Having endured the hatred of the villagers for the first few years of her life, Uzumaki Naru had finally snapped. She's locked herself away, behind a cold mask, acting almost like a robot. Can her genin team crack her mask and teach her to love again?
This is a rewritten version of A Lost Soul that I've posted on my old account.
Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach or Naruto or any of the characters that had appeared in this story, but I do own their codenames.
Chapter One: Uzumaki Naru
The life machines of the hospital were the only sounds in the hospital room as the Sandaime walked into the hospital room. The other ninjas in the hospital room; Maito Gai, Mitarashi Anko, Ebisu, Hatake Kakashi and Umino Iruka looked up as he entered and shook their heads.
"She hadn't responded to anything that we had said," said Iruka with some sadness. "Seems like the attack this time had gone a little too far. Fortunately, Itachi had arrived just in time, otherwise, only god knows what will happen."
A blonde-haired four-year-old girl sat on the hospital bed, her knees drawn up to her chest and her arms wrapped around them. Her head was leaning against her knees; only her blue eyes could be seen and it was devoid of all emotion.
This little blonde girl was the vessel for the Kyuubi, the nine-tailed fox that had nearly destroyed Konoha four years ago. Day in and day out, Naru had to go through a nightmarish life in Konoha, being surrounded by hatred, solitude and abuse by the people around her. That night was the festival for the Kyuubi's 'death' and it was also on that night that a few civilians had decided to take things a little too far with the fox vessel. If it wasn't for the timely arrival for Uchiha Itachi, Naru would have been dead.
"Naru…?" said the Sandaime gently, walking towards her, but the blonde girl showed no sign that she had heard him at all. The Sandaime sighed and turned towards the shinobis in the room right now. "Come with me, all of you." The Sandaime then walked out of the hospital room, with the other shinobis following. Mitarashi Anko took a last look at Naru before walking out of the ward room and closing the door behind her.
"Alright, what are we going to do with Naru?" asked the Sandaime, directing this question to his shinobis, among which is the new arrival of one Uchiha Itachi. "This had been the fifty-sixth mobbing this month! It isn't safe for her out there, that's for sure."
"It disgusts me," said Uchiha Itachi with a slight angry tone in his voice. "To think that they're willing to go this far just to harm an innocent four-year-old."
"She needs protection and a home," said Ebisu with slight worry. "But who would be willing to give her those? I can't take her in for certain reasons."
"I would love to take her in, but I think that the kid had already been through enough without my reputation adding on to her troubles as well," said Mitarashi Anko; everyone knew that majority of the village hated her because her sensei had been the snake Sannin, Orochimaru.
"My salary as a teacher isn't enough," said Iruka apologetically. "Even though I would love to take her in myself."
"I won't be able to as well," said Kakashi apologetically and the Sandaime sighed.
"Minato will be crying if he knew what the village are doing to his only child," said the aged Hokage, looking at the portrait of the Yondaime Hokage on the wall. Everyone fell silent as they looked at the Yondaime's portrait; all those present in the room were the only ones who knew about Naru's true heritage, other than Naru herself.
Itachi spoke up just then. "Hokage-sama, instead of asking someone to take her in, why not have the ANBU protect her and list her as their ward?" At this point, everyone present turned to look at Itachi. "It's a practice that is quite unusual, but not uncommon either. You know that Hyuuga Hinata had been taken in by the ANBU as their ward after the Cloud diplomatic incident and they are currently training her. We could do the same for Naru; after all, the ANBU are fond of her, and she needs to learn to protect herself."
There was silence for a moment as everyone pondered over this suggestion. It's true that the ANBU had only recently taken in a ward by the name of Hyuuga Hinata under Hyuuga Hiashi's request because of the Cloud diplomatic incident and he feared that they would attempt another kidnapping once more.
The Sandaime nodded. "Very well," he said. "I'll list her as the ANBU's ward. Itachi, you'll be her guardian whilst she's in the ANBU."
Four Years Later:
Kenji was bored as he eyed his surroundings with a critical eye. Being a missing-nin had its benefits, like having a wide arsenal of missions to pick from, but it also tend to get boring with time. Right now, he and his partner, Kenya were being hired as bodyguards for some rich businessman.
Kenji wasn't really expecting anyone strong to come and assassinate the man. Apparently, the man had Konoha hot on his trail for some reason, but Kenji knew that the Leaf village wouldn't waste their resources on sending a whole team of ANBU to kill a mere man who isn't a ninja in the first place. The best that he could hope for were high level chuunins to assassinate the guy.
There was a whistle just then and Kenji turned around from the balcony where he was perching on to see Kenya appearing next to him. "What is it?" he asked.
"We've got company," said Kenya with nervousness. "And it is three of Konoha's best ANBU captains!"
"Who is it?"
"White Dove, Gale and the Fire Weasel."
Kenji turned around so fast that he nearly twisted his neck, his face one of total shock. "What?! The three Swords of Konoha?! What are they doing here?"
"I don't know, but we'd best get to our client's side," said Kenya. "Those three are one of the best ninjas out there; legendary ones."
The two missing-nins made it to their client's side to see him shivering in fright, clutching a brown briefcase. "T-the Konoha-nins are here?" he stuttered and Kenji nodded.
"The three Swords of Konoha; I daresay that you heard about them? They're a legend; those three are among the youngest to make it to Konoha's elite ninja ranks and also among the youngest to become ANBU captains. They're the best among the best."
There were screams just then and Kenji and Kenya reached for their swords, turning around to face the door. "They're here!"
The guards that their client had hired dropped dead to the ground and Kenya and Kenji stiffened; they hadn't even seen anyone enter or kill those guards! That just proves one thing; their opponents are really good.
"Step away from that man, missing-nins of Kumo," said a voice and Kenya and Kenji stiffened and saw three figures materialize themselves out of nowhere in front of them. The three were wearing the uniform of the ANBU captains of Konoha, with the ANBU mask covering their faces; a white dove, a red weasel and a red fox masks.
"What had this guy ever done to make Konoha pissed off enough to send their three top ANBU captains?" demanded Kenji.
"Let's just say that he'd made a deal with someone that had caused a lot of pain for Konoha," said White Dove.
"Orochimaru," answered Gale; the one wearing the red fox mask.
Kenji and Kenya's eyes widened; that was the man that they had been after as well. Why had they never known that the man who they had been working for had connections with Orochimaru?
"Step aside now and you won't lose your lives," said the Fire Weasel.
Even though Orochimaru is someone whom they had been after, both Kenji and Kenya still are ninjas and they don't back down in front of an opponent, especially if said opponent are among the best ninjas of the shinobi world.
Gale sighed. "Sorry about this then," she said and the next moment, blood coated the wakizashi that she had in her hands; Naiya Senka, and Kenji and Kenya dropped dead to the ground.
The businessman was shivering as Gale walked up to him slowly. "P-Please don't kill me!" he begged. "I-I'll pay you whatever amount that you wish!"
"Money doesn't interest me," said Gale coldly. "What I desire…is your head!"
The next second, said businessman had his head rolling to the ground and the other two ANBU captains sighed as Gale sheathed her wakizashi back onto her back. White Dove removed her mask to reveal a young face of an eight-year-old with dark blue hair framing the side of her face and lavender eyes.
"Simple job," said Hyuuga Hinata and Gale nodded and removed her mask as well to reveal the face of an eight-year-old with extremely good-looking features. Her blond hair was tied up in a ponytail and with some help from Kyuubi; Naru doesn't have the whisker marks on her face anymore.
The last ANBU removed his mask to reveal the face of one Uchiha Itachi. The three had been training together ever since Naru and Hinata had been taken in by the ANBU and they had each made captain less than a year ago in the ANBU Black Ops, making a name for themselves.
Itachi's family wasn't exactly thrilled at having the Uchiha clan's 'prodigy' train the 'demon brat' and Itachi was getting tired of having to deal with his clan and had promptly moved out when he was training Naru and Hinata and moved into the ANBU headquarters.
Hinata as well had her family's respect. In the beginning, her sister and cousin hadn't known that she was in ANBU, but this was quickly revealed when her older cousin Neji had caught sight of Hinata sneaking into the Hyuuga compound with her ANBU captain mask on one night. Unlike contrary belief, Neji do not hate Hinata, she was the one Hyuuga that he doesn't hate, other than Hinata's younger sister and father. Neji had cornered Hiashi about Hinata and the Hyuuga head had buckled down and told Neji everything, making him swear not to tell anyone.
As for Naru, the council had slowly accepted her by taking into account all the missions that she had done as ANBU captain and she had gotten the shinobi council on her side. The village council and the villagers were still among those that hated her and roared for her blood at nearly every council meeting, much to the exasperation of Homura and Koharu; the Sandaime's teammates and elders of the council and the members of the shinobi council.
It had been four years since Naru and Hinata had been in ANBU and they now had enough power and strength to protect themselves from harm. Very few ninjas could now potentially harm them, let alone kill them. But the two had been lonely however, especially since there was hardly anyone their age in the ANBU. The closest to their age was Itachi and he is more like a brother to them especially since he had practically helped to bring them up, along with Anko, Ebisu, Kakashi and Yamato, nicknamed Tenzo.
The only three children whom they were acquainted with regularly were the Yamanaka, Nara and Akimichi clan heads' children; among the rare number in their generation who knew about their status as Black Ops' ANBU captains. Hinata and Naru had gotten along well with the three as their parents were among the few that had a great respect for the two kunoichis.
"Welcome back," said the chuunin guard, nodding to the three ANBU captains as they entered the village and all three nodded.
"It hadn't been easy finding that damn snake," said Hinata as the three took to the roof to get back to ANBU headquarters. "As soon as we find a clue that had something about his whereabouts, we find out that he had long fled and we have to start all over again!"
"Well, he isn't Konoha's most notorious missing-nin for nothing," said Itachi with a slight smirk that Hinata couldn't see through his ANBU mask.
The village of Konoha, the Hidden Leaf village was notorious for their ANBU. The Hunter-nin division were deadly and the best among the best in doing their job; the sole reason why missing-nins tend to avoid Konoha like the plague. The ANBU Black Ops had some of the most skilled ANBUs; the cream of the crop so as to speak. But there was a special ANBU division in Konoha which made Konoha so feared; the Konoha FIRE Squad.
Clad in black trench coats with the FIRE's mark on the left coat sleeve; a red flame with outlines of golden around it and a mask covering the lower half of their faces, they were a group of ninjas whose power rivaled that of the Hokage. Nine of the best in the FIRE Squad were called the Primary Nine and they were named the FIRE Nine, who only answered to their Hokage or the commander of the FIRE Squad. Each of them was deadly and highly skilled and their real identities were only known to the Hokage, and even then, they bore codenames.
The FIRE Nine were the best in all of ANBU and had the authority to command the ANBU forces. They worked in the shadows for their village, killing off traitors or any threat to their village which were too powerful for the average shinobi to handle. The FIRE Nine consists of the most powerful and talented shinobis in the respective fields and none could match them in their skill except for one of their own. This generation of the FIRE Squad was the most powerful and deadly because in this generation, the Number Three of the FIRE Nine's Tenken was a Jinchuuriki.
Tenken walked through the streets of Konoha, ignoring the villagers and the ninjas' curious looks. It wasn't everyday that you see a member of the FIRE Nine walking through the village of Konoha as that division of ANBU works in the shadows and never appeared unless necessary. In that way, they're kind of like the hunters as in the end, a member of the FIRE Squad isn't supposed to be seen.
Tenken was the most famous in the FIRE Nine as she was the youngest to be ever enlisted into their ranks, being apprenticed to one of the most powerful in the FIRE Squad. Certain members of the FIRE ANBU were sometimes listed as ANBU members of the other divisions – like herself, Pearl and Shunshu, but even then, they bore different codenames to hide their identities as part of the FIRE Squad and never took off their masks unless in the presence of one of their own.
The FIRE Squad is allowed to let others know of their identities if they trusted them enough, but most members of the FIRE Squad do not do so as their lives are shrouded in secrecy.
Tenken had a duty to do now and she was heading straight to the Hokage tower. As one of the FIRE Nine, Tenken knew everything that happens in the village, no matter how small it is. It is a trait that is in all members of the FIRE Nine and they were so secretive and mysterious ninety percent of the time that most ANBU divisions had long given up trying to figure them out.
Tenken is also known within the shinobi population as the one who had helped the Sandaime Hokage to disband the ANBU 'Roots' after having gathered enough proof to pin Danzo down with his crimes. Most of ANBU 'Roots' was executed, all but one, an ANBU kid named Sai who soon disappeared into the shadows after 'Roots' was disbanded and most of their members executed. Only the FIRE Squad and the Sandaime knew what had happened to Sai. Tenken had pulled some strings to prevent Sai from being executed and he was apprenticed to one of the FIRE Nine and within a year, soon became one of the FIRE Nine, the Number Five of the Primary Nine with the codename of 'Raven'.
The Hokage tower soon came into sight and Tenken nodded as a form of respect to some of the ANBU working in the tower and they nodded back in respect. The black trench coat which reaches to her thighs was fluttering around Tenken, part of her face hidden by the collar of her trench coat and a black face mask covering the lower part of her face which every single member of the FIRE Nine had. A black bandanna was tied around her head, concealing her golden hair and she had her wakizashi; Naiya Senka in a holster hanging on her back.
Tenken soon came to the Hokage's office and she knocked on it. A voice inside soon called, "Come in" and Tenken walked in, closing the door behind her and forming a small sealing jutsu. It was customary for all of the FIRE Nine to perform sealing techniques whenever they're in a meeting with the Hokage.
A few members of the FIRE Nine were also present; Shunshu, Pearl and Raven. (Can you guess who they were?) The Sandaime looked up from his paperwork to Tenken and gave a warm smile, nodding to her.
"It isn't like the FIRE Nine to ask for an audience with me," said the old man. "It's usually the other way round."
Shunshu exchanged glances with Tenken and said kunoichi nodded. It was customary for the one who had lead the investigation or the one who had uncovered the truth and rumours to report to the Hokage; the others would soon follow with their own opinions or reports after that.
"Hokage-sama," said Tenken and the Hokage gave her his fullest attention. The FIRE Nine rarely spoke unless spoken to, unless they're with the other members of the FIRE Nine and since it is Tenken of all people who was speaking now; it is bound to be of importance. "The members of the FIRE Nine who are in this room now had uncovered a plot that threatens Konoha's very existence." She dropped down to one knee on the ground, her right hand across her chest in a salute. "I swear upon my word and honour as a Konoha shinobi that what I'm going to tell you now is the absolute truth."
The Hokage nodded and Tenken got to her feet, her face one of complete seriousness. "Two weeks ago, we, as in Pearl, Raven, Shunshu and myself uncovered a plot plotted by the Uchiha clan themselves." The Hokage raised an eyebrow. "The Uchiha clan had made a plot to put themselves in power within the shinobi council as their power within the council had been dwindling, especially with all the changes that Sandaime-sama had made, after my apprenticeship to the veteran members of the FIRE Nine."
After Tenken had been made an apprentice to the veteran members of the Primary Nine (FIRE Nine) of the FIRE Squad in the ANBU and later on became the Number Three of the FIRE Nine, the shinobi council had gradually been pulled to her side and on the Sandaime's as well. Most of the shinobi council; the Inuzuka, Hyuuga, Kinzoku (Tenten's clan), Aburame, Akimichi, Nara, Yamanaka and Kurama clans as well as the Sandaime's former teammates, Homura and Koharu had been pulled over to the Sandaime's side and had given the Jinchuuriki the respect that she deserves. Of course, the shinobi council isn't aware that she's one of the FIRE Nine; they merely assumed that she's an ANBU captain in the ANBU Black Ops.
Of course, with this change, the Sandaime had changed many things; the disbandment and execution of the ANBU 'Roots' was one, along with the execution of Danzo after the FIRE Nine had found proof of his crimes. Because the Uchiha clan is the only clan in the entire shinobi council against the FIRE Squad, their power had started dwindling.
"And what is their plot?" questioned the Sandaime.
"Massacre of the Hyuuga clan to put themselves into power, overthrow of the current Hokage and assassination of the Kyuubi's vessel," answered Tenken without a hint of hesitation in the 'assassination' part. "These are all S-class offences and the FIRE Nine had found enough proof of their guilt. The whole clan was involved, other than those that aren't ninjas yet and Uchiha Itachi."
Shunshu then stepped up next to give his report. "I encountered Uchiha Shisui last week, Hokage-sama," he said. "He told me about the clan's intentions in this and also declared that if I don't comply, he had the orders to kill me. We fought it out and I killed him before faking his death as a suicide."
The Hokage sighed, breathing out a cloud of smoke from his pipe. "The whole clan, huh?" he mused. "I can't put them in jail as the Uchiha clan made up majority of the police forces and they would just be out again the next day if so." He then looked at his shinobis. "I have a mission for the four of you; kill the entire clan and all those who were involved in this. But the village has to know of the Uchiha clan's conspiracy and this would probably mean that the name of the Uchiha clan will be disgraced. Shunshu, do you understand?"
Said shinobi nodded and the Sandaime sighed. "Act tonight."
All four shinobis nodded before releasing the sealing technique and they disappeared in a puff of smoke.
The deed was soon over and done with. With four of the Primary Nine of the FIRE Nine, the massacre of the Uchiha clan took less than two hours. Of course, when on a mission within the village, the FIRE Nine had to go as ANBU members in the ANBU Black Ops. It was also quite unfortunate that one Uchiha Sasuke saw three of the FIRE Nine doing the deed; Raven was acting as a lookout for them and to kill anyone that could manage to sneak up on his comrades.
Ever since his apprenticeship, he had gotten his emotions back, though he had reverted back to his old self when on missions; a member of the FIRE Nine must not show any emotions when on missions.
Word about the Uchiha clan's betrayal had spread like wildfire all over the village when dawn breaks out and this is why the four members of the FIRE Nine found themselves in the Hokage's office at six in the morning, having not a single wink of sleep all night.
The Sandaime nodded. "Good work," he said. "A job well done as usual."
"What is Uchiha Sasuke's condition?" questioned Pearl and the Sandaime looked at the four with seriousness.
"Well…that's the problem…" said the Sandaime and Tenken raised her eyebrow. "You are aware that news about the Uchiha clan's betrayal had leaked out into the village by now, but Sasuke is firmly convinced that his clan was set up and believed that it was you four who did it. He recognised Itachi in his Black Ops uniform, but he didn't recognise either of you two or Raven for that matter as he did not see you before."
Tenken sighed. "Talk about thick with a capital T," she mumbled and Pearl and Raven both nodded, agreeing with her. "So, what do you want us to do?"
The Sandaime breathed out a puff of smoke from his pipe and smiled. "I want you and Pearl both to go as undercover ANBU into the Academy to watch over Uchiha Sasuke. You two are of the same age and is known in the village, though you did disappear for four years. You can still keep your identity as one of the FIRE Nine, but I need you two in the Academy."
Tenken and Pearl both sighed as they looked at each other and removed the ANBU masks that they had when going as ANBU captains in the ANBU Black Ops. "Why does that not surprise me?" muttered Pearl, now shown as Hyuuga Hinata. "I'd assume that we have to go out into the open now?"
The Sandaime nodded. "Hinata-chan, it's time for you to move back into the Hyuuga clan house," he said. "You hadn't been back home for over a year and your father is asking about your whereabouts for a while now especially since your sister misses you." As Hinata nodded, the Sandaime turned to Naru. "Naru…as for you… Itachi is going undercover as well, but as a jounin in Konoha's shinobi ranks. You both will be sharing an apartment until your mission is over. I trust you have no objections?"
Both girls shook their heads.
The Sandaime nodded. "Very well then. Your mission is quite simple. Guide Uchiha Sasuke off the path of hatred and revenge. If he somehow decided to betray the village, bring him back. Your mission will only end once he became chuunin." The two kunoichis nodded. "You will still do your duties at night, and Koharu and Homura both agree with me that you both ought to mix more with children your own age."
"We don't have any other choice, do we?" grumbled Naru and the Sandaime chuckled.