AN:Yo, new story, I'm definitely going to finish my other one, soon. I just don't know how to get from the chapter I last put up to the last chapter, once that's figured out I'm sorted! This story is a different approach by me, I started at the end before and worked towards it, causing me to rush. This time I'm going from the start and seeing where it takes me, I hope my dialogue is good, that's my main focus as I know I suck at it. I'm no writer really so don't complain:P

Summary: Naruto comes back from failing to save Sasuke as Orochimaru took his body at the valley. Still struggling to find acceptance, how will Naruto deal with this new problem and will the pressures on him ever be enough for him to break or will the acceptance be enough to save him? No pairings yet. Though I'll stick in a bit of fluff/mush here and there

P.S. each chapter will be minimum 10k words, I'm not a fan of small chapters unless it's an enticing story, such as 'desperate lies', otherwise they tend to annoy me. As this isn't what I would describe as tantalising, I won't make it horribly disappointingly short

---)(---

Chapter1: Resolve and Integrity. Realisation too late?

A rather short figure lay unconscious in a maximum security hospital room. No windows or weak walls, just one locked door which was guarded.

Next to the figure sat another, rather rugged looking and large white haired man, who by proportion dwarfed the first. He was sat hunched over the figure in the hospital bed, looking morose and guilty, as if plagued by a great burden.

Hours passed as the two figures remained in basically that position, no nurses came to check on the patient, who by rights should be constantly monitored due to his condition. The only visitors were a busty woman with two blonde pony-tails who looked around twenty. She came and checked on his condition every now and then, she also brought food for the white haired man, who seemed intent on not leaving.

The white haired man, if you listened carefully; could be heard sometimes muttering to himself in harsh language, he was currently reminiscing over his life so far, not an activity he usually gave time towards, he was not one for dwelling, more for living for the moment. However apparently recent events had shocked him out of his nonchalant attitude.

It started off so well for him. He was apprentice to one of the smartest and greatest ninjas ever, his two team mates were brilliant beyond words, on one hand his beautiful if at first flat-chested female team mate was the grandchild of the first Hokage, she also had immense potential as a medic, which also leant to combat due to the intricate knowledge of the human body. His other team mate had the personality of a wet slate, if anything came into direct contact with him it would grate and then be smoothed over leaving no evidence of a mark. To say the least he was a loner, but he was brilliant and a perfect rival, their personalities contrasted greatly.

He himself was the joker of the group, keeping the mood light hearted and their spirits up. He revelled in the attention of his female team mate, even if it wasn't good attention, he even bonded with his sensei on his perverted habits, though not the best way, there was a companionship between all of them.

Then it had all gone wrong. They had all been so selfish. Ninjas were supposed to protect their village, not their own interests.

Their sensei had invested nearly all of his time into his prodigal student, neglecting him and his female team mate, he of course had been furiously jealous and full of anger towards his sensei for the blatant favouritism.

His team mate had thrived on her own, she had become one of the finest medical specialists to exist, her expertise had saved many lives against the sand's poisons on the field. However she too had succumbed to her selfishness, though none could really blame her. She had lost her brother and her fiancée to the war. Soon afterward she had left the village, she couldn't stand it any more. Especially since both of her most precious people had loved the village so much and had died for it, she couldn't bare to be in the place which had taken them from her for its own survival.

His other team mate, the genius, had been the best off out of them, he had excelled and become the villages top choice for a fourth Hokage, though their sensei was destined to carry on with the job for some time yet, that was okay with him. He was patient, merely using the spare time to hone his skills in preparation.

The white haired man himself was not far from his team mates in battle prowess, however his discipline was lacking somewhat, he blamed it on his sensei's lack of attentiveness. Eventually the anger and resentment at being brushed off had gotten to him, he had also left the village to further his own skills and leave behind the place which didn't seem to need him.

Years later on one of his visits to his home village for 'research' at their facilities, for it was hard to beat the sleek and toned forms of the Kunoichi and the only ninja village he was so easily welcomed into was his home.

After he had been chased away by the angry Kunoichi for peeping, he had found himself wandering, waiting until they had calmed before he made a repeat attempt, for his research wasn't done. It was at this time, as he walked around blushing and giggling to himself that he came upon a Genin team doing their bell test. He had become intrigued as some Shinobi and his three potential Genin had battled it out. He had been disappointed in the Jounin-Sensei for his treatment of his subordinates in dismissing them, going so far as to tell them not to bother becoming Shinobi. He had seen the will and determination there and knew that talent wasn't what won battles, it was the will to win which made a Shinobi greatest. Talent was just really helpful, he especially had his eye on a blonde haired child who didn't leave the scene, even after the rest of the group had gone. He stayed and recounted the battle, striving to know how he had failed and then to patch the flaw in his strategy and technique.

It was as the blonde haired one was practising his Bunshin, for the Jounin had easily seen through it, that the white haired man approached him. It all started off fairly light-hearted, offering the kid some advice and even a better technique to replace his weakness. Though the white haired man had become quite impressed with the way in which the blonde kid had strived through his difficulties to master this new technique.

It was at that point that the white haired man took a student, his first ever. He was amazed at the growth of this once Shinobi-reject, where even the most talented of Shinobi would quit and try again later, this boy would not acknowledge himself as weak, he would fight a battle against himself to become better for the battles against opponents which lay ahead.

Years later and the Blonde kid had turned into possibly the most amazing Jounin the leaf had ever seen. What had started as grit and determination had been honed into focus and strength and perseverance in the face of adversity, He had become what was known to all the enemies of Leaf as the Yellow Flash, the Shinobi whose mere presence meant mortal peril, for none could survive his wrath.

It was this blonde haired man who had taken the Title of Fourth Hokage, The white haired man was so proud.

The team mate of the white-haired man was not so overjoyed however, he was furious, he had waited nigh ten years for that title only to have it slip him by. A mad furious rage had overtaken him, he had challenged the Forth for his position, only to be stopped by his own Sensei. The Loner and prodigy had fled after a close battle with his Sensei, becoming one of the most powerful Shinobi defectors to exist.

The white haired man had been distraught at the actions of his rival, and though he was loath to admit it; friend. Weeks later he had been contacted by his Pupil for his knowledge in the art of Ink Seals, to create the ultimate sealing technique. He had not been happy the entire time, though he was assured by his pupil that it was a last resort and that he didn't expect to have to use it, only that he would be failing in his position if he weren't prepared. The white haired man could not fault the logic and so grudgingly acquiesced.

A week later a fiery inferno known as the Kyuubi had appeared from the depths of hell, bent on ravages and sating its lust for destruction. The beast was still a day's travel from the village, so they prepared defences, ready for an apocalyptic battle. However the battle never came, the blonde man had rushed out at speed none other could comprehend and he had sealed the demon. The white haired man was furious and despaired, he was promised it was a last resort, that his precious pupil, almost son, would survive. He rushed out to the scene, he found no trace of the demon and his highest Summon, GamaBunta was looking sadly down to the floor where two figures lay.

One was the Blonde man, his determination, courage and luster for life had evaporated and now he was but a pale husk of a man, broken and discarded on the floor of the torn woods. In his arms was a Baby, a small tuft of blonde hair and three whisker like marks adorned his cheeks as defining characteristics, the baby was wailing a wail that could only come from the most abused and punished of his age, a bright red tattoo adorned its stomach. As the tattoo slowly faded from red to black, it began to fade away into the skin of the boy. The white haired man stood transfixed at the scene, he was not sure what to do.

By now many Shinobi had also gathered at the sight, unsure what to do, looking to their superior, the white haired man, for guidance. He gave none, he could not move, what did this mean?

Slowly the baby ceased its cries and opened its eyes, blood red eyes stared back at the gathered Shinobi before they faded to crystal blue. The white haired man became further rooted to the spot, he knew that colour eye. Only two people had ever had that vibrant colour blue before, it was a feature of only one clan that even he, on his extensive travels had encountered, the Kazama Clan.

As he stood, the Third, his Sensei rushed through the crowd, he ran to the two prone bodies on the floor, surrounded by Nins. He immediately took charge of the situation, organizing care for the baby and a funeral for the Yondaime.

After that the white haired man had left the village, declining the offer to be Hokage. He immersed himself in a world of simple pleasures and meaningless gratification. He remained loyal however, by using his travels to construct a spy network, to monitor the enemies of his home village, however he never returned to the village.

That is of course until he received word about the Akatsuki, he couldn't trust such valuable information to a messenger, he had to deliver it himself. So he went back to his home town, feeling the old memories of how the boy, man who he had thought of as fondly as a son had died to protect this village.

After giving this information to his Sensei the white haired man had gone straight to the local bath houses, he needed help forgetting again, so he did his usual and attempted to immerse himself in perverseness and depravity, however whilst he was there he was interrupted by the outrage of a blonde haired boy.

He had recognized the eyes of the boy, and the whisker marks, though he tried to hide it. He couldn't help but be interested in the boy who…

The thoughts of the white haired man were brought to a halt as the figure lying in the bed before him began to stir and mumble, it was pretty obvious he was waking up. This was far ahead of when he was expected to wake up but that didn't surprise the white haired man.

After waiting patiently for ten minutes as the figure slowly adjusted to being awake and opened his eye, the white haired man spoke. "How d'ya feel, brat?" the insult wasn't really meant that way, it was just how they treated each other, they weren't the respect types, they showed their respect through familiarity and acting at ease enough to insult each other.

A few moments passed by before the figure began to blink his eyes open and turn them towards his visitor, then slowly letting them focus, recognition set in, it was probably the spiky white hair that gave it away. "Ero-Sannin? What you doin' here?"

The usually easy-gong Sannin was currently in a sombre mood, even the insult from the boy, which usually got a rise out of him was ignored. "How are you feeling boy?"

Straightening up somewhat, the blonde haired boy, now accustomed to being awake, took in his surroundings as he formulated an answer. "I feel like I got my ass handed to me, but I'll be okay soon." He then attempted to flash his sort-of-sensei a wide grin, though it did little to elevate the sombre mood said man was in.

"Are you up to having a serious conversation? There's some things we need to discuss.

"Uhh… Sure Ero-Sannin, my ears are working fine." Naruto was a bit puzzled and a bit wary, nothing good ever came out of 'serious conversations' for him, though he trusted the man, figuring nothing too bad would happen, not that he could do anything about it.

"Okay, Naruto. I want to apologize to you. Before you comment, hear me out." Jiraiya paused here, face set grim, waiting to see if he would indeed be interrupted or if he had free reign to continue. Naruto chose to be silent, talking wasn't the easiest of things right now with the shape of his lungs, which was definitely not good.

"Firstly, as you know I was the sensei to Yondaime, the fourth Hokage, that man was like a son to me. His death shook me greatly. I left this village after that, never returning until the time when I met you. I realize now, after having met you and seen how your life is, that I should not have left, I should have been there for you during your life, I truly hope you can forgive me." At this point, Jiraiya moved from his slouched over position, having never once looked up towards Naruto, He bowed his head in the most formal gesture he had probably ever made in his life, he then waited for a response.

"Eh, Ero-Sannin, why should you have looked after me? It's not like we're family or anything."

In his position, the White haired man, Jiraiya, stiffened, the muscles of his body all tensing. "As I said, the Yondaime was like a son to me, he had no parents of his own. That would make you my Grandson, Naruto."

Naruto didn't move except for his jaw dropping as far as it gravity could take it, he didn't react for several long moments.

'Grandson? Son? Was the Yondaime my father? Why didn't anyone tell me! How could he do that to his own son! If I had family, why did I have to live alone all this time? What do I do now? Is it really family if I've only known him for a couple months? How should I…'

Naruto's thoughts were cut off as Jiraiya spoke up again. "Naruto, are you angry with me? Even if I say that I believed you were treated well, I know it does not excuse me ignoring you all your life."

'A trick… of course! They know I've always wanted family, so they're using that to get to me!' Naruto's face slowly twisted into the very image of rage. 'Those bastards! When is it ever enough?' "When is it ever enough damnit!"

Jiraiya was shocked, what was that? "Eh, Naruto… What-"

"Go away, I'm not falling for your trick. Isn't it enough that you all hate me? Can't you leave it at that?" Naruto's eyes began to collect moisture at the corners. "Leave me alone!" Naruto shouted, a bit of moisture falling down his cheeks, he pointed to the door, hoping, praying Jiraiya would leave, but he had no such luck.

"Oh Naruto, no… Please… No. I could never hate you like that. Please… be mad at me if you want, but never think I'll lie to you… or that I'll abandon you…" Jiraiya bowed his head low towards Naruto and muttered under his breath. "Again." This was mostly to himself but Naruto caught on. His hearing was better than he was generally given credit for, he just assumed people were underestimating him again, but he was too caught up in his emotional turmoil to get angry at anything like that.

Naruto had always been good at picking up deception, it was just some smell people gave off when they lied. People didn't lie to him very often, but when parents would tell their kids weird reasons why to not talk to him, he knew somehow that they were lying. That didn't help the real reason, it just added confusion. But now he could not pick up a bit of deception from the Sannin.

Jiraiya was scared, he'd rather Naruto just attack him, take some anger out… It was what he could handle, he wouldn't mind being injured if it helped Naruto feel better, but he couldn't handle this silence, most of all, he didn't know if he could handle a flat out rejection, which he was expecting more and more as the silence dragged on.

Finally he couldn't handle it, he just had to know so that he could act, he was a great spy and that required much patience, but that was when the information was distant from him, not when it affected him so greatly, he was a man of action in such cases, he just couldn't wait. "Do.. Are you mad?" Jiraiya muttered loud enough for Naruto to catch easily, his head still bowed as he sat in his rather small chair across from Naruto.

Naruto then realized what the Sandaime had told him when he had found out about the Kyuubi, He had said that it was the wish of the Yondaime for him to be the hero of the village, Jiraiya had probably believed that this would be the case, so even if he was angry, he could still forgive the man.

"Yeah, Ero-Sannin, I am. But I'll forgive you if you do something for me." Naruto spoke slowly, not wanting his voice to betray his emotions, his mind was in turmoil, though not the turmoil one would think. He had realized he had failed, Orochimaru had come into his battle against Sasuke and taken Sasuke's body. He had failed his promise to Sakura.

Nobody would acknowledge him, recognize him if he broke his word, his dreams for finding recognition hinged upon his ability to keep his word, to show his integrity. The only way to keep that would be to get Sasuke back, but that'd be impossible now.

-/Flashback/-

Orochimaru stood over the now exhausted Naruto and decided to gloat, it wasn't normally in his nature to gloat but Sasuke held extra special regard for being one up on Naruto, a trait which Orochimaru was now to indulge in.

"Boy, you lose. Sasuke is now my body, his mind is in here still, which is why I won't kill you, leaving you to suffer is much more preferable. But his mind is trapped, I am the ruler of this body now, along with the Sharingan. Thank you for making this so easy, boy."

With that, Orochimaru left Naruto to die where he lay.

-/End Flashback/-

Jiraiya was getting a little worried, Naruto had just gone silent after that, he had expected Naruto to demand training or something, not to go silent. But Naruto was smarter than that, he knew that as family and as someone with a guilty conscience, Jiraiya would give him training anyway, Naruto was trying to figure out a way to get Sasuke back, potentially with Jiraiya's help.

The Naruto figured it out, he wasn't as stupid as everyone believed, he just acted that way. Who'd you be more afraid of? An idiot or a genius? Of course you'd be afraid of the genius, fear of what he may be capable of. Naruto wished acceptance, obviously he couldn't get it if he was feared for his abilities, so he acted the idiot, only narrowly passing at everything he did. It was his aim to only narrowly beat Sasuke, he knew the team would come and find them and bring them back. That way he would fulfil his promise but also be the idiot. People would believe he got lucky against Sasuke, that he was still an idiot.

"Ero-Sannin, I want you to help me get Sasuke back." Naruto stated, still lacking his usual enthusiasm.

Jiraiya's head finally came up from his bow, shocked. He had never imagined he would ask something like that of him. "But Naruto, Orochimaru has Sasuke and has probably possessed his body by now, there's no way to take someone's mind out, even if we were able to get to that point. Orochimaru is now probably the most powerful person there is, I'm sorry but I can't help you with that."

Naruto just smiled. "Itachi is still stronger than Orochimaru. And we don't need to fight Orochimaru, we need to fight Itachi."

Now Jiraiya was shocked, Naruto was right, Itachi was probably still stronger than Orochimaru. Even without the eyes Itachi was as strong as Orochimaru but those eyes put him in a league of his own.

"Naruto, there's no way we can beat Itachi, his Sharingan is basically perfect, and how would beating Itachi help?"

"That illusion thing he did to Kakashi and Sasuke, it traps your mind in some place or other, right? So if we could do that to Orochimaru, his mind would be trapped and so Sasuke would have his body back, right!"

Jiraiya couldn't fault the boy, that was sound logic, it'd probably work too… but how in the hell would they get Itachi to do that for them? "Naruto, how do you propose getting Itachi to do that for us?"

Naruto just smiled, again. His reactions were getting creepy. "No, no, Ero-Sannin. We take Itachi's eyes and use them ourselves."

Again, that was sound logic but it still left them with how to beat Itachi, Jiraiya knew he had the ability to force Itachi to retreat, he also knew he couldn't possibly defeat Itachi.

"Naruto, there's no way I can beat Itachi, sure I can make him retreat but that's just by making the area too dangerous, once he's out the area he's fine again."

"No, no, Ero-Sannin. I need you to get that Shark guy off my back so I can take on Itachi, I figured it out while chasing Sasuke, how to beat the Sharingan."

Jiraiya was surprised, that Naruto could think of a way to beat the Sharingan was impressive, though he didn't know yet whether it would actually work, the problem was however that even without the Sharingan Itachi was far too powerful for Naruto, plus he had forgotten about the Shark guy, there was no way he could beat them both, even without the Sharingan there.

"Naruto, even without the Sharingan, Itachi is far too powerful for you. Plus with the Shark guy there I couldn't beat him either, even if the Sharingan were negated. By the way, how would you beat the Sharingan? With his Tsukiyomi, which makes TaiJutsu impossible as you can't look into his eyes, it effectively has no weakness."

"Ah but He himself has a weakness, because of the Sharingan. He's arrogant and sure of its abilities, if I taunt him about TaiJutsu being his weakness and that I could beat him, he will wish to prove me wrong, using the predictive abilities of the Sharingan. All I need is for him to hit me once, then this technique I made will freeze him and I can take him out."

Jiraiya's eyes widened, that was true. All Uchihas, especially Itachi were as arrogant about their abilities as the Hyuuga, because of the Sharingan, mostly. Jiraiya could probably handle the Shark guy one-on-one, which it would be if what Naruto said was true. But how in the hell would one touch render Itachi frozen? "Okay, that sounds like a pretty decent plan except, how will you freeze Itachi?"

"Oh yeah, Ero-Sannin, could you help me? I can't paint on my back…" Naruto looked sheepish, he was now able to fully sit up in his bed, his recovery must've gone quite well.

'Can't paint his back? What the hell?' Jiraiya was still puzzled, but he resolved to help if he could, it's the least he could do.

---)(---

Jiraiya found himself baffled, yes baffled was the most appropriate word. He had agreed to help Naruto with his technique to 'freeze' Itachi. But he couldn't figure for the life of him if this was some work of absolute genius or a load of scribble.

He was currently in a room which looked like a mad toddler had been let loose. Unlike the structured and neat writings of the seals he is a master of, there were squiggly lines flowing all over the room, seemingly at random and there were what could only be described as half-assed doodles of ink-blots dotted all over, connecting to the squiggles.

All the squiggles converged in the centre of the room where there were two spaces just the size of Naruto's two hands. The ink was all dry, it looked like Naruto had planned this for a while now, they had been there when he arrived, and he had to help Naruto move all his stuff into his kitchen so they had access to them all. Naruto had made a couple tweaks to the blotches and then asked Jiraiya to copy out the designs he had on some paper onto his skin.

So Jiraiya found himself in this bizarre situation painting squiggles onto this boy, wondering what the hell they were meant to do. The squiggles had no form of language incorporated into them, like seals did. Even though when a complex seal was made, it looked like a squiggle; the making process, where the seals were painted out before they were activated, always involved the use of language in the script. Thus he was fairly sure this was nothing to do with seals, though they were the only things he knew of which required ink.

Naruto had been stubborn, refusing point blank to answer any of Jiraiya's questions, saying he would have to see for himself and that he was not about to share his most genius creation before he had time to use it. Else someone would steal it and take all the credit, Jiraiya felt guilty again at that statement, that he should've been there to make sure nobody did such things, that Naruto had more faith in his fellow villagers. Though from what he had found out, they didn't deserve the faith he did have in them.

After two long hours of intricately painting on the designs from Naruto's life-size diagram, Jiraiya was finished and they were ready to go. "Okay, all done. So, do I get to see how this works?"

Naruto just shook his head. "Nope, but you get to see it work, I'm not tellin' how though." Naruto proceeded to smile and then usher Jiraiya to the side of the room.

Naruto then made some quick hand seals. Jiraiya was surprised, he did those seals as fast as he himself could do them, and that was when he tried, not when he was in a relaxed environment. Jiraiya decided he would have to look into that, speed like that denoted excellent reflexes and skill, far more than Naruto had displayed to him so far.

Naruto finished his seals and then jumped into a hand stand, both hands placed in the two gaps that the squiggles converged onto. Then the squiggles began to convulse and wrap around each other, bundling like a ball of string which someone was balling up by rolling it between their palms, the squiggles made their way to Naruto. Then they pivoted, two dimensionally, at the point where the squiggles ended. They proceeded to then unwrap all over Naruto's body and then squash into the space where ink was already present on his body. Until all that was seemingly left were the original patterns Jiraiya had just drawn all over his torso.

"Okay all done, let me just shower all this ink off before I demonstrate" Naruto beamed, probably happy that his creation worked.

Jiraiya had been a bit sceptical about the way some of the patterns went over the area Naruto's spiral seal was located, but figuring that since they were two completely different things, plus his scepticism about them actually working, he let it slide.

Now though, as he waited for Naruto to wash up; he was growing worried that there would be ramifications on the Kyuubi's seal. Even though the squiggles seemed to pass over the area as if that seal didn't matter, he couldn't be sure there would be no interaction. With his type of seals, anything designed to interact with another seal would be obvious but he had basically zero knowledge on the subject when it came to these… Squiggles… Naruto had concocted.

That brought him onto a new subject, nobody knew where the origin of seals had been, it was like many techniques and arts in their world; a mystery. However he knew he himself was not intelligent enough to create an entirely new method of sealing, even if it were possible. For Naruto to do something like that, it was virtually unfathomable, the kid would have to be beyond just talented to be able to do that.

Jiraiya was brought out of his musings as Naruto came out of the shower, still topless and a towel draping over his now droopy blonde hair, all evidence of him having any seals on him was long gone.

"Where'd your seal go? You didn't wash it off after all that did you?" Jiraiya was hoping this wasn't the case, but he also knew that the only seal that could disappear that he had ever seen was the Shiki Fuuin on Naruto's stomach, and that was because the seal was basically written onto his Chakra coils, not onto his skin.

"Nah, Ero-Sannin, those lines were just a guide for the seals, so I don't need them anymore. The seals are on my nerves now, so you can't see them."

Now that he thought back on it, the vague structure of the squiggles did remind him of how the nervous system looked, the spots at which they converged were the same as the way the nervous system branched out from the spine. That meant that they were painted on his nervous system all over, even on his face, everything from the brain-stem outwards.

"Uhh, does that mean you have seals on your nerves from your brain-stem outwards?"

Naruto looked a bit shocked for a second before smiling broadly and nodding. "Yeah, Ero-Sannin, you're so smart! How'd you figure that out?"

Jiraiya wasn't sure what to make of that, it was probably the first compliment the boy had ever given him. He figured he'd ponder it later and stick to the matter at hand. "When you said they were on your nerves I realized that the structure of those squiggly lines were similar to the nervous system's structure, except… What do those splotches do?"

Naruto grinned again. "Nuh uh Ero-Sannin, that's a secret." Naruto then looked thoughtful for a moment. "Want to go to my team's training grounds to see how they work?"

"Uh, sure."

---)(---

When they got there Naruto proceeded to warm up shakily and jump around doing various basic TaiJutsu moves, his reason was that his reaction times were now way up as his nerves were now basically instantaneous, so he needed to get used to reacting faster.

Other than the obvious benefits to his fighting ability, this was specifically designed so that his reaction times would be better than the Sharingan would predict, since he now no longer used his actual nerves for controlling his muscles but rather the seals upon the nerves, this meant that he could take Itachi by surprise and grab a hold of him.

"Okay Ero-Sannin, I'm ready, come at me as hard and fast as you can, I have no doubt Itachi will." Naruto eased into a stance unfamiliar to Jiraiya and waited.

"I think it'd be better if you attacked Itachi, and I go for Kisame, rather than waiting for them to attack. Because your reckless charging would give Itachi more confidence and make it more likely for him to use only TaiJutsu on you. Plus his fighting style is based on countering, so if you attack first you're playing to his strengths, which will also raise his confidence. Easier to take him by surprise in that case, no?" Jiraiya smirked, he had been seriously thinking through this ploy Naruto was using. It was obvious that they were going to draw the two missing-nin out using Naruto as bait, that was a bit risky but the only option, the tricky bit was getting Itachi to not nuke Naruto before he was 'frozen'.

"Right, good thinking Ero-Sannin!" Naruto then charged at Jiraiya and went to land a punch in his gut, Jiraiya smirked, Naruto's TaiJutsu needed work, even without the Sharingan he could easily catch or counter that.

"Too slow Naruto." Naruto smirked when Jiraiya grabbed his fist around the wrist before it came into contact, because at that exact moment the seals on his body appeared, though they seemed to be so much more intricate than the block squiggles he had written upon him before. Jiraiya was also shocked, literally as electricity flooded his nervous system causing every single one of his muscles to seize up, rooting him to the spot.

"Now I close my eyes, no Tsukiyomi for you." Naruto had closed his eyes as his punch was caught, for he knew once in contact, Jiraiya could not make his hand let go. "Then I grab a sword, by the way, I need two Wakizashi's for my back, need to slice Itachi's head off quick, I won't get a second chance at this." Naruto's spare hand rose to above his shoulder and made a grabbing motion, though there was nothing there, it still looked as if he were grabbing a sword mounted on his back. "Itachi's neck is about that height." Naruto then swung his 'sword' in an action which would have left Jiraiya without a head, neck or shoulders, but for someone Itachi's size it would cut him cleanly through the neck.

Jiraiya was stunned, even when Naruto pried his hand free so that he had use of his limbs again, he still didn't move. It was ingenious, how a true ninja fought, trick the opponent, exploit weaknesses, win before they know what's going on. That same tactic would work on almost anyone, all Naruto had to do was get a clean contact on their bare skin, or even through thin cloth.

There was one question which was bugging him more than any of the others. "Naruto, why are you trying so hard to get Sasuke back?"

Naruto immediately became determined. "I have to fulfil my promise, plus I was given a mission to retrieve Sasuke, I'm not going to break my promise or fail my mission!"-or else nobody will accept me.

Jiraiya was sure Naruto muttered something under his breath, but he didn't catch it. "Okay brat, but Tsunade isn't going to like this, that's if she even agrees."

"But Ero-Sannin, this is still the mission she gave me, doesn't that mean she already agreed?"

"No, your mission was to stop Sasuke from escaping, he's gone now, this is an attempt to get him back."

"But when Shikamaru came to get me, he said we had a mission to retrieve Sasuke."

"Maybe so, but that was just a summary, the way Shikamaru said it won't have any sway on Tsunade."

Naruto looked down, disappointed, that meant he had already failed his mission then, how was he going to ever get recognition if he failed one of his first ever real missions? "Does that mean.. I failed my mission..?" Naruto's face was still lowered, Jiraiya was shocked that he would care this much.

'Hmm, I reckon I can swing it with Tsunade, best keep the boy's spirits up, I can't handle depressed people.' "For now, yeah. But if you pull this crazy plan of yours off then there's no reason for it to stay failed, it'd just be completed a bit late."

Naruto brightened at that, sure late was bad but it was still completed, plus it would show his determination and worth that he pulled it off even when people thought it was doomed.

"Plus, if you pull this off you'll have completed a fair few S-Ranked missions, just along the way." Jiraiya smirked, Naruto obviously hadn't thought of that.

"Huh, Ero-Sannin, S-Rank missions? But Baa-Chan said it was an A…"

"Yeah, maybe. But you'll also be killing the S-Ranked missing-nin Itachi, possibly Kisame too, though that'll probably be me, still we're a team in this right?" Naruto beamed, he was teamed with a legendary Sannin for this mission, and he was gonna have some S-Ranked missions on his record, that would be sweet!

Jiraiya was pleased with his ploy, sure it was all true but revealing this stuff to Naruto now would lift his spirits and Imbue him with determination, plus he figured his presentation was bringing something extra to the situation too, he was after-all a legendary author!

"plus you will have defeated two of the Akatsuki, I'm not sure but I think that might be separate to their missing-nin status, plus you will have defeated Orochimaru, S-Ranked missing-nin, plus you will have defeated the leader of leaf's newest enemy; the sound. I think that those two are also separate titles. All in all, if you can pull this off, you'll have completed more S-Ranked missions than nearly any other Shinobi of our village, plus you're still twelve!"

Naruto promptly began bouncing up and down with glee. "YESS ERO-SANNIN I CAN DO THIS, THEN SAKURA-CHAN WILL LOVE ME AND SASUKE BASTARD WILL RESPECT ME AND…" Jiraiya stopped listening, he had heard it all before. Well, he kept listening just enough to hear the delighted glee that resonated from Naruto, that's all he really cared about at the moment.

---)(---

Jiraiya had managed to calm Naruto down to manageable levels of excitement, he was starting to regret telling the boy all that, sure it was good to cheer him up but it was not good to deal with so much energy in one human being, it just wasn't natural.

They were currently going to the Hokage Tower, Naruto was still determined to go with this being the same mission, Jiraiya didn't get what the big deal was. Sure he had failed the mission to get Sasuke back, but so had everyone else on that mission. Hell everyone else on that mission apart from the shadow kid was still in hospital,

Naruto was walking along happily ahead of Jiraiya, Jiraiya had to constantly catch up to the boy and his unholy energy. Naruto was still smiling happily, ecstatic in fact, however Jiraiya was not so happy.

From his position behind Naruto, Jiraiya had been able to hear the muffled insults, the ones they thought Naruto couldn't hear, he doubted they thought he would care. He could also see the way that people would stop their activities and glare at Naruto as he passed. Not just ignore him or act cold towards him but to stop their activities and glare, it was worse than that, what had really set Jiraiya into his bad mood was one lady.

Naruto had just walked past a clothes shop, they were taking the main-road through Konoha, the one the market was often set up on, as it was where most carts had easiest access to. The market wasn't open today but the regular shops were, a woman had just walked out of a children's clothing shop, she was holding the hand of her son, occasionally stopping to straighten up his new Shinobi uniform, Jiraiya guessed he was going to join the Academy soon. But when the lady had spotted Naruto she had stopped her activities, pushed her kid behind her and glared at him. So caught up in her pathetic actions was she that the boy was able to sneak out from behind her to view whatever it was that made his mother so angry. All he was was an obnoxiously bright boy and a big white haired man. Looking to his mother to check, she was definitely looking at the boy, pure malice radiating from her.

So the boy did what any impressionable youngster would do, emulate his parent. The boy, on his second look to Naruto began to glare his hardest, it was pitiful, he had no experience in being hateful, but Jiraiya assumed that he would get experience, learn hate every single time he saw Naruto, forgetting that he had no reason for it, just that it was something which was done. Nobody would look at him badly, they might even praise him for his 'wisdom' in noticing a 'monster' when he saw one. That is what made Jiraiya mad.

Naruto however seemed blissfully unaware of all of this. Jiraiya however was becoming suspicious, he was a master spy amongst other things, the main two traits for a spy were concealing emotions, the ability to act in character, and the ability to discern when others were hiding things, specifically valuable information, but things in general. Jiraiya could not detect any form of pretence around Naruto's smiling exterior, however this is what worried him so, for in his experience any human being with a functioning emotional capacity would become enraged or despaired at such treatment. He was sure there was something going on with Naruto which he could not place, he was also sure that he wished there wasn't, for Naruto to just be the happy boy he saw before him.

Jiraiya had been so engrossed in thought that he did not notice how far they had gotten until the ANBU outside Tsunade's office stopped Naruto from entering.

"Oy, Brat. Hokage-Sama is busy, she does not have time for… you." The ANBU visibly restrained himself from saying something else, Jiraiya was already angry, but that only added to the fire. However he was a Shinobi, and a spy. Master of his emotions, this would be sorted out in the proper manner, he would not go around bashing up the ANBU.

"He's with me." Jiraiya spoke, tensely, though Naruto didn't seem to notice, he only looked back and smiled at Jiraiya.

"Ah Jiraiya-Sama, Come to take care of the… Boy? It's about time, especially after he chased our last Uchiha out!" The second ANBU looked at Jiraiya, respect and gratitude from his voice, a slight bow in his posture even though he was meant to maintain his rigid guarding stance whenever action was not necessary.

Jiraiya just stiffened further, he would not lose it! "Naruto." He got out hoarsely. Naruto looked back at him, the smile now gone, a look of dejection slowly forming on his face, that was the last straw. "Naruto, go in and start briefing Tsunade, I'll be right in." Naruto smiled, he loved telling people about his cool ideas and now he had a cool move to show off too! Naruto quickly went in, the ANBU watched him apprehensively, thinking that they should stop him but not wanting to go against Jiraiya's orders, he was one of the Sannin after-all.

As the door shut, drowning out a loud cry of. "BAA-CHAN! GUESS WHAT!" Jiraiya turned to the ANBU, firstly to the one who had addressed Naruto, then to the one who had addressed himself.

"Listen to me, and listen well. That is my Grandson, he has saved this village more times than either of you have, so. You have ten seconds each to explain why I don't kill you, you start." Jiraiya glared at the first ANBU, a female, she seemed to have nice curves too. What a shame.

"I.. Uhh… Jiraiya-Sama, I.. We… Any relative of yours would .. get my respect, but… that…" She was cut off as Jiraiya turned from her.

"Time up, you, five seconds." Jiraiya then glared at the other ANBU and waited, the clock ticking already in his mind.

The other ANBU stood there, shock and fear radiating from his stance, though the masks were meant to hide such things, they didn't help when it was so blatantly obvious.

"J-Jiraiya-Sama, please, the monster has tricked you… he isn't…" The ANBU trailed off as Jiraiya advanced, hoisting the ANBU up by the neck.

"Listen well." Jiraiya seethed, his whisper coming out as a suppressed shout more than anything else. "I am Loyal to Konoha, so I will not kill you until I get the Hokage's permission. But your lives will be forfeit sooner or later. Until then, I suggest you look closer at the monster whom you scorn, and wonder why he hasn't killed you all yet."

The other ANBU, the one not hoisted off the floor in Jiraiya's out-stretched arm tried to reason with the man. "But Jiraiya-Sama, the fourth sealed its powers so that it can't hurt us."

Jiraiya dropped the male ANBU, who immediately brought his hands to his neck as he furiously gulped in air. "You FOOL!" Jiraiya back-handed the ANBU, so she fell into a heap on the floor next to her comrade. "I was there when the Third made the rule. The boy was to be seen as a hero, for he has saved your lives every day of his own. You dare disrespect my Sensei by saying his words are false?" Jiraiya leered over the two. "Do you say my prized student was incompetent and left the beast free?" Jiraiya leered closer, the ANBU shrank back into the wall with fear. "Or do you place anger on an innocent, anger at the fact you yourselves were unable to even near the beast?" Jiraiya then straightened up and walked into the room, feeling slightly better at his outburst, it was good to vent anger, though only on those deserving.

---)(---

Tsunade was currently dreaming about sitting at a poker table, two rather handsome and naked men were pouring her sake as she steadily destroyed everyone else on the table, hand after hand of royal flushes swam into her palm, as the money of her unfortunate victims flowed into her pockets.

"Mmm" -burrble..- "Royl…flshhh" -burble-

Tsunade was currently lying on her desk, drooling slowly onto her paperwork and burbling vaguely coherent words about her dream through her drool, if Jiraiya were there he would also point out how her ample breasts pressed onto the desk in a most alluring fashion, rising and falling against the desk as her rhythmic burbling continued, in fact if any man with an ounce of attraction to the fairer sex were there, he would note the same thing. However there were none, so it was not noted. There was in fact, nobody there.

That was until the doors flew open to reveal a grinning child of blonde hair, deep blue eyes and orange based attire that would make a sane man wince. "BAA-CHAN! GUESS WHAT!" Naruto waited for a response.

Tsunade jolted up into a sitting position, a small trail of drool arcing outwards as she flung her head around ninety degrees to vertical and eyed her surroundings. She immediately winced as she spied Naruto's hideously bright orange attire and then smiled fondly as her eyes began to focus on his beaming face.

"What do you want brat?" Naruto immediately ran up to her and braced himself on her desk. If this were anybody else she would have probably punished them harshly for their disrespect. She couldn't bring herself to punish Naruto though, she could never discourage his bright behaviour, it instead always brought a smile to her face.

"I figured out how to finish my mission!" Naruto beamed.

Tsunade faltered. "What mission?" She hadn't expected anyone to be up and about after the Sasuke fiasco, though it wasn't really a shock to find Naruto barging into her office so early after his return, he had pulled the same recovery stunt on her before.

"Retrieve Sasuke! Me and Ero-Sannin are gonna-" Naruto was stopped as Tsunade raised her hand.

"Wait, wait, wooow, what do you mean, 'retrieve Sasuke'? I thought Orochimaru had already taken his body? Besides which, he's a missing-nin now, its kill not retrieve."

Naruto's face dropped to normal for a second, before it rose back into a grin as he tried to explain to her. "No, no Baa-Chan. I figured out how to get Sasuke back, not Orochimaru. And I made a promise, so I have to do it! What it is, me and Ero-Sannin-" He was interrupted again by Tsunade putting her hand up.

"No, Naruto it's 'Ero-Sannin and I', Carry on." Tsunade lowered her hand to flat, palm up as a gesture for Naruto to continue.

"Right right, Ero-Sannin and I are gonna-" Again with the hand. "What?"

Tsunade smiled, it was so much like having a little brother, all those cute little idiocies that she could point out to him. "It's not 'gonna' it's 'going to', continue."

"Damnit. Ero-Sannin and I are going to-" he drawled that out slowly. "-go lure out Itachi and-"

"WHAT?" Tsunade bellowed, she immediately stood, no thought for her chair which was sent sprawling into the wall below her window. "What the hell do you mean 'lure out Itachi' He's looking for you! And how can you say that so casually? What the hell are you thinking?"

Naruto's smile never faltered. "Hold on, hold on Baa-Chan, It's essential, besides I've got a plan to deal with him. We need his eyes to trap Orochimaru's mind." Tsunade sat down here, looking infinitely puzzled.

Naruto was about to continue further when he heard a thud and the rattling of the door as something knocked into it. He looked round, then back to Tsunade, puzzled. Tsunade looked from the door to Naruto and just waved it off. "Never mind, carry on." She was seriously humouring the boy, but she couldn't help it, this was such a relief from her stupid Hokage duties. Plus Jiraiya was mentioned, she could get Jiraiya to make sure Naruto didn't go off on some random folly crusade and get himself killed.

"Right, basically we lure Itachi out. Ero-Sannin distracts Kisame while I get Itachi's head. Then we come back here and you transfer his eyes to me, then I can go out and find Orochimaru in Sasuke's body. Using the GenJutsu thing Itachi's eyes can do on Orochimaru, I trap him inside Sasuke's body; freeing Sasuke from being trapped by Orochimaru. Then, I drag the bastard back!" Naruto finished with a flourish, waving his hands in the air as if victory were already at hand.

Tsunade had to give it to him, the Mangekyou Sharingan could indeed have that effect on Orochimaru's freaky immortality technique but for Naruto to so casually talk about decapitating the Uchiha Itachi, that's a big problem. Plus he has to be able to survive against Orochimaru long enough to use the technique, then escape whatever lackeys Orochimaru is carting around lately. To mention but a few problems with Naruto's plan.

Tsunade's medical mind however was having a field day, she was already imagining ways to make the famous eyes of the Uchiha work on Naruto as well as they would for any other Uchiha, perhaps even maintain that gorgeous sparkling ocean blue colour that she adored so much. Wait, what was she thinking, she can't let him go off on some suicide mission!

"Naruto, just how do you plan on beating Itachi?" Naruto grinned, which gave Tsunade a bit of the chills, why did he grin in response?

"Let me show you Baa-Chan!" Naruto got up from his chair at her desk and stood in the middle of her room, he then made a hand seal which she didn't recognise and concentrated for a moment. Then his body seemed to immediately be covered in some sort of weird squiggles.

Upon closer inspection the squiggles looked shockingly like the basic structure of the nervous system, a quick look at his neck confirmed it went up almost all the way to the spinal processing areas, but not quite. That was… odd.

"Naruto, what the hell are those… squiggles?"

"Baa-Chan, these aren't squiggles! They're my invention! I haven't named it yet but I made it to defeat the Sharingan. They say the weakness of the Sharingan is TaiJutsu, I reckon that's only half the tru- What?"

"It's 'believe', 'reckon' is slang, carry on."

Naruto grumbled but complied. "I believe that's only half the truth, the thing the Sharingan has no perception of is ink seals, TaiJutsu is just the best way to implement them against the Sharingan. It's easier if I show you, come over here and grab my arm." Naruto raised his arm out towards Tsunade and looked at her expectantly. She noticed that the colour of the seal, things was now more like a mixture of grey and Naruto's skin colour, faded from the black it was a moment ago. By the time she got to him the markings had completely faded into his skin, leaving no trace. Tsunade merely cocked her eyebrow at that and grabbed his arm as he said.

Jiraiya walked into the room as Tsunade was walking up to Naruto with his arm stretched out, looking expectantly at her, it only took a second for realization to dawn upon him before he bellowed out. "STOP TSUNADE DON'T TOUCH HIM!"

Tsunade froze, that was the last thing she was expecting. Naruto turned to him and pouted. "But Ero-Sannin, I wanted to show her, it's too complicated to explain, she's smart, she'll understand."

"No boy, you'd lose your arm. You remember how strong Tsunade is?" Tsunade was starting to twitch, she was standing right there and they were talking as if she was in a different country. "If she touched you with that thing activated it would force all of her strength into her grip, your arm would snap like a twig."

Naruto paled, he had not thought of that. "Oh…"

"Yes 'Oh..' Tsunade," Jiraiya turned to Tsunade. "Call an assistant in here or something, that'll be best." Jiraiya grinned, this would be fun.

Tsunade just stared in dumb shock at Jiraiya but acquiesced anyway, she just had to find out where this was going, and what the hell did he mean she'd snap his arm off? She'd never do that! And nobody could force her.

"Oy Akane, come in here for a moment."

"Akane? Is that one of your ANBU?" Jiraiya looked between the door and Tsunade.

Tsunade eyed Jiraiya wearily, a 'what did you do' message clearly emanating from her. "Yes, why?"

Jiraiya just scratched his hair sheepishly. "Ah no reason, I just think she might not be up to coming in here, that's all."

"Jiraiya, what did you do?" Tsunade asked, advancing upon the man slowly. Jiraiya figured he probably wouldn't be in any danger if she would have called in a male.

Tsunade advanced again when the door opened shakily and in stepped Akane, the female ANBU Jiraiya had been 'conversing' with earlier. "H-Hai Ho-Hokage-S-Sama?" The woman was shaking.

Tsunade just eyed her wearily whilst Jiraiya looked at her with distain. Tsunade noticed this and shot a questioning look at Jiraiya.

"Hey ANBU Lady, you okay? You don't look too good." Naruto approached the ANBU, careful to remember not to touch her, for fear of making her feel worse.

Jiraiya spoke up. "She's fine, nothing a little time to meditate won't cure, right?" Jiraiya pointedly looked at Akane.

"H-Hai Jiraiya-Sama" She nodded shakily at him, still standing at attention, though shakily.

Naruto continued. "ANBU Lady, you smell scared, did Ero-Sannin try something perverted?" Naruto finished by looking pointedly at Jiraiya.

"No, He did not.. Uhh.."

"Uzumaki Naruto!" Naruto declared proudly, figuring she didn't know his name.

"Ah, yes. Uzumaki-san. We just had a- a talk."

"Ah, Okay then." Naruto turned to Tsunade, as if it was the most obvious thing that she knew what to do next.

Tsunade decided that she would talk with Jiraiya after all this nonsense was dealt with. "Right uhh.. Akane, please uhh.. Naruto what exactly is it you want to demonstrate?" Naruto finished, not sure what she was telling Akane to do.

Naruto immediately took the stand. "Right, Miss ANBU Lady, Can you stick out your arm and pull up the sleeve a bit? And try not to be alarmed, k?"

Akane looked to Tsunade who just shrugged and nodded in response, seeing no option but to follow the instructions as they had the Hokage's approval, she did as instructed, she bared her right arm and moved up the sleeve with her left, exposing her skin to the air.

She resisted the urge to back away as Naruto advanced whilst still grinning, all he did was grab her by the arm, she felt a bit tingly, but it didn't do anything.

She turned to the Hokage to question what was meant to be happening. That is, she wanted to turn to the Hokage, on closer inspection she found her muscles in her neck weren't responding, neither were any of her muscles responding. She widened her eyes, nope. Her eye lids weren't responding either, she couldn't even look around.

After what was actually five seconds, but seemed like an eternity to Akane, Naruto released his grip on her, then backed a step away. "Miss ANBU Lady, could you tell Baa-Chan what happened?"

Akane backed a step away, rubbing her wrist where Naruto had touched her. She then looked towards Tsunade. Tsunade was looking at her expectantly, as she had obviously seen nothing amiss, Jiraiya however was giggling to himself, he was right, this was fun! Oh boy, that ANBU was probably having such a bad day. Jiraiya's mood then darkened when he figured this was probably nothing compared to Naruto's average day.

Akane was jolted out of her thoughts as she felt Jiraiya's Gaze burn into her from her left. She straightened up and began to report. "Hokage-Sama, I believe that upon contact with U-Uzumaki-San, I was rendered immobile to the extent at which I was unable to move even my eyes."

Tsunade looked at her, and then at a grinning Naruto, the squiggly marks seemed to be fading again, maybe he had deactivated them? Anyway, that sure was one hell of an invention. "Naruto, grab my arm. Akane, you're dismissed, go back to your post, thank you." Tsunade looked at Naruto and held out her arm. Naruto looked unsure and glanced at Jiraiya. Jiraiya just nodded and then tilted his head at Tsunade, feeling reassured that he wouldn't lose his arm, Naruto approached, formed that weird seal again. The marks appeared again, before they had faded this time he grabbed Tsunade's arm.

Tsunade reacted much the same way as Akane had, she was completely baffled as to what was going on, she looked to Jiraiya to see if this was a joke, that is she wanted to look at Jiraiya, she however realized that her neck wasn't working. She then realized, upon closer inspection that every muscle in her body was activated at perfect synchronization and balance with its opposing muscles and that all nervous signals from her were blocked out. In effect, she was paralyzed all over and couldn't even escape by flopping down.

Naruto decided it would be good to re-enact his Itachi plan. Closing his eyes, he spoke to Tsunade. "I close my eyes as soon as I make skin contact, no Tsukiyomi for you." Naruto then reached up his opposing arm, this time his left, and reached above and slightly behind his right shoulder. "I grab a Wakizashi, by the way Baa-Chan, I need two Wakizashi's, just for this mission." Naruto grinned and looked sheepish, even as he was pulling his air Wakizashi out of its sheath and towards Tsunade's throat. "Itachi is about this tall." Naruto swiped his 'weapon' at Tsunade's neck area, showing that if he wanted to have, and had a sword; he could indeed have decapitated her.

Naruto then opened his eyes, grinned and let go of Tsunade. Tsunade immediately blinked her eyes closed and rubbed them, she then opened them and smacked Naruto over the head. "Hey Baa-Chan what was that for?"

"Brat, you did that for too long, my eyes almost dried out!"

Naruto looked mildly apologetic whilst Jiraiya was doing his best impression of a blow fish being stamped on, he was writhing about in his position, full of the air he wanted to release in laughter, like a balloon. But refusing to let it out for fear of the repercussions.

Tsunade was now thinking seriously, she knew where this was going, all he had to do was trick Itachi into skin contact, there was no chance for escape once it was made. Jiraiya would hold off Kisame and Naruto would have two swords on his back, for whichever hand was free. He would close his eyes to prevent Itachi using the Sharingan to escape and he would slice Itachi's head off.

"Okay, I have to admit that your plan has serious merit, first off, if you learnt a decent grappling TaiJutsu, you could dominate with that squiggle thing, though it wouldn't help too much against multiple enemies. And-"

"Baa-Chan, I got a name for it!" Naruto took up a posture, displaying his arms, where the 'noodle' markings re-appeared. "Yakisoba sono hyouketsu" Naruto proclaimed.

Tsunade and Jiraiya both broke down into laughter.

"T..The Freeze… Noodle! HAHAHA" Tsunade managed to get out a small sentence between laughter, Jiraiya was not so lucky, he appeared to be having a small fit on the floor, spasms were liberally involved.

Naruto growled. "WHAT! What would you call it then!

After a good few moments where Jiraiya and Tsunade tried so desperately to get themselves back in order, back to regular breathing. It was Tsunade who managed it first, Jiraiya lagging behind somewhat, wheezing and convulsing from his attempted repressed laughter. He muttered about swallowing something as he straightened.

"Yeah." Tsunade replied, though it was almost a statement out of the blue from the time it took in coming, Naruto was still angry though he no longer looked about to explode. "I'd call it Fureau Kouki." Tsunade smiled as Naruto got a look of awe on his face.

Jiraiya nodded, mostly to himself as he muttered the name. "Final contact, I like it."

"Baa-Chan, that's great! Right, Fureau Kouki!" Naruto again proclaimed towards the ceiling, though this time he only elicited a small chuckle.

"Okay Brat, quiet down for a minute. As I was saying, whilst I, for some unknown reason; believe you can pull off your attack on Itachi, I don't believe you can pull something like that off against Orochimaru. So, you'll have to train with or without Itachi's eyes until you're capable of trapping Orochimaru and then retreating with Sasuke's body." Tsunade waited, she knew Naruto and she was waiting for some big boast about how he could handle it, but nothing was forthcoming.

"Well?" Tsunade prompted Naruto, who was looking at the ground, he didn't seem to be reacting much.

"Yeah, Baa-Chan. You're right." Naruto seemed as if some unbreachable gap had been blown in his plan, Tsunade sent a look to Jiraiya, he looked back and just shrugged.

"Well, do you have any ideas as to who we can get to train you?"

Tsunade was grinning, she saw Jiraiya waiting expectantly for Naruto to burst out and plead for Jiraiya to train him, but that didn't come, in fact she could've sworn she heard a slight sniffle. "Naruto?" She looked at Jiraiya again, who just looked back then pointed his flattened palms at himself, as if he were expecting to be chosen, and wondering what was going on.

Naruto finally looked up. "It's okay Baa-Chan, I can teach it to myself, Itachi-bastard managed it, right?"

"Why would you want to train yourself? Why not ask someone to train you?"

"Kakashi won't… and nobody else has a Sharingan… besides, I'm tired of begging people for any training, I do have some pride, ya know."

Tsunade stifled the urge to correct Naruto's slang again, it really wasn't appropriate at the moment. "Okay then…" Tsunade looked at Jiraiya then nodded her head towards Naruto, she silently mouthed the words: 'Go on!" at him.

Jiraiya was currently making a mental note to speak with Kakashi. He snapped out of it when he got the intense impression that someone in Tsunade's direction was about to pummel him, looking up he found her mouthing words at him in frustration, as if she had mouthed them already, he looked at Naruto and understood.

"Heh, heh… Boy, you know that training would probably fall under our bargain, right?" Tsunade cocked her eyebrow at him, bargain? She made a mental note to find out what that was all about. "Besides, if you could pull all this off, I'd probably be begging you to be my student. Not many people can claim to have trained the two most powerful Shinobi ever, right?"

Jiraiya and Tsunade were happy with the results, Naruto's head quickly snapped up and around to Jiraiya. "Really Ero-Sannin?"

Jiraiya scowled, though it was mostly for show. "Oy, Brat! That's 'Sensei' to you!"

Naruto grinned even more. "Yessir! Ero-Sensei!" He immediately began running around in circles proclaiming, mostly to himself, that he would be the strongest Shinobi ever and some Hokage dribble, the usual.

Tsunade smiled, that was so cute. "Oy, oy, enough of that. There's still planning to do. First off, I'm making this a mission up until you return with Sasuke's body. But I'm not sure what to label it." Naruto had finally stilled to listen, 'mission' was a key word in getting Naruto's attention.

"This mission contains a minimum of four S-Ranked missions and an A-Ranked mission, which borders on S-Rank. Plus there's potential for further S-Ranked and A-Ranked missions to be accomplished, just… well by accident, if you're to pull this off. Frankly there's never been such a thing, especially not for a two-man team, one of whom is a Genin. So, upon completion of this mission, you will be promoted to the rank of ANBU, Jounin if you make it 5 S-Ranked."

Tsunade knew that would make Naruto happy, plus he'd probably work extra-specially hard for this new big step towards being Hokage. She wasn't wrong, it was almost five minutes before Naruto stopped cheering for himself. Jiraiya seemed to just smile but Tsunade was growing impatient towards the end.

"Right, anyway, you are allowed any resources you can gather, just ask Jiraiya first. After you get Itachi's head, send a signal frog to come get me. Then take at least 6 months to train, no less." Tsunade put her hand up as Naruto readied himself to rebuke. "No Less!" Naruto stilled and Tsunade lowered her hand. "You are to then attempt to lure Orochimaru out, engaging him within his base, unless it is deserted, is not authorised. Upon capturing Sasuke's body, make sure he is incapacitated and return immediately. Clear?" Naruto stared for a moment before nodding mutely, he wasn't used to being bossed around by Tsunade, especially not to such a brutal extent, she really fitted the Hokage position. Idolisation for her grew within him as he hoped he could be like that one day.

Naruto stared at Tsunade for a good while, a small smile on his face. Truthfully Tsunade was getting a bit unnerved, but years of experience had taught her not to show it, though little of that experience could be attributed to her extensive gambling career.

Finally Naruto spoke up, though softly. "Umm… Can I call you Nee-Chan?" Tsunade was surprised, there was no insult in that name for her, she was almost not used to being not-insulted by Naruto, but it warmed her heart for him to ask such a thing, though she wondered why he would ask just after she had ordered him around.

"Uhh… Sure brat." Tsunade looked most awkward, Jiraiya just smiled, Naruto really did have an effect on people.

"Okay… Nee…-Chan… I understand my mission!" Naruto smiled up at her and did a rather sloppy ninja salute.

Tsunade smiled down at him and moved forward. Gently placing her hand under his chin, she leant his head back into the proper position, she then gently straightened his arms out. Then she looked down at him and kissed him lightly on the forehead. "One more thing, Otouto. I want you to go to the hospital and say goodbye to everyone there, you'll be gone for a long time, after-all. Just say you're off training though, k?" Tsunade's face crinkled as she did a full-face version of Kakashi's eye-smile.

Naruto dumbly nodded as he lowered his right arm and relaxed. "Okay then, come back here after you've said goodbye to everyone. All the people from your mission are in ward D, they're awake now, have fun." Tsunade then turned Naruto around and gently nudged him towards the door.

Naruto walked forwards slowly, his face still facing Tsunade as much as possible from his turned posture. He brought his left hand up and waved at her. "Back later Nee-Chan!" With that Naruto bolted forward through the doors. One of the ANBU who had been apparently listening in on their conversation had been sent sprawled across the floor.

Tsunade noticed them and scowled. "You two, here. Now." She pointed to the floor in front of her, she then glanced at Jiraiya. "Where are you going? You're going to tell me what 'deal' Naruto mentioned, now." Tsunade cracked her knuckles menacingly for effect.

As the two ANBU lined up at attention, silently, Jiraiya slowly approached Tsunade looking uncharacteristically embarrassed. "Tsunade, don't worry. It was Naruto's idea, I'd rather not say but trust me. It's nothing bad, just that I help him out getting Sasuke."

Tsunade wasn't quite sure whether or not to accept that response, it was wholly inadequate for her but the look on Jiraiya's face made her want to accept it for his sake, though she wasn't sure why. "Fine, but if I find out anything bad happens to him and it's your fault, I'll kill you myself." Jiraiya waved his hands, trying to placate the easily angered woman.

"Don't worry, nothing will happen to him whilst I'm still alive." Jiraiya then turned and went for the door, hoping that Tsunade wouldn't make anything more than that of the situation.

His prayers were answered as Tsunade was a bit shocked, Jiraiya would never have said anything like that about anyone but Arashi. She really wanted to know, perhaps she'd get him drunk. Those breasts of hers got information out of him so easily when he was drunk, at least they had a use. It was a bit of a low tactic, but it required Jiraiya to be equally as low for it to work, so she felt justified in manipulating the pervert to suit her own ends. Plus it meant she didn't have to beat anything out of him, she was obviously doing him a favour.

Tsunade turned to her ANBU, they were obviously listening in. Whilst the Hokage's office was mostly sound-proofed, if your ear were in direct contact with the insides, sounds were quite audible. This was mostly for making sure any 'convenient coincidences' happened according to plan. The ANBU stationed outside were meant to keep the door guarded from people listening in, not to listen in themselves. Such behaviour was unacceptable.

"Now then, you two. Listening in were we?" The two ANBU gulped as Tsunade advanced, cracking her knuckles menacingly.

---)(---

Meanwhile Naruto was slowly making his way to the hospital, he knew it made sense, but he wanted people to know what he was going to do, what if he died? Well then he wouldn't need recognition… plus when he returned nobody would be able to deny his claims… how many people suddenly have the Sharingan? That would be proof enough of his accomplishments. Yes! Then they would acknowledge his strength, he would have proven himself reliable, strong. He would not fail his mission nor his promise, they would accept him!

Naruto, even through his inner monologue, one which often chorused around his head, was still worried. He could barely force himself to face Sakura, he had not yet fulfilled his promise, he would but… she wouldn't believe him, even if he were allowed to tell her.

Would she reject him? Would everyone follow her if she did? Would he be alone? Naruto consoled himself that even if that were to happen, they would be proven wrong when he returned.

Naruto slowly made his way to the hospital, head bowed in thought still, though his thoughts had ground to a halt now. He pointedly ignored the cold stares he received, they would change soon. They would acknowledge him!

---)(---

Jiraiya was on his way to find Kakashi, he sucked at remembering things, so he was going to do this before he forgot. Plus Kakashi was generally easy to find, it was quite pathetic really, why did people leave him to wallow? Well hopefully this would shock him out of his stupidity.

Kakashi would be, as he always was; at the memorial, pretending to honour Uchiha Obito's sacrifice and the loss of his friendship. Jiraiya thought it was pretending because he didn't see how moping around would make anyone feel honoured, no… honouring someone's memory was through living in a way they would respect, doing things they no longer could in their death, That was honouring lost comrades and friends.

Jiraiya was going to go to the hospital after this, to back up Naruto a bit. He was well aware of the general populations opinion of him. Other than the females who frequented the hot springs that is, they viewed him as a legendary figure, a hero and someone to be deeply respected. Sure it got kind of old, he hated being called –Sama by people who didn't know him. How could they respect him if they didn't know him? He wouldn't mind Naruto calling him '-Sama' though. But if he turned up, most of the kids there would surely respect him, so he could make things a lot easier on Naruto. Surely if he turned up and told them about how strong Naruto was and how they were going to go train, maybe do some missions and make Naruto even stronger, then well they would surely have to believe him.

Jiraiya smiled, he could imagine Naruto bragging to them that his sensei was better than theirs 'nar nar'.

It was with this image that Jiraiya came upon Kakashi. One of the few times he had seen the lazy Jounin without a copy of one of his own masterpieces in front of his cycloptic face.

He sat down on the nearby logs, he remembered being tied to one of these logs long ago, somehow that unpleasant memory was a very fond one. Shaking his head and rousing back to the present, Jiraiya called over to Kakashi from his perch. "Kakashi." Kakashi looked up, he was supposed to be a genius, so Jiraiya figured Kakashi had known he was here, but it was easier if they followed the usual method of social interaction, whoever approached generally spoke first, if speaking was to be involved. So Jiraiya had done so.

Jiraiya motioned to the log beside him, his body was half facing Kakashi and half facing the other log. "A word, perhaps?" Though the comment was light and phrased as a question, Kakashi got the distinct impression that this was more of an order. Puzzled, Kakashi meandered over to the log, taking his time and paying no heed to Jiraiya.

Once there, Kakashi jumped up onto the log, twisting mid-air so that he landed facing Jiraiya, one leg dangling, the other on the edge of the log, providing support for one of his arms, which in turn provided support for his masked face. "Jiraiya-Sama, to what do I owe the honour?"

"Kakashi, I have only been in this village for a short while, and it has been a little over twelve years since I departed, however I can already see that you do your Sensei a great dishonour, and perhaps your lost friend, too." Jiraiya sat, position unchanged, half-facing Kakashi. Laying out an accusation or two as if it were the weather, mmm sunny!

Kakashi's eye widened, he had great respect for his Sensei, Arashi. He felt very guilty for being unable to assist the man in his most trying hour, he had looked up to the man as a father figure where his own father was nothing of the sort. He would not disrespect Arashi in any way, and did Jiraiya mean Obito? Kakashi had visited Obito frequently since his death, how in the world could he have dishonoured the man? For that matter he had also visited Arashi. Kakashi's eye narrowed after a moment, not concealing his anger. "What do you mean, dishonour?"

Kakashi was no fool, and he was not a violent man. Even if he could have beaten Jiraiya for his insults, he would not have. It was not in his nature to lash out in anger, however an urge was rising none-the-less.

Jiraiya turned his shoulders towards Kakashi a little more and stared at the man. "You may or may not know that Naruto is Arashi's son, but…" Kakashi's eye widened in disbelief, his rising urge dissipated like smoke to a harsh wind, Jiraiya continued without a pause. "…even if you did not know, It was publicly announced that his last wish was for Naruto to be viewed as a hero. Heroes are not left to be despised by the village they save." Jiraiya turned from Kakashi and looked down, as if ashamed himself, even though Kakashi was the one on the receiving end of the conversation.

'Sensei, have I really failed you? Have I dishonoured you by my treatment of Naruto? It is true that I have had virtually no contact with him, outside of Team seven. Even then, it is mostly missions…' Jiraiya cut off Kakashi's musing, he had raised his head and was once again looking towards Kakashi.

"Kakashi, I have no right to lecture you on your treatment of Naruto, for I too have wronged the boy. But if one day he forgives me, knowing the extent of my inaction. Then I will be back to… talk with you again. However I thought I should point some things out to you." Jiraiya paused, Kakashi's one eye seemed blank, it was paying attention to Jiraiya, but there was no reaction, he was not looking away or staring, merely paying attention.

"Anyway, you have also most likely dishonoured your friend, the Uchiha." Kakashi was feeling guilt begin to well up within him, it was true now that he thought of it from his Sensei's point of view, especially if he knew that Naruto is his Sensei's son. Long ago that would've made Kakashi feel towards Naruto as he would a real brother, but Kakashi had neglected Naruto all of his life, he didn't have a right towards calling Naruto a brother, hell, he didn't know what he deserved.

As it was, Kakashi didn't have it in him to speak up, even though he would've normally protested Jiraiya's claims. He had done his utmost to honour Obito.

"While it is not my place to speak on behalf of the Uchiha clan, I feel I should." Jiraiya paused again, but resumed momentarily later. "Uchiha Sasuke, I believe he is the cousin of Obito. He too lived his life alone. I believe that at the age of six he witnessed his brother massacre his family, then he was subjected to the Tsukiyomi, forcing him to re-live those events over and over." Jiraiya paused, in case his information was incorrect. As his student Kakashi would likely know the details correctly, there was no reaction so he continued. "After he was released I believe he was free to go live in the Uchiha district, alone. Nobody of this village came to care for him, ensure his wellbeing, to act as family or support. I believe that in neglecting Sasuke, your friend's relative, you have dishonoured your friend." 'Hell as a villager you have, everyone worshipped that kid but nobody helped him out. Speaking of which, shouldn't the council have looked after the kid? It's their duty to attend such matters… hmm, I should probably point that out to Tsunade, she's been after something on the council for as long as she's been Hokage.' Jiraiya looked to Kakashi, he was still paying attention, though his posture seemed more sagged than before, as if a heavy weight were pressing him down. Jiraiya decided to pass one final comment before leaving the man to his own devices. "Perhaps the time you spend at that monument honouring the dead could be better spent doing what the dead no longer can." 'Perhaps he'll take my advice and stop brooding at that stone?'

Jiraiya took one last glance at Kakashi as he slowly pried himself from atop the log. His joints had become a little stiff in the unusual seating position. He then left, feeling a goodbye would interrupt whatever thought processes Kakashi was buried in at the moment, that one eye was still looking towards where Jiraiya had been. Jiraiya did have respect for the man, perhaps he had been a little harsh? It would be no good for Kakashi to get depressed, that would just bring the already struggling village down one very capable ninja.

"Oy, Kakashi. Guilt solves nothing." Kakashi slowly looked up towards Jiraiya, his one eye seemingly more reflective to the suns rays than before, Jiraiya decided not to comment. "Forgiveness comes from righting wrongs, through action. Honouring the dead's wishes would likely make them happier than standing around a stone." With that Jiraiya walked off. He was going to quickly go mention the Sasuke thing to Tsunade before he forgot, then to the hospital!

---)(---

Tsunade had finished up with her ANBU, they hadn't been listening in long, only after one of Naruto's rather loud outbursts. They didn't know of the mission, they only wondered that 'Final Contact' was all about, of course they got no information.

The female ANBU had seemed rather shaken up and distracted, she couldn't be bothered to investigate, she had loads of paperwork and the council were meeting later to decide on what to do about the Uchiha's defection. She had to be there to make sure some stupid rule wasn't passed like 'don't hurt the Uchiha, retrieve.' Something along those lines was probable but also purely ludicrous. Sasuke wasn't Sasuke anymore, there was no way somebody could come into contact with Orochimaru and the Sharingan, not harm him, and survive. Hell, there were barely any people in existence who could survive with luck on their side and the intent to kill Orochimaru.

In short, the council were all stupid and they got on her nerves.

Back to the ANBU, the male was now on duty again, she had sent the female on special assignment. She was to guard Naruto until Jiraiya was back looking after him. She wasn't sure why but she got the feeling he might be in danger. Nothing serious, just the villagers placing more miss-directed anger on him, this time anger that should go to the Uchiha, not Naruto.

She had been mildly surprised and a bit pleased when the ANBU had actually thanked her for the assignment rather than seeming to comply reluctantly.

She had been about to get some paper-work done before that damnable meeting came around when Jiraiya popped in.

"Yo, Tsunade. Had a thought, you know you've been after a fault with the council?" Jiraiya was smirking, Tsunade just turned from her approach to her desk slowly and raised her eyebrow at him.

"Yes, and?"

"Well, it's their job to look after civilian affairs, right? That's why they were created, before Sensei gave them some say in Shinobi matters too, right?" Jiraiya kept smirking as Tsunade slowly nodded.

"Yeah, that's right. What's your point?"

"Right, well, say an Orphan loses all of his family and is subjected to a really powerful GenJutsu at say… six years old, say a really important orphan… say an Uchiha… Wouldn't it be their job to look after him?" Jiraiya finished, grinning.

Tsunade stared at him in dumb shock, how the hell did he think of that? That sure was right, they should have looked after him, probably gotten him adopted and periodic therapy. However she remembered reading up on him, he had lived alone, in the Uchiha district, where everyone he was related to and most of the people he was probably ever close to had either died or betrayed him.(In Itachi's case.)

"Yeah, that would definitely be their job, plus he is their precious Uchiha survivor, there's no excuse for leaving him on his own." Tsunade began grinning, not at the thought of their treatment of the Uchiha, that was despicable, but at the implications. She now had grade A dirt on every single member of the council, she was sure none had been replaced since six years ago. She could probably make a new council, at least force them back to having power over the civilian population only.

Sure the council still had the ability to out-vote the Hokage in a decision of going to war, or if the Hokage was suspected to be mad, or was dead it was their job to find a replacement. That was all though.

Hell, maybe she could pull off both, a new and less interfering council, she'd piss off most of the current clan heads, however if she went public with the news of why they were replaced, the village would surely scorn them for their neglect of their precious Uchiha.

"Jiraiya… Thank you…" Tsunade looked at Jiraiya, a bit sheepishly, she had never really had any need to be truly grateful to the man but he had just done her a huge favour.

Jiraiya was just scratching his head. "Ah it was nothin' I just thought of it in passing."

Tsunade smiled at him. "No, really. This is enough leverage to deal with the council's power hungry attitude, to get the running of this village back on track."

"Ah well…" Jiraiya smiled, a blush slowly forming on his cheeks. "If it's that good then maybe… a date?" He grinned, only once before had he asked Tsunade out and that time it had been rather… painful… but this time, he could at least bargain for his health since she owed him one, worth a try, right?

Tsunade's face faltered, her mouth slack. 'Did he just… I can't believe that pervert.' She started to advance on Jiraiya, revelling in the sudden shock and fear in his eyes.

His eyes, they weren't looking at her chest, nor had they been. 'Hmm, well I do owe him, and I still want that information out of him… I suppose I can get two birds with one stone here.'

Tsunade stopped her advance and smiled. "Okay Pervert, but best behaviour or I won't hold back, now shoo. You still have a mission to do." Tsunade turned around and went to her desk, assuming Jiraiya was sufficiently dismissed.

Jiraiya however stood stock still, that wasn't right, he had prepared many arguments of how she owed him and "Spare me" but nothing along the lines of what to do if she said yes. It didn't really register that he had been dismissed, and was supposed to be on his way to Naruto right now.

Tsunade looked up at Jiraiya, he was staring off into space above her head, out the window. That was a first, he usually missed her face by looking too low, not too high. She smiled. "Oy, Pervert. Get your ass moving!"

Jiraiya jumped. "Ah.. uh.. Yeah, see ya later!" Jiraiya finished lamely and ran off, a bit dizzy, to the hospital.

After Jiraiya had wandered off, Tsunade shook her head, the smile lightening but staying in place and she started her paperwork. For once though, she didn't feel so annoyed at her 'damnable paperwork'. Truly, there were a lot of 'damnable' things involved in being Hokage.

---)(---

-/A little earlier/-

Naruto finally arrived at the hospital, he had been taking his precious sweet time. Maybe Jiraiya would show up and assume he'd already done his goodbyes and take him off on their mission? That way it wouldn't be his fault. But no such luck.

As he wandered inside, he spied your average hospital setting, this was the entrance for visitors not the ill or injured so there was virtually nobody around, just a desk to the side, marginally past which was a corridor. Naruto wasn't sure where to go from here as he had usually just started out in a bed. Not wanting to wander around and bump into any manner of people, Naruto reluctantly decided it best to ask the receptionist.

The receptionist was currently facing down at something, probably paperwork, as she was also writing. It was hidden behind the counter which was raised above her own desk area.

Naruto approached and waited patiently, he didn't mind putting this off and it was rude to interrupt when somebody was busy.

The receptionist seemed to know someone was there as she finished up the section she was doing and began talking.

"Yes, how may I help you?"

"Um… What room are the… Neji, Kiba and Chouji in… Please?" Naruto was currently on tiptoes to ensure his full face was above the counter, it was a rather endearing scene as his face was mildly crumpled in concentration to keep his balance on his tiptoes.

"Let me just check… Mr…?" As she looked up her inquisitive face turned into something bordering angry and sarcastic. She looked down at some random papers and then looked up quickly, if he had thought about it Naruto would know she hadn't had time to look it up. "I'm sorry." Her voice wasn't very remorseful. "Visiting hours for that ward are over, please come back tomorrow." She muttered under her breath. "Or not at all."

Naruto heard her though, he also smelled her lie, he could tell that she had been lying to him as soon as she had looked at him. He didn't know what to do about it though. He was fairly sure visiting hours were up 'till ten at night for any Shinobi, plus he was on Hokage's orders so it didn't really matter about that. Plus Tsunade was the head of the hospital now, not that she did much… but that was extra reason.

"Ah… Er… Ba…Ne..Tsunade-…Sama… sent me here for before my mission." Naruto fumbled, he figured it best to not refer to the Hokage in his usual manner, even if she herself let him get away with it.

"I certainly doubt that. Now, be off with you." The woman looked up and waved at him before looking back down at her papers.

She hadn't been lying that time, she genuinely didn't believe him. He hadn't lied to her before, would he have to prove himself just to believe a simple thing he said? What should he do?

Naruto stood there in indecision, he really didn't know how to handle this, it was out of his league, making people respect him by beating them up or proving them wrong about him was fairly obvious, but how do you prove to someone you're telling the truth? Maybe he could get Tsunade, but she would probably punch the woman, then she'd hate him more… Jiraiya had gone off somewhere to do… something… what could he…

Naruto's thoughts were interrupted as a voice spoke from behind him. "Receptionist, you will believe the word of an honourable Shinobi and you will admit him to this hospital. You will also tell him where to go, orders directly from Hokage-Sama."

Naruto turned round to see the same ANBU that he had tested out his 'Fureau Kouki' on earlier. He was sure she hated him, her reaction to him at Tsunade's door was a good indication of that. "ANBU Lady, what you doin' here?"

The ANBU looked at him, posture relaxed. Hokage-Sama asked me to check everything is okay,-" She looked at the receptionist. "-Everything is okay isn't it?"

The receptionist answered even though the comment was to Naruto. "Y-Yes, yes! The people you asked about are in… Ward D, round the corner and up two flights of stairs, can't miss it!" She was smiling, though less out of happiness and more out of fright.

"Thank you, receptionist." The ANBU turned to Naruto. "Well, Uzumaki-san, what are you waiting for?"

Naruto started, he had been staring at her. "Uhh.. Right! Thanks ANBU Lady!" Naruto turned but was stopped.

"Um.. Uzumaki-San, you can call me Akane, okay?" you couldn't see it but it sounded as if she was smiling.

---)(---

Naruto paused at the door of Kiba, Chouji and Neji's room. Apparently they had been put into the same room for easy visiting once they were ready for visitors and being moved. Naruto had skipped that process by waking up basically healed.

He could hear voices chattering away inside, he couldn't make anything specific out but the tones of voices were generally relaxed, this gave him a little more confidence, they weren't angry. Well, not angry yet.

Naruto braced himself and opened the door. Kiba off to the left side of the room didn't look up or stop his chatter to Hinata and Shino. Shino seemed to anticipate something, even though he remained facing away from the door and Hinata's eyes widened but she continued listening to Kiba, it would be impolite not to.

Ino stopped her nagging of Shikamaru to the side of the door to look around. Shikamaru looked shocked but Ino just dismissed the new arrival and turned back to Shikamaru, though the amazed look on his face stopped her from further ranting.

Lee was fairly heavily bandaged and was sat in the opposite corner from Hinata, next to Neji and Tenten. He didn't notice anyone come in, probably still suffering from hearing damage after the sound Genin's attack on his ears, Tenten pointedly ignored the newcomer and focused on her banter towards Neji. Neji however turned and stared openly in shock at Naruto, which eventually caused Tenten to pay Naruto some attention, though she didn't seem to know what the deal was, Naruto wasn't anything special, those orange jumpsuits were less than bearable and it was obviously a fluke when he beat Neji.

Chouji was asleep on the bed in the middle of the room, Akamaru looked up at Naruto from his spot on the end of Chouji's bed, where it was apparently quietest, Akamaru was also injured, though he seemed to be doing well.

Naruto immediately became nervous at the attention, he began by scratching the back of his head and grinning, he was about to speak up but Kiba's loud shout beat him to it, apparently Kiba had noticed Naruto was there.

"What the hell, Naruto? Why aren't you still half-dead? You had a HOLE through your LUNG!" Kiba was pointing at Naruto's chest, though over the distance it was hard to tell, and he looked absolutely surprised, and mildly horrified, as if he could still see the hole through Naruto.

Hinata's eyes widened and she muttered to herself "Naruto-kun…" though nobody picked up on it, everyone else was mostly stunned silent, Naruto looked amazingly awkward, he wasn't sure if this was worse than what he had expected, it was definitely different.

"Uhh… well yeah, it was only a small hole so… heh…" Naruto grinned, attempting to make everybody feel better.

Ino, being Ino… decided that wasn't possible. "What the hell, nobody walks around less than a week after having a hole through their lung! Kiba, what are you talking about? He's obviously fine-.. huh?" Ino's rant was cut short by Shikamaru, who had laid a hand on her shoulder.

"Ino, Sasuke… Orochimaru… left Naruto the most injured of us…" Shikamaru then turned to Naruto. "Naruto… How…?" He wasn't sure exactly how to phrase his question, so he just left it. It couldn't have been healing, people didn't heal that fast!

Naruto was close to panicking, there was only one explanation and he would be damned before any of them found that out!

Naruto was saved however as he was knocked slightly forward by the door opening again. Naruto turned round to see Sakura entering the room, a clipboard in her hands, it looked as if she were working at the hospital or something… Naruto was only to Sakura's side but she seemed to not notice him.

"Hey guys, I was just passing by on my rounds, came to say hi. You three feeling better?" Chouji snored, Kiba nodded dumbly and Neji glared at her. "Right, well I had better get going, see you on my next round." Sakura smiled at everyone there except Naruto. She turned around making sure to turn anti-clockwise, so that in her rotation her gaze would not fall on Naruto. Then she made to leave, but Naruto managed to regain the tattered remains of his composure and call after her before she finished opening the door.

"Sakura-Chan, wait! I-" Naruto was cut off when Sakura whirled around and slapped Naruto.

"Don't you talk to me! You promised me you'd bring Sasuke-kun back! 'Promise of a lifetime' my ass, don't you dare talk to me!" With that Sakura stormed out of the room, everyone looked on in dumb shock.

Naruto looked like he was about to break down and cry. 'Damn it, I knew it… They all hate me, I failed… I have to get out of here!' A muffled thump was heard coming from the wall behind Naruto, but nobody seemed to notice. Kiba was the first to speak up, not counting Chouji who was currently mumbling about 'what the hell was that? I only wanted a bit of rest damnit.' "Oy Naruto, ignore the bitch. We know you tried, that's all that matters." Ino began to rant at Kiba about calling Sakura a bitch but nobody paid attention. Shikamaru stepped forward, now that Ino was gone.

"Yeah, you were easily the most injured of us, which just shows how hard you tried." Shikamaru smiled wryly at Naruto, it was a fairly lazy smile but it made the difference, Naruto cheered up a little.

Surprisingly Neji also spoke up, this is surprising because he had deemed everyone in the room too annoying to encourage their annoyances by talking to them, normally he could stand these people, but that was when he had the chance to escape, here he didn't. He must've had a lot of Respect for Naruto to speak. "Indeed, Uzumaki-san. The pink one's opinion should not concern you, she has no right to speak of events she took no part in." With a quick nod, Neji lay back down, getting back into 'the zone' of ignoring people.

Tenten just stared at Neji, she then turned to Lee, expecting a massive rant from the boy. He was still looking at Neji, as if he were paying attention. She had seen this before, it wasn't common but it happened, he had fallen asleep whilst being so determined not to that he stayed in the exact position he had been in whilst awake. Tenten thanked god for small mercies.

Naruto, feeling better that even if Sakura blamed him, rightly so… but even if she did, nobody else did. That was a great comfort, it made what seemed like a mountain to climb seem more of a hill, surely Sakura could forgive him if they had. "Ah… yeah… um…" Naruto was wondering what to say. "Oh yeah! I'm going on a mi.. training trip with Ero-Sensei!" Naruto grinned. "So I came to say bye before I left."

"Brat would it be too much to ask for you to use my actual name?" Naruto jumped and whirled around.

"Ero-Sensei!" Naruto pointed. Everyone else in the room stared in shock as Naruto insulted one of the most powerful ninjas in the world, whilst also calling him his sensei.

Ino was the only person who was curious enough to ask. "Eh, 'Sensei' ? You're going on a trip with HIM?" Ino glared at Naruto whilst pointing at Jiraiya.

Naruto turned to Ino and nodded. Jiraiya ignored her. "Oy Naruto." He whispered into Naruto's ear. "She's a looker, ask her out, we're not leaving 'till tomorrow anyway, time for a date eh?" Jiraiya winked at Naruto in what he thought was a roguish way before straightening.

Naruto just blushed, sure Ino was pretty but there was no way she would go on a date with him, for that matter he was in love with Sakura, silly pervert.

Ino, still curious had to ask. "Hey, what are you whispering about? It's rude to whisper you know."

Naruto stuttered, he could not tell her what Jiraiya had whispered to him. "Ah.. Uh.. He.. Uh…"

Jiraiya interjected. "Naruto thinks you're cute, but he's a bit too shy to tell you, eh Naruto?" Naruto turned a bright shade of red, mostly out of indignity and embarrassment, though everyone in the room interpreted it as a sign of Jiraiya's statement being true.

"WHAT! I'm far too beautiful for someone like Naruto." Naruto breathed a sigh of relief, which confused many in the room. He was about to get to his goodbyes again, eager to leave when Jiraiya interjected again.

"Oy, little girl! What's wrong with my grandson!" Jiraiya glared at Ino, who was rather shocked. Naruto was some orphan who played pranks and was generally annoying, he was not the grandson of the Legendary Jiraiya.

"What, huh? Grandson?" Ino just mumbled, not quite sure what to make of that.

Naruto was hastily trying to shut Jiraiya up, hissing at him in a loud whisper. "EH ERO-SENSEI, SHH!"

Jiraiya looked at Naruto who was blushing furiously and panicking as to what in the hell he was to do to escape this situation.

Jiraiya decided to take pity and change the subject. "Anyway, we're going early tomorrow, training mission, hush hush, all that." Jiraiya put a hand on Naruto's shoulder. "Don't take too long, I'll be outside." Jiraiya then turned and exited the room, feeling confident he had done his part, which was to both embarrass Naruto (just for fun) and to back him up, he suspected nobody would believe him, it was a sad state of affairs when such a honest ninja's word wasn't taken as such, though it would be a bit odd for him to just randomly have a Sannin for a Sensei…

Jiraiya pondered back to when he arrived, and why he decided he should make sure to set everybody straight, perhaps instil some respect in them while he was at it.

-/Flashback/-

Jiraiya was walking into the wing, pondering why the receptionist looked so ill, shouldn't she be off duty in that state? He spied the ANBU who had been Naruto's test subject earlier standing outside the room.

"Yo, Akane? What are you doing here?" Jiraiya asked as he approached.

"Jiraiya-Sama." Akane bowed slightly in acknowledgement. "Hokage-Sama assigned me to look over Uzumaki-San in your absence.

Jiraiya's eyes narrowed. "Hmm… you used his name… I seem to remember you referring to him otherwise earlier." Jiraiya advanced a step, keeping his posture rigid, an easily interpreted threat.

Akane looked down to the floor, ashamed. "Yes, Jiraiya-Sama. I am sorry."

Jiraiya loosened up, he was fairly sure she had no bad intentions towards Naruto, at least not anymore. Though that doesn't exactly excuse her actions. "I wonder, is your regret enough? How many times have you turned him away from Tsunade's office, from one of the only people who cares about him? Hmm.." Not giving her enough time to respond, Jiraiya walked past her towards the door. As an afterthought he waved towards the exit. "You may go back to your duties."

Akane couldn't think of a response, so humbly bowed, though Jiraiya missed it, and left to return to the Hokage tower.

Jiraiya watched as a pink haired girl walked into a door just metres in front of him, she had walked past him as he conversed with the ANBU, so she had not recognised him, not that he knew her anyway.

'Pink hair… Isn't that Naruto's team mate? Tsunade mentioned apprenticing her, ah a clipboard, hospital duties. Tsunade sure is a task master.' Jiraiya approached the door to listen in, perhaps she would express surprise at Naruto's recovery, or concern for him. He was shocked however as by the time he reached the door, he heard a slapping sound and the sound of an only just bearably high-pitched voice screaming about 'don't talk to me.'

'What the hell?' Jiraiya stood up and backed away from the door as it opened outwards, admitting her passage, however when the door was no longer an obstacle he grabbed her and whirled her around from her intended path.

"H-Hey, what the hell are you doing? Let go of me!" Sakura protested indignantly and attempted to wrench her arm from his grasp, though Jiraiya's arm didn't move a millimetre, his eyes bore down upon her, Sakura could feel fear grasping at her consciousness, the need to run away.

Jiraiya spoke surprisingly calmly, he was definitely not happy with her, she wasn't even that pretty! "Pink hair.. You're the girl Tsunade's going to apprentice, right?" Sakura just nodded dumbly at him, her clipboard slowly slipping out of her other hand. "I would be very careful how you act, that apprenticeship might just disappear-" Jiraiya made a little 'poofy' motion with his other hand. "-if you're not careful."

Sakura suddenly wondered who the hell this man thought he was, how dare he threaten her like that. "Hey, who the hell are you to threaten me? Get the hell off me or I'll tell Tsunade-Sama about this!" Sakura did her best to come off as authoritative, though to a trained eye she was still so obviously scared, even if it was much less than before.

Jiraiya whirled Sakura about, using her arm as leverage, he slammed her into the wall by the door, behind which Naruto happened to be standing. She impacted with a dull thud. Jiraiya leaned in closer to make sure she got every last word he spoke. "Little girl, I am Jiraiya, Tsunade's fellow Sannin and you just slapped my Grandson. A boy whom Tsunade happens to view as an adopted younger brother. I heard all of your petty words to him." Jiraiya paused, that last bit was a bluff, she didn't know that though and by the looks of her she was too scared to notice even if he had told her it was a bluff. "I am leaving tomorrow morning, for approximately six months. When I return, I will ask Tsunade about today's events, if you have not confessed to her your treatment of Naruto, her younger brother, then I will, and believe me, you will regret it." Jiraiya stood back up straight and let go of her arm.

Sakura was in a daze. 'Oh shit, another Sannin, how the hell did I get into such a big mess? It's only Naruto!' Sakura decided it would be best to suck up her pride and apologize to Naruto. Whether she meant it or not, she knew he would forgive her and then she would be off the hook. Sakura immediately turned to go back into the room, not bothering to think all the way through the events that had just transpired, she was still shocked, there was no way that idiot Naruto could be the Grandson of a Sannin!

Before Sakura could reach the door, however Jiraiya carefully placed his palm on the wall beside her, putting his arm directly in her way. "Now now, little girl, I know Naruto would forgive you like that." Jiraiya clicked his fingers to show how quickly he meant. "But you have rounds to do, better get going. It is a shame you can't get out of this so easily." Jiraiya grinned and leaned forward at her. With that little prompting Sakura turned and fled down the corridor.

'Damn little girl, doesn't she know how many times Naruto has risked his life for her? Hell, I sure don't, at least once! That should be enough to earn her respect! Ungrateful … Anyway…" Jiraiya looked towards the door. "I bet Naruto's in a state after she did that to him, maybe I should go in and back him up a lil', and make sure all the other kids in there know better than to disrespect him too!' Jiraiya wouldn't admit it to anyone, but it was kind of run exacting revenge upon the stupid little pink haired bitch.

Jiraiya walked into the room, a small smile on his face. "Ero-Sensei!"

-/End Flashback/-

Naruto stood for a few moments after Jiraiya left, silently thanking him. He could not handle that situation anymore, but they were back on topic, he was leaving, goodbyes! "So.. Yeah, I'm leaving for like six months with Er.. Jiraiya-Sensei for training, I'll come back extra strong!" Naruto grinned at everyone.

Hinata sat, dazed. 'Naruto-kun is leaving! For so long!... He's leaving..' she didn't get past the leaving part. Kiba decided not to say anything, he couldn't find a way to insult Naruto and complimenting him was not going to happen. Ino was still silently fuming and she wasn't quite sure whether she was angry at Jiraiya for his comments or Naruto's relief when Ino rejected him. Either way, she was fuming.

Chouji had quickly gone back to sleep, out of the three there, his condition was the most severe, every cell in his body was affected by the pill he took and even though he was still very much alive, thanks to Tsunade, he was less than up to a conversation. Akamaru was listening in but since only Kiba could understand him, that was all he was doing, still comfy at the end of Chouji's bed.

Lee was now slumped forward and drooling on Neji's covers, Neji's only reaction to this development was for him to shift slightly further away, he did however react to Naruto. "Uzumaki-San, we must spar when you return, we'll see if you can surprise me twice." It was hard, but if you really knew how to look, you could tell there was a ghost of a smile on his lips as he said this.

Tenten kept quiet, she wasn't sure how to react, she had slight fantasies of befriending Naruto and that it would somehow lead to her meeting her idol Tsunade of the Sannin, surely if Naruto knew Jiraiya, there would be a slim chance.. right? However her honour told her it would be wrong to use Naruto in such a way. She completely skipped over the possibility of just being friends with him.

Shikamaru stepped up to Naruto, who was now facing Neji, he waited for Naruto to respond before speaking.

Naruto looked at Neji after Neji spoke. "I may not be able to trick you twice, but I'll still win!" Naruto grinned at Neji. He then felt a hand on his shoulder.

As Naruto turned around he saw Shikamaru looking uncharacteristically serious. "Naruto, remember to learn, but to also move on from the past." Shikamaru, his cryptic advice given, then turned around to find his seat and reclaim it.

"Uh.. Thanks Shikamaru." Naruto scratched behind his head, that was good advice and all, but it couldn't always be applied, where the past was always the same, you could not move on until from the present stemmed a new past, something different to move on to. Naruto couldn't move on until the cold stares, the hate, were a thing of the past, not the present.

However, Naruto's blank expression made everyone believe he had simply not understood Shikamaru's comment, for that matter, only Neji had also understood.

Naruto turned around and began waving. "Okay guys, I'd better head off, gotta say bye to Kakashi-Sensei and Iruka-Sensei and I have to go get some Ramen too!" With that he went for the door. But the door opened before he got to it, almost as if it had been expecting this…

Jiraiya walked in and looked down at Naruto. "Right boy, ready to go?" Naruto just nodded. "Right, one thing first though." Jiraiya turned in Tenten's direction. "Um, uhh… weapons girl?" Tenten snapped her attention towards Jiraiya, suddenly angry. Jiraiya just grinned at her.

"Your family owns a weapons shop, right?" Tenten nodded, her anger faded now that she realized she was facing the legendary Jiraiya, he could call her weapons girl if he wanted…

Naruto poked Jiraiya, who turned around to Naruto. Naruto whispered something to Jiraiya. "It's Tenten."

Jiraiya turned back to Tenten. "Um, Tenten, does your shop do Wakizashi's?" Tenten just nodded again. "Great, can you ask your dad to have two ready for me this evening, if he can?" Tenten nodded again, her lack of verbal response was getting a bit freaky.

Naruto whispered to Jiraiya again. "Ero-Sensei! That shop is waaay too expensive!" But Tenten heard.

"Oy! What do you mean 'Too expensive'? Our weapons are very reasonably priced, I'll have you know." Tenten huffed towards Naruto.

Naruto didn't want to make a scene, he only knew how much their Kunai cost, since he had left straight after finding out, but there was no way it was cheap. "I don't care if you're shop is the best ever, no Kunai should cost Fifty Ryo!"

Jiraiya narrowed his eyes, though all eyes were on Naruto, that was an extortionate price for Kunai, what the hell was he on about. Tenten decided it was her place to point out the error of his ways. "Naruto, don't be stupid. There's no way someone would charge Fifty Ryo for one Kunai, they're only three at my shop."

Naruto boiled in anger, he was not stupid and he was NOT a liar. "Hey you listen! I am not a liar and I am not stupid! I know when someone asks me for fifty Ryo, what they're saying!"

Jiraiya decided to step in, before an argument arose, it was easy for anyone who knew of Naruto's past to tell what was going on here. He placed his hand on Naruto's shoulder. "Naruto, could you wait outside? We'll set off in a moment, Kay?" It sounded like a question, but it wasn't, that was most definitely an order for Naruto to wait outside.

Grudgingly Naruto turned around and left the room, he went to the opposite side of the corridor and leant, he would probably hear through the walls of that room if he leant on them so he figured it polite to avoid that possibility.

Jiraiya turned back to Tenten. "Weapon girl-" he reverted to the nickname he had invented, since he didn't know her actual name before. "-I suggest you inform your dad I will be there later to buy some Wakizashi, I believe he and I need to have a talk." With that he left the room. Not caring about the weird looks he was probably getting, he was getting more and more angry with this village. That was the very same store Arashi had commissioned his special Kunai from, how dare they act that way towards that same man's son!

As he left the room, he spied Naruto across from him, he wondered why that was, but shrugged it off. "Oy Naruto, want some ramen? My treat." Naruto grinned before pausing and then eyeing Jiraiya carefully, Jiraiya knew why. "Relax, I said I'd pay this time."

With his doubts assuaged, Naruto began to tell Jiraiya all about how wonderful Ramen was, and that Ichiraku ramen was obviously the best and that he should have some and that… well he kept talking for a long while.

---)(---

Jiraiya and Naruto arrived at the Ichiraku ramen stand within good time, Naruto promptly told the old man Jiraiya was paying, to which Jiraiya just nodded, he then ordered one of everything on the menu.

Jiraiya asked Naruto what ramen he should get, just the one mind… He ended up with a Miso Ramen, it was surprisingly good, but not good enough to eat regularly, it just was so unhealthy!

Jiraiya finished his bowl in record time, for him anyway, and told the owner he had to quickly go down the road to sort something out and left Naruto to his own devices, he would make sure to actually come back and pay this time, though he chuckled at the memory of how he pranked Naruto, the prankster.

As he neared the shop, he quickly ran over his conversation with Kakashi, it would likely go along the same lines, so he might as well make use of good material.

The door was open, it was a warm day anyway and metal work was a hot vocation, so that was understandable. In the front many weapons were displayed and a rather attractive woman sat at the counter, sounds of metal working coming from the back, likely the man of the house working on some merchandise.

As she noticed Jiraiya she quickly squealed out to her husband. "Oh my. HONEY JIRAIYA-SAMA IS HERE! Oh me, this is an honour, how may I help you Jiraiya-Sama?" Well, Jiraiya thought, that was convenient, he wanted to make sure whichever one who had overpriced Naruto was told directly what he thought, this way he could be sure.

The man quickly ran out to the front, a black blacksmith's apron covering his bare chest, oil and grime splattered randomly over his form and some standard trousers on, he really looked the part. "Ah Jiraiya-Sama, it has been a long time! How can we help?" He smiled, whilst wiping his hands with a rather dirty rag, to 'clean' them.

"Ah, yes. Two things, really. I'm interested in buying two Wakizashi for my apprentice, they don't need to be very good, he will likely only use one of them, and only once. But it's very important that they're sharp, even if they dull quickly. Have anything?" Jiraiya turned from his scant inspection of the Wakizashi's on display to the store owner.

"Ah, we don't do any fancy Wakizashi's, but we definitely don't do any low quality ones, those you see there are our selection, I have a few copies of each out back if you want two." The man gestured with his hand to the selection Jiraiya had been eyeing moments ago.

"Ah, good, good. Also, I am wondering on the price of Kunai here?" Jiraiya asked innocently, raising his eyebrow.

"Ah yes, our Kunai are quite popular amongst the Ninja here-" The man spoke with pride. "-They are quite reasonably priced at three Ryo." Jiraiya's eyes narrowed, 'weapon girl' had been telling the truth, though that wasn't in doubt. Jiraiya thought back, maybe he should've waited longer before coming here? He didn't think she had taken his suggestion seriously enough to leave the hospital and warn her parents straight away, oh well.

"Hmm… That's strange, I was quoted Fifty Ryo earlier."

"What? That's extortionate, we would never ask such a ridiculous price for mere Kunai!" The man seemed genuinely surprised. Hmm. His wife however seemed to have a hard tint to her features now, as if remembering something. 'Bingo.'

"Oh, really? Miss, is this true?" Jiraiya turned towards her, she was still at the counter.

"Our Kunai are indeed three Ryo, but the Mons-" The end of her sentence was cut off as her husband hastily placed his hand over her mouth.

He whispered into her ear. "The Law, do you wish to die?" She stilled quickly and looked towards Jiraiya fearfully.

"Am I to assume you asked one Uzumaki Naruto for fifty Ryo per Kunai?" Jiraiya was doing his best to keep calm, these weren't Shinobi whom he could throw around, they were civilians. He had to do this the hard way.

"Yes, Jiraiya-Sama."

"Hmm… Why is that?" Jiraiya faned an inquisitive look.

"Because He… You know why Jiraiya-Sama." The woman answered, being more careful with her words this time.

"Hmm… yes. Tell me, what do you think of the Fourth Hokage, my student?" Jiraiya tilted his head sideways and raised his eyebrow.

"He was a good man, Jiraiya-Sama. He gave his life to protect us."

"Ah yes, very good. Do you suppose he would give his life if he had known what you would do to your hero?" Jiraiya advanced on them, though especially on the woman. "That my student would have died for you all, have sacrificed every moment of the life of an innocent child for this village, if he had known how you would treat the child?" Jiraiya advanced again. "Or, do you think he would have let you all die?" Jiraiya advanced again, then stood, waiting.

The woman looked about ready to soil herself, the man was just staring at Jiraiya slack-jawed. Seeing that Jiraiya was waiting for a response, and noting the state of his wife, even though Jiraiya had mostly been speaking to.. at her, he decided to speak. "J-Jiraiya-Sama, I-We… that is no child, his eyes that night, it is just the monster in a powerless form, we..-" Whatever else he was about to say was cut off as Jiraiya slapped him, not very hard, the man only went stumbling a little. The woman squeaked at the attack, she looked to Jiraiya even more fearfully than before.

'Shit! Shit shit shit, I have to get out of here, I'm no good with civilians, can not go around abusing civilians!' Jiraiya decided to just leave a threat or something and go before he did something he regretted. "That boy, my grandson, is more humane than you two will ever be, you will treat him with respect and honour his sacrifice." Jiraiya paused. "I will get the Wakizashi's elsewhere." Jiraiya then turned and stormed out of the building.

He was only a few buildings down the street when he heard feet running after him. They had appeared out of nowhere and no doors had moved, that meant they came from the blacksmiths. He turned around to see the blacksmith approaching, he had slowed to a jog once Jiraiya had ceased his furious pacing down the street. "J-Jiraiya-Sama… I… We…" He held out two Wakizashi's, they were the finest two in the shop, easily. They had steel casing inlaid with a pattern of fire stemming from the hilt, the handle was wrapped intricately in black and red cloth, they mirrored each other, they would look very nice on Naruto's back. "F-For…" The man paused, he didn't know the boy's name. He had presumed so much about him and yet had yet to learn his name. "For the boy." He finished, dropping to his knees in front of Jiraiya and held out the two blades at arms length towards Jiraiya, head bowed.

Jiraiya was quite surprised, he hadn't expected such a reaction. He looked up to the sky, it was slowly darkening, he had been too long, Naruto had surely totalled up a fortune by now, though it would make sure he rested the night. He sighed and looked back down towards the man.

He was shaking, out of mostly fear, but also pure anxiety brought on by the shame of his actions. He had scorned the grandson of the Legendary Jiraiya, how could they be so foolish.

Jiraiya kept looking down, uncertainty painting his features, taking the blades would seem like an act of forgiveness, forgiveness that was not his to give. "Tell me, are you asking yourself 'how could I treat Jiraiya's grandson that way?" He paused, the man nodded. "You were not thinking 'How could I treat a human being that way?" The man did not nod, though the shaking seemed to get worse. "I will take your blades, but it is not me you need ask forgiveness of and forgiveness is not mine to give." Jiraiya bent down and took the two blades in his right hand, wrapping his fingers around the middle of the sheaths. As he stood he noticed the woman standing in the doorway of the shop, she flinched as she saw him notice her.

Jiraiya decided to say to them the same he had said to Kakashi. "Arashi had thought well of your family. Your actions dishonour his name." Jiraiya then turned and more calmly walked away. The man lowered his head slowly, letting his arms fall to his side.

All that he could think of was 'What have I done… Is there anything I can ever do…' He slowly got up and trudged back to his shop.

---)(---

Jiraiya returned to the Ichiraku to find Naruto sprawled out on the counter next to around twenty bowls of Ramen, he had definitely taken too long. "Yo, owner. Sorry I was so long, here, this should cover his Ramen." Jiraiya pulled out easily more money than was necessary from his wallet and placed it on the counter. He knew that the people there had always been kind to Naruto, he respected them for that, it was likely not easy dealing with the scorn and lack of business that was likely associated with doing so.

He silently picked up Naruto and headed off to his house, He would go see Tsunade about that date he had somehow gotten her to agree to, after he got Naruto tucked in.

---)(---

AN: Damn, long chapter huh? Well it is for me! I just wanted to clarify a few things, I'm pretending Naruto had been planning ways to beat Sasuke, to get his respect for a while. And that his plan to beat Itachi is just a bastardized version of one, it obviously didn't include killing when it was designed to beat Sasuke. So I hope you don't think this entire idea of Naruto's came out of nowhere and that I'm just doing some weird ass plotline 'cause I felt like it (I don't care if I am, you're not meant to think that!)

As far as I know Jiraiya has spent his life after Arashi died being a spy and being perverted, sounds a lot like he's running away from reality, so I don't think its unreasonable for him to think of Arashi as his son, and Naruto grandson by proxy. And we all know how Tsunade thinks of Naruto like a brother, where her actual brother died.

As far as I know, Kakashi had no mother, not sure. But his dad was disgraced, even though he was a hero. And Arashi was a great Sensei, whom he had since he was 6 (graduating) so I don't think it's wild to have him think of Arashi as a father figure.

Final note, anyone who likes Sakura or Sasuke, you're stupid. Admittedly Sasuke is one badass mofo, but that's it, he's also grade A asshole. And Sakura is the most pathetic character, person, whatever, that I have ever encountered. Ino I can bear, because I haven't seen her treat her team mates like trash even though they risk their lives and she doesn't. Sakura just stands around and if something goes wrong she goes 'Sasuke-Kun' or 'Naruto', she even criticizes Sasuke in the forest of death for being a coward, she just fucking STANDS THERE! It pisses me off… I'm not sure whether she will actually still get apprenticeship from Tsunade, but I figured it appropriate to put it on the rocks.

Last note, this one's the big one, the reason why I'm having Naruto be sane and not psychotic is that he has become obsessed with proving everyone wrong, with gaining their respect and acknowledgement. Being Hokage is the epitome of respect and acknowledgement, right? So I don't think I'm far off… But without that obsession, I reckon he'd have lost it ages ago.

Anyway, thanks for reading