REVISED AS OF 8/30/15
As I was cleaning up this chapter, I came across a particular scene I wasn't sure turned out that great the first time around, so I took this opportunity to change it up. I'm sure some of you veteran readers know what I'm talking about. To say more would kinda spoil it for the new readers, so just scroll down to the bottom A/N for where it is if you want to find it right away instead of reading through this chapter.
Other than that particular scene, this chapter just looks cleaner and flowing a bit better. Hope you'll enjoy!
I've been busy lately because of a situation with one of my relatives that required my attention the past few months. I finally managed to get this chapter out despite all that. I was writing a 40,000 words chapter when I realized the first half was mostly polished while the second was utter crap so I thought...why keep you waiting another week or so for a quality 40K words chapter when I can give you two quality 20K chapters in succession. Here you go!
Let's get you guys started on the first chapter posted under the new title 'Outfoxed'!
Thanks goes to LoverofLemon for his help in getting this chapter to look good. Hope you'll enjoy this silly chapter. :-)
WARNING: This story has mature language, sexual themes, and graphic depictions of violence and gore.
DISCLAIMER: I do not own Naruto or any of its characters.
Chapter 21: That Blond Bastard!
Hokage's office at sunrise
Sarutobi Hiruzen, the Third Hokage of Konohagakure, was trying his best to contain his happiness at the sight in front of him. Still, some of it still showed on his wizened face. After all, his youngest son finally came home after being away for a long time.
He observed the tall and broad-shouldered brown-haired man, standing before him in a relaxed pose with one hand in his pants pocket and the other holding a lit cigarette, for the first time in years since Sarutobi Asuma temporarily left this village's military for his post with the Fire Daimyo's 'Twelve Guardians' protection unit.
Asuma's pointed beard, neatly trimmed along his strong jawline that continued up into sideburns, was new, as was the loose white sash hanging around his waist with a stylized red kanji for 'Fire' displayed prominently on the front, proudly denoting his past affiliation with the Twelve Guardians. Other than those differences, Hiruzen noted his son still looked similar to when he left so long ago in his normal jounin outfit; even his well-tanned skin and spiky dark brown hair swept back over his hitai-ate were still the same. Yet…he was able to tell Asuma had grown tremendously within. His hotheaded and cocky young son seemed to have been tempered by experience and years into a laid-back but confident man now.
The man grinned lazily as he took a quick drag and let out a puff, before speaking.
"Sarutobi Asuma requesting permission to rejoin your command, Hokage-sama."
It was just a formality, but it had to be said. Hiruzen grinned as he signed some paperwork.
"Sarutobi Asuma is hereby fully reinstated under the command of the Third Hokage. You will receive your previous rank of jounin effective immediately. Welcome home, son." he replied happily as he reached across the desk to shake hands firmly with his youngest offspring.
"It's good to be here, pops. I've had a good time with the Twelve Guardians but I decided it's time to stop being a brat and come back." the younger Sarutobi's tone became a little melancholy at the end, and Hiruzen understood why. They didn't part peacefully when Asuma suddenly decided to leave the village and join the Daimyo's court as one of his guardians. Although they made up in letters to each other in the years since, they still had some leftover regret about how they nearly came to blows that day.
"When did you get back? Imagine my surprise to see you standing before me first thing this morning." Hiruzen spoke up conversationally to get away from that awkward topic. Asuma looked a little relieved at the change in subjects too.
"Just last night. I came across an interesting sight when I stepped through the main gate, though. I know I've been gone for a long time, but I would think I'd know about a possible invasion from any hostile force before I even got here. Yet…I was noticing what seemed to be nearly the entire ANBU force patrolling the village as if they were getting ready for a major attack from any direction." he commented with a raised eyebrow while taking a drag. Hiruzen let out a tired sigh and reached for his treasured smoking pipe to calm his slightly frazzled nerves.
"Uzumaki Naruto happened." was his short reply as he prepared his pipe with furrowed brow. Asuma's other eyebrow joined the first one high up on his forehead. He then let out a chuckle, expelling some smoke at the same time as well.
"That little gaki that was always hanging around you, huh? I could tell he was going to be a troublemaker like his mother even back then. The ramblings I overheard about 'that goddamn blond bastard' suddenly makes sense now." he replied fondly. He knew about Naruto's connection to Kushina and Minato; it was hard not to when half of his family were involved one way or another in keeping Kushina's pregnancy and the subsequent birth a secret.
"He's been terrorizing the population with his pranks for years, and the ANBU are especially his favorite targets. He recently declared a massive prank day as a send-off for his upcoming graduation, and everyone's on edge because we don't know when it'd happen. Thank Kami he's promised to tone down his pranks by quite a bit when he registers as one of our shinobi." the Third expounded further as he pinched the bridge of his nose.
"Seems like I just came back at the right time then. I'll be sure to enjoy the fireworks, pops." Asuma replied with a lazy grin as he nonchalantly flicked his spent cigarette out a nearby open window.
Hiruzen let out a derisive snort before lighting his pipe.
"Easy for you to say when you don't have to worry about being one of his possible targets, Asuma-kun."
"You're damn right. Anyway…it's been a long time since I last saw him. He seemed lonely back then."
"He has grown up splendidly with many friends around him. He seems to be genuinely happy now. You also would be very interested to know he also has high affinity for wind and fire."
Asuma's face lit up.
"Great! I'll have to keep an eye out for him later." he had every reason to be excited about finding another person who had that rare combination of elements, especially on the part of wind. He hoped it would be possible to strike up some sort of an agreement to discuss what they knew about their elements, and likely trade or create new jutsu in the future. Knowledge about the wind element was very limited in this village and anything to improve that situation would be very welcome.
"How are his skills as a shinobi? I'm curious because there were conflicting rumors going around the capital a little while ago. They were about his supposed exploits with Jiraiya-sama in the Land of Iron. Thought I'd hear the truth straight from you, pops." he inquired with clear interest. The old Hokage wasn't surprised to hear this. It was major news when Jiraiya and Naruto crashed into Konoha on Gamabunta and there were all kinds of wild rumors for some time because of their horrific conditions upon arrival. Their decidedly public, and literally earth-shaking, departure from Iron and Mifune's reluctant banning of Jiraiya from its borders for some time didn't help matters either. It would have been downright idiotic to assume those rumors would have stayed within the village's perimeter wall.
"What did you hear?"
"That he took on an entire battalion of unknown shinobi and house-sized demons alone in the mountains and came out with only minor scratches. Another popular rumor is that he was ambushed and captured before Jiraiya-sama rescued him. I also liked the one where the kid and Jiraiya-sama battled each other to the death with the cold and harsh mountains of Iron as the backdrop." Asuma spoke out the last sentence with a dramatic flair as he swept his left arm out as if to present the whole imagery in front of him. An amused grin showed he certainly didn't believe any of those rumors.
The Third smirked as he inhaled on his pipe, searching a little for some taste of that delicious tobacco imported from Iwa through barely 'legal' means.
"Which one was accepted by the capital's majority as the most likely occurrence?"
"Definitely the Jiraiya-sama rescue by a long shot. Not that I believe it."
"Why not? It's certainly more plausible than the others. Almost all the people here, including the shinobi who weren't privy to the details, accepted that one to be the likely truth as well."
"It's a little too clear-cut for me. It sounded like a carefully weaved lie if you made sure to read between the lines."
Hiruzen nodded in understanding as he puffed several times to fan the burning tobacco in the pipe.
"It sounds like Jiraiya-kun's counter-intelligence tactics using his spies are in full swing. We don't want to have anyone believe Naruto-kun defeated all ten of his would-be captors by himself. We need everyone, especially Orochimaru, to hear that it was Jiraiya-kun who interfered with the capture."
Some anger and concern flashed across Asuma's face.
"That damn traitor was the one who wanted him!? Did he manage to get away without getting hurt?"
The Third's dark expression told him otherwise.
"It was touch and go for a little while, but he barely pulled through and I'm certain he came out of this tougher, both mentally and physically." he remarked with some bittersweet pride. Asuma smirked and nodded, looking impressed.
"Sounds like he's plenty talented. I wonder if I could get him on my genin team." he pondered, not really expecting anything to come out of this. It was still worth a shot, though. After all, it was not every day when one got the chance to train the son of the Yellow Flash and the Red Hot-Blooded Habanero.
"He's already quite strong and I honestly believe he'll easily surpass his father someday. However, I'm afraid he's already spoken for." the Third replied with an amused grin as he watched his son snap his fingers in feigned disappointment. He then leaned back in his chair with a curious expression.
"So you're considering being a jounin-sensei as soon as you've come back?"
His son shrugged nonchalantly.
"As much as I'd like to think I've kept up my training and improved my skills while I was gone, I think I should at least ease back into the force at first. Figured being a sensei would be a good way to do that while I occasionally take top-tier missions."
Hiruzen nodded sagely as he puffed on his pipe several more times.
"Then it's a good thing I have a likely team in mind for you as soon as this coming graduation. I'll give you the details later. For now, you should take it easy and get in touch with your old friends. You'll be busy enough soon."
The newly reinstated jounin nodded before turning with a wave over his shoulder.
"I stayed in a hotel last night so I need to find a place to live now. I'll also be visiting the family house later tonight to see how Aniki and Kanae-chan are doing. Last time I saw them, Konohamaru was two, I think. By the way…"
He stopped at the office's door and turned his head to show his father an amused grin. Hiruzen did not like that expression.
"I have a feeling that 'prank day' is happening today."
A shiver went down the old man's spine.
"P-please elaborate, Asuma-kun."
"Just some observations. First, I noticed something very interesting on the monument. I might've overlooked it completely if it wasn't for the fact I just came back last night and wanted to take in the old sights leisurely on my way here. Lastly, unless you've changed your smoking habits since the last time I saw you, I think he's got you already. It's good seeing you, pops." Asuma answered before leaving the office with a chuckle.
Hiruzen sighed tiredly. He wasn't able to see the Hokage Monument from where his office was located in the building sitting below it. Right now, it was too early in the morning for an old man like him to get outside on the roof and see what his surrogate grandson was up to, so he put that off for later.
Moving on, he wondered what his son meant about his smoking as he removed his pipe to check it over carefully. The long and ornate white pipe seemed fine. The tobacco stuffed into the open end was a little damp but nothing to worry about. The large floating soap bubbles were what he expected as well.
The Third's eyes widened as he glanced around the office to see many large bubbles full of swirling smoke floating around and above his desk. He also finally noticed the faint soapy taste in his mouth that just ruined the flavor of his favorite brand of tobacco. How the hell did Naruto get into his tobacco supply?! It was always on him!
"He did not just fuck with my precious! That goddamn blond bastard!" he muttered grumpily after a moment of stunned disbelief.
Just then, a smoke-filled bubble floated in close enough to pop on his pointed nose and its released content irritated his eyes slightly, as if to mock him.
Rooftop near a hidden ANBU HQ's entrance
Uzumaki Naruto, now back in his orange outfit after a quick detour to his apartment, yawned as he stretched his entire body like a fox. He then sat on the edge of a roof watching over an unassuming twenty-four/seven dry cleaning shop that hid the one of many entrances to the large underground ANBU HQ.
He chuckled at the cleverness of his nemesis to hide in plain sight like this.
Mixed in with the regular customers were actual ANBU discretely reporting in for their out-of-village missions while picking up clean outfits and mission-specific supplies hidden in the store's official bags. Most of the missions usually were very time-sensitive and this way made it easier for any agent to get in and out as soon as possible while giving any possible spy very little time to warn ahead. Only the Hokage and Dragon directly handed out the most delicate missions.
The ANBU who were doing village patrols and domestic business only needed to slip in or out through the underground entrance hidden in the back, or any of the other entrances, which were disguised as unassuming businesses too. Meanwhile, ANBU rotated undercover agents as employees to guard all of those businesses, making it very difficult for spies to slip by even if they knew of these locations. To throw them off even more, ANBU regularly entered the Hokage's Tower as decoys to fool all but the most cautious spies into thinking that was where the main activity happened, but it was still only a 'side' entrance into the HQ.
Naruto yawned again since he hadn't slept a wink last night due to all the work he did setting up his pranks. Speaking of that, it was about time for his surrogate grandfather's prank to be discovered. Glancing over at the Hokage Tower in the distance, he smirked when he saw some bubbles floating out of the Hokage's office through an open window.
"Nice job getting one over our esteemed leader, Uzumaki-san. That would also explain why you painted the Third's bust like that."
A calm but distorted voice crackled behind him with a humorous undertone. Naruto raised an eyebrow and glanced over his shoulder to find Commander Dragon of the ANBU standing behind him. To almost anyone else, Dragon looked and acted like a male, but Naruto knew the truth. Hidden under the white horned dragon mask, heavy white cloak, and an impressive genjutsu was a lithe, powerful, and deadly woman who could give even the strongest shinobi a run for his money. With all of her features hidden, just two people knew her true identity.
After the Fourth's unfortunate death, only one remained now in the Third.
"It's a masterpiece, isn't it?" Naruto replied smugly as he glanced up to the Hokage Monument looming large above the two of them. At this point, the sun rose enough to shine its light on the large mountain face. Beginning with the First's bust, Naruto had painted it to look like Hashirama was smoking marijuana and enjoying a very nice high with his pleasant and bloodshot half-lidded expression. Next, Tobirama was made to look like he was having a nosebleed and leering at a small portrait of Naruto's sexy form striking a pose next to the head. Hiruzen's bust had a half-lidded dumb expression, like he was caught unaware, while smoking a pipe with several bubbles floating out of the pipe's end. Finally, the Fourth had thick yellow eyebrows and was winking with a huge and sparkling smile. A painted-on hand forming a thumb-up gesture next to his head completed the picture. It was apparent Naruto was imitating Maito Gai's exuberant nature here. He was very tempted to paint on a word bubble with the kanji for 'YOUTH!' but stopped himself just short. He wanted it to be funny, not scary.
"Masterpiece or not, the populace certainly will be offended." Dragon commented calmly as she admired Naruto's artwork. She would never admit this to anyone but it actually made her laugh out loud at the humor and audacity when she first noticed it. She also wouldn't tell anyone she hadn't noticed the monument being defaced until long after the deed had been done.
"That's the best way to get the entire village without having to prank each individual. Amazing as I am, there's no way I could've done that in just one night even with my army of clones." Naruto replied as he stretched his arms overhead before turning his head back to look at Dragon again.
"I'm honored you thought I'm worthy of your attention, but how long have you been following me, Dragon? I never noticed you at all."
"Since after your clones painted over the monument. I feel special to be the first to have seen your new shinobi outfit, by the way."
Naruto shivered. This woman was scary! That was almost at the beginning of the operation and neither he nor Kurama noticed all night. To think she could've just stopped him at any moment, and he wouldn't even know what hit him.
I did tell you I have an easier time sensing anyone if they emit even a slight hint of any emotion close by. It's obvious she's in complete control. Kurama admitted with some begrudging respect for Dragon's skills before smirking.
Definitely would make it sweeter if you were the one to get through her guard, have her open up to you, and hear her scream your name while you screw her brain out!
It took all Naruto had to control his blush in front of the imposing ANBU Commander.
Too bad for you I have no plan to do that, ero-vixen! he retorted.
I doubt you planned to have two females share you with number three coming soon either. Kurama shot back smugly, hiding her slight elation at being called a vixen by him. He grumbled inwardly, unable to respond to that.
"Uzumaki-san?" Dragon's slightly concerned voice cut in before Naruto could think up more retorts for Kurama. This time, he did blush in embarrassment at being caught spacing out.
"S-sorry, Kurama was commenting on your skills. You're pretty scary to be able to avoid even her detection all night." he answered quickly to avoid any possibility of Dragon figuring out they were talking about her in a less-than-professional light.
"I was just observing."
"Even when I'm pranking your subordinates? It's just weird that you didn't even try to stop me."
"Let's just say I'm on a break and I have no inclination to apprehend you. Plus, think of this as recon for me. By following you, I was able to see where the latest holes in my force's security were and determine how to seal them later."
"I feel so used." Naruto sighed in mock shame. Dragon chuckled, and he thought the sound was pleasant despite the mask distorting her voice. She then stepped closer to the blonde.
He nodded, knowing exactly what she was asking and just sat still with his head turned toward her. Her slender arms emerged out of the cloak as she reached him and carefully removed his eyepatch with her left hand. She then ran a medical diagnostic jutsu on his left socket area with the other hand, its long fingers touching around the eye and the scar slashing across it with unexpected tenderness. Naruto was surprised to feel some warmth in Dragon's touch and she smirked upon noticing the apparent confusion on his face.
"I wasn't always the Commander, you know."
"Could've fooled me. I just thought of you as a baby in black nappies with that mask, and it's the most adorable-ow!"
Naruto was silenced by a light smack to his forehead. Despite that, the ANBU couldn't control her amused smile under the mask.
"Before I earned that position, one of my missions was to help take care of you as an infant because Hokage-sama trusted me to guard and provide for you nearly every day while the village recovered from the disaster. Emotions were running high, and there were people openly willing to kill you for what you hold, until we managed to quell that." she explained quietly as the diagnostic continued. Naruto raised an eyebrow.
"Don't you hate brats? You've said it yourself many times. Nearly every time you've caught me in the past, in fact."
She smirked slightly, but showed no outward reaction.
"I'll have to amend that statement and admit there was one that wormed his way into my consciousness despite my best efforts. Not even I, who did nothing but train to be the top ANBU since my early years, could be completely immune to babies. Even a loud and demanding one like you, little Naru-chan." she surprised herself by briefly teasing him with the name she called him when he was a baby, but was rewarded with a blush and a sincere smile of gratitude that warmed even her aloofness.
"Thank you for taking care of me, Dragon. I appreciate that. Any reason why you're checking my eye now, though?"
"Just making sure there are no issues. It's not like just any doctor could do follow-ups since it's still classified. I'll have to do this once in a while. For now, it seems the Sharingan's fully assimilated with your optical, neural, and chakra pathways. It's like you were born with this eye." she commented quietly as she cancelled the jutsu and replaced the eyepatch. Naruto smiled brightly, and it was so infectious Dragon couldn't help but smile a little as well under her mask.
"Good to hear. Kurama's gonna have a big head about doing such a fine job, though."
Damn right I am, foolish mortals! No human will ever copy this feat. his tenant declared proudly.
Dragon drew back into her cloak and stood next to the blonde. She was obviously interested in having an question answered.
"So how did you lure him out here?"
The Inuzuka compound
Inuzuka Kiba's eyes fluttered open, disturbed by the rays of sunlight intruding into his room through the windows. Letting out a loud yawn, he forced himself to roll out of bed and stagger to his feet. Like he usually did every morning, the Inuzuka heir absentmindedly reached down to scoop up his beloved companion, Akamaru, from the bed and put the puppy on the top of his head. At that point, he sneezed loudly.
Hm…wonder if it's been chilly last night? he pondered to himself as he lazily scratched his rear end while exiting the room.
Another sneeze came while he was in the bathroom brushing his teeth, making him spit the minty foam out all over the mirror. His eyes became itchy and blurry at this moment.
"I think something's wrong with me, Akamaru." he muttered as he rubbed his eyes. He felt his companion shift on the top of his head.
"And I think you've lost some weight. I'll have to ask nee-san about your diet later."
A moment later, he stepped into the house's common area, where the rest of this house's occupants were already seated at the dining table eating their breakfast.
Inuzuka Tsume, the beautiful clan head and his mother, was reading over the village and clan news. His older, and equally attractive, sister, Hana, was seated next to their mother biting into some bacon. Their large companion dogs were lazily lounging around on the floor around them. He grimaced a little as usual upon seeing their sleeping attires, which were just tank tops and athletic underwear. He didn't need to see his own mother and sister like that almost every morning. However, anytime he did complain about it, they poked fun at him, so he gave up on that. Not much he could do since they could easily kick his ass into next week. He briefly wondered if his father had the right idea about running away from this crazy family, but shook it off when he remembered how cowardly that was.
"Mornin', pup. You sure took your time waking up, especially since you have kennel duty today." Tsume commented, not looking up from her papers, and Hana just waved in his general direction, her attention still on the food. Kiba let out another sneeze and blinked through some more itchiness in his eyes.
"Mornin'. I'm a little sluggish, and I dunno why since I was feeling great last night." he muttered in response as he took his seat at the table and gathered his portion of the breakfast.
Hana finally directed her attention from her meal to her younger brother to check him over. Despite being a veterinarian, she did have some medical training for treating humans. Her brown eyes widened as she noticed something off about him and had to hold in her sudden laughter. Kiba was still eating his breakfast so he didn't notice her nudge their mother's elbow with the other hand tightly clamped over her mouth.
Annoyed, Tsume snapped to Hana to tell her to quit it, but raised a quizzical eyebrow when she noticed her now red-faced daughter was pointing frantically in Kiba's direction. Confused, she followed the gesture to finally see something was different about her son. She couldn't contain a snort.
"What's wrong, mom?" Kiba glanced over at his mother and sister upon hearing that, only to see they were obviously seeing something funny about him. His eyes narrowed.
"What're you finding so funny?"
Hana couldn't say anything, as she was too busy holding in everything with both hands clamped over her mouth. Tsume was far more composed but there was obvious mirth in her eyes and smirk as she gave her son an appraising look.
"Oi...did you decide to make a rather important change recently, pup?"
Confused, Kiba shook his head. Hana was now letting bursts of giggles escape through her clamped mouth while Tsume's smirk widened even more.
"Then I suppose that rumored 'prank day' is today." she chuckled while Hana wasn't able to contain herself anymore and began slapping a hand on the table with howling laughter. Kiba frowned in confusion. He knew about Naruto's plan, but he wouldn't prank his friends, right?
"Akamaru, Naruto wouldn't do anything to us, would he?" he spoke up to his companion still perched on his head for assurance. However, he didn't hear the replying bark as expected.
His eyes widened. Now Tsume couldn't help herself anymore and was hanging on to her daughter as they howled with laughter. Shakily, Kiba reached up to take ahold of his 'companion' and moved the animal down in front of his face to confirm.
A pure white kitten, held by the scruff of its neck, was staring back at him, its light grey slitted eyes narrowed in utter contempt. Kiba shivered. He wouldn't have minded cats if it wasn't for the fact he was quite allergic to them. That certainly explained his sneezing and sluggishness since waking up.
It came without warning when he suddenly sneezed all over the kitten.
He thought it wasn't possible but his mother and sister laughed even harder now as they fell to the floor clutching their stomachs.
He swore he saw a tick mark form on the slimy kitten's forehead, and didn't have time to react when sharp and deadly claws popped out of one of its paws and slashed across his face.
Naruto and Dragon
A little white puppy barked from his spot on Naruto's lap when Dragon commented on his presence.
"Akamaru? I just had to encourage him to let me switch him with a kitten. Kiba's terrified of any cat because of his allergy. He's also a lousy morning person so I imagine he wouldn't have noticed the switcheroo until it was too late. I thought you were tailing me." Naruto teased with a knowing smirk as he absentmindedly scratched the small dog behind his ears, making him thump one of his hind legs lightly.
"I was following you from a distance. With the exception of the Hyuugas, you got in and out of the other clan compounds rather quickly." Dragon defended slightly with some pink on her cheeks, happy her mask was hiding it. Naruto smirked and lifted Akamaru up to eye level for a face-to-face.
"You're so loyal to Kiba, yet you willingly abandoned him to my prank when I bribed you. What's up with that?" he mock-accused the dog. Akamaru did not look abashed at all as he barked his reply proudly.
"You'd do anything for some pig ears, huh? No hesitation at all." the blonde retorted with a foxy smirk. Dragon was shaking her head exasperatedly at the one-sided banter. Naruto then put the dog down next to him and tossed him one more pig ear he got out of his pouch.
"Go on back to him, you little glutton. Prank should be done by now and I'm sure he'll worry if you've been gone too long." he shooed with a chuckle. Akamaru yipped and nodded his head before hopping down several ledges to the street to run in the direction of the Inuzuka compound.
"You certainly have a way with animals." Dragon's remark was laced with mirth. His only reply was an unapologetic shrug.
"So what did you do with the others?
The Hyuuga compound
Hinata and Hanabi stood in the hallway outside their bedrooms staring at each other in curious silence. They just stepped out at the same time in their yukata only to see there was something different about the other. Hanabi was the first to smirk and break the silence.
"With those huge breasts, I didn't think anything could manage to make you look childish anymore. However, it seems I was mistaken, nee-chan." she giggled as she checked out Hinata's new hairstyle. Her long and beautiful princess-cut hair was now tied and split into two braided pigtails at the back of her neck. They were wound so tightly they actually stuck out to the sides instead of hanging down her back, and each end of the pigtails had bright yellow decorative ribbons. Add in the seam running over the exact center of her head, and this style did make her look more like a little girl than a maturing beauty at the moment.
Hinata's eyes narrowed at this rare show of sibling rivalry before displaying her own smirk.
"You're one to speak, baby sister. Did you have a look in a mirror yet?" she emphasized the word 'baby' and Hanabi's smirk was wiped off her face immediately. Of course she couldn't really retort as her own long hair had been pulled up into adorable twintails that were tied high up the sides and flowed down to her shoulders in large twirls. To top it all off, the tails were tied using very cute orange fox-themed decorative hair ties. It made the petite girl look very childish as a result.
The two sisters stared at each other with narrowed eyes for a moment, before sighing at the same time.
"Naruto-kun did this." Hinata stated decisively with her little sister nodding.
"How did he manage to pull this off in a compound full of Byakugan users?"
Hinata frowned as she picked at one of her pigtails, trying to loosen it one more time. Of course, Naruto somehow made it impossible to undo the ties. She suspected seals were involved.
"You've known him for as long as I have. The list of things he has done that were supposed to be impossible for anyone else to achieve is always growing, and I've learned not to question that anymore."
Hanabi had to concede that point.
"Do you think he did this to anyone else here, nee-chan?" she asked as they moved down the hallway to the common area for their breakfast, resigned to spending some time with their hair stuck in those styles. Knowing Naruto, whatever was keeping the new hairstyles in place should disperse soon. He never allowed any of his pranks to go on too long and/or cross the line into malicious.
"I can't imagine him managing to get one over Father, Hanabi-chan. I think we're the only ones he-!" Hinata was cut off as the sisters face-faulted at the sight that greeted them. Hiashi was sitting quietly at the head of the breakfast table with Tomoe, who laughed warmly when she saw the girls' hairstyles and their reaction. Their beloved caretaker wasn't spared, since her long thigh-length black hair had been weaved into a beautiful and complex three-strand braid that ran down her back. However, that wasn't what stunned the sisters. Naruto managed to get Hiashi too!
He was reading over some reports in front of him, his usually calm and stoic expression in place. However, he was sporting a totally different hairsylte.
The sisters couldn't believe that Naruto had the gall to use cornrows, of all the possible choices out there, on the powerful clan head!
They formed a classy and complex pattern that flowed into thin dreadlocks at the neck and went down to his shoulders. This style was very well done and made him look even more regal and somewhat exotic, as evidenced by a slight dusting of pink on Tomoe's cheeks whenever she gazed at her lord.
"F-father!" Hinata squeaked in shock as she rose shakily from the floor along with an equally stunned Hanabi.
"Good morning, my daughters. Hurry and eat before your breakfast gets cold." Hiashi spoke as if there was nothing going on. It took the sisters a long moment to stop staring and shake off their shock before they moved to their seats at the table. As they all ate, the women couldn't contain a giggle or two that escaped whenever they peeked at the clan head's temporary hairstyle. Just as they finished eating…
"It seems Naruto-san has decided to strike today."
Hiashi's statement, delivered in perfect monotone as he continued to read, was the last straw for the females and they broke into a laughing fit.
They didn't notice him smirking slightly. He always did enjoy watching them being happy like this, even if it was at his expense. Plus, the cornrows did make him look damn badass, in his opinion.
The females were able to calm down just when there was a knock at the door connecting the common area to the front entranceway. The females straightened up and made sure they were decent in their yukata before Hiashi put the papers in his hands down, uncaring if anyone else saw his new hairstyle.
The door slid open slowly to reveal a very annoyed Neji. His stoic expression would have been perfectly calm if it wasn't being broken up by a violent twitch of facial muscles every few seconds. The reason for this was the most ridiculous hairstyle anyone had ever seen.
His long hair had been split into three outrageous braids, two of them sticking half a foot straight out from the sides above his ears and the third reaching a foot high into the air from the top of his head. They were very ugly braids since they were poorly weaved, had blindingly colorful hair ties every couple inches, and the ends were frayed.
It took all the composure the women had to not burst out laughing, and they sat very still at the table trying their best not to look at Neji. Hiashi calmly stared at his nephew for a long moment, though only Hinata managed to notice the slightest upward twitch at the corners of his lips.
"It seems there is something different about you today, nephew." he remarked dryly.
Neji's entire body twitched violently before he took a deep breath to calm himself. The women were vibrating with repressed laughter at this point.
"Uncle, I…I request permission to locate and terminate the person responsible for the attack on our clan. This-" Neji growled slightly as he pointed at his hair. "-has been done to most of our kin."
Hiashi raised an eyebrow.
"This is just a harmless prank. Besides, I have already checked. Whomever this person was,…" the women and Neji almost snorted at his blatant omission of the 'intruder's' identity. "…he apparently made sure to exclude those who were scheduled to take care of essential business outside this compound today in order to preserve our image. Also, there was a note on this table." Hiashi picked up a small piece of paper for all to see. Hinata leaned in since she was the closest.
"Enjoy your fun new hairstyles! If you don't like it, you can change back at noon. Send my apologies to a gentleman named Neji since I needed someone to practice my hairstyling skills on first." she read out loud and almost cooed at the cute drawing of a squinting fox's head giving a 'peace' sign at the end.
Neji's left eye twitched violently at being considered a practice dummy.
"It's only for a few hours? That's too bad." Tomoe commented with a slight pout while glancing at Hiashi's cornrows.
"I have training in thirty minutes. Is that not an 'important business'?" Neji ground out through gritted teeth.
"Then you will need to leave soon, nephew. It will likely take longer to get to the training field using stealth. Once there, you should not have to worry about being seen by the public for the day." Hiashi replied dismissively. Neji looked like he was going to burst a blood vessel for a moment before bowing stiffly, his hairstyle making this action utterly ridiculous. He then closed the door to leave them in silence. It wasn't long until Hanabi thumped her forehead down on the table with her hands gripping the edge tightly due to a bad case of the giggles, unable to speak now as she repeatedly tried, and failed, to regain control. Tomoe was biting her knuckles to keep from following suit.
"F-father, isn't it mean sending Neji-niisan out l-like that?" Hinata managed to get out, somehow keeping her composure unlike her sister, even with the memory of Neji's ridiculous hairstyle burned into her mind forever.
"Naruto-san apparently succeeded in infiltrating this compound full of Byakugan users with no issue. While I admire his sheer audacity and skills, I am also disappointed in this clan's lack of alertness and security, including my own awareness. This will do as a harmless but humbling punishment on those caught unaware and serve as a reminder of our complacence."
Hinata understood the reasoning. She then frowned as she tugged on her braided pigtails again, a little annoyed at her boyfriend for doing this to her. She would have to get back at him soon for this.
Her father then picked up some reports to finish reading.
"Today should be a slow day for the clan, so let us stay in and enjoy our quiet time. Something tells me we absolutely must not go out into the village." he stated and the females quickly nodded in complete agreement, not wanting to be caught in the middle of whatever would happen out there.
Naruto wasn't holding back today.
The Nara compound
Nara Shikamaru yawned and stretched in his bed.
"Troublesome." he hated waking up at this time, but it was the latest his mother allowed him to sleep in before threatening bodily harm for him to get out of bed. It was less troublesome for him to get up now instead of dealing with her nagging.
Just as he was about to shrug his blanket off, his bleary eyes caught sight of something off about his room. He blinked several times to clear his sleepy vision and suddenly froze in horror. He then whimpered before pulling his blanket back over his head.
"Damn you, troublesome bastard!" he cursed from under the shaking blanket.
The reasons for this rather extreme reaction were lining the four walls of his bedroom. Some were even hanging from the ceiling. Of course, they were all frying pans of various sizes and designs; a stark reminder of his overbearing mother's propensity for using them to get her way rather violently with the lazy men of the Nara household.
He shouldn't have let it slip to Naruto he had an irrational fear of these damn things!
The Akimichi compound
Choji was yawning lazily as he walked out of his family's house toward the compound's main meat storage unit to retrieve ingredients for his parents to cook. As benefitting the Akimichi clan's healthy appetite for anything meat, the unit was almost as large as a decent-sized house.
This young man was practically drooling at the idea of getting to enjoy some bacon, sausage, fish, and more bacon this morning.
As he opened the door to revel in the glorious sight of all the meat around him, he froze solid with wide eyes and mouth hanging open. He didn't move a single inch for several minutes until Choza, his father, finally came out of the house to see what was the hold up. He noticed his horrified son and looked curiously into the storage unit before freezing solid too, his expression the same as Choji's. More men then came out of the various houses around the compound to see what was wrong before they too all stiffened upon seeing what was inside the storage unit.
Finally, the women grumbled in annoyance as they stepped out of their houses in search of the missing males, only to see all their men staring open-mouthed into the storage unit as if it was the very depth of hell itself. Choji's mother nudged her way through the petrified crowd to the storage unit's door and peeked in. She snorted in amusement before turning back to the women with a smirk.
"It seems 'someone' has replaced all the meat in storage with nothing but vegetables and fruits. I guess we'll be actually having a healthy breakfast this morning!" she announced, much to the women's laughter. Choza snapped out of his nightmarish trauma at last.
"This is sacrilege! No one messes with our precious; not even him!" he roared with steam coming out of his nose like a bull. He then began rallying all the men to search for the blond heretic and teach him a lesson.
It wouldn't be discovered for several hours that all Naruto did was switch the contents of the fresh produce storage unit with all the meat. Their obsession and urgency in finding their precious meat was such that they failed to take the five seconds to check the fresh produce storage, which was sitting right next door to the meat storage.
All of their precious meat have been hidden under their noses the whole time.
The Yamanaka compound
"How the hell did he do this?!" Inoichi muttered in astonishment as he stood still in nothing but his boxers staring into the dresser's mirror at himself. He had just gotten out of bed and immediately found that his long hair had somehow changed colors from its usual pale blond to brown overnight. He also noticed that this was the same shade of light brown as his lovely wife's hair. Speaking of Kana, where was she? She wasn't in bed when he woke up.
As if to answer his question, the beautiful woman announced her appearance by humming a catchy tune as if it was her 'entrance music', before twirling slowly and gracefully through the attached bathroom's door with her arms curving up over her head like a ballerina, before finishing with a sensual pose in the middle of the bedroom. She then flipped her curly and pale blond hair back with a whip of her head before reaching up with both hands to fan out her long hair to show off for her dumbfounded husband.
He was so stunned by how exquisite she looked with the new hair color that he only noticed just now she was also completely nude for his eyes to take in every inch of her flawless beauty.
"I. Look. Fabulous!" she happily declared with spread arms as if she was standing before a cheering audience, obviously pleased with this. At this breathtaking sight, Inoichi immediately forgot about how their hair colors had been switched and smirked roguishly. He stepped up behind his wife and gently wrapped his arms around her slim waist to pull her firmly against him, letting his actions and body do the talking for him. Her pleased gasp when her backside pressed up against something hard nearly sent all his rational thoughts out the window. He was so close to ravishing her at that moment.
"Apparently you're liking this very much, darling." Kana murmured seductively with a dazzling smile before turning her head to gaze up at him with unrestrained desire and love in her hazel eyes. He looked damn good with brown hair, after all.
"We'll have to thank a certain someone for helping spice up our morning a little; even if it was unintentional." Inoichi growled huskily as he leaned in to lay light kisses on her neck, eliciting a quivering sigh from her as she leaned back against his chest, silently begging for his hands to touch every inch of her. He was only too happy to comply.
"I-I wonder what c-color he p-put on Ino-chan?" she managed to breathe out a moment later despite being slowly driven out of her mind from her husband's expert ministrations.
"WHY DO I HAVE SAKURA-CHAN'S PINK HAIR!?" a young woman's voice shrieked down the hall from their bedroom. The amorous couple instantly stopped their play and fell silent for a few seconds, before bursting into laughter. After a moment, Kana hummed sexily as she turned in her husband's arms to face him with both hands on his chest. She then formed a predatory smile that made him shiver in all the good ways.
"There's our answer. She'll have to deal with that on her own for now, though. How about we continue, my handsome brown-haired husband? The door's already locked." she whispered the last sentence huskily before gently shoving her surprised man back to sprawl out on their bed. Grinning, she then slowly and sensually crawled onto him, somehow divesting him of his boxers in the process as well.
As he took in the magnificent sight of his naked and incredibly horny wife sporting his blond hair color, Inoichi could only think one thing as she leaned down to lock her lips with his in a kiss so passionate and searing it scrambled his well-fortified mind.
I definitely owe you one, Naruto.
Naruto and Dragon
Naruto frowned suddenly just after he finished summarizing the pranks he just sprang on the clans.
"Nothing…for a moment I just had this irresistible urge to do the world's greatest high-five with someone." he muttered, before shaking it off.
"Anything more?" Dragon inquired while hiding her amusement at just how easily Naruto executed those pranks on five shinobi clans. Just then, a roar of utter fury shook the morning air throughout the entire village.
"NAAARUUUTOOO! I WILL STAB YOU!"
"Yeah, I may have hit a few more people that would likely put all their effort into finding and destroying me. For example, I switched Yugao-chan's prized sword collection out with sticks and rubber toy swords. The crownpiece will be my good ol' faithful 'Nads Crusher'. She'll notice as soon as she gets home from her patrol…just now." Naruto replied nonchalantly as if that declaration of his impeding doom didn't happen.
"Though…did you hear something?" he wondered with a quizzical expression. His companion just stared at him in deadpan as he shrugged in mock confusion before continuing.
"I also switched Kakashi-sensei's beloved limited edition porn collection out with another set but he'll notice something different. I imagine he just sat down for his six-thirty reading of the 'Three Nurses' volume and he'll find someone else's autograph instead of Ero-sennin's just right about now. I wonder if he'll get enough clues on who did it when I left an artwork of a fox's head flipping him off as my signature?"
"UZUMAKI NARUTO! I'M GOING TO FIND YOU AND MAKE YOU WISH YOU WERE NEVER BORN FOR TRIFLING WITH THE ICHA ICHA EMPIRE!" a different voice bellowed from another part of the village.
Naruto quickly snapped his fingers several times, then jabbed an index finger up in the air as if he just came upon an answer that was eluding him.
"There! I definitely heard something….I think?"
Dragon facepalmed against her mask. Hard.
"Lastly, I left a 'secret' note lying around Sasuke-teme's home for him to find yesterday. My assumption is that he just spent the entire night running himself ragged doing increasingly difficult tasks in order to get to the next clue in this 'treasure hunt'. In the end, he should've reached the 'goal' any minute now after going through a particularly nasty booby-trapped obstacle course in the forest behind the monument."
"KILLING YOU WILL NOT BE ENOUGH, DOBE! I'LL MAKE YOU SUFFER!"
"And…just what's in the note that'd get him so willing to do those tasks?" Dragon had a feeling she didn't want to know but her morbid curiosity got the better of her.
"Do you need more power?' Find this place and follow the instructions, no matter what.'" he recited the simple memo.
There was dead silence between the two for a long moment.
"He turns into a complete moron whenever 'Itachi', 'you're weak' or 'more power' comes up in any conversation. It's not hard to tempt him."
There was another long pause as Dragon contemplated just how utterly stupid and revenge-obsessed the last Uchiha was. She sighed inwardly, missing Itachi's intelligence from when they were colleagues.
"And what's awaiting him at the end?"
"'Congratulations! You've just gained a little more strength and power from all the painful and harrowing experiences you just put yourself through to get here. Keep pushing yourself and you'll continue gaining more. Slow but sure is the way to win the game!'" Naruto recited the official-looking note he left at the end of the 'treasure hunt' in a cheerful tone. Dragon sweatdropped.
"Is that all?"
Just then, a heavily panting figure hopped onto the roof across from Naruto and Dragon. It was Sasuke, but the raven-haired Uchiha was covered from top to bottom in extremely dirty white feathers, and a nasty odor was emitting from him. A murderous glare pierced through the feathers covering his face at his blond tormentor.
"…some feathers, manure, and glue might've been involved somewhat." Naruto finished his thought, totally oblivious to his enraged classmate standing behind him until he stood and turned around.
"Oh! Nice to see you this fine morning, your emoness! You're smelling so much better for some reason." he chirped cheerily with a waving hand. Sasuke's entire body was trembling violently at this blasé attitude.
"You…how dare you trick me!" the wannabe avenger growled hotly, and Naruto raised an eyebrow. Dragon was completely ignored by the Uchiha; not that she cared since it was between the two young men.
"Trick you? All I did was drop a little note near the entrance to your district. I wouldn't have expected anyone else to fall for such a blatant trap, all because it vaguely promised power. I almost thought I was wasting my time setting up traps back in that forest, but then I remembered it's you they were for."
"Enough talk!" Sasuke roared as he lunged forward at an impressive speed, for a genin at least, toward Naruto who was standing still and raising a hand with a bored expression. Just as Sasuke lashed out with a precise punch at Naruto's face, he was shocked at just how easily and softly the blonde gripped his extended hand in that instant. He then suddenly sidestepped to the side and Sasuke felt the other hand grip the back of his neck. A jolt went through his entire body before his entire world twirled as he felt himself being spun around by his trapped arm at breakneck speed before sudden release.
In the next instant, he was flying and flailing toward a sea of green leaves, feeling unnaturally drained.
Dragon whistled as her eyes followed the shrinking black and white dot streaking through the sky toward a small patch of trees in a nearby park, floating feathers trailing behind it. Naruto was nonchalantly patting his hands as if to shake off some imaginary dust.
"Nice throw. Redirecting all the energy he put into his charge before adding your own strength to the technique isn't something many genin could do as easily as you've made it look. Plus, I almost missed your little sleight of hand slapping a temporary restraining seal on his neck in order to prevent him from recovering quickly enough to bug you again for the rest of the day." she observed calmly as she watched the feathered Uchiha recover just enough to protect himself from the fall as he disappeared into the trees at last.
"It's sad, you know? He's actually strong and would've been chunin material as soon as his first exams roll around, so long as no one pisses him off. Unfortunately, anyone with half a brain will figure it out in the first half-minute of any engagement that he loses his shit completely at the mere mention of his brother or being weak and just charges forward like a goddamn bull." Naruto shook his head in disappointment. Dragon shrugged silently since she didn't care one bit about Sasuke. He definitely wasn't anywhere near ANBU material at the present.
At that moment, the sun had fully risen into the sky and they noticed the quiet village wasn't so quiet anymore. Most of its citizens were waking up and getting ready when some of them noticed the defaced Hokage Monument and either screamed in shock or laughed uproariously. This, of course, got others around them to notice, and the village's noise level rose exponentially until it reached a dull roar all around Naruto and Dragon. The blonde was chuckling merrily.
"I love the sound of outraged people in the morning!"
"You know you'll have to clean it up later."
"Nothing a few clones with some low-powered suiton jutsu couldn't take care of in a few minutes. I made sure the paint would be easily removable."
"You know water-style?"
"You do remember I've been training my Sharingan with Kakashi-sensei, Copycat of the Thousand Jutsu, on and off the past summer, right? I almost had no choice but to pick up a couple doton and suiton jutsu in our spars. They're low-ranked but pretty useful for making some chores easier."
Naruto began stretching to loosen up, as if he was preparing for some jogging. He could feel Dragon's curious gaze upon him as he stretched his legs.
"Sasuke-teme was the easy one. I'm getting ready for the hard part."
A female voice shouted from a nearby rooftop. They glanced in the direction of the voice to find a cat-masked ANBU shaking with wrathful fury. She was holding a long and thick stick in her right hand. Dragon let out a snort, remembering what Naruto said he did to Yugao.
"Neko-chan! It's a beautiful morning, isn't it?" the blonde greeted in a cheery voice as he stood from his stretching and waved. Yugao only brandished the stick threateningly in response.
"I just spent all night helping my comrades desperately try to find you, only to come home and find that someone snuck into my bedroom and replaced my priceless collection with sticks and cheap toys! Where the fuck are my swords!?" she growled as she hopped over to land on the same rooftop as him. So focused was she on the one who wronged her that she hadn't even realized her superior was standing to the side. Dragon was finding this highly amusing.
"Oi, don't dismiss my gifts so easily. What you're holding in your hands is my prized 'Nads Crusher'. With that in my hands, I've brought down many great shinobi, including an infamous Kumo nin who almost kidnapped a Hyuuga heiress, and one of the Legendary Sannin, the ever gallant and ever pervy Jiraiya-sama!" Naruto spoke seriously as if the stick was truly priceless, though he couldn't keep a small teasing smile off his face. This only served to annoy Yugao even more.
"Yeah? Well, I'm about to bring down a goddamn prankster with it if he still refuses to tell me what he did with my swords!"
Naruto turned his head to Dragon.
"Oi, did I ever tell you what I got set up for the ANBU?"
"I don't believe so."
Yugao stiffened in shock, finally noticing Dragon's presence.
"C-c-c-commander! W-w-when did you get here?" she sputtered while saluting awkwardly.
"I've been here the entire time." was the amused reply. Before Yugao could stammer some more, Naruto's next words filled her with absolute terror.
"Time for me to spring this trap."
Both ANBU turned to the blonde, one in horror and the other in curiosity, to watch him go through several hand seals.
In the next instant, Yugao was engulfed by a large puff of smoke. She wasn't the only one as the entire village was peppered with puffs of smoke. The dry cleaning shop below the trio that the ANBU were using as a front suddenly filled up with smoke as well. Dragon realized the puffs were appearing around where she knew most of her subordinates were supposed to be at this moment.
It felt like an eternity before the smoke around Yugao slowly dispersed, but at last she was revealed. Dragon had to hold back a snort of laughter. It wouldn't do for the quiet and intimidating commander of ANBU to have a sense of humor, but damn, Naruto was trying his hardest to break that notion.
Standing before them was the same woman as before, but in a completely new outfit. The only thing that remained the same was the ANBU mask. Yugao was now wearing a tight and shiny black leather catsuit that covered her entire body neck to feet, but left very little to imagination as every one of her incredible curves could be easily made out, especially with her large breasts straining against the leather. To top off this look, she wore leather heeled boots, had a headband made up of a pair of cat ears in her purple hair, and a long black cat's tail was attached to the suit just above her curvy rear end, now made even more delectable because of the high heels.
Yugao was now petrified, her brain unable to process what just happened.
Naruto had to blush as he stared at this beautiful woman looking so stunningly sexy in the catsuit, even though he was expecting this.
Thank Kami I let you talk me into making these strange outfits from your past!
Kukuku…I imagine that style will catch on quickly in this civilization now that it's out and about. Kurama chuckled maliciously, always pleased to introduce a little more harmless corruption of decency into society.
"So, is this what we're going to see on the others?" Dragon's voice cut in, breaking the blonde out of his staring and he shook it off. Yugao was still frozen like a statue in shock.
"Yeah, but the outfits are different for most of them."
"Oh? How so?"
At that moment, a large number of ANBU hopped onto the rooftops all around them, apparently in search of something. It wasn't hard to find out what.
"Where's that blond bastard?! He's gone too far this time!"
"I can't get this off!"
"What the hell's this?"
"Don't look at me, pervert!"
Various outfits from all walks of life, including several suggestions Kurama made from what she remembered in past civilizations, were all around the trio. Dragon made out outfits for clowns, geishas, monks, farmers, pirates, princesses, princes, samurais, and many others, including catsuits similar to Yugao's but in different colors. The only similarity between all of them was their masks were still on their faces.
This time, Dragon couldn't hold her snort of laughter in. It was brief, but it was enough to make Naruto smirk at her as she promptly ignored him.
"This is even better than I could've hoped for! All those months of seal drawing and making these outfits finally paid off!" he exclaimed quietly, not wanting to draw the other ANBU's attention. They haven't seen the trio just yet.
"Yeah, it's a modified single-use version of the outfit-switching seal I have on my right arm. It was tough work, but I managed to apply it on the mask of every ANBU I could find over the past few months, all just for today. They're active only as long as they're being worn, so no worries about off-duty and undercover agents being caught out. The big kicker is that none of them can get their nice new outfits off for the next few hours. After that amount of time, the storage seal will be visible on their masks and they can change then. They just have to apply chakra to those seals to get their original outfits back." he explained as he chuckled quietly at some of the ANBU trying their absolute best to tear off their surprisingly durable outfits.
Dragon nodded in understanding but was wondering if this would affect her subordinates already out on sensitive missions.
"My activation jutsu won't work beyond a certain range, which is just within this village. I've tested it myself." Naruto answered as if he'd read her mind. She relaxed a little in relief.
It then hit her just how skilled this young man was in fuinjutsu. She knew, with enough knowledge, a seal master could do just about anything he or she needed for any occasion, but to see this in action was quite jarring. He had just modified a seal solely for a prank, yet in another way that same seal would have massive practical potential for many shinobi. She and the Hokage absolutely needed to make sure Naruto would feverishly protect his seals from being copied by enemies in the future. For now, she would let the teen have his fun.
Finally, the statuesque Yugao was coming back to her senses. The first thing she remembered was the appreciative looks Naruto gave her and, for some reason, that made her very self-conscious instead of angry and she promptly forgot her well-trained composure.
"KYA!" she suddenly squeaked loudly as she futilely covered herself with her arms. This made Naruto jolt and stare at her in surprise, having never seen her act like this before. He also realized this was very adorable.
"Whoa…cute." he whispered in reverence, but Yugao clearly heard him. That just made her face explode into full redness under the mask and sent her right into full-flight mode.
"P-please don't look!" she shouted in panic as she turned and ran, hopping down off the roof to presumably hide out at home. It took Naruto a few seconds to shake out of his shock at such a strong and proud woman running off like this.
"The scroll with your swords is in one of your kitchen cabinets!" he helpfully shouted after her, thankful he had the forethought to activate his Sharingan earlier when he memorized that wonderful butt jiggling in the tight leather as she ran away. Kami, he was letting Jiraiya corrupt him so soon into his life.
"I never would've expected that reaction from her. Guess she was just embarrassed her 'male' superior saw her like that. I'll have to apologize to her later." he muttered. Dragon glanced over at him appraisingly. Was it really like that? It felt to her like Yugao was much more concerned about Naruto seeing her than her own superior.
The commotion finally attracted some attention to Naruto's location. Only a moment after Yugao's departure, three random ANBU hopped onto the roof.
The first one was wearing a brightly colored clown's outfit with large shoes that squeaked with every step. His mask also had on some clown face painting and a large red nose to complete the look. The second was in a crappy geisha's outfit using a gigantic black shimada-style wig peppered with gaudy hair ornaments, tight light blue kimono, and the trademark blush and painted red lips on the mask. The third was an old-fashioned and very puffy princess dress so unwieldy that the female ANBU had to pick up the skirt to even move around. The giant lime green three-foot-tall wig balancing on top of her head topped off the look. Between all of them, an impressive wave of killing intent was directed at Naruto, who was too busy laughing hysterically at the ridiculous scene in front of him. Dragon was struggling to keep her composure.
"M-m-maybe you should make this a new policy? Having your enemies laugh to death with these outfits?" he chortled as he managed to get himself under control. At this point, more ANBU surrounded Naruto in their own ridiculous outfits, all directing their own killing intent at him.
"How about we make it a policy that you regret ever doing this?!" the geisha growled in a clearly male voice. Naruto blinked in surprise.
"Oh damn, I must've accidentally slipped you a different outfit. Sorry?" he apologized not so sincerely.
"So you admit to this!" the princess with the lime green wig accused.
"Only because I'm the only one that can and is willing do this!" he declared with an infuriating smirk. The clown stepped forward with his giant red shoes squeaking obnoxiously.
"Get the blond bastard!"
A roar of approval from other ANBU met this statement. Naruto only responded by shifting his body into evasion mode with a calm expression on his face. Dragon was standing in the middle of all this wondering what was going to happen. The blonde was too confident against this many of her subordinates for some reason.
Just then, everyone heard a scream of fury from above. They shifted their gazes up to see a silver blur descending upon Naruto at top speed.
The rooftop exploded into a large cloud of dust, obscuring everyone's sight. It felt like an eternity while everyone were tense and waiting for the dust to clear. When visibility returned, Hatake Kakashi was kneeling where Uzumaki Naruto was standing just a moment ago, his right arm buried into the roof itself. The elite jounin was apparently insane with rage as evidenced by his comically angry-looking white eye. He pulled his arm out of the roof with a crunch, slowly stood, and threw his masked face to the sky with a howl of rage.
"WHERE ARE YOU!? THE ICHA ICHA EMPIRE DEMANDS YOUR BLOOD!"
All attention snapped to a power pole next to the building the ANBU and Kakashi were standing on. Balanced on its top was their blond enemy, looking down on them with a challenging grin.
"Try and catch me!" he mocked before disappearing in a blur of speed. The others quickly scattered into blurs of their own, intent on chasing him down. After the dust settled, it was clear the only one left on the roof was Dragon, who shook her head and chuckled. It was an entertaining morning.
"So, care to tell me why your creator did not get one of these seals on me? I'm almost disappointed he didn't seem to have tried." she asked curiously to no one in particular. Over by a small smokestack nearby, a clone of Naruto shimmered into existence out of its invisibility cloak jutsu. It raised an eyebrow.
"What makes you so sure I'm not the real one?"
"After dealing with him and his damned clones for years, I've gained a good sense for it."
The clone shrugged, accepting that as the answer before grinning.
"He had to give you up as a lost cause. You didn't give him many opportunities to get any seal on you since you rarely appeared around him. You're just way too alert whenever you sniff even an iota of his presence anywhere near you. Boss can't win everything, and he knows that."
"So it requires physical contact? No wonder he's been instigating so many chases the last few months; good chance to touch more than a few masks without them noticing in the heat of the moment. And here I thought he was just acting like a rebellious teen."
"Yup, and he designed the seal to disappear once it's on, at least until he uses the activation jutsu. Even if they checked their masks anytime before now, they wouldn't have noticed unless they were specifically searching for a small trace of his chakra in it."
Dragon nodded in understanding, but something was bothering her.
"Do you know what would have been my outfit if Uzumaki-san had gotten that seal on me?"
She did not like that smirk on the clone's face.
"A full-body unitard padded all over with giant fake muscles and painted to make you look like a hairy and manly bodybuilder in a skimpy fundoshi. Throw in a bushy beard on your mask for some added effect, as well."
She twitched violently and punched the laughing clone hard enough to dispel it. She should've figured he'd poke fun about hiding her true gender.
Soon in a random alley
"Damn, they're going all out today." Naruto muttered as he hid in the shadows of the alley by a busy street. Overhead, ANBU were seen streaking across the rooftops frantically searching for him.
After a few minutes, he realized they were moving away from his position. Sighing, he stepped out onto the street and walked slowly among the crowd, taking the chance to rest up a bit from his frantic chase earlier before they would eventually discover him again. The inclusion of Kakashi made the search party quite formidable. Naruto needed to eliminate him from the search soon if he was going to get some breathing room.
A finger tapped him on the shoulder, making him freeze.
"Naruto-san." a monotone voice spoke from behind with a small tinge of annoyance.
Slowly, he turned around to look into the stoic face of his friend, Aburame Shino.
"Shino! How's it going?" Naruto greeted nervously.
"It is going well. In fact, it has been a perfectly normal morning." Shino replied, his tone growing a slight more annoyed. Naruto tilted his head.
"You sound like that bothers you."
"Any other morning, that would be acceptable. However, I have heard you have pranked our other friends today, Naruto-san."
The blonde raised an eyebrow.
"Wait…you wanted to be pranked too?"
"Not necessarily, but I cannot help but feel I was ignored and forgotten." a gloomy cloud appeared over Shino's head as he said this. Naruto sweatdropped at this, but a knowing smirk appeared on his face.
"How do you know you haven't been hit yet?"
Shino's head perked up at that.
"Your inquiry makes it sound like I was included in your plan after all."
Naruto clapped a hand on Shino's shoulder.
"You should really get out of that heavy coat sometimes." he spoke with a mischievous grin. Shino's eyes widened behind his sunglasses at the implication.
"There he is!" a voice from the rooftops shouted. Naruto's head snapped up at that.
"Shit! I gotta go. See you around, Shino!" he then quickly sped off with a hasty wave.
As Shino watched his friend run off with several oddly dressed ANBU chasing after him from the rooftops, he pondered what Naruto had said. He was sure that this morning he had dressed in his normal outfit of a black shirt and shinobi-style pants underneath this heavy full-length beige coat. Curiosity overtaking him, he unbuttoned the coat and opened it up a little to peek inside.
It was a long minute until he sighed explosively and his arms flopped to his sides, letting his coat fall wide open to reveal an exact copy of Naruto's infamous obnoxiously bright orange outfit underneath. It was gaudy on Naruto, and it was even more so on him, considering his dark style.
"Naruto-san…" Shino muttered, unable to discern exactly what he was feeling at this moment.
Was it elation that he hadn't been at least forgotten by Naruto?
Or was it annoyance at his friend for doing this to him?
Some time later in another part of Konoha
Sarutobi Asuma was humming a tune as he walked down a nearly empty side street, enjoying a smoke. He had just visited a potential apartment that he wasn't impressed with at its price and passed it on. At this moment, he was finding his way to the next available place on the list.
Then he heard some rather obnoxious squeaking sounds growing louder as they got closer. Raising a puzzled eyebrow, he shifted his gaze skyward as he listened to random voices above.
"He's over there!"
"Lizard, just stop moving! You're not helping anyone if you keep moving in those annoying shoes!"
"I could say the same about you, Sparrow! Your huge fancy skirt keeps slapping everyone in their face!"
"Stay the hell away from me, then!"
At that point, Asuma's alert eyes caught a tiny glimpse of a blond blur hopping down to the street from the roofs before disappearing. In the next instant, he saw many blurs hopping over him to the other side of the street, oblivious to the blond blur from earlier.
"Damn it! He just vanished!" one voice cursed as the general noise faded with the group moving away. Asuma took a long drag before letting out a large puff.
"Asuma-oji, you know smoking kills, right?"
"Not if I've learned a chakra trick to protect my lungs, little runt." he replied, teasingly using the name he called Naruto back then. Turning his head, he found a blond teenage male shimmering into existence next to him.
"You've shot up like bamboo, it seems. Guess I'll have to address you differently now, Naruto." he commented, holding back a frown at the sight of the younger man's covered left eye. He would inquire about that another time.
Naruto smirked before giving Asuma an appraising look.
"You're huge! I thought I'd catch up with you finally, but you just keep getting taller. It kinda pisses me off, you know."
The taller man chuckled.
"You still have plenty of time to catch up. So…I hear you're the hot topic of the village at the moment. Nice work on the monument by the way."
Naruto did his usual sheepish pose.
"Thanks. It's nice to hear someone appreciate my work. Some people just can't take a joke."
"Naruto! You won't get away this time!" an enraged voice interrupted them. Asuma and Naruto turned to see Kakashi standing about fifty meters down the street with multiple kunai in each hand. Steam was puffing out of his nose like a bull and his visible eye was white with insane rage.
"Lemme guess…he's one of those people. You messed with his Icha Icha, huh?" " Asuma said amusedly. It was rare to see Kakashi fly off the handle, so it must've been only for that reason.
Naruto chuckled with a sweatdrop, before turning to the rabid jounin.
"Oi! I don't want to have to do this, so you'd better give up. Your original collection's safe with me, but if you keep this up, I'm going to have to do something drastic, Kakashi-sensei. We've been at this long enough."
Kakashi was far too gone in his obsession with getting his precious back, however.
"Give them back! Gimme my babies!" he yelled frantically as he sprinted down the street at the duo with all of his kunai poised. Naruto sighed before inhaling deeply.
"GAI-SENSEI! KAKASHI-SENSEI WANTS TO CHALLENGE YOU TO AN ALL-DAY-LONG ROCK-PAPER-SCISSOR COMPETITION!"
That snapped Kakashi out of his blind rage as he instantly stopped mid-stride just mere feet from the duo, his lone eye wide with utter horror as his kunai clattered to the ground from limp fingers. Asuma winced, knowing what Naruto had just wrought on his old classmate.
"You did not just say that." Kakashi's whisper was so soft and pleading it almost broke Naruto's heart. The blonde glanced away guiltily.
"You forced my hand."
In the next instant, a green blur shot past the trio and down the street at a speed so insane that Kakashi just wasn't there in the next blink of an eye. As the massive gusts of wind buffered Naruto and Asuma around, all they heard was a horrified scream mixed in with the loud yell of 'YYYOOOOOOUUUUUTH!'.
There was a long moment of silence as Naruto and Asuma bowed their heads in solace for Kakashi's demise.
"So what're you doing?" the blonde asked cheerily as if that scene didn't just happen.
"I'm lookin' for a place to live. I just got back in town last night. Though, so far it's been a bust." the jounin replied easily. A flicker of an idea went across Naruto's face.
"Oi, if you're looking for a nice one-bedroom place, I know of one that's kinda old, but in good condition. It's going for five hundred a month."
Asuma's eyes widened.
"You're shitting me! That's two-third of the average rent!"
"Nope, you can check it out. It just opened up over on Black Leaf and Main. It's in a quiet area close to the Hokage Tower and training fields. Better hurry." Naruto pointed in the general direction.
Asuma grinned widely and clapped the teen on his back.
"Thanks! I'd better see if I could get this one. I owe you one, and see ya around!"
He then vanished in a swirl of leaves and smoke.
Now alone, Naruto yawned and stretched.
"What should I do then?"
His stomach picked that time to growl loudly, which attracted the attention of two nearby ANBU. One was dressed like a flamboyant pirate captain and the other was in a skimpy bright pink nurse outfit.
"I hear him! He's over here!"
Later at Ichiraku Ramen after ANOTHER two hours
of sneaking around and evading ANBU
"So should I be worried a certain someone might be targeting this honest and humble place of business?" the cute ramen cook, Ayame, asked sweetly as she set the first bowl of ramen down in front of Naruto.
"Worry not, young ramen maiden. This place has been declared sacred by the gods. It would be a most severe sacrilege for that certain someone to even raise a hand against this holy place!" he replied seriously as he put his hands together in reverent prayer before his steaming bowl. Ayame chuckled and rolled her eyes. She leaned on the counter with a soft smile as she once again admired Naruto's 'handiwork' on the Hokage Monument for a moment.
"Will I be expecting to see angry people coming by here often because they know this is your favorite place to hang out?"
"No worries. They think I'm everywhere but here."
"Would that have something to do with these multiple copies of you I've seen running around?"
Naruto blinked in surprise.
"You have good eyes. None of them should have been close to this place."
"I'm a woman of many talents. Enjoy your meal and I'll get started on the next bowl." she teased with a sly smile before turning to the kitchen in the back. Naruto shrugged before clapping his hands together one more time.
A man's hand slammed on the countertop next to Naruto's bowl. The blonde himself froze in his prayer state at the sound. Opening his right eye slightly to see who dared to interrupt his sacred meal, he was startled to see an extremely irritated-looking Umino Iruka mere inches from his face.
"What can I do for you, Iruka-sensei?" he asked, leaning back from his sensei's glaring face. Iruka's eyebrow twitched violently before he took a deep breath.
"You know…when I gave my class the week off until the exams to practice what they needed to know, I was hoping I would at least go a full day without you making trouble, Naruto! To think you even had the audacity to vandalize the monument!"
"You've mistaken me for someone else. It was Sasuke-teme who did all of this."
Iruka blinked in surprise.
"Yep, you should find him in Spring Park. Give him my regards when you're punishing him."
"Alright. Sorry for interrupting your meal." Iruka bowed and walked off…or that was what he was going to do when he suddenly snapped back with his head somehow bigger than his body.
"LIKE HELL I'D BELIEVE THAT BULLSHIT!" he roared with his patented Demonic Head Jutsu. Naruto scratched behind his head with a foxy grin.
"Hehehe…just had to try."
Iruka sighed angrily and leaned against the counter.
"Seriously…you know what I woke up to this morning? It was the most terrifying thing I've ever seen in my life. Someone was standing over me in my bed in this pitch-black outfit, a beret, and an incredibly creepy mask. I thought I was going to wet my bed!"
Naruto snickered as he ate some ramen, earning a glare from Iruka. Even Ayame giggled as she overheard this.
"It turned out to be one of the ANBU you pranked with that outfit-switching thing. However, what was even weirder is that he had to do charades with me. Turns out you've made it so he wasn't able to utter a single word as long as that mask was stuck on his face. It took thirty goddamn minutes to understand what the hell he was trying to say, which was to help find you and bring you in!"
Naruto snapped his fingers.
"That's a mime! I did something extra special with that outfit."
"That's right! A mime, one of the most disturbing things in the world, woke me up in my own bed! I'm never going to want to sleep again for the next week!" Iruka shuddered before glaring at his blond nemesis, who was chuckling at the image in his head.
"Now, I'm gonna kick your ass, drag you before the ANBU, have them kick your ass, then I'll kick your ass one more time for good measure!" he declared before reaching for Naruto, only to grab at nothing. In the next instant, the blonde was outside the stand with Iruka quickly following suit.
"You really shouldn't resist too much. I may be an academy sensei, but I'm no slouch." he spoke confidently as he smirked at his student, almost hoping for him to do something rash. Naruto narrowed his eyes.
"I'm not gonna go quietly. I know how to get rid of closet perverts like you!" he shot back. Iruka's face flushed hot at being labeled a closet pervert and was about to retort angrily when Naruto suddenly popped into smoke for a moment before clearing away.
The scarred sensei's jaw promptly dropped. What he was looking at was the second most beautiful woman he had ever seen.
In Naruto's place stood a tall tanned woman with incredible youthful beauty and long blond hair tied up into twintails. Her startlingly bright sapphire blue eyes seemed to glow in the sunlight, and her whiskered cheeks added to her overall cuteness. She was dressed in a tight red tank top stretched against her large chest with jean shorts cut so short the bottom curves of her plump rear end were barely visible. She bent over sensually, shoving her amazing cleavage in Iruka's face.
It took all he had to not propel backward from a massive nosebleed.
"Well, Iruka-kun…do you think I'm the most beautiful woman around?" she whispered seductively with an adorable pout. He had to clamp a hand over his nose to hide a small nosebleed threatening to turn into a river.
Then the question registered in his mind.
"NO! Saki-chan's definitely the most beautiful woman ever!" he quickly denied strongly while shaking his head of the blond woman's visage to replace it with his lovely Saki.
Then he heard a gasp from behind, making him freeze. The blond woman popped into smoke, changing back to Naruto who was standing cross-armed with an evil smirk. Seeing that, Iruka robotically swiveled his head around to find a flushed and panting Haruno Saki and her shocked daughter standing behind him.
He gulped upon seeing his girlfriend's incredibly turned-on expression.
"Y-y-you saw all that?" he whispered, fearing for his life. He loved his Saki, but his life was usually in danger of being sucked out whenever she got incredibly horny. Like she was right now.
"Yes…I most certainly did hear you call me more beautiful than even the blond goddess that stood before us until a moment ago." the elder Haruno growled huskily as she sauntered up to a nervous Iruka. She then slowly slid her hands up his chest until they reached his flak vest's high collar and gripped it tightly.
"Now…we are going to find a place to be alone together. Are. We. Clear?" she whispered, her emerald eyes insane and dark with lust. Iruka whimpered and comically sweated, before nodding slowly.
And they were gone in the next instant with Saki pulling her prey off his feet and running at above-jounin speed down the street in search for a location where she could properly express her appreciation for her beloved boyfriend's opinion. Poor Iruka was flapping in the air behind her like a flag in the wind.
Sakura stared after the rapidly disappearing couple in utter shock, while Naruto was rolling on the ground laughing uproariously. It took a moment for her to snap out of it and stare down at the blonde in deadpan.
"Thanks a lot for ruining my lunch date with mom, Naruto-san." she muttered grouchily. Naruto slowly got to his feet with hands still on his knees, wheezing and chuckling.
"Sorry about that, Sakura-san. I had to get Iruka-sensei off my back for today, and you two popped up just at the right time for that. If you don't mind, I'd be happy to make it up to you by paying for your meal. By the way, I like that color on you."
Sakura blushed slightly as she twirled a strand of her currently platinum blond shoulder-length hair with her finger. She had to admit that, after her initial shock when she woke up to see the change, she liked how it matched well with her bright green eyes.
"Ino-chan's on a warpath chasing you down, just so you know. Saying something about how pink don't match with her blue eyes." she warned with a smirk as she sat at the counter.
"I'll keep that in mind. The colors will change back soon enough anyway, since my seals were set to last no longer than half a day." Naruto smiled as he sat back down in front of his second bowl.
"Oh? So you never physically dyed our hair somehow while we were asleep? I don't have to tell you that might've been a little creepy."
"Nope. I had the seals absorb the color properties from the loose hair I collected, slipped them onto you and a few others over the past week when you weren't paying attention, and just activated them from outside your places. The only in-depth infiltration I had to do last night was the Hyuuga compound. Everything else were pretty much taken care of with seals and other ways." he explained.
Sakura nodded. She might've been more annoyed about this if she hadn't seen some of the ANBU in their silly outfits, and realized she got off easy in comparison. They ate in comfortable silence until she finished her bowl, slid it back, and sighed. Wringing her fingers nervously in her lap, she turned to Naruto.
"Naruto-san, I just want to say I'm-" a raised hand stopped her here. Naruto shook his head with a reassuring smile.
"Sakura-san, if that's what I think it is, then there's nothing between us to apologize about. We were kids. We picked sides like kids. We threw insults at each other and got in fights because we didn't know better. If you still want to apologize, then I'll have to apologize for my attitude toward you as well."
Sakura's green eyes widened before nodding hesitantly, but it looked like a small weight was lifted off her shoulders.
"Go on and order seconds if you want."
"Thanks! I'll do that then since I need to keep up my energy!" she replied brightly before signaling Ayame for another bowl.
"I'm glad to see the training you've been doing on the side with Ino-chan is going well."
Sakura snapped to him in surprise, and blushed.
"I thought that was a secret."
"She didn't say anything. I just could tell. You got a little more muscles and you're eating properly. I can tell you'll be a great kunoichi like Ino-chan and Hinata-chan if you keep this up."
Sakura smiled genuinely at the commendation and nodded.
"Thanks. It means a lot to hear that from someone; even you."
"Oi, I'm pretty credible, ain't I?"
Sakura stared at him blankly for a long moment before shifting her gaze to the defaced Hokage Monument. He turned sheepish.
"YOU CAN'T HIDE FROM ME BECAUSE I CAN SENSE YOU! NOW STAY STILL, WILL YOU?!"
Naruto's face paled rapidly as he heard an irritated voice getting closer. He quickly took out some bills to cover his and Sakura's meals.
"Sorry, I gotta run. Appointments and stuff!" he waved quickly before slipping out of the ramen stand, leaving behind a chuckling Sakura and Ayame.
A few minutes later, a pink blur tackled a retreating blond blur somewhere in a park. They tumbled to a stop together with the young woman straddling her catch.
Naruto grinned teasingly as he checked out her short pink hair. It was just shorter than shoulder-length and it was styled up with several white hairpins. Her signature long bang was also stylized to flow over her right eye and to the side before merging with the rest of her now shorter hair instead of just hanging loosely in front of her face like before.
Yamanaka Ino's annoyed expression showed she was not amused at all.
"What do you have to say about this, baka?!"
"If you want my honest opinion, then that pink doesn't go well with your beautiful blue eyes."
Ino growled and bopped him on the forehead, though she blushed at the comment about her eyes.
"Then don't do it again!"
Naruto nodded and smiled brightly, and Ino knew she couldn't stay annoyed for long with that expression directed at her. She sighed in resignation and leaned down to bury her face in his chest and hug him tightly.
"I love you, despite your many cases of idiocy, Naruto-kun." she mumbled into his chest.
"I love you, despite your bossiness and temper, Ino-chan." he retorted, his tone affectionate. They broke into chuckles and pecked each other on the lips.
They continued to cuddle for a long minute, just enjoying the warmth. They then finally let go and helped each other to their feet. Taking a look around, they gazed at each other upon realizing where they were, and smiled knowingly.
They unknowingly found themselves near the playground where they first met, and played together many times since.
Ino had a thought and gently led her man by hand over to the swing where she first found him. She then silently prompted for him to take a seat in it, and Naruto, although confused, complied. He was almost too big for the swing now but it still supported him. Ino then stood in front staring at her boyfriend deeply as he tilted his head with a bemused smile.
"I like this." she whispered.
"You are so full of life and confidence now, unlike the first time I saw you. I like seeing you like this a million times better compared to that time."
Naruto's expression softened in understanding and reached out to gently pull Ino by her hips in between his legs. She quickly wrapped her arms around his head tightly with her fingers buried deep into his hair, and pressed her lips almost desperately to his forehead. Naruto, although surprised by such an intimate embrace since his face was practically buried in her soft chest, didn't blush or react perversely because this wasn't the time for that. Instead, he wrapped his arms around her waist firmly in response.
"It's because you helped make me the way I am now, Ino-chan." he whispered, enjoying listening to her heartbeat, which was slowly rising due to this intimate moment.
"I had to. Even I knew back then you were close to dead on the inside. I couldn't leave you alone, and I'm glad I didn't." she sniffled a little as she nuzzled her nose in his soft hair, making sure to enjoy his wonderful and calming scent.
"And I'm forever grateful to you because of that. Now please don't cry."
Ino smiled, then leaned back to look down at him with watery eyes.
"I won't if you'd do something for me." she replied with a shy grin.
Naruto grinned back.
"Something tells me I know what it is."
She giggled as she gently sat down sideway on one of his thighs to get her face level with his. After staring into each other's eyes for a moment, they leaned in to lock lips for a long and heated kiss that seemed to have robbed the couple of their sense of time. They never let up until their need for air forced them apart many minutes later.
They grinned goofily as they touched foreheads, enjoying being in each other's arms and not wanting to let go for the time being.
Since it began with her hair turning pink and trying to forget the very amorous, but disturbing, sounds emitting from her parents' locked bedroom, Ino had to admit today was turning into a really great one.
Soon in the afternoon
Commander Dragon was wandering through a maze of connected rooms inside the ANBU HQ with no particular destination in mind. She had noticed her subordinates were now able to discard their silly outfits and noted, with some amusement, some of her female agents sneaking away their rather scandalous outfits to keep for future occasions, presumably for their lovers.
Ironically, they were the one who complained the loudest about being stuck in those outfits.
Naruto had done as promised and quickly washed down the Hokage Monument. At this moment, the village was back to normal so it was time to get back into the usual pace. That was when it hit Dragon that this was likely the last time Uzumaki Naruto would make trouble for Konoha and the ANBU. As soon as he became a shinobi, he would be viewed as an adult and would have to be held accountable for his disruptive actions. It wasn't like he was going to suddenly stop pranking individuals, but the large-scale pranks he did would likely cease completely. While that would give her some relief like every other ANBU, she had to admit she was going to miss the excitement and laughs that came with these stunts.
As she overheard the conversations from her people when she slipped into a packed lounge, it turned out she wasn't the only one to realize the finality of today's pranks.
"You know, Uzumaki's graduating next week. He'll have to drop the big pranks now that he'll be an adult. I'm going to miss it."
"What?! Are you insane!? He's a menace!"
"Yeah, but you weren't in the force before he began his pranking campaign against us. It was purely professional around here."
"Yeah, so? That's what we're supposed to be!"
"What I mean is that everything was just bland and featureless. We just reported for missions and training, kept our distance from each other, kept our masks on at all time even though there were no need for that inside the HQ, and rarely interacted beyond exchanging mission details. It felt like we were slowly turning into emotionless and faceless machines the longer we stayed here...just one step over from being those Root agents. That's why so many quit this force after just a few years or so. They couldn't take losing any more of their humanity and, after what we've dealt with out there, who'd blame them?"
"Really? But we're currently making connections. We chat a lot, make jokes, and we even had games and fun once in a while. I have to admit this atmosphere was surprisingly more pleasant than I expected for a spec ops force. I thought it was always like this before I joined, since the rest of the military had similar attitudes."
"It was because of Uzumaki. I'm not sure if he thought that we needed some dose of humanity when he started pranking us as a brat, or he just did it on a whim. Whatever he was thinking, his pranks, while they were damn annoying when they hit us, gave us reasons to laugh and poke fun at each other about being caught, and it just flowed from there. I was about ready to quit the force when Uzumaki came into the picture, and everything changed. When I joined, I didn't even know this was a lounge because no one used it; we all just passed through here to training, supplies, and mission pick-ups."
Some of the more veteran ANBU nodded at the truth of that statement while the younger ones were surprised.
"Now we're eating, chatting, relaxing, and playing games here with our masks off. Even though we were just hit with a big prank this morning and were understandably pissed at that time, we're laughing now about what the others looked like in their ridiculous outfits. In addition, it's now my tenth year in this force; a number I never thought possible back then."
There was silence in the room as all of its occupants contemplated that information. Most of them also found that number unbelievable, but they also realized they could easily reach that many years themselves if they had a way to unwind and have a bit of fun in between missions. Boar, who spoke in support of Naruto, stood and slipped his mask on.
"Sure, we need to be purely stoic and professional on missions, but no one said we have to be like that in between. We need to unwind from those dangerous and difficult missions, and I'm all for this camaraderie we're enjoying. I like it here now, and I'm not letting anything change back to before Uzumaki. I hope you all feel the same way too. With that said...see you later for poker tonight." he finished before making to walk out of the room, and froze in his track when he saw Dragon standing by the room's exit. The others finally noticed their superior and quickly stood to salute 'him'.
"At ease." she said shortly before looking at Boar, who returned the gaze.
"I agree with what you've said. Uzumaki has shown us the way, and we'll have to maintain what we have going here from now on. Despite my so-called reputation, the mentality of all who work under me is important to me and I'd rather see you all continue to have fun and unwind…within reason, of course. Carry on and enjoy yourselves." she spoke neutrally before turning to glide out of the room, leaving behind a somewhat stunned room.
"Well shit. Even Uzumaki's gotten to our hard-ass boss too." one ANBU commented bluntly, causing everyone to break into chuckles for a moment, before they all stiffened when Dragon poked her head back into the doorway.
"By the way, all personnel not scheduled to be out of the village tomorrow are to report to the assembly room at 1100 to explain why they all failed to detain one single teenage male. Make sure to pass that on to all of your colleagues." she ordered blandly before disappearing from sight once again. After a long minute of stunned silence, someone turned to the one who spoke earlier.
"You just had to open your big fat mouth."
Later in the evening at the Sarutobi house
The Hokage was relaxing in his chair on the porch of his family house. It was modest compared to the noble clans, but the house was large enough to comfortably accommodate a decent-sized family. He usually stayed with his oldest son, daughter-in-law, and grandson whenever he was not sleeping in the Hokage's quarters.
Puffing his long pipe, now stuffed with some proper tobacco, Hiruzen was awaiting his youngest son's arrival. Just then, Asuma came out of a Shunshin in front of the house. The father was curious about the blue face on his son, as if he was depressed about something.
"Welcome…and what seems to be the matter, Asuma-kun?" he inquired concernedly. Asuma snapped to him with an annoyed expression.
"It was that blond bastard. He tricked me!"
Hiruzen raised an eyebrow as he puffed on his pipe, hiding a smile. Apparently he wasn't the only Sarutobi to have been hit today.
"What did he do?"
"I only ran into him for a few minutes while he was being chased. I'll tell you right now that he's a quick thinker considering he couldn't have known I've been back in the village until that very moment. I mentioned to him I was having trouble finding a good apartment, and he, without missing a beat, suggested I try this place on Black Leaf and Main. He didn't act suspicious at all as he pointed me to that…damn place with a innocent smile on his face."
Hiruzen coughed out some smoke upon hearing this.
"I checked it out and it was in perfect condition, in a great location, and had a great view. I just had to have it right there."
At this, Hiruzen laughed heartily.
"Let me guess, the landlord didn't tell you the most important feature, did he? That it was supposedly haunted, especially at nighttime." he chortled. His son grumbled dejectedly.
"I didn't even suspect anything until after I've signed the lease."
"So how did you find out that place has a bad history of murders, suicides, and alleged supernatural happenings?"
"I met the old man downstairs."
"Ah… did he do that thing in which he cackled evilly all the time as he told you the horror stories about your new haunted apartment?"
Asuma groaned and nodded, getting even more depressed at the memory.
"Other than likely seeing a few strange things, I'm sure it's a nice place for that price. You'll just have to suck it up. Knowing that old bastard landlord, the lease is probably ironclad."
"Yeah it is, I've spent the past few hours trying to get out of it. No luck."
Hiruzen put out his pipe and rose to his feet.
"We'll worry about that later, and let's get started on dinner. They're anxious to see you, Asuma-kun." he invited with an arm wave toward the front door.
Asuma smiled warmly and nodded, feeling it was good to be back home finally.
Later after dinner
Asuma was now standing in front of the door to his new apartment.
He reminded himself he was one of the best jounin of his generation. He reminded himself he faced down enemies stronger than him without flinching. He reminded himself he had to protect the daimyo from assassination attempts, coups in the court, and the frequent and unprovoked attacks by the capital's Koneko, the evil twin of Tora, Konoha's Demon Cat.
He still shuddered at his memories of the horrors and casualties caused by the true demon cat. (A/N: Koneko means 'kitten'. :-/ )
With that highly decorated and nearly fearless background, Asuma should have had no problem with an allegedly haunted apartment. Yet, he couldn't bring himself to turn the goddamned key in the doorknob. Instead, he just stood in front of the door for the past fifteen minutes trying to psych himself up. What the hell was wrong with him?
He took a deep breath and reached for the key once again. This time he was going to do it.
A horrific rattling sound suddenly reached his ears from behind the door.
Nope! He wasn't going to do it!
The ever-fearless elite jounin thumped his forehead repeatedly against the wall next to the door in frustration, while muttering several choice curses for a certain blonde.
"I have a feeling you just found out that place's haunted." a feminine and pleasant voice cut into his frustrations. He jumped slightly and slowly turned down the hall to see what looked like an attractive young woman standing in front of the door to the only other unit on this floor. It was hard to make her out due to the dim lighting. She was holding a small grocery bag.
"Y-yeah. Unfortunately, I can't get out of this one so I'm just trying to suck it up and get it over with, miss."
The woman smiled somewhat pityingly.
"I'm sorry to hear that, but here's hoping for your success. I'm Yuhi Kurenai, and welcome to the neighborhood." she introduced herself with a formal bow. Asuma started in surprise and then took a careful look. He noted the familiar curly raven hair, her beautiful and unique wine red eyes, and her stark red lipstick that she always wore. It was definitely his old school crush.
"K-kure-chan?" he blurted out in shock at the sight of this beautiful and mature woman before him.
The Genjutsu Mistress arched an eyebrow at his familiarity; only one person in her life called her by that name. Wait…his deep voice was definitely familiar. She took a closer look as well, and her eyes widened. He had gotten taller, broader, and his beard was new, but it was definitely her old school crush.
"Asuma-kun…is that you? You've come back!" she breathed out at the sight of this handsome and rugged-looking man. She definitely wasn't complaining at all.
They stared at each other in silence as they took in each other's details, at least until they realized what they were doing. They blushed and shyly shifted their gazes away.
On the inside, they were pretty elated to be reunited like this, however.
Meanwhile, inner Asuma was profusely thanking Naruto for putting him up to this. Even if it meant something like taking on a powerful and vengeful poltergeist bound to his cursed apartment, his devastatingly beautiful crush being his neighbor would be still worth it.
Meanwhile at Naruto's apartment
Naruto grumbled as he pushed himself out of bed. He was catching up on some sleep now that things have calmed down enough. However, it still wasn't too late in the evening to turn away guests, and there was someone knocking at the door. It was what woke him up.
"Yeah yeah…" he muttered with a sleepy expression and opened the front door to reveal a smiling Hinata and Hanabi with their hair back to normal.
"Huh? Girls, what're you doing here?"
"Revenge." Hanabi replied in a sweet tone that made him shiver in dread.
In his moment of confusion, the sisters took advantage and used their Gentle Fist to immobilize his limbs in an instant.
"W-wait! What're you gonna do to me?!" he stammered as the girls dragged him over to the living room couch and propped him against it. Hinata kept that sweet smile as she leaned in and pecked him slightly on his nose, before showing him a list numbered up to ten.
"When they realized it was you that styled our hair, the clan decided to band together and write down a list of styles they'd like for you to try in return. It was difficult narrowing them down to ten for the time we have." if it was possible, Hinata's smile became even more innocent. Her little sister popped into his view holding up a large bag.
"They sent us two because you trust us and wouldn't realize our motive until it was too late. Now…we've got a whole bunch of hair products and accessories here. You'll notice most of the styles on the list tend to be on the more girly side." in stark contrast to Hinata's sweet smile, Hanabi's was positively feral.
"And we'll take pictures for our kin to enjoy." Hinata piped up cheerily while holding a small camera.
"Wait! Wait…can we work this out?" Naruto was desperately trying to get away from this but his limbs wouldn't obey him. Meanwhile, he was pleading with his tenant.
Kurama! My lifelong partner, wonderful best friend, beautiful and wise vixen, world's greatest entity, dark-skinned goddess…
Kurama raised an eyebrow amusedly as he serenaded her with every imaginable terms of flattery before finally making his request.
Please! You've got to flood my tenketsu with your chakra so I can move again and get away!
Unfortunately for you, I haven't had enough fun today. I want to see more, and this is amusing. You're on your own with this one. she chuckled evilly, much to Naruto's growing despair. He knew there was no changing her mind if she thought this was amusing. That damn sadistic fox!
"There's nothing to work out. We're just returning the favor." Hanabi chimed in as she spread out the various products and accessories on the coffee table. The blonde shivered; they looked like torture instruments!
"Your hair is long enough for most styles but for the longer ones, we'll have to put extensions on you. I'm sure you'd stubbornly refuse to henge yourself with long hair even if we asked nicely." Hinata pondered as she ran a hand through Naruto's spiky hair. He was nodding his head frantically.
"I'll henge! I'll do it! Just don't put them on me!"
Hinata tilted her head innocently.
"You still won't do it? That's too bad. We'll have to do this the hard way then, Naruto-kun. Don't worry, these are especially high quality and look just like real hair. Most importantly, they would be nearly impossible to tear off for days. Father did his utmost to ensure you get the best, after all." she replied as if she hadn't heard his frantic submissions.
All Naruto could do now was shake his head vigorously while screaming unintelligibly as Hinata and Hanabi slowly prepared their instruments.
Just then, the front door banged open. Yes! Naruto's savior arrived just in time, and it was…Anko? And why did she have an irritated expression on her face as she searched from the front door?
"Anko-chan! You're finally back!"
The purple-haired woman finally noticed him and the Hyuuga girls staring back at her in confused silence. She looked curious.
"What're you doing to him?"
"He pranked the entire clan by changing our hair into silly styles. We're about to return the favor." Hanabi answered with a mischievous smile.
"You've got to save me, please! They're gonna put extensions on me. Extensions!" Naruto struggled frantically against his immobile body.
Anko just stared at the trio for a long moment, making them shift uncomfortably. Then she smirked evilly as she slowly closed the front door behind her as if in a horror scene.
"Let me watch?"
"WHAT?!" the helpless victim screamed shrilly.
"Sure!" the younger girls chirped at the same time and they got back to their plan. Anko stepped over to a nearby chair and sat down to stare at Naruto with an annoyed glare.
"Gaki, let me explain something here. You know the number one rule around me, right? You should…it's easy to remember since it practically rhymes."
Naruto nodded frantically, hoping this explanation would end with him getting out if he answered correctly. Oh, how wrong was he.
"Never, ever get in between Anko and dango!"
"Right…so I've been out for two weeks on a mission, and I had to leave the morning after that stupid fight between you and that masked asshole. It was not a fun two weeks because I had to deal with an idiot client who thought he had the right to grope me every chance he had because he was paying for my 'service'. Even though I oh-so-kindly corrected him otherwise with senbon and kunai each time, he kept this up until I finally kicked him in his balls repeatedly as soon as I got payment." she snarled viciously at the memory of that perverted client. Naruto winced, wanting to cross his legs protectively but unable to do so.
"So, you can imagine that I was stressed out and seriously craving my dango. On the way home from the mission, it was all I could think of. Those spicy yet delicious spheres of goodness!" she moaned sensually, making all three younger people blush.
"I was practically skipping through the main gate just thirty minutes ago. I then went to see the old man to drop off the report as quickly as possible. I ran with all I had to the dango shop only to…"
"Only to…?" all three leaned in, wanting to hear more.
"Only to find out it's CLOSED!" Anko growled as she shot to her feet with a shaking fist, making the others flinch back.
"It's always open till midnight everyday. Instead, it's locked up tight even at eight, and it's your fault, gaki. You got in between the dango and me. You broke the rule." she whispered as she leaned over the terrified blonde.
"How can it be my fault!? I never went anywhere near that shop. You know I would never touch your dango!"
"The owner left a note on the door. It basically said because of you declaring your stupid 'prank day', he was nervous about his business so he decided to close everything up and take a holiday for a few days." she explained with a scowl, and Naruto paled considerably at hearing that. That damn coward!
"So…since I've been denied my dango because of you, and I'm also annoyed I just missed all the fun earlier in the day apparently, I'll have to settle for the next best thing. That's to watch you be humiliated. You may continue, girls. I'll help and take pictures." the Snake Mistress offered with an evil smirk.
Naruto was frantically shaking his head as Hanabi and Hinata descended on him with excited grins.
A scream of pure anguish echoed throughout the village.
Hearing Naruto's cry of suffering, all the victims of today's pranks smiled as they felt like they all got some measure of karma.
Next morning outside Naruto's apartment
Inuzuka Kiba was banging on Naruto's front door, hoping to get some measure of payback from yesterday's prank. His face was still sporting the kitten's handiwork; a crisscross of fine scratches that looked like an ongoing tic-tac-toe match. The only reason he hadn't gone after Naruto yesterday after the kitten incident was because he was too busy dealing with his allergy all day.
After a few minutes of banging, the front door opened to reveal an irritated-looking Naruto.
Whatever Kiba had to yell about died in his throat as he took in the long, luscious, and shiny blond locks framing Naruto's face and flowing down to his rear end in a perfect princess-cut style similar to Hinata's. Incidentally, that was the heiress' choice in the styles they tried on him.
Kiba was used to seeing Naruto with long hair whenever he henged into his female form but, this time he was clearly a man with a very girly hairstyle. From his disgruntled expression, which seemed very out of place framed by his new 'hairstyle', it was apparent someone forced this upon him.
With all that information in mind, the Inuzuka heir promptly fell over laughing uproariously.
Naruto's eyebrows were twitching angrily.
"Yeah…fuck you, tic-tac-toe face." he grunted before slamming the door, leaving Kiba alone laughing even harder at the reaction. That was more than payback enough, he decided.
Same place a few days later
"So he only came out to do his training and nothing else since then? And he's finally home today." Anko quizzed as she stood next to a concerned Hinata, Hanabi, and Ino in front of Naruto's apartment. This was the first time Ino's sensing ability finally found him at home, since he hadn't been in the apartment the many other times they stopped by in the last four days.
"Yeah. Something tells me the photos of Naruto-kun's girly hairstyles being circulated through the whole village likely struck a blow to his ego." Ino commented neutrally but with a pointed look at Anko and the sisters, who winced in guilt. Hanabi looked absolutely remorseful.
They didn't think this was going to get out of hand so quickly. Hinata almost growled at the memory of Neji's gleeful expression as he scanned the photos. She wouldn't have been surprised if he was the one who secretly spread the photos, but there were many other suspects with the same motive too.
"Did he ever tell anyone exactly why he hasn't been around the last few days, though?" Ino spoke up. The others stared at her as if she grew a second head.
"Of course we know why he's pretty much avoiding us! It's because of those photos getting out!" Anko replied hotly.
"You mean what we think caused this reaction from him. We all know Naruto-kun. He's a prankster, so it means that when he pranks, he knows to be prepared to be struck back once in a while as revenge. It's not like him to get upset about this for so long. He'd laugh it off after only half a day, tops."
"Then what else would have caused him to lock us out of his life for the last few days?" Hanabi quizzed, looking distressed at that notion. She was the one who suggested that retaliation, and had been the one in charge of the photos. She felt it was her fault that they got out somehow, even though she thought she had been careful enough with them.
"And he's not responding to our knocking." Hinata added. She felt just as bad about this too.
"Well, I know what'll get him out here." Anko announced, and shoved the girls aside so she stood directly in front of the door with fists on her hips. She inhaled.
"YOUR PISS-WATER RAMEN SUCKS ASS! MY DANGO RULES FOREVER!"
The others facefaulted.
"Really!?" Ino shot up to shout at Anko for such a stupid antic, but was silenced by an open hand. The jounin then began subtracting a finger each second, as if counting down. Just when she had none left after five seconds, the apartment's door slammed open to reveal a sleepy and grumpy blonde in tank top and shorts. His hair was back to normal.
"OI! The hell was that for!? I thought we agreed we'd stop insulting each other's 'food of the gods'!" he shouted at a grinning Anko, pleased she got the blonde out here rather easily. Meanwhile, the others facepalmed hard.
"Oi, you haven't been responding to our knocking because you were asleep!? Just how much of a heavy sleeper are you? It's three in the afternoon!" Ino exclaimed incredulously, snapping Naruto's attention away from ranting at Anko. He grunted dumbly as he finally took in Ino and the Hyuuga sisters.
Hinata and Hanabi stiffened and prepared themselves to be shouted at by him when his single eye focused on them, but there was no negative reaction. In fact, his expression brightened at seeing them.
"You're also all here too, girls?! Wow, it's great to finally see you again after a while. How long it's been...a day or two?"
Anko raised an eyebrow with crossed arms.
"Four days. That's how long it's been since we all last saw you."
Naruto started at that and blinked owlishly.
"Shit. It's been that long?"
Hanabi bowed her head slightly forward, shading her eyes, and began to tremble. An ominous aura began to develop around her. Hinata, relieved that Naruto wasn't actually upset with anyone, noticed this shift in her sister and took a step back while poking her index fingers together nervously.
"Onii-chan...just what have you been doing in all that time?" Hanabi's voice was quiet and monotone, even as she continued to tremble.
Naruto glanced at her and rubbed a hand behind his neck with a sheepish grin. Ino noted the change in the younger Hyuuga too, and took a large step back to stand next to Hinata. She wasn't going to have anything to do with this.
"Oh, Kurama let me take a week off from training to prepare my pranks for that day. In return, I'd have to spend all my time catching up afterward. So I've been at the training ground at the crack of dawn and didn't come home till past midnight each day. This is the first day she finally let me rest."
Hanabi's entire body twitched violently while the other two heiresses winced. Meanwhile, Anko also noted the petite girl's shifting temperament and quickly moved next to the others to watch this with a grin, excited for the fireworks to begin.
"So...in the last four days, you couldn't have found a way to at least leave a message for what you've been disappearing to all this time?"
"Yeah, sorry about that. I lost track of time...but man, I can't believe it's been actually four days."
"Onii-chan...were you even upset by the photos getting out?" Hanabi's voice was deceptively calm as she stared up into his gaze. The clueless blonde scratched behind his head in confusion.
The other girls slapped their foreheads.
Hanabi's body twitched violently again, before she immediately shifted into an attacking kata.
"To think I spent four days feeling incredibly guilty about this...all for NOTHING! Byakugan!"
"Huh? What-" was all Naruto managed to get out before a small black bundle of fury descended upon him.
Meanwhile, the audience were watching all this with a mixture of amusement, pity, and horror.
"Naruto-kun!" Hinata mumbled nervously as she fidgeted with her hands, wondering if she wanted to stop Hanabi or not.
"He deserved that." Ino remarked with a shake of her head. Anko was just laughing like there was no tomorrow.
"Let's still take him out for ramen after Hanabi-chan's done. The photos still got out anyway, and I think he's gonna need his treat after this." Ino added as she cocked her head in curiousity at such an interesting technique Hanabi was using.
"Not my face!" was Naruto's girly shriek.
"Ano...is it supposed to bend like that?" Hinata commented nervously. She didn't know how her precious little sister learned those techniques.
"That's not supposed to bend that way!" Naruto yelled as if answering the question.
"Is he gonna be alright for graduation?" Anko wondered, though there still was merriment in her eyes at seeing such a wonderfully violent scene before her.
"He doesn't need to be at a hundred percent to pass." Ino waved it off nonchalantly, before wincing at a particularly horrific attack. "Or fifty percent."
"Probably for the best. Knowing him, he'd just treat that like a prank and show off his full capabilities just to vex the hell out of the instructors. That'll definitely show up in the records as an unusual occurrence." the older woman commented offhandedly.
The other two women frowned in worry.
"Despite Hanabi-chan's best efforts to the contrary, we know Naruto-kun's going to be perfectly healthy for graduation. He will show off -I just know he's gonna do it-, and the others will take notice of how much different he is from an average academy student he was portraying himself as." Ino remarked with an index finger on her chin.
"I don't think we need him to get the attention of other villages so soon. I had a hell of a time when I showed up in the bingo books, and he's going to be even more of a lightning rod for trouble than me. The longer he stays under their noses, the better." Anko suggested.
"We'll just have to offer him incentives to avoid showing off." Hinata added.
The other two stared over at her, making her blush despite the mischievous smile she was displaying.
"Why is no one saving me from this adorable little demon!?" Naruto cried out pitifully.
Night of the Academy's graduation at Ichiraku Ramen
"Well, that was boring." Kiba grumbled just as he slurped on some noodle. His small companion barked his affirmation from atop his head.
"Yeah! I was expecting him to drop his 'perfectly average and boring student' facade today just to screw with the teachers and the civilian council. You know…pay them back for their years of bigotry and arrogance. Even now, they still think they've successfully kept him down. It sucks only Iruka-sensei ever cared." Choji mumbled through the food in his mouth. Ayame was bringing him his seventh bowl.
"It would've been troublesome for him in the future." Shikamaru replied in a bored tone as he leaned back in his chair. He had just finished eating.
"What do you mean?" Kiba inquired curiously. Akamaru whined questioningly, tilting his head in confusion.
"It would have been a poor decision for him to suddenly act up today. Why? Because it would show up in his official files as an unusual occurrence, alerting any enemy spy that there was something off about him." Shino interjected while between mouthfuls of his large salad.
Four human and one canine heads nodded in unison as if that was the answer. Sitting at the counter next to the five were three more patrons. The indigo-haired female giggled.
"Naruto-kun, was that your plan?" Hinata asked rather sweetly nearly unable to hide her mischievous smile. On the other side of the young man sitting between them, her blond counterpart smirked.
"Yes…was it?" Ino prodded, not even bothering to hide her evil grin.
"Huh?" Naruto grunted rather dumbly with a full mouth just after he finished his tenth bowl. All of his male friends stared at him expectantly while the two girls exchanged knowing smiles. Finally, he swallowed his last bite and frowned in annoyance.
"Hell no! I wanted to blow all of them away with my awesomeness!" he declared.
The boys faceplanted on the counter. Fortunately for them, Ayame and Teuchi, used to Naruto's antics over the years, were ready and expertly moved their dishes out of the way just before their heads could break them. Akamaru yipped his displeasure as he was forced to hold on to avoid falling off his human's head.
"I wanted so badly to shred each of the targets to pieces using my wind chakra with the throwing weapons. When I realized Mizuki-teme was doing the taijutsu test, I was so ready to crush his bones into dust, especially when he came at me with more power and skill than he used with the rest of you! And they just had to tempt me with the extra-credit jutsu. I wanted to see their faces when my Rasengan punches a giant hole through the wall!" he finished his rant by standing on his chair with a foot on the counter, his hands up in the air grasping at nothing as if he was watching this missed chance go by.
The boys and a dog sweatdropped.
"It figures." they all grumbled/growled while an annoyed Ayame, Hinata, and Ino made a sheepish Naruto sit back down then scolded him for dirtying up the counter with his foot.
"Troublesome…so what's stopped you?" Shikamaru quizzed with a smirk.
"They threatened me with severely reduced kissing privileges for the next month." Naruto deadpanned as he pointed his thumbs at Ino and Hinata, who were grinning innocently.
"Don't forget me too!" a new voice chirped. It belonged to a beautiful purple-haired woman who suddenly hopped on and hugged Naruto from behind out of nowhere, making him blush heavily as he felt two big and soft breasts on his back. Several eyebrows twitched in slight jealousy.
"In my case, I said I would pay particular attention to his balls in our spars." she added with a deceptively sweet expression, which only served to make all the males within earshot protectively cover their crotches and shiver at the implied threat. Anko then turned a friendly face toward the others.
"Just wanted to give all of you my congratulations on your graduation, kiddos. Ayame-chan, miso for me, please!" she called out as she slipped off the still-red Naruto and took the last free seat at the counter next to Hinata. The cute ramen cook returned a bright smile in greeting as she moved to prepare Anko's portion.
"So it took three girls to change your mind?" Kiba teased with a smirk while Akamaru let out what sounded like a growling snicker. Shikamaru muttered 'Troublesome.' and Choji sent his favorite eating contest opponent some pitying looks. Even Shino raised an eyebrow.
"Four." Naruto corrected with an annoyed frown, making the aforementioned girls grin knowingly.
"You mean she also…?" Choji retorted in genuine surprise. From what they heard about Kurama, she had as much penchant for troublemaking as did Naruto. One would've thought she was all for causing chaos at the exams.
"It's just one of those very rare days in which she actually gave into her common sensibilities." Naruto replied with a fond and amused grin.
I do have common sense all the time! I just chose to ignore it whenever I want because it's more fun that way. Just think of this as tricking future enemy shinobi into underestimating you just because of your less-than-stellar 'performance' in the academy. They deserve it for being stupid enough to believe only the reports. Kurama piped up. Naruto raised an eyebrow.
So…long-term planning for greater results instead of some quick and easy chaos now, huh?
You know me so well.
"Troublesome...I suppose it's a good thing it's only you that gets attention from troublesome women." Shikamaru muttered, making all the females within earshot glare at him briefly, including the one within Naruto. He shrugged them off easily. He had seen scarier expressions from his own mother.
"You're telling me! I have enough problems with mom and sis. I'd rather deal with normal civilian women any day of the week instead of the scary kunoichi we know!" Kiba joined in with a laugh.
"It's your loss, then. We're more fun!" Anko teased with a saucy smirk just as her order came. As she began eating, she noticed Ino and Hinata had discreetly put a hand each on Naruto's thighs and were gently stroking up and down. They weren't anywhere close to touching what would've been inappropriate in public, but it was enough to distract the blonde as he tried to not bring attention to this sneak attack going on in front of his friends. She snickered quietly as it was hilarious watching him swallow repeatedly and his uncovered eye shoot the girls pleading glances when he thought no one was looking.
Meanwhile, the two girls were putting on an innocent front. Anko smirked proudly as she remembered giving the girls a few simple tips. It was nothing too risqué…just to make sure their man kept his mind stuck on them longer and with a bit more clarity than usual for the next few days. It wasn't like she had any experience in the physical aspects to pass on anyway.
It took Naruto a moment to ignore his girlfriends' wandering hands. With a glance at them that promised payback, he cleared his throat and raised his cup. All the others fell silent with their cups raised as well.
"Up until eight years ago, the only people who accepted me for what I truly am, aside from several shinobi and the Hokage, were you two, Ayame-chan and Teuchi-ossan. I'm so thankful to you for giving me a place every day where I can just be myself and forget my troubles." he began with a slightly thick voice. Teuchi nodded seriously and Ayame smiled warmly before wiping a small tear from her cheek with a sniffle. The others' expressions were a little grim; they had a good idea of what his earlier years were like.
Naruto looked at Ino adoringly, making her blush. She was definitely remembering their time at the playground the other day.
"I was in a really bad way when Ino-chan came out of nowhere and just about demanded I become her friend. That was when everything changed for the better for me."
She ducked her head with her blush intensifying while the others chuckled knowingly. It was in her nature after all.
"That also led me to meet two more amazing friends in Shikamaru and Choji."
The two aforementioned young men nodded with grins.
"Just when I thought that was it, a hapless kidnapper literally dropped Hinata-chan into my arms."
It was Hinata's turn to blush prettily as the others chuckled.
"After that, we enrolled in the academy and it's been a great four years. We all had our ups and downs as we trained hard in order to serve and protect this village. In the beginning, I was quite selfish about protecting my bonds and I wanted to make sure my friends who enrolled with me-" he nodded to Shikamaru, Choji, Ino, and Hinata. "-could protect themselves so I kinda dragged them into my pace and we ended up forming this group. One or two may have found that troublesome."
"Hear, hear!" Shikamaru cut in, eliciting laughter from everyone.
"Just when I felt my friendships at that time were enough until after graduation, I was proven wrong when more interesting and amazing people came into our lives unexpectedly over the four years we were in school."
Anko blushed slightly as she knew that statement was specifically directed at her. She also knew Jiraiya would have blushed if he had been here too.
"I'm happy to say we became friends and we shared our knowledge and experiences together, and in return, they helped all of us improve even more." Naruto tilted his cup toward Anko, Kiba, and Shino. They nodded back with grins.
"I've seen how hard you all worked to get here, and I'm honored to be here with you all on this very night as we proudly display the results of our training and perseverance up to this point." he tapped on his new hitai-ate on his forehead. The other new graduates were wearing their shiny new hitai-ate as well.
"It's going to be the real thing from now on. Remember what you've learned, be sure to protect others and yourself, follow your own convictions, and do what you feel is right. As long you keep those in mind, I'm sure we'll still be able to get together like this years from now with more great memories to share!"
Everyone cheered and clacked their raised cups together.
What Naruto didn't know was that every person there had just realized he was going to be a natural leader in the future as they remembered how easily he took charge of almost everything and inspired them over the years without being aware he was doing it.
They knew they would be waiting with anticipation to see how one Uzumaki Naruto would take the world by storm, just like his name implied.
A short while later, everyone decided it was time to get some rest tonight and then await team assignment next week. They all split up, saying good nights to each other.
"It was troublesome, but I think I barely managed to avoid being the dead last." Shikamaru grumbled. He was walking next to Naruto toward the blonde's apartment to play a quick shogi match before heading on home.
"Who knows? You might've missed out."
"Don't bullshit me. This way, I know Hokage-sama almost has no choice but to assign me with Choji and Ino because of our fathers' legacy. We've already spent years working together and I have no desire to change that if I can help it. Sakura-san might've improved her personality and skills, but Sasuke hasn't changed much. I refuse to voluntarily work with someone who made your academy years troublesome because of some issues he made up himself." Shikamaru muttered with a slightly protective tone in his voice. It surprised Naruto for a moment, before a warm expression appeared on his face.
The Nara heir grunted in response, having nothing else to say. They continued walking in comfortable silence for a moment before Kurama's voice interrupted Naruto's thoughts.
Hate to interrupt your 'bros' moment. Normally, I don't give a damn about that useless assistant, but I'm sensing darker emotions than usual from him now.
Considering how much Mizuki-teme seriously hates my guts, that's something. What's he doing?
He just left the Tower and is moving rather erratically toward the northeast section of the village. It feels like he's sneaking around, considering the spikes of fear I felt whenever I sensed patrols near him.
The farms? This feels wrong. There's nothing out there…not even a gate to the outside. Thanks for letting me know, though.
"Naruto?" Shikamaru understood from his friend's expression that Kurama was speaking. From the thoughtful expression that flashed across Naruto's face, he knew something was up.
"Shika, we'll have to put off our match for another time. Mizuki-teme's acting weird, and Kurama said he seems to be sneaking toward the farms."
"Troublesome…if he's doing something suspicious, that's an ideal location due to the sparse population. Less chances of being seen." Shikamaru stated in a bored tone, though his black eyes showed he was already thinking through multiple possible scenarios on what Mizuki could be possibly doing.
"I'd better check this out. You should find someone at the Tower and let them know something might be up. Better to risk being too paranoid than do nothing."
"Not even six hours into our shinobi career and we're already involved in something troublesome." the Nara heir grumbled with his brow furrowed. Naruto smiled brightly and clapped his friend's back.
"I know! It's great, isn't it!?"
Omake: How the catsuits will come back
The Purple Sisters' apartment just after
Naruto's prank on the ANBU
Yugao sighed in relief as she slipped into her apartment. She just spent the last fifteen minutes evading anyone on her way here, not wanting to allow anyone else to even glance at her in this scandalous outfit; this extremely snug black leather outfit that Naruto slapped on her.
The nerve of that man! It was bad enough that he got to see her in this outfit, and she was sure someone else had been there to see her like this, but she couldn't remember who it was in her panic to get away. The only thing she was concerned about at that moment was being seen by the blonde. He had been blushing and gaping at her as if she was the most beautiful woman around, and it made her very shy.
She flushed heavily at the memory, and couldn't help but relish his candid expression.
She knew there was physical attraction between the two of them. They already consciously acknowledged this, since it was no good to hold that in around each other and create unnecessary sexual tension. It was the best option between two people with highly desirable attributes, but wanted to remain good friends and be comfortable with each other. However, even if they already acknowledged this, it did not mean they were going to act upon it, especially since she was currently dating Gekko Hayate.
Despite that, this still made Naruto currently her second favorite man behind Hayate, and she valued his opinions almost just as much as she did her boyfriend's.
To get that reaction from him in this outfit, even though he was the one who put it on her and had been ready for the likely stunning view, made her feel rather good. However, this outfit also made her feel practically naked to anyone, and she wondered why anyone other than perverts would like wearing this.
Her curiosity now aroused, she moved into her bedroom, unconsciously enjoying the sensation of the soft leather rubbing against her skin. She ignored the mockery of her weapon collection on the walls around her as she made her way to the full-body mirror she kept in her closet.
She gasped as she took in her full reflection. This outfit was even more provocative than she thought! Look at how amazing her legs and butt were with the heels on! Look at how the tight leather clearly defined the delicious curves of her breasts! Look at how wide and pronounced her hips were! Look at how both adorable and sexy she was with the cat ears and tail!
Yugao sighed resignedly as she couldn't stop posing in as many sexy poses she could think of. It was like an unconscious instinct. She knew now it was no use remaining in denial; she loved this outfit and would reserve it for special occasions, like when she wanted to remind her man that she was the best woman around, just like how this outfit made her feel right now. She also noted she didn't specifically name her boyfriend when she thought 'her man'.
Yugao jumped and twirled around quickly, ready for anything. What she wasn't expecting was for Gekko Hayate to walk in on her checking herself out. At this moment, he was standing stock-still with a grocery bag on the floor next to him -the cause of that sound- and was staring at her agape and wide-eyed with a small nosebleed. She noted it was the most excitable expression she had seen on him in some time due to his terminally laidback nature.
Hayate had been back from his long mission for a little while and was still getting into the pace of regularly seeing his girlfriend again after so long. He felt like cooking and thought she would appreciate a nice lunch after a busy few days of patrols for Uzumaki sightings. With that in mind, he dropped in on her, only to find her in front of the mirror in the most amazing outfit he had ever seen.
Oh, Kami…that amazing butt! Those wonderful breasts! The delectable hips! And the adorable cat ears and tail!
And that was when the biggest coughing fit ever hit him due to his shock.
Yugao, while embarrassed to have been caught like this, was highly amused as she watched her boyfriend double over and cough himself silly for the next few minutes just because of seeing her dressed like this.
She just got two very favorable reactions from her two favorite men in one morning. She definitely had to keep this outfit.
At around the same time, many other women caught in their own catsuits were similarly thinking the same thing.
They would eventually show them off to their lovers and talk about their effect on their men with many people. This fad would eventually spread like a wildfire from that point onward.
Somewhere in the Nations
The ever gallant Toad Sage Jiraiya suddenly felt an immense urge to rush back to Konoha and hug his godson for all he was worth. It was fortunate he did not give in to that urge since he was disguised as a bartender in the middle of his spy duties.
However, he had a feeling the greatest moment ever so far for super perverts everywhere had just occurred, and he would be ready with his notebook and pen for anything unusual happening in the next few months.
I hope you like that revised scene with Naruto getting what he sorta deserved from an 'adorable little demon'. :-) I changed it around because the original had Naruto taking being pranked back by the Hyuuga girls badly, and acting like a bitch about it. I thought it was funny at first, but many reviewers reminded me that it was out of character for him with how I've written him so far in the story, and I have to agree with that.
Instead, I decided to have him quickly get over being pranked and actually forgot about it while the others still thought he took it hard just because of bad timing and misunderstanding. Poor Hanabi.
Hope you enjoyed the changed scene and the cleaner chapter. Let me know what you think.
Yep, you can tell I like catsuits. :-) . Plus, you can't deny Yugao would look absolutely gorgeous in a catsuit with cat ears and tail. It was my duty to bring you that imagery.
If you think Neji's hairstyle sounded somewhat familiar, then you're likely at least as old as me and have seen 'Don't Be A Menace to South Central...' I'm not responsible for any busted gut if any of you decide to google it and see Loc Dog's hair on which I based Neji's silly hairstyle on. :-)
Hope you enjoyed the chapter and let me know how much you love it or hate it in the reviews. Take care and keep an eye for the next one in a week or two. Most of it's written but utterly crappy and disorganized so it'll take a lot of work to refine and add new things to make it flow better. I'll also be reducing word counts per chapter from now on...it'll be be rare for me to hit 20K or above after this one. Expect 15K for the next one. That should give me more incentive to post new chapters quickly instead of hoarding it all into one big chapter every couple months or so.