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It was morbid curiosity that drove him closer to the rundown apartment complex at the seedier parts of the village. The place would be new to Naruto – a place that still felt like a sanctuary in the midst of so much misery in his short life. Having lived on the streets for close to eight months prior – living in an apartment – even a rundown one like the one he’d received – well, anything was better than eating from trash bins and sleeping in cardboard boxes in dark and dank alleys.

It made Fox wonder what Kakashi had thought of it all when he’d first learned of it. If Kakashi had felt guilty or angry about being forced to stay away from the small boy who’d been his sensei’s son – the son who’d grown up without even knowing his parent’s names or the name of his – more or less – older brother.

Was it desperation and pity that made Kakashi break the law to give him his panda-night-cap? Or was it perhaps an apology for not being able to do more?

Fox wasn’t sure, but he wanted to know – to tell Kakashi that it was alright – even if it really hadn’t been. But he wanted Kakashi to know that at least he’d tried. Knowing that was enough because it meant that someone had still cared. Receiving the panda-night-cap had meant far more than Kakashi could have possibly imagined. It meant that he’d not been an invisible boy in a world that wanted nothing but to hurt him – make him suffer. It meant that someone saw him, and that meant everything.

Fox didn’t dare think what would have happened if someone hadn’t seen him back then – what might have become of him.

Imagines of sea-foam green eyes and bright red hair surfaced in his mind and Fox forcefully pushed them away again.

Kakashi always shrugged off his words of gratitude with the same effortless grace he did everything else – but Fox had seen the sad smile behind his mask. Kakashi must have wished he’d done more – like he always wished he’d been able to do more than he was or had been.

That meant a lot to Fox. It truly was the thought that meant everything in the end.

So, it came as quite a surprise to Fox when Kakashi’s chakra signature was nowhere to be seen around the rundown apartment complex. In fact, the only chakra signature Fox could spot around the place was a single muffled spark of chakra that told him absolutely nothing. He didn’t recognize it, which meant that it was someone he didn’t know.

But it was all very easily explained. Kakashi – or Dog – as his ANBU name would have been then, merely wasn’t on rotation currently. All he needed to do was wait until it was Kakashi’s shift, and then that would be that.

Still, Fox couldn’t help but wonder who the unfamiliar chakra signature belonged to. He’d always prided himself on knowing who his ANBU detail had consisted of – but apparently, he’d been wrong about that. Not entirely unlikely, considering his early skills in chakra detection had been quite close to abysmal.

As such, Fox stayed to observe the stranger as he watched over a sleeping Naruto.


 

Fox observed the rotation of the ANBU detail for three weeks. Not because he had to or necessarily felt he needed to – but because he didn’t have much else going on at present with the Hokage, and because he knew that the day that he’d received his first present was coming up. He had become quite invested in spotting Kakashi give it to him as time went on – if only because he wanted to see it for himself – to see Kakashi in the act of caring for once. 

Which was why he – quite stealthily – observed the ANBU detail yet again, while patiently waiting for the moment of when everything had changed for him – a moment that had meant so much to him all his life.

Yet, Kakashi’s all too familiar chakra signature was nowhere to be seen. In turn, it caused a churn of worry to take hold in his stomach – fearing that things had changed so much that his own happiness had been forced to pay the price.

However, suddenly, there was a subtle shift in the tree outside of Naruto’s window where Sparrow and Owl watched over the sleeping boy’s home.

Fox leaned forward, anticipation running high and nerves tingling.

But then Sparrow left – as Sparrow always did at the end of a long day’s guard shift – leaving Owl alone to watch over the boy for a short while yet.

Fox sighed, disappointed, but not much else.

Until Owl moved.

Fox furrowed his brows behind his mask and quickly swept his gaze over the surrounding area; there was nobody else there. It was only Owl.

Then Owl reached inside of his kunai-pouch and pulled out a familiar black and white panda-night-cap – and Fox breath disappeared.

Owl quietly opened the window and leaned inside – the cap in hand and then gently placed it on top of Naruto’s head. Silently, he leaned back out and closed the window again – lingering for a short moment – before he left himself – his shift having come to an end.

And Fox had no idea what just happened – because Owl wasn’t Kakashi – he’d know if he was. Owl was a stranger he couldn’t name. Kakashi’s ANBU mask was a Dog because Fox had seen Dog around Konoha on several occasions… but never on Naruto’s ANBU detail.

 


 

Owl cast a glance at the ANBU in a Fox mask – only mildly curious of who it could be – but not really all that invested in finding out. It was bound to happen sooner or later anyhow. Sparrow preferred the morning shifts and left right before dinner-time. He, personally, preferred the afternoon shifts where he could contemplate in peace and observe Naruto when he was at home – it was more interesting anyhow.

But now there was a third ANBU on rotation and probably for the best – Owl didn’t like leaving Naruto alone during the nights – but they all had to sleep sometime.

 


 

Fox couldn't help but split his attention between Naruto and Owl. He didn’t know who Owl was, and it was grating on his nerves. When he wasn't stewing in a pit of dark resentment and betrayal by Kakashi – that was.

Owl wasn’t Kakashi, and Kakashi wasn’t Owl. Which meant that Kakashi never gave him the panda-night-cap like Fox had always assumed and then thanked Kakashi for – who, in turn, had led him to believe Kakashi was someone he wasn’t. Kakashi had lied to him. Kakashi had never been the reason for why his misery and loneliness had one day eased if but a fraction of its previous horrible depths.

It had been Owl, and Fox didn’t know who Owl was.

It made him wonder if Owl was the one who’d given him Gama-chan as well. The hideous toad wallet he’d absolutely adored as a child – a wallet he’d kept until the poor thing had fallen apart by the seams. He knew the day was coming up – when young Naruto would spill all his saved coins on his bedroom floor and stare dispassionately at the mess and then processed to silently sob himself to sleep.

There was nothing he could do until then, Fox decided. And if Owl was the one who did watch over him… then Fox would deal with that later because he had to know the truth.

 


 

Owl had disappeared after Naruto had spilled all his coins across his bedroom floor – leaving Fox to watch as Naruto cried himself to sleep in a miserable heap of hurt and pain. Making Fox swell with righteous anger for his unfair and deplorable circumstances.

Then, all of a sudden, Owl was back – with a tacky green toad wallet in hand – and glaring at Fox as if daring him to report him to the Hokage for breach of protocol as he quietly opened the boy’s bedroom window and leaned over the bed to place the wallet on the nightstand.

Fox’s heart was in his throat – tears burning behind his eyes as he finally realized that Kakashi was never even part of the reason why he made it out of his own darkness as a child – it was all because of Owl.

When Owl returned to the tree and continued to gauge his reaction to see if there was a chance Fox would report him to the Hokage – Fox forced himself to look away because he could never.

Owl’s shoulders slumped a bit, and then the tension in the air dissipated – leaving behind an atmosphere of mutual understanding that wasn’t there before.

The next day Naruto could be seen hugging two sizable plushies – a Fox and an Owl – and Owl stared at Fox for the remainder of the day.

 


 

Fox was restless and uneasy. The sound of the festival and celebration surrounded both of them as they watched from the rooftops as Naruto slunk between strings of people across the streets. He wasn't allowed to buy anything from the various vendors – and the one time he’d been lucky enough to pick up a kitsune mask to examine for purchase – the shopkeeper had turned the experience into a humiliating affair of having the mask thrown at him and been told to ‘Get lost!’.

Owl was tense and angry, and Fox found that comforting – like how Fox found Owl’s presence comforting and assuring. Knowing that Owl watched over Naruto – had watched over him all along – Fox couldn't help but feel ashamed that he never learned who it really was who had so he could have shown how much he'd appreciated it – how much it meant.

But there was nothing he could do about that now. The only thing he could do was to make sure Owl knew it this time.

In the end, Naruto returned to his rundown apartment complex and settled in to spend the evening watching the festivities from his bedroom window – watching but not allowed to participate. Unwanted and dismissed.

Fox remembered it. How lonely and close to tears he’d been as he’d watched the children from his window – seeing them eat Dango and Frosted Apples while laughing and talking to their parents.

Until the late evening, that is. Then everything had turned into a nightmare that’d taught him to never step foot on the streets of Konoha on the tenth of October – on his birthday – unless he wanted to wake up on the eleventh in the hospital with a nurse towering over him with a sneer.

But Fox refused to let it end the same way as it once had. He wasn’t sure what had happened to the ANBU detail that evening so long ago – but something had happened because he now knew that Owl would never have allowed him to get hurt. Something must have made Owl unable to help him then – and Fox found that he didn’t hold Owl responsible for what happened.

As the sun began to set and darkness settled around the pitiful apartment complex and Naruto prepared himself for bed, Owl moved to leave the tree – for a perimeter check – he signaled. Fox finally understood what had happened then. There were a lot of people about and around the apartment complex, making it generally unsafe – and making a perimeter check crucial to make sure Naruto was safe for the night. But if Owl had done so when he was alone on the ANBU detail, he wouldn’t have been able to see and prevent the horrible event that was going to take place in his absence.

Fox took hold of his arm and Owl stopped. There was a question in Owl's hidden gaze, but Fox couldn’t answer him and instead turned back to Naruto as the boy slowly crawled underneath his duvet – Fox hand still holding onto Owl’s arm.

Owl stayed with a curious and, perhaps concerned, tilt to his head.

It didn’t take long until a resounding ‘bang’ rattled Naruto’s front door and awoke the boy with a start. Curses and obscenities washed over them, quickly followed by more blatant attempts of gaining entry to the boy’s home.

Terrified, Naruto reached for his Owl and Fox, swiftly ducking down underneath his bed in fear and tried to make himself as small as humanly possible.

Owl reared up like a hissing cobra before he disappeared in a furious dash of venomous murder – Leaving Fox to leap to Naruto's bedroom window and then into the boy’s room. His feet touched down on the floor as he stalked to the bedroom door – listening with grim satisfaction as Owl make the monsters scream.

Then everything fell silent.

Fox listened for any more disturbances but found none – thus deeming it safe to turn his attention towards Naruto. Slowly, he knelt beside Naruto’s bed, heart hurting at the quivering sobs of terror that came from underneath it. And then Fox saw Naruto, trembling and crying while clinging to his Fox and Owl – eyes wide and cowering like a mouse beneath a tiger at the sight of him.

It broke Fox’s heart.

Slowly, Fox opened his hand towards Naruto, hoping to appear as non-threatening as he possibly could.

“Come here, little kit.”

Naruto’s breath hitched, blue eyes widening even more as recognition dawned on him. His large eyes flickered down to the Fox plushie in his arm and then back up at the masked man with a Fox mask. Tentatively, Naruto began to crawl out from underneath the bed, sobs still raking his body and making his breath unsteady.

Fox didn’t hesitate the moment Naruto reached for his tan and callused hand – lifting him up and into his arms as the boy began to cry anew.

 


 

Meanwhile, Owl was tearing down the corridors of the Torture and Interrogation Department with his arms full and seething fury boiling his blood. Morino Ibiki had taken one look at him and the dreg in his arms and proceeded to wave them through – pointing towards one of the rooms in the far back.

Once Owl got the door to the interrogation room open, he hurled the men inside and grinned with vicious satisfaction as one of them stumbled into the opposite wall and smacked his head against it – undoubtedly deepening the fractures on his facial bones.

With that done, Owl turned around – and came face to face with Morino Ibiki’s raised eyebrow – and promptly scowled as the man’s scarred face pulled into an amused smirk.

Ibiki said nothing as Owl left.

With swift steps, he hurried his way back to Naruto’s apartment and Fox's side, hoping that everything was alright and eternally thankful for Fox's foresight to not move out of Naruto’s sight.

What he discovered when he did return, however, was something that would change his entire perspective of his colleague. As he dropped down on the tree outside of Naruto’s bedroom window, Owl spotted Fox on Naruto’s bed – said boy curled up in the man’s lap – while said man gently carded long fingers through blond locks… while reading a children’s book in a softly muffled baritone.

Owl stared for a long moment until Fox turned his face towards him – making him aware that he was spotted. Owl then tentatively moved to the window and settled on the windowsill as Naruto’s blue eyes sought out his – and then returned to the book.

They stayed until Naruto was fast asleep and then proceeded to tuck him down nice and proper before they left.

 


 

Owl watched Fox with poorly concealed interest as the man painted a large seal across the entire apartment complex the following day. Owl didn’t know what the seal did – but he figured he’d find out eventually.

He did, two weeks later, when a group of three drunk men tried to break into Naruto apartment – only to get electrocuted and knocked unconscious.

Owl dropped off the men at the Torture and Interrogation Department with the grace and satisfaction of a cat who’d just had a bowl of creamy milk. Morino Ibiki said nothing – but Owl suspected that he found the whole ordeal quite amusing.

 


 

The events of that day were the beginning of something new between Fox and Owl. No longer were they merely silent companions and colleagues in their occupation as both shinobi and part of Naruto’s ANBU detail – but now they were something else too.

If Owl was to try and name the change that had occurred between them – he might have called it friendship – but then, that wasn’t entirely true either. Because Owl had no idea who Fox was and had little to no leads on the matter. It was strange to him how anyone could claim to be friends with another without even knowing who that someone was.

This resulted in the pair of them taking just as much time out of their day to watch each other as they did Naruto. It was then, during one such day, that Owl made a discovery that would change everything.

Fox was early that morning and had taken it upon himself to stretch out like a sunbathing cat on the large branch they usually sat on during their guard shift. Which, in turn, left no room for Owl when he arrived – forcing him to settle down on the branch just above – thus giving him a rather pleasant aerial view of the apartment complex but also on Fox.

Which was how he caught sight of the color of Fox’s eyes.

Blue.

But not just any blue. No, Owl had only ever seen two people with that type of startling blue eye color, and one of them was dead, and the other was still sleeping in the building just across from them.

Yet, there was no mistaking the blue eyes that bored into his brown ones – probably unaware that Owl had even seen them or his wide-eyed shock at the possible implications they presented.

For a short moment, Owl contemplated the idea of Minato being alive – but in hiding. It didn’t make much sense, though. There was no reason why Minato would hide – much less allow his son to live without his father. No, that wasn’t it. It couldn’t be.

Owl's curiosity and fascination of Fox dialed up exponentially, and as their shift finished for the day – Owl took it upon himself to follow Fox.

 


 

It led to a game of cat and mouse between the two. Though, despite Owl chasing Fox around, Owl got the distinct feeling that he wasn’t the cat in this case. Instead, he was the mouse that the cat strung along on a merry chase – undoubtedly amused and enjoying the mouse’s persistence and tenacity.

Fox would lead Owl on all manners of strange trails, through the numerous forests around the village, through the market and even through the Hokage Building – but eventually, Owl would always lose him, and then the game would start anew the next day.

It evolved from there. From trying to lose Owl to trying to lose each other, from tentative ambushes in training grounds to all the more elaborate traps to catch the other off-guard, until they delved straight into a one-on-one spar every evening after their shift ended.

It was one such evening when sparing in training ground 37 that Owl and Fox’s relationship changed from exhilarating and mysterious friendship… to something else.

 


 

Owl ducked beneath a swinging arm – barely quick enough to dodge the terrifying speed of Fox’s attack – only to yelp when Fox suddenly dropped low and spun around. Owl jumped over his leg, but it was awkward, and his balance shot when he landed. He stumbled and then tumbled into a tree with a groan.

Fox laughed at the sight and then leaped forward to stop him from beginning a counter-attack.

Owl’s mask was then pressed into the stem of the tree, and Fox’s hands pinned Owls behind his back – forcing him to admit to defeat.

Owl was short of breath, but not Fox, and Owl couldn’t help but pout behind his mask – the beast’s stamina and chakra reserves were completely unfair. Then Fox leaned forward and over Owl’s shoulder – because Fox was slightly taller than him – but not by much.

“Surrender?”

Owl could hear the grin behind his question – but also the heat of Fox against his back and neck. Suddenly, the thought of surrender didn’t feel so bad anymore – at all, in fact.

“If I don’t?” Owl found himself asking – flirting.

Fox stilled for a moment, and Owl worried he’d gone too far, but instead of backing away as he’d expect of the man – Fox crowded him and pressed closer.

“I’ll convince you.” His voice came out muffled from behind his mask, a little distorted as all ANBU masks do, but there was something husky in it, and Owl felt a pleasant shudder trail across his spine.

Fox let go of Owl’s arms that quickly moved forward to steady himself against the stem of the tree – but he didn’t try to move away. Neither did Fox. There was a moment of smoldering tension hanging between them, and then Fox placed his hands on top of Owl’s hips – and Owl let his eyelids flutter shut as his lips parted just so.

The heat against Owl’s back drew closer until he could feel the entire expanse of Fox chest and abdomen  – and then warm, callused, and long fingers slowly moved underneath Owl’s black vest and shirt and onto the damp and sweaty skin of his belly.

Owl let out a shuddering breath and leaned backward – against Fox's body as he mentally willed the man’s hands to explore.

Fox reached up and up until he took hold of the clasp that held the ANBU cloak in place – and unfastened it – letting it fall to pool around their feet. He was then greeted by the first clue of Owl’s identity; brown shoulder-length hair. Like chestnut in color. But he quickly put his observations aside because Owl’s throat was long and glistening underneath the moonlight – and Fox felt the urge to bite him.

He didn’t, though. Instead, he moved one of his hands down to the hem of Owl’s trousers – unfastening the small clip holding them in place – and then slipped his hand underneath the thin cloth of Owl’s boxers.

Owl gasped and arched into the touch and the warmth of Fox’s hand. His fingers were long and gentle – but not too gentle. Then Fox’s other hand settled on Owl’s hip once more and held him in place as something hard and long aligned with his rear and grinded.

A moan came from both of them, and suddenly there were no more reservations between them.

Fox grinded against Owl’s rear while his hand slowly dragged up and down up and down. But it didn’t take long before wasn't enough anymore. Owl pushed back harder to gain more friction, and that was all the invitation Fox needed.

He let go of Owl’s hip and unfastened his own trousers – pushing them down just enough to reach and then let go of Owl completely to push the man’s trousers down to his thighs.

Owl braced himself against the tree; eyelids half-lidded and breath steady but deep. Then there were hands on his hips again – caressing for a moment before one of Fox’s hands moved across Owl’s vest and pocket’s in search of the scentless oil that helped ANBU slip through handcuffs and rope.

Once Fox found the small vial, he turned it upside down in his hand and proceeded to toss it to the side.

Owl couldn't bite back a moan as fingers dragged across his taint and then gently eased inside of him. Fox's fingers were long and callused, and it took everything inside of him to not sink to the ground from weakened knees.

The fingers disappeared before long, and then something larger probed at him – leaving Owl breathless and yearning.

It hurt a bit – the stretch was uncomfortable – but Fox turned Owl’s attention away from the discomfort by redirecting his focus to the hand in front of himself again.

Owl was breathless. The tree supported his weight with each thrust and stroke - which turned out to be a blessing from the gods. All he could hear was the steady and even slap of skin of each thrust from behind, the sound of their combined moans and panting, and the shift of fabric.

Heat pooled inside of Owl as a knot progressively tightened and tightened until it was all he could do to clench around Fox with all his might – pushing him over an invisible edge he’d moved closer to with each thrust. Fox groaned behind him, and then Owl pushed hard against the man – climaxing with a final few jerks of Fox’s hand and leaving the white ribbons of seed against the side of the tree. The hard length pulsed inside of him, and then Fox stiffened – holding onto Owl with a bruising grip.

They helped each other to clean up – and then they went their separate way – something forever changed between them.

 


 

Everything continued as usual for Owl and Fox the following week until they once again ended up in training ground 37 after a sparring match. But this time Owl was heaving for breath from the ground – eyes to the sky as Fox – yet again beat him in a fight by knocking the wind out of him.

“You hit like a slab of flying rock.” Owl groaned from the ground and reached up and unfastened the Owl mask on his face – the need for air far more important than annoying protocol and anonymity – especially between the two of them and their unique relationship with one another.

Fox didn’t register that Owl removed his mask until said man tossed it to the side – and then Fox could do nothing more than gape. In his mind's eye, he saw a senbon clicking between a row of white teeth, a subtle quirk of lips that weren’t quite a smile nor a smirk – but something in-between, then a bandana, a large arena and finally a loud ‘Start!’.

Fox suddenly knew who Owl was. Owl was Shiranui Genma – Tokubetsu Jounin, and apparently, ANBU. He…

It all came rushing back to him in a wave of memories; back-up, Hokage Guards, Kakashi’s-not-friend, but a good friend of Ebisu and Gai. Strength, confidence, reliability, and someone Fox always overlooked.

But Fox was not overlooking Shiranui Genma anymore. In fact, he couldn’t recall ever being so focused on anyone before – not even with his unhealthy and old obsession with Sasuke. Genma was simply in an entirely different league.

Genma furrowed his brows then and sought out Fox in question – his silence undoubtedly too long. Genma opened his mouth to say something, but he didn’t get a chance. Because in the next moment his eyes widen, and Fox was on his arms and knees – prowling over the chestnut-colored man who – now that Fox really thought about it; looked like a god.

Genma looked quite startled – but not displeased – and Fox swore to all that would listen; that he’d never overlook Genma again. To think he’d never seen the man’s kindness and heart when it was so blatantly obvious when he pushed himself to think.

He never recalled Genma ever sneering at him – at all. In fact, he remembered vividly that Genma congratulated him after he’d defeated Neji, telling him he’d done well. And if he wasn't entirely insane, then Genma had even patted his back.

Fox let his hands drag across Genma’s chest, reveling in the sight of the man’s eyelids fluttering shut from pleasure. This was different from before, Fox knew. This was completely and utterly different. This wasn’t sexual tension and mystery anymore – not to him. So, as he began to undo the man’s vest and shirt – Fox couldn’t help but marvel at the sight and feel of Genma’s muscled chest beneath his hands. He’d never allow himself to forget a single moment of Genma henceforth.

Deftly, he unclasped the cloak shielding his body and hiding his hair – allowing the waist-long golden strands of hair to spill over his back and shoulders.

Meanwhile, Genma could do little else but stare as waves of long golden hair framed the Fox mask on the man above him. Again, his mind whispered ‘Minato,’ but Minato was dead – he knew that. Then he thought of Naruto, but that was impossible. Naruto was a small child – a mere boy. No, the man before him was someone else – a Yamanaka perhaps. But honestly, it didn’t matter anymore. He’d never met anyone like him before – someone who so wholly existed on the same wavelength as him.

Hesitantly, Genma reached up for Fox’s mask – but a hand caught his wrist before he could. A thumb moved over Genma’s hand – an apology – Genma smiled wryly, but it didn’t matter in the end. So instead, he dragged Fox closer to him and reached for the zipper on his black vest.

It ended up being different than the first time they had sex. Instead of remaining half-dressed, as if an impulsive urge had befallen them, the two of them took their time to undress and explore – freeing them from any previous misconceptions they might have had for one another until then. And although Fox kept his mask in place, that could not be said for anything else.

Once they finished and cleaned up, the pair lingered for a moment longer – something unsaid passing between them – causing both to leave the forest with a soft smile gracing their lips.

 


 

The difference wasn’t all that noticeable in the coming weeks. Genma and Fox sat closer to one another, exchanged just as few words as before, but also had an air of something surrounding them that had never been there before. It continued that way until, once again, Naruto caused it to change.

Genma was moving along the rooftops early in the morning – too early for Naruto to be awake or Fox to snatch up his favorite spot in their tree. Because that’s what they’d evolved into; tree owners. Yet, the thought merely put a smile to his face. Ever since that second time in the forest, Genma could safely say that he was irrevocably smitten with Fox. It didn’t matter what he looked like or who he was. Fox was perfect, and nobody would be able to convince him otherwise.

It was as Genma contemplated a plan to lure Fox into training ground 37 for a third time, that something bright yellow and small caught his attention:

Below and in the barely awake market street, Genma could see Naruto. But the surprise of seeing the small boy was short-lived as surprise gave way to fury and fury to vows of pain. He didn’t know why a middle-aged civilian was attempting to drag Naruto away despite the boy’s vehement protests – but he didn’t much care.

“Thief!” The man hissed – his words acid and biting. “Someone ought to teach you a lesson, you little monster!”

“I di’n do nuthin’!” Naruto cried, “Lemme go!”

But the man didn’t. Instead, he continued to drag Naruto across the empty street with a singular sort of purpose that frightened Naruto.

“Fox an’ Owl won let you!” Naruto tugged desperately against the burning hold of his arm, but then the man yanked and Naruto shrieked in pain.

The man turned around and sneered down at the boy. He didn’t want to think about the boy and foxes, thus latched onto the second, “Owls!” he scoffed, “Not just a filthy little thief but a liar too!”

“’m not!” Naruto cried as he dug his feet into the gravel of the ground.

All patience lost, the man turned around with a raised hand poised to strike – only he never did.

Where the street had once been empty – it no longer was. Behind the merchant stood a vengeful ANBU with a crushing hold on the man’s wrist.

Dark brown eyes burned with anger behind his mask – and the merchant blanched at the design of an Owl on his mask.

“Hoot Hoot, Arsehole.”

In the next moment, Fox was there, and the merchant cried out in pain and fell to his knees as Genma crushed his wrist while Fox snatched up Naruto into his arms.

 


 

After dropping off yet another brainless meat sack at the Torture and Interrogation Department, Genma spent the rest of his day sitting on Naruto’s windowsill watching the two – observing Fox reading the boy children’s books and then later cooking him a feast for dinner to soothe the boy’s anxiety and niggling fear.

But when Naruto wasn’t paying attention, Genma could feel Fox’s eyes on him – smoldering with heat in a way it never had before. It made Genma strangely uncomfortable as it made him feel shockingly exposed and naked. When the time came to call it quits and head home – Genma was all too relieved to head to bed early. The day had set him on edge, and it just needed to be over so he could think about Fox tomorrow instead.

As such, Genma took a refreshing shower and then slipped on a pair of boxers before settling in for the night.

It wasn’t long until the moonlight in his room seemed to shift – immediately followed by the slide of his bedroom window.

Genma, wide awake, blinked open his eyes with his heart stuck in his throat – only to spot Fox making his way through his bedroom window with all the grace of a feline. He let out a shuddering breath, his eyes closing for just a moment to regain control of his pulse.

They had never visited each other’s homes before – much less come by uninvited. To say that Genma had not been prepared for Fox's sudden appearance was a mild understatement.

However, Fox didn’t appear to care all that much as by way of his prowling; the man had something else in mind.

Genma raised a brow and quirked a fond smile as Fox crawled on top of him until he was comfortably straddling Genma’s hips. Then nothing happened for several moments. But Genma was content with waiting and the silence – it never bothered him, and he was very patient.

Without prompting or words, Fox reached up, hesitant and wary, and removed his Fox mask.

As the mask disappeared and the tan and handsome face of – an adult – Uzumaki Naruto appeared, Genma could somehow find very little within himself to be surprised. A part of him had always wondered. He’d deemed it impossible – but it was Naruto. He if anyone knew exactly what happened when Naruto faced with the impossible: miracles.

“How?” Genma asked instead; because he could only imagine how something like that must have happened.

“Time,” Naruto’s voice was just as Genma imagined it. A naturally husky voice with a smooth baritone that made his toes curl with pleasure. “is a very fickle thing.”

It should have seemed impossible and ridiculous, but Genma didn’t doubt him. If Naruto was here – like this – then something or someone had made it so. Besides, the Hokage obviously already knew.

“Okay,” Genma said instead, and Naruto smiled before shyly leaning forward – unsure if it was still appropriate – and kissed him, and Genma didn’t mind one bit.