Sarutobi gritted his teeth as he walked through the neck high grass. He was passing through Kusa on his way to Iwa. He made sure to stay towards the border as he made his way towards the Village of Stone.
Naruto was sleeping soundly in his makeshift sling. He had been sleeping ever since they made it to the border, which in his eyes was rather impressive.
He stopped when he felt something up ahead. He dropped down to a crouch to hide in the tall grass. He couldn't see them. The swampy floor beneath the thick grass made him curse inwardly. It squished and splashed when he was sneaking through it, but now he might have been caught.
There a rustle in one of the few dark trees in the field of tall grass. He couldn't see anything through the thick stuff. He closed his eyes, listening for anything. Wood sliding on wood sounded so low he would have missed it had he not been holding still. Something was up ahead.
He pulled Naruto free from his sling, placing him on the ground to avoid any fighting with the infant. He did not need him holding him back if this was an ambush. Sarutobi made a quick hand sign while muttering something under his breath.
Something moved in the distance. His eyes snapped up to see it. Light was reflecting off of something smooth and shiny in the distance. A headband. He couldn't see the emblem on it. A long hollow stick was in his lips as he looked around for something.
A crunch sounded behind him. He turned his head to see another with the same thing on another tree.
Two of them. Not good.
One of them shook his head as something hit him in the eyes. A faint trace of light was momentarily stopping him.
A third one was in the area and by his actions, rather smart.
The former Hokage looked up at the first one that was looking for him. He froze, inhaled, and fired. Sarutobi cursed for the fraction of a second he had before something sharp came spinning quickly at him. A dart. He realised as he rolled out of the way and jumped up into the tree. No need for stealth now.
A blur landed in front of him, a rusty katana out to block his kunai. Once again he cursed. The third guy was waiting in ambush for his attack. The second one inhaled sharply. Sarutobi cursed. The man that was blocking him kicked him in the ribs, forcing the air from his lungs and sending him back into the swampy field.
Sarutobi splashed down into the mud, grunting with pain before rolling backwards. Darts peppered the ground from left to right where he'd been and where they'd expected him to move to. He sank down in the mud, cursing inwardly.
He didn't have time for this and Naruto was probably about to start crying since the child had awakened when he put him down.
Kaji looked around in the thick grass from his perch in the trees. Their team leader Ishida was beside him. Rain was in the other tree looking for the target.
"I don't see him," Kaji whispered.
"He's still alive. You missed him. Both of you missed him." Ishida replied. "Stay sharp. Remember, we need to make sure we can still confirm it's him. Otherwise the bounty will be a bitch for us to grab." He reminded. Kaji nodded.
The grass parted. Kaji and Rain fired dart after dart on the moving grass before a blur shot out of it. Ishida blocked the blur with his rusty katana. It was their target, Konoha ANBU Tiger.
Sarutobi forced him into the ground, when a second appeared. Kunai flying from the clones hands as he jumped through the air.
The two dart firing men opened fire again. Dart after dart followed the two, all of them missed until only Kaji was firing. Who was unaware until it was right in his face. Sarutobi appeared, bloody kunai in hand, and stabbed him in the jugular, ripping it down and out in one motion. Kaji fell into the swamp dead. His body made a loud splash when he hit.
Ishida got up, destroying the two clones of Sarutobi as he did. Smart guy. He lives up to his name, he thought. He glanced up to see Sarutobi standing above him, kunai in each hand. Ishida shook his head. "You're worth more than the trouble you're causing me, you know that right?" Sarutobi raised a brow.
"I'll give you one chance to leave." Ishida shook his head. "Pity then," Sarutobi jumped down, his kunai out front. Ishida swung his sword. The kunai blocked it, but he wasn't as strong as Ishida. He managed to force Sarutobi off balance, as he used his heavy body to push him back.
Sarutobi stumbled to his feet, quickly regaining his bearings and dived in for another strike at the sword wielder.
Metal screeched against metal as the two weapons collided. Ishida pushed through his block and cut his head off. A cloud of smoke exploded from the body.
A clone!? Blood filled his mouth. Ishida looked down. A kunai was in his chest and stomach with his target in front of him. "But how..."
"When I first went to the ground after you knocked me down, I made some clones. I'll admit my body isn't what it used to be, you also caught me by surprise, but I was able to make three clones. I simply waited until the right moment." Ishida blinked and then collapsed over dead.
Sarutobi took a second and inhaled a breath of fresh air. That had been dangerous. Had they found Naruto, things would have taken a turn for the worse. He didn't want to even think about Minato's son being in that kind of situation.
Sarutobi removed the cloth covering the apparent leader of the groups face. He instantly recognized the man, Yumaro Ishida. Kusa's very own Jounin missing Nin.
Reaching around his back he gripped the handle of the chokuto he had bought from a store a few miles back. Drawing it he made quick work as he hacked through Ishida's neck, severing his head from the rest of the body.
After the deed was done, Hiruzen reached into the bag still draped over his shoulders and pulled out a medium sized scroll with his bloody hands.
The scroll opened with a click; unrolling it he set the scroll on the muddy terrain. With empathy he picked up the head and placed it in the middle off the scroll, right on top of the kanji for human.
Concentrating Sarutobi began gathering his chakra; he needed to add just the right amount for the size, shape and item to be sealed. To seal different objects into a scroll he needed to things: a formula and a representation. The formula was the seal placed on the scroll itself and the amount of chakra used. Where the representation is the kanji which describes the item being sealed.
With the correct formula and representation, the object could then be sealed without worrying about the sealing being done improperly which could be disastrous when the time to unseal the object came.
"Seal." and with a simple hand sign, the once bleeding head vanished being stored away within the scroll.
Stretching as he stood Sarutobi silently rolled up the scroll and placed it securely back into his sac. Fluidly pulled out another one and headed over to the next body without pause.
Two more scrolls later Hiruzen had each and every member of the rogue ninjas who had tried to kill him for his bounty, which actually caused him to chuckle. They had been after the bounty of the ANBU codenamed as Tiger; shaking his head the runaway Hokage could feel no pity for the unlucky bunch of missing Nin.
A cry startled him out of his thoughts, his mind then snapped at him, 'Naruto' he'd forgotten him back where he hid the infant.
Running as fast as his legs would move Sarutobi stopped before an old tree stump. He gazed at the piece of wood as if it were his own child.
"Kai!" he muttered with a simple hand sign and the wooden stump turned into a blue-eyed blonde baby, wrapped in a small blanket.
Gingerly he picked up the baby and instantly the crying stopped. Naruto was now giggling while Sarutobi cradled him in his arms.
A look of pure horror replaced Hiruzen's smiling visage as a foul stench invaded his nostrils. Looking at the cheerful infant Sarutobi found himself delicately handling the baby as he positioned Naruto's diaper away from him.
Sighing, Sarutobi decided to face this threat head on and laid Naruto down on some muddy grass. Looking at the diaper filled full of poop with even a little seeping out of the side, he just knew the next few years of his life were going to be troublesome.
Danzo sat hunched over a blazing fire, idly poking at the hot coals with his cane out of boredom. Two days had passed and still the council would not believe that there precious Sandaime had betrayed them. Snorting Danzo stroked the coals more forcefully causing some to crackle and fly into the air.
What more did those old fools need to see, even with all the evidence pointing to Sarutobi escaping with the demon; they refused to accept the fact. The third had abandoned his village and people for a demon.
A grin of satisfaction appeared on his scarred face as he thought about the council meeting yesterday. Now Danzo had no doubt in his mind, freeing Fugaku from captivity had been a wise decision. Just the look on most of the council members' faces was enough to return the favour he granted the Uchiha clan head.
"What gives you the authority to release this traitor?" Koharu said frostily, gesturing to the unshackled form of Uchiha Fugaku.
"Tell me Koharu." Danzo inquired mischief gleaming in his single eye. "How do you have the audacity to call this man a traitor?"
The shocked look on the old hags face was priceless in Danzo's mind. "If I remember correctly this man, has committed no crime except trying to remove the only obstacle leading to Konoha's destruction." The cripple stated eyes narrowed and glaring hostilely at the former Hokage's teammate.
Danzo was far from done using the situation to his advantage. "Please enlighten me about what he has done to deserve a lifetime imprisonment?"
"He disobeyed a direct order from the Hokage and tried to strike him down when his back was turned." Shikaku said lifting his head up off the table from where he was just snoozing.
Danzo snorted as Fugaku took a step forward, a menacing look on his face. "You think I'm a gutless coward who'd strike a man in the back, let alone or own Hokage…" He yelled furiously at the lazy shinobi.
"No I simply saw what none of you could…the truth. I told you we should have killed the demon when we had the chance, but none of you listened to, me. Now look at what has happened. Because you all believed in a foolish old man who couldn't see the child for what he is, a demon in human flesh."
"Fugaku you're a man who would do anything to further his own power." Hiashi Hyuuga offhandedly commented, arms crossed and eyes closed.
"This matter is much larger than your petty clan feuds Hiashi." Danzo snapped irritably at the calm Hyuuga. "Now back to business…In this time of need Konoha is without a leader." Danzo said addressing the biggest concern on everyone's mind.
"We must prove to the other nations our strength. With Sarutobi gone….it doesn't matter rather he abandoned us or if he was murdered." Danzo said quickly as some of the clan heads were glaring at him and no doubt about to interrupt. "The fact remains we are in a very dangerous situation. If we do not elect a new candidate to be the Godaime, we could very well be invaded."
Most of the glares were replaced by curious or disbelieving expressions. Danzo stood smug beside Fugaku as he let his words sink in.
"What proof do you have concerning this delicate situation Danzo?" Koharu said acting as the head of the council. Danzo had a small smile on his face a few more tweaks and Konoha would be in his palm.
"Once news reaches Iwa about the death of Namikaze Minato by the Kyuubi no Kitsune, Stone will be launching a full on invasion against us. Even if they had any doubts of defeating us, with Sarutobi's defection we're open game to the rest of the elemental nations. Unless we demonstrate that we are indeed still one of the five great villages, I'm afraid war might be on the horizon."
The entire chamber immediately broke out in hushed whispers; finally, Homura silenced them and spoke up. "Without anything concrete your speculations are just those… speculations." Homura paused as he cleared his throat. "Bring us significant evidence to proof your accusations, until then we shall wait to name who shall be the Godaime Hokage."
As one Danzo and Fugaku turned and left the council chambers, for they both knew today there goals would not progress any further.
They strolled quietly through the streets of Konoha neither turning or acknowledging the other. Both gazed at the damage and ruins Konoha had become, even with all the repairs already being done the village wasn't recognizable to either.
Finally they reached a building concealed away from the general public and most of the shinobi population as well. Danzo and Fugaku walked in neither worried nor cared if someone were to see them enter this place.
Many shinobi with ANBU styled masks and uniforms bowed to the war hawk as he walked by, after taking a few flights of stairs both men came to a stop in front of giant steel door. The only noteworthy thing about the door was the indentation of a hand situated near the middle of the large hunk of metal.
Placing his hand in the indentation of the cold steel, Danzo generated some of his chakra through the door. The door beeped twice before sliding open revealing a room designed to be an exact replica of the Hokage's office.
Fugaku followed closely behind the cripple as he walked into the room. The door closing behind them, not even ten seconds after crossing the threshold into the room.
Danzo set his cane down leaning it against the desk he sat behind, while Fugaku sat in the seat directly across from the old shinobi.
"So you're absolutely positive the old fools will be naming a new Hokage after this…" Fugaku spoke after a moment of silence passed between the two council members.
Danzo sat comfortably in his leather chair and sipped at the steaming tea which was waiting on his desk the moment they entered.
Not a sound was made as the tea cup was placed back on the desk. Fugaku stared at the leader of Root awaiting his reply.
Flicking his eye to his accomplice, Danzo's steel gaze watched him for a few moments before closing. "Fugaku…Sarutobi's influence is greater then you believe. If there is even the slightest possibility that a war could break out, the council will do anything within their power to prevent it at all costs."
A grin managed to sneak its way onto the Uchiha's face. "Good…once I am Hokage and we are back to full strength you shall get your war."
Danzo narrowed his eyes. "A war is the last thing I want Fugaku. But in order for peace to rein all the other powers most crumble into dust. Only when this nation is brought together and ruled under one leader, can the vision of peace last.
Fugaku shook his head. "Peace? My friend there is no such thing as peace. We are shinobi, even if you were to conquer every nation there would always be a resistance. Amongst man like us peace can never exist. Regardless, power is the only thing important in this world."
Fugaku rose from his seat and turned away, heading for the door in which he entered. Pausing he glanced back at the war hawk once again sipping at his tea.
"I hope you can keep your end of the bargain Danzo?"
"You have nothing to fear Fugaku, by the end of the week the title of Hokage shall be yours." Danzo said as he pressed a button on his desk and the door slid open. Nodding Fugaku left, the door slamming shut a moment later, leaving Danzo to his own thoughts.
Danzo had a wide grin on his face as he looked out of a window, starring at his village. His hands once again brought the cooled tea cup to his mouth, as he wondered how much of a difference Sarutobi's absence would create. His eyes watched the setting sun, tomorrow would bring not only a new dawn, but a new way of life for Konoha.
"It's a shame the power you seek will never be yours to command." Danzo muttered to himself. "I have big plans for this world, which don't include you Fugaku."
A gentle knock resounded around the room, shaking the man out of his thoughts.
Danzo waited a moment before answering. "Enter."
One of his Root agents entered with a man trailing behind him. Danzo eyed the newcomer, the man had a black cloak covering himself, making it impossible to see anything but the man's face, Which of course was covered by a plain white mask with an insane grin stretching across it.
"Sooooo…" He drawled. "How much will it cost for these two." Danzo spoke as the root agent handed the cloak man two files.
The mystery man skimmed over both files before handing them back to the same shinobi.
"The usual for the boy." The man said in a high pitched voice, as he sunk into the floor disappearing from view. "Free of charge for the old man."
His underling bowed before hastily exiting in a swirl of leaves.
Danzo stopped stroking the fire, letting his cane fall to the floor, as he leaned back in his chair and sighed tiredly. Who knew how those events were going to affect the future?
So I'm thinking about adding in time skips but I still haven't decided exactly when and where to put them in, don't worry the Godaime shall be named and some other things will happen before I start skipping through years. Now for the part where I thank everyone who helped in this chapter. First off everyone thank Myevltwin for not only betaing this chapter, but for writing the fight scene. Next lord of the land of fire, big thanks to you for helping me with the whole seal theory, without your help I don't think this chapter would be finished right now. If you haven't already go read both of these authors stories and of course don't forget to review. Thanks for reading, later everyone.