A Matter of Honour
Naruto didn't have the time to see this before, how could he with war taking place all around him. It was only now, sitting in the co-pilots chair of a commandeered shuttle, that he could sit back and marvel at not just the size of the vessels around him but the number of them as well. So this sight before him was that of a fleet born and bred for warfare?
Through the cockpit he could see at least twelve warships of different classes and sizes, all formed into the basic formation of a convoy, bigger ships in the centre and smaller escorts and pickets in the outer layers. He thought he noticed the Confederate flagship, the Prominence, at the lead, but it was difficult to tell vessels of the same class at such a range.
The Refuge though could be noticed just fine. The only Venator-class capital-ship in the formation, located about fifty kilometres behind them in the centre of the fleet. Naruto would openly admit that he didn't know all the class names of the multitude of capital-ships, escorts, fighters, bombers, interceptors and droids which were swarming around them, but he would also retort that he was learning.
To his left was the huge form of a Providence-class Carrier, cylindrical form bristling with armaments which were designed to blast this little ship to pieces with a single hit. Above them was the smaller but no less intimidating skeletal shape of a Recusant–class Light Destroyer, and Naruto could tell from the score marks on the gunmetal armoured hull that it was a vessel with more than a few skirmishes under its belt. Three Droid starfighters soared past them, performing a slight curve before vanishing behind their target.
"Is this your first time seeing so many ships?" Aayla asked wryly from the pilot's chair.
"First time seeing so many ships that aren't firing at me." Naruto replied.
Aayla shook her head, before reaching out, turning on the shuttles comm. system and turning the frequency to the escorts. "Morning Star, this is Coalition Shuttle Alpha-235 requesting docking permission."
"Roger that Alpha-235, permission granted, proceed to dock three."
"Thank you Morning Star, beginning docking." Aayla replied as she brought the shuttle into a shallow dive and curve, bringing it alongside the much larger Frigate. She lowered the main engine nacelles to minimum output and began gliding her in with the thrusters. The docking clamp latched onto the shuttle with a sudden thump. "Morning Star, we have landed."
"Copy that Alpha-235, welcome."
"That's my pilot." Naruto said affectionately as he undid his crash webbing.
"You expected any less." Aayla shot back playfully, undoing her own webbing and standing up with a stretch. "I can't wait to get the Will of Fire back, gotten too used to piloting her. Everything else I pilot just seems strange."
"That's because she's your baby." Naruto replied as he turned. Aayla was taking to wearing her Shinobi attire more frequently since the end of their training at Boz Pity, with gray pants and jacket, her deep green flak vest worn over and knee high black leather boots. On her utility belt was her lightsaber and blaster pistol, and wrapped tightly around her right leg was her weapons pouch. He couldn't help the smile as she moved with a grimace. "Having trouble?"
She looked up at him with a grimace, "Just not used to wearing so much clothing, I feel heavy."
"I don't mind you wearing the skin tight leather you know." Naruto smirked as he turned and walked a few steps down the corridor separating the cockpit from the cargo bay, "Very sexy."
"Skin tight leather isn't really Shinobi attire though," Aayla muttered under her breath as she followed him down the corridor. "So is this where I see the results of your reckless heroism?"
Naruto could hear the humour in her voice, "Yeah, more or less. But I have to warn you, a lot of these people are in bad shape."
"I know. I got word from Ahsoka." Aayla replied as Naruto gripped the latch to the docking port and pulled it. "They've already sent word for more supplies, not just medical but also foodstuffs and drinking water. A lot of those people are dehydrated and starving."
Naruto didn't reply as he walked down the short corridor between the two vessels, seeing the docking doors to the Frigate open with a mechanical whirl. Aayla didn't get offended by his silence, knowing that he knew everything she said all too well. He had suddenly asked to come over to the ship with her, that there were a few people he wanted to check up on.
"So, who are you looking for?" Aayla asked as they ducked into the cargo bay. Immediately they were given a real view at how these people were. The cargo bay was empty of crates and equipment, with rows and rows of bedding and pillow. On these makeshift mattresses were the freed slaves and POW's. A lot of them were sick. Aayla could feel it in the force as well as from the clammy atmosphere.
"I saved a little girl just before the breakout happened," Naruto explained as he walked across one of the paths between beds, nodding and returning greeting to those who sent them his way, and there were quite a few people who noticed and remembered him. "She had been with someone I believe was her mother, the slavers shot her before I could intervene, right in front of her. I need to see how she's doing."
Aayla said nothing, simply followed him towards the exit and through to the corridors. There were people even here, sitting against the walls or moving without purpose. A trio of Neimoidians dressed in dark blue battle armour moved to the side as they approached, snapping salutes to Naruto which he returned with a wave.
"Looks like you're pretty well respected," Aayla intoned as she watched the troopers pass.
Naruto shrugged. "Well, you know how it is, when you're in the middle of a life and death situation bonds tend to form."
They walked through the already opened doors and came into one of the main cargo holds, the floor covered with makeshift bedding, tables and chairs were setup in a few islands of cleared space and people were lining up as basic foodstuffs and water was being distributed. Aayla and Naruto continued to walk through the crowd to the other side. They were halfway across when people began to notice him, and immediately they were hailed with shouts, mothers with children, old men and women, the sickly and the healthy, none of them clambered up to block his path, but all of them began calling out to him in greeting and thanks.
Naruto, looking a little abashed by the sudden surge of praise, could only raise his hand and wave, calling out greetings and asking in passing to a few people if they were okay. Aayla couldn't help but smile. He may not consider himself anything special, but to her, and to these people she knew, he was.
They finally managed to make their way to the other side and through the opened double doors and once they were in a fairly quiet corridor Naruto dropped his fake smile of confidence and let out a breath, cheeks reddening slightly. Aayla walked up to him and leaned over, bringing her face close to his. "What's the matter with you, our great and glorious hero?"
"Stop it," he said in mock annoyance to her playful teasing, straightening and looking back the way he had come. "I'm just not used to being flooded with such praise, even when I proved myself in Konoha, I found myself unused to it."
Aayla reached up on her tiptoes and placed a soft, tender kiss on his cheek. Naruto looked down at her with a smile, his unease suddenly forgotten. "What was that for?"
"I was being spontaneous dummy." She shot back before taking his hand in hers and leading him down the corridor to the main turbolift. "Come on, you've got a little girl to check up on."
Aayla led the way down the corridor, turning a corner and colliding with something large, and furry. She stumbled back in surprise, looking up to see the towering form of a Wookiee, nearly twice her size looking down at her quizzically. Naruto turned the corner then, gripping her shoulders and acting as an anchor as she regained her balance, unnecessary, but sweet of him.
"I'm very sorry." She apologised.
The Wookiee growled in acceptance, which Aayla was thankful for. She got a better look at him, seeing that he was pretty tall even amongst his brethren, with brown fur covering his form and small dark eyes studying both her and Naruto.
"Hey, I know you from somewhere." Naruto said with a frown as he approached the Wookiee, who in turn studied him intently as he came within arm's reach. Aayla sighed, knowing that Naruto did not fear a Wookiee, even if their great size and appearance unnerved many humanoids at first glance. Naruto's face lit up after a moment of contemplation. "Yeah, I do know you. You're the one I saved on the platform."
Realisation dawned on the Wookiee's features after a short moment, and a toothy grin became known on the creature's features, it raised its paw and released a series of high pitched growls and grunts. Naruto looked at him for a moment, before folding his arms and nodding, turning to Aayla with a serious expression.
"He's talking to me, isn't he?"
Aayla blinked, "Yeah."
"I have no idea what he's saying," Naruto said with a straight face before turning back to the towering mammal with a sheepish smile. "Sorry about that by the way."
The Wookiee hesitated for a moment, and then began to grunt and growl again, in a more hurried tone. Naruto listened to the tall creature until he stopped and then turned to Aayla. "You know how to speak his language?"
"In passing, yes," Aayla replied with a frown. "I'm not sure if I understand him right though."
The Wookiee seemed to frown before turning to Aayla, and emitted a series of grunts and growls.
"Please tell me you can translate." Naruto asked.
Aayla didn't answer, simply locking eyes with the towering behemoth. "You're sure?"
The seriousness of her words took Naruto aback a little, Aayla had become so serious in an instant, from the moment she heard the Wookiee all the way to the end. The giant responded with a sure and steady nod, along with a grunted affirmative.
"What is he saying?" Naruto asked.
"This is not a decision made lightly," Aayla continued speaking to the giant, folding her arms. "I understand your people's customs and traditions, but I am asking you if you are absolutely sure. There is no shame if you are uncertain, and this is a life altering decision."
The creature grunted in affirmative once more. Naruto had the urge to ask Aayla again, but stopped himself, whatever this Wookiee was saying was something important, something very important, and Aayla was adamant to make sure he meant whatever he was saying. Finally Aayla turned back to Naruto, and seeing his expression couldn't help but manage a small smile.
"He is pretty serious about this." She said at last.
"Well, you see, in the Wookiee culture they have a kind of tradition. If your life is saved from an event which would mean degradation or certain death, then the warriors of that civilisation swear what is called a life-debt to their saviour. It basically means that they become the protector of you, your family and your descendants for as long as they are able." Aayla explained with slight hesitation in her voice, looking at the towering creature who in turn was watching them intently. "This one has just declared that he has a life-debt to you."
Naruto blinked, and then blinked again. Aayla could swear that she saw the gears in his head turning as he digested this information. "Come again."
"This Wookiee's name is... Salorrack, do I have that right?" Aayla asked, looking up at the towering giant, who growled in affirmative. "His name is Salorrack, and he has just affirmed that he has a life-debt with you. Naruto Uzumaki, he will protect you, your children and your children's children for as long as he is able, and as long as he lives, that is his oath."
Naruto blinked again, before shaking himself from his stupor and starring at the towering giant for a long moment. "What the... hell."
"So let me see if I understand this, commander."
The air in the small office dropped by several degrees, chilling the base commander to the bone as he meet his interrogators eyes with the same steely resolve. Commander Jarvis was a former officer in the Republic Navy who managed to survive the transition to the Imperial hierarchy. He had served alongside the Jedi before Order 66, and would admit that he saw them as chauvinistic and naive.
He had never liked the Jedi, but compared to these men in black robes who had taken their place, he kind of missed them. These men, these Inquisitors, elite agents of Imperial Intelligence, had none of the respect or ability of Jedi Knights. Instead they were crude, violent, without morals or obligations and they feared no one but their masters.
This man, above all others, unnerved him. He had introduced himself as Antinnis Tremayne, a youngish man with slightly spiked blond hair, chiselled features and dark brown eyes. He wore a maroon robe, something common among mid to high level members of their department, along with silver armour and light blue underlay.
"You allowed a terrorist cell to infiltrate and cause considerable damage to the forces under your command. Not only that, but you also lost a recently captured Separatist Frigate, and allowed several thousand prisoners of war to escape alongside the perpetrators of the bombings." Inquisitor Tremayne said in a deadpan voice. "This sounds like the work of extreme negligence on your part, Commander."
"I kept a full contingent of troopers guarding the base, and a full squadron of TIE fighters holding the skies over the port. The failure to stop these attacks is down to the individual squadron commanders." Jarvis said, feeling sweat stream down his brow despite the cold atmosphere.
"Ah, I see, so you blame the tools instead of the workman." The Inquisitor replied, raising his hand into the shape of a claw.
"Now see here," the commander began, before stopping just as suddenly as he began. His hands immediately went to his throat as he felt invisible fingers grip onto him in a strangling hold. It wasn't long before his eyes began to bulge, blood rushing to his ears as he tried to speak, tried to beg but it only came out as a series of strained grunts and short gasps.
"I find your lack of etiquette offensive, Commander." The Inquisitor said, voice radiating irritation. "Under your watch you allowed these events to happen. Under your watch you allowed a small band of rebels to sneak into your base undetected, cause havoc and then leave. Do you understand the severity of such a failure?"
Jarvis tried to speak, tried to apologise, but he found such simple motions impossible, darkness was creeping on the edges of his vision as his eyes began to roll back into his head. The Inquisitor watched as the man suffered with a complete lack of interest, dark eyes boring through the suffocating form of the Commander.
"The Emperor is displeased by your actions and my master even more so. He thinks that it is time for a change in command around here. A new, more able bodied leader, if you understand." The Inquisitor continued.
"W-who... who d-d-do you s-s-s-serve?" Jarvis just barely managed through grunts and gasps.
A humourless smile fell upon deathly pale features, "Why, the Fist of the Emperor off course. Darth Vader is who I serve."
He flicked his wrist, and a harrowing crack of bone signalled the end of a life. The Dark Jedi watched with a bored expression as the corpse of the former Commander fell limply into his chair. A wave of his hand pushed the body off the chair, falling boneless to the ground, dead eyes looking up at the ceiling.
He turned to the black armoured Stormtroopers flanking him. "Fetch me the second-in-command, I think it is time we let him know of his promotion. And contact the Usurper, inform them that we will be arriving shortly and have her ready to leave."
The two guards nodded their heads, turned on their heels and each went to perform their specified tasks. The Inquisitor turned back to the chair, eyeing it for a moment before walking to the window overlooking the port, just in time to see an Imperial supply shuttle take off to orbit. A column of Stormtroopers marched along the tarmac on regular drill, white armour gleaming in the midmorning light.
Antinnis Tremayne knew that soon he would need to send his report to his master. Mission accomplished, now for the next assignment, the finding and apprehension of the mastermind behind an attack which made the Imperial army look like incompetent fools and allowed one of the last relics of the Clone Wars to escape.
This Naruto Uzumaki was on his list, alongside his comrades. He had already dispatched agents and activated spy networks across the Outer-Rim, recalling all of his subordinates and underlings, a small army of Acolytes was at his command and he intended to use them to find and catch his target, dead or alive, either way was acceptable to his master. He knew that he was but one faction in a larger picture, and others were already on the move.
"The Emperor must really want this man, for him to send every major organisation on his tale, the Hutts, Black Sun, Bounty Hunters Guild, Imperial Intelligence... how interesting. A small smile spread across Tremayne's lips, and his eyes glowed with a menacing yellow hue. "Let us see who wins this race."
Sasuke Uchiha had to marvel at the accomplishments of engineering every time he saw one of these creations, and he couldn't help but smile when the knowledge came that such a vessel was under his personal command. The Reprisal was a heavily modified Imperial-class Star Destroyer, a sixteen hundred meter long ship of war which was fast becoming the new backbone of the Imperial fleet.
This ship was modified to become the mobile headquarters of the Shinobi, was modified so that a portion of the original cargo bays and living quarters were transformed into torture & interrogation chambers, prison cells and training facilities. The crew and soldiers outside of his own Ninja were handpicked by him personally, by looking over their records and skills he saw people who had no love of the new administration, whose loyalty would be to him and only him, once he gained it.
He began walking before the rampway could even touch the decking, his two Shinobi flanking him as his feet made contact with the metal deck of the main hanger of the Reprisal, finding a column of Stormtroopers twenty long and five deep stood to attention as he walked. A man in a Lieutenants olive uniform fell into step beside him, knowing by now that this man did not stop for pleasantries.
"Assemble my agents," he said simply and with finality. The Lieutenant stopped the moment the last syllable left his lips, snapping a salute before bringing out a small handheld comlink to relay the orders. Sasuke didn't bother to tell him where they would assemble, for his agents already knew exactly where to go. "And Lieutenant, don't waste my troopers time in such a display unless I order it, understand?"
Sasuke nodded, before continuing on his way. Ayumi and Amaya continued to flank him, their eyes flashing right and left, not at ease even though they were within the confines of their masters command vessel. They distrusted the crew, as he did, it would take time to remove such mistrust amongst those under his command.
They walked through long corridors, bypassing troopers and crew who kept up proper decorum to move to the side and salute as they passed. As they continued into the bowels of the warship the crowded corridors gave way to silent hallways. They had entered the area reserved for them and those they considered worthy of entering. The only signs of life were duos of Stormtroopers guarding major chambers and rooms, the crimson and white fan of his clan engraved on the breast plate and shoulder pads of their otherwise immaculate white armour.
Finally Sasuke entered the small meeting chamber, his two Shinobi following him. Within the small meeting room, dominated by a round table with thirteen seats, were the other ten of his chosen agents, men and women with the ability to utilise chakra, chosen and trained by him personally. They were his own personal guard, loyal to him and only him, his agents, his assassins, his warriors and soldiers.
"Good of you all to come," Sasuke said with a smirk as Ayumi and Amaya took their designated seats. "We have been given our assignments, the assassination of every major dissident and reformist within the Galactic Empire which our Emperor dares to take action against."
"Sounds like fun, milord." Takumi, a slender man with raven hair and the look of a thief said with a smirk mirroring his employer. This brought chuckles from the other assassins in the room. "Most of these people are small fry, but still a good chance to stretch our muscles and test our skills."
"These men may be small fry now, but they have the ability and skill to potentially become something more dangerous than they currently are." Sasuke explained. "That is the reason why Palpatine wants them eliminated. He feels he can control those with power now, even the Senators of Alderaan and Chandrilla, but those of the future are more uncertain, and so he wants them eliminated."
"And we are his knives in the dark, eh?" Akira, a smallish man with blond hair asked.
"Yes we are. Good practise for when our cousins make their move." Ayumi spoke up with a smile.
"You all know me by now," Sasuke said simply. "You may not be supporters of the Empire, you do not trust them and rightfully so. I ask you to trust me instead, trust me and I will see you through these times."
"We trust you." Amaya nodded, gaining acknowledgement from the other eleven in the room. "You took us away from the firing squads, taught us how to fight, how to survive. We will follow you to hell and back, milord."
Sounds of acknowledgement were heard across the table from his troops, his twelve Shinobi of a restored order, those he would be able to trust in the times ahead. "Alright then, spend your time honing your skills and perfecting your methods, we are moving out now."
"I have a life-debt."
"You saying it over and over again isn't going to make it go away."
"I am aware." Naruto allowed before turning back to the huge sentient following the pair. "Are you absolutely sure about this?"
The Wookiee seemed to be getting slightly annoyed at being asked that over and over again, for he gave Naruto a baleful look which brokered no argument. Naruto sighed and shrugged his shoulders as the three continued to walk. "It's just that we're the kind of people who are going to be moving, all the time, you probably won't be able to get much personal time with your family."
The Wookiee replied with a low growl.
"He says most of his family and friends are either dead or he doesn't know where they are." Aayla translated for her partner. "As far as he's concerned at the moment he is alone."
"Oh, well in that case welcome aboard."
A friendly mewl was his larger new crewmembers reply.
"There's another language I need to get the gist off." Naruto replied with a sigh before finally turning a corner and reaching the outskirts of his destination. The medical bay was where the worst traumatic cases went, both mental and physical. It was also where the few Jedi Healers aboard were positioned, with people who needed help the most.
He noticed Ahsoke straight away, dressed in a full white gown with a clipboard in her hand. The young Togruta was starting to grow. She was now taller, and was also starting to fill out from the thin stick of a teenager to a woman, even her lekku were growing, now three times longer than before, before her training on Boz Pity they barely reached her shoulders, now they reached to her lower shoulder blades and were entwined around each other like a braid.
Aayla was surprised when Ahsoka decided to learn healing Shinobi skills, during her time as a Padawan she had been more interested in things that went boom, but ever since Naruto taught her the basic healing chakra exercises she had been an apt student. When he finally asked her she said she was tired of fighting and wanted to become someone to heal wounds instead of making them.
He saw Sakura in her for a brief moment, and that memory brought a smile to his face.
Finally the youngest of his students noticed him and a grin framed her features as she walked over and hugged him. It had been a full week since she had seen him, most of her time had been taken up studying either with the Jedi Healers or peering into Naruto's mobile library of scrolls. Now here she was, determined to put those newly learned lessons to work.
"Where have you been girl," Naruto asked playfully as she parted and hugged Aayla in turn.
"Learning is where I've been, sun-boy." She replied with a tired smirk. "I've still got quite a few people to help, seems that basic diagnostic Jutsu you showed me is narrowing down a lot of problems. So what are you here for?"
"I'm looking for someone, a young girl." Naruto replied, noticing his new Wookiee friend remain where he was just outside of the sterilised ward. Aayla remained quiet and by his side, allowing him to confer. "She would be about five years old, Twi'lek, purplish skin tone."
Ahsoka thought for a brief moment, and then realisation dawned. "I know who you mean, and I think you visiting her will mean a lot."
"What do you mean?" Naruto asked with a worried frown.
"She's in room fifteen." Ahsoka explained as she led the two of them down the long packed corridor. "Whatever happened to her was undeniably traumatic. She's been almost inconsolable, crying or just looking blankly at the walls. She's not talking, eating or sleeping. Do you know what happened to her?"
She was worried, that was undeniable. Ahsoka may have been brash and spontaneous, sometimes tomboyish and uncontrollable, but deep down she was perhaps one of the kindest and most considerate people there were, and this girls pain was felt by her through the force. Her worry was as clear to any force-sensitive as day.
"I think her mother was executed, right in front of her." Naruto replied, voice sombre at the memory.
"Yeah, that would about do it." Ahsoka nodded slowly, grabbing onto Naruto's wrist suddenly to stop him. She then gripped onto his shoulders, forcing his bright blue eyes to look into her dark ones. "Naruto I am really worried about this girl, scared for her even. In the force her emotions are becoming darker and darker and nothing I say seems to be getting through. I've been getting snippets of visions of her hurting herself, maybe even worse.
The aspiring Healer's breath was coming and going in gasps, eyes wide in fear and memory. The grip of her fingers into his skin began to tighten. She honestly didn't know what to do to save this girl and the very thought terrified her, bringing back bad memories of after she left the Jedi Order midway through the war, of suddenly being hunted before she even realised what had happened, of Rex appearing in that darkened alleyway when she was surrounded and fighting for her life, suddenly being the only person in the galaxy who was willing to save her.
"Calm down, Ahsoka." He said softly.
"If you can drag her back then please, I beg of you, do it."
This was the first time he had seen her so scared since the time he first met her, as a scared and lonely girl under the protection of her last real friend. She had once been just a hairsbreadth away from such feelings, been in a similar dark place with seemingly nowhere to go. She had Rex to keep her grounded, and this girl didn't have even that.
"I will." He promised.
Ahsoka said nothing more. She released his shoulders from her hold and led him and Aayla down the sterilised corridor towards the room where the young girl was. The doors opened the moment the Jedi/Shinobi Healer stood before them, but she did not enter, she simply looked over at him with a gaze which begged whatever higher power that he could do the same thing he had done for her, for Celeste and for Aayla; the ability to lift them from their pain, and help them stand and face the world again.
He took a deep breath.
He was beside Ahsoka, looking into a stale hospital room with just a single large bed, and sitting on that bed, knees under her chin as she looked out at nothing was the girl he had saved. Sometimes he felt heavy when in such a situation. When he was a child his ruthless belief in seeing the best of people seemed to break through to even the hardest of cases, first was Inari, then Neji, Gaara, Nagato, Konan. The list was long he would admit.
What Ahsoka had explained was right on the mark, even he, who was blind to the force felt the darkness creeping into her soul, her sense of loss and something which was far worse than any, the sudden weight of helplessness, of a loss of faith in everything, in ending it all. Naruto didn't need the force, for he could see it all in her eyes, orbs as bottomless as the blackest deepest pit.
The suffering in this girl was so plain to see.
He stepped into the room, hearing the door slid shut behind him but continuing on regardless. He was standing in front of her and there was nothing in her eyes which told him she knew he was there. He knelt on a knee, bringing him down to her height and slowly, carefully wrapped his huge hands around her tiny, frail ones, bringing them up in his grasp and forcing her to look at him.
"Hello there," he greeted softly, flashing a small smile. "Do you remember me?"
A tiny spark flashed in her eyes as they took in his features. The child nodded slowly but said nothing else. Naruto knew there was no chance she was going to start the conversation, so encroached in her shell, he needed to get her attention. This sorrow wasn't as open as Aayla's, or as raw as Celeste's or even as sudden as Ahsoka's. This sorrow was being tightly wrapped in a bun by the one who had to carry it, one who didn't know what to do with it.
"What's your name?" he asked.
"Come on kiddo, everyone has a name." He goaded softly.
Still no answer.
"If you don't tell me your name I'll have to make one up for you." He said with a playful voice.
Another spark, a slight scrunching of her features in annoyance. It was a start. Her voice was small and raspy from lack of sleep and food. "It's Rachi."
"Rachi," Naruto repeated with a small smile. She was talking to him, a good sign. "No way, that was entirely the name I was going to make up for you."
A slight quirking of dried lips, "Who... who are you?"
"Sorry, I should have introduced myself sooner." He smiled. "My name is Naruto, and it's great to meet you Rachi."
"My full name is Rachi Sitra." She muttered.
"Rachi... Sitra," Naruto repeated before flashing a grin. "What a beautiful name. My full name is Naruto Uzumaki."
Sex, Corruption and Language Lessons
"How are you doing in Huttese anyway?"
"I can curse, say hello and put a few sentences together about someone else's mother." Naruto replied sheepishly. "That's about it. Rex is trying to teach me when we get a moment, but I think the end result of our sessions is just him pulling at his hair."
"Well at least he didn't try to castrate you like Celeste did."
"I kind of deserved that though, calling her a piece of bantha excrement when I was supposed to be just saying hello." Naruto replied with a dry gulp.
She might have forgiven him if it was in the middle of a lesson but not when he met her in a random corridor. Celeste wouldn't speak to him for three days, and he still swore he felt the bump on the top of his head. He needed Aayla's help to smooth things over, amazing what three friends and a few bottles of Corellian brandy could accomplish. The three of them decided at some point during the night to continue his lessons, trying to speak to each other in slurred Huttese, it was actually kind of fun.
He was corrupting them, Naruto realised in passing, that was actually the first night either of them had anything alcoholic to drink and he was the one who brought it. If he had known that he would have started them off on something basic like ale or beer and not full on spirits like brandy, especially Corellian. He and Rex consider themselves to be pretty resilient drinkers and that stuff was enough to get them wasted.
Aayla snapping her fingers in front of his nose brought him back to reality, and he looked down at his girlfriend apologetically, only to be met with a frown and a raised brow. "What were you thinking about?"
"I seem to learn better in language lessons when there's alcohol involved." Naruto said with a cheeky smile, noticing the gears turning in her head before a slight flash of colour dotted her cheeks. "Good times, good times."
"Forget everything you remember that night."
"No matter how many times you bonk me on the head I will not forget." Naruto now had a devilish grin. "I even have pictures. Thinking of selling a few to Rex, and for shots of the two hottest women of this group in each other's arms I think I will make a tidy profit from it."
In their defence, they were asleep and in his drunken state he may have manoeuvred a few appendages into position. The prankster in him awoke in full force that night.
"Delete those images, now." He never saw Aayla this flustered before, her cheeks were now several shades darker and there was something sadistic in her eyes as she grabbed fistfuls of his jacket.
"Or what?" Naruto replied, absently hearing his common-sense slamming his inner prankster's head repeatedly on a tabletop.
"I'll stop the sex."
Naruto laughed lightly at that, only to notice that he got no response from his partner. He studied her for a few moments, face going pale in abject horror. "You wouldn't."
Now it was Aayla's turn to flaunt her borderline evil expressions, in her case a sexy, demure smirk. "Do you really want to find out?"
Naruto's only response was a furious shake of the head.
"I thought so." Aayla replied.
In truth she was bluffing, force preserve her she was bluffing, probably had a tolerance level of a week before she would crack and jump him. He had corrupted her, Aayla realised in passing, but she just didn't care.
Author's Note: I know it's been a long time since I updated and I apologise for that. Work has been getting to me over the last few months and the inspiration in me just seemed to die, damn that bloody muse of mine he's been taunting me all the times when I really needed him. I needed some inspiration and it came with the release of the new 30 Seconds to Mars album, god I love that band. It's just one of those bands that I can listen to all the way through; favourite songs are Conquistador, Up in the Air and City of Angels. Damn those are some brilliant songs. I'm listening to it right now as I type.
I'm hoping to be getting back into some kind of pattern with my writing again, hopefully keep going with this and The Wanderer as my current stories, I've got the next chapter on that one half done to anyone who reads that as well. I also have this crazy dimensional travel story going through my mind that I need to get onto paper, been reading a lot of those recently, give Echoes by Kagaseo a read, it's pretty interesting, and Naruto Genkyouien by Daneel Rush, best Naruto story on fanfiction at the moment in my opinion.
(Spoiler warning for the manga, don't read if you haven't been keeping up) The newest chapters of Naruto are getting a little fan-servicy... I admit I loved the idea of the former Hokage coming back to life to kick ass. I kind of began laughing a little maniacally at that. We also saw Sasuke returning to Konoha's side for a while now, the argument can be made that he was on the alliances side ever since he and Itachi teamed up against Kabuto, but him just appearing there after the former Hokage and proclaiming he will be Hokage and change the village... I'm a little torn on him coming back, I saw it coming mind, but I'm a little torn.
Also... for the love of god Kishimoto would you make up your damn mind, who will Naruto's romantic interests be with, Sakura or Hinata. You seem to be hinting at one then just moving onto the other. Me personally I'm a NaruHina but I've nothing against Sakura, because she has grown up, it can be argued she is Naruto's best friend at the moment and I like her character a lot better now than I did when I started reading the manga but I still like Hinata more.
Anyway rant over.