My apologies to all those who had to wait so long for this chapter, it wasn't my intent. I hope you deeply enjoy it and still want more afterwards. I'll do my best to make up for the lost time as soon as possible. Thank you all.
I bleed it out, digging deeper just to throw it away
I bleed it out, digging deeper just to throw it away
I bleed it out, digging deeper just to throw it away
Just to throw it away, just to throw it away
"Bleed it out" by Linkin Park
Chapter 23: Back room deals & Allergies
To say Fugaku wasn't a happy camper right now would be the understatement of the year. He'd been cuddled up with his wife; getting the last bit of sleep he could afford after pulling another all-nighter at the station. Only to have his eldest son abruptly wake him up with summons from the Hokage. It was well-known in Konoha that Fugaku Uchiha was one of its most hard-working men. It was also a well-known fact that he slept less than most men on a regular basis. For the Hokage to interrupt his short rest at such an ungodly hour must mean something of great importance must have happened; perhaps a turning point in their fruitless search for the unnamed Uchiha child. He hoped so; he was beginning to worry the case would soon turn cold, with no evidence or clues to rely on. They only had Hiashi's witness report and a simple piece of paper, anyone could have written.
Shivering from the chills of dawn, he followed his silent son to the neighboring Hyuuga compound. It gave him sick pleasure to know Hiashi was about to go through the same unpleasant fate as him. The wary gate guards didn't want to give them passage; identifiable by the way they gnashed their teeth as they pushed the gates open. It must eat away at their Clan pride to see Uchihas enter their pristine grounds. Smirking a little to himself, he followed his son into the reception hall; taking a seat on one of the pillows. They were served their tea and asked to wait as the attendant went to call Hiashi.
To be honest despite popular belief; even though he'd been Hiashi's teammate, he hadn't visited these grounds often. It had been a short-lived truce between himself and Hiashi as kids. Outside of their teamwork they wouldn't get involved in the other's business. No one knew about the truce struck between them; to Minato and their sensei it might have looked like they'd suddenly grown tired of fighting. Now that he did have the opportunity, he took a good look at the room. The decor reminded him very much of a Hyuuga; plain with subdued cream colors, and harsh solid black drapes. Their choice of colors due to their incessant obsession with yin and yang no doubt, he thought.
Finally; while he was contemplating, Hiashi did come out to join them. He gave his expected apology for his tardiness but Fugaku just glared. His words weren't truly heartfelt, nor were they even meant for them. He was just regurgitating the same old apology because of socially expected norms and courtesy. Fugaku kept his silence as Itachi filled Hiashi in on the reason why they'd been rudely awoken. As expected of the man, his old rival gave no signs of what he thought on the matter. He wasn't pleased that was certain but other than that, you couldn't tell. With no further need for questions, they all headed towards the administrations building. The sectary didn't ask them for any cumbersome signatures or information, a wise decision on her part. Neither Hiashi nor Fugaku were in the mood to be civil.
Going up the steps to the top floor, down the hallway and towards the large double doors that lead to the Hokage's office, they paused to knock.
The three men bowed in respect as they stepped over the threshold. "You called for us Hokage-sama?"
Sarutobi looked up from the reference file he'd been reading for the past fifteen minutes and adjusted his glasses. "Yes, I did. I pray it wasn't much of a disturbance to you both. It's just this matter is rather large and I'd rather have your counsel before deciding anything. Please have a seat" he offered, but as Itachi moved to step back out of the door, his hand shot up. "Oh and Itachi-kun. You may stay; I'd like your opinion as well on this matter."
The strange turn of events caught the other two adults by surprise. Why was Itachi being asked to remain? So far they'd done well to keep the children out of their little research project on the unnamed child star. So unless the Hokage's new lead had to do with the boy, it meant this was an entirely different matter all together. This gave life to a blaze of new thoughts in the two men's heads but they were trained enough to refrain from immediately asking. The Hokage would explain on his own terms.
"The reason I have called you three here tonight is because just a few minutes ago; Yuuki Hellsing came into my office with a proposal for her Clan's establishment here in Konoha." He let the last bit hang and waited for the responses. As expected, instantly looks of suspicion were traded. Itachi of course was untouched by the momentary turmoil; having had the first hand experience himself through the shadows. A retelling paled in comparison.
"Hokage-sama did she give her reasons for this course of action?" asked Hiashi, his voice as sharp as his eyes. His suspicions for her motives were clear enough.
"If possible I would like to see the official documents" asked Fugaku; concurring with his teammate, a very rare event. His dark eyes strayed to his son's face in hopes of seeing how this news affected him. To his disappointment and pride he found his son's face to be expressionless; the epitome of what a shinobi's face should be. At times like this he didn't know whether to be thankful for having such a perfect shinobi for a son or resentful for the eternal barrier it created. He wanted his son human…whatever his son was now; it was close to not being human.
Sarutobi gave his consent, passing along the scroll on his desk for the two to cross-check. He'd poured over it some more after the clever girl had left but try as he may he found nothing amiss within it. There was little to no threat for himself or the current Clans; the only ones seemingly losing were the Hellsings; which is what kept him looking over the scroll again and again. No one entered a deal with the intention of losing, no one. There had to be some subtle clause he was missing. Which made him consider what she and her guardians had to gain from this; a seat in the council, privileges only a clan member could have, more influence over Naruto and perhaps in Konoha itself. Looking at it from a logical stand point; she'd gain nothing from the first two. Even with a seat in the Council, should the others choose to ignore her due to age she'd gain nothing from it. Second, Clan privileges haven't been used in a long time in Konoha; most Clans even forgot they had them most of the time. They were only there for decoration and flattery for the Clans.
What worried him most was the possibility of her influence on Naruto growing further. At the moment he has been in support of all her actions concerning the boy but should she try to abuse her power over the boy, what would he do? Get Naruto away from her of course, however with him becoming Katsu's apprentice this could be easier said than done. At the very least he knew her intentions were not to take Naruto away from Konoha. He had the feeling, had that been her plan they wouldn't be seating here drinking tea and talking like this. So what in the world was Yuuki Hellsing really after?
Two equally frustrated sighs broke him from his thoughts. Somewhere between the scroll had found its way back to his desk. Both of their faces looked pensive.
"There are no loopholes to be found Hokage-sama. Their demands are as stated, with little room for alternate interpretations on either side. However I fear if there are alternative motives they'll probably be drastic since they took so much care to hide them" said Fugaku, a man with great knowledge on the law.
Hiashi nodded, "Her choice of business is questionable but that's not to say it hasn't been done before. I've seen many nobles squander their money to priests and priestesses claiming to be performing exorcisms. While I don't condone her tricking people out of their money, it's not to say it can't be done."
"My concerns are for her interest in Naruto and her constant wish to pull him closer to her" said Sarutobi, voicing his deepest worries. Itachi's hand did twitch on that, drawing notice from the other three. If they had no reasons to believe he had an interest in the girl, this was as good a sign as any; jealousy over a little boy who seemed to be the center of Yuuki's world at the moment. Smartly, they kept what they knew to themselves. It wasn't their business for the moment.
"This apprenticeship…did she state anymore of what it would entail? His work schedule, possible benefits or even the reason of her choice?" asked Hiashi, a bit hurt she hadn't chosen one of his daughters. The three seemed to get along well enough; even Hanabi was beginning to show an interest in befriending the girl.
Sarutobi gave a weary grin; a Hyuuga with a wounded pride could be difficult to deal with. "She said her choice was based on where her loyalties lie, which happens to be with Naruto; her very first friend here. I suppose she thought he needed it most, seeing how out of all her friends he's the only one without a clan for protection."
The two seemed to understand this, probably comparing her loyalty to that of theirs where Minato was concerned. "But I take it that is not all Hokage-sama?" inquired Hiashi.
Sarutobi shook his grey head, "I'm afraid not, it appears we've overlooked something in our initial research on the Hellsings. We've been so stuck on her background story; we've focused only on Suna and outside countries. Imagine my shock when she redirected my attentions back to Konoha."
The three present shared shocked looks. "What do you mean Hokage-sama?"
He sighed, "It appears the Hellsings are a nomadic Clan but they were first founded here in Konoha, along with the rest of the first founding Clans. To think it was right under our noses this whole time. In essence it's her right to reestablish her Clan here in Konoha. We can't stop her from enacting the laws as a member of the first founding members. We should think it was only a show of her humility and kindness to ask first, rather than demand it like she rightfully could have. This proposal wasn't necessary for her at all."
The others sat gaping before their Hokage; a slight parting of their lips was all they'd allow of course. Hiashi honestly felt like hitting himself over the head with something. How could they have been so blind not to check their own village records! "Hokage-sama, I am deeply sorry for my incompetence on this matter."
"As am I Hokage-sama" said Fugaku, a slight bow of his head in apology. He had to admit, this was a huge oversight on their part. "I promise this failure won't be repeated in the near future."
Sarutobi shrugged, knowing these two stiff men before him were probably overly condemning themselves now on the inside anyway. "To be honest I would appreciate it if you weren't so hard on yourselves. I'm just as guilty after all, I had all the resources under my charge and yet it never occurred to me to check. Had I acted on my hunch a bit earlier we could have been a bit closer to the truth. I'd simply assumed it was a passing deal we had with them in the past. It never occurred to me that they could have been so ingrained into our village."
Fugaku frowned, "Then how in the world did Yuuki's group end up in Suna?"
Hiashi's frown deepened, and his lips twisted ruefully. "That is to say her story is to be believed…"
Sarutobi nodded; his feelings exactly on the matter. "Apparently at one point they began to migrate again, perhaps this 'business' of theirs forces them to move over time. There are only so many noble families you can con into giving you money for exorcisms. Our records lose sight of them after the Nidaime's term of office."
"That's quite some time" mumbled Itachi, causing the other three to jump slightly. To be honest with themselves, they'd almost forgotten he'd been in the room. He'd been so silent, simply observing, that they'd gradually forgotten his presence in exchange for thoughts of their latest discovery. Fugaku didn't want to admit it but his son could be scary in that manner, causing even seasoned ninjas like to jump. The way he could blend in with the darkness was almost too much. Perhaps this new love interest wasn't such a bad thing for him. If this new affair with Yuuki could dull the edge of Itachi's blade even a little, then all the better. An overly sharp blade wasn't always a good thing; it could cut not only enemies but its user too. If that happened; Fugaku has no doubt Danzo would seek to take care of his son.
He honestly wished to ask for the Hokage's help to demilitarize his son's perspective on life. However grievances of the past kept his lips shut almost as tightly as a fuujutsu seal.
"Y-yes, quite a long time Itachi-kun. Yuuki has promised us more information on her Clan should we accept her proposal. Even a mock battle from her two guardians" said Sarutobi.
Fugaku nodded, "that sounds promising, I've been meaning to find a way to investigate those two's capabilities anyway. This is as good a chance as any, have you decided on their opponents?"
Sarutobi shook his head, "No, not really. This all happened too suddenly for me to make the official preparations. Which brings me to the main reason I called you here tonight. I was hoping to get your input on this. Should we really accept her proposal? If she is unaware of her legal rights to re-enact her Clan without my permission then we could stop her ambitions here."
"I highly doubt that she's unaware of her legal rights. Not if she was the one that directed you to her Clan's history. I believe we really have no choice in this; trying to prevent her would only mark us as enemies in her eyes. We don't know the Hellsings enough yet to be making enemies out of them."
The adults sighed. Perhaps with anybody else, at any other time they would say it was simply the crush speaking but this was Itachi Uchiha; the child prodigy with the brain of a genius, and damn it all if he didn't make sound sense. "This is a perfect chance to at least to tie them down to the village for some time. As a Clan they'll have to stay for some time within the Village and pledge fealty to you."
Sarutobi nodded, "what you say is true. At the moment I fear the only thing that keeps them in Konoha is Naruto's well-being. I suppose there's nothing to do but put it up to vote at the next council meeting."
"Let's just hope her intentions are what she says or this could become a very costly mistake for us" groaned Fugaku. Much like the one he was facing personally now.
Yuuki was in a daze for the remainder of the week. Sure she attended her classes with the others in body, even attending the extra study sessions when her schedule allowed it. However her mind was on other things. While there was little Sarutobi could do to hinder her, there was always room for something to go wrong, some unexpected clause to pop-up against her. She didn't want a political battle on her hands right now. It was enough to just monitor the Uchiha Clan without being caught. Thankfully her friendship with Sasuke and Itachi was becoming a great benefit on her side.
The rumors of course were already spreading. The introduction of a new clan to the system; it was all the buzz and rage in the market places. Everyone had their bets on who it would; most of course betted on older shinobi families. Some said it could be the Haruno family, having been shinobi for so long and yet not part of the fold of the elite Clans. Others said it was Tenten's family, having been creating both shinobi and their weapons for many years now. Yuuki let them guess, the more excited they got; the more it pushed the council to establish her, if only to satisfy the rumor mill.
Her dazed state led to her being caught off guard one Thursday afternoon during training at the academy. They were to be working on target practice with blunt kunais, how the son of one rich merchant thought it wise to bring a real kunai to school to show off to his friends was unclear to most. Bragging to his friends, he brought out the new Copper kunai his father had bought him for his recent birthday. "See what did I tell ya, only great Shinobi use these! I bet I can even throw better than Sasuke Uchiha with one of these" he mouthed off.
One of the other boys stuck his nose in the high, clearly not believing in his words. "Prove it" he mouthed.
Now under normal circumstances this is where the jokes would end and the big-headed boy would turn tail and refuse. However today Daichi seemed to be a marble too short, he let the provocation get to him. Grinning from ear to ear, he waited for Iruka to give them the signal to lose fire on the dummy targets. Gripping the copper kunai with unsteady hands he released it too suddenly, causing the trajectory to go haywire. The kunai bogged and weaved through a group of his peers. It caused screams and a mass of scrambling students in its wake. It was funny to watch his peers jump about like they had no good sense.
Funny…till the kunai struck home in the thigh of a certain dazed Hellsing heiress. She'd been looking at her target dummy, allowing her mind to be distracted to deskill her throw, only to feel a searing pain in her thigh the next minute. Dropping to her knees she groaned and tried to yank the damn cause of her pain out; whatever it was. However the instant her hands contacted the metal she hissed like a burned cat and retracted her hands. However despite the pain she knew she had to get whatever had hit her out of her body. It was starting to burn her from the inside out; it dug in too deeply for her to simply yank it out. She'd have to pull. Pulling meant touching that fiery metal again. She cursed and began to scream as the pain grew with each moment the blade stayed in.
She could feel her eyes dilate, contracting in and out much like her muscles. She could hear people moving about her; her scared peers and frantic teachers. No one knew what was wrong, sure she had a copper kunai to the thigh but all she had to do was pull it out. Normally that's what one did and then they could attend to her wounds. As it was her constant screaming and twisting on the floor made no sense. The level of pain she was displaying didn't match the wound.
Her friends watched transfixed and worried. Why hadn't she pulled out the blade yet? Sasuke had seen her try but immediately retreat as though burned. They didn't know what to do, Iruka walked closer to her, aiming to do it himself when a circle of fire surrounded her. Frightened a bit, he stepped back.
When the fires died down, her friends caught the familiar sight of Katsu and Seras standing by her side. Immediately upon taking in the situation Seras took guard and Katsu attended to her. Kneeling by his kit, he held her down firmly to stop her squirming.
"It…burns!" she screamed, her voice hysteric.
"I know kit, I know. I'm going to get it out now, breath in, breath out. Yes like that, now 1, 2..3" he yanked it out as quick as lighten.
The effects were immediate, her thrashing stopped and her breathing became steady. Slowly she began to calm down, panting a little. When she collected herself, she looked around to catch the faces of her classmates. Her eyes were a burning blood-red. It scared some of the kids enough to take two steps back.
Finally, realizing the commotion was coming to a close Iruka stepped in. "I'm deeply sorry to have let this happen to your charge under my watch but I assure you I didn't think the wound was as grave as she acted. I thought she'd pull out the kunai herself immediately."
Katsu nodded, cradling his frightened kit. "I'm sure she would have too…except for the fact that she is allergic to Copper."
Everyone stood dumbfounded. Allergic to Copper; who'd ever heard of such a thing? Iruka looked closer at Yuuki. She was still shaking a little and her hands; what little he could see of them, were burned. He gasped realizing the magnitude of what had happened. "I'm so sorry! I didn't know she had such a condition. I assure you it will be taken to reference from here on out."
Katsu gave him a crooked grin, "I bet it will. But for now I'd like to know who is the owner of this fine Copper kunai?"
He waved the kunai around with an easy that was scary, eyeing each one of the students with those predatory red eyes. The children physically stiffened, some even went so far as to look away. Even Yuuki's friends were not spared.
"I call always tell by the scent you know. I'd hate to have to find you myself, I'd rather you be the bigger man and step up" he drawled. His red eyes scanning the sea of uneasy faces till he stopped at a certain merchant boy. The boy literally went pale as he was narrowed out by those eyes. He was sure if he was ever to die, this would be it.
While Iruka was all for disciplining a child he wasn't sure Daichi would come out of this in one piece if he didn't stop it now. Stepping in, he reached out for the kunai. "I'm afraid and ashamed to say this happened on my watch. And as such I would like to deal with the culprit myself if you don't mind."
Katsu raised a brow to his request. He could tell that Iruka was starting to fear him too. And yet he would stick his head out for a stupid child not even his own, an admirable quality; some of the few that still remained in humans. Sighing, he placed the kunai in Iruka's hand. "Fine have it your way, but I don't want to ever hear of this repeated. Stick to the curriculum kids; there's a reason it's there for piss-poor shots like that one" he said, sarcasm dripping from every words as he began to walk away.
"Will Yuuki be re-joining us for the rest of the lessons?" hesitantly asked Iruka, not sure what foot was the best to put down anymore with this Katsu.
Turning his head, Katsu eyed the docile teacher. "No, not for today but she'll be back tomorrow. I wish you a good day Iruka-sensei."
The rest of the class could only watch as the three departed. The atmosphere; so intense while they'd been there, lessened the moment they'd completely left. Everyone felt they could breathe a little easier. Immediately the rumors began to fly about; girls and boys alike were whispering to each other. The gang ignored them, preferring to confer amongst themselves about what had happened and what to do next. Do they go to visit Yuuki?
"I didn't know she was allergic to copper…" murmured Naruto, thinking of all the times he'd been with Yuuki. To be honest he didn't think he'd ever seen her holding copper in her hand. Silver, wood, metals and iron works but never copper. It was usually considered a third-rate metal anyway so people rarely used it these days.
"Neither did I" said Hinata, her voice sad as she thought of the pain her friend must have been in. She too had been one of those to doubt the amount of pain Yuuki had been displaying. She had thought she'd simply been acting dramatic.
Sasuke held on to his comments, he was still mulling this over.
"That's why she couldn't pull out the kunai, it burned her to even try" reasoned Shikamaru.
"So guys what do we do?" asked Kiba, he always preferred acting to seating and waiting.
"You finish the rest of Class" came a voice from behind.
They all turned to face an annoyed Iruka. Abashed, they followed his orders and headed back into the Classroom; the practical part of their training was done for today.
Ok so that's the end of this chapter. Bet I surprised you with the copper thing^3^. But don't worry I won't go about making her into a liability and trophy wife. She will be a fighter. I'm just not going to make her invincible either. For those who stayed fateful to the story, you have my sincere thanks. I hope I've replied every one of your reviews. Till next time.