Disclaimer: if I owned Naruto there would be more razor wire and fewer explosions. (What kind of ninjas throw around flashy explosives and then talk about how their attacks work? Secrecy is the entire point of ninjas)
I started working on this exactly 12 hours after the previous chapter was updated. (It was updated around 10 pm)
It took a while didn't it… yeah; well at least we are at a point where I have a solid bit of plot.
I asked in my last chapter whether I should pair Naruto with Hinata or Yugito. I am still waiting for an answer, but to clarify I would like to explain that this is mostly irrelevant to the story except for a couple of scenes. Please remember that the other girl will be paired with Lee. (Cause Lee kicks ass!)
I have made a poll on my profile for this, I would like some opinions 'cause I can't decide which pairing I like better. So I am leaving it up to my fans. The pairing will have no effect on the actual plot anyways. It will just open a new set of jokes and interactions between the characters.
Word of Gaara's defection and the Kazekage's supposed death spread through the battlefield within minutes. Everyone knew that something was going to happen.
But no one expected what happened next.
There was a rumbling sound as a small tidal wave of sand slid down the main street of Konoha, bearing on top of it the red haired demon container.
The moment they saw him many sand ninja froze in shock at the calm look on his face and more importantly the very prominent sake bottle in his hands. After this moment of shock however they quickly dashed into one specific location, a small training ground not far from the main residential are.
A decision was reached within moments, withdraw.
Suddenly all of the ninja in Konoha saw a series of smoke signals in the distance and a moment later all sand village ninja vanished back into the forest. All of a sudden the sound ninja found themselves singled out and without backup.
Meanwhile the arena stands had turned into a mass grave for all of the attacking ninja who had failed to flee within the first few minutes.
The swords of the samurai (and Tenten) had ripped through enemies like a katana through raw meat.
A large blue dragon had wound its way around a certain section and killed any enemies who tried to get past it.
Within the dragon's protected region a collection of various people sat around chatting merrily, unaffected by the carnage around them. Most of the leaf ninja had run off to fight the invaders and protect their homes and families. Shortly after the dragon's teeth had run off after them.
And in the top box of the arena, the elderly Hokage was currently seen beating his former student with a large staff. After that large black dragon had appeared over the two contestants and forcefully removed the fallen warriors' souls, it had left back to wherever dragon summons live. This left Orochimaru down a huge chunk of charka without harming Sarutobi at all.
Shortly Orochimaru's fatigue had begun to catch up to him and his sword got slower and lead to his current predicament. He was losing, not too badly but he was losing. The conniving portions of the snake charmer's mind worked hard to figure a way out of this pickle… and all of a sudden they found it.
Just barely dodging his former master's attack he dived for the unconscious chilled on the ground. His blade would surely have skewered the poor child but for a body that interposed itself directly between them.
The elderly village leader barely winced as the poisoned blade tore through his lung and used this opportunity to launch a counter attack of his own.
As Orochimaru fell back from his injured opponent withdrawing his sword and smirking in victory he noticed the look on the man's face, he barely had time to figure out what was happening before the exploding tags on his right arm and shoulder activated.
He could barely shriek as half of his torso was torn to shreds by the explosion throwing him backwards into the purple barrier.
(AN: I really wanted to end here)
The falling man's decent was halted however by his minions who dropped the barrier deciding that this battle was over for the time being.
Three days had passed since the invasion and the people of Konoha were finally done cleaning the blood off of the walls… mostly.
The genin teams of the village were calling this the three days of horror due to the sheer number of D rank missions they were assigned to repair various shops, trim damaged hedges and wash the roads and floors to get rid of all the gore.
Meanwhile in the council chambers a small number of ninja had been gathered for a ceremony.
"As the acting leaders of Konohagakure No Sato (village hidden in the leaves/ village of the Hidden leaf/ village of leaf concealment) hereby promote you to the rank of Chunin, rise Nara Shikamaru Chunin you have done your clan and village proud." The two elder Advisers stood before the village council and a small number of newly appointed ninja. The two elders continued to the next person in line, "For eliminating three enemy spies before the battle and concealing the village's preparations from the enemy we promote you to the position of ANBU Captain, please rise and take your place ANBU captain OTTER. And finally for defeating and recruiting one of the enemy's strongest warriors and single-handedly demoralizing a large portion of our attackers as well as your impressive performance in the Chunin exams we promote you to the rank of Chunin with the subcategory of special Jounin in the field of frontline combat and demolition rise and take your place, Namikaze Naruto, Tokubetsu Jounin."
The last three ninja in the assembly rose from their kneeling position and stood beside their comrades. The elders bowed to them in respect and the ninja returned an even deeper bow.
Some time later Naruto could be seen speaking with the two elders as they sat outside the Hokage's hospital room. "I am a little surprised you actually promoted me after all that happened." He commented lightly.
"You are a ninja of this village, for the time being at least. And while I personally don't like or trust you, I respect your abilities Namikaze-kun. You have skill and talent, but you are irritating and a constant reminder that the village's security is not as good as it could be." The male elder commented dryly.
His female teammate added her own two cents, "you have little respect for your elders and you constantly deface village monuments, but most skilled ninja have their individual quirks… I only hope you will grow out of some of yours eventually."
The boy smirked, "in other words you just think of me as an annoying brat who is too powerful for his own good. Still I really expected more hostility considering the level of missions I keep getting assigned."
"Someone has to do them."
"And many of the other council members feel you are too dangerous to trust."
"You are strong, strong people are always too dangerous to trust. And you are effective. If you die then we would simply mark you down as another ninja who died in the line of duty, at this point we have gotten used to it."
"Your support is heart warming." He replied sarcastically, and then smiled well at least they saw him for himself and not for a demon… they could be filed as irrelevant rather than as enemies.
Just then the door opened and the elderly man exited slowly leaning on a cane heavily. He strode carefully towards his visitors and sat in a comfortable chair that had been prepared there for his use.
"I called you here for a simple reason. I can no longer complete my duties as Hokage, my injuries in that last fight will heal but there is a limit to how many scars an old man like me can deal with and I have reached my limit. I have called Jiraiya-san here as well to assign him a mission. It is time to contact Tsunade."
The elders exchanged glances, "she is not likely to accept the position Sarutobi-san."
"There is little choice, Jiraiya has already declined and the next strongest person would be Might Gai or Hatake Kakashi both of which are too badly needed on the front lines in case a war starts." The elder leader sighed, "If Tsunade cannot be convinced, Jiraiya will accept for the sake of the village."
Naruto glanced around curiously, "so why am I here?"
"You will be accompanying Jiraiya-san to find Tsunade-Hime." The elders had already figured that out. "She may not listen to Jiraiya-san, but she may be persuaded by you, furthermore Orochimaru survived that battle and he will be sending agents to interfere with this mission. It's better to send two ninja than one for additional security."
The boy nodded and stood up, "I will pack my supplies and assign orders to my associates. They will take over a percentage of Konoha's missions until things have settled down." with this he departed.
The three retired ninja glanced after him then turned toward Jiraiya who stood in the shadows only a few meters away. "He has a lot of talent for a child so young… but his mind is scarred, it's hard to say how he will progress. Be careful Jiraiya-san, that child needs human interaction now more than ever."
The man nodded and vanished again leaving the three oldest members of Konoha's ruling body to plan their next course of actions.
Naruto glanced around the clearing; around him were Gaara, Yugito, Haku and Zabuza. "We will take a portion of Konoha's missions for the next couple weeks. Try to take a lot of missions and don't fail anything, we want to prove that we are capable. I'll be back in a few days with the new Hokage, at this time we will begin operation 'road of life'." He declared clearly, and turned to leave. "Oh and one more thing, can someone check to make sure I didn't leave the oven on? Thanks, see you all in a little while!" just like that he was gone.
Haku turned and headed for the shelter.
"Hey, where are you going?" Yugito called after him.
"To check oven"
Gaara observed the exchange and shrugged, he had more important things to do.
He began to walk down the path, "I will return soon, there is something that I need to do." He didn't bother waiting for a response and simply vanished.
In the morning of the next day
"I can't believe you completed the first step of the rasengan in one day. That's inhuman!"
"Its not that hard, I already have two moves that use a similar theory, it was just harder to make multiple rotations at the same time. So what's the next step?"
The older man sighed and drew out a rubber ball. "The next step is power," he said handing his companion the ball.
The boy looked at the rubber ball before holding it out and making it explode with little visible effort. A tiny bit of concentration was the only visible sign that he was responsible for the explosion.
Jiraiya stared, this kid completed the second step on his first try… in a way it was understandable, but still that was just ridiculous.
"Ok, the third step is to take a regular balloon… andnotpop it! This step is all about containment."
The look on his godson's face was priceless, if there was one thing he was bad at it was containment.
That afternoon there was a knock on the door.
Naruto looked up from where he was lying on the floor; it was too early for the old pervert to be back. He could just not answer the door and wait for them to go away… but what if it was room service?
No, he had to open the door. If there was even a slight chance of it being food, then he owed it to himself to open that door.
So with a disgruntled grunt he rose to his feet and strode over to the door even as another knock sounded. He sniffed the air, sushi! But wait, that was an odd smell, not quite fish, not quite person… not quite blood…. Wait blood?
He didn't know who it was, or why they were here but that wouldn't stop him from messing around.
Itachi was standing outside the door of his quarry, he had already knocked twice and was starting do wonder if the boy had gone elsewhere. Suddenly the door opened and an angry blond stuck his head out into the hall, yelled "I told you already that I don't want any of your freaky sushi!" and shut the door in his face.
He stared at the door with an unreadable expression. That was unexpected.
So he knocked again, and this time the door was opened and the same blond stuck his head out, only this time there was a frying pan in his hand. "I said I don't want your freaky sushi, you crazy fishmongers!" with that he slammed the door shut on Itachi's interposing foot.
The previously mentioned foot, survived the strike but the pain nearly made him yelp. Forcing the door open again he spoke, "we are not selling sushi; we are here for a slightly different reason. You will come with us."
The boy looked up at him blankly then declared, "No thanks." And forcibly shoved him back out of the room and shut the door in his face.
Glancing over to the quivering mass that had recently been his teammate he declared, "It's not that funny Kisame, get up we have work to do."
The shark ninja rose to his feet chuckling quietly and strode over towards the door, he was just about to kick down the door when it flew open and a blond head poked out. With surprising agility the young ninja dodged the kick and scowled at his attacker, "what did I say about freaky sushi you creep?"
The shark ninja swung his sword only for the boy to fall on his back to get out of the way then hop back onto his feet, drawing a sword as he did.
The short blade slashed a gash through the giant's cloak but did little else. Kisame struck again but like last time he hit only air.
The more agile of the two combatants dashed in close and struck deep with his blade. The shark ninja managed to tumble back away from him and avoid injury but as soon as he was far enough away… the door slammed shut.
The akatsuku agents exchanged looks, this was more difficult than they expected. Sure he had recently been promoted but only to chunin; so far he was putting up as good a fight as some jonin. This train of thought was interrupted however by a cry of, "ITCHI!" from the end of the hall. Both glanced to the angry, panting boy who was staring at Itachi with what he thought was an intimidating glare.
He charged lightning into his hand and charged… rather slowly as far as the S class ninja were concerned. Catching his wrist as he passed Itachi tossed his brother into a wall, and then followed this up with a punch in the gut and a quick use of Tsukiyomi. He was just about to return to breaking down the door when a large toad appeared a few meters away, on its back was the Gallant Jiraiya, lover of women, hero of men, writer of popular adult novels and strongest of the legendary three.
The three men froze in place, each ready to move but waiting for someone else to make the first move. In a battle of such high level warriors, one mistake could and probably would be fatal. Then the door opened, a frying pan flew out and struck Kisame across the jaw.
Staring at his downed partner Itachi sighed and bent over to pick him up, "well it seems that we are done here for now… we will meet again, Naruto san." And then he was gone, dragging Kisame and the Sameheda with him.
Jiraiya didn't try to stop him; he was too busy yelling at the owner of the foot that rammed into his face.
The next morning found Jiraiya and Naruto walking towards a famous gambling town. The elder of the two was explaining the information he had about akatsuku, and the younger was holding a balloon. The balloon would periodically bulge in odd ways but then return to its perfectly round shape.
The first town turned out to be of no help so they headed off to the next after that. After that came a town that was famous for it's castle… this turned out to be strange considering the whole west side of the castle had collapsed (recently judging by the crowd and yellow tape)
Jiraiya's eyes lit up with an odd kind of light, Tsunade was close. He turned towards the seediest part of town, "let's go, we have a drunken surgeon to find."
The rest of the day was spent searching for their quarry… unfortunately they failed to find her. Naruto ended up getting distracted when he realized how easy it was to win at cards and by the time Jiraiya had dragged him out of the casino he was also dragging a sack filled with enough money to buy a new house in one payment!
It was several hours later when the duo headed to a nearby bar to get some food and drink. The bouncer at the door was about to stop Naruto from entering only to receive the most convincing argument he had ever received from a child… a glare and a knife stuck in the wall next to his head.
The pair had just walked in when Jiraiya cried out, "Tsunade!" and rushed off to a seat next to a pair of women. The one with blond hair glared at him and asked a very important question. "What the hell are you doing here, you damn Perv."
A long discussion followed but Naruto blocked it out in favor of his food. He ordered a little bit of every kind of food the restaurant had and then sat beside his godfather and took pleasure in the jealous looks he was getting from the less wealthy patrons.
He noted that Tsunade was obviously suspicious but left that to Jiraiya to deal with. He did however tune in when the subject of Konoha was eventually reached.
"I don't know if you have heard about the village yet." Jiraiya was much more serious now than before.
"Orochimaru attacked from what I heard… I don't particularly care."
"He fought with sensei…"
"I heard about that, something about the old coot being dead." She tried but failed to keep the emotion out of her voice.
Jiraiya smirked, "it takes more than a sword through the lung to kill the god f all ninja. He should recover mostly in a couple months, but he isn't as fast as he was before… Tsunade-hime, it's time for the old guy to retire."
"He sent you here?" Tsunade asked in a surprised voice.
"Yeah, he said I should try to convince you to come back. If you don't go then the council will demand I take the position and I really don't feel like settling down just yet."
Tsunade snorted, "I'm not going back; I lost way too much already."
"Who hasn't," Naruto asked off handedly, then amended, "well, I haven't but that's because I never had anything to lose to begin with."
"Hey, what's with the brat Jiraiya, are you starting a daycare or something?" she declared with a smirk.
The middle aged peeping tom looked up from his sake, "Konoha's most infamous chunin, he just got his vest a couple days ago. Tsunade-hime, meet my godson, Namikaze Naruto the man who never looses a bet… the meal is on him."
She glanced at her teammate, then down to the sack of cash at the boy's feet and nodded, that sounded reasonable. "So kid, you haven't said anything yet, I was expecting you to be spouting village propaganda by now."
"I have no lasting loyalty to Konoha, it's just a temporary alliance." He barely looked up, "I have no intention of staying in a village of bigoted fools when I could be using my power to make my own place in the world." He looked up at her, "I also understand your view in this, being a ninja leader is the most thankless, brutal, and irritating job you could ever get. You are expected to administer every aspect of the village, fight to protect its people only to order them to their death the next day. There is honor and glory to spare but it doesn't make up for the stress… I don't think I could handle it."
By now his companions were staring at him with blank expressions, "so… Jiraiya, this is your godson? The one with the… thing, right…"
"Yeah, Minato's son, the Jinchuriki, sensei raised him in the village but never could help him get friends his own age… he talks like sensei, don't you think?"
"Yeah, he does" she never finished her meal, just got up and left.
Meanwhile, at the village
"I am sorry Gai-sama, but with the level of skill we currently have… it's likely that he can never be a ninja again. His body recovered quickly from the injuries but the damage was much too extensive, there is nothing we can do.
Somewhere in river country, on a boat
Haku felt more than saw the attack, he dodged just in time to dodge a battle shuriken. Unlike the small shuriken used for distractions and some jutsu this shuriken was roughly the size of his head. One of those things can kill a man in one hit… it's like being hit by an axe.
He sighed; he just had to take the prisoner escort mission.
Zabuza slipped through the shadows around the targets house, he could see the man writing something in a large ledger. After the man had stood up and walked a few steps from the desk he sprung forward and sliced him cleanly in half. It was all too easy; he kind of wished he had taken the prisoner escort mission.
Konoha, Hyuuga head's residence
Hiashi instructed his nephew in improving his technique… the boy's wounds were mostly superficial and the medics had been able to heal most already, he was still wrapped in bandages but as long as he took it easy the doctors said that he could begin training. It would be a waste to not train someone with such talent!
Tsunade had a lot on her mind, she walked into a small stand to get some sake to drink and relieve the stress she was feeling. She had only just ordered when the flap opened behind her and a small figure approached the counter, he had to hop slightly to get onto the bar stool but it didn't seem to bother him. He ordered a bottle of sake. The barkeeper tried to argue but the boy would not be deterred. "It is in your best interests to not argue on this matter."
The attitude spoke for itself, and the bartender handed him the sake, grumbling all the while. She never bothered looking over, it seemed as though there were a lot of ninja brats in the area. However he spoke to her.
"You are Tsunade-sensei, the great doctor?"
(AN: Sensei can mean teacher, doctor, or lawyer)
"What of it, brat," She had yet to take a drink but she noted out of the corner of her eye that he took a sip of his alcohol.
"I require your assistance…I made a mistake, and I cannot fix it with ought your help."
"Not interested, kid I don't do that stuff anymore."
"Will you listen to my story?" somehow she doubted that she could refuse.
"I was once a normal child, but I was betrayed. Ninja were sent after me repeatedly for many years until it became clear that I was too strong to kill. However my rage consumed me and I lost what little self control I had. In my rage … I hurt someone greatly. He sought only to prove the validity of his beliefs, and I crippled him for it. He may never fight again, that is why I need your help. If you examine him, perhaps you will find a way to save him, something that others have not noticed." She could feel his eyes burning a hole in the side of her head but refused to look over. "You need not promise me anything, I just ask that you look at him. If you cannot find a way… then no one can. That is what I have heard."
"Yeah, well I don't do that stuff anymore. I'm retired; I have killed more patients than enemies, kid. I can't help you."
"You can, you simply refuse to do so."
"Alright, then let me rephrase. I won't help you, I won't examine anymore doctors, I won't save anymore patients and I won't kill any more!" she roared as she turned towards him. Suddenly she froze; everything about him spoke of ill health. Pale skin, dark rings around the eyes and even the dullness of his gaze. And yet he sat straight, his red hair spiked in all directions and the symbol on his forehead stood out sharply against his skin. The massive gourd on his back didn't seem to bother him and even as she watched he took his sake bottle and downed the last of it. As he took another, she grabbed it from his hand. "You are too young to be drinking, you already look half dead."
He chuckled; yes chuckled… his face remained mostly emotionless but the corners of his mouth rose slightly. "I have an idea, how about a contest. If I win, you will examine Lee-san; if you win I will cease to bother you."
She paused, her great love of gambling tempered only by ingrained caution. "What kind of contest?"
To her shock his hand shot out and grabbed the sake from her hand and he downed the entire thing in a single gulp, "a drinking contest."
The next morning found Jiraiya staring blankly at the groaning form of his teammate. She had arrived moments ago, in a staggering walk and stated simply that she was headed to Konoha. It seamed that she had gotten a bit too drunk last night and now she couldn't even walk straight due to her hang over.
Several hours later the story was finally drawn forward. It seemed that the infamous gambler had lost a drinking contest to some boy with red hair and a gourd on his back, apparently he drank her under the table only to buy another bottle and walk off with a smirk.
Naruto hadn't stopped laughing for hours. Somehow he managed to explain in a wheezy voice that Gara could drink as much alcohol as he wanted with ought getting drunk, since the one tailed raccoon absorbed all of the alcohol from his bloodstream.
Tsunade looked murderous until someone commented that she was dumb enough to fall for that despite seeing him down two bottles of sake and not get even a little tipsy. Afterwards she avoided the topic completely. It was at the end of that day that Naruto finally got the Rasengan to work. To say she was shocked was an understatement. To think that a child got the technique within a week was ridiculous. But evidence pointed to it, so she had to except it.
"You haven't tried to make me take the hat at all… weren't you sent for that reason?" curiosity finally got the better of her.
"I did say I understand you, didn't I? I was sent to bring you back, not make you take the job, if you want the job you will take it." Naruto grinned up at her. "Plus I would rather have you on my side, that way if I need some good medical advice, I know one of the best."
She couldn't help it, he may be a psycho but he was adorable. And surprisingly mature for a kid. Though from what she heard, it was to be expected. Ether way, she had a patient to examine, and she may at least see the old fool while she was there.
"Hey kid, catch"
As he walked away Naruto reached up and caught the necklace. Looking it over, he tossed the blond woman a curious look.
She just shrugged, "I don't have any kids, and I probably never will. So you are technically the closest relative of the Senju… your great, great grandfather I think, something like that anyway, was a member of the clan so it's yours. It's said to carry the power to tame the Biju. We'll meet again." She walked towards the hospital, whistling a tune.
Jiraiya smirked at his godson's look, "well it's true, all the Hokages have some Senju blood, it's like a tradition. Of maybe its cause they have so much natural talent, but you are technically a Senju, so am I for that matter, and the Sarutobi Family. The clan was pretty big before the village was founded. I suppose you have people to see, so I'll head to the tower and make sure the council hasn't done something stupid."
Naruto nodded dumbly, there were many things that he could have been thinking but the main one was, "Tame the Biju?"
In it's cage the Kyuubi suddenly found the trees to be growing larger. In fact it was as though the forest was expanding and beginning to eat the temple complexes. From an analytic perspective, the temples probably represented the Boy's isolation and the forest was probably a representation of his mental and emotional strength. The lake of blue water had long ago turned into an ocean and it seamed to flow all around as it fueled his technique.
Glancing around the great fox almost sighed, soon those trees would eat up what was left of its perch and then they would surely begin to over grow him as well. Still eternity could not end so easily, he would endure and in time he would ravage the lands again
I am finally finished this chapter.
The retrieval arch starts soon, and then the exodus. Sorry it takes so long, I just can't seem to focus on one thing lately, too many ideas… and I am not even writing a tenth of the ideas I have.
A preview of the future…
"Welcome to the Dragon's Teeth, you have all been hand picked by our illustrious leader due to your skills, and personalities. Just be warned, our mission is a dangerous one and we will have many foes soon, you will have to grow strong, and grow quickly." The man's voice echoed through the dark chamber.
I'll try to be faster in the future but I am not very good at that lately.