Chapter one: Return of the 'Hero'.
"Crash" – talks.
'Crash' – thoughts.
Konohagakure no sato. The strongest village of Great Five Shinobi Nations. It has been three years since the dramatic events of Sound/Sand invasion and Uchiha Sasuke's betrayal. Those three years helped the village to take things under control and regain most of its power. Almost all damage has been taken care of. The days in Hidden Leaf returned to be as peaceful as they can be, yeah very peaceful.
And this day was not an exception.
Or was it?
The enraged roar of Godaime Hokage spread through the village. She was pissed… No, scratch that – she was EXTREMLY pissed. The reason of her bad mood was none other than her ex-teammate. "What do you mean you don't know where he is?"
Jiraiya the toad sannin, one of the strongest Konoha shinobi in history gulped and started to sweat. He was afraid of this very moment for almost three years. "T-Tsunade um… I can explain…" His answer came in the form of chakra powered fist in the face that sent him flying in the nearby wall…
"Don't fucking play games with me Jiraiya! You better tell me where Naruto is, and you better start right now!" Tsunade said in anger. "I entrusted him to you, and you fucked up again. Tell me one reason why I shouldn't tear you to pieces right now…" Slug sannin paused. "…and quit being Hokage?!" For all reasons, Naruto was the only thing that kept her in that cursed village.
"Tsunade-sama p-please calm down." Shizune for all her years spent with her master, has never seen the woman in such rage. "I'm sure that Jiraiya-sama has a very good excuse…" She turned to Jiraiya. "…Right?"
Tsunade narrowed her eyes "Well?"
"It was not my fault, I swear!" The hermit pleaded. "He surprised me."
Tsunade raised an eyebrow. "…Wait. You mean he ran off himself?" 'What the hell was this brat thinking?'
"Yes unfortunately he did." Jiraiya said, releasing the breath. He thought her reaction will be much worse. "I do not know his reasons or where did he go, but I will find out."
"Hmm… So when exactly he went missing?"
"…About a month after our departure."
The rage has returned into Tsunade's eyes. In a blink of an eye her fist was in Jiraiya's face… again.
"You mean you knew he ran away for two and a half years, and telling me this only now? No better yet answer this – if Naruto's gone what did YOU do this two and a half years, and I swear to god, Jiraiya, if I hear just one word about your fucking book, then you're dead meat."
Gama-sennin had enough. She can hit him, cut him, even make a law to close all hot springs in Konoha. But insulting his book crossed the line.
"And tell me what exactly would you do in my place huh? I knew I screwed things up, but I had my entire spy network looking for him all this time and still received no word. I don't know how he pulled this up, but it's almost as if he disappeared from the face of the world." Said Jiraiya desperately. Suddenly a really scary thought crossed Tsunades mind. The thought that make her tremble.
"J-Jiraiya what if he's been…" Knowing exactly what she wanted to ask he cut her off trying to calm her down.
"No no, don't worry. Akatsuki haven't captured him yet." The Hokage looked up to this.
"How do you know that?"
"Easy, because they are still looking for him" Tsunade thought for a few seconds…
"YOU HAVE A CONTACT IN AKATSUKI?!"
Jiraiya grinned. Yeah he was very proud of himself this moment.
"Yep! And he said that they still have no trace of Naruto" That really calmed Tsunade down. She sat in her chair and somewhat relaxed for the first time during the entire conversation.
"Sigh… Well at least it could be worse…" She looked into Jiraiya's eyes with an evil smile. "Sill, you're a freakin' sannin. How in the hell was he able to escape?"
Jiraiya turned a little red. Being beaten by a genin was not something he would like to discuss.
"Well… um… you see… he kinda…" Next words came out like a whisper. "…knocked me out."
"What, I can't hear you dammit. Speak louder." Godaime shouted.
"HE KNOCKED ME OUT!" The self-proclaimed super pervert screamed.
"….. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! I can't fucking believe this! He kicked your ass? Hahaha, by his perverted ninjutsu I guess?" To Tsunade's shock the insults didn't work. Quite the opposite, Jiraiya lost the shamed look and turned to a thinking one.
"Actually no he did not. What he used was the strangest taijutsu move I've ever seen." Now that picked Tsunades attention. She sure as hell was not expecting this.
"Realy? Tell me about it." The slug sannin said and shifted in her chair getting more comfortable.
"Hm, okay. We were traveling in the forest near Fire country's border…"
Jiraiya was jumping from one branch to another at high speed. He was already three days in this stupid forest without the opportunity to release his perverted nature. It was eating him from the inside.
'Why did I agree to take him with me? The world is so big, and there are so many girls within it kukuku…" Were his thoughts at that moment.
Not far behind him was the reason of his frustrations. His soon to be student was trying to keep up with him. The keyword 'trying'. The sannin, deep in his thoughts, forgot that he wasn't traveling alone. But maybe he just didn't care…
"Huff… Huff… Ero-Sennin could you please slow down, we are already running for five hours straight." Naruto said in hopes, that his pleadswill reach hermits perverted mind.
"Naruto! Stop talking and keep running. I want to be in the next town before the sunset." Jiraiya made a perverted face and giggled.
Naruto only narrowed his eyes.
"I see." Was all he said.
Despite older man's hopes they still didn't make it before the sun was down, so he decided to set up a camp.
"You tripped on purpose you little brat I know it." Naruto said nothing. "Alright, alright let's set up camp for the night. I'll set the tent and you go get some fire wood." Sandaime's student turned around and unpacked the tent. Now Naruto did answer.
"Very well… Jiraiya, but before that…" Sannin's ears perked ''Jiraiya'? Hm, something's wrong, he never calls me that. I'd better…' His line of thoughts stopped when he felt something pulled his hand. He turned around only to see Naruto already in mid air in horizontal position.
Without slightest hesitation Naruto grabbed older man's head and started descending onto the ground. Still Jiraiya wasn't a sannin for nothing, he could use Kawarimi no jutsu in almost every situation. He gathered his chakra, and did one handed seal as usual. But what surprised him, was that nothing happened.
'Why it didn't work?!' Was the last thought that ran through his head before his face met the ground…
(AN: If you are wondering about that move, well that's WWE move RKO – Randy Orton's finisher.)
"…And that's about it. I lost consciousness and when I woke up he was already gone. I tried to search, to trace his chakra signature, I even used toads' help and tried to summon him, but the brat somehow severed the connection." Tsunade stopped him.
"Wait, what do you mean?" She asked.
Jiraiya became unusually serious.
"That means he disrupted his blood connections with toads and he can summon them no longer."
The blond Hokage immediately understood the reason of his seriousness. Besides being a sannin her ex-teammate was also a man… an old man. After the Fourth's sacrifice the toad hermit said that he will take no more apprentices. Yet he did. Most likely he was going to make Naruto his successor – the holder of the summoning scroll. That was indeed the low blow from the blond boy.
"I-I'm sorry Jiraiya, I didn't know."
"It's okay, I already got over it." The old man looked down. He can say that, yes but deep inside… well you can not cheat yourself after all.
Tsunade wiped sweat from her forehead. That definitely concluded her work for today.
"Anyway, if you don't have anything else, I need a really big sake bottle right now…"
Gama-Sennin grinned and pulled out a sake bottle from his backpack.
"You won't have to worry about that hime, I still know you too well hehe."
"Shut up you perverted bastard and give me the bottle already!"
"Tsunade-sama you should not drink during your wo…" Words died in her throat when a dangerous glance and even some killing intent were sent her way.
"Not now Shizune. I'm in a really bad mood right now. Go and cancel all my activities for today. Also tell everybody not to disturb me."
"H-Hai!" Shizune ran out of the office and the Hokage calmed down.
Two ex-teammates started devouring the alcohol.
"I swear when I see the little bastard, I will punch him into the next millennium!" Godaime exclaimed, gulping down another portion of sake. Maybe this day wasn't so bad after all.
"Still, we should think what to do." Jiraiya said, looking in the window. "Right now you I and Shizune are the only ones who know about Naruto's 'condition', but soon everyone will learn this." He paused. "Including the council." Tsunade's eyes widened. That somehow slipped from her mind.
"Oh god, you're right! Damn, those old fools will definitely put him in a bingo book with a kill on sight order! Shit, we've got to do something." Godaime shouted in panic.
"Yeah, but what can we do? He chose to leave himself and knew of consequences…" Jiraiya answered deep in thoughts, but was cut of by Shizune, who burst through the door with a very worried look.
"Huff… Huff… Tsunade-sama! There's someone to see you!"
The Hokage narrowed her eyes.
"Shizune! I told you that I am not to be disturbed…"
"B-B-But i-it-it's N-Naruto-kun, Tsunade-sama!" After a minute of silence large amounts of killer intent started flowing from blond woman, and the amount of it made even Jiraiya finch.
"If this is some kind of bad joke then you'd better stop it right now." Tsunade spat in dangerous voice.
The Godaime's first apprentice tried to keep her breath under control. "N-No It's him, please…"
Tsunade stopped releasing her ki. "Fine. Enter!" She said hoping for better.
The door opened slowly and a single young man stepped into the office. Both sannins' eyes widened to the size of dinner plates. Jiraiya understood immediately why no one of his spies could find any trace of Naruto. If that was him, then Jiraiya totally missed all descriptions. Tsunade on her side had different thoughts. 'Oh my fucking g… Is this really Naruto?! Damn he's so ho- What the hell am I thinking?! He's forty years younger than me! But damn!'
Their surprise was understandable. This Naruto was completely different from the previous one. If the last one liked orange jumpsuits, this one was entirely in black. He was dressed in black pants and black leather sleeveless vest that was open, showing his bare brawny torso. Instead of standard sandals he had pair of light black shoes. His eyes were covered by a pair of classic sunglasses that made looking in said eyes impossible. Hair though still spiky, was no longer short and was even long enough to be tied in a ponytail, which went down to the middle of his spine. The most surprising part was the absence of the First Hokage's necklace. In its place was a strange amulet that looked like a skull. All in all this new Naruto was a sight to behold.
They were returned from the la-la land by young mans first words. "Um… yo!" Naruto smiled raising his right hand up in short greeting. After a quick recovery from her shock, Tsunade in a blink of an eye was in front of Naruto, trying to keep her promise.
"YOU LITTLE BRAT!" With a greeting of her own, Tsunade threw her chakra enhanced punch into Naruto's face. Keeping his smile on, the blonde boy just moved his already raised arm. The result shocked Tsunade to the core. This punch's purpose was to send poor boy to another side of the village, preferably to the women's side of hot springs so they can beat the shit out of him too. But Naruto simply caught her fist… with his open palm… and he didn't even move an inch.
'What the fuck?' Were Hokages thoughts. 'This punch could have destroyed a good part of Hokage Mountain, and he stopped it with just a FUCKING PALM?! What the heck is he?!'
"H-How did you stop it?"
Naruto's smile dropped a little. "Yeah, it's good to see you too… Hokage-sama."
'Hokage sama?! What the hell happened to baa-chan?' Tsunade thought still in shock. 'Well, at least I will have the small victory.' With that she bumped him on the head.
"You little bastard! Do you know how much I worried about you? What the hell were you thinking?!" Godaime's rage found her way from woman's throat.
The young man brushed caught hand away, his smile gone instantly. "Well, maybe I was thinking about gaining more power?! You know, it's a pretty hard subject to forget when you have the world's strongest ninjas after your head."
Jiraiya gasped. "How in the hell did you found out their goals?" The older man took straight to the point.
Naruto smirked. "Oh please… Itachi said Akatsuki is after me, you said they want the Kyuubi, and I don't think they want to recruit me in order to get its power. With that being said, I think we all understand what they will do. And that will definitely not be good for my health." The young man spat.
Both sannins and one apprentice were at the loss of words. This Naruto was completely different. Not just clothes, but the character too. "Well that still doesn't explain why you ran away." Tsunade tried to change the subject.
Naruto made an innocent smile. "Ran away? Who, me?"
The Hokage narrowed her eyes. "Don't play with me boy." Yeah it was time to show little runt who was in charge. "Now listen to me very carefully. Why. Did. You. Ran. Away?"
Naruto's smile was still on. "Ooohh… Please forgive me the mighty and powerful Hokage-sama, I wasn't even thinking of playing with you… well alright, that's a lie. I did actually… on money preferable. But as for running away… you are totally wrong. I was on a training trip after all."
That shocked everyone in the room. "B-But you ran…" Jiraiya started, but was quickly cut off.
"From you, yes." Naruto made malicious smile. "Besides I never said I will be traveling with you." The blond boy said to older man's surprise.
Tsunade thought about what have been said for a while. 'Well he has a point, still…' The Hokage dropped the question and asked another one instead. "Hm… If what you said is true, than tell me where have you traveled." She asked a little arrogantly. "And what have you learned." Jiraiya added mockingly in slight triumph. Of course, what can be better than training of a sannin.
To their slight anger Naruto was still smilimg. "Well… I traveled… somewhere… And about the training…" He took especially long pause for that. "…Nope, not telling, hehe."
Tsunade clenched her fist. Who does this brat think he is, but then an idea struck her. "But if you don't tell me, how can I evaluate your rank?" The village leader said with a stoic face, but she was very proud of herself. Yeah, a good idea indeed. For a boy dreaming to be the Hokage there was nothing more important than his rank. But to her… and everyone else's ultimate shock, she was wrong. Quite the opposite, for all his answers on that question they were sure as hell not expecting this. He laughed…
"HAAAAAAHAHAHAHA… Nice try! I can even applaud you for that! But still… not telling.
Godaime had enough. "Fine! If you don't want to tell me, then I'll just have to make you show me. Shizune!"
"Get me Kakashi and Sakura here immediately… Oh and tell Kakashi, that if he will be late for even a second, then I'm gonna burn his entire collection of Jiraiya's books!" Said sannin gasped. He was looking at the true monster right now!
"At once master!" With that the black haired woman ran out of the office, leaving Sandaime Hokage's students and a young man behind. When the door closed Tsunade turned her eyes at Naruto.
"And you are to be at the training ground thirty six within an hour… But before that…" She paused. "You still haven't answered the question 'why'."
Naruto put his hands behind his head. "Why did I leave him…" He pointed at Jiraiya "…You mean?"
"Hmm… A good question. I don't even know where to begin…" He took a thinking pose. "Well first there were those extremely important tree climbing exercises… So important that I started questioning myself of my decision to leave the village." Naruto made an evil smile "Then, there were countless amounts of these very interesting stories about the great toad sannin Jiraiya, and how he saved your team all the time with that always crying and useless Orochimaru, and a very horny and… fangirlish Tsunade."
The Hokage glared at her ex-teammate. Jiraiya started to panic. He knew all too well what that look meant. Meanwhile Naruto's smile turned into something that could put recently said Orochimaru to shame.
"Oh! And of course, with all my kind nature, I could not bring myself to forget about these top secret S-class missions to steal women's underwear from the hot springs! Hahaha, I think another two or three of these missions and I could as well change profession to a priest."
After two seconds of this silence, Jiraiya thought, that if all killing intent Tsunade emitted was directed at Kyuubi, then the poor fox would've ran away in fear at the sight of the true beast.
"Wait Tsunade-hime, I-I can explain…"
The Hokage cracked her knuckles, killer intent still present
"Uh, um… Naruto! A little help…" The toad hermit turned his head to where the boy was… only to find him gone, and in his place was a big stuffed frog. The exact one that he once left near Naruto himself in a ramen bar.
'Nooooo, I'm too young and beautiful to die!' Were Jiraiya's last thoughts…