Title: Kitsune no Tsuki
Author: Silver Dragonfly
Fandom: Naruto x Sailor Moon
Genre: General, Drama, Alternate Universe
Warnings: Canon Character Death, Canon Level Violence
Summary: During peace talks hosted by Konohagakure between The Golden Kingdom and The Silver Moon Kingdom, Namikaze Minato fell in love. Nine months later his children were born, and due to the politics, logistics, and the secrecy of their relationship, the newborn twins were separated. One each remained with each parent. Twelve years later, the estranged twins are meeting for the first time.
Sakura sighed as she watched water flow under the bridge she currently stood on. She was beginning to wonder why she bothered continuing to wait. Kakashi-sensei was habitually late, but Sakura could not bring herself too knowingly be late as well. However, there had also been no sign of either Naruto or Sasuke either. She was really starting to feel left out and left behind by her team. Naruto and Sasuke’s strength seemed to grow by the hour and Sakura felt like she was frozen in time.
“Sakura-san!” a familiar voice called, catching her attention.
“Ami-chan?” Sakura asked surprised to see the blue haired med-nin.
“Would you like to join me at the hospital today and get some more medical training? Usagi left a message that you might be free since she and Naruto were pulled for a mission together.” The blue haired genin explained.
Sakura felt a flush of excitement, thankfulness, irritation, and sorrow at the girl’s words. “Naruto got pulled on a mission without Team Seven?” She asked a bit stunned.
“He and Usagi-chan were requested to accompany Jiraiya-sama on a mission outside of Konoha it seems though I was not able to get any further details beyond that.” Ami replied.
Sakura let out another sigh, and Kakashi-sensei was probably meeting with Sasuke for training and forgot to send her a message about them not meeting as a team. Though she was very grateful to Usagi for thinking of her since it was nice having other girls around even if they weren’t actually on her team, she was not happy about being forgotten by Team Seven.
“Did you want to come with then?” Ami asked, a bit worried about the pink haired genin. She was not an empath like Minako, but she could tell the pink haired kunoichi of team seven was upset by the current situation with her team. “You really do have talent for medical jutsu Sakura. Your control comes to you so easily.”
Sakura wrinkled her nose. “That’s only because my chakra reserves are so tiny.”
Ami blinked a bit surprised by the statement but considered her words. “Well, I suppose compared to your teammates that is true, but you have more chakra than I do and at least as much as all the girls on Team Anko. Which reminds me, Anko-sensei has actually been running us through a lot of control exercises designed to help expand our chakra capacity that should help you out. Why don’t you come with me today and then join us for training tomorrow morning as well? We are down one person anyways with Usagi-chan being gone.”
Sakura considered the girl’s offer. If what she said was true, and she did like medical jutsu… “I’d like that. Thanks Ami.”
“Anytime, let’s get going to the hospital then.”
Konshu arched an eyebrow at the appearance of the tall and lanky young man with waist-length silvery hair as he entered the room rubbing his brow. Konshu set out a second teacup and began to poor. “I had forgotten just what that form of yours looked like Artemis. How is the training going?”
The younger man grumbled something not quite understandable then dropped his hand to reveal deep blue eyes, a gold crescent glinted from his brow. “I’ve managed to access chakra finally. Luna wouldn’t admit it, but she’s really been practicing channeling it ever since Rin first began instructing the girls. She has a definite head start, I always thought it was unnecessary…”
He paused then and blinked, frowning. “I don’t feel nearly the same amount of strain being in this form that I usually do…” he then added as he sat down and accepted the offered cup of tea.
Konshu smiled. “Ah, I noticed that as well. I have some theories on why that is, but it’s not really important. You know, after this recent invasion, I’m finding myself very glad that so called sound village really has no idea how to really use sound. Can you imagine if they had the old gift?”
Artemis winced. “Konoha would have had a much harder time holding off that invasion. We are equally fortunate that gifts that strong are incredibly rare.”
“Yours is if I recall.” Konshu then stated gently. “Do not force yourself into something you are not Artemis. It is true you must adapt to this world, but you do not need to forget everything you knew.”
Artemis met the other man’s gaze for several moments but said nothing.
“Not even Luna will be able to chase after Usagi’s heels forever,” Konshu began, “And to do so would not make her happy. You are both your own people, and your positions are not that of nannies, sidekicks, nor is it even a partnership like that between the Inuzuka and their nin hounds. We may be in this world for the rest of our lives, or only until she is ready to go back, but you must not hold yourself back because of it. Find your place in this world Artemis. You would not have served Minako in such a manner at home, do not forget that.”
Artemis considered his words and then considered what his relation to Minako, the Senshi of Venus would have been if they had never been forced to flee. Advisor, confidant, aide, informant; the sailor senshi were in fact very public figures. They could rarely travel without attracting attention of crowds. He considered his options. It would take a lot of time and he would have to spend more time as human than feline in this world to accomplish it, but if it could be done. He finished his cup of tea and rose.
“Thank you, Konshu-san, for your insight.”
Konshu smiled. “You are welcome but do keep up with the chakra training regardless. It is a tool just like the old gifts and must be trained.”
Artemis returned the smile and then nodded before leaving the room once more.
“I will make sure Sasuke gets back home to Konoha safely. I’m sure Rin-san will look after him along with Kakashi.” Gai said softly as he looked over the pile of sleeping genin in one of the beds. It was really rather amusing how Naruto had sprawled with Usagi using one of his arms as a pillow and Sasuke had tangled one hand in the now loose ponytail from one side of the girl’s head. “They really are a remarkable bunch. It is a good thing you are going to find that medic. The recent sudden increase of interest in medical skills could use her guidance. I suspect several of our budding genin will gain great skill in that way. The surgery Ami-chan performed on my cute genin Lee is nothing short of amazing.”
Jiraiya smirked. “I’m hoping that fact will help spike her interest actually.” He offered. “Though Gai, I don’t think I need to really stress how important it is a certain individual’s presence here be kept secret. It would be best for all if the interim council did not learn of him until after the Godaime is instated.”
Gai nodded. “Of course, if all that was revealed earlier was true, than the situation will have to be handled directly by the Hokage. Jiraiya-sama, I must ask, that chakra sharing those two used earlier… that was not a normal exchange of chakra, was it?”
Jiraiya’s gaze shifted from the elder Uchiha to the blonde twins as he mulled over the events from earlier. It had not taken long for him and Gai to get everyone in the hotel room and then to secure it with several security and privacy seals. He had then ordered Usagi to get Uchiha Itachi stable enough to answer questions. He had been impressed and a bit stunned by the girl’s quick assessment of Itachi’s injuries and her own abilities. She had set to work immediately to clean up the mess that at the time was the missing-nin’s side and gut. Kisame’s sword had done severe damage and it had taken hours for the girl to get the worst of it done. It was then she had nearly had a breakdown.
“Jiraiya-sama, I am unable to bring Itachi-san into a stable state. I’ve repaired the worst of the damage to his intestines but there is still damage in the liver and stomach, not to mention two shattered ribs and a third cracked rib.” Then the girls’ eyes started to fill with tears. “I do not have enough chakra to finish, at best I can minimize his pain while you question him.”
The Toad Sage considered this for a moment, “Would a food pill give you enough of an extra boost to be able to get him stable?” He was surprised as the girl began immediately shaking her head no. It was her guardian who elaborated, however.
“Usagi-chan cannot use food pills. Rin-san had her and the other girls try a very small one so they would be familiar with the effects while she also taught them how to make them. Usagi-chan had a rather severe allergic reaction. I believe we may have an alternative option though. Naruto-kun can supply Usagi-chan with more chakra than she would get from a food pill, and I doubt it would exhaust him.” Luna explained.
Naruto immediately perked up at the mention of being able to help, he’d been rather put out about not being able to do anything. “This is like that chakra focusing exercise we were doing?” Naruto asked as he moved to sit next to his sister before his sensei could even say anything.
Luna made an affirmative and the two older Konoha shinobi watched in surprise as almost immediately a flow of blue chakra seemed to pass effortlessly from Naruto to Usagi and healing began anew. Jiraiya had refrained from commenting further at the time as he simply observed and waited for the med-nin to pronounce her patient stable enough for questioning.
Jiraiya brought his thoughts to the present once more and answered Gai, “No, that was not a normal exchange of chakra. I suspect it has much to do with the fact they are twins, though I have not heard of anything like this amongst twin shinobi before.”
Gai nodded, “This generation is truly most youthful. You will keep Itachi-san with you then?”
“Yes, that would be best. I would like to ask him more detailed questions, though they can wait till later. He was able to give me enough information to secure his safety with me for now at least.”
At that moment there was a shift of movement from the pile of Genin. Sasuke opened his eyes slowly blinking. Suddenly he sat upright eyes wide.
“Careful there, you’ll wake the girl if you tug on her hair.” Jiraiya stated with a smirk. The raven-haired teens gaze landed on the sannin and then glanced down at his hand. He blinked in surprise for a moment at the golden strands trapped around his fingers. He disentangled himself and then glanced around the room, freezing when his eyes landed on the form of his older brother.
“Itachi.” He hissed.
“Do you still seek to kill him?” Jiraiya asked.
Sasuke’s mind raced as recent events came back to the surface. He sat there silent for some time. “I want to know the truth.” He finally answered.
“Good. While you were out of it Itachi took a fatal wound while shielding Naruto and forcing his former partner to drop Usagi. His partner fled and we moved everyone in here. Usagi has managed to stabilize Itachi for the time being. However, everything Itachi knows, and you may have learned about the night your clan was killed is an S class secret. Until the Godaime Hokage is instated this issue will have to remain as it is. Do you understand?” Jiraiya stated his tone serious.
Sasuke frowned, considering just what the sannin was saying. His brother would remain free and unpunished and further investigation would be left for the next Hokage. Could he wait for that? Could he trust whoever the next Hokage may be to bring justice? He glanced down at the blonde twins laying asleep near him. The sannin claimed Itachi had taken fatal injury protecting them. He wanted to know why. “I never wanted to hurt Sasuke.” …” You don’t have too anymore.” Their words rang through his memory. “Some answers are worth waiting for.” Sasuke finally answered.
Jiraiya smirked, “Good. You will return to Konoha with Gai. Usagi healed the worst of your broken wrist before she passed out. It will still be tender for some time. It wouldn’t hurt to have it checked out at the hospital in Konoha.”
Sasuke blinked and then flexed his wrist that he had known was broken before, feeling the soreness in it.
Gai stood with a stretch. “Well, we best get going. We should be able to reach Konoha’s gates with plenty of time for me to still meet with my own team this morning. Is that acceptable Sasuke?”
Sasuke made an affirmative noise and pulled himself off the bed and stretched his own muscles while Jiraiya removed a few seals from the doorway.
Gai paused just before exiting, “Have a successful mission Jiraiya-sama. We look forward to your return.”
Sasuke opened his mouth then closed it again as he glanced back at the sleeping occupants of the room. “Tell Naruto I expect a match when he gets back.” He finally stated then followed Gai out of the hotel.
Jiraiya shook his head and glanced at the still slumbering pair, then at the still dark window across the room. He’d let them sleep until morning. He then turned back to the remaining unconscious Uchiha and pulled an ink pot and brush out from a pocket. He had some sealing work to do before morning as well.
Kabuto fought the nervous twitch he felt trying to invade his normally controlled actions as he traveled down the hallways of the hidden base Orochimaru was currently occupying. The last month had gone from nearly perfect to absolute shit. Things had been going smoothly as he did the tasks asked of him and monitored the various genin participating in the chunnin exams held in Konohagakure. Then he’d found out about the new med-genin which he had than determined were both the best and worst kept secret in the village.
All the jounin staff had seemed to know of, if not actually know, the two med-genin, and the chunnin weren’t much different. When he’d sent out his feelers for more information, he’d found nothing in detail about them, except that they were very good and well liked. He’d barely even managed to get their names. That bit of information had been the first real spark of interest, however. Uzumaki Usagi, supposed twin sister of Uzumaki Naruto. He had reported this to Orochimaru, but the sannin had scoffed at his interest at the time. Kabuto wondered if he would survive reporting that he suspected the girl was directly related to the disappearance of Sasuke’s curse seal.
It had taken some time, but he had finally gotten information on the fact that it seemed the Uzumaki girl had been sealed up with the Uchiha by Hatake and Mitarashi while the preliminary matches had been underway. Orochimaru had verified Sasuke had still had the seal before his match, and that sometime after that his sense of the mark had vanished. Perhaps he’d save that bit of information for one he needed a good distraction for the sannin from focusing too much on Kabuto himself. For now, though he would have to come up with something to do about the snake sannin’s arms that were for all medical purposes’ dead. It was not looking like a promising situation, and he had more bad news now to deliver.
Outwardly, there was no physical change as the former genin of Konohagakure entered the room where Orochimaru waited. Within however, he braced himself mentally for the soon to be expected killing intent and psychic assault. “Orochimaru-sama, I’ve completed the last test for possible treatment. It would offer some initial improvement, but afterwards the situation would only get worse at a faster rate.” Kabuto offered and wondered if this would be the last time, he would provide such news to the other man or not.
“It’s so unlike you to offer so much disappointment Kabuto. I would hate to think you are outlasting your usefulness.” The sannin sneered.
To put it lightly, Orochimaru, former elite jounin of Konoha and legendary sannin, was in a foul mood. Months and months, even years, of planning wasted. Well, that wasn’t entirely true, he had in fact managed to mark the last Uchiha of Konoha with his cursed seal. Though the seal had not even remained in place more than a few days and he still didn’t know how it had been removed. The invasion of Konoha had occurred, but the village had not been surprised, in fact if he didn’t know better, he would have said they knew it was coming even if they hadn’t known the exact time and attack plans. This had not prevented him from achieving the death of his primary target, his old sensei.
The snake sannin hissed at the memory though, he had not truly killed the old monkey. More like the monkey threw his life away in an attempt at taking himself down with him. Thankfully the old monkey had only been partially successful, though it was a vexing situation in the least. His arms burned with nothing. It was as if from the shoulders down they were nothing there, and yet they burned and ached at the same time. Nothing that had been tried so far had done anything except make the vague phantom feelings worse. His pet medic did not have the required skill for this task. He would have to seek out his old teammate, it was good thing he had kept tabs on her all these years. Then, once the issue with his arms was dealt with, then he would find out what had become of his curse seal and how to move his plan for one Uchiha Sasuke forward.
Jiraiya finished off the last seal marker with a little flourish and inspected the delicate ink work now surrounding Usagi’s wrist. Satisfied he gave a nod then looked up to meet the blonde girls gaze and she gave a smile and nod of her own.
“Right then, time to clip on the leash,” He then reached over and with one hand resting on a similar inky design around the wrist of the still unconscious Itachi, and the other on the one he had just finished on Usagi he infused both with his chakra. The twin markings flared blue then faded back to black. He inspected the two markings one more time. “Looks good, all right Usagi-chan, wake up our sleeping prince.”
Usagi said nothing and did as asked, a faint blue green glow surrounding her hand for a moment as she laid it across the sleeping Uchiha’s brow. His eyes slowly opened revealing dark irises. “Can you see me Itachi-san?”
The man blinked and gave a small nod. “And how many fingers do you now see?” she asked holding up a single finger before his gaze.
“One.” Was the soft response.
“Do you remember where you are?” she then asked, satisfied with his answers so far.
“Yes.” Was the short and still softly spoken response.
“Good then.” Jiraiya interrupted. “As you’ve probably noticed, I’ve sealed off your ability to use the Sharingan for the time being. You told quite the tale last night but for now this is a necessary precaution. You also still have a few shattered ribs. Usagi-chan cannot heal these in the field. She will do daily healing sessions with you to make sure the damage does not get worse. You will have to travel with us regardless of these injuries. I don’t think I need to explain why. Understand so far?”
Itachi gave a small nod, not trusting his voice at the moment. The fact that Konoha was currently without a Hokage made it very clear why he would have to stay with the Toad sage until that lack was rectified. Even then, who was appointed Hokage would have an impact on whether anything could be done to allow him to return without facing an execution.
“Good. You are also bound by fujinjutsu to Usagi-chan here. You cannot be more than twenty yards away from her. If you choose to test that leash, you’ll find yourself knocked out on your ass.”
“The girl?” Itachi found himself asking not able to understand why the older shinobi would bind him to a genin instead of himself.
Jiraiya smirked. “Don’t get any funny ideas about kidnapping her and taking off. If you try something like that, we have ways of knowing and I think you’ll find her not quite so defenseless. Advanced medical knowledge can be used to injure far easier than to heal.”
Itachi’s gaze shifted the blonde girl sitting next to her brother. She only smiled and gave a small shrug of her shoulders.
“Very well,” Itachi acknowledged.
“Oh, one more thing,” Jiraiya then added, a smirk on his face. “You will be remaining under a complex henge to prevent any other parties from identifying you while you are with us. This,” the white-haired shinobi held up a simple silver earing, “Is the focus for the henge. As long as you wear it, the henge will not fade or be detectable by others. As for the henge itself, congratulations you are now the older brother of these two brats. Let’s not try to cause them severe mental trauma like you did your last younger sibling.”
Itachi blinked and looked from the older shinobi to the twins. Did the older shinobi really think this would work? He must from the smirk he kept giving him. “I shall…try.” He finally answered dryly.
“Good. All right Usagi-chan you get him fit for travel. Naruto let’s get packed up.”
Usagi moved forward and lifted a seal to show Itachi. “Have you ever seen these before?”
Itachi studied the seal, “It looks like a medical seal but not one I’m familiar with.”
Usagi grinned, “It is a medical seal that’s true. This will help direct your chakra to the injured area to help improve your natural healing. Each day I’ll put a new one on for while we travel.” As she spoke, she quickly pulled the blankets back to reveal his bandaged side and midriff. With some care to not disturb the wrappings, she tucked the seal into them and then with a brief flare of warmth the seal spread from the piece of paper to cover his entire right side. “There, that should do it. Now here’s the earing with the henge seal. Do you need help putting it on?”
Itachi arched an eyebrow at her and then shook his head not as he held out a hand for the small silver stud. The blonde girl set it in his hand and stepped back to give him some space. Itachi studied the small metal accessory for a moment then slowly reached up to his left ear lobe. With deft movements and not even a flinch on his expression the earring was in place where there had been no piercing before.
Usagi watched her eyes wide as his features seemed to shift between one blink and the next. The overall shape of his face did not change much, however gone were the deep lines under his eyes that were now a deep violet in place of the brown so dark it was nearly black. His hair however, changed completely. Gone was the typical raven color of the Uchiha and instead a pale silvery blonde framed his now slightly tanned looking complexion. She then smiled and offered a folded set of clothing to him. “Welcome to the family Onii-san.”
Jiraiya watched the exchange with a somewhat neutral expression. Naruto almost seemed to growl at his side. He was taking a bit of risk with this ruse to hide Itachi’s identity. He hoped Naruto wouldn’t get too overprotective of his sister and blow the cover. Yet he was also concerned that both the twins would get too caught up in the sibling story. It could potentially cause them a lot of grief and give Itachi a hold on them. Yet the plan was a good one for their situation. He’d just have to keep an eye on them and be careful. Itachi could be playing a very masterful ruse.
Suddenly there was a sharp spike of killing intent and where one moment Usagi has been handing the clothing to Itachi and the next Naruto was the one holding the clothing. Itachi blinked in surprise as he met the steel blue gaze leveled at him, he could feel the growl in the air but there was no audible sound to it. He took in the faint flickers of silver wisping off the blonde boy before him.
“I do not know what she saw but I swear if you EVER hurt my sister no one will ever remember that you even existed.” Naruto stated his voice laced with intent and command.
Itachi found himself hesitating; he remembered the feel of the Kyuubi’s power that night twelve years ago. This was not that, no this was something else entirely and he found himself believing the blonde boy without even a shadow of a doubt. To bring harm to his sister… “I understand Uzumaki-san.” Itachi finally whispered.
The boy remained unmoving until two slim arms wrapped around him from behind. No words were spoken but Naruto relaxed and then released the clothing to Itachi and gave a big grin. “Good. So, what are we going to call you anyways?”
Itachi, had he been prone to such things, probably would have sat there with his mouth open. Instead, he considered the boys question for a moment, and then answered. “Hachi.”
Sasuke’s mind felt like it was racing and numb at the same time as he followed the green clad form of Maito Gai through the trees on their way back to Konoha. They weren’t that far away from the village he realized and had made pretty good time. Not as fast as he had been going the other way the day before, but well he had been rather driven at the time. He found himself a bit apprehensive about leaving his infamous older brother in the company of the Uzumaki twins. Still concerned that his brother would cause them harm and yet… he had seen the expression in his brother’s eyes during his brief conversation with Usagi within the realm of Tsukiyomi and he knew it. He had that feeling himself.
“Sasuke… stop here a moment. There are a couple things I want to say before we get any closer to Konoha.” Gai said as he dropped back and then stopped, Sasuke stopping beside him. “It is very likely the Interim Council will try to debrief you on what has happened. You must refrain from doing so. If they pressure you, just redirect their questions to Jiraiya. If you fail to do this it would go very badly for all involved. I do not believe Danzo will approach you directly, but if he does exercise extreme caution. Whatever you do, do not let what you know, and your emotions guide you into reckless actions. Do you understand?”
Sasuke frowned, his gaze narrowing. He had understood the reasoning behind Jiraiya’s pointed questions before they had set out. He took time to now consider the reinforced statements of the jounin he now traveled with. Danzo was involved, that was certain. If the man caught wind of being revealed… and Sasuke had no knowledge of just how much power Danzo currently has except that he was certain that the man had more control of the Council than any one shinobi besides the Hokage should. Just how the council had treated him in the last few years compared to how the Sandaime himself had been enough of a tip off to that.
He was sure that Gai-sensei was right however, and the council would try to get him to spill what he knew. The council underestimated him though, they always had. Even if they sometimes had ridiculous expectations of him being the last Uchiha, they still underestimated him. “I understand.” He finally answered the jounin.
Gai studied him a moment longer than nodded and grinned. “Very good. Let us finish our journey in a youthful and timely fashion!” and with that they were off again. Sasuke wondered idly just how the man’s team dealt with him.
Naruto found himself looking from left to right frequently as he took in the sights and explored the ongoing festival in their most current traveling stop. He had tried going to such festivals in Konoha several times but had given up after the near riot the last time. It still upset him to think about it even after understanding the real reason behind the villager’s feelings. His steps slowed and he wished Usagi was with him. Unfortunately, that meant Itachi would have to come with also. Instead, they had left both Usagi and the disguised Itachi at the hotel they would be staying at that night. Ero-Sennin had then told him to have some fun and gone off to begin his search for information and research.
They had been on the road now for three days since adding the older Uchiha to their group and Naruto still couldn’t decide how he really felt about it. He’d heard everything Itachi had told Jiraiya that first night after Usagi had healed the worst of the man’s injuries. He believed that Itachi had been telling the truth as well, but then Jiraiya had revealed his plan to have the injured man travel with them as his older sibling. Naruto had nearly gone ballistic on his godfather at that point, but Jiraiya had quickly gone on to explain his reasoning. No one could know who it really was traveling with them, and this was the last thing anyone would ever expect from Itachi. Even if he understood his godfather’s reasoning, he just didn’t like it. Naruto felt like some part of him was betraying his teammate. Sasuke had suffered much due to the events that had killed his clan and family, and even if Itachi had been set up to take the blame, it did not feel right.
Then there was Usagi, his sister, his twin, the light that had sheltered him from the dark for far longer than he could remember. When she had first arrived in Konoha he hadn’t been quite sure how-to tact. He had been ecstatic that she was there without a doubt. It was proof he had family after all. He cared for her a great deal, and she was his best friend besides Sasuke, but how was he supposed to treat a sister?
He’d occasionally seen siblings together in Konoha and he couldn’t quite figure it out. Some seemed to practically hate each other, yet others seemed inseparable, and sometimes both applied to the same set of siblings! He couldn’t imagine being so angry at Usagi that he’d hate her though. He considered his classmates and which of them had siblings. He knew Kiba had an older sister, but Kiba tended to just complain about her, and they didn’t seem that close. Then there was Hinata who had her cousin Neji that she addressed as a brother, but well Neji had tried to kill Hinata! He thought he remembered something about a younger sister as well, but he wasn’t sure. None of the others had siblings that he knew of either. He had thought about asking Iruka back home, but well things had been busy, and he knew Iruka had been an orphan after the Kyuubi attach. He wished he could ask Konshu, wasn’t Usagi’s guardian his sister? Maybe he’d ask Ero-Sennin.
His attention was then brought to those around him, and his heart clenched as he watched a father interact with his son. He turned away and found himself in front of a food stall. With a sudden bit of inspiration, he purchased some and went out in search of his godfather.
Itachi focused his gaze on the strangely cinnamon-colored eyes of the feline who now glared at him from across the room. This staring contest had become a regular occurrence between the two of them every time the blonde-haired girl set to work on examining and healing him. His thoughts dwelled once more on just what the feline was. Some sort of nin creature he was certain, as she had used chakra and seemed very intelligent. Yet she had not spoken aloud once. Did this mean she had some sort of telepathic link with the girl? Naruto seemed to treat her with some amount of respect, and he was certain that the elder sannin was wary of the feline. He supposed he could just ask, but he enjoyed solving such puzzles on his own.
Her tail twitched and Itachi smirked. He had won once again. The darkly furred feline seemed to huff and then turn her gaze away.
His attention shifted then to his blonde caretaker and warden. He recognized her movements as the beginning of a diagnostic jutsu. She was good, very good. He knew for a fact she had detected signs of old injuries that had never quite healed right and had then proceeded to correct what was wrong as she shifted from diagnostic to healing. He held himself steady as her hands drifted over his left side, the nerve endings there reacting to even her chakra passing over them. She soothed them, then delved deeper and began to ease the pain around his ribs. To say that Itachi was impressed, was to put it mildly. She had kept further damage from their travels down to nothing and still proceeded to improve his condition with each session.
She claimed she could not heal him fully while they traveled and maybe not even in a clinic or hospital on her own. He wasn’t so sure he believed that anymore. Given enough time, he suspected not even the most experienced medic would be able to tell where he had been injured and how badly. He wondered why she was so humble about her abilities. Did she really have no idea just how unusual such skill was, particularly at her age? Yet, there was something unique about it as well. Her skill seemed almost instinctual rather than trained and analytical. When he considered that she may be working more on instinct than technical knowledge it actually made more sense. It was not all that different for several bloodline abilities that only became stronger and more refined when actual training was added to the innate ability of the bloodline. This brought to mind her actions within the realm of Tsukiyomi and what had happened after and if such a maneuver could be replicated. With this in mind he wondered again just what it was that she had done to make Sasuke so willing to forget his revenge and seek to protect her and if it was related to this talent of hers.
Itachi’s attention was brought to the present as the blonde girl’s hands slowly drifted up his torso and then after a brief hesitation she rested them on either side of his face above the temples, her eyes closing in concentration.
“Hachi-niisan, are you having problems with your sight?” She asked gently.
Itachi’s eyebrows rose in surprise. “How…” he wondered aloud and then blinked in surprise at her sudden angry expression.
“I’ll tell Jiraiya-san immediately that they are causing damage. Blocking the chakra is one thing but to cause you such damage that could lead to blindness! I can’t believe–!”
Itachi removed his finger from her lips a small smile on his lips. “It is not Jiraiya-san’s fault Usa-chan. It is a well-kept secret of the advanced forms of that ability. I have accepted it. You do not need to fret so.”
Usagi frowned as she took in his meaning. “But…”
“I do not wish for that injury to be healed at this time, if ever Usa-chan. Please respect this wish.”
Itachi felt the glare from the girl’s feline companion but ignored it as he met the girl’s blue gaze.
She sighed. “For now, but we will talk about this again Hachi-niisan.”
“Thank you, Usa-chan.,”
Usagi sighed but nodded. “I still don’t like it though.” She grumbled as she then continued with the healing of his ribs.
Twin blonde tails swayed gently against green fabric as the woman they belonged to strode into the room of tinkling machines. Brown eyes scanned the room quickly and then dismissed most of what she took in. She continued moving forward, selecting one of the noise making machines and made herself comfortable. She inserted a coin and then pulled the waiting lever. Dials immediately spun into motion and tinkling notes filled the air around her. Her mind wandered as she settled into old motions, idly noting each failed result, and then starting again. More and more often as late she found her mind drifting back toward her old home. She had stubbornly refused to think about her old home, let alone consider returning for so many years; the reminders of all that had been lost being just too much for her to handle.
Sarutobi had been patient, and sneaky, the old goat. He had known what his last letter would do to her. She wondered if he had cackled as he wrote it. She smirked at the mental image, then frowned as the machine before made a flurry of noise and a small rain of coins tinkled into the waiting container at her side. This had been happening more and more lately… and almost always when she let her thoughts drift toward the message her old sensei had sent her by way of one of the monkeys, he held contract with. She didn’t believe in coincidence. She wasn’t sure she believed in omens either. So, what if the old man had teased her with talk of promising new genin studying med-ninjutsu. Why should she care that he made a point of telling her they were practically prodigies. What did matter if one of the first genin she ever taught medical jutsu to had suddenly returned. Then there was that… the very, very subtle hint to something extraordinary, even in a message so sure to reach only her hands he hadn’t said a thing directly about it, but it had been there buried amongst the rest. He had known she would see it and that it would taunt her.
There was a clang of bells and flashing lights drew her attention to what she was doing. A fountain of coins began to rain down into her waiting bucket soon filling it to overflowing.
“Congratulations Tsunade-sama!” Shizune exclaimed behind her. Tsunade’s arched brows drew downward, and her lips thinned in a tight frown, it was time to leave.
Sasuke could not keep the scowl from his face as he left one of the administration buildings in the heart of the village. He had been expecting the summons from the time he had returned the village, as he had been warned by Gai-sensei. It had taken them three days to deliver it. He had appeared as summoned, of course, but the whole meeting had set him on edge. They had started out laying on the praise and polite respect a member of such an elite clan as the Uchiha had could expect. This was not unusual, most of the village tended to treat him in such a fashion, but then when he had given his response to their requested report. It was a complete reversal and he’d felt several pointed nudges to just give in, had they really tried to use such compulsions on him? Through it all Danzo had been silent, letting the other elder advisors of the late Sandaime speak for him. When Sasuke had been about ready to snap, that was when Danzo had spoken.
The old man had the audacity to praise his commitment to orders and asked in a calm voice if he felt withholding the report was the best for Konoha at this time. It had been a well laid trap and Sasuke had nearly given in, then he remembered what he had seen of Itachi’s memories. Danzo had been the one to give the order to murder members of his family. His mind stopped on that point. His family had been planning a coup, a civil war that would have torn Konoha apart. If there was one thing Sasuke was now sure of that he hadn’t realized before, Itachi loved and was loyal to this village. The fact that Sasuke had been left as the only other survivor added to what he had recently learned put a far different perspective on things.
Even without having the full story in detail now, he was finding it harder every day to keep hating his older brother. That worried him, if he couldn’t hate Itachi, could he seek vengeance for his family? If his family had been committing treason, should he avenge them? And who had been that other masked shinobi with a sharingan eye. It had been the right eye, so it couldn’t have been Kakashi, that was certain, and he didn’t think Kakashi could have done what had been done to Itachi either. His emotions continued to rise and fall clashing against each other as he dwelled on the subject, mostly though he was confused and worried.
“Sasuke-san!” a bright voice called out interrupting his thoughts. Sasuke turned and looked over his shoulder spotting the blonde from Team Anko jogging to catch up to him. “Are you headed out to meet with Sakura-san? Mind if I walk with you?” She asked as she fell into step beside him.
He nodded to show his acceptance of her company and then turned his gaze forward and they walked in quiet. Sasuke felt her gaze on him however and turned to meet her stare, arching an eyebrow in inquiry. She smiled. “You know,” she began slowly, turning her face forward to their path and linking her fingers together in a stretch, “That Usagi and Naruto are actually my cousins?” While phrased as a question, it came out as a statement of fact.
Sasuke blinked in surprise, but before he could ask further, she continued. “We share a grandmother through my father and their mother.”
Sasuke’s mind quickly raced over what he knew of the Uzumaki’s parentage, who Usagi’s mother was and therefore Naruto’s mother as well. That meant that Minako knew who and what Usagi really was. Did this mean all of Team Anko knew? And what about that other med-genin, they had all arrived in Konoha together. He was about to ask a question, but she spoke again.
“I have a bloodline ability passed through my mother’s side of the family; I think father’s relation to Usa-chan’s family strengthened it though.”
Sasuke was confused, why was she telling him this?
She glanced at him from the corner of her eye. “I know what you are feeling lately Sasuke-san.” She said softly. “I can feel it too, and I wanted you to know, that well, if you ever want someone to talk to, or to just have someone listen, I’m here for you.”
He frowned, not sure he liked where this was going.
“Oh, don’t scowl at me. It’s part of who I am, and I mostly shield others out. Your feelings have been so strong and jumbled all up lately though that it’s nearly impossible to ignore, and don’t worry I won’t tell anyone even if you don’t take my offer. Though Rei may try to beat it out of you, she can sense auras after all and I’m sure your aura is just as unsettled.” She turned to meet his gaze straight on then, stopping in front of him. “Think about it, okay?” Then she turned with a bounce, her braid waving behind her and called out to the other girls in the clearing they had just arrived at.
Sasuke blinked frozen for several moments. Were all girls like this? First Usagi, now Minako, and he shuddered slightly at the thought of Rei trying to get him to talk. The raven-haired girl was far too volatile, and she was picking up a sadistic streak from their crazy sensei. He hoped Sakura wasn’t learning anything weird from the purple haired jounin though… that woman was creepy.
He pushed the weird conversation with Minako from his mind and focused on why he’d been coming to Team Anko’s training area. He had refused to tell the council anything and they had ended the meeting with their last statement telling him to make sure he reported in with his teammate for D rank missions even though their sensei was unavailable, and one teammate was absent. This left him to inform his remaining active teammate. Sakura was going to be annoyed. D rank missions would cut into her training time at the hospital and with team Anko. Something Sasuke was surprised she had taken up on her own but was impressed by her sudden drive.
“Well, if it isn’t Kakashi’s brooding genin.” The afore mentioned purple haired jounin greeted with glee.
Sasuke ground his teeth.
There was a sharp popping sound quickly followed by Naruto’s cursing as he pulled out a new balloon and blew it up to continue his training as they walked along the road. The other three rolled their eyes, smirked, or sighed respectively as his antics but made no other comment. That balloon had lasted longer than the last after all.
“Ah here we are.” Jiraiya said gleefully as they crested a hill to reveal the view of their newest destination. There was a rumble in the distance from the ruins on the other side of town and a cloud of dust filled the air. Jiraiya frowned for a moment. “Haachi, Usagi-chan, you two head into town and get us a place to stay for a few days. Naruto and I will check out what the noise is a bout and see what we can find out.”
Naruto glanced at the taller blonde man then nodded to his sister and took off after Jiraiya who was already on the move.
Usagi shrugged and reached up to scratch Luna’s ear absently. “Some things will never change. Do you think we will actually find anything here Haachi-niisan?” She asked.
“If there is something here to be found, I’m certain Jiraiya-sama will be able to find it. Do not worry, Naruto-kun is well looked after.” The violet eyed man responded gently.
Usagi nodded and Luna narrowed her gaze on their companion. The Lunar Guardian still did not trust the boy.
She was ready. Preparations had taken longer than she had thought, but this was no simple jump she planned to make. Only one of their people before her had made such a journey, and that had been with the guidance and blessing of the Lunarian royalty. This trip she was making on her own. Two of her sisters sat at the edge of the array she had carefully drawn out, watching as she made her final inspection.
Ten points of focus around the outer circle to represent the ten realms of their universe. Five anchors within to represent the elements of the realm she sought to reach. Earth, Fire, Air, Water, and Spirit these are what would guide her. The inner circle lined with smooth stones taken from the Sea of Serenity to represent her home to which she would someday return. Lines of power connecting it all drawn in blood and magic of the Tsuki Kitsune clan to help guide her to the one she sought. Eldest brother, heir of her people, nine tails of power, and an oath of guardianship sworn were woven into the heart. It was ready.
She stepped across the outer barrier and power flared as she passed the lines making her way to the heart. She aligned her tails to match five of those in the array and then let her emerald, green eyes sweep up to meet the gaze of her sisters. They both nodded to her, they would take word to their clan mother that the journey was begun. She placed her right forepaw in place and silvery green energy filled her vision. I’m coming nii-san.
In moments the power swelled filling the array and making it glow brighter and brighter. The light surrounded the silver fox in the midst of it in a cocoon of energy and then it all seemed to swell upwards until it burst in a final glittering dispersion of energy.
Shizune followed the young blonde boy who walked just a few steps ahead of her, his hands resting on the back of his head in a relaxed manner. She hugged Tonton to her a little tighter as the recent events took up the majority of her thoughts. To see not one, but both of Tsunade’s old teammates on the same day, and then this new student of Jiraiya’s, who so resembled Tsunade’s younger brother, was unsettling. She hoped that Jiraiya would be able to get through to her mentor somehow. Lost in these thoughts, she almost ran into her blonde companion as he stopped suddenly, his arms falling to his sides. He glanced back and forth across the street, each side home to an inn.
“Naruto-kun do you know where— “She began to ask but was cut off.
“This way!” he exclaimed as he turned to the establishment on their right. He approached the front desk and greeted the attendant. “Excuse me, my siblings should have left a key down here for me.”
Shizune watched quietly as he spoke to the desk clerk, quickly picking up the key for his own room as well as requesting a room for her and Tsunade. She found herself surprised by how easily he handled the chore. All his interactions with people that she had seen so far had been, well to put it mildly somewhat explosive. To see him almost calm and confident was somewhat unexpected.
She followed him silently up the stairs to the second level and down the hall. He knocked on the door of one of the rooms and then entered after a soft reply. His more exuberant personality resurfaced as he greeted the girl inside. Shizune blinked in surprise as she took note of the girl as the two stood side by side. She almost immediately reminded Shizune of Tsunade’s appearance at a much younger age, but then she looked closer, and while yes there were similarities, and the girl could probably pass as a relative, there were enough differences as well. Her similarities to Naruto however were much stronger. A soft noise from Tonton, however, then drew her attention to the other occupants in the room. A dark furred cat with an interesting gold marking on its brow started at her intelligently, and on the bed furthest from the door another youth, though obviously older than these two rested, bandages surrounding his torso.
Purple eyes met her own brown ones straight forward as he seemed to inspect and assess her in a glance. Then he turned away and leaned his head backwards, closing his eyes without a sound. She turned her attention back to Naruto as he made introductions, noting the slight hesitation as he introduced the man lying in the bed, almost as if he didn’t want to mention him. Then Usagi had her attention.
“Ne Shizune-san, is Tsunade-sama really as good as the books say she is? Can she really heal her own wounds during a fight? Do you think she would teach me?!”
Shizune blinked. Then blinked again as she was reminded of just what her mentor was known for, of the kunoichi she had once been. “Ah, Usagi-chan correct? You like medical-jutsu?” She then asked hoping to sidestep the other questions for now.
“I like healing. I want to be able to support my teammates…” She drifted off for a moment. “I don’t want to watch anyone else die to save me…” she whispered the last.
Shizune was surprised by the depth of her answer. “Those are very good goals Usagi-chan, and yes Tsunade-sama is known for her ability as a battle-field medic. As for teaching you, all you can do is ask her yourself. She has not taken on any new students in a long time, especially with us always traveling.”
Naruto chimed in, a large grin on his face, “That won’t be an issue when she comes back to Konoha!”
Shizune couldn’t help but smile at his confidence, but then turned serious once more. “About that Naruto-kun, there is something you should understand.” With that stated, she began telling them about Tsunade’s traumatic past and the shadow that loomed over her necklace.
Haunted brown eyes stared at the sake cup and small bottle without really seeing them. Graceful fingers moved to pour from the bottle and then lift the small saucer like cup to lips and then set the cup down once more. There were too many memories this time. Too many memories with too many thoughts and feelings tied to them for the escape of the rice wine to truly help. Dan… Nawaki… Sensei… and so many others over the years that she couldn’t even begin to name them all. Her old teammate’s taunting offer edged her thoughts, to see them both again… but that was impossible, no matter what her snake of a teammate had come up with. What would she say to her younger brother let alone the man she had loved? What could she say when she had just that night mocked both his and her younger brother’s dreams? Her heart clenched tightly, when had she become so bitter?
All her life she had been surrounded by people who either held or aspired to hold the title of fire shadow. She had seen what it had done to them all. Not once however, had she ever heard any of them complain of the difficulty. Not once had any of them uttered words to indicate they regretted the position or the challenge of perusing it. Blue eyes so bright in determination they almost glowed passed through her mind’s eye. She wondered if the brat knew his father had held the position, he so coveted. Her heart clenched again as she thought of the men the boy had so fiercely defended. Her grandfather, great uncle, her teacher, and her old teammate’s student. She had been surrounded by men of such power and ability since she had been born, it was really no wonder they wanted her to fill the role now. But to be surrounded by all the memories… she wasn’t that strong. She had no dreams of her own left.
She didn’t react at all as a familiar presence settled into the seat beside her, a new bottle of sake appearing on the bar between them. Calloused hands larger than her own poured from the bottle, refilling her own cup and filling another beside it. She didn’t move, waiting instead to see what her lecher of a teammate would say. Silence filled the space between them, and he sighed after downing the clear liquid from his own cup.
“That brat tires me out, and then add his sister into the mix. I’ve been fortunate that she’s been too busy serving as medic during this trip for the pair to get into too much mischief together.” He stated.
Tsunade glanced up at his profile from the corner of her eyes. One of sensei’s genin med prodigies, she wondered. Then narrowed her gaze and snorted. Jiraiya had never succeeded at being subtle with her. “If you think that dangling more work in front of me will tempt me you are more a fool than I thought Jiraiya.” She stated flatly then emptied her cup.
“Oh, I’m sure she will surpass your skill in the medical field even without training from you. Her gift is unique though, even I know that. ANBU reported she nearly drained herself to nothing trying to heal the old man. I think she could have done it too if he hadn’t used THAT jutsu on Orochimaru. How the damn snake survived it, I’d like to know.” the silence grew between them again and then he spoke softly again. “I will miss him. I ran from my grief when Minato died and someone else suffered more than he should have ‘cause of that. I’m not going to run anymore Hime.”
She narrowed her gaze and glared at the bar before them, refusing to meet his gaze though she could feel his own on her. Running… that was all she had been doing. She poured herself another glass. “To senile old men and broken dreams…” she muttered and then downed it refusing to answer his unspoken question. Would she keep on running?
A trail of energy followed by light flowed through the canopy and formed a cocoon of energy on the ground. It swirled and swelled then burst scattering motes of light through the air and revealing the silvery form that it had carried with it.
The first thing she noticed was the scents that filled her nose. Woods, growing things, earth; the scents all filled her so like and yet so different from what she knew. Jade green eyes opened to take in a myriad of colors surrounding her and she no longer wondered why the globe that she had spent many days and nights watching overhead was such a vibrant blue and green.
A ripping sound filled the air and she tensed crouching to the ground, her ears immediately giving her the direction the sound was coming from. It was close, but not immediately nearby. She crept through the trees and brush until she had a clear line of site down over a cliff edge. A boy lay on his back breathing heavily. All around him were signs of destruction, though nothing to indicate what had caused the damage. She focused on the boy and then froze as she took in what her senses had revealed to her.
He was there. Somehow the power of her eldest brother was within that boy. Anger flared deep within her, and she silently bared her teeth. How dare these people imprison one of her clan. How dare they reduce him to such a state to be contained within a human being. She leapt from the cliff and landed with a snarl caging the boy beneath her.
“YOU WILL PAY!” She growled out around bared teeth.
The blonde boy’s blue eyes opened wide in shock, and he tensed but didn’t make another move. His gaze seemed to go unfocused for an instant.
What is it? Naruto asked splitting his focus to keep an eye on the vulpine form above him and turn his mind’s eye towards the fox within, he’d never felt such feelings from the fox before.
She… you must not hurt her! She does not know what became of me, she thinks you are at fault. The fox’s voice responded. It had been easier since the chunnin exams for the two of them to converse.
You know her? Naruto asked surprised.
She is family… my sister.
Naruto suddenly understood.
“You will free him!” The fox above him demanded her green eyes smoldering down at him.
Naruto met her gaze as he studied her. “It’s not what you think, please let me explain…”
“NO!” The vixen responded. “I will kill you to free him if I must!”
She’s not going to listen, is she? Naruto stated more than asked as he winced when her claws broke skin along his arms.
We need an outside voice; someone she will listen to… your sister! And quickly!
Naruto mentally cursed as a paw was pressed against his throat, claws prickling against the skin there and his focus was brought fully to the fox holding him pinned to the ground.
“Do not test me boy!” She snarled.
Naruto’s eyes widened further, and he reached for the bond he shared with his sister, feeling Kyubbi do the same.
SERENITY! USAGI! They both cried out together.
The light breeze swirled through the small clearing playing in blonde strands of hair as it passed by. Usagi ignored the breeze however focusing on breathing evenly as she went through the kata again. She focused carefully on her movements as she moved from form to form.
“Your left foot it turned out 1 centimeter to far.”
A voice interrupted her. She froze and wondered again if accepting Itachi’s offer to help her train in taijutsu, and physical endurance had been smart. The older teen took his self-appointed teaching role seriously and did not mince words. He wasn’t cruel, but he was also not quick to praise. She had been surprised by his offer and then welcomed it. Jiraiya had already given Naruto a jutsu to learn, one of their fathers from what she understood, and she wasn’t about to intrude on that. She had tried to ask the man who was her godfather if he had anything she could work on as well but the sannin had simply told her she already surpassed him in medical skills. It was then Itachi had spoken up with his offer, saying he knew little of medical skills, but that he knew plenty in other areas.
She made the correction in her stance and continued again, repeating the pattern three full times without interruption before he spoke again.
“Good. Now here is the next position.” He then stated and then demonstrated, making sure she had it down before gesturing her to take up the pattern again. It was like a dance she mused as she began, one that her entire body participated in, and she found she liked it. She felt more centered, more in control of her movements, even if certain muscles were protesting.
Usagi stiffened the kata lost, her eyes wide as two voices sounded through her very soul. She was gone in a silvery flash an instant later. It only took her moments to return however as she had felt the tingling on her wrist where the seal binding her to Itachi rested. She bit her lower lip and almost danced in place as she landed back on her feet and turned to look at the older man. His eyes were wide, skin pale and his entire frame was tense.
“Itachi-san?” she whispered worried and forgetting to use his alias.
A small tremor of movement seemed to roll through the older teen and his muscles relaxed. So that was what happened if he exceeded the bounds of his leash. He shifted his currently violet gaze to the girl at his side and noted her teeth worrying her lower lip before meeting her eyes. “Please do not do that again Usagi-chan. It is most unpleasant.”
Usagi gave a breath of relief and then grabbed his arm and began tugging him toward the ruins and space Naruto had claimed for training. “Come quickly. Naruto needs me Now.”
Itachi turned and offered her his back, “Quickly, climb on I will get us there as fast as my feet can carry us.”
Usagi hesitated thinking of his injuries, but Itachi wouldn’t offer if he didn’t think he could do it. Another pulse of need from her bond with Naruto decided her. In moments she was settled and Itachi took off in a ground eating run toward the clearing Naruto had been using for training.
Itachi could sense waves of Usagi’s emotions through the seal that bound him to her, and he marveled at the depth of such emotions as his eyes focused on the path before them. It took him scarcely a minute to cover the distance and he barely paused to fully take in the situation before he slid Usagi off his back and in the next motion charged and knocked the large silvery fox off of where it had pinned Naruto on the ground.
He rolled into a defensive crouch, a kunai in each hand as he put himself between Naruto and the fox. A new wave of emotions rolled through him, and he felt himself tense at the overwhelming strength of them. He grimaced inwardly, between her emotions and his own ribs he would not be much more help. However, he would hold this position. Itachi mentally frowned as he realized that was probably all he would be able to do, not that he would admit to it aloud.
Naruto blinked in shock as the silvery fox was knocked away from him and for a moment, he thought he saw Sasuke, but no this figure was blonde, then he recognized Itachi in disguise. He stared a moment, stunned: Itachi was guarding him.
“Lady Kitsune, in the name of our mothers you must not attack! Please hear us out!”
Naruto leapt to his feet and moved to Usagi’s side who had come up from the same direction Itachi had appeared from. He turned to face the silver fox with five tails that now faced them all, her tails lashing.
The vixen stared at them all, the words the girl had spoken shocking her into not rushing in for an attack. She eyed the three blondes, noting that the newly arrived girl was definitely related to the first boy, something familiar in her scent tickling her senses. The older boy however did not smell like he was a blood relation to the others, yet something of the girl blended into his scent, a bond of some sort she quickly decided. It was then she really took a good look at the girl herself. Golden yellow instead of silver and there was no crest displayed on her brow, but the face and the hairstyle so similar yet not quite the same.
“It is not possible.” She whispered then snarled, “This must be some trick! You will not stop me from freeing my kin!”
The blonde girl did not even hesitate as she stepped forward, first in front of the fox marked boy and then again beside the one still crouched and staring.
“I offer my blood as proof and oath.” The girl spoke, the words ringing with an edge of promise and magic.
The five tailed fox found herself stunned. There was no way to hide the truth with what this girl had just offered. If it was a trick, she would know it herself immediately as a false bond could not be made, but if it was not… Did this girl, this child know what she offered?
“You offer oath of partnership, not fealty… Do you know what that truly means girl?” She asked, her own voice hard and unmoving.
“I do.” The girl replied and then held up her left forearm, exposing the soft underside and offering it. “I offer, in the name of my mother and my grandmother before her.” Here she paused her blue orbs meeting the vixen’s own jade. “It is what I have wanted since I first learned of the oaths, the missing guardians, and the resulting rift between us. I offer freely and with no other wish than to bring us close once more.”
She considered the blonde girl’s words; there was no hint of deception. Without breaking her gaze away, she spoke. “And what of this one who reeks of my elder brother’s power?” she asked almost daring the girl to deny it.
“It is true.” The girl answered, “But it was not of his choice. He is victim as much as your brother, but through him your brother also finds healing.”
The silver vixen’s gaze narrowed further, as her mind raced. It could be true. He had been lost for so long, it could be that whatever had happened to seal him into this boy could be the very reason she had even sensed his power at all. And if the boy was related to the girl and there was no falsehood… she made her choice. “Very well, I accept and offer equal oath.” With no further warning she moved, her front fangs breaking ivory skin and blood was shared.
So much light.
Then hope followed quickly by joy, love, and so very much more but above all, truth. It was the Truth.
The girl was Serenity, daughter of Selenity, daughter of Selene. She had found the lost princess while looking for her lost brother. Brother… there was more, through Serenity she could now sense the boy and within him she felt a pulse of pure joy and relief. Her brother, he was truly there. She would now be content to hear what both these children of the moon had to say.
It was at that moment she realized just what she had done. She was bonded to the heir of the Silver Alliance. It could not be undone, and this was not the same as when her own mother had bonded to the first queen, Selene. That had been a bond of fealty. This bond was so very much more. They were now sisters as much as two people of different races could possibly be.
“Are you all right Lady Yukina?”
Yukina blinked, not surprised that as she knew this young girl’s identity down to her very core, the girl now knew hers as well. She relaxed and released the girl’s arm. Where her fangs had broken skin only a silvery scar was left to indicate what had happened.
“Please, just Yukina, you owe me nothing more My Lady.”
The blonde girl smiled. “Usagi. All of my friends call me Usagi. Now let me introduce you to my brother whom you have sort of met. “This is Uzumaki Naruto, my twin brother. I’ll explain details later, and this is— “and here she paused gasping and fell to her knees at the older blonde boys’ side. “Haachi-niisan! I’m sorry! You shouldn’t have carried me! Your ribs were not healed nearly enough!” The glow of healing energy swelled as she fussed over the older boy.
The boy introduced as Naruto and twin grinned and came to stand beside Yukina. “He’s Haachi, and before you ask, it’s complicated and I’m sure Usa-nee will explain more later. Kurama is happy to see you doing well. Though he’s surprised you aren’t up to seven tails yet. Would you believe he just now bothered to tell me what his name was? We’ve been partners since the day I was born, and he just now tells me his name.” Yukina turned to stare at him in shock. Her brother could see her through this boy. He talked to him and had trusted him to pass on such a message and give his own name. Then she chided herself: with this boy being related to her own new bond mate, it was no wonder. For the first time in hundreds of years, she started to feel peace at the very center of her being.
Usagi mentally sighed as she tried to ignore the pointed glare coming from the feline currently sitting on one of the chairs across from her bed. She idly wondered just how Itachi had managed to ignore her guardian so easily, but then again, Luna just didn’t like Itachi. Whereas Usagi was pretty sure Luna was flat out livid with her. She glanced at the still slumbering Naruto sprawled across one of the beds. He’d gone back to training once all the excitement with Yukina’s unexpected arrival the night before had settled down. Shizune had actually been the one to bring him back to the room late the previous night after he had apparently worked himself to the point of passing out.
After Usagi had healed Itachi enough to where they could move him back to the hotel, the problem with a large five tailed fox walking through the middle of town had been brought up. Yukina had almost seemed amused by their concern as in moments the fox had vanished only to be replaced by a silver haired young woman in a short yukata and slacks. However, it had not been until Shizune arrived with Naruto that the need for a cover story had come up. She had been kind of surprised when Yukina had introduced herself as Minamino Yukina, an old family friend of Usagi’s mother’s. Shizune, more concerned about Naruto at the time, had thankfully not asked any further questions.
Now though, if she didn’t know better, she’d think Luna was actually growling at her. She had no doubt her guardian wanted answers and Usagi had taken advantage of the fact that Itachi did not know the truth about her guardian to avoid providing those answers right away last night. She supposed she better give in, or Luna might actually start taking control of things herself. She briefly considered just telling Luna to be out with it, but Naruto was still sleeping, and she suspected Luna was not going to be very quiet when this got started. Resigning herself to a scolding she stood and moved to pick up her guardian. “I’m going to take a walk with Luna. I’ll be careful to not go too far Haachi-niisan.”
“I’ll come with you Usagi,” Yukina stated as she rose from where she had been seated and moved to follow.
Usagi nodded, she was sure Luna had questions for the kitsune after all. The trio traveled silently, exiting the hotel, and heading towards the edge of town. Usagi kept note of the feel of the seal bracelet she wore, noting when the slight tension eased. So Itachi had followed after all. She figured he would. Soon they arrived at the clearing Usagi had been using for training herself the day before. “All right Luna…”
“Just what have you done!?!” The guardian demanded as she leapt out of her charge’s arms and to the ground. “How could you even think to do something like this without consulting anyone! These things are not done lightly! It takes months or years to work out the long-term ramifications and then if it is agreed upon it is done with ritual and ceremony! Just what were you thinking? Were you even thinking!?” The Lunar feline raged.
“I…” Usagi began but was interrupted, not by Luna but by Yukina.
“I imagine she was thinking about how to save her brother and at the same time how to prove her identity so I would listen to her. I accepted her offer and oath Luna, advisor of Queen Selenity. If you are going to rage at her about it, you should include me in that.”
The feline glared. “And just what are You doing here anyways Yukina-san. None of your clan have left the forest of _____________ in several centuries. Were you sent here!? How can we be sure to trust you! No one was to know of where Serenity had fled to.”
Yukina glared back at the feline. “I came looking for my missing brother. Selenity had promised us that if any sign of him was found, we would be allowed to investigate after five hundred years with nothing. I sensed my brother here, and so I came. The current status of the Lunarian Kingdom was not even a factor in that decision. What I found, was the energy of my brother contained within in a blonde-haired boy marked by that same energy. If Usagi had not intervened I would have possibly even killed him. You forget just who I am, Guardian.”
Luna winced at that and sighed. “But to make an oath… there is no guarantee Serenity will even take the throne…”
“No Luna.” Usagi interrupted, her own expression turning to steel. “I will take back our home, no matter what has happened, I will not leave it in the hands of a blood-traitor. Our oath is not like my grandmother’s with the Kitsune Matriarch. I did not demand fealty, I asked for partnership.” Usagi then explained.
“And I accepted and matched her oath.” Yukina added. “It answered everything it needed to in the instant the bond was made. Though I have yet to hear the exact tale of how my brother has ended up where he has, I know for a fact that had he not, we would still have no idea if he even lived.”
Luna looked back and forth between the two, somewhat stunned. “An oath of partnership… such a thing…”
“Will mend the rift between the Kitsune clan and the Lunarian people,” Usagi answered the unspoken question.
Luna stared at her charge and considered this. “You are right, it will do just that. You asked about such a thing when we studied the original oath, have you had this in mind since that time?”
Usagi nodded. “Momma had promised that when we could re-open communications with Earth, that we would start seeking out answers for what had happened to the missing Guardians. We are more lucky than anyone can guess that Kyuubi ended up where he did from what I have learned. Healing the nine guardians is my goal for now, until that is complete how could I hope to leave and heal my home?”
Yukina only smiled. She liked the girl already. “On that note, do you think it would be possible for me to speak to my brother in spirit? Having your brother pass messages from him is nice, but I would like to speak to him myself.”
Luna answered, “I think it possible. The two of them have an incredibly strong bond and have already used a meditative trance to meld their powers. If your bond grows in strength with Usagi, it will probably not be difficult at all. Usagi’s abilities as a healer of body, mind, and spirit have all grown greatly. It is not something she would have had much chance to develop if we had never come here.”
“Well, it has become obvious just why you came here when you were forced to flee. Just how it is that you have a twin brother living here of all places is still a mystery. And of course, there is the other blonde boy, who does not share your blood but that you called brother also?” Yukina then asked, the questions that she had kept to herself since the day before finally spilling over.
“The answer to your first question is easy, it was the home of our father.” Usagi answered almost nonchalantly. “We didn’t know before we came that he had been killed on the very day he brought Naruto here to his home though. At least I had our mother, Naruto had none of his blood family until we came. As for Haachi-niisan, his story is kind of complicated and his secrets are not mine to share. However, if he’d like to stop hiding in the trees, he could tell you himself if he wished.”
Luna gasped and stood, her back arching.
A shadow separated itself from the trees and flickered forward, landing in a crouch just behind Usagi.
“You know I cannot be very far from you Usagi-san.” Itachi stated.
“I know,” Usagi replied. “And if Luna had been thinking clearly at all she would have known it was pointless to try and keep our conversation secret from you anyways.”
Itachi met the feline’s blue-eyed glare directed his way without any change in his posture. “I had suspected you were the same individual as the Lady Luna who was the Queen’s advisor when she visited Konoha. I was young, but I graduated young as well. I remember much.” Itachi offered in way of explanation. “We may continue our daily staring matches if you wish, however.”
Luna spluttered and then huffed.
Itachi allowed a small smile to grace his lips at the feline’s reaction. She was so easy to get flustered. “As to your question Yukina-san, my past at this point doesn’t really matter. Circumstances as they are, I am unable to travel with Usagi-san and her companions as myself. Their sensei, whom you have yet to meet, choose this disguise to allow for it.” He paused here a moment, then spoke again just as the silver haired woman opened her mouth to speak, “It is also true that Usagi has done someone close to me a great service and so I wish to learn more of her. It would take something incredibly special and extraordinary to save Sasuke from his family curse.” He finished speaking. And possibly myself as well. He thought.
It should not have surprised him when Yukina narrowed her eyes and studied him carefully. “You will swear to cause her no harm.”
Itachi met her gaze steadily. “I give you my word that I intend her no harm.”
“Your oath.” She demanded.
“Yukina an oath isn’t necess— “
“It is.” Yukina stated, cutting off Usagi’s attempt to lighten the conversation.
“My oath, that I intend Usagi no harm. My oath, that I will repay whatever debt me and mine owe her for the gifts she has given.” He answered just as seriously, “Do you require my blood to seal it?”
Usagi stared at them both wide eyed as Yukina considered his question. “No, I do not think blood is required, if I am not mistaken you are already spirit bound. Her emotions are strong, aren’t they?” She then asked, a smirk tilting her lips.
Itachi stilled, then as if a weight lifted, he simply nodded and then settled into a more relaxed pose, still seated at Usagi’s side.
“Itachi-san…” Usagi whispered, obviously stunned. “I’m sorry! I never meant—!”
He silenced her with a finger against her lips. “I know, and I do not begrudge it. It is a small thing considering what you have already done for Sasuke.”
The tension evaporated as Luna gave an exasperated sigh. “I should have expected something like this. It’s not like there haven’t been signs of such a thing before. It’s not like she hasn’t bonded in some way to every other person that she has touched the spirit of. Honestly Usagi-chan, will you give your heart to everyone we meet?” The last question was obviously meant in humor as the blonde-haired girl only blushed and shrugged helplessly.
Any further discussion however was quickly forgotten as the sounds of battle caught the group’s attention. Turning towards the ruins to the west of the town three large animal forms were seen facing off for a moment, before they all sprang into action.
“Those are the three legendary summons of the three Sannin.” Itachi stated.
“Naruto is over there!” Usagi exclaimed.
“Then we should move quickly.” Itachi stated.
“Who are the three Sannin?” Yukina asked as she matched pace with Itachi and Usagi, Luna riding on the girl’s shoulder.
“They are a well-known team of powerful shinobi that originate from the village of Konoha. We have been traveling with one of them, the Toad Sage, Jiraiya. He is also Usagi and Naruto’s godfather. We came to this town seeking the Slug Sannin, Tsunade. It seems however, that their former teammate, the third of the legendary three, the Snake Sannin Orochimaru, is also in the area. We will have to be careful; this is not a battle to get caught in the middle of unprepared.” Itachi explained.
Usagi tuned out Itachi’s explanation as she focused on moving quickly and trying to sense out what was happening from Naruto. She frowned, as she tried to make sense of what she was feeling, or rather what she could not feel. “Something is not right, I think Naruto is hurt, we need to get there faster! Haachi-niisan you are not carrying me again. Luna, you can scold me later.”
No sooner had she spoken then she reached out hands to the adults on either side of her and then they vanished in a burst of silvery light.
Usagi released them as they reappeared amidst rubble and damaged landscape. Blue eyes scanned the area quickly. She ignored the large slug, toad, and snake with a sword through its head. She spotted Naruto with Shizune and made a beeline in his direction. Please be all right!
“Shizune-san, is Naruto-niichan all right?” She asked as she reached their side, trusting Itachi and Yukina san to watch her back.
“Usagi-chan, how did you–?” Shizune began shocked by the arrival of the group.
“Never mind that!” Usagi snapped, immediately beginning a diagnostic jutsu on her brother. “Luna, start diagnostic on Shizune-san. Haachi-san, Yukina— “
“Say no more Usagi, just focus on healing. We will make sure the battle doesn’t reach you.” Itachi answered.
There was no reply, but Usagi’s hands began to glow with green chakra as she set to work.
Itachi surveyed the battle a kunai in hand as he stood on guard; he had noted the focus that had shifted their way as soon as they had arrived. Jiraiya had done well to quickly engage once more and prevent an immediate reaction, but Orochimaru and his aide had seen their arrival, of that Itachi was certain. The snake sannin was not given opportunity to indulge his curiosity, however, since he soon became Tsunade’s personal punching bag. In moments the battle drew to a close as the snake retreated after a few more pointed barbs.
Tsunade frowned as she approached the larger group. “Who is the girl?!” Tsunade demanded as she took in the sight before her.
Jiraiya came up beside and chuckled. “That would be Uzumaki Usagi, Naruto’s twin sister.” He stated.
“Girl, just what do you think you are doing! Shizune, why are you letting her…” her complaint died off as she looked closer. Green healing energy flowed from the girl, but more it was laced with silver as well.
“I am restoring the rest of the damaged heart veins so that Naruto-nii’s natural healing can take over. Then I will be mending the tendons in Shizune-san’s ankles. If you would take a seat, I will have Luna begin diagnosis if you are also in need of healing?” The young girl replied without taking her eyes off her task.
Jiraiya laughed as he took in his old teammate’s expression, but then sobered at her appearance, “Tsunade…”
“Shut up. I’ll be fine after some rest. Usagi is it? See to Jiraiya’s injuries as soon as you finish with Naruto. Who trained you in medical ninjutsu?”
“Rin-neesan has been my primary teacher, though I have learned much while studying as an apprentice at the hospital. There, Naruto should be fine now…” It was at that moment she looked up and her eyes widened. “You… you are Tsunade-sama!”
Tsunade snorted. “Heal the old toad, tell me what you find out as you heal him.”
“O.. Of.. Of Course Tsunade-sama!” The girl replied and began.
Tsunade smirked as she listened to the diagnosis, and then laughed as the girl found not only the injuries from the battle, but the drug she herself had poisoned her teammate with. Beyond that, the scarring left of older injuries. “Just heal the newest injuries, ignore the foreign compound in his blood stream. We will head back to the hotel for tonight and begin our trip back to Konoha tomorrow. Now who are you two?” She then asked turning to the silver haired woman and blonde-haired young man standing close by, but out of the way.
Jiraiya interrupted, “The blonde fellow is Haachi, and I’ll brief you on his story later on. Consider it your first order of business upon taking up the hat. This lovely silver-haired beauty however…”
“Minamino Yukina, and I’ve been warned about you; what was the nickname he used, ah … yes, Ero-Sennin I believe it was. I am an old family friend of Usagi and Naruto’s. I will be traveling with you.”
“Of course!” Jiraiya exclaimed and then winced as Usagi prodded him in the side on his broken rib.
“Jiraiya-san, you mustn’t move while I heal this. You are lucky I’ve had so much practice on rib injuries healing Haachi-niisan on this trip. I hope now that we have found Tsunade-sama, she will be able to complete his healing.”
Tsunade narrowed her gaze as she considered the mess that her old teammate had dragged her into. Only he would have such audacity. “We will get it all sorted out later, can he move without further injury Usagi-chan?”
“Both Haachi-niisan and Jiraiya-san should be fine now as long as they don’t overexert themselves.” Usagi answered after giving it a moment of consideration and letting the healing energy fade away from her hands.
Tsunade nodded in approval and then turned her gaze back toward the now slumbering blonde still lying on the ground. He had won their bet; he had convinced her to put her own life on the line and stop running from her past. For the first time, in a very long time, she was feeling truly alive.
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