"Naruto," Sarutobi whispered under his breath.
The black clad figure stiffened at the name and the Hokage knew his suspicions were correct.
"You are Naruto, aren't you?" He questioned.
Naruto looked at the old man and nodded curtly. Sarutobi trembled and felt his eyes started to water. He was so happy to see the little boy that always ran around pulling pranks and begging for ramen was alive and in good health from the looks of things.
"I'm glad to see you again. You've been presumed dead these past six years."
"Considering the way this village treated me that's not a surprise." Naruto spoke evenly, causing the old Hokage to flinch.
That had been one of Konoha's dirty little secrets he wished to forget about. However, hearing about it from the boy's mouth brought another question to his mind.
"If you are bitter with this village then why have you returned?"
"It has what I need and I plan on getting what I want." He answered calmly.
Sarutobi tensed at his words, "You plan on forcefully taking what you want?"
"No, I told you I have information in exchange for what I want. My demands are citizenship, housing, and training in the ninja arts."
Sarutobi made his way back to his desk and took a seat, motioning for Naruto to do the same. The young assassin stepped closer to the desk, but chose to remain standing. Pulling his pipe out from his desk, he lit it and took a few puffs before turning his gaze back to the boy in front of him.
"Your citizenship is still in effect since you aren't dead. Housing could be arranged, but why ninja training? From your demonstration earlier you are already skilled."
"My skills are in stealth and recon. My combat skills are purely defensive and what few ninjutsu I do have act as an aid to my primary abilities. Considering what I am forced to deal with I will need skills more fitting for a combat scenario."
"And where did you acquire these skills?" The Third Hokage asked as he took another puff from his pipe.
"I can't share that information." Naruto answered.
"Can't or won't?" Sarutobi pressed with an edge added to his voice trying to intimidate the boy before him.
"Both, I can't tell you due to my vows of secrecy and I wouldn't tell you even if I could." Naruto answered, matching the Hokage's stare and showing no fear.
"Then how do I know you aren't here to harm the village?"
"Thirty seconds," Naruto replied. Reminding the old man how long it took for him to be found. Had Naruto come with the intent to harm the village he had thirty seconds to kill their leader and throw the village into disorder.
Sarutobi nodded his understanding, "Fine, I'll leave your past alone. But, I will not be so willing to help you now, you understand?"
"If you're trying to guilt me into feeling ashamed you're wasting your time. I'll not give away anything pertaining to my past."
Sighing, Sarutobi brought his hands to his head and massaged his temples, trying to stave of the approaching headache. "Then let us get to business. I retain the right to decide whether or not your information is worth your demands."
Naruto narrowed his eyes but nodded his consent, "To start things off I know of the Kyuubi."
The old man's eyes widened, "Does your information relate to the demon?"
"Yes, it has come to my attention that an organization, Akatsuki is trying to collect all the tailed beasts for their own devices."
The Third Hokage narrowed his eyes. He too had heard rumors of such a group, but even Jiraiya, head of a notorious spy network hadn't been able to find out too much about the group.
"I see you know who I'm talking about," Naruto commented.
"Indeed, this information is most definitely valuable. What can you tell me?"
Naruto paused to think over his answer. He didn't want to give to much away opting to save some details as leverage in case he ever needed it. Taking a deep breath, he chose to give the Hokage the most basic of information and see where things went from there.
"They are a small group, no more than a dozen members and all of them are Kage level. They've been laying low collecting funds for their little quest. I'm sure you've heard of Wave Country."
"Yes, we sent a team there to aid the country. The team leader told me that the businessman responsible for Wave's level of poverty was assassinated."
"Gatou was merely a pawn, one of many. The organization would provide the muscle for these men to get to power and then would take a little off the top from their profits."
"Well this certainly explains your demands. You seek combat training to protect yourself and citizenship so that the village can protect you as well."
Naruto nodded, "I know that it is common for ninja of my age and skill to be put into three man teams, but I would prefer a more private tutelage. Considering the situation I am currently in it would be for the best."
"But why should Konoha risk itself for you? I'm assuming because of the threat this organization poses, the people you have been staying with kicked you out."
Naruto winced at the reminder of his exile. "They did it not because of the threat they posed, but because we had none skilled enough to fight a Kage level nin in straight-up combat. As to why Konoha should risk its neck, well…a group of Kage level nin are seeking out the power of the nine bijuu. Each bijuu has the power to level a village, so letting me fall into their hands would guarantee the inevitable destruction of this village."
Sarutobi quickly filed the information about the people Naruto stayed with away. So far he learned that they are a group, skilled assassins and spies, that lacked any exceptional combat abilities.
"Point taken," Sarutobi replied. "Then here is what I purpose. You will act as a ninja of this village. Meaning you serve the village, you follow orders, and you take missions when necessary. I will set it up so that you have your own teacher, but I need to know all of your skills in greater detail so I can give you a teacher suited for your specialties. Can you still get information on Akatsuki?"
"Yes," Naruto answered with a nod.
"Then in exchange, I want up to date reports on them. You will not have access to certain ninja facilities as you refuse to answer about your past and I can't take that risk of you being a double-agent. Now then, elaborate on your current list of skills."
Naruto shuffled on his feet trying to order his thoughts before answering, "Stealth and reconnaissance as stated and demonstrated earlier. Along with a few genjutsu dealing with sight, sound, and consciousness, a summoning contract with eagles, training with various weapons including daggers, swords, throwing knives, and unarmed combat, and a few minor ninjutsu."
Before the Hokage could speak Naruto continued, "My melee skills are useless to a ninja as I lack the appropriate speed and strength to match, my genjutsu is probably the closest to ninja level out of all my skills with ninjutsu being a little behind. As of right now the only thing I have in my repertoire that could be of any use in combat against trained ninjas is my summoning contract."
Sarutobi paused to think over what he was told before grabbing a piece of paper of his desk and scribbling something down. Grabbing a stamp off his desk he put his seal on the paper and handed it to Naruto.
"I'll try to find a teacher that will be of use to you. One who can better your existing skills. In the meantime take that paper to the nearest inn. They shall let you stay free of charge if you show it to them."
The young assassin nodded his understanding.
"In the morning I want you to return, I should have a teacher for you by then."
With one final nod, Naruto took a few steps back into the shadows of the room and disappeared from the Hokage's senses. Sarutobi stood up and headed to the window looking out over the village before letting out a long sigh. Tomorrow he would send a message to his student Jiraiya asking him to confirm Naruto's words. If what he said was true then the future was looking grim.
However, Sarutobi would never realize just how grim it truly was.
AN: Yeah this chapter is not my best I know. But in my defense I have writers block and felt that the best way to get past it was to just push through. I don't expect this to happen again (the poor writing that is). So, um, yeah…sorry bout that. My bad.