Boom; two updates in a week! I kinda just pumped this one out due to the awesome amount of reviews I got from you guys and girls.
Also, I'm looking for another beta in addition too Dark-God-Elijah. Mistakes have managed to slip through the two of us and I need someone to find those mistakes. Ideally, I would like a nitpicker but I will settle for a third set of eyes that will point out any glaring errors.
Now, on to the chapter and leave a review when you're done!
Lavi opened his eyes and saw absolutely nothing. His heart pounded in his chest; where was he? What happened? Why was he here? All these thought passed through his mind before his calm demeanor took control and he answered his questions one at a time.
Where was he? He was in his clans airum; a place where clan members were placed if their hives were running low. It was a pitch black building that promoted rapid reproduction among the insects through the use of pheromones. When used with Secret Technique: Cocoon, entire hives could be filled within a day. He had activated the technique after the fight so he wasn't aware of what happened after it.
Why was he here? His hive reached critical levels during his fight with the black haired teenager. He had already been in the red when it came to hornets and his kikaichu had been all but decimated against him.
What happened? That could be best told through a flashback.
Lavi's eyes widened in shock as his hand slipped away from Hana's, noticing that she looked terrified of the implication. He slowly dipped downwards, a huge portion of the cliff falling with him.
Was he going to die? Was it really all over for him? Was this how his life ended, before it could even really begin? No; no it was not. Why you might ask? What could possibly stop him from falling to certain death? The answer was simple.
It was his trump card.
Aconitum plexippus or the venom hawk butterfly. His third species and the one that would save him.
He sent Hana a small smile and said, "Don't worry, I can fly," before his head dipped below the edge of what remained of the road. The next thing he knew, dust enveloped him. Summoning the last of his chakra, he called upon his third species of insect, commanding them to save him.
To answer his call, butterflies escaped from his body. Aconitum plexippus, a red butterfly with black trimming and designs on it's large wings. Their wing span was about as long as your hand; several inches longer than the average butterfly.
They also had a notable difference; instead of having a antenna to drink nectar from flowers, they had a small circular mouth lined with razor sharp teeth that dripped venom. They ranked number three on the list of most venomist insects.
However, that was a recent addition to the list because this species did not exist three years ago.
The species was developed in one of the Aburame labs that were meant to improve or invent new species of insect. This was done through the use of selective breading, chakra mutations, adaptation and evolution.
Aconitum plexippus was the most successful of the experimentation and he was given the opportunity to merge it with his hive because of his past success with merge one invasive species with another.
His butterflies hooked on one another while gripping his shirt until it seemed that he had two butterfly wings emerging from his back and they flapped in total unison. He sailed though the air, escaping the cloud of dust that hung around the mountain before dive bombing towards the ground and landing.
He landed gently and his butterflies began to race back inside of him; however, it was not nearly as many that had come out. Nearly half of his butterflies dropped to the ground around him and shriveled up into balls before crumbling away.
The Aconitum plexippus were easily over stressed and died because of it. If they worked too hard or moved too much they could die. It was a problem that plaqued Lavi and the scientists; they tried to solve it but they couldn't because they didn't know what was the source of the problem.
The only thing they could do was eliminate one possible cause with every generation of the butterfly.
Lavi crushed the sadness that surged in his chest; he hated the fact that his insect died for him, and sent a silent thank you to his insect before turning away to search for the rest of his team; ignoring the blinding pain he he felt all over.
That answered all of his questions. Slowly, Lavi's eyes adjusted to the darkness and with the help of some chakra, he could make out shapes and outlines. Lavi sat up from the bed he had been laying on before swing out of it and leaving the room.
If he was awake than it meant that his insects were in the green zone.
Lavi was thankful that his eyes were covered by his sunglasses because he still winced when the light hit his eyes; as the mild pain faded away, he saw a woman standing at the entrance.
She wore a high collared shirt that hid the bottom half of her face, a signature look for every Aburame, but you could tell she had a pretty face by the upper half. She looked up when he opened the door and did a small bow when she saw it was him.
"I am glad to see you doing well Lavi-san," she said, "it is twelve o'clock and your father will be arriving shortly," she continued.
Lavi nodded, he was well respected despite his age. He had three separate species inside of him and one of them were experimental. His name was already being muttered with respect even outside of his clan by those who knew about the Aburame.
To prove her words true, Lavi's father entered the building silently but with the air of confidence. Lavi looked over at his father and he and the women bowed politely. His father had made a name for himself in the third shinobi war.
"I am glad to see that you are well," his father said, "you have been out for some time; your butterflies are what took the longest considering the stages they must go through to become butterflies," his father said before he gestured for Lavi to follow him.
They walked through the clan compound, hives hanging over head and Aburame's walking through it. There were only two children of all the people in the compound; the clan heir and a boy with a black mask that covered the top half of his face.
Lavi absently wondered if he should perhaps introduce Naruto to them. The mostly blonde boy seemed to be very accepting of his clans tendencies and quirks.
"Hatake-san and Uzumaki-san are giving their reports now, so I am not clear on what occurred on your mission and why it was necessary for you to use Secret Technique: Cocoon. I was hoping that you could answer a few questions for me," his father said as they entered their home.
Lavi's mother was in the kitchen, preparing tea, when she heard the two enter. She dropped everything that she was doing and grabbed a ladle that was ever hanging near the window perch before she entered the living area.
Both men looked at the woman, the bottom half of her face hidden like all Aburame's were, but they could tell the woman was angry.
"Mother-" Lavi wasn't interrupted but the ladle slamming on the top of his head, abruptly cut him off.
"Don't 'mother' me! What were you thinking?! You could have died Lavi!" his mother wailed as she slammed the ladle down on him once again for good measure.
Lavi rubbed the top of his head in pain and ignored his fathers light chuckling; which was abruptly cut off when his mother slammed the ladle on him with the shout that it wasn't funny.
A small grin made it's way on Lavi's face. His mother was one of the more expressive and irrational Aburame's; why? Because she had married into the clan in her mid twenties and while she adopted some of their looks she remained the same in personality.
His mother pinned a scolding glare at the two, "Now! Tell me what happened on your mission!" she commanded before a thought stuck her, "I've already made tea!" she said with flourish and headed back into the kitchen.
Lavi and his father sat at the small table, already discussing the missions contents before his mother once again entered the room.
Ahh...it was good to be alive.
Hiruzen took in a deep breath as he gazed at the people before him; all of them were heavily bandaged and wounded; except for the smallest one. They were covered in casts or white bandaged until they looked like they were attempting to become a mummy.
The God of Shinobi turned his eyes to the smallest one, who still wore a mask that covered any expression his face might be revealing, "So, after you escaped from the cave, you followed the road until you meet back up with Kakashi, correct," Hiruzen repeated.
He had just heard Naruto's briefing of what happened on the mission from his point of view. Normally, he'd have the ninja involved write up a report but this was a special case. Much had happened to the team plus two on their first C-rank and he needed to hear it personally.
The beaten and broken ninja managed to deliver their client to the Land of Tea, who had been all to happy to get away from the deranged ninja, and went to the hospital to get a rough patch up job. It was then that Kakashi summoned Pakkun and had him deliver a request for a retrieval team and medics. The retrieval team picked up the ninja, sealing them into sealing scrolls, and returned to Konoha where they were then operated on.
Suzuki and Akito were still in the hospital while Lavi was recovering at his clans compound but they all seemed to be in stable condition. Kakashi should be there as well but he insisted coming to the debriefing.
Naruto nodded, "Yeah, ji-uhhh, Hokage-sama," he replied, temporarily forgetting that he was addressing his boss and not his grandfather figure. Hiruzen smirked faintly as he heard the trip up but didn't comment on it.
Hiruzen took in another breath, "Now, can you show me what 'blue arm' that you were talking about Naruto-kun?" he asked and got a nod from Naruto.
He gripped his wrist and focused solely on forcing the odd blue hand to emerge, and slowly it did. It rose from his hand in a slow, jerky manner but the hand itself was in normal shape until it hovered a few inches above Naruto's real hand.
Hiruzen leaned in and examined the odd charka hand and noticed several differences from a normal hand; the finger tips were sharp and there didn't seem to be any form of knuckle nor wrist.
He hummed in thought and shifted through his limited knowledge of the Uzumaki clan; despite being such a well known clan, not much outside of their prowess with kenjutsu and fuinjutsu was known.
This was because they lived on an island far off the main land that they settled back during the waring clan era. Because of this, they had limited exposure to the main land save for missions.
The Uzumaki were a very secretive clan however they weren't so in a shady way. They kept to themselves and preferred it that others did the same. Hiruzen didn't know if it was because they had secrets worth protecting or if they simply grew use to their isolation and didn't want to be disturbed.
From what knew and what he could safely guess; Naruto's chakra chakra arm was some variation of Kushina's chakra chains; however, if that was the case, then it debased his theory that only females in the Uzumaki clan had the chakra manipulation kekkei genkai.
Then again he had based that theory on the fact that he never saw a male Uzumaki use the mystical chains.
Hiruzen bit his tongue and wished that he could read the few scrolls Kushina had left for her son in case she died. They were stamped with the official Uzumaki seal and he could only guess at the contents. He was waiting for Naruto to become a chunin or until he grew up; since he didn't know what the scrolls contained, he didn't want to risk Naruto learning something he shouldn't or wasn't ready for.
So, in the end, he could only guess at the source Naruto's new ability and was clueless on if it was a completely new kekkei genkai, or a variation of Kushina's chakra chains, or even possibly a secret of the Uzumaki clan.
Hiruzen gave the boy a proud smile, his face not betraying his questions or suspicions, "Most amazing Naruto-kun, a truly impressive ability!" he praised; he wasn't lying either. He could only guess at the immense potential that the kekkei genkai held.
Though a mask his face, Hiruzen could easily see the giant smile devouring the boys face.
Naruto turned to his elder brother, wanting to be praised by him as well and got a pat on the head and an eye smile from the injured man.
"It seems like it'll be really useful; we'll add it on your list of things to train," Kakashi said, trying to think of the best way to train a unknown kekkei genkai.
During Naruto beaming at the praise, and excitement of the training, Hiruzen continued, "Now, tell me how you discovered this ability," he ordered in a kind tone. Perhaps finding the cause would hint at the source of Naruto's ability.
Naruto hesitated, Kurotsuchi's words going through his mind about how Iwa and Konoha hated each other. While he didn't hate them, he didn't know if jiji and everyone else did. However, in the end, his child like innocence won out and he told the truth but he left out their friendship.
He was testing the waters.
"When I was running in the cave, Kurotsuchi, the ninja that I fought, tripped and was going to get crushed...I'm not sure how it happened but I got really mad and the arm came out. I used it to grab her, I broke her leg on accident, and pulled her out of the way," he explained with a small shrug though his eyes were slightly weary of their reactions.
Hiruzen suddenly felt the overwhelming urge to smoke. Naruto had saved the granddaughter of the leader of the nation they might be going to war with.
This was both potentially a good thing or a overwhelmingly a bad thing.
It might make Iwa a little less likely to march the war path but if they chose to do so anyway; Naruto gave them more time to sharpen a dangerous kunai. Kurotsuchi was a prodigy on par with Naruto and if the old fossil decided to teach her dust release...
Hiruzen shivered at the thought.
That wasn't even the only issue! Naruto had saved an enemy ninja! While that had the great marking of a person, it was a terrible and life threatening habit for a shinobi.
He sighed to himself and looked in Naruto's eyes, who was eying him wearily, and repressed an even bigger sigh. It seems Naruto had an idea of what he had done or knew about the strained relationship between Iwa and Konoha.
"Naruto-kun; I am proud of you for saving a life, immensely proud...however, you shouldn't have done so," Hiruzen said in a grave tone. He decided to cut out the source of the problem that caused Naruto to save the enemy shinobi. Dealing with saving what amounts to royalty can be dealt with later.
Naruto's eyes narrowed, anger flashing through them, but before he had a chance to say anything, Hiruzen continued.
"You did a very good thing by saving a life, something everyone should do if given the chance, but Naruto you saved an enemy shinobi. Saving a life is commendable but saving an enemy is foolish," Hiruzen explained, trying to put his thoughts in words that Naruto could understand.
It was true, he was proud of Naruto for being selfless and kind enough that he immediately saved someone without concern for himself nor consequence. However, in the shinobi world, such a thing would get him killed. He couldn't be so naive and tenderhearted that he saved his enemies; they might be grateful but that wouldn't stop them from planting a knife in his back.
As much as Hiruzen wished he didn't; he had to break Naruto of this tenderhearted mentality. He wanted the boy to stay as he was; kind and selfless but he couldn't afford Naruto being so on a mission or on the battlefield. Konoha was just starting to get its feet under them, loosing Naruto would be catastrophic.
Naruto ground his teeth; why shouldn't he save a person? If he had all this awesome power, shouldn't he use it to help people? What did it matter if they were from another village? Even the thought of leaving someone to die didn't sit well with Naruto.
Hiruzen sighed when he saw defiance and anger roar in Naruto's eyes but said nothing. He didn't expect for the boy to boy to accept what he said right away.
He glanced over at Kakashi, who had a sad gleam in his visible eye, and the silver haired man gave a subtle nod. He would help expose Naruto to the mentality of one cannot be kind on the battlefield.
"I expect a detailed report from all of you; now, everyone is dismissed," Hiruzen said and everyone left; leaving him alone with his thoughts.
His eyes found the picture of his later successor and he felt a pang of guilt in his chest, 'I'm sorry Minato-kun...but this is for the greater good,' Hiruzen thought as he hoped the man would forgive him in the afterlife.
Akito was bored; no! He was beyond bored! If there was an award for being the most bored person on the planet than he wasn't just a contender; he won several times over.
The foul mouthed teen was currently laying on a hospital bed; his upper body wrapped in a solid cast, his face wrapped in bandages and a eye patch cover one of his eyes. One of his legs were in a cast while the other one was free.
Normally, like he did every time he was in the hospital, he would try to escape but he didn't even bother this time. There was simply no way he could possibly pull off a full body cast nor get far enough away from the hospital. Don't even get him started by the retrieval teams that the hospital had ready to go.
It seems that he wasn't the only ninja that hated being in the hospital.
Akito groaned loudly, kicking his only good leg around to emphasize his groan, "I'm soooo boorreeedd!"
There was nothing to do! He couldn't move and he could only spend so much time enjoying the morphine! He's been staring at the white ceiling for what seemed like forever and a half and that had gotten boring after the first hour!
"I know your bored Akito; I heard you the first ten times," Suzuki said from across the room. She looked much less like a mummy than Akito; bandaged were wrapped around her head and her right arm was in a cast that was in a sling. Her leg was propped up at an angle while the other one laid bare.
"Well your gonna hear it again; I. AM. F-ING. BORED!" He yelled as he kicked widely, shaking the bed and overall making a ruckus.
Suzuki simply sighed as she turned back to her book, doing her best to ignoring the screaming and fidgeting preteen. Her book was about the Yellow Flash, a person who she once, like every girl in Konoha, had a crush on. Now, however, she simply respected the man immensely and was reading about his many achievements.
The book had been a get-well present from her friend; one of the many get-well gifts she had gotten by her many friends, colleagues, and those wishing to date her. Her side of the room was teeming with flowers, chocolates, and stuffed animals.
However, as Suzuki noticed, Akito's side was next to bare. The only get well-gifts he had received was a book titled, 'The tale of a Gusty ninja,' Naruto had given him, apparently it was his favorite book, and a stuffed bear from some unknown girl.
As you might imagine, Suzuki was greatly interested in the identity of this girl.
She flipped the page before quietly, yet loud enough that Akito could clearly hear, "Maybe you should get that girl to entertain you?" she said with a sly smile, causing Akito to blush before shouting obscenities.
"Your still going on about that?! She's a friend! She helped me out when I was younger and we stayed in touch!" Akito said loudly, a faint blush still hanging around the bridge of his nose.
Suzuki sent him a sweet smile, "Oh...how often do you too...keep-in-touch," she said, the air quotes could practically be felt in her sentence. Suzuki laughed once Akito began sputtering again; it was rather amusing seeing the foul mouth teen get so worked up over his obvious crush.
"Your are so lucky that I'm tied down," Akito yelled, his threat obvious in his tone, but it did not have the intended effect.
Suzuki giggled peversly, "I bet your use to being tied down," she said before sending him a saucy wink. Once again Akito flushed and stammered curses; causing Suzuki to smile fondly.
While it may seem odd that Suzuki was teasing a preteen about sex but it was only because she had no idea how else to get a reaction out of him other than piss and vinegar. She knew that there was more to the boy but she didn't know how to bring it out.
When Akito finally settled down, though he still muttered curses, Suzuki continued, "all joking aside...who is she?" she asked, sincerity in her tone. Akito looked over at her, debating if he really wanted to tell her after being teased but finally he relented.
"I got into a scrape a few years back and she patched me up; her names Hanaka. She works as a clerk in the market district, I don't know the name of the place, " Suzuki could easily tell that was a lie, "We ain't friends but I see her every once in awhile," he finished with a failed shrug. Unaware he had contradicted himself.
Suzuki nodded, "And does she know about your crush on her," she asked, her teasing tone gone. Akito shook his head and Suzuki bit her lip in thought.
"Akito...you should tell her. You never know what might happen on a mission; our last one is a pretty good example of that," she said as she gestured to the both of them, "you don't want to go out with any regrets or loose ends," Suzuki advised in a serious tone.
The life of the shinobi was a hectic one and they never knew when they were going to be shipped out on a mission or if they were going to come back from said mission. Hell, they might be going to war after the stunt those Iwa nin had pulled.
Akito bit his tongue as a sad look passed over his face, "I know that crap...but...I don't think someone like me would be a good match up for someone like her. At best she sees me as some brother or something," Akito said dismissively.
Suzuki rose an eyebrow, "Someone like you," she asked, trying to push Akito to open up about himself. This was her first real chance to see the deeper workings of the being known as Akito.
Akito sighed dramatically and rolled his eyes for additional effect, "You know, a smart ass, jerk, potty mouth...killer," Akito started in a loud sarcastic tone but the last one was just above a whisper.
However, Suzuki heard it and let out a soft sigh. It seems Akito was a lot less secure with killing than she had originally thought. Looking at the child she berated herself for her stupidity.
She knew he had killed before, it was in his file, but how could she think that he wasn't affected by it? Who could he talk to? A therapist? The day she saw Akito sitting in a therapist office was the day she walked though the market district wearing nothing but an apron!
There was a brief silence before the sound of jingling metal and a sharp intake of breath could be heard. Akito looked at his sensei in confusion as she lifted her leg out of its sling and hobbled over to the chair next to him.
"Tell me about it," she said; she dabbled in psychology, though she wasn't a certified therapist, but she could help Akito deal with some of the messier feelings he must be having. As much of a tough face as he put up; deep down Akito must feel some level of insecurity based on his actions.
His foul mouth? Classic keeping people at arms distance technique. His cocky nature? A false identity to hide his insecurities. Akito was a walking example of a child with a bad past but was too afraid to face it.
Akito gave her a ridiculous look, but before he could even say anything, Suzuki continued.
"Akito...you don't know this but I consider my team family; you, Lavi, Hana and even Naruto. I didn't have much of a family when I was a kid and I don't plan on having kids any time soon, so I kinda think of you four as my children. I know that probably sounds weird to you but know this," she grabbed Akito's hand and gave it a tight squeeze, "you four can come to me about anything and everything. I won't judge you nor will I mock you and I'll do everything in my power to help. I promise you that," Suzuki said in a fierce tone.
Akito stared at Suzuki as if she had grown a second head; a maelstrom of emotions whirling inside of him. Disbelief, shock, joy, suspicion, happiness, denial, and many more.
He floundered for a moment, completely taken off guard and couldn't think of anything to say. What could he say? He's spent his entire life pushing everyone away and earning the scorn of those around him. He spent his entire life alone with the help of a few strangers and now all of a sudden this woman says she sees him as her kid?
What the heck did he say to that?!
"Uhhh," came his intelligent reply but Suzuki smiled lightly at him, "don't worry, I know thats a lot to take in," she said and he nodded dumbly.
Instead of moving back to her bed, Suzuki grabbed Naruto's get well gift and flipped it open to the first page, "Since you can't read it because of your arms and eye, I'll do it for you," she said with a soft smile, "who knows, we might get a few training ideas from it once when get out of here," she said.
Akito paused for a moment, thinking that no one had ever read to him before, but a small smile tugged at his lips, "Fine jugs; if you insist," he said; causing Suzuki to scowl but before she could say anything, a voice interrupted her.
"I'm afraid...training won't be an option,"
Naruto walked down the streets of Konoha, his hands tucked into his pockets, deep in thought. He had just dropped off Kakashi-nii at the hospital with an entourage of his clones.
Now that he knew that his nii-san was the student of the fourth Hokage; he understood why the Iwa nin had attacked them. He didn't think he could stop himself if he saw someone that had learned under the one that hurt his precious people.
So, ever weary of assassins, Naruto gave Kakashi a full escort while he was in his injured state. He would have stayed but Naruto hated hospitals and his nii-san insisted that he was fine.
He was currently thinking about a number of things. The relationship between Iwa and Konoha. His relationship with Kakashi. What was his weird ability and a few other things.
He was still disappointed, and slightly angry, with jiji for saying he shouldn't save someone when he could. He understood ninjas had to kill but surely they didn't have to kill everyone they fought? Surely there was room for mercy in this bloodthirsty world that they lived in!
Naruto didn't regret saving Kurotsuchi. She was now his friend and he's stick by her regardless of what the world said; just like how he would with every one of his friends!
He was also thinking about his relationship with his nii-san. With the revelation that Kakashi had been a student of the fourth had been mind blowing for Naruto. At first, he had been convinced that Kakashi was the coolest ninja ever and things of that nature.
However, the more time he had to think, the more his mind turned to darker things. Kakashi Hatake was the student of the man that sealed the kyuubi inside of him. What did that mean?
Was Kakashi just pretending to be his brother to keep an eye on the beast that killed his sensei?
Naruto knew he should trust his big brother but whispers of doubt entered his mind no matter how he tried to ignore them. It was simply too big of a possibility to ignore.
Naruto was broken out of his musings when he heard a familiar voice, "If you keep looking that serious then your going to get all wrinkly years to early!"
Naruto whipped around and saw Anko smiling at him; she was wearing her chunin vest, though it was unzipped and revealed a dangerous amount of cleavage, and her face had streaks of dirt and grease on it. Naruto figured she had just returned from the mission she had been on while they were gone.
"Nee-chan!" Naruto called out as he all but jumped at his sister figure.
"Naru-chan!" Anko yelled with glee as she spun Naruto in the air; it was then when she noticed Naruto's mask. She hadn't noticed it before because she only saw Naruto's back but she would know Naruto's thinking pace anywhere.
'Guh! I thought I only had to worry about Gai, guess Kakashi's trying to get Naruto to mimic him as well,' she thought with a small sigh. She absent mindilly imagined Naruto wearing fishnets but quickly tossed the idea out of her head.
Naruto was going to be a looker when he got older; him walking around in fishnets wasn't going to help anybody other than the fangirls.
Anko set Naruto on the ground, "So, how was your mission," Naruto asked but it was not Anko that answered.
"It went rather well though Anko-chan was worrying about you the entire time," said a woman's voice behind Anko. The woman was Kurenai Yuhi, a chunin and someone that rivaled Anko and Suzuki for the most beautiful lady in Konoha.
Unexpectedly, a flash of sadness crossed over Naruto's eyes, but before either women could comment on it, Naruto said, "Hey Kurenai!" he greeted in his typical happy tone. He had met Kurenai not too long after he met Anko. Though, it had only been a handful of times.
Naruto thought the woman was nice; especially since she was already Anko's friend before he was.
Naruto looked at the two, "Where are you two going?" he asked, every time the two met up they typically did something fun. It was Anko that answered him this time, "We're going to the bath house," she said and got a nod from Kurenai.
"I haven't had a proper bath in at least three days," Kurenai muttered, suddenly becoming that much more aware of the grease and dirt that covered her.
Naruto nodded but before he could say that he'll see them later and go off to think about his thoughts, Anko suddenly picked him up and threw him on her shoulders, "How about you come with us Naru-chan! I need someone to wash my back," she said with a giggle.
Neither one noticed Kurenai's twitching eyebrow, having knowing about Naruto's connections to the bathhouse.
"Ahh~now this is more like it," Anko said as she slipped into the steaming water; joining Kurenai who looked just as happy as she did. Naruto was sitting in her lap, if he wasn't then his head would dip below the water, and he was happily blowing bubbles.
Anko looked down at the boy in her lap, "So Naru-chan...how did your first C-rank go?" She asked. She and Kurenai had been gone for the past five days so they had no idea the state of team thirteen.
"It was bumped up to an A-rank since we fought a bunch of Iwa ninja. Suzuki, Akito and Kakashi-nii are all in the hospital while Lavi's with his clan," he informed in a causal tone before he resumed blowing bubbles.
There was a few seconds of pure silence as the two women processed what Naruto had said. It was Anko who collected herself first, "Woah, woah woah; back up! A-rank? Iwa ninja? Hospital?! What the hell happened?!" Anko demanded.
"Umm, when we were escorting Mazaki we ran into a bunch of Iwa ninja. They wanted to kill Kakashi-nii since he's the fourths student and we fought...," he jerked when he remembered something, "Oh! I fought off a whole genin team by myself!" Naruto said as he turned around.
"I repeat; woah, woah, woah, what?! A whole genin team?!" Anko yelled, the fact that Naruto had been in life threatening danger and Kakashi being in the hospital not fully registering.
Naruto sighed before he launched into his tale; explaining the when, where, how, why and who. He left out his friendship with Kurotsuchi again; his talk with the Hokage made him understand that was a lot of bad blood between the two villages and he now knew he should keep it a secret.
Anko and Kurenai both listened; giving Naruto their undivided attention, they knew something had happened between Iwa and Konoha but they had no idea that Naruto was involved in it. When Naruto finished his tale, there was a heavy silence.
'So, Naruto and the gang managed to take out a total genin team and two jonin' Anko thought as she bit her lip. Iwa had gone to war over less and Konoha might be the one that declared war since the attack had been unprovoked.
However, Naruto was blissfully unaware of their thoughts because he had resumed blowing bubbles but that stopped when he remembered another detail he had forgotten. He forgot to show Anko his cool his new ability!
He turned around again, his palm ready to show his ability, but before he spoke his eyes caught the sight of something weird. On the left side of the nape of his nee-chans neck, a thick black mark could bee seen, a harsh contrast to her creamy white skin.
'Whats that?' Naruto wondered as he stood up on his nee-chan's legs. At first Anko was confused but she quickly realized what Naruto had spotted. She tensed up but made no attempt to move; her eyes watching Naruto as he quickly recognized what the mark was.
Naruto was confused; it was a seal. Did that mean Anko was a jinchuuriki like him? He could only think of one reason for Anko to have a seal on her other than training purposes and it most certainly didn't look like a resistance seal.
The seal was outrageously complicated yet overwhelmingly simple. What little Naruto could make out; the seal acted as an amplifier for chakra yet at the same time it had characteristics of a storage seal and a filter...no, it wasn't a filter. It was the exact opposite; the seal spread something but he didn't know what.
Then there was a completely different seal that surrounded it. Naruto couldn't tell what it did but he recognized it as a barrier seal, a level seven seal.
"Nee-chan wha-" Naruto was cut off by Anko speaking as she covered the mark with her hand.
"It was a farewell gift from my sensei," Anko spat the word out with venom. Her eyes darkening with rage and anger as she thought of the man that she had once looked up to.
Naruto tilted his head in confusion; her sensei? Why would he put a mark like that on her and why did she sound so angry?
Anko saw that Naruto was confused and wanted an answer but she hesitated to give one. She didn't know how Naruto would react to learning about her past. She didn't think it would affect how he viewed her but after years of discrimination; she was hesitant about revealing her past.
She wouldn't have answered him had it not been for a nod from Kurenai. She would have just laughed it off and changed the subject had it not been encouragement for her best friend.
So...she told him. She told him everything; how she had been orphaned in the third war, how Orochimaru had taken her under his wing, how she idolized him, how he lied to her about a training trip and lastly how he branded her with his curse mark and leaving her like trash.
She didn't know how long the story took to tell but her throat was dry when she finished. Now she waited for Naruto's reaction along with Kurenai.
They got it a moment later and it hadn't been the one they had been expecting. It was an emotion neither Anko nor Kurenai had ever seen Naruto demonstrate.
Pure unadulterated, unbridled, fury and rage.
Naruto's body trembled with rage as killing intent so potent that if civilians had been present they would have surely fainted. Blood leaked in between Naruto's fingers as he clenched them in tight fists. Anko and Kurenai watched Naruto speechless; not sure what to do. Neither had ever seen Naruto even angry before; much less this furious.
"I won't forgive him..." Naruto said softly in a fierce whisper before looking up, revealing rage filled eyes, "I will never forgive him! I promise you nee-chan; I'm gonna erase that mark and I'm going to kick Orochimaru's ass!" He vowed; his eyes glowing with conviction and resolve.
Shock consumed Anko as she could only stare at the boy; her face expressing her emotion. However, ever so slowly, her shock began to fade only to be replaced with a loving expression and a smile.
So this was Naruto's reaction when he found out one of his precious people had been wronged. Anko felt her love for the boy surge as he stared at her with unwavering eyes. He would do it, of that she had no doubt; even when she had been told it was impossible to remove the curse mark.
If anyone in the world could do it; it was Uzumaki Naruto.
Anko, never the one for mushy atmospheres, quickly grinned mincingly, "Oh? So your cute little butt is going to beat one of the Sannin?" Anko asked before her hand snaked up and gave said cute butt a pinch.
The tense and mushy atmosphere vanished in an instant when Naruto's girlish yelp could be heard along with Anko's evil cackling.
"Oh my~! Your butt is sooo pinch-able~!" Anko sang as she chased the fleeing boy.
"N-n-n-nee-chan!" Naruto yelled as he swam away, completely forgetting that he could walk on water.
Kurenai just laughed at the scene, and blatant sexual harassment, as she calmly drank her tea. Enjoying the sight of a loving family.
Onoki's cup shattered in his hand as his son gave the report on the mission, "We lost three genin?!" he bit out as anger shook his small form, "and Rakan along with Airu?!" He shouted the question and got a stiff nod from is son.
The mission had been disastrous! Three genin? Two jonin?! One with a kekkei genkai that he desperately wanted to be passed on?!
He ground his teeth and resisted the urge to Dust Release everything insight. He couldn't do that, now, there were too many problems that needed to be solved and too many questions that needed to be answered.
"Why in the sage's name did you attack them? Did it not occur to you that this could mean war?!" he demanded.
"Tsuchikage-sama; from what I gathered, Rakan and Airu's judgement was clouded by the presence of Hatake Kakashi," Kitsuchi informed, wincing at the enraged shout that his father let out.
"Of course they would toss away judgment when that bloody copycat was there!" he muttered. He would much rather have his ninja alive than have Kakashi dead.
Onoki rubbed his eyes with the palms of his hands, a S-rank headache forming, and let out a sigh before he said, "Continue with your report," he muttered.
"That concludes what I have seen; I give the floor to Kurotsuchi," Kitsuchi said before stepping back and his daughter stepped forward.
She began her report; describing Naruto, surprising everyone with his age and ability, then went into detail about their fight and then old about the events in the cave. She left out their friendship, knowing the reaction she would have gotten.
Onoki listened, absorbing every detail and didn't say a thing until she had finished, "So...you fought against a child prodigy, who's younger than you yet managed to fight the three of you, then you were rescued by said boy in a way unknown, then you were carried," He ignored her indignant shout, "because whatever he did broke your leg and the two of you temporarily teamed up before going your separate ways..." he trailed off
"Am I missing anything?" he finished
Kurotsuchi, paused for a moment; this was her last real chance to tell about her friendship with Naruto. If it slipped out at a later date then there would be hell to pay but if she did it now then it would be fine.
Plus, it wasn't like she owed him anything. His team killed five of them; five of her comrades were dead!
However, as hard as she tried she couldn't just pretend that she hadn't been a little happy when Naruto had jumped around in joy when she said she would be his friend. How he was one of the very few friends that she had ever made and how he did so much for her.
But he was also the cause for her comrades to die. If he hadn't separated them then they would have known they were in a bad spot and could have jumped in.
So, Kurotsuchi didn't really know how she felt about Naruto at the moment. Was he still her friend or was he the bastard that indirectly got her comrades killed? She didn't know and wouldn't know until she saw him again.
Onoki took her silence as a no and began to think; a Konoha ninja had saved his granddaughter... He didn't know how to feel about that. While he was most certainly glad that the child had saved his kin but at the same time it was a Konoha ninja. After a few seconds of thought; he allowed himself to feel grateful.
"What was his name?" Onoki asked suddenly, wanting to know the name of the child that saved his granddaughter and the name of a future formidable ninja. Even if he was a Konoha-nin; Onoki respected strength. This boy, whoever he was, was going to be a name worth remembering. His gut was telling him that.
"Naruto Uzumaki," Kurotsuchi answered and earned a raised eyebrow from her kage.
'An Uzumaki, huh?' Onoki thought as he stroked his beard. It had been a few years since he heard that name; a name that was once so feared that he gathered three of the great ninja nations to destroy that name.
He was not surprised that he was hearing that name again; if anything he was surprised that it had been so long since he heard that name. He knew that there had been a few survivors of that slaughter and he knew that that at least a few Uzumaki would have went to Konoha, their sister village.
If he remembered correctly, there had been a Uzumaki that had been active until the kyuubi attack though he did not remember the name. Perhaps this was her son? He was old enough.
Regardless; this only proved that this Naruto Uzumaki was going to be a formidable ninja in the future. There had never been a weak Uzumaki.
The rest of the genin finished off their reports and he dismissed them until only he and his son were left in the room.
"What will you do," Kitsuchi asked, a grave expression that matched his tone. He was answered by a lengthy silence from his father.
Onoki thought long and hard about Iwa's next move would be.
Did they declare war?
He knew Konoha wasn't as strong as it let on, though he had no idea how strong they really were, there was simply no way for it to be considering their losses. They lost several S ranked shinobi and suffered a biju attack. Their ally Suna was going through an economic depression so they wouldn't be much help...
Iwa wasn't anywhere near their full strength; they had lost many ninja in the third war and the Yellow Flash took out nearly a third himself. If Iwa went to war alone it most certainly would end them.
However, if Kumo joined them then that might be a different story. Kumo never disarmed after the third war and they never suffered a crippling loss...
Kiri wouldn't be a factor. They were going through a civil war that wouldn't be ending any time soon.
Onoki stoked his beard but he did not answer; the odds were in their favor. There was a chance that he could finally end Konoha; yet, he said nothing.
Why? Why did a man that lived his whole life attempting to gain the upper hand on the village hidden in the leaves hesitate? Why did a man that detested Konoha with the very fiber of his soul pause?
He wasn't sure if he wanted to live through another war.
He was old and tired. He's experienced war three times already and he didn't think he had it in him for a fourth. He was so sick of seeing peoples lives cut so very short; tired of seeing corpses pile up and families crying over their losses.
He was so sick of war.
However, as the Tsuchikage, he had a duty to answer; to respond to their losses and to the families that would undoubtedly want revenge. He could not let their cries go unanswered for he understood their pleas; Konoha had to pay for killing their ninja regardless of who started the fight.
Minutes went by and only deafening silence could be heard; but it was broken by the Tsuchikage.
"The chunin exams are being held in Suna after Kumo, correct?" he asked and got a confused nod from his son. Onoki knew already knew that Konoha would be sending a team after the Hyuga blunder.
The age old Tsuchikage leaned back in his chair, "We won't declare war...We'll let the chunin exams server their true purpose,"
Hiruzen's office was silent, surprising for the number of people that we're in it, but that silence was soon broken by the war hawk.
"This is a clear act of aggression! We cannot let this slide! We must take action against those that wish to harm our home," Danzo spoke loudly with a solid thump of his cane. There were mutters of agreement, more than Hiruzen would have liked.
Hiruzen memorized the faces of the agreeres before he responded, "Are you a fool Danzo? We are far to weak to wage war; our feet are just now getting back under us! Do you really wish to be crippled again; perhaps even destroyed?" he said in a loud tone and pinned a glare at his once friend.
He already knew that it would be Danzo leading the war party.
Danzo's only eye narrowed, "Do you really have so little confidence in your village?" he asked and was hit by a blast of killing intent.
"I have every confidence in my village; however, I do not wish to see it destroyed. Iwa maybe weak but their ally Kumo is still strong considering that they never disarmed after the third war. We, on the other hand, are still weakened and our ally Suna is going through an economic depression. They might not even help us in favor of joining the seemingly stronger side," Hiruzen said, his eyes flat and calm, "Let us not forget that they are in possession of four jinchuuriki; a vast difference from our one. Not only that but theirs consist of war veterans and ours is a child,"he continued.
Danzo seemed to consider this before he spoke, "Then let us give Kumo a bloodline or two as an incentive to become our ally opposed to Iwa's. Perhaps one from the minor clans...no, they wouldn't accept that...Perhaps one of the Hyuga, or an Uchiha...?" He offered with some thought. While he was opposed to giving an enemy any form of strength, it would be a minimum of four years before Kumo could even think about using the bloodlines they gave them in battle.
That meant they had four years to quickly gather their strength after Iwa was destroyed, and turn their eyes on Kumo and reclaim their bloodlines with interest. They would be able to do it too; if Kumo and Konoha worked conjointly, then it would offer a few chances to indirectly weaken them and plant metaphorical time bombs.
His offer was shot down by the combined killing intent of the Uchiha and Hyuga clan heads. However, Hiruzen said nothing for he was seeing Danzo's plan. He considered it for a long moment but tossed it out of his head. Such a thing was not something Konoha did; they would not sacrifice their comrades nor their children to gain a upper hand.
"No. We will do no such thing," Hiruzen said with the sense of finality before standing up, "we will not declare war. Such a thing would ruin us at this time; regardless if Kumo or Suna participate. We may bring Iwa down but they will surely take us down with them. We have to much to loose and to little to gain by waging a war," Hiruzen said in a commanding tone, mummers of agreement followed at the end of his words.
However, it was Fagaku that brought up an important matter, "We may have no choice in the matter. Iwa has declared war for much less; I believe we should take necessary precautions and arm ourselves accordingly in case of war," he said in a grave tone.
Shikau Nara nodded in agreement, "I agree, however, if we were to arm ourselves now it could provoke Iwa or Kumo into declaring war," he said in a gruff tone.
Hiruzen nodded, "We should open up negotiatio-" he was cut off by a loud stamp of a cane.
"We have been attacked; our enemies have clearly acted in aggression! We should not ask to parlay with them; doing so will admit that we are too weak for a war!" Danzo nearly shouted, silencing the room.
There was a tense silence that hung in the air along with massive amounts of killing intent between Danzo and Hiruzen. Their killing intent was potent enough that when his secretary entered the room, she nearly fainted.
"I-I-I...H-Hokage-s-sama, I h-have a message from the K-Kazekage," she stammered out as she bowed and held out a letter. Hiruzen took it and sliced the top open with the help of sharpened wind chakra.
There was silence as Hiruzen quickly read the letter before it was broken by Tsume, the head of the Inzunka clan, "Whats it say?" she asked.
Hiruzen stroked his beard, "Iwa has requested permission to send twenty-five genin teams, the maximum allowed, to participate in their chunin exam," he said in a calm tone but his mind was racing.
Sending the maximum number of genin teams was only done when the chunin exams were being used for their true purpose; a substitute for war. Did this mean that Iwa wasn't going to declare war? Was Iwa really going to use the chunin exams instead? Or was this simply a feint by Onoki?
Hiruzen closed his eyes and used every ounce of knowledge and every experience he had with the small man; trying decide what Onoki's true intentions were.
Slowly, a small grin made it's way to his lips. So this was the answer that Onoki had come up with. He could tell this was genuine because he remembered how broken the small man had looked when he signed the treaty at the end of the third war. How absolutely sick and miserable; he wouldn't be so eager to participate in another war after what Minato did.
'So this is your answer and solution,' Hiruzen thought, allowing is respect for the Tsuchikage to grow a little.
There was still silence in his office; everyone understanding the implication of what Iwa had done.
"How do respond to such a challenge Hokage-sama," Hiashi asked, his clam demeanor never changing even such a tense atmosphere.
Hiruzen took a deep breath, "We let the next generation answer this call. Notify all jonin sensei's; twenty-five of them will be attending Suna's chunin exams and they will train their genin accordingly. I'll handpick which teams will go in the last month," he said and there was a mutter of approval, even Danzo nodded in acceptance.
'Oh no...' Hiruzen thought as he suddenly remembered something so very important. Cold dread gripped his heart as he remembered his bet with the old war hawk.
He bit his tongue; perhaps he should cancel his bet with Danzo? He couldn't risk Naruto in this mess. If Naruto was killed in this then Konoha would be crippled permanently; they would lose their only jinchuuriki and who knows when a shinobi strong enough to reseal the strongest of the biju would appear?
His eyes met Danzo's and he could see a glamor of greed in the mans eye. No; Danzo wouldn't let him cancel the bet. He could gain far too much and had little to loose. Naruto was going to have to participate in the chunin exams and managed to come out on top with a sea of enemies trying to drag him down.
He was going order Kakashi to train Naruto into the ground. Naruto must pass this exam, he must become a chunin! If it came down to it; he himself would tutor the boy!
With flourish, Hiruzen wrote on a slip of paper and handed it to his secretary, "This is a letter requesting to send twenty-five genin teams as well as sending out jinchuuriki," Hiruzen said in a grave tone.
As the slip of paper left his hands he abandoned all hopes of forgiveness from his successor.
Akito laid on his back and stared up at the ceiling. He was thinking about what he had been told that evening like a broken record; the same sentence over and over and over again.
'You have bone fragments circulating inside your spinal cord as well as sever nerve damage; I'm sorry but there's no hope for recovery. Not even Tusnade of the Sannin could heal this,'
A single tear escaped from Akito's eye as the words sunk in; his days as a shinobi were over.
MUAHAHAHAH! I bet none of you saw this coming, except for those that did. I had this planned for awhile and kinda hinted at it; Lavi's third species that was never identified being the main hint.
So, yes, Lavi's alive but Akito's a cripple. Do what you will with that knowledge.
Next chapter is going to be a training montage focusing on Naruto and the chapter after that with start the chunin exams!