AN: Greetings again, everyone! I am your Mistress. This is part three of the For The Good Of The Village series. For starters, I want everyone to know there is a good chance that I'll be able to update my stories on a more regular basis. So delays should be long gone. Hopefully. Let's keep our fingers crossed.
PS-Go NaruHina! We won, everyone! Woohoo!
For The Good Of The Village: Transitions Arc
Ch 1 The Best
Sakura had never seen Sasuke with such awe filled, hate saturated eyes. His face twisted manically, baring teeth and screeching like something that came out of Naruto's throat when his body ruptured red chakra and became a miniature beast thing. She didn't have to know if someone, something was behind her, because all of her dear Sasuke's rancor visibly directed through her to whatever, whoever was breathing down her neck. Then he moved, quick and deadly, accurate and lethal. She always thought Sasuke's assaults looked like something out of a dream, beautiful and precise, always intentionally dissecting and punishing...
...like now, when he tore through her to get to him.
"Are you his girlfriend?"
Those words shook her out of her shock. In front of her, a genjutsu played out in horrific detail. Sasuke and his brother, she assumed by Sasuke's uncharacteristic wrath upon a flitting figure who continued to stay just one step out of his reach after mowing the illusion of Sakura down with a shove that left her broken on the pavement. She was sure it was her seeing Sasuke go through her to get to him, but it wasn't what she thought.
"I'm...his friend." She answered, scared and anxious at the voice, at the man who stood next to her. "Are you going to hurt him?"
He, the one who she assumed cast the genjutsu, didn't say anything. He just watched, neither fascinated nor angry at Sasuke's unleashed fury being brought about by the image of him.
"I don't know," was his honest answer. "I'm not here to help him."
"Then who are you here to help?"
Turning his doujutsu scarlet star gaze at her, he said, "Our people."
"You have the Sharingan?" Sakura gasped, realizing she had not even seen the man's eyes, so worried was she for her Sasuke-kun.
"Tell him, I'll see him soon." Itachi snapped his fingers. Sasuke fell to his knees, panting hard as if he had just been punched in the gut. "And thank you for caring for him."
"Wait, why are you-"
Sasuke sought his parent's murderer left and then right. Finding him, he charged again, bodily, carelessly. Sakura moved out of the way this time. She was sure this wasn't going to be a genjutsu and her ability to absorb damage was already proven to have a low capacity. The man fled and Sasuke chased. Unsure if Sasuke would need her help, she dashed along albeit at a much slower pace.
Try as she might to try and piece what had just happened, it wasn't long till she heard Sasuke's frustrated scream break the rushing sound of padded feet.
Two Jounin were already on Sasuke, shoving him bodily into the ground with his arms locked behind him, keeping him pinned and immobile.
"No, you have to let me go!" He screamed impotently. "He's here! I need to kill him."
"Can it, traitor, you're not going anywhere." One of the flak vested shinobi shouted sharply. The other Jounin had his hand in his pouch at Sakura's approach. "Halt!"
"Wait! It's me, Haruno Sakura!" She waved her hands disarmingly. "I was given permission to see Sasuke-kun!"
Recognizing her, the other Jounin swiveled his head, turning this way and that. "What is he talking about? Who was he trying to chase outside the compound? He had to have known we were out here."
"It's him! He's here!" Sasuke snarled, glaring through all of them to try and see behind them.
Both Jounin stared at him, wondering if the young Uchiha was losing it.
"He's telling the truth! I saw him, too." Sakura pleaded in his stead.
"Who?" The one immobilizing Sasuke down with a knee to his back and a hand full of dark hair in his hand to keep Sasuke in place.
"Itachi, the one who killed my family!"
"I always thought this office was a bit drab, don't you think?" Orochimaru hummed as he browsed around the plain walls and wooden floor of the Council Chamber. All the clan heads were here, as well as Ibiki and Danzo.
"What do you think it's missing? A few corpses of children or twisted beasts over the mantel?" Inuzka Tsume grumbled through her teeth at him.
"Oh, come now, they wouldn't be from our village. Well, not if I was Hokage, that is." He chuckled thickly. "Oh, the memories. Please tell me," Orochimaru leaned forward, knuckles on the table, head tilted forward to shroud his face with his inky black hair, "Did you all sleep better when I left or did you try to stay up longer knowing that the Great Orochimaru was still out there to haunt whatever peace you thought you had?"
No one answered him. All he received was their mistrusting glares.
"Thank you, you couldn't have answered it better."
Pacing about the room, everyone was waiting for the Hokage to show up as he finished up some other business.
"Ah, I see you have kept my seat."
Each clan head looked at the other, then at the seats around them. There were no other's available...
Gliding around the room, drawing their attention, he gave them all one last imperiously look before sitting down.
Everyone stood up, except Danzo, with their weapons drawn about to attack.
...except the Hokage's.
"Orochimaru, get up."
The snake sage gurgled a chuckle, seeing the shadow of his sensei behind him. Bringing himself to his feet, he smiled sickly to the short elder. "I see the years have not been kind, sensei. Others might see this as a sign of weakness. You're not an easy target now, are you, sensei?" While Hiruzen didn't say anything else, Orochimaru did pull the seat out for him in a genial show of courtesy. "One must show a bit of leniency to our elders, even if their senility proves to hinder their decision making."
"I hardly think you are one to speak of unwise decisions, Orochimaru." Sarutobi took the offered chair, ignoring his prodigy student's jab.
"On the contrary, I think Orochimaru has a point," Danzo spoke, gaining everyone's attention. "We must finally ask what is to be made of this, Hiruzen. Code Black? Do you have any idea what you've done?"
Taking his time to give each clan head a solemn study of their eyes, even going so far as to rest his eyes on a triumphant Orochimaru, he spoke clearly and with authority. "I know many of you were here during the Kyuubi invasion and can remember what monumental losses we suffered that day. We do not have the Yondaime to protect our people or anyone knowledgeable enough to possibly contain another attack. Am I wrong?"
There were no takers. Even Orochimaru's normal intellectual goading was silenced by the Hokage's questioning look.
"So this was your answer? Call back all our members within a hundred miles? All of them? Even those that are under deep cover or assigned special tasks? Do you have any idea what political mitigation we're going to have to go through to keep any ally nations from using this as collateral against us?" Danzo fumed, glaring at his Hokage with his one visible eye.
"Yes, I am aware." Sarutobi spoke warily, knowing full well what was coming next. "How is Naruto?"
"Imprisoned." Ibiki answered. "Kakashi is monitoring him as well as several ANBU. He won't be able to seep a flicker of red chakra before the whole place takes him out as well as half of our training areas."
"Are you sure it will hold him?" Danzo asked.
"Honestly...I'm not sure." Hiruzen sighed, rubbing his weathered cheek. "From what we can tell, he's being cooperative as long as he stays by Hyuuga Hin-"
"Just Hinata, Hokage-sama." Hiashi corrected, speaking clearly. "Our customs won't allow her to carry the Hyuuga name. She is now just Hinata."
The Hyuuga clan head received multiple rancorous glares, but his visage never left that of the Hokage's.
"If that is your decision under the name Hyuuga, then so be it. We are not here for that matter, so we will continue with the issue at hand. Is he contained?"
"As well as we can without medically sedating him or killing him, Hokage-sama." Ibiki responded firmly.
"Such a waste," Danzo shook his head. "You knew my position and what Root could have done for him should you just give him to me. The rigorous emotional training as well as the need to remove any and all sense of family and friendship would have made him an invaluable weapon for Konoha-"
"I took personal responsibility for his welfare when..." Sarutobi began, but decided to change the topic. "Naruto has endured enough. Taking away his ability to feel love or even know friendship is something even the most basic of human rights."
"Is it?" Danzo narrowed his eye. "And what have you done to improve his sense of friends and family considering the village's attitude on him being the Kyuubi?"
"You were there as well as I, Danzo." Hiruzen pointed a gnarled finger at the cycloptic war hawk. "The village lost their beloved Yondaime and everyone was up in arms about killing the beast inside him. Logic and emotional stability during duress are hardly agreeing companions. Nothing short of putting the village under martial law would have forced the majority to see us as the enemy versus one child. The needs of the many outweigh the few."
"Little good that does us now, doesn't it?" The Root leader replied.
"It's easy to look at the results of our actions now, but in the end whose heads does it all fall on?" Shikaku diverted their attention. "We all know who he is and who his father is, but what have we done to defend him against everyone else? Were any of us any better than the civilians?"
No one answered.
"And what of his romantic attachment to Hyu-err...Hinata?" Inoichi diverted their solemn faces. "Won't he seek some revenge since her injuries? Could he hurt her if he gets angry?"
Before anyone could answer, Hiashi answered, "Do not worry about Hinata. She is of no concern to us as shinobi."
Inoichi jumped from his seat, slamming his hands on the table, "Has anyone ever told you you're an asshole?"
"All the time," Hiashi replied without a flicker of emotion. "I always consider the quality of the speaker and their choice of expressing through name calling. Like those times, this one is similar. Easily dismissible."
"That's enough," The Third tapped his knuckle on the table, forcing Inoichi to settle down into his seat. Hiashi had yet to strain a facial muscle.
"I could never throw my princess away like that, never," Inoichi fumed a bit before his grumbling ceased.
"I almost forgot how amusing these little get togethers are." Orochimaru licked his lips, "You never disappoint, Hyuuga-sama."
"I hardly desire your opinion, Orochimaru." Hiashi flicked his pale eyes to the snake sannin.
"No, however would you even dare to try and dismiss me?"
Even Hiashi held his tongue.
"On that note, I honestly couldn't tell any of you if he would seek any retribution for what Neji-"
"Hyuuga Neji." Hiashi corrected coolly.
More wrathful glares with the exception of Danzo and Orochimaru zeroed on the Byuakugan Clan Head.
"-Hyuuga Neji did to her. However, Naruto's actions must be taken into account that he will." Sarutobi confirmed.
"What do we do then, Hokage-sama?" Danzo asked with a very audible slight. "Call another Code Black? Put ourselves into further disrepute with the neighboring villages?"
"I can control him."
The voice came out of thin air, right by the snake sannin.
Flinching as one, Itachi materialized from out of thin air.
Everyone stood up, but the one who reacted with the most fear was Orochimaru. Always cool, always obstinate, Orochimaru's normally oily slick smirk now featured a narrowed eye scowl of acute alertness.
Itachi didn't even glance his way.
Three Root members appeared around Itachi, their ninjatos and kunai swinging in deadly arcs at the elder Uchiha. They cut through air. By the Third's side, the real Itachi spoke humbly, "Hokage-sama, you have summoned me?"
Hiruzen rose his hand to hold the three underground special ops members from slaying the double turn coat.
The trio turned towards Danzo, waiting for his answer.
He shook his head, then flicked it to the side.
All three masked Root members disappeared as quickly as they appeared.
"I do not approve of this," Aburame Shibi called from behind his high collar. "I believe an answer is needed."
"Yes, please do, Third Hokage," Danzo steeled his voice, hardening it behind his grizzled lips. "What other surprises can we expect tonight?"
"We're here!" Tsunade and Jiraiya panted, leaning against the wall to catch their breath. Waiting a moment to pull themselves together and appear presentable, the chamber doors opened from the inside without them even approaching. The throng of clan heads, Danzo, and the Hokage with his two criminals Orochimaru and Itachi.
"Punctual as always," Orochimaru snickered at the two old team mates. "And, like always, disappointing. You missed everything."
Orochimaru's mirth turned sour at the shadow cast over him by Itachi. Wordlessly, scowling and simpering, Orochimaru moved with a petulant air. Looking out of the side of his black eyes, Itachi lowered his head respectfully towards the two Sannin. "Jiraiya-sama, Tsunade-sama. It is a privilege to meet you."
Monitoring Orochimaru forward with his mere presence, the Third Hokage followed along, aged and troubled.
"What happened, old man?" Tsunade squawked, unable to articulate pass the sight of Orochimaru and Itachi roaming the halls as if they'd belonged there without incident.
Naruto's binds were loosened, allowing him some mild movement and distance. As of now, he rested his head on the lap of his love. While her family had thrown out her name as quickly as they threw her out of her home, to him, words and letters didn't diminish what was his Hinata-chan. Sitting in a wheelchair, she stared sightlessly into the dark cell, curling her fingers through his blonde hair, humming a little song. Naruto nuzzled himself onto the soft folds of her hospital gown.
"That's really nice, Hinata-chan. Where did you hear that song?"
Tilting her head towards the sound of his voice, she smoothed his whiskered cheek with his thumb affectionately. "My mother used to sing it to me when I was little. Usually when I couldn't sleep."
Naruto had heard the grisly details of Hinata's wounds already. When she came down to see him, the first words out of her mouth were, "Thank you for not killing my Nii-san, Naruto-kun."
How could he tell her what was really going on inside his heart after that?
Sensing his pain and hearing his muffled sobs, Kakashi assisted her towards Naruto till her sightless outreached hands touched his tear stained face. From there, he heard her soft, tender hums and was easily soothed by their simple femininity.
Two lovers found comfort in each arms and presence once again.
"Can I ask you something?"
"Anything you want."
One drop...then another fell onto Naruto's cheek. Looking up through the dim light, even though her eyes were bandaged, tears of regret seeped through the thin cloth.
"Do you think I would have been a good mommy?"
Struggling to get closer to her, he could only nuzzle his face deeper into her palms.
"The best, Hinata-chan."