Sorry I took so long, I can never fully get what I think in my head on paper... or digital documents or however it's said nowadays!
So far... 34 reviews, 87 favorites, 122 followers, and four communities... methinks I need more reviews...
anyway, enjoy! (and REVIEW!)
Chapter 5: Demons of the Past! Catching up with Those in the Know!
Hogosha was walking the streets of Konoha, the sun setting in the distance. He was inwardly seething at the audacity Sarutobi said, thinking he was to abide by the "laws" the council set forth. Insubordination his ass! A freelance shinobi takes jobs he wants from anyone he chooses, and on his own terms. His mood changed little as he heard a voice in his head.
(You know he's kind of right, boy,) the voice said. (You are acting like the bastard child.)
'I do not want to hear it, Yataga-baka!' Hogosha seethed. 'I would think you'd be on my side, considering who the subject is.'
(Believe me, I want them dead as much as you do; even more so.) Yataga stated, (but even I will not brood over the past that cannot be changed.)
'…I know… goddamn it I know… but it just…'
(It hurts… the memory of their passing is not pleasant, nor is it one to recollect on in triviality, but you will have to tell the child everything soon.)
'Heh, tell me something I don't know, Yataga.' Hogosha chuckled.
(…You will be in an uncomfortable situation in the next fifteen minutes,) Yataga stated, (and your fan club has emerged.)
Hogosha stopped and blinked. And then he heard it.
"There he is!"
"Sign my books!"
"Make me a woman!"
"Write me into your next book!"
"GIMME YOUR BABIES!"
Yes, ladies and gents. As much as Hogosha would hate to admit, he was in a similar position to the Uchiha, but instead of being the last of a clan, the things a romance author puts in their stories fuel the passions and dreams of all females young and old… well, except for the old crones, but you get the idea. And such works have him as the most eligible bachelor of Konoha, if not the entire nations. And if his works were like that, the ladies' mindset went to how he was in bed.
Hogosha stared in shock and fear and he saw the second stampede of the day coming at him, filled with girls and women up to middle age.
(Actually, this is more of a mob than a stampede, boy.) Yataga corrected.
'Not HELPING, Yataga-teme!' Hogosha yelled in his mind as he started running the opposite direction of the stampe- er, mob. Said mob continued after him for a bit, persistently praising him and pledging their undying love and loyalty, even the ones he could swear were married.
Seriously, how shallow some women can be…
Anyway, Hogosha leapt to the rooftops, attempting to get away to higher ground, he nearly succeeded and was about to relax when he remembered something crucial.
Most of his readers were kunoichi.
He barely got away as three chunin girls almost had him before he used a shunshin to get away and leapt to the next roof.
Once again, he was being chased across the buildings, and the mob pursued indefinitely.
'Any ideas, Yataga?' Hogosha asked frantically as he dodged another jonin.
(…) Yataga was silent.
'Oh, come on! NOW!?' he thought.
(Say it right and I'll consider it.) Yataga said with pride in his voice.
'GRRAAAAH! You are impossible!' Hogosha screamed in his mind, but he relented. '"Oh Great Yataga-sama, Lord of the Winged Mountain, help this insignificant mortal in his time of need". There, I said it, ya walking ego. Now what do I do!?'
(Do what the child did when you first got here, boy.) Yataga stated plainly. (A few shadow clones might help throw this horde off as well.)
Hogosha resisted the urge to smack himself as he dodged four genin, a chunin, and two jonin in one go. 'Why in the easiest solution ALWAYS overlooked?!'
(Because your kind ALWAYS makes things more difficult for everyone,) Yataga grumbled.
Hogosha ignored his tenant and made twelve shadow clones and they all sped off in different directions, the mob separating going after each one of them. After the mob disappeared, a large vase on a rooftop terrace jostled and the tree placed inside it popped out, revealing Hogosha looking worse for the wear.
"Ughhhhh, I hate getting stuck in confined places," he said, slipping out as best he could from the vase. "Though I have to admit, they had the fastest time –oof!" he fell out from the vase, almost breaking it. "- getting to me after I revealed myself, I think."
(Hmm… five hours, 22 minutes and forty seconds.) Yataga read off. (That beats Ame's by twenty minutes and 36 seconds.)
'Huh, I thought Iwa had the best time before.' Hogosha thought.
(They were short by two minutes. And Getsu and Tsuki still have a tie.)
'That I know.' Hogosha chuckled.
It was a little known fact that Getsugakure and Tsukigakure were rivals, considering the right of the Village name. Although they were practically nations away from each other, they still came up with the same village symbol, a crescent moon. This caused a bit of confusion when teams for each village came around. Hogosha came across two and came up with a compromise. Getsu had the normal way it was, and Tsuki had the symbol reversed. They agreed reluctantly, but they also didn't want to start a war. Hogosha then went to both villages and trained a good handful of shinobi. They kept their rivalry, but agreed that it would do little good for outright hatred. And thus, the Two Moons set aside all things petty between them.
Hogosha chuckled at the memory, but then noticed he wasn't alone. He looked around and saw a large dark blue-furred wolf wearing an eye patch and missing his left ear. His one eye looking up at Hogosha, they both smiled.
"Hey there, Kuromaru. How've you been?" Hogosha said, sitting down and petting the large animal.
Kuromaru gave an average-sounding 'woof'.
"Really? That's good to hear. And the rest of the pack?"
A growling whine was the reply.
"Yeah, Kiba does seem like the type. I could see him being a good leader in the future, but for now, Akamaru's the smarter of the two. Just like his mother, ain't he?"
Kuromaru gave an exasperated whine, placing a paw over his right eye where the eye patch was.
"Yeah, I hope it doesn't take that for him to grow up. So how is Tsume?"
"Why don't you ask her yourself?"
Hogosha cringed at the voice, but then glared at the canine companion. "You freaking set me up!" Kuromaru gave was Hogosha considered a dog's version of a chuckle, a raspy wheezing with the dog's eye closed and a grin on its face. He was about to tell him off, but figured that Tsume took priority at the time. "Hello Tsume, i-" he was cut off by dodging a claw from the wild woman and leaping to a clear roof. "Nice to see you too…"
"Can it, Hogosha. I'm not in the mood." Tsume growled out as she landed on the opposite side of the roof.
Hogosha decided to play a little fun. "Oh no? That's not what you said back in K-"
"Don't EVER speak of Kusa!" Tsume lashed out, aiming to take his head off, either would do. "You ruined my life with that!"
Hogosha was confused. "How is it my fault with you getting drunk after the Chunin Exams for your daughter, me having to take you back to your hotel room, and you trying to have sex with me? Emphasis on try."
"Your little act had me in a premature heat for THREE MONTHS!" Tsume roared. She swiped at him again, with him dodging again. "Because of you, Dokuga left!"
Hogosha stopped, a bit of remorse in his eyes. "I heard about that, and I'd say I was sorry…" his eyes turned cold. "But you have no one to blame but yourself."
"SCREW YOU!" she screamed. "TSUUGA (Tunneling fang)!" she rushed at Hogosha again, spinning at an incredible speed.
'Heh, 121 rotations per second. Getting sloppy.' He smirked and dodged, sending her skyward. "I would, but I've said it before and I'll say it again." His smirk became a full-fledged grin as he took a similar stance to the one Tsume did. "You. Are. Not. My. Type. Tsuuga!" he went into the spiraling drill, only it was much faster than Tsume's as it was coming towards her. "Konoha no Nidai Hijutsu Ougi…" His attack hit home.
Right between Tsume's legs.
"Sennen Tanoshi (Konoha's Second Secret Finisher, One thousand years of Pleasure)!"
Tsume's face twisted into mixed emotions as he felt his fingers enter her, the maddening speeds from his Tsuuga only heightening the stimulation. She didn't even notice the chakra that was soon sending her across the village, which, thankfully, was where the hot springs were located at.
(Back with Hogosha)
"Aaaaaaand Sploosh," Hogosha stated as he saw the disappearing figure land into the line of buildings. He heard an indignant yelp, but brushed it off. "Well, now that all that's been taken care of, I might as well get home." He turned around but stopped. "Oh, Kuromaru?"
The dog perked his attention to Hogosha.
"If you come speak with me again and it has something to do with Tsume still being mad at me…" he brought his hand up with two fingers out and made a scissors motion.
The context was not lost on the canine as he sped away quickly.
Hogosha sighed as he jumped down to street level. '*Sigh* Well, that didn't go as expected. Why of all people would she be the one to…' he paused in thought. 'Yataga, between the start of the mob and Tsume, how many minutes passed?'
(Fifteen minutes, as I already told you.) Although he couldn't see it, he could feel his tenant's smirk. (Honestly, Boy. After all these years I would think that you would trust me on these things.)
Hogosha grumbled. 'Well Excuuuuuse me for being human!'
(I would, but that makes little difference, even for you, Blue Tengu.)
'Only you and those of Hoshi call me that.' He grumbled.
The rest of the way was in silence as Hogosha walked through the streets, taking a good look at the budding nightlife as the sun was setting. A small smile graced his features as he recalled some of the nights with his friends. Chouza's eating contests, Inoichi's attempts at stalling brain freezes after ice cream bouts, Shibi's delightful conversation on the ways of the universe, Shikaku hiding from Yoshino, the Hyuga twins in a drinking contest, a more pleasant Tsume with an uninjured Kuromaru, heck, even Hiruzen's eldest son Wukon in a wrestling match. But out of all those times, Minato and Kushina were there, laughing, smiling, having fun, like…like…
"…Like nothing could happen to them…" Hogosha mumbled morosely. He continued his trek down the street. At least until he heard the distinct sound of a kunai launched at him. He quickly grabbed it before it hit his face and, knowing the tactic, grabbed the second kunai from the assailant behind.
"If you wanted to talk, this old gag wasn't needed, Anko." Hogosha said; his eyes closed.
"Now where's the fun in that, sensei?" he heard from her. He glanced behind and downward to see the woman smirking up a storm at him.
"Sorry, Anko, I just got away from a mad dog and rabid fans." He smirked, mimicking her. "Not necessarily in that order."
Anko relinquished her position as she stood a few feet away. "I would think so, sensei. So, how about some dango for old time's sake?"
Hogosha thought for a second. "Well, I wouldn't want to impose if it's girl's night, Anko."
Anko smiled. "Always considerate, sensei. But you owe me dango!"
"Now Anko, I -"
"Okay, okay, yeesh." Hogosha held up his hands in defeat as she pushed him to the dango shop. Once there, they were greeted by Kurenai and a woman with long violet-colored hair in ANBU gear.
"Hi, girls! Look who I grabbed!" Anko said cheerily.
Kurenai sighed, but had a small smirk on her face. "At least you weren't in a stampede again."
"A mob, actually." Hogosha corrected.
"I heard about that." The ANBU stated, "You just can't keep out of trouble, can you, Hogosha-san?"
"Not if I can help it… er…" he struggled to find a name.
"Come on." she teased. "You saw my mom earlier."
"I did…?" he looked at her closely, and when she smiled, it dawned on him. "Yugao?"
"Got it in one, Hogosha-san."
Hogosha was surprised for a moment, but then smiled fondly. "I never considered you for ANBU; I always thought you'd be a medic Nin."
"Really?" Kurenai asked, both her face and Anko's in curiosity, well, Anko had three dango in her mouth.
"Of course!" Hogosha smiled, a mischievous glint in his eye. "Back as a little girl, when Hayate first got that cough of his in the academy, whenever he was at The Spiral Shoppe, you always insisted on playing 'Doctor' with him."
This had different effects on the women. Kurenai stifled a giggle, Anko was laughing, and Yugao was blushing up a storm.
Hogosha had a full grin going. "Oh, your parents thought it was so cute. You grabbed all the bandages you could and wrapped his arms and legs, took his temperature, the whole deal. And when you finished up, you always gave him kiss. And then you would -" he stopped as he felt a blade to his throat, Yugao's to be precise.
"Not. Another. Word." She said, the tone of an ANBU making the threat all the more cold. This did not have the desired effect she wanted as Hogosha grabbed the blade edge and pulled it away with ease.
"I don't take kindly to weapons at my throat, Yugao." His own tone matching hers, only reaching subzero levels no one outside of ROOT could even hope to match, and even for them it was hard. "You're lucky you're on my good side."
Yugao looked into his eyes – they were colder than the harshest genjutsu – and backed off.
Hogosha closed his eyes and took a long deep sigh. When he opened them again, they were the calm green eyes from before. "Sorry about that. Now where were we?"
For a good while, Hogosha and the ladies talked about the social niceties of the civilian and Shinobi areas. Hogosha learned a while ago that some spy networks are best in the village. He let Jiraiya have his extended network over the nations, but Hogosha got more refined info instead of 'I think he/she came through a while ago looking for *insert subject here*' simply from talking with a few kunoichi. Gossip was big, one of the reasons he drafted Ino for collecting info. And he could get a few plot ideas as bonuses. So during the conversations he learned a bit more about Naruto, considering his excessive neglect, his prank history (which gave his old team a run for its money), the village's "Ritual" on his birthday, he even learned that the kid had a small gardening hobby. That got him curious as neither Minato nor Kushina had very green thumbs. He was about to ask more when he heard something outside.
"HOGOSHA! WHERE ARE YOU!?"
"Aw, hell." Hogosha groaned. "Damn her!"
"Tsume again?" Yugao asked.
"That obvious?" he grumbled as he got up and stepped outside to see his pursuer.
Tsume, for all visual and nasal purposes, was a wet dog. Soaked to the bone and pants shredded. Her hair sopping wet and covering her face, which only intensified the glare sent his way.
"I'm gonna kill you for that stunt, Hogosha!" Tsume growled.
Hogosha sighed as he looked at her, bored. "Do we really have to do this now, Tsume? I have a student to teach in the morning."
"Like I give a damn!"
Hogosha shrugged his shoulders. "Don't saw I didn't warn you." He said as he took a different stance, his hands out in front. "Konoha no Sandai Hijutsu Ougi (Konoha's Third Secret Finisher)…"
Tsume tensed as he lifted his arms above his head.
"NIGERU (Run Away)!" he yelled as ran off in the opposite direction. The people around were shocked at the legendary ninja running away.
Tsume shook off the shock and barked, "Quit running away, Coward!"
Tsume heard the voice from behind her, but before she could see him, Hogosha chopped the base of her neck and she collapsed into a boneless heap. Hogosha only sighed in disappointment.
"A petty grudge like that can hurt you, Tsume." He said plainly. "Just let it go."
(You could take that advice as well, Boy.) Yataga said. (Practice what you're preaching.)
'I would if I could, but you know damn well I can't. It's hardly a petty situation with me,' Hogosha thought… shuddering at the reminder of that night. He turned to a corner and called. "Hey Kuro, get over here and take your partner back home."
The large canine stepped out in the open, looking at Tsume in vexation before picking her up and slinging her across his back. He stared at the True Alpha and nodded his head.
Hogosha nodded back and added, "Make sure she STAYS there." To which Kuromaru gave a reassuring bark as he went on his way. Hogosha sighed when they were out of sight and he turned to the ladies. "My apologies, but I really need to get home. Like I said, I have a student to teach in the morning." He quickly used a shunshin to get away.
(Later on, at a medium-sized estate)
Hogosha walked in silence to the gate of his abode, he was glad that he came back a few days ago because almost the entire estate was in disrepair. He silently thanked shadow clones for clean-up and damned the civilians for trying to get inside, as evident by the multiple scorch and burn marks on the surrounding wall.
Hogosha never liked civilians, especially the council-type. Those arrogant moneygrubbing fools thought they were in control. Well, they would soon be in unmarked shallow graves if he got his way.
He soon came to the gate and chuckled as he saw a black painted fire decorating the gate. No doubt Naruto's handiwork. Looking around, he decided to add a bit more. Making shadow clones, he soon had a red spiral in a black four-point array and a yellow crescent moon with blue waves encompassing it on either side of the painted flames. He grinned at the nostalgia, as it was not only his home, but Kushina's and even Minato's for a time. As he admired the masterpiece in front of him, sensed a presence behind him. He soon grew irritated and spun around.
"Tsume, for the last time, I -" that was a far as he got as he looked at the silhouette in the fading twilight, the pineapple-shaped hair disclaiming his assumptions. "…Anko?"
Unlike earlier, this was not the Anko that was outgoing, brash, and headstrong. Her body language was actually similar to Hinata's earlier, but it was less shy. And he realized something as she quickly embraced him in a hug, her head in his chest.
This was the little girl he was forced to leave behind.
"I'm glad you're back, sensei." Anko said in a tearful whisper. Twelve years of pent-up misery was threatening to break out from the overwhelming happiness she was feeling.
Getting out of the partial shock, Hogosha slowly wrapped his arms around her. "I told you I would be, kiddo," he whispered, "and I'm proud that you became so strong."
Anko looked up at her second teacher, her eyes wet and red, but her face held a small smile. "I tried to help Naruto, like you asked me to, but…" she stopped herself.
"Those peons of the honorable council and the elders denied you the ability to do anything, right?" Hogosha finished, a malignant hatred in his tone. Anko just nodded and let go from the hug. Hogosha just grinned like a feral beast and he patted her head. "Don't worry, kiddo. I have a plan that will have them begging for forgiveness. And if they don't? Well, they will… after some… 'coercing'."
Anko's small smile was now a full grin. Coercing usually meant interrogation, and interrogation involved her favorite pastime.
"Can I help, sensei? Please, please, pleeeeeease?" she asked like the small child Hogosha remembered. It was enough for Hogosha to laugh outright.
"Okay, okay, you can help. Remember, though: this is strictly off the books until I saw otherwise, got it?"
Anko nodded and gave a mock salute. "You got it, Sensei! I'll make Aunt Kushina and Uncle Minato proud." It took all Hogosha's self-control to not give her another hug, this one much more emotional. Instead, he looked at her with a small happy smile.
"That's my girl…" he whispered, not loud enough for her to hear as she ran off into the night. He turned and opened the decorated gate and stepped inside.
As the gate closed behind him, he took a look at his home. Down the path and across the yard was an older style home, raised on a stone brick hill to overlook the yard and the cherry blossom trees. Hogosha walked down the path, taking in the blossoming nightly beauty of the lightning bugs blinking in and out and the faint sounds of cicadas in the trees… he'd have to ask Shibi for some help with them later. Before, it was similar to a haunted manor than a home, thank Kami for deep pockets and good old D-rank missions of home repair he did way back when.
As he entered the home, his immediate task was finding Naruto and having a word with his tenant. He meandered through the halls, thinking on where Naruto could be… then it hit him. He was soon at a sliding door, and as he opened it, a small smile graced his features again.
Naruto was sleeping awkwardly on a large bed, in a room that could have easily held his old apartment. Hogosha smiled at the fact that the very room belonged to the boy's own mother.
'He takes after her a lot more than I thought, but for now… I have an appointment to keep.' He walked up to the bed and performed the necessary hand seals. 'Ninpou: Shintenshin no Jutsu.'
His sight was soon engulfed by darkness.
The sound of water was what Hogosha heard as he came to. He stepped forward and felt water moving around.
'I see… these are his unshed tears of pain.' He looked at the dimly-lit high walls. 'and these walls… his indomitable will.' He kept walking down the hallway set out for him. 'He uses this as a mask to hide his fear and sorrow, but also reinforcing his strength… how very Uzumaki.'
Hogosha soon heard heavy breathing coming from around the next corner. Turning there, he saw a large red and gold gate with a paper slip with the kanji for 'seal' on it. He stepped into the middle of the room, settling a hard glare at the prisoner behind the gate.
"It's been a long time… Kurama."
A red eye appeared from inside the cage and the slit pupil thinned at the sight of the man. The eye rose up and became two, glaring down in apparent superiority. Hogosha then heard a chuckling snarl.
"So… the Prodigal Son has finally returned…"