Disclaimer - I do not own Naruto.

Chapter 12 - Duty of the Sennin


Last Time

"P-please! S-sav-ve my d-daughter. . . she's. . . she's on-only-y s-s-s-ix ye-ears old! P-please! I don't-t w-wa-ant her to su-suffer t-the fa-fate I kn-know th-they are g-g-going t-to give h-her. . ."

Naruto took hold of the woman's hands and nodded, "Don't worry. We'll save her."

"Th-th-thank y-y-yo. . . u . . ." the woman smiled before she passed out alarming the seven shinobi present.

"Ah! Mito!" Naruto exclaimed. In an instant, Mito was trying to revive her. After a couple seconds, Mito looked back at Naruto, "I've stabalized her, but we need to get her to a hospital and fast."

Naruto nodded, "Okay go. Okaa-san, can you follow her? Not that I don't trust you Mito, but should anything get in your way you can't afford to waste any time."

"No problem," Kushina smirked and nodded. And with that, Mito and Kushina vanished with the woman. Naruto turned to the rest of them, "Alright, now, let's go hunting."

The male Paths all nodded and immediately vanished in unison.


He slowly walked over to her and she recoiled out of fear. Naruto paused for a moment and then, even more slowly, approached her and held out his hand, "Shh, it's okay. My name is Naruto."

The small girl slowly looked up at him, "A-A-Aiko. . ."

Naruto smiled as she stood up to look at him, "Wh-wh-where's kaa-san and otou-san?"

Naruto's smile faded slightly, "I'm sorry. We made it in time to save you mother. . . but your father and uncle. . ."

The girl's, now named Aiko, face dropped as she began to cry. Naruto held onto her in a comforting hug, "Do you want me to take you to your mother?"

Aiko looked at Naruto and nodded. Naruto picked her up and put her on his shoulders, "Hold on tight, okay?"

Aiko nodded and the five shinobi took off.


"Could you both do me one last favor?" Both women blinked at each other and then looked back at the bed-ridden mother. "Could you find Aiko-chan a good home for me?"

Both Uzumaki women were instantly alarmed and they could tell the men were as well as they saw their pace instantly quicken. Kushina frantically got to the woman's bedside, "Don't talk like that. You're going to make it! You will see your little daughter again!"

Tears began to form in the woman's eyes even as they began to grow ever more distant, "Please. . . p-promise. . . me. . ."

Mito instantly left to get the doctors and Kushina still tried to get the woman to fight back before finally Kushina's hair lowered blocking her eyes, "I-I promise."

The woman smiled and managed to utter out, "T-thank y-y-you. . ."

With that, the woman closed her eyes. . . and breathed her last. . .

BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE-

Kushina gasped and instantly the doctors were by her side attempting to revive her. Kushina and Mito hung back desperate praying that she would recover. However, what they heard next made them go pale.

"KAA-SAN!"

Little Aiko ran into the room with Naruto and the men trying to stop her. When she saw her motionless mother, the doctors around her, and heard the loud beep on the heart monitor tears began to form in her eyes. After a slight pause she managed to utter out, "Kaa-san?"


"K-kaa-san?" Aiko called out again, tears beginning to form in her eyes. Naruto's eyes darkened, 'No. I can't be too late. I won't allow it. I swore she would see her mother again and I will not allow it to be her dead mother. She will survive. That is my nindo!"

"Aiko-chan," Naruto spoke gaining the little girl's attention. "I will bring your mother back. With the Rinnegan, I can do so."

"R-really?" Aiko asked. This information surprised the doctors as well. What couldn't the Rinnegan do?

"Hai," Naruto confirmed. "First, we need to get her to an open ar-"

"What is going on?" a voice spoke up surprising the others in the room as they turned to see the Kazekage standing in the doorway.

"Gaara?" Naruto blinked. "What are you doing here?"

"I heard you brought someone in and I came to see what was going on."

"We found this woman bleeding heavily and her husband and brother-in-law dead. We saved her daughter from the same bandits and brought her to see her mother but. . ." Naruto turned back to look at the pale, motionless woman on the bed. The doctors had begun to disperse to go to their other patients. "We arrived too late. I intend to revive her using Gedō: Rinne Tensei."

"Revive her?"

"Yeah, using a large amount of chakra I can resurrect her after summoning the King of Hell."

"Are you sure that's wise, Naruto?"

Naruto and the Six Paths blinked in surprise and Aiko looked on in disbelief, "What? What the hell do you mean by that?! Aiko here just lost her entire family and now we have a chance to resurrect her mother and you say 'it's not wise'?!"

"Have you thought about the consequences, Naruto? I would've thought the Harbinger of Yami would have taught you how to think everything through and I surely would've expected four past hokages and two Uzumaki heiresses to do that same."

"What the hell are you talking about, Gaara?" Naruto asked angrily.

"Say you do resurrect her, Naruto, what then?" Gaara asked setting up the scenario. "She'll be all alone with no supplies, no means of paying for a home, and stuck trying to provide for a little girl while trying to provide enough for herself and with no means to do so with. Aiko is it? Did your mother work?"

Aiko shook her head no, "No, kaa-san took care of me. Tou-san was working a lot."

"Any other relations? Family?"

Again, she shook her head no. Gaara looked at Naruto again, "Have you even considered what the woman would have to do to take care of her child. . . or herself? I can't take care of her as I have an entire village to look after. People have to work to make a living but to take care of yourself and a child with no previous working experience? Naruto, you'd be condemning this girl and her mother to a horrible life."

There was a long silence. No one knew what to say. On one hand Gaara made a valid point of what the mother and daughter could go through. On the other, however, the girl had a chance to get her mother back and live with her last family. Even Aiko seemed conflicted. Would her life really be that bad if she had her mother back? Would her mother be able to provide for her and herself? Finally, Minato sighed, "You know. . . this reminds me of what Kaosu once said back during training."

"Huh?" Naruto blinked.

"Remember? A few months ago? During that bonfire in front of the Uzukage Tower?"


Flashback

Naruto, Kaosu, and the Six Paths were all circled around a decently sized bonfire before the Uzukage Tower. They had just finished another hard day of training and were enjoying relaxing. Kaosu was relatively silent through the majority of it before he decided to speak, "Naruto, I must ask you something."

Naruto blinked, "Huh? What is it?"

"Do you think good can come from something that seems dark and, dare I say it, evil?"

"Wait? Where did that come from?"

"Answer the question, Naruto."

"I don't get what you're trying to ask."

Kaosu sighed, "Here's the dark truth of it all. Sometimes even the darkest of occurrences are meant to occur because it can lead to the brightest of outcomes. For example, your birth. As tragic as the occurrences that happened on the day of your birth including the death of your parents you must admit that in the end the results were certainly worth while, do you not agree? Everything you've done be it alone or with the help of those few willing to has made you much stronger and far more determined than any child I've seen."

Naruto nodded though he only barely understood what he was talking about, "Why are you telling me this Kaosu-sensei?"

"Simple, Naruto. Because as the Rikudo Sennin you will have to make many very tough choices very much like any other kage except with you it may be a decision that affects things on a world-wide scale. Sometimes, you may have to pick the lesser of two evils."

Naruto looked to his father and mother as well as the other three kages for confirmation; and all of them nodded sadly proving the truth of the matter. Slowly, Naruto lowered his eyes to the bonfire as he thought about this revelation.

"No one said the duty of the Rikudo Sennin Tensei would be easy, Naruto," Kaosu spoke again knocking Naruto out of his train of thought. "Just remember, sometimes even the darkest of actions can lead to the brightest of futures. Sometimes it takes something dark and cruel to bring forth the light and just."


Naruto looked down, unsure of what to do. The lesser of two evils; this was definitely what Kaosu was talking about. No doubt about it. What should he do? Should he give the girl back the only family she has left but give the chance that her family will find it incredibly hard to live? Or should he leave the girl with no living family but give her the chance to live a decent life with a family that could love her like their own? Naruto was unable to decide what to do. Could he make decisions like this? For the first time since he received his eyes. . . Naruto felt powerless.

It was then that he felt a tug on his haori. Looking down he saw that it was Aiko, her tears now having dried though she still wore a sad expression, "N-Naruto-san. . ."

"Wha-what is it Aiko-chan?" Naruto asked kneeling down to her level so her could speak with the little girl more easily.

"I-I don't want t-to make kaa-san's life hard," Aiko said teary eyed. "I-I want her b-back, b-b-but not if it m-makes our lives w-worse. . ."

The current occupiers of the room blinked in surprise at the little girl's words. They expected her to say she wanted her mom back, but it was clear that Gaara's words proved a point. Aiko looked up as tears began to drip from her eyes, "I. . . I don't want to hurt kaa-san. . ."

With that she broke down crying and Naruto held onto her tight as he comforted the now-orphaned girl. Kushina, Mito, and Hiruzen moved to help him.


The Following Day. . .

It was approaching mid-day when Naruto and the Six Paths entered the Kazekage office to discuss things with Gaara. Little Aiko had stayed with them for a night with her cuddling next to Naruto and the following day she was taken to an orphanage. She was scared and it took Naruto promising to visit her to finally make her go into the building. The matron swore to take good care of her.

Now, however, was the time to steel all emotions. It was time to get down to business.

"So I know you seek peace, Uzumaki," Gaara began. "How do you plan on doing that?"

"What we decided," Naruto answered. "Was that we all keep in touch and during a time that is good for all five kage we schedule a summit in Tetsu no Kuni with their permission. There we will discuss ways to get the Five Great Villages closer."

"So, you are not going to just say that we're to get along?" Gaara smiled a bit.

"Did you just tell a joke?" Naruto blinked.

"Perhaps. . ."

"Anyway," Naruto said after a brief pause. "Just be prepared. It'll likely take place in about three to four months."

"I understand," Gaara said. "And what may I guess we shall talk about?"

"We talked about it with Kaosu-sensei," Naruto answered. "We were basically going to to focus on four different areas: military, economic, social, and political. About military will be trying to get the Five Great Nations to try and make more military actions together. Maybe cooperative missions or teams. Economically is trying to trade more with each other. Socially we'll try to have more social events like festivals or some such. And politically would be stronger alliances and more meetings between the kages to discuss events that have occurred. I plan to discuss it better when all the kages present and maybe even the daimyo if they are all willing to come."

"Seems like a logical idea though it is good you have at least some idea of what you're going to try and do to bring peace."

Their was another brief pause before Gaara continued, "I trust you will let me know when this meeting is to occur."

Naruto nodded, "Like I said, it'll most likely take place in about three months but I'll give you an exact date soon. Try and see if you can get the daimyo to join as well."

"I'll send him a letter once I have time."

"Arigato."

Once again, there was a brief pause. . .

"So Gaara," Naruto smiled. "How's kage life?"

"Troublesome," Gaara stated outright and back in Konoha a certain Nara sneezed. "All this paper is the bane of all kage. But other than that. . ."

In unison, the four past Hokages all sighed and Naruto smirked, "You know that Kage Bunshin?"

"I know the Suna Bunshin," Gaara asked raising an eyebrow.

"They solid."

"They can be."

"Ever tried using them? They share the same mind you do so they'd make the same decisions you'd make. . ."

Gaara opened his mouth to answer but his eyes immediately widened and his lips instantly shut. He just stared off into space with the most expression he has likely ever shown. After a minute, Naruto and the Paths started to get worried, "Uh. . . Gaara. . ."

BAM!

Gaara's head suddenly smacked down and met his desk up close and personal. They could hear the uttered phrase, "Kami dammit. . ."

The four Hokages were soon by his side patting the young Kazekage on the back. Naruto, Kushina, and Mito couldn't help but laugh at the poor predicament of the other kage-level shinobi in the room.


Near Uzushiogakure. . .

Kaosu walked again to where Tamashi and his daughter were training. They hadn't even known he was there until he walked into the training area. Shinami was the first person to notice him, "Otou-san!"

Instantly, she ran over and hugged him. Kaosu returned the hug and ruffled her hair, "How have you been Shinami?"

"Good, Otou-san!" she replied joyfully. "Tamashi-sensei says I'm making amazing progress!"

Kaosu chuckled, "Good to hear, Shinami. I look forward to sparring with you soon."

"So, Kaosu-san," Tamashi finally spoke up. "What is it you need?"

Kaosu grinned, "How would you like some more. . . comfortable living quarters."

The two blinked before looking at their senior Harbinger, "What do you mean, Otou-san?"

"I'm going to meet up with Naruto and his Six Paths en route to Iwagakure and I need someone to watch over Uzushiogakure while I'm gone," Kaosu spoke. "I hope you don't mind."

"Will I be able to meet Naruto-san?" Shinami asked excitedly.

Kaosu chuckled, "Eventually. When he returns."

"YAY!" Shinami cried out. "Come on, Tamashi-sensei! Let's go!"

In an instant, she ran off in a random direction.

"Shinami!" Tamashi called out causing the young girl to pause. "Yes, Tamashi-sensei?"

"Do you even know where you're going?"

"And aren't forgetting your personal items?" Kaosu added in.

You could practically see the three dots form over the little girl's head. Before she blushed from embarrasment and chuckled nervously, "Whoops, sorry Otou-san, Tamashi-sensei. . ."

At this, the two colleagues laughed at the poor girl's expense.


In Amegakure. . .

"So, he's about ready to leave Sunagakure?" Pein asked Zetsu. The Akatsuki observed their plant-like member intently. This would be when they moved out to find the so-called Rikudo Sennin Reborn once Zetsu delivered his message.

"Yes, he's just about to leave," said White Zetsu followed by Black Zetsu continuing. "He's heading to Iwagakure next."

"I see," Pein trailed off in thought as he began to decide their next move.

"What are your orders, Leader-sama?" Itachi asked.

Their was a long pause before Pein opened his Rinnegan eyes, "Zetsu. Inform us again whom the Paths are."

"The Yondaime is the Deva Path and his wife, Kushina, is the Animal Path. The Shodai and his wife are the Preta and Asura Paths respectively. While the Nidaime is the Human Path and the Sandaime is the Naraka Path."

"Hmm," Pein was in deep thought yet again. "Kakuzu, you've fought the Shodai before so I want you and Hidan to fight him."

Kakuzu nodded and Hidan smirked, "Of course, he can't kill a fucking immortal!"

"Kisame, I want you fighting the Nidaime. His water jutsu won't do much to you and your chakra capacity should be able to outlast him."

"Gotcha," Kisame grinned.

"Itachi, I want you taking on the Sandaime. Your Sharingan should provide you a decent advantage against the former Shinobi no Kami."

"Hn."

"Deidara," Pein said gaining the attention of the blond's attention. "I want you fighting the Yondaime. I do believe your Iwa blood requires you to gain revenge on the Yondaime for his past misdeeds against you."

"He won't know what hit him, yeah," Deidara smirked as the mouthes on his hands chewed his explosive clay.

"Sasori, I want you to fight Mito Uzumaki. Your puppets should be able to match her weapon arsenal."

Sasori nodded in acknowledgment to his leader.

"Konan, I want you to fight Kushina. You've seen the summons of the Six Paths so you know how to counter them."

Konan nodded, "Very well."

"And Zetsu, you remain hidden and help any of the Akatsuki who need the support."

"It will be done," Both halves of Zetsu said at the same time.

"Very well, if you are all prepare. . . Akatsuki! Move out!"

"Hai!" came his subordinates as the group of S-ranked nin left their cave hideout.


In Sunagakure. . .

"Thank you again for hearing us out," Naruto said as they approached the entrance to Suna. Gaara gave the slightest hints of a smile before replying, "Anything for my friend. I hope you journey to Iwa turns out well. I hope nothing occurs due to you being the son of the Yondaime Hokage. I do believe they still have a grudge am I not correct?"

Minato grinned, "I think we have a plan for that, don't we?"

"Correct," Kushina said giving a Naruto-like smirk causing a few chuckles. It was then that they heard a young voice call from behind them, "Naruto-san! Naruto-san! Wait!"

The group turned to see little Aiko running towards them while a caretaker at the orphanage tried to keep up with her. Naruto bent down to her level as she jumped into a hug with him, "Don't leave without saying goodbye, Naruto-san!"

"Sorry, Aiko-chan. I didn't mean to," Naruto said as he held her out arm's length.

"You're going to comeback soon, right Naruto-san?" Aiko asked as tears began to form in her eyes.

"Yeah, as soon as I can," Naruto answered smiling. "Now don't cry, Aiko-chan. I will be back. Stay strong for me, okay?"

Aiko nodded sadly, "Hai, Naruto-san."

"Hey Naruto," came the voice of Mito.

"Yeah?"

"Maybe we can convince Kaosu to let his daughter come with us next time we come here. Maybe she can hang out with little Aiko-chan here."

Naruto smiled, "That's a great idea."

Naruto then turned back to Aiko, "I'll see you soon, okay?"

Aiko nodded, "Okay. Bye Naruto-san! Bye other six people!"

Naruto chuckled as the Six Paths sweatdropped having just remembered that they never really told Aiko their names. Naruto then turned to Gaara, "See you later, Gaara."

Gaara nodded as Naruto and the Six Paths took off out of Suna.


Much later. . .

Naruto and the Six Paths were traveling through the desert approaching the rocky land of Tsuchi no Kuni. As they ran they became aware of someone approaching them. The quickly stopped and prepared themselves for who it was. To their surprise, it was Kaosu. The Harbinger smirked, "Hey, guys."

"Kaosu?" Naruto blinked. "What the hell are you doing here?"

"Aren't you supposed to be watching Uzushio?" Hashirama asked, his eyes narrowing. Kaosu shrugged, "My friend, Tamashi, who worked with me as a Harbinger for many years, and my daughter are watching the place. I felt a dark sense of forebodding so I had to come here. I think the Akatsuki may be after you now."

"You have no idea how right you are."

Alarmed. The group of eight turned to see a man with orange hair and Rinnegan eyes with seven other nin in black robes with red clouds behind him. Naruto's eyes narrowed, "Nagato I presume?"

Pein's eyes narrowed, "That is Pein-sama to you. So you're the Kyuubi jinchuuriki who claims to be the Rikudo Sennin Reborn? You may look the part but your power cannot match me. I am a god!"

Naruto smirked, "That remains to be seen, Nagato. Kaosu. Does his power compare to a god's."

Kaosu shook his head, "Not even close. I should know. I work for fucking Yami for Kami's sake."

Pein sneered, "You think you can beat us?! We will capture you! We will bring peace to this world!"

Naruto's group raised their eyebrows in surprise, "Bring peace? With the biju? Somehow that seems more like threatening people to get along rather than actually convincing them. If you seek to take the biju and somehow use them to create a false peace then I will stop you."

Naruto and his Paths instantly got into fighting stance, "Let's see who's the real successor to the Rikudo Sennin, shall we Nagato?"


I should really stop setting deadlines since I can never freaking keep them. Oh well. Anyway that was Chapter 12. I hope you've enjoyed it and please review!

~Teddypro

Response to Reviews

{Leaf Ranger} - You're evil. How could you end on such a sad note, huh? Overall though, was a great chapter.

Answer: I do have this cruel, sadistic side that I keep very well hidden. Hey at least the girl wasn't. . . you know. . .

{Psycho Punisher} - Lord knows I don't like Sakura, but if you're just gonna keep her around so everyone else can have a dog to kick around, you might as well kill her now, because the bashing often taints the scene.

Answer: Idon't fucking care what you want. I left it up to the viewers and that's what they voted. You don't like it, you don't have to read this fanfiction. I'm not fucking forcing you. Stop acting like a whining bitch. You can't always get what you want. Rage all you want but when the chips are down it's my fanfiction and I have the right and ability to write whatever I want on here. Stop complaining and either suck it up or don't read. Either way, I don't care. Besides, it's not like she in this fanfiction often so far anyway.

{YamiChaos27} - About time, I was beginning to wonder when this was ever coming out. Anyway nice job on this. It's funny how all the Kage were all frustrated with paperwork and prayed to Kami for something interesting and then right after received the exact same news. Can't wait for the meeting with Gaara. Maybe Naruto and Hinata could have a lucky encounter, where Hinata's on a mission and just happens to settle into the same town Naruto's in at the same time. That would be a heart warmer.

Answer: Are you related to the Yami in this fanfic? If you are, let him know he's a dick. But I digress. Yeah, sorry. My computer was being a dick in ways I'd rather not talk about over the course of the summer and all the schoolwork I have to do over the summer isn't exactly helping much. About the mission thing, maybe but we'll see.

{wacko12} - you should have Uzumaki OC appear, three of them being Naruto's grandparents and the third being his uncle. reply

Answer: Okay, look. You've already asked me this how many times now? If I say no, it means no. Stop asking me this. No Senju or Uzumaki OCs are going to occur in this. You want a Peace Challenge fanfic that does have that, create your own or find somebody else's. Just stop asking me this or there is going to be issues, you here?