Smoke and Mirrors

by Lord Dragon Claw

Disclaimer: Be careful how you put sealing arrays together.

Chapter Two: Court Marshal


Mere minutes after Genin Mizuki had passed out, a pair of ANBU whom had been escorting Gen-an and the young ANBU Commander, Kakashi, retrieved his unconscious body and took it straight to their Torture and Interrogation Division. Another ANBU remained behind to make sure that none of the civilians left before they would be able to arrest them all. A fourth ANBU slowly patrolled the area, making sure to keep any of the Military Police or ANBU Ne (Root) out of the area.


Back at the hotel, Kakashi and Gen-an were cleared to go into the room, carrying the unconscious Naruto.

"Sir," began Owl. "You do know who that is, right?"

"Yes, Owl," replied Kakashi. "I am allowing Hotaru-san to do this. The boy will be fine."

"Shouldn't he be taken to the hospital?"

"You remember what happened the last time, right?"

"Point made."

Naruto had been thrown out of the hospital's second-story window by a civilian nurse. She was detained and was still in prison for the crime, but the medic-nin in the room had done nothing to stop her and had spent three weeks in the Head of Interrogation Morino Ibiki's... care.

Kakashi opened the door to let Gen-an and Naruto in.

"Thank you, Hatake-san."

Mitsumoto dropped his cards upon hearing that. He whipped around and spotted the man with the cat mask.

"Hatake? As in the Hatake Kakashi? Copy Kakashi? Student of the Yellow Flash?"

Kakashi was a little embarrassed and scratched the back of his head, but nodded.

"You can be a fanboy later, Mitsumoto. Wake Izuna - I need to examine this boy and so the bed is required."


Once Gen-an finally was able to examine Naruto, he was surprised at the complexity of the seal around the boy's navel.

"Mitsumoto, get over here!"

"Yes, Grandboss?"

"Look at his seal. What do you see?"

"An overly complex storage seal. Why?"

"Think about it."

Mitsumoto stood there for a moment, before pushing his hitai-ate further up his head, revealing dull-green wide eyes.

"He's a Jinchuuriki, isn't he?"

"Very good, Mitsumoto."

"These are compressed seals, aren't they?"

"Yup. The amazing thing is that there are compressed Stasis Seals used to write the main spiral-shaped seal on the stomach, with a couple of Mental Barrier Seals interspersed in between."

"Stasis Seals... I thought those never really work."

"What's a 'Stasis Seal'?" asked Kakashi, joining the conversation.

"Well," began Gen-an. "Most of the time, they are seals that prevent other seals from being added or removed, but they only last about a decade and do nothing to prevent alteration. Considering that it is said that the Kyuubi no Kitsune was knowledgeable about seals, it would be pretty worthless to add them in."

"This is a special case then?"

"Definitely," answered Mitsumoto. "My handwriting is bad enough that none of my seals work, but I know a lot about seals and how to destroy or disarm them."

"The special thing about this is that these are perfect Stasis Seals. They are powered by the Kyuubi's chakra, but their design is different than what I know. These Stasis Seals not only use a constant flow of uninterruptible chakra to stay active forever, but they prevent altering as well as adding and removing."

"Grandboss, these outer seals... this one is a compressed Regeneration Seal next to a Rejuvenation Seal, right?"

"Wow," gasped the old man.

"What's so important about that?" asked Kakashi.

Mitsumoto lowered his hitai-ate before answering. "You remember Senju Tsunade of the Sannin?"

"Of course."

"Our information network shows that she created a very powerful Instant Regeneration Seal. Unfortunately, it causes all the cells in the body to divide, shortening the user's life in proportion to the damage regenerated. This Rejuvenation Seal works in conjunction with the slower Regeneration Seal and causes it so that when the cells divide, the DNA is directly copied, not degenerated by the cell division. In other words, though his regeneration will be slower, his life will not be shortened by it."

The balding man piped in at this point. "Considering that the Kyuubi's chakra powers these two seals, they will work even better than designed, due to the healing properties of Bijuu chakra."

"Healing, Grandboss? I thought the chakra is corrosive."

"Normally, yes. But there are all these filters here. And the Mental Barrier Seals will prevent the boy from going psychotic from his regeneration."

"Wow. My sensei really knew his stuff."

"That he did," responded Gen-an as ideas began running through his head a kilometer-a-second.


"Out of curiosity, what is your plan for the Council?" Kakashi asked as they made their way to the blood registry/testing office. They had left Naruto with Mitsumoto, Izuna, and Shino, and their ANBU guards.

"Well... I've got to rethink them as the fact that those civilians and that Genin are probably going to go on trial."

"Is it going to cause a problem?"

"Actually, it is going to make it easier, but I don't want to use a mallet to 'smash' this when a rolled-up newspaper would do just fine. Don't want to make enemies out of all my possible allies."

"Point taken."


Naruto slowly woke to the sound of people speaking. He hoped he wasn't in the hospital again - he hated that place. All the glares he got made him nervous.

He began to feel around before opening his eyes. He was on a bed with sheets on top of him and a pillow under his head - damn! He probably was in a hospital. But when he felt his clothes, they weren't the flimsy hospital gowns he normally wore on those visits. Whatever he was wearing was soft and warm. What Naruto did not know was that he was wearing Izuna's spare flannel pajamas, which were orange.

Just before opening his eyes, he heard a girl say "go fish." Groaning, he sat up as he opened his eyes to spot a pinkette and a brunette playing cards with a teenager who had a slashed hitai-ate on his forehead.

At first, Naruto was startled, but then he saw several Leaf ANBU in the room, causing him to relax. If the ANBU were here and hadn't arrested the three strangers, he reasoned, than the other people in the room were friendly.

Responding to his groan, which the girls were too busy giggling to notice, Mitsumoto discretely watched the blonde boy. He approved of the boy's survey of his environment and the fact that he knew the boy had spotted the ANBU in the room, both the clearly visible and the well-hidden.

He's got excellent survival instincts, mused the seventeen-year-old boy.


"So, you mean your ANBU actually discretely help him learn non-chakra techniques for him to use in his pranks on other ANBU as well as the civilians?"

"Yup. It has actually saved his skin a few times, though he has the unfortunate habit of ditching his ANBU tails."

"So that would be the reason why he had gotten cornered earlier today?"

"Yeah, I suppose so."

"It's actually quite amusing," said the ANBU medic whom they had submitted the blood test to. He wore a donkey mask. "I was the one who gave him a supply of nitrous oxide, which he pumped into the lower levels of the Hokage Tower three weeks ago."

"That was you!?" exclaimed Kakashi. "You ass!"

All three gave a chuckle at the pun.


Mitsumoto was highly amused at the blonde's antics - and his luck. After introducing everyone, Naruto had been invited to play Go Fish with them by Izuna. He was so happy by the prospect of playing anything with anyone that he gave her a big hug, which she returned. She may not have understood why he was happy, but she was happy that he was happy, and hugged him back all the same.

They had since played twelve rounds, of which Naruto won ten. The boy wasn't even cheating, but he continued to win almost all the time. The other two times Izuna won, but that wasn't for lack of Mitsumoto and Shino actually trying to win. The siblings even attempted to cheat (they weren't getting caught by the other two players), but they still lost.

Eying his sister, Mitsumoto was glad Shino was smiling her minuscule, almost invisible, smile again. She may not have been all that emotional before the slaughter of their clan - in fact, she was so overly logical that it was annoying at times - but the times she did show her emotion, it made Mitsumoto's day.

"Hey, Mitsumoto? Got a King?" asked the blonde.

Though the teen did have one, he said "go fish" anyway - doing his best to cheat. Naruto drew a card and put it and a card from his hand onto the ground. They were both Kings. Now the blonde had only one card left, much like Izuna.

"Shino-sis, got any Threes?"

"No. Go fish."

She drew her card...

"HA! I win again! I'm catchin' up to ya, Naruto!"


"Well, Hotaru Gen-an, welcome to Konohagakure no Sato!" said Donkey. (Ninja Village Hidden Among the Leaves) "You now have a seat on the Council with your status as Clan Head."

"Good. Kakashi-san, would you be so kind to escort me to the Hyuuga Compound?"

"Certainly."

"One more thing before you go, Firefly."

"Oh? What is it, Donkey?"

"It will take a few days to figure out what plot of land to build you a compound on. Any requests?"

"Near a weapon smith or a calligraphy shop."

"Hmm... I have a couple of ideas then. Good luck trying to help our Jinchuuriki!"

Outside, Gen-an raised an eyebrow at Kakashi.

"Nearly all of us ANBU have a soft spot for the boy. That's why we help him with pranks, but we also slip him healthy food now and again. We also try to make sure he's fully clothed too."

"That... actually will help my plans."


Mitsumoto was amused when Shino and Izuna got tired of Go Fish and wanted to take turns playing shogi (a Japanese board game similar in some respects to chess). Naruto admitted that he didn't know how, so the girls took it upon themselves to teach him. Though he bumbled around at first, losing his first eight games, he began to actually learn the strategies involved. The ninth game ended in a stalemate.

Knowing how impatient young children are, Mitsumoto was surprised at the fact that the loud-mouthed blonde stuck to it despite it being the tenth game already, with him being behind with eight losses. His determination and stubbornness were actually admirable.

The teen was surprised when Naruto started off losing badly, but was even more startled by the fact that the boy quickly turned the tables, despite not having many pieces left, proving that his whole strategy was to lure Shino into a trap. Obviously, he won the tenth game.


"Thank you for allowing me to see you, Hyuuga-dono."

"No problem, Hotaru-san. Might I ask what business you have here today?"

"The Hokage has tasked me with figuring a way to bring more power back to the office. On a related matter, I need to know how you feel about the Jinchuuriki of your village."

"The Yondaime was a friend of mine. A very good friend. He was going to help me break the fates of the Main and Branch Families in my own clan. I assume you are aware of the situation?" At Gen-an's nod, he continued. "When he died sealing the Kyuubi, that hope died with him. I view the boy as a hero, unlike the Hyuuga Elders. I would like to help him, but my hands are tied by those old bigots; the same bigots who had the Caged Bird Seal placed on my brother, only because I was born two minutes sooner."

"How was the Yondaime going to break your fates?"

"He was going to use his seal knowledge to remove the Caged Bird Seal, which was designed to never be removed without killing the host."

"I see. And if a ninja were to be convicted of being a traitor for trying to assassinate the demon container... ?"

"I'd be calling for his death. What are you getting at?"

"You'll see at the end of the week. I must be leaving; thank you for your time, Hyuuga-dono."

"No problem. May I offer you and your clan a place to stay until your own compound is built?"

"I will think on it, Hyuuga-dono."

"Much obliged, Hotaru-san."


Naruto, Shino, and Izuna eventually tired themselves out, as small children are wont to do.

After putting them to bed, Mitsumoto and Frog played shogi to pass the time.


Having fought a number of Aburame in his lifetime, Gen-an decided against visiting them as he knew how they'd usually react to his plan. He opted to visit the Nara Clan instead.

"Excuse me if I don't jump for joy about having the Firefly in my house."

Gen-an chuckled at Nara Shikaku's indifference. "I'd like to talk to you about getting back at the Council..."

"Oh? Someone with the guts to stand up to them asking me for help? Though it will be troublesome, I will help anyway. It will be far more troublesome for my wife to be mad at me if I didn't."

"How so?"

"You obviously know about the Jinchuuriki and are referring to him."

"Obviously?"

"Well, okay; I do have informants around the village. Did you need analysis of the other clan heads you have not yet visited?"

Gen-an grinned.


"So the Inuzuka are liable to go against us?"

"Most likely," responded Kakashi.

"Akimichi?"

"Either way. Depends on how the Nara and Yamanaka Clans go. On rare occasion do they go against the votes of the other two."

"The Yamanaka are not likely to side with us, though."

"No. Inoichi may be a good man, and can control his emotions when he's interrogating people, but the man is otherwise unstable emotionally. You have met him though."

"I suspect that's a side-effect of his Clan jutsu..."

"Probably."

"This seems to be a relatively new clan though," said Gen-an, looking at the list Nara Shikaku had given him. "... How do you pronounce it?"

"Tivrusky. They are a relatively new clan. They go back as many generations as yours does, sir."

"Tiffu-ru-su-kii? Darn. Still pronouncing it wrong. Tivruseke... Tivrusky... There we go. When did they join Konoha?"

"Shortly before the Kyuubi Attack. The Sannin Jiraiya had located them in his travels and invited them into the village. I think it was because they were a family of seal-experts, though they dabble in just about everything. The current Clan Head is named Siniz, and he's got a... child named Ed. I think Ed's a girl, but I could be wrong. She's a little younger than me and just barely made Jounin. She's also got a Bingo Book entry already."

"She does, does she?"

Kakashi pulled out a Bingo Book from Lightning Country. He flipped it open to a page and handed the book to Gen-an.

Alias: Radical Edward
True Name: Tivrusky Wong Hau Pepelu Edward IV
Gender: Assumed to be Female
Affiliation: Konohagakure no Sato (Jounin)
Risk Rank: Middle-A
Seen as a seal prodigy, Radical Edward is a major security risk. She is able to disable any seals, alter them, or repair them on a whim with little to no known preparation. Creating her own seals seems to be something else she is good at, though no known instances of such have been recorded.
She often knows a lot of information about places where she has been previously, which is confusing for our intelligence agents. It is assumed that she has crafted an excellent seal for spying and leaves copies of it wherever she goes.
In combat, she has a very chaotic taijutsu style, unlike the other members of her clan. She also seems to be an expert on genjutsu.

Gen-an could see that the rest of the page was speculation. He closed the book and gave it back to Kakashi.

"So she's the Clan Heiress?"

"Nope. Rocco, her older brother, is the clan heir. He's got a similar taijutsu style to her, but he's more of a ninjutsu expert."

"So... Shikaku-san was unsure of how they would vote."

"Yeah. The Yondaime had them help him with the seal though, so they might help us out. Never can tell with that family though..."

"And this... Valentine Clan?"

"They usually respectfully abstain from voting, but they sometimes vote in favor of whatever the current Hokage wants when they do participate."

"Nice. The Kurama Clan?"

"Very likely to not help us at all."

"Shikaku-san guessed as much. Any other Jounin who can help us out?"

"Well..."


"YOSH! I, MIGHT GUY, WILL HELP YOU WITH YOUR YOUTHFUL PLANS! IF THEY FAIL, I WILL DO THIRTY LAPS AROUND KONOHA ONLY USING MY HANDS!"

Gen-an cleaned out his ear and massaged his temples. "Glad to hear it."


"Although I have no love for the child, the news that he was assaulted is disturbing," said the man, pushing his sunglasses further up his nose. "So, in spite of my dislike for young Uzumaki Naruto, I will help out in any way I can, as this sort of injustice is a huge security risk. That, and it's deplorable what has occurred to the boy."

"Glad we can count on you," replied Gen-an.

"Thank you, Ebisu," added Kakashi.


"Actually, Hotaru Gen-an, I remember you from the war," stated the man who looked to be in his mid-to-late-forties. "I had a brother who was killed by one of your seal matrices."

"Ah. So sorry to bother you then."

"Not at all. It was war. Killing people was your job, as was mine. Allow me to reintroduce myself: I am Mimura Hamaki, one of the oldest Jounin still active."

"And how do you feel about the Uzumaki boy?"

Hamaki's face immediately became stern and serious. "Are you trying to harm him?"

"Not at all. I'm trying to get the Hokage to regain some of his power while making the boy's quality of life much higher."

Hamaki relaxed a bit. "Forgive my reaction then. You need my help against the Council, eh?"

"That we do."

"Count me in!"


"Well, if it isn't the Firefly!?" exclaimed the retired ninja. "Sit! Sit with me and have some tea! Or is coffee more your thing? I've heard that coffee is more popular than tea over in Stone Country... Oh! If it isn't the ANBU Captain!? Do have some tea!"

"Actually, this is a business visit. I'm planning on helping the Hokage out at the moment, and you are one of the members of the Council..."

"One who has a track record of voting with the Hokage in most matters," added Kakashi.

"Has something to do with the attack on the Uzumaki child, doesn't it?" asked the old shinobi. "The grapevine travels pretty quick in these parts, though I don't believe that tripe about how the child attacked the civilians first or whatever the rumor was five minutes ago."

"So... we can count on your help?"

"Yeah! I, Mokume Kunugi, former teammate of Senju Tsunade, do hereby declare an oath that I will help you out with your plans to help the Hokage!"

As they left after having to respectfully decline another six or seven offers to have tea with the old man, Gen-an turned to Kakashi.

"Does that man have anything to do with Might Guy?"

"He was Guy-san's Jounin instructor."

"... that makes a lot of sense."


Wasting no time, the Hokage held Touji Mizuki's (and the civilian accomplices) court marshal the next day, after Gen-an reported that his plans would work. Every available Jounin and retired ninja were in attendance, as well as the Council and the ANBU. The prosecution was half an hour late, because Kakashi was the prosecutor.

The trial lasted several hours, but the verdict was quickly reached by a quorum of twelve ninja, one of which was Mizuki's fiancée, Tsubaki. The other eleven were Might Guy, Mimura Hamaki, Tivrusky Bonnaro Rominkov Rocco, Tivrusky Ed, Nara Masami, Ebisu, two Hyuuga Branch Family members, two ANBU (neither of them from Ne), and a Chuunin Medic-nin. Unanimously, they voted that Mizuki was guilty and should be put in prison, and that the various civilians should also be imprisoned for attempting to weaken the ninja forces of Konoha (even though he wasn't a trainee yet, Naruto had expressed interest for becoming a ninja).

Just as many on the Council were about to vote to veto the verdict, the Hokage called Hotaru Gen-an to the center of the arena. The old but spry man made his way to the center rather quickly despite looking like he hadn't slept at all the night previously, and placed his feet in a comfortable standing position. Suddenly, an entire seal matrix activated as his shoes had ink on the bottoms of them connecting the formerly-invisible seals. The matrix trapped all attendees in their seats and prevented the use of chakra. Any force that anyone tried to apply to get out physically was also nullified.

Well, almost everyone was trapped. Ed was down next to Gen-an almost immediately after he activated his seal matrix, holding a kunai to the old man's throat.

"Ed is surprised!" she stated. "You trapped everyone with one neat-o seal! Are you trying to do something funny?"

"Ed-chan," began the Hokage. "It's okay. He had my permission."

Ed just looked around for a moment before sliding her goggles over her eyes and grinning. "Okie-dokie! If the Old Man said it's okay, then it's okay with Ed!"

She scratched her head a bit and tried (in vain) to smooth out her red hair while re-holstering her kunai before returning to her seat.

Gen-an waited a minute before he was sure that the woman wouldn't interrupt him again, before he began to speak.

"Ninja of Konohagakure no Sato, we have a humongous security hole in the form of the Konoha Council, and another deeper one in the form of Danzou and his ANBU Ne."

Some of the people in the room, including the civilian members on the Council, tried to leap up and attack the old man in the center of the room. A few (ANBU Ne, mostly) even threw kunai or shuriken which were deflected by Gen-an and Ed (who had leapt out of her seat to defend him).

The old ex-Iwanin merely grinned as the tumult began to cease and people realized who held all the cards, especially since it seemed that the Hokage was writing down the names of the people who attacked Gen-an.

"As you can see, none of you are leaving for now, so why don't we just talk about all the problems that the Hokage has with you all?"


Many of the threats to Konoha that were domestic were eliminated or arrested that day. Danzou was in prison, and facing the death penalty; Sarutobi Hiruzen was at first just going to give him life imprisonment, but the insistence of Ibiki, Gen-an, Kakashi, Shikaku, Aburame Shibi, Hiashi, and Kunugi forced him to sign the death warrant, especially since Danzou's ANBU Ne would try to save him, even though they were disbanded.

The Council had been reorganized. Only a few of the previous members were able to retain their positions, and all of them were ninja. A new law was established that only Clan Heads from ninja clans, and active duty or retired ninja were allowed seats on the Council. Mitokado Homura, the former teammate of the Sandaime Hokage, was allowed to retain his seat for proving that he didn't hate Naruto for his prisoner, but the other former teammate of the Sandaime, Utatane Koharu, failed her test.

For the second time in less than six years, the Sandaime had to declare martial law while the ninja forces were reexamined for corruption and spies. The Uchiha were furious that they were under suspicion, but they were ultimately unable to refuse investigation. Information was discovered, especially with the help of a young Jounin by the name of Uchiha Itachi, which would later be used as evidence against the clan.


End Chapter Two.

Next Chapter: seven years of... good luck? Naruto should probably break mirrors more often.

Author's Notes

I ramped up the Yondaime's sealing knowledge because I figured that he'd know some people would try to mess with the seal.

Why are the ANBU helping Naruto indirectly? Well, doing so directly could get them in trouble with the Council (at least, in this fic). Danzou and Uchiha Fugaku are doing their best to alienate anyone who is seen openly helping him, with the exception of if the boy's life is in danger. However, Gen-an is a wily old bastard who puts loyalty near the top of his priority list. He abandoned Iwagakure no Sato because it abandoned him. He's helping Konoha because they accepted him.

Either Lord Shadner or I got the idea to include a minor "Cowboy Bebop" cross in this story, so I included it. Actually, the idea was to ninjafy the crew of the Bebop, and it worked best to put them in this story. So, there they are. Started off by introducing Ed and the other three will come in later. And no, Ed will not be able to alter Naruto's seal.

I like digging up rare characters to use. I do hope you all like the eccentric old man that Kunugi turned out to be after Dan's death and Tsunade's departure. And Guy took his madness to the extreme when emulating the man.

So the trial seemed a bit rushed. I was trying to get my muse to let me write. I guess it took staying home sick from work for her to finally let me write some more. I might expand this already longer-than-normal chapter someday, but for now... I'm done with it.

Thanks to Vassago-Toxicity for patiently waiting to beta this chapter and for providing an omake. Get well soon, Cylon One.

Also, missed giving you a chapter on All Hallows' Eve. Was trying to find inspiration for "Madness Spiral", but the words would not come. Ah well. There's always the future.
Happy Thanksgiving to all you Americans out there!
Happy WhateverholidayyoucelebrateinNovember to the rest of you!

And, because my internet card immolated itself, and due to how busy I'm going to be in the next month or so, you guys probably won't get a December update. So, Merry Christmas, or whatever winter holiday you celebrate, and I'll see you all in 2010.


Omake:
The Immortal
by Vassago-Toxicity

"Our information network shows that she created a very powerful Instant Regeneration Seal. Unfortunately, it causes all the cells in the body to divide, shortening the user's life in proportion to the damage regenerated. This Rejuvenation Seal works in conjunction with the slower Regeneration Seal and causes it so that when the cells divide, the DNA is directly copied, not degenerated by the cell division. In other words, though his regeneration will be slower, his life will not be shortened by it."

Kakashi interrupted at that point, his knowledge of anatomy telling him something was off, "Does that mean he's going to be Immortal?"

"Unless he does something stupid like getting his head cut off? It's possible."

Kakashi looked down at Naruto's unconscious body, his mind going into shock as he considered the possibilities of such a thing. Little did he know that Naruto wouldn't just affect his own Era, but also every Era after his own with his descendants.


Vassago-Toxicity's note:

Just a fun little possibility that the talk about Regeneration and Rejuvenation seals hit me with. Naruto, the First Immortal (Highlander).

Lord Dragon Claw's response:

I may just use the idea, but have a medic-nin like Tsunade realize it.

Readers, put a vote (and an argument why - seriously, no one-word responses) in a review if you like the idea of yet another unkillable Naruto; I'm not saying that the option with the most votes will actually win, but the one with the best arguments for might win (or the one with the best arguments against might lose).
Warg and Tokikage are two stories of mine that already contain a practically unkillable Naruto, not to mention the multitude of other stories written by other people on this site (and numerous others, I'm sure).