Pulling Your Own Strings
Chapter 4: The Snake And The Bird
|Nine Years Old|
Naruto glumly allowed himself to be checked over by the doctor as he sat on the bed with his legs crossed. The woman would insistently pull on his skin all over his body and seemed to take a perverse pleasure in poking sharp objects into his sides. It all seemed like a big conspiracy to annoy him as far as Naruto was concerned. Regardless, he put up with it silently. It would only be a few more minutes before he'd be allowed to leave this - this - this! - prison. They called it a place for healing but the blonde knew what they were really up to - causing suffering through sheer boredom.
Finally, after what must have been an eternity, the woman hummed lightly to herself and stood away from him. Naruto watched as she marked something down on her clipboard before looking at him with a neutral glance and nodding half-heartedly. She then quickly strode out of the room. While she did give him the cold shoulder Naruto couldn't find it in himself to care like he used to. In fact, if he were honest he didn't want to interact with anyone at all at this time and so found a small amount of relief in her attitude.
Naruto flipped his legs over the edge of the bed and stood gingerly, stretching as he did so. It had been almost a week since he had been forced into the hospital - since he had learnt about that - and he still hadn't quite processed everything yet. As per his usual custom, Naruto shoved it aside with a cheery exuberance, elated for the moment that he was allowed to leave the hellhole they claimed was a hospital.
So, with a soft grin on his face, the nine-year-old boy strode out of his room and out of the building entirely. He ignored the thinly veiled looks of disgust that followed him as he did so, instead focusing his thoughts on what he should do with his free time. It was Sunday and so he had the rest of the day off to use as he saw fit but tomorrow he had the academy - a shiver went down his spine as he thought of school - the first day back since the incident.
Unfortunately, as the boy walked through the streets his cheery disposition soon evaporated in the face of overwhelming hate. The looks on the villagers faces soon dispelled any happiness the boy had previously attained and instead returned his thoughts to the revelations of the last week. He could no longer ignore their treatment of him with a veil of confusion; being aware of why they hated him removed that ability - that defense mechanism.
Instead, Naruto's own anger festered and, as a particularly courageous villager walking near him openly sneered in his face, he forced a look of absolute loathing onto his face. He directed it straight at the individual, an aged woman, and she visibly shrank in shock. They had never received a negative reaction from the boy and so such a thing was very disconcerting to the woman.
Naruto had no sympathy for the woman as she stumbled however and instead walked off with a sneer on his face. As he did so an abject silence fell over the civilians in the immediate area. The woman in particular couldn't find her voice as she stared at the boy's retreating form. Eventually activity in the street resumed and people went on their way. A seed of doubt had been planted in their mind though; the Uzumaki brat was getting out of control.
Naruto meanwhile quickly found himself in front of his run-down apartment. He walked through the doors quickly and climbed the stairs. As he strode through his level he ignored the countless doors coated with dust from disuse. When he had moved in the floor he was on had been deserted quickly. At the time he had foolishly thought that such actions from the people who used to live there was merely a result of whatever evil he had done to cause their ire. Now though, he wasn't so sure... it seemed like another one of the Hokage's - and he called him Hokage because the fond 'old man' no longer felt right on his tongue - many machinations to protect him. With the recent knowledge he had attained Naruto wouldn't be surprised if there were ANBU members in the rooms watching him. It would go hand in hand with the week he had had.
The old Naruto would have shrugged off such observation with blinding optimism. This was a new Naruto though... and as he stood in front of his grimy door he, for once in his life, couldn't find the spark inside of him that he always relied on to cheer himself up.
Iruka was very confused; upon walking into the chilly classroom in the early hours of Monday morning and seeing Sasuke and Naruto present he had prepared himself for another difficult day of teaching and, as the teaching staff called it, 'Kyuubi Watching'. The term had little to do with the demon himself and more to do with Naruto's position as chief troublemaker in the school. From first glance however it seemed the boy wasn't entirely himself. He was wearing a dark look on his face and occasionally looked as if he were struggling with himself.
Sasuke had even noticed it; the Uchiha had sent confused glances at the blonde boy several times as they waited for the rest of the class to filter in. At least, Iruka assumed they were confused looks - one could never tell with the gloomy child. Regardless, Naruto seemed locked in his own world, oblivious to the stares he was receiving. When everyone had finally arrived Iruka had started the lesson hesitantly with a small amount of worry worming into his brain; what if Naruto was distracted because of a prank he had planned. Iruka was a patient man but even he couldn't handle stupidity from the brat on a Monday morning.
As the hours passed however Iruka was forced to concede that something was truly bothering the boy. He internally shrugged, it really wasn't his problem and the boy wouldn't talk to him even if he asked. It was time for some taijutsu practice anyway. He looked up at the class - they were reading a chapter of their course text - and cleared his throat to gain their attention.
"Class, today we'll be having some taijutsu practice." A short series of happy murmurs erupted in the class, "Head outside and I'll join you in a moment." The class needed no further instruction as their all scampered quickly to get out of the stuffy room. Sasuke trailed behind the group of happy nine-year-olds calmly while even further behind him Naruto followed slowly.
Iruka and the children soon found themselves in the Academy clearing. Usually Iruka would have an assistant to help with the matches but today he was alone - Mizuki had called in sick. He moved to the front of the group quickly.
Iruka smiled softly, "We'll be doing some one on one work today. The rules are as always; nothing too harsh, victory through forfeit or my signal." He looked around at the attentive class and grinned, "If there aren't any questions we'll get started right away. Chouji and Shino you'll be first." he two students moved to the centre of the sparring area quickly. Chouji had a nervous look on his face while Shino, with his high collar and sunglasses was impossible to read. As soon as the children were in the middle Iruka moved to the centre and announced lightly, "Begin!"
It was a quick affair; Chouji seemed unwilling to use his full strength on the boy and instead opted to lightly touch the Aburame as a signal of his strikes. This eventually resulted in a victory for the bug user and Shino deliberately took one of the strikes to sweep the large boy's legs from under him and then hold him in submission. As the two struggled Iruka quickly moved to intervene.
"That's enough boys. Good work both of you." He looked at Shino, "I wouldn't recommend you do that in a real battle though." Chouji meanwhile was told, "And you really should start using your full strength." The two had the decency to look slightly embarrassed although with Shino you never truly knew. The chunin teacher looked at the rest of the class and hummed to himself before announcing, "Kiba, Naruto, it's been a few months since you last faced off. How about you go in the middle?"
Kiba grinned viciously at this and boisterously exclaimed, "Hah! I won't even need to break a sweat to win this!" Iruka sighed in exasperation at the boy's arrogance before looking to Naruto and waiting for the traditional retort involving the boy and dog breath. Instead, he was subject to a glowering Naruto who's already irritated expression darkened into a scowl as he heard the Inuzuka speak. Iruka hesitated for a moment - it wasn't like the blond to be so sullen - and remembered hearing about some sort of incident to explain Naruto's recent absence from class. Regardless, the Hokage had firmly told him not to intrude and so he moved in between the boys quickly.
Nothing occurred for a short moment; Kiba seemed content to size up the smaller boy in front of him while Naruto didn't even seem to be paying attention to the dog-user. An angry look broke across Kiba's face at this - he didn't like being ignored.
"Oi loser!" He shouted smugly, "You ready to get your ass kicked?" There was no response from the blonde, "What's wrong? Cat got your tongue?" Iruka paid attention to the trash-talking with a small amount of caution - they let such a thing occur primarily because it would happen on the battlefield and so the children needed to learn how to keep their emotions in check but he wasn't sure if, from the look on Naruto's face, it was the best thing to do to the boy at the time.
"Heh! Go figure." Kiba smirked evilly, "Of course you'd turn into a mute after getting beat up. I heard some villager finally taught you a lesson." Naruto tensed at this, "Probably realised what a freak you were and decided to fix ya!" There was a sharp increase in tension around the blonde boy but only Iruka seemed to notice it. Before he could move to interrupt the fight Kiba continued his tirade, "Did he take your tongue from ya? Thank god, I was sick of hearing your ug-!"
Kiba was cut off from his rant when Naruto suddenly moved. Iruka found himself shell-shocked by the speed the boy displayed - he didn't have that level of skill a week ago - and so didn't react when Naruto quickly closed the space between him and Kiba. As the boy talked Naruto raised his leg and, in a display of barely contained fury, brought it down on the side of Kiba's leg. There was a loud crack before the boy collapsed to the floor, unable to continue his speech.
For a moment nothing happened before suddenly Kiba screamed. It was an agonizing one and it seemed clear to the group that the boy's leg had been broken. As he rolled around moaning in pain Iruka darted forward and looked at the boy's leg. It was jutting out at an awkward angle and any doubt the man had previously had about the scream was now gone. Without a moment's hesitation he summoned a water clone from the nearby pond and instructed it to take the boy to the hospital. That was a serious break and he knew the child needed medical attention.
As he moved the rest of the children looked over at Naruto who was still standing silently at the spot he had kicked Kiba from. A few had a look of fear on their face - they had bullied the blonde mercilessly and seeing their victim ruthlessly injure one of them was a terrifying thing - a few more had looks of interest on their face. Sasuke was staring intently at the boy; no one aside from him had ever injured someone like that before and so the willingness to do so immediately caught the Uchiha's attention. Shikamaru meanwhile had sat up at the scream and was also looking at Naruto with a peculiar look on his face. For him, the mystery revolved around Naruto's sudden tranformation of character - the Uzumaki he knew would have just screamed back at Kiba rather than physically punishing him. He didn't even know the blonde was capable of such damage.
Iruka turned angrily to Naruto, "What the hell do you think you're doing? This is a friendly spar!" He looked at the blonde intensely, "That was vicious and unneeded." Naruto didn't immediately respond to his dressing down and so Iruka added, "Well, what do you have to say for yourself?"
Naruto tilted his head slightly before a look of sullenness crossed his face, "I don't care."
Iruka almost threw a fit at that before he contained himself, "Well then, you'll learn to care when you stay behind after class and clean up the academy halls." Before Iruka could even finish his sentence another voice interrupted him.
"That's not right." It was odd enough that another student was supporting Naruto but what made it even weirder was the individual in question, "Kiba taunted him and was punished for doing so. Aren't these spars meant to be simulations of real conflict? Besides, I've done similar and not been punished." Sasuke spoke demurely, as if he had little actual interest in what he was saying, but the look he was giving Naruto as he spoke betrayed how curious he truly was.
Iruka hesitated for a moment; the raven-haired child was right, he had been left off for worse. He nodded slowly, "You're right." He turned to Naruto, "I'll let you off but do it again and there will be consequences!"
Naruto didn't visibly react - to him the chunin's subservience to Sasuke was just another example of the bullshit he had to deal with.
Naruto shuffled on his feet impatiently as he waited outside the hospital. It wasn't that he was unable to wait - he just haited being around the particular building for any longer than he had to. Regardless, he'd swallow the uncomfortable feeling down as he waited for Hisoka. If the elderly lady was nice enough to help him out then she was worth it. After all, she had offered to help in his puppeteer-ing when the Sandaime had refused.
Naruto hesitated; that logic was kind of right. The Sandaime did refuse to help with his chakra control and Hisoka did offer to teach chakra strings but neither really knew that the boy desired their help mainly for his pursuit of puppeteer-ing. And if Naruto could help it they would stay ignorant - everyone would. It wouldn't do to trust anyone anymore, seeing as how many lies he had been fed throughout his life. Plus it was also way more badass to be a secret puppeteer.
As Naruto moved around nervously he heard the distinct sound of someone walking toward him and so turned quickly in the hopes that it was Hisoka. His wish was granted as he bore witness to the elderly lady hobbling toward him slowly.
"Hisoka-obaachan!" Naruto grinned and ran up to her.
"Naruto, it's good to see you." She smiled softly, "It's also good to see you've remembered to show up at the hospital... For once." Naruto had the decency to look embarrassed at this; he had several times previously conveniently forgotten to come for one of his many check ups. But hey, this time he did show - although it was primarily for his own gain. But still!
"Yeah about that..." Naruto stammered.
Hisoka giggled lightly, "I'm only joking Naruto-chan. Come, I believe we have some training to do?"
Naruto nodded emphatically, "Yep. Chakra control! Remember?"
"Of course. Follow me." At this Hisoka began to walk in a direction away from the hospital. Naruto scrambled to catch up as the lady moved, momentarily surprised at how agile the aged woman was. They darted through the streets of Konoha quickly and it was obvious the woman had a specific location in mind as she twisted and turned through the crowds of people and streets alike. Before too long they were standing in front of what appeared to be a small forested park. Naruto knew better however; it was clear that the place was a training ground. Hisoka walked over to a tree and beckoned Naruto over.
"As I'm sure you know, chakra control is a vital part of being a shinobi; without sufficient control over ones own abilities it can become impossible to manage even the simplest of tasks. Likewise, without sufficient power even the greatest chakra control cannot conjure more than a wisp of energy." The woman hummed lightly as she spoke, her eyes closing in reminiscence of her own lessons decades ago, "The key is to maintain a balance. Most people begin with a small chakra reserve and thus better control and work to even the two out. Sometimes however, individuals are born with a great, incredible imbalance on the side of the chakra itself. Jiraiya of the Sannin and our beloved Hokage Sarutobi Hiruzen are examples of just such men. In their youth they could bring forth three or even four times as much as their comrades. Fortunately for them, they were able to, through the use of sheer determination and hard work, force the balance." She paused at this point to see if Naruto was still following.
"So they had to work more on control right?" Naruto asked curiously.
"Precisely; they performed control dependent exercises constantly until they were finally content with their progress. From what I have heard on the grapevine you are one of these individuals to be born with the scales tipped in favor of power. It is incredibly rare for someone your age to have such an imbalance and I can't even guess what caused i-"
"The fox obviously." Naruto deadpanned.
The woman was blindsided, "You know?"
Naruto glowered slightly at this, "Only recently..." Hisoka could practically feel the tension radiating off of the child and so decided to change the subject.
"Yes, well, because of your burden you are in a particularly difficult position. Your chakra is naturally more dense. This means it packs more power but is also harder to control. And the size of your reserves? To put it lightly, when you are older it will be immeasurable." Naruto almost grinned at this - about damn time something worked out for him! "This also means you'll have to work doubly hard to ensure you have decent chakra control."
At this Naruto growled internally; decent wasn't good enough. He had to have perfect chakra control if he wanted to be a puppeteer.
"So I thought we'd start off with something genin level in control. It is classified at that level only because of the chakra reserves required to maintain the technique. Fortunately for you, that shouldn't be a problem." At this Hisoka walked towards a tree at a sedated pace. "Now, how would you like to learn how to do this?" As she spoke the elderly woman continued walking straight onto the tree until she was literally standing on the tree branch itself, her feet sticking to the bark.
Naruto's jaw dropped, "Yes, please!"
There was a skip in Naruto's step that wasn't often seen nowadays as the boy raced back to his apartment. His ANBU watcher observed the happiness the boy was projecting in curiosity. When the day had started the boy didn't seem nearly as exuberant as he was now. In fact, the man, Bird, found himself entirely confused by the situation; he knew it had occurred after the boy's visit to the library - having henged into an entirely different looking child to avoid the common dislike he was faced with by the staff. Regardless, the man felt little desire to actually pursue the matter, instead choosing to find a comfortable roof to watch the apartment from.
Naruto himself knew exactly why he was in such a fantastic mood; he'd read further into some of the texts Konoha had on puppetry and nothing cheered him up like learning about the art. He was beginning to realise that what had previously been his own childish curiosity was now becoming an obsession. He no longer wanted to learn simply because Sasori had seemed so damn cool - which he definitely still was - but because the idea of puppetry itself fascinated him.
He wanted to know how it worked, the way the chakra pulled the limbs of the puppet, the way the limbs of the puppet reacted to commands, the way the limbs were made, where he could find the materials required to make the limbs, the planning behind creating a puppet... The list was endless! And today, while researching, he had realised that in order to successfully build puppets for himself in the future he'd need money. Unfortunately for him, he was in short supply of it; the orphan stipend provided by Konoha did little other than support the very necessities. Sure, he could save up a little every month but the end result would be meagre and nowhere near the amount required to purchase the materials he'd need.
Of course, Naruto didn't know that he himself owned the entire Uzumaki fortune due to his mother's position as sole recognised member of the clan at the time of her death. And considering the clan had achieved fame through their prowess in the sealing arts - something very rare and incredibly expensive - it was no small amount. Combined with his father's very respectable savings as a result of his life as a shinobi, this left Naruto with a rather hefty sum. This wasn't even including his godfather's finances which itself promised access to all the man's fortune to Minato Namikaze and, in the event of the man's death, his immediate family. Indeed, with his parents fortune and Jiraiya's incredible riches as a result of his writing, Naruto was heir to incalculable riches. It was just a shame the boy knew nothing of it.
As a result of this ignorance and his subsequent sticky financial situation as an orphan, Naruto realised he really needed to get a job. Being only nine somewhat restricted this -no civilian would hire such a young child - and very few would hire Naruto himself. The boy wasn't dissuaded however, he had heard through the academy that the ninja hospital hired any and all academy students interested in helping out. The hospital's exorbitant fees for civilians ensure the place had a hefty pool from which they could provide salaries to their workers. Unfortunately, very few pursued a medical career as a ninja, it was both difficult and niche. This left the hospital shorthanded with money to spare.
This is where the academy came in; due to the children not going on missions they found themselves with much free time and their position as ninja children meant that exposure to the horrors of the hospital was actually seen as a good thing by their parents. Better they see death in a safe environment than be shell-shocked by it out in the field. Thus the Nidaime, in one of his many acts of social reform, instituted the now well-used policy of academy students being paid as helpers at the hospital. It wasn't a very larger salary and their inexperience and lack of knowledge restricted how they could help but it was still incredibly helpful for the public service as it reduced the strain on the professionals working. The children were often told to find particular herbs or plants in the forest or simply perform menial jobs in the building as the medic-nin instead focused on helping those in need.
Naruto himself was perfectly happy to help out in the building - he had a great understanding of the place from his many times spent there - and found little issue with the jobs he would undertake. In fact, he knew with his clones he would be able to get most of what they required done very easily. So the boy had decided that the very next day he would sign up - another great part was that anyone could be hired, no questions asked - and he'd be another step closer to independence. Another step closer to puppetry.
Bird watched the boy fidget nervously in front of an intimidating look man wearing the white clothing of a Konoha surgeon. Naruto had just asked to be involved in the Academy-Hospital Workplace Connections Initiative which in and of itself was curious. After all, from what he had heard from other ANBU members Bird thought that the blonde brat epitomized laziness. It wasn't so much a lack of drive or initiative as it was a clear desire to do what he wanted and no other way; he seemed incapable of doing anything outside of his own world.
Yet here Naruto was, signing up to 'help the people' as the Nidaime once put it. It was very out of character and very odd. Bird couldn't however, find it in him to be suspicious of the motive behind it. He assumed the child was like any boy of that age and simply desired some extra money for candy and, as all ninja children wanted, pointy weapons. He knew he was the same at that age - although when he was young the war had being going on and he had little time for sweets.
Regardless, as he saw the boy bowing in thanks when the surgeon coldly accepted his request - a clear distaste for doing so in his body language - Bird decided it would only be prudent to inform the Hokage of the boy's actions today. It wasn't really his place to decide what was relevant or not. He followed the boy as Naruto turned to leave toward the training ground; the academy day had finished and he wouldn't start working at the hospital until tomorrow.
As he watched the boy train seconds turned into minutes and minutes into hours until he found himself following the young child back to his apartment. Only when the boy looked to be preparing for bed did the ANBU member turn to leave, quickly shunshining toward the Hokage Tower. It wasn't too late and the man would still be in the building so Bird thought he should report sooner rather than later.
He passed the secretary quickly, nodding in her direction as she permissed him to pass; ANBU always had free reign to visit the Hokage. A light knock on the door followed before he heard the grizzled voice of his leader.
"Enter." The old shinobi spoke softly and Bird quickly obeyed. As he entered the room he was greeted by the sight of the venerable leader looking over a scroll in interest. The man, after a short moment, looked up and smiled softly at the ANBU, "Ah, Bird. How has your day been? Not too bad I hope." It was an innocent enough question but Bird knew the underlying demand behind it.
After Naruto's experience with the demon in his gut there had been a sharp increase in hostility toward the boy. In the last week Bird had found himself often throwing a civilian into the Konoha dungeons as punishment for acting against the boy. Of course, the child was never aware but the Sandaime was still very, very angry with the proceedings. The elderly man was clearly hoping Bird would present him with some positive news for once in the week rather than a report of another incident.
"No problems today sir." Bird intoned neutrally.
The Hokage's face warmed at this slightly, "Good. Yet, you are still in front of me." A dangerous glint entered the man's eyes, "I would request you speak your mind."
"I followed flight-risk Uzumaki Naruto as per mission parametres. Little out of the ordinary occurred throughout the day - his schedule seems to have evened out somewhat in the last few days."
Sarutobi hummed lightly, "Good. I'll inform the ANBU patrols that they can resume previous patterns." Another of the man's countless protection protocols for the Jinchuriki was the ANBU's patrol routine of the village. One ANBU partnership was always within range of the boy and his watcher in the event of a particularly serious incident. It had only ever been employed once, when a particularly rowdy group of shinobi had lost their heads on Naruto's third birthday. Naruto's handler at the time, the Hatake boy, had been forced to kill the men when he found himself unable to subdue them all at once. The ANBU member had reportedly handed in a transfer request at that point and the rumour was that he only did so when the Sandaime refused his request that he be allowed to interact with the boy personally in order to better protect him. Instead, the Sandaime ensured ANBU were always available as back-up. Regardless, Hatake quickly left his position to pursue more dangerous fields in ANBU.
"There was a discrepancy however sir," Bird hesitated as he thought on how to describe it, "The subject has requested employment at the ninja hospital and his reasons for doing so aren't clear to me." There was a short period of silence as the Sandaime leaned backwards to digest what the ANBU member had said.
"Naruto's financial situation has always been an issue..." The man muttered carefully, "He neither knows of nor is able to access his inheritance due to extenuating circumstances." Bird wasn't sure what inheritance the boy had but from the tone of the man's voice it was a good size.
The Sandaime himself only prevented the boy's access due to his knowledge that countless shady individuals - both inside and outside the village - followed those particular bank accounts with great attention. It was logical, he knew, to get wind of a possible successor to the greatest shinobi Konoha had ever seen by watching the man's fortunes. After all, if it was tampered with then one could assume it was someone related or trusted.
"I assume he is doing this for some money..." Sandaime didn't even bother to think of what the money was being spent on - probably pranking equipment - "So I see no issue with this occurring. Leave him be."
Bird bowed his head lowly in acquiescence.
The atmosphere was oppressive and grim; the tunnel walls leaving little to the imagination. It was a wonder to the man standing in the centre of one such tunnel that the dank exits weren't constantly explored and operated. More forgotten relics of the Second Shinobi War. He had arrived within in minutes. As prompt as a man in his position could be expected to be. And so he stood silently as he waited his leader to show himself.
A minute turned into ten, then into thirty, and just as he was about to leave for fear of being found he heard it. It was a simultaneously soothing and terrifying voice - one he himself had been forced to get used to - and it froze him on the spot immediately.
"Ah, my dear subordinate. On time as always." Orochimaru practically grinned as he spoke, sliding across the dark recesses of the tunnel toward the silver-haired genin.
Kabuto nodded carefully, "Of course. How could I ever miss one of our encounters?" He replied neutrally.
"Oh I'm sure they just light up your day." At this Orochimaru laughed darkly before he finally directed his piercing gaze into Kabuto's glasses, "Now, tell me; what has happened in my beloved village recently."
Kabuto held out a mysterious package, "The updates to the hospital defences and new chunin patrols of the border. As requested." For a moment Kabuto allowed a small amount of satisfaction to seep into him; getting those had been difficult. Orochimaru slowly retrieved them before hiding them away on his person without so much as a thanks. Kabuto didn't comment on the lack of response - he didn't want to be killed for insolence.
"Anything curious I should know about?" Orochimaru asked lightly.
Kabuto went to shake his head in denial before hesitating, "There is one thing..."
"Oh?" The Sannin tilted his head curiously.
"The Kyuubi Jinchuriki is now aware of his burden," Kabuto pushed the frame of his glasses up as he spoke, "It's rumored he didn't take it too well."
"Really?" Orochimaru prodded slowly. His polite tone disguised the demanding stare he was giving his spy.
A grim smile filtered onto the fake Konoha-nin's face, "Let's just say the Hokage isn't exactly dear old grandfather any longer."
Orochimaru's eyes suddenly gleamed, something dark formulating in his mind. "How very interesting." If the large smirk on the missing-nin's face was anything to go by, Kabuto was sure that Uzumaki Naruto's position had changed in Orochimaru's plans. Changed completely.
A/N: No excuses, I'm just shit.
There's something about writing Orochimaru that is utterly fascinating. He just has the sort of feel to him - as if he always has an ulterior motive for everything. It makes it especially fun when you're the omniscient author writing out precisely what it is he has planned.