Chapter 1-Shadowed Rumors
The world is founded on many things. Principles, character, integrity, and more then any other...rumors. Rumors that have branched off the realm of fact and edged into the way of fiction that have many people creating different versions of the truth until the lies cover up what really happens in an important event in history.
Such is the case with the Shadow Fox.
Many rumors surround this unknown figure, as he is said to be one thing, and something else entirely through someone else. Some call him a sinner, as others call him a saint, and others say he is some kind of creation forged beyond human understanding or control.
Though human nature being what it is, anything that is not controlled will be hunted in order to be controlled, and if not...destroyed.
Such is the case with the Shinobi villages from the Elemental Countries, who tried to find the Shadow Fox, and convince him through whatever means (by the order of the Kages of each village) they had to have this powerhouse entity join their village. Any village that was able to employ the Shadow Fox would achieve untold fame, glory, and the influential clients that would bring all their money to hire the man while the village got most of the money.
However, with all the rumors floating around, no one could even trace the Shadow Fox's movements wherever his presence was supposedly reported at the time, and even the great Toad Sannin could find this enigma with his spy network. Yet, after reviewing all the rumors for a good day or two, the Leaf village had learned that out of all the rumors about the Shadow Fox the majority about these had one simple fact circled around one fact.
The Shadow Fox was spotted in Wave Country on several separate occasions.
Hence why the old Genin Team 8 was brought together and were right at the beginning of "The Great Naruto Bridge" to seek out the Shadow Fox.
"Whoa!" said Kiba, as he saw the length of the bridge, and heard his faithful dog he was riding on Akamaru bark in agreement at the sight of structure.
"Its very impressive. It presents hope, strength, and a chance for this village to grow," said Shino, as he saw the lifeline of Wave Country stretch nearly as far as the eyes could see, and saw Hinata fighting back tears.
"It represents Naruto-kun well. He would be proud of it," said Hinata, as she put her hand on the golden plaque, and her tears flowed out like a river while Yuhi Kurenai put a hand on the girl's shoulder.
"It's okay Hinata. You can say all that you want at his grave before we leave here," said Kurenai, as she had spent many Months after the news of Naruto's death here in Wave Country comforting Hinata, and the senseis doing the same with the other Rookies.
(Flashback-3 Years Ago)
Genin Teams 8, 9, and 10 were all waiting in the Hokage's office waiting to get some crappy D-ranked mission in order to further increase teamwork. The air around them was the casual "everything was great and nothing can ruin my life" feel to it, but, when Team 7 came in, the mood instantly changed, and the Hokage sensed something was wrong when he saw that Kakashi didn't have his book on hand to read.
"Team 7 is...is here reporting for duty Hokage-sama. Our mission to Wave Country was a...success," said Kakashi, as the Hokage saw the sad, depressed, and pain filled looks on the Jounin sensei along with the other two Genin behind him.
Wait! Two Genin?
"Is Naruto-kun here?" said Hinata in a whisper, as she hid behind Shino, and Kiba though she stood up straighter then ever before causing her chest to puff out more despite the fact that it was covered by her heavy jacket.
"Where is Naruto?" said the Hokage, as he felt his heart constricting, his mind quickly coming to the conclusion of what happened, and yet tried to deny it with all the strength he had.
"He's...he's...Uzumaki Naruto is dead Hokage-sama," said Kakashi, as he let a tear fall down his one eye, and instantly the whole room felt colder then any winter night ever recorded in Konoha's history.
"WHAT?!" yelled the Hokage, as he leaped over his desk, grabbed Kakashi by his Jounin vest, and slammed him into the nearest wall with horror in his eyes that had not been seen by many since his failed attempt at killing Orochimaru years ago.
"He's dead Hokage-sama. Its my fault," said Kakashi, as he told them what happened in Wave Country, the first battle with Zabuza, then the second one that happened a week later with Naruto sacrificing his life to save the apprentice of Zabuza named Haku, and prevented the girl from being killed by the Rakiri aimed for Zabuza that she intended to take in order to save the Demon of the Mist.
"Naruto-kun...is...dead?" said Hinata, as her mind shut down, and she collapsed onto the ground hard like she had been stabbed in the heart by a katana sword.
(2 Days Later)
The Hokage sighed, as he had just made the announcement about Naruto's death to the village, and most of the older generation talking about celebrating soon after. While the younger generation in Konoha were slightly surprised, they stayed silent over the matter, and they would have done so...had the old Fire Shadow not silenced their parents. The old Kage had originally wanted to have Naruto buried in Konoha, but there was no chance of that happening without the grave being defiled, and besides...he had one more major announcement to make that the Councils would hate him telling though it didn't really matter anymore.
If they were going to celebrate Naruto's death, then they could do so in spades, and find out just how stupid they were to mistreat the boy.
"Before I leave you to celebrate Uzumaki Naruto's death, I have more to say concerning him that you will not like, and make you all realize how pathetic this village has become! 12 years ago the Yondaime defeat the Kyuubi by sealing up the demon inside a child, as it was the only way to stop the Kyuubi from causing total destruction, but the Yondaime didn't choose just anyone, and the choice he made cost him dearly for his dying wish to see the boy as a hero was not honored. That boy was none other then his own son that you hated since he was born. Namikaze Uzumaki Naruto!" said the Sandaime, as he saw the crowd looked shocked into stunned silence, the Councils listening were shocked beyond measure, and the Shinobi of the village felt time freeze over them.
'Boss was like me almost. He was the son of a Kage!' thought Konohamaru, as he could not believe Naruto held the Kyuubi, and now learning that very same boy was also the son of the Yondaime too.
"The Yondaime wanted his legacy to be protected, nourished, and to grow up happy in the village he gave his life for. Instead, the boy had constant attempts on his life, beatings on his own birthday, and his Academic instructors saw fit in the beginning to destroy his attempt at being a Shinobi with the exception of one instructor. I tried to help the boy, but you all had to ruin Naruto's life in the attempts of hurting Kyuubi, or believing he was the fox in human form. So when you go out today to party, have fun, and throw another festival...think about what you are celebrating. Kyuubi's death? Or celebrating the death of the Yondaime's Son? I know which one Iwa will be choosing!" said the Sandaime, as he left the stunned crowd of people, and the younger generation began to argue with their parents over what they did.
It would be a long time before the children listened to their parents. A long time.
"I have so much to say to him. Could I do it alone Kurenai-sensei?" said Hinata, as she looked at her old sensei, and the woman gave the girl a kind smile before nodding.
"Of course Hinata. Your time with Naruto should be between the two of you," said Kurenai, as she had seen her student come a long way since hearing of Naruto's death, and there were times the Genjutsu Mistress thought she would lose the Hyuuga in her depression.
The poor Hyuuga girl had locked herself up in her room, screaming out that she wanted to be alone, and even threatened the Branch Family with the Cage Bird Seal if they tried to enter. While Hinata had no intention of doing that, the threat itself made almost all of the Branch Family quite nervous in approaching the girl's room, and it wasn't until later that Hiashi himself did it.
After speaking with her Father, Hinata came out looking like a zombie, her tears falling down like a waterfall, and she immediately found herself speaking to her sensei for help. Kurenai had done her best to comfort Hinata, but even then it wasn't enough, and had to seek out Yamanaka Inoichi for help.
Even in the Chuunin Exams, Hinata seemed unstable, as when she faced her cousin Neji in the Preliminaries made things even worse, and pushed the girl the brink. The end result had been Hinata being defeated horribly, as Neji put her down, called her weak, and called Naruto weak while saying he was fated to die because he was nothing despite his heritage.
However, Hinata did make Neji pay for his victory, and insulting Naruto by doing the one thing no one ever expected her to do.
She used the Cage Bird Seal on him before passing out, but the damage had caused Neji considerable amount of pain, and made it known to everyone that Hinata still had some form of strength in her. After that, Hinata changed everything about herself in terms of confidence, skills, and how she treated those that mistreated Naruto.
Then soon after came the invasion.
Though that in itself was different from what could have happened, as the Sandaime had received information during the Month in preparation for the Chuunin Exam Finals from an anonymous source that Konoha was going to be attacked by Suna along with Sound. Detailed information of where, when, who, and why were sent to the old Kage in order to make him aware that this was no joke. At first, the Sandaime tried to find out who sent this information, but it proved fruitless, and Jiraiya had told him that they should prepare for the worst.
Orochimaru didn't know what hit him.
Still, the damage to Konoha had been extensive to some degree, and the old man had lost his arm in the fight with Tsunade needing to take over for him after some convincing by Jiraiya though no one knows what was said to make the Slug Princess return. It didn't mean that Tsunade didn't like it, but when she came into office, she did make sure things changed in Konoha despite the Councils attempts to solidify their power after the allied invasion failed with the Sandaime now too physically weakened to lead.
It was about a year after Tsunade took office did the rumors of a man known as the Shadow Fox appeared. At first, no one paid attention to him, but that changed when he took on missions normally assigned to a squad of a village's ANBU Black Ops, and did it with ruthless efficiency. During the 2 years that passed after that, the Shadow Fox began taking on only the most dangerous of missions, and on occasion ones that helped out one of the Elemental Countries in need of someone like him.
And now here was the old Team 8, having walked all the way to Tazuna's house, and seeking the old man's help to possibly find the Shadow Fox.
Though considering the way the people of Wave were staring at them with a cold hate, it made the four Leaf Shinobi wonder if they would get any help at all, and if so would it be any more then a swift kick in the ass to get out of Wave Country.
When Tazuna saw the four of them, he scowled at Team 8, as he had heard all about the Leaf treating Naruto like garbage over having a demon sealed inside of him, and done nothing short of "mourning him" to make up for their mistreatment of the boy. However, the trade agreement setup between both Countries required that the Shinobi from each side be given hospitality by a previous client, and this was the one/only case they had ever done it.
"So you're seeking the Shadow Fox huh? Good luck, because that guy is illusive, and if you look at him the wrong way will knock you on your ass!" said Tazuna, as he took a swig from his bottle, and was getting drunk at the table.
"Father! Watch your language. Inari will be home soon and I don't want you swearing when he's around," said Tsunami, as she put food on the table that was now bountiful thanks to the bridge being completed 3 years ago, and filled the room with a family scent to it.
"Mom! Grandpa! I'm home! I just finished my training today with...," said Inari, as he stopped at the sight of the Leaf Shinobi in the room, and glared hatefully at them.
'Is this what Naruto-kun went through while living in the Leaf?' thought Shino, as he had never had such hate directed at him before, and wondered how Naruto dealt with it?
"What are they doing here?" said Inari, as he flexed his right hand, and wanted to grab the kunai hidden behind his back.
The once weak child of Tsunami was not so weak looking anymore, as he had grown quite a bit in the last 3 years with his hair grown down to his shoulders, wearing clothes that a Shinobi in training might wear, and on his right arm was a blue cloth stained with purple spots of what was once crimson blood.
"We are here to find the Shadow Fox in the hopes he will come back with us to Konoha," said Hinata, as she saw the scowl on the boy deepen, and actually snarled at them.
"Like the Shadow Fox would ever go to Konoha. Its filled with arrogant fools that care only about themselves," said Inari, as he took his plate of food from the table, and went upstairs to eat alone.
"Inari! I'm sorry. The last time he did that was when Naruto died and wanted to be left alone," said Tsunami, as she saw her son walk up the stairs, and wondered if he was ever going to forgive the Leaf.
"Do you know where Naruto-kun's grave is Tsunami-san?" said Hinata, as she wanted to pay her respects to the fallen boy, and confess to him her feelings like she should have done a long time ago.
"I do. Eat up and then I'll take you to him," said Tsunami, as she saw the girl smile at her, and went back to eating her food.
(Naruto's Grave-15 Minutes Later)
Naruto's grave was made of solid golden sun colored steel that seemed to shine brightly when sunlight struck the marker during the day and even at night when the moon was out. Surrounding it was nine smoothly made fox like tails that signified that Naruto was the vessel for Kyuubi, but in this way it seemed to honor him rather then make him hated, and Hinata had no doubt this would have made Naruto happy in that regard.
The marker itself was like a beacon of hope that would forever be remembered and that Naruto would be a constant reminder to all that heroes do exist in all of us. It was a sight Hinata mentally noted that Naruto would never have gotten in Konoha and could see that Wave went all out in terms of money to make this grave one that would be recognized as a hero's grave.
Here lies Namikaze Uzumaki Naruto.
A True Hero to Wave Country and forever its favorite surrogate son.
"It's beautiful," said Hinata, as she stared at the grave, and looked at Tsunami smiling at her before looking at the grave too.
"Inari comes here to speak to Naruto. It's his way of handling the loss of the only other person aside from his surrogate Father that my son ever believed was a hero. Naruto had inspired Inari to fight back against Gato, bringing hope to Wave Country when there was no hope left for us to have, and he helped us believe that we could do anything we put out minds to it," said Tsunami, as she saw Hinata now begin to cry at her words, and saw the Hyuuga girl remove her Leaf headband before slamming it on the ground.
"Can I speak to him privately? I want to do this as me and as a Shinobi of the Leaf," said Hinata, as she saw Tsunami nod before bowing, and leaving the Hyuuga Heiress to do what she set out to do.
"You should know Hyuuga-san, you are not the only girl that comes here to pay their respects to Naruto, and should you meet her...do not upset her," said Tsunami, as she saw Hinata nod in understanding before leaving, and let the girl have her moment to talk to Naruto.
Hinata could understand, as she knew that losing the man that raised her, and the boy that made her feel more then just a tool to someone was very impacting on one's psyche. She also read the report about Haku being the one to bury Naruto, and how she threatened to break Kakashi's arms when he tried to convince her to come with them to Konoha.
"Hello Naruto-kun. It's me, Hyuuga Hinata, I was in your class back at the Academy, and I wanted to speak to you for some time now. I was so shy back when we were kids at the Academy, as I was so worried over what others thought of me back then, and you come along with all the energy in your body that could power Konoha for years. You took on everyone and managed to win despite your handicap in learning at the Academy with all the teachers there except Iruka trying to bring you down. When I heard you had...died here in Wave Country, my heart broke into pieces because I never got to tell you that I really...really liked you Naruto-kun, and now I'm finding I can only say it with you being gone from this world. Its unfair for both of us in a way. You wanted to be loved by others despite the Kyuubi sealed inside of you and I wanted to love you despite what everyone tried to do to prevent that from happening," said Hinata, as she put a hand on the grave marker, and felt the warmth it created that felt similar to Naruto when he was around her.
"You cared for him too I see," said a beautiful sounding voice behind Hinata that made the Hyuuga turn around in ready to fight in her Gentle Fist stance.
"Identify yourself!" said Hinata, as she kept her space from Naruto's grave so it wouldn't get damaged should there be a battle, and saw a woman in a civilian home spun dress that showed off her female figure.
"I am Momochi Haku. Adopted daughter of Momochi Zabuza," said Haku, as she walked towards Hinata, and saw the girl lower her guard slightly.
"You were with Naruto-kun at the end," said Hinata, as she had read the report, and had memorized everything word for word on Naruto's actions after Sasuke had been "killed" by Haku that set things in motion for the blonde's death.
"Yes. At the time, I was fully prepared to die for Zabuza, but just as I had stepped in front of the attack meant to end his life, Naruto had intervened, and taken the blow instead for me. I held him in my arms crying, pleading with him not to die, and he just smiled at me with those kind blue eyes that held happiness in them for what seemed like forever. It was as if Naruto-kun had finally done something good with his life by throwing it away to save me, and I couldn't stand the fighting anymore," said Haku, as she saw that look, and it was a look that would no doubt have been on her had she taken the hit for Zabuza.
"I loved Naruto-kun. I still do despite the fact he is dead," said Hinata, as she saw the same look in Haku's eyes that were in her own, and saw the older girl smile at her with a gentle smile.
"As do I. Enjoy your stay in Wave Country for as long as you are able to," said Haku, as she saw Hinata bow, and leave having said what she wanted to say.
"Such a pure heart. She is a lot like you Haku-chan. You two could almost be sisters," said the shadowy figure now standing behind Naruto's grave with his black trench coat.
"And you would no doubt bed her like you did me not that long ago, right my Shadow-sama?" said Haku, as she walked over to him, and kissed his face currently masked by the darkness of the area.
"Only if she wished it. Like you did, remember?" said the Shadow Fox, as he made poor Haku blush at that memory, and held her closer to him.
"I remember Shadow-sama, but I am concerned with so many Shinobi seeking you out here, and the threat they may represent to the people if you keep declining offers the way you have been doing," said Haku, as the Leaf had been on of many teams that had found the Shadow Fox, and had tried to win him over with their village's power.
The results were less then encouraging for the Kage of that village with almost all the teams being decimated and returned to their village a shadow (no pun intended) of their former selves.
"You don't want a repeat of being on the run with Zabuza," said the Shadow Fox, as he held Haku tighter, and felt her do the same.
"But I also want you to be happy and there is no other place we can be that will give you happiness," said Haku, as she saw the warrior before her smile at her through the dark shadow that covered him, and he rubbed her cheek affectionately.
"There is one, but it is risky, and I don't want you to be in anymore danger then you have to be," said the Shadow Fox, as he saw Haku look at him with wide eyes, and he knew that she knew what he was referring to.
"There? Are you sure?" said Haku, as she saw the Shadow Fox nod, and she kissed him again on his masked face.
"We'll give them a trial run, but if I sense any kind of betrayal, then the village will have seen its last sunrise, and all in it will parish," said the Shadow Fox, as he saw Haku close her eyes, and nod her head at his words.
'For some reason, the sound of Shadow-sama talking like this is...soothing,' thought Haku, as she along with the Shadow Fox slipped into the darkness, and left the grave of the fallen hero behind.
(With Team 8-20 Minutes Later)
"Did you say what you needed to say?" said Shino, as he saw the Hyuuga Heiress smile at him, and nod her head before walking upstairs to her assigned room.
"She still looks a bit down. I'll help cheer her up further!" said Kiba, as he had his own idea of what to do in regards to cheering Hinata up, but was stopped by Shino, and had to face the Aburame's glare.
"If you go up there to do what it is you plan to do, I will see to it that Kurenai knows, and that today will be the last day you live your life as a man," said Shino, as he had known full well what Kiba's intentions were, and wasn't going to dishonor Naruto by letting the Inuzuka have his way with the Hyuuga Heiress.
'Damn!' thought Kiba, as he heard Akamaru bark in agreement, and saw his partner walk up the stairs to give Hinata comfort.
Unlike Kiba, the dog's intentions were pure, and wanted to comfort the girl properly.
No sooner did that happen though, did Kurenai enter the house, and looked at everyone in alarm.
"Team 8 mobilize! There are a group of Shinobi attacking the people in Wave Country," said Kurenai, as she heard Akamaru coming run down the stairs, and Hinata right behind the dog.
"Are they from a village or are these Missing Nin?" said Shino, as this could lead to war with one of the other villages that wasn't already, and really upset things further.
"Unknown. But if we ignore them, then the people in Wave Country will suffer, and we can't let that happen," said Kurenai, as she saw her team nod, and they quickly left the house to repel this enemy.
(At the Battle)
Inari panted, as he held his side from a wound he had received from one of the Shinobi he was facing that by the looks on the headbands came from Kumo, and were also searching for the Shadow Fox. When no one gave them an answer, one of the more impatient Kumo Shinobi became violent, and began attacking everyone in sight while yelling out for the Shadow Fox to come out to fight him.
'I've grown stronger according to Big Brother, but even still, I'm still young, and have a long way to go before I reach his level,' thought Inari, as he blocked a kunai with the one in his hand, and struggled to not be overpowered by the older stronger Shinobi in front of him.
"You're pretty strong for your age kid. This village doesn't have a Shinobi village much less people that are Shinobi here so the question I have for you is who is your sensei," said the Kumo Shinobi, who judging by the vest was a Jounin, and more level headed then some of his group.
"None of your business, that's who! This is my home and I'm going to defend it with my life!" said Inari, as he was pushed back by the Kumo Shinobi, and threw his kunai when that happened at his enemy before going through hand signs that made the one kunai become many.
The now dozen of kunais threw straight and true with the Kumo Shinobi not expecting such a skill to be learned by someone so young that ultimately led to the Kumo Jounin's downfall. Granted the Jounin tried to move out of the way, but the explosive tag Inari had thrown in the direction the Jounin tried to escape the attack shortly after using the Jutsu, and made the Kumo Shinobi realize he was in trouble before death claimed him.
Inari looked away from the dead Kumo Shinobi, as it had been one of his few starting out kills, and knew it wasn't going to be his last.
"Die brat!" said another Kumo Shinobi, as he saw his friend die, and decided to return the favor.
The attack was stopped by Hinata, who intercepted the Kumo Shinobi, and killed him with her Gentle Fist strike to his heart. Turning her attention to Inari, Hinata began to heal the boy, who wasn't going to complain since she did save him, and seemed to be respectful to Naruto despite being a Leaf Shinobi.
"The wound isn't deep, but don't move for a few minutes, and recover your energy. Who did teach you how to fight anyway?" said Hinata, as she saw Inari look away, and then look at Hinata seeing she was clearly surprised at his skills.
"My Nii-san. He taught me everything I know about being a Shinobi," said Inari, as he saw Hinata look at him with confusion on her face, and then at the other Konoha Shinobi fighting the large group from Kumo.
"Kurenai-sensei, we are outnumbered, and cannot win despite our skills," said Shino, as he was able to take down a few Shinobi with his bugs, and Kiba took down one Shinobi with the help of Akamaru.
'He's right. It's clear this group of Kumo Shinobi were meant to talk and then show force to draw out the Shadow Fox,' thought Kurenai, as she wondered how they were going to get out of this alive, and get back to the Hokage.
"Forget the Shadow Fox. Knock out those two bitches from the Leaf to take back to the Raikage for breeding!" said the group leader, as he pointed to Kurenai, and Hinata with both girls shuddering at the thought.
"I can't allow that," said a deep dark voice, as the group felt a massive chakra signature, which they turned to, and saw the dark figure on the rooftop above that it was the Shadow Fox.
The man was wearing everything dark, from the boots to the trench coat with his mask all black, but had designs of a bloody mouth in the shape of a fox's, and his hands seemed to be partially clawed like an Inuzuka. His hair was a mix of sun kissed blonde hair and that of crimson red that was spiky with the length being just down passed his shoulders. His chakra level was enormous from where he was, as he made Shino nervous along with Akamaru, and the man wasn't even trying to generate it out of his body, yet at the same time had an aura of calmness that made everyone who was not from Wave Country terrified of him. His eyes were also dark, as if he had none, but if he looked in your direction, it made you believe the Shadow Fox was judging your very soul to see if you were even worthy of standing in his presence.
"Shadow Fox sir, we come from Kumo at the behest of our Raikage to recruit you to our village, and offer you the chance to work with the strongest village in all the Elemental Countries," said the group leader, as he produced a scroll for the Shadow Fox to read, and handed it to the Shadow Fox after he disappeared before reappearing in front of him.
"You expect me to join Kumo because of this offer? What I see here is nothing more then a hollow promise, with your Raikage wishing to know everything about me, and then having a mark placed on me to show my loyalty. A mark that is not surprisingly very familiar to the seal you have on one Nii Yugito, your Nibi vessel in Kumo, and he uses to discipline her when he thinks she's acting too...independent," said the Shadow Fox saw the Kumo Shinobi scowl at that piece of information being discovered and that this thing before him had learned of what the Raikage wanted to do.
"Then let's put it this way then. You either come with us or we make you come with us by force. What's it going to be?" said the Kumo Shinobi, as he saw his men get ready for a fight, and was confident that this creature would do the right thing by surrendering.
The group leader's confidence died with him though when the Shadow Fox had his hand in the Kumo Shinobi's chest before ripping it out in front of everyone. The other Kumo Shinobi instant swarmed on the Shadow Fox like moths to a flame, but before they could even land a hit, they were all sliced to pieces by the shadowy sword in the Shadow Fox's hand that suddenly appeared in it, and just as easily disappeared like it wasn't even a real sword.
Some of the Kumo Shinobi that didn't attack began to flee, but were cut down by wave after wave of senbon needles, and were slain before they could make it 15 feet. Team 8 looked to find Haku in her attire she wore back all those years ago with her mask on, and had senbon needles in her hand ready to be thrown.
"Thank you for the assist my Ice Queen," said the Shadow Fox, as he ignored the looks from Team 8, and their sensei since she was normally called only for different reasons.
"Any time Shadow-sama," said Haku, as she stood by his side, and saw him motion for Team 8 to approach.
"Like Kumo, we are here to recruit you to our village, but the difference is we're here to only talk to you, and give you this scroll to show our attentions," said Kurenai, as she handed the scroll to the Shadow Fox while trying not to shiver in fear, and failed when one of his fingers touch her.
Look at the scroll, the Shadow Fox opened it, read it word for word before letting out a deep growl of annoyance, and made Team 8 become nervous. The Hokage along with her predecessor had given them this scroll for the Shadow Fox to read for his eyes only so they had no idea what was in it.
"Your Hokage and her predecessor are so foolish! Even after all they have done to keep the Councils under control, the village is being run by arrogant bakas, and made war with almost every single major village!" said the Shadow Fox, as he saw that the Hokage was asking for his help to stop this war the Leaf had started, and was willing to pay a hefty amount for his trouble.
"We know. Hokage-sama has been under a lot of pressure by the Councils, but has been able to work out another alliance with Suna, and they have been able to assist us on a few occasions," said Kurenai, as the reason behind Suna's allied invasion with Sound caused many things to change, and the late Kazekage's youngest took over as the new Kazekage of Suna since he was the most powerful Shinobi in his village.
"Do they still spoil the Uchiha?" said the Shadow Fox, as he knew how they pampered the boy, and it made him sick.
"Yes. Even after his attempt at defection, they are convinced that Sasuke will be able to help Konoha become stronger, and there is even talk of possibly making him Tsunade's successor in few more years," said Shino, as he felt his bugs shaking inside of him in fear, and telling their host to not do anything drastic to provoke him.
"And you wonder why so many people hate Konoha so much. What do you think Ice Queen? Should we visit Konoha?" said the Shadow Fox, as he had Haku read all the information on the scroll, and then looked at him for a moment before nodding.
"Yes. If only for a little while," said Haku, as she saw him nod his head, and rolled up the scroll before throwing it at Kurenai.
"Tell your Hokage, I will enter Konoha within the week, and not a day sooner. Also, tell her to make sure the Councils are there, as I have a few things to say to them, and that we will speak of things concerning Konoha shortly upon my arrival," said the Shadow Fox, as he saw Team 8 nod, and left to report back to the Hokage.
"Do you really have to go back there Big Brother?" said Inari, as he looked up at the Shadow Fox, and the man ruffled the others hair.
"It can't be helped. Not to mention a certain organization is still causing problems and needs to be dealt with accordingly. For that, I will need Konoha's help, and they are the only village I can...somewhat trust," said the Shadow Fox, as he looked to Haku, who nodded when he turned to face her since it was a silent signal to watch herself when there with him, and without another word a rectangular wall of ice appeared for the two to enter.
(Konoha-A Few Days Later)
Tsunade sighed heavily, as the tension was getting to her over the arrival of the Shadow Fox, and what he wanted to talk to her about. She told the Councils and forbid them from telling anyone since the last thing they needed was for the Shadow Fox to change his mind because of it.
They only thing they could think of was how to convince the Shadow Fox to train the Uchiha so he can further increase Konoha's power.
"Tell me again why I took this job Shizune?" said Tsunade, as she looked at her assistant, and saw the woman look at her with sad eyes.
"Because of what Jiraiya told you," said Shizune, as she remembered that meeting very well, and the news of Tsunade's connection to Naruto all those years ago.
"Remind me to pound that Super Pervert into slime the next time he shows up," said Tsunade, as she saw her sensei come in, and smiled at her while thanking Kami he no longer had to deal with paperwork anymore.
Dealing with his angry Grandson was enough for him right now.
"How is my old job?" said the Sandaime, as he saw Tsunade scowl at him, and the old Kage had a feeling that if it weren't for his current condition...his old student would hurt him.
"Being a pain in my ass since you gave it to me," said Tsunade, as she sighed again, and slumped back in her chair feeling even further exhausted.
"That and the Uchiha is still demanding that every single Jounin in Konoha train him in all their Jutsus," said the old Sandaime, as he had made sure Tsunade told every Jounin to deny that request unless she alone authorized it, and should he try anything to report him immediately.
His failed attempted at running away from the village was still fresh in her mind and when the team sent out to retrieve Sasuke thought they had lost the boy...they found him at the Valley of the End. But what they found upon arrive there was strange, as the "Last Uchiha" was not standing there on his own two feet, but rather on the ground bleeding, his body broken, and a note on his back that said "You bakas owe me!" signed S.F.
Not one to miss the opportunity to take Sasuke back and did so with Jiraiya examining the seal on the boy's neck.
Or rather...what was left of it.
As it turns out, the Curse Seal of Heaven on the boy's body was entirely destroyed, and some other kind of mark took its place that if Jiraiya's knowledge of seals was correct would prevent a new Curse Seal from being placed on the Uchiha. It had stumped Jiraiya for some time, as this mark was not human, and looked almost demonic in nature causing the Councils to believe that a demon was near Konoha so they sent 3 platoons of ANBU out to cover the area around the village to make sure that wasn't the case.
They found nothing.
"Hokage-sama! Hokage-sama! Someone is at the gate claiming to be the Shadow Fox!" said a Chuunin running into the room having been ordered to tell the Hokage.
"Let him pass! Do not attack or provoke him in anyway," said Tsunade, as she knew how the bakas of this village hated foxes, and the fact his title had the animal attached to it might cause a bit of a...commotion.
"He's also with someone as well. A woman wearing a Hunter Nin mask that seems to be of a customized design. Should she pass too?" said the Chuunin and saw the woman scowl at him for his stupidity.
"Yes! Let them through or else he'll leave!" said Tsunade, as she threw a paperweight at the Chuunin running out of the room, and mumbled on about incompetent Shinobi.
"It's finally time," said the retired Sandaime and saw Tsunade rise from her chair, put on her Hokage robes with hat, and walked out of her office to greet the Shadow Fox.
People parted ways for the Shadow Fox along with his masked acquaintance, as they walked through the streets of the village, and seeing that nothing had really changed. Parents pulled their children away, those that were Shinobi were on edge, and ready to fight should anything happen.
"Nothing has changed. They are still full of themselves. They seal away Kyuubi into a child and they think they are favored by Kami. This village needs a wake up call," said the Shadow Fox to Haku, who silently nodded, and kept her senses sharp for anything wrong.
"Shadow Fox?" said Tsunade, as she appeared with a dozen ANBU in full battle gear, and the Sandaime behind them ready to fight despite his handicap.
"Yes. You must be the slightly younger Hokage that was recruited to replace the older one, right?" said the Shadow Fox, as he saw Tsunade scowl at him, and was glad his mask hid his smile.
"Watch what you say Shadow Fox. You may be strong, but even you are no match for a Sannin, and a Kage in a single village," said Tsunade, as she saw the Shadow Fox just chuckle at her words, and he seemed to be mocking her even more.
"You have such faith in your Sannin, when all it takes to defeat him is a simple henge into a naked woman, and let's not get started on you with your fear of blood!" said the Shadow Fox, as he saw Tsunade tense, and Jiraiya fell out of his hiding spot, and got up shooting a glare at the enigma of a Shinobi.
"Let's talk inside with the Councils. We can discus your contract that is prepared for you to sign," said Tsunade, as she saw the man tilt his head slightly before nodding once, and followed her with Haku right beside him.
'There is something about him that seems familiar. I tried to use my Byakugan to see, but I couldn't pierce the mask, but his hair is almost like Naruto-kun's, and the way Haku was acting around him. Could it be? Is it him?' thought Hinata, as she watched the Shadow Fox walk to the Hokage Tower, and part of her wanted to call out to him by the name she would speak so often in her dreams.
(Hokage Tower-10 Minutes Later)
"Everyone, I brought this meeting together for the purpose of announcing to you that the Shadow Fox has agreed to listen to our proposal in regards to possibly recruiting him to our village," said Tsunade, as she saw the Shadow Fox standing, and Haku still masked beside him.
"Hokage-sama, I must insist that the Shadow Fox remove his mask to reveal to us his true identity, and that of his female associate. It is unfair that he comes to this village and does not remove his mask. It shows a certain level of disrespect," said one of the a members of the Civilian Council, as he wanted to know the identity of this person, and then sell it to the highest bidder so the only safe place the Shadow Fox could go was in Konoha.
"I refuse," said the Shadow Fox, as he saw the Councilman sputter in outrage, and he looked ready to sputter some words that would ruin everything for Konoha.
"You are in no position to refuse us Shadow Fox. Show us your real identity or you will pay the consequences for it," said Danzo, as he had a couple dozen Root ANBU stationed to take this man, and convert him to his Root program to help overthrow Tsunade.
"Oh, but I think I am in such a position you crippled fool. You really think I'm afraid of all the people in this room? Most of you have never even been in a battle much less knee deep in war. You Civilian Council members think you can boss me around simply because you think your position makes you better then those that you are suppose to represent here. You try to run things in the village that none of you have experience in and those that do...are using outdated methods that are meant to support their own means," said the Shadow, as he saw the Shinobi Council, and the Civilian Council shouting out in protest.
"SILENCE!" yelled out Tsunade, as she quelled the bickering the Councils were having, and only the Clan Heads kept silent while watching the Shadow Fox stay perfectly calm.
"Hokage-sama, this so called legend is just a disrespectful punk in my eyes, and should be taught a lesson in manners!" said Homura, as he glared at the Shadow Fox, and then at Haku though it had no effect on either one.
"Like you did the Son of the Yondaime?" said the Shadow Fox, as he saw the Clan Heads along with the Hokage flinch, and the other half doing very little in that regard.
"What we did was necessary! What happened if the demon sealed inside of the boy got out? We needed the boy under our control and beating him into submission was the only way regardless of his heritage," said the Haruno Councilwoman, as she had tried to get support for letting the Councils seize the Namikaze Assets, but every time they tried, they had been repelled by special account seals on the bank records, and the Namikaze Estates itself could only be opened by the someone of the Yondaime's blood.
"I'm sure the Clan Heads here will feel better knowing if that happens to their clan, the child will be in...safe hands, and the dead members of the clan can rest in peace in the afterlife knowing that their legacy is going to be beaten constantly within an inch of his or her life," said the Shadow Fox, as he saw the Clan Heads pale at that, and they realized their child could have been chosen had Kyuubi come sooner or later.
"This is getting us nowhere. I say we interrogate these two and possibly use them for breeding stock!" said a member of the Civilian Council with support from the others around him while the Clan Heads remained silent.
"How about I kill everyone in this room and then all their children," said the Shadow Fox seeing everyone shut up for two seconds and look at him with fear.
"You wouldn't dare!" said the Haruno Councilman, as he saw the Shadow Fox tilt his head slightly to the right, and then back to normal.
"I would, but then again my words may not be enough. Care to try your luck anyway?" said the Shadow Fox, as he saw everyone stay silent, and waited for Tsunade to take the much needed control in this situation.
"Shadow Fox, I know you have done an incredible job in hiding your true identity from everyone in the Elemental Countries, but I do feel that we should know your identity for the village's safety, and that of our Shinobi you will be working with," said Tsunade, as she saw the Shadow Fox lower his head in thought with his arms crossed, and the girl beside him seemed to be whispering something to him that even Inuzuka Tsume couldn't even hear them.
"Very well, but if I do this, I want it done so the whole village knows through a series of matches, and so I can give them the surprise of a lifetime," said the Shadow Fox, as he let out a laugh that sent chills down everyone's spine, and left with Haku through an ice mirror that had many with their mouths hanging open.
(Chuunin Exam Stadium-10 Minutes Later)
"Be careful Shadow-sama. I sense there are other Shinobi here that will strike without the word of the Hokage to command them," said Haku, as she had sensed several of these other Shinobi, and didn't want the man to be flanked by them.
"Yes. I know. Deal with them cautiously while I'm fighting," said the Shadow Fox, as he saw her nod her head, and moved away from him while 3 of the strongest Jounin in the village stood in front of him.
"The first match will be against Maito Gai in Taijutsu. Will the other two Jounin move away to give them room to fight," said Jiraiya, who had been appointed referee for this match, and to observe the Shadow Fox at the same time.
"Yosh! I wish you good fortune in battle Shadow Fox and hope you are truly youthful in this fight," said Gai, as he held out his hand for the man to shake, and the Shadow Fox did to show no hard feelings.
"Okay. Ready? BEGIN!" said Jiraiya, as he Maito Gai get into his Taijutsu stance, and the Shadow Fox stand there waiting for an attack on his person.
"The first move is yours Maito Gai. Show me what you've got!" said the Shadow Fox, as he saw Maito Gai take the bait, and the green spandex wearing man moved quickly to answer the challenge.
While Gai was arguably the fastest Jounin in the village, it was clear that the Shadow Fox was faster, as he moved so fast that he created moving afterimages of himself, and it was a shock to everyone that Gai couldn't hit the man once. Gai used a series of combos to get some kind of feel for the Shadow Fox's fighting style, but found it to be too unorthodox, and was instantly repelled by a hard backhand to the chest that was followed up with a solid kick to the stomach that sent Gai back a little over 20 feet.
'He knocked back Gai-sensei without even breaking a sweat!' thought Lee, as he saw his sensei get up, and took off his weights to show he was getting serious.
"Your skills are impressive in the ways of Taijutsu that you are one of the few people I have fought that requires I be more youthful in battle Shadow Fox. Now you will face me without restraint so if you wish to stop now, then tell me, and we will stop fighting," said Gai, as he didn't want to hurt the man if he wasn't able to handle fighting at this level, and somehow cripple the Shadow Fox in some way.
"As I told you before Gai-san...show me what you've got!" said the Shadow Fox, as he makes a hand motion for Gai to come at him, and the man does even faster then before.
For most people, the speed of Maito Gai was near impossible to see unless you had a bloodline limit, or your skills were higher then him. In this case, the Shadow Fox was clearly the stronger of the two fighters, as his afterimages now looked more solid, yet he still moved faster then Gai, and with a dash behind the man followed by a spin kick to the head was the Green Beast of Konoha sent skidding back 15 feet.
"Enough! The winner is the Shadow Fox!" said Jiraiya, which got many boos from the crowd around him, and many called the Shadow Fox a cheater.
"If this is the best Konoha Jounin have to offer, then this village is in serious trouble, and my fee may have to be...doubled!" said the Shadow Fox, as he knew what ever fee they had yet to arrange could be doubled if said he wanted it, and saw the shocked looks on the Councils faces along with the Hokage's own.
"Hatake Kakashi will now test the Shadow Fox in Ninjutsu," said Jiraiya, as he now saw Kakashi step up, and ready to reveal his Sharingan to fight the Shadow Fox.
"You should really put that away. Your eye won't help you in this fight Hatake," said the Shadow Fox, as he saw the Jounin narrow his natural eye at him, and got ready to use the other one regardless of the warning.
"Ready? BEGIN!" said Jiraiya, as he saw Kakashi go through hand signs, and shot out a Mud Dragon at the Shadow Fox now leaping into the air while hovering their with a mini tornado under him to sustain him much to the shock of everyone else since it took a great deal of mastery over that element to do such a thing.
"Water Style: Great Tidal Wave Jutsu!" said the Shadow Fox, as he went through hand signs under his trench coat before creating a giant tidal wave of water from underground using the pipes underneath Konoha that ran underneath the stadium to send the surprised Jounin crashing into the nearby wall.
What shocked everyone further was something similar to the Chidori being held in the Shadow Fox's hand that he apparently called a "Lightning Bomb" before he dropped it. Upon impact with the water the "Lightning Bomb" exploded with lightning being sent a powerful wave running through Kakashi's body, and caused him a great deal of pain when it hit.
'That attack was like a version of my Chidori or even a full blown Rakiri. Maybe he'll teach me that if I ask politely,' thought said Kakashi, as he tried to get off the ground, and saw the area still covered in water, and then found himself in Water Prison Jutsu made by a Shadow Clone of the Shadow Fox.
'How does he know the Shadow Clone Jutsu?' thought everyone, as they saw the original Shadow Fox look at Jiraiya, who declared the Shadow Fox the winner, and got more boos from the crowd.
"Last up is Yuhi Kurenai, who will be testing the Shadow Fox in Genjutsu, and will test the man's skills in resisting it," said Jiraiya, as he saw Kurenai walk up to participate in this test, and saw the Shadow Fox give a quick nod to start the match.
"Demonic Illusion: Tree Binding Death" said Kurenai, as she trapped him in her illusion, and moved behind his body with a kunai to his neck.
"Impressive, but not enough to defeat me. 'Shadow Illusion: Realm of Darkness and Demon Eyes!'" said the Shadow Fox, as his body vanished from the "tree" he was bound to, and Kurenai found herself surrounded in total darkness with singular red crimson eyes popping up to look at her with their penetrating stare.
'I can't see anything, but these eyes! Its as if I'm blind to everything all around me that I know,' thought Kurenai, as she felt her heart racing, and wondered how much of this she could take.
"Do you yield?" said the Shadow Fox, as he saw the woman through the darkness now starting to panic, and didn't want to make her suffer anymore then she had to.
"Yes!" said Kurenai, as she felt the Genjutsu end seconds after she surrendered, and the Shadow Fox looking at her like nothing had happened.
"Winner: The Shadow Fox!" said Jiraiya, as he wondered how this guy could bend shadows better then any member of the Nara Clan could, and wondered where the girl that was originally with the enigma Shinobi went before she appeared via ice mirror right beside him.
"All of them are neutralized," said Haku in a whisper to the Shadow Fox before he nodded in understanding.
"Shadow Fox, you have passed all the tests before us, but now upon our agreement you have to reveal to us your name, and your identity to us," said Tsunade, as she appeared with her assistant Shizune beside her, and they waited for the Fox Shadow to remove his mask.
He didn't move.
"Shadow-sama?" said Haku, as she turned to face him, and suddenly started laughing like there was some kind of inside joke being told.
"What's wrong? Aren't you going to tell us who you are?" said Tsunade, as she tensed when he started laughing, and so did the other Shinobi in the stadium.
"You miss understand my laughing Senju Tsunade, as I am already known beyond this mask by another name within Konoha, and its been so long since I've used it that even I have nearly forgotten my real name," said the Shadow Fox, as he reached up to touch his mask, and with a simple to no effort at all...the mask was removed from his face.
'What? Who is he? If he is from Konoha, then we would know!' thought Tsunade, as she saw the mask the Shadow Fox wore slowly move away from the man's face, and the Sannin turned Hokage gasped at seeing the face beyond the mask with Jiraiya looking pale like a ghost.
The face, the pronounced whisker marks, and that smile could only belong to one person that many thought had long since passed away.
"My name is...Namikaze Uzumaki Naruto," said Naruto, as he saw the people around him become shocked, and a certain Hyuuga Heiress faint in the stands after letting out a squeal of joy.
Naruto was home, but the question now was...did home want him, or did his home still want to kill him?
(A/N: I spoke to drag0nsclaw and I got his permission to write this since he was the original guy to do it. So I hope you enjoy this chapter. Until next time...PEACE!!!)