Title: The Forsaken
Chapter1: The Forsaken Get Forsook
Ships: Naruto/Hinata/Ino, Chouji/Yugito Nii, Shikamaru/Ayame, Lee/Tenten
Key: "Speech", 'Thoughts', "Demonic Speech", 'Demonic thoughts'
[Author's Notes:] - Simply put, Perfect Lionheart is probably my favorite author. His two fics, "Chunin Exam Day" and "Partially Kissed Hero" (Naruto and Harry Potter, respectively) are easily my two favorite. My Lord has called upon us for a challenge! WE SHALL RISE! WE SHALL FIGHT! WE SHALL CONQUER! RAWR!
Also, I borrowed concepts about Hokages granting land to people from Perfect Lionheart's story, "Chunin Exam Day", as well. A minor thing, but I still saw him do it first. Or at least was the only one to make it memorable if not. Regardless, Japan never really had a democratic hierarchy, so the power to do this does NOT exceed historical evidentiary support.
How I wanted this fic to differ from the others who took up this story are:
-Explaining HOW the Council could overrule the Hokage when the Hokage is meant to be the ultimate authority, especially when the Council is a creation of fandom,
-Actually make that same Council appoint Jiraiya rather than have Tsunade do it herself (I don't know if it was how I read it or what, but hadn't seen others do it, it was always Tsunade who did that) and lastly ...
-Tsunade herself being the cause of Naruto's misfortune. In at least the decade of Naruto's life, she was constantly drinking, gambling, running from debt collectors, NOT training, NOT keeping her skills where they should have been and basically becoming the old bitty in a Bingo parlor that she was so scared of becoming (judging by a permanent illusion to keep her looking young.) Therefore, the situation with Ino (you'll know it when you read it) is a direct example of those skills being what they now are. She became complacent and just doesn't keep an eye out.
This will be different from my usual fics. This will progress quickly from the get-go in plot development and probably not be as in-depth/complex unless I find it suffers because of it, and I don't know how often I'll write it, since my focus is on "Reforging the Past". This story will have a high attention to fluff, simply because it will be so easy and fun.
Under no circumstances will Naruto become female, will not get a female sibling, a female clone or any desire to be female, nor will Hinata like women. I'm not sure what it is, but I've noticed a LOT of those who have accepted this challenge (that I've found from PL's profile and C2) have done this, and I Don't Know Why! Hinata and Ino will be sisterly, but nothing will happen between them in a romantic sense.
Warnings: This type of story begs for Sasuke, Sakura and Kakashi bashing. Expect it. Love it. Or don't, but it's gonna happen anyway. Sakura isn't exactly going to be bashed so much as torn down to be given a fresh and new start after being built back up. I hate stupid characters, so Naruto will not be stupid, merely ignorant. All jutsu will probably be in English. This is because coming up with techniques is easy, but the translation, I've learned, leaves much to be desired. Hinata will only stutter for a short while. I don't want to ruin readability for something like that. Hinata will be a closet pervert who isn't as discrete as she thinks (read: at all). It is funny as heck to write, to be honest. I have no idea if I plan to write naughty stuff, but naughty stuff will happen, even if "off-camera", so to speak. Hinata is going to turn frisky relatively soon. Openly frisky, that is.
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto, any intentional or unintentional crossovers and this disclaimer is maintained throughout this story. By reading, you agree that you are either of the legal age to view mature materials, or that you are not and just don't plan on telling anyone.
Recommended Story of the Chapter: "Hokage on the Run" by Blood Brandy (Naruto/Harem: Hinata, hints at Ino, Anko, Hana and possibly others)
Tsunade stood at the doorway and watched as Hyuuga Hinata calmly stroked Naruto's face, her touch gentle and soft over his eyebrows as she moved his hair out of his eyes. It was the kind of sickeningly sweet moment that made her long for her dead lover's touch, though she was perfectly willing to give it a few more years. She had to make sure Naruto advanced and learned before she could keel over.
"Tsunade-sama," Shizune said quietly from beside her mentor. "The ANBU are watching all of the Council to make sure they don't attempt anything early."
"Thank you, Shizune."
The two watched the children for a few minutes longer as Hinata sat on Naruto's bed and did nothing more than look at him, taking in his features before Tsunade grabbed Shizune and shunshin'd to her office.
"Hinata-san is going to be so devastated when she learns they banished Naruto-kun," Shizune said quietly, taking a cup of warm sake from the older woman as they both wearily sat at the desk. "From what I understand, she's had an intense crush on him for years."
Tsunade closed her eyes and shook before suddenly yelling and throwing the cup at the wall where it shattered. "Damn it! He's only a damn kid! What the hell kind of business do they have telling me to kick out my own ninja!" She roared, falling back into her chair and shaking quietly as her rage was held inside of her.
"They gave themselves the additional power by sending you documents to sign while you were drunk," Shizune answered quietly. "You are the one who gave them the authority. You know as well as I do that they're meant to be purely advisory and that their power shouldn't move beyond civilian matters, but they used your drunken habits against you." Both women were glad that they had not yet gone beyond that point to such an extent as to call for his death, however. Some had tried, but all they could do was ask the Hokage for it. And none of them had been willing to grant such a request up to that point. And the council was worried that another opportunity such as this wouldn't come any time soon, so took as much as they knew they could get away with.
Tsunade slumped in her chair and began to cry quietly. "I know," she mourned, crying in a way she hadn't since Naruto saved her life by taking Orochimaru's sword into his belly. "It's my fault for not doing the job properly. But, the brat is the whole reason I came back!" Tsunade yelled, smacking the desk.
"The only reason I'm doing this is because the gaki said he believed in me! He made me believe in myself! And look at what I've done!" She broke down and began to cry harder. "I've failed him. I've failed his dream. I've failed everyone," she finally whispered, thinking about her lost lover, younger brother, Naruto and the Hokages past.
"And now he needs you again," Shizune said calmly, sipping from her sake as Tsunade looked up at her quizzically.
"Huh?" She asked, rather eloquently, she was sure.
"He needs you to help him now, Tsunade-sama. If he's going to be banished, then you may as well do what you can to help him. You know his mission files as well as I do; Sarutobi put him on a huge number of political missions, so he's got powerful friends in Wave, Spring and now Suna who would gladly take him in," Shizune answered, her voice beginning to get louder as her own anger at her mentor grew. Everything that was happening was because the woman didn't do her job properly.
"Naruto has been at the center of completely changing the course of history and the future of three different countries! He's allowed them all to become more prosperous and better places just because of who he is and you could help guide him to one of those places! He would just simply leave here and possibly wander until he found a place to call his new home and try to live. But most likely, the Council is waiting to send out hunter-nin. See what you can do to help him! Don't just sit there and be sorry for yourself until he is forced to leave! Actually help him!" Seeing her mentor flinch, Shizune realized she had gotten into the woman's face and finally sat down, not looking repentant in the least. Naruto had been a wonderful catalyst to get Tsunade to better herself and had even made her own life happier with his existence in it and had just about filled the younger brother slot in her life. And Tsunade had fallen back into her old ways long enough to ruin it all.
Tsunade opened her mouth to say something before closing it and beginning to truly think. She knew what kind of power she held as Hokage. Right after finding out the Council had begun stripping her sole execution of it, she checked and found that they had very slowly been granting themselves the ability to control different portions of the ninja force. Worse, it wasn't all of the Council, but just the idiots who held the majority, which were mostly civilians who were on a major power-trip. They had yet to actually take anything away from her, though. That required far more than they had just by themselves, and they most certainly couldn't do it while she was drunk! It required direct intervention by the Daimyo or her own input and offering a defense.
And she'd be perfectly willing to show her defense with several well-placed punches, cracking skulls and breaking legs. There's no need to defend against what's dead, after all.
And then her thoughts drifted to her own comments spoken only moments ago. She was only here for the brat. Even now, she hated Konoha, more so now that they were destroying the one redeeming quality she had found since leaving over a decade earlier. This town kept trying to kill off everyone who she ever cared about.
"Shizune," Tsunade began quietly, not sure how her long time friend would take this idea. She had been willing to follow Tsunade in the past, but that was at a time when her brother had been killed in battle. While not the same, this was very much similar. Would she agree to do it again? Shizune had missed Konoha so much in the previous decade that Tsunade wasn't sure she would be willing to go through it again. "I've got an idea, but I'm not sure if you'll like it. I want to know now that, if you don't, you'll forget I ever brought it up."
Intrigued, the brunette nodded once.
"Why are we here?" Tsunade asked, deciding to ease her friend into this. "What do we have here that we truly care for? That we wouldn't be willing to give up for Naruto?"
Shizune considered for a moment, her quick mind making several connections to where her shishou wanted to go with this. It was almost scary if she was right. "Sacrifice for Naruto-kun? Nothing," she confirmed, already deciding she was all for the plan.
"Why don't we go with him?" Tsunade asked quietly, never knowing who could be listening. "You said 'help him', and this is certainly the best way I know how. No hunter ninja would stand a chance with us right there beside him, training him, protecting him and keeping him safe. We can't justify ninja going out with him with Konoha on the brink of economical collapse, and we would never know who we could trust. Why don't we go? Protect him?"
"We've got five days until Saturday. What can we get from now until then?" Shizune asked, hopping on board the Naruto Train. No one had really become important to her here except for Naruto, and Tsunade had always been with her wherever she went, and they were the only two she truly cared for. She had begun a relationship with Iruka after learning he was the turning point in Naruto's life and having gotten to know him, but it hadn't worked out. Their very first date had proven that, while they could be great friends, anything more would be impossible. The man was too comfortable and set in his current life where he hoped to settle down soon while Shizune still thrived for action and adventure.
And Tsunade would be lost without her within a week. Sannin or not, the woman's skills and abilities had degraded substantially in her decade-long drunken binge.
"I've already got plenty of plans. Go bring me Hinata. She's directly involved in a few of them," Tsunade ordered, watching in pride as Shizune left without further hesitation, just as any subordinate should. The girl cared for her Naruto? Fine then! By golly, Tsunade would make sure the brat got beaned upside the head with the girl's heart if she had to! The boy deserved love and never got an ounce of it here. It was high time he got stuffed with so much mush and fluff that his great grandchildren would feel it!
The first thing Tsunade realized she had to do was keep Konoha from being able to come after them, so she quickly elevated Uzumaki Naruto and Hyuuga Hinata to Chuunin, which the former certainly deserved, and then cut off all duties associated with their families. While Naruto didn't officially have a family, Hinata did, and it was better to do it this way than allow the other Hyuuga the chance of coming for the girl. And besides, she could destroy Hinata's paperwork if the girl chose not to follow them.
The next thing she did was set out a request for ten complete sets of long-term gear from the ANBU Black OP's unit, half of Konoha's stored medical supplies since that was about as much as she had them obtain and store when she came back, enough food for twenty people for a year (which was thankfully, already sealed in a storage scroll as a measure in their fallout shelters, which were designed to withstand long-term sieges from enemies) from their storage holds and enough tech for a team of twenty, consisting of long-range radios, chakra surveillance equipment and other such materials, all being called out for a "rescue" mission. Who cared if they thought it was to try and rescue the Uchiha? That just meant they would fulfill it or include things she may have forgotten to add. It was more to rescue Naruto from the Council's clutches. But with a constant focus on twenty people, they would think she was taking an actual team for that purpose, just to play it safe and gain less opposition during its acquisition.
And there was nothing wrong with having spares for your spares. Especially with Naruto handling the equipment.
She then called in a Genin team to fulfill an order to buy out an outfitting store for ninja, making careful note that it was for 'Panda-Ban's', the only shinobi store that sold to Naruto without faulty equipment or bloated prices he had told her about.
Then she began to write a couple of laws. If Konoha was going to treat her family like shit, she could return the favor. But she was better. She spent most of her life being petty.
Shizune waited for several minutes for Hinata to stop kissing Naruto's unconscious lips. She had just been about to enter the room when she noticed the girl straighten quickly before suddenly grabbing Naruto's medical chart, read that he was heavily sedated and then locked lips with the drugged blond.
BOY was that unexpected!
After four minutes, and seeing Hinata's hands begin to roam from cupping his face, Shizune called out loudly, "Alright! Let me just check Naruto's status!" and then walked in, seeing the blushing girl sitting in the chair at the window and a suspicious trail of dust settling between her and the bed.
"Enjoy yourself, Hinata?" Shizune asked, unable to help herself after spotting the girl's swollen lips. Immediately feeling bad, she quickly followed it up with, "I like to sit and comfort the patients, too."
"Y-Yes! Co-comfort the pen-is, er, IS! IS Naruto-kun going to be okay?" Hinata asked, mortified. The one time, ONE TIME, she gathered the courage to kiss her love, and she couldn't stop thinking about it! It just popped into her head, 'what if a kiss like the fairy tales could wake him up?' So, she tried, hoping for one of those happily ever after endings.
They got married in those endings.
And married people got to do the naughty.
Instead, she nearly got caught doing something she wasn't sure was illegal or not. Was it against the law to kiss an unconscious boy until you needed air? She knew it was if you knocked them unconscious first. She had had that idea twice before and looked into it. But he was already unconscious this time! No tranquilizer darts, no knock-out gases and no Jyuuken to the spine. This time, it wasn't her fault!
"He will be, yes, but I'm just checking on Naruto-kun's status, and then I'm actually supposed to take you to meet Tsunade-sama."
"Um," Hinata asked, blushing and wondering if she got caught, "is this because Naruto-k-kun failed to catch Uchiha-san?" She knew it couldn't be. She wouldn't be the one Tsunade wanted to talk to. But, other than molesting her love, she couldn't think of anything else Tsunade would want with her.
Well, nothing she already did. They couldn't read minds, because they weren't Yamanaka, so she had nothing to worry about as to where she had planned on putting them.
"In part, yes," Shizune said quietly, checking Naruto's wounds and finding that the fox was mending him up with incredible speed. The wound on his chest was the only one that wasn't almost fully healed, it seemed. The fox was getting much faster. The chakra coursing through his body even seemed to overlay over the chakra of her diagnostics jutsu and then began to do the same technique over the rest of his body as if it was learning.
It was a shame Shizune wasn't checking on the chakra, or that would have worried her.
Hinata visibly straightened, wondering how she could be of assistance to the Hokage. "I-I'm ready."
Shizune nodded and grasped Hinata firmly by the shoulder, shunshin'ing them to the entrance to the Hokage's office. Nodding at the two ANBU guards, Shizune opened the door, watching Tsunade quickly hide a parchment in her lap and look at the newcomers innocently. The Hokage didn't have Naruto's game face, and Shizune had seen her poker faces for years. The Sannin was up to something. Narrowing her eyes, Shizune introduced the girl, "Hyuuga Hinata is here to see you, Hokage-sama."
Tsunade smiled and quickly motioned for Hinata to sit in the chair in front of her. Without waiting, Tsunade opened Hinata's file and read out loud for the benefit of the girl as Shizune began to activate the silencing seals of the room.
"Hyuuga Hinata, age thirteen. According to this, you've got excellent chakra control, but are pretty much average in everything else, though you dabble in medical arts as self-taught. You have no ninjutsu or genjutsu knowledge aside from what the Academy teaches, even though your sensei is a Genjutsu specialist and should have taught you some in over half a year, and your weapons and taijutsu are about average as well, excluding the edge the Jyuuken provides in close combat. Sound about right?" Tsunade asked, getting an embarrassed and disappointed nod. The girl knew her family expected much better from her.
"Good. Now, I'm going to be blunt as hell, because I've had one really screwed up day and don't want to deal with taking my time trying to be delicate. Savvy?"
Confused, and looking more than a little shocked at the Hokage's pirate language, Hinata nodded, wondering how much sake the woman had that day, so far.
"Good. Now, because Naruto failed to bring back Sasuke, the Village Council is prepping to have him banished," she explained, watching as all color drained from the Hyuuga maiden's face. "Now, here's the kicker. I'm planning on joining him, along with Shizune-chan there. It's pretty public knowledge that you have a crush on Naruto, so I'm willing to help you get him and take you on as an apprentice if you come with us. So what about it? Do you want in?"
"I-ya-I-ya-" Hinata spoke unintelligibly for a few seconds before Tsunade realized she had come on a little strong and tried again.
"The only reason I came to this village was because the gaki made me believe in it; believe in him," Tsunade explained quietly and warmly, showing the girl she was being honest and sincere. "Now, they want to get rid of him. Well, I'm not going to sit and take it. He means more to me than this dump. I'm willing to promote you to Chuunin so you can be taken from your team and take you on as an apprentice; you'll learn all of my techniques and then some. It means leaving your village, your family and your friends, but I can make sure we're not labeled as missing nin or traitors and will be well provided for. What do you say?"
Hinata took only a second to nod, knowing she would lose her family and team, but really, she didn't feel very close to her family. They all hated her; the branch family for being a main member and the main branch for not being the best. That happened when a handful of people had an 'obey or die' seal on the foreheads of the branch members. And she knew some of the men from the Main branch used it on the women of the branch side for their own perversions, knowing there was nothing they could do. If they knew they could get away with it, and Hyuuga babies had to come from somewhere, many of the Main branch felt the Cadet branch should be honored to be given the more 'noble' seed of the ruling branch. That was one of the reasons she wanted to abolish the Caged Bird seal.
It was also one reason she worried so much for her sister, and knew she was consigning herself to such a fate by letting Hanabi take her place as heiress of the Hyuuga clan. She would miss her team, but was willing to leave with Naruto-kun. It meant too much not to. "If it means making sure Naruto-kun is okay, I'd be happy to accept."
Tsunade smiled. "That a girl! Now, we need-" She stopped immediately as Ino, Shikamaru and Shino entered the room.
"Can I help you three?" Tsunade asked, piercing Shizune with a glare for letting them be interrupted.
"You needed an emergency team of Genin for a mission," Shikamaru explained, "and I needed something to keep my mind off of things. Ino trailed along and Shino was feeling pretty useless sitting in the hospital and offered to join me when I was told to find two people and report to you since we were in the same room."
"Oh! Right, my mission," Tsunade mumbled, looking for the paper she had written the directions out on. "There's the little bugger!" She cried out triumphantly, holding up a wad of what looked like garbage. "Take this to Panda-Ban's and tell the clerk to seal everything he's got into scrolls, one for each weapon and one for each of literally everything he's got, clothes, weapons, explosive notes and all. I even want the shelves everything comes on. Tell him to charge the Hokage's account, do you understand me?"
Bug-eyed, Ino and Shikamaru nodded as Shino looked between the Hokage, Hinata and back again, his mind calculating possibilities. "Hokage-sama, we can't seal," Ino warned, looking at the wadded up paper in surprise, still.
"That's why I told you to have the clerk do it, now be back as soon as possible." Quickly, all three Genin left. They could hear Ino questioning the mission almost immediately.
"Now that they're gone," Tsunade continued, looking at Hinata. "We're leaving on Friday, so we've got four days. I need you to think of anything you may want or need to bring. I'm taking care of shinobi equipment and medical supplies, but I want you to pack any clothes you have without the Hyuuga emblem, any mementos, copy or steal any jutsu scrolls you've got at your estate and anything you can think of to bring in that we may forget. We're taking care of food, weapons, mission gear and the majority of the jutsu you will be learning. Do you think you can do this?" Tsunade asked.
The Hokage wasn't too worried about the girl's father stopping her. He had not been one of the ones who were a part of the Council's manipulations. Granted, that could most likely be attributed to the fact that doing so would only have taken more power from him, so the majority of the Council, which were civilians, didn't call in any of the shinobi families. Tsunade would have to see about making sure they couldn't pass laws without the full Council present.
It had been something that Konoha was hoping to do that kept them from having such a horrible history as many other villages; having a civilian council was supposed to allow them the chance to bring up matters that meant something to the people and get them handled, while still being a village run by, and taking orders from, their Hokage. The entirety of the village was a purely a militarian structure, and all militaries had their leader.
The Council was made up of both civilians and heads of the ninja clans, however, to ensure that some form of decorum and stability was held up and to ensure that they didn't focus on civilians more than the ninja clans, who were much like civilians themselves while not actually on any missions.
Ninja were people, too. Tools, yes, but people as well.
But the Council was headed by a few retired ninja who lived well beyond their prime in the field and hated feeling useless, deciding they didn't have enough power any longer. So, they worked with the civilians, slowly and privately, until Tsunade came along and they had the perfect patsy to allow them to slip new laws into place that granted them more power. And when Tsunade could barely see straight because of her hangover, they slipped in small and minor things, granting themselves that power, authorized by a hazy Hokage. Moving as slowly as they dared and in very small increments, they worked their way up until they could grant or take away anyone's ninja status under Konoha's authority, send out hunter-nin to find and kill any missing ninja and assign ninja to tasks of their own design that didn't take away from their duties to the village under the Hokage or circumvent the Hokage's orders, though they still couldn't go against the Hokage's own orders in any way. But she couldn't go against theirs as long as they followed their own rules.
The magic of writing such laws was all in the wording and emphasizing some things while playing down others; a game politicians have been playing for as long as there was a structured government.
The last of their abilities was to appease the civilians and make them believe they were gaining some form of control over the ninja, but in fact, it was so Danzo could recreate his militia group of ANBU, called ROOT, which were codenamed 'Ne'. They were ANBU that were next to brainwashed into being fanatically loyal to the deformed, ex-ninja, and had originally been forced to disband when Sarutobi, the Third Hokage, had taken office.
Now, he could bring them back, and there was nothing anyone could do to stop him. By using various civilians and training them up himself, they had no allegiances to Konoha or the Hokage, which meant their sole leader was himself, which made them exempt from the majority of their own limitations. Let the civilians have their petty issues get taken care of. Danzo had his own army, and it was growing.
Hinata nodded, thinking about Naruto's need for chakra control more than anything, but debating with herself if the Hyuuga's stolen archive of goodies could help him as well. With eyes that could see through anything, no one could keep scrolls secret except for some of the more paranoid defenders.
Even the Uchiha were prey to the Hyuuga eyes. You can't defend against what you can't see.
"I can g-gather plenty of materials, Tsunade-sama. Will we meet before Friday? And where do we meet that day?" Hinata asked, finding herself looking forward to this new experience. Not only would she be with her Naruto-kun, but she was going to be apprenticed to Tsunade!
"We'll meet every day, actually, and we're going to meet here Thursday night, now that I think about it," Tsunade said, deciding to use the cover of night two days early to get farther without being seen, just to be sure. She knew they would expect her to remain out of the way the last day, using every final moment in attempts to rebuke their decision. "We'll all go to dinner, say it's a goodbye meal, and then part ways, meet back here an hour later and then take off."
Shizune had been playing scenarios in her mind and decided to interject while the conversation paused slightly. "Hinata, you may also want to gather any and all Hyuuga-based technique scrolls you can get your hands on, possibly copy them so no one knows they're missing. You won't have the chance to learn from another Hyuuga any time soon, and we don't want your unique abilities to stagnate or be lost."
"Good idea," Tsunade mumbled, deciding that really would be a problem for everyone. Then, another concept came to mind. Namely, techniques to teach Naruto that weren't purely medical. His chakra control wouldn't be good enough to handle those techniques for some time. Also, there was the situation with the Kyuubi. Would that affect her decision?
"Hinata, there's a secret about Naruto that you need to know before you commit to joining our group," Tsunade warned, sighing. "Naruto really should be the one to tell you this, but we have neither the time to wait, or for you to change your mind later because of it. You see, when Naruto was born, he was chosen to carry a unique ... burden."
"I already k-know about the Kyuubi," Hinata whispered, catching both women in shock. "All Hyuuga who leave the estate grounds know about it. M-my father told me about it when I joined Naruto-kun's class. He warned m-me never to tell anyone because it would be considered treason because of a law that was in p-place and that I would d-die. But, he had t-to, because I would have q-questioned why there was red chakra in his c-circulatory system."
Tsunade's initial anger abated some as the rationale was explained, but she still didn't like it. "Wait, and you still like the brat?" She asked, wondering if this meant that Hyuuga Neji knew about it also. From what she had heard, the boy seemed surprised when Naruto used the power during the Chuunin Exams against him.
"N-Naruto-kun is Naruto-kun," Hinata whispered quietly, sending the older woman a slightly scathing look for doubting her. "I have watched him for a v-very long time. He is not mean or evil."
Tsunade decided there and then she was going to make sure those two ended up together. Even if she had to go to extremes to make it happen. And she planned to. It never hurt to be sure. "Great! Let's go talk to the brat. He's going to need all the friends he can get."
Tsunade would admit she was upset over the whole thing, but honestly saw this as an excellent opportunity for Naruto. He could leave the village and grow in an environment where he wasn't shunned and loathed because people knew who he was and what he carried. She was already thinking up a speech to give him about how this was more of a blessing in disguise.
She wasn't sure if he would believe it, but there was hoping. He was pretty dense, after all. And she planned on working the two hard enough to get together that he wouldn't have time to feel sorry for himself.
Tsunade, Shizune and Hinata huddled around Naruto's bed while the white-eyed girl kept an eye out with her Byakugan to make sure they wouldn't be disturbed as Tsunade removed the sedatives from Naruto's body just as if it were poison, causing the boy to groan.
"Mn ... Sasuke-teme ... stop being a yaoi fanboy," he mumbled as he swiped invisible hands from his crotch, much to the older women's amusement and the younger girl's dismay. The Uchiha had tried to snag her Naruto-kun?
'MURDER!' A tiny Hinata screamed inside of her own head, cute pixie nose scrunching as she scowled.
"Wake up, Naruto," Tsunade said, shaking Naruto's shoulder. The boy roused slowly, and not a bit grumpily.
"Baa-chan? Y'bring me ramen?" He mumbled, yawning.
Tsunade rolled her eyes before suddenly throwing her hands up in the air and leaning down to put her face mere inches from his own and screamed, scaring the boy badly enough to make him and the other two girls scream in fright. "Now that I've got your attention, we need to talk. But first, Hinata-chan, here, is going to tell you a secret."
Hinata's head poked out from behind Shizune where she had taken refuge when Tsunade went spooky and stared at her new shishou in abject horror. 'That wasn't part of the plan!'
Tsunade grunted and jerked her thumb to the very confused blonde on the bed. "Either tell him or you don't join us." Tsunade saw Hinata was staring between her and Naruto, so she grabbed Hinata by the upper arm and dragged her over to the bed, red face, poking fingers and all. Hinata's eyes darted between Naruto and Tsunade several times.
Then her eyes rolled into the back of her head and Hinata passed out.
"Well, that's going to make confessing a little hard," Tsunade grumbled, picking the girl up and setting her on the bed next to Naruto.
"What's this all about, Baa-chan?" Naruto asked, looking over his body and seeing that he was nearly fully healed. His chest was tight and ached, but the hole was already closed. "And how long have I been out?"
Tsunade forgave him for the 'old' comment, but decided to answer his second question first. "So far, you've been here overnight. Kakashi brought you in after he found you at the Valley of the End."
"Kakashi-sensei?" Naruto asked in shock. It was rather surprising, really. The man had given him a fruit basket once, but other than that, he hadn't really ever done anything for Naruto. The blonde-haired youth would have honestly expected to him have gone after Sasuke and try to catch him. It was obvious they were in a huge battle and the boy would be moving slowly. "Wait, how did he even find us? I thought he was out of Konoha on missions. And how did I heal that over night? It took days the last time I had a hole in my chest."
"He was, but was on his way back and felt your chakra signatures and knew you were fighting after the gate guards explained the situation when he arrived," she told him, making a point to ignore that he admitted to having a hole in his chest before. But she made a mental note to find out how it happened and when, just in case she had a Jounin to castrate. There would be a trip to the hospital records office before leaving on the agenda.
"Oh," Naruto said simply.
"Anyway, we're here to talk about some pretty serious stuff, Naruto," Tsunade said warmly, sitting on a chair at the edge of the bed. Now that the amusement with her new pet project, currently laying next to Naruto, was aside, Tsunade took on the somber tone that was appropriate.
"Naruto, I'm about as useful with words as you are, so I'm just going to tell you straight out. I screwed up," she admitted. Her eyes began to tear up as she continued, "I didn't take the job seriously and now the Council gave themselves more power because of me and they're banishing you from Konoha."
Naruto's face paled and he suddenly felt a horrible stabbing pain in his chest that had nothing to do with his wounds. "They ... They're kicking me out? I know they always hated me, but...," he trailed off as tears began to fall from his eyes.
Tsunade enveloped him into a hug, cuddling his head to her shoulder. "I know it hurts, but Shizune, Hinata and I are coming with you. We're not letting them kick out the only reason we came back and the situation is beneficial for Hinata, as well," Tsunade said, not mentioning how it was going to help the girl. He didn't need to know about slavery, rape, seals and her crappy family life for now. She'd make sure Hinata confessed, though. That would help him a little, she was sure.
"What?" Naruto asked, looking at the older woman hopefully. He wasn't going to be alone again?
"Naruto-kun," Shizune said from the side, coming closer and touching his face tenderly, "we love you. You mean more to us, all of us, than Konoha. A village is nothing but the people who live within its boundaries. We came to care for you and came here to help you. If they're getting rid of you, then they're getting rid of us."
As horrible as Naruto felt, he couldn't help but to smile a goofy grin. It was very comforting to know that at least someone cared for him. It actually made it worth the pain he was feeling. Well, perhaps not, but it put it in an odd sort of equilibrium, making him feel somewhat detached from the experience of leaving the village he grew up in and unwillingly focusing solely on the people that cared enough to leave with him.
Then the warm body of Hinata glomped his side and stayed firmly attached like a cuddly teddy bear, making Naruto wonder why she was coming. Tsunade and Shizune he could understand, but the Hyuuga heiress? "Uh, what's Hinata-chan doing going with us? She has a family and she'd be giving that up," he finished quietly.
Tsunade frowned, looking at the happy expression on the sleepy Hyuuga. The question gave her another idea, but it would have to wait. "That is a conversation you'll need to have with her, Naruto. But, I'm going to have her tell you her secrets. I'm sure you can understand not telling someone another person's secrets?" She asked, conveniently ignoring the fact that she had just done that earlier with Hinata and ignoring Shizune's disapproving glare.
Naruto flinched, looking down at the girl resting her head in his lap. Yes, he could understand that.
"Naruto, when she wakes up, I want the two of you to spend the rest of the day talking. Neither of you are allowed to leave this room until you both tell each other your secrets. You have one, she has one. Tell her I said that she has to tell you the secret I told her to tell before she fell asleep, otherwise, she doesn't get to come with us," Tsunade ordered.
"Also, don't worry about equipment or anything. Shizune and I are taking care of everything we would need unless you want to get anything from your apartment. Understand?"
Naruto looked down at Hinata and then back up to Tsunade, his expression unreadable. "Do I have to?" He asked quietly. "I mean, what if she hates me for it?"
"I'll give you a hint, Naruto," Tsunade said with a smirk, making Naruto quirk an eyebrow. "Those eyes can see the difference between your chakra and that of the furball. She hasn't brought it up or asked questions about it, has she?"
Naruto shook his head, watching the sleeping girl and thinking about everything that phrase would mean or could have meant. What it could mean.
Tsunade got up and moved her chair against the wall with a small smile. "We'll be going to dinner together on Thursday night and then leaving later that evening even though we don't officially have to leave until Saturday since we didn't expect you to heal well enough to move until then. You seem to have healed even faster than you normally do. But, I want to be out of here well before they get it in their heads to try anything, so you have to stay in bed and pretend to be weak if anyone shows up or they could try to do it faster."
Naruto sighed and watched the two women quietly leave. He stared at the closed door for several long moments before a sleepy and roaming hand began creeping down his chest. Then his stomach, then...
"Get you the what?" Shizune asked with wide eyes. Tsunade couldn't be thinking that! She wouldn't!
"I said, get me the forms to form an arranged marriage between my ninja," Tsunade repeated. It was a tactic that was needed with surprising frequency when such things had to be truly done to avoid detection from spy networks that were better than they would expect and, as Hokage, she had all powerful control of marrying any of her ninja at any time to anyone she chose, legally and just as binding as any other marriage.
And it was real and official, too. When the paperwork was filed, it truly married the ninja, even without the vows needing to be spoken.
"Tsunade-sama! You can't marry the two of them before-"
"No, no," Tsunade interrupted the voice of reason, quickly making up a plausible story. "I'm just setting it up to make sure no one else can do so with Hinata or Naruto. Otherwise, the Hyuuga or the Council could initiate an arranged marriage and force us to return them. Already having one in the books, ordered by the Hokage, means no one else has that ability."
Actually, they could still try as all it would normally take was another Hokage voiding the contract other than either of the two of them, so she actually would be marrying them as soon as possible, but didn't want to get into an argument for now. Especially when she would be breaking off all allegiances with Konoha, meaning it was ironclad. The Hokage couldn't break a marriage to someone who wasn't under their authority. But they couldn't marry one not under their authority either, so it was now or never.
The Hokage sat at her desk and pulled out a few bits of parchment as she continued to explain. "I'm not bothering to ask Hiashi's permission for this, and he's already commented that he's only waiting to put Hinata into the Branch family until Hanabi is of 'traditional' age or she dies. We already know the Branch members are treated badly at best. This saves her from everything we know happens to them."
Tsunade grinned ferally, causing Shizune to shudder as she handed the paperwork over. "And if those two get together, then we have the legal paperwork all finished to give them the ability to marry at any time without needing to get parental permission. We never know when we'll need them to have that ability."
"They're children!" Shizune spluttered. "What on earth could we 'need' them to be married for? At least with insertion and undercover missions, I can understand, but they'll be with us the whole time!"
Tsunade frowned as she was pulled from writing various legal measures and putting Hinata and Naruto into an arranged marriage that they could only break themselves, just to be on the safe side. "Well, being married will keep anyone else from trying the same with either of them; we know Kumo would go after Hinata being both unsealed and in a small party since we don't know where we'll be and could come across some of them, and once it comes out that Naruto is the son of the Yondaime Hokage, which I'm sure will come out soon, and that we're taking off with Naruto's inheritance, which everyone knows contains jutsu scrolls, people are going to be trying to get Naruto in hopes of some of the Minato's personal techniques. Especially Iwa. We won't be able to keep the Council from leaking that information and hoping for Iwa to finish him off rather than get their own hands dirty. And, with both being who they are, a political marriage would only be expected, even at such a young age."
Shizune scowled at her mentor. "All the more reason to train him."
Tsunade waved off Shizune's worry. "We'll head for the Daimyo's palace first, explain what's happening and what measures we're taking. That'll make sure the idiots here can't send him false information and get us in worse trouble from a higher power than the bastards in the Council."
"I didn't think they knew about Naruto's lineage," Shizune said, finally responding to what she heard rather than by her dislike of marrying Naruto off already. She was all for it happening, but would have rathered they discussed it with him first.
"They didn't until after the Kyuubi was sealed," Tsunade grunted. "They wanted to kill Naruto right after and Sarutobi had to explain everything in order to make them back down since even the ninja portion thought that was what was meant to happen. It still only worked on a few of the ninja clans, most of which trusted the Yondaime's sealing abilities, but it gave him a valid reason to tell them off and keep him alive. I had to break open the Hokage's safe since Sarutobi didn't bother leaving the combination anywhere. It had Naruto's inheritance, an autographed collection of Icha Icha, his diary of important notes and stuff like Black-OP's information and the Forbidden Scroll."
'Best idea, EVER!' Tsunade thought as she realized who exactly the genius was that made the Forbidden Scroll. Originally, it was all on various scrolls throughout the Hokage's Archive, and still was, but was put together by Minato right after becoming Yondaime so it was more organized and all available from one quick source, whether for reference or so they could firebomb the original archive and have the backup handy.
That meant it technically belonged to him and not Konoha.
That meant she had a justification for bequeathing it to Naruto.
Tsunade cackled as she realized she was Hokage! It didn't even matter if it was his by right. Because it was hers by right! And there were a lot of jutsu that had been stolen over the decades by Konoha, either from enemies or from clans that died out like the Uchiha.
Sarutobi knew it was too dangerous to leave that extremely vast library of jutsu that the Uchiha had stolen from their original country before being kicked out in the abandoned Uchiha district. Even with various ANBU patrols, it would have been child's play to get past them. Naruto did it all the time even before getting half way through the Academy. It was simply safer to keep it locked in their vaults until Sasuke would be able to claim it.
Well, he was a traitor, so he didn't have right to anything in Konoha at that point. He turned his back on them and everything there. And even better ...
... It was fully within a Hokage's right to grant property under their care to someone. They did it for the Uchiha and Hyuuga when starting the village, after all. Even the Forest of Death was originally going to be for a clan that decided not to accept their offer.
As acting Hokage, and with a creepy giggle, she claimed all Uchiha estates and properties as belonging to Konoha, and then gave it all to Naruto so that he could start over a new life somewhere else. So what if all he could take were things that could be moved around? With sealing scrolls, it didn't matter. All of the scrolls, the money and random items within the property could be sealed up and either sold if needed or used later. While nothing could be done for the property or what was in it for now, they were perfectly able to transfer all money and scrolls into Naruto's possession, minus a portion of the Uchiha's bank account to those others who went on the mission to retrieve him.
As Tsunade cackled in frenzied glee, Shizune read each document, just making sure everything was accurate of course, and became increasingly shocked at her mentor and friend's audacity. She was literally giving away all of Konoha's jutsu and a good deal of its money to Naruto.
There wouldn't be a village in existence that would deny them entry.
"Do you see the rotations?" Naruto asked as his clone brought his hands away from the rasengan it had just helped create in Naruto's hand and disappeared while Hinata watched in fascination with her Byakugan active. The swirling, spiraling ball of chakra was beautiful and mesmerizing to look at without her clan's eyes, but with them, she saw in a whole different level. For a pair of eyes that allowed the user to see everywhere at once and for great distance, looking into the center of the spiral made her feel like its depths were endless. She knew it couldn't be, but the very center seemed to never end. It was like something was there that made the center go ... somewhere ... else.
"Yes, Naruto-kun," Hinata whispered, feeling as though speaking more loudly would break some magical barrier that she didn't want broken. It would remove the incredible sight from her if it did. She knew it.
When she had woken up to Naruto's terrified yelp of her name, her hand had been half way under his hospital gown and the girl had leapt away almost as quickly as Naruto had. Thankfully, the boy's nature led him to believe she was dreaming about catching something or other and had brushed it aside, even if he hadn't forgotten it, and the two began to talk with Naruto explaining Tsunade's parting message.
Knowing what was at stake, and that she had time, Hinata didn't faint again, but simply took a deep breath and then squeaked out, "I like you!"
Naruto simply smiled and said he liked her, too, completely missing the girl's meaning. Hinata had been so annoyed that she finally managed to say the words and he misunderstood that she didn't even realize she had corrected him until he asked her outright to confirm and be sure he hadn't heard wrong or misunderstood.
After she had reawakened, he admitted she was among the few he really had on his good list that he never really had a bad thing he could say about her. She needed a little more confidence, but he knew she would get that at some point. Girls were weird, after all. They couldn't be expected to be the same as him.
Now, he was trying to teach her the basics of the rasengan after discussing Jiraiya, who Naruto admitted to liking better than Kakashi since Kakashi only ever taught him tree walking and Jiraiya had taught him water walking, the rasengan and how to summon toads. And that was in only two months! Imagine what he could have done if he had been Naruto's teacher!
"Do you wanna try and make it? There are three stages, but the part I had the hardest with was chakra control, which I know you're much better at."
"Um, I don't th-think I could put that much chakra into it," she said quietly. Sure, she had that much, but putting it all into one technique? She had never tried before. The requirements for this one technique were incredible and would almost fully deplete her own reserves.
"Well," Naruto said, thinking, "why don't I give you the chakra and you can do the control? All you have to do is swirl it in a bunch of different directions at once and it works with me and my clone."
Hinata blinked. That was actually an interesting idea. And, she got to play with Naruto's ... chakra. "A-alright."
Hesitantly, she crawled into the bed beside him and cupped her hands over Naruto-kun's and watched his chakra with her Byakugan, beginning to swirl more and more chakra as he added it between their hands.
It was incredible! His chakra was warming the air and literally seemed to hum to her senses! And the power! It was easy enough to control what he gave her to work with, which she found very surprising, actually. It was an odd experience to have so much power at her fingertips that she knew she could manipulate as she willed. The red chakra seemed to caress her hands, oddly enough, but it seemed to recognize what was happening and was providing some kind of ... shell? It was hard to tell what it was doing, but moments after beginning, it seemed to take heed of what was happening and kept all of the blue chakra constrained.
Remembering what she saw before, she began to swirl the mass of raw energy between their hands and saw as the glob of chakra began to form more spherical until she had something that looked the same on the outside, but she knew it wasn't ... complete ... was the word she thought she needed. "I have it acting a lot like yours, but it isn't complete," she said, unsure of what was missing or wrong. "Yours had something different in the center. Something I c-can't seem to replicate."
Naruto grinned, taking control back and letting the energy dissipate gently around them. "Yea, that was the third stage. You had exactly what I spent a week on before I figured it out. I'm not sure how to explain it, but I can try to teach you if you want."
"I'd like to know how the hell you were able to let your chakra follow Hinata's commands."
Both teens turned to see Tsunade and Shizune standing in the doorway, looking surprised. "Heya Baa-chan!" Naruto waved as Hinata blushed and got off of his bed to sit on the chair again where no one could accuse her of anything. She still wasn't sure what Shizune had seen earlier. "What do you mean? My clones control my chakra all the time when I do the rasengan."
The two older women entered the room and closed the door behind them as Tsunade took the chair on the other side of the bed from Hinata while Shizune was juggling various scrolls and reading the newest measures through to ensure everything was properly worded so as not to come back to bite them on their well-trained butts. She had only found one such error so far, but it would have been a horrible one for their plans if not caught and she was now frantically searching for others while Tsunade continued to explain.
"Chakra is a part of us, Naruto. It's controlled by both our conscious and subconscious minds. That's why someone can't control another person's chakra whenever they want to. Subconsciously, we don't ever want to lose control over that energy, meaning giving it to someone else. That's why we can't recharge our own reserves with another person's chakra, too. It has to be freely given. Your clones are basically you, so it's normal that they might, though I don't know if I've ever seen anyone try. Simply put, the spiritual part of chakra makes it have a kind of personality to act similarly to its owner's. No one wants to be controlled, and neither will their chakra."
Outside of the room, Ino stopped from entering the room with her hand on the doorknob as she heard the Hokage speak, a flower in her hand where she was hoping to wish Naruto a get well. It had spread all around town about the battles everyone had fought and Kakashi had explained much of the battle scene of the Valley of the End in public while answering some of the medics' questions, his experienced eyes taking in and reading the signs of the battle to get an idea of how everything had occurred, so people could guess at how intense that one was.
And Shino's bugs had apparently been on everyone so he could report anything needed in case they either died or needed help, and the one on Naruto had spoken about an incredible battle that had been replayed in Shino's mind from the insect's memory. What he described was awe inspiring and frightening in such a way that, if it was anyone other than Shino telling the story or anyone other than Naruto and Sasuke doing the fighting, she probably wouldn't have believed it. But the Aburame were not the type to be known for lying, and those two boys were the only ones who seemed to have such incredible histories already. And it was well known that the Aburame planted such bugs on their party members for a number of reasons. Especially in search and retrieval where they may have to find a wayward member of the team.
So, she had been there as much for verification, hoping Naruto would let her peek into his memories to watch from his perspective as much to wish him good health. He was one of them, after all.
Naruto looked at Tsunade like she was crazy and then to Hinata before going back to Tsunade. "I don't mind if I give Hinata-chan my chakra. She was only making the rotations of the rasengan. I just pushed the energy out like I do with my clones and let her move it about."
Tsunade was about to continue to argue before shaking her head, deciding it wasn't worth it and she would have plenty of time to work on it later. It wasn't that it was impossible, she knew, but that it was a matter of trust. That's why clones could do it. They simply were their creators. Nothing to fear there. She was surprised because Hinata was able to control his chakra. If Naruto was that blindly trusting, she would have to make sure to work it out of him. And odder than anything else, she had never worked with the Kyuubi's chakra, so that should have fought her tooth and nail for control. Naruto could do it because he's done it his entire life.
"Well, regardless, we're just coming by to make sure the two of you have talked," Tsunade said, looking at Hinata's blushing face, who nodded, and Naruto's pale one, which began looking for an escape route. She took that as a 'no'.
"You need to tell her, Naruto. If you don't, she'll stay here and the Council is most likely going to tell everyone anyway. And you know they'll put it in a bad light just for backing from the people to support their decision." He didn't, actually, but she wasn't aware of just how little Sarutobi had hidden of the attempts to have him killed in the past.
Naruto looked at Tsunade and Shizune for several long moments before gazing back at Hinata. He had enjoyed the last few hours, but knew it was going to come to an end now. And she liked him, too. Like-liked him, that is. While the idea scared him a little, he found himself also hoping to try and explore that concept, which had been severely lacking in his life.
"Er, Hinata-chan, there's something about me that only the adults know about," he began, not seeing Tsunade hold up a hand to stop Hinata from interrupting him that she already knew. Tsunade wanted Naruto to learn to tell his secret, and he couldn't do that as easily until he learned to for the first time. Especially if the first time was to someone who supported him, just to make it that much more worth while afterwards.
"When I was born, it was the night of the Kyuubi attack. And, the Yondaime didn't know how to actually kill the fox, so he used his knowledge about seals to just ... make it go away. But, to do that, he needed to seal it into something. Apparently, something with its own chakra can't be sealed into something without its own chakra because it will break free, so it had to be something that was alive, but it had to be something with a chakra system just as complex; a human in this case. But, if that much chakra went into someone that already had a developed chakra circulatory system, it would only shatter it, so it had to be a baby without a chakra system of its own already. The younger, the better. Since I was just born, he actually sealed it into me." Naruto looked away, not sure he could handle whatever he would see on Hinata's face.
"I'm still me, but the bastard fox is inside of my belly, behind my belly button. I've actually talked to it. He's a bastard," Naruto grumbled, thinking about the fox's desire to eat him.
Outside, Ino quietly gasped in surprise. She, like everyone else, knew how badly Naruto was treated just by being near the boy when he was out in public, but she had always thought it was his reputation as a prankster! Not because of that!
Hinata looked to Tsunade, getting a nod to let her know she could say something, and then looked back at Naruto. "I know," she said simply, watching Naruto look at her in shock. "I c-can see its chakra inside of you with my eyes. My father told me about it long ago so I wouldn't ask q-questions about it and bring it up in class because of a law that exists where anyone who t-talks about the Kyuubi openly or to anyone who doesn't know is to be charged with treason and k-killed. I've seen you grow, Naruto-kun. You aren't mean or evil. You're ...," she trailed off, blushing brightly before she admitted to more than she wanted to. "You are kind and generous, always giving of yourself. You always t-try to help and you never give up. You protect this village with everything you have, even stopping Gaara when the demon sealed within him took over. I can see all of that, and I've seen you. I know you are not demon. I c-can see you are you."
Those eyes were great for spying. Or stalking. Or peeping.
She preferred everything went under the first category, though.
Still outside, Ino slowly withdrew her hand from the knob of the door and swallowed. Hinata was right, of course. Ino tried looking back to see where Naruto had ever done something mean or evil and, aside from some iffy pranks, he was always a good guy. And, looking back at how often the teachers used to pick on him in class, which she had also always thought was for pranking, she realized how much that had to have hurt his education and how badly Naruto could have turned out. She, like many others had received information on who Subaku no Gaara was from their Jounin after getting the invasion explained to them and she realized that, if Naruto had turned out like that, there would have been no telling who may have died. Or more precisely, who could have lived.
That would require a lot of thought, Ino was sure.
Happy to have the depressing stuff out of the way, Tsunade clapped her hands together sharply, making the other three occupants jump. Poor Shizune almost dropped the papers she was checking over so diligently. "Okay! Now, I've already got everything in my possession that we're going to take except for the Uchiha's finances and the like and Hinata here should be getting her clan's techniques for our trip so she can study them."
"We're taking the teme's money?" Naruto asked with a shocked expression on his face before it broke out into a grin. "That's AWESOME!" Then he fell back laughing. "That's the best prank ever!" A part of Naruto knew stealing was wrong and that it wasn't truly a prank, but the other, much larger, part of him that had almost been killed by the bastard had no qualms in taking off with the loot.
Tsunade grinned evilly right back at him. "Well, technically, I took it as my right against traitors as Hokage and transferred it all to you, including his family's jutsu library and his property. Well, along with a portion of the money to the others who went on the retrieval mission as well, of course."
Naruto stopped laughing and looked at Tsunade, as if looking for verification, before he broke out into even louder laughter, Hinata trailing not far behind with dainty giggles. She did enjoy seeing Naruto happy.
Tsunade continued as if Naruto wasn't about to risk opening any wounds. "Unfortunately, we can't take the property or anything inside of it since we'll be leaving, but I'm getting everything else put into sealing scrolls so we won't have any extra weight or luggage to carry and can cover far more ground much more quickly."
"How does a sealing scroll work? I may need one for some of my stuff." Naruto said, wondering if he could take some of the things he had from his home. There wasn't much, but he had recently bought a whole lot of ramen and had a few things that he would like to keep, for sure. And, if you could seal some things, why not others?
Tsunade blinked before pulling out one of the scrolls that were always on her person with standard supplies in case she needed them like blotters, scrolls, ink and the like. "This symbol is the standard seal used for storage scrolls. It's linked to a pocket of space that isn't actually here, but linked only to that seal. So, if you have one thing, you just put it on the seal, cover it in chakra and then put the chakra on the seal and it gets sucked right up into it. It's like it gets slurped in through a straw, so to speak," Tsunade explained, making sure Naruto was following.
"So, there's like a giant pocket in the universe that only has an opening to that seal? And each seal is like that?" Naruto asked, making sure.
"Yes. But, if you want to seal a whole pile of things, then you have to surround the whole pile in chakra just like putting it all into a sack and then touch that chakra to the seal. So, the more you seal at once, the more chakra you need, and the larger the risk of running out. Most people use too much, but they don't seal a lot to make it really hurt them. But, that's why not everyone is taught to do it, because it usually weakens people too much. That's why sealing items isn't taught at the Academy since students could hurt themselves."
"Is there a limit to size or how long it can be in there?" Naruto asked curiously.
"Depends on the person doing the sealing," Tsunade said with a shrug. "The only limit is to what the person can put in with their chakra and control to surround whatever they want in. Now, I've got to tell you about your family, too," she said, getting a gasp from Hinata and a startled 'WHAT!' from Naruto that drowned out Ino's curious 'Huh?'.
"Naruto, because of the Kyuubi and because of who your father was, Sarutobi thought, and I agreed at the time I learned it, that it would be best if you didn't know who your parents were until you were strong enough to defend yourself. Children have a bad habit of not being able to keep secrets, so it was certainly not safe until you were older to talk about it. I guess Sarutobi just didn't get around to telling you yet."
"What do you mean?" Naruto asked, feeling betrayed by the recently-deceased Sandaime.
"Naruto, your mother's name was Uzumaki Kushina. She was a Jounin in Whirlpool before she came to Konoha after meeting your father. Her family was actually one of two that founded the village. And it prospered until the last Shinobi War, where Iwa wiped it out."
Naruto's face fell as Hinata and Ino, the latter still hiding outside, leaned closer to the source of the intriguing tale. That would mean he most likely didn't have any real blood family left. "What about my dad?"
Tsunade sighed, knowing this would hurt more than probably anything else he had learned that day. But, he had to know. And it was best to learn now, while they had the chance to let him calm down before they went into the wilderness. "Your father was Namikaze Minato. He was the Yondaime Hokage of Konoha."
Naruto, Hinata and Ino's eyes all widened.
"M-my own father put the Kyuubi in me?" Naruto asked. "Why?"
Tsunade sighed once again, not appreciating that Sarutobi had left her with this particular job. "Naruto, your father, like most are, was incredibly proud of his son. You were just born and he only knew of one way to help the village. But, in the process, he planned on helping you, too."
"What do you mean?" The blonde-haired boy asked.
"Minato designed the seal so that you would absorb the Kyuubi's strength and power as you aged," she confessed, deciding to explain exactly what Sarutobi's journals said. "He wanted you to have that power and to have a name as great as his, if not even better, and provided for you the best way he knew how. There was one other birth that night, but he felt it was a form of revenge on the fox to give you his power and make you the strongest human in the world. And, could you really see the Hokage asking another family to make a sacrifice like that? Your mother died during childbirth and he knew he had to sacrifice his life for the jutsu to work since no one else knew the technique, so he felt that he could leave you with the power of the Kyuubi where you could train to be great and powerful and help the people who meant something to you."
"Sarutobi wasn't sure when, exactly, but the seal was designed to eventually transfer all of the Kyuubi's power to you and make you the strongest person alive, even more than all of the known demons. Your mother had died during childbirth and he was going to sacrifice his own life to send it away, so he wanted his son to benefit where no one else could as well. And, with the number of enemies he had both within Konoha, who didn't like the way he ran things during the war, and outside, from the number of people he killed, he felt it was one of the better ways to ensure you survived. Even then, only a very small number of people knew in the beginning and it was supposed to remain secret from everyone else."
Tsunade spread her arms out imploringly, not sure what more she could tell him. "From what I understand, a member of the Council learned about you and told the others, but didn't explain all of the failsafes that the Yondaime had put in to make sure you would gain the fox's power but not controlled by it. He told them that the Yondaime put the fox into a child so it could be killed. Sarutobi had to explain the truth, but by then, it was too late. That Councilman had already allowed the information to leak out to the public, which is why you are treated so damned badly to this day. And, because he didn't do anything that was technically against the law, and because the other Councilmen thought he was blowing the whistle on the Yondaime's plans, Sarutobi would have been in serious trouble for disciplining the man for letting the information get out, since he didn't know it was supposed to be secret, or so he said. Sarutobi did all he could and told the man to disband the means in which he learned about everything, but he had already made things difficult."
Naruto was unsure about what to think. Everything sounded normal, or at least legitimate, and it made sense in a creepy, narcissistic way. "So, the Yondaime is my dad and he put the Kyuubi in me because he wanted to make me strong?" He asked in a mostly dead tone.
All the women present, even the hidden one in the hall, winced at it before Tsunade corrected him slightly. "That, but also because he knew the fox wouldn't want to die, so it would try to protect you. Your increased regeneration is likely because of that, and your stamina, too. You're constantly getting its chakra to fill your own reserves and make them larger, which is one of the biggest reasons you have such poor control over your chakra, but already have reserves that are bigger than mine by about triple. It just keeps growing. We'll be taking care of that once we hit the road and get out of this dump of a village Thursday night. The Council's banishment order on you doesn't take affect until Saturday, but I'm still worried they may try and send hunter nin, so I'm wanting to leave early like I mentioned earlier."
Naruto nodded sullenly. "If you guys don't mind, I think I'd like to get some sleep."
"Alright, but remember that we're leaving Thursday night to make sure those bastards in the Council don't try to kill you before giving you the chance to get out of here, so I need you to stay in the hospital and not leave until then. Even act like you're still wounded. Myself and Shizune are the only ones allowed to check up on you, so no one should know how quickly you're healing for now. Understand?"
Naruto nodded and the group of girls got up as Ino quickly left, having more than just a little to think about.
"We understand, Naruto-kun. R-rest and we'll make sure Ayame-san brings you plenty of ramen," Hinata said, not feeling brave enough to risk giving him a hug or anything else similar. Sure, she had molested him while he was unconscious ... and while she was unconscious ... but now he knew she liked him. He didn't hate her for it, but he didn't accept her, either. At least not yet.
Naruto tried to smile, but it came out a little sickly before he rolled over and wrapped himself in the blanket.
'Well, there's certainly nothing keeping me from believing Shino's story now,' Ino thought, walking away from the hospital. The things she had just learned threw her entire universe out of whack. Naruto was treated like a leper because of something his dad did to him. The same dad who was the Yondaime of Konoha. And all of the bad things she had ever heard about him were likely because of that. But, at the same time, Naruto was a good person! She knew it, and even Hinata said as much! He had never done anything to deliberately hurt anyone. He was actually always trying to make people smile and be happy.
Sure, he pranked people without mercy, but looking back on it, it was either harmless, or the people who got the not-so-harmless pranks were people who were mean to him. Granted, she could understand them being mean after such a prank, but she had the thought that it wasn't usually the case. Only adults ever got the bad pranks.
Spotting a shock of pink, Ino trailed it and caught up to Sakura, Naruto's teammate, walking along aimlessly. "Hey Sakura!"
The girl in question turned and saw Ino and smiled sadly. "Hey Ino. What are you doing here?" She asked quietly, feeling extremely melancholy.
"I was on my way up to see Naruto," Ino confessed. "I was making rounds and visiting everyone who went on the retrieval mission to tell them to get well soon and found Naruto's room last and-"
"I hate Naruto," Sakura interrupted quietly, a single tear trailing down her cheek as she looked down, letting her pink hair shadow her eyes.
"Huh? What, why?" Ino asked, confused.
"Naruto promised he'd bring back Sasuke-kun and he didn't," Sakura said. "He lied to me. He's always been worthless, but he's never broken a promise before, and then he broke the one he made to me."
Sakura looked up and Ino saw the girl's eyes were puffy and red. "I hate him. I really do," she said firmly.
In truth, she knew Naruto was a good person and had many good qualities, but she was absolutely miserable, trying to figure out why Sasuke had left them. Left her. And then she finally put her hopes into Naruto, honestly believing he could really help, and he had let her down. She knew she was mainly speaking in anger at the moment, but didn't really care. She would feel better soon and feel up to visiting Naruto then, but for now, she just wanted him to be away from wherever she was. It hurt too much.
It was strange how much Naruto failing her hurt more than Sasuke leaving her that morning.
Ino knew how Sakura was feeling at that point, even without having to use her clan's techniques, but instinctively knew that, as badly as she needed to talk about what she had overheard, Sakura was a bad person to choose for now. She wasn't sure about the Kyuubi information, but she remembered what Hinata said about treason and execution. And she was pretty sure Sakura would do something regrettable.
"I understand," she told Sakura, deciding she could see if her father or mother knew anything about it. They were adults, just like everyone else, and were safe to talk to. "Maybe go to the hot springs and relax. It always helps me feel better, even when everything else goes bad. But I have to get home, so I'll see you later."
With that, Ino made a direct line to her home, hoping her father was back. Her team's fathers had all been out on missions, but had raced home after completing them early so they could help their sons. Chouji wouldn't have lived if his father hadn't been there fast enough with Shikamaru's father to help create the antidote to their family's unique soldier pills.
And Chouji still complained about not being able to regain his weight, even though he was eating worse than ever. It still threw Ino off.
[Author's Notes:] - Posted mainly for reference for a few people who've discussed this with me.