Title: The Forsaken
Chapter3: The Deal
Warnings: Brief nudity, suggestive themes.
Ships: Naruto/Hinata/Ino, Chouji/Yugito Nii, Shikamaru/Ayame, Lee/Tenten
Key: "Speech", 'Thoughts', "Demonic Speech", 'Demonic thoughts'
[Author's Notes:] - I received permission from Perfect Lionheart to get 'a little naughty' in this story (meaning that where I planned on taking it is okay.) I plan on a theme cross between the leader as Indiana Jones (Naruto,) Roshi from Dragon Ball Z (Hinata) and something akin to The Mentalist's Patrick Jane (Ino.) Tsunade would be the ancient gambling addict who thinks she's still a sexy twenty-year old ( ... my best friend's mom...) and Shizune will be the frustrated assistant who finds herself in outlandish situations because of others' actions (I'm still debating the use of the occasional skimpy outfit to make things more annoying for her – Like a 'Sexy French Maid', Catholic Schoolgirl, cat-girl outfit, etc. If you've seen "Sorcerer on the Rocks", you understand what I mean. If not, It's one episode and a decent show to alleviate boredom. Not a lot in re-watch value, though.)
Poll: Hidy hidy – The poll was so one-sided it wasn't even funny (well, maybe a little funny.) More than nine out of ten wanted things to be a little naughty. Perfect Lionheart has also given his blessing for a little naughty as well. This means there will be some naughty in the story. I will not have anything graphic in this (I have other stories if you really care for that stuff.) But there will be a LOT of innuendo, talk of naughties and lots of start/stop of those scenes. Basically, this means there will be plenty of sexual-based humor and gratuitous nudity. I just find a perverted Hinata, who TRIES to not be obvious, funny as heck.
Tsunade not sensing Ino's presence (along with Shizune's missing her) was on purpose, as many of you have stated, but it was NOT to get Ino into the relationship. In fact, that is a byproduct of this reason to show how serious this problem is. Tsunade's skills and abilities have degraded horribly in her decade of not taking her shinobi career seriously. She was almost constantly drunk or hung over and constantly running from debt collectors. She wasn't really using her healing abilities religiously, she DEFINITELY wasn't training and she certainly wasn't keeping her skills from stagnating. This is what the thing I forgot in the author's note on the first chapter was about. Tsunade being responsible for Naruto's predicament and it being her own problems and direct actions that caused all of this to happen. Addiction to sake and to gambling, for example. That is why Ino became a part of this (and to show she isn't an idiot by showing her looking to the future.) I just got tired of so many people making the Council out to be the bad guys and Tsunade having no part in it when she could, and SHOULD, just kill the lot of them and ask if anyone else has a problem.
This was originally going to be twice as long, but people complain like crazy if I get more than 10K words. I have no idea why, but they do. I wanted to get the panty raid and talk with the daimyo in, but that would have been at least another 7K words. 14K is enough, I am told. At least the next chapter will be easy to write. It'll be a bridge, and then the first mission comes about, offered by the daimyo himself.
Nemui means "sleepy".
Recommended Story of the Chapter: "The Missing Hokage" by Maverick9871 (Naruto/Hinata, possible future Harem)
Tsunade came out of the tent she shared with Shizune, using their own while having absolutely no desire to actually watch her plans for the three new Chuunin come to fruition while she was only feet away from them. Her clothing was rumpled and wrinkled since she had passed out after only a few minutes of talking with Shizune and finishing three bottles of sake. She had awakened to the smell of roasted meat breaking through the smell of alcohol and her stomach, now quite used to having nothing in it but alcohol, roared a battle cry as it sought out sustenance.
It sounded oddly like Naruto when he got bonked on his noggin.
"Wow," the Hokage drooled at the sight of the new Uzumaki Ino roasting several dozen fish and a couple rabbits over a fire she had made. She was quite used to making a lot of food with Chouji on her team and felt that, while they may not eat it all now, they would have it for later. "Been married less than a day and you're already making breakfast. Damn the brat's lucky!"
Ino blushed heavily and scowled at her superior. "I just woke up early, is all!" She hissed, embarrassed as all hell. When Naruto had passed out, Tsunade had told her that her orders were to be obeyed and, since he couldn't do it himself, she had to disrobe her new husband and that, combined with very naughty dreams filled with half-naked, blonde-haired and blue-eyed men, had caused her to awaken in a very uncomfortable state that morning.
A very heated, sticky, uncomfortable state...
Somehow, despite trying to huddle in the corner of the tent in her sleeping bag, she had escaped it and snuggled up to Hinata who had been closest to her. It wouldn't have been so bad if Hinata's hand hadn't been hidden beneath Naruto's boxers and if the bluenette wasn't grinning so thoroughly, even in her sleep.
Still, it was more than enough to make Ino desire a cold shower and the best option for that had been hunting to keep her mind focused. Hence the three dozen fish and five rabbits. While she couldn't bathe while on the run, the river had been cool enough to splash on her face.
"Well, whatever the reason, it smells really good. Thank you, Ino," Tsunade said, rubbing her eyes and temples from the dull thud of a slight hangover. She hadn't had nearly enough to get even slightly tipsy or to make her forget the situation, but no matter what Naruto thought, ramen was not the best of foods and she had barely eaten anything the night before at Ichiraku Ramen, so the alcohol had hit her system a little more heavily despite her high tolerance.
"You're welcome," Ino muttered. "When will we reach the Capitol?"
"Three days, two if we push hard. But we shouldn't need to do th-" A yelp of surprise caused both blondes to look to the tent where Naruto came out in a rush, still in his boxers and red all the way down his chest and looking shocked, making Ino goggle and Tsunade to smirk triumphantly. "Well, Naruto. I see you've got a morning visitor," Tsunade taunted, pointing down to his waist. 'This boy doesn't do anything in a small way. Lucky girls...'
Naruto frowned in confusion before looking down and seeing the results of Hinata's movements from trying to get more comfortable while her hand remained on him. Then, with wide eyes, he looked to the woman that was as old as his grandmother, to the woman who was now his second wife and staring at his ... visitor, then squawked and ran back into the tent.
With a giggle that sounded suspiciously like a female Jiraiya's from within the tent a second later, Naruto stepped out with as much dignity as he felt he could muster, regardless of the giggling one still inside, now that he was dressed.
"Perverts all of you," the boy muttered darkly, unaware of Hinata scribbling furiously in a little notepad from her jacket pocket.
"That's enough, Naruto," Tsunade grumbled as Shizune stepped out of the tent and came to help with breakfast while Ino rushed into the tent and away from Naruto. Days before, Ino would have been furious that the first time she saw a male's anatomy in person was not an Uchiha's. But now, she just realized that she would soon be forced to see them more often and was really wondering if the medical field was worth the embarrassment.
"All right everyone," Tsunade said as the group got into gear. "Eat up and get ready. We move out in half an hour at the latest. Naruto, time for your morning check-up."
Tsunade activated the Mystical Palms diagnostic technique and scanned Naruto's body again and found herself amazed at what she was seeing. The boy's bones were still three times as dense as normal for a human, but where his muscles had been forming stronger fibrous tissue, it was now finished with that and his blood vessels were now increasing slightly in number and appeared to be designed to provide more oxygen to all of those muscles, which would allow faster healing and increased stamina since they should, in theory, be able to provide longer use without wearing down along with providing more oxygen to his body. Especially when added to his muscle fibers being more resilient to wear and tear through what apparently had been a conditioning process. Even his tendons now appeared to be made of something far more durable. One of the more impressive aspects, however, were groups of muscles added to his joints and generally well-protected areas that seemed to be designed to tighten around his arteries to prevent major blood loss in case he lost an appendage.
It was then that Tsunade noticed the demonic chakra over Naruto's body. It wasn't that it was harming him – Oh no. In fact, she was able to tell, without a shadow of a doubt, that it was scanning his body just as she was doing at right that minute.
"Why not?" Danzo asked the secretary in front of the Hokage's office when told he was not permitted to enter. That no one, in fact, was allowed to enter until midday tomorrow, the day Naruto was to be banished and the day after her laws took effect. There were even twenty ANBU stationed at the door with orders that only one could leave at a time and anyone who attempted to pass was to be killed. The show of power and force would have impressed the old war hawk if it didn't piss him off so thoroughly.
"I'm sorry, Danzo-sama. I'm afraid I don't know. No one is allowed entry until tomorrow after noon according to Tsunade-sama's orders. Anyone attempting to will be er, dealt with...," the secretary said nervously. She was used to giving bad news and standing up to basically everyone under the Hokage's orders, but with events from the last few weeks under Tsunade's rule, her authority had been less and less ... commanding. And the man who was currently dominating in that area was not one she was hoping to give bad news to. Only knowing the ANBU had their own orders that she enforce hers kept her from squealing about the one person allowed entry.
Danzo turned and strode slowly from the room, lips curled into a snarl that passed as a smirk. 'So, the bitch hopes to try and rectify the situation, does she? Ha! There is no coming back for her now. However, this move troubles me. It's blatant and we cannot issue missions since she had all of our files in that room. Our clients shall not be happy by the missed day, but in the end, I suppose it will be worth it. This should humble our dear Hokage.'
As happy as this made him, something still didn't seem right. And to be perfectly honest, he couldn't tell what that something was. It wouldn't be until later that evening that he realized every ANBU there was loyal to Tsunade first and the Council second and had been using Naruto's move against them all by releasing enough chakra to cloud any potential readings from the office.
But Tsunade's laws would be in effect by then. Even now, Jiraiya had numerous copies and was taking them where they belonged, threatening untold pains to any who talked about the new laws before their implementation.
"Yea, what do you want?" Inuzuka Tsume growled as she opened the door and found the heads of the Yamanaka and Nara clans outside of her door. The day had been the first she had had off in two weeks and she was not amused. Not amused at all.
The woman was petting her kunai lovingly.
"We're about to go to war," the Nara drawled out lazily, looking more alert than the woman could remember seeing in some time.
Tsume straightened up and became fully awake in an instant. "Orochimaru?"
"No," Inoichi said with a sigh. "The Konoha Council, civilian side. Can we come in? Hiashi will be here soon, along with a few other clan heads brought in that aren't aware of what's going on yet."
"You're serious," Tsume accused, shocked more that this wasn't some prank. "Well fuck. Come in," she sighed, wishing she had made it for her tea before hearing their steps approaching.
Naruto's eyes shifted back and forth as the group stopped at noon for lunch. He had pilfered the scrolls Tsunade had sealed all of their stolen sake in and had been looking all day for a moment in which to sneak away from the group for a few minutes and found this to be the first opportunity and, if the first half of the day was any indicator, it was bound to be the only opportunity he would get.
"See you guys in a few minutes. I've got some... er, business to take care of," the blonde-haired boy said, sounding nervous enough that Tsunade and Ino both scowled.
"Really don't need to know that, Naruto," Ino grumbled. She really hoped Naruto wasn't the same type of male her mother occasionally complained about, coming in to use the bathroom while she was in the shower or farting under the blankets and then covering her head under it so she would be forced to smell the powerful stench.
Boys were proud of the weirdest things, sometimes.
"Make it fast. We'll be eating in about ten," Tsunade said as she waved her hand airily, thinking the boy had to relieve himself.
Naruto took off quickly, jumping through the trees without a second glance as he pulled out his sealing scroll of household goods, unsealing the two new summoning contracts after a hundred yards. He quickly ran a mile away from the others to ensure he was far enough away so as to not accidentally crush them under Gamabunta's giant, warty butt.
'That would so be wrong! Maybe a few extra hundred yards...,' he thought.
At the mile and a half mark, Naruto pulled out the monkey and ferret contracts and unrolled them, biting his thumb to sign with his fingerprints and palm print. "Okay, first thing's first," Naruto mumbled, flashing through seals and slamming his still bloody palm to the ground. "Summoning Technique: Toads!" Power rushed up his chest and down his arm in a flash, the force of the chakra expelling from his hand sending him airborne from the sudden release and making him feel oddly tingly before his vision was clouded in smoke.
"Eh? Why've you summoned me, kid?" Gamabunta's deep voice called out as his eyes narrowed and looked up to see the blonde sitting on his forehead.
"Hey Gamabunta! Remember when you said we should share a drink some time? Well, I figured we should do that now so I can talk to you about a few things at the same time," Naruto said, rubbing the back of his head.
"You've got sake?" The toad boss asked, sounding surprised. No one had been foolish enough to actually go out and buy enough sake to sit and drink with him. But then, he wasn't about to turn down a free drink, either. "Sure kid. Where's the drink?"
"Just a second," Naruto called out, leaping down and summoning a couple hundred clones who all unsealed approximately a thousand gallons of sake, Tsunade's entire stash, and began dumping it all into a large cup that fifty more clones had transformed into.
"How'd you make the cup? I thought your illusion technique was just that, an illusion. Not an actual transformation," Gamabunta questioned, eying the cup speculatively. 'Why the hell would he make it have toad, ferret, monkey and fox designs on it? Or his own face? That's creepy on a whole new level...'
"Well, when we fought Gaara and Shukaku, you had me transform the both of us into something with teeth and claws, and when I transformed us into the Kyuubi, you were able to hold onto him," Naruto said with a shrug. "And my Sexy transformation is an actual transformation and I transformed into an actual windmill shuriken on my first big mission, so I figured I'm just better than the others or something."
Gamabunta puffed on his pipe as the clones finished filling the Naruto cup and took a slow sip, savoring the flavor and ensuring that it would last. It was a surprisingly good stock considering the boy had mixed the high and low quality sake together. To say nothing of all the various flavors mixing around, making it more of a rather exotic blend. "Ah. This is a very good quality sake. Good job. You may be a proper subordinate yet," the old toad quipped. In actuality, it wasn't. You don't really get good quality when mixing good and bad. It was just strong, which is all he really cared about.
"Maybe," Naruto said sadly. "Konoha kicked me out, so I don't know if that'll mean I can't be your summoner anymore or not."
"What! Why would they do that?" Gamabunta questioned loudly, looking down at the tiny human. This brat had been as loyal as his father! For them to kick him out meant something had gone horribly wrong.
"I'll explain that," Tsunade and the others came out from the trees. "And Naruto, I thought I told you no techniques. You were still close enough we could see Gamabunta as if he were right beside us. If we weren't going to be at the Daimyo's palace before this little stunt could alert Konoha, I'd be upset."
"Technically, you said no 'new'techniques," Naruto said nervously. "I also signed the monkey and ferret contracts since I know how to summon and those fall into that line, too. I was hoping Gamabunta would tell me if I could summon them since my mom had the ferret contract and I want to learn about her from them and I wanted to at least tell the monkeys what happened to the old man."
"You signed other contracts?" Gamabunta asked curiously only a moment before Tsunade. The latter wasn't even aware those weren't held by the contracted animals.
"Ferret and monkey," Naruto confirmed. "My mom had the ferret contract and old man Sarutobi had the monkey and I was hoping they would let me summon them, but I wanted to know if you would be okay with it. That's part of why I took Baa-chan's sake for you."
"You what!" Tsunade screeched.
Naruto glared at the older woman. "What? You said the Council was able to do what they did because you were always drunk or hung over, and you stole enough to give to a seven hundred foot tall toad. I may not be able to be Hokage anymore, but I can still protect the people that are important to me, even if it means from themselves! Admit it. You're a drunk. I may hate what happened, but I don't blame you even though it was because of you it happened. I don't want you drinking anymore unless it's a bottle at most or something with someone like the Daimyo. I won't make you stop totally, but Ero-Sannin said you've been drinking since you left Konoha. Hell, you were even drunk when we found you! You admitted that Ino-chan overheard us and you'd think a Sannin would be able to sense her. At least the stories always say no one could really sneak up on you. You've spent so much time running from debt collectors that you can barely call yourself a ninja anymore!"
"Why don't you tell me what's going on," Gamabunta said, hoping to get back on track. He was surprisingly busy in life for a toad. Jiraiya's use of toads in conjunction with his spy network was not just a coincidence. They were the demonic version of the yakuza. "And perhaps you should try to summon the other bosses to explain to them at the same time. I haven't decided yet if I'm okay with it, but if they're going to agree, they should know what's happening as well."
"Right!" Naruto cried out, moving a bit away to summon the monkey king, Enma, first, followed by the ferret king, Nemui.
"What's going on?" Enma asked, looking around with narrowed eyes.
"Who interrupted my nap?" Nemui pondered, opening only one eye to ensure there was no fighting and then closing it, hoping to fall back asleep.
"My summoner," Gamabunta began, "was apparently kicked out of his village, Konoha. I'm about to find out why. But he found and signed your contracts and I told him to summon you two to ensure you know what happened."
"And who are you to summon the monkeys?" Enma asked. He knew who the boy was. Sarutobi had brought him up before. But the monkeys were meant to be a family contract.
"I basically wanted to let you know Jiji died," Naruto said quietly. "I figured you should know if you didn't already. I was also hoping I could summon you for stories of the old man and to help in serious fights if needed." He turned to the sleepy ferret, who was certainly emulating his namesake. "And I signed the ferret contract because my mom was the last one to sign and I was hoping to learn about her. I just found out who she was the other day but don't know anything about her. I don't even know if she was married to my dad or if she was even happy to have me. All I know was her name."
Nemui opened his eyes and looked at the boy who claimed to be the spawn of Kushina carefully. "Who was your mother, kid?"
"Uzumaki Kushina," Naruto said, looking between the three bosses. He was surprised and curious about their sizes. While Gamabunta was absolutely huge, Enma was just a few heads taller than an average adult at roughly nine and a half feet or so, and the ferret boss was about sixty feet long and as big around as Naruto was tall.
Hinata and Ino had gone googly-eyed at the sight of a giant pile of cute, fluffy animal. Hinata's eyes were almost as starry as when she looked at Naruto, and he was the epitome of cute to her!
Tsunade winced, fearing what would come from that discussion, and chose instead to tell the three bosses about the Kyuubi, who Naruto's parents were, Sasuke's defection and then Naruto's exile, ending with how all of them were there for Naruto's protection and because they would rather leave with him and planned to train him up and how he was now married to the two younger girls.
"That's a really crappy situation, though I've gotta say great job getting two cute mates," Nemui said through a yawn. "My name is Nemui and the ferrets are at your service whenever you need us as long as Gamabunta is okay with it. If he's not, feel free to summon us just for stories or to pass the contract on to your children. We are only for the Uzumaki family, though, or your children, regardless of the name. We just don't work with snakes, wolves, lions, bears or beavers. Or basically anything that will try to eat us. Just try to keep some snacks on hand for us and we don't like getting wet. Summon us on a boat and we'll throw you overboard before leaving. I'm going to take a nap." With a bamph, the ferret king was gone, back to sleep in peace in his hollow.
The four girls wondered why the ferrets would be so against water when their previous summoner came from Whirlpool.
Enma's first reaction had been to tell the boy 'no'. But his knowledge and discussion with Hiruzen regarding the boy may be worth taking the risk of having a multi-summoner. And he had yet to know if his previous summoner's heirs would be worth serving. He already knew his son, Asuma, was a lost cause. The contract would have been passed on, but he failed to uphold the values the monkeys followed. The moment he left his family, the monkeys refused to be summoned by him. Poor Konohamaru still didn't know Asuma was his father(1.) "I have long served the Sarutobi clan and Konoha. What they have done, however, is against everything they, and Hiruzen, stand for. I would like my contract to find its way back to Konohamaru, who was supposed to receive it when he became a Chuunin, but it would be much safer in your hands than where the Council could get to it. Should Gamabunta find it acceptable, I and my clan shall serve you until then. Just don't take too long to return us to our rightful home." The monkey provided a bow of his head, the most his summoners would get, and more than anyone else would receive, then poofed away. They could talk at a later time, after all.
Gamabunta sighed in thought, thinking things over. One one hand, the toads had never had a multi-summoner before. On the other, this was, he believed, the child of prophecy. The child of prophecy who had just given him a lot of expensive sake. And even without that, his sons absolutely loved the kid. Oh well. Damned if you do and damned if you don't. "Remember who your primary and first summons are, Naruto, and we shall accept the other summons. Similarly, if you come across others, I will allow them so long as we are not outright enemies, including Tsunade's slugs if it comes to that. However, you are now our primary summoner. Jiraiya no longer has that right. If your new family signs the contract, we will not require them to work only with our allies if they have other contracts, but you should be careful that your summons and theirs don't fight amongst themselves. We would never get along with snakes, for example, and I know there are summoners of that who oppose each other."
"Why isn't Jiraiya your primary summoner anymore?" Tsunade asked in shock. For a person to lose that right, it was actually quite a dishonor! At least unless they were passing that mantle on themselves.
"He will know," Gamabunta said cryptically. "Thank you for the drink, Naruto. It's the first time in a long time I've tasted human sake. No one else was actually crazy enough to get enough for me to drink." With that, the old toad disappeared in a giant poof, leaving the five humans alone.
"Naruto, there hasn't been a multi-summoner since before the founding of the hidden villages," Ino expressed in surprise. She had been quiet and listening throughout the entire meeting and had been increasingly awed by her new husband. She would admit to not knowing much about summons or their contracts, but she did know that summoning the bosses took a massive amount of chakra, and Naruto had just summoned three of them!
"What's this about taking my sake without asking?" Tsunade asked dangerously.
Naruto frowned at the older woman, growling for a second before shaking his head. "Drinking in moderation is okay, but I don't want you getting drunk again. Ever. Like I said, I don't blame you for what happened, but I do blame you for allowing it to happen," he said lowly, glaring at the older woman.
"Naruto-kun," Shizune started, seeing her mentor's eyes widen and feeling the boy may have been a little harsh, but she was interrupted by him before she could continue.
"No," he bit out. "I don't want her to get hurt or killed because she's drunk or has a fuzzy head. She got drunk last night and already worries that they may send out hunter-nin. Who's to say they hadn't been watching for us to leave and attacked last night? She was taken advantage of by those pricks on the Council and she couldn't do anything about it because she was drunk and hung over. I won't let her continue on like that."
Only the fact that she knew providing her usual threats in this situation would be taken poorly or break any connection he was willing to allow her to have kept Tsunade from threatening to leave the brat to the wolves. Well, that and the fact that he had a valid argument. Still, it didn't help knowing she was now going to have to watch her alcohol intake. Or that he was entirely right. She had put them all at risk last night for drinking at all, much less three bottles on an empty stomach.
"Maybe we should get back to camp," Ino suggested hesitantly, hoping to diffuse the hostility she saw rising in the oldest blonde. "Lunch has been boiling for a while now."
Indeed, when Shizune rushed back to camp, she found the leftovers from breakfast she had been using to make a stew were now a brick-like sludge in the kettle. The Sannin's apprentice sighed. 'Just as well, I suppose. We have to be careful to keep an eye on what we eat so someone doesn't add something to it while we aren't watching.'
Naruto suddenly found an opportunity to proclaim the greatness that was instant ramen, making Tsunade groan. She was not fond of the stuff to begin with, and this was just Karma coming back to bite her in the ass. There really was no other explanation.
"Thank you," Hiashi said in a silky-smooth voice, checking his teacup for dog hairs. He respected the Inuzuka for their strength and power, but never could see them as more than humanized dogs when the majority of them raised their voices at the slightest provocation of things that irked them. They held nothing of the grace and poise that the cultured Hyuuga held in such high esteem.
Except for that one time Tsume showed up in a black kimono with dark red trim and designs at a village event; a silken garment that clung to her and made her appear a dark angel. That memory still made him a little hot under the collar on occasion.
"You wanna tell us what the hell is going on, Inoichi?" Tsume growled, not totally unaware of Hiashi's stare on her firm rump as she bent over to feed her canine companions, who were very much aware of his eyes. The heads of the major clans were now all present: Hyuuga, Inuzuka, Yamanaka, Akimichi, Nara and Aburame. Being the entirety of the active ninja side of the Council wasn't lost on any of them.
The blonde man sighed heavily before beginning. It was going to be one of those days. "First thing's first. This doesn't leave this group for two days. Make arrangements if you must, make your plans, but if word gets out about this before our window is open, we risk far worse than what we're currently facing. Understood?"
"Aw hell," Tsume muttered darkly, refraining from adding alcohol to her tea like a few of the others. Apparently, this would require a calmer mind, and she didn't need her mind weakened during the conversation, no matter how much she thought she would prefer it otherwise. "Agreed."
Once he obtained numerous signs of agreement from the others, Inoichi nodded and took a deep breath. "I'll start at the beginning. Yesterday in late morning, I came home from my mission to find Ino waiting for me. She asked questions about banishment and then about Uzumaki Naruto before confirming she overheard he has been banished from Konoha."
"WHAT!" Tsume roared as she stood from her chair fast enough to fling it backwards. The action caused Hiashi to look at her calmly, one thin eyebrow rising very slowly as he watched her breathe heavily in anger.
"She showed me her memories of the incident she overheard," Inoichi continued, choosing to ignore the excitable woman's outburst much like during Council meetings as he told them exactly what he witnessed in Ino's memories. Sadly, there wasn't much in the way of visuals, so everything was based on speech and tonal inflection, but to trained ninja, it was more than enough.
"Troublesome women," the Nara clan head mumbled, sitting up and no longer resting his eyes.
"So the civilians think they can just pass whatever laws they want and we'll bow to their wishes without a second thought?" Akimichi Chouza asked, amused and upset at their audacity. "Do they honestly think we won't stop them? Or fight against it?"
"You said your daughter left with the Hokage, her assistant and the boy. Are you aware of any of her plans?" Hiashi asked, watching the man critically. "There is something you haven't yet told us."
"Sometimes, I hate your perceptive nature," Inoichi grumbled through a sigh. "The girls who went with Naruto, except for Tsunade and Shizune, of course, had to marry him so the Council couldn't force them back and use them against us."
"Girls as in plural?" Hiashi asked, suddenly wondering when the last time he had seen Hinata was. Somehow, he couldn't help but think this was too impossible an opportunity for his eldest daughter to not have gotten wind of and ... he wasn't really sure what made him think of her so suddenly.
"Hinata went with them as well," Inoichi explained.
"Shut up!" Hiashi bellowed, looking at Chouza with a furious glare.
"What? I made one little gagging sound!" The rotund man asked innocently.
"So they married?" Tsume asked with a raised eyebrow. "You're okay with that? Why'd you even let Ino go? You haven't exactly been chummy with the boy, but you haven't been in his camp, either."
Inoichi sighed, even as the others paid more attention to him now than during his briefing, especially Hiashi. "She's a kunoichi now. At any time, she could be ordered to sleep with someone for information or to kill him during or after the act. Sandaime-sama was kind-hearted enough to generally not do something like that, as was Tsunade-sama, but it could always end up a necessity on a mission and I strongly doubt the civilians would see it that way and they will use any excuse to hurt us. Hell, many of you are aware of some civilians attempting to hire specific kunoichi for sex-related missions on their own, guarding them from one town to another and taking care of their 'physical' needs at night until they return. Sarutobi was kind enough to not bring it up and they weren't stupid enough with Tsunade-sama, but you know it happened. She also brought up a very good point that was the real deciding factor."
"What was that?" Tsume asked. She doubted she would have allowed Hana get away with it, regardless of what she said.
"She wasn't likely to be getting any training here and the best person to train a kunoichi was Tsunade-sama. Plus, with the likelihood of civil war, she's safer out there than here."
"I could have trained her," Tsume countered. "I've got training with Hana each week."
"In your clan techniques, yes," Inoichi agreed. "But she needs the basics from damn near the ground up and Hana is far more advanced in every way than Ino. So is Kiba. Asuma was her sensei and I know how minimal his training was. Shikamaru didn't even come home most days smelling of sweat, although he reeked of Asuma's smoke, and Ino usually looked just as fresh as she did the morning she left. There isn't enough time for all of us to take care of our own children with the number of missions we have to take right now, much less the children of all of us."
"Married?" Hiashi asked hollowly. He couldn't quite understand why that hurt him so much. Hinata was weak. She was an abomination to the clan and far too much like her soft mother, the woman who left him after only six years of marriage. Hinata, it seemed, was doing much the same.
"She's a kunoichi," Inoichi said with a shrug. "As Hokage, Tsunade-sama has the right to marry anyone at any time. She doesn't need permission of the ninja in question, let alone their clan heads. And Ino assured me Tsunade promised she didn't have to get physical. It just had to be a public thing so people would see them together and looking as though they were romantically inclined and legal, meaning on paper so no one could force them back here."
"Perhaps Tsunade-sama will be able to succeed with her where I have failed," Hiashi said with a sigh, lost in his own thoughts and barely paying attention to Inoichi. As clan head, he was highly disappointed in the girl. But, as a father, he hoped she found peace in some way. Even if that was the extent he could care for her. She was no longer a Hyuuga, so her actions no longer affected the clan, so he could now at least hope the best for her. "If nothing else, I just hope she doesn't pick up any annoying habits from the Uzumaki boy."
"Or from Tsunade-sama," Chouza said with a grin, hoping to bait the Hyuuga head.
"What do we do about the civilians?" Aburame Shibi asked, getting the group back on track. While watching Hiashi get flustered was fun, their priorities were getting skewed from target.
"We need to figure out who is actually behind the coup," Shikaku said, not raising his head from where it was tilted backwards to stare at a cloud-like spot on the ceiling. He ignored the spot next to it that looked like Kiba's face, even if he did wonder how it got there. "If we don't know who's behind it, we won't know what they're goals actually are. Then we have no idea how to defend against it or launch our own assault preemptively. Right now, we're going in blind. We know they're against us, but that's it. That's like going into Iwa and knowing they dislike us."
"We should also stock up on whatever supplies we need so we don't have to risk breaking into shops when the civilians get them to stop serving us," Chouza offered. "It'll be costly, but prices are only going to go up anyway if Tsunade-sama really took so much of the money and civil war does break out."
"I will take care of weapons," Hiashi offered. "I will have all shops bought out by sundown, raising the cost five percent to standard shinobi who wish to buy them back and remaining at-cost for each of our clans for future needs while buying standard stocks like kunai and shuriken in all neighboring villages and towns. I'll have to be circumspect to avoid the trade laws in place regarding ninja equipment bought in bulk."
"We've been stockpiling food for decades," Chouza offered. "With the way we go on binges when we know something is coming up and how caravans can be stopped, we've ensured that we would always be able to keep our techniques in play. No one will notice if we go on another large shopping spree today. In fact, we'll go to extremes to draw attention away from everyone else."
"Our clans are very large," Tsume grunted. "Mine and the Hyuuga alone reach near a hundred members. I don't think you can get enough for all of us for any decent amount of time. But as ninja, it won't appear out of the ordinary if we do food runs on each mission out of the village as long as we aren't obvious about it. We should keep that in mind. Same with weapons, armor and all the other goodies we'll need. It'll just be bringing it into the village that we may have issues with if the general populace finds out about it."
"Has anyone received the money Tsunade said was going to the families of those who went on the Uchiha's retrieval?" Hiashi asked, getting a series of negatives. "Something else to look into, then."
"How do we keep them from passing laws that affect us negatively?" Chouza asked. "If they were able to pass anything so far, and the Hokage couldn't fight it, then that means whatever they did was legal."
"Analysis of current events show they obtained that power directly from the Hokage," Shibi stated. "Researching the most recent laws should show what powers were granted to the civilians. I will search for this information for another meeting. Tonight? Eleven?"
"I will assist," Hiashi offered. "My Cadet members will take care of the purchases and it may be good to have two other points of view for countering them."
"Accepted," Shibi said with a nod.
"My guys will spread a ready order amongst the other ninja," Tsume said. "They need to know what's happening and we can't afford them being caught unaware. Since most of my clan is in ANBU and special forces, they'll be able to spread the news when we're ready for it to happen."
"We'll take care of observing the Council," Shikaku offered for himself and Inoichi. "We'll see if we can gather intel on their goals."
"We are forgetting two important questions," Shibi spoke into the silence that followed. "How far are we willing to take this and what happens if our opposition is too great to remain here with any form of safety and security, forcing us to follow Tsunade-sama? We are all aware of Danzo's private army. They are numerous and an unknown factor of strengths and abilities that may be impossible to stand against with only ourselves."
Tsume summed up their thoughts pretty well in two words. "Well shit."
Jiraiya grinned a lopsided grin at the lady in archives as he handed the last of the official changes in the law to the woman. So what if he had to play errand boy for Tsunade for most of the day? She was nearly the woman she was when she had been at her prime and that was the woman he had lusted after throughout his life! And loved, too. There was some of that in there somewhere. But the woman she had become was so dead inside and had lost so much of her fire that all she had going for her anymore were those wondrous objects she called boobs.
He called them 'mine'. It had taken paying off a major debt she owed when they had met up in the past and a whole lot of sake afterwards to get her good and snookered, but he had managed to get her drunk enough, and in a good enough mood, that he had actually managed to talk her into tattooing "Property of Jiraiya" on her left breast and right buttock. It had also put him into the hospital for nearly a month and had eventually been covered up by her permanent illusion, but it was there.
And she knew it.
"Is this for real?" The woman asked, eying the Hokage's seal critically. If anyone could fake it, it would be this man. And with some of these, she was almost sure he did.
"Of course it's for real!" Jiraiya exclaimed, honestly offended. "If I had been the one behind these, the hot springs would be unisex, and you know it!"
"Yes, yes, I remember," the woman said, peeved. "I almost lost my job because of that."
"Yea, but I vouched for you," Jiraiya said, scraping his sandal on the floor in embarrassment. "They go into effect tonight at midnight, but aren't enforced until tomorrow at noon. You are also to remain quiet about this under threat of death, do I make myself clear?" He asked, all joking now aside and the powerful ninja he was coming to the front.
The woman now knew being a pain in the ass would only end badly for her.
"Alright Naruto! Come over here and lay flat," Tsunade ordered as the group stopped early for the night. They had found a medium-sized town half a day's travel from the Capital and had just signed in under Naruto's name into a suite at the Firebrand Inn. They certainly had the money to spend and they wanted the best rest they could obtain before meeting the Fire Daimyo.
Shizune and Ino had been absolutely delighted. Neither girl appreciated sleeping outdoors much anymore and couldn't get the thought of showers out of their heads.
"Alright," Naruto said, flopping down before the oldest blonde.
Tsunade rolled her eyes as she activated her Mystic Palms technique and began scanning Naruto's body. 'Hm. Triple bone density, altered chakra pathways, denser and stronger muscles, more blood veins and slightly larger for increased oxygen transference, alteration to his ears, nose and eyes presumably to heighten those senses, double-jointedness added which should make him more flexible, alteration to his muscles in shape, but no obvious reason as to why and the furball's chakra is still scanning his body,' Tsunade thought to herself as she ran the diagnostic up and down Naruto's body. 'Hm. It also seems the fox has added extremely dense bone caps over his knuckles. I suppose that's because his healing factor won't allow him to deaden the nerves there no matter how many times he punches something. That must hurt like a bitch any time he's in a fight.'
"Well, you're chest is fully healed and you seem to be coming along nicely-"
"Does that mean I can start training again?" Naruto asked excitedly.
"Not until after we speak with the Daimyo, brat!" Tsunade yelled, bopping him on the head. "It's just another day and then we can head out and start training."
"Awesome," Naruto said wistfully, laying his head back.
"Training is all well and good, but I'm taking a shower!" Ino chirruped happily, bouncing her way to the Chuunins' shared room where she planned on making good her statement.
"Not so fast!" Tsunade belted out, stopping Ino mid bounce. "You three are going to be learning everything about each other and living together, damn well learning to fight together. You three are going to become a new team where I expect you to be able to take out any enemies no matter who the hell they are."
"Yea, you said we had to sleep together, right?" Naruto asked, making Ino and Hinata blush at the unintended second meaning.
"Yes, but I doubt that will be enough, fast enough," Tsunade explained, finding a way to make Naruto pay for giving away all of her sake, forcing her to eat ramen three days in a row and helping her own plans at the same time. She was sorely pissed at the brat for that and the only reason she was actually going along with his silly order was because she knew she owed it to him and because he was right. But that didn't mean she couldn't get vengeance. "Whenever one of you showers and there's room, you three will be bathing together as well."
"What!" Two voices called out in shock while a third choked in happy delight, doing her best not to scream out in happiness.
"If there's not enough room, you will alternate on who bathes with Naruto. The three of you are going to be learning my medical techniques, and that comes with complete knowledge of human anatomy. I can't have you healing a person up and then screwing the job over because you suddenly got shocked to find out what they look like naked and you can't learn that from a book. You're going to become very knowledgeable about the opposite sex." The three students were almost sure they heard an 'or else' in there somehow.
"There's only room for two in these showers, Tsunade-sama," Shizune said from where she walked out after using the restroom.
"Naruto, you choose who you get first," the Hokage said.
"Uh. Well, Hinata's my first wife, so I guess I'll go with her," he said, finding himself suddenly with a blushing Hinata on his arm, laying beside him and underneath of Tsunade's hands. 'How the hell did she get there?' He wondered.
"But, this way, Ino can take her shower and we'll take ours after you finish giving me a check-up and she's done."
"Thanks," Ino said as she flew into the bathroom in case Naruto changed his mind. She thought she was pretty by just about everyone's standards, but she didn't exactly want to put it to the test with her husband right then.
"I'm already done, actually," Tsunade said. "Why don't you two go out and get us some dinner, something other than ramen, and when you get back, you can have your shower and Shizune and I will make our plans for the Daimyo."
Later that night, Ino squawked as Tsunade glowered at her. "Really? But I don't even have a normal bra! I only have chest wrappings because I didn't think I'd need any! I thought we'd be spending our time training!"
"What did you think last night was? I was serious. You either sleep in your underwear or nothing. My training, my rules. Just because you only brought ninja equipment doesn't mean I'm making an exception. You can go back any time."
Ino sighed and took off her shorts and the T-shirt she had on, leaving herself in only her panties and no other clothing. "This is so embarrassing," she mumbled.
"He's your husband now," Tsunade said, feeling no sympathy. "Think of it this way. This is better than being assigned to sleep with your enemy who could be as cruel and savage to you as he wanted. Naruto won't do anything you don't want him to and you can stay under the blankets."
Ino nodded and kept her arm over her chest as she crawled into bed, waiting for Naruto and Hinata to come out of the shower. They had been in there for a little while and Hinata's giggles had stopped not long ago. 'I am buying a bra as soon as I can. This underwear only rule is really not a good thing.'
Several minutes later, Naruto walked out of the bathroom with a towel wrapped around his waist, evidence of his morning visitor tenting in front of him as he blushed and sat in a chair.
"See something you enjoyed, Naruto?" Tsunade asked, mentally laughing her ass off. 'Payback's a bitch, Naruto-kun, and so am I!'
"Hinata-chan made me wash her back," Naruto mumbled, his face darkening as blood rushed to his head. "I'll just sit here until I'm ... normal, so I don't have to bother Ino-chan."
Hinata chose that moment to come out of the bathroom grinning like the cat that got the cream and wearing a robe that she slipped off before getting into bed with Ino, showing off a very impressive B-cup breast size with, perky and erect, light pink nipples that made Ino envious and a little glad she wasn't the only one who didn't have a regular bra. Few kunoichi did, in fact, simply because they never knew when they would get into a fight and the civilian garment just wouldn't hold up to the kind of stress a kunoichi would put it through.
That didn't mean Hinata had to flaunt them, though. Ino couldn't tell if she was showing off to Naruto, or trying to one-up her since she obviously wasn't putting her own on display like Naruto's first wife.
Naruto still didn't open his eyes, but his ears and nose were developed enough, not that he noticed, that he knew she was walking through and where she went.
"Are you coming to bed, Naruto-kun?" Hinata asked innocently. It had been embarrassing at first, and a little scary, to be showering with Naruto, but he had kept his eyes closed the entire time in fear of being beaten, allowing her to look as much as she wanted without being caught. Only when she had made him wash her back had he been forced to open his eyes and the fact that he was the one who was so embarrassed to see her had made it more fun than scary for her. That, and she couldn't get past the feeling of his hands on her back and the knowledge that she was allowed to touch him without fear of reprisal.
"Actually, since I want to, er, calm down, I'm going to talk to the furball and see what he's doing to my body," Naruto said. 'What happened to the shy Hinata that couldn't even talk to me without blushing and stuttering? It can't be the marriage because Ino-chan isn't changed like that! And I don't think she was telling the truth when she said married couples washed each other. Baa-chan didn't say that. She said it was training. Maybe training for marriage? Bah! I'll figure it out later.'
"Naruto, that may be dangerous," Tsunade complained, but half-way wanting him to do so anyway. She really wanted answers and felt it was probably the only way to get them.
"As long as I don't get too close, he can't reach me," Naruto explained. "Now quiet, I need to concentrate to find the butthead."
As Naruto breathed out and then suddenly began breathing much slower, Shizune turned to her gaping Master. "Did he really just call the Kyuubi a butthead?"
"Oi, bastard fox! What's up with my body?" Naruto asked as he walked into the demon's lair within his mind as if he owned the place. Which, technically, he did.
"You're a pesky little runt," the Kyuubi growled from behind his cage.
"Yea, yea. I'm tiny, you're huge, you're great, I'm pathetic, you wanna eat me, blah, blah, blah. You keep telling me these things. Why are you messing with my body?"
"I don't think I'm going to tell you," the Kyuubi said with a fearsome grin. "Not until you apologize for being rude and promise to treat me with some respect."
"What! Like hell I will you furry bastard!" Naruto yelled, not intimidated in the least by the Kyuubi's gargantuan size or its attempt to blackmail him. "Tell me what I want to know or I'll kick your ass!"
"And how, oh great pipsqueak, do you plan to do that? You cannot get to me from the other side of this cage and you cannot stop me from altering your body. If you want to know what I am doing, your only option is to agree to my terms," the Kyuubi sneered, moving his head slowly from side to side to watch the human from different angles. It was the closest he could come to stalking around his prey.
"You're an evil bastard," Naruto said with a shrug, "who's made my life a living hell. I'll never apologize to you. You can forget it."
"Hm," Kyuubi pondered. "A very good point, my crunchy little morsel. Perhaps a compromise, then. I may be evil, but I am powerful and great. Treat me with respect, and I will tell you what I am doing to your body. Continue to treat me with respect and work with me to change this ... dwelling into something better for my internment here, and I will also assist you in the future without trying to take over and help your mates as well," the Kyuubi offered, promising the boy what it was already going to do anyway except the last bit which was a spur-of-the-moment idea. This was nothing more than an attempt to make his stay better. He already couldn't take the brat over unless Naruto broke the seal himself. To attempt otherwise would cause him to die the moment too much of his own power escaped from the seal. The human's body just wasn't strong enough to support all of his power.
At least not yet.
Naruto glared at the Kyuubi through narrowed eyes. "I can't promise I won't bitch you out if you annoy me. I bitch everyone who annoys me out," he admitted. "And how do I change this place? I'm not setting you free."
"This is a mindscape, human," the Kyuubi growled angrily. "It can literally be anything. You can bring anything into existence and you can remove anything from existence. The whole place is in your head and you make of it what you will. Just as you can form your body to whatever you want, so too, can you do with your mind."
"And what would you want it to be?" Naruto asked in a surprising display of foresight. He was mildly interested in how someone could make their body whatever they wanted, but felt it may just be a demon thing. He had wanted to be taller all his life and he was still a pipsqueak.
"I want to run free!" The Kyuubi roared, tossing his head back and letting his anger spike in a mournful howl of misery. It was filled with sorrow, regret and pain that Naruto knew all too well. Sometimes, on his weakest of nights, he would go as far out as he could to be alone and scream into the night and he knew it sounded much like that. "No being wants to be caged like some pathetic mongrel! I am willing to suffer the indignity of a collar to bind the seal, but I want a forest! I want mountains and I want prey to stalk! Wind in my fur! Trees blurring my vision as I run! Blue sky and dirt to roll in and a village to piss on!"
"So, you basically want me to turn it into something like the outside world?" Naruto asked skeptically, deciding to ignore the last item and pretend he never heard it. He was having a tough time figuring out a worse way to go than drowning in demon whiz.
"Yes, human!" The Kyuubi seethed, lowering his head down and glaring at Naruto through his bars. He hated having to do this, but it was the only way to get a form of freedom until he could do otherwise later. "I want to run free and dash through forests and deserts. You will not free me, and this is the best I can obtain," the Kyuubi said. 'For now, at least, my jailer. For now, at least.'
"I won't promise something until I've had the chance to try it out around you, first," Naruto explained. "I'll try to turn this into a forest or something, but I won't take you out of the cage until I've decided you won't be able to screw me over later."
It wasn't what the Kyuubi was hoping for, wishing instead that he would have just agreed outright, but it was a start. "Very well. I can accept that as a promise to try," the beast said lowly, finishing in a form of growl.
"Now, what's up with my body?"
"You were told of the seal's functions to eventually give you all of my power. That is both true and it is not. It will give you my power, but it will take time. And the more of my power you use, the faster you obtain it, but it damages you each time you use what has not been converted and turned into your own reserves."
"So, it takes your power and makes my reserves bigger by that much?" Naruto asked, just to be sure. "And when I use the power directly from the source, or you, then it damages me?"
"Indeed, human. What you use of mine must go through your core and then your circulatory system to be utilized. Therefore, it damages you by damaging that, even poisoning your own chakra for a very short time and making it harder for you to use. But, because of this, it increases your reserves each time, which will also lessen your control compared to what you had before using my power."
"That's interesting, and good to know, but how does this affect me? What's it got to do with what you were doing to my body?" Naruto asked, squinting his eyes at the big-ass fox. 'I wonder how big he really is. His turds have got to be the size of the Hokage Tower...'
"I altered your chakra pathways to take far more damage from my yokai and allow you to use far more chakra at once for when you use it so it doesn't shatter them. It also allows you to have more chakra throughout your system at a time, thus giving you greater strength, speed, endurance and all that other crap that pumping chakra into your body will provide."
"And the rest?" Naruto asked, crossing his arms.
"I am increasing your bone density to take more damage, heightening your senses, making you a better fighter as a whole, increasing your natural ability to recover from damage and fight longer and over all, I'm strengthening you to kick the tail of whoever would try to harm us. I've been able to see what you see for some time now, and I am not happy with how many people are out for our blood!"
"That's it? Just making me stronger? I won't go furry or anything?" Naruto asked, rather surprised. He had been thinking this was some weird attempt at stealing his body.
"I'm considering it, actually," the Kyuubi stated, amusing himself with tormenting his eventual snack.
"What?" Naruto asked lowly, glaring at the Kyuubi and lowering his arms.
"A bloodline, human. Or what you humans would call one. Physical traits that give you superhuman abilities like your senses and healing abilities. Those are above you humans' lowly abilities and thus, superior. These would pass on genetically and thus, a bloodline shall be born. A way to ensure the power of the great Kyuubi is never forgotten, no matter if you screw up or not and we perish from this rock."
"How do you mean?" Naruto asked, suddenly intrigued.
"If you die, I die, runt. I would rather we not. Therefore, it is in my best interests if I do my best to make your body stronger. This is where my earlier deal comes into play." The Kyuubi smirked, knowing he had the blonde brat by the scruff of the neck. The humans would call it a bloodline, after all. Demons would call it, and those affected, hanyou, or half-demons. But what the little snack didn't know, wouldn't hurt him. Much.
"I'm listening," Naruto said.
"My plan is to give you a bloodline similar to the dog clan of your previous village. You will become a little beastly with claws for nails, a tail you can use to hold things and attack with, night vision, an increase in all senses, parabolic ears like a fox's, chakra boost since you'll need to work on control anyway and I have to pull nutrients from the earth and that requires more chakra than you've got, the ability to shapeshift, extremely fast regeneration and the ability to potentially give you other bloodlines, like sharing your first mate's eyes. The regeneration will be so powerful that you will stay at your prime until you die in battle, meaning you could live for much longer than you would now."
Naruto was quiet a moment, wondering why it sounded too good to be true so he could find the fault, when he felt he had done just that. "If you really wanted to make sure I live, then you'll give me all of that anyway."
"But your mates won't have it," the Kyuubi said in a near purring voice. "I could give you these things, but they would not be a part of you. You would live on, not growing old and have all of that protection against your enemies, but they will always be at risk. If someone faster or stronger blinds your first mate, she will never be able to see again, or if Cloud steals her eyes from her. If they lose a finger in battle, then it makes them less effective, where I could make sure it can reattach or grow back."
The Kyuubi moved from side to side in front of Naruto as he spoke, swaying almost hypnotically, his voice reverberating around Naruto in a soothing manner while taunting him with his offer and the possible results of not taking it up. "If they continue to grow and age, they will eventually die and you will live much longer, all alone and watching everyone you come to love and cherish, all of your precious people, die around you. Your children, your mates, your friends and family..."
Kyuubi hunkered low to the ground, stilling his movements and finally whispering his final words as he saw Naruto gulp, his fear and thoughts running wild. "You will once again be all alone."
The giant fox didn't move even a hair as he stared at the boy in front of him who was shocked into silence and frozen in place. It was obvious he was terrified of what the Kyuubi was suggesting and the Kyuubi knew, without a doubt, that the mortal was envisioning a very bleak, sad and lonely existence years down the road. He was almost alone already. Only the girls that had followed him were who he could count on as being with him. Without them, he'd be even worse off than growing up. At least as he grew, there was the Old Man Hokage to go to when he needed to see a smile, or Teuchi and Ayame-nee-chan.
"I can keep them with you," the Kyuubi whispered, trying not to break Naruto's fear-filled thoughts. His voice was a low rumble that seemed to empower the feelings of loneliness and misery that Naruto's mental visions were playing upon him. "I can make them stronger and we can both protect them. All you have to do is make this place look like the outside. Such a small, simple thing," the Kyuubi simpered, making his request sound small and inconsequential, "for the sake of protecting your mates. Your children. Your family."
Naruto shivered and gulped. "I ... I have to think about this..." Without turning around, Naruto simply vanished from the mindscape to the waking world.
The Kyuubi chuckled darkly. "You will come to me, boy. You cannot survive being alone again. You know it."
As uncomfortable as it may have been for Ino to be clad in only her panties and knowing she was going to share a bed with another girl, also clad in only panties, and with her new husband, only in boxers, she was anxiously waiting for Naruto to come out of his trance-like state and explain what was going on. Sharing a bed with Hinata wasn't strange or awkward at all, in reality. She had occasionally shared a bed with Sakura when they were still decent friends and stayed the night at each others' houses. And the girls in the Academy had to shower together in their locker room after physical training three days out of the week. Seeing Hinata's body was nothing new to her, or being seen by the other girl. Even the others were girls, and medics at that. It was Naruto being in the bed that was going to be awkward. And knowing that Tsunade was going to force Naruto into the middle.
But still, some part of her that she didn't understand would not allow her to even attempt going to sleep without waiting for Naruto to join her and Hinata. Maybe it was Ino's memories of always watching her mother sit up at night waiting for her husband or feeling like it was expected of her since the others were staying up, but Ino had her back against the headboard with the blanket pulled up to her chin as Hinata laid down and stared at Naruto. No one seemed capable of sleep.
Ino sighed as she glanced at the clock on the wall. He had been at it for nearly an hour now. Tsunade hadn't actually thought he was really meditating and had walked over and poked him a few times at the half hour mark when she noticed his visitor hadn't left. She was thinking he was pretending and kept thinking naughty thoughts because of it. Even pharmaceutically enhanced men didn't remain in that state without some form of stimulus! At least not when their heart rates had lowered to below sleeping standards.
Of course, that was before the oldest blonde accidentally knocked him off the chair and he hadn't so much as grunted when he fell to the floor. Tsunade had put him back in the chair and healed his broken nose and had Hinata clean up the blood and hoped he wouldn't notice when he came back to.
Hinata had also ensured his visitor wasn't 'broken' by making sure, through a thorough visual inspection, that it wasn't bent at all until Tsunade had caught her and gently suggested he'd know when he came to while pushing her towards the bed.
Ino was sure she had heard the woman asking herself what she had created.
"Hinata," Ino began, unable to take the oppressive silence any longer, "why are you so confident around Naruto now? I mean, a week ago, you could barely even speak to him without a stutter or fainting and tonight, you showered with him, totally naked, and you're walking around in nothing but panties and don't even seem to be blushing."
Tsunade perked up, her ears making tweaking sounds as she began to pay attention to the private conversation that she really had no business eavesdropping on. 'Gotta get my training back up to speed if I don't want the brat to complain any more, and what better way than listening in on juicy gossip?'
"The simple answer?" Hinata asked, her legs bent at the knees as she laid on her stomach on the bed, not taking her eyes from Naruto. "Naruto-kun didn't reject me when I told him I'm in love with him."
"That's it?" Ino asked incredulously.
Hinata shrugged her dainty shoulders, the muscles on her back flexing ever so slightly. "In a word, yes. My whole life has been one rejection, one failure, after another. Even my father said he didn't care if I died when Kurenai-sensei asked permission to train me. No one but Kurenai-sensei cared one way or another about anything I did or how I grew. My teammates cared after a fashion, but mostly because they liked me as a person, not a ninja. I was a little sister to them who needed their protection and to be held up by them in their eyes."
Hinata sighed wistfully, once again memorizing Naruto's face because she never seemed to get enough of it. And it was so infinitely rare to see him so calm and relaxed like this. "We had a chance meeting before the Chuunin exams. He told me he was scared about going up against Neji because he was a failure. I told him he was, but he would never give up and that was what I admired about him, one failure looking up to another. And just the other day, he said it was remembering me saying that, that made him not give up after all of his tenketsu were closed when most people wouldn't even be capable of moving, much less getting up and fighting."
Hinata tilted her head to the side with a small smile, warm and loving. "Naruto-kun told me it was my words that kept him going in that fight. He is the first person to tell me I gave them strength and even though he didn't accept me when I said I wanted to be his girlfriend, he didn't reject me. Naruto-kun makes me want to be a better person, and I've wanted to be his for so long that, now that I am, I don't want to lose any possible time. I don't want to risk losing this in any way. Not him, not our marriage or even our friendship. I want him to understand what he means to me. And because he knows how I feel, and hasn't rejected me, I know I don't have to fear it."
"I'm his wife now!" Hinata cried out gleefully, looking on joyously at her new husband. "I've wanted that for a very long time and I won't let anything ruin it for me. I do still feel like feinting, and I want to blush, but if I did, it would push him away. I can't let that happen. So, it's as much for my own good as to try and let him know that not only am I okay with this, but that he can be near me."
"But, getting naked?" Ino asked, somewhat awed by the girl's explanation. It was so simple yet ... so poignant. This whole thing meant so much to her! Naruto meant so much to her! And it was so ... romantic. The fangirl in her was crying out in appreciation and wondering why things like this didn't happen to her. Not that it would matter, now that she was married. "Why doesn't that bother you? I'm blushing down to my toes and he's not even conscious!"
"Hm," Hinata hummed to herself, contemplating that question. "I suppose there are a couple of strong reasons, and possibly dozens of small ones. But ultimately, I refuse to lose him. If he doesn't want me, that's one thing. I won't ever do anything to get in the way of his happiness. A part of me feels that the inventor of the Sexy Technique is probably at least a little perverted, and I really want to get him to at least be willing to kiss me if I can't get him to do more. I mean, we are married now. While we're sharing a bed with you, I know it wouldn't be very proper to try to get him to consummate it," the bluenette girl noted, but ignored, Ino's squeak of surprise, along with Shizune-chan's, "but I want Naruto to be happy and feel all the love I have for him. And if that means being naked to get him comfortable with being married to me, or if it means laying him down and tying him up next to you on the bed and finalizing our marriage, then for him, I would do so. For him, I would do anything. I guess I just feel this is a small price to pay in comparison. And other than that, it's obvious he likes it," Hinata finished with a fiendish grin that made Ino's blush even deeper and caused Shizune to gulp, trying to keep her thoughts pure.
"Are you a pervert, Hinata?" Ino asked suddenly, not aware she was asking it out loud. She had been wondering, but until two days ago, Hinata had always seemed like this silent, introverted girl who would pass out from embarrassment just for talking to Naruto, never mind thinking all of these naughty things and even getting naked in front of him. But a girl doesn't just have an epiphany like Hinata had explained. It is the sort of logical thinking that takes time and consideration to come up with. Ino spent enough time with Shikamaru to know the difference.
Hinata's face flushed and her shoulders slumped as she shrunk in on herself and she began tapping her index fingers together, her eyes darting back and forth quickly. "N-no...," she mumbled.
'Liar,' three female brains all said as one, almost loud enough to actually be heard by the furiously blushing ex-Hyuuga-turned-Uzumaki. Her fingers began to poke more rapidly in the shame of it all.
Several minutes later, Naruto took a deep breath, the first change in over an hour and a half that caught all the female's attentions. When he opened his eyes, they went straight for his new wives who were waiting and watching with bated breath on the bed. One hiding under the covers and the other laying atop them, only her arms hiding her chest from his view.
"Well? What'd the fox say?" Tsunade asked gruffly, silently wondering if Naruto did this sort of thing often.
Naruto looked into his wives' eyes for a few seconds each before turning to Tsunade. "He's tired of how many people are out to get me and would rather I get stronger so he can live than die. He's also thinking about giving me, and my family, a bloodline."
Female eyes widened.
"What!" Ino asked loudly, barely having the mental strength to remember to keep her blanket by her chin when it began to fall in her shock.
"Naruto, you can't trust-" Tsunade began, getting cut off from the boy.
"He can do it anyway, whether I want him to or not," Naruto explained, gesturing down his chest. "That's obvious since he's already doing it. The only difference is whether it becomes inheritable or not."
"But why?" Shizune asked curiously.
"He said it's a way for him to be remembered, or for his power to live on, no matter if I live or die. Apparently, I get better senses, strength, speed, more chakra, eternal youth and – ACK!"
Naruto watched steaming ramen bowls circle his head as Tsunade held the boy helplessly in the air against the wall, his towel laying on the ground half way between the chair and the wall where the older blonde was staring into his bellybutton.
"What's the secret to eternal youth, fox!" Tsunade screamed into Naruto's belly, looking more than just a tad around the bend. "I've got ways of making you talk you furry little basta-ACK!"
Tsunade fell to the ground where Hinata was revealed to be standing behind her, her expression furious and one tiny digit poking into where Tsunade's head had been. "Don't you dare break my husband before I've had a chance to use him!"
Ino sweatdropped, not sure why that surprised her. Any of it.
"Sasuke-kun," Orochimaru preened, guiding his newest pet by the small of his back into a large room filled with medical supplies on almost every available surface. There were three large glass cylinders on one side of the room with a pink-tinted water that had one naked male and two naked women floating in it, their noses and mouths covered with a breathing mask and bubbles coming out every now and then while the rest of their bodies had wires and probes attached. There were the remains of a male ninja from Rock country on a dissection table where a redheaded woman was making notes on something she found interesting from his arms. "This is our chief medic's laboratory. Karin, come meet Sasuke-kun. Sasuke-kun, this is Karin, our chief medic and my second-best in all of Sound."
"Uchiha," Karin said stiffly with a slight bow of her head and getting a grunt in return.
"Now, now, you two," Orochimaru grinned, "play nice. Sasuke-kun, Karin-chan here is going to be extracting your genetic material from your body to ensure that, if you cannot survive my training, your clan will live on."
"I told you this was a waste of time," Sasuke scowled. "I won't be defeated by some training program."
"Kukuku! This training program will be more serious than anything you've experienced before, Sasuke-kun," Orochimaru said amusedly. "And besides, it's your duty to ensure that any future Uchiha come from you and not the traitor to your family," his silken voice cooed, purposefully upsetting his newest minion.
"What do you know of it!" Sasuke roared in defiance.
"I know that Itachi-kun has not spent every night alone," Orochimaru stated. True, albeit not exactly accurate. He sometimes shared a room with his teammate, Kisame, or spent a night on the road near a fire with him. So, not alone. Just not the way Orochimaru was making it sound. At least Orochimaru didn't think so. "If you want to ensure your brother isn't the one to revive your clan, then you cannot afford to ignore your duty to your family."
Sasuke shook in white-hot rage, but acceded the point. "Feh. Fine."
Orochimaru's eyes twinkled in sadistic glee. "Excellent, Sasuke-kun. Karin, take extraordinary care. As these children grow older, we will be ensuring they become the elites of our village as early in life as possible."
"As you command, Orochimaru-sama."
"Excellent. I expect at least one child on the way within the week. And do ensure the volunteers each receive a dose."
Orochimaru turned and left, even as Karin began to strip to receive the first sample of Sasuke's genetic material. Orochimaru was not about to put all of his faith into this one Genin. Not when he was the only viable carrier of the Sharingan with which to get a child out of him. Only a complete fool would not think to gather as many possible subjects as he could. And what better plan than an army of Sharingan wielders? Sure, it would probably be nearly ten years for the weakest to be appropriately powerful, but if Itachi could become an ANBU captain at seven, then under Orochimaru's tutelage, he would have an army of them at five. And they would be the tools ninja were meant to be.
It was time to kick up experimentation rates to find the greatest use for their power amplifiers.
"It is done, Orochimaru-sama," Karin advised, putting her clothes back on.
Orochimaru turned and blinked at his red-haired medic and then at the floor between them, then at the medic who was now watching him with a blank expression on her face. 'I'm not even twenty feet from the door...' he thought simply. "Already?"
"He is inexperienced," Karin said with a professional attitude, seeing this more as a medical discussion than being ordered to get pregnant so all the medical modifications upon herself could be transferred to the child.
Orochimaru bowed his head and pinched the bridge of his nose. "Output?" He asked simply, knowing she knew what he meant.
"Minimal. He is also young, coupled with his inexperience."
Orochimaru sighed. "Keep at it until he can't any longer and please do not waste any. And perhaps look into a method of extracting the genetics and putting them where they belong without having to go through the act. Perhaps we could spread a single sample out amongst more subjects that way."
For the first time, Karin blinked. "Perhaps we would have more success if I were to try that first and then-"
"Karin, do as I say," Orochimaru said, wondering if she was asking because she actually thought it would really be more successful or if she just didn't want to do this again. She had many lovers in the past, usually for assassination missions, but he had never seen her not want to do it before.
Bright blue eyes opened slowly, blinking away sleep and wondered at the enjoyable feelings permeating her body. It was warm and their owner had a pleasant warmth pressed flush against her backside with a warm appendage wrapping around and gently holding her, cupping her...
Ino leapt forward off the bed and turned to look at where Naruto was waking up far too slowly from an enraged shout. The boy was looking around in confusion while a pale arm was snaked around him and stuck under his underwear, its owner hidden behind the slightly larger boy.
Moments later, a nearly naked Tsunade and Shizune entered the room, wondering at what was causing the unholy screams of torment and pain, worried that Konoha hunter ninja had found them and only finding Naruto rubbing a lump on his head and a fuming Ino standing over him, uncaring of her half-naked state and berating him for groping her. She was still bashing him upside his cranium with her pillow to emphasize her speech.
"But Ino-chan, I was asleep! How was I supposed to know what I was doing?" Naruto asked, looking up at the angry blonde girl and blushing as his eyes focused on the objects of his abuse. 'Such powerful things! It's like they draw me in even when I'm not awake and cause me to get hurt! It's no wonder Ero-Sannin keeps getting beat up! Is that what happens as we get older?' It was a truly frightening thought. 'But ... it was kind of worth it...'
"Sorry," Ino muttered, blushing lightly and finally realizing what she was dressed in and covering herself up as she rushed behind him to get a shirt on. "It was sort of an instinct reaction."
"You should really apologize more appropriately than that for hitting your husband for doing something that is his right, you know," Hinata said with a frown, gently stroking Naruto's hair in a way that was making him close his eyes in contentment.
"Married two days and they're already having marital problems," Tsunade quipped in amusement to Shizune.
Naruto looked over to the older women and blinked. "We have to start being naked around you guys, too?" He asked, causing Shizune to look down at her very sheer nightdress that hid absolutely nothing before she shrieked and blushed, disappearing faster than Kakashi's face when he ate.
"You know you like it, Naruto," Tsunade grunted, far less shy of her body than Shizune, partly because she was wearing thick cotton clothes that hid her body from his scrutiny and partly because she was very fond of her genjutsu. Tsunade had a few lovers in her past, but Shizune was still as innocent as you could get while being a medic. The black-haired woman had only ever had one boyfriend and that was Iruka, which ended after a single date and not even a kiss. Naruto could now safely say he was the first to see her in the buff.
Naruto scrunched up his face even as Hinata pulled his head almost painfully against her chest and glared at the older woman. "You're like my baa-chan, Baa-chan," Naruto said.
This time, the beating was mostly deserved.
[Author's Notes:] - There we go. I had a few other scenes I was going to add to this, but it was getting too long. Next chapter is the remainder of this one and their first mission, given by the daimyo, along with meeting the ferrets and the panty raid.
(1) – Konohamaru is considered the Sandaime's grandson in Canon. As far as I am aware, Asuma is Hiruzen's only child. Therefore, Konohamaru must be his son. If not, then I simply wasn't aware of any other family, but will keep this as a part of this story. I will explain this later in the story in a Konoha arc in the next chapter.