A Naruto Fic
"Repeat yourself." Hyuuga Hiashi's voice was cold as he stared at the Hyuuga branch house member bowing before him.
"The elders have devised a way to work around the Hokage's law and kill the Kyuubi," said the man, who wore his hair in the prevailing style of the branch house members, worn long and pulled back, imitating Hiashi's twin brother.
Hiashi let out a snort. He had no more love for the blonde-haired brat than any other Konoha ninja, but he did not agree with the elder's insistence that the boy must be killed to make sure the Kyuubi died. The Yondaime's sealing was masterful, and barring some fool actually meddling with it, the fox was never getting out. It would live on for exactly as long as the boy, then die with him. Trying to kill the boy would only risk giving the beast influence in a self-defense situation, and with the boy only three years of age…his mind could hardly be strong enough to resist the bijuu. It certainly wouldn't be as bad as the first time the Kyuubi came to play, but Konoha wouldn't enjoy the experience. "Have they, now…"
The branch house member winced a bit at the clan head's tone, one which clearly said that he was somewhat annoyed with the elder council's meddling. "Yes sir." He winced again, more noticeably this time. "Apologies, Hiashi-dono, but they sounded quite insistent that you were told of the plan."
Which, of course, meant that they were going to use their power to see that it went ahead. In theory, Hiashi's word was law to any Hyuuga in internal matters, but the truth was that the council of clan elders had a great deal of influence on how things were really run, and could undermine the clan head with a concerted effort. For example, Hiashi and Hizashi's father had wanted both of them to be members of the main house. Hiashi himself would have preferred that. But the elders had spoken, and their will, not the clan head's was done. It reminded Hiashi of the relationship between the Hokage and the Village Council. And with that comparison, Naruto's issue came up again. He gave himself a mental shake. He had business at hand to attend to, and there was no point in shooting the messenger. "Very well. Go ahead."
The branch house member released a tense breath. "According to Konoha's law, the clans with a place on the council are absolutely free in their internal affairs. This extends to even adopted members of the clan."
"So if we were to adopt Uzumaki and make him a Hyuuga, we could execute him legally," extrapolated Hiashi with a sigh. "How…clever." He obviously did not think so. "Amazing that they'd even consider momentarily besmirching the clan honor by adopting the boy," he mused. "Very well, you may go. Do summon Hizashi, would you? I wish to speak to him."
The branch house member left, relieved. Hiashi had just stood up and opened a shoji screen to watch a number of branch house members run through one of the Jyuuken's flowing kata when his twin brother entered the room. "You sent for me?"
Hiashi nodded, continuing to watch the Hyuuga warriors train. He could feel his brother walk up behind him to his side even without the use of his Byakugan. After all, he was no slouch as a ninja. "I assume you have heard of the foolishness the elders are planning?"
"The adoption and execution of Uzumaki? Of course." Hizashi paused for a few seconds. "Don't tell me you're actually considering it."
"I may not have a choice, brother. You know as well as I do that the clan head's power is…limited, despite what clan law says." And that was a tactful way of skirting around the issue that a group of wrinkled old men and women past their prime had over the years transformed a group meant for advisory into a legitimate power of its own.
"If we go through with their plan, it will undermine our place in Konoha's politics. We might have a larger combat force than any other clan in Konoha, barring the Uchiha, and we may be the oldest blood in Konoha, but our image has yet to recover from the fact that, despite our honorable service in the war against Iwa, we were banned from the fight against the Kyuubi entirely by the Yondaime."
"Entirely the reason our clan has such a large combat force," said Hiashi with a milimetric shake of the head. "Else we might have gone the way of the Namikaze."
Hizashi did not dispute his clan head and brother. It was true, after all. A Hyuuga was the next best thing to unstoppable in close combat against other ninja, but against a bijuu was little more than a fly to be swatted. "Going so directly against the Hokage's will, popular action or no, is something we cannot politically afford to do. It could be, in the worst case, the undoing of this clan."
"What would you have me do?" asked Hiashi. "A struggle between the clan head and the council of elders could quite possibly be equally damaging." He narrowed his eyes as he considered the place the elders had put him in. Outside, the kata progressed into the Hakke Rokujyuuyonshou. "I find myself in need of a loophole like the one they found."
Hizashi gave a light frown. "Well, official clan adoption takes a number of years. It wouldn't be until the boy was seven that he would be a Hyuuga. And to execute a member of the clan requires either the clan head's order or the unanimous vote of the council." He turned away from the practicing ninja. "I hope you'll excuse me, but I must check on Neji's progress."
Hiashi nodded in dismissal, thinking of the possibilities. Four years. If all goes well, I should at least be able to convince one of the elders of the stupidity of their plan. And if not…well, I have the ability to expel clan members, as well as execute them. The clan head allowed himself a tight smile. With any luck, he might be able to gain advantage out of this, especially if some old rumors were true.
The job of Hokage was a painful one, mused Sarutobi, as he paused in his work to consider the stacks of paperwork he had yet to do. Often he wondered if the job might perhaps be better suited to someone other than 'the best ninja in the village'. It seemed a waste to put so much skill towards paperwork, when it could be teaching the next generation. He would certainly rather be teaching genin or academy students…or simply enjoying his retirement. But then the Kyuubi's visit to Konoha had thrown a rather large wrench in those plans. Picking up another piece of work, the man known as 'the professor' prepared to dive back into that papery hell.
A knock on his office door interrupted him. "Come in."
One of his chuunin guards opened the door. "Sir, Hyuuga Hiashi wishes to speak with you. He wouldn't say what about."
The Sandaime dropped the paper he was holding back on the pile. "Well, it will almost certainly be more interesting than more paperwork. Send him in. And some tea, if you would."
It was a few minutes before Hiashi made his way into the office, and by that time, the Hokage had made his desk presentable, and was holding a cup of tea. The Hyuuga head gave a small bow as he entered. "Thank you for seeing me on such short notice, Hokage-sama."
"Not at all, Hiashi-san. Please, sit. Have a cup of tea." The younger man did as Sarutobi took a sip from his tea. "Now, what brings you to my office today?"
"The Hyuuga clan wishes to adopt Uzumaki Naruto," stated Hiashi, without preamble.
Silence reigned as the Hokage blinked twice and looked at his cup of tea with an appraising eye. Funny, that didn't taste like sake. Forming a series of seal for a poison detection jutsu, he dipped a finger into the drink. No chakra reaction. So it's not a hallucinogen, then. Perhaps I will be needing some sake. "Please repeat yourself, Hiashi-san," he said in a level tone.
"The Hyuuga clan wishes to adopt Uzumaki Naruto."
Sarutobi's lips compressed into a thin line. "Is that so? Forgive me for saying so, but the Hyuuga clan does not have a history of kindness towards the boy. I find myself questioning your reasoning. Would you care to enlighten me?"
"The council of elders wishes to better the Hyuuga clan's political capital, Hokage-sama."
"By taking in a village pariah…interesting. And yourself Hiashi-san?"
"My goals? I am doing my best to keep the Hyuuga clan in its rightful place. I imagine that the boy might make an excellent addition to the ranks of the Shinobi of the Leaf, given what I have seen of the seal, as well."
Sarutobi leaned forward, placing his elbows on the desk. "Is that so…why don't we be frank with each other, Hiashi?" he asked, changing tack completely. "We might not have precisely the same goals or visions for how to get to our shared ones, but you and I know that playing word games merely wastes valuable time. The office is secure, and what we speak of will not leave this room." He got a nod from Hiashi. "Now, why are the clan elders pressuring you to adopt Uzumaki Naruto?"
"According to Konoha law, a clan member's execution is a purely internal matter."
"So as soon as the boy becomes a Hyuuga, he is executed. I don't see much reason to let you adopt him, then."
"It would buy him four years in which he is protected by the Hyuuga clan."
"Up until he is executed," pointed out the Hokage flatly.
"I have no intention of executing the boy, and so long as I can convince one member of the elders, the boy would be safe. More, I can expel him from the clan just before his official adoption…though it would mean the removal of his eyes and their replacement with normal ones…"
"The boy has normal eyes, Hiashi."
"Not if he is to become a Hyuuga, Sarutobi."
"You've obviously had time to think this plan through. Why don't you share it with me?"
"Hyuuga clan law states that only a possessor of the Byakugan or a descendant of a Byakugan possessor can become a clan member, excepting through marriage."
"Naruto is neither of these, Hiashi, and not of the age to marry."
"No, but the Byakugan is transplantable. More easily so than the Sharingan, in fact. It is only the curse seal, a relatively modern development, that prevents transplantation. Currently there is a three year old child of the branch house, unmarked, that is dying of a terminal illness. The healers and medic-nin have been unsuccessful at keeping him alive. Even the more wholesome techniques of tenketsu manipulation have been unable to cure him, only able to prolong his life."
A boy lay in the branch house's compound, coughing ever so often. His forehead was unmarked, and his features were classic Hyuuga, but his body was frail, very frail. When his eyelids fluttered open every so often, one could see that his eyes, lacking the pupil like any other Byakugan, had a soft silver luster to them.
"Ah, yes. Rumors had stated such. Others had said that the Hyuuga clan would do no more for the boy, being as he would never be able to even attempt use of the Jyuuken."
"Indeed. In point of fact, it is only the fact that his eyes could be used as a transplant for Naruto that keeps Hyuuga Shirubagan alive at this very moment."
The Hokage's voice was shot through with distaste. "Very well. So Naruto inherits the boy's eyes. What next?"
Uzumaki Naruto lay in a hospital bed with bandages wrapped over his new eyes. No one could quite tell him why he needed the new eyes, only that something was wrong with his old ones. Young as he was, he could tell that the doctors did not want to save his sight, and seemed angry that he was being given 'those eyes'. It was confusing to his young mind.
In the Hyuuga compound, a sickly boy's body was burned, the whole clan in attendance. He would be remembered as a hero, the first Hyuuga sacrifice in the service of killing the demon fox.
"Next he is taken in by the clan and put under the care of a branch house member who has no children. There he is taught as any other branch house member."
Naruto, his new silver eyes uncovered, was lead by a pair of branch house members towards the compound that held the majority of the Hyuuga clan. It was only the clan-taught discipline of their expressions that kept their distaste for the boy off of their faces and out of their body language…not that the boy would have noticed it. He was to busy looking around the clan lands in amazement.
"I find it unlikely that you'll find a member of your clan, branch house or no, that would consent to raising and teaching the boy. Your clan is…"
"Prideful, I know. It seemed like an insurmountable obstacle to me as well. It was my brother who came up with the solution."
"I was under the impression that relations were…strained between the two of you."
Hizashi glared at Hinata, eyes projecting killing intent. Hiashi moved in a flash, interposing himself in between his twin and his daughter, hand coming up in the form that activated the mark of a branch house member.
Neji stared as his father screamed in pain.
"He resents that his son is being denied a true chance, but we are both Hyuuga. The clan comes first in our minds. In any case, I propose to put the boy under Hyuuga Teijo."
There was a sharp intake of breath from the Hokage. "You don't mean…"
"Yes, the boy was the latest failed attempt to crossbreed the Byakugan and Sharingan. He is considered a disgrace to the clan, but has a strong sense of service. Put the stains on the clan honor together, so to speak."
"The possessor of the Haiirogan? Wasn't he the one who criticized Jyuuken?"
"That's the one."
Hyuuga Teijo practiced apart from the other branch house members. His stance was different from the others of the clan, with his feet in line under him, and both of his arms forward, hands held bladed in front of his centerline. As he progressed into the movements of the kata, his body showed the impression of real power behind his movements, even though no burst of chakra disrupted the air. Naruto looked on in awe, his 'escorts' in disgust. Teijo was an extremely good ninja, but as a Hyuuga, he was a failure.
"Hey, Isas!" called out one of the two that was bringing Naruto along. "Your new ward's here!"
Teijo stopped his form and turned to face the three of them. Veins bulged at the corners of his eyes, the sign of an activated Byakugan, but his eyes were unlike the others in the clan. An ashen gray color, small flecks of red seemed to swirl in them, almost like embers in a dead fire. A few seconds passed before his veins returned to normal and the crimson flecks left his eyes. "Very well. Thank you. Naruto, right?"
"An interesting choice."
"Yes, well beyond the idea of concentrating sources of shame together, he is a true Konoha patriot and can be trusted to know all the details. Besides, I know full well that I must give you something for the stability of my clan. I think a Hyuuga-trained Naruto for the ranks of the Shinobi of the Leaf is worth something."
"If you can keep him from being executed, he would be of considerable gain to you clan as well."
Hiashi himself dipped the brush into the chakra-infused ink used to mark branch house members with the cursed seal. Silver eyes stared up at him in fear from beneath a shock of blonde hair.
"Very well. But Naruto is not to be given the cursed seal. It represents too great of a risk to his life."
At this Hiashi frowned. "I might be able to delay it until he officially becomes a Hyuuga, but no longer. And at the age of seven, it could be dangerous."
"I repeat, Hiashi. He is not to be marked with a seal that would let him be killed without fuss by any main house member."
The brush moved in delicate strokes, painting the bent-armed cross onto Naruto's forehead in fine lines. A swoop at the end of each arm, reflected from the standard seal's form was drawn with the utmost of care.
"I could…modify the seal. So that it casts the effects on those who activate it, instead of he who wears it. But I must place a seal upon his forehead if the plan is to work."
"That is acceptable."
Hiashi finished the seal with six strokes, rather than the normal two. The two lines running from Naruto's temples towards the center of his forehead were normal, but lacked the hooks the standard version had. Instead curves were set at right angles to the lines. A modified seal 'to make sure the Byakugan in a non-Hyuuga body was truly sealed'. And a layer of protection for the blonde. Hiashi brought his hands together into a seal, channeled chakra, and…"Juin!"
The seal glowed, and became a part of the blonde. Hiashi nodded to the boy as he sat up, handing him a headband. "Put this on, then go to Teijo. I'm sure he has plenty for you to do."
The boy managed a little smile as he left Hiashi's presence, which surprised the stone-faced clan head not a little.
"Very well. Assuming all goes well, in four years from now, Uzumaki Naruto will become Hyuuga Naruto, member of the branch house of the Hyuuga clan. I have only a few stipulations. First is that he is to attend the Konoha Ninja Academy and to become a member of the Shinobi of the Leaf."
"Second. When he comes of age, he is to be informed of his true heritage, and allowed to make his own choices relating to such."
"I don't think you mean as an Uzumaki."
"Indeed, I don't. Think of it as a way to gain a future political ally. Finally, if the boy is killed due to Hyuuga action, I will make it my personal mission to exterminate your bloodline. The Hyuuga have done a great deal for Konoha in the past, but it is not purely military strength that makes us great. I remember the lesson the Shodai taught at the Valley of the End very well, and am willing to go to great lengths to see that Konoha remembers it as well."
Uzumaki Naruto looked up at the gray-eyed man who seemed to be in charge of him now. To the three year old boy, he looked like all other adults did: giants. He had a soft smile on his face though, and his hand was gentle as he pushed the headband up to reveal Naruto's newest seal. An odd cross between a grimace and a smirk flashed across his lips before he smoothed the cloth back into place. "Well, Naruto," he said kindly. "Welcome to the Hyuuga clan. Shall we get started?"
A/N: This fic was started due to some troubles I was having with Nindo: Way of the Twelve. Specifically, the fact that I was writing what amounted to a slightly changed version of events I'd seen over and over in fics. Yes, I had an ending point and plot that was something at least marginally original, and my choice to pattern the taijutsu of each ninja off of a certain martial art was something I hadn't seen before, but I was telling a story I had seen before. That was encouraging sloppy writing on my part to get to the original parts, and though many people might say 'it's just fanfiction', I'd rather write well. Combined with the fact that I rather like the idea of exploring both the politics of the clans and Konoha as a whole along with the Jyuuken, I came up with this.
Beyond that, I wanted to try my hand at fixing a few fanfic elements that bother me. The first was the portrayal of the Hyuuga clan as either overly nice or overly evil. The overly nice generally happens when the clan takes Naruto in on account of Hiashi being Minato's best friend or whatever, the overly evil when the fic plays up Hinata's family troubles. I wanted to portray people doing things in self-interest without demonizing them. The second is the idea of combining the Sharingan and Byakugan. That's a good half the reason for Teijo's character, the other being the fact that Naruto needs a mentor. He's directly influenced by the academy taijutsu instructor who taught Naruto sessen in Nindo. And yes, he is a clan disgrace. The third is ninja power levels, which are pretty wildly inconsistent in the original manga itself, but I digress. It's worse in fanfiction. I don't want to make Naruto into a near-god, but I'd like to see something other than the dumb-luck moron from the original. And perhaps most importantly, I want to make the characters act naturally.
Yeah. As I wrote the third chapter of Nindo, I started to really feel the flaws in it. So here I am, taking the best parts of it, including the whole mythology of The Twelve and putting it into a plotline that's much better suited for it, and hopefully much more interesting. If you're coming from Nindo, I hope you can give it a chance…think of it as Nindo 2.0. If you're a new reader…well, I hope you enjoy.
Hakke Rokujyuuyonshou: "Eight Trigrams, Sixty-Four Palms" This is the special attack of Jyuuken from the series, capable of sealing an enemy's chakra entirely. Interestingly enough, palm strikes are not used in the shown sequence. The attack will be elaborated on later in the story.
Byakugan: "White Eye" This, is of course, the famous Hyuuga dojutsu, permitting near 360 degree vision, as well as the ability to see tenketsu and the chakra coils. Evidence suggests that it has other abilities as well. This dojutsu will be elaborated on later in the story.
Sharingan: "Spinning Copy Wheel Eye" And the Uchiha dojutsu, descended from the Byakugan. Combines the abilities to perceive at high speed, predict movement, cast minor hypnosis, and basic chakra flow. Taken all together, it can let one copy techniques with surprising ease. Can be 'upgraded'. This dojutsu will be elaborated on later in the story.
Haiirogan: "Ashen Eye" A dojutsu unique to Hyuuga Teijo. Apparently a failed attempt to combine the Sharingan and Byakugan. This dojutsu will be elaborated on later in the story.
Hyuuga: "Towards the sun"
Shirubagan: "Silver Eye"
Sarutobi: "Flying Monkey"
Namikaze: "Wind and Waves"
Isas: (Nickname) "Worthy"