House of Paper

Chapter Four: Do you know him?

The Sandaime, Sarutobi Hiruzen, had not been looking forward to this particular moment. This day had been emotionally exhausting already.

Earlier, he had Iruka Umino enter his office with Naruto, who looked as if the entire world was crashing around him. Iruka had explained to the Hokage as to what had happened during Naruto's exam and of Mizuki's rampage. Sarutobi then called in for both Shikaku and Sayuri and all of them encouraged Naruto that he wasn't the Kyuubi and that there were people who cared for him. Soon after they had left, then the real trouble began as Iruka's report about the individual students' progress and his official remarks after their final test and passing had caused an unforeseen frenzy amongst the Jounins that were set up to be senseis for the three men squads of Genin that had graduated.

What had caused this sort of stir? Iruka's report on Naruto's unpolished abilities.

Now, the Sandaime, the strongest ninja in the village, The Professor; was trying to maintain order within his own office and was failing miserably. Hatake Kakashi and Kurenai Yuhi were having a battle for the placement of Naruto to be on their own team. It seemed like a reflection of the dispute between the clans when placing Naruto with a family had been put to decision.

"You don't need him, Kurenai; you'll already have the Inuzuka, the Hyuuga, and the Aburame on your team. You'll already have a successful tracking force. He's needed on my team as ours will be a specialized attack group." Kakashi said as he lazily turned the page of his favorite perverted novella.

"I'm willing to let Kiba go as he'll be more suited for your team as his temperament is more suited with that of the Uchiha's. Naruto would work better with my group as he gets along with both Shino and Hinata. They'll be able to focus more and won't be held back by petty rivalry and bickering as opposed to what will happen if he's placed on your team." Kurenai countered.

"All this for one Genin. Oh how the mighty have fallen." Chuckled Asuma as he lit a fresh cigarette; earning him a disapproving glare by Kurenai.

Sarutobi looked towards his son. "I'm surprised you aren't fighting to have him as well."

Asuma shrugged as he exhaled a plume of smoke from his nostrils. "I'm happy with the team I have. They're like their parents in abilities; the rest will work out for itself."

Sarutobi nodded and then looked back at the expecting two Jonins who were waiting for a decision on Sarutobi's part.

Sarutobi sighed as he folded his hands in front of him. He hated this part.

"You do realize, Kurenai-san, that Naruto-kun has no aptitude for learning Genjutsus, due to the Kyuubi's chakra?"

Kurenai nodded, looking slightly down that she would not be able to help him because of that handicap of his.

Sarutobi, then, looked to Kakashi. "Kakashi-san, are you 100 percent certain that you'll be able to train the boy, especially since his bloodline has no record of how to train it? More so, will you be able to train him when the council has it in mind that they would wish for you to spend more, if not all of your time, training Uchiha Sasuke?"

Kakashi closed his book and sighed as he looked, contemplatively, at the floor. Looking up again he merely shrugged.

Sarutobi sighed as he rubbed his temples from the two thumbs of his folded hands. He really hated this job at some times. "So, neither one of you would really be able to help the boy, at least not be able to help him in the ways that matter?"

Neither one really replied, other than Kurenai hanging her shoulders in defeat; yet, after a moment of silence, she did utter five words: "If not us, who then?"

Sarutobi closed his eyes as he thought long and hard on that question before opening them up and smiling.

"I think I know just who."

Naruto was sitting outside of the cottage on the patio, his arms wrapped tightly around his legs as he slowly rocked himself, his mind reeling from the news that today had brought.

The light had finally shed on the one thing that had been bothering him as long as he could remember: why did the villagers hold him in such contempt? He wished it could have been something simple as a relative that had pissed them off or that his eyes, slanted as they were, were an ugly feature that some of the village puritans found distasteful.

No, it was something much more sinister than those, something that had been carefully hidden from everyone Naruto's age and below.

Naruto lifted his shirt and stroked the skin on top of his stomach, making small circles with his finger tips. Sighing, he put his shirt back down and looked back out at the forested area that surrounded the Nara compound. A few deer could be seen grazing in the late hour, some of which looked at him curiously, their ears twitching as if waiting for him to respond to their having taken notice of him. Naruto diverted his gaze and looked down at his feet.

Why him? Why was it he, who had just arrived in Konoha that day being brought by Jiraya of the legendary Sannin, to be chosen to hold something so hated as the Kyuubi? Did the Yondaime do it just because he didn't want to risk using some child from the village and thought using an outsider was the safest option? The Sandaime sugar-coated it, at least in Naruto's eyes, stating that the Yondaime saw hidden potential in Naruto at that time; Naruto scoffed at that thought.

However, looking over the years, Naruto had to admit that his life really wasn't that crappy, at least compared to what it could have been should have he not been adopted by the Nara clan. Having not interacted with the villagers for the first six years of his life, if he had he could only imagine what their treatment of him could have impacted his behavior.

"It'd be too troublesome." Naruto muttered and then erupted into a chuckle-fit as hanging around his cousin seemed to have a profound affect on him.

"Naruto? Are you still out here?"

Naruto turned and saw Sayuri walking towards him, arms crossed, a worried expression on her face.

The blue-haired boy sighed as he turned back towards the forest.

"You shouldn't look like that, Kaa-san. It doesn't suit you."

"Nor does your attitude, lately." Sayuri countered as she then sat herself next to her son and slung her arm around his shoulder. A knowing expression on her face as she gave him a one armed side-hug. "It's still bothering you, isn't it?"

Naruto nodded.

Sayuri sighed, still holding him in the awkward embrace. "Naruto, do you remember what I told you when you asked me why I choose you when Shikaku-sama brought you home?"

Naruto looked down and nodded.

"What did I say?" Sayuri took Naruto's head and turned it to face her, her gaze boring deep into Naruto's slanted eyes.

Naruto cast his eyes down, "You said I looked just too perfect to turn down and let others take the pleasure in getting to know before you did. That, I looked like a little angel that had lost its way to heaven."

Sayuri, then, kissed Naruto's forehead, smiling serenely. "I meant all of that, Naruto-kun. Even with the knowledge that what you held had took away my husband. You know, if Daisuke was still here, I think he would say the same thing to you. He'd be very proud of what you've become."

Naruto blushed from the compliment and a smile crept its way across his face as he took his arm and returned the embrace his adoptive mother was giving him.

"Thanks, Kaa-san."

Sayuri gave him another hug and then got to her feet.

"Well, come on, then. You'll need to get up bright and early if you want to be at the Academy for team assignments."

Naruto groaned. "Way to kill the mood, Mom. You just had to say 'get up early', didn't you?"

Sayuri chuckled as she walked back inside, leaving Naruto to look up at the stars before coming inside.

The next morning came and all of those that had passed the Genin Exam sat in their seats sporting, proudly, their brand new hitae-ates symbolizing both their ascension into the shinobi ranks and into becoming adults in the eyes of the village. Some wore theirs in the traditional fashion around their foreheads; others opted to show them off by having them wrapped around their arms, necks, or, in some, as a belt buckle. Naruto chose to have his around his arm, telling Sayuri it was his 'badge of honor'. With this, he also changed his wardrobe, wearing a blue hoodie which was lighter shade compared to his cobalt-colored hair. Black and grey camouflaged cargo pants with white tape wrapped around his left thigh; shuriken, kunai, and med packs wrapped to his right. Shinobi sandals and fingerless gloves completed the fashion.

Class was abuzz with chatter as everyone was excitingly anticipating the next stage in their training as shinobi. They all quieted as soon as Iruka entered the class and sat down with a single sheet of paper. All eyes were upon him and the scarred chunnin looked upon the graduates with an appraising smile.

"Good morning, class. First of, congratulations for graduating from the academy, you've all done me proud and I hope to see great things from you all in the future. Now, without further ado, I will now tell you all the teams you'll be placed with along with your Jounin Sensei." He looked to the paper and started drawling off the names along with the name of their sensei.

"Team Seven will be Uchiha Sasuke, Haruno Sakura, and Kubayashi Sai. Your Jounin Sensei will be Hatake Kakashi."

This illicit a groan from the Uchiha fan group, a triumphant yell of 'true love conquers all!' from Sakura, and a sigh of despair from both Sasuke and Sai.

Iruka continued, ignoring the responses from his announcement. "Team Eight will be Hyuuga Hinata, Inuzuka Kiba, and Aburame Shino. Your Jounin Sensei will be Yuhi Kurenai."

A smile passed from Hinata and Shino while Kiba smirked and Akamaru on his head yipped.

"Team Nine is still in roster so no new members shall be announced. Team Ten will be Yamanaka Ino, Akamichi Chouji, and Nara Shikamaru. Your Jounin Sensei will be Sarutobi Asuma."

Naruto looked confused as to have be left out of the groups as everyone except him had been included in the Genin Team pairings. However, before he could call this to the attention of Iruka, the door of the class opened and an unusually dressed Kunoichi came causing all the class to divert their attention to her. Dressed in a long leather jacket and wearing a very revealing skin-tight mesh shirt and low-cut black shorts, the woman had a very predatory grin as she looked over the newest promising Genin; the males in the class looking at her with blushes and the girls in wide eyed stupor over the woman's choice of clothing.

The Purple haired woman turned to Iruka who looked nervous of her presence in the class.

"Which one of these gakis is Naruto Hideaki?" She asked the Chunnin.

Naruto, surprised as to the appearance of the woman, cocked an eyebrow as he raised his hand.

"That'd be me."

The woman's eyes darted towards him and her sinister smile never left her face as she eyed him like a snake flicking its tongue in preparation of striking at a field mouse.

"I see…Well, come with me, gaki. I'm to be your sensei."

Iruka sighed.

"Sorry, Naruto, but you're to be given a Mitarashi Anko here as your sensei, as your class is uneven for you to be paired with two others." Iruka gave Naruto an apologetic glance and, to Naruto, a look of pity.

Naruto shrugged as he got out of his seat. He waved goodbye to his friends as he left the class right behind the strange woman.

As soon as he closed the door behind them, Anko twirled around with her hands on her hips as she bent forward to Naruto.

"Alright, listen up, gaki. There's one thing I neglected to mention to you in there as if I had said it, it would have shown favoritism and caused those brats in there to make a fuss. You won't be having just me as your sensei, but two others as well."

Naruto blinked and then nodded dumbly.

Anko was a little unnerved by this child, even though she didn't show it as his slanted eyed eerily reminded her of her own sensei. She shrugged off the mental thought and continued, her features betraying nothing.

"Also, don't be getting worried about your foxy friend being an issue with us, it won't. We all have our own personal demons, yours just being physical in this sense."

Naruto released a breath he hadn't realized he had been keeping in. Still, he warily eyed his new sensei as her features and her mannerism practically screamed out anything but normal. He was nervous about whom the other two would be and if they'd project this kind of questionable appearance as Anko.

Anko interrupted his thoughts as she turned about and said loudly. "That's enough chit-chat for now, now we move!"

Naruto nodded and attempted to catch up with her as she speedily went through the hallways and out the door of the Academy on their way to their next destination.

In a cavern many miles from Konoha in Amegakure, the projected visuals of many shady charters were the only sight of illumination in the dank, dark, cavern. Those that were physical stood in row with those who were present by projection; all were silent as the one in the center with the peculiar ever-circulating irises was speaking.

"We've managed, now to almost have our funds in control to begin our mission to require the nine bijuu. You are all to remain in contact and in constant up speed on your assigned target. You'll be contacted shortly within the months as to when the mission shall begin."

The other figures nodded and those that were projected faded out into nothingness, thus ending the meeting. Those who were physically at present in the cavern itself stood from their sitting postures to where they were forming the jutsu to have themselves be included in the meeting. There were five there, all of them donned black cloaks with red clouds and each of them, save one, having an intimidating look about them; some actually looking inhuman.

A woman with a blue tinted paper rose in her hair and a stud pierced underneath her lower lip, turned to leave but was stopped by the voice of one of the other occupants in the cavern.

"Excuse me, Konan-san."

The woman turned her head to her speaker, the man with black hair and large bangs with cold, emotionless eyes, approached her, stopping just three feet from her.

"Yes?" She replied, emotionlessly.

"My target is the Jinjuruki of the Kyuubi no Kitsune in Konohagakure."

Her impassive gaze said nothing but the smallest of twitches told the man to continue.

"And?" She questioned.

The man matched her look, but there was an undeniable layer of curiosity coming to the surface.

"Although having never met the boy, I'm told that he has a unique ability much like your own over paper and also matches you in hair color." He said.

Konan while showing no emotions on the surface was internally bubbling with a torrent of others underneath.

"And?" She repeated.

The man's gaze upon her would have had even the most tight-lipped man, or woman, breaking down and revealing their deepest sins and regrets. However this didn't work on her and he just uttered one question.

"Do you know him?"

Konan, putting more and more layers upon her internal feelings kept her face blank as a new canvas as she uttered upon turning her back to the man and beginning to walk away.

"No. I don't."

To be continued….

A/N: Hopefully no one will question as to whether or not she had any regrets or has any feelings on the matter when it comes to Naruto as what I wrote has shown. Like I said, this story's about confliction as it'll become pretty clear as to the journey both mother and son take upon realizing about one another, yet never having met, more so for the mother. Again I'd like to apologize for the abrupt poll concerning pairing as it was ill-timed for me to do it when I did. This will not be a Naru/Anko story, just so I'm clear. I have decided on three possible pairings but romance comes second to the emotion that I want this story to project. I'm still in the process of developing Naruto Hideaki's character and Konan's as well. There'll be a lot of back and forth storylines between the two.

Here are the potential pairings:

Naruto x FemHaku

Naruto x Yugito (If this comes to fruition, she'll be his age, if not a little older.)

Naruto X Fu (Same as Yugito)