Anxiety -- that tightening sensation in the pit of your stomach when you just know something bad is about to happen. The fifteen-year-old blond shinobi had felt it before. When he was five and he entered a clothing store, he felt it. When he was eight and he looked into the eyes of his academy teachers, he felt it. When he was eleven and he watched Rock Lee collect his hitai-ate, he felt it. Here and now, he felt it stronger than ever before. Whatever the Yondaime Hokage called him for was not going to be good.
Stepping into the council chambers for the first time was a little intimidating; a somewhat large high ceiling room with high ranking shinobi close to the wall, waiting for any movement that could be construed as aggressive that would cause them to respond. He also noticed his girlfriend was in the room, although she was focused intently on the ground in front of her. Most of the space being taken up by a large round table with a few seats nearest to the door being empty, the rest of the chairs seated the Hokage, Clan Heads, councilmen and advisors.
"Take a seat, Uzumaki Naruto-san."
The Hokage's gentle command only increasing his anxiety; Naruto, after sitting, took a moment to study the most feared shinobi to walk the Elemental Countries. The younger blond had only seen him when he came for missions or to give post-mission reports. Konoha's Yellow Flash wasn't a tall man, standing more than a couple inches shy of six feet, nor was he large with his lean build. The elder man's blond hair, the same color as Naruto's, was a combination of Naruto's childhood hairstyle and his current one; short and spiky on the top with it longer in the back and sides. But, all of that took a backseat to his blue eyes, slightly darker than Naruto's own. The look he gave most screamed 'kindness and restrained power', but whenever the blue eyed teen looked at him all the Uzumaki could see was the well-concealed regret. The teen suspected it was because he knew, just knew why, or better yet, what the man regretted.
Nothing happened for a few minutes. Naruto knew this was a tactic to cause unease before an interrogation, he just couldn't think of a reason to be questioned. While his life wasn't the best, it was infinitely better than it had been before and the teen hadn't thought of leaving the village for years. Eventually, one of the advisors passed a somewhat thick file that had 'Uzumaki Naruto' on the tab.
Naruto knew what this was, every shinobi and kunoichi had one. From the kage all the way down to the academy applicants. It was the file that documented everything your village knew about you. From the size of your ninja sandals to how often you shop for groceries to the jutsus you could use. He, being a genin, had never seen his file; they were only accessible once you hit jounin rank. Naruto figured once you rose above jounin you could seal your file to most parties.
He glanced at the female advisor that passed him the file, waiting for the authorization to open it, or at least a command to indicate what they wanted of him.
"Read," Utatane Koharu stated simply, she was one of the main three that led most rulings against him. Shimura Danzo, Mitokado Homura and she were the main antagonists against the jinchuuriki, whatever he was going to find in the file was going to be hard to swallow.
He wasn't surprised to find a few pictures once he flipped the folder open. The first was an updated picture of what he looked like, the next was a close-up picture of the seal that resided on his lower torso, the rest were simply pictures that could have been taken any day of him in various situations. He sat the small stack of photos off to the side and began reading the cover page.
Naruto wasn't shocked or even surprised to see 'Namikaze Minato' in the block for his father. He had always noticed the resemblance, when he was a child this was a comforting thought, to be related to such a respected figure. As he grew older though, this changed to resentment. If they were family, why would the Yondaime curse him to the pain of loneliness, the cold reality that there was no-one waiting for you when you got home.
He drew a shuddering breath before looking up at his birth father only to be disappointed. The Hokage seemed incapable of meeting his gaze, the teens eyes watered slightly at that. Drawing another deep breath he turned back to the paper.
'Uzumaki Kushina – Deceased (complications from childbirth)'
A sad smile found its way to his face; he finally knew his mother's name. While he had always had an idea of who his father was, he couldn't find anything on a potential mother. He had searched everywhere only to be unable to find a single mention of another documented Uzumaki, he had even combed every graveyard in Konoha.
While he wished she was alive, he was glad she hadn't abandoned him like his father had. The knowledge that she used the last of her life force to give him a chance to live gave him a jolt of happiness. He would never have to question whether or not he was loved by at least one person for the rest of his life, no matter what happened from here on out he carried the love and sacrifice of his mother simply by being alive.
After staring at his mother's name for was must have been at least a few minutes he moved on, still curious of the reason he was being asked to read the file.
'Age – 15
Height – 5'7"
Weight – 132 lbs'
He glossed over the rest of the information, most of which was simple facts anyone could find out by simply looking at him; except one line.
'Known Lovers – Inuzuka Hana (current)'
Swallowing the bile that had begun making its way into his throat at the idea that jounin could easily find out such intimate information he moved on trying not to think too much on it. Intellectually he knew this information would be important if a ninja were to betray the village, but that thought didn't cause any less unease.
The following few pages were medical reports detailing the few times he'd been administered medical aid. The Yondaime had done a very good job of protecting Naruto as he grew, the few times he was attacked it was over as quickly as it began. As a jinchuuriki, he knew his life could have been much, much worse than it was.
The next page was something he had known for three years, but this didn't stop him from reading each and every word on the paper.
'Special Status – Jinchuuriki of Kyuubi no Kitsune
Sealer – Hiruzen Sarutobi
Seal Designer – Namikaze Minato
Sacifice(s) – Life of Hiruzen Sarutobi to the Shinigami'
It went on to describe witness reports of the sealing, physical changes to the target of the seal, and notes about possible emotional and mental changes to watch for during the jinchuuriki's growth. The page had a hypothesis on why he regenerated, why he received the whisker marks, and more. A large portion of the sheet was dedicated to how the seal worked.
Naruto had good knowledge of seals, after finding out he had a powerful demon sealed inside him he made sure to investigate Fuuinjutsu, but even with this he could only understand and follow a little more than half of what his seal accomplished. Apparently, the seal was designed to essentially transfer the power of the Kyuubi slowly into him, causing his terrible chakra control, until he turned eighteen in which the seal would finish what it was doing. The notes theorized that the jinchuuriki, even after the seal completes itself, would never be as strong as the Kyuubi. The main strength came from the type of chakra which made up the bijuu, and that his human chakra was much less potent and weaker. Coming to the end, he turned the page.
He immediately wished he hadn't.
'Mission Rank – A
Duration – Long term
Target – Uzumaki Naruto
Mission Type – Infiltration
Mission Details – You are to make contact with and become close to the target. Over the entire duration of the mission you are to ensure the loyalty of the target through any means necessary.
Team(s)/Ninja(s) – Inuzuka Hana'
His head immediately sought his girlfriend and lover with pleading eyes, begging for this to be a fabrication; she still hadn't turned her gaze from the ground in front of her. Naruto could see the tear tracks down both of her cheeks. Everyone in the room took note of Naruto's tears that were slowly streaming down his marred cheeks. His hands began to shake slightly on their own accord while his jaw tightened so much so that his observers were surprised his teeth didn't crack.
Infiltration missions were rare, but it was commonly known in the ninja world that the easiest way to complete them was to seduce the target in order to complete the mission. Most of these missions were assassination or information gathering.
This is why he was reading the file. They wanted to hurt him. They wanted to taint him in a way that he hadn't been tainted before. A single, emotional choked sob was able to break free from his mouth.
He slowly, with trembling hands, turned the page. Hana had begun her first report on why the mission was being assigned, it was something that, even to this day, he was bitterly resentful for.
Rock Lee had just graduated from the academy while Naruto had failed again, for the second time. He could handle failure if it was fairly given, but he had failed because he still couldn't create a proper bunshin. The examination ninjas were able to overlook the fact that Rock Lee couldn't mold external chakra, but they weren't able to accept that the jinchuuriki couldn't form a lasting bunshin.
It had been the single greatest time when Naruto had contemplated whether or not to abandon his birth village. Naruto had dealt with the looks, the whispers, unfair treatment at stores and restaurants, mistreatment from the academy instructors, and more. But, to be denied his hitai-ate while Rock Lee, a barely passing student who couldn't even mold chakra, earned his was enough to push him over the edge.
Just as he had been trying to figure out how to leave the village without being detected, a pack of three dogs had stumbled onto his training ground. He wasn't afraid, the Inuzuka's had never glared at him or mistreated him, but he was wary of the owner of the dogs. Four years older than himself and, from what little he knew of her, a newly made chuunin.
He couldn't remember the exact reason she had given for being there, perhaps it was his emotional instability at the time, or maybe just a desire, a need to be accepted by her that allowed him to be more open from the start. They became fast friends and thoughts of leaving the village slowly vanished.
Hana had been there after he found out about the Kyuubi and passed the genin exams the following year. She had been there after he made his first killed. She had been his first everything, and he had been her first as well. It was something special, something he never even dreamed he would have. A woman to love and be loved by, and all of it was pure. He was her first and only lover, and she would be his.
To find out that it was all a mission, a fucking mission; words couldn't describe accurately what he was feeling. Dirty, bitter, disbelief, used were just a few of the words that could describe a fraction of what he was going through.
Glancing at the rest of the file he could read her describing various times she comforted him, various sexual encounters she had with him, her perception of his mental and emotional connection to Konoha.
He slowly and deliberated placed the photos from earlier into the folder and closed it. His gaze never left the vanilla file that had so easily broken him; all the while tears still slowly fell from his eyes.
Nearly five minutes would pass before he would choke out a simple question.
"W-why?" Naruto spoke, barely above a whisper and everyone could feel the emotion contained in that single word.
It was Homura that replied.
"It's been six years since you first attempted to advance rank. You are still a genin, and we, the council, are permitted to take measures against you for your failure."
Naruto knew what was about to happen and he knew what rule they were referring to. When he was young he knew he would need to know every law and rule, so he could better defend himself from political and physical attackers. This one in particular had been originally designed to combat influential civilian families from clogging the academy roster with ninja hopefuls that didn't have what it took to make it but refused to give up. It had never been applied to a certified genin.
Perhaps the council wanted him tucked away, hidden in some dark corner. 'Out of sight, out of mind.' The villagers had rarely been confrontational towards the jinchuuriki, most just wanted him to go away and fade into the background. He was a lasting reminder for when the village had suffered its most damaging blow, much in the way Mitarashi Anko was for the memory of Orochimaru.
"When a shinobi fails to advance rank beyond the one he or she is testing for over a period of six years," Koharu continued. "The council has the ability to strip them of their ninja status and ban them from further attempts at becoming a shinobi or kunoichi."
'Of course I'm still a genin, you bastards won't let me take the Chuunin Exams outside Konoha and you same people prevent me from passing the Konoha exams; completely ignoring that I've won both Chuunin Exams that have been held here' Naruto thought bitterly.
"Uzumaki Naruto, genin of Konohagakure no Sato, you are hereby stripped of any ninja status you may have once held. You are banned from the academy premises, the shinobi library, any training ground where shinobi are known to practice, and any other official shinobi residence." The Yondaime's voice was hard and stern, but everyone present could hear the reluctance to make such a command.
Naruto couldn't hold in the bitter snort before he began to collect himself, wiping the remaining tears from his eyes.
"Hai." The teen stood and seemed to hesitate, unsure of what more to say or do, before finally turning and walking out the same door that he had come through a little more than an hour ago.
Uzumaki Naruto had spent a week staring at the wall across from his living room futon without interruption. It had been the most depressing week of his life, nothing to take his mind off the torturous thoughts of how he had arrived at his current predicament. A knock at his door jostled him out of his numb state.
He was extremely shocked to see the Godaime Kazekage, Gaara, at his door. They weren't friends, acquaintances more-like, but Gaara was extremely grateful that Naruto had saved him from self-destruction by beating his demonic form in the Chuunin Exams.
"Naruto-sama, I have heard of your situation. Since you are no longer have allegiance toward this village you are free to leave. Shower, gather your belongings and be prepared to leave within the hour."
The Kyuubi jinchuuriki could hardly believe that someone had come to save him, even after taking a hot shower to clean off a weeks worth of grime and sealing up everything he had in his apartment he was still in a daze. Surrounding him was Gaara and two squads of Suna ANBU. All of which were walking toward the gates of the village to leave it -- most likely permanently. Naruto could see his father near the gates, waiting for them. Before the Hokage could speak though, Gaara cut him off.
"Uzumaki Naruto, by your own orders, is no longer aligned to Konoha. Nor does he owe any allegiance toward your village, he is, through your own actions, free to come-and-go as any normal civilian would be. Any attempt you make to prevent this will be viewed as an attack toward Sunagakure no Sato and we will declare war."
Konoha's Yellow Flash paused at this, before signaling his ninja to stand down and step aside. The few Clan Heads and councilmen nearby wanted to protest, but their own laws prevented them from doing anything. When they had made the decision to strip Uzumaki's ninja rank, they had intended to keep him contained in the village. None had considered the idea that someone with enough political force would come to take him out. He wouldn't even be listed as a missing-nin, a genin with a large bounty and whisker marks would immediately raise red flags. Placing him in the Bingo Book would be like gift wrapping a jinchuuriki with a grudge against Konoha and giving him to a hostile ninja village.
Before exiting though, Naruto whispered in the Hokage's ear low enough that only those two would ever know what was said.
"When the time comes and you need my help, I want all three of their heads before we even speak."
Namikaze Minato didn't need his son to clarify who he was talking about. His decision to do whatever it took to protect his son continued to haunt and torture him. Jiraiya had recently brought him information on an organization that wanted the bijuu and jinchuuriki, the world would need the strength of the Kyuubi Jinchuuriki when the time came to fighting this group. He would have to begin planning how to get rid of three influential council members without causing too much controversy.
I. Minato does not consider Naruto a demon, or the Kyuubi, he ultimately wants to keep him safe. At least a small part of the story will be the relationship between son and father and why Minato choose to go this route.
II. I apologize to Hana fans, she isn't being bashed or picked on and there will be at least some residual feelings between the two. More from her towards him than the other way around. I simply needed someone close to Naruto's age (I tweaked it a bit, I think in canon she's six years older than Naruto instead of the four that I have her as) to play a part in the plot of the story. I'm not sure who Naruto will be paired with to be honest, but I don't foresee them being paired up.
III. This isn't a harem. Don't ask for one. I don't know who his lady friend will end up being, but I have a few ideas. As you can tell from the story, it's an Alternate Universe where some major things are different. If you have a recommendation for a female to pair Naruto with, then please suggest her and an explanation for why (and how) you think she would work. A warning though, he will not be paired with a Konoha female that caused him problems, so if you're suggesting a girl from Konoha it would have to be Ayame or Hinata or someone else that respected him.
IV. Naruto most likely won't be a loyal Leaf-nin, but he most definitely won't be organizing a war to destroy them. So, no revenge story line.
V. This is my first story, so if you have any constructive criticism or feedback I'd gladly appreciate it. My grammar isn't horrible, but I doubt many would call it good either.