I don't own Naruto or anything else from any anime/manga/movie/show/book or game.
I would like to thankeveryone for the wonderful reviews and comments that were left for the last chapter. Thank you all for the support for my story, I got this chapter done faster than usual as thanks. I will try to get the next one as fast as I can. Please review and let me know what you all think.
It had been three weeks since Hana and her group had returned to the Leaf Village and neither her clan nor the Hokage had any idea of what was coming. Hana was sitting in the garden of the Hyuuga compound with little Hanabi in her arms while she watched as Hinata played with the flowers. Without Hana ever noticing a figure seemed to materialize from the shadows of the wall behind her. An emotionless voice spoke to her.
"It begins today".
Hana whirled around activating her Byakugan. She tried to find the source of the voice but the person had vanished. She knew what the person meant; it was why she was holding Hanabi closer than before. She knew the future of her family will soon be decided. Hana was confident her plan will work, but there was no way to be certain. It was out of her hands now; she had done all she could. All that remained was to wait and see what the future will bring.
Hiruzen Sarutobi, Third Hokage of the Village Hidden in the Leaves, was sitting in his desk after finishing today's unusually small amount of paperwork. He was reading a small orange book written by his student without a care in the world, thinking his day couldn't get any better.
Too bad fate was a real bitch.
As Sarutobi was enjoying his favorite piece of literature, a loud knock sounded on the door and his little orange book vanished so fast that if you had blinked, you would have missed it.
"Yes, come in" he said as he assumed his Hokage pose. "I thought I said that I was doing important business and was not to be bothered", irritated as his assistant came in.
"Lord Hokage, one of the Anbu you sent to the border patrols is requesting to see you. He said its urgent Sir".
With a defeated sigh the Hokage said "Fine, let him in".
Soon after that the Anbu in question was kneeling in front of the Hokage. "Lord Hokage, I have urgent news that you need to hear."
As Sarutobi lit his pipe he said "Very well, report."
"My Lord as my team and I were performing a routine border patrol, we heard talk of a large fleet being spotted of the coast of Fire country. The information didn't seem very reliable but my team and I checked it out anyway. As we patrolled the coast near the Land of Waves we did in fact spot a large fleet of ships anchored just off our coast." The Anbu hesitated, as if almost afraid to continue. "We saw a large number of samurai mobilizing and preparing to march… Sir they were preparing to march towards the eastern road, which means their only possible target…"
"Is the Leaf Village… did you see who they belong to? And how many samurai are we talking about? How long till they reach the village?" Sarutobi asked. In his heart he knew the answers but wanted to make absolutely sure.
With a slight hint of fear the Anbu answered the Hokage. "The samurai bear the crest of Whirlpool. I don't have exact numbers but I would say they are 2000 strong at least, maybe more. Unopposed they will be here in two days."
Sarutobi calmly se his pipe down, "I see. Contact every member of the council; tell them we have an emergency meeting."
"Sir one last thing… The Battosai himself is leading them. I saw him with my own eyes Sir…"
"Go, now!" The Anbu left immediately in a swirl of leaves. The Hokage snapped his fingers and a young looking Anbu wearing a crow mask appeared in front of him.
"You called Lord Hokage?" he asked in a monotone voice.
"Itachi, find the boy and take him to my home. You are to remain there until I say otherwise. Let no one see you, let no one anywhere near him until I get there. Do you understand your mission?"
"Yes Lord Hokage". Without waiting for anything else Itachi left.
Sarutobi took one last look at the photo of the Fourth Hokage before he left to go to the council room.
In the Hyuuga compound Hiashi walked into his room where Hana sat looking at their sleeping children.
"The Hokage just called for an emergency meeting" he stated.
"I see" she said without looking at him.
"Don't worry my love, we are ready" he spoke to her in a reassuring tone.
"But what if something goes wrong?" she asked as she turned to him, fear evident in her eyes.
"Nothing will go wrong. Our family will be safe, I will make sure of it" he said in a tone that left no room for argument. "I must go… I will speak with you when I return".
Hana could only nod to her husband as he left for the meeting. She could not help but worry. This was her plan, if something wrong happened it would be her fault. She knew it was for the best but that didn't make it any less nerve wracking.
The Hokage sat in the council room watching as the last of the clan heads and members of the civilian council arrived for the meeting. He waited until everyone was seated before finally addressing them.
"I have called you all here today to tell you that an army of samurai has landed on our eastern coast and it appears to be ready to march against us. If left unopposed it will be here in two days at the earliest."
That statement alone was enough to fill the room with screams, yells and arguments. The Hokage let them go on for a few seconds before he yelling, "Enough! Be quite!" it was imperative that everyone shut up to hear what he had to say next.
Once everyone did shut up one of the Hokage's advisers, Danzo Shimura, spoke up. "Where are they from? And how many of them are there?"
"They are about 2000 strong, and the bear the crest of Whirlpool" said the Hokage knowing the reaction it would cause. Sure enough he had to settle them down again before one of the clan heads spoke up.
"The Daimyo of Whirlpool has been content for five years with only cutting ties with our village. What reason would cause him to attack us now?" asked Shibi Aburame head of the bug-using Aburame clan. Before the Hokage could answer one of the members of the civilian council interrupted him.
"What does it matter the reason? And why are we not just sending our ninja to simply crush these invaders. They're just lowly samurai; our ninja should have no problem dealing with them".
Every clan head, as well as many of the older members of the civilian council stared at him while asking themselves if he really was that stupid. By the look on the fool's face he obviously was. Finally it was Inochi Yamanaka head of the Yamanaka clan that answered his stupid question.
"The reason may not matter to you, fool, but it matters to those of us who have to go out there and die to protect idiots like you!" Inochi's longtime friend Shikaku Nara head of the Nara clan also helped explain.
"And the reason we don't just sent our ninja after them is because we don't have the manpower to face them in open battle. They would outnumber us and out-power us as well" he said in a bored tone as he rested his head on the table. He may have looked like he was trying to sleep but his mind was racing trying to come up with possible reasons for this. He was also trying to think of ways his home would be able to come out of this alive.
"But they're just samurai! You're ninja, can't you just shoot some Jutsu at them or something?" the same fool asked.
Sarutobi already had enough of this idiot whose name escaped him at the moment. "No we can't. These are not ordinary samurai we are dealing with; they are not the sword wielding thugs that call themselves samurai here. This is The Guardian Core we are dealing with. They are the elite of Whirlpool and not to be underestimated" Said the Third.
Several of the younger civilians still looked confused so Shibi explained further. "The Guardian Core is specially trained to battle against shinobi. They have armor that prevents us from using most Ninjutsu or Genjutsu against them. With samurai specializing in close combat, it is not logical to rush in to battle them unprepared, with only taijutsu" he said in a cool and calm voice.
With the civilian fools quieted, the Hokage continued. "It has also been reported that the Battosai himself is leading them". As Sarutobi expected, this news made the blood drain from the face of every ninja in the room, they all knew how powerful that man was. Others apparently didn't know, hence the next stupid question from a pink haired woman.
Sayuki Haruno didn't know who they were talking about or why he was a big deal. "Who is this Battosai? I never heard of him. And what does it matter if he's leading them? I'm sure someone like Hokage-sama or Uchiha-sama can take care of him" she said looking at both men with a clueless smile on her face. While Fugaku Uchiha head of the Uchiha clan and leader of the ninja police just ignored the useless woman, the Hokage just shook his head in disbelief at the woman's stupidity. And for what seemed like the millionth time he wondered if his sensei the Second Hokage was drunk or on something when he created the civilian council.
"I'm afraid that is not the case. I'm an old man, and if I'm honest with myself, I doubt that even if I was in my prime, that I would be a match for a member of the Roku Kyoshu(*)" said the Hokage.
"Roku Kyoshu?" asked one of the civilians.
The Hokage nodded. "Yes, the Six Great Masters. They are a group that is recognized as the masters of their respected fields. Each of them wears coats of the masters as proof of their power."
"What do you mean by that Lord Hokage?" asked another civilian.
"There are six coats that are said to have been made by the Sage of Six Paths himself. He presented these coats to his original six disciples, each who specialized in one of the six great ninja arts, Ninjutsu, Genjutsu, Taijutsu, Kenjutsu, Senjutsu, and Fuuinjutsu. Since the creation of the ninja arts these coats have been passed down from master to master. There are only two ways for the coat and title of master to be passed down; either by the current master of a field to willingly pass the title… or by someone stronger killing the current master and claiming the coat by force."
The seriousness of the situation finally sank in for most of the civilians in the room. And many were suddenly very scared.
"Surely we have someone that can fight him? We have powerful ninja, don't we?" asked a scared older man.
Sarutobi didn't know if he should just lie to them. He decided to remain truthful and told them, "The only one who MIGHT be able to face him would be Jiraiya. He isn't here, and we can't be sure that he can get here on time."
It was an annoyed Danzo that spoke next. "And whose fault is it that both our remaining Sannin are out of the village. If you didn't let them do what they…"
"It wouldn't matter if he was here" came to regal voice of Hiashi Hyuuga, speaking for the first time. As everyone's attention was directed at him, he continued. "In all of his life Kenshin Uzumaki has only failed to win ONE fight he wanted to win. Even then, his opponent was only able to fight him to a draw."
This was news, even to the Hokage. Nobody had ever heard of the Battosai ever fighting to a draw.
"And who pray tell was his opponent Hyuuga? For I have never heard of this" said Fugaku with a sneer.
Hiashi stared at the Uchiha head with a mask of indifference and answered, "I believe you have heard of him Uchiha. After all he was our teammate for years, but perhaps you remember him best as your Fourth Hokage" said Hiashi as he fought to keep his mask. The Uchiha really pissed him off.
The stunned silence in the room was broken by the Hokage. "Minato fought the Battosai? When? And for what reason? And how is it that only you know of this?"
"I know because my wife and I saw the fight with our own eyes. The reason nobody knows is because it is not common knowledge. And the reason they fought was for the hand of Kushina".
"They fought for Kushina's hand?" asked Tsume Inuzuka head of the Inuzuka clan.
"Yes. When my wife and I accompanied Minato to ask for permission to marry Kushina, her father said it was tradition for anyone wishing to prove themselves worthy of marrying an Uzumaki, to show it by proving their strength in mortal combat. Kushina's younger brother did not feel Minato was worthy to marry his sister and gladly volunteered to be the one to test him. They both fought with everything they had and in the end the Daimyo stopped the fight before they killed each other. Naturally the Daimyo gave Minato his blessing to marry his daughter, much to the frustration of his son."
That revelation only really brought home for everyone in the room just how strong the man leading the attack against their village truly was. None of them could go toe to toe with the Fourth and they knew it. As Shikaku would put it, the whole thing was troublesome. Before further discussion could take place a Chunin ran inside the room getting everyone's attention. "Lord Hokage, a group of samurai has been spotted a few miles outside the village".
This surprised and worried several people in the room; they thought they had some time to prepare for the attack.
"How many?" asked the Hokage in urgency.
"Twelve samurai are escorting a carriage. They are less than three miles from our northern gate."
"A carriage?" asked a council member, he was clearly confused.
"Yes a carriage with the flag of Whirlpool and the royal crest of the Uzumaki clan".
This had the council trying to figure out what it could possibly mean. Could it be a trick? Or some diversion? While the discussion was going on a second Chunin came in the room with a note. He ran and gave it to the Hokage. After he read it carefully he spoke to the room full of nervous council members.
"I received this note from our northern gate; it says that the carriage belongs to the Whirlpool Daimyo".
That caused a big shock; it was almost unheard off for the Uzumaki daimyo to leave his country.
"It says that he has requested a meeting with the Hokage and the village council. If we refuse there will be no other chances for discussion until the Leaf has been destroyed". No sooner had he finished than the room exploded into chaos. When Sarutobi had enough he commanded their silence and order again, finally getting them to settle down. "We will all go and meet the Daimyo at the gate. After we greet him we will all return here and try to negotiate peace with him for whatever he thinks we have done to him. Everyone out, we meet him at the gate in 20 minutes."
As Sarutobi prepared to leave a familiar Anbu appeared kneeling next to him.
"What are you doing here Itachi? Where is Naruto?"
"Forgive me Lord Hokage but I was unable to locate him at the orphanage".
"What do you mean? Where is he?" yelled a furious Hokage.
"It appears that the matron of the orphanage kicked him out last night for some reason, I didn't wait to hear what that reason was."
The Hokage knew he should have fired the useless woman. She had just placed the entire village in danger with her ignorance and bigotry. "FIND HIM! NOW!" raged the Hokage who was sure that if he didn't have a heart attack by the end of the day, it would be a miracle.
As the council was meeting the Uzumaki Daimyo, a five year old blond-haired boy with whisker-like markings on his cheeks was hiding behind a trash bin trying not to cry. Last night, like always, he was the last to get food during dinner at the orphanage, and like many times before he barely got any food. He was very hungry and had asked if he could have a little more. The matron had grown very angry with him and dragged him out of the orphanage. She threw him down the steps and told him to get out of there. She said she was tired of caring for a filthy demon that deserved to be dead.
Little Naruto had spent the night in a box next to a closed restaurant. He had managed to climb up to the dumpster and get some of the food they threw out. When the sun came out he had wandered around the village trying to find the nice old man that came to see him sometimes. He looked for a long time but he was tired and was getting hungry again. As he searched Naruto came upon a playground. There were lots of kids playing different games. He just sat in a swing watching all the kids play; he was never allowed to play with others in the orphanage because the people that worked there said he was dangerous and would hurt the other kids. Naruto didn't think he was dangerous but the nice old man said he had to listen to them.
As Naruto sat quietly on his swing… it happened!
One of the parents, a man Naruto had never seen before, started yelling at him. This got the attention of many other villagers that were walking by. They all started yelling at him and calling him demon or monster. Before Naruto knew what was happening they started throwing things at him… and they hurt! Naruto got scared and ran but they started to chase after him. Naruto ran as fast as his little legs would carry him and then dived behind a trash bin hoping they wouldn't find him.
He sat there as he could hear them looking for him. He tried really hard not to make a sound even though he wanted to cry. Just when he thought they might leave, someone kicked the trash bin he was hiding behind. Naruto tried to run, but the man kicked him in the chest and sent him skidding across the floor until he hit the wall. The last things that Naruto experienced before he passed out were the pain of colliding with the wall, a flash of red and the sound of horrified screams.
The atmosphere back in the council room was excruciating. The Daimyo had not said a word even when greeted. Now they all sat in the room waiting for him to do or say something, anything! Sarutobi had enough waiting and commenced the meeting.
"We were told that you requested this meeting so that we may find a way to resolve whatever it is that has caused the country of Whirlpool to wish to do war with our Village."
Genryusai surveyed the room with his raptor like gaze; he could feel the fear and anxiety coming from the fools in the room. "The Land of Whirlpool has recently come into information that this village has done a great evil against our people… that information has been confirmed today."
This caused several worried whispers around the table before one of the Hokage's advisers, Utatane Koharu spoke. "What is this supposed evil that we have done? No ninja of the Leaf has set foot in Whirlpool in five years".
Genryusai's piercing violet eyes rested on her before he answered. "The betrayal was done before our alliance was severed. That is why the wound has been so deep. It was not a former ally that betrayed us, but one we had been close for decades."
Sarutobi was about to speak, hoping to redirect the conversation, but he was beaten to it by another.
"You have yet to tell us what you say we have done or what we can do to make things ok again" said the same fool that had spoken earlier today.
Genryusai's eyes narrowed at the fool, his body tensed as he clearly tried to control his rage. The killer intent that escaped him however left nobody guessing how the Daimyo felt. Just as Genryusai gained enough control to speak, another voice spoke behind him.
"What you have done is betrayed the Uzumaki clan. And I hold the proof in my arms". As if materializing from the shadows, Kenshin Uzumaki appeared holding the tiny form of a blond haired boy.
Sarutobi felt his heart stop when he saw the Battosai appear holding Naruto in his arms. He couldn't believe how bad things were right now. The Uzumaki apparently knew they had been lied to and now wanted revenge. He would be lucky if he could save his village from war now, this day just couldn't get any worse.
Oh how wrong he was. No sooner than Sarutobi had the thought, things get worse.
"What the hell is that demon doing here!" yelled the civilian idiot. Sarutobi thought he really needed to find out his name so he could punish the idiot later for the grief he's causing him right now. Unfortunately this was followed by similar yells from the rest of the civilians. If Sarutobi ever found out who told them (Danzo) that Naruto was the vessel of the Fox, he would make sure the spent a moth with Anko and Ibiki.
The shouting was silenced by the wave of massive killer intent that was released from the combined effort of both Uzumaki. It was like nothing anyone in the room had ever felt before, several civilians fell unconscious from the strain within seconds; several of the clan heads were also having trouble staying conscious.
"If…anyone…EVER… calls my grandson that vile name again… I will personally remove their head from their body. Am… I… CLEAR" roared Genryusai shaking with rage as he visibly placed his hand at the sword on his hip. Slowly the pressure was released, much to the pleasure of the members of the Leaf.
Once the council had time to process what the Daimyo had said it was as Sarutobi had feared. Looks of shock and recognition were followed by shouts of anger and denial, mostly by the civilians, while most of the ninja turned to look at Sarutobi with either confusion, disbelieve, anger, betrayal, or a mixture of all of them together.
"SILINCE". Genryusai was not in the mood to entertain these fools' tantrums. "My son will explain why I call this child my grandson". Genryusai stretched his arms, calling for his son to give him the child. As Genryusai saw his grandson for the first time he felt he would weep as he saw the boy's face. The boy may have his father's hair but his facial structure was defiantly his mother's. Of course once the initial shock passed Genryusai noticed the cuts and bruises the little boy had all over his face and body. He was also clearly malnourished and weighed far less than a healthy boy his age should have. Genryusai felt his rage began to rise again before his son placed his hand on his shoulder letting him know to calm down. It was a rare experience to be the one who needed to be calmed down, especially with his son of all people being the one to calm him.
Kenshin glared at the room letting them know to keep their mouths shut as he spoke. "As you all know, the Uzumaki clan specializes in sealing techniques. As such we have developed many specialized type of seals. One such seal is a blood analysis seal; this particular seal analyzes a person's blood down to the tiniest detail. With this seal we can know, among other things, without a shadow of a doubt if someone belongs to a specific clan or family. I used this seal on the boy; he is without question the son of my sister and her husband the fourth Hokage."
There was silence. Many of the civilians looked like they wanted to argue, but they were smart enough to know that if you called this man a liar to his face you would be likely to end up dead or missing some limbs.
Danzo was inwardly seething. He had always planned to take possession of the boy and turn him into a weapon. He now knew it would be impossible with the Uzumaki taking him away. He had to figure a way to keep the Fox boy in the village. "If what you say is true, I can assure you that it was not made known to the council" he said deliberately looking at the Hokage. "Had it been known to us he would have been treated as his proper station dictated; as the last heir of the Namikaze clan and the son of the fourth Hokage". Danzo mentally smirked; he knew that the only way to keep the boy in the village was if he was accepted as the son of the Fourth. It was the only way the stupid civilians would want the boy here, and the only way the ninja of this village would fight to make sure it happened. The Fourth Hokage was loved by all shinobi and nearly worshiped by the civilians. Yes, Danzo needed the boy to be recognized as the Fourth's son for his plan to work.
Sarutobi knew that Danzo was up to something but had to follow his lead anyway. "I kept the knowledge of Naruto's parents a secret for his own safety. Minato and Kushina made many powerful enemies; enemies that would have come after him in an attempt to get revenge on his parents by killing him. The village was too weak after the losses suffered from the attack of the Fox. The only way to keep Naruto safe was to keep his identity as the last Namikaze a secret."
Genryusai sent a death glare at the Hokage. "My grandson would have been perfectly safe behind the walls of Ayindril. You had right to keep him from US!"
"I am sorry. I made a promise to Minato that I would make sure his son would be safe." Sarutobi felt older than ever as he realized that he had not done a very good job of watching over Naruto. "I know I have made mistakes. I have tried to do my best but I'm far from perfect. All that I can say is I am sorry for the mistakes I made, but I did what I thought was best at the time".
It was a glaring Kenshin that answered Sarutobi. "Your mistakes will cost you DEARLY. Look at how I found my nephew" he spat out, pointing to Naruto who was covered in cuts bruises and dirt. "I found him being attacked by a mob of your people; he's only 5 for Kami's sakes!"
Sarutobi's face paled at hearing that. Several of the ninja council looked pissed while Danzo was seething at the civilian's stupidity, it would be nearly impossible to get the Uzumaki to leave the boy here now. The Hokage tried to reassure the Uzumaki.
"I can assure you that those responsible WILL pay for their actions…"
"They already have, and they paid with their worthless lives" said Kenshin in an icy tone. This statement drew gasps of shock and looks of fear from many council members, the Hokage didn't know what to feel. He was furious at his people that would attack a child but was greatly sadden by the loss of life of these misguided people.
"Y-you k-killed them? You had no right…" started one of the civilians.
"I had every right!" Kenshin snapped back. "Any attack on the Uzumaki clan WILL be paid with the blood of those responsible, remember that" he said looking directly at the Hokage when he said it. Sarutobi was about to respond when Danzo cut in again.
"While the incident is an unfortunate one, I believe its best that we place it behind us. And I can give you my word that the council will make sure that the young Namikaze heir has 24hr Anbu watch from now on".
Before Kenshin could respond to the bandaged man his father spoke. "I can assure YOU that your Anbu won't be necessary as my grandson won't EVER set foot in this village again".
Danzo however was not deterred. "He is the son of the Fourth Hokage and heir to the Namikaze clan; he belongs to this village…"
"He BELONGS to this village!" raged Genryusai as he stood from his seat, a vengeful aura almost visible around him. Kenshin very noticeably placed his right hand on the hilt of his sword as he glared at the council.
Sarutobi couldn't believe how poorly this was going, at this rate a fight was going to break out and he didn't have delusions that they would win that conflict. Perhaps eventually his ninja might be able to wear down the Uzumaki. He had some powerful Jonin after all, but the damage two members of the Roku Kyoshu would inflict on the village would be devastating. With their samurai on the way Sarutobi knew he had to prevent a fight with the Uzumaki.
"Please forgive Danzo for his FOOLISH mistake. He obviously misspoke and meant that Naruto belonged IN this village. After all it's what his parents wanted, they both wanted their son to be a ninja of this village; or would you really deny your daughter's and her husband's last wish?" asked Sarutobi.
While Danzo was pissed that Sarutobi made him look like an idiot, he had to give him some credit. Playing at the Uzumaki's honor was smart. No way would they deny the last wishes of Kushina go unfulfilled.
"I'm afraid that at this moment I have no choice but to ignore my daughter's wishes" said Genryusai. "I do not trust your village with the safety of my grandson."
"Damn this stubborn fool" thought Danzo. Then he had an idea and went for it. "You don't have a choice; international law states that the father's clan has the higher claim to the child. Now that it is known he is the son of our greatest and most beloved leader this village WILL fight for him if necessary".
Both Uzumaki mentally smirked at this; this was exactly what they wanted to happen. "If it's a call for war that the Leaf wants, Whirlpool will be happy to answer; for five years I have held my people back but no longer. My army will lay waste to this village, that I guarantee all of you" said Genryusai with such conviction that left little doubt to any in the room that it would happen.
"Pease" pleaded the Hokage. "I'm sure none of us wants to start a war over this. I'm sure we can find some way to compromise."
"There will be no compromise Sarutobi. My grandson will not live in this village any longer."
"And you're ready to start a conflict that will destroy both our lands over this? The Guardian Core may be strong but you can't fight all of Fire country with 2000 men no matter how skilled they are" argued the Hokage.
Danzo saw an opportunity and joined Sarutobi. "That's right; the Fire Lord will not stand to have an invading army on his land. You would not only fight the Leaf ninja but the samurai legions of Fire country as well and they alone outnumber you over ten to one."
"The Leaf would also have the aid of our ninja allies. The Sand, Star, and Waterfall villages would be on our side" said Sarutobi hoping this would deter a conflict that would cost thousands of lives.
Genryusai began to stroke his beard with one hand as if contemplating what they had said before he answered them. "Yes, it would be a rather costly endeavor for us IF things were as you sat they are." He then smirked at them sending a shiver down their spine. "It's a good thing that things are most certainly NOT the way you say they are."
"Of cour…" Danzo began.
"No. They're not" interrupted Genryusai. "The help you could get from the minor ninja villages would be insignificant if you got any help at all. And while the Sand Village could be a problem, they have had a hard time recuperating from the last war. The Kazekage would not risk losing the major provider of goods to his village over you wanting to steal my grandson. No I don't think you will have their aid at all."
Danzo growled, mainly because the old fool was probably right in his assessment of the situation. "The Fire Daimyo would still not let your samurai simply…."
He was cut off as Genryusai simply started to chuckle. "Have none of you wondered why I came to you from the NORTHERN road to your village."
This was met by blank looks of confusion until someone said "Troublesome". Everyone in the room turned to look at the head of the Nara clan. "It has been bothering me since we were told. Now I realize why you were coming from the north when your army was coming from the east. You were coming from paying a visit to the Fire Daimyo, weren't you?"
Genryusai's smirk grew larger at that. "As usual the intellect of the Nara clan is impressive. Yes, I did pay a visit to my old friend the Fire Lord. He was overjoyed to have my in his home and received me with a massive feast in my honor. And imagine his surprise when I told him the reason for my visit. He was naturally appalled that a village that his country hosted had done such treachery as to basically kidnap a member of the Whirlpool royal family".
"But we didn't know!" wined one of the civilians.
"It matters little to me or to your Daimyo" responded Genryusai. "He even offered to come here himself at the head of his army to make sure my grandson was returned to me. The Fire Daimyo knows well what damage I can do militantly, economically, and politically. He won't side with you in this. Of course, my promising to resume our trade with Fire country if he gave me his support in this also helped" he said with a smirk on his face. "Let's face it; your village is at an all-time low. You haven't recuperated from the Fox's attack and the short war with the Cloud village that shortly followed it. If there was a war between our nations your village would NOT survive".
The Council members and the Hokage lowered their heads in defeat; they knew the Daimyo was right. They were about to lose the son of their greatest hero for ever and it was entirely their own fault. Just as all seemed lost, a voice got everyone's attention.
"Perhaps there is no need for conflict." It was the voice of Hiashi Hyuuga that said this. "I don't know if you are aware but both I and my wife, Hana Hyuuga, were rather close to Minato and your daughter Kushina."
Genryusai smiled knowing the plan was going perfectly. "Yes, how is Hana-Chan? I have missed her dearly since the last time she came to Whirlpool" said Genryusai using his grandfather like voice which actually had some people thinking it was creepy the way he quickly changed attitudes.
"She is doing well thank you. She is at home with my newborn daughter but it was actually my eldest daughter that I wished to speak to you about".
Genryusai frowned pretending to be upset. "Is that so? This wouldn't have anything to do with a certain document that my daughter sent to me for safe keeping, would it?"
This had everyone's attention just as Hiashi and the Uzumaki had planned.
"It would. But I will leave it for you to decide. I will tell you this; it would have made your daughter very happy if you agree to it. I know my wife would be thrilled if you did".
"Forgive me Hyuuga-sama, Uzumaki-sama, but what are you talking about?" asked Sayuki Haruno
Genryusai looked at the pink haired woman and answered. "We are talking about a betrothal contract that was made between my grandson and Hiashi's eldest daughter and signed by my daughter and her husband."
This caused and excitement to all Leaf members. Here was a chance of keeping the Fourth's son in the village.
"I supposed I would be willing to consider it" said the Daimyo as he stroked his beard. "Under certain conditions of course" he said.
"What conditions would those be?" asked Hiashi.
"First and most important, the contract was for your daughter to join the Namikaze clan. That will be impossible as I intend to make my grandson my heir. If you agree to this you must agree that your daughter will join the UZUMAKI clan."
Before Hiashi could answer Danzo interrupted, "He is the son of the Fourth Hokage! He is by birthright the heir on the Namikaze clan. And you have a healthy son able to pass on your family name".
"My son has forfeited his right to the line of succession; he has sworn an oath never to take a wife again. As such, I have the right to choose another as my heir. I choose my grandson, Naruto UZUMAKI as the heir of Whirlpool. Your own Daimyo has accepted my choice, I believe it was in the hopes of arranging a marriage with my grandson and one of his granddaughters; but I made no promises."
"Then perhaps a different arrangement can be made" said Fugaku Uchiha. "As the last heir of two clans he has…"
"NO!" the Uzumaki Daimyo snapped angrily. "The Uzumaki do not practice the CRA."
"And perhaps that is why your clan is down to two members" answered Fugaku calmly.
"Three members" corrected Kenshin with steel in his voice.
"Perhaps we should allow Naruto to choose whether or not he wishes to be part of the CRA when he is older" said Danzo confident that he could find a way to manipulate the boy to choose to take part in it. Danzo would need strong soldiers when he became Hokage after all.
"I can agree to that. What about you Hiashi?" asked Genryusai.
"That is acceptable to me."
"Very well, my second condition is that since my grandson will live in Whirlpool that your daughter spend the summer in Ayindril with him like your wife did with Kushina."
"That is acceptable if it can wait until she starts the academy" answered Hiashi.
"Forgive me for interrupting this discussion" cut in Sarutobi. "But I believe it's only fair for young Hinata and both of Naruto's parents that he too spends sometime in the Leaf Village. It was both of his parent's wishes that he became a ninja in the service of his home".
"The Leaf Village is no longer his home. However I will allow him the choice to return here when Hinata is ready to become a Gennin and if he wishes he too can join the Leaf as a ninja as well". Genryusai grudgingly said this as he knew that his daughter would have wanted him to give Naruto the choice.
Sarutobi knew this was as close as he was going to get for now, so he let the matter drop.
Genryusai turned to leave but before he did he addressed the council one last time. "I will make myself clear on this. You should all be thankful to Hiashi and his wife, my current agreement with the Hyuuga clan is the ONLY reason I'm not declaring war on your village this very second. As long as the alliance between the Hyuuga and the Uzumaki stands, your village is safe." Without another word the Daimyo left the room with his grandson in his arms and his son guarding his back.
Hiashi mentally smiled at how perfectly his wife's plan had worked. Not only was his village safe and his family protected but his wife's godson was with his family. He had also gained protection for his daughter from the clan council as there could be no better husband for Hinata than the new prince of Whirlpool. As much as Hiashi liked looking at the council's horrified and angry looks he had to let his wife know it had gone well.
"If you'll excuse me, I have to let my wife and my clan know about the new developments from this meeting" Hiashi said in his Hyuuga voice.
"Yes, I think we all need to reflect on what happened in this meeting. And I need to prepare for the announcement that I will make to the village letting them know about Naruto's heritage. Now that he is with the Uzumaki there is no reason to keep that information hidden." Sarutobi didn't look happy at all when he made that statement.
"What a drag. You know this is going to cause a lot of grief with everyone in the village" said Shikaku.
"I know but we don't really have a choice anymore. The Uzumaki will not keep quiet about Naruto's parents. The village will have to deal with it whether they like it or not" said the Third.
Several minutes later, Hiashi made his way into his room and found Hana sitting alone on their bed.
"Where are the children?" he asked.
"Hanabi is in the nursery and Hinata in practicing her Taijutsu. How did it go?" she asked in a worried voice as she stood up.
Hiashi actually had a huge smile on his face as he wrapped his arms around his beautiful wife's waist. "It all went perfectly, just as you planed. Naruto is with his family, the council and the Hokage can't do anything about it, and Hinata is now his betrothed."
Hana wrapped her arms around her husband's neck and kissed him hard. "That great! When do we tell the elders? And Hinata, when does she meet Naruto?"
"I will tell the elders the news in a meeting tonight. Hinata I think we can wait to tell. I think the Daimyo wants some time to get Naruto accustom to the life in his new home before get tells him about his responsibility to Hinata. My guess is that Genryusai wants to wait at least two years until just before Hinata starts the academy until we tell them about their arranged marriage."
"Yes I suppose that's for the best. At least our daughter gets a couple more years to just be a little girl. I'm very happy that all went well; all we can hope now is that the children can find love with each other." Hana's voice then turned from happy to one with worry, "What about the Cage Bird Seal? The elders will want to place it on Hinata immediately".
Hiashi's smile grew to a full out smirk. "Don't worry about that. I have some bad news for the elders if they think they will be placing that abomination on my daughter. I was unable to do anything for my brother or his son but I WILL save my child from that fate."
Hana hugged her husband closer. She knew how much it pained him that his brother had sacrificed himself for him. Hana thanked Hizashi for the sacrifice every day, she had done her best to help Neji but every day the boy grew colder and more and more he spoke about fate. Hana would have to try harder to help her nephew, not only for him but for her husband as well. Only the future would tell what fate had waiting for everyone, Hana would just have to wait and see.
(*) The idea for the Six Great Masters belongs to Toshiumezawa from his story Naruto: Battosai of Konoha.
So that's it for this chapter. I know some of you were expecting to have me do the Third Hokage as an evil bastard. And I was really tempted to do it too, but I just couldn't do it. I don't think the guy had it in him to be evil. I think he was an old man that honestly tried to do what he thought was best for the village. Unfortunately what was best for the village ended up being the worst possible thing for Naruto, at least so for my story.
Next chapter Naruto will finally meet his family and will reach his new home. I plan on spending a few chapters on Naruto's growing up and training in Whirlpool so it will be a sometime before we see him return to the Leaf village.
He will meet Hinata and spend time with her before his return to the Leaf so no worries, you won't have to wait too long before they meet.
Anyway, please review and let me know your thoughts and ideas. Anything I can do to make the story better is always welcome and considered. For those of you waiting for my Kami's Gift story I'm working on it and will have it out as soon as I can.
I would like to thank my friend JS for his help with the spelling/grammar, your help and ideas have made the story that much better.
Lord Rahl Master of Dhara.