Collapsed in an alley between two high rising buildings, Naruto tried to stop the bleeding. While most of the wounds dealt by that Yuki-Onna were superficial, a couple of them had been rather deep.
It was those that he was trying to bandage up as best he could. After five minutes of toil and struggle, he hadn't gotten much of anywhere, and he was beginning to get dizzy due to blood loss.
He'd never been very good at first aid, even though many of the scientists had tried to teach him the basics. He had refused, and when one woman had tried to force him, he'd put her under a hasty illusion and run for it. By the time he had figured it out, it was too late and he had already made it quite a distance; too far for the woman to properly chase him.
Laying there bleeding, he tried to recall the woman; he remembered that she was often in the presence of his bastard Adjustor, had black hair rapidly turning grey, and, when he looked back far enough, used to hate the women he used to call kaa-san.
None of that mattered at the moment though, as he could feel himself drift away. He idly wondered if he would ever wake up.
"Haha," a familiar voice laughed softly, causing Naruto's head to jerk in that direction. "To think I would find you here?"
"Homura?" Naruto breathed, surprised.
"You know, not too long ago, I was in the same position as you, about to die."
"Tsukiumi," he replied with a soft chuckle. "She didn't want me t go just yet. I have to say, I don't want you to go just yet either," Homura finished seriously.
"Well, I'll be glad to stick around if you'd be so kind as to stop the bleeding," Naruto told him, a pained smile on his face.
"Of course," the white haired man told him, knelling down and ripping off Naruto's shirt and pants to get to the deep wounds. "With this much blood loss, I can't risk moving you until I'm sure themajor bleeding has stopped, and for these deeper wounds, bandages won't do the job. This is going to hurt a bit," Homura told him sympathetically, a small flame hovering over his finger.
"I know," Naruto told him, bracing himself.
With a grimace, the masked man applied the flame to the first wound, this one in his side, cauterizing it.
Naruto hissed in pain, just barely holding back a scream.
The flame withdrew, and the blond took a moment to catch his breath.
"One down, two to go," Homura warned, allowing Naruto to brace himself as he placed his flame on the next injury, this one on his leg.
This time, Naruto just barely managed o stop himself from thrashing about, the burning fire way too close to his groin for comfort.
Homura withdrew his finger, allowing Naruto to rest once more.
By this point, the blond was sweating heavily, his breathing erratic.
No.96 nodded his head. "Do it quick."
Finally, Homura sealed the last major wound, this one on his chest.
With his teeth grit, Naruto just barely managed to stay conscious.
After that, Homura bandaged the rest of Naruto's injuries, allowing the weakened blond to rest as best he could.
"Geez," Homura sighed while he worked. "What happened to deal you this amount of injuries?"
"Got chased down by a couple of Sekirei; Mitsuha, who uses a whip, and someone I don't know, who used ice. It was strange; she had her mark on her forehead instead of her back."
"Oh," Homura muttered. "Akitsu," he breathed. "She's a rather strong Scrap Number – I myself don't know much about her, but I can understand these injuries if those two attacked. Still, I thought you knew better than to get caught like that."
"They kept me too pressed to fight back," he pouted. Then his face darkened. "The only reason I got away is because M.B.I's Inu interfered."
"Karasuba helped you?"
"You could say that. She instantly beat Mitsuha, but then she turned her attention to me. I just barely managed to get away."
"Arashi?" the Flame Sekirei asked.
"I think so," Naruto answered with a scowl, just as Homura finished tying up the last bandage.
Nodding his head, the Flaming Bastard stood. "You need to rest and recover; do you live around here?"
"No, I live in the West."
"Tsk, too far; I have a friend who knows about Sekirei who lives nearby. That place will have to do."
"How come they know about the Plan?" Naruto asked, wincing as Homura pulled him up and put one arm around his shoulders in support. With one hand on Naruto's arm, holding it in place, and the other around the blonde's waist, they slowly set off at a hobble.
"Well, one of the residents is an Ashikabi – in fact, a part from my friend, Kagari, and the Land Lady, Miya, who knows about the plan too, the rest are Sekirei and one Ashikabi."
Seeing the dubious and slightly fearful look Naruto was giving him, he felt the need to reassure his friend. "Don't worry, that guy isn't the type to force another to be winged. Haha, you can ask Tsukiumi," he laughed.
"Yeah, this is her new Ashikabi!"
"Aneki got herself winged! Why didn't you say so?" he asked, suddenly excited. "Want to double team him a scare the living daylights out of him? You know, the whole – 'If you hurt her,' thing."
"This is the first time I've seen you since it happened," he told the blond defensively. "And on second thought, I don't think it would be a good idea to speak to Tsukiumi. It would just cause problems."
"Aww, why not?" he pouted.
No.06 responded with a flat stare, which caused Naruto to smile brightly in return.
The masked man lead Naruto to a large inn complex; it was wooden, and while it looked aged, it was still in great condition.
He took him to a window and opened it simply. After helping him climb in, Homura placed him in the bed.
"My friend will be back soon; I'll tell him and the Land Lady you're here," he told him before beginning to depart. "Ah, there is just one thing I feel I should tell you," he hesitated by the door. "There is absolutely no fighting in this inn."
Naruto weakly nodded his head at that, only half interested, before gently drifting off to sleep.
Homura sighed, still in the room. He walked up to Naruto to check if he was really sleeping; once he had confirmed it, he took off his mask and black jacket.
With one last glance to make sure, he took off the rest of his clothes, scowling down at his slowly developing breasts.
They were an eyesore, and painful to grow. He quickly popped one of the pills Matsu had given him before dressing in his usual white shirt and black pants. He was Kagari now.
He left the room in a bad mood, biting his thumb nail. Karasuba had over stepped her bounds, attacking one of the un-winged, especially after he'd been injured. And why were they letting that Scrap-Number roam free?
"Ufufu," Matsu's old man giggle caught him by surprise. He spun to face her; Matsu was a red haired Sekirei who wore large glasses, a long dress, and was very busty. She was also a pervert. "Who have you brought home I wonder?"
"None of your concern, witch!" he snapped.
"Ufufufu, maybe you brought a man home to test some new parts?" she asked, looking him up and down and then specifically at his crotch.
With a snap of his fingers he set her hair on fire; unfortunately it was quick to burn out, leaving her mostly undamaged. "That bit isn't gone yet!"
"Kagari-tan, that's mean," she pouted.
"Where is everyone?"
"Musubi and Tsukiumi are out on a shopping run. Uzume is also absent. Minato-tan and Kusano-tan are out side, playing."
"Preparing dinner in the kitchen."
As soon as the words left her mouth he set off. "Don't disturb my friend," he told her just before turning the corner.
With a giggle, she turned and went up to her own room. She had spy camera's everywhere, and it would be no problem to sneak a peek through them.
Meanwhile, Kagari spoke to Miya. "Ah, Miya," he began.
"I was wondering if you could make dinner for an extra person tonight?" he asked nervously.
"Is this about the handsome young man you brought in earlier?"
"Aha, yes. His name is Naruto, and he's injured. I was hoping he could stay the night."
"Of course. Any friend of yours is welcome here," she smiled. She was a mature woman with long purple hair and eyes, and carried with her a kind aura. "Are you sure one night is enough?"
"Yes – he's a very quick healer. Knowing him, he'll be back on his feet by tomorrow, and will want to get home quickly."
"My my, if you're sure."
"Thank you," he responded gratefully.
Taking out his phone, he checked the ID. It read Takami.
"I have to take this," he told Miya.
"Yes, of course," she replied softly.
"Homura," Takami quickly began. "There's a Sekirei in the East," she explained the basic situation.
"Yes, I'll go now."
He flicked his phone shut.
"You going?" she asked.
"Ah, yes. The job of the Sekirei guardian is never done," he said with a light chuckle.
"I see," she nodded. "I'll take good care of your friend for you," she smiled gently.
"Thank you Miya. Ah, don't let Tsukiumi meet him," he suddenly added.
"Oh," she put her hand to her mouth. "Why not?"
"Those two know each other, and Naruto is a bit of a jokester. He'd end up riling Tsukiumi up, and I know how you hate fighting."
"Oh really; is that the only reason?"
"No," he reluctantly admitted. "I don't want her to make the connection between Kagari and Homura, and Naruto may be that link."
"I see. Then I will make sure to keep them separate," she lightly giggled.
When Naruto awoke, it was to an unfamiliar presence in the room, very close to him. In fact, it was leaning over the bed.
As he felt the gentle brush of his clothes being removed from his body, his eyes snapped open properly.
He found a purple eyed woman stripping him of the tattered remains of his clothing, a pile of clean bandages on the bedside table.
"Oh my, I'm sorry if I woke you up," the woman began apologetically. "Your bandages needed changing," she explained. "I am Miya, the owner of this inn."
"No.96, Naruto," he returned, bowing his head lightly in greeting.
"It's nice to meet you," she also inclined her head in greeting.
"How long have I been out?"
"Only a few hours," she told him, examining his wounds. "You seem to be recovering very quickly. You'll be fine by morning."
"That's good. I wouldn't want to impose."
"Not at all. My husband always wanted this inn to be open for everyone in need."
"But what about Kagari-chan? I really want to thank her for lending me her bed."
"Oh my, Kagari-san is a man."
"Really? Sounds like a girls name to me."
"Don't be rude to the person who is helping you," she lightly scolded the blond.
"Sorry," he replied as Miya finished with his bandages.
"You rest for now, and I'll bring you dinner soon."
"Thank you," Naruto said around a yawn.
"You must be tired," she commented.
Naruto nodded his head. "Karasuba took a lot out of me."
Miya nodded her head at that. "Good night Naruto-san," she said, closing the door.
Just before it clicked shut, Naruto replied. "Good night Baa-chan."
The door closed.
"Did it just get cold?" Minato asked.
He was sitting around the table with Musubi, Tsukiumi and Kuu-chan.
He looked to each of his Sekirei in turn. Musubi was big breasted, rather innocent, had long brown hair, and right now, was looking confused and scared.
Tsukiumi was looking similarly puzzled.
Kusano was the youngest Sekirei, with long dirty blond hair and green eyes. She looked no older than 10, wore a white dress and was completely bare foot. She was shaking her head back and forth, searching for something.
Suddenly, the fours attention was caught by foot steps. They all turned in that direction to find Miya, one hand covering her mouth, the other at her side.
She was in scary Miya mode, a demonic mask behind her; it was a dark, blood red, the eyes felt like they were piercing the soul of whomever it looked at; its mouth had rows of jagged teeth, dripping with blood.
Immediately, Minato and his Sekirei backed away.
In contrast, Miya's voice was still softly spoken, though with the hint of an edge. "Oh my, oh my, I'm sure he meant Onee-chan." She turned her attention to the four who were sitting at the table. "You don't think I'm a Baa-chan, do you?"
"NO! No!" they hurriedly denied.
Kuu-chan was rapidly shaking her head back and forth, making "Ooo, uuu," noises.
Slowly, the demon head mask faded. "Kagari-san has a guest resting in his room, and is not to be disturbed," she warned them.
The fours heads rapidly nodded their agreement.
By next morning, Naruto felt refreshed enough to leave. His wounds had more or less healed, he'd eaten his fill of excellent food courtesy of Miya, and now that it was morning, it was time to get back home.
Miya, obviously expecting his early departure, had brought in someone's clothes for him to borrow.
It was only a simple white long sleeved shirt and black slacks, though that was enough for Naruto. Well, it was after he'd put his orange scarf back on. The rest of his clothes were more or less a lost cause; not that it mattered, MBI would be more than happy enough to send a replacement set.
He simply walked out the house, not caring about stealth. Homura had asked he not speak to Tsukiumi, for some unknown reason, and since he had just helped him out, Naruto felt an obligation to respect his wishes.
He wouldn't go looking for the water Sekirei, but that did not mean he would hide himself either.
The door cracked open from the outside just as he got to the entrance, and in walked a busty brunette with brown eyes, wearing three-quarter length jeans and a tight fitting pink and blue top.
Her eyes widened slightly as she spotted the blond.
"Hello," he greeted.
"Hi," she returned. "Are you another one of Minato's Sekirei?" she asked with a smirk.
"Who is Minato? Is that Tsukiumi's Ashikabi?"
The woman blinked. "Er, yeah. I guess you're not moving in then?"
Naruto shook his head. "I'm Naruto? Who are you?"
"Uzume. Nice to meet you."
"I'm just coming in."
"And I'm just leaving."
There was an awkward silence for a moment, before finally the two slipped past one another.
Naruto was almost home when it happened. A white cloth came out of nowhere, forcing him to jump back. A sharp pain shot from his leg at the unexpected strain – it wasn't fully healed yet.
He stumbled back heavily, right into a soft chest wrapped in white cloth. He didn't have time to react as he was quickly wrapped in the veils. He couldn't see the woman's face as he was captured.
He fell quickly to the ground.
"Sorry about this," the woman told him in a gruff voice.
"Don't be," he replied. With a brief burst of concentration, two clones formed at his sides.
The mysterious woman was quick to react as two veils shot out.
Both free Naruto's just barely dodged the cloth, grabbing it and pulling on it.
Briefly off balance, it didn't stop her as she shot off another two veils and destroyed the clones.
With a sad sigh, she moved forward. "I really am sorry," she said again, picking him up.
"Hey!" a new voice called. "What do you think you are doing?"
Both Sekirei turned to the newcomer, an eighteen year old girl with black hair, a younger boy with silver hair stood slightly behind her.
As Naruto looked upon her face, he thought, 'She's cute,' just as his heart began to beat and his body heated up.
A/N: There we are. I was going to end it just after Naruto left the inn, but I promised Yukari. I delivered. Well, a little.
Kaa-san - mother.
Baa-chan - grandmother.
Yuki-Onna - Snow woman. Its a type of Yokai, or demon, but it fits Akitsu well.