The Power of Fanaticism versus the Power of Youth
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto.
Spoilers: Up to recent Manga Chapters.
Note: Inspired by the WMG page at TV Tropes which suggested that the Daimyo was just vulnerable to people yelling things at him. Honestly, that or Danzo using mind control again is really the only way to explain how the Daimyo went from choosing Kakashi to choosing Danzo in roughly two panels.
"It is now time for the official vote on Danzo as Rokudaime Hokage," the Fire Lord's assistant announced. "All those in favor please signify by saying 'Aye.'"
The Konoha Jounin said nothing, instead engaging in staring contests among themselves as if they were daring each other to support the interim Hokage.
"I said," the assistant repeated, annoyed that the shinobi weren't listening to him, "all those in favor say 'Aye.'"
Again, no one said anything.
Sighing, the assistant continued. "All those opposed please signify by saying 'Nay.'"
"Is there a stronger way of voting no than 'nay'?" Ibiki asked.
"No, there is not," the assistant replied.
"Then I vote nay," Ibiki informed everyone.
"So…that's 0 votes for Danzo and 216 votes against him?" the assistant asked.
"This is an outrage!" Danzo cried. "I demand another vote!"
"But…it was unanimous," Inoichi pointed out. "I don't think another vote is going to change the outcome any."
"I was good enough for you a week ago, why aren't I good enough for you now?" Danzo demanded. "Or are you all so fickle that you can't possibly commit to someone if you don't have the vote immediately?"
"That's not it," Kakashi assured him. "It's just that according to the Kazekage, you embarrassed us all by running away from the Kage summit the minute Sasuke showed up and before then you used your Sharingan to manipulate Mifune when he was trying to choose a leader for the new 'Shinobi Alliance.' And what's more, you apparently didn't even need to do that as you would have been picked anyway."
"Of course I left!" Danzo defended himself. "Konoha can't afford to lose another Hokage so soon after Tsunade's coma and Sasuke gave the impression he was there to kill me."
"Why would Sasuke have attacked the summit for the sole purpose of killing you?" Kurenai inquired. "I mean, that would have to be the worst possible opportunity to do so."
"Don't expect me to understand the mind of a missing-nin," Danzo retorted. "He's clearly unbalanced."
"Because of that stunt you pulled, the other four Kages have agreed that there is no way they would recognize you as Hokage," Kakashi reminded him.
"It's not for them to decide," Danzo bristled. "It may be an alliance, but we MUST retain our autonomy."
"While I respect the sentiments," Shikaku said diplomatically, "under the circumstances, I can't blame them. You say you can only use the Sharingan to manipulate people once a day but even if that is true, that still means every day people would have to be on the lookout for your mind control. In fact, how do we know you didn't use your power to manipulate us into giving you the position in the first place?"
The Daimyo's eyes widened and he glared at Danzo. Regardless if that were true or not, the seeds of doubt had been planted. "Well? How do you answer these accusations?"
"I swear, I did not manipulate you," Danzo promised.
"How do I know you're not trying to manipulate me right now?" the Daimyo demanded.
"You don't," Kakashi replied. "And you'll never be sure."
"Who do you suggest, then?" Danzo snapped. "You? You were the second choice last time, you know."
"I would be honored to accept the position," Kakashi began. "Unfortunately, due to Danzo's needless use of the Sharingan's mind control powers, they would not likely accept me only a week after Danzo's…actions at the summit as I also bear the Sharingan."
"Does EVERYONE who you cannot see both of their eyes have a Sharingan?" Neji asked exasperatedly. "Because it's starting to seem that way."
"Apparently one of the Mizukage's guards has a Byakugan," Kakashi offered.
"That just makes it worse," Neji told him flatly.
"Well, we need a strong candidate or else we will be forced to keep Danzo," the Daimyo announced. "After all, it's possible that the summit was simply a misstep that he has learned from."
"I guess that answers the question of 'is he using the Sharingan' again," Neji muttered.
"I thought you might say that," Shikaku said. "And while I still feel that Hatake Kakashi is the best ninja for the job, he's right; the timing really is horrible. And so I offer as my substitute candidate…Maito Gai."
There was silence for a moment.
"You're joking," Kakashi said finally, the first to find his voice.
"I would never joke about something as serious as the fate of Konoha," Shikaku replied solemnly.
"IT IS A MOST UNEXPECTED HONOR TO EVEN BE CONSIDERED FOR THIS POSITION," Gai always shouted when he was excited, which was half the reason Shikaku picked him. The Daimyo was extremely susceptible to loud people, after all, and the last thing they needed was for Danzo to sneak one of his puppets into the Hokage seat since he himself was more or less out of the running. "FEAR NOT, MY ETERNAL RIVAL! IF I AM CHOSEN AS HOKAGE I WILL APPROACH THE JOB WITH AS MUCH YOUTH AND SINCERITY AS I AM CAPABLE OF!"
"That's what I'm afraid of," Kakashi murmured, wincing in anticipation.
"He certainly seems dedicated," the Daimyo said, sounding deeply impressed.
"Oh, he is," Shikaku said seriously. "He's got to be the most dedicated and enthusiastic Jounin you will ever hope to meet. Why, did you know he managed to turn a boy without the ability to use Chakra into a first-class Chuunin through taijutsu alone?"
"That's amazing!" the Daimyo exclaimed.
"He was not trained by a Hokage or a student of a Hokage," the Fire Lord's assistant spoke up. "And up until now, all the Hokage's have been kept strictly in the family in that sense."
"Danzo was not trained by anyone with direct ties to the position of Hokage, either, and he was approved," Choza pointed out.
"And since we were willing to give him the position I suppose I see your point," the assistant admitted. "Do you feel you are qualified?"
"IF I AM NOT QUALIFIED THAN I WILL DO 500 LAPS AROUND KONOHA, REBUILD THE HOKAGE MANSION BY MYSELF IN THREE HOURS, AND TREAT NARUTO TO AS MUCH RAMEN AS HE CAN EAT!" Gai proclaimed.
"Willing to pay for Naruto's ramen? Well, I'm convinced," Kakashi decided.
"Me too," Choza agreed. "A man never makes a promise involving his stomach lightly."
"I NEVER MAKE ANY PROMISES LIGHTLY!" Gai informed them helpfully.
"His enthusiasm will be a great boon to our rebuilding efforts," Shikaku added. "Especially with this new war we've got with…basically one person and so we won't look weak in the eyes of our newfound allies."
"Well, shall we vote on it?" the assistant asked. When no one objected, he continued, "All those in favor, please say 'Aye.'"
"I suppose…" Kakashi said reluctantly. "It could be worse. Although probably not more youthful…"
"All those opposed?" the assistant asked.
"Nay," Danzo said, glaring at the Jounin assembled when he realized that no one else was supporting him in this.
"Okay, so that's 214 for and 1 aGainst. We're missing someone," the assistant noted. "Who didn't vote?"
Neji slowly raised his hand. "Can I just abstain?"
The assistant blinked at him. "If you feel like you must."
"I do, believe me," Neji assured him. "And in that case I abstain. Courteously."
"NEJI! MY NOT-NEARLY-AS-YOUTHFUL-AS-LEE STUDENT!" Gai cried. "DO YOU NOT HAVE FAITH IN MY ABILITY TO LEAD US INTO THE FUTURE?"
Neji shook his head. "No, I do, I just…" he shuddered as images of Gai using his power as Hokage to make them wake up earlier than usual for training or to attempt to make everyone more youthful flashed before his eyes. "It wouldn't be very impartial of me, since you are my sensei," he lied.
"WHAT A YOUTHFUL ATTITUDE TO TAKE!" Tears were rolling down Gai's cheeks at this point. "YOU HAVE COME SO FAR, NEJI, IN JUST A FEW SHORT YEARS…"
"Um, yes," Neji agreed, a little embarrassed at the way everyone was staring at him.
"So, the way it stands now: 214 are for Maito Gai as Hokage, 1 is against, and 1 is abstaining. Courteously," the assistant recapped.
"In that case, congratulations, Maito Gai," the Daimyo beamed. "You are the Rokudaime Hokage."
"THIS IS THE MOST YOUTHFUL DAY OF MY LIFE!" Gai shouted as manly tears ran down his face. "I MUST GO FIND MY MOST YOUTHFUL STUDENT AND TELL HIM THE NEWS! I WILL BE BACK SHORTLY TO OFFICIALLY BE SWORN IN!"
"Well, I suppose at least we won't have to worry about spreading the word as I'm sure half the town will have heard by the time he's finished screaming the news through the street on his quest to find Lee," Kakashi noted. "Are you sure this was a good idea?"
"Of course it was," Shikaku said confidently. "With Gai's propensity towards shouting things out, he shouldn't have any problem with the Daimyo and he won't let Koharu and Homura hold him back with their 'unyouthful' ways."
"Don't use that word again," Kakashi said seriously.
"What, 'unyouthful'?" Shikaku asked innocently.
"Yes, stop it; it's disturbing," Kakashi said seriously.
Shikaku merely smiled. "And we know that he has the best interests of the village in mind, unlike Danzo who only really seems to have the best interests of Danzo-as-Hokage in mind."
"You have a point," Kakashi grudgingly admitted.
"Besides, if I were you I'd be more concerned about the fact that as Hokage he can order you, as a loyal shinobi of Konoha, to compete with him whenever he gets the urge to," Shikaku pointed out.
Kakashi's visible eye widened in horror. "…Is it too late to accept the position myself? I'm sure I could square the whole Sharingan thing with Gaara…"