Shadowed Leaf

A Naruto Fanfiction

by Marc Weinstein

Standard disclaimer: I don't own Naruto, Naruto Shippuden, or any of the characters or settings created by Masashi Kishimoto. All original characters and lands and the like however, are mine.

Author's note:

That's right gang.


See the post-notes for more information on why I've been gone for so long, and awaaaay we go!

Uzumaki Naruto smiled as he continued his trek alongside his perverted sensei Jiraiya. After three long years, he was about to reach the gates of Konohagakure no Sato- The Village Hidden in the Leaves. The home he hadn't seen in thirty six long months.

The three year trip had done Naruto a world of change. Although he still wore orange, it was no longer so bright that you could see it from space, and now sported black as it's trim rather than blue. He had grown considerably, losing his baby fat and his hair, though still wild, no longer looked like a spiky sea urchin. In all truth, he now more than ever, greatly resembled Namikaze Minato, the Yondaime Hokage.

"So Naruto, You planning to celebrate now that you're back home? You've been more rambunctious than I've seen you in a long while. You've been talking about being home again almost non-stop since we headed out." The perverted old toad Sanin asked with a smirk.

"You gotta ask? I'm going straight to Ichiraku's, and then I'm gonna go see everyone, and give Obaa-chan the good news that the next Hokage is back in town, Believe it!" The blonde said with a smile and a laugh, pumping his fist into the air.

While Jiraiya and Naruto were laughing their way home, however, something that would shake the very foundations of everything Naruto knew was occurring at the gates of Konoha.

It wouldn't seem like much at all. Just another boring day for the two nin posted at the gates to Konoha. Visitors came in, Ninja went out. Occasionally some stopped to chat with the guards or vice versa. In all truth, there hadn't been much of any kind of trouble since the Chuunin exams three years ago when Orochimaru duped the Hidden Sand into aiding in an invasion of Leaf. So when the stranger walked through the gates giving off an aura of such tight control and giving off a coldness not seen in the village since Uchiha Itachi, their hackles immediately went up, as did their guard.

"Hold it." One of the two guards said. "State your business." The other readied a Kunai in case things got violent. For a few moments the stranger in the cloak gave no indication that he- or was it a she?- had even heard them. The guard was about to repeat his demand when suddenly a slip of paper was held in front of his face. He hadn't even seen the stranger move. But he took the paper nevertheless and looked it over. His eyes widened, prompting a confused, questioning look from his comrade.

"Let'im through." He said. "According to this, we have a visiting Nin from an old allied village that hasn't been in contact with Hi no Kuni in over fifteen years. Here to see the Hokage." Nodding, the other guard holstered his Kunai.

"Hokage tower is near the center of town. If you want, we can get you an ANBU escort." the now unarmed guard stated, to which the stranger nodded silently. A few minutes later, the ANBU, and the still unidentified stranger were on their way towards the office of Tsunade, the Godaime Hokage. A few minutes later, the two were back at their station, conversing between one another.

"So where's he...she...whatever. Where's that Nin from?" Asked the still somewhat confused second guard.

"Believe it or not, Kurayami no Kuni." Said the first which made the second sit up and take notice. And with good reason. Kurayami no Kuni- known to some as simply the Land of Darkness- was a land far to the west of Earth and Wind Country. It was practically uncharted territory that only those few who were willing to venture to the strange land would go. The First Hokage had brokered an alliance with it's shinobi village, the mysterious Kagegakure no Sato- The Village Hidden Within the Shadows- shortly after founding Konoha. It was said to be the unknown Sixth Great Shinobi Nation. However no Daimyo presided over it, and little was known about who actually ruled that country. What was known was that the leader of Kage was called the Ketsukage- The Blood Shadow. It was also known that Kage had never send Ninja out to any of the exams for promotion, preferring to hold it's own personal exams for it's Nins. Although the country and village were quite large, they felt they weren't truly involved with the other Ninja villages because of the fact that at least two other countries separated Kurayami no Kuni from the rest of the Shinobi nations: Kinzoku no Kuni- The Land of Metal, and Ameori no Kuni- The Land of the Rainforests. Both countries were separated from the rest of the known Shinobi world by a massive valley of mountains, and travel between Kage and any other nation would take well over a week and a half just to cross the two countries to get to the mountains, followed by another week to cross the mountainous region that brought one to the rest of the Shinobi nations. As such, to see a nin from Kage in this part of the world was exceedingly rare.

"Tsunade-sama's gonna have a conniption fit over this, you know that right?"

The two could only chuckle at that. As such, they only barely registered a pair of Nin enter, and it took them half a moment to register who it was, and then did a dual double-take.

"Was that-"


"He's changed. I barely recognized him."

"Tsunade-sama's gonna want to hear about this." A grin and a pair of light chuckles. "Let's give him a bit to settle in first."

Naruto was feeling fairly content with life. After three years he was home. He had successfully completed his training under Jiraiya and he was of the belief that he had grown significantly as a fighter and as a person. He still had that manic personality, but it was somewhat calmer, more subdued, and even a bit more mature. He'd gotten a chance to meet with Konohamaru, Moegi and Udon, and gotten the chance to see his old teammate Sakura again. And even in that, Naruto realized that he had changed. While he still cared for Sakura, it was no longer the feeling of a twelve year old crush. Sakura was more like family now than a potential girlfriend- though there was still some of his old infatuation there, so he supposed that this could very well change in the future, barring anything impeding it. About all he really hadn't gotten the chance to do yet was to visit Tsunade, who he had been told had been very busy due to the arrival of some nin from a country he hadn't even heard of. Ah well. Later then. Actually, probably tomorrow. He just hoped that this visitor wasn't some messenger nin delivering a declaration of war. It was bad enough having fought a mini-wars during Orochimaru's attempt at annihilating the village. Between that and his promise to retrieve Sasuke from the snake bastard, he really didn't want to end up being told he'd have to fight an entirely unknown quantity in the form of Shinobi from a country whose name had never even been uttered in his classes at the academy before.

knock knock

Naruto turned towards the door to the outside of the apartment complex in which he lived in surprise. Who could that be? Nobody outside of a small, select few even knew he was back. He strode to the door as another knock sounded and opened it. Just beyond the portal to the world outside his home, was a familiar looking Chuunin, with a scar over his nose.

"Iruka-sensei! What brings you here so late in the day?" The blonde said with a wide smile. he hadn't seen Iruka since the funeral for the Sandaime Hokage. The man was like the older brother he'd never had, and the feeling was- despite appearances during his time at the academy- mutual on Iruka's part. The brown haired teacher simply smiled wryly before replying.

"Wish I could say it was a social visit, Naruto, but I actually came here because Tsunade-sama needs to see you. Said it was really important. I happened to be at the tower after handing out a few missions to the old crew and she asked me to bring you over."

Naruto blinked. he had planned on seeing Tsunade as soon as was possible, but figured she was still busy with stuff. Now she was requesting he show up at Hokage tower? This was either for a mission that only he could handle, or else she just wanted to slug him for that prank he'd pulled before he left for the trip with Jiraiya. Probably both. He smiled a bit, though mentally gulped at the thought of the Hokage's freakish strength, and nodded. "Sure, lead the way." he replied.

She didn't need this shit.

She really didn't need this shit. Not now. She had been Hokage for three years now. And beyond remembering that paperwork was the bane of the existence of every Kage in every village, what Tsunade hated the most was weird-ass surprises that came out of nowhere and blindsided her. Konoha had a vast information network. Jiraiya, her fellow Sanin, had one that actually put that of the village itself to shame. And to think, she spent all this time getting a party ready for Naruto's birthday tonight, and now this!

Well, at least this meant he was getting a present early.




Sort of.

The cause of the Hokage's current migraine-in-the-offing was the cloaked Nin standing in front of her desk. Said Nin hadn't moved an inch since arriving and handing her a very interesting set of scrolls. She was just about to snap at said shinobi to at least sit the hell down because she was creeping her out when a knock sounded at the door, followed by the immediate entrance of Iruka and Naruto, and Tsunade broke into a grin for the first time all day. Her surrogate brother was home, and he looked to have grown up very well. He'd lost the baby fat, and while he still wore orange, it wasn't 'kill me' orange. He had a confidence to his gait that was no longer just brash recklessness, and his blue eyes sparkled in mirth at seeing her again. He grinned, and then fairly launched himself at her, much to her shock, grabbing the Sannin in a hug, which after half a second, Tsunade returned with a chuckle.

"Welcome home, ya brat." she said, ruffling his sun-kissed hair. He just smiled as he let go of the hug and then laughed as he replied with an irreverent "Look who's talking, ya old hag!" Tsunade was tempted to nail him to the wall for calling her old, but just smirked and mentally waved it off.

"So, what is it you wanted to see me about? I figured you were gonna be busy all day and I didn't think you needed me for any missions just yet, seeing as I've been gone for so long and all."

Tsunade's smile faltered a bit and she sat back down even as Naruto had rounded the desk and had given a glance to the odd, cloaked figure who was watching his every move. All he could make out of this person was a pair of eyes the same color as darkness itself, with no whites. It almost looked like a reverse Byakugan, which was, obviously, all white. But at least with the Byakugan you could determine the regular whites of the eyes from the cornea! In all honesty, it creeped him the fuck out.

The two stared at each other for a moment. Tsunade cleared her throat and the two turned back to the Hokage.

"First off, Naruto, I'll be honest when I say I don't understand too much of this situation yet but this Nin came here from Kurayami no Kuni. The Land of Darkness isn't often spoken of here in Konoha because the country is so far away and because Iwa has been trying to find a way to close off the one known pathway to that country, though they haven't had much success. The Land of Darkness plays home to Kagegakure no Sato." Naruto boggled for a moment at the name, which caused a stronger smile to form on Tsunade's face. Shizune, the loyal assistant to Tsunade for years on end, also smiled. Naruto was so fun to watch when he made such ridiculous faces. But that was always just going to be part of him. They both just had that feeling. Tsunade was reminded vividly of Naruto's father. She still wasn't sure why he had never referred to him as this. But then again, she frowned mentally. It was very possible that Naruto didn't even know of his own heritage. There weren't too many who did, but she had been almost sure her sensei, who had looked at the boy as like a second grandson, would have...but with the enemies Minato had gained over the years...

"Kage allied itself with Konoha just after it was founded by the Shodaime. However because of the excessively long trek between the two nations, the alliance was tenuous at best. They also had an alliance with Suna, though I have no idea if this holds true anymore. Suna is actually closer to them than we are, but all I know for certain is that they still consider themselves allies of the Leaf." She then gestured to the Nin beside Naruto.

"This Nin is Okami Athan. And...well...I guess you can call this something of a birthday present..." Tsunade said. Naruto's eyes widened. He had COMPLETELY forgotten what today was! But then his eyes narrowed as he turned towards Athan, as Tsunade had named this strange Nin. Said nin 's cloak fell away, revealing a girl who he guessed to be about his age, with a facemask that resembled Kakashi's, and a weird looking Hitai-ate. Her hair was stark silver. And looked much more shiny than Kakashi's. She wore protective armor, but it was fairly clear that she was already possessed of a good figure, though there was no question she took the job seriously.

She dropped to one knee, a palm on the floor and head bowed in his direction.

"Ohayo...Uzumaki-dono...It is an honor to finally be in your presence." she said in a surprisingly attractive voice. Again Naruto boggled. This time at the honorific she had attached to his name. Uzumaki-DONO?! He thought in shock. Whatever comment he was about to throw out to vocalize his stunned disbelief was lost as Tsunade decided to finish what she was saying before Athan introduced herself.

"She's here because according to a very large amount of things I don't even know where to start getting into and because of her people's religious practices...she belongs to you."

Glossary for those who need it (Or just want a reminder):

Shodaime Hokage- First Hokage
Sandaime Hokage- Third Hokage
Yondaime Hokage- Fourth Hokage
Godaime Hokage- Fifth Hokage
Sannin- Legendary Three Ninja
Hokage- Fire Shadow
Ketsukage- Blood Shadow
Konohagakure no Sato- The Village Hidden in the Leaves
Kinzoku no Kuni- The Land of Metal
Ameori no Kuni- The Land of the Rainforests
Kurayami no Kuni- The Land of Darkness
Kagegakure no Sato- The Village Hidden within the Shadows
Okami- Wolf
Hitai-ate- Forehead protector
Athan- This is actually not a Japanese word, it is Greek, and means Immortal.

The Unenviable Author's post-notes!:

Yes, after a two year absence from the fanfiction scene, I have returned. I know, I know. Most of you want to smack me for not updating my Nuku Nuku fic sooner. But I have a valid excuse. Over the last few years, I've been working on writing a book and getting it published. I ultimately had to get it self published in a VERY small POD print run. I'm still trying to sell the copies I have, as they were all shipped to me from the manufacturers. It's the first of a series, and shortly after I succeeded in getting the first book published, I began work on the second, and promptly ran out of a way to get my ideas for the second book in the series from my brain to the word processor, so I began working on the third book in the series, and I've been gathering research materials for it. During this time, I got kinda plugged into watching Naruto. I decided to make my grand return with the start of a new fic.

I should note that I was inspired to use the name Athan from reading A Time for Wild Horses by Jose Argao, when he explained what the word was from and what it meant. But no, this is not a crossover fic. ...Not yet at least, and at the moment it's not intended to be. This might change during the course of writing it.

Anyway, I hope to get the next chapter out soon. This was just the start of what I hope will be my longest fanfic ever.

Also, anyone interested in buying a copy of the book, email me!

At this point Godzilla pops up and waves

Godzilla: Don't forget to review!