Friendly Neighborhood Nine-Tails
Disclaimer: I do NOT own Naruto.
AN Somehow, someway, the 666th reviewer turned out to be an anonymous reviewer going by "Madara". Sir, whoever you are, I salute you for causing this lovely coincidence. XP
Naruto was not in any way surprised to find Tsunade and Jiraiya waiting on the top of the mountain when he returned.
That didn't mean he was overly enthused by the sight of them.
"Look, if this is about my little outburst, I don't want to hear it," Naruto spat as he sat with his head hunched down towards them. "I yelled, I cried, I laughed. End of story. I don't want or need a pep talk or scolding from you old farts."
"Are you finished yet, brat?" Tsunade called up with a stern expression. Naruto rolled his eyes at that, but didn't complain further. "Good. Now, before we get to anything else?" Tsunade paused, pointing to her cheek.
"...What? Do want me to lick you or something?" Naruto asked, eyeing the Hokage oddly.
Tsunade balled her fist with a growl while the toad sage laughed heartedly. "As interesting as that sight would be, she meant your face."
"My face?" Naruto repeated with a furrowed brow. "What, do I have a tree stuck in my teeth or something?"
"I almost hate how that is a valid question from you now," Tsunade grumbled with a face palm. "No, Naruto. You're covered in scorch marks from your little...experiments."
Naruto blinked, examining his hands and arms to see that there was indeed plenty of black patches on him at the burnt ends of his fur. "Damn. I'm starting to look more like a Dalmatian than a fox!" he remarked, hearing a few chuckles throughout the village at that.
"I was thinking cow," Jiraiya teased, grinning nervously under the glare Naruto sent him. It wasn't angry, thankfully, but it was clear the neo-Bijuu was still annoyed with him.
"Pervy Sage, I'm not pissed anymore, but seriously? How the fuck do you not notice the Kyuubi is yellow instead of red?" Naruto asked flatly.
"Hey, I assumed it was a trick of the eye or something! Since, you know, there has never been any other giant foxes in recent history, let alone another one with nine tails," Jiraiya defended apologetically.
"Okay, I'll give you that," Naruto relented with a snort, wrinkling his nose. "Great, now that you mentioned it, I'm smelling it. Burnt hair is not a pleasant scent."
"Believe me, I am aware of that," Tsunade remarked fondly. "I suppose we'll have to get some Jonin with water jutsu to give him a wash."
"Hahaha, no," Naruto refuted with a deadpan expression.
"Do you have a better plan that doesn't involve walking to the ocean?" Tsunade countered, unimpressed.
"Yeah, actually. This, I can handle," Naruto assured as he raised both hands into a seal.
Many eyes went wide, as several screamed out for him to stop and others simply jumped for cover.
In an instant, Naruto was covered in a blazing glow of golden chakra, like a fire plucked straight from the sun itself. It lasted for all of three seconds before dissipating to reveal Naruto, his fur bright and flawless once more.
"There, that better?" Naruto asked casually.
"OH, COME ON!"
"WHAT THE HELL?!"
"YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!"
Naruto flinched back in surprise, his eyes owlish as he took in the outrage of the village. Most it coming from females, and all of them sounding jealous. "Um, what the hell is everyone yelling about?" Naruto asked in bewilderment, looking down to an eye twitching Jiraiya and glaring Tsunade. "What, what'd I do?"
"You just instantly get your entire coat back to brilliant perfection with just one burst of chakra?" Tsunade asked in annoyance.
"If you want to put it like that, I guess?" Naruto answered, scratching his head in confusion.
"You just became the envy of just about every female in the village, Naruto," Jiraiya stated bluntly.
"And you," Naruto countered with a smug and knowing look.
"I have Hair-Jutsu, it's a legitimate concern of the job!" the toad sage defended fervently.
"And almost the entire Hyuuga clan. Yeah, I said it! I heard every one of you muttering!" Naruto called in the direction of the pale eyed clan's compound. "And yet, I didn't get a peep from any Inuzuka clan, even the women. Unless you count the dogs with scars in their fur."
"Can he understand dogs now?" Jiraiya murmured to himself uncertainly.
"Do not hit the brat on the nose, do not hit the brat on the nose," Tsunade murmured to herself before taking a breath to calm herself. "Why did you even know you can do that?!"
Naruto shrugged. "I did it before I gathered up the others for the trip back here. Granted, that was just to get dry, but I figured it could work for this too. Did we ever mentioned I transformed in the river, Kakashi-Sensei?" Naruto asked, looking over to the tree the Copy Ninja was leaning against.
Kakashi shrugged casually as attention fell on him. "I assumed it was implied. No offense, Naruto, but as big as you are? The only way you weren't getting wet was jumping over the river entirely."
"I hate that you've adapted to this so well," Tsunade stated in annoyance to the silver haired jonin.
"Oh, please. You think this is the first Naruto breakdown I've been through?" Kakashi asked with a smirk under his mask.
"Hey, hey, hey! That's Team Seven Secret Team Business! I've got a reputation to worry about!" Naruto protested, almost whining.
"Reputation? You? Right," Jiraiya stated flatly.
"Like you're one to talk," Naruto countered in kind before looking confused. "What were we talking about again?"
Tsunade sighed heavily. "Why do I get the feeling these days won't be getting infrequent?" she asked herself before returning her gaze to Naruto. "Okay, Naruto, you don't want to talk about it? Fine. But we obviously need to address some rules."
"Wonderful. Just what I want to hear, even more stuff I can't do," Naruto grumbled.
"More like where you can't do them," Tsunade corrected knowingly. "Or do you want the whole village to know your emotional problems twenty-four-seven?"
"Valid," Naruto admitted begrudgingly as he cocked his head curiously at her.
"And training with jutsu…or, at all, let's be frank, is a disaster waiting to happen. So, we're going to find an area down south for you to go to and stretch your limbs," she explained.
"Weren't you just mocking the idea of him walking down to the ocean, Lady Hokage?" Kakashi asked casually.
"That was a joke, this is serious," Tsunade waved off. "You'll have to wait a few days while we clear it with the powers that be."
Naruto blinked at that. There was only one power the Hokage answered to, so that meant the Daimyo. What the hell did the Fire Daimyo think about having an unsealed Bijuu running around?
"By the heavenly bosom, he's actually thinking ahead," Jiraiya teased with a grin.
Naruto gave him the flattest look possible. "I'm not going to bring up the many reasons I now have to sit down and contemplate every decision I ever made in life, Pervy Sage."
"Right," Jiraiya accepted awkwardly, looking for a way to change the topic. "Anyway, who is going to discuss this with the "powers that be?" Because I already explained this to the villagers, so now it's someone else's turn."
Kakashi held up his hands in surrender. "Don't look at me, I'm on call twenty-four-seven in case I need to take over Fluffy Duty for anyone else."
"In fairness, I keep telling them to just pull up a lawn chair and read a book or something," Naruto said, scratching under his chin idly. "It's not like I'm hard to keep track of anymore."
"What, the others haven't done that yet?" Kakashi asked in mock surprise.
"Sensei, you don't count: you fought us while reading a book," Naruto reminded flatly.
"Don't pretend like you didn't think it was cool afterwards," Kakashi teased with an eye smile.
Naruto's eye twitched but said absolutely nothing, knowing he wouldn't win this argument.
"I'm sorry, but I thought I was the one that was suppose to be accused of being senile."
The messenger couldn't help sweating nervously under the old Tsuchikage's annoyed look. "I am merely the messenger, My Lord, but they swear the information is accurate."
"Accurate?" Onoki repeated grumpily. "You expect me to believe the report that the Nine-Tailed Fox is loose and sleeping peacefully on Konoha's precious rock sculpture is accurate? Even after it was stabbed by that snot-nosed toad brat's overgrown, unskinned wallet?! Is tha-OW, my back!" Onoki groaned, having tried to stand a little too fast.
"Easy, gramps!" Kurotsuchi advised, helping him sit back down.
"Stop treating me like a cripple," Onoki grumbled, glaring at the messenger. "Boy, I have seen the Kyuubi in its last days of freedom and I find it hard to image that beast has any pleasant feelings for the Leaf Village after all this time."
"Be that as it may, Lord Tsuchikage, that is what all the reports indicate," the messenger assured again before swallowing in dread. "But...I'm not so certain that this is the same demon you saw, My Lord."
Onoki stared at him for a long instant, wondering if his hearing was finally giving out. "What are you babbling about now?"
"All records of the Nine-Tailed Fox indicates it has a blood red coat, correct?" the Jonin asked.
"I'd say more orange, but what's your point?" Onoki demanded.
"The fox, in every account, is golden in color, Sir. Nine tails, with fur that shines in the sunlight," he explained, his Kage falling silent at that.
"Bijuu don't change colors, do they?" Kurotsuchi asked with a scowl, crossing her arms as she gave her grandfather a curious look.
"No, they don't. In all the old records of them, never have their forms deviated beyond battle scars," Onoki confirmed, sitting in silence as he thought deeply on the matter.
Golden hair. A pacified Bijuu. No rampage, no destruction.
His eyes narrowed as a terrible thought ran through his head; Golden hair.
"He couldn't have, could he?" Onoki muttered to himself.
"My lord?" the messenger asked, leaning forward to hear.
"You're dismissed," Onoki ordered swiftly, the stone ninja leaving with a quick bow.
"What's on your mind, Gramps?" Kurotsuchi asked in concern.
"The Yellow Flash," Onoki stated harshly. "He was a master of seals."
"Um, yeah, and?" Kurotsuchi asked, eyes widening as she caught on to his line of thought. "You think he had something to do with this?"
"He died "killing" the Kyuubi. Every higher up in every village knows that just means it was sealed away. It would have reformed long ago if it had been mortally wounded. And that one...that beast can't be put in a kettle like some Bijuu. So they sealed it into someone. A dozen and more years later, and this happens?"
"You think he found a way to turn a Jinchuriki into a Bijuu? Gramps that's...that's insane!" Kurotsuchi pointed out, almost needing to believe it.
"That's not the worse case scenario anymore, Kurotsuchi," Onoki remarked with a troubled scowl. "Golden fur."
"What are..." Kurotsuchi stopped as a hint of fear entered her eyes. "You can't be serious? You think that beast, this new Kyuubi, is the Yellow Flash?"
"No, Kurotsuchi. That is an unlikely scenario," he said with a shake of his head. "No, what I suspect is perhaps as bad."
"What alternative could possibly be equal to that?" Kurotsuchi asked skeptically.
"I heard rumors, years ago, that a young Minato saved a girl from being kidnapped by Kumo. A girl with red hair. The last Uzumaki in Konoha. And we all know what they needed the Uzumaki for...and the rumors were that Minato and the girl were the same age," Onoki recalled, his granddaughter stiffening at where this line of thought was going. "That beast might just be the child of Minato Namikaze."
"AHAHAHAHA! Oh, and here I thought Tobi was the joker in this group! I didn't know you had it in you, Zetsu!" Deidara's hologram laughed, holding his belly.
The rest of the Akatsuki members were not laughing, however. The near-featureless likenesses of the group were sharing uneasy looks.
"Zetsu, are you positive of this?" Pain asked sternly.
White Zetsu didn't answer, his troubled look speaking enough, while Black Zetsu nodded. "Yes."
"Bullshit!" Deidara retorted instantly. "You're telling us the Nine-Tails Brat is now THE Nine-Tails? That shit doesn't just happen! All the Bijuu have gone through two or three Jinchuriki each, I'm pretty something like this would have fucking happened already!"
White Zetsu did speak up this time. "But it's true! He's all golden, and he even talks to everyone in the village!" he explained, Black Zetsu continuing as he looked towards Itachi. "I imagine Orochimaru's curse seal on someone's brother had some factor in all this."
Itachi didn't outwardly react, even with the knowledge that his brother was a captured traitor in Konoha now.
"When I agreed to join this group, nobody said anything about facing an unsealed Kyuubi," Kakuzu stated harshly.
"Oh, what's the matter, you chickening out, you heretical corpse fucker?" Hidan asked teasingly.
"It's not like we didn't plan for this," Kisame commented as a surprising voice of reason. "Gold or crimson, we always knew this would be the tricky one. Besides, my sword's dying for a taste of that legendary chakra of the Kyuubi," Kisame stated with his normal battle hunger.
"Enough," Pain spoke up. "Kisame is right. This changes nothing. We have three years to plan and observe the situation. Once we hunt down the other Bijuu, we can coordinate our efforts on defeating and sealing the Kyuubi."
"Are we sure the statue will still work?" Sasori questioned curiously. "Is it possible that it cannot contain this new Kyuubi's chakra? After all, Deidara does raise the point; this is unknown territory."
"A question we will have three years to find answers for," Pain countered pointedly. "And in the event that it does prove incompatible with the statue, we will simply have to eliminate it from the equation."
"Eliminate the Kyuubi," Kakuzu repeated slowly. "You make it sound simple."
"Are you scared, Kakuzu?" Pain asked simply, daring the man to say more.
"Yes," the immortal answered bluntly. "But if this is the route we take, my only advice is this: if that brat is now the Kyuubi, than you may want to forget about waiting three years. In that time, he might have mastered his powers as a Bijuu. At least enough to make...eliminating him a very costly endeavor."
"And what do you propose then? We cannot seal the Kyuubi before the other Bijuu," Sasori reminded.
"Not into the statue, no," Kakuzu agreed meaningfully.
"...What are you suggesting, exactly?" Pain asked in interest.
"That if we find a chance to put the fox out of commission for a few years, we'd better take it," Kakuzu answered before snorting. "Unless of course you have the second coming of Hashirama or Madara stashed away somewhere."
"..." Pain said nothing for a moment before nodding. "This meeting is adjourned," he stated simply, the holograms vanishing in quick succession. All except one. "Itachi," Pain addressed to the clan slayer. "Your Sharingan?"
"I have never attempt to subdued a Bijuu with my bloodline. While I'm unafraid to attempt such a thing, I believe it unwise to gamble all on the chance I'll be successful on the first attempt," Itachi answered honestly.
Pain nodded. "If any Uchiha could do so that easily, I doubt your clan would have left the Kyuubi free in the Warring States Era. That said, you possess the Mangekyou. I doubt that doesn't stack the odds for you somewhat," the leader mused as much to himself as to the Uchiha. "That is all for now, Itachi."
The penultimate hologram vanished, leaving Pain alone for a moment. All of the plans, true and false, had just been thrown a curve ball unlike anything anyone could have anticipated. All in the form of one boy becoming a fox. It would take a bit of creativity and, perhaps, luck to solve this issue. But, if nothing else, they had time to figure it out.
And unless Konoha sealed this new Kyuubi, it wasn't like the young Bijuu wouldn't be hard to find.
After a long, mostly one-sided conversation with Tsunade and Jiraya, Naruto had settled down back onto his spot and simply waited. Being a Bijuu was proving to be fairly boring, despite all the power. Maybe it would be less so once he had some place to stretch his legs and tails some. Though, listening in on different conversations in the village was more than a little entertaining as a way to pass the time.
Especially if the conversations were not about him, because most of those topics were under the category of "People still being afraid of him" to some degree. He couldn't entirely blame them, he knew, but it was still annoying. And as long as he could focus on how annoying it was, he didn't have to think about how upsetting it was.
He was brought out of his musing as he heard someone approach him.
Someone with a very poor attempt at stealth.
Naruto didn't give the ANBU any warning look this time when they stopped a would-be visitor.
"Children, why are you crawling in a square-rock?" a rat-masked ANBU asked in confusion, putting a foot on said "rock" to stop them from moving.
"We've been caught! Scatter!" a voice called out as green smoke cloud exploded from the box.
Naruto blew a small breath there way, clearing the cloud away. Naruto wasn't sure who he was laughing at more: the three ANBU covered in patches of green paint or the three academy students being held by the waist under an arm of each ANBU.
"Well, at least it helps with the camouflage," Naruto stated idly.
"Please don't encourage this," Rat requested in exasperation.
"Boss!" Konohamaru called out with a grin. "I'd say great to see ya, but we kind of can't NOT see ya these days!"
"Wow, you're even cooler up close sir!" Udon exclaimed in child-like awe.
"Hi Boss!" Meogi greeted with a wide eyed, sparkling smile. "You're so big yet so cute!"
Naruto's eyebrow twitched at the cute comment. "I'm going to ignore that," he stated flatly. "What are you three doing here?"
"We came to visit of course! What, you think just because you're the hotshot of a fox that you're too good for your old pupil and rival?!" Konohamaru challenged with a smirk.
The ANBU all shared a look. Yes, this was the grandson of the third Hokage, but the boy did realize his "rival" was now a Bijuu, right?
"More like too much of a hazard if you're not a ninja yet," Naruto answered, jabbing a finger to a point behind him. The children and ANBU glanced in the direction, seeing the destroyed forest and upturned earth from where he had moved and sat down. "I kind of change the geography a bit just by moving," Naruto remarked, suddenly looking very annoyed and glaring out at the village. "Oh, screw you, Iruka-Sensei! Of course I knew the word geography! Also, why aren't you dragging these brats back to class already? Eh? Oh, school's still out."
The ANBU sweat-dropped while the children just laughed at Naruto's antics. "Yeah, we got a day off after the day you walked up to the village," Konohamaru explained.
"Oh, well, you're welcome than," Naruto said cheekily.
"You're a horrible role model," one of the ANBU stated in jest.
"I'm thirteen, sue me," Naruto countered before scratching his chin. "Speaking of which, I have to talk to the old hag about my apartment."
"Ohoh, can we live there! Can we turn it into a Naruto fanclub clubhouse?" Meogi requested gleefully.
"Fanclubhouse? Whatever, you know what we mean," Udon added on.
"Not a chance in hell, kids," Naruto retorted dryly.
"Can you at least call off your ANBU paparazzi?" Konohamaru asked cheekily. "Besides, it's not like you're going to hurt us."
"Konohamaru, you'd hurt yourself just falling off while trying to climb up on me," Naruto pointed out.
"W-what? Who said anything about climbing on you, boss?" Konohamaru asked, all three of them trying to look innocent.
"Do my giant ears mean nothing to you?" Naruto asked with a smirk.
"Fine, fine. But can you at least answer one question while we're here?" Meogi requested.
"Fire away," Naruto granted with a shrug.
"What was that thumping noise when your girlfriend was sitting on your nose?" Udon asked with a head tilt.
Naruto and the three adults stiffened at that, "Yeah, you sounded really embarrassed by it, after you stopped laughing about it," Konohamaru continued.
"And my mom won't tell me what the big deal is about a girl sitting on a boy's face," Meogi stated with a pout.
"...Oh gods, I'm going to have to say it, aren't I?" Naruto realized with a groan, whipping a hand over his face. "I am too young to feel this old."
"Ummm, Naruto Uzumaki?" one of the ANBU spoke up. "I believe I speak for the village when I respectfully request that you do not give an attempt at the Birds and the Bees."
"What are you, crazy? No, I was just going to say: You'll learn about it when you're older," Naruto said, making a face as he said the words. "Gah, it makes my tongue feel old just to say that."
"Ahh, man. No one tells us anything," Konohamaru remarked in annoyance. "Can we at least get one of your hairs to show off at class?"
"...Okay, Konohamaru? Life lesson number one: never ask anybody that. It makes you sound like a creepy stalker," Naruto warned. "And even if it didn't? Still, no."
"...Can you take us for a ride on my birthday?" Konohamaru tried hopefully.
"..." Naruto sighed as he stared at the three hopeful eyes. "Figure out how to climb trees without your hands, then we'll talk."
"Can we send them home now?" one of the ANBU requested, growing mildly irritated at the situation.
"Yes, yes, head off. Have fun you brats," Naruto said as the ANBU vanished with their cargo, the children waving goodbye. He shook his head, scratching his nose as he fought off one of the many urges he had to sneeze. People were definitely talking about him today.
End of Chapter
Ello! Sorry this took so long. Been distracted with other stories when not dealing with RL issues all over the place, like my new nieces. Anyway, I hope you all enjoyed this bit. A lot of you have been asking about reactions from the rest of the world, where, there you go.
Someone also told me Naruto seemed a bit OOC with how sarcastic he is. Mycounter is that I've always seen Naruto as a bit of lowkey sarcasm about him. It's just been amped up because, well, he has NOTHING else to do been listen to other people talk and think to himself. So, naturally, he's got a bit more cheek to him to cope with...everything. Cause without the cheek, he's just left with boredom and the idea he'll never do anything he likes again.
Other than that, not much to tell. I have had this Konohamaru scene planned to happen SO many times in the past chapters, but kept holding it back until it felt like the right time.
Hope you all enjoyed this!
p a treon . com (slash) akumakami64