New attempt at a story. For those of you who don't know me I am Kenchi618… for those of you that do know me, bear with me because here we go again, a new stab at something different and out of my norm. I love the Metal Gear franchise and I love the basis of the Naruto series… thus I am doing this. It is a labor of love. LOVE!
Anyway, I hope you enjoy and I make fans out of the readers.
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto or Metal Gear. Hideo Kojima is some sort of deity that if I laid eyes on him while he was creating the Metal Gear games I probably would have melted instantly due to the godly awesome of it, and Masashi Kishimoto… meh, we all get lucky sometimes I guess.
The Battle Never Ends
Chapter 1: Sleeping Wide Awake
A valley near a powerful waterfall was fraught with craters, cracks, small wisps of flame. The site of a battle that to you and I would seem supernatural.
A young boy with dark hair wearing a blue shirt and white shorts looked down on an unconscious boy with blonde spiky hair and three whisker-marks on each cheek. The blonde boy wore an orange jumpsuit with blue on his shoulders of the outfit. Both were utterly wracked with grievous wounds and injuries. The blonde had suffered a puncture wound in the upper left area of his chest, a miracle that his heart hadn't taken the damage. One of the dark haired boy's arms for all intents and purposes was now useless until he could get medical treatment due to the wound at his own shoulder.
He stared down at the blonde for the longest time as the rain fell and looked at his still functioning hand. It would be so easy. He could kill him right then and there and get the power that he needed to help him do battle with the man he needed to destroy… but that would make him no better than that man. He painfully contemplated his next actions for a moment longer, but eventually finally turned to walk away, 'I don't need to kill you to gain my strength. I don't need to follow in his footsteps. I'll get my own power and I'll destroy my brother that way.' As he walked away, he turned over his shoulder to give one last look to his opponent, "Don't come after me Naruto. You and I have paths that are completely different. I'm an avenger."
With that he left the area, not looking over his shoulder again. By the time he got out of distance he hadn't noticed that the ground he had left his opponent on had gotten slick and muddy, nor did he notice the blonde boy slide into the river nearby as he began to be carried away by the current, the only traces of him having been there being the groove in the mud that signified his route sliding into the water and the blue headband with a metal plate on it, the insignia of a leaf scratched through.
Time passed before a lone man found himself standing in the middle of what had once been a battlefield, looking down at the headband by the river. He had silver hair and a headband identical to the one on the ground covering one of his eyes while the other one looked down solemnly. He let out a sigh from his facemask covered mouth as he kneeled down and clutched the headband tightly, "Pakkun, can you smell anything?"
A small pug at his side sniffed the air before shaking its head and speaking, "I can't smell either one Kakashi, not Naruto or Sasuke. Sasuke's trail goes on a little further before dying off and Naruto's ends right here." He looked up at the man, "You don't think Naruto-?"
Kakashi stood back up with the headband still in his hand, looking down the river with intent, "We have to keep looking. Naruto would never die that easily. We'll find him."
Slowly opening blue eyes, the memories of the battle he had just fought found their way to Naruto's mind, "Sasuke…" He muttered quietly. He felt himself floating in water and knew he was looking up at the sky, but it was hazy, keeping him from being able to see the actual sky itself. Looking to his sides he saw the banks of the shallow river he was floating in covered with trees… burning trees.
That sight jolted Naruto to attention as he jumped to his feet, splashing water all about as he did so. Looking at the water closely he thought he could see dead fish floating towards him, but when he reached out to touch one he heard an eerie voice call out, "Sad… It's so sad…"
Naruto suddenly snapped his head forward to see a man floating in the air. He looked to be around his fifties with slicked back silver hair that seemed to be balding. He wore a small pair of glasses on his face and seemed to be smiling at him, smile that unnerved Naruto greatly. He wore a dark turtleneck sweater and black gloves on his hands as well as boots and pants that had a camouflage pattern of dark blue, gray, and black. He wore certain packs on his person such as one attached to the belt around his waist, but on his upper left portion of his chest there was a strange tool or weapon strapped to him, "Who are you?" Naruto asked/ordered, "Where's Sasuke? Where am I?"
"Such an unfortunate anomaly… to take a child as young as you, as important as you were meant to be and bring you to my domain..." The man said, trailing off cryptically before bowing in the air to Naruto, his smile never leaving his face as he did so, speaking in such a melancholy manner, "My true name is unimportant to you boy, however for the sake of your own ability to label me you may call me The Sorrow."
"What kind of name is that?" Naruto asked, seriously freaked out by the weird man. He wanted to leave but he didn't know where he was. He was surrounded by the flaming trees with this strange man floating in the only escape route he could see, "Tell me where I am! I can't afford to be lost right now, I need to find Sasuke and finish my fight with him!"
The Sorrow shook his head, "You are more lost than you realize, and your fight with your opponent has indeed ended. You are no longer among the living my child."
Naruto wasn't the brightest, but it didn't take a genius to understand that he was being told that he was dead, "I'm dead?" He said in disbelief, "Th-There's no way… Sasuke-."
"-Did not kill you." The Sorrow informed him, anticipating how Naruto would finish his statement, "It was the fault of no one other than fate. An accident." There was nothing else to say. Naruto simply stood stunned, looking around, trying to see if any of this was fake, but as he took a step towards The Sorrow he heard the water slosh and looked down. He took this time to get a closer look at the dead fish in the water and reached to grab one, only for his hand to pass through it as if it wasn't there.
Naruto stared at his hand and then at the few fish littering the river much like the one he tried to grab a hold of, "T-That was a ghost?" He asked tentatively, getting a nod from The Sorrow, and getting that confirmation just crushed his heart, "So… I really am dead." He finished solemnly. His eyes slowly panned up towards The Sorrow before he spoke again, "Are you the Shinigami?"
Still smiling, The Sorrow shook his head as he continued to float in front of Naruto, "I cannot say that I am. I am a part of the dearly departed much like yourself, although I am a medium between the living and the dead." He gestured to the river that they were on, "This river is meant to show you all of the sins of battle that you have commited." He said, moving out of the way of Naruto's path, getting a gulp of fear from the boy, "I would have said that this experience would have been meant to force you to face those whose lives you have ended as a soldier, but you are a rarity in the world of combat and strife. You have not taken any human lives."
Naruto shook his head rapidly, wordlessly saying that he had not killed anyone in battle before.
"Yet you do not seem disgusted or appalled at the concept." The Sorrow added, looking over Naruto with a scrutinizing gaze, bringing up a long silence as he did such.
The silence eventually unnerved Naruto who was scared and had absolutely no clue what was happening, or what awaited him, "Since I became a ninja I've met people… people that made it seem like killing was the only thing that we were good for. That as a shinobi I was supposed to be a killing machine. I don't believe I have to do that, there's a time for killing… and I haven't found a good enough reason to resort to killing. At least that's what I think." Naruto explained as best he could, being strangely respectful of this man. For all intents and purposes this man was telling him that he was dead. What was to become of him, "…So what's going to happen to me?"
The Sorrow just stared at him for a few more moments before speaking again, "That is up to you." He said, confusing Naruto, "Do you want this to be the end?" Naruto rapidly shook his head and opened his mouth to shout in dispute, "I cannot send you back to you and yours. Just know that before you make your decision."
Snapping his mouth shut, Naruto thought about what The Sorrow was telling him, 'I can't go home… I can't go back to Konoha? All of my friends… the promise I made Sakura-chan… my vow to be Hokage… I can't do any of it?'
There was no need for The Sorrow to say anything to potentially influence his decision, Naruto could make his own choice. All he had the right to do in the end was help him with whatever he decided. There was something special about this boy.
Naruto's face scrunched in thought before hardening in determination, "I can't just give up and die now. Even if I can't go back home I can't quit!" He said with conviction, "I'll miss all of my friends that I made, but if there was the choice of me just dying or going to get another chance somewhere else they would want me to do that! Whatever it is that you want to do to bring me back to life go ahead and do it creepy ghost man!"
The Sorrow merely kept his smile on his face as he floated down closer to Naruto, "Just like in what was meant to happen in your previous life you will find much hardship. But also much like in your previous life you have the will that may shape the world. In the end it is up to you. And remember one thing." He said as a single tear of blood flowed from one of his eyes, "I'll be watching you." The Sorrow then put a single hand on Naruto's shoulder and Naruto felt like his heart jolted to an immediate stop as everything went black again.
(Interior Alaskan Wilderness – 1999)
A man with longer slicked back blonde hair wearing sunglasses currently drove a pickup truck on a dirt road. Kazuhira Miller could honestly say that he was glad that it was summer in Alaska at the moment, because having to take himself all the way to Fairbanks and back in the middle of the hellish snow that the interior of Alaska could provide didn't honestly appeal to him. Being a survival master that had worked in the past with the Green Berets, U.S. Marines, the S.A.S., and the high-tech elite black-ops unit FOXHOUND he was no stranger to intense conditions, but having retired at this point he didn't feel like traipsing through the worst of what Alaska could throw at him.
It had been six months since he retired. Choosing to do so after remotely assisting the FOXHOUND operative Solid Snake with his infiltration mission of Zanzibar Land. Ironically Snake reportedly retired after that mission as well, coincidentally to another corner of Alaska, one not as intense as the area Miller had chosen to inhabit.
Putting this in the back of his mind as he pulled up to his rather large three-story home that sat none too far from an ambient stream nearby, he stepped out of his truck and took a moment to stretch after the long drive. The man stood 5'8, and had a rather slim but muscular build to him as he wore a dark green tanktop and a darker green shade of pants with boots on his feet. Glad to be home, he walked up the front porch to his house and opened the door, "Catherine I'm home!" He shouted throughout the house.
"Dad!" He heard shouted from upstairs by his daughter in a spirited manner, "Come here I need you to see something!"
His eyes widened behind his sunglasses. He hadn't heard his daughter that excited about anything since they had moved out there. Nothing ever really happened there, the entire reason he moved them away from Los Angeles in the first place after his divorce from his wife. He walked upstairs, surprised that she wasn't in her room on the second floor but upstairs on the third floor in the loft area.
As he reached the homey looking loft he saw his young daughter sitting by a figure that seemed to be asleep in the couch she was sitting by, covered in blankets. Snapping into suspicion he quietly walked over to his daughter, making sure that he put himself between her and the boy on the couch, "What happened? Who is this boy?"
"I don't know." Catherine said. She was a small girl wearing jeans and a long-sleeved white shirt under a black t-shirt, blonde like her father only with her hair put in a ponytail that allowed a few curly bangs to frame her face, "I found him yesterday."
"You found him?" Miller asked incredulously. How do you just find someone that you don't know in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness?
Catherine shrugged and looked at the boy on her couch, "Yesterday I was feeding our huskies since you were gone for a few days and I saw something orange by the stream. It was him wearing some orange tracksuit and bandanna. He looked terrible dad." She said with a worried look on her face, "I thought he was dead and then I took his pulse. He was still alive so a brought him here hoping that would help until you got here." She turned bright green eyes up to him with a hopeful look, "You can help him can't you?"
Miller frowned and rubbed his blue eyes underneath his sunglasses. How the hell did she find a kid, and what was he doing all the way out here? Come to think of it how did he wind up in the stream? He wanted the kid to wake up just so he could get those answers out of him. But what else was he going to do other than help? He didn't really have a choice, "Yeah, I'll see what I can do, but I'm no doctor and town is far away sweetheart."
"That's the thing!" Catherine said, excited to say something else about the mysterious boy, "He had a bunch of nasty wounds when I found him but when I got up this morning they weren't nearly as bad, and all of the cuts and stuff that I found on his face were gone except whatever I saw on his cheeks."
Miller then noticed that Catherine had put band-aids on his cheeks. Curious as to what they covered, he pulled them off and had to stifle a laugh. He had birthmarks on his face that were straight lines. His ten year old daughter must have thought that with all the injuries the kid had those must have been a part of them. He then took note of the boy's features and had to keep himself from kneeling down to scrutinize his appearance up close.
The boy had blonde hair and rather tan skin. He was no Alaskan born child, that was for certain. How ironic, his daughter found a weird blonde kid. He looked he was of some sort of American descent, which once again made him wonder where the hell the kid was from.
Miller ran a hand through his hair and looked at his daughter, "Well he's breathing fine, he doesn't seem to be in pain, and I can't seem to find anything wrong with him as he is. We just have to wait for him to wake up to see if we can help him anymore." He made a shooing motion, "Get on our of here. Just sitting here isn't going to make him wake up any faster. We'll know when he comes to."
Giving one last look to the blonde boy that she found by her house, Catherine got up and walked out of the loft to go back to her room. It was true that she couldn't do anything else to help the boy out, but the last two days had been more interesting than any day before they moved out there.
Naruto woke up strangely comfortable, but with a feeling of unfamiliarity with his surroundings. He looked around in the strange room that he was in, confused, but his muscles really didn't want him to get up judging by the way that they locked up when he tried sitting up. Remembering all that happened to him he let out a bitter chuckle to himself, "Shinu koto wa hontouni kyuuin (Dying really sucks)..." He said to himself quietly.
Trying to piece together the last series of events he remembered the final clash that he and Sasuke had and all that had followed it, or what he thought had followed it. Did all of those things really happen? Was The Sorrow real? And where the hell was he now? All this thinking was giving him a headache, "Itai, atama ga watashi o koroshite (Ouch, my head is killing me)..."
"You're awake." Naruto turned towards the figure of a blonde man walking up the stairs towards where he was. He was wearing sunglasses but the look on his face was one of suspicion, "Now I've got some questions to ask you, and I hope you're in good enough condition to answer them." The man said.
Naruto simply gave him a confused look, still laying on his back on the couch covered in blankets, "Um… Watashi wa no ojisan o itte iru no wakaranai. O no watashi no ibasho shitte ka (I don't know what you're saying mister. Do you know where I am?)?" Naruto had never heard anyone speak like that in his entire life. He definitely wasn't in the Elemental Nations anymore that much was certain for sure.
Miller raised an eyebrow at Naruto's speech… because it wasn't English, 'It sounds like the kid is speaking Japanese.' The boy looked completely un-Japanese, yet he spoke Japanese. As a matter of fact with the blonde hair and blue eyes he reminded him of himself when he was a child. With this thought in mind he switched languages to his native tongue, "Nani no arasuka de okonatte nipponjin no kodomodesu ka (What is a Japanese child doing in Alaska)?" He wasn't going to question whether or not the kid was from Japan. He didn't look like he was from Japan either but he was.
Japan? Alaska? He might as well have kept speaking English for all that Naruto got from that question, "Nani? Watashi wa anata ga nani o i~tsu teru no ka mo wakaranai (What? I have no idea what you're talking about.)." Naruto replied, looking around strangely trying to take in his surroundings. Obviously he wasn't in any danger, immediate anyway, because he was pretty comfortable as he was. "Watashi wa doko kon, anata wa watashi o oshiete kudasai (Now could you tell me where I am)?"
Miller gave him a straightforward look as he crossed his arms over his chest, "Amerika Gasshuukoku (The United States of America)." He then noticed Naruto giving him a deer in the headlights look. Did this kid know anything? Miller sighed, "Anata wa nani o shitte imasu ka?Anata no namae? Nani ka koto ga tasuke ni narudarou na (Do you know anything? What's your name? Anything like that would help.)." He pointed to himself, "Watashi wa hajimemasu. Watashi no namae wa Miller Kazuhira (I'll start. My name is Kazuhira Miller.)."
Hearing the man introduce himself, Naruto grinned and jerked a thumb at himself, "Watashi no namae wa Uzumaki Naruto (My name is Naruto Uzumaki.)." He then started to think of what to tell the man. Not his hometown because he remembered he wasn't in his world anymore. The guy would think he was a loon if he gave him the rundown of where he was from. Could he tell him he was a ninja? Probably not. This world probably didn't even have them and it was something Naruto didn't think would be smart to explain. He finally deduced what he could say, "Watashi wa juusanda (I'm thirteen years old)…" He said, thinking of what to call his occupation before he remembered what The Sorrow called him, "…To watashi wa heishida (… And I'm a soldier)."
At first when he saw the shock on Miller's face he assumed that he had said something wrong, "Heishi? Anata wa yoroshiidesu ka (A soldier? Are you sure)?" Naruto nodded to him, shocking the man, 'A child soldier, but he doesn't look anything like one. Why would he be here?' He questioned to himself before speaking again, "Ta ni nani ka o shitte imasu ka (Do you know anything else)?" Naruto frowned and shook his head. The boy must have lost his memory somehow. What did he know how to do? And he was only thirteen? From the white t-shirt he was wearing the boy had a pretty dense bone structure. He was pretty big.
"Dakara nani ga okoru ka ni narudarou? (So what's going to happen)?" Naruto asked with some trepidation. From just this conversation alone he was positive that he didn't have what it took to survive very well out there. He didn't know the first thing about where he was or how to get along. No one even spoke his language except for some place that was more than likely far away. This 'Japan' place.
Miller looked at him and let out a sigh, switching over to English so that Naruto couldn't understand him as he mused to himself, "I can't just let this kid leave… Hell I can't even drop him off in town and wish him luck. He knows his own name, how to speak Japanese, and nothing else. And he's a soldier to boot. At worst he'll just wind up getting himself killed." Noting Naruto staring at him without blinking he addressed him again, "Sore wa ta de gaki o mitsumete bukimida (It's creepy to stare at others brat)." Naruto blinked once in response, "Anata ga hatarakemasu ka (Can you work?)" He asked the younger blonde boy, getting a firm nod, "Anata ga hitsuyōna manabu made anata gataga watashi to issho ni yo (Then you'll stay with me until you learn what you need)."
Hearing that, Naruto's face brightened up and he gave the man a grin as he eagerly started thanking him. And for the umpteenth time since the kid woke up, Miller really couldn't see how this kid was any kind of soldier.
(Two Days Later)
Hearing that Naruto was going to stay with them for a bit confused Miller's daughter Catherine, but a short explanation that told her he wasn't from their country or even their continent and that he didn't seem to know anything put things in perspective for him. There was a language barrier between Naruto and Catherine, but the ten year old girl could see that he was a friendly person. Miller hadn't yet told her that Naruto was a child soldier, partially because he still didn't believe it.
A full day of putting Naruto to work changed that way of thinking however. He didn't know if the kid just had one hell of a work ethic or what, because he blazed through whatever chore was set in front of him, no matter how difficult the task would have been for a regular child his age. Cutting firewood, hauling it back to the house, feeding the huskies…etc. Whatever Miller wanted him to do he did. Eventually it just became something of a test to see just what it would take for him to complain or tire out, but he never did. He simply accomplished his task and reported directly to Miller for whatever he wanted him to do next, sometimes smiling.
As the sun set, bathing the sky orange signifying the end of the day, Miller and Naruto trudged back to the house, the boy still as chipper as ever. He didn't speak a lick of English… which would be pretty much the first major focus they got into teaching the kid in his spare time, but he could definitely see the training in him. The walk through the woods had seen Naruto alert and ready, sometimes his fingers would twitch towards nonexistent weapons on his person. Despite his bright attitude he clearly didn't trust his surroundings and was ready to react at any time in case of a threat.
It got Miller to wondering just how capable the boy was in case of a threat actually existing.
It was worth looking into, because if he had the skills there was no need to hide or squander them. Miller himself was a good soldier in his time, having worked with the man perceived to be the greatest soldier in the world in the middle of intense combat, and he had helped to train elite soldiers all over the world. If there was anyone that could judge just what Naruto was capable of it was definitely him.
As they reached the front of the large house Miller stopped and looked down at the young boy who was wearing a simple green long-sleeved shirt with 'Marines' emblazoned on the front and an olive pair of cargo pants, "Anata wa heishi to nobeta. Naruto, wa dono you ni anata ni nani ga dekiru ka o misete o go kibōdesu ka? (You said you were a soldier. Naruto, how would you like to show me just what you're made of)?"
Naruto froze in his tracks and turned towards Miller with a questioning look, "Hontoudesu ka? Anata wa watashi to tatakau ka? (Really? You want to fight me)?"
"Te no te ni. Kore wa, subete no nochi ni subete no sentō no kisodesu. (Hand-to-hand. It's the basis of all combat after all)." Miller said cracking his knuckles as Naruto started stretching himself out, "Anata no hijou ni mottomo yoi dageki o yokose. Watashi wa toki ni teishi suru koto o oshiete agemashou (Give me your very best shot. I'll tell you when to stop)." Seeing that Naruto was ready to fight he proceeded to bark the order to go, "Hajime (Begin)!"
Hearing Miller say to begin, Naruto wasted no time and went right for the knockout right off the bat. Miller grunted as he immediately sprang to the defensive, surprised at Naruto's speed, 'I know grown men don't even move that fast!' He avoided a wild right hand directed at his head and decided to see how the boy took damage, lashing out with a tight jab-hook combination that took advantage of the older man's height and reach.
Naruto took the two punches right in the face and let out a growl signifying that he acknowledged taking the damage before coming right back in for more. He was fast, but Miller was sharp and precise with his moves, 'Grey Fox was way faster.' He mused, keeping away from Naruto as the boy threw everything he had at Miller. Kicking from every angle; low, high, jumping kicks, but his attacks were all coming from directly ahead, 'Snake was faster too. Still he's no slouch. But his moves are pretty much whatever he thinks will work to hit me. That's no good.'
'Who is this old guy?' Naruto thought as he pressed his attack forward, taking another jab that busted his lip but didn't stop him. Miller wasn't trying to actually knock him out or hurt him, 'It's like he's playing with me. It looks like he's barely dodging!'
The air expelled rapidly from Naruto's body once Miller had seen enough and delivered a deep, driving kick right to the boy's stomach, knocking him on his backside. Naruto hacked out a cough or two, but got back up and set himself in a defensive stance, deciding to make Miller attack him.
"Pēsu yori oukina aite o osu you ni shite kudasai (Don't let a larger opponent press the pace)." Miller advised before taking Naruto's wordless invitation to attack. Naruto dodged his first probing jab, but that was just to get him in position to round-kick him in the ribs. Naruto tried to fire back with a punch but there wasn't enough room to do so. Miller was too close to him for a punch to hit with any decent force, but Miller himself still had tricks up his sleeve. Grabbing Naruto's punching wrist and wrapping his free arm around Naruto's neck from the front, a quick pop of his hips led to Naruto being thrown over Miller's body to the ground hard. Miller backed away and crossed his arms, "Ka anata no mottomo yoi ka? Watashi wa subete no uchi ni iku koto o katatta. (Is that your best? I told you to go all out)." The older soldier taunted, trying to goad Naruto into anger.
Naruto growled again, getting upset. He understood from the talks they had been having that Miller was a soldier, one of the best of his time before his retirement, but losing a fight without getting a good shot in was a stab at Naruto's ego. He thought he was better than that. Still he hadn't used them yet, "Anata wa sore o shitaidesu ka? Anata wa sore o motte iru, dattebayo (You want it? You've got it)!"
"Dattebayo?" Miller said with an eyebrow raised in amusement, "What was that, jibberish?" He said in English so as not to upset Naruto further.
Instead of charging him again as Miller expected, except with more ferocity than before, Naruto lifted his hands, putting his index and middle fingers up in a seal that resembled a 't' as he shouted out a phrase, "Kage Bunshin no Jutsu (Shadow Clone Jutsu)!"
Miller's eyes widened behind his sunglasses as he saw four identical copies of Naruto suddenly appear, indistinguishable from the original, "What the hell? Are those real?" Miller said in English, forgetting that Naruto didn't speak English. He was legitimately curious and purely shocked.
"Kore wa okashiidesu... Watashi wa yuiitsu no gotsu no bunshin o tsukurimashita (This is weird… I only made five clones)." The amount of chakra he put into the jutsu normally would have given Naruto at least fifty clones to work with, but he had to work with what he had for now. With that he ordered his clones to attack.
'He can use them to fight? That's terrifying!' Miller thought. Even not knowing anything about the world, Naruto knew one thing very well; how to fight. Five Naruto's rushed towards Miller, forcing him to rapidly backpedal away from the wave of blonde children, and he then realized why soldiers referred to child soldier as some of the most terrifying opponents any battlefield could produce. As three clones did whatever they could to try and hit Miller, two got behind him and tried to box him in. Only years of experience and trusting his gut when it said to dive and roll out of the fray kept the clones from trapping him and proceeding to deliver punishment.
"Jitto (Hold still)!" One Naruto snapped as one used the others as a springboard to launch itself into the air.
"Teishi Hanashi (Stop talking)." Miller ordered as he punched the flying clone right out of the air, forcing it to burst into smoke. He then took advantage of the sudden reversal of momentum and with a single roundhouse kick hit three Narutos in the face, forcing one to burst into smoke and forcing the others to the ground.
The only Naruto that hadn't taken damage yet was the only one to lay a hand on Miller, the one who had talked, and he made it count with an vicious uppercut to the man's stomach, grinning when he felt the man exhale harshly with a strained cough. His glee lasted for barely half a second when he felt Miller wrap an arm around his neck in a front headlock position and begin to squeeze, choking him and lifting him off of the ground with brute force. In a matter of moments, Naruto's eyes drooped shut and he went limp in Miller's grasp.
Dropping the unconscious boy to the ground, Miller turned his attention to the other clones only to find that they all disappeared into smoke, "Hm, it looks like if you knock out the real one or hurt him badly enough the others go away." He mused to himself before looking down at the unresponsive Naruto, "Still… that is one scary kid. I wonder what kind of weapons training he has." He rubbed his stomach and let out a cough, "What the fuck does that kid bench? I haven't had grown soldiers hit me that hard before."
Still, he thought over Naruto's performance as he picked the kid up under his arm and walked away, "He's fast, he's strong, he's like a pit bull with how he keeps coming forward, but his technique is lacking and he doesn't use angles. He just charges forward. Those copies of his definitely pick up the slack though." He shook his head in disbelief, "How in God's name did he do that? This is insane…" Instead of getting some answers out of the fight, a whole new set of questions just raised about Naruto.
On a wooden table set up in the backyard Naruto stood there and waited for Miller who had told him to wait there for a moment as he wanted to see something. Naruto was still slightly sore over how he had lost, but he had other concerns at the moment.
After being left alone in the back of the house Naruto remembered how his Kage Bunshin had failed to work the way he anticipated. Usually when he used his clones in conjunction with his hand-to-hand they would work towards their own flow in the battle. The mindset of multiple clones and Naruto, each with their own view of how a battle was proceeding and their own set of what options to take to succeed usually made his skills exponentially dangerous.
That did not happen against Miller. His clones merely followed directly in his lead the entire time. Also his clones would speak and insult his opponent to throw them off. The opponent usually never knew which Naruto was real unless they were able to defeat his horde of clones first and pick the real one out at that point. Miller grabbed the real him while there were still clones abound. And another thing, his clones took more damage than he thought they would. He was used to his clones dispelling after one good hit. These clones lasted after taking a few hard kicks and punches from Miller.
The original also felt them.
When Naruto woke up after his clones were knocked out he felt the damage that his clones had taken before being dispelled. That was also new. But it was time to test out something that was his most pressing concern at the moment.
Naruto put his fingers up in the Kage Bunshin seal he had become accustomed to and five copies of himself popped into existence again, 'Damn it, still only five? I put even more chakra into them this time.' Usually when he made clones they would look around and act alive. As Naruto walked in front of them and snapped his fingers in front of their faces he got no response, physical or otherwise, "Nani ka ieyo (Say something)." He ordered to his clones only to get no response. Naruto glared at the clones and one in particular. What was he going to do if they couldn't talk? They wouldn't be as useful as they were now that he knew they didn't have a lot of free will, hell they couldn't even talk apparently. Taking more damage only counted for so much if he felt the same pain when they eventually dispelled.
"Orokana kuso Bunshin (Stupid fucking clones)." One of the clones, namely the one Naruto was focusing on muttered. The original took a sudden step back and focused on the same clone, "Watashi wa karera ga hanashi o suru kono hōhō wa arimasu ka? Watashi no kokoro de wa? Subarashii (Is this how I make them talk? With my mind? Awesome)!" The clone said in place of Naruto's mental shout.
Naruto then proceeded to order more things with his mind, experimenting with what he could do while Miller was gone. He could order one particular clone if he could mentally isolate which one he wanted to use. Being able to see the clone helped, but if he knew its general position then he could still order it to do something. He had them work on a defensive position of surrounding and protecting the original, basic things to make sure he had the general idea down. His orders were clunky, and if he left an aspect of the order too vague his clones wouldn't know what exactly to do to pick up the slack for anything outside of what was directly ordered. This would take some work to get down.
Before he chose to dispel them, Naruto walked up to one clone and decided to make the last test to see if what he had gotten from Miller was right. Naruto placed his hands on a clone's shoulders and took a deep breath before jerking his head back and headbutting the clone directly in the face. Blood sprayed and the clone was knocked onto the ground, only lasting on for one more moment before the body disappeared in a puff of smoke.
Once it did however, Naruto sharply recoiled back and held his nose, his head swimming from seeming blunt damage. It felt like it had been broken but his nose was just fine. And that proved it. He would take the damage his clones took, but he wouldn't get the physical result of the injury, just the pain itself.
Taking this time to dismiss the rest of his clones back to nothing, Naruto turned towards the house wondering where Miller was when he saw the man standing there with a rather large duffel bag under one arm and Catherine standing with him, a look of pure amazement on her face, "Tanoshin deru (Having fun)?" He asked Naruto who was still rubbing his nose and was now glaring at him, bringing a chuckle from Miller as he walked over to the table he had left Naruto at. He opened the duffle bag and began taking things out.
Naruto watched him until he felt a tap on his shoulder and turned to see a younger blonde girl looking at him strangely, "I'm glad you're all better now, but what was that thing you just did? What were those other yous?" She asked excitedly, her excitement dropping when she realized that he didn't understand a word she said, "Sorry… you don't speak English."
Naruto didn't know what she had just said, so he simply grinned sheepishly and more or less apologized in Japanese before he heard Miller call out to him. Catherine watched curiously as Miller spoke to Naruto in Japanese and pointed at the things he had put down on the table from his bag. After instructing Naruto in what he wanted him to do, Catherine, who understood enough Japanese to know that he had asked Naruto to do something, decided to ask her father about it, "What did you tell Naruto to do?"
Miller watched as Naruto stared at the things he had placed on the table with some confusion, "Well he's a soldier like I told you he said, but I want to know exactly what he can do, the training he's had. I'm just testing to see what kind of weapons he can use."
Catherine watched Naruto peruse over what was on the table, not really believing what Naruto was supposed to be. Her dad was experienced enough to know otherwise though, she was just ten, so why not believe him in this instance, "Well… what about that body-copying thing he did?"
With all the things Miller had seen before since the 70's he really couldn't say that what Naruto did was unbelievable. Experimentation with things like psychokinesis had been happening for years, he had seen and fought against some stranger things in his time, but making copies out of thin air was something completely unfounded, and they were real, so it was no psychic illusionary trick on the mind. And he didn't think Naruto could or would shed any light on what his weird powers were.
Meanwhile Naruto was looking over the items that Miller had placed on the table. A few of the tools looked like the thing that The Sorrow had in a holster strapped to his chest when he saw him. They looked different though. Miller had called them 'guns' and Naruto hadn't bothered questioning him on anything, The way Miller had spoken of them they were probably common weapons where Naruto was. Too bad he didn't know how they worked.
There were long tube-like weapons that bared a similar looking purpose as the smaller guns he had just looked at, but Naruto didn't want to lay a hand on any of them. He knew he was taking too long. He had to do something. But then he saw the bladed weapons at the end of the table. They didn't look like the kunai of his world, but beggars couldn't be choosers, and Naruto simply reached for the smallest ones he could see.
They were small and silver, curved to look as if they could sail through the air. There were four holes carved in the handles and they were about four inches long. Naruto picked one up and flipped it to its lighter side, preparing it to throw at a target painted on a tree 15 yards away.
Miller raised an eyebrow, "All of those guns and he goes right to the heavy throwing knives?" His surprise continued when Naruto began throwing them like an old hand at the skill, not missing the target once. Though his results on the target varied, there was nothing that landed outside of the painted bullseye itself, most of them running the gambit of right around the middle circle itself. And he felt he had to step in once Naruto started throwing the combat knives that Miller had put out but had not figured prudent to put back up, "Tsubasa to ii na (Okay that's enough with the knives)." He said, switching to Japanese and hurrying to stop him before he damaged his good knives by throwing them all at the tree, "Kon, anata wa juu o shiyou suru you ni shitai nodesuga (I'd like you to use a gun now)."
Naruto looked nervously at the aforementioned weapons and decided that it was best to just tell the truth before he wound up looking foolish, "Watashi wa houhou ga wakaranai. Watashi mo mae ni, jū o mita koto ga nai (I don't know how. I've never even seen a gun before)."
Never seen a gun before? Okay, either he had amnesia in the worst way or he was the strangest Miller had ever met. There was no doubt that Naruto had some sort of military training. He never complained or looked uncomfortable when given orders to work hard, he was not afraid or out of his element in a fight, he could probably throw a pair of scissors just as well as he could specially crafted throwing knives, blood didn't particularly bother him… there was definitely something there.
(One Week Later)
There wasn't nearly as much work today, thus Naruto was allowed to knock off early. During his free time he decided to go a ways into the forests surrounding the house and test some things out. The results of his test put him in the dejected mood he was currently in.
He sat on a felled tree staring at his right hand. The reason he had come out there was because of the results of finding out how differently his Kage Bunshin worked in this world. If it was like that for that jutsu then what else was new?
It hadn't taken him long to find out what was new because he ran through his most basic skills. He could no longer transform. He didn't understand. How could he use some of his ninjutsu and not any of the others? The next jutsu he tried was the next one he had been taught after learning Kage Bunshin. Kuchiyose no Jutsu (Summoning Jutsu). The ability to summon creatures like toads, snakes, etc. of all shapes and sizes to fight on your behalf. This jutsu was also an epic failure. Nothing happened whatsoever. He didn't even waste any chakra when he tried to use it.
One of his hard earned skills were now useless to him, but he got a little bit of comfort in knowing that he could still use the technique he had used to fell the tree he was now sitting on, Rasengan (Spiraling Sphere). He chuckled to himself, trying to take something positive out of his situation. But he was still screwed to say the very least.
He couldn't speak the language, he knew nothing of where he was or anything at all other than how to use most of the things in Miller's house, something he was grateful for was that most of his appliances were things that he had experience with and could use. But the only thing he was good at, had ever been good at, was fighting. And in this world he was at a marked disadvantage when it came to that, as it became abundantly clear when he saw Miller pick up and use the guns on the table to show Naruto what they could do.
The bullets moved faster than any kunai he could possibly have ever thrown, and the longest gun with scope on it, which Miller picked up and referred to as a 'semi-automatic sniper rifle', whatever that meant, known as a PSG-1, saying that it could hit a target from half a mile away at a speed of 868 meters per second. Just thinking of fighting someone that had the capability of using weapons like that made him realize that he was up shit creek without a paddle.
Sighing to himself and deciding that he had been gone long enough, Naruto stood up and walked himself back to the large house that would be his temporary lodgings until Miller got sick of putting him up. He couldn't stay forever even if they said he could, it wasn't right. They owed him nothing. Doing stuff that would have constituted D-rank missions back where he came from wouldn't give him the right to stay there for as long as he wanted.
"Naruto." Before he got too far from where he had been sitting and thinking, Miller walked up through the woods, as if he had been looking for him. But how did he find him? It didn't look like he had tried very hard to do so at all. Naruto could swear that he had gone at least a few miles into the forest. Naruto was starting to think that Miller was cooler and cooler every day, "Watashi wa anata no tame ni mite kita (I've been looking for you)."
Naruto blinked in confusion, was there a chore he missed today or something? Maybe Catherine was looking for him again? She had been very helpful when Miller had endeavored to try and teach Naruto English. Her own Japanese was going to get better if she kept helping him so it was win-win. She didn't mind, she was interested in Naruto, bluntly calling him weird more than once, but she was very nice.
"Dono yō ni watashi wa anata o kunren shitai to omoimasu (How would you like me to train you)?" Miller bluntly offered. Not a hint of humor on his face. He knew Naruto was naturally talented. He knew enough about general combat to get along by himself, but there were too many things about Naruto that reminded Miller of himself. He wasn't sure if it was the fact that Naruto was of Japanese descent despite his western appearance, much like his own, but there was something that just told him that helping the kid was a good idea, "Chotto kangaete mite kudasai. Anata wa eigo o hanasu koto ga dekinai, watashi wa anata o motomete kimashita kekkyoku sekai sonomono nitsuite wa nani mo shiranai... Sore ga umaku ikudarou (Think about it for a moment. You can't speak English, nor do you know anything about the world after the talks we've been having. It would work out)."
Naruto opened his mouth to eagerly accept, this solving tons of the problems he felt he would have for himself, but a stern glance from Miller prompted him to shut his mouth.
Miller had instructed him to speak in English when he could in order to learn how to use it faster. He had gotten enough English in him to give simple answers around the house and even talk a little bit with Catherine over the last week, most of it picked up over the course of the first day after several hours, "Yes." Naruto said simply in English with a smile on his face.
Miller nodded tersely and stood up, walking up to Naruto who came up to Miller's chest with his diminutive 4'8 frame, "Kon, anata wa subete no kai de 'Master Miller' toshite watashi o sanshō suru katei ya torēningu de iru ka dō ka kara. Watashi wa, anata ga watashi no meirei nishitagatte, isshōkenmei hataraite kitai shite imasu. Wakatta (From now on whether at home or training you will refer to me as Master Miller at all times. I expect you to follow my orders and work hard. Understood)?"
Once again, Naruto eagerly nodded without a second thought. If being a soldier was what he was meant to do and if Miller could help him out in getting set up in his new surroundings then why on earth would he turn him down? It wasn't like he had any alternatives even if he didn't like the idea in the first place, and he most certainly did, "Yes. I'll do it." Naruto had more to say and wanted to express how much he was grateful but he didn't know enough English to go much further than just saying that he understood.
(Six Months Later – Winter 1999 – Naruto: Age 13)
Catherine walked outside onto the front porch of the house wearing a white parka as she saw her father getting their huskies all set and tied to the sled he was going to use. It had been snowing for the last four days straight, but her father had seen fit to send Naruto out on one of his impromptu 'drills'. Although Catherine was pretty sure that her father just wanted to see what it would have taken to break Naruto. He had yet to find something that did, "Why did you make him head out on foot in this dad? For groceries? Really? You have a sled!" She protested vocally.
Wearing a grey parka, Miller chuckled as he set the last of the dogs in its harness, petting the husky on its head before turning to his daughter, "What's the big deal Catherine? I just sent him into town, nothing big."
Catherine pointed at the dirt road that was completely covered in snow, "Town is like 20 miles away! Naruto's probably freezing to death out there! I hate going to town on the sled, I couldn't imagine having to actually walk it!"
Miller shook his head as he walked towards his fuming daughter. After the language barrier between Naruto and Catherine had for the most part been utterly obliterated by the speed with which the boy picked up English she grew to like him very much, almost like her older brother; her older brother that could hit a bullseye with any kind of blade thirty yards away and make five more of himself on command.
"He's fine." Miller dismissed casually. He loved his daughter dearly, but sometimes she seemed to forget that Naruto wasn't normal, or more like she hadn't gotten the gist of exactly what was so different about Naruto. He had gleaned all he could from Naruto about his clone technique and the powerful blue destruction technique he used in conjunction with one of his clones. Catherine knew more than enough about the things that Naruto was capable of. The time they found out he could stick to the wall during a particularly brutal session of unarmed combat training was just one example of the strange things that Naruto could pull out at any moment, "It's a straight shot all the way through. There's no way he got lost."
Catherine stared down the snow-packed road and let out a sigh, "I'm not worried that he got lost. You sent him out the second light broke. It's below zero today, what if he freezes out there?"
If she was worried about him freezing now then Miller wasn't going to tell her about the weekend stretch a few weeks back where he made Naruto climb a mountain with him and then left with all of the climbing equipment, more or less stranding him there until Monday. At least this time he let Naruto take his coat and other things unlike then. That time he gave the kid water, a few strips of jerky, a survival knife, a few to throw, and wished him the best of luck. Miller was convinced that Naruto was still sore at him for that impromptu test, "He won't freeze, trust me."
"And why not?" Catherine said, tapping her foot, crunching snow under her boot, "He's just as human as me. I'm eleven, he's thirteen. It's not that much of a difference. And Naruto's super-crazy!"
"He's not that crazy…" Miller tried to defend. Subtly giving Naruto psychological tests over the last six months showed him that Naruto was quite in his right state of mind. The screws were loose though… but who was he to judge?
The look on the young girl's face showed that she could not be swayed to that way of thinking, "What about the time two weeks after he got here when he shot himself in the leg to see what it felt like?"
Miller had to admit, that particular incident was one of the stupidest things he had ever borne witness to. In Naruto's defense however, he shot one of his clones so he didn't get the actual wound… it just felt like he had taken a 9 mm shot in the meat of his thigh for several hours afterwards. To this day when they trained with guns Naruto refused to touch the Beretta, "What better way to get acquainted with firearms then to know what it feels like to take a bullet?"
"He shot himself." Catherine said plainly, as if that would explain everything.
Miller walked up to Catherine and poked her in the forehead playfully, "First of all that boy's body is conditioned for extreme circumstances, second of all I'd like you to join in our physical workouts and see if there's much of a difference between you and him." Catherine took a rather large step back at that proposition. She saw what they did for training and she didn't want any part of it. Their warm-ups were what she considered workouts in of themselves, "And lastly in order to freeze you kind of need to stop moving." He said in a dry tone, "Teaching the brat English was hard for what single reason only dear?" He asked.
"Because Naruto hated sitting still and going through a book to learn it." Catherine admitted. It was true, once they started just doing things by pointing at things and labeling them he got English even faster than before.
"Exactly. He's fine." Miller said, walking back off of the porch to finish setting things in his sled, "He'll be back after I leave. Tell Naruto he can rest up for the week when he gets back, no training, just the normal chores. His body needs a break." Just as he said that, the huskies tied to the sled started going nuts, barking happily, turning Miller and Catherine's attention back towards the snowy road leading towards their property.
Jogging up towards the property was a figure that stood well around 5'4, wearing dark blue climate appropriate pants and a dark blue parka with the hood up and pulled tightly around the person's head. On the face of the figure was a black balaclava and their gloved hands were holding two large transport bags that were hanging from their shoulders steadily, "I got the stuff." The person said rather breathlessly as he came to a stop by the huskies, setting the large bags on the ground as well as the pack on his back.
Miller watched him walk up to the still happily barking huskies, taking a moment to play with them before he was addressed, "Giving you around thirty minutes to an hour to get everything on the list I'd say that you just ran basically 40 miles in under six hours… in the snow." The eyes through the holes of the figure's balaclava closed in what was more than likely a huge grin, "Naruto if this were the FOXHOUND cross-country march you would have slaughtered the record." He then narrowed his eyes, "You did that tree jumping thing of yours didn't you?"
Naruto scoffed as he pulled his hood back, revealing his full balaclava that had a metal plate stitched into the forehead of it, a leaf insignia in it, "What's the point of that? The road's a basic straight shot from here to town. Cutting through the woods wouldn't have helped." He then pulled his balaclava off to reveal bright blue eyes, familiar whisker-marks, and spiky blonde hair that was at the moment matted down due to the length of time he had been wearing his balaclava, "Are you jealous Master Miller?" Naruto quipped.
"That smart mouth won't fly in any military brat." Miller said. He had drilled it into Naruto's head a thousand times. Even when not on duty you shouldn't run your mouth around superiors. Was Naruto talented? Hell yes. Was Naruto also a grade-A smartass of the highest caliber? Absolutely.
Naruto shrugged his shoulders before stooping down to grab the bags again, "I guess it did in mine."
Miller rolled his eyes behind his sunglasses as Naruto walked towards the house with the things he had brought from town, "Apparently it didn't since they decided to throw you in a river to get rid of you. Bastards dumped you in my lap to make a decent soldier out of you. I wonder where you'll float to if I throw you back in the stream and let you drift again." He said as he got onto his sled and prepared to leave.
"You'll have to wait for spring then Master Miller." Naruto said as he jumped up the stairs to the porch to be met by Catherine opening the door for him and letting him inside. Naruto took his boots off at the door and walked towards the kitchen, "Hi Kitty." Naruto said in greeting, getting a shove for his trouble, "Mean."
"Don't call me that then jerk." Catherine warned as she watched Naruto place the bags down on the ground with a significant thud, "How heavy are those?" Naruto gave an 'I don't know' gesture as he unzipped them and started taking out groceries, "Good God Naruto, you make me feel lazy sometimes…" She muttered as she tried lifting one of the bags off of the ground only to put it right back down after a moment, "Kids shouldn't work like this."
"This kid does." Naruto said. For some reason Catherine didn't like him training so much. She didn't like him aspiring to become some kind of soldier like Master Miller, at least not as intensely as he was working. His simple response to that was, 'What else am I going to do with my life?' For all intents and purposes he didn't exist, "What else am I going to do? Go work with no identity at all? Besides, fighting is all I know how to do."
Catherine knew that Naruto was fully aware of what Miller was leaving to do. Miller could still pull some strings, and his contacts could get Naruto an identity. What he would do with it from that point was up to him though. It was difficult to gleam enough information out of Naruto to fill in the needed blanks however. They damn near wouldn't have figured out his birthday without hounding him about it for months. They were very upset to find out that it had already passed when they found out a few weeks ago his birthday was on October 10th.
Moving to assist Naruto with putting up the things he had bought, Catherine tried to reason with him, "Why do you think you have to fight? You could do something else."
Naruto grunted in a disbelieving manner, "Watashi wa ta ni nani ka (What else could I do)?" He said in Japanese, not really wanting an answer from her, hence why he switched languages.
Catherine smiled to herself, "Anata wa dangan no kawari ni aniki o anata no nou o shiyou suru koto ga dekimasu (You could use your brain instead of bullets big brother)." She noticed him look at her in shock. Ever since he got good enough at English to understand how to use it he hadn't heard her try to use any Japanese. He didn't know she had gotten any better at it.
Naruto let out a chuckle as they continued to work by themselves in the large house, "Don't you always call me musclehead anyway? And besides, I like using blades more… except for the FAMAS… How did Master Miller get a FAMAS?"
"Don't ask me…" Catherine said. Somehow things always got back to Naruto talking about fighting. He was always training, even when he was just supposed to be resting and watching TV, "I don't know, I don't want to know." She sounded rather snappish.
Naruto let off a nod that she couldn't see, knowing why she was speaking that was so suddenly, "Kitty I know you don't like me wanting to fight… but someone has to do it, you know?"
"Why?" Catherine turned towards him, glaring at his response. Soldiers were people, flesh and blood people. When soldiers fought that meant that people died. Naruto was training to be a soldier and no matter what he would either be the one killing or the one dying, "Why do you have to fight? Why does anyone have to fight?"
Sometimes Naruto forgot that Catherine was just eleven. As a student she had the equivalent of a freshman in high school's education, she actually enjoyed explaining things to Naruto about the world. But while there were many things she understood there were still some things that a child couldn't comprehend, at least a child that had never found a good reason to fight. Naruto was not in this mindset, "I wish I could give you a good reason… but I only have one, and it doesn't really apply as to why I'm fighting. Maybe when I find out a good reason I can give one to you."
"That's not good enough…" She replied, "How do you think you're going to survive battles without having anything to fight for? I may not know much about war, but dad always told me that having something you think is worth fighting for helps you come home."
"I don't have anyone that I need to protect… and I don't have some desire to reach a high-rank." Those were the reasons that he fought when he was a ninja of Konoha, but now he wasn't sure just why he would fight, "I guess I'll just have to stay alive long enough to come up with my own reason."
Catherine held a frown on her face. She would just have to find some way to convince Naruto against fighting somehow before he decided to go and leave. Her big brother wasn't about to go and get his head shot off if there was anything she could do to convince him not to go… but for now his excuse would have to do.
Miller sat at a table in a bar as a rather thick file was passed to him. Stopping it with his hand he let out a short chuckle, "You work fast Colonel. I only got you the last of the kid's 'information' a week ago."
Across the table from Miller sat an older man in a grey military suit with medals adorning it graciously, "After the mess that was Zanzibar Land I was owed a few favors a little further upstairs. And if you think this kid is worth looking out for then I could at least help you with this. Between you and me I needed the break anyway."
"Military life getting you down Roy?" Miller asked amusedly, "I remember you getting all on my ass for retiring not even a year ago. Can't the high-ranking Colonel Roy Campbell cut it anymore?"
Campbell shook his head with a hearty laugh, "It's not a matter of being able to cut it. I just don't want it. I keep thinking that you and Snake had the right idea retiring. I think I might follow along with that. It sounds nice." He then gave a wry grin, "Not in Alaska though… not that this isn't a nice state."
Miller smirked, "Alaska's definitely keeping me in shape to say the least. That and the brat…" He rubbed a phantom pain in his jaw, "That's a completely different story though. No thirteen year old should hit that hard, run that fast, and do any of that other stuff…"
"Other stuff?" Campbell said questioningly.
"Other stuff." Miller confirmed without saying a word, "If you keep an eye on him when he finally begins his career you'll get what I mean by 'other stuff'. Until then I'll just keep the surprise to myself."
Campbell could only chuckle. If Miller was impressed by the kid that he had managed to pick-up then he had to be something special. The man had already trained Solid Snake and had worked alongside Big Boss in his time. Praise was not to come easily, "I can't wait to see it."
Once again let's give this one a whirl. I've wanted to write something like this for a while and decided to either shit or get off the pot so to speak. So prepare yourselves, it's a celebration.
Next chapter will begin getting into Naruto's military career and other things that should be enjoyable. Stick around ladies and gentleman, if you're aware of my work then I hope you'll believe that there is good stuff to come soon. I'll be giving it my damndest.