guess I misjudged that pervy bastard a little, but he's still a fucking peeping tom and a lecherous freak." Truthfully though, Tayuya was impressed at the deep bond that the blonde shared with his sensei and was also somewhat jealous. Her sensei had always been cruel to those he thought were useless, and even the ones who he deemed useful were treated extremely poorly, something about tools not needing comfort.

"Yeah, you're right about that honestly, he's a self-proclaimed super pervert and basically lives to hit on girls, drink, and spend money." The blonde laughed a bit at that, remembering the time that Jiraiya had spent most of what was in Gama-chan on booze and 'company' when they were searching for Tsunade. Of course, he had long since forgiven his sensei for that, but he still wouldn't let the old man anywhere near his savings.

"Anyways shithead, as much as I enjoy talking about your perverted sensei, I think it's time you tell me what happened to you..." The redhead was somewhat scared, wondering what kind of past this boy could have had that would create such a perfect mask, something so horrible that it had forced him to hide his true self for so many years. Whatever it was, it seemed to also be the driving force behind his leaving the village he apparently cherished so greatly, and all the people he seemed to care so deeply about.

"Yeah, I guess I do owe you an explanation huh? Well it's a really long story, so you might as well get comfortable." Forgetting his earlier exhaustion, Naruto prepared himself. He would tell her the whole truth, because she had told him about her past, and the blonde knew that she might even be able to understand all that he had gone through.

"Ever since I can remember all the villagers have hated me, they would yell at me anytime I came near them, throw rotten fruits at me if they happened to have any available in the area, worst was that they wouldn't let their kids play with me…that usually hurt the worst, not having any friends, at least at that time. Suddenly one year, on my sixth birthday the villagers decided it was their duty to find and torture the 'Demon brat' so from that year onwards, always on my birthday, they would take to the streets and hunt me down. The first few years weren't too bad honestly, they were all still scared to truly hurt me in case someone found out, except the ones who got too drunk to care, they ended up showing the others that no matter what happened I'd usually be healed within a few days. After they found that out, it got a lot worse, on my eighth birthday I got four broken ribs, an arm fractured in three places, one of my legs was basically shattered, and it felt like I was bleeding on the inside. The next year was worse still, and on my tenth birthday they did nearly kill me, I ended up in the hospital that year because someone felt some small amount of pity for me after I was broken that badly. It kept up like that even afterwards though, until I turned fourteen and finally passed the academy exams, even then only because Iruka-sensei found out what had been happening and would keep the civilians from attacking me on those days." Naruto was looking at Tayuya as he recounted his first ten years of life, so the redhead could see the tears brimming in his eyes, and also the depth she could now see. Realizing that his guard was down completely, Tayuya could see everything in those eyes, the loneliness, the pain, and the sorrow that seemed to fill them so completely. Still, behind it all was an unbelievable warmth, a kindness and a resolve that refused to be broken no matter what. Realizing that Naruto was beginning to speak again, she listened.

"After I graduated I got put on a team with the girl I liked and the boy I absolutely hated, our assigned sensei was a man who was always late and constantly reading perverted books. All in all, we were kind of a mess as far as teams went, but when push came to shove we worked together. Sasuke and I were a surprisingly good team, especially with our backs against the wall. During our first C-rank mission, we were escorting a bridge builder while he completed his current project when we were attacked by Zabuza Momochi and Haku, two people I'll never forget. They taught me what the world expected of a ninja, about the cycle of hate that existed throughout the world, and the effects it could have on even the most gentle of souls." Continuing, the Uzumaki explained about the battle in the Land of Waves and on the bridge, about Haku's words and his sacrifice, and finally of Zabuza's last moments and his message. Sighing a bit at the many memories from that time, Naruto continued.

"After that were the Chunin exams, which I'm guessing you know most of the details about seeing as between Orochimaru and Kabuto one of them had their eyes on Sasuke more or less the entire time, but in between the second and third exams is when I met Jiraiya-sensei. He taught me to control my chakra better, and even gave me a summoning contract with the toads heh, which came in handy when I fought the Ichibi." Seeing once again a look of astonishment on Tayuya's face, Naruto couldn't help but smile.

"Yeah, I beat the Ichibi Jinchuriki, and even made him turn over a new leaf heh he's Kazekage now. Anyways, after the invasion we learned that the third Hokage had died in his fight against that snake bastard, and honestly it was a hard time for everyone in the village. Life continued on though, and soon after I was sent on a mission with pervy sage." Recounting the beginning of the trip, including their run in with Itachi Uchiha and Kisame Hoshigake, the blonde could swear the Tayuya's face was just stuck in that look of astonishment so he continued as he had before. Explaining the training he had undergone to learn the Rasengan, his bet with Tsunade of the Sanin, and finally the battle between the Sanin as well as his personal battle with Kabuto. Leaning back on the bed, Naruto's eyes disappeared, and Tayuya realized she had been looking directly into them this entire time.

"After Baa-chan healed him, Sasuke and I fought again and Kakashi sensei had to intervene so we wouldn't kill each other right then and there. Within the next few days Sasuke was gone, I made a promise to bring him back to the girl I was so infatuated with, and you know the rest of that story." Looking over, Naruto was somewhat surprised when the redhead was sitting on the edge of his bed and looking into his eyes once again even as she nodded.

"When we failed the mission, pervy sage offered me the chance to go with him and train to become stronger so of course I accepted. I could tell Sakura was mad that I had failed to bring Sasuke back even if she wouldn't admit it, but even then, she said next time she would help. That was the closest she ever came to being truly kind to me. Anyways, I left with pervy sage to train for two and a half years, and he taught me how to control myself better, how to analyze the situation as it develops, and he taught me proper taijutsu and ninjutsu. He even taught me as much as he could about genjutsu, but neither of us were particularly adept at that one so it didn't really progress much." Explaining their extensive journey across many of the countries that made up the continent, Naruto couldn't help but once again reminisce about the many happy memories he had from that time with his sensei.

"Once we got back I noticed that Sakura was acting strangely, and I thought maybe she had rethought her feelings towards me. That's when she said she wished that I would just leave and never return, after she slapped me and blamed Sasuke's defection on me of course…I went home and found my apartment trashed again, since some civilians who still held a grudge decided to 'welcome' me back home. After all of that I was at an all-time low, even with all I had done for the village so many still hated me including the girl I felt so much for, and that's when someone who was sent to assassinate me ended up saving me instead." Finishing his story, Naruto finally noticed the tears that had begun to fall as he recalled the many sorrows of his life. Suddenly feeling movement and warmth, the blonde opened his eyes to find his head pressed into the crook of a neck and, spotting several stray red hairs, he relaxed before returning the tentatively given hug.

"Yeah, your life has been pretty fucked up too shithead, I can't imagine shouldering an entire villages' hate and rage for most of your life." Running a hand through the blonde's hair absentmindedly, Tayuya noticed how soft and almost fur like the hair was. Sitting there for several minutes, the two simply enjoyed the closeness that they were experiencing. In Tayuya's case, it was something she hadn't felt since she joined Orochimaru, and for Naruto it was something he had been lacking for the majority of his life overall. After a while, the blonde pulled back and looked at the redhead.

"Thanks Tayuya, I feel better now heh." Seeing his eyes had dried, and noticing they were still unguarded, the former Oto kunoichi gave a rare smile of her own.

"Anytime shi-Naruto, just remember that this won't be a regular fucking thing ok?"

'At least, not yet.' She felt no embarrassment at this thought, and Tayuya knew that this idiot from an enemy village, this normally over the top ninja she had been sent to kill, was a completely different man now that the mask was off. The changes were somewhat subtle, but she still appreciated them for what they were. A silent admission that he did indeed trust her, and that she would be able to trust him as well. With that in mind, she leaned over and pressed her lips lightly onto the whisker like marks on his face before going and laying on her own bed.

"Let's leave in the morning, that way we can head for Suna and get some training done shithead." Hearing an agreement from the blonde, she closed her eyes and let the exhaustion from their day of training lull her into a surprisingly peaceful sleep.

The next morning saw Tayuya and Naruto both waking up early and, without a word to each other, the two began packing everything into various scrolls and into their bags so they could depart early. After packing most of her things away, Tayuya turned to the blonde and spoke for the first time that morning.

"I'm going to go get us both some food, what do you want? Also no, ramen is not an acceptable fucking request." Having seen the blonde eating it several times on the way to the small village, the redhead had tried it and could admit that it was damn delicious. Even so, she felt it wouldn't help them move quickly like some healthier choices would, and upon seeing the pout of her travelling companion she simply hit him upside the head.

"Don't make that fucking face at me shithead, we need something healthy so we can keep moving. In case you forgot, we've both probably got people after us and that means every second counts." Satisfied with his nod after a moment of thought, Tayuya set out with a general idea of what exactly it was that she would be getting. After leaving the hotel, she realized just how early it was as there were few people in the area, as she walked through the mostly empty streets she could count the number of people she saw quite easily. Just when she had finally found a store that was open and would have what they needed however, she was stopped by a voice she already found annoying.

"Excuse me, I'm looking for a friend of mine and some of the locals said they saw him with a red-haired girl, would that happen to be you?" Turning around, Tayuya saw a pink haired girl looking at her kindly and arched an eyebrow while simultaneously adopting a scowl she hadn't worn in a few days.

"I don't know what the fuck you're talking about, damn ironing board." Looking at her curious face Tayuya simply pointed to the girl's rather lacking chest, and couldn't help but smirk at the look of shock and anger that came over the girl's features as she realized the meaning of her nickname. This was followed by the redhead brushing past the other girl, walking into the store so that she could buy the needed supplies quickly.

'The quicker we get out of here the better, I can't believe one of his friends has already gotten so close...' Distracted by her thoughts, Tayuya almost missed the pinkette carefully shadowing her now, and decided that it was definitely a good idea to leave sooner rather than later. After buying the groceries, the former Oto kunoichi went back to their hotel rather quickly, followed the whole time by her new pink shadow. Slipping through the few streets leading up to the hotel, the redhead was glad to find she had lost the girl momentarily and used that chance to run up the stairs and into the hotel room.

"Hey Tayuya, everything alright?" Naruto was looking at her curiously, so Tayuya told him what had just happened, and quickly went over her simple plan to get out of the town now that someone who could recognize him was here. This consisted simply of using a combination henge and genjutsu on Naruto so that he wouldn't be recognized, since this would also throw the pink haired girl off Tayuya's trail if she was seen with another person who wasn't her teammate. Completing the henge and with the redhead casting a simple genjutsu, she looked at her handiwork. Standing before her was a man with straight and short brown hair, green eyes, and no sign of whisker marks at all and, with her genjutsu giving him more muted clothing, she was sure that he would be unrecognizable to anyone who knew him.

"Alright shithead, let's get going before anyone else shows up. Last thing we need is a full squad of leaf ninja sniffing around and finding something out." Walking from the hotel, the two walked right past Sakura, with Tayuya talking somewhat animatedly about the festival and how much fun it had been. Seeing the downtrodden look on the pinkette's face out of the corner of her eye, she smirked glad that her plan had worked so well. Leaving the town quickly from there, the two made steady progress until almost midday, when the henge and genjutsu was finally dropped with the distance from the town being respectable.

"Phew, that was close huh Tayuya-chan? She might have found us out if it weren't for your plan." Grinning broadly, it took Naruto a moment to see the redhead's ticked off expression and he realized his mistake once again.

"Um…sorry?" The response she gave him was a sigh and a light slap to the head as they both began walking once again. Tayuya could admit she was more comfortable with the shithead now, but she wasn't going to allow him to call her that until he had truly earned it. As for how he would do that, well she would think about that later when they weren't in so much danger.

'I guess I've got to come to terms with a lot of things before we get to Suna, luckily we've got a good bit of ti-' Being a sound based genjutsu Tayuya heard it before Naruto, though that was still too late. Looking back as if in slow motion, the redhead saw several kunai heading straight for them and, without a second thought about what she was doing, she dashed to the right and directly behind the blonde. Feeling more than hearing the kunai that landed in her back, Tayuya knew they were chakra enhanced even as they dug deeper than any kunai had a right to, cutting straight through her chain undershirt and biting viciously into her back. Falling to her knees a moment later, the last thing Tayuya saw before passing out was the grief and rage that was suddenly filling Naruto's face.

'Well fuck…this sucks...' With that she crumpled to the ground, or would have had she not been caught by a certain blonde. Her last conscious thought was a simple one, wondering when it had started raining again.

Well then, my first real cliffhanger in a while. Three guesses on who attacked the two of them. Anyways like i said this started as maybe two paragraphs of them being in a small town and I decided to use it as a chance for their pasts to come out to each other, while also developing the story a little more.

Also I've been playing with the idea of a NaruTayu school AU, let me know what you guys think either by review or PM. Of course this story will take precedence, but it's just an interesting idea and I'd like to see if there's any interest in that sort of story.

Lastly please remember to review, any feedback is appreciated as long as it's constructive in some way. Thanks for reading.