A/N: Holy shit this is a late update! SORRY! But summer kinda caught up with me. Anyways I'm back to writing now and this chapter sparked a whole bunch of ideas in my imagination! Oh by the way this chapter isn't very romantic. lol This chapter begins to explore more of the serious side to the story, and hopefully some things will start to make more sense, but I won't answer everything just yet. But hopefully this chapter won't be too boring, let me know what you think of it by reviewing! Thanks ! oh and let me know if there are way too many spelling mistakes...I think its fine but I could be wrong.
Sakura was happily getting ready to leave her apartment to finally see Naruto, and Kakashi too of course, but mostly she was excited to see Naruto.
After the close call on the weekend, Naruto and Sakura decided to take Kakashi's advice and stay clear of each other. So because of that, they hadn't seen each other at all in almost 3 days. For Sakura that was a lifetime. But now Kakashi had arranged for all 3 of them to go out to lunch, which is why Sakura was now fussing over her hair that wouldn't cooperate the way she wanted. She decided she should at least look nice on her chaperoned date with Naruto.
Sakura inspected herself in the mirror one last time. She couldn't wear very nice clothes because she was after all only going to go meet her teammates. So she had on her typical short navy blue shirt and red shirt, although she made sure to forgo wearing her usual baggy white shirt underneath the red one. Instead she wore a black tank top underneath; she looked more feminine and curvy without the baggy shirt. Deciding that her appearance was good enough, Sakura quickly put on her boots and headed out to meet Naruto and Kakashi.
Kakashi chose a new and fairly secluded restaurant for their group lunch. He had some things he wanted to discuss with them in private and although he decided to meet with them publically just to keep with appearances, he was still cautious enough to pick a place where they could talk comfortably without being disturbed or over heard.
Sakura walked inside the restaurant and was surprised to see that both Naruto and Kakashi were there already. Though by the looks of things they had only arrived moments before she did. She saw that Kakashi and Naruto were being led away to a private room in the back, and quickly made to follow them; they hadn't even seen her yet.
As far as she could see the restaurant looked like a traditional tea house, only done on a larger scale and most likely sold a greater variety of food.
Sakura quickly continued her way to the back and went through the door she just saw Kakashi and Naruto being led through.
Her two male teammates were in the process of sitting down when she walked in. They both looked somewhat surprised to see her there, but greeted her cheerfully nonetheless.
"Sakura-chan! We didn't know you were right behind us."
"Sorry Naruto." She said with a small laugh.
Kakashi quickly stood from his seat and began to curiously inspect the room they were in. It was a medium sized room without any windows and a wooden table in the middle. It seemed like a nice place to have a good meal with good friends, and Sakura wasn't too sure why Kakashi was inspecting the room so diligently.
"Sakura, sit down, look at the menu and decide what you want quickly, same with you Naruto. The waitress should be back soon and I don't want to take very long ordering."
It wasn't very often that Kakashi was serious with them, so Naruto and Sakura simply did as he asked, not daring to mention that he isn't their father and technically has no right to order them around like that. After another few moments of inspecting Kakashi sat back down and began looking at his menu. Not long after, the waitress came back to take their orders.
They all quickly placed their orders and waited for their food in silence. Sakura was highly unnerved by the atmosphere in the room. She was under the impression that the purpose of today was to bring her and Naruto together to enjoy each others company, even in the presence of their ex sensei. But she could tell from that way Kakashi was acting that there was another reason
behind this lunch date. She was also surprised that Naruto hadn't made an effort to break the silence and looked uncharacteristically serious.
Sakura was thankful when she saw the waitress return with their orders; she was hoping that now someone would explain to her why they were here.
Sure enough as soon as the waitress excused herself and left the room, Kakashi turned his attention to his two teammates.
" Sorry guys I know you two probably wanted this to be a fun sociable lunch, but this is all business today. First of all, were there any further problems with Tsunade and Shizune, Sakura?"
"Oh, uh no. They both seemed to accept that I made a mistake, which you corrected, so its fine."
"That's good then."
"Why were you inspecting the room earlier?"
"I told you we were here for business didn't I?" When Sakura still looked confused Kakashi added; "And I wanted to make sure we had complete privacy. There are certain things I'd like to discuss with the two of you, and it would mean trouble if someone else were to hear about it."
"Oh, what is it then?" Naruto asked.
"First, tell me how much you've looked through Jiraiyas box."
" Actually I haven't gotten around to that yet."
"Naruto. I thought you said you were going to start going through it."
"I know, but I just haven't found the time..."
Kakashi looked at Naruto and noticed how rapidly his expression had turned to a sombre one. It was obvious that Jiraiya's death was still a shock to him. Living the life of a shinobi meant that there were going to be deaths all around you. He had learned at a very early age not to become too bothered by them; even when someone he knew well was the victim. But Naruto was still young and fairly inexperienced at dealing with death, not to mention the fact that Jiraiya was the only parental figure he had. Oh well now's not the time to deal with that, there are other more important issues to take care of. Sorry Naruto but this time I'm going to have to push the subject a little more.
" Naruto, you know better than anyone that there may be important information in that box. There's a lot of secrets an important man like Jiraiya may have held. He already passed down the important jutsu secrets he held, by making sure you inherited his sage title. And I'm sure everything you learned will come in handy in battle, but strength in jutsu will only help you survive one enemy."
The table went deathly quiet as Naruto and Sakura pondered on what Kakashi had just said. Even Naruto was smart enough to figure out that the other enemy Kakashi was talking about was the village, or more specifically the village council. It did however surprise them both that Kakashi had grouped the council in the same category as Akatsuki. Maybe he's found something out. They both thought.
Kakashi let them process his little speech for a moments before speaking up again.
"So having said that Naruto, I want you to start looking through the box tonight. No excuses. We'll have another meeting the day after tomorrow and by then I expect you to have finished looking through his things. Understood?"
Naruto nodded silently but firmly. He wasn't looking forward to looking through anymore of Jiraiya's belongings' but he knew Kakashi was right; he needed to find out what was in that box.
"Good. Sakura I also have a little job for you."
"Huh?" She had remained mostly silently and she had assumed that her role in whatever Kakashi was planning would come later if at all. Apparently she was wrong.
"Since Tsunade-sama trusts you the most out the three of us, your job is to keep any suspicions she may have away from us. While at the same time maintaining her trust."
" I don't understand, why is Tsunade-sama involved in this!? There's no way she's working with the council..."
"Hold it right there Sakura, I'm not saying that I suspect Tsunade-sama of conspiring against Naruto or anything like that. Although I'm sure she's keeping some things secret, I think she feels it's in Naruto's best interests. However I disagree and I think Jiraiya would disagree with her too. She's underestimating Naruto, and for the sake of his current happiness is whiling to keep him in the dark about more serious issues. In short...she's mothering him. And I know that she wouldn't be happy if she found out that the three of us had started our own investigation. I suspect that she's so serious about keeping these secrets to herself that, she wouldn't hesitate to throw us in jail. That's why she was willing to comply with the council's unreasonable proposal of these rules."
"H-have you figured out what it is that she's keeping from me?"
After hearing Kakashi's explanation both Naruto and Sakura were all ears and eager to learn more about the situation.
"Not exactly. But I have an idea. In fact I think one of the things she's keeping from you is something you may already know about."
"What? Then why wouldn't she just talk to me about it?"
"Is it because she doesn't know that Naruto already knows about...this whatever it is?"
"Exactly. Naruto you and Jiraiya talked about a lot of things during your training right?"
"Uh yeah, yeah of course we talked a lot!"
"Did he ever tell you to keep any of your conversations a secret?"
"Uh... he never said to keep things a secret, but there were a few times when he would only talk to me after he checked our surrounding area and he would tell me that it would be better if I "forgot" what we talked about after we left the area."
"So basically he instructed you to put it in the back of your mind until a later date?"
"Yeah...but at the time I wasn't sure why he did that. He may not have looked like it, but Ero-senin was a really strict master, so when he was serious about something I just did what he told me without asking questions."
"I see...then I may just be right. Hold these thoughts for a moment...lets eat!"
"What you guys aren't hungry?"
"Well, we are kinda in the middle of an important discussion so..."
"Yes I know, but I'm hungry so lets eat first and then we'll continue talking okay?"
Naruto and Sakura knew that to be his finality tone and had no choice but to comply and began eating their lunch, though with less enthusiasm then they normally would have done.
They ate in relative silence, Naruto and Sakura kept wanting to continue the previous conversation, but Kakashi was having none of that so finally they gave up and just waited for the older man to be finished his meal.
"Okay I think I've had my fill."
"Finally!" both Sakura and Naruto said in unison.
Kakashi had to chuckle at that. Yes he had kept them waiting but he needed to make absolute sure that both Naruto and Sakura were going to be on board with his plan.
"For starters I guess I should tell you two that I've been doing some snooping around through the village record books."
"Oh?" Naruto said, now getting excited.
"Yes, well more specifically I've been going through the records about the Kyuubi attack. Most of these are sealed and only high level shinobi can view them freely, with the permission of the Hokage. Obviously that wasn't an option so I uh...used other means to read the documents."
Sakura and Naruto could only imagine what these other means were, but they were too entranced in his explanation to care.
"Since I was present during the Kyuubi attack, I've never had to look at the official records to know what happened. Or rather I should say, I've never had a reason to doubt my memory of these events. But now when I look back I remember that there was a moment when the fourth and Jiraiya-sama asked me to step out of the room they were in. It was minutes before the fourth was going to place the sealing technique on Naruto and it seemed like they needed to discuss something important. I was right outside the door while they were talking, and I remember hearing their voices, but I can't remember what they said. So I thought that if I read the official documents, it might revitalize my memory. Instead I found that the official documents were surprisingly incomplete. Even I could fill in several blanks that were in the records. These were sealed records mind you, so they supposedly contained the statements of many who witnessed the sealing and who were present during the attack, . I myself remember being interrogated by an Anbu who told me it was for the records. These statements either never existed, in which case the Hokage only wanted the information for himself, or they were removed. Basically the only information about the Kyuubi attack currently available in official records is that it happened and the fourth used a sealing technique on a baby and the Kyuubi to seal away its powers. There's no information on the baby or on the technique used. Of course we already know who the baby was, but what I'm interested in is the sealing technique."
Both Sakura and Kakashi turned their attention to Naruto; who was looking hesitantly at them.
"Well?" Asked Kakashi, " Does this sound familiar to you Naruto?"
"Uh...Ero-senin did talk a bit about the sealing, but what he told me didn't have to do with the actual jutsu. I'm sure he already told you and Tsunade baa-chan that the seal weakened after we tried training and controlling the Kyuubi's power." Kakashi nodded his head to show that he did in fact already know this. " He also said that the fourth had anticipated this and had a back up plan just in case."
"A back up plan?" Sakura asked. "I thought the Kyuubi was sealed within you indefinitely, and the only way the seal could be broken is if you died and took the Kyuubi with you, or if you let him take over your body."
"Well yeah...that's true, but he also said that the Kyuubi's power was too great to predict. When he tried to teach me to control the Kyuubi's chakra, we found that I am able to extract and borrow his chakra to perform high level jutsu without wearing myself out. But once we tried to control the actual powers of the Kyuubi, like other Jinchuri can, it went out of control. That's when he told me that using the Kyuubi's power was too dangerous, not just because of the effects it has on my body, but also because the seal had weakened considerably due to my constant reliance on its powers. It's different than the other mystical beasts he said, the Kyuubi is not only powerful but smart as well, and it constantly seeks out ways to break free. He said that it's because the enormity of the Kyuubi's chakra was too much for the fourth to seal in my body, so once that seal was tampered with, its slowly been degrading and that its only a matter of time before it fully collapses."
This wasn't all news to Kakashi, he knew all this, what he hadn't known was the severity of the situation. Which brings him back to his original question.
"If what Jiraiya-sama said is true, then that means someone would have to re-seal the Kyuubi within you, before the seal fully degraded. And we know for sure that the Yondaime's sealing technique requires the caster to lose his life. So then..."
"That's something I'm not too clear on myself. All he told me was that it was possible to re-seal the Kyuubi without their being any lasting harm. I don't know if he meant harm on me or harm to the person doing the re-sealing. I think it's possible that he wasn't sure about that himself, or maybe he just didn't want to tell me at that time. That's all he ever told me about the seal."
"Did he ever mention how long you have?"
" Either way the best thing is for Naruto to look through the last of Jiraiya-sama's belongings, right Kakashi?"
" Yeah, so remember Naruto, he may have left further information about all this in that box...there's a reason why Tsunade-sama gave it to you this late."
" Huh?" Both Sakura and Naruto asked.
"Never mind that now. I want to talk about the council for a bit."
"Okay... did you find something else out?"
"No...I don't know. The more I search for answers, the more puzzling this mystery gets. Why did they impose these rules on you in the first place? Well we can assume that the council already knows about the seal weakening, and it's possible that they are simply trying to prevent you from using chakra, to keep the seal intact for longer. But then why wouldn't they just go out and say that? I know that if the safely of the village was at stake that you'd gladly give up your shinobi duties and freedom to keep the Kyuubi at bay. And I know they know that as well. The secrecy bothers me. But I think what bothers me the most is that the rules were imposed on you right after Jiraiya-sama died. No one is suppose to know this, but the village advisors had a secret meeting with the top officials in fire country, minus the Hokage, just a couple days after we learned of Jiraiya's death. Apparently that was when these rules were created and the moment you arrived back from your sage training shortly after that, they didn't hesitate to begin to immediately enforce the rules."
"So...what does that mean exactly?" Naruto asked more confused then ever.
"I-I think it means that the advisors were waiting for something like this to happen. That's why they jumped into action right away." Sakura answered hesitantly.
"Waiting,what do you mean Sakura-chan?"
"Kakashi? Why did the Konoha advisors allow Jiraiya-sama to take Naruto in the first place?"
Kakashi looked over at Sakura curiously, almost afraid of where she was getting at.
"Was Jiraiya-sama's influence somehow protecting Naruto from being ostracized by Konoha officials like he is now?"
"As always Sakura, you are very observant. It's true that the advisors let Jiraiya-sama take Naruto with him, and train him. Even they saw that this was the best situation for everyone. After he returned however they started getting restless as to what to do about him. Until now Akatsuki has been fairly quiet. They now have the man power to cause a lot more destruction than they have so far. They will come for Naruto... that is a fact. It's no secret and I believe that the council wanted to put Naruto under severe restrictions from the moment he came back to Konoha. But at the time both Tsunade-sama and Jiraiya objected. And I suspect that later on Jiraiya made the advisors an offer in exchange for leaving Naruto alone."
"An offer? What could he possibly have offered them?" Naruto asked puzzled.
"Its strange isn't it? Even Tsunade-sama thought he was acting recklessly when he went to see Pein."
There was a deafening silence in the room. Everyone understood the implications of what Kakashi had just said, and yet it seemed so impossible. Sensing the uneasiness in his young companions, Kakashi quickly continued with his explanation.
" The advisors and council were extremely concerned at the lack of information they had on Akatsuki as an organisation. They were considering the possibility of using Naruto as bait of sorts to capture a member of Akatsuki and interrogate him for information. I learned that they hadn't yet made the proposition to Tsunade-sama, but Jiraiya learned about their plans. And although they were still only talking about it and in no way were they yet prepared to actually put such a plan into action, Jiraiya strongly urged the council to call of such a plan. He too understood how the lack of information was a problem for them, so he offered to go and seek out Pein and bring as much information as he could back to the village. In exchange he asked that they stop this plan of theirs and leave Naruto alone. The advisors promised him that they wouldn't use Naruto as bait and that they would do their best to keep him safe."
"Okay...that would explain some of the council's odd behaviours but how...how so you know all this?" Sakura asked, still poised to learn as much of the situation as she could.
"I told you I did some investigating. It wasn't easy piecing this information together. But I've had my suspicions for a while, I know what type of man Jiraiya-sama was...he would've happily given up his life if it meant Naruto could live for a bit longer."
Naruto couldn't breathe, he tried very hard to understand what Kakashi was telling him but, it was hard. Could Jiraiya have gone into a battle he knew he couldn't win all for the sake of his happiness? It's true that the advisors hadn't yet tied him to a tree and offered him up as bait to Akatuski...yet. But they had made his life miserable. Isn't that going against the agreement they made with Jiraiya?
Both Kakashi and Sakura could tell that Naruto was trying very hard to process the information without giving himself a heart attack in the process. They both also had a pretty good idea of what he was thinking.
"From the information I found out...the agreement was that the advisors would do everything in their power to keep you safe. Safe doesn't necessarily equate to happy.
Sakura looked at Naruto sadly, waiting for a reaction from him. After a few minutes of silence it became clear that Naruto wasn't ready to acknowledge the new information they were given. She nodded to Kakashi instead signalling to continue if he had anything left to say.
" That's all I've managed to uncover, and I get the feeling that I won't be able to find out much else. Naruto make sure you go through Jiraiya-sama's things carefully, don't overlook anything." He recived a quick nod in response. "And Sakura remember what I told you earlier?"
"Well my investigation may have required me to breach the security around the Hokage building and library, I'm sure I covered my tracks well, but please make sure that Tsunade-sama is kept in the dark about our findings. Like I said before her secrecy has no ill intentions but is she finds out about all this...there will be hell to pay."
"I'll take care of it."
They both turned to look at Naruto and saw that he still hadn't fully recovered from earlier. He had a very sad and pensive expression on his face. And it didn't seem as though he would be returning to his usually cheerful self anytime soon.
"I'll take Naruto home Sakura. But I think he may need your company tonight so I'll stay with him until dark and you can sneak in the usual way. Sound good?"
"O-okay." Sakura didn't want to leave yet, but she knew she had to wait till after dark to see him privately. She gave Naruto a quick kiss on the cheek before swiftly disappearing through the door, and leaving the restaurant.
" Come on Naruto, let's get you home. And uh maybe we should stop and buy some sake first. How's that sound?"
"Technically I'm not old enough to drink Sake yet."
"Hmmm true...but if you're old enough to have sex in a hot spring then in my eyes you're old enough for a few drinks!"
Naruto couldn't help but laugh at his ex-sensei's logic. He looked up to see Kakashi smiling happily at him, clearly proud of himself for having broken his depressed mood.
Without further conversation they paid the bill and left the restaurant. Naruto then remembered vaguely hearing that Sakura would be coming over later... this put an instant smile on his face.
A/N: Okay so things are moving along...next chapter will be about Naruto opening the box Jiraiya left him, and Sakura will be with him so hmmmm I wonder what kind of situations they could get in to? If you like it please review!