Author's Note: Hello, everyone; it's been a long time. I'm sorry for not releasing a chapter for so long, but I've been too caught up with reality; my last semester in college wasn't my best, so my parents gave me an ultimatum: get my act together or they'll pull me from my present, out-of-state private college (which I really love) and into my state's public university (which I don't really like). Add in getting caught up with other fandoms, Youtube, and writer's block, and you get the reason why I haven't been writing. But now I'm back! And I'll work on the next chapter of A Japanese Scheherazade as soon as possible. (Sorry, Mysthem, for making you worry about it possibly being abandoned.)
Here is the second chapter! I'm kinda disappointed that I didn't get as many views for the first chapter of Desirous compared to A Japanese Scheherazade, but I'm just getting started. For those of you who noticed, the winner of the poll (that's been running since January 2013) was Sasuke's Catastrophe. I'm thinking of posting the first chapter after this chapter, but ultimately it is my ever-changing whims that determine when it will be posted.
Alright, we already have the first meeting between Naruto and the Count. Now here come the reasons for why she would want a pet.
Warning: FemNaru; SasuFemNaru; Possible OOC-ness; a kinda angsty Naruto (not for long, though); swearing
Disclaimer:… Do I even need to say it? Would I be here if that wasn't the case?
Desirous - 望んで
Part II: Discussion - 議論
Naruto was trying her best to not give up. Honestly she was; when it came to her resolve and determination, the hardest diamond was as soft as a sponge. Nothing was going to get to her.
And yet the temptation was great as well. She had been exhausted for so long, and the whispers that echoed all around her were so soothing… would it hurt to just give into their demands. It wouldn't hurt to do what they say, right?
Slowly the blonde teenager descended deeper and deeper into unconsciousness. But before she finally reached that sweet bliss…
"Wha?!" Naruto woke up with a gasp. Confused, she looked up to see her teacher standing by her desk, a frown set on his tan face as he tapped his left foot repeatedly.
"Nice to see you rejoin the land of the living, Naruto."
Her fellow classmates snickered at the blush blooming on her face. Giving a nervous laugh, Naruto scratched the back of her head and said, "Sorry, Iruka-sensei. I didn't sleep well last night so I'm really tired now."
Iruka's eyes softened at the explanation, and the teacher sighed and said, "You shouldn't stay up late at night, Naruto; you'll ruin your health that way. Now please pay attention to the lesson."
"Alright, Iruka-sensei!" Naruto chirped as she mock-saluted the older man.
Iruka rolled his eyes at her antics but moved back to the front of the room. Anyone that was still laughing from earlier was silenced by the teacher's glare, and the lesson finished without further delay. Once the bell rang for lunch Iruka left the classroom to go to the teacher's office, and all the students either stayed in the classroom to eat (school policy allowed them to eat in any room not locked during lunchtime) or ventured to the cafeteria to see what was today's menu.
Naruto was just pulling out her lunch bag when a pink-haired girl stopped by her desk with her own lunch box in hand.
"Hey, Naruto; we're all eating in the courtyard today."
"Alright, wait for me!" The blonde rummaged through her desk to find her lunch and scrambled to catch up to her friend.
"Ah man, I don't know what to do about the upcoming history test, Sakura-chan!" Naruto complained as they walked down the hallway.
"You know you could always try and study for the test, Naruto," Sakura dryly responded.
"Hey, I do study!" An offended Naruto shouted. "It's just that there are so many dates and names and facts that they all seem to mix together. It's not like math where you only have to worry about numbers and the occasional letter thrown in the mix."
"That doesn't mean you shouldn't study for it, Naruto."
"Then…could you come over and help me study, Sakura?" Naruto hesitantly asked, surprising Sakura with her tone and lack of honorific. "You are the smartest girl in school. And if you're there, then the house won't seem so…" she didn't say the last word, but Sakura already knew what she would have said.
The pink-haired girl sent a small smile to her blonde friend and said, "Sure I'll help you, Naruto."
Naruto perked up and asked in a hopeful tone, "Eh? Really, Sakura-chan?"
"Well, you need all the help you need when it comes to History. And it's not I can turn down a request like that," Sakura sighed. "But be warned; I won't hold back on you."
"Yay! Thanks, Sakura-chan!" Naruto shouted as she enveloped her friend in a bear hug.
"Gah-!" Sakura grunted as she was being squeezed by her happy friend. She may be the strongest girl in school (especially when angered), but Naruto definitely ranked first in smothering bear hugs. "Need – air!"
Naruto then realized that Sakura was slowly turning blue and released her. "Oops! Sorry, Sakura-chan." She stepped away from the other girl to give her some room.
After weezing for a couple of moments, Sakura managed to get her breathing back under control. She then turned to Naruto and cuffed the back of her head.
"Ow!" Naruto cried out. She glared at Sakura while holding her head and said, "What was that for?!"
"For nearly killing me with that chokehold you call a hug!" Sakura shouted back.
"Was it really necessary to hit me that hard?"
"Do you need help studying for the history test?"
"Then there's your answer."
Naruto pouted at Sakura's retort but didn't argue back again for she didn't want to make her angry… again.
"Now let's go; lunch is nearly halfway over and I don't want to listen to Kiba's complaints about us being late." Sakura said as she moved toward the courtyard.
Naruto scoffed at that statement. "Don't you hate listening to Dog Breath's complaints in general?"
Five minutes later the girls were outside with the rest of their friends. As predicted Kiba did complain of the two being late, but was quickly silenced with a threat of heavy bodily-harm from one certain pink-haired girl. Now that everyone was there, they were all in their element: Naruto and Kiba making loud comments, Hinata and Shino serving as attentive listeners, Sakura keeping order while arguing with Ino at the same time (don't ask; I have no idea how she does it, either), Chouji enjoying his snacks and Shikamaru ignoring everyone in favor of cloud-watching.
That was the regular routine for everyone, but today it was broken by the one person you would never think of breaking it.
"Excuse me, Naruto?" Shino asked.
The girl turned away from the argument she was having with Kiba about which popular manga series from Shounen Jump was better (Bleach for Kiba, One Piece for Naruto) and looked at the normally-silent teen with curious eyes.
"Yeah, Shino?" She asked.
"I would like to thank you for running that errand the other day."
"Oh, you mean me picking the pet food for you?" Naruto realized and sent a wide grin, "It was real easy. You don't have to thank me for something like that."
"But I do," Shino insisted, seemingly not aware of the surprised looks from everyone else. "That package contained the Kikaichῡ's primary food stable in their diet. I don't know what I would have done if you hadn't agreed to pick it up. "
Naruto blinked a little in surprise. "Well, if that's how you feel then you're welcome. Oh, and let's agree that it was Dog-breath's fault you couldn't do it in the first place."
"Wait, what?!" an indignant Kiba shouted.
Shino nodded and said, "That would be accurate to say, in a way."
"How is whatever you guys were talking about my fault?!"
Naruto turned to Kiba and said, "If you hadn't pushed off the project 'til the last minute, Shino wouldn't have needed to ask me to help him in the first place."
"Oh please, like you're one to talk, Naruto." Kiba scoffed at the blonde girl.
"I am now," Naruto cheekily grinned back. "Sakura-chan made sure I did my half early (and properly)."
"It's true," Sakura confirmed.
"And since I was the only one with free time, Shino asked me to help him."
"That's also true," Shino reaffirmed.
"Looks like you don't have anything to say to that, Kiba," Shikamaru dryly stated while looking at the still miffed teen being comforted by Hinata.
The lazy genius then turned back to the triumphant looking girl and asked, "So what did Shino ask you to do, Naruto?"
"I asked her to pick up a package from one of the shops in Chinatown," Shino replied.
"Chinatown?" Sakura questioned.
Naruto nodded her head and said, "Yeah. It was actually some pet food from the only pet shop around there."
"A pet shop?" Ino asked, suddenly a lot more interested in the conversation than earlier. "Did you meet the owner; a man with long black hair and gold and purple eyes?"
"I think the guy said he was the owner's grandson," Naruto said as she scratched her head while remembering him, "But he did have gold and purple eyes, just like you said. And his hair was kinda long…"
Ino suddenly squealed loudly, making her friends flinch back in shock. Then they turned toward her in bewilderment as she seemed to be doing a happy dance sitting down.
"Um, a-are you a-alright, Ino-chan?" Hinata hesitantly asked.
"I'm perfectly fine, Hinata! I just can't believe Naruto actually got to meet up with the Count D!" Ino chirped, ecstatic as if she just got a backstage pass to a fashion show in Paris. "Did you get a photo of him, Naruto? Did you?"
"Uh… no…" Naruto mumbled, a little freaked out by Ino's behavior.
"Aw, too bad," Ino pouted, to the surprise and disbelief of everyone present.
"Why would she take a picture with a guy she doesn't even know?" an incredulous Kiba asked, making Ino scoff in response.
"That guy is Count D: owner of one of the most mysterious shops in Chinatown rumored to house many rare and exotic pets and visited by models, novelists, and even the mayor himself."
"Didn't Naruto just say he was the owner's grandson?" Shikamaru mumbled under his breath.
"And not only is he famous around Chinatown," Ino continued on, ignoring Shikamaru's comment, "he is one of the most gorgeous men I have ever seen! His face is a little feminine, but there is an air of danger and mystery that lingers even when he smiles. Oh, he is simply out of this world," She happily cooed while her eyes glazed over, staring at some point in the distance.
"So in other words, he's her type…" Sakura summarized with a sigh.
"You seem to know a lot about the Count, Ino," Naruto said while everyone else just stayed silent.
"Well, not a whole lot; the first time I saw him was only two weeks ago while I ran an errand for the flower shop. But he is well known around Chinatown and some pastry shops," Ino explained. "And on the days when I visit the area I just happen to see him."
"Pfft, more like she's stalking him…" Kiba mumbled not so quietly, earning him a punch to the head.
"I don't want to hear that from a guy who can't confess to his crush because he's too scared of their overprotective cousin!" Ino yelled as she glared at Kiba, who cowered briefly before returning a glare of his own.
"Well I don't want to hear that from a stalker like you!" he roared back, pushing the blond girl to the brink.
"Oh, that is it, mutt; It's time to get rid of that mouth of yours once and for all!" Ino seethed right before she pounced on him and tried to wring his neck. When the two started to roll around on the ground Sakura finally had had enough and left her seat.
"Alright you two, knock it off right now! We're high school students, not kindergarteners fighting on the playground!" Sakura yelled as she stomped towards the two brawling teens. But before she could pull them apart, a shoe Ino pulled off to hit Kiba over the head with was launched out of her hands by the boy himself. It was this same shoe that suddenly hit Sakura right in the face, stopping her mid-step as the resounding smack echoed across the courtyard.
Everyone froze once they heard that sound. Even Ino and Kiba stopped fighting once they realized what had just happened. No one dared to look at Sakura, whose eerie silence was now ten times more intimidating than her threats or even her fists. The tension grew more as the seconds seem to slowly tick away, and the apprehension felt by the spectators was unbearable.
Finally, Ino and Kiba tilted their heads slowly upward to get a glimpse of Sakura's face; and what they saw had them recoiling in fear. No words could 100% correctly describe the fury they saw in her face. But if you thought the phrase 'If looks could kill' was one way to say a person was very angry, the look on Sakura's face could coin the phrase 'If looks could start a tsunami that obliterates everything in its path'.
"I would run if I were you two." Sakura said with barely-contained fury as she started to move in their direction once more, though her green eyes were promising much more pain.
And so Ino and Kiba fled with Sakura in hot pursuit.
After all three of them disappeared from the courtyard, those left behind waited until they could no longer hear Sakura's curses and Ino and Kiba's pleas for mercy.
"Did you see the look on her face?" Chouji whispered frantically, no longer hungry due to the previously stressed atmosphere.
"Troublesome," Shikamaru muttered while a chill ran down his spine.
"That was the first time I ever saw Sakura-chan so pissed," Naruto shuddered.
Hinata nervously turned to look at Shino and stuttered, "Y-you don't t-think Sakura w-will really h-h-hurt Kiba-kun a-and I-Ino-chan, do you Shino?"
The teen replied in a deadpan tone, "Frankly, I don't see either of them escaping this situation unscathed."
After school was over, Sakura and Naruto went over to the blonde's house to do some much-needed studying. Much to Sakura's inner delight, Naruto seemed to have significantly improved on remembering key history facts. Sure, this only came after countless hours of cramming the information through Naruto's somewhat dense head, but it still was an improvement.
"Alright," Sakura announced as she closed the history textbook shut, "it looks like you know everything for the test tomorrow."
"Oh, thank God!" Naruto shouted as she slumped down on her bed, all previous stiffness moving out to make way for new-found tranquility.
"You know Naruto, you wouldn't have to study so hard if you start earlier than the very last day before a test," Sakura chided her friend as she started to pack up her things.
"Aw come on, Sakura-chan! You know I hate studying," the blonde whined to her friend.
"Too bad, you still have to do it," Sakura gave a snarky reply as she hefted her backpack over her shoulder and started to walk over to the door.
"Wait, Sakura-chan," Naruto called out. "I wanted to ask you something."
"What is it?"
"Well…" Naruto hesitated a little before she continued, "I was wondering… do you think I should get a pet?"
"Huh? What brought this up?" Sakura asked.
"When I went to Count D's pet shop, he told me to come back if I ever wanted a pet." Naruto said.
Sakura stared at her friend curiously before walking back and taking a seat next to her.
"Why do you think you want one, Naruto? Pets are a major responsibility and need looking after for as long as they're alive," Sakura reasoned. Not that she thought that Naruto was irresponsible; she just wasn't sure if getting a pet was the right choice for her to make. And for some reason the Count's offer didn't sit right with her…
"I don't really know," the blonde said as she looked down at her hands. "It's not like I'm lonely since Ero-senin's gone, but this house feels too big now. So if I got a pet, maybe that won't be a problem anymore."
Sakura waited patiently for her to finish, and after taking a few moments to contemplate Naruto's situation: an orphaned girl living alone after her last relative passed away. No matter how much Naruto seem to be an energetic spazz, even she would feel lonely at times, despite not saying so. After weighing the pros and cons, she advised, "If you really want a pet and are dedicated to taking care of it, I think you should get it."
Naruto perked up after hearing her friend's comment. "Really, Sakura-chan? You think I should get a pet?"
"Well, I wouldn't go get one right away," Sakura explained. "You should talk with some more people before making your final decision; especially those with experience owning one."
"You mean like Kiba and his family?" Naruto asked, thinking about the large pack of dogs the Inuzukas successfully managed.
Sakura nodded in response. "Not just them, though; you should talk with Tsunade-san since she is looking after your finances until you turn eighteen. And don't forget Iruka-sensei."
"Alright, alright," Naruto replied, already thinking about all the people she'll have to talk with.
"By the way, do you have any idea what kind of pet you would want?"
The blonde closed her eyes and leaned back with a hand on her chin.
"I don't know," she mused. "Dogs are fine and all, but I can't really see myself owning one. I've hated cats since the Tora incident, and I don't really like hamsters or fish as well."
"What about amphibians? You used to take care of some toads with your godparent, right?" Sakura asked.
"Yeah; Gamabunta, Gamakichi, and Gamatatsu," Naruto said as she remember her childhood pets. "But taking care of amphibians is hard, and I don't think I can successfully balance taking care of them and going to school. Plus, we get rid of the equipment once they all passed away."
"Well, like I said; you can take your time before making a final decision." Sakura said as she got up and walked to the door. "I'll see you later, Naruto."
"See you later, Sakura-chan," Naruto called out as Sakura left the room. She spent the next half-hour thinking about Sakura's advice. It was pretty sound; all she needed to do was talk with Tsunade-baachan before deciding what she wanted to do.
"Should I have one?" Naruto thought. Unlike in the past, this time she would be solely responsible for looking after her pet; she could ask others for help from time to time, but otherwise she would be looking after it on her own.
But while it would be hard work, she'll still have a pet that would keep her company…
"I guess I'll think about it for a while," she sighed as she began to get ready for bed.
"Kyu, kyu!" Q-chan chirped as he flew around Count D in excitement.
"Easy now, Q-chan," Count D serenely said as he glided across the room. "We can't have tea time if you upset the tea tray."
Q-chan let out a panicked 'kyu' before he settled onto a nearby table, his ears and wings slightly drooping at the depressing thought. Count D let out an amused chuckle before he put down the tray and said, "I was only joking, Q-chan. Now why don't you pour the tea while I go get dessert?"
The little guy immediately perked up and let out a chirp of agreement. Once the Count went back to the kitchen, Q-chan took to the air once again and grabbed hold of the teapot. Carefully he hovered over one of the teacups and poured the Oolong tea Count D chose for today. He went to the next cup – a small one for his own personal use – and did the same thing. But when he went to but the teapot down, Q-chan noticed that the Count put out an additional cup on the tray.
Before he could think of a reason why Count D did such a thing, the little creature heard a knock at the front door. Curious, Q-chan flew to the kitchen to alert the Count.
"Hm? What is it, Q-chan?" Count D asked with a tray of sweets.
"Kyu, kyu kyu!"
"Oh, a guest arrived? How unusual; they generally don't come around this time."
"Well, let's take a look, shall we?" he said as he set the tray next to the tea.
Count D and Q-chan went to the storefront to greet their surprise guest. Once they saw who was standing there, Q-chan let out a surprised 'kyu' while the Count slipped on an enigmatic smile.
"Hehe; hi there, Count D."
"Hello, Ms. Uzumaki. I take it that you've made your decision?"
The blonde nodded and said, "Yeah; can you help me find a pet?"
And that's chapter 2! I'll try to get over my writer's block as soon as possible and put out some more chapters. Please give constructive reviews (they help fuel the creative process). And a final apology to everyone who thought I was abandoning my stories.
And now for some notes:
Tora – A cat owned by the Fire Daimyō's wife in Naruto.
Gamabunta, Gamakichi, and Gamatatsu – Three toads that Naruto's summoned in the manga. Gamabunta is the boss toad and the other two are his sons. Gamakichi looks just like him, and Gamatatsu is the one that always asks for candy.