Patrols of Waterfall ninja were scanning the area, blissfully unaware of two figures crunched in the nearby tree observing them.
"Looks like Kakuzu's info was accurate," Sasori grumbled.
"Yeah, let's blast through and take the Jinchūriki and get out," Deidara proposed.
"We can't you idiot," Sasori chastised him. "Leader-sama said to not draw any attention. We infiltrate, gather information on who is the container take it with us, with as little commotion as possible… we now observe their patrol patterns. "
"Aww, that's so, boring Sasori-danna, un!" Deidara wriggled trying to find a more comfortable position on the tree branch.
"Stop whining," he growled. "Bedside's I don't want to lose any of my puppets on such pathetic excuses of a village."
"You and your puppets, the true art is a blast!"
The news about Team 7's achievement spread like wildfire. It was unheard of that a genin team would take down two Swordsmen of the Mist in a span of less than a year. And with that came something that naturally came with defeating dangerous opponents.
Fame, they were already nicknamed Swordsmen Hunters.
For each member of a team it meant a different thing.
For Sasuke who finished Raiga off, it meant legions of fangirls and 'errr' fanboys chasing him around demanding his virginity or autograph respectively… most of the time.
The situation for Sakura and Tayuya was identical, with the exception that the later regularly beat them to chase them off. Not that it worked, there were rumors that some masochistic cult formed with Tayuya being an object of their worship. Apparently her beatings were being treated as a blessing.
For Naruto strangely it meant that the attention he was getting lessened to the point of being treated… indifferently. While obviously there was still animosity towards his person, it stopped being so open. Some of the shopkeepers even invited him to their shops.
Naruto found the whole situation unreal. He couldn't believe that his hard work at getting accepted finally started to pay off.
But because of that he started to space off with a stupid smile on his face… not a very good idea when you were training with Anko, whose whole style revolved around using other people's weaknesses.
Poor Naruto found himself brutally snapped from his dream world by a vicious reality kick to the face.
The blonde flew across the small clearing and hit the ground painfully.
"Kami, I swear that if you space out one more time I'll feed you to my snakes!" Anko growled.
"Sorry Anko-sensei I'm just so happy," Naruto replied not standing but looking at the sky or rather tree branches that obscured it. Yet it was sunny so rays of light shone through.
Anko sighed, knowing that it would be pointless to train him now. Shrugging she lied down next to him and trailed her light brown pupil-less eyes at the sky.
They lay in comfortable silence each in their own thoughts.
Anko took a sneak peak at Naruto. She almost chuckled seeing his dreamy expression. But the good humor vanished, replaced by a shameful feeling.
She wasn't the one to sugarcoat things, and usually named things by their names. And she was jealous of Naruto. A fourteen year old boy… She felt like face palming.
But the fact was that the blonde ball of sunshine was actually doing what she tried for years and ultimately gave up for her psycho-bitch façade.
He was bringing people to his side by smiles and love. And it was working. She could see it every time she walked with him. Now most of the glares were directed at her, not him.
She stifled a sigh, even if she tried to change her ways now it would be too late anyways. She had her opinion set in stone.
A psychotic snake-whore.
Anko never knew that in moments like that it would hurt her so much… still hurt her like that.
'Will he abandon me when he finally get accepted,' she wondered and her heart ached painfully. Over the months she trained him she became attached to the cheery blonde. While his antics were annoying as hell he was making her laugh almost constantly. And it was not her psychotic laugh but a genuine happy one. She didn't have many friends.
While other Jonin were friendly enough, she only considered Kurenai and Yugao as friends.
'And Naru-chan,' her mind added. Naruto often sought her company outside the trainings. Taking her out to hang out with him or to go to have a dinner, if she didn't know that he was dumber than a rock in relationship matter… and few more – Anko would have thought that he was hitting at her.
'Now that I think of it, Naru-chan would be quite the lady killer one day.' Anko smirked. 'His sun-kissed hair and sky blue eyes were quite a rare combination, not to mention those adorable whiskers!'
But then once more her mood soured. Hell, Anko wouldn't even hold it against him when he abandons her. She would only drag him down from his path. She could help him out now and hope that he would at least pay her a few sneak visits from time to time.
"Is something wrong Anko-sensei?" Naruto asked startling her.
"No! Why do you think that? I'm all peachy!" She replied cheerfully ruffling his hair, but Naruto wouldn't have any of it. He could see through a mask of fake happiness in instant.
"Anko-sensei," he deadpanned.
"Ok tell me what you would do in case when to achieve your dreams you would have to sacrifice someone you… might think of as a friend," Anko asked.
"I would find a way to reach my dream without sacrificing a friend. What kind of person I would be to abandon my friends for my personal gain." He said disgusted recalling many examples of what he saw.
"But if that friend's opinion drags you down," she asked.
"I would never abandon you. Just because you have a bad opinion, you're one of my precious people." He gave her wide bright smile surprising her with his insight.
"But how did you know?" She asked almost meekly ashamed of being caught.
"I might be dense, but I'm not an idiot… much," he added. "Besides Tayuya-chan tried the same trick on me before, so it was easy to connects dots." His grin widened despite it not being possible. "So Anko-chan you don't have to worry about me leaving you behind."
Anko blushed at his honesty. Even more at the fact that this fourteen years old managed to make her blush like that. But his words make her chest warm and light. She somehow believed him, believed in him.
"You know Anko-chan you're not that different form Tayuya-chan, she too always tries to look tough… I can't understand why you two can't get along," he stated.
"Hey! It's not my fault that she gets snippy when I nibble her ear a bit!" Anko's smile turned sly, "Besides since when dod Anko-sensei turned to Anko-chan? Are you hitting on me Naru-chan," she giggled at his blush.
"I-I-I," his shutter would give Hinata a run for her money. "Anko-chan…er I meant Anko-sensei!" Anko felt that her teasing mood was in full swing.
"Very clever Naru-chan to lure a pretty girl to the dark forest where no one would hear anything… so what are you planning to do with me?"
"N-nothing! I'm not planning to do anything with you! Believe it," he spluttered.
"So I'm not pretty enough for you," she pouted making her voice quiver, as expected Naruto spluttered some more.
"I didn't say that!" Naruto quickly yelled, he was briefly aware that she was playing him but he was too embarrassed to fight it.
"So you're saying that I'm pretty," she held out laugher when his face reddened even more. He gave her swallow nod. "So what do you find the prettiest in me?"
That made Naruto pause.
While he would never admit it to Anko he often caught himself staring at her curves. Especially while stretching. She was gifted and Naruto was aware that not all people in Konoha looked at Anko with disgust. Healthy amount looked at her with lust. For some reason he hated those looks even more than the hateful ones.
But he had to admit that he had his favorite on Anko's. It was her smile, not her bloodthirsty one but the one she often gave him – That gentle and caring smile when he succeeded at learning something or made her laugh. Fighting with his embarrassment he looked into her light brown eyes.
"Your smile… I like it the most," he admitted with a deep blush.
Anko again found herself speechless. His admission was so childish, so innocent, and so sweet. She half-expected a comment on her rack or rear but not on her smile.
'Aww he's such a sweetheart,' she blushed again. Just now she realized how close the two of them got. Not they were lying inches apart almost shoulder to shoulder. 'Whoa! Hold your horses Anko! You're six years older than him!'
Meanwhile Naruto not being able take the tension turned to his side so now his back was facing her… Bad mistake.
"Hey don't turn your back on me!" She pinched his side making him jump with and she giggled," Ohhh –?"
"Anko-sensei?" Naruto asked palling as a predatory grin made its way to her face.
"Looks like someone's ticklish," she licked her lips standing on all fours like a tiger ready to lung at its prey.
"Please be reasonable!" Naruto begged.
Without Naruto around, Tayuya had a lot of free time to burn, so much that she was usually bored out of her mind. Before she used to wander around Konoha and do something interesting or shopping but now that option was out. Her crazy fan boys would swarm her as soon as they saw her wanting to be blessed by her.
'Fucking psychos,' she growled in her mind. Not to mention she got groped more than one time and that usually ended with a ANBU preventing her from murdering everyone within eye sight. So those days she usually played her flute till Naruto came back from training with Fem-Orochimaru rip off.
At the thought of the purple haired Kunoichi her eyebrows knitted tight and her scowl deepened.
Anko was way too clingy with Naruto in Tayuya's opinion. Almost every time she saw those two after the training Anko had her arm wrapped around Naruto's neck, not to mention that Naruto seemed to not mind… and lately even enjoy it.
For some reason that pissed her off greatly, every female that got too close to him made her angry, especially Hinata and to lesser extent Ayame despite her doing it in purely sister-like way.
She wasn't stupid and was aware that he has other friends than her, but male's one hadn't bother her even a bit… maybe Rock Lee, but he was entirely different case.
Coming back from her stray thoughts she decided to speak with Naruto about getting too friendly with other females.
'After all he might get the wrong idea and then get disappointed and I'll… have to listen to it for weeks.' She didn't even want to acknowledge the other thought she had, it was just too ridiculous. There was no way that she would be jealous of other woman getting his attention.
Nope. No. Not possible.
'Who the fuck? I swear if those fucking cultist found me I'll…' she snarled and walked to open the doors. She was ready to lash out as soon as she opened the door, but stopped when she saw Tenten.
"Hey Tayuya," she greeted her, "Want to go with me and girls to a hot springs?" Only then Tayuya noticed the towel in her hands.
To tell the truth, Tenten was only female that she accepted. Even to the point where she thought of her as a sort-of-friend. She was the one who often visited her and was taking her out to places to either hand out or train. Not to mention she seemed to like hearing her playing flute. That was a big plus in her books.
Also the fact that she was so into Neji helped a tiny minimal bit.
"Who's coming with you?" Tayuya asked but already knew the answer.
"Oh you know the usual, Hinata, Ino, and Sakura," she rubbed her neck sheepishly. "I'm sure it's beats sitting in when the weather is beautiful today."
'She has a point," Tayuya thought. "Ah hell! Why the fuck not, I'll be ready in five," she went to the bathroom and took all her bathing equipment. She locked the doors and went downstairs to see the remaining three girls. After a cold greeting the group went to the hot springs.
Konoha's hot springs were famous through the Land of Fire. Large complex of pools spread on the area of six hundred square meters. The complex was divided into five areas. Showers and pools were divided between male's and female with a fifth being a pool for those who didn't mind opposite sex, usually for pairs or perverts waiting for someone who lost his/her way. The building typically for Konoha was made of wood and was kept in shades of red.
The girls went to the showers washing themselves before entering the hot water. They all let a pleasant sigh when the warm water enveloped their bodies.
Tayuya decided to visit this place more often. In Oto all she got was a filthy shower with nothing but cold water so her baths usually were quite fast. She hadn't dared to get sick. It meant a visit to the good doctor Kabuto. She shivered despite the warm water.
"Something wrong Tayuya?" Tenten asked noticing her shiver.
Nah, just… remembering how crappy Oto was compared to here," she splashed some water on her shoulders.
"Was it really that bad?" Tenten asked curiously. She never had any occasion to speak with ninjas from other villages.
"Yeah, for example no hot water for anyone except Snake-fucker and his boy toy Kabuto." She shrugged, "And that was a minor. So yeah it was a bitch to live there, but well, shit happens."
"I see. So I guess you're happy that Naruto found you," she pressed. Tayuya looked at her with suspicion. She was almost sure that the weapon mistress had some ulterior motive.
"I'm not fucking dead thanks to Shithead, so yeah I'm damn satisfied with that outcome," she narrowed her eyes.
'But we're not,' the rest of the group minus Tenten thought in unison.
"Sooo what do you think of Naruto?" Tenten inquired with sly grin, "I mean as a person."
Tayuya's eyes widened when she realized what she was trying to do. And there was no way she would be part of it.
"I'm not going to speak about fucking boys with you!" Tayuya growled.
"Come on! It's what the girls are supposed to do on the meetings like that!" Tenten pressed.
"And since when do you care what girls are supposed to do? As far as I'm concerned you don't give a shit about that unless… argh! Let me fucking guess you think that Mr. Hyuuga-I-have-stick-up-my-ass will notice you if you get more… girly," she spat her last word. Tenten blushed being caught red handed, "Oh fuck you got to be kidding me!"
"It's her business, not everyone wants to be a tomboy like you! You will never find a man the way you are!" Ino hissed glaring at her.
"Up yours, I don't see anyone coming after you with all your fucking charm," she snapped. "Hell even pinky has more fans, and that's just because they think she did something when we fought Raiga."
"H-Hey l-let's not argue," Hinata said weakly.
"Hinata-chan is right, so back to my original question, what do you think of Naruto?" Tenten asked again.
"He's a Shithead that's all you get from me," she crossed her arms.
"N-no! H-he's n-not!" The Hyuga heiress protested and managed to glare at Tayuya. The fact that she managed to glare spoke volumes of her emotions.
"Aww Hinata-chan likes Naruto," Ino giggled making her blush crimson. "Well I have to admit he looks much better without that hideous orange jumpsuit."
"True, not to mention he seemed to put on some muscles." Tenten added, "And did you noticed how much he grew? It's almost unnatural! He had to gain at least fifteen centimeters!"
Tayuya found herself nodding. At first Naruto was shorter than her but in those months they were living together he out grown her so now she was slightly shorter than him.
"You're right! He is eh Sakura?" Ino nudged the only silent member of the group.
"Eh? Yes right?" Sakura mumbled drawing amused stares of the rest. To tell the truth she didn't wanted to be a part of discussion where Naruto was involved. To tell the truth she felt incredibly guilty about what she had said to him when they were celebrating Neji's promotion.
During their team training every time their eyes met she could see hurt and sadness in his eyes that multiplied her guilt. Yet on the other hand she was afraid of him. It took her days to get used to it but she finally realized one truth.
She was afraid of Naruto… or rather of what he held. She was now aware that he and the Kyuubi were separate beings.
Now she knew what that oppressive chakra that he sometimes emitted was. She understood why Ranmaru was so afraid of that. She almost fainted every time she felt it. It was so dark and twisted. No one having such chakra could be good. She could recall every story her parents told her about the Kyuubi and that it almost killed them… and succeed with her grandparents.
Deep inside Sakura wondered if he would lash at them. She decided to cease all communication with Naruto unless absolutely necessary to not provoke him… and that's why the guilt was eating her alive every time she thought of him or when someone mentioned him.
He saved her life countless times and didn't deserve such treatment, but she was frightened that the beast would possess him if she said something wrong to him…which often tended to happen.
"Sakura?" Ino waved her hand in front of her eyes, "Are you with us?"
"Yes, yes I am just lost in thoughts," she let herself sink deeper in the water.
"Tsk," Tayuya snorted glaring at her.
"Something wrong?" Sakura asked with exasperation. In those days the two were in state in open war. Arguments and fights were constant and usually boys had to break them up before they got too violent.
"Nothing aside from you being an ungrateful bitch, if we're talking about Shithead now," she stated not even looking at Sakura.
"And why do you care about it? It's not like I'm doing anything to you!" she snapped.
"Yeah but I have to suffer him moping around, because you treat him like trash. Hell even I would at least speak to someone who saved my life no matter how much the fucker would piss me off," she shot."You are fucking lucky that the rest of them accepted him so easily because he looked like he got stabbed when you called him a demon."
"I might, have gone too far." Sakura admitted.
"No shit genius, maybe at least apologize and try to stop pretending that you don't fucking know him," she growled.
"Aww that's so sweet that you protect Naru-chan so much. Almost makes me fell threatened."
A voice chipped from behind Tayuya. Before the red head managed to do anything she was pushed from her seat and felt a body slide behind her. Instantly arms wrapped around Tayuya holding her tightly and teeth gently sank in her very sensitive earlobe making her release a very girly squeal.
"Hey Tay-chan what's up?" Anko whispered in her ear making her shiver.
"Let go of me you fucking pervert! Or I'll ram my leg so far up your ass that you will feel it in your slutty mouth!" She roared making Anko burst out laughing and let her go. The fiery girl shot to the opposite side of the pool and glared at her warily.
"Kinky, don't tempt me, my little hellfire." Anko licked her lips making all the girls gasp.
"What the fuck is wrong with you?!" She bellowed, "No wait I don't want to fucking know! What the hell are you doing here?!"
"Oh I came to relax after my training with Naru-chan. He got me all sweaty you know," she grinned when all preset blushed. "I've got to say he's quite energetic," she added giggling.
"As if Shithead would do something with you!" Tayuya snapped in fury. 'He wouldn't!'
"You think he could ever refuse these girls?" Anko shook her luscious breasts to highlight her point deepening the blush of gathered girls, "Well it seems that only the little princess here may have any hopes to impress him in that area… the rest of you well…" Anko grinned at the defeated expression of the rest of the girls. All expect Hinata who was gloating inside.
'I finally have some edge over that vulgar girl!' Hinata smirked slightly.
"Fuck you!" Tayuya crossed her arms hiding her still underdeveloped breasts. They will grow… one day.
"Aww no there's no reason to be jealous… oh wait there is!" The snake girl burst out laughing with mirth.
"Damn pedophile! You're an old hag, how the hell can you even going after a kid!" Tayuya snapped.
"Shut up I'm twenty! I'm still young and fresh!" Anko snapped
"Tsk, looks like Snake-fucker installed a pedophilia in you," she grumbled.
"I'm not a pedophile! It's not my fault that Naru-chan is so adorably innocent and ticklish," she chuckled in a disturbing manner seriously creeping out the other girls off. But she regretted nothing, the tickling match between her and Naruto was too enjoyable. He even managed to get her a few times eliciting a giggle from her, but she took sweet revenge for each of those times.
"What the fuck are you two doing in the forest?!" Tayuya yelled with a blush matching her hair color.
"That's a very good question."
Another voice sounded from behind before Anko managed to reply. And knowing the owner of the voice, the purple haired Kunoichi felt her body froze. She slowly turned her back and was greeted by the sight of Tsunade the Hokage and Shizune her assistant.
And Anko realized two things.
Tsunade probably heard all her perverted comments about Naruto and Tsunade was known for having a major soft spot for the boy.
Which meant that Anko was fucked.
With a plop Tsunade sat next to Anko and glared at her with the corner of her eye.
"So mind telling me what were you doing with my grandson in that forest," she asked washing her fist that by complete coincidence made her knuckles crack.
"Just playing Hokage-sama nothing but a innocent game," Anko shot instantly.
"Ohhh? So you weren't doing anything that I would consider inappropriate with him?" Tsunade said slowly asked still cracking – washing her knuckles.
"Of course not Hokage-sama," she said dutifully. "I would never do anything do taint his adorably sweet and tasty innocence kukuku," she licked her lips with a maniacal glint in her eyes this time she even managed to creep Hokage who got a nasty flashback of her traitorous teammate.
Tsunade grabbed Anko's neck and brought her close to her face making the snake mistress of Konoha pale.
'Damn me and my mouth!' Anko started to sweat.
"Listen well if you do anything to him that I would not approve, I'll personally –" she started whispering words to Anko's ear.
Now the rest of the gathered group could witness how the blood left Anko's face as she literally shrunk into herself.
"So any other smart comments?" Tsunade asked with a scowl.
"Will you behave?"
"Good now I can enjoy the hot spring with a clear conscience."
She spread her arms on the nearby rocks making her enormous breast perfectly visible. Now all girls stared at them with their mouths' agape.
Tayuya was first to snap out of her daze.
"Ok milk-tank I've got two questions," she stated.
"Just because I'm so comfortable now doesn't mean I won't smack you for that disrespect, but shoot," Tsunade said lazily.
"How the fuck did you managed to tame Fem-Orochimaru down?" She asked making Anko hiss at her.
"Konoha is a village full of psychos, perverts, idiots, and morons with issues miles long, so you learn in time how to keep that entire mob in line and what to say and do to them." Tsunade deadpanned cracking each joint in her fingers. "Ok what was next one?"
"How much did you pay for those boobs? They can't be fucking natural!" Tayuya asked and dared to poke one.
A vein popped on Tsunade's forehead.
Streets of Konoha,
After a quick shower Naruto decided to go to eat at Ichiraku. Tayuya went somewhere so he had much time to spare. Since he started to seriously work up on himself his trips to Ichiraku were cut in half to his and the owners despair. But Kyuubi was adamant in his demand of him eating at least partly healthy.
With his mouthwatering Naruto ventured to his favorite stand and moved the curtains coming inside.
Inside he saw Team 10 minus Ino with their sensei eating their meal.
"Hey guys," he greeted them sitting on the free seat next to Asuma.
"Hey Naruto," Choji said slurping his ramen, "How's your day?"
"Fine, I've had training in the morning and now I have to replenish some energy," he replied and ordered six bowls of ramen as warm up.
"Training? But it's a free day today?" Shikamaru asked mortified.
"Oh yeah I have additional training with Anko-sensei." Naruto told her and unintentionally made Asuma choke on his soup. Shikamaru had to pat him on his back.
"Anko is training you?" Asuma asked praying that he misheard.
"Yup! And she's the best!" Naruto said grinning.
'Dear Kami, please don't let her turn him into bloodthirsty savage,' Asuma wailed, "Is that so?"
"Yeah, when Kakashi-sensei was slacking at his job she trained me and helped me out." Naruto said with happiness, "Oh yeah I forgot to ask, you have wind nature chakra right?"
"Yes I do… let me guess you want me to help you out with that?" Asuma stated.
"Yes, since you're the only one with wind nature in whole village! Besides me!" Naruto slightly whined.
'Well not the only one but you really don't want to be noticed by that other person,' he though grimly. "I know the feeling it was a pain to learn anything when you were the odd one around," he stroked his beard. "How about I send you a few scrolls with wind jutsus? I'm sure Kakashi can give you few tips on how to do it."
"That would be great! Thanks Asuma-sensei!" Naruto exclaimed.
"Geez stop shouting Naruto, I value my eardrums." Shikamaru said, "By the way how's that troublesome girl? Is she giving you any trouble?"
"Tayuya? Nah she's ok," Naruto waved dismissingly.
"Sooo… has she mentioned something about revenge? Or making deals with certain people?" The lazy genius asked trying to sound casual, but Naruto wasn't master prankster for nothing.
"Hmmm… now to think of she said something along the line of?" He furrowed his eyebrows a feign of concentration. He barely kept his face straight when he saw Shikamaru pale. "Oh yeah! I remember she mentioned something about Pineapples and skinning then dismemberment and then throwing the skin at the trashcan."
"You're yanking my chain aren't you?" he deadpanned with scowl.
"Sure am," Naruto burst out laughing.
"Very funny Uzumaki."
"Oh come on Shika! You should see your face!" Choji chuckled, "Does that… girl scare you that much?"
"She almost killed me… if not for Temari… well yeah I have every reason to be afraid of her." He crossed his arms.
"So maybe you should train more?" Asuma asked with a small smile, "But seriously she isn't going to do anything to him?"
"No, of course not… I think," he hesitated.
"You think?" Shikamaru replied dryly.
"Most likely not, she has new life here and if she ever was planning to do something she would make it look like accident." Naruto stated.
"That's reassuring," he deadpanned feeling already tired.
"Don't worry I'm sure she will forgive you." Naruto patter his shoulder.
"She doesn't strike me as the forgiving type," he stated boldly.
"You just have to get to know her." Naruto soothed him, "She's really nice when you get past trough her rough exterior."
"Naruto might be right Shikamaru," Choji said, "She's not that bad to talk to, unless you can't handle her language."
"See Choji likes her, just give her a chance and I'll put a good word for you to her." Naruto proposed.
"Bah, fine I'll try but no promises." Shikamaru sighed.
"That's great! Six more bowls Teuchi-jiji!, believe it!" Naruto cheered.
'When did he eat six already?' Asuma's eyes bulged at the empty bowls, 'He's been speaking the entire time!' Shaking his head he finished his own bowl.
The stand's curtains rustles again.
"Just as I thought," a voice sounded from behind. Naruto turned back and his face was split by a grin.
"Shibuki," Naruto exclaimed, "What are you doing here man!"
"It's great to see you Naruto." The older body smiled. Shibuki had ink black eyes and long, dark brown hair. He wore grey pants, a green shirt, ninja sandals, and a shoulder protector on his left shoulder. "I came here to make some trade pacts between our villages, but it got so boring that I let my advisors to do it," he grinned. "And I thought why to not look for you, and I asked around a bit and they directed me to this place."
"That's cool! So want something to eat?"
"Sure why not," his eyes fell on Ayame. "Every place that has such charming staff must have great food as well." He said making her blush.
"N-Naruto who's your friend," Ayame asked shyly.
"Oh I compactly forgot to introduce him!" Naruto face-palmed, "He's the leader of Takigakure no Sato, Shibuki."
Everyone's eyes widened.
"He's a Kage?!" Ayame exclaimed, "Dear Kami why hadn't you told us sooner!"
"It's ok," Shibuki raised his hands. "I'm a far cry from even thinking of being Kage so no need for all that political drama," he took the seat next to Naruto. "I'll be taking what he's taking."
"Six bowls of ramen?" Ayame clarified making him gasp.
"You can fit that much?"
"Actually it's my second serving," he patted his belly.
"Whoa, that's inhuman, I'll take two please," he made his order. "Naruto I've been meaning to ask you is it true that your team took two down Swordsmen of the Mist?"
"Yup it's 100% true," he boasted. "We've got Zabuza and Raiga!"
"Nice, at first I hadn't believed the rumors that some genin team from Konoha managed to pull it off but when I heard that you were on that team… well with you everything is possible," the young Kage slapped his back.
'So true,' the rest of the gathered though.
"So when will you leave?" Naruto asked.
"Probably tomorrow," he sighed. "Konoha is a nice change of scenery; it's far more laid back than Taki."
"Really I don't remember Taki being that bad?" Naruto raised his eyebrows.
"After Suien we've decided to change few things, especially our training program while it's too early for any results we've expanded it by large margin, maybe in few generations my village will rise to great nation status."
"I wish you best luck at that… Hey do you need an escort to your village again?" Naruto asked conspiratorially.
"Haha maybe, what want to see Taki again?" Shibuki laughed, "Are you aware that you have hero status there?"
"Really? Me?" Naruto chocked flabbergasted.
"Sure, you and Sasuke are hailed as heroes for defeating Suien. I'm sure that people would be ecstatic to see you again. You know what; I'll go to Hokage office and request a team to escort us back."
"Ha that's great! I can't wait to go there!" Naruto cheered."Ok I have to go now," he stood.
"See you tomorrow Naruto." Shibuki said.
"See ya around guys," he waved at the rest and walked out of the stand. He then jumped to the roofs and dashed towards the Forest of Death.
After half an hour he arrived at his usual clearing where he trained.
'Ok Kyuubi I'm ready!' Naruto said with excitement. After the fight with Raiga, Naruto trained his Rinnegan powers like crazy.
He now is able to form a sphere around him to deflect attacks from all sides and push things away from him from all sides. He also managed to simultaneously use Shinra Tensei and Banshō Ten'in to manipulate objects pushing them back and forward while still holding it.
'Good you finally reached the satisfying level of control over your Deva path. While still not all the way there yet it is good enough.' The ancient fox said mildly content with his container, 'Now it's time to teach you other path… the Asura Path.'
"Really?! Yatta!" Naruto shouted out loud startling everything in a three miles radius.
'Ugh… shut up… and here I was thinking that you matured a bit…' Kyuubi sighed, 'Now listen carefully, the Asura path is little more difficult to master than the Deva path because you must use your earth chakra to activate it. It allows you do to do two things, harden your skin to the point that you don't have to worry about Kunai and senbon and the ability to use chakra rods.'
'What are chakra rods?' Naruto asked.
'Those are constructs made of your earth chakra inside your body you can literally create it everywhere in your body but you have to be careful to not damage your organs so for now you're only allowed to create them in your hands.' Kyuubi explained.
'What is their purpose?,' he inquired.
'The variety is only limited by your creativity so in your case pretty much unlimited. The main purpose is transmitting and receiving chakra, if you made them hard enough you can use it as a weapon.'
'Transmitting and receiving how's that useful?' Naruto stated confused.
'If you stab opponent with it you can insert your chakra inside him disrupting his control completely or killing him if you use mine. You can also use it as early warning system. All rods are linked to you if you're close enough and will allow you to sense everything in certain area, but that is little too advanced for you to master now so we will concentrate on them being your weapons.'
'Ok what do I do?' Naruto asked with excitement.
'Activate your Rinnegan and focus your earth chakra in your hands... let them be filled with it.' Kyuubi instructed.
Naruto did as he was told. He gathered the specific chakra like when he used the Doton jutsus.
'Good now listen very carefully, concentrate your chakra in your wrist area in a circle no bigger than a centimeter, and be absolutely sure that you have it down, or healing your ripped bones will be a painful experience… for you.'
'Very funny…' Naruto deadpanned but soon his mind venture back to extreme concentration. Task like this required a high chakra control and he wasn't sure if he had enough to do it. Over the time he began training with his dojutsu he managed to catch up with all stuff from academy in two months including chakra control. But soon those excises started to be too easy and he decided to go to library for some more advanced methods of training. The staff kicked him out few times but lately they began tolerating his presence… most of them.
So now he sneaked in as often as he visited it normally taking as many scrolls as necessary. Having access to more advanced knowledge his control increased dramatically. While not the level of Sakura or Tayuya it was still pretty good. Naruto knew that the Kyuubi was a source of his problems. His chakra severely crippled Naruto's control since his human body weren't supposed to produce a demonic chakra. But that was just one more obstacle to overcome. He sat comfortably on the ground.
After about ten minutes of so Naruto felt that he won't be able to compress his chakra any more. The circular point located at his wrist had little more than a centimeter in width.
'That should suffice… now this is the most important part you have to push it out, and I'm warning you it will hurt but in time you will learn to ignore the pain. You need to keep the constant flow of the chakra no matter what or the stray parts of the rods will remain inside your boy and you will have to dug it out.' The fox warned, 'Ready?'
'Yeah!' Naruto said and started to push the earth chakra out of his hands in controlled column.
He felt his Rinnegan acting, but he hadn't done anything against it, instead he went with the flow. At first nothing had happened but soon he started to feel that something started to… grow beneath his skin and tried to get out. His skin started to stretch to the point that it became painful but Naruto gritted his teeth and pushed forwards.
He let a small cry as his skin broke and blood started to leak from his wounds. But what frightened him more was a black rods sticking out of his wrists and still growing in an agonizingly slow manner.
'Keep focused kid you're almost done.'Kyuubi told him.
He groaned in pain but kept pressing until he felt that something popped out of his wounds and hit his thighs.
Out of his breath and sweaty he looked at the fifteen centimeter bloody black rods.
'All that pain for something like this?' Naruto trembled picking up a rod with his shaking hands.
'It hurt so much because you did it slowly. You should learn to do it under a second and you will barely notice the pain and you won't bleed like a pig. Now I'll heal you,' the wound on his wrists started to close, 'Ok now repeat it a few dozen times.'
Naruto's Apartment – Late Evening,
"Ow, ow, ow," Tayuya nursed her black eye, "Fucking sensitive bitch with impossible cow tits. What the fuck does she eat?" She grumbled angrily.
"Hey Tayuya-chan I'm home," Naruto's voice sounded from the hall. She went there and saw that that he was holding some black sticks in his hand. And she noticed that his wrists looked like they were just cut.
"Don't tell me that you became a fucking Emo! I swear to Kami that I'll move out then!" She stated with concern, "What the hell happened to you!?"
"Oh nothi–?" he pause when he saw her swollen eye, "Who did that?!" Naruto asked darkly.
"Oh it was just milk tank." Tayuya said feeling happy that he was worried about her – not that she would show that, "I kind of pocked her breast and she went berserk."
"Are you insane? Ero-sennin almost got killed for peeping at her! She would slaughter him if he touched her breasts!" Naruto exclaimed.
"Yeah, yeah now I fucking know it. Psycho bitch, this damn village is full of them! So why the fuck have you been cutting yourself? You don't have any issues… you know you can speak to me, right," she said somewhat shyly.
"No, no I'm not cutting myself it's my new Rinnegan power!" Naruto explained his new ability to her.
"Hmm that shit sounds like Shikotsumyaku," she stated.
"What?" Naruto asked confused.
"The shit that Kimimaro pulled, you know bones coming from everywhere?" Tayuya clarified.
"Hmm now that I think of it you're right," he rubbed his chin.
'It is obvious that the skill of Kaguya clan originated from the Sage of Six Paths like all ninjutsu.'Kyuubi stated.
"He was a real motherfucker, he could take a full platoon of ninja by himself… and he was seriously ill at that time. Hell at full strength he would be almost Kage level by now." She shivered when she recalled his death threat.
"Good that he's dead then," Naruto mussed thinking about the possibilities of his ability.
"Yeah good riddance, so aside from that anything else happened?," she asked.
"Oh yeah! I forgot!" He slapped his forehead, "Pack yourself because we're going to Taki tomorrow, we're going to escort their leader!"
"And how the hell do you know that?"
"He's my friend."
"I won't even ask how the fuck you know the leader of Taki."
Naruto told her anyways.
"Ok," Tsunade said rubbing her temples. "On a special request of Taki's leader you are assigned to protect him on his way home." She looked at them, and glared at Tayuya making her flinch a bit. "So listen up that's a B-rank mission since you're escorting Taki's Kage equivalent and to avoid any additional problems I'm sending an additional Jonin with you… Shizune who do we have at the moment?"
"Hmm all Jonin are busy at the moment but we have one special Jonin available," Shizune added.
"Ok tell him/her to get his/her ass moving and meet them at the north gate, pronto." Tsunade said.
"But –?" Shizune started.
"Bah! I've already have headaches because of them… I really dare you to fight with one more Swordsmen of the Mist." She threatened them, "Now out!"
The team quickly left the room leaving Tsunade and Shizune alone filling the papers. After a few hours they were finally done and it was time to go home.
Suddenly Tsunade recalled that she actually wanted to know who went with Team 7 to keep an eye on them.
"Hey Shizune who was that special Jonin we sent with them?," she asked.
"…It was Mitarashi Anko," Shizune mumbled making Tsunade face-palm.
"How is that possible that out of all Shinobi in this goddamn village SHE has to be available?! Now we have two hyper active idiots on one team!"
"I tried to warn you," Shizune mumbled.
"Kami I need sake!"
Konoha's Gate, a few hours earlier,
"Man when will this guy get here? We've been waiting like forever!" Naruto whined drawing amused stares from Shibuki and his two advisors.
"More like ten minutes Shithead." Tayuya snapped feeling annoyed too.
"He/She just got the notice it will take time to pack for such trip." Kakashi said, "I wonder who will assist us?"
'Please don't let it be that shade wearing closet pervert.' Naruto pleased to Kami. As on cue his instinct screamed at him to duck and he did. Not even a second later a kunai wheezed through the place where his cheek would undoubtedly be. Everyone instantly took their battle stances but boisterous laughter told them that it was an ally.
"Good work my apprentice!" Anko jumped from the nearest building with a bag hung over her shoulder. "You're finally becoming aware of your surroundings!"
"Anko-sensei," Naruto exclaimed and ran to her, "You're the one going with us? That's sooo cool!"
The rest of the group wasn't sharing Naruto's excitement.
"Psst, is that a normal way to greet your apprentices in your village?" Shibuki whispered to Kakashi.
"No it's just her special way," he whispered back.
"What is that crazy person doing here?" Sakura asked, still remembering her form the chunin exams.
"It will be a long mission." Sasuke choked numbly.
"Yeah I know! We'll have a road trip!" Anko shouted back to Naruto, "Now come I'll show you how to make a death trap made of sticks and the rest will show you how to survive it!"
She wrapped her arm around his shoulders and the duo moved forward leaving the rest behind.
"I didn't know that you Konoha shinobi had such a sense of humor?" One of the advisors said. But when no one answered he turned back and saw a painful look on their faces. "Is something wrong?"
"She wasn't joking." Kakashi replied with fake anime tears.
Four days later,
The road to Taki usually takes three days by foot for ninja but having two elderly civilians slowed their pace down considerably. But no one was complaining. The group actually took their time and decided to turn it into a training trip.
Kakashi and Anko came with idea of training preparing them to fight in unfamiliar terrain. The genins had to find their clones they made based on the smallest hints they left or detect traps. Obviously out of all of them Tayuya had the most experience in that kind of things, since she was Orochimaru's former elite.
When they were not training, Anko and Naruto turned into a chatterboxes almost constantly speaking and laughing. Compared to those two the rest were deadly silent. Shibuki sometimes managed to exchange a few words with Naruto but Anko had been really greedy for his attention.
Kakashi, Sasuke, and Sakura spoke a little too but it was rare since each of them were deep in their own thoughts or book. (Guess who!)
Which left Tayuya who barely opened her mouth to anyone. She seemed to be brooding and her responses were coated with unusual amount of swears. Naruto tried to approach her a few times but she usually chased him off with a sharp response. Anko even joked that it was that time of the month for her.
Well her period usually was quite bitchy to her and people around her, Naruto could testify but this time the reason was different. She would've been in denial for not recognize that feeling.
She was jealous.
Not only of Anko as a person but of a way she could speak or touch Naruto without any hesitation like it was natural to her. Tayuya couldn't even dream of having such easiness with other people or to make Naruto laugh like that. Her absolute limit was a shoulder pat and nothing more while Anko had her arm carelessly swung around his neck and Naruto seemed to not mind that even a bit. That pissed Tayuya off too. In her opinion Naruto was getting way to comfortable with Anko. Somewhere deep inside her mind she wanted him to get comfortable with her like that, but that thought was still too weak to get anywhere past her sub-conscious.
So she only felt some sort of unspecified jealousy towards Anko.
And she's been like that for four days, her mood soured and fermented inside her with no way to vent it, until a large group of forty bandits deiced to attack them.
That was a great way to brighten her mood. And she prepared a really nasty genjutsu for the bandits...
After the bandits were beaten up and tied, Kakashi sent a messenger dog back to Konoha to dispatch a squad to collect them.
But there was one fatality among the group… Naruto's sleeping bag. And at evening that created an interesting conflict.
"…I can handle one night on the ground," he said blushing.
"Nonsense, my bag is spacious enough for both of us Naru-chan!" Anko said sweetly.
"Maybe he doesn't want to sleep with you," Tayuya growled.
"Well it's not like I'm forcing him, but I don't want him to sleep on the cold ground…" she trailed. "So Naru-chan do you want to sleep in my bag or Tayuya's?" Anko asked, making both teens blush even more.
Naruto turned to Tayuya and saw that she was… considering it. He had to be seeing things. There would be no way that Tayuya would actually let him sleep in her body bag – ever.
"Errr…" he shuttered unable to answer. "It's just trivial thing with who I sleep… right?" Naruto gulped when both females narrowed their eyes.
"Hurry up Shithead and decide," Tayuya growled with a slight blush. Anko looked at her with surprise and then her face got a mischievous edge.
'Well I can always have him on way back kukuku,' Anko grinned. "You know what? You can have him if you want that that badly," she announced shocking the group and walked to her bags preparing her bed roll.
Tayuya opened and closed her mouth unable to produce a sound.
'That bitch played me!' Her eyes meet with Naruto's and her face color matched her face, 'Fuck what to do? If I refuse he will get fucking depressed and that slut will probably jump at the chance to comfort him… ugh now I have to get that image out of my head… on the other hand he might start to get some ideas if I let him sleep with me…. next to me… ugh, but I guess it's better than the alternative.'
While Tayuya was lost in her thoughts Naruto could witness the literal battle of emotions on her face. Feeling bad that he caused troubles for her he tried to soothe her.
"Tayuya-chan you really don't have to do it…" he said making her glare that him.
"Its fine," she mumbled and rolled her sleeping bag out, "It should fit us both."
"But –?" Naruto protested weakly.
"Just shut up, and sleep with me… fuck." Tayuya blushed again, it sounded way better in her mind.
"Oh, someone's feisty," Anko interjected drawing a perverted giggle from Kakashi.
"Shut up! I meant as he would go to bed with me!" She paused when Anko and Kakashi burst out laughing, "Shut the fuck up!" Tayuya hung hear head in embarrassment.
The group watched in amusement on how the two teens tried to fit into a one person sleeping bag.
So soon they found themselves in a very tight spot, literally. Tayuya's back was tightly pressed against Naruto's chest like the rest of her body. She could feel his body warmth and vice versa.
"If you try anything I'll castrate you," she wished him goodnight.
Naruto mumbled her goodnight too but he was extremely uncomfortable right now with his arms along his torso. He left like standing at attention.
Begging Kami to give him mercy he decided to ask Tayuya to allow him to wrap his arms around her.
"Hey Tayuya," he whispered.
"What," she answered sleepily.
"Can I… wrap my arms around you?" Even he was aware how suspicious and awkward it sounded.
"I think I fucking told you what would happen if you tried anything," she growled.
"But I'm so uncomfortable now!" Naruto pleaded, "I swear on my nindo that I won't do anything funny!"
"Fuck no," she snapped. Thinking fast Naruto deiced to risk his life. It was a low blow but if he had to suffer whole night.
"Then I guess I'll ask Anko-chan if I can sleep in her sleeping bag." Uttered the rock fool and braced himself for the pain or verbal slaughter.
Tayuya went very still. She couldn't believe the nerve of that guy to ask something like that. Then again it was known that Naruto was dense as a Rock and in his mind that probably wasn't anything bad. Also like hell Tayuya would let him sleep with the Orochimaru rip off.
"Shithead I'm warning you, try anything and I WILL gut you," she growled demonically. Tayuya felt him nodding and his arms carefully moved around her and locked on her belly. Naruto snuggled slightly closer making her tense. She could feel his warm breath on her neck, sending not that unpleasant shivers down her spine.
After a few minutes Naruto's breath calmed down and became a regular rhythm which meant he fell asleep. Now Tayuya laid in his arms feeling warm… and she liked it.
She hated cold with a passion. She could recall all the times she almost froze to death when she was enslaved by the bandits and then with Orochimaru. He called that raising her cold resistance. And the nights could be chilly at that time of year. So despite herself she leaned deeper into Naruto's embrace wanting to take as much warmth as she could.
'This ain't half bad.'
Next day – Morning,
Tayuya felt good.
Somehow she managed to sleep like never before and it was cozy as hell not to mention warm. She snuggled deeper to the source of warmth and felt a small smile build on her face. She could lie here forever.
Well if not for a bright flash that shined through her eye lids. Tayuya's eyes snapped open and first thing she saw was Naruto's sleeping face, millimeters from hers. Her face instantly turned red and she was about to lash out at him when she heard giggles.
She turned her head to the side and saw Kakashi and Anko with the latter holding a camera. Also she was painfully aware that the rest of the group was watching too. She started to wriggle since Naruto was holding her quite tightly.
Sensing her movements, Naruto, while still asleep, pulled her closer hiding her head to his chest. Tayuya let out small squeal and blushed harder when the giggles intensified.
"SHITHEAD!" Tayuya finally exploded waking him up from sweet unconsciousness. Startled he jumped high dragging Tayuya along with him. But additional mass plus being in sleeping bag usually equals easy fall. And that happened.
But luckily for Naruto, Tayuya like a Chinese volunteer willingly cushioned his fall and eating dirt instead of him.
So now the group witnessed how the mass of tangled legs and arms packed in sleeping bag tried to wriggle out of said sleeping bag. Naruto finally managed to find a zipper and shoot out of the bag to the very opposite side of the camp watching a emerging Tayuya with wide fearful eyes. She glared darkly at him and spat some dirt and grass.
"I didn't mean to!" He begged but she was deaf to his pleas. She cracked her knuckles and started to advance at him. "Kami no! Shibuki! Direction to Taki, now!" Naruto shouted in despair grabbing his backpack. Shibuki pointed the right way and Naruto dashed there, "I'll go scout ahead!"
"Come back here and take it like a fucking man, shithead!" Tayuya roared and chased after him grabbing her flute.
Seeing the commotion, Anko too grabbed her belongings.
"Are you going to help Naruto?" Kakashi asked with an eye-smile.
"Hell no, I'm going to take more photos!" She chipped and dashed after them.
"Poor Naruto," he shook his head moving forward in slow manner. It always good to let hyperactive people vent their energy one way or another, "Ok guys let's go."
The rest of them moved chattering about the current occurrence and making bets on how long Naruto will manage to evade her.
But Sasuke's listened to that banter half-heartily. He let his mind wander around what happened yesterday. To tell the truth he was slightly jealous about the attention Naruto was getting – Especially from Tayuya. In Sasuke's opinion he and Anko matched each other perfectly. Not to mention she always had that disturbing look when she was looking at Naruto.
Tayuya on the other hand continued to impress him. She was strong and fast not to mention that a very sharp and cunning mind was hidden behind her foul mouth. While he hadn't had any doubts that he would defeat her she would still made him work for that victory.
And in the darker corner of his mind he knew that he liked her looks. Slightly tomboyish but he believed that she would fill in some time.
So that's why he envied Naruto that he could sleep with her. While the morning was far from perfect he saw that she was fairly comfortable in his arms.
'Maybe I should do something? Naruto is as dense as usual but even he will notice that she likes him,' he mused. He decided to leave this thought for later. And while he was at his possible love life his thoughts strayed off to his former constant annoyances problem, aka Sakura.
Since the meeting with the rest to celebrate Neji's promotion she became withdrawn and ceased to ask him for dates, instead she started to ask for tips on how to get stronger. At first he thought that it was some elaborate plot to get his attention but for the last two weeks she hadn't even once mentioned a date. He guessed that it had something to do with her stupid outburst when Naruto spilled his guts.
So she either she felt guilty about it and wanted to somehow compensate it with being useful to the team or she was scared of Naruto and wanted to protect herself. The second option seemed more likely in his mind. He caught her staring at Naruto's back with uncertainty like he would snap at a moment's notice. He partly understood her. The Kyuubi's chakra was anything but pleasant but then again he only used it in dire situations. So Sasuke's was fairly certain that he wouldn't do anything too strange out of blue or at least his standards.
And then his thoughts sailed to his last teammate.
To put it mildly if someone told him six months ago that Naruto would defeat him; he would've burst out laughing. But now their sparring score was exactly fifty: fifty. And the condition was for Sasuke to not use his bloodline. So without any support, their skills were equal. While he took great pride in his Sharingan it was slightly down putting that he could only win just because he was lucky to be born an Uchiha. That fact made him train twice as hard and literally spent most of his free time in his family library.
The other part he used to spend in his house alone. But in recent weeks he found himself hanging out with Naruto more often. His initial prediction that it would be a pain was incorrect. Despite himself he was beginning to relax in his presence and actually enjoy the time he spent with blonde. He was considering befriending him for real. He wouldn't lost anything and get a person he could trust. Not to mention powerful ally against Itachi, because even his brother couldn't stand against the Kyuubi.
Sasuke smirked; his brother wouldn't even know what hit him.
Taki – Waterfall,
When the rest of the group finally arrived at the majestic waterfall they saw the results of the wild chase. Naruto was ragged and bruised with a miserable look on his face while Tayuya was cut in various places and bruised too, but she was in much better condition that Naruto.
And Anko was laughing her ass off at the expense of two teens, skimming through dozens photos she had made.
"Oh Kami look that this one!" She shouted showing them the camera, the picture shoved the very moment Tayuya crashed into tree when she tackled the Naruto's clone. Her expression as her face contacted with the hard bark was priceless.
"Delete it!" She shouted.
"Make me, chibi," Anko flashed her a sly grin, "Besides that one is my favorite." She moved to another photo. This one showed Tayuya and Naruto sleeping in each other embrace with a small smiles of their faces. "It's so sweet; you truly know how to smile after all." Anko chuckled.
"S-Shut up! And delete it!" She yelled with a fierce blush.
"Come on Tayuya-chan that photo isn't that bad." Naruto stated giving her his foxy grin. "You look happy there."
Her blush just intensified.
"Aww you're making her blush," Anko nudged him. "Oh you're finally here," she said noticing the rest.
"Yes, you got a bit of advantage over us." Kakashi said, "So Shibuki-san we're here."
"I'm most grateful for your assistance," he said giving Kakashi a shallow bow.
"Ok so it's time for us to go back," he announced.
"It's getting rather late, surely you can stay one night here." Shibuki said. "It would be my honor to host you at my own home."
Kakashi felt that he should immediately politely decline, and walk away as fast as he could. But on the other hand what can happen in one night?
He looked at the rest of his team and saw that they looked at him with demand.
"The honor would be mine," he replied politely.
"Perfect now come, you surely want to wash yourself as soon as possible," he said with smile and led them to the secret entry to the village unaware of the two pairs of eyes watching their back.
"That will complicate the matter," Sasori stated.
"Why the hell are Konoha nin are here! Un!" Deidara growled, "That's damn Hatake Kakashi over there."
"Irrelevant, we will still carry the mission, but now the eventual fight will be more tasking. Orochimaru's former appearance Anko Miratashi is with him too," the mechanism within his body clicked, "She would make a nice puppet."
"You and your rivalry." Deidara shook his head.
"And what about you and Itachi?" Sasori growled back.
"Shut up… hey Sasori-danna correct me if I'm wrong but isn't that his little brother?" Deidara pointed at the raven haired boy.
"Yes he is… don't even plan on attacking him… but the blonde one, Uzumaki Naruto, is a container of Kyuubi. We might be able to catch two jinchūriki in one move." Again the metallic click emitted from his body. "We will follow the original plan and obtain Nanabi jinchuriki and if the opportunity arises we'll take the Kyuubi's too."
"I like that plan danna," he grinned. "When do we go in?!"
"After the noon shift."
Takigakure – Shibuki's Mansion,
Taki's leader mansion was fairly impressive, while nowhere near the Hokage's one it was still big compared to the rest of the buildings. Like everything here it was purely made of brown colored wood. It was one of the few buildings that had a second floor. The mansion was made from the plan of an rectangle with an oblique roof and few chimneys out of it. The building was placed on the small increase so it had a great look on the village or at least the part that wasn't obscured by probably the words biggest tree. It even dwarfed the ones in the forest of death by a large margin. The tree was surrounded by a lake, on which shores the village was built.
After the group refreshed themselves, they walked down to the dinner room where the table was already filled with all kinds of food. The room itself was quite sparsely furnished. Except for the tables, chairs, and cabinets for dishes it was mostly empty, similarly to the whole mansion. Shibuki explained that he donated the useless stuff to the new ninja training program. Not to mention that in first days of his rule he seriously cut the expenses on the administration pissing Taki's elites off, but nevertheless gaining popularity among the people.
So currently they sat at the table stuffing their faces with food. Shibuki sat at the head of the table with Naruto on his right and Kakashi on his left. To the left of Naruto sat Tayuya and Anko and to the right of Kakashi, Sasuke, and Sakura.
"So Shibuki how's the whole ruling the village?" Naruto asked munching on a chicken leg.
"Want to get some info before you become Hokage eh," he smirked. "Well to tell the truth it's a nightmare," he told Naruto making his eyes go wide.
"Never ending rivers of petitions and mountains of paper work not to mention every single person on the council think that he knows better than you… after I cut their allowance they've been a pain in my ass almost constantly. Hell every council meeting makes the battle with Suien like a walk in the park."
"And you're still complaining Shibuki-sama?"
A voice sounded from behind. The group turned their attention to the doors and saw a young, quite tall, and slim kunoichi. She had short light brown hair, blue earrings, red lipstick, and a white hair band over her head, holding the hair out of the way from her eyes. She wore a pink tube top with an open, light green shirt, navy blue pants, and ninja sandals. She wore her shuriken holster on her right leg.
"Hey I think that I've seen her from somewhere?" Naruto rubbed his chin.
"Shibuki-san what is SHE doing here?" Sasuke asked narrowing his eyes, "She's one of Suinen goons."
"Hisame agreed to help training the new generations in exchange for her life," he replied calmly. The former 'bad' Kunoichi walked to him and wrapped her arms around his neck.
"And I've become a slave to oh so great leader fulfilling his every desire," he said making him choke on his tea.
"Hisame," he uttered, "Stop lying to them."
"Forgive me master! Please punish me for my blunder!" She exclaimed.
"Damn she really got a personality change," Naruto stated looking at the bickering pair. "I recall that she was quite the bitch then." As soon as the world left his mouth he slapped his hand to his mouth.
Hisame turned from Shibuki and glared at him.
"Oh isn't that this little brat who tried to play hero," she growled pissed by the insult. "You think that you can offend me as you like?!"
"Ha stop bitching around loser!" Tayuya exclaimed with a proud grin, "And nice going Shithead! You're finally learning!"
"Huh? Want to say it to my face?" Hisame glared at Tayuya.
"You want to try me bitch?" Tayuya slowly stood, "I'll rip you apart!"
"Bring it slut!" Hisame closed the gap between them.
"Tayuya/Hisame!" Shibuki and Naruto exclaimed at the same time, breaking their standoff.
"They're my guest and you will respect them," Shibuki said sternly glaring at Hisame. The woman held his stare for a few seconds and the lowered her eyes.
"My apologies," she bowed.
"Hmph, you –!" Tayuya started.
"Tayuya, stop it! We're guest here and Shibuki is the village leader so show some respect," Naruto said mirroring Shibuki's stare. Tayuya opened and closed her mouth few times staring dumbly at Naruto. He never used such a tone with her… except when she asked him why he forgave her. Seeing that he was completely serious she decided that she will explain why he won't use it at her again later.
Wordlessly she sat and stared at her dish.
The rest was baffled by what just happened for two reasons.
Firstly, Shibuki a guy who was startled by a bird just ordered his former enemy to stand down with a steel passion rarely seen in his eyes. Secondly, Naruto just talked down Tayuya, probably the most hard-headed person besides himself.
Awkward silence fell on the group as they returned to eating their meal. After they ate they returned to their rooms to rest for the night. Shibuki placed them in two of his guest rooms giving one to the males and other to the females.
Sasuke and Kakashi decided to go to rest while Naruto despite running the last few miles went to wander around the city.
In the other room Sakura was in her bed, reading a book while Tayuya fumed at her treatment by Naruto and was planning to get back at him.
"Just chill down, little hellfire," Anko said from her bed.
"Like hell I'll chill down! How dare he fucking speak to me like that! I'll rip him a new one," she exclaimed.
"Naru-chan was right chiding you," Anko said seriously, "While Naruto can have a certain leeway with him – Shibuki is HIS friend not yours and you can't use that kind of language in the presence of a village leader."
"Why the fuck you are so serious?!" Tayuya snapped defensively.
"Because you can cause a scandal if you behave like that in the presence of a Kage or a Daymio. Think to who you speak because those that can hold a grudge for a really long time… always make you pay for it. Tell me, did you spike like that to Orochimaru?" Anko said making Tayuya flinch, "Guessed so, what I'm trying to tell you that in certain situations you have to behave like a true Kunoichi not some unmannered brat. So think about it because Orochimaru is not the only one that would kill you for the slightest disrespect."
Tayuya hung her head. She couldn't argue with that logic.
"But that bitch was coming at him," she mumbled.
"I know, but Naruto is a big boy and I'm sure that he can take care of himself, but knowing him and his bleeding heart he will come to apologize to you probably tomorrow." Anko winked at her, then her attention moved to Sakura. "Hey pinky what are you reading?"
"A book about herbs and medicals," she replied turning the page. "I will try to apply to become a med-nin."
"Oh? That's rare in these times." Anko commented, "Correct me if I'm wrong, but haven't you used to be Naru-chan's crush?"
Sakura's cheeks colored slightly when she nodded.
"Then why you haven't spoken a word to him? Even Duckass Princess spoke with him and he tried to kill him," she asked. Tayuya glared and Sakura noticed that too.
"W-well no reason, we just don't have anything to speak about," she shuttered.
"I work in I&T department and I have quite good bullshit detector so now tell me the truth." Anko demanded. Sakura mumbled something incoherent blushing red. "I hadn't caught that."
"I… I'm afraid," she shuttered. "I'm afraid of him."
"Wha? You're shitting me. You're afraid of Shithead?" Tayuya uttered unable to precede that thought.
"You're not from Konoha so you wouldn't understand," Sakura said. "The Kyuubi almost destroyed our village! Because of him I don't have grandparents! And you never felt his chakra like I did! You heard what Ranmaru said about it… it's completely true." Sakura felt a shiver go down her spine, "Just how can you act so carefree around him? Aren't you afraid that he will snap at you?"
The silence was her answer as the other females were looking at her with contemplation.
"Well it is damn Shithead after all." Tayuya was first to answer. "Why the fuck should I be afraid of him? The damn seal kept everybody safe from over fourteen years and was made by the guy who was supposed to be the best seal master at that time so fuck no I'm not afraid of him," she crossed her arms.
"Same here, my sweet Naru-chan doesn't scare me in a bit!" Anko chipped.
"So you can overlook that he has a demon inside of him like that?" Sakura asked dumbfounded.
"He's a human just like the rest of us, you better remember that." Anko said deadly serious, "He's carrying the burden none of us could even imagine and we all have to thank Kami that he hadn't come out like that Gaara kid."
"Besides you can at least act like he's on team," Tayuya added. "Hadn't you noticed that every time you look at him like a monster you break his fucking heart?" She sighed, "Listen pinky I know we hate each other but…" she flinched uncomfortably, "P-please at the fucking least don't act around him like he was going to murder you at any time."
"I… I try… but I don't want to be afraid of him… how can I do that?" She asked with hints of despair.
"Get strong, so you can hold your own in fight, "Anko said simply, "There's nothing wrong with being afraid. It's what keeps you alive, but you can't let that fear petrify you. Do you understand it?"
"I… I don't know… maybe." Sakura replied with hesitation.
"Good answer kid. Sleep on it and try to make up with Naru-chan," Anko said with a yawn, "Ok ladies sleep time!"
Takigaure – City,
Naruto walked through the bustling streets of Taki. Despite being late the city was still active. To his utter surprise many people recognized him and thanked him for his efforts. It was probably his first time when no one looked at him with prejudice and hate, but with respect and even adoration.
'What a nice place. I wish Konoha would be more like this,' he let himself dream. Walking aimlessly through the village he noticed one thing. On almost every shop or stand white signs with a beetle with crossed with red X were hung. 'Huh? They must really hate bugs?" Naruto mussed. As on cue he heard a commotion by the one of the shops. Curious he walked closer.
What he hadn't expected was a painfully similar scene.
"Get out of here you demon!" A shop owner shouted, pushing a girl out of the shop.
The girl wore an orange clip in her short, spiky mint green hair that matched her eye color, which was also orange. Her ninja outfit consisted of a short sleeveless white midriff shirt with fishnet armor underneath, long white armlets, and fishnet shorts with a short white apron skirt over it. Her forehead protector was worn on her right arm.
"You let me shop here yesterday," she stated, standing from the ground.
"And I've been a fool to do that! Now the people don't want to shop here!" He growled, "It's all your fault you demon! Get the hell out of here!"
Supportive shouts came from the crowd where Naruto was standing. The girl looked through the crowd and her eyes made contact with Naruto's. For a moment they widened but then she broke the contact and jumped on the roof running away.
Naruto watched the scene numbly.
'It can't be true…' He noticed that people noticed him and instantly their hateful expressions morphed to the cheerful ones.
"Who was she?" Naruto asked when they finally stopped thanking him.
"No one important Naruto-sama," a woman said. "You don't have to bother with the likes of her."
"But I really want to know," he pressed trying to calm his emotions down.
"Well since you saved us all I think you deserve to know," another man said. "But stay away from it, that is the Nanabi demon, the scorn of Taki."
Naruto felt this whole body went cold. He just witnessed another Jinchūriki being tormented.
"I don't know why our leader let her live here. We should kick her out of Taki," another man said gaining a choir of approvals. "But it's not your problem Naruto-sama… huh?" The crowd was so focused at the talking men that they hadn't noticed that Naruto have taken off at high speed to the direction of where Taki's Jinchūriki went.
He looked frantically for her; he couldn't just let it go. She was like him and while he basked in glory she suffered from the very same people.
'Just what did you expected kid. All of us are treated that way, it's just a common human hypocrisy, you think that they would worship you if they knew that you are like her,' Kyuubi let a bitter laugh, 'They will always hate you, no matter what you do. So do yourself a favor and stop hoping.'
'I refuse to accept it baka-fox! Maybe you lost your hope but I didn't and I will fight for a better world not just for me, but for all people and all the Jinchūriki… or die trying,' he added quietly.
'You're a fool, a blind fool, even with Rinnegan you can't take whole world on,' The Kyuubi growled irritated by his host idiocy.
'I won't be alone. I have my friends with me.' Naruto replied with a grin as he saw the small silhouette on the lake's surface. With a burst on chakra, he sped up, crossing the distance and followed her stealthy. The girl ran up to the tree and then up, and after ten minutes of following Naruto saw her destination.
It was a small shack made of possibly everything including tree branches as a roof. It was in miserable state and was barely holding.
Naruto clenches his fist in anger. How the hell did Shibuki allowed for something like that to happen. He would need to have a serious talk with him. He walked to the piece of wood that acted as a door and carefully knocked, so he wouldn't damage it.
"Go away Shibuki! I don't want to talk," a voice came from behind the doors.
'Ok, points for Shibuki for actually visiting her,' Naruto thought. "I'm not Shibuki," instantly he heard the sound of rustling from behind the doors.
The doors opened slightly and he could see half of a girls face. Suddenly Naruto was blinded by the flashlight. True it was dark and she probably couldn't see his face but it wasn't pleasant.
"Who are…? Oh Kami! I'm so sorry Naruto-sama!" She burst out of her shack and kneeled shocking Naruto, "I didn't mean to be rude!"
"Whoa! Calm down… errr," Naruto hesitated.
"Fu," she introduced herself, "Just Fu."
"Fu-chan, I'm not angry or anything… and its just Naruto no need for that -sama suffix," he said. In the dark he couldn't see the blush on her face when he called her – chan.
"O-ok Naruto-sa… Naruto," Fu stood from the ground and played with her fingers and started to mumble something very fast.
"Slow down a bit Fu-chan! I don't understand at thing" Naruto said gently trying to calm the girl down.
"Sorry it's just that I'm so excited," she gave him nervous smile. "Say can you… givemeyourautographplease!" Fu shot in light speed.
"Huh?" Naruto went through her words again, "Ah sure!"
Fu smiled brightly and went back to her shack took an old note book and a pencil form there. Naruto took it and smirked. Even if she couldn't see her face clearly he could feel the anticipation radiating off her.
"Hmm let's see… for my number one fan, Fu-chan truly yours, Naruto Uzumaki future Hokage of Konoha," he said aloud writing. Fu almost squealed in delight! She couldn't believe that her personal hero was with her and said that she was his number one fan.
"Oh thank you! Thank you!" Fu chanted and hugged him. Reflecting on what she had done, she quickly jumped back, "Oh I'm so sorry I get over excited sometimes!"
"Fu-chan its ok," he again said with chuckle – she was way too similar to him. "So mind telling me why do you think so much of me?"
"You really don't know?! You're a hero of Taki! Everyone loves and respects you! You're like my role model," she exclaimed.
Loves and respects you, her words sounded off in his head. How many times he wished that the people of Konoha would do something like that. It seems that Taki wasn't as great as it seemed to be and was hell to Fu just like Konoha used to be for Naruto. Only thanks to the darkness she hadn't seen the pain on his face.
"Naruto? Are you ok? I hadn't offended you right," she asked with worry.
"No! Of course not! So did you see my fight with Suien," he asked wanting to change the subject.
"I did! I saw it from up here! It was so cool especially when you punched him over the waterfall at the very end!" The girl almost shouted.
"So you have seen everything and from what I saw you're a Ninja of this village… and you hadn't come to help your people," he asked slightly baffled.
"I couldn't care less of what happens to those guys below," she replied and Naruto was certain that she was smiling.
"Whaa? But Fu-chan! This is your village! How can you not care about it?" Naruto so shocked. Even at his worst, Naruto wouldn't let someone destroy Konoha and kill its inhabitants.
"Sorry Naruto, but you saw is how they treat me… and none of it is my fault," she snapped and leaned on the great tree. "I guess since you're even bothering to talk to me you don't know what I am? I will tell you but at the least spare me any insults and just go away." Fu said with sadness, "I'm a –!"
"Jinchūriki of Nanabi, big deal," he told her, shutting her up. Fu looked at him with a mouth agape. No one except maybe Shibuk had said that so casually.
"B-b-but how can you be so laid back with this? Don't you think that I'm a demon?" Fu asked with haste, 'Maybe someone will finally understand me?' she dared to hope.
'Don't worry Fu-chan, that boy will understand you better than anyone else.'Chōmei told her.
'But, how –?' Fu hadn't even managed to think her thoughts freely before.
"Nope!" Naruto replied and gave her a big grin. "So let me introduce myself… I'm Uzumaki Naruto, the future Hokage of Konoha and the Jinchūriki of 'The Kyuubi no Yoko!' It's a pleasure to meet ya!"
Ok it's done! I hope you liked it! As for the chapter you saw the poll results and while option for my idea managed to win due to the minimal difference in votes I won't change Nagato's Asura path. Since we have basiaclly seen only one rinnegan till now I assume that it's similar to Sharingan and while it is similar in some matters it also differs in anothers. So yeah Naruto will have expanded control over chakra rods.
Also I would like to thank all who went and singed ANTI-SOPA petition! let them know that we won't stand for somehting like that!
Also there is one more petition going to ban all SOPA-RIP OFF acts and it's also on my profile so go there and sing it too, just in case.
Ok that's all for now folks till next time!
Guest1: sorry about that but here you go.
pain17ificationX2: thanks and well it will create interesting conflict in future.
Guile sbfk: thanks.
Tyber Zahn: Glad to hear it and you probably guessed by now.
Guest2: Don't worry I will
jh831: well like I said I want to keep Naruto as cannon as possible and in first chapters he was way too trusting so well…
InflatedChimp: thanks and no it's just them for now, and well I'm happy that you like my other stories,
Warrof: then my work is done
Lancelot Seiten 1: Well you will know her ultimate fate in next chapter.
MechanicalCat: Fajnie wiedzieć I mam nadzieję że spodobało ci się co zrobiłem z mocą Naruto.
vic boss: Well that's probably the last chapter when she was bashed, but don't worry there are still plenty people to hate.
SSJ3 Kyuubi Gohan: No it's not look and Edo Nagato fight with Naruto and Bee, it would suit ghost on shell better than Naruto.
Tronop04: Happy to know it
Windninja1000: I try my best