A Naruto Fanfiction

Tempered by Spiritual Fire


Chapter 7

Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto or any of it's characters.

Summary:Naruto was banished after the battle at the Valley of the End after bringing a comatose Uchiha Sasuke home. Cast out by those he considered family he makes his own path through life, first stop; the illustrious Fire temple, then next...who knows?

Author's Note's: First off I want to say thanks for not going nuts about my time away and I'll work on making my updates quicker.

The replies I've been getting about Kushina's appearance in this fic have been very...passionate. It seems quite a few of you don't like it and one person more or less demanded I rewrite the whole chapter without her in it. The whole crux of the matter seems to be that you all believe that A)She would never abandon Naruto, the whole mother/child 'bond' thing and B)She would always be hung up on Minato.

My question to this is...Why? Not every mother 'bonds' with her child, it's called Post Natal Depression, usually it only last a few days but It can last longer than that and to some extreme as well including depression(The clues in the name!), anger and exhaustion. And sometimes people do move on when they have lost a loved one, not every person in the Naruto universe can get hung up on their 'one true love' surely? Everything I've read about Kushina says that she would have the strength to move on and find someone new, not everyone would take Tsunade's emotionally destructive route.

The griping aside, Kushina was planned to be in this fic from the start, the only deciding factor in this would be whether she would be in Konohagakure or not, I needed an emotional reason for Naruto to risk his own future to go back to Konoha, and Money or Loyalty did not fit.

That aside I will personally thank OnGuard for his continued reading despite the fact he doesn't like what I've done with Hinata, as well as several other die-hard NaruHina fans who also continued reading.

Previously: Naruto comes clean about his reasons for willingly coming to Konoha, including his mother's continued survival, and his employer in a brief spate of vengeance orders Naruto to stay within Konoha to work on the parole detail of one Uchiha Sasuke...

Naruto sat at the desk in what was officially Shizuke's study as he read Yamanaka Inoichi's psychological profile on his charge as well as the whole parole squad, it paid to be in the know.

After Uchiha Sasuke's attempted defection Tsunade had instituted mandatory annual psychological for all active and recently retired ninja, up to and including herself. The problem Naruto faced now was that as much as he had matured, if there was one thing he hated beyond a passion it was unnecessary reading like reports, especially ones that contained jargon he didn't know like the psych reports in front of him. The annoyance was further impacted by the fact that there was a short summary at the end of the reports that did nothing more than...well, summarize what the report said but in a plain, easy to read language. The only thing that stood out in their files was the fact that Sakura had not been to see Sasuke once; not in prison and not while he was under house arrest, even going so far as to disobey a direct order from the council on the matter. Naruto flicked back through her file until he got to a small paragraph from Tsunade that explained the incident.

Apparently the council had been discussing the possible breeding of the Uchiha's much-coveted Kekkai Genkai and both Ino and Sakura's names came up in the discussion. Sakura, who was attending as Tsunade's aide, had lost her temper and told the council that if she were forced to go see him she would 'rip off the traitor's nuts and make him eat them'. Naruto smiled at that, it seemed her apprenticeship under the Fifth had done her a world of good, pity he wouldn't be seeing any kind of benevolence or open-mindedness from her.

He put the files back into the manilla envelope he had been given with hem in and grabbed a piece of paper and a pencil from the recesses in the desk and began to plan out everything he would need to ensure that Sasuke wouldn't be leaving his tender care any time soon.

It had only been a day since the council meeting to affirm Naruto's brief position within the village, with the emphasis on 'brief', and they were already making discrete plays for his loyalties, a few of the clans had sent messages asking for him to attend some family functions, he had had to send negative replies as several of the heirs would most likely act out upon seeing him, though he did send an invite with the replies for lunch at the daimyo's residence and dated them for today, he wondered if anyone would actually show; the only reply so far had been Kakashi as Naruto had to cancel their previous dinner plans. If Naruto was honest with himself he hoped that the clans wouldn't come, he had no desire to use what little diplomatic tact he had to play nice with the clan heads, despite the fact that he actually like a couple of them, to a degree...sort of.

Naruto leaned back on his chair, his back creaking in harmony with the chair legs as he did so. He looked back down his now completed list which was mostly an equipment list, which he would shortly transcribe into a letter for acquisitions and Tsunade, in duplicate, but four of the items were names of fuin jutsu.

Fuin jutsu was an esoteric art with a strange twist, anyone could do the basic low level stuff; basic storage seals and some people could easily copy average seals given the time but it took skill and dedication to create new seals and connect existing seals into new combinations. The definitions were fairly simple to understand, a seal Master creates seals, a Specialist, like Naruto, took what already existed and figured out new ways to use them, something Naruto was already inclined to do anyway when it had come to ninjutsu.

Lunchtime came and went, only Kakashi had turned up. Right now the pair were sitting within the Daimyo's garden, a drink in hand, chatting and watching the rest of the day go by. So far talk had been on minor things like the weather but pretty soon it turned to the pairs respective actions over the last seven years, instigated by Kakashi telling him about Sasuke's imprisonment and later his house arrest, Naruto, in turn, discussed his first three years in the Fire temple.

"The first year I was there was all about the basics; chakra control, taijutsu, bojutsu and basic sealing. At first I complained and boasted that I was better than that, but they quickly humbled me." He told his old sensei. At the questioning look Naruto explained further. "They pitted me in a spar against a ten year old acolyte, I lost...badly." He caught the Amused look in Kakashi's eye. "After that I learned anything they gave me, humble pie never was my favourite food after all and I'd been served it quite brilliantly."

The second year, after I'd proved my proficiency in what I had been taught in the first year, was all about chakra manipulation. Since I couldn't use hand seals any more it was harder as I had to find something else to focus my chakra and the first couple of months were just pure meditation." He took a sip of his dark coloured drink before continued. "My last year was an intensive education in seals and sealing methods, but even though I trained and learn extensively for a year I never attained the masters level." He downed the rest of his drink. "At worst I'm considered a seal expert and at best, a specialist." He finished. "After the third year it was becoming clear that my future was not within the Temple of Fire and I made my own way, which lead me to the daimyo's court." Kakashi assimilated the information, all-in-all it wasn't much, just an overview if a three year training regimen, though one thing stuck in his mind.

"You say that your considered a Seal Specialist at best, how are fuinjutsu users graded anyway?" He asked, he knew a couple of Fuin jutsu, enough to get by but was no where near even Naruto seemingly low level. Naruto picked up a glass decanter from a nearby tray and refilled his tumbler.

"Well, at the bottom you have seal users, like you and any knowledgeable ANBU; you can accurately remember specific seals that you have looked up and learned, usually universally recognised seals like exploding tags and basic sealing scrolls. Then you have the experts; they know every standardized and/or published seal in existence and can accurately reproduce them. Specialist are basically Experts who know how to...'marry' existing seals together to make new seals or bolster existing seals like the one you and Haruno stole from the daimyo." Kakashi winced at that, he'd heard in a round-about way that the seal he had taken from the daimyo's personal vaults was a seal created by one of his students.

"About that Naruto..." He tried to apologise

"...And then you have the Master level." He continued, as if Kakashi hadn't spoken. "Seal Masters not only know every standard seal and how to connect them together to like a Specialist but they are also knowledgeable enough in the finer points of fuinjutsu that they can create entirely original seals using the basic Kanji and pictographs used in seals." He instructed, Naruto had once been complemented on his good teaching skills; he had taught Shizuke about world politics after all, as well as other things.

There was an extra grading system when it came to seals that was only kept among those 'in the know' and that was the grade systems known as 'Tools Used'. The most basic and easiest TU was standard paper and ink to tree bark and blood to metal and blood and finally to skin with a mix of ink and blood, the mark of a true master. There were separate grades within each of the main grades as even the slightest difference in pulp changed the quality of the paper used and changed the outcome of say; an exploding tag. "There aren't that many existing 'Master' level people left, shinobi or otherwise, which in my mind is a good thing." Naruto added.

"How can you say that Naruto?" Kakashi asked, disbelief evident in his only showing eye. Naruto looked at his old teacher and smiled a sad smile.

"Quite easily Kakashi, Fuinjutsu is both a fine art and terrible weapon; I've seen seals used to keep erosion at bay on the only surviving bust of the Rikudo Sennin, as long as there is chakra in the seal that piece of art will last for a thousand lifetimes, but I've also seen seals that destroy a person mind, literally erase a persons entire existence in the space of heartbeat. The preservation seal was created by Chiruku-sama when he was an expert, at fourteen, and the mind destroying seal was invented by Suna's first, and last, Seal expert. She was hailed as a prodigy when Chiruku-sama was told to grow up." Naruto explained. "Seal masters only ever seem to create destructive seals." Naruto added wistfully.

Naruto gazed out of the bay window into the compounds garden, yesterday had been awkward after Naruto had let his opinion on Seal Masters slip, Kakashi near idolised the Yondaime after all and hearing his only son talk about him negatively in any way was guaranteed to put a dampener on the afternoon.

The chime of the doorbell took Naruto away from his musings, he made the small trek to the front door quietly. He opened the large oak door to reveal three people: Aburame Shino, Rock Lee and Haruno Sakura. He stared at the three four a moment, sizing them up.

"Yes?" He huffed. No one answered him for a moment before Lee piped up.

"Hokage-sama gave us our new assignment this morning and told us to come to you for our debriefing." Lee answered him in an unusually came attitude. Naruto remained where he was for the moment, sizing the other two up; Shino looked completely neutral, no emotion or physical nuance showed on his person anywhere, something Naruto had always thought impossible, Sakura, on the other hand, looked like he would expect her too, like she didn't want to be there.

"Before I allow you two into this house you will be told the rules: First, no violence in any part of the house except the training ground. Second, You will keep you attitudes at the door, I don't want either of you spouting any bullshit around me." He pointedly looked at Sakura for the second rule. "And lastly, you are guests in Daimyo-sama's residence, act like it. Any breach of these very simple rules will result in me...forcibly vacating you from the premises, understand?" At their signs of assent he opened the door further and beckoned them in.

Naruto waited until the three ninja were seated at the table with a drink before seating himself and pouring out a tumbler of his chosen liquor and rolling out the scroll before him.

"Your Hokage wanted me to read this scroll out to you but I don't feel like repeating myself twice so the actual reading will be done tomorrow evening when we begin this stupid charade." He started. "Basically your job is to watch over Uchiha Sasuke and insure that he doesn't attempt to break the villages laws in anyway; punishment will be meted out by us, by order of your Hokage." He told them. "You three were chosen for specific reasons; Lee, you have shown an ability to beat Uchiha before and can easily do it again. Aburame-san is here for his chakra draining abilities and his Logical outlook, Haruno is here because she also has the ability to overpower Uchiha as well as initially volunteering for this job." He stated.

"And what about you Naruto, why are you here?" Sakura asked him, a hostile edge to her voice. Naruto's lips curled up slightly.

"I'm here because Like lee, I have beaten Sasuke, Like Aburame-san I can act without emotion but most of all, I'm here doing this stupid job because when, not if, when Uchiha steps out of line." He took a sip of his drink before continuing. "I won't hesitate to kill him."

Naruto had never gotten the hang of political double speak, it took tact, something Naruto was sure he would never have but even with all the crap Tsunade had spouted about his need to return he knew that she brought him back simply because she wanted him back; whether it was from guilt, some problem she was facing or even just to rub the fact she could pull that crap in his face didn't matter, she had done it. Not that the reason mattered, once his tenure with the government of Fire country was over he was gone, he had a contract waiting for him in Spring country, Koyuki-sama wanted some seal work done and had decided he was the one to do it.

The plan had always been that he would stop over in Suna for his wedding, which was in the crapper for the moment, then head to the Fire temple to inform Chiruku that he was no longer a monk of his temple and then head around the various temples to inform them of his...retirement? Was that the right word to use? Who knew? After that he would head back to Fire country to train his replacement, something that, considering the candidate, wouldn't be that hard. Once that was done he would travel to Spring country for a month then Kumo for two on another contract, then Kusa, Kiba and Tea before stopping in Tanzuku Gai to see an old friend before finally taking up his job with Gaara.

But now that was all irrelevant.

So the new plan was fulfil all current contracts and then play the rest by ear, good plan....

All this Naruto mused while he half listened to the three Konoha nin discuss their ideas about insuring Uchiha Sasuke doesn't escape,rape kill, etc, well, mainly Sakura and Lee. Naruto didn't care, as far as he was concerned Shino, who was slated for his jounin rank within the next month or so, would be taking over for him so only he would be the one Naruto passed any orders to. It sounded callous and in a way it was, but Naruto had been within a strange command structure for the last few years and didn't know how to work in a ninja cell any more, if he even ever did to begin with. He heard a lull in the conversation and decided to insert himself into the discussion.

"Ahem". Naruto coughed, the three nin stopped talking and waited for him to continue. "While this discussion is enlightening your ideas won't work, no matter how much merit they have." He looked at Lee. "We can't tie the Uchiha to a hobble Lee, he's expected to work for the village and, as funny as it would be to watch, having Sasuke hobbled as he chased Tora-chan would cost the village in time and money...and possibly foliage and livestock too." Shino next. "Likewise for draining most of his chakra, it would keep him docile but he's needed for active service, unfortunately." And Sakura lastly. "And finally, Haruno, Chakra cuffs just wouldn't work, while there is the restrictive aspect of them chakra cuffs also need a safe way to disperse the chakra they leech which would be impossible on a mobile detainee." Naruto reached into his clothes and pulled out a scroll and unrolled it into the middle of the table, on it where various seals. "This is how we will restrain the Uchiha but I will need you permission for one of them." Naruto pointed to a block of seals furthest away from him, separated by a thick black line from the rest of the scroll. "All those are to be applied to Sasuke's skin, what they are, are; tracking/location seals, chakra restraining seals and suicide seals connected to explosive seals." He then pointed to the rest, two seals connected to each other copied four times. "This seal will help you locate the Uchiha should he flee and, when activated, detonate the suicide seal." He looked at his current team. "I need permission from each of you as this seal has to go on your skin, on the underside of your right fore-arm just before your wrist, it's the easiest place to reach." They each gave their permission before Sakura pointed to the final two seals.

"And what are these for Naruto?" She asked politely. Naruto rolled the scroll up as he answered her.

"Those are a work in progress for a client." He answered primly. "Now, tomorrow I will apply those seals on you and that will give us about a day to recover before we take on the detainee." He secreted the scroll back into his clothing. "Do see yourselves out I have to get some things prepared for the arrival of Daimyo-sama's coach tomorrow." The three nin filed out of the dining room and back down the ornate hall, Naruto didn't move until he heard the door close. He stood up and made his way to the study, he opened the door to reveal a topless kunoichi facing away from him. He walked around to the desk, reached into his clothes, pulled out the scroll and unrolled it onto the desk.

"I'm sorry about the interruption but my team decided to have a little pow wow." He took a brush and an ink well filled with a reddish brown ink and turned back to the woman, she had gathered and hugged her legs up to protect her modesty, something Naruto didn't mind but knew Jiraiya would have complained about, Her hair was a deep purple and had been pinned up so the end of her shoulder length hair lazily spiked up at the back of her head. "Now, where were we Miterashi-san?" Naruto asked the snake kunoichi. She didn't get a chance to answer. "Ah yes, replacing the purification and suppression seals on that curse mark." He walked back around and began to write the seals on her back in the ruddy ink, starting at the top of the curse seal and working his way clockwise and out, when he was done the seal covered the whole of Anko's torso and a foot of the wooden floor around her. "brace yourself Anko, this will hurt." He warned as he placed his hand directly over the curse seal and began to pump chakra into it, Anko screamed