Chapter One

Rough Beginnings

Disclaimers: I don't own you didn't know that already.

Shout out: Evilfrog1's story "Bang Goes Love" has inspired portions of this story. If you've read his work then you will know what I mean. If you haven't then go read it NOW!

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A doorway opened into an alley, spilling light into the darkness and making the shadows seem all the darker. A boy's silhouette could be seen holding a large bag in one hand, his head turned over his shoulder. A muffled voice could be heard from inside the building to which the boy responded. "Yeah mom, I'm taking it out right now! Sheesh you'd think I've never taken out the trash before." Hefting the bag he walked over to the nearby trash bin and tossed the bag in before returning to the safety of the building.

A short way down the alley a shadow moved towards the bin and, careful to not make too much noise, sorted through the contents. Shifting aside a few old ragged clothes and scraps of paper he spotted something that instantly got him excited. It seemed someone was cleaning out old supplies as there in the bin he found some scrolls and books. Just what he was looking for. After grabbing the items and stuffing them in his satchel, he did one more quick sift through before rushing off down the alley and into the night.

A moment later the same boy peeked out again from the doorway as the muffled voice from before came once again. "No mom there isn't anything out there. It musta been a cat or something."

• • •

Across town a bit later...

A figure could be seen slinking through the streets, sticking to the shadows as much as possible. When it separated from them long enough to distinguish itself as human it merely seemed to be a standing shadow from all the dark clothes it wore. Rushing into a nearby park it instantly jumped into some bushes as some civilians walked by unaware that he was only a few feet away glaring as they passed by. After they were a comfortable distance away soft sounds of movement were heard again as the figure moved towards the back of the park. In a section that was covered with various shrubs it lifted a hidden doorway and slipped beneath the surface of the village.

It was dark, but he knew his way by now. He had visited this place since he was very young when he had found it completely by accident while running from a mob. After that it became one of his greatest safe havens in the village. It was here that he would escape to when the glares became too harsh, or when certain celebrations were held that would cause him to need to flee from crowded areas when he was able to. This was also the place he kept his most precious possessions. He had found the area many years ago, and foolhardy as he was at the time, he cleaned out many items that would probably been very valuable to him in the coming years, but that that was fine. He still ended up with far more then he started with.

Rounding another corner he came to a stop in front of a door. Taking a moment he pricked his finger before swiping it over a small tile near the door. He heard a click that let him know the door was now unlocked. Upon entering he was greeted with the all too familiar smell of old paper and the sight of numerous racks of scrolls, books, weapons and other items he had collected over the years. For now though he took a quick look through the items he had just found and took the ones he didn't want to look through at the moment to the shelves and after cataloging them in a thick ledger he placed them in their respective spots.

Taking a glance at the clock nearby he realized he had little time left before sunrise. Quickly grabbing a blank scroll, he sealed up his new possessions before opening a nearby closet. In a flash of dull dark and blinding orange he had transformed into his 'public mask'. The stealthy cool headed night stalker now became the loudmouthed blonde-topped academy dobe. Grabbing a quick bite to eat he locked the door to his secret reprieve from reality and headed back towards the exit. Letting out a sigh he climbed back up into the twilight of early morning and crept back to his apartment to start the morning ritual that everyone was used to seeing from him. Soon he could drop this mask though. Soon he would show them all just what their ignorance could have cost them.

• • •

Iruka sighed as he walked down the hall. This would be the last day for many of his students as ninja in training. Today they would take their test for advancement into the ninja ranks. Many of them were ready and had proven it on a number of occasions. One however worried him far more then the others. That one being Uzumaki Naruto. He had nothing against the boy in fact he had often seen the boy go through hell in the village just to get meager scraps to repair damage to his apartment that had been done, probably by the same people he was buying the materials from. It was humbling in a way, and had there been anyway to prove what was going on he would have helped the boy with his plight. However anytime anyone tried to turn in those guilty the civilian council would rule any evidence as inconclusive, or just make it disappear all together.

Though he didn't really find anything wrong with the boy, even though he knew what was held in him, he was always a bit unsettled around him. He had often see the boy act more mature then most of the adults that berated him, but most of the time he was just the blonde idiot that played pranks. To Iruka, Naruto was an enigma. A puzzle that was missing far too many pieces to figure out what the real picture had been. In class though it was almost glaringly obvious. He was the dead last. A student who had failed twice already and was in danger of doing so again. That wasn't to say that Iruka would go easy on him in order to let him pass, but he did feel sorry for him.

Nearing the door to his classroom he was about to enter when he felt a presence behind him. Turning around quickly he saw nothing until he looked down a bit and noticed the blonde mop of just the student he was thinking about a moment ago. "Naruto? You know it's the day of the exam, don't you think you're cutting it a little close?"

"Hehe. Iruka-sensei, I'm fine. Besides I need to pass soon if I'm ever going to be Hokage right?" The boy grinned with his hands locked behind his head. Iruka couldn't help but snort a little. "Ne, what's so funny?" The boy glared at him apparently a little angry that Iruka would laugh at his announcement.

"Sorry, sorry. Just thinking about how often you say that. It brings back a lot of memories. Anyhow let's get inside. We wouldn't want to make everyone wait too long right?" With a nod he opened the door and walked into the classroom, each going to their respective desk though not without Iruka noticing the scowl Mizuki threw at Naruto. "Quiet down everyone! Today we are taking the graduation test to see if you are ready to become genin ninja of the village. When your name is called you will come up to the front of the class and perform what we tell you. After you are deemed worthy of passing you will be presented with one of these hitai ite to show you are now a true ninja." One by one the class was called down to prove their skills. Something seemed off though to Iruka. Mizuki seemed to go off in a daze a few times and as such Iruka ended up going through a few more students then the other teacher. Looking down his list he called out the name of his next student to test as he noticed Mizuki just finishing his last student. "Uchiha Sasuke." The Spike haired brooder of the class made his way to the floor as almost all the female eyes were on him.

Meanwhile Mizuki was looking at his sheet as he smirked at the next name before calling it out. "Uzumaki Naruto." The boldly dressed class clown made his way confidently to the front of the room before taking his place in front of the teacher. He instantly felt something wrong as he waited for his instruction. He got slightly distracted as he heard numerous squeals from behind him signifying the Uchiha, in all his perfection, did another flawless jutsu. Scowling slightly he barely registered that Mizuki asked him to do a bunshin. Again he felt the disturbance as he gathered his chakra and made the seal for the simple jutsu. What he planned on doing was form three clones of himself. What he ended up was one copy that looked like a deflated blow up doll in an orange jumpsuit. Instantly he knew what happened. Mizuki had screwed with his chakra flow. Scowling at the man he sighed. He knew what was coming.

"I'm sorry Naruto, but if you can't do the basic jutsu, we have to fail you" Mizuki said with a huge mental smile. His plans were going just as he planned. No one would believe the demon over him. He glanced at Iruka who was looking between Naruto and his attempted clone and just shook his head. Laughing inside his head he watched as Naruto slowly returned to his seat while Iruka announced when they would need to gather for team assignments and a brief speech about what it means to be a ninja of Konoha before dismissing the students so they could meet their parents and announce their results to their parents who were no doubt waiting outside anxiously. As they made their way outside Mizuki slipped out with them to begin the next stage of his plan.

• • •

After sneaking through the Hokage tower, and running to the area Mizuki told him to meet up, Naruto knew he was ahead of schedule, so he decided to read up on what he found for a bit. Opening the scroll he found the Kage Bunshin no Jutsu. 'Hmmm this doesn't look too tough, well I never learned anything just sitting around.' Going over the technique he was soon absorbed in practicing the new jutsu. He knew that this wasn't really a substitute graduation. No such thing existed in all the rule or law books he was made to read either by choice or from a punishment. It was such an obvious lie, but that didn't matter to him. He just wanted to get back at the bastard for rigging his test and failing him. What better way then to bet him at his own game. 'Well that's one down...there looks to be quite a few jutsu in here. Oh well I'll copy down as as many as I can before the teme gets here. No reason not to add a few to my personal library.' With that he whipped out a blank scroll and began the process of transferring the jutsu to the new scroll. Had he not had so much practice in doing so, this may have taken awhile, but when you dig used scrolls out of garbage for an education you learn to write fast to get the more...fragrant...of them copied and tossed before they could spread their scent too far.

A few hours later he heard sounds crashing through the forest and quickly wrapped the scrolls up before stowing his copy and swinging the larger, full version onto his back. What approached though was not what he was expecting.

"Naruto! What do you think you're doing taking that scroll?!" an irate Iruka stood at the edge of the clearing, breathing heavy and scowling at Naruto.

"Heh heh. I did it Iruka-sensei. I learned a technique from the scroll so I passed right? ...But where is Mizuki-sensei? He said he was going to meet me here. Did he have something else to do and sent you instead?" It was the easiest way he could warn Iruka without blowing his self made cover. He just hoped the light bulbs clicked on before the teme got there. As if on cue Mizuki appeared on a branch over head and started yelling about how Iruka was trying to steal the scroll and run. A brief exchange later found Iruka crouched over Naruto with a giant shuriken sticking out of his back. It took a moment for Naruto's mind to click from what he was just told. He may have been more intelligent then he let on, but to learn that there was a demon inside you wasn't something you easily believed. Suddenly the glares, the abuse, the treatment he was given in the village all these years made sense.

For a second he stared up a the face of the man who just protected him, barely registering what he was saying before he shuffled out from under him and bolted into the woods with Mizuki hot on his heels. While running he tapped some chakra into the bands around his wrists and waist to reduce his weight a bit allowing him to put some distance between himself and the chunin behind him. Once the man was out of sight Naruto dropped down and hid to give himself a little time to process what he was just told. Again he was caught off guard when Mizuki, and an injured Iruka dropped into the clearing right near him.

He was able to hear their argument about how Mizuki said he was a demon and Iruka was defending him. He could see Iruka was in no shape to fight his peer with the wounds he sustained while protecting him. Mizuki obviously saw this too and was preparing to take out the other man as he reached for the other shuriken he had on his back. Forget worrying about demons and villagers. Right now he needed to focus. Someone was finally willing to defend him both physically and mentally. He wasn't about to let him die in cold blood. Pushing his thoughts aside he pushed off and landed a kick to Mizuki's temple, landing between the two chunin. "Mizuki-teme, if you lay one finger on Iruka-sensei I will break off each of your fingers and feed them to you digit by digit." Both men were taken slightly aback by the threat before Mizuki began to laugh.

"What do you think you could possibly do to me demon brat. I am a chunin while you couldn't even make genin. I will tear you apart, then Iruka. Prepare yourself boy because this is the last moment of your life." Mizuki was off like a bolt of lightning aiming to kill the boy quickly. He had to finish this and get out of here before ANBU had time to figure out where they were. Unfortunately he realized too late how wrong he was. Right before his kunai had a chance to pierce the boy's jacket his target simply disappeared. A little unsettled he looked around the clearing before seeing a flash of orange in the trees above him.

"Mizuki-teme, for hurting a person who acknowledged me I will invite upon you the same pain a thousand times." Mizuki was about to retort when he saw Naruto form an unfamiliar seal. "You wanted this scroll so bad, I will show you one of its secrets. Now you may know the horror of what you could have been. Tajū Kage Bunshin no Jutsu!" In a large puff of smoke the clearing was filled with orange. The ground, trees, everywhere Mizuki looked all he saw was orange. "Goodbye Mizuki-teme." With that, only screams could be heard as one grey haired chunin was beaten within an inch of his life.

"Heh I think I over did it a little." Naruto scratched the back of his head as he made his way over to check on Iruka. Seeing the man alive and only slightly injured he was only slightly surprised when Iruka told him to close his eyes. After doing so he felt pressure on his head. Again Iruka spoke, telling him to open his eyes, and congratulating him on his graduation. At this point though Naruto could care less about graduation and instead hugged Iruka for finally accepting him as a person.

• • •

The sun was beginning to show itself by the time Iruka and Naruto made it to the Hokage tower with a couple clones carrying the restrained, bruised and bloody Mizuki. Making their way to the Hokage's office and finding him already present they entered to give their report. What met them was not just the Hokage, but also his two civilian council advisers Homura and Koharu. As soon as the two advisers saw the orange clad boy they immediately stiffened and glared at him, fighting off the urge to yell at the demon. They knew all too well what would happen if they broke Sarutobi's law while the man was sitting not five feet from them. Trained as they were in showing no emotions Naruto could see the hate in their eyes all too well, but it wasn't them he cared about. No, it was the old man behind the desk that he was more concerned about. After all it was that man that he had used his perverted jutsu on to get the scroll in the first place. He could only pray the Hokage wouldn't hold that against him.

"Well hello Iruka-kun, Naruto-kun. I believe you have something that belongs to me Naruto?" He held out his hand and motioned Naruto forward. The boy had the decency to look at least a little ashamed as he placed the scroll in the Hokage's arm. "First off I would like to thank you both for your part in apprehending the traitor Mizuki and protecting the secrets of our village. Naruto I especially want to thank you for playing the fool in order to expose this threat." Naruto was taken aback a bit before he saw the man wink at him. "Second, I will be granting you both a B-ranked mission success with the pay to go along with it."

"But Hokage-sama, the boy is not even a ninja of this village. How could he work on, let alone complete a mission let alone a B-ranked mission."

Sarutobi glanced at Homura before speaking. "I see he has a hitai ite on his head. Thus signifying him as a shinobi of this village. Isn't that correct Iruka?"

"Hai, Hokage-sama. While Naruto did not successfully complete the test in school, it was later found out that he had been sabotaged by Mizuki who purposely failed him for the reason of offering him this second 'graduation test'. During our encounter with Mizuki in the forest he showed he was more then capable of succeeding in his previous test in a combat environment by defeating the chunin level shinobi Mizuki, and as such is more then ready for his life as a shinobi." Iruka stood at attention and the three high ranking officials could see the pride flowing off the man.

"Very well, then there are no problems there. Now, Naruto I will allow you to keep the item you acquired during this event, provided you use it with caution and protect it as it is a very precious item. It would be very bad if it fell into the hands of anyone else, even someone of this village." He sent a glance to his advisers letting them know to not press the matter. "Now Naruto I would ask you to please leave as I have some discussions to go over with Iruka, and don't forget to go to the team assignment later. Have a nice day, dismissed." Watching Naruto leave he smiled as the boy nearly hopped out of the room and closed the door before running out of the building. His cheers could be heard through the closed window. Grimacing slightly Hiruzen turned back to the remaining people in his office. "Well Iruka-kun this presents us with a small problem."

"I'm sorry Hokage-sama I don't quite follow."

"Adding Naruto to the roster will unbalance the numbers. As you know we make the teams in threes which are balanced. Well with Naruto now passing the numbers have been thrown off by one. Now normally we would simply put him with a team the next time around..." The two advisers looked rather exited about making the boy wait longer to join the ninja ranks, as the longer he was not an official ninja the longer he was technically under their control. "...however I don't believe we should have him wait any longer. He's already been kept back twice, and I am certain he is more then ready for missions."

"What are you suggesting Hokage-sama?" This time it was Koharu who spoke up. Now curious as to the Hokage's plan. Though the idea of a four man cell had been brought up a few times in the past, most notably by Senju Tsunade, the idea never gained popular favor.

"I believe for now that with Naruto's...unique abilities, his new found technique and his performance against the chunin Mizuki, I am instating Naruto as a one man cell." It was so quiet in the room that Sarutobi could have sworn he could hear the beetle that was crawling up the wall outside his window. Then all of a sudden the room was filled with noise once again.

Both of the advisers said almost in unison. "What a wonderful idea Hokage-sama!" While thinking. 'What better way to get rid of the beast then send him out on his own.'

While Iruka was horrified. "A lone genin on his own team? You can't really be considering this Hokage-sama. He may have beaten Mizuki, but being sent on real missions...and who would be his sensei. When I last looked we were short handed as is. He was my student and I cannot consent in this."

"To answer your question, yes we are short on Jonin-sensei, that is why he will not have one. He will be sent on missions which will be deemed capable of him to handle, or he will be placed with a team whose mission requires back-up, but not so much that would merit sending a full team." The advisers were ecstatic at this news. It was like Christmas to them. Leaving the demon brat to fend completely for himself was beyond their wildest dreams. Forget holding him back for the next group of graduates. If things go well they would be rid of him within a month.

Iruka on the other hand was livid. He trusted the Hokage with his loyalty, but sending a lone genin out into the life of a ninja was unheard of. Even setting that aside the Hokage, the man hailed as 'The Professor' was allowing a boy to go into the ninja world without even a sensei to guide him. Was he insane?

"Now I know what you are all thinking, and I assure you that he is more then ready for his trials ahead. Advisers, he will be a bit of a special case and will only be allowed missions that have my approval. Is that clear?" After getting a hesitant confirmation that they understood what he meant he dismissed them, but kept Iruka behind. "Iruka, it may not seem like much at the moment, but I assure you that your former student is more then ready for what he will need to do. He has lived a far more difficult life then any of his classmates and as such was forced to adapt in ways that no one would imagine. You are well aware that I am able to keep my eye on certain areas when I see fit. I will let you know that Naruto is a lot more capable then he lets others believe. He far surpasses any genin, and most likely many chunin in skill and knowledge. How far he's actually come I cannot say for certain as he occasionally go places I cannot track him or that are out of my range, but believe me when I tell you that all you have seen thus far has been a mask that has been in place for years to hide himself from his peers in order to fit in better, while continuing to advance his skill so he could survive the harsher side of Konoha's streets."

"Even if you say that Hokage-sama, Naruto is like a little brother to me. I can't help but worry about him. If nothing else let me be his sensei."

"I am sorry Iruka but only jonin are able to be a team sensei, and you are far too valuable as a classroom sensei to be sent out in the field at the moment. We may still be strong, but we are also still recovering from the last war just like every other nation. You have proven yourself as a capable sensei for upcoming genin, so for now that is where you will have to stay. Though if it will ease your mind I will allow you to cover mission assignments when you are not busy teaching. That way you will at least be able to know where Naruto is going for missions."

Sighing Iruka knew Sarutobi was right. They just didn't have the resources to allow Naruto his own sensei, and there was no way Naruto would be safe if he were to be left in the hands of the civilian council. No, this was for the best. At least this way his missions would be controlled and when one team lost a member in the upcoming chunin exams he would be able to join that team. "Hai Hokage-sama. If you'll excuse me I have to begin a schedule for my next class." Bowing he left the room, his mind still on the blonde and what his future might hold. He couldn't help but have conflicting thoughts about the boy. One side of him wanted to believe Sarutobi and believe that Naruto could overcome the seemingly insurmountable odds. The other side however kept flashing how many things could go wrong on a simple mission and what that would mean for a lone genin out in the field. Sighing again he left the tower and headed home. After all, he still had a lesson plan to work on for the new class he would soon be in charge of. Despite his attachments he couldn't risk a whole generation of students by worrying about one person no matter how close he felt towards the boy.

• • •

The forbidden scrolls secrets were now spread out in front of him in fresh scrolls. Separated and categorized he was now considering which to go over. Seeing as he already had Kage Bunshin down he decided to delve a little deeper with them. How many uses could a more durable clone have after all? He could make them explode, use the for diversions, or setting up traps while he lead his enemies to them. He remembered from copying the jutsu to that he would learn what they learned, so his already good chakra control would jump again by leaps and bounds, not to mention training his various skills. Yes, Kage Bunshin was definitely the right thing to learn first. The only drawback to the jutsu was that people with low chakra would be in danger if they created too many and spread their chakra too thin, but for someone like him with unnaturally high chakra reserves it was perfect.

Once again storing the scrolls he wasn't going to need at the moment, he stored what he would need in a scroll and grabbed a stocked supplies pouch and holster from a shelf. Heading to one of his closets he picked out an outfit for the following day when he would go to the team selection at the academy. It was finally time for him to drop his mask a bit, and what a surprise they all would be in for. Dark green cargo pants with a black skin tight shirt. Fingerless gloves and black ninja sandals. Then, to finish the look, covered shin and forearm guards and a Ninja-to. Yes, they would definitely be surprised. Making one last check to make sure he wasn't forgetting anything he threw his chosen gear in a satchel before closing and sealing the door and heading out to his favorite ramen stand to grab some food. After that he would go to his apartment, in which the ignorant villagers assumed he lived, for a good night's sleep to prepare for the fun that was sure to start tomorrow.

Thinking back on all he's shown to everyone of his skill and intelligence so far he couldn't help but chuckle, causing some passing villagers to glare a little harder at him. He didn't care though. He wasn't here for them. Protecting them didn't matter to him one bit if they weren't willing to believe in him. After finding out just why they hated him, he didn't really blame them too much. The demon he carried did kill their families and destroy their lives, not to mention taking the life of their hero. Even so, couldn't they at least see past that. He wasn't the Kyūbi, so why should they hate him? It wasn't like he was the one that went on a murderous rampage, so why did he deserve the abuse? Shaking his head he concentrated on happier thoughts, once again going to finally casting a portion of his mask aside and showing what he could really do.

Arriving at Ichiraku's he sat down and ordered his usual miso ramen before starting a list of things to take care of tomorrow after the real him came out. Putting the emo Uchiha in his place and dropping his fake affection for the pink haired banshee were near the top of his list. Not to mention putting the dog breath in his place. The most important though out of everything was going to be returning a certain paled-eyed girls affections. He had wanted to do it for so long, and she was well worth it from his view, but he never did understand just what she saw in him, the scourge of Konoha. She was after all an heir to a clan, by all rights she should be able to get anyone she wanted, but she chose him. Now it was time for him to show that she chose well. The only problems he knew would arise were from two sources. The first being her clan, especially her father. Again she was the heir, so would he be seen as unworthy? The second was the aforementioned mutt who had an obvious attraction to her. Like most males in his clan he had already tried numerous times to claim her as his. Unfortunately for him she was completely disinterested in his advances and always escorted around by branch members to and from the academy.

Well all that could wait until tomorrow. With a slurp he finished his last bowl of ramen for the night before paying and heading off to his apartment. Sleep would come easy tonight since the action with Mizuki the previous night had kept him from his bed. Not that he really needed to sleep every night. That was another thing that became clearer once he found out from Mizuki about his tenant. He knew he had certain traits that were more advanced then a normal human, and some even more advanced then most ninja, short of having specific bloodlines. His hearing, eyesight, sense of smell and reaction time were better then an Inuzuka's. His regeneration left the doctors in baffled awe. Then there was his stamina and recuperation which was borderline freakish even for a ninja. Even his speed and muscle density was different then most. But like every other one of his skills he didn't showcase anything. As far as his classmates and most of the village knew he was just a normal human if not sub-par or, in most of the older generation's eyes, a reincarnation of the Kyūbi.

Making it to his apartment he decided to leave the rest of his thoughts until tomorrow and get some decent rest. He wanted to be ready just in case his team got a mission right away. He didn't want a lapse in judgment to cause any mishaps when he was supposed to be proving his true worth. After entering his place he relocked the door and looked around just to make sure there weren't any 'surprises' from villagers or ignorant ninja laying around anywhere. He learned long ago that he shouldn't move around too much without making sure everything was in order before doing so. Many painful experiences taught him that, but then at the same time he was a little glad they had happened. Aside from the whole unbearable pain thing he got from it, he also got quite a few sets of quality kunai, shuriken, explosive tags and other assorted weapons. Heck his ninja-to that he currently had stored with his gear for tomorrow was once set up to behead him when he laid down. That was one that he was happy to find, and glad that whoever set it up didn't pay too much attention to making the trap hidden. All it took was for him to trip the wire and *slice* he had a brand new ninja-to embedded in the rod he tripped the trap with.

Double checking the bed he got undressed from his 'kill me orange' attire for hopefully the last time and hopped under the covers. His last thoughts before he drifted off were of his pale-eyed princess and the possible future they might have once he gains a little of the respect that has been overdue for him. Oh wouldn't they be surprised. Eyelids now too heavy in the comfort of his mattress he drifted off to a peaceful sleep. One of the few he's ever had.

• • •

Deep within the bowels of the Hokage mountain sat a man behind a desk, his body half hidden by the bandages he wore. This man was Danzo, calm, cool and calculating. With him sat two others who, to him, were mere shadows of what they had once been, but even with their lax behavior he could see that there was a storm brewing behind each of their eyes. "So what brings the esteemed advisers to my chambers? Surely there is nothing that one so lowly such as I could have that you need?" His voice dripped with sarcasm. After all these two were a key part in his plan to take over the rule of Konoha, and a some point the whole of Hi no Kuni and beyond.

"We have come from a meeting with the Hokage and thought it should be brought to your attention that the demon brat graduated yesterday after showing himself capable by defeating the traitor Mizuki and returning the forbidden scroll for the Hokage." Danzo's eyebrow twitched slightly in a rare moment of emotion. His chances at getting his hands on a particularly powerful weapon had just slipped away. "However there is a small ray of hope that comes from this. The Hokage saw fit to place the boy on his own team...without a sensei. We must not waste this opportunity. Though we cannot give him missions ourselves, we can still manipulate the system enough to get him placed on certain...choice missions where the risk is higher then it seems. Since we can no longer get him into your ROOT program in order to control him, we have only the option of extermination. This must be carefully planned Danzo. This absolutely cannot come back on us or it would cost us dearly."

Danzo just sat and stared at the two former ninja through the entire explanation and for a short time afterward. The two advisers sat and watched him as he went into some deep thought. "Well we have more genin teams then usual, so it shouldn't be too difficult to delay him from getting a mission until all of the D-Rank missions are gone. Nor would it be too difficult to assign him to assist a team on a slightly higher risk mission and add in some of my own men to make sure everything goes smoothly. Indeed, if we cannot control this weapon then it will be of no use to us in the future. We shall take the necessary steps to ensure that the demon does not fall into the wrong hands for the good of Konoha."

Nodding in agreement the advisers delved into possible situations that they would be able to enact their plans. All three agreed that the best method would be to get the boy sent on a mission that had a high potential of raising in difficulty. It would only be a matter of time before one such case came to light. When it did they would be ready, and then they would be free from the beast once and for all. Danzo of course was slightly disheartened at the loss of a possible powerful tool, but he would rather the boy die then be a weapon that could be used against him. That didn't mean he wouldn't try though, but if reports were accurate the boy was unflinchingly loyal to his opponent, and a demon aiding a Kage in any fight would not end well. Yes, it was best to wait for just the right moment to strike. As he droned out the two gabbing advisers, he proceeded to plan for any possibility. In almost every situation he came up with he was very happy with the imagined results. An evil smile was growing on his face as he dismissed the advisers in order to give him ample room and concentration to begin planning.

* * * * * *

A/N: No real fighting yet, but there will be later. I have finished up past the chunin exams and into the invasion arc, but I won't be posting them right away. For one I don't want to rush people through the story and make them wait a longer time for the last portion. Also, this so far is the only chapter I've gone back to and proofread so far.