Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto nor Sekirei, all characters, thoughts and ideas that exist in this story that were taken from the original works belong to their specific creators, Masashi Kishimoto and Sakurako Gokurakuin. Only original thoughts and or characters created in this story are my own.

Author's Notes: Not a lot of reviews last chapter… wonder if that had to do with my AN, the time of year, or simply because no one had anything to say. I was certain that the part at the end at Charlie Point would have gotten a lot of responses of one form or another.

Review Responses: Not much to say here since few people bothered to review. I'll just cover a single point I felt was relevant. Naruto let Hanabi walk all over him because escalating the argument wouldn't solve anything. He could have commanded Hanabi to stand down, but this was a personal, as well as professional, issue. It would have left hurt feelings behind. As angry and irritated as he was, he still loves Hanabi. He let her walk over him because he loved her and wanted to end the conversation as quickly as possible while hurting her feelings as little as possible. It's why he feigned remorse. Anyone with a significant other will have situations where they have to swallow their annoyance/anger/whatever for the sake of the other. I've yet to hear of a 'perfect' relationship where there are no arguments.

Chapter 40: The First Strike

"Yuuchi?" Naruto called out as he knocked on the door, "I'm coming in," he said as he slowly opened the door to Yuuchi's room.

He stepped inside and glanced around the room. He couldn't see anything; it was pitch dark as usual. Without any windows the only light that filtered into the room came from the hallway, faint as it was. It was overcast today so not a lot of light was coming in through the windows, especially this early in the morning. With his eyes adjusted for brighter environments the entire room might as well be engulfed in absolute darkness, even with the light streaming in from the hallway.

He was here for another lesson on Fuinjutsu. Up till now Yuuchi had been training him on how to break, and protect, seals. A critical flaw he had wanted to fix as soon as possible. Now however he wanted something a little different; he wanted to be able to create seals without a medium. That would be the key to projecting seals through the air. He needed to learn how to do that, and soon.

They had most of training sessions scheduled early in the morning, before any of his Sekirei were awake. He wasn't too concerned about walking in without permission. Yuuchi was normally an early riser and there had been more than a couple times before where he had let himself in only to find her deep in meditation.

Plus she never seemed perturbed by his intrusion.

"Yuuchi?" Naruto called out again as he stood in the center of the room, waiting for his eyes to adjust. He could see faint outlines now and things were starting to come into focus.

A slight frown creased his face as he glanced around the room. Even if his eyes weren't fully adjusted he should have still been able to see the tiny Sekirei's form by now.

The mystery solved itself as the duvet on the bed shifted and moved. A small moan rose up from the head of the bed as a pair of small arms stretched up into the air. The comforter rose and fell as a small form slowly sat up in bed. "Erm, Naruto-san?" Yuuchi asked curiously as she covered her mouth with her hand and yawned widely.

"Did I come at a bad time?" Naruto asked hesitantly.

"Mmm? What time is it?" Yuuchi asked as she looked around sleepily for a clock.

"It's six in the morning," Naruto said, "I can come back later when you've woken up."

"Oh! I… appear to have slept in," Yuuchi said, startled by how late it was, "my apologies Naruto-san, we have a training session right now do we not?"

"I can come back later," Naruto said. He wanted to know how to project seals but waiting a half hour or so for Yuuchi to wake up wasn't a problem.

"No, I have a busy day, we will start now," Yuuchi said as she slipped her legs over the side of the bed. Pushing the bed cover and sheets to the side she slid off the bed and started to make her way towards Naruto.

"Alright," Naruto said, accepting Yuuchi's wish. If she was fine teaching now then he wouldn't complain. "Could we…" he trailed off and averted his eyes when he noticed Yuuchi's state of undress.

His eyes were adjusted now, he could see everything in the room clearly now, including Yuuchi's nude form as she came to a stop before him. Her naked body still evoked a host of complicated emotions in him, but he was slowly starting to get used to them.

"Is there a problem, Naruto-san?" Yuuchi asked curiously with a tilt of her head.

"You sleep naked?" Naruto asked in resignation. Whether she was naked or not for these training sessions was hit and miss. He never knew why she was nude for some and not others, more than likely it probably had to do with whatever it was she was doing before he arrived but it was disconcerting to say the least.

It was most infuriating for him because he couldn't even allow himself to enjoy the sight because of her relation to him. It didn't help that she knew what modesty was, and what her nudity did to him, but didn't seem to care one way or the other.

If he didn't know better he'd almost think she found it amusing to see him squirm uncomfortably.

At least this time her lack of clothing made a modicum of sense, not that it made it easier for him to swallow.

"It is most uncomfortable to sleep in a long dress," Yuuchi said as she pointed to a pile of neatly folded clothing. "And do you not sleep naked with your own Sekirei?"

"That's different!" Naruto protested.

Sure he often slept naked with his Sekirei, but there was always spare clothing nearby for him to change into. Even now, after having rushed here from his room after waking up late himself, he had managed to spare a couple seconds throwing on a pair of orange pants.

"Oh? I fail to see how it is different, Naruto-san," Yuuchi said as she arched an eyebrow.

"We always have-wrahlgh," Naruto swallowed his tongue to stop himself from voicing that thought any further.

"Sex, you mean? I am well aware of your nightly activities with your Sekirei. I am honestly surprised that more of them are not carrying by now," Yuuchi finished for him.

"Ah, ha, ummm well…" Wait a minute, how did Yuuchi know that it was nightly. "How do you know that?" he asked, voicing his thoughts.

"Even if you sound proof the rooms, the ventilation system will still carry the sound," Yuuchi replied. She could hear quite clearly what was going on three levels down, especially when she was meditating since her other senses such as smell, taste, touch and sound were all amplified.

She didn't mind the noise. It was comforting at times, knowing that there was such vibrancy and excitement going on around her. It helped stave off the tinge of loneliness she felt from time to time. Her feathers were all long gone, their children and grand-children as well.

She had Miya of course, but Miya was newly married and much of her attention was focused on that new source of happiness. Yuuchi didn't begrudge her, but it did leave her with few people she could talk with.

It was one of the reasons she wanted stories in return for her teaching, so she could simply sit back and enjoy another's company. There really wasn't anyone else she could relate to and talk with.

Lately, however, even that didn't seem enough at times. There was only so much talking could do.

Despite her being Naruto's descendent genetically; they didn't really 'feel' related to one another. That 'connection' between family members just wasn't there. They certainly didn't act like family, even if Naruto seemed to be particularly self-conscious about her nudity.

As Miya once told Naruto, Sekirei remained fertile until death. They didn't have menopause. That meant their desire for intimacy was as strong at the time of their death as it was from the moment of their maturity.

Having been alive for over a hundred and fifty years did help her with her self-control. Being naturally born also meant she didn't have the 'urge' to find an Ashikabi, nor would she ever react even if she were to find the perfect man.

However she wasn't emotionless, she wasn't a machine. She was female and that meant that no matter how calm and collected she appeared on the surface, no matter how strong her self-control was…

Sometimes she longed.

"Oh… that's… sorry," Naruto apologized. He probably disturbed her slumber more than a few times because of his activities.

"It is not an issue, Naruto-san, you and the others are quite young. I would be more concerned if you did not engage in sexual activities," Yuuchi said as she waved away his apology.

Naruto coughed, "Ah, right, anyways, I was wondering if I could learn something different today," he said as he quickly brought the conversation back on track.

"And that would be?"

"I want to be able to project seals with chakra alone," Naruto said.

"A difficult area of Fuinjutsu," Yuuchi said thoughtfully. "May I ask what brought that desire on?"

"Hiraishin no Jutsu, mostly. Right now I need to tag something physically, or throw an object I've already tagged. If I can tag something simply by projecting my chakra that would give me far more flexibility, and make it far more difficult for anyone to stop me," Naruto said.

That was, right now, the one critical flaw with his technique. It was possible to destroy the markers and prevent him from using them as jump points. Orochimaru would no doubt be able to do just that when it came time to face off. Worse Orochimaru could possibly use the markers against him. He needed some way of creating them without Orochimaru's knowledge. He couldn't afford to have that weakness, or at least he needed the ability to easily replace the marker should Orochimaru destroy it.

"I see," Yuuchi said as she frowned thoughtfully. She would have to scrap the lesson she had prepared for today. "Let's sit and get comfortable while I think," she said as she led Naruto over to the corner of the room.

The corner of the room had been converted into a Fuinjutsu training area during their first session. A large, thin piece of varnished mahogany, five square feet in size, was butted up against the corner of the room. On top of it was a thin piece of parchment, stretched across the entire surface. The parchment was specially treated to be able to channel chakra effortlessly through it.

Naruto followed Yuuchi to the corner of the room and carefully made his way across the parchment, taking care not to tear it with his feet. He took his usual position, sitting cross legged with his back straight and against the hallway wall. Yuuchi joined him, sitting cross-legged on the parchment across from him.

The two sat in silence as Yuuchi mulled over in her mind how to go about teaching Naruto what it was he wanted to know. Yuuchi knew that Naruto ultimately wanted to will seals into being out of thin air anywhere he wanted to.

There was a problem with that train of that, it just simply wasn't possible, not exactly. Chakra required a medium to work with, regardless of what one wished to accomplish. Seals were no different. When she had created that seal in the palm of her hand to destroy Nio's core, she hadn't simply been creating it from nothing. She had initially used her palm as a medium through which to work with and then had extended the lines from there. The lines and symbols of the seal used had been taken from within her, her own skin cells, blood cells, sweat, salt, and even the particles in the air. She had simply used her chakra to take control of what existed in the immediate area and moulded it into the shape and form she desired.

A shape that so happened to take the form of a Fuinjutsu array that she could then activate.

The hard part would be teaching that to Naruto. The knowledge to do that hadn't been taught to her, it had come instinctually with her core. In a sense it was her Sekirei 'power.' Her ability to form seals from whatever material was available was something very few had ever accomplished naturally. The primary reason for this was compensating for all the different ways chakra interacted with the different materials. She could handle it instinctively, she wasn't sure Naruto could.

It really was a fifty-fifty chance that he could. She didn't know if the Sekirei power had been Naruto's ability, or Mito's.

Naruto began to shift uncomfortably as the minutes ticked by. Senjutsu training had taught him to be still and patient, however it hadn't taught him how to sit still and be patient while his granddaughter was sitting naked across from him. Especially when she was sitting in a position that left nothing hidden.

With her hands resting on her knees, she left her chest completely exposed. The gentle rise and fall of her breasts was mildly distracting. He idly noted they were about the same size as Blanc's before he had made the modifications to her.

As for her erogenous zone, it was fully exposed due to her sitting cross-legged. It was her preferred position when she wasn't restricted by her long robes. There wasn't a strand of hair to be seen and the pink lips, slightly parted due to her position, glistened faintly with sweat that had built up while Yuuchi had slept.

He had always been slightly uncomfortable, although never truly disturbed, by her nudity before. With the other lessons, once the training got under-way he never noticed her lack of clothing. His mind became wholly focused on the lesson. He hadn't been very studious as a child but when the lessons could mean the difference between life and death, well he had learned the hard way later on in life to pay attention.

Unfortunately because Yuuchi was currently deep in thought trying to come up with a lesson to teach him what he want, it left him with nothing to do except observe his surroundings. Since Yuuchi didn't have very many belongings, she was the only really interesting thing in her room and that meant most of his attention was on her.

Which meant most of his focus was on her female assets.

With a soft sigh Naruto decided it was time to try and sort out these feelings that were raging inside him. They were confusing him and making him feel uncomfortable. So long as he continued to interact with Yuuchi, he was going to have to deal with them.

Taking a deep breath he entered his own meditative state, one normally reserved for absorbing natural energy. However instead of focusing on the world around him he focused on himself, his emotions in particular.

He took a firm hold of them and began to split them apart so he could isolate and examine them in detail. The emotions were all fake anyways so it wasn't particularly hard, just different masks he had subconsciously brought out based on how he thought he should feel about the situation. Once he figured out what he wanted to feel he'd create a new mask to simulate the desired emotions.

As he split them apart from one another he found an interesting melange of emotions.

Some of the emotions he found, he had expected such as protectiveness, love, happiness, pride, and respect.

But there were others had not expected such as lust, possessiveness, distrust, envy and even a hint of anger.

This odd mixture was causing an additional subset of emotions such as anxiety, worry, distress and confusion. That concerned him because those emotions were real ones.

It was definitely high time to deal with this. A Kage couldn't afford to feel needless emotions; emotions were tools to be used to manipulate the people around you to accomplish a goal.

Analyzing them he realized the subset was being caused due to the warring of two different views inside him. When he looked at Yuuchi he saw two different people and he didn't know which one was right. He didn't know how to react or treat Yuuchi.

There was the wise old woman who knew everything and was calm and collected no matter the situation. Someone he could lean on in the days to come. Someone he could hold onto to help weather the storm that was approaching.

Hanabi and the others, no matter how strong and powerful they were, they ultimately clung to him and expected him to lead the way. Yuuchi was the only one that didn't seem to rely on him and, who in fact, he could rely upon.

Unfortunately buried within there was a hint of envy, distrust and anger. He envied her ability to remain calm no matter the situation, to always have an answer.

Analyzing the distrust and anger even more he realized it stemmed from the other day when she had withheld information from him. With a sigh he scorched those emotions from his body and blew away the ashes, they were needless. Ultimately she was on his side, her methods were simply different, she simply thought differently than him. He refused to hold that against her.

He set that view aside and went on to the other. This was how he felt when he saw her as granddaughter. When he did his chest filled with pride. Yuuchi was everything he could have hoped for in a daughter or granddaughter. To see one of his descendants turn out like her was a source of great pride. But at the same time he couldn't help but want to protect her from the world, even though he knew she didn't need it. There was love as well, the love he would have for his…

He stopped as he focused on that emotion more thoroughly. Yes, he loved Yuuchi, but mixed in with that love was lust. This was the source of his issue, the greatest source.

He could deal with the wise woman issue, the problem was he didn't know if he should view Yuuchi as his granddaughter, or has a woman. Her small body didn't help matters either. Her childlike appearance made her 'look' like a child, even if she was older and more mature than him.

It was true that they were genetically related to some degree, but did that automatically make her his granddaughter? Or did that simply mean that she was a completely unrelated person with his cells mixed in? How did one define family? Was it by blood or by relation?

In his time there had been many people with the cells of others inside them, but that didn't make them related to that person. While at the same time he had more often than not considered people not related by blood, family. Hiruzen had been like a grandfather, Iruka a father, Sasuke a brother, Sakura a sister. None of them had been related by blood, but if he had to label people as 'family' it would be them.

So where did that put Yuuchi? She was artificially related by blood, distantly too. Who knew how much of Mito her mother had been made up of and how much of it had been him? Her personality was nothing like his own.

There was also no deep bond between them like he had once with Sasuke, Sakura, Iruka and Hiruzen.

Naruto sighed, the answer was right there in front of him. He had known all along but had simply resisted accepting it on a subconscious level. That had been one of the reasons for his conflicting emotions.

Yuuchi, was not his granddaughter.

Blood alone did not make a relation.

With that thought came a huge sense of relief. He had figured it out.

Naruto took all the emotions and lined them out before him. One by one he went through them, splitting them into two groups. The first group he etched onto a new mask that he would use when interacting with Yuuchi.

The others were destroyed, scorched to ash like the earlier emotions and blown away. They were only needlessly complicating things.

To him, now, from this time forward, Yuuchi would be considered an attractive woman whom he respected, trusted, and cared for. Someone he could lean on, go to with his problems and concerns; a source of knowledge and guidance. She would now be one of his 'precious' people. He left a hint of lust in there as well in case he needed to flame it higher in the future.

"…Naruto-san?" a curious voice called out to him, bringing his consciousness out from the depths of his mind.

Opening his eyes he blinked a couple times as he regained his bearings, "Yuuchi?" he replied.

"Ah, you are back," Yuuchi said with a slight nod of her head. Her head tilted and a curious look entered her eyes, "You seem more relaxed, at ease than before."

"Perhaps I am, I decided to deal with something that I've left alone for too long," Naruto replied cryptically.

"I see, that is good, you have sorted out your emotions," Yuuchi said approvingly. She could tell right away that there had been a profound change in Naruto. His posture, his movements, his breathing, even the way he looked at her, all of it was different.

"Yes, have you figured something out?" Naruto asked, referring to the training.

Yuuchi closed her eyes for a couple seconds before nodding slightly, "Perhaps," she said as she slowly rose to her feet, "I need to assess a suspicion first."

Naruto looked at her curious as she made her way to him, "What's that?" he asked curiously.

She stopped just in front of him and returned to her sitting position. This time however her legs were spread much wider so that her knees touched his. "My 'Sekirei Power' is mostly inherited from my mother, in this core I bare. That is the source of my ability to create seals 'without a medium' as you put it," Yuuchi said as she took one of Naruto's hands into her own. She drew his hand to her and placed it between her breasts, over her core. "Creating seals without a medium however is a misnomer. It is not that I do not use a medium, rather it is that I use everything as a medium, including the air itself."

"Oh, I didn't know that, if it's your power then I can't learn it can I?" Naruto said sadly.

"Do not turn stupid simply because I am here," Yuuchi said as she bonked Naruto on the head with a small fist.

"Wha? What are you-oh I think I get it," Naruto said as he realized what she was saying. Sekirei powers, all of their powers, were based on abilities Shinobi of old once possessed. That meant if her power was a Sekirei Power, someone in the past had been able to do it. That meant it WAS learnable.

But her ability was derived from two people, Miko and himself…

"I see you understand now, good," Yuuchi said with satisfaction as she watched the understanding dawn within his eyes, "There is a chance that this power was actually inherited from you, that is what I am trying to find out."

"What is the ability exactly?" Naruto asked.

Yuuchi gave Naruto a dry look, "I already explained that, it's the ability to use anything as a medium for seals. The greatest problem with this ability that few overcome is being able to adjust on the fly for the differences in which the various mediums interact and channel chakra. Anyone could do it given enough time, but to make it useful for every day applications one must be able to do it at an instinctual level."

"So if this power is not mine then…"

"You can still learn it, it will just take much longer, and be far harder, something I am certain you are not unused to," Yuuchi replied, "Now hush, I am trying to focus," she said as she turned her attention inwards.

If it was his power that resided within her core, there should be a resonance between the two of them. It would be faint, considering how old she was and that she was not the original owner of the core, but it should still be there.

"Would it be easier if I channeled some chakra?" Naruto asked quietly as he too turned his attention to his hand and the feeling of it on her chest. He had never realized before how incredibly soft her skin was. Her skin still had that same velvety smoothness that children possessed, and that adults went to extreme lengths to obtain.

But beneath the soft skin he could feel the hum and thrum of power in her body. Despite her appearance, she was powerful, incredibly so. While he could channel more power than her with Sage Mode and his Angel Cloak with the Celestial Gates unleashed, it required all three for him to surpass her. She was naturally more powerful, and possessed more chakra, than him without those enhancements.

Her entire body had been enhanced to the extreme. Her small frame, age and experience had allowed her to refine her control over her chakra to levels that would have put Tsunade to shame. Whereas Tsunade could enhance her fists to deliver punishing blows, Yuuchi naturally enhanced every portion of her body to that level. Her organs, muscles, bones, skin, ligament, even the miniscule amount of fat in her breasts, had been honed and refined to absolute perfection. He didn't know for sure but there was a very real possibility that, through the use of her chakra, she had complete dominion over every aspect of her body. She could freely control the how the very cells themselves interacted with each other.

Naruto realized right then and there that Fuinjutsu wasn't the only thing one had to watch for when dealing with Yuuchi. It was quite possible she could make Miya seem weak and frail.

He had definitely made the correct decision when he had decided to stop considering her as a child. Despite what she appeared like on the surface, she was most definitely not a child underneath the skin.

"If you wish," Yuuchi said, responding to his earlier question, "I am actively drawing chakra from the Tenketsu on your hand and bringing it into my body but having you supply the chakra willingly would make it a bit easier."

She was actually 'taking' chakra from him? He knew there were chakra absorption techniques but he hadn't been aware she herself could do that. He hadn't even noticed, although with the amount of chakra he normally possessed that wasn't exactly strange.

Naruto began to channel some chakra into his hand, coating it in a thin layer, to help speed the process. As much as he enjoyed the sensation of the soft skin beneath his hand he hadn't come here just to enjoy Yuuchi's company.

Suddenly a pulse rippled through Yuuchi's body. It was faint but noticeable against the backdrop of her own power. In fact if it weren't for the power coursing through Yuuchi's body Naruto wouldn't have noticed it. The pulse had actually momentarily disturbed the flow of power.

"Was that it?" Naruto asked eagerly.

"Yes, it appears my ability to instinctually adjust for various mediums was indeed inherited from you," Yuuchi said in satisfaction. That would make things much easier.

Yuuchi took Naruto's hand off her chest and held it up between them, "I'm certain you know how to place a seal on the palm of your own hand," Yuuchi said.

"Yes," Naruto said as he adjusted the chakra he was channeling into his hand and formed a simple seal in his palm. It was a minor one, designed to seal and hold weak flames.

Yuuchi tore a small square from the parchment beneath them, "And you can adjust for different types of physical mediums correct?" she asked as she placed the parchment in his hands, covering half the seal with it.

"I can," Naruto said as he focused his attention. The seal he had created disappeared and he made a created a new one that was half on his palm, half on the parchment.

"Unacceptable," Yuuchi said as she bonked him on the head with a small fist.

"What? I did it, didn't I?" Naruto asked as he looked at her in confusion.

"You were forced to recreate the seal, even a child could do that. That will not help you here," Yuuchi said, chastising him.

"I don't get it," Naruto said.

"Solid items do not change; they are easy to write seals on. The other mediums, liquids and gases however, are constantly changing. You need to be able to adapt your seals on the fly to account for these changes. You will not be able to recreate the seal every time there is a light breeze or a ripple in the water, you will need to be able to adjust the seal to account for this," Yuuchi explained.

"Oh," Naruto said, this sounded a lot harder than he had first thought.

"Yes, now you understand why it is so difficult. I have faith that you can do it, but you cannot 'think' about doing it, you must simply do. Your body knows how to adjust, you simply need to trust it," Yuuchi said as she took hold of the slip of parchment with her fingers, "I will continue to remove and place this parchment on your hand until you are able to shift to seal seamlessly from one medium to the other."

"Yes Yuuchi-sensei," Naruto said automatically as he directed his focus to the task at hand.

The two of them continued for hours with Yuuchi constantly removing and shifting the parchment on his hand. It only took him fifteen minutes to do the first shift from medium to medium but things quickly became more difficult as Yuuchi changed things, folding the parchment, changing its position on his hand, and using other methods to prevent Naruto from falling into a pattern.

After the first hour and a half Yuuchi started to introduce different solid items, from sheets to wood. By the time lunch came and went there wasn't a single item in the room that didn't have a piece taken out of it to be used as a medium for Naruto to practice with.

Several times throughout the day one of Naruto's Sekirei would poke their head inside to see what was going on. They took one look at Naruto concentrating on his training and quietly left the room, being careful not to disturb his concentration.

At one point in time a tray of food was brought for them, courtesy of Yume, however Naruto was too absorbed in what he was doing to notice the food. As a result Yuuchi decided to finish his portion of the meal so as to not waste it.

It was around two in the afternoon when Yuuchi decided to change things.

"You are a quick learner, as usual," Yuuchi said approvingly. Like all her earlier lessons he picked things up quickly, incredibly so. Yuuchi was almost surprised at how inept he had been considering how much talent in had in the area. If only he had a proper teacher in the arts when he was younger, he could have reached levels beyond anything anyone could have imagined.

"Thank you, I think I got the hang of this," he said with a wide grin on his face.

"Hardly, that was the easy part," Yuuchi said with sardonic smile in her face.

"Easy part?"

"Yes, adjusting for differences in solid materials is easy, it is time to move onto liquids, and after that gases," Yuuchi said.

"How are we going to do that?" Naruto asked as he looked around the room, there wasn't anything they could use in there for a liquid. His eyes narrowed slightly as they landed on the empty tray of food. He hadn't even noticed that earlier.

He quickly glanced over at Yuuchi but she seemed as calm and serene as always. In fact her fingers were…

"Wha?" Naruto couldn't form the word correctly.

"There is a source of liquid we can use right here," Yuuchi said as she pushed two fingers past her pink folds.

Naruto couldn't tear his eyes away from the sight of her small fingers moving around inside her.

He didn't know how she did it but within moments of Yuuchi stiffened as she reached a climax. An enormous amount of fluid gushed out of her, far more than should have normally been possible. However instead of spilling everywhere her other hand quickly manipulated a seal in midair and caught the fluid in an enclosure made up of chakra.

Perhaps his early guess of the level of control she had over her body was more accurate than he had thought.

"This should be enough," Yuuchi said and let out a soft sigh. The torrent ended as she let herself down from her sexual high.

"We're going to use that?" Naruto asked incredulously.

"Yes, is there a problem?" Yuuchi asked as she held up about a cup's worth of vaginal fluid.

"But… it's… we could have just gone to the sink in the bathroom…" Naruto protested as he pointed to his right. There was a bathroom not twenty feet away.

"True, but then I would have to get up and I am comfortable," Yuuchi said. Sometime during the training session Yuuchi had grabbed a pillow from the bed and was sitting on it. Naruto didn't notice it until she had mentioned how comfortable she was. "Now hold out your hand," she said as she held out her own palm.

Naruto gaped at her for a moment before he let out a long sigh, "You're impossible sometimes, you know," he said as he held out his hand.

"Yes, and the sooner you accept that the better it will be," Yuuchi said as she moved her hand, upside down, over Naruto's. The liquid seemed to stick to the palm of Yuuchi's hand like it was part of her. "Cup your hand," she instructed.

Naruto sighed again as he curled his fingers and palm into a cup, "This is going to be very distracting," he said.

"Even better, you will need to be able to do this under pressure, you cannot assume your opponents will give you the ideal situations in which to form your seals," Yuuchi said as she brought the liquid down so that it rested in his hands.

Naruto felt his pants tighten as the warmth of the liquid washed over his hand. This was one of the strangest situations he had even been in, but far from the most unpleasant.

"Now, begin again, I will send ripples and pulses through the liquid as you try to form the seals within it. You will start with simple two-dimensional seals on the surface and gradually evolve into three-dimensional seals within the liquid itself," Yuuchi said.

"This might take a while," Naruto said as he noted how much more difficult this was than the previous exercise, never mind the strangeness of the situation.

"Yes, and afterwards you will work on creating seals in gases," Yuuchi said.

"You don't have anything sexual planned for that, do you?" Naruto asked warily.

"No, I do not, but if that is your desire I can work something out," Yuuchi replied.

"No, no, that's quite alright," Naruto said hastily. He grumbled as his current attempt failed, "This really is going to take a long time."

"We have all day."

"I thought you had stuff to do today," Naruto asked with a mixture of curiosity and confusion.

"I did, I will have to find time to do them another time," Yuuchi replied. Teaching Naruto this was more important to her than her own plans for the day.

"Are you sure? I don't want to burden you," Naruto said hesitantly.

"I am quite sure, now, please focus otherwise this will take longer," Yuuchi said as she pushed Naruto back on track.

She wasn't in any hurry to end the day's lessons. Today was the first time Naruto saw her as a woman. She didn't know what to make of that as of yet, but it was certainly better than the confusing mass of emotions that filled his eyes before.

x~X~x

"Why are we here Naruto-kun?" Chime asked as she looked around.

Here was actually at the base of an old volcano, one the greatest natural and cultural site in Japan, Mt. Fuji. The two of them were deep within the forest that surrounded the mountain. Human feet hadn't trod upon where they stood in hundreds of years. There were no paths beyond what the animals made. It was thick with underbrush and low lying branches that threatened to snag her clothing at every turn.

Naruto however either seemed to know where he was going, or simply didn't care. He seemed to move through the forest with purpose although Chime would be damned if she knew what. However he always found a path, even when there didn't appear to be one. He appeared far more at ease and comfortable deep within these woods than he ever had back in the city.

Naruto paused for a moment to allow Chime to catch up. He glanced back at her and flashed an amused grin as he watched her clothing get snagged on a branch, "We're here because I want to check on something. It's not possible in the city, it's too unnatural. Out here however, it will work, if it can work."

It hadn't taken long to get out here either. He had at least two dozen clones running around the countryside laying down Hiraishin markers. They hadn't made it as far as Osaka yet, Hanabi would take care of that when she got there, but they had marked a few interesting locations near Mt. Fuji.

All told he about a little over two thousand different markers laid out across the face of Japan. Everything north of Shinto Teito had been marked, even Hokkaido. His clones were working their way southwest now.

It was difficult to keep track of all the markers; he knew where all the important ones were of the top of his head. The rest however needed to be recorded. To that end he had a new construct built in his workshop at Epsilon. It was a map, globe really, of the world. As you tapped on a section of the globe it zoomed. You could keep zooming in up to twelve times, the closest magnification covering the area of several city blocks. From there he could select the Hiraishin marker, if there were any, in that area and use that as a beacon to teleport to that location.

"That doesn't tell us anything," Chime said with a deadpanned look on her face.

Naruto gave her an apologetic look, "Sorry, there's something I need to try out, a 'mode' that I haven't been able to use since I was last back in the Elemental Nations."

"And we need to be out here for this?" Chime asked in annoyance as she smacked an annoying branch that tried to reach out and snag her clothes. The branch seemed to find that offensive and quickly snapped back, slapping Chime in the chest.

With an angry growl Chime ripped the branch off the tree, threw it on the ground and stomped on it.

"Yes, we're almost at the glade, it's not far from here," Naruto said.

"Glade?" How did he know there was a glade out here?

"Yes. See, right there," Naruto said as he pointed further into the forest.

"I don't see anything," Chime grumbled as she followed closely behind, "And why am I out here with you? Wouldn't Miya or Yume be better at protecting you?"

"No, they're both very offensive orientated individuals. You are very defensive orientated, especially your Norito. You could keep me protected better than both of them combined," Naruto answered. Yume and Miya would definitely be able to take out the attacker far more easily than Chime, but he was more concerned about being unharmed than having the punisher killed. "You don't understand, if I am disturbed doing what I am doing, I will turn into a statue and no one will be able to turn me back."

He did NOT want to become a toad statue. That would be a very inconvenient way to live out the rest of his days.

"Are you sure you need to do this?" Chime asked, swallowing hard. The prospect of losing her Ashikabi wasn't a very enticing thought.

"I need to know what assets are at my disposal. We're heading into a major battle and I want to be as prepared as possible," He'd need every edge he could get if he wanted to beat Orochimaru. He had no illusions about defeating him on 'Guts' alone. That only happened in Blanc's manga. This was real life, shit happened, and the good guys didn't always win.

In fact the good guys usually ended up losing because they weren't capable of going to the lengths the bad guys were to win. And with ten thousand years to prepare the deck was stacked very heavily in Orochimaru's favor. What Naruto was doing right now was seeing which trump cards he had available and which ones he didn't. Sage Mode would be a very powerful card to put into play.

"So I just need to make sure no one touches you?" Chime asked, "Do you think someone will actually attack you?"

"Yes, and I don't know, which is why you're here. Just in case. Chances are because I took the precaution of bringing you here, nothing will happen," Naruto said. That's the way things usually worked. If he prepared for something, that something never happened. However if he didn't prepare, it always occurred.

Then they were there. The glade opened up before them. Naruto didn't slow as he walked around the last tree and into the glade.

Chime took a moment to stop and look around in wonder. It was an amazing sight. A bed of grass, dotted with flowers, spread across the breadth of the glade. Tall, beautiful coniferous trees surrounded the clearing, ringing it with a wall of green. Above the sun shone down through clear blue skies and in the distance Mt. Fuji rose.

Naruto all but ignored the natural beauty of his surroundings as he made his way to the very center of the clearing. It was a very exposed position, but it was also perfect for what he wanted to do. Chime really was only brought along as a last line of defense, more to keep the animals away from him than anything. Anonymity was his true defense out here.

Stopping in the center of the clearing he lowered himself to the ground. Settling in a meditative posture he glanced up at Chime, "I will be meditating for a little while. I don't know how long this will take but I hope to be done before lunch."

"So I just wait here while you sit there for hours?" Chime asked with a raised eyebrow. This didn't seem particularly exciting.

"You could always talk to yourself," Naruto said with a grin on his face.

"Ha, ha, very funny bro," Chime muttered as she sent him a mock glare.

A shadow clone suddenly sprung into existence beside Naruto, "I'll leave you some company in the meantime," he said. He gave the two of them a serious look, "And no drawing on my face while I'm meditating, I know you brought those markers with you."

"Tsk," Chime grumbled, annoyed that she had been caught before she had even begun.

Giving Chime one last hard look, he closed his eyes and began to concentrate. He became perfectly calm and still, letting his muscles relax and the tension drain from his body. He began to search, reaching out with his senses for the natural energy that imbued the world.

And he found it. It was there just like it was back on his world. Not only was this place filled with natural energy, but most of the world was as well. He could feel numerous dead zones across the globe though, areas of major urbanization and development where nature had been all but destroyed. However the majority of the planet was still undeveloped, or at least had yet to be turned into a jungle of steel and concrete.

Normally one wouldn't be able to sense the natural energy of the entire world, but Naruto was anything but normal, and this place was special. The volcano, although dormant for the past several centuries, was still a direct link to the very center of the planet. He could use that as a guide to reach the center of the world with his consciousness and spread out from there to all corners of the globe.

It was mildly difficult, and he certainly was not going to be able to draw natural energy from half a world away, but he could sense it, he could feel the world.

However he did not come here to 'feel' the world, but to draw it into his body, to use it to empower his own abilities so that he could stand toe-to-toe with the nightmare that walked Shinto Teito.

Naruto took another slow, deep breath. On the second breath, as he inhaled, he drew in the natural energy around him.

And screamed in agony as rage and pain beyond mortal comprehension slammed into his mind.

He was bombarded from all sides by emotions he could physically could not deal with, anger beyond rage beyond hate. It scorched his mind and demanded revenge, it demanded recompense, it demanded death. Pain, suffering, agony, it tore through his body with abandon.

He had drawn in the natural energies of the world around him successfully but unlike his old world, something was very wrong with this one. This world hated humans, demanded their death. He could feel her pain, her suffering. The imbalance between nature and humanity was acute. Despite the abundance of natural energy in the world, he could literally feel it decreasing with every moment. The urbanization of the world was destroying it, the planet could feel itself dying. It wanted the humans to destroyed, wiped out, eradicated.

They were a plague that must be destroyed.

It took every ounce of his self-control and willpower to maintain his ego, his sense of self.

And even that was fading; it would only be a matter of time before Uzumaki Naruto ceased to be.

Unlike his world where all he had to worry about was turning into a toad statue. Here it was much worse, the planet was trying to take him over, she was trying use him as a conduit to rid herself of the plague that ravaged her body.

He tried to rid himself of the natural energy, force it from his body, but it wouldn't leave. More kept coming in, trying to fill him with power and energy, overwhelm him until he was something different. It was like the planet was trying to transform him into something akin to a force of nature instead of a living entity.

And he wasn't the only one affected by the assault.

Chime was on her hands and knees, one hand pressed against her heart as she stared at her Ashikabi in terror and fear. She didn't know what to do. She wanted to move, to reach his side, but it hurt so much. The pain that wracked her mind was unbelievable. It was tearing across the bond uncontrollably.

She didn't know what it was that Naruto wanted to do but she knew this wasn't it.

She looked around for the clone, but it was nowhere to be seen. Something had dispelled it moments after Naruto had begun to scream.

That left her all alone, she had to help him, she had to do something, there wasn't anyone else. With herculean effort she crawled to her Ashikabi's side. She wrapped her arms around his head and pulled him to her bosom. He had said not to disturb him, but something already was.

The pain intensified as she came into physical contact with her Ashikabi. She didn't let go however, because no matter how much she hurt, Naruto was in far more pain.

"Come on Naruto! Snap out of it!" Chime said, tears leaking from her eyes. Naruto needed to regain control, she was being torn apart inside.

Suddenly the clearing filled with multi-colored energy. It was hard to focus on it; every time she tried it was somewhere else, something else. It whirled around the two of them as if trying to envelope them in a warm cocoon.

Hurricane force winds suddenly whipped into the clearing, bringing with it a howl of anger, as it tried to force the energy away. Trees bent, grass flattened and flowers torn up as a whirlwind of energy and emotion screamed around them.

Chime couldn't understand exactly what it was she was looking at but it felt very much as if two vast and unimaginably powerful forces were colliding in the center of the clearing. It was like they were fighting for dominance, for control.

Over Naruto.

Well she wouldn't let them have him.

Her normal clothing disappeared, replaced by her veil. She wrapped it around her and Naruto to shield them from the titanic struggle happening around them.

But even if she could stop any physical harm, she couldn't stop the mental attack on her Ashikabi and on herself by proxy. She simply held on to Naruto as tightly as she could and prayed that he would regain control.

A loud thunderclap boomed across the clearing and the wind was broken. The glade became calm once more. Chime didn't know what had just happened but Naruto had stopped screaming and the pain coming across the bond wasn't as intense, that was a good thing in her mind.

Then multi-colored energy whirled around them once more. For a singular moment Chime was blind, she could see nothing but bright white light.

It quickly cleared however and when it did she realized they were no longer in the same glade. This one was far larger to begin with, and the grass and flowers were completely unknown to her. The greatest difference however was the trees. The trees in the previous glade stood twenty, maybe thirty feet high at most.

These ones towered at least three times as high; some were much more than that. They had enormous with branches, thicker than her body.

Her attention was drawn away from the clearing as Naruto groaned and shook himself from his stupor.

"Damnit bro, don't scare me like that!" Chime said as she held Naruto's head tighter. The pain was definitely gone, whatever it was that had been tearing through her Ashikabi had completely disappeared when they had arrived in this new place.

"Sorry," he whispered, wincing slightly as his voice echoed painfully inside his head, "that… didn't… go as planned."

"No shit," Chime grumbled, "that really hurt."

"You… felt that? Damn… the bond… I'm sorry… I need to be more careful," he said, his voice still barely audible. He should have thought about the consequences of Sage Mode on the bond. Although there was no way he could have predicted what just happened.

The consciousness of the planet never came with the power back in the Elemental Nations. It just simply was.

"Reckless as always, father," a voice echoed around them.

"What?" Naruto said as he looked around for the source of the voice. At least he tried as well as he could with his head pressed tightly between Chime's breasts.

Multi-colored energy whirled into the center of the clearing. It began to collapse upon itself, becoming tighter and denser. A form coalesced before their eyes, first taking shape, then color. When it was done a small yellow haired, blue-eyed woman wearing a red floral pattern kimono stood before them.

"Ramen… Gaia," Naruto whispered.

"I prefer Ramen," she said with a small smile on her face, "You really should have known better father, you are not inside me anymore, this is a different world."

"Where are we?" he asked as he looked around in confusion. This wasn't the glade he had brought Chime to.

"You do not recognize this place?" Ramen asked curiously, "odd, I thought you would have recognized the site of your greatest feat."

Naruto's eyes widened as it suddenly dawned on him. This was the Elemental nations, this was the same clearing he had developed and unleashed the causality reversal Funijutsu. This was where he and Hanabi had killed Uchiha Madara.

"I don't understand… I thought…"

"This place is both real, and not real. You are inside me once more. This place truly exists, but it only exists here. It is why the Gaia of the world we are on does not particularly like me. My existence overwrites hers. My nature differs from her nature. I try to keep the effects of my presence to a minimum, out of respect, but I cannot accept her trying to take you from me. You are mine, not hers. She has her own defenses, even if they have turned out to be useless."

"Not sure… how I feel about being… treated like a possession," Naruto said quietly.

"You are born of me, as are those that are bound to you. You are all mine, it is as simple as that," Ramen said as if it was the easiest concept to understand.

Now Naruto understand what she meant. He was as much 'hers' as the trees were, the plants, the grass, everything. He was born on her world, using the resources that made up her world. In a sense he was a part of her as much as the dirt he walked on or the trees that towered above them.

"What happened?" Naruto asked, "I tried to channel natural energies… and…" the pain, the anger, the sheer level of emotion, both human and alien, that had crashed into him had been mind boggling.

"You are on a different world. The humans here have not treated Gaia well. They do not care about living with nature, only consuming it. The humans of this world have been labeled as an infestation that needs to be removed," Ramen said, "You are not of this world, you love nature, you live with nature, you accept nature. Gaia wanted to use you as a weapon, a force, to destroy the infestation. You have the power to do it, or would if she had her way with you. Her other defences have been neutralized or suppressed, they are not doing their job, and she is growing weaker every day."

"So I can't use my Sage Mode," Naruto said with a disappointed sigh.

"Oh, you can, you just cannot draw upon Gaia of this world," Ramen said as she approached Naruto.

"What else is there to draw upon?"

"Me," Ramen said as she unclipped one of her earrings and held it out to Naruto. "Take this, if you use the same method as before, but focus upon it instead of your surroundings, I will respond."

Naruto took the earring from her and examined it. Or at least he tried to; he couldn't seem to focus on it. Every time he tried to look at it his eyes just seemed to slip right around it. He knew there was something dangling there at the end but he couldn't for the life of him figure out what it was. Even the way it felt on his hand was indescribable. It was warm, that was sure, but beyond that he couldn't come up with a way of describing how it felt.

"So just focus on this instead of my surroundings?" Naruto asked.

"Yes, you are mine. I will not give you up to her or anyone else. I will be very cross if you cheat on me," Ramen said as she gave Naruto a stern look.

Naruto felt he was getting an inside look at the interactions between planets that no one had ever seen before. Who knew they were so possessive of their own? Well, he wasn't really going to argue. He would prefer to draw upon the familiar power of his old home than this new world anyways.

"Thank you," Naruto said as he clipped the earring on. He couldn't even feel the weight of it on his ear lobe. It was like it had no weight.

He could feel the presence however. He could sense the natural energies that lay quietly within it.

"Good," Ramen said with approval and turned to leave.

"Wait! I have so many questions…" Naruto called out. There was so much he wanted to ask.

Ramen glanced back at him, "I am sorry father, but I can only keep you in here for so long," she turned away, "And I do not normally give answers, I merely help you, and others, find your own. The journey is yours to travel, although I will be here to help pick you up should you stumble and fall."

"Just try not to die before I can reach you…" Ramen's voice became quieter as she slowly faded from view.

The landscape faded and suddenly the two of them found themselves back at Epsilon, in Naruto's room on B2.

"Bro… what just happened?" Chime asked as she looked around in total confusion.

"I'm not entirely sure but…" he paused and closed his eyes as he focused on the earring. He drew upon it like he would the natural energies of his surroundings. A flood of energy entered his body, natural energy, the energy he was used to balancing with his own. Opening his eyes he glanced up at Chime who let out a little gasp of surprise, "It seems I can enter Sage Mode now."

Despite the trouble he had reaching this point this was an even better alternative than he could have hoped for. He didn't need to send clones out to gather natural energies. He could bring it into himself anywhere, anytime. What's more because he was drawing it through the earring instead of from his natural surroundings he didn't need to remain still.

It was good to know he had one more powerful asset at his disposal to use against Orochimaru.

x~X~x

Minato couldn't help but wonder if he had somehow found himself trapped within a movie. Things these past few days had been surreal at best. First there had been the destruction of Izumo Inn, then the attack on the Hospital, followed by the battle afterwards and the chase through the city.

Now he was in a bunker that looked it was ripped straight from one of those futuristic movies he had watched with Yukari when he was younger. If Minaka thought he had a monopoly on over-technology, he was wrong. Because what Minato had seen here matched, if not surpassed, anything he had ever heard of MBI releasing.

Although he was certain that MBI withheld their latest developments so that they could maintain their edge over their competitors.

He had no idea how large the underground compound was or how extensive the network of tunnels were. His movements, and those of his Sekirei, had been restricted from the moment they had arrived. It wasn't that they weren't allowed to leave, because they were more than welcome to, it was that they weren't allowed to go too far into the complex. The only entrance that he knew about was the one they had arrived at.

After they had lost MBI during the chase through the city they had turned into a parking garage. At first Minato had thought they were going to hide their vehicles here and head elsewhere on foot. It had come as a surprise when, instead of going up, the floor of the parking garage had raised and they had driven down into the bowels of city. It had taken them almost five minutes, and the joining of a half-dozen different passageways, to finally reach their destination.

It was a large underground parking garage with easily enough room for fifty vehicles of varying sizes.

Off the garage was a guard room, everything was checked coming through, right down to their DNA. They had been told it was to ensure that they really were who they were supposed to be, and not simply someone in disguise. Matsu had told him later that there had been a six armed guards watching them from behind various concealed doors and three different automated defense systems which included sentry turrets and vents for both chemical and biological weapons to be released.

Beyond the checkpoint was a large open room that seemed to serve as a central thoroughfare and gathering point for the underground bunker. Rows of couches and chairs covered the center of the room. Splashes of color, in the form of various plants and flowers, added life and warmth to the place. Branching off the central area were several doors that led to various sections of the facility.

However they had been barred entry through all but one of those doors. They had been led to the closest door on the left which opened up into a long hallway. The hallway had many doors branching off it like the central room. They had been informed that this was the living quarters and was where they would be spending most of their time. It was then that they had been informed that they were free to leave the facility whenever they wanted, provided they didn't speak about it.

Being restricted to their room wasn't that much of an inconvenience. Seo seemed to downright enjoy it as it had everything he wanted. He was able to laze about and not do anything; there was even free complimentary beer delivery service. A little robot would drive into their room through a small hole in the bottom of the door with a cold beer. It also didn't bother to check if they were of age.

It had taken Minato much of the next day to recover from the hangover. He had spent much of the night drowning the pain of losing his mother in alcohol.

On top of the beer service their living quarters was fully equipped with many different amenities such as internet and satellite TV.

There was a large central room that served as a kitchen, dining room and living room all in one. Branching from that central room were four different bedrooms. The three of them, Yukari, Seo and himself, had each taken one of the rooms. The fourth was unoccupied at the moment.

They hadn't heard anything from their mysterious benefactor that had rescued them since their arrival. However the guards that patrolled the place were quite cordial with them, if strict with their rules and abrupt while on duty. They had no problem joining them for a game of cards when they weren't on duty. They would never volunteer anything work related and Minato had to admit he was a little too intimidated to ask. Plus they owed them their lives, his conscience wouldn't let him pry after everything they had done for him and his Sekirei.

Right now he was sitting in the living room, lounging back in one of the chairs. Matsu was to his side, her eyes closed, and Homura stood not far behind him, leaning against the wall as she was want to do.

Seo was in here as well and he seemed just as bored as Minato felt, although it was difficult to tell with him sometimes. He sat on the far couch, his head back against the headrest, his legs were sprawled out and his arms were wrapped around the shoulders of his Sekirei who sat on either side of him.

Yukari was in her room with Shiino, dressing the poor boy up in some new clothes she had randomly found in the dresser. Minato felt sorry for him, he knew how eccentric his sister could get. She had tried to drag him in there as well to dress him up but he had quickly retreated behind Homura.

He still remembered her comments from the Hospital and he wasn't quite ready to trust being in the same room as her alone.

"I found him Minatan!" Matsu said suddenly, her eyes snapping open.

"Where?" Minato asked. He didn't need to ask who, he had asked Matsu to look for Naruto soon after they had arrived at the bunker.

"Izumo Inn, or at least there are lot of 'him' running around there," Matsu said. There had been a lot of Naruto's swarming the remains of Izumo Inn as they worked quickly to clear the property. From what Matsu could tell Naruto was preparing the place to have something new constructed on it.

Matsu had been using her power quite a bit since arriving here in the bunker. Her normal perverted antics were nowhere to be seen. Matsu had mentioned to him she had tried to hack into the computer systems in the bunker but had failed. They didn't use the standard binary system that her brain was naturally attuned to; it seemed to use a ternary system. Due to the manipulations of Minaka when she was a fetus her ability to hack into electronics were limited, probably to keep her out of the more sensitive MBI systems. It was something that would take her time to adapt to.

"We should ask the guards to drive us there," Minato said, standing up.

Kaho's prone, deactivated, form rested within his room. He wanted to get her back as soon as possible. His mother had suggested that he get Naruto's help to do so. He didn't know how Naruto could bring her back but he trusted his mother. It could also be considered his mother's dying wish, as Minato had no doubt that she was no longer amongst the living.

It was at that exact moment that simultaneous ringtones rang out. Startling in surprise Minato fumbled around in his pocket. Pulling out his phone he opened it up and noticed a new message had been sent to him.

He couldn't help but frown in worry as he read the message. Judging by the expression on Seo's face he had gotten he same message.

"What is it Minatan?" Matsu asked as she came up beside her Ashikabi.

"It's the last round of the third stage," Minato said. "Minaka is keeping the last Jinki for the disciplinary squad but the other three are to be prizes for whoever finds them first. Everyone, every Ashikabi, has been invited to his cruise ship to fight one another over the prizes."

"Onii-chan!" Yukari shouted as she appeared in the room with a bang, the door to her bedroom slamming against the wall. "Did you get the message as well?"

"Yes."

"Tch, it's obviously a trap," Seo spat as he read the message, "You two should probably stay as far away from this as possible. I'll go check it out."

Minato nodded, he knew that Minaka was after him, he didn't know why, but he wasn't going to participate in this round that was for sure. Minaka was bound to have someone there to kill him if he showed up.

"I'll head to boat, you three head to Izumo Inn. They said we could leave whenever, well this is as good a time as any," Seo said to Minato as he got to his feet.

"I think I'll stay here," Matsu said, "I would just be a burden if we got caught out there. I'll keep an eye on you through the satellites."

"Thank you Matsu-san," Minato turned to Homura, "Let's go Homura-san, let's get Kaho-san back."

"Right," Homura said as she came up beside Minato. The two quickly left the room to look for someone to drive them to Izumo Inn.

"I'm going too onii-chan!" Yukari said as she started after her brother.

"You're staying here little lady, we don't want to present a large target for Minaka to strike," Seo said as he grabbed Yukari by the shoulder and held her back.

Yukari contemplated stomping on Seo's foot and kicking him in the balls to get away but decided not to at the last moment, she didn't want to upset someone she had to live with. Yukari let out a long sigh and trudged back to her room. If she couldn't play with her brother, she'd just play with Shiina until he got back.

x~X~x

"Are you in position Blanc-san?" Hanabi whispered into her earpiece.

She was crouched on the rooftop of a tall forty story oval-shaped tower complex. The outside of the building was sheathed in teal colored panes of glass. The rooftop was filled with antennas, satellite dishes, chimneys and a helicopter pad. There was even a large set of solar panels on the far side of the rooftop.

The building, and its sister across the street, was owned by a subsidiary of MBI: Future Tech. It wasn't well known that MBI was the parent company, it was kept hushed from the public, but anyone that could follow the paper trail could figure it out. The tower complex was one of those buildings that rented out floors and offices to small businesses that couldn't afford, or didn't need, an entire building.

As a result, to keep the cost of renting the floors out low enough that it was affordable, the structure of the building wasn't built as soundly as some of the others that Hanabi had infiltrated such as Higa Pharmaceuticals. This was a boon for Hanabi as it allowed her eyes to penetrate multiple floors at a time.

And right now that let her see her target. The top three levels were the executive suites, permanently rented out to MBI 'employees'. Right now the very top level was where the people she needed to rescue were located.

It wasn't a bad place to imprison them; few would consider torture and interrogation to take place in such a location. And considering MBI had funded the construction of the building, the top levels were fortified as well as any prison.

It was obvious that MBI had been rough with their prisoners, judging by their conditions. All of them were being kept separated, in small five by five cells that barely had enough room for them to stand.

There were some complications with what she saw however. The mission had mentioned that five people had been taken captive; however Hanabi could only see four of them. And of those four, only three were imprisoned. The fourth appeared to be talking amicably with his 'captors.'

Although it was impossible to confirm without more information it looked as if Naoki's General had been betrayed.

The fifth was nowhere to be seen, worst case scenario was that said individual had already been questioned and 'disposed' of.

"Ya, I can see Noire," Blanc muttered irritably.

Blanc was annoyed and upset and she wanted to hurt someone. The trip here had been unpleasant at best; she still remembered clinging to the underside of the train. When Hanabi had said she knew of a hole in the security Blanc hadn't expected that kind of hole. Of course there'd be a hole there, who in the right mind would cling to the bottom of a train?

No, screw unpleasant, it had been a nightmare.

Then they had met Naoki's contacts, these were hardcore military fanatics. They were loyal to Japan and itching to take it back from Minaka. Everyone last one of them had served in the military longer than she'd been alive. They were all experienced veterans.

They had taken one look at her and laughed.

If Hanabi hadn't held her back she would have put them all in the hospital. At least reducing the wall to rubble with her bare hands had gotten them to shut up. They had been careful to avoid insulting her after that point.

However if it had just been those two incidents she could have dealt with it.

No, what she was really irritated over was what had happened not even an hour past. The pain, the sorrow, the agony that had ripped across her bond had terrified her, although she would never have admitted that. She had been on the verge of abandoning the mission to race to Naruto's side when the pain had subsided and everything went back to normal.

Naruto had better have a good explanation for what just happened otherwise she'd put HIM through a wall.

But since he was hundreds of miles away she'd have to settle on Orochimaru's Sekirei, Noire. She had a lot of anger to work out and a viable target to unleash it on. And once Naoki's men were in place she'd be able to move.

They were to attack the moment Naoki's men did, they'd focus on the rescue part of the operation while she and Hanabi took care of the Sekirei.

"Good, Naoki's men are moving into position. They've secured the thirty-seventh floor and are moving up to the thirty-eighth," Hanabi said as she reported the progress of Naoki's men. It had taken them several days to get everyone prepared and ready for the assault.

There was an elevator that went up to the top three floors but you needed special MBI access to reach those levels. That was not something the soldiers had; nor would they use it even if they did, it would give away their plan before they were ready.

Hanabi slowly made her way across the rooftop to a position above her target. Her target was on the fortieth floor, just beneath her, with a dozen armed guards around her. With a quick application of her Sekirei power she could smash through the ceiling and hit her before she could recover. At least that was what Hanabi was hoping to do. Considering who she was faced off against things could quite easily get out of hand.

Her preferred method of assault would be to sneak into the building and kill her target before she was aware Hanabi was even there. Unfortunately there was no way into the top floor without setting off alarms and alerting everyone to her presence. Even if she could hide her presence from people, certain types of technology could still pick her up.

"We are in position Uzumaki-san," Colonel Mustang said over the communication line.

Colonel Roy Mustang was the one in charge of the operation. He had three dozen of his best special operations forces with him today. They had every entrance to the thirty-eighth floor covered, and some were prepared to grapple up the side of the building.

"Thank you Colonel," Hanabi replied, "Blanc-san, it's on you."

"About damn time!" Blanc snapped as she prepared herself for the assault. She was crouched on the rooftop of the sister building, across the street.

She eyed her target, Noire. Noire had red eyes and long black hair that was tied up into twin ponytails by two blue ribbons. She was wearing a fancy black, red and white dress with gold buttons and lining. It was strapless, cut low to expose ample cleavage, and ended mid-thigh exposing much of her legs. She was currently pacing back and forth on the thirty-ninth floor.

Blanc slowly backed across the rooftop. Just as Noire disappeared from sight, Blanc stopped. Taking a deep breath she closed her eyes and steadied herself.

Her eyes snapped open and she shot forward. The rooftop cratered behind her as she streaked across it. As she reached the edge she placed a single foot on the lip and used it as a spring board to propel her across the street. Her monstrous strength ripped the top of the building open. A sonic boom rattled the windows as Blanc broke the sound barrier.

It only took her a faction of a second to close the gap between the two buildings.

The glass paneling on the outside of the building exploded inwards as Blanc smashed through the fragile wall. The furniture just inside was picked off the floor and thrown across the room. The men stationed within the room were forced to shield their faces from the flying glass and debris as they too were picked up and hurled through the air.

Noire had just enough time to turn around and raise her arms before Blanc barreled into her. Powerful booms shook the building as the force of Blanc's charge carried the two of them through several walls and out the other side of the building, blasting a major hole out the other side.

"Who the hell does that!?" Noire yelled as she grappled with Blanc in midair. They were still moving laterally due to the force behind Blanc's charge but they were starting to fall as the momentum was lost.

"Oh shut up and die bitch!" Blanc shot back. She wanted this over as soon as possible so she could get back to her Ashikabi.

"How about 'you' die you flat-chested reject!" Noire snapped.

Blanc saw red as her eyes lit on fire, "I'll make you regret saying that you frickin bitch!" she raged as she ripped the front of Noire's dress open and punched her hard.

The force of the blow separated the two of them.

"Hmph!" Noire grunted as she recovered from the blow. She glared at Blanc and raised her nose imperiously at her, "Truth hurts, you're a failure. The others, Vert and Neptune, they can transform. You can't, you're just a reject, and you're sterile to boot!"

"What the hell are you talking about?" Blanc demanded. She didn't care whether she could transform or not, in fact she hadn't even been aware that she could. However it was the last part of that statement that worried her.

"Fine, I'll educate you, since I'm so nice," Noire said regally.

Noire twirled in midair and did a ridiculous pose. Her legs spread wide, her left hand stretched out behind her and her right rose up above her head, her index finger extended. The tip of her finger glowed with a brilliant pink light for a short moment before she exploded with color.

Noire's arched her back and stretched her arms out to either side. Her clothes glowed brightly before they suddenly disappeared into thin air. Her body shimmered with an ethereal light as it began to undergo a transformation. Her breasts enlarged several sizes, her ass became fuller and she grew several centimeters. Her hair changed from black to white and her eyes became a vibrant green color with an oblong shaped iris, much like her own.

Another bright flash of light enveloped Noire and when it died down she was clothed in a skin tight wet suit that was very similar to the one Blanc wore. Only hers was as dark as night and was open above her breast exposing ample cleavage.

"This is my transformation! Behold my elegance and beauty and burn with envy!" Noire said haughtily, "You are permanently stuck in your sterile form you pitiful flat-chested child!"

"I'll show you who's flat-chested after I cleave those offensive tits from your chest!" Blanc raged as she pulled her axe out from her storage seal and threw it at Noire.

Noire reacted quickly. A giant twelve foot sword suddenly appeared in her hands. There was a loud clang of steel on steel as the two weapons clashed with each other. Noire grunted in exertion from the force of the impact. Maneuvering her body to the side she threw the axe to the side, sending it flying far away from Blanc.

"That was stupid of you! Now you don't have a weapon," Noire said smugly.

"I don't need one," Blanc retorted angrily.

"Wha-HURK!"

Noire realized it too late. The axe had never been meant to hit her, but reposition her. She had been so focused on Blanc she hadn't been aware of her surroundings. She hadn't seen what had been positioned under her, what had been quickly rushing up to meet her.

And now she was impaled upon it. She slid down the lamppost, covering the metal in wet layer of blood.

Blanc slammed into the pavement hard, cratering the sidewalk and sending spider web cracks in all directions. The impact jarred her legs and sent spikes of pain rippling up her body. However she could deal with that, it was certainly a better fate than what had befallen Noire.

Slowly making her way to Noire, Blanc couldn't help but suppress a wince. Despite being her enemy, and insulting her chest, that was certainly a painful way to go.

"Heh… don't… think you've won…" Noire coughed out, blood leaked out of her mouth.

"What do you mean I'm sterile?" Blanc demanded, ignoring Noire's bluster.

"That's not your real body… that's your transformed state… you're broken… permanently stuck in your Norito… we can't bear children in this state… for their protection," Noire gasped out as more blood began to leak from her mouth.

"How do I un-transform!"

"You think… I'll… tell you?" Noire asked as she let out a wet choking laugh, "I may die here but I die with the knowledge that my Ashikabi will kill you, will kill all of you, and even if you do survive, you can never be happy."

"TELL ME DAMN IT!" Blanc demanded as she reached down and grabbed Noire by the neck.

Noire just laughed, or at least she tried to as her body was wracked with bloody coughs. When the coughs subsided she was dead.

"Damn you!" Blanc shouted at Noire as she let go of the dead Sekirei, pissed that she had died with the knowledge she needed. She stomped on the sidewalk in frustration causing it to crack. With an angry punch she snapped the bloodstained lamppost and sent it flying down the sidewalk. "Damn it…" she whispered in a pain filled voice.

She knew the names of all of Miya's Sekirei. She didn't know Neptune, she was probably long dead. Vert was gone, beaten by Yume long ago. With Noire dead there was no one left who knew how to transform.

That was if Noire was to be believed anyways. Unfortunately there was no reason for Blanc not to believe her. Noire had seemed too smug, too amused by the situation, for it to be anything but the truth.

Blanc made her way across the street to retrieve her axe, heedless of the traffic. If she really was sterile, a medical examination would be able to figure that out. And if she was then maybe her Ashikabi could figure something out. If her transformation was something she was supposed to have, but simply didn't, maybe it was something Naruto could fix.

She certainly hoped so, she didn't want to be pushed away because she couldn't bear children like the others.

x~X~x

The sonic boom that rattled the building was the signal Hanabi had been waiting on. Hanabi knelt down and placed her hands on the gravel rooftop. She channeled her Sekirei power through her hands and greatly increased the gravitational forces exerted on the roof below her. In an instant the roof gave way carrying Hanabi into the room below.

Hanabi didn't even wait for the debris to reach the floor before she moved. With a burst of speed she disappeared from amidst the rubble and reappeared behind her target. She lashed out with a chakra coated palm, aiming for the heart.

Stars exploded across Hanabi's vision as a light back hand sent her careening across the room. She managed to shake the stars from her eyes in time to right herself before she landed. She had been lucky that she had caught Sakura off guard, if she had been fully prepared for her that backhand would have torn Hanabi's head from her shoulders.

"That will not work a second time," Sakura said in a monotonous voice as she turned to face Hanabi fully. Sakura snapped her fingers and pointed at Hanabi, "shoot her," she ordered the men around.

Hanabi was suddenly looking down the barrels of twelve different automatic weapons. Thinking quickly she summoned her Sekirei power to her finger tips, "Gravity Field!" Hanabi shouted, holding her palms out to either side of her as she unleashed her power.

The entire room was engulfed in the field. What once felt like ten pounds suddenly felt like a thousand. The soldiers slammed into the floor harshly, unable to support their own weight anymore, let alone the weight of their equipment. Their bodies snapped and twisted as bones broke, organs ruptured and muscles tore.

Sakura was no longer in the room.

Releasing her power Hanabi quickly jumped up back through the hole in the ceiling.

There was a downside to Sekirei power. For some reason one had to shout out the attack if it was anything more than a minor application of the power. That gave people with quick reflexes enough time to react. Sakura had escaped through the hole in the ceiling that Hanabi had made the moment Hanabi had opened her mouth to release her attack.

Sakura had obviously been informed on what her power was capable of doing.

Hanabi had to throw herself to the side the moment she reached the rooftop, Sakura's fist just barely missing her as she avoided the attack. The air seemed to vibrate around the extended arm. Hanabi knew about Sakura's super strength and medical capabilities. Blocking her attacks wasn't an option; Sakura would just blow through her defence like it wasn't there and pulverize her.

Hanabi was on her feet before her sideways momentum had slowed. Digging her hands into the gravel rooftop she brought herself to a stop. She glanced up at Sakura and shot towards her. Her form was little more than a blur as she closed what little distance there was between the two.

Sakura was ready however; she wasn't like the Sekirei Hanabi had killed before. She was a battle hardened Kunoichi, just like Hanabi, and while she wasn't as quick, she knew Hanabi well enough to predict how she would move.

The rooftop shook as the two powerful women exchanged a flurry of blows. It was a deadly dance of death where even the slightest mistake on either side would spell the end of the battle. This battle would be decided in a single blow. If Sakura hit Hanabi, the cleaners would be scraping what was left of her off the rooftop.

As for Hanabi, she was trying to break through Sakura's defense. Find that one opening where she could deal that single fatal blow, either to her head or to her heart. It had to be instantaneous; Sakura would just heal herself otherwise.

Hanabi darted from side to side as she avoided everything Sakura threw her way. Her palms lashed out to strike whatever part of Sakura's body that she could reach without over extending herself. The injuries never lasted; Hanabi could see them heal moments after she had inflicted them upon the pink-haired woman. However each one hurt, each one required additional chakra to heal, and each one had the potential to distract her long enough for Hanabi to get that clean blow in.

"This is pointless, Hanabi-san," Sakura said as she batted away a palm strike that was aimed for her heart. It was retracted too quickly for her to exploit, "I have already informed my Ashikabi of your presence here. You are a threat to be eliminated. All I have to do is delay you until he arrives."

Hanabi didn't respond as she looked for an opening to strike her opponent. Sakura wasn't aware that there was a temporary communication blackout in the surrounding area and Hanabi had no intention of letting her know about that. Too often she had seen people get beat because they revealed their tricks too earlier and allowed their opponent time to counter them.

However even if no messages could get in our or, the blackout would be noticeable and it would draw attention.

Instead Hanabi focused on trying to figure out a way to beat Sakura quickly. She couldn't use her Sekirei power; it required too much time to unleash. Sakura would be able to use that brief moment to strike her and it would be over.

But her current method wasn't working either. There wasn't any point in closing Sakura's tenketsu, all her chakra came from her core and permeated throughout her body. Closing them did absolutely nothing.

Sakura wasn't as fast as she was, but her reflexes and speed were good enough to prevent Hanabi from landing a critical blow.

It was just barely though, if Sakura was any slower she wouldn't be able to react to her. Hanabi needed some way of slowing her down.

An idea suddenly occurred to her. It was reckless, dangerous, and could potentially put her back in the hospital again but it was the best chance of beating Sakura quickly. She couldn't risk having this fight get drawn out.

Hanabi jumped back to put some distance between her and Sakura. Hanabi crouched low with one palm out in front of her and the other behind, "Hakke Hyaku Nijūhachi Shō!" Hanabi shouted as she blurred into her family's most devastating attack.

"Two Palms!" Hanabi shouted as her palms lashed out at Sakura with blistering speed.

"Whatever you're trying won't work Hanabi-san," Sakura said as she blocked the first strike and took the second one to the shoulder.

"Four Palms!"

"I know all there is to know about you," Sakura said as she knocked away the strike to her kidney at the expense of taking one to the forearm.

"Eight Palms!"

"Closing my tenketsu is pointless," Sakura said as she blocked the first strike, swerved her body away from fourth. The other two strikes slammed into her chest.

"Sixteen Palms!" Hanabi shouted as she directed the strikes towards Sakura's legs.

Taken by surprise by the sudden change in target Sakura collapsed to one knee, her legs giving out before she was able to heal them. This put her at a very disadvantageous position.

Hanabi didn't stop her barrage however, "Thirty-Two Palms!"

Her arms were little more than blurs now, indistinguishable to the naked eye. Sakura tried her best to block the attacks but it was all she could do to simply cover her vital areas. She took all sixteen strikes to her body.

Sakura was in trouble, she knew it, in her kneeled position she couldn't properly defend against Hanabi's assault. Even if she could reopen her tenketsu and heal her injuries, if Hanabi hit manage to get a critical strike on one of her major organs she would be dead before she could do anything.

"Ōkashō!" Sakura yelled as she slammed a chakra enhanced fist into the rooftop.

The rooftop, already weakened by Hanabi earlier, completely gave way. With a thunderous crash half the rooftop of the fortieth floor caved in. The walls and pillars supporting it buckled and collapsed. The building hadn't been designed to withstand that much force slamming into it.

Quickly jumping to her feet amidst the rubble and dust Sakura whipped her head back and forth, looking for Hanabi. She didn't have to look for long, as mere moments later she was forced to react to Hanabi's renewed assault.

Only her body didn't respond as quickly as it should have. Sakura's eyes grew wider as she realized what it was that Hanabi had done to her. The Eight Trigrams, One Hundred Twenty-Eight Palms wasn't meant to close her tenketsu. Hanabi hadn't even been trying to get a strike at a vital area.

It had been used for something completely different, something she hadn't even considered. Hanabi had combined her Sekirei power with her attack. Each strike had left behind a tiny fraction of her power, increased the gravitational pressure upon her by just a tiny bit. Each strike was insignificant, but she had struck her twenty eight times. That was enough to increase the effect of gravity on her body more than twice over.

It wasn't a lot; against most other opponents Sakura wouldn't have even noticed the increase. Against someone like Hanabi who was incredibly fast and agile, someone who she had just barely been able to keep up with prior to now, it was enough.

She knew Hanabi wouldn't let this opportunity escape her.

And true to her prediction pain tore through her body not a moment later. A spike of pure energy ripped through her heart from behind as Hanabi exploited her delayed reaction time.

"Hanabi-san…" Sakura whispered as she slumped backwards into Hanabi's arms.

"I'm sorry," Hanabi whispered. This was the second time she had killed Sakura.

Sakura looked back and smiled at her, "Don't be… this… is the second time… you've… freed… me..."

"Sakura-san…" Hanabi trailed off, she didn't know what to say.

"Hanabi-san… thank you," Sakura whispered as life faded from her eyes a second time.

"Farewell, I will make sure that monster doesn't get your body," Hanabi whispered as she gently eased Sakura's lifeless body back against the pile of rubble.

"Uzumaki Hanabi!"

Hanabi looked up and glanced across the ruined room to the undamaged side of the building. Colonel Mustang was approaching her, carefully working his way across the rubble. There were several other soldiers standing around the doorway surveying the room with varying degrees of surprise.

The part of the building that Colonel Mustang had come from was the section of the fortieth floor that had been designed to house prisoners. It wasn't very surprising that it was still intact; it had been built far more sturdily than the rest of the tower complex.

"Do you have the General, Colonel?" Hanabi asked.

"Yes, she's being extracted right now," Colonel Mustang replied, "We're pulling out now."

"Do you want us to escort you back?" Hanabi offered, the whole point of the mission was to rescue the General, that meant until she was in a safe house the mission wasn't over.

"No, we're not important, the General isn't going back to Shinto Teito, she's being taken to Okinawa via a secret route, the rest of us will run distraction," The Colonel said, "You, Blanc and the General are the only ones that matter. You two need to get out while we draw their attention."

"Thank you Colonel, it's been a pleasure working with you, and good luck," Hanabi said as she bent down and picked her Sakura's body.

"And with you as well," Colonel Mustang replied.

Hanabi gave the Colonel a quick nod as she finished adjusting the body over her shoulder and disappeared, a quick shunshin taking her to the rooftop.

She quickly made her way to the far side of the rooftop and shot down the side of the building. She and Blanc would have to leave the city as soon as possible. They would have to head most of the way back on foot; they were too far away for her to be able to signal Naruto. They wouldn't be able to take the same route back that they had used to get here, not if she wanted to take Sakura's body with her, and every other option ran the risk of getting caught by MBI. She had thought about using her phone to call Naruto to pick the two of them up but the phone could be traced and Hanabi didn't want Orochimaru to know that she in particular had been here. It would be impossible to prevent Orochimaru from figuring out something had happened, but the less he knew the better.

She wanted to keep her father confined to looking for her within Shinto Teito.

x~X~x

"Are you sure this is the right place?" The Grand Lord Admiral Marshal, GLAM for short, asked as he stared out the observation slit of the tank.

The GLAM was a tall man, dressed in a full set of army fatigues, with bright blue eyes and short blond hair with three whisker marks on either cheek. A host of fake medals decorated his lapels. There was an unlit cigar stuck between his teeth that he rolled around with his tongue when he got bored.

"We checked the street sign and address, this is 24 Norwood Drive," his second in command said. This one looked very much like the first save he didn't have the medals or the cigar.

"This doesn't look like the right place to me," the GLAM said as he eyed the completely nondescript and normal looking two story house in front of them. The lawn was perfectly manicured with numerous flower gardens decorating the yard. It even had a white picket fence.

Or at least there 'had' been a white picket fence; they had sort of destroyed it positioning the tank on the lawn, along with half the flower gardens and most of the lawn itself.

They were supposed to be hitting a military outpost that Orochimaru kept in the area. He was using the men stationed there to keep everyone in the area under tight control. These ones stationed here were completely loyal to the new Emperor, having grown used to enjoying the 'perks' of having their way with the outlying villages.

"We were told 24 Norwood Drive, this is 24 Norwood Drive."

"Can't we just shoot it first and ask questions later?" The clone manning the guns asked. "I really want to shoot these new rounds!" They didn't have any standard tank rounds with them. However stacked neatly in a box beside the clone were four dozen of Naruto's new three-dimensional explosive seals. The gun had been modified to shoot projectiles with wind chakra and seals along the inside of the barrel charged the explosive seal so that it exploded a few moments after being fired.

"And what would you do if there are perfectly innocent civilians in there soldier?!" GLAM shouted as he rounded on the gunner.

"Ummm… Apologize?"

"To what? Their smoking corpses?"

"Well it's the thought that counts, isn't it?"

"…" the GLAM gave the gunner the evil eye and turned to the fourth member of the crew, the one manning the radio that didn't actually work. "You! Go and see if this is the right place!"

"What? Why? And how am I supposed to get them to answer the door?" the clone complained.

"How about you try knocking," The GLAM said as he pointed at the door, "That usually works."

The clone grumbled and opened the tank hatch. Clambering outside he made his way to the front door. Glancing over his shoulder to give the GLAM a glare he knocked on the door.

"Hello! Anyone here? I brought your pizza!" the clone called out.

~o~

The residents of 24 Northwood Dr. were, as far as their neighbours were concerned, perfectly normal and upstanding individuals. They had moved in a few months prior and had quickly melded into the neighbourhood community.

The two of them, husband and wife, were very interesting individuals. The husband was good with computers being able to fix, build, update and manage a wide variety of them. He had gotten a job at the local computer store.

His wife was handy with tools. Unlike most females she was quite adept at carpentry and electrical work. While she was still unemployed she brought in some money on the side doing odd jobs around the neighbourhood.

The two of them were currently enjoying themselves, sitting beside each other in the living room watching TV when their normal afternoon was interrupted by pounding on their front door.

"Hello! Anyone here? I brought your pizza!"

"That was quick," The husband said in surprise as he looked over at the door, "Do you think it's a trick or something? Maybe some of Minaka's men parked a tank on our lawn and are trying to get us to open the door. I just put in the order for pizza fifteen minutes ago, it shouldn't be ready yet."

"First Request: I don't care, could you answer the door before they break it down?" The wife asked as the pounding on the door grew louder and more insistent.

The husband sighed and slowly made his way over to the door, grabbing the money for the pizza along the way, "Fine, fine, I'm coming, geez, stupid impatient pizza guys, no tip for him if he puts a dent in the door."

The pounding grew more insistent as he made his way to the front door.

"I'm here already! Stop it for fuck's sake!" The husband shouted as he yanked the door open angrily.

Any further retorts died in his throat at the ridiculous scene that appeared outside his door.

"Umm, hi?" the clone said as he waved sheepishly. There was a tank barrel hovering just above his shoulder pointed into the house.

The husband closed the door.

Slapping his face twice he shook his head and blinked his eyes, "Okay, let's try this once more, without the crazy this time," he said as he slowly opened the door again.

The tank was still there, as was the sheepish looking clone.

"I ah… I think we got the wrong house," the clone said to the home owner.

"…"

"…"

"…Seriously? WHY?!" The husband asked with an incredulous look in his face. Who the hell parks a tank on someone's front lawn, points the barrel at their front door and then knocks?

"Uh… mistaken address?" The clone said nervously as he sheepishly scratched the back of his head.

"I TOLD you this didn't look like the right place you idiots!" the GLAM shouted from inside the tank.

"Do I even want to know why Naruto has a damn tank?" The husband asked as he covered his eyes in exasperation.

"That's classified!" the GLAM said from inside the tank.

"Let me guess, he thought it was cool?"

"…"

"And where the hell is my damn pizza?"

"I think it's over there under the guy hiding behind that tree," the clone said as he pointed at a pizza delivery guy shitting himself behind a tree six doors down.

"I am so not paying for that pizza…" The husband said with a deadpanned expression on his face.

"Why are you here at 24 Norwood Drive?" the GLAM asked from inside the tank.

"Because this ISN'T 24 Norwood Drive. The sign is faded so the th isn't there anymore. This is NORTHwood Drive, Norwood Drive is on the other side of town," the husband said in annoyance as he pointed into the distance.

"Well shit…" the clone at the door said.

"Damn it! Get back inside soldier! We're gonna jump!" the GLAM shouted.

"Gotta go!" the clone at the door said and quickly raced back inside the tank.

A moment later the tank flickered and disappeared.

Glancing over at the pizza delivery guy the husband sighed in exasperation, "Looks like I'm cooking lunch today," he muttered to himself. Looking around the yard a large sweat drop appeared and slowly rolled down the back of his head, "And what the hell happened to my yard?!" he shouted in disbelief. It looked as if Naruto's clones had done donuts in the front yard. "I am SO sending him the bill for this."

Closing the door the husband made his way back to the living room, grumbling the whole way.

A few minutes later the house shook as a mushroom cloud rose in the distance.


Author's Note: The Yuuchi/Naruto scene, I liked it. It exists for many different reasons. One of the reasons was I wanted to sort of deepen the character that was Yuuchi. Right now she's like this distant observer, someone who is almost above everything. I wanted to give her some characterization, and I hoped I accomplished that. The second reason for that scene was to sort of give an insight on how the training sessions between Yuuchi and Naruto go. There are other reasons but ultimately I hope that the scene was interesting. I kind of felt dragged on at times, but at the same time I felt it was all necessary, I wouldn't have written it if I didn't. There are a lot of little things introduced, explained or expanded upon in there.

For those that trucked through it, you probably noticed a very disturbing thing about Naruto. You didn't honestly think someone can go through an 8 year war losing everyone and everything they had ever known and cared about and come out without any serious mental problems do you?

Also before you ask, there are no plans to have Naruto wing Yuuchi. In fact, considering what I have planned, and how I've developed her character in future chapters, it's not even possible for her to BE winged. Theirs will be a relationship of a different sort.

No long battles here. To be honest those twelve Sekirei of Minaka's were extras I threw in after I started the story. Some have purpose, some do not, but none are so integral to the story that I 'really' want to dwell on them for very long. There are going to be some long battles in the future, but not very many. If I had to be honest without myself, I probably only needed four, maybe six, Sekirei for Minaka, instead of twelve. In hindsight twelve really was too much but they're in my story so I need to use them.

The little scene at the end… it's supposed to be like an omake. It was originally just going to be a random nobody answering the door but then I thought, hey, why not?