Kishimoto is the creator and owner of Naruto.
Note – much of this fic will be slice-of-life style.
1 of 4 posted today.
As smoke rose from the fires that had yet to be extinguished, the shinobi who were still mobile and not involved with ferrying their more-injured comrades to the healers began the long and depressing task of trying to fix the physical damage done during the rampage of the Kyuubi no Kitsune.
Those with superior strength collected the shattered trees, transporting them to clearings where other shinobi waited to transform the fallen lumber into planks and beams for use in rebuilding (or in too many cases, replacing) the buildings that had been damaged by the Biju's unexpected attack. The occasional Akimichi loomed over the forests as they used their clan Jutsu to help accelerate the clean-up, gathering entire trees like firewood while swarms of beetles sliced through branches that were barely still attached to the trees, sending them crashing to the ground to be collected.
Hatake Kakashi briefly removed his ANBU mask as he staggered back from the vast plain of shattered wreckage that had originally been a large forest and several districts of Konoha. Holding the scroll he had been tasked with delivering to the council, he took several deep breaths of the cooling night air and wiped away the runnels of perspiration that ran down the exposed portion of his face, then returned the cramic over-mask to its normal position.
Even though the area was filled with friendly shinobi, Kakashi's training cut in as he made his way towards his destination. His body language didn't show any trace of him being on an important mission with the potential to change all of Konoha, but instead he radiated the same exhaustion and tiredness as all those around him, thus letting him blend in without even needing the most subtle of genjutsu.
Finally, the noise of the clean-up and the beginnings of the reconstruction receded behind him, Kakashi dropped the cloak of his body language in favor of pure speed. Only a truly experienced Shinobi would have seen any trace of his tiredness in his smooth-yet-silent dash over the roofs of Konoha until he got close enough to the Hokage's tower to vanish in a Shunshin, leaving only a few short-lived leaves as a mark of his passing.
Only a truly astute observer who knew exactly where to look would have seen him vanish through the genjutsu-disguised trapdoor near the base of the tower.
Passing through one of the many secret entrances of the tower, one reserved for the ANBU, Kakashi moved through the secret passages silently, half-bent to ensure that he didn't accidently concuss himself on any of the beams in the low corridor. Although he was no longer trying to be stealthy, almost a decade of experience and reflex prevented him from making any noise and hard-earned combat experience kept his chakra signature muted. Reaching a well-oiled trapdoor set into an angled wall, he opened it slightly in preparation for a short-distance Shunshin that would place him exactly on the designated arrival point, then paused at the voice he heard from the council chamber below him.
"…and we have to move now. You heard our ally, the Hokage and the foreign bitch he married are both dead, and the kyuubi's sealed into Minato's brat. We'll be able to get all of those properties and those scrolls at last, just as soon as that demon-kid dies."
"But the child is apparently healthy." another voice said calmly. "And when Sarutobi recovers and reclaims the position of Hokage, he'll look after the kid. He'll either adopt it, or place it in a clan. We all know about our beloved-Hokage's last wishes about his bastard being seen as a hero."
Kakashi's exposed eye widened at the scorn and vitriol of the voices below, but he waited in silence as the conversation continued.
"The Slug-princess has left just as planned, thinking the brat's dead, but the Toad-sage is returning soon." a third voice said. "Whatever we plan to do, we need to do it fast. And in a deniable way."
"You do not need to worry." Danzo's voice purred and Kakashi's blood seemed to turn to ice. "My men are almost in position. Before sunrise, they'll have replaced the demon-child with the body of an orphan conveniently killed in the attack. The brat will become Konoha's secret weapon, an emotionless killer with the power of the Kyuubi and total loyalty to Konoha and only Konoha. And remember that according to legend, Bloodlimits are derived from jinchuurikis. Once the weapon hits puberty…"
Kakashi silently slid closed the hatch and backed away, suppressing his chakra as much as he could. The son of his sensei was in danger, and although he didn't recognize some of the voices, he knew of Danzo both personally and by reputation. The old man was a merciless war-hawk willing to sacrifice his own men for his vision of how Konoha should be, a man who had protested when Kakashi's Sensei had been granted the position of Hokage. The boy deserved better than what Danzo planned for him and he obviously wasn't going to get any help or mercy from here.
The cold air of the night snapped Kakashi out of his near-stupor and he glanced round, realizing that he didn't actually remember traversing the passageway out. Seeing no-one nearby, Kakashi accelerated to the field-hospital where he knew the newborn Naruto was sleeping, unaware that he was an orphan… and the possessor of a burden that could spark wars beyond imagining if word of his power leaked out.
The section of the field-hospital holding the son of the Yondaime was silent. Although any bystanders kept away from the ANBU operatives who were positioned around the tent, they were unaware that the masked shinobi were not loyal to the Hokage but owed their allegiance to another. Even as the masked shinobi stood guard, they knew that their presence would soon not be needed once their fellow-ROOT operative completed his mission inside the tent.
The man reaching into the cot froze as the blade erupted from his chest. Eyes wide, but empty, he slowly toppled to the floor as Kakashi retrieved his tanto and wiped it with a cloth before re-sheathing it without even a whisper. The infant stirred slightly and Kakashi used a low-level sleep-jutsu to send him deep into a dreamless sleep before looking round at the bodies of those who had died trying to take Naruto, and the two true members of ANBU who had died trying to defend him. Picking up the bag that the intruders had intended to use, Kakashi carefully picked up the swaddled child and gently placed him into the bag, padding him with rolls of cloth before closing it. Placing it on the table, he closed his eyes briefly and summoned a Kage Bunshin. Together, they rapidly collected the equipment they would need for Naruto, then the clone looked surprised as Kakashi passed over his headband, mask and several weapons pouches that had been looted from the corpses.
"We're headed out. We'll mark the trees for the chasers, just like a standard pursuit, but we'll split at the big rock. You go to the Valley of the End, throw round some serious jutsu and scatter these like it was a real fight, then dispel. I'll get Naruto somewhere safe."
"Agreed." the clone said, then it looked at the second bag the intruders had brought. Glancing into it, the clone paled, then picked it up and put the bag over its shoulder. Kakashi raised an eyebrow and the clone sighed.
"ROOT made a damn good choice with their victim, he looks almost exactly like Naruto. They even did a fake seal and whisker-lines. I'll take his body, whoever he really was, and burn it. The remains will make them think that you and he are both dead."
Kakashi nodded, suppressing surprise that his clone had thought of something that he had overlooked. "Okay. Let's go."
Both of them vanished into the night, ghosting past the ROOT operatives with such skill that not a single one of Danzo's followers had even the slightest clue that their plan had failed. It would not be for another half-hour that any of them would begin to wonder about how long the mission was taking and their discipline would keep them on-station until a group of high-level ANBU arrived with orders to transfer the boy to an orphanage.
As their orders did not cover what to do in that case, they tried to retreat.
Of all the decisions that they could have made, the only one that could have been worse was actually attacking the new arrivals.
Nara Shikaku let the corpse of the final infiltrator drop, the shadows he had used unwinding themselves and returning to their normal state. Glancing round, he noted that the other infiltrators had also fallen, save for the one who had been allowed to escape and was being shadowed by Jonin Hyuuga Hizashi who was using his Byakugan to keep track of where the fugitive was headed.
"Kamis-dammit!" A female voice yelled and the Clan Head of the Inuzukas almost ripped the tent flap as she stormed out. "I need a high-speed combat team! Kakashi's chasing another infiltrator who's got a high-level hostage!"
Shikaku glanced around and made a quick decision.
"Grab an Aburame and Hyuuga and move out! Maito! You good for heavy combat?"
The Taujutsu expert nodded, his normal exuberance completely absent and replaced by a cold, focused determination.
"Grab three more who you know are heavy hitters and move out!"
Even as he finished, Gai pointed to several shinobi, then set off after the trackers, the indicated fighters close on his heels.
As they raced through the wreckage that had once been a part of the walls of Konoha, Tsume choked and stumbled, as did her ninken.
"Tsume-sama?" The Aburame asked as Tsume staggered forwards, coughing and spluttering.
"Gyerk! Dammit, someone used a scent-bomb! My nose has gone numb…"
"Hatake-san left a sign." The Hyuuga chunin pointed to a tree where a triple-line was scored, having obviously been left by a trio of kunai held in one hand.
"My Kikkai are also affected by the scent to the point that they can only determine familiar scents and I do not have Hatake-san's." The Aburame Jonin reported, a slight hint of annoyance in his otherwise-calm voice. "We will have to rely on Hatake-san leaving a trail."
"Agreed." Kuromaru growled. "Let's get moving."
Tsume nodded in agreement with her partner.
Using the Kikkai that had landed on his hand as a reference point, Maito Gai and the trio of Heavy Assault Specialists raced through the woods, using branches as springboards to boost their progress. Although Gai could have moved almost half as fast again by himself, he was not so foolish as to believe that he could have completed the impromptu mission alone.
The Kikkai shifted slightly and Gai adjusted course accordingly, mentally thanking the Aburame ahead of them for his aid. Although Gai was trained as a tracker, he was nowhere near the levels that the Hyuuga, Inuzuka and Aburame clans regularly attained.
Not that he was annoyed by that fact.
Everyone had specialties and his was hand-to-hand combat. With his finely-honed skills, only a master of ninjutsu could equal him, such as his too-hip-and-too-cool friend and rival who was far ahead of them.
He only hoped that Kakashi would leave enough of the enemies alive for him to demonstrate his prowess.
The clone of Kakashi placed the corpse of the unknown boy upon a rock near the feet of the statue of Senju Hashirama's statue, then stepped back, throwing his ceramic mask aside so that it hit the cliff-face and cracked. With a sigh, the clone moved his hands to form several seals.
A stream of fire struck the corpse, causing the scent of burnt flesh to fill the air as part of the lower torso was incinerated. Stepping back, the clone bowed deeply.
"I thank you for your sacrifice. It will not be in vain."
For a long moment, the clone remained still, then he sighed.
"Ah well, I guess it's time to start making a scene."
A quick blur of hands caused several sprays of rock to erupt, smashing into the trees lining the valley, then the clone began moving around the area, unleashing fire techniques to create large burn marks, moving rocks to create areas that were promptly studded with kunai and shuriken, some of them wind-infused to allow them to pierce straight through. After several minutes and a couple of low-level lightning jutsu, the clone turned to face the statues.
"Almost out of chakra. Might as well finish with a bang…"
Inuzuka Tsume erupted from the treeline and landed in the middle of the valley, her clawed hands poised to attack or defend. After a long moment, she rose from her feral crouch and looked round, first to check for hostiles, then again to take in the sheer damage that had occurred.
"What the hell?" She muttered to herself, then her eye was caught by the small, burned corpse near the waterfall.