Author's note: I had this idea a few months ago and really thought it was unique. Just be patient with me here, there will be a lot of unanswered questions with this fic, and you won't find out all of the answers until the end. There is one thing I have done which I haven't seen anywhere else, I made the Yondaime Kazekage into a nice guy for this fic. Please read, enjoy and tell me what you think. Don't flame me if you don't like it, no one is making you read it.
Disclaimer: I own nothing to do with Naruto, or I would have taken care of those plot holes by now!
There was an unusual commotion in the forests on the western edge of the Land of Rivers, close to the border they shared with the Land of Wind. The commotion was unusual because normally shinobi didn't operate in that sparsely populated land. Tonight was different. The four man squad had a mission, which was in the finishing stages.
"Did you find the leader, Tatsuya?" The squad leader, one of the top Jonin of Suna named Baki called out.
"I did, and took care of him. Looks like these slavers have raided other towns than just the ones we were informed about in Wind and Rivers."
Baki looked at where the other two members of his squad, a woman named Kokone and a man named Ichiro were dividing up the young ones the late slavers had taken. Kokone was going to return the Wind children to their homes while Ichiro had responsibility over the ones who came from Rivers. All were between the ages of eight and twelve, and appeared to have been treated decently. Baki turned back to his young subordinate. Tatsuya was the youngest member of the squad, having made Chunin last year. "What do you mean? Did you find more than were reported missing?"
"Come here and I'll show you." Baki followed Tatsuya past the bodies of the slain slavers and showed him another line of children. There were six of them and they were much younger than the others, and all looked to in between the ages of three and five. Two, a boy and girl, appeared to be related. They both had pale skin and delicate facial features, though the boy had dark brown hair and the girl had blue-black hair. There was one other girl, she had brown hair that reached past her shoulders and tan skin. The other three were boys. One had black hair and the biggest eyebrows Baki had ever seen on a child that young. One boy definitely stood out, with wild, spiky, bright blonde hair and three whisker-like birthmarks (or were they scars?) on each cheek. The last child had black hair that was pulled back into a top knot. All appeared to be sleeping.
"I've tried to wake them up, but my guess is that they are drugged," Tatsuya said. He pointed to the tags on each child's back, currently the only clue to their identities. The relatives had the words 'Sell to Kumogakure' written on theirs. The blonde boy and the boy with the topknot were tagged 'Sell to Iwagakure' and the brown haired girl and bushy-eyebrowed boy were labeled 'Highest Bidder.'
"I guess this means we can safely assume they aren't from Iwa or Kumo," Baki murmured, "They could be from Grass, Rain, Fire, or anywhere. Hopefully one of them can tell us their homeland and village."
"Let us hope that they are old enough to remember where their homes are and who their families are. Sometimes children this young don't," Tatsuya said. "I pray that the slavers didn't kill their families when they stole them, like they did with some of the families of the other children."
Baki nodded in agreement and they began to gather up the sleeping children. The little girl with blue-black hair was the hardest to pick up. Her brown haired relative (was he her brother?) wouldn't release her fine, though dirty, pink kimono, even in his sleep, and she was attached to the shirt of the blonde boy. Baki ended up having to pick all three of them up so they could move them over to the main portion of the campsite. Once the six children had been transferred, they explained what they had found to the other members of the team.
One of the other captives, a girl almost eleven, spoke up. "They made them sleep because they wouldn't stop crying. We don't know their names or where they are from. They were brought to the slavers about five days ago."
Ichiro, the poison specialist, gave the small ones an antidote to help them overcome the effects of the sleeping potion. The brown haired boy was the first to wake up. He ended up giving them quite a start when he opened his eyes. They were a pale bluish-purple, almost white, with no pupil. He turned to the little girl he had held on to. "Imoutochan, are you okay? Wake up!"
"Your sister is still asleep," Kokone gently told the small boy, trying to help calm him. "Don't worry, she'll wake up soon. We are shinobi from Sunagakure and have rescued you from the slavers that have held you, your sister, and your friends. Where are you from?"
The boy scrunched his forehead, obviously thinking hard. "I don't know."
Baki sighed and asked, "What is your name?"
Now the child looked scared, "I don't know! I don't remember! All I know is that I need to protect my imoutochan. Where is the red-eyed man?"
"He grabbed her and me, saying we needed to go. That's all I know!" The boy began to cry, obviously upset by their questions.
The boy doesn't remember his own name? This is not natural. What about the others? If they don't remember either, we may have to take them back to Suna with us, Baki thought. Our orders were to eliminate the slavers and return the children to their home villages. But these children don't know where they come from, and the other children don't know either. They'll have to return with us to Suna. Hopefully, time is all they need to remember, or the Kazekage has heard more about other missing children.
One after another, the other children woke up. Like the first, none of them had any memory of who they were or where they came from. Curiously, only the brown haired boy seemed to have knowledge of a red-eyed man. After the final child awoke, the boy with the bushy-eyebrows, Baki had come to the conclusion that these children had probably had their memories erased by means of a genjutsu, a powerful one. Only back in Suna do we have the expertise needed to break it, but can we break the genjutsu without destroying their minds?
"Little ones," Baki said, "We want to take you to our home Sunagakure no Sato. Hopefully when we arrive, we can discover the information we need to return you to your families."
The blonde boy, who had startling blue eyes, looked at him. "Do you promise?" The little girl with blue-black hair and the same disturbingly pale eyes as her brother, was clutching his hand.
"I promise. If we can't find them, we will find you families in Suna."
"Please don't separate us," the pale-eyed girl whispered, holdong her friend's and brother's hands.
"We won't," Tatsuya assured the six kids.
Baki turned to Kokone and Ichiro, "You know what to do with your charges. Once they are all safely home, return to Suna. Tatsuya and I will take these small ones to Suna and report to the Kazekage. Hopefully he may have heard something about these little ones."
"Can I have some water, please?" the brown haired girl, with matching brown eyes asked Baki, tugging on his trouser leg.
"Sure. Tatsuya, give them some water and food," Baki called out. "We'll head back to Suna when the sun rises."
The trip back took a while, mainly because of the pace of the little ones. They were so small and all needed naps during the day. Baki and Tatsuya ended up making Suna Bushins to carry the children to the village. Two days later, they finally arrived at the village walls.
"Baki, Tatsuya," Kameko, one of the guards greeted them, "I see you have picked up some strays."
"These children have no idea where they are from or what their names are. They were taken separately from the others we were hired to rescue," Baki explained the presence of the children. "We were hoping the Kazekage would have heard some information about them while we were away."
She nodded in understanding, looking at the six children. My heavens, they are so young. No wonder why they don't remember their home. They are so cute at that age.
Baki led the way to the Kazekage's office building, the six children following him like ducklings following their mother. Tatsuya brought up the rear, making sure that none strayed.
It didn't take long for them to be admitted to see the Yondaime Kazekage. Sabaku Masa had been granted the title during the Third Shinobi War after the disappearance of the Sandaime Kazekage. When his youngest son, Gaara, was born, the village elders forced him to seal the Ichibi no Shukaku into the child to create Suna's third Jinchuriki. Masa's beloved wife, Karura, had been seriously ill when she gave birth, and as a result of her illness, had volunteered to become the necessary sacrifice so their three children wouldn't be orphaned. The bad part was that Chiyo, a highly respected elder, wasn't skilled enough in fuuinjutsu to correctly make Gaara's seal. Little Gaara was unable to sleep and constantly hearing Shukaku's voice. After he had executed the elders who forced this on his son, the Kazekage had begun researching seals, hoping to find a way to reinforce Gaara's seal and preserve his child's sanity. Despite his public aloofness, he was a devoted father to five-year-old Temari, four-year-old Kankuro, and three-year-old Gaara. When he was unable to spend time with his children, he had his brother-in-law Yashamaru watch the children.
"How was the mission, Baki?"
"It was successful, Kazekage-sama, but we ran into something unexpected at the end. There were more children there than we were originally informed."
"Really? Did you also return them to their homes?"
Tatsuya spoke up, showing the six children, "They cannot remember where they come from, Kazekage-sama, or their names. We suspect a strong genjutsu was used to erase their memories."
The Kazekage's eyebrows rose in astonishment as he saw the six. The two pale-eyed children may have a dojutsu, he mused, and then saw the whisker marks on the blonde boy. He immediately knew what that meant. That boy is a Jinchuriki as well. He appears to be unaware of the fact. That must mean his seal is better made than Gaara's. They must be from a Hidden Village, but I haven't heard anything about a missing Jinchuriki. Of course, any village would be smart enough to not display weakness like admitting that a Jinchuriki, along with five other children disappeared from within their borders. If the children's memories were erased using a genjutsu, we can't remove it permanently damaging their minds. We could attempt when they are older, but until we do, we have no clue where they came from. I know Konoha has two clans with dojutsus, Kiri has two, and rumor says that Ame has one as well. Konoha has never created a Jinchuriki, so I've heard, and I don't know what their dojutsus look like. They all covered their eyes during the war so we wouldn't steal the eyes from the corpses and learn their secrets.
"Are you hungry?" he asked the children, "It's almost lunchtime."
The pale-eyed girl shrank behind the pale-eyed boy and the blonde boy. "You're scaring her," the blonde boy accused the Kazekage. "Why are you covering you face like that?"
The Kazekage laughed, "To protect it from the sun and the sand, young one. It is a common practice in this village." He quickly removed his hat and veil. "Is that better?" he asked the little girl. She shyly nodded. "I have a little girl of my own who is a little older than you. Would you like to meet her? I know she would love to make some new friends. I also have two little boys who are around your age as well."
"It's fun to make new friends, Hime," the blonde boy told the little girl. "Besides, I can hear your tummy rumbling. I know you're hungry."
"Why did you call her Hime?" the Kazekage asked.
"Because she's pretty and wearing a pretty kimono like a princess would. Hime fits her."
The girl blushed at the praise and the Kazekage smiled at the little boy's words. He looked at the others, "Are you hungry as well?" They all nodded. The Kazekage rang for an attendant to bring lunch for all of them and observed the children. It was obvious that some of them had received some ninja training, meaning they were definitely from a Hidden Village, but he couldn't tell which one. Not a single child wore a village symbol or a recognizable clan crest.
Once they were done eating, the six children were escorted to the bathrooms so they could wash up. They all quickly finished and piled together in a corner of the Kazekage's office to take a nap.
"What will we do with them?" Baki asked.
"Give them a home," the Kazekage replied. "There is a reason why we were the ones to rescue these children. I'm sure we can find families willing to take them in and raise them as one of their own."
"I do not think it would be a good idea to separate them," Tatsuya blurted out. The Chunin quickly explained his outburst. "In the absence of memories, these six have created very strong bonds in a short period of time. It would do more harm than good to split them up in my opinion."
"But who would be willing to take in six orphans?" the Kazekage asked.
"I would." The voice surprised everyone in the room. The three men had been so focused on their conversation that they had failed to notice the arrival of Chiyo-baasama. The old lady was staring at the six small forms with a tenderness that most everyone in Suna believed didn't exist in the old puppeteer.
"You would, Chiyo-sama?" the Kazekage repeated. "But what if these children come from Konoha?"
"If Konoha doesn't want them, I will take them. Perhaps through these small ones, I can find redemption and not make the same mistakes that I made with my beloved grandson Sasori." All present nodded in understanding. Sasori had deserted from the village seven years earlier, breaking Chiyo's heart. She blamed herself for his defection, having raised him after the death of his parents during the Shinobi Wars.
"The blonde boy is a Jinchuriki, but I doubt he is aware of the fact," the Kazekage informed the old woman.
"But he is capable of sleep, proving he was created by a true master. Hopefully, over time we will learn what demon he holds," Chiyo murmured. "Perhaps by studying this child's seal, we can learn how to adjust Gaara's so he can sleep as well."
"You still will take them?"
"Yes, I will. Do not worry about me. There are still plenty of years left in this bag of bones. If they chose, they will be loyal Suna shinobi. I will raise them as my own grandchildren."
The Kazekage nodded, "Perhaps once they are settled in, I will introduce them to my children. I will still try and find their true home, but until them, you will care for them."
Chiyo nodded in understanding as she sat down to wait for her six new grand babies to wake up.
A/N, take two: I loved Old Lady Chiyo in Shippuden and really wanted to make her a major character in one of my stories. If you can guess which ones the Nameless Six are, you will get cookies! Thank you for reading!