Author's note: Idea stolen from drakensis. His story is titled, 'The Night the House of Cards was Built'. Last updated on 12-29-07 as of 5-13-12 so I do not expect him to continue it and was curious about what direction such an idea could take the Naruto world. Oh, and for the first chapter or two, I will be stealing some of drakensis's writing, but I will attempt to make as much of it my own and after the second chapter it should be all me... although I may borrow a few ideas from others, but any idea I take, I will try to give credit for. If you see something that I borrowed and didn't recognize you for, feel free to leave a message some way and I'll thank you for it. A few extra notes, if I get to it, Haku will be a boy. I just feel I can have more fun with him as a guy than a girl, pairings will be decided later, and I will use the filler arcs. The filler arcs will be there to add in more character development for minor characters and I will try to slip a little plot in there as well. Now, let us see where we go!
Edit: Drakensis would like me to change this Author's note to say that I do in fact have his permission to use his idea and some of his text. I, however, have no permission to use Naruto characters or setting from their creator and I am not involved with the manga, anime, or games outside of enjoying them and writing fanfiction.
Chapter 1: Naruto Plays a Game
"Come on Kurenai! Don't be such a stick in the mud!" A dark violet hair woman with brown pupil-less eyes called to her companion, a woman with a long mane of black hair and red eyes that have a ring of darker red closer to her pupil. The women were an odd pair. The younger, brown eyed girl wearing a form fitting outfit of a dark gray material covered in chain mail, a tan trench coat with a lavender lining, an orange skirt that didn't make it to mid thigh, shin guards over her blue sandals, and a forehead protector with a stylized leaf with a swirl in the middle on her head that was used to help hold her hair back in a spiky ponytail. Her companion, the black haired woman, was much more modest in her dress, wearing a deep, rich red outfit with no sleeves underneath a standard military outfit of the village the pair lived in and a dark leaf green flak jacket with a red spiral on the back.
"Anko, I have no intention in losing my shirt in another of your get quick rich schemes," Kurenai said in an exasperated fashion to her younger friend, annoyed at the memory of the last time she had helped Anko out with one of her plans.
"Whatcha talkin' about Kuku? Losing your shirt got Asuma then to look at you, right?" Anko replied with a leer and smirk. "At least, bits of you got looked at."
"Bits I didn't want him seeing yet," Kurenai shot back quickly, a blush on her cheeks.
Anko's smirk grew as she decided to needle Kurenai for that comment. "So you do like him? Ha, I knew it!"
Kurenai frowned at the childish antics of her friend and sighed. "Maybe I do, but I am not going out with him after that little stunt you pulled. It should be two dates before seeing what my breasts actually look like. At minimum!"
Anko just chuckled and hip bumped Kurenai. "I'm sure, but it's not like he'd only go for you for your body," Snickering Anko concluded her statement with, "Daddy Hokage would make sure of it to keep a few pictures from becoming public."
Kurenai looked at Anko with a raised eye, wondering why she didn't just sell those pictures to the Hokage to get money, but just mentally shrugged, long giving up on understanding her friend's mind. "Anyways, what is this plan of yours? It better be a good one because we know how often they fail."
Anko nodded her head, acknowledging that her plans didn't always follow through right. "At least my plans usually turn out alright. Besides, this is different..."
Kurenai cut in quickly, silencing Anko, "If it involves selling snake oil medicines again, using me as a test subject, then you can go right ahead -"
"Different!" Anko yelled, before getting back to a conversational tone, grinning at remembering all the creams she got to rub on Kurenai's body, even if no one was buying anything. A success in her book, all things considering. "Look, you know how I am good at poker, right?"
"I know you are good at poking me," Kurenai grumbled.
"Ok, that may be true, but I'm talking about the card game," Anko said. "I used to be good at scamming lunch money out of the other kids back in the academy. Look, there's this high stakes poker game every week down at that one barbeque place, the small one the Akimichi clan owns. Half the Council attend and so does the Hokage. There's a minimum stake of a million ryou..."
"A million!" Kurenai yelped, stopping in her tracks. "Are you out of your mind. I don't have a million ryou, and even if I did, I wouldn't risk it on your poker skills."
"Look, you've got two hundred thousand off that last mission, right?" Anko said. "Plus the two-fifty you set aside for a rainy day. And I've got five-fifty thousand I haven't managed to squander yet. That's a million. We go in, stake that. If it all goes wrong then I bet my coat, take the next pot for all I can while they're drooling and we quit."
"Give me one reason that I should go along with a crazy plan like that," Kurenai said. "Preferably a reason that won't leave us in the bad books of the wives of all the Clan Heads once they find out."
Anko raised one eyebrow and then moved closer to whisper into Kurenai's ear. The chunin froze. After a moment, a trail of drool began to leak from the side of her mouth.
"Heh," Anko said smugly. "Let's go get our stake out of the bank, Kurenai!" she declaimed and set off, towing the still glassy-eyed Kurenai behind her.
Several hours later a blond haired, blue eyed boy with three lines on both his cheeks would be seen running in a dirty, white shirt and shorts that were too large for him held up by some rope and was frayed on the leg openings. This was a fairly common sight for this particular six year old to be seen running from a mob of villages, especially on the poor kid's birthday, the military police, or a group of masked ninja known as ANBU. The mobs chased after him in hatred that the child did not understand while the police and ANBU chased him for his pranks and was more understandable to the child.
Today, the officers, in civilian attire, were chasing the brat known as Naruto Uzamaki for his latest prank. The officers did not want to know how much water the brat drank to get that many uniforms wet and they especially did not want to know what he ate to get such a distinct smell. What the officers did want to know was what they'd get to do to the little prankster once they caught him.
As luck would have it, the crowds in the market were dying down at this time, allowing for the offices to spot the kid as he was catching up to the two lady ninjas we listened in on earlier.
"There he is!" "What?... There! Get him!" "I am going to kill that brat when we get our hands on him!" The three civilian garbed officers were not bothering with stealth, using rage to try and capture the blond menace. Anything involving little Naruto always seemed to anger certain people.
"Eep!" Naruto freaked and turned down the allyway the two kunoichi had gone down not long before. Running as fast as his little legs could carry him, Naruto barely made it through the open door the two women entered before being grabbed.
"Where do you think you are going?" The ANBU standing guard at the door said in an authoritative voice, missing the short kid that slipped by him.
"Look, we're chasing the..." One officer started.
"Nope, private Council meeting," the ANBU cut them off, not even looking up.
"We're with the Military Police!" Protested a second member of the military police, made up of one clan, the Uchiha.
"Huh, so why no uniforms?" asked the ANBU.
The three Uchiha exchanged glances. Their boss would not be happy if they advertised exactly how the brat had pranked them this time. "Look..."
"Fugaku Uchiha is in there, he's our clan head. We just need to tell him..."
"Unless it's about an imminent invasion by at least a hundred S-class nin, forget it." the ANBU said. "Private meeting. If you were really with the Military Police, you'd know that. Now go away or I'll hand you over to Ibiki to find out why you really want to sneak into a private Council Meeting." The ANBU then closed the door on the faces of the three.
The leader of the village turned in an attempt to examine the child in his robes, finding it rather difficult with the child constantly turning with him so that his back side was towards the little one so the child was behind the Hokage. The most powerful man in the village sighed, recognizing that this was Naruto trying to be stealthy and hide.
"Naruto, why are you here?" The old man asked the child.
"Um," Naruto stalled a bit, knowing the old man, the man he thought of as a grandfather, did not always appreciate the humor or justice in his pranks. That normally wouldn't hinder his talking about his pranks, except that there were a bunch of other old men that Naruto recognized, in his six year old mind, as being meanies and sourpusses who never appreciated a good prank. "Following you!" Naruto answered cheerfully.
Sarutobi sighed inwardly. "It's a little late, Naruto. Shouldn't you go home before the caretakers at the orphanage start to worry about you?"
Naruto blinked. "Oh, they never worry about me, Old Man! But what are you doing here?"
"Yo, Hokage!" called Anko from the table. "Are you gonna talk to your mascot all day or can we start the game?"
"It's a game!" Naruto shouted in amazement. "Old Man, I never knew you could play games too! You always said you were too busy!" Before anyone thought to stop him, he darted over to the table and stood on a chair to look at the table. It was a large dining table usually used for the restaurant customers who came in large parties, but bought by Choza Akimichi's grandfather specifically for the weekly poker games that had been running here for almost as long as Konoha had been a going concern. Legend had it that the First Hokage had lost the post of Hokage to his brother at the table only to win it back the same night and appoint his brother as his successor the next morning. Naruto stared at the long wooden surface, now covered with green cloth and at the stacks of cards and poker chips heaped up at in front of a large, wide man named Choza. "Wow! What sort of game is it?"
"It is a grown up game, Naruto," The Third Hokage answered from behind the boy. "And there are very strict rules on who can play."
"Aww, but it looks like fun," Naruto pouted. "What do I need to do to play?"
"It's the money, brat," Anko answered in her normal, forward, manner. "You have to lay down one million ryou if you are going to play this game." She pointed towards Chouza, and the strongbox next to him, who was exchanging stacks of money for chips as people paid in to play.
"A million!" Naruto exclaimed before taking a moment to think. Looking at the Hokage he asked, "Is that a lot?"
The Hokage smiled down at Naruto, having problems seeing how anyone could hate such a lovable, innocent child. "Yes, it is. Maybe when you are older..."
Naruto pouted again and rummaged in his pocket, pulling out a bloated, worn wallet meant to look like a frog. Opening the wallet up and letting his money spill out. "I gots lotsa money in Gama," Naruto said happily, hugging his wallet. "Is this enough?"
Kurenai went wide eyed and nearly choked at seeing how much money the kid had on him. Sure, she could tell it wasn't a million, but how could a child have so much money with them? The Hokage frowned at the sight of the money and quickly ran his hand threw it, counting it up and finding it to be about how much Naruto should have had from his allowance from the last few years. Did the kid not spend any of it?
Choza chuckled suddenly. "What the hell, fellows," he said, nodding to Shikaku, a man with two scars on the right side of his face and his dark hair pulled back in a pony tail, and Inoichi, a blond haired, teal eyed man. "Why not let him play?"
"You mean it?" Naruto exclaimed. "Really?"
"Sure..." Choza grinned, toothily. "It's your money so I guess you can do what you want with it. Just come over here with it and I'll count you out some chips to play with..." He saw Hiashi Hyuga, a man with white, featureless eyes, long black hair, and a stern face, nod slightly in understanding and Fugaku Uchiha, a rather plain looking, but serious black hair and eyed man, smile thinly as he caught on. He also saw the Hokage's eyes narrow and made a point of counting out Naruto's chips with more care than usual, giving the kid the Fourth Hokage sealed a demon fox inside exact value for his money and the Hokage no reason to complain.
Naruto sat down to the left of the Hokage, which placed him next to Anko as well, Kurenai sitting a little away from the table to show that she was not playing herself while questioning why she got dragged into this, and the old man began to quickly explain the rules of the game to the little boy.
The first few hands moved slowly with small pots as everyone waited for the last few to arrive and give Naruto time to get used to the rules without losing too many chips. The only surprise that happened was a crippled, bandaged old man with dark gray hair and a cross shaped scar on his chin named Danzo coming in. Danzo wasn't a regular, but after a few skeptical looks at Naruto and Choza, Danzo took a seat and joined in on the game.
The pots began to rise towards their usual level, ten thousand ryou chips moving across the table. The play was fierce today and the Hokage had to look to his own cards, with only occasional attention to Naruto. No one had had any spectacular hands yet, nothing better than a pair or a three winning any hands. There was a moment's excitement when Hiashi and Naruto spent almost a minute staring at each other, gauging the their confidence in their hand. Hiashi folded on his pair of threes, which was a pity because Naruto was completely wrong about a five, seven, eight, ten and knave being worth anything when they were mixed hearts and spades. Hiashi made a mental note not to rely on the brat's confidence in his cards when he didn't actually know what the cards were worth; and Naruto raked in the biggest pot so far.
Even with a big win, Naruto didn't seem to be doing so well with what looked to be the same amount he started with. The Hokage, Hiruzen Sarutobi, gave the boy a worried look. "Naruto, are you sure you want to keep playing? After all, you just had a big win..."
"No way!" Naruto yelled happily, "I want to win much bigger than that!"Seeing the smiling faces of the other players, Naruto misinterpreted the meaning to being they were happy for him.
Unknown to the others, Naruto had carelessly knocked some of his chips onto the floor and his lap. It wasn't really fair to blame it on him since he was about two feet shorter than the next shortest player and even with sitting on the cushions provided for him, he had a hard time reaching and accidentally let chips fall. If all his chips were stacked properly, everyone would see he was actually up by a fair amount. Enough to be only a few grand short of the usual minimum stake.
Anko, unfortunately, was not doing anywhere near as well. She was down by about half of her initial stakes and Kurenai was getting nervous and slightly twitchy. 'We need a big pot, then plan B and get out of here,' Anko thought to herself as she looked at her hand for the next game. Using all her ninja skills at keeping a straight face, Anko managed to avoid grinning like a lunatic. Four, five, six, and seven of diamond were all looking up at her with a two of spades. This had the potential to be the best hand yet. All Anko needed was a three, eight, or another diamond and this hand would surely be hers.
Choza opened high, having been pushing the pots higher since Danzo arrived, with two further raises before the hand got to Anko. Raising again, Anko pushed a third of the remaining chips in. Most of the table was still in when it came time to discard and get a new card with most of the players tossing away one or two cards. Anko tossed the two of spades away and bit her tongue lightly to keep from maniacal laughter when she saw she got a Queen of Diamonds, giving her a flush. It was never a good idea to laugh maniacally when your boss was two seats to your right and most of the powerful men and women in the village sitting around the table. Although, Anko was of the firm opinion laughing maniacally around children was just fine.
Several players began to fold, narrowing the field down. Danzo took a look at his cards, having drawn two and raised Inoichi and a weapon's smith both called while the Hokage folded. Naruto, after a moment of squinting at his cards, raised. Kurenai grit her teeth as Anko pushed the rest of her their chips in in order to match the current bet.
'This had better be good, Anko!' Kurenai mentally screamed at the girl while mentally asking herself again why she was friends with Anko.
"It's so warm in here," Anko said, standing up to remove her coat, hanging it over her chair before sitting again, her upper body covered only in her form fitting top that the careful eye would be able to see that Anko was not wearing a bra as the tip of her nipples were clearly hard. The temperature certainly seemed to be rising for the men in the room as several faces went noticeably red.
"Hey, hey," Naruto said happily to Anko, "Isn't this fun?"
"Oh yes," Kurenai replied tightly, "fun."
At the end of this round of bets only six players remained in play. Choza looked at his cards again, looked at the others still in and folded, not feeling his hand was good enough. Danzo after a quick check of his cards raised again, a smirk on his lips at Anko. Inoichi folded, followed quickly by the weapon's smith. Naruto smiled sweetly at Kurenai as he pushed in the last of his chips on the table to the pot in order to call.
All eyes went to Anko and the empty spot in front of her as Kurenai bit her lip in nerves.
"Aright," Anko said in a carefree manner. "I'll throw in... me and Kurenai as personal servants to the winner."
Kurenai gulped and went pale at that.
Danzo looked at the pair with a leer. "That is... acceptable," he decided. "Uzamaki?"
Sarutobi coughed to get attention. "I hardly..."
"It is up to those who are still playing to agree on what is acceptable," Danzo chided the Hokage. The Hokage sighed and looked to Naruto.
The boy eyed the two woman with a puzzled expression. "I'unno," Naruto said. "Servant means they work for me, right?"
"Between their missions," The Third Hokage insisted, "Correct Danzo?"
"Oh, certainly," The old cripple agreed.
Kurenai's fingers tightened on Anko's shoulder. "You better win," Kurenai whispered into Anko's ear.
"Ok, so are we done betting?" Naruto asked.
"I believe so," Danzo said. "I believe you should begin, Ms. Mitarashi. Surely the inclusion of you two must count as a form of a raise."
Anko shrugged and smirked in a smug manner as she laid her cards out one at a time. "Flush of Diamonds," She said confidentially. "Queen high."
Danzo gave her a long smile that was definitely a leer and started laying down spade after spade. His fifth card... was the king. "Flush of spades," he said. "King high."
Kurenai's hands moved towards Anko's neck in a slow attempt to strangle her. "Now, now, Ms. Yuhi," Danzo smirked. "No damaging the merchandise."
Naruto turned to the Hokage, "Old Man, how does a pair of threes count against that?"
"It doesn't beat it," Sarutobi said with a sigh. It saddened his heart to see a child be cleaned out like that. Especially one so close to his heart.
"What if I had two pairs of three?" Naruto innocently asked, honestly not knowing.
The entire room fell silent at that question as Naruto revealed his hand. A wild haired woman with red markings under her eyes that was idly playing with her chips dropped the one in her hand. The sound of it hitting the ground broke the spell of silence Naruto's announcement created.
Four threes stared back at the assembled players and Danzo's hands began to visibly shake before he took a hold of himself. "Well, congratulations, young man," he said somewhat grudgingly. "It would seem that you have a pair of matched pet kunoichi."
"Pets!" Anko yelled in anger. "I said nothing about being pets!"
"Servants was the term used," The Hokage agreed. "But, without any other terms specified, I suppose it will be for however long Naruto wants you."
"Don't worry new sister," Naruto reassured the trembling Kurenai. "I'll look after you."
Anko shrugged, figuring that the brat wasn't the worst master she could have. The jiggle her breasts made caused nearly two dozen eyes to focus on the slight bounce and sway. "Fine, whatever, we're his slaves. I'll get some chains and collars for us later." The Hokage collapsed onto the floor in surprise, his eyes glazing over at the mental image of his subordinates in such an outfit.
"Anko! You will do no such thing!" Kurenai yelped out, grabbing her fellow slave by the front of her chain mail suit. Anko chose to fight back and the two bickering kunoichi rolled underneath the table with Naruto yelling out words of encouragement to both of his new big sisters in the cat fight. The distraction for the men was great until Choza suggested a break from play to let tempers cool and to get drinks. With all the commotion, it was unsurprising that the Hokage missed seeing the Ino-Shika-Cho trio whispering amongst themselves.
After the commotion settled down and the players were mostly back to sitting around the table again Danzo decided to question Naruto's two kunoichi servants. "I trust that the two of you have settled your differences?"
"Yeah," Anko drawled out, rolling her eyes while putting a handful of chips onto the table. "No slave gear, just 'appropriate dress for servants who expect to be seen in public'. Right, Kurenai?"
"Uh, right," Kurenai said, eying the chips. "Anko, where did you get those chips?"
"They were on the floor," Anko answered, giving her chest the attention of several eyes as she shrugged again. "Must have dropped them when I took my coat off."
Naruto blinked and looked at Anko. "Oh, you dropped some too, new sister? I found all these under my chair," Naruto said, pointing to the stacks in front of him that caused a few choked exclamations as the others noticed that Naruto clearly had the largest pile at the table.
"Wait," Inoichi interrupted, eyes still wide at seeing Naruto's stack, "Anko, you can't keep playing now."
Anko stared at him, a look of disbelief on her face. "What the fuck are you talking you old bastard? We ain't broke yet."
Danzo cleared his throat. "Inoichi is correct. House rules say that only one member of any clan can play at a given time, to prevent abuse of authority. Obvious military ranks don't count for that otherwise the Hokage could bet any of us, or Fugaku could use Tsume..." He was cut off by a bark from under the table and Tsume had to restrain her canine companion, Kuromaru, from taking a chunk out of the aged and retired veteran for even suggesting the possibility.
"But you are the dem..." Choza started to finish for Danzo before catching the Hokage's glare and quickly edited his word choice. "Eh, now that you are the kid's toys, for you to play could give him an advantage since you're honor bound to do whatever he tells you."
"That is total bull shit!" Anko yelled, standing up to slam her fist on the table. "You think..."
Sarutobi coughed, interrupting Anko's rant. "Anko, please, they do have a point and those really are the house rules. Perhaps the two of you would like to take seats behind Naruto. And could you get him a glass of milk to drink while you calm down? Don't look at me like that, Naruto, you're too young for anything alcoholic."
"Jeez, never thought I'd be giving a brat milk," Anko muttered getting up and heading to the kitchen to get her new master some milk.
"Of course," Danzo said smoothly. "That raises the question of whether it would be possible for us to win back Kurenai and Anko's freedom." If his expression when he looked at Kurenai was supposed to be charming then it failed, since Naruto was only one who didn't recognize it as a leer. He might have if he hadn't been wondering why the funny bandaged man thought that he'd bet away his new sisters.
"Freedom?" Kurenai snorted. "I'm sure that that's what you were thinking of. Look all you want, but all you'll see is this," she finished, standing and heading for the kitchen to find out what was keeping Anko and the milk for 'Master Naruto'. The chunin made a point of rolling her hips as she walked, to remind Danzo of what he'd failed to get, a motion that all the men at the table watched with interest and, in a few cases, with frustration.
"I, uh, think that Anko and Kurenai's situation, er, in regards to Naruto is, um, a personal one," The Hokage nervously said.
"Perhaps, more like a clan one," Hiashi suggested, taking a sip from his cup of rice wine. "He is technically the head of the Uzamaki clan."
"Yes... yes, that is reasonable," Sarutobi mumbled out.
"Hey, uh, Kurenai... you aren't mad, are you?" Anko asked with a nervous laugh.
"Mad? Why would I be mad?" Kurenai asked dangerously. "You only sold us into SLAVERY!"
"Yeah, well," Anko said with a shrug, "At least it is only with the brat. How much trouble can he be. He's six or something. Not like that old fossil Danzo or Choza. He was definitally giving us the eye. Looked like he wanted to eat us up... and you know what they say about Akimichi..."
Kurenai snorted as she opened the milk and began to pour it into a glass she found. "Anko, that cannibalism rumor is just that... a rumor. But I suppose you are right. Besides the Hokage, the kid is probably the best one that could have won us. He seems like any other kid... other than his little resident."
"Yeah," Anko said, rolling her eyes. "Like he's the only one with some damn seal on him? Let's just make sure that he doesn't lose. We could still wind up with one of the old goats if he does."
"And I am sure you have a wonderful plan for that," Kurenai said in a very sarcastic tone. "Ignoring how well your la-EEP! Anko!" Kurenai yelped at feeling Anko grope her well toned ass. Whirling around, Kurenai found herself pinned to the refrigerator, the slightly shorter girl pressing up against her.
"Trust my feminine wiles," Anko said cheerfully, taking the glass from her friend's hand and taking it to the table for their new master.
Once the kunoichi pair returned, Kurenai having wide eyes as if something shocked her more than the last hand Anko lost, the game resumed. Play was far more conservative after the last hand and Naruto lost a bit more than he won. Considering the small size of the bets, his pile of chips was not depleted by too much and was still far ahead of where he began the game. Some of the losses came from mistakes Naruto made, twice folding on what was likely to be winning hands. Then the Hokage noticed a slight nod from Choza as he checked his newly dealt hand. The Hokage doubted it was a coincident that Inoichi, the man opening the betting, bet high or that Shikaku not only checked that bet, but raised the stakes higher.
Naruto barely looked at his hand and pushed a million ryo into the pot, betting rather recklessly. Choza hesitated, double checking his hand. He hadn't been winning much that night, but steeled his nerves and pushed half his remaining chips into the pot to continue. Cards where discarded and dealt to those still in and the Hokage felt a chill in his spine at seeing Naruto casually toss away four cards. Choza nearly choked on his tongue trying to avoid laughing at the thought of the boy raising despite having nothing in his hand. Choza smiled to himself at seeing a pair of kings in his hand next to the three jacks he had kept. This hand was surely in the bag for him.
Inoichi and Shikaku raised again, more conservatively this time around, after spotting the smile and slight nod from Choza and were glad for the agreement the three had. Kuroda, the weapon smith, hesitated for a moment before pulling out and placing the deed for his shop into the pile on the table as security for the chips he didn't have. The Hokage folded, disappointed that he failed to get the flush or straight he was hoping might win him the hand. Everyone turned to look at Naruto as he stood up in his chair and leaned forward precariously, only Kurenai's quick action at grabbing the back of his shirt keeping the boy from falling face down onto the table. Naruto surprised everyone by pushing forward all his chips before sitting back down with a happy smile, proud of himself.
"Careful Naruto, that is a big bet," The Hokage warned, only getting a grin in reply while the two kunoichies Naruto now owned looked at each other nervously.
Choza paled at seeing that bet, unable to match it with the chips he had on the table. The odds of anyone beating a full house was a long shot. It was the best hand of the night other than Naruto's earlier four of a kind. But that wouldn't matter if he couldn't match the bet. Thinking quickly, Choza pulled out his wallet and took out a stack of deeds he had been going over earlier. All were for spots in the market for food stalls that the Akimichi rented out. All prime locations in the market. Choza had simply put them into his wallet instead of going home and putting them away and coming back for the poker game. "These should make up the difference," Choza offered, pushing in all his chips. The Hokage stood up and looked over the deeds before looking at each of the players. Inoichi and Shikaku simply folded while Kuroda gave a sharp, decisive nod that Naruto imitated.
"Full house," Choza said with a mixture of relief and smugness. Inoichi and Shikaku smiled as well, happy to push the pot to such heights for their friend.
Naruto grinned right back. "This beats that, right?" He said, laying down two queens and a joker followed shortly by a pair of threes.
There was a chuckle from Kuroda that quickly developed into a full belly laugh that was not at Naruto's expense. "Well played youngster. That is indeed a winning hand alright... As is this," He said laying down his pair of threes, a pair of queens, and the other joker.
"Exactly equal hands," Fugaku whispered with a low whistle. "Never seen that happen."
"The brat loses," Choza snapped irritably. "Look at the suites, if the cards are the same value, then the suit decides."
"Don't split hairs," Kuroda said with a dismissive wave. "Call it even." He began to split the pot, taking his deed back and half the chips while pushing the rest of the deeds and chips over to Naruto.
The Hokage smiled, knowing Naruto won more than money and property this round. He won recognition as a fellow person and human. But the game could go on for a long time and the stakes just kept getting higher. "Besides Choza, the suite check is only done for flushes of equal value since flushes are the only hand that has only a single suite," The Hokage told the saddened Akimichi.
"Huh, what are these?" Naruto asked, looking at the pieces of rolled up paper he had gotten the last round.
"Title to property," Kurenai said, taking the deeds from Naruto to look through them. "Whoever owns these papers owns the building or land that they describe. So that means that as long as you have them, you own," Kurenai paused with a slight frown as she leafed through them. "Seventeen spaces in Konoha market. Whoever runs the stalls in those spaces has to pay you for permission to have their stall there."
Naruto's eyes widened and a large smile formed on his lips. "Wow! Could I give one to old man Teuchi? He's always saying he wished he could move Ichiraku's to the market and sell ramen to the people there! He'd be so happy if he could do that!"
Kurenai shrugged. "Maybe. It depends on the exact agreement that you have with the stalls that are there."
"Sort it out later kid," Kuroda advised. "We're here to play cards, not talk business. Hell, you might not even still have the stalls when the sun comes up, so why worry?"
"Right!" Naruto declared loudly. "Deal me some cards then," He told Choza, who glared and passed the cards to the civilian to his left.
"I'm sitting this hand out," The big Jonin said, standing up. "Got to go get some more money to keep playing with." Shikaku and Inoichi stood up as well, indicating they were in the same position and left the table with their teammate.
The cards were dealt and Naruto held up his hand for examination, incidentally letting Kurenai and Anko get a look at what he had. As trained kunoichi, the pair were too good at masking their emotions to let their disappointment at Naruto having nothing in his hand cross their faces.
Sarutobi coughed as the betting reached him. "I don't think I want to run out of drink money," He said, eying his own, modest heap of chips. "So how much would you say that permission for a child to enter the Academy a year early was worth?"
Fugaku eyed him warily. "I thought you didn't want any more prodigies appearing like Itachi did?" He asked carefully.
"So he can go as screwy as Maito or that Hatake kid?" Tsume snorted.
"The Forth didn't approve of children as young as three or four being entered," Sarutobi said in a firm voice. "After seeing the effects on one of his own students. While I agree with him, but I will stretch the point by a year. That is, if anyone wins this slip off of me," He said, jotting down a promise to that effect on a slip of paper.
"Write another and put both into the pot for your call," Kuroda suggested. "I think there are quite a few kids out there who could benefit from starting a little early."
"Not all of us give out kunai as toys," Tsume grunted, but made no further protest as the two slips were pushed forwards and into the pot. Naruto absently put his own chips in without raising and discarded two cards at random. He didn't get anything worthwhile though and folded rather than keep betting. Tsume ended up winning and looked at the papers irritably. "What the hell am I suppose to do with these?" She muttered, having no intentions of letting her son enter early.
"You could give them to me," Naruto chirped cheerfully.
"Hell no kid," Tsume snorted. "You want them, you gotta win them."
Anko gave the kid a worried look as Inoichi and Shikaku came back to the table. If his luck was running out then she'd be back in hot water, not that she'd never been there before, and taking Kurenai with her, a much bigger concern. Somehow, she doubted the kid would stop wagering just because he wasn't doing so well.
"We've put up some property up against an advance from the bank," Inoichi announced, stacking chips in front of himself. "We'll buy them back with the chips before we cash up whatever is left, alright? Chouza's put our names and the value in chips down."
"No problem," Kuroda shrugged and getting up. "I'll go bank this then," he said, holding up his shop's deed.
"I think I better get out of this game," The Hokage admitted, picking up his chips. "The luck is just against me tonight. I'll mind the bank for Choza so he can concentrate on his game."
As the Hokage walked past them, Kurenai moved aside to give him space, brushing up against Anko, who moved in closer and began to whisper a plan to keep Naruto from running through all his chips if he went onto a losing streak. Then she saw the fascinated gaze of some of the male players and instead simply whispered, "Play along with this," before beginning to nuzzle Kurenai's ear.
"An-Anko~o," Kurenai tried to protest, her yelp turning into a soft moan.
"Are you ok?" Naruto asked, half turning.
"W-we're fine," Kurenai said, a soft moan in her voice, snaking an arm around Anko's waist to pull her in close to play along with the plan. "You enjoy the ga-ame."
"Right!" Naruto said with a grin as he plumped himself onto his cushions. "I'm going to win everything!"
Normally, that statement would have elicited derision from the other players, but most of the men were too busy 'fixing' their pants, to comment. Needless to say, they were having difficulty focusing on the game and the next hand, where Tsume bet one of the slips, went to the Hokage's former teammate Koharu, who looked at it, shook her head and dropped it into her winnings so far, seeing no need for it.
"I'm going to win the next one!" Naruto declared confidently and beckoned for Chouza to deal. The deal was sloppy, probably due to Anko nuzzling at the corner of Kurenai's jaw, and Tsume laughed out loud when Danzo dropped his cards face up and clutched at his nose, which was bleeding profusely, his eyes glazing slightly. The old crippled ninja stalked out of the room, not even bothering to pick up the handful of chips remaining to him. Tsume bet the other permission slip and watched as Naruto managed to win the hand with a pair of tens.
"I would advise against using that," Tsume said in a reserved tone as Naruto clutched the slip of paper. "Kids who start early tend to go a bit crazy. I would never allow any of mine start at the academy before they were eight."
"I am already a bit crazy," Naruto retorted. "One of those masked people, uh, Anbi?"
"Anbu," Anko corrected before placing a hand onto Kurenai's chest, the other on her ass, and her teeth on her jaw, right below Kurenai's ear.
"Right, Anbu," Naruto said with a smile and nod. "One of them told me I was a crazy last time they found me putting glue on the doorsteps of the police building."
"That was you," Fugaku said with a growl as he tore his eyes from Anko and Kurenai. "What was that in aid of?"
"Eh," Naruto picked his nose contemplatively, feeling a rather large buggar sticking there. "Well, the police always chase me when I prank someone, so I thought that if their feet were glued to the ground then they wouldn't be able to."
Kurenai whimpered slightly as Anko's hand began to slid up the inside of her skirt. Homura, sitting next to Koharu, fell backwards out of his chair into perverted bliss. "Would you mind stopping that?" Koharu asked the pair, getting slightly irritable. "It's not that I mind you taking advantage of this bunch of perverted men, but some of them aren't young enough to keep up any more."
"Huh, wha-? What do you mean old lady?" Naruto asked. "Are my new sisters doing something naughty?"
Tsume started snickering out loud, earning glares from most of the men at the table. "Ya know, brat, you are okay," she said with a smirk. "Damned if I know how, but looks like you're turning out okay despite everything. Still, maybe you'd better take those girls of yours in hand."
Naruto looked confused. "What do you mean?" He asked, curious.
"Well, you could sit on one of them," She suggested with a grin that was almost, but not quite, feral. "That'll split them up and make them concentrate on not causing you trouble."
"I got to keep them out of trouble?" Naruto asked with a frown. "I can't even keep me out of trouble."
"Not that you try very hard," Anko muttered.
The smallest one at the game turned around to her and pouted. "If I'm going to be in trouble, it might as well be for something I did," he pointed out. "Sit here, sissy. I gots to be responsible and keep you out of trouble."
The look on Anko's face was priceless, with only Naruto, and a civilian that would die in a few months due to an unfortunate accident where he fell off a ladder taking down a wall scroll he was going to replace with one his wife liked better, not savoring the look for years to come and the Hokage regretting for the rest of his life that he missed such a priceless moment as Anko obeyed and let Kurenai lift the little kid into her lap. Judging by the way Tsume fell out her chair laughing, it would be a memory used for many times to brighten her days in the future. The look on Kuromaru's face when he jumped up, putting his front paws on the table and looked over them at Naruto was almost as amusing. The Inuzuka dogs were certainly intelligent but they just didn't think like humans do. In this case, the large hound certainly found something amusing in the sight of Naruto being tended by two women twice his size and more than three times his age. Most likely the idea of a pup being the alpha of a group of bitches more capable of being alphas.
Naruto then bounced the back of his head off of Anko's chest and deemed her to be more comfortable than the headrest of the chair. Due to the flirtatious playing Anko was previously doing with Kurenai left her a fair bit more sensitive than before, her expression at the impact was far from the smug look she usually had.
The next few hands were rather quiet and conservative with no one else dropping out of the game. There was an electricity to the game and it was clear that sooner or later the stakes would be rising rather high. Several players went over to the Hokage and gave him IOUs for more chips, only Aburame Shibi resisting the temptation when he went bust. The hand after Shibi left went down to Koharu and Fugaku, with the former proving to have placed too much faith in two pairs when Fugaku played three queens, taking most of her remaining chips and the permission slip. It seemed likely for his son, Sasuke, to be starting the Academy a year earlier than anticipated as Fugaku carefully, or as carefully as his blood alcohol level allowed, folded up the slip and put it into his wallet.
One of the civilians, the one who was going to have an unfortunate and easily avoided accident in a few months, looked at his cards before raising the stakes. It was such an awful bluff that the shinobi were almost embarrassed to take advantage of it. Kuroda and Naruto were the only ones to fold straight away and therefore the only ones not to get burned when the merchant demonstrated that he'd been dealt a straight flush and hadn't been bluffing at all, ranking in enough for his soon to come funeral and for his family to rebuild their lives after he passes away.
"You were lucky once, but will you be lucky again?" Choza muttered, not happy about the way this game was going. Usually at least one of the Ino-Shika-Cho trio came out ahead in these games, often enough that the one winning would be able to give the other two their stakes back and still be ahead. Instead, they were all losing, badly.
Dealing the cards out, Choza motioned for the merchant to start the betting this time. He opened high and player after player decided not to risk another big loss betting against him. Hiashi raised the stakes however, rather more than anyone had expected given how conservatively the Hyuga Clan leader had been playing all night.
"Hiashi, are you feeling alright?" Fugaku asked with a healthy dose of snark, showing he really didn't care for the Hyuga. "That is more than you bet in every hand so far tonight."
"I've got a good feeling about this hand," Hiashi said, staring at Yasuki rather blearily. Inoichi frowned and leaned over to count up the empty bottles on the floor next to Hiashi. There were three, with another on the table, and the rice wine Hiashi enjoyed was rather potent.
"I'm feeling good too!" Naruto declared with a beaming smile on his turn, raising the stakes even higher, causing Kurenai to gulp nervously.
"Yeah!" Anko yelled. "Show 'em how it is done Master Naruto! You are going to be rich, rich, rich!" She was feeling very good and was trying to really get into supporting her new master.
By the time that play reached the merchant again, he was looking nervous. Only Hiashi and Naruto were still in the game, and both looked very determined and Naruto had already been awfully lucky so far tonight. He shook his head and threw his cards down face up to display a pair of knaves. "Too rich for me," he said with a sigh.
Hiashi turned his stare to Naruto. "Let us be men about this, Mr. Uzumaki," He said formerly, if a little unsteadily. "How much do I have to bet for you to put everything you have on the table?"
"Hiashi," The Hokage said warningly, "You don't have as many chips as Naruto, so he has no reason to do that."
"Fine then," Hiashi said, pushing forward all his chips. "I'll bet you all this and..." He said, waving a finger dramatically towards Naruto as he paused, getting the other players to lean in a little at what he was going to bet. "And two Hyuga maidens to balance out the two commoners you got earlier."
There was a stunned silence with only Anko being able to notice the commoner comment. While technically true, she still took offense at it for both her and Kurenai's sake. Before anyone could stop him, Naruto pushed all his chips forwards as well. "I'm not betting away my new sisters," He said firmly in a way that was absolutely adorable to the women at the game. Anko hugged him lightly in relief, smiling at someone wanting her. "but if you want all this bet, then I am game."
"Right then," Hiashi declared, slapping down his cards, "Two kings!" After a short pause, he fell forwards onto the table.
"Dang," Inoichi said out loud with a bit of a laugh. "He put away quite a few of those bottles. I'd hate to be him in the morning."
"I wouldn't want to be him either," the Hokage said. "That isn't two kings. That isn't even two of a kind. He has one king and the rest of his hand is nothing. He must have been seeing doubles. Naruto, if you have anything, anything at all, then you've beaten him."
Naruto shrugged and laid down his cards. Three of spades, five of hearts, seven of diamonds, nine of clubs... and the ace of spades.
There was a single, solitary whistle from the Shiranui clan head, who simply stood and walked away to cash in the chips remaining to him. He'd lost enough already and he'd have a tale to tell his son Genma in the morning about the kid who'd bet a fortune with nothing at all in his hands.
Fugaku reached over and picked up the half-empty bottle next to Hiashi's place and poured a measure of the wine before taking a sip to get over the shocks of the last hand. "Good stuff," He noted, contemplating getting some himself for a special occasion. "He better have his hangover wear off before he gets home. The Hyuga elders are shrill at the best of times, they are going to be in a shrieking fury unless Hiashi can win back that promise of two Hyuga maidens." Somehow, he didn't sound all that sympathetic towards the only clan that rivaled the power of Fugaku's clan.
"Pass the bottle around," Kuroda told him. The Uchiha passed the bottle and each person filled their cup with a measure of the sake, except Naruto, Anko filling up a cup a little before passing it on so Naruto wouldn't have any yet.
Two of the civilians picked Hiashi up by shoulders and carried him away from the table. "If you can wake him, there's coffee in the kitchen," Choza said, not looking up. "And get some water down his throat. I'd not wish facing those whining old women hung over on the kyubi." Choza got away with saying that for two simple reasons. One, it was clear he meant the actual beast. Two, he did not even direct any attention towards Naruto.
"Are they really that bad?" Naruto asked curiously, having heard a few tales of the Kyubi and the Forth Hokage. Everyone around the table nodded and Naruto took on a contemplative look. "So, next time a giant monster shows up, we should give it a hangover and send the old Hyugies at it?"
There were several snickers and the Hokage smiled again, noticing how no one in the room seemed to see Naruto as the demon anymore. Instead, all hatred for him was do to his good fortune in the game and maybe a few of his pranks. And the Hokage figured that they would stop hating his pranks when pulled on others, seeing them for what they were. Childish antics.
Shikaku took the next several hands, despite Tsume and Inoichi having decent hands. Then Naruto won another hand, but Shikaku took the next three hands. "Looks like you're on a roll," Inoichi said, cracking open another bottle of wine.
However, the Nara folded quickly on the next hand and the other players followed, leaving only Naruto and Tsume staring at each other over their cards. "I'll raise you..." Tsume began and then paused as Kuromaru bounded half up onto the table and started to yip at her. "You sure?" she asked the ninja dog and heads turned around the table. What was going on? Had Kuromaru spotted someone cheating or something?
"But..." Another bark from the dog cut Tsume off. "Are you sure, Kuromaru?" More barking. "You have a feeling?" She looked up and gave Naruto a searching look. "Well, brat, Kuromaru seems to think you'd give it a good home if you've got the cards to take this hand, so... I'll raise your bet by the pick of the last litter from Kuromaru's mate."
Several jaws dropped. In some ways it was easier to believe that Hiashi would bet away members of his clan than that the Inuzuka would part with one of their precious dogs.
"Of course, if you don't look after the pup," Tsume added, "I'll cut you up and feed you to Kuromaru. Are we clear?"
Naruto blinked. "Um, I guess so. So, are we going to look at cards now?" He asked, getting a nod before he turned over his cards, displaying three threes and a joker, setting aside the single knave in his hands. "That's four of a kind, right, sissy?"
"Damn right," Anko agreed with a grin, starting to like being called sissy by the brat. If asked, she would later deny it and say she only let him because by the time her good cheer from all his winning left her, he was already in the habit and it would be too big a pain to stop him. She would then threaten anyone else who thought they could call her that. "Whatcha got, Tsume?"
The jonin groaned and threw her cards down. "Full house," she said with a huff. "Queens over twos. Fuck this for a game of ninja. I'm gonna quit for the night. Come by sometime, brat, and we can pick you out a puppy." Standing, she walked over to the kitchen and a few minutes later, as Inoichi was busy losing another hand based off overconfidence in a pair of fives, the sound of someone's head being dunked in a bucket of water could be heard.
"Dammit, Inuzuka!" shouted Hiashi from the kitchen and chuckles went around the room.
"I think Mr. Hyuga has awoken," the Hokage observed mildly. There was a muffled groan and more splashing. "And Tsume just told him what he lost on the last hand."
"How can you tell, Old Man?" Naruto asked curiously, raking in the handful of chips in the pot.
"He just tried to drown himself the bucket of water, Naruto," the Hokage explained.
Naruto shook his head. "You can't tell that from here," he said confidently. "I'm going to go see for myself." He hopped down from Anko's lap and grabbed Kurenai's hand. "Come on sis. You play for me," he threw back over his shoulder at Anko who had a somewhat manic look in her eyes as she looked at the mountain of chips that was at her disposal.
A minute later, Naruto's voice could be heard in the kitchen. "How can he breathe when his face is covered in water like that?"
"He can't," Kurenai replied. There was a slight cheer from the table that had nothing to do with her words and everything to do with Anko losing another hand.
"Shouldn't we do something?"
"He is a grown man," Tsume said without a care. "If he wants to kill himself, it is up to him."
There was a loud clatter, a splash and then the sound of Hiashi cursing as Naruto intervened to save the man's life. "Ha, now you don't just owe me two maidens!" Naruto said loudly. "You owe me your life as well!" A pause took place as Hiashi groaned, not liking his fate one bit. "What is a maiden anyway?"
Naruto was looking a little sleepy, Sarutobi noted, as he and Hiashi left the kitchen after getting an explanation on what a maiden was, and indeed, yawned loudly as he retook his seat on Anko's lap. The kunoichi looked nervous but it apparently didn't occur to the boy to see how well, or in this case, how poorly, Anko played on his behalf. It was a decent amount, but Naruto was still way up.
"Perhaps you should call it a night if you are tired, Naruto," Sarutobi suggested. "You've done very well after all."
"Aw, come on," Choza said casually, wanting one more chance at the veritable mountain of chips in front of Naruto. "Hiashi is just back in the game. You got to give him a chance to win everything he lost."
"What does he have left to bet?" Tsume snorted. "He bet everything on his last hand, remember?"
"Not quite everything," Hiashi said, scribbling a note and passing it to the Hokage. "Fair enough?"
Sarutobi carefully read the note and nodded, pulling out several stacks of chips and handing it over after placing the note into the strongbox. "Don't spend it all in one place," Hokage said, giving Hiashi a disapproving look, thinking of how unusually high the stakes have been getting this night. Usually it was only money that was bet, but after Anko bet herself and Kurenai, the bets kept getting bigger and other stuff was bet as well.
"I'll just play one more hand, Old Man," Naruto said with a nod. "I gotta give them a chance, but only one."
The Hokage shrugged and watched impassively as Choza dealt the cards out. To a trained observer it was clear that quite a few players saw promise in their hands. Fugaku was first to bet, pushing out a hefty number of chips with the trademark Uchiha smirk on his face. Evidently there was going to be a lot of action on this hand.
Round the table the betting went out, nobody folding and most players raising. Given the number of chips that most had left, the pile in the center soon had more chips than anyone except Naruto. Choza dealt out more cards to those who wanted them and several of the more sober players shivered as Naruto actually discarded a pair of nines. Discarded a pair!
Fugaku raised the stakes and was followed by the merchant to his left. Shikaku shook his head and dropped his hand. Hiashi put in even more of his chips and the game went around again. It was clear that there weren't enough chips for everyone to stay in the game, and the numbers weren't low enough to call a halt. Inoichi eyed his hand. "I'll throw in my Icha Icha collection," he offered, seeing that he didn't have enough chips to keep up. "All the special collectors editions in full color."
"You must have quite a hand," Kuroda muttered. "Okay then, that's good with me." He examined his own cards and then counted his chips. "I think I'll keep a few chips back for the next time around," he said. "I'll throw in a full field kit of my best kunai, shuriken and senbon though, is that good with you lot?" There were nods around the table and he pushed forwards as many chips as Inoichi had, along with a note confirming the promise of weapons.
Naruto was ginning broadly as he pushed forwards enough chips to stay in, although he didn't raise, which caught the attention of the other players. Naruto had been raising more often than not, so perhaps he wasn't feeling as confident now for some reason?
"Make sure that Naruto doesn't cut himself playing with kunai if he wins them," the Hokage said quietly to Kurenai.
"I'm more worried about Anko playing with them," Kurenai replied under her breath, feeling that she could keep Naruto from hurting himself, but not as sure about what Anko might do with a full field kit of excellent quality weapons.
As the betting continued Fugaku drained the cup of wine by him before he started the next round of betting. "Since we're all being so creative with our bets," he said thickly with a bit of a slur. "I'll wager my heir Sasuke and Itachi!"
"I thought that Itachi was the oldest one," a merchant said. "Isn't he the heir?"
"Maybe Itachi is actually a girl," Kuroda said. "I always thought he was a bit too much of a pretty boy."
"Wouldn't that make him, er, her a trap?" Anko said slyly with a smirk. "Maybe Naruto is going to win another maid."
"Naw, a trap is the other way," Tsume told the younger kunoichi with a giggle. "Like, if you were secretly a man. Itachi would be a reverse trap."
Fugaku pounded his fist on the table. "They're me boys," He said loudly. "Boys! Both of 'em, boys."
"In the-the cla-ssic-hal sensh," Hiashi declared, speaking a bit slower to get the words out with a slur, "Y-you can't bet your sons, cause they are not property like your wife n' daughters."
"Oh, that is so getting back to your wives," Tsume snorted as she watched the men at the table nod solemnly. Kurenai, Anko and the handful of other players who were of the fairer, and deadlier, sex, were also taking note.
Naruto snuggled back against Anko's chest. "Eh, Sissy? Why are girls property and boys aren't? I never heard anything about that."
"It's a bunch of chauvinistic rubbish," Kurenai said. "They figure that they're big macho men and that women can't get along without them, but it's them who can't cook or clean for themselves."
"Y-you all say that," Hiashi declared, "but how many Hokages were women, eh? Got you there, haven't I lil' lady."
"That's dumb," Naruto declared. "My new sisters are much better than this Chavinist guy. They can kick his butt."
"Aw!" Kurenai said, and knelt to hug him, pressing Naruto's head between Anko and hers chests. Sarutobi felt a sudden urge to sit down, and perhaps to take a cold shower. A freezing cold shower.
'Lucky little bastard,' More than one man thought as they saw Naruto be put into a joyous position.
"Fine," Fugaku declared, "If I can't bet my sons, I'll bet my wife. Is that okay with you Hiashi?"
"Oi, Fugaku, you really don't want to do that. She..." Tsume began to warn with a snort.
"I bloody well do," Fugaku said angrily, cutting off Tsume's warning. A pity that since the reminder that his wife, Mikoto, was one of the best sword masters in the village and would be able to easily castrate Fugaku with a single cut would have inspired some caution in him. He didn't bother to check his cards, certain Tsume was just taking the brat's side and shake his confidence. "In fact, I'll raise the stakes higher. I'll bet command and control of the military police."
Choza fell out of his chair in shock. "C-command? C-control? As in one of us would be able to do what we want with it?" He asked as he struggled back to his feet.
Fugaku simply nodded.
With shaking hands, Choza pushed the chips Fugaku had also wagered back. "Betting Mikoto and the Military police is enough. If you added chips, no one else could hope to match."
There were nods around the table from everyone with Naruto trying to hide his mischievous grin at what pranks he could pull with the entirety or the military police to help him.
The players around the table, with the exception of Naruto, began to count up their chips to see if they could stay in.
"Wow," Naruto softly exclaimed. "I've got to win that."
Anko smiled softly, hoping that Naruto got something good for the pair he tossed away. She was almost as excited by what could be done with the military police.
"I don't have soff, ensoff, uh, enough chips," Hiashi announced with a frown before looking around the table, "I'll bet something else... uh... Ah!" A smile formed on his lips when he saw Naruto. "Mr. Uzuzazumaki," He said with a smile, Naruto taking a moment to realize Hiashi meant him. "If you promise me you will bet the promise of two Hyuga maidens, a promise between men, I'll bet... The Hyuga Mansion."
Naruto nodded, "Ok. It's a promise."
"Fine, someone get me a piece of paper," Hiashi demanded. Tsume complied and watched as Hiashi wrestled with ink and brush before signing a document that bore little resemblance to the Hyuga's usual careful penmanship. He pushed the chips and the title to the Hyuga Mansion over into the middle of the table.
Two merchants dropped out, unable to think of anything else to wager. A third offered a package holiday to the beaches of southern Fire Country, travel, accommodation and food all included, to the winner and his family.
Inoichi eyed his cards carefully. He felt good that he could win, but he didn't have much to bet with. He could bet his daughter. His little Princess. No! He wasn't going to do that. She was too precious. There was no way he would anger her wife by even betting her. She'd do horrible things to him even if he won. Family jutsus were a no go as well. Sighing, Inoichi decided to bet the only thing left. "I'll bet the development and organization of a full mental landscape to the winner," Flinching slightly, knowing this would be painful, tedious, and make any who go through with it have increased memory, focus, chakra reserves and control, and make it harder for genjutsu and his family's techniques to be useful on the person. Knowing that was still not enough and that he'd have to add more, he added, "And four people of their choice." The bet would be worth it. Control of the military police would make his clan stronger. All the money in the middle would also easily make up for the Ino-Shika-Cho losses that night.
The players looked over to Kuroda. "Hmm," He muttered to himself. He would never bet his little Tenten. At least, he wouldn't bet her to be a servant. He hand in marriage was a different story, but he doubted anyone would be interested. Naruto was probably the only one that would accept it, not understanding what marriage was. "Three custom made weapons. Best quality I can produce, chakra channeling metal, specialized abilities, the full works," Kuroda said, with a nod. A low whistle came from a few of the players and Anko. Kuroda was one of the best weapons smiths there was. The highest end weapons he could make were almost a match for the Legendary Seven Swordsman's blades. Only reason they weren't as well known was that very few could even afford to buy one and those that did get bought and used were usually designed for stealth and assassination missions, some of the highest paying missions, not straight combat like the Seven Swordsman's blades, thus they were less scene and more unknown. And here he was offering three of them.
"How much have you two drunk?" Tsume asked, knowing the value of such bets nearly exceeded the value of the other bets.
"Lots and lots," the weapon smith declared proudly. "We can hold our liquor, can't we Inosshi? Inosshi?" Yamanaka Inoichi was face down on the table, ponytail bobbing as he snored.
"Are his cards face up or face down?" Choza asked carefully. Face up would mean that Inoichi had dropped out of the game... and after his last bet that would be inadvisable to say the least. He at least needed a chance to not help make that many mind scapes.
"Face down," Kuroda reported after examining the other man's cards for a moment.
"That's alright then," Chouza said. "We can wake him in a minute. Well, brat? It's your turn to bet."
Naruto nodded. "I'm betting the two maidens like I promised," he said.
Choza's face turned red as he realized that accepting the girls as bets meant Naruto didn't have to bet anymore chips. Especially since no one commented on their value when Hyuga brought it up. Choza simply sighed. "Fine then," He said solemnly, "I'll bet all this then." He pushed all his remaining chips forwards.
"I don't think that that's quite enough," Anko pointed out, looking at the number of chips. "Come on, with all the bets being made you don't really think that Inoichi making mental scapes for you and your family is only worth that pittance?"
"I'll throw in a feast, prepared by my entire clan, for the winner and his family," Chouza said without hesitation. "We'll make whatever they want. All you can eat."
"Deal!" Anko and Naruto said immediately and as one, thinking of different foods with a grin.
The last merchant pushed his chips forwards and a promise for a complete outfit for the entire household of the winner.
Fugaku nodded. "I don't think we'll be wanting any more betting after all that," He said with a smug expression on his face. "So, let's see who has the best cards, shall we?"
Hiashi had a superior look as he laid down his cards. All diamonds, the highest a nine. "A flush," He said confidently. "What are the odds, eh?"
"Pretty good," Choza said, laying down his own flush, this one of clubs and queen high. "Don't worry Hiashi, I'll let you buy back your mansion when you have the cash."
"Uh uh," Inoichi disagreed with a shake of his head.
"Uh, yeah," Choza said. "I have a house already."
"Nope," Inoichi said in a chipper manner as he laid out his cards one by one. "I got a flush as well. Queen high with my second being her son, a jack."
Choza groaned. After his queen, the best he has was a seven. "You already have a house as well. Why would you want Hiashi's?"
"Lil' Ino wants a doll house for her birthday," Inoichi said with a smile. "I'm going to give her the whole Hyuga mansion with two Hyuga maidens as dollies."
Hiashi left the conversation by beginning to bang his head on the table in frustration. "I'm a dead man," He muttered. "Dead, dead, dead. And when I'm dead, Hizashi is going to kill me all over again."
"Stop shaking the table," Skikaku said in a bored voice. "We'll talk with Inoichi once he sobers up."
"You won't need to," Fugaku said with a smirk. "You see, I got a queen and a jack as well."
"That isn't worth much on its own," Kuroda said, discarding his hand, unable to beat anything on the table and counting up his chips, sighing in relief that he could buy back his shop from the bank, and that in terms of money, he wasn't too horribly off.
"How about the queen's sister, flanked by the jack's twin brothers?" The Uchiha head asked, revealing his cards to show he did indeed have a full house, jacks over queens. "Sorry, Hiashi," he added in a very insincere voice. "I'd let you buy your mansion back, but we've been looking for some land to build a new prison complex on, and the Hyuuga Mansion should be just about large enough. Plus, with those two Hyuga Maidens I just won, we won't have to pay for the cleaners!"
There was snicker from Anko, followed by high pitch giggling as she looked Fugaku. "You sure about that?" She asked between giggles. "Really, really sure?"
"What do you have, Naruto?" Kurenai asked, trying to move around to see what her friend had seen in their owner's hand.
Naruto shrugged and put the his cards down. "I forget," He said. "Is this better?" They were a joker, ace of hearts, ace of clubs, ace of diamonds, and the ace of spades. A five of a kind. Specifically five aces, the best hand in the game, able to beat even the well known Royal Flush.
Hiashi started to cry as Fugaku's face went purple, a heavy presence forming as he unleashed his Killing Intent. "You little bastard!" He snapped, scaring Naruto as he rose from his seat. Naruto turned around and buried his head into Anko's comforting chest embrace. "You cheated! You must have..."
Sarutobi coughed meaningfully, from behind the Uchiha, where no one saw him before, cutting off Fugaku's rant. "Fugaku Uchiha," He said smoothly, evenly, a shiver ran down Fugaku's back. "I am sure that you are not suggesting that a six year old could cheat without being spotted by any of the accomplished ninja at this table. Besides," He added, putting a hand on the Uchiha's shoulder, the Killing Intent dropping quickly. "I believe you have more pressing concerns, considering the nature of your losses."
Fugaku's face lost all color as he fell back into his chair.
"Hey, kid, what are you going to do with Hiashi's mansion?" Tsume asked in an amused voice, having found all the suggestions entertaining.
The boy gave her a puzzled look. "I'm gonna live in it, of course," he told her, not sure why she'd think something else. "I don't have to stay in the orphanage now I've got a house of my own." He looked at the crying Hiashi and then hopped down from Anko's lap and trotted around the table to him. "Don't worry, Mister, I won't make you leave unless you're naughty."
Sarutobi left Choza, who was moving as if in deep shock, to start opening up the bank to cash the players out and walked over to the sleepy, yet victorious, Naruto. "You did very well, Naruto," he said, patting the boy on his head. "Why don't you go sit with your new sisters while we get packed up."
Naruto yawned and wandered back around the table. Before he was halfway around, Kurenai intercepted him and scooped him up in a hug. "Well done, Master Naruto." The boy received several jealous looks from the men at the table as he yawned again and rested his head sleepily against Kurenai's bosom.
Choza heaped the piles of deeds and ryo up on the table and then counted looked down at the bare table where his chips had been. With a sigh he pulled out half-a-dozen deeds out of the heap and set them aside. "Right, first things first. Who wants to buy back their deeds first? Hiashi, you put the Hot Springs up for half a million ryo... oh," he realised, looking at the paltry chips remaining in front of Hiashi.
Tears continued to run down Hiashi's face as he simply pushed over his remaining chips, accepting their value in cash. After counting it carefully he walked over to the bar. "I guess there's enough to get me drunk," he muttered. "With any luck, drunk enough to forget all about tonight."
Panic began to spread amongst the remaining players as they checked their chips against what it would cost to reclaim their property. Almost all of them were coming up short. Choza was in the worst position, as he tallied up the stacks of that were in the bank and tried to measure that against the small mountain of chips in front of Naruto. He was terribly tempted to just go over to the bar and join Hiashi... except that he probably couldn't afford to pay for a bender... hell, he didn't have enough cash left to pay for a small shandy!
"Hokage," he said unsteadily, waving for Sarutobi to come back. When the Hokage had arrived, Choza whispered, "Hokage, um, Naruto Uzumaki has broken the bank. There isn't enough money to redeem all of his chips."
"Well I suppose that he'll have to take some of the property then," the Hokage decided. "Would anyone who can afford to redeem their property come over first," he said out loud. "Those who can't will have to work something out with Naruto..." He looked at the stack of deeds and then at the chips in front of the yawning Naruto. "Tomorrow, perhaps. Choza, cash Naruto out a million ryo for now. He shouldn't need any of it by the time we have the meeting. Anko, give him the chips. Then you and Kurenai can take him home for some sleep. Kurenai, your apartment is near here, isn't it?" He got a nod and smiled softly. "I will start sorting this out. We can meet at the Hyuga Mansion tomorrow at, lets say, noon to sort things out. I'll also look after Naruto's remaining chips for you and personally count them up."
"Fine," Choza muttered. He watched sullenly as Anko tucked a sheaf of bank notes into Naruto's frog wallet and then added the various IOUs for all the 'assets' that had been lost to the blond brat. "This is gonna be a nightmare," he groaned, envisaging the likely reaction of his family at losing their control of the stall spaces and possibly half-a-dozen restaurants to boot, depending on how much cash he could scrape together to buy them out of the bank.
"You see, Kurenai?" Anko asked as the trio walked out of the restaurant, Naruto sleeping peacefully in Kurenai's arms as the sun rose ahead of them. "I told you that it would all work out in the end. And look! We're gonna be living in a mansion!"
Kurenai sighed, a small grin on her lips that she did her best to hide from Anko. "I suppose so, but you still sold us into slavery."
First chapter of the adopted fic. A few changes to work with the plot I am hoping to utilize. This should be a rich Naruto fic. He will be more powerful in certain ways than his canon counterpart, smarter, properly trained, but he will also have some issues due to him being so young when he suddenly became very wealthy from gambling and having people basically bow down to his will since money is power. I will be using the Biju's names as this goes on, and will refer to them by a gender, but in this story, Biju have no natural gender. Instead, they can switch their genders at a whim if they want. Some don't change their genders, preferring to be one constantly. Some will change often. The Kyubi will choose to be a genderless beast in general, but usually has male terms applied.