Disclaimer: I do not own the characters of Naruto, s-CRY-ed, or Tenchu. I only use them for writing this story.
A/N: I know it has been some time, and that this is long over due. I'm sorry about the delay and maintain what I said last chapter. I suck at multitasking. Well, it didn't take 3 months to make this chapter… It ended up taking nearly twice that. I suck, I know.
Trick or Treat?
Why was it so hard to say something when you had a woman crying into your chest? Was it the fact that the one currently doing it was someone who had become a sister to him? Could the fact that she practically tried to commit suicide be what left him speechless?
A number of reasons popped up as Naruto looked down at the top of Anko's head. He could still hear her mumbled apologies as she buried her face in his chest. They were faint but he could hear the anguish in each and every word she said. Even as she told him what had happened he felt a knot in his stomach up until the source of her pain was finally revealed.
'No. It's because she is normally so calm. I've never seen her hysterical before,' decided Naruto and he wraps his arms around the broken woman.
"I'm so sorry Naruto… I tried to leave you so soon after finding you. I… I don't know what I was thinking," cried Anko as she gripped Naruto's jacket and buried her face further into his chest.
"Nee-chan," whispered Naruto as he tried to lift her face up to see him. It took some doing but he finally managed to get the Kunoichi to look up at him.
"I can't imagine how it must have felt to come face to face with that bastard. I… I think I know what was going through your head though. I felt something similar when I was training with Ero-Sennin. I wanted to quit and give up all hope. He had beaten me into the ground so badly it hurt to move a finger," whispered Naruto as he thought back to his training with Jiraiya over the past month.
Even now he could feel the bite of a spear digging into his side. The burning of a sword as it cut into his stomach. He had been beaten to within an inch of his life during the first week there. All in order to force Naruto to take control of things again. To get him to bring back that healing factor Kyubi had once given him.
"Finally I wanted to give up but right when I was about to let go of everything Kyubi came to me. He told me that he was going to enjoy ravaging the land. That he was going to finish what he had started when I was born."
Anko snapped her head up now to get a clearer look at Naruto and tried to understand what he had just said. It should have been impossible for the Kyubi to break free from the seal it was placed in. At least that is what she had been told several times before, and what has been said to anyone who had questioned the Kyubi's imprisonment.
"Seems that when I activated my Alter it gave the Kyubi a foothold to use to try to break free. That was why I didn't heal as fast as I used to. When it started talking about the things it was going to do once it was free I got scared and pissed. Some how I managed to cut the Kyubi off from the outside world. I destroyed its influence and reestablished control because I wanted to live. I wanted to continue to live and protect everyone from it."
Naruto paused now as he looked down into Anko's tear filled eyes. The woman he saw now was different from the one he had first met. Ever since he knew her she had never shown him this much emotion. It didn't seem right for a person as strong as her to be so fragile.
"I can't say that I'm not sad about what almost happened. I'd be stupid to not be angry about it. I just hope that next time Nee-chan you fight until the very end without ever giving up. That's what I'm going to do with Kyubi and anyone else that gets in my way. The only time I'll stop fighting is when my body is dead and buried," admitted Naruto while he gripped Anko's shoulders tightly and looked into her eyes.
"So promise me Nee-chan that you will never give up like that again! Don't you ever try to leave us without a fight! Just like the night they came for Ka-san! You two didn't give up then so don't you ever give up again!" Naruto nearly shouted as he shook his sister with tears running down his face.
She could do nothing but break from his hold to bury her head in his chest again while nodding her head in agreement. If he could fight off a demon she could continue fighting.
Elsewhere in Konoha a man slipped through the dark in hopes of carrying out his assignment. As part of his mission he did not carry any items that might identify where he was from. He was one of the many people from his country trained in blending in with the culture of Hi no Kuni. That meant that he looked and sounded like he belonged to the country. The only way a person could tell is if they examined his body closely, and that would only happen if he ended up on an examination table.
Shaking those thoughts from his mind the man continued his meandering walk around Konoha. He had to relay a message from his leader and see how their cohorts would react to the news. Just knowing what the message contained caused the man to shiver in fear as the old stories from his childhood came back to him.
Stories of the cursed man who could take out entire platoons of Shinobi and Samurai before they knew what hit them. Tales of a man that mothers and fathers told their children about in order to get them to listen. A man that was viewed as the boogey man in the Land of Earth. That was until the current Tsuchikage had dealt with him. Even after his death though the name or Kazuma Arashi was spoken in hushed tones, as if saying his name out loud would cause him to rise from the grave.
Now it seemed like that had come to pass, not that man but something close enough, his son.
The man paused in a side street as late night drinkers stumbled past. With the sudden increase in Konoha's security there was no telling if these men were actually drunks or posing as late night security for the village.
That was another concern for the leader of Iwa, the presence of two of Konoha's Legendary Sannin. Sure working along side the Sound and the third one held certain advantages before, but now that the children of Konoha had come home to roost… Things looked to become more difficult then they had been before.
The man from Iwa started to grow impatient as the men stopped at one of the trash cans that could be found on every corner of Konoha. One bent over it and the sound of vomiting could be heard as he emptied his stomach. His friend just stood their laughing as he pulled a bottle from his pocket and offered the sick one a drink.
"Konoha disgusts me the more I stay here," muttered the man as he watched the two residents drink their swill.
"I was never too fond of Iwa either except for the sunrises," stated someone from behind the man.
Before he could turn around he was seeing stars as he was sent to the ground by fist to the head. Looking up from the ground he could see the one of the people his country had cursed to death several times. The main reason they cursed this man so much was because of the fact he had a hand in molding Kazama Arashi into the legend he had become.
"Sorry but Konoha doesn't take too kindly to spies who wear out their welcome," added Jiraiya as he lifted a foot and quickly slammed it down on the man's head, using the metal on the bottom to knock the man out.
The two drunks straightened up when they saw the man fall to the ground and were running over by the time Jiraiya had rendered him unconscious. All signs of their previous behavior had vanished as they helped pull the man into the dark alley.
"Good job Kotetsu and Izumo. Now get this guy over to Ibiki and see what we can find out," ordered Jiraiya as he checked his footwear for any signs of blood.
'Can't let the ladies see me walking around with blood on me,' thought the big man as he finished his check and smiled as he thought about getting back to the party.
It was the day before the exams and the tension could already be felt in the air as many were put on edge by the events that would be unfolding in the day to come. The one thing that held true for everyone though was that the next few days would change everyone's life.
For Hyuga Hinata it was a day for her to spend time with her family, even if she didn't want to.
She had hoped to avoid seeing her little sister, Hanabi. The young Hyuga had started to act colder towards her older sister since she started to gain more of her Father's respect and attention. Since the girl had been the apple of his eye for years now she seemed to take it wrong when Hiashi had started to take some time out to talk with Hinata about her day and team.
Then there was also Neji who had started to act colder towards the Main house member and that was before the first attack on his team. After that attack he had become crueler in the way he dealt with her and any member of her team. On one such instance he had nearly delivered a blow that could have ended her career as a Kunoichi, if note her life. It would have connected had Naruto not stepped in the way and Shikamaru grabbed him with his shadow.
All with a smirk on his face as he gazed into her frightened eyes.
That was one of the many things that pushed her during the month away from Konoha. It wasn't just the fact that she was with Naruto or the fact they had a highly dangerous and sensitive mission. It was the fact that she would have to protect herself from her kinsman and very likely display some of her newfound skills to the Elders of the clan upon her return.
There was never any doubt in her mind that they would test her. She wasn't taking part in the Chunin Exam, unlike her cousin in the Branch house. It was a slap in the face to the arrogant old farts that had more then enough pride for the entire clan.
Hinata smiled as she thought about the things she had learned. She was a Kunoichi and an assassin. Playing fair was no longer in her vocabulary.
With that in mind she made her way to the dining room to eat with her Father and Sister. She tried being polite by smiling fondly at Hanabi but was given a glare in return. Upon smiling and bowing slightly to her Father she was given a nod while he frowned in the direction of Hanabi.
Of course another small bump in the road for Hinata was trying to break the hard shell that Hanabi had constructed around herself. It was from all of the private lessons from some of the more traditional Hyugas, lessons she had failed at when she was that age.
'A Hyuga should never show emotion, to show emotion is to show weakness,' thought Hinata as she thought about one of the primary teachings of the Hyuga clan.
'Emotions are not a weakness but true strength. Emotions are what help us stand up and continue fighting even when we are beaten. They are what have allowed Konoha to survive and thrive. Without the Will of Fire, Konoha would have fallen long ago,' amended Hinata as she slowly started to eat.
Silence settled in over the table as the trio calmly took in their morning meal. It felt very strange to Hinata to be eating in silence. She had grown used to talking with others during her time away. Be it Shikamaru, Shizune, Obito, Tsunade, or even Ton-ton she would always find herself taking part in some form of conversation during her meals. It was with a soft sigh that she looked between her Father and Sister and finally made up her mind.
"I hear that you were one of the Genin that helped to escort the Tsuchikage and his caravan to Konoha," said Hiashi just as Hinata was about to open her mouth. She quickly snapped it shut and looked up at her father who was now smiling in amusement and with what she had been slowly started to see more of, pride.
"It was merely a coincidence that we were able to escort them here," answered Hinata, well aware of the glare that was being sent to her by Hanabi.
"Nonsense. Even if you view it as nothing, it is still something that will be talked about by the villager and the clan. Just being seen traveling with Jiraiya has done a great deal for you Hinata," countered her father as he looked away and took a small sip of his tea.
While she enjoyed the newfound interest from her Father, she couldn't help but color at the words of praise. It was partially true, she didn't view it as anything praise worthy. She was terrified the entire time they were escorting the group from Iwa. If not for Jiraiya she was sure that they all would have been killed the second they had revealed themselves. That didn't count the fact that the second they saw Naruto every Iwa Shinobi released a mixture of killing intent and fear towards Naruto.
Hinata had to fight to keep from shaking the entire time and Shikamaru wasn't much better. Then Jiraiya had to put Naruto as the personal guard for the Tsuchikage.
"It might seem like an amazing accomplishment but we were all terrified the entire time. Naruto-kun…"
Hiashi fully understood what she meant. The irony of Naruto being the guard of the Tsuchikage might be lost on the few who didn't know of the connection between the two. He could only imagine the anger and hate that the two must have felt for each other during the trip.
"I understand. Speaking of Naruto, I must be going to a meeting that Sandaime-sama has called. From what I've heard the Daimyo is supposed to be there as well; it must truly be something of great importance to call in all clan leaders," said Hiashi as he stood up and excused himself from the table.
Hinata stayed in her spot silently as her father left the room. She could already feel the eyes of her sister drilling into her as they waited for Hiashi to leave the room. Now that they were alone it became a game to see who would break the silence between them. This had become a regular occurrence now that Hiashi had started to pay more attention to Hinata.
"Neji-san will defeat you," stated Hanabi firmly as she looked at her sister with what she felt to be piercing eyes.
Hinata smiled gently behind her cup of tea as she let the aroma wash over her. This was soon followed by a small sip of the lemongrass tea before she set the cup down and stared back at her sister.
"Perhaps he will but I do not expect to go down as easily as I once did. I am no longer the Hinata you once knew. I've come to accept several things about the life I now lead, and I am no longer afraid of doing what needs to be done to protect myself. Should Neji wish to attack me or a member of my team he may regret the action," answered Hinata finally as she moved to stand.
"IMPOSSIBLE! He has some how gained the sacred techniques of the Main house! Techniques that the likes of you could never hope to achieve. If he was to use them on you or the fools you call friends you would be killed!"
Once again Hinata just smiled at her sister while trying to fight the shiver that had gone down her back. She had suspected he was working on the Kaiten; having seen the marks of the technique at the training grounds. If he had learned others…
'This just means that I made the right choice by describing some of the moves to Naruto-kun and Shikamaru,' thought Hinata as she accepted the information she has just gained.
"You may be right Hanabi-chan, but the fight is never over until one of the fighters stops moving. Neji may cause some damage but I do not doubt my ability or my team's ability to deal with what ever he may bring to our next confrontation."
Hanabi seemed to seethe as Hinata walked out of the room with another smile on her face. She had scored a direct hit in breaking the shell that Hanabi had been forced to create. By goading her and angering the younger Hyuga she had managed to make her sister open up just a little. It was a small victory but still a victory.
His day had started off perfectly. It was partly cloudy with the sun peaking out every so often. The temperature was just right, enough so that he could sleep outside on the roof without feeling any discomfort. A gentle breeze that carried the scent of the herd up to him through his open window.
Then his mother kicked his door open and sent him careening out of his bed.
'This is probably going to be MY fault for not coming home right away yesterday. I just know she is going to yell about not letting her know I was home sooner,' thought the Nara as he pulled himself up and untangled himself from the sheets.
"Shika-kun Choji is here," declared his mom after smiling at his annoyed look.
The statement caused him to pause at the mental tired he was about to unleash and look at his mom stunned. Out of all the things he was expecting from her that was the most unexpected.
He had left a pile of clothes outside his door, dirty and worn sandals by the door. Never came by the day before to say he was home. Came home late at night possibly drunk off his ass, how or why he couldn't remember. In short he had done several things she frowned on and didn't seem to be getting scolded for it.
'I have to be dreaming. The only time she has been this nice was when Naruto visited,' thought the boy as he looked at his mom wide-eyed and open mouthed.
Instead of an answer from Yoshino he was given nothing but a smile as she turned away and yelled out to Choji that he was up. With a grunt he followed his mother down the stairs and to his childhood friend.
"Come on Choji, lets talk outside," mumbled the Nara as he ignored his sandals and continued on out to the porch, his mother trying to smother her laughter the entire time.
"You look kind of different Shika," said Choji finally as they sat on a set of swings, opposite of each other.
"Ah, I feel and look the same, just me though. This training trip was probably worst then anything Anko-sensi could come up with, and more like something that madman Gai-sensi would come up with."
Choji laughed at the mention of the two. He knew Anko could go overboard when she wanted to. He had seen the training courses they ran and her love of actual weapons for avoidance training. The stories he had heard about Gai from Shikamaru made the man seem crazier then Anko when it came to physical training. Who would ask his Genin to pull boulders the size of a carriage?
"I guess its one of those things you can't talk about yet, huh?"
"I really wish I could Choji but until Hokage-sama says we can, we have to keep where we were a secret. It's likely that after the Chunin exams we'll be allowed to talk. Enough about us though, what about you guys? How'd you do in the Chunin Exams so far and what were they like," asked Shikamaru as he tried to get off the subject of their month long excursion.
"Alright, I get it," mumbled the Akimichi as he reached into his pouch and pulled out a small bag of chips.
"Well the first part of the exam…"
The two had talked for nearly an hour when Choji stopped his stories and his mood seemed to darken. It was odd to Shikamaru since the boy hadn't done that when he described Ibiki and the first test. He had gotten to the first night in the Forest of Death for Anko's part of the exam when he paused and started to reflect on what happened.
"Shika I don't know what happened but someone separated me from Sakura and Sasuke. When that happened I had to fight this giant snake off. That was hard enough but then I started hearing explosions from where I thought Sasuke and Sakura were. I started running over there as soon as I could and it looked like a battlefield. I saw another giant snake hover over Sakura and Sasuke with some Grass-nin standing over them."
While Choji was talking Shikamaru was doing what he did best, thinking. He could guess who the Grass-nin was since there were only two known people to be able to summon and control snakes. Anko would never do this so that left Orochimaru. If this was enough to turn Choji solemn when thinking about it then he could only guess that Orochimaru had managed to place the Curse Seal on the Uchiha.
"… I tried fighting the guy but s/he managed to dodge everything I could throw. Finally s/he just sent the snake at me. After being slapped by the tail and sent flying into a tree he seemed to focus back on Sasuke. I was slowly blacking out but I could hear Sakura yelling for Sasuke to fight. I think she even said something about your team but I might have been hearing things. The only thing I heard for sure was Sakura and Sasuke gasping when the guy tore off his face before I blacked out. Shika I don't know what happened after that but when I woke up a little while later Sasuke was sleeping and seemed like he had one hell of a fever and some strange mark on him," finished Choji as he looked down at his lap.
Once the pleasantly plump ninja had finished his story the two sat there. One was shaking in anger as he fought to keep away the fear he had felt. It was probably the first time he had ever brushed death and managed to escape. The escape though was not due to his skills but because he wasn't worth the time of the person he was fighting.
The entire time he had fought the man he was being mocked and laughed as he hit nothing but air, trees, and dirt.
Shikamaru for the most part sat there reflecting on what he had learned. Team 7 had encountered Orochimaru and Sasuke had been marked with the Curse Seal. There was a part of his mind that focused on this detail and started to apply that knowledge to the mission that they had been given. It only took him a few seconds before he started to kick himself for completely ignoring the major problem that his oldest friend was facing.
"Choji there isn't much you could expect to do against this guy. I can't say much but none of us could ever hope to do much to him if he was serious."
The Akimichi couldn't help but ball up his melon sized fist as he heard what the Nara said. It stung him to hear that voiced aloud. He had tried telling himself that over and over that no one could have done anything. Yet there was a side in him that could only feel depressed at hearing the news.
"I… I know but it doesn't help. I trained my ass off to become stronger. I worked so hard that I passed out in the training fields at times. I watched as everyone else seemed to get stronger and yet I just seemed to be staying the same," confessed the boy as he fought to keep his tears back.
'So that's the problem. I can't say that I blame him after some of the things I've seen Naruto do. I'm on his team and I feel that way, even after all the training I just went through.'
"I know the feeling Choji. I feel the same way. I think we all feel that way at times, even the ones we look up to. I know Naruto feels it every day he wakes up and goes to bed. We are all looking for a way to comfort ourselves and assure that we have gotten stronger. You HAVE gotten stronger Choji. If you hadn't you wouldn't be fighting in the finals tomorrow. After all only a few of our class can say they advanced to the finals."
Choji had been looking down at the ground watching his tears soak into the dirt. He knew he could count on his friend to try and cheer him up. Still, hearing the person he grew up with admit he felt the same was a source of comfort for him. If Shikamaru said that Naruto felt the same way he would believe him. He had no reason to ever doubt the words of the Nara.
"Yeah… I don't think you would have enjoyed the Exam, at least not the old you," answered Choji as he looked up at his dark-haired friend with a smile forming.
After everything that had gone on last night one would think he'd sleep in. He had every right to after the emotional roller coaster he had gone through. Learning that his sister had tried to commit suicide shook him up to his very core.
Yet here he was assaulting an innocent log in one of the many training grounds around Konoha.
Sleep didn't come to him after he had returned to the party with his Sister. He could only think about everything he had been told. His mind went back to the mission he had been given and realized that he may actually have to carry it out. Orochimaru had marked Sasuke and would be coming for the Uchiha or trying to attract him to his side. It was something that Naruto could never allow. At the same time he had to think about the man who he had escorted to Konoha. A man who had played a role in the death of his mother and father.
'Who in their right mind would ask someone to watch the person who KILLED HIS FAMILY?'
With that thought he sunk his fist into the log and watched it explode into thousands of splinters. He yelled out in pain as several shards of wood buried themselves between his knuckles and arm. Slowly he started to pull them out while swearing under his breath and cursing whoever decided to put such soft wood in the training ground logs. Oh yeah this week had been so much fun for him.
It was during this time that he heard the crack of a twig and turned around with a kunai in his bloody hand. Yet he didn't throw it, not knowing exactly who or what the target was. It wouldn't do to accidentally wound a civilian or a fellow Shinobi. By the time he had completed his turn he really DID want to bury his kunai ring deep in the head of his visitor.
"My my I hardly expect the son of the famed Yellow Flash to be surprised so easily," said a man that Naruto had grown to hate. The laugh the man let out only served to deepen the hatred he had felt boiling up.
"What the hell do you want," snarled Naruto as he started to tense and look around for would-be assassins. A man like the Tsuchikage would not come all the way out to a training field for a friendly chat with the son of the most hated man in Iwa history.
Seeing Naruto eye's darting around the clearing only caused the man to laugh again. It was amusing to see the panicked expression wash over the face of a boy who had been so stoic days before. He drew some pleasure of being able to cause such a reaction from him.
"I merely came to thank you for taking such good care of me on our way to Konoha. I understand it must have been hard on you, knowing who I am and what I've done," answered the man.
Truthfully he had no idea if Naruto knew about their past when he had first come to the village. He could only write off the explosive entrance as something orchestrated by the buffoon Jiraiya. The declaration of the boy's heritage could have been something of a bluff to rock the man. Seeing the boy's anger and fear now though gave him chills down his back. The boy knew what he had done and was angry about it. At the same time there seemed to be some fear buried in his mind as well.
"You were lucky you bastard," growled Naruto as he relaxed slightly and tried to reign in his emotions.
"Luck is a part of being a Shinobi my boy."
"And I supposed picking on pregnant women is part of the job as well."
The man laughed lightly, which only seemed to anger Naruto.
"She was close to a high value target. By marrying her, your father assured her demise at the hands of his enemies. If you wish to blame anyone for her death then blame him.
"It should be a lesson to you as well. Anyone you are close to will be a target for your enemies. Enemies that would do anything to get at you for the things you have done. Enemies that would be willing to do anything to get even with the bastard that was your father," continued the man.
Naruto felt a sudden chill overcome him as the man talked. It was something he knew would happen but having it brought up like this made it seem much more dangerous. This man had exploited his pregnant mother to try and kill his father. He had tried to kill the two adopted daughters, his sisters. He was willing to do anything to destroy a target that threatened or crossed him.
Now the man would do the same thing with him. He would go after Shikamaru, Anko, Jiraiya, Haku, Zabuza, Gozu, Meizu, Tsunade, Shizune, Obito, Teuchi, Ayame, Choji, Rin, and Hinata. The faces of all of them flew through his mind as his overactive imagination ran wild. His mind cooked up vile deeds being done to his friends and family, all just to cause him pain. All just to get to him. To lure him into a trap, just like they did with his Father.
Without knowing it his chakra started to build up, chunks of earth and brush started to disintegrate in bits of colored light. He kept his head down as his fingers flexed unnaturally and his hand split apart only to slowly take on a reddish hue and joined under a strange armor.
The Tsuchikage watched in fascination as he witnessed something very few have ever seen before. Memories of a similar event that took place nearly thirteen years ago coming to the forefront of his mind as the transformation finished and left him stunned. If he had any doubts about this boy being the son of Kazama Arashi they were banished as Naruto flexed his clawed fingers and snapped his arm out to the side.
He quickly looked around the clearing, satisfied that he saw several of his personal guard at the ready should the boy try anything.
"So you really are the bastards son. I knew I should have driven a blade into you before you were born," stated the man as calmly as he could. The entire time he focused on the clawed flexing hand and the sharp protrusions sticking out from Naruto's elbow and back.
"Do you know the reason why you lived that night? Have you ever wonders WHY my Father allowed you to be the only person to ever survive his treasured technique?"
The anger Naruto had built up seemed to be gone, causing the Tsuchikage to furrow his brow as the blonde continued to talk. The question he asked was the one thing that kept him up on restless nights. He had wondered about that, but passed it off as the crisis that Konoha was in. Konoha was predictable in that sense. If their village was in danger the leaders would be at the front line to defend it.
"Sure, you know all about the Kyubi attacking. You probably think that is why you're still alive. You'd almost be right in thinking that. I found it amazing that he managed to make it back to Konoha in time to stop the demon from rampaging. Yet at the same time he managed to get my mother here just in time to save me from her womb. Even my Nee-chans were saved by his swift actions after you and your men left."
He bite back a growl as Naruto continued to flex his hand, almost as if it allowed him to release his anger. Ever since he had used this power Naruto had become extremely calm and collected, voice monotonous as he kept his head down.
"You survived because my father PITIED you. He pitied how pathetic you looked as you cowered in fear when he stood over your crumpled body. After seeing what you had been reduced to in his wake he knew the worst thing he could ever do to you was allow you to live," stated the blonde as he brought his face up to grin at the man across from him.
A growl could be heard around the clearing as the Tsuchikage became enraged at the words said by the boy. He DARED to say that he was a man to be pitied? That the only reason he was alive was because of pity?
'I don't care about the invasion. I will kill this insolent whelp right here and now!'
The man went to raise his hand to signal the nin he had surrounding Naruto. As his hand came up Naruto crouched down into what could almost be a runner's starting stance, except his legs seemed to be poorly place. If he had known that Naruto normally used this stance to spring towards or above his enemy he might have had second thoughts as he started to drop his hand down.
Before he could do that a coughing sound was heard in the surrounding brush, causing the Iwa-nin to freeze and Naruto to tense up once again. None of them knew if the new arrival was friend or foe, and given Naruto's current predicament he was going to treat them as Foe, at least until he could confirm the identity. All eyes had turned to where the sound came from waiting for the culprit to reveal himself.
The tension only sky rocketed as a wild mane of white hair poked it's way through the dense foliage that kept this field hidden away. Slowly a giant of a man stepped into the clearing with a smile on his face, immune to the tense atmosphere he had walked in on.
"There you are Naruto, I've been looking for you all day," shouted Jiraiya as he walked towards Naruto.
"Oh Tsuchikage-dono I didn't see you there. What brings you to this obscure training field? Surely you didn't come here to just to chat with Naruto," greeted Jiraiya as he finally "noticed" the Iwa-nin on the other end of the clearing. Of course he seemed to be "ignoring" the others around him.
"Oh, you did come all the way out here just to talk to little Naruto? I'm sorry that I interrupted your little chat but I would hate to think someone would do something likely to cause an international incident," soothed Jiraiya as his gaze hardened as their eyes locked.
His lip started to twitch as he fought to keep a snarl under control. It wouldn't do to cause a scene now that Jiraiya had showed up. Had it just been Naruto it could have been written off as anger getting the best of the boy, such a plot would be much harder to pull now that Jiraiya had showed up. There was only one thing left to do, no matter how much he hated to admit it.
"No, we were just finishing a rather intense discussion about Naruto-kun's family. I was trying to express my sadness for what happened with his family and hoped he held no ill-will towards me or my country. Sadly you know how the youth of today are, always hot-blooded and wearing their emotions on their sleeves."
Jiraiya's lip quirked and Naruto's scowl deepened as the man tried to play off the rather obvious assassination attempt.
"Then why don't we allow him to work his emotions out while I escort you back to the village. I don't know what I would do if anything happened to you while you were under the care of Konoha," eased Jiraiya as he started to walk towards the man and coaxed him away from the clearing.
Naruto started to breathe easier as the pair left the clearing and finally allowed himself to release his Alter. He had been more then willing to fight the man and his Shinobi if it meant gaining some form of revenge for his family. Yet at the same time his talk with Anko came to mind as he faced the man down. It would be suicide if he had attacked the Tsuchikage and his men. He might have been able to handle a handful of them but I the end he would have been killed.
'I can't break my promise to Nee-chan after everything that was said last night.'
There were very few places in the Shinobi world could ever boast that they were impenetrable. The few places that tried to claim such things could easily be counted on three fingers. At one point in time the Hokage's tower in Konoha used to own a position on this prestigious list of buildings. That all changed when Naruto broke in and stole a certain scroll from a certain person's office.
Currently several of the greatest men and women of Konoha and the Land of Fire could be found in one of the most tightly guarded rooms in the village. Not only was the Sandaime Hokage present with his entourage, but the leaders of the Hyuga, Aburame, Nara, Akimichi, Yamanaka, and the Inuzuka clans were there with their respective escorts. To add to this two of Konoha Greatest Heroes, Tsunade and Jiraiya, were also present. No such meeting could be held without the leader of the Land of Fire presiding over the events that were about to unfold.
So of course nothing could enter the room without being subjected to countless inspections, all without the knowledge of the subject. There would be no place safer that night as the leader of Konoha called to order a meeting that was bound to turn his village upside down.
"I'm sure many of you among the Shinobi and Civilian councils wish to know why this meeting was called. Before we start I would like to welcome our benevolent leader to our humble village for this prestigious occasion. I only hope that our Genin can impress him and other visiting dignitaries in tomorrow's event."
A small round of applause followed this as many bowed to the standing Daimyo who returned the greeting with a slight bow to one of his oldest military leaders.
"At the same time I would like to welcome home my two wayward students. It pleases this old man to see you come home once again. After having training with you and watching you grow I almost feel like I was welcoming my own children back own with open arms. I'm pleased to hear that you will be staying to catch up on old times," added Sarutobi as he hefted a glass towards Jiraiya and Tsunade.
The former blushed as he ducked his head and scratched his neck. It wasn't often that one could embarrass the great Jiraiya but some how his old teacher could manage to do it every time they crossed paths. Tsunade managed to keep her composure, despite being touched by her Sensei's words. After her Grandfather and Granduncle had passed away, Sarutobi Hiruzen had indeed become like a father to her. It made her feel guilty that she had never talked to the man in all of the years she had been gone. Just one of the many things she would have to see to once this was over.
"Now that the pleasantries are over with I surrender control of this meeting to my students, Jiraiya and Tsunade."
As the Sandaime took his seat the two Sannin exchanged glances, debating on who should get the ball rolling on what was bound to be an uphill battle.
With a small sigh and a nod of her head Tsunade stood up and cleared her throat as she looked around the table. She could already spot several Council members that would fight her upcoming declaration tooth and nail. The greatest obstacles would be the former teammates of her Sensei, as well as his "rival" Danzo. They alone would hold nearly half of the council in their pockets. If the three of them did not wish for something then it was very likely that it would never see the light of day. Thankfully though this was mainly a Military matter, greatly reducing the vote of the Civilian council, who were only present out of etiquette.
The Shinobi half of the council would be more then willing to agree with what she was going to propose. The only problem she would have is convincing everyone what she claimed was true.
"I have called for this meeting, with the support of our Daimyo to ask this Council to reveal the heritage of one of Konoha's Shinobi," started Tsunade as she looked around the room and noticed the sudden looks of interest from various people around the table.
"I'm sure many of you may be wondering why this meeting is required and I will assure you that this is not something to waste your time. This meeting has been called have been because revealing the heritage of this Shinobi is bound to shake this village to it's very core and concerns one of Konoha's greatest and least kept secrets," added Tsunade as she narrowed her eyes slightly as certain people sat up a little straighter.
With a clinical eye she could see the sudden signs of stress appear on the faces of Homura, Koharu, and Danzo. Even if the signs were brief she was able to discern just who knew about what she was going to reveal. It should be easy enough to predict what she wanted to talk about. After all only two Shinobi in Konoha had S-Class secrets filed under their names currently. One of them was lucky enough to have several such secrets filed under his name.
Only one of them truly held secrets under his name that could shake up the village.
"Of course there are many secrets in this village and this secret should have kept this Genin safe from harm. Sadly it would seem that many of you sitting here at this table have not done so. You or your predecessors let hatred blind you and so you and many people within this village whispered harsh words to the children. So tell me how it feels to mistreat and snub…"
Before the Slug Sannin could finish the doors to the room were thrown open and several Chunin came running in. The one in the lead was none other then a very panicked Iruka.
"Hokage-sama something horrible has happened!"
By the time Sarutobi and the other important members of the Council arrived at the scene the fire had already consumed most of the house. The main reason it had done so was because of how dangerous it was to approach the home of the Yondaime Hokage. It was one of those times where security also happened to be what stopped any sort of rescue attempt from being made. It was only with Sarutobi in the lead that any form of rescue could finally make it's way towards the home.
Well, this took longer then I thought it would and I am very sorry it happened like this. I wish I could crank out chapters like I used to but that spark just isn't here right now. I will do my best to try and make sure this doesn't happen again. There isn't much more to say except that and hope that I can keep the readers that I still have.