Chapter 11: Cast Away Fear

"My Lord, I don't trust that Kabuto boy. He's no stranger to spying, and he swapped sides far too easily. I'm telling you; he's a right turncoat that one, my Lord." Jaken said as he and Fu followed Naruto from the hotel.

Naruto didn't even glance back at Jaken as he continued to stride in silence. Fu looked worried about it while Jaken's cheeks puffed out at being ignored; even if it was by his Lord, who did so regularly.

"Where are Hoki, Sasuke, and Sakura?" Naruto asked calmly, noticing their missing presence.

"Huh?" Jaken asked, glancing around for the three missing, "You're right; their gone. Where the devil could they have possibly gone to?"

"I don't see that Kin girl you wanted us to get either, Lord Sesshomaru. Nor the Zaku guy who was with her." Fu said as Naruto didn't seem too bothered.

"Come. I still must see to others before today ends." Naruto said, never stopping as he made his way through the streets of Konoha, the citizens giving his regal appearance wide berth.

"Hmm… that Uzumaki boy is a problem…" Danzo muttered to himself, pacing the floor of his dark office.

"He's too senseless, too brash, and headstrong. He'd run this village and everything else into the ground. He's calmed, but that isn't good enough. He's still too inexperienced, and I will not bow to the whim of some newborn." Danzo growled out to himself while he stopped himself, sitting behind his desk in a huff.

"I need someone to watch over him. Gain his trust, learn his weaknesses. But who… Who could be so good to deceive such a boy-turned-monster…"

"You summoned me, Lord Danzo?" a voice called from the shadows as Danzo smirked cruelly.

Oh, fate was smiling down upon him this day…

"Sai, my boy… just the person I wanted to see. I have two missions for you. One far easier than the other, but both very rewarding for me and my cause." Danzo said as a ink-like boy stepped out of the shadows, his face like a blank canvas that was to stay so.

"I live to serve you, my Lord." Sai said, kneeling before Danzo's desk as the man's smile grew darker and more twisted.

"Yes, Sai… I know you do."

"I love you, Koga." Tsume said as she and her husband stood atop a balcony, overlooking their clan compound. Koga sighed peacefully as he bent down, kissing his wife's neck gently with a smile on his face.

"As I love you, Tsume." Koga said as he watched Ginza and Hana walk through the compound's outer halls, apparently fighting with one another over something.

"You hear them? Arguing in a time as this. I told you that boy was no good for our young Hana." Tsume said, frowning down at the arguing couple as they stepped out into the middle of a garden path, still yelling at one another.

"Ginza is good enough for Hana, but I think he's letting the whole thing get to him. Never been a cool headed one, that Ginza…" Koga said, gazing down at the boy he had taken to like a son.

"You don't think he'd do anything stupid… do you?" Tsume said, cuddling deeper into her husband's chest.

"… I honestly don't know, Tsume. He's never really been one for the brash actions if he could help it, but with how things are looking…"

"If he hurts our little Hana, I'll neuter him." Tsume growled out as Koga chuckled, laying his head atop Tsume's own cranium.

"Tsume, have some faith. We allowed him our daughter's hand. I think he won't hurt her…" Koga said before breathing a sigh and lowering his voice, "At least… I hope not intentionally…"

The happily married couple watched as Hana stomped off from the pitiful-looking Ginza, who was yelling out apologizes and trying to catch up with his fiancé.

"They have a lot of work to do if they want to get to where we are." Tsume said with a chuckle as Koga joined her in laughter.

"I remember a time when that was us. You know, before we had the pups. Back when you were a little petite woman and I was… well, I never changed." Koga said as Tsume, a normally gruff and strong-willed woman, blushed brightly as she turned on her husband and started assaulting him.

"You- You shut up! You try pushing out two of your damn kids and lets see how you like it! You try it! You try breast-feeding while spying on a mission! I had to change Kiba's diaper in the middle of a battle!" Tsume yelled fussily, slapping her husband's arms repeatedly as he laughed at her.

"Ha! Knowing you, you probably used the dirty diaper as a weapon against the enemy." Koga said as she her blush turned crimson, slapping at him even quicker than before.

"You bet I did!"

"… I knew you would, but somehow… I'm still disgusted…"

"And that's why I wear the pants around here." Tsume said with a cool smirk, breezing past her slightly discolored husband.

Naruto walked onto a great clan compound, which stood out in comparison to the low-grade buildings surrounding it. Entering the open gates, Naruto moved without hesitation with Jaken and Fu at his heels as they tried to keep up with their Lord's powerful and commanding stride.

"Lord Sesshomaru, who is here, surrounded by such commoners, that could warrant your personal attention?" Jaken said, raising his nose high as he remembered his days as the Lord of Imps.

Such grand days those were…

"Quiet, Jaken." Naruto barked as he stopped in the middle of the compound, sparing the natural beauty of the compounds' interior gardens a glance before he glanced down at Jaken.

"This looks like a ninja animal family compound." Fu stated as she looked around, "You can tell both from the smell in the air and from the little things; like the chew toys, and stuff."

Fu and Jaken both looked up to Naruto, staring at him in unconscious unison while they're eyes glistened with wide child-like curiosity a story behind why they had come. Naruto merely nodded mutely, moving forward as Jaken and Fu snapped out of their naïve fantasies to catch up to him.

They were stupid to believe that he'd waste time trying to explain such simple things to them…

"This is the compound of the Inuzuka clan." Naruto said as he walked with purpose deeper into the compound, the fur on his shoulder billowing slightly.

"Funny." Jaken said as he glanced around, "It reminds me of that priest's compound of monks that we once took refugee in. Don't you agree, my Lord?"

"To be honest, Jaken, I don't remember." Naruto said, not glancing back to see the shock on Jaken's face, "However, that does not trouble me. Trying to recall every minuscule detail of a past life would tedious and annoying at best. The truth is, I have long since accepted that it would be near impossible to do so; especially for one who has lived as long as I have. To recall such description would taken immense aid, something in which we don't have."

"Is that why we're here?" Jaken asked, "To find someone to give such aid, my Lord?"

"No, not at all, Jaken." Naruto said, stopping as he glanced around. Another set of open doors… strange, but not unhelpful, "I'm here to speak with two people. The clan leaders of the Inuzuka family."

"I see, my Lord." Jaken said as Fu merely followed.

"So, you finally made it!" a voice sounded from above them as soon as they stepped into what appeared to be an inner garden on the grounds of the compound. Naruto looked up, his eyebrow raised, as he set his sights on Koga and Tsume Inuzuka.

"I suppose I have." Naruto said simply as Koga jumped off the balcony he and his wife had been sitting on. Jumping high from it, Koga withdrew the sword at his waist as he gripped it with both hands as he came down.

Naruto's brow only rose higher as in a flash he were blocking Koga's strike with his bare hand. There was no need to unleash one of his swords. No, not when such a weak blade could best be dealt with by his own claws.

"Still as calm and casual as ever." Koga said, slicing into the palm Naruto's hand as he pulled his sword away, allowing the blood to drip from his gleaming blade in the daylight.

Naruto only gave him a look, then stared down at his hand. He watched with detached interest as the wound closed itself in mere moments. Koga seemed to chuckle at his staring.

"So, where's that mutt half-brother of yours this time, aye?" Koga asked as he shouldered his blade.

"Am I supposed to know you?" Naruto asked in a deadpan tone as Koga only chuckled more.

"Koga of the Wolf demon tribe." Koga said as Tsume jumped down to join them, "We met one day, both declaring that we'd carve up Naraku."

"I see…" Naruto said, narrowing his eyes as he remembered.

"Yeah. As you know, we demons don't exactly die of old age; especially not after only a thousand years." Koga said as Naruto's eyes widened.

"But I thought it had been much longer than that. It certainly felt so." Naruto said quietly as Koga shrugged.

"That mutt and his friends always said you were bad at tellin' time. I thought it was just a joke…" Koga muttered as Naruto frowned.

"No matter." Naruto said, regaining his dignity, "We have things to discuss."

"Like my being in the dog family?" Koga inquired as Naruto gave him a look.

"I don't care much for details like that, but it is a question I have pondered from your scent in that meeting." Naruto said, "My theory was that the dogs of the Inuzuka clan were mix bred with wolves, which would both explain your scent and Akamaru's near wolf-like tendencies during my battle against Kiba Inuzuka… your son."

"Yup, that's our boy." Koga said, wrapping a hand around Tsume's waist.

"I understand that there were clan matters you wanted to speak to me about." Naruto began, raising a hand when Koga was about to cut him off, "However, I need to be leaving the village soon to deal with some… foreign issues."

"I see…" Koga said, narrowing his eyes, "Well, we understand. You must be a busy a man, after all. Plotting world conquest and all."

"Yes, thank you." Naruto said, nodding in all seriousness to Koga's small jab, "When I return, I'll deal with whatever issues you have. They're not pressing ones, are they?"

"No, not at all." Koga said, and squeezed Tsume's waist when she was about to speak up.

"Good." Naruto said, turning to leave. But before he did, his hand shot out and slashed through Koga's shoulder, leaving a deep gash that spurted blood while Koga's eyes widened in shock and surprise. He fell to his knees while gritting his teeth. He would not cry out in pain, but damn did the kid get a good hit in.

"A wound, for a wound, Koga Inuzuka." Naruto said, "I'm glad another demon leader such as myself is around. I would have found life too easy if all I had to deal with was human vermin."

"Yeah, fun…" Koga spat as he rolled his shoulder while the wound began to heal. Not nearly as fast as Naruto's had, but at least the pain was the first thing to go, "Just know this means payback."

"You're more than welcome to try and gain your retribution." Naruto said calmly as he turned his back to Koga, "That is, if you dare."

And with those last words, Naruto and his two followers swept out of the Inuzuka compound.

"Finally felt your balls drop, huh?" Tsume asked as she helped Koga up.

"Oh, shut up, you!" Koga shot back, his eye twitching as more blood gushed, "This is nothing but a flesh wound!"

"Of course it is…" his wife said, shaking her head.

Stalking through the village like a graceful beast of prey, Naruto sought out the scent of Hinata and Ino, who were apparently nearing one another as he moved toward them. He still needed to speak with Ino about his leaving, and with Hinata about her cousin.

"My Lord, aren't those the girls you were cheering on during the Preliminaries?" Jaken inquired as Naruto gave a single nod. The two were coming toward each other from opposite side of the street and Naruto had hastened through an alleyway to meet them.

"Naruto, is that you?" Ino asked as she looked up from the money she was pocketing as Shikamaru and Choji ambled behind her reluctantly.

"Eek!" Hinata squeaked as she glanced up from her cinnamon bun. Next to her was Shino, who raised his head to look at Naruto while Kiba was behind them, glaring at Naruto for no apparent reason while Akamaru whimpered.

"Good day to you all," Naruto said loftily as he graced them with his indomitable presence, using his right hand to place his long blond hair behind his ear.

"You deceived us." Shino said, bringing the somewhat tense silence as all eyes turned to him, "During the second exam, you said you had run into Naruto, but truly you were referring to yourself. Such deceit was unnecessary, Uzumaki-san."

"Was it?" Naruto replied without missing a beat, "Had I confessed I was Naruto, would you have believed me? If you could not tell I was, then why would my telling you I was Naruto Uzumaki have made you believe I was?"

"We could have sensed you out had you not suppressed your chakra." Shino stated as he pushed his shades up on the bridge of his nose. "Right now I am able to tell that your chakra signature, though very small and growing smaller, is that of Naruto Uzumaki."

"I don't think it matters right now." Shikamaru broke in lazily, "If he had told us he was Naruto, we might not have believed him anyway. We might have assumed he had captured Naruto, or taken his body, or something. That exam in the forest was a mess, and just about any number of possibilities could have been plausible while we were in there."

"I concur," Naruto said with a nod of his head, "This is why I said a half-truth, claiming that I had witnessed Naruto Uzumaki defeat the ninja and beasts I had, because I did it myself. I also gave you the hint of there having been a severe change within Uzumaki, because as you can see, there has been."

"And you came back to us in order to show yourself with drastic changes in your attitude and personality, but really, you had become someone completely different." Shikamaru said, his hands behind his head as he cast a lazy glance at Naruto's form.

"Not entirely so," Naruto conceded, "I am still Naruto Uzumaki, it's just that I have become complete. I have now tapped into my potential."

"My insects are fearful of you," Shino stated, though showed no fear himself, "They wish to avoid confrontation against you unless necessary."

"As they should be, Shino Aburame." Naruto sniffed while Kiba growled.

"You may have beat me, but next time I'll knock your block off!" Kiba shouted as Naruto raised a brow.

"You're more than welcome to try, Kiba Inuzuka." Naruto said, cracking his knuckle by simply flexing his fingers. Kiba bared his fangs, while Naruto stood before him impassively.

"No, Kiba, s-stop…" Hinata gently made her teammate stand down, "Naruto is much too strong for you to fight now. You should train more so you can catch up to him."

Kiba reluctantly backed down for now, huffing as he did so, "Yeah, Hinata, you're right. But next time, Uzumaki…" Kiba shot Naruto a look, shaking his fist as Naruto merely smirked smugly at him.

Shino stared at Naruto for a long moment, then adjusted his shades before he stuffed his hands into his jacket pockets, "The day will come when we face one another as well, Naruto Uzumaki. And when it does, I will not hold back."

"As well you shouldn't, Shino Aburame," Naruto said as he tossed his head back arrogantly, "For when we do battle, this Sesshomaru will crush you."

"Umm… Naruto…" Choji spoke up for the first time, "Who's the midget and the girl?"

"I am not a midget, you tub of-" Jaken was bopped atop his head by Naruto, if only not to have to fight an enraged Choji when he had nothing against the plump boy.

"These are my servants, Jaken and Fu." Naruto introduced as fu and Jaken gave a curt bow.

"You have servants?" Ino asked, "How come I've never seen them around?"

"They're somewhat new." Naruto conceded before remembering why he had met up with the gathered people, "However, I have things to discuss with you, Ino. You as well, Hinata."

"I thought we h-had spoken already, N-Naruto…" Hinata said meekly as Naruto nodded.

"We did, but I wish to talk to you once more." Naruto said as Ino shrugged and Hinata nodded shortly.

"Well, anything you can ask them, you can say in front of us!" Kiba said, "We're their teammates, after all. We don't keep secrets!"

Naruto only lifted a brow at the boy while everyone else gave him their varying looks of disappointment in him.

"What?!" but Kiba went ignored as the others turned back to Naruto.

"How about we get something to eat?" Ino suggested as Choji looked like a holiday had come, "There's a restaurant not too far from here."

"Very well then," Naruto said as he gestured for Ino and her teammates to lead the way while Choji did so whilst salivating at the thought of a meal.

"Alright! Barbeque, here I come!" Choji said as Naruto shook his head.

"Hey, Choji, man! Save some for us!" Kiba exclaimed when Choji took off as soon as the shop was in sight.

"Jaken, get out any money you may have." Naruto said, "We are paying for this meal."

"Yes, my Lord." Jaken said, taking out the scroll filled with various things from their time in the forest. He was sure there was some substantial amounts of money in it somewhere.

"So, what did you want to talk about, Naruto?" Ino asked as she sat across from him in the restaurant with Hinata by her side. The others had gotten themselves a large booth nearby while Naruto had slipped away from them and Jaken. Though he did feel somewhat sorry for poor Fu having to endure Choji's appetite, Kiba's animalistic eating habits, Shikamaru's mutterings, and Shino's creepiness.

"I wanted you to know that I will be leaving the village tomorrow at dawn in order to travel to Waterfall." Naruto said promptly as Ino and Hinata looked on in shock.

"But you're in the Final exam!" Ino exclaimed, "You need to train for that. Or is that why you're going to Waterfall?"

"In a way, yes." Naruto said, determined to sharpen his claws as he crushed whoever had taken over the region there.

"Did you… m-maybe… want us to come… w-with you?" Hinata asked meekly, her gaze down at the table but rising to meet his every few seconds.

"If you wish to come, then I will not protest." Naruto begin, but held up a hand to quiet them so he could further speak, "However, I also will not slow my pace to accommodate either of you."

"Oh, so what are we? Unnecessary baggage?" Ino asked tersely as Naruto knew this was not the time to be bluntly truthful.

"No, you are not." Naruto said diplomatically, "However, I will be moving fairly fast to get there in a good amount of time. The people of Waterfall need my help, and it would not due to have the people suffer more than they need to because we were always stopping."

"So we are baggage!" Ino exclaimed quietly, remembering her place in the restaurant, "Well, you know what? I'm coming, and I'll show you I'm not some damsel in distress in need of your rescuing!"

"Ino, you barely tied with Sakura in the-"

"Oh, don't you go there with me, Mr. Prove-Your-Place-In-The-World-Sakura!" Ino whispered harshly as she glared up at Naruto, who was beginning to fidget ever so slightly under her heated gaze. "I would have had that match in the bag if you had kept that big mouth of yours shut!"

Naruto, proud of himself for not falling to pieces in face of Ino's anger like he used to, gave a small shrug. "What can I say? I was bored of short pointlessly lame matches."

"You were bored?" Ino asked, her eyes wide as she gazed up at him before they narrowed dangerously, "You were BORED?! You cost me a win, my chance at a promotion, and my dignity all because you were BORED?!"

"I'm sorry…" Naruto offered weakly as Ino reached across the table, and grabbed him by his collar, attempting to strangle him.

"I'll kill you, Uzumaki! I'll kill you if it's the last thing I ever do!" Ino yelled, throttling Naruto despite the fact that she was hurting her hands more so than she was hurting him. Though Naruto found that as her chakra rose in her anger, so did her aura as her grip slowly became more noticeable and more painful.

"Ino, I think you're really starting to h-hurt Naruto…" Hinata informed quietly as she tried to stop the two from fighting, though it was more of Ino killing him with Naruto just allowing her to try.

"Of course I'm hurting him! He screwed up my perfect chance at rising through the ranks!" Ino said as she continued to choke Naruto.

"Actually," Naruto begin, slightly hoarse as he found Ino's chokehold starting to take effect, "if you had won your match, you would have had to fight in the Finals. Meaning that you would have been made to fight one of us, the Finalists, in order to even be considered for the rank of Chunin-ninja."

"And the finalists are made up of cousin Neji, Shikamaru, Shino, Temari of the Sand, Kankuro of the Sand, Dosu of the Sound, Sasuke Uchiha, Gaara of the Sand… and you, Naruto…" Hinata said as she looked up at Naruto, who nodded while Ino finally let his neck go.

"Okay, I can kind of see how they'd wipe the floor with me." Ino admitted as she sat back down and crossed her arms under her chest. "But that doesn't change the point that I'm still coming with you. And you're going to help with my training."

Naruto was about to disagree, having no further use nor interest in shinobi tactics or jutsu, but then he thought better of it. Ino did not specify what he had to help her with, merely that she wanted his help. He could probably teach her and others some of the things he had picked up on during his travels a thousand years ago.

"Fine." Naruto conceded to his girlfriend, then looked to Hinata for her decision.

"I'd like to come as well…" Hinata met his gaze shyly, "But I'd need permission from my father and Kurenai-sensei."

"So be it," Naruto nodded.

"Yeah, I'd need my parents permission, but Asuma-sensei wouldn't really care. I'm sure he'll send Shikamaru and Choji with me just to get us outta his hair." Ino said, waving her hand dismissively as though getting her parents permission to leave the country was only a formality. But then again, whenever Ino's father was faced with feminine wraith, he quickly agreed to whatever his daughter or wife wanted.

Perhaps he could learn a thing or two from the man, Naruto thought as he rubbed at his neck.

"Now then, Hinata, about my match against your cousin, Neji Hyuga." Naruto mentioned as Hinata bowed her head.

"I know he's bitter, Naruto, but please don't hurt him too badly." Hinata pleaded quietly, "He's my cousin, and I love my family. Even… Even despite all they do to put me down, I care about my family because I don't have much else. My family, my team and you are my entire life, and I don't want to lose anyone if I can help it."

"Oh, Hinata…" Ino said, giving the girl a small pat on the shoulder. "You're too nice to be a ninja.

"You're very nice as well, Ino." Hinata offered back as Ino scoffed.

"Nah, I'm evil. Just ask Naruto." Ino said with a smile, then, from the corner of her eye, shot Naruto a look that spoke volumes of true evil and a powerful wraith should he dare breath a word in agreement with what she just said.

Oh yes, Ino was truly evil, alright…

"Ino, you are not evil." Naruto offered flatly as Ino gave him a smile.

"Aww, thank you Naruto." Ino gushed as Naruto mentally sweat dropped at her falsely sweet tone.

With that out of the way, the three returned to their friends as they began their meal of barbequed meats and vegetables. At the end of the meal, Naruto had Jaken place the money and a generous tip on what remained of the table from after Kiba and Choji got into a brawl over the last piece whilst Naruto enjoyed it as they fought to his amusement.

Leaving the establishment and going their separate ways, Naruto made his way toward Anko's apartment with Jaken and Fu trailing after him.

"Yo, Foxy-kun! What's up?" Anko called out as she looked down from her balcony to see Naruto coming toward her building. With a small leap, Naruto landed on the balcony in front of her while Jaken and Fu stepped onto the railing.

"I've come to finish our discussion on Orochimaru's Cursed Mark since I will be leaving tomorrow." Naruto stated as Anko smiled seductively.

"Then please, come in and stay the night." Anko purred, gesturing to her open apartment.

"I have packing to do, so I must refuse your offer." Naruto informed as Anko pouted.

"Meanie… but anyways, come on in. I'll make us some tea." Anko moved back into her apartment with the futon she had been airing out, "Because trust me, it's a long story."

With the futon back in her room and the tea prepared, Naruto and Anko sat down in her sitting room while Jaken and Fu took care to clean the woman's apartment as Naruto needed to keep them busy.

"So, what exactly do you want to know about the guy's special hickey?" Anko broached as Naruto sipped at the tea. It was a little bland, but he doubted if Anko didn't already know this.

"What exactly does his mark entail for those he brands with it?" Naruto asked as Anko rubbed her chin.

"Hmm… Let's see if I can make this sound smart. Orochimaru usually gives his evil doohickey to people he thinks are strong… or those who'll make good guinea pigs if I remember right. He bites the person to apply the seal, and it gives them a relative boost in chakra and strength. The design of the seal varies from person to person, but I think he can chose the seal he wants to brand certain people with. If the unfortunate twerp survives his pedophilic branding, then they would awaken with the first level of the seal activated and the seal would force them into an enraged state due to it's influence on them." Anko explained, looking extremely proud that she had both made Orochimaru sound especially distasteful whilst also sounding smart herself.

"So the mark is a product of his research or is it something he's merely isolated?" Naruto asked as Anko shrugged.

"I don't know, probably both. I do know that the damn things are partially made from his chakra, and that the science department have determined that they interact with the body like an enzyme."

"An enzyme?" Naruto echoed in bewilderment. He might have been a mighty man, but he knew little of the inner-workings of the human body. He probably should have paid more attention in anatomy class back in the Ninja Academy.

"Yeah, not exactly a science-buff myself, but the best I can tell ya is that an enzyme is a chemical produced by a cell which is used to speed up a chemical reaction." Anko said with a shrug of her shoulder, "The nerds over in their lab say that the seal forcefully absorbs a user's chakra while crafting a foreign and unknown chakra within the poor twerp's body in return. The power it grants in comparison to a normal shinobi's strength is nothin' to sniff at, as I'm sure you've seen." Anko cut her eyes over toward Naruto.

"Yes, I witnessed Sasuke's takedown of a normal ninja." Naruto stated while his impassive gaze met Anko's eyes.

"Then you should know how it wouldn't have worked if your little boyfriend didn't already posses a higher than above-average chakra capacity. The science nerds say that its required in order to wield the Cursed Mark's power."

"Then that is why the forced transformation seemingly caused Sasuke's aura to fluctuate." Naruto concluded, remember how Jaken and he had commented on Sasuke's weakened aura and how it was trying to imitate that of a demon's.

"His what?" Anko echoed, now the one confused.

"Every being, and certain items have an aura. People are born with it, items are instilled with it. Aura comes from the person's very nature. The stronger they are, the stronger their natural aura. It is like the unseen, untapped chakra of the world. The most primitive and natural energy of the world at large. Everyone has the potential to unlock and use their aura, but very few know how." Naruto explained as Anko quirked an eyebrow at him.

"And what? You're one of the few?" she shot back teasingly, "Because ya know, you can unlock my aura any day of the week, Foxy-kun."

"Actually, I already have." Naruto deadpanned.

"Oh you naughty boy." but Naruto continued on as though she hadn't said this, though the dusty pink in his cheek suggested that he wished she hadn't.

"I did it to save your life in the Forest of Death when Orochimaru had attacked you. I'm sure you've noticed yourself stronger and more attune than usual."

"Yeah, but more attune with what?" Anko asked, leaning forward on the sofa.

Just as Naruto was about to answer, a crash came from inside Anko's kitchen.

"Don't be in there fucking up any of my stuff!" Anko yelled, "You break it, you fuckin' bought it!"

"A thousand pardons, Miss Anko, Lord Sesshomaru." Fu scrabbled out to the kitchen doorway where she bent in apology to Anko and Naruto.

"Nah, its okay, kid." Anko chuckled at seeing the kid sweat, "I was only teasing ya."

Then another crash was heard, and Jaken's swearing.

"You, however, will get your little midget ass beaten if I hear another of my dishes break in there, shortie!" Anko shouted at the wall before Jaken came and bowed next to Fu.

"Please forgive my clumsiness, Lady Anko, Lord Sesshomaru!" Jaken groveled.

"I don't wanna hear that crap, twerp! Go clean that mess up before someone steps in glass!" Anko commanded, making Jaken jump and hurry to the job.

"Fu, come." Naruto said as the girl was about to go and help.

"Yeah, girlie. Come sit next to Mama Anko." Anko patted the space between her and Naruto.

Fu moved with hesitation, but eventually she warily eased herself between the two, finding the space greatly uncomfortable as her lord and master eyed her with so little emotion that she could feel the cold within his gaze creeping upon her in a shiver.

"Now, about my attunement?" the way Anko wiggled her eyebrows, Naruto suspected there was something that had gone unnoticed.

"I imposed my aura upon your own with Jaken controlling the procedure. He, in a nutshell, balanced your aura so you would become basically… perfect."

Anko stared at him, and then she laughed. Naruto's eye twitched.

"I find nothing to be funny here, Anko. You've noticed it," he breathed as Fu and Anko locked onto his words and lips while they barely parted, "In your strength. In your speed. In your abilities. The longer time goes on, the more comfortable you grow into your power sense of self."

"What the hell did you do to me?" Anko muttered.

"I made you as close to perfect as a mortal human like you could get." Naruto said, his bland viasge burning into Anko, "You'll also notice other things around you, such as your ability to sense presences may have altered slightly."

"Yeah, it has…" Anko admitted, looking away from them and to the fabric of her couch, "It's like I can sense chakra, and something… else… I don't know what these things are. One is like a dark cloud spread over Konoha, choking it like a mass of smog. The others are much smaller, like dots of light in the darkness. There are just so many…"

"Those smaller auras are the people and things around you. You don't sense nature just yet because you've lived your entire life blocking it out so you could sense people and their chakra. You've conditioned yourself to forget the world when searching out the presence of others. Once you get that sense of nature back, you'll be able to tap into it and its power."

"And the dark cloud, Lord Sesshomaru?" Fu asked, curious about that, "What about that?"

"That would be my monolithic existence," Naruto informed, making the two women gasp in surprise.

"But I don't feel you like that here! I feel warmth from you." Fu gave without knowing.

"So, you've begun to change as well. You're prolonged exposure to my awesome aura has already taken effect." Naruto pondered, his quiet and subdued tone causing Anko to lean forward onto Fu's side.

"She's right, I can't feel you here." Anko said, "Even focusing on you, I don't feel anything but the warmth of your aura."

"Nothing but warmth, right?' Naruto inquired, to which the women nodded, "No good or bad? Light or dark? Not even the presence of my chakra?"

Then Anko gasped as she realized what he was implying. Fu, however, did not understand.

"I see you've figured it out. That is right. My aura is suppressed very tightly when in myself. Buried so far, in fact, that the few times I released my power at the Exams is still potent in the air."

"But the level of power it would take to spread what I'm feeling-"

"Was needed to help heal Rock Lee's injuries and unlock his true potential. Much like your own latent powers."

"But you had to have done it more so than that. Who else did you tap into?" Anko narrowed her eyes in suspicion.

"Ino Yamanaka and Hinata Hyuga. I also used a larger portion of my power to fight Kiba Inuzuka and show-off a bit in a meeting with the governing body of the village." Naruto paused as he thought more so, "Again I showed my power when confronted in secret, another time when I was about to fight Jiraiya-"

"You mean Lord Jiraiya of the Legendary Sannin?! The Toad Sage also known as the Town Madman?! Strongest of the three?" Anko asked hysterically as one who recognized the power of the Sannin, especially since she studied under Orochimaru.

"Then again when I confronted that Kabuto boy in a hotel downtown." Naruto went on as though the two females weren't gawking at him.

"I was there, and I felt the air grow dense, but I would have never thought that man was Lord Jiraiya of the Sannin…" Fu muttered to herself.

"Wait! You said Kabuto?" Anko enquired, "As in the same one that nearly murdered Sasuke Uchiha in his sleep?"

"What?" Naruto whispered deathly.

"Yeah, Kakashi caught the brat trynna snuff out the other brat in the medical wing of the tower. He escaped, and the village is on high-alert looking for him."

"Hmm…" Naruto fell silent in thought before standing suddenly, "Fu, Jaken, we're leaving."

"Hey, wait. What's your hurry all of a sudden?" Anko asked while Jaken scrambled out of the kitchen with soapy hands.

"I had not realized that this Kabuto vermin was so crafty. Also, I have not seen my teammates since I confronted Kabuto at the hotel a few hours ago."

"Oh, them." Anko flopped back down on her couch, kicking her feet up and relaxing. "I heard a few hours ago that Uchiha and some other brats got themselves thrown in lock-up for trashing some hotel on the southeast side of the village. A message came by bird just a couple of minutes before you arrived, actually."

"Umm, my Lord," Jaken began.

"Don't say it, Jaken," Naruto pinched the bridge of his nose and gave a sigh.

"Well, at least now we know why they weren't following us out from the hotel." Fu said. Imagining Hoki sitting in a holding cell was a little amusing, but she was very scared for her one and only friend.

Naruto left Anko's apartment complex the same way he came. Anko waved him off, inviting him back any time. Jaken was convinced the woman was highly inappropriate and should never be allowed alone with his young lord. Fu, however, was a little more concerned with her friend and those other people sitting in jail rather than what that Anko woman wanted to do with Lord Sesshomaru behind closed doors.

"My Lord, what shall we do now?" Jaken asked as they walked down the street.

"Its simple, isn't it?" Naruto said, placing his long blond hair behind his ear, "We're go to get the others out of jail."

"Can't we just leave them there?"

And with that said, Jaken was left sprawled out in the middle of the street with a large bump on his noggin. Naruto walked onward as though nothing had happened, even while Fu kept glancing back at the little man.

"Wa-Wait, my Lord!" Jaken shouted when he came to, seeing Naruto and Fu round the corner two blocks away. "My Lord! Lord Sesshomaru! Please wait, Lord Sesshomaru! My Lord, wait!"