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Underneath the Underneath by sakura1289

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Chapter notes: I have to thank Imperial Mint for betaing this story, again. She is not on this website so don't bother trying to search for her on this site but I really recomend you the story 'Cursed Salvation, Descending Redemption.'
It's really good...
Naruto tried his best not to gawk at the luxurious lady leaning against the massive, leather office chair. She smirked at him, her ebony eyes hidden underneath a fringe, studying him carefully, taking in every piece of his small and young body. Then, she flipped her straight raven hair back, glowing in the sunlight. Another smirk formed as she rested her elbows on the hardwood desk and her head on her silvery skin.

It glittered in the sunlight; her silver skin was actually glittering like a lone star hanging brightly on the midnight sky. There were no bumps on her skin; it was straight as a ruler.

Awashima, who stood beside him now, bowed alongside Candle, while Ichiro kneeled deeply and hastily pulled him down with him.

“Don’t stare at her too long,” he warned, his dreadlocks hiding his warm eyes. “Irritates her, and you don’t want to get on her bad side.”

“Thank you Itch,” he whispered back, just missing the annoyed twitch of the man’s brow and swallowed down the lump that hung in his throat.

He could imagine the headline of the next local newspaper which would be coming out soon, maybe in half a week’s time; ‘Child killed by the ANBU Commander because he forgot to add ma’am to the end of his sentence.’

Or maybe something like this; ‘Imprisonment for life: Uzumaki Naruto didn’t manage to polish ANBU Commanders shoes in time for an important meeting.’

Yes, he was definitely going to die like this, definitely.

He rose again and stared at the woman before facing the wall on his right, remembering what Ichiro- newly name Itch had just said to him a second ago.

“Look at me.”

Naruto shivered as the lady spoke with a frosty and metallic voice- she sounded more like a robot.

Yep, now he was definitely, definitely sure he was going to die this way. He glanced at her hesitantly and stared at her motionless before glaring at her full force.

Why was he so damn afraid of one, just one, woman who might be the second-most powerful person in the entire village? A little fact he was desperately trying to dismiss from his miniature brain. Who did she think she was!?

And anyway, four year olds weren’t supposed to be attracted or afraid of women, were they?

She glared back fiercely. A normal person would have backed down immediately, but who had said anything about him being normal, if anything he was abnormal. No one could be normal when they had already achieved the rank of ANBU at the age of four, no one.

The other three in the room took a step back, desperately wanting to stay out of the glare-war that was going on in front of them.

Candle whistled quietly, “Brat’s got guts, I gotta say.”

The other two agreed, both nodding their heads observing the battle in interest and in slight worry, the foul mood the ANBU Commander was in at this second wasn’t something to feast over.

“Which one do you reckon will be the victor?” Awashima asked, turning her eyes away from Naruto and onto the lady.

“Kuroko, definitely; Uchihas never lose, even if it’s for something stupid like this,” Ichiro stated. Candle agreed.

“I’m betting on Naruto then, how much?”

“Fifty.”

“No, I say a hundred. You get two hundred yen if Naruto wins; if he loses then you have to give us both a hundred. Fair game.”

“You’re on Ichiro, hundred it is.”

All three of them smiled evilly at each other and then turned their attention back to the fight.

Ichiro’s and Candle’s jaws had soon dropped to the floor; they had lost, impossible!

Naruto was smirking cheekily at the woman while she was facing the window with her eyes closed, a flush crossing her cheeks in humiliation and arms crossed. She opened an eye and glared at them. “Not a word about this, understood?” she hissed.

Ichiro and the two women straightened their back immediately; frightened by her glare and inhaled sharply.

“Yes ma’am.”

She faced Naruto, “You too, am I understood?”

He watched her in amusement for a moment, much to her annoyance, and then flashed her a perfect grin, his white teeth glowing. “Why?”

Awashima resisted the urge to punch some sense into Naruto. Was this boy trying to pick a fight or was he just insane? Maybe he was… she too had been one of the people who had burst out laughing when Kuroko-sama told the organization that their new member would be a four year old boy, an age where someone shouldn’t be able to even count properly up to one hundred but when she met him…

What could she say? That she had underestimated the kid? The reality was, she had been astonished.

Not only that, but Naruto could count properly up to a hundred and over, proving he was a very skilled mathematician upon further revelations and he was immensely talented in other areas. His fighting skills had been a little wonky at the beginning but hell, for a barely-turned four year old boy, the status of being mid-jounin was impressive.

She fully agreed with Candle now; the kid had guts but also determination.

A scowl was plastered across the lady’s face as she stared intensely at the boy. If that brat annoyed her anymore she would shoot him across to the other side of the earth, hoping that she would never have to see, meet or even hear of him again.

This was a huge ego destroyer. A four year old kid that was not only short – even for his age – but he was also blond; weren’t blonde’s supposed to be dumb? How could a dumb blond win against her in a glaring contest? She was an Uchiha for god’s sake, and Uchiha’s never lost! And all of this had happened in front of the most talkative people in the whole ANBU department.

(I am blond myself, don’t take it as an insult)

“Ever heard of Uchiha temper?”

Naruto was about to shake his head but caught Candle shaking her head furiously at his left, then quickly nodded, “Sorry, I forgot… ma’am. What’s your name… ohm… ma’am?”

This time Awashima slapped herself flat on the face, joined by Ichiro and Candle.

The woman frowned, “Uchiha Kuroko and you must be our new member of the division, Uzumaki Naruto,” she replied grimly.

“Nice to meet you Kuro-chan,” Naruto replied cheerfully, as if he hadn’t heard the tone she had used.

The hands that had just landed on the remainder of the team’s faces slipped down, their heads shaking repeatedly. This boy was obviously trying to get himself killed.

Kuroko’s brows twitched in irritation as her hands pinched into her skin, skin that was coated by black spandex. Her collar was ‘V’ cut and reached just below her breasts exposing many secrets for perverted men, with no back, except if you counted the four laces- each pair opposite to each other- tied together in a bow.

Her skirt reached her mid thighs and the skin up to her knees was also masked by black, high heeled, glossy, and rather feminine, combat boots and, if one inspected them closely, you would see that they could easily be taken off without much problem- for whatever unknown reason.

The skirt she wore was of a dark blue and glossy leather, and had a long cut on both sides, so that the skirt was only held in place by the white leather belt entwined into the heavy material. The Uchiha Fan was embroidered onto the front with metallic red and white thread whilst a small white sack, approximately the size of a grown man’s foot, hung onto the white belt.

A silver charm, shaped into a heart, was hanging from a light blue choker around her slender neck. Small yet beautiful carvings decorated the front and there was also a tiny sapphire dancing in the middle, doing its job; hypnotizing anyone.

“Beautiful charm you have there Kuro-chan, was it a gift?” Naruto said, trying to ease up the tense and uncomfortable mood.

Kuroko bend her head down to eye the charm. It had been a gift indeed, from a very good friend of hers. “Yes, it was.”

Naruto grinned. “They must respect you a lot.”

She shrugged, “Who cares about what he does right now, let’s get down to business.” She frowned, “And there is something I must tell you.”

“What?” he yelped in excitement, clapping his hands together happily like a little child he was.

“During business, call me Kuroko-sama, Kuroko-taicho or anything with a little more respect than Kuro-chan. Also, no calling me that name in public or in private, understood?”

Naruto nodded understandingly; slightly upset but the smile still graced his lips, “Understood ma’am.”

The three released breaths they hadn’t even noticed that they were holding. Naruto was going to get fried alive one day… one day.

Awashima shuddered of the remains of the frightening glare and then straightened herself in glee and faced Ichiro and Candle, “I’ll be expecting that two hundred yen in my hands by this evening. That’s one hundred from each of you, no excuses,” she smiled at them smugly.

“And I here thought that I was lucky today because I was on Candle’s side, why is bad luck always waiting for it’s chance to get me?” grumbled Ichiro. “Better get it over with,” he muttered, fiddling in his pocket for the one hundred yen not that would soon be out of his possession, pressing it into Awashima’s outstretched palm. “Here’s your money.”

Candle scowled at Ichiro, “Next time, don’t come on my side; I don’t wanna get ‘ya bad-luck disease, yeah?” She too handed Awashima a hundred yen note. “What ‘ya gonna buy with that, millionaire?”

Awashima shrugged, “Maybe something nice to wear.”

“You three!”

“Yes Kuroko-sama?”

“I’m going to escort Naruto-kun to his dorm; you are free for the rest of the day. I expect you there if there’s an emergency drill though,” commanded Kuroko.

The three suppressed a gape; she, Uchiha Kuroko, had just called Uzumaki Naruto, a four year old boy who won against her in a glaring contest, a kid who lacked respect towards her, Naruto-kun.

The suffix, kun, was something no Uchiha used. Never would be too much of an understatement and Kuroko had just broken the unwritten law.

“Naruto is good, does he even notice?” muttered Awashima muttered under her breath and stared at the door as it slammed shut behind the two.

The others shook their head, grinning cheekily.

“I bet ya that da brat doesn’t even know it’s a compliment,” answered Candle and snickered.

“But I’m still going to die of a heart attack soon if this carries on,” whispered Ichiro to the two females, who nodded in agreement whilst hastily departing into the corridor. No one would ever believe them when they heard of this, not that they would try.

No one would want to be in the same building if Kuroko was at her Top Temper- as the ANBU department had dubbed it.

“I’m gonna get sake, ‘ya guys wanna join?”

“Thank you, I would love to join you.”

“Me too.”

The three of them left, already dressed in their civilian attire.

-

Doors. It was one of those doors you could find in those ancient castles with thin metal plates running across to one end to another horizontally, always standing opposite to another door and painted in different colours.

For example, one was multi-coloured, each colour swirling around in unique patterns. Green was painted into a branch shape, with many leaves growing out along the way, while blue represented waves at the bottom. Another one was covered with posters of famous actors and actresses.

All of them had a wooden sign nailed onto the door; each had it own individual shape and carved letters.

Though, only one was different.

It was like any old door, except maybe that it was a door similar to those in Elizabethan castles, but there were no colours. Not even the name sign had its own unique little something; just a dull rectangular shaped and perfectly carved in letters.

Naruto narrowed his eyes, staring at the sign.

Uchiha Itachi

He blinked. Then blinked again. Uchiha Itachi was one of Kuroko’s relatives - he was positive of that - but didn’t they have a compound down in the village?

Naruto shook his head. If something wasn’t his business, he shouldn’t try to find information about it, well, except if it was on a mission. That was something Blue Jay- the Book Memorizer- had taught him.

Fele had beaten all of felens precious lectures and quotes into Naruto’s miserably tiny brain, making him memorize three fables, sometimes more, in only fifteen minutes. Word for word, and the fables usually lasted for two or more pages and if he said even a word wrong he would have to repeat everything again from the beginning.

Imagine that if you were at your final fable and you pronounce the last word wrong, you would have to start all over again.

Those were horrible times. Naruto shook his head. They had been horrible times indeed but he thanked them greatly for making him more conscious about his surrounding.

Blue Jay also taught him about body postures; it was amazing that even the smallest flinch could tell you immediately that they were lying.

Usually after his lessons he would spend his time observing other people interacting with one another, from a distance. To them, he was just a curious little kid - or rather, should he say demon brat, or was it demon in disguise..? He forgot.

Kuroko grabbed his shoulder and held onto it as tight as tourniquets, throwing him out of his endlessly long thoughts. “Brat, your room,” she pointed at an orange door, “Write your name on the sign yourself; the handwriting represents your nature.”

She freed his shoulder. He could feel the blood surging through his thirsty veins, longing to feed the cells with some oxygen and glucose.

He bobbed his head excitedly. This was the best day of his life. First, he was admitted into the ANBU and secondly, they remembered that his favorite colour was orange. He glanced back quickly at the empty door but soon forgot as Kuroko dragged him into his new room.

Naruto nodded to himself, taking a good look at the new surroundings that were to be his dorm room, or even better still, his new home.

A single bed stood next to the window; still without curtains - a fact which would soon change - with a small nightstand and an antique lamp resting on the stand. An L-shaped, cherry-oak desk stood in the corner of the room adjacent to the door. Two levels of extra shelves attached to a quarter of the desk, so that drawers could be inserted, and served well as a bookstand.

“The door over there,” she pointed at the wooden door just down the right wall, “Leads to the bathroom, it has a closet inserted into the wall too. Anything else you need to know?”

“My mask, when will it change colour?”

She shrugged, “When it has finished scanning your personality.”

“So it will probably turn into a fox then, I guess,” Naruto groaned, touching the wall carefully as if there was some kind of trap hidden within them.

“Your personality isn’t even close to that of a fox,” Kuroko stared at him with her ebony eyes, not hinting any emotions towards him. “Though you may contain the Kyuubi, it does’t mean you’ll receive his face. Receive and contain are complete opposites; your personality is the only point which matters to archive the animal on your mask and your clothing is also not achieved by what you contain, but your own combat style.”

The expression she received made her sigh. “The uniform you’re wearing is the fledgling uniform; it too will alter after it has scanned your combat style.

Take Awashima as an example; her animal is a Neko. Cats are animals which are independent, loves drama, affectionate, wild yet gentle and the also hate to get dirty.

Awashima has been one of your taijutsu senseis so you must know what her combat style is like; wild, rough, and dirty and is in love with ninjutsu. It is unlike a cat, who usually uses genjutsu in battle because of their great dislike in getting the paws dirty.”

Naruto creased his eyebrows in confusion. “It doesn’t make any sense to me.”

Kuroko scowled, teaching a four year old kid was her newfound weakness. “My mask is a Panther but my affinity is water, now convert it to what I have just said.”

“But if your affinity is water then your mask could be a Shark or maybe a Stingray, why Panther?”

“That is what I have been talking about for the past ten minutes!” she snapped, her scowl deepening.

He mumbled an apology and analyzed the things she had just said. A light bulb switched on in his brain a second later.

“The animal design on your mask reflects your personality and your clothing your fighting style! Why couldn’t you say it a little simpler Kuro-chan?”

The Uchiha’s ebony brow twitched and crossed her arms. “Don’t call me Kuro-chan in public or even in private,” she hissed furiously. “Haven’t I said that before?”

Naruto stared up at the ceiling. Panthers… they really do suit her personality. Egoistical and very hot tempered. He snickered quietly to himself, earning a glare from the woman beside him.

“You may decorate your dormitory with whatever you wish but posters of naked women, or men whichever way you are inclined, are literally banned from this household, the books are best to be hidden from any female’s sight but are allowed - much to my dislike.”

“I am four years old; do you really think that I would read the Icha Icha Series?” Naruto questioned with a raised brow.

“Four year olds also don’t usually converse with thirty year old men in the centre of the ANBU Headquarters either and they usually don’t even know the name of the series, how do you know about that book?” she snapped at him.

“Oji-san reads that crap,” Naruto retorted before snorting and rolling his azure eyes. “Anyway the porno section of the book store is banned for people under eighteen.”

“And it is a rule which I am rather pleased of. Thank you and I shall leave now to give Hokage-sama a good lecture which he deserves.”

Naruto ignored her last sentence completely but mentally cheered at her unpervertness. “You wrote the law?”

She nodded and her crimson lips arose into a smirk - were they naturally red in colour or did she use this stick… what was it called… ahh, lipstick - another mysterious question which he was soon going to find an answer for. “You sounded disappointed. Want me to lower the law especially for you?” she teased him, her metallic voice making it sound more like threat.

“Nah, only I heard a few fifteen year olds complaining to the book seller about the law and I have no interest in the female body, I’ll find out eventually what it looks like.”

Kuroko growled but then shook her head, a smirk formed on her lips, and ruffled Naruto’s blond hair awkwardly. Immediately after her hand left his head, she disappeared, replaced by a metal chest.

Naruto’s curiosity rose and then lowered down, suddenly feeling sleepy, pushing the box into his room, slamming the door shut with his foot and making the heavy metal key, which was inserted into the keyhole, land noisily onto the floor.

He stared at it drowsily for a few seconds before stuffing it into one of his many trouser pockets, immediately forgetting which one and then started pushing the heavy box into the centre of the room.

A loud yawn erupted in small room and some bone cracking was heard too.

“So darn tired,” mumbled Naruto to himself, shaking his head making the blond bundle sway about.

He plopped onto his new bed, which was far more comfortable than the one in his old apartment. “Better get some Zs now, who knows what might happen…”

And then he was gone.

--

Naruto groaned, azure eyes peeking out of droopy eyelids, before rising slowly and painfully. The loud banging on his door was what awoke him.

“Uzumaki-san,” a mysterious ANBU said, pestering him with rhythmic- and way too noisy- knocks. Was it even possible to knock this hard? “Uzumaki-san, Uchiha-sama wishes to see you at the Dining Hall!”

He groaned once more and leaned against the wall. “But I’m tired!”

“I apologize but Uchiha-sama is very dangerous if one doesn’t follow her commands exactly,” what a poor retort, next time she should use a better one. Her voice sounded awfully much like a male’s voice but was way too high-pitched to be one of a male. Her voice was as emotionless as Kuro-chan’s had been but not as metallic. “It is for your best health for you to listen to me and come with me to the Hall.”

“Is that so Banger-san?” He could imagine the woman’s eyebrows twitching from pure irritation.

“Yes Uzumaki-san, very dangerous.”

Naruto inhaled sharply – shoot - it hadn’t been the same deep, emotionless voice, actually it was exactly the voice he had been thinking about just now, metallic and frosty. A shiver raced down his back, “Kuro-chan?” he questioned shakily. “Is that you?”

He detected a sharp, furious inhalation coming from Kuroko but heard nothing from the mysterious Banger-san. “Is it?” Of course it was but he wasn’t taking any chances.

“Uzumaki Naruto,” Kuroko’s body trembled violently as she slammed the door open with her booted foot and stormed in into the room glaring at the little boy, frightening him slightly. “If I don’t see you in the Dining Hall in fifteen minutes, you shall receive the worst punishment that was ever made for an ANBU, now get moving!”

“Yes Kuroko-san!” he jumped out of the bed and tripped over the metal chest. “Damn.”
He looked up and deadpanned at Banger-san. How the hell could a… boy have such a high-pitched voice? What was he doing in ANBU anyway, wasn’t he far too young to be here.

He snorted at himself. Look who is talking. He stood up and brushed of the dirt from his ANBU retire.

Kuroko left him and Banger-san alone, striding down the corridor creating rhythmic clacking noises.

“Banger-san, do you know what the punishment will be?” he questioned hesitantly, a bright flush covering his cheeks.

“D-ranked missions and residing for a week at either Ibiki-san’s apartment,” he replied, seemingly not caring as he saw the cold shiver run down Naruto’s back.

Naruto exhaled a breath he hadn’t known to be holding when the clanking disappeared. “My name is Uzumaki Naruto,” he held out his hand, smiling up at the boy. “It is nice to meet you.”

The boy was about eleven years old and very girly in his opinion. Two symmetrically opposite long ridge-like scars, starting near his eyes till his mid-cheekbone graced his face and his glossy hair - much like Kuroko’s - was tied into a low ponytail, except the two raven bangs framing his face. His ebony eyes - also very familiar - stared down at him remotely. Luckily his skin wasn’t silver.

Why do Uchiha’s seem to belittle me so much?

He accepted hand without hesitation and took it into his gloved ones, and then smiled at him through the warmth only reached half of his ebony eyes, mostly all fake. “Nice to meet you too, my name is Uchiha Itachi.”

Naruto gasped.

Uchiha Itachi, this was the owner of the plain looking door. “You’re the owner of the plain looking door!” he exclaimed in bewilderment. “I didn’t expect someone like you not having their door painted! Why don’t you paint it? The paint - whatever colour it is - tends to hide the moth-eaten wood.”

Itachi’s eyes narrowed noticeably. “Moth-eaten exceeds the hideous orange you have your door is ornamented with,” he scoffed.

Naruto gritted his teeth together. “Orange isn’t hideous vocab-freak! Sorry for being so rude I was just trying to give a little advice but I guess you didn’t deserve it!”

“But if I did decorate my door, what colour should I apply?”

This poor excuse of a boy had to be kidding him. Why ask someone who they had just insulted because of their colour likings and ask them in what colour they should paint their door?

“Paint it in your favorite colour you idiot!” Naruto blustered bitterly.

“May I inform you that I am not allowed to attend such process as decorating a door with my favorite colour, my father ordered for me to train more not to fool around like you’re doing now.”

Both of Naruto’s eyebrows twitched. “Why would your father ban you from painting your door, there is nothing wrong in doing so.”

“You will never understand, you are just a dobe.”

“Teme!”

Their argument continued as they raced towards the Dining Hall, receiving glares from sleepy ANBU and furious shouts coming from several rooms.

Kuroko raised an eyebrow as she saw Naruto and her second youngest cousin racing towards her table, shouting at each other meaningless word she couldn’t make out.

No one was able to provoke her second youngest cousin like that, not even Fugaku or one of those harsh Uchiha Elders but somehow, this brat had achieved such an impossible task without even noticing it.

She should tell him this soon.

Her smirk widened as she heard those irritating insults coming from the both of them. “Seems like you have already become acquaintances with my young cousin,” Kuroko said smugly, making the bickering come to an end.

The few people that were residing in the Dining Hall stared at the two in disbelieve before carrying on with what they were doing.

Naruto crossed his arms and hmp-ed, scowling at the opposite wall which Itachi- or the newly named Teme - was glaring at.

Then he blinked. Did she just say that the teme was her young cousin or had he been dreaming? Of course not, he was always right!

You’re getting too cocky, a voice whispered into his ear but he brushed it off.

Naruto turned to her his mouth wide open, staring at her dubiously.

“If you are going to catch flies with your mouth wide open, you’re doing a great job,” said Kuroko flatly and right that second a fly flew in.

Naruto shut his mouth immediately and choked as he swallow the little, alive creature. Eww! He shuddered and tried ignored the abnormal feeling of something bumping against his stomach walls.

“You,” he pointed at Kuroko, who was staring at him with a raised brow. “Are,” he slowly pointed his finger at the emotionless freak Itachi. “Related. To. Teme!? Oh god, I feel so sorry for you, it must be hard to live with him!”

Kuroko’s smirk widened tenfold from satisfaction, terrifying Naruto. “Actually it is very comforting to know that there is someone in this entire building you’re related to, isn’t it Itachi-kun?”

He nodded, piercing glares at Naruto who returned them as eagerly.

“By the way, I won’t allow you precede any missions outside the village walls until you’re of age, which is six.”

Naruto gaped at the woman. “Then why did you even allow me to enter ANBU if I am just going to hop around the Headquarters bored. I’m probably going to get executed in the first week for playing too many pranks!”

Kuroko’s eyebrow rose. Pranker… that was something new… they desperately needed one in ANBU.

If anybody would ever ask her about her opinion about the ANBU Headquarters she would reply that it was so boring, a wonderful building but boring. No action, though more than enough paperwork- a fact that she loathed. Wasn’t it the Hokage’s work to complete them? She was a woman who was desperate for even the tiniest amount of action. Without it she was just another selfish and grumpy Uchiha.

“I only forbid you joining missions that proceed outside of the village, I never mentioned anything about not doing any mission at all,” she replied impassively.

He growled. “Then why is Teme allowed to attend mission outside the village?!” he yelled in rage.

Naruto didn’t know what reason was behind her amusement- through something told him it was he himself- but one thing he did know.

She was scaring him.

“He’s eleven years old; old enough to cope with death,” she turned to Itachi. “You may leave, I will inform Naruto about our rules and customs, and I want you to be his guide for the next few weeks.”

“Yes Uchiha-sama,” he muttered, not a hint of anger left, even with what had just happened a few moments ago, and bowed, leaving the room swiftly afterwards, earning a narrowed stare from Naruto.

If teme was Kuro-chan’s younger cousin, why was he treating her like Kami-sama?

“Fetch yourself some dinner, I’ll be waiting here,” she ordered, her harsh tone softening only slightly. “And then we shall talk.”

“Where do I find food?”

Kuroko nodded to her left side. A large circular table was standing in the centre of the Dining Hall, covered with a red, silk cloth. There was an opening so one could go around on the inside to reach the cold buffet. Somewhere offside stood large, translucent basins, probably filled with different kinds of juices and alcohol.

The few ANBU that were still present were those who had just come back from a mission and their stomachs were grumbling fiercely. Hey, even ANBU can starve.

He snatched some of the chicken salad which had caught his eye and a little of the carrot rice, which looked delicious. He filled the glass he had taken from next to the pile of porcelain plates, with a little orange juice and then walked towards the table Kuroko was sitting at patiently.

He sat down and sighed in frustration. The chair was too big for him.

“Kuro-chan,” he whined, “Are there any higher chairs, I can’t reach my food.”

Kuroko’s mouth formed into a thin line but ignored his nickname for her. Only slightly the edge of her mouth lifted, only slightly but still visible. “There aren’t any but you can use my cushion as a lifter.” A cushion appeared in her hand magically as she handed it to him.

He sat down again, “Much better.”

“Now, I want to talk to you about our rules and customs but first I will answer any questions you have to bombard me with,” she said straight on after he had settled down, he was about to speak when she quickly added, “Though only questions concerning ANBU rank, you may ask me later on about the staff here.”

Shoot, there went his chance to ask her about teme.

“When do we have breakfast, lunch and dinner?”

“Awashima informed me of your rather large appetite, I guess she was correct,” Kuroko looked at him in amusement, a smirk forming on her lips. “You can come to eat anytime you want. The food will always be refilled once it’s empty.”

“So the ANBU have cooks?”

“No, we use special robots made for us which cook, clean and go grocery shopping for us,” she summed up. “They have no body heat whatsoever and their ears are oval-like shells.”

“But wouldn’t it be obvious that it is a robot, not a human buying grocery for the shopkeeper?”

“We cover the ears up with bandanas or bandages.”

Naruto shrugged. It was a plain simple answer for this difficult question, why couldn’t he be so smart?

“What if the bandana or bandage slips off?” he questioned, trying to make her think for a moment.

“The cloth is glued to their ears and it has a magnetic plate inserted in between the two layers of cloth which is attracted to their metal heads.”

Shoot, didn’t work. Oh well, next time.

They sat in silence for a minute, eating their food speedily without taking much care of how it tasted. Each of them was trying to think of a new question they could ask one another.

Azure eyes scanned Kuroko curiously. “Ne, Kuro-chan,” she stiffened and flinched afterwards but for passers-by, the flinch only seemed like an irritated twitch, one which she had had a lot for today. If one had looked closer, however, they could see it had been a flinch. “Kuroko-neechan? Is this alright for you?”

She looked up at him, hinting no emotion whatsoever. “Whatever,” she grumbled and turned back to her food, chili con carne.

Naruto flashed a grin. “Can I call you Kuro-chan or Kuroko-neechan in private but not in public?”

There was a pregnant pause, her hands clenching into a fist.

“Hn”

Naruto smiled brightly. “Thank you so much, I promise I won’t call you disrespectfully in front of others and I don’t ever break promises!”

A short silence before he detected Kuroko exhaling softly, muttering something under her breath. “Alright.”

His grin widened. “Awesome!” he faced his half full plate, hadn’t he eaten more?

“Do you have anything to question me?” she asked with her glacial voice, frostily but her stiff shoulders were slowly lowering themselves and soon they were relaxed again. Her grim expression softened a little but her fierce gaze didn’t budge- her eyes didn’t seem to be able to change expressions.

Naruto shook his head. “Nope, nothing but if I do have something, can I ask you later?”

“Hn.”

He chuckled lightly at her dry reply. This word seemed to be famous for Uchiha’s. Itachi used it during their argument once in awhile and he soon found out it actually meant yes and ‘mhh’ had meant no.

Through he couldn’t believe that teme had actually agreed with him from time to time.

She frowned at his amusement. “Firstly, there is to be no physical fighting in the Headquarters, we have training grounds especially made for that but they too, are made for training only; as the name says. Verbal, through, is necessary once in awhile,” she told him, her eyes narrowing as if her sight was becoming blurry.

Naruto nodded understandingly and swallowed a piece of chicken he had been biting on for the past few seconds.

“There is to be no bullying whatsoever. We have cameras everywhere. The special robots, I was talking about just then, also watch over the Headquarters day and night, they don’t need sleep. They will inform me or the Hokage immediately if there is an occurrence like this.”

“Whatsoever’ was another on of her habits, he had noticed, whenever she used this word she meant it final. You had to do it, no buts or ors.

This is why he knew she wasn’t kidding around about this. Who would? Anyone who bullied would most likely be severely punished with something bad. A punishment he wouldn’t want to know, hear or think about.

“No destroying anything, even if it’s the furniture in your room. If you do then you’re going to have to search for some new ones yourself and pay for them. I think this is understandable.”

He dipped his head in agreement once more. Why destroy something because of frustration? It made no sense, except a larger bill with the enormous, hell number written at the bottom.

“If an ANBU member has their masks on, call them by their codename to hinder others from finding out and also accept others for who they are. ANBU’s have unique personalities,” she told him and leaned back into her chair. “This is all for the rules. I can tell you about the customs tomorrow, you seem tired.”

That was all?

“Yeah,” he admitted and a blush flashing across his cheeks in embarrassment, “What time is it anyway?”

“Two thirty in the morning.”

He stared at her, his eyes wide in disbelieve and gritted his teeth together angrily. She had got to be clowning around with him through it was hard to imagine Kuroko cracking a joke. But still, two thirty in the morning! Was she insane?!

“Are you insane, couldn’t we have discussed this during breakfast!” Naruto howled at Kuroko, stood up abruptly. He bit the side of his cheek to resist the angry- and animalistic- snarl directed towards her.

The other ANBU still residing in the Dining Hall worried glances but tried their best not to eye them, through some were mumbling something to their companions.

He could have cared less of what they were jabbing about.

Kuroko gritted her own teeth and glared at him, hissing at him before striding towards the entrance of the Hall, furiously. Her body was stiff again, like a tree whilst her ebony eyes flashed viciously at the people around her, ordering them with her eyes to step back immediately and leave her alone- something which they did quite willingly.

Naruto ignored her unsaid command. “Kuroko-san!” he yelped in surprise. Why didn’t he see this before? Why was he so stupid at times? “Wait!” he snatched her pillow quickly and bolted out after her. “Wait!”

She swung around when they were alone in the corridor- the others had been frightened of like rabbits- her eyes filled with unknown emotions and her lips strung into a thin, red line. “What?” she snapped.

“I’m so-“

“Don’t bother Uzumaki-san,” she hissed through her teeth, her perfectly white teeth. “You would have gone of to have fun with the staff around here anyway, don’t deny it; you wouldn’t have bothered listening to me for even a minute.”

He clenched his eyes shut, his own lips clamped together into a white line. It hurt, it truly did. To be though so lowly by someone you didn’t even know properly.

He opened them again just in time to see Kuroko disappearing out of existence. His shoulders dropped as he slowly made his way towards his new room with the pillow in his hand. Reddish orange in colour rimmed with a warm yellow. The fabric was made out of cool satin.

Frowning and touching himself everywhere, searching for his key until he remembered that he had left the door open, and then invited himself in.

He hastily changed into his pajamas that were brought up from the village and slumped down onto the bed, his arms wrapped tightly around the pillow- Kuro-chan’s pillow.

Not even a second later, he was counting ramen bowls with stick legs lurch over chopsticks with miserable expressions on their faces, and then as soon as they landed, their legs snapped in half and drowned in a pond of mud.

It was going to be a long night…
Chapter end notes: Please criticize and comment, whatever you like best.
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