Title: Failing Twilight: The Order
Author: Shadow Rebirth
Beta Reader: Rukia23
Rating: T
Warnings: Death, blood and gore, coarse language, adult themes, spoilers
Chapter WC: 465
Story WC: 465
First Written: April 29, 2008
Last Edited: February 21, 2009
Posted: October 16, 2008
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. This work has not been endorsed by Kishimoto Masashi, Shueisha, Viz Media, Shōnen Jump, Studio Pierrot, Aniplex, or any of the others holding copyright or license to the Naruto manga, anime, movies, and products. No connection is implied or should be inferred. Other names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. The author receives no financial gain from its production or distribution.
Summary: Naruto had learnt from a young age that life could get hectic, but all this chaos with Biju, daimyos, and psychotic missing-nin was going a bit too far. Now just throw in a fourth Great Shinobi War and you've got one pissed off seal master. AU story. No pairings.

Failing Twilight

The Order

Sarutobi Hiruzen, the Professor, the Sandaime Hokage, one of the undisputed most powerful men in the world, stared forlornly down at a small bundle in his arms. From within that bundle appeared the small face of a baby who was sleeping peacefully, blissfully unaware of the happenings of the world around him.

Sarutobi let out a sigh as he brought the babe closer to him. "Forgive me, Naruto-chan," the elder shinobi murmured softly.

Things had...not quite gone as planned over the past few days for Sarutobi. After the Yondaime's death and the subsequent defeat of the Kyuubi no Kitsune, he'd hoped that things would settle down in Konohagakure no Sato, the Village Hidden in the Leaves. Alas, it was not to be.

The citizens of Konoha were angry and distraught and had begun crying out for blood, especially after learning the fate of the Kyuubi. Sarutobi had managed to quickly silence them, but the Council could not be so easily put down. While they, fortunately, were wise enough to harbor no ill will towards young Uzumaki Naruto, neither did they lean in his favor. Just earlier that day they had forbid Sarutobi from taking an active part in Naruto's life.

Being the Hokage, Sarutobi had immediately protested against this ruling. Unfortunately his power was over shinobi, and Naruto was a civilian, not a shinobi. So the order stood.

Sarutobi didn't need to turn to know that a shinobi had just entered into the room. Nor did he need to look to know who it was.

"Have the preparations been made?" the reinstated Hokage asked. His voice was weary, as if he'd aged decades in just a few short days.

"Yes," the ANBU in the room answered shortly. "Everything is ready, sir."

There was a pause and Sarutobi easily picked up on the shinobi's uneasiness. "Speak," he said softly.

The ANBU gulped before doing so. "Forgive me, Hokage-sama," he began. "But...Are you sure about this? Are you sure that you shouldn't assign at least a few ninja to watch over the boy?"

"Alas, I wish I could. Unfortunately, the Council is correct: I have no influence over civilians except in a time of war. No, I'm afraid that Naruto shall have to face the world on his own..."

With a second sigh Sarutobi finally turned around to face the ANBU. With a few quick strides he walked over to the man and then gently passed the baby to him. The ANBU accepted his charge somewhat awkwardly, but firmly nonetheless.

"Good luck, Naruto-chan," Sarutobi murmured quietly as his hands fell away. "I hope to see you again someday soon."

Without even a whisper of movement the ANBU was gone, leaving a bent old man alone in his office.

"Dear Kami, I hope I have made the right choice."

A/N: This story is the result of me listening to Three Days Grace in the middle of the night while dealing with a high fever. 'Nough said. My goal for this fic is to keep this story realistic, while making it original. I hope I succeed (grins)

On that note, this story is going to be very AU and very different. You see, most AU fics generally end up being about how Naruto would view events if he'd been smarter, raised by someone else, etc. And because they stick to only the canon events, they tend to get pretty boring pretty quick. If I wanted to read about what happens in the canon, then I'd go read the manga. But as this is fanfiction, I want to read something that deviates a bit more from canon. This story, as I just said, will be very AU. Sure the major events will still be there, but I'll be switching things up a lot, including things that are generally taken for granted. (grins) You'll see what I mean.

As a last note, these first few chapters will be a build up of Naruto's situation and what his character will be like. The main plotline for this story will be revealed in chapter four and things will start to pick up from there on.

Please review and tell me what you think!