Behind Innocent Eyes

BY : Blackkitten23
Category: Naruto > Yaoi - Male/Male
Dragon prints: 32299
Disclaimer: I don’t own Naruto and I don’t make a profit off of my stories

(I'm thinking)

"I'm speaking"

Pairing: Yaoi M/M, Harem - seme Naruto x uke Shino / Kurama / Kimimaro / Konohamaru / older Hikaru / Utakata

Last Time:

'What are they planning?' Naruto's sensei voiced his suspicions as he followed Shino, Kiba, Akamaru and Kurenai out of the village. After all, it seemed strange that such a close team wouldn't say goodbye to a sick member before leaving …


"Wow, smells great!" Kiba exclaimed excitedly as the meal was cooking over the fire. "Can we keep you?" The dog ninja said jokingly as he was poured a bowl of the stew.

Naruto chuckled as he spooned out the stew for everyone else, "Sorry, but I have to go back eventually."

Kurenai moaned at the taste of the stew, "We'll have to talk to the hokage about that."

"About what? It's pretty clear this will be temporary since you said I will be returning for the chunin exams … then again I remember something about genin teams being restricted to a certain number for a survival reason so it seems weird that I was allowed to leave. He already knows about this transfer, right?" Naruto asked innocently, deliberately putting the sensei on the spot.

"Of course he does." Kurenai chuckled with a slight nervous tint to her tone, "I'm just saying that if you being on a different team is an improvement something could be worked out. That's all."

(Going with that huh … no matter, I'll find out what's going on before this mission is done.) Naruto thought, while mentally smirking a smile that did not match the innocent smile on his face, "So what's this mission about? We never actually talked about it." Naruto said as he realize the subject has been only random things or subtle comments to try and get some information about him since they left the village hours ago.

Kiba blinked, "Oh right! … errr sensei we were briefed but-" Kiba winced. It looked like Kurenai was smiling, but if you looked at her foot you'd notice that it was digging into Kiba's heel.

"We did forget to talk about the briefing for the mission!" Kurenai exclaimed louder than necessary.

Naruto winced as he focused more on Kiba than Kurenai's attempt to cover up the slip, (Briefed huh … I almost wish you didn't let that slip.) Naruto thought feeling sympathetic towards Kiba despite his strong desire to figure what exactly was going on here. The look of pain and the tiny whimper from holding back the pain made Naruto feel bad for Kiba since he knew how overzealous the jonin could be. She did drag the blonde nearly a mile to get him to the hokage tower, after all.

However, since the slip was made and couldn't be taken back it was best to ponder on the meaning behind it. To Naruto it sounded like they talked about a mission before he met up with them, but Kiba seemed clueless on this mission. Does that mean Team 8 had another mission? A mission Kurenai didn't want him knowing about, perhaps?

The possibility put Naruto on high alert. Years of dealing with surprisingly well organized and manipulative villagers made him more than a little distrustful of any sign of a plot. After all, they could be doing an off the books mission to investigate Kurama. Actually, that scenario would explain why Hinata was left behind! If that's what's going on then Team 8 planned on separating them to investigate and he can't have that. He had no idea if this was the case since they shouldn't know about Kurama even with that close call at Konohamaru's, but if it was Naruto was determined to keep Kurama safe.

"I guess this new team arrangement threw us off." Shino commented matter of factly.

"Yes it has!" Kurenai exclaimed, happy one of her students could play along and was relieved that Naruto seemed to buy the lie, "Ok, we're on a treaty type mission."

Kiba groaned a little as he flexed his hurt foot slightly, "Treaty what?" He said with a strained voice. Poor guy was clearly in pain.

"Oh, it's just a fancy way to say that we're going to try to negotiate a treaty." Kurenai explained.

Shino was the confused one now, "Why are we going and not the hokage?"

Kurenai smiled, "The people we're going to see don't like the hokage … or any ninjas actually. They're a tribe of people hidden in the southern most forests. Many villages have tried and failed in some rather embarrassing ways especially if you consider that no village has ever been get through the civilian level lands."

"They're civilians?!" Kiba gaped in shock.

"It's not too shocking. Civilians can be dangerous." Naruto commented casually. It was out of pure habit. After all, he's used to being with Team 7 who were oblivious to everything about him and really why should Team 8 be too much different? They had no reason to take that comment as anything other than an innocent comment. At least that's what Naruto thought, but the awkward silence and shift in his new teammates' postures that followed indicated something suspicious.

The jonin cleared her throat almost nervously, "Well … yes, but they have … it's hard to explain. This tribe seems to have a way to knock out ninjas before we can get close. They don't seem interested in killing since they haven't killed anyone, but whatever drug they're using is very effective. Our goal is to enter the village and propose a treaty. Sounds fun, right?!" Kurenai said cheerily.

Naruto frowned, "They only hate ninjas? They have no issues with other villages or merchants?" He asked trying to recall something Kurama mentioned about a series of tribes when he was a kid.

Kurama actually never liked that Naruto wanted to be a ninja for Konoha. After Naruto released him, he tried to convince Naruto to leave the abusive narrow minded village in subtle ways like telling him stories of other places and non ninja fighters. The only reason Kurama gave up trying to get Naruto to willingly leave the hateful village was the constant effort and care from people like Danzo and Hiruzen. Also, there was that rather shocking discovery of Naruto's crystal release, which required training to control, whether he became a ninja or not. Of course, it wasn't the occupation the demon hated, but more the village itself, which made sense considering how Naruto is treated by the majority of people there. Kurama still stayed despite Naruto making his choice to stay and hasn't left the blonde's side even though he was free. Those thoughts made Naruto feel a warmth in his chest.

"Umm .. actually yes." Kurenai said not realizing she pulled the blonde out of some very deep thoughts about a certain fox, "The Pelidnota tribe is quite open to other travelers even though they're still rather secretive. Civilians can pass through safely, but ninjas are stopped cold before we even reach the borders."

"Sounds like a very difficult mission. Why are we trying so hard?" Shino asked curiously.

"Safe passage to the mountains to reach other villages and research the plants that we haven't seen before. It is important even though it seems like the hokage is randomly picking teams for it. At this point he's just trying any team to see if one manages to win their favor." Kurenai admitted, knowing it might be a little disheartening to know the hokage didn't pick them specifically thinking they'd complete the mission. Of course, she kind of wanted to not let Naruto know that he wasn't even supposed to be on this team so she had to let him think this was the hokage's intention for now.

Naruto raised an eyebrow and tweaked his rose tinted glasses, "So what's the difference? Why attack ninjas before getting close, but let civilians through? … the only thing I can think of is how we travel."

Kiba frowned, "Could be related to the trees or some sort of markings. My clan has a system of markings on trees surrounding the puppy kennels we protect … we know nothing really so maybe it's worth walking there."

Shino nodded, "My clan has a similar system around our hives."

"It wasn't considered before because they are civilians, but the could be a good idea … it will add a day to our journey if we want to find the road and walk it for the last leg of our trip. Are we in agreement?" Kurenai asked and her students nodded along with Akamaru who wagged his tail happily, "Then that's the plan! … oh good! The stew is still warm!"

"Yeah, lucky!" Naruto chuckled though he was as excited as they thought. In fact, he was suddenly quite nervous. (Shit! I forgot to swap the bowls!) He thought in a panic as the rest of the team moaned at the scrumptious taste of the food.

Who doesn't like a hot meal? Naruto loves a good meal whenever the chance presented itself. To increase the hot meals on a mission he put heating seals on his bowls and plates so the food would be a little warm even when they couldn't use a fire. Team 7 scarfed down their food too fast to notice, but Team 8 was different. He had to reconsider this before they notice.

"So what about for tomorrow's meals? We might want to avoid any fires leading up to the tribe's territory." Naruto said pointedly, hoping they'd buy it.

Kurenai nodded thoughtfully, "Yes. If the people of Pelidnota take offense to something like our choice of travel we can't risk lighting any fires from here on out. Looks like you may get your favorite, Shino!"

"Oh?" Naruto pondered as he looked at the bug ninja who was blushing lightly from the teasing,

Kiba smirked, "He loves sushi."

"Really? Sushi it is!" Naruto smiled happy he found an excuse to use cold meals and switch off the damn heat seals, which he did the second he got the empty bowls back for a quick clean. He never noticed that the blush on Shino' s cheeks darkened ever s slightly when he smiled.

'Naruto, be careful' Guren warned through the crystal earpiece.

The blonde didn't want to risk being heard so he tapped out Morse code, 'why?'

'We're tracking Hinata and she seems to be testing the civilians' Guren explained.

'Testing how exactly?' Naruto tapped back, getting a sinking feeling in his gut as they settled in their sleeping bags.

'We finally found Hinata … she's investigating the civilians. I'm not sure, but by sending out genjutsus of you she's pissing off the civilians and then she's watching the reactions. It's like she's studying them and, by extent, you. They're digging into your life!' Guren said through the crystal.

Naruto froze and glanced at the others sleeping in their own sleeping bags, 'Did she find anything?'

'She discovered that Konohamaru lives in the place you claimed was yours. Unfortunately, she found out before we found her.' Guren reported.

'Stop her.' Naruto tapped quickly. He knew the discovery of one lie will only make it more obvious that there's more out there and he didn't need them getting deeper.

'I'm on it.' Guren said almost too eagerly and the evil snicker made Naruto feel sorry for Hinata ...

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