Umi Sen Yama Sen
Umi Sen Yama Sen literally translates to 'Thousand Seas, Thousand Mountains'.
This Japanese proverb came from an old Japanese legend that if a snake lives in the sea for a thousand years and in the mountains for a thousand years, they will eventually become dragons. (Possibly the explanation of why Orochimaru likes to use snakes as well as its connotations to immortality)
This story explores the idea that if snakes can be dragon with experience, what humans could become with time, or in this case, a jinchuuriki...
Humans are foolish beings
They are also petty, selfish, cruel and all sorts of other bad adjectives that he couldn't think of at the moment. But, above all, they are greedy creatures. He had watched the world change, witness how greed overcame honour, pride and even familial ties. Of course, that is not to say that all humans are like that, just a good number of them.
As he wondered through the sculpted gardens of stone and steel, seeing grime and garbage in place of lush green leaves and soft grasses and thought of a time long past. It was time, he knew, he was losing what was left of himself as it is, not that he minded, not really, but there were others to think about, he was their Creator, and thus should take care of them. Like him, they were stuck in a wrong time, but unlike him, they could not leave it.
The wind howled strongly in these places. He checked the strange seals and writings and wards for the last time. With a faint nod to his companions, the creature that was once known as Uzumaki Naruto gave his consent and the world as they had known for the past thousands years, twisted out of existence.
It happened approximately three or four months after the twelfth Kyuubi-Is-Gone celebration in Konoha. Just beyond the borders of the ninja village, a small time space disturbance occurred.
A young man appeared, where there was empty space before, not a particularly alarming or even a strange occurrence considering that this was a ninja village, where people liked to show off by popping in and out of existence via shunsin jutsu. What was more remarkable were his features, yellow spiky hair that reflects the weak dappled light of the trees, blue eyes and the confident stature of the late yondaime.
The young man lifted his face to the sun, breathed deeply, and smiled.
Without hesitation, he immediately made his way to the village. As he stepped past the gates gasps of surprise and horror greeted him, he gave the gaping guard a cheery wave and blew kisses at fainting old ladies. Rumours flew on fleet ninja's feet, winding up the food chain to the Hokage's chamber. Anbu were dispatched to check out the situation, among them, a genjutsu specialist.
The blonde smiled winningly at their approach, "Hi," he greeted happily; "I'd figure you guys would come eventually, but really, an entire squad? Tell the old man I'm flattered yeah?"
"It is a violation to impersonate a Kage," one of the mask ninjas said, "remove this genjutsu at once!"
Confusion and surprise crossed his features, "Say, what?"
"It is a felony to impersonate a leader of the Fire Country," the monotonous voice rose slightly, "especially the honourable Yondaime,"
This time, the expression on the blonde's face could accurately be described as 'gobsmacked', "….Haaaaa….?"
"Your disguise is fooling no one," a feminine voice snapped, "you will do well to drop this illusion at once or face severe retribution!"
"Uh-huh, very funny guys, ha-ha, stop kidding around-"
"What the-" a wave of chakra blew his hair back, but did not change his features, beyond making them darkened with anger.
"Look lady, this face belongs to me 'kay, and not-"
"Arrest him!" someone yelled.
There was a scuffle, the blonde dodged and wriggled and ducked out of their capture with surprising ease. It was quite some time before one particularly sturdy Anbu managed to pin him down in a powerful grip. The young man struggled and twisted, then with a wicked grin, poofed into a naked young girl.
And screamed bloody murder.
The Anbu, being a flesh and blood man, reflexively let go. With a snicker and a hoot, the blonde skipped out of their hold and streaked off, still naked, down the streets, unmindful of the nosebleeds left in her wake.
"Nyee hee hee" she giggled cutely, and stuck out her tongue at them.
It was just the stranger's luck when Team 7 rounded the corner of her street, with Kakashi in the lead. With a very loud, "Kakashi-sensei!" she leaped into the air and landed in his arms, sort of. She had her arms around his neck, one foot preventing the kunai hand from jabbing her in the solar plexus and the other foot balanced precariously against his chest. Displaying amazing amount of flexibility, she whipped her body around the jounin and hid behind him with a cute kyaa~ just as the anbu assembled around them. It all happened within 3 seconds; the genins didn't have time to formulate any reaction beyond the widening of eyes.
"Kakashi-sensei!" the naked girl wailed, "Make those mean people go away!"
"What-" the legendary copy ninja was a little flustered, "Erm, Miss?"
Naruto managed to point and gibber a bit, even as Sakura turned pink as her hair and Sasuke did his best to edge away.
"It's all so tragic!" she declared dramatically, planting her wrist over her eyes in a maidenly swooning way, her uncovered breasts bounced, drawing all eyes, "Here I was, just walking around minding my own business, shopping and walking and eating and stuff when these mean people in stupid masks jumped out of nowhere and-"
"KAI!" screamed a female anbu, unable to take in the female nakedness anymore.
"-suddenly jump outta nowhere and demanded that I change my face and," went on the now male blonde, "so I did, but they got more meaner, and more angrier and they start throwing things at me and touching me and it was all eww and-"
It was not often that Hatake 'Hip and Cool' Kakashi found himself speechless. Even less when he's flabbergasted, but the babbling stranger before him, so similar to his dead sensei in looks and voice, not too mentioned the, earlier, ah, assault. It was all a little too much for him.
I'm getting too old for this, thought Kakashi morosely.
Fortunately, Naruto could be count on to break up any awkward situation, "Uwaahh! It's the yondaime!" he voiced out everyone's opinion.
That shut the stranger up. Quite literally, Kakashi heard the snap of teeth that ended the babble. The blonde sneered, an expression totally alien on his good and patient sensei's face, "I'd thought you of all people would recognize me,"
All eyes thus refocus themselves to Naruto.
"Eh?" Naruto's face scrunched up, probably shaking his brain cells out of dusty boxes, thought Sasuke unkindly.
Perhaps, thought Sakura, this was an uncle or a cousin? They both do look a lot alike; at least, they both had blonde hair and blue eyes. But, yondaime?
A relative of Minato sensei? Kakashi thought, but the line had died out, or hadn't it?
The anbu kept their thoughts to themselves.
"Ahahaha," said Naruto finally, "sorry, ojiisan, but I don't know you…"
The expectant look on the stranger's whipped into red hot anger so quickly that Sakura would have sworn then and there they were both related.
"Ahou…" snarled the blonde, who was rapidly turning red in the face from anger. He whipped out a paper fan and began to beat Naruto with it.
"Uwaah!" Naruto ducked hurriedly to avoid the beatings
Surprisingly, it was Sasuke who intervened, by striking the paper fan with a well placed shuriken, rendering it to pieces. The stranger turned angry blue eyes at Sasuke. Sakura, noticing the imminent threat to her crush, stepped up, "Ah, sir, I'm sorry, sir," she stammered politely, "but, erm, we really don't know who you are,"
Blue eyes suddenly wobbled, in a very large watery way. Tears in point three seconds, thought Inner Sakura in amazement, even Ino couldn't managed that!
"… uuuh, even S-sakura don't recognize m-me?" the tears spilled over in rivers, making everyone uncomfortable. There was always something really wrong about watching grown man cry.
Kakashi was feeling the whiplash of the rapid change, hell; even Naruto was never this crazy. It was made worse when the blonde flung his arms around Kakashi's waist and cried, very loudly.
"UWAAAHHH! Kakashi-sensei!" he sobbed, "Nobody remembers me! NOBODY LOVES MEEEEE!"
The scene was terribly awkward, and embarrassing, Kakashi wished he was anywhere but here. Sasuke was doing his who-me? I-don't-know-those-people routine. Sakura wrung her hands, and cringed at Kakashi's accusative stare. Naruto was looking at the crying man with eyes as round as Lee's.
One of the more resourceful anbu's had enough, decided to end the awkwardness with a well placed senbon. One that would render the stranger unconscious. Unfortunately, just as he let the needle fly, the man straightened, completely missing the needle which struck an innocent passer-by.
With glittering tears pooled in his eyes, the man pushed back his hair, and struck a dramatic pose, "Behold, friends of the Leaf. I am known as the Golden Sage of the Fire Country, the most powerful of all Hokages of Konoha, known lovingly as the Rokudaime, enemies from far and wide trembled at my name, the one, the only Uzumaki Naruto!" he made a peace sign at them.
"By the way," he continued, turning towards Naruto, "from now on, you shall be known as the Midget,"
Naruto spluttered, "You can't be Naruto! I'm Naruto! I'm Uzumaki Naruto!"
The stranger waved his hand, making a 'meh' sound, "Whatever, Midget,"
"Y-you Transsexual Freak!"
"Hoho, is that the best you can do, Midget Boy?"
Naruto practically foamed in the mouth as Sakura and Sasuke tried to hold him back. Kakashi blinked warily at the stranger, now that he mentioned it; there are some resemblance, the crazy logic, for example, and the Sexy no jutsu…
"Excuse me," said Sakura politely over the strain of holding Naruto back, "Naruto may be an idiot, but we are quite sure there's only one of him,"
"There can't be that many idiots around," interjected Sasuke.
"Hmpf," said the Other Naruto, picking an unseen lint off his sleeve, "Well then, I suppose I have no choice but to eliminate you," he lifted narrowed purple eyes, "this world ain't big enough for the both of us, Midget,"
The killing intent swarmed off the blonde like waves even as his eyes took on a yellow/red tinge. The small line on his left cheek doubled, tripled, thickening out like a whisker mark. There was no mistaking the demonic flavour of the Kyuubi's chakra. Each and every anbu, plus Kakashi, recognize the pulsating power behind that eerie smile, instinctively, Kakashi dashed backwards, one hand snagging Naruto's collar even as a clawed hand swiped the empty space where Naruto's head was. Kakashi leaped to the trees, trusting Sasuke and Sakura to make themselves scarce.
Chakra powered feet flew after them, swift and deadly. Following close behind were the three anbu who did their best to disable the strange shinobi.
Not one to tolerate being rescued quietly, Naruto activated his favourite jutsu, "KAGE BUNSHIN!"
Hundreds of Naruto rained down, a quick henge later, half changed into Kakashi's image, all which immediately snagged the nearest Naruto clone and ran off in different directions. Good job, thought Kakashi as he dashed into the forest, perhaps that would slow the stranger down a bit, although—he risked a glanced back, and was horrified to be right.
The stranger smirked, formed his own ram seal, and soon enough, hundreds of crazed, red eyed yondaimes were after them, effortlessly cutting through Naruto's clones. The bigger and more powerful clones soon managed to overpower them and began to crowd Kakashi and his charge into a corner.
It was rather surreal and creepy to see that psychotic grin on his sensei's face, thought Kakashi half hysterically. What's worse, he did not even know what they were fighting about or why. Obviously the man's target is Naruto, but for what reason? And how does the Kyuubi chakra factor in? Was it even the Fox's chakra or other tailed demon's chakra?
His mind whipped up several theories, but few of them made sense. Then, there was no more time to think.
The first wave of clones was deflected by a doton jutsu, a massive wave of mud, trees and rocks that crushed the clones out of existence. Second wave charge with a very loud battle cry, those met with Naruto's own wave of little blondes, distracting them as Kakashi scanned for the original with his Sharingan eye. He could not afford to go on using high level techniques indefinitely against unlimited clones, assuming the mysterious enemy has Tail powered chakra. Naruto's poorer taijutsu skill soon loose against more skilled clones, Kakashi made a mental note to train him on that, provided they come out of this alive. As it is, the immediate future does not look good.
His only way to victory was to eliminate the original quickly, and to do that, he would have to locate him first.
And so, the fight wore on, Kakashi didn't like to think what had happened to the Anbu squad, surely they would have had backup by now? Or had the stranger's clones mislead them to other parts of the forest? Or worse, destroyed the anbu team? It was a terrifying thought, one that Kakashi firmly shoved off his mind as he concentrated on destroying what clones he could see before him. The other Konoha ninjas can take care of themselves, right now, the priority to is protect Naruto, and if possible, detain the rogue ninja for-
Kakashi dispelled two clones with a curse, he had been tricked! Twisting around, he jammed his hands into the ram seal and split into five clones, effectively popping the nearest clones to get to where Naruto's voice was last heard. What he saw almost made his jaw drop. About 10 Narutos were carrying a bound and gagged Naruto above their heads, none of the other Naruto clones seemed to pay attention to Naruto being taken away. Before his horrified eyes, the little whiskered cheek Naruto clones turned their attention to him instead, eyes gleaming crimson.
"Ne, Kakashi-sensei," the clone closest to him said, "Why don't you play with us instead?" it grinned, showing a sharp canine.
Kakashi shuddered involuntarily; he had had nightmares that started out like this.
The demon Narutos struck, Kakashi ducked out of the way quickly, cursing under his breath as the clones quickly and efficiently formed their attacks. That's it; if they ever get out of this alive, he is so going to train Naruto in taijutsu, he though desperately as the clones flashed through moves that were way above Naruto's level. Better yet, he'd get Gai to train Naruto, Kakashi bet he could challenge to man into something and sic Naruto's training on the crazy jounin. As he dodged, blocked and suffered through lightning fast kicks and punches, Kakashi visualised his enemies dread against an army of taijutsu efficient Naruto.
Then, all of a sudden, the attacks stopped. Kakashi was immediately suspicious. The clones smirked at him and collectively henged themselves into little chibi Narutos, about as high as Kakashi's knee, whiskered cheeks puffed up in maniacal grin. They collectively charged with a loud battle cry.
Kakashi screamed in horror.
The ground around him exploded, jolting him out of his panic, and more importantly, sending chibi demon Narutos flying and popping out of existence. Kakashi shook his head once, dislodging dirt from his hair. Thank god help had arrived; the high level jutsu used was a good indicator of high powered skill, just the kind of help he needed now. Kakashi's Sharingan whirled, shifting to identify his rescuer. A quick flash of blonde. Blue eyes.
Kakashi's body moved even as his mind stuttered. He lunged, kunai in hand. The blood on his blade confirmed his suspicion.
"You're the original," he stated calmly, controlled.
"Correction, Kakashi-sensei," the man replied, his calm, even voice vibrate slightly against the blade on his throat, "I am an original, but not the one you're looking for,"
"Sure, I believe you," Kakashi drawled, "Now where's Naruto?" he placed more pressure on the blade, just because he could.
"Now that, I'm sorry to report, I do not know,"
Kakashi hissed, "Liar,"
"You have the Sharingan, Kakashi-sensei," again, the tone was unfailingly polite, "please use it to look properly," as he spoke, the man tilted his head backwards, further exposing his throat to the kunai, giving Kakashi a better view of his face.
Chakra gathered, Kakashi resisted the urge to plunge the knife into the exposed neck. He still had the upper hand, no one is that fast, not even with demon power. Maybe. The said power gathered, and as before, the blue eyes bled to red/yellow and the thin line on his cheek thickened into a whisker mark. A whisker mark on the right cheek, where it had been on the left before.
The grip on the kunai slackened, just a little. A shift of presence to his left made him tightened it again. The person was just within his range of vision; it was a woman, a blonde woman, with blue eyes and pig tails. He was sensing a theme here.
"Are you two done playing?" she had her hands on her hips and a thin line across her left cheek bone. The spitting image of Naruto's Sexy no jutsu, pigtails and all, but with clothes on.
Just what is going on?
Then he noticed the Anbu gathered around her.
"Which direction did he take the boy?"
Kakashi was sceptical about answering her, but pointed out the direction anyway. There must be a reason the Anbu were there. With a quick signal, she dispatched most of them to that direction much to Kakashi's shock, it was one used by high ranking ninjas such the Anbu captain, or the Hokage himself.
He was immediately suspicious and wary, "Just who are you people?"
The woman glared at his prisoner, "This is very troublesome. You could have just put him under the eye and save us all this trouble,"
"I'd rather not, actually," the tone was mild.
She scowled, "Anyway, let's just go, I'd rather not let the idiot ruin anything before the big man comes,"
Kakashi could hear the smile in the man's voice, "Of course," a clearing of throat, "Kakashi-sensei, if you please," he gently pushed against the hand that held the kunai against his throat.
Kakashi was reluctant to let go, but there was that implied threat there, that those people could have him obey them, or overpower him easily but had chosen not to. At least, the man had chosen not to place him 'under the eye' whatever hell that means. He let go of the man, watching with wary interest as he wiped the blood away, revealing untouched skin. The hand behind his back trembled, but he followed them as they raced into the forest, he had to find out what these people are and what they intend to do.
They travelled quickly and silently, therefore it was quite a surprise to stumble into a fight between rabid yondaime clones, sexy no jutsu clones and Anbu members. There was also a pyre smack in the middle, with Naruto on top. Apparently the crazy person intended to burn Naruto alive.
"Ch, stupid show off," muttered the Sexy no jutsu next to him, she placed two fingers to her lips and gave a piercingly loud whistle. The Anbu backed away from the fight, she then made a ram seal and more Sexy no jutsu clones joined in the foray.
The man next to him placed both hands on the ground, a shimmer of chakra, and the ground erupted into deadly spikes around the clones forming a spiked cage. Kakashi started, Naruto is right in the middle! A hand gripped his arm, it was the Sexy no jutsu, who looked right into his eye. There was a flash of yellow light and a sharp feeling of—
"Maiko, stop it,"
Kakashi was looking into mild blue eyes again. The Sexy no jutsu smirked wickedly at the Original but Not Original, "You never let me have any fun,"
"Dismiss the anbu first; we need to get the boy out of here,"
Naruto! Kakashi whipped his gaze towards the mud cage thing, but Naruto was no longer struggling there. In fact, there was nothing much to see beyond wriggling bodies and popping of bunshin smoke. Then a funnel of chakra energy rushed towards their feet, and a very dirty Naruto was spat out of the ground.
Handy trick, Kakashi eyed the rapidly crumbling earth spout that shot Naruto out, a good way of retrieving hostages or prisoners under hostile situations without endangering yourself or the prisoner.
The ominous groaning of the cage earth closing in made Kakashi look up in time to see more clones popped themselves out of existence to make room inside cage. It continued to shrink until there was only one person left. The stranger with the mark on his left cheek. Kakashi checked with his Sharingan just to be sure, yup, it's the original alright.
The woman made some gesture, without any visible acknowledgement, the anbu jumped away towards the village. Now that it was relatively quiet, Kakashi decided it was time for a little Q & A session.
"So," he stuck his hands into his pockets and leaned a bit, Naruto was still recovering from his underground travel and was quiet at the moment, he smiled, "who are you people?"
The Sexy no jutsu and the Not Original exchange a glance. Then the woman, Maiko? walked away with a sneer. The man smiled kindly at them, "I'm sorry, this must be very confusing for you all,"
"THAT FREAK TRIED TO KILL ME!" Apparently Naruto had recovered enough to yell.
Kakashi smack a hand on his head, "Hush," he smiled very brightly back at the man, "Why yes, it is all very confusing, if you would kindly explain?"
"Well, what would you like to know first?"
"Name, rank and village affiliation would be a good place to start," Kakashi eyed the bare forehead of the man.
"Ah, my name is Iruka, I suppose"
"You suppose," Kakashi ignored Naruto's outraged growling, "and why the 'suppose'?"
"It's… complicated, my rank would be, hmm, jounin, I think, we never did a proper test, and well, my affiliation would depend on the… leader of our group, shall we say,"
"And, them?" the woman was now near the earthen cage and was kicking it viciously. The man inside snarled at her.
"Generally we just call her the Maiko, specializes in espionage, the other one," he indicated the cage, "We called the Joker," he rubbed the back of his head a little awkwardly, "generally a loose cannon, good for distractions,"
They both beamed at each other.
"Well then, I'm afraid you would have to come with me to meet with the Hokage, if you don't mind of course,"
"Oh, hmm, that would be lovely actually," 'Iruka' replied, "I heard plenty of good things about the Sandaime, tell me is it true that-"
And so they continued, pretending to make small talk as the woman, Maiko, ghosted closer. Even Naruto fell silent in the unnatural stillness of the woods.
"Who is it?" 'Iruka' asked casually.
"The worst," Maiko smiled grimly, "it's that mother child-combo,"
"I see," his voice remained even, but as Kakashi watched, he took a few steps to the left, effectively placing Naruto and Kakashi between him and the woman, "Kakashi-sensei, please remain alert,"
The man made a hand seal, and the cage sunk into the earth, silencing the noisy Joker.
"Iruka?" the name felt strange on his tongue without the 'sensei', stranger still to address it to this blonde entity rather than Naruto's old academy teacher.
"Be alert," he repeated, "and whatever you do, don't move," he made an unfamiliar seal and closed his eyes, dropping on one knee to the floor, one palm on the ground, and the other open palm facing the forest, much like a radar.
The woman had disappeared.
At first, nothing but tensed silence filled the seconds.
Then a terrible ringing sound, like the toll of temple bells being ripped apart, crashed into the field. Before Kakashi's eyes a strange blade protruded from an outcropping rock right in front of his face. In fact, if it weren't for the rock, the blade would have taken off his head. The blade ripped back, tearing chunks of rocks with it, the impromptu wall collapse to reveal a painfully thin girl with a white mask over her face, holding a scythe like weapon. Instead of the usual curved blade, the cutting edge waved like water, with a second curved blade on top to give it more reach. She was also scantily clad and looked like a much skinnier copy of the Sexy no jutsu.
Ok, thought Kakashi, this is getting a little ridiculous. Either his late sensei had a score of relatives unknown to Konoha, which is very unlikely, or that, well, Kakashi hadn't thought out what they were yet. But, he had a good idea of his sensei's lineage, as do all ninjas who had gone through the whole ninja history thing. Then again, fabrication and cover ups are not that uncommon in their world.
Could his sensei had come from some obscure but powerful clan that wishes to kill any and all 'blood traitors'? If so, why now? And how does that even begin to explain the demonic chakra? He was able to indulge in such thoughts during the dangerous interludes where the frail looking Sexy no jutsu execute very powerful blows and cuts against Iruka's earth jutsu defences. He saw the girl frowned when another earth shattering strike failed to break through the chakra enhanced defence, with an elegant twist; she leaped backward as earth moved to capture her. Spreading her legs a bit to gain a better stance, she then slammed the blunt end of her weapon into the earth.
The sound of bells increased in decibel.
An invisible wave of sound, it had to be sound, bloomed in an ever growing circle from the point of her weapon, decimating anything and everything that got in their way. The blonde Iruka, leaped forwards, shielding both Kakashi and Naruto, slammed his palms together and opened his mouth.
Kakashi had heard people sang enka before. Hell, Gai had belted out something about Youth and Spring and Beauty once, which amused and horrified them all during the last jounin gathering. But, nothing compares to the sound that just burst forth from Iruka's throat. Deep and melodious, his voice wrapped around them like a shield, literally, Kakashi could almost see the sound of bells breaking around them like giant waves against solid rock, destroying forest grounds and tearing up trees like a powerful whirlwind. Then, just as suddenly as it begun, the sound of bells stopped. Iruka stomped on the ground once; a web of trap sprang up around the girl, piercing her in the arms, torso, legs and stomach, conveniently avoiding vital areas even as he trapped her within a painfully dangerous cage.
For a moment, they watch the girl bleed in silence. With his Sharingan, Kakashi could see the sweat pooling on her forehead, mixing with the blood that dripped from thin wires. Her eyes were sharp, dangerous, flashing gold-
-a hand blocked his vision, "Do not look into her eyes, Kakashi-sensei," the blonde turned his head a little, "unless you want to find yourself holding the bloody knife that stabbed Naruto in the throat,"
Naruto gave a squeak clutching his neck, and the man smiled benignly, "Don't worry, I have it under control, at the moment, we will wait for the Maiko and see how she fares with the mother,"
"Mother-child combo, you say," Kakashi flicked a careful eye at the girl's throat area, taking in the white mask and thin shoulders, "I take it this is the 'child',"
"Mm, yes," he straightened, "I have hurt her daughter, the mother should appear any second now,"
As if on cue, tree branches crashed, and two women, looking very much like the Sexy no jutsu, leaped into the area. Both of them held musical instruments in their hands, one an erhu, a lute like equipment with two strings and a bow, the other held a koto, a traditional Japanese musical instrument with many strings.
Though they looked nearly identical, with a single whisker mark, one was slashed higher in the right cheekbone and the other on the left jaw, Kakashi had no trouble discerning who was who though, even without seeing the whisker mark properly. The woman with the erhu and lower whisker mark snarled at them, her face one of hate, and charged for the girl. A quick whip of her bow cut off the major wires holding the girl, but more shot out of the ground at Iruka's command, which would have trapped the erhu woman had she not jumped away. A sparkle of notes sounded from the koto, the woman screamed and flipped backwards. There were deep gauges in the ground where she had stood just seconds ago.
What with the vocal they had been treated to, the ringing scythe thing, and the musical instruments, Kakashi had a good idea what their more powerful attacks consisted of. This worried him even more than before. There had been some disturbing news about a hidden village of Sound being bandied around for a while now, with wild theories of the Konoha's exile sannin being its founder. While some scoff at the thought of sound being a potentially powerful weapon, not being something 'natural' or visible to the eye, Kakashi prefer to reserve his judgement, especially after witnessing the display of sound power before him.
Mournful music resonated from the erhu, with his Sharingan; Kakashi could just glimpse what looked like bladed steel curves whip themselves towards the koto player. The images winked out just as quickly. Normal eyes would not be able to track the attack anymore then one can track the passage of a wind, as it is, his Sharingan eye could only catch glimpses of it as it cuts through the air. Maiko retaliated with quick nimble fingers on her koto, sending out small sharp wind/sound blades that broke the incoming attack to a tinkling of musical pieces, what blades she had missed whipped over her head and decapitated the trees behind her.
Iruka had secured the girl again, and was now double teaming with Maiko against the erhu player. With a little manoeuvring they managed to disarmed her, by forcing her to somehow drop the weapon, and letting the earth swallow the thing whole. It was quick, vicious and effective since the woman seemed unarmed in other ways. When it seemed that she would retaliate with ninjutsu, Iruka merely tightened the steels wires holding her daughter, which stayed her hands, but not her fierce fighting eyes.
Having checkmated all three opponents, the two seemed to relaxed a bit, and Kakashi thought now is a good time as any to get some answers.
That, however, would have to wait as more sounds crashed through the forest, and several figures sped into the clearing. It was Sasuke and Sakura, with an escort of Yuuhi Kurenei and three other anbu Kakashi recognise as expert genjutsu users and a Hyuuga. Sasuke had his pin wheeled Sharingan activated.
"Kakashi-san," Kurenei flitted in, "we have intercepted the hypnotized anbu and now serve as backup for your team.
"Ah ha," Kakashi blinked, "good, good," he flicked a careful eye at the blonde sound users, "I take it you've somehow found out their hypnotic abilities,"
"Sasuke found out first," gasped Sakura, "we were hypnotize by one of the clones, but Sasuke-kun was able to break out of it using the Sharingan, we also manage to free the other anbu as well," the pride her voice was obvious.
"You have now been found out," Kurenei said, "I would advise that you come quietly with us now, or face serious retribution,"
"Really now," Iruka said, smiling a little distractedly, "that would be nice, we haven't had time to properly explore the village yet, it would be great if you could show us around,"
Kurenei narrowed her eyes at them, but quickly averted them when the Hyuuga anbu spoke up quickly, "Do not look into their eyes!"
"Oh?" Maiko smirked lazily, "I see you're quite well informed, I wonder how you're going to fight without looking directly at us, ne?"
"Do stop baiting them, Maiko," Iruka chided her gently.
"Na, sensei," Maiko grinned at him, "they said the Uchiha broke that idiot's Tiger's Eyes," with a small 'clink' her eyes flashed gold, "I wonder if he can break mine,"
Iruka looked exasperated, "Mind you don't underestimate youngsters, Mai-chan"
"Hehehe, I have you to rescue me, ne?" she smirked, "Now, who should I do first?"
The Konoha ninjas tensed, they had enough wariness to notice that there was a pair of identical women in the field, one trapped girl and a man who looked exactly like the described target, but acted entirely different from the other one. A quiet check showed that all present were flesh and blood humans, or at least, not genjutsu.
"Regardless," said Kurenei, "You are coming with us,"
"I'm afraid we can't, not just yet," Iruka said politely.
"That is non-negotiable," said one of the genjutsu anbu.
"How about a compromise then?" he casually drape an arm over Kakashi's shoulder, who tensed warily at the sudden contact, "we'll let you have the Copy Nin and the boy, and you let us stay here for, oh, a few more minutes,"
That stumped them a bit, then the Hyuuga growled, "Very clever, how do we know you did not put them under your control?"
"So paranoid," purred the Maiko, "how do you know we haven't taken control of your mind?"
"We're not here to play games," Sasuke suddenly snapped, "I've been watching,"
"Really now, how sweet," the amused tone grating on his nerves, "however, some of us are slightly more competent with our skills, also," she grinned suddenly, "Anbu are the some of the easiest prey, right next to samurais and," she smirked, "genjutsu users,"
The Konoha ninjas tensed further.
"It is quite true," Iruka mused aloud, "the more discipline the mind, the more susceptible it is to control, that pretty much means top layered generals and necessary people in the know, quite strange but dash useful technique though,"
"It's useful until we encounter an idiot in the link," Maiko grinned, "remember that time we had that pervert of general under the Eye,"
"Oh yes, that paedophilic moron, in the end we have no choice but to use more conventional means against him, such a chore,"
Her eyes sparked, "Saa, but it was damn interesting,"
Both of them laughed lightly.
That seemed to be the signal for the Konoha nin to attack.
Kakashi grab the chance to duck out from Iruka's arm and leap over to Konoha's side, flinging Naruto to Sasuke and Sakura's general area. As he landed, the combined voices of Iruka and the Maiko hit them in a haunting duet.
Shit! "Quick, fall back! They use sound as their power, I don't know what-"
The woodland scene fell away to reveal a stone and wood construction, arching beams rose fifty feet above their heads in the circular room. Around him, music swelled and streamed like a living thing. Kakashi could see music notes and sheets dancing on the walls, laughing and giggling together. The others were soon swallowed up by the room leaving him alone in that strange situation.
An obvious genjutsu, thought Kakashi, casting a wary eye at the unusual scene. A discreet 'Kai' failed to make it shiver, even a little. Then, he remembered the duet, intertwining voices reaching his ears and took a chance. He centred chakra around his voice box, then—
His vision wavered for a second, the Sharingan spun, and the world came into clarity. Around him, the Konoha ninjas shuddered and adopted defensive stances, clearly shaking themselves out of the genjutsu. Sasuke took up defensive position before Sakura and Naruto.
"Saa, it looks like Sharingan Kakashi did it again," Maiko said.
"Well, we did make it a little too obvious," Iruka mused gently.
"Heh, not that it matter," she lifted her head as earth erupted from somewhere behind her, a furious yondaime look alike, with a scar mark on his left cheek snarled, "there's no way we can maintain a serious genjutsu this way,"
"Mmm, and the mother had gotten her child free," he looked up at the Konoha nins, "Sorry, but it looks like we don't have time for games anymore,"
The words barely past his mouth when everyone ducked instinctively, invisible blades sawed through wood like butter, loping off tree trunks and various outcropping. Maiko whipped out her koto and retaliated quickly, but it was all she can do to keep up a defence against two blade users. The child had her bell scythe up again and was pressing up her attacks more aggressively. Kakashi note that although blood still stained her clothes, she was no longer bleeding at all.
The one they call Joker had unleashed a scroll, sending various summoned foxes at them, the small and cute ones snapping along with larger beasts with vicious teeth and lolling tongues of fire. The man laughed as fire burn several trails from his side to the other fighters, the snarling foxes chomped and snapped at them.
A three way fight between a summoner, an elemental user and three eclectic jutsu users
In terms of raw power, Kakashi would guess that they were probably all more or less equally endowed, if the cheek markings are anything to go by. He had nothing to go on but assumptions now. Judging from the way they went all out against each other, Kakashi thought it be best for Konoha to retreat now and wait for them to exhaust themselves.
A soft presence settled itself beside him.
"Kurenei," Kakashi acknowledged.
"What just happened?" she did not take her eyes off the fight but managed to convey her attention to him, "We were alerted by Uchiha Sasuke and Haruno Sakura that there was an assassinator out to get the boy,"
"It seems that way," he shrugged, "however nothing fits, if the summoner had really intended to kill Naruto; he could have done it dozens of times already,"
"I see, and the hypnotization?"
"I believe that's done by the koto woman," he said, "she had the anbu following her orders like she was the kage, no questions ask, no insubordination at all,"
"I see, we found some anbu loitering around the Hokage Tower, Sasuke managed to break the hypnosis on himself and Sakura, and was on his way to the tower when he saw them, I believe Sakura sensed something wrong and had the Uchiha test them with his Sharingan. After that, the rest of the anbu were checked and we're sent over to back you up,"
"She dismissed them before the erhu player and the young girl arrived, she calls them the mother child combo, they fought and managed to capture them without serious harm," he hesitate, "I'm still not too sure what their intentions are,"
"Nevertheless," The Hyuuga's voice reverberated towards them, "it is best to take a more prudent road now," rocks and trees smashed and shattered in between bouts of shrill singing and musical discordant, "What do you think of them?"
"Dangerous," replied Kakashi, eyeing the damages, "and possibly crazy,"
"All these jutsu," murmured Kurenei, "I've never seen most of it," she slipped a stern glare at Kakashi, "I take it you're busy plagiarizing now, Copy nin?"
"Huhuhu," Kakashi curved his original eye, "at least their arrival is good for something,"
"GYAAAHH!" one of the blondes screamed, it was followed by a huge explosion.
RRIIINNGGG! More ground exploded
"MUAHAHAHA!" Kakashi was sure that was the Joker.
The fight could be described in a nutshell as CRASH BANG WALLOP rinsed and repeat.
It was a glorious sight, especially for Kakashi, who more often than not was involved in said glorious battles, and rarely have the opportunity to sit at the peanut gallery. Every bang and crash seemed to sing into Naruto's soul, while Sakura took note of the endless grace and brutal force used in the fight, Sasuke had his Sharingan eyes out, with full intention of copying every single move he could see and then some.
At least, it was glorious until one of the blondes decides to up the scale by calling on demon chakra. To even the playing ground, all the rest of the blondes grew fangs and claws and burned red chakra. The fight vortex grew, until it became hazardous just standing at mere 100 feet away from the furthest blast point
Right, this is getting out of hand, thought Kakashi as he ducked flying debris.
The very wind became weapons of mass destruction. As one of the most powerful shinobi in the village (right this moment at least) Kakashi had the moral obligation to defuse this thing before them. However, even with Kurenei at this side, and the three anbu Kakashi could not come up with a more worthy plan beyond-
-Please, please let them fight each other to exhaustion, hopefully without causing any permanent and/or crippling destruction to our village…
The young girl whirled her weapon above her head, the crushing toll of bells could be felt in their bodies, and slammed the blunt end to the ground. Dimly, Kakashi could feel Naruto's fear, his own body had gone on auto pilot, grabbing Kurenei, the person nearest to him, he pulled them into the ground. He wasn't so worried about the genins, they were far back enough and Naruto would recognise the move and react appropriately, he hoped, the Anbu could take care of themselves. The vortex of chakra bloomed, vaguely he wondered if any of them would survive this, he had seen the way it tore up the ground…
Rocks and earth churned and frothed like dusts in a strong wind, eating up everything in its path, the wave of sound roared and Kakashi closed his eyes, preparing for impact. There was no way to get out of this now. The agonizing moment stretched, a powerful silence descended.
It was silent, at least, until Kurenei swore, rather uncharacteristically, "What the hell…?"
Cautiously Kakashi opened his none Sharingan eye. There, right before his face was the deadly debris of doom, frozen like a still photo of an incoming tsunami. Caught in the act of destruction, it was as silent as a picture, yet still oozed malevolent intent. Whatever jutsu it was that caught the incoming sound pulse had paralyzed the ninja's movements as well.
What the hell indeed.
Before their eyes, the frozen mass of sound power and debris slowly collapse to the ground, Kakashi could feel the paralytic numbness leave his body as well, he let the earth jutsu boost him out slowly, hand still clasping Kurenei's. The clearing was almost completely flat, with a humungous seal that stretches out from the centre like a many legged spider, spanning over a hundred feet in diameter. Smack in the middle of the complex pattern was a small dart, decorated with small white feathers.
A soft swoosh of robes, and the strangest looking yondaime look-a-like shinobi yet dropped in. Red, black and blue ink covered his fingers, wrists and clothes. There was a smear of blue ink on his nose, and what looked like a trail of red ink covering one section of his hair and face. It looked as if someone had tipped a bottle of ink on his head, letting it slowly dripped down his hair without his knowledge. His clothes resembled a painter's smock, with hundreds of sewn in pockets. Unlike the others male blondes, he had long hair, coarsely braided and stuffed messily with feathers, darts, brushes, pens and other less identifiable items. A pair of glasses perched on top of his head like a headband.
The whisker mark near his right jaw was almost invisible under all the red ink.
"Shen!" Iruka called out breathlessly, "thank Inari you're here,"
The messy looking person, Shen presumably, merely grunted, reached down and picked up the dart. Immediately the seal faded, he then tucked the dart into his hair. He glanced around the clearing once, and said, "Must you people fight all the time?"
"We're on a mission!" snapped the Joker, "and they," he pointed an accusing finger at Maiko and Iruka, "are preventing us from carrying it out!"
"If you used your brain," snarled Maiko, "you'd see that his death would actually meant Roku-sama's as well, moron,"
The Joker's face went white, "Wh-what? But, Roku-sama wouldn't, he wouldn't!"
"You fool," the mother hissed, "Roku-sama's immortal,"
"And we're experts at offing these so called 'immortals'," Maiko hissed back, "or have you forgotten the original reason for the development of that seal?"
The woman clenched her fist, "I don't believe you! Roku-sama would never-"
"Oh? Wouldn't he?"
They glared at each other.
"Just so you know," Shen spoke up helpfully, "killing the child would not-"
"Shen, no!" Iruka cried.
"- actually affect Roku-sama's existence,"
The crackling tension between the women wavered and shift. Maiko slowly turned towards the area where the Kohona nins gathered. Naruto stood just behind the three anbu with Sasuke and Sakura. Killing intent leaked out from the woman.
A chill went down Kakashi's spine.
"Maiko," Iruka said as he carefully edge towards the Konoha nins, "don't do this,"
"This is a mission, sensei," she murmured, eyes intent on Naruto's direction, "there's nothing to stop us from doing this,"
"He's just a child, Maiko,"
"And our loyalty lies with Roku-sama,"
"Stand down, Maiko,"
"Or what, sensei?" she stepped forward manacingly, "What are you going to do?"
"This is an order from your superior,"
"Bullshit, our orders are from a higher source,"
"Then, consider this a plea from your teammate,"
"No can do, sensei," she stroke a finger against the koto, "try again,"
The ground rumbled beneath their feet, stone spikes shot out, "don't push me,"
"Or what? You'll go missing nin?" she laughed.
Iruka's face hardened, "Please don't question my loyalty, Maiko,"
"Then get out of my way," she took a step forward.
Iruka spread both his hands, palms up.
For a second, neither move.
Then an earth shattering shout rend the air, "NARUTO!"
A very familiar earth shattering shout.
The hell, thought Kakashi, it can't be…
Sure enough, Umino Iruka burst through the green foliage into the clearing, he was breathing harshly, obviously been gunning it hard to reach here. Unfortunately, he ended up almost on top of the foreign ninja's side. For a few wild second, he stared around the clearing, before stumbling back a little.
Kakashi had to grab the boy by the back of his jacket to prevent him from running towards enemy territory. However, he need not have bothered, most of the attention had diverted over to Umino Iruka.
The first to say something was the Joker, "You? You're Iruka? As in Iruka-sensei?"
"T-the academy teacher?" the half insane protective mother actually had a flush to her cheeks.
Umino Iruka stammered from all the unexpected attention, "Um, yes, wh-why do you want to know?"
Almost all switched their gaze slowly towards the blonde Iruka, who looked a little stunned, and very much in awe.
"Well," said the stoic Shen, "now we know why he's so irrational about the boy,"
"Excuse me," said Umino Iruka, "but what is going on?" he looked a little perturbed by the looks they were all giving him. "What are you going to do with Naruto?"
"Th-the original," Kakashi heard the blonde Iruka whispered.
Then something even stranger happened.
The daughter stepped forward, and pinched the academy sensei's cheeks, "So cute, I wanna hug him," she cried out cutely and did so enthusiastically. She nuzzled her cheeks against the sensei's chest, purring happily.
For a long agonizing moment, the Konoha ninjas (those who had witness her terrible sound wave technique) struggled to reconcile this purring creature with that deadly maniac.
Umino Iruka struggled manfully; face red with embarrassment and confusion, "Um, wha-what's-"
"Hey!" Maiko snapped, "Don't hog him! I want to hug him too!"
The terrible scythe welder stuck out her tongue, they could see it protruded behind her white mask, "Bleh, Iruka sensei likes me best, always!"
The mother trembled, then with a high pitch 'kyaaa!' jumped forward and wrapped her arms around Iruka from behind.
"No fair!" screeched Maiko, dropping her koto she did a flying leap and sort of smooshed Iruka's face into her breast.
"Mfph," said Iruka.
All eyes turned to the males, the Joker was trembling, sweating, fighting some sort of inner battle with himself. Shen looked very interested at the happenings. The blonde Iruka had slumped to the floor in shock, face rapidly turning pink. Then, with a loud 'IRUKA-SENSEI!' the joker did a flying tackle and landed all five of them into a heap, with Umino Iruka in the middle.
"Well," commented Kurenei, "That was unexpected,"
"Yo, Iruka," said Kakashi who was feeling a bit reckless, he nudged the blushing blonde with his foot, "You can start telling us what's going on now, ne?"
"Um, uh, ah,"
"And!" put in Kurenei, "You may start with the term 'original'!"
"Also," Kakashi's eyes curved into inverted u, "Is your name really Iruka?"
The unusually eloquent blonde Iruka looked blankly at them, "unh?"
Kurenei sighed, this was getting more and more bizarre by the minute. First, there had been the security scare that hypnotizing ninjas had broken into their village, then the possible kidnapping and assassination of Konoha's jinchuuriki followed by a most astounding display of power and destruction Kurenei had ever seen since after the sealing of the Kyuubi.
And now this.
Kakashi waved a hand before the dazed blonde, who seemed to have settled into a stupor of shock, "Maa, it seemed our Iruka-sensei's presence have a very strange effect on most of them," he quirked a glanced at the normal seeming Shen.
"HEY, YOU!" Naruto screamed, struggling to get out of Kakashi's hold to get at the lovey dovey group, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO IRUKA-SENSEI!"
"Well," said Kurenei, "at least we don't have to worry about subduing them now,"
They rest were all too busy gawking at the strange sight to answer her, in fact they were so busy staring that all of them missed the shadow of someone dropping into the clearing with them.
"Ara? What's with the love fest?" a new voice piped up.
All of the ninjas tensed, even Umino Iruka, who stiffened along with the bodies around him. Then, with a happy surge, the love fest group leaped up, dragging Iruka with them.
"Roku-sama!" they cheered.
The first thing one noticed about this 'Roku-sama', thought Kakashi, was the notoriously famous three whisker marks on each cheek. Then, attention would shift to the yellow eyes and fine pale hair that draped down his back. He was dressed in formal blue and white hakama complete with wide sleeves and a tasselled belt. There was a gentle aura about him, like the sea foaming gently before a storm. Beautiful, and yet, potentially devastating. Oh, a pair of furry fox ears swivelled to attention on his head.
He smiled, "Good afternoon," he greeted, "sorry for the inconvenienced caused," he waved a hand at the blondes around them, "I'm afraid good help aren't that easy to be had these days,"
There were a few outraged cries at that.
The man merely smiled benignly.
"Er, none taken," Kakashi somehow felt complied to say, he rubbed the back of his head awkwardly, "Um," why was he polite to this person again?
"Roku-sama, Roku-sama!" Maiko waved her hand eagerly, "Look! Look! It's Iruka-sensei!"
"So I see," the yellow gaze shifted, "but tell me, what are you doing here?"
"We had a mission!" exclaimed the joker, almost bouncing in place, "and we saw Iruka-sensei,"
"I see," a beat, "from whom?"
"From Roku-sama!" the girls chimed
"Ohoho, I see, but see, there's the problem," his smile grew cold, "I haven't given you any mission the past twenty years,"
There was an awkward paused.
"So," he purred, "what is this mission?"
For a moment, it seemed none of them would answer, then, the daughter gasped out, "T-to kill Uzumaki Naruto!"
The man appeared taken aback, then he glanced at the still alive Uzumaki Naruto, "Well," he said, seemingly more amused than anything, "well, this is awkward,"
Kakashi wondered if they would live to tell the tale.
Suddenly, the mother snapped, "It's him!" she pointed at the blonde Iruka, "He was protecting the brat! Refused to let us near him!"
Some of the others tried to hush her.
Roku-sama cocked his head to one side, "Ah, always the protective one, ne? Sensei?"
The blonde Iruka was already close to the ground, Kakashi could see his hands trembled as he placed them flat on the ground and bowed, "Y-yes, Roku-sama,"
This is not good, thought Kakashi in near panic, this is a group of maniacs who could use devastating jutsu at a drop of a hat. Anyone they feared must be terribly, horribly devastatingly powerful!
Kakashi also realized he may need to cut down on his Icha Icha intake if his subconscious mind is abusing adverbs
"Well then," Roku-sama clapped his hands, jerking Kakashi out of his thoughts, his actions exactly like a certain academy sensei who shall remained unnamed bring his class to attention.
A sudden terrible suspicion began to creep into Kakashi's mind.
"Obviously this is all a mistake," Roku-sama said cheerfully, "luckily no one got hurt, hmm, nothing life threatening at least," he beamed, "however, I can't let this mistake slide, I mean following orders from people other than me?" he turned to Kakashi, "Ne, Kakashi, what do you think I should do to them?"
"Ah ha ha, I don't think I'm the best person to ask," the jounin rubbed the back of his head nervously, oh surely it couldn't be...
"Really now? Maa, I suppose, your judgement aren't always the best after all,"
Kakashi twitched at the casual insult.
Roku-sama continued on blithely "I'm afraid most of you have lived a little too long, perhaps it is time to end your existence, ne?"
A shift, and he just… winked out of sight, and appeared in front of Naruto, "Ne, Naruto-kun," he beamed into the confused face, "as the victim of all these shenanigans," he waved a hand encompassing the rubble surrounding them, "tell me, what do you think I should do to them?"
Naruto blinked at the sudden appearance, "um, um, I dunno?"
"Eh, don't be shy," the man, demon, fox? crouched until their faces almost touched, this close, the others could see the uncanny resemblance between them, especially the whisker marks, "I could make them into your slaves, you know," he snickered, "how would you like to be called Naruto-sama?"
"That-" Naruto backed away uncertainly.
"No? Well, the other option is to dispose of them, I have no use for expired Kage bunshins after all,"
Kakashi froze at that statement.
"I, erm, I,"
"Wait," Kurenei raised a hand, "You said, Kage bunshin, but that's impossible! The chakra needed to power those attacks would have cancelled them fifty times over,"
"Heh, this is why I don't like dealing with mortals," The blonde stood and rolled his eyes, winking at Naruto, "So troublesome, of course it's not impossible," he smirked, "You just have to be creative with power, that's all,"
"By calling us mortals," Sakura bravely ventured, "you implying that you are- that you are not... mortal,"
"Maa, Sakura-chan," he beamed, "I can always count on you to figure things out," he spread out his arms expensively, "I, am one of the five immortals governing the west heavens, you may consider me a youkai, a spirit, or whatever," he shrugged, "basically I don't die, which is kind of the first requirement as a heavenly governor, which I assure you there are lots of,"
"Lots of governors?" Naruto asked.
"Lots of beings that don't die," he smirked, "of course, surely you don't think that humans are the only things that could achieve 'immortality'" he curved his fingers into rabbit ears, "do you?"
At their stunned look he continued, "Oh yes, you'd be amazed by the number of trees, snakes, fishes, even rocks! And the occasional baboon among us, just so you know foxes are some of the more numerous," he preened, flicking a golden fox ear proudly, "unsurprising, as the blessings of Inari-sama is strong with us after all,"
Naruto made a tiny 'meep' sound, "Y-you're a fox?"
"Let's just say I have the best of both worlds, ne?"
"But, what does it mean?" Sakura said, frustrated, "And just who are you? I mean you looked like Naruto, and they looked like yondaime, or Naruto's perverted jutsu thing, and- and-"
Roku-sama smiled knowingly, "Sakura-chan," he said gently, affectionately, "I believe you've just answered your own question," he paused, "and several unintended ones as well,"
"You mean, yondaime is Naruto's-"
"Wah! Look at the time, I have a date soon, so let's finish this quickly, now," he extended a palm, "I really don't want to do this, however, we all know what to do when something goes past its expiry date, ne?"
The outstretched palm glowed, he smirked, "We throw it away,"
The six 'kage bunshins' cringed, but stood where they are. None of them look eager to die, but none tried to run away either.
"W-wait!" Naruto gasped.
"Yes, Naruto-kun?" Roku-sama smiled indulgingly at him.
"Um, I, um, really don't think you should just kill them like that, I mean, they are alive, right?"
"In a sense," he smiled, "it all depends on the definition of 'life' after all, if being born is to be alive, then what about plants and trees? If having an ability to grow and adapt means life, then what gives a person the permission to take it? If being the creator means the destroyer as well, then it gives me the right to uncreate what I have created. Does this mean that parents have the right to murder their children, being the creator of life, or giver of life?"
He paused, "Do you understand, Naruto-kun?"
"Uh, I... guess?" he scowled, thinking hurts.
"Maa," Roku-sama patted his head, "Don't think too hard, if you like them, I can leave them for you," he grinned, "Just think, you can ask them about all kinds of neat things and get them to teach you all kinds of kick ass jutsu, ne?"
"I can?" the blue eyes were shining very brightly.
"Sure, I'll leave them under your command," he smiled, "On one condition,"
"Sure! Ok! Anything!" exclaimed Naruto despite Kakashi's attempt to shush him.
"The condition is, you have to die,"
The rest of the Konoha nins, including Iruka were now frantically trying to signal him to stop speaking, but to no avail. It was like stopping a tornado.
Come to think of it, stopping a tornado would probably be easier.
"Dobe!" Sasuke smacked him on the head.
"Hey! What's that for?"
"Idiot, the man just asked you to die," cried Sakura.
"Huh, so he did," Naruto actually looked apprehensive, "Um, do I have to die now? Can it be later like twenty years later? I still have to make it to hokage,"
"Sure," the self proclaim immortal agreed readily, "I'll even make it sweeter for you, thirty-five years from now, barring no accidental death, shinagami will claim your soul to the underworld," he held out a hand, "To make it official, let's shake on it,"
They shook hands solemnly, amidst horrified looks.
"Well then, it's about time for me to go," he patted Naruto on the head once more, "Be a good ninja, ne? And don't draw on the idiot fox's chakra too much,"
He gave the rest of them a wink, "Lot's to do, see you all later," and vanished without a trace.
There was a pause in the field where the Konoha nins and the alleged 'kage bunshins' were at lost at what just happened. Then Iruka, the blonde, stood up, "Ah, I guess we should go see the hokage now, huh?"
"...That would be a good idea," said Kakashi.
"Oh, right, this way please,"
Sarutobi chewed the stem of his pipe thoughtfully. The half dozen blondes in his room stared back with varying degree of interest. If he didn't knew better, he would have thought that he was being haunted by the ancestors of the Fourth. It did not, however, solve the problem of security breaches, nor answer the questions how to deal with politely insistent elders and head of clans.
Kakashi had brought in the disturbing report, along with Kurenei and Anbu Hawk (the Hyuuga). If it weren't for the latter two's presence, Sarutobi would have thought Kakashi was pulling his leg with one of his more elaborated stories, again. As it was, having a humourless Hyuuga reporting the fantastical incidents was quite disconcerting, having the source of those fantastical happenings sitting in his office even more so.
Under normal circumstances, unaccounted foreign ninjas would be sent to the Torture and Interrogation unit first to be screened before being taken to the Hokage. However, given their potential power, whether real or imagined by Kakashi, Sarutobi decided to interview them himself. With Ibiki lurking in the background of course, and hidden anbu members haunting various strategic corners.
None of the blondes seemed at all intimidated by the extra security, most appear curious, with varying degree of politeness. Others, like the little girl and the one covered in paint appear to have no visible expression beyond boredom. Sarutobi made the mistake of asking them to 'make yourself comfortable' in his office, hence the varied positions taken up by them.
After a few minutes of sizing each other up, one blonde finally cracked the silence.
"Wow! You're like, amazingly old!"
"…" if Sarutobi had any doubts about them being related to Uzumaki Naruto, they had been katon by that remark.
"How dare you address the Third Hokage as such!" One of the anbu retorted angrily.
The speaker stuck out his tongue at the angry anbu. Sarutobi resisted the urge to massage his forehead, if Kakashi's report were to be believed, this blonde who had been fidgeting in his seat for a while would be the so called 'Joker. Whether it's a title or his real name remains to be seen.
He was smacked in the head by another blonde, "Please forgive his rudeness," the blonde bowed politely, "We must have forgotten his tranquilizer shot this morning, due to the, ah, busy event that follows."
From the polite tone, and the wicked humour, Sarutobi guessed that he must be the 'Iruka-Sensei'. Even the mannerism and way of speaking was similar.
The three females, two older and one younger, were as different as their near identical looks would allow. The younger one slouched at the feet of a warm looking woman, who was busy braiding the child's hair into tiny separate sections, the Mother Daughter combo. The third woman, the one Kurenei dubbed as 'the Slut' due to her attempt to charm a very surprised Asuma, had draped her body over the lap of the oddly dressed blonde. The ink covered Seal Master.
Sarutobi's mind raced with possibilities. From what Kakashi and Kurenei had reported, these were purportedly kage bunshins of a very powerful individual, possibly the future Uzumaki Naruto, if such thing were possible. It was mind boggling to even imagine how that little ramen obsessed brat could achieve that level of skill in the future.
One should not dismiss any kind of information as trivialities, especially when they were lounging in one's office, thought Sarutobi practically. If their reports were true, then Konoha had just received six kage level shinobi into its services.
Now, if Sarutobi understand it properly, their loyalty ties to Naruto's loyalty, which in turn meant that if Naruto were to defect…
For a few moments, he indulged in imagining the horrified faces of elders at this interesting little fact. There would be a scramble for policies and whispers along the grapevine to ensure the loyalty of their local demon container, marriage proposals, friendships and price cuts as well as special services in the name of 'good'. Heh.
"Plotting something good, Hokage-sama?" a rich golden voice purred.
Sarutobi blinked, and nearly nosebleed at the vision the Maiko presented, draped delicately over his table. Perhaps Kurenei was right after all?"
"Meh, leave the old man alone, Mai-chan," the grating drawl of the Joker smirked, "If he dies from blood loss we'd be in trouble,"
Sarutobi coughed in slight embarrassment, "Ahem, thank you, erm, Mai-chan is it?"
"Hai, Hokage-sama," she breathed.
"If you would take a seat…"
"Anything for my Hokage-sama," she leered and plopped into his lap.
Sarutobi's mind white out.
Half an hour later, with two short stubs of tissue sticking out of his nose, Sarutobi glared at the blondes before him, careful to keep his eyes away from the tied up female courtesy of the Sensei and Anbu Dog. Though it was difficult to maintain an aura of dignity with tissue in one's nose, Sarutobi thought he did not do too badly. With a stern eye at the mostly chastened blondes, he said, "Well then, why don't you introduce yourself? Names, likes and dislikes and a little background information on what you do,"
The kage bunshin's exchanged an uncertain look.
The sensei coughed, "Ah, names? Hokage-sama? I'm afraid there will be a bit of a problem with that one…"
"I want to be Iruko!" the slutty blonde woman shouted, having wriggled out of her gag.
"No!" the little blonde girl jumped up, half her hair in braids, pout visible behind the mask, "I get to be Iruko!"
"Now darlings," the Mother soothed, "don't quarrel," paused, "As the sole female with the closest temperament to the honourable sensei I believe that name should be mine."
"No way!" They both shouted.
Sarutobi felt his eyebrow twitched, "I thought your name is Maiko?"
The slut flipped her hair dismissively, an amazing feat, considering her position on the ground, "Feh! Maiko is merely a convenient label," she flicked her fingers dismissively, "As if I'm a prancing virgin, I'll have you know Hokage-sama," she leered, "I'm very experienced,"
Sarutobi resisted the urge to fan himself. "I- see, well then, none of you have proper names? What about you, Iruka?"
The sensei blushed, just like his namesake, "Ano, it- it's like Maiko said, to differentiate ourselves, we took up some tag names according to our characteristic," the blush deepened, "because I was designed with Iruka-sensei in mind, the honour was eventually bestowed on me, but, it would be blasphemous to use this name with the real Iruka-sensei still around," he earnestly said.
"… ah, and the rest of you?"
The Seal Master shrugged, "I'm fine with Shen,"
"No way I'm going to be known as the Joker!" snapped the fidgety one, "I want a respectful name damn it,"
"How about the Clown?" drawled Shen.
"Bozo is good too," smirked the Daughter.
Killing intent swamped the office, "I'm gonna kill you all…"
The sensei coughed, "Erm, so what name were you thinking of getting?"
The killing intent vanished as the joker stroked his chin, "Hmm… I'm not sure, I'm still partial to Naruto-"
"Well, you can't!" declared the mother angrily, "It belongs to the honourable Naruto-sama, so think of something else!"
Many Konohonian eyebrows rose at the suffix.
"How about Ramen?"
"GRAAAHH!" The joker attacked Maiko, who had volunteered that last suggestion. Not that Sarutobi could blame him. After all, who would want to be named after sweet roasted pork meat?
After general peace had been restored, and ice packs brought in for both Maiko and the Joker, they resumed the naming negotiation. This time, the third Hokage was ready. This time, he will bring his secret weapon.
"Settle down, settle down," Sarutobi smiled benevolently at the disgruntle blondes before him. The name debate had gone on for almost an hour now, without any sign of letting up. The only one who was satisfied with their current name was the seal master Shen.
The rest were still in deep debate when a polite knock sounded at the door.
"Ah, Cat, would you get the door, please?"
The door opened to reveal Umino Iruka, who predictably blushed at being the focus of everyone's attention, and the girls' squeals of 'Iruka-sensei! Kyaa~'
"Um, ah, did I come at a bad time?"
"No, no, perfect timing as usual, sensei," the Sandaime waved him to a seat, "Please sit, we are having a little friendly chat," he ignored Iruka's pointed stare at the ice packs, "there has been a bit of a decision making problem-"
Iruka's face grew more and more incredulous as the Hokage explained his role, he was to help the blondes pick a name, and prevent future catastrophe as well as be a mediator of sort.
"… I'll do my best, Hokage-sama,"
"Excellent, now, how do you wish to do this?"
"Well," Iruka rubbed the edge of his scar, "why don't you all give a little introduction first? That way we can decide what name is best for you,"
"Iruka-sensei is so smart!"
Iruka's left eye twitched at the fangirling, but maintained his composure, "Ah, why don't we start with you first?" he smiled at the smallest blonde, "something basic, likes, dislikes, hobbies and a small summary of your skill,"
"Okay!" she chirped, "I like Iruka-sensei, bells and sweet cakes, I don't like people who laugh at my teeth and my hobby is inventing new ways to kill people," Her eyes curved over her white mask, "For the team, I conduct assassination and have a special affinity towards massive collateral damages."
"… a, ah," Iruka's smile wavered a little.
"Shall I go next, Iruka-sensei?" it was the Mother.
"Please do," he choked out.
"Very well, I like Iruka-sensei, my little daughter, baking, sewing and housekeeping," she smiled, "I've been told I made a very excellent mother…"
"Hey! No hitting on sensei during intro, you cheater!" exclaimed the Slut.
"Ahem, I dislike immoral people, people who are late all the time and people who thinks it's funny to make rude noises at other people,"
Maiko quickly retracted her tongue and deflate her cheeks before it gained enough air to blow a raspberry.
"I am very good at discipline as well," she smiled, "I am the best medic of this team, my chakra is the least caustic and generally most people survive my healing,"
Sarutobi exchange a look with his anbu, "What about… combat skills?"
She bowed modestly, "I'm afraid that's not my strength at all, although I have been told the berserker blood is fierce in my veins,"
"Hmpf, whatever," setting aside the ice pack, Maiko strutted forward, chest first, having been set free after the fight with the Joker, "I," she declared, "Am the information gatherer, I can sneak into any building, and get anyone to confess anything with just my presence," she leered, "I am also the most proficient at the Tiger's Eye," her eyes clinked gold for a moment, "my hobby is forcing people into questioning their sexuality," there was a ripple of chakra, and suddenly a blonde male form draped himself over Iruka, "I think there's no need to state what else I like," he purred sticking a tongue into Iruka's ear, "Wanna do it with me, Sensei?"
Shrieks of outrage erupted from the girls as well as the Joker who bodily flung male Maiko away, Iruka had sort of froze from the contact and was subjected to many concern exclamations until Shen produced a steaming pot of boiling hot water, "Want me to sterilize it?"
It took them more than a few minutes to calm that situation down.
It was then, Sarutobi realized that no matter how bored, sensible, slutty or serious some of these kage bunshins acted, the core remain Uzumaki Naruto. Prankster extraordinaire.
When the now female Maiko was safely bound and gagged, the Joker brushed his hair back, and grinned, "Hey, it my turn right?" without waiting for an answer he continued, "Yosh! I like Iruka-sensei, talking foxes and barbecue, I hate slutty people," he glared at Maiko, "smart ass people, traitor people, evil people, maniac people, avenger mode people and psycho killer people," he nodded to himself, "my hobby is training with my foxes and invent new ways of annoying people, my specialty is tracking and decoy action."
"Decoy action?" Iruka asked.
"Yeah, for example, I can totally annoy just about anyone, cause disruption and give massive headaches that last for days." He grinned, "I'm especially proud of the invention of more than fifty variations of the 'Na na na na na Technique*',"
*Idea lifted from Geor-sama.
"… well, I can see how that could be… annoying,"
"…Right, er next, how about you?"
The blonde 'sensei' blushed, "A ha ha, well, I like teaching," he looked up cautiously, "Naruto-sama, children and enka,"
A few eyebrows rose at that.
"I dislike… insensible people, my hobby is singing enka and moon gazing," he coughed embarrassedly, "I specialized defensive jutsu, traps, main specialty is hostage rescue,"
"Hostage rescue? I don't believe we have a specific branch for that range of skill here," Sandaime commented, "very interesting, a potentially profitable venue,"
"Clients could request for shinobi to rescue their loved ones instead of paying off the kidnappers," Iruka said, catching on, "It makes sense too since our line of work includes deception and a quick surgical thrust behind enemy lines instead of brute soldier forces. Fast and discreet for those who wish to save faces too,"
Sandaime nodded, "please speak to Ibiki after this for a more complete profiling," he smiled, "may I also know your mission success rate?"
The blonde nodded, "Success rate is 60 percent, 88 percent if I work with the Joker,"
"He's the best tracker among us, the faster we get to the hostage, the higher chance of success, in addition, there's the decoy factor…"
"I see," the hokage puffed thoughtfully at his pipe, he had the impression that these 'kage bunshins' like to work on their own and often fight among themselves, but, this actually makes more sense, they were, after all, the shadows of one man. He smiled, "We must definitely talk about this later, but for now, Shen, correct? Why don't you introduce yourself?"
The ink covered blonde reply with a slow blink, "My name is Shen, I have no interest in becoming a shinobi or a fighter, I enjoy painting and calligraphy and creating new ways of expending my art. I would prefer to operate a shop here in Konohagakure instead of going to missions. I don't like fights, loud noises and stupid people,"
"Ah, your title was 'Seal Master' right?"
"That is correct,"
"May I know why you don't wish to go for missions?"
"Feh," the blonde leaned back with his hands folded behind his head, "It's too troublesome,"
Iruka's eye twitched. If that wasn't a direct quote from Shikamaru, he'd eat his hitae-ate.
Quelling the urge to sigh, he smiled gamely at them, "Thank you for the introduction, now then, shall we do this?"
The girls plus the Joker gazed back eagerly, while the other two watched him with mild interest. He decided to address the interested party first.
"Kaneko," he smiled at the masked girl with bells in her hair, "Child of the bells,"
"Kyaa!" was the enthusiastic inverted eyes reply.
He eyed the Mother next, "Makoto, sincerity in nature,"
She gave him a slow smile, "Why thank you Sensei,"
Iruka smiled back, and face the third female of the group.
The Slut leered good naturedly at him.
"I'm tempted to call you IchaPara, after those books Kakashi always reads," said Iruka solemnly, he ignored the slight wobble in the shadows, "but after much thought I believe Hisoka would be much more appropriate for your espionage nature,"
"Heh, 'secrecy' to Makoto's 'sincerity'? Not too bad, sensei," she smirked, "Very well, I accept,"
The Joker leaned forward eagerly, "Me next, right! Yeah?"
Iruka smiled indulgently, dumb kids and bratty jounins all tugged at his heart strings for some reason, "Yes, how about Hakken (investigation) for your tracking nature?" he didn't feel like addressing the prankster side. Also, it sounded impressive enough to appeal to the kiddish nature of the Joker.
"Hakken," the Joker repeated the name to himself, "Awesome! You're the coolest Iruka-sensei!"
"And, er, sensei," he smiled at his namesake, "I believe as the most sensible of the lot, perhaps you would like the name Kenmei,"
"For sensibility? That's not very imaginative," was the helpful remark from Shen.
Iruka flushed, but 'Kenmei' intercepted quickly, "Oh, but I like it," he smiled at Iruka, "Thank you, sensei,"
It was two days later before Team 7 get to meet the Six again, as they were now known. After completing a D rank mission, pulling weeds for some old lady, the team somehow gravitate itself towards Ichiraku ramen stall. Whether it was through unspoken agreement or a rather sudden desire for ramen from all parties involved was rather debatable. Nevertheless, they all made it there, and were not exactly surprised to see it infested with blondes. It was bound to happen sooner or later.
The Joker, as they knew him, was slurping noodles busily at the bar. The Mother and the Sensei, Makoto and Kenmei perched elegantly at a separate table, a tray of small cakes between them, both sipping tea, studying a thick book between them. The Slut was sunbathing on the roof of the stall, they could see her bare foot, and the trailing ends of a blonde pigtail. Shen was nowhere to be seen, and the little killer girl was skipping up happily towards them.
"Hi!" her eyes curved over her white mask.
Obviously lacking common sense and a healthy sense of paranoia, Naruto greeted back equally happily.
"Hi! What's your name?"
"Ah, I'm Kaneko,"
"Neh? That's so weird!"
The rest of the team held their breath.
"Eh, but Iruka-sensei named me…"
"That makes it officially awesome!" replied Naruto without missing a beat.
"Kyaa~ Do you think so ^^"
"Eheh, why do you wear a mask?"
"So people don't make fun of my teeth." Her cheeks puffed out in a smile, "Also, it looks cool and awesome,"
"Wow, that's really great!" he waved at the Ichiraku old man, "Hey, hey, one deluxe miso ramen, please,"
Kakashi turned a page of his book.
Under the interested eyes of the genin, 'Kaneko' pulled down her mask and gave them a gapped toothed smile, "Itadakimasu!"
Naruto grinned back over his ramen, after a few slurps, he addressed the other blonde ramen eater, "Hey, hey, what's your name, dattebayo?"
"Hm, me?" The Joker sucked in an errant noodle, "I," he declared, "am Hakken,"
"Eeh? Weren't you the one who wanted to kill me for my name?"
"Un," he didn't even look apologetic! "A mistake that one, and besides, Iruka-sensei gave me an awesomer name than yours, nyee hee hee,"
"Tch," Naruto pouted.
Just then, the Joker, Hakken, whatever, lifted his head to sniff the air. With a graceful bound, he flipped backwards over his chair and skipped off to yell, "Iruka-sensei!"
The other blondes, Naruto included, all perked up, Kakashi swore he saw the trailing blonde hair from Ichiraku's roof top actually curled in pleasure. In the short moments it took for Iruka to round the bend towards the blonde infested ramen stand was enough time for all the blondes, minus the sensible and calm Kenmei, to mob him.
"What did you do today? Did you like the bento?"
"Were the students awful?"
"Huhuhu, given any thought to my… proposal?"
"Ah," Iruka stumbled from the assault, "my papers," the towering stack in his arms wobbled.
With swift movements, Makoto snatched them out of his hands, "Kenmei can take care of them,"
"Ah, wait," Iruka grabbed futilely at the homework, "I need to grade those,"
"Even better!" Kaneko chirped, "The sensei, I mean, Kenmei likes grading, he can grade those while we play!"
The stack of paper was dumped unceremoniously in front of the blonde 'sensei'. Iruka sent an apologetic look at him, receiving a that's-ok shrug in return.
"Ahahaha," Iruka laughed weakly, wondering how a person who spends time thinking up ways to kill people defines 'play'.
"Sooooo, now that we've cleared that up," Hisoka sidled up, "What say we have ourselves a little fun, eh?"
She pressed Iruka's arm between her generous boobs suggestively. Unsurprisingly, her action provoked outraged cries, someone snatched her by the hair and threw her away from the sensei. Moving with the motion, she landed effortlessly, huffing in annoyance.
"Nyeh, you guys have no humour at…all…" her eyes bugged out and she gaped at the sight of Hatake Kakashi snarling in her face.
"Um, like, what's the deal?"
"You," Kakashi growled, "Stay away from Iruka-sensei,"
That raised a few eyebrows. Kaneko piped up, "Like, what are you floating on, Copy Nin?"
"Kaneko! Language!" Iruka was scandalised by her words.
Kakashi glared at the much smaller masked person, one arm snapped out to grab Iruka by the waist. "Right, I'll say this once," he growled, jerking a protesting Iruka against his chest, "Iruka-sensei is MINE!"
There was a meaningful pause where the people around them tried to digest this information. Iruka had stopped struggling to gape at the Copy Nin. A terrible shriek filled the air, it was made by Makoto.
"Uwaaah! The horror!"
"Iruka-sensei would never go out with a pervert like you!"
"Wow, Kakashi-sensei," remarked Sakura, "That's a pretty big lie even for you…"
Then, Naruto, the real one, stepped forward. One finger pointing aggressively at his jounin sensei.
"Destroy The Liar,"
The host of blondes (minus the uneasy Kenmei), whipped out their weapons of choice and leered menacingly at Kakashi.
"Please step aside, Iruka-sensei," Makoto said pleasantly.
"Yes, please step aside so we can rid this world of nasty liar pervert people," Hakken's eyes turn feral.
"Iruka-sensei will be free soon," Kaneko slide a small blade from her ankle, about as long as a butter knife and caressed the sharp edge lovingly.
Hisoka smirked as she licked her lips suggestively, her eyes an unnatural gold, "Mmm, we can't have our competitions running around, yeah?"
"Wait!" Iruka nearly screamed, "Wait! Wait!"
"Yes, Iruka-sensei?" the blondes chorused, eyes curved cheerfully.
"Please, put your weapons away," he begged, "K-kakashi is my, er, friend, so please don't kill him,"
"Oh, don't worry,"
"We won't kill him!"
"We'll just hurt him a little,"
"Just teensy bit of pain,"
"And maybe a bit of maiming,"
"Liars should be punished!" they chorused happily.
Iruka closed his eyes briefly, trying to ward off a building headache. He didn't dare to force Kakashi's arm away for fear that the blondes would really descend on the man with intent to kill. And while he did not actually see the blondes fight, memories of torn up trees, powdered rocks and damaged grounds were enough to give him the shivers.
"Look," he said, "Kakashi's just joking, you're just joking, right Kakashi?" his grip tightened on the possessive arm just enough to be painful.
"No!" Kami-sama, could he sound more petulant? "Iruka-sensei is mine! Mine, mine, mine!" he glared at the persons assembled, "It took me too long to even get a date, you're not getting him!"
"IT WAS ONE DATE!" the yell shook walls, "I slept with you ONE TIME, and ONE TIME does not a relationship make!"
"…" how can a man look so pathetic with only one eye visible? Iruka was starting to feel… he didn't know what to feel!
"B-but, Iruka-sensei," the Copy nin practically wailed, "I know you, you don't just sleep with anyone, it has to be special. You don't even participate in Genma and Raidou's threesome invitation, you even turn down Anko! No one turns down Anko,"
Iruka thought his eyes could go no wider, but somehow the lids continued to lift, or perhaps that was the pressure of his eyes bulging out of his face. "Kakashi," he said in a dangerous tone, "Have you been- stalking me?"
"Stalker!" Naruto and Makoto shrieked, pointing accusatively at him.
"I don't like stalker pervert people,"
"Let us, hurt him," Kaneko purred.
"I wanna make him my sex slave!" Hisoka announced randomly. When people gave her strange looks (Naruto gagged in the background), she shrugged, "Fine, let's just castrate him,"
Kaneko's eyes gleamed at the prospect of violence.
"No!" Iruka shrieked, "There will be no maiming, no castrating and definitely no killing," that last bit was directed at Kaneko who tried to blink innocently over her mask. But Iruka was not fooled, he'd been the teacher of one Uzumaki Naruto for too long. And being a teacher in general had made him immune against all sorts of puppy dog's eyes, kicked or not.
He turned sternly to the person in charge, who incidentally is also the person he could intimidate most.
The smallest blonde cringed, "Uh, erm, yes, I-Iruka-sensei?"
Beside him, both Sakura and Sasuke took a large step backwards. All three recognises Iruka's Potentially Unpleasant mood.
"I told you not to antagonize him,"
"Shut up, Kenmei,"
"Yet, you all did it anyway. Why is that? Are you wired to be stupid?"
"Why don't you shut up and pull your side of the weeds?" Makoto snarled.
"I'm done," replied Kenmei who was now lounging with a book in hand.
Hakken tugged at his patch of grass, badly riddled with tunnels from the 'help' of his summon foxes.
"I've never seen Iruka-sensei so mad since, since like, ever," was Naruto's solemn contribution.
Hisoka licked her lips, "Iruka-sensei's so hot when he's mad," she sighed.
Both Kaneko and Naruto 'eewed' and edged away from her.
All six, minus the absentee Shen were pulling weeds at training ground 43. A pointlessly futile exercise since it was a training ground and not a garden. One that is liable to be destroyed by an S-class jutsu before being restored back to flat land by some doton jutsu. Still, not one of them dared to disobey Iruka when he's In-That-Mood, their pride were slightly mollified by the sight of the Copy Nin being dragged away by his ear by the Awesome Sensei.
There was a collective sigh as all of them replay the scene appreciatively.
"Iruka-sensei's awesome, yeah?"