A new beginning in more ways than one. Hopefully this will be a redemption for that apparent "Kishimoto" ending of part 1. On the off chance that there are people reading this who didn't read part 1, prepare to be very, very confused. I can't say much more, so I'll wait for your opinions.
Disclaimer: The future plot is still not completely determined, but I do have strong ideas at the minute.
The ninja without a village
The dark, cold mists filled the air like a damp blanket strewn across the village. The sun, hidden as it was through thick clouds, let very little light through to the pastel world below. All around was near silence, with only the dull ebbs and flows of the wind rolling over in a chill tide. The atmosphere breathed peacefully, a contented sigh on a relaxed spring day.
Along to the east side of the village, before the tall teal hills, there stood a building larger than the rest. It was a proud house, well maintained even from the damp air constantly passing around. Loyal guards marched on their rounds on the higher levels of the building, ignoring the goings on of what occurred inside the screens, yet by no means denying what their ears and noses told them.
Down below, at the main entrance to this vast abode, there stood in place two vigilant guards. Both of them were identical in dress, the curved sedge hats they wore on their heads, the black handled naginata they gripped in their hands. The pale blue happi of those serving rested proudly on their torsos, with moss green, striped turtleneck sweaters underneath. With their pale and dark blue camouflage slacks, they both could hide easily in the depths of the sea. But they were proud Shinobi, keeping their guard with utmost security.
"You got them tagged?" came the faint, distorted voice of one speaking over a transceiver. It was a raspy, gravely voice of a tired person, sounding complacent, yet alert.
"Hold on." came a second, equally distorted voice. This one was a little clearer, but still had a slight rasp to it as well. Up high above, on one of the tall, round buildings surrounding the large house, there sat a shaded figure obscured by the mist, legs crossed as he viewed the guards below.
He held in his hands a large great sword, the hilt on one hand while the wide and double edged blade rested flatly on his knee. The owner of the massive sword took his thumb and lightly ran it across the edge of the blade, before painting a seal of sorts onto the cold steel. He then placed his hand beneath the blade and lifted it, resting the dark gold hilt on his shoulder and balancing the blade with both hands now. He lined his eye up with the long, dark red groove running along the centre of the blade. With great care, and the slightest of movements, he aimed the tip of the blade at the guard on his left, "Go for it."
From the start of the groove there came a pale red glimmer. It quickly shot down the line towards the tip of the blade, before then disappearing completely. Not taking the satisfaction to watch the very slight distortion of the atmosphere, the owner of the blade immediately moved onto the next target. The angular difference was a little trickier this time around, but once more he managed to line up without difficulty. He gave the signal again, and the glimmer repeated itself. He gave it a few moments, before reaching up to the transceiver in his ear, "Ok, all set."
With that, the person got to his feet. Through the thick mist, all that could be seen of him was his bare, toned chest and the carnelian red satin slacks he wore with a loose, orange tie around his waist. He slipped the great sword onto his back, using chakra to keep it in place. Then, silently, he hopped off of the building.
The two guards failed to notice the very slight slither in the air, and took the breeze they felt as any other wind. They remained as still as stone, all of their ears listening for the slightest sound. They failed however, to notice that right behind them, at the back of their necks, small amounts of sand were gathering in the shape of thick senbon. It wasn't until the senbon of sand pierce through their necks, severing their spinal cord, that they realised they weren't vigilant enough.
Across from where the two new corpses lay, two people dropped to the ground. One was the person from the roof, now revealed to be a young man of about sixteen years of age. His thick blond hair hung messily over his cornflower blue eyes, cutting just above the six thin lines on each cheek. In his ear he wore a small blue transceiver, with a microphone jutting out just a little. Though he seemed to be a Shinobi, he wore no forehead protector to suggest his allegiance to any village. A cool smirk slipped across his lips as he looked at his and his companion's handiwork, before looking at the companion in question.
Shaggy red hair feathered over his pale brow, parting on the left to reveal the carmine Kanji for love imprinted on his skin. He surveyed the bodies with cold emerald eyes, the dark rings of an insomniac surrounding them. He stood with folded arm, his thick, beige muffler wrapped around his neck and hanging down over the pale purple waistcoat he wore atop a padded maroon jacket. The sand he used for his assassination slid up around the leg of his rosewood denim trousers, and slithered into the large gourd strapped onto his back. Like the first person, he too had a transceiver in his ear. He returned the other boy's look, with no such smirk on his face.
"You take the back." he said, beginning to step forward. The blond boy stopped him however, holding out his fist as his smirk widened. The red haired boy rolled his eyes as he stepped back, holding out his own fist too. Together they raised their fists and dropped them down, making a count of three when the blonde's hand suddenly opened, while the other's remained still, "Tch."
"Heh heh heh." the blond grinned, slipping his hands behind his head. The red haired boy disappeared, while the blond took a leisurely gait towards the large double doors up ahead. He stepped over one of the fallen corpses, careful not to step in any of the blood. The tall oak frames before him looked strong, it seemed that it would be a two person effort just to get them open. The blond boy studied the doors curiously, his fingers gripping his chin as he thought about his means of entry. Knocking seemed a bit imprudent, and boring to be honest.
"Then again…" the boy thought, as a smile slid across his face, "It doesn't have to be boring."
With an inward chuckle, he reached far back with his hand, his palm flat and his fingers stretched out. Then, with a massive swing, he struck the door hard, shattering it into a cloud of dust, "HOI!"
He stepped inside what appeared to be a large entrance hall. Tall wooden posts reached up to the ceiling, each with a guard standing in front of it. The blond boy cast his eyes around the brown and golden room, glancing over the guards who held their naginata at the ready. He was under the gaze of six opponents, all identical to the outside guards in terms of uniform. The only difference was the lack of sedge hat, revealing the either tall or messy hair that made the boy wonder if everyone in this village styled the same. They even wore their forehead protectors the same, the four curvy lines signifying Kirigakure. It was now that Naruto turned his attention to the guards, grinning broadly.
"Hey, someone give me a hand?" he asked loudly, stepping over the shards of the destroyed door. He passed the first two guards, who both moved to cover his rear, "I'm tryna find someone, but this place is pretty big."
He looked around with an expectant expression, locking eyes with each of the guards as he waited for a response. Instead, he got the blades if the naginata pointing straight at him. With a sigh, he rubbed his head, a clear look of disappointment on his face.
"Looks like it's our turn."
"Heh, yeah." the boy chuckled, resting his hand on the hilt of his blade. Then, in a sudden flicker, he vanished into thin air. He reappeared before the guard farthest back, as a fountain of blood sprayed from the seven others behind him. The boy kicked the stunned guard in the chest, forcing him to stumble on the stairs and fall on his rear. The boy lifted his blade in the air and sank the tip through the floor between the guard's legs, leaning on the hilt in a relaxed manner.
"S-so fast!" the guard exhaled, looking up at the intruder in shock. This made the boy grin, leaning in closer to the guard.
"No, so many." he corrected, as four identical copies of the boy appeared behind him, grinning and waving to the sweating guard before they disappeared into a puff of smoke, "Hey, you don't know where I can find the Mizukage do ya?"
"The- the Mizukage?!" the guard repeated incredulously. When the intruder gave him a bored look, he nervously pointed to the stairs behind him, "Top floor, at the front!"
The boy grinned appreciatively as he straightened up. The guard seemed to relax a little as the sword was pulled from the ground, but he then began stammering idiotically as Naruto reached back with a stance that could only suggest one intention.
"W-wait!" the guard cried out, "Please don't!"
"Huh?" the boy sounded, a blank look on his face, "Why not? I'm only doing you a favour. You don't wanna be found the only guy who didn't get hurt right?"
Before the guard could protest further, the boy cracked the flat side of the blade hard against his skull, instantly knocking him out cold. He then slipped the blade back onto his back, before climbing the stairs. He paused however, when the transceiver buzzed in his ear.
"Naruto, the guards are converging on your position." came the voice of the boy's companion. He raised his fingers to his ear, pressing the button to activate the microphone.
"Thanks Gaara." he replied, continuing to the stairs. He glanced up around for safety, before looking ahead again, "How're things on your end?"
"Stand-by guards eliminated." Gaara said, his voice interrupted by several low thudding sounds coming from over the earpiece. There was a brief pause of silence, but then Gaara spoke again, "I think I see someone going to the aviary. I won't be able to give you back up."
A slight smile twitched on Naruto's lips from this information, slight nerves rising in his chest. Though the plan had been for one to cover the other from the shadows, this situation hadn't been predicted. This would possibly be the first mission of all the ones their sensei had given them where he would be completely on his own.
"Guess it can't be helped." he sighed, before dropping his hand from the transceiver. He cast his eyes up the stairs, listening out for any signs of movement, before he began the climb. Once he reached the top of the stairs, he glanced off to his left and right, where more stairs lead him to the next level. Before he could decide which path to take however, three ninja wearing plain white masks, the sign of Kiri's ANBU, shunshined to the top of both staircases and the bottom of the one Naruto had just ascended. They each threw out several senbon, one aiming for his head, one for his torso and one for his legs. There was no way to dodge from this all direction attack, So Naruto simply crouched onto his knees. He leapt high into the air, swinging both his open palms up and striking the ceiling. The attack shattered through to the floor above, startling the waiting ninja up there too. He passed by the momentarily stunned Shinobi and planted his hand on the porcelain mask. With a good burst of Futon chakra, the mask shattered, countless pieces flying in every direction. Including the guard's eyes.
"FUAH!!!" the guard cried, grabbing his face in pain. Naruto struck him in the back of the head, forcing him to join his comrades below. He himself landed on more stable flooring, looking around for any further troubles. When he found there were none, he formed his hands into the cross seal.
"Kage Bunshin no Jutsu." he muttered in a disinterested tone. He walked towards the doors of the now empty room as four Kage Bunshin leapt down to deal with the guards below. He ignored their cries as he slid the door open just a crack, glancing out into the walkway outside. When he confirmed there was no one there, he stepped out.
He faintly heard the sounds of commotion back there, but it didn't take long for them to die away. He could tell without looking that his Kage Bunshin had beaten the guards, but that in no way made him feel any better.
"Kiri's ANBU should be stronger than this." he thought, as he silently stepped across the wooden flooring. There were no silhouettes to tell of presence inside the buildings, the only clue to give that there were still people there was from the structure at the corner of the building. Naruto smiled as he saw the window to the aviary quietly close, it looked like there would be no birds to alert the Shinobi of the village, "That's one thing taken care of."
His eyes slipped out of focus for a moment as he recalled the map he and Gaara had been shown. Several points had been marked as safe, and many more as dangerous. With the stand-bys taken care of and the aviary in check, the only way the outside ninja could be alerted was if someone actually ran out and started yelling. Though, even in that case they were prepared.
"Come on, the elite guards will be nearer the target."
Naruto blinked back to the present, nodding quickly. He turned to one of the sliding doors and pressed his hand against it. He waited a brief moment before he slid it open and stepped inside. He seemed to be in a simple storeroom, filing cabinets ran along the walls, strewn with paper and the likes. But Naruto didn't view those, he kept his attention on what lay in the middle of the room. To be specific, it was a young woman knelt in front of a round table, fast asleep. Naruto watched as she drooled through her brown hair and onto the paper, her glasses strewn as she snoozed. Judging by her clothing, she was a secretary or attendant of sorts. Naruto crouched down at the opposite side of the table, before poking her on the head.
"Hey- wha?!" the woman cried, snapping up to a sitting position. In an instant she was down again, her hands pressed before her as she bowed, "I- I'm sorry, I was just resting my eyes!"
"Hey hey." Naruto said, waving away her words, "Is this the top floor?"
"What, no, that's the ne-" the woman began, sitting up again. She paused mid sentence however, looking at Naruto with wide eyes, "I'm sorry, but who are you?"
"Eh, about that…" Naruto replied, grinning apologetically as he rested his clenched fist on the table. Faint purple smoke burst from the gap between his finger and thumb, hitting the woman full on in the face.
"Wha?!" she cried out, leaning away from the smoke. But it did its job, she fell back almost immediately, asleep once more. Naruto crushed the sleep bomb in his hands, tossing the remnants out through the open door. He then brushed his hands off as he got back to his feet, before turning to the door leading out to the hallway. He pressed his ear against the wooden surface, listening intently for any signs of movement.
His brow twitched as one of the Kage Bunshin he'd left in the main hall was destroyed, it looked like they were attracting the most attention. He counted about seven or eight other guards down there, it wouldn't take long for them to realise what he'd done.
Confirming that the hallway was empty, he stepped out into it. He glanced from left to right for a sign of the stairs leading up, but he couldn't even see the stairs which led up to this floor let alone ones that ascended higher. He scratched his head, giving one last look over.
"What a confusing place." he muttered, before taking the right and walking down it. As long as he stayed out of the general area of the fight downstairs, things should go smoothly. However, he winced uneasily when he sensed another Kage Bunshin disappear. It looked like time was running short. He reached into the pouch behind him and pulled out several squares of paper. Moving quickly, he planted the squares on the floor, walls and ceiling, before casting a quick and basic disguise Jutsu to make them unnoticeable by sight. He then ran on ahead, counting on his trap's effectiveness.
He rounded the corner hurriedly, realising that this one simply led to a window. He whipped his head around, searching desperately for something. Through a stroke of luck, he spotted a hatch in the ceiling. It looked like there was no way for non-Shinobi to get up there. He couldn't help but grin at that, up there was a place where Shinobi had to worry less about holding back then.
"All right then Mizukage-san." he thought, gripping the hilt of his blade as he crouched down. A smirk appeared on his face as he watched the hatch readily, preparing for whatever was on the other side, "Let's see what you got!"
With a leap and a flourish, he slashed open the hatch and darted into the room. He landed on the ground, sliding across as he held the great sword preparedly behind him. But what stood before him was nothing like what he had expected, his wide eyes and gaping mouth were enough to attest to that.
"You fail!" Hoshigake Kisame announced, giving Naruto an emphasised thumbs down. The giant, faded blue Shinobi stood in the centre of the room, with what looked like a young man slung over his shoulder. All Naruto could really make out on the unconscious person was a mess of very pale gold hair, a large green cowl and what seemed to be a double hooked staff with a large green camellia on it. Naruto looked towards his black cloaked sensei, the red clouds billowing in a breeze, "You've gotten good kid, but you don't just charge into a room with a Kage in it, swing your sword around and expect to win."
Naruto raised his brow, looking around the large room. A massive hole in the wall and several large grooves in the floor and ceiling suggested otherwise in his sensei's case. Around the room lay several dead Shinobi, either with blood spilling out of them or soaked to the skin. It definitely looked like Kisame had let loose in here.
"You say that…" Naruto muttered, suggestively. Kisame chuckled as he shrugged the young man into a more secure position. As he made his way towards the hole in the wall, Naruto looked downwards, his brow twitching with anxiety, "That's the Kage Bunshin taken care of. They're on their way up."
"Leave some more for them to play with then." Kisame replied, ducking outside, "And get Gaara will ya?"
With that he disappeared, leaving Naruto to his own devices. The blond looked back at the broken hatch, his worry turning into a chuckle as he heard several cries. It looked like his trap had been triggered.
"C'mon Eko, let's do this." he said, gripping the blade's hilt as he dropped down to the lower level. He pressed his back against the wall and peered around, looking to see just how effective his trap had been. To his great surprise, and private pleasure, it had taken out three of the five remaining guards. The two surviving Shinobi looked in horror at their fallen comrades, whose bodies were twisted and contorted in a hideous manner. It was if a giant had grabbed them, scrunched them up in its hands and tossed them back on the floor. The living ninja's attentions were drawn from the dead however, when Naruto whipped out from around the corner and threw the great sword Ekokaeten with all his might. It whirled through the air like a giant shuriken, threatening to disembowel the two Shinobi completely. But a giant and obvious attack like that was no trouble, they easily leapt over it as they reached for their kunai. But a popping sound behind them made them whip their heads back just in time to see another Naruto flying back through the air.
"FUTON: CYCLONE STRIKE!" the Kage Bunshin cried at the top of his voice. The two guards' eyes widened in terror as a tremendous spiralling wind struck them both in the back, sending them flying forwards. The moment their heads turned to the front, the real Naruto appeared between him, with the real Ekokaeten on his back. He grabbed both their faces in his hands and squeezed tight. The last sound they made was a muffled cry, before blood burst from every orifice on their head. They fell to the ground as Naruto landed past his now useless trap, and gave the Kage Bunshin a bloody high five before the clone disappeared.
"You're becoming more and more like Kisame no Danna every day."
Naruto laughed aloud as he ran his hands across either wall, leaving a trail as he wiped the blood from his skin. While it was true that he had developed a habit of going all out in every fight, he was fairly certain he wasn't that bad.
"C'mon, let's find Gaara." he said, as he headed into one of the rooms.
* * * * *
Roughly an hour later, far on the outskirts of Kiri, Naruto and Gaara walked over the moist ground and through the damp trees, the former running his hand through his low hanging hair. The sky was a little clearer out here, rays of sunlight breaking through the clouds and into the thin woods. Naruto slid his hands behind his head as they walked, a relaxed grin on his face.
"So how many did you get?" he asked, turning his head to look at Gaara. The red haired boy walked with his arms folded, glancing at the blond from the corner of his eye. Naruto couldn't help but broaden his grin as he saw the slight glaze in Gaara's eyes and the faint movements of his lips that showed he was counting.
"Fifteen." he replied, watching Naruto as he awaited to hear the other's result. Once Naruto had sighed and chuckled, he got his answer.
"Damn it, I only got thirteen." he muttered, before looking questioningly, "Wait, does just knocking them out count?"
They stepped out from the trees, where they found a stream slipping ahead of them. It was a shallow and simple waterway, with many stones lying idly beneath the surface. Up ahead, next to a large boulder by said stream, Kisame lowered the young man he'd been carrying onto the flat surface of the rock. Realising he was yet to get a proper look at this guy, Naruto moved forward to peer past Kisame. His brow rose in surprise.
This guy, this… kid. Surely there was no way this guy could be the person they were looking for? There was no way he was older than him or Gaara, yet he was supposed to be a Kage? Naruto looked him up and down, he was dressed in a black vest over a mesh shirt, black trousers and asparagus green tassets around his waist, reaching to the back of his knees and tied with a lighter green sash. He also wore brown sandals with tall leg protectors on them, which the ends of his trousers slipped into. On his stomach was the Kiri forehead protector, and the strap for his staff slung around his shoulder. Naruto's attention was drawn to his face, were there was a stitched scar running down his left cheek starting at his eye. But what Naruto's full focus was on, was the paper seal stuck to the boy's forehead. He couldn't recognise what was on it, Fuinjutsu was still a fairly peculiar thing to him.
"This guy's gonna be out for a while." Kisame said, turning around to face his two students, "But we'll have to move soon. Kiri won't be happy that we've taken the Mizukage."
"Is this guy really him?" Naruto asked, looking uncertainly at the boy. Gaara stepped beside him, viewing the boy himself.
"He is no older than us." he said, raising his eyes to Kisame, "Someone of this age shouldn't be a Kage."
"They put him in charge because it was the best way to keep an eye on him." Kisame replied, stepping aside and crouching by the stream. He pooled water into his hands and splashed his face, attempting to invigorate his tired eyes, "Naruto, will ya put your damn shirt on?"
Naruto blinked in surprise, looking down at himself. He had completely forgotten that he was half naked, something which wasn't easy considering his current location. He turned around on the spot, looking through the trees with a raised brow. He then raised his fingers to his lips, and blew out a silent whistle.
Breaking through what had once been calm silence, the sounds of many pounding feet filled the woods in a stampeding procession. Kisame ignored the noise as he continued to wash his face, but Gaara looked over his shoulder to watch the arrival of six insanely large beasts. Naruto grinned at the Tuscan coloured dogs, walking in amongst them as they surrounded him. Koyane, Hotei, Daisuke, Akira, Shinmaru and Kunimei each stood with massive tongues lolling and bushy tails wagging. Naruto approached Shinmaru, who had something folded and cardinal red stuck in his collar. He pulled it out and scratched the base of the dog's small wing appreciatively.
"Thanks Shin!" he said, smiling as he unfolded the material. He then threw on his short sleeved haori, leaving it open and loose as he pet the other dogs. A few metres away, Akira lightly nuzzled Gaara's arm. The red haired boy tried to ignore the dog, but when he was treated with more of the same he reluctantly pet Akira's face.
"Geez, I thought I told you to quit coddling those ninken!" Kisame grumbled, turning around as he got to his feet, "Sit!"
In immediate obedience, each dog firmly planted his rear on the ground. Kisame nodded to them with an authoritarian look, before barking more orders. They followed each one moments after they came, lying down, rolling over, barking and finally, hiding. Naruto whipped around as they all disappeared back into the trees, wondering just when Kisame had trained them like that.
Suddenly Naruto, Gaara and Kisame's attentions were diverted as the boy on the rock stirred. The three of them immediately surrounded the boy, prepared in case he reacted violently.
"Spry little bastard." Kisame muttered, gripping his Samehada. He then grabbed the boy and slipped him onto the rounded blade's form, allowing the living sword to consume just enough chakra to return the apparent Mizukage to unconsciousness. Kisame then hoisted the blade onto his shoulder, bringing the boy with it, before looking at his pupils, "Come on, let's go."
"Hai!" Naruto replied, as the three of them continued to move away from the village that was probably hot on their tracks.