A/N: Sorry for not updating sooner. College has had me way busy. I'm taking the last of my Japanese classes, and two history classes along with two art classes (because I'm an art major now) and it adds up to aabout 18 credits, so I'm running a tight schedule. But hooray for spring break!
And I decided to set this story back about 300 years for the sake of plotline...please forgive me! I like it better this way. Much easier for me to write...
Naruto awoke late the next morning, a sharp pain running down his back as he sat up. Never before in his entire relationship with Kakashi had the older samurai ever been even the slightest bit rough. Kakashi had never really seemed to think of his own pleasure, but last night...
Last night had been one of the most intimate nights Naruto had ever experienced...
He never forget the feeling of Kakashi's skin against his, the feel of the silver haired man's hips slamming into his, callused fingers touching, stroking...groping...the smells, the sounds of Kakashi's pleasured grunts and Naruto's own wanton gasps and cries.
Naruto shook himself mentally, looking around as he struggled to repress another erection. He got up, tying his haori on and peering around the curtains that separated the mats. Kakashi was nowhere to be found, and neither were most of the other samurai, though it looked as if several other samurai had also had one last night with their apprentices.
Naruto moved silently through the curtains and panels, his heart hammering slightly; he wasn't ready to say goodbye...
He broke into a run, his feet hitting the floor in near silence as he pushed open the heavy double doors that let out into the rainy morning.
He emerged just in time to see Kakashi glance back through the growing mist, before turning away and fading into the darkness.
Naruto tried to scream, to yell for his beloved sensei to come back, but his voice caught in his throat as he ran down the short temple steps.
He stood ankle-deep in the mud as a slow, soft rain began to patter the ground around him. His heart ached and his stomach churned as the slow chill seeped into his veins. He didn't even hear Jiraiya come up behind him, nor did he stir when the daimyo clapped a hand on his shoulder.
"Hey, don't dwell on it kid. You'll see him again..." Jiraiya said, wrapping one firm hand on a cold shoulder and steering him inside.
Naruto stared up at the big man, who seemed unusually kind and understanding.
"Come on, kid, let's get you inside and get something warm into you..." He said, opening one of the tremendous doors and taking him in a different direction from where he'd come. "Kakashi left something for you."
Naruto still didn't look up, but rather stared down as both their bare feet his the floor softly. There was something about Jiraiya right at that moment that made Naruto understand why Jiraiya was a daimyo. There was this inexplicable aura of kindness and nobility about the man that made Naruto stare for a moment, despite Jiraiya's rough appearance.
Jiraiya picked up on this and looked down at the boy with a fond smile.
"What are you thinking, kiddo?" He asked, opening the door to the small, private room lit only by oil lamps.
Naruto shook his head in dismissal as he looked around. There was a sumi set on the table, fresh ink glistening in the stone, and rolls upon rolls of rice paper littered the floor, mistakes crumpled here and there. Naruto blinked wide blue eyes in wonder. He'd never seen anything like this before in his entire life.
"Take off your haori and hang it over there, be careful not to drip on the papers..." Jiraiya said dismissively, pulling a pipe out of his kosode and lighting it as he sat down at the low table, dipping the brush in the ink and sweeping it across the paper, leaving strong black lines in it's wake. Naruto blinked slightly, hesitant to be naked before the daimyo.
Reluctantly, Naruto shed the wet silk, letting it slip slowly off of his slender shoulders before standing on tip-toe to hang it on the hook. He could have sworn he felt Jiraiya's eyes on him, but when he glanced back, Jiraiya appeared to be deep in thought, pouring over the papers.
"Come here and sit down..." Jiraiya said, glancing up and pointing a round straw mat across the table from him. "I need to have a few words with you."
Naruto shivered slightly from the chill as the thick air hit his chilled skin, but obeyed Lord Jiraiya, watching him nervously.
Jiraiya continued writing for a few moments, his dark eyes intent on the paper before him as he wrote with an obvious passion.
"Lord Jiraiya...where has Kakashi-sensei gone?"
Jiraiya's brush never left the paper, and for a moment, Naruto thought that he didn't hear him.
"I assume he told you about your parentage last night."
Naruto thought for a moment.
"And what do you have to say?"
"I...I really don't know..." He said quietly, looking down at the paper on the table, tilting his head slightly as he read.
The teen jumped slightly, embarrassed at being caught. "I, ah...I will carry out whatever duty I can..."
Jiraiya nodded thoughtfully. "Go wash your bowl."
Naruto blinked, standing up. "Ah...all right..." He muttered, stepping backwards. Jiraiya blinked up at him, then suddenly burst into laughter.
"Relax, sit down..." Jiraiya said, pulling a round clay jar out from underneath the table and offering it to Naruto. "Drink a little of this, you'll feel better afterward..."
Naruto obeyed, and without thinking, he took a large swig of the caustic fluid. He forced it down and spluttered slightly, wiping his mouth.
"You like that, kid?" Jiraiya laughed, putting the brush down finally. Naruto struggled not to give the daimyo a dirty look as he put the jug down on the table.
"Well, then," Jiraiya said formally, leaning back. "Now that that's out of the way, Kakashi left something for you..." he said, reaching under the table once again and pulling out a long box. Naruto knew immediately what it was, or so he thought. He took it from Jiraiya with a bow, opening it slowly.
Naruto's breath hitched in his throat and reached slowly into the box, pulling out Kakashi's katana, the wakazashi missing.
Tied to the hilt was a note that read;
"The twin stalks of the bamboo are not parted for long.
The time for the chrysanthemums bloom has come."
Naruto felt tears gather in his eyes as Jiraiya watched him closely.
"Do you understand what he meant, Naruto? I assume he taught you to understand this."
Naruto shook his head, determined not to cry in front of the Daimyo.
"Come here, Naruto..." Jiraiya said kindly, holding out his hands. Slowly, Naruto stood up, kneeling back down before the great man. Jiraiya put his arms around the slender teen, pulling him onto his lap.
There was something about this action that made Naruto feel safer, the tears falling now unhindered against the older man's kosode.
"It'll be all right, Naruto...Kakashi's going to be safe. He's with Sarutobi Asuma, one of Kyoto's finest swordsmen. " Jiraiya said, rubbing Naruto's back gently.
Naruto nodded, remembering Asuma vividly. Asuma did seem like the sort of man that would keep an eye out...
Naruto studied under Jiraiya in the coming months, working diligently day and night so that upon Kakashi's return, the silver-haired sensei would be pleased.
However, Naruto's heart was growing increasingly restless. It had been a month since any sort of messenger had come to the temple and there was a rumor that the kanpaku was cracking down on some of the monasteries due to their militaristic threats against the kanpaku.
One night, without warning, Jiraiya pulled Naruto out of his bed, announcing that they had to leave immediately.
Naruto was confused, but complied, quickly tying Kakashi's wakazashi on over his hakama and leaving without a second glace.
It was raining outside the temple, but this had no effect upon Jiraiya's nearly frantic movements.
"Come on, Naruto, we need to go now..." The old man murmured, leading Naruto off into the trees. They traveled well into the night, the darkness of the trees consuming them entirely.
"Jiraiya-sama, what's going on?" Naruto asked quietly, shivering in the dampness of the night. He'd left without hat or cloak and he felt tired and cold.
"Shh..." Jiraiya held up a hand for silence, crouching under the shadow of a tree. Naruto crouched beside him, watching as a man passed through the shadows just feet away from them.
Azure eyes narrowed, the figure looking vaguely familiar.
"Jiraiya-sama...?" A chary voice called through the darkness.
"Uchiha..." Jiraiya muttered, standing up. "I trust you came alone?"
Naruto frowned, remembering the two riders that had come past when he and Kakashi had first arrived at the temple.
"Of course, Jriaya-sama...."
"What is the situation?"
There was a long silence in which the moon broke through the clouds for a moment, then the figure turned. "Come with me, Jiraiya-sama, we have no time to lose. As we speak, the Akatsuki is marching towards the Shingon monastery under the orders of the Sei Taishogun, Oda Nobunaga...they plan on surrounding the entire mountain and killing all who try to escape..." The man named Uchiha said quietly as he led them downhill through the trees.
"I doubt Nobunaga's troops could possibly manage that feat...The Shingon monks are some of the best fighters...Sarutobi Asuma trained under-"
"Sarutobi Asuma is dead." Uchiha said quietly, interrupting the older man.
Jiraiya froze mid step, his face paling visibly, despite the stifling darkness.
"Dead? How did this happen?"
The Uchiha was quiet for a long time.
"He was executed via crucifixion by the Kurishutan Daimyo, Hidan, who is also Akatsuki..." The man said with a sigh, preparing to cross a set of large rocks set into a deep, wide stream.
The dark man held out a hand for Naruto to take as they crossed the stream. The dark man's hands were cold, but not nearly as cold as the stream. In the dim light of the clearing, Naruto could barely make out the Uchiha's features.
"What more..." Itachi said, helping Naruto safely across as he continued his conversation with Jiraiya. "Is the person pulling Nobunaga's strings is-"
The Uchiha fell silent, staring off into the darkness of the trees.
"They're coming..." He said quietly, drawing the sword from beneath the black and crimson cloak he wore on his back.
Jiriaya fell silent as a crimson glow of torches drew near and the shouting of men could be heard.
"Jiraiya sama, please stay hidden here." The Uchiha said quietly, stepping near the fire line as the voices drew near.
"Wait! What about Hatake?" Naruto burst out without warning. The Uchiha ignored him, disappearing into the trees.
"Naruto, stay down." Jiraiya snapped, pushing the teen into the relative safety of the water and crouching in the bushes near by.
The blonde let out a gasp as the cold water engulfed him, his fingers slipping on the wet, mossy stones as he struggled for something to hold on to.
He felt himself being swept away by the strong current, unable to cry for help for fear of the men advancing on the Shingon Temple.
The freezing water filled his lungs as he floundered about, chilling him to the bone and soaking his clothes completely. In the cloudy moonlight, Naruto found it difficult to find a decent grip on the waters edge as he heart the voices of the men called 'Akatsuki' drawing near.
He felt himself losing consciousness as he slipped further down the stream, his body becoming numb to the cold, his long fingers grasping at whatever looked like a stable hold.
The blond's eyelids felt heavy as he struggled just to keep his head above the water, his body beginning to feel warm again as his fingers struggled to grasp a twig that was just barely out of reach.
The twig snapped just as his fingers closed around it, and he felt his body twist around, his head colliding with a rock in the middle of a stream. The last thing he remembered before passing out was seeing someone standing on the edge of the water, seemingly motionless as the blond prince passed by.