Youkai gone Astray
Summary: After Sesshoumaru's fight with Inuyasha at their father's grave, his hasty escape from the near-death realm takes him far from home to a different land of humans and demons. In this land the strange boy he meets will give him insight into the life of his own brother. Because Naruto is part demon too.
For anyone who hasn't seen Inuyasha, some facts.
Sesshoumaru is full Youkai (demon)
Inuyasha is part Youkai, a Hanyou (half demon)
Youki is the demon version of Chakra
Sesshoumaru finds out that the key to the dimension where their father's grave is, resides within Inuyasha's eye, after extracting it with some magic, they travel to the grave site, Inuyasha and Kagome follow. They fight there, Inuyasha gets Tessaiga, which Sesshoumaru wanted, as he sees Tenseiga as useless, it can't harm anything. Inuyasha even with Tessaiga is losing their fight, Sesshoumaru transforms into a giant dog demon to tip the tides. Inuyasha gets a burst of strength from shouting at Kagome that he will protect her, then dodges a claw swipe and slashes Sesshoumaru's arm off. Sesshoumaru turns into a ball of white light (how he travels rly fast) and flies off through the portal.
Sesshoumaru lay in a clearing surrounded by unfamiliar trees, leaning up against one such tree in fact. Though that was the least of his worries. Currently he was severely pained by the now stump of what was his left arm, a heinous wound he had received only minutes ago at the hands, or more precisely the blade of his estranged brother, Inuyasha.
The wound itself was actually also of little overall consequence to the Demon Lord, for it would heal, his life was in no danger. He could perhaps have used his sword Tenseiga, a gift from his father, to revive his arm. But none of that had crossed his mind as of yet, like any good warrior he was almost instinctually putting the pain out of his mind.
Currently Sesshoumaru was frustrated and anxious. He was unable to understand how his Hanyou brother, Inuyasha had become so powerful. His brother had been weak. When he reached puberty, the time that his Youkai powers should manifest, he had still been weak, running pitifully from not even low-class demons but humans. Surely he had not inherited the strength of their father and the human who had tainted his blood in Inuyasha was the cause of this. Inuyasha's human side was his weakness, his reason for not having any powers, he was just a pitiful human.
Sesshoumaru is not so arrogant as to dismiss all humans out of hand. He had met a few whose souls possessed great power, much like a powerful Youkai may be born to a weak Youkai, it is but happenstance, but it happens. However Inuyasha had possessed no such radiant power of the soul, he had been pitiful.
So why now, when Sesshoumaru had been so close to Tessaiga, the sword of power, the sword that was rightfully his had Inuyasha become so strong as to be able to stand up to him.
Sesshoumaru was tempted to write off Inuyasha's increase in power as the work of Tessaiga, but was not entirely certain yet. For in their battles preceding Inuyasha's acquiring of the blade, there had been moments when Inuyasha's abilities had risen, for no reason Sesshoumaru could Fathom.
Certainly, he had not been infected with one of those disgusting Jewel shards, nor had he stolen power from another Youkai, or been blessed in any manner. In fact it appeared as if the Priestess had cursed him with some inane necklace, yet still Inuyasha had somehow fended Sesshoumaru off at more than one turn.
If this truly was the work of the Tessaiga then the blade was truly more powerful than he had expected and as such should most definitely not be in the hands of someone so lowly, a disgrace to their proud heritage.
If however Inuyasha's increase in abilities were due to his own strength, would it be then that Sesshoumaru had been incorrect in his assessment. Perhaps the human's blood had hindered his Youkai side, but not fully suppressed the great power their blood possessed, as the heirs of the Lord of Dogs. But then his sporadic fluctuations in power would make little sense. There was no extra skill involved and it was known that Youkai cannot simply become more powerful. They are what they are, the best a Youkai may do is acquire skill and finesse in the use of their abilities, to become efficient, or to acquire a source of power. Sesshoumaru preferred the use of a demonic blade, but there were other methods. However a Youkai cannot simply grow stronger for no reason.
Uzumaki Naruto was most probably amongst the best known people of the village of Konohagakure, though his was not fame like the legendary ninja or the Hokage, leader of their military and overseer of the village. No his was infamy of source unknown to him, and it brought not praise but scorn.
Uzumaki Naruto was ten years old and skipping class at the Academy. His teacher there, some evil woman, did not care if he were not there and if he were, she did not care to teach him anything. As such Uzumaki Naruto was headed to the forest, one of his favourite palaces for there was nobody there to harass him.
Today was a nice and bright sunny day, Naruto liked the sun, its brightness comforted him like he imagined someone's embrace might. Surely enough he had witnessed crying children be embraced by a parent, he imagined that the way the suns rays warmed his skin like the fleeting touch of something silky and warm, perhaps that is what that was like.
As such Naruto was on his way to a clearing. Surely not his favourite clearing. But his favourite clearing lay further away and near a monument. As such is was often taken, whereas his destination was never taken. Naruto was feeling down after the severerity of his encounter with his teacher so he was looking forward to basking in the sunlight.
As Naruto entered the clearing he was startled to find that there was someone there, in the shade, which Naruto couldn't particularly understand. He was so surprised when he noticed this stranger that he actually jumped a little.
The only sign that the stranger had even noticed Naruto was present was a flickering of his nose as he sharply sniffed the air.
As Naruto approached him warily, the strangers' brilliant golden eyes spun to lock onto Naruto's. They were magnificent and majestic and wholly unnerving. However the stranger hadn't acted hostile yet and so Naruto decided that it was worth a risk and kept going.
Sesshoumaru however was quietly contemplative as he observed a young boy stumble into the clearing and become spooked, then continue to approach his person. Upon taking in his scent Sesshoumaru noticed that the boy did not smell entirely human, in much the same way that Inuyasha's scent was a mix between Youkai and human, this boy's scent too was not entirely human. Though the other part of his scent was most likely Youkai, it was not of any type Sesshoumaru had encountered before, and as such his curiosity was piqued.
Upon closer inspection the boy seemed to bear the marks of possession by a fox Youkai, even though the smell was not that of any type of fox Youkai he had encountered before, it was enough evidence to show that the boy was not actually part demon, and as such his curiosity abated and he went back to his musings, ignoring the boy, now deemed insignificant.
Naruto was slightly relieved when the stranger's eyes turned from him, the intimidation he felt from those eyes was gone and he felt slightly emboldened due to this and that the stranger was seemingly comfortable in his presence, or didn't care either way. But that worked too, so Naruto carried on, ever so slowly, so as not to invoke any form of wrathful reaction.
As Naruto came from the right side of the stranger to a somewhat frontward's position, even though the stranger was turned away, to his left. It was enough for Naruto to notice the blood stain on the otherwise pristine and rather gorgeous silk robes the stranger was wearing.
Immediately forgetting his nervousness Naruto rushed around to the side where the wound was, also back into the line of sight of the stranger, however careful not to poke or prod lest he make it worse. He frantically asked the stranger. "Hey, are you okay? Is your arm okay?" Gesticulating rather emphatically to the blood on the stranger's sleeve.
Sesshoumaru turned to look directly into the strange boy's eyes, now slightly annoyed as this weak child was now pointing out the evidence of his short-comings, he replied arrogantly. "This Sesshoumaru has no need for your concern, human."
Naruto didn't seem to get that he was being dismissed, and should probably be gone, pronto. Instead Naruto thought that meant that he wasn't in immediate danger, and so decided the best thing to do now was to either get him to the hospital or get some bandages, Ninja always had bandages for stuff like this, and Ninja were the coolest! Therefore that was the best way to solve it. "Okay, hey, want me to take you to the hospital?" Naruto gesticulated in the direction of Konoha, though Sesshoumaru was paying him no mind.
Sesshoumaru grew tired of the boy's active presence in his peripheral vision and turned once again to look directly at him. "This Sesshoumaru has no need for your human hospitals." Again he turned away, more confident that this time the boy would have gotten the hint and go away.
Naruto however had again misinterpreted what he meant. To Naruto this meant there was no need to go to the hospital, because some field dressing would do. Naruto hadn't thought the situation through well enough to notice the lack of dent in the clothing to denote any arm further down, and had assumed there was a gash of some sort in the strangers bicep. Easily solved! Naruto got up and quickly declared his intentions. "Right, no need for hospitals, I'll go get you some bandages." And promptly ran off.
Sesshoumaru didn't deign to look towards the fleeting figure, already having deduced that whatever these 'bandages' were, he would be in receipt of them soon from the child. And decided he would have to be more blunt in his dismissal at that time. And so he got back to his musings, attempting to process this new information which conflicted with his knowledge of the world.
A while later Naruto stumbled into the clearing. He had gone to the hospital to get some bandages for the stranger. First he was merely told to go away, but when he mentioned someone being hurt he was accused of having hurt that person and chased away, which involved some bruising and rather hurtful words. After that Naruto decided that it didn't matter if they didn't like him, he was helping someone, and that the rather regal looking stranger would definitely thank him and be nice to him, and maybe even make other people like him for his fabulous deed, and as such he most definitely had to get some bandages.
He had then, obviously, snuck into the hospital and stolen some bandages. On his way out however, one of the medic-nin who had shouted at Naruto earlier had spotted him and called the alarm, grossly exaggerating the deeds Naruto had performed. From what he had overheard, Naruto had attempted to kill, or eat a patient. Wrecked something with a really long name which he had forgotten, and stolen lots of stuff with long names too. Though he didn't hear them mention bandages, so he figured if he could pass those off as his own, he should maybe be okay. Especially if he were to get to the stranger first, so they could see he was doing good.
As such he had quadruple-timed it over to the clearing, Chuunin inside-village patrols hot in pursuit. He then stumbled wearily into the clearing presenting the bandages to the stranger with hope and pride and a really big smile.
Sesshoumaru was mildly disgusted that the human would present itself to him in such a haggard state and look so hopeful, as if he should be impressed. And what were those raggedy strips of cloth? Surely the human did not presume to fix his robes with such haggard pieces of cloth. They looked as if the boy himself could tear them apart.
However, Sesshoumaru heard the noises of fast approaching humans and deigned to turn in the direction of the human, perhaps the child had brought help of some sort, more humans. Sesshoumaru was no longer willing to tolerate the boy's presumptuous behaviour, not only that but he was still not yet fully recovered, his Youki was focused primarily on healing his wound and as such his fighting capabilities were at a significant low. Feeling insecure, though he was so unaccustomed that he was entirely unaware that he was in fact feeling insecure, led him to feel angry at the human brat, how dare he bring more humans here to intrude or make nuisances of themselves.
As such Sesshoumaru put into practice his earlier plan, and much more bluntly told the human child to leave him alone and take the others with him. "Human, I have no desire for your presence or those scraps of cloth. Be gone from here and leave me in peace." Sesshoumaru was polite and well spoken, but the way his eyes flashed to red made it clear that he was very serious.
Naruto, most definitely spooked due to the eyes and the apparent rejection, quickly fled. Adrenalin from his earlier chase still fresh within his blood he made it quite a distance before the Chuunin caught up to him.
Hours later Sesshoumaru was fully healed, well. His arm was severed at the bicep and it did not appear that he would be able to re-grow it. Even so Sesshoumaru decided not to try re-growing his arm under any outside power. He would battle Inuyasha at their next meeting and be victorious, proving his superiority, even through any wounds Inuyasha may have inflicted, Sesshoumaru was nothing if not prideful.
Sesshoumaru also took great pride in his robes, which denoted him of Lordly stature, they were also made of very fine silk from a rather rare form of moth demon, they had no special properties other than being extremely sturdy and even more extremely fine. They were also torn around his wound, not to mention stained by his blood. Luckily their sturdiness included not being affected by his acidic blood, another reason why he liked them.
Due to the fact he was most obviously not in his lands, where he expected to have come to having fled the portal, he would most likely not see Inuyasha for a long time. As such his robes were top on his priorities, seconded by finding out where exactly he was. With this in mind Sesshoumaru followed the scent of the human boy, assuming he lived in a village of some sort, for his garish orange clothing would require more skill to produce than any infant would possess. He hoped to find a skilled seamstress there whom he would allow to fix his robes, which then with a good infusion of Youki would seem as if they had never been damaged, and also since they were residents, they would know of their location.
It was not long into following this trail that Sesshoumaru came across a rather disturbing sight. Sprawled half way out of a trodden bush was the boy with the signs of fox possession, a strange miniature blade of some sort protruding from his back and a trail of blood going towards a nearby tree from his neck area.
From the smells of the area Sesshoumaru concluded three humans, angry with the child for some reason, no, enraged with him, they had beaten him and lavished his torture, as the scent of his fear being so strong would suggest this was not a slow event. They had then slit his throat and stabbed him in the back as he had attempted to flee through a bush cradling his throat.
As Sesshoumaru stood there he was shocked to discover that Tenseiga was beginning to pulse with energy, as if in anticipation for fulfilling some purpose. Though his was a blade incapable of cutting anyone, not to mention the only beings around were himself and a dead human boy.
Sesshoumaru approached the boy, to see whether Tenseiga would react more strongly, or if it were a coincidence. Now only two paces from the boy, Tenseiga was indeed reacting far more strongly and also, the faint presence of Youki permeated the air, though it was different from any Youki he had felt before, it smelled of rage as if that were an ingredient rather than an emotion present within the source of the Youki.
Bending down to the boy it smelled as if the source were coming from his stomach. Carefully grabbing a clean piece of the boy's clothing at the shoulder and using it to roll him over, Sesshoumaru found the source of the Youki to be a currently fading spiral with some odd triangle formations framing it. As he reached his hand toward the strange marking Tenseiga pulsed fiercely, so much so that Sesshoumaru was forced through curiosity alone to see what the sword was so intent upon. Standing straight and clasping the sword within his hand, Sesshoumaru immediately noticed a shadowy figure lurking above the boy. As Sesshoumaru withdrew the sword from the sheath, made specifically to contain its power - though Sesshoumaru had seen no evidence of such power – Sesshoumaru saw the figure come into view almost as if it were being coloured in black and white before him.
When Sesshoumaru had learned of the underworld from his father he was told that little sprite or goblin like creatures which served death would come for the souls of the dead, and that until the body was completely gone, the soul would still be attached, so theoretically if one were to stop the imps, the soul may be drawn back into the body. Discounting in fact the requirement for the body to be healed at the same time, then someone could raise the recently dead, were such a thing possible.
But before Sesshoumaru was no imp, but an ominous figure with a dagger between his teeth, drawing into his mouth what Sesshoumaru presumed to be the soul of the boy, but also something orange and ominous from the mark on the boy's stomach.
Sesshoumaru recognised his misconception immediately, the boy was not possessed, as was common for low class Youkai to do to use a human as a means to an end, but the boy was a container for what seemed to be a great Youkai, possibly greater than he himself, or possibly their father.
Sesshoumaru decided that the humans here must have performed such an act, as he could conceive of no reason for a Youkai to seal such power into a human. He was also intrigued, that such an ability existed was entirely unexpected, if the humans of his own lands were capable of such acts it would mean they were of much greater threat than he originally gave them credit. All at once his dilemma regarding Inuyasha was thrown off balance, if Inuyasha's human side had such potential then that would explain much, though the humans of their lands had no such abilities, and as such these events may be completely unrelated.
Sesshoumaru also deduced that such a great demon would also not credit humans with such abilities, and as such was caught off guard. He decided that he would not allow such at technique to be performed upon himself, he would not be brought so low.
Sesshoumaru decided that he had mused enough on such currently immaterial questions and that he should find out what it is Tenseiga wanted, or had reacted to.
Looking forward now, from the boy to the eyes of the spectre above him he concluded that this being was indeed far more important than any imps he may encounter above a fallen mortal, perhaps even the god of death himself, if not a direct subordinate. However Tenseiga seemed completely un-fazed, intent upon the spectre. Sesshoumaru raised the sword towards its figure and the flow of energies from the small boy's body immediately stopped. Tenseiga pulsed and the spectre's eyes snapped open and locked directly upon the sword Sesshoumaru held towards it. After a few moments it turned its gaze from the sword to Sesshoumaru, though Sesshoumaru could easily tell its attention lay still upon Tenseiga.
It seemed to be waiting for something from Sesshoumaru, so he decided to act. "What is this boy?"
The spectre seemed as if it would not react for a long moment but then a strange sound came out and Sesshoumaru found images appearing within his mind, as if the spectre were incapable of speech on the same level as Sesshoumaru was accustomed to.
The images depicted a great beast, roughly the same size as himself when transformed but radiating such massive power. The beast had nine tails and looked like a fox with rabbits ears. He saw a frog and a man face it and he saw the spectre before him appear within the imagery behind the man, force its arm through the man and into the beast, and bring the beast's soul from its body into what he now recognised as the child that lay before him. He also noted that the beast's body seemed to turn to ash rather than crumple as any Youkai he had encountered would, as if it were made of Ash or Fire itself.
Sesshoumaru processed the information for a moment before bringing his attention back to the situation at hand. "What manner of Youkai is this?" Once again an eerie sound emitted from the spectre and Sesshoumaru found himself with a mathematical equation within his mind. A representation he assumed for the number nine, and a tail, similar to those the beast possessed. Sesshoumaru again questioned. "Nine tails?" To which the spectre only nodded.
Sesshoumaru considered his options. The boy's life was evidently forfeit and in the process the soul of this Nine Tailed beast had also been taken. But Sesshoumaru himself was in a position of control over the spectre, much as his father had once described, though he doubted the benefits of outright killing the spectre, especially as it seemed to be absorbing rather than channelling the souls. Instead Sesshoumaru decided he would attempt to salvage the situation to his own benefit. He was still curious as to the nature of his brother and he decided he may be able to use this boy to discover the truth.
Obviously such a discovery would likely take many years, however Sesshoumaru was doubting more and more that he was merely in just another part of his own world, for there had never been such creatures as this Nine Tails, and such a creature is not something that is easily missed, nor are humans capable of calling such spectres and defeating these creatures, even if it were a suicide technique.
Sesshoumaru decided that it would be quite likely that he would have time to observe the child as he went about discovering how he may go about returning to his lands, he decided not to plan beyond his return until his experiment progressed.
Once again turning his attention to the spectre in front of him, he decided that his usual lordly manner would be appropriate if he were to make this spectre do as he said.
"That boy is of interest to this Sesshoumaru. You may have the beast, but leave the boy, and some of the beasts' power. He will become a Hanyou, and I will observe how he grows." The spectre didn't move for some time, but when Sesshoumaru moved Tenseiga further towards the spectre, it immediately nodded. Sesshoumaru watched in morbid fascination as the energy, which was now identified as the soul of the boy was basically regurgitated by it and then, after the fox's soul had been withdrawn, it regurgitated a stream of wispy red energy, similar in proportion to the boy's own soul, into his entire body. The spectre then looked back at Sesshoumaru and Sesshoumaru, assuming that his request had been fulfilled re-sheathed Tenseiga, which he absently noted was no longer pulsing with energy, seemingly content.
Sesshoumaru nodded to the spectre as it faded from view and watched in morbid fascination as the child regained consciousness after having been dead for what is likely to have been hours.
Naruto's head felt like pain, his back, felt like pain, in fact he was sure this was the worst way to wake up ever, though he would not likely form that conclusion until he was done with the actual process. Blearily opening his eyes he spied what could be dirt, but it was too dark to tell. Blindly fumbling around with his right arm he found a Kunai lodged into the lower part of his back, though too far to the left for him to reach, merely brush against. Carefully propping himself up with his right arm, so he could free his left arm, which had severe pins and needles, Naruto then began to feel around for the Kunai.
Of course, once Naruto had a good hold on the Kunai, he found that it was actually lodged rather deep into his flesh, and that even the tiny movements caused by his gingerly grasping the handle had caused immense pain.
Sesshoumaru watched the child, obviously in pain, writhe around until it discovered the small blade within its back, then seemingly freeze, he grew bored of waiting. Surely the child would need better survival instincts or reactions or whatever humans had, than this if it were to survive in a combat situation. It had already died once. As such Sesshoumaru decided now would be a good time to learn. If next time there was a marked improvement, his experiment would be showing results. Of course, for a comparable next time the child would have to die, or come close, so it might be best to make assumptions based on later information, which came at a less hazardous expense. Regardless, Sesshoumaru spoke up. "Child, swiftly remove the blade and retain it as a possible means of defence, raise yourself to a crouch."
Naruto heard some strange, rather silky voice from somewhere above his head, basically command him into a defensive position, though the swift removal of what would then become his weapon, was what he was still pausing at. He faintly recognised the sound of footsteps as what was presumably the male who had talked to him moved around to where his feet were around the bush. Then stop, though his world was currently concentrated upon the pain in his back, so footsteps were of little importance right now.
Sesshoumaru was becoming irritated, surely the child would not expect him to remove the blade, even if he were to, he was not planning on remaining for the duration of the boy's growth, merely to check upon him at intervals to collect results upon the boys growth. As such he merely told the boy more forcefully to do as he was told. "Now boy."
Naruto, rather shocked by the feral quality to the previously silky voice jerked, half heartedly thinking about actually removing the kunai in his back, but mostly just jumping in fright, with the grip of the kunai firmly in his hand, being taken as his arm stiffened. Quickly realising what he had done, mostly due to the pain involved, Naruto jumped up, though not fully as his back muscles protested harshly to the movement, he then brought the kunai around in front of him trying to find the voice.
From behind the boy Sesshoumaru observed his actions. Whilst the hesitation was understandable from such a young boy, a human no less, who were fragile and highly susceptible to pain, when he did act he did so admirably. Obviously the boys' position was compromised by the damage to the muscles in his back and most probably some damage to a kidney, there was still what resembled a crouch, and a blade for defence. Deciding that was acceptable for now Sesshoumaru commented. "Well enough, in future hesitation is not acceptable, hesitation leads to death human. Your posture also needs great refinement however due to your wounds, this may be overlooked."
Naruto spun in place, putting stress on his wound, though he still made it far enough around to see Sesshoumaru standing, regarding him with what seemed like little interest at all, as he promptly fell on his ass.
Sesshoumaru observed the wound on the boy did not leak blood when stretched. Based on comparison with similar wounds he had received in the past, that meant that the boys' regenerative powers were currently working much faster than his own did, even now. That was a rather shocking development, however it was of little consequence, regeneration was only good after battles, if you were wounded in battle, it would still hinder you. And as such Sesshoumaru put the information away for use when analysing the boy later.
Naruto looked at the man before him, he recognised him as the stranger who he had tried to help, but who had rejected him. But the stranger was here now, maybe the stranger was sorry, and he came and saved him from the bad Ninjas, even if the stranger was kind of weird, he still looked totally awesome. Especially when Naruto remembered the way his eyes went red, disregarding the fear involved, that was cool.
"Hey, Mister, did you save me?"
Sesshoumaru thought about his response, he decided he was generally above lying, but he was also not this boy's nanny, he should be able to figure such things out on his own, the events which had transpired here had left a particularly strong and detailed account in the scents left behind. As Hanyou of a canine variety, his sense of smell should be capable of sensing such things. As such Sesshoumaru decided to ignore the obvious plea for information and merely respond as required. "I am Sesshoumaru, Lord of the Western Lands of Japan. No, I did not save you. You died."
Naruto was at first struck, no wonder this guy looked so cool, he came from some strange sounding place and was Lord of it. But then the cool man said that he had died. But that didn't make sense, he was still alive. "B... But I'm not dead." Though not phrased as a question, it obviously was one.
"Indeed." Sesshoumaru quirked his eyebrow. Though seeing as the child expected more information, Sesshoumaru decided to inform him of his situation, best to get it out of the way now rather than later. "Do you know of the fox which has resided within you?"
The child seemed confused, as obviously that had nothing to do with his question, though he seemed compliant and shook his head. "What do you mean fox?"
Sesshoumaru again quirked his eyebrow, it seemed that the humans had neglected to inform their sacrifice of his role in their salvation from the beast. Another trait which Sesshoumaru generally detested about humans was their total lack of honour. "Indeed. A great beast with nine tails was sealed within you when you were a baby, so as to protect your village." The child seemed shocked, so Sesshoumaru pressed on, hoping to permanently forestall any emotional outburst. "It seems that this same village's 'Ninja' are deeply ungrateful and killed you. I have resurrected you and merged some of the fox's power with your own, in return for your new chance at life you will grow strong, do you understand?"
Naruto just sat there, he died, he was killed by the ninja he so respected, sure some of them were mean, but he thought that when he became a ninja too they would respect him. But they killed him, they killed him for taking some bandages. Unconsciously tears began to stream from Naruto's eyes. What was he going to do now? They killed him, they would probably never respect him. And the strange man had brought him back, though now he thought about that man, he noticed he didn't smell very human, but then, not having smelt 'human' very often, as his sense of smell isn't generally that acute, he brushed it off. "W… why did you help me?" Naruto looked at the strange man, Seshmaru was it? And hoped that it was because he cared or for a similarly good reason.
Sesshoumaru noticed the boy was in emotional turmoil, obviously he didn't care very much, but at the same time, the boy would likely not grow very strong if he had an emotional break down. Generally encouragement would be required, but Sesshoumaru was not prone to such things. Instead he tried to find the closest part of this entire situation to encouragement that he could find. "You remind me of my brother."
Naruto was shocked by that comment, he had never had any brothers or sisters, and especially no parents, all the parents around seemed to truly dislike him. So that singular comment endeared him to Seshmaru much more than almost anything else he may have said.
Sesshoumaru noticed the gleam within Naruto's eyes and smelt the fear and depression evaporate form his body and quietly congratulated himself, for an amateur at such things, for he was not so arrogant that he could not admit that he was an amateur, he was doing very well.
Naruto began to look more and more hopeful and Sesshoumaru easily smelt the hope coming from the boy, something which he found to be foreboding. Naruto wasn't quite sure how to phrase this but he persevered. "Seshmaru… uh... Lord Sesshmaru… Could I… We… I… be your brother too?"
Sesshoumaru was not pleased that the boy had not learnt his name when he was the one responsible for bringing him back to life. "Lord Sesshoumaru. And no."
Naruto looked horribly downcast at that, and the depression came back full force. So Sesshoumaru had to do some damage control. "Boy, family is a fact of life. My brother is also the one who severed my arm. Family is not a necessity, and do not get depressed again." Sesshoumaru was aware that ordering someone not to be depressed was quite obviously futile but it was habit and you never know, worth a try.
Naruto tried again, blind optimism fuelling his path. "S… Lord Sesshoumaru, um, then can we be friends?" Sesshoumaru had been about to order the boy to take them to his village, and almost felt like this was an interruption, but it really wasn't, and so forced his irritation down. "No. You will be my ward, I have much to do in this land, your tasks lie within your home village. As your first task you will take me there." Sesshoumaru turned away from Naruto towards where he assumed the village to be situated, based upon the scents from the area. Naruto quickly got up and headed off in that direction, seemingly content with his role. Perhaps he had been presumptuous to assume the boy would understand the meaning of a ward, though it mattered little.
Naruto wasn't quite sure whether to be happy or sad, he had been denied friendship, but they had a relationship, of sorts. Naruto was now Sesshoumaru's ward, whatever that meant. But he had saved Naruto's life, and he said he reminded him of his brother, which caused him to save his life, so that's like caring, sort of. But he said his brother did that to his arm, but he didn't seem too mad about it, but he might be mad. Naruto decided that they were now… something, and if he was really good and nice then maybe they could be friends too. "This way Lord Sesshoumaru." And with that Naruto ran off.
Sesshoumaru did not deign to follow at anything but a leisurely pace, since the boy was leading the way there was therefore a trail for him to follow, and as such there was no need for him to hurry anyway.
Not long later, though much longer than Naruto was happy with or had expected, they arrived at the village gates.
Naruto had tried to get Sesshoumaru to go faster but Sesshoumaru had simply ignored him and followed the trail from where Naruto had run most of the way not noticing Sesshoumaru was not there. By the time he reached the end of the trail Sesshoumaru could identify the village by the smell and the noises emanating from it and as such was in no need of a guide. In fact by the time they had reached the village gates it was Sesshoumaru not Naruto who was leading the way.
When they reached the village Sesshoumaru and Naruto were stopped by two Chuunin guards who asked them for their papers. Sesshoumaru ignored them and turned to Naruto. "What name does the village leader go by here?"
Naruto put his finger to his lips and thought for a moment before replying. "Urm, do you mean the Hokage? He's the top Ninja."
Sesshoumaru nodded and turned from Naruto to the Chuunins. "This Sesshoumaru will see your 'Hokage'."
The Chuunin looked at each other, one gestured towards the other and the gestured Chuunin turned to Sesshoumaru first and responded. "Sir, we need to see your papers before you can enter the village, then you need to make an appointment with the Hokage at the reception in the Hokage tower."
Sesshoumaru stared intently at the Chuunin, unnerving the man greatly. After a pause wherein Sesshoumaru deemed he had induced enough fear into the human, he responded. "You will either bring your Hokage here, take me to him, or you shall die."
The Chuunin paled considerably and behind his back made a hand sign which signalled to the guards on the wall that he wanted some ANBU there, NOW. Naruto's reaction was to walk up in front of Sesshoumaru and stomp. Sesshoumaru didn't bother to look towards Naruto, happy with intimidating the human before him. "Oy, Sesshoumaru-" Sesshoumaru slapped Naruto on the head without even looking. "Uh… Lord Sesshoumaru, you can't just go threatening people like that."
Sesshoumaru turned to Naruto and almost looked incredulous, if not for the fact that Sesshoumaru is never incredulous. Ever. "Boy, mere hours ago you were murdered in cold blood by these Ninja, they are betraying ungrateful humans. Such lowly creatures should not be reasoned with. Violence is the best option." Sesshoumaru wasn't sure whether to be happy or sad at the mildly horrified expression which crept upon Naruto's face. Either way he knew that the lesson had been taught. Turning back to the Chuunin Sesshoumaru was about to ask for his answer or some action regarding Sesshoumaru's threat when some more humans with strange porcelain masks and black clothing appeared surrounding them.
Immediately upon the arrival of the ANBU Naruto cowered and tried to hide behind Sesshoumaru, though since they were surrounded, that was hard. The Chuunin which Sesshoumaru had threatened, and who had previously been strongly fearful of Sesshoumaru was now confident in his situation.
Sesshoumaru sniffed the air, and immediately turned his head sharply to his right. Looking directly into the eyes of one of the ANBU. Before the ANBU in front of him could begin speaking Sesshoumaru had begun to address the one in the rabbit mask. "Human with a rabbit mask, earlier today you committed murder of a child of your own species, who you sacrificed to save yourselves from a beast of great power. You are ungrateful and your presence disgusts me." Sesshoumaru turned forward, though remained addressing the rabbit masked ANBU. "You will leave and return with your Hokage or this Sesshoumaru will kill you."
As soon as Sesshoumaru had said those words each ANBU withdrew a standard issue Ninja-to, a straight edged blade, shorter than a standard Katana with which Sesshoumaru was familiar. However before they could caution Sesshoumaru or make any threatening or aggressive advances, Sesshoumaru's hand had shot out and curled slightly from his body, protruding from the end of his index and middle finger was a luminous green strand of energy which passed through each of the Ninja's hands which was holding the Ninja-to except for the rabbit masked ANBU who was impaled through the heart.
Immediately after the strand had seemingly appeared in a circle around Sesshoumaru, having impaled four ANBU, it disappeared and each ANBU dropped their blade to the floor, though the rabbit masked ANBU fell to the floor with her blade.
Naruto and the Chuunin, and to a lesser extent the three remaining ANBU were stunned, the speed and deadly efficiency with which that attack had been executed was mind boggling, he was clearly beyond their level.
Sesshoumaru regarded the ANBU before him for a moment before addressing him. "Ninja of the duck mask, you will leave and return with your Hokage or this Sesshoumaru will kill you." This time, the Ninja looked up into the eyes of Sesshoumaru and quickly disappeared in a plume of smoke, no doubt was left in any of their minds on whether or not Sesshoumaru would or could follow through with his threat.
Sesshoumaru looked down at the rabbit masked ANBU once more, and felt a small pulse of energy from Tenseiga. Sesshoumaru felt that the sword was happy with his actions, though it puzzled Sesshoumaru how a sword incapable of cutting any living thing would be happy that he had just killed someone, though it might be because the one in question had killed the boy, the boy which Tenseiga seemed to favour. Perhaps it was the moral injustice involved, that they had killed what was apparently their saviour, but it mattered not. Sesshoumaru turned and looked down to his left and regarded Naruto, who was staring intently at the rabbit masked ANBU. He decided it was time for another lesson, though he would not be making a habit of this.
"Boy." Naruto turned and looked up at Sesshoumaru, his eyes brimming with tears. "This woman not only murdered you but toyed with you, tortured you before, did she not?" Naruto just looked at the woman, and at Sesshoumaru. Seemingly confused. "Boy, sniff the air, do you recognise the scent of that woman?" Naruto sniffed, more due to his emotional state than to get some air, so he sniffed again properly a moment later and looked up at Sesshoumaru.
"It… she smells like where you… where I…" Naruto trailed off, not sure what to say, and too scared to say it, as if verbalising it would make it more real.
Sesshoumaru realised the boy would not recognise the woman's scent from before he died, as he didn't possess any Youkai abilities at that time. But he remembered the scent of the clearing, that meant he did indeed have a nose of similar abilities at least to Inuyasha, it had yet to be seen if it compared to Sesshoumaru's nose. "Her scent was there because that is where she participated in your murder." Sesshoumaru left it at that. Which was handy as a moment later an old man appeared in a puff of smoke, flanked by four new masked Ninja, the duck masked Ninja perhaps being treated for his wound elsewhere. Sesshoumaru looked quickly at Naruto, realising he did not actually know the boys name. Now would be a good time to assert superiority over the situation, so that the coming events would play out more smoothly. So Sesshoumaru ignored when the man demanded why he had attacked his Ninja and instead spoke to Naruto. "Boy." Naruto turned his eyes from the rabbit masked Ninja on the floor to Sesshoumaru's own. "What is your name?"
Naruto actually had to think for a moment, even though he definitely knew his name, and was in fact prone to shouting it out and writing it places. "N... Uzumaki Naruto."
Sesshoumaru turned from Naruto to the old man, since he was dressed in more regal robes, Sesshoumaru decided he must be the elder of the village, he certainly looked the part. "Elder of this village, your Ninja earlier today murdered Uzumaki Naruto." At this point the fury in the man's gaze fell off leaving his mouth hanging open in astonishment. "This Sesshoumaru revived Naruto and made sure that the Fox demon your village sealed within him died."
The Hokage, Sarutobi immediately reacted. "The Kyuubi is Dea-" However he was not able to finish.
Sesshoumaru continued seemingly indifferent to what the Hokage was saying. "Your Ninja, including the rabbit." Sesshoumaru briefly glanced to the rabbit masked ANBU. "Have thrown away the life of Uzumaki Naruto. This Sesshoumaru finds you to be ungrateful and pathetic."
Again the Hokage interrupted. "Wait, I would never-" But was again ignored.
"Your Ninja act under your command, they are your responsibility. This Sesshoumaru is not interested in your excuses." Sesshoumaru paused to regard the Ninja surrounding him, even though theoretically they had the tactical advantage, all of them smelt of fear. "Your gate Ninja called your masked Ninja when I demanded your presence. You are now present." At this point Sesshoumaru looked to Naruto, who looked up, somehow sensing the eyes upon him. "You see boy." Sesshoumaru turned back to the Hokage, done with that lesson now. "I have much to do during my time in your lands, as such you and your village will look after my Ward in my absence. Failure by you or your subordinates will mean your death, village Elder."
Sarutobi, the Sandaime Hokage was utterly out of his depth. Such an event was entirely un-precedented and he was getting on in years, even though he remained in good physical and mental health. After having been told that the village pariah, a boy who he personally regarded as family in kind with his own grandson Konohamaru, had been murdered by one of his ANBU and unknown other Ninja, that was a shock. That this, regal looking man had been able to neutralise four ANBU, including killing one of them as the murderer of Naruto, he was virtually speechless as it was. But after having been ignored pointedly twice in a row, he succumbed to being actually speechless. So speechless in fact that after the stranger had finished talking, it was not he but Naruto who spoke up first, after a rather large pause as well.
"Se… Lord Sesshoumaru?" Sesshoumaru looked down at Naruto. "You're… Leaving me here?"
Sesshoumaru regarded Naruto for a moment. Choosing his words carefully, aware of the fact that the wrong thing said may destroy the boy's motivation, which would make this entire series of events useless, however if he were to say just the right thing, the boy may be spurned to work hard, potentially to show Sesshoumaru the answer to his dilemma. "Naruto, as my Ward you are under my command." Sesshoumaru paused, entirely for dramatic effect. "Your task, as my ward is to grow strong." Sesshoumaru looked off into space, giving the effect, or so he hoped, that what he was about to say was to the world, and that those listening were the privileged few who were able to be there to hear it too. "Youkai do not grow stronger, they are merely able to refine their strength or acquire a source of power." Sesshoumaru turned back to Naruto. "But you may be different. You are now a Hanyou, one half Youkai and one half Human. It is your task as my Ward to grow strong. To learn to harness your Youki and fight as a Youkai, to use your instincts and your senses. But to grow, to use your human ability to grow to become stronger in your Demonic powers."
At the point when Sesshoumaru said the word Demon, everyone around stiffened. That meant that this rather stunning man before them was also a Demon, and that he had taken Naruto under his wing, and that he would retaliate in Naruto's defence should they harm him. Not only that, but the boy was now half demon. And would be developing his demonic powers. Two words ran through the minds of those present. "Oh fuck."
Sesshoumaru, his speech finished, and smelling the hostility in the air decided to make firm his threat upon the village. "Ninja of this village, the demon you imprisoned within the boy is dead, I personally saw to its demise. Any hostility or disrespect of any kind-" Sesshoumaru punctuated himself by a severely intimidating reddening of his eyes. "-will be punished in the Death of your Military leader.
Immediately every ANBU who had appeared with the Hokage, and even the injured ones brandished their identical Ninja-to at Sesshoumaru. Sesshoumaru in response raised his arm, his forearm crossing his body and his index and middle finger emitting an eerie and wholly threatening green aura.
Sarutobi immediately went into action, having not yet absorbed everything that was happening, but clearly feeling the Killing intent in the aura's of those present, not to mention the almost sickening feel of the strange energy being emitted by the green light on the stranger's fingers. "Stand down." Each ANBU looked at their leader, unsure if they should truly stand down, or if he was being coerced somehow into saying that. Sarutobi insisted however. "Stand down it is clear this Sesshoumaru is capable of defeating us all." The ANBU reluctantly stood down, putting their weaponry away. Sarutobi turned towards Sesshoumaru. "I assume that as long as we follow your wishes, you will do us no harm?"
Sesshoumaru was about to say yes, however a rather abrupt pulse of energy from Tenseiga gave him pause, evidently Tenseiga knew Sesshoumaru to be a man of his word, and did not want him to give his word on that. Thinking on it momentarily, Sesshoumaru surmised that Tenseiga wanted him to bring justice to Naruto's remaining attackers. Returning his attention to the Elder, though to all who may have been looking, it never left. "I will give you my word on that except." Here he paused, again entirely for dramatic effect. "I will see my Ward's murderer's dead, by my or his hand. Beyond that, I will ask nothing unreasonable from you." Of course within his own mind Sesshoumaru was willing to admit that his interest in this situation was growing exponentially, and it was likely he would force them to acquiesce to his every whim on all details pertaining to Naruto, so that he may be sure that the boy's chances were as high as possible to grow strong.
Sarutobi would most likely have had the Ninja involved killed at some point regardless, so that was not a big problem. In fact this entire situation seemed rather beneficial, Naruto is alive, the Kyuubi is dead. But Naruto is half demon. Word of that could not, not get out. His own life would be on the line for every disrespectful thing the villagers might say about him. That was a point, Sesshoumaru had said their military leader, not Hokage, or himself. "Lord Sesshoumaru?" Sesshoumaru's eyes focused intently upon Sarutobi. "You said the life of our Military leader would be forfeit, might you explain?"
Sesshoumaru raised and eyebrow briefly, surely they were not so dense as to know what a military leader was? "Yours is a village run by the military leader?" Sarutobi nodded. "Then it is that person's responsibility to keep your Ninja and civilian populace in line. Failure to do so means incompetence. I shall kill you or your current military leader should you be proven incompetent, that a more competent replacement take up the responsibility."
Sarutobi nodded. In essence he was responsible for the actions of his Ninja, and to a lesser extent he was responsible for keeping the civilian populace in line, this was just taking it to the extreme though. "Might I ask what you consider failure?"
Sesshoumaru realised the man was trying to make this a deal, rather than a threat. Though he also wanted to know the criteria for his execution, which is fair. "My Ward shall not be disrespected verbally or physically. You and your village will see that he has ample opportunity to grow stronger." Sarutobi nodded and looked down, stroking his beard in thought. "Elder." Sarutobi looked back up. "This is not a deal, you have failed the boy once when his life was your possession, now it is mine. Failure will not be tolerated."
Sarutobi protested Sesshoumaru's statement. "Now wait a minute, Naruto was never a possession he-"
Sesshoumaru reacted to that, violently. His eyes flashed bright red and his aura flared visibly, causing his robes to billow and his pelt to ruffle strongly. "Silence human. You cannot sacrifice that which is not yours. To save your own lives you stole this boy's life and sacrificed it. I will not tolerate your delusions." Sesshoumaru looked around, and down at Naruto, who was now looking both afraid, and a bit depressed. Sesshoumaru decided it would be best to keep the boy's mind on a different track. "Elder, you will take us to your office so that we may discuss this in private, in one moment." Sarutobi nodded, and signalled his ANBU to crowd around him. Sesshoumaru ignored their movements and turned to Naruto. "Naruto, once we are within the Elder's office, I will teach you probably the most important lesson for your survival." Naruto perked up, he was going to be taught something. "However beyond that I am leaving your growth in your own hands.-" Sesshoumaru thought of something, and quietly congratulated himself on his ability to be manipulative, even though what he was about to say was the truth. "-Or have I misplaced my faith in your ability to grow strong?" Sesshoumaru smirked on the inside when Naruto's eyes widened.
Naruto frantically shook his head. "No! NO! I can do it! I can-" Sesshoumaru placed his hand in front of Naruto's face momentarily to quieten him. And turned away, though still speaking towards Naruto.
"As my Ward, you must measure your words and maintain your composure at all times." Turning his head slightly to regard Naruto. "I can trust you to accomplish this?" Naruto thought for a moment, truly the words Sesshoumaru spoke were only barely within his vocabulary, but he guessed upon their meaning that he shouldn't panic as he had.
Thoughtfully Naruto looked Sesshoumaru in the eyes and responded. "Yes, Lord Sesshoumaru."
Sesshoumaru turned away fully from Naruto, but spoke to him. "Very good." Naruto smiled brightly, he knew that was probably the best compliment he would get out of Sesshoumaru, having only just met him, he was obviously not the compliment type. Hell, watching him talk so much, it seemed out of place.
Whilst Sesshoumaru was addressing Naruto, Sarutobi was informing the ANBU that there would be a meeting of all Jounin and Chuunin and ANBU in the main meeting theatre of the Hokage tower. All those in attendance were to wait until the Hokage arrived in an unspecified amount of time. He also warned the ANBU that if word got out about anything they had learned here, they would all be charged with treason, for they would be endangering the Hokage's life. Which is actually treason. The ANBU left to assemble the meeting just scant moments before Sesshoumaru turned towards him.
Sarutobi adopted his business face, the one he generally only needed when dealing with the Konoha council, for they were power hungry and cared little for anyone but themselves, or in some cases, their clan as well. Sarutobi was about to address Sesshoumaru, to invite him to his office within the Hokage tower but Sesshoumaru beat him to it.
"Village Elder." He paused a moment for recognition, and possibly to keep up the suspense. "Your village is large, it has a Council does it not?" Sarutobi nodded, wondering what relevance that had. "You will make certain your council is present at your arranged meeting." Sarutobi was mildly surprised, no normal human could have possibly heard his commands, though it had already been revealed that Sesshoumaru was not even human at all. Merely nodding his Acquiescence.
As Sesshoumaru was apparently done for the time being, Sarutobi went ahead and invited him to his office. "Lord Sesshoumaru, would you like to accompany me to my office where we can speak more privately?" Sesshoumaru glanced down towards Naruto. "Ah and Naruto would you mind coming along also?" Naruto looked up at the Hokage, for he had been staring at the rabbit masked ANBU in mild shock for the past few moments.
"Uh, sure Oji…" Naruto looked up at Sesshoumaru, who was still looking forwards. "I would like that. Lord Hokage." Sarutobi raised his eyebrow at the never-before-seen respect from Naruto, but decided now was most definitely not the time for such matters.
Sarutobi half turned and gestured with one hand for them to follow him into the village. "If you would, please follow me." He strode forward at a reasonable pace, confident that Sesshoumaru and Naruto were just behind him.
Along the way Sarutobi spied a patrolling Chuunin and signalled him over. The Chuunin landed in front of Sarutobi, bowed and proceeded to match his pace. Sarutobi addressed him quietly but urgently. "Masaki, I have an Urgent task for you and any Ninja you come across. Every Council member must be in the Hokage Tower main meeting theatre within twenty minutes. Anyone who is not present without good reason will face charges of treason. Understood?" Now wide eyed and a little panicked, the Chuunin, Masaki, nodded fervently, and quickly leapt off to accomplish her task. Sarutobi kept on at the same pace, having not broken stride once.
Once they were within the Hokage's office and seated appropriately, Sarutobi began the discussion. "Lord Sesshoumaru, would you like to discuss the specifics of what you wish from us?" Sarutobi was trying to be as broad as possible.
Sesshoumaru thought for a moment before responding. "Explain to me your methods for training your warriors, Ninja."
Sarutobi wasn't expecting that, more like some more demands, though it made sense to demand things once you properly understood what you were asking. Breaking straight into the matter Sarutobi began. "Potential Ninja are enrolled into one of three Konoha Ninja Academies, though admittedly nearly all successful candidates come from one Academy, favoured by the clans of Konoha. At age twelve, having attended the Academy and learning the three basic techniques of Ninja, as well as basic hand-to-hand techniques and missile weaponry, they are tested on their abilities. Those who pass are formed into three person Cells under a Jounin instructor. A Jounin is one of our top ranked Shinobi. They will perform D rank missions within the village and be tutored by their Sensei until such time as their Sensei thinks they can handle C rank missions, possibly involving bandits and the like." Sarutobi paused, he was tempted to light his pipe, but having overheard Sesshoumaru's olfactory abilities, thought better of it and instead just took some time to compose his words. "Every six months a joint exam is held within one of our allied nations, this exam serves a dual purpose. It is a test to see which of our Ninja possess the greatest leadership qualities, and it is also a substitution for war between our villages. On the whole villages will enter their strongest Ninja, so that in the final stages when potential clients are watching, those ninja may impress the potential clients and boost their own villages economy. Beyond that anyone who reaches Chuunin will be put in charge of missions consisting of other Genin, Genin who show great fighting ability may be conscripted into the ANBU to serve as the Elite fighters of our village for combat heavy missions and patrols. Those who reach the top may be promoted to Jounin and take on the responsibility of the hardest missions, and training the future Ninjas of our village."
Sesshoumaru decided that this system was very complex, and his limited experience and knowledge with training in general meant that he did not know whether or not this system worked or not. "How does your village rank in terms of strength against all others?"
Sarutobi was also not expecting that question, and actually couldn't find the reason behind it, though he didn't put too much effort into figuring that out, as he was sure he would find out soon. "Currently, and for a long time now our Village has been viewed as the strongest of the five great Elemental villages."
Sesshoumaru did not respond for a moment, deciding whether or not that was good enough proof of their ability to train their warriors, but conceded that they had produced at least one human capable of reducing a great Youkai to little more than Youki bound by what seemed to be Ink. "Very well, Naruto shall participate in your training programme. However I shall be making slight changes."
Naruto looked at Sesshoumaru, so far he had been in a bit of a daze, and had also been trying to act proper. So far his understanding was that if he had good posture and didn't speak much, he was acting quite proper. His understanding was surprisingly accurate, if lacking many fine details. But he decided to speak in reaction to Sesshoumaru's latest comment. "Lord Sesshoumaru?" Sesshoumaru turned his head to face Naruto. "Isn't that cheating?"
Sesshoumaru was mildly impressed, cheating was obviously dishonourable, and Naruto had already seemingly picked up that honour was important. "No, Naruto. You are not training to be a Ninja, you are training to become strong. There is no need for Ninja techniques, for you have your instincts and your honour. You will participate with your team because they too will be growing stronger. Missions against Bandits and other Ninja will give you experience and sharpen your senses. Do you understand?" Naruto nodded. Seemingly placated.
Sesshoumaru turned to Sarutobi, apparently ready to lay down his modifications. "Naruto will not be participating in the remainder of his time at the Academy, you will find one of your Ninja who has an excellent ability to sense energy, and have them train Naruto in drawing out his Youki." Sarutobi nodded, that seemed straight forward enough, if Sesshoumaru wanted Naruto to develop demonic abilities, yet he has only just become Demonic, someone sensitive to his Demonic energies would be useful in harnessing his energy. "I will select from the available candidates two team mates, they will not be failed their graduation." Sarutobi nodded again, though this was all highly favouritist, when you consider that Sesshoumaru was basically holding the Hokage to ransom, he was being quite reasonable, considering the outrageous things it is possible he may ask for. "Their team will not be sent on any missions which will not involve combat. Instead combat simulations, etc. will be performed." Sarutobi nodded again, having gotten out a pen and started writing down notes, he was getting older, and it would be no good to forget some of this. "They will be entered into this exam as soon as it is likely to not be fatal. Beyond that, I will trust you to put Naruto into combat intensive situations." Sarutobi nodded. Writing all this down.
Having finished writing everything down, and noticing Sesshoumaru was apparently done for now, Sarutobi put his pen down and stood up. "Well then, Shall we go review the next graduating class? Afterwards, all the potential Jounin Sensei will be at the meeting." Sesshoumaru stood, Naruto following suit, and nodded his assent, seemingly done with words for the time being.
Sesshoumaru was currently perusing through the members of Naruto's academy class. It was wholly apparent how much difference was made by the candidates having come from a Ninja family, rather than not. The teaching staff in each Academy seemed adequate, however the students in the Academy Naruto currently attended were clearly superior, Sesshoumaru had long ago discarded the other potentials. He was tempted to look in the year below, or even the year above, but decided against it. Comparing Naruto's progress to humans of his own age would be beneficial, for Youkai gained full use of their strength during puberty, though their ability to use their strength was often lacking considerably. Comparing how Naruto, a Hanyou, developed against his fully Human team mates would give Sesshoumaru a full range of perspective, and thus a greater understanding with which to make his final conclusions. Sesshoumaru now had to choose team mates for Naruto which would complement him. He currently only had one working theory which he was going off.
During his fight with Inuyasha, the crucial turning point in the fight came at the point when Inuyasha decided he would protect Kagome from Sesshoumaru, not only had Tessaiga pulsed with power at that declaration but Inuyasha himself seemed to be fuelled by such a drive. Sesshoumaru was un-sure if it was a drive to protect someone or something, a drive to prove himself to someone that mattered, or a drive in general as long as it was sufficient which would cause such a boost, but he was sure it was one of those. Sesshoumaru decided that if he were to put a female onto Naruto's team, one which was sufficiently pretty and would potentially need protecting, but also would potentially call for Naruto to prove himself to her, then he could produce such a drive. Sesshoumaru had decided immediately that the Hyuuga girl would not be appropriate, their clan was hand-to-hand intensive, regardless of her actual combat ability, it would be hard for Naruto to save her if she were so close to the enemy at the point that she needed saving. As such her best bet would be the Yamanaka Girl, whose family techniques were long-ranged. However the Haruno girl was capable in Genjutsu (Sesshoumaru had learned that meant Ninja Illusions) which were likely long-range also. And also Fox Youkai were infamous for their ability with illusions. However the reports said nothing about their relationship with Naruto, as such no decision could be made yet.
From what Sesshoumaru could sense about Naruto's abilities, his would likely manifest into an affinity for illusion, likely camouflage or transformation illusions, much like Inuyasha's fox, and short-mid range combat abilities. Sesshoumaru had a theory that the Spectre had in fact made it so that Naruto would develop abilities highly similar to his own, though he doubted that Naruto would develop any poison abilities. This was also convenient as it would aid him in a direct comparison between himself and Naruto. This meant that he would need a long-range defensive fighter for his third member, as Naruto would be able to handle the short-mid range and whichever girl he chose would need to be protected, lest Naruto's drive, whichever it may be, be killed along with her. Currently he was undecided between the Nara boy, whose shadow techniques were intriguing or the Aburame boy, whose bug allies would work well with illusion. However Sesshoumaru decided eventually he was not necessarily interested in Naruto's illusionary abilities, it was his strength, the strength of his Youki that Sesshoumaru was most interested in, for that was Inuyasha's forte.
Looking up from his musing at Sarutobi, ignoring Naruto, who was now happily snoozing on a chair, drool hanging from his mouth. "I will meet the Yamanaka and Haruno girls, the Nara boy will be their other team mate." Sesshoumaru unceremoniously closed and threw the folder onto the desk, however Sarutobi noted that it landed perfectly placed with the other items of the desk. Sarutobi was slightly unnerved at the probably unconscious display of dexterity. He stood and motioned towards the door.
"Ah, shall we leave Naruto here?" Sarutobi gestured towards Naruto, who looked decidedly uncomfortable, sprawled haphazardly upon the chair in the Academy records room.
Sesshoumaru looked towards Naruto. After a long moment of staring Naruto stilled and slowly opened his eyes, looking towards Sesshoumaru. "We leave now Naruto." And with that, Sesshoumaru headed towards the door, at a leisurely pace, Sarutobi easily stepping to the front so as to lead the way. Naruto yawned as he languidly arose and followed after them, having gladly missed watching Sesshoumaru read and the Hokage do basically nothing.
Sarutobi led Sesshoumaru and Naruto down the halls in the Academy, it was during the last lesson of the day so there was nobody during the hall. Sesshoumaru abruptly stopped. Sarutobi, who was about to enter a classroom noticed and turned to Sesshoumaru. "You will find us an empty room, you will bring the two girls to us, then they and Naruto will be sent out into the hall under a pretence of some sort." Sarutobi raised his eyebrow but easily followed Sesshoumaru's motive. This was a way of getting Naruto alone with the two girls, without them really knowing what was going on and without any interference. This way he could judge their reaction to Naruto and decide appropriately.
Sarutobi Nodded his head and turned back down the corridor, searching for the room in which he and Iruka often discussed the team assignments. Only moments later he found it, only two doors down from the classroom they were about to enter. He opened the door and gestured for Sesshoumaru to enter, which he did, Naruto following just behind. "I will be back with the girls in a moment." Sarutobi quickly exited, knowing Sesshoumaru would likely not deign to react to his statement, for it was obviously not required.
Once he left Naruto decided now was as good a time as any to ask some questions. He had quite a few questions, though mostly they probably all had the same answer, and were actually the same question just from a different perspective. "Lord Sesshoumaru?" Sesshoumaru turned his head to look at Naruto. "What… What do you mean, a beast was sealed inside me?" Sesshoumaru looked away for a moment before looking back. "I am unsure of the fine details, I merely saw some images shown to me by the spectre of death which came to claim your soul." Naruto's face turned pale, imagining his soul being sucked out. At this point Sarutobi returned with the two girls in tow. Knocking politely he entered with the two girls.
Both Sakura and Ino had been quite confused when the Hokage himself had come into their class and asked for their presence. Both had similarly deluded ideas and illusions of grandeur which may have lead to great and romantic encounters with their beloved Sasuke, however they both remained silent out of the utmost respect for their Hokage. Once they were in the room the Hokage gestured for them to stay at the door a moment. "Girls, would you mind waiting outside in the hallway for a moment with Naruto whilst we discuss something?" Obviously it was a rhetorical question.
"Yes Lord Hokage." They said almost in unison, before bowing quickly and shuffling backwards out the door.
Naruto made to follow their lead. "Naruto, one moment." Sesshoumaru looked at Sarutobi, and then towards the door. Sarutobi closed it, then quickly making a rather odd shape with his two hands, focused some energy which Sesshoumaru was unfamiliar with, and made a light seal around the door.
"They won't hear anything." Sarutobi explained, gesturing to the door.
Sesshoumaru looked from Sarutobi to Naruto, to finish his explanation. "In the visions I saw a great beast, of similar size to myself in my true form, radiating an amount of power I have never personally experienced." Sesshoumaru paused, purely for dramatic effect. He had quickly discovered that his rather whimsical use of such pauses worked rather effectively on Naruto, and to a lesser extent the other humans of this area. "A Toad of similar size, bearing a blond man in white came to face the beast. The man summoned the Spectre. Its hand pierced the man's soul and stretched out through it to grasp the soul of the beast. The soul was sealed within the body of a baby, which the Spectre identified as yourself." Sesshoumaru paused, not for dramatic effect but to let Naruto process this information, because all that was left was largely irrelevant to him now, but after what he deemed a long enough pause, Sesshoumaru continued. "After its soul was removed, the body of the beast crumbled to Ash. I have never seen a Youkai composed in such a way." Sesshoumaru paused, unsure as to what he should say about his encounter with the Spectre, unwilling to let Naruto know of the reasons why he resurrected Naruto in such a way, but also wanting to let Sarutobi know of the fear he induced in the spectre, to forestall any attempts at such a technique on himself. "As I approached your body, my sword, Tenseiga reacted. Pulling it from its sheath and pointing it towards the spectre caused it to halt its extraction of both your soul and that of the beast." Sesshoumaru paused here, listening intently to Sarutobi's breathing, he did not sniff the air left Sarutobi notice, Sarutobi's breathing was slightly irregular, and his heart beat audible, Sesshoumaru was pleased that he had affected Sarutobi in such a way. It was likely the old man had been considering such a technique for use against Sesshoumaru, in the worst case scenario, but now would no longer attempt such a technique, just as Sesshoumaru wanted it. "Though your soul had been partially eaten, I was able to have your soul replaced into your body, and also some of the energy the beast possessed. This is the source of your remarkable healing." Sesshoumaru decided now would be a good time to set Naruto's sights on how strong to get. "Because your demonic powers are based upon those of the beast, even though I believe your actual abilities will resemble my own, I believe you are capable of reaching a similar level of power as the beast." Sesshoumaru paused to gauge Naruto's reaction. So far he had been fairly solemn, but now he was bursting with pride, excellent. "Do not fail me." Just to make sure.
Naruto Nodded, more calmly than he would normally have, struggling to keep his composure and not shout and jump about, for Lord Sesshoumaru would most likely not approve, and he desperately wanted Sesshoumaru's approval.
Sarutobi also noticed Naruto's barely held enthusiasm and wondered upon his feelings towards this Sesshoumaru, that he was able to hold in his excitement and be surprisingly composed and polite, where nowhere in his life before had he displayed either characteristic was utterly surprising, but that such behaviour came at the behest of a sentence from this Sesshoumaru, this meant Naruto had truly become attached to the Demon – eer – Youkai, Sarutobi decided there was little action he could take at the moment. Sesshoumaru looked over to Sarutobi, who gestured towards the door, Sesshoumaru nodded.
Sarutobi then opened the door, placing a little burst of chakra into the door from the contact point on the handle, to disperse the sound proof seal he had placed. He then gestured towards Naruto. "Naruto, if you wouldn't mind?" Naruto realised that he was supposed to go wait outside with the girls, he figured that it had been planned for him to wait outside rather than him waiting outside being just a coincidence. After all he was there when Sesshoumaru outlined the plan. Walking slowly, still trying to maintain his composure, Naruto made his way into the corridor.
Sarutobi quietly closed the door behind him and turned to Sesshoumaru. "I assume you will be able to hear their conversation?" Sesshoumaru merely nodded, seemingly intent on the persons outside.
Once the Hokage had closed the door, Ino and Sakura could no longer see inside the room, as there was no window in the door. Ino immediately tip-toed over to the door and put her ear to it. Sakura was immediately outraged and hissed at Ino. "Ino! What are you doing? That's the Hokage in there!" Ino ignored her for a moment before sighing and standing back up straight.
"I can't hear anything from inside, must've sound-proofed the room." Sakura made a quiet noise like duh but Ino ignored it. And walked to the other side of the corridor to lean against the wall. "So what do you think this is all about forehead?"
Sakura barely contained her reaction to the insult, deciding instead to try and get some ideas thrown between them, perhaps make some progress on figuring out what was going on. "I don't know but, did you see that guy in there with Naruto?"
Ino perked up. "Yeah, oh my god he was beautiful, I'm not sure if I want him or if I want to look like him."
Sakura snickered. "I know what you mean. What do you reckon Naruto was doing in there with him?"
Ino pouted her lips and put her finger to them and tapped them a few times before answering. "I'm not sure, but I noticed Naruto definitely has a lot of respect for this guy, he was looking almost depressed, but when that guy spoke his face definitely lit up, even though he tried to hide it."
Sakura raised her eyebrow. "Really, so you reckon they know each other?" Ino nodded. "But Naruto's a nobody and that guy is blatantly royalty or something, did you see his hair?!" Sakura was blatantly jealous of his hair, but that was fair enough, it was probably longer than she was tall and in better condition than she could ever possibly hope for her own hair, Ino was in a similar position, though her hair was currently much longer, reaching her thighs when not in her ponytail.
"Yeah, but you know the Hokage and Iruka and some of the top Ninjas always seem to smile when they see him doing stupid stuff." Ino pointed out, a frown on her forehead as she attempted to remember such instances.
Sakura didn't remember anything like that. "Really? How did you notice something like that?"
Ino turned to Sakura. "You remember that time he stole the Hokage's hat and painted it orange?" Sakura nodded, smiling slightly at the memory. "Uh huh, well when they found him, they had him give it back after he had cleaned it, in front of the entire school, right?" Sakura nodded. "Well when he gave it to the Hokage, the Hokage held it up at an angle to Naruto before putting it back on, just as if he were imagining Naruto wearing the hat, and he smiled!"
Sakura gaped at Ino. "You're kidding! You don't think he believes all that stuff Naruto says about being Hokage? Come on, he's the class drop out."
Ino nodded again. "Yeah that's true, and the Hokage was like Jounin level by our age. When you think of it like that though, there's virtually nobody in the world that can compete."
Sakura frowned. "Wow Ino, that's kinda depressing."
Ino chuckled. "Oh C'mon, you don't want to be Hokage do you?"
Sakura shook her head. "Nah, you're right, but still. So how do you reckon he met that guy? You don't suppose they're long lost relatives do you?"
Ino shook her head. "Totally not, there's no way Naruto's related to someone like that, seriously. And he's never been around Konoha before, I mean the Hokage is escorting him around, he's got to be important!"
Sakura nodded to Ino. "Totally, so then what, adoption, or an apprenticeship or something? You don't think it's a charity case do you?"
Ino paused a moment. "I doubt it, he doesn't look too charitable, but then we don't know if he's a ninja or not, maybe he has a really secret sense of humour and wants to see the resident prankster."
Sakura shook her head. "No way, besides they looked far too serious, you don't think Naruto pranked him do you?"
Ino gaped. "Oh my god, I'll kill Naruto if he did anything to that hair!" Sakura Chuckled. "Oh C'mon, you know it's true, you want that hair too!" Sakura nodded solemnly. "Well none of that explains why we're here."
Sakura paled. "You don't think he got us in trouble as well do you?"
Ino gaped. "No way, he wouldn't, right? He's never tried anything like that before."
Sakura nodded. "True, he generally owns up to his pranks, like he wanted to get caught so that everybody can stare at him or something."
Ino nodded. "Yup, that's exactly it."
Sakura stared at Ino. "What?"
Ino nodded, not looking at Sakura, but some random patch of wall. "Totally, you know nobody likes him. But they don't generally do anything, they just ignore him. Imagine that, he's an Orphan too. He obviously just wants the attention."
Sakura's mouth made a small 'o' shape but no sound came out.
At that moment the door opened and Naruto walked out, had bowed slightly so he could see the floor, blatantly not paying attention to where he was going, as he almost walked right into the far wall next to Ino.
Sakura spoke up first. "Oy Naruto!" Naruto didn't respond at first, though Sakura's comment prevented him from bumping into the wall. Looking around he saw Ino leaning against the wall in her standard two-piece purple outfit and bandages on her thighs and biceps, for… god knows why. And Sakura in her lycra shorts and Chinese dress standing in the middle of the deserted hallway. "Uh, hi Sakura." Naruto turned his head slightly. "Ino." He made a weak show at waving.
Ino decided to pick up the questioning. "Naruto, do you know why we're here?" Naruto looked at Ino, deciding what to say, he knew vaguely why they were there, probably… something to do with his team. Maybe one or both of them were on his team? Naruto paled at that. Ino, seeing Naruto pale for no reason asked again. "Hello?"
Naruto instantly reacted this time. "Uh sorry Ino, Um. I'm not entirely sure, I know a bit though." Ino raised her eyebrow.
Sakura took over. "Okay then, so what do you know?"
Naruto looked at Sakura. "Uh, right. Urm, this is about my Genin team, I think."
Sakura looked at Ino, who looked back at Sakura. Ino then looked at Naruto. "Does this have anything to do with that guy in the room with the Hokage?"
Naruto turned to Ino, feeling slightly interrogated, two-on-one, not in a good way. But since they obviously knew nothing about why they were waiting outside, it was bound to happen. "Yeah, uh. His name is Lord Sesshoumaru." Ino whistled and Sakura raised her eyebrow.
Sakura spoke up next. "Lord Sesshoumaru?"
Naruto nodded. "Yeah, he's lord of… of… of the Western Lands of… Ja… Japan. I think. I was a bit dazed when he told me." Naruto supplied in his mind: 'I had just died, sort of.'
Sakura whistled this time. "Where's that?"
Naruto looked up from his melancholy of remembering his death. "Oh urm, I don't know." He scratched the back of his head and smiled sheepishly, forgetting his composure, well he had been doing well so far.
Sakura sighed and rubbed her forehead. Ino took up the interrogation next. "Okay, so what's he doing here, and why were you in there with him?"
Naruto turned to Ino. "Okay well, I'm his Ward." Naruto decided to omit his lack of knowledge on what a Ward is, since Sakura and Ino didn't seem puzzled in any way. And he didn't want to be shown up. "Lord Sesshoumaru and the Hokage are making some arrangements about my training."
Ino's eyebrow rose whilst Sakura looked incredulously at him. "Your training? But you're the worst ninja in our class, what would a Lord care about your training?" Ino looked at Sakura reproachfully, though Sakura didn't notice.
Naruto looked down, obviously not ready to deal with put downs like that at the moment, though he attempted an answer. "I'm… I'm not sure… but he said… that I remind him of his brother."
Once again Ino's eyebrow rose, currently she was trying to imagine Naruto with such regal features, possibly white hair, or maybe long blond hair. It totally didn't go, she ended up keeping the image spiky, making him significantly taller and wearing something regal like Sesshoumaru. His hair, in her mind's eye spiked out maybe six inches in various directions. She was slightly reminded of the pictures of the Yondaime Hokage, Ino looked out the window behind where she lent on the wall, the view of the Hokage Mountain was available from almost anywhere in Konoha as long as the window was in the right place in a building.
Sakura however looked incredulously towards Naruto, taking no time to think over his assertion. "You a relative of him?! Are you kidding?! Seriously Naruto, he's like, royalty and you're some loser Orphan. You don't look anything like him, he's like, Regal and you're… you're you!"
Naruto had been about to look back up when Sakura said 'you' but the emphasis and then the following words crushed his hopes and he looked back down. But he tried anyway. "He… He said he had faith in me… to… to become… stronger…" Naruto was on the verge of tears now, the angry words of the Chuunin and the rabbit masked ANBU echoing in his mind, unconsciously a tear formed in his left eye and began a slow trail down his face, though with his face down as it was, it was barely noticeable.
Ino looked back from the window to Naruto, intent on comparing him to the view of the mountain, but with his head down as it was that was kind of hard, though the hair definitely matched. Definitely more sun-kissed like the Yondaime's, not pale blonde like her own families trade-mark hair colour. In-fact nobody else she had ever seen had hair like that, just those two. However she did notice something sparkly trailing down his face from her perspective, it took a moment for her to figure out what it was, but by the time she had, Sakura had already begun her response.
"What do you mean Naruto, Faith in you to become stronger? You're the dead last Naruto, not just last but Dead last. Like the worst student ever, do you think you'll ever even Pass?! Really Naruto what-" Sakura's tirade was cut off as the Hokage appeared to her right side, his hand on her shoulder, stopping her slow advance towards Naruto, which she had not realised she was doing.
Ino had been about to reprimand Sakura, Naruto had enough crap from people to deal with, they had just been talking about it as well and then Sakura comes out with this. She was startled when the Hokage appeared from nowhere with his hand on Sakura's shoulder, but when she looked around she saw the other man, Sesshoumaru but he didn't look so Regal anymore. He looked more Feral. His eyes were tinted red and he had Fangs showing. He stood in front of Naruto glaring fiercely at Sakura, though Sakura was staring at the Hokage and so she didn't notice.
The Hokage briefly glanced at Sesshoumaru, and then towards Naruto and then Ino, before turning Sakura towards himself, away from the glaring eyes of Sesshoumaru. "Sakura, the Leaf was built upon friendship and teamwork, I think you need to look carefully at what it takes to make a good Ninja." Sakura looked up at the Hokage, almost in tears. This was obviously a reprimand for something, probably for the way she was speaking to Naruto. But this was the Hokage telling her off, she would probably get thrown out of the academy! The Hokage!! "You may go back to class now Sakura." Sarutobi gently guided Sakura away, turning her away from Sesshoumaru. Sarutobi turned to see Sesshoumaru visibly calming down as Sakura walked away, thankfully not looking back. Hopefully she would learn from this, she had potential but was easily blinded to things. He noticed Ino was staring at Sesshoumaru, almost horrified. He didn't blame her, he too had seen the fangs and the eyes, though he was more prepared for it, having known in advance that Sesshoumaru was a demon of some sort. He decided it would be best to distract Ino before she was caught staring. "Ino." She turned to look at Sarutobi, adopting a more formal posture. Sarutobi was silently impressed at her etiquette. "At the end of this year, you will be graduated and put on a team with Naruto and Nara Shikamaru." Ino's eyes widened but she didn't say anything. "This is a rather unorthodox situation, can I trust you not to tell your fellow students, lest they become jealous that you have been guaranteed graduation?"
Ino paused for a moment, genuinely taken aback by the situation, sure she they had touched on the idea of this being about Naruto's team, but being guaranteed Graduation. "Uh… Um… Yes Lord Hokage." Ino bowed. Then she thought of something. "Um… Lord Hokage?"
Sarutobi smiled down at Ino, even though he enjoyed seeing Naruto's rebellious side and being called 'Old Man' by him with reckless abandon, regardless that it was actually a minor offence not to show proper respect to the Hokage, he also did like it when his future Ninja acted so grown-up, even if Ino was obviously nervous, he felt such displays of maturity were a good omen for their future. "Yes, Ino?"
Ino was slightly surprised that he knew her name, when he had collected her and Sakura from class he had referred to them by their clan name only, and since her clan was famous, she had assumed that he only knew her clan name, completely having missed that he used her name only moments before. But she quickly got over that and pressed on. "Sh… Should I tell Shikamaru?"
Sarutobi was mildly impressed, he had neglected that detail, though it would not come up until graduation, tying up loose ends is always a good habit. "Ah yes, thank you Ino, that would be most convenient. Please also impress upon him that he should not boast about your unique situation." Ino nodded. "You may go back to class now, Ino. Thank you for your time and good luck with your Genin Exams."
Ino bowed formally. "Thank you Lord Hokage." And she scampered off, still nervous around Sesshoumaru, even though he was now completely composed.
Sarutobi and Sesshoumaru sat in relative silence, save for the noises of the conversation coming through the wall. Sarutobi, being a master of all elements and over a thousand different techniques, was well prepared for such a situation. He had set the air either side of the wall to be extremely dense and to thin out slowly over the space of half a foot or so, this helped sound travel through the wall because sound bounces off the mid-point between two areas of different matter density. A wall being drastically denser than air made most of the sound waves bounce away, back into the corridor. This technique reduced that effect. Also with the use of chakra strings through the wall, he was able to channel a significant amount of sound through, so it was easily audible for him.
Sesshoumaru was easily capable of hearing what was happening on the other side of the wall, regardless. However the old man's technique was most intriguing. Sesshoumaru was no scholar but he knew the general properties of sound and knew that nowhere near that much sound should be coming through the wall, therefore he concluded that something very intricate was at work. He considered whether it was worth investing in Naruto's tuition in such techniques, ways of harnessing his power. Much like a Tessaiga without the ability to send energy into the wind-scar, a demon of immense power but no means with which to utilise such power was virtually harmless, of course such a demon has never existed, however Naruto's power might be put to more efficient use, increasing his battle prowess for the same level of strength. Such things would be possible for Inuyasha as well, of course it would be unlikely for Inuyasha to learn such techniques, however the potential would exist, the potential to grow. That is what he was investigating.
Quietly turning to Sarutobi, Sesshoumaru passed along this sentiment. "This Sesshoumaru is uninterested in your stealth techniques or sneak attacks, however your ability to harness your energy in more efficient ways, to amplify your strength, is beneficial. I would like it if you were to create some such techniques for Naruto to use with his Youki."
Sarutobi silently nodded, that wasn't so much of a request as an order, though it seemed far more lenient, obviously Sesshoumaru realised that their techniques were designed for use with Chakra, not Youki and as such it would likely be difficult to pass on such techniques. Especially if Youki were to lack elemental affinity. But he was not called the Professor for no reason, surely he would come up with something, something good, Naruto deserved something good.
His attention coming back to the conversation, Sarutobi noticed that Ino had stopped talking and that Sakura's voice was rising slightly in volume. He glanced toward Sesshoumaru and was instantly on alert.
Sesshoumaru had let Sarutobi consider his options, he would not kill the man if they failed to produce any such techniques for Youki, as it would be understandable, and he knew the man would also definitely try. Instead he focused back on the conversation outside, so far he was favouring the blonde girl, she seemed more accepting, though only slightly at the moment. He had heard some of her conversation during the time in which he had been talking to Naruto and the pink haired one was much more critical, a trait he found decidedly not endearing. Damsels do not complain. Though technically he was not looking for a damsel, for he would need a competent ninja to compare Naruto's progress against, but he was still expecting Naruto to be the main fighter of their group, to save them in times of crisis, should such an event occur and he needed her to be favourable to be saved.
The blonde girl had just become quiet and contemplative as they had begun discussing Naruto's relationship with himself, this part was of great interest, Naruto's emotions were giving off a potent enough smell that it permeated the gap in the door and Sesshoumaru could smell it. He was very anxious and hopeful at the moment. But the pink haired girl, reminding him more and more of a cat Youkai, kept on criticizing and Naruto's scent became more and more down-trodden. This was certainly not acceptable. Sesshoumaru found himself getting agitated. How dare she be so presumptuous of his Ward? By mere Association with himself Naruto's life was as precious to the village as their leader, perhaps more. How dare she!
Just after Sarutobi had looked across, Sesshoumaru abruptly stood up and turned for the door, luckily his stride was measured and calm, though his visage was positively feral. Sarutobi panicked and quickly, with all his speed appeared at the door a few paces in front of Sesshoumaru. Quickly raising his hands in a placating gesture, he opened the door and disappeared outside, noticing Sakura's steady advancement he quickly put his hand on her shoulder from a position away from Sesshoumaru, it would not do for her to become so frightened of him, even if some small part of him thought she deserved it.
As they were travelling through the streets back to the Hokage tower, Sarutobi decided now was a good opportunity to broach a proposition he had thought of during Sesshoumaru's conversation with Naruto in the room at the Academy. Sesshoumaru had mentioned that his true form was of comparable size to GamaBunta, the boss of the Toad summons, and that of Kyuubi, though he was not so arrogant as to imply he was as powerful as Kyuubi, he was certainly powerful. From the way he spoke Sarutobi guessed that he had dismissed GamaBunta as not being a threat, and he also knew Sesshoumaru had an idea of the power levels involved, as he mentioned how much power the Kyuubi had been exuding that fateful night. So If he were able to garner Sesshoumaru's assistance should they ever be beset by such creatures, their position would be much more favourable, as GamaBunta happened to be one of the strongest summons he had ever heard of, easily stronger than his own greatest summon, Enma, the Lord of the Monkeys. Even though Enma was drastically more useful in guerrilla combat, GamaBunta's sheer power, size and strength were incredibly formidable. Sarutobi wistfully remembered the power of GamaBunta, combined with the speed and ferocity of the Yondaime Hokage, it had been a truly devastating and frightening thing, one which had almost single handedly won them the third great Shinobi war. But he was getting off track, so he broached the subject. "Lord Sesshoumaru?" Sesshoumaru turned his face slightly towards the Hokage. "I have been wondering, our Shinobi force is impressive and ranked as the best, however at the moment none of the great summoners reside within our village. The summoner for the toad you witnessed facing against the Kyuubi, for instance. As such if we were beset upon by one of the great summoners, our ability to protect Naruto would be greatly impaired. And you mentioned how your true form was comparable to those of the greatest Toad, and the Kyuubi." Sarutobi paused to gauge Sesshoumaru's reaction, though there was no way he could discern anything from Sesshoumaru, so he continued on anyway. "Would you be willing to lend us your aid should such a situation arise, perhaps even be a summon of Konoha?" Sarutobi realised he was really pushing it, but it never hurt to ask, he hoped fervently that Sesshoumaru would not take offence if he was averse to the idea.
Sesshoumaru turned his face to regard Sarutobi then answered simply. "No." Turning back forward he continued on, oblivious to the mildly relieved face of Sarutobi. "However you raise a valid point." Sarutobi's eyebrow rose, there was no way, was there? Sesshoumaru lifted a seemingly random lock of his hair and observed it keenly, before he suddenly severed it with… were those sharp nails… claws?! "You will have this bound into a necklace." Sesshoumaru handed a small lock of his hair to Sarutobi. "None but you and Naruto shall touch that." Immediately Sarutobi stopped thinking of how to order one of the random patrolling Chuunin to get the lock made into a necklace.
"Very well." Sarutobi observed the lock of hair. "Will this allow Naruto to summon you?"
Sesshoumaru turned to Naruto. "When you learn to harness your Youki, think strongly of needing my presence, and I shall come to your aid." Naruto looked utterly overjoyed at this, this must mean that Sesshoumaru cared! He almost felt like he could cry! Sesshoumaru however decided his offer was entirely too touching and so looked forward. "I will expect you to show discretion, however do not allow yourself to die before I arrive." Naruto nodded, now feeling sombre. He had to be very careful, he definitely did not want Sesshoumaru to be disappointed with him, he would try to win with his own power, become strong. Surely then Lord Sesshoumaru would be proud of him!
Inside the classroom, Sakura was still feeling anxious, once she had calmed down, she realised that the Hokage had mentioned her Ninja career, so he wasn't going to take it away from her. She would definitely improve her teamwork and friendship skills and study up, and everything. It felt horrible knowing he was disappointed in her, even though she wasn't entirely sure why.
Ino came into the classroom a minute later, she quickly sat next to Shikamaru, woke him up and whispered something into his ear. He looked at her strangely whilst the nodded profusely. After a while he mumbled something, probably 'troublesome' as he often does, and put his head back down. Seemingly satisfied with that encounter, Ino got up and sat next to Sakura. Strangely Iruka didn't seem to notice, or he didn't care, that Ino was disrupting his class. Perhaps it was because he assumed she was acting on the Hokage's behalf, which she was, good assumption.
Once Sakura looked up at Ino, she realised Ino was frantic, she was slightly shaking, but trying her best to be calm. She hissed to Sakura, urgently "Sakura! Oh my god." She continued to whisper. Sakura glanced at Iruka, who seemed to be pointedly ignoring them, however she decided she didn't want to get into more trouble today, so she decided to be quiet. Ino looked like she needed to talk anyway. "Sakura, oh my god." Sakura raised her eyebrow. "The… that guy. When the Hokage put his hand on your shoulder, that guy appeared in front of Naruto." Ino moved slightly further towards Sakura and began whispering more quietly, though with even more urgency. "Sakura, he had fangs, and his eyes were blood red and he was staring at you like he wanted you to die. Oh my god." Sakura now realised why Ino was so frantic, what the hell? Had that really happened? Ino continued. "I think the Hokage just saved your life!" Sakura paled. Ino grabbed Sakura's forearm and squeezed it tightly. "Sakura, you're going to apologize to Naruto ASAP! Right?"
At this moment it seemed Iruka's patience had snapped as he turned from the board, whatever he was writing seemingly written. "Okay, Yamanaka, Haruno, split it up. Now who can tell me what this means…" He pointed to the board, continuing with the lesson. Ino turned back to Sakura, looking expectantly and Sakura turned from the board to Ino, she nodded slowly and Ino got up and went back to the desk where her stuff was.
In the main Meeting theatre of the Hokage Tower, not only was the entire council of Konoha present, some dressed in as much as a bathrobe, rushed by panicked Chuunin, with the statement that presence was mandatory or else face a charge of treason. Jounin and Chuunin and ANBU had been pulled from various duties, including patrols, administration, sleeping, the hospital, you name it. The entire Ninja system in Konoha had basically ground to a halt at mid-afternoon this fine day.
Not only had each of these Ninja been rather panicked to begin with, rushed by ANBU who wouldn't say what was going on, but that it was definitely serious, and that they respected the Third Hokage for being so calm in the face of, the ANBU generally went quiet around that time, repeating the first bit over and over. Truly, if only the Ninja knew they had been assembled to meet with a humanoid Demon who had incapacitated or killed four ANBU in practically an instant, they would likely be less annoyed and more petrified. As were the ANBU who knew. The Chuunin who had assembled the council were also scared, though less so and more because the council were most certainly agitated, and using bold threats upon the Chuunin who roused them as a means of alleviating their agitation.
It had been over an hour since the last person had stepped through the door when Sarutobi opened the door and stepped through, followed by a most regal looking man, who looked rather beautiful, sporting a rather curious crescent upon his forehead, and two near slashes of crimson on each cheek. Though considering some of the clan markings in that very room, none of this was too far fetched.
Normally Sarutobi was a very patient man, who understood the concerns and emotions of others, and made it his business to listen into their opinions and problems, insulting, arrogant or inconsequential as they may seem, he still was fair and heard what everyone had to say before making his decisions. This time however, there was a lot at stake and when half the room erupted into a cacophony of demands to know why they had been summoned and then had to wait around for an hour, well. Sarutobi was not in the mood to listen right then. With a finely controlled burst of almost naturally occurring intent to kill being channelled through his Aura, as most Ninja are capable of doing and a surprisingly large and commanding shout of. "Silence" The room fell deathly still and most impressively quiet. Content that he had staunched the flow of questions, he proceeded towards the centre of the theatre, Sesshoumaru following behind him at a leisurely pace, Naruto at his side, almost gawking at all the Ninja present.
Sarutobi took up his position, Sesshoumaru content to stand to the side of the main podium and glare at the Ninja, occasionally sniffing the air, theorising that Naruto's murderer's were likely present and that getting that entire matter out of the way in front of the entire Ninja populace would most definitely assert his authority. It would also introduce Naruto to death, his instincts involving death, and all that. Lastly, if he were to have Naruto kill his Murderer's, or at least one of them, it would show progress with his new Demonic heritage, where Sesshoumaru was sure Naruto would be incapable of Murder without it.
After a moment of pause where Sarutobi carefully considered his options, he decided that it would be best to make sure everyone understood perfectly the situation they were in. Hopefully, with Sesshoumaru's acquiescence to aide them against any great summons, he would be able to make them see this as favourable for the village. For surely the fact that this was favourable towards Naruto would hold little sway with them, even though every single one of them owed him their existence. Perhaps using the fact that the Kyuubi is dead, and that they now had no excuse to deny the Yondaime Hokage's wishes would pull things in their favour? Or perhaps threats would be the way forward, Sesshoumaru had deftly shown how effective a threat could be, especially when there was no doubt on whether or not the threat would be carried out.
Standing tall Sarutobi gazed out upon the gathered Ninja, still quiet and spoke. "Many events have transpired this day." He paused for dramatic effect, releasing his aura, putting as much of a feeling of anger into it as he could, hoping to keep his Ninja quiet, disobedience would not do at this time. "Earlier today, a small boy who I have considered the hero of this village, and who I have treasured in kind with my own grandson, was murdered by my Ninja." Sarutobi stared out at the crowd, it was evident they were shocked, though at the statement or at the unbridled fury the Sandaime was emanating, was yet to be decided. Sandaime gestured towards Sesshoumaru, who seemed to be staring intently at one of his Chuunin, he easily guessed why. "This man, Lord Sesshoumaru personally saw to it that the Kyuubi was taken by the Shinigami, but that Naruto's soul remained." Sarutobi chose his words carefully here. Making it seem a necessity what happened, when clearly Naruto's state as a Hanyou was Sesshoumaru's conscious choice, rather than a necessity in bringing him back, but they need not know that. "However due to the grievous wounds inflicted upon him by my Shinobi." Another pause, some more anger, it would not do to let them forget his anger. "Some of the fox's demonic energy was required, to heal the wounds, lest Naruto die, again." Sarutobi looked over at Sesshoumaru, who looked back. Sesshoumaru looked away, back at the Chuunin. Sarutobi took it as an acceptance of his lie, and moved on. "Lord Sesshoumaru has taken Naruto to be his Ward and is entrusting Naruto's safety and future training to this village during his travels around the lands."
Sarutobi paused, he really didn't want to say this next bit, true as it may be. He did still have his pride, he was supposed to be one of the most powerful people in the world. Ah well. "You are here primarily to be informed that any forms of physical or verbal disrespect towards Uzumaki Naruto, Ward of Lord Sesshoumaru, will be treated as treasonous." The room erupted into a cacophony of noise. Sarutobi was about to subtly threaten them to be quiet when a veritable flood of energy washed over the room from Sesshoumaru easily silencing everyone in the room. He was glowing pink and his clothing was ruffling in the swirling air the energy caused.
Sarutobi looked towards Sesshoumaru, it seemed evident he had something to say. "Humans of this Village, you are ungrateful, treacherous and disgusting. I will assure you behave accordingly by threatening you." Sarutobi was expecting a reaction of some sort, but everyone seemed to be thoroughly stuck in place, except for Naruto, who seemed to be trying to prod the pink aura coming from Sesshoumaru, clearly it seemed he was unaffected by this outburst. "You have stolen the life of this boy and sacrificed it for your own survival. Now you have thrown it away and his life is mine." Sesshoumaru paused, punctuating the silence with an increase in the pressure his Youki was exerting upon the room. Unlike the Village Elder, he did not need to lace his energies with threatening emotions, for as a predator, and they as his prey, they instinctually knew they were in danger. Were he to truly be angry the frail among them would likely die from the stress, this idea was tempting, however unnecessary. He did not want to risk killing the Elder until he had time to write down instructions to a successor, this entire affair was horribly tedious as it is. "Your 'Hokage' is responsible for your actions. If there is any disrespect shown to my Ward by this village, or if this village fails in their duty towards his training, your Hokage will have failed, and I will kill him. Any replacement as Military leader will inherit the same responsibility." Sesshoumaru thought for a moment. "I find it prudent to inform you all that your technique to summon the agents of Death will be ineffectual against me." Sesshoumaru then abruptly released his aura, and the waves of energy which had been pouring over the room abated abruptly, and everyone in the room was all at once able to breathe once more. Except for Naruto who seemed disappointed now that the fun pink stuff was gone. It tingled strangely when he prodded it and it was entirely fascinating. Now that the room was silent, Naruto went back to his position beside Sesshoumaru, trying his best to act cool, like Sesshoumaru was.
Sarutobi took a moment to compose himself, truly that had been terrifying. He realised that there was no emotional undercurrent laced within Sesshoumaru's aura or energy, but much like the Kyuubi, Sarutobi and those present recognised it was the aura of one designed to kill them, it was instinctually terrifying, like nothing else he had encountered. True he had felt fear far worse, but there was an outside cause, Sesshoumaru's aura seemed to bring fear bubbling up from within.
Having composed himself, and realising that few in the room had managed the same, and noticing that Sesshoumaru seemed intent upon the Chuunin again, completely ignoring everyone else, and seemingly content with the words he had spoken, Sarutobi decided to get back to the matter at hand. "Truly this is a humbling experience. But as our law states, any action which will endanger the Hokage constitutes treason." Sarutobi paused, he didn't bother flaring his aura in any way this time, he was sure it would pale in comparison to Sesshoumaru's anyway, and there was no need to intimidate anyone present. "The population of Konohagakure will be notified of the treasonous nature of any adverse action they may take towards Naruto." Sarutobi once again paused, most eyes in the room were now upon him. The most sturdy of the group seemed to have grasped the fact that this was not a political debate of any kind, as they were accustomed to. This… thing was telling them what to do, and their lives were at stake if they didn't do it. "On a related note, now that the Kyuubi is dead, and Naruto's personality is most assuredly the same as it has always been, many of you owe him a great apology, and I will see to it that the Yondaime's last wish be fulfilled." Sarutobi took a moment. Unsure of what to do now.
Sarutobi decided it would be best to dismiss everyone but the potential Jounin Sensei's and the Hyuuga in general, for everyone else was not needed. However before he could do so, Sesshoumaru started forward, calmly but clearly with purpose. He headed straight toward the Chuunin he had obviously been staring at the entire time. The man was entirely petrified as Sesshoumaru drew closer, he attempted to babble some form of coherent sentence, but he had begun shaking so much that barely formed syllables were coming out. "Human Ninja. You murdered one Uzumaki Naruto." Sesshoumaru did not wait for a response, with his arm as quick as lightning he grabbed the Chuunin by the throat and threw him to the centre of the room, just in front of Sarutobi's podium. Sarutobi stepped forward, his hands moving toward a placating gesture and his mind running through anything he might say to stall the situation, but Sesshoumaru looked up at him and his eyes flashed red, and Sarutobi knew there was nothing he could do about it.
Naruto was shocked, carefully sniffing the air he was able to confirm that the person who had been thrown not too far from him was indeed one of the people from the clearing, in fact he recognised the man as the one who had slit his throat. Unconsciously Naruto's hand moved up to protect his throat and tears began welling up in his eyes. This man had killed him, he remembered the horrid accusations and insults, why had he killed him. Naruto was surely a lot of trouble, but never had he deserved to be murdered so. He began to take steps backwards, away from the man however Sesshoumaru's voice snapped his attention from the man. "Naruto." Naruto's gaze jumped straight to Sesshoumaru who was standing where he had been as he threw the man. "You will kill this man." Naruto stared wide eyed at Sesshoumaru, his head began to shake side to side, the tears spilling freely from his eyes now.
Taking slow steps backwards now, one hand still at his throat, another pointing at the man. "N… No… I… He… No…" Naruto didn't get any further before Sesshoumaru simply disappeared from his position and appeared behind Naruto, his hand upon Naruto's shoulder.
"Naruto, you are under my command now. You will do as I say." Naruto's head swivelled and he looked at Sesshoumaru, then back down to the man, who seemed to be trying to fade into the floor, seemingly incapable of movement. Naruto noticed some steam coming from the man's neck, where Sesshoumaru had grabbed him. It smelt foul, like acid or something poisonous, but he paid it little mind as Sesshoumaru roughly pushed him forward. "Hokage, one of your weapons." Sesshoumaru pointed to Naruto.
Sarutobi's mind was blank, surely Sesshoumaru couldn't possibly expect Naruto to kill this man? The child he knew was basically incapable of killing. However he acquiesced, he hoped Naruto wouldn't and that Sesshoumaru would kill the man, as he had stated either one of them was to do so. Acting absent mindedly, Sarutobi gestured towards one of the ANBU along the side of the room, and signalled him over to himself. Looking at the dog masked ANBU as he stood to his left, Sarutobi laid his hand out flat. "Your weapon." The ANBU hesitated briefly before efficiently removing his Ninja-to and placing the handle securely in Sarutobi's hand.
Naruto had not moved from his position a few feet in front of Sesshoumaru, his mind completely blank, shivering from anxiety. He couldn't possibly kill someone, the concept was absurd. Reason failed him, it was just a fact, he couldn't do it. Naruto jumped dramatically as the Hokage's hand landed upon his shoulder. Sarutobi ignored the tear stricken gaze Naruto was looking at him with and grabbed Naruto's hand. Firmly placing the Ninja-to within his grasp, Sarutobi let go of the weapon. It swung down to the ground under its own weight, Naruto's hand gripping it but his arm putting up no resistance to gravity. Sarutobi looked Naruto in the eyes and put on his best comforting smile and patted the boy on the head. He said nothing, for he felt it was not his place, truly as he thought about it this man had not beaten or abused Naruto but actually killed him. Such a thing was not something one could take revenge for, though were it possible it would be the most worthy cause for revenge, to avenge your own Murder at the hands of someone whose life you participated in saving as a baby. Truly Naruto deserved this, even if he did not want it. Standing up from his position, Sarutobi backed away and stood back at the podium. With a slight gesture of the head he signalled Naruto onwards. But Naruto didn't budge.
After a few moments Sesshoumaru decided that Naruto was depressed, and had become accustomed to the scorn of the village. Acceptance did not fuel anger or rage, and it most certainly would not ignite his Youkai instincts, he would have to step in. Though he was loath to do so. "Naruto." Naruto turned quickly to him, hope radiating from him, as if he thought Sesshoumaru would allow him reprieve from his task. "This man, what did he do to you?"
Naruto shivered as he thought about it, his free hand reaching again for his throat. He opened his mouth, but no sound came out. Seemingly incapable of forming the words. Sesshoumaru deduced this was the Ninja who had slit Naruto's throat. "This is the one who slit your throat after they had finished torturing you?" Sesshoumaru said all this as calmly as possible, predicting that his lack of emotion would spurn Naruto's own. Force him to accept these events as fact that he was in the unique position to take vengeance for. "Your life was taken from you and sacrificed to save this village. This man's existence required your sacrifice and he repaid you by your murder." Sesshoumaru saw the glint appearing in Naruto's eyes, he was getting through to the Youkai that was now a part of Naruto. That instinctual pride and self respect would not allow such a slight. "You will kill him and take vengeance for your own murder."
Naruto was torn up inside, he couldn't stop thinking about the time that the man cowering in front of him, seemingly incapable of movement had been so full of life and hatred and rage. So intent upon his own demise, it was frightening to remember the events which led up to your own death, and so soon after the event too. But as Sesshoumaru spoke a boiling anger filled him. Sesshoumaru was right, this man's very existence was because he had suffered, yet this man had taken his life from him. How dare he. Ungrateful, lowly human! How dare he!
Sesshoumaru almost smirked to himself when he saw Naruto's eyes slowly turning purple and a slit forming. He found the nature of his own eyes when he harnessed his Youki to be far more impressive, but Naruto's weren't bad. And most importantly he was harnessing his Youki. Excellent progress indeed.
Naruto turned from Sesshoumaru to the man, words failed him as he felt cold rage. He was not spurned into action as anger normally brought from him, he merely took in the weak form of the human before him and was disgusted and insulted. How dare such a lowly human murder him. How dare he! After all that he had suffered! Naruto slowly stalked the figure on the floor, instinctually noticing that his posture left open many weak points. He decided upon the man's exposed neck however, he felt it just that he slit the man's throat in much the same way that his had been slit. Naruto didn't know his eyes were red, he didn't know that a faint red aura began to be emitted from his skin, he didn't know that the slit in his pupils removed some of his peripheral vision and enhanced his ability to focus on one spot, the spot he was currently focused upon was the rapid beating of the Jugular vein in the man's neck, seen only as slight ripples in a small patch of skin of the neck, but Naruto did know what those ripples represented. Naruto was drawn to them, he felt like he was pacing his feet towards the man in time with the beats of his heart, while in reality he was pacing rather slowly, his vision seemed to gain clarity and depth with each beat, each ripple of the skin. Naruto unconsciously cleaned his canine teeth with his tongue, an instinctual preparation, to make sure they are sharp, but he did not know that, he did not even know that his mouth was open or that his tongue was moving.
Almost unexpectedly, for Naruto had seemed content in his slow stalking of the man, Naruto struck. Expertly he jabbed the tip of the Ninja-to into the man's jugular vein. No more and no less but exactly to the centre of the vein and back out again in a swift motion. The room was still as the man began to convulse, his hands twitched as if they wanted to move to cover the wound on his neck, but they seemed incapable, as if he were incapacitated. Everyone in the room watched in morbid fascination as spurts of blood jetted from the wound in time with his heart beat, until slowly the jets lowered in frequency and power, until all that was left was a steady trickle of blood from the man's neck, lying in a wide pool of his own blood, his hands now motionless.
Naruto stared at the hole on the mans neck, watching intently until he instinctually knew that the man's heart had stopped beating. At this time his rage abated, his bloodlust was sated and he felt a brief satisfaction as his eyes slowly reverted to his normal cerulean blue and all at once he was no longer staring at a man who had deserved his vengeance but a lifeless corpse, who he had killed.
Naruto immediately dropped the Ninja-to into the edge of the puddle of blood, just reaching past his feet, he tried to walk backwards frantically but the slippery blood around his feet caused him to fall backwards upon his behind rather painfully, but he paid that no mind and continued to scramble backwards frantically until he bumped into the legs of Sesshoumaru. Quickly looking behind himself he recognised where he was and looked up. Sesshoumaru gazed down at him impassively. After a long moment in which they stared at each other Sesshoumaru spoke. "Very good." He paused, Naruto's tear stained face looked surprised, he was so horrified at what he had done, but Sesshoumaru was pleased? Of course he was completely forgetting that Sesshoumaru himself had told him to do it. "You have already accessed your Youki, however you need training to control your instincts." Sesshoumaru paused, Naruto smelt wholly of fear still, he had anticipated that his praise would have been enough assurance, perhaps the comment about his instincts was too much too soon. Damn Sesshoumaru wasn't used to dealing with humans, even Hanyou for that matter, his mind was still human. Sesshoumaru looked forward, towards the body. That had been a clean kill, though his instincts seemed to have partially taken over, he had stayed clear of outright bloodlust or feral behaviour, he had remained conscious of himself, for the most part and acted rationally, even if under a different set of rationale. Yes, Naruto was making good progress. "You are making good progress, I see my faith has not been misplaced." Sesshoumaru did not need to look at Naruto, for he could smell that Naruto, though still slightly afraid and ashamed, was feeling pride. Yes, Sesshoumaru decided that humans were not so complicated, his plans would progress nicely at this rate.
Turning to Sarutobi Sesshoumaru made sure the aged man knew Sesshoumaru was looking before Sesshoumaru looked towards the body. Sarutobi instantly knew what was required. "Ah um Mizuki, yes. Would you please go to the morgue and retrieve a body-bag and stretcher." Mizuki, a teaching assistant from Naruto's academy stood, saluted and disappeared in a poof of smoke. Sarutobi returned his gaze back to Sesshoumaru, who merely nodded. Sarutobi assumed that meant he was done being dramatic for now. Turning back to the still entirely shocked gathering of Ninja Sarutobi addressed them. "I believe that is the end of our meeting. Remember it is your responsibility to keep the civilian populace in line." Sarutobi paused momentarily whilst he considered who might be good for helping Naruto with his Youki. "Will the Jounin Sensei for the next graduating class and the Ninja of the Hyuuga please stay behind. Thank you. Dismissed." As soon as Sarutobi had finished, many poofs of smoke were seen. Obviously more than happy to be gone from Sesshoumaru's presence. Others sat still stunned before quietly walking out of the room, in groups but silent a few poofed into smoke as others were leaving the room. Looking over at Naruto it seemed as if Naruto was content with smelling all of the people who were passing by him. Not long afterwards Mizuki re-appeared with a body-bad and a fold-out stretcher. He and another Chuunin who had been about to leave, who Mizuki had roped in to help, efficiently transported the body away, Sarutobi would inform the cleaners about the room later. Sarutobi did not miss the fact that as soon as Mizuki appeared back inside the room, Naruto's gaze did not leave his form, and when he had left, his gaze was intent upon the door he left through for quite some time. Sarutobi had a feeling of foreboding about that, though if he was right, there would be little he could do about it.
Once everyone who hadn't been asked to stay had left the room Sarutobi turned to those remaining. "Ah yes. You are here because we have yet to sort out the matter of Naruto's training. During the rest of this Academic year Naruto will be undergoing training to draw out and control his Youki. Once this year's class graduates he will be placed onto a team, but Sesshoumaru would like to decide upon his Jounin Sensei." Turning to Sesshoumaru, Sarutobi gestured towards the assembled nin, who had moved down to the bottom seats in the theatre so as to be closer and seemingly still involved in the meeting.
Sesshoumaru looked along the assembled Ninja, seemingly browsing from a shelf, all remained quiet, still remembering the oppressive and fearful aura he was so easily capable of producing. Sesshoumaru's perusal stopped upon Hyuuga Hiashi. "You are leader of the clan with white eyes?" Sesshoumaru prompted.
Hiashi had not been expecting to be directly addressed, perhaps by the Hokage. Also, he was quietly impressed at Sesshoumaru's ability to analyse a situation. Hiashi nodded to Sesshoumaru's question. "Your clan can see the living energies within a body?" Hiashi was unsure of whether or not he was talking about chakra.
Hiashi stood and looked at the Hokage briefly, though the Hokage seemed expressionless. "My Clan's ability allows us to see Chakra and its pathways through the body." Sesshoumaru regarded him for a moment.
"Can your ability see the energies flowing through this Sesshoumaru?" Hiashi did not immediately react, though he assumed it was an invitation to test whether or not he could, but he was unsure as to whether or not he actually wanted to. Deciding that there was little to be done in this situation other than to go along with it, Hiashi silently activated his Byakuugan and immediately saw only a blinding green light where Sesshoumaru stood. Bracing himself against the sight Hiashi concentrated on Naruto's position. In Naruto's case though his entire body seemed bathed in this ethereal glow, his own colour a fiery red, there were clearly pathways through which the main body of this energy flowed. Pathways which did not share many characteristics with the Chakra pathways he was used to seeing. Deciding he had his answer, and also to avoid any damage from looking upon the searing image of Sesshoumaru's power for too long, Hiashi silently deactivated his Byakuugan and blinked a couple of times before focusing back upon Sesshoumaru.
"My Byakuugan can see your energy, however you have so much that I cannot penetrate it. However Naruto has clearly defined pathways in his body." Hiashi waited for Sesshoumaru's response.
Sesshoumaru was silently proud that he had so much Youki that to those able to view it, there was so much that they could not actually make out these pathways. He was also pleased that they could see the Youki and whatever pathways that may exist within Naruto. "I have read that your clan is also excellent in the reading of emotions."
Hiashi nodded again, not entirely sure where this was going. But Sesshoumaru proceeded on. "You will choose one member of your clan who will train Naruto until such time that he is placed upon a team." Hiashi nodded.
After a pause where Sesshoumaru seemed to be expecting something Hiashi spoke up. "Very well."
Sesshoumaru however still seemed to expect something from him. Though he became increasingly unnerved Hiashi stood up to Sesshoumaru's scrutiny. Sesshoumaru however was expecting Hiashi to do as he was told, now. "You shall select someone now."
Hiashi was startled as Sesshoumaru spoke after a seemingly random pause wherein he merely scrutinized Hiashi. Now understanding what it was that Sesshoumaru had been expecting. Hiashi nodded and turned to his clan. He decided it would be in his best interests to choose someone who had no real experience with the Kyuubi, lest they or Hiashi himself be charged with treason for endangering the Hokage. His choices due to that were narrowed down to a girl, Celene, his Niece once removed, a member of the main branch and quite the rebellious and thick-headed teenager. Or Neji, his Nephew who had recently graduated. Neji had been brought as his own retainer to this meeting, as he was keen for Neji to experience the trivia of council meetings, and perhaps use his vast intellect to come to an understanding of how the political system in Konoha worked, perhaps in that way he would be able to indirectly influence Neji's hate of himself and the Main branch of the Hyuuga family to fade.
Thinking over it quickly Hiashi decided upon Neji. Callous in his words he may be, he was undeniably intelligent and would not put himself or anyone else in danger from this white haired Demon through his own actions. Turning first to the Hokage, Hiashi spoke. "Lord Hokage, am I to assume this will be a mission?" the Hokage wordlessly nodded. Turning back around Hiashi signalled out Neji with his Gaze. "Neji, I trust you to represent our clan in this matter. I have confidence you will not fail us." Hiashi belatedly realized that Sesshoumaru had broken the Sandaime's law about the Kyuubi, though obviously it did not apply to him, and also since the Kyuubi was now apparently dead, it might not apply at all. Either way he would have to have a talk with Neji after the meeting, if it could be called that, was over.
Neji, for all his genius, was quite simply dumbfounded. He had expected some main branch member with haughty manners and a clear forehead to be placed as the personal tutor to what was obviously such an important figure. Neji knew that though this had all been forced, it was still how Ninja and politics worked. He had long ago concluded that politics within the Hyuuga clan was based around strength, for the Main branch kept all the great strength of the Jyuuken for themselves, to maintain superiority. Politics within the village was based on strength, the strongest Ninja became Hokage. Politics within the world was based on strength, those who were weak in their position were crushed and their land taken. Neji was also taken aback by the way in which Hiashi phrased his order. He had spoken as if he considered the Hyuuga to be one family not two. That Neji's failure would reflect badly upon them as a whole and not just the lowly branch house. Deciding however that now was not a time for contemplation, Neji nodded towards Hiashi from his seated position.
Hiashi turned to Sesshoumaru, to gauge his reaction. Sesshoumaru however ignored him and walked forwards towards Neji. "Your eyes are capable?" Neji was rather intimidated and taken aback by the abrupt question directed towards him, however he was nothing if not prideful in his eyes, which were possibly the strongest his clan had seen for more than one generation, more easily than any other Neji could pierce solid objects, locate the Tenketsu, Neji could see further and better with his Byakuugan than the Hyuuga in general thought possible. Immediately he nodded and Sesshoumaru seemed pleased with the confidence he showed, but he was not done yet. "You are competent at reading the emotions of others?" Again Neji was sure of his answer, one of Neji's favourite tactics within a battle was to crush the hope and fighting spirit of his opponent before their fight even began. More so than in any physical pain he might induce, Neji enjoyed the mental torture he was want to induce. Yes he was very good at reading emotions, as such Neji again nodded confidently. Sesshoumaru stared at him a moment longer before beginning his instruction. "Very well, Youki in the young is connected to emotions, you will help Naruto control his Youki and his emotions separately. You will also teach him to scent out the emotions of others." Not bothering to see if Neji would nod this time, Sesshoumaru turned his head to the Hokage. "This Sesshoumaru will now select an appropriate teacher." Sesshoumaru then calmly moved to the centre of the room and awaited everyone to accommodate his whims.
Sarutobi stepped into action once again, slightly enjoying the reprieve from his paperwork, and the silence and obedience of his Ninja, truly he would never consider resorting to methods such as Sesshoumaru's and he did wish his Ninjas were not so afraid, however it was nice when people did what you said for once, rather than questioning everything and getting uppity. Of course this mostly described the Konoha Council, for the most part his Ninja held great respect for him.
Sarutobi briefly wondered what the 'Anti-Sarutobi' element of the council might do with this situation, he was no fool, he knew his old team mates and rival wanted him out of office. And he also knew that they would be able to see some sort of benefit in Sesshoumaru killing him off, Sarutobi knew however that would be a bad thing. Sesshoumaru seemed honourable enough, and quite pleasant in an 'I'm currently threatening your life for you to do as I say.' Kind of way, but as long as things went his way, he was amiable. However the brief glimpses Sarutobi had seen of his reaction to things not going his way, or people being uppity, showed him that they could not afford to do so. And Sarutobi knew that if such elements of their Council had their way, relations with Sesshoumaru would break down, and they would break down fast. Most probably leading to the destruction of their village. Sarutobi surmised Sesshoumaru would simply have another village train Naruto, and then continue whatever it was he did.
Breaking out of his thoughts as it seemed Sesshoumaru was done for the moment, as was exemplified by the fact he had just finished outlining the next thing on their agenda and was now standing calmly waiting. Sarutobi moved into action. "Ah yes, Lord Hyuuga, thank you for yours and your clan's time. Would the Jounin Sensei for the next graduating class please make a line at the front here." Sarutobi pointed to the edge of the seating arrangements and stepped back, to let the Ninja of the Hyuuga clan make their way out. He noticed among them a boy from last year's graduating class, Neji he believed. Catching the Eye of Hiashi, and then looking towards Neji and back, Sarutobi signalled to Hiashi his concerns. Hiashi responded by glancing toward Neji and then back toward Sarutobi and nodding briefly. Sarutobi would trust that Hiashi would control any damage Neji's new knowledge may have the potential to cause, there was now a lot of responsibility on the young Hyuuga's shoulders, after all. Arrangements could be made for their training sessions next time Gai's team were at the administration office for a new mission.
Once the Ninja of the Hyuuga clan had calmly left the meeting theatre and five Jounin were lined up with rigid posture and eyes straight ahead, Sarutobi looked towards Sesshoumaru, ready to indicate that he could go ahead, however Sesshoumaru seemed to already be intently scrutinising those present, and so Sarutobi left him to it. Looking over towards Naruto Sarutobi noticed hat he was also regarding, well Naruto was more staring at the various Jounin present, currently Kurenai had his interest, from the line of his sight Sarutobi guessed he was rather fascinated by the deep red colour of Kurenai's eyes. Not that Sarutobi could blame him, Kurenai's eyes alone made her one of the most attractive women in Konoha, her general ethereal beauty and the rather risqué clothes she was prone to wearing only added to the effect, but he was getting off track. Her eyes were actually the source of a hereditary ability, though Kurenai had not manifested this ability, and in fact was a mistress of Genjutsu, the art of illusion, this ability was not nearly as impressive as that of the Hyuuga or the Uchiha, whilst they were around anyway. No it was a great improvement upon the reflective quality of some feline's eyes, which allowed them much improved night vision, Kurenai's eyes would in fact emit a faint light, which they could easily pick up again, allowing her almost perfect night vision, however she had never been able to activate this ability.
Aside from Kurenai there was Kakashi, survivor of Kazama Arashi's Team Seven, possessor of a single Sharingan and alleged genius, a man who likely knew more techniques than Sarutobi himself, though he didn't learn many of them through legitimate means.
After Kakashi was Asuma, who stood next to Kurenai. Asuma was Sarutobi's own son, though they had not seen eye to eye on many matters for some time, Sarutobi still loved him and hoped that his budding relationship with Kurenai would turn out for the best, Sarutobi also held faith that even through their falling out's Asuma still loved Sarutobi as his father. Asuma was a master of hand-to-hand combat and utilized his wind natured chakra alongside his weapons designed to channel said chakra in his formidable technique.
On the other side of Kurenai was Anko, tragic surviving apprentice of Orochimaru's Genin team, her life had been basically ruined by Sarutobi's own favoured student and this knowledge still pained the old man. Though Anko was prone to flaunting her apparent sadism and a penchant for the overdramatic… no, the highly over dramatic, Sarutobi knew she was still a lonely girl inside. Of course if he were to ever even hint to her that he thought so, she would probably never forgive him, for Anko was nothing if not independent.
Next to Anko, and lacking his usual rather fake cough was Gekkou Hayate. A rather prodigical student of the art of the sword, Hayate had learnt every blade technique Konoha had to offer before he even attempted the Chuunin Exams, not long after he created his own style, which he has shared with many of his comrades, the Dance of the Crescent Moon. Hayate was a rather shy fellow, however he had gotten lucky not long ago, and even though shy, he had managed to form a relationship with one of Sarutobi's ANBU. Hayate had been pretending to be sick ever since his first Chuunin exam where he actually was sick and his opponent horribly underestimated him due to his haggard appearance, losing most thoroughly. Perhaps he had decided he liked being underestimated. Of course one of the basic Ninja rules was that you should never underestimate your opponent, though this was probably the most often ignored rule.
As Sesshoumaru continued to pace and regard the Jounin lined up, Sarutobi looked toward Naruto and wondered of his future.
Naruto had found out what Sesshoumaru's claws were capable of cutting through steel, and that perhaps his own would become that strong in time. Immediately he had an idea. He rushed out and came back with a blank forehead protector, the kind often used by children to 'play' ninja, or for a customised engraving, such as the kind the Legendary Toad Hermit Jiraiya has. He presented it to Sesshoumaru and asked in a rather blunt but polite way if Sesshoumaru would scratch three lines into the metal in the middle, in a kind of -.- configuration. Once Sesshoumaru had complied Naruto rushed away towards the Academy.
Completely ignoring the outraged cries of the Academy instructors in the training fields with a class, whose class he barged straight through, Naruto ran full pace towards his old Classroom. He hadn't been back here for some weeks now and he was hoping he hadn't been forgotten.
Opening the door, everyone in the class turned to look at him. Smiling sheepishly he waved to Iruka before making a beeline towards Sasuke.
Iruka obviously objected. "Naruto, what the hell are you doing in here? You're not a member of this class anymore." Naruto ignored him and when he got to Sasuke's desk he presented the forehead protector to Sasuke.
"Hey, Bastard. I had this made for you. I figure the Uchiha must have come from somewhere before Konoha, and with your facial expression being so set, it must have been from this village." Here Naruto pointed to the symbol on his forehead protector. "Anyway, here you go." Before anyone could stop him or object, Naruto had somehow placed the forehead protector quite neatly upon Sasuke's forehead. Sasuke stared at Naruto with a blank expression. "I knew it, see your ancestors must've come from the Hidden Village of Deadpan." Chuckling at his own joke Naruto ran off, everyone in the class who understood what Deadpan meant was eerily quiet.
Iruka tried to keep himself business like. "This is all fine and well, but Sasuke when you graduate you will have to remove that forehead protector." Sasuke merely turned to Iruka, the forehead protector still in place and stared blankly. But what Iruka saw was a strange cartoon of Sasuke turning towards him where there was no particular expression except for -.-, with his forehead protector also looking like -.-. Quietly Iruka began to chuckle to himself. "Yes, well let's get back to our work class."
In the Hokage's office, spying upon Naruto's antics with a rather useful crystal ball, the Hokage contented himself to chuckle lightly whilst Sesshoumaru felt a small sense of foreboding appear. For Foxes have always been known as notorious pranksters, infamy on par with their fame for illusion. Sesshoumaru looked out the window, imagining being pranked in such a childish way by Naruto. Sesshoumaru's facial expression contorted slightly and a single phrase passed through his consciousness.
-.- 'This Sesshoumaru is not amused.'
Naruto was standing in front of Kakashi, Kakashi had decided to give Naruto some advice, for whatever reason. Perhaps it was because Naruto had somehow replaced his favourite book with a five year old's colouring-in-book and he was not happy. As such he thought he should give the child some advice, then see if he would be able to follow that advice. He had been thinking of how to get his book back without being killed for treason for a while now. While Naruto was hardly pulling any pranks anymore, as he realised it was unfair as he was basically now immune to repercussion, he still did the odd thing he thought was funny.
Kakashi had decided his retribution would come in the form of embarrassing Naruto publicly, for Naruto had stolen an age rated book, with graphic imagery depicting things someone of Naruto's age should not see depicted. As such he would threaten to let Konoha know that he was into porn, but in such a way that it would be obvious that to stop him from doing so, he would give Kakashi his book back.
After Kakashi had found Naruto and told him he had been seeking Naruto out specifically to give him some advice, Naruto was all ears, even if he was a bit weary as Kakashi obviously knew it was him who had stolen the book.
"Now Naruto, as you are becoming a Ninja, I feel I should let you know what one of the golden rules for Ninja is." Naruto's eyes sparkled in anticipation. "A good Ninja must always look underneath the underneath." Kakashi paused for Naruto absorb this information before he delivered his gambit. However Naruto's response came first.
Kakashi watched in puzzlement as Naruto seemed to forget he was there and stare at his hands. First Naruto took his first hand and lay it flat in front of him, then took his other hand and pointed out his index finger and put it above the first, then mouthing the word 'underneath' he moved his index finger underneath the flat palm. Then after having stared at this situation for a while, he turned the palm upside down with the index finger following, so that it was now above the palm. He then mouthed the word 'underneath' again, and moved his index finger to underneath the hand, on the side with the back of his hand. He then twisted his hand again, so that it was now how it was, moving his index finger with it which now came to be once again above his hand. After having stared at this arrangement for a moment he looked at Kakashi incredulously. "That's just the top again."
Kakashi wasn't sure whether to laugh or cry, this was not how it was supposed to go. "No, Naruto, underneath the underneath requires you to dig deeper. To find the secret within the secret." He was sure this explanation was more straight forward.
Naruto looked at him for a moment before shaking his head. "Nu uh, Neji-sensei said that two negatives is a positive so it's just the top again. You're thinking of just further underneath."
Kakashi decided that whoever this Neji was, he didn't like him. Blasted correct grammar, it's a metaphor for bleep's sake. Taking a calming breath Kakashi decided to approach the problem from an entirely new angle. "Damn it boy, give me my book back."
Realisation quickly dawned upon Naruto as he turned tail and ran. Kakashi cursed and decided it would just be easier to get a new one.
Author's Note, Read if you will review.
Okay, I'm spent for now. I was planning to get through everything involving Sesshoumaru in the first chapter, and make the rest primarily Naruto material, however I'm almost at 30,000 words here, I think that'll do for now.
Also, I am completely un-decided as to who would make a good teacher. Each character has their flaws and strengths and I've given a brief outline of how I see each, avoiding the tempting rant about how I dislike Kakashi, as at this point he has done nothing wrong. So, if you'll be leaving a review, give me your opinion on who should be their sensei, Why's aren't required but would be nice