Over the course of his long career, Sarutobi Hiruzen had been forced to commit many acts which might charitably be called sins.
Such was the life of a ninja. They spied, they sabotaged, and they murdered. 'Evil' ninja did these things for personal gain, while 'good' ninja did these things to protect their loved ones, or in the name of a greater ideal. All great ninja were guilty; those talentless enough to be shuffled off to undemanding jobs were the only ones who avoided staining their hands. He had done terrible things himself, and ordered many others to do likewise in his capacity as Hokage.
Even so, he had never felt so terrible as he did now, a day after the Kyuubi's attack on his village. A few minutes ago, he had relayed his final decision regarding the fate of one Uzumaki Naruto – the boy who had just saved Konoha by imprisoning the bijuu. Hiruzen found himself desperately hoping that there was no afterlife, so that he would never have to explain himself to the boy's parents.
But what other choice did he have? The child's mother, Uzumaki Kushina, had seemed the very model of a stable jinchuriki and was talented in fuinjutsu to boot. Her husband - the Yondaime Hokage himself, another of Konoha's sealmasters - had been at her side to guarantee that the birth went off without a hitch. Even with all the precautions taken, the Kyuubi had still managed to somehow escape from Kushina's seal. While the details would likely remain shrouded forever, what conclusion was he supposed to draw from these events, other than that jinchuriki were as much a danger to their allies as to their enemies?
With that in mind, he had grudgingly ordered that Uzumaki Naruto be placed within a specially designed storage seal, meant to contain living objects. There, the newborn would be cut off from the world, frozen in time until Konoha had need of the Kyuubi once more. In a time of dire emergency, a specially trained sealing team would extract the infant from the seal, release the Kyuubi in the midst of Konoha's enemies to run rampant, then re-seal the beast inside another baby so that the process might be repeated as necessary. Naruto would not survive the Kyuubi's release.
It was a terrible weapon, with a terrible cost, but the aged Hokage remembered the death toll of yesterday's incident - his own wife included - and tried to tell himself that this was the best of a multitude of bad options. Yet, as he lay down at the end of a long day of rebuilding, sleep eluded him.
'Absurd. Humans have stolen my power for decades, yet they still do not understand what I am.'
Sealed inside a human infant, which had itself been sealed in some pocket dimension, the mightiest of the bijuu contemplated its newest predicament. As the human was too young to truly have a will of his own to oppose it, the demon had managed to commandeer the baby's senses in order to hear what the other humans had planned for them.
It was not amused.
'I am an inherent part of this world. They could no more kill me than they could slay the oceans or the air. They seem to understand that much. So why do they believe that they could ever truly separate me from the flow of time?'
The storage seal had failed to place the Kyuubi into stasis as its designers intended. Furthermore, the demon's connection to the infant meant that Naruto was not in stasis either. This led to a rather urgent problem; it would likely be years before Naruto was removed from the seal, yet the pocket dimension was distinctly lacking in basic necessities such as food, water, or even air.
Even now, Naruto's lungs were desperately trying to draw in something that just didn't exist.
Having a host die was already unpleasant enough for a bijuu, demanding years of recuperation. The Kyuubi didn't intend to find out what would happen if its host died while trapped in this nowhere space. The dying infant's desperation, combined with his lack of true sentience, was enough for the bijuu to loosen the seal and let its power flow out.
Under the right circumstances, energy and matter could be interchanged freely. To transform energy into matter was normally a costly endeavor, but chakra was partly a physical phenomenon, so it was naturally well-suited to forming mass (as anyone with experience in kage bunshin, weight seals, or any number of other jutsu could attest), and the Kyuubi had plenty of it to spare. By exerting its indomitable will, the demon succeeded in forming molecules of oxygen within the baby's lungs.
When that oxygen immediately escaped, the bijuu realized its mistake and formed a solid, partially transparent cocoon of chakra around the babe before trying again. The Kyuubi also realized that the cocoon needed to be an insulator, since the child seemed to lose heat into the void faster than it could be replenished. As vast as the demon's intellect was, this was not a situation it had ever encountered before, and it was forced to adapt quickly.
Now surrounded in a warm, air-filled cocoon, the baby finally began to cry as all newborns should.
'I suppose I shall have to destroy carbon dioxide and make more oxygen at regular intervals from now on. And the little one will probably be needing sustenance, as well as the additional waste disposal that requires. Humans are such fragile creatures.'
Playing nursemaid for a mewling human infant wasn't something that the Kyuubi had ever envisioned itself doing, and it bristled at the indignity. However, something about having a human be completely dependent on it stirred the bijuu's thoughts.
'Even though this is my darkest hour, it may yet set the stage for my greatest triumph.'
With a flare of chakra, the bijuu pulled the baby's limited consciousness into the seal - the only place they could interact directly. While they appeared on opposite sides of the bars representing the seal, and neither were currently able to cross them to reach the other, this was an important first step in the plan currently germinating in the Kyuubi's mind.
"Well, my little pet, we will be spending a lot of time together from now on, so it's best that you grow accustomed to me. But perhaps that will be easier if I adopt a more suitable form."
The Kyuubi's multi-story fox-demon form rippled and shifted, before it began to collapse in on itself. Naruto wasn't old enough to open his eyes, but if anyone else had been around to see, they would have witnessed a swirling tornado of blood-red chakra surrounding a rapidly shrinking figure in the funnel. Within seconds, the maelstrom died down, and a feminine form emerged.
At a distance, many would proclaim her a lovely sight – flawless skin, elegant features, wild red hair that reached almost to her knees, and a well-proportioned figure. The fact that she was naked didn't hurt, either. However, any man who got a closer look might have been put off by the fact that she stood at roughly two-point-one meters (nearly seven feet), had a muscular build, and possessed piercing red eyes that almost seemed to glow. In any event, she made for an intimidating figure.
As she gazed down at the bawling infant on the other side of the bars, she spoke, more to herself than to him. "I am Kurama, and you belong to me now, Naruto. I am the one who will nourish and comfort you. Because of the choices of those foolish humans who trapped us here, I am the only one you have – the only one who will ever help you." A contented smirk crossed her face as she continued. "I will be everything to you – mother, friend, mate, and goddess. You will know only me – love only me."
She raised a hand in front of her, palm facing the screaming boy, and more of her potent red chakra flowed out. When it reached him, it soothed him into a restful sleep even as it began optimizing his body, gradually changing him in a thousand subtle ways to better suit her needs.
"When I am done with you, you will be a fitting companion for me. Among all the creatures of the world, you shall be second in greatness only to me. This is my pact with you."
In this manner, years passed for Naruto. Outside of his body, there was only a formless void – an empty universe created solely to contain him. Inside of his body, there was only her.
Six months after their joint sealing, Naruto was finally beginning to crawl. While this was somewhat early for normal children, the offspring of female jinchuriki were more developed as a result of their ten-month pregnancy. As Naruto achieved locomotion for the first time, Kurama encouraged him.
"That's it, my pet. Come to me," she cooed. As she observed baby Naruto's desperate attempt to reach her, she mused on what little she knew of human development. "You must have been missing a mother's touch these past months, haven't you? Reach out to me, and I shall show you the love you seek."
As Naruto slowly crossed the threshold into her cage, she quickly enveloped the babbling boy in her arms.
"And now, you are truly mine." A feral smirk revealed her sharp canine teeth, even as she gently brought baby Naruto's mouth to her breast.
Two years after the sealing, Kurama was playing with Naruto in a way that would also double as training. She had manifested one of her massive tails out of her chakra, imbued it with physical form, and was now using it to 'attack' Naruto by tickling him, while he tried to evade her. Not only did he think it was great fun, but it also helped hone his reflexes and awareness. At his age, she needed to make a game out of training if she wanted to keep him focused. He didn't yet comprehend the idea of doing something unpleasant for future gain.
As she absent-mindedly continued their game (all while feeding chakra to his muscles, to make sure his physical growth matched his mental body), she thought back to a few weeks ago, when he had entered a rebellious phase and tried to run away from her after disobeying one of her instructions. Her reply had been to point out that if he didn't want to be with her, the only alternative was to be alone - at which point, she had kicked him out of the seal and back into his physical body, floating in the void. For half a day, she had no contact with him - except the usual life-support - and refused to draw him back in.
By the time his punishment was up, the distraught toddler had promised to do whatever she wanted, so long as she never left him alone again.
Eight years after the sealing, Naruto and Kurama were sparring as they often did. While Kurama had little knowledge of specific jutsus, she was a creature of chakra and knew how to command it masterfully. Chakra was her sword and shield; with it, she could strengthen her body and destroy her enemies.
These things, and more, she taught to Naruto.
The two figures clashed, the larger shrouded in red, the smaller shrouded in blue. Naruto leaped at his opponent ferociously, only to find himself batted aside with contemptuous ease. As he struggled to pick himself up, Kurama called an end to their spar.
"Tell me, little maelstrom," she addressed him in an even tone, "what did you do wrong?"
Naruto, embarrassed by a mistake that seemed obvious in hindsight, answered dutifully, "I couldn't dodge your attack when I was in the air."
"Indeed," she frowned, "you sacrificed your footing for the sake of a reckless offense." As she crossed her arms, Kurama continued chastising him. "I am not training an army of expendable minions, Naruto. I am training a single companion worthy of fighting at my side. Do not be so quick to throw away your life."
Confident that she had made her point, she walked up to him and ruffled his hair affectionately. "Eventually, you will be able to use your chakra to alter your course in midair, but that is more advanced manipulation than you are currently ready for. Keep your feet on the ground for now."
"Yes, mistress," Naruto enthusiastically agreed, before the two got back into a ready stance and resumed their spar.
Eleven years after the sealing, Naruto was entering the throes of puberty and was curious about the changes to his body. Once more, he was developing slightly ahead of schedule compared to normal children. It was to be expected, though, what with Kurama's modifications to his body, combined with the perfect nutrition he received from her.
"Mistress, why did sticky white fluid come out of me?"
She raised an eyebrow at the naked pre-teen who was gesturing at his groin. They had no need for clothes in this place, and she had only manifested them on a few occasions to get him accustomed to the concept. Giving him a gentle smile, she sat down with her legs crossed and motioned for him to sit in her lap. It was the standard position they adopted whenever she was teaching him about anything that didn't require physical activity.
As Naruto cuddled into the massive woman's lap and rested his head beneath her breasts, she began to speak. "I suppose it's time for you to learn of the differences between male and female, and how the humans of the outside world procreate."
She had created images of the real world in the past so that he would not be totally overwhelmed when they inevitably gained their freedom, but the concept of a physical world with other people inhabiting it was still an abstract idea to him.
"Fortunately, we have one male and one female right here, so I will use our own bodies as models to help demonstrate. Afterwords, I will teach you some of the different pleasures that a man and a woman can give one another." This was a lesson that Kurama herself was looking forward to, as she had never spent so much time in a human form before, and had certainly never deigned to try taking one as a mate. But she had seen glimpses of the lives of two human females before, and was eager to see what sensations a properly trained male could inflict upon her.
Thirteen years after the sealing, their private world collapsed.
"Prepare yourself, my pet," Kurama said to a startled Naruto as the mindscape shuddered without warning. "The time for us to gain our freedom is at hand. You know what to do."
In response to her confidence in him, Naruto steeled his nerves, nodded, and returned his awareness to the outside of his body for the first time that he could remember.
It was the day of the Chunin Exam finals, and Konoha found itself under attack.
Not only had Konoha's traitorous sannin created his own village to gather an army, he had also secretly seized control of Sunagakure and now led the forces of both villages in a joint invasion of the strongest of the Great Five.
The trump card of the invading forces was meant to be the Ichibi jinchuriki, Sabaku no Gaara, who would unleash his bijuu in the middle of Konoha and tear through the proverbial guts of the Village Hidden in the Leaves. But in a surprising upset, the Konoha genin he had faced in the exam had managed to injure him. His siblings had extracted him from the arena and succeeded in slipping him outside the walls to link up with the rest of Suna's forces. There, Gaara was to recover until he was back in fighting shape, then punch a hole through the walls - and the Konoha defenders - so that the rest of the Suna ninja would have a convenient invasion corridor. It was a deviation from the original plan, but the attack should still be effective.
Temari and Kankuro had congratulated themselves for evading any pursuit, never realizing that Konoha's leaders had intentionally let them go.
After all, the Ichibi jinchuriki was now outside their walls, with only Suna ninja anywhere near him. What better occasion for Konoha to unleash their own bijuu?
The place where Naruto was sealed away thirteen years ago was no fortress. It was not ANBU headquarters or the main administration building, as these were places that foreign agents would expect a powerful weapon to be stored.
Instead, the Hokage had opted to hide the seal almost in plain sight. Within the more upscale areas of Konoha's residential districts, four people had rented a large, high-class apartment to share. These four were undercover ANBU agents, specifically trained to handle the sealing and unsealing of bijuu, and within their home was the seal that contained the mightiest bijuu of all.
"Sir," the sole woman on the team addressed her captain, having just returned from the nearby ANBU headquarters, "we've just received confirmation that the Ichibi has withdrawn behind enemy lines."
Normally, all four of them would be disguised in civilian garb, and they would be taking shifts, but there had been enough evidence of an attack on this date that they were all awake and fully outfitted in their masks and armor. Her own mask bore the appearance of a bird, while her captain's was a tiger. Since repeats weren't allowed within a unit, and commanding officers had first dibs, the ever-popular tiger mask was a cliché sight on ANBU captains.
"Then it's time. We'll never have a better opportunity," the captain replied, walking up to a seemingly ordinary interior wall and ripping off a poster to unveil a complex sealing array. "By the authority granted to me by the Sandaime Hokage, I hereby authorize the deployment of the Kyuubi in defense of Konoha. Once we move out, report back to headquarters and have them prepare us an infant to re-seal it." 'And may the gods have mercy on us all.'
With the proper application of chakra, the seal disgorged its contents in a puff of smoke. The ANBU team were expecting to see a day-old infant when the smoke cleared. The naked teenager lying on the floor was not what should have popped out, though the whiskered face and the seal on his belly confirmed his identity.
"Wha... what the hell!?" exclaimed one of the subordinates, a man in a rat mask, at just under a yell. "He was supposed to be in stasis! And if he wasn't, then how did he survive over a decade?"
"We can investigate later," the captain decided, after a momentary bout of indecision. "All that matters now is that he still has the Kyuubi. We will deploy it as planned."
As he leaned down to grab the boy, however, he found his plans derailed by a strong grip on his hand, originating from the body on the floor. For several tense seconds, the room was silent and motionless.
Naruto had woken up.
"You are not Lady Kurama," the blonde boy spoke in a soft voice, unaccustomed to actually using his real vocal cords. "Don't touch me."
With that, Naruto allowed the startled ANBU captain to withdraw his hand and retreat to the rest of his team. Taking advantage of his newfound personal space, he gracefully leapt to his feet and began looking around.
'So this is the real world? There's so much... everything.' He continued to take in the world around him, until he noticed that the man who had tried to grab him was advancing again.
"I don't know what's going on here," the captain declared, "but I have a job to do, so you're coming with me."
"Why?" Naruto asked with innocent bluntness.
Since the situation was rather urgent, and an honest explanation would require admitting that they intended to kill the blonde, the captain made the choice to subdue the boy by force. A quick body flicker put him behind his target, but when he attempted to lay hands on his target, a swift grab-and-throw from Naruto resulted in him laying flat on his back, having nearly been thrown straight through the apartment's floor into the unit below.
As the captain coughed from having the wind knocked out of him, Naruto looked down at him with a perplexed expression. "Was that an attack? I want to say you're just playing with me, but Lady Kurama always said humans are slow and weak."
The tiger-masked ANBU quickly leapt to his feet and once again retreated back to his team, forced to reevaluate his blonde opponent.
However, it was the woman in the bird mask who first understood the implications of what Naruto said. "This Kurama... you're talking about the Kyuubi!"
With this revelation ringing in the heads of the ANBU team, the captain decided to escalate the level of force they were using. He drew his blade, and his three subordinates followed suit. "Aim to cripple his limbs. He doesn't need to survive his injuries for more than a few minutes."
At this statement, Naruto raised an eyebrow. "So you are hostile? If you try to kill me, I'll try to kill you as well."
Unfortunately for the ANBU, the room wasn't big enough for four people to efficiently gang up on one enemy. The captain once more tried to attack alone, swinging his sword in a wide horizontal arc that would hopefully neutralize one of the boy's arms. Alas, Naruto was simply faster, stronger, better than any ordinary human had a right to be. A burst of speed was enough for Naruto to get inside the captain's attack range and firmly grab the sword arm by the wrist, preventing the attack.
Then his other arm emitted a soft blue glow before he thrust it straight through the captain's torso, pulverizing a lung in the process. The standard-issue armor didn't even slow the attack down, and the captain dropped like a rock once the arm was removed.
'Well that was easy,' Naruto thought, ignoring the wails of the other three ANBU and the dying gasps of the man now laying in front of him, 'I'm accustomed to being completely outmatched when I spar with Lady Kurama. I didn't realize I was so much stronger than everyone else.'
He was brought out of his musing when two of the survivors tried to tag-team him.
'I suppose they also want to fight to the death. They should have run.'
Fifteen seconds later, the rest of the ANBU team were reduced to piles of meat, and Naruto could finally observe the world without interruption. Simply looking out the window revealed wonders the likes of which he had only heard of - buildings, plants, even the sun and sky were all amazing sights for one who had never before laid eyes upon them. All things considered, it was impressive that he only required four minutes to remember what he was supposed to do next.
"Oh dear, can't believe I forgot about her," he muttered, nervously chuckling despite no one being around to hear. As he ran his chakra through the seal on his belly to make it visible, he brought his right hand to the array in order to unlock it. That was the one flaw in the otherwise-spectacular seal the Yondaime Hokage used - it could be freely broken by the person to whom the seal was applied. Of course, Naruto's father probably hadn't considered it much of a flaw, as doing so would assuredly kill the boy. The deceased Hokage hadn't considered the possibility that Naruto would be completely under the demon's sway, for lack of any other influences in his life.
Letting out a deep breath, Naruto prepared himself for what he was about to do. He had been warned that this step would be painful. Pushing his chakra to his fingertips, he gave his hand a twist and gritted his teeth in agony.
As the powerful red chakra seemed to ooze out of every pore in his skin, it took every ounce of self-control he had not to scream. This was his mistress gaining her freedom, and he refused to taint such a joyous occasion. When the last remnants of demonic chakra left him and began coalescing, only then did he allow himself to collapse.
"Ah, and here we are," the giant redhead observed, taking a deep breath and enjoying her glorious return to the world. When her eyes noticed the ANBU corpses decorating the apartment, a toothy grin graced her features. "You've done well, Naruto."
When she received no reply, she turned to see him sitting on the floor with his back against the wall, gasping for air and barely clinging to life. Her smile changed to a frown - she had become genuinely fond of the boy over the years, and seeing him on death's doorstep was distressing.
"You will not die. I forbid it," she exclaimed, as she began walking purposefully towards him. She kneeled down in front of him and caressed his cheeks with her hands, lifting his face up to see that he was desperately trying to stay conscious. A small trickle of blood had escaped the side of his mouth - more proof of his rapidly declining condition. "You belong to me, Naruto, and you will remain at my side until the end of time."
With that declaration, she brought her lips to his and began transferring her power into him. Now that she wasn't constrained by a seal, her influence over his body was far greater, and much more easily exerted, allowing her to make more severe alterations than she had before. A soft red glow swiftly enveloped both of them, which would have killed Naruto had his body not adapted to her chakra over the course of his lifetime. Power and immortality weren't the only things she was transferring over to him; she had also taken the opportunity to slip her tongue into his mouth, swirling it around to taste the blood that proved his dedication to her.
Within ten seconds of this passionate make-out session, Naruto was in good enough shape that he was moaning in pleasure instead of pain. After another minute, she pulled away, observing that his body was now better than new. A few final licks at the side of his mouth, like a cat grooming her young, cleaned up the last flecks of blood - evidence of the trauma he had just endured for her sake.
As Kurama stood upright, Naruto followed her lead, still blushing from her display of affection no matter how many times they had previously engaged in similar activities. Even though he was tall for his age, he still didn't manage to come up to her shoulders. He didn't see this as anything unusual, though, having known no one else in his life.
A burst of power from Kurama drew his attention, and he watched as a fine magenta gown formed on her out of nowhere, brought into being by her chakra. A similar chakra pulse jumped from her to Naruto, where it formed a black combat outfit resembling that worn by the dead ANBU, minus the masks and armor plates. While her intention may have been to blend into human society in order for them to get their bearings, humility was not a virtue she possessed, and her outfit made her seem like an elegant noblewoman. For Naruto, she had chosen something easy to move and fight in, since he still wasn't comfortable with clothing in general.
The fact that it made him look the part of a bodyguard was only fitting, in her mind, as one of her main goals in raising him had been to train someone who would protect her from those who might try to control her again. The anti-bijuu tactics used by ninja always assumed they were only dealing with a single target, after all, and would be hard-pressed to cope with two powerful enemies supporting each other.
It was as they were getting ready to leave that Kurama detected the reason for their freedom.
"Shukaku," she whispered, seemingly staring through the western wall of the apartment.
"One of your siblings, mistress?" Naruto asked, looking at her with eyes filled with curiosity.
"It's only to be expected," she huffed, turning her eyes to the deceased ANBU. "Why else would these fools have risked letting me out?"
"Is he strong?"
Kurama smirked at him.
"Are you excited?" she teased. "I suppose it's difficult to judge your own abilities when you only have me to compare yourself to, but you needn't get worked up. Even my own kin are weak compared to me. Regardless," she shrugged, "you won't be fighting him. I will meet with him, and if he is fool enough to attack, I will be the one to instruct him in proper conduct towards his betters."
Konoha's leaders, expecting the Kyuubi to be unleashed on Suna's forces west of the village, had evacuated all of their people from the area, ninja and civilian alike. There was no resistance when a fully transformed Gaara tore through the defensive wall and allowed Suna ninja to pour in behind him. Even so, Konoha was about to get their wish.
A mere twenty meters ahead of the rampaging jinchuriki, Kurama flickered to a halt, a small trail of dust testament to the speed she was capable of. Three seconds later, Naruto appeared at her side, slightly winded but rapidly recovering.
"And just when I start feeling good about myself for beating those four, you prove just how far behind I still am," Naruto half-jokingly pouted.
"Hush, Naruto. Whining is unbecoming of you," she replied, not taking her eyes off of the monstrous creature in front of her.
"You!" Gaara raged, his volume amplified by the size of his current form, "Mother says you are strong! She demands your blood!"
"Passing yourself off as his mother, Shukaku?" Kurama spoke softly to herself, before letting out a harsh laugh. "The irony is not lost on me. But I think my way worked better."
Her thoughts were interrupted when a giant sand arm smashed into her from above, prompting Naruto to instinctively dodge to the side. The observing Suna shinobi at first believed that to be the end of her, but an explosion of red chakra tore through the sand and revealed an unperturbed Kurama standing in the middle of the small crater formed by Gaara's attack. While Gaara howled in anger as the right arm of Shukaku regenerated, Kurama looked on serenely.
'I want to free my sibling from the bonds that humans have forced upon him,' she thought, bringing her finger to her lips. 'I also need to make him suffer for goading his host into attacking me. Slaying the host should accomplish both objectives.'
While his right arm finished regenerating, Gaara sent his left in at a lower angle. This time, Kurama jumped up and landed on the arm as it passed beneath her, then began running up it towards the main body.
"Somewhere within this annoying pile of sand is a fragile core of meat, and I will find it!" she declared as she reached Gaara's shoulder. A translucent red tail appeared behind her, the bijuu-scale extremity dwarfing the rest of her body, before it coiled around Gaara's shoulder joint and squeezed.
Gaara's left arm was thus severed from his body, falling apart into its constituent sand particles. Shukaku tried to regenerate it as quickly as possible, but Kurama was in no mood to give Gaara a chance to recover.
While Kurama began her one-woman counterattack on Gaara, the other Suna ninja hadn't been idle. Not wanting a single opponent to hold up their invasion, several had moved themselves into position to distract her with ranged attacks in order to give Gaara an opening to pulverize her. But before they could interfere, they found that the young man who'd previously been at her side was now blocking their path.
"Lady Kurama has business with Shukaku," he casually stated, unconcerned with the angry glares and pointy objects being aimed in his direction. "Don't interfere."
A thrown kunai was the reply he received, which he dodged by pivoting on his left foot to put his right foot behind him. The thrower attempted to launch a taijutsu assault using the kunai as a distraction, but the moment he got close, Naruto had a hand around his throat before he could react and was throwing him head-first through the wall of a nearby building. The turban-clad chuunin didn't survive impact.
"My suggestion was for your own good," Naruto elaborated to the other ninja, popping his shoulder joints as he stretched. "You should run away and cower in your homes - that is the proper course for weaklings."
A single death would never have been enough to call off an entire invasion, so round two began when a Suna ninja launched a wind jutsu in his direction. Naruto braced himself, but was somewhat surprised when it impacted the ground in front of him, kicking up a cloud of dust that blocked his vision. Immediately after, several kunai landed in his immediate vicinity with sizzling seal tags wrapped around their handles. Their throwers had taken advantage of the smoke screen to deploy explosives before he could react.
"Finally taking this seriously?" he muttered, just before the tags around him detonated.
The dust kicked up by the explosions, along with the previous wind jutsu, kept the Suna ninja from seeing what had become of him. Even though some of them inwardly congratulated themselves on their success, they were wise enough not to count their enemy dead until they saw a body. To that end, they stayed alert as the dust settled.
However, the dust didn't settle naturally. Without warning, a small gust of wind seemed to form from inside the cloud, pushing the floating debris away. There stood Naruto, uninjured, protected by a shroud of purple chakra and amassing more of the strange chakra at a fingertip pointed towards his attackers. Had any of the Suna ninja ever seen the Yondaime Hokage in action, they might have mistaken the spherical technique Naruto was preparing for a Rasengan. It had inspired that legendary jutsu, after all.
"Bijuudama," he spoke, and the energies he had gathered lanced out.
Temari and Kankuro had been frozen in shock as they observed what became of Suna's invasion. While at first it seemed like they'd caught Konoha off guard, the two people defending the sector they'd attacked had proven more than enough to butcher everyone. The woman was casually tearing massive chunks out of Gaara's sand body, while the young man was efficiently dispatching anyone else who tried to attack either of them. Already, the bodies piled up around him numbered in the dozens - all of whom were among Suna's finest, the vanguard of the invasion - and he didn't seem to be slowing down.
'It wasn't supposed to be this way.'
Given such stiff opposition, it was only a matter of time before Suna's resolve began to wane. But even as all her comrades turned tail around her, and the red-haired woman carved her way into the stumbling Shukaku's torso, Temari couldn't help but try to save her youngest brother.
Perhaps it was just foggy memories of a time when Gaara was still an innocent child.
"Gaara!" she screamed, charging recklessly towards the crippled monstrosity that held her sibling.
Before she could get within thirty meters, the same boy who'd killed so many of her comrades swiftly interposed himself between them. As he looked on calmly, she unfurled her war fan and prepared her strongest wind technique to dislodge him, only to find her upper arm caught in Kankuro's firm grip before she could attack.
"We have to run!" he pleaded with her. "They've already sounded the withdrawal. There's no reason to die here!"
"That's our baby brother!" she argued, tears welling up in her eyes. "We can't just leave him!"
"Whether he lives or dies is no longer up to you," Naruto inserted himself into the conversation, staring at the potential hostiles. "He chose to attack us, so his life is forfeit. You only have the power to decide your own fates. Will you fight me, or will you leave?"
Temari glared at Naruto, trying to figure out the strange boy (who didn't follow the policies of any military force she'd ever heard of), until her attention was grabbed by Kankuro's desperate whispers in her ear.
"This guy hasn't killed anyone who didn't attack him first," Kankuro pointed out, trying to make his elder sibling see reason. "We can't beat him, or the woman. So let's just cut our losses and get out of here!"
Even though she understood Kankuro's reasoning, Temari was still tempted to throw logic to the wind and fight. However, it was at this moment that they observed Kurama, in the background, shoving a small bijuudama of her own into Shukaku's gaping chest cavity. The explosion seemed to bring an end to the sand demon's resistance. If Gaara was still alive in there, he was no longer putting up a fight.
Temari would have collapsed to her knees at the sight, were it not for Kankuro's grip on her. Instead, she allowed her brother to drag her away, leaving the youngest of the siblings to his inevitable demise.
"Well, that was a nice warm-up," Kurama exhaled as she landed next to Naruto, glowing with the satisfaction of a job well done. A giant pile of sand crumbled behind her, with the mangled corpse of a red-haired boy lying atop it. "Did they give you any trouble?" she asked, having noticed the many bodies scattered around.
"Not particularly," he replied with a shrug. "I killed the ones who attacked, and eventually the rest gave up. They're running away."
"Out of the village?" she asked, receiving a nod in confirmation. A closer look at the dead they left behind explained the situation. "This is not the symbol of Konoha, if memory serves," she explained to Naruto, pointing to the forehead protector on one of the bodies.
A giggle erupted from her lips.
"Well, little maelstrom, I believe we have unintentionally saved this village."
As the fighting quickly died down, Naruto and Kurama decided to find a place to stay for the evening. Naruto was glad for the walk, as it gave him another chance to look around at the new and exciting world he found himself in. Civilians were already starting to return to the streets from the shelters, and while no one seemed to recognize the pair, they attracted plenty of stares nonetheless.
At least, Kurama did. It wasn't every day that the people saw a woman of such impressive stature.
Naruto simply thought every other woman was tiny.
They ended up in one of the nicer inns the village had to offer, and Kurama's talents in matter creation allowed her to forge an adequate amount of precious metals to obtain lodging. As Kurama led the way into their room, Naruto closed the door behind them and spent a few seconds figuring out how door locks work. By the time he turned back towards her, she had a lustful grin aimed at him, telling him exactly what she wanted.
"You know how this dance goes, my pet," she said, lifting up the front of her dress without shame to present her pink genitals to him, framed by bright red hair and already glistening with moisture. "But perhaps we may discover something new, now that we are not in the world of dreams."
Blushing once again in anticipation (something which Kurama always found cute), Naruto walked up to her and knelt submissively in front of her. She carefully raised her left leg up to rest on his right shoulder, curling her lower leg around the back of his head to latch onto him. As he placed his hands upon her firm butt to steady her, he pressed his mouth against her opening and began using his tongue to eagerly worship at the altar of his goddess.
"Good boy," she purred, biting her lip and running a hand through his hair to guide him.
Fortunately for the other guests, she wasn't a screamer. Naruto had certainly become skilled over the years.
Dawn found the two sharing a bed for the first time, with Kurama spooning Naruto possessively. While she didn't technically need sleep (and wasn't sure if Naruto still needed to, given all the changes to him), they still found it pleasant to close their eyes and relax for a few hours in each other's embrace.
Especially after intense physical exertion. They could push each other harder in lovemaking than their enemies could push them in battle, and she wouldn't have it any other way.
Branching off from her previous thoughts, she discreetly scanned his body to see if he needed any of the food, water, or waste disposal she was accustomed to providing, only to be pleasantly surprised that there was no need. After the alterations she had made to heal him and prevent aging, his body appeared to share more similarities to her own than she had expected. While he was no demon, he seemed to be something more than human, inhabiting some peculiar niche between man and bijuu. Like herself, he was instinctively drawing from the natural chakra of the world around them, using the infinite energy to sustain himself.
It was all good and proper, in her opinion. She had sworn to elevate him above the rest of humanity, and had succeeded beyond her own expectations.
A knock on the door brought both of them to alertness, and Kurama stood up to answer. When she unlocked and opened the door, she found herself looking down on another of those masked ninja and wondered if Konoha had figured out who killed their 'Bijuu Team'. However, the first seven seconds of staring at each other didn't yield any results.
"What do you want?" she nearly snarled, annoyed at having her time so blatantly wasted.
"Err... um..." the bear-masked ANBU stammered, "Could you put some clothes on, please?"
'Oh, right. Humans and their obsession with covering themselves,' she recalled, having forgotten to adorn herself before answering the door. Her red eyes narrowed. "Did you disturb us merely to ask me to get dressed?"
"...nevermind," he replied, having regained his composure in the face of unexpected circumstances like the experienced soldier he was. He briefly peered to the side of Kurama to see that, yes, there was someone else inside and, yes, the boy who was sitting on the bed and observing them did match the basic description he'd been told to look for. "Are the two of you responsible for halting the Suna incursion at the west edge of Konoha?"
"Many people attacked the two of us yesterday, and were dealt with accordingly," she stated, as though it were no more trouble than swatting flies. "I do not know, or care, where they came from, or what they intended here."
"I'll take that as a yes," the ANBU mumbled, before straightening up. "A full meeting of the clan heads has been called to create plans for reconstruction and defense, and they would like to see you at your earliest convenience. They'll be in session all day, I would imagine."
"I see..." she responded, mulling over the idea.
On the one hand, she didn't really care what those people wanted, and was strongly tempted to just blow them off entirely. On the other hand, the people at this meeting were almost certainly the same people who had decided to seal Naruto, and herself, away. Confronting them could lead to all sorts of amusement, as they would undoubtedly try to gain some measure of control over the pair - especially if they figured out just who they were dealing with.
"Very well," she decided, "For the moment, I intend to resume sexual intercourse with my companion. I will meet with these people later today." She was in no hurry to please them, after all, and still in a celebratory mood from gaining her freedom yesterday.
"That's... that's great, thank you," he answered half-heartedly, not really sure whether the boy deserved congratulations for hooking up with a hot older woman, or pity for being with someone so scary and domineering. The hypothesis he'd been told about her being a noble from some far-off land came to mind, because she certainly had the attitude down. He idly wondered if it was common for high-status women in her culture to so openly engage in intimate relations with their servants.
Unsure of what else to say, he settled for escaping the awkward situation as fast as possible.
The Sandaime Hokage looked across the circular meeting room at the people gathered there, and, not for the first time, wished he could just walk away from it all. He had, once upon a time, when he'd selected a young and vigorous successor to take his place.
Then the Yondaime had died, and his son...
The past couple of days had been hectic beyond belief, though things admittedly could have gone far worse. Orochimaru had his former sensei trapped, yet had delayed killing Sarutobi in favor of allowing the older man to bear witness to Konoha's demise.
Sarutobi had borne witness, alright. The Ichibi had burst through Konoha's wall easily enough, only to find itself quickly engaged and torn apart. The estranged teacher and student had been too far away to see who, or what, had been responsible for the deed, but it was obvious that the tide had turned in favor of Konoha. Rather than stick around long enough to kill his sensei and risk being trapped by Konoha's revitalized forces, Orochimaru had chosen to flee while he still had an army to cover his retreat.
As far as Sarutobi knew, there should only have been three entities (other than himself) within Konoha capable of handling a fully manifested jinchuriki so easily. Both Jiraiya and Tenzo had reported that they were not responsible for the deed, and the Kyuubi had obviously not been unleashed in the area either.
A preliminary investigation was ordered to uncover the facts of the incident and had discovered several important pieces of information. Jounin Commander Nara Shikaku, who'd been in command of Konoha's defense while the Hokage was otherwise engaged, confirmed that he'd indeed authorized the release of the Kyuubi. However, checking the 'home' of the team responsible for carrying out those orders revealed something disturbing – the ANBU team had been slaughtered, and Konoha's jinchuriki was unaccounted for.
As for who had subdued the Ichibi instead, the only lead were several eyewitness reports of a rather striking woman and her bodyguard walking out of that sector of Konoha, their sedate speed completely at odds with the panicked rush for the shelters that most civilians would've demonstrated.
Really, the gate guards should have remembered, and reported, someone of the woman's description. Yet the pair didn't seem to fit the mold of infiltrators, considering they didn't exactly blend in. They had also chosen to spend the night at an inn, as opposed to using the opportunity afforded by a chaotic battle to slip away.
Someone powerful enough to defeat an unleashed Ichibi was powerful enough to potentially kill an entire ANBU team. But since the two were obviously in no hurry to leave, and hadn't been reported to be in possession of a baby, Sarutobi dared not jump to conclusions, lest he make a powerful enemy out of someone who might yet be a powerful ally. They had done Konoha a great service, after all, so when he had sent one of his men to invite them to this meeting for questioning, he'd made it clear that the invitation was to be polite and respectful.
The use of force would only be authorized if they proved completely uncooperative.
Konoha was still a military institution at heart, and the Hokage was lord commander of the military. Foreign combatants who refused to submit could not be tolerated within the village.
It was early afternoon when the two unknowns finally decided to grace the council with their presence, being shown in by one of the guards posted at the doors. All eyes were immediately drawn to the woman, who had just become the tallest person in the room by a healthy margin (though the Akimichi clan head was still the largest) and whose striking hair was currently bound in a long, elaborate braid. Several speculative glances were also sent at the young man, who bore a passing resemblance to the deceased Yondaime.
Sarutobi was the only one in the room who paid him more attention than the woman, however, having been one of only a handful who had gotten a good look at the infant Naruto before the boy was sealed.
'It's just a coincidence,' he repeated to himself, trying to still his heart which pounded at the sight of whiskered cheeks. 'The real Naruto wouldn't have aged even a day since then. And there's more than one person in the world with animal features.'
The redhead gazed across the room impassively, taking in all the clan heads seated on cushions in a semi-circle. Upon noticing the spots in front of them set aside for guests, she proceeded to sit down and make herself comfortable. The blond, refusing a second seat, chose to stand behind and to the side of her in a defensive position, further reinforcing the assumptions many had already made.
"Are you sure you don't want to make yourself comfortable, young man?" Sarutobi asked genially, having succeeded in mastering his emotions for the time being. "We might be here a while."
"I'm fine," Naruto curtly replied.
"My pet is well aware of the role he plays here," Kurama added, daring anyone to make an issue of it. "He is precisely where he should be."
"Your... pet?" the Jounin Commander boggled, looking between the two guests. "If the boy is even half as skilled as the rumors we've heard would suggest, surely he deserves a little more respect."
"What else would I refer to him as?" Kurama inquired. "He is a lesser creature, whose needs I have provided for since he was young, kept around both because he performs a useful service and because I enjoy his company. I do not know a more fitting term for him."
She smiled coldly, moving her gaze across the assembled council. "However, do not fool yourselves into thinking I don't value him. I have far more respect for him than I do for any of you."
The assorted masters of Konoha were so shocked by her blunt assessment that most of them forgot to be offended by the last part. Naruto, on the other hand, was very pleased to hear her words, and he seemed to stand a little taller.
Groaning, Sarutobi gave his response. "For your sake, I will assume you are expressing high praise for your companion, as opposed to disdain for the members of this council."
"Believe as you wish," she replied with a dismissive wave of her hand, not bothering to explain that the two options weren't exclusive.
"Regardless," the old Hokage began, choosing to ignore her disrespect, "I would very much like to know who the two of you are, where you come from, and what you are doing here. It's very rare for such capable fighters to stay unnoticed for so long."
"In reverse order, we are merely passing through-"
Most of the clan heads appeared skeptical of her words - no one simply happened to pass through a ninja village. If you had no legitimate business, you were turned away at the gates.
"-we do not call any particular land our home-"
Now they were confused. They had been operating on the assumption that the woman was a noble, which implied being part of a landed family. Clearly, they had to reconsider this strange redheaded enigma.
"-and if you require labels to define us, I call myself Kurama, while he has been named Naruto."
The Hokage was the only one to react after hearing the young man's name, narrowing his eyes and barely keeping his glare from becoming obvious.
'So the boy's appearance is no mere coincidence after all.' he thought, stroking his beard while observing his guests closely. 'Someone must have discovered the true fate of the Yondaime's son, and sent this doppelganger here to throw me off-balance. But what do they hope to accomplish with this guilt-trip?'
Only a few living souls knew that the Yondaime was ever expecting a child named Naruto, and only a few knew that the Kyuubi was sealed into an infant. The number of people who knew that the Yondaime's child and the Kyuubi container were one and the same could be counted on one hand, with fingers to spare. So how did these interlopers find out?
The Sandaime Hokage was sorely tempted to have the two interrogated. Yet, if he made such an order against his invited guests in the middle of a council meeting, the assorted clan heads would demand to know why. They could not simply be brushed off without an explanation, and saying 'the boy looks like the Yondaime's secret child and has the same name' was unlikely to justify torture in their minds. If anything, they'd try to protect him on the off-chance that he was the genuine article.
Admitting that the boy couldn't be the Yondaime's son, because that child would still be an infant after having been sealed away to be used as a disposable weapon, would be even worse. Sarutobi wasn't in the mood to deal with a possible revolt, on top of all the other drama he had to deal with.
Perhaps the situation called for a subtler method of information gathering.
"If you have no homelands to return to, then could you be persuaded to stay in Konoha for the near future? You've done us a great service yesterday, and I think I speak for us all when I say that we'd like you to continue performing such services."
Hiring them on as mercenaries would allow him to keep an eye on them while preventing them from accessing anything sensitive. And since Konoha had just been attacked by two other villages, it would be all too easy to justify the expense to the council, or anyone else asking questions about them. If they refused his offer, then their status as non-citizens meant he was well within his authority to tell them to leave the village. The mystery of who they were would remain unsolved, but he could live with the disappointment so long as they troubled him no more.
Unknown to Kurama or Sarutobi, another person within the meeting hall had decided that Konoha could really use another pair of S-class fighters, and he wasn't willing to take no for an answer. Buried within the bandages covering his face, Shimura Danzo's implanted sharingan came to life. Seizing the opportunity provided by the Hokage's offer of employment, he attempted to plant a simple suggestion into the woman's mind - accept the deal, and fight for Konoha. The boy would undoubtedly follow her lead, so long as she appeared to make the decision of her own volition.
But controlling a bijuu is vastly different from controlling a man, and Danzo only thought he knew which one he was messing with.
The next few seconds were a blur of activity that most within the room could scarcely comprehend.
Kurama suddenly released a shrill scream and began frantically clawing at her head. Naruto immediately grasped at her shoulder in support, unsure of what else to do.
She pointed in the false cripple's direction, and growled a single word - "Sharingan."
Naruto launched himself at the bandaged warhawk without hesitation. Being the only one standing, he had reacted far faster than anyone else in the room, which was precisely the point.
Hyuuga Hiashi, seated adjacent to Danzo, was the only one fast enough to even attempt to intercept the boy, but Naruto nimbly side-stepped him. Danzo could have had the reflexes to mount a defense, had secrecy not demanded keeping his stolen eye covered at all times.
The elder quickly found himself pinned against the wall by Naruto's forearm crushing his windpipe. Though he saw Naruto's fingers head toward his covered eye, he was powerless to stop it.
One plucked eyeball later, and the old man's crimes were clear to all. Naruto brought a swift and final resolution to the matter by breaking Danzo's neck.
The room paused for a few tense moments while everyone struggled to get back on the same page. Shimura Danzo, a man who had been a fixture at these meetings for longer than most of the current council members had been alive, had just perished in an anticlimactic way at the hands of Kurama's bodyguard after trying, and failing, to dominate her mind with an implanted sharingan eye. Naruto casually walked back to Kurama's side as she regained control of herself.
Kurama's soft laughter broke the tangible silence.
"Thirteen years, Naruto. That is how long I have dedicated myself to your upbringing." Slowly, she stood up and faced him, caressing his cheek with her hand and smiling when he leaned into it. "And in the span of a few seconds, you have proven the wisdom of this investment. That man would have made a slave of me, once again, had you not been at my side."
Sarutobi exhaled, glad that her immediate response wasn't to fly into a rage, and attempted to salvage the situation. "I assure you, that man was not acting with my knowledge or consent-"
"Lord Hokage!" Hiashi interrupted Sarutobi's conciliatory speech. Unlike everyone else, he had not relaxed his guard, instead seeming even more tense than when he had first tried to halt Naruto's charge.
More importantly, his byakugan was active.
"What is it?" the Hokage replied tersely, making it clear that the Hyuuga had better have a damn good reason for the outburst.
"The boy has purple chakra; the woman's is red."
Almost as one, everyone in the room burst into a flurry of movement. The Hokage and every clan head leapt to their feet and prepared for combat, while Kurama and Naruto ceased their display of affection and responded in kind. It was common knowledge among ninja that human chakra was blue, and in a room of people who had been forced to fight a bijuu in the past, it was almost as commonly known that bijuu chakra was red. Everyone present now realized exactly what Kurama was, and a standoff ensued.
"So you really are Naruto," the Sandaime muttered to himself, before speaking up. "You do realize that the woman you serve isn't even human, yes? Many died to defend Konoha from her. Your own parents shielded you from her with their bodies."
"What of it? Lady Kurama is my mistress," Naruto replied, unmoved by the old man's words.
Kurama merely found the exchange amusing. "Come now, Sarutobi Hiruzen. Do you think I manipulate him with lies and secrecy, such that a few grains of knowledge will turn him against me? I've been completely open and honest with him from the start."
Content that fighting wouldn't break out that very second, she began lazily twirling her braided hair in circles as she continued. "And why shouldn't I be truthful, when the truth so strongly favors me? You condemned him to oblivion, demanding that he die without ever having truly lived, while I have taught him everything he knows, provided for his every need, and elevated him beyond the rest of your pathetic species. These are incontrovertible facts."
Many of the clans heads bore muted looks of confusion, having not been privy to the finer details regarding Konoha's ultimate weapon. Sarutobi, Kurama, and Naruto were content to ignore them for the moment, none of them being in the mood for story-telling.
"Will you ignore your parent's final wishes, even though they died for you?" Sarutobi continued addressing Naruto alone, knowing that there was no point in trying to convince the Kyuubi to be sealed away like a good bijuu. "They wanted you to protect this village, not fight against us!"
It was a reasonable extrapolation, considering they had been the ones to make him into Konoha's next jinchuriki. Unfortunately, that was a poor argument to use against Naruto - not that a particularly good argument existed.
"You sealed me away so you could later use me as a sacrifice," Naruto angrily replied. "If my parents didn't want that, then you have no right to talk about their wishes. And if they did, then to hell with them!"
"As for him fighting against you," Kurama chipped in, "we have thus far fought only in self-defense. If you do not wish for violence between us, you need merely restrain your lust for power and allow us to leave peacefully."
"I'm afraid that's not an option," the Hokage declared without hesitation. "Bijuu are vital deterrents against war, and after we've just endured an attack, Konoha cannot afford to lose your power."
"But you believe Konoha can afford to start a fight with us?" Kurama asked, dropping her braid and adopting a frosty expression. "The only other times I opposed Konoha, I had no control over myself. I suspect you'll find that a thinking enemy is much more dangerous."
Drawing her gaze across the assembled council, she saw that, for the most part, they were determined to support their Hokage and had no intention of backing down. While the Jounin Commander was sending frantic abort signals to the Hokage, he had clearly been overruled.
A sigh escaped her; even with her low expectations, it seemed like humans always found fresh new ways to disappoint her.
"Like moths to a flame, you seek my power." Turning her eyes to Naruto at her side, she gave her orders. "The old man is likely the only one who can seal me away on such short notice - end him swiftly. I will prevent anyone else from distracting you."
With those words, nine transparent red tails began oozing from her tailbone, becoming more and more real as she fed her chakra to them. Gravity itself began to be distorted by the raw power now on display, and the room began to shudder and quake as a result.
Had they the ability to think rationally about their situation, the lords of Konoha would have realized that a close-range battle in a room without cover, against enemies of superior power, was a terrible idea. They would have allowed the pair to leave, then pursued and attacked at a better time and place after preparing themselves appropriately.
But they didn't think. The situation had escalated far too rapidly for them to rely on anything other than instinct, and they were so accustomed to being the biggest fish in their respective ponds that their instincts told them to fight, rather than avoid conflict. The fact that their enemy appeared human contributed to their error - even if they intellectually knew what she was, they didn't comprehend the true magnitude of the danger she posed until they started dying.
The citizens of Konoha, already on edge from the previous day's invasion, were unpleasantly surprised to hear an explosion ring out. Looking in the direction of the sound, the adults in the village received a further shock when they saw nine massive red tails originating from within the devastated top floor of Konoha's administration tower. They knew what that signified, even if they had no idea how such a catastrophe was possible.
But even the most pessimistic among them didn't imagine that Konoha's entire governing body was now dead.
Not being in the mood to wipe out an entire village (the current inhabitants would all be dead from something or other within a century anyway), Kurama had simply led Naruto at top speed away from the tower as soon as they eliminated everyone else in the meeting hall. Standing in one of the main roads, blending in with every other curious gawker, they witnessed every ninja in the village swarming like a hive of angry bees. But without leadership, or an obvious enemy, these ninja had little idea how to respond.
After a few minutes of watching the show, the duo decided to leave before any of the ninja pieced together enough to make accusations and die heroically against them. Slipping through the gate proved surprisingly easy. If a human enemy had attacked, the exits would have been locked down to prevent their escape. But with everyone screaming about the second coming of the Kyuubi, people near the gates were fleeing Konoha in droves, and the guards didn't have it in them to forcibly halt the exodus.
"So..." Naruto began, after they had put some distance between themselves and Konoha, "one day we accidentally save them all, and the next day their leaders respond by forcing us to kill them. People are strange."
Kurama hummed and spent a few moments thinking about her reply.
"I'm tempted to say humans are just inherently stupid, but you've proven that there are exceptions." Turning to look him in the eyes, she smiled. "Then again, you had the advantage of being raised by me."
"Thank you, mistress..." he said softly, averting his eyes with a light blush. "For... being here, with me."
"I'd be lying if I said I had a choice, at least as far as being sealed," she replied, stopping their march and pulling him into her tight embrace. "Still, I think this was the best possible outcome. For both of us."
Naruto inhaled deeply, basking in her scent as she held him close. Truly, there could be nothing greater than this.
So... yeah. Here's my take on an old favorite - 'ancient, immortal demon decides to hook up with Naruto.' Hope you enjoyed.
As always with my half-assed excuses for fanfiction, anyone who wants to borrow one of the ideas presented and run with it is welcome to do so. I have no plans to continue this.