Disclaimer: I do not own "Naruto" or anything associated with it. I only own "Youkou" and "Hanzatsu."
A/N: This takes place after the time-skip, so the adorable and lovable little Akamaru is not so little anymore, but still absolutely adorable and lovable.
"Konohagakure" is the Village Hidden in the Leaves
"Youkou" translates to sunshine.
"Hanzatsu" translates to troublesome.
"Baka" translates to idiot.
"Kami" translates to God.
"-Sama" is a honorific placed after names. It would be translated to something like Lord, Lady, Master, Mistress, etc.
It was a breezy summer night. The only light came from the full moon shining brightly above. It was on this night, in the middle of the woods, that a young ninja by the name of Kiba, and his partner Akamaru, were returning from a mission.
They hopped from branch to branch, carelessly thinking that all the danger was over. Little did they know that they were dead wrong.
They were just about to cross Konohagakure's border when they heard a sound and stopped in their tracks. Thinking it was just a forest animal, they shrugged it off and continued their journey home. All of a sudden, a black blur attacked them. Kiba was tackled to the ground by what seemed to be a bear, only it wasn't just a bear. The duo stared in amazement at the black bear, with 10-inch long ram horns and 6-inch long saber teeth, before them.
Just as the beast was about to attack Kiba, Akamaru rammed into it from the side causing it to fall a long way down, from the tree that it had attacked them on. Said dog went to see if his best friend was okay and immediately noticed a deep gash that ran from his friend's shoulder down to his chest. Akamaru helped Kiba get up and as they left the scene where they were attacked, it began to rain.
Before they could even walk twenty feet, Akamaru was bitten in the back of his leg. He howled in pain, but his howl was drowned out by the sound of thunder. Although Kiba couldn't hear Akamaru's cry of pain, he was able to smell the blood. So he turned around and saw the red liquid gushing out of his friend's leg. The earth's brown and green canvas, it seemed, was being painted a lovely shade of red.
Quickly, Kiba began to charge at the beast with a kunai in his hand. While it may have seemed to be smarter to use a jutsu, Kiba knew better than to perform one in the condition he was in and with the current weather the way it was. Before he was even able to get close enough to harm the beast that attacked Akamaru, he was thrown in the air with a swing of the bear's ram-like horns. Akamaru winced slightly at the sight of his owner being flung around as if he were some sort of rag doll.
The bear ran toward Akamaru and threw the shocked canine toward a tree. The tree cracked slightly before completely breaking in half and falling down above Akamaru. One end of the fallen tree lay on the other half of the tree that was still sturdy, while the other end was on the floor. So the fallen trunk was slanted and managed not to harm Akamaru.
With whatever ounce of energy Akamaru had left he tried to find Kiba's scent, and, in turn, Kiba himself, but the rain proved this task to be quite difficult. The water had washed away all foreign scents leaving only the smell of the rain and the forest.
Akamaru couldn't hang on any longer. His eyelids became heavy from the blood-loss and they began to droop. He let them fall until they completely covered his eyes and he finally let unconsciousness engulf him.
He opened his eyes to find himself running freely in the forest.
Why was he running? He didn't remember getting up.
He stopped running and looked up to see a bright cerulean sky, then he looked down to see the lush green grass beneath his large, white paws. He inhaled deeply and relished the sweet scents of the wet dirt and dew.
It seemed like heaven. Was that it? Had he died and gone to heaven?
Akamaru looked to his left and right to see other dogs, but there was something eerie about them. They all had wild, dirty and groomed fur, their teeth were yellow, and some of them had old scars and missing limbs. They weren't normal dog they were wild dogs. They belonged to the forest. They had probably never even seen a day of civilization like him.
He felt terribly out of place.
He suddenly felt something nudging against his muzzle. It felt like another muzzle, but he couldn't tell. The heaven had faded away and now he couldn't see anything. His eyelids felt heavy and it took him a while before he was able to force them half-way open. He was surprised when a pair of unfamiliar sea-foam green eyes met with his.
"Must have just been a dream," thought Akamaru.
"So, are you alive?" asked the owner of the green eyes rhetorically. Akamaru assumed she was a large dog, like him. If he would have been standing he would have noticed that she was only about 2 or 3 inches shorter than him.
"What? Of course I am," Akamaru said. "Who are you? And what are you doing here?" he asked curiously. There was no fear for him in being curious. After all, curiosity had killed the cat, not the dog.
"I live here, baka," she said as if it were the most obvious thing in the world.
"What's a dog like you doing living in the middle of nowhere?"
"First of all, this is not the middle of nowhere. Secondly, me, a dog?" she scoffed. "Don't make me laugh. I'm obviously a wolf."
"A wolf?" he asked somewhat dazedly.
"Yes, and you are?"
"Akamaru, a nin-dog."
"Well Akamaru, you should come with me. My pack isn't too far away, and we can take care of you."
"Take care of me? I'm a nin-dog! I don't need to be taken care of. What I need is to find my partner and friend: Kiba."
"It doesn't matter if you're a nin-dog or Kami himself, you're hurt," she said gesturing toward a wound on his back leg with her paw.
"It's fine. I can take care of myself." With that said Akamaru struggled to get up, he winced as soon as he put weight on his injured leg. It seemed that he had underestimated his injury. It was much worse than he had originally thought.
"It's probably infected y'know. That's why it hurts so bad. If you don't get it treated immediately you'll probably die unless you're smart enough to gnaw your leg off before it kills you, but then you'd probably die of blood-loss, and if you didn't you'd be one pathetic 3-legged nin-dog. Just come with me, then I won't have to keep worrying about your condition and you'll continue to have 4 legs. Seems like a win-win situation to me."
Akamaru was about to agree until he remembered about Kiba, "But my partner..."
"I'm sure he's fine. Besides, how can you possibly help him when you can barely walk and when you haven't eaten in who knows how long."
At that very moment Akamaru's stomach began to rumble. He hadn't eaten since he had finished the mission and, therefore, needed food, so he agreed to go with Youkou.
They walked into a large clearing and saw a young wolf who's fur had different shades of gray. He seemed to be about Akamaru's size when he was just a pup. When the pup saw Youkou, he grinned and shouted, "Youkou- sama!"
"What is it my little Hanzatsu?" she asked.
"Me and the others caught a deer for breakfast! I spotted it and the others went for the kill!" he shouted excitedly while jumping up and down.
"Good job Hanzatsu," she said as she nuzzled the young pup's fur lovingly. Akamaru, seeing the way they acted toward each other, wondered if she was his mother.
Akamaru's thoughts were interrupted by the pup.
"Youkou-sama, who's that?"
"That's Akamaru . He's an injured dog I found in the woods."
The little wolf wrinkled his nose at the word 'dog' and said, "Okay, I'll see you later then Youkou-sama."
They watched as the pup ran off, and when he was no longer visible, Akamaru spoke.
"Sama?" he asked confused.
"Yea," she responded nonchalantly.
"So he's your son?"
"No! He's just one of the younger wolves that look up to me."
"So why the 'sama' then?"
"Everyone here calls me 'sama'. I'm this pack's leader after all."
Akamaru stared at her in amazement. If she was the leader than perhaps she knew something about the strange creature that had attacked them before and she would probably also be very capable at helping him find Kiba. Once again, his thoughts were interrupted.
"I should show you around," Youkou said as she walked into the forest. Akamaru aimlessly followed her. She showed him where the pack ate and where they played, a small river complete with a waterfall where they could drink, swim, and bathe, and all the members of her pack. For the next couple of days, she showed him the beauty of the forest and got him more involved in the pack. He even began hunting with the older wolves and playing with the younger ones.
One day, Akamaru was playing with a few young wolves until Youkou called him over.
"Hey Akamaru," she began, "it looks like you're really getting along with the pack." Her tail had begun to wag at this point.
"Yea, but it's hard not to. They're really kind. Y'know, I'd actually like to thank you for taking care of me."
"No problem!" she said. "I was wondering, since you got along so well with everyone, that you shoul—" but she was cut off by a pup saying,
"Akamaru and Youkou sitting in a cave. N-U-Z-L-I-N-G!"
Then there was a howl heard in the distance. The pack responded immediately. They were surprised, but ran toward where the howl was coming from right away.
They discovered one of the wolves fighting off the bear creature that had been terrorizing the forest as well as Kiba and Akamaru that one night. Youkou commanded the wolves to step back and avoid the battle. She was going to handle this by herself. She was going to protect her pack. Suddenly, Akamaru stood by her side.
"Don't think you're the only one who's going to have fun," he said. "Plus, I need to get my revenge. He hurt Kiba and my pride."
Youkou rolled her eyes at him. The two canines made a decent tag-team. The beast was no match for them. It had no darkness nor rain to hide behind this time.
The wolves followed their victorious leader and Akamaru back to their home—the clearing, but Akamaru was silent the entire way back. He had been so caught up with the pack the last few days that he had forgotten how urgently he needed to find Kiba. However, he didn't want to leave Youkou and the pack. Especially, Youkou. He had begun to feel a connection blossoming between them and he didn't want to lose her or the connection.
"Akamaru, great fight! Now we don't have to worry about getting attacked by that thing again," Youkou said grinning.
"Yeah, that's great," he sad not as enthusiastically as Youkou had thought he would have responded. She may have only known him for a couple of days, but she knew him well enough to know when he was acting odd.
"Is something wrong?" she asked him with deep concern etched into her voice.
"Yea. I think I'm just gonna go for a walk."
On his walk he thought about Kiba and how much he missed him. They had never been apart for so long before. During this time he didn't feel so alone, though, because of Youkou, but he knew he couldn't be without Kiba, they were supposed to be friends and partners forever. He couldn't abandon Kiba for someone who he had just met. It didn't matter how beautiful, caring or absolutely perfect she was.
Oh Kami! Akamaru couldn't believe that it had taken him this long to realize it. He was beginning to fall in love with this golden wolf.
At that very moment, the wandering Akamaru bumped into a sleeping Kiba. Akamaru practically burst with excitement, and he began to wag his tail a mile a minute.
He licked Kiba's face to wake him up.
"Ugh," Kiba groaned. But after he opened his eyes, he was immediately awake and filled with joy. "Akamaru buddy, you found me! It's about time, boy."
After being reunited with his partner, Akamaru explained to Kiba that he had gotten their revenge by killing the bear-like creature that had attacked them.
"How did you do that?" Kiba asked hardly believing it.
"I'll show you," Akamaru said. He led him to the clearing where the pack of wolves he had met and befriended lived. Akamaru introduced Kiba to Youkou and the wolves. He had said before, the wolves were hard not to get along with, so naturally, Kiba befriended the wolves immediately despite him being human. They decided to rest up the night with the wolves before taking off the next morning.
The following morning, Kiba was the first to wake. He shook Akamaru awake, "Come on boy," began Kiba, "we've been away for a long time. We have to start our journey back home.
"What?" asked a distressed Akamaru. "Why?"
"Our mission is over. We need to go back to the village to tell Tsundae-sama, of course. Why else?"
"But I don't want to go!" shouted Akamaru suddenly.
"Huh? Why not boy?" asked Kiba genuinely confused.
"Because..." he trailed off with a saddened look on his face, before starting again. "Because I have feelings for the leader of this pack."
With that said he walked away from Kiba and bumped into Youkou.
"Hey Akamaru, where you going?" she asked with a childishly curious tone.
"Youkou...I have to go back to the village with Kiba. I'm so sorry."
The heartbreak was so painfully evident in her eyes, but she continued to smile at him anyways. "I think you should come with us, Youkou. I'd really like that, y'know. And you'd make a great nin-wolf. And we could see each other frequently, if not all the time."
"Akamaru, I'd love to, but I can't," she said locking eyes with him like when they had first met. "I'm this pack's leader. I can't abandon them. I have to stay here to guide them and protect them. Why can't you just stay here with me?"
"I'd really like that too, but I can't. I have to go with Kiba. He's my pack, and just like you can't abandon yours, I can't abandon mine either."
After saying that they stood there in silence just staring at each other. It wasn't an awkward silence, though. It was one filled with so many emotions—predominantly filled with sorrow.
"I understand," She said sincerely, breaking the silence.
Before anymore words could be spoken, he licked her cheek sweetly. She smiled a sad smile, but managed to lick his cheek as well. She nuzzled his neck as he nuzzled hers and they stayed just like that for a few minutes. As he pulled away, she licked his muzzle lovingly.
"I'm going to miss you," she said barely above a whisper.
Akamaru looked behind him and saw Kiba waiting for him. He looked back at Youkou.
"I'll miss you too, Youkou-sama," he said emphasizing the 'sama' in a playful manner. She smiled at his idiocy.
"Maybe we'll see each other again?" she proposed.
"Maybe," he replied reminiscently.
"Until another time, then."
"Yeah," he said. He licked her muzzle like she had done to him earlier. "Until that time, Youkou, please know that I love you."
Youkou smiled shyly, as much as a wolf could smile, "I love you too, Akamaru."
They smiled at each other one last time before Akamaru turned around and walked toward Kiba. The pair jumped onto a tree branch and hopped from one branch to another. Youkou sat there in silence. She watched Akamaru's retreating form with a small smile on her muzzle and tears rolling down her golden-furred cheeks.