I have not that much to say, new Fiction, read it, review if you feel the need to or just PM. Tell what you think, thanx, and on with the story. Oh a before that I'd just like to say sorry about my uber long absence, been busy with other things. But I realize that you readers are most important so I don't want to leave you hanging.. or something like that.. So yeah... stuff.

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MindPlay

Sarutobi Hiruzen, the third Hokage, the professor, and the rock that currently held this village together... felt terrible. His hand trembled, holding within it his partially tobacco filled pipe that dangled loosely in between his fingers. Ash fell to the oak of his table and he stared at it bitterly. Ash, a remnant of what something one was. In a way, it was the village; as of now that was all that the village was.

A remnant.

Something had happen to his people, they had seen the light, a bad light. It'd blinded them severely.

The early, crepuscular rays of dawn pierced the cloud tops, looking much like little silver spears protruding from the border of heaven. In his chair, which had wheels—a feature he always enjoyed—he spun around to face the window, to face the clouds.

"Kami, what have I done?"

It wasn't really all his fault though, the village council did most of this, they finally got what they wanted. He couldn't stop them either, so why was he even the Hokage? Was his status just a title? Was the Hokage just the puppet controlled by the dangerous hands of the village council?

Dismayed, he brought one hand up to massage his forehead, rubbing softly to sooth the migraine already forming.

Yes, they finally got what they wanted.

Uzumaki Naruto would now be used as a, soldier, a weapon. And if he didn't comply... they would see to it that the boy lost more than he could ever recover from.

This all started around the Chunin exams. His upsetting display of combat certainly pleased the crowed, outwardly it did, but things were much more covert. On the inside, people looked at him with contempt. It started off as adulation but then people began to talk, people began to say things.

No way, he must have cheated—They said.

He isn't legit, that fight was rigged—They said.

It all lead to the simple and false dogma, that Hyuuga Neji should have won. But that was only milestone number one, number two came after Naruto's victory over Sabaku no Gaara, the one-tailed Jinchuuriki. It was less known than Naruto's altercation with Neji, thankfully, but it still hurt the boy's reputation. But what really hurt the boy was the one upsetting... and completely disturbing... "victory" that Naruto had attained. His match against Uchiha Sasuke, the sole survivor of the Uchiha clan. Sarutobi remembered the scene vividly, he remembered it in such a way that every single time he thought about it would send a chill traveling down his spine.

If he remembered clearly... oh and he did... Naruto literally dragged Sasuke's brutalized body back to Konoha, bloodied and scarred, by the ankles. Two grotesque gray wings that looked disturbingly like hands, sprouted from Sasuke's back and by what he'd seen, Naruto had cruelly broken those "hands". The blood was abundant, leaking and pouring from the open raw wound in Naruto's stomach that exposed bulging intestines for the world to gaze at in disgust. Sasuke's injury was worse, Naruto had gotten lucky, the damage that Sasuke had inflicted on him, in comparison to what he'd done, was sub-par by far.

Sarutobi shuddered, expurgating his mind of the thought.

The door to his rear swayed open with a loud groan, ensued by the sound of footsteps on a dry wood floor.

He simply leaned back further into his chair, letting it swallow him. That's right, his status really was just a title, thanks to Orochimaru. He was the Hokage but he had not the physical prowess to show it, not anymore. He was a shell of his former self, far ahead of his own stream of time. The Hokage had been damaged and handicapped, internally, by the likes of Orochimaru. Just like the village, he was a remnant.

"Are you ready for your medicine Hokage-sama?"

"Later, give me a few moments to myself, come back in two minutes."

"Yes, Hokage-sama", the feminine voice said sweetly; what he heard next was the door creaking to a close once more.

He shouldn't have survived that fight with Orochimaru, really, he should be dead right now. Yet, he lived. In the end, he couldn't go through with it and the Reaper Death Seal was not applied, at least not to him. Beneath his robes, he produced a small scroll with wrinkles that rippled like the sand in a dessert. His eyes went back up to the sky.

"Enma, you were a good comrade and an even better friend." His wrinkled skin tightened around his fingers as he squeezed the scroll in his shaky grip. No it wasn't him who had performed the Shiki Fuin, it was Enma, the Monkey King and one of the few summons ever capable of performing such an act. He was truly great and now he was gone, forever, all Sarutobi had now was the scroll that he'd signed his name in when he made the contract with Enma.

As of now, Anbu were probably on their way to Naruto's home, he would know. He gave the order himself, shamefully and reluctantly.

Now Naruto would be taken away, but that didn't explain why the ends of Sarutobi Hiruzen's lips were curling upward. Why was he smiling? Why was he happy?

Because, despite him being just the Hokage, the fact of the matter was that he was the Hokage. He had his ways and he had connections. And powerful ones too...

Naruto would be okay. As for him, however, his time was up... he needed a replacement...and an aspirin.

The Hokage closed his eyes, the smile still ruling his face. His two minutes were up. "Okay, I'm ready for my medicine now."

XXXXXXXXXXXXX

It happened pretty fast, too fast for Naruto in his opinion and boy, it was terrifying. One moment he was sprawled out all over his bed having one of THE best dreams in his life ad the next minute, there was a bag over his head.

His window had been left open, that was his first mistake. It allowed for the Anbu member to glide easily through and land on his burnished wood flooring without a sound. For a moment the monkey-masked Anbu loomed over Naruto, taking in the boy's unorthodox sleeping mannerisms with high levels of disgust. Most people, when subject to sleeping habits, sucked their thumbs.

This blond kid on the other hand... he could suck on his own toe, gross...

The Anbu placed one hand on his hip, leaning ever-so slightly to the left and shaking his head. "This child is our weapon, Konoha, you have fallen. Even our Jinchuuriki looks like a chump." The white of his mask effectively hid the hanging bottom lip and twitching eyebrow. How could the guy even sleep like that? Naruto was curled in a ball, his right foot bent so that his foot loomed close to his lips, how?

"I can't bear to see this," He said, producing a small, empty, potato sack. "And on we go." His mission was simple, retrieve the kid, bring him to HQ, and debrief. Not much work, but he couldn't help but feel that this was wrong. He was kidnapping someone, a child, this wasn't some innocuous act, rather this was crime. Taking him, casting him into the life that he was surely going to hate, something like that was mentally scarring, especially on a child.

But orders were orders. "Rise and shine!" The Anbu cried out, well mentally.

Naruto's eyes snapped open, the rush of shock running through his system pried them open. He only had a few moments to descry the monkey mask before his vision was invaded by the plain brown potato sack sliding over his face. What the fuck was going on? The surprise, the fear, the anxiety running through him, he could feel it forcing the sound from his lungs.

When the scream came, it was immediately suppressed by an invisible hand slapping his mouth shut. The hand applied pressure and he felt his head being pushed back until it collided with the floor. "Don't struggle." He heard.

He heard it, but he didn't listen, hell no, he would never listen. Naruto flailed, thrashing about wildly in a blind swinging of arms and legs. One of his arms met resistance, the very firm grip of a trained Anbu. Air rushed from his lungs in the form of a yell as that arm was bent back, painfully, very painfully and placed behind his back.

How the hell did this happen, one moment he was sleeping peacefully, dreaming about eating some ramen and the next he was getting attacked and tied by some weirdo monkey-masked Anbu. Naruto was on his belly, through the sack on his head he could feel the soft bed sheets collide with his face when the Anbu smashed his face against his own bed.

"What the fuck...let...me-...go! Shit, the sack stinks!"

Then he heard the voice, closer no, almost right beside his ear. Naruto froze from the chill of killer intent that washed over him. Paralyzing.

"Are you ready brat," the man said in a shaky almost crazed voice. He was breathing pretty harshly. "You're going to be just like me, alright? You are to be our little weapon from now on, the Hokage has protected you this far, but after the scars Orochimaru left him with, he won't be a problem. Are you ready boy? Are you ready Kyuubi?"

The word tore through, crashed through, shattered his very being. It hurt to be called that, Kyuubi, he wasn't the monster. But most people didn't see it that way, to them there was no such thing as a container; he was the Kyuubi incarnate and there was nothing else to it.

Naruto gritted his teeth, balling his fist until his knuckles turned white. For a moment he was devoid of any sound and laid there, simply, he didn't move at all.

"Aww did I-"

Crash!

"What the fuck- ahh...ugh..."

Naruto perked up, his head swiveling in every direction, desperately trying to figure out what happened. He knew one thing, someone had just crashed through his window, and seeing as how he did not feel the Anbu's hand on his head anymore, that person had taken the Anbu out as well. That was good, somebody strong had come to help him.

"Hey... hey, get this thing off my head! Hello...? Hell-" As the bag was removed the musty smell receded and the first taste of fresh air that hit his tongue was refreshing. A kunai slid in between his palms and sliced the rope binding him.

Then Naruto heard something, a sound so familiar that it brought a smile to his face.

A frog's croak.

The now jovial boy's head whipped around, an ear to ear smile covering his visage. He knew it, he could tell who it was just by the croak.

The light from the sun played against the long, lunar white hair of his mentor, making it coruscate with such intensity that Naruto actually wanted to shield his eyes. To his left, unconscious on the floor was the previously monkey masked Anbu. Previously because during his brisk take down Jiraiya had de-masked the poor unfortunate Anbu. Rather, Jiraiya's summon had taken off the man's mask.

For a moment, Naruto observed his assailants features, black hair, no facial hair, muscular jaw. He scoffed, for such shady people, if you went underneath the mask, Anbu were pretty nondescript. His blue eyes, which gleamed with fear and curiosity, shifted up toward the large green toad mottled with brown spots, watching carefully as it played happily, cradling the Anbu's plain monkey mask with its elongated, slimy, toad tongue that glistened with saliva.

Naruto took a moment, and back to his sensei. "E-ero-sennin, what's going on?"

Jiraiya forced out a smiled, visibly he twitched from Naruto's nickname for him. He got serious once more. "No time Naruto-kun, we're going on a little trip, don't ask any questions right now just pack some clothes."

Hesitantly Naruto nodded, he really wanted to know just what the hell was happening but after the pother that had just occurred, he was reluctant to even utter a single word.

So he merely nodded, a quick bob of his head and said: "H-hai...Jiraiya sensei."

"About time you stopped with the nickname." Jiraiya mused.

"Oh my bad, Ero-sennin."

Jiraiya grimaced, eliciting a smile from Naruto."Ok, Naruto, say goodbye to Konoha... for good."

XXXXXXXXXXXXX

Naruto woke up with a jolt, his face was glazed over with a cold sweat. A cool breeze swept over him, chilling his face; his skin tightened after he gave himself a few well deserved slaps. He should not have been dreaming, not about the past at least.

That happened about three years ago, the one life changing decision that had changed his life forever.

The moon cast a milky white glow onto the forest floor, sending singly a cylindrical shaft of bright light shining onto his face. Underneath him, the trees buzzed with the sounds of myriad insects bombinating as they always did. Fireflies gamboled playfully, looking like living cinders from a bonfire. Every few seconds one would fly overhead, lighting up just as it buzzed by his field of vision.

He wasn't in Konoha anymore, the reason, he knew not. But what he did know was that if he did stay in the village he would have been used as someone's weapon, the village council perhaps? Jiraiya wouldn't tell him. Although only people as cold and manipulative as those withered old war hawks would have been able to find a good enough reason to override the Hokage's will.

In his opinion he wasn't a missing nin, missing wasn't the right word for it, missing nin were renegades. And he was not. Rather he labeled himself as a fugitive nin, he was definitely on the run... from more than one thing. There was Konoha of course... but then there was also Akatsuki, they were a big pain in the rear.

What was Naruto doing now? Well... that was a good question... a very good question. But you shouldn't be asking him, he was the wrong person. He didn't even know what he was doing, he considered himself an empty being guided only by an unnatural force.

He peered out of his perch in a tree, and smiled. About a mile away, something shot up into the sky, whistling loudly as it did. As the coarse whistling came to its end and the object reached its apex, the sky literally exploded with a mass of red and blue. Two more objects shot up, popping in the sky with the same amount of light and color as the last, the only difference was that these ones gave off yellows and greens.

Naruto's smiled grew wider, the fireworks had begun. Now was his chance.

He dropped to the floor silently... his feet making little to no sound at all against the leaves. He could see the village across the large clearing, that was the only way to enter, by crossing that rocky clearing and this was his best time to do it. Pouring slight chakra into his legs he glided across the slightly sodden grass and damp gravel, heading for the main gate of his target's village.

Truthfully, Kumogakure no Sato was ruled by an idiot. During a festival, who completely let their guard down; intel said that during this day, Kumo's nin had been excused from duty in order to enjoy the "good times" this festival had to offer. The festival of the Ascending Cloud, a day handpicked in order to celebrate the growth of Kumo's economy, it was a stupid thing to celebrate. But Naruto was no idiot, it may be stupid in his opinion, it was also a great way to attract... predators like him. The nin had off, however, that doesn't mean that if they spotted an intruder they wouldn't act.

He had to think about it, this festival made things harder, now he would have to pick out and identify shinobi from civilians... if necessary. What a drag.

He smiled, the memory of his old comrade and buddy Nara Shikamaru came flooding back to him. Okay... maybe he missed his old life... just a little bit.

The gate came rushing beneath him as he sailed over it... effortlessly, landing on the side of a stray building without a sound. Beside him a window was open, the sound of a crying baby erupting outward. He took a little peek, just enough to see the attractive blonde women slipping her nipple into her wailing baby's mouth. Moving his head away he moved up to the roof where he lay on his back. For a moment he watched the lights, as they illuminated the sky in explosions of color; despite the heavy cloud cover it was beautiful.

He sighed and sat up.

He knew of his target, he could say targets but one person was good enough for now. Actually one person was all that he could handle... the first person was on par, if not slightly weaker than he, but the second...

He was on an entirely different scale in terms of raw harnessed power. The surprising thing was... he actually knew how to harness it. It was true, Kumo had not one but two inhumanely proficient Jinchuuriki. It was a shame that he would only be approaching one.

He smiled.

"Nii Yugito... where are you?" She was his target. He produced a scroll from his pack... unfurling it with celerity and quickly absorbed its contents. "Nii Yugito: Fifteen years old, hair color:..." he looked up at his own hair, "blond. Birthday: July 24... great," he said "... she's older than me by a couple months, can't let that go to her head. Blood type: A and currently the two-tailed Jinchuuriki." Naruto paused... hm that was a seven tail difference between them. This shouldn't have been too hard... right?

Enough of that, he'd have to formulate a plan, he needed a way to find her but for now... he'd enjoy the fireworks, only for a bit though.

XXXXXXXXXXX

Nii Yugito's eyes snapped open, peering through the darkness that only she could see in. That was strange, she felt something... something odd about... the village? She didn't know but there was something that was beginning put her off edge. A certain distinct feeling that she knew all to well, the feeling of kinship. She knew that was it, it had to have been it, it was the same feeling that she always felt whenever she was near Killer Bee, despite his horribly off-tune mannerisms. It was something that just came with being what she was, a container, it was only natural that she would feel detached from the rest of society whenever her kind was around.

But... Killer Bee wasn't in the village. If she remembered he went...on tour? He called it that at least.

Yugito sat up, "What the fuck is going on?" She said. The moonlight dug through the open window, shining a square shaped pillar of light onto her floor.

"Nii-sama, are you alright?" A voice came from outside the door. She sighed, her personal guard... the only nin who wasn't off duty today. And the only nin who wouldn't leave her alone.

"Yes," she responded flatly, stretching her arms in a wide arch. "Um... Yusu... uh Yumi-..what was your name again?"

"Y-Yusuke...ma'am", his voice sound muffled through the door, it was shaky as well... fear perhaps?

"Why aren't you enjoying the festival today?"

"B-because it is m-my job to protect you...always."

"Hm... I see," She responded, elegantly standing and striding over to the door, devoid of any sound. She opened the door, revealing a average height Chunin; black hair, brown eyes... normal guy. Easily manipulated. "And what if I said I don't need protection... what then, hm?"

He made a slight movement back, "I-I would s-still protect you." Yugito smiled, her pearly whites displaying a pair of slightly sharpened canines-a useful advantage that came with her "disability"- and moved her face in closer. "Would you risk your life for a monster child like me?"

He nodded twice. Yusuke's fear, she could feel it, his apprehensiveness, prominent. That fact that he was scared was as noticeable as a kunai blade protruding from a dead man's head. The small bit of perspiration on his upper lip was an indicator, his velleity... she simply ate it up, lapping it like a cat would milk. Fear was delicious in her opinion, it was the ultimate sustenance, that should have kept every Jinchuuriki going. Maybe she was wrong, maybe fear was bad... maybe she was just a twisted fifteen year old girl, because from what she'd heard, every other person like her hated the way their village treated her. Whereas... she loved it.

But she had to give it to him, his sense of duty was astounding, either that or his love of money. The shinobi scuttlebutt was that if you guarded the demon you got triple the pay. Smart man, this was a day of celebration... she couldn't kill him today.

"I-I will guard you with my life!" He blurted, his straightened fingers moving to his forehead in a salute. Yugito simply giggled, rather girlishly, rare for her.

"You're silly you know that? Saluting to a teenage girl like me, but thanks I appreciate it... sort of. But I really do wish you would go out an enjoy yourself." She said before she slipped back into her room. The door clicked closed.

Yusuke released his breath, sliding with his back against the hallway wall to the floor. He looked up, staring at the buzzing incandescent light, his breath was strained. "M-man she scares me." He muttered softly, almost inaudibly.

"What was that?" Yugito's voice came from the inside of her room.

"Uh...NOTHING, NOTHING AT ALL!"

"Oh.. Okay."

Inside, Yugito had rested herself against the windowsill. The milky moonlight reflecting of the silk of her night gown. She didn't know why she was feeling this but the simple thought of an answer was beginning to worry her, minutely. There was a possibility, a small... no microscopic possibility that what she was thinking was correct. But maybe, just maybe...

...there may have been another Jinchuuriki in the village.

Yugito closed one eye, gazing at the moon and raised her index finger and thumb, pinching the air, as if to grab the moon from her window and crush in between her finger's grasp. Like a grape.

But then a beetle flew into her room, promptly drawing her attention away from the moons partially refulgent glow.

The beetle was fast, and fun. Chase-able was the phrase. "Come back here, nya." She said as she pawed and swiped at it.

That's when she stopped. "Wow, I really am becoming a cat..."

XXXXXXXXXXXX

Naruto had chosen to slip off the roof where he'd been resting halfway through the fireworks and dropped down into an alleyway. He landed next to the dumpster, quickly recoiling from the foul smell. Rotting, biodegradable crap was not his top choice of smells.

He made a ram seal, but his hands stopped mid-way. He'd almost forgotten during the blindingly spectacular fireworks display. He couldn't use his chakra here. Not because he would be sense by enemy nin, no, that was no problem. Despite the festival, nin still used there chakra though only sparingly. The problem was that he'd be detected by his target. If anyone else felt him, so be it, but with Yugito it was different. A Jinchuuriki recognized another Jinchuuriki's presence almost immediately; even more-so their chakra. He'd already used some of his chakra jumping the main gate in here, she should have felt some of that, by now she should have been suspicious of him. Using anymore chakra may have caused her to move, or even worse...come looking for him.

No henge for him then. So he flipped his hood up, the black cloak obscured his black and orange attire. This wasn't his normal jumpsuit, no he ditched jumpsuits a long time ago. Jiraiya had sort of gotten him into wearing "professional" attire. Strapped to his body was a tightly fitted, black and orange Anbu vest, resting atop black pants; draping over that was a black robe-like jacket that hung loosely down to his waist. All of this, was covered up by his cloak. But of course his cloak made him look even more conspicuous.

Slipping out his scroll again he panned down toward the bottom of the longueur. Hidden intel from a reliable informant within Kumo said that Yugito always stayed in her room during this festival, and her complex was..., he grimaced, in the exact same district that the Raikage and Killer Bee lived. "Just great." Naruto deadpanned.

The alley was wet, strewn with puddles of brown water and...he'd rather not think of it but, trails of urine. But the streets were much more tolerable, actually compared to the alley he'd just stepped out of, the streets were about as clean as a bar of soap. He looked left, then right; the lights were almost blinding. The streets were busy, bursting forth with the sound of prepubescent children running after one another. He smiled... the memories came flooding back again, the festivals back in Konoha were exactly like this one. Happy, well-lit... good times, good times, but such a bad village it was.

Of course he never went out during Konoha's festivals, he wasn't allowed, but it was still fun to watch from his window. His reverie left him standing in the middle of a river of people walking to and fro about the festival grounds. He, being the only person not moving, stuck out like a sore thumb.

"Oi...you!" Naruto blinked twice at the happy grin a stand owner aimed his way. The man was waving frantically, indicating that he should come over. Naruto went with it, making his way through the "river" of men, women, and children. "Hey... you look like you're from out of town." Underneath the mask of impassiveness and slight confusion, Naruto grimaced. This might have been harder than he thought, the people here were far more observant than he first perceived them to be.

Hesitantly he answered back, "Y-Yes... I am."

"Come to visit a friend?"

Naruto took his chance, he needed to find some more info on his target, like where exactly in the Raikage's district could he find her. "A-actually, I'm visiting a family member actually, my cousin, you may know her." Lies, lies, all lies.

The middle-aged, bald, game-stand owner raised one scruffy gray eyebrow. "Ho, do I?"

"Her name's Nii Yugito... she's got blond hair," he put his hood down, revealing his own golden locks, "Sort of like me." He could sense the man's spike in fear, the way his eyes bulged almost involuntarily from their sockets at the mere mention of the two-tail's name. He knew of her, hell yeah he did. But just to confirm, "So do you know her? I haven't seen her since we were little, but she's written to me. She told me that a lot of people know her, so I figured I'd just ask around."

That was one thing about himself that Naruto simply loved; his innocent act, he just didn't look suspicious at all. His "baby face" just wouldn't allow it; and in the ninja world being able to put up a plausible facade was one of the deadliest weapons one could have in their arsenal. Deception was a very manipulative tool after all, so manipulative that it was downright criminal.

But then the man did something that he did not expect, he smiled. It was suspicious, not in the least bit disarming. "I... might know her, but... I just can't seem to remember," he said dryly as his rubbed his fingers together, "Hows about you give me something to jog my memory...huh?"

Naruto frowned; correction, when he said that the people in Kumo were observant he was wrong, this man wasn't observant, he was simply looking out for himself. How foolish of him to mistaken greed for keen perception. "But... I don't really have anything-" he responded.

"Oh well," the man said shrugging, "Then I guess that I won't be able to remember anything." His gaze leaned off to the side, detached due to a lack of interest in Naruto.

"W-wait... wait! H-hold on, I might have something!"

"Ah, that's what I like to hear!" The man said jovially, he reached for a mug of what looked like beer and brought it to his maw, quaffing the entire thing in one go. He belched, disgustingly. "So... what do you got for lil' ol' me?"

"Here," Naruto said pulling out a tangled, unruly mass of yen bills. "Two-thousand yen... it's all I've got."

Unceremoniously, and with even so much as a thank you the man swiped the money from Naruto's hand. Naruto said nothing, he just kept his innocent boy act up. Off course, it wasn't his money, no way. This was some money he'd gotten from pickpocketing someone's wallet while he was making his way over to the stand. What better place to steal money than in a crowd?

The stand owner looked at him seriously for a few seconds, as if trying to recall something. He then snapped, "Yes... I remember, Nii Yugito... ah yes, that girl. Quite the famous one." His hand swayed to Naruto's right and he pointed at a large tower, "Over by the Raikage's tower, she's there. Your cousin's an odd one you know, there is something that just scares me about her."

Naruto simply bowed, "Arigato,... heh I've been getting that a lot. Ever since I got here everyone I've asked has said something similar to that, why?"

The man didn't answer back, now seeming somewhat apprehensive.

"N-never mind, I'll be on my way now." Naruto said as he walked to his next destination: Nii Yugito. The smelly old stand owner was telling the truth, Yugito was in this direction. He could feel it, with every step a certain feeling that arose in his stomach got stronger, pulling tighter. The feeling he got whenever around another of his kind, the same feeling he felt when he saw Gaara for the first time. That overwhelming, undeniably wonderful feeling of being connected to another in the most arcane and misunderstood way EVER, only his kind got that feeling... because it definitely went past kinship, no it was more like... resonance.

A smile crept along Naruto's face. there was no denying it; he was getting closer.

As he watched Naruto flip his hood back on, the man narrowed his eyes. "What a strange kid..."

XXXXXXXXXX

Ok, now she was knew that something was amiss. Was Killer Bee back in the village or something? He had to have been, because this sensation she was feeling... it was just too powerful. When Killer Bee was around it made her feel happy, but this new sensation wasn't anything like what she was used to feeling.

She felt... hot.

Which was why she was on the ground, breathing harshly, clawing at the floor with desperation that only a horny girl could give off. What the fuck? Why? Who... who was he and why did his very aura seem so seductive, why did this new presence make her want to touch herself?

He was closer now, she could sense it. Closer than he'd ever been before, possibly right outside her door. At least she thought.

"W-who the hell are you?" She spoke quietly, but just loud enough to be heard outside.

"Excuse me Nii-sama... did you say something?" Yusuke's voice said from behind her door.

'Okay, good, Yu—whatever his name was—hadn't moved, whoever this person was he wasn't here yet.'

"N-no," she responded shakily, pressing her face even harder against the hardwood floor, it didn't take much but this bastard had her lusting on the ground, looking as if she were in heat.

"Huh... uh, I'm afraid I can't let you pass." She heard Yusuke say suddenly. "Nii-sama, there's someone at the door here for you, he says he's a family member of yours." Yugito's eyes popped open, her lower lip, hanging limply to the side. She kept her back facing away from the door.

Yusuke poked his head through frame, "Um, Nii...oh! Gomen... sorry to interrupt... your.. uh... private time." He used one hand to shield his eyes from the sight of Yugito laying on the floor. "But... I've got someone here who says he knows you...ugh!"

Yugito sat upright, did he just grunt? She turned, gasping almost immediately, her hand moved on its own to cover her mouth. No scream came though, she wasn't like that, but it was a shocker to see the sanguine, glistening tip of a blade protruding from her guard's forehead and partially through his palm.

Someone killed him... what, no! What was going on, this couldn't have been another assassination attempt. If it were she wouldn't be so afraid. She actually wanted to scream, needed to scream, but didn't. It took all of her will power not to.

Slowly, the blade removed itself from her guard's skull, the sound of grinding skull and flesh was sickening, revolting even. Scraping, with the sound of sand against metal. Yusuke hit the ground with a deep thud, his eyes wide open, in between them the moist red, diamond shaped hole where the blade had pierced him. That's when the door opened.

Shit!

"Stay away!" The door swung open slowly, revealing the form of a boy, leaning on the door frame. He was wearing a tattered and ever so slightly bloody black cloak.

Yugito was on her feet in less than a second, standing defensively, her eyes flashed an intense blue and her pupils elongated into slits.

"Hey... two-tails." Naruto said.

"Who the fuck are you?" She snarled as her canines sharpened by themselves, becoming like hard glints of steel.

Naruto laughed, shaking his head. He pulled down his hood and stared into her eyes fearlessly.

"W-wha..." Yugito squeaked before falling to her knees. She was right! There was someone—something—else like her in here! His eyes, they were crimson! "You..." she brought up one shaky finger, "You're-"

"-like you?" Naruto said from behind her. Before she could turn around he wrapped his arms around her. "So nice of you to notice."

She fell limp simply under the sound of his voice. Just what was going on, that feeling was stronger than ever, it was so... so primal! It was the most basic form of attraction that she'd ever felt. He, whoever he was, possibly wanted to kill her, but she couldn't have been more turned on! His breath sparked a wildfire of sensation through her body when he spoke, just his voice alone was enough to bring her to her knees. She was like some pining animal in heat, willing and ready to screw anything that neared her.

"W-what do you want?" she said in a voice that was barely a whisper.

"You..."

She closed one eye, squeaking like a mouse. That was it, she was the mouse, he was the cat. She was prey...

Kami, she was getting hotter by the second!

"Listen, my name is Uzumaki Naruto. I am the Jinchuuriki of the Kyuubi No Kitsune, the nine-tails. I am in need of your assistance." He opened his maw, his canines sharpening on their own and without another word he brought his full bite down onto Yugito's neck.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

Tsunade held the saucer of sake loosely, squeezing it in between her thumb and forefinger. She could smell the sweet alcohol wafting its scent into her nose, arousing her desire. She couldn't deny the desire, so she took a sip-a gulp. With a hearty sigh she set the dish down onto the desk and stared into the gray eyes of the previous leader of the village.

He sure did look like a wise one, she could tell simply by the way his eyes seem to gaze right through her. That and, for once this man's eyes weren't glued to her chest. He had to have been wise; he had enough willpower to not look at her enormous money makers. Surprising... but he was old so maybe he wasn't interested in things like that anymore.

Pushing her more curious thoughts away, Tsunade returned to the more pertinent matters at hand. Yeah... three years ago she'd taken this job on. Jiraiya and Sarutobi, the previous Hokage, had come to pay her a visit personally. It was a little bit too much pressure at first but, she was malleable and she adapted almost instantaneously. By instantaneously, she meant the instant she had gotten a hidden sake compartment installed into her new desk.

But anyway; problems were always simple, if not slightly more complicated. The problems and commotions presented to her were never too much for her to handle.

Until today.

Shizune stood at the far left corner of the office, clinging onto her pet pig like a mother would its child. The look on her face painted a fairly accurate picture of what she was feeling; fear, devastation, dread maybe?

She pinched the bridge of her nose and asked Sarutobi Hiruzen, the new head of the village council to repeat what he said. Sighing, the man looked down and repeated.

Yes, she'd heard correctly, her ears weren't betraying her.

"L-let me get this straight, Kumogakure is missing a Jinchuuriki?"

"Yes," the previous Hokage responded. He cleared his throat, turned and stared at Shizune for a minute.

"Whatever I hear, she hears." Tsunade said. Sarutobi nodded, accepting the Hokage's rule.

"I'm sure that I know the reason as to why their jinchuuriki has gone missing." He said.

Through the open window, a chilled breeze blew past her sending a shiver down her spine.

"Why?" Tsunade asked, her chest squished voluptuously against the oak of her desk as she literally leaned over; coming face to face with Sarutobi. His gaze did not waver, his eyes didn't even blink, stolid.

Sarutobi actually did not answer, but he did move. Swiftly he reached into his robe, pulling out a white square of paper. Tsunade, narrowed her eyes at the object; after a moment they widened, it was a picture.

"Most likely the same reason he went missing."

No words after that were spoken. Sarutobi simply flicked the picture into her hands, stood and walked away, leaving Tsunade to stare quietly at the picture in his hands.

Over Tonton's squeals, she could hear-faintly-Shizune's voice. "What is it, Tsunade-sama?"

"A photo."

The Hokage, really, had no clue. Maybe this was a clue. In the picture Sarutobi was standing, dressed and elegantly wrapped in his-now her- Hokage robes. He seemed happy, a smile wide on his face, and directly in front of him was a boy. He looked happy as well, no happy wasn't the word.

This blond kid look enthusiastic; with a smile stretching ear to ear. He threw up two fingers in a victory sign and confusingly, yet clearly his mouth seemed to be forming words. What words?

Tsunade squinted, no use... she couldn't read still lips.

"Hey, Tsunade-sama, what's that on the back of the photo?" Shizune asked, pointing to the back of the square shaped memorabilia. She wasted no time flipping it over, reading the words. It said one thing...

"Believe it?" Looking back to the picture side of the photograph, she looked at the boy's lips. The words seemed to fit, it now looked as if he were screaming "BELIEVE IT!". A thousand and one questions, all of them popped up at the same time, one was the most important.

Shizune was the one to say it out loud. "Who the hell is the blond kid?"

Tsunade sighed, grabbing hold of her delectable sake once more. "My thoughts exactly Shizune."

XXXXXXXXXXXX

Naruto stood on the porch, the orange sun rested gently on the horizon. Below and surrounding, there was a village... a peaceful one at that. His village... his home. It'd been his home for the past three years, at least it was supposed to be. He hadn't been here all that long, Jiraiya had snagged him away and took him on some "journey" to train.

His sensei's words were; "When you get back, you will live here." So he was actually quite new here.

And Naruto had no problem with that, this place was pretty secure. It had an actual happy village-vibe, unlike the misleadingly cheerful Konoha. The best part was... nobody knew who he was.

Yet.

He took in a deep breath, his house was fairly large, already pre-decorated with decor and fancy-smancy furniture that was... honestly a bit to gaudy for Naruto's taste. He was a simple person, he was the type of guy to carry every possession he owned on his back. But things were different, he didn't just live in his own world now and if he ever wanted to take what was in this world then he'd need the extra room.

In personality he was easy to figure out, but in mind Naruto was as intricate as a two-thousand piece puzzle. He'd grown smarter, at least he thought, not that much smarter, just smart enough to get by.

The village he resided in, Gunraku, a small trade-village in between the direct trade paths of Konoha and Kumo, was perfect. Perfect for observation, perfect for hiding, just perfect...

Naruto was just about to lean over the rail just when he heard a loud thump behind him, following that was the frayed sound of a person's broken breathing. "Tired?" he asked just as he turned around to see an exhausted and dirty Yugito on the floor, she clawed the ground, leaving marks with her feline nails. "Hey hey, don't scratch the wood, its mahogany," Naruto exclaimed. Yugito didn't stop clawing, at least not at the floor, she simply moved her hands up to Naruto's foot and began clawing at the soles of his sandals.

"I... guess that's better." He said, somewhat satisfied.

"I'm... here." She said between breaths. Naruto crouched, patting her on the head, rubbing semi-affectionately, she purred like a cat.

"Good, you came."

"Of course I did... I hated that village. What you told me back in Kumo, can you do it really? Can you give us jinchuuriki a chance at being in control?"

"That's what I hope to do," he said, as he stopped petting her, she clung to his arm.

"Don't stop," he continued to pet, only a little freaked out. "Last week, when you killed my body guard, you asked me to follow you... why?"

Yes, a week ago, Yugito had been his target, but who said that he wanted to kill her. No, Naruto was no assassin-although he could be one-he was instead, a recruiter. He extended his hand to her, and she took it, wobbly standing to her feet. Her knees buckled uncontrollably.

"Because I need your help, because you're exactly like me, because we both want to have some power in the foul world we live in."

"And where do I come in, what's my roll?"

"Simply existing as you are."

Yugito raised an eyebrow, "What?"

Naruto smiled, "You'll know soon enough. But anyway, how did you get here?"

"I ran."

"All the way from Kumo, wow... "

"Well its your fault." She rubbed the two sore diamond shaped marks on the back of her neck, wincing from the spike of pain. "By the way... what did you do to my neck?"

"Silly, I bit you, can't you tell?" She jabbed his arm.

"No I mean, what did your bite do to me?"

"It's a seal, my sensei helped me with it, I simply reconstructed it so that I could apply it by biting someone."

Yugito frowned, her frizzled strands of blond hair falling over her face, "So you bit me? And now I feel weird when I use the Nibi's chakra." Naruto grabbed her hand, bringing it close to his face, he inspected closely, not at all distracted by the huge blush on Yugito's face. What was he doing? She thought that she was weird but he was just eccentric, maybe jinchuuriki got weirder with the more tails they had. Look at Killer Bee, he had eight tails... and that guy was...an alien, she swore it. But she liked Bee nevertheless. And strangely even if she couldn't understand it, she was beginning to like this boy, the nine-tails.

Maybe it was because he had the most tails but to her, size did matter, and nine was the highest number a jinchuuriki could hit.

"What are you-"

"Not correct, you actually have been using the Nibi, only minutely. It's fighting my seal."

Yugito cleared her throat, "She's fighting your seal."

"My bad, she's fighting the seal. I can tell, your nails have grown out, which shouldn't have happened, you must have been really out of chakra." Yugito nodded.

"Hey, how come I don't see any seals on you."

Naruto chuckled and lifted up his shirt.

Yugito's eyes widened. 'Kami... he's hot'. They were exotic, the seals, arcane in every way to her. She recognized at the least, one of the mysteriously ornate runes engraved onto Naruto's skin. Actually, burned was a better word; the seals on his stomach, they looked as if they had been branded into his skin, slowly. Abruptly she shook her head, "Wow... that's a lot of seals." She said as Naruto put his shirt back down.

"Eight to be exact, all of them applied by my sensei... and someone who I don't know. But listen...uh you smell, come, I'll show you to the bathroom you dirty girl."

Yugito said nothing, fighting off her blush as she followed Naruto inside.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Yugito was walking down the stairs, wrapped in two towels when she spotted the nine-tails in his kitchen reading a letter. His eyes were serious, glued to the text. She narrowed her eyes, tip-toeing down the rest of the stairs. His ears flicked as he noticed the groan the stair gave at her last step.

"Oh, you're done. And as much as I would like to spend time ogling you, you should put some clothes on," he didn't say anything after that, he simply pointed in the direction of a separate hall running to the left of the kitchen. She allowed herself to follow the direction of his finger, until she reached another room, spacious it was, that looked somewhat like a traditional Japanese living room with a modern flare. On the turn-around couch, there were her clothes, washed and pressed.

Wow, that sure was polite of him. She wasted no time slipping out of her towel, dry, and slipping into her normal attire. Normally she'd of kept her long hair in a pony tail like she always did but the nine-tailed jinchuuriki in the other room had her feeling wild. She let her damp locks flow past her shoulders.

"I see you've dressed up." Naruto said five feet behind her. She suppressed her jump, fighting down the high-pitch rush of air trying to surface as a squeak. She simply nodded, man that guy was sneaky; she only hoped that he wasn't watching her change the entire time.

"Listen, I've got good news and bad news, which would you like to hear first?" Naruto said, still glancing down at the letter in front of him.

"Give me the good news,"

"Well the good news is that, you're gonna get to see your old pal Killer Bee again, word is that he's back in Kumo and is looking for you. Now for the bad news, I've got a friend, his name's Sabaku no Gaara, he's the Kazekage. So I've decided to pay him a little visit... I'm heading to Suna, I'll be gone for a while."

"Why's that bad for me?" She asked, fiddling with a wet strand of hair.

"Because you'll miss me, and plus you're going to have to try to convince Killer Bee to come back here and join us without me. Since I'm gone, that means you're own your own." Naruto said scanning the page up and down. Jeez, conceited much? Hell yeah he was, so what if she was on her own, even without the Nibi's chakra she had power of her own. She didn't need him, although it would help to have him around to explain things because...

... She had no idea what was going on. All she knew was that she was following this nine-tailed boy, simply because her instinct told her to.

"Why would I do that?"

"Because, he's like us and he's essential. And he'll probably listen to you, you two were close right?" Yugito nodded, "Good, I'm leaving for Suna right now, so leave in two or three days... and try not to get yourself re-captured. That would be embarrassing."

Yugito scoffed, "Please that's an insult... I won't get caught."

"I'm sure you won't," that commented elicited a frown and Yugito centered he gaze onto Naruto.

"I won't!"

"Just saying."

"Well don't," Yugito snapped back,"I bet that I'll do better than you!" Naruto seemed to be deep in thought, as if captured by her last words.

With that Naruto turned around and walked away, he had already packed, so he could leave right away. And that's exactly what he did.

Actually, it was more like he dashed out the door.

His energy had him bouncing, literally on the balls of his feet as he skipped across a clearing. Yes, he skipped while he ran, he was that excited. But there was also one other thing that Yugito did not know, one thing about Gaara; that he was a jinchuuriki as well. Boy what a surprise that would be for her, he'd mention it when she got back.

He could feel his body flicker with chakra with each step that he took; soon these grassy plains would wither away and turn to sandy wastelands. He'd be in Wind country soon. Now there was one more question... which route to take? He could run to the left, and cut through Fire country, but to get to Suna that way he would have to past almost directly by Konoha, that would be interesting, he might actually run into some Nin. considering that, there were other options, why he could simply cut through Oto, sound, and make a curved line down into Wind country. What with Orochimaru out of commission-bless Enma's soul-traveling through sound wouldn't be as dangerous as it used to be.

He smiled, both paths were dangerous... he'd play it safe though. Sound it was.

XXXXXXXXXXXXX

Naruto ran at a considerable pace, his eyes searing from the irritation of sand in his eyes. Ow, that stuff was murder on the corneas. He shook it off though, his eyes widened when he spotted the large brown mountainside that served as Suna's main gate. The giant slit in the middle of it ran straight down, dark and seemingly infinite.

He'd arrived. Now... there was one question he had been asking himself the entire time. How the hell was he supposed to get inside the damn place. Suna was not Kumo, their main gate wasn't so easy to simply jump over. And he was pretty if not absolutely sure that Gaara would have a couple nin on patrol.

With each step, his foot sank deeply into the sand; causing muffled, gritty little sparks of sound with each step. How many miles had he run in this sand? He'd lost count after fifty-six. It brought a smile to his face to finally see the rocky gates of the Sand village. For a moment, he felt the pleasure of relief; quickly it was chased away however. He couldn't relax now, yes, he'd made it here. But he still needed to gain access here.

He could always sneak in, but that was a lot of effort. For one, if he got caught... well things wouldn't be pretty for him. The thing was... he was labeled as a missing nin, he didn't call himself that but everyone else seemed to love the name they gave him.

How to get in? How to get in? He thought long and hard about it as he ran, his feet moving seemingly on their own. He could always just walk in. Nah, what was he thinking, he was just japing. Simply walk in... as if.

Naruto's eyes widened, a definite smirk on his face, forming slowly. His lips curled dangerously into another one of his predatory smiles; a toothy smile that displayed one of his white canines. Yes, he'd just walk in.

After all he was only a nuke-nin.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

The two guard Nin bowed deeply out of respect, low chunin they were. Young-older than he-but still green behind the ears. His dusty red hair, cold, calculating eyes, flecked with the light of the dessert sun. He looked regal, noble even. The gourd on his back, over-sized and slightly menacing tipped over as he walked. He pulled the blue Kazekage cap over his eyes, leaving his gourd behind, outside of the gates.

He was the Kazekage, honored, apparently in the village. But not really.

"K-Kazekage-sama!" Both guards said, keeping their eyes at the ground. It still seemed that Gaara had that intimidation factor that made him appear so... ghastly at times.

In a low voice, "Gaara" said, "Stand, you're doing a fine job."

The bald guard on the left seemed to twinkle, "R-really, Kazekage-sama, you really think so?" Gaara nodded once, and the man's lips curled into a smile. He stood straight up, "Right," he said in a salute, "We will continue to guard this post efficiently!"

Gaara nodded one more, "Carry on," he said and walked past, leaving his gourd at the gate post. The two guards bowed unwittingly once more and stood at attention.

After he was a couple yards away, the guard on the right looked over to his partner. "Hey, is it me or did the Kazekage look shorter than usual?" The left side guard smacked him in the side of the head.

"Stupid, he'll hear you. Why do you think he wears that gourd, not just to carry his sand, it makes him look taller. But you didn't hear from me, alright?"

Gaara smiled. Well not really Gaara, through the normal sea green-teal of the Kazekage's eyes, a spec of blue flashed vividly for a second. No, this was not the actual Kazekage, the flicker of blue in his eyes gave it all away. "Gaara" continued walking down the road, his Kazekage robes fluttering with elegance.

Around him, the villagers looked on with awe-filled eyes, veneration, and outright envy. The people of sand had changed, Gaara was no longer the monster that everyone feared to even looked at. Actually, the hoi polloi's perspective seemed to take an interesting twist on Gaara, no longer was he the demon, rather he was the protector, the guardian, the Kazekage. It made this Gaara, who in reality wasn't Gaara at all, smirk, his old friend had actually taken his words to heart. He'd really made something of himself, but that was too bad. For his plans, he wouldn't need this new Gaara; he would need the old Gaara, the murderous little demon.

In the guise of Gaara, Naruto chuckled but quickly stopped. He forgot, Gaara didn't chuckle, last time he checked. He continued walking, pretending that nobody noticed his little slip up. But apparently he was wrong, for a hand, a firm but small hand clamped down on his shoulder.

"Gaara!" Temari yelled, turning Naruto around swiftly by the shoulder. "What are you doing here, you've got a meeting that you should have been at TEN minutes ago." Underneath his disguise, Naruto grimaced. Damn, this was probably the worst time for her to show up! He remembered her, Temari, the raffish older sister of Gaara, while he'd never had a chance to connect with her like he had with Gaara, he knew enough about her to tell that she hadn't changed. She was still as pretty as he used to think she was when he was smaller, and she still acted just as overly assertive. But this was different, this was supposed to be Gaara she was talking to. Wasn't she still scared of him? Jeez Gaara, he'd changed way too much, apparently the new Gaara was a big softy if Temari could speak to him this way now.

Still, he was at a loss for words, so he just stared at her.

She blinked. "You feeling okay?" She asked, placing her hand on her little brother's face. Naruto tried to back up, but it was too late, she'd already felt it. Her hand jerked back and she gasped, seconds later her face twisted into a frown. "W-what was that?" She asked, a bit louder than her normal voice.

Naruto gritted his teeth, as did his Gaara disguise. 'Shit,' he thought, 'she felt them!' Being a Jinchuuriki was cool sometimes but at other times it was a hindrance, like now when Temari just felt his whisker marks.

"Gaara... what... was that?" She asked, her eyes widening. Still Naruto didn't answer. Quickly he placed his palm over his left eye, drawing back on the memory of some of Gaara's old memories and dropped to his knee.

"Temari... I'm afraid that I am not feeling well today," his voice was shaky, shaky enough to be plausible. Temari quickly rushed to his side, helping him up, the villagers all gasped and murmured but he payed no attention to them, he simply kept his act up.

"Gaara, do you think it's?" She meant Shuukaku, Naruto simply played along.

"Yes," he muttered in a tempered voice. "T-temari... help me get to my office... I need to be alone." Jeez, he should have been an actor, because his acting was positively flawless. But apparently flawless acting could not hope to overcome outright inconvenience, because for some reason it seemed to be flooding towards him in an abundance the instant he stepped into Suna. Out of the corner of his eye Naruto caught a glimpse of someone walking towards them with a confused, if not slightly panicked expression laid on his purple painted face.

Naruto grimaced, damn, as if one of Gaara's siblings finding him wasn't bad enough. Now he had to make up something to get the make-up wearing freak off of his back. What was his name again? Ah yes...

"Kankuro," Naruto said pointing to what was supposed to be his and Temari's brother. Temari whipped around, wasting no time gesturing for Kankuro to hurry and approach them. Once he was over there, he knelt down, scratching his head through the semi-veil covering his head.

"Gaara what the hell? How did he get here?" He asked, the confusion was obvious. Temari answered in a panicked voice.

"I don't know but he says he isn't feeling well, it could possibly be," she lowered her voice down to a whisper, "Shuukaku." But after a moment she said something again, "That's not Gaara, too short," she whispered.

Kankuro's eyes widened, his mouth agape, but then his face shrank into a tight scowl. He apparently did not wish to figure out who the impostor was. He, unlike his sister, chose to expose first and investigate later. "But that's impossible," he said, "I just saw you, you were walking into the meeting hall, I spoke to you even. And you seemed fine." Both Kankuro and Temari looked at "Gaara", then Temari raised her brow. She cupped her chin.

"Is it me... or does he look, different?" She asked, her lips held the features of a smirk. It was obvious to Naruto, they were playing along-at least Temari was. Kankuro nodded in her observation, his purple lined eyes narrowing themselves.

"Yeah," he said monotonously, "he looks... smaller."

Naruto cringed yet again on the inside, curse his imperfect knowledge. He hadn't seen Gaara in three years, how stupid of him to try and imitate his visage. Of course he would look different! This was the Gaara from three years ago, his was smaller, younger, and not the Kazekage. Externally, Naruto sighed and as Temari's eyes widened, a smile crept along his face.

It appears that they had noticed. He wouldn't have expected anything less from Gaara's brother and sister, except he just didn't think he'd run into them so early. "Kankuro, back up... this isn't Gaara..."Temari said, gripping her over sized battle fan.

"It appears that you've notice, well the jig is up!" Naruto said in his regular voice.

Kankuro gasped, "That voice! No way!"

"Yes way... and I'm afraid I can play right now!" Naruto said as he twisted, catching Temari in the side with a hard backhand, thrusting her away about five meters. His henge dispelled as he rose to both feet, but underneath it his hood was still up so his face was still shrouded in shadow. Small tufts of his blond hair could be seen however, it was these tufts of hair that kept Kankuro locked in place.

The villagers were catching on now, they began to move away... slowly though, for their curiosity kept them from running.

"No, they said you died. You shouldn't be..."

"-alive?" Naruto finished for him, "But I am. What did they tell you before that, that I was a criminal, that I had gone nuke?" He cocked his head to the side, his eyes still covered by his hood but his lips sucked in together in a childish pout. "Hm?"

"No," Kankuro said, crouching low, his left hand went behind his back, grabbing hold of one three scrolls on his back. "Konoha didn't tell us anything about you, except that you were extremely dangerous and that if we ever saw you... we should..."

Naruto felt a flicker of chakra behind him, then a burst of it. It was strong, but acute... almost like a blade. Temari's voice screamed behind him. " I'm gonna kill you!" She gave a heave, swinging her gigantic fan launching a powerful but very condensed wall of wind at him. His ears could pick up the whistle of gusts mere seconds away.

Gracefully, Naruto jumped high into the air, outstretching his hands like a bird would its wings and leaned back until he was almost upside down. He felt the harsh wind brush past his head as gently as a breeze would have and centered his icy gaze on Temari who was in the act of swinging her arms overhead for another attack.

He took his inverted moment to assess the situation. It didn't look good, two on one, he was sure that he could take each of them out alone... but... at the same time? They would give him some work. But his thoughts were interrupted when the woody sound of something clicking sounded behind him.

Kankuro was a puppet master, he'd almost forgotten. Blindly he spiraled his body and struck in the direction of the clicking sound as it got closer. His foot arched outward, and although he didn't expect to, he caught the clicking head of Crow right in the face. His foot stuck like glue, embedding itself into the wood. Crow's three eyes swiveled around wildly, before centering on him and with another click, it open its mouth and aimed at Naruto's chest.

"Shit," Naruto said aloud before using his other foot to stomp Crow's mouth close; he barely caught a glimpse of the dark poison bomb attempting to exit the puppet's mouth before it exploded in a cloud of dark purple gas. Naruto held his breath as he fell through the cloud, the poison stung his eyes, so he closed one of them until he breached the end of the poison cloud and touched fresh air. Frantically he gulped in the refreshing taste of clean oxygen and the instant he had exited from the cloud, the ground seemed to fast forward itself closer to him. He was plummeting, plummeting fast. With the imminent ground at his back, Naruto spun back and flipped down, landing on his feet in a low crouch.

But it wasn't over, he could still sense them both coming after them. Kankuro who was in front of him, pulled his arms up for a moment and whipped them down, the blue chakra enhanced strings undulated like a snake when he did so. And out of the purple cloud, Crow came bursting through violet cloud of poison, his eyes boggling wildly and out of his mouth a large foot-long blade protruded from his mouth.

But the puppet master had more; Kankuro pulled out a second scroll, tossing it high in the air and in a loud expulsion of smoke a second puppet, a larger, stockier one with read horns and a wider body and face then Karasu charged at him. It clicked the same way Crow did. But unlike Karasu, it didn't attack with blades... instead it opened its arms as if to hug Naruto. Suddenly, underneath its tattered cloak, its stomach opened up to reveal hollow insides. What, was it trying to... capture him?

Temari finally finished the arch of her wild swing and cried out: "Kamaitachi!" And out of the tip of her fan, she released a torrent of wind, a whirlwind that buzzed with a mass of acute chakra, cutting chakra. Naruto gritted his teeth, his eyes looking all around him for any hope of escape. He remembered that jutsu, Temari's, it was the same one she used to dispatch of Tenten during the chunin exams.

Quickly he palmed a dozen shuriken, and tossed them with expert precision; six went up to Crow and six went to Kuroari, Kankuro's other puppet. Kankuro laughed, his voice barely audible over the wind rushing behind him. "What the hell, you missed all of them, you've gotten rusty, that much is true!" But Kankuro's smile was wiped from his face, Naruto wasn't through. The shuriken had all whizzed past his puppets, or was there more? Supposedly, they had missed their mark perhaps on purposely. But this didn't matter to Kankuro... Temari's aerial blades would tear him to shreds before he could even think of a plan.

... It was such a shame to see Naruto go this way.

"Hey puppet master, let's switch jobs for today!" Naruto said when he pulled both hands back and tugged with his fingers on the dozen strings of wire attached to the shuriken he'd just thrown, they gleamed brightly in the light, guiding the whirling blades backwards and around both of Kankuro's puppets, wrapping them in wire. Naruto pulled down and back, dragging both puppets toward his body. Naruto planned to eliminate the closest one so without warning and before Kankuro could react, he pulled down on his of the twine and smashed Crow into the ground. The doll's head exploded in a fine mess of wood and metal.

Naruto then ran forward, attempting to outrun Temari's wind, he headed straight for Kuroari. Kankuro tugged fiercely in protest, however so did Naruto with his own wire. That left the puppet caught in between both forces and suspended in the air. Quickly before the wind sliced him to bits, Naruto launched himself, diving head first into the still open belly of Kankuro's doll and closed it from the inside.

What came next was probably one of the worst rides of his life. Inside the doll, the wind thrashed Naruto back and forth, tossing him around like he was a ball. He could hear the sound of the blades of wind cutting through the dolls wooden interior, it was okay though, he hadn't been harmed. But then the wind picked up speed, shredding the dolls exterior almost completely, revealing him partially. Wood and metal twisted, scratching, churning, and tearing through with nauseating like that... it ended. The whirlwind of air cut itself off just as quickly as it had turned itself on, dropping Naruto encased in his doll aegis to the ground.

Kankuro was at a loss for words, he simply stood, mouth agape, as did Temari. The blond girl waved over at her brother, silently mouthing, "Sorry about your dolls". But that didn't help, Kankuro felt like he wanted to cry... and so he did.

"M-My...My DOLLS!" He said as he dropped to both his knees.

"Oh quit whining!" She looked over at the heap of torn wood and metal, her expression displayed a emotion that could only be described as hurt. "You think we really... you know, killed him?" She asked hesitantly. A weird feeling stirred in her stomach, permeating her mouth with the taste of bile. She never thought that she'd be the one to kill Uzumaki Naruto of all people, especially after the way he took out Gaara.

The ground beneath her rumbled, the sand shifted uncontrollably and before she could move Naruto erupted out of the sand behind her and grabbed her from behind. He clutched her hand, pulling it behind her back, twisting it painfully. She squeaked from the pain. "Not a chance, now drop the fan." He said, putting his wrist close to her face and with a grind of metal on metal a retractable blade jutted forth from underneath his sleeve. He move the gleaming blade close to her neck, "Drop it." He said with venom.

She complied quickly, dropping the fan to the sand with a dull thud. Naruto glanced at Kankuro, "And you, puppet boy, no funny business... or your sister dies. I don't want to do it, but I will if I must." He brought his lips closer to Temari's ear, lowering his voice down to a whisper. "I'm sorry. but I really don't want to kill you, you used to be a comrade. So I'd rather not, I'm simply here to speak with your brother, will you lead me to him?"

Temari breathed deeply, something about the boy had changed, his voice sparked fire inside of her, it made her legs wobbly. He seemed a lot more.. persuasive in a way, disarming even. Was he really was the same idiot blond from before.

"W-why?" She asked.

Naruto didn't answer, he simply pressed the blade closer to her neck, drawing blood. The warmth was gone, it left in an instant and he was back to the cold fighter he was moments ago. "Answer my question!" He hissed vehemently. He glanced at Kankuro once, only once, to make sure that he got the message. That he was not to move. At all, or else, Temari's head would be sliced off in milliseconds flat.

The wind blew dusty sand in their eyes, forcing Temari to close her eyes. What could she say, those blades were dangerous, and pointy, and drawing more blood by the second. She had to give in and agree, but... but she couldn't do that, not this easily. The blade pressed harder into her neck and she sucked air sharply in between her clenched teeth.

Okay, that one hurt and Naruto didn't look like he wanted to really negotiate or even show a little mercy for that matter. Jeez, the evil little bastard. He sure had grown to be a little demon. She opened her mouth to finally agree to submit but froze when someone cut her off.

His voice was all too familiar, raspy, matured, and still carrying that lazy-slacked tongue.

"Kage Mane no Jutsu!"

Naruto's body stiffened almost instantly and he grunted as if his muscles were in pain. "No... not him, of all people, why?" She heard Naruto say as he moved the acute blade from her neck. Slowly, against his will, his hand shook violently as he tried to fight the urge to place it back. "Fuck... he just had to...ahh, I guess I'm caught then!" The boy's vice-grip softened off her hand until it was no more, the relief flooded her insides. She was free, she could move.

Temari turned slowly around to see Naruto raffishly getting down on his knees, and placing his hands behind his back, his expression was fierce. Behind him she followed a long black mass, a shadow that stretched about ten yards behind until it finally connected to the one responsible for Naruto's surrender.

"Fuck you Shikamaru." Naruto said calmly, addressing the vested, grim-faced, pineapple-headed Jonin kneeling in the same manner that Naruto was. For a moment, Temari simply stared at the boy, Nara Shikamaru, his bored yet troubled expression was truly infectious because she felt herself frowning as well. Why was she even so mad, because Naruto had so easily disabled her? Because he actually had the balls to pose as Gaara? There were an interminable number of things that could have gotten her so riled up at the moment, all of them created by Naruto... one of them created by Shikamaru.

He'd taken Naruto down without the boy even noticing. She failed to do so. Stupid Shikamaru, always making dramatic entrances.

Then Naruto spoke out, "Hey Temari... I see you've grown," He said jovially, "Nice tits." Temari gasped, her hands moving automatically to her chest to keep his unwanted eyes from ogling her. Her blush was fiery. Apparently Naruto hadn't change everything about him, he still spoke his mind.

"Y-you perv!" She screamed and as if by response, Naruto's eyes were instantly diverted to looking at the ground, his neck snapping down. She glanced up to see Shikamaru with his nose pointed to the ground as well.

"Well hurry up and tie him up, I can't hold this up forever, jeez! Women..."

"Tell me about it," Naruto muttered.

"Shut up," Both Shikamaru and Temari said in unison.

XXXXXXXXX

Naruto smiled as he was thrown into the hard stone wall of his prison cell; he grunted out a chuckle and his hood flipped back down, revealing his face. Showing off his grin, his vulpine smile, that he'd been so infamous for back in Konoha. But back then it was so innocent, so pure and unwitting... now Naruto's grin just seemed predatory. What had happened to him? He'd changed, extremely.

Naruto let out another chuckle as he was grabbed by his collar, his head flying limply back as his body thrust forth and Shikamaru cracked another punch into the rigid bone of his cheek. The skin had turned purple, swollen and fervid from the newest of Shikamaru's punches to the face. But he was smiling, and it was beginning to piss the genius off.

"Naruto, stop fucking around! Tell me why you're here!"

Naruto smiled once more, a filed canine gleaming in the musty light of the dank cell, he blew his breath out. "Where's Gaara?"

Shikamaru narrowed his eyes, waiting for a moment until he finally gave in and closed them, slumping his head down in defeat. Naruto's smile loosened into a wider one when he felt Shikamaru's hand just leave his collar and drop to his side. After a moment he opened his eyes, staring seriously into Naruto's sky blue orbs. Orbs that held within them an enigmatic emotion that not even Shikamaru could decipher.

"If you won't tell me why you're here, at least talk to me."

Naruto leaned his head to the side, his face lighting up with false cheer. "Oh, really? But why would want to speak with a nuke-nin like me?" Naruto asked; and his answer came quickly, in the form of a hand, Shikamaru's hand, that gripped his shoulder sternly. It was stern yet somehow soft, as if he were actually trying to convey genuine concern.

"Because you're my friend." Shikamaru wavered for a moment, quickly glancing down to his hand on the blond's shoulder before awkwardly removing it. "At least... you used to be."

Naruto scoffed, "Hm, touching Shikamaru,e specially coming from you, one of the nin from our generation." The sarcasm was obvious with his tone. There was a pause where they both said nothing; they simply stared at each other. Each second lit the Nara's insides on fire. Naruto's smug visage, his frisky smile; he acted like he was in control of the situation. As if! Look at him, he was pathetic, hands tied up behind his back, face beaten to a purple swell; his eye was even swelling shut! What could he possibly be smiling at? The fact that he was simply cracking a grin was enough to get Shikamaru mad, but what was even more irritating was that he didn't know why Naruto was smiling.

Naruto's voice interrupted his thoughts harshly. "So... what did you need to talk about, old pal?" Naruto said with more sarcasm. Shikamaru didn't respond, swallowing his large lump of pride and continued on to ask his question.

"Based on how you answer this question, I might not tell Konoha of this when I return."

Naruto raised his brow in interest. "Ask away."

"I," Shikamaru searched for the words, "I.. don't even know... where to start." He said, humoring his erstwhile comrade with a dry chuckle, but there was no smile on his face. Just that cast iron glare of his. The truth was right here in front of him, yet the small voice in the back of his head kept clinging to the spurious reality of Naruto's non-existence. He shouldn't have been here, he shouldn't have been alive, at least the Hokage told him so. But then again, he was only a Jonin, his ears may not have been that important; perhaps the Hokage felt the same way and opted to hide the shameful truth from those like him.

"What," Shikamaru paused, "-made you leave the village?"

Naruto didn't say anything at first, instead his eyes closed themselves and he inhaled sharply. His back arched when the frisson came."That Shikamaru... is something you should ask the Hokage and hi-" The grating of metal against solid concrete cut Naruto off and he turned to look at the person in the doorway. The jinchuuriki's eyes widened with glee.

"Gaara!" He chimed loudly.

The sandy-red haired boy didn't move from the metal from of the doorway; the light filtering from the window in the hallways outside was intensely bright so Naruto couldn't quite see the boy's face, just his silhouette. But he could tell that Gaara's eyes were wider than sake saucers now.

The words left the Kazekage's lips shakily, "U-Uzumaki... Naruto."

Naruto smirked, "The one and only."

Shikamaru stood, turning his back to Naruto and bowed to Gaara, "Gaara, please if you could; give me a few more minutes with Naruto alo-"

Gaara wasn't interested in that, he didn't turn his head to look at Shikamaru and although he couldn't quite see the Kazekage's eyes, Naruto was sure that they were glaring at Shikamaru. The thought brought a smile to Naruto's face. "Leave us," Gaara commanded calmly.

He heard the loud exasperation of air Shikamaru released and registered it as an incredulous gasp. "But... G-gaara, I."

"Leave... now." The boy's tone had turned icy now, he was serious. Naruto simply grinned when Shikamaru simple grunted and gave Gaara another bow, before walking out of the door frame, he made a left down the hall. After a few moments his steps couldn't be heard anymore, he was gone.

Naruto then turned his full attention to Gaara, he'd gotten taller his shoulders no longer slumped like that used to. When Gaara stepped in the shade of the cell room and closed the door, Naruto took in the masculinity that had chiseled Gaara's features with observant eyes. His jawline had become more refined, his eyes wiser, his face looked the same except it had grown longer with his aging. A fine specimen, and a fine addition to his force. Gaara's clothing was different now as well... as dark once-armed vest, over top the burgundy jacket that draped to the floor, the material diverging in the front where his waist was in order to create an elegant slit. Naruto couldn't help but smile at how regal Gaara looked at the moment, he would have clapped but his hands were still bidden together.

"Temari informed me that you'd broken through the gates of the village, you posed as me?"

"Yes."

Gaara's eyes narrowed as he stared at Naruto. The boy who had changed him had changed himself as well, he could tell just by the way he stared at him. With the eyes of a killer, an inexperienced one, but a killer nonetheless. Just like his eyes looked like before.

"Entering covertly, that doesn't seem to be your style Naruto. If I remember, you were more of a show off."

"I guess that explains the wind damage in you main district.." Naruto responded. The was a pause, where they didn't say anything, oddly reminiscent of his time in here with Shikamaru, but that all stopped when Gaara opened his mouth and said:

"Konoha has informed me of you status as a Nuke-nin...

Naruto did not respond. The silence then became unnerving.

"Naruto, what did you do? Konoha wanted me to keep this completely esoteric, but I guess the truth has been exposed."

"I guess it has," Naruto finally said.

"Then tell me this sole truth, why did you go Nuke?" Gaara's voice was raspy, far from wavering but it held within it a certain taint of pity. Pity that Naruto did not need.

Naruto simply scoffed. "Nuke, no I'm not a missing-nin, I'm a fugitive." Gaara's eyebrow pulled up, "But that's not important, what is important is the reason as to why I'm here... you see, me and you... we're the same, that's old new." Gaara's eyes widened for a bit, but settled down an instant later; it appeared that he understood the implied.

"Go on," he muttered now interested, although his stoic tone did not indicate his alacrity.

"Sabaku no Gaara... I've got a proposition for you." Naruto smiled, showing one of his canines which lengthened in response to his flickering chakra. "It's sort of a message."

Gaara then inhaled sharply, feeling something pull at his gut. It was a sharp, primal pull, no pain, no fear, just instinct in its purest form that told him that he wanted to stay and listen to Uzumaki Naruto. Gaara hadn't noticed until now but Naruto's physical appearance had altered itself; his whiskers had deepened, becoming bolder, his canines had sharpened, his hair stood on end like a wild animal's and he smiled wildly, staring at Gaara with blood red eyes.

"Naruto you-"

"Konoha... tried take everything from me, forced me to abandon my old life. They treated me like crap and like a weapon... just like this village treated you like one. But it appears that things have changed... would you like to change things even more?" Naruto asked, sliding his back up the wall in order stand himself up. His wrist wriggled behind his back and with a slight grunt he snapped the ropes binding him like he would have a twig.

Gaara was silent for a long while, the dusty air and minuscule light shined partially on his face. He contemplated it... only briefly. "What does changing things even more imply?" He asked apprehensively. He wanted to believe that Naruto, the Naruto whom he'd previously admired had good intention but the vibe that he was picking up said exactly the opposite. He couldn't help but pick up the feelings of ill-will radiating from the boy.

"Our revenge..." Naruto said calmly before adding, "and our compromise with the world, all of us demons...together." Once again, Gaara understood the implied.

"If that is the case... I am afraid that I will have to say... no. If what I you are proposing goes along the lines of what I suspect then I'm sure our revenge will bring us no form of justice."

Naruto's eyes narrowed as he looked off to the side. "That's a shame... are you sure?"

It took Gaara a few seconds to respond but he finally said, "Yes, I am. I am, the Kazekage now Naruto, I protect the village, I cannot allow myself to do anything that will hurt my village's ties with its strongest ally. I am simply not that type of person anymore, I have loved ones to protect now...and I know that you would understand something about that." Gaara said.

Naruto looked disheartened, "Yes... I would. I only wish I'd never taught you what it meant to have precious people close to you because... right now, who you used to be is the Gaara that I need."

Gaara didn't say anything; he'd already came to the conclusion on Naruto's intent. It was definitely dangerous, any plan that involved his former self had to have been. Gaara turned around to walk through the doorway, entering the brightly lit hallway once more and again Naruto could only see his silhouette. Without turning around he said: "If that is the Gaara that you need then I'm sorry, I cannot help, that Gaara doesn't exist anymore... I've grown up... I see that you have as well."

Naruto simply chuckled. He'd simply grown up differently, that was all.

"Aren't you going to keep me prisoner? Or report me to Konoha? I am a nuke-nin or am I dead? Plus I did try to get you to join me."

Gaara simply turned right, heading down the hall in the direction Shikamaru had gone previously. Naruto stepped out of the cell, watching his friend's back grow smaller as he walked farther down the hallway and turned away... walking the opposite way.

He'd take that as a no.

When Shikamaru came back, he'd be surprised to see an empty cell.

XXXXXXXXXXX

Yugito sighed. Here it goes again, she'd have to suffer through another one of Killer bee's "conversations", if they could even be called that. Getting past his horrible rhymes and disharmonious voice was a chore in and of itself, but actually understanding what the guy was talking about was next to impossible. There were probably two people who could fully understand Bee's rhythmic speech mannerisms; Yugito herself and Bee's brother... the Raikage.

"Yugi-chan... Oh no! I can't go with you, I ride solo!" Killer bee shouted out at the top of his lungs."Yeah, I'm me, the one and only lone ranger, Killer Bee!"

Yugito grabbed his ear, pulling him down to her height. He tipped over on one foot, chanting "ow, ow, ow!" But she quickly shushed him, sometimes it seemed like she was the adult. He seemed to settle down into a less raffish demeanor after a few more moments of ear tugging.

"Shh, shut up!" She whispered through her teeth, "No one in Kumo knows that I'm even here, and I'm not about to let you expose me. And stop it with the rhyming."

Bee nodded, sitting down on the wooden stool he'd placed down for himself. After a moment he said: "Explain to me Yugi-chan, who's this Uzumaki guy?" Bee had finally stopped rhyming, he was serious now, at least she thought as much. "And what's so special about him, besides him being one of us. Actually... he'd better not be one lesser than you, how many tails does he have?" Bee's brow rose above the rim of his shades as he leaned in.

"Nine."

"..."

"Yeah... " She said flatly, "and he's seriously got something planned. For us jinchuuriki... exclusively! I met him during that stupid festival, he uh... killed my guard."

Bee leaned back, his lips parted laughing heartily. "I expected you to do that!"

"I was trying not to. But that's not important, what's important is that you follow me to where he is."

Bee scoffed, "No, I don't want to meet him. Yeah, he can plan whatever it is... but I'm happy like this."

"Oh come on, Bee! Just meet him... once, for me!" Yugito placed her palms together above her head, "Please! He wants to bring us Jinchuuriki together, for the first time. Doesn't that sound interesting?" She pleaded.

"Not really Yugi-chan, actually what it sounds like is that you've got the hots for him." Yugito gasped, her face glowing hot-red.

"I-I don't, I'm just interested in his plan!"

Bee inched closer to her, poking her in the side with his elbow, "Sure you are."

Yugito frowned, her eyes heated with anger. She'd prove it; she grabbed the nape of her shirt and pulled it away and turned around to fully reveal her neck. "Look at this seal!" Bee's finger jutted forth and in seconds he was pointing at it.

"Whoa where you get that?"He asked, his voice now filled with zeal.

"He gave it to me, he said that I'd need to learn how to stop using Nibi." Bee gripped his chin, deep in thought; perhaps this Naruto person was actually worth the visit. Going so far as to personally visit Yugito and mark her with a seal. He must have had something big planned, or at least something with a worthwhile result. It was tempting, going to meet the nine-tails, but was it worth it?

"Oh...," Yugito smiled, "And he said that he wanted to fight you, you know just to see how you guys measured up against each other."

The steam practically bellowed out of Killer bee's nose when he shot up like a rocket. "OOOOHHHH, hahaha... why didn't you say so? This guy sounds pretty interesting!"

Yugito smiled once again, chuckling nervously. Bee could so gullible at times. She then wondered how Naruto would take this when he got back. Well he couldn't complain... she'd done what he'd asked of her... just in a different way.

XXXXXXXXX

Hey, so how did every one like this first chapter. As you can see, with Yugito I did a bit of age tinkering, making her a teen as opposed to an adult like she appears in actual canon. Why, well, BECAUSE I CAN! I really don't have that much to say except what almost everyone else says and I'm saying it because its true.

Review... NOW! It would make me a happy person. I want to see how far this gets me. So without further ado, please move onto the next chapter...now.