6: The Shinobi with the Gentle Iron Fists
A knock on the door of her office alerted Tsunade to her newest guests. "Come in!" She called out, and the door swung open to reveal the people she had been waiting for. Jiraiya entered first, grinning away as he saw the woman of his affections after so long. Behind him walked Naruto, no longer the runt she had known him to be. He stood taller than herself now, rivaling his father in height. Gone was the baby fat around his face, giving way to a slightly leaner look, though she could see just a hint of the roundness in his face that was all of his mother's genes.
Next to the blond were the three Genin she had called for, obviously not knowing why they had been summoned now of all times. Behind them trailed her apprentice, smiling happily at her teacher. Lastly, but not least, came a thin, slip of a girl. Tsunade had to raise her brow at her. She was lovely, of course, as most if not all kunoichi were, but she was far more exotic than she was expecting with such dark skin, and the mint-colored hair.
Upon entering the room, she noticed that the girl's eyes darted all around, as if looking for an escape route should the need arise. Just form looking at the girl's shoulders she could tell that the poor thing was close to fleeing from nervousness.
"Hey there, Granny," Naruto smiled slightly, giving a halfhearted salute as tic mark appeared on the woman's forehead. She should have known better than to think that he'd ever stop calling her that. No, he showed more affection with his insults, she knew that, but God! Would it kill the brat to have a little respect?
"Naruto!" The mint-haired girl hissed, catching the blonde's attention, "You shouldn't talk to the Hokage like that! It's disrespectful!" She gave him a light tap on the shoulder with her fist, which made the blond wince and groan in mock pain. Fu, however, freaked out. "Oh, no, I'm so sorry! I forgot you were still healing!"
Naruto straightened up from his hunched over posture, and grinned, "You're too easy to tease, you know?" He asked, lifting up his shirt to show his side, the only thing visible on his skin was a blemish of scar tissue from a massive injury. "I healed completely last night."
"Wha - !?" Fu turned beet-red and pouted, "Oh, you! I thought I told you not to tease me!"
Naruto chuckled and replaced his shirt, "No, you told me not to scare you," he pointed out, much to her indignation, "There's a very big difference."
Tsunade almost laughed at the lighthearted banter between the two, but the look on Jiraiya's face as he too watched the pair stopped her in her tracks. Jiraiya was looking at the blond shinobi in abject shock. As if he had never seen this side of Naruto before now, even though the Naruto they both knew was the worst kind of prankster out there...the kind that didn't care who he got, as long as he got a laugh out of it.
Fu crossed her arms and turned away from him, her cheek puffed out in display that the blond thought was cute for a moment before he banished those thoughts. He wouldn't think of Fu like that.
Fortunately, Tsunade chose then to clear her throat, "If you two lovebirds are finished," she said, taking note of the slight blush on Naruto's cheeks as well as the prominent one on Fu's. "It's good to finally see you again, Brat," she said, "Too bad I can't keep calling you a shrimp, but I have to say, you look a lot more mature now."
Naruto jerked his thumb over at the white-haired man, "Try living with this old pervert for two and a half years and staying a kid," he said, giving his sensei a small look which Jiraiya matched, his crossing his arms against his chest. "But I think it's mission accomplished, Granny," he said, smiling a little at the Kage, "I've grown a lot stronger since I left."
"So I've heard," she said, raising a black book from her desk drawer, and slapping it down in front of her, "Care to explain?"
Jiraiya visibly winced, clenching his teeth, 'Too far, already.' He thought as the blond's gaze grew cold and hard, surprising Tsunade far more than his Bingo Book record, because the temperature in the room seemed to drop so rapidly that she swore that could see her breath.
"You've read it, so you already know," he said, looking down at the young Genin, "And they're still too young to know, and I'm not ready to tell them."
Tsunade frowned for a moment, ignoring the coldness her fellow blond was putting out, and sighed, "Fair enough," she said, and turned her attention to the tag along. "You must be Fu, am I right?"
Fu jumped, giving out a squeak, "Y-Yes, Ma'am, er, Lady Hokage!"
Tsunade chuckled, "No need to be so nervous," she assured her with a wave of her hand, "I'm not as horrible as Naruto or Jiraiya have most likely told you."
Fu shook her head slightly, "Um, they haven't said anything about you...not really," she mumbled quietly. In truth, neither had said much of anything about their village leader, only that she was who she was, and that was only in passing.
Tsunade didn't seem offended as the woman just smiled, "Well, even if they haven't, I'm sure you've heard plenty about me. As the village's Hokage, it's my duty to place you where I think - "
"She stays with me," Naruto interrupted, his gaze having remained hard, and cold, "It's not up for discussion."
Tsunade did get offended then, and scowled at the young shinobi, "Now, see here, Naruto - "
Naruto stepped forward and slammed his right fist down onto her desk, splintering the wood beneath his knuckles. As the pieces of wood flew up from the impact, Tsunade noticed that the skin beneath his wrist, encompassing his knuckles and fingers, was black and gave off a slight sheen under the light. "No," the blond shinobi said evenly, his voice deadly calm, "Her entire village was slaughtered, her only friend died taking down a man that nearly killed me twice since I'd met the prick, and she spent all of yesterday burying her people alone," he growled, his eyes flashing golden for a moment. "You can bust me back to an academy student for all I care, but you won't be forcing Fu anywhere else, unless she wants to go."
The frown on Tsunade's face deepened as she clenched her fingers together tightly, "And how is it that you get to decide where I put her?"
"Because if I hadn't drifted into her village in the first place," Naruto growled, "All of those people would still be alive. It's my fault that - "
He stopped in his rant when he felt someone reach out and place a small hand on his arm. Turning he saw Fu standing right at his shoulder, "I already told you that I don't blame you for that, and I never will," she said, shaking her head, "So, please, stop blaming yourself."
The two other females in the room witnessed something they'd never seen before. Even in his younger days, Naruto had never been so quick to calm down from getting over excited or angry, but that simple touch on his arm had quieted him right down even before he'd gotten going.
Jiraiya decided to step in before things got out of hand again, "Son," the word rolled out of his mouth before he could stop himself, but the explanation would come soon enough for his former teammate, her shock evident, but for now, he needed to get Naruto out of the office before something else set him off, "Why don't you take Fu and the kids down to Ichiraku's? And tell Teuchi to put it all on my tab." He said, turning to the rosette, "You, too, Sakura. You and Naruto should catch up a bit more after so long."
Naruto nodded, and, not even waiting to be dismissed by the blond Kage, turned on his heel and left the room with Fu, and Team Konohamaru right behind him. Sakura hesitated for a moment before Tsunade reluctantly nodded for her to go with them, and scurried out the door. The moment the door closed, Jiraiya tapped his left foot on the floor, erecting a barrier throughout the room in case anyone was listening. Satisfied, he sighed in relief, "Now, we can talk," he said, frowning, "You've got questions?"
"Twenty or so," she admitted, "Son?"
Jiraiya nodded, "I formally adopted him on the road just under a year into our training," he explained, "It was right after he made the Bingo Books."
Tsunade nodded, "That's another thing, Jiraiya," she pointed to the book still on her desk, "What the hell happened?"
Jiraiya sighed as he began to explain, "It was stupid of me to think he could control more of the Nine-tails' chakra at his young age," he said, reaching back to scratch his neck, "We didn't think anything would happen at the time, but, as it says in the book, he was flooded with rage-filled chakra, and went on a killing spree."
"And you did nothing to stop him?!" Tsunade snapped, slamming her hands down on the desk, "What kind of a- ?!"
"I was the first one he attacked," Jiraiya snapped, looking angry, "And I warned you not to push him too far, and look what you did right off the bat!"
"It's my right to know," she said, frowning, "The council wanted him back right after they found out about his Bingo entry, and I couldn't believe what I read, either. Naruto isn't a killer."
Jiraiya shook his head, "Tsunade, he's not a little boy with dreams of becoming Hokage anymore," he said, sadly, "That whole incident changed him in more ways than I could have imagined. Sometimes I think he's forgotten he's even human." Jiraiya admitted, "More often than not, went were hunting down target, he fought wildly, as if he was inviting a killing blow, and he was, for that matter." He sneered, remembering a few close calls, "And do you know he started drinking to drown out his nightmares?" He asked, making the woman sit back down in shock; Naruto hated alcohol. "I let him, thinking he'd get such a bad hangover that he'd never want to drink again, but you wanna know the cruelest thing? No matter how much he drank, he never even got a buzz."
"That's right," Jiraiya said, frowning deeply, "I thought he was going to poison himself with Sake at one point until I realized that he wasn't anywhere near drunk, even after going through more bottles than you when you fall off the wagon."
Tsunade rubbed her forehead, a headache in the making. "Alright, no more mentioning his bounty...and the girl?"
Jiraiya smiled at last, "He's attached to her, and, thankfully, so is she," he said, crossing his arms, "I wouldn't try to separate them, at least not unless Fu wants to live somewhere else."
"Duly noted," she said, not wishing for another argument, "I know I'm asking for a lot, here, but what was with his fist when he struck my desk?" She asked, looking at the mark made by the boy, "I swear I saw his hand turning black."
"That's something he pickd up while training in Earth country," Jiraiya said, looking at the mark as well, "We trained in a mercenary village that had a lot of rogue shinobi there. One of them held a unique Jutsu that allowed him to cover his body in a steel shell as hard as any carbonized steel. But Naruto can't control his own Jutsu properly, and can only coat certain parts of his body in ordinary iron."
Tsunade's brow rose, "I know that technique, and know it to be a Kekkei Genkai," she said, "How is that possibly?"
"We were told it was teachable," Jiraiya said, holding up his left hand for her to see. She watched him for a moment befor ethe tips of his fingers started to slowly turn black as it traveled down to his palm, "The human body carries small amounts of iron inside of it, and when controlled, it can be spread over the skin as an armor. Naruto's teacher was able to use other elements in the air and combine with the iron he formed on his skin to create a stronger steel armor, and he even managed to fuse iron into steel outside his body to create a steel projectile like a cannon ball, and launch in a similar fashion."
"And you learned it from Naruto?" She asked, watching the metal skin recede, but Jiraiya shook his head.
"No, I trained right alongside that boy for months before he could even move a small amount of metal into his skin." He said, letting his skin return to normal, "It was hard enough to get us both this far, but now we have enough understanding to keep training with it on our own."
Tsunade nodded, smiling at the thought how much stronger such a technique would make the young shinobi. "The Elders shouldn't be disappointed by his growth." She said, thinking of all the times Danzo, Homura and Koharu had badgered her into bringing Naruto back to the village.
"There's something else," Jiraiya sighed, "Naruto probably won't stay within the village on his downtime."
At this, the woman frowned, her brow raised, "And why is that?"
Jiraiya held up his hand, "Don't misunderstand, Tsunade, Naruto still cares for his friends here in the village, but it's got to do with that incident," he said, frowning, "He doesn't feel it's safe while in the village, and he's afraid that he'll lose control again."
"And just where was he planning to stay?" She asked, her brow beginning to twitch, "If he's needed for a mission, he'll need to be here, and if he's promoted to Jonin, then he'll need to be here for his team should he take one."
Jiraiya shrugged, "For the time being, you'll just have to send a messenger toad to him." He sighed, "You just saw his tough side, Tsunade, but it's all an act, because on the inside, he's scared out of his mind that the Fox will seize control again, and wreak havoc."
"Then tighten the seal," Tsunade suggested hopefully.
"He won't let me near it," the elder sage lamented, "After the first time, neither of us wanted to risk the Fox forcing more chakra out, and him running wild again. Four-tails worth of that monster's chakra nearly killed me, Tsunade, so just think what could happen if it went further than that."
The blonde Hokage sat back with a sigh, "Alright, I understand," she said, "Where will he be staying?"
"The Land of Ancestors."
"I can't have him going that far!" Tsunade roared, but Jiraiya just held up his hand.
"He knows the Flying Thunder God technique," he said, "It's how we got here so fast, and it only took moments before we landed. A messenger toad can leave here and get to him almost as fast as that by the use of our summoning contract with them. You don't need to worry. Besides, with Fu being cut off from most of her village, Konoha will be a marvel for her. She's going to want to come back again and again just so she can be around people, period. So I'm hoping that she'll convince him to move back here for good, or at least during the week."
Tsunade cocked her head slightly, "Are they that close already?"
Jiraiya chuckled, "I'd be a fool to miss the way she looks at him, and how often she clings to him," he smiled, "It's more than just a desire for human contact, it's a crush if ever I saw one."
Fu sneezed suddenly for what seemed like the hundredth time since leaving the office, as did Naruto for some reason. 'Maybe there's something messing with my sinuses?' She wondered, rubbing her nose.
"Dammit, what's with all the sneezing?" Naruto groaned as he scratched at his own nose, turning toward Sakura, "So, what have you been up to since I've been away?"
Sakura gave a proud smile, "Well, you're not the only one that's been training under a Sannin, you know," she said, pointing at herself, "Tsunade's been teaching me since before you guys left. And I've gotten pretty damned good at it. She even let me sign the Slug contract."
Naruto gave her a small smile, not the crooked grin he normally gave Fu, said girl noticed, "That's great to hear. Tsunade may be a bully, sometimes, but she's definitely got the power to back it up."
Sakura smirked at him, and poked him in the chest, "Yeah, and I can still whip your butt up and down the Hokage Monument, so you'd better watch it."
Naruto let out a laugh, "Yeah, right," the blond grinned, "I've gotten stronger, too, Sakura, so no more using me as a punching bag."
The girl pouted, "I wasn't that bad...was I?"
Naruto looked at the three Genin, "All together now!"
"YES YOU WERE!" The four of them grinned, shouting loudly as Sakura hung her head in defeat.
Fu giggled a little bit as she saw the little skit, more so because he was kind of picking on the other girl instead of being affectionate. 'Okay, that's going too far,' she shook herself, 'It's not like he's my - '
'He could be,' Chomei put in, 'I'd approve of someone like him, my grumpy brother aside.'
Fu grumbled incoherently as she followed after the five shinobi before she spotted something. They'd passed a clothing store, and in the window was a very attractive blue kimono. It didn't have any embroidery, which is what she liked most about it. Any kind of stitching tended to make the silks heavier, and slightly uncomfortable. That, and all she had were the clothes on her back...literally, and those would need to be washed soon.
"See something you like?" Naruto asked, appearing right beside her, and scarign the living hell out of her again.
"GAH! Do you have to keep sneaking up on me like that?!" Fu shouted, but nearly melted when he gave her that stupid grin of his.
"But I wasn't even sneaking," he said, grinning still, "I called you like three times!"
Fu now looked embarrassed, "R-really?"
Naruto nodded and looked into the window for himself, humming in thought. He turned and looked at Fu, "I think you'd look great in that blue one."
She blushed a little and nodded, "It's actually the one I was looking at," she admitted bashfully, and yelped when he reached down and took hold of her hand, "Wa-wait, what -?!"
"You want it, don't you?" He asked, grinning again, "Then you should get it."
"But I don't have any money!" Fu protested as she was dragged into the store.
Naruto didn't pay any attention as he led the girl into the store, and promptly spotted the clerk sitting behind her counter. She looked up from a magazine she was reading, seeming not to recognize the blond, much to his relief; it wouldn't do for him to get thrown out just when he'd gotten back. "Can I help you?"
Naruto nodded, pointing at the window, "Yeah, we'd like to buy the blue kimono you have in the window if you have that will fit her." He said, indicating Fu.
The woman came out from behind her counter and started taking Fu's measurements, much to the girl's discomfort. She hummed a moment before heading to the back room. She was back within moments with a box in her hands, "This should just her size," she said, opening the box to show the article of clothing, just the right shade of blue Fu had wanted. It reminded her of her friends' eyes. "Would you like to wear it?"
Blushing, Fu nodded, and was pointed toward a dressing room as Sakura and team Konohamaru came in.
"Buying clothes, Naruto?" Sakura asked, looking toward where Fu had disappeared.
Naruto shrugged, "She need something else to wear other than her mission gear, and she liked the kimono she found, so I don't see a problem with it."
"Naruto?" The store clerk asked, frowning, "Naruto Uzumaki?"
Naruto cursed his luck, turning around to face the woman, "That's my name," he said, frowning, "Is there a problem?"
"There's a big problem!" She shouted, grabbing a broomstick from the corner, and threatening the blond with it, "Get out of my store!"
"Or you'll what?" Naruto asked, catching the wooden handle of the broomstick as she swung it at him, "Sweep me to death?" He tightened his grip on the stick until it broke under his grasp, "That was me being gentle." He glared at her, "I came her to make a purchase for a friend, so that is what I'm going to do. And if you keep being unpleasant, I may just have to have a talk with the Hokage about a tacky little store I passed by on my way through the village."
The woman paled, "You wouldn't dare!"
"Keep your prices as they are, agree to accept my money, and be nice to my friends," Naruto listed off his demands, "And we won't have a problem. But do not think I'm the same as I was before I left. I don't take crap like this anymore."
Sakura and Konohamaru were surprised by his aggression, slight as it was, but inside, the young Sarutobi was screaming in awe of his brother figure because he had seen just how cruel some of the adults were to Naruto at times when he did absolutely nothing. Sakura was doing much the same, although she now knew why Naruto was so disliked by the older generations.
Before things could go any further, however, Fu stepped out of the dressing room, "We'll," she said, looking at the blond with a blush on her cheeks, "what do you think?"
Naruto turned and felt his jaw drop. Simple though it may have been, the blue brought out her hair and eyes much more than the small grey outfit she had worn moments ago. It also brought out the color of her skin much more than anything.
Being stared at by the blond did nothing to bolster Fu's confidence, however, and began to fidget under his gaze, "I can pick something else if you - "
"No, no, I think you look beautiful!" Naruto shouted hurriedly before nearly biting his tongue at how idiotic he had just sounded. It had just slipped out, and loudly for that matter. Fu's cheeks were alight like a flame at his shout and wanted nothing more than to go hide under a rock if she could move fast enough.
Konohamaru and Moegi giggled, the boy grinning ear to ear, "Hey, Big Brother, is she your girlfriend?"
Now it was Naruto's turn to blush as both he and Fu shouted "I'm/She's not my/his girlfriend!"
Sakura giggled at the pair then, "You even finish each others sentences," she said, "That's so cute!"
"It's not like that!" Both of them shouted.
Amid further teasing, and laughter, Naruto paid for Fu's kimono, which the store clerk grudgingly kept at reasonable prices.
Well, I lied about this being the test chapter, but I wanted to do a little more interaction between Fu and Naruto before we got to the really fun stuff, E.I. Naruto and Team Konohamaru vs. Kakashi, Asuma and Gai. Boy are those three in for a hell of a day...
Also, to the one that commented about the Hiraishin being an instantaneous teleportation, I already knew that, I just made it a little different, because it's basically Kishimoto's version of Goku's Instant Transmission from Dragon Ball. That, and the slight lag would make Fu hold on for dear life, and fear of getting dropped in the wrong place.
Also, as to Naruto's Iron Fist ability, that's Steel Release, and I've made it learnable, but extremely difficult, as Naruto and Jiraiya can only coat their hands with it. Naruto isn't overpowered by much in this Fic, and his old self will show up eventually, after a few things happen. Like falling for a certain Bug-Girl.
Anyway, don't forget to review if you liked the chapter, constructive criticism welcomed, but nothing ugly please, thank you. Good Night.