New Devil of The Gremory House

Life 63: Reminisce

Hello again everyone! I finished with my May detox and I'm back for more!

You all probably hate that I left it off on a cliffhanger, and don't want me to do that anymore.

But some wishes never go answered.

Anyway, enjoy!

||||||||Devil||||||||

"D-Dad?!"

Minato seemed almost as surprised to hear Naruto call him that as the younger blond was seeing his father again within this mindscape, "I…didn't think you knew."

"How is this possible?" Kurama mumbled from behind the bars, staring at the form of the Fourth Hokage again despite their circumstances and location, "I-I mean this shouldn't be-"

"It's a bit noisy here." Minato reached over and grabbed Naruto's shoulder, "How about we go somewhere where we can talk alone."

"Wa-"

The space around them changed and Naruto found himself somewhere else with his father. The shock of the moment had subsided enough that he realized they had left Kurama behind, "O-Oh, wait, Kurama should have been present for this."

"Now that we're here, I guess we can talk. You're right, Naruto, I am your father. And I – Kurama?" Minato registered what his son said, "Who's Kurama?"

"The fox is Kurama. That's his name."

"H-How do you know his name? I thought his name was just nine-tailed fox?"

"It's not." A faint snicker came out of Naruto as he shook his head, "I-I can't believe this is happening. It…" His eyes started to water, "This can't be real."

"It is. This is real." As his son caught his breath and dried his eyes, Minato held his shoulder and looked down at him soberly, "How old are you now, Naruto?"

"19."

"It's already been 19 years since – 19?!" Minato reeled back in shock, looking Naruto over in confusion, "B-But you look like a child? D-Did your growth stunt? Did something happen?"

"It's…hard to explain."

"O-Okay." Although still confused, Minato nodded and seemed to accept the answer. He looked down at his son sadly and spoke, "Naruto, I need to tell you something while we have a chance to speak. It's about the night I sealed the nine-tailed fox-"

"Kurama."

"Right, Kurama, into your body. A man was there-"

"I know."

"No, please let me-"

"Dad," Naruto spoke firmly, making Minato pause as his son looked up at him with a complicated expression. A mix of resignation, sadness, longing, understanding, and so much more. An expression that never should have shown up on the face of a child no more than 12 years old, "I know."

"How?" Minato asked, "How do you-"

"It'll take some explaining but let's not worry about that. I-I don't want this moment to just be us worrying about fighting." Naruto's eyes welled up and he quickly wiped them dry, "I just want to talk to you."

||||||||Devil||||||||

"We should try some animated movies next." Azazel offered as he got up from his seat and stretched. He looked down at his watch and saw it still ticking away, "You seem to be on a good track. At this rate, without tiring you'll probably pass 6 hours or…" He noticed Naruto hadn't responded to him so he turned and looked at the young blond on the couch, "Naruto?"

The whiskered boy had gone silent, eyes closed as he seemed to fall into a deep trance while they were watching movies.

The former Governor-General sat back down while staring at the young blond. He reached over and snapped his fingers by Naruto's ear, waiting for a reflex or reaction but getting nothing in return. Azazel pulled his legs in and crossed them while observing the blond boy closely, "Interesting."

||||||||Devil||||||||

Even though Minato had brought Naruto into this blank space to talk, it wasn't long before the Fourth Hokage found himself listening as Naruto tried to summarize and contextualize everything that was happening. Needless to say, the genius and prodigy of the Hidden Leaf Village was left stumped by what his son had said.

"Not Madara…but Obito?"

"Yeah, that's right." Naruto nodded, "And your soul showed up too. Along with Grampa Third and the other two Hokages."

"I guess someone managed to retrieve my soul from the Shinigami." Minato sighed, "What happened after that?"

"You showed up on the battlefield and helped us fight back against Obito, the real Madara, and the Ten-Tails. You and the others changed the tide of battle in our favor. We probably would have all died if you didn't step in to help us when you did."

"So…" Minato rubbed his head, trying to piece together and comprehend everything that he'd been told. With a nod, he soldiered through, "What happened to me?"

"The fighting ended and I think you passed on. As did the other Hokages brought back to life. I think…I think you went off to find Mom."

Minato sat in silence and stared at his son in surprise. The blond ninja rolled his head back, staring up at the bright expanse of the mind space before a faint chuckle slipped out. His head slowly rolled forward, resting in his hands as he let out a deep sigh. One Naruto could tell was filled with a mix of different feelings. His father took a breath, "I sealed myself and the Kyu- Kurama's chakra to save the village. I knew I was going to die because of it, but I trusted that you would be able to save the village where I couldn't. I guess I'm just glad to know that even after I was gone, you were able to do it. And even though I resigned myself to it…I'm glad I might be able to see Kushina in the afterlife."

Naruto grinned, "Me too. I'm glad you two are together there at least."

"Still…I wish we could have been here for you now."

"Me too."

Minato looked at Naruto forlornly before he suddenly felt something. He looked down at his hands and let out a heavy sigh, "Naruto…I think my time is ending."

Naruto's eyes widened in surprise. Already? But it hadn't been that long. They'd only gotten to talk a little bit. How long was it before? H-He couldn't remember – the battle with Pain and Nagato taking precedence over connecting and talking with his father.

He knew this wasn't going to be a permanent opportunity…but he'd hoped they could spend their limited time doing something more than recap.

But Naruto swallowed the bitter pill, putting on a smile so as not to worry his father, "It's alright Dad, I knew this was going to happen."

"I'm sorry I couldn't stay longer."

"It's okay."

It wasn't fair.

Minato just looked down at Naruto sadly before reaching over to ruffle his hair. As he gently rubbed his son's head, the imprint of his father smiled down at him warmly, "Naruto, I can tell that there's a lot more going on that we couldn't talk about. I'm sorry." He tried not to show it on his face but Naruto found it nearly impossible to keep his disappointment from showing, "I know things might not have gone as we planned…but promise me you'll stay safe. And happy. And make sure you enjoy your life to the fullest."

"I will, Dad." Naruto nodded solemnly, "I have people around me who are making sure that's never not an option."

"I'm glad to hear that." Minato grinned widely, "I'm so proud of you, son. Don't ever forget that."

A few moments later, Minato's body started to glow with light before he faded away from the mind space they shared. And soon it was just Naruto left floating inside it alone.

Younger in body. Older in mind. And emotionally devastated after the sudden reunion and loss of his father again after so many years.

Despite his best efforts his eyes started to water uncontrollably. He quickly tried to dry them and let out a heavy sigh after he did.

"Please don't make me wait. Please don't make me look around." He pleaded to the space around him, "I wasn't ready for this. I didn't think this could happen. And I'm not sure if I'm prepared for this. So please just come out…please."

A pair of arms gently wrapped around his neck from behind, and Naruto found himself engulfed in a warm embrace.

"You knew I was coming?"

"Yep." He mumbled as he turned in her embrace and hugged her as tightly as he could, "And I'm so glad you are."

"I'm not quite sure what is happening…but I don't care." Kushina said softly as she rubbed his spiky hair, "It's nice to finally meet you, Naruto."

"It's good to see you too, Mom."

||||||||Devil||||||||

Rias let out a soft moan as she dried her hair while making her way down the hallway. Now dressed in her PJs she yawned, "Oh, that's refreshing. Boys," She called out as she walked into the media room, "I've got your popcorn right here. It's not heated but I have a feeling between the two of you, you can - NARUTO!" Rias panicked when she noticed the layer of orange chakra engulfing his entire body while his eyes were shut as if he were sleeping. But Rias couldn't help but worry, looking at him in panic and hesitating to touch him before looking at Azazel, "What happened?!"

"I'm not sure." Azazel shrugged, taking the strange phenomenon a lot more calmly and analytically than Rias did in her panic. The Fallen Angel remained seated, staring at the young blond quizzically, "I don't think he's hurt, but he's not responding whenever I talk."

"Naruto!" Rias knelt by the couch and looked at him worriedly, "Naruto, please answer me! What's wrong?"

"Rias?"

"Ah!" Azazel looked over at her after her sudden startled reaction. After Rias realized what the voice in her head was she blinked in surprise, "K-Kurama?"

"Yes, it's me."

"O-Oh wow." Even though she had been freaked out a moment ago, Rias was amazed to be experiencing communication and connection with her Bijū partner like this. Was this what the others felt too? Like a second voice in her mind speaking to her! She'd have to test it so she wasn't talking out loud when-

"Rias! Focus!"

"Right!" She snapped back to attention and looked down at Naruto, "Kurama, do you know what is happening to Naruto? This is your chakra around him, right?"

"It is. He dipped into his subconscious with me while he was waiting for his timer to go off and tried to remove the seal on my cage. When he did some of my chakra spilled out and started to manifest around him."

"Can you make it stop?"

"I could if Naruto could wake up and force it back down. But at the moment he's preoccupied."

"Preoccupied? What could he possibly be preoccupied with?!"

"Well…he's meeting his parents again."

"And?" Azazel asked, not privy to Kurama's side of the conversation while Rias had been suddenly stunned silent, "What did he say?"

Rias didn't respond. She continued to simply watch her boyfriend in silence before leaning down by his face. It was almost impossible to notice through the layer of chakra surrounding his body…

But tears were building up in the corners of his eyes and failing to fall out.

||||||||Devil||||||||

After their strong embrace, Kushina sat down with Naruto and started talking again. She had already been made partly aware of what he discussed with Minato so there was no need for a recap on that stuff. Instead, they focused on talking about other things…

"So now I've upgraded on their social ladder or something, and I'm a Middle-Class Devil now," Naruto explained to his mother, a smidge of pride in his voice at being able to brag to his mother about his recent achievement. The look of blatant confusion on Kushina's face however made him realize that he might have not explained it very well, "Uh, sorry if this is going over your head too much. I know that's a lot to take in-"

"You have three girlfriends?"

"I'm a little worried that's your immediate takeaway."

"Don't try to deflect from my question, young man!" A spike of fear caused Naruto's body to flinch unconsciously when Kushina raised her voice and sternly glared at him. The only time he had gotten to interact with her was when he was trying to take Kurama's power for himself, so outside of her initial angry response to him assuming she was an illusion meant to trick him, he hadn't experienced Kushina's strict parental style. The redhead continued to glower at him, "Now I know I don't exactly have a right to say how you were raised, but I expected more of you than being a womanizer."

"I'm not a womanizer!"

"The one thing I didn't want to happen was you taking after Jiraiya-sensei, but now…" Kushina dramatically covered her mouth as tears brimmed in her eyes, "To think you became like this."

"I'm nothing like Ero-Sennin – I mean Jiraiya-sensei! Mom!" He couldn't believe how flustered he'd become while trying to talk to her, "I'm not cheating on them. They all know each other. We're still trying to figure out how the relationship can work but," He blushed and scratched his head, "They all love me, and I love them too."

Even though a moment ago she was startled by his relationship status, she could see in his expression that he wasn't just lying to save his ass. A resigned sigh slipped out of her mouth before she turned back toward him, "I know there were some polyamorous relationships back in ancient times but those aren't practiced much now in Konoha. Now you have to settle for a legal wife and a bunch of mistresses." The two Uzumakis shared a laugh at her cheeky joke before she narrowed her eyes on her son, "And you promise me you aren't leading them on?"

"I promise. If anything I'm wrapped around their fingers, not mine." After a moment Naruto blinked robotically before hanging his head, "I can't believe I'm realizing that and not even that mad about it."

"Heh," She chuckled, "I guess you wouldn't realize something like that without being in love. I would have loved to have met these girls."

"Oh god, Mom, you would get along with them so well! All of my friends!" He said with the giddiness of a child, "Not just back in our world but in this one too! All of them are crazy! Issei and Kiba and Gasper are fun to hang around with. Akeno's a pain in the ass but she's still pretty great. Rossweisse is a pretty amazing teacher when she's not a total mess. Irina's a bubble of joy and Asia's so sweet - plus she's posing as my little sister-"

"I HAVE A DAUGHTER?!"

"Koneko is the cutest girl in the world and Xenovia is as blunt as a bat. And Rias…"

"Naruto?"

"I just…" He paused, his mounting excitement slowly giving way to resigned disappointment. Being able to describe his friends and loved ones to his parents was an act he never thought he would be able to do. But only in the process did he realize…it would never compare to being able to introduce them all to each other. With a shake of his head, he closed his eyes, "I wish you could meet them, Mom. You would have loved each other."

Kushina gently held his shoulder and pulled him in, holding his head to her neck and gently kissing his hair, "If they love you, then I'm sure they're perfect."

The timer between them continued to tick away, and they had so much more to talk about before it was over.

||||||||Devil||||||||

Azazel and Rias watched Naruto's trance-like state in relative silence, with Azazel continuing to examine him while the redhead Devil paced anxiously.

Time seemed to pass even slower while they waited and watched. After what felt like hours but was probably closer to 30 minutes, she finally noticed a twitch on Naruto's face which was the first noticeable change since she started watching him. A moment later, as the chakra cloak receded, they saw him slowly stir awake before opening his eyes again. When he did he looked up at them and saw the concern on Rias' face after waiting for an answer all this time.

"I'm sorry-"

"Shh," Rias sat by his side on the couch and pulled him in for a hug. He didn't immediately respond but slowly raised his arms to embrace her back, too emotionally drained by his unexpected encounter to respond properly. She rubbed his back, "Just take your time."

Azazel watched the young couple quietly before looking down at the stopwatch in his hand. He'd almost forgotten this was all an exercise to test how long his Balance Breaker would work. But now…

An idea started shaping in the Fallen Angel's head.

||||||||Devil||||||||

When Naruto started to wake up, he let out a content yawn and then smacked his lips together. He felt a noticeable feeling in his sides and looked down at his chest.

Koneko had curled up into his side, wearing an oversized T-shirt with her ears and tail cozily flattened around her body. On the other side, a half-naked Rias rested her head on his bicep and let out gentle breaths as she slept away. And it was only after a moment did he realize a pair of feet were strewn across his stomach, Xenovia snoring like a baby at an angle near the foot of the bed with her shirt rolled up over one of her breasts.

It was a strange norm to be waking up to, but Naruto had found himself treasuring this scene time and time again recently. He closed his eyes and enjoyed the gentle sounds his lovers made as they slept away.

His Sacred Gear felt like a lump of burning lead on his arm.

||||||||Devil||||||||

While the others gathered around the table for breakfast, Naruto sensed something down the hall and made his way over. When he entered the room it was to see Kurama in his human form talking to Azazel while Kuroka lazily lounged on the couch by the side. He looked around, "Uh, what is going on?"

"Hey," Kurama greeted him with a nod, "I'm working out some details with Azazel before I head out."

"Yeah, this seems doable." Azazel nodded, smacking his notepad and pocketing it before looking at the Bijū, "Just call that number I gave you in case you need any extra funds and you should be set."

"Okay…" Naruto looked to the odd cat out, "And what about you?"

Kuroka blinked, "What about me?"

"Aren't you a part of this conversation?"

"Nope," She shook her head, "I was just vegging out on the couch when they stopped by." She picked at the empty bag of chips on her stomach as if it would magically produce more before she threw it away, "Wasn't planning on doing much, nya."

He wasn't sure why that was so disappointing but somehow it still was. But after he shook his head he noticed Kuroka's gaze curiously wander over him for a moment, "What are you doing?"

"What?"

"Why are you looking at me?"

"I am?"

"Yes! You've been doing it for days now! Rias noticed it too! Every time we pass by you give us the stink eye, or you're sizing us up or something!"

"I am?"

"YES!"

"Hadn't noticed." Kuroka shrugged and lied so naturally. Before Naruto could chide and chew her out though, she pulled on the top of her kimono and made him snap his mouth shut, "Now if you'll excuse me, I got some crisp crumbs in my cleavage and I need to lick them out. Unless you want to watch me tongue around my tits, nya?"

"…"

"You're still watching so should I get start-"

"What are you two talking about?!" He immediately snapped back to Azazel and Kurama before she could finish her thought. He ignored her devious giggle behind him and the looks of amusement and derision on Azazel and Kurama's faces respectively, "You were talking about something important, right?"

Kurama rolled his eyes but decided to go along with Naruto's tangent, "Yeah, I'm going ahead with my plan to travel Japan." He picked up a duffel bag and a backpack he had put to the side, "It'll be a good chance to stretch my legs and travel around the country without having to worry too much about crushing villages or being spotted."

"I have a team going with him to make sure he doesn't get into any trouble." Azazel assured Naruto, "But this is good. The Bijū are starting to take steps to make their own lives. Chōmei is exploring the Underworld…"

||||||||Devil||||||||

"AHAHAHAHA!" Chōmei cheered with delight as they dove through the skies of the Underworld before their wings sprouted from their back again. After the rush, they looked over with a giddy smile, "Hey, wanna race to see who makes it to that mountain range first?"

"I'm not as spry as I used to be," Tannin announced through the rushing wind between them, "But if it's a race I'm not about to lose!"

"AWESOME! I'M FEELING LUCKY!"

||||||||Devil||||||||

"Gokū is settled down nicely in the Phenex region. Although Ravel has had to recruit some help from her family in trying to convince the stubborn ape."

||||||||Devil||||||||

"But your little sister doesn't exactly strike me as a fighter. So to what end would it even benefit her to have my power, let alone benefit me?"

"If you joined with Ravel, you'd be making an ally of the Phenex family forever." Riser rationalized while floating by the four-tailed beast's giant head, "And we're immortal so forever isn't hyperbole."

Riser's peerage watched the peculiar sight of their [King] conversing with the giant Bijū so casually. There was never a dull day being part of the Phenex household.

||||||||Devil||||||||

"Matatabi is celebrating finally being able to own a house in that village she's staying in."

||||||||Devil||||||||

"Mata-San, are you sure you're okay with this couch? It's an old one and you might like something better in your new house."

"No! It's fine! Please, if you can spare it."

"Mata-chan, I have this set of lamps. They didn't go with my living room so I put them away."

"Oh, yes, please! I'll take those!"

The two-tailed cat was more than happy to accept the gifts and hand-me-downs from her neighbors to fill her house. It left her living room looking like a hodgepodge and mixing pot of several different styles and themes.

But the smile on her face couldn't be wider.

||||||||Devil||||||||

"Kokuō's enjoying being able to run around the Gremory territory without any restrictions."

||||||||Devil||||||||

As the wind rushed over his face Kokuō couldn't describe how wonderful it felt to run unabated like this. Back in the ninja world, it had been years since he could run like this without being chased or hounded by people who wanted to capture him. Zeoticus and Venelana made it clear that he couldn't leave the premises of the Gremory territory, in fear that another family would see what he could do and snatch him up. But their territory was still massive with more than enough room for Kokuō to run around without worry.

But it was time for him to call it done for the day.

Kokuō took a turn and rushed in the direction he recognized the village as being. As he drew closer and closer his body continued to shrink and shrink until he emerged from the forest in his human form.

"Oh, hi Kokuō-San!"

He waved and greeted the kind villagers who had come to expect him when visiting the village. He made his way towards one house in particular and knocked on the door, "Matatabi, I'm here. What-"

"Kokuō!" The door snapped open and the mixed-eyed Bijū greeted him with an emphatic smile, "Come in! Come in! Check out my house! My new digs – as Kitten told me to say." She bounced around uncontrollably and dove back in as Kokuō closed the door behind him. He found her lying face down on the couch with a content moan, "This is the best!"

"I think some of the other facilities we've been in had better furniture than this."

"I know!" She turned in her spot and grinned, "But this one is mine!"

"Heh," He chuckled and looked around, "I can see the appeal."

||||||||Devil||||||||

"And Isobu…much of the same."

||||||||Devil||||||||

The giant three-tailed turtle slept at the bottom of the ocean off the coast of a Scandinavian country. And a few hundred meters away slept the long serpentine body of Migardsormr.

That's it. They just slept. Not much else to report here.

||||||||Devil||||||||

"Shukaku came here today as well, but he's relegated himself to a room because he doesn't want to interact with anyone." Azazel shrugged, "So that's pretty much everyone except Saiken and Gyūki."

"Don't worry about them," Naruto smiled, "I'm taking care of them."

"Then I guess I'll be off." Kurama collected his bag and his things and stood up. He and Naruto shared a nod and a fist bump, "I'll reach for you and Rias while I'm away. And don't hesitate to call if you need anything."

"Thanks, buddy, enjoy your trip. I better head out." Naruto waved his friends goodbye, ignored Kuroka's subtle gaze as he left, and went to rejoin his friends around the table.

It was in the moment he had no distractions that he remembered his arm.

||||||||Devil||||||||

The best thing about getting his chakra back was utilizing clones in everyday life. He'd forgotten how useful it was to summon an identical copy of himself to help lessen the chores and burdens that came up every day. He'd sent them to class before Rias had sternly told him he needed to be the one learning directly. He used them to train his techniques. And he used them to keep the ramen shop open and running while he was in school.

And now he also had new staff to bring into the workforce too.

"Okay guys, this is going to be your first day." Naruto smiled brightly as he looked between his new workers, "Are you excited?"

"I'm ready for anything."

"Thank you for giving us this chance!"

Gyūki and Saiken were in their human forms while dressed in aprons for the ramen shop. Now that they were going to live in the human realm, they wanted to experience what people normally went through every day. Which meant they could start by experiencing what it was like having a job.

"Alright, I want to teach you guys everything but we're going to start easy." Naruto dragged around a mop and bucket as well as some clean rags, "Let's give the place a quick clean before we properly open."

"I can handle the tables and the chairs." Saiken offered, "With my bubbles, I could probably clean everything more thoroughly than it's used to."

"I guess I got the mop." Gyūki shrugged and took the handle, "Let's see how this goes."

Naruto grinned with pride as the two Bijū diligently got to work. He never imagined that when he finally found them all again they would get to choose and experience life how they wanted without fear of being used like tools.

It was such a miracle it almost distracted him from his arm.

||||||||Devil||||||||

The class was so boring it was a chore trying to focus on the curriculum, but it was necessary to not let his focus go down to his arm.

||||||||Devil||||||||

He started anxiously tapping his foot as he forced his arm to rest on his thigh while he looked ahead at the board.

||||||||Devil||||||||

"You know, things feel like they've started to quiet down." Tsubaki said after she finished swallowing her mouthful of rice, "I'm sure it won't be permanent but it's nice."

Akeno sighed, "See, I feel like you just tempted fate with that. What if we had secured a nice, long period of peace because no one jinxed it."

"Then I think you're being delusional." Sona piped up by her side, getting a firm nod from Tsubaki before the bespectacled [King] continued, "There's no way the world can exist with people like you all in it without disaster or conflict arising soon after. Not a jinx, just the way it is." Akeno blew a raspberry and went back to her food before Sona looked across the table, "What do you think, Naruto-kun?"

"…"

"Naruto-kun?"

"Huh?" The whiskered blond came out of his thoughts and looked up from his food to see the three girls all eyeing him curiously, "R-Right, yeah, totally. Um, w-what was the question?"

It wasn't hard to notice the young man hadn't been paying any attention to what they were talking about. Akeno looked at him suspiciously, "What were you thinking about so deeply?"

Why he wasn't sneaking away from everyone and using his Sacred Gear?

"Just where Rias is." He fibbed, "I mean she usually always attends these lunch gatherings. She always looks forward to it." Instead of the five of them together, it was just the four of them gathered around a table made from their desks while their resident redhead was missing, "But she couldn't make it today."

"She's busy." Her [Queen] shrugged, "She said she had something to take care of involving a new arrival in Kuoh and had to meet with them right now."

"Oh, really?" Naruto blinked a few times before putting his bento down and getting out of his chair. As the girls looked at him he plastered on an easy smile, "I'm going to go look for her. Make sure she's had something to eat. Plus I could use the air after a good meal."

He quickly walked away before they could say anything. Sona looked down, "He didn't finish his bento."

"And he doesn't know where Rias is." Tsubaki pointed out.

Which just left Akeno rolling her eyes as she dug back into her meal, "That idiot is hiding something and he's not hiding it very well."

The Sitri members could only nod in agreement.

||||||||Devil||||||||

As Naruto walked around the halls with his hands in his pockets he looked for Rias. It might have been a flimsy excuse to leave in the moment but right now he did want to see his girlfriend. Not to converse about the treacherous thoughts in his head but to help him distract and forget about them.

If Rias was doing something then maybe it was something he could help with.

But oddly as Naruto kept looking around he couldn't seem to find her anywhere. She was famous and renowned throughout the entire school yet no one seemed to know where she was. It just didn't seem possible that this school filled with admirers wouldn't know where to look.

He quickly made his way up to the rooftop and jumped onto the fence to look around, trying to spot her. Some people must have spotted him and wondered what he was doing but he ignored them. He narrowed his eyes and surveyed…

He spotted a head of red hair making its way around a tree.

Naruto launched himself off the fence and glided towards the spot she had moved to. There was a tree he landed in and immediately dropped down to find her, "Hey, Rias, what are you-"

"Eh?!"

"Ah!"

Naruto froze in awkward shock when he dropped down and realized that Rias wasn't alone. She was accompanied by a young girl at least a few years younger than them, and short enough to only reach Rias' shoulder. Her uniform was Kuoh-based but it was with colors that he didn't immediately recognize. She had long dark hair, but oddly enough she had strands of magenta-pink hair mixed in similar to the green lock Xenovia had.

Rias blinked, "Naruto, what are you doing here?"

"U-Uh," Naruto was still so surprised by the unfamiliar face he had dropped down on that it took a moment for him to break eye contact with her to look at Rias, "Sorry about that. I saw you walking around on the roof and jumped down to see you. I heard you had come out to meet someone but…I didn't know I was interrupting."

"That's alright." Rias smiled pleasantly before stepping aside, opening the path for Naruto and the strange new girl to look at each other properly, "Zekka, this is my classmate and partner, Naruto Uzumaki. Naruto, this is Zekka Miyamoto, a recent transfer student who came here just the other week. I met her while she was lost making her way around school and we introduced ourselves to each other then." Zekka seemed to blush slightly at the story as Rias giggled, "She's part of a new club; the Occult Sword Study Club."

"The OSSC?" Naruto titled his head, "I thought we would have heard about a club like that opening in our school."

"That's because Zekka didn't transfer into the high school, she's in the junior high school." Rias looked back over and saw Zekka nervously fidgeting in place. It seemed like she wasn't used to interacting with other people while she'd been focused on talking with Rias, "Zekka, don't you want to introduce yourself?"

"R-Right." Zekka meekly responded before she stepped forward, bowing her head respectfully to Naruto, "It's a pleasure to meet you, Uzumaki-senpai. I guess I'll be in your care as well from now on."

"Yeah, likewise." Naruto nodded to the shorter girl before she turned to Rias and started nervously conversing with the Devil. Rias just chuckled and encouraged the younger girl that she shouldn't be so nervous talking with new people. As they talked, Naruto's eyes couldn't help but drift downwards for a moment, where four perfectly sized melons rested across from each other.

This girl was a junior high school student?

No! Stop it!

Naruto quickly closed his eyes and fiercely shook his head to get those terrible thoughts out of his head. Being an unrepentant breast deviant was Issei's schtick and he wasn't looking to take it over! With a refocused attention he put his focus solely on their conversation.

"Um, Rias-senpai," Zekka did her best to whisper but her voice could still be picked up as she leaned towards Rias, "You said that he was your partner, right?" The younger girl looked between them curiously, "In what regard exactly is he your partner?"

"Life." The red-haired Devil said without hesitation as Zekka's face went red and her lips puckered in surprise. Rias thought the reaction was cute as she pointed at Naruto, "He's my partner in life and my boyfriend."

"B-Boyfriend?!" Zekka's face started burning red, "I-I didn't know you had anyone that special, Rias-senpai."

"Heh, I do. And I love him dearly." Naruto couldn't help the bashful smile and hue that colored his cheeks at her words, "And he loves me as well."

"Damn right I do."

"Even though I have such large breasts."

"Beg pardon?"

"My chest." Rias delicately put a hand to her boobs as they seemed to bounce on command, drawing Naruto's eyes down towards them, "You love me even though I have a large chest, don't you?"

"I…I…" His blinks were out of sync as he titled his head, "Is this a real question you're asking me?"

"Don't you?"

"O-Of course I do, but why-"

"See, Zekka," Rias turned back to the awkwardly shuffling girl, "You don't need to be worried that your breast size is going to make you unappealing or hard to like. I had a large chest just like yours when I was your age after I went through puberty, but I found a way to get used to it. And soon enough I know you'll find someone who loves you just the way you are."

"Senpai, it's not the same." Zekka grumbled petulantly, clasping her hands in front of her skirt and sandwiching her large breasts between your arms, "You're fine with your breasts but I hate these stupid things. If I could get rid of them I would."

"Hey now, don't say something like that." Rias stepped forward and held the younger girl's shoulders, "Your body is beautiful, Zekka. And you shouldn't think about it so negatively. I know many people with large breasts who have secured power, wealth, and love despite them. You shouldn't have such a bad self-image of your own body."

There…Naruto had no way of anticipating that this was the way this conversation was going to go.

Well, it was the effective distraction he had been looking for.

||||||||Devil||||||||

"I can't believe you asked me that question."

"What? Was it so bad to answer that you loved me?"

"No! Your boobs! I can't believe you asked me if I loved you despite the size of your boobs!" Naruto raved, eyes nearly bulging out in panic as he paced around the ORC room, "I-I don't – I can't-"

"That does seem like a rather pointless question, Rias." From the side Akeno nodded while making tea, her voice cracking with the sound of a barely contained giggle behind her lips. Her shoulders trembled as she tried not to laugh, "If anything he loves you more because you're so well-endowed."

Naruto panicked, "Ah! No! No more from you! You and your poison!"

While Akeno's giggles gradually raised to full-blown laughter and the whiskered blond started to shake with anger, Rossweisse couldn't help but fidget and blush. The implication that Naruto loved the women he did for their boobs? Was he picking up Issei's perverted tendencies or something? Was there a range he enjoyed because his tastes seemed to vary from large like Rias to petite like Koneko?

S-So what about her breasts?

No! No, why would she even think that?! Those treacherous thoughts were best left suppressed and ignored until she went to sleep and emerged during her dreams until she woke up sweaty!

From her position at her desk, Rias watched the odd sight of Akeno teasing a red-faced Naruto who ground his teeth while Rossweisse seemed to fondle her chest in deep thought. With a sigh she spoke up, "Look, Zekka is a promising new addition to the student body, and I think she has potential with her Sacred Gear and club mates. I want there to be good relations between our club and theirs and as their upperclassmen, I think some guidance and advice is needed from time to time."

"I helped set up the club with Azazel-sensei and Benemune-sensei, so everything should be set there." Rossweisse piped up, finally focused long enough to stop poking her chest as she looked over, "They seem like a capable group."

"And there are more people in this OSSC, right?" Naruto sighed, "Cool, if we have to meet them can we avoid making my first impression look sketchy or perverted in some way? We shouldn't be fielding questions like that or talking about sexual things in front of strangers."

"We talk about stuff like that in the club all the time."

"Yeah but everyone in this club is too far gone." Naruto said, "They're all twisted or perverted or desensitized to some extent. You, me, these two - not to mention everyone else." Akeno simply flipped him off while Rossweisse looked dumbfounded to realize Naruto saw her as one of those things, "Speaking of which where is everyone else?"

"They went out for the afternoon to have some fun. After all the business with the Hero faction and everything I think they deserve a break." There were no arguments there. They all felt like there was some relaxing they could do after the hectic few weeks they'd had, "But I'm sure they'll come back later-"

A ringtone and hum came through Naruto's pocket as he quickly fished out his phone, "Hello?"

"I am calling the whiskered one."

"Ophis?" Naruto raised his brow in confusion as the others looked just as surprised by his sudden caller, "Why are you calling me?"

"To inform you that the loud maniacal beast staying in the rooms has escaped."

"WHAT?!" Naruto screamed, nearly dropping his phone before catching it and putting it on speakerphone, "What do you mean Shukaku escaped?!"

"Perhaps escaped is the wrong term. He walked out the door and said he wasn't coming back."

Naruto was pulling at his hair thinking about what the unstable Bijū could do in Kuoh while in human form. As he wracked his brain, Rias stepped in, "Ophis, it's Rias. How long has it been since Shukaku left?"

"Several hours."

"S-So why didn't you call sooner?"

"I cannot read the last digits of the number you gave me, so I have taken the ones I can read and dialed every number leading up to this one."

Rias blinked stiffly, "How many people did you call before reaching us?"

"A great deal. Although many of them seemed unhappy to be disturbed by my calls and had various words for me."

The four Devils looked at each other with unamused expressions, "So you called a bunch of random people, finally reached us, and just wanted to tell us that Shukaku left hours ago?"

"That is correct."

Naruto palmed his face and groaned.

||||||||Devil||||||||

Shukaku walked through the streets of Kuoh without any supervision or guidance. Free to finally walkabout, not bound to the bodies of others or under watch from observers.

For the first time in far too long…the one-tailed tanuki was free!

What would he do with this freedom?

Could he probably raise some panic?

Maybe get into some fights with some unlucky fools crossing his path?

The possibilities were endless and Shukaku wasn't going to waste them.

For however long he could walk unabated like this, he was going to enjoy his-

A hand fell sharply on his shoulder and turned him around. And when it did Shukaku found himself staring into the frowning face of his new partner, Yuuto Kiba.

"Oh fuck off! I didn't even get to do anything yet!"

"We're going back to the hotel right now and you are staying in a room!"

"No!" Shukaku shirked off his hand before Yuuto quickly snagged his wrist, "Let go dammit!"

"I'm not letting-"

"Yo, Kiba, who's this?" The blond [Knight] flinched in terror when his friends called out and approached. The Devils and Angel in the know froze in horror when they saw Shukaku, but Kiryuu, Matsuda, and Motohama were blissfully unaware of the Bijū's true identity, "Hey, this one of your friends or what?"

"We're not-"

"Yes, he is!" Yuuto wrapped an arm around Shukaku and pulled him in close, "He's my friend and he's new to the area so I was surprised to see him walking around without a guide. He's - um - he's S-Shuda Kakuse-kun!"

Shukaku looked appalled by Yuuto's quick thinking, and Issei was the only one present with enough sense to palm his face in disbelief.

"Kakuse, huh?" The two human boys stepped up and examined the sandy-blond-haired young man. They both grimaced, "Dammit, he's pretty good-looking."

"Another pretty boy. Fuck, can we ever catch a break?"

"What the hell are you two even talking about?!"

"Don't mind them, Kakuse-kun, they're just jealous they'll never look any better than two oni standing at the gates of loneliness." Kiryuu chided and earned the boys' ire before she approached the new boy, "Hey if you're friends with Kiba-kun, do you want to hang out with us?"

"What? We're not friends," He shimmed out of Yuuto's grasp, "And I don't want to hang anywhere around him."

"That's too bad. We were going to go to karaoke before getting something to eat."

"I don't even know what karaoke is!"

"Just us playing some songs and singing."

"Songs?"

Yuuto groaned and buried his hands in his face.

||||||||Devil||||||||

"~Datte boku wa hoshi dakara, Stellar-stellar~"

In the karaoke room, Motohama and Matsuda sang a duet offkey but were having the time of their lives. Asia, Xenovia, and Irina clapped and cheered the boys on while they sang. Gasper tried to hide away in embarrassment as Koneko tapped a tambourine to the rhythm. And Kiryuu slid up by Shukaku's side as he perused the catalog.

"So they pick songs and purposefully sing them badly?"

"No, the song is good, but these two are tone-deaf. But that's just part of the fun. Some people sound great while singing and others sound like tortured cats."

"Hmm," Shukaku nodded sagely, "Tortured cats, eh?"

Off to the side away from the singing and fun, Issei and Yuuto sat hunched over with their heads in their hands. Dragging his hands down his face, Iseei let out a long sigh before turning to look at his friend, "You made another backstory right off the bat."

"I know." Yuuto groaned into his hands.

"Can you help yourself when these things come up? I mean first, it was Asia and Naruto-senpai-"

"Issei-kun, if you want to come up with these emergency stories, you are more than welcome to speak up the next time around." The [Knight] gingerly massaged his temples before looking up at the sight of Shukaku and Kiryuu talking about music blissfully unaware of how unsettling the scene was, "Because this was not the plan."

||||||||Devil||||||||

"Shukaku left?" Gyūki sighed and flung his rag over his shoulder, "That little bastard can't help but ruin things for everyone."

Saiken looked up from the counter, "So what do we do?"

"I've gotta get out there!" The Naruto clone in charge of the shop made his way toward the door, "I'm going to create a bunch of clones and send them out everywhere looking for him!" He raised his hands and was about to create a search party, "Do you guys have any idea where he might be?"

Saiken raised his hand, "I do."

"Where?"

"There."

Naruto turned and looked out the window to see their runaway Bijū surrounded by Issei and the others as they made their way straight to their shop. His jaw hung in disbelief at the sight, "W-What the fuck?"

"I don't think you need to go looking." With a laugh, Gyūki pulled Naruto back around the counter, "C'mon, Boss, looks like we've got some new customers to entertain."

"Hey, Senpai, we've come for some grub." Issei announced as he and the others walked in, "We've - uh - brought a guest."

"What a shit stain."

"Shut up."

"Saiken-San!" Asia quickly made her way to the counter, taking a seat and gleefully smiling when she saw her humanoid partner, "You look so good in that apron. Are you enjoying work?"

"It's quite fun being able to work with food like this." He smiled, "How was your day, Asia?"

"Yo, Asia-chan, do you know this guy?"

"Of course she does! He works in her brother's shop with him, idiot."

Asia and Naruto flinched before she quickly nodded, "T-That's right! O-Onii-San introduced me to his new employee and we got along very well."

"T-That's right!" Naruto reached over and jostled her hair, "That's my little sister!" Yuuto groaned into his hands further down the counter, "And how did you meet this new guy?"

"Oh, this is Shuda Kakuse-kun, a friend of Kiba-kun's that we ran into while walking around. We invited him to karaoke and had fun and everything!"

As they all started animatedly talking, Naruto spared Issei a look. And when the pervert shirked a thumb towards the embarrassed [Knight] the pieces started falling into place. With a roll of his eyes, he sighed and tightened the apron behind his back, "You mind texting me that we've already found Shukaku? I'm sure the prime me is still freaking out about it and he's got enough on his mind."

"Sure thing."

"Okay, everyone," He clapped his hands and made his way toward the cooking station, "I hope you guys are hungry because we are here to serve!"

They gave a round of applause as Saiken and Gyūki started taking their orders while Naruto started prepping the ramen. Now that the immediate crisis was done, he could relax and let out a breath of relief.

He cursed it a minute later when his mind was free to wander and it treacherously landed on the device in his arm again.

||||||||Devil||||||||

"HA!"

"HYAH!"

Akeno channeled a great burst of lightning from her hands and sent it flying at Rossweisse. The Valkyrie let out a cry of effort as she summoned a magic circle to defend herself against the bolt. Before the [Queen] could throw another attack, water started to form and steady itself over the [Rook's] body to create an armor of liquid, "Streaming Valkyrie's Protection!"

As Akeno volleyed more lightning at her, Rossweisse started to streak through the underground training facility with startling speed thanks to her control of water. Pillars of it shot out from the ground by her side, freezing into pillars of ice to block the incoming lightning before it could reach her. With her sudden speed and greater defense, Rossweisse took the moment between Akeno's attack to yell and launch a counter of her own.

As Akeno dove through the air and avoided the blasts of water that chased after her, she channeled Gyūki's power into herself as well. One of her bangs curled up with the static, matching the horn from her partner's head as she yelled and threw a mighty bolt at Rossweisse's form in the air.

It burst apart into water droplets when Akeno's attack landed.

A figure slid up by Akeno's side with her hand outstretched towards the [Queen's] unguarded flank, "I have you."

"I concede." Akeno sighed, releasing Gyūki's influence while Rossweisse did the same with Isobu's, "That was remarkable, Rossweisse. You have so much control over your new abilities now."

"W-Well, I've had more time than most to work with them." The teacher said meekly, a proud blush on her face as she scratched her cheek, "I think it's just a matter of practice and figuring out how best to apply your abilities."

"You think?"

"I do! It took me quite some time before I started using the water for armor and to rapidly create automatic magic circles to attack with." She started listing off her fingers, "Asia-San uses the bubbles to project her healing and create barriers. Koneko-chan enhances her attack power and mobility with fire. Kiba-kun uses the sand and magnetism to turn the battlefield in his favor. And Xenovia-San…she just hits harder, but each of us uses this blessing in our way."

"Figure out how best to utilize this power for myself." Akeno repeated, looking down at her hands as sparks connected between her fingers. She and Rossweisse then looked to the side, "Some have it easier than others."

"HAAAAAAAAAAA!"

Rias yelled at the top of her lungs, eyes slit with Kurama's influence as she channeled the Bijū energy to empower her. But as she did, there was no swell or immediate change to her techniques or attacks. She focused, trying to channel the power but to no obvious avail. She sighed as her arms dropped to her side, "Dammit."

"Having trouble, Rias?"

The redhead looked over as Akeno and Rossweisse made their way over. She clicked her tongue and looked down at her hands, "I'm trying to figure out how to use Kurama's power but nothing is connecting." Her hands opened and closed quickly, "I do feel a rush of energy but it's energy I'm not accustomed to. I don't know how to channel and harness it. And I can't mix it as well with my Demonic Power as I've seen Naruto do."

"Well, that idiot slams his head into a wall until it either starts working or the wall breaks, so don't be too hung up on not doing it as well as he does." Akeno reassured, "Plus you've never dealt with energies other than your Demonic Power before so it's no surprise you're having a hard time figuring out how to mix it all."

"Maybe you could ask Naruto-kun? If anyone would have an idea of what to do I think it would be him." Rossweisse suggested, "Although I think he's busy at the moment."

They looked over and saw the whiskered blond channeling a vast amount of wind between his hands before releasing it. But when he did it was unruly and poorly formed. He let out a sigh and ran his hands through his hair before he started focusing again.

"Naruto!" He looked back as Rias waved him over, "We're heading up now! Calling it a night before everyone comes back!"

"I'm good! I want to focus on my training for a little bit more! You can go ahead!" The girls shared a look and shrugged before they made their way up the stairs to the elevator. Naruto took a breath and started focusing on his technique again.

Until his mind drifted to his Sacred Gear again.

"Stop." He snarled under his breath, clenching his teeth and summoning harsher winds, "Fucking focus, you idiot. Focus!"

He just couldn't stop thinking about it.

||||||||Devil||||||||

Rias contently yawned and made her way to the kitchenette for a refreshing drink to cap off the night. She had taken a relaxing bath, unwinding with the others after they had come back to the hotel, and enjoyed a talk with many of them.

Rias pulled a water out of the fridge and started to upend it as the cool liquid helped relieve the heat she felt. With a sigh, she pulled it away from her lips and wiped her cheek, "That feels so much better." She wasn't used to exercising and training much past standard physical routines, so the recent changes were a nice change of pace. Training with Naruto was fierce and exhausting but it helped her build up her physicality and mindset during battle. Hopefully, this boost from Kurama would help increase her power and control, whenever she got around to figuring out how it worked. She wiped her mouth, "By the way, I should probably speak to Naruto about that."

"Rias?"

"Kurama?" The redhead recognized the voice and felt someone reaching through her mind to speak to her, "I'm sorry I didn't get to see you off before you went on your trip. How is it going so far?"

"Good. I'm cramped up in a little sleeping cot on a train heading north. It's small but compared to the cell inside Naruto's body this feels pretty roomy."

"Sorry to hear that."

"Eh, it's not so bad. But Kalawarna, Mittelt, and Dohnaseek are cramped like sardines and they won't stop bitching about it."

Rias' brow raised in confusion at the names he dropped, and she was confused about why they sounded so familiar. It was only after a moment did she realize those were the names of the Fallen Angels that had assisted Raynare in attacking the town so many months ago. She stifled a giggle, "O-Oh, so Azazel put them in charge of traveling with you?"

"Yeah, but that's not why I contacted you."

"What's up?"

"Can you go check on Naruto?"

She stopped from taking another sip when she recognized the stiff tone of voice, "Can't you reach him?"

"I can…but he's not responding to me."

He was ignoring Kurama's outreach? That didn't sound right. Naruto always answered Kurama's conversations. That he was being stonewalled was something that didn't make any sense to the redhead. She looked around, noticing that she hadn't seen Naruto come up since leaving him down in the training room.

A pit filled her stomach as she put her water aside and made for the elevator, "I'll check on him now."

"Be gentle, Rias. He's not in the best mindset right now."

"I thought something was wrong but figured he'd just come to talk to me about whatever was bothering him." As the elevator started making its way down Rias looked worried, "Do you know what it is?"

"No, but in my experience you have a knack for drawing these things out of his stubborn head."

"Heh, I'll tell you when I'm done speaking to him."

"Good luck."

The lift finally stopped and the doors dinged as they opened. When Rias walked out and stepped to the edge of the railing it was in time to see a fiery explosion echo out from the farthest points of the basement. She leaped over the rails and unfolded her wings as she glided over in the direction of all the explosions. As she got closer she spotted the outline of her boyfriend in the light in the blooms of fire. And when she finally landed she saw what was causing all the soot and etches in the ground around him.

"C'mon! C'mon, dammit!" He yelled, trying to control a swirl of fire in his hands like he had done hundreds of times before. But again the flames lurched and expanded in his hands before exploding. He coughed at the smoke in his face before swiping it away, "Fuck! Focus! Try again and focus!"

Rias grew concerned as she heard him curse and mumble to himself before trying again. She quickened her pace and grabbed his shoulder. The way he flinched and turned back in surprise made her realize that she had snuck up on him – something she hadn't been able to do before, "O-Oh, hey Rias."

"You seem to be having trouble with those techniques." Rias approached carefully, a sympathetic expression on her face when she could finally see how troubled he was by whatever was on his mind, "Why don't we call it a day and start the training again fresh tomorrow morning?"

"No, I'm fine." He turned back and tried focusing his energy, "I know I can do this. Just let me focus some more."

"I'm sure Xeonvia and Koneko are waiting back in our room." She stressed the point, trying to get his attention again, "So let's get you washed up and to bed, okay?"

"Rias, I'm fine." He stated firmly, turning his back on her to focus on training, "Just let me focus on this. I'll come up later."

She didn't feel convinced by his words, especially since he'd turned his back to avoid looking at her. Rias watched him for a bit before asking, "What are you doing?"

"Trying to finetune my natural energies and Demonic Power."

"You're not even in Sage Mode."

He seemed to freeze when she brought up that obvious fact. He lowered his head again, "I'm practicing before I utilize the full form."

That was bullshit. Naruto was a hands-on learner. It didn't matter if it made him more exhausted – if his mind was on perfecting a technique he'd go to great lengths to hone it. Practicing and visualizing weren't in that wheelhouse. Rias narrowed her eyes, "And how long will you keep going until you're satisfied?"

"Don't know. Just have to keep going until I can't."

Her patience was running thin as she stepped forward and grabbed his arm before he could start gathering energy again, "We're going."

"Let go."

"No."

"Rias-"

"I'm not leaving you to keep blowing up fire and wind in your hand for no reason."

"There is a reason. I'm training-"

"You're lying!"

"Rias!"

"Stop it!" She tried to grab his shoulder and force him to look at her but he shirked himself out of her grasp. Even as he stepped away she stomped her foot and yelled, "Naruto, that's enough! What is going on?"

"Nothing!"

"Kurama told me you didn't answer him! That's not nothing!" His mouth opened and closed pointlessly as any argument died on his tongue, "Naruto, just tell me what's wrong. Please!"

His shoulders hitched up and started to tremble before he turned around. When Rias saw his face she was surprised not to find any anger or displeasure in his expression. Instead, he looked sad and reserved, like a fragility had taken him over and sapped him of the certainty and confidence she had always seen. With a shake of his head, he yanked his sleeve up to his elbow, holding out his arm as Remote Looper appeared over his forearm.

She looked confused by his action, "Your Sacred Gear?"

"My parents." He held his Sacred Gear up, closing his hand into a fist before his arm fell back at his side, "I can go back to my parents with this."

"What?" Rias blinked, "Naruto, what do you mean?"

"My parents are gone, Rias. They're dead. Their souls moved on to the next world. I only ever got the chance to meet them when their chakra lingered in my system, and when my dad was revived to help us in a fight. I never had a chance to properly talk to them without some other extenuating circumstances taking priority at the time."

She nodded, understanding the tumultuous and tragic history of interactions with his parents.

"But I have this. And now I realize I can talk to them." His other hand rubbed the Sacred Gear, "I just need to pick the right period and I can go back to them whenever I want. Speak with them. Tell them about my life. About you and the others. I can do it whenever I want and as much as I want."

"Naruto…what's wrong with that?"

"How is that not different from what I offered Sairaorg?"

The pieces started to fall into place, and Rias' heart nearly broke as she looked at her lover sadly, "Oh, Naruto."

"It's not real. No more than constantly waking Sairaorg's mom up for a few hours a day until she falls into a coma again." He looked down at his Remote Looper, spite and anger flashing across his face as he grits his teeth, "I mean it's not even them. It's just echoes of their specters. It's a dream I'm trying to sell myself."

"Naru-"

"I mean this is what happened back in my world! This same crap!" His voice escalated, his fingers lacing through his hair as he started to pace around. Rias could only watch in silence as the man she loved broke down, "Obito and Madara tried to put everyone in an illusion! A dream world where they have to have everything they want at the cost of choice and free will! We fought back against that! It wasn't right! It wasn't real! That's not how we want to live in the world! However hard it might be, we had to face reality, not dwell in a dreamland! We fought for this! I fought for this! People died for this! I think about that and I remember a-AND I KNOW THAT! ALL DAY I'VE FELT THIS FUCKING THING ON MY ARM AND I KNOW THAT!"

His scream echoed through the vast empty basement, and only he and Rias were around to hear it bounce off the walls.

All the energy seemed to vacate Naruto's body as he slowly sat down on the floor and hunched over like he barely had the strength to stay up. His forehead rested on his hands and he sighed, "But fuck me…Rias…I've never been more tempted to do anything in my entire life. I know it wouldn't be real…but it'd be them."

Rias slowly stepped forward, kneeling and wrapping her arms around him as she stroked his hair. She gently shushed him as she drew his head into her neck and tried to help him calm down.

Her mind was reeling with what she could say or do to help him. The most logical part of her mind said that she should help him stay strong and avoid the temptation. The temptation of reconnecting with his parents again after being denied a life with them entirely. Or she could feed that deceptive little voice in her head that said it was alright to turn back and meet them. Even if it meant betraying all the rules and values he once stood for.

"Rias, what do I do?"

"I don't know, sweetie," Rias kissed his crown, "But we'll figure it out."

||||||||Devil||||||||

Kuroka stretched out her limbs as she finished another binge of junk food and trashy TV. She'd gotten a message from Vali and the others to come back soon and bring good food with her. But she might just ignore their calls for a bit and lounge around for a little longer.

When she walked into the kitchenette and was going to grab a drink, she saw a bottle of water only half drunk sitting on the counter. She picked it up with a curious tilt of her head before she noticed Rias' smell on it. What the heck?

The sound of the elevator arriving rang from the end of the hallway and Kuroka's ears perked up at the sound. She poked her head out and spotted Rias and Naruto making their way down the hall. The blond looked positively knackered while the redhead kept an arm around him almost like she was supporting him. They looked like they were going to go further down the hall before Rias stopped him, pushing open the door to some random room and leading him in there.

Kuroka watched the door close behind them before stepping back into the kitchenette. She looked down at the water in her hand before shrugging, "Meh, shoot your shot."

She finished the rest of the water before tossing the bottle and boldly making her move.

||||||||Devil||||||||

Azazel's brain was working in overtime. It was concocting all these ideas plans and strategies. His hand rapidly moved across the page to draw and map out the mess of ideas in his head. The type of method he'd made when genius struck him at random.

But he sighed and shook his head, "Oh shit…oh this might be the worst idea I've ever had. The most fucked up."

Yet still here he was. Pen in hand with sheets of blank paper to fill and data logs of their testing with the Bijū piled up by his side.

With a groan, he leaned back in and started working.

||||||||Devil||||||||

Done

Emotional turmoil. Quick reunions and goodbyes. And I even got to introduce the newest addition to the DxD universe into the story.

Funny chapter! I know the next one will be crazy!

ReadxReview

Thank You and Bye