Naruto, and it's characters, and it's story, and everything else is © Masashi Kishimoto.
In history, there are a few key triggers that can shape the course of history. Change some of these, and you change time itself. One of these triggers, the birth of a boy with blond hair and blue eyes, sent history on a very different path that is still working it's way out. But what if his birth had come far earlier, and the event that would change his own future (and that of his home village) was changed as well.
Naruto was five when the Kyuubi was sealed into his body by his father. And thus, Naruto Namikaze faced something very different and yet very much the same as he grew up. But this single event sent ripples across time. They made a world in which Minato never became the Yondaime, and the Third Great Shinobi World War never came to a true end. They made a world in which Itachi Uchiha, traitor to the Uchiha, would reveal the treachery of both his clan and of Danzou, the Fourth Hokage. They made a world in which a young Naruto Namikaze would turn eighteen, and be given a young team of genin, fresh from the academy.
This is their story.
The office of the hokage was uncharacteristically quiet for this time of day. Usually it would be a hub of activity, center of all the day-to-day business that went into running the Village Hidden in the Leaves. It was a strange thing to watch, quite entertaining in a way. The hokage would sit in his seat at the oaken desk that had been passed down from generation to generation of hokage. He would sit in an almost peculiar tranquility as the world rushed around him. The duties of the hokage would be fulfilled here, from paperwork to reports to the receiving of diplomatic envoys. He was not particularly fond of the latter, nor the former, but he did it all without complaint. The room would fill and empty over and over. It bustled with people; assistants and specialists, young genin teams with their team's jounin-sensei reporting in for missions or other such duties. It was a storm of activity, and sitting at its center would be him.
He was the youngest of all the hokage, the Godaime who had shown the treachery of not only the previous hokage but of his own clan at the same time. His skill was unparalleled, his loyalty was unquestioned, and his love for his village was unending. So much so that he had put his own father, the head of a conspiracy to perform a coup d'etat, to the sword. Possessing a love of peace and a strong sense of duty, he had sat as the hokage for five years, since he was only thirteen years old, and since the time he had revealed the dire plot. When he revealed the plot of the former hokage to the village he had done so not out of his own desire for power, but because he was, over everything, loyal to his village first, hokage second, and clan third.
And so here he sat, the Fifth Hokage of the Village Hidden in the Leaves, head of the Uchiha clan, and secret bearer of the Mangekyou Sharingan. Here sat Itachi Uchiha, Godaime.
He had turned his chair around, staring out over the village with the cold face that had often deceived people. Only a select few people saw the true Itachi, and those that did could not help but love him. One of those people was standing next to him, someone who had served over him and now under him. Kakashi Hatake had that strange history, and was one of the few people that Itachi called sempai due to their time shared in the ANBU Black Ops. Itachi had grown to trust Kakashi, and it was not uncommon for the hokage to consult him on various matters, or simply talk as normal people did. That was a rare commodity for Itachi, and he valued it greatly.
Right now, however, they were talking about something far different. They were speaking of a newly promoted jounin who had just been given the authority to become the sensei of a three-person genin team as the coming class came to an end. Both Itachi and Kakashi were very familiar with the young man, both personally and of his many exploits in the various border skirmishes with the Village Hidden in the Rocks that still sprung up every so often. For Itachi, it was particularly personal; the man was his former teammate, and another of the few people he truly trusted.
"I wonder, sometimes, what might have happened had the attack not come when it had," Kakashi said. He was leaning back against the wall to the left of the hokage, staring out of the window as well, watching as the sun began to set over the village. "You might not have had your position, Itachi-san."
The hokage smiled at the comment. Kakashi was one of the few people who spoke so freely around him, and it was quite refreshing, "Of course, Kakashi-sempai. He was an amazing man. The Hiraishin won us that war. Had It not come when it had, I have no doubt he would have led the village to peace."
Kakashi simply nodded as he remembered his old sensei. Minato's legendary Flying Thunder God Technique, the thing that had earned him the name of Konoha's Yellow Flash, had decimated entire armies during the Third Great Shinobi World War. But the Kyuubi attack had brought an end to that, when Minato sacrificed his life to save the village.
"I hear that he is trying to learn it," Itachi said suddenly. He stood up and cross his arms behind him, "Do you think he can, Kakashi-sempai?"
"He is his father's son," Kakashi replied quickly, smiling beneath his mask. "If anyone could, it would be him."
"Yes. You know there was a fit when I granted his request to train a genin team."
"You know there would be, Itachi-san."
Itachi paused a moment, soaking in the beauty of the village at sunset for a moment before he spoke again, "The team assignments are on the table behind you. Take a look at them would you?"
"You didn't stick me with a group, did you?" Kakashi said with a frown. Itachi just chuckled.
"I thought you might be curious about his team, actually," the hokage said, smirking as he did. The expression only made Kakashi frown even more. When Itachi found something amusing it usually caused anything but that in most other people. As the white-haired jounin made his way over to the table he began to wonder what the hokage was up to. His one eye opened wide in surprise as he saw the assignments. Most of them were fairly straight forward, and he noticed quite a few of the clan names in the list. But it was not until he got down to the seventh team that he was truly surprised.
The team was composed of three clan children, something that was a small bit surprising in itself. Shikamaru Nara, next in the long-line of Nara clan shadow users, and the heir to the Hyuuga clan, a girl by the name of Hinata. The scores on both weren't particularly impressive. But, the last member of the team was what actually shocked him. The boy was the prime rookie of this class, having topped his class in all areas. He was also the hokage's younger brother.
"Team 7," Kakashi began, the soft smile never leaving Itachi's face, "Shikamaru Nara, Hinata Hyuuga, Sasuke Uchiha."
He paused and looked up, chuckling once before he finished, "Jounin Sensei will be Naruto Namikaze."
It was early morning, barely five AM. Sasuke was already getting dressed as the sun barely broke over the Uchiha compound. His room was spartan, by choice rather then by necessity. His various training aids littered it, scrolls stacked high on the shelves and desk. He was always studying, always training. It was why he rose so early, to get a few hours of practice in before he went off to the academy. Soon, he would be getting those early extra hours in before going off to meet with his new team. But he should have been doing that years before.
Often, Sasuke wondered why he tried anymore. He pushed himself to the limits, topped the class in every area, and was well ahead of his class. There was little doubt in his mind, nor in the minds of his mother or even his teachers, that he could have passed the genin examination far earlier then he'd been allowed. It should have been allowed, Sasuke felt. He deserved it for all the work he put in; he deserved to be recognized as a prodigy, just like his brother. But they never saw him, and he always lived in that shadow, despite everything.
So many times he'd felt so fed up that he wanted to just quit trying so hard, but he couldn't. He tried to be lazy once, but found it boring. He tried to slack off, to just not study so hard, or not to do well, but it was impossible. When he was faced with a challenge he just launched himself at it. Sasuke supposed that was what they called natural talent. It was amusing really; the one thing he couldn't do was fail. It was proof of his prodigy, and yet it was still less then his brother.
His hokage brother. Sasuke wondered if Tobirama Senju felt the same way under the shadow of his brother, Hashirama. That thought had gotten him through hard times before. The knowledge that a brother can rise to be great, even as great as his brother was. Tobirama had given organization to what his brother had made, he had refined it into something better. The Village Hidden in the Leaves was given true shape due to Tobirama, and that thought made Sasuke hope he could one day do the same. He was unable to fail, it seemed, meaning he had to succeed. There was no other choice.
Of course, it was much harder when his brother kept holding him back. Sasuke knew he was, though he'd never admit it. Itachi was head of the Uchiha clan and the hokage, and his opinion carried more weight in the two sides of Sasuke's life than any other. In the village and clan he was the supreme authority. Sasuke knew that Itachi did not want him to graduate early, and that confused the younger of the brothers. After all, hadn't Itachi done just the same?
Sasuke sometimes thought it was because Itachi wanted to keep him back out of fear, but that was silly and the young Uchiha knew it. His brother loved him dearly, Sasuke knew. He'd asked once why he had done what he had done; why had Itachi killed father and revealed the Uchiha's plan? Sasuke had been argueing with his brother, and he was angry. It had been years after, and not once had he even considered bringing the subject up. It was a taboo, unspoken yet clear, and he broke it out of simple anger.
Itachi had looked at Sasuke with an expression that the boy had almost never seen. It was one of sadness, one of suffering.
"I seem very cold to you, don't I, Sasuke?" he had said, looking off into the distance as he did. "But I love many things. I love my clan, and I love my mother. More than this, I love my village. But above all of that, there is one thing that I love even more, and one thing that I could not raise a hand against. There is one thing that I would do anything to protect."
Itachi had grown silent then, eventually causing his younger brother to ask who or what this thing was. It was then that Sasuke had seen yet another expression from his brother that he had never seen before and had never seen again. Itachi's eyes seemed so tormented, and something almost like anguish came over him. The expression faded into that brotherly smile and Itachi had disappeared with a flicker.
It would be some time before Sasuke realized that was exactly it. It had been a look of suffering due the question. It would take even longer for Sasuke to realize why.
Itachi had not answered the question with words, but eventually Sasuke realized he had answered it with that single expression. Itachi loved his little brother, and would do anything to protect him. Sometimes, though, Sasuke wished he wasn't so protected.
Sasuke finished getting ready and sprinted out of his room. As he passed his parent's bedroom his mind drifted slightly. It seemed to do that more often lately, a random sight or sound triggering a chain of introspection and thought despite his wishes. It was his parents who came up this time. His mother was still sleeping. She slept a bit later then she used to, and she went to bed a bit later too. She still smiled all the same, but sometimes it seemed little bit forced, around Itachi in particular. Those were a few of the changes that the young Uchiha had noticed in his mother ever since father had died. Or, rather, since his father had been executed.
He had been neither the first nor last of the Uchiha executed for treason, though he had been the head of it all. Sasuke wondered if his father would find that almost mildly insulting; despite his place in the treasonous plot and despite his relation to his own executioner, he was not given a special place at all. He was just another guilty man, killed like all the others.
As Sasuke passed through the house his eyes fell onto the memorial shrine for his father, and he never failed to be shocked that it was even there. There was an offering there, and a softly burning stick of incense. Itachi must have set it before he left. Sasuke had never prayed at the shrine, and never made an offering. For a short while he thought that it was his mother who was setting out the offerings, but while he did see her pray sometimes he had never actually seen her light a stick of incense nor set out any offerings. And, he realized, given the offerings were set out long before his mother woke up that it must have been his brother who set them.
Sasuke had never seen Itachi set them out.
He slid the front door open softly and shut it without a sound, heading out into the streets. Sasuke was fairly sure he hated his father. He loved him too, of course, because he was his father. Sasuke was fairly sure his brother was the same way, a strange combination of hate and love. Why did everyone think those were mutually exclusive? Love and hate were not opposites, despite what people sometimes said. They were just emotions, just feelings that one had. Related, to be sure, and one often made it harder for the other to exist, but they were not exclusive.
He knew this because he felt them both for his traitor of a father, a father whom never acknowledged him as his own person; a father whom could be as cold and harsh as Itachi, but without showing the hidden warmth that Sasuke's brother could, a father who betrayed his own village, his own position of power, out of pure greed. But he was also a father who had raised Sasuke and, in a twisted way, pushed and believed in him. Even if he hadn't, Sasuke knew he'd still love him. Father was not a cruel man, and he had provided well for his family. His greed was motivated partially for their sake; he wanted more for his family, even if he had been an idiot, traitorous fool in how he had gone about it.
Cold morning air bit at the young teen's skin as he ran, not stopping to say anything to the few servants and early risers that he passed as he made his way through the compound and headed for one of the many Training Grounds nearby. The Uchiha lived on the outskirts of Konoha, which suited Sasuke just fine; he was fast enough to get into town when he needed, and close to many of the training fields too. Some in the clan resented being set farther out, but little complaint could be made. The clan's lands were still primes real estate and they had not been punished for the treasonous acts of their leaders other then the loss of the members. That hadn't even been all the conspirators, simply the largest of them. They were lucky the village had accepted this, and Itachi's oath.
It was that reason that prevented most from complaining when the Military Police were disbanded. Some rumors spoke that the Hyuuga clan was petitioning to have their own force started in secret, a fact that made many Uchiha bristle but none would openly complain. Pride was a luxury that was ill afforded by the clan these days, even more so when their clan head also wore the wide-brimmed hat of the hokage.
Sasuke vaulted over the walls of the compound and took to the roofs. The few early risers from both in and outside of the compound never even batted an eyelash; though it might shock those in a normal town, here in one of the hidden shinobi villages it was as common to see as street vendors. Shinobi were practical people, as well. Those with no time to spend moving through crowds took to the roofs for speed, and shinobi almost universally loved speed. When one has the capability of going as fast as they could it was simple human nature to fall in love with it. Sasuke knew this to be true; he'd fallen in love with it too.
In fact, he found these morning trips across the rooftops and towards his favorite training ground to be one of the best parts of the day. Focusing on pushing himself faster and higher, he could block out the rest of life. No worries about his brother, or his progress, or academy scores, or his new team. He could worry about how much chakra he used in his pushes, and how much he used to soften his landing. He focused on gauging distances, or on avoiding pitfalls, water towers, and close lines. It was a simpler and easier thing, to focus only on the now instead of the past or the future. Sasuke had once wondered if maybe that was why many of the Uchiha ended up more cold after developing their sharingan; the ability to predict and plan so much easier left even more time in the day for worry and wonder.
But not right now. Right now there were no thoughts of his brother or father, and certainly no thoughts of the nature of love and hate. No mature musing or pondering that someone his age had no place at all pondering or musing about. Right now, there were just rooftops and clotheslines and the clashing feel of warm morning sun and cold morning air. And it was good.
It was early morning, just after eight AM. Hinata sat in silence, having woken up a few minutes before but feeling an almost crippling sense of dread wash over her. Today was the day she was placed on a new genin team and would be sent out on various missions for the good of the village. It was the first day of the rest of her life, a day that would define her for the rest of her life, she knew. Of course, she should have had her life already figured out and set up for her. She was the eldest child of the Hyuuga clan head, a fact that was supposed to have destined her as the clan heir. But she was weak, shy, ineffective, and untalented. She knew this because he father had told her so, in no uncertain terms.
She needed to get out of bed and get ready. No need to cause any more unwanted attention on her due to oversleeping, despite the dread she felt. She wished she could fade away, some times. It was why she tried to be so unassuming. There was no privacy in the house of Hyuuga, no place she could go to hide. She was always being watched. It was not modesty that dictated her wardrobe, but rather the wish to draw as little attention as possible. Lucky for her, that had worked fairly well at the academy. She hoped just to get by, because she knew she wasn't going to be the top of the class. How could she? As her father always said, she had no drive and no natural talent.
There was no expectation of acceptance even after she'd been granted her hitae-ite. Her father would do that only if she was top of the class, she knew, and she also knew she could not reach that. There was no way for a weak person like her to do that. So instead she just got by as much as she could. Middle of the road so she wouldn't call more attention to herself; if she was near the top she'd be noticed for not being good enough to be all the way, and god forbid she was at the bottom. The choice was instead to fade into the background, into a list of names where she wouldn't be noticed. It was a sound plan, even if she really didn't think of it in that way.
The young girl slipped out of bed softly and made her way to her closet. She had formal robes and the like, but she wore a simple black outfit and that beige jacket. Simple, unassuming, and it kept eyes off her most of the time. It was simple and unnoteworthy, just like her. Her room was the same way; the Hyuuga were not particularly ostentatious people. They were supposed to enjoy simple beauty and elegance that could be found in subtle things. It was another thing Hinata was no good at. She liked colors, and vibrance, like the colorful flowers her mother used to grow. Hinata pressed flowers, when she could, and hung them. It was a small rebellion against her father and the clan, even if she did not consciously see it as that.
She just liked the flowers.
Hinata dressed quickly, pulling on the jacket last and slipping from her room in silence. She had two hours before she needed to head to the academy for her team placement. That was not something she was particularly looking forward to. They would notice her, then. She'd have more people to see how weak she was, and how much she did not live up to her family name. There would be no escaping the scrutiny when she was placed on a team that small, with a jounin teacher who would watch her every move. It made her nervous just thinking about it.
Hinata left for the family rock garden. It was not what she might have chosen, but she loved it nevertheless. It had been her favorite place, growing up. After her mother passed way, Hiashi had slowly changed it into its current form. But before, it had been filled with life and color. Just like her mother.
She missed her mother dearly.
Hinata shook those thoughts from her head. If she could not be good, the least she could do was not be a weepy and emotional little girl. She owed that to her family, at least. Her father had never said anything about that. He led by example in that way, remaining stoic and collected at all times. She should be more like him, and in that way she would. It was a small thing, barely enough to make up for her failings, but it was something still.
A soft sigh escaped her lips as she entered the garden. Even in it's current state she found it soothing. She would spend a few minutes here to clear her mind for the day of head. It was certain that she would need it.
Some distance off, in his own quarters, her father watched his daughter with the seemingly perpetual frown he always wore. It was a mask, a stoic face he'd put on long ago. He was hard on his daughters, far too hard, he knew. He was cold inside, ever since She had passed on. He did not think of her name anymore, nor her face. To remember only made the pain come back. Each time he saw Hinata, he saw a little bit of Her in the young girl. He pushed her hard to try and change that, to stamp out that little bit. It was a horrible thing to do and he knew he was a poor father for finding it so easy.
He loved his daughters, just as he had loved their mother. But when She had gone away, so had that warmth and vibrance, and to see it reflected in his daughter only made the hole in his heart ache once again. He told himself that they needed it, to have that weakness and sentimentality pushed out of them if they were to be good members of the Hyuuga house. He had grown weak and complacent and his constant pain was a reminder of that. That was what he told himself.
They needed it. It was for their own good, and the good of the clan. That was what he told himself, and that allowed him to continue. He, who prided himself on being able to read someone so well, to tell lies from truths in anyone, told him that. Thus, the one person whose lie he believed was his own.
Without a word he deactivated his byakugan and headed out of his room, robes flowing behind him. He had duties to attend to.
It was morning. Sort of. I mean, some people consider it still morning at ten AM, right? It IS AM, you know? That meant it's morning, regardless of the fact that the sun was up in the sky and everyone else was bustling about in their daily lives. None of that mattered to Shikamaru Nara, who was still pleasantly sleeping. He didn't get to sleep in very often, and he knew damn well he wouldn't have much of a chance to do it afterwards either. He wasn't going to ruin it by waking up early or something. He'd turned off his clock and alarm, he'd closed off his window blinds, and he'd locked his door too.
Waking up would be too troublesome. He only had to be at school just before lunch. No need to make a big fuss out of it.
It was nearly noon, and Naruto Namizake was in the right place at the wrong time. This was because he had to be at another right place at the right time and, as a result, had to instead be in his other right place at a slightly wrong time. This, of course, was of great surprise to the people at the right place. In this scene, the role of right place is being played by the Ichiraku Ramen Bar, the same place he went to eat for lunch every Wednesday he was in town (but then again, the same could be said about almost every other day, as well.) However, because he was previously committed to meeting with his new genin team, Naruto had to make this an early lunch.
So, there he sat, in the seat in which he always sat, along with his stack of bowls that seemed almost impossibly high sometimes. And, sure enough, one of his main lunch companions was sitting right next to him, for more reasons then the simple nostalgia and deliciousness of the ramen; Iruka Umino was the teacher of Naruto's new students, and he was rather eager to know what it was he was to expect from them. Well, that, and the fact that he had been able to spend so little time with Iruka as of late that he wanted any excuse to do so. He even offered to pay for lunch!
Although initially surprised by Naruto's early arrival (Iruka was far less regular with his ramen habits), old man Teuchi and his lovely daughter Ayame were more then happy to have their by-far best costumer there, and before the lunch rush even. While they did not understand where animosity that was given to Naruto came from, they did recognize it. And, while not condoning it, they understood that if Naruto was here now, rather then during the lunch rush, there would be a higher influx of customers and a fatter wallet by the end of the day. Even moreso given Naruto ordered half a dozen bowls over the course of the meal. Teuchi just took it as good luck and went with it.
Naruto, on the other hand, was doing another very rare thing even as he tore through his meal; he was planning ahead. Well, in a way he was. He had ask Iruka to join him because, honestly, he did want to speak with his old friend, but also because he knew quite well that Iruka was also the academy teacher to his new genin team. The young jounin wanted someone's take on the three fresh genin he'd been assigned, and given Iruka was both his friend, former teacher, and one of the few people Naruto trusted more then anyone else alongside his placement it seemed as though the heavens had smiled on him.
"Ok, Iruka-sensei, so... this Shikamaru kid," Naruto said between slurps, "I met his Dad once, laziest guy I've ever known. Tell me it isn't genetic."
"Sadly, seems it might be, Naruto-kun. He's easily the laziest kid in the class, even more then you were," replied the brown-haired chuunin with a soft chuckle. His last comment made Naruto scowl playfully, which only caused Iruka's smile to grow even wider, "Well it's true. He shows these flashes of brilliance, though. I'm wondering if he's hiding it and sometimes he's too lazy to do so, or if he simply figures that the few times he actually tries are actually the easier of his choices."
"Ok, so... might be a genius, but lazy. Great," Naruto said with a huff, "Alright, what about this Hinata girl?"
"She's... timid," Iruka said after a moment, "I mean, she never really stood out, but at the same time she's never really needed any help either. Her scores are almost down the middle, though it's dipped low a few times. Not too social, though, but that could just be her the way her family is. Hyuuga are fairly reserved people."
Naruto nodded thoughtfully and then sighed, "Yeah, great. Laziest kid and a shy, dark wierdo. Itachi sure does have a sense of humor, doesn't he?"
"Ah, but he did give you his brother, didn't he?" Iruka said with a grin, amused by Naruto's antics as well as his informality with the hokage. In almost anyone else he would have found that profoundly disrespectful, but Naruto had that special relationship that made it seem more normal. Naruto treated anyone who became close to him like family, and the fact that the hokage was his old teammate was simply an extension of that.
"Sasuke? Yeah, that's true I guess," Naruto replied, "Wonder how he holds up to his brother?"
"Well, I'd be careful about bringing that up, Naruto. Sasuke is... touchy. He can be a bit moody, but he's definitely got the most raw potential of the class. He also has something of a fanclub," Iruka said, causing Naruto to flinch. He remembered Itachi's old group. Not more then once had Naruto wondered if the real Uchiha kekkei genkai was some sort of permanent good-looks genjutsu or pheromone that made girls (and more then a few guys) go head over heels for them. "You lucked out, though. Hinata was about the only girl who didn't seem to be part of that. But then again, she didn't show much interest in anyone."
"Well, at least there is that," Naruto said. He sighed and set another bowl on his stack. It was about time to get going. He payed old man Teuchi and took off after a brief 'see ya' to Iruka, causing the chuunin to chuckle and wave as he watched the blond-haired jounin bounce off. He had come a long way from being the class clown, it seemed. Gone was the bright orange prankster, replaced with a fine ninja and a good man. Iruka was glad to have had a part in that.
He hoped that Naruto's new team would be glad too.
"Disappearances amongst the Uchiha?" Kakashi repeated, single eye opening in mild shock. He'd heard rumors, but had mostly discounted them. For the hokage to come out and inform him of such things meant he should have really payed more attention, it seems.
"That's right. On the surface, they seem mostly unrelated. I had kept things quiet as to avoid a panic, but also because I was unable to discern any relation between them," Itachi said. He was sitting in his chair, and had called Kakashi in a few hours ago. He knew quite well he would be late and, given he knew why, the hokage did not begrudge him his time. Particularly given how he would be sent out very shortly. "It struck me then that perhaps that was my problem."
"Problem, Itachi-sama?" Kakashi said, adjusting himself slightly. He had taken his standard place, leaning against the wall near the door of the office. The elite jounin became suddenly much more aware of just why he had not been stuck with yet another genin team this time around,
"I was looking for a pattern, when I should have been looking for the absence of a pattern," Itachi continued, standing as he did. The white and red robes he wore rustled somewhat as he stood and took his own place at the window, staring out over the village he loved. "Not all the disappearances were men, nor women. They were mostly ninja, but some other merchants were taken. Of the ninja, not all had manifested their sharingan, though many had. Thus, the only true repeating elements was their clan, and that they all had gone out of the village. But they were not sent to the same areas at all."
Kakashi noted that Itachi always referred to the clan as just that, a clan. It wasn't his clan, or even 'the Uchiha.' The jounin wondered sometimes how he managed to be so impartial, but he clearly was so. And not in a forced way either, Kakashi had noted. Itachi did it without any complaint, though he didn't really complain about anything. But the truly telling thing was that he had managed to make it very clear that, when it came to dealing with issues or disagreements he was completely impartial. He had never been challenged on it either. After all, it is very hard to deny his impartiality given how he dealt with the budding Uchiha revolt.
"The details are in the file. Along with your mission," Itachi said finally, "I can trust you, Kakashi, and I think your sharingan might give you a greater chance of success here then anyone else. But it is the trust I value most. This mission is class S, and anything you discover is a secret of the same level."
Kakashi said nothing, simply taking the file and going off without a word. Itachi watched as he disappeared out of the window and into the village. While stoic on the outside, he found himself conflicted. He had not told Kakashi everything, nor did the file contain it all. But his suspicions, while often right, were not enough for him to go on. He needed proof.
"Danzou. What is your game?" He said softly before sitting back down, shuffling the thoughts out of his mind. He had work to do, and the village needed its hokage. He could not afford to be distracted.