A Breathy Sigh

Author's Note: Here's one of two Naruto projects I have going. My aim here is to do something rarely done; to completely re-make the Naruto world to be more like how it should be in my eyes.

As in, less about power levels and more about stealthy ninja stuff.

And mythological beings.

That said, I've only read the manga up to Naruto vs. Pain in Konoha (and even then, only half-heartedly), so any new info introduce after then can take several hikes over various high ledges, because I don't give a fuck.

Chapter 1

Sarutobi Hiruzen stared at the child in front of him. Said child had appeared in his office with nary a sound, having managed to sneak past all of the Hokage's personal guard (all ANBU, all seasoned and all, apparently, easily tricked), apparently for the express purpose of making one of the strangest demands he's ever heard.

Collecting his thoughts, Sarutobi turned once more to regard the guarded expression the ten year old boy in front of him held. He seemed to visibly compose himself before addressing the expectant minor.

"Naruto-kun, why on earth would you ever want to join the kunoichi seduction classes?" he inquired, still bemused by the child's odd request.

"Isn't it obvious, Hokage-ji?" the boy asked. "They'll be useful."

This reply flummoxed the withered leader. He could not, no matter how hard he tried, even begin to dream up a situation in which the art of seduction could prove useful in a shinobi's career (aside from aiding in resisting such arts, but little Naruto was far too young to be thinking of such things). Nonplussed as he was, a creeping suspicion began to form in his mind.

"Naruto-kun," he began. "I am… aware of the abilities granted you by your… tenant. However, I fail to see how, even with those abilities in mind, these classes could ever be of use to a young man such as yourself."

A look of mixed confusion and consternation crossed the child's face at Sarutobi's words.

"Young man?" he asked, almost as if to himself. Suddenly, he looked down, as if shocked to discover that he was, in fact, male. An understanding look crossed his face, and the creeping suspicion in the Hokage's mind began to loudly ring alarm bells.

There was not much to it; a subtle yet noticeable shift to the features, a barely perceptible change in posture, and then Uzumaki Naruto raised her eyes to look at the old man sitting opposite her.

'Well, this changes everything,' thought Sarutobi.

The worst kept secret in Konoha was that Uzumaki Naruto was the Jinchuriki of the Kyuubi no Kitsune, the ninth and strongest of the Biju and the one that had attacked the village ten years previously. The secret was so poorly guarded because everyone over the age of twelve knew it, and were (supposedly) unable to tell anyone who didn't.

The best kept secret in Konoha is that Uzumaki Naruto is the son of Uzumaki Kushina, a former kunoichi of the now-destroyed Uzugakure, and Namikaze Minato, the Yondaime Hokage of Konohagakure. This secret was so well guarded because only four people currently alive knew it, and none of them would ever tell a soul before the time came and Naruto could defend himself.

Somewhere between the two was another secret; on the night that the Kyubi had been sealed into Naruto by his father, Namikaze Minato, the fox had, on a level so deep as to be spiritual in nature, fundamentally altered the human known as Uzumaki Naruto, so much so that the child had ceased to exist.

In its place was the infant kitsune, Uzumaki Naruto. Precisely eight beings in the world knew this. That number was about to rise.

Yuuhi Kurenai sighed.

Though there were many different ways to sigh, this was not one of the common ones; it was not a sigh of frustration, despair, anger or fatigue. It was not a sigh of happiness, laziness or content. It was not a sigh promising fun things in the night, nor was it a sigh indicating a painful, rude (and possibly fatal) awakening. It was not the keening sigh of the injured, not the heavy sigh of the dying and not the rattling sigh of air escaping a fresh corpse.

It was the sigh of a woman who needed to get as drunk as possible as quickly as possible so that she could forget the last fifteen minutes of her life.

She had been summoned to see the Hokage at nine 'o' clock that morning with regards to her current post at the Academy. Arriving five minutes early, as was her wont, she had been allowed in by the Sandaime's secretary almost immediately. Her first surprise had been that Uzumaki Naruto was present in what she had expected to be a private meeting.

She had seen the Kyuubi's jailor in the past, and whilst she bore him no ill will, the memories of the night Konoha had been brought low prevented her from holding any sort of favour towards him. That night had been a particularly poignant defeat for Kurenai, as all of her prized genjutsu, the techniques she had spent years perfecting, had been as nothing before a master of illusions as powerful and experienced as the Kyuubi. She had been rendered completely useless that night (as had many), fit only to recover the dead and the dying. Such a personal defeat stung her pride in ways little else could, and the memory of it had always prevented her from looking kindly upon the container of the source of her total humiliation. Now, however, things had changed.

Upon entering his office, Kurenai had been asked by Sarutobi to sit. That was her second surprise, and the first sign that this was to be a serious meeting. For standard orders, the ninja reporting usually remained standing; to be asked to sit was tantamount to a direct statement that the following conversation would be of significant import.

Sarutobi had then told her something amazing. Despite their bigotry, despite their hatred, despite their misguided rage and sorrow, those in the village who believed that Naruto was a demon were right.

At the same time, he wasn't the demon they thought he was. Sarutobi had explained to her that Naruto was as much a kitsune as the Kyuubi that had attacked, and as much the Kyuubi as Sarutobi himself.

Then he had gotten Naruto to demonstrate. The boy had held up one hand, whispered something she barely hear whilst the air behind him distorted slightly, and a pale blue flame exploded into life at the tip of each of his fingers. He had drawn his hand away, leaving the little balls of azure seemingly dangling precariously in mid-air, before they began, slowly at first but quickly speeding from their ponderous gait, to orbit around him. Another word from the blond and the small impossibilities winked out of existence once more.

Kurenai had sat in stunned silence, sure that she was gaping in a very un-ladylike fashion, until the Sandaime had politely coughed to regain her attention. Then he had had Naruto show he the source of her desire to get absolutely shitfaced.

Uzumaki Naruto had, before her eyes, transformed himself into a carbon copy of her. Following this, the Hokage had ordered her to attempt every method she knew of to dispel genjutsu, and none of them had worked.

This meant one of three things; the first was that she had lost all talent for genjutsu overnight, a thought she immediately dismissed. The second was that Naruto was better at genjutsu than her, a thought she had no desire to entertain. The final possibility, the one she was being told was the reality of the situation by the man she put her trust in every day of her career, was that Naruto had just physically altered his flesh to exactly duplicate her, right down to the exact state of her clothing and hair style.

And then she'd been ordered to accept him into her class in kunoichi seduction arts at the Academy.

And she had accepted.

And Naruto had simply smiled faintly about it, ad if her acceptance was a foregone conclusion he had made long ago and was only now physically seeing.

Hence her need to get completely hammered.

Kurenai sighed again. Where was Anko when you needed her?