A Hero's Resolve by Tsukaria

Disclaimer: I own neither DBZ or Naruto. Credit goes to their respective creators and affiliates.

A/N: Hey again! I'm glad you seem to like my little plot twist. Just to let you guys know, I plan on keeping the storyline mainly intact until at least after the Chuunin exams.

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Chapter 17: Set in Motion.

The following morning, after Gohan and Naruto had returned to Tazuna's, the two were given a 'stern talking to' by Kakashi for skipping out on their duties the previous evening. Truthfully though, Kakashi was happy to see that the half-saiyan seemed a lot more comfortable in himself than he had been since the mission had begun.

Sitting down around the table for their morning meal, Team Seven were chatting amongst themselves (that meaning of course that Sakura was pestering her beloved Sasuke for a date while Naruto was loudly boasting that he'd "get that tree climbing thing done today for sure" while Gohan merely sat in anticipation for the food – he had skipped yesterday's dinner after all and he was part Saiyan – and Kakashi was reading his little orange book).

Before the promised food arrived though, they were interrupted by a quiet voice.

"Why do you guys even bother?"

The question had been asked by the young boy who now stood in the doorway. Gohan could see a likeness in the boy to Tsunami, her son perhaps? They'd yet to meet the boy so far as apparently he rarely ventured out of his room.

It was, of course, Naruto who responded first.

"What do you mean 'why do we bother?' Its our mission of course. And who the hell are you anyway?"

"Naruto, that's Inari. He's Tsunami's son." Sakura angrily whispered to the blonde Genin.

"I don't care who he is!" the jinchuuriki exclaimed.

"Naruto, calm down a little." Kakashi instructed.

The boy, Inari, persisted. "You guys are just gonna get killed by Gato's thugs anyway, you might as well just go back where you came from."

While Naruto glared at the impudent child, it was Sasuke who responded.

"Listen kid, we may not look it but we're more than most common thugs can handle. We'll take care of this for you seeing as you people can't even protect yourselves."

Inari seemed to become angry as he then turned and stormed out of the room.

Kakashi then turned to the Uchiha, who hadn't moved from his sitting position while this had all gone on. "Sasuke, there was no need for that."

"Sasuke is partly right though" Gohan interrupted to everyone's surprise, especially Sasuke, who opened his dark eyes to look at the hybrid. "These people couldn't handle the problem themselves. That's why they came to us for help. But," Gohan continued, now turning to look at the Uchiha. "It speaks of their wisdom, not cowardice that they asked for assistance. There aren't any Shinobi in the Land of Waves, Sasuke. Don't judge them too harshly."

Sasuke gave a small glare but declined to respond opting for "Hn.", a dismissal of the topic.

Tsunami then entered, bringing the team their breakfast.

"I saw Inari running to his room just now, did something happen?"

"Ah, no. Not really, just a simple misunderstanding is all." Kakashi explained, attempting to deflect the conversation that would likely follow. Taking charge of the situation, Kakashi then started giving his team orders.

"All right, we have about half an hour before we get started on the training again. I want everyone to be ready by then." He then addressed the boys on his team: "Gohan, Sasuke and Naruto, you three will continue from where you left off yesterday. Sakura," The jounin looked towards the girl. "As you have completed the exercise, you will be heading to the bridge with me, we'll be helping with construction and guarding Tazuna."

The pinkette groaned loudly. Suddenly, tree climbling sounded awfully good.

"Am I understood?" Kakashi asked.

"Yes, Kakashi-sensei." was the response from each of his Genin.

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In Konoha, the Hokage was busy reading and signing the paperwork that was due yesterday.

Truthfully, Hiruzen was unnerved by the blatant challenge issued by his old friend. If the confidence Danzo had yesterday was anything to go by, he already had a plan in motion.

'But' the Hokage thought 'it might not be that simple'.

It could be a bluff on Danzo's part, who may want Hiruzen himself to make the first move. Why, though, the Third didn't know. Perhaps Danzo wanted Team seven split up, hoping Hiruzen might decide to separate the boys in order to prevent Naruto from following Gohan should the hybrid be swayed.

Or, perhaps this was nothing more than a tactic to spur the Hokage into panic and thereby attempt to justify a dismissal on grounds of imcompetency.

Knowing Danzo as Hiruzen did, it was likely all of the above along with several other backup plans. There was a reason the Third kept Danzo around after all, he could at times be useful.

Pausing in his charge on the mountain of paper, Hiruzen decided that it might be wise to send a message to Kakashi. Danzo might have something planned for the mission Team seven were on.

Pulling out a blank scroll from within one of the drawers of his desk, the Hokage began to write the message. After he was finished, he rolled up the scroll and sealed it.

"Tsubame." He called.

Seeming to melt into the room from the wall, one of the Hokage's ANBU bodyguards answered the call.

"Yes, my lord?" She asked.

The Hokage stood and turned away from the ANBU, looking out to the village. He then raised his left hand, showing her the scroll.

"I want this delivered to Kakashi Hatake immediately. Use the fastest carrier bird we have, I would like for him to receive it before the end of the day."

The ANBU walked up to the Hokage before accepting the scroll. When the Third turned again to sit back down at the desk, she was gone without a trace.

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In Wave, Sakura was busy helping out with the construction of the bridge. She had noticed though that her sensei wasn't actually helping at all.

When she called him out on it though all she received was a confused look like that of a puppy – complete with the slight tilt of the head – and a reply of "But Sakura, someone has to supervise."

Growing angry again and nearly dropping the crate she was attempting to carry, she refocused on her work, all the while cursing her good chakra control.

Kakashi on the other hand was having a wonderful time. He had taken the opportunity to re-read the 'Icha-Icha' series again and was just getting to the good bits of the second book when he heard the familiar screech of a messenger bird.

Looking up, Kakashi realised it was heading toward him. Lifting an arm to provide a perch for the bird, he waited until it landed before using his other hand to untie the message. Once it was removed, the bird once again took flight, telling Kakashi that a response wasn't needed.

Looking at the scroll in his hand, Kakashi noticed the seal on the contents. Releasing it, he carefully opened it and unravelled the scroll.


I hope things are going well on the mission, I haven't yet received a report but trust that you'll brief me in full upon your return.

In Konoha however there has been a most unusual and frankly disturbing turn of events.

Yesterday, I received a visit from Danzo Shimura; my former team-mate and a member of the Elder Council. I'm sure you are familiar with the name. Danzo inquired about your mission, initially asking whether it was wise to allow Naruto to leave the Land of Fire, for reasons I am sure you understand.

At first I admit I thought he was simply there to gain guardianship over the boy. Its nothing new so I wasn't worried.

Then he asked about Gohan.

This could be trouble, Kakashi. As I am sure you are aware no one in the village is sure of how powerful Gohan is, not even us. For Danzo to take an interest means he sees something in the boy that can be moulded to suit his goals. I know Danzo well, he won't waste his time with those he believes he cannot convince. Given Naruto's attachment to the boy I need not stress what could happen if Gohan should indeed be recruited. We cannot allow Naruto to fall into Danzo's clutches.

Danzo was so confident that he even openly challenged me to prevent this from happening. Though indeed I do hope that Gohan will not be swayed by Danzo's ideals, this does present us with an opportunity. Danzo has never openly revealed a potential Foundation recruit to me before. He has always approached them himself. Shameful though it is to admit, I know nothing about the

Foundation other than the fact it exists.

With Danzo declaring an interest though, we might be able to get one of our own on the inside.

I want you to try and find out how Gohan would feel about this. I won't force this on the boy but I think if he wishes to help us on this it could prove invaluable in putting an end to Danzo's schemes.

Also, be careful Kakashi, Danzo might already have something in motion that may involve your mission. It might be nothing but take extra precautions, just to make sure.

I wish you success on your mission.

Hiruzen Sarutobi,

Third Hokage of Konohagakure; The Village Hidden in the Leaves.

Closing up the scroll and then setting it alight with a quick fireball, Kakashi stood and called out to the pink haired genin.

"Sakura, I'm going to check to see how the boys are coming along. Keep up the good work!"

The girl whirled around and yelled after the retreating jounin.

"Don't just leave me here you lazy excuse for a sensei!"

Without turning around, Kakashi gave a lazy wave with one hand.

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Kakashi walked at an unhurried pace to the clearing in which his male genin were busy training. Upon his arrival, the copy ninja stayed out of sight to observe the scene. Looking at the boys before him, Kakashi had to admit he was impressed.

It appeared that Naruto and Sasuke had managed to complete the training but had decided to continue practicing as the two were currently walking steadily up and down the trunks of the large trees.

Gohan on the other hand; well Kakashi had to say that the hybrid was dedicated to training. The boy was currently doing the same as the other two genin; ascending and descending the tree at a steady pace, but with one alteration – Gohan was using his hands only, meaning he was performing a handstand and then hand walking up and down the tree.

That boy never ceased to astound Kakashi with his ingenuity. Kakashi supposed learning to stick your hands to surfaces could be just as effective, especially in a free fall situation.

It was then that Kakashi walked out into the clearing.

"Well, things seem to be coming along well here." His statement drew the attention of the boys, causing them to look his way. "Seeing as you all seem to have mastered this exercise, have a ten minute break, then we'll head over to the bridge."

The boys jumped from the trees and began heading out of the clearing.

"Gohan, a word if you please." Kakashi called out.

Naruto turned to look at Kakashi, about to insist that he remain but was cut off by Gohan.

"It's alright. Go on ahead. This shouldn't take long."

The blonde did, somewhat reluctantly, head back to Tazuna's with Sasuke.

With it being just Gohan and Kakashi remaining, Gohan decided to find out what this was about.

"So, what do you need to speak to me about, Kakashi-sensei?"

"Gohan," Kakashi began unsure of how to phrase what he was about to say. "Tell me, have you come into contact with a man called Danzo in Konoha?"

Gohan looked slightly confused at the seemingly random topic of conversation before noticing the serious glint in the jounin's eye.

"The Elder Council member? Always bandaged, carries a cane?" Gohan inquired.

"That's him."

"A few times..." Gohan began. "Mostly it was in passing, Naruto and I would sometimes see him in the village. He was one of the few who actually says hello to us."

Kakashi continued pressing the boy for information. "Any other meetings? I need to know, Gohan."

"Orders from above?" Gohan asked, to which he received a nod. "Well... There was one time. About two months in to my stay in Konoha, he observed one of my training sessions with Naruto..."

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"Calm down, Naruto. You're not thinking about your movements, it makes you easy to read."

"I'm trying!"

"No you think you are but what your actually doing is wildly throwing out blows hoping they'll connect. You need to concentrate."

Danzo Shimura was not normally one to take an interest in the training regimes of potential genin from the academy. But this Gohan was a mystery to the Elder.

From his vantage point amongst the trees of the training ground, Danzo could see the figures of Gohan and the nine-tails boy.

Danzo had always cursed the fool Hiruzen for not allowing the boy to be raised under the Elder's guidance. Could the old fool not see that to let the Kyuubi's jinchuuriki roam free meant losing the village's greatest asset go to waste? Danzo held no illusions that all the other villages would never let their greatest weapons do as they pleased. Such power needed to be kept on a tight leash to protect both the people and the jinchuuriki themselves.

Noticing the boys once more, Danzo could see that the nine-tails boy genuinely respected the dark haired child. Indeed, as Gohan calmed the blonde down it was easy to read from the boy's face that he was loving the attention.

This spoke of opportunity to the warhawk. Looking on he noticed Gohan positioning the blonde's limbs in an attempt to instruct the boy.

"OK, Naruto. I want you to go through the motions I showed you. Slowly. You need to get the motions absolutely perfect before we start speeding you up to full combat pace."

"Like this?"

"Almost, look your left arm keeps dropping. Try to keep it in place until you absolutely have to move it. You'll let your opponent in otherwise."

"How about now?"

"No, no. Look, I'll show you one more time. Pay close attention to my left side and think about the movements you were doing."

"Oh, I get it. So that's where it needs to go!"

"Exactly. Do you want to run through the motions a few times together? Just so you can keep an eye on what you should be doing."

"Yeah, sure!"

Danzo almost chuckled at the sight. Almost. Gohan seemed to have the patience of a saint to deal with the blonde. Watching the pair, the Elder noticed how Gohan's movements seemed almost fluid, as if his body was performing the kata automatically. Before long Naruto was practising by himself and Danzo decided to make himself known, emerging from the depths of the forest. It seemed as though he would need to play the part of the kind old man for the moment, no matter how distasteful it was to the elder.

"Ah, hello there boys."

As expected, the greeting was enough to throw the blonde off from his movements. The other however-

"You took your time revealing yourself."

The voice had come from behind him. Danzo then noticed that the cool edge of a kunai was pressed against his throat. 'Impressive...'

"You really thought to sneak up on us? I've seen you around the village, always greeting us as we walk by. Did you honestly think we'd fall for that? What do you want?"

Danzo had to admit the boy had quite the frightening persona right now. The boy was almost snarling at him.

As he had yet to give a response, Gohan reminded the Elder of his position by pressing the blade he held more firmly against the flesh of his current captive. "Answer me!"

"You can put the kunai down, child. I'm not here to harm you or your friend, you can relax."

"Words are cheap. I want proof."

Once again impressed, Danzo reached into his sleave and retrieved his identification papers.

"These will show you everything you need to believe me." The Elder held out the papers to the blonde, who cautiously took them.

"Naruto, what do they say?"

"It's some kind of report from a meeting. Signed by a Danzo Shimura... Guess that's the old guy there..." Naruto kept flicking through before coming across an old ID card.

"Well the pictures from a while back, still had both eyes back then huh?" Naruto said, throwing a small sly grin at the Elder.

'Oh, if only you knew, boy' Danzo thought.

"Hey, Gohan! Get this, apparently this guy's a member of the Elder council! Guess that means he's someone important huh?" The blonde exclaimed.

"Someone who must have better things to be doing than spying on a pair of academy students." Gohan noted.

The Elder was impressed by the teamwork the two were showing and by the diligence displayed by the boy who was restraining him.

It was only then that the weapon was removed from Danzo's thraot. The elder turned and appraised the hybrid. The boy was of above average height, just starting to reach the five foot mark. He also had a highly developed musculature, something not most boys the same age as this one had.

"You have good insincts boy." The warhawk praised. "Tell me, what is your name?" They hadn't actually met in person after all. He needed to gain this boy's trust. Revealing that he knew the boy's name without being told by him would not be of use right now.

"Gohan." Simple answer for a simple question.

"An unusual name." Danzo commented. "Still, you carry it well."

"My thanks." The half-saiyan responded. "I also apologise for my earlier behaviour."

"Think nothing of it. In actuality I am impressed by your quick thinking. How long did you know I was watching?"

"Ever since you turned up."

Giving a small smile, the elder then turned to Naruto who also looked apologetic, if the sheepish grin was anything to go by.

"You two seem well on your way to becoming fine shinobi." Danzo commented. He then started heading away from the pair, back to the village.

"Perhaps the future of the Leaf isn't quite lost just yet after all."

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"We saw him around a few times after that but didn't really speak to him again." Gohan explained.

Kakashi had to prevent himself from letting more than a few curse words slip. 'That would get the attention of someone like Danzo...' Kakashi mused.

Giving a long sigh, Kakashi began explaining. "That man, Danzo, is the leader of a hard-line political faction within Konoha. This group calls itself Root. They advocate a more aggressive stance for the village when dealing with the other nations."

"Well, that's not wholly a bad thing though." Gohan commented. "There needs to be some form of opposition in any political system where the leader is elected to keep a check on the leader's actions and propose alternatives. Even though it's a militaristic leadership, the Hokage is still elected by the court of the Land of Fire's Feudal Lord so it's logical there will need to be more than one candidate for each selection."

Kakashi was somewhat unnerved by the fact that Gohan didn't seem to mind Root's existance at all. Perhaps the Hokage was right and Danzo had seen something after all.

"Besides," Gohan continued. "Sometimes they may even be right. Take the Hyuuga Incident with the Cloud for example. They were clearly in the wrong, proposing an alliance while also hatching a plan to abduct the Hyuuga heiress. Instead of calling them out on this though, Konoha capitulated and sent the head of the clan leader's twin. Though it did dupe the Cloud, there was still no need of it, their threats of war were hollow as when the village received intelligence several weeks later from spies inside Kumo, it was revealed that they didn't have the resources for a sustained conflict."

Not willing to enter into a debate over the finer points of foreign policy with a genin student, Kakashi decided to ignore the observation.

"Danzo also has a military division of Root." Kakashi explained, drawing Gohan's attention again. "He calls it the Foundation. Officially, its a division of the ANBU Black-ops which specialises in high risk missions and assassinations. Unofficially though, its an autonomous military faction directly under the control of Danzo, comprised of members who are completely loyal to the man and his cause. Doesn't sound like peaceful political opposition now, does it?"

Gohan remained silent.

"Now, not everyone is in the loop about this information, Gohan. In fact, The Third has labelled it an S-class secret."

"Then why tell me this?" Gohan asked.

"Danzo has shown an... interest in you. He wants to recruit you for the Foundation.". Kakashi explained.

"But... why?" Gohan was a little bewildered by all this.

"You seem to have impressed him with your little stunt that day at the training field. So much so that, just yesterday, he went to the Hokage himself and demanded you be transferred to the Foundation's ranks."

"That was certainly a bold move." Gohan noted, begrudgingly impressed by the sheer audacity that Danzo had displayed.

"That's one way of putting it." Kakashi couldn't help noticing the kernel of respect that seemed to be growing in Gohan's eyes. "I received a letter from the Hokage earlier today, telling me about this. It also contained a... mission."

"Oh, what did he ask you do do then, Kakashi-sensei?"

"Not me, you." Noticing the confused look in Gohan's eyes, Kakashi elaborated. "Danzo ususally gains recruits for the Foundation in secret. This is the first time we know the identity of someone Danzo wants to sway to his side."

"The Hokage wants me on the inside." Gohan deduced. "You said yourself that it's an autonomous faction, meaning you have no way to know what's going on in the Foundation. As Danzo wants me your hoping I'll be able to gather information critical to his cause and pass it on to you."

"It's completely your decision, Gohan." Kakashi stressed. "You don't have to accept. These aren't official orders."

"I'll... think about it."

"That's all we're asking, Gohan."

"I suppose we'd best head back now, the others will wonder where we are." Gohan said as he started heading back to the house. He then paused before turning to face Kakashi once again. "You know that this might be what Danzo wants right? He might have revealed the fact that he wants me because he knew you might try something like this."

Kakashi nodded before gravely replying. "I have thought the same myself, that's why we're giving you the choice, Gohan. You've only just become a genin. Normally you wouldn't have even been considered for something this risky. The parameters for a mission like this would place it firmly within the S-rank category."

"Like I said, I'll think about it."

"Good. And, Gohan? It would be best not to mention this to anyone for the moment. Especially not Naruto. Understand?"

Gohan nodded.

Eye-smile once again in place, Kakashi then followed his student back to Tazuna's.

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Upon their return they found out that Naruto had engaged in a massive argument with Inari in their absence. Apparently, Inari had told the rest of the team about his father's death and that it was pointless to oppose Gato.

Naruto had railed at the boy and told him to get a grip (or something along those lines) before throwing Inari to the ground and proceeding to ignore the kid.

Suffice it to say, Kakashi was not best pleased.

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A/N: Well there it is! Hope you all enjoyed.

As usual, please leave a review.