"Come in," Sarutobi called out when he heard the soft knock on his door. He regretted his decision a moment later when he saw who it was. Summoning one of his well-practiced fake smiles, he stood up and gestured to the chairs in front of his desk. One could not be the Hokage as long as he had been without well-practiced fake courtesies.
"Welcome, Hiashi. Please have a seat," he said, gesturing towards the solitary chairs that rested in front of his desk.
There was a slight pause and a glace to the side before Hyuuga Hiashi took up the preferred seat. The two elders accompanying him took up position by his shoulders.
"What can I do for you today?"
One of the elders leaned forward slightly and began speaking.
"Hokage-sama, Kumo has crossed us yet again and we demand that you take action this time. This is the third time they have made an attempt on our heir, Hinata-sama. We also demand that you summon her back to the village, instantly. We must provide for her security."
Sarutobi dropped the pretense.
"And pray tell me, what kind of action do you suggest?"
"Konoha is the greatest of all the villages. We must put Kumo back in their place."
"So are you suggesting war?"
"What? You can't-"
"I can and I will," interrupted Sarutobi. "This is the end of this conversation. Please leave. I am not starting the next shinobi world war just to keep the heads of one my clans happy!"
"This is an outrage. We will take this up with the council."
"Do whatever you want. As long as there is still life within me, I will not be the aggressor unless there is absolutely no other choice left. I agree that some action must be taken. But not this. Not as long as I am the Hokage of Konoha."
The elders got up and walked out with Hiashi following them.
The clan head paused and looked around.
"Is this truly what you desire or was this decision thrust upon you?"
Hiashi looked at Sarutobi for a couple of seconds and then left without saying a word. However the look on his face had answered Sarutobi's question.
With a sigh, he got up and walked to his window. As he fumbled in his pocket for some tobacco, he sighed.
"I'm too old for this shit. Got to find someone else to do this before I go senile."
Three Weeks Later
Kiba growled in annoyance as the first drop of rain hit his head. His nostrils flared as he sniffed the air.
"Fuck! We trail this guy for more than three weeks and just as we are about to catch upto him, it starts raining. We better get to him soon or the rain is going to wash away his scent. Why does life hate me?"
"Shut it, Kiba! Stop whining and focus," snapped Kurenai. "We can't lose him after all this. Hinata!"
Hinata raised her hands and made a hand-sign. The veins on her face bulged and her Byakugan activated. With practiced ease, she began scouring the land for any sign of their target.
"I see him. 1 o'clock. 10 km from here but...," Her voice faded away. This is the first time that they were actually close enough for her to see him.
"But what?" asked Ox, as he dropped down from the trees and joined them. The two ANBU squads were spread out and hidden in the foliage, forming a large protective circle around the jounin squad they were assigned to protect.
"It's the same as last time. I see no chakra. When I met him the last time, I thought that he was a civilian. I couldn't feel any chakra emanating from him. When I woke up later, I decided that I had made a mistake because I was wounded and exhausted. But now I know that I was right."
"What do you mean?"
"I can't see any chakra flowing through his body. Just like a civilian. Actually, even civilians have tiny amounts of innate chakra circulating constantly through their body. This one, however, does not have a single iota of chakra in him. If not for my eyes, not any sensor would be able to detect him."
"You sure it's the same guy?"
"This is not good. He must be using some sort of technique to suppress and cloak his chakra. I have seen similar forms of this technique used be assassins before. Not good at all. A forest like this is the worst place to make contact with a guy like this."
"We don't have a choice. This rain is going to wash away his scent and this distance is the limit of my vision. If he speeds up, then I might lose him."
"Well then, everyone! Battle stations. Time to make contact. Don't attack unless he does," Ox called out. He jumped into the foliage and joined his two alert ANBU squads.
"Be careful," he called.
"We're not kids. We can take care of ourselves," growled Kiba.
"I didn't say you were. Hokage-sama, however, considers this guy to be his equal. If you still want to fight, then be my guest."
Naruto paused and looked up as the first drop of rain landed on his head. The water was cold. Very cold. As always, it reminded him of that day. Shaking his head, he continued walking.
"I haven't said anything about it but here goes nothing. Why are you letting those guys follow you? You're not even erasing your scent."
"Tch. Can't be bothered with it. The old man must have sent them. They're not enemies. I'll think about doing something, if they get too close."
"Well, they have picked up their speed now. They clearly want to make contact. I can count up to thirteen chakra sources and one is not human. What are you going do? What if they plan to capture you?"
"Nah. The old man would never do that. Let's see what they have to say."
"It's that girl, isn't it? She intrigues you."
"Shut it, Kurama-san."
"You evaded them the last time the old man sent out someone to find you. What's different this time?"
"Alright, alright! I did do something about it. I left a marker behind and they're just about passed it. I'm going to go give them a surprise. No harm in talking with them but it's better to keep them scared, while I'm at it. They might not try any funny business they might be thinking of doing."
"Changing the subject, are we?"
With a growl, Naruto disappeared.
Hinata gasped and stopped abruptly.
"What's wrong?" shouted Kurenai as the team stopped around her.
"He...he just disappeared," she whispered slowly.
"How is tha-"
Before Kiba could complete his question Hinata whirled about, threw a kunai at a tree behind them and took up a defensive stance.
They all turned around and saw that there was a blond man sitting casually on the tree behind them. He was leaning causally against the tree trunk not even bothering to look at them. He was whirling about Hinata's kunai in his hand.
"It's not possible. It can't be," she whispered, as she stared blankly at the man in front of them.
"I'm counting to 5. If you ANBU goons aren't out of those trees by then, then I'm assuming that you want to fight," the man called out. "1, 2, 3-"
Before he could complete his count, the two ANBU squads appeared in front of them and took up battle positions without a sound.
"No. We do not wish for a fight. We just have a message from the Hokage-sama to deliver. Nothing else," Ox replied.
"I guessed as much. Tell the old man, that I don't want it. Tell him to stop trying. I'm not coming back to Konoha. Ask him to give up. I'll just avoid the next group he sends out."
The man made to get up.
"Who are you?" Kurenai shouted out.
"Shut the fuck up, Kurenai!" Ox hissed. "Let me handle this."
"Oh shut it, will you? I'm just asking what's in all of our heads," she growled back.
"You should ask the old man that. Let's see if he tells you the truth. See ya around," replied the blond.
Before he could leave, Hinata called out, "Thank you. Thank you for saving my life."
He looked at her for a few seconds. "You're welcome. Try not to die next time."
With that he turned around and disappeared into thin air.
"Try not to die next time? Seriously? That is the stupidest pick-up line of all time."
"What the fuck has gotten into you? That was not a goddamn pick-up line. That wasn't anything."
"You stupidity has surpassed anything Jiraiya could ever have done. Atleast he compliments them. You on the other hand..."
"Don't compare me to that pervert. I'm nothing like him."
"Maybe you should take some tips from him. You really need some help at this."
Naruto covered his face. "Aargh! Please fuck me now," he groaned.
"That's what she said."
The next chapter will be much longer.