A/N: I have all these really great ideas for stories, and this is the one I'm choosing to work on? Oh well. In my head, it has really great potential. We'll see how well that actually turns out.
I came up with this idea immediately after watching the Third Naruto Movie (brilliant, by the way) and so in my mind's eye this is done in the same animation style as that movie, and is intended to be something like a plot for a fourth Naruto movie (with more KakaIru than would be strictly allowed, heehee).
Like the second and third movies, this fits somewhere in the time of the fillers. Where isn't exactly important.
Special thanks to my beta-reader, Neko. She did an excellent job, didn't she?
Disclaimer: I don't own any characters and places you recognize. I suppose I own the others, but I don't care enough about them to claim that.
Summary: Naruto, Sakura, Kiba, and Kakashi find themselves escorting the Prince of the Blue Isles back home after he's spent most of his life hiding from his past in Konoha. And that isn't the only secret the Prince has been hiding. KakaIru.
Authoress: The Reggie
Title: Kingdom of Secrets
Chapter 1: Enter the Messenger
"Ah, Sakura-chan, I didn't mean it! Stop!"
"You said that I actually looked prettier than Ino today!"
"It was—ack!—supposed to be a compliment!"
Kakashi peered over the top of his book—he was reading Icha Icha Violence for the third time—to assess the damage his former students had caused so far. Looked like part of a wall of a building, two holes in the middle of a training field, and a tree. He mentally totaled the damage and made an internal note to have Tsunade deduct it from Sakura's paycheck. Again.
Was the kunoichi even making money being a ninja anymore? Kakashi couldn't say for sure, but if she was it wasn't much. Whatever lessons with Tsunade had given Sakura; they certainly were terrible for her bank book.
Looking past the damage, Kakashi could see his two students running at top speed through the undamaged portion of the training field. Naruto seemed to be running for his life; desperately trying to avoid Sakura's swinging fists. Kakashi didn't need his Sharingan to see that this time the blond ducked a little too slow, and he winced slightly as Sakura landed a glancing blow to the back of the boy's skull. Naruto went tumbling head over heels, eventually coming to a stop at Kakashi's feet.
"Complimenting women is dangerous business, Naruto," the Jounin grinned down at the boy. "Hasn't Jiraiya-sama taught you anything?"
Naruto scowled up at him. "You're late, Kakashi-sensei!"
Kakashi just grinned down at him. Even though they were technically no longer a team—each of his students having been officially taken up by different teachers—the three of them still liked to get together to train sometimes. He'd never said it out loud, but the silver-haired Jounin was rather fond of his students and he missed them when they left. He liked to think they missed him too, even if he'd failed at being a good sensei to them.
"Well, you see, there was an academy student who got his kunai stuck to his…"
"Liar." Sakura said fondly, walking over. Her outrage seemed forgotten.
The Copy-Nin smiled at her as well. It was true, he'd seen an Academy student who'd somehow gotten glue on his kunai and then gotten his kunai stuck to Iruka-sensei's forehead protector and been momentarily distracted by watching the teacher chase the child on his way over from the memorial stone. But they didn't need to know that. "Looks like you decided to start without me."
"Naruto's an idiot," the pink-haired girl muttered darkly down at her companion, who was still lying spread-eagled on the ground between them.
"I was just trying to be nice," Naruto whined back up at her. "And you shouldn't hit me so hard. That really hurt."
"I barely even nicked you."
With a small chuckle, Kakashi tucked his book into his weapons pouch. After his first few training sessions with the pair since they'd begun working under the two Legendary Sannin, the Jounin had learned it was in his best interest to keep the book away. Even if he could fight while reading them, it only angered the two Genin and made his life that much harder. "Well, since Sakura seems to have won the first round already, it looks like it's her turn to fight me."
That's how their system worked. Whenever they met up, Sakura and Naruto would fight first. They were pretty evenly matched, so they won about an equal number of times, and the winner of the match that week would fight Kakashi.
If nothing else, it taught them that using all their chakra for one battle was a bad idea. A lesson he probably needed more than they did, but that wasn't the point.
As expected, Naruto let out an indignant squawk. "Kakashi-sensei, that's not fair! That wasn't even a real fight!"
"You were really hit and really running away, weren't you?"
Sakura giggled as Naruto pouted. "I wouldn't have run if I'd known it would count!"
Kakashi thought that made him an idiot because running from an angry Sakura is always a good idea, but he didn't say that. Instead he said, "Sakura, let's go."
She nodded, falling easily into her fighting stance with both fists raised and one leg slightly behind the other. Naruto glanced between her and Kakashi, who hadn't moved at all, before scrambling out of the way.
Sakura dropped and charged, pulling out a kunai as she did so. Kakashi ducked below her horizontal slice, and sidestepped the shuriken she threw in her other hand. He reached out to grab the hand that had swiped over his head, but, unsurprisingly, she teleported away.
Kakashi shifted his weight so his back foot slid, allowing him to lower himself down enough to avoid the kick Sakura aimed at his head. He twisted and shot his foot out in an attempt to trip her, but she launched herself into a handspring away. Kakashi had seen that coming and ran over behind her to grab her.
The pink-haired Genin must have seen him move, though, as she twisted on her hands and changed course, landing on her feet a couple of yards. It was an ineffective move, though, as the Jounin was next to her instantly and wrapped his arms around her from behind.
"That was too easy, Sakura-chan," Kakashi grinned. The Genin only smirked at him before disappearing in a puff of smoke and being replaced by a log. The Copy-Nin mentally groaned, wondering when she'd done that, while Naruto cheered.
"Yay, Sakura-chan! That's the way to do it! Show him who's boss!"
'That would be me,' Kakashi thought to himself, jumping out of the way of three kunai that were sent his way from above his head. A quick glance assured him that yes, there was indeed an exploding tag attached to the middle one. He'd barely landed from dodging them before he sent himself into the air again, flipping to land on his feet midair even as the tag exploded and sent rubble flying. He heard Naruto yelp as he was sprayed with dirt and small rocks, but he didn't seem to be in pain so Kakashi ignored him.
Sakura shot up to get him again, having used the smoke caused by the explosion as a screen to attack Kakashi from the left without him being able to see her move there. The Jounin let his fingers fly through seals, ending up with the Tiger sign, before releasing a blast of fire from his mouth in the girl's direction.
As expected she, and the clone coming at him from the right, both disappeared with the faint pop of a clone being hit.
The dust settled, and Sakura was still no where in sight. She had certainly taken his lessons on hiding to a whole new level. Now, if only he could get Naruto to understand the value of temporarily retreating before he handed him over to Jiraiya completely—because, while Jiraiya was probably the best at spying, he never ran from a fight and Naruto certainly wouldn't learn that from the toad-hermit.
"You've got him on the run, Sakura-chan!" The young blond yelled, and Kakashi rolled his eyes. Honestly, sometimes he swore Naruto was seeing a completely different world than the rest of them. Which was possible; he'd have to test that theory later at some point.
A handful of weapons came at Kakashi from the left, but he wasn't fool enough to think Sakura had stayed there after throwing them. The darted to the right to avoid them, faked left, then dashed forward. He pulled out a kunai and only stopped when the blade was only a fraction of a centimeter away from her throat and both hands were caught in one of his to stop any hand seals. She looked up at him with wide green eyes, and Kakashi grinned down at her.
Sakura returned the smile with a small one of her own, and Kakashi released her.
"Aw, man! You almost had him that time, Sakura-chan!"
"Naruto, you idiot, I was no where near having him!"
'At least somebody properly respects me,' Kakashi thought, sticking his hands in his pockets. 'Still, I probably should make it up to him for not having a real fight between them today.' "Hm, but you did do much better today, Sakura-chan. How about we go get ramen to celebrate, ah? My treat."
Naruto's yell of delight could probably be heard on all realms of existence, Kakashi decided, and he was sure that wherever Yondaime was, he was smirking at him. His sensei had always dragged Kakashi for ramen after difficult training, in spite of his protests that he didn't like it. The man had always said that someday Kakashi would appreciate the mystical power of ramen to heal all wounds.
Kakashi still didn't believe that, but it sure worked to heal any hurt feelings Naruto might have, and that's all he really needed at the moment.
"Hey, hey, Kakashi-sensei! Can we get Iruka-sensei to come to? I promised him I'd treat him out next time we went…"
"So, you're going to get Kakashi-sensei to fill your promises?" Sakura asked, in her lecturing mode that she usually adopted when dealing with Naruto.
"That's not what I said," Naruto pouted back. "I don't have enough to pay for Iruka-sensei AND me, but if he pays for me then I can pay for Iruka-sensei."
Kakashi shrugged, pulling out his book as they began walking sedately toward Icharuka. He had no issues with Iruka-sensei being there. The man had an amazing ability to keep Naruto pretty much in check that Kakashi envied some days, and he was likable enough as long as they steered clear of any conversations involving Kakashi's teaching methods. "I think the Academy may still be in session, but if you want to take a detour we can check."
Naruto whooped again, throwing his fist in the air. "Yes! I'm sure Iruka-sensei will want to come with us. And I'll get him chicken ramen, and I can have miso and…"
All three of them were distracted from Naruto's list of potential food by some noise being made at the front gate. Without any discussion they moved closer as a group, ready to back up the guards if necessary.
"You can't just come walking in here," they heard Izumo yell. "This is a hidden village, and without the proper papers you aren't allowed past this point!"
"I am a messenger from the king of the Blue Isles! I will not tolerate this indignity; you must let me see your leader!"
"Blue Isles?" Sakura asked quietly, looking up at her former teacher curiously.
"A small group of islands just off the southern coast," Kakashi responded, almost automatically. "They have no hidden village to speak of, but I've heard rumors they possess advanced technology that makes them a fearsome opponent anyway."
"I don't care if you're a messenger from the First Hokage sent from beyond!" Kotetsu answered, sounding very annoyed. "Without either a message or proper papers we can not just let you pass. The only exception is a country or person in crisis, and you've already stated that neither applies to you. You're just going to have to turn around and leave."
"All my investigations have told me that the Prince is here. You must let me through to find him!"
"There aren't any princes here," Naruto stated loudly. "I think your methods of investigation are messed up."
Kotetsu and Izumo glanced over at them, as if surprised to see the three of them standing there, but they didn't bother to scold the blond for speaking out of turn. Aside from the fact that it would have been wasted effort, they seemed rather inclined to agree.
The messenger, or so he seemed, narrowed his dark green eyes in Naruto's direction and all but flipped his chin length toffee-colored bangs out of his eyes. "There is no mistake. The Prince of the Blue Isles is here, and I have been sent to retrieve him! Now, you will let me pass to speak to your Hokage about the situation, so I may bring him home, or the consequences will be on your heads!"
That didn't seem like an idle threat, and Kakashi had to admit he wasn't comfortable with turning away someone who seemed, at least, to have an important message for the Godaime. Consequences usually meant war, and if this guy was so convinced that the person he was looking for was here it might be safest to just take him to Tsunade and let her handle it.
"Look, unless your Prince had the proper papers or a message, he didn't get in either, and we work here every day so I'm sure we would have noticed a runaway Prince."
The messenger scoffed at them, pulling himself up to his full height. "The Prince of the Blue Isles, run away? Don't be daft! No, he was kidnapped by his lying and treacherous mother!"
"So, what, you're looking for a baby?" Naruto asked dumbly, scratching his head in confusion. "The King's wife left him and took her baby? She must have had a good reason for that one."
"Naruto," Kakashi scowled, resisting the urge to hit the boy over the head. Someday he was going to learn it was best to reach his own conclusions silently, really he was.
As for the messenger, he looked absolutely furious now with his fists clenched and eyes narrowed into slits. He opened his mouth to protest the insult to his lord when suddenly his eyes widened and he stared opened mouthed at the person walking up behind the blond boy.
"Naruto?" Iruka-sensei, the person now being gawked at by the stranger, asked as he approached the group, adjusting his rather sticky looking forehead protector and trying to smooth down the hair that was escaping his ponytail. Kakashi thought he looked quite frazzled. "I've been looking all over for you. I told you yesterday that I was supervising your grocery shopping today, and…"
"My Liege!" The strange man yelled suddenly, causing all the ninja to jump and stare at him, before nearly falling on his face to bow. "I have been searching every where for you, for many months now. The King has summoned you to return, and we must go at once!"
There was several seconds of stunned and very confused silence while the assembled shinobi stared at the man on the ground before Naruto burst out laughing.
"Iruka-sensei? You think Iruka-sensei is your prince? That's impossible, he's…"
"Naruto," Kakashi's tone left no room for arguments, this time, and effectively shut the boy up as he stared at his former sensei in surprise. The Jounin wasn't looking at him though, but at the younger Chuunin.
Iruka's face had gone ghastly white, almost like someone who had seen a ghost instead of someone who'd been mistaken for another country's escaped (or kidnapped) prince. And he most certainly looked anything but happy to see the man kneeling before him.
Well, that solved his dilemma of whether or not to bother the Hokage, as this had just jumped up from fairly trivial to possibly very important. "We're going to be taking him to see Tsunade-sama," Kakashi informed Izumo and Kotetsu before stepping forward and pulling the man to his feet. "I think we'll be getting an explanation there, won't we, Iruka-sensei?"
The brunette Chuunin simply nodded mutely, staring at the Blue Island's messenger with something that could only be described as fear.