A Demon's Soliloquy:
What is this bond? The more I try to focus on furthering the transfer of the seal that binds me to this pathetic human, the more I find myself distracted by the kits that are not even mine. When I rest, I listen to the soft humming of their tiny heartbeats and only then can I let myself relax. When they move in irritation in the cramped, fake womb, I find myself shifting the chakra to accommodate them and their comfort.
What is this urge to protect? I have planned everything perfectly…everything but this. This urge…this bond…is sickening. I have become no better than the humans I wish to tear apart with my claws. If this continues, if I continue to sink to the level of these inferior creatures, then I deserve to suffer through Hell for all eternity. These urges…I must control them…I must make them stop…or I fear I will lose what little I have gained in this wretched half-life, sealed within a human…
Chapter 21: I am an Avenger
The morning broke bright and briskly, however the brightness was missed by two young men entering a forest that cut the very light out of the sky. The path was broken, torn away by roots springing from the path in its disuse. The forest felt so full of dangerous life. The very trees seemed to breathe. A blond-turned-brunette grabbed the arm of the raven-haired man, clinching it fiercely.
A raise of a delicate black eyebrow answered him.
"Sasuke? You sure we have to go through this? It's rather…eerie. I bet this forest is full of ghosts!"
"Ghosts, dobe? We're surrounded by who-knows-what type of predators and you're worried about ghosts?"
"Don't call me dobe, teme! And yes, ghosts! I don't have to worry about tigers or bears! That's what you're here to take care of. But can you beat a ghost? I don't think so…"
"Quit worrying. Nothing will happen. Let's just pick up the pace and get out of this forest quickly."
"Easy for you to say, teme," Naruto said, trying to hurry his pregnant waddling up, "You don't have a beach ball filled with rocks as a belly!"
Sasuke just mentally rolled his eyes and allowed Naruto to set the pace. The forest wasn't very large…it was just dangerous. Hopefully they could get out before the sun set. He didn't enjoy the idea of camping out here.
"Tsunade-sama, I have brought everyone here as you asked. They are waiting for you outside the door," Shizune said with a slight bow to her mentor.
"Send them in," Tsunade ordered.
What was left of the Rookie 9 as well as Team Gai, their Sensei's, and even Konohamaru and his gang filed through the door. The Hokage studied them in silence over her fingers laced together on the desk. The younger ones, Konohamaru gang, began to fidget under her gazed. She seemed to be looking at each of the ninja gathered before her and measuring up their worth.
"You have been gathered here because each of you is a precious person to Naruto." Her voice was grave and even Shikamaru managed to focus on what the woman was saying. He even stood a little straighter. Not much, but a little.
Some of the girls thought the worse. Hinata especially was thinking that the Hokage was going to announce the death of their dear friend. She barely held on to her consciousness.
The Hokage continued. "I want to know now if each and every one of you would risk your life to save his. If you do not feel this way, please feel free to leave now and forever forget about this meeting."
"If this concerns boss, it concerns me," Konohamaru said, a tad too loudly for the enclosed space of the office. Those nearby visible shuddered. "I would give my life for him!"
Gai gave a dazzling smile, "As my youthful friend has so passionately said, I think we all would give our life for our comrade."
Tsunade noticed that everyone in the room nodded in affirmation.
"Good…because Naruto is in grave danger and I need everyone in this room to help to save him, and saving him may put your lives in danger too."
"Itachi," Kisame began nervously. He had rights to be nervous. He was the only other member besides Itachi left alive of the infamous Akatsuki group, as of a month ago. It started about six months ago, maybe even earlier then that, for all Kisame knew. Itachi kept randomly disappearing. That wasn't too odd. He normally did that anyway. However, soon, he was disappearing for days at a time. He hadn't done that before. And then, mysteriously, Akatsuki members kept showing up dead. By the time Kisame had put two-and-two together, Itachi had killed the Leader as well. He had said that he felt complacent and that he needed to test his power. The memory of that night still sent shivers down his spine.
"I needed to test my power," the bloodied Uchiha had said, approaching the shark-like man. Itachi had all the rings of the other members on his hands, except for his and Orochimaru's, because that ring had been lost.
"Are you going to kill me too?" Kisame had asked, fully expecting to be dead within his next blink.
Itachi had looked at him with those emotionless red eyes, the commas spinning dangerously as he thought about it.
"No," Itachi had said, turning away from the shark-man, "You wouldn't be worth the time."
Kisame had the distinct impression that he had barely evaded death that day. Itachi had allowed him to follow him. Kisame was very uncomfortable around the Uchiha now, but he really didn't have anywhere else to go.
"Are you still going to attempt the unsealing of the ninetails," Kisame asked his partner.
Itachi slowly shifted his gaze to the blue man. Kisame wondered if he could even see him, since the use of the sharingan was known to lead to blindness, and Itachi used it a lot. "No. It would be foolishness to try."
Kisame let out a breath in relief. The last unsealing hadn't gone very smoothly and they both almost died. Even if it was a waste of all the effort they had gone through in the years previous, Kisame was glad that they wouldn't be risking their lives with the nine-tails.
"However, we will find the kyuubi jinchuriki. I wish to test my power against him."
Kisame mentally sighed. He had an odd feeling that he was not going to come out of this one alive.
"What I am about to tell you can never leave this room and I must ask you not to interrupt me," Tsunade began. Everyone was staring at her.
"At certain times in Konoha, there has been the need for the council or Hokage to pass laws in Konoha. I am not talking about the laws you can find written down in the Scrolls of Laws, which are made public. These certain times call upon secrecy, sometimes to protect those the laws are made against, sometime to protect the village from other villages learning about something, and sometimes they are made because the majority of the population would not support the choice that had to be made. In any case, these laws I am speaking of are called the Secret Unwritten Laws of Konoha and it is forbidden to speak of them. The punishment for doing so is death. However, I must risk it now. Naruto recently brought to my attention that the council has forgotten their duty to inform me of the unwritten laws when I came to power.
"He told me the laws and they are the reason you are here right now. Konoha currently has five unwritten laws, more than ever recorded in history. The reason Naruto knows these laws is because they concern him. Naruto is the jailor of the Kyuubi." The expected intakes of breath were heard. "When the Yondaime faced down the great demon, he was unable to kill it. Instead, he sealed it within a newborn, fresh from the womb that very day. That was Naruto. Let me make this clear: NAruto is not the Kyuubi. He is very much like Shino. He is his own individual, yet is the container of something else entirely. Because of this, Naruto's childhood was never easy. And it is also because of this that the unwritten laws came to be. Naruto has broken one of the unwritten rules unintentionally, but, nevertheless, the council will use any excuse to sentence him to death, as they have been trying to since Kyuubi's sealing."
Kakashi's book had dropped to the ground, uncaringly. "Tell us the unwritten laws, Hokage-sama."
Tsunade gave him a glare, probably because he had interrupted her even though she had specifically asked no one to do that. Her glare lightened, however, when she saw the look of concern on his face, as well as the pleading look on Sakura's face.
Tsunade nodded. "The laws are as follows: No one must ever speak of Kyuubi or of Naruto Uzumaki being a demon container; Uzumaki Naruto may not use physical violence against any non-shinobi citizen of Konoha; To protect the image of the Leaf, Uzumaki Naruto may never reveal the Kyuubi to anyone unless the dangers of the mission necessitate it, or the current Hokage orders it with the approval of the majority of the Council; To protect against possible release of Kyuubi from S-class missions, Uzumaki Naruto may never rise above the rank of Jounin; For the sole purpose of preventing any chance of offspring under the Kyuubi's influence, Uzumaki Naruto may never marry nor partake in the act of sexual intercourse."
"That's horrible!" Sakura exclaimed, "His dream…he can never accomplish it!"
Kiba looked stumped. "But I don't understand…which law did the baka break?"
A collective gasp filled the room as every head swiveled to look at the Hyuuga.
Neji pushed away from the wall he had been leaning against. "I discovered it when our team," he gestured to team Gai, "crossed paths with them some time ago now."
"You mean Naruto was really pregnant and I wasn't dressing him up as a girl for an infiltration mission?" Tenten asked. Her glare turned fiery. "And why didn't you tell us before?"
"I wanted to keep their secret, but now it is not possible. It might also be necessary to tell you, Hokage-sama, that they are also lovers."
A thump was heard over the second round of gasps. Hinata had fainted.
"Well, that is interesting to know…and could help some of my future plans. But for now, we need to focus on a way to get rid of these unwritten laws. I want everyone to work hard to find some loophole in the laws of Konoha, some little flaw of wording, anything that can help us. With enough of us working on it together…we might just be able to change the laws in time to save Naruto's life…"
Hinata was roused after the meeting was over by her cousin.
"Neji-niisan…" she said weakly, "W-what happened?"
"You fainted," he said, picking her up off the ground and setting her on her feet.
That's right…Neji-niisan had said that Naruto-kun and Uchiha-san were lovers…
"Hinata-sama?" Neji queried. "Does it bother you that the Uchiha and Naruto are together?"
She burrowed her eyebrows in thought. "I-I can n-not say that it d-doesn't," she stumbled. "B-but, Naruto-kun deserves someone s-strong. S-someone he l-loves. He deserves to be happy. I-I can n-not hate h-him for that or e-even think l-less of him." She didn't need to say more. She knew her cousin knew of her deep-rooted crush for the blond.
"You are very strong to be able to do that," Neji said, an indecipherable look in his eyes. "I have trouble doing the same."
Now that she was steady, Neji had no reason to stay. He left her to her thoughts, which quickly deciphered what he meant. Neji-niisan loves Naruto too...
With a final kunai slash through a giant centipede that had been attacking, Sasuke and Naruto were faced with a horrible scene. The smell of smoke filled their nostrils as they took in the clearing, and the still-smoldering house.
"Stay here," Sasuke commanded as he approached the house cautiously, leaving a sputtering blond that did not like being told what or what not to do. The fires were still burning, and that was strange in itself. But even stranger yet was that the flames were black.
"Amaterasu…" Sasuke whispered to himself. Anger began to fill his veins and turn his vision red. His curse seal activated, and black markings began to spread over his body. His brother…There was only one other Uchiha left alive and only his brother had activated the Mangekyo sharingan – the form of sharingan that could produce these flames. But why was he here? What could be his purpose? Itachi seemed to always be hampering him, causing him pain! Why couldn't he just leave him alone? Why couldn't the murdering bastard just die from his own cold twisted black heart! He overshadowed everything! Sasuke would never be free to live his life with his brother still alive!
"Sasuke!" Naruto's shout pulled him from his angry musings and he quickly pulled the curse seal under control. However, he could not rid himself of his anger as simply. It lingered and festered. It had festered since the day Itachi had murdered the clan. It was a wound that would not heal over. It barely formed a scab that could so easily be picked off at the weakest of abrasions. And every reminder of Itachi was such an abrasion. Every reminder that Sasuke was still too weak, too scared to help his family. The wound Itachi had made on him was filled with the bitter pus of self-doubt and self-pity. He could never cure it…not ever…not until that man was dead!
"Sasuke…" Naruto's voice sounded again, filled with concern.
Sasuke's anger turned on the man he loved. "I thought I told you to stay where you were!" His voice was cold, so full of emotion that it seemed to have no emotion at all.
"I was worried about you…" Naruto whispered, unsure about why Sasuke was angry at him and not really wanting to make it any worse. "I felt your curse seal activate." Normally, he did all he could to push the other's buttons, but today…Sasuke was dangerous. Naruto recognized that fact. He was not always the most stable. Naruto had known that from a young age, yet he had still fallen in love with him. Naruto knew how much Sasuke struggled with his past, but he did not judge him. He only tried to help him in his own caring way. He thought he had finally done it. They had been getting along so well. Everything was going so perfectly… and now this…What exactly happened anyway?
"You should have done as I told you anyway. You should have trusted me."
"Sasuke…I'm sorry… but what exactly happened here?" Naruto asked softly, hoping to defuse the anger.
"Itachi," he hissed. "Itachi is mocking me. He sends his regards. He thinks I'm weak. That I am scared of him! He doesn't know anything! He doesn't know that I will kill him with my own two hands. He must be nearby. The fires are still burning!" So much pain was in every syllable of every word Sasuke said. His eyes held a mad glint in them. That glint scared Naruto. That glint was not part of his lover. It was so foreign. He wanted it gone!
"Sasuke, you are not sounding like yourself right now," Naruto whispered, taking a step back in fear from his lover. He was in no condition to survive a fist through his chest right now. Naruto remembered that glint being in his lover's eyes during the fight at the Valley of the End. Would it could to blows again?
Sasuke sneered. "Then maybe you do not know me as well as you think. Maybe we made a mistake. Because this is me, Naruto. This is who I am. I am an Avenger, and you have no place in my life right now." Without even another look backwards, Sasuke left. He left Naruto crying outside the ruins of a smoking house. He left just like he left last time. Only this time, Naruto could not follow. This time, Naruto could only watch with tears streaming down his face as his lover disappeared into the forest, running full-speed away from him.
What an evil cliffy…what was I thinking?