AN: Yo! It certainly has been awhile. There are many reasons for the delay: Familial deaths, Financial and emotional deppressions. Health woes. Technical difficalties. Hurricanes...and so on and so forth. But in the end those are nothing but excuses. I hate excuses. I've probably lost some readers and I except that and to any I've angered I apologize. For those of you that have stayed Thank you and I hope this chapter serves as at least a start to making it up to you all. Now without further ado...
Ch.13 In the Art of Lamentations
She really didn't know what she was expecting. For the briefest of seconds Tsunade had thought that Naruto would have a beautiful breakdown of his emotional barriers, return her embrace, and accept her as his mother like they had never been separated. She would admit it was a stupid thought, but hey, a women can dream. Instead after her declaration of determination to never leave him, her son had disappeared from her grasp. Never had she thought that empty space could cause so much pain. The only thing that had kept Tsunade from a complete and utter breakdown was some surprisingly kind and encouraging words from the Kyuubi.
" Don't mind that. You should actually be very happy. After his emotions deserted him it took me years for him to have enough trust in me to allow me to hold him." stated Kyuubi softly.
" Why does he hate me." Tsunade's voice came out as nothing more than a pained whisper.
" He doesn't." Kyuubi answered bluntly.
" Then why shut me out?"
" It's his defense mechanism. I think your smart enough to realize that a life like his doesn't exactly allow someone to grow up with a trusting nature. The moment he saw the slightest indicator that you might betray or hurt him he put his guard up. A guard that, I'm sorry to say, even I haven't gotten through."
" Still, you don't know how discouraging it is." croaked a distraught Tsunade.
" Um, you try finding your soul mate in some one who has all the emotional empathy of your garden variety rock." grumbled Kyuubi. This of course caused Tsunade to blanch and a sharp gasp to escape from Shizune. It was one thing for Kyuubi to assist and ally herself with Naruto but for the former demon queen to have romantic interest in him was quite another. Tsunade's long suppressed but now storming maternal instincts, especially those dealing in her protectiveness came to the forefront in an instant.
"Hell no!" declared Tsunade bluntly, her harsh glare only matched a glare from the Kyuubi.
" Don't start that! You have no say in the matter, I love him and that's that. I'm telling you now for all our sakes don't interfere. I've been Naruto-kun's everything for the better half of a decade, don't think for one second that your gonna waltz in here and take me out of the picture. Hell if nothing else think about how much you coming after me will effect your reconciliation with Naruto-kun." With that Kyuubi and Tsunade engaged in a heated glaring match, and Shizune was treated to the first of what would become a series of stare downs between the two.
That had been three awkward and trying days ago. Tsunade and Shizune had been staying in the same inn with Naruto and company. For Tsunade it was such sweet torture as she was always within screaming distance of her son, yet the frigid distance the boy put up between them was beginning to become unbearable. Her sole salvation was the fleeting glances he would take of her when he thought no one was paying attention. She would fight temptation to shiver under his piercing gaze and put up a strong front. Her happiest moments were when he would call her Kaa-san subconsciously never noticing that he had. But still those happy moments were few and far between and despite her joy over their existence, she desperately wanted her son to call her mother, knowingly and whole heartedly. And every 'Tsunade-sama' that escaped his lips was just another reminder of the million miles between them.
If that wasn't enough, she also had to deal with the fact that Kyuubi, was closer to her son than she was. The logical part of Tsunade's mind was understanding of it, after all from what Kyuubi had told her the demon queen had been the only source of personal interaction and warmth for her son for quite awhile. However another part, a part that was stronger in Tsunade's emotional state, despised the idea, that the Kyuubi, the demon that was the very reason Naruto's life had been so horrible, would hold such a place in her son's world. Tsunade constantly fought a mental battle of reason vs. rage, in order to not do anything that she would regret.
A battle she nearly lost on the first night that the group had shared the suite. Tsunade being much too emotional and anxious to sleep, had been wandering around the suite. She was soon lured towards the room that Naruto had been staying in by the sounds of singing. As she had edged closer to the room her heart ached bitterly as she deciphered the song to be the lullaby she had used to calm baby Naruto. What drove the proverbial stake through her heart however, was the all too familiar voice that was serenading her son- it was her own. Tsunade had opened the door slowly to find Naruto being cradled in Kyuubi's lap as her spilled from the lips of said demon.
Tsunade saw red, indignant rage swelling up in her. Was that damned fox trying to replace her? Was all of the support, and "friendly" advice just a ruse too get Tsunade to let her guard down. All the while the vixen would slip her son's devotion and adoration away from her? No way in hell she would allow that to happen. Her fist clenched and she made to walk into the room. And in an instant, when the crimson eyes of the Kyuubi met Tsunade's chocolate orbs, apologetic sorrow swimming in the demon's gaze, Tsunade's rage quelled. Replaced by shame as the fog of anger cleared, and she was able to recognize the exhausted aura of the Kyuubi.
A silent message was passed in the gaze of the two women. Kyuubi didn't want to comfort Naruto by serving as a cheap imitation, she didn't want to be Naruto's everything. It was asking too much even for a legendary being. But more apparent was her desire for Tsunade to come and help carry the burden, for as damn heavy as it was, Kyuubi would die before dropping it. A small nod from Tsunade was the only indication that the message was received. And as she walked back to her own bed Tsunade's resolve was strengthened, she would be there, and she'd be damned if she was the one to let her son drop.
Two days ago a squad of ninja from Konoha that had come to investigate the battle, discovered and recovered Jiraiya. As expected the clash between the opposing forces had caused quite the sensation in both fire and tea country. Already rumors and stories swamped the two nations, not to mention the drowning of the town in which the incident occurred, in rumors. It was really how Tsunade had kept busy, simply wandering around the hotel, modifying her genjutsu to avoid detection from investigating shinobi, listening in on the varied stories around the conflict. Many fantastically false and some coming damn close to the truth. One of her favorites had to be the more outrageous tale of such a grand battle being a culmination of a love triangle. In which Tsunade was the kunoichi damsel stuck between an older admirer and her young lover. Never mind the fact that there had been titan sized animals and a legendary tailed beast present. Or the fact that Naruto at best looked to be the age of 14, though she would admit that in his demonic form his image did mature to his later teens. Tsunade always got a kick out of just how romanticized shinobi life was to non-shinobi.
She was knocked from her thoughts when an intense burning pain blossomed throughout her body and a bitter nausea worked it's way up from the pit of her stomach. She quickly ran into the bathroom of the suite she shared with the others, locking the door and quickly activating a silencing jutsu, she hunched over the sink and began vomiting copious amounts of water. All the while her body was ravaged by the same sensation she had felt three days ago as her strange savior's unique chakra charged through her body in volts. The porcelain of the sink was straining under Tsunade's ever tightening grip as tears began to pour from the eyes of the blond. Then as quickly as it happened the pain and nausea was gone. An exhausted blond fell to the floor, her breaths coming in desperate gasps. For three days she had weathered through such occurrences. She didn't know what was going on but she was desperate to keep it from the rest of the group. The last thing Tsunade wanted right now was to appear weak to a son that she hadn't seen in nearly a decade and was trying to determine whether or not to even except her as his mother. So far she had succeeded in her quest for secrecy though if the piercing gazes of the Kyuubi was any indication, said demon was beginning to suspect something.
As raised voices poured through the wall she quickly cleaned herself up and walked towards the voices. She found the source of the disturbance when she entered the main room of the suite. There, Karin stood nearly nose to nose with another red head, both shouting at each other in ever increasing decibels. Tsunade idly wondered if the two were siblings due to their bickering and apparently identical tempers.
" What the hell are you doing here anyway! Do you know how big a bitch fit Orochimaru threw when he found out that you were gone!" shouted the unknown red-head.
" Relax Tayuya-chan Naruto-kun was simply in need of my…services." replied Karin with a sultry smirk. A smirk that widened as the girl reddened in either anger or embarrassment.
" Look tramp just show me where the bastard is, it's important!" shouted the now identified Tayuya.
"Not with that attitude Ta-yu-ya-chan. All you'll do is piss him off." replied Karin in a teasing voice.
" Look Karin, I know you like to have your fun and fucking games but now really isn't the time! The damn hebi-teme is plotting something!" growled out Tayuya.
"Care to elaborate Tayuya?" cut in Naruto's monotone voice. The occupants of the room turned to find said boy leaning against the wall.
" Basically Orochimaru wants you out of the picture. He's planning an invasion of Konoha?"
" Is he nuts?" asked Tsunade incredulously. Tayuya turned towards the voice to find the blond sannin.
"Holy shit it's Tsunade!" yelled Tayuya pointing at the sannin as if she weren't real.
" Would you look at that she's getting more observant by the day! I'm sooooo proud!" gushed Karin.
"Screw you whore!" raged Tayuya her hand moving towards her holstered flute.
" Such language Tayuya! For shame!" scolded Karin mockingly.
"Enough." in an instant both girls were placated, as if Naruto's word alone could hurt them. Tayuya forgot about Karin, for the present anyway, and addressed Tsunade.
" You'd think so, but you know what the snake is like, he always has a plan. He's using the Chuunin exams as a cover. He's also poured honey in the ear of Suna to get them to join him. He's gonna find a way to get close to the hokage to kill him himself, then he figures after that there is no one even on his level. Except for maybe that perv Jiraiya. That's why I'm here, while rumors of the chaos around here are all over the place. All of them have a white haired man atop a giant toad, he sent me to come check out what had happened. Sounding real fucking pleased at the slightest possibility that someone took out the toad perv for him. Anyways like I said he wants to take out the old man himself and counts on having multiple summons and Suna's jinchuuriki reek havoc on the rest of the more combat ready resistance. After that the rest of the nin forces finish the mop up. All this is of course after he takes you out."
"Oh, and how does he intend to take me out?" asked Naruto, the tiniest hint of curiosity floating in his monotone.
" Basically me and the rest of the sound four are supposed to engage you with the help of the Suna container, supposedly if he's healthy Kimimaro will be in on it as well. He's counting on our teamwork, surprise, and the suna kid's power to overwhelm you."
"Why would he tell you though? He had to know that you would tell Naruto?" ask Karin.
"Actually no he wouldn't." came the voice of Kyuubi as she stepped into the room. Noticing the looks of interest she continued. " Think about the man your talking about. Orochimaru doesn't view his followers as people, more like chess pieces. He doesn't know or care about our lives and social circles. Any information he does have on his followers is through spies. And just how would he be able to spy on Naruto-kun? The spy would have to be skilled enough to get through both his and my demonic senses. They couldn't count on genjutsu because Naruto-kun would pick up on it in a second. The only ones in Oto who might have a chance at doing that are Kabuto and Orochimaru himself. And with Kabuto being Orochimaru's head Konoha spy, he wouldn't risk his life like that. Hell he probably doesn't even really know how strong Naruto-kun is, he's probably only guessing from the missions we've done. As far as who's friends with who, he probably is going off of what he had when he was training Naruto as his apprentice, that being that Naruto-kun's only friends were me and Kin."
" Well either way it makes no difference. It's apparent now that Oto has become too small for the both us to coexist." stated Naruto. Kyuubi only raised a slender eyebrow.
"You got a plan?" A cold smirk upon Naruto's face was her only answer.
In Konoha a weary and frustrated Sarutobi pinched the bridge of his nose in a futile attempt to stem the pain of yet another headache. Inwardly he pined for the quite confines of his office and the soothing comfort of his tobacco. More shrill screams alerted him to the futility of not only the nose pinching but the pining as well. Currently he sat at his spot in the council meeting chambers as all but a handful of council members yelled and argued with each other, seeming to have fallen into the belief that the louder they screamed the more plausible each of their ideas would become. Poor deluded fools.
It had been a day since the group that he had sent to investigate the disturbance along the border had returned dragging the mauled form of Jiraiya. It had really just been affirmation of his original thoughts of what the disturbance was. The moment his eyes had fallen upon the broken body of his student, a swell of guilt consumed him. He had immediately summoned Inoichi Yamanaka to make use of his clans mind walking abilities to find out what had happened, as doctors had made it clear it was unlikely that Jiraiya would be conscious anytime soon. Needless to say the reports that the clan head had given him left the old leader stricken with worry and no small amount of grief. It was a safe bet that any chance at peaceful dealings with Tsunade and Naruto was now shot, and to make matters worse there was a good chance that Tsunade was now going to join up with Orochimaru if only to be with her son. He was brought from his thoughts by the incessant wails of the civilian councilors. "Hokage-sama! What do you plan to do? We need to know! What are you going to do?"
"What can I do? We have no choice but to heed Naruto's warnings." answered the aging kage.
" You can't be serious Hokage-sama! It's obvious we need to nip this in the bud. Send out hunter nin to bring back the demon's head." cried out another civilian council member. Apparently he was one of the minority of people who still considered Naruto the Kyuubi despite knowing of the boys heritage.
" You want me to risk a war with Oto for your petty hatred. I think not. Besides how do you wish to justify the attack? Everything the boy did was in retaliation for our own actions. To pursue the boy now would only smear our reputation more than it already has been."
" How is our reputation smeared? Our we not still the strongest shinobi village throughout the nations?" declared a civilian member of the council haughtily, missing the glares sent at him from the actual shinobi members. He was answered by an undignified snort from the Hokage.
" How isn't our reputation smeared. It's bad enough that the rest of the shinobi world is aware that the majority of this village's council bends over backwards to the whim of a mere boy simply because of his last name. But add to that, a whole village, not just any village, the "great" Konohagakure, a place known for it's strength and family/team oriented teaching philosophies, going after a child because he came to the aid of his mother. The strongest of shinobi nations going to such lengths to kill a child. A child whose warped views, may I remind you, were created due to our own ignorance and bigotry. As if we haven't shamed ourselves enough by disrespecting our Yondaime's wish and creating such a monster to begin with. Now you wish to hunt down the "beast" of our own creation when he has done nothing wrong. As we speak there is a summons from the Fire Lord himself sitting on my desk requesting a meeting over what has happened. It won't be long before the daimyos from all of the nations know about how our village treated not only Naruto but Tsunade as well. We're about to be shamed in front of the entire shinobi world and you wish to exacerbate it." The room was silent at the usually stoic mans diatribe.
" Why do you have to tell the fire lord anything? Or better yet simply tell him that the demon attacked Jiraiya-sama."
"Foolish man. The daimyo is always accompanied in such meetings by an advisor who is trained in the art of lie detection his entire life. Even a kage would be remiss to try to utter a falsity in the presence of said advisor. Not to mention the fact that even trying to lie to the daimyo is tantamount to an act of war." snapped Koharu at the idiocy of such a thing. Deep down she was relieved that Sarutobi was seeing reason and not trying to hunt down Tsunade and her child. She had feared that seeing Jiraiya in such a state would break her teammate's rationale. "Besides how do you wish to "kill the demon" as you put it. Must I remind you of the condition Jiraiya-sama, arguably the strongest loyal shinobi serving Konoha, is in after an encounter with the boy." The silence in the room was deafening, not much could be said no one wanted to hear the list again. It was disturbing enough the first time. All but one rib broken, both sides of his jaw were shattered, collar bone snapped, severe lacerations across the torso and arms, ruptured ear drums, severe damage to the kidneys and liver, multiple stab wounds indicative of impalement, and a severe concussion. Of course this wasn't to mention the down right demolition of the toad sage's legs, if, and it was a big 'if', the man ever walked again he would never achieve the mobility he once had. What frightened most was that the hospital staff's report had stated that Jiraiya had signs that he had been healed into the state that he was in, which meant the initial beating had been worse. Seeing no argument the aged women shot a glance at her kage teammate and received an appreciative nod in reply.
" That's what hunter nin are for! Just send them in mass!"
"Do you know the amount of casualties that will cause! I'm telling you right now, no member of the Inuzuka clan will accept such a mission!" snapped Tsume Inuzuka. Members of her clan made up roughly half of the active hunter nin corps, the more skilled half if one listened to popular opinion. No way she would watch her pack members for all intents and purposes commit suicide.
" Rest assured Tsume I would not ask much less force such a thing from anyone. In fact, let it be known that as of this moment Namikaze Uzumaki Naruto is to be ranked an SS-class threat in our bingo books. Any shinobi of Konoha are instructed to flee on sight in any circumstance in which they come into contact with him. Furthermore given the dangerous grounds we are on with the boy, any shinobi that ignores that order and engages Naruto will be charged with treason that is assuming the boy doesn't kill them. And you members of our esteemed council do not think that you are excluded from this. Any action that is taken that would raise the ire of the boy, including targeting Tsunade, who I'm pained to admit will be marked as an S-class missing nin, will be seen as treason and whoever set the action in motion will be executed. As it stands the moment Danzo is found he is to be put to death and his root members locked away." With that said the Sandaime rose from his seat and left the council chambers.
" Wasn't he the one talking about how bending to the will of a child would sully our reputation? This makes it seem like our entire village lives in fear of one child." stated the Kurama clan head.
" Hell, I don't know about you, but if I'm going to bend to the will of a child I'd rather it be one that I have genuine reason to. Besides, I for one am terrified of the destruction that could be wrought by that boy. " stated Akimichi Chouza.
" Just think about it. He really wouldn't have to do a thing. All he would have to do is loose the Kyuubi and it'd be that horrible day all over again." added Yamanaka Inoichi.
" Speak nothing of the fact that of the only two people skilled enough to possible seal the demon, one is currently incapacitated." droned Aburame Shibi.
"And what pray tell would we seal the Kyuubi in? With the way Naruto was treated no parent in there right mind would offer their child as a container. We've truly dug ourselves a deep grave." offered Hyuuga Hiashi. Koharu rose from her seat and made to leave.
" Yes we truly have. If we aren't careful it will be by our savior's hand that we are buried.
Tsunade stared blankly at her son. To say he had a plan was an understatement. The boy had obviously always been ready for Orochimaru to betray him. And as much as it made her queasy to admit it, it was obvious that a small part of Orochimaru's cunning and ruthlessness was indeed passed on through her child's studies. Never had she contemplated the slightest scenario in which she would willingly step foot in the same country as her serpentine team mate, and try as she might she couldn't help the small ember of guilt for joining up with him. A man whose openly proclaimed his desire to destroy the village of her ancestors.
As much as she despised the people in that village, nothing could erase the fact that her grandfather and great uncle had indeed been instrumental in building that village from the ground up. Still she had finally found her child, he may have been born of the union of Minato and Kushina, but he was hers. She'd have no problem letting the two know this should she ever meet them in the after life. The blood of the Uzumaki and Namikaze ran through his veins but by the blood of her ancestors he was as much a Senju as she was. At that thought Tsunade smiled warmly as she watched as Tayuya and Karin argued over some point or another in Naruto's plan as the boy and Kyuubi looked on quietly. Maybe it was time that the Senju name became synonymous with another village. After all, if everything worked out, sound was going to need a new hand to guide it, and what better hand than that of the new Senju. She was brought from her thoughts by a small burst of smoke were she had been observing her son.
She bolted to an upright position noticing that of all the occupants in the room only Kyuubi seemed unsurprised. "What the hell!?" Kyuubi seeing the question mirrored in the faces of Tayuya and Karin simply raised a disinterested eyebrow.
"What? It's a shadow clone. I'm sure you've seen one before."
" Since when has he been a clone!?"
" I dunno probably around last night."
" Where the fuck is my son Kyuubi!?"
" Where the hell do you think he is?" Tsunade's eyes widened in realization as to the most likely place her child was.
"Naruto?" the name came out bitter from the lips of Sarutobi as he observed the boy as he sat in the chair behind the Hokage's desk. The boy himself did not even acknowledge the old man's presence, he continued the light drawing of his bow over the stings of his violin the light yet mournful melody floating about the room. Immediately the old man's disposition brightened. " How are you Naruto? I can hardly say that I expected to see you again."
" Cease the faux exuberance Sarutobi. We both know you are anything but happy to see me right now, and I assure you the feeling is quite mutual." At the narrowing of the old man's eyes the blond demon spoke again. "Don't even try to signal you guards Sarutobi, as you'll find they are quite unconscious."
" I assume you didn't come to chat Naruto."
" To put it simply. I want what is mine."
" I beg your pardon?"
" Don't play with me old man you won't like the results."
" Is that a threat?"
" It's a fact."
" You really think that you could defeat me? I'm afraid the power of the Kyuubi has gone to your head boy." Naruto didn't even flinch at the veteran ninja's cold tone.
" Think what you will. I ask you a single question though. Regardless of my ability to defeat you, or lack thereof , do you think your precious village could handle a kage level battle breaking out in the middle of it?" The wavering of the old man's glare was all the answer Naruto needed. " Give me my inheritance old fool. Keep the lands of my naïve father, all I want are the scrolls and monetary resources that are owed me."
" Simple greed Naruto?"
" Believe what you will."
" Either way, I can't just give Konohan property to a foreigner Naruto."
" Don't even try the 'Konohan property' bit old man. Maybe we should take this dispute to the fire lord. See what is stronger in right, my blood, or you sense of entitlement." Inwardly Sarutobi winced, it wasn't uncommon for disputes over clan and village rights to be decided by the daimyo, and as much as Sarutobi hated it, in this situation blood would win out over allegiance. Especially if the land of Rice's daimyo got involved. He couldn't even play the missing nin card as Naruto wasn't a ninja when he left, it was then that an idea struck in the genius mind of the "professor".
" I'm sorry Naruto but as per the terms of your father's will you obtained the rank of chuunin. We both know that you are beyond that but the law doesn't work on opinion. Officially, you weren't even a ninja when you left and judging from your lack of a hitai-ate you aren't an official ninja of Oto are you?" The ever small narrowing of the blond's eyes had Sarutobi grinning inwardly. He really did feel like garbage for further forsaking Minato's child but for the good of the village he couldn't let such valuable scrolls go, especially to a village with Orochimaru as it's leader. Make no mention of the Namikaze fortune. Naruto for one was miffed. Sure he could just go back to Oto and be given the chuunin rank but that would require Orochimaru's approval. The snake sannin wasn't stupid, never had Naruto asked or needed ninja certification, for the blond to request it would definitely hint at something. Besides it would throw a wrench in the snakes plans for Naruto's involvement in the chuunin exams, therefore it was impossible. However, the way that the old man had worded it…
" I see your point Sarutobi, and you can rest assured that I will earn the rank of chuunin at the upcoming exams." the blond finished with a small smirk. Sarutobi visibly winced, he hadn't really thought about it, but everything he had just said, did indeed shoot down any protest Konoha could have used to block Naruto from competing in the exams. He had no criminal record against Konoha, he wasn't ranked as a ninja over that of genin level and despite his power, as Sarutobi had stated the law and there for the rules only acknowledged ranks by official means. Sarutobi ignored the mental gamesmanship
" Is there anything else I can help you with Naruto?"
" Seeing as despite your best efforts I know the identity of my parents, I'd assume there was some sort of correspondence left behind for me. A fool or not from what I'm told my father was the sentimental sort."
" It pains me to hear you speak of your father in such a manner Naruto. Although it's understandable, surely your rational enough to understand the need of what he did. You shouldn't hate him for it." For the first time, the music that drifted through the room stopped. Silence thundering.
" I don't hate him Sarutobi…I simply think he was foolish, and idealistic. Besides he isn't to blame for my torture at the hands of the villagers."
"Well I'm glad to see you seeing rea-" Sarutobi was silenced by Naruto leveling a cold stare directly into the kage's eyes. The first eye contact between the two in over half a decade.
"You are." Sarutobi was treated to a level of pain that he hadn't experienced in his career as a shinobi. No blade or jutsu could possibly cause such a reaction, yet for all it's grandness it was so simplistic in design it was sickening. The pain of failure…or rather, the pain of having the consequences of your failure thrown right in your face. Whether it be razor edged words or a cold stare. " My father made me into a jinchuuriki this is true, but it's you who made me who I am today. My father didn't have any idea of how the villagers might react. In his naivety, he chose to place his faith in the villagers he had grown up with, the kind souls that he was greeted by every day of the week. But you…you had proof of the village's hate. Time and time again. Yet you refused to allow kaa-san to take me to freedom. You insisted on my staying in a place that despises me. Then you even had the nerve to help take my last shield away from me, you forced kaa-san away. The gall to act surprised every time I ended up in the hospital. To act disappointed on the occasions that I tried to defend myself. To discipline the few that would help me. And to top it all off…every time I lay in a hospital bed, you'd smile…smile and ask me to forgive them. Forgive! Be patient! They're only doing this out of pain! They're still hurting!" Naruto's breaths came heavy now, the relief of venting working it's ways through his veins. His shouts gave way to soft whispers again. " I was hurting too Sarutobi. But, I did forgive…time and time again…the only one I never forgave was you Sarutobi. Never." The blond's eyes fell away from his deadlocked gaze with his one time grandfather figure. Silence fell upon the occupants of the room. Unspoken words hanging around their necks like a noose.
" I'm sorry you feel that way Naruto, I truly am. Just know that I always had your safety in mind."
"Like announcing my heritage to the village and practically the whole world after I left. Do you know how many minds I had to alter and or destroy to keep Iwa away from me? How many genjutsus cast to keep higher ups in Iwa thinking that the son of Minato Namikaze is a myth, a mere intimidation tactic by Konoha." Sarutobi winced, it had been a mistake that much he knew. In his grief over the attack on Naruto and his subsequent kidnapping he had told the boys secrets…his status as a jinchuuriki, detailed reports on just how badly he was treated and finally his heritage. It was meant to instill shame and regret into the village, and it had for the most part, but not until after it was done did a grief stricken Sarutobi realize the effect of the news on Naruto.
"I realize I made mistakes, for which I can never make amends Naruto…but rest assured I've always had the best intentions. "
" The road to hell is paved with good intentions Sarutobi." retorted the blond. Sarutobi only heaved a weary sigh, before slowly and grimly walking towards his desk. The blue eyes of Naruto stayed trained on the old kage watching for any sign of foul intentions. Sarutobi slowly nipped his thumb and ran blood over one of many blood seals that kept his desk drawers locked. He pulled out an ornate storage scroll and with no fanfare whatsoever dropped it on the desk before Naruto. The boy himself simply nodded slightly before placing his violin back into it's case, retrieving the scroll and walking towards the balcony. The air of nonchalance that the boy used both annoyed and worried the old hokage. Turning his back on a kage was a foolish thing to do, yet Naruto did not come across as someone who was overconfident. As the boy neared the window the old kage's voice cut the silence one more time.
"You know Naruto…if things continue the way I fear they will…one day…I'll have to stop you." while reluctance hung heavy in his words, there was nothing grandfatherly about the Sandaime at this point. He was simply a ninja leader warning a potential enemy. Not pausing a second Naruto walked out on the balcony and jumped towards the crowded streets below, his appearance changing as he fell. Still his last words drifted into the office and into the ears of Sarutobi.
"One day old man…you'll die trying."
AN: I had originally planned on leaving off here. But due to the obscene time between updates. And more so to those who constantly asked for updates on the stories status, who while sometimes annoyed me, also encouraged me that this was worth writing. I think I can manage a bit more.
Tsunade sighed as she lay on her bed, time had seemed to drag on forever since learning of Naruto's venture into Konoha. Paranoid thoughts of all the things that could go wrong flooded her mind. She knew in a way that it was simply maternal protectiveness that was doing this to her, though knowing that didn't really help much as she was still constantly on edge waiting for her son to return. Her sole distraction was watching Shizune study every nook and cranny of a storage scroll. It had been a gift to Tsunade from Minato, a scroll that took from the premises of Kakashi's summon scroll, she used it to keep Tonton in when making journey's that didn't favor having her pet around. The blond's apprentice had been more than a little miffed at not being informed of the scroll's existence and all the times said apprentice had been stuck hauling around the swine in her arms.
A rush of what was becoming a now familiar pain and nausea broached her thoughts signaling another attack. As the attack began Tsunade warily eyed Shizune across the room. Shizune was probably the one person she couldn't let find out about said attacks, second only to Naruto. She may have been guilty of being mousy and timid at times but the short haired apprentice was fiercly protective of her master, especially if the threat to Tsunade's well being was Tsunade herself. With this in mind Tsunade gathered up as much composure as she could find within herself and calmly stood. With an iron mask of indifference and gritted teeth Tsunade tried to calmly excuse her self from the room only to fall to her knees as the pain sky rocketed to a new high.
In an instant Shizune was by her fallen master's side only to be blasted away by a burst of golden chakra. Her master's shriek of pain was the only thing that shook Shizune from the stupor the landing had left her in. Shizune leapt to her feet and approached her master again. As she approached the yellow chakra again lashed out, Shizune planted her feet and held her ground as it encompassed her. Only for her to share in Tsunade's misery as jolts of pain worked it's way through her body through seemingly every nerve. Her hellacious experience was cut short when she felt the hands of her master on her shoulders before she was launched away with a push. Shizune cried out in pain as she smashed her way through the door and into the main room of the suite. She landed in a bone jarring heap dazed via impact but still concerned for her master's safety.
As expected in a residence in which two trained kunoichi and a fox demon stayed, a near immediate response was mounted and the dark haired medic nin was soon staring up at the faces of Tayuya, Karin, and Kyuubi. She ignored Karin's attempts to start healing her, Tsunade being the only thing important at the moment. "Help her! Something's happening with Tsunade-sama! It's that chakra!" Her calls were unheeded as the oto kunoichi instinctively looked towards Kyuubi for orders. Said fox demon only narrowed her eyes towards the direction of the sannin.
"That chakra…I knew I felt it." Kyuubi turned towards her two makeshift squad mates. "Karin patch up Shizune and get her out of here. Tayuya. Would you be able to put up barriers on your lonesome. Specifically something to mask and contain sound and chakra?"
" Fuck, it won't be nothing unbreakable but yeah I can do it why?"
"Because if I'm right this is going to get very messy and very serious, very quickly. I'm going to lead Tsunade in here then you lock us in got it." A simple affirmative was given by the two girls as Karin disappeared with a struggling Shizune and Tayuya quickly summoned her doki and positioned them around the room.
Tsunade's breath came rough and shallow as she braced herself against her bed. The pain had completely encompassed her consciousness at this point, numb to anything but the misery. Well, that and the feelings, the rage and sorrow that had become a cyclone around her heart in days past now swelled to drowning depths. Dark and caustic thoughts raged in her mind and her logic was losing a battle to keep herself calm and in an instant, when "It" walked into her room, logic failed her. With what could only be described as a cross between a roar and cry the sannin crumbled into a ball as another wave of golden chakra encompassed her again. When the chakra receded a trembling Tsunade struggled to her knees, body still being rocked by pain.
"Oh Tsunade…"was all that left the demon queens lips at the sight before her. Formerly pale blond hair was now a deep dark golden blond with white streaks adorning it, her dual ponytails now stretched to just above the back of her knees. While maintaining her famed figure Tsunade had developed a lither, more slender frame. What could only be described as claws had sprouted from her hands. Chocolate colored eyes, where now gold in color, above them her seal matched the color change. . Tsunade's now golden orbs soon met the red eyed stare of the Kyuubi. And rage was all Tsunade felt.
It was her.
"Tsunade what happened?"
" Why didn't you say anything?"
The one responsible for it all.
" You should have told me or Naruto-"
"You would have liked that wouldn't you!"
The one taking her son away from her."
"Just another reason to leave me behind!"
"That's not true Tsunade you know that." Tsunade's answer was a snarl of pain and rage at what her swirling mind told her, was the root of all her problems.
"No one…No one is taking Aiji away from me!" A thunderous roar sounded at Tsunade's declaration as the floor in front of the wayward sannin exploded. From the rubble burst forth what could only be described as monstrous thorn bearing branches. They raced their way towards Kyuubi tearing the room asunder, Kyuubi dispelled her initial surprise in just enough time to avoid being impaled by the branches. However, as she dodged more branches bloomed from the original shooting off in multiple directions, spearing random parts of the room and branching off even more. Kyuubi utilized every ounce of her natural agility and cunning to avoid being skewered but was still effectively driven from the room turned thicket. As she retreated into the main room she noticed Tayuya's doki in a triangular formation around the bulk of the room. A rumbling sound pulled her attention back to the door, or rather what was left of the door as thousands upon thousands of branches burst forth from Tsunade's room taking out an entire wall of the suite. Behind them a haggard looking Tsunade staggered in.
"What the fuck!" came Tayuya's cry from the far corner of the room.
" Never mind that do it you fool!" At Kyuubi's order Tayuya shook off the stupor and entered a long series of hand signs.
"Sanzaru no Shouheki! (Barrier of the Three Monkeys)" Immediately the three doki formed 'ram' signs as light blue energy burst forth from their beings. The energy stretched and morphed until it formed a triangular prism than encompassed most of the room, more specifically Tsuande and Kyuubi. Tsunade's features morphed into a sad expression, to the surprise of Kyuubi and Tayuya.
" So you show your colors now." Tsunade's voice both held both tremors of sadness and edges of rage, resembling that of an enraged angel or a lamenting demon. The sannin put on a truly betrayed expression. "You don't want me near him…why?"
"Tsunade get a hold of yourself! You know that isn't the case. You're under a lot of stress right now, that's understandable, but there is no plot, no plan, nothing."
" Lies! You've held your lot in life as his everything! You did your damnedest to replace me!" The branches ceased their attack on the room only to launch an all front offensive upon Kyuubi. Said demon queen could do little more than duck and dodge with every ounce of her ability to avoid being skewered. Even then it was only through the use of her tails and claws that she had not been impaled. After another close call Kyuubi jumped onto the ceiling of the room and charged towards Tsunade. Her charge was halted when as one the veritable forest that the room had become shot skyward crashing into the ceiling. It was but sheer luck that Kyuubi had avoided being run through, but that was the extent of her luck As she could not avoid being ensnared by said limbs and driven into the ground. Outside of the barrier as before Tayuya could even think to aid Kyuubi, limbs burst from underneath her position and rushed her into the wall. Tayuya incapacitated the doki and her barrier dispersed in a rush of smoke.
"Why are you taking him from me?" the sannin's voice was broken as she despondently stared at Kyuubi. Inwardly Kyuubi wondered if tsunade really had any control over the limbs as even in her calm state the room was run rampant on.Or even if Tsunade was even really aware of what she was doing.
"Stop lying to me. I saw you with my own eyes, heard you with my own ears, you wanted to replace me. You selfish demon. You're the reason his life was destroyed in the first place." Tsunade's cold calm whispers set Kyuubi's mind ablaze. Long since buried insecurities and wounds were slowly being reopened. " Everything was stripped away from him simply due to his association with you. And then you have the nerve to desire to be all he has left. You monster." Tsunade's now dead orbs stared straight through Kyuubi, searching for some unknown vindication from and unknown source. Kyuubi for her part did a commendable job at hiding most of the emotional wounds that the sannin had opened during her diatribe. Gritting her teeth as the limbs around her constricted even harder she glared at the sannin.
"I did what was necessary Tsunade. When all he wanted was a friend, I listened. When he needed the guidance of a sensei, I taught. And yes, I'll admit, when he needed the affection of a mother, I was there, and I gave him that." She ignored the pain that sprouted through out her body as thorns slowly bloomed from her bindings. " I love him Tsunade, and I did everything I could to ensure his happiness. Even if it did mean being a mere replacement." At this the thorn's stopped in their growth and in all actuality began to recede. Kyuubi looked up and was met by a teary-eyed stare from Tsunade. Just as the sannin looked to be ready to speak she cried out and fell to her knees clutching her head. The dark brown limbs disengaged themselves from Kyuubi, leaving her battered and bloody form on the floor as they again began to ravage the room.
"Why doesn't he love me? I-I want my son back. That's all, I just want my naru-chan back. I didn't want to leave him, I didn't have a choice, the looks were a misunderstanding…" the blond sannin continued to ramble, sobs racking her every word. She had curled into a ball of misery at this point, yet for the tranquility of such sadness the room still raged as the wayward branches continued to ravage the room.
This was the position blue eyes found her in. Babbling and sobbing, miserable and hurt. The room had been turned into a veritable forest by now. Self loathing and shattered dreams almost palatable in the air. And it hurt. And he knew why it hurt. Familiarity could be a painful thing, burying dredged up memories, his own self loathing boiled over. It was in excusable really. In his own cowardice of rejection he had put her through the same type of pain. And it was this thought that Naruto made his decision.
Tsunade lay on the floor pain still racking her body and in an instant it was repelled by warmth. She felt herself scooped up into someone's arms. Cracking her tear marred eyes open she found herself staring into the blue orbs of her son. Her tears began anew a few seconds later when Naruto cracked a small but inherently genuine smile, and pulled her into his own hug. "Kaa-san…my kaa-san."
AN: Well there you guys go. Hopefully this is up to the same quality you've come to expect and I've come to demand. Once again I can only apologize so much for the delay and only promise to try to do better in the future. Take Care.