Iruka had had a hellish day. Starting with the spooked ANBU, continuing through the discovery that he had more than one S-level secret in his classroom, and culminating in Naruto's third failure of the Genin test. Well, that should have been the culmination of his shitty day. He should have been able to track Naruto down, comfort him with ramen and get him to swear he'd be the first Hokage to fail the Genin exams 4 times.
Instead, his day had tipped from Shitty to Hellish to Hellishly Shitty in a matter of hours. After school let out he had lost track of Naruto. He had been searching for him in all his favored hidey holes hoping to coax him out with the promise of ramen and one on one practice on his clones.
Searching for Naruto was tipping his Shitty day towards Very Shitty when the village silent alarms went off. Very Shitty was completely bypassed and Hellish his day became. Naruto had stolen sensitive documents from the Tower.
Then he had managed to find Naruto and Mizuki had managed to up the ante to Hellishly Bad by being an ass, breaking several laws, verbally abusing a 12 year old orphan, and attempting to kill that orphan. Getting pinned with a giant shurikan firmly cemented this day as Hellishly Shitty.
Iruka then talked about his feelings, something he was better at than most ninja, but that still made him uncomfortable. He was OK with the results though. The results being the jerk who skewered him being beat to a freaking pulp.
Then he had given Naruto his own hitai-ate given him a battlefield promotion to Genin. That was when several ANBU had materialized out of the woods. When Iruka had shot to his feet to stand in front of Naruto to explain what had happened to Shinobi who were well know to kill first and question bodies his Hellishly Shitty day became a Weird Hellishly Shitty day.
The ANBU simply stepped forward thanked Iruka and Naruto for their service and cleaned up the mess. Iruka was being treated by a medic before he realized that he didn't recognize a single person near him. All three and the nin dog with them seemed familiar but he couldn't place a single one. Anko had been wrong when she had said he had a freakish ability to tell who everyone was in mask, but he could usually make a good guess.
That wasn't the only weird thing. They all had similar masks, all similarly themed, something that hadn't been common practice since the war over a decade ago. Then the fact that these were fox themed masks. Foxes where not popular animals in Konaha. The absolute most creepy thing though? An Hyuga thanked him. Sincerely. Then an Aburame thanked him with actual words and not body language. At least the Inuzuka was normal and thanked him loudly . Except ANBU saying thank you at all was hugely weird.
"Why on earth are you thanking me?!" Iruka demanded, seriously freaked out by now. "Don't you usually just poof up, grab people, and poof away?"
The Hyuga kunoichi, still treating Irukas wound giggled. At this point Iruka seriously considered the possibility that he had simply been hit in the head hard enough to hallucinate. Hyuga did not giggle. ANBU did not giggle. Then she hugged him and he began to consider drugs in addition to concussion. Hugging was another thing that neither Hyuga or ANBU did.
"Umunio Iruka, I am thanking you because you just saved a very precious person from a traitor to Konaha."
"Precious person?" Naruto said in a halting voice. "Iruka-sensei saved me. Mikzuki-teme said I'm a monster." Naruto looked down at his new hitai-ate and said quietly, "I'm not your precious person. You don't know me." At Naruto's response the kunoichi stilled. But the Inuzuka moved over to Naruto and knelt in front of him.
"Little brother, if I had never seen you before this second you would still be one of my precious people. I know about the seal you carry and you are not a monster. You shield my pack from the monster. You protect my home and my family. You are precious to me little brother." The Inuzuka was pushed out of the way by the massive nin dog who agreed with his partner by licking Naruto's face from chin to forehead.
The Aburame moved forward as the Inuzuka rose and he took the Inuzuka's place. "Indeed. You are not what you contain." At this the Aburame lifted his arm and rolled his sleeve up and showed a very impressed Naruto where kikaicu moved in and out of his body. "I am not my kikaicu and they are not me. The magnitude of the creature you contain simply means you are far stronger than I. I protect my village from bugs, little brother. You protect my village from a demon. You are most assuredly my precious person."
The Hyuga moved from Iruka and instead of merely kneeling near him she embraced him. "Naruto-kun, I do know you, very very well. I have a...younger cousin in your class, Hinata? She's told me quite a bit about you. She is very precious to me and you make her brave. She will become stronger, because of you. She will grow to be strong enough to protect her home, her family because she looks to you. You are one of my precious people Naru-kun."
Naruto listened to all of this in silence with wide eyes, but when the female ANBU hugged him tighter after she finished speaking, Naruto breathed out harshly with the beginnings of a sob and collapsed against the Hyuga holding him and passed out."
"Hime! Is Naruto okay?" The Inuzuka asked as he jumped forward. Iruka thought he sounded more panicked than an ANBU was generally allowed to be in uniform.
The Hyuga nodded as she stood. "Chakra exhaustion Fang, his body is just insisting he sleep. He'll wake up just fine tomorrow."
The Aburame snickered. At this point Iruka calmly accepted the fact that he was in a drug and concussion induced hallucination because that was the ONLY situation in which a snickering ANBU Aburame made any kind of sense. "Chakra exhaustion?" said the ANBU who should would have been silent and stoic if Iruka wasn't losing his mind, "A forest clearing full of clones and a chunin being enough to take out Naruto. This place is weird." Iruka agreed wholeheartedly before passing out himself.
The container of the nine tail demon laid in his bed and considered what he had learned from his traitor of a teacher the night before. He now had a reason that he was despised and avoided. He carried a demon in his gut. As distressing and frightening as that revelation had been Naruto was able to set the revelations of Iruka against the revelation of Mizuki.
Iruka saw him as a person not a demon. Iruka, who had lost his parents to the demon in his gut saw him as a good person, a precious student. Naruto smiled as he ran his fingers over the forehead protector. Iruka saw him as a fellow shinobi of Konaha. On top of that, there was what the three very bad ass ninja who had helped Iruka sensei and himself had told him. Maybe there were more people in Konaha who didn't think he was a monster.
Uzumaki Naruto at 12 years old was unaware of several very important things. He did not know his father was the Yondaime. He did not know that he was the godson of one of the sannin. He did not know that there was a secret mercenary operation that had an eye on him for future retrieval and eventual murder. He did not know that a future version of himself had traveled to the past and directed even more attention toward himself.
What Naruto didn't know would (and has) filled several books. Uzumaki Naruto blithely ignored the fact that he had a crippling lack of knowledge. Orange was the best color. He was a shinobi, not a demon. Ramen was the food of the gods. Iruka-sensei trusted him. Pranks were training. And he, Uzumaki Naruto, was going to be the Hokage of Konaha. This was all he needed to know at this particular moment in time.
As the 12 year old get out of bed and began to get ready for his first full day as a genin, not an academy student he was unaware of the watchers he had obtained in addition to the ANBU that regularly kept a eye on him. One of the watchers smiled behind her scared fox mask as Naruto left his apartment and walked down the street with his hands behind his head.
"He is adorable. How did me and Forehead miss him when we were Fangirls?" The scared female fox asked her companion, also wearing the mask of a fox, though this one had red tattoo's on the cheeks and was riding an enormous nin dog. The other nin snorted. "You were Fangirls. You missed everything that didn't concern the bastard. Stupidest phase you ever went through, including the one where you both pretended you hated each other."
The kunoichi waved this off unconcerned as she followed her future Hokages progress down the street. "That was a part of the Fangirl phase, it doesn't count as its own. "
Both nin dropped the conversation as Naruto walked a little too close to one of the more rabid "demon haters" stalls and had a few choice words thrown as well as an old apple. Naruto had begun to apologize as he moved away quickly. He reached up to bat the apple away with his hand when it was caught. And crushed. Two ANBU had appeared out of no where and stood on either side of him.
The taller nin, who had caught the apple tossed the remaining pulp back into the owners stall. The stall keeper, surprised but not apologetic began to dig himself into a very deep hole. "ANBU-san! Thank goodness you're here! This delinquent was eying my goods! I've had trouble with him before. "
Naruto, while trying to be sympathetic to the fear and loss the villagers had gone through, was not going to stand for that. "Oi! I've never done a thing to your goods! You wont even let me shop here! The future Hokage doesn't steal!"
The kunoichi snorted. "Yes, captain. It seems we have arrived in time to avert a crime."She patted Naruto's shoulder gently as the taller nin stepped forward again and shook the pulp off his hands. Onto the stall keeper.
"Indeed. And what is the punishment for the unprovoked attack on a Konaha nin within the walls, Pig?"
It was at this point that the stall keeper began to realize that this would not go the way that his harassment of the demon usually went. "ANBU-san! I attacked no Nin!" When the tall nin cocked his head to the side as if listening the stall owner took heart and turned his hole into a grave. "The de...menace was the only one who would have been hit with that apple. I would never dream of attacking Konaha nin!"
"Really?" At that the taller nin drew back enough to show the shop keeper Naruto and tapped the leaf hitai-ate on his forehead. "Uzumaki Naruto, Genin of the Leaf. I bear witness to the unprovoked attack against you from this citizen. As this is your home and you face danger outside the walls of this village to protect her civilians any attack committed against you by a civilian within the walls means the forfeit of Konaha citizenship of the attacker. They will be treated as a an enemy nin, all their assets will be seized and their entire family will be removed from Konaha by tomorrow morning."
"Second witness," said the kunoichi holding Naruto.
By this time the stall owner had paled and was leaning against the wall to remain standing. The crowd that had been forming throughout the entire debacle was stone silent as they listened to the ANBU list the consequences of intentionally harming a nin with in the walls of the village.
A witness who was an ANBU captain and a second. There really was nothing else needed to condemn the man to several hours of torture followed by an ugly death at the hands of the T&I department. His family, would receive little, if any, of the of the money from the goods seized and sold and would most likely be forcedto move out of Fire Country entirely.
Danzo Shima had known as soon as he had walked into the meeting last night that he had been in the presence of time travelers. He had attempted to recreate the Hirashin himself and had considered it theoretically possible to travel through time but had given it up as impossible due to the chakra that would be needed. He had recognized Sasuke Uchiha as soon as he had seen him.
While he had very briefly considered trying to manipulate the situation and attempt to collect some of the power he recognized as being present in that room he was dissuaded very quickly due to the sheer power represented by the group.
As he had for years, he attempted to destroy power that threatened his. When Sarutobi refused to take care of the problem he acted on his own. He had sent a squad to destroy the newcomers last night before they could settle in and start undoing all his work. The fact that his life had been threatened numerous times after he had given the order simply convinced the old war hawk he had made the correct decision.
As he waited for the report that would tell him the current situation had been taken care of he considered the fortuitous nature of the groups arrival. They claimed that in their future Danzo had been not only removed from power but killed. As much as he was discomfited by rather harsh (and accurate) hints made by the company that Danzo was a traitor to Sarutobi he considered the forewarning an adequate exchange.
Also while he had made the decision to simply kill the party without attempting to take their power, he was struck by the thought that he had been basically given a roster of the most powerful shinobi of the next generation. While he knew he couldn't take them all, there were certainly some that could find their way into Root.
It was Danzo's duty to put Konaha back in its rightful place as the strongest Hidden Village. Any lies told, lives lost , or treachery needed to make that happened was not only justified, but required.
As Danzo was to considering which of the Konaha 12 he would have killed and which would be suborned into Root he pulled out a scroll that contained the code names of the Root Agents he had sent after the Rokudaime and his men. Each name had a seal beside it that would disappear when the agent was killed.
Danzo frowned as he looked at the scroll. He had sent 14 men. There were 9 seals gone, indicating that the agents attached to them where killed. Three of the seals were normal. Two seemed to be faded but present. Danzo considered the scroll with concern. Not for the 9 dead but the two with the faded seals. It was almost dawn, and he was expecting a report soon. The time limit he had set was approaching quickly.
As he considered the scroll he heard a knock on his door. When he called "Enter" his door guard escorted in one of his masked nin's. The door guard signed the all clear on the arrival of the nin, indicating that all pass codes and signals were given correctly. The Nin stepped forward and stood at attention in spite of his rather bloody and torn appearance.
"Report." Danzo commanded quietly.
"Sir." Replied the blank masked shinobi. "Root Agent 23 reporting the successful removal of the targets assigned. Nine members of the strike force were killed during the mission. Three fell behind after completion due to injury. Agent 38 remained with them to insure that if they failed to reach Root HQ they would not be compromised."
Danzo nodded, pleased with the report. "23, can you tell me why your and 38's seal has weakened?"
The agent nodded. "Yes sir. Myself and 38 were captured by a seal trap. The purpose of the seal seemed to be to drain chakra. It seemed to concentrate on the seals. We were only caught for a matter of minutes. When the seals creator was killed the seal array failed."
Danzo hummed, considering the explanation. "I'll need to examine the seal of course and reapply it as necessary. Go directly to the seal room. I'll be there shortly."
The agent nodded and quickly left.
Danzo calmly went through the remainder of his paperwork from the day before standing and walking toward the door planning to go directly to the seal room to insure that his tool remained unable to tell his secrets. Unfortunately for him he had to step over a small pool of blood left by the wounded root agent.
The blood needed to be cleaned up. He decided to take care of that before he went to the seal room. As he exited the room intending to retrieve cleaning supplies he was not bothered by the fact that his door guard was missing and had been replaced by the agent he had sent to the seal room.
"Agent 23, we need to pick up the blood you left on my floor." Danzo insisted.
"Of course sir." Replied the agent. "If you'll follow me we can get that taken care of."
Danzo followed the agent. Instead of paying attention to the fact that root agents did not disobey or leave their post he concentrated on the blood that had to be picked up. He continued to focus on the blood. The very small amount of blood in his memory grew larger and more important.
He failed to notice that the checkpoints they passed were empty. He failed to notice the small dark shapes that appeared out of the shadows and scurried toward his agent. He paid no attention as the small shapes began to climb his agent. Normally he would have been fascinated by the way the chakra powered constructs climbed their creators and smoothed back into the tattoos that were their template.
He failed to notice that his now tattoo covered guide was leading him out of Root HQ. He followed what he mistakenly thought was his agent out into the sunlight. The shinobi was met by another nin at the hidden entrance of Root. Without a word the two shinobi lead Danzo toward the Namikaze estate. Danzo followed with no thought on his mind but the enormous pool of blood that had been left on his office floor.
A/N- So sorry for the ridiculously long time in between updates. My life was more than usually chaotic the past few months and sadly fanfiction had to be very low on my list on priorities. Even now this is only half of what I wanted to get into this chapter, but hopefully the second half will get out much quicker than the first. Like within a week or two quickly.