A/N: Before the fic is started, let's get the normal stuff out of the way.
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto, it's the possession of Masashi "total lunatic" Kishimoto and Viz media.
Also, much praise and many rewards shall be given to my good friend Sweet Heavens for entrusting me with this fic, his brainchild. While I will be the one to write this, know well that without the magnificent spark of genius he produced, I would not write this. Go check out his work, he's as good as me.
Lightning streaked the midnight sky as howling rain battered off the glass window. The dismal weather provided a perfect setting for the events that may have to transpire on this night. A stream of street light illuminated a figure sitting at his desk with only the power of a desk lamp to help him read through his papers.
Minato Namikaze, Yondaime Hokage of Konohagakure and in many ways probably the greatest Kage in history, had been through a lot of things in his lifetime. He had fought and killed an entire army – including their most powerful shinobi – with a single jutsu. The blonde man had faced down and sealed the mightiest beast in all of the elemental nations, the Kyuubi no Kitsune. With the assistance of the Hokage that had come before him, he had trapped the beast in the body of his own daughter. Many in his village now considered the girl their saviour.
Tonight however he had to make a big decision. A decision concerning a cornerstone of his village's strength and thereby their key to peace. This person, one of those who kept Konoha as the greatest of the big five could be a traitor. Worst of all, it might mean his own son was potentially implicated.
Minato never could understand his eldest child. His shinobi record was impeccable and his way of working and dealing with the lifestyle of one born to kill was that of a consummate professional even from the beginning. But there was also the fact that he was apprenticed to the possible traitor Minato was waiting for the final judgement on. Minato was proud of his son, he was a shining role model as a shinobi, a top-class ninja and a master of all their arts. The problem was he had never really understood his son, never truly figured him out as a person.
In the beginning Namikaze Naruto had been a happy child. Minato had been forced to leave most of Naruto's early upbringing to his beautiful mother due to Minato's responsibilities to the village. Still, he had found time when he could for the cheerful boy. Then their wonderful daughter Kimiko came a short few years later and life – for a while – had been truly blessed.
Then that damned beast of calamity and destruction had come across their peaceful village.
The Kyuubi no Kitsune had attacked their village and the battle that had taken place had been horrific. Their great power, the one that had nearly managed to destroy Iwagakure no Sato a mere few years before, had been impotent against its unstoppable rampage. Many shinobi lost their lives before Sarutobi, Kami rest his soul, sealed the beast into Minato's daughter at the cost of his own life. After that everything had changed irreparably. The scar upon their happy family life stayed obvious to even the most oblivious of shinobi to this day.
Kushina had begun to dote on her daughter because of her important duty as jailer to a Bijuu and Naruto, never showing a hint of resentment for the sudden loss of his mother's attention, had retreated into his father's study. The boy hadn't understood what was going on and latched onto a seemingly throwaway phrase by Minato about the value of knowledge. He had, only six years old, begun to look through the books in there, desperately trying to comprehend it. It would have been impressive, even awe-inspiring, had not it been so terrifying. The boy had shown a deep mania about it, eating or sleeping only when forced to and with Kushina so obsessed with tending to her daughter's every last need Naruto had been forgotten... Minato had worked around the clock and Kushina could not bring herself to let go of her daughter even for a second, all the while Naruto faded away.
Until an offer had come from an unlikely source…
The man scribbled his signature onto another deployment document and, after giving up to his worries just this once, dropped the quill. He leaned back in his chair, contemplating deeply about the choices he had made in life, the choices that too many times ended in soul-wrenching regret.
"Hokage-sama," a voice in front of him breathed. The aged Hokage jumped in surprise of being taken off guard and straightened his somewhat dishevelled appearance carefully. His jounin vest was zipped up and the wrinkles in his pants and famous white coat smoothed out. Sitting up straight, he spoke.
The owner of the voice took time to answer. That was not a good sign, Minato felt a stab of worry in his guts instantly at this. His son never hesitated. Minato could only see a bad omen with how the weather was like outside. Suddenly the rain even seemed happy when the windows suddenly rattled even harder with the howling wind. Nature itself seemed to build towards a crescendo.
"It is confirmed Hokage-sama," Naruto replied in the darkness like an disembodied voice. Minato could not feel his suppressed chakra at all, it was like a ghost was in the room. "Shishou, Orochimaru-sama, is a traitor."
The worst possible conclusion of the investigation Namikaze Minato had commissioned into one of their most prominent shinobi had come to be. The blonde Hokage placed his elbows onto the table and leaned his head on his hands. The man released a groan that normally wouldn't be appropriate in front of one of his soldiers but at the moment he did not care. This revelation meant his son was potentially a traitor too.
"What proof do you have?" He asked silently.
"I've located a number of laboratories this morning while monitoring him that I never knew existed and inside…" His son's voice wavered for a moment before he took in a breath and continued, "... Inside them the work of a madman was evident Hokage-sama. A menagerie of psychotic experiments, many of them done on human beings. Mitarashi-san was with me as a witness. Hokage-sama, he must be stopped, my master or not, something like that cannot be allowed to continue."
The man released a breath he didn't know he was holding when he heard Anko Mitarashi, the oldest apprentice of the two, was there to witness his son's investigation. She was notorious for falling out with her master a couple of years ago. The split was well known and genuine, Anko was reliable in this matter. "Is he fleeing?" Minato asked now.
His son had managed to compose himself and answered directly. "Preparing to Hokage-sama. I request that an ANBU team, Mitarashi-san and myself be deployed to pursue and incapacitate him as soon as possible."
Minato allowed his head to shoot up in the direction of the darkness and clapped his hands to turn on the lights to a flickering burn.
His son's long blonde locks, cut in the style of his master but instead fastened in a large ponytail, came into view. It contrasted with the pale white flesh that once was a normal pink until god knows what treatments Naruto had consented to undergo. A stern yet still smooth teenage face stared at him with respect but you could see there was some torn emotions mingled among the cold pale blue eyes, eyes that were slitted like his master's. His forehead protector was seated on his forehead, the band being a part of what kept his long hair out of his face along with the band that made the large ponytail spill behind his head and along the back of his loose-fitting snow-white shirt which was held together at his waist by a maroon sash. Said sash had one strap of cloth hanging down on the side, the end of the strap displaying the Uzumaki whirl in orange. His pants were in the same colour as the sash and followed his legs down to the black sandals. His hands were hidden behind his back in attention. The Hokage searched for anything related to hesitation of requesting to hunt down his own master and found nothing.
His son's duty was to his village first, a noble if somewhat detached ideology concerning human life considering his nineteen years of age. He thought of the big picture, just like his master, and even shared the man's obsessive nature to gather more knowledge, more power, more means of being that little bit better than before. It didn't stop Minato, used to seeing the uncaring looks on a killer's face, being bothered by how eerily calm his own flesh and blood was being at a time like this.
"Are you sure about going yourself?" he asked gently, "I can easily assign Anko-san the duty of leading the mission."
Naruto did not react, only stood still as a statue. An unsettling reaction, considering the nature of the task given to him. Minato was equally much unnerved and proud over that his son could keep himself frosty at a time like this.
"I am the best to deal with him." Naruto answered after a second, "Mitarashi-san herself will tell you that out of both apprentices I am the better of the two. She is competent, very much so, but I am superior, both in jutsu, in combat tactics and sheer power. What more, I am the one who has ventured deep into master's authorized research and I understand how he thinks, Hokage-sama."
Minato thought to himself about how Naruto never called him father these days. He hadn't done so for years. However: that was irrelevant at this moment in time.
The leader of Konohagakure no sato weighed his options. To mess around finding a suitable captain for a hit squad, not to mention squad members, was dangerous considering the time frame. Hunting down Orochimaru was probably the most difficult task in the village, even for his fellow sannin. The ANBU commander, Uchiha Itachi, had offered Naruto a place in the black ops several times, something that said a lot even there. That the Uchiha prodigy would make such an offer said it cleanly: he rated Naruto above pretty much everyone in the ANBU at the moment, perhaps even above Hatake Kakashi. The latter, Minato's former student and trusted right hand man, was on another assignment right now on the Kumo border. It seemed he had no choice yet even so he didn't like the idea of pitting his son up against a legendary shinobi and his own teacher to boot.
"Approved..." Minato sighed eventually, "Take squad seventeen and I will have Jiraiya sent your way as soon as possible.. You have permission to kill but I would prefer if you took him alive for interrogation. Leave the locations of the bases on my secretary's desk."
"Yes Hokage-sama." Naruto said, immediately moving out. He spun around and was on the way out of the door within seconds. Minato only barely had time to give him a few last words.
"Be safe." he said gently.
His child never had the chance to reply.
Minato sat back into his chair, swinging it to look out towards his village, the place he had spent his whole life protecting. Too little said and actions that he wished he could change dominated his thoughts until the call he received hours later told him just what the outcome of the battle had been.
Dashing through the last of the trees of the forest, Namikaze Naruto was approaching the field he had agreed to meet his master in. Barely thirty minutes ago he had organized his squad for the upcoming attack.
Training ground seventy nine: A grass-covered field of sandy soil, the grass sparkling slightly from the slight rain illuminated by the dying streaks of lightning. Here and there large, proud trees stood, planted here over a hundred years ago by the first of the Hokages. This had once upon a time been the sannin's playing field, back when Konohagakure no sato was younger, still a fledgling village, albeit a powerful one. It was ironic, considering what soon would come to pass here. Orochimaru was the only one amognst them who still used this place to teach or to train. Under the inky cloudy sky, now that the lightning was finished, all Naruto could perceive was his master's chakra signature, deep in the darkness just to the south of him. The man was in a perfect position to ambush his own apprentice if need be. Naruto stopped moving at top speed now and instead assumed a brisk walking pace, heading directly at Orochimaru.
"Well Naruto-kun," Orochimaru said from seemingly nowhere. As always it was with some playful affection, "What is the news?"
"Shishou," Naruto greeted neutrally, "Otou-sama has figured out that you are responsible for Yamato-sempai and the artificial bloodline baby experiments." He listened for a reaction and smirked to himself, knowing he could not be seen in the darkness. He was rewarded with a quiet, snake-like hiss. "He also seems to have somehow worked out the connection between the labs in the outskirts of fire country and you."
Of course that was only the laboratories Naruto actually had mentioned to the Hokage. There were plenty more he had failed to mention. Like for example where shishou kept the hard copies of his notes. Those old underground ROOT stations did come in handy, especially since even the Nidaime had been kept in the dark when they were constructed by Danzou many years ago. That was of course before the Uchiha police and the rest of the ANBU walked into them and slaughtered every one of the ROOT members who refused to surrender on orders from the Yondaime. Those tunnels went so far deep into the soil that nobody even heard the battle. Danzou, the treasonous master of ROOT who had performed countless bloody deeds motivated a deranged kind of loyalty to Konoha, had died at Itachi's hands.
Naruto waited for a response, the silence hanging uncomfortably over the mood for a long time. The old man was also leaking a very diluted amount of killing intent just out of sheer frustration. The moon had come out briefly and further vanished into the cloud cover three times when his master spoke again. It seemed his plotting master had come up with a solution.
"I must leave." The blonde had expected this solution. He may have hidden his fear but Naruto knew Orochimaru was not the type to stay and die for his beliefs. "I will go first to our main hub in Oto and then two days from now you will follow behind with all my data."
Naruto smirked again. This was going exactly to plan… One more push. He could barely sense Anko coming in from behind and if he struggled to do so his master, who did not know who precisely to look for, would not notice her. She was already briefed about the situation, knew to make the ANBU team wait further back until they were needed and to let the act he was supposed to be playing go through. Her poisonous hatred of the elder snake sannin made her see nothing but the eldest Namikaze child's own point of view.
"I'm sorry master," Naruto began, speaking softly, apologetically. This was the climax of months of planning and careful painting of a flawless façade of tormented loyalty and anxiety. Balancing the apparent pain of knowing his master was suspect and his devotion to Konoha had been hard to say the least. Yet he was standing here now, at the end of it all, and it had come together completely. Only a few more minutes of acting and it would be complete
"What do you mean?" Orochimaru asked coolly but underneath that there was a distinct hiss that his master only used when he was about to slaughter something. The man barely had time to finish his words before Naruto struck. Drawing his sword, Naruto dashed forwards and was inside Orochimaru's guard in one split-section. With a furious swing, he sent his sword in a short, clipped arc aiming at Orochimaru's guts. He almost hit, Orochimaru leaped backwards and snarled with anger, but Naruto was after him in an instant, continuing to press his advantage with blindingly fast slashes and stabs, each of them only being avoided barely by Orochimaru and many times not even that. It was first after over thirty seconds that Orochimaru, with a backflip that helped him avoid Naruto's low swing, could summon his own sword. When he landed Naruto was upon him, their swords clashing and their faces ending up only inches from each other.
"I have not been on your side since I discovered your true nature." Naruto hissed into the man's face.
The sannin stared back at his apprentice, his teeth gritted and his muscles trembling. Then a cruel, mocking laugh filled the air, it was laced with more killing intent than before, almost overwhelming. The old snake had been triggered to bloodthirst, now it was too late to go back.
"So you finally made your move... Naruto-kun..." the old snake said with a low, gleeful hiss. "I knew you'd do it eventually, your hunger is even greater than mine."
"Your lies won't help you now shishou." Naruto said, "Just surrender and let us get this over with."
"Never." The sannin surprised Naruto by not going into a monologue, instead he just lunged forwards, twisting his wrist and sending both Kusanagi and Naruto's sword flying before his palm flew at Naruto's chin. Naruto dodged it by contorting his neck in a way that was not only superhuman, but outright unnatural, to avoid it. Naruto returned fire with two fingers aiming for the eyes. For nearly five minutes, cloaked in the darkness that stopped anyone interfering from outside, Naruto the apprentice and Orochimaru the master duelled in pure Hebi style taijutsu. The blonde and the raven haired ninja timed their movements to aim for vital spots. Punches that targeted the temples of the head, tensile fingers with elongated fingernails that tried to gouge out eyes, strikes aiming for pressure and tenketsu points, grasping, cobra-like lunges at the oesophagus to tear apart the delicate organ, kicks flying towards the crotch or to savagely damage ligaments: the style was all about incapacitating and killing through the weakest parts of the human body.
Naruto was eventually forced back by a kick to the chest, taking the air out of him. His cheek was slashed by a follow-up attack meant to blind him. This was pointless, there was no more to be gained from this. Orochimaru wouldn't leak any more information as it was. Naruto redistributed the chakra to his feet and pushed himself back a few meters to gain some ground.
"Already winded Naruto-kun?" Orochimaru gloated as Naruto landed several feet away. Still, the man's blood was on Naruto's hands and feet so the snake had to be wounded somehow. The unrelenting darkness made finding out nigh impossible. Still, his cheeks, forehead and thighs had been struck at least twice, Naruto could tell that much. "I trained you to master Hebi, something even Anko-chan couldn't do, and it was supposed to teach you to fight in the dark. Have I been negligent somewhere? Was I too hasty to declare you competent?"
Naruto did not answer. Instead he weaved a set of hand seals and inhaled before exhaling a gigantic white hot fireball. The entire area lit up as the extremely overpowered blast of flame travelled much farther than normal and set the nearby trees ablaze, showing its extra purpose of helping its creator in the battlefield.
Orochimaru looked even more evil in the flickering light of the bonfire behind him. His green shirt was torn in many areas, his pale cheeks were tinted red from several nasty gash marks and even, to Naruto's surprise, on his higher torso one gash could be seen. That was considered difficult for any Hebi user fighting against another one. He had not moved from his position when the fireball had come at him, the snake had simply avoided his fireball by sinking into the ground and then just as easily slipping back out again to avoid the attack. It was a nice combo that had the bonus psychological effect of fooling an enemy into thinking he had just withstood the attack.
Shame Orochimaru was fighting his apprentice.
"Naughty, naughty apprentice," Orochimaru japed joyfully, "Incinerating your master is a bad way to show your gratitude Naruto-kun." Even with his gloating Orochimaru's black locks were smoldering, indicating he hadn't been as prepared as he was making himself out to be. Naruto knew what to do now and that was to keep up the momentum. His master could talk a priest into selling his own soul.
He surprised his master by creating a seal-less shadow clone and jumping into the air. His clone formed the necessary hand seals and inhaled with the end result of a gigantic gust of wind that tore the forest apart. The original in the air followed suit, generating another, smaller fireball that exploded in intensity when it came into contact with the hurricane, pinning Naruto's mentor to one spot to avoid being blown away. Orochimaru's arms were not capable of forming seals as they were shielding his face from forest debris and so this time it seemed that he was devoured by the fire.
Nearby Anko had nearly broken her cover by cheering prematurely. The ANBU team had joined her position and had been more quiet than his overly enthusiastic fellow snake summoner. They were all waiting for the moment that Naruto would need them and right now it seemed they were surplus to requirements.
Naruto was no fool though. His follow up dispersal of his clone as he landed behind it provided himself some smoke cover that would shield him from his masters move from below, where the man no doubt had retreated with much haste. Sure enough, Orochimaru shot out of the ground with his sword once again in his hand and Naruto felt the slice of a blade against his shoulder as it tore into his flesh. Naruto's unnatural reflexes contorted his body to absorb as much of the impact as he could.
He reacted by channelling some chakra into his open palm where a seal had been painted. With a puff of smoke two dozen shuriken appeared in his palm, laying there in a perfect pile. With a graceful twist of his entire body, he sent the shuriken flying towards his his master in one spin. Before they got there however he formed another set of hand seals. Those shuriken soon turned into a thousand and rained down pieces of metal in a hellish storm of razor edges.
Now he found himself grimacing at the sound of metal clanking off metal as his master used his skilful sword skills and his Kusanagi to swat any shuriken that got near him out of the way. It had been an ambition of the younger Jounin to one day inherit the sword and examine the poison that dripped from it, a poison that he himself was immune to after finalizing the snake contract with Manda long ago.
Naruto used the man's preoccupation with the shuriken to cover him while he flung his arm towards his sword. From his sleeves a long, green snake shot out, zooming through the air like a kunai in flight, wrapping itself around his sword and with another move, Naruto retrieved the blade, the snake retreating into his sleeve once against and the sword ending up in his hand.
His other hand ran along the wrist of the first hand now, touching the seals there, and summoning four kunai with explosive tags tied to them. He threw them all with one hand, aiming square at his master who only just now had finished deflecting the story of shuriken, lighting their fuses with chakra. The explosion was deafening, it shook the ground and made everything in several kilometres' radius shiver. Naruto leaped backwards, allowing the shock wave of the explosion to knock him further backwards towards his team.
When the smoke cleared there was nothing left where Orochimaru had stood. All that was was a gigantic hole, over a dozen meters wide. Naruto himself was standing over a hundred meters away, having slid to a full stop amongst the trees still standing.
Then it came, fast enough that it was almost above his ability to follow it. Naruto parried a strike from a sword. The blur landed above him and the blonde was made to spin slightly to almost float directly along the path of the sword stab meant for his stomach. Naruto back flipped from his position on one side using it as a springboard onto a nearby tree. He channelled chakra along the blade and unleashed a great blade of wind at his master. Orochimaru slid some blood from a wound onto his thumbs and made a series of one handed seals on both hands. The result was two giant purple serpents, about twenty feet tall. The attack bounced off one of their hides and decimated yet another of the ancient Shodaime's forestry efforts.
The snakes attacked and Naruto found himself being flanked from both sides as Orochimaru attacked from the front. The blonde waited until the coordinated serpents lunged and propelled himself into the air, landing on the one coming from the left and slashed at its eyes. It hissed as blood poured and fell to the ground writhing in agony. Continuing his travel though the air, and flick of his wrist stabbed the blade into the tree, his feet landed on the blade and propelled him towards his master, their blades meeting once again.
"Surrender," Naruto said through clenched teeth. "It's over one way or another for you."
Orochimaru slipped into his intimate space and took the time to whisper, "How confident Naruto-kun, yet it is bravado only, your time at being on top of this battlefield is over." His old master went to smack him on the head with the hilt of his sword when Naruto unleashed a serpent from under his sleeve only for it to be caught in mid strike and crushed under his master's pale fist.
Naruto felt himself being pulled forward and into the path of the Kusanagi. Crimson splashed over his eyes as it penetrated his shoulder. He pushed off his master, wincing as his barely functioning pain responses registered the wound as the sword slid back out of his body. He discarded his blade, feeling the burn as he used his hands to form several seals and slammed his hands into the ground. The crater shook from the makeshift earthquake and knocked Orochimaru off balance as the ground caved in a little more, deepening the mound ever so slightly with all the loose soil. Naruto saw his chance and again formed a set of seals and slammed his hand into the ground and stole a massive chunk of loose soil out of the ground. He threw it at the sannin and then, without thinking, finished with yet another set of seals and unleashed one last but very small fireball that lit the grass on it. The gigantic bomb that was crashing down like a meteor hit the ground and exploded from the impact, covering everything in a huge mushroom cloud of dust because the walls of his crater were so high.
Naruto fell back and examined his sword wound. His genetically manipulated cellular regeneration system was already at work as it closed over the wound bit by bit. The bleeding was already, with some pressure applied, slowing to a trickle. The acting was needing a final push. His pain was almost nothing but he had to force his master to attack. Then he recalled something that would make him do it.
"Hokage-sama knows about Otogakure no sato," Naruto yelled. He wasn't telling the truth this time though, the small village where his master had gathered nukenin and rouge scientists was one of the more attractive prizes Naruto had set his sights on.
"You filthy traitor." Orochimaru's voice hissed angrily, "You will suffer for this Naruto!"
No kun honorific? Naruto knew he had made the snake seethe. A massive gust of wind knocked Naruto over and he was soon met by a burrowing snake bursting out of the ground and trapping him by the waist. Naruto exploded to be replaced by a block of upturned earth. The snake didn't even see the pair of summoned shuriken perfectly thrown into its eyes to blind it as well. As it writhed along the ground in agony Naruto took his retrieved sword and stabbed it at its weakest spot by thrusting it into an eyeball and into its brain. It crashed into the ground and and lay there still, a casualty of two feuding summoners of its contract.
His master was nowhere but that was to be expected. Naruto searched what he could see of the tree line from above, and felt the thrum of the ground beneath him but with the upturned earth his earth-sensing skills were nigh-useless and even with the light from the fires it was hard to see anything.
He assessed his options. Orochimaru, his shishou, liked to do three things unbecoming of a scientist. One was to murder, rape and pillage if he got the excuse to. The second was his love of inhumane experiments. They might be scientific in method but the glee with which he used cruelty was sickening. The third was his love of games and that love had potentially kept the blonde Jounin alive.
Suddenly the whole world turned into a hazy purple, the people he loved the most lay dead at his feet. Kimiko with her fiery red locks lay beside his mother Kushina who held her dead daughter in a embrace meant to save her. The Hokage, his father the Yondaime lay dead with Hiraishin kunai thrust through his body. He had seen enough when Rin, the brunette medic of his father's former gennin team, seemingly held his foot and cursed him with her eyes.
"Using genjutsu?" Naruto mocked. "How unfitting of a monster like you shishou. I expected something more than what a genin could pull off with enough chakra control." He formed a single seal and effortlessly removed the genjutsu by surging chakra throughout his body to remove the oppressive energy interfering with the five senses. His world was back to normal but only for a brief moment when he felt the edge of a blade touch his spine and at the last second he twisted his torso to the side, sensing the slice of the Kusanagi passing by him. Naruto reacted like taught and sent an elbow meant for his master's throat.
He was more surprised than pleased that it actually connected. His shishou was really getting slow in his old age. Naruto had grazed his throat and made him splutter before his neck elongated to lunge forward, baring his fangs.
The overexcited sannin did not take Naruto's younger body and speed into consideration however and was surprised when Naruto gouged out one of his eyes with a stabbing move with his hands. The sannin lurched back in pain with his neck flying back like a demented whip. Nothing in his modified body could remove the pain of a lost eye. The blonde shinobi discarded the piece of matter off hand and rubbed the strange but not unfamiliar texture of his sensei's blood into his fingers.
Orochimaru was covering his bleeding eye with one hand and his Kusanagi was held loosely but still ready for an attack. Again Naruto had managed to prevent Orochimaru from using any of his powerful ninjutsu and the understanding of his master had saved him. He had not died yet but now his back up was a hindrance. The rhythm of battle was firmly even. Outside stimuli was a hazard he could not deal with.
Naruto removed his shirt, now saturated in his life blood, and was found to be wearing nothing underneath where his two major sword wounds bled less than any normal ninja's would. His toned torso already had the signs of previous battles and his shishou had added to them.
The elder snake summoner was huffing and puffing. His stamina was depleted from being unaccustomed to injury and his breathing was way off. His chest rose faster than it should have done and soon the blonde was forming a plan. He could use that technique he thought as he stared at his unassuming Chokutō. He could use that other one too but how? He needed a moment and so he would have to create one.
Naruto created a simple academy level clone with no seals and used it to dash over to his master's blind side. He evaded and shifted between him and his partner trying to confuse before the real Naruto went off to attack the sannin's good eye and his clone the blind side.
Orochimaru fell for the bait and ruthlessly, with abandon, sent a horde of snakes from his one free arm at his clone. It vanished with a puff of smoke to his horror as Naruto sent off a blade of wind from his weapon.
The sannin dived forward like a drunken lout to dodge the fatal blow and rolled perfectly even with only one hand to balance himself forward back onto his feet. His sleeve unleashed another horde of snakes that were soon stopped in their tracks by quick thinking as Naruto threw his sword into the air and formed some hand seals rapidly. He spat out a line of mud that grew into a wall of solid earth. The snakes fell into it hook, line and sinker. Naruto moved to finish off the snakes and made some more seals. The wall became a dome and imprisoned the serpents, creating an odd sight as a dried lake and a bump that might have been the grave mound of an ancient sea monster.
The blonde Jounin channeled chakra to his feet and jumped onto the top of the mound he made and used it to overlook his surroundings just as his blade came to land next to him in the soil.
Orochimaru didn't even bother hide his ire at the treatment he was suffering. His gouged eye ball was now revealed and it was comparable to the throat of a snake for seemingly how fleshy it looked now it was nothing but a hole. Blood flowed freely, like a demonic waterfall, down to his forked tongue that lapped at the blood absentmindedly. It was like being a psychopath was second nature to him.
"Doton, Katon and Fuuton jutsu?" Orochimaru laughed out loud, hiding his agony terribly. Glimmers of insanity haunted his golden eye. "You always fought too cautiously Naruto, like you never listened to me. You think you are my equal, boy, but I know you better than you think. Now you'll pay the price for your betrayal, you two-faced whelp!"
The sannin laughed to himself and Naruto knew what was coming. He made a hand signal for the group waiting to back him up to retreat as his master took some blood from his eye directly, flicking some flesh off with his sharpened finger nails, made the required hand seals and built up a lot of chakra. In a massive puff of smoke what he feared most came forth. Still: the old man had made a grave mistake. Maybe the pain had dulled his thinking but summoning him without a tribute was just asking to be eaten. The battle was over, several scenarios were figured and assimilated into his next charge.
Manda, king of snakes rose high to overlook the terrain. His purple scaly hide was shiny against the glowing Kusanagi blade of Naruto's former shishou. His immense size and powerful appearing body were mere calculations for Naruto's final assault. Soon hopefully it would be over.
"Why have you summoned me Orochimaru?" the snake bellowed.
"Kill Namikaze!" Orochimaru ordered.
"No," it replied and swatted his tail at the snake. The sannin leapt over the lazy attack effortlessly and landed on the same spot he had vertically vacated from.
The sannin was infuriated. "Why not?" His master was really out of it if he was reduced to yelling rudely at the king summons.
"Did you just yell at me, human?" Manda hissed back at the impudent shinobi. "You have no tribute and you ask me to kill what will one day replace you when your body finally gives way."
"He has turned his back on me for power and information!" Orochimaru yelled, revealing how deeply his hypocritical outlook on life was entrenched. "He is a coveter of knowledge and has betrayed me to steal what is mine! Filthy traitors who play me are dead to me!"
Naruto was happy the ANBU team plus Anko was much further away now. He couldn't sense them anymore. They were gone and nobody could question his story now that Orochimaru was finally doing what he did best, talking. Naruto was using the time to gather his chakra and focus his breathing.
"It is the law of nature master." He said, "One must devour another to survive and today I eat what is yours to further my goal of becoming the greatest shinobi of them all. To do this you need to die." Naruto gestured to the sky. "Isn't that what you taught me?"
Manda hissed in approval, his long pink tongue was sharp enough at the elongated points to tear a tree down. "He at least remembers the laws of the snake." Manda said, " Perhaps you should practice what you preach Orochimaru." the snake started hissing in amusement before adding, "Goodbye and thank you for letting me see you one last time before you die." The snake man blanched as Manda swiped the snake sannin again by the use of his tail. Orochimaru leapt into the cloud of dust the snake made as it vanished with a snickering hiss.
The moment had come. Time to kill the sannin and the last of the evidence that he had played both sides of his village. Naruto ran a line of blood in a squiggle along the hilt of his retrieved sword and channeled chakra into it. A black seal started forming from hilt to the tip of the blade. A intricate array of fuin started to glow in various colours until it was done.
"I better keep up with Manda-sama's wishes," Naruto said now. The snake defied him by waving Kusanagi at him tauntingly. The Jounin knew he had taken the bait.
Naruto jumped down from the mound at high speed with his sword raised above him. Orochimaru took it head on before Naruto had even touched the ground and blocked his sword strike directly with his own blade. Naruto landed on his feet, shifted his footing and pushed his sensei's blade upwards. As Kusanagi went flailing into the sky, Naruto stabbed his sword into Orochimaru's shaky leg and leapt back to abandon the blade. A single hand seal later and the blade started to hiss with smoke.
Naruto knew to run and slid underground as the explosion took place. He waited underground as the explosive fuin, similar to the kunai he had thrown earlier but about ten times as powerful, exploded. The cavern he had made crumbled beneath him from the sheer force and for about two minutes he waited with his hand touching the ceiling of the earthy tomb until he was sure no more shock waves were present and slid back up to the surface.
The devastation was utter and complete, the nearest trees had been annihilated, the ones further out broken and blackened, the outermost had caught fire. The ground was devastated and the air filled with earth and dust. Naruto raised one hand to cover his mouth, coughing as he stumbled up to where Orochimaru had been. He eventually found the epicentre of the blast, his master being nowhere to be seen. Only Kusanagi could be seen, the blade jutting out of the ground, proudly, defiantly, without any scratch.
As if some strange quirk of fate, at this very moment something landed next to him. Naruto turning to look at it and he was almost amused when it turned out to be his master's head. The head must have been torn off by the detonation and flung into the sky. Picking it up by the hair, Naruto held it up to look his master in the eyes one last time. The dead, unseeing eyes had understandably lost their manic, vicious glow and the head was torn off right at the start of the neck, leaving even the underside devastated by the blow.
"Thus it ended." Naruto said, leaning his head to the side a bit as he spoke to his master. "Had you hoped for more I wonder? I will admit it was anticlimactic." With that, he fell silent, discarding the head after a while. Instead he walked over to Kusanagi, retrieving the blade and feeling the weight of the legendary weapon. This was one of the prizes he had sought, a masterfully created blade, as valuable as a minor nation and as deadly as its army.
Naruto let his body collapse at last. He hit the ground harshly but still reasonably upright. He finally examined his wounds properly and was pleased nothing truly incapacitating had happened to him. The wounds were deep but they were at least closed and that was always a good thing. He just need to get Rin to heal him up and check his vitals for any anomalies and he would be all right in a few days or so.
The real challenge started now. He could sense the ANBU team plus Anko as they were now all freely displaying their chakra signatures, he knew that he had to get along with his plan. Orochimaru of the sannin's data was quintessential to retrieve. Next was convincing the village not to restrict his shinobi license to keep him in Konohagakure no Sato's perimeter. It would put everything back months as he was analysed over and over again by the interrogation bureau. He had to play his position as the Hokage's only son to the maximum.
"Naruto!" Anko appeared in a blur next to him. She had this rare concerned look on her face that was ambivalence with the shit eating grin plastered on her face. Her eyes were watering from happiness or from simply being pleased he had survived when she would have died fighting their master. "Are you all right?"
"Some minor wounds," Naruto said, "maybe a few broken ribs but I can't be sure. It's my dulled pain receptors."
Anko nodded but she didn't really understand. Her parents had been still alive during the first few years of her apprenticeship and they had banned Orochimaru from messing with her physiology at the time when it had to be done. Later in life the modifications would simply kill her as her body would have lost the malleability needed. Naruto however had managed to convince his mother that the alterations were all part of being an apprentice and she had reluctantly relented.
"Namikaze-sama," a woman with purple hair in the garb of an ANBU with a cat mask on landed to the other side of him. Her team flickered in moments later and formed a protective circle around him. "We'll report back to the Hokage, anything you want us to tell him?"
"Report to the Yondaime that the mission is complete." Naruto said, "The traitor is dead. I will be there shortly. Have Heisei Rin report to me. She's aware of my medical needs."
"Can you handle a shunshin Namikaze-sama?" A younger male with the mask of a boar sat down and began the green chakra of medical jutsu until Naruto waved him off. "It is just first aid sir."
"It would have little effect." Naruto explained, "My body has been altered, normal medical jutsu are useless. Rin-san is about the only one who understands my physiology." Naruto pulled on Anko's wrist with his bloody hand and waved his Kusanagi at her. She understood his intentions and poured chakra into the blade. Naruto commanded mentally for the blade to shrink down to the size of a Kodachi and slipped it into a hole of his trousers to make a makeshift sheath.
Just then a very large toad, orange and packing a long Nodachi style blade, landed right in the centre of the clearing just next to where Orochimaru lay dead.
The old man kneeling on top of the natural enemy of the snakes was late as usual. Only his sister's godfather Hatake Kakashi was more tardy than the man who just had shown up. But he was a sannin still and also his godfather.
The look of remorse aimed at the blonde was not completely unexpected. The man and the dead sannin until recent times had been extremely close. Jiraiya had used Orochimaru as his confidante until Orochimaru took training Naruto Namikaze so seriously that both of them rarely were far from the other.
Naruto put on a neutral face when he stared back, his blue eyes were colder than ice. "Jiraiya-sama." he said calmly, knowing that his godfather was conflicted.
The man leapt off the toad and landed next to him. Anko was already ready to spring into action.
"How did he die?" Jiraiya's deep voice asked. The man was torn inside that was to be sure. His eyes were filled with grief and tears. Such emotions were things that Orochimaru had taught Naruto as soon as he began his training to be irresponsible. Mourn in private, not on the job was something he had heard a lot until he made genin and truly understood what the elder snake meant after his first mission to Kuma no Kuni resulted in the ten year old genin slaughtering a whole village of bandits.
"Do you have to ask that now?" Anko snapped. The toad sannin nodded and his toad exploded into smoke to vacate the area.
"I want to know how he died." Jiraiya stared at debris around them the corpse. "What sort of jutsu does this?"
"A fuin," Naruto answered, croaking for real as some blood spilled out of his mouth. His injuries was a lot more serious than he thought. The sannin seemed agitated at the answer. "A high yield explosive fuin on my sword. I stabbed it into his leg. There's only pieces left of him now, if you wish to see it the head should be over there." Naruto calmly described how he had ended his teacher's life.
The sannin was stiller than the leaves in the trees around the crater now. Then, without warning, Jiraiya grabbed the injured blonde by his arm and tore him up to stand face to face with him. A snake shot past Naruto's neck from behind and its large head snapped at the sannin in warning.
"Was there no other way?" Jiraiya asked.
Naruto remained impassive. To change roles so quickly would not fool the retired spy master. "There were, however this was the safest option.."
The sannin shivered, seemingly frozen from the drizzle that had just started. Then, without warning, he punched Naruto clean across the face, showing it was anger rather than cold. Naruto's neck slightly elongated and snapped backwards just in time to see Anko's enraged features scream and to order her snake forward. Naruto caught the serpent's neck and furiously shook his head at the thing as he pulled his head back into position with the sannin still holding onto him heatedly.
"Enough," Naruto whispered, "It's a bad time for both of us. Despite what he had done shishou was important to both me and Jiraiya-sama. Stand down." Naruto pushed himself off from the slightly shamed old man's grip and fell straight back to earth as his legs had stopped obeying him. "Damn!" he swore now, "I lost too much chakra. Anko, if you could…" The woman stopped staring poison at her senior and touched Naruto's shoulder to activate a shunshin. The last thing he saw was a swirl of leaves.
Naruto hit the floor hard as he landed on the red carpeted floor after the shunshin. His guts suddenly churned and he spat up more blood all over the shampooed present from Kaze no Kuni's daimyo.
"Naruto!" Rin said in shock and the woman was in front of him in a second, making sure that he made eye contact with her. His eyes were a tad blurry but it was unmistakably her. The purple stripes on each cheek was unmistakable to him. Her warm brown eyes were wider than normal as she frantically produced acupuncture needles from her pouch at the side of her standard Konohagakure no sato jounin uniform and stabbed them into his pressure points. Immediately Naruto felt better and soon was leaning into the protective embrace of Anko from behind.
With an internal sigh he realized that the territory marking wars had begun again. He didn't interfere and just let them glare at each other. Why did the those two women have to be so damn protective?
"He's hurt so be careful." Anko snapped.
Telling a medical kunoichi of Rin's calibre to be careful was a bit of a slap to the face. She merely ignored her and started muttering familiar terms under her breath like "Cellular regeneration will need to be slowed down" and other such things about his closed over external wounds.
The Yondaime looked absolutely exhausted. His mother was at his side and she seemed as shocked as Rin, however in her case she seemed only uncertain. He and his mother were not on the best of terms, mildly put, and she seemed uncertain about what to do. The sky behind them was filled with angry clouds that threatened to besiege the world again. His father himself plus the two elders Homura Mitokado and Koharu Utatane, people who could have retired after the Sandaime perished in the Kyuubi attack twelve years ago but were too stubborn to do so, were waiting patiently.
"Report," his father commanded.
"Hokage-sama," Naruto noticed the suspicious looks in the elder shinobi's eyes as he clumsily got to his feet. They were probably eyeing the Kusanagi stored in his vest. "I eliminated Orochimaru as per instructed if I was unable to bring him in alive. I request that his... remains... are moved to the Konoha research institute. They should be studied, if nothing else to map out the full extent of my own modifications.
"Approved. It's not like he's got a family to claim the body." Minato said, ignoring the glasses wearing Homura trying to protest. "Go to the medical centre and get rested up. I will officially appoint you director of the research and development division tomorrow morning."
Naruto took a breath. After so long he was in control. "I most humbly accept Hokage-sama." He wasn't in the clear by far so he kept his answer succinct and respectful.
His mother smiled even if the old bats beside her didn't. "Go get some rest and begin your duties when you can." Minato said. "I will summon you soon to discuss the best course of action regarding your master's bases." The Yondaime walked right into Naruto's trap. The council members had backed down as always and just looked sheepish. His father was less tolerant of annoying comments than even the old man Sandaime had been, plus it didn't help that his father never associated with them outside of work.
Naruto considered trying to be familiar but figured it wouldn't look good to suddenly be affectionate beyond the normal exchanges. "Thank you."