"Do you think he's a liability to the village?"

Smoke curled through the air from the Hokage's pipe as he stared at Kakashi.

"…Not an intentional one."

A raised eyebrow prompted him to continue.

"He has no known loyalties beyond the ones he claims to his captain, and even that's not an issue against us since that particular pirate crew is one that hasn't heard of us, and they don't show up in any of our Bingo Books."

"He could be lying."

Kakashi winced. "I sparred with him to gauge his strength, Hokage-sama. He's probably at Gai's level of strength, only a small bit below in speed, and his swordsmanship is…"


"Better than any I've seen." Kakashi admitted with a sigh. "I honestly believe his story about being from another world, if only because nothing else seems to explain all of the contradictions that his very presence causes. If he were known to the world at large, he would be a high A-rank at least, and as such, would be known all over the nations, if only through the Books."

"Hm… his chances of turning against us?"

"Low, I suppose. He doesn't seem to want to get into fights if no one else starts anything first; I think he prefers to just sleep and lift weights. As far as I know, he's never left that clearing. The only thing I can think of that would cause him to turn against Konoha is if he learned some of her dirtier secrets—"


"—or if Naruto or Sasuke were to be harmed as a direct result of the villages actions." Kakashi finished the line without hesitation. "He seems to care for them, so he shouldn't be any trouble so long as they're happy and relatively healthy."

"Relatively healthy?"

"With the number of times they've seen him hurt, I doubt he'd be overly concerned with anything that doesn't necessitate an extended hospital stay or intrusive surgery." Kakashi snorted.

"I still don't feel comfortable leaving him outside the village, Kakashi."

"I know, sir." Kakashi cracked his neck, one side, then the other. "Might I suggest that you ask Jiraiya to devise a seal to prevent him from returning, or at least to alert us as to when or where he is in or near Konoha?"

"Phu… it's a possibility. Not one that I'm particularly comfortable implementing, since he doesn't seem to be here by his own free will, but it's a possibility. Has he made any demands?"

Kakashi thought over his conversation with the Pirate Swordsman. "Demands? Nothing other than to leave him alone when he was asleep, and that was just because Sasuke and Naruto had gotten into an argument. He has been requesting rather a lot of sake, though."


"Apparently, the man likes a good drink."


Sasuke and Naruto, for their part, never did know how narrowly they'd escaped punishment for not telling the Hokage about Zoro, a fact that was only true due to both the Hokage's pity and guilt regarding both of their situations, and the fact that they had first met the man when they were too young to know any better, likely assumed that he was there with permission, and had grown too close to the man to realize what was wrong by the time they were old enough to know any better.

As it was, all they received was a written reminder on each of their doors, reminding them in chillingly friendly language to report any and all suspicious persons to the Hokage or a superior as soon as possible, along with a small postscript saying not to worry about it this time because Kakashi-sensei had taken care of his cute little genin, but that there weren't unlimited second chances, so remember.


"I got you your sake, Roronoa. Try to make it last."