Guardians of the Six Paths

Summary: In the wake of Pein's invasion, Prisoner Nine, acquired fifteen years ago on October 10th, woke from her drug-induced slumber and escaped. Destinies shift, and paths change. Alive!Kushina; au from invasion.

Note: Something I came up with the author Denii. I just need a break from writing other things.

Chapter 0: Prisoner Nine

She was drenched because the water pipe broke when Pein's technique ripped through Konoha.

But there she sat, slumped on her shattered prison bed, and in the stark silence the Monkey-Masked Root shinobi could hear the haunting drip drip of the water. Unmoving—a statue. Her head was bowed so that her fire-like hair obscured her face and fell to the flooded floor. The shinobi was crumpled against the wall, looking at her with horror stricken eyes, watching, with his heart racing, as the droplets of water dripped—ah that drip drip drip why won't it stop?—from her hands which were white from gripping the edge of her bed so tightly. The metal and leather binding that held her for the last fifteen years were in pieces.

Her breathing was low and labored. She was taking her first real breath for the first time in fifteen years.

He needed to sound off the alert. The Scarlet Alert it was called. Every member of Root knew the Scarlet Alert, and it told them one thing: Prisoner Nine, the most mysterious and dangerous of Root's prisoners, had awakened. Not escaped, mind you, just awakened, but all Root members were taught that this was just enough.

(He never understood why. Who could be that dangerous? However, as a Root shinobi, he learned never to ask questions and indulge his curiosity. He guessed, in his early years when the Root indoctrination wasn't so strong, that the Prisoner must be someone like Orochimaru who had disappeared. This postulation was proven wrong when Orochimaru murdered the Hokage just three short years ago. Or perhaps it was Itachi, the Uchiha murderer, but that couldn't be, since according to their logs, Prisoner Nine existed before Uchiha Itachi became a genin.)

Oh god, oh god I'm afraid. Piss-in-my-pants frightened.

All of his years of training were crumbling. He was dissolving because the woman with the blood-river hair sat there like a statue, the water just trickling from her like it was measuring the seconds until his death.

Oh shit. Oh shit. Oh shit.

The chakra. Oh god her chakra. It was so thick, so heavy and so charged. It was drowning him.

She just sat there, doing nothing. She'd been like that for nearly fifteen minutes, ever since the great shake had awoken her. This just made it maddeningly frightening because her chakra was fueled by pure anger and she just sat there, doing nothing, like a bomb, waiting, ticking.

His spine was fractured he was sure because he couldn't feel his feet, but oh god, that didn't matter because there she was; she was awake, Prisoner Nine was awake. Her chakra alone, hitting him in waves akin to boulders, could have paralyzed him.

Her breathing slowed. It was becoming normal.

Her head raised a little. Such a small movement, and the Monkey-faced Root member let out a whimper. He could see her forehead, nose and lips behind that curtain of red. She was looking down at her hands.

The alarm. He needed to sound off the alarm but shit, he could not move.

A small breath escaped her and she spoke.

That voice. It was harsh, terrible—a low growl and a decade of compressed agony exploded in four words: "Where is my son?"

Note: Yay. There we go. What will happen now?