Summary: Desperate times call for desperate measures. The two greatest students of Jiraiya join forces via a unique method. A new power is forged to combat the mastermind of the Akatsuki and decide the fate of the world.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything
"So these are the children of prophecy..."spoke the grand elder of Myobokuzan as he peered into the crystal ball within his hands. The Chief Toad Gamabunta sat across from the elder, also watching as the students of Jiraiya changed the fate of the world. The nagging and aching injuries from his recent battle, were ignored as he focused on his blond haired summoner.
He suddenly let out a laugh at the absurdity of it all, "Who would have thought that Jiraiya's one little book, could possible save the world. In the hands of that brat no less."
The elder sage's eyes suddenly widened, "It looks like they're not done surprising us yet...
"I will believe in you Naruto Uzumaki." declared Nagato. "I can undone some of the damage I've done, but I need your help."
"My help?" questioned a stunned Naruto.
Nagato coughed, blood leaking out the corner of his mouth, "There's not much time to explain. Please place your hand on my chest, everything will become clear to you."
"Man, you look like you've seen better days." muttered Naruto as he got closer to Nagato, seeing the full extent of his weakened body.
Nagato coughed as he let out a chuckle, "You can say that again. What a drag, huh?"
Naruto smirked, "Now you sound like Shikamaru."
Nagato smiled, "I've studied your exploits. This is just another day at the office for you, turning an enemy into a friend. You truly are something else. You have great power, but you're going to need even moreif you're going to accomplish Jiriaya-sensei's dream. I want you to unite with you."
"Unite with you?" replied Naruto with a blank look.
Even Konan was lost on this one.
"Like you, I too am a descendant of the Uzumaki." explained Nagato. "Our clan has great power in our unique chakra. It's what allowed you to become a container for the Kyuubi and me to possess the Rinnegan. It's not much, but I wish to unite with you and merge my chakra with yours."
Naruto smirked, "I've got one grouchy resident already, one more won't hurt."
"Good." replied Nagato with a smile.
"Fair warning, if I don't like this, you're rooming with the fox." grunted Naruto as he placed his hand on his chest. "This ain't no vacation either. You'll pay rent just like the fox. You got that?"
Nagato laughed, "Ha! You're too much. Don't worry, once you get a taste of this, you'll be dieing to keep me around."
Konan didn't like where this was headed, "No Nagato! Please don't go!"
"I don't have much time left either way Konan. This way, I can make a difference, I can keep hope alive. There is nothing to worry about, the time is right."
"No, please..." she pleaded.
He gave her one final smile as he slowly rose to his feet, "I thank you for all you've done...my friend..."
Tears poured down her eyes as Nagato closed his and a look of peace she hadn't seen in years formed on his face.
"Don't worry, I'll look out for her. It's the least I can do." Naruto whispered to Nagato.
Nagato smiled at him before his body was engulfed in a white aura. The frail man cried out as his body turned into nothing but energy. Naruto couldn't believe how much chakra he was outputting despite being on his last legs.
'This is incredible...' thought the blond.
For her viewpoint, Konan was suddenly blinded as Nagato's aura emitted a bright white flash. Once she could see again, where two Uzumaki's once stood, there was now only one. Physically, Naruto had changed a little. He seemed to be a few inches taller, and his frame had packed on some more muscle. His spiky blond locks had lengthened a bit, and now possessed a few streaks of red. He looked down at his hands in amazement and when he turned towards Konan she was stunned by the site of his eyes. They were now a mixture between Naruto's own sage mode and the Rinnegan. They retained the shape and style of Sage mode, while adding the light purple coloring and ripple like pattern.
Naruto's expression of amazement quickly turned serious as he suddenly flashed through several hand signs before announcing, "Gedō: Rinne Tensei no Jutsu!" (Outer Path: Samsara of Heavenly Life Technique)
In center of the battlefield that was once the village of Konoha, there was a large puff of smoke as the Outer Path suddenly appeared on the ground, standing at a great height. It's mouth opened up as wide as possible and suddenly green tendrils of energy surged forward and shot out all over the village touching corpses.
"What's going on here? Did Naruto lose somehow?" muttered Shikamaru with a worried expression.
Ino kept her eyes on Shizune's body, "I don't think that's it. Something else is happening."
"This chakra..." informed Shino in his usual monotone. "It feels like Naruto's chakra."
All across the village, the survivors were stunned as their deceased comrades returned to the land of the living.
"Naruto...somehow, he's bringing them back." muttered Inoichi.
Shikaku gave him a stunned look, "How is that even possible?"
Sakura had no clue what was happening as she watched Fukasaku revive, 'Fukasaku was dead, I'm sure of it. How can he be getting up? What the hell is going on?'
"Where am I?" muttered the old toad as he sat up.
Ma let out a loud screech of surprise at his revival.
With all those killed in the battle revived, Naruto's eyes reverted back to his normal blues as a smirk crossed his face, "This is incredible! I've never felt anything like this before! My mind, my body, everything feels like me times a thousand! Hahaha!"
Konan stared at him in amazement as she let the hideout they were standing in revert to paper, and expose them to the outside world.
Naruto looked up towards the skies with his sage coat billowing behind him, "I'm awake! I'm finally wide awake! Yes! Hahaha!"
As the blond laughed this he slowly floated up into the air with his hands raised high and wide.
'He truly has inherited Nagato's abilities. This must be the manifestation of the gravity manipulation of the Deva Path.' thought Konan as she watched him in awe.
"Good bye, Nagato. I'll miss you, please be careful." she whispered.
Naruto turned back and smiled at her, "This isn't goodbye, more like, see you later."
There was a poof of smoke and suddenly a small scroll appeared in his hand, "I trust you're done with the Akatsuki and that may cause some problems. If something should come up, use this."
Konan bowed as she accepted the scroll, "Thank you, for everything. For giving him back his dream."
"I must go now...till next time...old friend." Naruto gave her one last wave before taking off across the tree tops in flight.
A true smile formed on Konan's face for the first time in a long time as she gathered Yahiko's body and returned to Ame.
Kakashi had been leaping through the forest towards Naruto, expecting to need to carry his exhausted student back to the village when he suddenly stopped in shock.
"Whoa!" exclaimed Kakashi as Naruto shot right past him overhead.
Naruto halted in the air and turned around to face him. The blond grinned at his sensei as he greeted him in a nonchalant manner, "Welcome back, Sensei."
Kakashi eye-smiled at him, "Good to be back, Naruto. Good to be back. Looks like you picked up a few new tricks while I was away."
Naruto shrugged as lowered himself down to the tree branch Kakashi was standing on, "More or less."
"Good to see it hasn't all gone to your head." replied Kakashi as he ruffled his hair.
Naruto pouted as he batted his hand away, "I'm not a little brat anymore, sensei."
Kakashi suddenly gained a serious tone, "Naruto..."
The blond turned also serious at his tone.
Kakashi eye smiled again and gave him a thumbs up, "Good job!"
Naruto smiled and patted him on the back as they started back towards the village. When the exited the forest, Naruto stood shocked at all the people gathered and waiting for him.
The little Katsuyu popped out the top of his jacket, "I told everyone the just of what happened."
"You did it Naruto!" shouted a kunoichi.
"Welcome home Naruto!" greeted a civilian girl.
"You're a hero!" cheered a shinobi.
"We believed in you!" cheered a section of ninja.
"Thank you Naruto!" cheered a group of civilians.
Kakashi looked over at his pupil, seeing the blond trembling. Before he could reach out the steady him as he cried tears of joy, the blond suddenly leaped high into the air and shouted, "Hell yeah! I'm back baby! And better than ever!"
He pumped his fist and took off into the air above the crowd to all their amazement. They cheered the blond as he circled around overhead with his fist held high.
"NA-RU-TO! NA-RU-TO! NA-RU-TO! NA-RU-TO!..." chanted the crowd as he did a few tricks in the air.
"The number butt-kickin shinobi has arrived! If you want a piece of Konoha, tough luck! Cause you ain't getting through me!" shouted Naruto.
This elicited another roar from the crowd, "HELL YEAH!"
Satisfied with getting his air theatrics out of his system, the blond landed and was mobbed by his friends in the crowd. Kiba pulled back Akamaru from slobbering all over his face as Sakura slowly approached him. Everyone seemingly paused to see what she was going to do as she stopped in front of him.
She lightly smacked him on the back of the head and muttered something about being to reckless before pulling him into a hug and whispering, "Thank you."
In the forests, Madara eyes and ears on the battlefield looked to make his retreat. A mistaken assumption in his report would cost the meddling old man dearly in the near future.
"I never expected Pain to lose. Time to get out of here..." muttered the white half of Zetsu as he vanished into a tree branch in the forest outside the village.
As the brief celebration in the middle of the flattened village started to wrap up, the higher ups in the village had already returned to the business at hand. The jonin commander Shikaku, the village council of elders, and various other officials had assembled in a meeting with the Fire Lord to determine the direction of the village following the crisis.
"We plan to continue working with the other countries towards eliminating the threat posed by the Akatsuki." informed elder Himura.
"After what has happened to the village, the land of fire will put everything we have into rebuilding it. First we need to come up with a budget...and consider the strain the cost will put on other countries..." stated the Fire Lord's treasurer.
"We need to consider something else first..." interrupted Danzo. "Who will be the next Hokage?"
"Tsunade survived didn't she? Can't we wait until she is recovered?" asked the Fire Lord.
"My Lord, she is still in a coma. We can't decide on plan for the village while she is still incapacitated for an unknown period of time." informed elder Koharu.
"Jiraiya was one of my favorites, but he is gone now." said the Fire Lord before he let out a sigh. "Who else is qualified?"
"Well..." began Danzo, but Shikaku cut him off.
"I nominate, Kakashi Hatake!" announced the jonin commander.
The Fire Lord's eyes lit up at the suggestion, "Oho! The son of the white fang, eh? I like it!" He turned to his advisers, "What do you all think?"
"He's well known and powerful..."
"He's young though..."
"Minato was appointed at a younger age..."
"Who was his teacher?"
"He was taught by the fourth hokage. He is also a teacher of young Naruto, who saved the village." replied Himura.
The Fire Lord nodded, "A very good lineage there. Jiraiya taught the fourth and Naruto. The third hokage taught Jiraiya and the fifth Hokage! No problems there..."
Danzo rose from his seat, "The third hokages teachings have as good as destroyed this village! The man who destroyed the village today was also once a student of Jiraiya. This is the result of sympathizing with other countries and giving them power. That sort of thinking is weak! It lead to sand's betrayal and Orochimaru's plan to destroy Konoha. It lead to the last Uchiha leaving our village to serve his own goals of revenge! What kind of Hokage do we need now? We need-"
"I think I will suffice just fine." interrupted a female voice.
They all turned in shock to find Tsunade entering the tent.
"Lady Tsunade!" exclaimed the Fire Lord in shock. "We were told you were in coma."
"I was until that Village Savior of ours pulled another miracle out of his pocket. Gave me a transfusion of his own chakra, and I feel like I just turned back the clock twenty years!" declared Tsunade.
Naruto and Kakashi made their way into Tsunade's tent where Shizune and Sakura were attending to her. The blond had taken his Sensei aside and explained the truth behind what really happened at the end of the battle. Kakashi thought it best they consult Tsunade, and they made their way to her tent to see if she had awakened. The blond haired Hokage had definitely seen better days. Her true age was on fully display as she lied unconscious on the futon set up by Shizune.
"How is she doing?" asked Kakashi.
"She gave a lot of her chakra to Katsuyu in order to save the villagers. She's been unconscious like this ever since. I don't know when she will wake up." replied Sakura.
"Sometimes, I think she forgets how old she is." added a worried Shizune.
"I think I can help her." muttered Naruto, only Kakashi hearing what he said.
"Really?" the elite jonin whispered.
Naruto gave a slight nod towards Sakura, prompting Kakashi to subtly alert Shizune to get her to leave.
"Sakura, I've got things covered her. Why don't you go to the main medical tent see how things are going?" suggested the dark haired medic.
Sakura nodded in agreement, "She wouldn't want things bogged down on her account."
Once the pink haired medic left, Kakashi alerted the ANBU guarding to tent around to make sure no one intruded on what was about to happen.
"Until Tsunade decides otherwise once she awakens, this remains between everyone in this room." Kakashi informed Tsunade.
Naruto closed his eyes for moment and when he opened them, Shizune gasped in shock his blue eyes were replaced with his Sage-Rinnegan hybrid.
"How?" she stammered.
"There's no time to explain now." replied Naruto as he reach inside his cloak and pulled out a black chakra rod that Kakashi recognized from his battle with Pein.
"With this I can transfuse some of my own chakra into her. It should boost her own levels high enough to bring her out of this coma." stated Naruto.
Shizune aided him in inserting the rod at a major chakra point in Tsunade's right arm. Grabbing hold of the other end of the rod for an even high level on conduction, Naruto started her his chakra. Color quickly returned to her skin from the infusion and some of her aged features started to recede to her preferred more youthful appearance. As the process continued, Naruto found Tsunade's body start to pull on his chakra instead of him simply pouring it in to her. Her pull soon became so strong he was unable to break the connection. Beads of sweat poured down his face and he began to breath heavily as Tsunade ended taking much more chakra than he intended. The reason why soon became evident as the seal on forehead reformed. Soon the pull on his chakra ceased and Naruto let go of the chakra rod, nearly collapsing to the floor before Kakashi caught him.
"Geez...you're one greedy old hag." grumbled Naruto as he passed out.
The moment he did, Tsunade's eyes shot open and she sat up alert, full of energy, and completely confused.
"Well, it seems you were wrong Danzo. The teachings of third Hokage are what have saved this village time and time again, including today. It even brought our Hokage back to full health." asserted Shikaku with a smirk.
Danzo frowned but held his tongue, the entirety of his current plans being neutralized by Tsunade's revival.
The Fire Lord nodded "Very well, with Tsunade back in fine form this discussion is now concluded. Send Jiraiya's latest pupil my regards. I'll be interested to see where he progresses from here, perhaps down the road you'll be able to retire and leave the village in his capable hands."
Tsunade smiled slyly, 'I haven't even handed out his field promotion yet, and he's already got the Fire Lord's recommendation for my seat.'
In the hideout housing the Gedo Mazo, the few remaining upper tier agents of gathered to figure out there next move.
"So, Naruto managed to defeat Pain?" asked Madara with Zetsu nodding in response. "Huh. I'm actually a little surprised. I knew there was a slim chance for this result, but I didn't actually expect it to happen. What about the Hokage?"
"They're still deciding who it is going to be. If Tsunade does not awaken and retain the position, Danzo will most likely seize the position." responded Zetsu.
Madara's eye lit up at the thought of that turn of events, it would be perfect for his plans, "Konan is not coming back, I'll deal with her when the time comes. We also need another pawn to sync up with Gedo Mazo."
Madara paused for a moment, as he contemplated his next move before turning to Kisame, "Kisame, you go after the eight tailed beast that Sasuke failed to retrieve. I need to go track him down before he throws a wrench in my plan. Zetsu, you continue monitoring the events in Konoha, confirm who becomed the Hokage. Come find me when you're done."
When Madara first heard word of the Five Kage Summit taking place in the Land of Iron, he was only worried about the Five Major Countries imposing sanctions and other trivial but annoying interventions against Akatsuki. This would contain their movements and activities, but that would not be a problem for him. The final stages of his plans only requiring the capture of the two remaining bijuu outside his control. Naruto's elimination of his greatest Aces, made it more imperative that he get to him now, before he became and even bigger thorn in his side. The time for sitting back in the shadows had come to an end.
The footsteps of Kisame as he exited the hideout that housed the Gedo Mazo.
"What are you going to do now?" asked Zetsu.
"Initiate the start of something spectacular." replied the masked man as a spiral contortion materialized in front of him, time and space warp to his will as he vanished to another point in the vast lands of the world.
In Konoha, with Tsunade back up and about, things returned to some semblance of normalcy. Thanks to Naruto's Kage Bunshin man power and Yamato's Mokuton abilities, several areas were well on there way to being rebuilt. On Naruto and Kakashi's recommendation, Tsunade had called in for the aide of their old client Tazuna, who brought along Inari. The boy had followed in his grandfather's footsteps somewhat in becoming a carpenter. Despite the village being reduced to mostly rubble, Tsunade found herself with even more paperwork than usual in her tent. When she initially sat down, she thought she only need to put the stamp of approval on Naruto's field promotion to Special Jōnin thanks to his new expertise in Senjutsu. To appease the elders minds of having an elite ninja watching his back still, she assigned him as a subordinate under Kakashi. Naruto was just happy not to be a genin anymore.
"Where does it all come from?" she grumbled as she finished another stack. "It's like the only thing that survived the attack was paperwork."
Shizune stuck her head inside the tent, "Tsunade-sama..."
"Not another pile..." groaned Tsunade.
"Actually, a team of shinobi from Kumo have requested an audience with you. They have a message from the Raikage." informed Tsunade.
"At least it's not more paperwork. Bring them in." replied Tsunade.
Shizune ducked back out before returning with a trio of shinobi and stepping out again. The blond short haired woman with a chest that rivaled her own, stepped forward as the leader of the group, "I'm Samui and these are my teammates, Karui and Omoi."
They all gave a respectful bow with her introduction. The right of Samui stood Karui, a dark skinned kunoichi wearing standard Kumo shinobi attire. Her headband was styled into a bandana covering the top of the long mane of red hair flowing down her back. The dark skinned male standing to the left was Omoi. He had short spiky white hair with black eyes and the laziness of his posture while sucking on a lollypop could have give Kakashi a run for money.
"We have a letter from the Raikage." responded Samui as she stepped forward and handed Tsunade the letter.
Before she could even begin to read it they were interrupted by a loud commotion from outside the tent. Tsunade's eye twitched as she heard an all to familiar voice arguing with Shizune.
"Tsunade-sama is busy with a meeting right now." exclaimed Shizune in a firm tone.
"I don't care, this will only take a minute. I need her permission to head back to Myobokuzan and for a few other things." growled Naruto as he burst in the tent. "Yo Tsunade Baa-chan! I need your permission to-"
The blond froze at the sight of the Kumo contingent give him odd stares and Tsunade one that promised impending pain. Noticing Samui and Tsunade standing so close together, he looked back and forth between the two several times before narrowing his eyes at Tsunade and pointing an accusing finger, then thinking better of it and skipping whatever he was going to say.
The blond simple moved off to the side, "I don't feel like having to rebuild whatever it is you were going to punch me threw if I continued with that train of thought. Carry on, I can wait."
"Special Jonin, Naruto Uzumaki." informed Tsunade as she went back to reading the letter. "Sasuke Uchiha has joined Akatsuki, attacked Kumo, and kidnapped the Raikage's brother Killer Bee? Just what I need to deal with after all this..."
Tsunade watched Naruto's reaction out of the corner of his eye, and was slightly surprised to find his only reaction to be the narrowing of his eyes. Chalking the lack of an emotional explosion up to his recent 'changes', she continued reading.
'I can't believe the bastard actually pulled it off. He shouldn't have been able to win that battle...' thought Naruto. Thanks to his unification with Nagato, he knew a great deal of Sasuke's activities prior to Nagato's leaving for Konoha. His meeting with Itachi, his recent experiences, and his recent upgrade had seriously altered his viewpoints on his old teammate.
"He is also our sensei." added Samui in reference to Bee.
'That explains why you three delivered the message.' thought Naruto. "Your sensei is a host."
Karui raised an eyebrow, "Yeah, how did you know?"
"The Akatsuki goals are to extract the tailed beasts. Doing the extraction takes time, so your sensei is most likely still alive. Especially since they lost two key members after the battle here. Since he's the host of the eight-tails, it will probably be even more difficult for them to perform the extraction." explained Naruto.
"How did you know he was the host of the eight-tails?" asked Omoi.
Naruto smirked, "They've been going in order and counting him there are only two of us left. If I hadn't kicked the ass the guy who flattened our village, they'd have the whole set."
Shock registered in the faces of the three Kumo nin, as it dawned on them that they were not only talking to the host of the kyuubi, but the guy who beat the Akatsuki leader.
'This guy is that strong, and he's our age?' thought Samui.
Tsunade regathered their attention as she came to a decision, "Normally, I would take more time to deliberate over this issue, but with the state of affairs in both our villages I have no choice but to declare Sasuke Uchiha an S-class criminal and missing-nin. You have permission to hunt and terminate on site if capture is not an option."
"Thank you." replied Samui with a bow.
Tsunade quirked an eyebrow at Naruto who had remained silent with his eyes lowered towards the ground, "You have nothing to say? I just passed a death sentence on your former teammate."
This shocked the three Kumo shinobi.
Naruto looked up to her with a calm look of resolve, "Sasuke is not a simple rogue who ran off to avenge his clan any longer, he must take responsibility for his actions. Not taking a stance against him would reflect poorly on everyone in our village and incite the ire of other foreign countries if he continues to commit more crimes."
Tsunade took his mature response in stride as she moved on to the next request listed, "The Raikage has lot of nerve asking for a meeting of the Five Kage's after rejecting my previous requests for assistance in dealing with the Akatsuki...I'd like to gave that fool a piece of my fist!"
The trio of shinobi paled as they recognized the significance of their leaders rash actions.
'Why did Raikage-sama say no to helping against Akatsuki? Bee-sensei might never have been captured...' thought a stunned Samui.
"Guess I'll have to settle for giving him a piece of my mind, face to face instead." stated Tsunade. "The meeting of the Five Kages is an excellent idea. I want to know what the other Kage's have been up to, while we've been busting our asses to eliminate the Akatsuki threat. The better have very good explanations..."
Naruto scoffed, "Fat chance of that. Sasuke did more against the organization before he joined it than any of the other three villages combined."
"You three can have access to our records on Sasuke Uchiha." informed Tsunade.
"You're his teammate, what can you tell us about him?" asked Karui.
Naruto shrugged, "I haven't had a real battle with the guy since he left the village three years ago. The records department has more information than me on him skill wise, and everything I know should be there. There is one thing you should know though..."
The three foreigners listened closely to his next words, "He's an arrogant bastard with a stick the height of the Hokage Monument shoved up his ass."
Samui and Tsunade sweat-dropped while Karui and Omoi face-vaulted and Naruto let out a hearty laugh at their reactions.
'This guy is just as crazy as Bee-sensei.' thought Samui. 'At least he doesn't rap everything he says...'
The trio of Shinobi soon thanked them for their assistance and moved on to records department to gather information about Sasuke, leaving Tsunade alone with Naruto.
"So can I head back to Myobokuzan?" asked Naruto. "It won't be for long. Just a few days to work out some new things."
Tsunade nodded, "Not for too long is good, with the meeting of the five Kages I need to have you either with me at the meeting or as a deterent in the village."
"You do realize that once Akatsuki here about this meeting going down, they won't be able to pass up the opportunity." stated Naruto.
"The Five Kages will be there with elite guards, I'm sure we can handle..." she then noticed the devious grin on his face that usual formed when he was planning a massive prank. "What are you really getting at?"
Naruto's grin stretched even further, "Like I said, before they're definelty going to crash the meeting. I've got a few ideas I'd like to run by you. Let's start with this one: How would you like your own personal set of party crashers to send a message?"
An intrigued look founds its way across Tsunade's face, "Go on..."
Shikamaru, Choji, Ino, Sakura, Lee, Neji, Kiba, Shino, along with Gai, Yamato, and Kakashi had gathered at a meeting spot set by Naruto. They were waiting for the blond to arrive with Sai, so he could make whatever sort of announcement he had for his peers.
"What's the big secret, I wonder? You think their making him Hokage?" joked Kiba.
Ino scoffed, "If they'd made that loudmouth the Hokage, we'd have all heard it the moment it happened."
Lee nodded in agreement, "Yes! Naruto's flames of youth would have most definitely echoed throughout the entire village in such an event."
Shikamaru remained quiet as he puzzled the possibility of the connection between Kumo shinobi being citing in the village and meeting with the Hokage, and whatever announcement Naruto felt was so important, they needed to hear it from him. There were far too many warning signs, 'Something troublesome is about to happen...'
Sakura was more troubled by the veil of secrecy that somehow now surrounded her teammate since the battle. She hadn't seen much of him since that day were he awakened Tsunade from her coma.
"Maybe the finally rebuilt Ichiraku's and he wants to treat everyone to ramen." offhandedly commented Shino in his usual monotone.
The only sign of amusement from the bug-user was the adjusting of his glasses as everyone around him erupted in laughter.
Kiba patted him on the shoulder, "You sure do make them count."
"As if I would treat you ungrateful heathens to Ichiraku's once it was open. I'm buying out the whole stand for me, and me alone on their grand reopening."
"I don't have much time. I'm heading back to train with the toads for a little while, so I'll make this quick." stated Naruto as he and Sai leaped down.
"Well, then get on with you it troublesome blond." grumbled Shikamaru.
Naruto paused for a moment as his visage turned serious and he cut to the chase, "I'm not going to beat around the bush on this one. I wanted you all to here this from me: Tsunade has declared Sasuke as an S-class criminal."
This set off a variety of reactions: some gasps of shock and denial, some nods of agreement, and a few grumbles of 'about time.' His next statement stunned everyone, "I agree with her decision."
Before everyone could explode, Shikamaru threw out the all important question, "What's changed?"
"All lot of things Shika. The primary change is that Sasuke attacked Kumo and captured the Raikage's brother, the host of the eight-tailed beast. He has become a member of the Akatsuki." explained Naruto.
Sakura paled in horror at the true implication of his words.
"That bastard!" snarled Kiba.
"But he couldn't have-" began Ino only for Kakashi to clear his throat to silence hers and anymore reactions.
"Please let him finish." he interjected.
Naruto gave him a slight nod of thanks before he entered into a long diatribe, "Before this, we could rationalize Sasuke's departure. His actions were all towards a singular purpose, to defeat his brother. Now, he's thrown his lot with a criminal organization that's entire purpose is to hunt down people like me. Now, this isn't a simple choice of him or me, I'm asking you. This him or the peace and safety or people across the world. If we encounter him in the battlefield and allow emotions to cloud our judgement, if we do not use everything within our power to stop him, then every life he takes, every family he ruins, every child he robs of parent, brother, or sister...it's all on us. Three of you have already lost at sensei due to the actions of Akatsuki. Three shinobi for Kumo came here today because Sasuke did the exact same thing to them. To not take a stand against him would be us being selfish because we didn't have to courage to do the right thing instead of the easy thing. His actions can no longer be explained or excused, his activities are a blight on each and everyone of us. Sasuke must take responsibility for his actions once and for all. We're not kids anymore, we have to stand on our own actions and prinicples. We've grown up and people are looking up to us now for leadership and direction. We can't afford to live in the past, when the future is at stake."
"When did he become such a good speech maker?" whispered Yamato to Kakashi.
Kakashi eye smiled as he replied, "He's always had that 'will of fire' mojo. It's in his blood."
"This is kind of a big thing to drop and you guys and leave so quickly, but I know that deep down in the hearts of each and everyone of you, you have the conviction to do what is right and protect what is most important." concluded Naruto. "I'm heading back to Myobokuzan to wrap up some lose ends. I should be back within a week, so if anyone wants to talk to me about this, you'll have to wait until then. I'll see you all soon."
He nodded to Sai and the two of them shunshinned away.
"I don't understand...I mean, weren't they best friends?" mumbled Ino.
"The key thing you said being were." quipped Shikamaru.
"He can no longer allow himself to hold back because of old bonds of friendship. Too much is at stake. To protect that is most important, sometimes sacrifices must be made." asserted Lee.
"It's quite simple really. Sasuke is finally done something that has placed himself in position where he's forced Naruto's hand. If the choice is between innocent people and people that Naruto cares about or Sasuke, then there really is no choice." added Neji.
"The first lesson I taught the three greenhorn genin of team seven, was that he who abandons his comrades is worse than trash." stated Kakashi. "Looks like I've got a little cleaning up to do."
After that it got real quiet for a few minutes before Shikamaru summed up everyone's thoughts perfectly, "Shit is about to get real troublesome."
The newly renamed team Taka had completed their preparations and exited their hidden base to head to Konoha. Sasuke cut their ties to the Akatsuki, their dept being paid with the capture of the eight-tailed host. The group no solely served his own ambitions. The beginnings of their journey came to an abrupt halt, however, as in the middle of the forest they were traveling through, a spiral like pattern appeared in the air. The time-space distortion rippled and spun, until Madara appeared clothed in his Tobi disguise. Sasuke's abrupt halt to face the man blocking their path startled the rest of his team.
"What's wrong Sasuke?" asked Suigestu.
Sasuke didn't respond, he continued to stare staring ahead at his ancestor.
Karin was completely taken by surprise by his arrival, it wasn't often that a man simply pops out of nowhere.
Madara offered a casual greeting as if they were meeting up for drink, "Hey, Sasuke."
"How did you know where I was?" quipped Sasuke.
Madara cocked his head to the side, "You shouldn't underestimate me. Such a task is trivial for a person with my capabilities."
Sasuke frowned, "What do you want now? Taka is no longer part of Akatsuki; we fulfilled are deal and have no further use for you."
The man's visible sharingan eyed narrowed at him as he spoke in annoyed tone, "I said I'd have to kill you if you betray Akatsuki and you failed to hold up your end of the bargain."
Sasuke gave him a puzzled look, "What are you talking about?"
"You failed to capture the Eight tailed beast, Sasuke." replied Madara.
"We did capture it! We gave it to you!" exclaimed Karin.
Madara merely stared at them quietly, agitating both Suigetsu and Juugo.
"It was a fake, nothing more than a clone. Seems the experiences host managed to pull a fast one on you. I expected better, this is totally unacceptable." responded, his voice laced with dissatisfaction. "I'm wondering if I made a mistake in utilizing, such amatuers as yourselves."
It finally clicked for Sasuke, as he recalled the tentacle that he severed during the fight with the Eight Tails could have contained Killer Bee. His inattention to detail had cost him.
Suigetsu wasn't buying it, "What do you want us to do about it? It's not our business anymore; since we did your part of the bargain you do it yourselves!"
Madara dismissed his outburst, "No. You still owe me. You will finish your last job as part of Akatsuki. Forget about the Eight Tails, I already sent someone to capture him. There's something else I want all of you to do."
Sasuke crouched into attack position while asking, "What if I said no?"
Madara's voice regained that nonchalant tone, "Then I won't let you get to Konoha. You can't defeat me."
Lightning sprung up around his Sasuke's hand as the chidori sparked to life, "I'll force my way through!"
Sasuke closed the gap between him and Madara in the blink of eye, with Sasuke's hand already outstretched towards Madara's chest. However, just as it seemed Sasuke had plundged the attack into his chest, he found himself phasing right through Madara.
Madara ignored the assault as he casually informed, "It's a little too late to go to Konoha now. You're goal is futile now. Too bad for you. Konohagakure no longer exists. My minion, Pain destroyed the village."
Sasuke halted in shock from the revelation, he couldn't believe it. Someone had stolen his amibition. He could feel his malice and fury building up within, rising like tides smashing against the shore. Sasuke hand shot down towards Kusanagi as he prepared to slit Madara's throat, be he stopped when a green plant with jagged patterns in the middle rose up from the branch that Madara stood on.
"Who the hell is this guy?" asked a supsicious Suigestu as he reached for his blade.
"Calm down… He's with me." reassured Madara before he turned to Zetsu. "So who's the new Hokage?"
"At first it seemed as if Danzo was going to become Hokage, but then something else happened." reported Zetsu. "It seems Tsunade's condition is improving faster than expected and they were going to wait for her. However, I found it that this is more of Danzo's machinations. He's the Hokage, but he's trying to keep the target off his back with this Tsunade stuff as misdirection."
Madara had been staring at Sasuke, just waiting for his reaction and he was not dissapointed. He sensed the rise of killing intent coming from Sasuke, and smiled under his mask about.
"I figured this would happen." muttered Madara.
"So, Danzo is the Hokage?" asked Sasuke for clarification.
Madara shrugged, "It's just speculation at this point. If Tsunade is able to resume her duties, he is the most probable candidate to seize control of the situation with Jiraiya already removed from the equation. He's also the one responsible for making your brother execute his plan. And you know his reward? He's Hokage."
Sasuke chakra flared as he clenched Kusanagi in his right hand.
With the pot set to a boil, Madara stirred it up even more, "Because you and Pain have cause so much trouble, the Five Kages had begun to move. They're about to hold a meeting."
Sasuke remained silent at this informatiuon.
Zetsu picked up from where Madara left off, "You see, Pain, took it upon himself to capture the Nine Tailed Host and we let him. Take into mind that Pain was probably our strongest member. He took control of Amegakure by defeating Salamander Hanzo. He can do a jutsu that can take out an entire village."
"Yeah, he could probably kick your asses without a problem!" added Zetsu's black half.
"But when Pain had invaded Konoha, he terrorized the village and destroyed most of it. He wiped out a lot of their forces and now Konoha is in ruins. However, Pain was defeated by one person, who showed up late to the battle." continued white Zetsu.
Sasuke suddenly knew exactly, who it was. He knew only one person in Konoha, who would show up at the last moment and pull a victory out of his ass.
"He lost to Uzumaki Naruto, the nine tailed host. He could definetly kick your asses. Too bad we have to kill that guy, he's fun!" informed black Zetsu
Suigetsu raised an eyebrow at this, "So this Naruto defeated Pain all by himself? He must be pretty good."
"That's right, he's gotten pretty strong, he's definetly stronger than Sasuke." quipped Zetsu.
The Uchiha brushed off the idea, "I don't care about that nonsense, the five kages are the problem."
"Well, what are you going to do then Sasuke? Danzo's your target right? Konoha is pretty much decimated. If Danzo is going to that meeting, shouldn't we just go after him there?" suggested Suigestu.
Sasuke was giving it some serious consideration, he couldn't fathom passing up an opportunity to go head to head with the five Kages. Karin was on the complete opposite side of thinking, in actually thinking logically. She couldn't fathom considering the opportunity to take on the five Kages. It was a suicide mission.
"Change of plans, we're going to the meeting to kill the five Kages." firmly declared Sasuke.
'I can't believe this was so easy. He's arrogant and headstrong, does he actually thing he stands a chance against one Kage, let alone five?' thought Madara as he laughed inwardly at Sasuke's stupidity.
Karin couldn't believe they were planning on facing the top ninjas of each of the Five Major Villages. The plan was utterly insane, facing all five of them in one place is total suicide. This is without counting any bodyguards they might bring that could be Kage level. Unfortunaetly for her, Madara encouraged Sasuke's hair brained idea in order to fulfill his own agenda.
Karin didn't like where this was going, but went along with it despite her better instincts, "So where is this meeting?"
Madara signaled for Zetsu to lead them and he did as commanded. The jagged pattern of the leaf part of his body split, revealing the full figure of Zetsu's body separated in black and white. To their horror and surprise and it kept on splitting, tearing him into two halves right down the middle.
Juugo and Suigetsu gagged and nearly rethced at the utterly disgusting white half form of Zetsu. After giving them a moment to gather themselves, thewhite half lead the members of Taka to their new target.
Juugo wasn't so sure about going along with Madara, "Can we trust them, Sasuke?"
Sasuke smirked, "Let's just see what happens, if he tries anything funny I'll use Amaterasu on him. I've got something new I've want to test out anyway."
Back with Madara and Black Zetsu, the Uchiha contemplated his new found pain in the ass, Naruto Uzumaki. While Black Zetsu had a could laugh at Sasuke, "I can't believe he bought that Danzo is the Hokage bullshit! Now he's headed off to get his ass kicked by the Five Kages! I hope that Naruto kid is one of Tsunade's guards. Getting beaten up by him before you saved his ass would really fuck with his head."
Madara shrugged, "He's not a very good with plans, has too much tunnel vision. He's a good tool when you give him the proper motivation. I still can't believe Nagato used Rinne Tensei like that. That was supposed to be reserved for me, what a betrayal! That Uzumaki Naruto, he's thrown a wrench into my plans. Guess, I have to the brat who's he really dealing with. Zetsu, it's time to step up, and finally let the world know what we are truly aiming for. Time for the 'Moon's Eye Plan' to come into fruition."
Naruto's last letter or business before he departed back to the home of the Toads, was a visit with the leader of root. Using Sai as a go between, he got the approval to meet with the old war hawk. He and Sai currently stood a top the thirds head waiting for him to arrive.
"That must have been some hell of team..." murmured Naruto.
Sai gave him a questioning look, "Team?"
"Old man third, your boss, a couple other legends, and they were all lead by the Nidaime. That's some serious talent packed all into one team." responded Naruto.
"Yes it was. You new generation shinobi just don't stack up with what we had back then." added Danzo as he arrived with his guard.
Naruto smirked, "Yeah, you guys were all elite level at like the age of ten. I could barely pick my own nose at the age of ten."
"What brings you to seek my humble council?" asked Danzo as he dismissed his guard.
"I know you've got an assorted list of skeletons in your closet." began Naruto.
Danzo chuckled, "Nothing that can be proven of course, all speculation at best."
"I also know the old man wouldn't have let you meddle around for so long if you didn't serve a purpose." continued Naruto. "You probably have a lot of plans your trying to enact since you didn't seize the Hokage seat."
"What is it you want?" asked Danzo, cutting right to the heart of the matter.
"I have a proposition for you..." Danzo's eyes widened at his next words, "How would you like to trade up a couple of those Sharingan you're hiding?"
After a moment of pause, the old war veteran smirked, "I figured you come here in asking for discrete assistance in retrieving your friend, and here you are serving him up to me on a silver platter!"
"You misunderstand, I have other plans for Sasuke. I want your aide in retrieving the corpse of Uchiha Itachi. In exchange you can have the eyes, and knowledge of the true leader of Akatsuki." replied Naruto.
Danzo raised an eyebrow, "That's all?"
"Oh yeah, and less meddling within the borders. More meddling outside our borders to help with this Akatsuki thing." quickly added Naruto.
Danzo grinned, "You've changed. I would have never taken you as the type of person to negotiate with the likes of me. I'll go in on this little operation if you answer me this: Why do you want the corpse of Uchiha Itachi?"
Naruto face formed a devious grin that indicated a massive prank was about to be unleashed on someone, "Let's just say I'm walking a new path..."
Next time: The Assembling of the Five Kages!
A/N: There it is! My latest idea that wouldn't leave me alone. A little clarification, the unification of Naruto/Nagato is based on Namekian style fusion from DBZ. So he is still mostly Naruto, with Nagato lurking around inside his mind somewhere. The biggest result from this is the merger of their powers, resulting in something completely radical. The lead up to and events of the 4th great shinobi war will be...we'll you'll have to keep reading to find out!
For those of you curious about pairings, some selection from or combination of this group: Mei, Konan, Anko, and Samui. He possible short flings with a couple other girls that don't amount to much before he gets serious with anybody. These girls do not include Sakura or Hinata. No romance in those two directions at all.