Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto
Summary: One-shot about Kurama and Naruto's new and improved relationship
Note: I wrote this in response to the recent manga chapters (up to chapter 571)


To say Naruto had just experienced a very long day would be an understatement. He had fought a war in multiple locations. He had battled and defeated the masked man's tailed beasts with everything he and the Kyuubi had.

Dead on his feet, he was more than ready for a good night's sleep. He was alone in the tent, guarded by Alliance ninja concealed in the shadows outside.

Naruto pulled back the blankets and slipped into bed with a soft sigh of satisfaction. His body ached and his chakra levels were shockingly low. He needed to rest and recharge.

He closed his eyes, snuggling into the soft pillow. He'd be fine in the morning...

'Naruto,' Kurama rumbled.

"What the hell do you want?" Naruto snapped aloud.

In an instant, the tent flap was flung open and three Shinobi, masked and armed to the teeth dashed inside.

Naruto dived out of bed and brandished the kunai he kept under his pillow with a snarl.

After a moment of silence, in which the ANBU and Naruto stared blankly at each other, Naruto put away his kunai and got back into bed, muttering darkly.

The Shinobi shook their heads and left the tent, closing the flap behind them.

'Note to self,' Naruto thought, 'No more speaking out loud to flea-bitten parasites.'

'You borrow my chakra, you ungrateful brat. Who's the parasite?' The Kyuubi retorted, though with less bite than usual.

'Whatever.' Naruto didn't have the energy to get into an argument with the beast, 'I need to sleep, Kurama. Stop bugging me.'

Silence fell and Naruto was almost tugged into a sweet slumber before he was roused again by the the beast's voice.

'I tire of this lull in activity. Let us find more enemies to kill.' Kurama suggested with a black glee.

Naruto barely suppressed a groan, 'What the hell? Go to sleep, Kurama. We need sleep.'

The Kyuubi snorted, 'You might need sleep, but I am a demon of immense power. I need neither rest nor relaxation.'

'You sleep. I've seen you sleep.' Naruto thought, projecting one of his memories of the slumbering Kyuubi at Kurama.

'A pretense. I need no sleep.' Kurama said dismissively.

Naruto turned over to lay on his side, scowling.

Deciding to ignore the beast, Naruto tried to relax and drift away from it all.

'I want to fight by your side again. It is night: the perfect time for a hunt. Let us bathe in the blood of our enemies.' Kyuubi growled eagerly.

'Look, you damn fox,' Naruto grouched, 'You might be an all-powerful tailed beast, but I'm a human man and I need to recover my chakra.'

Kyuubi huffed, dissatisfied.

'We'll do all that tomorrow, OK? Hunt... Kill...' Naruto scratched his belly, 'Probably not the blood bath part.'

Silence fell and Naruto began to relax with a sigh.

'Use my power again tomorrow.'

Naruto ground his teeth.

'I will, OK? We'll fight till I drop tomorrow! Are you happy now?' Naruto raged internally.

'Yes, because I am free.' Kurama said.

Naruto's anger cooled and suddenly he understood. Years of being cooped up behind bars with scant interaction. It must have been lonely, even for a jerk like the Kyuubi.

He let out a resigned sigh, 'The way things are going, there'll be plenty more fighting for us yet. But, right now, I'd die if I was attacked by that masked guy again, so I need to sleep.'

'Come here, Naruto. I will help you recover your chakra and strengthen our link.' Kurama said, his voice serious.

Naruto frowned, but did as he was told and appeared in that strange place in his being where Kurama lived.

It was no longer a sewer. The great barred gate was gone. It was dark and warm and peaceful. Tiny pinpricks of yellow light shone, like fireflies, from the walls and floor of the great chamber.

"It is your chakra." Kurama said, answering Naruto's question before he could even speak it.

The Kyuubi lay before before him like an enormous cat. It towered over him, making him feel quite small. There were no bars between them now. No chains were holding back the beast.

Naruto felt no fear, because he trusted Kurama. They had fought and won the day together, as comrades.

A great, furred hand reached out and Naruto climbed onto it.

Kurama held Naruto in close to his chest and set him down atop one of his soft, fluffy tails. Naruto sat down and looked up at the Kyuubi quizzically.

"Lie down and sleep here. I will keep watch while you sleep. Any attackers shall die."

Naruto smiled up at Kurama, who appeared to ignore him but for a small upturn of his lips.

Naruto lay back and relaxed, enjoying Kurama's warmth.

Neither of them were alone any more. It was good.