Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto or any characters in this fanction. It is done for the enjoyment of myself and other fanfiction readers!
Chapter 12: Revelations and Change
Author's Note: So, I know, it has been a long time since I updated anything. I have been trying to get myself back into writing for months and the letters sent to me over requesting I continue my fanfiction have gone a long way to restoring my resolve. I am going to try and get an update out every month for Uzumaki Sunrise and I also put up a few updates for Bloodline Flash. I know this chapter is shorter than normal but bear with me while I work to get back into the swing of things. I also apologize in advance if this chapter isn't up to my normal quality but there is a lot going on so I hope you like it!
Special thanks to the following: Firetemplar415, Thestorymaker2, J. Hellscythe, Gaiseric, Dragonsatan, Naruhinafan86, NamikazeCP, Dragon780, and Winto-kun for helping convince me to keep going. I will do my best to keep updates rolling!
Kushina had procrastinated for nearly a week before finally forcing herself to accept the truth of what Tsunade had told her. Her son held one very powerful bloodline and the potential for a second. It was Tsunade who finally get fed-up with her dragging her heels and, quite literally, dragged her to a meeting with the Hokage.
Sure, Kushina liked the old man, but she still did not fully trust him after everything that had taken place with her son. It had been his duty to watch over her son as much as any of his godparents and as a mother she wasn't sure she could ever forgive him for what happened under his watch. As she walked into the office with Jiraiya and Tsunade she leaned back and took a deep breath.
Hiruzen had seen people wound up before but he didn't know why Kushina was so stressed right then. He had thought everything had been getting better, the village had, for the most part, accepted Naruto as the Fourth's son and her as his widow. They practically worshipped the ground he walked on half the time and he was being trained and cared for by the most loving people he could ask for who also happened to be some of the most powerful shinobi the village had ever produced.
Tsunade looked at Kushina who nodded to her before pulling a file from her jacket, "Sensei, could you active the privacy seals."
With a nod Hiruzen activated the seals with a single hand sign but raised an eyebrow as Jiraiya placed several seals around the room muttering something about 'extra security'. The old Kage definitely had his curiosity piqued at this point as he reached and opened the file placed on his desk.
"So, what's so important that you had to erect extra security and privacy seals in the most secure office in the entire village?" The Hokage muttered as he began to read the medical file. It did not take long before his eyes widened at what he was reading.
"You are sure of this?" Hiruzen asked in complete seriousness.
"Yes sensei, both Shizune and I ran the test three separate times, Naruto has a new bloodline and the potential to produce a Mokuton user," Tsunade answered him in a quiet voice before taking a deep breath and launching into an explanation of the first question she anticipated her sensei would ask.
"While it has never been documented how bloodlines are created the prevailing theory has held that clans with specific skill-sets, such as the Nara Shadow Manipulation or the Hyuga Gentle Fist, have a genetic mutation occur. This mutation usually starts out small, typically seen as a greater propensity for the skills used by the family or clan. As the mutation gets passed on it increases until eventually altering the genetic structure of the descendants to create the bloodline.
"While the Namikaze has never been known for a bloodline there were cases documented of advanced healing in the clan, but nothing ever on the level of a bloodline or what Naruto has. The Uzumaki clan does have a chakra based bloodline behind their long life and vitality as well as their ability to suppress Bijuu to some extent. However we found no trace of the Uzumaki bloodline.
"At best guess, there was likely some form of genetic mutation taking place in the Namikaze clan that may have eventually become a bloodline limit over time but this mutation somehow merged with the chakra based bloodline of the Uzumaki to create this regenerative bloodline Naruto possesses."
As Tsunade concluded her explanation the old Kage before her closed his eyes in thought before asking his first question, "How can a bloodline merge with another? Shouldn't they cancel each other out or one over-power the other?"
"I think that is where the Kyubi comes in. Naruto was just born when the Kyubi was sealed within him this influx of chakra could have stabilized the merger between the bloodlines. I highly doubt the Namikaze bloodline would have become anything close to what we are currently seeing in Naruto. Most likely we would view it was an advance healing bloodline, but in Naruto we are seeing what really is a regenerative ability."
Kushina frowned at this before speaking, "If that was the case then why can the boy potentially produce a Mokuton user?"
"The Mokuton gene is a recessive one, since it wasn't active upon birth, like the Uzumaki or Namikaze, it wasn't affected," Tsunade replied.
Jiraiya took this moment to speak up and explain the situation to his sensei, "If this information were released every village, clan, and country would be vying to get their hands on Naruto to breed an army of regenerative shinobi. Hell, the Hyuga might just send women to attempt to rape the child to gain this kind of bloodline. Then you toss on the top that he would be capable of producing a potential mokuton user and I am not sure we would be able to take him out of the Namikaze district for fear of pursuit by marriage contracts."
"I see, so you want this information sealed then? I am assuming Tsunade has already removed any files or blood samples from the hospital and you just need my authorization to keep quiet about this. When do you intend to reveal this new bloodline and information?" Hiruzen asked already giving his unspoken assent to the plan.
"We want to keep Naruto's bloodline secret until he needs to show it or he is a jonin and capable of defending himself properly," Kushina told him, "That way he has time to come to terms with everything and we have time to train him in it. We were already planning to increase his training regimen and include a section on politics and marriage contracts so he isn't taken advantage of but with this new information it makes it all the more important."
Hiruzen nodded, "I agree, from this point these files are considered sealed to all but Tsuande and Jiraiya of the Sannin and Kushina and Naruto Uzumaki-Namikaze or whoever Kushina deems acceptable to be privy to this knowledge."
The other five in the room relaxed visibly knowing they had the support of their sensei and leader before Hiruzen brought up another subject that chilled them to the bone.
"I guess now is as good a time as any to tell you Kushina. We received communication from the Tsuchikage. He plans to travel to Konoha on a diplomatic mission and would look to meet with me, you, and Naruto. He will arrive in two weeks."
Uchiha Clan District
In a village with a population numbering in the tens of thousands there were few places where one could find any real quiet. Sadly, one of those places was the now deserted Uchiha district. Before the massacre the place had been filled with members of the famed clan. Numbering well over two thousand strong the Uchiha were one of the largest clans found in Konoha.
This also made what Itachi did seem all that much more impossible. Even if the people took into account only half the Uchiha clan were actually active duty shinobi it still seemed unreal that a single person could wipe out thousands in a single night. And ever since that night Sasuke Uchiha, the sole survivor, had lived in the silence of his clans district alone.
Sasuke had been a child when he had lost his clan, it had scarred him emotionally and mentally. When he brought his new family home he had hoped they would bring some life back to the clan's silent district but they were always so quiet. They would not speak unless spoken too and always answered more like a machine than a person.
After nearly a week Sasuke began to wonder if they would ever respond to him like his clan used to, like family.
"Breakfast is ready," Sasuke yelled to the five Uchiha children in the living room. They sat silently, a bit stiffly, but not quite as much as they had when they had first arrived.
Sasuke set the plates filled with eggs and rice down on the table and poured each them some juice before he began to eat in silence.
This had become a ritual of sorts. Every morning Sasuke would wake the children up, they would get dressed and then sit in the living room until he called for them to eat breakfast. Breakfast was then eaten in silence while Sasuke made attempts to smile and strike up conversation.
"So, would you like to do something to day?" Sasuke asked as he tried to smile at his cousins. He found it unnerving the way they never seemed to respond.
When they had arrived he had let them pick their own rooms. Each was basic, just having a dresser, futon, desk, and closet. His first thoughts were that they would go running around the house to find the room of their choice but instead they stood in line as if waiting for him to assign them rooms. Sasuke had frowned and told them again to pick whichever room they wanted. It was only after explaining that he wanted them to choose the room that they felt more comfortable in that they nodded slowly and began to make their way through the house.
Whatever happened to them has really hurt them, I will have to be patient with them until they are ready to open up, Sasuke thought to himself. They were clan, family, and he would do anything to see them safe and healthy. That was what his father would have wanted, but even Sasuke had to admit he was not entirely sure how to go about helping them.
After his first attempt at conversation failed he tried another tactic he had decided on the night before, he noticed that Amesha had moved her desk in her room slightly the other day. He had not asked about it at the time but it was the first movement of independent thought he had seen in his cousins and decided to see if he could use it.
"Amesha, I noticed you moved your desk a bit yesterday," Sasuke said with an attempt at being casual. He noticed immediately how the girl tensed up and prepared for what he assumed would be a punishment for the 'infraction', but he continued quickly, "would you like to get some new furniture for you room? Maybe something more colorful? Or maybe paint the room? It is yours after all, we could do anything you would like it."
The young Uchiha stared at Sasuke for a moment, her eyes widening slightly as she absorbed the words he had just said, "We could all go together and you could all get some furniture and clothes you like, and we could get paint and paint your rooms. Would you like that?"
While the other children did not respond he saw Amesha tense up and, for the first time since they had arrived at their new home, spoke to him, "Yes, please."
Sasuke smiled at her, a genuine, warm smile, "We can go after breakfast, how does that sound?"
Amesha answered quietly again, "Ok."
It was a mere three words, but it meant the world to Sasuke to hear them. He noticed the other children seemed to have a dazed expression on their face. Sasuke frowned inwardly, being sure to keep the smile on his face, Whatever happened to them must make them think they will get in trouble by being individuals or having individual tastes, I'll have to really work to get them out of their shells.
And so the Uchiha family finished breakfast as Sasuke and his cousins set out, quietly monitored by three teams of ANBU, toward the furniture store to be followed by the hardware store for paint.
Danzo stared down at the paper his kneeling subordinate had handed him before schooling his features and sipping his tea.
"So this is the best my agents were able to recover?"
"Hai," the masked shinobi responded.
Danzo had not said it but he knew he was in a very precarious position. His back up base had only been under construction a short time before he had been forced to evacuate his primary facility under Konoha. He had also lost the majority of his forces and all of his recruits.
While some would have been angry at the set-back Danzo actually smiled and was slightly happy for it.
Well old friend, it appears you aren't as weak as I thought, he mused to himself, perhaps I underestimated you and it has cost me dearly.
The report Danzo held in his hands was a full accounting of his forces, the recruits they had so far been able to obtain from the various locations in the fire country, and their current supplies. He frowned as he considered ROOTs position away from Konoha, they were balanced on a knife's edge between survival and destruction.
He had lost nearly four hundred agents when his primary compound fell along with the some 200 recruits that had been in training. He had recalled all of his field units to bolster the hundred that he had brought with him to the beta site but even with them they barely numbered 300 shinobi. A force that was too large to be kept in the shadow of Konoha without eventually being found and far too small to hope to survive an engagement against Konoha's far greater size if Hiruzen were to be intent on finishing the job he had started and Danzo had no doubt he would.
His first thoughts were to recruit new soldiers from the orphans within the fire country, but that had proven a disappointment at best. Barely 120 children of the proper age and most of them of very poor quality at best possessing only minimal amounts of chakra and even poorer potential shinobi skills, most would die within the first few weeks of training.
The only good news was that their supplies, which had been stock-piled before the invasion, allowed them to live comfortably for a long period of time before needing to contact outside sources.
Danzo again sipped his tea as he looked over the report. So far his attempts to make contact with Orochimaru had failed. It appeared the man had decided to remain quiet for the moment and did not wish to be found. This placed Danzo in an awkward position. He could not remain within the fire country long, but he also knew he lacked the forces to simply invade anywhere with even a mediocre shinobi village. That meant Snow, Grass, Waterfall, and the dozen or so smaller villages were out of the question.
Danzo looked at the map closely, he considered going to wave country as it was close and had no shinobi village but dismissed it. It was too close to Konoha and the ruins of the old whirlpool village were nearby. Konoha maintained guard over the ruins as a token of respect for their old allies and in the hopes that some of the missing clans may return to restore it. A foolish waste of resources in Danzo's eyes but one he had held no decision in.
Danzo eyed the map before him as he laid the report onto the table. He small smile touched his lips and he knew where he would be taking his troops. A place he also decided might hold a potential ally that had decided to avoid him thus far. Rice country.
"Because it is the best plan for both the village and our family," Oonoki responded once again to his impatient granddaughter while rubbing his temple.
Who knew she would be so adamantly opposed to the plan? He thought to himself as they walked through the small garden section of the rock village.
The young girl beside the aging Kage was named Kurotsuchi. Her pink pupil-less eyes could only stare in shock at her grandfather's pronouncement as her mind tried to contemplate what he had just told her.
They would be traveling alongside a bodyguard contingent to Konoha, the place rock shinobi hated with a burning passion, on a diplomatic mission to speak with the Hokage about potential alliances and trade agreements.
She just couldn't understand why her grandfather would do this! It made no sense! They did not need the tree hugging hippie's. The Rock had always been the largest of the shinobi village's and even after the third great war outnumbered the leaf and sand villages by almost two to one. They did not need anyone as far as the young girl was concerned, at least that's what her teachers always told her.
"But it doesn't make any sense grandfather! Why would you go to Konoha? We're strong enough without entangling ourselves with those tree-huggers!" she told time for the third time, or was it the fourth? Kurotsuchi wasn't sure anymore.
Oonoki sighed as they came upon a small pool with shiny stones residing in the water, "There is more going on than you realize 'tsuchi, much more. This will be a good thing for the village and our family."
The old Kage took on a far-away look as he stared toward the mountains which protected his home as a rare moment of inner regret took hold. In that moment he felt the full weight of all his years, all his decisions, and all his losses come crashing down on him.
"You will accompany myself and my contingent to Konoha, I believe it will do you well to see that the tree-huggers are not what much of the village has led you to believe. You will need this knowledge in the future granddaughter."
His granddaughter glared at his grandfather with a slight hint of betrayal in her eyes as she nodded her head. With the obvious order behind his last words she turned on her heel and stalked home to begin packing for the trip. Her anger coming off in waves as she made her way back toward the village proper leaving her grandfather with a single thought.
That could have gone better…
That could have gone better… the aging Hokage thought as he stared at the broken remains of his desk in front of him.
"Say. That. AGAIN!" the red-headed monst… mother spoke slowly, in a low voice.
"Oonoki wants to meet you and your son. He has sent a communication say he will arrive in the next two weeks to discussion potential alliances and trade agreements." He told her while considering once again the wisdom of sitting in this damn chair at his age.
"That bastard would never want an alliance with Konoha and you know it!" Kushina told him between clenched teeth while a burning hatred filled her eyes. Iwa had been one of the three great villages that had attacked her home. Beyond that they had led the attack that had slaughtered her family and even now she remembered arriving too late. The bodies and blood of her kinsmen everywhere, all because those damn bastards feared their sealing skills and bloodline.
That had been her motivation in the third great war. Every battle had been a chance to avenge her family, to see their lives paid back in rock shinobi blood tenfold. And she had bled them well.
Hiruzen turned a stiff glare to the young woman before him, "That was ten years ago Kushina. I know you are still under-going therapy but time has passed and things have changed. Oonoki is no fool and very likely realizes that without a potential alliance his village will fall behind the others. Lightning and Mist have always been close and there have been reports that Lightning shinobi have made passes near Iwa's border. He is likely doing this as a show of force rather than of any real interest in an alliance. But, you will meet with him Kushina, you AND Naruto. Even if I have to order it was your Hokage."
Kushina's blood boiled with rage at the final statement, "You… You dare to order me in the same room as that monster?" she said in a low voice.
Did he even understand what he was asking? This man had murdered her father and brother. He had ordered the deaths of thousands of her family. The entire Uzumaki clan was wiped out because of him and he wanted her to sit down and have tea with him?!
Before she could continue a comforting hand made it was to her shoulder.
Kushina's gaze with Hiruzen broke and she looked at Tsunade who had stepped beside her, "They killed my family too Kushina. I won't let you be in a room alone with that beast. He took away my aunts and uncles, my cousins, the same as you cousin. And if he thinks he can walk in there and taunt you for it I will make sure he knows there will be consequences."
Tsunade's voice was calm and steady as she spoke. It never rose in pitch or volume but there was an undercurrent of power behind the words. This was the Tsunade of the Sannin. One of the legendary three. And even beyond that, one of the Senju. While most did not hear of the Senju as a clan any longer it would not be wise to assume they simply ceased to exist. Many claimed kinship to the great clan in the village and Tsunade was considered their clan head. Only a fool would mistake the obvious anger as simply that of just Tsunade. When she spoke, she spoke for all Senju who sought vengeance for their lost family. And it was only this support that calmed Kushina enough to look at the aging Kage before her.
"I will do it, but only because Minato would never allow us to run away from our enemies. I want Kakashi and Jiraiya with us just in case he tries anything. This is not negotiable."
Hiruzen nodded, "Agreed."
She placed a hand over Tsunade's and squeezed it tightly in thanks before turning and walking out of the room.
"Jiraiya, please remain behind, there is a matter of which I would like to speak to you on." Hiruzen said as Tsunade and Shizune followed Kushina out the door.
Jiraiya raised an eyebrow before nodding and remaining at his place by the wall.
Hiruzen sighed deeply as he reached for his pipe. Taking slow, measured movements he filled the pipe with tobacco and lit it. After a slow puff he stood and turned to look out the window at the village in the daylight sun. Everything was so peaceful, so perfect in an imperfect way. It made him smile inside to know he had been a part of creating this place, his home.
"I'm old." He said.
Jiraiya chuckled, "You were old before time sensei."
"No Jiraiya, I am getting too old to continue sitting here before irate mothers. I am far past my prime and while I may still be strong I am far from the great 'professor' I used to be. My reign as Hokage should have ended over ten years ago and I should be enjoying a wonderful retirement. I asked you once before and I am asking again, please, take the hat."
Jiraiya remained silent for a long time. This was a conversation they had held before Minato was selected to become the Fourth Hokage. It was always a quiet subject of pride to Jiraiya that he had been his sensei's first choice in becoming his successor over Orochimaru or his student but before it would never have worked. No one else could maintain his spy contacts and he had simply felt he was unprepared to take over such a position.
What would the world think? Him as Hokage? The Super Pervert and Author of the acclaimed Icha Icha series leading the village hidden in the leaves? No one would take him seriously and, deep down, he simply had not felt worthy of the title. He always carried around the insecurity that he would fail. That he was not good enough and the trust the people may place in him would be broken by his mistakes.
"Things have changed haven't they sensei?" he asked quietly.
Hiruzen nodded his silent answer.
Things have changed… those words held within them a mass of emotions and thoughts that Jiraiya could never convey. Things have truly changed for him. He had a home, a family, and connection deeper than any before to the village. More than that though, he had a reason to stay and keep everyone safe.
"I would need time to finish training my godson and a replacement as spymaster." Jiraiya said in quiet contemplation.
"I have the perfect replacement for you." His sensei told him with a slight smile.
For an unknown amount of time the two men stood in silence, neither saying anything as both were left to their thoughts. Always before Jiraiya had said he was unprepared for the job. Or that he would not make a good leader. He had even said he enjoyed traveling too much to stop. But the truth was Jiraiya had always felt he was not worthy of the position. Deep inside he felt like he could never meet the standards that his sensei had set for him and was ashamed of that, whether it was true or not.
But now things had changed, Jiraiya had changed, and for the first time in his life he felt a deep connection to his home. It was not some vague sense of loyalty to a place he was born but a sense of family, something he never thought he could feel again after Minato had passed away. Kushina, Naruto, Tsunade, and even Shizune and Kakashi were family to him and he did not want to let that go. It was the first time in so long he felt complete inside.
"When Naruto graduates the academy, I will take the hat if you still want me too," Jiraiya said finally.
Hiruzen turned his gaze from the village to his student and with a smile nodded, "That is acceptable. That gives me plenty of time to train you and get you up to speed on everything. I will send for the person I have in mind as your replacement as spymaster immediately as well."
Jiraiya nodded before grinning, "This will cause Orochimaru to have a heart attack, you realize that right?"
Hiruzen chuckled for a moment before bowing his head to his student, "Thank you."
Jiraiya moved from his place and hugged his old sensei, "No sensei, thank you for being patient with me."
With that Jiraiya walked out of the door to the waiting presence of his family, the family he had waited so long to have.
A small raven flew quickly and quietly to a camp site in the woods. It had taken several days to find its master but the stoic youth seated before the fire barely acknowledged the creatures arrival. The silence of the dark forest was broken only by the crackling of the fire before him. It was odd, as if nature itself was respectful of this young man within its presence.
"So, you have a message do you Ryuchi?" a voice devoid of emotion said as the raven landed on his shoulder and allowed him to take the small note before accepting a bit of food from its master. The youth stroked the raven's head, conveying a sense of familiarity and affection that did not show on his face. He slowly, carefully untied the note.
Raven is forgiven
The stoic youth read the note and nodded, "It seems I am being recalled home."
"What will you do now… Kisame?"
The blue skinned man sitting across from him chuckled darkly, "Return to the leaf for some secret mission? Sounds like more fun than we've been doing so far, I'll give it a shot… Itachi Uchiha."