A/N Well, here's to another late chapter...sorry again...
Basically I've had to take a lot of time off for holiday seasons and also to try and find out which Universities will accept me and what I want to do in the eventual future. (Turns out that as much as I want to, writing isn't a very viable option.)
Anyway, here's another nothing chapter :D in which nothing happens.
~Chapter 17 - LINGERING THOUGHTS
Several Months Later – May 27th, Konoha.
"Jan…ken…pon!" Two gloved hands duelled it out in the same moment, their respective owners focusing their completely attention on a game of chance.
"I win!" Miyu cheered loudly holding her hands out, "Now pass him over."
"Fine." With a sigh and a face he refused to believe was a pout, Kakashi handed over his giggling surrogate brother.
"How have you been Naru-chan," Miyu cooed at the adorable boy, "Today you'll be spending time with Miyu-oneechan!"
"Yay!" The toddler cheered, "Can we get ramen?"
"Of course!" she bent down and placed the child on top of her grumbling partner.
"Go! Kurama!" Lazily the fox began a slow pace to Ichiraku with his exuberant passenger.
"You coming Kakashi?" Miyu asked as she made to follow.
"I've got nothing better to do." He stated with a shrug before he was roughly grabbed and manhandled the way there.
"Great, you'll be paying then." She shot him a smile that wouldn't take 'no' for an answer as they neared the boisterous stall.
"Oh! Miyu, Kakashi, welcome!" Teuchi greeted, serving up four bowls of miso, "It's nice that I got a little warning of your appearance since that fox of yours popped in with Naru-chan."
"Hehe, I'm not that bad," The girl laughed as she sat on stool, Kakashi going around the other side, sandwiching Naruto between them.
"Maybe not alone," he admitted, "But when you're paired with Minato or Kushina you could eat me out of business. That said, alone you are one of my best customers."
"What do you do if the whole family comes over?" Kakashi asked curiously, accepting a steaming bowl of his own.
"I kick out all other customers and my shop is considered reserved," Teuchi gave a hearty chuckle, "I can't wait for Ayame to grow up so she can learn the tricks of the trade and help her old man out."
"More!" Naruto ordered with gusto, holding out his empty child sized bowl.
"You should just give him an adult one." Miyu said, slurping up a mouthful of noodles while her fox mimicked her. Strangely enough the animal had acquired a taste for the mortal noodles.
"I will when he eats a little neater." The chef replied, using a napkin to wipe the boys dirtied face.
"Like that'll happen." The silver haired Anbu scoffed in disbelief.
"Oh, if I know Kushina as well as I do, she'll smack his manners into him," Neither of the ninja's could doubt his confident statement as the woman came to mind, "How has she been doing lately anyway? Last I heard she was headed to Suna."
"Sensei wanted to form a treaty so he sent her as ambassador with a couple other jounin, apparently it was the least dangerous yet highly ranked mission he could find." Kakashi answered monotonously, trying to ignore the stares of other customers.
"Ne, ne," Naruto tugged on his cousin's orange sleeve, bringing her down to his level so he could whisper in her ear, "How does Kashi-niichan eat with his mask on?" Miyu simply raised a brow considering her options before replying.
"It's a secret Hatake jutsu that was passed on by his father," She whispered back, "Only skilled ninja are able to perform it."
"Wow!" The boy quickly turned his admiring gaze back to his father's student, "You're amazing!" Kakashi had no idea what he was talking about but accepted the compliment regardless.
"Uh, thanks? I guess." Miyu quietly smothered her snickers behind her bowl of ramen.
"One more, Ojisan." She called, placing the newly cleaned bowl down.
"Only one more?" Teuchi repeated jokingly.
"Yeah, I was planning on training a little bit after so I don't want to get so full I'll throw up after." She explained, ruffling Naruto's deceptively fluffy hair.
"With who?" Kakashi asked curiously, catching her attention.
"I dunno, maybe Gai if he's free. Or Hayato." She shrugged, if she couldn't find anyone she would probably attempt to meditate for an hour or two before Itachi came back from the Academy.
"Not Iruka?" Kakashi questioned in surprise. The two were always unusually close.
"He's busy. Probably trying out the gift I got him for his birthday yesterday." Miyu smiled as her imagination created a comic scene.
"That weird scroll?" Naruto asked, joining their conversation.
"Yep," She popped the 'p' and accepted the fresh bowl of noodles Teuchi had made for her, "He probably won't be up for training anytime this week."
"Why not train with me then?" Kakashi offered, "We haven't spared in a while."
"I think I take you up on your offer, Hatake," Miyu decided, feeling her competitiveness rise, "Prepare to taste defeat!"
"Yeah! Fight, fight, fight!" Naruto cheered enthusiastically.
"Go, neechan!" A dark haired toddler cheered besides his blonde counterpart who was heavily rooting for his 'Kashi-niichan'. His onyx eyes watch in amazement as the two ninja sparred, one as agile as the wind and the other with the swiftness and force of a coursing river. The fox who had been sent to fetch him sat in between the boys, his tail swaying back and forth in emotions he would forever refuse to admit.
"You've gotten better." Kakashi stated, panting slightly from exertion. She definitely hadn't been this fast last time they had fought.
"I'd like to think so," Miyu replied with a smile, loosening her stance, "It wouldn't be good otherwise." The wind blew into the clearing as they descended into silence before dashing back into one another. Their movements were quick, almost untraceable to the ordinary eye, but for the sack of their young audience and the spirit of sparring all of their movements had already been turned down a notch or two. Soft thuds of thuds and taps littered the area with the shuffling and scraping of the feet. It was long ago that either of the two had thought about winning and now traded blows as if sharing a pleasant conversation.
"Come on! One of you kick the other's butt!" Naruto shouted, quickly getting bored with the roundabout battle.
"I hope he hasn't been learning that sort of language from you." Kakashi stated, with a smirking tone to his voice.
"From me?" Miyu faked innocence, "You know Kushina can be just as bad when she's riled up. You shouldn't jump to conclusions, Kashi."
"Kashi?"He raised a silver brow, "Maybe you the one who's picking up Naru-chan's habits."
"…yeah." She found herself caught in familiar feelings, trapped in old memories and lost in thought. Kakashi didn't hesitate and used it to his advantage, lightly pressing a palm to her throat while his other hand rested on her heart.
"I think I win this time." He announced, drawing back from the potentially lethal spots.
"Caught me off guard is all." Miyu muttered in disappointment. Something like this might be a serious problem if she was out of the field or in a tough situation.
I have told you I could erase them for you. She heard Kurama offer from the sidelines, his canine face impassive, I could do that if it would make you feel better. Get rid of all your sad memories, all the deaths. You have already changed a lot, and maybe that is enough. His red eyes bored into her own, with a wisdom of several thousand years and a strange sort of heaviness. With a sigh she merely shook her head.
"Is something wrong, nee-chan?" Sasuke asked, as he bounded up to her as fast as his little legs would take him.
"Not at all." She smiled and swept him up into her arms, listening to the innocent giggles that blessed her ears. From his peripheral vision Kakashi watched her carefully, unsure of her sudden change of mood. Had it been something he said?
"Are you alright?" Kakashi asked the younger blonde, more out of curiosity than concern, as he cleared his former sensei's dining table of their lunch.
"Yeah," Miyu sighed, running a hand through her hair in exasperation, "Kurama was just being cruel." He looked around, the fox long gone after apparently exchanging his thoughts with his partner. It had been odd seeing her lose her temper to an animal, and one that was close to her at that.
"Cruel? What did he say?" He spared a glance at Minato who was attempting to feed Naruto across the room, obviously caught up in his current situation.
"Nothing new and nothing that was unexpected," She replied, "Honestly, he was just being his usual self, something I forget all the time. It's just, he's so smart and speaks normally enough that it isn't easy to remember he's a fox." The term 'demon' lingered in her mind, but she doubted anyone was ready to hear that even if she felt like revealing it.
"My pack can be like that at times too," Kakashi admitted, "In fact I bet anyone in possession of a summoning contract, even Minato-sensei, can tell you the same. Humans are a separate species, so we think and understand things differently. Our morals are vastly different from theirs. It's just how it is." Miyu sighed in acceptance, internally hoping she hadn't signed Iruka up for the same thing.
"I'll have to apologize when he gets back," She stated reluctantly, "He only says what he thinks might benefit me."
"Miyu oneechan!" A little blond blur ran towards her, firmly attaching itself to her leg.
"What is it Naru-chan?" Miyu cooed in response, hefting the boy up onto her waist.
"I think he wants to go outside and play." Minato replied, marveling at how similar they looked when she lifted his face close to her own. The Namikaze gene was frightening indeed.
"Yeah!" Naruto agreed loudly, "I wanna play ninja!"
"Play ninja, huh?" Miyu echoed, "Well maybe we can get your Kashi-niichan to help us?" Both pairs of blue eyes, one more cerulean while the other mirrored the sea, turned to stare at him.
"I'd be happy to join you." He said truthfully.
"What about your father?" Minato asked with something alike to a pout.
"You can be the bad guy!" Her little cousin declared adorably.
She found him standing silently a top the Hokage Monument, silently and no longer in his animal form, the tall foreboding male from her earlier memories with the mane of fiery hair.
"Do you know why I choose to take this form?" A gravelly voice asked, keeping his back turned to her while she watched the setting sun.
"You like the way he looks?" Miyu offered with a shrug.
"Hardly, though you must admit he is handsome," He admitted, somewhat vainly, "I chose this man because he fascinated me. Centuries ago he was a warrior, sent to protect his village from the monster that was wreaking havoc. That monster was me."
"Back in your human eating days then." She sated.
"If it were not for Hashirama, I would never have been forced to stop. I was in my prime," He turned away from the village to look her in the eyes, crimson eyes clashing with her own, "Imagine that, a single man, foolishly brave, came alone to slay me."
"And you killed him?"
"I devoured him," His answer was instantaneous, without a single moment of hesitation, "He fought for three days before finally falling, though it took me several years to grow that tail back. I honoured him by adding his form to my meagre collection, a rare male among my other deceptive disguises."
"It's nice and all-knowing a bit more about you, but why are you telling me this?" Miyu asked confused, wondering if this maybe had to do with their earlier dispute.
"One day, long after you're gone, I may take your form. Whatever legend you create will live on with me," He declared, "You have proved your worth to me, and nothing you decide to do from now until your death can change that. You have done enough, so why not allow yourself freedom, from the chains of your past that bind you." Miyu sighed, she really didn't want to fall back into another argument, knowing how stubborn they could both be.
"My past isn't something I could just forsake," the blonde answered slowly, "It serves as a reminder and it reminds me what exactly I'm fighting for."
"What you're fighting for?" Miyu turned in sheer surprise, facing the kunoichi she had unknowingly allowed to creep up on her, "Were you talking to someone?"
"Oh, Kushina-nee," Miyu exhaled slightly, trying to alleviate the tension in the body, "I was just chatting with Kurama." As if to prove her point a red fox stepped out from behind her, the man having vanished with the wind.
"Sometimes I wish I could speak to some sort of animal as well." The red haired woman said a little whimsically, "Besides summons that is."
"I can't actually speak to foxes if that's what you're thinking," the blonde replied with a smile, "It's just Kurama is smart enough to understand people and convey his own thoughts with some actions."
"Hmm, that makes sense," Kushina replied, "Anyway, it looks like we'll be having dinner together tonight." She said with a smile, "Mikoto's kindly invited Naru-chan and I to the compound. Of course that means Hokage-sama is also invited."
"Sasuke-chan will be happy," Miyu's smile widened, "I think he and Naruto are becoming close."
"Oh, if only I had had a daughter," the redhead whined. A small pang of sadness ran through the younger girl, her companion hoping to distract her from it by lightly thumping her leg with his tail.
"Well what's stopping you from trying again?" They shared a knowing look with one another before breaking out into laughter.
"I can't believe I didn't think of that," Kushina said, wiping tears of mirth from her eyes, "Minato told me he wanted a big family anyway. Better get started."
"As long as you can give up missions again." Kurama watched idly as the once mother and daughter laughed and talked as they began their departure, and for the first time in what was probably thousands of years, he contemplated what it meant to be human.
The night turned into a small gathering of sorts at the compound, with the Hyuga head's family joining the fray. The three mothers gossiped at the table together whilst the men were sent to the kitchen to wash up. Somehow they had turned it into a competition with her sensei and his twin pulling ahead with their exemplary teamwork while the Namikaze-Uchiha team bickered. The sole Hatake had also been invited, and was mainly there to entertain the kids with his habit of eating through his mask. The peace lulled her into a sense of security, easing the pressure she had being feeling recently. Kurama had been right in a way, there was a lot she had changed, and maybe it would be enough.
"You look like you have a lot on your mind," A voice intoned while the speaker sat himself besides her, "Care to share your thoughts?"
"I was thinking of Anbu." Miyu replied, turning to the silver haired ninja.
"Anbu? Already? I know this may sound a bit hypocritical coming from me, but aren't you a bit too young?" Kakashi rambled his way through the sentence, trying to not be offensive.
"Well you are five years my elder," She commented, "I probably won't enter anytime soon anyway. I'm quite content with my missions for now." He exhaled as if sighing in relief.
"Are you worried about me Kakashi?" Miyu asked curiously, tilting her head to one side. She hated the fact his face was hidden behind a mask and headband, resolving to just scrutinize his sole visible eye. It darted back and forth nervously as if seeking an escape from her.
"Well I can't say I'm not," He said, clearing his throat, "After all a lot of people would be devastated if something happened to you."
"Hm," She leant back thoughtfully, "Oddly enough that sounds quite nice. I mean I shouldn't feel happy that my death would make others sad, but I do. It's a pretty selfish thought…" Her voice was soft but her words were contrastingly loud. For a moment Kakashi took the time to really look at her at couldn't help but be confused with what he saw.
"It's a human fault." He told her, wondering what life she had led before arriving in Konoha. What kind of people had raised such a serious girl, or was it all due to her missing memories?
"Maybe not entirely human," She added, looking over to Kurama who was lying next to a sleeping Naruto, "And as a little incentive for this boring chat, I can tell you that if you died, I'd probably cry."
"Really?" the silver haired ninja was surprised, unsure at the warm feeling of satisfaction in his chest he felt after seeing her sad smile.
- - - - - Dream - - - - -
It was a happy event for the whole village, something that would take their mind away from the brewing war. Everyone from innocent civilians to veteran ninja's had gathered a top the Hokage monument to witness it. Kakashi took a deep breath, facing the horizon with his back to them all. In front of him Tsunade gave a reassuring smile before letting her gaze drift behind him, her eyes widening in what could only be happiness and pride.
"You're a lucky man Hatake." The Hokage whispered to him. He stared back at her silently, his gaze showing how much he truly believed her words.
"I'm glad you're not late." A familiar, feminine voice teased. The deep calm it brought soothed the nerves that he told himself didn't exist.
"Actually, they told me I was due three hours earlier, so I arrived about half an hour ago." He replied lightly.
"Hatake, you…" The well-known Academy teacher wanted to strangle the man right then and there.
"It's fine Iruka," The same loving voice replied, "I'd be worried if it was otherwise." The teacher signed and stepped back, joining the rows of the standing audience, his job for the day done.
"Well let's get this ceremony started then," A frighteningly sober Tsunade began. Kakashi only partially listened to her words, replying when he needed to while trying to catch sneak peeks at the woman beside him. She wore a beautiful Kimono that hugged her lithe form, coloured in a countless shades of orange, red and yellow, mimicking the autumnal season and bordered with lavish gold while tight around her waist was a crimson obi. Her face was completely hidden by a pale, thin veil that shimmered in the evening sun while her blonde hair was elaborately pinned up, a few strands purposely allowed to tumble down to her shoulders.
"What's the point of me actually being here if neither of you are actually listening?" Tsunade asked, glaring at both younger ninja that had failed to answer her repeated questioned, obviously lost in their own thoughts.
"Sorry baa-chan," the blonde respond, her voice alluding to the grin she most likely wore, "Can we just get this over with? I don't really like wearing kimonos, it's kind of hard to move." The Hokage sighed while the silver haired man let out a chuckle.
"Why don't we get on to this best part then?" He suggested, with a sly smile, quickly pulling the woman towards him as he flipped the flimsy veil backwards. He was greeted by a stunning beauty. Her full lips darkened slightly with red and her blue eyes edged with black.
"Eager, are we?" She asked, raising a brow.
"Very." He replied simply, swiftly pulling down his mask and capturing her lips in one smooth motion. He ignored the exasperated sighs and cheers of celebration completely, entirely focused on a single person. Without pausing his kiss, her caught her left hand and slipped a silver band over one of her slim fingers, marking the woman as his own.
- - - - - Reality - - - - -
Kurama sat completely still, eerily bathed in the moonlight coming in from the window, as he watched and observed the human that was once his jail. As she was, asleep, clutching the rings around her neck, he noticed how completely vulnerable she was. How he could take everything from her in one swift moment. He padded closer, looming over her sleeping face. It was definitely a plausible possibility but he lacked the motivation. Deep inside him he cursed the somewhat human conscience he had gained, missing the ease of simply being a ruthless monster.
A/N Thanks for reading~
This chapter is just a random one. A bit of relationship building with Kakashi and Miyu, and Miyu and Kurama.
There's a small section of Kurama's previous life and habits.
Iruka has gained an 'unknown' summoning scroll that'll be revealed next chapter (if you haven't already guessed it).
And the dream sequence is Miyu's/Naruto's marriage to Kakashi...yeah
Anyway, next chapter is hopefully the Hyuga affair so stay tuned :D