A/N: Just a reminder, new chapter here officially means new chapter over on the P atreon now, where my patrons are currently voting on the future direction of this story!

That said, I also have some news. Last week on my P atreon, I had my patrons vote on the future of this story. 72% said they want me to wrap up TROU and start a new Naruto fic so that's what I'm doing. TROU will finish up over on my P atreon in the next 2-3 chapters, meaning that there will only be 4-5 more chapters of this fic in total.

Thanks for reading and be sure to keep an eye out for the fic that will replace this one down the road! Right now my patrons are voting on exactly what that story will be, with ideas involving a Time Travel Naruto, AU Naruto, Male OC, or other Male Character as MC currently being thrown around. Hopefully whatever they vote for, you enjoy it just as much as you enjoyed this one if not more so!

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"Sensei is right, Fu shouldn't be alone right now. I'll go check on her."

He doesn't really even have to think about it. Not only is providing comfort what Naruto wants to do for his fellow Jinchuriki in this moment, leaving her alone for even a minute was just asking for the Akatsuki to steal her away right under their damn noses.

Shibuki, of course, doesn't like hearing this. He bristles momentarily at Naruto's unilateral decision making, before ultimately slumping and lowering his head. The young leader looks downright defeated as he lets out a sigh.

"… Very well."

Meanwhile, Kakashi is looking at Naruto with a singularly unimpressed expression on his face, the brow on the Copy Cat Nin's one visible eye having climbed up a bit. Naruto just gives his Sensei a cheeky grin, fully willing to abuse the authority Kakashi had essentially granted him earlier by letting him take the reins.

"You stay here with Shibuki, Sensei. I'll take Sakura and Sasuko with me to look for Fu. That way everyone is protected."

If anything, Kakashi's raised eyebrow only climbs higher. But beyond a simple grunt, the Team Seven Sensei doesn't try to countermand Naruto's orders, even if they probably should have been more like suggestions for Kakashi to consider and decide upon. Rather than comment on their Sensei's visible consternation, Naruto takes Sakura and Sasuko with him and leaves the dining room.

It was clear who Fu had reacted best to out of their little group after all. And Kakashi was right, they couldn't just leave the girl alone when she was in so much danger. Obviously, their Sensei thought Naruto had ulterior motives in mind, but that was ridiculous. All Naruto wanted to do at this point was help a new friend.

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"Hey Fu, I-mmph!"

Naruto's eyes widen as the very first thing his fellow Jinchuriki does upon him sitting down next to her… is throw her arms around his neck and kiss him heatedly on the lips.

Finding the green-haired, dark-skinned kunoichi hadn't been difficult by any means. Naruto was a Chakra Sensor after all, his Nature Chakra affinity allowing him to track Fu down quite quickly indeed. Especially given her very unique Chakra Signature due to her status as a Jinchuriki.

Takigakure, or the Village Hidden in the Waterfall, was technically… hidden by a Waterfall. But it was also hidden by a great big tree that towered over it. It was on one of the tree's lower branches that Naruto, Sakura, and Sasuko had located Fu. After making sure she was fine and there was no one around about to attack, Naruto had motioned for his female teammates to stay back and approached on his own. He hadn't wanted to spook Fu after all, the two kunoichi were merely there as back up.

But even Naruto hadn't expected Fu to glomp him the moment he got within reach. As her lips press against his, Naruto very nearly gives into his instincts. His hands go to her hips and he almost starts to kiss her back. Two things bring him to a grinding halt and force him to put a stop to this however.

Number One, the situation in general just doesn't feel right. This is just like Sasuko in the end, and he's not about to let Fu rush in when he'd made Sasuko wait until the time felt right, no sir. Number Two, Fu's efforts are… incredibly rudimentary. Unpracticed. Inexperienced. It's a stark reminder that she's a virgin and has no sexual experience whatsoever. Naruto wasn't going to take advantage of Fu like that, no sir.

Instead, he firms up his grip on her hips and gently but firmly pries her away from him. Fu, realizing he's not reciprocating and perhaps also realizing what she's doing, yanks back as if burned. For a moment, she looks like she's going to try and run away again… but in the end, she just slumps down next to him, pulling her legs up to her chest and lowering her head to the point that its almost hidden in between them. Her ears are no doubt burning as she whimpers slightly.

"S-Sorry… I… I shouldn't have done that."

Moving one of his hands to her back, Naruto rubs soothing circles there.

"There's no need to apologize, Fu. I don't mind that you kissed me."

Fu's head snaps up at that, her orange eyes staring at him with some hope. Naruto offers a soft smile in return.

"What I care about is why you kissed me, Fu. Is it because you actually like me? Or because you just want to try it? Or because you want to get back at Shibuki?"

Stiffening at that, Fu lowers her head again, silence falling for a moment before she sighs.

"Bit of all three… maybe…"

Naruto hums and nods, recognizing this as a moment not to speak, but to let Fu voice her thoughts. After a beat, she does so.

"I do like you, Naruto. I don't know you very well yet… but as you know, I don't know anyone very well. All I've ever wanted in life is friends. And you… you smell good too. I'd never kissed anyone before. I just… wanted to see what it was like."

Still smiling, Naruto nods some more.

"Those first two reasons are perfectly fine, Fu. I don't mind being liked… in fact, I feel a certain bond to you as well. I know we just met, but we're tied together by something greater than time. We're bound together by shared experiences. Likewise, I wouldn't mind helping you explore kissing and anything else you were interested in either. Even if you decided that we weren't compatible afterwards, that would be alright with me. However, the third reason…"

Here, Naruto trails off. Once again, he's left wondering if he has any right to speak on Shibuki and Fu's relationship. Shibuki had obviously made mistakes, and Fu had ever right to be mad at him. But at the same time, it was clear to Naruto at least that Shibuki had done his best with a bad situation. In fact, Naruto would even say that Shibuki had done better than Sarutobi did with him, as much as it hurt to pick at that particular scab.

"I love Shibuki. He's… he's been my whole world all my life. I love him with my whole heart."

Fu's words pull Naruto out of his own introspection and he looks over to listen to her closely as she continues on, finding what she wants to say and sounding it out as she goes.

"But… that world has gotten increasingly smaller. Or maybe I've just gotten bigger. I can't subsist on a life that's just me and Shibuki anymore. Not when I know there's so much more out there. I want to make new friends. I want to try new things. And he… he lied to me. He could have died, and he kept that from me. What would have happened to me, if he'd died without me ever even knowing there was danger? What have I missed out on in life, trapped in the bubble he created for me?"

Fu's hurt is palpable, and Naruto understands exactly where she's coming from. He considers what to tell her… before ultimately deciding on the truth. His truth, to be exact.

"My own village leader chose a different path from Shibuki, Fu."

Her eyes dart over to him, and she listens intently.

"Technically, he might have been able to keep me a secret if he truly wanted to. However, Konoha is a lot bigger than Taki. There's a lot more moving parts, and a LOT more schemers. If the Third Hokage had kept my existence secret from the public, he likely wouldn't have been able to keep me away from the schemers. I wouldn't have grown up happy like you did, I don't imagine. I wouldn't have grown up at all. I would have been molded into a weapon early on, because that's what Konoha's schemers do. Or rather, did."

Fu's eyes are wide now as she listens to him raptly. Naruto grins slightly, thinking of that final look of dismay on Danzo Shimura's face before the combined might of Konoha descended upon him and put an end to his particular brand of fuckery once and for all.

"Instead, the Third Hokage put me in an orphanage. And whether through his own negligence or because of those aforementioned schemers, my situation as a Jinchuriki was quickly discovered. The Nine Tailed Demon Fox had just attacked Konoha you see, so to find out it was sealed inside of me… I wasn't treated very well by the villagers. They hated me. Despised me, really."

"B-But why?! You weren't the Fox itself! And… why did it attack in the first place?! Chomei isn't violent like that!"

Naruto gives Fu a rueful smile, even as he feels a pulse of anger inside of him at certain memories of being used and abused being brought back to the surface.

"Neither is Kurama… normally. You're right, there were better things to be questioning. But here's something you're going to learn if you go out into the world and look for new friends, Fu. People, as a general rule, suck."

That might have sounded odd coming from him. But Fu didn't know him well enough yet to say so, he imagined. Still, she does blink at his assertion.

"People… suck?"

Nodding, Naruto shrugs as if helpless to this fact of life.

"Yep. People, on average, will suck. It's the individuals that you want to try and get to know, and if you find some that don't suck, that like you for you… you hold onto them with both hands and never let go. But ultimately, people will suck. Growing up in Konoha sucked. The villagers hated me, and while the Third did try to keep an eye on me and doted on me as a grandfather rather than a village leader, I was still incredibly lonely. I channeled that loneliness into pranks and other ways of acting out, forcing people to pay attention to me, but it didn't really help."

Fu looks stricken, hearing about his past. She also looks a little confused.

"But… you seem so happy now."

Nodding, Naruto chuckles.

"Because I found those individuals and I didn't let them go. I'm happy because I have a family now, Fu. Friends… loved ones… people worth fighting for. And Konoha itself? Its not so bad these days. We're changing it for the better."

For a long moment, Fu is silent, processing this information. Naruto just sighs and brings the conversation full circle.

"So you see… I can't say for sure that Shibuki made the right choice in hiding you away from everyone. Nor can I say he made the right choice in hiding the threat to the village from you all those years ago. There might have been better ways for him to go about doing… just about everything. I can say… I think he made the decisions he made from a good place. I don't think it was ever his intention to hurt you…"

Fu nods her head at that.

"I don't think he wanted to hurt me either. But it doesn't change the fact that he did. And more than that, I don't think… I don't think I can stay here any longer, Naruto. I don't know if I can hide away from the world any longer. I want to go out and do things. I want to make friends. I want… I want to kiss you some more."

Fu blushes profusely at that last part but forces the words out all the same. Naruto smiles crookedly and cocks his head to the side.

"Before we do any of that, you should know my situation."

Blinking, Fu looks over at him and tilts HER head to the side in confusion, waiting for him to explain.

"I'm the last Uzumaki in Konoha. As such, the Fifth Hokage has seen fit to give me a… mandate. I'm now Lord Uzumaki, of the Uzumaki Clan, and its my duty to rebuild that Clan from the ground up. Part of doing this requires me to… well, bed a lot of women. Specifically Fu, I have a harem. It means I'm having sex with a dozen different women, all of whom I'm also marrying."

Fu's eyes are wide as she takes that in, and Naruto shrugs helplessly once more.

"That's why you smelt me on Sasuko and Sakura. They're not just my teammates… they're my fiancés."

As Fu digests this, Naruto waits patiently for her response. It might be incredulity, or maybe more questions, or even disgust. Either way, he'll do what he can to explain.

However, just as Fu is opening her mouth to speak, an almighty CRASH strikes only a dozen feet away from them, moving so fast that not even Naruto detects it before it happens. Their eyes dart over to the crater suddenly in the massive tree branch they're both sitting on the edge of, and a heartbeat later both Sakura and Sasuko have alighted upon the bark next to them, taking up defensive positions.

As the dust settles on the crater, a voice sounds out… but not from the crater itself.

"Holy fucking shit Kakuzu, why the FUCK did we let her lead us on this wild-ass goose chase?!"

"Simple, Hidan… as soon as I realized the direction she was heading in, I knew we could take care of two birds with one kunai."

Coming down the other end of the broad tree branch are two figures in black cloaks covered in red clouds. Naruto and Sasuko both recognize these immediately as the same cloaks that Itachi and his blue-skinned partner were wearing all those years ago. Akatsuki.

However, these two are unfortunately NOT Itachi and the shark man he'd been partnered with back then. Instead, there's a man with slicked back grey hair and a massive triple-bladed red scythe standing next to a man in a mask with only his all-green eyes visible.

The both of them stop on the other side of the crater from where Naruto, Fu, Sasuko, and Sakura are all crouched. The masked man with the all-green eyes stares at them all for a moment before snorting derisively.

"It would seem however, that our fortune is even greater than I anticipated. We shall be taking care of three birds with one kunai on this outing."

The dust from the crater has finally cleared away, allowing Naruto to glance down and make out the features of an unconscious beautiful blonde wearing a headband from Kumogakure, the Hidden Cloud Village. Judging by the way Kakuzu is speaking and given what they KNOW the Akatsuki are after… she's a Jinchuriki as well. A Jinchuriki very far from home and any would-be allies.

Naruto's jaw clenches, as he looks at the two incredibly dangerous S-Rank Nin standing across from them. This wasn't the best situation for them to be in… but it could have been worse. They hadn't gotten the Akatsuki they wanted, but they were prepared for an Akatsuki attack of some sort all the same. They certainly weren't going to go down without a fight.

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