Naruto: Weapon X
"Ah, Sasuke, finally," Orochimaru said with a grin. Sasuke noted that the hair had significantly changed from the last time they had met and bandages covered most skin that would normally be exposed. The "Sound Village" was nothing more than a series of bunkers with no real unity save for transport of minions and experiments. Sasuke didn't care so long as he gained power.
"Give me power," the Uchiha demanded. "Give me the power to kill Itachi."
"And what will you give me in return?" Orochimaru asked, leering at the boy. He had wounds all over his body, but it was nothing that Kabuto couldn't fix with a few hours of work.
"I brought you a present," Sasuke stepped behind a tree and dumped the unconscious body of Naruto Uzumaki at the man's feet. The hole in the boy's chest was steadily repairing itself, but it would be days before he was conscious again. "He has some strange power. He... I want that power."
"Oh, Sasuke, you knew exactly what to bring me," the Snake summoner hissed with a sadistic grin spreading across his pale visage. "The son of the man who took my rightful place...and the Kyuubi container to boot. You know, his father wanted him to be seen as a hero." Orochimaru trailed his fingers across Naruto's healing form gently, like one would a priceless possession. He grinned, the same pale grin back at the boy he intended for his next body. "Sasuke, you have pleased me." He motioned to his ever-present companion. "Prep the boy for surgery, I want to see exactly what we can do with his regeneration."
Kabuto nodded and turned away, two lesser ninja hauling Naruto's body down the hall.
"Come Sasuke, tell me about your battle. I want to hear everything."
Kakashi arrived at the scene of the battle only to find blood and gore. As the rain began to fall, a flash of color caught his eye. Snapping his head upwards, Kakashi saw Naruto's distinctive orange jacket flapping on the breeze where it was placed on a makeshift cross of wood. Around the vertical piece fluttered something that glinted in the lightning. Tsunade's family pendant fluttered around in the growing wind and the bottom fell out of Kakashi's heart.
There was a hole through the jacket right where Naruto's heart had been in his chest.
Sasuke had killed Naruto and taken his body to Orochimaru.
Tsunade was going to kill him.
And then, if there was anything left, Jiraiya would make him live the rest of his long life in hell.
Kakashi was not proud of having failed his sensei's son.
Days Later, Rice Paddy Country
"The subject is rejecting the poison, Orochimaru-Sama," said an aide.
"Then up the dosage," Kabuto stated flatly. Orochimaru barely gave the aide any attention, allowing Kabuto to focus on the operation. This was a special project and neither wanted anything to go wrong.
"It's already high enough to kill a normal human," the aid, Karin, protested. She straightened her glasses and flipped her red hair over her shoulder. "Any more and we risk destroying the subject."
"The subject is a demon container with a powerful ancestry, you won't kill him," Kabuto stated flatly. He turned to his master and bowed slightly, his eyes flickering to where Sasuke was "waiting" for his master to train him. "Orochimaru-Sama, I'll send someone to you when we are ready for implantation."
""Yes, I anticipate the full operation to be quite an adventure."
"The cursed seal, it's being rejected again," Karin commented.
"No doubt the Fox is responsible," another said. "It's only a matter of time before we run out of anesthetic. We're pumping more into the subject in an hour than we use for the rest of the subjects combined."
"Use a genjutsu instead," Kabuto instructed. "Control him that way. We know it works on the Tailed Beasts. Convince him that he wants us to continue."
"No," Orochimaru said. "Wipe him clean. A blank slate will fit my needs better."
"That might harm the project."
"No, do it."
Tsunade looked at the necklace in her hand as tears streamed down her cheeks. It had been two days since Kakashi returned. This was why she didn't want to come back. She'd lost another one to the thrice damned necklace.
"I don't think he's dead," Jiraiya said from the window.
"How? How can he not be?" Her head whipped around to look at her old teammate who just looked out the window with a pensive look.
"He signed the toad contract," the Toad summoner said with an uncertain shrug. "They'd know, but the last time I talked with them, all they said is that Gamakichi wants Naruto to summon him and play."
"He's alive?" Tsunade asked, her eyes wide with surprise. She'd only known him for a month or so, but the blond bundle of energy had wormed his way into her heart like a grandson or a nephew.
"Since I last talked to the toads, yes," he replied. "The Uchiha took him for a reason. I'm betting as a bribe for Orochimaru."
"He's alive," Tsunade repeated, this time as a statement, but she was still feeling numb however that was quickly being replaced with resolve as her hands slowly closed into fists.
"I'm looking into it, but...we need to remember what Orochimaru is," Jiraiya continued. "He might not be the same kid we remember."
"Find him," the Fifth Hokage commanded. "And remind me to put Sasuke in the Bingo books. I think Kill on Sight, 500,000 to start."
"The Council isn't going to like that," the toad summoner replied with a wide smile.
"The Council can kiss my shiny blonde ass."
"Can I kiss your shiny blonde ass?"
"You can kiss my fist if you don't find him. Go!"
"We only have a partial implantation of Kimmimaru's Bloodline," Kabuto reported as he flipped through the photos, x-rays and diagrams of the surgery. He clicked through the slides at and even, unhurried pace, as if they had all the time in the world. "Unlike expected, it was mostly rejected except for claws on both hands."
"Hmm...odd," Orochimaru commented, leaning back to watch the video of the bones implanted in the boy's forearms. "Add something more, perhaps if all goes as planned, I can use the subject's body instead. Claws you say?"
"Yes, they retract into the forearm when not in use. This limits the flexibility of the wrists, but I feel it more than makes up for that flaw," Kabuto continued, glancing at his notes. "The claws have some difficulty because there isn't any port or natural adaptation, the claws exit out the skin, leading to bleeding."
"Hmm...consider building some artificial versions instead," Orochimaru commanded.
"You mean like your work on the Sound team you sent to the Chunin Exam?"
"Sure, and why not make it from chakra metal even?" Orochimaru mused dismissively with a wave of his hand as if he didn't really care to relive past glories. "And the brainwashing?"
"We have a sealing array scheduled for later today," Kabuto reported, "if you would like to watch."
"I think I might," Orochimaru said absently as he watched the video of the boy's new claws retract then snap outward, stabbing one of the attending medical ninjas in the hip.
"Brat, get in here!" snarled the Fox. Naruto looked up from his fetal position to see himself right outside the bars, well within reach of the creature's paws. Attempting to run seemed impossible, but when he was nearly out of reach, Naruto froze before screaming agony ran through his every nerve.
"No! What's happening? Why am I in pain?"
"The Uchiha won, brat," the Fox snarled, surprisingly not attempting to kill his host. "You lost. I keep trying to fix you, but they keep doing more. You'd better get out of this!"
"I don't know what to do!" Naruto protested.
"We need to remove the fox from the equation," Orochimaru mused as he relaxed behind his desk. He pushed aside the majority of the photographs in favor of one showing the blond subject unconscious on the slab. His clothing was gone, the baby fat vanished and his muscles were accentuated to an excessive degree. The black ink of the seal seemed a stark contrast to the subject's pale skin.
"Won't that just kill the subject?" Kabuto asked, a little confused as to the situation.
"Not necessarily," his master replied. "There was a rumor that the subject's mother lived after the fox was removed from him and it could work similarly here. Akatsuki will only be more of a problem should the Kyubii remain." The snake summoner looked out the window for a moment. "Send a team to find out everything they can about the Uzumaki clan, formerly of Whirlpool Country."
"As you command," Kabuto said before leaving the room.
Sakura was shocked. Sasuke-kun was labeled as a missing ninja and was being blamed for Naruto's kidnapping. Now she was wondering if she had been lucky, that it was good Sasuke had kept her from following him. She...thought...that she loved him, but to betray Konoha and everything...and then to try to kill Naruto. It just wasn't right and something was going to happen...she...she just didn't know what.
She had taken to eating with the others of her graduating class. The general consensus was that nothing could have made Naruto betray Konoha, but that was what a number of the citizens were saying.
"Troublesome," Shikamaru muttered as he witnessed, not for the first time, a man ranting about how Naruto had kidnapped Sasuke. This statement was hardly out of character, but the subsequent punch he threw was quite uncharacteristic. The man, a shopkeeper, fell back in shock. The Chunin brushed off his fist.
"What was that for?" the shopkeeper demanded in confusion as he rubbed the wound.
"Talking treason," Shino replied, his monotone and buzzing creating an intimidating aura. The remaining four men of the Rookie Nine stuck together, cracking knuckles and looking more than a little menacing.
"But everyone says-"
"No, only idiots say," Kiba said. Akamaru barked agreement. "If the Sannin and Hokage say Uchiha's a traitor like his brother, he's a traitor. Only a complete moron wouldn't trust them. He kidnapped Naruto, and no one's more loyal to Konoha than Naruto."
"That boy is nothing more than a de-" the man's furious rant was cut off by a passing Jonin who picked up the offending man and hauled him away. The remaining seven glanced around, but none of the shopkeepers or regular citizens would meet their eyes.
"The brainwashing appears to be a success," a technician reported. "er...to a degree at least."
"Skills and basic functions seem to work normally, with no limits on basic behaviors like eating or other actions, but higher personality functions are rather dull and non-responsive," Karin replied carefully, pushing up her glasses to straighten them out as she glanced down at the clipboard in her arm. "We've tried implanting certain suggestions like you requested, but so far we seem unable to test them. At best the subject is under nominal control, but extreme stressors could interfere with the process."
Orochimaru leaned back and took in the nervous former Grass ninja. She was infatuated with Sasuke, something the snake summoner was wary of, since infatuation could lead to a split in loyalties. She was careful, allowing herself slow, even breaths as she reported, but her appearance was still that of a scared little child to the older missing-nin.
"Test him," Orochimaru instructed. "I want action."
"Action? He just decapitated a bear with one swipe of his arm," Kabuto muttered. "How much more 'Action' do you need to see?"
"How do we test him.? We've already sent him up against bears and wolves, the next reasonable test of ability would be a Konoha giant tiger," Karin replied. "They've been rather difficult to procure considering where they lair."
"No," the snake summoner said with a shake of his head. "Against a human. Minoru, I think."
"Jiborou's little brother?" Karin asked with a slight bit of worry as she clutched her clipboard to her chest. Jiborou had been a massive figure, one of the Sound Four and had the ability to feed off the Chakra of others by using an impenetrable Earth dome. His brother, while not quite as skilled and lacking the cursed seal, was still fairly proficient in the technique.
"Tell him that if he kills the subject, I will allow him to take his brother's place in my bodyguards," Orochimaru cackled slightly. "Tell him that the subject was one of those who was involved in his brother's death."
"Won't he know it's a trap?" as soon as the words left her mouth, she cursed her impertinence, however her fears were proven unjustified as the pale man laughed darkly.
"No, Minoru's intelligence is...shall we say: less than impressive."
Naruto was hiding in the cage. He was understandably nervous, as the Fox had tried to kill him not long before, but this time the nine tails were wound around the boy in a protective cocoon, hiding him from the probing eyes of the Uchiha.
As far as the Uchiha was concerned, Naruto's personality was gone and he quickly broke the connection, exiting the mindscape. He wasn't surprised that Naruto's mind was a sewer, as it was to be expected. The moment it was safe, Naruto tried to step out between the bars of the cage, only to be burnt, sent flying backwards in horrendous pain.
"They've changed the seal," the Fox growled, "sealed you in with me."
"I have to get out!"
"Watch, then whelp, watch as I have for thirteen years," the Fox snarled as he slammed a paw onto Naruto's back, forcing him to the ground. "Open your eyes and see!"
"Weapon test number 23: Subject X verses Minoru," Kabuto announced from behind a glass window that allowed him, Orochimaru, Karin and several technicians to observe and command.
"Instruct the Subject to extend its claws," Orochimaru instructed. He felt his technician send out a slight bit of chakra, and three claws on either hand extended with a snikt! just barely audible over the com. Orochimaru nodded to his second in command. "Begin the test."
Minoru was enraged, seeing the tiny blond standing numbly in the room. He glanced briefly towards the window where he knew his master was watching. Then he glanced at the thing that was responsible for his big brother's death and let out a bellow of rage. Using his massive strength, he pulled up the concrete floor of the combat room and threw the chunk at the blond's head. Subject X flicked his wrist and the heavy projectile shattered, sprinkling harmlessly over the back of the room. The Subject strode forward with no hint of ego, claws extended. Minoru used his brother's technique to entrap the Subject, but the blond sliced the cannibalistic, cavernous, carnivorous chakra draining technique with ease, and stepped out, a foot away from his opponent. With dull intent, the blond's arm moved, and Minoru's head flew from his shoulders.
"That was..." Orochimaru began with a frown, "...less than impressive. Send in another one."
Fourteen sacrifices later, Orochimaru was entertained.
"Continue with the conditioning," he said before stepping out of the room. "It's time for Sasuke's training."
Kabuto, looking at the sea of corpses with a bit of shock as he attempted to reconcile the Naruto he once knew with the killing machine he witnessed today, nodded and commanded some of the lesser Sound minions to clean up the mess.
"Whelp! Fool!" growled the Fox at the young blond that now shared his cage. "You, being controlled by an Uchiha!"
"But he was my friend!"
"He was never your friend!" the Fox bellowed. "And I should know. An Uchiha is nothing but a thief and a slaver, but they steal and enslave with their eyes instead of hands like you other monkeys. You were simply a means to an end for him, and you played the part well. And now his master can use you like a puppet."
"But he must be controlled! The Cursed Seal!"
"Whelp! He's no different than the Uchiha that killed your parents," the Fox bellowed with rage and fury at the boy's ignorance. The hackles were up and even the Fox's recent protective nature over the boy did nothing to shield Naruto from the horrendous power. Naruto withstood it through pure stubbornness.
"What do you know about my parents?"
The Fox flashed an evil grin.
Sasuke watched as his one-time teammate slaughtered "failed" experiments. They had set Naruto up against 40 test subjects, all with at least level 2 cursed seal. They were nothing to him. It was hard to believe that this was the dunce that had failed the academy twice. It was efficient, methodical and unimpeded by emotion. It was not even taiijutsu as the claws went out and heads rolled.
To say that the Uchiha was surprised that Naruto held the Nine Tails within him, was a bit of an understatement. That it was the power he had wanted was a bigger surprise, but at the same time, it made sense. Naruto the person was useless, worthless, only the Fox made him capable.
"This entire time he was cheating," Sasuke muttered with a dark smile. All that power it seemed Naruto had been hoarding was stolen from the beast inside him. Satisfied with his own self-justification, Sasuke let his eyes spin, learning every move, every technique that the 40 sacrifices used. The glass and steel meshe protected him and Kabuto from blood and gore, but it did little for the sounds of slaughter. He didn't even notice Karin standing next to him, looking more than a little green.
Karin had been in the Chunin exams. This killing machine was nothing compared to the blond boy she had seen back then. He was full of life then, laughter and ego. This was less than a puppet and simple slaughter. Naruto was the only reason she made it into the second exam at all. His raw chutzpa when facing the guy with the scars in the First Exam had given her the strength of will to continue. It was like the kid had lifted the oppressive aura of the room. It wasn't the first time she'd had a pang of conscience, but as the experimentation on Subject X continued, the more common they became.
She had been responsible for the steroid treatment and the muscle building techniques. She was an experienced medical ninja, having learned under Kabuto and Orochimaru many techniques, but what they had done to that kid was monstrous. They might have given the orders, but it was her hand that guided the nurses and minor medic-nins. It was her hand and her chakra that had implanted the bone Bloodline into the boy's skeletal structure. Her, no one else, and there wasn't something she regretted more, including the abandoning of her home village. Looking back at the monster that had once been a boisterous boy, it appeared he hadn't gained any appreciable height, but his form was increased. He grew facial hair in sharp, protruding sideburns, typical short stature and had other signs of excessive steroid use, but the boy's insane regeneration was keeping him alive and preventing kidney failure along with the other more serious side effects. He shouldn't even be able to move, but there he was, a perfect killing machine. She felt pity for the boy who so recently proclaimed that he would be Hokage. It was almost as strong as the pity she held for herself.
And then he vanished in a puff of smoke.
The Toads of Mount Myoboku were an ancient people with a history going back a very long time. It wasn't until a young white haired ninja had arrived that they seriously interacted with the human world. Jiraiya, who would later be known throughout the shinobi world as the legendary Toad Sage, signed the contract with the Toads who chose to fight along side him as equals. Later, the Fourth Hokage, Minato Namikaze would sign it and die sealing the Nine Tailed Demon Fox. Then, thirteen years later, his son, Naruto Uzumaki would sign the contract and fight the One Tailed Tanuki.
The signature was important, as it represented the bond between human and toad. Humans could summon toads to help them fight, but the reverse was also true: toads could reverse summon the humans that signed the contract. Gamakichi wanted to summon Naruto immediately, but it was decided to wait, because Naruto might need medical attention. Tsunade was reverse summoned by her slugs and made the trip to the nearby toad mountain where she would tend Naruto after Jiraiya figured out where he had been.
Near a waterfall, surrounded by stone statues of those who failed at the toad arts, Naruto appeared, but not as he had left some weeks before. Covered in gore, the boy who once was Naruto saw a person and charged forward. Jiraiya deftly dodged out of the way, but his coat was cleanly cut by a slash of Naruto's new claws.
"Those are new," Jiraiya gasped as he saw them cut three very clean lines in a stone toad. Naruto numbly turned to face towards his letcherous teacher, only to be blocked by a fist from his Hokage. Tsunade winced as her knuckles crunched against the boy's skull without any noticeable effect. She shook her head as she realized Naruto's attention was now on her.
Gamabunta, surprised at the change in the brat, slammed his blade between the Sannin and Naruto, hoping to block them, but Naruto's claws cut cleaning through the steel.
"His claws, they're Wind Chakra blades!" Tsunade bellowed as she dodged out of the way. Even so, the blades shredded the cloth of her outer kimono.
"What did Orochimaru do to you, brat?" Gamabunta growled as he pulled up the severed handle of his favorite sword.
Jiraiya pulled out his own blade, and tried to block the strikes, but his kunai were cleanly severed after only one or two hits, even when infused with Chakra. "Hime! He's got a seal! You need to hold him down so I can look at it!"
"Better said than-oof!" Tsunade fell backwards as Naruto kicked her absently, almost as an after thought, in the gut. "Okay, that's it, brat!"
Tsunade jumped forward, hitting the boy's elbow, to keep the dangerous blades away from her flesh. Using her monstrous strength, she manage to muscle the boy down to the ground, forcibly shoving his claws into the stone of the ground. He struggled mightily, but there were many reasons the Sannin were known across the world. Even so, it was taking most of her strength to keep him from breaking her holds. Jiraiya ran over and ripped off Naruto's shirt, revealing a sealing array inked across his neck and shoulders that glowed brighter as Naruto struggled.
"Shit!" the older man muttered as he recognized the seal. Part Caged-Bird Seal, part Danzo's Root seal and a few others, Orochimaru had managed to combine them into one, although doing so did have its flaws. Flaws that Jiraiya could and fully intended to exploit. "The Seal's suppressing his personality and enslaving him to the one who put it on!"
"Can you remove it?"
"Maybe," Jiraiya muttered uncertainly even as he drew a counter steal over the first. He was almost done, but as he put the last stroke, Naruto buckled, managing to get an arm out of the lock. He thrashed, sending his claws right through Jiraiya's arm, severing it cleanly from the rest of his body. Jiraiya howled in pain as blood spurted out. "Send Chakra in the seal!"
Not knowing if this was going to work, the blonde woman did so, even as Naruto struggled to regain the upper hand. The counter array shone brilliantly with blue light and Naruto bellowed in rage and pain. Tsunade realized that she was losing her grip.
Gamabunta, glancing back and forth between his two summoners made a grim decision and sent Naruto back. Tsunade fell to the ground as the smoke cloud of the canceled summons dispersed and she pounded the stone of the training ground in sorrow and rage.
"Why!" Tsunade bellowed at the giant toad. Gamabunta scowled, decidedly not pleased with what happened
"Jiraiya-chan needs you, Tsunade-chan," Shima, one of the Toad Elders, told her, pointing to where Jiraiya was struggling to stop the blood from flowing out. Tears running down her face, Tsunade cleaned the severed arm and matched it back up, the cut so clean it matched perfectly. A bit of (for her) simple medical ninjutsu, and her old teammate's arm was as good as new.
Sitting on the cold, bloodstained stone back to back, the teammates sobbed as all hope vanished.
In Sound, the instant Naruto vanished, Orochimaru slowly, deliberately turned his head towards his Host-in-training.
"Tell me, Sasuke, my dear, dear apprentice," Orochimaru said in measured, calculated tones, "why I was never informed that the subject signed a summoning contract?"
Even the arrogant and haughty Uchiha could tell that the man was more than slightly displeased.
"I didn't think it was important," Sasuke replied in an attempt to wave it away like he had so many other tough questions with Kakashi and the Academy before that.
"Didn't think it was important? YOU FOOL! Now they know what I've done to him! The entire purpose of a secret weapon is that it is secret!" Orochimaru raged. The snake summoner then went into precise detail of how badly Sasuke screwed up. His fury was so great and focused entirely on the current owner of his next body, that the sannin didn't even notice the glow that spread across the subject's shoulders the moment the subject returned.
"Now is your chance!" the Fox commanded, shoving the teen through the bars. Naruto struggled slightly until he realized he couldn't fully leave, he was stuck half way, unable to move forward or back. The problem was simple: his struggles back in Mt. Myoboku had left Jiraiya's seal incomplete and the subsequent summoning and the chakra infused in him was not that of a seal master. As a result, Naruto was stuck in two worlds, both imprisoned and free. His body, freed of Orochimaru's control and quick destruction, was without barriers for the first time since the Uchiha had arrived with the demon container. His mind was still mostly sealed, but emotions, impressions of memories and threat assessment remained. But all control Orochimaru once had was replaced by furious free will.
The final result was an animalistic berserker with a strong hatred of snakes and red-eyed fools.
The first note that something went wrong was the slight growl that issued forth from between Naruto's feral lips. No one noticed because of the sheer volume of Orochimaru's berating of the Uchiha. The next signs were the emotions running through the crystal blue eyes that now focused on the glass separating the spectators from the sport. Using the knowledge forced into him about wind Chakra, Naruto charged towards the window.
Kabuto, the only one on the other side that was currently paying any attention to the remainder of the fight. When he saw the subject's lips pull back into a visage of pain both received and promised, he suspected something went wrong. When Naruto glared at him with eyes full of rage, Kabuto knew something was wrong. When Naruto charged the glass, claws first, Kabuto ran, or tried to. A swipe of the wind infused claws cut the glass as cleanly as a hot knife through butter another swipe sent the glass flying everywhere. A moment later and Naruto was on the gray haired medic, his claws slicing cleanly through his neck, something a little more difficult to regenerate. The severed head flew away, the spin spraying the walls with gore. Karin screamed and curled up in a corner, hoping to prevent catching his attention. Orochimaru spun at the sound of the shattered glass just in time to block a blow with his forearm. He saved his life at the cost of his hands, sliced cleanly at the elbows.
"Oh no! Not again!" the man bemoaned as he stared at his useless stumps before leaping backwards. There wasn't very much space to maneuver and the seats had been hardwired in. Blood flowed freely through the stump, quickly making the man woozy. Sasuke charged up his chidori, only to have it blocked by Naruto's elemental chakra infused claws alone. Wind, deftly defeating the lightning technique, cut through Sasuke's arm, and Naruto's other arm flew up through the side of his former teammate's face. Sasuke screamed in surprise, but even that did little as Naruto's other arm came up and sliced off the cornea of his right eye. Blood flew as Naruto attacked, their bodyguards falling one by one as first Orochimaru then Sasuke Replaced themselves with disposable minions. It did them little good, since Naruto could smell their blood. Bodies piled up. Some were just pierced through the sternum; others were decapitated or otherwise sliced and diced. Naruto kept going forward. He ignored the children and the like, but all who challenged the berserk ninja fell before him like pins before a bowling ball made of blades.
The wise people of Sound ran. Sound didn't have a civilian population, but it did have its own contractors and self-serving interests. Most made the wise choice to flee rather than confront the crazed blond. Most also knew that this was a monster of Orochimaru's creation and the sannin was doing nothing to stop it. The berserk ninja started cutting down test subject and scientist alike. The cursed seal did little to protect them from Naruto's claws and it only served to make the boy mad, that is to say, madder than he already was. Limbs went flying, as did heads and other bodily protrusions that the cursed seals granted. Doors and walls did nothing to stop him. The killing continued until there was nothing in front of him. However, the subjects of his ire had long since fled and covered their scents.
Karin got up from her hiding place and started walking out, hoping there was someone alive to help her. As she stepped over bodies and gingerly avoided bodily fluids, she noticed that others were still hiding while some others still had fled, leaving everything behind. When she got to the exit she found Naruto standing in the bright sun, his yellow hair stained with the blood of his enemies and his clothes clinging to his body with sweat and blood, little of it his own. Any wounds that had landed healed before her eyes. She was stuck, trapped in place, not sure if she should go back inside to hide or flee from the one responsible for all the death.
Word reached Jiraiya's information network three days later. His reattached arm was still tender, but he forced himself onward. When he arrived he had to chase off the vermin that fed off the corpses and the complex was swarming with them. Almost any kind of carrion feeder one could name had taken up the cause of clearing out the complex. The birds and larger scavengers spent most of their time in the sections closest to the entrances, but they became less common the deeper Jiraiya explored with the number of rats and snakes increasing as the pathways darkened and wove deeper and deeper into the hidden mountain complex.
Jiraiya hadn't seen such carnage since the last war and it disgusted him as it always had. It was a senseless waste of life that should have never happened. Jiraiya blamed himself. If he had stopped Orochimaru earlier, back when the man first became a missing-nin then this never would have happened. But he hadn't, and now the Toad summoner had to deal with all these deaths.
And possible the death of his newest apprentice. As he went further and further into the complex, the bodies were seemingly in better condition. The cuts were clean, as only a chakra blade infused with Wind could. Nothing else could cut like this except perhaps one of the legendary blades, and it was highly unlikely that Orochimaru was going to allow anyone else to wield Kusanagi. A cut so clean that it was easy to fit back to the original bone and flesh, something the middle aged man knew well himself.
Naruto had killed these people.
Jiraiya knew that the Naruto he knew wouldn't have done something like this. He was a loving kid, friendly, full of life, kind of an idiot, but innocent, unblooded. He was the kind of person that could make just about anybody smile if they gave him even half a chance. Hell, the brat had reformed a psychotic killer that had a tailed beast whispering in his ear for thirteen years.
This wasn't the Naruto he once knew, this was what was left of Naruto after Sasuke had dragged him away to a monster. Jiraiya sighed as he realized the counter seal hadn't been completely successful. Somehow it had manage to subvert Orochimaru's control, but had not allowed Naruto's original personality to return. But the boy was alive. And if he was alive, Jiraiya could and would find him. Eventually, after traversing the better part of the complex, the older man found himself in what appeared to be a training room and the start of the massacre.
Orochimaru had been forcing Naruto to kill and kill and kill. This must have been where Naruto was summoned from. They should have waited until night, they should have waited until Naruto was sure to be asleep. Not for the first time, Jiraiya cursed himself for what happened.
"Oi! Old Man!" a voice called out. Jiraiya turned to see a young man in a tank of water, but without any appearance of having oxygenation of the usual sort. The older ninja's years of travel and experience flickered through his head until the Toad Summoner recognized the bloodline of the entrapped man before him.
"Hōzuki-san," Jiraiya said, greeting the man formally with his usual expressed personality in the form of a wide smile. "How are you today? Wonderful weather we're having!"
"Oi! Don't act like we're friends meeting on the street! Get me out of here!" the watery man commanded. "And how do you know my name?"
"I'm well acquainted with the remaining Kiri bloodlines," Jiraiya said with a Kakashi-esque eye smile. "And who am I, you ask? I am the legendary Sage: beloved by women, feared by men; hated by some, wanted by many; student of the great Third Hokage; He who summons the great Toads of Mt. Myoboku, Jiraiya of the Great Konoha Sannin!"
He finished his introduction by standing on a giant red toad, but the watery man was not impressed. There was a long moment of silence as they stared at each other that was only broken up by the toad snapping out his tongue and feasting on a buzzing fly.
"Orochimaru skipped town, if that's who you're looking for," Suigetsu Hōzuki stated, more than a little annoyed that he had been stuck in a giant glass jar for five days and hadn't been fed. "Now, why don't you get off your pretty little frog and let me out?"
"I'm a toad you, little asshole," the red toad grumbled as he massaged his forehead with his tongue.
"I'll let you out of that tube on the condition that you explain what happened here," Jiraiya stated, standing at his full height and crossing his arms over his chest.
"Fine, fine, just get me out of here and get me something to drink," the boy commanded. Jiraiya raised an eyebrow and cocked his head as if waiting for something. Suigetsu grumbled before sighing. "Fine, I'll tell you first."
He explained what was going on, why he was trapped, and how they all were tagged and bagged with the seal from Orochimaru, but with so many others dead or missing there was little they could do except for wait. He explained how a kid fitting the Uchiha's description dragged in a blond kid that ended up killing everyone that stood in his way. He explained how Orochimaru wanted to use him as a weapon, but needed to get rid of something inside the kid. Suigetsu didn't know what, but Jiraiya could easily guess. Suigetsu then went on to talk about the kid snapping and slaughtering anyone who threatened him.
"So he didn't kill everyone?"
"No way," Suigetsu answered. "He walked right past ninjas and people, barely even giving them a glance, but if they pulled a weapon or went into a stance, they were dead. Kid's a real badass, even if he is pretty short. Cut right through Kabuto's neck. The shit head couldn't regenerate that! Ha! Sliced Orochimaru's hands right off. That kid with the fishing bobber shirt lost an eye and most of an arm. That made me laugh, the kid was a real stick-in-the-ass-sideways type, you know? But the people who didn't act like threats? Nope, walked right by 'em."
The kid paused. "It's funny though, he was like this mindless drone one minute, and the next he's killing everyone with nothing but rage in his eyes. It's like someone flipped a switch when they used that smoke replacement technique."
"Hmm...that must have been when we summoned him," Jiraiya pondered.
"What?" Suigetsu asked. "I can't hear you through the glass that you promised to let me out of, you senile old fart!"
Jiraiya absently tossed a kunai at the glass tube, shattering the glass and allowing the Hōzuki to regain his freedom.
"Thanks, old man," the boy said as he regained his form. He cracked his neck and stretched his muscles before attempting to leave the premises.
"Where do you think you're going?" Jiraiya asked.
"Uh...away from here?" Suigetsu said hesitantly. Jiraiya shook his head in the negative. Suigetsu raised an eyebrow. "I'm not going away from here?"
"Sure you are; you're going with me to Konoha!" Jiraiya said as if it was completely obvious.
"Of course you are," Jiraiya replied as he slapped the teen on the back. The old man grinned the grin of an evil, evil man.
"You just put a fucking seal on my back, didn't you?" Suigetsu asked.
"Why, yes I did. How about that?" Jiraiya said with faux shock.
"Take it off! I can't transform!" Suigetsu demanded, even though he knew he was no match for the old man standing before him, or the red toad that seemed contented to eat as many flies as he could catch. The middle age man's jovial demeanor vanished, replaced by pure seriousness.
"The seal will stay on until you come with me to Konoha, reveal everything you know about Orochimaru and his projects, and Konoha recovers Naruto."
"Who the fucking hell is Naruto?"
"Naruto's the ninja that did all this," Jiraiya explained. "Orochimaru kidnapped him."
"Damn sannin," the teen grumbled as he dutifully followed along.
"By the way, why was your tank in that room?" Jiraiya asked, pointing back towards the training room.
"Oh, I was slated to fight your wonder boy next, but in all the excitement, I was left behind," snarked the watery ninja. "I happen to be quite good with a sword."
"Oh my! The little brother of one of the Seven Swordsmen of the Bloody Mist is good with a sword! My surprise is immense!" Jiraiya replied in a similar tone as he threw his hands up in the air. "Now, you wouldn't happen to know where the records office is in this place?"
"Kakashi, Sakura, sit down," Tsunade commanded, gesturing to the seats on the opposing side of her desk. Once the remaining members of Team 7 were comfortable, the Hokage nodded. "Jiraiya has managed to track down Orochimaru's last base. Naruto is alive."
Their faces brightened instantly. Even with the mask over his face, she could see the Jonin's mood had risen considerably by that very statement.
"Is he coming back? Does he have Sasuke-kun with him?" Sakura asked. Her excitement was curbed by the dark look the older woman let flash across her features.
"Naruto was able to escape, but at this time we do not know his whereabouts," Tsunade explained, pointedly ignoring the girl's questions. "He has been experimented on considerably by Orochimaru and Jiraiya's informant has stated that Sasuke was the one to bring Naruto as an offering. My former teammate was unable to resist the temptation."
"W-w-what?" Sakura stuttered, unable to understand that her crush could do such a thing. And to Naruto...he was just Naruto. "Wh-why would he do that to Naruto?"
"Sasuke was one of the most insecure people I've ever met, Sakura," Kakashi said. "No matter how much older and no matter how much more powerful they were, Sasuke saw them as examples of how weak he was. Being the Rookie of the Year or being the Last Uchiha didn't mean much to him except that he was more powerful than his peers, but that was never enough for him. So long as he was unable to defeat an S-ranked missing ninja that killed his family, he considered himself weak. It didn't matter that he was only thirteen. When Naruto caught up to him, or when he even surpassed him, and Naruto did surpass him, Sasuke didn't see it as a challenge to increase his practice or to work harder, he just saw it as an example of how Konoha was holding him back. He believed exactly what Orochimaru wanted him to think."
"Exactly," Tsunade said. "And ultimately he turned traitor, abandoning Konoha, and everything the Uchiha, his family, stood for. And taking Naruto was the last straw."
"What do you mean last straw?" Sakura asked.
"Sasuke knowingly kidnapped an active ninja of Konoha and allowed Orochimaru to experiment on him," Tsunade explained. "That's more than just desertion, that's treason of the highest caliber. He has been put in the Bingo books as a punishment and as an example."
"How is he listed?" Kakashi asked.
"Kill on sight, head to be returned to Konoha, eyes included," Tsunade replied with no verbal cushion for Sakura. The pink haired girl flinched at the vitriol in her Hokage's voice. The blonde woman turned on the young teen and glared sternly. "Sakura, I suggest you get over your crush and put your effort into your training."
Sakura looked down, but nodded silently. After a long while, she looked up. "Naruto is going to need some help when he comes back, right?"
"Quite a bit, considering the changes Jiraiya and I saw during the reverse summoning fiasco," Tsunade agreed.
"What kind of changes?" Kakashi asked.
"Chakra blades implanted in his forearms, massive amounts of steroids that could cause who knows what kind of problems, seals which we don't know were successfully removed or not. There could easily be other changes that have yet to see," Tsunade replied. "He was strong enough for me to barely wrestle to the ground and his blades are sharp enough to sever Jiraiya's arm cleanly enough that I could reattach with very little difficulty."
"Na-Naruto was able to do that?" Sakura asked.
"Yes, we were lucky enough to both be present at the same time when it happened," Tsunade replied. "Otherwise we probably would have been down to one Sannin, me. What Orochimaru did was monstrous and I can only hope that the Naruto we all know is still inside him somewhere."
In the Hidden Village of Rain, Madara Uchiha, better known as Tobi, was not impressed.
"WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU LOST THE NINE TAILS? How can you lose the Nine Tails? The container wears bright orange and has the intelligence and ability of a newt! Just go to the closest ramen stand and ask if they've met a blond kid with an addiction!" the ninja in the orange mask bellowed at the "leader" Akatski, Pain.
"Your descendant is to blame, Madara," the animated corpse replied. "Him, and our former member. He has vanished from my vision. Even the lauded abilities of Zetsu have been unable to locate him. From his information, neither have the forces of the Leaf been able to recover him."
Four years later...
The bar was packed, as it usually was right after a shift change in the border town between Rice Paddy Country and the Land of Lightning. The ninjas that watched the border would relax before heading to the barracks for rest. Some came to drink, others came for more physical pursuits.
"Hey, look at the runt!" cackled a Kumo shinobi as he stepped into the bar with his friends, fresh off duty. He was big, as wide with muscle as he was tall and full of confidence. The "runt" was short, blond, and sitting at the bar with a rather stunning redhead next to him. Leaning up against the bar, the Kumo chunin flashed her a big smile and nodded towards an empty booth.
"Hey, cutie, why don't you come with me and ditch the runt," the Kumo ninja suggested, leaning over the woman who seemed to flinch as he got closer.
"Sorry, not interested," the woman was quick to reply, keeping her head down and scooting a bit closer to her drinking partner.
"Awe, don't be like that!" he protested, grabbing her by the arm.
"I said I'm not interested, leave us alone," the woman said, attempting to shrug off the arm.
"Come on, have a drink, we're much better company," the Kumo-nin said, spinning her around on the stool.
"The lady don't like to be touched, Bub," the "runt" said gruffly before taking a sip off his beer without even looking in the harasser's direction.
"I don't know where you're from, Runt, but here in Lightning, we ninja do what we want," the shinobi replied snarkily. He had just been promoted to Chunin, after all.
"Well, I might not know where I come from, but I've got three reasons why you should leave the lady alone, Bub," the runt growled up at the man as the blond spun around on the stool and took to his feet. He stood maybe 3/4 of the Kumo ninja's height. "Wanna see 'em?"
"Look, civie, do you really want to pick a fight, I'm a real ninja," the man taunted as he bought into his own arrogance. The chunin pointed towards his forehead protector with a smirk.
The blond simply pulled up a fist under the man's chin, but without any force. Then, without warning, a blade sprang from between the man's knuckles, slicing up the giant man's right cheek.
"That's one," he growled out before there was another "snikt" slicing up the Kumo-nin's left cheek with Naruto's remaining knuckles under the man's chin. "And that'd be three. Still interested in learning what reason number two is?"
The newly minted Kumo chunin started to sweat as his teammates started circling around the runt.
"Sure you want to do that?" the runt asked sparing his hostage's teammates a brief glance each. "You three might be okay 'gainst a normal guy, but I'm the best at what I do."
"W-wh-what do you do?" said the first ninja who accosted the woman.
"Well," he said pausing for a moment to let the woman edge out of the bar. "It ain't pretty, believe it, Bub."
Thanks to everyone who helped make this. I don't own Naruto, some guy named Kishimoto does. And I don't own Wolverine, some guy named Disney does by way of some kind of Marvel.
Granted, not my best work, but I wanted to share the little one shot. I think its fun even if it's not great.