Right, there is no excuse for such a late update. I procrastinated, and that's the end of it. It has nothing to do with school and life or what not. I deal with them easily enough (and personally, I'm not sure if I should be happy that I don't get enough drama in my life).

Then of course, I also has to rewrite several times to get what I'm hoping for, but it appears that I'll have to toss certain things out while keep others. You will know what I mean I think.

As such, I should stop annoying you with this useless author header and simply get on with the damn story.

By the way, I injured one of my fingers, so I'm essentially only typing with seven instead of the usual eight (and trust me, it can be very annoying, especially consider that it's my pointing finger, the one between me thumb and middle). So if there are places that spell funny and I missed it, do forgive me.

Disclaimer: I do not own anything in this story except for the out-of-the-mind idea that seems to work. The materials (other than the plot) belong to their respective creators, and so shall it remain until they do something either extremely stupid (sell it to some idiot), or really smart (sell it to a maniac)… the maniac part is a joke by the way.

Beta by: Soul Nin

XXXXXXXXXX

Destiny Island… Naruto…

Fate is, for a lack of a better term as well as description, a bitch.

That's probably why Neji used to like bitching about it so much, but he isn't going to bitch like he did. No, Uzumaki Naruto will not bitch about the hand Fate decided to deal him, because if there really is an entity that controls everything's fate, then he will find it, and he'll kick its ass one way or another.

It is wishful thinking, and he admits it is weak of him to even think of Fate at a moment like this! Destiny is one thing (because he believes in destiny), but Fate is utter bullshit in his opinion.

He of course cannot help but recall something Yen Sid said to him with all the seriousness he possesses: "There is no coincidence boy. Everything happens for a reason. You will do well to remember it."

Do not be shocked, for certain things happen for a reason. Just then, the fox glowed before she starts to shrink, and in her place is a woman in a somewhat torn kimono, long red hair in nine braids, and cat-like eyes that glare at him while her full lips are currently in a pout. In fact, she is the exact copy of the woman depicted by the stained glass platform… Now to formerly meet she who shields you from death, Kyuubi.

It's just like that time with the strange dream-slash-reality, but that doesn't mean he has to like it.

But on the contrary, he actually likes this particular event rather well.

You see, just how many people get to claim that they met their resurrected dead father (or reincarnated whatever it is) and then kick his ass? Somehow, at this moment, he can't help but recall that punch he dealt Minato all that time ago within the seal when he went Eight-Tailed and nearing on nine.

It isn't quite enough.

Now he stands corrected on a previous statement: Fate is a bitch, but Payback is the Mother of all bitches!

"You really should stop grinning like that…" Minato murmured nervously, and Naruto can understand why. Hell, he'd probably be disturbed by his own grin should he see it in a mirror. Too bad he doesn't particularly care at this tender reunion.

He can hear a certain kitsune shouting and yelling for him to do something, and for once, he can agree with her rather readily.

The question remains: What to do?

Let's start with some senseless violence. However, a little voice within his head that sounds oddly reminiscent of Alice scolds him for such childish behavior.

So how about a method like diplomatic conversation? Someone that sounds like Tsunade shouts at him about politics and whatnot.

Then let's try… Okay, he's got nothing.

Winging it appeared to be the best option. "Hello. When do I get to kick your ass?" Hmm… that sounded like a good start.

Everyone in the room blinked at the question, but Naruto didn't mind. That was his honest opinion, and after all, he did make a promise to kick Minato's ass for accidentally setting the red head on him.

Then what happened next could be best described as chaos.

Just as his foot crushed the floor board where Minato's head was a second ago, Naruto caught a blur of moment from the corner of his right eye, and then he's flying through the front entrance of the house.

As he rolls with the momentum and comes to a stop in a crouched position, Naruto's head twitches to the side as he avoids the knee that would have definitely crushed his nose. His hands shoot up, trying to lock the leg into place, but he couldn't manage too as the blur then disappeared once more. The only warning he had was a small breeze at the back of his neck before a leg smashes into the back of his head, sending him skidding down the street.

When he gets back up, his grin only widens in excitement, because THIS is what he has been looking for. THIS is what a shinobi battle is.

Then they are dashing through the street and then onto the beach that he had arrived on. Sand flew, and fists and kicks are exchanged, and grunts and groans accompany the sound of flesh striking flesh.

Forget any academic lessons from the Ninja Academy, because in the heat of battle, there really isn't such a thing as think things through; not at such a pace. In the pace they are going, all there is is pure instinct and muscle memory. Against the Yellow Flash of Konoha, that is all Naruto needs to know, yet at the same time that is all he can do. The speed Minato displays is incredible, and he isn't even using his most prized technique; the one that won the Third Great War for them.

But of course, Naruto isn't using Sage Mode either.

With his ability to take and dish out damage and Minato's speed and agility, Naruto would grudgingly say that they were evenly matched.

In a few short seconds, Naruto could easily grasp Minato's taijutsu style. A quick jab to the stomach; a feint then hook to his kidney; a kick to the knee joint; a punch to the jaw; Minato aims for where it hurts. The blonde Jinchuuriki quickly adapts to it as best as he can, and fights back.

Of course Minato is the Fourth Hokage for a reason, for he also adapts to Naruto's fighting style near instantly.

There aren't any fancy techniques. There aren't any awe-inspiring ninjutsu or jaw-dropping taijutsu. There isn't any time for genjutsu or any use for kenjutsu.

It is simply a pure and unedited slug fest between two people who seems to have something to work out judging by the ferocity with which they attack each other.

It isn't some battle between two high ranked shinobi with the fate of their village hanging in the balance.

It isn't some match that determines whether they receive promotion or not.

It isn't some show put on for the benefit of the clients or the entertainment of the Daimyos.

It is a slug fest.

Pure and fucking simple!

And Uzumaki Naruto loves EVERY SINGLE SECOND OF IT!

"IS THAT ALL YOU CAN DO OLD MAN?" Naruto screams as he shrugs off a straight punch to the face and in returns deals a punishing blow to Minato's stomach.

The other blonde flinches a bit before using his superior speed to dart into Naruto's defense once more and deal out a quick 1-2-3-punch-punch-kick combo. "FAR FROM IT YOU BRAT!"

Sometime in their senseless violence, Naruto is vaguely aware of the arrival of not just his traveling companion, but also his hostess (that would most likely kick his ass later for the crater in her house) and several bystanders attracted here by the disturbance. He is only slightly aware of how Alice is shouting for them to stop fighting while Kushina rants and curses at them both for delaying dinner. He is slightly sure that Suigintou and Larxene have exchanged munny to see who would win in this simple, undiluted slug fest.

Whatever, he doesn't care. Not when he is having so much excitement.

"You're getting RUSTY!"

"You're still wet behind the ears!"

"YOUR PUNCH'S TICKLE!"

"YOUR'S CAN'T HIT SHIT!"

Man, who would have thought this would happen.

But really, who cares? Well, he certainly doesn't give a damn.

XXXXXXXXXX

Alice has long since given up on calming the two down. If after ten minutes of shouting and pleading they're still at it, then it's best to take the hint that they won't stop until one of them drops.

Or until Kushina decides that enough is enough and jumps in. Why would Alice think that?

Her answer is simple: Naruto, kick, lights out.

Rather, Alice decides to sit on one of the many benches on the beach and pout as her eyes try and fail to follow the event going on in front of her. There isn't a doubt in her mind that her onii-chan would come out battered and bruised, and she won't be happy with it at all. In fact, she won't do a thing for his injuries.

It still annoys her that she simply doesn't understand why Naruto started this whole mess. Kushina seems to, because she has this strange smile on her face that is somewhat bittersweet. Suigintou only tilts her head when Alice asks, and offers her this strange little smile. Unlike Kushina's though, Alice can't discern what it entails.

As for the Savage Nymph Larxene: "He should just finish him off. Naruto has dragged this one a little too long. I'm hungry, I'm cold, and I'm tired. I want to eat, I want to sleep, and if he isn't finished in the next five minutes, I'm going to kick their asses then go to sleep. Forget food!"

Well, that pretty much sums up what the blonde Nobody is thinking.

"I think this has gone on long enough." Alice meekly says as she fidgets with her hands, hoping that her intention is made clear to the only person who seems able to stop this: Kushina. The red head raises an eyebrow before she chuckles in amusement. "I don't see how this is amusing… As far as I'm concerned this is rather redundant."

"It's a man thing." Kushina replies and chuckles at Alice's exasperated look. It is also at that moment that she casually tilts her head to the side just as one of the blonde males fly past her with the other following not far behind. "Besides, It'll be cruel if I don't allow them a little time to get over whatever pent up issues they have first."

"Didn't they just meet today?" Alice asks her tone still as exasperated as before as she dares peer over her shoulders, only to wince before quickly return her full attention to the red head. "I don't see what possible… issues they may have with each other. Besides, if this is due to some simple issue, I hate to see what they'll be like on a full on fight…"

"Ooh, I'd like to see that." Suigintou says and grins at the chagrined look from Alice. "What? You can't say that you're not interested!"

"I'm not. And if I have any say in it, it will never happen."

"…You're no fun at all, girly." The doll mumbles with a shrug. "I think you're too uptight. Loosen up a little and enjoy such wondrous entertainment, yes?"

"Entertainment? This is senseless violence! (1) And I really do think it has gone on long enough!" Alice yells the last part and roughly shoves Suigintou into Kushina's arms before promptly marching towards the chaos that is Naruto and his look-alike. She succeeds in getting within four feet of it before Naruto roughly grabs her by the back of her shirt and hurls her into Larxene. "W-WAH?"

"Sorry Alice, but stay out of the way! OOF! THAT WAS A CHEAP SHOT OLD MAN!"

Alice blinks a few times before she roughly dislodges herself from Larxene and shouts, "ONII-CHAN NO BAKA! I DARE YOU TO THROW ME AGAIN!" Of course, the girl has enough wit in her pouting rage to not charge into the fury of fists and kicks. Larxene only laughs as cheerfully as she can at Alice's situation, finding it rather amusing. Suigintou though isn't as amused as the others, and she makes it known by pinching Alice's arm when she floats back into her embrace. "O-ow… I'm sorry."

"You better be. Nobody tosses me around." Suigintou says, and Alice is tempted to add 'except my sisters' for her, but not knowing where that notion came from, the Princess discards it before focusing her attention back onto the fighting duo. She really does not understand just why they are doing this. "I'd say it's about to wind down in a few minutes."

"Huh?" Is Alice's rather intelligent reply at Suigintou's sudden interjection about the impromptu fist fight. The doll only smirks in a particular way, and it is Larxene that answers.

"If my experiences about men's behavior serves me well, then dolly would be right." The Twelfth Greater Nobody says casually, and dodges the single black feather with equal amount of effort before continuing. "They need to get the excess energy out of their bodies first before they can talk properly. It's one of those guy things. They are more prone to violence than women after all. It's a proven fact." (2)

"There are of course other ways to wind them down, but I don't think it's appropriate for the… current situation." Suigintou says teasingly and her smirk only grows as Alice's face tints red. It is a known fact that Alice understands what is required to make children. It is part of her upbringing, and Penelope seemed to find it necessary to expose her to the knowledge after her eleventh birthday.

Let it be known that Alice Pleasance Liddell will forever lock the day after her eleventh birthday in the darkest pit of her mind. It was informative, but also rather… well, let's just leave it unsaid.

"Should I be worried that she understands what you're implying?" A blushing Kushina asks, and the Princess of Hearts could have sworn she saw the red head wipe some red liquid from the bottom of her nose. "I mean she's what; twelve, thirteen; barely going on fourteen?"

That is a legit question, and just as she is about to answer, Alice is beaten by her two female traveling companion. "She's fine. Don't worry about."

Poor Kushina can only nod dumbly at the stereo answer from Suigintou and Larxene, though Alice hopes to comfort the red head with a small smile. It seems to work, because Kushina visibly relaxed a tad.

"Well, as much fun as it is to see two guys beat each other up –and trust me, I've had enough of that from my associates- I am going back for some food… Didn't we leave something on the stove?" Larxene states before asking, and upon seeing Alice's shrug, the woman left while shaking her head. Alice did leave a dish to simmer on low fire, but whether or not the food is still edible is unknown.

"Oh good, they're done." Suigintou's casual comment snaps Alice out of her food-induced trance just in time to see the two males punch each other one last time in the face. Then they gracefully –note the heavy sarcasm- crumble into each other. It reminds Alice of that strange message the Cheshire Cat gave her, but then that is also quickly discarded. Naruto's look-alike certainly isn't a Keybearer. "Girl, what are you waiting for? Go collect your man already!"

Cue the blushing cheeks and pouting lips as well as a not-so-fierce glare. "He is my onii-chan, not my man!"

"Ah, but your onii-chan happens to be a man… yes? And you love him very much… yes?"

"…You… You… UGH!"

Suigintou: 1, Alice: 0.

XXXXXXXXXX

As Naruto lies next to his panting father, he couldn't keep the shit-eating grin off his face.

There simply isn't a reason why he shouldn't smile is all. Besides, it was a very satisfying experience over all, and Naruto would honestly say that he hopes for a repeat.

He is vaguely aware of someone trying to gain his attention, and he would hazard a guess that someone is Alice. He has taken a little too much punishment to his head, and while he dealt out an equal amount of damage (hopefully), being on the receiving end of what could possibly be a concussion is never fun. When a worried face pops into his vision, Naruto can only grin idiotically at Alice, whose worried expression then morphs into annoyance. She is still saying something, and while there is this insistent ringing within his ears, Naruto thinks she is saying, "I find this course of action to be rather pointless."

Well, to Alice it may be pointless. To him it is a chance to let out all that pent-up aggression he held for the Yondaime of Konohagakure. (3)

Now if he can just figure out what the red head is trying to say… It is probably along the line of calling them idiots with amusement or something. Her grin isn't exactly a reproachful one.

"Baka Ningen how's your tiny brain?"

Oh, for the love of all the things that has to be the first clear thing he hears at the moment… "Kuso Ningyou, you're heavy, get off."

Suigintou's purple eyes shine in amusement as she leans forward, her hands planted on his chest and she says, "Forgive me for my skepticism in regards to your comment. However, I will forever remain the same weight, and I'll have you know, I am not heavy. Ask the girl. As to my question, should I or should I not expect more stupidity out of you?"

Naruto groans as he feels more than sees Alice hold up his head only to settle it onto her lap. Whenever did she get there, Naruto doesn't bother questioning it. The ringing in his ears and the black spots within his vision don't allow a lot of mental processing to be done. "Shut up. I'll turn you into firewood…"

"Oh good! You're the same baka!" The doll says entirely too cheerful, though Naruto is somewhat grateful to her. It beats Alice's attempts to mother him. Penelope would have a better chance in doing that. "Oh stop fretting girl, he won't die."

Naruto finally notices that Alice has been probing and poking at his bruises here and there to try and determine if he's showing any reaction. That explains the stinging. It's probably because Alice is worrying more because he isn't exactly reacting to these pokes. "Hey Alice, can you stop poking them please?"

"Onii-chan! You scared me when you didn't respond! Would you please be a little more considerate for your own condition?" The girl worried and Naruto chuckles before turning his head to the side to see their hostess rather effortlessly pull his father into a fireman carry. It's a little amusing to see his dead weight father flapping here and there on a girl's shoulder like that. It brings him the satisfaction in knowing that he managed to knock some sense into him if only temporarily. "Oh, and Kushina-san says that she'll come back for you after she puts Minato-san back into the house."

"Oh… By the way, what time is it?" Naruto asks as the ringing gets to be on a more manageable level and his vision begins to slowly clear. It pays sometimes to have Kyuubi in your stomach. It'll suck to be Minato in the morning.

"Dinner time." Suigintou answers simply, now resting her body entirely upon his torso while kicking her legs, her elbow propping her hands up which support her chin. It makes an interesting image. "If you want the official time, it's probably close to midnight on this world. The moon is rather high up, and you didn't exactly wake up at the most appropriate time." The First Maiden then hums a little as she tilts her head in thought. Naruto blinks up at Alice, who raises an eyebrow in return at his non-functioning thought process. Just as he is about to ask if they can get Larxene to carry him back, Suigintou says, "You know, we should be heading back. Can you stand Baka Ningen?"

Oh right, now his pride is in question… damn it. "Sure… hold on." Naruto says as he waves Suigintou off of him. The doll smirks in that I'm-going-to-cause-you-trouble-and-you-know-it way as she folds her arm across her chest. The blonde shinobi sighs as he readies himself.

'Okay, let's see… turn sideways, one hand for support, one leg for the needed push.' Then up! "…See? I'm just…! I don't suppose someone can catch me?"

"Nya?" Alice is not exactly a happy princess at that moment. "O-Onii-chan… You're heavy~~~!"

XXXXXXXXXX

They never did find the energy to eat dinner, or at the very least Naruto and Minato never did. The best way to describe them after that little tussle would be "dead on their feet." It also didn't quite help the matter when Larxene finished a third of their food claiming to be starving. Alice didn't mind, and Kushina certainly found it amusing. Suigintou though was a little offended.

That was several hours ago.

And an hour before, Naruto woke up from his sleep feeling better than ever (or as good as he felt in that week), and then proceeded to get his head chewed on by Alice.

What fun!

So as Kushina hums to herself making breakfast for her guests, she tallies up the current rooming arrangement. She feels kind of bad having them cram into her room and the guest room while she took over the master bedroom (AKA her parent's room). Her room isn't exactly big, just enough to fit Alice and Larxene in snuggly with the former taking the bed and the latter taking a sleeping bag dug up from their attic. Naruto finds himself waking up in the guest room this time, saving him from potentially flashing of yours truly (again). The mysterious doll Suigintou oddly enough chooses to room with her son instead of getting together with the ladies. When asked, she just says something about needing to be sure the 'Baka Ningen' doesn't suffocate himself in his stupidity.

Heh, like she doesn't know what Suigintou is trying to do! Is it really that hard to say that she is even the least bit worried?

Apparently a lot, since the doll's pride is as visible as an elephant flying in the sky.

And probably is the size of said elephant.

It's almost cute if it wasn't for the fact that she's a little overprotective at the moment in regards to Naruto despite knowing for a fact that he probably doesn't even know exactly who she is. All he knows is that she is Kushina, the Hostess and nothing more. Alice never told him her last name for some reason and he never bothered asking. The most interaction they had was the accidental flashing and the talk last night before Minato showed up, and that little impromptu tussle started.

That tiny amount was not enough to satisfy her building maternal instinct.

By the gods she is going to coddle him for at least a day, and she'll start with this breakfast of bacons and eggs. Then they're going to the nearest ramen restaurant to eat them out of business if at all possible.

And they will do that with or without Minato. Kushina justified this by convincing herself that she is a little mad at him for what he'd done, or how little she could remember of it. There is just something about Naruto that she knows Minato screwed up on, but feels that she is equally guilty.

It also keeps her calm from over reacting to Naruto pummeling Minato into the ground despite him taking an equal amount of beating. Then again, Kushina feels that fight to be inevitable for reasons unknown, but she isn't complaining. Let's just chalk it up to woman's intuition.

"The eggs are burning."

"EEH?" Kushina yelps as she rescues the partially burned egg and sighs in dejection. Turning around, she finds Larxene standing casually behind her, hips cocked to the side and one hand resting on it. The other hand is currently holding a piece of half eaten toast that was probably stolen from the mountainous pile on the table. "It would help if you simply rescued it before telling me you know?"

"Can't. I was busy with my toast." Larxene replies with a smirk that irks Kushina in the wrong way, but the red head lets it slide. It's probably just how the woman is. "Now what do you plan to do with all this food? I don't see a private army anywhere, so who's it for?"

A twitch is the only indication that Kushina finds Larxene's half-teasing, half-sarcastic remark annoying. "They're for Naruto…"

"Hmm… talk about feeding a growing boy."

"Alright, spill it. What's the problem?" Kushina snaps, crossing her arms under her breasts as she stares at the older blonde.

"I want to know why the sudden interest in him." Larxene answers immediately, her tone neutral and her posture remaining the same casual stance. However, Kushina can detect a sort of protectiveness emanating from the blonde's action, as if she needs to know her intention so that Naruto wouldn't be harmed directly or indirectly. It causes Kushina to blink while biting her lip to keep from laughing at the irony of it all.

"Alright, but first answer me this," The red head pauses for dramatic effect, "how long have you known him?"

"That is for me to know and for you to worry about."

"That means that you haven't known him for very long."

"I'm not answering that."

A glaring match actually starts over this little argument, and Kushina mentally berates herself upon such… strange behavior. "Does it have something to do with the fact that you feel… attached to him despite only just knowing him for a short time?"

"Possibly." A shrug accompanies the short answer, leaving Kushina little to nothing to work with. Of course when Larxene didn't deny it also left Kushina with plenty to ask.

"…Well, since you're here anyway, come help me make some breakfast."

The resulting fire on the stove quickly have Kushina banning Larxene from the stove, much to the Nobody's embarrassment as well as relief. There was a reason why the Organization didn't let her cook.

XXXXXXXXXX

Radiant Garden…

Operation: Get-Leon-to-Spill-about-Naruto has not been going well. So far Sora had tried every trick he knew short of tying the man down and threatening to toss him to his Fan Club to get the desired information out of him. Riku isn't having much luck either, seeing as despite his traveling through darkness for some time, he never did learn how to extract information. He left that to Ansem (or DiZ as he is called when covering in his wrappings) seeing as the man seems particularly interested in venting his frustration through… misplaced aggression.

Let us not even bother with Kairi. Sweet Kairi can never really hurt anyone (except Heartless), so all her threats to Leon are empty ones.

They did manage to get SOMETHING, but most of it was rather useless.

For example… they know the person responsible for Alice's disappearance is blonde. They also know that he is well over six feet, an impressive height in the teenager's mind (though not the biggest).

They learned that this person is SORT OF like Cloud in the whole blonde-and-blue-eyed look with spiked hair style, except it's not as much as a chocobo but more of an urchin. And just so that people know, Sora and Riku laughed their guts out when they finally learned of Cloud's bird-related nickname, much to the man's displeasure and Kairi's amusement.

All of these facts are learned through blood (Leon beating Sora and Riku into the floor) and sweat (Kairi sweating bullets at the way Leon glares at her in annoyance).

Overall, the operation is a failure, and Kairi can only bemoan that fact as she stuffs another spoonful of ice cream into her mouth.

Yuffie may have spilled the beans on the fact that they know who is responsible for Alice's disappearance, but Leon is keeping everything else rather tight lipped. What he gave them so far is rather useless, because no matter how these descriptions of their criminal may be, the chance of actually finding the right guy is rather slim. The Princess of Hearts also does not like the notion of searching the entire galaxy for this dude.

Besides, the fact that nobody besides her boys seem worried sort of dampened her urge to go and find Alice. It also doesn't really help her resolve when Yuffie only grins largely when asked if she could give out more information. When Aerith of all people simply tells her not to stress over it, Kairi finds a lacking of any and all motivation to go and search for the missing Princess of Hearts.

Nothing seems to be happening after all. No worlds are vanishing into Darkness. The Heartless and Nobodies are all keeping themselves as much out of troubles as they can, leaving only the occasional skirmishes. The other Princesses are all happily living their lives, and that only serves to remind Kairi of her promise visit to Belle sometime within the near future.

The only reason why Kairi is here, stuffing herself with ice cream while worrying over it is because of that very, VERY strange dream she had. The fact that all of the descriptions of Naruto given so far just happen to match that strange guy within her dream make her wary. Naminé's amusement of her situation also only serves to annoy Kairi further. The Princess knows for a fact that her Nobody knows something. How she came upon that piece of information and WHAT the Memory Witch knows is all being kept in the dark. Regardless, Kairi still finds it troubling that she knows what this Naruto person looks like without ever meeting the guy.

And of course, there is this gut feeling that Alice will find her situation most amusing when the Kairi and the youngest Princess finally reunite.

"Brooding again?"

"I'm not brooding." Kairi pouts over her spoon as she glares at Yuffie. The self-proclaimed greatest ninja just shrugs it off before grabbing a spoon and hijacking Kairi's vanilla ice cream carton. "Hey! Get your own!"

"Didn't your mother teach you to share?" Yuffie responds as she plunges her spoon into the ice cream, scoop out a healthy helping, and popping it into her mouth. "Mm, vanilla."

With a huff, Kairi snatches back her ice cream before helping herself to some more, while asking, "So what are you doing here?"

"You don't seem happy to see me here…" Yuffie deadpans before she steals the ice cream once more. "As to your question, I'm just taking a break from work."

"You mean hiding from Leon." The ice cream once more changes hands.

"Whichever one works for you." The ninja replies with a shrug before the ice cream is securely returned in her hand. "Still, it makes me wonder how long you guys will try to pester Leon about Naruto."

Kairi pauses from another attempt to regain her ice cream as she tilts her head in thought. The Princess then folds her arms as her brow scrunches up in annoyance, saying, "I don't know. So far nothing we learned is any help at all. Besides, you guys don't seemed worry that Alice isn't back in her world."

"Speaking of, have you guys visited her world?"

Kairi only responds with a look of "What do you think" to the self-proclaimed super ninja. Yuffie again shrugs off the look. "Then I suppose what Leon is telling you all what you already know."

"…About that… Penelope –Alice's sister that is- never really told us anything… In fact," Kairi sudden perks up as she remembers a particular fact that has eluded her until now. "Penelope doesn't seem worried at all! If anything, she's more angry than worried… That isn't helping me see this Naruto guy as the bad guy here you know?" (4)

"I can understand your point of view, but your boys don't seem to share your thoughts."

"They can be dense." Kairi mumbled before making a grab for the ice cream one final time. "They're good boys and all, but sometimes I wonder if I hit them too many times in the head when we were kids…"

"Heh, really now…" Yuffie's expression morphs into a sly look, one which Kairi quickly kills off with a glare –one that actually works this time. Yuffie in response holds up her hands in a defensive position and says, "Alright, I get it. No need to get so worked up over it…" When Kairi's glare changes to a somewhat smug look, Yuffie can only shake her head. According to the files collected by Ansem before he went missing, Kairi is the feistiest of the seven, and apparently he's right. "Still, how long do you think Sora and Riku can keep it up before they give up?"

"I give them one more day…." Kairi says around a spoonful of her delightful treat. The brunette next to her sniggers while folding her hands behind her head. Just then something hits Kairi like a ton of bricks, making her blurt out, "Oh no… I completely forgot school!"

"Eh?"

"School! I can't believe we forgotten about school! The teachers will butcher us!" Kairi shouts in a panic, her dessert forgotten on the side as the red head runs around in fear. "Kushina-sempai will slaughter me for leaving the tennis team so suddenly!" At the end, the shout has progressed into more of a squeak. Yuffie has to hide a wince at the sheer atrocity of it, which only serves to make the ninja very aware of the terror behind Kairi's voice.

"I think you should relax." Yuffie says with a laugh, more of trying to calm her own nerve than to sooth Kairi's. She doesn't know who this Kushina is, but for someone like Kairi who easily marches into a Corridor of Darkness to be scared of her, Yuffie has a gut feeling that she doesn't want to piss her off. Scratch that; keep this person away from her for Yuffie loves her life. "Besides, isn't it summer in your world?"

"…Summer school?" This comes out as a squeak, but not as shrill as before.

"…Oh." This comes out as a grimace. "Well… I think you should stick to the plan of one more day. You never know."

"…I guess…" Whatever Kairi will say is forgotten as Leon's voice drifts into the room. The princess blinks her eyes to the entrance just in time to see Leon walking in with Sora and Riku hanging on his every word. It seems they'd gotten something out of him. It is probably something useless again.

"An overall nice man…" Leon says with a shrug just as his eyes suddenly latch onto Yuffie's form. Kairi can literally feel the feeling of dread building up from the brunette next to her, and if Leon's upturn of his lips is any indication… "Who Yuffie seems to have her eyes on…" Ah yes, that's… unexpected. Another unexpected thing is just when Yuffie hauled a couch above her head, looking just about ready to throw it at Leon. 'Don't throw the couch Yuffie." (5)

The cough still flew… with an impressive speed the Princess of Hearts might add. Kairi absentmindedly wonder just how much scolding Aerith would be dishing out today.

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Off in another room, Aerith sudden sneezes just as she finishes setting a glass of ice tea next to Sid. The flower girl blinks while rubbing her nose before glancing in a particular direction, which just happens to be where Leon and company are at. Sid only takes one look at her expression and asks, "Kids?"

"…Excuse me: I think there are some ears I need to chew up." The green eyed brunette says cheerfully, a little too cheerful as Sid winced in sympathy. The girl hugs the tray she used to bring the refreshment in to her chest and bounces out of the room. Once again Sid has to wince at the warning bell ringing in his head. Whoever it is that caused the cheerful Aerith to be like this, he hopes that there'll be enough pieces left to put in a box.

Oh well, not his problem. Now where are his cookies…? Damn Gullwings!

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Destiny Island, Naruto's mindscape/Heart…

Kyuubi purrs.

She doesn't know why she's so content at this particular moment. It might have something to do with the fact that Naruto managed to deal some heavy beating to that annoyance Minato (despite receiving an equally heavy beating back). Of course it only gives her the satisfaction in knowing that Naruto is at the very least on equal footing with the man who defeated her so soundly while tearing her into two parts.

It also makes her a little curious about her other half. You see, that part contains MOST of her manners and "niceties" despite it being her Ying and her being the Yang. Then again, Yang is usually related as the physical aspect while Ying the mental. Kind of like chakra really… Oh well, not like it matters at the moment. The nagging in the back of her mind is probably something to tell her that her Ying is still there, but she doesn't know where, nor does she really care.

Still, the situation Naruto is in is rather amusing. She can't for her own tails' sake figure out how or why this happens. It just did, and now Naruto will have to deal with it. Knowing her host, he'll go in head first, hoping any obstacles in his way will give way to him before his head give first. Of course, more accurately it should be say before Kyuubi lets his head give first. Still, this is... amusing.

Now… let's see how difference this Tomato is… (6)

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Wonderland…

He runs and he runs and he runs. Running isn't a stranger to him, but usually he doesn't run like this. His instincts tell him to run, and like all the inhabitants of his mad world, he dares not stay near her!

Where is Alice when you need her? Actually, what can Alice do in this situation? Talk some sense into this… this… whatever the hell this is!

Nobody knows. Of course, nobody at first believes that they need Alice at all. Oh sure, she may have helped in their creation, but she created the Queen of Hearts as well, and look what that got her. But oddly enough, when this person first appears, the first person that pops into everyone's head is sweet, innocent Alice Pleasance Liddell. Many times he has question his choice, but many times he can only stun himself by keep wishing that she is there!

Still, since she isn't there, all he can do is run, and run, and run, and run, and run!

He must run! It isn't even because the Jabberwocky (whom was also created by Alice, God bless her soul for she really is too creative for her own maddening good). Actually, even the Jabberwocky ran!

The Jabberwocky, running away with its tail between its legs! He used to think that when that happened, hell will freeze over (or the sky will rain carrots). Well, Hell apparently is still blazing and the sky is clear and sunny, but regardless of that fact, the Jabberwocky ran!

So he ran too.

Everybody ran.

They may all be mad, but survival instincts trump madness any day of the week!

"Ah! There we go!" A hand darts out and snatches his coat in mid jump, hauling him up and to eye level with the person he is running from. Seeing a pair of lazy yellow cat-like eyes peering into him with a soft and lazy grin stretching her lips, he somehow can't help but feel that this is the most terrifying sight he'd ever seen. Odd how such a disarming expression can cause such terror within him, but his instincts scream at him to pray that the smile never leaves! "Why are you in such a hurry dear little rabbit? I only wish to know a few things are all, so there isn't a need to run now is there?"

"I-I-I-I don't know a-anything!" He squeaks out, his teeth clashing continuously in fear as one fine black eyebrow rises up a notch. He gulps, and continues, "You d-don't belong here. Leave t-this place i-i-immediately… please."

"Hmm… Don't worry, I will. In fact, you don't even have to fear me at all! I'm not going to harm anyone here. You have my words in that." She says, her lips turning from the lazy smile to a small grin that exposes straight, white teeth. It also exposes two particular sharp canines that, if you will forgive his manner, almost made him soil himself. "Now, like I said, all I wish for is some knowledge."

It probably wouldn't matter if he did tell her or not. If she does keep her word, which really means nothing seeing as how he doesn't even know who she is, there is no guarantee that she'll never return. Besides, what could she possibly want from someone like him? As he voices that thought to her in the same terrified and stuttering tone, she just giggles. "Silly rabbit, of course you can help me. You can lead me to Alice after all!"

The thought of sweet, innocent Alice within the mercy of this… this woman (and he uses that term extremely loosely here) sends a chill down his spine, but it also brings up a courage he doesn't know he has. "What do you want with Alice? I swear on the fur of my tail if you harm her…!"

"Oh, no, no dear little rabbit. It's not her I want. It's who she is with that I'm interested in! You see, I couldn't care less about your precious princess. I really just want to know how… things turned out given my really interesting situation." The woman giggles merrily, completely discarding the threat as well as any and all thoughts of her possibly harming dear, sweet Alice Pleasance Liddell. "Of course, it never hurts to see the little girl that has such influence on him too from what little I managed to gain through our barely existing link, but that is beside the point. What I want is for you to guide me to them. That is all I asked for watch-carrying rabbit."

Just as he is about to refuse, the woman simply switches from manhandling him to cuddling him to her bosoms while merrily walking towards the forest, a nameless hum on her lips. He knows why she is heading that way. That forest after all has no boundary. It's a really spectacular creation of dear little Alice and she doesn't even know it!

After all, if it has no boundary, it can go anywhere. As in: ANYWHERE! It is as a certain cat that is never around likes to say: just keep walking, you'll get somewhere eventually! How else did you think Alice wound up going to places within Wonderlands without a hint of an idea where she is going? And just so you know, Wonderland is not a small place.

However, if this woman knows what it is though…

Oh dear… the future doesn't look so bright. Not at all!

Now if he can just stop staring at those six strange whisker-like marks on her face, then maybe he can figure out a way to delay or even stop her plan!

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Author's Note (Corner):

Again, there is no excuse for this delay. I would try to chalk this up to writer's block, but in the end it's just procrastination. Now that this little part is out of the way…

WARNING! SPOILER!

For those keeping track of the Naruto manga, I salute you if you didn't get the "WTF! OoO" face (or the calmer version "What… O-O?") when you learn exactly WHAT (not who, mind you) Uzumaki Kushina is. I am personally a mix between the two. The good news about this is that I now have some idea of what I could do without going out of bounds. Besides, if the actual creator can do this, then what else can I get away with under the name of fanfiction?

It still makes me wonder how come nobody ever thought of THAT… Wow. I question our creativities as a writer, and lament at the fact that I myself feels rather lacking.

By the way… Bloody Red Habanero… the chilly pepper habanero… I think this gives me some ideas. Same with Tomato. Now I need to go back and see my description of Kushina.

End spoiler!

Well, as it stands, I just want to do the usual "things I think you should know" part.

1) Can you imagine Alice going Sparta on them? I can (to an extent), and I must say it's a very interesting yet disturbing image.

2) I'm serious. It is proven that males are more likely to react violently than females. It's part of how our body functions. Besides, testosterone tends to make men… twitchy I think would be the best word to use here.

3) He will have some aggression and frustration despite his happy-go-lucky nature. Naruto has his own dark secrets, and here, it just happens that one of them is his anger towards Minato regardless of who (his father) and what (his idol) he is. Sealing half of a monster that caused seriously amount of childhood trauma and the likes tend to make you slightly bitter if not extremely hateful.

4) Refer back to chapter 12. Penelope is angrier that Naruto took Alice without telling her first than worried about her sister's safety. If anything, she instinctively trusts Naruto with Alice's life. Of course, we all know the reality behind the whole "Alice disappeared with Naruto" situation.

5) A reference to chapter 13.

6) SPOILER! Kushina's nickname when she's little because she was chubby (but cute), and with her red hair, she looks like one. I find it cute. End spoiler.

Alright, that part out of the way, I well first apologize to all readers who waited on this story. Really, I do. I know what it's like to wait for a story you want to read, but it never gets there (ignoring the fact that when I say this, I am probably being rather arrogant). Secondly, I like to apologize to any readers who find this chapter lacking. Procrastination does that to your ideas at times, and of course, not having played the game and watch enough Disney probably makes me lacking. Or maybe I'm just not really cut out for emotional drama… or drama in general. Oh well, better put in practice then.

Well, that is all I can really think of that I have to say. Drop me a review, be it criticisms or praise, be my guests. Flamers don't bother wasting your time. I take critics, not haters.

APH, Signing off!

PS: If the scene dividers don't work. Please tell me. I'm sometimes rather lazy to check my chapters again after it got posted on. And then there are times screws people over when uploading. So if anything is amiss, don't be afraid to tell me.