I don't own Naruto or anything else from any anime/manga, movie, show, book, or game.

"Talking"

"Thinking"

"Bijju/summon"

First I want to thank everyone for all the reviews for the last chapter. I know it's been a while for this update but I have been having a hard time in my personal life. As if being unemployed wasn't enough I was very sick for 3 weeks and couldn't do much of anything. It has been very difficult to find the energy to wright lately but I won't give up on my stories. As always please review and let me know what you all think.

Chapter 11

Genryusai Uzumaki sat on his throne massaging his forehead trying desperately to fight off the migraine that he felt creeping up on him. Standing in front of him were his son, who looked like his usual unconcerned self, and his nervous looking grandson, who appeared to be preparing to make a run for it should the need arise. Behind Naruto were a pretty girl with black hair and a stoic looking boy with white hair, gazing attentively but relaxed. From what Genryusai had heard, both children were rarely out of Naruto's presence since he'd met them in Water Country.

"Explain to me again how a diplomatic envoy that was to SUBTLY remind the Water Daimyo and Mizukage that our clan was a dangerous enemy, ended with a dead Kage and the Water Daimyo now saying that Whirlpool is not only aiding, but that we orchestrated the recently started rebellion against him?" asked Genryusai, frustrated.

"The Daimyo's claims are unfounded and impossible for him to prove. He is only trying to lay the blame at someone else's feet" started Kenshin.

"So the ship full of supplies and provisions that you ordered to meet someone in the rebel-controlled port town on the south coast of Water Country is a completely unrelated matter, son?" asked Genryusai.

Kenshin answered; unworried that he had been caught. "It was a debt that was owed to someone who helped our clan; I promised that we would grant them help in return. An Uzumaki always keeps their promises father."

"Yes, a Mei Terumi. She is the leader of one of the three groups involved in the conflict in Water Country. The fact that you are helping her will make it look like the Daimyo is right about us being involved in his country's civil war" said Genryusai.

Kenshin was surprised to hear that. "I was not aware that she led the rebel forces. And what do you mean one of three groups involved? What other group would be involved in this war?" asked Kenshin.

"It appears that the people of Water country are split into three groups. The bloodline users and their allies are led by Mei Terumi. What you may not know is that the Mist and the Daimyo have split up into different sides of this conflict."

"That is unexpected father. I would have thought the Daimyo would have picked a new Mizukage that was loyal to him" said Kenshin.

"Oh, I'm sure he intended to do just that. However, there were some unanticipated complications" said Genryusai.

"Like what?" asked Kenshin.

"From what we know, it looks like someone took advantage of the situation to make a play for power" said Genryusai.

"Do we know who?"

"Yes. Shortly after the death of the Mizukage was discovered, an emergency meeting was called by the village elders. What was left of the ninja council met with them to decide who will be the next Mizukage."

"That makes sense, they would not want to look weak and leader-less, that would invite further aggression from their enemies" said Kenshin.

"Unfortunately for them someone had other plans. Zabuza Momochi, a member of the Seven Swordsmen of the Mist, launched a coup d'état. He managed to kill several members of the council, including one of the elders. However he was too reckless and his few followers were defeated. He was forced to flee the village. He will likely leave the country since neither the rebels nor the Daimyo will trust him now."

"I don't see how this would cause the Daimyo and the Mist to break ties" said Kenshin.

"Because of the members that Zabuza killed, the balance of power has changed in the Mist Village. The few surviving members of the council that now run the village are not as strongly supportive of the Daimyo's bigotry against bloodline users. While they don't intend to let rebels take control of the village, the council doesn't want the Daimyo to place another Mizukage that will continue a genocidal crusade that is weakening their military strength" said Genryusai.

"Basically the three sides are fighting among themselves for different reasons" said Kenshin.

"Yes, it appears that Water Country will be in a state of civil war for the foreseeable future" said Genryusai.

"If it is, it's not our concern" said Kenshin.

Genryusai would have to see if his son felt the same way after he made Kenshin deal with all the political problems this would cause Whirlpool. The paperwork that would be involved made the Uzumaki Daimyo almost want to cry. Oh yes, Genryusai planned to let his son take responsibility for this. But for now there were other things to deal with.

"Very well son, we will talk about this at a later time. For now, how about you explain to me how you left with one child in your care and returned with two extras. I'm interested in hearing that particular story" said Genryusai in an amused tone of voice.

"Don't ask me father. That would be all Naruto's doing. It appears that he has inherited my sister's tendency to act first and worry about the consequences later" said Kenshin.

"Hey!" said Naruto who resented that idea.

"So Naruto, why don't you introduce your two friends" said Genryusai.

Naruto stood a little straighter as he spoke. "Grandfather, let me introduce you to Haku" Naruto said motioning to the girl standing to his left.

"It is an honor to meet you Daimyo-Sama" Haku said with a bow.

"Haku is a descendant of the Yuki Clan that is thought to have been wiped out during the last war. I have seen her use the Ice Release bloodline. She only discovered she had it recently so she has little control over it. I am hoping to help her get better control over her ability."

Genryusai had to admit he hadn't expected that. The girl had gentle look to her, she and an aura of kindness. He hadn't expected her to be from a clan with a bloodline limit. "Welcome to Whirlpool Haku of the Yuki Clan" said Genryusai. Haku gave another bow in return.

Naruto than motioned to the white haired boy standing to his right, "this is Kimimaro of the Kaguya Clan" said Naruto.

"It is an honor to meet you Daimyo-Sama" said Kimimaro with a bow.

That was another surprise for Genryusai. The boy spoke in an emotionless tone of voice. The fact that he was from a clan with a history of being bloodthirsty didn't help put the Uzumaki Daimyo's mind at ease. But he would give the boy the benefit of the doubt for now. "Welcome to Whirlpool Kimimaro of the Kaguya Clan" said Genryusai. Like Haku, Kimimaro gave a bow. "Well, you have made some interesting friends Naruto. However, you know that you have little free time in your schedule. While I don't mind if they stay at the palace for the time being…"

"Actually that's what I wanted to talk to you about grandfather. I have a request to make as prince of Whirlpool" said Naruto.

Genryusai raised an eyebrow. It was rare for Naruto to make a request using his title. Naruto would sometimes try to forget his station; Naruto didn't like being treated like he was better than others. This must be something important to him. "What is your request Naruto?" asked Genryusai.

"I would like to take both Haku and Kimimaro on as vassals to the Uzumaki Clan. And further more I would like to have them be my personal bodyguards" said Naruto.

"This is not an easy request to grant Naruto. While both of your friends come from known clans, for them to become vassals to our clan they would normally have to…"

"I know the requirements that are normally made for clan to be considered a vassal house to the Uzumaki Clan grandfather. But I'm not asking for their clans to be accepted, only for Haku and Kimimaro." Naruto then smirked, "Just because they are the last of their clans doesn't mean that their clans are being accepted right?"

Genryusai had to admit, Naruto's idea was a very sneaky one. If Genryusai just took the children as vassals and not their clans, then the other nobles could not claim any insult to them. After all, for a clan to become a vassal house to the Uzumaki Clan was considered a great honor. The other clans had earned the honor through serving the Uzumaki Clan and Whirlpool in some way, for many it had taken generations to earn the honor. "Very well Naruto. I will grant your request. From this day forward, Haku of the Yuki Clan and Kimimaro of the Kaguya Clan are accepted vassals and the personal bodyguards of Naruto Uzumaki." Naruto and Haku smiled widely, Kimimaro didn't smile but still managed to look pleased. "It will be hard work for all three of you so I hope you're all ready for it" said Genryusai. From the looks on all their faces though, all three of them were ready for anything.

It was decided that Haku and Kimimaro would join Naruto in his training, all except the training exclusively for an Uzumaki. Most of Naruto's teachers welcomed the new additions. In fact, only Hiei complained about having to babysit more children, the other instructors enjoyed the attention of the extra students. Megumi took special notice of Haku whom Megumi reported was a natural when it came to medicine. Haku also got the attention of Shigure because the girl was easily able to learn the use of several weapons, especially thrown weapons like shuriken and senbon.

Sanosuke and eventually Hiei took a liking to Kimimaro. They had both fought against members of the Kaguya Clan and knew what they were capable of. Kimimaro was a natural at Taijutsu and Sano enjoyed training him. Kimimaro also had a gift for Kenjutsu and Hiei put some extra time into those training sessions.

The teachers quickly understood that the children would make a formidable team. Haku would be the medic while also offer long-range support. Naruto would be the leader and be a mid to close-range fighter by combining Ninjutsu, Kenjutsu, Fuuinjutsu, and Taijutsu. Kimimaro would be the close-range fighter by using powerful Taijutsu and Kenjutsu.

Everyone in the palace was able to tell the difference in Naruto now that he had children his age to be around with. Before, he was always smiling and laughing but one could also see some loneliness in his eyes. Every child needed friends and now Naruto had some. There was more emotion, more happiness in his eyes, his smiles were brighter, and he didn't look like something was missing from his life anymore. Naruto now had friends that would always be there to help and protect him. Unfortunately for some of the people in the palace, he also now had two additional accomplices to help him play pranks on them too.

XxX

In the Leaf Village

Hinata was happy to finally receive a letter from Naruto. The last one she got from him was over a month ago, when he told her that he was going on a trip to Water Country. In the letter Naruto told Hinata about his trip and what happened in it. Naruto also told Hinata that he finally made some friends his own age. Hinata knew better than anyone how Naruto felt, she didn't have any friends until she met Kiba and Shino a few months ago; so she was happy for Naruto. But even though she was happy for him she couldn't help but feel an odd feeling when she looked at the picture that Naruto sent her.

In the picture Naruto stood in the middle with a stoic looking boy with white hair on his right and a very pretty girl with black hair on his left. All three of them were wearing Uzumaki training kimonos that Hinata herself used when she trained with Naruto while she was in Whirlpool. Naruto had his arms crossed over his chest and was grinning brightly, he was really happy. It was only that the smiling girl was standing awfully close to Naruto (in Hinata's opinion anyway) that was making Hinata feel something unfamiliar. She couldn't put her finger on it and it was bothering her. She would have to ask her mother about it later. Hinata put way Naruto's letter and got ready for school.

There was an air of excitement in the class today. The reason for it was that today was the first Taijutsu tournament. Iruka sensei had told them last week that they would compete in a single elimination tournament so they could help with the class rankings. So far they only had rankings in academics and most students didn't care about those; Hinata was rank 2nd in academics behind Sasuke Uchiha and just over Sakura Haruno, something that really upset the pink haired girl.

"So, how do think you'll do?" asked Kiba as they walked outside the classroom.

"I don't know," answered Hinata honestly.

"I think Hinata will do well in the tournament. Since the boys and girls are not fighting each other it is logical to conclude that Hinata, with her training in the Gentle Fist style will have a strong advantage over the other girls" said Shino.

"But we are not allowed to use chakra" said Hinata.

"Like you'll need it. The only real competition you might get is from Ino, and even then it shouldn't be anything you can't handle" said Kiba.

Hinata blushed at the praise she got from her friends. "Thank you, I know both of you will do well too" she said.

"That's right! I get to finally put Sasuke in his place" said Kiba with confidence. Hinata smiled at her friend while Shino just shook his head.

As her friends had predicted, Hinata made it to the final round without much effort. It seemed that not many of her female classmates took their training seriously. Also as Shino and Kiba had predicted, Hinata's final opponent was Ino Yamanaka. Ino was feeling rather smug since she had just beaten Sakura in the previous round.

"One more win and Sasuke will see that I'm the only girl for him" said Ino with confidence. Hinata heard many of the girls argue with Ino but she didn't answer. Hinata just assumed her Gentle Fist stance and prepared for the match.

"Ready? Ok begin!" said Iruka.

Ino charged at Hinata with her fist raised. Hinata was able to avoid Ino's rather uncoordinated attacks easily. After only a couple of minutes Ino was breathing heavily while Hinata didn't even look warmed up yet.

"Why are you only dodging? Are you afraid to fight me?" yelled Ino between breaths.

"No, I was only getting a feel for your fighting style" answered Hinata calmly. "I think I have seen enough" she said; and before Ino could react Hinata charged at her. Ino could do little to block Hinata's assault. Even without the use of chakra the palm strikes that Hinata delivered packed a punch and Ino couldn't defend herself properly since she was already tired from her futile assaults. With a final strike to the chin Ino was knocked to the floor. While she was still conscious, it was obvious that she was not getting back up.

"Winner of the match is Hinata" said Iruka. Hinata blushed a little, and with a small bow she left the ring. As she was making her way to where Shino and Kiba were standing Hinata heard someone speak to her.

"Congratulations, that was a good match."

Hinata turned to see that it was Sasuke Uchiha that had spoken to her. She was surprised since Sasuke rarely gave praise to anyone. Hinata was not surprised that she was getting death-glares from all the other girls in the class. "T-thank you Sasuke, and good luck in your match" she said. Sasuke gave her a nod then stepped into the ring. The final match for the boys was between Sasuke and Kiba.

"What did Mr. 'I'm soooooo cool' want?" asked Kiba.

"Just to congratulate me on my victory" she said. "Good luck in your match Kiba" she told him.

"Thanks Hinata" he said as he made his way to the ring. Shino, who had been beaten by Sasuke in the previous round, stood next to her.

"It appears that our female classmates didn't like that Sasuke gave you some attention" said Shino.

Hinata shrugged. "I don't care about that" she said.

"He has been staring at you when he thinks no one is looking" he said. Hinata turned to him in surprise.

"What?" she asked.

"Sasuke, he has been staring at you when he thinks no one is looking" he repeated.

Hinata blushed a little. "Oh, I hadn't noticed" she said.

"While I am not certain, his behavior could mean that he likes you" said Shino. "Apparently it's the opinion of every other girl in the class that Sasuke is attractive".

Hinata was not sure were Shino was going with this. "I guess he is. But I don't really see him that way" she said.

Shino stared at her for a second. "I see" he said, and much to Hinata's relief he turned to the match that was about to start.

The moment Iruka started the match Kiba and Sasuke charged at each other. They exchanged blows but Sasuke had the upper hand. Sasuke was faster than Kiba and his style was more focused than Kiba's. Kiba's style was more animalistic, he tried to rush in and overpower his opponent. In the end, Sasuke was able to capitalize on one of Kiba's mistakes and land a powerful kick to Kiba's head. Kiba was unable to recover before Sasuke pressed his attack, Sasuke landed blow after blow on Kiba. When a bloodied Kiba fell to the ground Iruka had seen enough and ended the match.

"Ok that's enough, winner of the match is Sasuke." said Iruka.

Hinata and Shino quickly made their way to their friend's side. "Are you alright Kiba?" asked a worried Hinata.

"Dam it, I lost!" raged Kiba as he pounded the floor in frustration.

"You tried your best Kiba, and you did very well." said Hinata.

"Hinata is right. You should learn from this and train to be ready for next time" said Shino.

"I guess. Yeah you guys are right. I'll get the jerk next time" said Kiba, sounding more like his usual self.

The rest of the day went by without incident; though the other girls, especially Ino and Sakura, would glare at Hinata every time they looked at her. Once school was over Hinata was escorted home. Hinata made her way to the garden where she found her mother watching over Hanabi as she played with her toys.

"Hello honey; how was school today?" asked Hana.

Hinata smiled. "It was great mom; we had our first Taijutsu tournament today. I won the girls tournament. Shino got third place and Kiba got second."

"That's great Hinata. I'm very proud of you" said Hana.

"Um, mom? Can I ask you a question?" asked Hinata.

"Of course Hinata, go ahead" said Hana.

"Well, do you remember the picture that Naruto-Kun sent me in his last letter?"

"Yes, you showed it to me and your father this morning, why do you ask?"

Hinata started to tap her fingertips together nervously. "Well, it's just that I get this weird feeling when I look at it" said Hinata.

"A weird feeling? What kind of feeling honey?" asked Hana.

"Well, I am happy that he made new friends. It's just; one of them is a very pretty girl. And I don't know, I get this feeling that makes me feel uncomfortable for some reason" said Hinata.

Hana smiled at the frustrated look on her daughter's face. 'Well well, it looks like Hinata is a little jealous. From the letter Genryusai sent me I don't think Hinata has anything to worry about. I guess I should tell her that' thought Hana. "Tell me Hinata, do you like Naruto?"

Hinata blushed. "Um, well… yes I l-like Naruto-Kun" she said.

"And do you think Naruto would ever want to hurt you?" asked Hana.

"No, Naruto-Kun is very kind. I don't think he would ever want to hurt anybody" answered Hinata.

"Well then you don't have anything to worry about honey. After all, both of your best friends are boys and there is nothing wrong with that right?"

"I guess you're right mom. Thank you for explaining it to me."

"Any time you want to talk about anything, you know I'm here for you Hinata" said Hana.

"Thanks again mom" said Hinata as she gave Hana a hug. "I have go and do my school work before its time or our training. I'll see you later mom" said Hinata as left.

XxX

Later that night Hinata woke hearing voices coming from her parent's room. She stayed quiet and tried to listen.

"I don't know want they want Hana. All the ANBU said was that the Hokage has called for an emergency meeting" said Hiashi.

"At his time of the night? Something must have happened" said Hana.

"I know. I'll have the branch members double the guards. Get Hanabi and stay on alert, guards will be posted at our door and on Hinata's room as well. I have to go" he said.

"Be careful love" said Hana.

"Always" he said and left the room. Hinata would stay up for a while wondering what happened that would make her father so worried. She didn't know that the following day the entire village would know what happened, and it would shock them all.

XxX

Hiashi walked into the council room to see the rest of the clan heads and civilian council members all looking as confused to be here as he did. Hiashi took his seat next to Shikaku Nara.

"Do you have any idea what's going on?" asked Hiashi.

"No, nobody knows anything. But I have a feeling it involves the only one that isn't here" said Shikaku.

Hiashi looked round the room and noticed that there was only one clan head missing. "Maybe Fugaku is late; after all I just got here".

Shikaku shook his head. "No. He has never been late to any meeting. The head of the ninja police is always the first to be notified. Something happened, and it has to involve the Uchiha" he said.

Just as Shikaku said that the Hokage and his advisers entered the room. Once they were all seated the Hokage spoke.

"Thank you all for coming in on such short notice. It is my regret to inform you all that there has been a horrible tragedy in our village tonight" said the Third Hokage with sorrow in his voice. "Earlier tonight, Itachi Uchiha turned traitor and slaughtered the entire Uchiha Clan."

The council gasped in shock, followed by yelling and shouting from all directions.

"Quiet!" bellowed the Hokage. "I know this is a shock to all of us, but please try to remain calm."

"Lord Hokage, are you telling us that there were no survivors? That Itachi killed every member of his clan?" asked a council member.

"There is only one survivor, Itachi's brother, Sasuke Uchiha. However the boy suffered severe mental trauma and we are uncertain the boy will come out of the coma he is in" said the Hokage.

"And what about Itachi?" asked someone else.

"I have ordered several ANBU squads after him. As of now Itachi Uchiha is an S class missing ninja" said the Hokage.

The news of the Uchiha massacre would spread like wildfire across the village and later the rest of the elemental nations.

XxX

Ok so there you have it. This was a short transition chapter. The next one will be longer and will likely have a short time skip. There are still some things I need to happen before I can skip to the graduation exams but it shouldn't be too long so please be patient with me.

Also I just realized that there may have been some confusion about two characters because they have similar names.

First Sanosuke Sagara is one of Naruto's teachers. He is one of the six great masters and holds the coat for Taijutsu.(I borrowed him from Rurouni Kenshin)

Second there is Captain Sousuke Sagara. He a captain in the Guardian Core infantry division, he is not one of Naruto's teachers. (I borrowed him from Full Metal Panic). I didn't even realize that they had the same last name until I double checked. I'm sorry about the confusion and I hope that clears things up.

As always I want to thank my friend JS for the help with grammar and spelling.

Lord Rahl Master of D'Hara