Naruto: Between Light and Darkness

Chapter 9: Reasons

- A/N -

"Sample" Human talking

'Sample' Human thinking

"Sample" someone putting extra meaning in a word

"Sample" Demon or demonic jinchūriki speaking

'Sample' Demon talking in a jinchūriki's head

TheBarefootBandit - I am not really a huge fan of Sasuke's eitherr, but when I thought about it I realized I did like him before Orochimaru sunk his fangs into him (literally). So really I suppose, for me at least, it's Orochimaru's influence on Sasuke I don't like. I know what you mean about random people in fics that show up just to be killed within that same paragraph. I hate that too so you will be happy to know that I won't do that too often unless the people are literally utterly random unnamed ninjas. Anyone that gets named stays around for a while at least. And Jiraiya will be in here, rest assured. P.S. It is impossible to bore me, I have literally watched paint dry... and I am convinced staring at it does make it dry faster.

Adele19 - I figured it was time I slip an "Aaaaawwwww" moment in there. I couldn't resist.

Hebi R. - no problem I know how it goes.

Kyuubi Fanatic - Oh Ryuu does know that Naruto has the fox and Naruto does know that Ryuu knows because of Rya. That doesn't mean that Ryuu knows that Naruto knows he knows... follow me?

Libello - I am working on the "missing chapters" and hopefully they won't be missing for much longer. And don't worry romance there will be, but it needs to finishing budding before it can actually blossom.

Sorry, this took so long (again), but life is cruel and I don't have as much time to work on ths story as I once did. Don't worry I am going to finish it, but it will take longer then expected. To those that reviewed thank you, to those that haven't thanks for reading I hope you decide to review this time. On with the show, please do enjoy your stay. That is all...

- Oto, Field Nine -

Naruto sighed in a depressed manner as the three teenage members of Team Ryuujin trudged through the dark forest that surrounded Oto. Sasuke was grumbling in a similar manner to his right. Tayuya glared at them both, they hadn't told her about what they had heard last night so she thought they were just sulking about today's training. Honestly Naruto didn't really think Tayuya would care about the mission, she had already been in Konoha several times for missions after all.

Ahead they could see a clearing that Naruto guessed was field nine. As they got closer his guess was confirmed when they spotted Ryuujin pacing back and forth near a large recently half-melted and still smoking boulder and Rya sitting on another one not far away. The moment they walked out of the forest into the training ground Ryuujin stopped pacing and turned to regard them, probably thinking about how he was going to tell him and Sasuke where the mission was going to take place.

Tayuya started walking right to the dark haired man calling out a happy, "Good morning." To which Ryuujin nodded and Rya waved. Naruto and Sasuke both lagged a little in reaching their sensei and red headed team mate.

"Now that you are here," Ryuujin began, "I will tell Tayuya what you two already know."

It took a few seconds for Naruto to fully understand that sentence and when it sank in he gaped at the man. 'He knew we had been watching?! How? When did we give ourselves away?' Suddenly a sick sinking feeling hit Naruto in the stomach. 'If Ryuujin-sensei had known we were there then maybe Orochimaru had known too. Maybe he had only picked this mission because we were there...'

"What do you mean what they already know?" Tayuya asked, then turned to them angrily. Naruto flinched as her angry eyes locked right on his. "You were hiding something from me?!"

"Calm yourself, Tayuya. They had their reasons." Ryuujin said almost robotically. "We are going to be running an infiltration mission in Konoha. The objective is only information gathering, but this is still an A rank mission considering our at war status."

"K... Konoha?" Tayuya gasped. "You have to be fucking kidding." She glanced at Naruto and Sasuke. "We can't 'infiltrate' Konoha with these two on the team! Someone will recognize them for sure! We will just end up getting killed!"

Ryuu closed his eyes. "I understand the risks perfectly, Tayuya, but this mission was given to us by Orochimaru personally. We have very little choice in the matter." Tayuya mumbled something under her breath that even Naruto's sensitive hearing couldn't catch. "Do not worry I have already thought out some possibilities for hiding our presence."

"But..." Tayuya looked worriedly at her two teammates. "Ryuujin-sensei..."

"I understand your concern, Tayuya." Ryuujin looked at the two of them as well. "Believe me when I say it is shared."

Naruto sighed. He figured he knew what was bothering them so he decided to just get to the point. "We aren't going to suddenly turn against you, promise."

Ryuujin blinked, then much to Naruto's utter bewilderment he actually chuckled. "That was not my concern, Naruto-kun."

"Then what..?" The blond started asking, but was cut off by Tayuya who was standing with her hands on her hips in an annoyed way.

"I swear Sasuke is right, you really are a dobe." The redhead sighed in exasperation. "We are worried about you, not about you changing sides in the middle of a fight. It's your old village. Doesn't this bother you?"

"Well, yeah, but sometimes that happens..." Naruto mumbled and looked down at the ground in front of him. "Ninja don't always get missions they agree with, but that doesn't mean they just can't do them. Right?" He looked at Sasuke.

The dark eyed teenager nodded. "Right." He said with a smirk. "Maybe you aren't such an idiot after all."

Both boys turned back to Tayuya and Ryuujin with confident faces. Ryuujin nodded approvingly. "We are leaving in an hour. Go get your gear and meet at the east gate." He disappeared in a puff of smoke and Rya dissolved into liquid and disappeared. The three teammates looked at each other and nodded. It was time to get going.

- Konoha -

"Well, at least it should be easy money." Ino said and crossed her arms. "What is the worst that could happen?"

Sakura scowled at her oldest friend. "Don't make me answer that. I can think of several things that could go wrong."

"That's just because you're a pessimist." Ino said with a mocking glint in her eyes.

Sakura bristled. "I am not a pessimist, Ino-pig!"

"What did you just call me?!" The blond shot back.

"You heard me!"

"I should rip you apart you little..."

Shikamaru decided now would be a good time to zone the two girls out. Their pointless bickering always gave him such a headache. He sighed in annoyance, girls were so troublesome. Add to that the fact that Kakashi was nearly an hour late and you had yourself a real annoying situation.

He glanced around one more time to see if their team leader was coming then shrugged and decided to make himself comfortable. He flopped down in a shady patch of grass next to the village gate and stared skyward trying his best to completely ignore the two fighting girls. Which was a very difficult task, Ino seemed utterly intent on ripping Sakura's face off by pulling her nose and Sakura had a firm grip on Ino's pony tail.

He sighed again. 'Why did I sign up for this again? No amount of money was worth dealing with the two of them for more then five minutes much less five days.' Easy. That was the word used to sucker him into this. It would be easy, just a short range patrol with higher then normal pay. No worries. Kakashi forgot to mention that Ino and Sakura would be within thirty feet of each other the entire time and so would be spitting insults or glaring.

Oh well, nothing to do now except wait for their apparently chronically late leader to arrive. He had been slightly surprised at first when the jonin wasn't here when they arrived. Then he was even more surprised when he wasn't here when it was time to leave. Now for some reason an hour later he wasn't surprised at all when a loud pop and a puff of smoke signaled the jonin's arrival.

"Sorry about that, guys, some lady asked me to help her carry groceries in and..." Sakura cut him off.

"You're a terrible lair Kakashi-sensei!" The pink haired girl growled.

The masked ninja coughed. "Well then why don't we just get going?"

Shikimaru sighed. He had just got comfortable too. How troublesome. Oh well, might as well get this little camping trip underway. At least it would pay well and minus Ino and Sakura it should be relatively easy...

- Oto -

"You do know how bad of an idea this is, right?" Rya asked his pale skinned creator. They were in one of the training rooms, alone. Ryuu always some how found a room that was empty when he didn't want company. Rya just didn't care if he wanted company or not, he was going to talk to his creator about this crap mission.

"Yes." Ryuujin replied robotically.

"Then why are we even doing it? It could break those kids, Ryuujin. We might even have too..."

Ryuu's fist slammed into the wall in front of him causing it to exploded in a shower of red hot pebbles. He shouted in a voice that sounded like a wildfire given form and meaning. "Don't you think I know that already?!" After a moment of heavy silence the man raised his hand and stared at it. "I know the risks well, Rya. Kami knows I have been running them the entirety of my very long life."

Rya sighed and crossed his arms. "All that time though it was only your own life you were playing with. This time it's different. Those kids are your responsibility. They are trusting you with their lives."

The original continued to stare at his hand until finally closing it into a tight fist. "I know that. Which is why we have to do this. I won't risk them in some pointless game of defiance. I am far too old for such childishness."

"You sure you're not playing a game anyways?"

"Life is a game and one that in the end you always lose. The only thing you can do is evaluate the chances of success with your current objective."

"So you put your faith in a couple of kids you haven't even known for a month instead of putting faith in yourself?" Rya sneered.

Ryuujin sighed. "You don't have any faith in them do you?"

Rya snorted and leaned against the opposite wall. He was an uncaring and partially insane monster made out of human blood and he knew it. He had no qualms about telling his creator exactly how he felt. "I have faith in what they could become, not in what they are now."

"That is because you can't understand humans. You are just an interpretation of humanity not the actuality."

Again Rya snorted in an uncaring manner. "So what? Even if I am a fake I can still see what is and what isn't a good idea and taking those two back to their home is just asking for trouble."

"You overlook even the simplest of things, Rya." Ryuujin crossed his arms in thought as he stared blankly into wall. "You put faith in logic alone, if how you think could be called logic, and if I did the same I would have to agree with you here. It would seem like a better idea to attempt to run, rather than to risk them turning against us for the sake of a memory, but I have respect for them. Respect for who they can become and respect for who they are now. That is all I need to put my faith in them."

"Respect?" Rya snapped, finally having enough of his creator's philosophical attitude. "You haven't known them long enough to have respect for them! You just met them as far as this is concerned! If I were you I would just..."

Rya cut off as his creator turned to face him. His normally cold, emotionless eyes practically glowing with restrained anger and elemental energy. "But you are not me, not really. I made you that way on purpose. But I admit I have not known Sasuke-kun very long, certainly not long enough to trust him in a situation like this, but Naruto..." Ryuujin's eyes became unfocused as memories came back to him from a time that seemed almost ages ago.

'Hey, Ryuu-kun,' A tall blond man called as he swaggered up to him, 'glad you could make it. Wouldn't be much of a party without your crystal clear logic to kill the buzz would it?' The man asked with a laugh.

'I still fail to see the issue with my inability to get drunk...' He responded.

'That's the issue exactly! You need to get drunk at least once in your life and I swear to Kami I will find out how much it takes for you even it ends up being all of Miuro's stores!' Ryuujin opened his mouth to respond, but was cut off.

'Minato, aren't you going to introduce me to your handsome friend?' A female voice asked drawing their attention to it. The mentioned shinobi instantly drew the young lady into an embrace. After he set her down she was blushing deeply and mumbled something about not being so affectionate in public.

Ryuujin noted that the young woman was strikingly beautiful. Possessing long seemingly perfectly straight red hair, deep emerald green colored eyes, and what he would of guessed to be considered a flawless body. On her forehead was the headband of a ninja from the Land of the Whirlpool.

'Ryuu-kun this is my future wife Kushina Uzumaki, Kushina-chan may I introduce the world famous Hisaki no Ryuujin!" The big blond said with all the formality of a bard introducing a great king.

The young woman's eyes opened wide in surprise and she made a fumbling attempt at a handshake. Ryuujin politely returned the gesture.

'It's... it's an honor to meet a ninja as skilled as you, sir.' She stuttered.

Minato rolled his eyes and chuckled. 'Hey, what about me? I fought him to a draw after all!' His chest puffed up in pride.

'You probably just got lucky.' Kushina said bluntly causing Minato to deflate like a balloon with a hole in it. His young friend looked to him for confirmation of the deed.

Ryuujin chuckled lightly and nodded. 'Boastful as Minato is at times, he did battle me to a draw. I would be lying if I did not say he is one of the best shinobi I have ever had the pleasure of facing.'

'There see, straight from the man himself. Thank you, Ryuu-kun.' Minato gave a mock salute.

Kushina glared at her soon to be husband. 'Don't get too full of yourself. There is always somebody better.'

Minato laughed. 'I know that, its rule number one after all. Go on, we will join you after we get done reminiscing about old battles, seeing who chopped more opponents in half, and other boring man things.'

The red head made a face and stuck her tongue out at Minato before politely saying goodbye to Ryuu.

As soon as she was out of ear shot Minato turned to Ryuujin and grinned. 'Did I find myself a firecracker or what?'

Ryuujin watched his friend's young lady carefully for a minute or two. Eventually the blond frowned and poked his snaked eyed companion in the ribs. 'She is already taken Ryuu. Go find yourself another girl if you want some that bad.' The blond raised a glass of what Ryuujin assumed to be saki to his lips and started draining it in one go.

Ryuu glanced at him then shrugged. 'She seemed more then willing...'

Minato coughed in his drink and turned a disbelieving stare at his old friend. 'Did you just make a joke?! In the name of Kami we are making progress! There is hope for you yet!'

Ryuujin smiled slightly and shook his head then became quite serious again. 'It is a boy, in case you were wondering.'

Again his friend half choked on his drink. This time so bad Ryuu had to smack him on the back.

'What did you just say?' He wheezed.

'Your child, it's a boy.' The dark haired man responded nonchalantly not even glancing towards his friend.

'Why... when... how did you..?' Minato's eyes narrowed. 'You aren't going to tell me how you know when we haven't told anyone else are you.'

'No.' Ryuujin said flatly and took a drink from his own glass.

'You're sure though? It's a boy?' Minato asked hopefully and he smiled when Ryuujin nodded. 'A son, huh?'

They sat quietly for a time just drinking together. After a while...

'Naruto!' Minato said with finality.

Ryuujin raised an eyebrow at him. 'The hero from your sensei's books? It hardly seems appropriate for a child to be named after a...'

'Come on, it's perfect!' The blond almost shouted with joy.

The snake eyed man shook his head. 'Naruto...' He thought about the name for a moment, it did seem right for some reason...

'Hey... Ryuujin... you made it...' Minato smirked up at him from the bed he was lying on. He was deathly pale. Ryuujin froze at the sight of his young friend.

'What happened?' Ryuujin asked when he finally regained his self control at seeing one of his few true friends in such a state. The village outside had been a wreck, half of it was in flames and the rest was mostly rubble. Something horrible had happened...

'Kyuubi.' A tall white haired man in a red and white outfit said sadly while staring at the bed ridden blond with lost eyes. Jiraiya, Minato's sensei.

As Ryuu got closer to Minato's bed he realized the man was in far worse condition then he had at first thought. He should by all rights be dead. His life aura flickered pitifully in Ryuu's unnatural sight, like a flame just before it went out. He looked at the young man with a sadness that was rare for him and asked a silent question.

Minato laughed. 'I couldn't...' He coughed blood, an ANBU medic quickly began working on the big blond, but he waved the ninja off weakly. 'I couldn't beat it... so I sealed it with that jutsu...'

Ryuujin didn't need to ask what jutsu, he had helped Minato develop it along with Jiraiya. 'You idiot...' The snake eyed man spoke softly. 'How are you still alive then?'

It was a fools hope, but maybe the big moron was just joking with him. By Kami please let him be joking! That jutsu was supposed to kill you instantly once the sealing was complete.

'He wanted to see you.' Jiraiya said flatly. 'He refused to... to go...' The white haired man chocked on the words, 'until he got to talk to you.'

Ryuujin stared at the young man in disbelief. The pain he must be in had to be nearly unbearable.

'You... always told me... I was a stubborn dobe... Ryuu-kun...' The blond wheezed and grinned again.


'I don't...' Another cough and more blood. 'I don't have much time... Ryuu-kun... so I will... get right to it, yeah?'

Ryuujin just nodded. He couldn't find his words right now.

'I had to seal... the fox in a person, Ryuu-kun.' Minato began. 'It was the only thing... I could do...'

'Naruto...' Ryuu said softly causing Minato to let off a rasping laugh.

'You did always... always know how I thought, snake man...'

'What do you want me to do?' Ryuujin asked.

Jiraiya straightened in alarm, apparently he hadn't known this was why Minato had waited for the serpent man. Only Minato would endure inhuman pain just to ask a favor. Ryuujin smiled weakly and kneeled down next to his friend, taking one hand in a firm hold. Minato smiled back, his fingers closing around Ryuujin's hand slowly.

'I won't...' The cough this time brought more blood then the last two, he was getting worse. 'I won't tie you to this village... you would chase me to Hell just to beat me to death for... doing that to you... I want you to promise... if you ever meet Naruto on your travels... or if you ever come back here... would... would you teach him what you can? Would you train him for me?'

Ryuujin was silent for a moment before placing his free hand on his heart. 'I swear, Minato. What of Kushina?'

The blond shook his head and mumbled. 'Gone.' Then he turned to an older man that Ryuujin recognized as the Hokage from before Minato had taken over. 'Sarutobi ...' He wheezed and the old man came forward quickly. 'Looks like you get to be Hokage again, old man...'

'I take no pleasure in the knowledge, Minato.' Sarutobi spoke in a subdued voice.

Again Minato laughed. 'I want you to promise me something... as well...' Sarutobi nodded slowly. 'Try and make the villagers see... see Naruto as the hero he is... not the monster he keeps at bay...'

'Yes...' The old man said simply.

'Hey, sensei?' Minato asked as he looked up at the ceiling.

Jiraiya smirked sadly. 'Yes, Blondie?'

'Sorry I never got to finish reading your new book... I hate that.. new characters guts though… the one with the birds nest hair cut… I hope you kill him off in the next book…' The blond said with a grin. Then the smile began to fade and he looked at Ryuujin one last time. 'Goodbye... Ryuu... -kun...'

Ryuujin watched the life aura flicker, fade, then it vanished. He saw the light drain from the bright blue eyes and closed his own to keep the tears from coming. Minato wouldn't want to be cried over. He opened his eyes again slowly, almost painful, and place Minato's hand on the bed at his side. With a heavy heart he closed the eyes of one of the greatest men he had ever met...

"Ryuujin?" Rya asked worriedly.

Ryuu shook his head to clear his thoughts. "What?"

The blood clone blinked in surprise. Ryuu never lost his train of thought. "You were saying something about Naruto..."

Ryuu thought for a minute then shook his head again, slowly this time. "I have known Naruto a very long time, longer then you might think. Long enough that I know I can trust him with this."

Rya looked doubtful, but something about how his creator had said it kept him silent on his doubts for once. "If you say so, Ryuujin..."

- A/N -

Admittedly a lot of story and no action is really what is happening right now, but hey can you feel the suspense building. Guess what even I am not really sure what is going to happen on this mission, I have ideas but nothing is concrete. Until next time! That is all...