Disclaimer: Naruto belongs to Masashi Kishimoto and not me.
A/N: Hi, thanks for choosing to read 'Fallen from Grace', a Naruto AU written from the point of view if the characters were in a modernist city within yakuza gangs. I must warn that there will spoilers for the canon of Shippuuden in this, as I am trying to see if I can follow a similar storyline. It's an experimental fic more than anything, so any feedback would be appreciated.
Fallen from Grace
Chapter 1: Threat
When its was first built at the turn of the century, the growing city became the centre for the country's revolution, in both technology and order. It was for this reason that the city was named for the pride its citizens held.
Shigakure, a city fallen from grace and into the hands of mortals. The name no longer symbolises pride, but death.
Shigakure… three years ago…
A trashcan toppled over as two a pair of children ran towards a rundown school. Another had halted before a rusting playground, a jungle gym towering behind him. Swings creaked loudly as a breeze swept through the school.
Hands trembled as they reached out.
"Leave me alone, Sakura."
"Don't say that, Sasuke-kun… please don't…"
"Sasuke! Turn and face us! At least you can do that!"
Naruto gritted his teeth together after he yelled. Sakura pulled her hand back slowly as the other boy before them turned. Her blood ran cold at the sight.
"Sasuke-kun... what has he done to you?"
The black haired boy glared at the paired- one eye normal… the other a demonic yellow surrounded by darkness. Flame-like markings covered half of his face, the patterned skin swirling and writhing violently. His face crinkled in disgust at them.
"He's given me a chance at power," he spat. "Something that Konoha could never give me."
"You idiot, Sasuke! That's just what he wants you to think!" retorted the blond before him angrily. "It's all a lie! Everything you think you know is a lie!"
Sakura blinked back tears, clasping her hands at her chest. "It's that virus, Sasuke-kun. You have to believe us. It's messing up your judgment. You know Oto is just a front for illegal experiments- they're not real yakuza! They don't care about your fate!"
Sasuke's disgusted look deepened. "You're wrong; it's made me see clearer. I see Konoha for what it really is, and that I will never be able to advance. Only Orochimaru can offer me what I want. As long as I stay here, I'm only going to become weaker."
"But we were friends, Sasuke!" Naruto shouted, his fists tightening. "What ever happened to that?"
"Friends… I never had any friends. I only had people getting in my way and preventing me from getting stronger."
"Don't say that, Sasuke-kun!" Sakura shouted as tears flooded her vision. "I… I love you… Are you turning your back on that too?"
The black haired boy's eyes narrowed. "You… were only an annoyance."
Sakura wiped the tears from her eyes as she gazed at him. Her voice was shaky, though she tried to hold confidence in her stance. "I'll call Tsunade-sama… and then everyone will come. I won't let you leave."
Naruto's eyes widened as the girl pulled a mobile phone from her pocket and flipped it open. Sasuke retaliated, suddenly running forward and clamping a hand over her nose and mouth. Sakura fought to breathe as the dark-haired boy pushed her forward into the jungle gym, her head hitting one of the bars loudly. He pulled her back before slamming her down onto the dirt of the playground.
"Sakura-chan!" Naruto leapt at Sasuke, wrestling him off of the girl and pinned him down. Sakura weakly reached for her phone that had dropped from her hands as she fell. Her hands trembled as she pushed a button.
"Kakashi-sensei… please help…" The phone flashed as the call began and Sakura's eyelids closed.
Naruto stared down at his former friend. Sasuke stared up as well, daring him to do his worst. A fist slammed into his face as the blond punched him.
"Bastard!" He yelled down at him. "Orochimaru only wants to use you, do you know that? You're an idiot, Sasuke! You know you're too good for a gang like that! What happened to our dreams? You said you wanted to make Shigakure a better place!"
"My only dream was ever killing my brother!"
Sasuke's hands flew up and pushed him off. Naruto rolled back and got to his feet.
"Why are you doing this?" Naruto demanded. "You don't have to leave!"
"It's because of you, Naruto. You're the one who did this," replied Sasuke coldly, getting to his feet. "You became my best friend, so now you're the only obstacle in my way from getting stronger."
Naruto held a fist up threateningly. "I'll drag you back if I have to! Even if I have to break all the bones in your body, I'll do it!"
Sasuke's body tensed. His hand shook as he reached for his pocket. "Don't make me do this."
CRASH! Trash cans toppled over.
Sakura's eyes flew open. She felt something like warm water puddling under her hand. The stench of blood suddenly reached her nose.
"Sasuke-kun! Naruto!" She sat up, looking around for her friends.
The girl froze as she saw what laid on the ground beside her- Naruto. Blood flowed from his shoulder, covering his shirt and the dirt of the playground. Sakura felt woozy as the scent of blood filled her nostrils.
"Sakura-chan… help…" Naruto's blue eyes pleaded with her to stay with him. His hand tightened around the knife he had pulled out. In his other hand, he held onto a torn armband that he had ripped off from Sasuke before he ran.
The pink haired girl shook her head to keep herself alert. She quickly tore off her own armband and pushed it onto Naruto's wound, trying to stop the blood from running out.
"He… he's not bad, Sakura-chan…" whispered Naruto as he stared up at the night sky- the stars obscured by the city's lights.
"Don't talk, Naruto. Save your strength," replied Sakura, tears dripping down her face. She pushed harder. Naruto winced.
"No… he… he… didn't kill me… He changed… his mind… He's still our friend… Sakura-chan… and I'll save him… I promise."
Teardrops fell lightly onto the boy's cheek as Sakura hung her head. "We'll do it together next time, Naruto…"
"Do you… remember… Sakura-chan? …This was the place… we all first… met… We'll meet here… again… one day…" The blond gave a shaky smile as his eyes closed.
Two and a half years later…
Night in Shigakure- under the pale reflection of the moon, the brightly lit city was abuzz with life... Neon lights glowed in the darkness advertising remedies to fleshly desires, terrified screams echoed from alleyways, the smell of booze and smoke filled the air. No longer was this part of the city under order. The sight of blood-red eyes searching the night for crime had long gone.
Three shadows joined the darkness of the alleyway, unafraid of what hid in the depths. Slowly, they made their way into the maze, seeking the centre.
A door creaked signalling the end of their journey, and the shadows ascended up a curling stairway... a meeting was about to begin.
Heels clicked on the marble floor as a blonde haired woman circled a desk looking for paperwork. She circled her desk like a shark, hunting for something… or someone.
"Do you remember where I put those files for tonight? I didn't leave them in the gym did I?"
Shizune sighed a little and opened a nearby filing cabinet. "I filed them away for you here, Tsunade-sama. Your desk is too dangerous a place to keep such important files. You keep spilling sake everywhere."
"What I do with my sake is none of your business," snapped the older woman with pursed lips and a frown. "Well, how do I look anyway? Tonight is an important one. I need to make a good impression."
Tsunade put her hands on her hips, letting silky green yukata sleeves dangle freely. Although the meeting was one of importance, she still had left her usual cleavage showing from her ample bosom. She had also refused to place a proper pair of sandals on, preferring high heels. However, there was still an air of beauty and power about her- either from her confident stance, or the silken green yukata delicately decorated in golden leaves, she still commanded attention.
The dark haired assistant gave a crooked smile. "You look fine, Tsunade-sama. But I think now is the time to welcome our guests."
"Can't we be fashionably late?" asked the other woman with a peeved look.
"Tsunade-sama... we're already late as it is." Shizune once again sighed. Story of my life…
Downstairs- a group of three sat at a low table. The floor here was marble as well, just as the ornate pillars that stood proudly at the doorway. Behind the three figures there was nothing but glass, allowing anyone that looked to see out over the city of Shigakure, rampant with chaos. However, anyone looking back would only see a black wall... a grand view to one side, a featureless building to another.
The doors opened and heels clicked over the marble. They stopped before the table.
"Gaara-dono, it is a pleasure to see you once more. As well as you, Kankuro-san... Temari-san..."
Tsunade looked down on the three sitting at the table. On the left sat a young woman with blonde hair pulled into four ponytails. She looked the symbol of teenage pop culture – not only wearing the newest 'hip' fashion, but wearing layers upon layers of trinkets and accessories on every possible part of her body. The young woman fluttered a fan towards her face to cool it in the summer heat that seeped in from outside and blew a pink orb of bubblegum.
On the right was a young man with messy brown hair poking out from under a black beanie. The beanie somehow resembled a pair of cat ears, a strange contrast to the straight-edged, purple tattoos that covered his face and resembling the style of make-up Tsunade remembered from old kabuki plays. Tsunade suspected his whole body may have been tattooed… and probably even pierced from the amount of studs he was wearing- from ears to eyebrows to a nostril. Along with his dark punk-like attire, Tsunade was sure he was the type to scare children off.
But he wasn't the one that scared her. In between the two sat the youngest of the three- a young man with crimson hair and a gaze that could unsettle even the most confident of all people. His light green eyes were surrounded by dark bags, the sign of an insomniac, but the look in them showed how painfully aware he was of what went around him. A roughly etched tattoo sat on the left side his forehead, reading as the kanji for 'love'.
There was nothing faintly romantic about the boy though. His attire was simple, dark jeans and t-shirt covered by a dark red overcoat. His only "accessory" was a gourd, the size of which Tsunade had never seen before. It was that which scared her.
Another example of the Sand's infamous use of technology… she whispered to herself.
Gaara nodded at the woman suddenly. "It has been a while, Tsunade-dono."
Inwardly, the woman gave a sigh of relief. True, relations between Konoha and Suna had eased, but Tsunade couldn't help but remember the old tensions they once held. It was an old habit left over from generations past, making it hard sometimes for her to believe how much things had changed.
"What are we here for anyway?" asked Kankuro gruffly. "Walking around in the dark ain't exactly my thing, you know."
Tsunade sat down at the opposite side of the table and spread some documents out. "I asked you to come at this time because I have been passed some important news. I believe that we have some new competition."
The Suna leader's eyes passed over the documents. "Akatsuki," he muttered as he read the word at the top of a report.
"You may have noticed some strange occurrences lately," said Tsunade, her brow furrowed. "Some of our contacts within the smaller gangs have suddenly disappeared, along with the rest of the gang. Whether they disbanded voluntarily, or were forced to, we still don't know. But we were never informed, so there have been conflicts between groups bordering those smaller territories that found out before us. "
Gaara gave another nod of acknowledgement. "We have noticed the same."
Bubblegum popped as Temari held up a document in her hand. She chewed noisily as she read over it. "Seems like whoever's behind it is trying to cause another power struggle- no doubt so they can sneak in beneath our noses and take the lead."
"This ain't our only problem though," interrupted Kankuro. "Someone's been trying to outbid us on some of the police investigators."
Tsunade's eyes widened for a second. "What, I didn't hear that!" She glanced up at her assistant by the doorway; they other woman shrugged and shook her head worriedly. "When did that happen?"
"It would have helped if you'd mentioned that sooner, Kankuro," growled Temari. "You never report in."
Her brother scratched at an ear casually. "Yeah, well, I was busy. Some punk-ass kids broke into my storeroom again and stole my equipment- took me all day to track them down before they pawned my stuff off. That technology ain't cheap you know."
Tsunade gave a light groan. "Please, Kankuro-san, I would appreciate if you told me what you know about the police issue."
"Didn't learn much really," he replied. "But from what I've been told, most of them were approached by guys in black coats. Said they tried to come to some sort of 'deal' with them, but they refused. They didn't seem like your normal run-of-the-mill guys."
The Konoha leader thought over it for a second before letting out a groan. "Well, I guess as far as we know anyway. We'll need to get our own spies in on this as soon as possible."
"It may not be soon though," said Gaara. He had stopped reading documents and instead turned to gazing out the window facing over the city. "If this Akatsuki organisation is serious in its goals, we will need to be extra vigilant about possible involvement in our activities."
Tsunade nodded. "Yes, I will have to start getting daily reports again. It's been a long time since we've had to do that though- we've become too lax over the years since the mayor gave up on trying to control us."
"It is probably that which has let them get so far without our or the mayor's notice," replied the Suna leader.
The woman rubbed at her temples. The sudden shock of news left her feeling like wanting a stiff drink.
Gaara slowly turned his gaze back onto the woman. The unsettling look in his eyes unexpectedly lightened. "How is Uzumaki Naruto doing?"
Tsunade blinked, her fingers pausing in mid-rub. A smile twitched on her lips. "Still overseas learning new things- the trip seems to have done him good for the recovery."
The woman sighed and shook her head. "No word. But Naruto is still convinced he can bring him back."
Gaara stared back out over the city. "He still has faith that people can change, even in this place."
That's what I love about him, thought Tsunade to herself, hoping that the boy that was like a son to her would return soon.
A/N: I hope you enjoyed this story! Hopefully more will be coming soon.