I don't own Naruto or anything else from any anime/manga, movie, show, book, or game.
Well here is the next chapter. It's been I while I know, and I'm sorry about that. With the new job and some difficulties that my family has been going through it's been hard to find the time to work on my stories. I had some time this week while I was at San Diego for Comic Con which was freaking awesome! By the way. Anyway thank you for everyone that took time to review and everyone that has been supporting my stories. Read, review and let me know what all of you think!
Several moths had gone by since the Uchiha Massacre. The loss of one of their largest and most powerful clans was a devastating blow to the Leaf Village. Had it not been for the Leaf's allies, it would have been tempting for some of the rival villages to attack the Leaf. But even with their loss the Leaf Village proved its resilience. It refused to appear weak among its peers and proved why it was considered the strongest of the ninja nations. No current missions were cancelled or postponed, and no new missions were refused. As far as any outsider was concerned, the Leaf Village continued after the massacre with little effect. For those who lived in the Leaf Village it was a different matter altogether; the lack of the ever-present members of the Ninja Police Force was painfully evident.
The Hokage had decided that placing a single clan in charge again would be a mistake, so the new Ninja Police Force will be made up of ninja from several clans as well as some clan-less ninja. It was a slow process to rebuild the Police Force at the moment because they didn't have the manpower; but the Hokage was making it one of his top priorities.
The entire Leaf Village had taken the loss of the Uchiha Clan very hard; but none more so than the only survivor of the massacre, Sasuke Uchiha. Sasuke had spent over a week in a coma from his brother's mental attack. He spent over a month in the hospital after that. One thing that was clear after his release from the hospital was that Sasuke Uchiha had changed. An event like this would change anyone, but the Hokage feared for the boy. Sasuke, like most Uchiha, had not been the friendliest of people, but he had also never been hostile towards others. The Uchiha Clan always believed they were superior to anyone else; but they rarely showed open aggression towards others, they usually felt an Uchiha shouldn't lower themselves to the level of commoners.
The Sasuke Uchiha that left the hospital was openly hostile to anyone that so much as looked at him. The Hokage offered to place him with another clan but the boy refused. He insisted in living in his parents' home. The Hokage didn't like Sasuke living alone in the empty compound but it was the boy's right to do so. The Hokage was more worried about the reports he received from the boy's teachers. Sasuke was never what one would consider a friendly child, but now he refused to interact with his classmates. Any time one of them would try to be friendly with him he would rebuff their efforts, often with open hostility, making it known that he wanted to be left alone. Sasuke had also become overly aggressive in his Taijutsu spars and had already injured several of his partners. Sasuke had been warned but the Hokage worried for what will become of the boy if he continued on his current path. The path that Sasuke is on only leads to darkness. The Third can only hope that time will help heal the boy's emotional wounds.
Hinata sat quietly eating her lunch as she listened to Kiba complain about the unfair punishment he received from his mother for a prank he had pulled on his sister last week. Hinata enjoyed spending time with her friends. Hinata hadn't made friends with many other children but was on friendly terms with several of her classmates. The girls in her class mostly ignored her and that was fine with her, at least the girls stopped trying to ''get her'' for stealing Sasuke's attention after what happened to Sasuke's family. Hinata felt sorry for Sasuke. Her clan was not the closest of families but she couldn't imagine losing all of her clan members like Sasuke did. Hinata was worried what the loss of his clan was doing to Sasuke. He was never really friends with anyone before. Now he reacted aggressively towards anyone that tried being kind to him. Hinata had tried to give her condolences, but only got a glare from him in return; and that was one of his more friendly reactions.
"Hinata, did you hear me?" asked Kiba.
"Oh, I'm sorry Kiba; I didn't hear what you said."
"I asked if you're excited for the summer vacation. Your birthday is a couple weeks after school gets out right? So, what are your parents planning?"
"Well, my parents are taking my sister and me to spend the summer out of the country." Hinata hadn't told her friends about Naruto yet. She knew if she told them she was spending her summer in Whirlpool they would ask why she was going there of all places.
"Aww mannn, that means we won't get to see you on your birthday!" whined Kiba.
"I'm sure Hinata's parents have a logical reason for this Kiba. Perhaps they wish to spend some time as a family away from the village." Shino said, trying to calm Kiba down.
"Yeah I guess. Well, there's always next year right?" said Kiba with a grin. Hinata couldn't bring herself to let him know that she would be spending ALL of her summers in Whirlpool.
In Whirlpool, one of the many assistants of the Uzumaki Clan walked warily into the Daimyo's office. The moment she stepped inside; she froze, she couldn't move, she stood rooted at the spot. She was staring into a pair of piercing violet eyes, into the raptor gaze of an Uzumaki. The eyes flicked towards the stack of papers that were held in her hands and she saw them narrow into a smoldering glare.
"E-excuse me U-Uzumaki-Sama, b-but here is more p-paperwork that needs to done by t-today." The assistant hurriedly walked forward and placed the papers on the desk. After giving a quick bow she fled the office as fast as she could.
Meanwhile, the pair of violet eyes kept glaring at the paperwork; as if the owner believed that if he glared at them hard enough the papers would disappear. Sadly for him, the paperwork stubbornly remained.
"You know, if you didn't keep scaring away every woman that looks at you, you might actually get laid once in a while." It was a familiar and amused voice that got the Uzumaki's attention.
"What do want Sano? As you can see, I'm rather busy." Kenshin knew better than to talk to Sano about his sex life.
"I can see that." Sano chuckled. "Your old-man's still making you do all his paperwork huh?"
"Yes!" growled Kenshin.
"I thought he would get over it by now."
"Oh I'm sure he did. My father is just enjoying his free time a little too much. But today is the last day I have left of this… torture."
"Yeah, I get now why you never really wanted to be Daimyo. It's a pretty boring job."
"Is there a reason you're here Sano?" asked Kenshin.
"Today is the day." Sano's tone was no longer an amused one. "You don't have to go alone you know. I can go with you if you like."
"I'm not going alone this year. I plan on asking Naruto to accompany me." Kenshin's answer surprised Sano. The only person that Kenshin ever took to this… yearly appointment was his sister Kushina when she was alive.
"That means you'll have to tell him what happened…you know that right?" asked Sano.
"Well, I know how hard it is for you to talk about it. Naruto will understand; I'm sure of it."
"I'll leave you to your work then, later Kenshin."
Kenshin watched his oldest friend leave the room, he then reluctantly returned to work.
"I swear, she going to kill me one of these days," whined Naruto as Haku treated the many cuts he had received during weapons training. He, Haku and Kimimaro where sitting in one of the training-rooms after finishing a training session with Shigure.
"Naruto-Sama, I'm sure that Shigure-sensei is much too careful for any of us to get seriously hurt," said Haku. Naruto didn't look convinced but he knew how much Haku admired Shigure so he didn't bother arguing. "It looks like your healing ability is taking care of your injuries just fine Naruto-Sama."
"I told you I didn't need medical attention Haku-Chan."
"You can never be too careful with your health and safety Naruto-Sama, right Kimimaro?" asked Haku. Kimimaro simply nodded while Naruto muttered something that sounded like 'traitor'.
"Fine, can we go now? My uncle needs me to go with him somewhere later and I need to get ready," said Naruto as he stood up from where they were sitting. As they made their way out of the training room Haku asked Naruto a question.
"Naruto-Sama, did you receive another letter from Hinata-Sama? She is coming to visit soon is she not?"
A huge smile lit up Naruto's face. "Yes she is. Hinata-Hime told me that the academy is almost out for the summer and she and her family will be arriving in a couple of weeks. I'm really looking forward to seeing her again." Naruto was happy to have Haku and Kimimaro as friends but he still missed Hinata; who would always be his first friend.
"I also look forward to meeting the girl that will one day be Naruto-Sama's wife," said Haku, causing Naruto to blush. It was still weird think about that for Naruto.
"Hinata is really nice, am sure you both will like her. My grandfather is planning a big party because her birthday will be a few days after they arrive."
The three of them continued to talk about what the next few weeks would be like with the Hyuuga visitors. Naruto shared everything with his friends and they did the same…well Kimimaro to a much lesser extent but it was the thought that counts.
Several hours later Naruto found himself walking alongside his uncle in a part of the People's Palace that he had never been before. Of course, with a massive palace like this one there were many areas that Naruto had never seen. This was different however, the last door they went through had several guards watching it; and once inside there was nobody around. The only thing that Naruto knew for sure was that they were in one of the lowest levels in the palace, well beneath the ground floor. They walked through a long and wide corridor lit by the many torches that lined the walls. The walls were made of white marble similar to the one used in the Garden of Life, but while in the garden the stone shone with life; here it had an eerie glow from the torchlights. They stopped when they got to a huge and ancient wooden door bearing the Uzumaki crest.
"Where are we uncle?" asked Naruto.
"We are in the final resting place of the members of the Uzumaki Clan," said Kenshin.
Naruto's eyes widen slightly. That was the reason why his uncle wanted him to come alone. Naruto knew that the Garden of Life was where the founder of the clan was buried but he never really asked about the rest of the Uzumaki Clan. Now he had the answer.
Kenshin placed his palm on a seal in the door and it glowed for a second before the door slowly opened. "Let's go."
The cavernous Uzumaki crypt was sight to behold. Naruto could see hundreds of tombs much like the one in the Garden of Life, all of them in straight rows. Kenshin silently led Naruto deeper into the crypt. Naruto noticed all the tombs had some similarities. They all had the Uzumaki crest carved in the front, and they all had statues of men, women, and in some cases children, standing vertically above the coffin, as though guarding it. Naruto also noticed that nearly all tombs had a sword or in rare cases other weapons resting on them. The tombs that Naruto could see in the opposite direction from where he and Kenshin were headed are clearly much older than the ones they were walking toward. Naruto saw that to his left there were empty spaces that he could assume were for future tombs to be made.
"When a member of the Uzumaki Clan is born, or added by marriage, a place for is prepared for them in this crypt. The hundreds of statues here have been sculpted by our finest artists in the likenesses of our clan members to honor our fallen," Said Kenshin with more feeling in his voice than was usually heard.
Naruto started to pay more attention to the faces on the statues after that; these were his ancestors, his family. Naruto was so focused on the statues that he nearly ran into his uncle, who had stopped walking. Kenshin stopped next to the statue of a woman with long hair. She was around his uncle's age and was very beautiful.
"This is my mother; your grandmother," he said.
"Grandmother?" Naruto asked. Naruto felt his eyes start to water. While his grandfather had often spoken to him about his mother Kushina, his grandmother was rarely spoken of. Naruto knew very little of her.
"She died while giving birth to me. I never met my mother much like you never met yours. Father took her loss very hard and hardly ever speaks of her. What little I do know about her, like you, I learned from others."
Naruto didn't know what to say so he remained silent. He did notice three empty tombs to the left followed his grandmother's. Naruto realized they were likely for his grandfather and uncle and…
"Your mother should have been here," said Kenshin as he pointed to the following empty tomb. "The Leaf refused to return her body claiming that when she married your father she joined his clan. They are technically correct, but that doesn't lessen our anger over it."
Naruto was angry too. His mother should be here with her family, here with him. This was just another reason to never trust that place again. The Leaf had betrayed the Uzumaki Clan too many times, one day Naruto would make sure they paid for it too. Naruto was going to ask something until he noticed that his uncle had walked past the empty tombs to stand in front of what looked like the newest additions to the Uzumaki Crypt.
Kenshin stood in front of the tomb of a young woman in her early twenties, a woman with long hair, and dressed in a regal kimono; she was very pretty. What made Naruto's heart break was the small statue on the tomb next to the woman's. It was the statue of a small boy with his hair in a ponytail much like his uncle's; the boy couldn't be any older than four or five years old. Naruto saw his uncle place a hand on the little boy's tomb. Naruto turned to look at his uncle, and for the first time he could remember, he wasn't met with a piercing stare or a cool, stony look. For the first time, Naruto saw real emotion in his uncle's face. He also saw a deep, almost overwhelming pain in his uncle's eyes,
"Who are they?" asked Naruto who already dreaded the answer.
"Kaoru and Yahiko Uzumaki… My wife and son."
Naruto closed his eyes trying to stop the tears that were coming; two more members of his family that had been taken from him; but more importantly taken from his uncle. Naruto didn't know what happed, but by the pain in his uncle's eyes he knew it was something tragic.
"Today is the anniversary of their deaths. You are the only one other than your mother that I have brought with me."
Naruto dreaded the answer but asked the question anyway. "What happened?"
Kenshin remained quiet for a while, never once taking his eyes from the tombs of his lost family. After several long seconds, Kenshin finally spoke.
"I met Kaoru when we were children. Her father was the head of the Kamiya Clan and a captain of the Guardian Core. We couldn't stand each other, mainly because I was an arrogant jerk and she never let me get away with anything. She didn't care if I was the prince, if I did something she didn't like she wasn't afraid to let me hear it; often by yelling…emphatically."
Naruto smiled at that, she sounded like someone he would get along with.
"She, Sano, and I became friends when I was a little older than you are now. When we were 13 Kaoru's father was killed during the Third Great ninja War. She and I became closer, and when we were 16 I asked her to marry me. When she accepted it was the happiest day of my life. Two years later our son Yahiko was born. The next four years of my life were the best I can remember."
"Something bad happened, didn't it?" asked Naruto.
Kenshin nodded. "We were on a routine diplomatic mission to the Land of Demons in the southern continent. As we made our way to the capital we were confronted by a group of tribal warriors from the Land of Blades, small neighbor to the Land of Demons. They were from a warrior tribe called the Baka BanMana. They were Blade-masters that prided themselves on being the best.You see, even there I had become famous as a swordsman, often called one of the best in the world. Their leader wanted to prove his strength by defeating me."
"And they attacked you?" asked Naruto.
"No, there were over 30 samurai with me and only a dozen of them. I didn't want it to be a slaughter so I agreed to duel their leader. He was very good, but I beat him."
"Did you kill him?"
"No, and that was the biggest mistake of my life."
"I don't get it," said Naruto.
"To the Baka Ban Mana there is no greatest dishonor that to be defeated in battle, except to be spared by an opponent. They didn't believe in retreating or surrendering. It was win the battle or die trying. When the leader left vowing vengeance I never really believed anything would come of it. I was mistaken." Kenshin stopped, gathering his thoughts before he continued.
"We were a few miles from the capital when they came. Over a hundred of them came from the forest we were traveling through. I led the samurai and defended the carriage, allowing it to escape. But it was a trap; I should have known something was wrong because the leader never came after me. He went after my family. I tried to get to them…eventually I did…but it was too late. The moment he killed my family they all fled back into the trees. All except one, he stayed to tell me that this was payback for disgracing their leader's honor."
"That… that bastard! How could he talk about honor when they killed a child!" screamed Naruto.
"He didn't live long enough to explain himself. My men killed him immediately," said Kenshin.
"Did grandfather declare war on Blade Country?" asked Naruto.
"NO? Why the hell not?"
"Because there was no need, I took care of it. I sent my family's bodies to the capital and went after them, I found them that very night." said Kenshin.
"You went alone?" asked Naruto
"No, I went with a handful of my samurai that refused to let me go alone. I sometimes wished I hadn't let them follow me."
"What do you mean?"
"Do you know what people call me Naruto? The reason why every time I leave Whirlpool, people look at me like I'm a monster?
Naruto had noticed that people were terrified of his uncle, but he thought it was because he is so strong. Apparently there was more to it. "They call you the Battosai because you have mastered the Hiten Mitsurugi style."
"Yes, but they call me something else too. They call me Battosai: The Man Slayer. And they call me that because of what I did to the Baka Ban Mana."
A cold shiver passed through Naruto, but he asked the question. "What did you do?" His uncle stared at the statues of his family for a long time before he answered.
"I was full of anger and despair. We Uzumaki are feared for our anger, and I let my anger and hate consume me. It wasn't hard to find their village. They were there, the whole village; in full celebration of a great victory. They were celebrating the murder of my family." Kenshin paused. Naruto saw a look of sadness and shame come to his uncle's face. "Something in me broke when I saw that, and I did something that will shame me forever."
Naruto stared at his uncle, knowing that what happened would be awful but even he was not prepared for what his uncle would reveal.
"I slaughtered them…every man, woman, and child in the village. All the Baka Ban Mana lay dead at my feet that night."
"No!" gasp Naruto in complete shock.
"It was a blur in my mind. One minute I was walking towards the village and the next thing I remember I was standing in the middle of the village with bodies littering the floor. I remember rage like nothing I have ever felt coursing through me and I embraced it, feeding off of it." Kenshin stopped for a second. "I sometimes see their faces, the fear in their eyes. The look of a mother's face as she held her child in her arms… just before I cut them both in half with a single swipe of my blade."
"Dear Kami," whispered Naruto as he placed a hand on a tomb to keep himself up. He couldn't believe what he was hearing.
"The darkness will consume you if you let it; and there is darkness within everyone. I tell you my pain, my shame; so that you do not make the same mistake I did Naruto. Never let your anger and hate rule you, never willingly seek out violence, but if an enemy threatens you; cut them down. Otherwise you may regret it for the rest of your life."
Naruto and his uncle spend some time in silent prayer before leaving the Uzumaki Crypt. Naruto now understood his uncle a little bit better. He now knew why his uncle was the way he was. Naruto wished that his uncle had not gone through such tragedy, but life was certainly not fair. Naruto vowed to himself that he would protect his family, and may Kami have mercy on anyone that tries to hurt his loved ones, because Naruto sure wouldn't.
Several days later Naruto sat next to his grandfather waiting for Hinata and her family to arrive. Standing protectively behind him were Haku and Kimimaro; both were wearing formal kimonos. Naruto was doing his best to hide his excitement but his family and friends knew how happy he was to be seeing the Hyuuga heiress again. When the door to the throne room opened and a group of people wearing white robes were led in Naruto's face lit up at the sight of the older of the two girls in the group. She was even prettier than Naruto remembered. Hinata gave him a shy smile with a blush on her face that only made Naruto even happier. Hinata was still Hinata, a little older but still his very first friend.
After the formal greetings and introductions Naruto was able to lead Hinata to a small balcony that overlooked the city; Haku and Kimimaro following a few steps behind. Once alone Naruto finally acted more like himself.
"Hinata-Hime! I'm so happy to finally see you again. I can't believe it's been almost a year!" said Naruto.
Hinata smiled, Naruto was always so full of life. "I missed you to Naruto-Kun." Hinata glanced at the dark-haired girl and white-haired boy standing guard at the door. Naruto saw this and almost smacked himself for forgetting to introduce his friends.
"Hinata-Hime, these are my vassals but more importantly they are by best friends. This is Kimimaro of the Kaguya Clan," said Naruto as he motioned for Kimimaro to come closer.
Kimimaro stepped closer and bowed to Hinata. "It is an honor to meet you Hinata-Sama," he said in a tone of voice that reminded Hinata of Shino.
"It is nice to finally meet you as well Kimimaro-san. Naruto often speaks about you in his letters." Giving Hinata another bow, Kimimaro stepped back to stand next to Haku.
"And this is Haku of the Yuki Clan," said Naruto as he motioned for Haku to step forward.
"It is an honor to finally meet you Hinata-Sama," said Haku with a smile and a bow.
"It is nice to meet you as well Haku-San," said Hinata. Hinata tried very hard to suppress the feeling of jealousy that was rising in her chest. Haku was very pretty, prettier than her, Hinata thought. And this girl gets to spend every day with Naruto. Hinata had to remind herself of what her mother said, it wouldn't be fair to Haku, and it wouldn't be fair to Naruto if she treated his friend in a disrespectful manner for no apparent reason. Still… why did Haku have to be so beautiful?
Hinata spent the next few days joining Naruto and his friends during the day both in training and in their time off. Hinata was happy to learn that once she ignored her slight feelings of jealousy toward Haku; that she actually got along well with the black-haired ice-user. Before the week was over, Hinata was becoming a close friend with a girl her own age for the first time in her life.
Hinata's birthday was a huge party in the palace. Several nobles and other important people were invited but Hinata mostly pent her time with Naruto and his friends and her own family. Hinata received a mountain of gifts much like Naruto did during his birthday last time she was here. But the only gift she really cared about was the one she got from Naruto. It was a beautiful gold bracelet with two charms on it. One was a replica of the Uzumaki Crest and the other of the Hyuuga Crest, Hinata loved it!
The rest of the summer went by too quickly for Hinata's liking. Naruto's birthday was a huge festival that the entire city celebrated. Hinata spent all day with Naruto, Haku, and Kimimaro as they explored the city and interacted with the people. Hinata also enjoyed training with some of Naruto's teachers. Kurama was a very nice man, Uryu was strict but fair. Urahara and Sanosuke were funny. Shigure was… different, and Hiei was scary.
Hinata and Naruto traded stories about their friends. Naruto really liked the ones about Kiba pulling pranks but made sure to tell Hinata that he and his friend had pulled better ones. Hinata told Naruto of the Uchiha massacre. He informed her that he had heard about it. Naruto didn't really care about the Leaf Village but he knew that Hinata cared about her home so he made sure not to say anything offensive about it. It had been fun but now it was time for Hinata and her family to go back home and both Naruto and Hinata were unhappy about it.
"So…it's finally time for you to go home," said Naruto.
"Yes, I have to go back to school soon," Hinata said.
"I wish you could stay here the whole time," said Naruto. He was going to miss spending time with Hinata.
"I wish I could spend more time with you also. Maybe one day you could visit my village and meet my friends," she said.
Naruto hadn't told Hinata that that he hated the Leaf Village because he knew it would upset her. Besides, if he got to spend every day with Hinata, it might even be worth it to set foot in that hell hole again. After all, if anyone tried to harm him now; they would not be met with a defenseless child; they would be met with the wrath of an Uzumaki.
"Maybe someday soon my grandfather will allow me to visit," he said knowing full well that hell would freeze over before that happened. Naruto would not have that choice until they were both twelve and Hinata was a Gennin for the Leaf Village.
Naruto and Hinata spent the rest of the day together. When it was time to see Hinata off, Naruto stood on the dock as the ship that carried his fiancé moved farther and farther away. Naruto turned to his grandfather and spoke in a serious tone not normally heard from the young blond.
"Grandfather, I have made my decision."
"Decision about what Naruto?" asked Genryusai.
"About whether or not I will go to the Leaf Village when I turn twelve, I have decided that I will go," said Naruto.
Genryusai had not been expecting that! "Naruto, I think it's too soon to be making this kind of choice in your future,"
"Hinata IS my future grandfather. And I don't want to wait until we're sixteen to be able to spend more that a few months out of the year together."
"Naruto, if you got to the Leaf… your uncle and I would have to remain here; you would have to go alone."
"Hinata will be there with me," said Naruto.
"And he would have us." Both Uzumaki turned to see Haku and Kimimaro standing behind them with determined looks on their faces. "Wherever Naruto-Sama goes, we go," said Haku. Kimimaro nodded in agreement.
"Anyone who dares to try and hurt Naruto-Sama will have to go through us first," said Kimimaro with rare emotion in his voice.
Naruto gave his friends a watery, proud smile. Genryusai smiled at the children too. Naruto had an ability to command undying loyalty from those around him. With these two at his side, perhaps Naruto would be ok to return to the Leaf. Genryusai did promise that it would be Naruto's choice. Naruto had apparently already made the choice. All Genryusai could do now is prepare him as best he could.
"Well if you're dead set on going to the Leaf village, I guess there is only one thing I can say to you," said Genryusai. All three children readied themselves for whatever he was going to say. "… You better be ready, because this means I'm going to double your training for the next four years. By the time you all go to the Leaf Village, they won't know what hit them."
Naruto cheered while his friends silently shared his sentiments. Both Haku and Kimimaro were happy they would be allowed to remain by Naruto's side. Nobody knew what would happen when Naruto Uzumaki returned to the Leaf village but one thing was clear…it was going to be interesting if nothing else.
So there you have it, what do you all think? Next chapter will have a big time skip and Naruto will finally make his return to the Leaf Village. I will have the next chapter as soon as I can and hope you all will continue to enjoy my work. Again thanks for all the support.
Like always thank you to my friend JS for the help with spelling and grammar.
Lord Rahl Master of D'Hara