Author's Note: I'm trying to publish chapters more regularly. As a result, it might seem a little bit rushed. If you notice any mistakes let me know.
I hope you enjoy the story.
Italicized – for emphasis or thoughts.
Bold – demon or god talking.
Chapter Two – Seals
To fear death, my friends, is only to think ourselves wise, without being wise: for it is to think that we know what we do not know. For anything that men can tell, death may be the greatest good that can happen to them: but they fear it as if they knew quite well that it was the greatest of evils. And what is this but that shameful ignorance of thinking that we know what we do not know?
It had been three days since Kabuto found him lying in a field on the borders of the land of rice, covered in blood and sweat and chunks of stinking flesh. He had only spoken two words since then; two words spoken when Kabuto asked him if he was all right.
"The blood." Sasuke's hoarse voice barely managed to utter it; it seemed he was choking upon the words as they fell from his lips.
The silver haired man had not said a thing after that. He just picked Sasuke up and carried him to god only knows where this hideout was. Sasuke didn't care though. He couldn't bring himself to care about anything except the blood.
Blood, blood, blood, blood, blood.
He could smell it in his nostrils, taste it in his mouth, and the feeling, it was the feeling that was the worst. He could feel the blood caked against his skin, smeared all over his body like war paint.
For three whole days he had spent every waking moment scrubbing and scratching at his skin, trying to wash away the blood. But it clung to him. It was soaked into his flesh.
It's not my blood.
That's what drove him mad. When he had seen his reflection in the water after fighting Naruto, all he could see was red. It was everywhere. On his face, clothes, his hands.
Not my blood.
He could remember every detail of the battle. He tried and tried to forget, to force himself to stop thinking about it, but his Sharingan had forever burnt it into his mind.
Now he just sat in his windowless room, staring at his reflection in the mirror. The dim, fluorescent light cast dark shadows upon his features, but it did little to hide his glowing red eyes. He hadn't been able to deactivate his Sharingan since the battle. It was exhausting to keep them active constantly, forcing him to close his eyes as often as possible.
Three consecutive knocks interrupted Sasuke's depressed brooding. He didn't answer; he didn't even blink in response, he just kept on staring into his reflection.
The door creaked open behind him, and Sasuke could see half of Kabuto's face reflected in the mirror.
"Orochimaru wants to see you."
Sasuke closed his eyes. His body felt old and tired. Chakra exhaustion had taken its toll on his pallid flesh.
"Take these," Kabuto said, as he dropped a few pills on the table by the door. "They are a form of chakra steroid that will help us in expanding your reserves and refining your chakra control. You will need it if you hope to gain control over the Mangekyo."
Sasuke's eyes flashed open at that, angrily staring at Kabuto's reflection in the mirror. The sudden killing intent surprised Kabuto enough that he almost knocked over the glass of water he was setting on the table, next to the pills.
Sasuke turned towards Kabuto, his Sharingan's tomoe swirled madly, melding together to form the Mangekyo. These eyes were what made his brother so strong. They were what gave him the ability to slaughter the entire Uchiha clan. They were raw, unadulterated power. Itachi never needed to use medication to control them, and now that he possessed them, he would not – he could not – use pills to expedite his way to power.
"I am an Uchiha. I do not need steroids." Sasuke spat out, abruptly rising to his feet. "These eyes, my eyes, are born of sin and hate and blood. They are power forged from murder, tempered in hate and hardened by sacrifice." Sliding his hands into his pockets, the Sasuke strode past Kabuto and out the door.
"Fear them as your pathetic master fears death, for their power is one and the same."
"Ow!" Naruto breathed out, hissing air in through his teeth as he rubbed the bump on his head. He had sat up to fast and hit his head on… someone else's head.
"Shizune?" He muttered. Great, he was still in the hospital. Damn, he hated this place.
"Na-Naruto-san!" The medical-nin backed away, rubbing her head with one hand while she clung onto her clipboard with the other. "You're finally awake! I was afraid you might stay knocked out for another month or two!"
"Nani!" Naruto exclaimed in surprise, "I've been out for a month!"
Shizune nodded. "Just over 6 weeks actually."
Naruto groaned. Sasuke's trail would have gone cold long before now. He could be anywhere.
Shizune straighten, her face turning serious. "I'd better get Tsunade-sama. She'll want to know you're awake." Leaning back in, she gave Naruto a hug, before walking briskly out the door.
"A month?" Naruto repeated to himself. When he was in the seal it had felt like only five or six days had passed, a week tops. Thinking back to what Minato said when they first started training he realized what his father had meant.
"In here your learning curve will be maxed, allowing you to advance at an inhuman pace. But there is a cost. Time outside the seal will pass by much more quickly than it does in here…"
Naruto just assumed he meant a few days faster, not an entire 5 weeks! Tossing his blanket to the side, Naruto grabbed the handful of wires taped to his chest and ripped them off.
"Huh?" Naruto clueless looked over at a screen that was next to his bed, its speakers wailed relentlessly now that the wires monitoring his condition were no longer telling them he had a heartbeat.
"Oh." Looking back at his arm he grabbed the base of the I.V. needle and slowly slid it out. Finally free of the clutter of medical crap formally plugged into him, Naruto jumped off the bed and shrugged off the white medical gown, tossing it against the wall.
Just as Tsunade ran into the room, with Shizune right on her heels.
Naruto froze, butt naked. His headed darted towards the gown he so carelessly threw across the room, as if he could somehow take back the hasty action.
"Um," Edging back towards the bed, he grabbed the sheet off it and wrapped it around his waist. "Where are my clothes?"
Tsunade resisted the urge to laugh. She had been so worried that he might never wake up, and now here he was, walking around, butt naked.
"You have none. When you showed up here just over a month ago your clothes wear torn to bits."
"Oh. " Naruto pouted. "Well you don't suppose this place has any pants lying around? I really hate those gowns."
"We have scrubs for the nurses to wear; you will have to wear some of those until we find you something else. We have a few different colors, chose your pick."
Naruto suddenly became very serious, catching Tsunade off guard.
"They don't have orange do they?"
She broke out laughing.
"Nooo nooo no. Just grey, blue and pink."
"Oh. Uh, blue is ok I guess." Naruto walked over to the bathroom, mumbling something about nurses being color blind and him needing to piss really, really bad.
Tsunade smiled, he seemed to be the same Naruto she remembered. She had been worried he might have been traumatized for the obvious reasons. Turning to Shizune, she sent her to get Naruto a set of scrubs, lest he end up dropping the sheet and embarrassing himself again.
"Oi," Naruto called from the bathroom. She could hear the steady stream of urine splashing into the toilet. He had left the door open. She flushed red at his lack of decency.
"I need to talk to you about what happened in the seal, you know, after the whole fight with Sasuke."
That caught Tsunade off guard. She was going to ask him about it after he had a chance to see his friends and let them know he was okay. It never occurred to her he would bring it up himself.
She heard the toilet flush and the faucet start running.
"The reason the Kyuubi was sealed into me in was to prepare my body to handle the other half of my soul, or something like it. Anyways, the point was to give me the ability to use Fullbring. It'd tell you all about it, and the seal, but the stuff that the forth-I mean the stuff that dad said was really complicated. So it would be a lot easier if I just showed you." Naruto walked back into the room, fixing the sheet around his waist so he didn't have to hold it up.
Feeling around his chest, Naruto's fingers closed around the crystal gem that hung there. Pulling the necklace up and over his head, Naruto gripped the gem tightly.
"Dad said that it's easier to manipulate the soul of something we have a certain affinity for, something that holds meaning to us. Said it helps the soul of the object connect with the soul of the user, or something like that. The necklace you gave me was the first thing I thought of. He was pretty impressed when he saw it to. Something about it being a powerful object to begin with." Closing his eyes, Naruto held his arm outstretch, fist closed around the crystal gem.
He focused, trying to sense the soul contained within it. Letting the world fall away for a moment - all sound, feeling, thoughts – he tried to relax his mind and sense the soul, the life that existed within everything.
At first he was overwhelmed when his 'mind's eye', as his dad called it, was bombarded by the massive number of souls that existed within the room. There were so many tools and objects screaming their existence to the world. How could he have been unable to sense this before?
Breathing deep, he tried to focus on the soul of the necklace. Its familiar shape and pulse called out to him. Making a bit of his soul resonate at the same frequency, he pushing it into the necklace, using his soul to change the soul of the object.
A hollow pop could be heard, and the necklace flashed with internal light. When the light dissipated, necklace was gone. In its place Naruto held a long thin katana. Its blade was the same grey green the crystal had been, though noticeably darker. Its handle was black, wrapped in white-grey cloth. The blade's guard was wrapped in the same cloth, with several spiky protrusions sticking out right below the blade. A length of wirey string, hung from the base of the hilt, two silvery metal charms hanging from it.
Tsunade stared at him, slack jawed, eyes wide with disbelief. When Jiraiya described Fullbring to her, he said it gave the user the ability to manipulate the souls within objects for varying affects. Jiraiya had admitted that the knowledge what it was truly capable of had been lost through the centuries. The only reason he and Minato tried so hard to recreate it was because it was rumored to be The Sage of The Six Paths most powerful ability, the six and final 'path'. She had been skeptical, never expecting Naruto to be able to affect an object on this level.
"Cool right?" Naruto tossed the sword in the air, catching it with his other hand. "The level at which I can change an object depends on how closely I can match my soul's wavelength to the soul of the object in the moment I wish to affect it. Once that initial connection is made, I can alter it by bending its soul."
Naruto pulled his soul out of the object, its form dissolving in a flash of light as it reverted to the First Hokage's necklace. He carefully hung it back around his neck.
"This is amazing." Tsunade breath out, still a bit awed by the display of power. "I will place you in Kenjutsu training immediately to help you become more skilled with a sword. I think Fuma Nodachi would be our best option. He was a good friend of your fathers, and I think you know his daughter, TenTen."
Naruto thought for a moment. "She's that girl on Neji's team, right? She was pretty good with weapons."
The slug user smirked smartly at that, "She may be good, but her dad is the best. Be it close, mid or long range weapons, he has mastered it. The man could pin a fly to a tree from a mile away with a Spork. I'll arrange for you to meet with him tomorrow."
Naruto silently mouthed wow at that, before grinning madly. He always wanted to learn how to fight with a sword.
"Oh, I almost forgot, when you leave you need to stop by the Hyuuga compound."
Naruto blinked in surprise. "The Hyuuga compound? You sure? Ever since the stink bomb incident they have been pretty good at keeping me out. "
Tsunade sweat dropped.
"Stink bomb incident? Do I even want to know?" Pinching the bridge of her nose between her forefinger and thumb, Tsuande closed her eyes. "Forget I asked. Yes I'm sure. Hiashi wanted to see you when you woke up. He's a council member and I don't want him giving me any gripe, so you better be there. I'll send a messenger ahead letting him know you are on your way."
"Whaaaat? You want me to go now? I'm half naked! And shouldn't you give me a physical or something? You know, make sure it's all working?"
Tsunade laughed at that. "Physical? What do you think we have been doing for the past month? You have had every test known to mankind run on you. Aside from the fact you have, effectively, two sets of chakra coils you are perfectly healthy."
Shizune popped her head in from behind the door. "Sorry for taking so long, they were all out of blue…and grey." She stepped into the room the rest of the way, tossing a bundle of bright pink clothing at a reluctant Naruto.
Naruto visibly paled. "Pink? Of course they only had pink."
He wasn't sure what was worse, wearing this or the sheet. As if in answer, the sheet took that moment to fall in a pile around his feet, leaving him stark naked once more.
Hinata was, for lack of a better term, wigging out. Her father had just informer her that Naruto was not only out of his coma, but stopping by for tea. She was supposed to make the tea! She hoped Naruto liked it. Why couldn't she calm down?
Because my father is having my crush over for tea. That's why. Her dad never had anyone over for anything unless they were very important or very wealthy, and while Naruto was important to her she couldn't see what would make her father want to invite a penniless genin over to their house.
Franticly flinging articles of clothing across her room she tried to find something that would impress Naruto.
Why didn't she own anything orange?
Falling back onto her bed Hinata just laid there for a few moments. She had been planning her meeting with Naruto for over a month, and now that she was finally going to see him she had no idea what she would say. All those proclamations of love, the heartfelt confessions she had so carefully planned, forgotten.
"Hinata, Naruto has arrived at the gates. Put on the kimono I bought you for your birthday last year. Once you're dressed make some tea and join us."
Rolling off her bed, she took a look in her closet. Father was telling her what to wear? He never told her what to wear, usually trusting her to dress appropriately for whatever the event was. That made her even more nervous. She found the silk kimono at the back of her closet, it was dark indigo with silver stars and a crescent moon embroidered upon its fabric. Carefully slipping it on, she looked at herself in the mirror, fixing her hair and putting on some make up. It felt weird on her face, she only wore makeup when she had to go to political events or her father had someone over.
Time for her to make some tea.
Naruto was anxious. The first thing he did after leaving the hospital was borrow some money from Tsunade so he could buy some decent clothing. She told him he had to dress up, as the Hyuuga's we a noble family, and it wasn't every day you got invited (more like summoned) over.
He wore an oversized white button up shirt, slacks, and black tie with faint orange pinstripes. He couldn't find a nice pair of shoes to save his live though, so he was wearing a pair of blue shinobi sandals that obviously didn't match the rest of the outfit. He looked and felt ridiculous. What made it worse was how stifling the damnable outfit was, and the sun on his back didn't help matters much. By the time he reached Hiashi's house, he had his top three buttons unbuttoned, his tie loosened, and had his sleeves pulled up to his elbows, all in an attempt to cool off.
"We're here." The guard stopped, motioning towards a large manor.
"Holy shi-" Naruto breathed out. This place was bigger than his entire apartment complex!
Naruto walked hesitantly up to the door. Hand clenching and unclenching nervously, he finally found the balls to form a fist and knock. A little girl opened the door. Dressed in a white kimono with pink flowers, she bowed to him, before stepping to the side.
Naruto gulped, running his fingers through his hair as he stepped inside. The room was massively big. Tall, swooping staircases stood to his left and to his right, a large crystal chandelier dangled from the ceiling, and numerous paintings hung upon the walls.
"Follow me." The girl walked across the room, opening a large wooden door with brass knobs. "Father is just inside."
Naurto nodded, walking forward. The room was surprisingly small. After seeing the rest of the house, Naruto expected something much larger, showier. This room felt more comfortable, allowing him to relax. Hiashi sat before him, on a mat across from a short table.
"I'm sure you are wondering why I called you here. Please, sit."
Naruto moved to the mat on the ground across from Hiashi, nodding in response.
"Then let me get straight to the point. Ever since the first great shinobi war there have been prophecies made. All of them mention a child, one who would either bring peace to the world or destroy it. When Konoha was founded, an organization was formed, dedicated to finding this child and helping him on his path to peace. Both of your parents," Hiashi waved his hand towards Naruto as he said your, emphasizing the word, "were former members of this organization."
"Yeah, the forth- I mean dad told me." Naruto was still not use to calling the Forth Hokage dad. It was weird saying the word after living his whole life without one.
"Jiraiya said he probably sealed part of his soul into the seal. That means I don't have to cover all the basics. I doubt he told you everything though. When Jiraiya was younger, it was foretold that he would be the one to train the child of the prophecy. Thus, many of us thought Minato to be the one to bring peace. For a while even Minato believed it. But that was before the Third Great Shinobi War."
Hiashi closed his eyes, recollecting the events that happened so long ago, "He was sent on a mission with his team, Kakashi, Obito and Rin. Their goal was to destroy a bridge that played a crucial role in delivering supplies to our enemies. During the mission, he was separated from his team, and Obito was killed. He had always been close to his students, speaking of their success as a proud father would speak his children.
"Enraged by his death, your father slaughtered the Ninja responsible, before using his Flying Thunder God technique to teleport himself just outside of Hidden Rock. Blaming the entire country for the death of his student, he unleashed a forbidden ninjutsu he had designed for grand scale slaughter, for use only on the battlefield. Tens of thousands of kunai, each bearing the mark of his Flying Thunder God ninjutsu, rained down upon rock. That initial attack alone was enough to kill hundreds of civilians and lower ranking ninja. Then, in a battle that lasted less under a minute, he teleported to each location, killing anyone and everyone he saw. Over three thousand were killed, literally, in a flash. That single battle ended the war. With Hidden Rock begging for peace, the other nations soon followed. The act is what earned him the title Hokage. After, Minato withdrew from our group, refusing to believe he could ever bring peace after causing so much death.
"The rest of his life he spent dedicated to recreating Fullbring. I believe it was his intention to give you the ability that you might become the child of the prophecy."
Naruto quirked an eyebrow. "What are you saying? You think I'm supposed to bring peace to the world or something? I'm just a genin. I'm not even a jinchuuriki anymore."
"But have you not trained under Jiraiya?" Hiashi asked, smirking matter'o'factly.
"Well yeah! But who says these prophecies even mean anything? With all do respect, I'm more concerned with saving my teammate than saving the world."
The clan head sighed, his demeanor becoming more serious. "Look, I'm not saying you are the child of the prophecy, but right now you are our best bet. It's not just me saying this, Jiraiya has been telling all of our most prominent members about you. We firmly believe that you could be the one. You're the son of two of the strongest ninja Konoha has ever known. You posses an ability not seen since the Sage of Six Paths! And, from what Jiraiya has been telling us, you not only mastered the Rasengan in under a week, but you can summon the toad boss Gamabunta. Not to mention the fact that your chakra reserves border the ridiculous, far surpassing even the Hokage! The truth is you possess great potential. We simply want to nurture that potential."
Naruto looked incredulous. "Ok, what, you want to train me?"
Hiashi shook his head. "Not me specifically. There are other members better suited for your training. My contribution to the group has always been more politically based. That is where I hope to be of help to you."
Naruto blinked comically. "Politics? Why would I get involved in that?"
"Naruto, you whether you want it or not, people will believe you are the child of the prophecy. That alone gives you influence. Word of your lineage has already reach most of the higher ups. This makes you an even bigger player in this game. I would not put it past some of them to leak the information to the enemy in the hoped of having you…removed." Hiashi frowned, thinking of Danzo in particular.
"As things stand now, you have no strings attached to any of the major players. None of them have sunk their claws into you, yet. The only way to keep you safe from them is to make them think you have already thrown your lot in with someone else. While they may still approach you with offers of power or money, they won't risk harming you if you are being backed by me."
Naruto scratched his head as he thought it over. "What exactly do you mean?"
"Well, we need to show them that you are loyal to the Hyuuga, and that I have something invested in you. That is harder than it sounds. The smaller the investment, the less risk there is for them get involved. That means we need to do something big."
Naruto nodded in understanding that made sense. "Did you have something in mind?"
Now it was Hiashi's turn to feel nervous. The older man had no idea how Naruto would take this next bit."Yes, that is where my daughter Hinata comes in. She is my first born, which means she is next in line to become clan head." Hiashi stopped there, hoping Naruto would stumble upon the conclusion for himself.
"Um, what, you want me to be her body guard or something?"
Hiashi groaned internally. So much for Naruto 'stumbling upon the conclusion himself', he would have to come right out and say it. "No, I'm afraid that wouldn't be enough to keep them at bay. I was thinking something along the lines of betrothal."
The gears within Naruto's mind slowly clunked along as tried to wrap his brain around what had just been said. "Huh? Like-like marriage?" The confused blond managed to stutter out.
"No, no. Not right away. A betrothal can last years and years, you are not even legally old enough for marriage. By the time you reach the age where a wedding could be considered you can break it off, if you so desire. Just, right now, it is the safest way for us to keep you safe. No one would dare mess with you if you are engaged to the heir of Konoha's most powerful clan. It was Jiraiya's idea. It also helps that my daughter already likes you. She will not protest, which means all we need is for you to agree to it."
Naruto was so zoned out he didn't register a knock at the door.
Hinata walked demurely into the room, a tea tray held close to her to keep anything from fall off. Her small frame trembled in nervous excitement when she saw Naruto sitting across from her father. Moving quickly to the table she poured a cup for her both her father and Naruto, setting their cups in front of them respectively, before she knelt on the mat to the right of her father.
"Hai, Naruto-san." Hinata's voice knocked Naruto out of his thoughts, forcing him to register her presence.
"Oh, hey Hinata." Naruto grabbed the teacup off the saucer in front of him, knocking back all of its contents in one swig. The thing was scalding hot, but he hardly noticed. He was so used to gulping down bowls of ramen just as hot that it failed to faze him anymore.
"Um, Hinata-chan." Naruto added the suffix nervously, "Your dad and I were just talking about this betrothal thing. Like, between you and me. Just wondering what your thoughts were on that."
All the blood in Hinata's small body rushed to her face, and she promptly passed out.
Author's Note: Not much to say. I'm trying to write more regularly. The entire thing felt a bit rushed, but I hope you all enjoyed it. Expect chapter five within a month. Hinata is obviously part of the harem, as is Sakura (most likely at least). Vote for others you want to include or exclude.
If you have any suggestions or ideas, feel free to shoot them my way. The story is pretty flexible right now, and I LOVE feedback, so don't hesitate.
A big thanks to eltigre221 for beta reading this chapter.