Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto Kishimoto does. But I wish I did.
SUMMARY: After a final attempt to turn the tides of war against an Orochimaru, Naruto suddenly woke up in a Konoha where the villagers saw him as a hero but all his precious people only saw him as a spoiled brat and a nuisance. But the biggest surprised of all is that a mother he had never knew was alive, and that he also has a younger sister with a terminal illness. Can he cope with this new world before him? Can he regain the trust of his precious people once again? And would he be able to defeat the Orochimaru of this world?
Iwagakure no Sato, the Hidden Village of Stone, is in high alert. Heck, every Hidden Villages throughout the entire Shinobi Nation had been in high alert ever since the chakra shockwave from Fire Country a week ago. On top of that, there seems to be some kind of movement by the Leaf in the Iwa-Konoha boarders.
The Tsuchikage knows that there could only be one source of that chakra wave. The Kyuubi no Kitsune. According to her spies, the vessel of the Demon Fox have tampered with the seal. The reason behind it is still unknown.
She'd heard about the vessel before but didn't give him any mind, despite the fact that the vessel isn't just the vessel of the most powerful of the Tailed Beasts, but also the son of her most hated enemy, Kazama Arashi. She was told that the boy was a coward and his younger sister will soon be dead due to chakra poisoning. And for 53-years old Setsuna, Rokudaime Tsuchikage of Iwagakure, cowards have no place in her mind so she never bothered to learn anything else about Arashi's family after his death several years ago. In fact, after letting the people of Iwa know that the Kazama Clan would die out in a couple of years thanks to chakra poisoning and cowardice, she made sure all spying on that particular clan are stopped since they are no longer a threat to Iwa. She knows how much her people will call for revenge on her enemy's family if that particular clan even hint at being a threat. She wouldn't want another war if she could help it.
But still, speculations on the reasons for the chakra wave are getting more and more ridiculous by the day. Some say the demon managed to escape the seal and is now lose. Other says that the demon managed to possess its vessel and have wrecked havoc to Konoha. Some even says that the vessel made a pact with the demon to use its immense chakra. One man even had an insane idea that the vessel's soul had been replaced by someone from another dimension, where the said vessel had been a very powerful Kage. Yup, he's insane.
The most believable story currently circulating through the village is that the vessel had been in a life and death situation and the fox release its chakra to save him. It seems to be the best possible explanation. But just incase she's wrong; she sent one of her best ANBU squads towards the Iwa-Konoha boarders yesterday, along with three other squads that the Iwa Council had vehemently suggested to be allowed to tag along.
She scowled thinking about Iwa's Council's bolder movements recently. She's already under the scrutiny of most of the council for denying them the chance to attack Konoha after the Yondaime's death, saying that since the biggest thorn on their side is finally neutralized, Konoha would be easy picking for Iwa. They forgot that the Yellow Flash was not the only legendary ninja hailed from the Leaf, the Dansetsu no Sannin being prime example, even if one of them went missing nin.
Iwa have its own number of legendary ninjas, but since most of them are loyal to the Tsuchikage, the Council wouldn't dare oppose her openly.
She was just about to call on her secretary to inquire about those said ANBU squads when she felt the familiar chakra signature of someone using Shunsin to teleport to her office.
A second later, an Iwa ANBU wearing a brown cloak appeared before her in a kneeling position.
The Tsuchikage gave the lizard-masked ANBU a once over before saying, "You're late. And where is the rest of your team? I do hope your report is worth it or I'll be very displeased."
The Iwa ANBU gulped at his superior's open threat after taking off his mask and placed a silver rimmed reading glass on. The 25 years old Sato gave his superior another bow before saying, "Forgive me, Tsukikage-sama, but I assure you our report is worth it." Before he could continue, both ninja felt another presence approaching.
A second later, another two ANBU teleported into the room. One is wearing a vulture mask while the other is wearing a scorpion mask. The vulture wearing one suddenly took off his mask, revealing what would be quite a handsome face if it isn't trying to hold back tears and failing miserably.
Not being able to hold it anymore, the handsome man somehow teleported near the Tsukikage's legs, put his arms around them, and started crying his eyes out while asking his superior with the a whine, "Setsuna-obaasan, I'm still pretty, right? I haven't lost my charms, right? I can still swoon women with a wink, right? I'm not ugly at all, right? Right? RIGHT?"
SMACK! CRASH! THUD!
And the handsome man aint so handsome anymore with a developing black eye and his face buried halfway into the wall of the Tsukikage's office.
With a throbbing vein on her forehead, Setsuna turned her attention to the two standing subordinates before asking, "I assume there is a good explanation for Tetsuo-baka forgetting his lessons about going anywhere near me like that again?"
The lizard ANBU gulp while the scorpion ANBU took off his, or rather her mask to reveal a grinning face before saying, "Oh, there is a very good reason for Tetsuo-baka in getting such justice, Tsukikage-sama."
Setsuna raised her eyebrows at the grinning 20 year old Arika. It wasn't a secret that both she and Tetsuo have this love-hate relationship ever since the two were in the Ninja Academy. Both used to be childhood friends until Tetsuo's handsome face got to his head and he made a pledge to have every woman he meets swoon under his charms, which he seems to be succeeding at, at least here in Iwakagure. There are only a handful of females that is not affected by his charms, and that includes Arika herself.
Hearing a pained groan from Iwa's Playboy, Arika's grin went wider as she beamed gleefully, "Tetsuo-baka got dumped by a girl!"
Setsuna's eyebrow rose at the news and said simply, "Explain."
Sato cleared his throat, stopping Arika from gloating about Tetsuo-baka's just desert a bit more before starting his report. "My team discovered a secret Konoha underground ninja bunker near our boarders. It was really well hidden and we only found it because Arika accidentally saw a few Leaf shinobi entering the hidden passage with a brown sack. We managed to infiltrate said base and had to eliminate a few hostiles. We found out that it was a laboratory of some sort and found more than a few dead test subjects inside." Sato then produced a few slightly burnt papers from his cloths and handed them to the Tsukikage, who immediately read it. Seeing his superior's eyes narrows, he continued, "As you can see, most of the test subjects are children from Konoha's Bloodlimit clans. A few of our ANBU escorts voiced out that if we continued the experiments, it would be a great boon for Iwa. Jimbu thought otherwise."
Jimbu, or more commonly known as Iwa's Silent Giant, is, well, a giant of a man. Due to a birth defect, Jimbu had grown up to almost thirteen feet tall of pure muscle. Even though that same birth defect took away his capacity to use chakra, the man is considered the strongest man on Iwakagure.
"What did he do?" Knowing Jimbu, the Tsukikage already have a pretty good idea what must have happened but she wanted them to tell her anyway.
"Jimbu leveled the entire base to the ground, turning it into a tomb for the victims. We had to physically restraint a few protestors though." Sato said flatly.
"I still say we should have killed them all and say they died in the line of duty. I mean, they tried to kill Jimbu for doing the right thing. And when we stopped them, they have the nerve to call us traitors of Iwa and would be executed by the Council." Arika said heatedly.
The Tsukikage sighed at that. Although the new generation of Iwa's forces are a whole lot more humane than the ones before them, there were still a lot of her people who would readily turn a blind eye for a promise of power. "Although I think Jimbu did the right thing, the Council can and will use this against me. I just hope there would be enough people in the council to realize that most of those test subjects are children, despite being from an enemy village."
"I have no doubt you could turn most of them to your line of thinking, Tsukikage-sama." Sato said confidently.
Setsuna nodded at that. A second later, she asked, "By the way, where is Jimbu?"
Arika, beaming once more, beat Sato in saying, "Showing his new friend around the village."
The Tsukikage's left eyebrow rose once more.
"Wow! This place is awesome! It's so different from home!" Naomi beamed happily as she looks around the entire place while ridding on her new friend's shoulder.
Quite a lot of people are staring at the young girl happily sitting on the shoulder of one of the scariest looking man in Iwa as they were strolling around the village. Most villagers, shinobi and civilian alike, were giving the 13 feet behemoth a very wide space, afraid he'll step on them if they get too close.
The cute purpled haired girl seems to be a complete contrast with the giant. By the looks of it, she seems to be no more than 8 years old and had just seen the village for the very first time, which isn't that far off.
The bald, muscle-bound giant of a man couldn't quite understand it himself. Before he and his squad destroyed the secret base, they found the little girl asleep and tied up at one of the holding cells of the said base. They took her out of there just before he leveled the place in a fit of rage. She hadn't even woken up by the loud crashes during it.
The girl woke up an hour later with Tetsuo's face hovering above her and the first thing she said to the egoistic man was, "You look ugly." In her most innocent voice, causing the handsome man to have a panic attack and Arika a laughing fit that lasted almost an hour.
When the little girl turned her innocent eyes towards him, he thought she would be like all the other kids, and quite a few adults, who would instantly cower in fear of him. Imagine his surprise when the girl walked towards him, look at him in awe, put up her arms, and said, "Hi there, I'm Naomi. Carry me."
Not knowing what to do, he did as she asked. She's been using him as her personal horse and tour guide ever since, chatting almost none stop about how cool it was to travel to a new place.
"Jimbu-chan, lets go over there." Naomi said cheerfully, pointing at a large building a few blocks away.
Jimbu turned and saw that it was the Ninja Academy. He usually avoids the place because almost every child he met run away screaming at first sight of him. But seeing Naomi's cheerful face, he started walking there anyway.
Incidentally, it was recess so most of the kids were on the lawn near the front of the school. When the kids saw the giant, all of them started running away in fear. One seven year old girl tripped on the soil fell in the middle of the lawn just as Jimbu entered the Academy gate. Thinking that those horror stories about Iwa's Silent Giant to be true, the young girl curled up into a ball, cried, closed her eyes tight, and said, "Please don't eat me. Please don't eat me." Like a mantra.
That is, until she heard a young female voice in front of her asking innocently, "Why are you crying?"
When the girl opened her eyes a bit, she saw a purple haired girl kneeling in front of her looking at her strangely. "It's t-the g-g-giant. H-he's g-going to e-e-eat me!" The little girl whispered fearfully.
"Really? Where?" Naomi asked innocently, looking around.
"B-behind y-y-you." The girl whispered again, looking fearfully at the giant standing behind the strange girl.
Naomi turned around but only saw Jimbu looking at them in an emotionless look. She turned back to the girl and said, "But that's just Jimbu-chan. He's my new friend. Want ride in his shoulder with me? It's so cool."
Her confusion overcoming her fear a bit, she looks at the girl in front of her as if she just sprouted a second head. She was so shocked that she didn't realize that the other girl help her up on her feet and pulled her in front of the giant man and said with a smile, "You don't mind, do you, Jimbu-chan?"
The giant merely shook his head no and picked up both girl and put them on his shoulders.
Naomi noticed the other girl had her eyes closed the entire time and said, "Hey, you can't see how cool it is if you don't open your eyes."
The other girl, still a bit afraid, opened her eyes and gasped at how high from the ground she was. It's like a whole different world being this high up. And it actually feels quite comfortable sitting on the giant's shoulder. "W-wow!"
The other children hiding nearby slowly came out from hiding upon hearing her exclamation. Despite their fear, they were quite curious what it would be like to seat on the giants shoulder like that.
Seeing the smile on the younger girl's face, Naomi beamed cheerfully and said, "See? I told you it would be cool."
The girl, being in awe at her unusual predicament, merely smiled and nodded her head in agreement.
"Hey, I want a ride too."
"Yeah, me too."
"Can I please ride on your shoulder, Mister Giant?"
Came the voices of the other children by Jimbu's feet. When he look down on them, he saw not the scared faces he usually see on them when he's around, but the curious, awed, and smiling faces of kids that actually want to be near him.
For a moment, Iwa's Silent Giant didn't know what to do. He'd always like children, adore them really. But he had never been in this type of situation before, where innocent children actually didn't look at him in fear but in curiosity. And it's all thanks to the little purpled haired girl on his left shoulder.
"Wow, Jimbu-chan. You're quite popular." Naomi said cheerfully, giving her new friend a hug.
A few minutes later, several kids are squealing happily as they ride on the giant's arms and shoulders, not even realizing several people observing them from a distance.
This is the scene that the Tsukikage arrived at with Arika, Tetsuo, and Sato right behind her. Most of them, civilian females in particular, are staring at awe at the gentleness the giant is exhibiting at the moment.
"Is that really Silent Giant Jimbu?" one civilian female asked in curiosity.
"I know what you mean. Who would have thought a man like that could have such a gentle side of him." Another one said, nodding his head sagely.
"Looking at him like that, I have no doubt he would make such a wonderful father one day." An older woman said smiling.
"I wouldn't mind him fathering my children. He must be a giant in his lower regions as well." One flirtatious girl said staring at the giant.
That sentence brought several women to develop blushes of their own thinking about the said subject. But none of them seems to object to it.
Seeing the women reaction around him, Tetsuo couldn't take it anymore and run away crying his eyes out and shouting things about Jimbu stealing his power to woo women off their feet.
"Well, I better go after Tetsuo-baka before he gets into trouble." Arika said a bit too cheerfully.
Sighing, Sato said, "You just want to gloat to him more."
Arika didn't even deny it and her grin had widened more at the accusation before leaving after her hated teammate.
Setsuna, on the other hand was staring intently at the purpled hair eight years old girl. The girl greatly resembles another girl she saw in a picture a while ago. But although she have a striking resemblance to Kazama Naomi, the Yello Flash's daughter, the reports said she was quite ill due to chakra poisoning and had stopped aging at the age of four. But then again, if the reports about the reasons for the chakra wave a few days ago were true, then it means that Konoha had succeeded in curing the girl's chakra disease.
Everyone went still when Jimbu and the kids were suddenly surrounded by half a dozen Iwa ANBU in full battle gear. Jimbu himself went tense, knowing he won't be able to retaliate since there are children hanging by his shoulders.
"ANBU Agent Jimbu, you are hereby under arrest for insubordination and deviating from mission objectives. Please come quietly for interrogation and trial." The leader said in a flat tone.
Jimbu didn't say anything for as few seconds, making the ANBU surrounding him and the children tense enough to place their hands near their weapon pouches. When he finally moved, one tense ANBU went to grab a kunai, but was immediately halted by the appearance of the glaring Tsukikage in between him and Jimbu and the kids.
"On who's authority are these charges being brought up?" The Tsukikage asked in a voice that broke no argument, making the ANBU take an involuntary step back.
The leader took a step forward and said in a professional voice, "Tsukikage-sama, these orders were given directly by the Council concerning his deviation in the mission objectives, particularly the destruction a newly acquired asset for Iwa."
"That 'asset', as the council calls it, is a genocide camp at its worse, kidnapping small children from bloodline clans and dissecting them. From what we've seen on the site, there are at least just shy of a hundred bodies there of children ranging from three to fifteen years of age." Sato said flatly, earning a gasped from almost everyone within hearing range.
"Regardless," The lead ANBU said again. "Jimbu have been ordered to show himself for questioning by the council."
The Tsukikage walked until she was directly in front of the ANBU leader and said in a flat tone, "Tell the council that Jimbu will be there in an hour. And that they better have a damn GOOD explanation why they think they have any jurisdiction to order MY personal ANBU Squad around."
The leader tense at the tone and took two involuntary steps back before composing himself and nodding. Then he put his hands in a seal and disappeared via shunshin, followed by the rest of his men.
As soon as the ANBU squad was gone, several citizens went to the Tsukikage to confirm what they heard about the so called 'asset' of the council. All she had to say in the matter was, "Please choose a few representatives and my subordinate Sato will provide them with a copy of the report and answers to your questions. But please be aware that this information might be too gruesome for others not prepared for it. That is all."
The Tsukikage knows that it was breaking protocol to give out such sensitive information like this to the public. But she will need all the support she could get to prevent the council from gaining the high ground of power. And having the people to back you up is a powerful tool indeed.
She turned towards Jimbu, who was putting down the last of the children from his shoulders back to the ground. The children said their goodbyes to the giant making him promise to let them ride him again later before running towards class, all except for the purple haired girl, who was staring at her with curiosity.
Suddenly, both girls turned towards the South East, the general direction of Fire Country. Naomi has a smile on her face while Setsuna narrowed her eyes at the dark clouds starting to accumulate from that direction. A chill of anticipation suddenly traveled down her spine when the little girl said in a soft voice,
The Iwa commander paused in supervising his men, who were digging their way through the destroyed ROOT lab, when he felt the first drop of rain on his shoulder. Looking up, he saw that the dark skies finally decided to let down its accumulated water.
"Sir." Came a voice beside him. The commander turned and saw his lieutenant with several pieces of papers.
He took it from him and tried to read a few, but most of them are too damaged to make any sense. "Is this all you can find?" He asked in an annoyed voice. Most of his men are barely chunin levels because the Council needed most of their jounins to act as bodyguards in case the Tsukikage and her personal ANBU team decides to be difficult during the scheduled meeting.
"I'm sorry, sir. But Jimbu was very thorough when he destroyed the lab. He managed to hit all of the foundation and caused the entire place to collapse upon itself. Also, the worsening rain isn't helping in our excavation." The lieutenant said apologetically, already quite wet as the rain keeps getting stronger by the minute. "Also, we managed to dig up two bodies from the site. One of them is damaged beyond recognition. The other seems more preserve. We think the child was in a cryogenic tank when the lab collapsed. We estimated that the child is approximately a seven year old Inuuzuka that had been preserved for no less than ten years."
The commander nodded at that and wiped his face of rain water and said, "Bring it back to HQ. The Council may have a use for it. If we could salvage the notes in this base, then maybe we could continue the research these people were doing. I'm sure the Council will be more than happy to approve the kidnapping of a few more Konoha brats for experimentation." The Commander smirked nastily at the thought of killing off more Konoha citizens, even if they are going to be just kids.
His lieutenant mirrored his nasty smirk and was just about to do what he was told when a sudden burst of chakra was felt. The commander immediately made several seals and made a dome of rocks to protect him and his subordinate. After several minutes of unknown onslaught, everything went quiet except for the rain pour so he cancelled his jutsu. When both men emerge from the rock dome and tried to see what's going on, they saw some of their men are already dead, their bodies, as well as the entire landscape, riddled with senbon needles, which dissolved into water as soon as they did their jobs.
The commander swore. He knew there was something funny about the sudden rain pour. Both men tried to reach their men but it was too late. None but the two of them survive the onslaught of senbon needles hidden within the rain.
"It-it can't be! She's been dead for years!" Came the gasped of his lieutenant.
"What are you blabbering about, you idiot? Find out who did this!" He said in rage as he search the surrounding for the attacker.
"The Empress of Storm! This is one of her signature jutsus! We have to get out of here!" His subordinate said hastily, already turning around to escape.
The freaked out lieutenant never had the chance. A kunai came out of no where and embedded itself between his eyes. He died then and there, falling to the ground beside the commander.
When the commander turned to look behind him, he saw a figure of a redheaded woman with the corpse of the dead Inuuzuka child in her arms. Her emotionless eyes and killer intent caused him to take an involuntary step back. He had heard of stories of Whirlpool's Empress of Storm during his career. But since everyone thought she's already dead, he didn't bother to learn anything more than her name and accomplishments in battle.
Acting immediately, he went and made several seals for an attack. But he never got to finish his jutsu when he felt several kunais pointed on his neck, back, and sides. He cursed. He should have remembered that another signature move of the Empress of Storm is Kage Bushin.
Soon enough, he found himself tied and gagged against a tree guarded on all sides by Kage Bushin, while the original place the dead child in the middle of the excavation site. She walks towards the edge of the site and made several handseals and placed her palms on the ground as she said, "Doton: Nomi Yuma!"
Soon enough, the entire excavation site turned into quicksand and swallowed everything until there was nothing left but mud. Kushina didn't stop until several minutes later, making sure the entire laboratory will never be un-earthed again. When she finally stopped, she offered a small prayer to all the bodies now totally buried underground, particularly the child she had held.
The Iwa commander sweated heavily despite the rain when the original Kushina walk towards him and removed his gag. "Describe the children taken from this place."
The commander knew it wasn't a question. He tried to hold firm, he really did. But the woman was a demon in interrogation. Never relenting, never accepting other answers but what she needs.
The torture lasted of all half an hour before the Iwa commander was puking his guts out to the insane woman. And when it was all over, Kushina slit his throat in mercy.
After burying the body, she dispelled her clones and started running towards Iwakagure, the rain storm moving in the same direction with her.
'You have been quiet.' Kushina's thought said through her link with Akane.
'I always hated that part of being a ninja.' Came Akane's soft tone.
'It was necessary. We got what we needed. Iwa have our daughter.'
'Yes. And Danzou is on his way to Kumo with our son.'
'Dolphin will make sure he is safe.'
'Will he? One of the main reasons he left is because I had to pick between him and Naruto.'
'Do you really believe he will abandon our son?'
After several minutes of silence, Akane finally answered with a, 'No.'
'Good.' Kushina said, her sights on the horizon. 'Because believing in him is the only thing we could do at the moment.'
Both personalities in the same body were quiet after that. They need to focus if they want to rescue their daughter without delay.
The first thing Hanabi saw when she woke up was the concern look on her older sister's face above her as well as the throbbing ache on her head. "What the damn hell happened?" She grumbled as she tried to get up.
But Hinata pushed her back down and said, "Please don't try to get up yet, Hanabi-chan. You're hurt."
"Don't be such a worry-wart, sis. I aint some fucking porcelain doll. I can take a bit of freaking pain." She said as she pushed her sister's hand away and got up in sitting position, only to stop short when she finally realize that they weren't the only ones in the room. Standing around the room were some of the prominent people of the Branch House. There's Manami, the chief cook; Taka, the assistant head of security; Elder Kimisa, the majordomo; a stoic Neji; and several others. She could even see a few younger Branch members of the clan looking at them from the door. Some of them have a suspicious look in their eyes while a few are openly glaring at her. But at the moment, most are looking at her in shock. Seeing the situation she's in, she blurted, "What the fuck is going on?" before she could stop herself. Blushing furiously at her slip, she immediately tried to salvage her heiress reputation and tried to look shy and demure as she says in a stutter, "Um, I mean, m-may I inquire on the situation I currently find myself in?"
"Amazing! She got Hanabi-chan's reaction down to a Tee." Manami said in shock, with others nodding their head in amazed agreement. At Hanabi's reflexive retort of, "Hey! What the fuck does that suppose to mean?", she added in an approving tone, "I rest my case."
Instead of being reprimanded for her language at the elders, most of the people there had suddenly lost their hostile looks only to be replaced by astonishment and sadness.
Hanabi gave her sister a questioning look but all she got back was a sigh of relaxation, as if something bad would have happened if things didn't go as they did. "Onee-chan?"
Hinata gave her a smile and said, "It's alright, Hanabi-chan. You're safe now."
"What does that supposed to mean?" She asked, more confused than ever, turning to Neji.
Neji, as stoic as ever when there are other people in the room except for the three of them, said, "There has been a situation in the clan, a kidnapping to be precise."
"Who?" the girl gasped in anger, her Byakugan activating subconsciously, her anger blinding her to the nods of approval of most of the people within earshot.
"Someone cherished by both the Main and Branch House." Neji replied cryptically but said no more on the identity of the kidnapped Hyuuga. "Hiashi-sama had ordered that you and Hinata-sama to remain here in the protection of the Branch House until the matter is resolve, which wouldn't be more than a week."
"What? You can't fucking expect me to stay cooped up inside the house the entire week!" Hanabi shouted, salvaging her reputation as the demure, sophisticated younger heiress of the clan flying out the window.
Hinata immediately took her hand in hers as she said in a pleading tone, "Please, Hanabi-chan. A member of our family has been taken. Ignoring father's order to keep us safe would only hinder him in their rescue."
"B-but, we can't just sit here and do nothing! We have to do something, I don't know what but we have to! No one messes with my family! No one!" she raged, earning her the approval of most people with in earshot.
"We will." Neji said without hesitation, earning him the attention of both heiresses. "That is why Hiashi-sama had ordered the Brach House to take charge in your protection while most of the Main House tries to settle the matter. We must all do our part, and yours is to remain safe here until we get them back."
Hanabi bristled at her role but a reassuring squish of hands from her older sister stopped her argument before it even starts. Sighing in defeat, she moved into a kneeling position as she turned to every Branch member in the room. She then bowed her head and said in her most official voice, "I leave myself and my sister's safety in your capable hands. Please take care of us."
"We accept responsibility and shall do our duty with pride and honor of the Hyuuga." Taka said formally as he bowed along with the other branch members in the room.
Unnoticed by everyone else except Neji, Hinata, or rather Hikaru, sighed in relief. For now, both of them would be safe, particularly 'Hanabi'. Whether they remain safe after the return of the true heiresses, is another matter entirely.
She suddenly felt someone took her hand. Turning, she saw it was Neji giving her the barest of nods. She smiled at that. At least she knows Neji would keep 'Hanabi' safe when the real Hanabi returns. She blushed when he gave her hand another gentle squish. She was still skeptical but his reassurance was enough to produce a genuine, yet still sad smile from her.
The first thing Hanabi saw when she woke up was the concern look on her older sister's face above her as well as the throbbing ache on her head. "What the damn hell happened?" She grumbled as she tried to get up.
But Hinata pushed her back down and said, "Please don't try to get up yet, Hanabi-chan. You're hurt."
"Don't be such a worry-wart, sis. I aint some fucking porcelain doll. I can take a bit of freaking pain." She said as she pushed her sister's hand away and got up in sitting position, only to stop short when she noticed they are inside some kind of cage. Looking outside the cage, they seem to be in some kind of camp. There are several tents up and most of the people there are in their ANBU uniform. There's even a similar cage nearby with several seals on it. "What the fuck?"
"Ah, I see you're finally awake." An old man's voice said behind them. Turning around, they saw an old one eyed, one armed, man looking at them from outside the cage. "And my spies weren't exaggerating when they told me the youngest heir have such a potty mouth."
Hanabi bristled at the old man's tone and said furiously, "Who the fuck are you, old man? Do you have any idea who we are?"
The old man merely smirked and said, "Of course, Hyuuga-san. I know exactly who you are."
Hanabi would have said something quite rude in reply but Hinata quickly put a hand on her mouth and said to the old man in a very formal tone, "Danzo-sama, I hope you realize the retaliation of Hyuuga Clan will invoke upon you for this."
"Of course, Hyuuga-san. But not even the Hyuuga Council would dare go against me with an entire village of Kumo behind me. And all I need to do is offer them the one thing they want most, the Byakugan."
Hinata gasped at the indication of their fate. Her father had made sure she studied one of the Hyuuga's most hated enemy, Kumogakure. Kami only knows how many of Hyuuga's had died under Kumo's apprehend on site order just so they could try to find out the secret of the Byakugan.
"Just try it you freaking invalid and I'll make sure to give those injuries of yours a matching set!" Hanabi said defiantly, glaring at Danzo.
"Such a firecracker you are, Hyuuga-san. I wonder how much defiant you would be as either a specimen or a breeding stock for Kumo?" Danzo said with a nasty smirk.
"You will not touch them!" A sudden burst of killing intent washed over every ROOT ANBU in the area, making them tense despite their emotionless conditioning. Despite his years of experience, Danzo himself couldn't help but tense at the rage emanating from the sealed cage.
Danzo managed to compose himself and turned calmly towards the other cage, only to see the seals around it working diligently to suppress the red chakra inside. Looking in he saw the tightly bound Kazama heir glaring at him.
"And what, pray tell, could you do, Kazama-san?" Danzo asked with a smirk as the last of the red chakra were suppressed by the seals on the cage. When Naruto refused to answer, Danzo placed his hand on one of the main seals and activated it, eliciting a gasp of pain from the boy. Despite that, Naruto's glare never wavered.
After several minutes of silent torture, Danzo finally got tired of it and took his hand away from the seal, deactivating it. But still, the glare from the Kazama heir never wavered. Danzo had to smile at that. "I see that you did change after all."
"Yeah, well, death would do that to you." Naruto groaned out tiredly, still glaring at the older man.
"And it seems cheekiness is an added bonus for your miraculous recovery."
Naruto would have answered quite rudely if he hadn't lost consciousness right there and then. Danzo smirked at that. Just as he thought, the brat was worthless without the Kyuubi's chakra. Once the brat is properly conditioned to obey only Danzo, then he would be a very useful tool for the future.
Danzo turned back to the Hyuuga heirs and said, "If I had known he would be able to utilize Kyuubi's chakra like that, I would have ordered an attempted assassination of him years ago."
That earned a gasp from the elder heir. "You gave the order to assassinate him?"
"Yes, Hinata-dono. Although, he was supposed to die at the ninja's hand. The mourning of his death would have given me and my men a better chance to carry out this plan much earlier. But then he survived and woke up from the coma when he wasn't supposed to. His sudden conscious use of the Kyuubi's chakra and new found knowledge in fuinjutsu made me thought he was someone else. My spies brought me all tests done by the Hokage to see if he was an impostor but all test came out positive that he is indeed Kazama Naruto. Now, imagine him conditioned to total obedience to me. Such a useful tool he would be, just like the two of you." He smiled nastily at the two girls. "You shall be my bargaining chip to ensure a place in Kumogakure. So please enjoy your stay, no matter how brief it would be." With that, Danzo turned and left.
Hanabi bristled at him but remained silent. Hinata did the same then turn to the other cage housing the Kazama heir. She herself had heard about his sudden change of heart since waking up from that coma, but she's still skeptical about it.
"I'm gonna get that freaking cripple if it's the last thing I do." Hanabi growled in anger.
Hinata merely sigh and look around. She tried activating her Byakugan but was unable to due to the chakra suppression seal on their cage. She could see several ROOT ANBU sentries around the camp so for the moment, escape is impossible.
"Darn. That was a drag." Came the groaning voice of Naruto as he started to wake.
"Oh great, now we have to endure the Kazama Brat's presence. Could things get any worse?" complained the grouchy Hanabi.
"Hello to you too, Hanabi-chan." The blond boy replied cheekily.
"Please refrain from addressing us so familiarly, Kazama-san. My sister is already aggravated as she is." Hinata said in the most snobbish voice she could muster, with Hanabi nodding her head. Naruto's that Hinata doesn't lose her stutter unless she really hated the person she's talking to.
"Hey, what did I ever do to you guys?" He pouted, already dreading the answer. What the hell did his counterpart do to earn the scorn of the most demure person he knows?
"As if you have to ask." Hanabi sneered. "At least getting kidnapped saved me the trouble of poisoning you in the future."
"What does that supposed to mean?" he asked in confussion.
"Oh, please!" Hanabi glared at him in hatred. "Don't tell me you forgot about what everyone expected of us in the near future."
"I have no idea what you are talking about." He said seriously this time.
Both girls looked at him and only saw confusion in his eyes. Hinata tried to see if there are any signs of deception in his eyes but she found none. Relenting, she finally said, "Kazama-san, you and my sister are engaged to marry once she reaches the age of consent, as agreed upon by both my father and the late Yondaime Hokage."
"WHAT? HOW THE HELL DID THAT HAPPENED?" Naruto shouted in shock, earning him a heated 'Hey!' from his supposed fiancée.
Naruto paced back and forth, as much as the space in his cage would allow, thinking how things turned out as they are. He turned back to the two girls who are now ignoring him. He took a good look at the older girl, her lithe face reminder him so much of the girl he had married in his other life.
All was quiet within each cage for several hours after that. Hanabi had finally fallen asleep cursing their situation, her head on her sister's lap.
Hinata noticed someone's eyes on her. When she turned to the other cage, she saw Naruto staring at her with such intensity and sadness that it made her flinched. "What?" she couldn't help to ask.
For a moment, Naruto merely stared at her with that same sad hungry look. Then he said in a sigh, "I don't remember."
"You don't remember what?"
"What I did for you to hate me this much."
"I don't hate you, Kazama-san. I am indifferent to you. There is a difference."
"And it's much worse than being hated." Naruto whined again, his heart breaking at her tone. "Please, tell me what I did."
For a moment, he thought she would ignore him again, until he heard her sigh and said, "Three years ago, you were informed of your betrothal to my sister. Since then, you came in and out of the Hyuuga compound as if you own the place, pushing around Branch members like your personal slaves under the coercion of most of the Hyuuga Council. One time, you got one particular Branch member in trouble. Her name is Nanami, an older cousin and my personal maid. Because of your lies, she was punished by the Council via activation of the Caged Bird Seal. They were extra harsh on her and is still in a coma to this day. It was after that that my father tried to end the engagement. The Hyuuga Council over ruled him but he made sure you are never to set foot in Hyuuga land until the wedding."
Naruto, meanwhile was shocked at the news. He never hated his other self more than he does now. He had known Nanami in his other life. She had been Hinata and Hanabi's unofficial older sister. She was one of the few Hyuuga's, despite Hanabi, and Neji, who were first to genuinely welcome him with open arms to the family after his marriage to Hinata. How could the other self do that? He couldn't even imagine putting anyone, much less sweet and dear Nanami, in a coma, however indirectly.
Hinata gave a snort, thinking the Kazama brat would just scoff and say, 'She deserve it.' But when she turned to him, she saw a shock look on his face she couldn't help but be confuse. He looks as if he actually doesn't know of what he did. She tried to look for any deception in his eyes but found none.
"Y-you actually d-don't remember?" Hinata asked in a whisper, her stutter returning.
"I-I. . ." But Naruto couldn't even form a solid word. He was too angry at himself. He have to fix this, if only to help Nanami. She was too sweet and kind for that to have happened to her. If he remember right, over exposure to the torture of the Caged Bird Seal is similar to the torture brought forth by Uchiha Itachi's Tsukiyomi. If his healing abilities are not enough, then he'll find the Tsunade of this world and drag her, kicking and screaming if he have to, back to Konoha so she could save Nanami-onee-chan.
But first, he have to escape and get back to Konoha, the sooner the better. He closed his eyes in concentration and tried to bring forth his chakra, but the seals in the cage activated immediately and sent volts of electricity into his body. He groaned in pain and had to stop. Panting, he tried again and earned him another surge of volts through his body.
Hinata was shocked at Naruto's sudden actions. She can't figure out why he was acting this way. Never have she saw this Naruto endure more than a papercut before without going into hysterics because of the pain. And now, he's purposely enduring several thousands volt of electric shock in a vain attempt of escape. His fifth attempt didn't show any results except pain but he wouldn't deter from his coarse of action and tried again.
Soon enough, he was groaning once more in the floor of his cage, panting heavily and smoke coming out of his burnt skin. When he is about to try again, Hinata finally shouted, "Stop it! It's no use. You're only hurting yourself!"
On the floor, Naruto groaned and managed to turn his head around to look at her, his eyes tired, his body riddled in painful electrical shocks, but his eyes were mournful. She gasped at those eyes, full of regret and sadness. Despite that, he gave her a sad smile and said, "I'm sorry." Then he tried one last time. Almost everyone in the vicinity, including Danzou himself, went on alert as chakra burst forth from Naruto's cage. The chakra burst was so powerful that it actually manages to burn some of the many seals surrounding the cage. But the rest of the seals were enough to drain him of chakra and send yet another surge of electricity through the cage. It almost fried the blond boy but fortunately, Naruto lost consciousness right then and there.
Whwn Danzou approached the cage with the unconscious boy, he turned to one of his ROOT ANBU Commander and said in a worried voice, "Add more of the seals in his cage and tell my army to pack up. We're heading out now and won't be stopping until we reach Kumo's capital."
"As you command, Danzou-sama."
Iruka pause from his tree hopping when he felt an inkling of chakra reached his senses. Landing beside him, Yugito paused as well. Making a few hand signals to his daughter, she understood and immediately brought out a pair of kunais searched the surrounding area for the intruder hiding in their mist.
"I know you're there. Come out." Iruka ordered, his voice distorted by his porcelain ANBU mask. Within his cloak, he already have a pair of kunais in his hands.
A figure dropped down into a nearby tree. Iruka immediately recognized him and relax, signaling to his daughter to do the same. Still, weary of the stranger, Yugito relaxed her posture but kept the kunais in her hands.
"Weasel." Iruka said with a barest of nod.
The weasel masked ANBU did the same and said, "Dolphin. What is your mission?"
"Search and rescue of both the Kazama and Hyuuga heirs. As well as the optional mission of the assassination of Danzou and his ROOT."
Itachi nodded and turned from them before tree hopping away towards the East, where Danzou would be surely coming from.
Yugito kept quiet but she was in awe how professionally ANBU operates. She just hopes one day she could be like that.
Iruka turned to her and said, "Yugito-chan, I want you to head north for a couple of miles and then east to the boarder. Avoid contact with the enemy at all cost. There are going to be a squad of Konoha ANBU waiting at the boarder. Wait for us there."
Yugito would have argued but then his father have spoken in such a professional tone that all she did was nod her head and started to head north.
Before she took another step, her father's voice called out to her causing her to stop. "Be careful."
Yugito merely gave him a grin and nodded before darting off. Once she was gone, Iruka . . . no. Dolphin adjusted the strap of his short sword before heading towards east after Weasel.
A/N: Hi there. Sorry it's been so long since I last updated. Also, I just want to point out that I have no beta reader so please excuse me if I got few snags in my grammar, particularly with my tenses. I'll try to work on it, but not till next year. I'm going to be a bit busy this December with work so don't expect another update this year. I made this chapter extra long so I hope you enjoy it. :-P
A/N 2: A cliffy. Aint I a stinker?
Next time: The rescue. Ino's recovery. And many more.