A/N: Hello, my lovely readers! Look at me go! You see what happens when you dump your dumbass, dead weight of a boyfriend? Shit gets done! Haha! Maybe this will make up for the fact that I've been a super flake in the past, no? It's whatever! Enjoy this chapter!
P.S. I'm sorry for all the exclamation points you just dealt with, but here's some more for good measure!
P.P.S. The formatting for these chapters keeps changing like I can't make up my mind. Am I the only one who noticed?
Chapter 12: Starting a Fire
Once Hinata had returned home, she had dutifully informed her father of what was asked of her by the Hokage. He gave her a curt nod and asked her to be ready to leave after dinner. With the meal finished, the two Hyuuga quietly walked to the council meeting. Hiashi for his part wanted more than anything for his daughter to stop being so cold and unfeeling toward him. He imagined that he deserved the treatment for not doing more to consider his daughter's feelings before he signed the treaty and for doing the same to her in years past. Despite that, having the attitude carry on for a long period seemed unreasonable. Treaties and arranged marriages were a part of the territory that came with being in a larger clan, like the Hyuuga. This was especially true being an heir or heiress of such a clan and decisions like the one he made were a part of his role as a clan leader.
'You'll only really know the position I'm in once you have to deal with being a clan leader yourself and have children of your own. I can't apologize to you forever, but I am sorry,' the man thought.
Hinata, for her part, continued to think about how she would tolerate her marriage to Sasuke. Before dinner she made a list of the positives and negatives of being with the Uchiha. The positive column had nothing written underneath it. In watching Naruto for as long as she had, she had observed several qualities in the Uchiha that bothered her. Even with his return, she still saw the arrogance, the disregard for others' feelings, and the desire for power in the former Orochimaru apprentice. The fact that she knew of the affair the Uchiha and Sakura had been having did little to help her opinion of the snake summoner as well.
'It could have be anyone else,' the girl mused crossly again. 'Anyone else and I could find the good in them, but I see no good in Uchiha Sasuke. I see nothing but the darkness of his character and soul. (1)(2)'
The two Hyuuga continued to keep to their thoughts as they reached the council meeting chambers and sat, waiting for the meeting to start.
Sasuke walked into the council meeting chambers confidently with his ANBU escort. He had done nothing to step out of the lines of his probation and believed that his summoning to the meeting was going to be in his favor. In addition to that, the snake summoner remembered information Homura had shared prior to chastising about the Clan Restoration Act once again.
"From what I hear, our Godaime is talking about a power transfer with the Uchiha fealty families. The only reason she'd do such a thing is because she plans to take the necessary steps to put a new Uchiha clan leader in place," the council member said to the young man earlier. "I don't have to tell you that as the last Uchiha, the role of clan leader defaults to you."
The raven smirked at the thought. If Homura was right, Sasuke's plans were falling into place better than he had desired. Those thoughts were dampened as he was lead to the place where he was supposed to sit. Chakra restraints and a gag (3) awaited him. The genin looked at the Hokage for explanation as the bespectacled man, who had just come in to see the treatment, made his way towards the woman in a huff. The Senju waited for the council member to be close enough so she would only have to explain herself once.
"What is the meaning of this?" the former Team Tobirama member hissed.
"Nezumi and Ōkami proceed to strap Sasuke in. To answer your question Mitokado-san, this is a precaution. He has done nothing wrong, but I need him present and I need to be assured that he will not cause an unnecessary disruption."
"You're over stepping your bounds as Hokage, Tsunade," Homura ground out.
"That's Tsunade-sama, Mitokado-san and no, I am not. This is simply to ensure the safety of both Sasuke and everyone who is going to attend this meeting. Don't tell me I should put the comfort of one ninja above everyone else?"
The older man narrowed his eyes at the woman before turning to Sasuke. The young raven shrugged to tell the man that he would tolerate what he was being put through. His confidence that things were going to work in his favor had not diminished too significantly. The young raven wasn't going to do anything to jeopardize the strides he had made to gain the trust of the female Hokage. It was simply out of the question, especially if what his guardian had said to him earlier was true. Homura took the hint and went to seat himself. He didn't like the implications of the situation at all.
Tsunade for her part was more satisfied than she should have been as she watched Homura slink to his seat and Sasuke be locked into place. She knew that the former Orochimaru apprentice's reaction to the three clan treaty between the Hyuuga, Namikaze, and Uchiha was going to be bad enough, especially if the rumors of his engagement to Sakura were true, but the fact that she was going to be reintroducing his believed to be deceased brother into the fray to make said brother the Uchiha clan leader compounded things all the more. She knew all about Sasuke's hatred toward Itachi. It continued to drive the Uchiha forward as he worked to regain the family he had lost after the massacre. That was what the boy's continued psychological evaluations reported anyway. It was just another piece of information that the Senju was privy to.
'If only everyone knew what I knew,' the blonde thought to herself wistfully. 'There is something sort of magical about holding the right 'cards' at the right time,'
She really hadn't known what that was like when she gambled unless something terrible had taken place. As Hokage, she knew it all too often. There was just some information that couldn't be shared with the public immediately or ever in some cases. Having the information to make that call was everything. It was at this moment that she understood the actions of her sensei in creating the law barring people from speaking of who held the Kyuubi no Kitsune at bay to the new generation. In that vein of thoughts, part of her wished that she could keep the treaty and its implications to herself, but that wouldn't do.
'I made a promise to do what I thought was in your best interest, Naruto and I believe this is the right course of action. You may be angry with me for a time, but I can handle that if it means you end up happy in the long run.'
As people filed into the council chambers, an ANBU clad Naruto and Itachi stood in the shadows in the back of the room. The two men were silent as they waited for the meeting to commence and for Itachi to be presented as an innocent man. As her jailor waited for his cue to come forward, Kyuubi (4) decided to sew some subtle seeds in Naruto's head.
"It seems like Itachi's been avoiding you all day," nine tails said innocently.
"So I've noticed. We seemed to make progress yesterday and now we're back where we started except he's the one giving me the brush off," the Uzumaki answered.
"You seem a little frustrated about that?"
"I'd be lying if I said it didn't annoy me somewhat, but turnabout is fair play."
"Do you think it has something to do with the person he mentioned yesterday?"
"The person he apologized to before he left the village?"
"Yes. I've sensed this powerful pain and longing from him ever since he has mentioned this mystery person."
"What does this mean to me? I can't reunite him with that person. I have no idea who or where they are. Not to mention the fact that this person could be long dead as well."
"I don't believe so. In fact, I feel as though they're closer than you believe which is why he's been so distant.
Before the Naruto could press into what his bijuu meant, Tsunade stepped forward and began to address the council.
"We'll have to finish this conversation later," the Namikaze heir said.
"Indeed, we will," the fox answered as her jailor made a conscious effort to pay attention to the leader of Konohagakure.
Once everyone had gotten into place, Tsunade quieted the room and began to speak.
"This council meeting is going to be run a little differently than other meetings that we have had in the past," the Senju announced. "This will be a closed session where the public will be informed of the pertinent proceedings after the meeting is adjourned. The topics at hand for this meeting will be the Uchiha clan, the Namikaze heir, and a marriage treaty between the Hyuuga, Namikaze, and Uchiha clans."
Homura and Sasuke perked up with the mention of the Uchiha clan and the clan's involvement in the aforementioned treaty while several others bristled at the mentioned of the great Yondaime Hokage having an unknown child.
"Let us begin with the Uchiha clan. Twelve years ago the clan was massacred, but it was not by the likes of Uchiha Itachi. If you would look up at the projector screen now I will present the evidence that shows that it was actually Uchiha Shisui that committed the act that decimated the Uchiha."
Sasuke tuned out what the woman had to say, enraged. There was no way that what the Godaime claimed could be true. He had been tortured by his brother and had been forced to watch the killing of his parents on repeat. He still had nightmares about the torture he had endured. Why would an innocent man go through such lengths if what was believed to be the truth was in fact a lie? It made no sense to the younger raven, but it was of little consequence now. He had killed his brother and no amount of evidence showing that the man had been innocent could change that. It was at that moment that Sasuke refocused on what was being said.
"Given this information, I hear by clear Uchiha Itachi of all guilt and charges in connection to the Uchiha massacre. I now ask that he present himself once again as a free and clear member of Konohagakure," the sannin said as she finished going over all the evidence.
The former Orochimaru apprentice was in disbelief at first. He had killed his brother.
'There is no way for him to come forward. Uchiha Itachi is no longer in the land of the living. This woman must have…,' Sasuke thought incredulously until he saw two figures moving to the front of the council chambers.
In the company of an ANBU masked Naruto, Itachi came to stand in front of the Konoha council members. Upon seeing that his other brother was in fact alive and well, the snake summoner went into a frenzy. He struggled fruitless against the bonds one Senju Tsunade had him locked into before the start of the meeting. The most the former Team 7 member could do was rattle the chakra restraints that confined him and give muffled shouts of anger against the gag in his mouth.
"With the knowledge of Itachi as an innocent man, he and I will be working on reestablishing the Uchiha clan with him as clan leader. He, however, cannot formally become clan head until he is married by the law of the Uchiha clan. This brings me to both the Namikaze heir and the marriage treaty," the slug princess said.
As Itachi and Naruto were asked to sit down, the council buzzed with several different energies. The most prevalent was curiosity, but the room remained quiet, save for Sasuke's continued and furious thrashing.
"As all of you know, Namikaze Minato died almost eighteen years ago. I am not going to regale you with the tale we all know so well, but I will tell you that he was married and his wife had a child before both, he and his wife, died in the Kyuubi attack. That child is alive and well. I will be presenting him to the public later on this month with a mountain of evidence that undeniably proves his heritage."
At the mention of being presented before the council as a Namikaze, Naruto became nervous. There was no telling what the reaction was going to be to him being the child of Konoha's Yellow Flash. There were still people who saw the ramen lover as a demon. Those people weren't as common now, but some people refused to let go of the anger and the hurt from the Kyuubi attack even now. He supposed that was par for the course, unfortunately.
"Why was this information held for so long?" Hiashi asked breaking into Naruto's thoughts and the thoughts of many others.
"In order to protect the Yondaime's heir from people who would have loved nothing more than to kill or kidnap the child. The heir is more than old enough to protect himself now though. That is why he is being presented now versus when I was first made aware of his existence," Tsunade answered quickly.
Murmurs filled the room as people tried to guess who the Namikaze heir was and question what other information had been hidden from the public.
"I am aware that you all have your questions and concerns about everything that has been brought forth at this point, but I have one final matter that needs to be discussed," the legendary sucker (5) said quieting the room and putting a page of the marriage treaty on her projector.
"The marriage treaty that I wish to present is between the Namikaze, Hyuuga, and Uchiha clans as I have already stated. Per the treaty, Uchiha Itachi will be marrying the Namikaze heir, as Hyuuga Hanabi is not of legal age and will not be for another three years, and Uchiha Sasuke is to be wed to Hyuuga Hinata, as there is only one Namikaze heir. While that may be the case…"
At that very moment, a dark aura filled the room as the shorter haired Uchiha managed to slip free of his bonds and preceded to go after his brother.
'The Hokage is next,' the snake summoner thought as he leaped towards Itachi.
Before the younger sharingan user could even think of getting close to his brother, he was intercepted by Naruto. The ANBU quickly pinned his former friend to the ground and a placed chakra draining seal on the former Orochimaru apprentice. With all but a sliver of his chakra sucked away by the seal, Sasuke passed out.
"I'll take him away, Hokage-sama," the ramen lover said disguising his voice and preparing to take away the knocked out Uchiha.
With the news of his marriage to Itachi, Naruto wanted to be anywhere but in the council meeting chambers. His emotions were all over the place, but ire topped the list. Good 'ol Sasuke had given him a perfect reason to escape the room.
'Ever the useful one, eh teme?' the ANBU thought with annoyance and mirth.
Homura's protest stopped the blond in his tracks.
"What have you done to him?" Homura raved.
"A chakra draining seal has been placed on him. It will be as though he has suffered chakra exhaustion and he will recover in a few days. That was the most effective way to restrain him given his actions and cause him the least amount of harm," Naruto answered and looked at Tsunade.
The blonde woman could feel the anger towards her emanating off of the ANBU given her silence over his arranged marriage, but she ignored it. The buxom fire shadow had a job to do.
"Please have him placed in a holding cell in Interrogation and Torture. Instruct Inoichi that he is to have a session with Sasuke, when the Uchiha recovers," Tsunade instructed the ramen lover.
The ANBU nodded and shunshined away. Turning her attention back to the council members, the slug sannin addressed the men and women before her.
"After that interruption, I am going to formally adjourn this council meeting. We will reconvene at another time so that I may finish the implications of the marriage treaty and present the Namikaze heir," the woman said containing her own fury.
The room emptied rather quickly as people whispered about the information that was delivered and Sasuke's outburst.
(1) I want to apologize for all the angst that's coming down the pike, but especially for the Hinata angst. I feel she's entitled to it being forced to marry Sasuke and all. *troll face*
(2) Shameless plug: One of the reviews for my newer story, The New Toad Sage, brought up the distrust of the Konoha 11 of Sasuke. That's kinda coming through here in my lightning rod Hinata.
(3) I didn't want to call it a muzzle or a gag, but there wasn't really a better word I could think of. You'll know why it's necessary if you've already read the original. Others of you found out.
(4) I know Kyuubi's real name just like everyone who is up to date on the Naruto manga, but I just want to remind you that Kyuubi is female in this fic. Because of that I'm not going to use Kurama as her name since it's a male name. Just FYI.
(5) I haven't ever called Tsunade the legendary sucker even though that's one of the many things that she could be called. Just seems like a better nickname if you're writing a hentai, but I'm using it anyway lol