Things happened quickly, but within a couple of seconds, Danzo's lackeys held up Naruto at sword point.
From his fall off the Hokage monument, he was caught up in this position, yet Naruto didn't seem troubled by anything. Well, he was sure that it wasn't anything that would surprise the lackeys because they were familiar with it as it was nothing out of character for him.
The shocking thing would have been if he had wide eyes with fear dancing all over his face.
Perhaps to be a bit more dramatic, there would questions demanding what was happening and why they were doing this to him.
If Naruto ever finds himself doing something so embarrassing, he would punish himself and kill whoever was making him do something like that. He would even be embarrassed to walk during day light, as it would feel as if the whole world was laughing at him.
Of course, such a reality was close to impossible. He had been beat down by Danzo's agents and he hadn't even winced when they did it.
He had smiled and thanked them for the beating, and yet didn't show them any fear. They didn't scare him and if he was going to die, eh, it was that time for him. Everyone was going to die in this world; they were all mortals with lifespans which determined the number of years once would live.
He was likely to live a longer life than other normal since he was Uzumaki and not to mention the Jinchuriki of the Kyubi.
However, since this was the shinobi world, natural causes wouldn't be what kills him.
Perhaps being a fragile mortal was the only part of being human that Naruto hated, but he had accepted it long ago. If he could not accept it, he would have been planning for some ways to extend his life. However, seeing that even Madara saw death, despite everything that he did to extend his life, Naruto thought it to be irrational to hold any hope.
Perhaps humans were not meant to live eternally.
To live eternally, one had to stop being human.
Naruto shook his head. Being Uzumaki Naruto was a fun thing… he could afford to have such thoughts when he was in this situation. There was not even a problem with thinking about what he was going to eat after all these.
"Your confidence never ceases to amaze me." Danzo stated as he walked over to the blond Uzumaki. The agents merely stood still, as their master walked over. "What do you trust to save you?"
Naruto tilted his head to the side. "Who knows? I have never revealed my tricks to you." The blond stated calmly. "Well, I like it this way. It keeps things interesting when you're all that mysterious. Being obvious is boring and doesn't keep life entertaining. For people like me, entertainment keeps our blood boiling."
He was a person who liked to have fun and that would come from interesting things. It didn't mean going out on parties, drinking and shouting nonsense with the drunkards – his fun was a little different.
Besides, he was still a little too young to be drinking with professionals or even drinking at all. For him, that wasn't pleasure anyway, it was just something that was humane. Perhaps he would understand it better when he does grow up.
A bloody battle was something that could make him happy but at the moment, he was a weak person who could not hold that fight. He would only be killed and it would not even be a blast. It would be sad to do something like that. He was still just a child; he needed to live a little more before dying.
"Those tricks you keep hiding are what bother me." Danzo stated. "I want to see those tricks you have." The man nodded to his agents.
"Unlike last time, we will make you fight back. Last time we just wanted to teach you a lesson, but this time, we want to see you fight. We will not hesitate to break you." One of the agents said in a cold tone.
Naruto stared at the masked man for a long minute before shaking his head. "Haven't you realized that you're in a genjutsu?" The blond asked with a blank expression on his face.
The two stared at him for a long minute trying to make sense of what he was saying even if those words had been straightforward. Perhaps they were confused because everything had looked so real since they grabbed him from the Hokage Monument.
"Genjutsu?" One of them asked, looking around. Danzo was no longer present. Before he could ask how the blond had been able to trap them inside a genjutsu without them even noticing that they were in an illusion, the world around him started to change; it became a blood red world, illuminated by a massive Sharingan above.
When they looked at Naruto, the blond was spotting crimson eyes in both his eye sockets; it was a shock, even though they did not show it. No one had suspected the blond wielded the Sharingan. Not even Danzo or the Sandaime. Naruto didn't have any contact with the Uchiha or even Orochimaru. How could he possess both eyes then?
They knew that he was the son of Minato Namikaze and Kushina. He was not Uchiha; there was no doubt about that. So, how come he had the Sharingan? Who gave it to him? If it wasn't Danzo or Orochimaru, who could have it been? They had done their homework, before the Uchiha massacre, Naruto hadn't had any contact with anyone from the Uchiha clan, so they were puzzled.
Their master had to be informed about this urgently. It would change things drastically.
"You little… where did you get those eyes?"
Naruto shook his head. "You don't need to know that." He said with a shrug of his shoulders. "I let this go on because I wanted to amuse myself and I need to decide what to do with you. I know there was no one else watching. I guess I can thank my hidden blessing for this…" he paused. "What did Danzo want with me that he would be willing to kidnap me?"
Neither of the agents responded to the question. "Do you think we will answer you that easily?"
"I guess not: I'm not a fan of torture, so I won't go through that process. I could send you back to Danzo, but he would know that I have a Sharingan and I don't want that, for now at least. You will just disappear and I will appear in front of Danzo as if nothing happened." The blond said before asking. "Shinobi die all the times during missions, you don't have problem in this one, do you?"
He asked as if he was curious about their response.
One of the agents rushed over to Naruto with their blade drawn. The masked man grabbed the blond by the throat and lifted him up into the air. "What kind of a genjutsu is this? I can tell it is a Sharingan based genjutsu, but why can't we cancel it?"
Naruto ignored the question and snapped his fingers; thorns burst through from the ground, piercing through the man, causing him to drop Naruto. The blond landed gracefully before showing the man his back. "Thank you for the brain teaser." Naruto said, waving his right-hand goodbye. "You will join other honorary shinobi in the after life."
The Sandaime Hokage puffed up some smoke as he looked at the streets bellow. He was standing atop of the Hokage Tower. For how long has he been in this situation, leading this village? Ever since his sensei dropped the responsibilities on his shoulders in the middle of a war before going on to die, he has been pulling his weight for the sake for the Hidden Leaf.
Of course, his newfound responsibilities had earned him an eternal enemy in the name of Danzo. They had always been rivalries when growing up, but Nidaime's choice to name him as his successor had made his friend a bitter man. They were no longer friends, they didn't even sit together to share some memories of the old.
This is even when he had chosen his former teammates as his advisors.
Hiruzen did value their contribution to the Leaf and their efforts in insuring that the village remained strong. However, there were at times that Danzo liked to cross the line. Sarutobi has never been able to do anything to the war hawk, even when the man had attempted to kill him. That was treason, and an execution at any time and day.
Yet, he had let the man live.
Well to say that he could not do anything against the man was a bit of an exaggeration. But the Hiruzen wasn't going to correct those people who keep saying that he had grown senile in peace. He was going to allow these people to continue with their thoughts about him. So long as he kept things under full control, he would not feel under any pressure to share his thoughts to anyone.
That wasn't the reason he was standing here with his favoured pipe within his lips. Danzo was an outlaw he allowed to live for his own reasons, but the man wasn't the one who troubled him greatly. Naruto was the reason he was standing in this place, a few numbers bouncing up and down inside his head.
Even with all his thoughts, when Kakashi landed beside him, the old man noticed the Anbu. "You can take off your mask, Kakashi. You won't be Anbu anymore anyway."
Kakashi nodded and took off his mask. "Why did you want to see me, Sandaime-sama?"
"It is about Naruto." The Third said.
Kakashi was curious. The old man never called him to speak about the blond. He had a few conversations about the blond with Jiraiya, but never with the Sandaime Hokage. The old man spoke to him about his duties as an Anbu, and his well-being in general, but they always left Naruto out of their conversations. Even if the blond was brought up, it was nothing that went personal.
The Anbu raised his head and fully faced the Third.
Uzumaki Naruto, the son of the Yondaime Hokage. Considering that Minato had been his sensei and someone who had treated him as if he was his own son, he should have been a lot closer to Naruto. If he had decided to take on Naruto, it wouldn't have been wrong. With what the Yondaime had done for him, taking care of Naruto would have been the least he could do.
Yet, he hadn't done anything. The vultures of the Hidden Leaf had attempted to get Naruto for their own purposes. It was all about the power of the Kyubi but the Sandaime had remained resolute. He never allowed anyone to get the blond.
Even so, Kakashi didn't know about what Naruto was actually doing in his life. He had been stuck up in his duties as Anbu he didn't even know much of what was happening in the Hidden Leaf.
Perhaps that was the reason his friends looked at him with worried expressions. However, there really was nothing troubling in his life for anyone to be concerned.
"What about, Naruto?" Kakashi attempted to mask his curiosity.
The Third eyed the masked shinobi for a moment before looking back at the streets of the Leaf. "He recently quit the academy because it was boring… and it wasn't even after a month after joining in." The Third said with a heavy sigh.
It had really taken a long time and some 'nice' words from him to get the blond to go to the academy. Naruto had insisted that there was no reason for him to go there because he could get his training on his own. He had managed to get his way, but he hadn't thought it would take just three weeks for Naruto to get tired of the academy.
Kakashi looked surprised when heard those words. "You're kidding."
The Third shook his head. "I wish." He said. "But he quit and isn't going back to the academy no matter what I can try, he won't go back."
"But he's still just a kid." Kakashi said.
He really didn't know much about the blond. The only time he had seen Naruto was when he was smiling and even in the moments Jiraiya had brought him up, he hadn't said anything worrying. If anything, he had said that the blond was a lively brat. However, for him to quit the academy and refuse the Sandaime?
"Yes, but a logical kid." The Sandaime said with a frustrated sigh. "I want you to look after him and get to know him better. I won't have any reason to keep him from taking a special exam to graduate from the academy. Even if I don't want to do it, I don't have a choice because not doing anything will only be standing in his growth. I want Naruto to live happily and normally, but it won't help with anything if I stand in his way and impose my ideals on him.
"Soon, I will let him have his way, but that will open the world of shinobi to him and those people who couldn't get to him will be able to do so. As you already, know, Naruto is aware of his parentage. It isn't something he will ever talk about, but he knows. I don't know how, and he won't tell, but the bottom line is he knows and has been living in his father's house for a while now."
Things had moved fast. If Naruto knew that he was the son of the Yondaime Hokage, then he would also know that he was the student of the man. Still, Kakashi hadn't thought that the blond would be aware of his parentage at this stage. Kakashi didn't think it was a bad thing for Naruto to know, but at the same time, he had known that the Sandaime wouldn't tell the blond until he believed it was safe.
Well, it was something that old man would have gone to the grave with it things worked out in a different way.
"What does he think about the villagers?" Kakashi asked.
Naruto was the son of the Yondaime, and he must know already why the people resent his existence. It had to put him to the test if the people who worshipped his father resented him as a demon spawn continued to deny his existence. It had to be painful knowing that he carried the beast that nearly destroyed the Hidden Leaf.
"I don't know but he doesn't hate anyone." The Sandaime said firmly.
Naruto never even talked much about his feelings regarding Konoha or about the Kyubi. The latter was a subject that was never brought up in their conversations.
Kakashi sighed in relief upon hearing that. It would not be good if the son of the Yondaime came to hate the village his father had died to protect. Well not just his father but his mother as well. He was glad that Naruto didn't hate the villagers. Still…
"What do you mean you don't know but he doesn't hate anyone, Sandaime-sama?" Kakashi asked.
Hiruzen didn't respond to the question. "Will you be able to look after him, Kakashi?"
"You don't have to ask twice, Sandaime-sama." Kakashi said in a firm tone. "What do you want me to do exactly?"
"Just introduce yourself to him and try to befriend him. Since he is going to enter the shinobi world, he will need someone who understands this world. Of course, if training him was an option, I'd give you an assignment to train him as well…"
"What do you mean training him isn't an option?"
"Jiraiya has been trying to train him since he introduced himself and I have offered my services as well, but he has refused any help. He desires independence in an extreme way. As I said, he has a logical way of looking at things, so he won't hesitate to ask when he is struggling with something." The Sandaime said. "I'm still deciding on what to do with him… I want to keep him around the village because there are so many things I don't know about him."
Kakashi went silent. The Sandaime didn't have to say it but there was also a hidden mission he had to do. "Is he that mysterious?"
Hiruzen shook his head. "No; he appears normal and often speaks normal. He usually wears a bored look on his face, but there are still so many things unknown about him. I don't even know how skilled he is. What I know is that he knows how to knead chakra; he is a scary sensor, and there have been times the Hyuga said chakra flows through his eyes as it would with you when you are using your Sharingan. Of course, we don't know anything.
"There are a lot of things I don't know about Naruto. Breaking him isn't easy. He is logical, and calculating. Don't allow his smiles to fool you. He can be logically cold at times. He is nevertheless, a good person and loves to have fun. He gets bored easily. I think one day he is going to walk into a trap because he is bored…" the old man said with a shake of his head.
This was a bit too much to take on but Kakashi wasn't going to believe anything. He was still going to deal with the blond after all, so he would be able to test things himself. He was curious about the possibility of the blond having a doujutsu. Of course, that could be nothing. People without doujutsus did channel chakra through their eyes to enhance their eyesight.
However, it was only experienced shinobi with better control of their chakra who could do that. This meant that the Naruto had fine control over his chakra. He was still young and could manipulate chakra to that level… that meant that there was the possibility that he was highly skilled and if he could walk away from the academy, he had to see their education as worthless.
Well, he could understand why the Sandaime was concerned.
"I will try my best, Sandaime-sama."
Hiruzen nodded before smiling sadly. "I'm sorry I have to make you do this Kakashi but we can't forget that Naruto is still a Jinchuriki and the son of Minato. He is both a dangerous threat and in danger himself if other villages were to know of his identity. I want to protect him as much as I can."
"I understand." Kakashi said.
That would have to be his duty as well. His sensei had given him a lot, he would also take care of Naruto. Kakashi didn't doubt that the Third wanted Naruto to remain loyal to Konoha. But since there were many unknown things about him, it made it difficult for the old man to tell where the blond's loyalty lie.
Kakashi just hoped that nothing shocking would welcome him when he does come to know more about Naruto. Really, it would be disappointing if things were in a way that would make the blond marked in Anbu books as a flight risk.
The Sandaime Hokage was now in his office, sitting and waiting for Anko to appear before him. No one has accused him of anything, but the Third really thought that he favoured Anko slightly. Perhaps it was because she had been an apprentice to his beloved student – who turned out to be a traitor by the way and he failed to do anything.
If he had wished, he could have done something against Orochimaru, but he had been so shocked by having caught his beloved student red-handed. Even the Anbu that had been with him hadn't acted because he didn't give the order. Well, that was the past. He wasn't as weak as he was back then, but the regrets remained there.
How many people were suffering because of Orochimaru? It was all on him because he had failed to do something and that weighed heavily on him.
When Anko popped up in the office, the Sandaime held up his mask. The woman was rather provocative in her ways and for him, that was never a good thing. Maybe he did like the view, but it didn't spell nice when it affected the choices he had to make.
"You wanted to see me, old man." Anko said to the Sandaime, without any respect. Well, she was used to the old geezer who liked to act all grandfatherly before her.
"Yes." The Professor said before taking a pause.
The only reason he had called the woman was that he wanted to talk to her about Naruto in more of the same line he had discussed with Kakashi. However, Anko would be required to do things differently. She didn't have to do anything special since she was already familiar with the blond. Although Anko may not say it, but she knew about it since he kept a close eye on Naruto's movements within the village.
"You have had a couple of encounters with Naruto within training ground 44." Hiruzen stated calmly.
Anko appeared thoughtful as if she was racking her brain trying to think back if she really did have some encounters with the said blond. After a couple of seconds, the woman nodded.
"If you're talking about the Naruto, then yes, I have met him a couple of times." She paused for a moment before asking. "How do you know?"
"I am the Sandaime Hokage." Hiruzen merely said with a smile. "How have you found him? I don't know if you've held some talks with him, but you must have an impression of him. I want to know your honest opinion."
The blond brat was something different. He certainly wasn't like the other brats. What interested her most was that he showed no fear, not even a little. It was as if he feared nothing. Perhaps he did but figured being fearful would only trouble his mind.
In the times, she has seen the blond, he has always been just sitting within the forest of death or playing tag with the animals. She has never seen him train there. Not even once. She didn't expect much of him because he was just a brat but still, when she tried scaring him, the blond hardly reacted. If he was reacting, it would be an amused look on his face.
It always hit as her strange and it got her much more interested in messing up with him to try to frighten him. so far, there hasn't been anything that pleased her soul. But Anko would not stop until she was able to get the blond screaming like a little girl.
"He is strange for a brat." Anko said. "Has he received some special training?" She wouldn't be surprised if he has because he was a Jinchuriki of the Kyubi. In most villages, containers were treated as nothing more than weapons. Given how the villagers treated him, some training would be sufficient to make him feel slightly stronger to be able to protect himself, just in case someone decided to try something.
No one has tried anything, but their hatred was apparent to anyone who looked. Of course, it wasn't just the deep hatred that amazed even her, but there was also fear of the Bijuu sealed within him. They truly did fear the Kyubi and could not do anything in fear of it.
"Not that I am aware…" The Third shook his head. "Jiraiya has offered to train him but he refused the assistance. As far has I'm concerned, he doesn't have any connections with anyone in the village who is a trained shinobi. But when he speaks, he speaks as if he isn't as harmless as he looks."
Anko raised an eyebrow upon hearing those words. "Harmless? That brat?" She thought it was a damn funny joke; she just didn't have the energy to roll over the floor in laughter. "Have you seen him chasing the animals in the forest? I had several snakes chase after him and one of them even swallowed him. He came out of it with a happy smile saying he always wanted to see the insides of a snake. The only thing that brought a negative reaction from him was that his clothes had been torn.
"For a brat reacting that way, that was just weird. He doesn't fight, but I have seen him playing with kunais and given his reaction, there must be something he is banking on. He cannot simply be fearless without anything he trusts on to get him out of tricky situations."
The Sandaime smiled. "It appears that you know a little about him." The Sandaime said, he didn't appear surprised by what Anko just told him. One would even assume that he knew already.
The Third had thought of using Anko to work on Naruto but the woman was something else. She wasn't suitable for this kind of job. He needed to find someone else. Hiruzen nodded to himself. He would send someone to do the job for him. Anko could continue with what she was doing.
"Thank you for that." The Sandaime stated calmly.
"Wait... you called me just for that?" Anko more or less demanded from the old man.
Hiruzen smiled. "What were you expecting, Anko?"
The Following Day
There were not a lot of people who knocked at the doorstep of his house. No; there hasn't been anyone who knocked. The Sandaime hasn't come to this place since he moved in. the old man has only visited him in that rundown apartment made precisely for the poor who cannot afford to rent a good place to stay.
As he walked over to his door, Naruto knew that if was shinobi by his door, not some villagers who had finally decided to take matters into their own hands because the god they have been praying has not answered the prayers to kill him in his sleep.
When he opened the door, he found two Root Anbu standing as if they were statues. The blond tilted his head to the side. "I'd thought perhaps my senses were playing a trick with me." Naruto said to the two.
It was a bold move for Danzo to have his people knock at his house like this. The Sandaime's Anbu were seeing this little infraction and Danzo would be hearing it from the old man soon. But he was going to have a chat with the Sandaime before anything. There was no doubt that the old man was going to call him as soon as he returns to the house.
Even if it was by chance or maybe, the old man had decided to spy on his house once more. He wasn't followed around the village, but his house was watched. He did understand why the old man felt the need to go that far. He wasn't just a normal brat after all. Aside from being the son of a man who grew to fame by slaughtering Iwa's shinobi, he was also a Jinchuriki of the most feared Bijuu.
He wasn't normal by any means.
"Danzo-sama felt it was important that we fetch you no matter the cost. We would have waited for you outside the Hokage Tower if we had to."
Naruto smiled upon hearing those words. It was no doubt something that this had to do with what happened yesterday with those two agents who disappeared without a trace after being sent after him. Danzo didn't know what happened to them, but he knew that he had sent them to fetch Uzumaki Naruto and they had not returned from their assignment.
He was the number one suspect to the man. Naruto wasn't the least concerned or afraid by being painted as the number one suspect. What was there to be nervous about when he knew that he had done it? It would be a problem for him if he was being accused of something he did not do, but he had done it.
Danzo couldn't do anything to him anyway. This little act was probably done just to demand answers from him. The man had no way of knowing if it was him who made the Anbu disappear. Since the man didn't him to be fighter, there was no way of being completely sure it was him who did the deed.
"I am a little busy now… I'm having my breakfast, you can wait here or join me for tea. I don't mind sharing." The Uzumaki stated in a calm tone.
"We don't have the time to play games, Uzumaki."
"Do I look like I am playing a game?" Naruto asked with his head tilted to the side. "I know that human life can end at any moment, especially for a shinobi, but do not be in such a hurry, you will take careless steps and get hurt. You ought to learn to relax and move things in their pace."
"Are you threatening us?"
Naruto smiled, amused. How could they interpret such a friendly warning as a threat? How would they react if he actually threatened them? He had hoped such trained killers would be able to recognize a threat when they saw it but he was dead wrong; these people were stupid.
Shaking his head, Naruto responded. "I'm not being difficult but Danzo can wait. My tea will get cold and I don't have the luxury of wasting food. As you know, I'm poor…" The blond stated. "Come back in 30 minutes, I should be done having my breakfast. If not, I will be forced to go with you because I'm giving you my word."
Before the two could respond, Naruto slammed the door shut in their faces, just like that.
He didn't like it when a cockroach like Danzo thought it could dictate how he did things. He didn't like it at all. He would do things when he felt like it unless he was forced to do them. Besides, he really could not afford to waste the food on his table. Danzo wasn't going to supply him with more food when storeroom runs dry.
One of the Ne Anbu opened the door and got into the house a bit forcefully. He took two steps before stopping just behind Naruto. The man placed his right hand on Naruto's right shoulder before speaking. "We were not giving you a choice, Uzumaki. You will follow us to Danzo-sama, now."
By this time, Naruto was really wondering why the Sandaime wasn't doing anything. He should be aware of what was happening. Perhaps the man was doing one of his gambles or just plotting something. Naruto shook his head. He didn't need to count on the Third to get him out of the situation.
Back at the situation at hand: Naruto's eyes narrowed towards the hand on his shoulder. His gaze was sharp and cold – he didn't like the way the man was holding him. He certainly didn't like that the man had invaded his house. This was a serious breach of his privacy.
He would not do anything now because he didn't have the power to start a war with Danzo. If he tried to start a war, he would lose it.
With that in mind, the sharpness in his eyes disappeared. "Let us go before you decide to get violent. That beating was embarrassing; I'd rather not receive another one." He said with a laugh.
It wasn't often that Danzo allowed his emotions to show, but he was displaying impatience as he sat down on his throne, waiting for Naruto to be brought before him. This was getting on him and Orochimaru hadn't even succeeded in getting him act like this. He was almost like a child now.
The war hawk stilled his thoughts as he thought of Orochimaru. He knew the snake still monitored Konoha since they still exchanged information. It was something, wasn't it? He had pushed the Sandaime to send people after Orochimaru so that he could be killed but he was still exchanging information with the snake. Danzo would not even be surprised if the snake decided to pay him a visit.
In any case, if the chance represented itself, Danzo would not hesitate to get rid of the snake. Orochimaru was good when he was a shinobi of Konoha but the moment he left the village, he became an enemy. It was as simple like that for Danzo, but for now, he would continue to use the Sannin for his information.
Naruto had become slightly like Orochimaru. He was still a property of Konoha but the fact that he continued to refuse him made anxious. The blond was also a friend of the Sandaime. If the blond continued to push away, he would become an enemy that needed to be removed.
Danzo didn't have a problem with taking the Kyubi away from Naruto. The vessel wasn't the important thing. He hadn't even started to talk to the blond because there was something special with him, no he was going after the Kyubi. If Naruto proved to be uncontrollable, then extracting the Kyubi was his best option.
He had thought of using Shisui's eye but the people he had sent to Naruto yesterday hadn't returned. Some of his Anbu had searched the entire village looking for their trail, but it had disappeared at the Hokage Monument. There was no trace of them anywhere else, not in this village.
Nevertheless, he knew that Naruto had been at the Monument, so the blond had to have some answers. He would be willing to force them.
When Naruto finally appeared before him, Danzo hardened his gaze but before he could say anything, Fu was first to speak. "He wasn't being cooperative, Danzo-sama." The man said, explaining why he was late. The master had said he wanted to see Naruto, no matter what.
Danzo didn't respond to his trusted guard, his gaze fell on Naruto. The blond Uzumaki had his usual mask. The brat was only ten years old, and yet Danzo couldn't even read a thing.
He didn't understand what was happening inside the blond's head. That was something that troubled him. A tool didn't have to think, it only had to follow orders but Naruto thought deeply.
That was a problem and a reason he was willing to go as far as to use Shisui's eye.
"Do you know why I called you here like this?" Danzo asked in a calm tone. He wasn't going to comment on why the blond had been uncooperative. It was a small matter since he was here.
A thoughtful mask slipped into Naruto's face for a couple of seconds. He appeared to be thinking deeply but in the end, he shrugged carelessly. "I don't know but it has to be serious. You even had your people seen at my door by the Sandaime. I'm sure he is going to have a discussion with you soon."
Well, that is unless the Sandaime saw that no harm was done and decides to act blind. Surely, if the old man speaks to him and sees that all was still well, he would certainly look at Danzo as if he hadn't done anything he wasn't supposed to do. The only thing that would make the Third act now was if he stayed here for too long.
"I will handle Hiruzen. This was a calculated risk but I know that he won't be doing anything extraordinary because he doesn't have the heart to do so." Danzo stated firmly.
He knew what he was doing. He hadn't forgotten about anything. He hasn't been alive for so long after doing what he has done by being stupid. This little issue was just something that would give him the opportunity to talk about Naruto to Hiruzen without the old man holding back on some things he knew about the blond.
"Yesterday, two of my people were sent to get you but they never returned back."
"So?" Naruto asked blankly. "I understand you're saying they were sent after me, but what do you want me to do about it?"
Danzo wasn't the least surprised by the response from Naruto. "Don't you know anything about it? We have already done our investigation and their trace last locates them with you at the Hokage Monument but they suddenly disappeared into thin air."
"Well, we may be in the Hidden Leaf but since the Uchiha decided to die by Itachi's hand, there has been no one to keep an eye on the streets. Dangerous criminals are running loose. I wouldn't even be surprised if spies from another village got the drop on them. They may be your people, but they are not invisible."
Danzo stared at Naruto for a long minute. The blond wasn't giving away anything for him to use. It looked as if he really didn't know anything and Danzo could believe that because Naruto wasn't a trained shinobi. Anyone who could take on those two had to be someone who was trained.
However, if the blond had something to do with it and was acting dumb before him, it would make things complicated. In any case, he could not do anything to Naruto because he didn't know what happened. But he would get to the bottom of things. He simply could not just allow his people to disappear without knowing why.
For this reason, he wasn't going to stop searching until he got to the bottom of things. Whoever was responsible would be held liable.
Of course, he wasn't going to take Naruto off the list of suspects. The blond would be right at the top until he solves this mystery.
"I see." Danzo said. "You're free to go. I wanted to ask you more questions but I cannot hold you for far too long. Hiruzen is likely to charge in here with his Anbu." He would rather avoid a confrontation like the one that took place last time out after he had given Kakashi the mission to assassinate the Sandaime Hokage.
It had happened as Naruto had said; when he returned to his house, the Sandaime's Anbu knocked at his door. Unlike, Danzo's rude animals, they were not forceful and didn't enter his house using force.
They had only said that the old man wanted to speak to him, and he had said he would come in a couple of minutes. They had had not fought him, but merely nodded before disappearing into thin air.
If the Sandaime wanted to use force, he could have done so. The old man wasn't always gentle. In any case, this time around, he had been allowed to clean his wasted breakfast and then walk towards the Hokage Tower. He had taken the longer route because he wanted to gather his thoughts. He already knew what the old man wanted to ask. As it was troubling, he needed some clear thoughts before he could face him.
Seeing the Third smiling, Naruto couldn't help but sigh as he settled down. When was he going to stop smiling? No matter what, the old man always had a smile on his face. It was almost as if nothing could faze him. Then again, he didn't know everything about Sarutobi.
"I see you took your time." Hiruzen said calmly. From his tone alone, it was impossible to tell if the old man was angry about it or not.
"I had to clean up my wasted breakfast. You know, some people rudely interrupted me before I could finish it. Since the tea became cold, I could no longer drink it."
There was no use in hiding the fact that he had been rudely taken away by those fanatic lovers of Shimura Danzo. It would be even foolish for him to say anything contrary since the old man had seen it through the eyes of his Anbu.
He wasn't going to deny it. There was no point in doing so and he knew it would not gather any suspicion from the old man. The only thing that would come from this were a couple of questions but he would answer those.
He may be in the safe but Danzo would not. Naruto wasn't even against the idea of putting fire just to see what would happen if he made things worse for Danzo. It would bring some amusement to him and with the Sandaime already aware that the man was making moves, there was no way the War Hawk would think about trying to make a move on him without thinking of taking out the Sandaime first.
If Danzo does something, the Sandaime would not let him live peacefully. He would be punished for it. It was likely that Danzo would start a fight. He wasn't simply going to stand back and allow the Sandaime to boss him around. The man may even entertain the idea of taking out the old man in the process, as it would give him a glorious chance to become Hokage.
Naruto could never comprehend the man's lust with the office of the Hokage. Danzo's love for the seat was honestly obsessively mad.
"I was told about that." Hiruzen said calmly.
He tried reading Naruto's expression but there was nothing to read. The blond wasn't giving away anything, as usual.
He shook his head; at least he could count on the fact that Naruto wasn't an irrational person, so talking to him would not be that difficult, so long as he doesn't try to bring a performance of emotions from the hat of a magician.
"That is the reason I actually called you now. I did have plans to talk to you later on, about what you would be doing now since you have decided to leave the academy. On my personal terms, I could continue to give you an allowance, but you have decided that you are an adult and must work for your own living." Sarutobi stated. "I hope I am being fair to you, Naruto-kun."
"I understand that you must do what you must, old man." Naruto said calmly.
He hadn't expected the old man to continue giving him an allowance now that he was no longer in the academy. He had known that something would happen.
Well, as long as the Third was willing to make a plan that would allow him to earn a living, Naruto would not have any complains. Besides, it would be much more satisfying to know that he was eating what he worked for rather than just handouts.
"Good." The Third said. "We can talk about that later, but let us get this little matter out of the way." He stated in a serious tone.
Naruto nodded. "What is it that you want to know? I cannot simply say things from the beginning. No, I can, but I would not if you asked. It's much more simpler if you just tell me what it is that you want to know. I will try my best to respond to the best of memories." Well, unless he faked amnesia. That sought of thing happened and it was an acceptable trick for a shinobi.
The Sandaime Hokage was silent for a few moments; he was staring at the blond trying to figure something out. "How long have you been on contact with Danzo?" He asked. It was a mere test to see what the blond would say.
"Some time ago. I haven't had more than a handful of interactions with him." Naruto responded calmly.
The Third nodded. Well, Naruto was willing to tell him the truth. If the blond had given him a different response, he would have been forced to ask more questions but this response just told him that the blond had nothing to hide.
Sarutobi would not ask any more questions because he felt there was no need to do so. He was going to meet with Danzo someday and he would have a discussion with his former teammate about this matter.
"What did you do to make Danzo come at you so strongly?"
Although he couldn't be sure, Hiruzen really did believe that there had to be something that Danzo had against Naruto to have had his people go after the blond in the way that they did. Danzo wasn't stupid and that was another reason he has yet to summon the man to his office to explain why he was going against his wishes.
"He has been trying to recruit me to his inner cycle." Naruto responded in a careless manner. "But you know how I am when it comes to my training. I don't want anyone getting that involved with it."
The Third smiled. "I'm guessing you refused him." He said. "Danzo wouldn't have been pleased by that. He likes getting his way and having a 10-year-old refuse him must have been an insult. Perhaps he had thought of using force to get what he wants… I wonder though, what stopped him from doing so…"
The Sandaime wasn't directly asking him the question, but he was asking it. Naruto wasn't going to answer such a question when he could see was a trick from the old man.
"Who knows? Trying to figure out what is inside Danzo's mind is a pointless exercise. That man is stiff is a brick and blank as white board."
Hiruzen chuckled lightly. He would know because Danzo was his childhood rival and former teammate. "He does have those 'qualities' in him." The old man said. "If you do need help with him, please let me know, and I will lend a hand. I'm sure this old man has some energy in him."
Naruto tilted his head to the side, appearing thoughtful. "He has been trying to get me to become his weapon… I have refused him and two of his Anbu disappeared yesterday… he thinks it is me. Ridiculous, how can a 10-year old gaki have the power to make two fully trained Anbu disappear?" The blond showed displeasure in the thought.
The Sandaime didn't think the displeasure was about the accusation but the possibility of fully trained shinobi being taken down by an inexperienced child. Well, if you were looking at things objectively, such a reality would be a possibility. It would not be that the child was skilled, but that the Anbu were weak.
"I did warn Danzo against coming after you and it is apparent that he did not listen. Perhaps allowing him to do as he pleases has given him that idea that I can't do anything to him." Hiruzen stated in a hardened tone. "I will have a discussion with him soon. I know he will come before me. That aside, I will allow you to become a shinobi, but you must the special exam. It is however different from the exam at the academy. If you pass this exam, I will draft you into the Anbu."
"When do I begin?" Naruto asked excitedly.
The Third shook his head. Even though he knew nothing of Naruto's skills, he didn't think the blond would fail the special exam. If he fails, he would be going back to the academy. "Next week. I need to sort out the paperwork first. Don't get too excited because you will not be leaving the village. You will be doing night patrols. I think that should be a suitable job given your sensory skills, no?"
Naruto stared at the old man for a couple of seconds before responding. "This means during the day, I can disappear from the Hidden Leaf. Well, it would be something different but a welcomed challenge. I'm sure the night is full of many unmasked darkness. It will be fun chasing these masks." Naruto said with smile.
"I figured you'd like it." The Third said. "How would you like your mask? I want to get it prepared as I do the paperwork and ready your gear."
"Blank, with a wide smile."
The Sandaime blinked. Out of all the thoughts, he hadn't thought that the blond would choose something like that. It was strange. "Why a mask like that? Most Anbu usually pick animals as their masks."
"Anbu are known for being emotionless, hence blank. But I want to be a smiling emotionless Anbu."
Hiruzen raised an eyebrow as he asked. "Isn't that a contradiction? By showing you smile, you express emotion."
Naruto smiled. "It is, but I like it that way. Let us just say, the mask expresses the two lives of an Anbu: Blank on the outside, but smiling on the inside."
"I will have it made." The Third said. "That should be all I wanted to talk with you unless you want to add something."
Naruto shook his head before standing up. "I'm just going to the library…" He said. "Since I'm going to be Anbu now, I won't be restricted on my sections of the library, right?"
"Yes, but that won't be necessary because Anbu have their own Library. It will be up to your captain if he wants to restrict some books from you." The Third said calmly.
The following day
Hiruzen sighed when Jiraiya appeared through the window once more. When was he going to close the damn window so that the Sannin could learn some manners and go through the door like other normal people? He shook his head; this wasn't something that one could change. How long has it been going? He didn't even have the energy to say anything about it.
"I wasn't expecting you back in the village so soon after you left." Hiruzen stated calmly.
So soon, he meant it has been about four months since the Sannin left the village. Well, there have times he went away for far longer periods. Of course, this didn't worry Hiruzen the least. He knew that if there was trouble, Jiraiya would return to the village as quick as he could.
But of course, he could not teleport like Minato, so there would be some time gap and he may be late, but just knowing that Jiraiya would never forsake Konoha was enough for the Third.
There were those who did question him about Jiraiya's behaviour, but he would not do anything. As a Sannin, Jiraiya had the license to come and go as he pleases.
"I'm a little wounded you're not happy to see me, sensei." Jiraiya said with a hurt look on his face. "It has been some time, since I'm your only student remaining; I thought you would be happy whenever I return."
The Third looked thoughtful for a long minute. He had trained good students. He had been powerful on his own right. In his Prime, who had been there to match him in battle? This title of God of Shinobi hadn't just been given to him because people were bored.
Yet, the students he brought up had disappointed him. Only Jiraiya remained. The other was running loose causing havoc around the elemental nations having left the village with a dark cloud over his shoulders and the other one was busy gambling around, wasting her life in grief.
The Nidaime would be disappointed.
"It is good to see you again, Jiraiya." The Third said in a subdued tone, yet with smile on his lips. "How are the others?" He asked, referring to both Tsunade and Orochimaru.
"Tsunade is within the Fire Country." Jiraiya responded. "Orochimaru is a hard one to track, but last time I checked, he had joined a mercenary group called the Akatsuki. I'm not sure if he is still a member or not, but knowing him, he must be moving around a lot."
The Sandaime absorbed it in silence. For a moment, he almost said he was glad that all his students were alive. But it would be wrong to actually think that with Orochimaru, wouldn't it? That student of his was beyond saving. Orochimaru was only living his life to cause pain and destruction.
Hiruzen shook his head. He had taught his students better. Well, at least he hadn't lost all of them. He still had Jiraiya with him.
"It is good knowing Tsunade is still alive and well." The Professor said. He paused before changing the subject. "Danzo has been making contact with young Naruto. But it appears that nothing has happened as yet."
Jiraiya wasn't happy about hearing it and he didn't like the way his sensei said it. The old man didn't appear bothered, not even the least. Danzo was a parasite that could not be allowed to get anywhere close to Naruto. He didn't want that slow poison to infect Naruto.
"And you let it happen?"
The Third merely smiled at the accusation. "It isn't that I let it happen. I don't see everything that happens within the village. Even so, you're not wrong to say that I let it happen."
He was the Sandaime Hokage and he had promised to take care of Naruto and especially against people like Danzo. Yet he had allowed the war hawk to go after Naruto.
Danzo had gone behind him to do so, but he was still the leader of this village and his former teammate was a loose cannon he allowed to roam free.
"What are you doing about it?"
Hiruzen shook his head. "Nothing at the moment." He said with a smile. "I want to see what Danzo will do but when he does come to me, I will tell him what will happen next."
Jiraiya frowned. His sensei may be soft in dealing with Danzo, but he was still a manipulative plotter. He didn't even like the smile on the old man's lips. The Sannin shook his head. As long as it was against Danzo, he should not complain. It would be a problem if it was involving Naruto.
The Toad Sage knew perfectly well that if there was a need, his sensei wouldn't even be against manipulating Naruto for the good of Konoha. A sinister part of him did think that his sensei would kill own son if he believed it would save Konoha. For his beloved village, the old man was willing to do anything.
"How is it going with Naruto? Did he end up going to the academy?"
"He did but quit." The Sandaime said in an amused tone. "He will be joining Anbu ranks soon. However, he won't be given anything difficult until he proves his strength. For now, it will just be surveillance. He has rather sharp senses and this kind of a job will help develop those senses."
Jiraiya blinked. The last time he was in the village, Naruto was just a bored little brat who had nothing to do and now he was going to join the Anbu? What was happening in this world? You couldn't leave for too long, could you?
"I still want to take him out of the village for a bit." Jiraiya said in a strong tone. "I just came to give you some information; when I return again, I will leave with him and this time around, you will not stop me, sensei."
The Sandaime could only sigh at that.
Training Ground 44
For the past two hours, Kakashi has been sitting on a tree branch, watching Naruto meditate. The blond hadn't moved an inch through the hours and Kakashi had gone bored from watching he ended up relaxing as he read his beloved book. He was brought out of his book when the blond started moving.
Seeing that Naruto wanted to walk away from him, Kakashi called. "Naruto." The former Anbu captain called the Uzumaki. "I know you knew that I was here…" He said.
Naruto stopped and turned towards the silver haired shinobi. For a moment, he seemed to go through his thoughts before walking over towards the man. He stopped under the tree and looked up. "You seemed to be riding the waves of joy as you read that book; I thought it was best not to disturb you, Kakashi."
The man blinked before closing his book. "I didn't say anything because I didn't want to disturb your meditation." Kakashi gave his excuse as well. "When was the last time we spoke?"
"I don't remember." Naruto stated calmly. "You quit Anbu?"
Kakashi nodded. "How'd you know?"
"You wouldn't appear before me if you were still Anbu…" Naruto responded calmly.
"I thought I'd catch you training. There isn't a shinobi in the village who comes here to meditate. This is a training ground, used mostly by Anbu."
"Meditation is part of training." Naruto responded calmly. "I don't like doing half-baked things. So, I prefer to train my spirit, mind before anything else. I haven't had much experience, but I think for survival, one needs to have a sharp mind. The stupid die easily."
Kakashi stared for a long minute before shaking his head. "Even the smart people to die easily."
"I didn't say they don't." Naruto responded with a shrug. The blond narrowed his eyes to the side for a moment before looking back at Kakashi. "Jiraiya is coming this way; tell him he just missed me." Saying that, Naruto walked away from the Jonin.
Kakashi sat motionless for a couple of minutes until Jiraiya finally appeared. The blond's sensory skills were not just a rumour after all. Anbu knew about it, but he hadn't seen it first-hand. He hadn't sensed the Sannin but Naruto had done so and had gone on to avoid the Sannin.
"You missed Naruto." Kakashi said.
"I'm actually here to talk to you." Jiraiya said to Kakashi.
End of chapter
The response to the first chapter was good; that was encouraging. I thank everyone who took his or her time to review.
The next two chapters will focus on Naruto's night shifts. We will also take a visit outside the village with Jiraiya - That should be an adventure that takes a whole chapter. I will probably show bits of flashbacks for the 'past' starting from the next chapter.
In any case, I hope the chapter wasn't disappointing.
The Omnipresent Sage