SURPRISE! Finally am I right?
I really don't know how to apologize for the super long delay between updates. I feel bad just telling you 'life happened'. To give you the abridged version, last fall I got sick and it involved a lot of doctor visits, a LOT of medication, and an inhaler and it was all really terrible. I also met a guy who creeped me out and he knew where I lived which creeped me out even more. I got sick again and then finals happened. I did poorly and had to end my winter break early to deal with the mess and I was just so stressed out that I didn't even have the motivation to go to my classes this past spring semester much less write. Took me the past several months to really recover from it all.
As for lately, this chapter was supposed to be up earlier but I'm home right now and unexpected occurrences happened (some good some bad but whatever now) so here it is.
Another reason I delayed so long is because I wanted to make absolutely sure this chapter was up to the standards of the previous chapters. I know it's been a while but I don't want to put up rusty work! This reason will also probably apply to my other stories as well.
And that's really it for why I haven't updated in while. So I'm really sorry. But now you know that unless I get sick again, I should be back to updating at least two stories every month :D.
BIG THANKS TO EVERYONE who reviewed, favorited and subscribed! I got every single notification (duh haha) and honestly that kept me thinking about this story and reminding me that I'm not the only one who wants to see it reach its conclusion! And of course BIG THANKS to my regular readers too! Sorry for forcing you to only read the same 12 chapters for so long!
SPECIAL THANKS to blackangelgirl14 for keeping me motivated as well :).
Chapter-related: Word count has been reset with only 8103 words but that's all I needed to get out all I wanted to show in this chapter. It's more transitional than anything which is why it's so short too haha.
Anon review reply:
Still a guest: HI! Haha length depends on the author and I just happened to have a lot to say :P. This chapter is shorter though!
LOL nooooo not at all! And he's not done yet! But it's something that Naruto is learning to adapt to very well hehe. I'm glad you see him as sympathetic :). My aim is show that he's someone that needs to calm down, but I don't want to make him annoying you know? I'm trying to make his outburst slightly overdramatic but at the same time you can understand why he got angry in the first place.
Thank you so much! I do too! I find it easier to immerse myself in the story when I can see the relationship actually go from point A to point B and all of the bumps and stuff in the middle. But really thank you so much for that comment. One of the things I often worry about with this story is pacing. But Naruto made a tiny bit of breakthrough last chapter that will be reflected all through out the month starting with this chapter.
MINATO IS HERE NOW :D! NO UCHIHAS THOUGH D:! But they're still plotting don't worry.
I feel soooo bad because I just didn't write for a few months (well I wrote but not enough). But if you didn't read the above let's just say last fall was too stressful and chaotic for me to find enjoyment in anything at all including writing. But I feel like I'm back now! I hope!
Thank you so much for your reviews though!
Guest 1: Thank you so much :)! Glad you're enjoying this!
Guest 2: THANK YOU! I AGREE AND THAT'S WHY I WRITE THESE STORIES! They fit SO well together! Needs MUCH more love D:.
Guest 3: I will definitely finish don't worry! I want you all to see the end and I want see how I reach the end myself. I enjoy reading my own work :D!
And that's it. If I did not reply to your review and you want a reply then PLEASE shoot me a PM. I think I got everyone but if I didn't it was not on purpose!
And now without further delay, pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease ENJOY!
"I'm thinking of a word. Begins with K. Means totally crazy. Go!" Naruto laughed.
"Very funny," Kyuubi muttered rolling his eyes. "But my kooky little friend you must know that it is too early for games. So go get the things on the list like I asked or I'll kick your ass into gear."
He wasn't kidding. They already had most of the ingredients but Naruto can't be slacking on his end because his end was the most important end.
"I can't help it my betrothed. It's just here you are up on my time to make breakfast for your dad as a what? I'm sorry gift?"
"First off a smoothie is not breakfast in any shape or form in this house. And second do I freaking look sorry to you?"
"You're probably gonna be. So what's this for anyway?"
"Get those ingredients on that list and I'll tell you," Kyuubi said, glaring impatiently at his blond companion. Naruto raised an eyebrow.
"Okay but remember what you said!"
"I know I know. Help me with this and you get to go home for two days."
"Three days! I'm not letting you forget that part!"
"Fine fine! Get a move on Naruto!"
Naruto shrugged his shoulders before turning around and running off finally. Kyuubi faced the counter behind him and put down the last of the food-based ingredients on it. His father wasn't a sweets person so he had mostly bitter fruits in front of him. The only sweet thing was the small bowl of blueberries, a tiny incentive for Daitaru to trust him. After all, Kyuubi was protective of his favorite food so he must be really sorry if he's giving some to Daitaru. At least, that's what the head of the Kitsune Clan will think.
And he'll think if his son is really sorry, then he might want to stick around to try even harder to make up for yesterday...and fill in for him in the days to come.
'Oh Daitaru, can't work very well when your bowel movements are so upset huh?' Kyuubi snickered. Yeah it was one of the oldest tricks in the book, but it was a classic for a reason. Petty as well? Of course but Kyuubi found it hard to care.
"Okay I got the ingredients," Naruto said walking over to the counter and setting them down. He looked at Kyuubi and put his hands on his hips.
"Now will you please tell me what you've come up with now?"
Kyuubi smiled as he gathered up all the ingredients and put them in the blender. "An oldie, but classic," he told Naruto before turning on the machine.
"I'M GONNA FEED DAITARU THIS SMOOTHIE! AND HE'LL BE SO BUSY, THAT HE CAN'T SEND ME AWAY!" Kyuubi shouted over the sound of the blender. Now he didn't expect Naruto to be SUPER impressed with his plot because it was kind of plain as far as plots go, but Naruto looked down right confused which confused Kyuubi in return.
"DON'T YOU THINK THAT WILL REALLY MAKE YOU SORRY IN THE END?!"
"WHAT DO YOU MEAN?!"
"I MEAN DAITARU'S GONNA KNOW THAT-oh. Okay Daitaru's gonna know that you poisoned him if you give him the smoothie and he gets sick right after."
"Hmm. You're right," Kyuubi said leaning on the now-off blender. How could such an obvious thing slip past his notice? Maybe it had something to do with the fact that for once he didn't care about getting his father angry with him. In fact...
"But that can be used to my advantage too! He has to keep me around to punish me. And what could be a 'bigger' punishment then separating us?"
But Naruto for some reason, looked unsure. And that confused the Kitsune even more.
"That sounds really good Kyuubi. But are you sure that you should do this?"
"Why do you sound so unsure? So it's a laxative so what? It's not like it'll kill him."
"Well...it's just...I feel sorta bad for what we did yesterday."
"No hear me out! We ruined his relaxing time and then destroyed this place and didn't even help clean up."
"Since when do you have morning regrets?"
"It's not really 'regrets' per se. I mean I had a lot of fun yesterday it's just...I don't want to go too overboard ya know?"
No Kyuubi didn't know. Daitaru didn't deserve any leniency and especially not in a situation like this. The longer they put this off, the harder it will be to actually break up...Which did not mean what it sounded like it meant! Naruto's attitude right now reminded him of the beginning, where he was so hesitant to act because he didn't want to be hated. But this time around Kyuubi's been taking the fall with him. So what was the problem?
Like Kyuubi had the time to figure that out. Daitaru will be forcing them away soon so Kyuubi decided to just focus his frustration on getting Naruto on board with this. He can question the blond later.
"...Come on Naruto. This is one of those classic and perfect pranks."
"Don't you feel your blood pumping now? You're going to slip a drug to the leader of one of the oldest and most powerful clans around. You're going to get close,sneak pasthis extremely well-guarded defenses. Doesn't that excite you?" Kyuubi practically purred walking closer to Naruto. Naruto obviously didn't expect Kyuubi to do this, and to be honest, he is also a little surprised at himself. But these times call for these kinds of measures! It's strategy!
More importantly, it's a strategy that always works.
"He won't even see it coming. Not from you and me. We'll be able to get away with this for weeks at least. We'll be taking out the Kitsune head, the head of one of the oldest and most powerful clans ever, in an embarrassing and yet satisfying way. You will pull on over on one of the most powerful people alive. It has the potential to be legendary."
Kyuubi's words were working, he noticed with a smirk. Naruto's eyes were glazing over and a smile slowly stretched across his face. And now for the piece of resistance, or to be more accurate, the piece Naruto can't resist.
He grabbed Naruto's hand and caught the surprised blond's eye. And then, with centuries of practice behind him and perhaps a little more feeling behind it than usual, Kyuubi smiled.
"Please? For me?"
It was not a carriage it was a cart. They were in a wooden box with no roof (or even a top half at all) being pulled by the closest equivalent to mules with the speed of F-zeroes and the stamina of a human, the demon world could offer. Daitaru was just that annoyed with them when sending them off this morning. That's why it was perfectly okay for Naruto to share it with him. But that is not to say, that Naruto was happy about sharing it. Kyuubi could plainly see that by the stink eye the Namikaze was giving him.
"Oh cut it out. You knew this was going to happen."
"I knew you were gonna get punished. Didn't know that I was gonna get it too...Should've called my dad to pick me up instead."
"You can't REALLY say you thought this wouldn't work."
"I wanted to tell you that I thought this would backfire on you but I didn't want to burst your bubble when you looked so happy. I sorely regret caring about your feelings you know."
"Hmph! We got what you wanted so I don't know why you're even complaining!"
Naruto opened his mouth to respond but no words came out. He then gritted his teeth and looked off to the side as if remembering something. "Goddamnit," he muttered under his breath before taking a deep breath and looking at Kyuubi straight in the eye.
"I think your dad will forgive you by the time we get back."
Kyuubi growled softly under his breath. Why did it sound like Naruto was taking his freaking father's side? Just because Naruto was a daddy's boy didn't mean he had to sympathize with the man making him miserable.
"He should be more worried about me forgiving him! But whatever I'm going to sleep."
The wooden bench in this open cart was far from comfortable. Worse than the ground even. But Kyuubi fell asleep in seconds anyway. He, true to his nature, slept for a majority of the morning. He overheard his father warn Naruto about letting him sleep for too long, but Naruto apparently chose his side for his sleep went uninterrupted until now. He woke up with a quiet yawn and a light stretch on the uncomfortable wooden seat he was sprawled on. He shivered a little because the air was slightly chilly and NOT because the cart was also for some strange reason, rocking.
He opened his eyes to see that 'strange reason' was of course, Naruto having a very hard time sitting still. He was leaning over the side watching the scenery, but his expressions were going through a flurry of changes. Happy to contemplative to apprehensive back to happy to thoughtful to impish rinse and repeat.
"What are you doing?" Kyuubi asked sitting up. Naruto smiled at him, still bouncing in his seat.
"We're almost there! See that river? It flows straight into the big lake on our grounds. The one with the waterfall that I mentioned way long ago? Oh and there's that giant Sakura tree! It's the one I like to go play on because look at it! It's huge! You gotta be full demon if you don't want to spend all day climbing it! And it smells so nice! Just take a whiff right now Kyuubi!"
Naruto paused in his bouncing to take a deep breath while Kyuubi took a smaller one but he could smell what Naruto was talking about. That really was a pleasant smell. Maybe he could take a few petals to take back with him.
"And notice the sky. Pretty cloudy huh? There's some sun poking through and notice how one ray is on the tree? It's always like that. The sun and the clouds can be kinda random but there's some spots that always get the sun when it's out. That's one of them. That Sakura tree right there."
That was pretty intriguing. In fact, looking around Kyuubi realized he was not used to a sight like this. Back at home things were usually so orange or yellow and red, here he could see the glow of the land was more cool colors. More grey, green, and blue with only the occasionally bright spot thanks to the sparse sun rays. The effect was one of beauty. Not depressing but calming.
"Oh," was all he could say.
Silence. The effect must have gotten to Naruto too. Or maybe not, Kyuubi looked to see he was switching up his expressions again. For a split second he looked serene but then he looked thoughtful and then once again he nervously bit his lip.
"Of course I am!"
"You don't look excited. You look like you're the one who drunk the smoothie. Couldn't resist my cooking skills could you?"
"PBBBT!" Naruto stuck his tongue out. "You might want to shush! I'm thinking about you you know so be grateful."
Kyuubi expected Naruto follow up with his statement but silence reigned once more. And now Kyuubi was annoyed because something that was bothering Naruto should be brought to his attention.
"I don't want to play 20 questions with you! Now what's wrong?"
Naruto didn't appear to hear him at first. The blond continued chewing on his bottom lip and looking away. Before Kyuubi could (thoughtlessly) threaten to chew Naruto's lip for him, the golden kitsune demon finally looked at him and answered, "About us. I mean my dad is a part of this deal you know."
"And we need to convince him what we're trying to convince Daitaru."
"Yes we do. But that doesn't explain what has you nervous."
"I'm just wondering how to do this. My dad's going to be really protective this time around. And I don't want him to hate you."
At that Kyuubi blinked. Huh. How thoughtful. It highlighted their differences for sure. He remembered how his very first plan involved getting his own father to hate Naruto. Heh...Things were so different back then. Hard to imagine how one month changed this so much.
"You know, if we keep seeing each other after this my dad is gonna have to approve. But we can't make him approve that way you know?"
"I'm sure we'll come up with something. You don't have much to worry about anyway since your dad and I go back a bit." He didn't really want to tell him that they weren't on the best of terms. Even though he'll likely find out anyway.
"You guys know each other?"
"Kinda. We met a few times through your mom. So chill Naruto. We'll get something out of this trip."
"Heehee." A laugh! What a pleasant sound. But that grin on his face wasn't a pleasant sight.
"You're still calling me by my name! So it wasn't a fluke. That's gonna stick right?"
"What's the big deal anyway?" Kyuubi grumbled to sound of Naruto's laughter.
"Thereitisthereitisthereitisthereitis!" Naruto muttered in rapid succession as his humble (for a clan at least) home came into view. Naruto then gasped, "There he is!"
The cart didn't even come to a complete stop yet before Naruto took off.
"DAD!" Naruto was a blur as he shot forward towards the golden-haired man standing at the front entrance.
Minato was nearly barreled over and let out an audible 'oof'! But he stayed stay standing. He grinned down at his only son and hugged him back tightly. Kyuubi stayed where he was, silently observing the father-son reunion. He didn't really know how to feel about what he was looking at.
Normally such things wouldn't phase him, but he felt a bit awkward now. Like he was intruding on something. Even if it was just Naruto and Minato.
"Naruto! Wow you've gotten a lot stronger over this past month!"
"Yeah I've been working really hard to get more powerful. I missed you though." Kyuubi's ear twitched as he heard what sounded like Naruto's voice shaking. But the shaking was gone and before Minato could even reply Naruto shot off a ton of questions.
"So what have you been doing? Did you miss me? Did ya get a lot of work done? Are you glad I came back here? Can I-"
"Woah woah son slow down a bit! First off yes of course I missed you and of course I'm glad you're back here. But other things need to be addressed here first," Minato seemingly purposfully cleared his throat. "Uh Kurama and I need to be formally introduced to one another."
"Oh yeah! Kyuubi get over here and meet my dad!"
That was his cue. He kind of wanted to ignore it.
But he sucked it up and made his way over to the happy family with a large, slightly predatory grin. "I'm sure you've heard of me."
At least Minato had the decency to look embarrassed. He chuckled a little and sheepishly rubbed the back of his neck. "Yeah haha. Kushina told me a lot about you, Kurama. But! That was a long time ago and I'm sure you've matured greatly since then."
Naruto apparently decided this was the perfect moment to scoff and start snickering earning a glare from Kyuubi.
"...So I'll be the judge of your character now depending on what you show me this month. It's all a clean slate!"
"You'll get a greater feel of me and my cooperation if you referred to me as Kyuubi."
"Kyuubi? Right. Alright then. So has this been working out so far?"
At this Kyuubi drew a blank and immediately looked at Naruto. The blond would know how to answer better than him. Though he needs to keep in mind that he still needs to get revenge for two earlier instances of Naruto's loudmouth. But the revenge left his mind as quickly as it entered when Naruto was just as quiet, looking incredibly contemplative, as if he didn't really know the answer.
"Um," Kyuubi mumbled hoping to catch Naruto's attention. Naruto didn't say a word. Minato raised an eyebrow.
"I have to go unpack! You two talk!" Naruto then abruptly turned towards him. For some strange reason he hesitated for the briefest of seconds before rushing behind him and pushing him towards Minato.
Naruto didn't answer he just turned and ran. Minato and Kyuubi stared after him for a few seconds. How that idiot was going to unpack when he left his things back in the cart was anyone's guess.
"Any particular reason why my son acted like that?"
Kyuubi shrugged. "Don't ask me. Your little ball of sunshine has been jumpy all morning."
"And you have no idea why?"
"He said he missed this place and you."
"Still he didn't answer my simple question..." Was Minato glaring at him?
"HEY! Iruka put me down!" They both heard Naruto scream. Both Kyuubi and Minato turned to side to see Iruka carrying a struggling Naruto over his shoulder, bringing the Namikaze heir to them.
"I have orders to follow. I was told that when you get back to make sure that you stay away from the kitchen."
"I WAS GOING TO MY RO-"
"Oh! Iruka! Thanks for grabbing him but you can put him down." Minato quickly said. Iruka looked a little confused but did as he was told. Still he held Naruto's shoulders, keeping the pouting blond from running off.
This Iruka, he was the brown kitsune that brought Naruto over in the first place. Judging by his reaction it looks like he recognized Kyuubi too. He narrowed his eyes a bit and Kyuubi got the feeling he was going to be grilled by that man at some point. But Iruka also made a slight bow in his direction for which Kyuubi appreciated. But what he did not appreciate, was Naruto leaving him hanging. The red kitsune crossed his arms with a frown and furrowed his brow in Naruto's direction, showing his confusion and displeasure with the way Naruto was acting.
Naruto responded with a flinch and a small, guilty grin...and Kyuubi still didn't get what that meant. Don't tell him that Naruto was going to rely on him again for coming up with their plans? It's not like Kyuubi was planning on relying on Naruto once they got here. But damn he was sure hoping he could give his brain a rest and let Naruto come up with the tricks and plans for once.
"Dad I have to-"
"In a minute. First off I want an answer to my question."
"Umm...Can you rephrase it?"
"Okay...How have you two been getting along?"
"Great! We've been along much better than I thought we would!" Naruto zipped to Kyuubi's side and slung his arm around his shoulders in an obviously friendly way. Kyuubi didn't react at first other than blinking confusedly (because what? What was Naruto's plan here?). At least until he noticed Minato looking between the two. Then he grinned and patted Naruto's hand.
"Hmm...Alright then. Don't worry about unpacking. Right now you have enough time to give Kur-I mean Kyuubi a tour."
"That's right! Yeah! Come on Kyuubi I'll show you everything!"
Naruto grabbed a hold of his hand and dragged him off. Kyuubi noticed Iruka and Minato immediately start talking but he couldn't hear what they said since Naruto pulled him inside his house at that moment.
"My room's right over here!" Naruto exclaimed leading Kyuubi up a flight of stairs and down the hallway. His room was the very first stop on his little tour. Kyuubi would bet five of his tails Naruto is doing this on purpose.
"Right here!" He shouted as they came up to an orange door. Naruto grinned placing his hand on the doorknob. "You might find some things familiar but it's pretty cool anyway! Check it!"
He opened the door and...Kyuubi laughed. Loudly.
"AHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAA! And you made fun of me for being messy? Least you can see my floor! HAHAHA!"
Naruto's jaw had dropped. His room didn't look like a room anymore. Sheets hung up on the walls, a missing carpet, not to mention the piles of broken wood and empty paint cans and...was that a lunch bag?!
"What-But-I-I didn't leave it like this! Why is-oooooo DAAAAAAD!" Naruto screamed. Kyuubi nearly screeched himself as his inner ears rung. He figured the man could've heard that if he was sitting in the Sakura tree. Minato's laughter could be heard as he made his way over. The man must be completely used to Naruto's loud voice since he wasn't double checking his hearing.
"Hello Naruto!" He smiled. "Surprise?"
"SURPRISE?! What'd you do to my room?!"
"Just a few renovations."
"A FEW RENOVATIONS?!"
"Well yeah. It's going to be," Minato cleared his throat. "a room for two now. Just making it nice."
It's not like Kyuubi was trying to forget that part or anything. It's like he already forgot about that part. An amazing feat considering Naruto's strange obsession with his own room, but he did it. He forgot they were going to share a room together until this bastard right here reminded him.
Even Naruto faltered back a little at the big reminder. But he was not stunned for long. Naruto's face got even more red as he yelled some more. "But we never used my room before! We always used a guest room! AND WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL ME! You should've ASKED first!"
"That's beauty of it all Naruto. After all your little 'projects' to the house without notifying me, I saw my perfect chance for revenge. And I grabbed it!" Minato grinned smugly and stood up straight with his head held high. "It actually feels good having pulled one over you."
"Grrrrr!" Naruto growled and he quickly turned on Kyuubi when he heard the red fox demon's laughter.
"What? That was funny and it was a successful prank. I may take notes. I need to get you back for two instances remember?" Were he on better terms with Minato, he would've given the man a high five just for the effort and Naruto's reaction.
Minato eyed the both of them for a brief moment (him more sharply than Naruto of course) and saved Kyuubi from a(n attempted) beating when he said, "...The renovations should be done by tomorrow so you guys will have to use a guest room just for tonight." Which immediately brought Naruto's attention back on him.
"Don't you mean guest rooms?"
"But we have a guest room that can hold you both. You know that."
"Just give us a night to get used to the idea. I mean...preparation. To prepare for. This."
"But you've had a month! You knew this was coming-"
"I'm with Naruto. One more night on our own. Please."
Kyuubi looked at Naruto and Naruto looked back at him with the same expression. He could immediately tell they were thinking the same thing. They weren't prepared for this.
"But...Alright," Minato sighed. "If you guys really need it, one more night."
At that Kyuubi wanted to smile. Daitaru would've never given them that little inch. But Minato seems more willing to listen to Naruto anyway.
"You're welcome," Minato said. He didn't look entirely convinced that delaying this part of the courtship was the right idea. But to be fair Kyuubi probably wouldn't be able to say no to that happy expression either. Minato then turned his back on them and started walking away.
"If this is all you needed from me then you can get back your tour." He then suddenly stopped and turned back to smile at them. "Oh! And dinner's at seven tonight. I'm going to have your favorites made okay? So work up an appetite you two."
Kyuubi reddened. Just what the hell was he implying they do on this tour?!
"You know it!" Naruto saluted. Kyuubi blinked. That wasn't innuendo? He saw Minato patiently waiting for his response so he did a quick nod and the Namikaze head left.
"Whatever plan you have in mind it's probably good to get it started now," Kyuubi whispered to Naruto once Minato disappeared from sight.
"Plan? I mean-uh-yeah of course! Patience Kyuubi I know what I'm doing haha," Naruto stood tall and puffed his chest out haughtily. And Kyuubi seriously doubted that Naruto knew what he was doing.
"Well when you do figure out what we're going to do, let me know immediately."
"Hey! I DO know what I'm doing alright!?"
"Then explain to me in as few words as possible what you did when we first got here."
"Umm, I was giving him an idea that you know..." Naruto's cheeks flushed in what had to be embarrassment because Kyuubi knew he caught him in a lie. The demon smirked and chuckled a little.
"Poor little amateur. Need some help?"
"NO! No way! I'm fine just leave it to me! My behavior HAD a point! I'm not just making this up as I go along!"
"Right," Kyuubi sarcastically said while walking away.
"Really!" Naruto insisted following.
"I mean it!"
"Sure I believe you."
"I'll show you! Now stop getting on my nerves and follow me asshole."
"And here's the garden!" Naruto exclaimed leading Kyuubi into the courtyard. Kyuubi looked around with a small smile. It was nice, smelled gorgeous, and was actually pretty colorful.
"This is where I'll probably be most of the time when we're not doing anything at al-huh?" Naruto cut himself off when he saw a yellow-haired kitsune shearing a bed of flowers. It didn't seem out of place to Kyuubi, but he looked at Naruto and saw the blond's eyes were red, teeth bared, and vein popping out of his forehead. Before he could ask what in the world was wrong, Naruto was on the move.
"HEY!" Naruto shouted, leaving Kyuubi behind to stand behind the kitsune. Kyuubi followed anyway.
The servant looked back at them and once he saw Naruto he sighed in what sounded like an incredible amount of frustration. "Oh you're back. What do you need now Naruto-sama?"
"What are you doing cutting those flowers?! Those stay there!"
"Well in case you haven't noticed the season changed about a month ago. It's time to place this season's flowers-"
"NOT THOSE! You NEVER replace THOSE plants! What kind of dumbass are you?!"
The kitsune looked like he wanted to say something but then promptly shut his mouth. He stood up abruptly and curtly said, "My apologies Naruto-sama." He then swiftly left.
"Bastard," Naruto grumbled.
"I thought you said you get along with the kitsune in your clan?" Kyuubi asked watching the gardener leave.
Naruto wore an uneasy expression put his hands behind his back and rocked back and forth on the balls of his feet. "I do. My dad and are very close."
Suspicious...Clans are at least thirty in number. Kyuubi thought back to the books he read on the Namikaze clan. Of course there was plenty of mention of Minato's great deeds, his mating with Kushina, and the birth of Naruto. But there wasn't much about anyone else in the clan. Wait, Kyuubi's eyes narrowed. As he thought about it more...strike 'much' and replace it with 'anything'. There wasn't anything specific about any other members of the Namikaze clan.
Just this vague reference to large body of nameless kitsune. 'Minato and the rest of his clan...' 'All of the members of the Namikaze clan...' But no specific names or anything. And the books all started with Minato, not with Naruto's grandparents or anyone further down the lineage. Just one day...Minato.
At the time, Kyuubi couldn't bring himself to wonder about it. Although the Kitsune clan is no slouch in having noteworthy members, even he knew that if you didn't do anything prominent, your name is not going to be in a book. All Kyuubi knew about beforehand was Minato and just Minato and that was thanks to Kushina. But if Naruto's implying what he thinks he's implying...
Kyuubi looked at the blond just as Naruto started whistling and got on his knees to inspect the damage done. Since he wouldn't speak, Kyuubi would.
"So...just the two of you?"
"By blood yeah. I mean, we have our unofficial members. Iruka and Kakashi aren't related to us by blood but they're practically my uncles," he answered quietly.
"So just four of you? Heh. You sure do a good job bluffing it in the books and to everyone around you," he grinned. First day here and he's already come across the second biggest scandal of the Namikaze 'Clan'.
"Amazing. But I can't blame you for reaping the benefits."
"You're not going to tell are you? Because we don't actually get that a lot of the benefits. And we're bluffing for a good reason!"
"Of course not! I'm not even mad!" Kyuubi grinned. And he meant it because friendship has a habit of doing that to you. One can easily overlook illegal activities of another if they share a bond. Besides, Kyuubi had a strong feeling that reason Minato pushed and kept up this appearance had nothing to do with parties, discounts, and VIP accesses, but instead was related to the biggest scandal of the family: safety concerns. The less people in your family, the less protectors/fighters there are. And the more people that know that, the more likely that some crazy...
He wouldn't dare put Naruto in harm's way.
"You're the only one who knows about this okay? We've been lying to everyone else but you...I'm trusting you that much so don't betray me!"
"Naruto who do you take me for? I'm someone who sees the benefits in everything! So this is great because I guess I don't have that many people to impress," he joked, happy when Naruto dropped the serious look for a smile.
"You mean disappoint," Naruto winked back.
"Speaking of which some tips on how to do that would be great right about now. Have you come up with ANYTHING?"
"Look," Naruto sighed. "For once, I can't be too hasty with this. I told you before I don't want my dad to hate you and forbid me from seeing you ever again or you me. Given my courtship history, that's really the only option if we try the same tactic we're using with Daitaru with him."
Well now Kyuubi sort of understood where Naruto was going. Yeah...Convince Minato that something was something but wrong, but not necessarily wrong with him. Pretty genius actually.
"Alright. I approve of your plan," he nodded with his eyes closed so he didn't see Naruto's confused look. "Just let me know when you have the specifics decided."
"Uhhh sure. Yeah. Of course."
"Good. Now then, this place is pretty but I want to see more. Where are your bathhouses-"
"Wow you're really in a rush to see those aren't you?" The blond purred standing up.
Kyuubi knew exactly what Naruto was hinting at and he knew exactly what the blond expected from him. And you know what?
Naruto's has had the upper hand on this game the entire time they were on his turf. Well now, Kyuubi just cannot be so nice anymore. There were at Naruto's home and he needed to establish himself somehow right? Time to beat Naruto at his own game. For real this time.
"I was going to say 'and your training grounds' stupid," Kyuubi smirked with his arms crossed. "You on the other hand, are showing a lot of eagerness."
Naruto's eyebrows shot up and he nearly fell back when he stumbled back in shock. He then shook his head rapidly and timidlytitteredbefore almost instinctively grabbing Kyuubi's arm and then almost instinctively letting go.
"I-That's-Promises ya know? R-Right this way!"
It's been an awkwardly silent dinner so far. Doubly so since he at least knew both annoying blonds sitting at the table. But he got used to it. Yes he got used to the silence, got used to the good food, and got used to Minato's constant stares. But what he did not get used to, was Naruto's odd behavior.
Kyuubi returned from the bathroom and plopped down on the chair at the table next to Naruto. He didn't care about his lack of grace in front of Minato as much as he cared about Naruto briefly smiling tensely at him and then suddenly staring at his plate. What?
Kyuubi raised an eyebrow. "What are you doing?"
Naruto just grinned and looked back and forth between Minato and him. Once Minato looked away Naruto winked at him.
He still didn't get it.
Naruto is doing this completely wrong. He's supposed to go over the plan with him before he puts it into action. Kyuubi huffed softly in frustration. Well what the fuck ever Naruto, he's going to eat his steak! His anger was only slightly mitigated when he looked at Naruto again and saw the blond mouth the words 'trust me'.
Well yeah fine, that's no problem. Good know that Naruto has something up his sleeve. But Kyuubi's main problem stemmed from the fact that he hated not knowing what was going on. Especially when it involved him. They need to have a little talk a little later on.
But whatever these blueberries won't eat themselves.
"So I didn't hear any fighting all day. Daitaru told me to be a bit worried."
"Hmph," Kyuubi snorted. His sour mood got even sourer at the mention of his father.
"Kyuubi's not that much of an instigator dad. He knows how to get on my good side," Naruto mumbled.
"Really?" Minato blinked innocently. Had Kyuubi been paying to anything other than eating, he would've seen the gesture as too innocent. And he would've been better prepared for the next statement.
"Because the little Kyuubi Kushina told me to keep an eye on once upon a time, didn't want to get on anyone's good side because the only side he cared about was The Killer Youthful Ultra Undeniably-."
"Ah! Don't choke on blueberries Kyuubi! You can handle it!" Naruto shouted slamming his fist on the choking fiancé's back. Minato meanwhile, was chortling up a storm.
"You didn't let me finish!" The Namikaze laughed. "There are seven more adjectives to add to the title."
"I'm fine! I'm fine!" Kyuubi breathed before swallowing the blueberries correctly. He then turned his glare on Minato.
"YOU SAID CLEAN SLATE!" He was still a stupid childwhen he came up with that ridiculous nickname! Kyuubi is much better and rolls off of the tongue easier which is why he made the switch and buried that embarrassing nickname along with the other embarrassing childhood moments. But Naruto didn't need to know the dark history behind his nickname(and he definitely didn't need to hear Killer Yaps-A-Lot ever again).
"Ahaha sorry! I'm sorry," Minato laughed wiping away a tear. "It's just it's been so long! I couldn't resist! You're still so easy to tease!"
"I'm not a mouthy, little kit anymore! But you're still as immature as ever I see!" Like dumbass husband, like even dumber-ass late wife. And Daitaru wanted this man to be his father-in-law?
"Now Kyuubi. Pouting is unbefit for a-"
"I am NOT pouting! If you weren't Naruto's father I'd rip you apart old man!"
"Kyuubi," Naruto warned. "Don't make threats against my dad."
"But he started it!"
Neither Namikaze could stop themselves from bursting into laughter. Kyuubi simply growled and crossed his arms. Did he really prefer this over awkward silence? If he were being completely honest with himself, he wasn't sure. But what he was sure of, is that he's completely willing to fight fire with fire. If Minato wants to bring up embarrassing secrets of the past, then boy does he have plenty to tell (and make-up!) to Naruto. Minato gets a warning for now. A silent one.
"Okay, okay we're done!" Naruto quickly said holding his hands up.
"Good! Cause so am I!" And then Kyuubi stood up in front of his empty plate. "And if YOU!" He pointed at Naruto, "want to talk seriously then you can find me somewhere where I WON'T tarnish your family's good name due to defeating the head."
"Tsk tsk Kyuubi," Minato shook his finger with an impish grin. "You shouldn't go picking fights you're not 100% confident you can win."
He was as bad as Kushina and no one can convince him otherwise. Once again good manners and grace were damned as Kyuubi flipped the cheeky blond the bird and made his way out of the dining room. On his way out, he heard Naruto nervously excuse himself as well, to go look at the garden. Curiously the blond didn't follow him and instead took another route out of the dining room.
Ah whatever. He didn't want to talk about what just happened anyway!
...Rotten Minato! Coming here was like hoping out of the fire back into the frying pan or however the hell that human saying goes.
Finally found him! My place really isn't that big but sheesh make me run ten laps around this place trying to find you why don't ya? He didn't look too happy, but that I expected.
"I've been looking all over for you! ...Why are you hiding in my room?!"
"Need I remind you how we do things Naruto?" Fine don't answer my question! I'll jump to my own conclusions...quietly.
"If it's about my dad, then I came to tell you he was just teasing." And kitsunes sometimes do that to each other right?
"I'm aware. And no it's not about that! I'm not even upset anymore honest. It's about another part where you've been failing at."
Well if he's not upset anymore then there's no real reason for why he can't wait a bit. "Can you lecture me tomorrow?
I know I know, it was only a month. But I missed my dad so much!
"I'm just going to the library Kyuubi. My dad's most likely there and I want to talk to him for a while. I missed my chance earlier trying to trail your sorry butt." And enjoying my garden for a good ten minutes but that was partially to throw my dad off.
"I don't feel like being lectured tonight Kyuubi! I came up here to see if you were alright and since you're fine, whatever it is you want to say can wait until tomorrow! Need I remind you that I helped you out with your smoothie idea this morning and thus deserve my vacation?"
"I'm not giving you three days to slack off!"
"I'm not asking for three days anymore! I'm asking for one night to talk to my dad!"
Kurama crossed his arms. "And what am I supposed to do?"
Oh this was it. This is the moment I've been waiting for since the end of my first tour of the Kitsune grounds. Revenge is sometimes sooo sweet. "You know the grounds now. You can find something to do."
HAHAHAHA his face!
"Really?!" He asked, his voice was all growly.
"I'm just messing around Kyuubi! You can come with me and-"
"No thanks! I'll do just that. Find something to do!" He walked around me and out of my unfinished room and stomped off. Oh he's not really mad. That steam coming out of his ears is superfluous hehe! There's nothing at all to worry about! Seriously, he'll get over it.
I better go get to my dad. I'm sure Kurama can handle himself here.
"I was worried about you a lot. But I suppose everything was alright?"
"Yep! It's great over there! Really hot but so much room and space and places to train and really good food."
"And the people?"
"Well yeah. I met Nagato and he's so great! I even talked him into coming over here from time to time." The guy was still reeling over mom's death and he didn't want to face the place where she lived the last part of her life too soon. At least, that's what he told me when I asked why he didn't visit before.
I'm not sure my dad believed that excuse either. But he smiled anyway.
"That's great Naruto. But you know the real reason I asked is because I remember before you left you didn't exactly trust the clan."
Oh. Yeah. It's strange, it feels like it's been such a long time since then. But I remember feeling that...huh thinking back on it, I can't pick up anytime they were mean or hostile. I mean I was with Kurama so much of the time that I didn't really speak to or get to know anyone other than Daitaru and Nagato but...no. I can't think of anything. It's like I told Daitaru, everyone here is so nice...but that's because they're not mean.
I mean, the only significant interaction I've had with them is that dinner. And all they did was talk about my mom and how cute I was. But I do find it really weird how not one of them hates me for mom's death. I mean I know it wasn't my fault directly. But we've been distant from them for so long and then suddenly...all is forgiven?
I guess time really does heal all wounds!
"They weren't what I expected. I expected them to still be mad and blame me and shun me and stuff. But none of them really treated me badly. I think Kurama's love life means a lot to them." Or Daitaru made sure it meant a lot to them hehe.
"They kept cooing at me and making comparisons. Like, 'ra ra ra Kushina's son is so CUTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTEEEEEEEEEEE!' and 'EEEEEEEEEEEEE look at his plum cheeks!' 'Plum? I specifically remember Kushina being a tomato! And now her son must be too!'...I don't have plum cheeks do I? "
Dad bursted out laughing at that and I couldn't help but laugh too.
"That's you Naruto. You could charm anyone after all!"
Well I wouldn't say that. If I could then I'd-the door opened. Shoot! Please don't be work related!
Huh? It's Kurama?
He was looking at us curiously and then he just froze and looked all embarrassed.
"Oh!" He exclaimed. "It's you two. I just heard laughter and I thought-" he cut himself off. Why did he suddenly stop talking-oh...Heh. Poor guy.
"We're having fun in here." It was a risk but I wanted to take it. "Want to join us?"
"No! No. I mean. Carry on I'll go find something else-somewhere else to be." He left. I frowned.
"Well that was strange."
"Yeah." Not to me really. I guess seeing me and dad get along bothered him. I wish it didn't. It doesn't feel good at all seeing him sad and knowing why. It never did really. I should...at least make sure he's okay I mean. I have a month to finish talking to my dad-
"You've been acting weird all day and then now you invite him in?"
Oh right yeah. Wait this is perfect! I mean with how I've been acting, this isn't exactly where I expected to end up, but I can make work! Kyuubi's gotta wait until after I turn this talk in my favor! Err-our favor. Somehow.
"It's...complicated dad," I sigh, lowering my ears.
"Are you hurt?" Here it comes. Dad rushing over and grabbing and pulling and ugh.
"Dad. Do I look hurt?!"
"What about in here?" Dad touched my head. I don't think I have anything to say to that-wait our fight...where he...rejected me.
That...kinda stings to think about. But he said sorry for making me upset and he's been on his best behavior since but-but-but no I can't tell dad about that.
No, to do this just right requires something else.
"No. Kyuubi's great actually. He's a lot different from the others."
Dad sighed in relief. "That's good right?"
"It's complicated! Like I'm conflicted inside because Kyuubi is just a friend to me dad. But you guys want us to be mated. It's complicated because I want you to see he's my friend but I don't want you to think that we're like that you know?" Look down, lower ears even more, lower tail. Quiet voice! Dad KNOWS something is wrong whenever I get really quiet.
He fell for it of course like he always does. "Well...I mean are you sure? Are you absolutely 100% sure you feel no chemistry? It's only been a month after all and-"
"Dad..." I felt a little bad pulling his strings like this. But it is his fault I'm in this situation. He accepted Daitaru's proposal without talking to me about it. I should bring that up next time I talk to Kurama, just so he doesn't feel as bad.
"It's not that I want push you into this Naruto. But you should understand that this is a bit more difficult than just pulling you out. I need to be sure that you don't want this. You're sure he's not like the others."
"Far from them!" I quickly reassured him. "Do you need me to prove it to you? Pull out all the stops. Give us all you got. Nothing will make Kyuubi want to mate with me."
"Nor I him!" I shouted. I most certainly did not forget to add that on! I just didn't know if it was true. And I won't ever find out if I think he's too dramatic or perfectly except through force. After all, I'm not charming enough to convince him to stop being so stubborn willingly. Just a little push is all I-he-we need.
Dad didn't answer right away and I think I get it. He's not supposed to involve himself in this anymore and I know that but...It's not like he promised it! And Kurama's different! It'll be good for him to get involved this time around! He needs to see this one. Especially if my brand new plan is going to come through.
"...Alright. This month I'll help you along. I'll do just what you requested and if in a month's time nothing happens. I'll talk to Daitaru about pulling you out. Okay?"
"Great. Thanks dad." I smiled. So it's not a total betrayal. Kurama should be happy with this part at least. He should be very, very, very, very happy.
Yeah...He'll be happy...But at this point I'm still not sure if I will be so that's probably why it still stings to think that.
Hmmm. I wonder if Kurama's back in his room.
His room was right here and...yeah his scent is strong in there and I hear him breathing. I still feel a little bad for earlier. Maybe I still can cheer him up now. I-I don't need to tell him the very good news. That-That's a surprise that should come later!
But I can cheer him up by...hmm dad should be asleep right now...And no one else is around so...hehe it shouldn't hurt to keep up this old habit. It shouldn't hurt to try again. I mean so long as no one catches me, everything will still go according to my, um, plan! I just need to be careful, but no one is around so I don't have to be careful now. And he won't respond to this with what-he-did-earlier will he now? That fluke? No way!
I'll get the upper hand again!
"Are you masturbating in there?"
HAHA he just threw something against the door! But he's laughing. Good. It's almost better when he laughs.
"I'm trying to sleep Naruto! Go away!"
"Just making sure you're alright," I whisper. I don't think he appreciated my way of seeing if he's alright but hopefully he appreciated my attempt.
"Fair warning to get all the urges out now! I don't know how long you can go without it. A day? Two?...Sleep nicely!" I add.
Because it will be the last night of solitude you'll get for a while.
And finished! Yep short.
Some things of note:
1) Things that I really hope were worth the wait in this chapter: All of it. As I stated in the above A/N I did NOT want to post this if I felt it was of lesser quality than the previous chapters. I hope the funny stuff was still funny, the banter still witty, the characters and how they acted matched how they would believably act given the past few chapters, etc. I edited this baby many, many, many, many, (MANY) times. If you feel it did not meet your expectations then feel free to let me know.
2) Anything that was confusing was purposefully done so because
a) Naruto is really confused himself as established last chapter. He's had time to think and obviously has come up with his own 'plan' from now on, but he's still not sure of everything because he's clearly still hurting from Kyuubi's rejection.
b) For laughs. Naruto obviously isn't the planner of the group compared to Kyuubi who did so freaking well last month huh haha :D? But this is good because it shows much they need each other don't it?
c) There were a LOT of things introduced in this chapter that I want to spend more time on. The relationship between Kyuubi and Minato is a big one. The circumstances behind Kushina's death, more suitors, etc. A lot of the things here will get more explanation and chapter space dedicated to them because hey I got a month's worth of events to write ;P.
With that said I am willing to answer any and all questions. I mean don't expect spoilers but don't be afraid to ask for clarification on why certain things happened and certain things didn't happen, things in general, etc.
3) LOL now it's time for Kyuubi to reflect on his research :P. Oh and mess with Naruto's head a little. That will be fun to write. A flirtatious Kyuubi I mean. With a little practice he just might...hehe.
Okay so that's all I really needed to say. About what's coming next, I'm leaning towards DCLT but I know there are several other stories which are close to going 2 years without an update. But we'll have to see which one is easier and faster to write for. I mean I got time haha.
Lastly PLEASE tell me what you think! You all had to wait patiently for this and I am SO GRATEFUL! To show my gratefulness I need to give you a chapter that meets your standards so if it didn't feel free to tell me. Also feel free to tell me if you liked it as well haha :).