The next chapter of Blood is Thicker than Bone. I'm sorry for the long wait, but lately life has been nothing but one shitstorm after another shitstorm and frankly I'm having my fill with all I'm having to go through. It's a wonder I haven't taken up drinking due to all of it even though I've been tempted at times to do so.
It's funny, here I am going through the worst years of my life the past couple years and yet I still try and write uplifting stories filled with moments that make you feel good.
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto
"What's the hubbub all about?" Kakashi asked as he looked on as a woman was trying to get inside Konoha but was being denied access.
Here he was minding his business as he was finished at his friends' grave as three weeks had passed since Naruto's meeting with the council when there had been a commotion at the gates to Konoha. Stopping to see what was going on he had saw that a person was being denied entry into the village as she was not being allowed in.
Kakashi stopped and got a good look at the woman, gauging her features.
The woman had short red hair that reached to her neck and green eyes. She was clad in simple grey clothing with a hood on the back of it to cover her head up and her body appeared frail. But despite it, she had a beauty about her. Something about her that would make you want to protect her and see no harm come to her.
(Huh, red hair,) Kakashi murmured to himself looking on as her hair was an unnatural color. The only girl he knew with that color of hair was that swearer who had been brought in months ago. Although hers was a bit darker than Tayuya's now that he thought about it. Just a bit lighter than a tomato almost.
"Please, won't you let me in?" She asked the gate guard who seemed adamant in not letting her pass.
"I can't let you in because you have no identity and you won't even tell us your name." The guard posted there said to her refusing to budge. "You know that we can't just let anyone in now with all that's happened the past months Kakashi." He said and the ninja saw his point.
"Please you have to let me in." The woman pleaded with him. "I've traveled so far to get here." She said as she had been traveling for weeks to get to this place and was now so close.
"Just let her in." Kakashi told them. "Its clear she means no harm, she has nothing on her person and I can tell by her movements and body posture that she won't cause any trouble."
"Fine, but its on your head if something happens." The guard said and opened the gate.
"Thank you so much." The woman said to him with a smile as they walked in. A smile that looked familiar now that he thought about it. "How can I repay you?"
"It's nothing, just why are you so adamant about getting in?" He asked her.
"I'm looking for someone." The stranger said to him
"I see, any chance you can give me a description so I can let people know?" He asked offering the unknown woman his aid.
"He is," She said and paused for a moment as if unsure what to say next. "Well I'm not sure what exactly what he would look like since it's been so long. But he'd have white hair and green eyes." She told him.
"Hmm, not many people I know with that description. There's a couple with green eyes but with white hair there's not many."
"I see." The woman said appearing downtrodden.
"Cheer up, I'll let people know and I'm sure someone here matches your description." He said as he walked with her unaware of who he was talking to and had closely related she was.
Naruto put away the book he had been reading, an old one and it was detailing the history of the man who had saved his life months ago, Tadakatsu Honda.
He woudn't ever forget that, the Samurai of Legend appearing before him right when Orochimaru was about to kill him and saving him and departing whence as he came. He wondered just how it was he had came to be as Tadakatsu's time had been long ago, before even Sarutobi was born in fact.
By chance at the library he had discovered a book and it was detailed about his life as well as the legends about him. How he held off The Takeda by himself, how his horse was shot off from underneath him and yet threw off dozens of attackers who jumped on him. But there was one tale that caught his interest. It was about the Mask that he had reclaimed from Orochimaru who had adorned it.
The Mask that Tadakatsu Honda wore was his most prized possession, even moreso than his fabled helmet as it prevented him from taking damage, hence why he was such a titan on the battlefield and regarded as Ieyasu's most treasured vassal. And yet despite his strength, Tadakatsu never once attempted to rebel or seize power as he was devoted to living by the code of the samurai.
Apparently before he died, Tadakatsu split his mask that granted him immunity to pain and damage in two pieces, because while he was loyal to his master, he knew that other vassals who served under The Tokugawa such as The Date Clan wouldn't be as loyal and would use it to try and obtain power if they could once he died. So he split it into half and had his sons put each half of the mask as far away as possible so no one could find them. Before he died he also made a vow that if the mask was found and merged whole again and an evil person was using its powers, he would come back from the afterlife and reclaim it so no one would ever use it for cruelty ever again.
Naruto as he put it up and left the library thought back to when Orochimaru wearing it had them dead to rights and were lucky to get out of there alive. He made a reminder the next time he was at a shrine to pay his respects to the Late Samurai who saved his life.
Unaware of where he was going he suddenly bumped into someone. "Oh, I'm sorry!" He said and turned to face who he had knocked into.
"Naruto, be more careful next time." A voice said and he saw Kakashi as he helped the woman who he was with. A woman Naruto had never seen before now that he glanced at her.
"Eh? Kakashi?" Naruto said before slyly grinning. "You finally got yourself a girlfriend huh?" He said teasing him.
"Very funny Naruto, I'm actually helping this woman out." Kakashi dryly said and Naruto looked on at the woman who had short red hair and green eyes.
"Whoa you look thin. Ain't you got any money to buy food? Go to Ichiraku's their food is great and they're cheap as well!" Naruto said looking on at her.
"Naruto…" Kakashi said bringing a hand up to rub his head as Naruto was being as tactful as always. "Please forgive my student's attitude Miss."
"It's alright, I've always had a small frame." The woman said and she suddenly looked on at Naruto's eyes and gasped loudly when she saw them.
"Eh? Something wrong?" Naruto asked as the woman looked as though she had seen a ghost now with the way she was looking at him. "Any dirt on my face or what?" He said as he rubbed his cheek
The woman was silent as there was no misplacing those eyes as she looked on them. She had only seen one other person with such warmth in them before in her lifetime. Naruto not understanding why she was looking at him like that frowned thinking she was gawking at the markings as she hastily turned around away from him and thinking her rude got ready to say something.
"Naruto," A voice said and Naruto turned his head and saw Kimimaro and with him was Tayuya.
"Kimimaro," He said and if he had been paying attention would've heard the gasp that escaped the woman's lips just now. "What's up?" He asked his cousin.
Kimimaro was about to say something when he also noticed the red headed woman who had quickly turned around and was looking at him. He paused what he was doing and looked on at the woman who looked on at him as her face was shocked
"Miss?" Kakashi said as the woman was in a stunned state even moreso upon seeing Kimimaro.
"I…until just recently I thought you were dead." The woman said to Kimimaro who said nothing as he looked on at the woman who brought her hands up. "All this time I thought I had lost you." She said sorrow in her voice and Kimimaro looked on stoically at her not saying anything in response to this mysterious woman.
"What's goin' on?" Naruto said not understanding what was happening between the two of them. Why was this woman so interested in Kimimaro right now? First she was into him, now she was into his cousin.
"I never thought the day would come when I would see you again." The woman said to him and Kimimaro backed up getting into a defensive stance a frown on his face.
"Who are you?" Kimimaro said to her, demanding to know. Something about this woman, something about her seemed similar but he couldn't place his finger on it. Just who was this woman?
"Has it been so long?" The woman said in a soft voice to him. "Have you really forgotten who I am?" She said as she smiled at him. "My little Kimi-kun?" She said and that name brought back long forgotten memories within him.
"…Mother?" Kimimaro whispered suddenly as there was only one person who ever called him that.
"You are so handsome," Ayako Uzumaki said to him with a smile. "My Kimimaro, my little Kimi-kun." She said and hugged him which startled Kimimaro as his mother wrapped her arms around him in an embrace.
"Wait a sec, Kimimaro has a mother?!" Naruto exclaimed which earned him a swat upside the head.
"Duh dumbass what'd you think he came from? Hatched from a damn egg?" Tayuya said to him.
"I am Ayako Uzumaki." The woman said announcing herself and her identity to them.
"Well this is a most unexpected day." Kakashi said with a stoic tone that told he was anything but stoic.
(I don't believe it, Kushina, Kushina had a sister all this time? She never told anyone about this woman.) He said in his thoughts which were going a thousand miles a minute as now looking at her hair he could see the similarities with the former Kunoichi. But was this all just a trick? A woman coming in and claiming to be his mother wasn't something you'd see everyday.
Naruto looked on surprise all over his face at seeing the woman. A woman, who if he was correct, was his Aunt and his mother's sister. It was a miracle, something he never thought he'd see.
But while his face was filled with delight and joy, Kimimaro's face was different than his as the last Kaguya had a different expression on it
"Why are you here?" Kimimaro asked her suddenly. And his tone of voice and words did not sound happy either right now.
"Kimimaro…" Ayako said to him.
"Why are you here? Why now are you here?" He asked and hurt appeared in his eyes. The look came as a shock to Naruto, as this was the first time he had ever seen him appear vulnerable.
"You abandoned me!" Kimimaro said anger in his heart. "You said you would always protect me, yet you left me to fend for myself!" He said and water formed in his eyes as he remembered what happened. That day when everything went to hell and he lost everything. "Do you know what my life has been like at all this past decade?"
Ayako looked at him sadness and regret in her eyes. "I know what I did was wrong Kimimaro and I understand why you are angry with me."
"Don't talk to me!" Kimimaro said as he turned around his back to her. "You have no idea what I've been through, how long I waited for you to show up!" He said his voice hurting with every word. Remembering how he waited for her to appear standing there rooted to the spot not moving out of fear he'd miss her so they could start a new life together but she never showed leaving him to believe she was dead and he was all alone.
"You have every right to hate me Kimimaro." Ayako said as she deserved his hate after what she had done. "I should've done more for you, much more. Than allow your father to do what he did with how he treated you. I have a lot to make up for you." She said recalling their past with how her Husband had treated him and her with no regard for either. "I, I meant to find you. I tried to after the battle with Mist but something happened during my escape attempt. When I recovered I tried to find any sign of you but I didn't see any. Mist was after anyone who could possibly be related or a family member of the Kaguyas. But now, now I'm here."
"I've been fine without you over half my life," He bitterly said to her as he turned around. "I don't need you anymore." Kimimaro said and walked away leaving them.
"Kimimaro come back!" Naruto shouted at him.
"Let him go." Ayako told him. "He has every right to be furious with me, I abandoned him when I promised to protect him. He never expected to see me again."
"…If you would excuse me Naruto I'm giong to have to go to Lady Tsunade about this." Kakashi said speaking up. "I'm sure there's gonna be a lot of surprised reactions to this." He said and vanished.
"Are you really my Aunt?" Naruto asked the woman looking on at her.
"Your eyes," Ayako said to him and smiled. "They're so full of passion, just like Kushina's." She said as there was no misplacing them.
"Kushina, Kushina Uzumaki. I'm her son, Naruto." He said to her. "Tell me…what was my mother like?" Naruto asked in an almost pleading tone. "I don't know anything about her. Please, tell me." He begged as he just wanted to know even one thing about her.
"She was very spirited, to her every day of life was a grand adventure to have." Ayako said to him with a sad smile recalling happy memories of her elder sister. "She was my closest and best friend." She said before her smile disappeared from her face. "She is dead isn't she?"
"Y-Yes," Naruto said his head down not looking up at her. "She died the day I was born, I'm so sorry." He told her painful regret in his voice at telling his Family Member that her sister was not of this earth anymore.
A hand, a soft gentle hand filled with warmth touched his cheek and he looked on up at the woman.
"It's okay." Ayako told him. "I feared she had been for some time as well but it's not your fault Naruto." She said comforting her nephew before wrapping her arm around him and giving him an embracing hug. "She lives within you," She said a tear falling down her cheek onto Naruto's hair as he buried his head in her stomach as he found out he was not the last, there were more Uzumaki's out there.
Tayuya looking on at the scene couldn't help but allow a smile to form on her face as she watched on.
"Can, Can you do Shikotsumyaku?" Naruto suddenly asked and Ayako shook her head.
"No, I nor Kushina possessed that ability. After so long with no Uzumakis born with or able to do it, we began to think that it had died out amongst us. But I can tell that you possess the Kekkai Genkai." She said to him.
"It must be strange for you, with all that's happened." Tayuya said to Ayako.
"Yes, I've never been in a place like this before as its so different than other places I've lived at." Ayako replied. "I don't know where to even start."
"You can stay with me! My place isn't very big but there's enough room for you to stay at for now." Naruto offered his Aunt.
"Thank you, that is very generous of you Naruto. But what about Kimimaro?"
"Let him sulk." Tayuya said speaking up to them. "It's better if you just let him blow off some steam first. Going after him now would just make things worst if you did. He'll come around eventually. He just needs some time first." She said to her and Ayako reluctantly nodded her head in understanding and Naruto did so as well, not liking it much but agreeing to it.
"I hope that one day he'll be able to forgive me for what has happened." Ayako said thinking of her son and how much she had to make up for him knowing the pain he was in.
"Well c'mon! Let's go celebrate!" Naruto said suddenly. "This calls for a celebration for us. It's not everyday you get to see or discover your family." He said taking her by the hand surprising Ayako a bit at his boldness. He also reached out and grabbed Tayuya's hand as well surprising her also that he was including her.
"I, I would like that." Ayako said with a smile as she wrapped her hand around his feeling how warm it was. "There hasn't been much for me to celebrate in a long time."
"Well let's go then." Naruto said as he lead the two.
Kimimaro made his way, not stopping as he had to blow off some steam, with everything that had just happened he needed time alone.
He leaned against a fence thinking back to what had just happened only minutes ago. His mother, he thought that she was dead all this time only for her to return alive. Anger and confusion filled his body at what had happened with them. It wasn't a trick or a ruse being played on him, that was his mother back there. No one could imitate or duplicate her.
"How?" He solemnly said to himself at what he had seen. "How was it she survived? All this time I thought she was no more and now she's back."
He knew how he acted was wrong with being angry at her, that he should be glad that she was alive, but he had been hurt so much before in his life. The hole in his heart from believing that this whole time she was dead leaving him with nothing. The unending pain he had felt from that day forth when he believed she was gone forever
He had discovered he had a cousin, and now his long lost mother was alive as well. All in little under a year.
"Mother." He said as a tear formed in his eye and fell down his cheek to the ground.
Far from the Elemental Nations, there was another land. But one very different than The Ninja World.
It was a land of constant war, as Warlords and Generals raised armies and battled for the right to rule the land. Each seeking to be the one who conquers it, tearing the land apart and leaving the inhabitants in fear of another attack and their villages and livelihood would be destroyed at any moment. Soldiers who sworn fealty to their Masters would turn on them at the first chance so to seize power for themselves.
Orochimaru had come to this land, as he saw it as the perfect place for him to go after he had fled and was meeting with one of those who vied to conquer and defeat the others
Orochimaru stood in front of the Warlord who was seated in the room. The man was clad in purple with armor decorating it and his face was obscured with a helmet and face plate leaving only his eyes visible. He had on a pair of gauntlets with claws on them covering his hands and wrists that he wielded.
"And why should I offer shelter to the likes of you Orochimaru?" The man seated on his makeshift throne said to The Snake Sannin. "If you're offering me men, I have plenty of soldiers." He said as he did not sound interested in Orochimaru's request that he had given him just now.
The Snake Sannin was out of The Elemental Nations, journeying to another land across the sea and had requested an audience with the man who was one of the warlords vying for power in this land to give him shelter for the time being.
"Indeed, but I can make them stronger." Orochimaru offered him "Surely you know fully well of what I am capable of doing with the Cursed Seal." He said with a smile. With him on his side was Kabuto and Sasuke, Sasuke now wearing new clothing as well.
"And turn them into psychopaths who will turn against me when they are let loose?" The man said with a scoff dismissing it. "I have no need for berserkers."
Sasuke gritted his teeth at his tone getting ready to speak up but Orochimaru stopped him shaking his head. Sometimes diplomacy is better than a sword for negotiations
"I'll admit the first times I've done it have been less than successful but I've made improvements and this time there'll be no flaws or them acting rashly." He said to the man and then went for his trump card he had. "I know you're not from this place my Lord, you're from the Elemental Nations as am I. And you were cast out and driven away years as have I recently been." He said and the man narrowed his eyes and his two bodyguards gripped their glaives tightly at his nerve to insult their lord. "But I can change your fortunes, make it so not only you'll conquer this land, but also enable you to return to there and conquer and destroy all in your path like who you desired when you first attempted it only to be driven away your army destroyed with only you surviving. All I ask is for three years of shelter for me to continue my work and train my own men. Is that really too much to asked?"
The Warlord stood up from his throne and descended down the stairs before stopping before him as each stared at one another.
"Agreed." The man said and offered his hand out. Orochimaru stuck his own out and shook the hand symbolizing a new alliance that had been made between them. "But I lead and point the sword in which my armies attack, understand?" He said and the claws on his gauntlet extended narrow inches away from skewering his wrist as a warning.
"You have my word." Orochimaru said to him and broke the handshake. "I shall begin soon for you." He said and turned and walked away with the two joining him. As they walked down the hallway he noticed Sasuke was unhappy at how it transpired.
"Patience Sasuke-kun, sometimes you have to grovel a bit in order to get what you desire." Orochimaru said to Sasuke as they walked. He had only taken the most valuable men and resources from The Land of Sound with him when he had fled The Elemental Nations, anything else had been discarded and destroyed when he abandoned it.
"Three years, that is how long it will take for me to gain the power to kill Itachi and Naruto?" Sasuke asked him again and he nodded his head.
"Three years shall do, when we return to The Elemental Nations in that time, you will be far stronger than you ever dreamed you'd be." Orochimaru said to him. "You'll not ever have to know fear again."
"So be it." Sasuke said as he had made his choice.