Summary: Naruto makes a choice. One few people saw coming.
AN: I do not own Narutoverse (anime/manga) or the characters. I am not making any money writing fan fiction.
Warnings: There is no yaoi/slash in this fic but the pairing is Itachi/Naruto. Unlike most fics where Naruto is female (born or changed) I decided to make Itachi female. Want to know how? Read and find out.
...ooO Beginnings Ooo...
A lone figure clad in the trademark red cloud black cloak of the Akatsuki waited under the stunted pine tree.
A small purple frog with orange markings appeared with a poof bearing a scroll.
The Akatsuki knelt to take the scroll. A bitten thumb swiped against the blood seal allowed the scroll to be opened and read.
"Do you know what the scroll contains?"
The frog nodded. "Hai. Jiraiya says it is time to clean house."
A slow nod was the response the Summoned creature got. "Tell Jiraiya I will be ready."
Three months later one particular Konoha shinobi worked his way through a pile of paperwork in the Hokages Office.
Tsunade sighed and studied the spikey blonde head, guilt and anger filling her heart.
"I cannot change your mind, can I." It was a statement, not a question.
Naruto lifted his head. Usually bright expressive blue eyes were polished stones. "Iie. I worked my ass off for this village. I nearly killed myself to bring Sasuke back alive and the village and council nearly executed me for hurting their precious Uchiha traitor!" He shook his head. "I cannot take it any more Baa-chan. I gave and gave and hoped and hoped that one day the village would see me as more than just the Kyuubi but now I see it is a futile dream."
"Like your dream to be Hokage?" Tsunade challenged the Chuunin. Of all his friends only Naruto was still Chuunin; mainly because Konohas Council refused to support recommendations for his promotion to jounin rank.
Naruto smiled sadly. "It is a fools dream. If they cannot see me after all I've done... I took down two Akatsuki down all by myself you know. And the Council insisted on giving credit to those ANBU you sent since a mere Chuunin could never defeat an S-ranked nukenin! And those bastards didn't show up until everything was over!" He pinched the bridge of his nose. "I trained for months to fight them you know... To survive, to bring Sasuke back." He straightened his back. "Well... Sasuke is back in Konoha, Orochimaru is dead, Itachi is presumed dead, Akatsuki is no more. I see no point in staying."
Tsunade scrambled for something... Anything.
"But what about your friends? What about Hinata?" She knew Naruto had started dating the Hyuuga Heiress few months after he returned from his second training trip with Jiraiya.
Tsunade shivered as the temperature literally dropped in the room. Naruto shifted slightly before speaking. "I suppose you haven't heard but Hinata broke up with me." A vicious grimace twisted his lips in a caricature of a smile. "Her Clan could not tolerate her continued association with one such as myself.
"Since that seems to be the common belief in Konoha I'd rather take my tainted self away from this village so they no longer have to suffer my presence."
"Don't feel sorry for me Baa-chan. Just sign the damn papers and let me go."
"But what if I give you a free travel pass?" Tsunade tried to get the blonde to bend.
"No thanks. Travel passes means I'm still tied to this village. I don't want to owe anything to Konoha!" Wood splintered under clenched fists. "I'm dying bit by bit here Baa-chan! If you don't let me go I am probably going to snap and start killing like Gaa'ra used to."
Tsunade studied the boy, no the man, she loved as a little brother. Most shinobis generally had a counselor or at least friends they could talk to but Naruto never did. He could not open up to the regular counselors who looked upon him with disgust and loathing. The Old Rookies were acquaintances, not trusted friends. The only one he confided in would be Jiraiya because the Gama Sannin put his student above Konoha. In recent years Naruto had pulled back from everyone in the village, Tsunade Shizune and Iruka included. He didn't trust them to give him a higher priority than the village and he was right. Konoha came first.
Tsunade nodded slowly. "Give me two hours. Send Jiraiya to me as soon as possible."
Naruto rose and bowed his head before vanishing in a swirl of air and leaves.
Tsunade pulled out a particular scroll and unsealed several thick files, reports on the attacks and assassination attempts one Uzumaki Naruto experienced at the hands of Konohans, attackers that were never prosecuted or punished. Her anger and distaste grew. The best revenge she could get was to make sure her little brother got free of Konoha, free without the idiots on the Council marking him as a nukenin.
A sly smile curled her lips as she considered the best way to do this.
She was lost in thought when a cheery greeting brought her to reality.
"You called Tsunade-hime?"
"Oh, Jiraiya. Yeah, I wanted to see you." Her expression turned sober. "Has Naruto talked to you? About what he wants?"
The Gama Sannins expression turned very neutral. "About resigning his shinobi status? Hai. And if you have any brains and common decency you'll help him."
"But he will never be able to return--."
Jiraiya interrupted her gently but firmly. "He doesn't want to. Even I can see he has no reason to. You and I are respected and highly sought after whenever we return to Konoha after a long trip. Naruto... Naruto only gets spit in the face and attacked, his property is stolen or destroyed. He is only human Tsu-hime and all humans have their limits."
Tsunade nodded slowly. "I understand that Jiraiya, but I don't want Naruto to be marked as a nukenin and put in the Bingo Books. The Council must not have any legal means to go after him."
Jiraiyas expression turned very serious. "Strip him of his shinobi status and Banish him. Get the Daimyo to revoke his citizenship status." Tsunades eyes went very wide. "Don't worry about him. He already has honorary citizenship in many other countries, Wave and Spring included. Even Suna if he needs it. But don't let anyone find out until it is a done deal and Naruto is out of Fire Country."
A chill ran down Tsunades spine. "But that is so... final."
"His father would not want this. Sensei would not want this."
"They are dead and have no say. We are alive." Jiraiya was brutal in his honesty. "Frankly I'm more concerned about Narutos sanity than old promises that were never honored or ones that should never have been made." Seeing her hesitancy Jiraiya softened. "He will always call you Baa-chan, he will never cut ties with Tsunade. Just with Konoha."
Tsunade nodded. "All right. I'll do it."
Tsunade heaved an internal sigh of relief. Just the usual closing comments and this bloody council meeting would be over!
"Godaime-sama, there is a matter of concern that has not been addressed."
Tsunade turned cool eyes to the sweaty fat civilian, some guild head. "Really? What is it that has you so concerned?"
"Uzumaki Naruto." Tsunade raised an arch brow. Taking this as an invitation to continue the civilian continued. "He has been missing from Konoha for some weeks now. According to the mission reports he has not taken any assignments that would take him outside Konoha. No one has any information on his whereabouts. I would like to move to have him marked as a nukenin."
Honey eyes iced. "Uzumaki Naruto is of no concern to this Council."
"Uzumaki Naruto is of no concern to Konoha and Fire Country. I have discussed the matter with the Daimyo and he agreed with me. Naruto has been stripped of his shinobi status and Fire Country citizenship." Cold eyes stabbed each of her most vehement opponents. In the past she had to tread lightly, fearful that they would retaliate against her loved ones but now she had no hostages. Jiraiya and Shizunes were the only ones she still cared for and both were not vulnerable to the Council machinations. "My last communiqué put him in Nami since he accepted the honorary citizenship they pressed on him for saving their country from Gatou when he was a mere genin."
Hyuuga Hiashi stilled. "Godaime, you can't be serious! You let the-"
"I let the shinobi who was betrayed time and time by his own comrades and this village leave with his honor and freedom intact." Tsunade smirked. "The Daimyo agreed with my decision. He felt Sarutobi did very badly by giving into this Councils demands and turning a blind eye to the inhumane treatment Naruto received growing up.
"The two of us decided it is illegal and dishonorable to execute a loyal shinobi for the crime of being too strong, but since neither of us wanted to force Naruto to stay in Konoha, and take the chance of him snapping under the unrelenting blind hatred of the ignorant bigots who live in this village. If he ever gives in to the rage that any human in his shoes must be feeling at this point he will be far more destructive than the Kyuubi because he has the mind, intelligence, and allies of a Human." She felt pride, satisfaction seeing the terror on their faces as they realized just what they had created by their actions. She took a long sip of water before continuing.
"Uzumaki Naruto is currently based out of Nami as a bounty hunter and he has agreed to avoid Konoha shinobi and Fire Country. He has sworn he will not attack any Konoha shinobi or Fire Country civilians unless he or his is attacked first. And I trust his word of honor more than I trust most of you." Her smile was more of a deathheads grin. "If he kills or maims any Konoha shinobi it will be considered as a righteous kill due to interference on Konohas part. Unfortunate but expected due to our shinobi lifestyle." The smile bloomed into full vengeance. "In addition, Princess Yuki of Snow Country now known as Spring Country has given Naruto citizenship in her country as well and appointed him as a Royal Liaison; she has given him diplomatic immunity status usually given to ambassadors. Any country that has a treaty with Spring has to respect that. That includes us since the daimyo is not willing to risk losing cheap foodstuff imports from Spring Country."
Several faces turned several shades whiter when they realized the full implications of the Godaimes words. Uzumaki Naruto was out of their reach. They could not touch him without being executed for treason by the Hokage and the Daimyo. Uzumaki could go to their enemies and sign up as a mercenary or even register as a shinobi and they could not do anything!
Nara Shikaku shifted uneasily. "Godaime, this was not a good decision--."
"Oh I agree Shikaku. It completely sucks for Konoha. We lose a powerhouse, a shinobi who killed two S-class nukenins on his own, one who was completely devoted to Konoha, the one who changed my mind about becoming Hokage, but you know what…?" She leaned forward. "I don't care! You fucked up big time. If it comes and bites Konoha in the ass well whoopty-doo!" She leaned back in her chair. "If you are so scared spend your own money to hire shinobis but don't expect them to return." She studied her polished nails. "Naruto is very very good.
"He's never been given anything in his life. He's always fought and shed blood sweat and tears to develop his skill. No chuunin instructor or jounin in Konoha bothered teaching him a damn thing. He had to teach himself the basics that most Academy students are drilled in, bits and pieces of whatever he found in different places or cobbled together through observation. Unlike spoilt clan brats who had the full benefits of specialized teachers, clan techniques, and early training." Several councilors winced at that jab regarding Uchiha Sasuke. Satisfied the Godaime relaxed minutely.
"He has no reason to stay in Konoha. His first girlfriend broke up with him and given the way most people feel about him he will never find another one and have his own family. His friends have abandoned him, only going to him when they need help, never supporting him or his dreams. This council has refused to promote him to jounin despite all his successes. He succeeded in bringing back a traitor who was promptly reinstated and promoted above him while he was fined for using 'excessive force' for defending his own life! The few people who do care for him have their own lives and concerns. Would you stay in such a village?"
Several of the Clan Leaders turned away shame faced. Everyone knew it was wrong, reinstating the Uchiha after such light punishment for such a serious crime, for punishing the one responsible for retrieving the precious Sharingan kekkai genkai, but none had supported the furious Godaime. They did not wish to use their political leverage in what was of little import to them. The representatives of the minor clans that did support the Hokage (Inuzuka and Aburame) were smiling sadly.
Tsunade shook her head. "This matter is closed. If I find anyone authorizing missions concerning Naruto. Even ones to change his mind I Will Execute the one responsible, Clan head or no." Cold eyes settled on Hyuuga Hiashi. "Any shinobi who accepts such missions will not receive any medical treatment from Konoha medics and subject to one month in Ibikis tender care. Any medic-nin who dares treat the shinobis involved will be stripped of his or her license. All involved will have their chakra vessels sealed for two months and subject to six months of D-class unpaid missions." Eyes were wide at the harsh defined punishment. "Unlike Sarutobi-sensei I Will Enforce This.
"The Daimyo fully supports me on this matter. And do not imagine you can hide anything. With Akatsuki gone Jiraiya has decided to devote his intelligence gathering to traitors and law-breakers within Konoha. He is especially keen to track all those who would dare harm his student, most likely his only living student since he will never teach another from Konoha."
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