Disclaimer for the whole story: I don't own Naruto.

Well, I'm back! Here's the rewritten version of 'The Samurai Ninja' brought to you by... me!

Full Summary: Ninja and Samurai are both, in a sense, warriors. However, they are next to nothing alike. One follows a code of honor in which he will not attack an unarmed man, while the other remains in the shadows of the night and takes down his enemies when they least expect it. They have different ways of taking care of the same things. But what happens to those who try to follow both codes? How do they make it work? The answer varies among those who attempt it, especially for those who have an ancient demon trapped inside of them... However, the job is always easier when you have someone to help you get started down your path.

Naruto adopted by... ? fiction (fairly obvious if you look at the pairings)

Pairings: NaruTema, AsuKure

UPDATE: Minato and Kyuubi fight scene added!

2nd UPDATE: Okay guys! I forgot to mention this earlier: this story will not contain Yaoi or Yuri in any way, shape, or form. It will be Naruto and girl. Nothing else. Just to clear any confusion up. Continue reading. ^^

3rd UPDATE: Wow. I can not stop switching the title of this story, be it the rewritten version or the old one (used to be 'Another Way Up the Tree'). I almost positive that this one is here to stay. I finally have a more definite path of where this story is going. ^^ That should be a good thing. Anyway, I just felt like updating this. Hope you all have a Merry Christmas and great Holiday Season! I don't know who celebrates what, so please, take your pick. See you all later!

4th UPDATE: 12/28/08: I think I've finally locked in which pairing I will be using for this story. The reason it said Naru/Girl before was because I hadn't fully developed the storyline yet. As it is completed, I think I've finally figured out who I want to slip in there. I will tell you this: the pairing could always change, but for now it is set up to be NarutoTemari.

Nothing else to say, I don't think. Well, on with the story!

The Samurai Ninja

Chapter 1: According to Plan?

By: Zashire

"Hold it off until Hokage-sama gets here!" shouted a dark haired ninja commander as he leapt through his comrades to prepare another attack.

Countless numbers of shinobi were lined up along the walls of their village to defend it from the evil that loomed above them. They all had their weapons out or were preparing a jutsu to use against the evil creature. For what hovered overhead was what some people could only dream about in there worst nightmares. It was the most powerful monster that any one of them had ever seen in their lifetimes, and it radiated a large amount of killing intent with each step it took.

It was the nine tailed fox, otherwise known as the Kyuubi no Kitsune.

The evil being seemed to smirk at the ninja that it stood over. He watched them fail at their attempts at trying to take him down with their pathetic attacks. Humans were so pitiful. The demonic entity felt something pierce his foot every so slightly, and glanced down to see three ninja throwing all sorts of weapons at him. Without any thought, the fox used his paw to shoo them away, which in reality involved them being sent through half the forest.

The creature advanced closer to the wall and started to kill more ninja without mercy. Even though most of the ninja knew that this would be their death day, they still stood strong and did their best to hold the fox back until their Hokage came. No one would cower out, especially when they knew that their village leader had an ace up his sleeve.

xxx

A little before the attack...

From a room at the Konoha hospital, a bright blonde haired man could hear the screams of his village's ninja and civilians alike. Each scream pierced his heart because he knew that for every shriek he heard, another person in the village had died. It hurt him because he was supposed to be their protector, and from where he was right then, he couldn't do anything to help them. What hurt him even more was what he was going to have to do once he left the hospital.

Before him was his favorite person in the world, the woman whom he loved the most, Namikaze Kushina. She was in the process of delivering their son who would be named 'Naruto.' The name had come from the only book that the blonde man actually liked of his sensei's series. Kushina instantly took a liking to the name and they both agreed on it. The blonde smiled at the thought, but saddened when he thought of their son.

It didn't make sense to be sad at the thought of having a child, some might say, but that wasn't why he was sad. He was sad because of what he would have to do to the child once he was born. It was all within the plan to take down the Kyuubi.

He looked back at Kushina and smiled. At least Naruto will have you in his life, he thought. He couldn't feel his hand anymore because of how much his red headed wife had been squeezing it. It was a small price to pay to bring a new life into the world.

After a few more seconds of being on the receiving end of a numb hand, the blonde haired man heard a baby crying and saw that his son had fully come out and was being cleaned off and wrapped up by a doctor. He smiled and looked down at Kushina.

"Wonderful job, my darling," he said in a soft voice.

Even though she was exhausted, she managed to pull her husband into a strangling hug. When she let go, the blonde man sat back and almost choked for air. The doctor handed Kushina their baby and smiled softly. He said a quick 'congratulations' and gave them some privacy by going to get a birth certificate. He left a nurse by the door in case they needed anything.

Kushina smiled down at their baby. She had managed to quiet him down to a point where he was staring at his surroundings and looked like he was about to fall asleep. The red head smiled when she saw that he looked like a younger version of her husband. Blonde hair and blue eyes.

"Hello, my little Naruto," she said in a soft voice. The baby looked up at his mother before he slowly fell asleep. "Minato, take a look at our–" She paused in the middle of her sentence while addressing her husband when she remembered what he wanted to do with the blonde baby. "NO! You can't do this him! He's only an infant!"

She quickly pulled Naruto close again, and hugged him to her chest tightly. Minato sat down on the bed, and his wife gave him a look the broke his heart.

"I'm sorry, but we've been over it before. This is the only way we can defeat the Kyuubi," he said in a sad tone, and reached for the blonde baby.

"NO!" Kushina jerked back into the bed. "Ow!" She shouted because her body was still sore and exhausted from giving birth.

Minato tried to settle his wife down and reached out to her. She took it as him trying to take the baby away from her again so she jerked back farther and let out another holler of pain. The blonde Hokage flinched and called to the nurse for help.

"Yes?" The nurse asked as she walked up. She took in the sight of Kushina crying with their baby in her arms and stared at Minato questioningly.

Before Minato could answer the woman, a ninja burst into the room and cried out, "Hokage-sama! Reports from ninja say that the Kyuubi has almost breached the village's walls. It will be here very soon! Sarutobi-sama needs you at the Tower as soon as possible!"

Minato froze upon hearing those words. The Kyuubi was almost in Konoha? He needed to get moving and quickly. He turned to the messenger ninja and nurse and dismissed them. When he faced his wife again, he saw that she was staring at him. The look he gave her in response was one of regret and sorrow. Her tears continued to fall as she looked down at the small baby in her arms. She kissed him on the head and whispered 'I love you' before she extended her arms to hand him over to Minato.

The blond man stared at her, and she nodded slightly. He reached out and took their son out of his wife's arms. Immediately after, her arms dropped to her sides, and she turned her head so that she was facing the window.

It was very dark outside... but that was nothing compared to what the woman was feeling in her heart. She felt lonely. All because of one monster, her life had been turned upside down. She and Minato were supposed to have their son, Naruto, and raise him to be a great man, maybe a ninja. They would let him choose. They were going to grow old together and watch Naruto raise a family of his own when he reached their age. When he had his own kids, they would spoil them rotten because that's what grandparents were supposed to do. Most of all, they would watch their child grow and live, with each other by their side the whole way.

That couldn't happen anymore... all because of the damn monster that was attacking their village. Her husband had tried everything, but couldn't come up with a way to kill the thing that didn't involve sacrificing a life. She had watched him cry when he came to the realization that he would have to screw up their unborn son's life, all in order to protect the village. She had cried with him when she heard that.

It wasn't fair. Now their son would have to grow up without a father. Sure, Naruto would have her, but it would never be the same without Minato around the house. She would have to do her best to raise their child all by herself. Life was so cruel.

"Kushina," Minato said, which broke her train of thought. She looked over to him, and tried to give a smile to tell him that she was okay, but found that she couldn't. Instead, her lips quivered and she lurched forward despite the pain in her abdomen. She grabbed onto Minato, and was careful enough to avoid hitting Naruto, and broke down in his shoulder. She cried at least ten times harder than before and kept on screaming into his shoulder about how their lives weren't fair, and how none of this should have happened to them.

Minato shifted his son to his left arm, and in turn, used his right arm to hold Kushina against himself. He buried his face in her hair and tightened his grip around her body to the point where she couldn't move, or even breathe for that matter without him feeling it. The blonde man felt a few tears make their way down his face, unknowingly, as he thought about the life he was going to leave behind. The one where he would live with Kushina and Naruto until the day he grew old and died.

Kushina's cries eventually turned to small, random hiccups after a few minutes of having her face in her lover's shoulder. When she had calmed down, she felt something wet on her head and backed up a bit to look Minato in the eyes. She saw that he had been crying, too.

Minato looked back at Kushina when he realized that she had left his grip. Ever so slowly, he reached over and wiped the tears from her face, which caused her to give him a small smile. She reached up with one of her hands and laid it over his. She wrapped her delicate fingers around his big hand and closed her eyes. She squeezed it for a few moments before she opened her eyes again.

"I think it's time," the woman almost whispered to the man in front of her.

"I think it is," he responded in a low voice.

His wife, in turn, used the hand she was holding to pull him closer to her. In that moment, their lips met for the very last time. They stayed like that for what seemed like ages, but in reality was only a few seconds. He gave her one final hug, and she returned it immediately. She was going to enjoy her last minutes with her husband if it was the last thing she did.

"I love you so much, Kushina," he whispered into her ear before breaking the loving embrace.

"I love you too, Minato, so much," she responded in a soft tone.

Minato got off the bed with Naruto still in his left arm. He helped Kushina get back into a lying down position, and tucked her in like he would a child. He smiled softly down at his wife.

"Take care of our son. Hiruzen will deliver him back here when the sealing is finished," he explained to the woman on the bed.

In response, she nodded slightly. "Don't worry, I will." She gave him a big, cheesy grin that helped cover up her tears somewhat.

Minato avoided the words 'good bye' and said a quick 'I love you' to his wife before he used his trademark jutsu to get to the Hokage Tower. He had left a seal for the Hiraishin no Jutsu on the bottom side of his desk in the office to get there for emergencies such as the one he was in right then.

"Are you ready, Minato?" the blonde haired man heard a voice call his name, and recognized it as Sarutobi's. He turned to see the man known as Sarutobi Hiruzen, the Sandaime Hokage of Konoha, all dressed and ready to go in his battle armor.

"Ready as I'll ever be," Minato responded. "Let's go. The ninja are waiting for us to get there."

Hiruzen nodded. They both soon found themselves on the rooftop of the Tower, and started to head in the direction of the battlefront, which wasn't very far anymore since the Kyuubi had made it into Konoha. Minato was nervous as hell, and couldn't stop his mind from thinking about the possible flukes that could happen with his plan. What if he were to screw the sealing up? Would the entire village be at risk? More importantly, would Kushina and Naruto be at risk? He was snapped out of those horrible thoughts when the retired Hokage spoke up.

"He is a beautiful child, Minato," Hiruzen spoke, but continued to look forward. Minato couldn't help but give a small smile at the comment. "Rest assured, should Kushina-san ever need any help in caring for Naruto, the Sarutobi clan will be the first to provide it."

Minato cracked a grin and thanked his old friend for the help. The Sarutobi clan was wealthy and large, and was almost on equal grounds with the Hyuuga and the Uchiha. Having them help back up Kushina and Naruto made him relax a bit. If a problem were to ever arise, his family would be fine thanks to the disagreement between the other two powerful clans. They could never agree on anything, and they would intentionally go out of their ways to go up against each other on different arguments. That worked in his favor perfectly.

"Thank you very much, Hiruzen," Minato smiled over to the older man.

"No thanks are needed," the Sandaime responded, and smiled shortly after. "We should be the ones thanking you because of what you are about to do. We are only ensuring that the family you are leaving behind will live safely."

Minato nodded, and decided to leave it at that. They soon found themselves at the Kyuubi battlefront, and stopped on the nearest building.

Minato turned to Hiruzen. "Is everything in the cave set up?" He received a nod in response. The blonde looked down at his son with a sad expression. "I'm so sorry, Naruto," he whispered, so quietly that the retired Hokage almost missed it.

The blonde Hokage pulled his son close and gave him one last hug. They stayed like that for several moments before Minato let go. He turned back to Hiruzen and walked closer to him. The blonde then shifted his and Kushina's child over to the older man. When the retired Hokage had a firm grip on the child, Minato backed up and nodded to the other man. Hiruzen nodded back and watched as Minato took off in the direction of the Kyuubi.

Hiruzen took off in another direction, while carrying his friend's child. He was headed for the cave where they had planned to do the sealing at. It wasn't a really well known cave because it was on the backside of the Hokage Monument, and almost no one ever went there.

The old man arrived at the sealing place within a few minutes of saying farewell to Minato. He had to depend on speed because he had no way of contacting the current Hokage to tell them when they were ready. They just had to depend on their timing.

"Sarutobi-sama! Please come this way! We have to move quickly!" shouted one of the several ANBU that was helping the process move along.

Hiruzen gave a short nod and followed the ANBU into the cave. Almost immediately, they came upon a circle with a cushion in the middle. Said circle was surrounded by several candles, which were all lit and were glowing brightly. Around the circle were several men who were presumably waiting for the arrival of the retired Hokage.

The older man started to put his part of the plan into action and ran into the middle of the circle. He placed the still sleeping child on the cushion and made sure that he wouldn't move at least until the sealing started. He then walked over to the edge of the circle and told everyone to wait for the process to begin.

xxx

After Minato had left Hiruzen with his and Kushina's child, he had taken off in the direction of the Kyuubi once more. He would have to be at the very front of the battle to accomplish his task. He used Hiraishin several times to make the process of getting there even faster, and before he knew it, he was at his destined location.

He saw that his sensei had already summoned the toad boss on which he was going to do the sealing jutsu, and thanked him silently. He would need just about all of the chakra he had to complete the jutsu, and trying to keep a summoned animal up while doing it just wouldn't end successfully.

Minato thought of the best way to get to the top of the toad, and shouted out Jiraiya's name. Jiraiya looked over and spotted his student just in time to catch the kunai that had come whizzing up at him. He realized what the blonde was doing when he saw that the kunai he now held had three points rather than the usual one point. Minato soon appeared right next to the kunai only to receive a bop on the head.

"Damn brat. You could have killed me if you hadn't caught my attention, as I was a little preoccupied with trying to help some ninja fight that thing," Jiraiya said in annoyance while pointing to the fox that was almost overhead.

Minato was about to respond when they heard cheers coming from the crowds of ninja below. They were shouting things like 'The Yondaime's here!' and 'We're saved!' The blonde man decided to ignore the cheers for a few moments while he finished talking with his sensei.

"Sorry, but I was kind of in a rush. By the way, Hiruzen should be ready by now because I broke up with him over five minutes ago, and it doesn't take too long to get to the backside of the Hokage Monument," Minato explained to his sensei.

Jiraiya gave a nod. "Well, Gamabunta's all yours now." He put a hand on his student's shoulder. "You've become a great man, and I'm sorry to see you end like this."

Minato gave a small smile to Jiraiya. "It's my duty as Hokage to do this. I can't let anyone else take my place in this matter."

Jiraiya gave an amused smile. "Stubborn as always I see." Minato gave a small chuckle. "Don't worry, though. If Hiruzen-sensei ever needs any help in assisting Kushina, I'll be there. They have my support."

The blonde Hokage smiled at this. "Thanks, Jiraiya-sensei. That really means a lot to me."

The Gama Sennin gave a nod once more. "No problem." He glanced at the Kyuubi quickly who was preoccupied with some of the Konoha shinobi at the moment. "I think you'd better go finish it off." Minato gave a nod. "It's been nice knowing you. Good bye, Minato."

"Good bye, sensei," the blonde replied. "Tell Kushina that I'm sorry it turned out like this and that I love the both of them." He saw Jiraiya nod as he leapt off of the summoned animal. The blonde turned back to face the Kyuubi. "Ready, Gamabunta?" he asked the animal he was standing on.

"Hai," was the short response he received. He felt the toad move, and before he knew it, they were closer to the Kyuubi than almost any other ninja had been.

As he began the first few seals of his ultimate sealing jutsu, the Kyuubi stared down at him in curiosity. What was the foolish man doing? The creature knew that he would be able to stop whatever jutsu the man could come up with, but this one had him curious. All of the mortals around him had stopped attacking once this man came onto the battlefield, so he must be worth something. He must be pretty damn tasty, too.

Just before Minato finished the last few hands signs, he stopped and looked up as the Kyuubi moved closer to them. The fox bared its fangs and moved to a running speed. He was going to get his food no matter what. Normally, the fox wouldn't be so rabid; after all, he was a demon lord. But every once in a while, every animal needed a treat. The blonde mortal before him fit that description perfectly. The fox could only imagine how he tasted. It wasn't long until his mind had been cleared of all thoughts of attacking the others, and had switched to ones of getting the treat before him. He smelled as tasty as he looked.

The Kyuubi had never seen a human being look so tasty before. They almost always smelled of other dead animals, and just stank everything up. But not now. No. This one actually smelled good in comparison to the others. He actually smelled good. No way was the fox going to pass his chance up. He could hardly even think about eating him once he caught him because his animal instincts had slowly taken him over.

The blonde Hokage watched in morbid fascination as the fox ran toward him and Gamabunta, foaming at the mouth. Just what had taken over the creature to make him want to attack mindlessly like that? Not that he wasn't doing that already when he first attacked the village, but this was different. Before that, he seemed to be actually focusing on everything he was doing, but now, it was all on him and the toad.

When the fox was within meters of them, Gamabunta jumped high into the air. The fox's head jerked up so he could see where his prey had gone. Damn the toad for taking his food. He would be going down, too. Maybe he'd be a good desert after he ate the human. The fox turned as they began to lose air and sent his tails out to grab them as the met the ground.

Gamabunta saw this and brought out his sword. He held it over his head, just barely avoiding Minato, and prepared to bring it down on the fox. After a few more seconds, Gamabunta, heaved the heavy piece of metal over his head, and aimed directly downward. He thrust it forward once more, directly into one of the Kyuubi's tails.

The fox hollered out in pain, and tried to retract his tail, but found that he couldn't because the sword was still in it. Damn the toad to hell! He huffed in pain, but did his best to ignore it. The creature lunged forward since his prey was very close by, and it would only be a few more minutes until he had him.

Minato saw this and shouted for Gamabunta to jump back at the last minute because he had a plan. The old toad nodded, but held his sword firm. He wasn't going to let the fox get any advantage in the battle. It could mean the difference between the winner and the loser. In this battle, the loser might not com out alive. He would be having none of that.

When the Kyuubi descended on them, the large toad prepared himself. He leaned back on his hind legs to prepare for a back flip. Minato had better be willing to fight the fox almost himself because he was running out of chakra. Jiraiya had used him way too much before the Hokage made it there, and it was taking away from his performance now. That wasn't good at all.

Just as Gamabunta pulled the sword out of the fox's tail, he leapt off the ground... only to be pulled back down by a swipe of the fox's claw. He hadn't taken that factor into consideration. The fox did have claws, after all, so why hadn't he thought of that? The claw only hit his shoulder, so he wasn't damaged too much.

"Minato, you'll have to come up with another plan, because I can't do what you requested." The blonde Hokage nodded. Gamabunta was still being held down by the Kyuubi, so what could he do? ...That's it!

The fox was started to bring his other claw down on the toad, trying in any way he could to disable the summoned animal. He briefly heard the mortal yell for the toad to jump back. He would not be getting away with that.

When the toad pushed off of the Kyuubi, the fox finally brought his claw down on the summon. In one clean swipe, he put a deep gash over the toad's left eye, which caused the animal to grunt, clearly biting back a scream of pain.

Minato stared down at Gamabunta from atop his head. The toad kept his right eye closed, and the blonde man hoped that he hadn't lost the usage of his eye for the rest of his life all because of him. He quickly shook his head. He watched as the toad summon fulfilled his end of the bargain and got them a way back from the Kyuubi, despite him not being able to use one of his eyes. He needed to end this now before they ran out of chakra and before someone got hurt again. The Kyuubi was closing in on them once again, so he made a quick hand sign.

"Kage Bunshin no Jutsu!" the blonde Hokage cried out. A solid copy of him appeared next to the blonde man. He turned to it. "Katon jutsu! Now!"

The clone looked at its surroundings and instantly caught on. "Finally need the help of the clones, eh?" He taunted to his creator.

Minato sighed, but did his best to focus. His clones were back talking him. How embarrassing. He shrugged that off and focused once more. "Bunta, oil! I don't know if this will work, but it's our last chance!" He turned to the clone once more. "Make this work." The clone nodded once more and watched as his creator went through some hand signs. "I can't help much, but to use the seal, we need the fox to stay still for a few minutes. This is our only way. If we fail, I don't know what will become of the village."

The clone sighed. Talk about pressure. Screwing up one thing could mean screwing up an entire ninja village. This had to end well.

Both Minato and his clone sped through hand signs faster than seemed humanly possible. When they finished, Gamabunta began to spit out oil at the oncoming fox. The two blondes nodded to each other and sent out their prepared jutsu.

"Katon: Karyuu Endan!" the clone called out. He aimed his technique at Gamabunta's oil, and when the two met, it instantly caused a massive fire to be sent in the Kyuubi's direction.

The real Minato nodded at the success so far. He could only hope that his attack would be powerful enough. "Fuuton: Daitoppa!"

He didn't risk using anything more powerful than that for the fear of losing too much chakra to perform the final attack. His attack was sent directly to toward the massive fire chain. The flames increased in size and speed from the wind, but the Kyuubi continued to run forward.

The large fox spit out a small chain of flames, but they weren't any match to the combined attacks. The Kyuubi's attack held out for several moments, but soon went directly back at him. He was sent crashing to the ground, and caused a few buildings to be knocked over in the process. His head was sent through a small section of trees until he hit a rock.

Minato nodded to his clone in thanks and dismissed him. He turned down to Gamabunta. "Can you take me over there now?"

The large toad nodded and landed in a place that would usually be too close for comfort near the demon lord. His eye remained closed as he stared down at the beast. He honestly couldn't believe what the Hokage was going to do with the thing. He wished he could just kill the creature right then and there to spare everyone the grief, but it would be next to impossible to do.

The fox's eyes cracked open to see a large toad with a blurry thing on its back doing something. He slowly stood up and was shaking slightly. The creature felt dizzy and disoriented from hitting his head on the damn rock. What was the blurry figure doing?

Gamabunta saw the fox get up, but didn't do anything for fear of messing up Minato's sealing pattern. He was ready to be commanded to smack the fox down again, but was forced to wait. This was the end for the fox, and he knew it.

Minato flew through the hand seals for the jutsu and stopped on the last one. Thoughts of Naruto and Kushina flew through his mind before he finally cried out, "Shiki Fuujin!"

A tingle ran up Minato's spine as he felt the icy hand of death upon his shoulder. He knew that the Death God was right behind him, and it made him nervous as hell. The blonde felt his life start to leave his body. It felt like his body was being torn apart, which it reality, it pretty much was.

The Kyuubi wasn't much better off either. It was feeling pain that it had never felt before. No mere mortal should have been able to hurt the ultimate demon this much. It was unheard of. The large fox was supposed to be the one that inflicted large amounts of pain or death upon his victims, not the other way around!

Both the human and the demon felt the same pain, and were having their souls ripped from their bodies, thanks to the Death God. Minato used the last of his strength to send the Kyuubi's essence to the cave where he knew Naruto and Hiruzen were. Even as he sent the Kyuubi's soul to the sealing zone, he felt his body start to collapse.

I have to finish this, he thought. No way was he going to stop halfway through and possibly risk destroying the entire village in the process. Come on, come on, he repeated to himself several times.

All at once, everything ended. When Minato could tell that the Kyuubi's soul was within the distance of the seal that it would need to be, he let the ninja in the cave take care of the rest. He felt the last of his chakra drain out of him the moment he stopped trying to control the direction in which the Kyuubi's soul went.

He watched as the Death God cut the souls from their bodies, and finally collapsed to the ground. The blonde managed to crack his eyes open for a few moments as his sensei came up to take his body away. When Jiraiya noticed that his student still had some life left in him, he bent down to hear what the man was trying to say.

"Naruto... seen as hero... by villagers," was all the dying man managed to say before the life left his body for good. The white haired ninja nodded sadly at his student's last wish and picked up his body. He put the deceased Hokage on his back so he could carry him over to the cave where his sensei was. Before he left, he watched as the Kyuubi's body fell to the ground and destroyed several more buildings in the process. Kami, I hope no one was in there.

Had he looked a little closer, he would have noticed that one of the buildings the Kyuubi's body hit was the exact place where the woman he considered to be his daughter-in-law was staying at.

xxx

Hope you liked it!

I don't have a schedule I'm going to stick to, so you never know when this will be updated! It shouldn't be too long, though, since I do have another 27K or so in stock that I just finished typing. Who knows how many more there will be after that? I can say one thing: it will be a LOT! Yay! –insert crazy cheer here-

Okay, enough of that... Well, tell me what you think!

See ya next chapter on 'Another Way Up the Tree!'

Zashire