KnightOfZaku: Actually I don't plan on Naruto being entirely too dark. Only when it concerns his hate of Iwa will he ever actually be dark. The rest of the time he'll just stick to himself and seem like he's lost in thought about the plans I kept having him mention. As for wanting him to beat up Anko again, it's likely not going to happen. He hates her and stays away from her and knowing his feelings on the matter she stays away from him. I'll also admit there won't be any kind of situation in the future where they encounter one another so it's not going to happen really. In fact, Anko has only one more actual role in my story that won't come up until later in the Shippuden years.
FoxFan: Naruto will not be meeting Karin at all. The reasons why are explained in this chapter as it'll be really obvious. Plus on a side note I'm really hating her character. At first I just didn't care about her too much since she was just a fangirl with a slight purpose but the recent chapters have just pissed me off to the extreme. She complains that she's not a fighter, that she can't do anything to help Sasuke in his fights but then out of nowhere she pulls out the chakra chains? And judging from how she wasn't shocked at all and that Orochimaru even commented calmly how it was the same power as Kushina means they both knew she could do that. She had that kind of ability and she complains she's weak and can't help and then never uses it before this despite having multiple opportunities to show it off and be helpful?! Against Bee she could've used the chains to hold him down. Against Danzo she could've used them to escape his hostage attempt. And yet, she never did anything with them! While before I just didn't care about her, now I hate her with a passion to the point I've even been considering removing her from a couple roles she would've had in my other stories. It doesn't help that she's the poster child for abusive relationships. As for Hinata, Kakashi and Jiraiya; they're all shown in the chapter as well.
Author's Note: Most of the rest of the reviews were either saying not to listen to the doubters, which I wasn't planning on doing, or reassuring me that they'd stay with the story, thanks for those. The only other things that were said were either idle speculation about the future of the story or comparisons of my Naruto with canon Sasuke and Obito. To me, that's kind of a good thing considering that's what I was going for. But for most of my readers that seems bad. Also my reviewers seem split as around half comment that Naruto leaving is completely understandable and logical while the other half says it makes no sense and is too large of a leap from just an Iwa hating but loyal genin to this now going rogue Naruto. But still, it was planned from the beginning and I'm not about to change it.
The last thing I'd like to talk about is my inspiration for writing this. One of the reviews actually asked me that and instead of just answering him alone I figured I would share with everyone because it's crucial to how I developed this.
Originally I was actually trying to think up a KumoNaruto story but it wasn't going to well. No matter how I adapted the story idea and plot it either came off as cliché or forced. This was actually before I started typing but when I was just thinking of ideas in my head and occasionally writing them down in a notebook. Then the Naruto/Sasuke clash after the Danzo fight happened and there was that one panel with Naruto holding a Chidori and Sasuke holding the Rasengan while Naruto says "Our roles could have been reversed." Next thing I knew I had ideas up the ass about a story where Naruto was the one who fled the village while Sasuke stayed loyal. I took the best of them and spent a long time refining them the best I could until I got a plot that both made sense and was interesting, to me and the one friend I ran it past at least. So I went from there and soon had chapter one all ready and posted. I went from there a little and then out came Obito's full back story. I actually noticed how similar it was to my own idea with only a couple tweaks and rather than try to distance it from that distinction I actually liked it so I instead tweaked it the other way so that it was even closer a comparison. See, when Obito's story was first revealed I loved it. He was a guy just like Naruto who was full of dreams to be the Hokage and was always wanting to help and have fun. When he 'died', he died happy knowing his best friend would protect the girl he loved and that in the end they managed to save her and work together flawlessly. Then it turns out he survived but that just meant he could return to them and keep his 'good times' longer. He constantly was trying to recover as fast as he could just to go back home when he finds out his friends are in danger so he rushes out to help, only to see the worst thing he could possibly imagine happen; his best friend killing the girl he loved, the one that friend himself swore to protect. Obviously he lost it and lost all hope entirely, coming to believe the world is hell and nothing but lies and pain. Then there's Madara with a smile and a glue stick to put him back together in his own image and boom, you have our main villain. It was all done in a very believable and enjoyable manner. Now I'll admit, I don't like how Naruto returned him to a good guy as I would've preferred if he stayed true to his beliefs and died a villain but that's not the point here.
The point is that I wanted to further that parallel of Naruto and Obito because that's what I was going for; a Naruto that like canon is full of hopes and dreams but then has those violently crushed and ripped from him. I wanted a Naruto where after losing everything, the only reason he kept going is because he wanted revenge. He'd stay with Konoha because he knew nothing else but his hope and trust in his home would've been torn down by learning all the truths that were kept from him. He'd train to be stronger all in the hope of eventually getting revenge but that over the course of the story he'd come to see other things that would both drive him further into it but also try to pull him away from it. I wanted Naruto to be like Sasuke as a revenge driven person and be like Obito as someone that's lost there hope in the world and only wants to bring it down, even if he's only focusing on one part of it. Naruto would know that in the grand scheme of things it was wrong but he wouldn't care because it was the only thought that gave him comfort as it was the only thing that kept him sane. Obito had Madara to hold onto with the Moon's Eye Plan but Naruto had to make a plan of his own so he latched onto the most obvious one like many would and began to want revenge on the people that hurt him. I took the ideas from there to make this and I'm honestly very happy with how it's all turned out, even if some aren't happy with Naruto going rogue or other things.
Anyways, I've rambled on long enough, thanks for sticking with it this long. Here's the final chapter of part one for you. Enjoy!
30 – To the Future
"Welcome back Tayuya. We've missed you." Orochimaru commented as the girl knelt down in front of him at the base. "Now if you'd be so kind as to explain how you got here? Without Naruto I may add?" The snake Sannin asked as it was true, the blond jinchuriki was nowhere in sight. Orochimaru had expected that if Tayuya was here then Naruto was as well yet the messenger that brought her to him when she arrived also told him she arrived alone. He knew Naruto had to break her out as she wouldn't be here otherwise.
So where was he?
"The blond broke into the ANBU jail I was being held at and freed me in the middle of the night." Tayuya started, holding back on her usual cursing as he disliked it when she was actually reporting to him. "He told me that you had an agent contact him and give him instructions on how to free me and also told him to kill Juugo and get the Uchiha kid. After getting me out he tricked the Uchiha into coming along by claiming it was a late mission they had been chosen for, with me playing the client as a deep cover agent in your forces getting help to bring you down from within Orochimaru-sama." At this the man chuckled thinking it a good irony that Naruto would make Sasuke serve him willingly by tricking him into expecting an eventual attack order against him. Tayuya even spared a moment to smirk as well as she found it hilarious. However she dropped it as she went back into her explanation. "We were making good time, had just hit the Valley at the border when some Konoha brats caught up. The blond took care of them while I fought the Uchiha. However because of my time in prison and only mild chakra reserves from a couple soldier pills, he was able to overpower me. I tricked him into combat against the blond and ran to our border outpost for reinforcements but when we got back they were all gone. There were signs of further fighting after my escape but nobody was there, alive or dead. I don't know what happened Orochimaru-sama but decided returning to your side was the best option so I headed back, leaving a couple agents to search for clues about what went on and where they might've gone if they hadn't returned to Konoha." She finished as Orochimaru contemplated her words.
Obviously something major happened after she left but what? Had Naruto decided to return to Konoha after all? Had, by some miracle even he couldn't conceive, Sasuke and the team managed to overpower Naruto and force him back? Or was it a third option he had yet to think of? Clearly he was going to have to wait until either those agents came back or others came up with news of the tale. It was a good thing he could be patient then. A man with dreams of immortality required that virtue as achieving that goal alone was going to take time, let alone everything that could be done after obtaining it.
"I see..." He started, getting the girl to raise her head and face him. "Well I can't hold you accountable here Tayuya as you did exactly what I would've wanted in that situation. However I do find your performance against Sasuke-kun very disappointing. Despite the handicap, you should have been quite capable of bringing him down without assistance. It seems you'll need more training." Tayuya shivered at how he emphasized the last word, already knowing her future was going to be painful. "For now, get yourself some rest and nourishment. Your new training schedule to bring you back into shape will begin tomorrow." The red headed teen nodded, inwardly cursing her luck, as she then got up to leave. Once she was gone the man tapped a hand on his chin in thought. "Kabuto, tell me your thoughts. You know Naruto-kun better than I."
"I'm not sure myself honestly." The silver haired teen admitted, coming out of the shadows behind Orochimaru to stand in front of him. He adjusted the glasses on his face for a second before continuing. "On one hand, by leaving the village he's branded himself a rogue and knows he can't go back so I don't see him returning willingly. I also find it impossible for any team of, to quote Tayuya, 'brats' managing to bring him down either. It would take jonin level skill and Konoha currently can't afford to expend those kind of resources. But that leaves the question of what happened and all I can think of is three options." The Sannin quirked a brow as Kabuto held up a finger. "One is that Naruto beat them and took them all somewhere, where is up in the air at this point as I don't know anyplace outside the village he'd feel he could do such a thing." A second finger went up. "Two is that an outside person or group interfered and took one or all of them to wherever they are. The only people I can think of to be bold enough to try such a thing would be Akatsuki but in that case they would have only taken Naruto and left the dead or unconscious bodies of the rest there." A third finger. "The last option I can see is someone from Konoha came along between Tayuya's leaving and her return to take them all back to the village. Perhaps a back-up team of genin sent after the original considering the village's resources right now."
"I see. I find the second highly unlikely as I know Akatsuki as well as you and know they wouldn't make a move on Naruto-kun so quickly after a failed attempt. The first holds little merit as well since there are few places in the area he'd be capable of using to hide a team and himself without any trace being left behind. Which leaves the third option, which is also the most likely knowing Tsunade and sensei." Orochimaru mused before shaking his head. "Alas, it seems though that we'll simply have to wait for our spies in Konoha to report on the true outcome before knowing. A shame Sasuke-kun wasn't brought here by Naruto-kun but at the very least Tayuya was returned and Juugo slain. I'd have hated for Konoha to have gotten any valuable information about my works from either of them." Orochimaru sighed out as Kabuto only nodded in agreement. "There will be other times to gather one or both of them under my thumb but for now I believe it would be best to move on with my other goals."
"Inuzuka Daichi, you are one of Konoha's top trackers not in ANBU as well as a personal confident of Uzumaki Naruto." Tsunade began, Jiraiya and Kakashi standing off to the side with the man in question stood in front of her desk. It had been a day since Naruto's vanishing and things had been very hectic in the village, though the full reasons why were known only to a few. Sasuke and Sakura had managed to wake Shikamaru and Neji and gotten them to help carry Kiba and Akamaru before heading off, managing to run into Jiraiya on the way back. Once the man saw them he turned from the idea of chasing Naruto to instead bringing them back to the village, knowing that they were vulnerable to just about any enemy force that Orochimaru could send out at that moment. It had pained him to essentially leave his godson to whatever he was doing but he felt he didn't have any real choice at the time.
"I'd say we're closer than confidant's Hokage-sama. I and my wife view the boy as a second son and he knows it. We have ever since our late son Koji, his old teammate, brought him and their other teammate Sakuya over to meet us. I'm guessing whatever mission you've called me for involves him and whatever mess the village is in?" Daichi asked as he had his arms crossed over his chest. His ninken Hime sitting next to him with her focus on the busty blond as well.
"That's correct. Uzumaki Naruto has gone rogue and joined Orochimaru. Knowing your connection to him as well as your tracking skills, I want you to lead a small ANBU team to him to subdue him and bring him back to Konoha." The woman explained as Daichi's eyes narrowed and he glanced down at Hime.
"I see... Permission to speak freely ma'am?" He asked, confusing the woman and the other two in the room slightly.
"Excuse me?!" Tsunade shouted as Daichi turned his gaze to Jiraiya and Kakashi for a moment before bringing it back to her. "Now listen here Inuzuka-"
"I wasn't finished, and you did allow me to speak freely." He interrupted getting her to growl. "If you wanna rant at me about my language then at least let me finish before I tune this shit out." He paused for a moment to see if she would be quiet, Jiraiya quietly in awe at the man's audacity to speak to his Hokage in such a manner without fear while Kakashi sighed, having expected something along these lines.
"Then talk, and see if you aren't strung up outside my window in five minutes." Daichi only scoffed at the threat that he knew she could make good on as he truly felt what he was about to say was right.
"You want me to find Naruto and bring him back to the village when you think he's gone to Orochimaru? That's fucking retarded. Naruto would have nothing to do with that bastard in a million years. Leaving the village is one thing. I can honestly see that, all things considered, but for Orochimaru? Bullshit. Whatever is pointing you down that road is a false trail he's set for whatever reason. I know because it's just the kind of shit the brat would pull since subtly is not his best area and he damn well knows it. It's why he's so damn good, he knows what he can do and plays off it. Whatever Naruto did after leaving the village; tricking you all into thinking he's headed for the snake is just a ploy to hide his tracks."
"If that's what you were going to say then why didn't you just say so?" Tsunade growled, understanding what he was saying but still wanting to know why he insulted her.
"Because I'm not about to go after him, that's why."
"WHAT?!" She shouted again as he blatantly refused to obey the order.
"I may not know where he's going or what he's planning but I know the endgame behind it. Even Kakashi over there could have told you that." Daichi admitted while pointing to the silver haired man. "His end goal will be to blow Iwa off the map and I for one support that. You send me out after the kid and I can guarantee I'll find him. But I'll also promise you that I'll join him in a heartbeat before bringing him anywhere near Konoha. He left for a reason and I ain't about to drag him back when I know it involves his vendetta against the bastards that took my boy. So you want me to find him? Well with all due respect Hokage-sama, fuck you." Daichi finished, speaking in the same even tone he had started with, though his face was a hard scowl and Hime was nodding in agreement next to him. Tsunade was openly snarling at the disrespect he was giving her while Kakashi had his head down and Jiraiya was openly gaping at the man.
"His actions may start a FOURTH Shinobi War! You're actually supporting that?!" Jiraiya half asked, half shouted at the man while Daichi only nodded.
"Those bastards took my son and a girl I came to care for while leaving Naruto in such a fucked up state I haven't seen him smile around me or my wife ever since. I am not about give them any mercy and I hope when the time comes Naruto somehow contacts me and lets me in on it because I can promise you if he does I'll go rogue just as fast to get my pound of flesh for Koji and Sakuya and on everyone else that has fucked me and mine over." Daichi growled out getting Jiraiya to shake his head, knowing Daichi had to be part of the reason Naruto had been refusing to give up on his hatred. Kakashi was staying silent as he knew that the man was always like this whenever the topic turned to Naruto or his late students. Thanks to Koji frequently bringing the two orphans over as well as the few times Kakashi asked him to come by and help with training, Daichi had formed a very strong bond with the team and viewed Naruto and Sakuya as his own kids just as much as Koji was. Losing two of them and seeing what had become of the third actually drove the man into an angered depression for a couple months where all he did was drink or take the most violent missions he could to work out his stress. Daichi eventually came around but he's never forgiven Iwa and has hated them just as much as Naruto, freely offering the blond help in crushing the village whenever it was mentioned and only further enforcing Naruto's belief that Iwa's destruction was the right move.
"Get out of my office." Tsunade growled, making Daichi scoff once more but he turned and left without a word along with Hime. The woman grabbed a spare sheet of paper and crumpled it in her hand, mainly because it was likely the only thing she could do without getting violent to vent the stress Daichi had just forced on her. "Fucking prick."
"I did warn you that he wouldn't track him down Tsunade-sama." Kakashi pointed out, as once he had learned she called him in the man had told her it was a bad idea.
"Shut up Kakashi."
"I can't believe he'd really push Naruto into this like that. He's old enough to have fought in a war and yet he's willing to start another one at the drop of a hat?" Jiraiya sighed out as he ran a hand down his face.
"The Inuzuka have always been a very family oriented clan Jiraiya-sama. What hurts one, hurts them all. When one is angered, the entire clan rallies behind them. It's honestly only been through Tsume's guidance and Sarutobi-sama's will that they haven't stricken back at everyone else for everything that's happened over the years. Iwa, Kumo, Kiri, Suna, pretty much anytime one of their members or close friends have been killed they anger against the ones responsible and desire their retribution. That's why their clan head has to be very good at keeping them in line through force when needed and absolutely loyal to the Hokage's orders. It's likely half the clan would've been out getting whatever vengeance they felt they needed by now had they not." Kakashi explained, the other two nodding their understanding. The Inuzuka clan was more primal than other people due to their connection to their ninken and the jutsus the family employed bringing out their animal instincts. They were a firm believer in the phrases 'an eye for an eye' and 'might makes right' which is why the clan head had to both be the strongest they had as well as the most level headed, to make sure the rest of them didn't fly off the handle whenever tragedy struck. Before the villages were formed the Inuzuka were known to roam from area to area and take missions from people as needed but when one was harmed the entire clan retaliated. Joining Konoha had calmed them down considerably but had not removed their old attitudes either.
"Well now what?" Tsunade growled while Jiraiya sighed and ran a hand through his hair.
"Well, despite his attitude about another possible war and his disrespect to you, we did get a couple useful bits of info from him."
"That Naruto isn't going to Orochimaru." Jiraiya explained with Kakashi nodding his head. "Kakashi said the same thing when we told him and now another person close to Naruto has said the same thing. The boy isn't going to Orochimaru and that's likely a false trail to throw people off." The jonin nodded his agreement as Tsunade spun her chair around to overlook the village.
"Then where's he going? And why try to take the Uchiha with?"
"Both Sasuke and Sakura reported that in their fight Naruto mentioned a plan of some sort and that Orochimaru was step one. Obviously if we're right that he's not going to the man then step one was to trick us into thinking he was to send us in the wrong direction." Kakashi began to reason.
"He also said he wanted someone he knew would watch his back to come with and that he could help Sasuke with his own goal of killing Itachi if he came along, which is why he first tried to trick him into coming with before flat out demanding it and putting up a bit of effort to force it. But when Sasuke fought back all the more, he decided to drop it and leave." Jiraiya continued. "But as for where he or his plans go from there is up for debate. The only thing we know is the last part; destroy Iwa."
"Should we send a message to warn them about Naruto?" Kakashi asked and Tsunade spun back around and shared a look with Jiraiya before shaking her head.
"No. While we don't want him to attack the village, revealing he's gone rogue to the rest of the Nations may provoke one of them into action. With how thin we're stretched due to the Invasion, it's best to keep up the illusion that he's here and loyal to keep them back a little longer. Eventually word will get out but I want Konoha back on it's feet at one hundred percent before it does." The Hokage reasoned making both men nod. "Now the last thing is what to do with any request involving Uzumaki. Ever since his heritage came out and the ruckus from the Invasion calmed down, Konoha has actually gotten a fair few asking for him for one specific reason or another. Some are marriage contracts from nobles for their daughters and the like that I would've just funneled to him since he could handle those himself. But some are actual mission requests."
"Just claim he's busy with another mission Tsunade-sama. If we want to keep up the illusion he's still here then that's all we can do. If they really want him so badly that they'll wait then you add on that other more important missions keep popping up requiring his attention first." Kakashi offered as Jiraiya sighed.
"Yeah, that'll work for a few but some of these can't be called off that easily Kakashi. Some are from very high ranking people that want Naruto for something important. We can't risk offending these people by claiming something else is more important than them but we also can't tell them Naruto is missing either. Hell, one of the requests is from the Daimyo wanting Naruto to join the Twelve Guardian Ninja for his personal guard!" The man told him as Kakashi was greatly shocked by this and Tsunade only nodded to confirm it. "His fight in the Exams and actions in the Invasion impressed a hell of a lot of people and just about everyone wants him."
"They won't believe an injured excuse due to my own reputation as a medic and like Jiraiya said, we can't risk offending a few of these requests by placing value on anothers' over theirs. Sensei said he'd try to figure out something but we're going to need an answer soon as the deadline to a few of these is coming up." Tsunade explained getting Kakashi to sigh before shrugging his shoulders, happy he wasn't involved in the politics of running the village. The woman's eyebrow twitched at his disregard but before anything could happen an ANBU agent appeared in the room at a crouch before the Kage.
"We've finished searching Uzumaki's apartment for any evidence Hokage-sama. There was nothing but a strange seal located on the underside of his mattress and knowing his proficiency at the art we felt it best to save that for Jiraiya-sama to handle." He reported getting Kakashi to scoff.
"Good, because I know that seal and it would've blown up anybody besides Naruto, me or Jiraiya-sama." He commented before looking up to Tsunade. "That seal is where he hid his most valuable possessions Hokage-sama. He didn't trust a bank or anyone else with anything of his, even money. Once he learned of his heritage he had Sarutobi-sama empty his family accounts and then with some help from me made a basic seal where nobody would look to store things. As his skill in sealing grew he tweaked it and added more features until it became what it is now; a sealing matrix attached to a chakra sensor and explosive tag chained to seals hidden in his own walls. If anyone the seal doesn't recognize tries to open that seal to get what's inside it chains to the seals in the walls to reinforce and lock the room down before exploding to kill everyone inside it without everyone out not even knowing it's happened." Tsunade raised a brow at him before looking to Jiraiya, only for him to shrug in response.
"The kid got paranoid about his valuables being broken or taken. Knowing his background, I can't really blame him." Tsunade nodded and stood up as Jiraiya only turned to the door. "Let me guess, you're coming with as we open it up to see if he left anything?" Her pointed stare was all the answer he needed.
"It's weird seeing this place so empty." Jiraiya commented as they walked through the living room of Naruto's apartment. What was once filled with pictures of him with his old team or a couple of his new along with the Ichiraku's and Sarutobi, was now bare. No pictures lined the walls and there was nothing on the shelves either. His pantry and fridge were still stocked with what he had left in there but otherwise there was nothing to suggest that anybody had lived there before. As they walked into his room they saw that even it was stripped bare. The dresser was empty and the bed was neatly made, even though nobody was apparently coming to use it again. With a sigh Jiraiya flipped the mattress up revealing a black circle of lines in a rough parody of the Uzumaki spiral in the center of it.
"That's it?" Tsunade asked as Kakashi walked up and pricked his thumb with a kunai before swiping it over the seal.
"It'd be neater had he not just been adding onto an old seal instead of flat out making a new one." Jiraiya defended as this seal had been one of Naruto's masterpieces and despite him going rogue, the man felt the need to defend his creation simply from the respect of one seal master to an aspiring one. Kakashi made a couple hand signs before placing his hand back on the seal and there was a puff of smoke as it's contents were emptied.
A single scroll.
Grabbing the scroll, Kakashi opened it and began to read out loud the message it contained.
"To Kakashi or Jiraiya; As the only ones capable of unlocking this I know it has to be one of you two. By now I'm likely long gone from the village and the Hokage is trying to catch me. Well don't. You won't find me as I learned how to avoid detection from the best, and the best is just as likely to join me as he is to leave you. I am sorry for leaving the village but I feel it's the right thing to do. Konoha will never allow me to achieve my goals so I'm going to get them without the village's aid. I can promise you that I'll never harm the village or spill it's secrets, so don't worry about them.
It's time for this fox to rise higher than the sky. Signed, Naruto."
"Well, he nailed Daichi's reaction." Jiraiya rolled his eyes as Kakashi handed it to Tsunade to read. "And he's promised to not reveal our secrets or harm the village so we have nothing to fear on that front." The jonin added with a slight eye smile.
"What's this last part mean? 'Rise higher than the sky.' Either of you get that?" Tsunade asked as she finished and handed the note to Jiraiya to check over. Kakashi shrugged as it made no sense to him and after giving Jiraiya a minute he shook his head as he rolled the scroll back up.
"I've got nothing. Naruto's never made any mention about the sky in any way or wanting to go above it. Or beyond it or any other metaphor you can think of. He seemed to have his mind firmly rooted to the ground."
"So we have absolutely no clue where he's going or what he's planning beyond 'kill Iwa'?" She summarized as they both nodded. "Great..."
"I still can't believe he's gone." Sakura muttered as she was at a restaurant with Sasuke, both covered in bandages from their fight with Naruto. Sakura also had a cast on over her right arm and had it held in a sling. "I mean, he was going to be leaving with Jiraiya-sama anyways but this is..." She trailed off as the Uchiha nodded. He understood what she was going for. Having him leave on a sanctioned trip and knowing he'd return was one thing; for him to go rogue and flat out admit he'd never be coming back was another entirely.
"Yeah. But the thing I want to know is what is he going to do now?" Sasuke asked before shaking his head. "He's obviously going to eventually target Iwa but right now he knows as well as we do that he's nowhere near strong enough. So where' he gonna go and what'll he do until he is?" The dark haired teen questioned as Sakura shrugged as best she could with only her left arm. "Yeah, that's what I'm getting too. I mean, even if Orochimaru actually does help him, he'll still end up waiting a couple years or so right? We've gotta find a way to get him back before that happens."
"I thought you supported his desire for vengeance Sasuke-kun?" The pinkette asked in confusion. Sasuke however shook his head.
"If it was only a few or he limited it to every Iwa ninja he met during a mission then I wouldn't care but Naruto wants to target even the innocents and civilians. I understand his motives and even agree that Iwa should pay but the thing is they already did. He may not feel like he's achieved his goal but he already has when he killed them at the Exams he took. And before you mention my own desire, my killer is still out there and I'm not going to involve anyone except his accomplices that would get in my way when I finally go for him. If he's on his own then I'll end it with Itachi. If he has allies that will fight for him or that he'll hide behind then I'll take them down as well. It's that simple." Sasuke explained as Sakura nodded. The two paused as their food came up and began eating, Sakura with a bit of trouble due to only using one hand but doing well enough. It was towards the end of their meal though that something they weren't expecting happened. Both were surprised when Hinata came into the establishment, the veins showing her bloodline usage fading as the chakra was cut off and she went straight to them, only pausing to assure the waiter that she was only there to speak with them about something important.
"S-Sakura-san, Sasuke-san!" She called out as she neared them. The two shared a glance before facing her as she looked out of breath and worried when she finally reached them. "P-please tell me K-Kiba-kun is lying!" She begged making Sakura sigh as Sasuke shook his head, both instantly knowing exactly what she was asking about.
"I forgot he was unconscious when Hokage-sama named that a secret." Sakura moaned, getting Hinata to gasp and Sasuke to sigh.
"Look, let us finish eating and then we can head to my place where we'll explain everything since you apparently already know." The teen offered as Hinata nodded slightly. Sakura scooted over slightly so that Hinata would have room to sit and the pair from Team Kakashi continued eating, though it was silent now due to the obvious tension Hinata's worried and confused presence had brought in. The pair finished quickly as they hadn't ordered much and after paying a bill they left, heading towards the Uchiha district where they wouldn't be overheard by someone. It was obvious from Hinata's demeanor that she wanted to ask but was holding herself back since she was told it was a secret. Ten minutes later and the three were sitting comfortably at Sasuke's kitchen table as he began to brew some tea his mother used to make whenever things got tense in the family.
"So, what did you hear from Kiba and how first Hinata. This way we can just fill in the blanks or fix any mistakes he made." Sakura opened up getting the Hyuuga heiress to nod.
"I h-had heard Kiba-kun w-was injured from a short n-notice m-mission and wanted t-to check on him. B-but when I got th-there I overheard him c-complaining t-to his sister Hana about Naruto-kun t-turning traitor a-and leaving the village. I w-went in and asked h-him about it a-and he said Naruto-kun was the o-one to hurt him and N-Neji-nii-san. He then s-said Naruto-kun l-left to Orochimaru!" She explained before hanging her head. "I d-didn't believe him a-and went to find b-both of you for answers. P-please tell me it's all a lie! He... Naruto-kun promised he would go on a-another date with m-me when he returned! H-He can't be a traitor!" She yelled, making both Sasuke and Sakura go wide eyed at seeing how much of an impression Naruto had made on Hinata. The two looked at each other before going back to Hinata only to noticed her shoulders were shaking lightly as she was on the verge of tears.
"Hinata..." Sakura tried to start before going silent. She wanted to help her and tell her that it was a lie because she didn't want to believe it either but it had clearly happened so she couldn't bring herself to lie to her. She also wanted to break the news gently but then nothing came to mind on how to do that. She was clearly at a loss as she couldn't lie to her nor was there anyway to blunt the truth so that it wouldn't be painful to hear.
"He did leave." Sasuke started, speaking rather bluntly, getting the attention of both girls. "He fought back when the team came up to get him back, causing all the injuries on us, Kiba, Neji and Shikamaru. And he did claim he was going to Orochimaru, in addition to saying he couldn't come back because of what he did." When Hinata let out a sob as the tears she had been holding back began to fall his sighed. "I'm sorry, but there's no dancing around the truth. Naruto's a missing ninja now, meaning when we see him again, it'll be our job to bring him in for the village." He admitted while Sakura scowled.
"You couldn't even try to be nice about it?" She asked as he only raised an eyebrow and glanced at her.
"No, because there's no way to be nice about this. The truth is Naruto ran off after fighting all of us and went to a traitor. How would you put that nicely?" He asked in a dry tone getting Sakura to open her mouth to argue before shutting it and turning away. "That's what I thought."
"You could've at least tried."
"Why... why would Naruto-kun l-leave the v-village for O-Orochimaru? D-doesn't he l-love his home here?" Hinata cut back in in-between her sobs as the Team Kakashi pair turned their focus back on her.
"Naruto... he felt the village was holding him back from getting his revenge on Iwa for his old teammates. He also didn't want to go on this training trip Hokage-sama planned for him to go on with Jiraiya-sama because he hates the man for a few reasons. I guess that's when someone from Orochimaru must've contacted him and offered help because he took it." Sakura explained as Sasuke narrowed his eyes.
"What I want to know is who contacted Naruto? The way I see it either village security was breached and someone snuck in to give him the offer or we have a spy in the village that was messaged to give Naruto the offer." Sasuke said, speaking his thoughts aloud and getting them both to wonder that themselves.
"Well I guess that doesn't really matter at this point since it's already over." Sakura shook her head before looking up at the ceiling in thought. "What now though is my question."
"D-did Hokage-sama s-say anything about what sh-she would do?" Hinata asked getting Sasuke to nod.
"Yeah, she's going to have Jiraiya looking for him in addition to his duties with his spy network. Kakashi will also be keeping an eye out whenever he's on missions and we plan on doing the same." Hinata thought quietly for a moment before nodding.
"Th-thank you for t-telling me all this." She said as she stood up, wiping her eyes with her sleeve. Sasuke nodded as Sakura gave Hinata a reassuring smile.
"No problem. And hey, don't worry about all this with Naruto. It'll all work out somehow eventually. I know it will." She commented and Hinata nodded. She intended to make sure it did.
Jiraiya groaned as he rubbed his head, still nursing a hangover from drinking the previous night. Having Naruto go rogue, maybe not to Orochimaru but still rogue all the same, was a major blow to him. Did he really hate him so much that he'd turn away from the village just to escape him? While there were obviously other factors in everything, the one thing Jiraiya noted that the others wouldn't say anything about otherwise was that he never bothered trying this until he was about to be forced on the trip with him. To Jiraiya, that meant he had been the final straw that made Naruto break away from Konoha. And so he had headed to a bar to bury his problems under liqueur and beautiful women like he usually would to cope. While he didn't get many beauties involved due to it being a regular bar and not a strip club, he had plenty of alcohol as his headache would attest to.
The man himself was walking down the main street of the village on his way out. He was going to get a good start on trying to locate Naruto while also giving his spy network the heads-up to inform him on any news about his godson by first seeing if he could pick up the teen's trail from the Valley. If he could then he'd follow it as far as it went, and hopefully it would go all the way to Naruto so that he could try and talk sense into him before bringing him back. If it didn't, then he'd go to the nearest town and hit up his contacts and put his whole network on alert agent by agent if he had to until news came in.
The Sannin was broken by his thoughts as a voice called out for him and turning around showed him young Hinata standing behind him, nervously tapping her fingers together and trying to keep her gaze up but occasionally letting it fall to the ground before raising it once more. 'If I remember right, that's the Hyuuga heiress Naruto went out to dinner with.' He thought as turned to fully face her. 'What would she want from me? Probably something involving Naruto I'm guessing.' Pushing his thoughts aside the man gave her a small smile. "Hello there. How can I help you?" He asked as Hinata tapped her fingers together for a second before seemingly coming to a decision with herself.
"Y-you're going to look for Naruto-kun r-right?"
'Thought so.' He inwardly called while outwardly nodding. "Yes I am."
"Please t-take me with y-you!"
"Say what now..?"
Now in Tsunade's office with the woman herself as well as Kurenai and Hiashi together Jiraiya was trying to understand just where this came from. Since this could potentially involve a roster change, they went to Tsunade's office. Since Kurenai and Hiashi were her sensei and father respectively, they had been called in. The entire time Hinata had been silent, only wanting an answer, while Jiraiya had been trying to figure out just why she wanted to come with and only really had one idea.
Naruto had really made an impression on her. He'd be impressed and thinking of various Icha Icha scenarios if he didn't already know nothing of the sort had happened between them.
"Alright Hinata, perhaps you could explain what this is all about please?" Kurenai asked as she was just as shocked and confused as Jiraiya was. Hiashi kept up a stoic face but even Hinata could tell he wanted answers.
"I f-found out Naruto-kun left the v-village and I w-want to do my part t-to help bring him b-back. When I heard f-from Sasuke-san and Sakura-san th-that Jiraiya-sama was going to l-look for him I wanted t-to go along with him to help. W-with my Byakugan, I c-could help him l-look in places he w-wouldn't be able to. A-also, it isn't r-right that Naruto-kun should f-feel held back by his home. I w-want to help him know h-he has a lot h-here for him so that h-he'll come back willingly." Hinata explained with a light blush as she felt embarrassed by being the center of attention. The adults all looked at each other silently for a moment before Kurenai sighed.
"Hinata, wanting to help is a good thing but why didn't you come to me or your father with this before hand? I don't mean to demean you but even you know that your Jyuken isn't the best and your skill with the Byakugan isn't the greatest among your clan. Shouldn't you get some more training in first before claiming you could help a Sannin spymaster in his search?" She asked getting Hinata to hang her head while Jiraiya ran a hand down his face.
"I appreciate the thought here kid, really I do, and it thrills me to know Naruto's got a girl like you worried about him but I don't think you should be coming with on this. You're still just a genin and I'm going to be jumping headfirst into a few dangerous situations during this search. I wouldn't want to put you at risk." He told her while Hinata turned to him.
"That's w-why I thought m-maybe you c-could train me a b-bit on the s-side when we wouldn't be l-looking into anything!" Jiraiya grimaced and how earnest she seemed to be and sighed.
"I don't know enough about Jyuken to really help with that and I know you're clan is kinda strict in what they let their ninja learn. No offense." He added with a glance at Hiashi, which the man merely waved off silently. "If you went with me, I wouldn't be helping much besides getting your basic abilities up with things like strength and speed training along with some other minor things. I could probably get you into fuinjutsu if you've got the aptitude for it but that'd be about it." Hinata hung her head as Kurenai placed a hand on her shoulder in comfort and Tsunade was merely listening in silence with a raised brow.
Surprisingly all eyes turned to Hiashi when he spoke in support of her desire. Knowing they wanted an explanation he continued. "I could grant her a few scrolls on our bloodline and taijutsu she could study with you as I know I could trust you to not reveal our clan secrets. Also, teaching her fuinjutsu would be nothing but good for her and the village as a whole as Konoha does not have enough skilled practitioners of the craft. The kind of training you could grant her would actually be perfect for her needs and growth. Besides, while Kurenai has pointed out she is not the best with her bloodline, having a Byakugan at all is still better than none. If you'd be willing to take her with and train her, then I would grant my approval." He finished to different reactions. Kurenai was shocked and only just keeping herself from gaping. Jiraiya was actually considering it now, knowing that this was a major move of trust on Hiashi's part and he didn't want to flat out refuse since he'd actually be given the tools he'd need to do a workable training schedule with the girl. Tsunade though, hadn't changed her expression much, merely raising her brow a bit higher in surprise.
Hinata though was smiling as she knew him well enough to know that this was his way of approving her desire to look for Naruto as well as saying that he believed in her. It told her that he'd still approve of a possible relationship between her and Naruto should they manage to get him back to the village. Knowing this, Hinata was more desperate than ever to get Jiraiya to bring her with.
"Wouldn't this throw off her teams' dynamics a bit?" Jiraiya asked as Kurenai shook her head to refocus before answering.
"Slightly but I know there are other genin without a full team now and it wouldn't take too long to bring them up to speed with how we work. We would certainly miss her but if you decide to take her and Hokage-sama approves then I won't object." The man hummed in response and went back to his thoughts before glancing at the blonde woman.
"Would you be willing to approve this in the first place? That's the last thing I'd need to know before deciding." He asked as she leaned forward and crossed her hands in front of her face. The woman didn't even glance at him but instead put her focus on Hinata.
"Hyuuga Hinata, I want you to be honest with me. The main reason you want to help so badly is because you have feelings for Uzumaki, am I right?" She asked getting Hinata to blush as Tsunade smirked. "Thought so. Knowing that, why should I send you? You're reasoning about a Byakugan user is sound, but in that case why not send a more experienced and stronger Hyuuga with Jiraiya? Why does it have to be you I send? Convince me on that and I'll approve of this." She offered as all eyes turned back to the youngest in the room. The girl fidgeted under their stares before hardening her expression as much as she could, impressive in and of itself considering just how she was, and answering.
"Because I h-have the best chance of g-getting Naruto-kun back w-willingly. It's t-true I care a-about him b-but he also c-cares a bit about me. He e-even promised me he would c-come back from a t-trip so I b-believe he w-will come back. This t-training would also b-be good f-for me and Konoha as a wh-whole. As the h-heiress to the Hyuuga clan, I n-need to be as s-strong as possible and training f-from Jiraiya-sama w-would be the best I c-could get. Please, send me t-to retrieve Naruto-kun." Everyone was silent as they stared at the young girl, Kurenai smiling while Hiashi had a pleased look on his face. Tsunade herself seemed impassive before glancing at the man who looked both resigned and pleased at the same time.
"Jiraiya, would you be willing to take her with you?" She asked, her tone not giving anything away.
"After a speech like that I'd be an ass not to. I'll take her if you say so." The woman looked back to Hinata with a smile on her face.
"Then you go pack your bags for a few years, you leave in three hours."
'Alright, time to take a break.' Naruto thought as he set himself down on a large tree branch and unsealed a scroll. Unraveling it revealed another sealing formula that after he pushed chakra into it released a small bento of food. 'It's not ramen but I can't afford to whip out a fire for every meal.' Rolling up the scroll and resealing it into his pocket, the blond picked up the food box and opened it up to begin eating, his thoughts on what had happened and what he was going to do.
After vanishing from Sasuke and Sakura, Naruto had run north along the border while staying in Hi no Kuni lands for a few hours. Once he was sure that there wasn't an immediate tracker on him the blond lightened up slightly and began to use what he had learned about erasing a trail from Daichi and began to do just that while also using the scent dampeners he had on him to erase his smell as well. With both of those things done the blond had then doubled back on his trail from another angle before heading south and then continued past the Valley even further. His hope would be that his original 'goal' of joining Orochimaru would fool them into just heading right into his country but if that didn't work they'd head north until his trail just stopped and vanished. If they still made it to him then he would just have to knock them out and keep moving as he wasn't about to kill anyone from Konoha if he could help it.
Thinking about where to go left him with only a few options but he did have them and was actually planning on hitting Takigakure first. He knew they were the only minor village with a jinchuriki so he was wanting to check and see if Akatsuki had made there move on another before he began his true plans. Being completely honest with himself, he knew it was only a matter of time before Akatsuki learned of his defection and came after him for Kyuubi. However the blond was confident he could set up a few safe spots before the inevitable confrontation so that he'd have a place to run and hide to. At least until he was strong enough to actually take them on, then there would be no running.
'Yo, Kyuubi? You awake?' Naruto called out mentally as he continued eating, keeping an eye on his surroundings in case of danger.
"I am child. What do you want?" The growling voice answered back.
'Are you aware of what I've done or we're you sleeping?'
"You are referring to the fact you have abandoned your home and are in the middle of nowhere right now correct? I am aware, I watched you throw the pink one over the cliff with much amusement." The biju admitted getting Naruto to roll his eyes before scowling.
'She wasn't going to die you know. It was just a shocking move to get them distracted so I could knock them out easier.' The demon within him scoffed and Naruto was sure if he was actually in the mindscape of the seal he'd have seen the fox rolling its own eyes at him. 'Anyways, I have a plan now alright? But, as much as it kills me to admit this, it'll need some of your help and cooperation.' The blond admitted.
"Oh? And what could I help you with child? My powers are aimed only at destruction. Your options with my involvement drop quite considerably." Without a word spoken aloud the blond began to explain his goals for the future and even the Kyuubi couldn't help but be impressed at the scale of everything Naruto hoped to accomplish. "My my, you are ambitious. However your desires intrigue me. I will help you child, if only you keep up your end of the bargain."
'It's a promise then. And I always keep my promises.' The blond thought before cutting their connection. At the same time he finished his food and using his gauntlet, burnt the bento box into nothing but ashes and stood up. "Time to keep moving then." Rubbing his shoulders slightly Naruto looked at the sky with a grin before turning his attention back on the path before him and running.
He wouldn't let anything stop him now.
Author's Note: And I'm gonna end it here. This marks the end of part one of my story. Sasuke and Sakura are resolved to bring Naruto back but still mourning his defection while Hinata has managed to spring her way onto a training trip with Jiraiya. Orochimaru has decided to leave Naruto and Sasuke alone for the foreseeable future and focus on some other projects first while Naruto himself is off to who knows where to do who knows what.
Well I know but I'm not telling yet.
Anyways, in other news, I will now be taking a break from this story as I instead go around updating my others here and there since they've been ignored long enough. I may also put out the first chapter to one of my other new ideas while I'm at it. Also, when I do come back to this story I'll be continuing right here. I won't make a new one with the Shippuden half but I'll just keep going here with it. I will though label the chapter differently when I do. Instead of being just Chapter 31 when I post it, it will be 31 – S01 to show that it's the first of the Shippuden half.
Anyways thanks for following this for so long. I'll try and get the next out soon for you all. So please review and favorite!