Disclaimer: Yeah, I don't own Naruto.
You know I got to thinking, has anyone ever done a villainous Shikamaru? I don't think I've ever seen anyone write him as evil except maybe a few cases where Naruto was and he sided with Naruto. Hmm, I would torment him a bit for fun but I'm not sure what would be worse than him having to deal with multiple copies of Ino.
I'm currently looking for a Beta again. While I continue to hope that Dragon's life smooths out, it's been some time now. I'm really easy to work with but kinda insane so a sense of humor is a good thing. If you're interested, PM me. O7
"If you make some comment even obliquely alluding to menstruation or menopause and its effect on my judgment," Murphy interrupted, "I will break your arm in eleven places."
― Jim Butcher, Changes
Blue eyes guardedly met each other across the table before Inoichi sighed and began slowly drumming his fingers on the table.
"So Princess, exactly what are you up to?"
Ino cocked her head quizzically. "Not sure what you mean daddy. What makes you think I'm doing anything?"
"Ino," Inoichi growled as his gaze hardened. "While I would like to think I've been a very reasonable father who allows you a great deal of freedom, you are treading on very thin ice. Now, what are you planning in regard to Naruto?"
Ino gulped nervously as his tone registered. Rarely did the mild-tempered man sound anything but calm and it was a warning sign that had served Ino very well over the years.
"Ah, I plan to marry him?" she said, flinching away from the expected outburst... that never came.
Inoichi sighed and rubbed his face tiredly. "I'd hoped you would grow out of your fan-girl tendencies but it seems I was mistaken. I've watched your interactions with Naruto and I know that he has done nothing to encourage this, much as I might wish to blame him." He lowered his hand away from his face and watched his daughter carefully. "Princess, you can't stalk a boy because you think he's hot or strong, especially if said boy is already married!" Inoichi was prepared for many reactions from his little girl but the sheer fury blazing from her eyes was not one of them.
"Is that what you think? That I'm just a Naruto fan-girl," she hissed. "I am very aware of my faults. I know I'm vain, I know I can be shallow. I have a love of gossip and a tendency to nag and I can be obsessive." She broke the eye contact with her father and gazed away sadly. "I can be a massive bitch," she said softly and sadly.
When his daughter turned back to face him, Inoichi sucked in a breath when he saw the unshed tears in her eyes. Eyes filled with a seemingly unknowable loneliness and sadness. It was all he could do to stop from throwing himself across the table to hug his little girl tight and reassure her but his interrogation training kept him rooted in his seat. Once a subject broke and started talking, you didn't stop them until you knew what you needed to know.
"You know what though," Ino said softly. "I know one person other than you daddy that doesn't care. One person that truly likes me, no matter what. When I was forced to relive his life, I saw how Naruto sees me and yes, I know he doesn't love me." A small smile made its way to her face and the chill in her eyes receded. "But even as horrible as I was to him and I tormented him because it was 'popular' to do so, he still cared enough to save me from the Kyubi."
Inoichi watched in fascination as Ino stood up and began to pace, one hand tugging on her ponytail - one of her usual frustration tells – as the story continued to pour out.
"I doubt he knows how close he came to dying," Ino said with a snort. "Still, even if he did know, he would have done the same thing. For a girl who disliked him and belittled him." She whipped her head back towards her father. "I love him for his selflessness, his bravery, his determined spirit and because he's hot as hell under that jacket of his!"
"That last point doesn't help your case much," Inoichi said dryly. "You've also failed to say anything about the fact that he's married. As a matter of fact, you still haven't answered my question."
Ino bit back a curse and sat down in her chair with a pout. "Yes I did, I intend to marry him. If that means I have to share him, it's a good thing I've always wanted a sister right? Happy now?"
"Shocking," Inoichi said in dust dry voice. Resting his chin on his hand, he braced his elbow on the table and rolled his eyes at his daughter. "I'd ask why but I think your little rant covered that. What I don't understand is why you think this will work. From what I understand, his wife is adamant that she doesn't intend to share him despite the fact that he actually can have a second or third wife. For that matter, I'm amazed you'd even consider it. You aren't exactly known for your ability to share princess."
"That's just cause Temari isn't fully secure in her relationship yet," Ino said flippantly. "Hard to blame her though, arranged marriage and all but I think things are settling down now. Something in that fight they had in Suna or how they made up changed something with Temari. She's a lot more affectionate than she was before. Don't give me that look daddy, I'm getting to my point. Right, now where was I? Oh, right. For now, she isn't willing to share but sooner or later, she's gonna need reinforcements to deal with Naruto and his children."
Inoichi groaned and stared at Ino in disbelief. "That's your plan?"
"Well, sort of," Ino said fidgeting under her father's gaze. "I intend to be the best friend I can be until that happens. Then when Temari is feeling swamped, she'll turn to me for help and we'll all get our happy ending!"
"Ino, life doesn't exactly work like that," Inoichi said carefully. "You can't just befriend a clan head and his wife just so you can stay close to them. Those are the sorts of things you do to enemies, not friends."
"Hey, I resent that," Ino said angerly. "I'd be friends with them anyway so I don't see the harm in having a goal that requires me to be a good friend."
"And what would Temari say if she knew your little plan?"
Ino flushed and glanced away. "Er, she pretty much does know. And she's made certain boundaries extremely clear."
"Hmm, does explain your change of tactics from your time chasing Uchiha," Inoichi mused. "Still, don't you think she would prefer not having to watch her friends drool after her husband?"
"Probably," Ino admitted. "That is why I am very careful to not cross those boundaries I mentioned."
"And if your little plan fails? What will you d then?"
"Eh, strip naked, prostrate myself in front of them and offer myself as their mistress," Ino said flippantly causing Inoichi to choke. "Nah, just kidding daddy... I'd probably find some nice lingerie and then do it."
Ino sighed at the failure of her joke. "Look daddy, I'm fully aware that this might not work. I'm juggling a great many details and several things have to happen just right for this to work but I think it's worth it and that isn't going to change."
"And if I ordered you to stop," Inoichi asked, crossing his arms.
"Well, worst case, I leave and move into the Namikaze estate like Forehead did." She paused and her face became a mask of determination. "This is what I want and no one, not even you daddy, is going to stop me. Besides, I doubt you really want me to stop or this would be a very different conversation. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have things to do."
Inoichi watched silently as his little girl stalked from the room, her head held proudly. Waiting till he heard the sound of the backdoor slamming closed, he shifted his eyes to the side. "So, what do you two think?"
"It makes me glad I have a son and not a daughter," Choza remarked lightly as he stepped in from the other room followed by Shikaku.
"It is certainly troublesome," Shikaku agreed.
"So, what do we do?" Inoichi asked.
"At the moment it doesn't seem advantageous to interfere," Choza pointed out. "If this blows up in your daughter's face, it won't splash back onto us."
"It wouldn't exactly be good for Ino," Inoichi retorted. "I'm touched by your concern."
"Inoichi, you know that wasn't what I meant," Choza chided his teammate. "Ino with a broken heart isn't really a problem for us though."
"Not exactly," Shikaku said thoughtfully. "There are some major advantages if Ino succeeds with her plan It would tie him closer to us then even the Sarutobi clan but his unpredictability makes that result something of a toss-up. A good example would be the council meeting."
Choza snorted. "I admit I didn't see that coming but the look on Hiashi's face was priceless. It looked like he'd just passed a brick."
The three men snickered at the reminder before sobering up.
"That's part of my problem," Inoichi admitted with a sigh. "Naruto's a good kid but I've been in his head. He really will turn on anyone that threatened anyone close to him. It would be something completely admirable if I didn't know for a fact that he really could release the Kyubi if he was pissed enough."
"Ah, but he has been much more focused and productive since his marriage," Shikaku commented. "If we can increase his ties to the village and to us, the likelihood of that happening drops considerably." The man paused in thought. "I think we need to encourage this but with subtlety, find ways for them to spend time together."
"Invite him to the monthly picnic?" Choza asked.
"Hmm, possibly," Shikaku mused. "We'd need to weed out any clan members still holding a grudge from the Kyubi attack or the Sand/Sound invasion. It certainly wouldn't be to our benefit if someone insulted Naruto or Temari."
"More Temari than Naruto," Inoichi pointed out. "Naruto is skilled at ignoring insults thrown at him but insulting his wife would have.. unpleasant results."
"Hmm, there is that," Shikaku conceded. "Still, aside from pulling strings to assign them to missions together, which isn't very subtle, it seems like our best bet. I suppose the real question is, how do you feel about this Inoichi?"
"I'm not pleased about it," Inoichi admitted. "I actually like Naruto and I think he'd make a good husband for Ino, if he didn't already happen to be married. That's the part that really bugs me. I wish I could say that I was sure this isn't just Ino being a fan-girl again but I can't. What happens if we encourage this and then suddenly Ino decides it isn't what she wants and leaves us hanging?"
"Once again, I'm glad Choji is a boy," Choza remarked lightly.
"Same with Shikamaru," Shikaku added. "Though if mine was a girl, she'd likely take after Yoshino."
The conversation ground to a halt as all three men shuddered at the thought of another Yoshino running around. When worked up, the woman was terrifying.
"Gee, thanks for that mental image," Inoichi sarcasticly drawled getting a nod of agreement from Choza.
"I aim to please," Shikaku said with a smirk. "So, ultimately the decision is yours Inoichi. Whats your answer?
Inoichi sat back in his chair and closed his eyes as he thought. There were good and bad things about this, like most things in life but in the end the decision was fairly simple. He'd always doted on his daughter and he found it almost impossible to resist helping her get what she wanted. He just wished he could be absolutely sure it was what she wanted.
"Fine," he said, opening his eyes and looking at his teammates. "We can assist her but quietly and with the ability to stop if she does decided she doesn't want him. So, how do we do this?"
The three settled in to hash things out and failed to notice a slight popping sound from the stairs. In town, many people were confused when Ino suddenly shifted from a somewhat sour mood to skipping along happily though most just chocked it up to being a teenager.
Naruto followed an extremely happy Temari downstairs where three disgruntled women sat in the kitchen drinking tea.
"Naruto," Tsunade said with a glare. "In the future, when having guests over, may I recommend silencing seals?"
"For a massage?" Naruto asked baffled.
Shizune blinked and traded a glance with Tsunade. "That was just a massage? Oh my, you must be rather skilled with them"
"Apparently he is," Sakura said a bit jealously. "Still, silencing seals would be great."
Temari sat in her chair with a blush. "Sorry, I didn't realize I was that loud."
Tsunade waved away the apology. "Oh, we're not blaming you Temari, we're blaming him."
"And how exactly is that fair," Naruto pouted.
"Such is life," Tsunade replied rolling her eyes. "Temari isn't the one learning fuinjutsu, you are."
"But it's my house," Naruto said a bit peevishly. "If I want to massage my wife until she bliss's out, I'm allowed to."
Not getting a response, he waved a hand in front of Tsunade and noted Sakura, Shizune and Tsunade all had rather vacant expression and Sakura even had a small trickle of blood from her nose.
Pouring herself a cup of tea, Temari smirked a bit at the reaction. "Don't worry Naruto, they're just jealous about your special clone massage with heated oil." The three women snapped out of their trance and glared at her. "Don't worry, see they're fine now. Why don't you go up and make sure everything is ready. Call for us or send a clone once it's done."
Naruto shrugged. "Alright," he said agreeably. "Shouldn't take more than a couple of minutes, I did most of the hard stuff earlier."
Seeing a chance to irritate her audience and wanting to do it anyway, Temari tugged Naruto's jacket pulling him down into a very thorough kiss. Releasing him and watching him stagger off, Temari turned back to her guests with a smug grin.
"Lucky bitch," all three growled in unison causing her grin to widen.
"A little," Temari replied. "He's not fully house broken but those massages are to die for. Seriously, he makes enough clones that he can do like my entire body at once and then add in the heated oil..." Temari trailed off with an expression of bliss though the renewed expressions of jealousy added to her enjoyment considerably.
"If you're done rubbing it in our face," an annoyed Tsunade said," Is there a reason you sent him off?"
Temari's happy expression vanished and she instantly became more serious. "I know that Naruto had his clones study this but I'm still a little concerned. If something goes wrong, do you know enough about sealing to fix things Tsunade-sama?"
"Nope," Tsunade replied bluntly. "We are totally reliant on Naruto knowing what he's doing. Still, if there's one thing I've learned recently, you should never bet against the brat."
Sakura sat her teacup down and turned in her chair to face Temari directly. "From what I understand, any problems with the sealing will affect me and not Naruto." She paused and gave Temari a very bright smile though it didn't reach her eyes. "I choose to believe him when he says he knows what he's doing but in the worst case, we don't lose anyone important."
Temari grit her teeth and noticed Tsunade and Shizune watching the conversation with interest but obviously not interested in joining in. "You're not worthless or useless Sakura," Temari finally said. "I don't like you much but you are important to my husband. Imagine how he would feel if he heard you say that."
"He'd be pretty pissed," Naruto said making his way back into the kitchen.
"I didn't know you were there," Sakura said with a blush as she refused to meet his eyes.
"Obviously," Naruto said rolling his eyes. Moving in front of Sakura's chair, he lifted her chin so that she could gaze into his eyes. "We've had this conversation Sakura-chan. You're getting better at not doing it but I'm still disturbed when you refer to yourself as worthless. I suppose I do understand why but come on Sakura-chan, you're stronger than that."
Sakura reached up and moved his hand away allowing her to drop her gaze. "I appreciate that Naruto but in this case, you're wrong. You're worth more to the village than I am."
Naruto frowned but for once recognized a futile battle he didn't have time for. Turning to the others, he pasted a cheery smile on his face and clapped his hands together.
"Alright, we're all set up and you ladies can come upstairs whenever."
Having announced his news, the clone disappeared and several curses drifted down the stairs as Naruto absorbed his clone's memories.
With a shrug, Temari stood up and headed upstairs followed by the others. She arched an eye-brow when Shizune moved up next to her but remained silent.
"Well, that was interesting," Shizune said quietly. Shooting a glace over her shoulder to see Tsunade talking to Sakura, she faced forward again and lowered her voice further. "I think I can see why you don't like her much. How close are they?"
"Too close for my tastes," Temari muttered back. "I don't really have to worry about them physically but that emotional bond of theirs annoys me."
"So why allow this then?"
"I've asked myself that a few times and I'm still not sure why," Temari said dryly. "I suppose it's mostly because this is important to Naruto."
"Makes sense," Shizune said with a shrug.
Temari snorted. "If you say so. I think I might have been infected with Naruto's particular brand of crazy."
The two shared a laugh as they reached the training room.
"Ah, good you're here," Naruto said cheerfully when he noticed the women enter the room. "I made a line on the floor over there, you need to stay behind it to avoid messing up the seal."
Tsunade gave a low whistle under her breath as he looked over the complicated seal inked out over half the training room floor. "This is a really complex seal Naruto, are you absolutely sure you know what you're doing?"
"Oh come on Baa-chan, we've gone over this," Naruto said irritably. "I studied the books and copied out the seals exactly and that's why you're here anyway in case I did mess something up."
"Fine,fine," Tsunade muttered distractedly as she continued to study the seal. "Still, this is really impressive, I mean look at the elegance of the lines here. Uzumaki fuinjutsu is simply amazing."
"Er, right Baa-chan," Naruto said a bit confused until he remembered that she was part Uzumaki. 'I wonder if seeing this is reminding her of Mito-baachan?'
Coughing nervously into his hand, Naruto turned to Sakura. "Ok Sakura-chan, ifyouwouldjustgetnakedandmovehere we can get started."
"I'm sorry what?" Temari asked unamused as Sakura blushed heavily.
Naruto sighed and his shoulders slumped. "I have to paint seals on Sakura-chan's body," he explained. "Pretty much all of her body, didn't you read up on this?"
"Must have skipped over that part," Temari replied acidly. "It's really necessary?"
"It is," Sakura replied before Naruto could. "I sort of forgot about that part though. Naruto, can you turn around please?"
"Why?" Naruto asked. "I'm going to be painting seals on you in a moment anyway."
Temari palmed her face as Sakura flushed an even darker red. "Just... turn around Naruto."
"Whatever," Naruto muttered as he turned his back. Listening to Sakura slide her clothes off was actually more of a turn on for him then watching her do it but no way in hell was he going to say that. Once the sounds stop, he tilted his head and called out. "Can I turn around now?"
"S-sure," Sakura stammered a bit.
Turning around, he found Sakura in the same place only this time minus her clothes. The pink-haired girl was blushing furiously and had an arm across her chest and a hand covering her crotch. Deciding this would be easier if he just pretended she was clothed, Naruto nodded at her. "Ok Sakura-chan, I need you to come here and lay down in the cleared space but don't step on any of the lines." Turning to the other women in the room as Sakura started forward, Naruto gave them a thumbs up. "Ok, so we're getting started now. I don't care you ladies chat but please no sudden noises or movements."
Satisfied at their nods, Naruto turned around and carefully made his way to where Sakura was laying on her stomach.
"Er, Sakura-chan... the seal goes on your front."
"I know that," she hissed. "I'm just extremely embarrassed alright?"
Taking a deep breath, Naruto knelt next to her and whispered in her ear. "Sakura-chan, you being all embarrassed is sort of turning me on so for both our sakes, take a deep breath, relax and roll onto your back so we can get this done."
Now completely mortified, Sakura rolled over hoping that Naruto wouldn't notice that the situation wasn't turning just him on. The last thing she needed right now was for him to notice and say something stupid drawing down the wrath of Temari.
Once Sakura rolled over, Naruto did his best to remain focused on the lines he was painting and not on the nude body of his old crush. It wasn't really working the way he'd hoped though. Even if the way he felt about her had changed, the fact he still found her extremely attractive didn't. Looking for a way to distract himself, he began talking which of course caused its own problems.
"Ne, Sakura-chan, looks like I win that bet with Kiba."
It took a moment for Sakura to place it but when she did, it was all she could do not to sit up and punch him. Flushing an even deeper red then before, Sakura damn near cried in embarrassment."
"What bet?" Temari called over, her attention drawn from the conversation with Tsunade when Naruto spoke up.
"Ah crap," Naruto muttered under his breath before deciding he might as well come clean. "Back at the academy, first day of classes. Kiba and Akumaru came up to Sakura sniffing the air around them. Turns out, it's the way young Inuzuka familiarize themselves but that's a different story. Anyway, Kiba looks at Sakura-chan's hair and just bluntly asked her if she was a natural pink. I thought she was really cute so I told Kiba that of course it was and he bet me that she wasn't."
"Naruto," Temari said, rolling her eyes and tone mildly annoyed.
"it's not a big deal," Naruto replied cheerfully. He suddenly looked more thoughtful. "Interestingly enough, that was the day I found out exactly how hard Sakura-chan can punch."
"Yeah, somehow, not surprised," Temari said with another eye roll. "So what was the bet?"
"Er, I can't really remember," Naruto lied.
"I can," Sakura said with a sigh. "Those two idiots decided the loser had to find out exactly how girls were different from boys."
Naruto gave her a look as he finished up a line on her arm. "I didn't know you knew that," he said quietly.
"Yeah, well, you and Kiba aren't exactly quiet and you made the bet right in front of me, why the hell do you think you got hit!"
"No fair, you didn't hit Kiba," Naruto pouted.
"He had a cute puppy," Sakura pointed out.
"So not fair."
"Meh, enough about that," Temari said after marveling at the stupidity of young boys. "What I really want to know is when the hell Pinky got those!"
"I've had them for a while," Sakura said through gritted teeth. "I just bind them cause otherwise they get in the way."
"Er, can we not talk about Sakura-chan's bust when it's right in front of me please," Naruto squeaked out in embarrassment. "I have to draw seals across it and I would like to be focused."
"Yeah, yeah," Temari growled. "Keep in mind I'll be watching you dear husband."
"Jealous much Temari?" Sakura asked smugly.
"A little," Temari replied before an evil grin formed. "Course, I've got bigger and Naruto certainly likes them. It's really great when he massages them, so strong but so gentle."
Sakura whimpered a bit in defeat and Naruto glared at Temari in annoyance. "Not helping Temari-chan."
"Sorry," Temari said before muttering under her breath. "Little bitch started it though."
Shizune leaned in and whispered to Tsunade.
"Is it bad that I feel like I should pop some popcorn for this?"
Tsunade snorted and continued to enjoy the show. "No, this is comedy gold," she replied snickering softly.
"You're so bad Tsunade-sama," Shizune said with a snicker of her own.
Looking for a safe change of subject, Naruto remembered something he'd been wondering about.
"Hey Baa-chan. So according to my mother's diary the Uzumaki and Senju clans are blood relatives. As well as the Uchiha I guess but I don't really feel like claiming them. Anyway, how closely related are we?"
"Distant cousins at best," Tsunade said after giving it some thought. "Family legend states that the Uzumaki, Senju and Uchiha clans all descend from the Rikudō Sennin but I think you and I are connected through my grandmother Mito so, third cousins twice removed maybe?"
"Oh," Naruto mumbled. "I'm not really sure what that means."
"It means that she is two generations before you and that her great-great grandparent was your great-great-great-great grandparent" Sakura spoke up joining the conversation.
Doing the math in her head, Tsunade nodded. "I think she has the math right so it means its a pretty distant relationship."
"You know, that's really damn complicated," Naruto complained. "I think I'll just stick to calling you Baa-chan, cousin." Naruto paused in his sealing long enough to stick his tongue out at Tsunade, though the smile on her face made him extremely nervous.
"That's really interesting," Temari chimed in. "I thought the Senju and the Uchiha were bitter enemies until the founding of the villages?"
"They were," Tsunade said with a nod. "Doesn't mean that they weren't still distantly related. There is no feud like a family feud though it annoys me to consider Uchiha as family."
"Not terribly fond of them myself," Naruto piped in. "Still, it's really odd that all three clans are almost entirely wiped out." Naruto made a gesture at Temari and her stomach. "Obviously the Uzumaki are beginning to make a comeback and the Uchiha could but what about you Baa-chan?"
"My clan dies with me," Tsunade said sadly. "I'm far too old for children and there are no other Senju."
While the women in the room looked sad, Naruto was just confused. "I know you're old Baa-chan but if it's a medical issue, aren't you like the greatest mednin ever?"
"It's not that simple," Tsunade said testily. "I don't have time for the research."
Naruto sighed and carefully finished the line he was working on before turning to face Tsunade. "Baa-chan, I keep telling you this but SHADOW FUCKING CLONES!"
Tsunade's eyes narrowed at Naruto and her eye began to twitch. "Not everyone can use them like you Naruto. The feedback from the amount of clones you make should melt your brain but I suppose you'd need one before that could happen."
Temari opened her mouth to rip into Tsunade but stopped when Shizune grabbed her arm. "Don't," she warned in a hurried whisper. "You do not want to get between these two when they get like this. Last time destroyed a street and that was before Naruto stepped up his training."
Naruto regarded Tsunade mildly, no sign of his temper at all.
"So, how do you explain Ino?" He asked softly. "Her chakra limits how many she can make, but she spams out a half-dozen clones quite a bit now. I know that this is a delicate subject for you Tsunade but even if you were right about the effects, sending one clone out to research wouldn't harm you would it?"
Turning back to Sakura and beginning work on the final lines, he raised his voice a little so she would clearly hear him. "Your loved ones, the ones you were going to sacrifice Ero-Sennin and me to Hebi-Teme for, do you think they would be happy your line ends with you?"
Tsunade stood quivering in a sick mix of rage and guilt before she stormed from the room.
"Oh Naruto, you shouldn't have said that," Shizune chided him. "Tsunade-sama still has problems when those two are mentioned and I know she hates that her line is ending."
"I'm not totally unsympathetic," Naruto said distractedly. "The truth is that she needed to hear that and no one else would dare." Finishing up the last seal, Naruto turned to face Shizune directly. "She's built up a prison of lies in her head, that she can't, that it's too late and so on. Someone has to call her bluff and smash that cage and well, you're far to polite and her apprentice. I'm probably about the only one that can get away with it cause we both know who I remind her of."
"You've certainly matured since I met you," Shizune said a bit disbelievingly.
"Not that much he hasn't," Temari grumbled. "Just today he hired Anko to chase Ino, Hinata and Tenten naked through town."
"Naruto!" Shizune gasped in disbelief. "I can't believe you did that!"
"I didn't," he said defensively, waving his arms around in front of him. "I hired her to chase them yes but I didn't say chase them naked... Wait, were they naked or was Anko?"
"They were," Temari said with a roll of her eyes until she thought about it. "Though I suppose I could see where you might get confused."
Naruto palmed his face and groaned. "Great, just freaking great. Now I have to watch out of the counter-counter revenge. She did leave you alone though right Temari-chan?"
"Left me a towel and a robe after she stole the girls," Temari confirmed. "That was probably the only thing that saved you from me by the way."
"Good to know," Naruto said wryly.
"Um, I don't mean to cause problems here but is there any way we could get this done," Sakura called. "I'm kinda tired of laying here on the floor."
Naruto winced, he'd gotten a bit distracted. "Sure thing Sakura-chan. Just gotta go drag Baa-chan back and we'll get this done." Eyeing Shizune and Temari, a roguish grin made it's appearance. "Unless one of you two lovely ladies would prefer to do it?"
"Forget it," Temari said flatly. "You pissed her off, you drag her back."
"What she said," Shizune said.
"Er, do we actually need her here?" Naruto asked nervously. He'd really been hoping he could con Shizune into doing it but Temari had shut that down.
"I'm already here," Tsunade said darkly from door. "I'm not about to leave one of my students in the hands of a novice seal-master but you and I will have words about this later brat."
Naruto's shoulders slumped in defeat. "Yes Baa-chan," he moaned.
"Good, now get to work," Tsunade ordered.
Making his way back to Sakura, Naruto unsealed a kunai causing the girl's eyes to widen dramaticly.
"Naruto? What's with the kunai?" She tried to ask as nonchalantly as possible.
"Relax Sakura-chan," he said reassuringly. "It's not for you, it's for me. I need to do one last seal with my blood and then activate it."
Unsealing a bowl, Naruto sliced his palm and drained the resulting blood into the bowl before his cut sealed up. Using a very fine-tipped brush, Naruto used the blood to paint in a large Uzumaki swirl on Sakura's stomach, making sure several points firmly connected with parts of the main seal array.
Done with the seal, Naruto set the bowl aside and set his hand against Sakura's stomach getting a nervous giggle from the girl.
Sakura swallowed and nodded. "Yeah, I'm ready."
"Alright, now this might hurt a bit but try not to move." Before either of them could lose their nerve, Naruto pulsed his chakra to activate the seal and felt Sakura's body tense up under his hand. From that point, Naruto focused on feeding the seal a steady stream of chakra.
For Sakura, the moment Naruto activated the seal she was hit with a wave of pain like nothing she;d ever encountered before. It locked up every muscle in her body causing her to tense up but it even blocked the scream in her throat. After what felt like hours but in reality was only a few minutes, the pain switched to a warmth centered around her stomach allowing her body to relax. Sakura could only lay there are the feeling spread in waves from the core of her body.
For Temari, Tsunade and Shizune, the activation of the seal was fascinating from several different angles. First, Naruto was glowing a light blue as the chakra poured off him but all three women had seen that before. Second was the lines of seals on the floor whipping around and being drawn in to the last seal Naruto had painted on Sakura. The black ink rotating and rushing in like the water from a tub after the drain was pulled was very interesting to watch. The final thing that caught their attention was when the blue glow around Naruto began moving around Sakura's stomach following the lines of the seal. In many ways, it looked like Sakura was being eaten a fire made of Naruto's chakra.
When he felt the seal stop drawing on his chakra, Naruto opened his eyes and moved his hand away from Sakura's skin. As he did, he saw a small blood red Uzumaki swirl flash three times on Sakura's stomach before it faded away. Blinking at that, he grabbed the scroll he'd learned the seal from and scanned it for a reference. When he found it, he couldn't help grinning when he read it marked a 'complete assimilation' but the grin became a frown when he realized he was missing the required reference material that would tell him what the hell that actually meant.
Popping off a clone to go down to the office and root around until it dug it up, Naruto turned his attention back to Sakura. His old crush was semi-conscious and panting heavily which caused her chest to do some things that drew Naruto's attention until he forced himself to look away.
"Oi Gaki," Tsunade called. "You done leering yet or can we come over and check her out?"
Naruto's head whipped over to Temari with wide panicked eyes. "Er, yeah, sealing is done so you don't have to stay behind the line."
Cringing a bit as Temari crossed the floor to join him, Naruto barely kept himself from flinching away when she reached out and grabbed his hand. If she perhaps used a bit more force than usual, Naruto wasn't about to complain since the alternate was the tessen on her back. Since the fan seemed to magnify an annoyed Temari's strength by at least two, he was a bit wary of it.
"I'm going to give you a pass this time," Temari whispered in a hiss to Naruto. "You didn't do that badly given how many of your preferences she was tripping bit I am the only one you are allowed to dominate, clear?"
"Yes Temari-chan," Naruto said wincing at the pain from his hand. "It really was just the situation though I swear."
"Yes, I understand that, which is why I'm not angry with you, just annoyed."
Naruto shrugged and pried his hand free but before Temari could complain, he wrapped his arm around her waist possessively. "Well, I thank you for your understanding." His tone dipped down mischievously. "But I did get some ideas you might like, 'little miss academy student.'"
Temari blushed and punched his ribs lightly, profoundly grateful Tsunade and Shizune were busy running tests on Sakura. "Shh you idiot, don't talk about that where people can hear it."
Naruto leaned in to nibble her ear. "Don't worry Temari-chan, they're busy. I doubt anyone heard that."
"Better be right," Temari groused, trying to ignore her increasing distracting husband.
"Ahem," Tsunade coughed. "If you two lovebirds are done, I need to talk with the brat."
"Hang on a sec Baa-chan," Naruto replied as his information clone dispelled. "Oh, so that's what it meant, awesome." Reluctantly pulling away from Temari, he moved over next to Tsunade and squatted on his heels. "Ok, what's on your mind Baa-chan?"
"You said this would transfer your bloodline Naruto, not physically change her in other ways," Tsunade said irritably.
Naruto gazed at Sakura and didn't really see anything different though he did wonder why she had her eyes squeezed shut.
"Well, other than those streaks of red in her hair, she doesn't seem different?"
"Naruto, she can't even stand up right now and all of her senses are out of control. I would call that 'changes'" Tsunade sniped sarcastically.
"Oh, yeah, that was what was awesome," Naruto confirmed.
Naruto flinched away from Tsunade's roar and felt bad when Sakura whimpered and clasped her hands over her ears awkwardly.
"Shh Baa-chan, you just hurt Sakura-chan."
"Naruto, if you don't start explaining right this second, I'm going to start hurting you!"
Naruto sighed in resignation. "Fine, fine. Just keep it down alright. So, according to the seal itself, Sakura was a very rare 'complete assimilation.' Now, I didn't know what it meant so I sent that clone off earlier to look it up. What it means is that the seal didn't just transfer the healing ability, it also remade her into a Uzumaki.. I think anyway." He paused a moment. "Huh, physical changes had to hurt a bit though, you ok Sakura-chan?"
"It didn't hurt a bit you idiot," Sakura whimpered. "It hurt like.. I really don't have a reference that works but it was agony."
"Oh, was it like the time I got chakra exhaustion after Ero-Sennin shoved me over a cliff and I had to summon Gamabunta just to survive?"
"Shannaro!" Sakura yelled slamming her hand into the floor and leaving a sizable dent in the wood. "I have no idea Naruto." Squinting down at her hand, she blinked at the damage. "Oh, I didn't mean to do that."
"Hmm," Tsunade said thoughtfully, mollified at the explanation and ignoring the byplay. "That would certainly explain things."
"How so?" Shizune asked worriedly.
"Naruto, do you know the main difference between a shinobi clan and a civilian clan other than bloodlines and family specific jutsu?" Tsunade asked in lecture mode.
"Er, the shinobi are stronger?" Naruto said taking a stab in the dark.
"I suspect you got lucky with that but essentially yes." Tsunade replied. "Your average clan shinobi is physically stronger, faster and with a higher chakra amount than a civilian shinobi. Now there are some exceptional civilian born ones, my perverted teammate is a very good example but it's rare."
"Where does that leave me?" Sakura asked nervously.
"Well, you were never going to be blessed with large amounts of chakra but you had a great deal of potential," Tsunade replied evenly.
"And now?" Sakura asked hesitantly.
"Well, you're going to have to start over and relearn fun things like walking now though that probably won't be that hard. Thats the downside. On the upside, you now have much higher potential than before. What I mentioned before about stronger, faster more chakra? Yeah, that."
"So she'll have to train like crazy but she's gonna be even more awesome?" Naruto asked enthusiasticly. "I can teach her how to train like I do," he paused a moment for dramatic effect. "Train the Uzumaki way!"
His reward was Temari lightly smacking the back of his head. "No one trains like you," she reminded him. "Besides, she's going to have to relearn all the basics and her chakra control from what it sounds like."
"Oh, that sucks," Naruto pouted. "This had to happen right when I got stuck as her temporary sensei too."
"Wait, WHAT?" Sakura and Temari said in unison.
Naruto scratched the back of his head sheepishly. "Er, yeah, I forgot to mention that I guess. Surprise, I'm a tokubetsu jonin now and if I get you up to speed, you'll be with Ino and Choji for the exams in Suna Sakura-chan."
"Suna chunin exams huh," Temari said thoughtfully while Sakura was shocked into speechlessness. She made to mention something but caught Naruto's eye when he subtly shook his head and mouthed 'later' to her. Reasonably satisfied she'd get an answer later, Temari nodded back and held her tongue.
"Y-you're my sensei now?" Sakura sputtered in disbelief. "We were teammates less than a year ago." She hung her head in disbelief. "I feel so worthless right now."
Not wanting a repeat of the last time she felt overshadowed, Naruto moved in and wrapped an arm around her shoulder.
"Don't worry Sakura-chan, we'll get you up to speed." Looking over at Tsunade, Naruto considered how to ask the question without getting shut down. "So Baa-chan, despite our recent differences over shadow clones, does Sakura-chan have enough chakra to sustain even one now?"
Gritting her teeth at the reminder of the yet to be finished argument, Tsunade reluctantly nodded. "The seal forcibly expanded her chakra coils so that jutsu is a practical one for her now. She'll have to train and regain some chakra control first though."
Shizune gasped at Tsunade's explanation. "Tsunade-sama! I thought it was fatal or if you're lucky career ending to forcibly expand chakra coils?"
Tsunade nodded. "Usually yes but the goal of this ritual was to pass the Uzumaki healing ability to Sakura and it seems to have worked." She rubbed her chin thoughtfully. "I wouldn't have expected it to work so fast though. I don't remember other Uzumaki healing as fast as Naruto."
Naruto pulled out a kunai. "We could always check now," he offered. "Be kinda cool to see someone heal like I do." Getting blank stares from the women in the room, Naruto smiled hesitantly and put the kunai away. "I was just saying, sheesh. Anyway, once you can use a clone or two to help train, you're gonna be totally kick-ass Sakura-chan."
Her head still hung, Sakura spoke up in an eerie tone. "Tsunade-sama, do we still need him here?" Catching the head-shake from Tsunade from the corner of her eyes, Sakura lifted her head to meet Naruto gaze. "I think it's time for you to leave now Naruto."
"Eh, you're kicking me out?" Naruto protested. "Why?"
"Cause I'm still naked baka. Get out!"
Pulling his arm from around her shoulders, Naruto hopped up and began hurrying for the door. He'd sort of forgotten that fact but with Sakura bringing it up in a room of women? Retreat!
Watching him go, Temari rolled her eyes. "I think he'd completely forgotten," she told her guests. "Wouldn't surprise me anyway."
As Sakura flushed in embarrassment again, Tsunade motioned Shizune to help her stand Sakura up. "I thought about saying something when he put his arm on her shoulder but decided it was simply to amusing. Alright Sakura, on your feet and let's get you to bed. You're gonna need your rest, you stat training with Naruto in the morning." When Sakura groaned at the words, the smirk on Tsunade's face widened. "Well, if he isn't available, he said Temari could sub in for him. Doesn't that sound like fun?"
"No, no it doesn't,' Sakura deadpanned. "I'm a bit annoyed that I can't decide which is worse punishment."
"Oh me for sure," Temari said from behind her. "Naruto will just train you till you drop, I'd enjoy it. So Sakura, want to explain this little damp spot on the floor back here?"
Sakura tensed but relaxed as she realized she now had the perfect counter. "Unless you want to discuss 'little miss academy student' no, no I don't" She took the silence behind her as proof of her shot slamming home. It seemed that her new enhanced senses were useful for more than what some might think.
Making his way outside, Naruto paused and patted himself down. Satisfied he was carrying enough equipment for a small war, he made his way into the garden. Taking a seat by the koi pond, Naruto stared up at the moon. "It's a beautiful night isn't it Neko-chan," he called out. "You should join me."
Between one blink and the next, Neko stood near the other end of the bench looking as if she;d always been there.
"That's a pretty neat trick," Naruto said honestly.
"Thank you and yes, it is a beautiful night."
Naruto watched her in silence for a minute or two.
"That seems to be a different sword," he commented lightly breaking the silence. "I assume you received it in Suna?"
Neko pulled the sword, sheath and all from her back and holding it in both hands, offered it to Naruto for examination but he waved it way.
"Thank you Neko-chan but I've seen it and it is a beautiful blade."
Neko reached up and removed her mask baring the tear filled face of Yugao. "I've been searching how to thank you," she said softly. "I know it was you."
"Not really no," Naruto replied evenly. "I only mentioned Hayate's death to Gaara. Anything after that was all him."
"He came to me," she said absently. "He came to me and he knelt before me with Hayate's blade in his hands. He offered me his life to take with Hayate's blade."
"Did you take it?" Naruto asked.
"No, I did not." Yugao replied. "I was tempted too but killing a Suna council member would have impacted things negatively and so I spared his life." She paused and took a deep breath. "I don't regret doing it either. He told me of Hayate's final moments and took me to the shrine he built in his memory." She shook her head in wonder. "After that, I can't even hate the man anymore."
"I'm glad to hear it," Naruto said. "Baki is Gaara's right-hand man and he was loath to give him up but Baki insisted that his life belonged to you if you chose to take it."
Yugao snorted. "See, I knew you had more to do with it then you said."
Naruto shrugged. "Maybe a little but it was mostly not me."
Silence fell between the two as they continued to stare up at the moon and stars.
"Naruto, how much do you know about Uzushiogakure?"
Naruto sucked in a breath through his teeth at the question. "Not a whole lot," he admitted. "I know it's where my clan comes from and that it was destroyed but there isn't much in my mother's journals about it."
"I see," Yugao said with a nod before kneeling before Naruto, one hand pressed to the ground. "While the Uzumaki were the most prominent clan in Uzu, they were not the only one. There were several other vassal clans there, one such clan was the Uzuki."
Naruto tilted his head as he stared at her. "You're family?" he asked quietly.
"No, or not really," Yugao replied. "My clan was distantly related to yours and there was some intermarrying but if the two of us are related, it's very distantly."
"That's very interesting," Naruto replied honestly. "I'm not sure why you're telling me about it though."
Yugao stared him directly in the eyes. "Before the destruction of Uzu, my clan was a vassal of yours. I feel that now is the time to renew those vows."
"I'm honored," Naruto said. "But what about your oath as an ANBU. You're sworn to obey the Hokage as her personal troops."
"I would release her from her vows," Tsunade said walking forward into the light cast by the lanterns in the garden. "At this moment, you and Temari need a protector more than I need another ANBU, even one as skilled as Yugao."
"I suppose I can't really argue with that," Naruto admitted. Standing up, he straightened his posture and adopted a more serious tone. "I, Uzumaki-Namikaze Naruto, do accept the oath of service from Uzuki, Yugao. May this partnership weather the tides of time."
Tsunade blinked as he finished. "I didn't know you knew the old Uzumaki oath."
"My mother's journal," Naruto said sadly as Yugao stood up and slid her sword back onto her back. "Yugao-chan, there are two open rooms on the second floor inside. As a vassal of the clan, I insist you take one for yourself and I can send some clones to help you move anything you wish to keep tomorrow."
"As you wish, Naruto-sama," Yugao replied with a small bow. "I will take my leave now."
After Yugao left, Naruto and Tsunade stood staring at each other for a few moments.
"You were really pushing it upstairs," Tsunade finally said.
Naruto shrugged. "Only said what needed to be said Baa-chan. You've accepted some things but you still hide from others. We both know you have the skills needed if you really wanted to continue the Senju clan."
Tsunade crossed her arms under her bust and looked up at the moon with tears in the corner of her eyes. "That's just it Naruto, I'm not sure I want to. My line seems to be cursed."
Naruto moved next to her and gave her a firm hug. Fortunately his growth spurt kept his face out of her cleavage so he didn't get sent flying by her fists. "Baa-chan, I don't believe that and neither should you. I think you should work on it but I won't bring it up again."
Tsunade broke their hug and ruffled his hair fondly. "I'll think about it but I originally came to tell you to get your butt inside. Shizune and I are sick of being stuck in the middle between Temari and Sakura. Do they always squabble like that?"
"Er, not really," Naruto said scratching his head. "If they do, it's when I'm not there I think."
Tsunade raised an eye-brow at him. "Well, get in there and let Shizune leave already."
Naruto stiffened and saluted sarcastically. "Yes Baa-chan, I hear and obey."
Tsunade chuckled and lightly swatted him. "Smart-ass. Just go."
Snickering, Naruto made his way back to the house in a pretty good mood. If you didn't count the council meeting, today had been a pretty good day.
Hinata panted as she hide behind a tree near they Hygua compound. As far as she could tell, she'd managed to give the crazy jonin the slip. Activating her byakugan, she carefully scanned around herself and breathed a sigh of relief when she didn't see any signs of Anko or her snakes.
Looking down at herself, she flushed as she realized now she had to find some way to get home without being naked. Since it was late afternoon, attempting to simply scale the wall would only get her caught and she had no desire to face her father over this.
Scanning her surrounding, she noted that Neji was practicing just outside the walls near the rear of the compound. 'Ahh, that must be how he kept his ability to use Kaiten a secret,' she thought.
Stealthily making her way closer, Hinata waited until Neji stopped training for a small break before springing into action. Darting out of the bushes at him, she took advantage of his distraction with her naked figure to deliver several juken strikes that dropped him almost instantly.
Undoing the buttons of his robe, Hinata apologized to his unconscious body. "Sorry Neji-niisan but I need this more than you do." Leaving him clad in only his loincloth, Hinata pulled on his robes and ignored the fact she looked ridiculous. With her head held high, she walked through the front gates and headed for her room to change into something that actually fit.
She looked up at me. She looked very young somehow.
"Remember what I said yesterday," I said. "You're hurt. But you'll get through it. You'll be okay."
She closed her eyes tightly. "I'm scared. So scared I'm sick."
"You'll get through it."
"What if I don't?"
I squeezed her fingers. "Then I will personally make fun of you every day for the rest of your life," I said. "I will call you a sissy girl in front of everyone you know, tie frilly aprons on your car, and lurk in the parking lot at CPD and whistle and tell you to shake it, baby. Every. Single. Day."
Murphy's breath escaped in something like a hiccup. She opened her eyes, a mix of anger and wary amusement easing into them in place of fear. "You do realize I'm holding a gun, right?"
― Jim Butcher, Summer Knight
Ugh, another late night. Ok, so before I get flamed for this. Yep, Sakura was getting a bit turned on by being naked in front of Naruto and being ordered to do something. So yes, she does have a slight submissive streak, lot of women do, doesn't mean they into BDSM or anything. In the same vein, A few chapters ago, Temari told Anko that Naruto did play some of her fantasies, now you know what at least one of them was.
I'd planned on including Reynard and the kitsune but I'm tired and the chapter was at a good endpoint so meh. See you guys in the reviews o7