A/N: Well, I think everyone's IC in this chapter… You let me know, 'kay? It starts out with Naruto liking Sakura, because that's the way it's been for a while and it's a bit odd to change it just like that – not that I don't think you shouldn't! …Who-ever *you* is.
I don't like time-consuming author's notes any more than you do. Just saying that I've re-done this chapter and that there's more near the bottom than before.
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto.
The little [-M-]s separate 'scenes.'
Porcelain Chapter One
Smiling, Naruto walked down the path, the payment for his last mission swinging in his pack, along with a few bandages, snacks and other necessary items.
He was ecstatic about coming home; he'd gone on this mission alone – no-one else was needed, it was enough for him to handle – and seeing Sakura made returning all-that more fun. A light blush rose on his cheeks as his crush crossed his mind. Then he winced, thinking about how much damage she'd do if he was late again. Picking up the pace, he moved closer to Konoha.
Night began creeping closer in the form of a sunset. Naruto sighed. Either way, he was late by now, so why not make the most of it and relax? He focused the chakra onto his feet and climbed easily onto a thick tree branch, zipping his jacket up all the way to keep away the chill and munched on an energy bar of some sort, placing the money carefully in his lap to keep it from getting stolen.
The cold wasn't that bad, but it was a sure sign that winter was getting closer.
'During times like these, foxes curl up and their tails help keep them warm,' Naruto remembered. 'But I doubt the Kyuubi would help me grow a furry tail to snuggle in.' He grinned, imagining a scene where he and Sakura cuddle together under a large blanket to keep warm, perhaps sharing a cup of ramen…
He frowned, 'Somehow, that just doesn't seem realistic. In any case, she'd want hot chocolate instead of ramen.' Naruto grimaced. He didn't like things that sweet. As nice as things like chocolate and cake were, they were cloyingly sweet on his tongue.
''Ts probably something to do with the Kyuubi,' thought Naruto, snuggling closer to the tree, 'Like how I heal faster 'n stuff. Probably c'n taste better, too.' His eyes started closing. Soon, he was completely asleep.
A jolt had Naruto's eyes snapping open, staring at the man in front of him. At first, the man's long, black hair had him thinking that it was Orochimaru – but that was impossible, Orochimaru was gone.
Although the man did look somewhat like him. His skin was pale enough to belong to Orochimaru and the grin was the same – that odd smile that he had worn whenever he looked at Sasuke. But the eyes were large and green, giving the stranger a cat-like appearance.
"I believe I've found you – my child."
"Wha-? Hey, Creep, I'm not your kid!" Naruto spluttered, teetering dangerously on the branch, catching the pouch that contained the payment just before it fell off his lap completely.
The man chuckled, "So naïve, but I suppose you'll learn." The smile that had looked normal enough at first grew wider to expose a grand set of fangs.
Naruto, who'd seen more than a few fangs in real life – certainly enough that he wasn't afraid of the man's peculiar feature – stood up on the branch that, in hindsight, seemed far too thin for such action. "You're gonna try and take the money. Or pick a fight." He fisted his hands.
"Don't be silly, Na-ru-to." – He didn't like the way the man said his name. It seemed too fond for someone who appeared to be trying to kill you. – "I merely want to give you something."
Momentarily deterred, Naruto relaxed, "Give?" he questioned, suspiciously.
The man nodded, "That's it." Naruto lowered his fists. However, as soon as he did, there was a flash of movement in his right peripheral vision. "Eventually, you'll thank me for this, Na-ru-to." A sharp, poking sensation in his neck, then…nothing…
"Mmm." He woke up to an uncomfortable, hot sensation on his face. Once he opened his eyes, he realized it was the sun. He sat up, looking around for the money, nearly collapsing with relief when he saw it hung neatly on a stump that stuck out of the tree. "Thank Kami." He breathed out.
He figured he'd hung around long enough, so he took the bag and began walking toward his village again, deciding he'd figured everything out on the way there.
'Alright, so, when I was asleep some guy I didn't know woke me up and said he had something to give me, and called me his 'child.'' He struggled to remember more, 'And before I passed out, I felt a pain about…here.' He touched his neck where he'd felt the thing pierce him, surprised to find nothing there.
'Weird. Weird and I don't like it.' He frowned, the heat of the day getting to him.
In the end, he decided to start running. It would get him there faster and the cool air hitting his face would help him cool off.
Soon enough, the front gate to Konoha was in front of him. He walked in calmly, allowing the guards to recognize him, then continued on his way.
"Hey, Kiba!" he waved to the other boy.
"Naruto! You're back!" said Kiba. Akamaru barked happily.
"It's pretty hot out today, isn't it?" Naruto grinned.
Kiba's brow furrowed, "Are you kidding?" he grinned, "It's cold. Kami, how many layers are you wearing to mistake this temperature for hot?"
Naruto stepped closer, "Really? Weird. I must've gotten warmer when I ran."
Akamaru whined. Kiba's brow furrowed again; he sniffed Naruto, "You smell weird."
"Um…" Naruto stared.
"Well, not bad, I guess, just…weird."
"Uh, thanks, Kiba. I'm gonna go see Tsunade about my report." Naruto took a few steps away from the shinobi before waving and turning to go to where Tsunade should be.
The yellow-haired ninja shook his head, trying to rid it of the strange conversation, then picked up the pace.
Finally, he arrived at the Hokage's office. "Yo, Tsunade-baba!" he grinned and waved.
"Where have you been?" she questioned angrily. "Do you know that every time you come back late you had us worrying for however-long you were supposed to be here?" she put her hands on her hips, her massive chest swaying with the movement.
"Jeez, Granny, relax. I got held up a bit. What's it matter? You said this'd be my last mission for a long time."
The woman sighed, pinching the bridge of her nose in frustration, "Just finish the report and turn it in to me, alright? Then you can go do whatever." With that, she turned and went to sit at her desk, leaving him to go back to his apartment.
Naruto had meant to do the report and have it in by sundown – he really did! But there were a few too many distractions…
When he got home, he crashed down onto his couch right away. Surprisingly, once he was inside, he felt a lot better. A conscious decision was made to take a shower. Quickly, he grabbed a towel and walked to the bathroom.
Clean water felt good against his skin. For a while, he stood there and let it run over his face, washing away the grime that had accumulated during the mission – two days without showering left him feeling odd.
After a while, he stepped out of the stall, glad for hot water. Next thing: toothbrush. He had gone a while without brushing his teeth. Interestingly enough, he liked the clean feeling afterwards, although the artificial minty taste that hid chemicals wasn't nice at all.
When he started brushing his back teeth, something annoying happened: his toothbrush kept knocking into his canines. He knew that, occasionally, they grew longer because of the Kyuubi inside him, but they generally didn't do so when he was performing boring tasks like brushing his teeth.
With his hand, he wiped some fog off the mirror and stared. His canines were half an inch longer than they originally were!
Using his tongue, Naruto felt the elongated teeth, still staring nervously at them in the mirror. 'They shouldn't be this long; they should be normal – or almost normal, or -' He stopped. Were there any other changes about him? He still felt the same. Now using the mirror, he closely examined the spot where the stranger had pierced his neck – he assumed this was what happened, there were few other options and this one was more likely.
He continued staring at his teeth. Kiba had said that it was cold outside today, but he still felt really warm; could this be connected? He decided to test the sharpness of his new fangs by biting his thumb.
Unlike when he summoned toads, he had to put a lot less force behind the bite. Light pressure made a fairly deep cut – any more and it was possible for tooth to meet bone. Staring at his thumb, he continued to try and make sense of this when, to his utter shock, the wound simply closed up. It wasn't like healing at all – it was like there was an invisible zipper on the cut that had just been closed!
This couldn't just be a side-effect of the Kyuubi seal. If it was, it would've shown up before now. 'Tell Tsunade, tell Sakura, tell someone,' the standard thought ran through his head easily. He started to go to his bedroom to change, then stopped.
What if they decided to keep him here for observation? Sasuke was still out there, there were still other things to do outside the village. He couldn't stay here on quarantine. And, besides that, he had a feeling that this wasn't the last of the changes he was going to experience. He knew if something happened that made him a danger – more so than he already was – he would, once again, be watched warily.
Naruto took a deep breath and went back to the mirror. He stared hard at his fangs; they hadn't been so obviously long before, and there was no reason for them to be like this now. There had to be a way to hide them.
-End Chapter One-
Yes, I updated it. I improved it. Well, I had better had improved it, otherwise I'm throwing my keyboard out the front window! Rawr!
Ah, Naruto's discovering his first few vampiric quirks. Let's review and share what we all think about this, hmm?