A/N: Hohoho! Hope you had a Merry Christmas or a Happy Holiday (and have a good New Year!)
:]]] am tired, shall do - the usual - any major changes/missed edits tomorrow...am actually updating when slightly tipsy, but it IS the season for booze and i HAVE been playing nonstop on my xbox360: SKYRIM!
Oh, I love Skyrim, so awesome...

Chapter Thirteen:

Naruto wasn't a fan of biting.

Kakashi had learned that lesson the hard way with his path of boldness and slight escape of his jailed-up inner pervert.

He had merely found himself with a lap full of Naruto in the dead of night a few days ago, the teen squirming and obviously wanting a more physical side of attention – so, Kakashi had wavered and one thing led to another and before the Jounin knew it he was kissing and licking that boy's exposed torso. Honestly, if the kid was so content to roam about in boxer shorts, flaunt his body and continue to seek his physical attention, then Kakashi would give Naruto was be wanted…to a degree. The Hatake wouldn't take things too far - not yet – he might've been feeling a less skittish when it came to physical intimacy with the blonde, but that didn't mean he felt entirely comfortable with the prospect of sex straight away, regardless over how good it would feel or how tight it would be…

He'd resign himself for daydreams for the time being.

But nonetheless, Kakashi enjoyed exploring Naruto's body the other night, learning and discovering the physical boundaries which Naruto would allow him to go. Not that there were many boundaries, but still, he had discovered many things about that baby-soft flesh that covered Naruto's trim frame. He had found out how vocal the blonde could really be, creating so many noises which sound so visceral, especially when it came to practically rimming the boy's bellybutton or planting soft kisses with a combination of fluttering his eyelashes against the skin by the teen's hip. It was so startling to hear the blonde become so vocal, especially when in comparison to the rare show of silent tears Naruto had expressed in Shimazu Nariakira's bathroom. Nevertheless, it had been a pleasant experience overall…even if one nibble had resulted with a startled yelp of 'Yeow!' closely followed by a harsh whack against the side of his head and a high-pitched voice of accusation, 'You bit me, who bites?'

The Hatake had literally seen stars that night, and not in the awesome, mind-blowing orgasm way, but more the brain-rattling punch he had received.

After all, it had been a mere nip upon Naruto's perked-up nipple yet it was obvious the unskilled teenager saw it nothing more than discomfort than pleasure. Just because Kakashi enjoyed Naruto's deft little fingers tugging his silver locks until the stands felt ready to dislodge from roots or how those nails would claw up his shoulders did not necessarily mean the boy held the same prospect of gratification. Even when Kakashi had drolly murmured about how he wasn't resorting to – Naruto's wide-eyed accusation of – cannibalism, the blonde had responded petulantly until Kakashi lapped upon the small patch of delicate skin of the underside of Naruto's right ear. Now, the whiskered youth had liked that, Kakashi could fully remember the keening noise.

Yet right now, it was early morning and Kakashi had discovered another interesting – yet so entertaining he felt positively wicked – fact about his charge: Naruto Uzumaki reacted like a feral cat to water when experiencing the taste of semen.

Oh, Kakashi knew he shouldn't be standing by the bathroom doorway, chuckles wracking his bare chest while watching Naruto nakedly skid across the tiles, his spent prick still slicked with Kakashi's saliva as the teen dry-heaved. If anything, the Hatake should've apologized for passionately kissing the youth so soon after – once again – giving into Naruto's wanton needs – and admittedly Kakashi's own pleasure – by giving the youth a blow job. But damn, Kakashi would apologize, that is, once he controlled his outright laughter.

It seemed like Naruto held a shocking gift when it came to making him laugh.

Especially right now, Kakashi noted with an amused half-huff, half-chortle (a failed attempt of taking a deep breath) as Naruto began drinking from the bathroom tap furiously, his hands blindly scrambling across the counter for toothpaste and toothbrush. It was only after a few scrubs of that toothbrush – Kakashi's toothbrush which the teen picked up in quick haste – and a foaming mouth, when Naruto finally spoke, looking every bit like some woodland critter suffering from rabies.

''You swallow that!'' it wasn't a question, more like a repulsed statement which did nothing more than fuel Kakashi's humor. ''Ugh, how can you…'' Naruto continued, blue eyes continuing to glint with horrified astonishment. ''You always swallow that, too…ew. Nasty.''

Kakashi felt his lips twitch, chuckles residing. Yes, he had came to learn a lot about Naruto's body, but it appeared that he had also encountered Naruto's inner-thespian once again. Sure, the Hatake had spotted the subdued hints of the blonde's hyperactivity and loudness – but this streak of being dramatic was highly amusing, especially over something as a little aftertaste of semen.

'Thank the Gods I haven't let him use anything other than his hands on me,' Kakashi mused, his brain suddenly conjuring up various scenarios had he finally let Naruto attempt to give him oral.

Since that day in the alleyway, the blonde had been particularly fixated with wanting to taste his cock – well, until Kakashi distracted the youth and focused solely on the teen's physical needs. He would've hated to see how Naruto would've reacted if Kakashi allowed him to deliver a blow job and the inevitable action of coming in the youth's mouth. Naruto was muttering softly to himself now though, still hunched over the sink and staring at him with a mildly contemplative look. Kakashi found his body moving on its own accord as he stepped further into the bathroom and spoke up with crinkled grin of his eyes.

''Not everyone likes the taste, I suppose,'' he admitted, knowing full-well via self-experience as a youth he had taken a dab of his own come after masturbating indulged curiosity with an exploratory taste. It had tasted vile until he repeated the same act a few years down the line and found the taste bitter but not wholly unpleasant. Not that he would admit to such a taste-test of sorts, especially with the way Naruto was glowering – more like pouting – at him with a mildly thoughtful expression.

''I hate it, your mouth tasted like…like…'' the mini-ANBU grumbled, his voice dripping completely at petulance. ''Blargh!'' Naruto garbled, only to shake his head before oh-so eloquently summing it up with a snort of disgust.

''How descriptive…''

Naruto shot him a half-hearted glare (no doubt not enjoying his mildly teasing tone) which softened into an expression Kakashi was far more familiar with receiving. It was look of pure concentration combined with the bad habit of bottom lip-gnawing; it was an expression of intense curiosity. However, after a few beats, those blue eyes flittered to Kakashi's own – mildly aroused yet hidden expertly in baggy sweatpants – crotch, a chirruped question tumbling from Narutos lips with inexplicable haste:

''Does yours taste bad, too?''

Kakashi quelled the sudden impulse of his perverted-self to lie, to shake his head furiously and proclaim, ''Of course not, you like salt flavored ramen, right? Tastes just like that!'' and settled with a shrug. Naruto didn't look satisfied with the answer, and – if anything – the youth was sending him dubiously speculative glances. Honestly, he wasn't some connoisseur of the taste of come, no matter how many rumors would be passed around for his sexual prowess and known fact of swinging both ways, he wasn't some whore.

Plus, it required removing ones mask to partake in delivering such a task.

''You're a delicacy, really,'' he drawled, unable to help himself with complimenting the repulsed-looking blonde. Besides, he knew all too well how all compliments often resulted with a flush of pink accompanying Naruto's features and how such a color was overly endearing. ''That's all.''

Adding the latter comment with another shrug, Kakashi stepped forward and swiftly engulfed that smaller male with a hug, still not entirely certain as to when he became so greedy with wanting to feel that invitingly warm mass pressed up against him. Besides, such an action stopped such blatant crotch-staring and the Jounin was thankful, far more content to feel wiry arms tightening around his neck as opposed to feeling uncharacteristically self-conscious from Naruto's cool gaze. In fact, Kakashi was so focused upon feeling Naruto shift upward and possessively hook his bare legs around his hips that the flaxen-haired male barely noticed his own arms moving to accommodate the change in position – straightening his posture upright, his arms slinking under Naruto's smooth thighs – that he only realized Naruto's attention was suddenly diverted and…looking directly into the mirror above the sink.

Obviously, Naruto's curiosity and determination to get into Kakashi's pants had been subdued for the time being. Instead, the usual, nympho-like imp he was so used too had been put on the proverbial backburner – and Kakashi couldn't help but stare thoughtfully at Naruto's unfocused, glazed eyes staring into the mirror. The look seemed so out of place upon the usually (when without that damnable ANBU mask) animated face, if anything, Naruto currently looked lost. So, Kakashi silently watched with mild apprehension over the change in demeanor, his usually closed eye cracking open to reveal his Sharingan, determined to use both his eyes to scrutinize the strange behavior of Naruto staring at his blue-eyed reflection.

''Hey,'' the blonde mumbled, the tone so dulled yet soft that Kakashi felt his insides hollow out with worry. ''Do you…do you think I look like Guruko?''

Again, Kakashi Hatake found himself wanting to laugh. Although, this time, such laughter happened to be a mix of relief and humor, yet he reined such amusement in, knowing full-well of the insecurities Naruto felt over his face. The boy did, after all, assume the populace of Konoha loathed him for the sake of his facial features as opposed to the true (yet unbeknownst to Naruto) reason about the demon sealed away. Such a subject was one Kakashi was growing eager to broach and admit to for the sake of seeing Naruto drop that safety blanket of an ANBU mask and move on – until he recalled the Sandaime's instated law.

''Maa,'' Kakashi droned, his arms tightening around his hold of the deliciously wonderful creature he had captured. ''Silly thing,'' he carried on, trying his best to keep his tone light as he playfully butted his head against Naruto's shoulder, knocking the youth out of his intense staring match with the reflection of his whiskered face. ''Those hounds of mine been teasing you?''

''Huh?'' the blonde was looking at him now, one hand still resting against his rounded jaw. ''No, it's just…do I?''

''Of course not,'' Kakashi answered half-honestly (he could see a mild resemblance)…only to suddenly find Naruto's naked form shifting in his arms, his view completely blocked by the teen's wide, pearly white grin. ''Aa, what-?''

The rest of that question was muffled by Naruto's lips and Kakashi didn't know if he should smile or frown when Naruto pulled back, his cerulean eyes glinting with determination as he tittered excitably:

''Hey, let me try that mouth thing with your dick -''

''-Blow job,'' Kakashi corrected, his biological eye giving a twitch. ''And no thanks, you don't have to.''

''Just to see if you taste as nasty as my stuff,'' Naruto explained, all but nuzzling his face and sensitive neck that Kakashi had given up trying to correct Naruto's simplistically crude terms – semen, not stuff, Naruto - and let out a groan. ''Plus I wanna try, your mouth feels real good on my dick soo…''

The teen trailed off with a leer as Kakashi felt his nerves fray and excitement fizz.

Tenzou picked his way throughout the shrubs, his feet expertly skimming the hazardous roots protruding from the ground while listening for the near-by gush of the waterfall. It didn't take long to slip into the expanse of grassy area that what somewhat tucked away in the secluded shadows of a one of the many forests surrounding Konoha's outer walls. But nonetheless, the brunette smiled over the short walking distance from the town village gates and found the area that occupied the natural waterfall that contained his helping creation of tree trunks for a walkway. Yet, the expectations of having an half-naked, ANBU masked blonde up on the walkway fell short and instantly made Tenzou dart his eyes around the surrounding area.

Worrisome panic ceased upon spotting the collection of Kakashi's ninken…combined with a peeking of spiky, sunshine hair rising up from behind Bull's large, dark brown frame.

''Resting already, Naruto?'' Tenzou mocked the youth, his pace remaining slow and steady until he frowned over the lack of reply. ''Naruto?'' he called again, his feet coming to a stop and dark eyes latching upon the slumped teen. ''Oh…''

The teen was soaked, asleep and…mask-less.

The Uzumaki had obviously pushed himself too far again to the extent of exhaustion, clad only in a pair of damp underwear and Naruto's own, hijacked ninken vest draped over his torso while appearing to be taking an impromptu recharge-nap nestled against Bull's mighty frame. It was somewhat adorable about the sight of numerous hounds (namely Guruko, Biscuit flanking each of the blonde's sides) surrounding the teen's body, no doubt an attempt to keep the early September chill off his sleeping frame. Yet such admiration over the sight of companionship (and weird pack mentality) revolving around the ninken and Naruto didn't last for long, especially over the oddness with not being able to see that ANBU mask not all but glued onto the mysterious and – previously until now – known face.

And yet, here Tenzou was, staring down at the sleep slackened features of the blonde enigma's face, taking in everything from strange whisker marks, small nose and the faintest dusting of darkness under the long-lashed eyes. The teen looked surprisingly…normal, albeit in a mildly striking way. But still, it was nice to have his mind officially quelled over the constant mystery that revolved around the youth's features…

''What's up, Tenzou? Kakashi sent you?'' the brunette blinked at the gravelly tone of a tiny pug – Pakkun, if he recalled correctly – staring up at him with mild fascination.

''Ah,'' the ex-ANBU gave a polite smile to the pug resting by Naruto's bare feet, ''No actually. I just thought I'd stop by, see how his affinity training is going.''

'Plus I'm curious,' Tenzou internally added, stooping down into a crouch - because he had been curious since day one of Kakashi asking him to transform that wooden catwalk across the waterfall. 'Although maybe it was more concern that curiosity,' the brunette's brain chimed in with honesty. 'The prospect of him using so many shadow clones, Kakashi not always being present and the prospect of the Fox's chakra leaking through…or it's my inner-paranoia creeping up. The council did shoot me an extensive and ridiculously unreasonable spiel before letting me overlook Naruto's training back in ANBU.'

''Naru-bro's finished his trainin', y'know,'' Guruko gave a sneezed snort, unknowingly knocking Tenzou out of his mulled state and furthering the Jounin-sensei into glancing at the tan-colored hound. ''He looked a little drained after splitting the waterfall but…''

''But he's done and dusted,'' Akino chimed in, sunglasses glinting in the early noon sun. ''Mild chakra exhaustion but a quick nap and he'll be fine.''

''I had to drag him out the water though,'' a snarling Urushi added with something akin to grumpy fondness. ''Pathetic pup.''

Tenzou gave a small grin his hands latching onto Naruto's strewn clothing of orange shirt and coarse, black three-quarter pants before peeling away the navy vest blanketing the youth's upper body. He had been ready to softly thank Akino's information until finding himself distracting by the collection of small, mouth-sized bruises dotting across the trim torso and…exposed hipbone. It didn't take long to realize they were – hickeys, overly suckled sections of flesh or more commonly known as - love bites. He felt a flicker of pride upon discovering that he had been right in regards of Kakashi stepping out of his nervous shell and simply just accepting, enjoying and over all embracing Naruto's inept form of love. Whatever the case, Tenzou briefly forgotten his company and found himself rolling his eyes, words slipping out of his mouth in a gust of amusement:

''Damn, senpai…''

''Kakashi marks that boy too much,'' It was Ūhei – the bandaged up hound – who spoke up, knocking Tenzou into awareness of that he had eight nin-dogs staring up at him. ''And distracts him from training.''

''I think that's why Kakashi's absent and why we're present,'' Biscuit half-yawned, absently rubbing his chin against Naruto's kneecap to relieve an itch.

Shiba gave a heavy huff, his blackened Mohawk-like crest ruffling from the movement. ''He still distracts Naru-pup though…especially during lunchtime visits or breaks. We suddenly turn invisible when Kakashi shows up…no ear scratches.''

''Or belly rubs,'' Pakkun added with a mournful, dramatic whimper.

Bull, the lone hound incapable of speech let out a rumbling ruff of agreement before opening his large chops, revealing gleaming sharp teeth, thin strings of slobber and a large pinkish tongue that – Tenzou winced – gave a long lick to the side of Naruto's head. The massive beast didn't stop there though, in fact, much to a mix of the Jounin-sensei's fascination (and disgust over the content of dog salvia) Bull continued to give a few long, tentative laps to the side of Naruto's blonde scalp from where the boy was still snoozing against his huge flank, licking directly by the few tufts of blonde hair that flicked by Naruto's ears and straight up the to the sunshine-mopped crown. The action was disgusting – endearingly so, of course – and resulted with the blonde's hair sticking up hazardously due to the thick spit, seemingly doing a better job than any hair gel purchasable in Konoha.

Tenzou half-wondered if maybe Kakashi's famed, lopsided and gravity defying hairstyle could've been molded via a childhood of such grooming actions from hounds.

''You should all stop whining,'' Urushi scolded, ''Kakashi is our master.''

''For now,'' Guruko yipped in, earning a snarl from said fierce-looking yet angry-eyed canine. ''What?'' Guruko barked incredulously, ''It's only the truth, you didn't see Naru-bro with Kakashi yesterday!''

''And what did you see?'' Urushi glowered.

''A display of dominance!'' the whisker-marked hound howled. ''Right against that tree westwards,'' he continued, bobbing his white muzzle towards a distanst tree. ''Naru-bro was really going at it, and Kakashi just let him!''

Pakkun tried not to let out a rough snigger over Guruko's lacking sense of human interaction and settled with spying Kakashi's kohai frowning heavily, apparently just as confused as Guruko was adamant. The wizened pug had half a mind to try and correct the younger hound's misinterpretation but argued against it for the sake of not getting involved. After all, what Guruko had obviously spotted (and Pakkun's sensitive ears had overheard from a distance) was not Kakashi 'submitting' or Naruto giving a 'display of dominance' – if anything, it was a simple act of the two humans engaging in heavy petting, noisy kisses and the overpowering whiff of arousal. After all, by the gist of things Pakkun had currently gathered, it was clear Guruko might've walked in on the scene of Naruto undoubtedly dry humping against Kakashi…(1)

''Urm,'' Tenzou was slowly being knocked out of his stupor, dark eyes shifting between the whole pack. ''Right, well, I'm - '' he stalled, shifting a little in his crouch, hands fumbling with Naruto's collected clothing, ''- I'm just going to get him dressed and drop him off at the hospital for rest until Kakashi's freed up.''

Bull let out a low grumbling sound and Tenzou tried not to pull a disgusted expression when the affectionate beast gave the unconsciously exhausted blonde's bare face another lick. Still, the brunette focused on tugging on Naruto's clothing, sandals and finally the blue vest before picking up the ANBU mask. He stared at the repaired ANBU mask, unsure what to do with it – should be place it back on Naruto's face? Or leave it be – until Pakkun's tiny little paws gave a brief nudge at the arm which held the mask. So, without another thought of contemplation, Tenzou slipped the mask back on Naruto's face, silently knowing how the boy would've been angry or borderline panicky upon waking up to discover himself mask-less.

After hauling Naruto's ragdoll form upon his back, Tenzou dismissed the hounds after telling Pakkun that he would personally tell Kakashi of Naruto's new location. A trip to the hospital for a few hours recuperation would be good for the teen as opposed to remaining half-naked, damp and in the cool air. At least in the hostipal a few nurses would swing by, give the blonde a quick check-up before Kakashi showed up (or Naruto woke up) and collected the overworked youth. However, as Tenzou entered Konoha's walls, strolled across a training field or two and finally weaved his way through the town center – he could just see the hospital's roof a few blocks ahead – until he found himself mobbed.

By his own team.

''You're the worst sensei ever!'' Shinji's voice was grating, but Tenzou held strong, even when the teen all but barreled into his side. ''You left us in the training field with Gai-sensei!''

Sakura appeared at the elder brunette's other side, her own voice just as irked. ''With Lee!''

''It's been barely an hour since I left you,'' Tenzou sighed, Naruto's head lolling back and forth upon his shoulder, lightly butting his neck until he halted in his pace, admitting defeat. ''And Lee isn't that bad,'' he added, knowing full well that it was a half-lie, the Mini-Gai had held a particular fixation with the pink-haired female since their first meeting. ''You both need to improve your taijutsu anyway, a quick session with Gai and Lee would've done you both a world of good.''


Turning a little, Tenzou spotted the owner of such a noncommittal (and commonly used enough) grunt - Sasuke. ''As for you,'' he addressed the Uchiha prodigy, ''You could do with embracing some of Lee's youthful spirit, hm?''

''Why are you carrying him?'' the Uchiha questioned, obviously ignoring his sensei's off-hand comment. ''Is he the reason why you dumped us with another team?''

'Taking the third degree from a bunch of teens,' Tenzou inwardly grouched, his patience fraying as Shinji began to speak up, spewing angry nonsense with Sakura chipping in now and then. Such loud voices turned into white-noise, becoming nothing more than an irritable static sound as his brain grumbled bitterly. 'Sometimes I think dealing with death on a daily basis is easier than teaching such brats…Ah, ANBU, how I miss thee.'

Yet amidst his thoughts and irritable noise, a new (yet slightly familiar) voice cut through the sea of mind-numbing distress.

''Got your hands full there, Sensei?''

At least this new presence silenced Shinji's rant and Sakura's huffing – although – not that it did much with changing Sasuke's glare, the dark-haired boy merely swiveled his head and transferred the scowl towards a man which Tenzou had encountered a handful of occasions, Mizuki. The shaggy, pale hair and leaf-nin bandana instantly made him recognize his lover's old childhood friend who had magically appeared in the relatively empty street. Tenzou brushed aside his creeping, built-in paranoia and questioning from his ANBU days – Why was Mizuki here during school hours as opposed to the classroom? – before settling with a polite smile of relief.

''Ah, Mizuki-sensei, Hello,'' Tenzou greeted politely, readjusting the dozing blonde on his back and watching his students exchange their own greetings with the pale-haired elder who had once been their assistant teacher.

The exchange of greetings only lasted a moment or two before Sakura exchanging in pleasantries the academy instructor. Tenzou took full advantage of the busied moment, his mind churning up the information of Iruka telling him of an event involving the very teacher standing in front of him and the small teen he currently had slumped against his back. It had happened a while back, a brief flash of words and heated tension around the realization of the 'fox brat' being alive, but Mizuki had – according to Iruka – apologized profusely for his behavior and the two seemed to be back as being buddies. However, as to what Mizuki truly felt about Naruto now – after letting off steam to Iruka – remained somewhat a mystery…Especially since the Chunin was grinning ear-to-ear, nodding along to Sakura's babbling, his brown eyes peering at Naruto's ANBU-masked face.

The bandana-wearing Chunin was showing no glint of malice.

Nonetheless, Tenzou quelled his sudden urge to frown, silently assuming his over-sensitive lover might've dramatized the Mizuki-fiasco (because Mizuki looked content to be within a few feet of Naruto) and opted finally get a word in.

''Well, it's nice to see you, Mizuki-sensei, but I really should get a move on…Genin to teach and an ANBU to drop off at the hospital and all.''

''Hospital?'' Mizuki's tone held a flutter of concern, and Tenzou reeled himself in, telling himself to look underneath the underneath in concern to the man's kind attitude but it felt so naturally honest. ''Is it serious?''

''Mild exhaustion, he'll be up in a few hours, just a precautionary,'' Tenzou explained, his sandal-clad feet itching to move (possibly kick his scowling trio of students) and get back to his planned mission of dropping off Naruto, telling his senpai and then returning with teaching his charges. ''So, I'll just be going no-''

''Kakashi-san is totally gettin' sensei to pick up the slack of his teaching,'' Shinji uttered – not so quietly - to Sakura. ''Bailing on us for Naruto, no fair, he's got his own sensei.''

''Indeed it is,'' Mizuki added in sympathetically as Shinji sheepishly ducked his head upon realizing he had been overheard. Regardless, the academy teacher extended his arms towards Tenzou, a thin smile on his lips as he all but offered, ''I'm heading to the hospital anyway, allow me to take him off your hands, it's the least I can do…all things considering.''

''Hm, well…'' Tenzou trailed off, his gut churning slightly with concern (paranoiad instinct, his mind whispered, once again) before catching onto the pale-haired teacher's added phrase of 'all things considering' which made him relax. Such a comment was obviously added out of guilt and perhaps that was what Mizuki's helping hand was now – guilt from bad mouthing a boy he knew nothing about. So, after quick deliberation and an impatient glare from his Genin, Tenzou shifted Naruto over his shoulder and into Mizuki's arms.

''I'll be informing Kakashi-senpai of Naruto's location, so see that you don't dawdle,'' the Jounin continued, sounding far more authoritarian than he had expected outside of ANBU or serious team missions. ''Senpai's never late for him, so I wouldn't be surprised if he showed up on the spot.''

''Tenzou-sensei means thanks,'' Sakura added with a sweet smile.

Shinji gave his sensei a nudge in the opposite direction. ''Yup! So we're going to go train now.''

''About time,'' Sasuke huffed, hands buried deeply in the pockets of his shorts, his feet already moving and leading the way. ''I don't have time to put up with nonsense…''

Mizuki gave a cut nod while continuing his appearance as a kind, caring member of Konoha's shinobi while watching the younger members of Team 7 shove and nudge a mildly apprehensive Tenzou further down the street. For the briefest of moments, the pale-haired teacher had been expecting a full-blown No from his false offer of taking the demon-child into Konoha's medical facility. Yet, here he was, standing in cool September breeze – arms tense, jaw stiff, back rigid - holding the blonde haired monstrosity bridal style, his eyes watching and body on edge with waiting until the brown-haired Jounin-sensei disappeared around a street corner.

It didn't take long for Tenzou to be shuffled away, and in that quick moment of visual freedom Mizuki allowed a small shudder of repulsion to travel up his spine over his close proximity with the Uzumaki. So, not missing a single beat (or the previous undertone of a verbal warning Tenzou had given him), the Chunin began to take a slow, steady pace in the opposite direction of the Jounin-sensei's disappearance, his lips stretching into a thin smile. After all, since his heated discussion with the timidly pathetic Umino, Mizuki had delivered a seemingly heartfelt apology mixed with sincere explanations which had led to Iruka nodding in mild – if not apprehensive – understanding before their relationship as coworkers and childhood friends slotted back together perfectly. But still…

He hadn't expected such a ripe opportunity of being able to encounter Naruto to be presented so soon.

Nonetheless, it appeared the fates seemed to be on the pale-haired academy teacher's side, and Mizuki was happily lapping up such a change in luck. It was particularly surprising though - especially after merely a few days since his exchange of words with Iruka over the infamous 'fox brat' - to suddenly bump into the very youth he had been thinking bitterly about and mulling things over. Not that he was complaining over a sudden re-meet of the blonde-haired demon, oh no, if anything Mizuki was silently rejoicing over the sudden turn of events right now.

Besides, he had spent years clinging onto the slow stewing resentment he held towards Iruka Umino's popularity and progression, comingling such bitter-tasting thoughts with the frothing ooze he felt over ( the once presumed to be deceased yet the feeling suddenly emerged via recognition) Naruto Uzumaki. What Mizuki wanted more than anything was power…after all, popularity by Umino standards as unachievable (if Mizuki had to keep up his façade as a sweet man more than now, he was certain his face would crack) and progression via rank was something that didn't appeal to him completely.

But power was something that made him gain superiority and meant that nobody would dare look down on him. While he had spent years mulling over how to gain such intensity, constantly daydreaming and tactical contemplation, he had long conjured up an idea of manipulation, a scapegoat and eventual leak of power. And right now, upon looking down at the ANBU-masked demon in his arms, Mizuki realized with some soft spoken phrasing, confident aura and smiling face, he could easily gain the Scrolls of Seals (a form of power gain via learning Konoha's powerful yet prized forbidden techniques) and turn the Uzumaki into a scapegoat.

It would be like killing two birds with one stone.

Naruto had been having a pleasant dream. Well, it was more like a dream-like reoccurrence of a past event or – more precisely – this morning's event in the bathroom and how Kakashi's come tasted just as bad as the horrible aftertaste of Naruto's own in the man's mouth. Yet, such a memory was of fond awe mixed in with embarrassment over how Kakashi's hand had been palm-up, open and expecting for Naruto the spit the Hatake's seed out into his waiting hand. Kakashi was…too nice (which wasn't a bad thing) but each time he witnessed such a wondrous event, Naruto would forever find himself in glowed admiration for the powerful, silvery-haired Jounin. But regardless, such past reminiscing of this morning's earlier events melted into the obviously dreamt-up mindscape and that had been – by far – a more interesting dream.

In fact, the mini-ANBU was certain he had been grinning ear to ear on the outside during his dream. That is, until a small shock to his system – it felt like an electric shock – zapped the side of his neck, physically making him jolt a little while literally dragging him forward into full-blown consciousness and out of his sleep. But Naruto knew – in his blurry eyed, startled into awareness mess – that he shouldn't have been anywhere near electricity, just trees, grass, a gushing waterfall and a pack of hounds.

But no, as the blonde lolled his head to the side into the tickly softness of the grass, the sound of the waterfall was absent from his ears as well as the usual wet-nose of one of the hounds snuffling at his ear. He felt a little panicked, albeit in a muddled way, as he rubbed at his slightly stinging jugular, blue eyes flittering around the new yet heavily forested area, his mind buzzing furiously as he belated noted a slight residue of foreign chakra residing upon the flesh of his tingling neck.

'Did…someone just channel chakra into me?' Naruto's brain sputtered, his mind reeling with violation. He had only spotted the action once or twice during his more bloodied missions in ANBU and that had been done as an impromptu heart-starter, often revolving around delivering a small zap of chakra upon the fading comrade's chest.

'Not the damn neck,' the teen noted, his disorientated state shifting into a sick, churning sensation in his gut. 'And I highly doubt my heart stopped in any way, I was just exhausted…'

''Sorry I had to do that, Naruto,'' a cool, soft toned voice made him flinch. ''But you happened to be in a deep, deep sleep and I know that if I left you be, we wouldn't have completed a new task Kakashi-san sent me.''

''Eh?'' The blonde garbled uselessly, his eyes narrowing slightly at the familiar (but not remarkably so) person crouched on the other side of his body. The pale-haired male was smiling down at him, drab in the usual Chunin attire and…masking their chakra, which was why Naruto hadn't zeroed in on him instantly. Not that Naruto would judge, many shinobi sometimes masked their own chakra naturally due to habit via missions.

''Oh dear, I do hope I haven't fried you with my choice of wake-up call,'' the man crooned, his hand reaching forward – and Naruto dodged the intrusion and shuffled away. ''Sorry.''

Naruto blinked, his hand coming up to rest of the smooth, chilled surface of the cheek of his ANBU mask, calmness filling him up and stilling his fluttering heart. It took a few moments to digest the change in surroundings and company, but after a few seconds – and realizing how apologetic the familiar male was being – he finally cracked a polite, lopsided smile beneath his ANBU mask. After waving his hand at the Chunin, obviously brushing aside the need for the slight ache in his neck and abrupt wake-up call (because it was needed, he had been in a deep sleep) Naruto slowly realized who the man before him was.

''Ah, you're Ramen-Hater!'' he couldn't help raising his voice through enthusiasm. ''You ordered Tempura when Kakashi and I were on a date.''

''Hm, yes, but my real name is Mizuki…''

''Oh,'' Naruto gave a quick nod, shifting up onto his feet and stretching his small limbs. ''You mentioned something about Kaka-sensei?''

''Yes, I did,'' Mizuki responded while trying to control his smirk and settled with a tight-lipped smile over how easy this was. It seemed slipping Kakashi's name into anything resulted in the blonde demon being overly complacent. Then again, it was somewhat humorous to note how Naruto Uzumaki held some sort of crush-like behavior (nobody called meals with their teacher a date) for the Hatake. Nonetheless, a smirk graced the Chunin's features when Naruto was too busy stretching.

''Kakashi's got his hands full and Tenzou has his own Genin, so I offered to assist with this small training task,'' the older male continued, shifting upward into a standing position and controlling the urge to snarl at shadowed, blue eyes brightening at him. ''Consider it…a test,'' Mizuki waved his hands a little, purposely curving his eyes shut and forcing a large grin on his features to avoid looking at the nine-tailed beast staring at him intently. ''A reconnaissance test of skills mixed with retrieval of physical evidence, Kakashi thought it would be good to have some knowledge of where you stand in such a skill.''

''But…Kakashi knows of my skills, especially for what I was trained for. I was built for recon missions.''

And Mizuki hastily backtracked – softly correcting his previous lie - without breaking a sweat. ''I know, but Kakashi stated how it would be a shame to put your recon skills to waste and that a live trail within the village would be good for you.''

Naruto wrinkled his nose and tugged his lips down all in the privacy of his ANBU mask, mild confusion yet awkward understanding evident within his brain. While he understood that common pseudo missions of retrieval or battle happened as a form of training, he didn't fully understand why Kakashi was implementing such a practice. For starters, such a fake recon and info retrieval was downright random, especially since Naruto had only just completed his elemental affinity training merely (according to the glimpse of daylight through the woodland canopy) a few hours ago – and that seemed very, very un-Kakashi like. After all, it was Kakashi who frequently told him to 'slow down' with his training and stop 'barrelling ahead' or 'over exerting' himself and that was what Naruto loved about the finicky, overly caring man.

So, this whole sudden event felt off somehow, yet at the same time Naruto slightly understood Kakashi's reasoning for such an act.

Besides, it had been a little over a month since his last ANBU mission revolving around recon, and while Naruto doubted he was rusty over his stealthy antics, he understood the need to refreshing one's body and implementing such tactics for the sake of muscle memory. So, with a mental shrug and a quick scrub of his hand against the tender spot on his neck, Naruto nodded, ready – and a little excited – over the trial run Kakashi had set up for him with the Ramen-Hater's – Mizuki's - help.

''Alright,'' Naruto chirruped cheerfully, halting with thinking and shifting on the spot to work out the kinks in his body. ''What's the plan then, Mizuki-sensei?''

The teenager completely missed the flittering grimace on the elder's face – it was only for the briefest of moments – far too busy feeling giddy over making Kakashi proud before Mizuki rightened himself, all soft words, confident posture and sweet smiles as he spoke up to the blonde:

''It's simple really, and a good way to check Konoha's defense, too…the Hokage approved of it. But yes, Naruto, all you have to do is remain undetected, enter the Hokage residence and bring back a particular scroll for me. I'll even time you while I wait, of course, it's for Kakashi-san's record.''

Kakashi felt a sneeze coming on and began to lazily rub at the end of his masked nose, somehow managing to magically divert the involuntary action by easing the ticklish irritation of his nose. Nonetheless, he stood lazily before the Hokage's desk, his visible eye roaming across the empty room he had been waiting in for over an hour. It was certainly a different experience to be the one waiting as opposed to being the one causing the waiting to begin with – not to mention (Kakashi silently realized via sulking) unprofessional for a Hokage. But still, as seconds ebbed into minutes, the infamous Copy-nin of Konoha was ready to shuffle away, indulge a visit with Obito, Rin and Minato-sensei before checking on his young bodied yet older minded love interest…at least until Sarutobi finally entered his unusually empty office.

The Hokage held a spring in his step, pipe absent from his soft smiling lips and appeared to be holding something behind his back as approached further into the room. Kakashi could only quirk an eyebrow, half-wondered what could make the infamous 'Professor' late as well as give the man an obvious blush upon his wrinkled features. Whatever the case, Kakashi soon found out with a simple movement of arms, hands and a revealing of what the Hokage was holding and…

And promptly resisted the urge to throw himself down onto the floor, offer a bow so low (and so, so grateful) that his forehead touched the floor.

But no, instead, the Hatake's lone eye glinted with unshed (albeit dramatic) tears of joy as Sarutobi handed over one of two copies of the – still not released – book of Icha-Icha Violence. With trembling hands of excitement he cracked open the pristine yet newly printed novel, his mind reeling with the prospect of disappearing back to his apartment and locking himself a way to devour this glorious, fantastic piece of adulterated literature. All thoughts of being irked over Sandaime's lateness shifted, especially since Kakashi could understand why the man was blushing due to no doubt reading his own given copy and losing track of time. Hokage or not, the Old Man was still a red blooded male and held the vices of any average human.

''Jiraiya sends his regards,'' Sarutobi murmured, his wizened eyes crinkling. ''I'm already up to chapter three and –''

''No spoilers,'' Kakashi interjected with a raised hand, ''Seriously, no spoilers.''

Grinning, the old Hokage nodded in understanding, purposely heading towards his desk and tucking his book into the top drawer of his desk. ''He should be in the village in a matter of days,'' Sarutobi carried on, suddenly noticing Kakashi's skin suddenly go a shade lighter. ''Oh, don't worry, over my letters with my old student I haven't mentioned anything about…'' he trailed off, coughing politely into his fist while admittedly enjoying the infamous Hatake break into a sweat. ''About the nature of your relationship with his godson.''

''Right,'' Kakashi swallowed uneasily, his Icha-Icha swoon gone completely. ''I mean, for the record its not like…I mean, I haven't really had - ''

''I'd rather not know of your sexual endeavors, my boy,'' Sarutobi cut off the amusing awkwardness with a chuckle, all the while resting his elbows on the smooth desk and steepling his hands together. ''I assure you I only care of Naruto's happiness.''


''Anyway, I apologize for the wait, Danzo sidetracked me and I simply wished to inform of Jiraiya's return to the village and deliver the book for you,'' the elder explained. ''You should consider it was great honor that Jiraiya wanted to send this to you before you're birthday.''

Kakashi rolled his lone eye, not particulary enjoying the fact he would be turning twenty-six come the fifteen of September (a day or so away) and reluctantly tucked the prized Icha-Icha deep into his kunai pouch. He nodded along to Sarutobi's extended babbling about age and youth – a lecture that would've put Gai to shame - when a sudden puff of smoke and flash of a chakra signature indicated the use of the Body Flicker technique within the Hokage's office. It wasn't an odd occurrence in the slightest for the older man's ANBU guards to pop into existence, but it was certainly rare to have said ANBU interrupting any discussion, especially when Kakashi know how the Hokage made a point of signaling his guards away for the sake of Kakashi's privacy during his visits. However, regardless of such, Kakashi remained in his slouched posture – the epitome of uncaring laziness – and raised an eyebrow at the Panda-like mask upon the intruding ANBU's face.

''Lord Hokage!'' the ANBU addressed, sounding surprisingly breathless, shadowed brown eyes briefly flitting to Kakashi before returning back to the leader. ''I came to report a breach of security measure, Sir!''

''You may speak freely,'' Sarutobi replied, silently understanding the young ANBU's apprehension over Kakashi's appearance. ''Please continue of our situation.''

''An unauthorized ANBU was spotted trespassing upon your premises at the Hokage residence, Sir. Zero casualties have been reported although several of our ANBU guards have been rendered unconscious. For now, we only one witness who could give us an ID of the perpetrator who donned the mask of fellow ANBU comrade Betobeto-san…''

''Excuse me?'' Sarutobi breathed, his heart suddenly pounding in his ears. ''Are you telling me there was an imposter or –?''

''We are unsure at this moment in time if such a trespasser was Betobeto-san or a spy, Lord Hokage, but from what we've gathered so far such skills hint only towards Betobeto-san,'' the ANBU kept his voice monotone, all but trying to ignore the death glare he was receiving from the famed Hatake and the slackened yet surprised gaping from the Hokage. ''Regardless of such, this breach in security is the least of our worries for it appears one of Konoha's scrolls have been stolen.''

Kakashi felt his face heat, not out of something as foolish as embarrassment, but anger. Anger over this idiotic ANBU accusing Naruto over something so serious. But still, Kakashi found his mind reasoning, if it was Naruto (who must've completed or been slacking with training to pull such an out of character stunt) then the boy must've had a real good reason to cause such mayhem. So, the Hatake resisted the urge to throttle the panda-masked ANBU and watched Sarutobi frown heavily, looking far too weary for a man in his powerful position as he spoke up, his voice low and gravelly: ''And what scroll would that be?''

''The Scroll of Seals,'' the ANBU responded hastily as Kakashi felt the temperature in the room drop and Sarutobi scramble for the crystal ball upon his desk. ''But, sir, it has been estimated that the culprit has had enough time to leave Konoha's walls.''

''Then less chat and go and dispatch a small team of ANBU to search,'' the Hokage dully informed the ANBU. ''Don't harm him, just restrain him…and keep this event under wraps, we do not need this sort of drama being found out.''


With that nodded bellow of agreement, the panda-masked male disappeared, leaving Sarutobi glaring intently at the crystal ball and Kakashi swiping aside the prospects of a quiet afternoon/evening with his new book – after all, there was no question about it…Naruto came first before Icha-Icha.

(1) Tis a fact that dogs don't just hump for goodness, but for a sign of 'Oi, I own you,' hence why some poor dog owners suffer from soggy sofa cushions.