Chapter Six: Tower Of Heaven Part 1
Okay time for take two of chapter six, I would like to tell you all that it is mostly just set up for the Tower Of Heaven arc. That being said people who read this will probably find this very similar to the original chapter six. As it does contain a lot of the same scenes, more notably the Yuki mission debriefing, I did make some changes to this scene, so hopefully Tsunade does not come off as much of a bitch as she did in the original. One of the parts I kept the same was Naruto hugging Kushina and telling her 'thank you' because I thought it was the scene that kind of told people that they really do have a chance of mending their relationship. We also learn a little about Erza's past this chapter, enjoy!
Please thank my BETA reader Zimbolical.
A small ripple appeared in the air, it shift and swirled before reforming. A man stood in the ripples place, an orange mask over his face. His single visible Sharingan eye was radiating unbridled hate for the place before him. He looked over the sprawling village of Konoha, a village he hated with all his heart, and yet, could not be any more important in his plans. Yes this feeling, this rage, pain and hate how they still burned in him after all this time. He let loose a dry chuckle, the drama of this village really was just beginning, and how sweet would it be when he saw it die. He would laugh amongst it's ashes and dine on the blood of his foes, though he would naturally give them chances to hurt him. Not seriously, but just enough that it gave them the illusion that they could win, he wanted to see the moment every last person in this pathetic villages life drained out of their eyes. To see them look at him and know that their hope was nothing but a pathetic illusion, one he could easily break.
The man who called himself Madara shook his head. This was not the time to plan his revenge, no matter how sweet it may be. He had a task to perform here and now, the air rippled around his eye drawing him in, it was time he went and recovered one of his most useful tools.
The air rippled and the masked man once again took form. He stood over the war hawks bed the man on it sleeping soundly, he wasn't sure if the man considered himself a war hawk. Really it didn't matter either way. He brought his hands up and ran through seals. Activating an array caved into the man's very DNA, Madara was a little annoyed that he would never get his hands on the man's dependents. But only an Uchiha female could apply this seal, something engraved into the man's very flesh whilst he was still in the womb, leaving no discernible identification that it even existed. He finished his hand seals and the man's body glowed for a brief moment, intricate and interlocking black lines appearing over him. His hair turning pitch black, skin becoming paler and the war hawks eyes opened showing three tome on a red iris.
The war hawk got out of his bed immediately, kneeling at the masked Madara's feet in submission. "What is your wish Madara-sama" He asked loyalty alive in his tone. The masked man smiled, that was good and his tool was still loyal to the cause.
"My wish is simple begin to advance our objectives once again, but do not be obvious about it." He said looking down at the man prostrated before him, which was good. One day the world would bow before him like a god, not like that fool Pein who was merely corrupted by the power of his Rinnegan, but a true god.
The man nodded once. "Of course Madara-sama" The masked man nodded and ran through hand seals again, the man's body glowed and he fell to the floor unconscious. The air rippled and the masked Madara was gone, the war hawk stood up looking around in a confused manner. When did he fall out of bed? He was a ninja he should notice things like that, he shrugged it probably wasn't important, the war hawk crawled back into bed and closed his eyes. He would carry out his master's orders, even if he didn't know it.
Day Of Return From The Snow Mission
The group of six walked into the Hokage's office, Tsunade still sitting behind her desk. She had asked Minato if he would take up the hat once more, but the blond declined. Saying that he wanted to speak with Naruto before he entertained the thought of being Hokage again, still it did give the busty blond some hope that she may one day escape the dreaded curse of paperwork, that seemed to be the bane of all rulers. Her head came up brown eyes coming face to face with the six, five she knew and one she did not, the girl was quite pretty even in her current state, though the medic in Tsunade noted that she did look a bit malnourished. The blond took a deep breath, before sighing. Somehow she could tell this was going to be a long day. "Team Kakashi please report on the mission to guard Fujikaze Yuki to the land of snow, after which I would like Kushina to report on the secondary objective that Namikaze-Uzumaki Naruto put forth." The busty Hokage asked feeling like a head ache was about to come on, she did wonder where Naruto was though, before discarding the thought, dammed gem. The stupid thing would probably make him the world's best infiltrator, now there was a thought.
Kakashi took a deep breath. He could already tell that Tsunade wasn't going to like this. "Well Tsunade-sama it turns out the mission was not quite as simple as we first assumed." Kakashi started with a nervous chuckle, Tsunade groaned, why? Why couldn't she have one day where things were simple? "Upon arriving to Yuki No Kuni the director began filming first on a giant iceberg off the coast. Stupid, I know, but he did it anyway, after they began shooting the first scene of the move an explosion happened. Three Yuki ninja one of which was Rōga Nadare, a man I had clashed with on my last visit to the country." Kakashi took a deep breath and thought back, making sure he didn't leave anything out.
"Roga revealed that Fujikaze Yuki was a fake name and that Yuki-san's real name was Kazahana Koyuki. Princess of Yuki No Kuni and the girl I helped escape the country ten years ago, after that we engaged in battle. Myself against Roga, Sakura and Lee against a female ninja named Fubuki and finally Kasumi against a man named Mizore, Kushina-sama hung back as support and so she could get involved where needed. After a few minutes we found our opponents were wearing chakra armour."
"Chakra armour?" Tsunade inquired, looking at Kakashi strangely. The silver haired Jonin nodded, he hated that stuff.
"Yes Tsunade-sama, chakra armour. It is a kind of technology unique to Yuki No Kuni, the device itself not only increases the user's ability with both nin and gen Jutsu, but it also makes the wearer immune to gen Justu and only high powered Ninjutsu have a chance of getting through it. Taijutsu how ever is exempt from this, as the armour only negates chakra related attacks, not physical force," Kakashi stated, Tsunade looked at the silver haired man with calculating eyes.
"Did you manage to retrieve a copy of this armour Jonin Hatake?" Tsunade asked, she was no war hawk. But that armour could save the lives of many Konoha shinobi, if they could get their hands on it.
Kakashi shook his head in a negative response. "No Tsunade-sama, I did ask about it when the mission was complete, but it turns out that the four suits that Doto and his three lackeys were wearing were the only sets. I also checked a few other places after the mission was complete, but it seems as if the information on the chakra armour and the scientists that built it were erased and the scientists were killed." The Jonin stated, inside his crystalline prison Naruto whistled innocently. While in the outside world Erza held in a smirk.
Tsunade nodded, the council, both civilian and shinobi, was going to give Kakashi, Kushina and her hell over that. The blond Hokage sighed, one day of peace, was that really too much to ask? "Continue please Kakashi, let's just hope the council doesn't bitch to much over this." Kakashi nodded and took up his report where he left off.
"As I was saying Hokage-sama my team split up to deal with the Yuki ninja. After a brief battle with the Yuki ninja Mizore by Kasumi, Naruto saw fit to intervene." Tsunade couldn't hold back the look of surprise on her face when she heard that.
"Naruto? Really!?" Kakashi nodded.
"I was as surprised as you are Hokage-sama, at any rate. Naruto chose to fight the Yuki ninja and told Kasumi to leave and help the others. To the best of my knowledge Sakura and Lee were on the ropes at this point as their opponent could fly and they were finding it hard to attack her. When Kasumi and Kushina showed up they saved Lee and Sakura, Naruto was still fighting Mizore at this point. After he had pushed Mizore back, Naruto and I found ourselves back to back. I told him that the Yuki ninja had too much of a home field advantage and we needed to retreat and regroup, he agreed and gathered the others before making for the boat. When they were all on board I used Hyōton: Ikkaku Hakugei to destroy part of the iceberg and ran. We arrived at port the following morning." Kakashi took a deep breath and rolled his shoulders.
"Things rapidly deteriorated from here, we decided to continue the mission but the princess went missing. Luckily Naruto found her, became quite good friends with her as well." Kakashi added a perverted grin on his face, or what they could see of his face, while Erza gained a small dusting of crimson on hers. Kasumi and Kushina grimaced, they never did find out what was in that picture frame, but they could guess. "After she was brought back Doto decided to take an active role in the proceedings, using a machine called a train. It was out fitted with various forms of weapons that were deadly enough to kill a large section of the Yuki rebellion in a very short amount of time. Through careful use of some explosive tags we managed to disable and then destroy the train, though Koyuki was still taken hostage by Doto, who returned in a vehicle called a blimp and captured her by air." The Hatake looked at his leader and saw she was engrossed in his story, likely looking for a way for Konoha to benefit more. Not that it was a bad thing, that was what a Hokage was supposed to do after all, look for the best way to benefit the village and the nation.
"Naruto acted quickly when this happened hiding his own crystal with Koyuki so he could help her when needed. After Koyuki was taken we decided to follow and ended up infiltrating Yukihana, the capital of Yuki No Kuni. The team and I rigged up some explosives as a distraction while Kushina and Kasumi went to rescue Koyuki and Naruto, who were being held in an underground lab at the time. They were successful though some of the data stored there was damaged in their escape, Naruto also found the friend he talked about saving." Kakashi added, indicating Erza who like the others had been silent until now.
The blond Hokage turned her attention to the girl in full. Red hair much like the two Uzumaki in the room, it looked a little uncared for but that seemed to be being changed quickly. Pale skin on the side of unhealthy but seemed to be getting better, as she had noted earlier the girl seemed to be slightly malnourished, but Kushina would be seeing to that no doubt. The woman hated to see others suffering after all "And you are?" Tsunade asked.
Erza stepped forward her head held high. "Scarlet Erza, a very old friend to Naruto." She stated proudly, Tsunade looked her up and down again. This time she had a way to control the wild card, Tsunade was not proud of what she did, but she could not risk him attacking the leaf, it was her duty as Hokage to prevent that.
"Scarlet sounds like a strange name, from what side of your family did you receive it from?" Tsunade questioned, start slowly that was the first step.
Erza shook her head and gave a small smile. "Naruto gave the name Scarlet to me in honour of my hair. He always did say it looked beautiful. I was almost raised in the lab Naruto and the others rescued me from, I was there from the age of seven. I don't have many memories before that just flashes nothing concrete." Erza admitted looking a little put out by the fact. It was all an act of course, Erza knew exactly what her life had been like before age seven, but they could not risk exposing their hand right now. The only real part had been the fact that Naruto gave her the last name Scarlet because of her hair. She threw away the name Uzumaki a long time ago, maybe she would retake it one day, but not until he was dead.
Kushina looked at her for a second, taking in her hair colour, skin and eyes. Only the eyes were strange, for the rest she could have passed for an Uzumaki. "Erza-san" the Namikaze matriarch started to ask. "Would you mind undergoing a blood test, I have an idea on what your last name may really be." Erza looked at her for a second before smiling.
"I would like that Kushina-san, but" Erza looked up at her sadly. "You think I am an Uzumaki don't you."
Kushina looked taken aback, before nodding shakily. Was she really that easy to read that even a fourteen year old could do it? "I do think that" She admitted "Your hair and skin colour definitely match up Erza-san. Only your eyes make me doubt if there is a link between you and the Uzumaki, I...I don't have much family left but if you are family. Even if you are not, I would like to get to know you better." Kushina finished with a smile that looked like it was about to break in half, Tsunade took this as an opportunity. Feeling mildly disgusted with herself as she did so, but it was her duty and so she continued.
"Actually I have an offer I would like to extend to you Erza-san." The Sannin started, she would have to tread carefully. "I can tell from the way you feel that you can use chakra, I would like to extend an offer for you to become a Konoha shinobi, with that we ca-"
"Tsunade stop." Kushina's voice cut through Tsunades own, the busty Kage looked up at the furious red head.
The kage looked annoyed at the interruption "I'm sorry Kuhsina did the middle of my sentence interrupt the beginning of yours?" The blond Hokage asked sarcastically, Kushina just looked angrier, if that was even possible.
"Do you honestly think I don't see what you're trying to do Tsunade?" Kushina hissed out at the blond Kage. Tsunade just looked on impassively, trust Kushina to know exactly what she was doing.
"I have no idea what you are talking about Kushina, I was only going to offer the girl a place as a Konoha shinobi. You know as well as I do that shinobi get priority treatment at the hospital and better access to the medic ninja stationed there. I am a medic at heart Kushina, I want the girl to get better as fast as possible and the best way to do that is have medic ninja helping her, the best way for me to do that is for Erza to become a Konoha shinobi. So that the old bats on the council will not throw a fit about me treating an outsider before our own. Moreover if Erza-san is not a civilian then their half of the council can not act against her." Tsunade stated, not backing down from the challenge in the red heads eyes.
"And I suppose that having Erza-chan as a shinobi under your command is just a bonus then?" Kushina asked sarcastically, while rage smouldered beneath the surface of her violet-blue eyes.
"I have no idea what you mean, considering the girl can use chakra and, I assume, helped you fight your way out of Yuki. I have no doubt she is competent. But I doubt that Erza-san would be more special than the other ninja we posses. That is no insult to you Erza-san, but we do have many highly trained Jonin." Tsunade countered Kushina's accusation, and the red head seemed to grow even more furious.
"And I suppose the fact that she would be a shinobi under your command and give you the ability to collar and control Naruto should it need to happen has nothing to do with your decision Tsunade?" Kushina spat at the blond, Tsunade sighed in a tired manner.
"I would be lying if I said it didn't Kushina." Tsunade admitted no point in trying to hide it now the red head had pushed it into the open. Besides she didn't like manipulating people anyway, she did it, that did not mean she liked it. "But do you think I like doing this Kushina? Do you really think I enjoy this!? I will admit that should it come down to it then I would and will use Erza-san in that way, however you saw the kind of power Naruto possesses. I as Hokage cannot let him turn it against the village, don't you understand Kushina!? I may not like what I have to do as Hokage, but I can and will do it to keep the village safe. You saw how hostile he was to Konoha, hell to you and Minato, I cannot let someone with that much power and that much hate reside within Konoha without a means to control them or at the very least limit the amount of damage they could cause." Tsunade stated firmly, gritting her teeth.
"You can't or you won't Tsunade?" Kushina asked lowly.
"Both" The slug Sannin admitted. Looking slightly ashamed by her admittance.
"Tsunade don't you understand what you're doing!? If you keep pushing Naruto like this then he can and will snap. When that happens he will attack the leaf, why can't you see that what we need to do is treat him with respect and try to earn his in return. That is the only way you and the leaf are going to be able to as you said keep him under control, by treating him as a human being and not a weapon, respect him and Tsunade he may well respect you." Kushina finished, that wasn't some no-brain idea. That was what she had seen Naruto act like. She may not know her eldest well. She didn't know him at all really. But she could already tell that he had principals that he would not break and pushing him like Tsunade and the council, both of them, were trying to do would only make Naruto their enemy in the long run. Well more so than he was at the moment anyway, Naruto was closer to ambivalent hate towards the leaf, if they pushed him Naruto may well take an active part in the villages destruction.
Tsunade looked up at her. "I am trying to do the best I can with what I have Kushina, you say I should try and earn his respect. Okay let's say I do that, despite what you may think that will not be enough for the council, they will keep trying to find a way to control him or kill him. If I can give them a way to control him and keep it so that only the Hokage can use it, such as making Erza-san a shinobi, then I can offer Naruto a degree of protection from the council, both civilian and shinobi sides, and I can offer Konoha a degree of protection from him, like I am supposed to do. I do not like that I have to manipulate people Kushina but I will do it if I need to."
Kushina growled at the blond, it was a primal sound. "You want to control him?" The red head asked almost hissing at the blond. "Tsunade you make it sound like he's nothing but a weapon, Naruto is a human with feelings and emotion, hell he even has a morale code. If you think I am going to stand by and let you turn my child into Konoha's personal attack dog you have another thing coming."
"Your child Kushina?" Tsunade asked a slight amount of mockery in her tone. The blond Kage's anger and impatience at the situation quickly making themselves apparent. "Yes of course he is your child. After all you were there to be a mother for him after all." The Hokage replied sarcastically, not really thinking about her words. Kushina went silent as Tsunade's words washed over her. Tsunade looked at the red head in horror her brain finally catching up with her mouth. "K-Kushina I am sorry I didn't mean it to come out like that." Tsunade said to her friend, looking ashamed at her own lack of control.
"No Tsunade you are right." Kushina admitted, sounding ashamed of herself. "I wasn't there to be a mother to Naruto, hell he won't even let me call him my son. But I can't argue with him for that Tsunade, I saw all the hospital files from before he was seven. I left my child here and he almost died because of it, my child was taken away from me because of a man who wanted to be a hero by stopping the Kyuubi and sealed that thing into Naruto. When I found out the sealing went wrong I couldn't even look at him, and because of the pain that it brought us both Minato and I left our child here to die, taking Kasumi away to be raised in a good home, while Naruto had nothing. When I found out that the seal didn't fully break until he was seven, words cannot describe how disgusted I was with myself for leaving my baby here."
"But at least I am trying to make it up to him, I may have lost my home and my family when Uzu was destroyed and I thought that I lost my baby when the sealing went wrong. But at least I am trying to help him. I don't care if Naruto never calls me mother, no matter how much I want it. I don't even care if he never lets me call him Sochi, I just want to do right by my child now Tsunade. Can you understand that? I will keep trying to help him until Naruto feels I have repented for my sin, we might never have a family bond but at the very least I will make sure that I help my son this time Tsunade, I won't let this village take him away from me again. For the first time in his life I am going to do right by baby Tsunade!" Kushina's sadness was slowly turning to rage, rage against the injustice her son had suffered. Because of her, because of this village and now because of the woman in front of her that was supposed to be his godmother. Kushina wasn't a mother to Naruto when he was younger, but at the very least she was trying now, Tsunade wasn't even doing that.
"Tsunade I may not know much about my child, I'm honestly not even sure I have the right to call Naruto my child." Kushina admitted, ignoring the pain inside her heart as she said that. "But I have learned one thing about him, treat him with respect and he will do the same to you. It may be grudging respect, Naruto may even hate to give you respect, but at least he would give it. Naruto may have actually raised himself to be a better man than Minato and I could have raised him to be." A hollow laugh filled with pain accompanied that statement.
"You, Tsunade, have done absolutely NOTHING for him! Not once! You haven't acknowledged that you abandoned him just like we did - you were his Godmother, so you're just as guilty as Jiriaya is! I will admit that the four of us Minato, Jiriaya, you and me did not take care of him. At that point in time we thought the seal had failed so it was only natural that none of us wanted to be around him, I won't blame you for that. It's understandable and I am just as guilty of that sin as you are. What I will blame you for, what I will get angry about is that you haven't acknowledged that you've wronged him in any way! You haven't even so much as treated him with the respect due him as a human being! And frankly, I'm as disgusted as I believe Naruto to be with how you're treating what's been done to him! Tsunade, you act like nothing had ever happened and that you're completely innocent in all of this! Well something DID happen, you're just as guilty as the rest of us, and now Minato, Jiraiya, you and I have a responsibility to make up for it in any way we possibly can!" Kushina took a deep breath and returned to speaking in an even tone.
"Tsunade you are just as much a part of Naruto's abandonment as the rest of us were, I know you have lost people in the past. Hell you spent years after Dan and Nawaki died running from this village, Tsunade, your running again right now by refusing to take your part in this seriously. To be honest with you Tsunade, at the moment I think you are a coward, look at Kakashi, he lost more than you ever did to this village and he managed to pull himself back together. After his father and Obito died and Rin went missing. Kakashi pulled himself back together, he may have some quirky and eccentric ways of dealing with his problems, but is just it Tsunade. At least Kakashi deals with them, and not just runs away like you did when Dan and Nawaki died, like you are still trying to do now." Kushina stated to the blond Kage venom in her tone, Tsunade looked taken back by the amount of emotion Kushina was displaying. That and the fact no one had ever said that to her not even Jiriaya when he was angry, but Jiriaya's anger was like a drop of rain compared to the ocean in comparison to what Kushina's anger was like right now.
"I know Tsunade, believe me I know, I'm in largely the same boat you are with being responsible for the atrocities committed against Naruto, but do you know what the difference between you and me is, it's that I've acknowledged my part in it, and I'm trying to redeem myself to him as best I can. You're acting like it never happened, and you're demanding respect that you frankly don't deserve. Think about it for a second Tsunade, to Naruto we have done nothing for him, for what reason should he show Konoha, me, you, anyone a form of respect. Maybe if you showed him a little HUMILITY, he might not be so hostile towards you. He regards you as an enemy right now, and why shouldn't he? Hell what has the leaf done to stop Naruto regarding all of you as his enemies, myself and my husband included. You're behaving no differently than Danzo would towards him!" Kushina finished shouting at the blond Kage, who was almost shaking, if it was rage or remorse Naruto couldn't tell, but it was the time for him to intervene. But before he could Kushina spoke again.
"Tsunade, Kakashi so far has treated Naruto with the respect he is due as a human being and from what I've seen he responds to that and in turn treats Kakashi with respect. Could you at least try to bend that stiff neck of yours and show him some humility if you do, Naruto may actually be willing to have a civil conversation with you, despite his grievances against the leaf and you. Hell if you do that you may actually have a chance in hell of keeping him inside Konoha despite his hate of the vast majority of its people." Kushina finished, Tsunade took a deep breath, earn his respect? That would not be good enough for the council they would want more, but Kushina was right. She wouldn't be able to build anything without it. Kakashi took a deep breath, his Hokage might not like what Kushina was saying to her, but she needed to hear it. The silver haired Jonin took a deep breath. It seemed it was his turn to advise his Hokage.
"Kushina has a very good point Tsunade-sama" The one eyed pervert stated. "Naruto has no reason to be friendly to me, but so far every time I treated him with civility and some respect I got it in return. At times it was grudging, at times I could tell he hated giving me a form of respect with every fibre of his being, but he gave it anyway, provided I did so first. I may not know too much about Naruto's abandonment, I haven't asked Minato-sensei or Kushina what happened that night, but Naruto did seem to treat me with respect if I gave it first. I honestly agree with Kuhsina, Tsunade-sama, if you wish to have a civil conversation with Naruto or even a chance in hell of keeping him inside Konoha your first step should be to earn his respect." Kakashi finished somehow sounding both stern and lazy at the same time, Naruto shook his head from within his gem, that had to be some kind of special skill. Either way it was about time for him to step in, after all the old hag was going to be looking to put a collar on him one way or the other. Might as well be a collar with the best terms possible on his part.
Reiryoku moved lazily around Erza, not its usual maelstrom of power. Then again Naruto didn't need his battle form right now so he could conserve his energy. The blonds body took form, black combat boots, pants, a dark blue undershirt and a red coat that went down to mid ankle. The blond yawned, while manipulating his clothing was one of the first things he had figured out about his prison. All he had to do inside was will the clothing to exist and it would, it was much the same when he came outside, he just had to will the clothing to exist as he exited the gem. He didn't know if he had some kind of default clothing when he exited the gem, but it was quite likely he could come out naked, he really wasn't keen to try that.
The blond alighted on the floor standing tall before the two arguing women. His mind working a mile a minute, how could he best use this situation? Tsunade wanted to control him. Kushina wouldn't let that happen, thankfully. But the hag was right in order to calm the council down she would need to have some kind of collar on him, as long as she didn't have that he was in danger, but more importantly so was Erza.
"So you and the old bastards want a way to collar me if I should prove to be unfriendly to the leaf is that right, hag?" Naruto questioned the surprised looking Tsunade, who nodded uncertainly. But how did Naruto know that he wasn't in the room at the time, the blond chose to throw the Kage a bone. "If you're wondering how I knew that" he smiled "I can hear everything nearby when I'm inside the gem." The blond said smirking at the busty Kage who had admitted to trying to control him, he didn't really begrudge her for that, in her position he would be trying to do the same.
"What if I told you I had a solution that made everybody happy?" Naruto asked, a smile tugging at his lips.
Tsunade cocked her head to the side. "I'm listening." The blond Kage replied, genuine interest in her tone.
"Well then old hag"
"Stop calling me an old hag brat" She wasn't really angry about it, the response was more automatic than anything else.
"Earn my respect and I'll think about it, until then you're just another person who helped kill my body remember that Tsunade." The blond hissed at the Kage, who gulped, the rage behind those eyes was inhuman. Seeing there would be no more interruptions Naruto chose to continue. "Now then my idea is quite simple, hire on Erza and myself as mercenaries attached to the hidden leaf village but not technically a part of it." The Hokage looked at the blond for a second.
"And why should I do that, it's obvious you care for Erza and with me here Konoha has the best medical care in the Elemental Nations, you're not going to take her away from that." Tsunade countered, Naruto smiled, it was not a happy look. He knew it was just how barganing went, that didn't make him any happier about it.
"True that Konoha has the best health care in the Elemental Nations right now, but the doctors hate me and by extension anyone connected to me. There is no guarantee that they would treat Erza the way they should, hell there is more of a chance that they would deliberately try to make the situation worse. So tell me why Erza and I should stay here for the health care when it would likely be subpar deliberately." Naruto asked, Tsunade grimaced.
"I would take care of her myself brat, you cannot argue that I am the best medic in the Elemental Nations right now, I can and will take better care of Erza-san than anyone else." Tsunade replied, Naruto laughed in her face.
"You are telling ME of all people to entrust someone who is responsible for almost causing my death to trust them with the life of the person I care about above all others. Tell me you are joking you old hag, or are you just senile." Naruto replied venom in his tone.
Tsunade grimaced. "Fine then why should I allow you and Erza to be only mercenaries when the shinobi council want you under their direct command." The blond Kage sighed "well to be more precise the council wants you under their command jointly with me, I want you as my direct subordinate" Tsunade admitted. Inside Konoha the shinobi council could assign missions when they needed to provided they had a majority vote on the mission. By having Naruto under their direct control, or at least a direct as it could be while sharing control of the shinobi forces with the Hokage. The council would effectively gain an enforcer that could reputedly slay a Biju, then came the back door politicking, that would be what killed Naruto in the end.
Naruto smiled, now she was ready to play ball, good. "Simple to start with you will actually keep me inside the village instead of leaving it."
Tsunade grimaced. "You wouldn't leave, despite the fact you hate the leaf there were people here who were kind to you before the Kyuubi took you over. What do you have outside these walls Naruto? From what I understand you do not have anything, so where would you go?" Tsunade asked, Naruto nodded , it was a fair question.
"I so have people here that treated me well before Kyuubi took over, yes. Are there enough of them to keep me in this village indefinitely without some sort of compensation, no. If you don't agree to this I will leave, as for where would I go how about Iwa, Kumo or hell even Kiri. I know they are not out of the blood line wars yet, but I am sure they could use the extra help. Moreover I am very good friends with Koyuki the current ruler of Yuki no Kuni, though I do believe it has been renamed Haru no Kuni now. But that is beside the point, I am sure that she would not mind hosting me." Naruto finished smiling viscously, Tsunade had on a calm face as she nodded and absorbed the information that had just been given to her.
Tsunade held up her hands, a small sign of surrender. "Okay fine, what are your terms?" The blond asked.
"That's good you're at least willing to listen" Naruto stated sighing. "First you need to know some thing's, one I know that the other major villages each have their own jinchuuriki only the leaf does not, the only thing keep you safe right now is the fact that you have someone that can kill Biju on your side. Lose me and the other villages will come down on your head like a fucking avalanche, Tsunade the fact of the matter is, you need me a lot more than I need you and I know it. So you have far less leverage in this conversation and contract agreements than you originally thought, do not push for something too big."
"Fine, what are your terms to this contract?" Tsunade asked a certain amount of tired resignation in her tone, Naruto smiled.
"Now that wasn't so hard was it?" The blond asked sarcastically, Tsunade growled.
"Get on with it brat." The blond Kage hissed out at the child in the seat before her. Kushina was in a slight bit of awe. Her child was playing Tsunade like a goddamn virtuoso.
"My demands are both simple and non-negotiable so don't even try. The first is that Erza receives top of the line medical care you are to spare no expense." Tsunade nodded, she would need to clear that with the council but that could be done and not that she had a choice. "Second you are to give Erza and myself a place to live in the residential district, a good place to live Tsunade. Furniture and fridge already fully stocked when we arrive, that particular demand is to be met by six pm or eighteen hundred today." The Hokage looked at the clock it was around noon, that was going to be close but it could be done. "Thirdly neither Erza nor I will be registered as Konoha shinobi, we are to be a mercenary force under your direct control. If we ever think up a decent name for our merry band of misfits I'll let you know. Unless you, the Hokage, order us we have to do nothing. Even then your control is limited. The only orders we will obey without questions are to come to your office, other than that all we will do is hear you out." Tsunade nodded, so far there was nothing that was too hard to her to acquire for them.
"For missions you can prohibit from taking over a C rank if you wish, but we can choose to turn down any mission you attempt to give us. The prohibition on missions should you wish it should make the council worry less about us taking too much of your income revenue. We also choose our own missions, you can tell us what to choose from but you cannot tell us what we may or may not take, unless you have a valid reason for it. You may however offer us specific missions should the need arise. We do retain the ability to turn them down though. Another clause is that if one of us goes missing the other is to be equipped with a team that is capable of not only tracking them down but rescuing them if needed. In addition to this team any shinobi that wishes to join the mission cannot be forbidden to, by the council or the Hokage. This contract will be valid for three years, after that we will need to review and renew it, but we can leave if we wish once the contract is up. For the duration of this contract neither Erza nor myself will join another village, however once our contract is up we have no such restriction. In addition to this should we find others that we wish to recruit into our merry band of misfits we are allowed to do so, but the opposite party has to agree we cannot force them to join us. Finally we can be trained if we should wish it by the ninja of this village, we cannot force them to train us but neither can you or the council stop a ninja should they wish to instruct us." Naruto finished sighing. Tsunade looked at him for a second before letting lose a sigh of her own. She had already seen all of the pros and cons of Naruto's contract. It was heavily in the blonds favour but that really didn't matter too much. As Naruto had said earlier, they needed him more than he needed them.
"If that is what it takes Naruto, then so be it. I take it that you wish for your connection to Erza-san to be hidden until such a time as she can defend herself?" Tsunade asked, though it was more of a statement.
Naruto nodded, "I would be most appreciative if that were the case Hokage-sama." It was amazing how much Naruto could make the words Hokage-sama sound like Fuck You. The blond's eyes lit up as he just realised something. "Oh and I want to be paid for that mission we took to Yuki as well."
Tsunade nodded. "You do realise that we will have to tell the doctors that heal her about your connection." The blond asked, before elaborating. "I take it the girl has your gem, if they see you appear out of mid air then they may panic. I will have to tell them about you." Tsunade stated, if the medic's panicked people would die, Tsunade would not allow that.
Naruto nodded grudgingly. "Fine, but let them know that if they try something it will be a one way trip to hell for them." Naruto smiled at her sadistically. "Tell them I will send them personally."
Tsunade nodded her head already pounding. "Fine I agree to your terms, I will have the contract drawn up later today, you and Erza can sign it when you come and pick up your apartment key. Come by around six, I can have everything ready by then, Kakashi just put the rest in a written report. I want it on my desk in two days, now all of you, get out."
The seven walked out of the office, leaving behind a frustrated Tsunade. Naruto turned to walk off with Erza in a completely different direction to the others. Kushina turned to walk away with the others feeling dejected. She really was trying to make it up to her child and she would keep trying no matter how long it took. But even after what she had said inside Tsunade's office he wouldn't even offer her a goodbye. The Namikaze matriarch turned to follow her daughter and the others before feeling a light flick on the back of her head.
Kushina turned around to see Naruto standing in front of her, his face somewhat torn between anger and something else. She guessed you could call it happiness. The blond scratched his head before sighing. Naruto came forward his arms wrapped around her, almost mechanically but Kushina guessed he was doing the best he could. The red head's brain had shorted, her child was hugging her, something she had honestly never thought would happen. Naruto's hug felt almost mechanical but Kushina guessed there was still a lot of pent up resentment towards her in him, still, she was being hugged! She may really have a chance after all. Naruto placed his mouth near her ear. "Thank you" it was quiet less than even a whisper, but they were still the first kind words Naruto had ever said in regards to her. The blond unwrapped his arms from around Kushina's waist and disappeared in a flash of light, the sound of a bell accompanying him. Kushina felt a single tear course down her face, it was a tear of happiness.
Two Weeks After Snow Mission
Outside it was dead silent, the apartment was dark and it seemed nobody would be awake. That is why one would be surprised if they entered only to find a blond teenager sitting on the couch in full battle attire. Naruto sat still as a statue, blade bare across his lap, eyes closed, breathing regular, he was deep in meditation. He was waiting, this was a problem that needed to be dealt with now that was why he had allowed those morons from the council to move the ANBU patrols and pretended not to notice. Naruto didn't like this plan, that being said Naruto didn't like anything that had the potential to put Erza in danger. Still they had spent the last two weeks of being inside Konoha planning it out, this was a problem that needed to be dealt with sooner rather than later.
No one inside Konoha knew that Erza could enter another's mind. Originally Naruto had believed it to be a bloodline. He had been wrong. Erza had been experimented on as a child, not by Yuki, no Yuki had come into it far, far, later. The original experiments were carried out by her father, the tower of heaven project. To put the tower in perspective it was similar to a gigantic relay system, except instead of dealing with radio waves and the like the tower dealt with human brain waves. In layman's terms every human had a single brainwave that was the same, the basis of the tower of heaven was that they could use that single brain wave to locate where people where. In theory it was supposed to act as something like an early warning system, but over time that changed. The research got darker, instead of just finding out where people were it branched out into being able to go inside their heads from anywhere, kind of like a Yamanaka technique without the distance limit.
It would make for the ultimate spy's or infiltrators, then the research got darker again. Moving into the domination of the mind via use of the tower, the scary part was that it was possible, theoretically at least. But they needed two things for that to succeed. The first was a power source that could sustain a massive output for an extended period. The second was a living person that had enough power over the artificial blood line to visit other peoples mind without the need to be physically within the tower. In other words they needed a jinchuuriki and Erza, according to the information Erza had managed to obtain they got the Jinchuuriki three weeks ago. Which meant they would be coming for her next, tonight to be exact.
Naruto sheathed the blade, and looked at the necklace containing a mixture of his own energy and Erza's, it made the thing into a kind of long distance homing device. He could pinpoint where Erza was and she could do the same to him, it would be instrumental in their plan. The blond looked around the apartment, it wasn't a large affair but neither was it a small one. Three bed room, two bathroom and combined kitchen, living and dining. Ah the wonders of blackmail. Naruto reclined into the chair a little more, the ANBU were almost entirely gone now, Erza was already asleep and he had maybe thirty minutes until the game began. Naruto closed his eyes again and yawned, before he stood. His blade was drawn, he could feel them getting closer, it looked like the plan was about to start in earnest, a vicious smile graced his face, he just hoped it worked.
Mugetsu chapter 6- End.