A/N: HELLO~!

*Ahem*

Sorry about that, I couldn't help myself. I'm back again! LONG LIVE REQUEST YEAR! AND THE YEAR AFTER THAT! Meh, you get the drift...

But there's something we need to address, here. I HATE leaving a mostly Author Note Chapter, but this has been a problem for some time now, and I'm fed up with it.

As to why some of my stories haven't been updated in an age, I got verbally attacked a lot, and REALLY sick and only recently recovered. Heart surgery is not fun, never fun and will never BE fun as far as I'm concerned. Haters and death threats tend to make things worse, too. Especially when you work super hard on a chapter only to have everyone dump on it and criticize it all over the place. That really hurts, ya know? It isn't easy writing this many stories! Do you have any idea how LONG it takes?! I'd love to see my haters try half of the stuff I do!

Constructive criticism is good. I LIKE that kind of criticism. It helps me improve. Many of my stories have gotten to where they are today thanks to harsh (but fair) criticism. NOT threats to choke me with my own entrails and all other kinds of nasty crap.

And when I DO update my older stuff and try to get it running again, what do I get?

MORE HATE!

My "Imperfection" story is a prime example of this. I've got this annoying ANONYMOUS flamer who keeps bugging the hell out of me, saying I "fap" to Naruto and other unpleasant things I won't mention involving asspulls and such. That kind of senseless poison is what drove me away in the first place. Deleting his reviews does nothing, he just comes back a few days later and plasters the same blatant hate again. In rather choppy English, I might add. No, that is not a dig against anyone. It is merely a fact. Add to that he keeps using anonymous reviews. How the hell can I reply to someone who uses guest reviews, OI?!

Is it so wrong to try and use different and innovative concepts like demigod ki? Other fics have done it and I don't see HIM going after them! Sheesh, man!

Lay!

Off!

If I keep having to deal with crap like this then I am DONE. Permanently. I like writing stories for you guys and doing requests and all, but my self esteem is in TATTERS because of constant and ceaseless attacks like this.

Alright, got a bit of track there, sorry about that.

Anyhow, I'm back and I've been on a mad spree, updating like crazy and this was next on the list! The update will be comign shortly. Feels good to write a pure Naruto fic again, ya know?

Enjoy!

HAPPILY EVER AFTER IS BACK, BABY~!

And we experience a wee little time skip here...

Ye be warned, Shizuka may...ahem...lose herself a bit, here...

"Heeeeh?! So this is your fiance, dattebane?!"

~Uzumaki Kushina!

Into the Abyss

At first, Shizuka didn't rightly understand what she was looking at.

How could she, when she was staring up at a twenty foot tall monstrosity of chakra? Granted, the kunoichi of Naedshiko had heard tales of the Kyuubi no Youko in her childhood, experienced horrific nightmares because of it. She'd even come to accept that Naruto was its container, that her beloved blond worked tirelessly to keep the beast at bay even as it fought to erode the seal and escape. A certain solace could be found in knowing that no matter how foul and cruel his tenant might be, its jailer was many times its better and in no way of influenced by the malevolent malice of his guest.

Of course, back then she'd been on the outside looking in.

Now, within the seal and privileged-or cursed?-to see it firsthand, to gaze upon this ancient entity and realize just how utterly outclassed they truly were...well, that was another matter. The beast defied imagination and laughed at her feeble attempts to classify it as anything other than an absolute monstrosity. Hate radiated from it in foul waves of tainted chakra, threatening to swallow her whole and smother her very existence. Erase her from all memory. A single flick from one of its many tails would be more than enough to annihilate her. To destroy her, body and soul.

But the worst of all were the eyes.

Those foul, scarlet orbs.

Red as blood, and slitted like those of some eldritch demon from the darkest depths of hell, they gazed upon her, not with anger or contempt. She could've handled that. It was the utter lack of emotion within that truly rattled her and though she shuddered quietly, willing herself to meet the abomination's glare, she failed utterly. This..."entity" was utterly beyond her ken; she could no more hope to defeat such a beast than she could will the heavens to part or the seas to split. And they both knew it.

She was nothing in the eyes of this creature.

She was an ant-no, less than an ant.

She wasn't even dirt.

To the Kyuubi, they were mere peons, pests to be ignored-squashed if they proved irritating. Nothing more.

The same could be said for Naruto's red-sheathed form behind her, but Shizuka was trying her utmost to ignore her beloved's prone form, and her steadily rising temper. This wasn't enough to break him. It couldn't be. Surely she could buy him enough time to recover. At least a minute? Sixty seconds? Surely that was at least within the realm of her ability? For his sake, she was determined to try. Even if he meant she would surely die. She was in no hurry to leap into death's bitter embrace, but if that was what it took for Naruto regain control of himself...

"So the boy's mate has finally come to play." the fox rumbled darkly, leaning forward on its haunches to leer at her. "Do you really think you stand a chance against me, mortal?"

Shizuka sighed, reaching up to her forehead.

"Not really, no." she admitted, adjusting her headband. "But I'm going to try anyway."

"Why bother?" the eldritch entity uttered a jaw-popping yawn that shook the kunoichi to her very bones, "I have no quarrel with you. Leave now and you can be the herald of my return."

"Because I love him."

A brief flicker of surprise flitted across the fox's face.

"You humans and your emotions. Baffling."

Quietly, Shizuka agreed.

Confronting their true selves was one thing-an experience she didn't care to repeat-but this went well beyond that madness.

This was insanity.

To face the Kyuubi itself!

Yup, she was going to have a bad time.

By rights, she didn't even know how she'd gotten here in the first place. Naruto was being overwhelmed by the fox's chakra and she'd desperately longed to help him; aching to something-anything!-to prevent him from being taken over by his raging tenant. One moment she'd been standing there hand to his shoulder, ignoring the acidic chakra scorching her palm as she silently willed him to win. The next instant she had the sensation of being drawn into something. The next thing she had known, here she was, about to fight for their lives. Hers and his.

But damnit, if the bastard was going to kill her then he'd have to work for it.

"I suppose I'll have to kill you then." Kyuubi sighed, tails arching forward. "That should be more than enough to break the brat."

"You can try."

Red eyes met green.

Narrowed.

"Oho, so you have some spirit after all!"

Then they clashed.

Shizuka lunged forwards in the same instant that the nine-tails struck down, driving its furry appendages into the water with a thunderous splash. But instead of eviscerating blood and bone, the biju tasted only the cold tang of disappointment as his prey vaulted overhead, rapidly flicking through hand seals. Inhaling deeply, the kunoichi drew air to her lungs, kneaded it with chakra and exhaled as hard as she could. The result was sure and true; a massive explosion of her native element roaring forward to pummel the startled fox into the ground.

"Futon: Ressenpu! (Wind style: Violent Whirlwind!)

Kurama grunted in surprise, flattening his towering bulk against the watery ground with a growl. After a moment beneath the assault he straightened, fangs bared in a grin. An impressive assault to be certain, but little more than a mild breeze against someone of his stature. Faster than she could recover, he swept a clawed paw into the air, cutting into her body with cruel ease-

Poof.

As such, the biju was far from pleased when the razor sharp nails drew little more than a copious plume of smoke and passed harmlessly through. The same could not be said for the rest of him. Pain erupted in his left leg in the next instant, the keening cry of the wind element alerting him to the danger at his flank. Another rent opened on the opposite leg, sending a shallow slash of pain searing through his knee. Graah! Pesky little insect! Enraged by what

"AAARGH!" Howling, the kitsune spun around, tails thrashing. "When did you...?"

Shizuka alighted behind him, grinning.

Her fingers formed a taut point, creating the likeness. From that point her chakra extended even further. What was that? A knife of some sort? No, it was much to large to be a knife. It was a blade he realized. Forged entirely out of chakra, this azure sword extended a few feet from her outstretched arm, hissing softly. By itself, it really wasn't all that worrying. The problem lay in the fact that the pesky wench was presently flanked by no less than four copies of herself, two to each side.

As if sensing his confusion, Shizuka grinned.

"I learned this jutsu from an old friend." the kunoichi drawled, raising her impromtpu weapon. "Been practicing ever since. Coupled with Naruto-kun's Shadow Clone technique, its very chakra-intensive as you can see, but it seems this can hurt you." Easing forward into another stance, the kage bunshins mirrored her. A small smile tugged at the original's lips, displaying confidence she didn't truly feel. "Lets try that again, shall we?"

A gesture sent the clones shooting forward.

Kurama's response was nothing short of explosive.

She'd wounded him-HIM!-and his pride would not stand for it.

One by one his nine tails rose to jut out him, pointing into the air in angry defiance.

"So you know a few tricks! It won't save you!"

Unlike the one he'd unleashed against Naruto, this bijudama formed instantaneously. Azure and crimson chakras were compressed and hardened in a heartbeat, devoured just as quickly. Kurama's fanged maw snapped open, a thin line of steam heralding the hell that was to come. The pesky wench must have sensed it as well; or at least some manner of it; because for her eyes widened and she shot past him in a parallel run, even as her clones ran un-heeding to their doom.

Grinning, Kurama exhaled furiously.

She never stood a chance.

Blinding light burst from his maw in a dazzling flash of black and white, obliterating the clones-and very nearly Shizuka herself- as it streaked away into the dark. The shockwave itself flattened her to the ground, and it was all that saved her life. Dazed and bleeding, ears ringing, she struggled to make sense of what has just happened. When she tried to rise, her limbs betrayed her wholeheartedly; her legs buckled bonelessly beneath her weight and sent her tumbing

'...I can't move. Is this it...?' her addled mind balked as she lay in a water grave. 'Am I really going to die here? Like this...?'

Shizuka's strength failed her and Kurama's tails descended as one, aiming to tear her apart piece by bloody piece.

Somehow, someway, he missed, three of the six mere millimeters from her face, close enough to touch.

A trembling hand reached out, fingers desperately curling inward.

"Die, you impudent little upstart!"

A blur of reddish gold denied him.

'NOT LIKE THIS!'

The faintest of tugging sensations was his only warning, then she was gone. Wait. He knew this sensation! Something was taking hold of his chakra with their own! Rounding on this sudden source of fresh weakness, he snapped his jaws at the impudent girl, determined to crunch her a bloody pul-

THUD.

Clenched knuckles barreled up into his chin from below, fracturing his jaw and hurling him away into the air with a pained yowl. Again came the tugging sensation, fierce and fleeting 'WHAT! IS! GOING! ON?! For a fleeting instant he hung there, freed from the laws of gravity binding him within the seal. Weightless. Frozen in his confusion and-though he'd never say it aloud!-very real fear. In the next blink, something cracked across his face and launched him back to the ground in a heap of tangled tails and limbs. This time the tugging sensation was an outright yank.

By now he'd more than realized what was happening.

Rounding on her, for the first time since their brawl had begun, Kurama actually gawped.

"ARE YOU INSANE?!"

Encased in a sputtering golden/red shroud, the kunoichi of Nadeshiko defiantly stared him down. Her eyes flicked madly, vying between jade and scarlet. Unstable perhaps, but still, it was there. What foul sorcery was this?! She should be dead! No mortal-except that damn brat who jailed him-could take his chakra and use it against him even in this place! So how had this wench done that?! It boggled the mind! She should be dead, a shuddering mess of screaming agony on the floor! Unless...she descended from that man. The thought was galling.

"You...you're not a normal kunoichi, are you?"

Shizuka nearly giggled, momentarily made mad with chakra overload.

"Apparently not!"

She hadn't been desperate enough to try it until now, but she'd had no other choice. Bee-san said chakra could pull chakra. With reserves direly depleted and left with no other recourse, then came drastic measures. So in her desperation she'd latched on and pulled at his. Hard. Not for long, it was enough, and she'd quickly cut contact with the beast before he could taint it with his hate. She hadn't paid the consequences any mind, her haste too great. There had only been need. In all honesty, she was surprised it had worked at all-aargh! Ah, now came the pain she'd expected. It raced through her body, demanding release because it burned it burned it burned itburneditburneditburneditBURNED!

So she gave the chakra the release it sought.

Remarkably, she found it far easier to knead this chakra; it wanted out, so she had only to direct it.

"Futon: Daitoppa! (Wind Style: Great Breakthrough!)

This storm made the last one look like a gentle gust by comparison; it barreled into Kurama with the force of a hurricane, ripping him from his paws and hurling him to the ground. Great bloody rents opened in his flesh, fur peeling back in places to expose broken and tattered skin. For a fleeting moment he actually feared the rampaging windstorm might cause him even more harm. That fear faltered as the storm flagged, then faded in a sudden sputter of energy, the power behind it waning away to nothingness.

In the end, it simply wasn't enough to finish him off completely.

Shizuka stood there for a moment, gasping for air.

She felt like she could conquer the world...

...until that chakra sputtered out.

Between one step and the next her strength abandoned her; confidence consumed by crippling pain. Her coils protested viciously, rejecting the immense amount of chakra she'd forced upon them. Too much, too soon, and not nearly enough to defeat the towering fox now looming over her.

"You!" Kurama snarled. "I CANNOT allow you to live!"

Instead of being skewered, she found herself in a world of golden light.

There was no pain here she realized...only relief.

"What...where...?"

"Oi, Shizuka?! When did you get here?!"

The kunoichi's head snapped around like a puppet severed from its strings.

"Naruto...?"

"Don't worry," a soft voice interjected. "You can stay as long as you like."

"Who...?"

Shizuka stiffened in awe at the sight of her; this red-headed woman that had appeared to her in the seal. Beside her Naruto looked to be in equal parts shock and surprise, not sure what to make of this newcomer. The roars of the Kyuubi still raged around them but he could not touch them, the three of them were in their own little word. That said woman was now looking at her with sparkling eyes, brought her no shortage of unease or discomfort. Why did she suddenly get the feeling she would've been better off facing the Kyuubi...?

"So, you're the one whose made Naruto-kun so happy lately?" she smiled mischievously. "Good. I was afraid he'd end up with that Sakura girl."

"W-W-W-What?!" Shizuka choked. "Just who are you-

Naruto was less subtle.

"AHA! You're the Kyuubi's true form, aren't you?!"

WHAP!

The woman's fist descended sharply, cutting him off.

"That's not even remotely funny, dattebane!"

"Itai!" Naruto yelped on instinct; his eyes fluttering open to realize there hadn't been any pain. "Wait, dattebane...?"

Shizuka silently avowed to find this "Sakura" and give her a piece of her mind when this was all said and done.

"Begging your pardon, but who are you?"

The redheaded woman snickered.

"Well, I suppose I should make introdutions, but, "ignoring their confusion, the woman drew both of them into a big hug. "Well, just let me say one thing first."

A strange, awkward silence fell over the three of them. Followed shortly by:

"I WANT LOTS AND LOTS MORE GRANDBABIES!"

There was another silence. Naruto blinked.

Shizuka blinked.

And then:

"D-D-Did you say more?" Shizuka felt her face color, burning to the very roots of her hair. "What was that supposed to mean?!"

"Yeah, what she said, dattebayo!"

"Ara, you mean you didn't know?" the redhead blinked. "I mean, you're still pretty early, so I'm not surprise that you wouldn't be able to tell yet."

She took in their flushed faces and frowned.

...I just said that out loud, didn't I?"

So she told them.

"HAH?!"

A/N: I can't believe I actually ended it on that note with Shizuka meeting Kushina like that. AND finding out she's pregnant. In the very early stages of it mind you, yet still! But it was just too good to pass up. I imagine some might not like the idea that Shizuka snatched a bit of Kurama's chakra, however fleetingly, and expected her to die from it. Well, that obviously didn't happen.

Why, you ask?

Simple.

PLOT.

You see, Kurama was actually quite near the dot there when he wondered if Shizuka was a direct descendant of 'that man' as to whom 'that man is, you'll just have to wait and see. Aye, Shizuka's ancestry is very important and YES it will be revealed in detail soon. As to any side effects, well, those should be obvious. She's much more than a normal kunoichi, even if she doesn't quite realize it herself. She's got a ton of potential and that makes her a danger to the Moon's Eye Plan as a whole, something a certain Uchiha won't take lightly...

So...in the Immortal Words of Atlas...

...Review, would you kindly?

Took the preview out, I'm rewriting the hell out of it.

R&R! =D