Wow...I'm updating after almost a year. This update is a actually thank you to Ohman, for letting me know that people are still paying attention to this story. I'm not a review-whore, but it's wonderful to know someone actually wanted me to update after so long.

Title: KTI : Consequence and Sacrifice
Author: S.P. Kathrine
Fandom: Naruto
Rating: R (M)
Warnings: AU, BL (boyxboy), lack of uke/seme distinctions, violence, language, lack of well-written fight scenes, unbetaed, Possibly OOC-ness, OC (important, but not main character of story), Lots of flashbacks.
Part: 7 of undetermined
Pairings: NaruSasuNaru (little-to-no uke / seme-ness), LeeSaku, HinaNeji (Hyuugacest), and others
Summary: Mizono Saigo was always considered somewhat of a mystery by the people who know him, or of him. He was a considered one of the top students in the Ninja Academy, but was also a rather normal, if more-than-somewhat antisocial child. The true mystery was the father who no one saw, no one spoke to, who no one could even confirm existed. So when Saigo suddenly develops a bloodline trait that none could expect, a secret kept for over a decade comes to light, even though the former Hokage had forbidden anyone knowing of it to ever speak of it, even to her replacement. And the truth about Saigo's father is revealed. AU story because of changes made to canon plot.

NOTE: I've received questions about the NaruSasuNaru aspect of this fiction. I like build up, plot-wise and relationship-wise, so it might take fifteen chapters before something happens between those two, but it WILL happen. Enjoy the chapter!

Part Seven

Saigo exited the shop, the straps of the protective bag carrying his purchases held comfortably in his left hand. He watched the people moving around outside the shop, of which there were many due for it was close to noon, and the many people who were out in the market, buying things as he was, or possibly on their lunch breaks. Carefully sidestepping a group of women—probably housewives out for their weekly shopping—he entered into the throng of people.

You would think that only a shinobi would be able to move through this without being lost or dragged under.

He continued his journey to the edge of the mass of people, ready to take a side street onwards toward his home. Even though he knew that his father would not mind if he was gone longer than he had said when he left, Saigo still wanted to return home soon. Due to extended missions and training sessions, he had not been home very much lately and he wanted to spend more time with his father before he left for yet another mission the next day. Saigo hoped that all of the missions that Cell 13 had been issued lately was to prepare them for the Chuunin Exams and not simply because there was a rise in the number of Konoha's clientele.

"Hey! Saigo!"

He finally heard the shouts of someone calling from nearby and turned to see a large hand waving at him from inside of a rather familiar restaurant—one that served a particular cuisine. The curtains were swept aside and he was greeted with the sight of bright blue eyes and blonde hair.

"Hokage-sama," Saigo gave a small bow of greeting.

"C'mon, haven't I told you to stop calling me that?" Naruto complained rather petulantly.

/ A hand draped over his shoulder, which Saigo reflexively glared at, ready to tell the offender to remove it or lose it, although he dropped the annoyed look once he realized that he was giving this look to the leader of Konohagakure.

"Hokage-sama…you should pay attention to your opponent," he said instead.

"Ah, he's too busy hiding from me 'cause he knows he can't face me head on," the blonde waved a hand dismissively. "And don't call me 'Hokage-sama.' It makes me feel really old. Just call me Naruto."

"That is inappropriate," he stated. "You are Hokage, and several years my senior."

Naruto stared into the serious eyes of the brunette and sighed. "You need to learn to loosen up and relax on the formality a little, kid," he gave the shoulder he was holding a shake before standing his full height and taking a step back. "What kind of teacher is Konohamaru if he didn't even teach you that?" This was said louder, most definitely with the intention of said instructor hearing.

The reply was two kunai from different directions that struck the tree behind them directly on opposite sides of the Hokage's head. /

"Yes," Saigo acknowledged, "but I still stand by the fact that it would be rude of me to behave so familiar with you. To refer to you by your first name is rather personal for a leader and his subordinate, don't you think, Hokage-sama?"

If it wasn't for the fact that the boy sounded so damn calm and serious, Naruto would have thought that he added that last bit to be condescending—and he tried not to think about how a certain someone would have meant it that way. To the blonde, this honest, formal show of respect was even worse. It had been his goal to become Hokage so that everyone would acknowledge and respect him, and perhaps even come to like him. He may have accomplished all of that—at least with the majority of people and not without a lot of hard work and high-ranked names on his side—but it seemed that one of the main issues that he still combated was the fact that the title of Hokage caused a barrier to be erected between him and others that he never wanted to be there.

And here was the proof in a young boy that was barely half his age who looked upon him with such respect, but only because he was Hokage, because in fact they knew next to nothing about one another. A few weeks prior, Naruto wouldn't have even been able to put a name to his face. Had he really become so disconnected from the very people he had wanted so badly to be acknowledged by?

I'm definitely going to have to do more public appearances or something. Maybe a parade, Naruto told himself, mind coming up with different ideas to deal with this little 'problem.' He glanced back over to Saigo, and a smile grew across his features. Isn't there that saying about 'one little step at a time'?

He took a few steps forward and wrapped his arm around the boy's shoulders in a coaxing manner. Saigo stiffened beforehand, already recognizing the signs. Is the Hokage supposed to be this 'touchy-feely' He wondered.

"Since you say that it's personal to call me by my name, that just means you don't know me well enough. So the only way to get to know me better would be to spend more time around me, right?" Naruto explained simplistically, as if it was obvious and the solution was therefore just as plain. "That said...You're going to have lunch with me before Moegi comes to chase me back to the Tower."

"What?" Saigo frowned, "Hokage-sama, I was on my way ho-"

"I insist!" Naruto stated, eyes taking on an 'I-said-so-therefore-you-can't-get-out-of-it' gleam of stubbornness. "If the only way to get you to stop talking about me like I'm some revered Holy Man, is for you to get to know me better than, you'll just have to get used to having me around a lot."

Before Saigo was fully able to defend himself, he had already been led through the curtains of Ichiraku Ramen and pushed toward a stool. Is he serious? the brunette wondered. He's chosen to harass me, all because I speak to him with respectSaigo was beginning to believe that there was something seriously wrong about the way the Hokage's mind functioned.

"Just sit down," Naruto told him, a warm, easy-going smile once more on his face. "It's lunchtime and I don't think your old man would mind you eating before you went home, would he?"

"No, but I did say I would-"

"You won't get in trouble for being a little late, right?"

"No, but that's not-"

"No problem, then, right?" Naruto said.

Saigo was not sure if he had ever met anyone that had left him feeling so utterly stumped and frustrated within a matter of seconds. Not even Lin had mastered the art of pushing people so far with her "Youth" speeches that he had ever wanted to strangle her out of sheer irritation. The brunette had to remind himself that it was not a good idea to be entertaining homicidal fantasies with the leader of your village as the star role.

And yet it seemed that the Hokage, the very leader and personification of the strengths—and the weaknesses—of Konohagakure often drove him to frustration and confusion in a manner that seemed rather deliberate. He just didn't understand the man. The more time he spent around him, the less he was capable of comprehending any of his actions or motives. There were times when he was very strong, and somewhat awe-inspiring—although this is something that Saigo would never say aloud, because he had learned that the Hokage already had a sizeable ego—but then there were times that he seemed like a complete moron no better than his perverted sensei, Konohamaru.

It almost didn't make sense how someone like him could become Hokage. Sure, he had been taught about all of the heroic exploits of Uzumaki Naruto during the last war and how he had helped save thousands of lives, but just looking at the man, one would not see him as anything too extraordinary. But even for all his immature and loud behavior, he was a very skilled ninja. He had proved that during his match with Konohamaru-sensei…or rather at the end of it.

/ The smoke was finally beginning to dissipate. The clash between the two powerful shinobi had been quick, almost too fast for Saigo's eyes to catch, although he had been paying attention avidly for some time now.

It seemed that the Hokage had not been pleased when Konohamaru had begun using his own favorite technique to strike at him from various areas around the field without even being seen. This has led to multiple of Kage Bushin being called out by both and a rather childish brawl had ensued. Just as it seemed that the blonde was going to win, as there was only one of his instructor's Kage Bushin left on the field, the clone had exploded, the tag on its back finally having been triggered.

The blast had caused dust and debris to cover the area around the Hokage, and the members of Cell 13 had covered their eyes out of instinct. Once the dust had begun to settle down again, the three had waited, trying to see what had occurred, if a winner would finally be declared. When the air was clear enough to see the figures entangled in the center of the field, Saigo's eyes widened in shock.

On the ground was the Hokage with a kunai to his throat, Konohamaru-sensei standing over him with a large, victorious smirk on his face. But just behind him was another Hokage holding a kunai to the back of the younger man's head.

This didn't seem to worry Konohamaru-sensei, and he looked down at the Hokage and said, "The Kage Bushin will disappear is I injure you enough to break your concentration."

The Hokage on the ground gave a teasing smirk in return. "Duh," he replied, "I am the Bushin after all."

And with that the man disappeared into a puff of smoke, while the one behind Konohamaru-sensei pressed the tip of his kunai into the back of his skull.

The look on Saigo's instructor's face was almost one of acknowledged defeat, but also a small smile, showing no hard feelings between the two. "Damn…" he huffed out. "How do you always manage to do that?"

"It's called talent, Konohamaru, get some."

The blonde stepped back and returned his kunai to his holster, only to then slap his defeated opponent in the shoulder with less-than-gentle force. He let out a loud guffaw, turning around to stare at the three students that were watching from the sidelines. "Now let's go to Ichiraku, guys…and girl. It is lunchtime after all, and Konohamaru-sensei is buying, right?" He gave a cheeky grin.

Konohamaru did frown now, his hand rubbing against his offended shoulder, "You're such as ass, Hokage-sama."

"And you still owe me a month's worth of Ramen lunches, so quit being so sore about it," his opponent replied with that sly grin implanted on his features as if it was ingrained into his face. "It's not like I'm the kind of date that would tell you to leave the kids at home. Just don't blame me if they see something 'indecent.'" The Hokage had to dodge another kunai that really was aiming for his face this time. /

It seems that even the strongest of shinobi can act like idiotic children when they want to, Saigo decided, watching the man and he laughed and flirted with the older woman behind the counter, pouting when she smiled, but didn't return his playful advances.

"Ayame-nee-chan, if I didn't see you as a sister I would have already married you," he leaned over the counter to watch as she prepared the five bowls of ramen that he had ordered. "But I'll just have to settle for having your ramen and not your heart."

The woman gave a small laugh at this, which she tried to cover up, but couldn't quite manage. "I think my father wouldn't approve of such a relationship, Hokage-sama," she replied with a serious tone, although she winked as she did so. "He would lose a lot business if you didn't have to pay anymore." She then set the two bowls she had finished preparing in front of her customers.

"Smells great, as always!" Naruto replied, taking up his chopsticks and breaking them with an "Itadakimasu!"

Saigo followed his example, although not in such an enthusiastic manner. He ate at a steady pace, wincing at times when he heard the slurping noises of the Hokage enjoying his own meal. Discreetly, he looked around, trying to see whether any of the other customers—there were only three—were paying attention to the lack of good manners the blonde was using as he all but inhaled the ramen. It was somewhat embarrassing for the young boy. At least I know all adults don't act like he does, he reminded himself. His father would never eat in such a disorganized and sloppy way.

"You eat so slowly," the Hokage pointed out. "It'll get cold if you take too long. It's not like you need to analyze each bite first."

The statement might not have meant anything, but Saigo took a particular offense to it. There was nothing wrong with how he ate. His father ate in exactly the same manner. "I simply want to enjoy what I'm eating," he scowled. "Only idiots swallow their food without even bother to chew or taste it."

The Hokage stared at him. The look in his eyes was somewhat disturbing, as if he was staring through the brunette at someone or something else altogether and Saigo was more than a little unsettled by it. Then he closed his eyes for longer than was automatic and the look was gone. A look of anger came over his face and the blonde thrust his chopsticks at him almost didn't lean back to protect his nose.

"There is no one in the world that treasures ramen more than I do," he stated with all the seriousness of someone giving a declaration of war. "Not even the Akimichi can claim to take as much joy in savoring each and every bite."

Saigo didn't know what to think. He had obviously upset the Hokage and that's definitely something that was 'not-a-good-thing-to-do'—he was ignoring the fact Konohamaru-sensei seemed to enjoy doing it all of the time. He quickly gave a small bow to show his apology, "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have spoken so brashly."

The look of anger was quickly replaced with one of disbelief. "Damn, kid! Are you sure you're not related to the Hyuuga? Because there's no other clan in this village that has a stick shoved that far up their collective asses that they can't tell a joke when they see one." And then he started to laugh as if it was the funniest thing he'd ever heard in the world.

Saigo blinked in confusion, processing the man's words. If he hadn't know just how much more humiliating it would be if he did, he would have blushed to the tips of his ears. Instead he settled on scowling and calling his 'companion' as many insults as he could within his mind, throwing all thoughts of respectfulness and professionalism into the dirt.

He's a complete and total idiot

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Saigo was late. It was only ten minutes passed the time that his son had estimated he would return, but never before had he been late, unless it was mission-related. He wondered what could have kept him, but only briefly. The boy did not need to return home at any exact time. It was best if he began spending more time outside of the home and away from him. There was only so much time before…

These were not thoughts he entertained often and so he refused to allow them to go any further. It was very boring when one spent most of his time trying to not think, but as Saigo grew older and therefore spent less time around the home, he had very little else he could do besides sit and think. No training was allowed unless it was for Saigo's benefit, and there were very few books produced for the "vision-impaired" that he hadn't read throughout the years as they had become an unexpected 'addition' to his grocery list since he'd lost majority of his sight. Nothing was ever said about the books that were always found on the counter closest to the backyard and returned there once he finished with them. Reading material was not something that Tsunade would think to provide him, and through all of the years he'd only had one consistent 'guard,' which narrowed the field of suspects who could have left the "gifts" considerably.

It wasn't his place to question things.

Instead, he went up to his room, steps following the images in his mind rather than his useless eyes. The benefit of being confined within the same area for so many years was that nothing ever changed. Saigo was not a messy child, and any form of disorganization he had was kept behind the doors of his room, which his father never went into. There was nothing out of place in the hall that led to the room that had been both his prison and his sanctuary for the past twelve years, but once he neared the bedroom, there was an obvious change in the air. Some was not as it should be.

He opened the door as he always would and stood in the entranceway for a moment, taking in the presence within the room. Even without his eyes, he would recognize this person anywhere.

"Does Tsunade know you're here?" he asked.

The person shifted on his bed, moving to a sitting position from the reclining one on his bed. He heard the soft clap, the sound of a book closing.

"Why Tezuka…" Kakashi replied, "It almost sounds as if you didn't want to see me."

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/ He knew it had been a mistake as soon as they had entered the village. It was the largest village they had traveled through to date, and also the closest one to the Fire Country border. It hadn't been his preference that they stopped in such a large and guarded area, but supplies were getting low and the boy was getting fussy. He had used a genjutsu to put the child to sleep, and had then used henge to cloak his appearances. To the gatekeepers he appeared to be a young mother traveling to the market with her baby on her back.

Everything had gone well at first. It wasn't hard to 'borrow' money from different people around them without being noticed and buying supplies went smoothly. He had henged his traveling bag into a large wicker basket, something that a country woman would carry when buying groceries. He wanted to leave as soon as possible; the kid would be waking up soon as genjutsu never lasted very long on him. Another of various side effects.

It was odd at first, pretending to be a woman. Thankfully, he found it to the easiest way to explain why he traveled around with a child not even two years old. He used the same story, with slight variations every time. A woman searching for the 'love of her life' that had been run out of the village after her father had found out about their secret affair. She too had been disgraced once the 'pregnancy' was revealed and had been forced to leave and had gone from village to village searching for the man she loved, so that their family could be reunited. There was always those few who didn't trust him, but most often the women became rather welcoming, if only for the sake of the baby. It had come to the point that he spent more time disguised as a woman than he did as a man. He had yet to run into any ninja—Oto, Konoha, or otherwise affiliated—in quite some time, yet he maintained the same cautious nature. Who knew when his lucky streak would come to an end?

It was his last stop, a clothing stand, to buy some new clothes for the child. He was growing so fast and his clothing was already beginning to look tight and uncomfortable. In the small villages they stayed in for weeks at a time, it was hard to get already made clothes, and so buying a few more pairs now, while he 'had the money' would be the best idea.

Buying three shirts and two pairs of pants had him left with next to nothing of his 'borrowed' money to spare and so he had packed the items carefully away in the 'basket' and proceeded towards the gates. The crowds were thick, seeing as it was the largest market village in the area and so most came here to buy and sell. It was one of the reasons why he disliked larger villages. Coming in contact with so many people, anyone could be a ninja in disguise. In smaller villages it was easier to avoid anyone new or suspicious simply based on the gossip of the native women.

He had almost been home free, only a few steps away from the gate where he had entered, only to have his 'basket' knocked from the side by a man with a cart of vegetables. The small loaf of bread that he had bought fell and he had almost stooped to catch it, but was shocked to see someone else reach out instead.

"Got it!"

He looked up to see himself staring into kind brown eyes and a gentle smile. "Thank you," he said; his voice soft and feminine from practice.

"You're welcome miss," the man replied in return. "It seems that you have your hands full." His eyes moved from the basket in his arms to the carrier strapped around his back and his other cargo.

"Oh, yes, market day, always busy," he spoke, allowing a practiced smile cross his lips. The man was still smiling, but warning signals were going off in his head. Something was not right. He needed to get out of there now

"Are you here all alone?"

"Just me and my son, but it's fine," he allowed the smile to appear tired. "Thank you for your help, but it's getting late, so I should be on my way home. If I keep dallying, I won't get there until nightfall." He gave a short bow, being polite while not jostling the still sleeping child on his back. "Good day." Then he left, still maintaining the same composure. He could still feel the man's eyes on him. He could still feel the man's chakra. It didn't seem like much, but was refined and trained. Civilians with any measurable amount of chakra usually left it chaotic and unchecked around them as there was no reason to learn to control it, to harness it for more deadly uses. A civilian with control over their chakra wasn't an anomaly, as there were many who studied, but never managed to graduate from ninja academies, but there was something else…

He followed the main road for almost an hour, traveling beside other comers and goers. Then he turned onto a less inhabited dirt road and walked until he was sure he had enough privacy to leave it. Taking into the woods beside the road, he began his backward trek so as to bypass the village and move onward. He had to get as far from the Fire Country border as possible. He was thinking that it would be best to return to Red Bean Country for a while.

It was some time before he recognized the presence of another person. Multiple persons. He was being followed. And the same time, there were not chakra signatures, meaning that the people were masking themselves very well, or they simply weren't ninjas. He maintained the same, smooth, pace that he had been taking, but prepared himself for an inevitable confrontation.

Wait for it. Just wait.

Leaves rustled loudly. Definitely not ninja.

He spun about, coming face-to-face with a group of varied, but hardened-looking, muscular men. All had weapons, although it was obvious that none of them were a threat to him.

"What is a young lady like yourself doing out in these woods? And with a baby?" one asked with a smirk on his face. He may have been handsome once, before someone took the pleasure of smashing his face in and leaving it that way. "Don't you know it's not 'safe' to move off the road?"

"What do you want?"

The shortest of the three snorted, "What do ya got?"

"Nothing that you could possibly want." Unless they all had a death wish.

The first laughed and the other two followed. "I think a pretty woman such as yourself as a lot to offer a man," he replied.

Pretty? He knew in fact that his henge was actually rather plain—muddy brown eyes and limp dirt-colored hair—just as he wanted it to be. Not only were these men idiots, they also had bad taste.

The men moved forward quickly, although they didn't pull their weapons. They obviously believed it would be easy to subdue a woman with a baby strapped to her back. Their underestimation would cost them dearly.

Grabbing a kunai from with the 'basket', he dropped it to the forest floor, willing to clean off anything that was dirtied by his actions. The first man to reach him had been the only one that hadn't spoken, and after the black blade cut his throat, he was never able to again. The other two reared back in shock, but that didn't stop him from going on the offense.

He kept himself balanced, the carrier on his back moving only marginally with his motions. His next target was the short one, which he elbowed directly in the nose, sending the fragments into his brain. As he finished that one off, the one he had believed to be the leader was backing away, eyes wide in confusion and sudden fear.

"W-W-Who are you?!" he exclaimed, pulling the sword from his side reflexively.

"Death," he stated bluntly—although the words sounded so wrong in his voice that was still soft and feminine—easily parrying a downward strike of the man's blade with his small kunai. The man struck down again and he moved to the side, letting his weapon cut deep into the man's forearm.

He cried out, a loud, shrieking noise, dropping the sword. He fell to his knees and looked up at the 'woman' he thought could be so easily overpowered, the shock transforming into blaring rage. "You-!" His words halted in his throat, eyes wide and the fear once more taking over. He knew he was going to die.

"No…please…"

"I can't allow you to live," he gave no other explanation or warning before slitting his throat as he had done the first man. Gurgling noises came from the blood welling up from the wide gash across the man's neck. He stepped back before any could splatter on him and watched as the body abruptly stopped convulsing.

He bent down and cleaned the kunai on the man's pants' leg, but didn't allow himself to relax, because there was a sudden—purposeful—flare of chakra, giving away the presence of the one onlooker.

"That's quite some skills for a young woman carrying a baby. That is, if the baby isn't just part of an extreme henge."

He stood up and turned towards the voice. The dark-haired man from the market was leaning against the tree that he had left his 'basket' near, staring at him. Now that he saw him again, he realized that the abnormality that had struck him the first time they'd stared at one another was the man's eyes. They didn't quite match for some reason. To most it would be imperceptible, but to him it was obvious that one was actually a little darker than the other. And he knew exactly why.

He didn't bother to keep up the act, as he knew his opponent could obviously see through his disguise, even though he couldn't actually 'see' through it. He knew he was a ninja—assuming a missing-nin—but didn't recognize him.

There was movement on his back, the carrier shaking and he knew that there was going to be some complications. A hand reached out to clench in the back of his shirt.

"…Kaa…Kaa…Kaa…"

The man seemed surprised, but covered it quickly. He moved, realizing that he needed to get away as soon as possible. If one ninja was around, then it was probable that there were others, even if he knew He normally worked alone. The other's hands were suddenly moving and he knew then that his henge had just been broken. Brown eyes widened in shock. He ran.

Only to be blocked by another person, who this time obviously wore the hitai-ate of Konohagakure. The quick stop did jar his rider this time and the boy gave out a startled cry. Immediately he struck out, catching the man by surprise with the kunai he barely remembered holding, although only slicing through part of his jounin uniform. The man dodged the brunt of the strike, but it still gave him time to leap up into the boughs of the trees and run. He didn't care about all of the supplies that had been left behind.

He could feel the small hands that gripped the back of his shirt tightly.

He couldn't run using his full speed because it was to risky for the child on his back. The carrier had been made out of a travel backpack and therefore was not the most secure. Too much jarring would cause-

Someone leapt towards him from below, causing him to jump upwards and out of range of their attack. He quickly moved to the side, avoiding a kunai that was had been aimed at his throat. There was another kunai. He moved again. He heard the sound of leather tearing. One of the straps had been struck. The baby cried at the rough treatment.

He swung the boy around so that he held him to his chest with one arm, allowing the kid to cling to him. A body dropped down so that it was on the branch above him. There was still the ninja below him as well. He remained calm outwardly, although his mind was racing to find a way out of the current predicament. The last time he had been found, he hadn't the handicap of the child being with him. It had been easy to dispose of his tracker. This time his movement was greatly impeded. He had to think of something.

"Uchiha Sasuke," the ninja from below called out. "You are a missing-nin wanted for desertion and treason towards your village, Konohagakure."

He didn't reply to the man's words, eyes instead moving upwards to meet with that of the man he had first encountered. His own henge was gone now, revealing the true ninja that he had known was beneath.

"…Kaa…Kaa…Kaa…" the kid was scared, voice sounding teary and upset. There was no way to calm him.

"Where did he come from, Sasuke?" The man above him glanced down with one grey eye, the other blood red.

"I already told you," he replied. "He's my son." /


Knowing when I'm going to update this is impossible and I don't want to get anyone's hopes up. Although Thanksgiving is in a few weeks and I have another story that deserves attention, so I'm hoping to get some writing in then. If not there's always Winter Break. (crosses fingers)