Chapter 35: Aftereffects

Disclaimer: Nope, still don't own Naruto.

Konoha Hospital

Naruto sat quietly staring at his brother, who was currently wrapped up in bandages on the bed before him. There was a respirator hooked up to the older shinobi, though at the moment the unconscious ninja seemed to be able to breathe on his own. There was also an IV drip with anesthetics that was keeping him sedated. When Nartuo had first come in his old phobia to needles had acted up and he almost tried to take it out, which only resulted with the strange white-haired man who was also in the room grabbing his arm before he could. He had explained that Ronnel was under the sedatives because at the moment he was in severe pain.

Naruto's crimson-streaked cerulean eyes turned to look at the man again. The man hadn't introduced himself, only said that he was keeping an eye on the older Rei without saying why. Finally the young blonde broke the silence.

"Who are you and why do you need to keep an eye on Aniki?" The old man looked up from the notepad he was writing in and blinked slowly, as if only now seeing who it was that was in the room with him. He scratched one cheek with his pencil and sighed before leaning back against the wall and flipping back several pages through his notebook.

"My name is Jiraiya, of the Densetsu no Sannin. After the Hokage, I am one of the two highest ranking shinobi of Konohagakure; additionally, I am your godfather." Naruto's eyes widened, then narrowed back down as he studied the man before him. "I serve a special role for Konoha, which kept me from looking after you. If I had, Narikei would never have gotten custody of you like he did."
"Who?" Naruto was now feeling the edge of nerves jangling along the back of his neck. He didn't know who 'Narikei' was supposed to be, but from the way Jiraiya had said it, that was Ronnel – and that he wouldn't have let Ronnel take care of him and teach him. His suspicion was confirmed when Jiraiya spun his pencil around to point the eraser at the comatose shinobi on the bed between them.

"He's a shinobi of Yugakure, or he was before it was destroyed. It's been rebuilt into a resort now, but before that it was a hidden village. The common consensus among the few who know what happened believe that that man there was in large part responsible for the destruction of the village, with the rest being attributed to his younger brother. The fact that Hiruzen-sensei let such a man take you out of Konoha makes me doubt his continued capability to lead our village an-" that was as far as he got before Naruto's growl cut him off, a low, animalistic sound that set the oldest ninja in the room's teeth on edge.

"Shut your mouth teme! Aniki saved me from the hell that my life was, when you probably thought I was safe and sound in the village. I was better, far better, off traveling with him. I didn't even know what chakra was or how to fucking say it despite having been in the Ninja Academy for a year or so. I was over charged for everything I tried to buy, if I was even allowed into a shop, and there was just one restaurant that would let me eat there. I could count on one hand the number of people who didn't treat me like complete and utter shit and still have fingers left over. So don't you dare say that Ronnel-niisan was a threat to me, or that Jiji made a mistake. Because if you say it again, pretender godfather or not, I'll beat you from here to Yukigakure with a smile on my face." As Naruto had spoken, the temperature in the room had dropped dramatically, and Jiraiya, too stunned to react, had felt a heavy weight settling on his shoulders and heart. Then, as suddenly as the pressure had come, it vanished, with Naruto refocusing his gaze on his older brother.

For the next few minutes the two ninja in the room who were conscious were silent, neither one speaking a word. Finally Jiraiya heaved a large sigh, rubbed his eyes, and spoke. "I'm sorry kid." He shivered unconsciously when Naruto turned his gaze back towards him, startled at the fact that the red I Naruto's eyes had spread out, like cracks in ice that had widened. He held up his hands to ward the teen's anger off.

"Sensei never told me how bad it was for you here." Jiraiya stood up and walked to the window, looking out across the village that could be seen from it. "And I guess I never looked to hard at what was happening here myself, since I didn't want to believe that my home village could be so inhumane towards someone." The Sannin's shoulders slumped down, and he reached up and pulled his headband off, looking at the polished metal. "And I suppose, I was jealous in a way. Feh, no, I admit it. I was jealous of Nari-no, Ronnel." Jiraiya turned around, settling the horned hitai-ate back on his head. At Naruto's raised eyebrow the man seemed to deflate even more.

"The council of Konoha convinced me that it would be too difficult for an infant, and then a young boy, to travel around with me. That you needed the stability of a home in your youth, to give you a sense of belonging." At Naruto's snort, the old man shook his head. "Yeah. So when I heard that sensei had let someone else do just that, it hurt. It hurt that he didn't let me take you, that he let a stranger from somewhere else take you and didn't warn me to check him out. You got lucky, you really did, in that Ronnel wasn't a villain." Naruto's lips quirked downwards – the man was being stubborn about this, but he could understand a bit about why that might have hurt. Sadly though he didn't have a real connection to Jiraiya, who was attacking the person he did have a connection to.

The shinobi cut off their conversation when the door opened, and Naruto's eyes widened when he saw the woman strolling in. The first thing that he noticed was that strangely, she reminded him of Anko. She was wearing a long black trench coat that hung open, with a pair of black trousers and a form fitting black shirt. Held loosely in one hand was a long pipe, similar to what he had seen the Hokage smoking from, though hers was longer and slimmer while Sarutobi's was short and stout. One of the most noticeable differences lay in their hairstyles; Anko's was shorter, spiky, and tended to jut upwards from being held back by her hitai-ate. This woman's was long and flowing, and shades darker than Anko's. In fact, it was long enough that the tips were tracing along the ground gently.

Jiraiya studied the woman as she came in, and let out a long, low whistle. The woman's eyes flickered over to him first, then to Naruto, before dismissing them and refocusing on the figure laying on the bed between them. One slender eyebrow raised as she moved into the room, only to have Jiraiya move in front of her, his gaze locked onto her chest. The woman paused, and raised her pipe up and puffed on it while she stared at him calmly.

"Hey there lovely lady, how about you and I get out of this stuffy place? The only bed is occupied after all an-" The man's words were cut off when the woman blew a cloud of smoke into his face, making him cough several times.

"Do get out of my way. You aren't worth my time right now." Naruto snorted a laugh as Jiraiya's eyes bulged out at that. The older shinobi started to puff up his chest and stomach, only to get jabbed in the belly with the pipe the woman was holding, hard, which caused him wheeze and double over. She then pushed the hot end against his forehead and pushed him to the side, the man yelping and flinching away from her. She tapped the ashes out and tucked the pipe into one of the pockets, then moved over to Ronnel, who was still laying comatose on the bed. Naruto started to move forward when the woman bent over him and peeled an eyelid open, then frowned when she stood upright with a sigh.

"How long has my Paladin been like this?" She turned her gaze to the young blonde who was moving towards her, her head tilting to one side. Naruto paused as he looked at her. Now that he was closer to her, he could see that her body seemed incredibly tense, but not like she was ready to attack,no, it was more as if great pain was wracking her body. The strange woman paid no mind to it, instead focusing that gaze onto him with an intensity that made him shiver. It was Jiraiya who answered here, rubbing his stomach where she had jabbed him.

"He's been like this for two days, ever since the end of the invasion attack." The woman turned to look at him, and Naruto snapped out of whatever had fallen over him. With a hefty shove he pushed his way between her and Ronnel's comatose form, his hands tensing up. The woman just turned to look at him bemusedly as she put her pipe back into her mouth and raised an elegant eyebrow at the young teen's actions.

"Back off lady. How the hell did you get in here, and what are you talking about, calling Aniki a Paladin? What the makai does 'paladin' even mean?" The woman let out a sharp laugh and rubbed Naruto's head through his hat, making the teen growl. His eyes were locked onto hers. "What's so damn funny?"

"You call him Aniki and don't even know why he's a paladin? Not much of a younger brother are you? Anyway, move aside squirt, let me wake him up." Naruto stayed firmly between the woman and the bed, even when she moved around, and soon the woman's eyes narrowed. "I said move."
"Not going to happen. I don't know who you are, and there's no way I'm letting you get near my brother while he's defenseless." The woman snorted again and opened her mouth to speak, when an old, tired voice from the doorway brought everyone's attention to it.

"Let her see him Naruto. She's safe for now." Sarutobi was leaning heavily on a cane as he stood just inside the threshold of the room, and Jiraiya promptly pushed him into the empty seat beside the bed despite the Sandaime's protests.

"She's from his old village, and apparently has a connection with him. Since she's refusing to tell you her name, it's Yasukawa Zenli." Naruto's eyes shot open wide at that – that was the name that was connected to Ronnel's old village. The woman waved off Sarutobi's words and focused her gaze on Naruto again.

"Will you move aside now?"

"Fine. But it won't do you any good, he's dosed up on sedatives." The woman just smirked at that, tapping her pipe out and tucking it behind her ear. Then, she pulled out a small water bottle, letting a few drops fall across Ronnel's face. Everyone in the roomed jumped a little when an actinic pop sounded, and a small arc of electricity sparked between two of her fingers, which she held above Ronnel's head. Slowly, his hair started lifting towards her, attracted by the static force, until she touched the current to his face."The men were shocked to see Ronnel bolt straight up onto the ceiling, and watched as a slug of wind ripped out of his mouth to shred the pillow that Zenli had kawarimi'd with.

The suddenly awake shinobi landed on all fours, looking around wildly, and when he saw Zenli sitting on the end of the bed watching him with a highly amused glint in her eyes, a poleaxed expression settled onto his face. Slowly, carefully, the dark haired ninja sat down, without taking his eyes off of the woman. She waved her pipe at him merrily and he raised one hand to point at her.

"You were supposed to have been dead. I searched the village for three days looking for you."

"What, not even a hello my Paladin? It's been years."

"Again with the Paladin thing. Can you please tell me why you keep calling Aniki that?" Naruto's interjection made Ronnel blink, look at his adopted brother, look back at Zenli. A few moments of silence passed, then Jiraiya, Naruto, and Ronnel all began speaking at once, their voices running over each other. This continued on for a minute, each of the three rambunctious men trying to speak louder to be heard over the other two. Ronnel couldn't move much because of the sedatives still in his system, but Jiraiya and Naruto ended up screaming in each other's faces.

"ENOUGH" A massive wave of pressure swamped the room, and Naruto actually fell to his knees from it. Jiraiya, Ronnel, and Zenli looked at the source, an irritated looking Sarutobi. The man slammed his cane down once, then lifted it up to point at Jiraiya. "You. Speak your piece."

"What the hell were you thinking letting a rogue from a destroyed village look after Naruto?" The three younger shinobi all froze – two because he referred to their village, Naruto because he thought he and Jiraiya had already hashed this out. Sarutobi stared at his pupil for a long moment before sitting back.

"Because I needed to get the boy out with someone safe. Ronnel-kun accepted a request, and he told me what I needed to know to trust him. Along with a precaution, that was enough. And as for not letting you take him, that would have put a target on both of you that neither of you needed at the time. For you, it would have been here in the village, for Naruto, it would have been with anyone who saw him with you and thought he was your weakness. Besides, when you first tried taking him out of the village, I thought the villagers would be able to respect my command and the Yondaime's last request. It's my shame that they did not." Jiraiya opened his mouth to protest, but the look that Sarutobi gave him made him shut his mouth with an audible click. The Hokage then turned his gaze towards Naruto, who gave a faint shiver as the heavy weight settled onto his shoulders.

"I just wanted to ask what made you trust this chick old man. How do we know she isn't trying to get close to Aniki to kill him?" Sarutobi blinked at the pessimistic question from Naruto, who crossed his arms over his chest and stared at the oldest ninja in the room. He started to open his mouth, then closed it in thought, then blinked and shook his head.

"Likely the fact that she agreed to have myself and an ANBU follow her to her meeting with Ronnel, but aside from that, not much my boy. I get the feeling that she's trustworthy." The blonde teen grumbled, gave Zenli an evil look, but subsided. The kage turned his gaze to the last shinobi who had caused a ruckus, who was now shaking off the last vestiges of the sedatives in his system. The dark haired young man looked up, then turned his gaze to the purple-haired woman, one eyebrow raising up.

"I wanted to know how you got here Zen-chan. And what the hell happened that you stayed alive. Basically, what have you been doing in the last several years?" She leaned back at Ronnel's questions, shrugging softly.

"I was out on a mission just as you were. I must have returned to the village days after you did, because while there were signs you'd been there, you were nowhere to be found. I tried following your trail, but when it reached the Land of Iron I'd lost track. Since then, I've just been living, moving from place to place trying to find you. Thankfully, you'd settled down long enough for me to pinpoint where you were, though the name change threw me off." Here she glared at him, making Ronnel rub his neck with one hand. Naruto blinked and looked at his older brother, slightly shocked. He thought that Jiraiya had been mistaking his sibling for someone else, but to hear someone apparently associated with that village recognize his brother stunned him.

"My turn. Why did you take on a brat? I never pegged you for the teacher type." Ronnel looked at his younger brother, then to Zenli, who was tamping tobacco into her pipe while staring at him. He reached out and dropped a hand onto Naruto's shoulder, finally breaking the boy from his glare session at Zenli, who was irritating him by ignoring him.

"Otouto here needed me. That was enough. Besides, I don't think I did a half-bad job of it, do you Otouto?" The blonde nodded vigorously, glaring at the woman who doubted his brother.

"Now, as fun as this little session has been. What's been going on? The last thing I remember is being a rag doll for Jiraiya to fix me from Orochimaru's little fun-time seal." Ronnel looked to Sarutobi, who sank back into his chair with a deep sigh. Jiraiya had somehow vanished from the room, keeping the Hokage from foisting answering the Jounin off onto him.

"It's been difficult. Luckily A-dono was kind enough to have his ninja aid us in repelling the Invasion, and our planning went off as flawlessly as we could hope for. Unfortunately, we did take some losses – ten percent in the civilian sector, but only five amongst our shinobi, and most of those were retirees who volunteered to be decoys. Even so, it was a considerable blow to our forces. Infrastructure is damaged as well, as we couldn't pull that out of the way ahead of time, but rebuilding teams are already well on their way to having the village in tip top shape." Ronnel nodded and leaned back against the wall, wincing slightly as he found out that he had bandaging and padding on his back, as well as a raw wound there. Zenli had slid down onto the main portion of the bed and was now resting one hand on his leg as she smoked lightly, content with being quiet for the moment.

It was this scene that Anko arrived to, with a worried nurse who had noticed that Ronnel's vitals monitors had flipped out. Seeing the strange woman that she had confronted during the invasion laying a hand on her boyfriend had the Snake Mistress seeing red, and before anyone in the room had even realized she was there, Zenli dodged a pair of kunai that thudded into the wall just past where her head had been.

The long haired woman was now crouching on the window, her eyes narrowed at Anko, who was now perched on the bed beside Ronnel, pulling her kunai from the wall as she glared at the foreigner. Said shinobi was blinking steadily at the sudden commotion beside him, before his brain caught up with the fact that his girlfriend was now staring at the woman that he thought was dead.

Oh. No- Before the situation could devolve Ronnel wrapped his arms around Anko, though he didn't miss the way that Zenli reacted to his actions. He pulled Anko back against him, holding onto her despite the almost immediate struggle she put up.

"Let me at her! Ron-kun, let me get this bitch! She was watching you all throughout the matches! She's got to be a spy!" However, the swordsman didn't budge, and instead let out a long breath as he realized what he was about to have to do.

"She's not a spy. Old man, could you please not tell anyone what you're about to hear? You either Otouto." Both of the other shinobi looked at him strangely before nodding. "Anko-hime, don't kill me. But that's Yasukawa Zenli... my old girlfriend." Anko stilled in his arms, then whipped around so fast that the inside of his arms got friction burns. He was treated a deadly glare, and nails raking down his chest.

"Let me go you two-timing bastard!" Ignoring the thin rivulets of blood her nails were drawing, Ronnel kept his hold on her. "I said let me go you fucker! I should have known you were just using me!" Naruto gasped when he heard the woman who was practically his older sister say that, and the look that it put on his brother's face wasn't one he'd ever seen before. Ronnel's hands dropped to his sides, and Anko tore away from him, shoving past the woman still perched in the window to hop out. Naruto rushed to the windowsill in time to see her hopping away across the rooftops. He turned around to look at his older brother, who was still sitting in the same spot, a dead expression on his face.

"Why don't the two of us just see ourselves out." At Sarutobi's words Naruto flipped around to look at the old man in time to see a black-cloaked figure emerge from the shadows in the corner of the room, and follow the Hokage out. Now left alone in the room with his older brother and this mystery woman, Naruto felt extremely awkward.

"You're well to be rid of her. You don't need someone so weak hanging off of you anyway." Ronnel's entire head rotated upwards to stare at Zenli, who met his gaze evenly. He reached up and pulled the monitor probes off of his chest and tossed them aside – two of them had had their cables cut by Anko's nails so they were useless anyway – and stood up slowly. He looked to his brother.

"Naruto. Could I ask you to find the Toad Sage and get my sword back from him? Not my claymore, my new one." Still incredibly confused and concerned over what was going on, Naruto nodded and hurried out of the room, trying to find the white-haired old man who he had been arguing with earlier. Once the blonde Jinchuruuki had left the room, Ronnel turned around to look at the woman who had now slipped down from the windowsill and was leaning against it.

"I'm still trying to figure out if you're really here Sparks, or if this is just a really fucked up drug-dream I'm having. Taicho didn't have any other missions but mine listed out at the time of my bastard brother's betrayal, so that didn't fly with me. And just so you know, Anko is one of the strongest damn women I've ever met – and the only one besides you I actually fully respect. Naruto and I met one of the legendary three a while back, and I can't even respect her with how far she's let herself go." As he spoke, Ronnel was slowly clenching and unclenching one hand, his eyes locked onto Zenli.

"It's really me Keima. Taicho didn't have me listed since my mission was just a training exercise for some of the stronger techniques of my clan. We didn't really see any point in logging it into the books. As for the pineapple head who stormed out of here, she gives off quite the good first impression then." "Whatever she had been expecting as a response to that, it wasn't to have Ronnel's fist crack against the wall beside her hair, throwing her hair upwards. She narrowed her eyes, preparing to snap at him until she realized that he wasn't even looking at her.

"For years I thought you were dead. I tried to fucking move on, then I tried not moving on. I just kept fucking hurting. It's the whole damn reason I stayed a wanderer as long as I did – I could have settled down in Kumo, or Kusagakure maybe. But I remembered our missions there, and I couldn't face anyone who knew me from back then. So I kept fucking moving. Then I finally came here. A place we'd never been to for any reason, and your ghost was finally silent. Then I had Naruto with me, and he was just so damn happy all of the time that I never got a chance to keep hurting. And then Anko came to me -" Here he burst out laughing as he slumped back onto the bedframe, staring blankly at his bruised knuckles.

"We met when I was eating dango. You never did like how much I'd eat it when we got off of missions."

"That's because you ate it after every mission we did. And for every meal if I didn't stop you."

"But there she was, eating dango herself, and for a moment, I thought I had found you. But then the differences got to me, and I stopped from making a fool out of myself, at least that time. We ended up hitting it off anyway. Six months later her lease was up, and she moved in with Otouto and I since we had plenty of space. By then, I had decided I just wasn't going to move past what you meant to me, and that I'd not have another relationship." He let out a self-deprecating laugh, having continued speaking as if he hadn't heard Zenli's interjection. "Naruto ruined that. Made me see that someone else was looking at me the way you had. As if I actually meant something to them. Then I found out about Orochimaru's sick games with her." Suddenly he blinked twice and stood up stock straight, staring out the window.

"Oh shit." Before Zenli could ask what had startled him, he was a gone, a huge gust of wind propelling him out of the window as hit hit the rofftops running. She started after him nonplussed for a moment, then frowned. This wasn't quite the amusing reunion that she had in mind at all.

"Hey Aniki, Jiraiya-san said tha-" Naruto cut himself off when he ran back into the room, shocked to see that his brother was nowhere around. The purple-haired woman who'd caused tension from the moment she appeared was the only soul in sight, and she was glaring out the window while smoking heavily from her pipe.

"He ran after Nee-chan didn't he." An irritated nod answered him, and Naruto groaned. "That's going to be messy. Oi, lady. What the hell was with calling Aniki a paladin earlier? You never did explain."

"And why do I need to explain anything to a child such as you?"

"Probably because I know where they'd have gone, and I could be the only person who could tell you where they went." Zenli spun around, her hair whipping up in the air as she did, to lock her eyes onto Naruto. Now that he was the sole recipient of a rather intense glare, Naruto saw something he'd missed before – in here eyes were tiny flecks of purple. If it wasn't for the fact that the Kyuubi in his gut was asleep and hadn't twitched at her presence, he would have thought she was another Jinchuruuki.

" "Fine, I'll tell you, since it's clear that you won't be leaving me alone about it anytime soon. Keima-kun was the last acknowledged Paladin of Yugakure, most of whom were from his family. They were an order from far in the past, even before the days of the clan war. Gods walked this earth once upon a time, and one of the particularly nasty ones was known as Jashin." At Naruto's sharp look, she nodded. "You've heard of him then. You can blame our lovable Hidan for that. There was a cault of Jashinism, but it was dying out as Jashin had been sealed away generations ago. Keima's family were the ones reponsible for that, and they took over the position of the guardians for the tomb he had been locked in. For who knows how long, they stood firm, resisting the temptations of Jashin, and the bribes of his followers until there weren't any left. Or so we'd like to have thought." The woman tapped her now spent ashes out the window, and leaned out to look across the village.

"We didn't know that there were cells left, trying to summon Jashin directly from his crypt, but they wouldn't have mattered much if it weren't for that fact that they were passing down his teachings. Even then their efforts amounted to nothing, as their lord and savior was sealed up. His followers were just ordinary people after all. Sociopaths the majority of them, but ordinary. Then, that old man came to Yugakure." She grimaced in disgust. "He tried offering to be Narikei's teacher, promising power; but he was already strong, and knew ways to improve himself. Promptly, he turned the man's offer down. Of course that wasn't going to stop him, so next was Keima's younger brother." Here she turned around to look at Naruto, who unconsciously took a half-step back from the dark look she gave him.

"I hope you're nothing like that bastard, brat, because he was jealous of my Paladin. Jealous of Keima-kun's skills, and his quick ascension through the ranks of Yugakure's best shinobi. So when an old stranger offered him 'greater' power, he took it. Kei found out too late that the stranger was a Jashinist. That was what his last mission was supposed to be, investigating this man. By the time he returned... Hidan had used his blood to undo the family's seal. Now, Jashin is free once more. The last time he was, it cost a Paladin far too much like Keima his own life to stop him."

Konoha: Uzumaki-Rei Apartments

Ronnel flew through the uppermost window of the apartment building, having thrown himself from a nearby rooftop with plenty of wind chakra to act as a boost. Without breaking step as he came up from his rolling entrance, the shinobi ran down the stairs, running along the wall at one point to avoid a confused Haku who was emerging from her room to see what the commotion was. When he reached the floor that he and Anko shared rooms on, he was treated to the sight of Anko throwing a bag out of their room, tears running down her face. He grabbed her in a hug, and she instantly stiffened and started beating at his chest again.

"You were never just a replacement Ko-chan." His words got her strikes to slow down, but not stop. "If you were just a replacement, then I wouldn't have gotten to know you, wouldn't care about you for who you are. I certainly wouldn't have been ready to defy one of the Sannin for you. But I did. Will you let me explain now?" Anko nodded against his chest, her hands having finally stopped hitting him, and he let go slowly. The eyes she turned to look up at him were still watery, but they were drained of any emotion, and it sent a sharp pain through his heart to see her look at him like that.

"When I said she was my old girlfriend, I meant it. I knew Zenli back when I was a shinobi in Yugakure. But I thought she died when my village was destroyed. By the time you and I got together, I had moved on, gotten over her. I didn't start dating you because I was looking for someone to share my bed Ko-hime, hell, I thought I'd end up sleeping alone for the rest of my life unless Otouto had nightmares. But then I found you. And helping you move past your fear of losing someone to dear old Roachy, moved me past my fear of losing someone the way I lost her. I'm not going to fall back into her arms now that she's shown up... n..not even. Not even if you decide you don't want to be with me anymore. I will admit she'd probably have the best chance after I healed, but I'd need to heal.."

"Baka." Anko slapped him upside the head, hard enough to rattle the still recovering shinobi, then in the same motion, grabbed the back of his head and jammed her lips against his, giving him a salty, tear-stained kiss. "You don't say stuff like that idiot. You're lucky I love you." Ronnel sucked in a breath against her lips and wrapped his arms around her waist to hug her fiercely. "This chick may know who you were before Ron-kun, but I know who you are now. You're my slippery as fuck, snake defying boyfriend. Now, tell me what the hell you were thinking when you fought my old teacher a a second damn time?" As she spoke, Anko's hand, still in Ronnel's hair, twisted while keeping its grip, pulling a few of his hairs out by the root. "And just so you know, the discussion about your ex isn't over, but I'll wait until we are back wherever the hell little miss smokestack is, and then the three of us will hash it out." Ronnel whimpered at the thought of that – their personalities were similar enough that he could tell that particular discussion wasn't going to be fun... at least not for him.

"Now. Explain."

" I wasn't trying to find the old snake, I swear Hime. I was dealing with my brother at the gates, wh-" Anko cut Ronnel off right there, giving him a strange look. "Oh. Uhm. Right. My biological brother is Hidan." Anko's eyes widened at that - that was the name of the man who was responsible for the destruction of Yugakure according to the Bingo Book. "Since Jiraiya will probably bring it up to try hurting me, my birth name was Narikei. I abandoned it when I lost my village, took Rei Ronnel because I was a ghost of a destroyed home, and that name had no connection to anyone that I knew of. But anyway, I was fighting Hidan at the gate when the arrogant prick destroyed the actual gates themselves, letting a flood of Sound nin in. Orochimaru met me not long after that, looking like he was running from someone. He did something to my stomach, a seal of some kind I think since it messed up my chakra. That blow threw me into a building, though I did manage to tag him with the Kusanagi as he was fleeing from lightning bolts crashing from the sky. That's when I found out that the Raikage, A, and Jiraiya were hunting him down. Guess he ran rather than face them both any longer." Anko was frowning, and pulled up his shirt to peer at his stomach. The shinobi shook his head softly.

"Don't worry about it. Jiraiya and I had a disagreement, but he undid the seal. I'm just woozy from...bloodloss..." As he said that Ronnel's eyes fluttered then rolled back in their sockets. He passed out standing upright, the still recovering wounds on his back having finally gotten to him. Anko caught him and sighed before dragging him over to their bed, laying him down on it as she chewed her thumb worriedly.

"Great, now I have to get you to the hospital Ron-kun. That means I might see that new chick, and I don't think I'm stable enough for that just yet. Even when you're making me feel better problems come up. I swear Naru-kun is too much of an influence on you at times." She hoisted him back up off the mattress and slung one of his arms around her shoulders, looping one of hers around his waist, then held up her hand for a Shunshin.


Many thanks to James Larthol for betaing this chapter, hopefully everyone else likes it as much as he did!