Bubbling Water Spiral

A Naruto fanfiction

By LackeyH

Episode Three.

O o O o O o O o O o O o O o O o O o O o O o O o O o O o O o O o O o O o

"I heard you were looking for me Hokage-sama." It wasn't hard to miss the disrespect evident in the tone of Anko's voice. Heck, even if she hadn't spoken it would be hard to miss. Her entire body language seemed to be screaming 'screw you' as loud as humanely possible. Louder even.

Tsunade sent the special jounin a flat glare, one that slid off of her like a skate over ice. "Do you always eavesdrop on conversations?" She asked, feeling somewhat irritated that she hadn't noticed the woman until now. "I would have thought someone of your level would have a better grasp on basic manners and courtesy."

"Eh." Anko shrugged. "I dun' give a damn about manners, and you can shove courtesy where the sun don't shine for all I care." Sliding up to where everyone was gathered, Anko raised her lip in a slight sneer. "And if you must know Hokage-sama," She drawled, sarcasm dripping from every word, and motioned towards the two guards. "I was just coming over to give these two numbnuts a surprise inspection... Which they failed by the way."

The two guards groaned, being failed by Anko usually meant punishment. Running around the village until they collapsed from exhaustion for example, or perhaps having to act as sparring partners for Anko herself. Worst of all though, she could send them off to one of Gai's monthly poetry readings in her place... Whilst no-one could butcher the spoken language as badly as that man, his general personality made the experience so much more horrifying.

Talk about cruel and unusual.

Ignoring them both, Tsunade spun on one heel and stomped back into her office, pausing only to glare at Anko and give her a rather sharp order to follow. Naruto scooted out of her way in order to avoid being knocked down, he knew the look on the Fifth's face. It was the sort of look that said 'get in my way and I'll use you as a welcome mat'. Evidently Anko had a knack for peeving her off, a knack which he himself was actually pretty glad not to have. As the black-haired special Jounin followed Tsunade in, past Naruto, the genin scooted back somewhat more. The Fifth may have been the stronger and more deadly of the two women but, damn it, Anko was by far the scariest.

And she was supposed to be...

He must have done something truly awful in a past life in order to deserve this, or else he had really pissed off whatever dieties were around.

Throwing the two guards an worried look, and getting somewhat sympathetic ones in reply, he followed the two women into the Hokage's office.

"Poor kid," Murmured one of the guards. "Even he doesn't deserve to be stuck with those two right now."

"You said it man, you said it."

"Still... better him than us, right?"

O o O o O o O o O o O o O o O o O o O o O o O o O o O o O o O o O o O o


Naruto, deciding for once that not being the center of attention right now would be a damn good thing, held his breath as he backed away from where Anko stood screaming. His objective was clear, the small door which connected the Hokage's office to the Hokage's living quarters. From there he could escape through the living quarters door, into the main corridor and down the stairs to the main reception and blessed freedom.

Unfortunately for him, however, Anko and Tsunade were both very high level ninja. Which of course meant that he had barely moved two steps towards the door before the both of them turned to glare at him. Tsunade wasn't angry with him in particular, but she'd be damned if she was going to let Naruto get out of this room when she herself could not.

Anko, on the other hand, was angry at him. Well no, actually she was angry at a variety of things which, unfortunately, were well out of her reach when it came to the idea of revenge. Thus the bulk of her rage was being directed at both Naruto and Tsunade - simply because they were the only two people present.

"There is no goddamn way this is real!" Anko yelled, slamming the document she had been holding onto Tsunade's desk. An act which, incidentally, sent a whole mess of other paperwork crashing to the floor.

Glaring at the stricken pile of paper, which she knew Shizune was going to make her clear up later, Tsunade ground her teeth in fury.

"This is a real as it damn-well gets." She half-snarled, "He matches and you match."

"It's a mistake, some stupid accident." Came the, also snarling, reply.

"These results are in triplicate," Pointed out the older of the two women. "Unless they screwed up in the exact same way three times, then they're completely accurate."

Anko took a step back then, her anger being replaced by a mix of confusion and more than a little fear. "but..." she began. "That's not..."

Tsunade sighed. She knew, vaguely at least, of Anko's background and had already guessed how things would proceed. Anger, rejection of the truth, denial... the whole nine yards as it were.

"He doesn't even look like -" Tried Anko, before Tsunade cut her off with a raised hand.

"Doesn't matter." She stated, "Regressive genes, genetic drift and mutation, side-effect of the sealing used as a child. There are hundreds of reasons why he doesn't have much resemblance. None of them, however, can deny the one single truth."

Naruto grimaced from his spot behind the two women. He hadn't exactly understood what Tsunade had meant. But he wasn't too happy about the way things were proceeding at all.

"Mitarashi Anko." Tsunade stated, her voice quiet. "That is your son. Uzumaki Naruto."

O o O o O o O o O o O o O o O o O o O o O o O o O o O o O o O o O o O o

Anko stumbled out of Tsunade's office, barely aware of the two guards who scrambled to get out of her way. At some point she managed to navigate her way down more than a few flights of stairs without, and this was an important point, actually realizing she had come across any. Behind her trailed the somewhat shocked form of Uzumaki Naruto, who was still in possession of most of his rational thoughts since he'd worked off the bulk of the shock when he himself had found out earlier.

Uzuma... no. Mitarashi Naruto? That sounded weird, too weird, weird and scary no less. His mother, confirmed via the oh so helpful staff of the Konoha genetics research department, was the freakiest, most insane, crazy and bloodthirsty kunoichi in all the village!

"So... uh..." he began, somewhat hesitantly once they'd cleared the entrance to the hokage tower. "What, uhm, what now?"

Anko twitched and turned to stare at him. She took in every aspect of his looks, from the grubby orange outfit he wore to the mess that was his hair. She twitched again, fighting the urge to do something stupid like, perhaps, going and getting blind stinking drunk. Actually, a drink sounded like a good idea. Maybe something to eat too, she still hadn't actually had her lunch yet.

"Food." She growled, "Food and drink and then... then..." the special jounin trailed off. Then what? She couldn't just leave the kid, not with the hokage keeping an eye on the both. Such action was bound to land her in deeper shit than she was already in. "... then... we go... catch up?" She suggested at last, her voice sounding perhaps a little more strained than she had wanted.

"That..." began Naruto, "That sounds... good. I guess." He risked smiling at the older woman before suggesting his favorite foodstuff. "Ramen?"

"Nuh-uh." Denied Anko, shaking her head. "Dango. Dango and Juice."

"Ramen." Came the response.

"Dango." Came an even quicker reply.

Then the two grinned at each other.

"Ramen AND dango!" They declared together, each facing the other and thoroughly freaking out more than a few innocent bystanders.

O o O o O o O o O o O o O o O o O o O o O o O o O o O o O o O o O o O o

"Mmf. Thish dango ish, un, pretty good!" Mumbled Naruto, who was busy stuffing his face with the rice-flour treats.

"Eh, 's not as nice as the good stuff. But that's hella' expensive. Y'know?" Muttered his partner in eating, Anko. Who was mildly peeved at having to pay for everything she and Naruto had eaten. Well, what Naruto had eaten anyway, her own meal had been like a drop of water when compared to the oceans of ramen that Naruto had devoured. Still, it hadn't been too bad... the kid was enough like her to have some common ground - even if it was just on the subject of how best to annoy everyone around them.

"I guess..." whined the young genin. "But you're a jounin! You get tons of cash for the missions you do!"

"Ah, special jounin." Corrected the woman, "That means we only get jounin pay when we do what we're good at. For everything else, it's just chuunin pay." She sighed and shrugged her shoulders. "Not that i expect you to know that, special jounin isn't exactly an option they tell you about in the academy."

"Why not? It doesn't sound too bad to me..." For a moment Naruto wondered what to say next, then he brightened up as a thought came to him. "So what are you good at then, huh?"

Anko merely grinned at him, and it wasn't a particularly reassuring grin either. "Assassination." She stated, "Assassination and intimidation. I'm the gal they call up to scare seven shades of shit outta the enemy. The idea is to scare 'em so silly they give up on the spot without a fight, and if that fails... then I slaughter everyone in charge." As she talked a manic gleam was developing in her eyes, the sort that Naruto generally took as a signal to slowly back away. "There was this one time, a few years ago, when I scared the crap outta the grass countries lord, this was before they had a real ninja village see, and I was supposed to be helping to convince him to let us bootstrap one up from the wandering clans they had there."

Glancing at the boy beside her, and seeing him torn between running in fear and wanting to hear what happened next, Anko decided to continue with her talk. "See, most ninja villages pop up when a bunch of independent ninja clans get together and decide to join forces." She paused and thought for a moment. "It's kinda like having the Nara, Yamanaka and mebbe the Akimichi just wandering into each other one day and saying, 'hey, lets all live here, no-one could beat all three of us', only on a larger scale."

"Ooooooh!" Exclaimed Naruto, waving his arms about somewhat. "I get it! So you were there to get the Grass country lord to, er..." He paused, somewhat embarrassed. "... I don't get it." He admitted finally, his arms dropping to his sides. "I mean... I kinda guess Konoha wanted the grass village to be made, so you were there to help get a bunch of the clans to set one up... but I don't get why... Isn't another ninja village a bad thing?"

"Not when it's right between Stone and us it's not." Came the reply, "You know we were at war with them for quite a while, yeah? Well the idea was to put a 'buffer' in between us and them. We'd been getting reports that a bunch o' renegades - cloud and mist missing-nin mostly - were ganging up with the locals to build a village of their own in Rain country, so that place was pretty much left to it's own things. Anyway, the high-ups figured that if we seeded a village in grass country, then any invading stone force would have to fight their way through them and Rain first, meaning we'd get plenty of warning, time to prepare and a bunch of allies too." Feeling a little peckish, even after the meal the two had just eaten, Anko glanced over at the two sticks of dango Naruto had left. "So, uh, I'll tell ya more if ya give me one of them sticks, yeah?"

The genin frowned at her. "You had your own!" he exclaimed, turning to shield his remaining dango from... from... "eh!" His dango had gone! Both sticks had just vanished! Gone without a trace from his hand, stolen from his grip like...

Wait a minute...

"OI! Gimme back my Dango!" He yelled, whirling around to face Anko again. Sure enough she was now in possession of two stick of dango... well, one and a half now, given that she'd already begun to chow down on one of them. "You had your own!" he whined.

"Yeah, and don't forget who paid for yours! And your ramen! You musta cost me a weeks pay on that lunch alone!" Anko roared, before promptly sutffing both sticks of dango in her mouth. "Anf i fould fe graful if i waf oo!" She managed to say around the sweet dumplings before finally managing to swallow. "You're even getting the honor of hearing about my adventures as a kid!"

"Pfff. Yeah, right." Grumbled the blond genin. "You probably just hid behind your teacher aaaaall the way through. Didn't you!" He accused, causing Anko to turn red with rage.

"The hell I did!" She yelled, before taking a savage bite out of what was left of Naruto's, now her, dango. "Oro-sama never let me hide behind-" She paused and slapped one hand over her mouth, realizing what she'd just said in anger. "Shit." She moaned under it.

"Oro... sama?" There was silence for a few moments. Then Naruto practically exploded. "Gyah! You mean that freaky snake guy was your teacher!" He frowned. "No wonder you're so creepy and crazy. Huh. And I thought you were just insane or something." Anko's eye twitched as Naruto continued. "What with the freaky outfit, and that creepy cutting thing you did before the exam, and that entrance of yours... Though that was pretty cool, it was still crazy!"

Anko twitched some more. "Kid... If you don't shut up," She growled, "I'ma gonna have to ram a couple of my kunai where it hurts. Understand? And then I'll follow it up with a sharp iron enema just to make sure you don't ever think of insulting your dear, sweet, mother like that again."

"Bah! You're about as dear and sweet as a lemon! How could any mother treat their son like that?" Accused the young genin in response.

Anko stumbled, the boy's statement hitting her like a hammer to the brain. How could any mother treat her son like that? How could she? If Naruto really was her lost son, and frankly she still held some rather serious doubts about that, then how could she have threatened to... ? She'd spent years, years, mourning the 'loss' of her son, claiming how awesome a parent she would have been. Every day she'd had to live with the stares of the old women who had said that nothing good would come of her having a child with...

Old women who'd been proven right when her son had been declared dead after the Kyuubi attack.

Old women who'd been proven right once more when he'd left her, running away from everything he had held dear and leaving her alone.

Old women who, if they had been watching now, would have been proved right a third time. She, Mitarashi Anko, the failure of a mother who had been presented with the person who could be her supposedly dead son, had just threatened to fill him with various sharp objects in places they really didn't belong.

Maybe the old women were right about everything else she was too.

"I'm sorry..." She whispered, looking away from Naruto. "I didn't really... I mean... I don't..."

The boy in question glanced as the older woman, who only a few moments ago had been, as Gai would put it, 'a prideful shinobi of the leaf', practically collapsed in on herself. "... hey," He ventured after a few moments of silence. "Hey... you, you want to keep telling your story?" he suggested. "It... it sounded really cool!" He practically bounced on the floor, "I want to hear what you did! I... I mean, you must have succeeded, right? 'cuz I know there is a grass village since they were at the exam! So how'd you do it, huh? Huh?"

Anko stared at Naruto for a few moments, then smirked slightly, standing back up into her usual cocky posture. "Damn right I did!" She exclaimed, privately thankful that the boy didn't seem to want to make an issue of her sudden and rather minor guilt trip. Well, minor when compared to some she'd had, which usually ended with her getting so drunk that she couldn't remember how she got home, let alone what she had been angsting over. So what if Naruto was her kid, it wasn't that bad right? At least he was, as kids went, pretty kickass.

Oh sure, he had the whole... kyuubi... thing, but that wasn't too bad. Especially when compared to some of the things her teacher had done - at least Naruto hadn't gone off the deep end and slaughtered anyone.

At least, he hadn't gone and slaughtered anyone and been discovered. Being discovered was the important bit there, until then he was just like any other ninja kid more or less.

"So, anyway," She began after a moment, hesitating only slightly over what she was about to say, "Oro-sama had come up with this great plan to convince the guy. See, whilst he and a few men negotiated, I'd gone off and hired a few people from the local ninja clans and, basically, we attacked the place." Anko smirked viciously for a moment as she let it sink into Naruto's head.

"Wait... you... attacked the guy you were trying to convince?" The genin frowned for a minute, "But there were some people who weren't part of the... Ooooh! I get it!" Naruto beamed up at the older woman. "It was a trick! Right? Right?"

"Heh, yup. A pretty damn good trick. We attacked while Oro-sama and the guys who had stayed with him defended the Grass Lord. The clincher was when I skipped past everyone and got, like, almost nose-to-nose with the fat man and hit him point blank with one of the fear jutsu I knew." The special-jounin cackled, causing Naruto - and everyone else within hearing distance - to back away somewhat. "Poor guy didn't know what hit him! Crapped himself silly! 'course... then Oro-sama hit me one in the head and knocked me out... but hey! The moment we got removed from the room they Grass Lord was practically begging to have us help set up a village in the country!"

Again Naruto frowned for a moment, "So," He began after a while, "Oro... " the boy paused for a moment, unwilling to say that name. "... your teacher set up a demonstration? To show just how vital a shinobi could be, especially if they were on his side. Right?"

"Eh," Came the reply, "Pretty much. Didn't quite work out how we planned it though, since those bastards that run the Grass village soon stabbed us in the back and decided they'd rather be allies of Stone..." Anko snorted in irritation, "Lousy traitors. Still, at least Rain are on our side - which is good. Got some of the best damn builders in the world over in Rain, most of the construction repair work here is being done by some of 'em that got sent over."

"Aren't you worried they could be spies or something?" Naruto asked, "It's not like anyones guards any of the builders or anything..."

"Eh, not really. Out of all the other villages, Rain is probably the closest ally we have, though when it comes to something like this... Physically their village isn't strong enough to help us much and support themselves at the same time." Anko shrugged, "but hey, anything that keeps me from having to do any building myself is good in my book. The reason we can trust 'em is simple - Their current leader just so happened to be the Third's younger brother. There's been more than a few treaties sealed by inter-village marriages with 'em and they know it."

Naruto pondered this piece of information for a few moments. "... you can get married to someone in another village? Isn't that kinda... stupid?"

"Eh, yeah, it is." Came the reply, "But it's the best option to ensure a bit peace treaty or the like stays sealed. It's also a common punishment for villages which lose a war too. Back when the war with the Stone ended, we took more than a few of their best ninja in exchange for not wiping 'em off the map." The older woman smirked slightly then, "They were probably expecting execution, that's the usual thing some villages do, but instead we left 'em alive, and set some of our most eligible singles on 'em. By about the third month after they came in, half of 'em were planning marriages and the other half had either died trying to escape or were living as ex-ninja." Suddenly turning to the left, and almost knocking Naruto over as she did so, Anko began to lead the blonde genin down a series of back alleys and tiny walkways. "You better be remembering this, or you'll get lost in minutes." She stated, earning a nod of assent from the boy behind her.

Eventually the two of them reached a little building which, for all intents and purposes, appeared to be suspended some distance above the ground. From what Naruto could see it was hanging from several thick steel cables that were connected to the buildings that surrounded it.

"Well, this is home. Like it?"

O o O o O o O o O o O o O o O o O o O o O o O o O o O o O o O o O o O o

Authors notes:

La la la la... lookie. I wrote something. Go me.

XD I'm not dead! I'm not dead!

Betrothal seems to be on an almost permanent haitus here, since every time i sit down to look at it... i... end up... doing something else instead. Such as chapter 2 of Tenten's bizzare adventure - which is shaping up to be another 10,000+ word behemoth like chapter 1 was. Eesh.

Chapter 4 of this is working, along with two one-shots i have moving along and a possible challenge-fic i'm gonna be setting out. Hrm. HA! I should challenge myself to write more betrothal. Ugh. Maybe then i'd get some done.

PS: Stop asking me to write lemons dammit. Or i'll write you the most godawfully twisted lemon imaginable - then you'll be sorry you asked, Mwahahaahah!

LackeyH - Pondering the ponderations pondered by such ponderers as Shizune. Because she's obviously up to something...