The Mind of the Eye
Chapter 2: A Meeting
"Hey, kid! Get back here!" a woman called as she chased after the young blonde that had run by her desk. She growled in frustration as he separated the distance between the two of them. She had been minding her own business when the little brat had blown her off at the front desk. Hokage-sama would kill her if his meeting was interrupted. She was his secretary, and she should have been able to manage a small kid. She wasn't about to let some little snot-nosed brat get her in trouble, and maybe even fired.
Said blonde never once glanced back at her as he sprinted down the hallway. He barely even noticed the woman because of how scared he was.
The woman finally stopped out of exhaustion when the young boy made it to the stairs. There was no way she could manage to catch him.
She recognized the kid as the blonde that the Sandaime always spent time around. She had to admit that the boy was nice, but he'd had the worst timing. Normally, all he managed to do was interrupt the Sandaime's paperwork. Sure, it meant that she would have to egg the Hokage about it even more than usual, but other than that, no real harm was ever caused.
But today was different.
The Sandaime was in a meeting with the Daimyo of Hi no Kuni! It would not reflect very well on their village at all if the young boy managed to interrupt it.
The bad thing was that the blonde had been crying. Even if the ANBU guards caught him, which she was sure they would, the child would probably make enough noise to disrupt the meeting.
It was times like these that she thought the Hokage stupid for not using sound barrier seals. She sighed. It was the interruption of meetings versus the protection of the Hokage. In the end, his safety definitely mattered to the village more.
"Let me in! I have to see the Old Man!" Naruto whined as he struggled against the firm grips of the two ANBU that guarded the Hokage's office.
"Silence!" one hissed into the child's ear.
The other nodded and clamped a hand over the blonde's mouth. "Calm yourself," said a voice that sounded feminine.
"Nmmm!" cried Naruto in a muffled speech. He tried to pry the ANBU's hand off his mouth, but it wouldn't budge.
"Hokage-sama is busy, Naruto," his captor said in a kind voice.
The blonde paused, but his hands were still clenched on hers in an effort to pull it from his face. He chanced a look at her, and saw that aside from the standard ANBU uniform, she had a cat mask on, which covered a head of purple hair. His eyes widened.
The other ANBU, who wore a falcon mask Naruto saw, noticed the child's reaction.
"Ca-Cat-san?" Naruto stuttered out.
She nodded, and then turned to her partner. "I'll take care of him. Get the new guy to fill in for me. I'll be back in a few minutes, alright?"
The falcon-masked ANBU straightened up. "H-Hai, senpai!" he said nervously. He pressed a button on his earpiece communicator. "Bear!"
"Will you remain silent if I let go?" the purple-haired woman asked the younger boy.
"Nm," he responded with a nod.
She assumed that meant 'yes,' so she released him. "Then come with me," she said, and placed a hand on his shoulder to lead him away from the Hokage's office.
The two walked down the hallway and passed a few rooms before coming across a few chairs and a table. It was a makeshift waiting room for people who had scheduled appointments with the Hokage. The cat-masked ANBU chose it because no one was there, so it would give them some privacy.
She saw that the young boy was still crying, so she led him over to one of the chairs and gently say him down. She took the one next to him and turned to face the young child.
"Naruto, please look at me," she spoke softly.
He pulled his knees up and wrapped his arms around them. He didn't listen to her, and instead buried his head in his arms.
"Naruto," she pressed, but received no response. "Please don't think badly of Falcon and me for preventing you from meeting with Hokage-sama. He is in a very important meeting right now."
His head rose. "But I need to see him," he whimpered.
"You can't," she said. "Not yet, at least." She put an arm around him. "Mind telling me why you need to see him?"
He bit his lip. "I… hear a voice," he said slowly. "In here," he added, pointing at his head.
The ANBU paused. She knew that he was aware of the demon that was held within him, and wondered if that could be it. She glanced around the room and made sure no one else was there.
"You don't think it's your… tenant, do you?" she asked, emphasizing the tenant part to make sure he understood what she was talking about.
He shrugged slightly. "That's why I need to see the Old Man," he explained.
She would have rolled her eyes, had it not been for the seriousness of the situation. She looked back to the blonde-haired boy, and smiled sadly behind her mask. She hadn't seen him in such a state in a long time. Not since before he'd had a nightmare several years back. Why was a voice scaring him so badly? Having a demon speaking to you would indeed be frightful, but it must have been something horrific to put Naruto in such a condition. He was never afraid. He was acting like a six-year-old again out of his fear.
She glanced at the clock. The Hokage wouldn't have a chance to see the boy for a while.
"What did the voice say to you, Naruto?" she inquired.
He paused. "It said a few words… five, I think," he said. He shook his head, startling the ANBU a bit. "But it wasn't that! It was… finishing my thoughts. It was like it could read my mind."
Behind the mask, the purple-haired woman's eyebrows quirked in confusion. Naruto was definitely smart in wanting to get the Sandaime involved, whether or not the decision had been made out of fear. The Hokage was the only person she knew, aside from Jiraiya-sama, that had any knowledge on the seal of the Kyuubi. She had no idea how to get in touch with the Sennin, so that only left the Hokage.
She then realized the awkward silence that had descended over them. She tried to brighten the mood.
"Hey, Naruto," she began, catching his attention. "Would you like me to treat you to some ramen after you see the Hokage?" She smiled as his face brightened.
"That'd be great, Yuugao-nee!" he immediately clamped a hand over his mouth.
She laughed at his slip. "It's alright, Naruto-chan," she said teasingly. No one was around, so it didn't matter too much that he had revealed her identity.
His little pout only served as fuel for her laughter.
"For that, I'm going to eat ten bowls!" he threatened as he crossed his arms.
Yuugao sighed. So much for her wallet. Speaking of which…
'Hey, Naruto," she said. "I'm leaving on a mission tonight with Hayate-kun and the others. You'll have the house to yourself. Make sure you behave."
Naruto frowned. "But you just got back! I thought you were going to get a longer break this time."
"I did, too," she admitted. "There have been problems on the eastern border recently, and the Hokage felt the need to send me."
"Ah, that is because you are one of my finest ninja, Yuugao-chan," a voice interrupted the conversation.
Both Yuugao and Naruto's eyes widened. Neither of them had sensed anyone else in the room.
"You must forgive an old man for barging in," the voice laughed. "Falcon-san told me I was needed. I was able to guess who by the noises I heard in my meeting with the Daimyo."
Naruto instantly stood up and bowed. "I'm sorry," he apologized.
The Hokage chuckled lightly and placed a hand on the boy's shoulder. "So long as it doesn't happen again."
Naruto straightened up. "It won't," he promised.
The older man glanced to Yuugao. "Perhaps we should head over to my office. I do not have any more appointments for the remainder of the day."
Yuugao nodded and got out of her chair. She and Naruto followed the Hokage as he led them back down the hallway they had taken earlier. Before long, they came up to his office door. The ANBU that recognized Naruto from earlier nodded to Yuugao and the Sandaime.
Sarutobi opened the door to his office and allowed the other two to enter.
"Please, take a seat," he offered, and then walked around his desk, before settling down into his office chair. "You may remove your mask, Yuugao."
The two complied. Yuugao paused before removing the porcelain cover. She was used to wearing it almost all the time. It felt weird to remove it. She took it off and tucked it away.
They quickly dove in and began to tell the older man about the voice. Naruto went more in-depth, seeing as he hadn't told Yuugao about the entire thing.
The Hokage was pleased to hear that Jiraiya had gotten Tsunade to return. She hadn't checked in with him yet. She probably helped Naruto, and then ran off to some casino with her student and pig in tow.
Naruto's description of the voice worried him greatly. He hadn't expected the Kyuubi to have such a connection with the boy. The fact that the voice actually finished his thoughts was even more troublesome. He definitely couldn't rule out the fact that the Sharingan may have had something to do with it, as well. After all, the village's historical records indicated the Uchiha Madara had been able to wield some control over the demon alongside Senju Hashirama. Maybe Hatake Kakashi would be able to shed some light on the situation.
As if hearing his thoughts, there was a knock on the door. Without waiting for permission to enter, the door opened.
"You wanted to see me, Hokage-sama?" the ninja asked.
The older man sighed with a nod. Yuugao was surprised because she hadn't noticed the Hokage give anyone the command to find the lazy ninja.
Naruto was just surprised to see his…
The silver-haired ninja strolled over to the desk. He glanced at the blonde. "Congratulations on making Gennin," he acknowledged.
Though he still felt some fear, Naruto managed a grin. He had actually made it! He looked over to Yuugao, who smiled back and ruffled his hair. She said a quick "Good job!" and then focused again.
The Hokage broke the mini-celebration with a cough. "Thank you for coming here, Kakashi."
The man nodded. "I overheard your discussion about the 'voice' Naruto said he heard, so we can skip that part."
Sarutobi sighed again, while Yuugao gaped at the leniency the lazy ninja got around the Tower. If anyone else had eavesdropped on a conversation with the Hokage, they would have been punished.
"Very well, then," the Hokage said. He turned to Naruto. "Kakashi will fill you in on everything tomorrow when you meet with your team."
Kakashi nodded. "Sakura and Sasuke have been training and doing a few D-ranks. You haven't missed too much, but it may take you a few days to get caught back up."
Naruto nodded slowly.
"Alright, then," Sarutobi said. "Naruto, please let someone know whenever you hear the Voice." He paused. "Actually, let us keep it between you, me, Yuugao, and Kakashi, alright?"
The blonde agreed.
"If that is all," he glanced around, "then I guess you are all dismissed."
Yuugao, Naruto, and Kakashi bowed quickly before exiting the room.
In the hallway, Kakashi fell in step with Naruto.
"Meet your team at Training Ground 13 tomorrow at 0700 hours sharp," he said. After he received a nod from the blonde, he walked on ahead.
After a moment, he looked back over his shoulder. "And Naruto," he said, causing the blonde's head to snap up, "I truly am sorry for what happened."
Naruto grinned and waved it off. "It's alright, Kakashi-sensei. You couldn't have known."
The man smiled before he waved and disappeared in a swirl of leaves.
Yuugao ruffled his hair. "He'll be an interesting sensei," she laughed.
Naruto swatted her hand away. "You still owe me ramen," he countered.
She sighed and nodded.
"By the way, good job on making Gennin, kiddo."
Just you wait.
His grin tightened.
Well that was unexpected. The relationship between Naruto and Yuugao will be explained later on.
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