"So, Hiashi-sama, for what reason have you called the council of elders?" Asked one of the elders.
"I have called the council in order to give you a chance to end your lives honourably." Hiashi said without preamble.
"What on earth are you talking about Hiashi-sama? Perhaps you need some more rest." One of the younger elders said.
"Do not patronize me, I have found the orders you wrote for my wife's death." Hiashi said.
"What orders Hiashi-sama?"
"These orders." Hiashi reached into his robes and threw down the scrolls.
"Those are some very impressive forgeries." Sano said after a moment.
Sano the Head Elder was in deep trouble. He knew this instinctively, but his own arrogance would see him continue to bluff.
"Ah, so I suppose everyone knows about the written command seal Sano? It's a shame if that's true, because at the very least it makes you guilty of treason." Hiashi said levelly.
"I have no idea what you are talking about." Sano answered.
"Last chance. Commit Seppukku or have me kill you. It makes no difference." The Hyuuga patriarch said.
The room was naturally quite warm. But still the elders shivered.
"You overestimate yourself Hiashi-sama. The council of Elders has guided this clan since the time of Nidaime." The head councillor drew himself up.
"Yes you have, and under that leadership you've done what? Divided us, weakened us, and perhaps doomed us; all for your own power and petty egos." Hiashi retorted.
It was amazing that such passion came through, considering that Hiashi's face didn't move a muscle.
"You owe your life to us." Another elder said.
"I owe my life to my brother--one that you arranged to be killed. I will not stand for your trivial games any longer. Make your choice."
"Hiashi-sama, it is a shame that you snapped under the pressure. Hopefully your daughters will be more...capable." The head councillor said.
It was truly regrettable what was going to happen. For years the Hyuuga had preached of their innate superiority. Alongside this, the elders had preached their superiority within in the clan. There had been a time when those claims were true. The first elders in the Nidaime's time had indeed been A-rank ninjas. However, those days had long since passed. And none of the councillors realized it.
"My brother was a once in a life time genius. I was his equal. Byakugan!" The clan head said.
"Byakugan!" the elder reacted.
Hiashi tore through them. Years of political intrigue and age showed. The councillors were perhaps Chuunin level at best. Hiashi was, like several other clan heads, high Jonin--quite capable of tearing through a full platoon with ease.
Moving with a deadly grace Hiashi killed them. Five minutes ago there had been 31 people in the room. As the last body fell to the ground, Hiashi stood.
"That is why I am the Clan Head." He said to the corpses.
Walking out, he motioned for a few of the guards to clean up the mess.
"Hey old-man Hokage, we've got a problem." Naruto said making his way into Sarutobi's office.
"Naruto, are you ever going to come here just to say hi?" Sarutobi asked. "Never mind, what happened this time?"
"Long story short? We essentially began a massive political destabilization of the village. The Hyuuga purge has occurred."
"What's this Hyuuga purge?" Sarutobi asked.
"In my time, it was a political cleansing of the Hyuuga clan that eliminated, by force, all of the hardliners that had been resisting the attempts to change the clan. It was motivated by the discovery that the elders had arranged the deaths of both Hinata's mother and father. In this time, it's probably the same, only Hiashi isn't dead." Naruto answered.
"....continue. I think I know why it's going to cause problems but I want your input." Hiruzen said after a moment.
"Danzo's been using the Elders of various clans for years to check you. With one Clan Head finally calling bullshit; most of the others will think of doing the same. Combined with the destruction of the Uchiha clan, Danzo's political influence will dwindle to nothing. However, he has a rather formidable private army. What he'll do exactly...." The blond shrugged.
"I knew he had his own private forces, but a full army?" The Sandaime frowned.
He was the only one who was supposed to have a private army damn it.
"They aren't large yet, and frankly they suck without a dedicated commander. But they're efficient and very ruthless. When Danzo tried his coup attempt the first time around we found that they were useless on the defensive or when they had no one to give them orders." Naruto answered.
"Danzo tried a coup?" Sarutobi said with a cool anger.
Naruto gathered himself. Truthfully he hated Danzo as much as Orochimaru. The war loving freak had gutted Konoha in his own mad quest for power. Naruto was sure that if it hadn't happened, then he could have saved Konoha.
"Danzo is...a megalomaniac with delusions of a golden age of war. He intends, by hook or crook, to become a Hokage. We never did track down everything he did." He said at last.
"What did you track down?" The Sandaime asked wearily.
"He was indirectly responsible for destroying the Uchiha clan in order to harvest their eyes for his own use. Provided Orochimaru the funds for his Mokuton rebirth project, caused and prolonged the civil war in Ame. He also set you up to die by Orochimaru's hand and attempted a violent coup attempt after the Akatsuki War was over."
"So he is a treasonous bastard after all. He was a good man once." Hiruzen shook his head.
"I doubt it, but I'll take your word for it Jiji." The former Rokudaime grimaced.
"Tell me what Danzo's army is likely to do if he dies?" The bearded Kage asked.
"Couldn't say, they're programmed to follow their leader and protect their version of Konoha at any cost. Without Danzo, they'd probably default to whoever was the lead ninja at the time." Naruto shrugged.
"You never found out?" The Sandaime said pulling out of his pipe.
"Danzo's last orders were to open the gates for Oto. If he couldn't have the village no one could." The whiskered boy let out a low growl.
Sarutobi lit his pipe and began smoking. The pair sat in companionable silence for several minutes. At last he said.
"I'll take care of Danzo."
The blond nodded.
"Watch your back. Homura and Koharu were in pretty deep last time with Danzo. We never found out when exactly that started."
"I refuse to believe that one of my teammates would betray me like that." Hiruzen stated with force.
"I thought the same thing until Sasuke shoved a Chidori into my chest." The blond pointed out.
Hiruzen grimaced but acknowledged the point.
"Touché, but Homura and Koharu have always had the best interests of the village at heart."
"Maybe, but I still don't trust them. The road to hell is often paved with good intentions." Naruto said.
"I liked you better when you were a brat." The Sandaime said.
"Oi I was not a brat!" The blond shouted indignantly.
"Regardless, you need a place to train in secret don't you? It'd be bit odd to see a Genin tossing around Kage level techniques like candy." Sarutobi said with a sly grin.
"Well yeah I guess so. I've really just got to train myself physically." Naruto said rubbing the back of his neck.
"Your chakra control and system are vastly different from when you died. You'll find that you need to run through all those jutsu again if you want to be sure they work." The Professor said after a moment.
"You have a point. I should practice the ones I can. Well except for those city-buster jutsu. Thos puppies are staying under wraps until I can get out to the country." The former Rokudaime shook his head.
"I was unaware there was a city-buster rank for jutsu." Hiruzen said.
"...Err I made it up. During the wars we ran into fortifications that even our best anti-army jutsu couldn't scratch. So I created a new type of jutsu that trades range for power. It won't take out an army but it'll break through anything, even Susanoo." The blond said sheepishly.
"Rank?" The Sandaime always had time for new jutsu.
"S-rank usually. I doubt anyone who isn't a Kage or Jinchuruki could pull them off. The chakra requirements are huge." Naruto answered.
"So they actually require you to pace yourself?" Hiruzen chuckled.
"A little bit. I'm still saving those puppies until I can leave the village for a time." The former Rokudaime said.
"That will not be happening until we deal with Orochimaru. I made a mistake letting him live once. I don't intend to do it again." The Sandaime's voice was hard.
"You didn't intend to do it last time. But you got double teamed by the Shodaime and Nidaime. That weakened you." The whiskered boy shook his head.
"I can't believe he would desecrate the dead." Hiruzen growled.
He had loved both the Nidaime and the Shodai as adoptive fathers/grandfathers. That someone would use that love against him; it didn't sit well with the aged Hokage.
"Orochimaru was never the most stable. I think he was always a sociopath. He just never showed it until later." Naruto said.
He had never been forced into that situation. The Shiki Fuuin didn't allow the Edo Tensei to draw people back. It had become something of a tradition for the Hokage's to use that jutsu. The Sandaime, Yondaime and Godaime had all ended up using it. The Sandaime on Orochimaru, Yondaime on the Kyuubi, and the Godaime had used it to seal Madara's eyes.
Hiruzen shook his head and said with all of his age bearing down on him:
"No, once he was human and a kind child. But the wars changed him, and not for the better."
"War changes everyone Jiji. But we still make our own choices." The blond pointed out.
"Hmm, now I know how my students felt." Sarutobi said.
All of his students had complained of his tendency to make random philosophical statements.
"I learned a lot from both of them." Naruto gave a sad smile.
There was nothing either of them could say to that. At last the Sandaime asked.
"Do you want the Namikaze training ground?"
"If you would please Jiji." The whiskered boy said with a slight bow.
Hiruzen opened his desk and pulled out a set of keys. He tossed them to Naruto. The boy nodded and disappeared out the window.
'Great another one that doesn't know how to use a damn door...' Sarutobi mentally growled.
Naruto landed on the rock, looking around he saw a desolate landscape. Kabuto stood before him holding Konohamaru. "One more step Naruto-kun and Konohamaru learns why I'm known as The Doctor." Kabuto said.
"What do you want Kabuto?" Naruto said growling.
"Why your sanity, of course." Kabuto answered as the world turned to red. Naruto watched in horror as all the people who had died came back. "You killed us," some said. "It's your fault we're dead," another said. The accusations and screams became louder and louder.
Naruto clapped his hands to his ears trying to block the voices. It was no use as they became louder.
"I'm sorry!" He began to shout.
"Nothing you can say will make it better!" The voices synchronized.
They turned into a black blob. As the blob came down to crush Naruto, he screamed.
Naruto bolted upright. His body was covered in sweat.
"Just a nightmare." Naruto said breathily, looking around his darkened apartment.
"I really need Hinata here. She's the only one that could ever make these damn dreams stop." Naruto spoke to himself. He glanced at the clock. It read 5:00 A.M. 'Guess I could start training, I've got a lot of work to do. I can't believe I was so weak when I was younger. Not to mention I still don't have a plan for taking down Orochimaru at the exams.'
Tenten still got up early. A year under Gai had enshrined that idea into her. Not as much as Lee or Gai, but she was still up. 'Don't have team training or missions and I don't want to train by myself all day. So what should I do? I suppose I could get to know Naruto and Sasuke better. They're both very different than what I expected. I'll try Naruto first, he seems more open.'
After several hours, she was having no luck. 'Where the hell is he? And why do the villagers look at me as if I'm crazy for wanting to find him?' Tenten thought. Iruka had been no help and no one seemed to have seen Naruto since last night at Ichiraku's. She continued her search and eventually ran into her old team-mate, Neji.
"Hi Neji." Tenten said.
"Tenten, I trust you are well?" Neji asked.
"Yeah, just trying to find one of my teammates for training." Tenten answered.
"Not both?" Neji said curiously. Tenten was usually fair and the only reason that she didn't work with Lee more often was because she couldn't keep up. For her to purposely exclude someone meant something.
"Yeah, you know I got stuck with Sasuke Uchiha and Naruto Uzumaki, right?" Neji nodded.
"Well Sasuke's not exactly sociable. I figured I'd have more luck with Naruto. What about you?" The brunette asked.
"Don't ask. That girl is nearly as bad as Lee is about training, except it's all about Sasuke. She spent the whole morning complaining about not being with 'Sasuke-kun'. Gai-sensei is now subjecting her to some speech about youthfulness while Lee trains. I've got the rest of the afternoon off." Neji answered.
"Want to train with me?" Tenten asked, finally deciding to give up on finding Naruto.
"Sorry, Hiashi-sama and Hinata-sama have some business with me at the Hyuuga compound." Neji was, for once, not being sarcastic or disrespectful with the suffix. Tenten picked up on the subtle change.
"Neji, did something happen between you and Hinata?" Tenten asked.
"I am not permitted to speak of it. Suffice to say that it has changed my fate." Neji gave a slight nod and then headed to the Hyuuga compound.
'Changed his fate? Neji never talks about changing fate. This must have been major. I have got to ask more about it later when he can tell me what happened.' Tenten shrugged and went to go train by herself.
Namikaze Training ground
Naruto just barely dodged a thrown kunai.
"Kabuto." he said without looking.
"You know of me Naruto-kun?" The traitorous medic was impressed.
"I do...you know it's going to a pleasure killing you." The blond growled.
"You overestimate yourself Naruto-kun." Kabuto kept his eerie smile.
"And you underestimate me. Let's dance, snake bitch." Naruto said sliding into a stance.
Naruto ducked under Kabuto's strike. Kabuto grimaced as Naruto stabbed his heart. Pulling the kunai out, Kabuto focused his charka to heal. Cracking his neck, the white haired med-nin grinned.
"Kage Bunshin No Jutsu." Naruto called.
"Well this is interesting." Kabuto said with a raised eyebrow.
Kabuto was an amazing fighter. He proved it as he cut down the horde of clones.
"This is to easy Naruto-kun. A thousand times zero is still zero!" He said.
*THNNK* A kunai was buried into the back of Kabuto's neck. Severing the spinal column and paralyzing him. As Kabuto fell to the ground face first; Naruto spoke.
"That implies I'm a zero. You ninjas always rely too much on your cheating death techniques. You can't regenerate through metal. In about 5 minutes you'll have complete brain death."
Kabuto struggled to do something, anything, but could only blink. 'Is this how it ends?' He wondered before unconsciousness took him.
"You know, you were much harder to kill the first time around. I'm almost disappointed."
Naruto watched dispassionately as the last twitches of the body ceased. And then the body caught fire.
"Figures. Still, at least you won't be killing Kono this time around...Fuck, I haven't met Kono yet." With that Naruto left the clearing.
Academy Training Ground
Konohamaru was bored. Ebisu-sensei had yet to teach him anything at all. It was all 'protocol' and acting in a befitting manner of the Hokage's honourable grandson.
God, how he hated that title. Konohamaru loved his grandfather and his family. But he didn't want to be just the Hokage's grandson. He wanted to be a proud ninja famous for what he did. Not what his Grandpa or Uncle did.
Konohamaru threw a kunai at the training post.
"Hey kid, you're doing that wrong." A voice called out.
"Who are you?" Konohamaru spun around.
"Name's Naruto what's yours?"
An orange clad Genin was leaning against a tree.
"Konohamaru." The youngest Sarutobi puffed up his chest.
"That's a bit of a mouthful, Kono." The whiskered Genin said.
"You don't know who I am?" Konohamaru blinked.
"A mouthy brat?" Naruto said half serious.
"I'm the grandson of the Hokage." The helmet wearing kid answered.
Had he finally found someone who didn't treat him different because of his family name?
"So?" The blond blinked, nonplussed.
"Don't you want to treat me different?"
"Nah. You grandpa is a good man. One I respect, but you? You're just a brat." Naruto shook his head.
"I am not!" The brat whined.
"Sure you are."
Konohamaru growled and attacked. Naruto lazily parried the blows. Eventually the blond got bored and thumped Konohamaru on the back. The academy student staggered and fell to the ground.
"Not bad." The whiskered Genin said.
'Not bad? I'll show him!' Konohamaru said to himself. The boy stood up and charged again. And found himself back on the ground.
"I take it back." The whiskered boy said.
"Calm down Kono. I am a ninja you're not."
"I'm going to be the best ninja there ever was!" Konohamaru shouted.
"Really? Better get cracking. Being the best takes a lot of work. Something you haven't put in." Naruto said while helping the boy up.
"Have so." The youngest Sarutobi was confused.
No one except his grandpa had really talked to him this way. He found that he liked it.
"Trust me, I would know if you had. You have passion but no discipline. There's no shortcut to being the best. You have to put in blood, sweat and tears. You're not there yet." The whiskered Genin shook his head.
"And you are?" Konohamaru whined.
"No, but I'm farther along than you are. If you want, I can teach you."
'I forgot how much of a pain he was when he was younger.' Naruto groused to himself.
Konohamaru looked at the ground. He wanted someone to train him true; but only if it was for him and not because of his family.
"Are you teaching because of my grandpa?"
"No. I'd be teaching you because I honestly think you can be a great ninja."
Konohamaru believed him. Grinning he shouted.
"Come on, Kono, let's train." Naruto said with a smile.
The pair spent the next several hours together.
"You always did have a knack for making bonds. Naruto." Hiruzen grinned as he put away the crystal ball.
"Enough, why are we here?" Danzo scowled.
"Well, Danzo, a little bird told me that the root is still in the leaves. So naturally, I wondered who would be so idiotically stupid as to leave something lying around like that." The Sandaime said.
The old warmonger gave a start and tried to move. As he struggled he could hear his nemesis chuckling.
"Don't bother Danzo. You died three minutes ago; your body is just catching up to it." Hiruzen said.
"Poison..." The crippled man said.
"Indeed. Remember Tsunade may have perfected poisons, but I taught it too. Danzo, I let you live because I honestly thought having an opposing viewpoint was a good thing. Why were you never satisfied?" The Sandaime asked.
"Because you will destroy the Leaf." Danzo managed to get out.
"Perhaps, but not because of your warmongering." Hiruzen said after a moment.
"My ROOT will continue on without me." The other man declared.
"Will it? Tell me, Danzo, doesn't your programming tell them to follow orders? And did you not tell them to protect Konoha? Is that not my job description?" The Sandaime asked.
Danzo's eye widened. The Hokage was completely correct. He had no true successor. Hadn't felt he needed one. And now Hiruzen was getting his army on a silver platter.
"Damn you." The bitter man growled.
"You could have been great, Danzo, but you never let go of that ambition." Hiruzen said with genuine regret.
Danzo collapsed face first on to the desk. Sarutobi called out.
"ANBU it appears that Danzo has suffered a heart attack, for shame."
"What do you want us to do?" The ANBU from outside the room asked.
"Standard field burial. I think that's what he would have wanted." Hiruzen answered.
And that is why you don't fuck with Hiruzen Sarutobi.
"You know, it's considered rude to hide out in someone's apartment like this." Naruto said entering his apartment.
"Shut up. I need to know something." Sasuke stepped out of the shadows.
"That being, what, exactly?" The blond said nonchalantly.
"Did the Elders order the death of my clan?" The dark haired boy demanded.
Naruto's composure disappeared.
"Damn...I had hoped you weren't going to bring that up."
"Did they?" Sasuke demanded.
"It's complicated. The orders I found on record were to kill the head conspirators. Which did include your father and the Uchiha clan council. How those orders got interpreted as 'destroy the whole clan' I don't know. Not for sure at any rate." Naruto said.
"What do you think happened?" The onyx-eyed boy persisted.
"I think first Danzo manipulated the original orders so that Itachi would kill all Uchiha with ninja training. Then Madara Uchiha was asked for help by Itachi. Madara, for his own reasons, wiped out the rest. " The former Rokudaime answered.
"So Sarutobi wasn't involved?" Sasuke asked.
He had trusted Sarutobi more than anyone besides his brother. If that trust had been betrayed too...Sasuke didn't know what he would do.
"No, not as I knew him. And do you really think that Sarutobi would do things by half if he did want you all gone. I checked your files. They didn't want you to become a ninja. Sarutobi pushed it through."
"Yeah, that sounds like him...but I don't forgive Konoha for betraying my clan." The Uchiha heir said.
"As I said, it's complicated. Konoha was founded by the Senju and the Uchiha. But Madara left. In doing so he nearly killed the Shodai. There was always some mistrust because of that." The whiskered boy said.
"Yeah, I know that." Sasuke grimaced.
His father had ranted about it enough for that message to get across.
"The Nidaime, according to his notes, did his best to downplay it; but it was always there. Even with the wars, the Uchiha became more and more restless under Sarutobi. But still it was all behind the scenes. When the Yondaime came to power he began working to reform the clans and the village..." Naruto began.
"And then the Kyuubi attacked." The dark haired boy said in understanding.
"Yes, the Kyuubi attacked. Oddly, there were very few Uchiha causalities. The long simmering mistrust between the higher ups and the Uchiha got kicked up a notch. Both sides kept pushing and eventually the Uchiha plotted to revolt." Naruto continued.
"Then Itachi was ordered to stop it."
"Yes. And the Madara got involved and it spiralled."
"That doesn't make it right."
"Sasuke, you more than anyone should know that ninja rarely care about right or wrong." The blond pointed out.
"Not trying to preach that Konoha is good and light?" Sasuke asked.
"I've seen the files, remember?" The former Rokudaime said with a sigh.
"So what other dirty secrets does Konoha have?"
"No secrets that I'm allowed to talk about, Sasuke. My secrecy oaths are still valid. Although the Nidaime hate's pirates for some reason." The whiskered boy frowned.
"What?" The Uchiha heir was thrown for a loop.
"It's in his journals. He really hates pirates." Naruto shrugged.
"Well not that I disagree; but why?" The onyx-eyed boy asked.
"Didn't say why, I just thought it odd."The blond answered.
The two fell into an uneasy silence.
"After this Orochimaru business, Konoha and I are done." The Uchiha said at last.
"Sasuke...you saw what revenge cost you last time, are you really that committed to it?" Naruto asked.
"They sacrificed my brother. I could understand my family, especially if it was Madara who went overboard. Itachi was just following orders and got treated like shit for it." The dark haired Genin said.
"Sasuke, even if I'm right about Madara no one else knows. For them it looks like Itachi went off the rails and killed all of them. Now I don't know about you, but I'd be leery of keeping a ninja like that on hand." The blond shook his head.
"No. But I still want to talk to Itachi and find out one way or another. If it was Madara, I want my brother back here. Someone needs to restore the clan." The Uchiha Heir said.
"Still have that problem with girls eh?" Naruto said with a grin.
Sasuke, due to some rather traumatic experiences with his fan girls, was gynophobic or afraid of women.
"Shut the hell up." Sasuke growled.
"Hey, I don't judge." The blond said with a smirk.
The two again fell into a silence. This time Naruto broke it.
"Just know, Sasuke, I won't hold back if you leave."
"I won't either. I know you could have killed me when we first fought. But I could have done the same." The avenger said.
"Well we'll just have to hope that it never becomes an issue then." The Jinchuruki gave a dry smile.
Sasuke nodded and decided to move on to another topic.
"So what do we do about TenTen?"
"What about her? We treat her as a valued teammate and train with her." Naruto was nonplussed.
"You and I both know that she's suspicious; she'll try to find out the truth." The dark haired boy said.
"If I can escape Orochimaru's spy network; I'm sure I can keep things away from one girl." The former Rokudaime smirked.
"How did you do that anyway?" The Uchiha heir asked.
"Same way I do anything else. By doing something so crazy that no one else would think of it."
"Well I do think of you when I think of crazy." Sasuke mused.
"Shut up, Pot." The blond retorted.
"Pot? Is that really the best you can come up with?" Sasuke asked dryly.
"Who the hell are you? Sasuke doesn't do humour." The whiskered boy frowned.
"Ever hear the saying 'If I don't laugh I'm going to cry'?" The Uchiha heir asked.
A look of understanding dawned on the other boy's face.
"Yeah...oh...well that's rather odd coming from you."
"Well we both know what happens if I let myself stew." Sasuke said laconically.
"You inexplicably turn evil?" The blond said.
"Well it's good to be on the same side for once." Naruto placed his hand on Sasuke's shoulder.
"Don't touch me." The Uchiha said.
Naruto jerked his hand off.
"Anyways, thanks for clearing that up." Sasuke said with a slight bow.
"No problem." Naruto gave his own bow.
Sasuke left the apartment, leaving the whiskered boy alone.
"I really hope I'm right." He said to himself.
Omake: Tobirama's problems with Pirates
Tobirama sighed in contentment. It was good to get a vacation. Hashirama had been working him like a dog. Hadn't even had time to get liquored up once in months. However as thanks the Shodai had sent him on a nice easy diplomatic mission to Snow.
The ship itself wasn't much but it did have one redeeming feature. It was carrying liquor for the royal court. As such it was some of the best booze in the world. The white haired Senju prepared a shot.
Tobirama licked his lips in anticipation. This was going to be good---
*Smash* a large shock hit the vessel.
Causing Tobirama to drop the glass; splattering liquor everywhere. Tobirama stared at the mess twitching for a few minutes. Leaving the room he looked for a crew man.
"What happened?" He asked when he found one.
"Pirates sir!" The crewman said.
"Pirates?" The white haired man twitched some more.
"Yes sir" the crew member blinked.
"Pirates are why I just lost my first drink of alcohol in months?" Tobirama growled.
"Y-yes sir" the crew man stammered.
The future Nidaime was releasing a terrifying amount of killing intent.
"I am going to kill them all" he said finally.
To this day no one knows what exactly happened to those pirates. But when Tobirama became the Nidaime his first act was to make a directive against all Pirates.
A/N: Hey everybody no it's not dead and I'm sorry it took so long. Both me and my beta had issues....moving right along. A huge thanks to my beta DustBunnyQueen for her work. I got a note saying that if you've already reviewed the chapter before the rewrite you can't review the new one. Sorry about that.