Author Note

To everyone who pointed it out in the last chapter, that Naruto's eyes wouldn't suffer because of his EMS, my theory is that, despite him no longer suffering like Itachi or Sasuke, overusing it could still hurt….any muscle, or body part, gets fatigued by overuse. It's basic biology. Plus, even though he has Sasuke and Itachi's eyes, Naruto isn't a born Uchiha, so it would make sense that he just could not overdo it, like Sasuke could. Sasuke, for his part, bled his eyes when he used the Mangekyou techniques, after he had the EMS. The Byakugan also has cases of over usage, as it was the case for Hinata when she was young and Neji in the last episodes.

Now that that's out of the way, here is the chapter.

Cursed Eyes

Chapter 31 – A good conversation

Beta: Scheffinator

Taking a deep breath, now that the S-ranked fight was over with, Naruto casually approached near Jiraiya who was busy applying some first-aid emergency treatment to Genma and Kakashi.

The perverted Sannin smiled upon seeing Naruto approach. He just placed some tape around Kakashi's right arm.

"Ho, hey there gaki, I'm glad you didn't get in over your head with those two." Naruto snorted, before turning to the downed Kakashi and Genma, seeing both nod at Naruto's non vocal concern. He, then, turned to the pervert who was crossing his arms with a knowing smirk on his face.

"If you were here the entire time, why didn't you step up and help?" Jiraiya hummed at that notion, while placing both hands on his waist.

"I certainly would, had any of you three needed it. Now, taking down S-ranked shinobi ain't something you do every day, so take pride in that, gaki." Jiraiya noticed the reddish hue around Naruto's black eyes, probably due to overusing the Dojutsu. It made sense that he would resort to the Mangekyou Sharingan against Kakuzu and Hidan, both of them not so easily defeated by regular means, perhaps not even Naruto's lava Ninjutsu would be of much use in this fight. Genma, meanwhile, turned to his fellow teammate.

"I trust that you sealed Kakuzu's body, right?" Naruto nodded and handed Genma the aforementioned scroll, to which the bandanna user just grunted and placed the scroll inside his kunai holster.

"Kakashi-niisan, can you get up or do you need more time?" Kakashi had an aloof expression, while checking his injuries.

"I don't have much chakra, but I don't expect us to be ambushed on our way back. Genma, how are you?" Genma tsked and decided to get some fun out of the situation.

"Don't mind me, I'm much better than you, that's for sure."

Kakashi could have retorted back that he was the one facing Kakuzu while Genma provided support, but he instead smiled and closed his eyes, while struggling to get up, with Naruto's help.

"Relax, all of you, I know of a good enough way to get us back in no time." The three Jonin looked at Jiraiya, who then went through hand seals and summoned his trustworthy, but clumsy, Gamaken to take them all back to Konoha.

===At Tsunade's Office===

Two hours later, and a few jumps from Gamaken, the four were inside Tsunade's Office to report the success of the mission.

Though the woman appeared calm and collected, she had her doubts about sending Naruto straight to the Akatsuki's hands. She was at least glad that everything went swimmingly in the end.

"Good work everyone, the immediate danger has passed, but the Akatsuki still remain…" The three Jonin nodded, while Jiraiya commented.

"They are back to hunting the Jinchuuriki now…they failed to capture Naruto, but others will be targeted as well." Naruto snarled at that notion. While he didn't know the other Jinchuuriki personally, he didn't like the idea that yet another burden was placed on his fellow human sacrifices. Naruto wasn't under the illusion that what he went through was the exception. Like the fox did with Konoha, other tailed beasts had altercations with the other villages as well. Those chosen to harbor the beast surely would receive the same ill treatment he did or even worse. The only other Jinchuuriki he somewhat knew was Gaara, when they shared a brief conversation in Suna's hospital.

"Indeed…I had sent messages to other villages to warn them, but I doubt they will listen."

Jiraiya snorted at Tsunade's obvious comment. The current Raikage and Tsuchikage were both stubborn enough to dismiss whatever it was that Konoha sent them and Kiri, if Jiraiya remembered correctly, had already lost both their Jinchuuriki to Akatsuki. Suna's tailed beast wasn't entirely captured, so they might make a new attempt on Sabaku no Gaara. At least, the current Kazekage is on Konoha's side. It doesn't mean much, since Akatsuki are quite sneaky and had many possible angles to play in order to lure him away.

"Anyhow, there's nothing we can do right now, but rest and recuperate for a few days. Dismissed, everyone." With Tsunade's order, the three Jonin as well as Jiraiya left the premises, leaving Tsunade and Shizune alone.

"Did you see, Shizune?" Tsunade's assistant nodded.

"Yes, Naruto's eyes…the veins inside are quite red and it's quite fatigued…he must have overused the Sharingan in their fight." Tsunade released a sigh at the notion.

"Huh, just when I thought that I didn't need to worry…do you think something went wrong when we implanted Itachi's eyes?" Shizune hummed in thought. It seemed unlikely that would be the case, however.

"Well, he wasn't born an Uchiha, Tsunade-sama…come to think about it, Naruto's DNA is still a mystery to me…just how was he able to not only assemble the Sharingan eye like he did and also merge two affinities and use lava Ninjutsu, without having a Kekkei Genkai." Tsunade nodded, remembering that as well. Naruto used to believe his feat was due to training until collapsing, until he came one day and told them that it was the fox who used his power and influence in Naruto's body to give the last push, uniting his affinities, fire and earth. "Do you think we need to talk to him about it, Tsunade-sama?"

"Humm, I will think about it. Genma is his squad captain, perhaps he could talk to Naruto about it. In the meantime, what of Kakuzu's autopsy? Takigakure must be quite adamant that we deliver his body to them." Shizune nodded and looked at the chart she had in her hands.

"The coroner is looking at the body as we speak. And yes, we had received a message from Fuguki-dono, expressing their appreciation for dealing with their worst missing ninja. But, he also insists on the body returning to them."

"Huh, as if I'm interested in keeping him here any longer than necessary, tell the corner responsible to speed things up and then make the arrangements for the transfer." Shizune bowed and left Tsunade alone in her office.

===With Itsuko===

Two days after Naruto came back from his mission, a casually dressed Itsuko was seen with a bag of groceries, walking towards her boyfriend's apartment.

They would rotate in between apartments to stay in for the week, as this happened to be the time that she would bunk in with him. Itsuko was quite relieved to know that nothing bad happened to Naruto after his mission against Akatsuki. However, she was taken aback to see the state he was in afterward. Physically speaking, nothing seemed out of the norm. Come to think about it, it wasn't so much of a surprise, after facing two S-ranked shinobi. You consider that any possible mistake could cost your life, hence why the psychological backlash is enormous.

He had slept one day straight, after coming back home and she managed to obtain two days off from Tora-taichou to take care of him, hence the bag of groceries if he gets hungry.

Itsuko wasn't much of a cook, but she knew how to get by in the kitchen.

"Hey there, Itsuko-chan, over here." The ANBU member looked sideways to see her former and Naruto's current teammates, Hagane Kotetsu and Izumo Kamizuki. Izumo was the one waving to her, while both were inside a café, hanging out.

"Hi there, you two…long time no see." Both smiled at their former teammate, before Itsuko placed her groceries on the table they were using.

"Say Itsuko, do you know if Naruto is already back from his mission?" Kotetsu started asking and then pointed to Izumo. "I don't care, but Izumo here is being a baby about it, since he knew about what happened."

"Hey, you're the one who was badging me for information." Itsuko laughed at the display between these two. She missed their Genin days, when Shikaku-sensei would murmur the word troublesome afterward and leave them be.

"He came back already and he's fine. You two can stop worrying about him." Kotetsu and Izumo smiled at that, before Itsuko continued. "Kakashi and Genma-senpai were worse off than him, but they were already cleared by Tsunade-sama."

"Oh yeah, I forgot to check on the captain. But, I'm glad that two of those Akatsuki bastards are gone now…if we can beat a few more, then Naruto is safe." Itsuko wished that she could share in Izumo's confidence right now, but if experience taught her anything, was that the next ones will probably be too much for her boyfriend to handle, at least on his own, that is. Hell, one of them almost killed the Sannin Jiraiya. If it weren't for Naruto's team rescuing him at the last minute, then the leader Pein would have killed him.

"Yes, anyhow, I need to get going and start dinner. Stay safe, you two." Izumo and Kotetsu, both, smirked at one another, before Kotetsu decided to turn the tables on his former teammate.

"Playing housewife already, Itsuko-chan…whatever happened to that girl who almost castrated Mizuki-san?" A vein popped at the memory, but Itsuko forced a smile, while her eyebrow twitched in dangerous levels. Izumo was already backing away, as soon as he saw the spike in chakra levels.

"Oh, I'm glad you remember that Kotetsu…want me to do the same to you?" The man with the bandage in his nose took a while, but tried to dissuade the situation he caused.

"Oh no, forget I said anything…ah…give my best to Naruto-kun. Bye!" Izumo and Itsuko watched as the man vanished to save his life. However, Izumo soon remembered and chased after his teammate.

"Oi Kotetsu, come back here…it's your time to pay the bill, damn it."

Itsuko smiled at both, before turning and continuing her track towards Naruto's apartment. Despite Kotetsu's little joke about her being a housewife, it's not like the thought hasn't passed through her mind about moving forward. She and Kasumi had spoken in length about their respective relationships with the two Sharingan users in Konoha. The Hyuga was venting her frustrations at Kakashi for not asking her in marriage, but aside from that, the entire Hyuga clan situation had to be considered. Marrying outside the clan is not exactly forbidden, but heavily frowned upon and despite Kasumi not being a main family member, her Byakugan is highly developed.

As for Itsuko and Naruto, they care a lot about the orphans in Konoha and settling down together to take care of them is something that she highly envisions moving forward.

In the end, that would have to wait, until all the threats right now are handled. Akatsuki is something that takes Itsuko's sleep every now and then and she just couldn't allow herself to imagine the pain of losing him.

Shaking her head to rid herself of such thoughts, she focused on the present…in particular, the thought of them having dinner tonight in his apartment and enjoying the night together.

===With Naruto===

When Naruto had awoken the next day, he was surprised to see that Itsuko wasn't by his side. Squeezing his eyes to protect it from the strong sunlight invading the room, Naruto became aware that he had overslept once more, hence why his girlfriend was already up a long time ago and was probably at the ANBU HQ by now. He appreciated her taking some time off from her job to be with him, after the mission against Kakuzu and Hidan, before getting up for the day and setting up to go out and find a quick lunch.

After grabbing a quick bite, Naruto bumped into Choji who said he was on the way to Shikamaru's house to meet up with Asuma-sensei and Shikamaru.

With nothing to do for now, Naruto tagged along and chatted with his former teammate.

"Wow, you guys managed to take down those monsters…I was sweating just being close to them, Naruto." The Sharingan user nodded, before accepting some chips from Choji's bag.

"Going in a fight against these guys is like a suicide mission, Choji. Shikamaru and Asuma-sensei had given us a pretty decent intel about what they could do, before we departed. Still, facing S-ranked enemies is no picnic. We were on the edge the entire time." The worst part was that Naruto was still not entirely sure if he defeated Hidan, even if the man was literally turned to ashes by Ametarasu. "It was the same as when Genma-taichou and I faced Akasuna no Sasori, to rescue Gaara. It if weren't for Genma being close by, I don't know if I would have survived."

"Ma…ma, you're selling yourself short, Naruto…you'd have the Kyuubi and your summons to fall back on." Come to think about it, to this day, Naruto had only used the fox's chakra in his fight against Sasori. And for some reason, the fox had decided not to make itself known. He suddenly went quiet for a while and for someone who enjoyed a good conversation, Naruto would have expected his prisoner to call his jailor by now. The last time they conversed was when Naruto found out about his heritage.

"To tell the truth, Choji, I had never actually used much of the fox's chakra, unless for healing purposes." Choji looked at Naruto in surprise, wondering how much stronger his former teammate could become if he did.

"Oh, I'd think you'd use every tool you have at your disposal, why don't you?" Naruto snorted as the two got inside the Nara household and greeted Miss Yoshino, who was tending to the garden and Shikamaru's father who was feeding the clan's deers. As to Choiji's question, he could begin by saying that the fox rarely enjoyed helping him, despite their arrangement, but there was another reason. Not one that he felt particularly inclined to discuss with the fox, though he imagined that he couldn't keep it a secret.

"The fox's chakra is loaded with malice, Choji. Every time it courses through my coils, it fills my mind with agonizing screams and hostility. It tampers with my mind and gets in the way when I fight."

"Wow, really? I never knew that." Naruto nodded as they got into the house's back and saw the bandaged Asuma and Shikamaru playing a game of Shogi.

"At some point, I would have to understand it better, but for now, I could rely on many other skills, instead of the fox." Asuma and Shikamaru soon stopped playing when they saw Naruto and Choji approaching.

"Oh, hi there Naruto, Choji." Asuma greeted them both, right after blowing some smoke. Shikamaru greeted them as well, before moving his set of pieces.

"Asuma-sensei, Shikamaru, feeling better?" Asuma simply hummed as he observed the board, after Shikamaru's move. Choji had already settled down close to the board and was busy simply munching on his bag of chips.

"I had spoken with Kakashi in the hospital, Naruto. He said that you were the one who dealt with Hidan." Naruto nodded, before the bearded shinobi smirked. "I thought I heard incorrectly when Kakashi said that you turned him into ash."

Shikamaru and Choji looked at Naruto in surprise at the intel, but the Sharingan user didn't react to deny the claim.

"I did, though I still don't know if it was enough." Asuma whistled at that…indeed, Naruto's lava techniques were a sight to behold, or at least it was what he believed Naruto had used, just like he did with Danzo. Shikamaru and Choji were still taken aback by Naruto's strength. Ignoring their looks, Naruto focused on the Shogi board. "I take it that Shikamaru is winning." Asuma scratched his head and closed one eye in embarrassment at Naruto assuming that from the start, though facing a Nara, even a teenaged one, at Shogi was a sure loss. With Naruto talking about Shogi, the focus turned to the game as Shikamaru and Choji chuckled at Naruto and Asuma's interaction.

"Fancy a game with me, Naruto? I have never played with you." Naruto turned towards Shikamaru, but casually negated, while placing both hands inside his standard Jonin outfit pockets.

"No, thanks Shikamaru. I'm no strategist. Plus, it's not like the Hokage will ever bother placing me in such a role." Asuma looked sideways at his former student, observing in scrutiny at the answer. "My role is either to be a heavy hitter on the front lines or to participate in rescue missions." The bearded Jonin did understand that not many shinobi are suited for every possible line of work, but he had actually forgotten about this side of him. In the end, though, Naruto was already a Jonin and grown up enough to figure out his path for himself, without Asuma having to guide him along, like he needed with Shikamaru, Choji and Ino.

Hell, even before being a sensei for Team 10, Asuma was also constantly used for heavy assault missions.

"Say Shikamaru…Ino kept badgering me with questions today after seeing you with Temari-san, constantly." Shikamaru deflated at that.

"Huh, troublesome blondes the both of them. There's nothing to badger about. She happened to be appointed as Suna's ambassador and Hokage-sama saddled me with her."

Asuma and Choji both laughed at that, knowing something more than the clueless Naruto.

"Temari as in Sabaku no Temari, Gaara's older sister?" Shikamaru nodded.

"The same…why do you ask?"

"Does she ever mention her brother? How is he doing after his incursion with Akatsuki?" Naruto rarely focused on the other Jinchuuriki, considering his history with the Sharingan, as well as his own personal life with Itsuko, Misao and the others. However, the recent standoff with Akatsuki as well as what Jiraiya said about the other Jinchuuriki being targeted, made him wonder. Shikamaru had defeated Asuma when Naruto asked him, so he was busy gathering the pieces and storing them inside the board.

"She never mentioned him or her other brother, sorry. Our conversations are limited to Suna Konoha relations and the last Chuunin Exams that happened here in Konoha." Naruto waved him off, but the curiosity about Gaara's situation lingered.

"Though, that troublesome woman always seeks me out when she is here for some reason." Asuma lit up another cigarette and couldn't help but start the teasing, only this time he included Naruto in this, considering his own relationship.

"Oh, it seems both my students are growing up fast. At this point, you shall settle down before I do." Shikamaru reacted indignant at that and Choji laughed at his childhood friend's, missing the fact that Asuma mentioned the word 'both'.

"Nonsense, Asuma-sensei, something tells me that Kurenai-san might have something to say about that." Asuma, this time, looked taken aback at Naruto's knowing smirk, while wondering who could possibly have told him.

"Ah…I don't know what you're talking about." Naruto snorted at that, before getting up.

"Sure you don't…anyway, I have to run some errands before going home; good to see you all."

===Close to sunset===

It was already sunset in Konoha, when Naruto chose a sedate pace around the village. It's been quite some time since he had allowed himself some down time like this.

No training to do. Plus, Itsuko was quite adamant on not catching him doing anything remotely linked to it, so he was limited to what he could do. Truth be told, Naruto wasn't so far inclined to keep that up for now. He could feel his chakra coils tense by each step he took right now and his eyes still bothered him every now and then. It went without saying that he wouldn't use the Sharingan for at least a few more days. His steps then took him close to the Hyuuga manor and Naruto looked up to see none other than Kasumi's back, as she was prepared to enter the compound.

"Ah Kasumi-neechan, hi there." Kasumi turned in surprise at the name and voice, before seeing Naruto waving at her.

"Oh hi Naruto-kun, long time no see…what are you doing here?" He simply shrugged his shoulders.

"I just had no destination in mind to be honest…" Kasumi smiled and then invited him inside the Hyuuga compound and then into her humble abode for a cup of tea at the porch.

"I see…so that's what happened…so, Kakashi left you alone to face an S-ranked shinobi by yourself." After serving her little brother some tea, the two took a casual seat, while Naruto told her about the mission against Akatsuki.

"Take it easy with him, neechan…they were S-ranked for a reason." Kasumi, though, didn't hear and simply humped, while crossing her arms.

"He's the all too famous copy ninja, Naruto-kun, he should have backed you up." Naruto sweat dropped at that. Itsuko joked that when it comes to Kakashi and Kasumi, you'd better just stay out of it. Plus, he had a feeling that Kakashi enjoyed this sort of thing, so he left it alone.

"Actually, Kasumi-neechan, I was wondering if you could help me with something." The elder Hyuuga looked at him in surprise at the seriousness.

"Anything, Naruto-kun, ask away." Naruto did take some time to ask and that made her more agitated. Ever since the time he was attacked while under her watch, she became over-protective of him.

"Have you ever felt your eyes hurt by overusing the Byakugan?" Kasumi took a relaxing breath, knowing it wasn't too serious.

"Sure, a couple times, yes. It's a common occurrence for us Dojutsu users. I remember Hinata-sama having to wear bandages to cover her eyes for days, after it happened to her." Naruto got the intel and turned pensive for a while. "I take it that you overused the Sharingan in your fight, then?"

A subtle nod was enough for Kasumi to place her tea on the porch wood and look upwards in contemplation.

"I'm no medic myself, but you have to consider that our eyes are subject to fatigue just like any other part of our body. No matter if you now have Itachi's eyes and won't go blind from using it. It's like a sword, if you ask me, it's a tool that needs care, overall." Naruto said nothing to that and Kasumi looked at her adopted younger brother for a while, before smiling. "You know…when Kakashi-kun had his Sharingan eye implanted, it took him a while to get used to it. That's why he uses the headband to cover it, so he won't overdo it. You at least can deactivate it at will…it's just a matter of not using the Mangekyou techniques as often."

Kasumi frowned as Naruto simply hummed in acceptance, but it didn't look like she was giving him the answers he sought.

"What is it? Talk to me." Naruto exhaled in contempt, before looking at her.

"I fear that it's only going to get worse from here on out. Those that I have faced thus far may be nothing compared to the top brass members." Kasumi knew that to be true, sadly. "I'm going to need everything I have to defeat them."

"True…but you won't be alone in this, Naruto-kun. You can trust your teammates and you can certainly trust us to face this mountain together with you." Naruto smiled at that and Kasumi did as well. "Plus, I bet that Itsuko-chan would chop us in half if something ever happened to you. So…" That brought laughter from the Sharingan user and Kasumi felt like she wanted to hear it more often from him. To shoulder so much responsibility, not only being who he is, but also what he carries, she felt like he was carrying the weight of the entire village on his shoulders, sometimes.

"Yeah, you wouldn't want to get close to her sword, when she's mad." Naruto, then, smiled and turned to his adopted sister. "Thank you, Kasumi-neechan. I bet that Itsuko is already done with her scouts for the day and is waiting for me." Kasumi smiled at hearing about the ANBU.

"Okay, send her my regards, oh and tell her she is still owing me dinner sometime to catch up."

"Will do…take care."

===Inside his mindscape===

One Uzumaki slash Uchiha Naruto was carrying a couple of bags back to Itsuko so that they could make dinner for the night.

He was walking close to the river that crossed the village, while taking in the view of the sunset. He passed by the school grounds when children played with each other, until it was time for the parents to pick them up. When he was little, his eyes would linger more than it should at this particular scene. Imagining himself in a different upbringing with his parents still alive and dropping by to pick him up after playing all day. Back then, he didn't know, but now he could picture the Yondaime Hokage and his wife, Uzumaki Kushina coming to pick up the person that once was Uzumaki Naruto. Ignorant of everything, with big bright blue eyes and a non-ending level of energy to play until nightfall.

"Oh, getting sentimental again, aren't you Naruto?" His eyes widened at the unexpected voice, before Naruto went deep inside his subconscious to eye the majestic fox lying down behind the cage and his tails moving in the back.

"Huh, it's been some time since I heard your voice, fox…and here I thought you wanted to converse from time to time." The fox snorted at that.

"I do, but I also enjoy a good enough nap every now and then. Since you have yet to call upon my help, I have taken more opportunities to simply sleep."

"Oh, so that sounds like a praise from the great Kyubi no Kitsune. I'm flattered, I truly am." The fox looked at his jailor more intently for a while, before he lifted his majestic body and towered over the blond Sharingan user.

"Either that or the opponents you faced were so weak that even you could handle them, without waking me up. It matters little to me which is which." Naruto frowned at the lack of acknowledgement from the beast conversationalist. "Anyhow, even asleep, I had ample access to your thoughts and memories of what happened. It was particularly pleasing to witness the methods used against Danzo and those demon hunters, Akatsuki. Burning both to a crisp and stabbing the third with an iron spear…truly inspiring, indeed. So, for that, I can give you praise…all three kills were worthy of the one who shall be called my Jinchuuriki." Now, Naruto deflated. Give it to the fox who had more kills than perhaps any other being in existence to give him praises for his kills.

"So…what's there to converse about? I don't see you of all people just calling to chit chat." The fox hummed as he once again focused on the memory that passed through his jailor's mind when he passed the school grounds.

"I must admit that this particular thought of your parents surged very little in your mind. Dare I say that after you took a visit to their house, this was the first time." Naruto looked down for a while in wonder at that.

"It's nothing, really. My mind went there when I saw the children being picked up by their parents. That's all." Kyuubi said nothing to that, for a while. Usually, that would be an evasive response, except that Naruto couldn't hide his thoughts from the fox. So, if he was being evasive, then he would know and comment on it.

"Hmmm, I see. Moving on, then, I trust that you have learned the hard way what many Uchiha in the past suffered from? Although the Sharingan eye is considered a magnificent tool to possess in the midst of battle, its overuse has its setbacks. The human body is frail by nature as I said so myself repeatedly to you, my jailor." Naruto accepted that that was the case, though he had to consider some possibilities now that the fox regarded him worthy of hearing his voice.

"I do, however I do wonder if you would have something to contribute to that or if the Uzumaki genes are not acting as they should?" The fox grunted and Naruto continued. "Your chakra can heal my eyes, should it ever get fatigued from over usage and the Uzumaki genes can help smooth things along, so to speak."

"And here I thought you would be done asking for my help. I guess it's asking too much for my weak jailer to handle his own problems." Naruto smiled, seeing that it wasn't a no from the fox, dismissing the insults.

"You do know that it's only getting harder from here on out, fox. If the leader decides to come himself and capture me, I will need every possible tool at my disposal to deal with him. And do well to remember that should I get captured, it's no longer my problem, but yours as well. For instance, you won't have anyone to talk to and you also won't have your nap time as I discovered right now you care about those." The fox showed its full teeth smile to the blond and he couldn't know if that was a good or a bad thing.

"Oh so my jailor is learning the act of coercion now. How interesting…" Naruto was seeing his odds improving as the fox talked. "How interesting of you to assume that being here inside you is in anyway pleasant that I wouldn't consider a new home more suited to my needs." The Sharingan user's eyebrows twitched as he saw that indeed that wasn't going to work with the fox. "No, I do not care for your well being and yes, I would consider better prospects for myself when and if it presented." The fox then laughed at the jailor's expense, seeing his sudden frown upside down look. It was quite amusing to mess with him. "Anyhow, considering that I am yet to know what egotistical and petty reason Akatsuki could have to target us, I guess I can count my blessings that my jailor does not seek to use me the same way."

Naruto couldn't know if the fox was affirming or wondering…but, it doesn't hurt his odds here to affirm exactly what he thinks on the matter.

"Wha….no, what do you take me for? If it was up to me, you would be out there, doing whatever you feel like and leave me be." Naruto has been through many shits in his life and it all started with the fox, even if indirectly.

"Oh the feeling is mutual, little jailor. I wouldn't want to look at your pitiful face any more than necessary. I can agree to your new stipulations about releasing the strain from your eyes, however I have stipulations of my own." Naruto found that to be reasonable and ushered the fox to go on. "I find myself missing the feeling outside if you can understand me…the gentle breeze in my tails, the smell of our world's nature…as such, I won't only be providing chakra to your eyes, but to your entire body." Naruto narrowed his eyes instantly at that. "Oh don't worry…you won't feel the malice that naturally comes with my chakra. One or two tail's worth of my chakra is enough for you to deal with most foes out there and that includes the organization leader."

"I can agree to that, however the second I feel you messing with me, I can seal off your influence. You know I know how." The fox nodded, remembering that Naruto learned some of his father's sealing theories.

"That's precisely why I said you needn't worry…" Naruto then moved to leave, when the fox indicated that he had other business to talk about.

"What now?"

"Considering your recent concern about the Ichibi Jinchuuriki, I feel inclined to inform you that the Jinchuuriki is being targeted by the organization once more." Naruto's eyes widened and the fox continued. "I won't bother sharing with you just how I know that, just know that is happening." Naruto snarled and vanished from his consciousness and it turned dark once more for the fox to resume his nap. He had a feeling that any moment now, he would be awakened once more, but for now, he would just close his eyes and doze off.

Once back in the real world, Naruto formed a Doton Bunshin and sent it to warn the Hokage, while he shunshined towards his apartment to warn Itsuko.

Author Note

Ok, that's it for now.

Moving forward in the story, it's time for us to go to Suna once more. For those who don't remember, the first attempt wasn't successful, since Konoha managed to yank Gaara away from Pein's technique, before the Ichibi was one hundred percent absorbed. That being said, Akatsuki has to hunt him down once more and complete the transaction, so to speak. This chapter served to show some interaction with Itsuko's old team and some of the characters that have interaction with Naruto, nowadays.

Please tell me your thoughts.

Next update: Nidaime no Sairin