Plight of the Leaf Chap. 1
He ran through the dusty streets, his life in jeopardy once more. The crowd was dangerously armed this time around, and he knew that they would kill him had they the slightest chance. He wasn't going to give it to them though. There was still too many important things he had to do with his life before he could let himself die here. Rounding the coming corner, he continued his escape from his pursuers.
He found himself unable to look back to check if they were still following himself. He was too afraid of what would happen – or of what he would see – if he did so. It was only a few days ago that he found out why the villagers hated him so much: it was because he was sealed with the demon Kyuubi only several days after he was born. He was an orphan, never knowing the love of a parent. Now that he thought about it, he never knew any kind of love. To him, he was fate's favorite whipping boy.
However, fate seemed to be giving him a break as he saw his apartment building within reach. With a relieved sigh, he quickly scaled the large building in a matter of seconds and unlocked the door to his own apartment. He shut it behind him with a heavy slam. He wiped the beads of sweat from his brow and forehead, then tossed his back pack from his shoulders. It landed on the hardwood floor with a small thud, hardly audible to anyone.
After making sure that the mob chasing him was long gone, he looked at his apartment. It was small, but cozy. He sat on his couch in the living room and let out a breath he had been subconsciously holding. He loathed days like today. He wondered to himself: What would they do if they knew about his real powers? He remembered that day fondly, and probably would for the rest of his life.
(Several Days Prior)
Great. This was just perfect. He knew that he was in some deep trouble now. Apparently, even some of the ANBU and higher Jonin detested him to the point of wanting him dead, as five of these high ranked shinobi stood in front of him with killing intent leaking from them. He felt himself stepping back from them, knowing that any confrontation will lead to his death.
"Please, just leave me alone!" he pleaded.
"That's what we said when you brutally destroyed our village twelve years ago, demon! Now, prepare to die!" one man said. He braced himself for the worse as the man charged at him with a katana drawn. Just as the blade came towards his chest, a new sword countered it, knocking it from its owner's grip. The startled Jonin didn't have time to even blink as a fist came into contact with his cheek, sending him down across the street. The young boy and his assailants looked at the newcomer with curiosity evident in their gaze.
"To think, the people I grew up with have sunk so low. Attacking innocent children over something they have no say in is a deplorable act of cowardice that I never thought Konoha was possible of." he said. He seemed no older than fifteen. He had spiky black hair and obsidian eyes, though it was difficult to tell past his tinted goggles. He wore a black jacket with an orange undershirt. The zipper and hem of the fabric was highlighted in orange. To finish the look, he had black cargo pants and a leather belt around his waist.
"Who are you?" one of the men asked.
"That doesn't really concern you. However, I cannot allow you to kill this boy. The fate of the world lies with him." the mysterious boy said. The older men laughed at the idea. The fate of the world with the demon? Might as well kill them all now! It would make cleaning the mess a little easier. They stopped laughing long enough to see that he was serious.
"You're just one kid! What are you going to do against five high rank ninja?" one ANBU asked. The boy gave a knowing smirk.
"Okay, now guys!" he shouted. In a flash, two more people appeared. One was a young girl, around fourteen, with short light brown hair and brown eyes. She wore a black shirt and shorts, with a tan Chinese dress around her waist. She also had black knee high boots. Her most striking feature, however, were the two purple marks on her cheeks.
The other, a boy about thirteen, had spiky, dirty blonde hair and deep brown, almost black, eyes. He wore a teal tunic with black shorts and leather battle gloves. A light blue cape was draped around his shoulders, reaching the back of his knees.
"What the? Where did these guys come from?" one of the Jonin questioned.
"Too bad you'll never find out! Raiton: Ikazuchi Dageki! (Lightning Style: Thunder Strike)" the girl said. A small, condensed orb of lightning cackled to life in her hands. She threw it at the shinobi in front of her, knocking two of them unconscious. The other three went to attack her, but the cloaked boy blocked them.
"Sayonara! Kijutsu: Gekido Kaze! (Magic: Raging Wind)" he called. A strong, raging tempest sent the three spiraling into the air. The last boy appeared above them.
"Katon: Dai Endan! (Fire Style: Great Fireball)" he called. A gigantic ball of flames were ejected from his mouth and propelled the three back down to the ground. Naruto watched in awe at their performance. These three were no pushovers, that was for sure. As he mused, he realized that the three were likely going to kill those shinobi. Even though they hated him, he wouldn't allow anyone to die because of him. Putting his hands into his signature seal, he summoned his chakra.
"Kage Bushin no Jutsu! (Shadow Clone Technique)" he called. In a cloud of vapor, two clones of him appeared. Without even ordering them, they jumped in front of the two shinobi on the ground. Before they could stop, their techniques were already launched, and they watched with wide eyes as the two clones were wiped from existed. The original appeared in front of the airborne fire user, blocking his view of the three adults.
"What are you doing? Get out of the way! We're trying to save you!" he said.
"I won't have any person die because of me! If I'm going to be Hokage someday, it's my duty to protect the people of Konoha, even if they despise me!" the boy retorted. The two landed on their feet across from one another. He kept his guard up, knowing that he could soon be in a three-on-one battle. Then, to his surprise, the three young warriors began to smile. What the hell was there to smile about?
"I knew it. You have to be Minato's son. You share his virtuous nature. Uzumaki Naruto, right? Or should I say, Namikaze Naruto." the fire user said. Naruto looked at him confused.
"What are you talking about? My last name is Uzumaki, not Namikaze!" he said.
"That's kinda true, but not really. Uzumaki was your mother's surname, but Namikaze was your father's. You took your mother's name so that way you wouldn't be attacked by your father's enemies. Believe me, he made plenty during the Third Great Shinobi War." the boy said. Naruto looked at him with a questioning glare. Was this guy trying to taunt him, making up stories about his deceased relatives? If so, the boy was going to get such a beat down.
"How would you know this stuff anyway? My parents are dead." Naruto said.
"How else? I was your father's student, as was Hatake Kakashi and Haruno Rin, who's right behind you. My name is Uchiha Obito, and the little guy is Senju Nawaki." he said. To say Naruto was surprised was sugarcoating it. He was speechless. These three people were supposedly dead! He remembered seeing their names on the Memorial Stone outside the village.
"B-But that can't be true! I saw your names on the Memorial Stone! How can you be here if you're dead?" the blonde asked in a panic. Ghosts were never his forte, something that he found ironic considering the thousand year old fox spirit that he held captive within him.
"Ah, but it is. You see, we were assigned to protect you, since you are a key component in defeating Lord Daimon and his minions." Obito said. He had to prevent himself from gritting his teeth anger, something he was failing at horribly.
"Lord Daimon? Who is that?" Naruto asked.
"He's a truly evil man. He wants to conquer the world and warp it to his own twisted ambition. He doesn't care about the welfare of the people, just power and money. Hell, he's killed innocent citizens just to steal the money they might have had. The worse part is that he actually has the power to do so, and has gathered all kinds of rogue shinobi to work for him, being promised a seat of power in his new world order." Rin explained.
"Yeah. Even the Holy Guard has trouble against the man. He's an extremely powerful master of dark magic, as well as an accomplished swordsman. We had to find someone who would be strong enough to fight him, and also be able to lead the people in battle. You've proven to us that you're capable of doing that." Nawaki said.
"So, you guys want me, a mere Genin and the village idiot, to lead an army of warriors against an evil entity for the sake of the world's safety?" Naruto asked.
"Pretty much." Obito replied. The young blonde looked at them all as if they were on drugs. They laughed at his reaction, something he didn't particularly find proper.
"Relax, man. That battle is still a long way off. We're here to help you get stronger – and maybe bash a few heads in while we're at it." the young Uchiha said.
"Besides, you'll probably meet other members of the Holy Guard soon enough. It's only customary for a commander to know his subordinates, right?" Rin said. Naruto shot her an incredulous look.
"I find this whole thing a little hard to believe..." he admitted. Nawaki smirked at his teammates.
"Told you he would want proof." he said victoriously. While rolling his eyes, Obito produced a summoning scroll from his storage pack. He bit the tip of his thumb, producing a small amount of blood and unraveled the parchment. He wiped his thumb down the center of the scroll and, in a puff of vapor, a rapier appeared in his hand.
"Here. Using this blessed rapier should be all the proof you need." he said, tossing the bladed weapon to the blonde. He caught it and unsheathed the metal sword. He twirled it around nimbly between his fingers, noticing how easy it was to maintain control over the instrument.
"Try channeling some chakra into it." Rin urged. Naruto nodded and allowed some of the spiritual energy to flow into the blade. It began to glow with a soft, golden aura as he brought the sword down in an arc in front of him. A thin, yet long, blade of light was emitted from the ensiform steel, splintering the wood of a tree several meters away. The blonde boy's eyes practically jumped from their sockets as he observed the potential strength he held.
"From the look on your face, I assume you've figured out exactly how strong you really are?" Nawaki asked.
"Yeah. If I had sped the stroke up, the blade emitted would've been faster and more powerful. At full speed, it would've slice straight through that tree." Naruto replied. They looked at him with small smirks. The village idiot, was he? If he was an idiot, they'd love to see what a genius was like.
"And probably the next seven behind it. Your latent potential is remarkable, even if your growth was stunted in the academy. For this reason, among a few others, you were chosen." Obito said.
"With this power...would I be able to become Hokage and protect this village?" the blonde asked.
"Yes, without a doubt. Of course, you should probably save the world first and foremost." Rin suggested playfully.
"You guys know so much about me...how is that possible? And why are you being so nice to me? It's obvious you know about my little 'problem.'" he said. The three understood he meant the demon fox he housed within his seal.
"You saved this village, and you're the son of their sensei. We've no reason to hate you. Besides, a lot of the higher ups in Paradise hold you in high regard." Nawaki remarked. It was difficult for them to retain their laughter at the sight of his blush.
"Aw, he's cute like that! It's a wonder why he hasn't had his first kiss yet!" the young girl said, making him turn even redder.
"Rin-san, please..." the boy pleaded.
"Gomen nasai, Naruto-sama." she replied.
"Right, onto business then. We need to see Hokage-sama right away. He needs to be informed on this predicament." Obito said. Naruto had his doubts, but kept quiet. These three knew what they were talking about.
"Okay, I'll take you. But, you should henge into something inconspicuous so that way we avoid a larger ordeal later." he said. They nodded and made a hand seal. In a puff of vapor, they transformed into three scrolls that Naruto handled carefully and slipped into his pack. Then, at a great speed, he ran towards the Hokage Tower. The five shinobi they defeated were left unconscious until they woke later, with no memory of what had happened.
(A few minutes later: Hokage's Office)
The Sandaime Hokage sighed at the stacks of paper work in front of him. How had Minato put up with it? He always seemed to get it all done and still have time for other things. Unfortunately, the old Hokage hadn't learned his secret before the Yondaime passed away against the Kyuubi.
He remembered the solemn look his successor – and, sadly, his predecessor – wore as he retrieved his son to face down the demon fox and seal it away. Speaking of his son, he heard a rapid rapping at his door, accompanied by a loud shout he knew could only belong to a certain blonde haired Genin.
"Come in, Naruto." he urged. The blonde maelstrom entered the office and made sure the door was locked behind him. He turned to the Hokage with an expression of seldom seen seriousness that it caught the older man off guard.
"What seems to be the problem? You look tense, young one." Sandaime said. Naruto drew three scrolls from his pack tenderly.
"I think the answers you seek – as well as my own – lie in these scrolls." he said with a calm demeanor foreign to the boy's inherent nature. Sandaime's curiosity was piqued by the parchment placed on the floor in front of him. Then, without warning, the three scrolls were enveloped by a cloud of vapor.
Momentarily, he thought that Naruto was pulling one of his infamous practical jokes. This thought was shoved aside when three forms became visible through the smoke. As the room slowly cleared of smoke, Sandaime found himself gawking at the young people in front of him.
"Long time no see." Obito said, flashing a victory sign with his fingers.
"Y-You're...Uchiha Obito...Haruno Rin...and Senju Nawaki...How is this possible?" he found himself asking.
"Sarutobi-sama, you've gotten old. Really old." Nawaki said jokingly.
"Yeah, Hokage-sama, what happened? Just a decade ago you were only graying a tiny bit. Now, though, your age really caught up with you." Rin said playfully.
"Naruto, how do you know these three?" Sandaime asked the blonde. Naruto explained everything that had happened that day, and then told him about Lord Daimon and the plot to take over the world. The old man reclined in his chair with an expression of disbelief plastered onto his face.
"I don't think he believes us." Nawaki said, noticing the Hokage's expression.
"To be honest, I can hardly believe it." Naruto admitted.
"Do you need proof too? If you do, I'll give a small demonstration." Obito offered. He drew his longsword from its scabbard and held it in a ready position in front of him. Then, without him uttering a word, the blade lit itself aflame, startling both Naruto and the Hokage.
"I didn't know you could do that! If I had to fight you three before, then I probably wouldn't have lasted three seconds!" Naruto exclaimed. The Hokage cleared his throat, getting the room's attention.
"It appears that my opinion has been swayed. With that display, I have no reason not to believe you. Now, please, tell me what I could do to assist you." he said.
"If you could keep this as discreet as possible, then that'll be a good thing. Also, any information you could give us about some of Lord Daimon's associates would be helpful." Obito said. He turned to the world map that was posted upon the wall. He put his finger on the middle of the map, where a mountain range was indicated.
"As you know, the known world is divided into two 'halves' by a long, treacherous mountain range known as the Dragon's Nest." he said. He moved his finger to the east, resting it on the symbol for Konoha.
"On the east side, where we live, the shinobi way of life has taken root. We have villages ruled by a Kage or Feudal Lord and a council of elders, and use the three ninja arts – ninjutsu, taijutsu and genjutsu – in battle." he continued. Now, moving his finger to the west side of the mountain, he stopped on the capital city for the country of Shiruba.
"On the west side, the people are more modernized than we are, inventing devices like walkie talkies and cell phones. The countries here are ruled by a king or queen of some kind, and they battle using blessed weaponry and the magic arts. Both sides are normally on good terms with each other, but whenever there were conflicts, they typically ended in a bloody war that ended the lives of many warriors on both sides." he explained.
"I'm completely aware of the history between the two continents, but what does this have to do with the mission you've all been given?" Sandaime asked.
"Lord Daimon has made allies in each of the nations and villages. Including Konoha." the Uchiha said darkly. A cold, collective silence hung in the room.
"...Do you know that identities of those whom he has made alliances with?" the Hokage asked.
"Not all of them, but I can point out the ones we do know." Obito said, looking at the map once more. He skimmed through the founded nations on both sides, nodding every now and again.
"Okay. He's made alliances with Orochimaru in Oto, the Akatsuki in Ame, a band of powerful mercenaries in Suna, a faction of elders in Kusa, a powerful sorcerer in Shiruba, the current leader of Hoshi, the Neo Swordsmen of the Mist from Kiri, a band of rebels from Getsu, a scientist from Akegata, and a group of rogue knights from Seigyoku. Lord Daimon himself is from Naiya. Eventually, all these threats will have to be dealt with." he explained.
"That's quite a list of organizations. You say there's a group like that in every nation?" the old man asked.
"Yes. He's already sown the seeds of his influence. Now all he has to do is watch them grow." the Uchiha said with a solemn expression.
"We won't allow it! I'll build up the army and take them all down!" Naruto said, pumping his fists into the air.
"If it were only that simple. The Chosen Warriors would have to show incredible potential, and be able to develop their skills within a very short time. Metaphorically, it would be the equivalent of a recently graduated Genin becoming an ANBU squad leader within two months of becoming a ninja." Rin explained.
"It's close to impossible. The only reason Naruto even has that much potential is because of the Kyuubi. If we find anyone with that type of talent, it would probably be in the upper Jonin or ANBU rank." Nawaki admitted. Naruto looked down dejectedly. Most of the people in those ranks would rather see him in a ditch then at the head of an army.
"That may not be necessarily true." Sandaime said, getting the other's attention.
"Huh? What do you mean, Hokage-sama?" Rin asked.
"I do believe that there are several students from Naruto's graduation class that show the same potential as he does. If they all study under your tutelage, then perhaps they could best even me." he suggested.
"That idea has it's pros and cons, but what choice do we have? First, we'd need to get all the Genin together for a mission, but what mission could a Genin perform that would involve such a large group?" the dirty blonde asked.
"I might have such a mission. Naruto, please tell Hatake Kakashi, Yuuhi Kurenai, Sarutobi Asuma and Yamashiro Aoba that I wish to see them." the Hokage said.
"But, what about these guys? They'll need a place to stay." Naruto said.
"They can stay with you if there's no quarrel." he replied. The blonde nodded in response.
"Alright. After I deliver your message, I'll return home and fix the place up a bit. It's a bit of a mess." he said bashfully before leaving. Obito turned to the Hokage, smiling as he did so.
"Alright, what do you have planned?" he asked. The old man smiled softly.
"I suppose that, if I gave you a C-Rank mission where, based on the client's personality, more guards would be requested, that might be an answer to our dilemma. Tazuna-san seems like the type of man who wants to lead an army that would value his life over theirs." he said.
"Ah, I see. So, with the Genin in tow, we go out on the mission to see if they have the potential, right?" Nawaki asked.
"That's the idea. If anyone asks you where you came from, say that you came from the previous graduating class." the Hokage instructed.
"Are you going to tell the senseis everything?" Rin asked.
"I should, seeing as they would probably recognize you. However, I would either need to swear them to secrecy or have them join your army." the older man said.
"Sorry, you'd have to make it a secret, if anything. The younger warriors are always more willing to learn and grow than the older ones. Besides, none of the Chosen Warriors, despite their abundance, are older than seventeen." Obito said.
"And what would sending a non Chosen Warrior into battle do?" the Hokage asked.
"Eventually, their death." he replied. Sandaime's eyes widened in surprise. He hadn't been expecting that type of answer. These Chosen Warriors sound like they had been decided a long time ago.
"The Chosen Warriors were chosen long ago, weren't they? You just want to make sure you made the right choices." he said knowingly.
"There's no putting anything past you, is there, Hokage-sama?" Nawaki asked.
"Yes, we know who they are and so will Naruto. He'll be able to sense when an ally is near him. That ability was developed as a failsafe, just in case one or more of his allies goes missing or is kidnapped. He's always had it, but it won't awaken until he uses his abilities in battle for the first time." Obito explained.
"This whole idea is still very complex. A lot of energy must have been put into this endeavor." the Hokage said.
"True, but the hardest part will be breaking the news to the Genin. I know that Naruto isn't held in high regards by most of them. And, if I remember correctly, didn't one of the new graduates succumb to illness and pass away?" Rin asked.
"Sadly, yes. His name was Sabaki Gennai, and he died of poisoning on a mission. His team showed such promise that I gave them a C-Rank mission to protect a town from bandits. We never suspected them to use poison to fight, but the town was saved thanks to his sacrifice. His teammates still miss him painfully." the older man explained.
"Gennai...Oh, yeah! Didn't he recently join the Holy Guard?" Nawaki asked.
"I think you're right. Ah well, we won't be sure until they get here." Obito replied.
"Either way, we should be-" Rin started.
"If you wait for a little while, I'm certain you could help explain to the senseis the position their students are in. Besides, Kakashi would get quite a surprise out of seeing his old teammates again, don't you think?" the Hokage urged. The three warriors looked at each other and sighed. It would be easier to explain if they were there with them, but then again, they wanted to keep a low profile. However, having the senseis know would make honing their student's skills easier and quicker.
"I suppose that's okay..." the Haruno said.
"Good. Then, please, be prepared for some rather interesting questions..." the Hokage advised.
Naruto remembered the looks on their faces when they came home that day. He was almost positive that if the Kyuubi had appeared before them in flesh and blood, they wouldn't have cared. Shoving his own thoughts aside, he looked at the calender posted on the wall. The group mission was tomorrow, and it was getting late. He supposed it would be best to get some rest.
A knock on his door, however, caught his ears. Who would be visiting him at this time of day? Curious, he answered the door to find a young blue haired boy standing there. He wore a red jacket over a yellow undershirt, with black sweatpants and a pair of bands wrapped around his wrists. The most striking detail he possessed, Naruto noted, were his melancholy green eyes. He remembered the boy's name as Mokushi Taiyou, heir to one of the lesser clans of Konoha.
"Taiyou, what brings you here? And why do you look so upset?" the blonde found himself asking. He and Taiyou had gotten along well when they were in the academy, and both expressed disappointment when they weren't chosen for each other's team. He considered him one of his precious people, and hell would freeze over before he let them down.
"Hey, Naruto, do you mind if I come in?" he asked. Naruto shook his head and let the taller boy in, shutting the down behind him. Taking a deep breath, Taiyou turned to the blonde.
"By now, I'm certain you've heard of Gennai-san's death. Natoyo is still taking it pretty roughly." he started. Naruto's expression became solemn as well. Gennai was a friend of his as well, and he remembered having to use every ounce of self-control he possessed to keep from weeping in public. He hadn't slept at all that night.
"That was almost two weeks ago, wasn't it? Natoyo was always the type of person who seemed emotionally sensitive." he offered.
"Yes, but some believed the two to have the type of brother-sister relationship often seen among long-standing friends. With this upcoming mission – the first we've had since his passing – I'm afraid she'll be too distracted and end up dying on the battlefield. I already lost one teammate due to my own inability, and I refuse to lose another. While we're in battle, Naruto, I want you to watch her back for me, considering I don't trust in my own abilities just yet. Please, for Gennai-san." the blue haired boy pleaded.
"I already planned on watching over everyone, but I'll make sure she survives unscathed." Naruto promised, although he didn't enjoy the way his friend questioned his own abilities like he did.
"Thank you, Naruto. I know I should be strong enough to protect her, but..." Taiyou trailed off, a look of uncertainty evident in his features.
"Taiyou, listen, you can't blame yourself for what happened. Do you think Gennai would want you feeling so weak over something he decided? He took that poisoned blow, knowing it would be his end, but he did it for a noble cause. That's why his name was engraved on the Memorial Stone." the blonde put his hand on the boy's shoulder, "Don't waste his sacrifice." he said.
"...Then I guess I'll just have to get stronger so no one will have to make that kind of sacrifice." Taiyou replied with a smile. Naruto smiled back, one of his genuine smiles. Now, his friend had a goal to get stronger.
"Since it's not too late, would you like to go train for a bit? I'll leave a note for my roommates so they know where I am." Naruto offered.
"That sounds fine. I noticed you've been carrying around a rapier. I guess it's to match the new look?" Taiyou asked. Before, the blonde had sported a bright orange jumpsuit, but now his attire was completely different. He now had on a black and red jacket with black sweatpants. A leather belt was fastened around his waist, with his rapier secured tightly to his body.
"I know a small amount of swordplay. I know you've been practicing with a blade as well. Would you care for a match?" the blonde asked in a dignified manner.
"I hope your blade is as swift as your mouth is." the boy replied. The two headed out the door and towards the nearest training field, their blades at the ready.
(The next day)
Haruno Sakura and Uchiha Sasuke waited patiently for the other Genin to show up, along with their sensei, Hatake Kakashi. She was enamored with the passive Uchiha, though he didn't acknowledge her presence half the time. Deciding to strike up conversation, Sakura turned to him.
"Have you noticed that Naruto has finally changed his appearance? That God awful jumpsuit is finally gone. Maybe now that baka won't get killed in an ambush." she said. Sasuke raised an eyebrow. She had actually piqued his curiosity.
"True. Did you notice the rapier he's been carrying around?" he asked.
"Yeah. I wonder where he got it from? You don't normally see that type of sword around here." she remarked. Rapiers were very difficult to obtain, let alone use. Since the blade was thin and pointed, the user must have excellent accuracy and speed in order to land decisive blows. Their teammate was never known to possess either.
"You think the dobe gave up being a ninja and is trying to be a swordsman?" Sasuke asked.
"I don't know. Either way, he's still a loser." Sakura admitted. He had no talents that she knew of off the bat. Okay, so he had Kage Bushin, but that was it. Nothing more. At least she knew some genjutsu and had been studying some of the west's magic arts. Then, she noticed a scroll strapped to the Uchiha's shorts.
"Hey, Sasuke-kun, what's that scroll for?" she asked. He gave her an annoyed glare before replying.
"It's a saber. My clan gave birth to many powerful swordsmen as well as shinobi. I aim to best both arts." he answered. She found herself blushing. She loved the fact that he always tried to better himself, even when he was perfect enough to begin with. He was a true genius.
Naruto approached the meeting spot for the mission. He felt fairly confident that they would succeed. Of course, when Obito mentioned the client was a bit of a jackass, he wasn't kidding. When he met the man, he wouldn't have loved nothing more than to tear his head from his body. He was scrawny, yes, but he had some muscle tone. If he punched someone, they'd be likely to fly off the ground and land a yard away. His taijutsu was a little sloppy though...
He snapped himself from his thoughts when he saw Team 10's Nara Shikamaru, Yamanaka Ino and Akimichi Chouji with Team 8's Hyuga Hinata, Inuzuka Kiba, his nin-dog Akamaru and Aburame Shino. He knew they would be going on the mission with his team, along with Obito's team and Taiyou's team, which was short one member. He sighed to himself. Most of them thought he was a weakling and the "dead-last" like everyone else. Most of them. Hinata wasn't like that, something for which he was grateful for. He remembered when he first met the shy Hyuga girl, five years ago, when they were eight.
(Flashback: Five Years Prior)
A young Naruto sat alone on the swings once again. None of the other kids wanted anything to do with him. Not that it surprised him, but it still hurt. He made sure that no one saw him cry to himself, as he kept his back to the playing children. However, he didn't notice one young girl walk up to him.
"Um...e-excuse me...b-but, are you okay?" she asked quietly. Naruto quickly wiped the tears from his eyes and turned to meet the person addressing him. He saw a young girl dressed in a light blue kimono, with short midnight blue hair and pale, pearly eyes.
"W-Who are you?" he asked nervously.
"H-Hyuga Hinata...and, um, what is your name?" she asked shyly.
"I'm Uzumaki Naruto! It's nice to meet you." he said happily, his earlier sadness forgotten.
"I-It's nice to meet you t-too, Naruto-kun." Hinata said.
"So, what did you mean when you asked if I was okay?" Naruto asked. The young girl flushed slightly as she looked to the ground.
"W-Well, you just seemed sad about something, s-so I thought y-you would like to t-talk about it? M-My mother told me that talking a-about your problems m-makes you feel b-better." she replied.
"Oh..." He wasn't expecting anyone to care about him, let alone some stranger he'd never seen before in his life. Hinata seemed disheartened by his silence, as she began to turn away.
"I-If you don't want to talk-" she began.
"No, no, that's not it! It's just that, not a lot of people are nice to me, so I didn't think someone would care if I was sad." he admitted.
"T-That's horrible! No one is nice to you?" she asked, making the idea sound as if it was the highest offense anyone one person could commit. He was already taking a liking to the girl.
"Not a lot of people, no. But, you're different. I like you, Hinata. We should be friends." he suggested. She smiled warmly at him.
"I'd like that a lot, Naruto-kun..." she said quietly. She mentally congratulated herself for not stuttering. Before she knew it, the blonde boy was taking her by the hand to the playground.
"C'mon Hinata! Let's play tag! I'll be it first, okay?" he asked happily. Seeing how happy the boy was, all she could find herself able to do was nod in agreement.
Ever since then, the two had been close, if not best, friends. He helped her overcome her shyness and stuttering, exposing a calm and sophisticated young lady to the world around her. He noticed that she did things with a certain grace that none of the other girls possessed, and that was something truly unique to her. Speaking of which, the Hyuga heiress noticed him approaching and smiled.
"Hello, Naruto-kun. How are you today?" she asked, alerting the others to his presence. He walked up to the group and waved before answering her question.
"I'm doing fine. Are you guys ready for the mission?" he asked.
"I still find it troublesome that we all have to go." Shikamaru said lazily.
"Lighten up, Shikamaru! This must be a really important mission if they're assigning so many Genin to it! This is gonna be my chance to shine!" Ino said excitedly.
"Yeah, I even heard that one of the teams from last year are coming with us." Chouji said.
"Then I guess we can show those older Genin exactly how it's done. Right, Akamaru?" Kiba said. His dog barked in agreement.
"I agree it would be most...favorable...to display the extent of our abilities to those who have experienced the shinobi way of life longer than we have." Shino said, which was the longest time Naruto had ever heard him talk. Then, he noticed the items the group was carrying. Most of them had a scroll strapped to their clothing, while Shino held a small black tome in his hand. He assumed it was a magic tome from the west.
"Did you guys always carry weapons or did I start a trend?" Naruto asked smugly, earning himself five glares. Before anyone could insult the boy, Hinata spoke up.
"I suppose you did, considering I began training with lances and spears after you had received your rapier. I'm not sure about the rest of you, but I thought it would be a good idea in case we didn't have chakra to use jutsu." she said.
"Have you been doing well?" the blonde asked. He sincerely hoped his friend was doing well in her new training, and her stated reason for taking up an armed weapon was a convincing one.
"I could still use a little work, but I've come far. Even Father has taken notice in my development, so I must be doing it right." she admitted bashfully. To be honest with himself, Naruto didn't exactly like her family. They treated her – and anyone else not of Hyuga blood – like dirt, to be stepped on without remorse. He wouldn't mind going to the Hyuga manor and start knocking heads together.
Shoving such thoughts aside, he turned to the other Genin with curiosity etched onto his face. If Hinata had started using lances, what of the others?
"So, what about you guys? Hinata can't be the only one training with weaponry, or are those just for show?" he asked.
"It's troublesome, but I've started archery. It's really the only weapon I could find that could fit my nature." Shikamaru said. A collective thought between the Genin proved they knew it was since a bow had a small amount of movement compared to other weapons.
"But what if the enemy gets too close for you to attack?" Hinata asked.
"It's a bladed bow. I can just separate it into two make-shift swords if the enemy gets close enough." the Nara replied. Naruto had to admit, for a lazy bastard, Shikamaru sure was smart. Ino stepped up to allow them a glance at her amazing abilities.
"Behold, my holy dagger!" she said, withdrawing a small dagger from its hiding place on her person. The others sweat-dropped at her dramatics.
"Um, that's great, Ino-chan..." Hinata said supportively, though her small smirk said otherwise.
"Yeah, that's amazing..." Naruto said. The blonde smirked as she twirled her dagger in her hand before tucking it into its hiding spot. Now that he thought about it, a dagger was a helpful weapon in a pinch, and it was easy to land a killing blow.
"I've got an axe, so that way I can hack through anyone who gets in my way." Kiba said grinning. Chouji glared at him before speaking up.
"Hey, you copied me! The Akimichi have always been known to be heavy hitters, so axes suit our natural physique." he complained. Naruto smirked at his antics before turning to Shino.
"I see you're carrying a tome. What kind?" he asked. Shino raised an eyebrow. He hadn't expected the blonde – infamous for his lack of knowledge – to know what he held with him. He deserved an answer to his inquiry, even if it was unexpected.
"Dark." he replied simply. Naruto felt his eyes widen slightly.
"A Dark tome?! Those are extremely difficult to obtain, let alone master! Any user would have to be incredibly intelligent, not to mention have the resilience to withstand light or divine spells, which I understand is more difficult compared to that of elemental spells. Of course, you knew all this already, right Shino?" he asked. He didn't notice the others staring at him like he had sprouted an extra head.
"...Yes, I was aware of this information. However, I failed to see that you were informed as to the mystic trinity's strengths and weaknesses as well, Naruto." the Aburame replied.
"Yeah, Naruto, where'd you learn that? I didn't even know that." Shikamaru admitted.
"I, um, ran into a traveling sage that took an interest in my curiosity. He explained a lot about the mystic arts and, even though he sensed I don't have the affinity for magic most mages do, said that with enough practice I could use spells as well." he explained. He hadn't completely lied. He did have it all explained to him, although it was Nawaki who had done the explaining. He also encouraged him to learn at least some minor magic attacks, just in case he needed them. The beige haired mage even gave him a thunder tome to practice with.
It was best to learn multiple forms of combat. That way, even if facing an opponent that outmatched one of those forms, it was still possible to defeat him using an alternate method. However, he felt that ninjutsu and swordplay would forever be his strong point. He had learned much from Obito and his team, and wondered exactly how many ways there were to fighting enemies.
He remembered them telling him about several basic styles, from both the east and west. There was, of course, ninjutsu, genjutsu and taijutsu, a ninja's three most basic styles. They evolved into more complicated and intricate styles of themselves that became too numerous to count. Aside from them were the Kekkei Genkai, blood line traits and abilities unique to certain clans, and even the use of ninja tools became known as kenjutsu. Then, from the west, there was swordplay, lancing, axing, archery and the magic arts. He was informed that some people had the ability to natural shift forms into an animal of some kind, which was a cause of racial separation, something Naruto didn't quite understand.
"Hey, c'mon, let's go! If we don't hurry, we'll be late!" Ino said, snapping Naruto from his thoughts.
"Wait for us!" someone else shouted. They turned to see Obito, Rin and Nawaki running up to them with Taiyou and Natoyo in tow.
"Who are those guys?" Kiba asked as Naruto smiled.
"Obito-san, we're over here!" he shouted to them, waving his arms in the air. The groups merged together, with Obito smiling in relief.
"Good, we caught up to you before you got there. Couldn't have you beating us, right?" he asked jokingly, making the blonde roll his eyes.
"Oh, these must be the team from last year joining us! Hi, I'm Yamanaka Ino!" Ino introduced. After everyone introduced themselves, the group headed towards the gates. Naruto turned to Natoyo quickly, noticing the blonde haired girl was quietly thinking to herself.
"Hey, you okay, Natoyo?" he asked, snapping her out of her thoughts.
"Oh, Naruto, I'm sorry. I'm just still a little upset since Gennai-san died. If I hadn't been so caught up in fighting, I might have been able to help him." she said sadly.
"Would he have been content knowing his teammate died because she was worried about him? You forget, he let himself take that blow. You mourning over him as badly as you have is touching, yes, but almost an insult to his memory. He died a hero, and a protector of innocence, and you should be sad, of course, but also proud that he was able to perform such a noble deed. It's hard, but he wouldn't want you dwelling on him. For his sake, please cheer up." he said encouragingly. He saw the vitality return to her emerald eyes.
"You're right...I'm insulting Gennai-san's memory by sulking over his noble sacrifice! I refuse to do so any longer! Naruto, if you wouldn't mind, would you train with me when we get the chance?" Natoyo asked him.
"Of course. I wouldn't turn away a friend." he replied with a smile. She smiled as well as they arrived at the gate. Sasuke, Sakura and Kakashi were already there, waiting for them.
"You all came together? And there's quite a larger number of you than I expecting." Kakashi remarked.
"Hn. Maybe things will be a bit more interesting." Sasuke said smugly, making Naruto glare at him silently.
"Whatever, teme. I can't wait for the chance to show you up. It's time someone put you down a peg or two." he said, making the Uchiha survivor give him a special black death glare (Property of Uchiha Clan, all rights reserved).
"Like you could, dobe. I'm pretty sure every person here could beat you without much trouble." he replied, smirking superiorly. Before their argument could escalate any further, Hinata intervened.
"Um, where is our client? We cannot begin the mission without him present." she said. They heard someone walking up to them from behind and turned around, instinctively grabbing their weapons in case. However, all they saw was an old man approaching them somewhat drunkenly. The young warriors sweat-dropped. This was the guy they would be protecting?
"Ah, so my mini-army of kids has arrived, have they? They don't seem all that strong, but maybe together they could beat someone without dying. That blonde midget doesn't look like a ninja either. Konoha must be getting desperate." he said in a sluggish tone. Naruto glared at him before restraining himself from jumping him. Everyone took a step back, however, feeling the killing intent the blonde was displaying, but some questioned whether he was the only one releasing it. It was official: none of them liked this guy. Surprisingly, it was Naruto who spoke up before any one else.
"You shouldn't be insulting the people who're guarding your life. We could just as easily 'accidentally' leave you in the open for an enemy attack. Show at least a little gratitude that we've accepted the mission despite the outrageous requests you've requested, let alone granted." he said calmly, much to everyone's surprise.
"Since when did you talk like a diplomat?" Kiba asked.
"Maybe I always had, but you've just been too busy boasting about your superiority that you never noticed." the blonde responded, taking the lead as the group walked through the gates and towards their destination, the Wave Country.
About an hour after the group had left, Naruto felt a chill travel down his spine, making his hair stand on end. Observing his surroundings using the periphery of his vision, he noticed a small puddle of water on the side of the road. Strange, considering it hasn't rained in weeks. He looked at the faces of the group to see if they had noticed as well. Obito, Rin and Nawaki seemed aware of the situation, but everyone else seemed oblivious. Kakashi had probably seen it too, but it was impossible for him to discern the man's thoughts through that mask he wore.
He silently nodded to his three "bodyguards," who kept their hands by their weapons so they could defend in the blink of an eye. He paced himself with his sensei until they walked side by side.
"Kakashi-sensei, have you noticed?" he asked in a whisper. The masked Jonin felt his eyebrows raise. He didn't think anyone else had picked up on it. He knew that those three from the Holy Guard noticed as well. He'd expect nothing less from his old teammates. Maybe there was something more to his blonde student than meets the eye.
"Yes, but I didn't think you would've, not at your current level. Keep your rapier at the ready and be ready to defend Tazuna from any enemies that may attack, got it? Chances are, they'll attack me first to eliminate the biggest threat, but I'll pull a substitution. I want you to remain calm and focus on defeating your enemy." he instructed quickly. The blonde silently nodded in affirmation, then slowly made sure he was close to Tazuna before continuing the walk.
That's when it happened.
The last few seconds were nothing but a blur to her, but Ino felt her eyes widened when Kakashi was effortlessly killed by two ninja using chained gauntlets. The confusion only grew when Naruto and those three from the year prior withdrew their weapons to deflect the attacks of other assailants, whom jumped away to join their comrades. Had he known about this before hand? No, that was impossible. How could Naruto, the class loser, pick up on this before the great Uchiha Sasuke-kun? However, what she heard Rin say made her eyes widen.
"Naruto-san, give your orders! We're ready at your word." she said sternly. Her butterfly swords were crossed in front of her torso, prepared to cleave anything threatening her client.
"There's no way I'm taking orders from the dobe. I'll take the lead." Sasuke said.
"How about you let the expert handle this?" Obito asked, earning him a glare from his unaware cousin.
"I hope you're not talking about yourself." he replied.
"No, let Naruto-san handle this. Contrary to what you think, he's capable of doing many things you can't. Including leading a team without anyone dying." the older boy said.
"Sasuke-kun could easily lead a team ten times better than he ever could!"Sakura retorted.
"Yeah! What could Naruto do that Sasuke-kun couldn't?" Ino asked. As they argued, the blonde boy stepped out in front of them.
"Rin, Nawaki, guard Tazuna with your lives. Obito, quit your arguing. If they don't want to follow my orders, no one is forcing them to." he ordered the three, who immediately complied. That only complicated things further. How did he command respect from those three, who were older and stronger than they were? Naruto was ignorant of their confusion, as his eyes were closed as he used his chakra to discern the abilities of his enemies before him.
'There's thirty of them in total. Most of them are clones, though. Their chakra signature is different from the originals. There are only two real shinobi, both about Chunin level judging from their capacity. They both summoned clones, which is why there are so many. I see...they think that such high numbers will frighten us. I can't really blame them, considering the abysmal behavior my teammates are exhibiting. I'll need to think of a plan and quick before someone ends up dying.' he thought.
"Aw, the little brats can't fight without their sensei. Too bad. I was hoping this would be fun." one of the ninja said. Everyone outside of the Holy Guard seemed intimidated by the numbers they were confronted with.
"So, you guys are after Tazuna-san? May I ask why?" the blonde asked.
"Gato wants him dead, so we'll make it so. Nothing you can do when receiving orders from the higher ups." the second ninja replied. The blonde was pretty surprised at hearing the name Gato as their employer. What could he want with Tazuna?
"Gato? The shipping industrialist?" Naruto inquired.
"Yeah. That's all you need to know though, since you're all gonna die. To arms, men! Take them down!" the first ninja said. The clones prepared to attack the group. As everyone braced themselves, Naruto scoffed.
"Do you honestly think that a cheap trick like this will work? C'mon, you guys are at least Chunin level, aren't you? Surely you didn't think we'd be that stupid. Those are obviously water clones conjured before hand so we'd think they were real and retreat. There's a few flaws to that plan. Firstly, a clone is a replica of the user, so they'd share every physical trait down to the last detail. For all these men to have the same facial features, as well as height, is nothing short of impossible. Secondly, the chakra signatures given out by you two is different than those of your clones. It was also very hard to detect, but you two are identical twins. Your chakra signatures are almost the same as the other. Almost. There's a slight difference in the older brother's aura that shows you are two different people. Not to mention that it would be incredibly taxing for any shinobi without very high chakra reserves to create such a massive amount of clones without passing out or dying. So, naturally, two of you would be needed, but your identical appearance makes it seem that theres only one of you. It's a shame – and an embarrassment – to go through such lengths to fool a group of Genin." he explained. The whole company was silently staring at him with wide eyes.
"...Ha, and I thought this wouldn't be fun. Right away, this kid sees through our ruse. It's a damn shame we have to kill ya, you'd probably make one helluva ninja later in life." the older twin said.
"I'm afraid we'll have to disappoint you, but we shan't be dying here today." Hinata said, stepping up next to her best friend. Turning to him, she held her lance in a ready position.
"I am ready and willing to serve, Naruto-san. Please, give me your orders." she said respectfully, like a soldier to his commander. She could feel the stares her teammates were giving her, but she didn't care. She wished she had done this sooner.
Taiyou and Natoyo looked at each other, silently concurring on their silent thoughts. They approached the blonde and knelt before him.
"Naruto-san, my blade is yours to guide. Use it as you see fit." Taiyou said, his longsword in his grasp
"Naruto-san, my bow is armed and my arrow prepared to fly. Allow me to smite your enemies." Natoyo said, her bow on the ground beside her. Naruto looked at the three with a surprised expression before smiling. Keeping the tears from his eyes, he cleared his throat.
"Thank you. Your first order: never call me 'Naruto-san' again. We're friends, not soldiers." he said as the trio smiled. To their surprise, Shino spoke up next.
"...I must admit, I miscalculated my initial perception of you, Naruto. If you would allow it, let my abilities be of use to you." he said, allowing his tome to slip into his hand. Now everyone was looking at the blonde. Where was the class clown now? He was so...different than before. He actually didn't kill Tazuna – or attempt to anyway – in a fit of rage, nor did he charge head first into the crowd of clones before them. As impossible at it seemed, Uzumaki Naruto had actually grown up.
"...This seems to be becoming a trend, but let my axe fight for you, Naruto. You've changed for the better, that much is obvious. I want to show you that I've changed too." Chouji said, standing up with the others of Naruto's "army."
"There's no way I'm missing out on this party! Naruto, I'm counting on your judgment! You'd better not screw up!" Kiba said, taking his axe as Akamaru yelped and leaped from his master's jacket, growling at the enemies before them.
"It's troublesome, but I'm trusting you too Naruto. Don't make me do too much and you'll have me your long time ally." Shikamaru said, arching his bow.
"...Naruto, may my dagger serve you well. I promise, I won't let you down." Ino said, drawing her dagger from it's hilt. She ignored the shocked look on Sasuke's face as she when to the front lines. However, the biggest shock of his life came when Sakura stepped behind Kiba, facing Naruto.
"I will fight from here. Just make sure someone can cover me while I cast my spells." she requested, earning a nod from the blonde general. Sasuke grit his teeth. How could they even think of serving under the dobe's command? The idea was laughable, and half the group was against it before Naruto saw through the Chunin's ruse. Even if it was impressive. Upon thinking that thought, he crushed it ruthlessly. As much as he hated to admit it, Naruto had impressed him. With a regretful sigh, he turned to his blonde teammate.
"...I'll take your advice this one time. Unless you made Chunin before I do, don't expect me to take orders from you ever again." he said with much chagrin. Naruto smiled a genuine smile before looking at his friends.
"Everyone, our objective is to protect Tazuna at all costs. We cannot let a single enemy past our defenses. When you see even the smallest opportunity, land a killing blow. Archers, mages, stay behind the main force and attack from the rear so you're not in any immediate danger. For the front linesmen, we'll ram into their forces hard and without remorse. Remember that we must defeat the two brothers if we are to continue our mission. Without a doubt, failure is not an option!" he said to his team, who all nodded in response, some more hesitantly than others, but none more certain than Hinata. As he drew his rapier from its scabbard, he knew that this would be his first fight as a member of the Holy Guard. He knew that the outcome of future battles – as well as the development of his own leadership skills – were dependent on this battle. As the first of the enemy clones charged forward, his eyes adapted a fierce glare of determination that none thought possible of the boy. As his opponent neared, he brought his sword forward in a jabbing motion, prepared to fight for the future of the world.
Damn, did I write all that? Anyway, this is the remake of my story, "The Leaf's Emblem." The idea, while far-fetched and somewhat unstable, is something I don't believe anyone else has thought of thus far. This story will include the Naruto storyline, as well as some of my own elements, some references to the Fire Emblem series, such as weapons and classes, and this will all be set in a modern time where the two "continents" vastly differ from each other. I know I will be asked questions about that, so let me clarify now to simplify: Imagine the east as the Naruto world, and imagine the west as our society. Also, you must realize, that since the two are aware of each other, then more modernized elements will be included in the Naruto storyline, while more traditional moments will be shown for the western characters when they appear. I hope you enjoy and look forward to the next chapter. Ja Ne!