AN: Well this is my second shot at a multichapter naruto fic. I hope you guys will enjoy this and it not ending up like my last naruto fic ( deleted it after reading it again didnt realise it sucked so bad. well at least it was to me. Haha)
Summary: Naruto returns 3 years after training with Jiraiya with a new look and new weapons to his arsenal. Excited yet with a heavy heart, dreading having to face off once again with the person he sees as a brother he steps into Konoha not knowing that things have not turned out the way he thought it would be when he left. A Naruto fic with influences fromvarious animes. not a crossover though.
Will of the Flame
Will of the Flame
Chapter 1 :
Return to Telling
On this particular afternoon a lone figure was spotted sitting at the Hokage monument. The said figure in fact was sitting on the head of the Yondaime. One leg dangling of the edge swinging back and forth as if it was the fringe of the Yondaime blowing in the wind. The other leg propped up close to the figure's body in turn propping up his forearm on which the figure's head was resting on his open palm. His head was tilted slightly to the side with a faraway look on his face as he gazed down at the village where he once belonged to before he left. Such an expression on his face giving him the look of innocence if one was to look only on the surface. Once the wind blows his blonde hair aside and one was to look deep into his clear blue eyes one will see an intensity that comes with a lot of hardship pain and emotional scarring.
The figure looks down at head he was sitting on and lets out a sigh.
" It's been three years ne, Otou-san? since i last saw you," said the figure chuckling in a sad manner. " though that time i didn't know."
The figure shifted his gaze to the head on the right of the one he was sitting on.
" Ne, Oyaji why didn't you tell me? I would have done anything to have known. I guess I can't blame you. You are dead, can't say anything and I'm sure you had your reasons."
The figure then turned to look to his left and started laughing.
"Well i have to pity the both of you. not only the both of you are dead but you are stuck right next to Ba-chan's ugly mug especially you Otou-san," said the figure throwing his head back in hearty laughter.
Rustling of leaves cut the figure's quiet time with the dead kages as other person made his appearance. The seated figure looked back to see a tall man with long bushy white hair appeared out of the vegetation into the clearing of the monument.
"Naruto, it's time to head into the village," said the tall man by the name of Jiraiya, one of the Legendary Sannin. Naruto's face lit up and grinned at his sensei.
"Finally i get to see Ba-chan, Shizune-nechan, Sakura-chan and the rest of my friends again!" said Naruto doing a little jump and punching his fist in the air in a display of joy and excitement.
Jiraiya looked at his student in amusement. For all the changes he went through be it physically or mentally parts of him clung on like a leech. As the saying goes, the more things change the more remains the same. Naruto has definitely grown taller. From being the shortest guy in his class at the height of 1.45 metres tall to 1.6 metres tall he was far from towering people but has grown considerably. His hair still continues to defy gravity sticking out in unruly long blonde spikes. Though it had the tendency droop down. For example his fringe covering his eyes at times especially when tying his forehead protector in haste as he did before arriving in Konoha. His face had lost his baby fat and had a more angular masculine look to it. The features on his face have sharpen so had the whisker-like marks giving him a feral look when his expression matched the intensity that was in his eyes. Despite the intensity, the clarity in his eyes has never left him showing his determination, resolve and control. His taste in clothes had changed as well. He was involved in different environments and was exposed to a lot more things and situations. He has opted for wearing black baggy pants tapered right above his ankles by dark orange drawstrings held secure with a similar dark orange cloth belt, a weapon holster secured on his right thigh, dark brown sandals replacing his blue ones and a black fitting sleeveless round collared shirt. As much as that did for his image that isn't all. Currently he also donned a long dark blue baggy robe open and untied covering his body to his feet. At the back of the robe a bright orange spiral has been embroidered at the spot in between his shoulder blades. Together with a katana and wakizashi forming a daisho tucked at the left side of his cloth belt and a pair of forearm protectors he sported a look synonymous to the samurai of the Daimyou of the Fire country. Under all that clothing his body haf matured to a small build still. However it was lean and chiselled from the years he spent working with the ways of the sword. His current childish display of innocent joy although unbecoming of his status as a ninja or a samurai just goes to reinforce the fact of how much he has changed and how much he has remained the same.
"Hai hai. lets hurry then. its a long way down from here through the vegetation to the village." said Jiraiya.
"Hurry you say Ero-sennin?" replied Naruto with a mischievous look on his face. Reaching into his weapon holster he pulled out a queer looking kunai and waved it at his sensei. Jiraiya's eyes widened at the sudden realisation of what Naruto was about to do. Naruto grinning at his sensei threw the kunai past him. Right before Jiraiya could say anything to stop him Naruto disappeared from his sight leaving Jiraiya wanting to pull his white hair out in frustration.
"Argh! I'm going to get you for leaving me alone after coming here to accompany you back to the village!" Jiraiya screamed. Taking a breath to calm himself down he muttered to himself. "Should have never taught that brat the principles of that jutsu."
About a hundred metres before the appearance of the gates of Konoha Jiraiya finally caught up to Naruto. There he was waiting patiently leaning on a tree, his left leg bent with his foot planted on the trunk, arms tucked into his robe and his head leaning back trying to blow his hair out of his face. Naruto seeing his sensei has arrived uses his foot to push himself into an upright position. Naruto then quickly fell in step with his sensei heading towards Konoha's gates.
"Why are you so slow? Getting to old for this shit Ero-sennin?" asked Naruto annoyingly as he grinned at his sensei walking side by side.
"Che! First thing this old man is going to do when we get back to the village is to persuade Tsunade to put up an announcement for Ichiraku to ban you from buying ramen," Jiraiya huffed in mock annoyance. Naruto gasped.
"After that stunt you pulled i am definitely tempted to! How dare you leave me up there alone? What if i was attacked by a mob of lusty scantily clad women? there is no telling what they would do!" With the last statement Jiraiya's expression went from mock annoyance to perverted. Naruto could see him drooling together with a slight nosebleed and a faraway look in his eyes.
"Che! Keep dreaming!" Naruto retorted sticking his nose up in the air, his turn sporting the look of mock annoyance. After 3 years of constantly being around his sensei he has come to accept the perverted nature of the man. He used to be angry at how a person could be so degrading to women. However after a certain incident he has come to realise the fact that was how his sensei copes with his loneliness and at the same time an extreme expression in his appreciation towards the opposite sex. Something suddenly hit Naruto in his mind. Talking about the opposite sex got Naruto thinking about Sakura and that got him thinking of Sasuke and his promise to the girl. That immediately got him into a somber mood.
"Ne Sensei," Naruto started. Jiraiya's head snapped in Naruto's direction with speed threatening to give him a neck ache for a couple of days. Naruto rarely called him sensei. Only when he was bothered and had difficulty discussing something serious.
"Its been 3 years already. Do you think we have enough time to..." Naruto trails off as Jiraiya predicts he would be having a hard time vocalising his thoughts. Jiraiya nods understanding what his student is getting at.
"Don't worry. From what I know of the jutsu we have sufficient time to sought him and the snake bastard out before he can claim what he perceives is to be his," stated Jiraiya. He sees Naruto's shoulders sag slightly.
"You know even though I'm really excited about coming home, a part of me is dreading it," Naurto said hesitantly. Jiraiya nods once again.
"I understand. It's not that you don't want to come home but you know coming home means the time to fulfilling your promise is near and that means you will face off with Sasuke yet again. That is what you are dreading. As much as you two bicker i know that you care for him like a brother," Jiraiya said quietly in a rare fatherly manner coming from him. Naruto just nods not saying anything and keeping his eyes downcast.
"Look we are here already," Jiraiya said pointing to the gates just metres away from them. "We'll take it step by step. Worry about it when you actually have to do it. we won't know how things will turn out."
Getting their clearance from the guards and walking into the village the duo have no idea how true what Jiraiya had just said.
On this particular afternoon one could also see another blonde, female this time, hunched over behind a desk scribbling away almost covered from sight by stacks of paper. The Godaime runs her fingers through her hair and lets out a sigh.
"People wouldn't think such a glamorous job such as being the Hokage would consist mainly of fights with paper," said Tsunade putting down her pen and pushing herself back as she leans back on her chair. Chuckles could be heard from one of the two figures flanking her assisting with the paper work. On her right would be Shizune, fellow medic nin personal assistant to Tsunade and a long time friend. On her left would be Sakura a promising apprentice already surpassing her expectations that she held for the girl. Already the young girl turning 16 is coming close to what Tsunade was in her prime with added abilities in her arsenal which Tsunade didn't have in her time.
"Now now Tsunade-sama. Are you about to create another excuse for you shirk on your responsibility?" said Shizune quirking an eyebrow at the Hokage. Tsunade crossed her arms sticked her nose up in the air snorting in indignance.
"Hn. What's wrong with taking a little break?"
"Nothing unless the little break lasts almost the entire day Hokage-sama," added Sakura letting out a snicker. Tsunade glared at her apprentice. Sakura backed a bit holding her hands up however started gigling.
"Well you do have a reputation of doing that," said Sakura now hands covering her mouth trying to stifle the giggle from exploding into outright laughter.
"Well that is true," said Shizune nodding in a sagely manner. Tsunade's already crossed arms tightened around her huge bosom and closed her eyes in a display of refusal to admit to their playful accusations.
"Che! Now both of you are ganging up on me," retorted Tsunade.
Before any of the 3 could carry on with the conversation a loud knock on the entrance on the office was heard.
"Come in!" shouted Tsunade. Following the command the door opened and the chunnin on desk duty entered.
"Hokage-sama you have two visitors saying they are old friends and family," said the chunnin giving Tsunade a slight bow. Tsunade's eyes widened.
"Could it be...?" Tsunade trailed off. The chunnin gave a small knowing smile and nodded his head.
"It is as you have expected Hokage-sama," replied the chunnin.
"Let them in," said Tsunade hurriedly barely able to contain her excitement. The Chunnin left closing the door. Only a moment later the door reopened admitting Jiraiya in showing to Tsunade that he hasn't changed over the past 3 years. Jiraiya grinned at Tsunade and took a step to the side to show the person trailing behind him. Naruto took a couple of steps to the centre of the room. With a flick of his hands he flared his robe apart further. In a swift practised motion he bent to one knee, crossing his right arm to place his palm at the end of the hilt of his katana, his left hand close to a fist on the ground by his side and his head bent down low in an elaborate display of trust and respect towards the Hokage.
"I have returned, Hokage-sama," said Naruto solemnly.
This fancy show definitely got the attention of the people in the room with various reactions. Jiraiya was chuckling as if he expected this. Tsunade was seated upright stiff with her face twitching in various places in an obvious attempt to contain whatever emotions that is running through her from showing. Sakura had her hands gripped on the table with her eyes wide open and mouth gaping in shock and disbelief. She kept switching glances between Naruto and Shizune trying to get reassurance of the reality at hand. Shizune was scratching her head lightly with a look on her face which shows that she was unsure of what to make of this. As the twitching ceased Tsunade stood up and walked around to the front of her desk. She narrowed her eyes and stared intensely at Jiraiya.
"When we agreed to allow you to leave with the brat to train him I don't remember either of us mentioning turning him into a pompous samurai Jiraiya," said Tsunade. Her eyes looked up in thought and she continued.
"Though he was already pompous to begin with."
Jairaiya couldn't help but guffaw at what Tsunade said. Sakura still looked like a fish out of water however now the glances alternate between everyone in the room. Shizune was now scratching her head with both her hands even more bewildered. Naruto still had his head down. However it can be seen that his body is trembling slightly trying to maintain being in character to the image that his was portraying at the moment.
"Bah! I come back showing that i have changed and matured and the first thing that baka ba-chan does is to mock me! I'll show her pompous!" thought Naruto in indignance.
However before Naruto could do anything to react he felt a pair of arms wrap around and pulling him close gently into a very warm embrace. He felt a light pressure on top of his head followed by a feeling of wetness on his scalp shocking him into momentary paralysis. While Naruto was in his thoughts, Tsuanade had bridged the short distance between them and got down on her knees to bring her to his level and enveloped him in an embrace while resting her head on top of his shedding a few tears.
"I missed you Naruto," said Tsunade in a voice filled with deep tender emotions followed by tightening her arms slightly trying to get Naruto even closer to her. Jiraiya seeing Tsunade showing the rare expression of her sisterly affections towards the young man went to close the door behind them to give them some privacy. As the shock subsided for Naruto he circled his arms around Tsunade returning the hug. He too shedding a few tears unseen by the rest. Sakura's expression softened at the heart-warming scene and Shizune could be seen wiping a tear off the corner of her eyes both knowing what the two mean to each other. Jiraiya after closing the door looked back giving a warm smile of his own to the pair in the centre of the room. Everyone remained in that manner in silence for a couple of minutes.
Soon the pair released each other and got up to their feet. Tsunade made her way back behind the desk and sat down. Likewise Naruto and Jiraiya retrieved chairs to get seated in front of the Hokage and her 2 companions. After being seat, for the first time in 3 years Naruto and Sakura made eye contact. Sakura gave warm smile and a slight nod that showed more was to come in catching up once they were in a more private setting. Naruto gave his usual in reply. His hand retreating to the back of his head and grinned wide at Sakura. As everyone settled down, Tsunade leaned forward elbows on her desk palms together in wonder and she stared at the both of them.
"Explain Jiraiya," she said simply. In return Jiraiya had a glint of excitement in his eyes.
"Ah! Before i say anything though about why he is dressed and trained in such a manner, i suggest you take a look at the swords that Naruto wields. It might just do all the explaining for me," said Jiraiya. He looked at Naruto and nodded towards Tsunade.
"Hai, Ero-sennin," said Naruto sharply. He stood up, smoothly removed his pair of swords from his waist and gingerly placed the pair on Tsunade's table. Tsunade glanced down at the swords. At first glance it looks like a regular daisho set. Everything about it was black. The only difference was the way the different parts shine due to the different materials used to make the swords. Jiraiya noticing the slight skepticism on Tsunade's face cleared his throat and nodded to the swords.
"Unsheathe them," Jiraiya said the glint in his eye even more evident. Tsunade raised an eyebrow at Jiraiya and looked at the swords again. Adjusting herself to sit upright, she reached forward and picked up the katana. Holding the sheath in 1 hand and the hilt in the other preparing to unsheathe it unsure what she might see. She took another look at both Jiraiya and Naruto. The glint in Jiraiya's eye had intensified bordering the line of impatience uncharacteristic of the man and Naruto was already fidgeting with excitement and impatience typical of the brat. Taking in a breath she exerted pressure on the sword and unsheathed it half way. What she saw almost caused her to drop the sword. Hands trembling she looked at the sword with a tinge of regret sadness and fear.
"This is..." Tsunade trailed off shakily glancing at Jiraiya. Jiraiya simply nodded once while from the corner of her eye she could see Naruto's head bopping up and down vigorously. Tsunade resheathed the katana hurriedly putting it down and reached for the wakizashi immediately unsheathing it. Looking at the second blade just reconfirmed her thoughts. The difference between this pair and regular pairs was that the blades weren't shining metallic silver. However it was matte black with kanji engraved on each blade. The kanji for Love on the katana and Courage for the wakizashi. This was the pair of swords that was secretly sent to the Daimyou of the Fire country for safe keeping about close to 16 years ago. Sakura and Shizune blinked at the swords, at the nodding male heads and finally Tsunade. They were definitely out of the loop.
"This is?" Sakura said trying to get an understanding of what was going on. A sudden snap of the wakizashi being sheathed caused Sakura to jerk back. Placing the wakizashi down Tsunade turned to look at her apprentice not surprised at the lost look she saw on her face. Though when she looked at Shizune she was quite surprised to see the same look on her friend's face. Even though the location of the swords was kept highly confidential the existence of the swords was common knowledge of that era. In fact having read through numerous reports made by the Sandaime, there were many incidences where attempts have been made to locate and steal the swords within Konoha. She would have thought Shizune would have at least heard about the pair.
"This pair of swords is called the Flame of the Leaf. They once belonged to the Yondaime. Although he never used it, he had it forged for a specific purpose. Engraved on the swords as you saw earlier are the kanji for Love and Courage which are the 2 principles in which the Yondaime believed 1 must have in order to carry out the will of fire that he saw in his family his comrades his friends and his people," said Tsunade in a tell tale manner. Jiraya nodded once again in agreement. However this time round Naruto had a faraway look with a bittersweet smile on his face which didn't go unnoticed by Tsunade. She saw Shizune's face light up in recognition and she smiled at her friend nodding. Turning back to Sakura she saw that her apprentice was further confused. Sakura was smart and didn't miss out much on what Tsunade left out.
"That would mean the purpose was never his to fulfil and what is this purpose? you definitely sound like you know what it is and why is it with Naruto now when he wasn't even born when the swords were forged?" asked Sakura trying to elevate her confusion. Naruto stiffened at the questions and looked nervously at both Sakura and Tsunade. Tsunade was silent for a moment trying to weigh the situation. She let out a sigh and kept her eyes at Naruto with a pained compassionate expression while she gave her reply to Sakura without any eye contact.
"Yes I do have the answers to your questions. As much as I want you to know it is not my place to tell it to you."
Sakura seeing her sensei looking at Naruto in that particular manner she place her eyes on Naruto with a concerned frown. Naruto continues to fidget and shrunk into his seat under their scrutiny.
"Thinking back on the past Naruto has always been boisterous and happy-go-lucky in his mannerisms. However he never really talks that much about himself other than his love for ramen and his dream to be Hokage. Also he has tendencies to go moody at times. I wonder how all this has to do with Naruto?" thought Sakura
Tsunade cleared her throat snapping everyone including Sakura out of their thoughts and giving Tsunade their attention.
"Alright enough of this. Jiraiya from what I see I understand why there is reluctance in explaining your travels with Naruto. You don't have to. However.." She pointed straight at Naruto causing him to widen his eyes in surprise. "You will submit a detailed report on your travels with this pervert over here leaving nothing of importance out. I want facts and figures. None of your rubbish stories created by your inflated..." Tsunade trailed of again when she noticed Jiraiya laughing hard almost falling out of his chair and Sakura giggling uncontrollably. Tsunade's eyebrow twitched in irritation.
"What is it this time?" asked Tsunade, horribly annoyed.
"Have you even seen the brat's handwriting?" said Jiraiya slapping his thigh as he goes into another round of hard laughter.
"Ne, Jiraya-sama. I wouldn't call it handwriting. It's... more... like... chicken.. scratch..." Sakura added in between giggles. Naruto looked down hands gripping on his robe mumbling expletives to himself. Tsunade turned to Sakura and gave her a sickeningly sweet smile.
"UH-OH!" exclaimed inner Sakura recognising that smile.
"Well my dear apprentice. Since you have had experience in reading his.. scratches... you have the honour of deciphering his... script...when i am having difficulty in reading it," Tsunade said sweetly with an evil gleam in her eyes. Sakura looked sick.
"AWW CRAP! LOOK WHAT YOU GOT YOURSELF INTO!" screamed inner Sakura.
"NO!" shouted Naruto and Sakura together. They turned and looked at each other frowning.
"SHUT UP!" they screamed at each other in unison yet again pointing fingers at each other. They then narrowed eyes at each other and simultaneously jerked away from each other's sight crossing their arms and letting out a loud "HN!" the mimicking of each other giving the rest in the room some comic relief.
"Alright enough. Hope you both learn from this! Sakura stop making fun of Naruto."
"HAH!" Naruto shouted pointing at Sakura. The girl retorted by shaking a fist at him.
"And YOU!" Tsunade continued. Naruto shrank back into his seat. "You will watch how our handwriting turns out for your report. If I cant make out 1 word. Just 1 word ill burn the report and make you rewrite the whole thing!" Naruto looked like he was about to faint. Sakura stuck her tongue out at him and Naruto glared defiantly at her. Tsunade gripped her hair in frustration at the antics of the young ones. Shizune just chuckled and Jiraya shook his head disapprovingly.
"Naruto." Tsuande said in a quiet serious voice. That killed any interaction between the 2 young ones in the room and Naruto snapped his attention to Tsunade.
"Take a break from your traning. Its been 3 years and work on that report I expect it on my table in a week. If you are going to be Hokage as you said you would, you have to learn to write proper reports and hand them up on time.," Tsunade continued. "Both of you are dismissed."
Tsunade started shuffling some papers around so did Sakura and Shizune in preparation to start assisting the Hokage with the paper work once again. Jiraiya got out of the seat and was about to exit the room when he heard, "Wait!" That came from Naruto.
"Take a break? Report? Dismissed? That's all?" Naruto began to ask. Naruto turned to look at Sakura. "What about retrieving Sasuke? I know Ero-sennin said we still have time but shouldn't there already be information about his whereabouts by now? and shouldn't plans be made or at least start to be made?"
Hearing all the questions Sakura turned pale. Her hands shook and papers started to fall out from her hands. Tears threatened to fall. Wtihout warning Sakura suddenly stood up. The papers she was holding scattered on the floor and her chair got knocked aside. Before anyone could do or say anything she fled the room with her hands covering her face. Both Naruto and Shizune rose from their seats to chase after the girl. Tsunade placed a hand on Shizune to stop her. Seeing Tsunade's example Jiraiya grabbed Naruto by the arm and forcefully got him to be seated.
"Let her go Shizune. She needs her space. She still hasn't come to terms with it yet," said Tsunade softly. Shizune frown slightly at the door left ajar and settled down in her chair even though she was worried. Naruto unlike Shizune did the opposite. He jumped right out of his seat again and slammed his hands hard on the table in front of him. The force of the action causing the items on the table to rattle again the heavy woodwork.
"What the hell was that about!" shouted Naruto at the top of his voice glaring at Tsunade. Tsunade narrowed her eyes at Naruto and her voice came out low and venomous.
"What happened to the manners you displayed earlier?" If it was possible Naruto's glare would have intensified as he dug his nails into the table in an effort not to explode at the moment.
"If you do not calm down and take a seat to discuss this matter, not only will i refuse to utter a single word on the matter but I would also personally make you regret you went out of line this time round." Tsuande finished every bit as venomous as the way she posed the earlier question. Naruto went from glaring to shocked. Tsunade had never threatened him in this manner before. Sure there were times when she threatened him when he was being annoying but that itself lack the bite and conviction this threat held. Realising the seriousness of the issue at hand he retracted his hands and sat down once more taking in a few deep breaths to calm himself down. Tsunade seeing Naruto calm down relaxed herself.
"Good." Tsuande sighed and took a look around the room in contemplation of how to tell Naruto the news. After a few moments of thick silence she decided to be honest and straightforward.
"Naruto, Sasuke is dead."
AN: Wow when i saw the word count for this chapter my eyes kinda went O.O. it was 4700+ im a slow writer so it took me about 10-12 hours to get this out. though it surprised me, the length. the last chapter i worte for my RK fic was about half the length. when i started the chapter i knew how i wanted to start it and how i wanted to end it and what to write about in the middle though it looked alot shorter in my mind. hahah Somethings might be confusing becoz i left some stuff out on purpose(duh) haha however i have outlined this fic to last about 2 arcs and an unplanned rough idea for a third so dont worry everything will be explained in due time hehe. Well i hope to get some feedback if it pleases ya. even if it doesnt please ya all the more i want your feedback about what doesnt work for your in this story.