A/N: Well, here I am with a new story. The pairing is Naruto/Mei, but I'm thinking of adding one, two or all three of the following: Yugao, Konan and FemKyuubi. You can say your opinions in your reviews. Also, this will have slight elements of the Devil May Cry series. I might make it an actual crossover (much) later, but I'm not sure. Again, your opinions are welcomed.
IMPORTANT!: In this fic Naruto is two years older than the rest rookies and the age of graduation from the academy is fifteen.
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto or any of the Devil May Cry elements I will add.
Naruto of the Seven
Chapter 1: Breaking and Making Bonds
It was 10th of October, exactly 10 years since Kyuubi attacked Konoha, and a very important meeting was taking place in the office of Hiruzen Sarutobi, Sandaime Hokage.
In front of him stood a very young woman, still a teenager, really. She had very long red hair and green eyes. On her back was strapped a claymore with a W-shaped guard. She was wearing a blue jonin vest, and a blue short skirt that allowed for freedom of movement. Her arms and feet were bare, with the exception of metal guards on her shins and lower arms. She was also wearing a Kiri headband.
"So, what can I do for you, young lady?" asked Sarutobi curious, though he had a very good idea as to what this was about. It was well known to the Kages of the other four great nations that Kiri was going through a civil war because of the Yondaime Mizukage's hatred for bloodlines.
"My name is Mei Terumi, Hokage-sama." introduced herself the young woman. "I'm the leader of the rebellion against the Yondaime Mizukage." she continued.
The Hokage looked at her surprised. "You are the leader of the rebellion? How old are you?" he asked incredulously.
Mei looked at him with battle-hardened eyes. "I'm eighteen years old. I'm also the strongest shinobi in our side and strongest member of the Seven Swordsmen before our disband. So I would prefer it if you didn't judge me according to my age, Hokage-sama." she replied.
Sarutobi studied her more closely. Her stance was that of a warrior who was always on guard. From her arms and feet, any experienced shinobi would be able to tell that she possessed great physical strength. She had more chakra than Jiraiya. And her eyes were eyes that had seen many deaths and taken many lives and knew that they would see a lot more death and take a lot more lives before the end. They were eyes that had seen war. All in all, Sarutobi could honestly say that only twice before in his life had he seen people with as much potential. Minato Namikaze and his son Naruto. Sarutobi would pay much to have her under his service.
He gave a slight bow to Mei. "Please excuse me for that, Terumi-san. I promise I won't do so again. Now, is it safe to assume that you are here to ask for Konoha's assistance in your struggles?" he asked.
Mei nodded. "Indeed."
Sarutobi leaned back to think. "What would Konoha earn if we helped you?" he asked.
"An alliance with Kiri when the war is over. Any of the shinobi artifacts we posses, except the swords. And, after the village is back on its legs, we are willing to pay you up to two million ryo." she answered.
Sarutobi thought about it long and hard. Trough be told, he really wanted to help her. In the end, however, he shook his head. "I'm sorry, Terumi-san. However, Kiri will be very weak by the end of the war and it will take years for it to recover enough to be a useful ally. It will take even longer to gather the money you promised. And we both know that the only shinobi artifacts of real value that Kiri posses are the swords. I'm sorry, but I'm not willing to risk the lives of my shinobi under these terms. Especially since the Mizukage is the host of the Sanbi. And our own host is still ten years old with no training."
Anger flashed in Mei's eyes. "I see. So it would seem that the much vaunted willingness of Konoha to fight for a good cause is nothing more than words. Or is it that you would prefer the bloodline users of Kiri to die so that you would strengthen your own position?" she spat out.
She turned around and left, kicking the door out of its hinges instead of opening it.
The Hokage waved his hand to prevent his ANBU from acting against her. He knew that if they did, they would die before they knew what hit them.
He sighed. He looked towards the portraits of the past Hokages and it seemed to him that Minato was scowling to him. He knew that if he was there, he would shove a rasengan up his ass for what he did. He briefly wondered what his unofficial grandson, Naruto, would say if he saw what he did today. He knew that his words would be very similar to what Mei said, and that made him that much sadder. "I'm really getting too old for this." he murmured to himself.
He thought about Mei. He knew he would see her again, and she would be Mizukage when that happened. She would succeed in her rebellion, Sarutobi knew that. Her eyes told him so. She would do whatever it took to succeed. She proved it by coming to him for help. For one of the Seven to shallow her pride and do such a thing… Still, Sarutobi couldn't help but wonder if they next time he saw her would be at the negotiation table, or the battlefield, trying to kill him.
Mei was walking towards the exit of the village, still fuming. She stopped however when she saw a very strange sight. A mob of grown men and women, even some shinobi, that were hunting a small boy. It was obvious that they were aiming to kill him.
She narrowed her eyes. The sight reminded her too much of the bloodline purges, and she didn't like it one bit. She vanished from where she was standing and reappeared in front of the boy. She put her hand on his shoulder to stop him. She looked at him. He had wild blond hair, bright blue eyes and three whisker marks on each cheek. All in all, in Mei's opinion, he would look pretty cute if he didn't have that look on his face. It was a strange look. Part fear and part…defiance?
Mei liked that look. It showed that the boy had guts. He didn't talk to him, but instead got between him and the approaching mob, effectively making it stop. "What do you people thing you are doing? What has this boy done to you?" she asked them, her voice promising untold amounts of pain.
One of the few shinobi in the mob answered her. "I don't know what a Kiri shinobi is doing here, but you shouldn't protect him. He is not a kid. He is a demon who is here to kill us all."
Mei looked back at the boy. He looked to be around ten years old. The Hokage had told her that Konoha's host was ten years old. It was rather obvious what the kid was. She turned back to the mob. "Get the hell out of here. If what I suspect is right, the kid is protecting you every day of his life." Inside her however, she really hoped that they wouldn't listen to her. She really needed someone to vent on, and those morons would do just fine.
Then one of them told the only thing that could make their position worse. "Forget that. Let's just kill the demon and then have some fun with this bitch." All the men agreed loudly.
Then they were all brought to their knees, courtesy of the ridiculous amount of KI that Mei was releasing. She disappeared. Half a second later, the people in the mob started to die, some from broken necks, some with various limbs removed, usually their heads, and others with deep gashes appearing on their chests.
The strongest shinobi in the mob was mid chunin level. That meant that it was as easy for Mei to kill them as crushing an ant with her boot. Ten seconds later, Mei was standing amongst twenty-eight corpses. She flicked her sword to clear it from the blood, and then disappeared again. A second later, an ANBU with a bird mask and an ANBU with a blank mask that were watching the scene were beheaded.
Mei reappeared in front of Naruto. She looked at him. She was expecting he would be afraid of her, and maybe disgusted with her for what she did. She wasn't expecting to see a thankful look in his face, mixed with healthy doses of fascination and admiration.
'A ten-year-old really shouldn't look like that after witnessing such a sight.' she thought idly. Still, that gave her an idea.
"Thanks a lot, miss." said Naruto, his voice full of gratitude.
"Name's Mei Terumi kid. What's yours?"
"Nice to meet you Naruto. Now, do you know a place where we can talk with no one watching or hearing us? I need to tell you something I think you would like to know. I also have a proposition for you." said Mei.
Naruto though about it for a few seconds. "I know such a place, but it is pretty far from here." he answered.
"Where is it? I can take us there quite fast." she replied.
Naruto just pointed towards the faces of the Hokages carved on the nearby mountain. Mei nodded, put her hand on Naruto's shoulder, noticing that he had to fight the reflex of pulling back, and then shunshined them both at the top of the Yondaime's head.
When they arrived, she immediately let go of him and then sat down motioning for him to do the same. "Now, Naruto, tell me, what do you know about the Bijuu?" she asked.
Naruto thought about it. "Well, I know that they are nine evil demons of great power that cause great destruction wherever they go. I also know that the strongest of them, Kyuubi no Kitsune attacked Konoha ten years ago but was killed by the Yondaime Hokage, who also died fighting it. That's all I know." he answered.
Mei nodded. "More or less you are right. What you don't know is that the Bijuu are almost always imprisoned within humans. These humans are the greatest military asset of their respective village. Unfortunately, most people can't see that, or that the hosts protect them from the Bijuu and abuse them or even try to kill them. Something else that I'm sure that you don't know is that the Bijuu are always sealed within newborn babies. Can you understand what I'm trying to say, Naruto?"
Naruto paled. Contrary to popular belief, he was no idiot. He understood fine. Kyuubi attacked exactly ten years ago. He was exactly ten years old. Bijuu were always sealed in newborns. Two plus two equals four. Then his eyes narrowed. "So I have Kyuubi sealed inside me. And Oji-san never told me. What's more, I protect them and am supposed to fight for them, and yet they try to kill me." He locked eyes with Mei. "What is your proposition, Mei-san?" he asked her.
Mei smiled to herself. It would seem that the boy was smarter than he looked. Mei could tell that he already suspected what she would offer.
"Before I tell you that, I have to tell you a few things about the current situation in Kiri. Please don't interrupt me until I'm done." she waited for his nod of agreement, before continuing.
"The first thing you must know is that the current Mizukage, Yagura, is the host of the Sanbi. He was the son of the previous Mizukage and, thanks to the power of the Sanbi, he became Mizukage at a very young age. During the first years of his reign, he proved himself a very capable and just Kage, and everyone loved him. However, it would seem that there was something rotten inside him, waiting to be unleashed, because eventually he proved himself a demon worse than the one he kept inside him. You see, at some point he decided that bloodlines, which are special abilities coming from one's ancestors by the way, are evil, and decided to purge them. He started to hunt everyone who possessed a bloodline down, killing many of them. Many of Kiri's shinobi and villagers agreed with him. As a result, people with bloodlines, like me, and those that disagreed with the Mizukage's view on things formed a rebellion, aiming to overthrow Yagura. I'm the leader of that rebellion. I came to Konoha in order to ask for the Hokage's assistance but…" her face darkened "…he declined."
She then told him of her meeting with the Hokage and what happened there. Which pissed Naruto off. Sarutobi always told him that a shinobi has to fight for his comrades and what he believes is right. Naruto believed that Mei was right, that Yagura had to be overthrown, and he knew Sarutobi well enough to know that he believed the same. And yet he declined her his help. If nothing else, he could have offered to let volunteers go to the rebellion's aid, but he didn't do even that. Never before in his life had Naruto been so disappointed with someone as he was now.
Then Mei started to talk again and he turned his attention back to her. "Now, Naruto, for my proposition. I would like you to come with me to Kiri." She lifted her hand to stop him from speaking. "Hear me out first. First of all, let me tell you what I offer you. Then I'll tell you why I'm offering this, which, I'm sure, is what you want to ask. Now, if you agree to come with me, I'll make you my apprentice and train you both in the shinobi arts and in the way of the sword. In fact, we have a sword that would be perfect for you, since it's demonic and normal humans are unable to wield it. When we win the war, you will become a full fledged Kiri shinobi. Now, as for the why… I won't deny that the fact that you are Kyuubi's host played some role to my decision. I would really like to have this power at my side. However, while I'll teach you how to utilize Kyuubi's power, whether or not you will do so is up to you. Also, they way they treat you here is downright horrible. In case you are wondering, I didn't know you contained Kyuubi when I came to your help, I figured it out from what the Hokage told me and what the bastards that where hunting you said. I won't pretend that everyone in Kiri will accept you if or when they find out. However, the shinobi at least will respect you, because you will have fought by their side. And be rest assured that nobody will try to do what the people here are doing."
Naruto thought about it. The minutes trickled by as he weighted his options, and soon enough half an hour had passed. As the time passed, Mei was becoming restless. It was only a matter of time until someone found out the people she had killed, in spite of how late it was. Even so, she sat and waited patiently, knowing that she shouldn't disrupt Naruto right now. Eventually, Naruto ended his contemplations, looked Mei in the eyes, and simply stated. "I'll come with you."
Mei's smile almost split her ace in two, but then it disappeared as she thought of something else. "Naruto…" she began hesitantly "…you know that by following me you are entering a war and will have to kill, don't you?"
Naruto nodded. Then he looked down and, with a voice so low that even Mei's trained ears almost missed it, whispered "I've killed before."
Mei froze. She wasn't expecting that. Of course, it would make things easier in the long run, but she couldn't feel glad about it, not with Naruto looking like that.
"Do you want to tell me what happened?" she asked softly.
Naruto took a deep breath and nodded. "It was a little more than a year ago. One night, while I was heading to my home, I stumbled on a drunk man. He didn't even wait for me to say anything. He just punched me on the head and then threw me inside a nearby alley and then kept on beating me. Eventually, he threw me on some broken glasses. He then pulled out a knife, brought his face close to mine and told me that he would kill me. I…I just grabbed one of the glass shards and hit him at the side of the head with it. He died instantly."
Mei put a finger under his chin and gently lifted his head so that she could look him in the eyes. "You know that you didn't do anything wrong, don't you?" she asked.
"Y…yes, I do." he answered.
Mei smiled. "Good. Never hesitate to kill someone that threatens you or those precious to you. And don't feel bad for killing them. That's your first lesson." Then she stood up and extended her right hand towards him. "Now come on, Naruto. Let's go."
Naruto smiled and took her hand. She lifted him up. "Thanks, Mei." he whispered. She just smiled, though inwardly she was thinking something else. 'I wonder if you will be thanking me when you realize what I'm getting you into.'
It took them little more than ten minutes to get out of the village with no one seeing them, and Mei had to knock a guard unconscious, which meant that they had to hurry. One they put some distance between them and Konoha, Naruto turned around and looked at Konoha for a couple of minutes, wondering what would happen if he had decided to stay. If he could become a shinobi. If he could make everyone respect him. If he could become Hokage. He shook his head to send these thoughts away. He had made his decision and would stick with it. Lastly, he thought of Sarutobi, his Oji-san that was always by his side, even if he didn't tell him about Kyuubi or his parents. "Goodbye and thanks for everything… Hokage-sama." he whispered, a single tear falling from his eye.
Mei didn't say anything, but she was secretly glad about what Naruto said. It meant that he had cut his last and most important bond with Konoha willingly. Even so, there was a small part of her that felt guilt for taking this from Sarutobi, even if he decided not to help her.
Then Naruto turned around, and he was smiling. "Well, let's get going Mei-sensei."
Mei laughed. "Yeah, let's go, Naruto."
As they resumed walking, Naruto felt a sense of renewal. With every step he was taking, he could feel his old self dropping from him like old skin. He couldn't tell right then, but that was the moment the old Naruto died, and a new Naruto was born. One much different than the old one.
At the same time, in Sarutobi's house, a picture of himself and Naruto that he had over the fireplace fell and somehow landed inside the fire. Sarutobi saw it and rushed to take it out. By the time he did it, the half that was showing Naruto was completely burned. Sarutobi was sad about it, but decided to take a new one tomorrow, and ignored the small voice in the back of his head that was telling him that this was a bad sign.
Back with Naruto and Mei, Naruto decided to break the silence. "Well, Mei-sensei, I guess now I have to save your life twice, huh?" he joked, as they were walking.
Mei looked at him curiously. "Well, one is for repaying me for saving you tonight. What's the second time for?"
"But, sensei, men are supposed to save women, not the other way around." he said, trying to make a serious face.
Mei smacked him on the head. "Hey, what was that for?" Whined Naruto, rubbing the place he was hit.
Mei smirked. "One, for believing that men are stronger than women and two, for believing that you can save me. I'm a lot stronger than you and, if anything, it will be me that will be saving you. You are a hundred years to early to save me."
"We will see sensei, we will see." replied Naruto, and both moved on, laughing.
For the first time in almost everyone's memory, thick mist covered Konoha.