Before this thing gets started, it has come to my attention that some of my readers were a little...suspicous of this fanfiction at first. So, I have a note for first-time readers, just to banish any doubts you may have about 'The Marauders'. So here it is, Italicized and Bolded to make it easier to spot. Ready?
THIS IS NOT A NARUTO x HARRY POTTER CROSSOVER. I only use the idea of the Marauders Map, nothing more, nothing less.
And now, without further ado about nothing...
The Marauders _ a Naruto fanfiction by 30CK ~ troutpeoples
Naruto stood and stared around him in awe, a feeling of growing accomplishment rising in his chest. He had made it. Holy kami, he had actually made it! An overjoyed grin stretched his lips wide and that feeling in his chest was warmer than a rising sun shining upon his face.
He had never done something like this before. Really, he hadn't fully expected to sneak in – he figured that the ANBU, and the guards, and the security measures would have been a lot harder to avoid. But no, they hadn't.
The ANBU had acted just like they always had – dangerous and intimidating, yes, but no immediately helpful or useful special abilities like they were rumored to have and no real competence other than the aforementioned intimidation factor.
The guards had been very accommodating – they had pointed a badly-henged botched bunshin towards the nearest restroom; it had only made it a meter or two before its failing state of being began to take effect, and ended up vomiting bunshin-bile all over one of their legs. So distracted had they been by the impressive imaginary spew – although they didn't know it yet was so – that they didn't even notice the sickly black-haired girl with the funny-looking nose run away at a full-tilt run, nor did they notice a small blonde-haired boy climb into the ceiling through a small panel. When they began ranting and bemoaning the fate of their clothing, they missed the muffled thumps and scratches that came from a meter above their heads, their source hidden oh-so-cleverly by a thin ceiling of plaster, cheap-ass fake wood, and metal.
The security measures were sparse, if anything. There had been a few traps that littered the hallway which had been made for someone of a much taller stature than the one-meter-something-tall blonde prankster that passed them. There were some seals that had been written on the walls of that same hallway, which, as he'd found out through the scientific method, had really done something weird with his chakra; he could feel something different about it, and when he tested it out with a quick bunshin, the thing turned out perfectly. He had never done one perfect on his first try. Whatever those seals did, they actually helped him out – though he was pretty sure that wasn't what they were supposed to do; it wouldn't really make sense for them to make it easier for someone to perform jutsu. But he had always known he was a bit of a special case in performing jutsu, especially the little things, for some strange, obscure reason.
When he got to the end of hallway, there had been more traps surrounding the door, including a pressure pad-like thing that set up a barrier over the door if someone stepped in front of it, a hole in the door that shot out little metal needle-things that smelled really funky, and kunai that flew out from one side of the wall only to hit the other side and disappear as if it had never existed. It would have been really cool if he had more time to check that out but, unfortunately, he was on a fairly tight schedule and had had to string up some wires, kunai, and a good portion of the carpet in order to get past the sensor and through the door. The door, as it had turned out, had seals lining it as well, and they had shone a dark blue color when he had walked through. They had flashed real bright, too, like when someone takes a picture and you can't see anything but white for a few seconds before it dissolves into spots.
But then he had walked into the middle of the room and looked around and grinned like a fool. Because he had made it; he had made it into the Shadow Scroll Room – one of the most coolest places in the entire Tower, practically the Old Man's library, where he and all the Hokages before him had put all the most secret, most rare, most bad-ass scrolls in order to keep them safe and away from prying eyes. The Old Man had taken him in here once, when he was, like, six or something. He couldn't really remember all that well.
He was in probably the secretest room in the Tower – which really brought up the question as to why it wasn't better protected or something, but that question would really only cause him to think a lot and go off track and take his attention of his mission, so… - and all he had to do was grab one measly scroll and bolt outta there like a bat out of hell, or like himself after he pranked that coat-wearing psycho-jounin chick. Dealing with her had been the most horrifying experience to date, and that was including the one time that Ichiraku's had closed in the middle of the day because they ran out of noodles.
After a quick full-body shiver of mind-numbing terror, a reaction garnered on recounting both past events, the silly grin made its way back up onto his face. The room was big – almost as big as his entire apartment, he reckoned – and it was filled with rows and rows of huge, dark-wood shelves with scrolls covering each one. There were cupboards and things pushed up against the walls, stacked on top of each other, that held even more scrolls, and there were even a few shelves attached to the ceiling. That was just plain awesome.
He dashed to the nearest shelf and began looking over the contents. Every scroll was stacked in neat, even rows, despite their varying sizes – some bigger than his entire body, some smaller than his hand – and each scroll had a small stretch of paper tacked onto the wood just below it so anyone could read what the scrolls were about, or what they had in them (Iruka-sensei had mentioned some stuff about 'storage seals' once, where you could write some words and symbols on paper and do something with chakra and put, like, a kunai or a sword or even something as big as a house into the paper).
Naruto scanned the nameplates and quickly decided that there was no real order to their placement; he had started with the very middle of the rack and gone to the right, his eyes flicking over the various titles: Konoha – Roster – Genin, Chuunin – years of the Nidaime, Yondaime, Sandaime; Konoha – Missions – S Class – year of the Yondaime; Elemental Countries – Intel – Suna; Konoha – Major Clans – Uchiha, Hyuuga; Konoha – Restricted – Forbidden – holy crap, that was it! He paused for a moment just as he was about to grab it – the damn thing was seriously labeled 'Forbidden'? You'd think the Old Man would kind of want to hide the fact that it was forbidden. Hadn't he ever heard that saying about the forest and the trees (something about plane sites?) He was about to pull it into his waiting arms when he paused once more. He looked around the room again.
He had what he came here for, what he had needed, but…well, come on! He was in the Hokage's private freaking library! He could find out stuff in here that he might never ever discover for the rest of his life! There were scrolls that had cool jutsu, information about all the shinobi ever, information on the really powerful bad guys of other lands, information on the really powerful good guys of other lands; there had to be scrolls of weapons, and scrolls of badass secret organizations and stuff, and scrolls that gave histories of the previous Hokages. Who's to say he couldn't find out everything he had ever wanted to know about being a shinobi if he just looked?
He looked back at the roll of paper lying just under his fingertips and frowned thoughtfully.
Besides, who's to say that the Forbidden Scroll was the coolest or most badass or most helpful ninja-wise out of all of the rest of them, anyway? 'Forbidden' wasn't always a direct translation to 'epic awesome' – just usually. But any one of the scrolls around him, any one out of the other hundred, or thousand, or however the heck many were actually in this room, could easily be ten times cooler, or a hundred times cooler, than the Forbidden Scroll ever could; any other scroll could have way better information, or more badass moves, or better-kept secrets. So if that were true, why would Mizuki-sensei want him to get that particular scroll?
Wait a minute – it was all a test!
Gods above, he was taking all of that way too seriously. The Forbidden Scroll was marked so plainly so it would be easier for him to find it. The security must have been dropped down a little so he wouldn't get torn apart while trying to enter the room. There must have been a few fake guards standing in the regular's posts, and same with the ANBU – that was why they were so easy to get past, and so very, very incompetent.
No, wait, scratch the fake ANBU – they were always like that. Stupid bastards.
But that explained why everything had seemed so much easier than it was supposed to be: the Old Man must have had this as a final do-or-die kind of test for the students that couldn't quite make it past the last Academy tests, a last rope for the flailing dunces to grab hold onto and pull themselves into the ranks of Konoha Shinobi. Mizuki-sensei was really cool for giving him this chance. He'd have to thank him a lot when he got to the forest with the scroll.
His hand withdrew from the Forbidden Scroll and fell to his side, and he began scanning the rows once again.
Elemental Countries – Roster – Nukenin – years of the Sandaime, Yondaime; Roster – Government – The Council of Fire – years of the Sandaime; Konoha – Organizations – ROOT; Konoha – Hokage – History… There were scrolls packed to the brim with high-level jutsu, of low-level Academy jutsu, scrolls that gave information on the relative economy of Konoha, rosters of the members of ANBU that dated all the way back to the Shodaime, lists of the most influential civilians in three of the most influential Elemental Countries, storage scrolls that were said to hold some of the most precious possessions of the Yondaime. There were maps of the entirety of Fire Country – maps that showed just the villages, maps that showed the land and how high or low it was in places, maps that showed secret tunnels going from the heart of Konoha to several outposts at the edges of their territory, maps that had known hiding places of Nukenin circled in red and frequent meeting places of them highlighted in bright blue. There were other maps that showed optimal points of attack on Cloud Country that would completely destroy their ability to fight back, there were maps dating back to the Great Shinobi War that showed detailed paths their forces took throughout the Countries, and where they stopped to rest or fight. There were maps that traced nearly every underground tunnel and passageway in Iwa, maps that revealed safe paths through the bowels of their many, many mountains, and maps that actually showed what precious metals and gems could be found in Earth Country and where specifically they could be most easily and readily obtained. There was a scroll on the Nine Great Demons, the Nine Tailed Beasts, the Bijuu, and another about the hundreds of lesser demons and monsters that hunkered on the outskirts of civilization. There were –
Naruto stopped and tracked his eyes back a few panels. There was Elemental Countries – Organizations – Akatsuki, and Konoha – Equipment – The Everything Scroll of Weapons-
(and, about five kilometers away from where he was standing, a certain brown-haired young woman shuddered and unconsciously rubbed her legs together, moaning softly in her sleep)
- and Konoha – Psych Evaluations – years of Shodaime, Nidaime, and then there was '?'. Naruto frowned. He looked just above the nameplate. There was definitely a scroll above it. It was kind of small, from the looks of it, but it was most certainly there. Any information on the paper, however, was most certainly not there; no name, no description, no categories or subcategories for it to be sorted under, no year of discovery or author – nothing at all, except for a question mark.
Well, that was interesting.
He stood on his tip-toes – the little scroll was on one of the higher shelves – and eased the scroll from its seat with the very tips of his fingers. It came out with a spray of dust, and he coughed and stumbled back, almost dropping it from his unstable grip. He knocked into one of the other shelves and grunted in pain, making a face of disgust when he managed to regain his balance.
"Gross." He coughed again, once, before gathering saliva in his mouth and spitting out a dark wad of dirt, dust, mold, and spit. He stared at it when it hit the wood flooring, amused and disgusted at both its color and consistency and decided to add on to his previous statement. "Major gross." And then he raised his eyes from the floor to the scroll and smiled. "But at least I got ya, right, Question-mark Scroll?" he asked, grinning at the rolled-up length of paper in his hands. The scroll was less than three hand-lengths high, and a good one-and-a-half hand-lengths wide. He gave it a quick squeeze, only to find the paper beneath his fingers didn't give way – that meant that there was a lot of paper on that scroll, and really tightly packed, too. All in all, though – he held it out in front of him, raising an eyebrow – it looked more like one of the scrolls that Iruka-sensei handed out in class sometimes than a super-duper epic-awesome ultra-secret scroll.
Eagerly, he pulled hard on the small wooden pull attached to the end and lifted it into the air. "Huh," he commented. "No zap-zap…" He had touched a scroll that he wasn't supposed to when he was in the Old Man's office one time when he was younger, and he had gotten a rather nasty shock. The Old Man had told him that some of the more private, secret scrolls had various security measures on them to keep them from being easily stolen. "…it's not burning…" After the shocking scroll, the Old Man had grabbed a blank scroll and written something down on it, did something with his chakra, and told Naruto to pick it up. He had, and it went up in flames – without the fire! The paper had blackened and crinkled away and left a pile of ash in its wake. "…no traps…" The Old Man had then explained that some of the more paranoid, bad-guy kind of people tended to seal kunai, or shuriken, or something like it into the scroll, which activated when the scroll was picked up or opened. Naruto watched as the Question-mark Scroll rolled open harmlessly. "…no other safety measures." Weird.
His bright blue eyes flew over the paper when it slowed to a stop. There was…there was nothing there. He looked at it carefully from the very top to the very bottom. Nothing. Nada. There was only blank paper – not even a speck of ink marred the surface. His lips drew downwards into a scowl.
Well, that was annoying.
He crouched and set the scroll down on the floor. Still frowning, he lifted a hand and placed it on yellowing paper. Once he had reaffirmed that, yes, it was paper, and no, neither touching it or scratching at it with a nail revealed anything, he shrugged and splayed both hands flat out on the surface. The only real thing he could think of that would make anything show up would be chakra, so he sent a short pulse down his arms and out from his palms. The paper shimmered slightly as his visibly-blue chakra spread out over it. His eyes roved across the scroll looking for something, anything. He made a whining noise in the back of his throat when he didn't see anything. There was nothing.
And then, suddenly, there was. In the middle of the section he was looking at – as a brief tug and the prior feel of the scroll showed that there was a lot more paper inside – what looked like a small splotch of ink had appeared. He poked it. When nothing happened, he poked at it with a little bit of chakra in his finger. Still nothing. Growling, he slammed both hands onto the paper, hands spread wide, and pumped out an inordinate amount of chakra into the paper. When there was still no reaction, Naruto closed his eyes, loosened his jaw, and sighed heavily.
Damn. He scrunched his face up in thought for a few minutes before sighing again and, in one deft movement, rolled the Question-mark Scroll back up and stood. He definitely wanted to keep it. After all – if it wasn't showing anything, then there must be a reason nothing is being shown. And that was a very intriguing thought – a very intriguing thought that he really didn't have time for. Shit, he had to get going!
Okay, so he had this little scroll, and he needed to get the Forbidden Scroll to graduate. He couldn't very well take one out of the Tower, and then come back to get the other, and then get to the forest in the allotted time…and he definitely couldn't spend any more time in the room. The only option was to take both scrolls – he couldn't carry both of them at the same time and run, that would be really awkward…
He snapped his fingers and dug a hand into one of the lower pockets on his orange cargo pants. He pulled out a length of rope and dropped it to the ground, the Question-mark Scroll a moment after. He quickly went over to the first shelf and snatched up the Forbidden Scroll. He went back to his previous spot and bent over, easily throwing the Scroll and rope on top of his back and securing it there with a few sloppy knots and a hard tug. Then he picked up the smaller unknown scroll and cradled it under one arm.
He took one last look around the room, gave a short jump and – pleased to find that the Forbidden Scroll stayed where it was supposed to, how it was supposed to – ran from the room.
The seals around the doorway flashed blue behind him, lighting up the Shadow Scroll Room one last time, before they fell silent, black as death.
It wasn't until later – much later, after he went to the forest, learned Kage Bunshin no Jutsu (truly a badass technique), "surprised" Iruka-sensei (okay, so technically his favorite teacher found him – but who's really counting?), got attacked by that bastard fake-sensei Mizuki (and then he attacked Iruka-sensei! Can you say "No mercy"?), found out that he was a jinchiruuki of the strongest Tailed Demon there was (which was a little bit upsetting, but honestly it explained a lot; besides, it was pretty kick-ass that, if he had to have one, he got the biggest and the baddest one that ever existed), totally kicked that bastard fake-sensei Mizuki's ass (he deserved it!), became a late graduated of the Shinobi Academy and practically smothered Iruka-sensei in a hug (screw what everyone else thought – Iruka-sensei was goddamn awesome), apologetically handed the Forbidden Scroll to the Sandaime afterwards (cranky old man – he was just pissed that he got his nappy time interrupted), and weaseled some ramen out of Iruka-sensei (force of habit) – when he was lying in bed, attempting to sleep but wholly unable to due to his pure, unfiltered joy and excitement, did Naruto remember Question-mark Scroll.
He grinned to himself.
"Well," he said quietly, climbing off his mattress and padding barefoot across his wooden flooring, "no time like the present, I suppose." He chuckled. "Can't sleep anyway." He walked into his bathroom and faced his mirror. Putting his hands onto it, one on each side, he gently pried the pane of glass from its place. It came off of the wall with a clank and a bit of plaster, revealing a relatively large hole in the wall; the mirror was set off to the side, next to the toilet. Naruto stuck both arms into his bathroom wall and reached up. His fingers reached past two wooden beams and brushed against paper. They curled around the cylinder and he carefully drew it out, steering it around the wall's innards and settling it carefully into his arms. He smiled again.
He carried it into the kitchen, where he set it down on his mostly-unused dining table before turning away and snagging a healthy cup of cup ramen. Making quick work of its wrapping and top, he set it on the counter and put a dented kettle of water on the stove. He went back to the table – a watched pot never boils, you know – and unrolled the unknown scroll. The inkblot-looking marking had since vanished, so Naruto placed his hands on the paper and let loose a stream of chakra. It appeared once more.
"There we go," he muttered, scratching his cheek absentmindedly. Okay, so he was able to get this bit of ink to show up with chakra; it stood to reason that more would be revealed as more chakra was added to the paper. But he had already tried that… His features scrunched up in his 'thinking very hard' face and he put his chin in his hand, thus forming his 'thinking very hard' pose.
Maybe the reason nothing showed up was because he was sitting in the Shadow Scroll Room at the time. Naruto nodded to himself. It would make sense for the scrolls to have some degree of protection upon them – not being able to read them whilst inside that room could possibly be one. After all, it didn't look like the scroll had any other safety measures; not when he had first checked it, and certainly not now. He nodded again. Okay, so if the scroll wouldn't react inside the room, it should hopefully react outside the room. He was outside the room. So…
Naruto spread his hands against the paper and pushed blue-tinted chakra down his arms and into the paper. Almost immediately, the black splotch began to grow, spread dark tendrils across the yellowing surface it resided on. The ink kept twisting and looping around itself, coloring the paper dark until the revealed space was a solid expanse of black.
He arched a brow and unrolled the scroll a bit more.
He began yanking the paper away from the roll in large – and exaggerated – movements, spilling parchment off the chipped table and onto his hardwood floor. Hand-lengths quickly became meters as more and more paper folded into the swiftly-growing pile.
And the scroll wasn't getting any smaller.
Naruto growled. Not only was the paper still black, but if it continued going on like this, half of his apartment would be an ocean of ink and paper.
"Woah!" Naruto said, forsaking the scroll and grabbing hold of the length that had just flown out. Some paper, still moving, crumpled up behind his hands as it stopped. Naruto frowned in concentration as he looked at what he was clutching. The blackness had been continuing, and then, suddenly, there was a large yellow-white strip that cut it off, followed by a column of black – about two hand-lengths wide and spanning from the top of the paper to the bottom. Following that column was the yellow-white of the regular paper again.
He pulled some more on the scroll and was pleased to find that there didn't seem to be any more black past that last column.
He turned his attention back to the thick line of black and stared at it. It looked like it was shimmering every few seconds. He poked it. And then he poked it again with a little bit of chakra on his finger. The black ink flared a bright blue, like a flash of light in a dark room.
Naruto just stared. "Okay…"
He almost screamed when a shrill whistle came from behind him, and he whirled around – only to see that it was the dented kettle that now undoubtedly held boiling water. Cursing under his breath and trying to stay his rapidly beating heart, he hopped over to his ramen and poured the water in. He set the lid back down on the cup and put a pair of chopsticks on top of that to hold it down. Then he turned back to Question-mark Scroll.
Some of the ink had faded from view, large patches vanishing and leaving smaller splotches alone. Those smaller splotches shrank even further, until delicate curves, loops, and edges began to form. Figures began to reveal themselves – words quickly after. Naruto read it aloud, eyebrows raised.
"Sparky-san, Hawkeye-san, Irons-san and Spitfire-san
Perpetrators of Various Acts of Mischief, Prank Masters in Word and Deed
are very proud to present
The Shinobi's Scroll"
Naruto dropped one eyebrow and stared critically at the message, even as another one began to form beneath it, blue-tinged ink – blue from the ink binding with his chakra, he supposed – rising to the surface of the paper in loopy, flowing words.
Sparky would like to be the first one to greet the newest inheritor of our scroll, and would like to forewarn you that Hawkeye-san is about to be both rude and suspicious of you.
The eyebrow that was still raised only arched higher. Seriously, what the hell? He watched as the words faded from view, almost immediately followed by another set, in different handwriting; the strokes were quick, sharp, professional.
Hawkeye would like to inform Sparky no Baka that he has every reason to be suspicious of the one who now holds this scroll, as it was being kept in the Shadow Scroll Room the last time he checked.
That sentence, too, disappeared, replaced with large, childish handwriting.
Irons would like to voice his opinion that Sparky-kun still writes like a girl.
Naruto snorted, and another line appeared – crooked, sloppy, and fairly difficult to read.
Spitfire would like to remind Hawkeye that it could be a new Hokage, or a chuunin or jounin with Kage-ranked clearance.
Hawkeye wishes Spitfire-chan would quit talking to Sparky no Baka, as it seems to be slowly killing her brain cells.
"Hey," Naruto grunted aloud. "That's not very nice…"
The writing was wiped clean, and stayed that way. Naruto frowned, absentmindedly grabbing his ramen – which should be ready by now – and shoving a bite into his mouth. His face slowly contorted into his "thinking very hard" expression.
This was weird. What exactly was Question-mark Scroll? Or, rather, what exactly was The Shinobi's Scroll? Based on what the opening had implied, those four names that were given – Hawkeye, Spitfire, Sparky, and Irons – were people. It had stated that they were 'prank masters' who had a hand in 'various acts of mischief'. Okay, so there were four people however-many years ago who liked to pull pranks and sneak around and make other people look like idiots. They sounded pretty cool.
But then the names…they were, like, TALKING! The people listed were talking – to him, to each other, to themselves – as if they were real! That meant – that meant…
…what the hell did that mean?
He took another mouthful of noodles and chewed thoughtfully.
Well, there couldn't be people sealed into the scroll – that wasn't possible, after all. Oh, but that did answer the unspoken question of why it had so much paper but was actually extremely small in size: the extra paper was getting sealed into the wooden tube roll in the middle.
Naruto nodded proudly before getting back on track.
So if it wasn't the people themselves sealed into the scroll, it was…their minds…? He made a face at the thought of brains being sealed into a piece of paper. Their minds, their…personalities. But how would that be possible? It sounded even harder than sealing a person – a person has a body, has substance to be sealed, and thoughts and personality…not so much. You couldn't feel thoughts, or emotions. So what…
He snapped his fingers.
The Yamanaka family! They were good with that whole mind-jutsu stuff. Maybe they would know? He made a mental note to ask that one blonde girl in his class about it – assuming he could get a word in while she was fawning over the Bastard.
He saw something move, and he looked back down at the paper in front of him. Another message was rising to the surface in the loopy style of Sparky, as it/he/she was called.
Sparky would like to apologize to the new owner on Hawkeye-san's behalf, because he isn't about to do it himself.
Did that…Sparky – just respond to what he said? It can hear him? And understand him? What the hell!
So these…personalities, these minds, these…consciousnesses bound to the paper could react to the situation happening around them…it…them? They knew what had happened and they…thought about it! And they're answering in response to what he had done!
Irons would like to add that Hawkeye-teme lives on insulting people instead of breathing like the rest of us.
They had personalities. That was obvious. Some liked some, some didn't like others (read: Hawkeye); they interacted with each other. And with him. Seamlessly. As if they were there with him, standing in front of him and they were all talking amongst themselves.
Spitfire would force-feed Hawkeye spiders and toilet water for dinner for calling her 'Spitfire-chan' if she could.
Naruto laughed out loud, his train of thought getting neatly severed in the face of the response given. This Spitfire chick sounded awesome!
No sooner had his laugh ended than he saw a new line of text waiting to be read: Hawkeye would like to tell the reader that spiders and toilet water for a meal is in no way amusing, and would he please stop laughing.
Naruto gave the consciousness of Hawkeye the one-fingered salute.
Sparky thinks that the owner is quite a character, to be flipping off Hawkeye-san – he can be a rather scary person. Of course, it would be much more intimidating to meet Hawkeye-san in person, no doubt.
Spitfire would like to suggest that the owner track Hawkeye down and deliver him his punishment for her, as she is stuck as a few sentences on a piece of paper, and is rather incapable of doing it herself at the moment.
Irons has a distinct feeling that the new owner is planning to do exactly as Spitfire-san asks; whether the reason being because she is a girl – wherein he does anything the opposite sex asks him to – or because she has appealed to his disaster-loving, pranking nature – which I sincerely hope that he owns in spades.
Naruto's smile shrunk a little, and he gave a short, bitter-sounding chuckle. "Well," he said, deciding that he may as well join the conversation they were having with him, "It's been over five years since a girl last asked me to do something – aside from the random old lady who wants me to drop dead or just go and leave Konoha or something like that, the stupid old biddies – and that entire talk and promise was thrown out the window in less than a year." He had promised Sakura-chan, when he first saw her, that he would be her friend, and she had done the same. Shortly after, she had met Yamanaka Ino, the other blonde in his class, and he was easily cast aside in favor of girl talk, looking good, and Uchiha Sasuke. That had hurt more than he ever cared to admit, but he never really gave up trying to get her favor back. Nothing he had ever done had worked. "I'm not really going to jump the gun and just go around trusting anybody anymore." Not after that bastard fake-sensei Mizuki, anyway. Not after he almost killed Iruka-sensei.
Spitfire offers the owner her condolences – it doesn't sound like he's had the best of lives.
"Yeah, you could say that…" Naruto replied, a little wistfully.
Irons is wondering if, just to be sure, this means that the new owner is not going to go and hunt Hawkeye-teme down and feed him spiders and toilet water.
"Oh, hell no," the blonde answered, laughing. "I'll find him and stuff spiders down his throat just 'cause it sounds like something fun to do!" He paused mid-laugh. "Assuming, of course, he did something worse than just give someone the wrong honorific suffix," he added seriously.
Irons nods furiously, stating that Hawkeye-teme deserves that and more, and not just for being a jerk and trying to cozy up to the one person who doesn't want people cozying up to her.
"Am I going to get any specifics, other than 'he was a jerk'? I mean, just basing this off of what he's said in the past few minutes, I'd agree with you in a heartbeat, but do you have anything especially incriminating?"
Irons certainly has a story for you…
Sarutobi Hiruzen gently and reverently placed the Forbidden Scroll in its rightful place upon the shelf, and gave it a soft pat before turning away and walking back towards the door of the Shadow Scroll Room. The moment his body passed the doorframe, the tens of hundreds of delicately-etched seals upon the wood exploded into color, leaping from their quiet, inactive black into a cacophony of green, yellow, and blue.
He, and his thoughts, froze.
He took a step back into the room and watched as the seals lit up once more before settling down and hiding in the shadows again.
The seals…the seals!
The third (and fifth-ish) Hokage hurried back out of the room as fast as his wizened old legs could take him – and, given that he has wizened, old shinobi legs, his pace was actually quite a bit faster than one would originally think. In less than a minute he was back in his office, shutting the door loudly behind him and hobbling over to his desk. He began opening random drawers, and slamming them shut when they didn't contain what he wanted. "Come on…" he muttered impatiently as he opened one at the very bottom. He was just about to slam it shut when he stopped. He looked back into the open drawer and smiled wearily. He dipped a hand in and withdrew a large, bulky scroll. He set it atop his desk – after clearing it of any extra paper, brushes, ink pots, and questionable reading material – and unrolled it.
The scroll he had taken out was one linked directly to the seals that guarded the Shadow Scroll Room. Those seals had been a generous addition to the security by one Namikaze Minato, the Yellow Flash of Konoha, and the Yondaime Hokage. They had been keyed to the chakra signatures of the Hokages, anyone with Kage-ranked clearance, and anyone else the present Hokage trusted enough to have them added to the matrix – usually being a relative, or loved one.
If someone who hadn't been keyed into the matrix attempted to enter the room, the seals immediately depleted a hefty majority of that someone's chakra supply, rendering them near-to-definitely unconscious and pretty much helpless. And, given that the entire length of the hallway was designed to sap chakra as well, just at a slower rate, the entire process would take about two seconds, max. It had only happened three times since Sarutobi had been in office (both times), and he had come to the scene in all instances to find the perpetrator laying in the middle of the doorway; one had been dead, one was unconscious and hardly breathing, and the last and most previous one had been swearing up a storm, trying to drag himself into the room but failing quite spectacularly because he was too weak to even move his arms.
Since Naruto managed to make his way into the room, he had to have passed through that doorway. Now, it stood to reason that he of all people could have activated the seals and had his chakra depleted very quickly, and managed to remain standing. He was probably one of the only people in the world to be able to, really – not only were his natural chakra reserves massive, but he also had the Kyuubi's demonic chakra, which put his supplies on an entirely new level.
Sarutobi's eyes flicked around the scroll, reading off the names, the dates, and the times of who entered and exited the Shadow Scroll Room: him, him, him, him, him again, him, him, Danzo, him, him, Mitokado Homura and Utatane Koharu, Danzo again, him, him, him, him, him…Namikaze Minato and Uzumaki Kushina, him, him.
"Ah." Of course! Dammit, of course. A child's chakra signature is, in essence, an amalgam of their parents', just like the DNA that they inherit, or the blood type they have. And if that child is young enough – before they have finished maturing, as well as their chakra signature into one of their own – then their chakra would very closely mirror their parents', close enough to fool Minato's seals!
Seals, as a general rule, are very difficult to work with. It is even tougher a job to make them meet the most specific of standards, like, say, recognizing precise chakra signatures of only a handful of people and being able to distinguish even the slightest of differences from another signature so closely mimicking one (or two) from that handful.
Sarutobi hummed to himself as he closed the scroll and put it back into its correct drawer. Now he'd have to see about adding a few more security measures to the room, if Naruto had what amounted to a "Pass Go, Collect $200" card.
Irons, as Naruto had found out, rather enjoyed filling his stories with obscure and unnecessary references to random crap that he knew nothing about; he had briefly mentioned something about 'double arts', was trying to make a point again and again involving 'the thing', and really just wouldn't shut up with what sounded like various quotes, including a line about a 'vespa woman' who wielded a guitar and hit people with 'perverted thoughts'.
But subtly slipped in between all the references was what seemed like an actual story, involving Hawkeye kicking puppies and eating what was supposed to be a dish made out of cat. Apparently that made him a terrible, horrible person – although, personally, Naruto would never eat cat, just because cats were too awesome, and too cool, and way too loveable to end up as dinner.
Almost immediately after Irons finished his tale, the snarky punk called Hawkeye spoke up, insulting Irons, Sparky, and Naruto himself, and stated once again that he didn't trust Naruto one bit, as the Shinobi's Scroll had been previously kept within the Shadow Scroll Room.
The others were silent after that, and Naruto couldn't exactly ignore such an obvious accusation. So he sighed, set aside the empty cup of noodles, and began explaining.
He told them about his life. He told them that his earliest memories had been of an orphanage, and how he had always been accused of lying from the owners and, later, from the other orphans. He told them how he had left early on, and badgered the Old Man – the Hokage – into letting him have a place of his own. He told them about him growing up, about his entering the Academy. He told them about the time he tried to find out about his parents, and how he had stayed mad at the Old Man for a week afterward. He told them about his respite that came in the form of a small, family-run ramen stand. He told them about his crush on Sakura-chan, and about his rivalry with Sasuke, the Bastard. He told them about Iruka-sensei, and he told them about Mizuki. He explained how bad he had been in school, and how he had failed again and again. Eventually the events of the previous day (as it had, according to the little digital clock he had on his counter, passed midnight over an hour ago) came into the conversation. He told them how he was desperate, duped, and how he found them in the room. And he said that he found them to be really interesting, and hadn't, and still didn't, want to give them back to the Old Man, like he had with the Forbidden Scroll.
And he told them about the Kyuubi.
Their responses had been widely positive…or, at the very least, not negative. Spitfire had said something close to a joking and apologetic, 'well, sucks to be you, dun'nnit?'. Sparky had been absolutely fascinated, having apparently heard of the Bijuu in his lifetime. He had asked all sorts of questions, and had to be disappointed again and again when Naruto just couldn't answer those questions. Irons showed his child-like enthusiasm and had immediately begun rambling on about the myths and legends of the Tailed Beasts, like a little kid who wanted to proudly show that he knew that bedtime story, and his mommy should let him read it tonight! Hawkeye had imitated Spitfire's reply, only his was far more serious about the comment. Something like, 'Kami hates your guts. I agree with her.'
As their conversations turned away from serious, heartfelt revelations, and into curiosity towards the entities, their existence, and the Shinobi's Scroll, Naruto found out that his smile wouldn't go down. He was grinning the rest of the night.
For those reading this for the first time, I would like to say that I appreciate your adding to my traffic count, and would appreciate it even more if you helped bump up my review count as well.
For y'all who're re-reading, you may notice that I tweaked a few things yet again. Last time, I promise. I've gone through the story and changed a few things, added and removed a few scenes and edited out some unnecessary material and accidental plothole-brain-hiccups; the main change you'll see is that Team 13 no longer exists. Sad but true.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy this story as it continues to (slowly) progress, and I really hope you'll get a good laugh from it. If you tell me that something in my story made you laugh, I guarentee you'll have made my day.
Good day to you all.