Disclaimer: See chapter one.

A/N: Well I finally found the inspiration to write this chapter and I hope my creativity will stick around... I must thank you all for your reviews and patience; they were part of the reason for the revival of my interest to type this instalment... So keep them coming... Enough of me, you guys waited a long time for this, so enjoy!

Warnings

Shounen-Ai

Incest- NaruMina

Somewhat Betaed


Times Are Strange

Chapter Fourteen

"Tough crowd." Naruto muttered as he recalled 'The Incident'. Who would have known that back then the Konoha shinobi were all prudish and closet perverts.

The blonde looked around, mentally checking off a list to see whether everyone was accounted for. After he was certain that he wasn't being held accounted for, for anyone's disappearance he turned to his adorable yet seething little genius. He had to admit, he hadn't known that the human face could turn that colour. 'Fascinating.' The jounin thought before announcing,

"Alright, everyone let's recap what we are doing and why we are here." He paused, for a response but all he got was silence. 'They still must be pissed about getting misplaced. Talk about holding a grudge. No wonder Sasuke turned into, whatever he turned into.'

"We are here, because my short genius brat of a student needs to learn an awe-inspiring and persuasive Jutsu. However, the Jutsu must be performed on an opponent to witness the extent of its destructive power of it and how effective it is."

Everyone blinked at his speech as if the Jounin had spoken a different language, except for the Sandaime who lifted tan eyebrow in reply.

Sighing and rolling his eyes at the group Naruto fell into a basic stance. Seeing this, the village leader also mimicked the whiskered blonde. Both men knew this wasn't a real spar, just a demonstration of a Jutsu, which somehow managed to claim a Kinjutsu status. This situation led to a leakage of excitement and adrenaline into the surrounding nins' system. The ANBU were inching slowly towards their sword, the silver haired prodigy had also begun to finger the kunai on his thigh.

It wasn't every day that one got to see two Kage level shinobi engage in a 'spar'.

A couple of heart beats later, Naruto whispered, "Jiji, attack me."

The response was instantaneous, The Sandaime charged at him with full speed. There was no such a thing as a 'friendly spar' in shinobi books. No matter how (trivial?) the reason, nins always took it seriously.

The Jounin sensei waited for the Kage to be an arm's length away from him before unleashing the 'deadly' Kinjutsu.

To the audience surrounding the Kage level shinobi saw the event begin with the tension seeping subtly into the air as the two nins assessed each other. Then at the pinnacle of the battled fuelled energy, they saw the village leader leap at a frightening pace towards his opponent, who in turn remained still. Assuming that the blonde shinobi was surprised at the amount of speed the old Kage displayed, they watched as The Sandaime rapidly approach the Jounin.

However they didn't expect the shinobi to release his jutsu so close to the Kage. For soon as the elderly village head was in arm's length of his opponent, the said adversary made the hand seal used for an average henge and discharged a large amount of smoke. Thinking that the smoke had a poisons quality the Kage jumped back a little. Although, when the smoke cleared, The Sandaime was greeted with a sight, which propelled him further back by a force unknown to him.

To others, it was his nosebleed.

When the surrounding audience caught a glimpse of what made the Kage currently unconscious, it made them both speechless and unable to decide on how to react towards the whiskered Jounin. The blonde hadn't touched the third Hokage in any offensive manner, so they couldn't apprehend him and taking into account that this was a 'spar' the Hokage had given his consent to didn't help resolve matters either.

Only the youngest member of the group seemed to have retained cognitive and verbal function, because once the Chunin finished studying the naked blonde figure, he responded with clearly evident disbelief and disappointment.

"You want me to learn THAT?"


The Jounin rubbed his bruised cheek absently and he pondered 'Chibi has a very strong roundhouse kick.' The silver haired prodigy hadn't seemed to like the answer his blonde haired teacher had provided and responded with a physical gesture that was deemed disrespectful in many Jounin-Sensei's books, including his.

'Brighter side of things is that the brat is becoming very expressive in his body language.' Naruto though optimistically, though still rubbing his previously injured cheek.

His phantom pains were cut short when an amused voice stated, "You really shouldn't have antagonised your student like that."

Blinking out of his deep thoughtful moment the Jounin glanced at owner of the voice.

ANBU Captain, Namikaze Minato.

Mentally chuckling and restraining the excitement, Naruto recapped what led them to be travelling towards The Land of Frost. The Hokage and the council had decided that cutting off the land access of Kumogakure, would prevent majority of the shinobi of the Land of Lighting from entering the war. There was an abyss between the Land Of Frost and the Land Of Lighting. However there were three bridges that linked both countries. Shimogakure was currently in neutral status, but if they were forced to choose a side it would be against Konoha.

This had lead to the Sandaime choosing to send two of his most powerful shinobi to create an unfortunate incident, which would lead to the destruction of the three bridges. The old man chooses two nins to remain inconspicuous, for not many would consider that two people would cause such damage. In addition to that he choose the two blondes due to their similar looks would enable them to make their undercover of travelling civilian brothers more believable as well as since Naruto was chakra power house needed supervision, and the only person so far capable of doing that was a certain blonde haired ANBU Captain.

'A whole load of bull.' The Jounin, currently dressed in civilians clothing, that consisted of ice blue gi and black hakama made for winter, thought, 'Jiji wants revenge, so he stuck me with the most prudish shinobi that ever existed till the birth of Neji.' The teen (who was dressed in a similar outfit except the gi being mint green), didn't even react to his 'Kinjutsu', either the ANBU was a late bloomer or he held no interested in women.

'Nahh!' Naruto mentally shook head at the thought of the latter, 'I'm practically living proof that Mina-Kun is a skirt chaser.'

"Chibi has to learn that even the most harmless techniques can be the most lethal, given the perfect situation." The whiskered jounin replied with his trademark grin.

"That wasn't a technique!" Minato replied indigently, "What that was, was disrespectful objectification of our female counterparts."

'Unbelievable!' The jinchuuriki blinked momentarily stunned. After a few moment of shocked silence, the jounin gathered his thoughts and grabbing the smaller blonde by the shoulders, Naruto inquired with great concern.

"Were you really taught by Jiraiya? Or was that just a farce?"

His answer was a painful slap to his other cheek.


Behind his constant sunny smile, the Jounin's mental state was in an emotional turmoil. This was the first time he had left his apprentice alone, even though he had informed the Hokage and requested for some protection for the Chunin. Naruto knew from experience, that bullies would take any opening they could find to dish out their intentions to cause harm and when the preventing the abusers to do what they please, generally escalates the intensity of the cruelty handed out.

This is why the whiskered haired Jounin, demanded that the he would not leave Konoha either until suitable protection would be provided for his apprentice during his absence or until he deemed the Chunin able to protect himself. The Sandaime seeing the underlying reason to reinforce the blonde's stubbornness, agreed.

Little did the blonde haired Jounin-Sensei know that his silver haired apprentice had been placed in the temporary care of one, Mitarashi Hanami.

As the blonde duo left the Land of Hot Water and entering the Land of Frost, Naruto's mind went back to the conversation he had with his student before he left on the mission.

"I cannot believe you transformed into THAT, in front of the Hokage and the ANBU." The chunin complained, his voice still tight and high pitched due to suppressed anger.

"Well 'that' took out the Hokage and majority of the squad." The blonde countered calmly, as he methodically laid out the supplies he would need for the mission.

Naruto didn't need to look at the six year olds face to see the frustrations seeping out. His cheek still throbbed and the fox was still on strike.

"That was a filthy and disrespectful Jutsu, it doesn't even deserve the title Jutsu." The jounin could almost hear the anger climbing and flooding into the boy's tone.

Suddenly turning around and kneeling so he was eye level with his student, the blonde looked straight into the masked child's eyes. He must have looked intimidating without his trademark smile, for he could see the flicker of fear and trepidation fly across the child's obsidian orbs. Placing his hands on the small and delicate shoulders, while maintaining eye contact, Naruto spoke so softly yet seriously to his genius student.

"We are entering war, nobody is accepting the fact but that won't prevent it from happening." The child was too young to hear such things. "And in war, Kakashi, people will play dirty, no one is going to fight fair and it is always brutal." He allowed the words to sink in before continuing.

"There is no such thing as being noble in battle, especially for us. You do what you can to protect the people you love and the place you call home. People will die, survivors will be scarred for life and grief will rip through everyone, including the enemy. For in war, there are no winners, all we have is survivors." Thinking of how he met Minato, the blonde added, "What you can do is, do what is only necessary and keep your comrades in line. Since warfare only allows you to be unethical during the battle, not outside of it. How you treat your enemy outside the boundaries of war speaks words no peace negotiation could. "

The speech seemed to have pacified the silver haired boy, for the child nodded his head in understanding before glaring back with determination. "But I still won't learn that 'Jutsu'." He spoke with annoyance tinting his tone.

Naruto smiled and ruffled the boy's hair before returning to his packing. However his apprentice didn't leave his room. Instead the child seemed to indecisive about something, for the he was shifting his weight from one foot to another and is eyes were fixed on the floor beneath his feet.

Smiling gently the jounin sat down on the floor and patted the spot next to him. Kakashi immediately complied, but still refused to meet the blonde's gaze. After a few moments of awkward silence, the older male decided to throw a bone.

"You know, I'm your sensei, you can tell me anything no matter how stupid you think it may sound."

Soon as those words left his mouth the boy genius spat out his troubled thoughts, "Do you have to leave?"

Naruto blinked in surprise, he didn't think the prodigy would have become so attached this quickly, but he smiled in return and placed a hand on the pre-pubescent boys head. "Unfortunately, I have to go."

"Can't you ask someone else to take it?" The blonde could nearly see the blush the child was sporting through the material.

"I could, but the Hokage specifically asked for my presence."

"Oh..." there was undisguised disappointment in the Chunin's voice.

There was brief pause, before the chunin motioned to stand up, but the whiskered jounin applied a small amount of pressure he had laid on the boy to convey the hint that the conversation wasn't over.

"However, I demanded from Jiji that I would not leave unless you were looked out for or until I believe you are able to take care of yourself."

"I can take care of myself." Kakashi replied sounding offended.

"Yes you can, but only one-on-one. Not against a gang, this is most likely how they will approach you."

The chunin didn't have an appropriate verbal response, so he nodded.

Taking it as a cue to continue, "He told me you would be placed in temporary care of good friend of mine."

"Who is that?" The six year olds childish curiosity surfaced. The person who fit that category was the ANBU Captain, and he was going on the same mission. Rest were acquaintance or casual liaisons.

"Come to think of it, the Old man didn't say." The blonde tapped his chin with his index finger in deep thought.

"You don't know?" The apprentice asked in disbelief, but somewhere in the recess of his mind he expected it from his teacher.

"I wouldn't worry about it, Chibi." The jounin waved it off with his hand before standing up to return to his packing. Kakashi could only gape beneath his mask.

"Jiji knows I would start to the trade union if any harm comes to you, so he would place you with someone I could trust."

For some reason the Hatake prodigy didn't feel reassured at all.


"You seem awfully preoccupied."

At the voice of his comrade, Naruto snapped out of his memories instantaneously and smiled sheepishly at the amused look the teen wore.

"Sorry, was thinking about Chibi."

"It's alright, for a moment I thought you went catatonic, because I called your name three times."

"Mina-kun is worried about me? I'm touched."

"Don't read too much into it."

"How can I? I was taught to look underneath the underneath."

"Sometimes underneath the underneath, is merely the surface of the other side."

"Now you've lost me."

"How did you become Kage, again?"

"Through the use of my good looks, captivating personality and dazzling brilliance."

"Not your baffling bullshit?"

"You wound me, Mina-chan; underneath this perfect example of the human body are unexplored depths of knowledge and wisdom." And he unleashed his killer grin.

Fighting the urge to blush, "I don't buy it Naru-chan."

"Then you are welcome to explore those depths."

Letting out a strangled squawk, Minato punched the other blonde again, "You are incorrigible."

Effectively evading the clenched fist, "Mina-kun, when I said I like being hit on I didn't mean it in the literal term." Before dashing into a run towards the border.

Frustrated at the teasing, Minato ran towards him. At first the teen was confused at what the older blonde was doing, but once becoming aware of the chakra signatures that surrounded them, realisation hit him. The Jounin was acting in civilian manner from the start to play the surrounding hidden shinobi. How he missed them, he still didn't know. But they were now convinced that the blonde duo were a pair of travelling civilians, since they relaxed the suppression on their chakra.

When he caught up with the other blonde, he faked his exhaustion at the gate. The older blonde was already engaging the guards in an animate conversation.

'Charming personality.' The ANBU Captain scoffed, before jogging towards the other blond, who was now waving at him.

The guards seemed to be at ease as they checked their papers. Naruto played the confident older brother role while the teen played the shy younger brother. The security personal asked a few questions as to the reason for their visit and to which the jounin fed them the concocted story, of visiting relatives. Since they both looked alike and had fair features like many of the in habitants of Shimo, they bought it.

When they cleared the gate, Minato turned to ask, "What were you talking to them about?"

"On how you were an uptight prude, and the misery of having you as my brother."

"INARI!" Minato yelled out the Jounin's alias as he chased the older blonde down the road.

"I knew you would be a screamer."

The ANBU picked up a rock and threw it at the whiskered blonde using his training.

"Ow! Fuck!" was the reply at the sound of stone hitting its intended target. To the teen, it was music for his ears.


Soon as they were sure that there were no other shinobi around, the blonde duo shed their civilian clothing and revealed their shinobi outfits. Tying the white standard issue winter cloaks around their neck, the two Konoha shinobis launched into the trees. After travelling a considerable distance, they pair found themselves coming across an unseen obstacle.

A blizzard.

Feeling the beginning of the cutting chill of the wind that blew, they both knew they would have to find temporary shelter and since they couldn't take refuge in Shimogakure they had to find it fast. It was the beginnings of the storm, when Naruto noticed his companion's difficulty. The teen wasn't used to the extreme chilly weather conditions and being from the Land of Fire, didn't help the younger male either. Since he was practically an unlimited supply of Chakra, keeping warm wasn't an issue. However the smaller nin didn't have that advantage.

The two were nearly soaked to the bone when they discovered a cave in snow covered mountain. The cave was shallow enough to signify it wasn't a home to some creature and deep enough to provide them shelter form the cutting wind and snow.

Virtually dragging the ANBU Captain into the cave, Naruto checked the teen's vitals. The younger male was going through the second stage of hypothermia, because the teen was tinged blue, delirious and was violently shivering. Cursing mentally, the Jounin moved fast. Unsealing some scrolls that contained firewood he began a small smokeless fire. He then stripped the teen bare from his wet clothing and wrapped the shivering blonde in a thick blanket. Without wasting anytime the whiskered blonde stripped himself and curled up behind the teen with and rewrapped the blanket around them.

With the teen's smaller back to his chest, Naruto wrapped his larger body around the ANBU and faced the fire; allowing the flames thaw the teenagers frozen front as his body heat worked through the back. Recalling Baa-Chan's lecture on placing hypothermic suffers immediately in warm temperature, would send them into shock; Naruto sent a quick pray for the shivering to end soon, so he could at least begin his chakra to slowly warm the smaller male in his arms.


Minato broke through the haze of sleep quite slowly.

His entire body seemed stiff and strained, as if he went through a tedious work out but unlike the ache of the muscles being used, it felt as if they were frozen in place. This was an odd concept considering fact he was comfortably warm.

Recalling his memories, he remembered the whiteout he had to face and how the chill began to seep into his body to his core. The Captain also recalled the vague sensation of being dragged by his comrade. Mentally shivering at the recollection of the cold, the ANBU snuggled further into the cocoon of warmth he was currently in. At that motion, he began to feel what seemed to be arms tighten around him.

This woke the blonde up immediately.

Forcing his sleep induced eyes open, he took in the sight of a dying fireplace and through the dim lighting he could make out his clothes laid out on the floor.

His underwear included.

Feeling his heartbeat begin to accelerate, the teen tried to calm himself down. Sighting another set of discarded clothing that belonged to the other blonde and using his nervous system, the young ANBU came to the conclusion that there was somebody wrapped around him. Breathing deeply he caught the scent that only belonged to the whiskered jounin. Gently and slowly turning his head to verify his conclusion and was greeted with a lazy smile that was only worn by the one, Kazama Naruto.

"Finally sleeping beauty awakens."

The young ANBU Captain was caught between feeling pure bliss and gut wrenching embarrassment.


Glossary

Gi – Is the clothing article that is worn with the Hakama, as a top.

Hakama- Hakama is similar to trousers, which is tied over the Gi, at the waist and falls approximately to the ankles.

A/N: Well does this momentarily satisfy you? Was it worth the wait?... I sincerely hope so. When writing this, I was praying for humour in it to remain. I've been writing in a more serious tone, that my smart arse side has diminished. Hopefully it hasn't completely extinguished...

After updating myself with the manga, and the latest volumes have thrown me into a loop... There have been some curve balls thrown my way and due to my need to be accurate as possible with the cannon, has placed me with quite a fix. Thankfully its nothing too serious or something I cannot turn around, but I'll have to play safe so I don't become stuck, permanently... 'Cause going back and correcting some aspects in past chapters, is something I would like to avoid, greatly.

To abate your fears, I have no intention of abandoning this fic. I have the ending and plot figured out, even an epilogue/one-shot sequel which is slowly being created... So rest easy. Why this is taking so long is mainly due to waning interest, reality and writers block when it comes to development of the characters relationship along with middle section of the story (I have a start and an end, the middle is what stumps me).

Since all that's said and done, you guys know what to do, you have no idea how much feedback motivates me, so please by all means submit your comments, suggestion, opinions, correction and constructive criticism etc.