Hi, so this is my new story. It starts of during Naruto's training trip with Jiraiya but because there are certain events that don't happen as they did in cannon, I will start with a flash back that changed things.


Hiruzen stopped by the door at Naruto's apartment. He placed the plastics he held down and knocked. Not twice but five times. There was no response. He was certain though, that Naruto was somewhere inside the building. He opened the door and walked in. It was always unlocked. There was a sign of danger painted at the door. Someone had put it there. Naruto never bothered to remove it, neither did he. But at least no one would dare walk inside the place. So Naruto never locked it. Not a night. Not when he was running through the village. Not when he was in the forest of death.

The place was cold. And eerily silent. Hiruzen shivered slightly. He should be used to this. But this was his ritual every time he came here. He'd brought in a TV, just maybe to give it some life, but Naruto hardly used it. One day he would turn it on and leave it on a news channel. When he comes back, it is going to be on the same channel, remote still where he left it.

He didn't bother saying anything any more.

The Sandaime walked over to the small kitchen. The apartment wasn't the best. But it had everything. He had made sure of it. Still, this wouldn't mean much. Even if he bought a large fridge, with Naruto by himself, it would only have ramen inside. The damn villagers wouldn't sell him food. They wouldn't sell him anything. Since they couldn't touch him, they thought death by starvation was one way to go about. To some, it was just the fear of losing customers. Who wanted to buy in the same shop as the Kyubi brat?

Shaking his head, Hiruzen silently unloaded the grocery and packed it in the fridge and cupboards. He did this every month. Perhaps it was his punishment for the way things have gone. But if he didn't do it, Naruto wouldn't eat decent food. At least the blond ate. He could cook. He had taught him how to cook.

Once he was done, Hiruzen looked around: it was always tidy. Naruto was clean. He was a miserable lonely child, but at least he cleaned up his place. That was at least something good. But not something that made him smile. There were still many problems that didn't look like they were going to go away. And there wasn't much he could do about it.

To feel so powerless to change things… Hiruzen had never been so frustrated and he was called the professor. He had learned every fire based jutsu in the fire country. He had solved many puzzles, and yet, Naruto's life was one he could not solve. No matter what he said, the villagers would undo it with their glares and blatant whispers of contempt.

Minato would be so disappointed.

He walked over to Naruto's bedroom. It was a one bedroom apartment. There was no sense of life. The door wasn't fully closed. Slowly, he opened it – it made a creeping sound. He cursed. But when he walked in, there was Naruto sitting by the window. A small boy: no more than five years 11 months old. His knee was raised, his other leg inside with his back leaning against the window frame. His eyes were cast outside.

He had been here all this time. Just silent. Just never reacting. When did it start? How did it even come to this point? Naruto had been happy. He had smiled and laughed. But these days, he rarely went outside. He spent most time sitting by the window, motionless, as if dead.

It pained him.

"Naruto…" Hiruzen forced a smile as he walked over the child. His tone was gentle. Naruto didn't react until he stopped by the window. Hiruzen touched the blond on the shoulder. He almost startled him. "Lost in thought?"

Naruto faced the Third for a moment. There wasn't much on his face. He looked at the plastic on the Third's hands. Clothes. He did need some of them. Once more, he looked outside the window. There wasn't much to look at. Just happy people. Sending glares whenever they saw him.

"Is it that time of the month already?" Naruto finally spoke. His tone was quiet, slow. Month-end: the time for an allowance, new food. And to open the tin he hid his savings. The Sandaime gave him more than enough. It was a pity he couldn't spend it all even if he wanted. Most shop shops had a sign that said we don't sell to demons.

Hiruzen nodded. "I brought you something…"

Naruto had to turn around to look at the Sandaime. His tone had been filled with excitement. It was obvious from his eyes that he was holding himself from exploding with the news. Naruto grew curious. Maybe even hopeful.

"I've never seen you so excited unless you're reading that book you keep hidden in your robes, Jiji…" Naruto said… he couldn't keep out the curiosity in his tone. "Are you finally going to let me see?"

Hiruzen coughed. He placed the plastic he held down. And then knelt. Naruto then turned over to him and stood facing him. He had done it automatically without any urging. The Third placed both his hands on Naruto's shoulders. His lips twisted upside down. He was apologetic.

"I'm sorry for not having done this earlier, Naruto…" he stared into those confused blue orbs for a moment before pulling Naruto into a tight hug. "I am sorry."

Naruto stiffened sharply. He wasn't used to this. His personal space – intruded. When the Sandaime didn't let go, his hands slowly moved and he wrapped them around the old man. Warmth. It was a beautiful feeling. He pulled tighter to get more of it. He buried face on the Sandaime's shoulder, enjoying the warmth.

It was at moments like this that something he couldn't explain occurred to his heart. His eyes usually water. But the feeling was good. He didn't always get it. But it was good. He couldn't explain it but he didn't dislike it, even though it nearly brought him to tears.

"You're going to suffocate me, Naruto… I'm still an old man…" the Sandaime said with a chuckle before pulling away.

Naruto smiled. Yes, he smiled. It was an embarrassed smile. "S-sorry…" he murmured.

Hiruzen was happy to see that smile. He cherished it for a moment. There was truly hope. Not all was lost. Yes, there was hope. "Listen very carefully, Naruto. You are not going to tell anyone what I am going to tell you, and you will not show anyone what I am about to give you…" he paused. "Do you understand me?"

Naruto didn't have anyone he could tell. He had no friends. He didn't have family. He was alone in this world. Maybe he could tell the old man at the ramen stand but that was that. Yet, he was confused. Why would the old man say he couldn't tell anyone when he had no one to tell?

It wasn't by design of an obsession with solitude. He had tried. He has wasted so many hours and days chasing friends. Even if he made them for a couple of minutes, their mothers would come and drag them away. 'Don't play with him, don't talk to him.' They would say. It hurt him. It seriously wounded him.

The last friends he had made tricked him. They saw he was too eager to make friends and then tricked him. They had sent him to the forest of death. He should have known with the danger signs on the fences, he should have known when they laughed with madness when he crawled under the fence but he had been eager. The forest had nearly killed him. The Sandaime hadn't been amused. He had told him what happened. He had explained things and then swore those boys would never become shinobi.

And they never did.

Naruto had stopped trying. He had stopped. He had seen the ugliness of people. It terrified him. And he didn't want to experience it again.


"Do you trust me, Naruto?"

Naruto quickly nodded. "Yes…" he said firmly.

Hiruzen smiled. "It will do your life harm if you tell anyone. I can't risk that Naruto. I cannot risk anything happening to you."

There was the chance that people would make connections. No, they would make connections. He wasn't worried about the Yondaime's enemies. He was worried about the villagers. They could reject the truth and try to harm Naruto for claiming otherwise. It wouldn't be pretty.

He took out a picture from his robes. It wasn't framed. He handed it over to Naruto who grasped it with both his hands. He was trembling. "That Naruto, is a picture of your mother. She was carrying you when it was taken. Like I told you, she died during the Kyubi rampage."

Mother? Mother? His mother? Her hair was red. It was that crimson colour. Dangerous colour. He was blond. Naruto didn't question it. For the first time in his cold brutal life filled with loneliness and contempt, Naruto had a mother. He had a mother. He wasn't the spawn of a demon. He wasn't the Kyubi. He was born of this woman. This beautiful woman.

The picture. He held it against his raging heart and walked over to his bed. He sat down. He had a mother. Those words repeated a thousand times inside his head. Until. Until tears rolled over his eyes. He made sure he didn't water the picture. Naruto felt happy. He felt relieved. He felt as if something had closed in his heart.

Hiruzen took out a shirt from the clothes he brought. He looked at the Uzumaki symbol for a moment before nodding his head. If it was going to bring Naruto happiness, then he would do it. He sat beside the blond, but didn't say anything. Not until a couple of minutes passed. He didn't want to ruin the moment.

Hell, an Anbu even came before him to tell him there was an urgent meeting with his advisors but he brushed it off. It could wait. He had much more important matters to deal with.

"Her name was Kushina. Kushina Uzumaki."

The same name as his. Uzumaki. Naruto stared at his mother. But he listened to the Sandaime Hokage attentively. He didn't want to miss anything.

"Most of your clothes have this symbol. You can see it even in Konoha's Jonin vests at the back. This is the symbol of the Uzumaki clan. Your clan, Naruto. Your mother's clan. Before you get hopeful, there are no more Uzumakis out there. At least as far as I know. Your ancestral home. The home where your mother came from was destroyed during the Second shinobi world war." He went on to tell Naruto the fame of the Uzumaki clan, its history with the Senju clan. He told the blond most things.

It wasn't a happy thing since the clan was destroyed and Uzu was nothing more than just ruins. But he believed it would give Naruto a sense of belonging. No matter what people say to him, he would know he came from some where and his mother once belonged to a prestigious clan.

"Jiji… will you take me to Uzu? I want to see it. I want to see it!" He said those words with hope and excitement.

Hiruzen frowned. But he didn't let it show to Naruto. Perhaps if he saw it, he would fully believe. It was one thing to be told about something than seeing it yourself. "I will clear my calendar and take you there… but …" he pressed his index finger on his lips. "Don't tell anyone about it. When we go, it will be just the two of us. No one in this village will know."

Naruto nodded vigorously. He would not tell a soul.


Naruto had his eyes closed, standing on a tree branch in the middle of a forest, feeling the pressure of the wind. When it came to hiding his presence, Jiraiya was a master. To suggest that the perverted geezer learned this trade in order to peep would not be far off. Jiraiya had perfected jutsus for his lustful desires. He could deprive himself of sleep trying to figure out the defences of a hot spring that that was locked away to hide from perverts such as him.

He didn't open his eyes when the Sannin flashed on behind him, in mid-air. His right foot blasting the airwaves as it moved towards the back of his head. On his left hand, Naruto held a kunai before ducking under the fast coming kick. The moment it went above him, his body twisted in blinding fashion while he leapt into the air, getting away from the tree branch.

Jiraiya grinned as Naruto faced him. He could see the kunai on his left hand. Naruto was deadly precise with those. It was always coated with chakra. Without blinking, the blond flung the kunai. The hand movements weren't extreme. It just seemed as if he was flicking it. But the speed in which it travelled was dangerously fast. The grin on his lips disappeared.

The toad Sage bent his body backwards, his head facing the heavens as the kunai blasted past him. He felt the wind brush his face as it went by. The kunai hit a tree, blasting past it.

Jiraiya didn't have the time adjust his body as Naruto flashed above him, a Rasengan on the palm of his right hand. He cursed the blond's speed. The Rasengan was slammed into his chest. When it connected, the Sannin exploded into puff of smoke.

"Katon: Fire Dragon's Breath!" Jiraiya breathed out a stream of crimson blames from his month. He was standing on the ground, looking up as the flames rushed up towards Naruto was who still floating in mid-air, body positioned slightly horizontal after the momentum of his Rasengan.

Looking at the incoming flames. Naruto moved his right hand across his chest. He closed his eyes, and then snapped his fingers. A wave of his chakra was released from this fingers. It was invisible to the naked eye. The wave covered a certain distance and but what it did was blast the oxygen away. The effect lasted for no more than two seconds.

The flames that had been coming towards him simply died off, just like that. It was the weakness of flames. They needed oxygen to burn. Regardless of power and speed, as long as there was no oxygen, the flames would not burn.

Ah, he loved his jutsu.

"You're wide open!" Jiraiya announced. He was on Naruto's right side, still in mid-air. There was no more warning when his left right foot slammed onto Naruto's shoulder, sending the blond flying away.

As the force of the kick carried him, Naruto avoided wincing. Jiraiya's physical attacks carried a brutal kind of strength.

He flipped several times with his senses fully functioning. As he was about to pass a tree branch, he stretched out both his hands and grabbed it. He attempted to swing forward but Jiraiya once again appeared. The Sannin was right in front of him, the man punched him on his chest. When the brutal punch connected, Naruto burst into a cloud of smoke.

Jiraiya frowned before flashing away.

He landed on the ground and leaned against a tree trunk. His eyes flashed open when he sensed something coming in fast. He couldn't react when a kunai went through on his right, it cut slightly his cheek before piercing through the trunk of the tree.

Jiraiya sweated as blood dripped from his cheek. His heart pounded a bit with relief. That could have opened his skull had it been intended to do so.

"You're getting destructed." Naruto was in front of the Sannin. His right foot weaving through the air before slamming on the his chest. The attack planted the Sannin against the tree.

With his foot still connected with Jiraiya's chest, Naruto formed a small Rasengan in the blink of an eye. As he retreated his foot, he was driving the jutsu towards Jiraiya's chest. The Sannin dropped to the ground and Naruto's jutsu collided with the trunk of the tree, breaking it.

As the tree began to fall, Jiraiya did a leg sweep, making Naruto off balance and start to fall backwards. The Sannin flashed above the blond. Naruto quickly crossed both his hands above him as the back of Jiraiya's right foot came crashing towards his face. His defence held firmly and Naruto quickly grabbed Jiraiya's foot. He balanced himself quickly before spinning around in quick motions.

He flung Jiraiya towards a tree. "Futon: Wind Bullet!" He spat out a bullet of wind from his mouth. The bullet hit Jiraiya on his chest and propelled him further backwards. His back crashed into a tree with a sickening thud.

Naruto was right before him, not easing up on his attack. He held a sword, coated with wind chakra. He swung it horizontally and seemingly cut through both Jiraiya and the tree, but the Sannin turned into a log.

Jiraiya was behind Naruto, crashing down. His hands were held together, creating a giant fist. The slammed the hammer down with all his strength, hitting Naruto on his right shoulder. The force caused Naruto to fall to his knees, dropping his sword as his hand trembled and throbbed painfully.

The Sannin wasn't done: the moment he touched down, he lifted his right foot, kicking Naruto on the back of his head. It was brutal. It forced Naruto to hit the trunk of the tree he'd just cut with his forehead. A sense of dizziness gripped his mind for a moment as his vision blurred. Birds chirped for a second.

Jiraiya grabbed him and then lifted him up into the air. The Sannin was holding him up by His throat. Just one hand. "Shall we call an end to it?"

"Too soon." Naruto muttered.

He moved quickly. Both his hands grabbed Jiraiya's arm. He put so much pressure on his fingers that he stopped the flow of blood and Jiraiya's grip loosened. His legs moved up and he wrapped them around Jiraiya's arm.

The Sannin cursed loudly before slamming Naruto on the ground. There was a loud boom as Naruto crashed with his back. But he didn't let go. He even started twisting the arm.

Jiraiya started tapping on the ground comically before yelling. "Naruto you are going to break my hand!"

"Do something about it!" Naruto yelled back. Careless of Jiraiya's pain.

"You shitty brat, if you break my hand, I won't be able to do research properly! That is worse than death!"

Naruto shrugged. "It will save you from pain and women will have their dignity back."

Jiraiya cursed once more and used his free hand to form a hand seal. His hair stretched and wrapped around Naruto. He strangled the blond, forcing him to let him go. Once free, he hurled the blond away.

Naruto flipped several times before touching the ground with both his hands, trying to stop the momentum. Once he stopped, an earth spike burst from the ground. It was sharp, and dangerously moving towards his chest. Naruto propelled his body backwards by pushing chakra into his fingers to push himself.

The spike missed him, just by a whisker.

Jiraiya expected this: he was upon the blond. Twisting as he moved, he channelled chakra onto his fight foot and then slammed it on Naruto's face. The kick picked the blond off the ground but before he could do anywhere, Jiraiya grabbed his right foot and then twisted him up before hurling him towards a tree.

Naruto didn't have enough room to balance his body and so he crashed into the tree with his back. The Sannin appeared in front of him, driving his punch towards his chest.

Jiraiya sensed a spike of chakra and tried to retreat: the blond burst into a swirl of hundreds of small wind blades. He landed a distance away, but before he could even glance at the damage, he felt the air leave his lungs.

Naruto was standing just away from him, with a bleeding face but he was sucking all the oxygen away. It became harder to breath for Jiraiya. He fell on his knees, clutched his chest, his mouth hung open. He was going to pass out.

There was no relief when it stopped; Naruto kicked him on his forehead with a wind enhanced kick. He guessed it was payback for his earlier kick. Jiraiya felt his head tremble violently. His vision blurred as dizziness took over. He didn't even feel it when he hit a tree with his back. His senses came back when something slammed into his gut, causing him to spit out saliva while falling on his knees, hands on his gut. The attacks were enhanced with wind. It wasn't like Tsunade but they did the damage.

Naruto fell down on his butt, his breathing laboured. He wiped out the blood on his face and then fell on his back. He needed to rest.

Once the pain was over, Jiraiya leaned against a tree trunk and looked at his hand. It was bleeding with several cuts. He applied his medical ninjutsu to stop the bleeding. The cuts were not deep, so they closed.

After a couple of moments of silence, he looked at Naruto. His right hand still ached from that lock. The blond was improving. He was getting better and better by each month. This training trip had been the best option for Naruto. If they hadn't done this, he wouldn't have gotten closer to his godson, he wouldn't be producing another shinobi who would surpass him.

It was still early days but one day, Naruto would surpass him. He would be better than him. Jiraiya was honestly proud. Minato had been a genius but Naruto had potential and he used it to his advantage. He knew his potential. The blond was also willing to learn.

"I'm no longer taking it easy on you…" Jiraiya more or less grumbled. The last hits had been unpleasant. It has been quite a while since someone managed to hit him so hard.

"I told you to bring your A game, even Senjutsu if possible."

"I'd kill you with Senjutsu."

"And I am soon going to cripple you if you're not careful." Naruto retorted.

Jiraiya frowned. That was true. He couldn't deny it. It wasn't the arrogance speaking. It was a fact. Before their training ends, Naruto was most likely going to leave him bedridden for a couple of days. They did fight with the intention to kill. There was no friendly. You could break a leg. It was part of the training. Part of fighting experience. More than anyone, Jiraiya knew the experience was important for survival.

"Your reflexes are good and your speed has improved. But you need to stop leaving gaps between your attacks." Jiraiya lectured. "You also leave yourself open each time you snap your fingers."

"It is only for a second. When fighting against normal shinobi, I can recover quickly."

"Don't take comfort in that. You will fight people even faster than me. If they are faster, they will attack on that lapse of concentration. If you cannot work around the problem, it is best you leave that jutsu for emergencies."

"I think that would be best…" Naruto said before going silent for a moment. "It requires maximum concentration and I must stop breathing monetarily. For you it might be seconds but for me, it is like minutes."

"Well, we can't take away the fact that the jutsu is a work of genius. It basically makes the Fire Element useless against you…" Jiraiya smiled. "When are you going to broaden your arsenal? You can't be satisfied with just wind. That aside, wind is weak against some elements. You must always be ready to adapt to any change and using different elements helps in this regard."

"I can work something out with Fire. Given my extensive knowledge of the element, using fire based jutsus for me should require minimal effort…" Naruto said getting up.

"I will send a letter to Tsunade for her to send us some scrolls with fire based jutsus…" he said while getting. "Come on, let us go back to the town…" he looked at himself and frowned. "This is going to drive away customers."

"Don't flatter yourself; you're not pleasant to look at even when you are clean."

Jiraiya glared at Naruto. "Neither are you." He spat.

Naruto shrugged. "I have never been pleasant to look at. I have accepted that…" he said indifferently. "But you seem to be struggling with denial. You should sit in a dark corner and repeat after yourself, 'I'm not pleasant to look at, I'm not pleasant to look at.' I know it will finally click in."

Jiraiya didn't ease on his glare. The cold dark humour. Sometimes Jiraiya questioned Naruto's sanity. But He knew there was no harm. He was used to it. They would be laughing any moment. It has always been like this. At least he was with his godson. Who else did he have? The Sandaime was gone and that had truly shattered the blond. The old man was everything to Naruto. And when he died, without saying a word to him, Naruto has suffered.

And then there was Sasuke. The cursed Uchiha. Thinking of him made Jiraiya angry. Well, not since they left Konoha has Naruto brought up the subject. Not once, not ever. Hell, the blond didn't even talk about Konoha. And Jiraiya didn't push. He was getting close; there was no need to venture into territories Naruto didn't want to touch. But he understood that they couldn't ignore it forever. They would have to talk about it because sooner or later, they would have to return to Konoha.

"You could at least try to be nice you know… my heart isn't that strong anymore…" He said with mock misery, feigning to be hundred years old.

"Old people are locked up in their homes…" Naruto said. He sighed and stared into the heavens. "What do you think is up in the sky where we cannot see, sensei?"

Jiraiya cast his eyes into the clear sky: he stared for a moment before shaking his head. "I don't think there is anything there. I don't think there is life there."

"Interesting isn't it?" Naruto said.


"You say there is no life there, but up in there is where this world receives its life. If the heavens do not make clouds for rain, the trees, the animals, the grass, these things will die. The rivers will eventually run dry and people will be next… there is no life there, and yet, it is where we receive our lives."

Once again, Jiraiya looked into the sky. He couldn't argue with the blond on that note. One thing he has noted about the blond was that he was deeply knowledgeable about many things. And he knew how to apply his knowledge. Perhaps it was the wisdom he gained from spending much time with the Sandaime Hokage. When you spend time people, something about them also rubs off you.

"That is nature…" Jiraiya said.

Naruto nodded. "Yes, nature: so beautiful, calming and yet it can be so dangerous. I like nature." He said before changing the subject. "I have been curious, you have no shame, have you ever tried peeping on Tsunade?"

Jiraiya's body froze. "Yes…" it was more of a whimper than anything.

He could never forget that memory. He still had those wounds from the beating she had dished on him. He fought with the crazy side of him that said it was worth it because he had nearly died that die – literally. Tsunade had pummelled him hard. She had broken so many bones… the pain. Worse, she healed him after doing it and then threatened to beat him into the brink of his life again if he tried it once more. Well, those had been younger days. He could escape now, but he wouldn't dare try it again. He had learned his lesson.

"Judging by that response, you must have received quite the beating."

"You don't know half of it…" Jiraiya said with his eyes closed. He swallowed hard to banish the memory. "She nearly killed me. Since then, I say anything to her but never again. Never again…"

"But you did see, right?" Naruto glanced at the Sannin. "It must have been something else. She must have been a very delicate young lady when she was younger."

"She was…" Jiraiya said. "She is still beautiful…" he added.

Naruto didn't comment on that. He just nodded.

Without much being said, the two headed back to the town. The walk was silent, both in their thoughts. Jiraiya was thinking about what they had to do next while Naruto was thinking about certain things in his life. Once they reached their motel, Jiraiya took a shower and changed his clothes. There was no need to rest for the Sannin – he was going out and likely not to return for the night.

Naruto didn't question it. He knew what the Sannin was going to do. They had chosen this Town because of its fun activities. There were casinos, brothels. Jiraiya's kind of hunting ground. He loved places like this. He always danced with joy when he thought of what kind of material he was going to gain through his peeping work or getting drunk with young girls who giggled and laughed hysterically whilst he tells them his legendary stories.

The man walked out of the bathroom, already grinning madly. You could see it in his eyes, his body language. He was going to have fun. Well, the past four days had been spent training vigorously. The man probably felt he needed to reward himself.

Jiraiya contained himself and walked over to the window. He opened it and then turned back to face Naruto. "We are going to leave this town in the next couple of days." He said a bit seriously.

They never stayed at one place for too long. The longest they had stayed was two months, they were always moving around, seeing different places. Sometimes they didn't even camp with people. They would stay in the middle of nowhere. For survival, it was hunting. They always made sure there was water close if they were going to camp in the middle of nowhere.

"We have stayed long enough and I am certain that by tomorrow, you'll no longer be able to walk in the streets without women chasing after you along with their husbands."

Jiraiya glared at Naruto. It had happened at their last village. It hadn't been fun and he had been forced to depart early. He was surely not going to return to that village again. He would be burnt on a stake like a witch if he returned to that place. There were wanted posters of him in good spots. "And whose fault was it that I was nearly killed?"

Naruto shrugged. "You left without giving me money for food. What was I supposed to eat?"

"You're a man… you need to make a plan and you didn't have to expose me like that!"

"I wouldn't need to make a plan if I wasn't forced to use my money to bail us out after you lost your wallet when running away from one of your conquests."

Jiraiya smiled. Remembering that day, ah, that had been truly a good day. That woman had assets as big as Tsunade's. She was just sitting there in the water, never minding her nudity, doing things to herself. Jiraiya had never been quite pleased. "Anyway…" he fought the blush gracing his cheeks. "When I come back, you must be ready. I will look for a mission you can do. This time, it will have to be difficult."

Naruto sighed, "So, you'll be gone for a couple of days."

The Sannin nodded. He took out his wallet and stared at his money. He glanced at Naruto and then his money. He frowned. If he didn't give enough, Naruto was going to hunt him down and ruin things for him. He counted a few bills and put them down. "I put enough for food and some fun…" he finished with a grin. With that, he jumped out of the window and was gone.

Naruto shook his head and walked over to the window. He leaned against the window while sitting down, his right foot close to his chest with his left touching the floor inside. He rested his right hand on his knee and stared down at the streets.

This was his comfort zone. How many days has he seen, sitting like this? He couldn't remember. They were too many to count. Almost all days he had a window, he performed this ritual. The streets filled with people: Mothers walking with their daughters; boys chasing each other; drunkards, walking past with a stench that turned people away. He saw this scene almost every day. Yet he was never tired of seeing it.

The past sixteen years of his life have never been dull. There was always something happening. Had it not been for the old man, it would have been chaotic at best, but when he saw those mothers, he remembered his own mother: the woman who gave birth to him. Now he knew he had a father. The Sandaime had left it as his last revelation before he died: A painful experience that had been. Losing the one you loved; the one who saved your sanity.

Jiraiya had come in, talked to Tsunade and he was taken out of the village after a couple of months of misery and solitude. For more than two years now, he has been running around the Elemental Nations with the Sannin. He has seen many things. Many people, the shamefulness of Jiraiya and he had learned to drink. He had learned to speak to women. He was still young, but his body was growing fast. Then again, the old man had always ensured that he ate healthy.

After an hour, a bird flew over to Naruto and landed on his right shoulder. He stood up and walked over to a small wooden table in the wide room and sat on a cushion. He took the scroll it carried and the bird flew over to the window. It stood there, is if standing watch. It always did that each time it came.

Naruto opened the small scroll and channelled chakra through it. Another scroll appeared in a puff of smoke – it was another storage scroll. He channelled chakra on the seal and then five mountains of papers appeared in a puff of smoke. He blinked – work. It always came for him wherever he was.

For five hours straight, without a break or anything, Naruto worked through the papers. Once done, he sealed them in the scroll and snapped his fingers. The small bird flew over to the table. He wrapped the small paper on the container on its leg. "Do you need something to eat?"

It nodded its head as if it could understand his words. Naruto smiled and stood up. He returned with a small cup of water and fresh bread. The bird ate and then drank. "If you drank, I'd give you some sake as thank you…"

The bird seemed to shake its head as if to say, 'alcohol? No thank you.'

Naruto laughed. "Safe journey…" he said. The bird made a sound before flying away.

The sun was already setting, it would be night soon. He couldn't sit here forever, he would lose his mind. Naruto went over to clean himself and then changed his clothes. Once done, he took a nap. By the time he woke up, it was dark outside. He pocketed the bills Jiraiya left him and put his hands on his pockets before walking out.

He was already familiar with the town. He knew where to go, but it usually depended on where the wind was blowing. His mind wasn't focused on the road head, so he only blinked when he stopped at a bar. He could hear the musing blasting from inside, voices of male and females. Miserable people having fun and happy people expressing their joy. To be human, to be alive. People came here.

There was a guard at the entrance. It was to guard against children walking inside. The young ones had a rebellious streak about them. They liked the joys of the adults. The forbidden ecstasy always seemed to be too attracting to humans. Naruto just still sixteen, still under age, but he was a shinobi. Those rules didn't apply. When the large man saw his headband, he merely grunted and opened way for him.

The insides were dimly lit. The noise was too much. But those who complained about it shouldn't be here in the first place. They should be at home sleeping or reading night stories to their kids. If you couldn't handle the pressure, just stay away from it, or so a certain lady had told him.

Naruto went towards the bar. He didn't sit; he looked around and saw a free table by a corner. It was dark and you couldn't see clearly. It was his perfect place. He ordered four bottles. Once they came, he took two cups and walked over to his little corner.


The alcohol

Ah, the perfect combination to drown in bitterness.


It has been two and half years since Naruto left the village and still, there was no mention from Jiraiya on when they would return. Her friend hadn't even been returning. He sent letters every now and then, but he never showed up. Even now, she was looking at his letter. She was going to write for him to show up before her. Tsunade missed them. She really did miss the two. They had brought her back to this village and now they were running around in the Elemental Nation without her – her old life. She hoped that Jiraiya wasn't teaching Naruto how to gamble.

She had permitted them to go away because Naruto hadn't been the most happiest of people. He was miserable. The Sandaime's death had affected him deeply and from what she had learned was that the old man had been the only person he talked to before he made a couple of friends at the academy. It hadn't been easy and that only happened in his last year.

Jiraiya said he was fine. But she was a bit concerned. He was family in a way. He was the son of Kushina, someone who had been from her grandmother's clan and someone who was close to the old woman. She wasn't the one who was by Mito when she died; it had been Kushina – Naruto's mother. So, she did consider him family.

Tsunade placed the letter on top of her desk and tapped her fingers.

"Something, wrong, Tsunade-sama?" Sakura asked quietly.

The slug princess glanced at the pinkette. She had grown. Well, she had trained her well. But she was still obsessed with Sasuke. That rotten child. He had been spoiled rotten. From what she knew, Tsunade didn't understand why the villagers adored him. She didn't see why girls liked him. He had a cold personality and he was rude. Did the girls really like him like that? If someone said they had been brainwashed, Tsunade wouldn't disagree. Sakura had been willing to throw a fit if someone said bad things about her beloved.

The damned Uchiha

"No…" Tsunade said with a shake of her head. "I'm just worried about Naruto. It has been two and a half years now and from Jiraiya's letters, they are still training. He is even requesting scrolls to continue with Naruto's training…" she explained with a frown.

Naruto: her teammate. The boy she'd been cruel to in their days. At some point, even Sasuke had yelled at her and told her that she didn't understand anything. She didn't know anything. Sakura had been hurt but she hadn't understood why Sasuke gave her that reaction. Now she did. She had been cruel to him. She never acted like a teammate. There were good memories but her attitude towards Naruto bothered her these days when she looked back at it.

Perhaps it was because now she understood things about him. She knew his story. She knew why he got along with Sasuke. They were both lonely people. They both didn't have anyone. And she had mocked Naruto for not having parents. Sasuke didn't have them either, but she had considered that his had died. Naruto had never known his. He was an orphan but she never considered Sasuke as an orphan, but he was in the same boat as Naruto.

"How is he?" Sakura asked carefully.

"Jiraiya never explains in detail but he is fine…" Tsunade said a bit bitterly.

Sakura was surprised at the realization. "So he has never sent you a letter..?"

Tsunade nodded. "No… not even one, not since he left. I have only been hearing from Jiraiya. If this continues, I will order them to come back…" she said firmly. She didn't say anything as Shizune walked into the office, holding more stacks of papers. She frowned. "Why do you have to bring that load now, I just finished another one."

"It is going to pile up if I leave it…" Shizune said calmly. "There is also this…"she said handing a report to Tsunade.

The Godaime looked at the report for a moment before frowning. Troubling news: she didn't need it now. She closed it and put in on the drawer on her desk. She handled the letter from Jiraiya to Shizune. "Please make sure you get everything in the list, I need to send them to Jiraiya."

Shizune looked at the list. She left quietly without saying another word to Tsunade.

Once Shizune was gone, Sakura took the opportunity to ask. "Anything on Sasuke?" She asked hopefully. Her eyes widened, she didn't want to miss anything on Tsunade's face.

Tsunade shook her head. "Still nothing. Well, he is with Orochimaru… he is rather difficult to track down…" she frowned. "But we must find him. The time is coming for Orochimaru to change bodies and if we don't act, he might take Sasuke's body. That will be over for the Uchiha."

"Sasuke-kun won't let that happen!" Sakura said firmly. When Tsunade merely stared at her, she sunk down a bit and became nervous, and worried. "Do you think he will?"

"That is the only reason Orochimaru gave him the cursed seal…"Tsunade said. "That aside, Naruto did say Sasuke said he was going to sell his soul to the devil to get the power to kill his brother. If it means giving his body to Orochimaru to kill, Itachi, then he might do it. I wouldn't even be surprised if Orochimaru manages to twist Sasuke into allowing him to get his revenge for him."

For a moment, Sakura's body froze. If that happened, she would never see her beloved. He would become Orochimaru. They really had to find him. If Tsunade wasn't winning, she would look herself. "Can't you ask Jiraiya-sama to do something?"

"I didn't want to burden him but it looks like I don't have a choice." Tsunade said.

Four days after Jiraiya left Naruto

It was in the afternoon when Jiraiya returned. He found Naruto sitting motionlessly by the window. Perhaps it was something they had in common, but he never sat there like he was dead. Naruto never even used the window like the door. Never ever. Jiraiya had never seen it. Even when he was sitting there and had to go out, he would out through the door. It was strange, but Jiraiya never questioned.

"That took you long enough…" Naruto said without turning to face the Sannin.

"I'd stepped out of the town to receive some information." Jiraiya said as he sat down next to Naruto. He had his back leaning against the wall, the blond on his left side. "You know my network is very busy."

"I know, you sometimes leave for a month chasing shadows…" Naruto responded. He glanced down at the Sannin for a moment. "What did you discover this time?"

Jiraiya realized, there was no hint of curiosity. Naruto was rather good at it. He was never too eager to learn anything. Even when he was asking things considered secrets, he never showed you how interested he was. Sometimes it made it difficult to tell if he was serious or not. Jiraiya had learned to just share or say he didn't have to know. If Naruto was asking, he wanted to know.

"It is about Uzu…" he looked up, to see Naruto's reaction – there was nothing out of fashion.

"My ancestral home…" Naruto said a bit lazily.

There were many rumours going on about the land of Whirlpools. The village had been reborn, but no one knew who did it and how it came to be. Suddenly one day, people just heard the rumours and the Wave country confirmed it because they traded with the village. What bothered people was that the land was being led by the unknown – someone who was called the 'Emperor.' No one has seen him not even the people within the village.

"Considering how the village saw its end during the Second World War, I'm certain some people are very nervous." Naruto added, his blue eyes staring outside once more.

Jiraiya nodded. The village had been destroyed. It hadn't done anything to anyone. The Uzumaki's didn't fight in wars. They were a peaceful nation but yet, they were powerful. People were nervous about their power and ended up plotting their complete destruction. Now, there were just remnants of the clan. But with the village restored, did it mean that there were many other survivors of the clan out there and they had regrouped.

"Iwagakure is the one that is most agitated." Jiraiya said. "They are concerned because if really it is the Uzumaki, they might have an enemy with a grudge."

"That is one way to look at it." Naruto said.

Jiraiya raised an eye brow. He would not forget, Naruto was Uzumaki. Even though he didn't live there, it was still his ancestral home and his mother had come from there. "How would you look at it?"

Naruto shrugged indifferently. "My clan was peaceful, they did not support wars, and they did not fight. They were allies of Konoha but never partook in the wars. They didn't start trouble with anyone. They were hidden in their village, minding their own business, and yet some people felt threatened by them and decided to destroy them, what would you feel about that, sensei?"

There was no anger, no emotion, nothing in Naruto's tone. Again, Jiraiya couldn't tell what Naruto thought. As those blue orbs glanced back him, there was a hint of curiosity, in how he would respond to the question. "It is a difficult one but you cannot say that what Iwa and its allies was just. It was wrong in every sense of the word."

"Yet, nothing was done, not even by Konoha." Again, Naruto looked outside the window. "Our world isn't fair at times, sensei. People with power always do what they please. Sometimes 'right' is decided by those with power."

"I know that… believe me, I know…" there was bitterness in Jiraiya's tone. "This is why it is my desire to change this world." He said with burning passion.

"I admire your passion, sensei. I'm sure my father shared it as well."

"Of course…" Jiraiya said with a grin. "It is why he named you after the hero of my first book after all…"

"Ah, yes, that book. You said my father liked it… I think I like it as well…" perhaps for different reasons, but Naruto wouldn't say. "What would you have done in that situation, sensei? In a world you desire, would you have allowed Iwa and its allies to get away with what they did? Their action was nothing but a slaughter of innocents. I say this not because it is my clan, but looking at it as someone who has listened to your desires."

Jiraiya thought for a couple of moments before shaking his head. "I don't know, Naruto. Iwa would say they were justified and they wouldn't back down. Any thing would more forceful would result in bloodshed." He said. "But if you have listened me to, you will know that I still don't have answers."

Naruto nodded. "Which is indeed a pity…" the blond said. "What of Kiri? They are the one should be most worried."

"Kiri is a bit far and we don't generally go there. It was locked up in a civil war. But I heard that the war was over and that a new Kage has been named. I'll go there some time." Jiraiya said.

Naruto didn't say anything else on the subject; he just nodded and asked. "What is new in the information you received?"

"Nothing much… there are still many things we don't know. Getting inside is near impossible. I'd have to go there myself. But since it is something that will require time, I can't do it now. I would have to be away from you for a long time… and there are dangerous, spies get killed there…"Jiraiya explained lightly. "I want to focus on our training now. But I am checking Iwa's movements."

"What are they doing?"

"Nothing as things stand, but they are watching. I wouldn't bet against them preparing naval forces to prepare for an invasion if they feel they might be attacked."

"Kill them first before they kill you…" Naruto said.

It was the cold truth. Jiraiya could only grunt in response. "What would you do if it came to that?"

Naruto took his time before responding. "I don't know…" he said. "You said we'd do a mission when we leave…"

The Sannin nodded. "Are you ready?" He asked. "but let me correct you, I never said 'we.'"

Naruto looked at the Sannin curiously. "Why don't I like the sound of that…"

Jiraiya smiled. "There is nothing to worry about…"


"Kukukukukukuku…" Orochimaru laughed with throbbing joy, seeing Sasuke fight. He was sitting on his throne.

The Uchiha was excelling and moving faster than he had anticipated. He had been right after all and the Uchiha was a good candidate. But then again, he was never wrong was he? He was usually right because he made calculated moves. Kimamaro had turned out a failure because of his illness but Sasuke was perfect. The Sharingan would finally be within his grasp and he would make sure that the body would last him.

It was a pity he could not sit Sasuke on a chair, strap him up and then begin to bisect him to an up close to what actually happened inside the Uchiha's body. Well, he just had to be patient. He would do it once he gained the body. He didn't have a problem with cutting himself up.

Orochimaru went through a fit of coughs coupled up with blood. He frowned. This body had reached its limits. He really needed another host. He couldn't move freely now. And very soon, he would be bedridden, unable to do anything.

Kabuto walked up to him, medicine. Dutifully, the nin gave him his medicine before glancing at Sasuke who was fighting in the hall. "He is improving splendidly…" he said. "Should we inform him of Naruto-kun's improvements as well?"

Orochimaru shook his head. "Let us leave that for now. It might come in handy as a form of motivation…" he said. "Did you bring what I asked for?"

Kabuto nodded. "I've also found something interesting that you might like to know…" he said lifting up his glasses.

Orochimaru eyed Kabuto, was he being teased? If the man knew he was going to like it, why didn't he just say it? Kabuto was loyal but sometimes Orochimaru questioned it. He smiled. "What is it?"

"It was appears that Guren has once more surfaced in Uzushiogakure…"

Orochimaru blinked. "Oh…"

That was indeed an interesting piece of information. His former number two had vanished from him along with that boy. He hadn't bothered chasing after them because they were no longer useful. Guren had done what he needed her to do. Perhaps the only thing she could prove was that of danger to him was about what she knew. Well she has been gone for about a year now, and nothing has happened, so he thought he was safe. That aside, he hadn't thought she had gone to join another village.

"Well that could be troublesome since we don't know anything about the village…"Orochimaru finally said after weighing up his thoughts. "Have you sent someone?"

"Yes, but they didn't come back."

"Well well… it is interesting…" Orochimaru.

"I could go myself but at this point, I need to be by your side."

A bitter reminder that he did need Kabuto at this moment. His movements were limited and very soon, he wasn't going to be able to do any by himself. The medicine wasn't for anything but pain. He couldn't stop the rot. So long as his soul remained here, the body would continue to break apart and he would experience the pain. Why didn't Kabuto just leave him? He shook his head. He needn't think about such things.

"There is something I have prepared but I'd rather not use it unless there is no other choice… I am not going to be like this forever anyway but if Guren was here, I'd take her body and continue to nurture Sasuke-kun until he is ripe for the taking…" the Sannin said. "Call him."

Kabuto nodded and called Sasuke. The stoic looking Uchiha walked up to the two, his fully matured Sharingan glaring at the pathetic looking Sannin with so much coldness that it filled Orochimaru with joy. "What?"

"I have a mission for you."

"I'm finally leaving this cage…" Sasuke said as he accepted a scroll from Kabuto.

"Everything is in there…" Orochimaru said. "It is merely a test of your strength. I want to see if you can succeed smoothly before changing tactics for your training."

River Country

Naruto sitting under a tree in a meditative position with his eyes firmly fixed on Jiraiya. The Sannin was sitting there with him. Plans were drawn on the ground. Naruto had already surveyed everything while Jiraiya watched. The Sannin hadn't commented and said he would not comment. Even if Naruto was making a mistake in something, he would not say anything, not until the mission was over. The Sannin had said he had to make sure no innocent person died and if it happened, he would have to live with it because that was what happened.

The village close to them was being occupied by criminals, scums who were here for the loot. The village of Takumi has sent for help and they had to remove the scums. Naruto had to do everything by himself. There were 30 enemies, but they were mostly just bandits. 10 were shinobi but nothing strong that would cause him trouble. The danger here was that he had to make sure that they didn't kill the village people. If he made the wrong move, they would kill them and the mission would be a failure.

The leaders of the group were all located in a small bar having a meeting – this was this was a perfect opportunity to strike: When all leaders were at one place. Seven were doing patrols around the village. He could easily handle those with his clones and silently as well. Five were guarding the daughter of the village leader who they were demanding a ransom for. These people were in different locations and he had to strike quickly.

The rest of the villagers were in their homes. They were told not to make moves. For some reason, Jiraiya had 'leaked' that Takumi had hired shinobi and he had to deal with people who were aware that an enemy was coming.

"Remember Naruto, if you just leave this people, they are going to harm more people. If there was a mass jail for criminals, we'd capture them and send them there, but we don't have that. Killing is part of the job. Don't make it feel natural for you. It's not natural. Life is precious but as shinobi, we cannot avoid it. You don't always have to kill. You have to determine what is safer."

Naruto had shed blood before. It had been horrible. He hadn't meant to do it. The man was a bandit and Naruto had put too much strength on his hands, he had ended up snapping his neck. That sickening crack when the head twisted, those eyes rolling with life disappearing, they had haunted him but Jiraiya had been there.

Jiraiya was taking him through this, just to prepare him, just to make sure that he would not freeze and risk the lives of innocent people locked up in their homes. At any moment now, these people were going to round up the villagers and use them as shields to deter shinobi from attacking. This was why Naruto had to move now.

"I know, sensei." Naruto said. "Wish me luck."

"Just use your head. This isn't a battle that can be won because of physical prowess. You might have the power and still lose. Just know that you sometimes have to put aside all that power and use a kunai to get the job done."

Naruto nodded.

He stood up. "Two minutes." He said.

"I minute is more than enough for you." Jiraiya said. "You have your shadow clones to help you. Since the enemy is weak, that is more than enough. But two minutes it is."

Naruto stood up and jumped onto a tree. He would have preferred to just walk into the small village and crush the enemy but he had to be subtle about things. There were not more than fifteen houses here. It was a mining village. But the gold had run out. The bandits didn't know. Imagine their disappointment when they found out.

"Kage Bunshin no Jutsu…" Naruto created seven clones to deal with the bandits standing guard. He created 11 more to guard the houses where people were locked… the five guarding the important girl were inside as with the leaders, so he could get rid of the others without them noticing.

Once his clones dispelled after completing their duties, Naruto ran. His movements were as smooth as a gentle breeze. He didn't make a sound as he danced through the rooftops before suddenly landing behind a group of four bandits.

"Hey wh-"

He didn't allow them to say anything. He moved in the blink of an eye, jumping over the man. As he was doing so, three kunais were fling in three different directions. The kunais hit straight on the foreheads of their targets. They pierced through. He landed on the man's shoulders, and placed his hand over the man's mouth to stop him from screaming. The others dropped to the ground, before he hit the man on the back of his head, knocking him out cold. The villagers would deal with him. Naruto left a clone to tie him up before disappearing along with small gusts of wind.

The house he appeared in was a double story house. His target was upstairs with her five guards. There were ten down stairs, drinking while placing guards. They were laughing merrily while the villagers cried in their houses. There was no hope for tomorrow. They were thinking, at any moment now, they would be killed. Cold hearted humans. But he had seen it hadn't he? The ugliness of people. He had experienced it too, so he could understand.

Naruto went behind the house and walked through the wall. He peeked through the window. The girl looked fine. She was small, crawled up in a corner, trembling in fear, tears in her eyes. People were truly ugly, weren't they? A little girl, an innocent child and you did that to her. He had been innocent too. A child, younger than she was and ugly people had tormented him.

He needed to get in silently and time was ticking away. He held a single hand sign and used Shunshin to appear in the room. Five kunais were in his hands; he twisted speedily and threw them all, each hitting its target. The bandits didn't see a damn thing. They fell lifelessly on the floor.

Naruto walked over to the girl and knelt down. He gave her a warm smile and whispered something to her ear. He noticed she tensed. She was afraid. He created a clone which picked her up and left by the window. Naruto stood up. He was done with this part. He took out a smoke bomb and went down stairs.

He threw the ball on the round table the ten were gathered around. It went off, quickly covering the room with smoke. Everything else occurred within seconds and Naruto walked out safely with his hands inside his pockets. He could consider his mission done and dusted. He just had to interrupt a meeting and with everyone else gone, he didn't have to worry about the safety of the civilians but the clones would still keep watch of everything.

Naruto had manners, unlike a certain pervert. So he actually knocked when he arrived at the door where the leaders of the bandits were gathered. He knocked gently a couple of times before a large man walked up. He dwarfed his frame by sizeable proportions. Even a Chunin would be afraid to face such a man whose face was a field of scars.

"What!?" The man demanded glaring at Naruto. He then noticed the headband. "They sent a brat? A brat?" He looked insulted for a moment.

Naruto didn't say anything; his response was to punch the man on his face. The despite his size, the man was sent flying back inside the room. He crashed loudly onto a wall, face bleeding, teeth falling out. He cursed loudly as he staggered to get up to his feet.

Naruto stepped into the room. They were all large ugly man. They were the kind of perverts of liked little girls. Paedophiles. He counted them calmly before greeting them. They were not even the least surprised or alarmed. As large as the man he had punched, he was simply a door man.

"Konoha shinobi…" One of the men frowned looking at the forehead protector Naruto wore.

"Is it true, I've head even though young, Leaf's shinobi are strong…" One asked quietly.

"We are about to find out." They all readied themselves, grinning madly. He was just one, they were big and strong. They could handle this, or so they believed.

"Between mob justice and quick deaths, what do you prefer?" Naruto asked in a calm tone.

But a mob justice was no good, was it? Maybe the villagers would pay back the people who made them suffer but it did nothing but incite violence in the hearts of people. Naruto nodded to himself. Although he offered that option, he wasn't going to go with it. Innocent people didn't need to dirty their hands. This was the duty of a shinobi.

"We pick neither option."

The first one lunged towards him, attempting to plant the base of his foot on his face. Naruto side stepped the large food and raised his right hand, channelling chakra through it. He made a fast motion as if he was cutting something and then blood gushed over from the man's knee. His leg was cut off from his knee. When the pain shot through, he cried painfully.

"You little fucker!"

Another yelled, swinging a right hook. Naruto caught the man on his arm, having avoided the punch. Chakra was channelled through his fingers and he pressed. There was a sickening crack or bones breaking. The man cried out in pain while gritting his teeth. When the last man hovered behind him, Naruto slammed his elbow on the man's chest, knocking on the wind of his lungs.

He was a shinobi, and he had to finish this. He took out four kunais from his pouch and did what he had to do.

Once done, he breathed in and out to calm his nerves. He didn't need to see anything. He simply walked out and made way for it. Jiraiya could handle the rest. They just needed to do what he did and mission complete. The village would be safe.

Minutes later, Jiraiya walked up to Naruto. "I can't complain…" he said of Naruto's performance. "You okay?"

"Yeah…"Naruto said with a grunt. "Where to now? I doubt we are going to be staying here."

"Takumi to collect our payment… you know someone has to pay for our living expenses…" Jiraiya said. "We will stay in the village for a couple of days before deciding where we will go. I have to wait for something…"

"Our payment?" Naruto asked with a raised eye brow. "It is my payment, sensei and we are not sharing."

"I'm the one who found the mission… and we are a team. Takumi hired both of us and they will pay both of us…" Jiraiya said. "You should have asked the terms before you did anything."

"Well, I can always tell them that you didn't do anything and don't need to get paid." Naruto offered. "I'm sure they'd believe me…"

"You wouldn't!"

Naruto smiled. "Of course not… I wouldn't do something like that to my beloved perverted-sensei."

End of chapter

I won't be doing flashbacks to show what happened in the past but I will try to explain certain things that are important to the story. It probably won't be a long story, but we shall see. Umm, about eight of the next chapters will focus on the training trip, so Naruto won't be returning to Konoha any time soon.

The Akatsuki will be different and some elements will not be there. I don't need to say this, but from what I have said so far, it should be clear that this is based in an AU.

The Omnipresent Sage