Hello, thar. Meinos Kaen here!
Seems like Naruto decided to play it safely and bring good, ol', ninja stealth. Even in orange, will our friend be able to be silent enough, long enough? Let's discover it, shall we?
Disclaimer: Naruto and all its characters, places and situations are property of Masashi Kishimoto-Sensei. Everything else is an original creation of mine.
'Calm down, you idiot! No reason to act like a bull!' Naruto breathed in and out deeply, recalling all his stealth lessons. He silently dropped down from the tree and approached the clearing. He placed a hand on the bush he crouched in front of, halting as he bit his lower lip. He summoned enough courage to continue, moving the leaves out of the way. "... Damn it."
Long black hair draped loose over the back of a sakura pink kimono which hugged a tall, elegant frame, shielding the wooden cross from his eyes. "... The face." He pushed back and quickly but silently moved in a clock-wise manner around the clearing. He found another observation point which let him see the figure from his new POW. "... Dear god." His breath stopped. He would recognize those features everywhere, but his gaze got inevitably caught by the eyes. Framed by long eyelashes, lids half closed, gaze focused on the tomb marker from the now crouched position. A feminine hand brought back a lock of hair and a tear escaped the left eye. Naruto's stomach lurched at the familiar sight. He had already seen that face cry once, in his life. "... Haku." More tears, from both eyes. This time though there was no trace of the sad smile from the time he had been revealed of a sad boy's past, delicate lips dropping their corners.
He cringed. He avoided his sight and lowered his head. He couldn't watch any more and he had only seen so little. Haku was back. As a ghost. He didn't know much about that kind of stuff, but ghosts usually stayed behind when they were restless. In this case, sad. 'Probably because he thought he had saved Zabuza when-Huh.' “Wait a minute.” He returned his gaze to the scene in the middle of the clearing, checking if he had seen right. He had. 'Why is he crying over his own grave?'
Indeed. Naruto had been certain that Haku would have been lamenting over Zabuza's grave, his sacrifice for the sake of his precious person having been in vain, but instead, he was facing his own burial spot. 'Weird. But-Huh.' He noticed something else as Haku stood up again, something related to the very act of standing: he had legs. Naruto put a hand to his chin. There was something off about the whole thing. 'Ghost don't have legs, right?' Or so he seemed to remember. He took in the whole figure, as a whole. He noticed two more details: one, Haku had just left a flower on his grave; two, Haku stood taller and prettier than when he had died. Of one thing he was certain: ghosts didn't grow up. Naruto's mind added everything up and logically concluded... "Holy shit! Haku is alive!"
Well, maybe not so logically. "Haku!" Any conception of stealth now forgotten, Naruto dove through the bush and started running at the figure who, in reaction to the cry, turned around and stared in surprise, tears stopping abruptly.
"I can't believe this! I'm so happy!" Tuning out the cry of surprise, Naruto trapped his newly found friend in a bear hug. Not noticing the blush, he pulled back and began squaring him up and down. "Boy, have you grown! You're still taller than me! Hey, how the hell did you hide all this time?!"
"H-Hide? I don’t know what-"
"Ah, I get it! You've been dressing like a girl all this time, right? You were good at that!" Naruto laughed while his recipient gasped in outrage.
"Dressing like a girl?! What are you-!!!"
"Man, you've gotten better." Poke. Poke-Poke. "These feel real." He grinned. A gaping, crimson face gaped at him. He grinned wider.
"S-S-S-So cold!" His teeth flattered. "AT-CHOOM!" He sneezed out a few more ice crystals. "H-Haku, you meanie..."
"So, there was no ghost. Tsk." Tazuna commented, drinking coffee for a change while Tsunami covered Naruto with another blanket.
"I don't think ghosts freeze people in place in reaction to..." The woman blushed, recalling what Naruto had told them. After the 'act', next thing he knew he was staring at the rising sun encased in a block of ice, Anbu laughing at him or glaring at him, it varied. Also, he had gotten a new message. Something about a Hazel.
"W-Why did he do that?" Naruto muttered, sneezing loudly once again. "I thought he would be happy to see m-me again..."
"... Naruto." As a mother, Tsunami knew that sometimes external intervention was needed to guide young men on the right path. The boy removed a small stalagmite from his hair and turned to her. "You said that this 'Haku' was grown up, right?" Naruto nodded. "Also, you're sure that the Haku you knew was a young boy, right?" Naruto nodded again. "So, adding that he's supposed to be dead, that this Haku reacted like a girl would after being touched in private parts and that he didn't recognize you, what does all that add up to?"
"... Crap. Haku was a girl the whole time and he lost his memory! I mean, she!" Tsunami slapped her forehead. Loudly. Naruto threw off the blankets. "Damn it! I have to go look for him-her! Also apologize!"
"For the love of-! Naruto, you've buried-"
"Yeah, you go do that." Tazuna cut off his daughter, much to her shock.
"Of course! I'll be back later!" With ninja speed, Naruto sprinted out of the house. Tsunami glared at her father.
"Dad, what the hell was that?!"
"That'll teach him to ruin my fun. So soon, I mean." Tsunami raised an eyebrow and then her eyes widened in understanding. "Yep. I'm not that bad of a drunk."
"But-But if you already knew, why-"
"For fun. Also, I wanted to see the brat again. We all did. I feel sorry for Iraqi, for missing him." Tsunami silently acquiesced to that. It wasn't a lie. "Also, this will be even more fun." The woman stared inquiringly while Tazuna just grinned. "What do you think will happen if Uzumaki Naruto starts looking around for a girl in this town?"
"... Oh, God."
"No, I don't think I've seen any girl like that, I'm sorry." The meek redhead he had stopped in the middle of the road bowed. Naruto just grinned.
"Ah, it's okay. If you see anyone like that around, just tell her Uzumaki Naruto has been looking for her." He didn't notice her head shooting back up and her stunned look because he was observing his surroundings, just to be safe.
"U-Uzu-That Uzumaki Naruto?"
"Yep, I'm the one from the bridge. I'm staying-Huh." When he turned back, he was staring at air. He blinked, looking around. "Where did she go?"
"... I think I've already seen this happen to Kakashi-Senpai."
"Should we warn him?"
"Nah." The leader of the team of ANBU shook his head as they observed the brewing catastrophe from roof-level. "Serves him right for this morning."
"No, it's not that I only like girls like that-"
"You don’t?! Thank god..."
"Then, what kind of girls do you like the most?!"
"I-I don't-I mean, why do you ask?" This was getting weirder and weirder. He had tried asking five more girls after the one with red hair, and each time he had to answer more questions than he asked. This time two blonde girls with a short trim-twins, if he had to take a guess-who had been working in the shop he had entered to ask for information about Haku had pinned him against the wall with their overbearing presence.
"Please, Naruto-san! Tell us!"
"What about blonde hair? Don't you-"
"WILL YOU TWO GET BACK TO WORK?!" An older female voice barked from behind the counter. As the two girls whined in a synchronized 'But moooom!', he took the chance to get away. He breathed in and out deeply as he found himself in the road.
"Safe... Wait." The sensation of familiarity was back again. "Safe from what?" As he strolled down the street, Naruto tried to make sense of his current situation, to identify the cause of this feeling of dread that had grown with each question, from both parts. Also, now he was feeling observed. "Where... When did I see..."
He just couldn’t put his finger on it. He remembered that he had something to do with his escaped team-mate. 'But the only times he had to put up with girls in a group of more than two was when-' He froze. One leg raised from the ground, the other supporting his full weight. In mid-stride. The chill that ran up his spine made that morning's incident look like a quick bath in lava. "... Fangirls." He whispered the word as it was the secret name of a long forgotten deiy. A deity of madness. "I have fangirls." He resumed walking, slowly, the eyes never getting off his back. Then, he stopped at an intersection. "... AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!"
With ninja speed, he jettisoned to the right.
"Told ya." The ANBU leader said as the team as a whole snickered. "Better than a movie."
'They're following. They're chasing me. I don’t know how, but they're keeping up!' He was putting his everything in trying to lose his shadows, his persecutors-keep in mind that the only experiences Naruto had with fangirls were negative ones with his ones whenever he stepped on his toes-but to no avail. Now he understood what his teachers meant when they said that ninjas should be especially wary of civilians on missions, even if they didn’t mean it in this fashion. Or maybe they did. 'I don’t know. All I know is running around isn't helping! I need a plan!'
He considered his options. 'Should I try to lose them deeper into the city or just leave town?!'
1. Try and lose them in the city2. Leave town
Meinos Kaen out!