Best Laid Plans



The smoking corpses of the ANBU captain and his subordinates lay at his feet. The masked figure spat at the leader of the assassins and kicked the mutilated and rapidly cooling body of the captain. They had put up a good fight, but ordinary mortals could not hope to face a god of ninjas and live to tell the tale. Still, what he had read in his prey's mind had been intriguing. He would not have thought that even one such as the Yondaime could have pieced such disparate and seemingly random sets of data to discern the truth behind the veil of illusion.

But the Hokage had. This turn of events was intolerable. His plans had yet to ripen and secrecy was paramount at this stage. What to do? he asked himself. His razor sharp mind processed the constraints on his person and the tools at his disposal against the known capabilities of his enemies and the answer came to him in a spark of inspiration.

They were never going to expect this!


Three days later, flanked by his security detail, Sarutobi, the newly reinstated Hokage stood, surveying the scene of the recently concluded battle. Before him, the badly overworked personnel of the Konoha medics corps helped by even more badly exhausted ninja and supported by civilian volunteers cleared the debris in the search for survivors of the Kyuubi no Youko's attack. Through sheer luck, the will of fire and the Yondaime's supreme sacrifice, his ninja had managed the impossible. They had defeated a beast with the power to level mountains and drown entire nations at a whim and saved the village. But this day of glory was also a day of tragedy. Hundreds of ninja lay dead at his feet and hundreds more were so badly wounded that they would have to be retired from active duty. Husbands had lost their wives and wives their husbands and children their parents. And on top of it all, the hero was dead as was his wife and his legacy…

The old man shook his head. He knew the trials and tribulations that young Uzumaki Naruto would face as he grew up. The child would be hated for his prisoner and the fear it would forever instill in the hearts and minds of those who'd lived through this day in Konoha. Such was human nature and such was the way of the world. It would be better for little Naruto to grow away from the village preferably under the watchful eyes of either of his two loyal but wayward students, but one lived in the past unable and unwilling to heal her heart's wounds and the other had a duty to the nation. Duty that was supremely important and absolutely necessary to keep their opportunistic neighbors at bay and ward off disaster now that the village was significantly weakened. From a logical standpoint, there were other expatriates who could be trusted, of course, but as Hokage, Sarutobi could not chance Naruto and his prisoner falling into the hands of another village. All that was irrelevant, however, for from an emotional standpoint, Naruto was his father's legacy and thus, was Konoha's as well. And he, the Sandaime, would be damned before he banished the fourth's son from the village his parents had died to save.

Sarutobi turned from the field. He had a meeting with the council to plan for the future in a little while. But before he departed, he made a solemn vow to himself. The survivors may hate the boy and fear and loathe him, but as his first official act as hokage, he would ensure that the hatred would die with them.


Elsewhere, as the sunset over the horizon, the masked figure fumed. Of all the results he had expected when he unleashed the kyuubi, he had not expected this. What was it with the damned village and its hokages, anyways?

In one stroke, his trump card had been neutralized. Granted, he and it had been defeated once before, but that was because his accursed opponent's bloodline was the perfect counter to the ultimate weapon of his own. But now, it was clear. The beast was not invincible. If one village could produce two nins with the power to defeat the kyuubi within the span of a hundred years, it was no longer enough to depend on the creature alone. Not that it was his to command anymore. The Yondaime, riding him of the most powerful tool in his repertoire, had sealed it into a newborn and handed over its reins to his most hated enemies! Perhaps he should have selected another course of action…

No, he forcefully told himself. There was no point second-guessing what was done and over with. Reality was what it was. The strong did not shy from facing whatever ugly truth the world threw at them. To do so was a sign of weakness and he was not weak. He would not weaken himself by denying fact and deluding himself with fantasies. If his enemies controlled the nine tails, he would control the other tailed beasts. He would unleash his Akatsuki on the world and they would reap a crop of blood and death as never before. A hundred years from now… No, a thousand years from now, they would whisper in fear about the vengeance he wreaked on his foes for sullying his honor so long ago.

Let the rain of blood begin! thought the masked stranger as the last rays of sun faded from the land and night unfurled its dark shroud across the land.

Author's notes:

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