Hey guys, I'm really sorry this has taken so long. I was planning to have it to you two weeks ago, but for some reason Rixxell, my beta/co-author, never got back to me. It's not like him, so I actually hope he's alright. In the mean time I thought I would release it. Let me know if you spot any typos and what not and I'll take note of them, changing them when I have the time. Anyway not much more to say except that due to personal issues, my schedule has been affected and my updates, which were supposed to come more often are now unsure. I'll try my best to get chapters out but it's been pretty hard lately.

Anyway enough jibber-jabber. Enjoy! Seriously, read and review. REVIEW! :P Feedback is always appreciated :)

Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto or Dragonball Z. Gosh darn-it.


Shinobi Son Gohan

Chapter 7: Death Waits For No One


The walls of the small home rippled with the force of the explosion as the heat of the blast forced air outwards in all directions, the powerful shockwave tearing through the room with ease.

Gohan could only watch in horror as the two people in front of him, two precious people that he cared about so very much were flung viciously through the window looking onto the street outside and into the wall of a neighboring yard across the road.

Kurenai took the brunt of the accidental explosion while she covered up the young blonde she was desperately trying to shield.

The sheer terror of the situation was what kept the young Saiyan from barely feeling a thing as he himself was thrown in the opposite direction.

Everything had seemed to happen in slow motion at first.

The orb broke and his fears came true.

Objects were cast through the air as if they were but a child's playthings by the raw power on display.

He hit the wall into the kitchen before passing straight through it, the pain of the ordeal masked by the fear and confusion as he was spent spiraling out of control.

Nor did Gohan really feel the glass he broke as he continued through the air, or the ground as he came to a tumbling stop beneath the tree he and Naruto had playfully been practicing on earlier that night.

All his mind could comprehend was the fear that flashed across Kurenai's face as she tried to protect Naruto in the moments before.

He'd seen what had happened to them. They'd been caught in the explosion and launched across the street. Were they going to be okay?

In his shock and confusion the young boy from another world let his vision fade and he fell unconscious; the blare of a siren signaling a fire within the village the last sound he heard before blacking out.

ANBU that had been sent by the Hokage in response to the explosion would later tell the three survivors of the accident to count their lucky stars for being thrown clear of the home, because nothing was left of the living room where Gohan and Naruto had once practiced chakra control.

xXx

(A short time later)

Gohan awoke to the sight of a young man with brown hair wearing a strange headband similar to the one he'd see every time he looked up at the Hokage monument. His dazed thoughts wandered, 'Hey that looks like the second Hokage,' Gohan thought before his mind snapped back to the situation at hand and he saw the smoldering house on the other side of this strange arrival.

Their smoldering house.

He sat up as quickly as he could, no attention paid to the minor abrasions his arms had sustained, nor the bump on his head. He didn't have time to worry, he had to reach Kurenai and Naruto.

Bolting into an upright position and taking a step to sprint away in an effort to get to them he found the strange man had a firm grasp on his shoulder.

"It's okay Gohan," he said calmly, "They've been taken to the hospital, I had some people take them there when I arrived."

"The hospital! Are they okay?" Gohan asked immediately his eyes wide with concern.

"As far as I can tell they'll be fine, although your house will need a bit of work," he said with a sad smile before adding, "I'm Tenzou by the way. Can you walk? We should probably get over to the hospital to get you checked out and see how the others are going,"

Gohan simply took a step before nodding, he wasn't feeling too bad at all; he only hoped the same for the others.

They walked around the side of the house and towards the street, the older and taller of the pair moving over to a masked shinobi and whispering in his ear.

As Gohan waited for him his eyes drifted, taking in the scene. A large crowd of concerned citizens had gathered around the now smoldering and partially destroyed home. The walls of the room that the explosion had occurred in had been completely obliterated and half the floor was missing as if a tornado struck that corner of the house.

The people were kept back by a number of masked ninja that had begun to cordon of the affected area of the explosion. Within the crowd Gohan saw the faces of the concerned; wondering what misfortune could have befallen the residents of the home.

He heard through the idle chatter a shinobi replying to questions, "An unfortunate gas explosion; this is what happens when you forget to turn the gas off. Luckily everyone seems to be okay. There's nothing more to see here."

There were those in the crowd who bought it, and a few who didn't. Gohan noticed a stoic man with a grave expression, two red eyes and black hair, and he wasn't having a bar of that explanation.

But more curiously was the boy Gohan saw standing toward the back of the crowd just before Tenzou walked back over to him and took him by the hand, guiding him in the direction of the hospital.

Of all the people present, he was the only one smiling as the dim light of the night reflected off his glasses. It was small, but it was unmistakably a smile.

As they walked toward the hospital the only thing that kept the young boy's mind from the ordeal just passed and the ordeal ahead was the strange and rather beautiful winged ant that had landed on his arm and that he was now playing with gently in his hands. It was the most curious creature, completely white in color.

xXx

(Planet Earth - Shortly after the start of the fight for the planet)

Goku's fists blazed as he tried to strike out at the incredibly fast Vegeta. While he continued his dance of death with the Saiyan prince the others desperately tried to subdue the larger and much more reckless Nappa.

It was three against one, and still Nappa was managing to hold his ground. Yamcha, Krillin and Piccolo were keeping him contained for the moment, hoping that once Tien got back to his feet they'd be able to take him out. But even with the onslaught of physical strikes that the three were dishing out in tandem he was capable of simply brushing them aside.

He'd already assessed their strength and the only fighter we was remotely afraid of taking a blow from was the strange green man. The short bald one and the other human didn't even compare to Raditz, but they were still pests.

The problem was that whenever he attacked one of them another would engage him from another angle, or divert his strike. It was frustrating and he was starting to lose his cool. For anyone whose name wasn't Nappa, that was a bad thing.

"That's it!" he yelled, "You die first you little rat!"

With his next attack he lashed out at Yamcha, only to have it be redirected by Krillin with a body charge as Piccolo positioned for an assault. This time however Nappa decided to take the attack from Piccolo. And in return he extended his other arm, releasing an energy blast that hit Krillin square in the chest, sending him tumbling along the ground before he was caught by Tien; the larger bald Z-fighter returning to the fight along-side , his wounds somewhat tended to.

Piccolo was fast enough to connect with the strike but Nappa had seen it coming and so rolled with it and cartwheeled away, an athletic move for such a bulky fighter that drastically reduced the power behind the strike.

Krillin coughed, luckily bloodlessly, as he looked down at the hole in his shirt and his singed chest. Tien put him on the ground and gave him a once over before quickly joining the fight while Chiaotzu stopped next to Krillin to check over his injury.

"You're in trouble now," the three eyed fighter smirked, "You were lucky before, now I'll show you what I'm truly made of!"

Having replaced Krillin in the trio of fighters assaulting the Saiyan, Tien was raring to go. They now stood a much better chance of defeating the large bald brute of a man. All they could do was keep fighting and hope that if they could take out Nappa, Goku could strike down Vegeta.

Vegeta smirked as he looked over his opponent during a slight pause in their exchange of blows, "You're much stronger than the others. I'm surprised you've lasted this long, even if I'm not fighting at 100%. Your friends though," he nodded in the direction of Nappa and the others, "Not doing so well," he smirked, causing Goku's attention to shift only slightly, worried about the other fight taking place.

Goku felt the pain of that mistake as a fist collected his jaw violently in one stroke.

"Mistake number one!" Vegeta cried with glee before following up with a knee strike that Goku only just managed to block.

Vegeta struck out again, only to find his opponent's body flare red for the briefest of moments and disappear, the prince's fist passing through an after-image.

The kick that came from behind would have hit him on the side of the ribs had he not pre-empted it, bringing his arms around to block the powerful strike that caused him to slide along the ground in his defensive stance.

Vegeta chuckled, "Like I said, while your strength is surprising, you still have nothing on me you filthy traitor."

Goku grimaced, rubbing his jaw as he stared down his opponent, "Don't think you'll get another shot like that again."

"Oh I won't need another surprise attack," Vegeta continued to snarl right up until he disappeared, reappearing right behind Goku, "I'm much too fast for that,"

The swift chop he was directing at Goku's neck met only an after-image as Goku once again disappeared in a red haze and the two super powered Saiyan's began their dance in the air, drifting up into the sky as they disappeared and reappeared at lightning speeds, the sound of their bodies coming to blows reverberating through the metal and glass of the city.

Their fists were nothing but blurs and their legs streaks as they fought tooth and nail in the sky above the city, neither of the two great warriors giving up or gaining any ground against the other.

Goku couldn't fully concentrate as he felt the battle of the ground with Nappa begin to heat up. The stakes were rising and he needed to finish this battle quickly. He couldn't let Vegeta get the best of him, 'I need to win this as soon as possible,' he thought to himself even as he blocked the flurry of blows directed toward him.

King Kai, as he watched the fight from his domain couldn't help predict what Goku was about to do, "Be careful Goku," he projected through the psychic link he could form with nearly every living being in his quadrant.

Goku grimaced in response and Vegeta lashed out with a kick to his head.

"KAIO-KEN TIMES THREE!" Goku screamed before his entire body once again flashed red and he struck out with a knee-strike at a speed that left Vegeta agape, until of course it hit him square in the diaphragm and knocked the wind straight out of him.

He doubled over in pain in the air, gasping for a breath and grunting in agony. Where had that come from? One minute he'd been on the level, trading blow for blow as he toyed with his prey and the next he had taken a monstrous hit.

His eyes widened with fear when he saw the follow up. He quickly brought his arms up to mitigate some of the power behind the kick that Goku was unleashing in his powered up state; a kick that rattled his skeleton as it sent him rocketing through the nearest skyscraper and into the ground with a resounding crash.

Taking the opportunity he created himself Goku turned and began his descent towards Nappa, if he could take care of the brute now he could fight Vegeta without the worry of his friends being injured.

Only it was not to be.

"Where do you think you're going?" an irate Vegeta screamed from the skies above the city, "Nobody lands a hit on me and gets away with it!" He spat blood as he finished his threat and began to power up, the air vibrating with the power he was giving off as his body revitalized itself with ki. Goku could only watch in horror as he quickly realized his advantage was lost and the situation was getting out of control.

"We came here looking to recruit you! And you treat us like this! You and this pathetic planet will die for that!"

"Wait!" Goku responded, "What about all the innocents? How can you not care?"

Vegeta just grinned, "Because weakness begets weakness and should always be exterminated!" as he said this the two Saiyan pods within which they'd arrived rose from the ground and soared into the sky, away from the planet, "Nappa, I've sent the ships into orbit. We have no reason to stay any longer, finish playing with your toys or I'll destroy you along with this planet,"

Nappa smirked as he turned to his nearest combatant, "Looks like play time is over!" he roared as he reached out at Yamcha, taking advantage of the lull in combat courtesy of Vegeta's threat.

In moments he was positioned behind the unfortunate and fearful human fighter, staring down Tien and Piccolo as Yamcha now squirmed in his arms, trying in vain to free himself from the iron-like grip of the bald Saiyan.

"You can't!" Goku screamed as he dashed toward the ground, trying to get close enough in time to save his friend.

"Kakarot!" Vegeta screamed, continuing when the protector of earth ignored his words, "If you're over there who is going to stop this from destroying your petty little planet?" his face was a picture of delight as he roared the name of his technique, "GALICK!" he screamed, a purple light forming between his hands as he positioned his arms above him, his body turned away from the ground, "GUN!" he thrust his arms forward as he turned his body and the super powered beam of purple light extended toward the planet.

'I can't save Yamcha,' Goku thought to himself with a heavy heart, 'I have to protect the planet,'

Taking up a position on the ground he drew on the power within himself to charge his own attack, something so strong and pure he'd be able to fight of the evil that was Vegeta. An attack that very rarely let him down. He dug deep into his power as he stood on a piece of unbroken asphalt in the cityscape, directly in the path of the large beam of purple energy making it's descent towards the ground.

"Ka…Me…Ha…Me… HAAA!" the power erupted from between his hands; a beam of solid blue Ki that shone with the brightness of a sun.

And as the two beams, blue and purple, collided in a burst of colour in the middle of the city, ballooning out and consuming a nearby skyscraper Yamcha died at the hands of Nappa, his neck snapped with the most gruesome of sounds.

"Ooops," the bald Saiyan grinned, "My hands slipped," he added, dropping the dead weight from his grip with a chuckle.

xXx

Tenzou hadn't said a word to Gohan as they made their way across the village, away from the boy's home. The remaining ANBU on the scene had dealt with anything that would risk a fire and roped off the scene of the explosion for investigation, leaving two ANBU on guard.

Gohan had never had to visit the hospital before and even the small insect that had been keeping him at ease despite the lack of conversation was doing little to assuage his nerves as they proceeded upstairs, only briefly stopping at reception to see which room housed Naruto and Kurenai. He now had to confront the family he had been so lucky to be a part of in this strange land.

It was of course the room with two masked guards standing watch outside. The ANBU paid them no attention as they walked past to stand in the doorway, looking into the well-lit room. Naruto sat next to the bed and the Hokage stood behind him, both of them silent, the Hokage turning his head and shifting his gaze toward the two new arrivals.

It was a solemn sight.

Kurenai was sleeping, her head and upper body wrapped in bandages, while a consistent ominous beeping emanated from the large complicated looking machine next to her.

Physically Naruto looked largely untouched, his clothes tattered a little but the lack of bandages or medical equipment adorning his body a good indication of his well-being. His face painted a different picture. He was torn. Gohan had finally arrived and it was clear to everyone that he didn't know whether to be happy or sad.

Gohan didn't know what to do. He had caused this; he was responsible for this damage, for destroying their home and for injuring Kurenai. The Saiyan lowered his head in shame, a tear running down his face as his chest heaved with every breath he took. Naruto flinched when his friend took a step into the room but Hiruzen was quick to put a hand on his shoulder in comfort before leaning down to whisper something in his ear.

Naruto's expression softened and he quickly jumped off his chair and hurried across the room, embracing Gohan in a hug that startled him. Unsure of what to do he returned the kindness, wrapping his friend in his arms and saying the only thing he could manage, "I'm sorry."

Naruto didn't have it within himself to reply but Hiruzen was already speaking, "It's okay Gohan, we know you didn't mean it."

He didn't know the whole story but from what he had gathered from Naruto it had been an accident during chakra control practice. He would no doubt get the full story from Kurenai when she woke up.

"Is Kurenai-neechan going to be okay?" Gohan asked worriedly over Naruto's shoulder.

"Yes," Hiruzen replied quickly to assuage the boy's fears, "The medics think she will make a full recovery, don't worry about it any longer. She will be fine," he said with a smile.

The boys separated and both sat down quietly next to their injured guardian. A stern look from Tenzou was enough to get the Hokage to promptly exit the room and the silhouette of the Mokuton user was replaced by one of the faceless ANBU guards that had been standing at attention outside.

"So, how bad is it?" Hiruzen asked quietly once they were outside the room and subsequently out of earshot of the boys.

"We're going with a gas explosion as the cause for the damage and it is quiet extensive. From the damage alone I'm surprised that Kurenai is in as stable a condition as she is. How extensive are her injuries?" Tenzou reported matter-of-factly. He needed to maintain his composure and allowing emotions any room for thought at a time like this was unsuitable for a shinobi of his standing.

"She's suffering a number of broken ribs, a broken collar-bone and a concussion. With a few more treatments from the medic-nin and some rest she will make a full recovery. Was there anything else of importance to report? You've not had a moments rest in days so if there is nothing more for you to say, go home and sleep."

"There is one thing," Tenzou added gravely, "Uchiha Fugaku was in the crowd, and he didn't look impressed. He clearly didn't buy the cover story."

The Hokage sighed, rubbing the bridge of his nose in frustration, "Right," he paused thinking before exhaling again, "You did well, now go, rest."

Tenzou merely nodded before briskly making his way down the hall and into the stairwell.

The Hokage strolled back into the hospital room with a warm smile on his face and sat down next to the boys; sleeping would do him no good, there was too much on his mind. He needed a solution to his problems and he needed it now.

XXXXX

(8:30 AM the next morning – Ninja Academy)

"Did you hear that there was a gas explosion near the Uchiha district last night?"

"There was a huge explosion, I wonder who was in it?"

"I hope nobody was hurt!"

These were just a few of the phrases that Hinata had been greeted with upon entering the academy classroom. With a sinking feeling in her gut she had quickly searched for Naruto and Gohan but to no avail. If they didn't arrive soon they'd both be late for the first class of the day!

She'd remained hopeful until Yuugao-sensei had arrived and stood before the class, an announcement to be made.

"It seems news travels fast in Konoha," she'd said with a level tone, "So I will inform you all that there was indeed a gas explosion last night and that two of your classmates were unfortunately caught within the blast. Naruto and Gohan-"

The class immediately erupted in murmurs before Yuugao could finish her sentence and Hinata had trouble holding back her sobs at the realization that her friends may well be gone; that Gohan might be gone forever.

Ino was the first to speak up load enough over the dull roar that she could be heard, "Are they alright?" she yelled in concern, causing the rest of the class to cease their discussion in hopes of hearing an answer.

Only it was Sasuke that replied first, "Of course they are going to be okay. They're too strong to be defeated by a simple explosion," he said matter-of-factly. There was no way anyone whose strength he admired could be defeated so easily.

Yuugao nodded to second this before reiterating to the rest of the class the exact situation, "Yes, as Sasuke says, they are going to be okay, they just need to rest and heal up, so they may not be back at the academy for a little while."

Ino and Hinata both released the breath they were holding with pronounced sighs and the tension in the room lessened. Comparatively Sasuke just huffed, mumbling, "They better get better soon, I need to train with them if I'm going to get any stronger,"

xXx

(9:AM – Main gates of Konoha)

An uneasy feeling in his gut had been the cause of a restless sleep for one particular Sannin of Konoha. And so at the great displeasure of Yugito they'd set out particularly early that morning, the sun beyond the horizon. He set a pace that was easy enough to keep up with but still incredibly brisk and she had to wonder why he was in such a hurry to get back to Konoha. Sure it was his home, but he couldn't be that excited could he? Whenever she made a query she received a grumbly deflection in response.

To be fair Jiraiya had never felt so worried about returning to Konoha as he was now. He knew something was amiss but he couldn't put his finger on it. He just had a feeling in his gut. It was similar to the urge that had him start his return journey in the first place; only this time it was much more prevalent.

They arrived at the main gates at around 9 o'clock in the morning, much earlier than he'd originally planned. Two guards greeted them from their booth beside the gate, "Hello Jiraiya-sama," one said with a surprised look on his face that was accentuated by the bandage on his nose.

"What brings you home?" the other said with an awestruck smile; Jiraiya almost never returned. The rumor was he was still actively hunting Orochimaru, others said he was merely gathering research for his novels. Either way, the return of Jiraiya was a surprise.

"I don't have time to chat boys, where is the Hokage?" Jiraiya said uncharacteristically hurriedly.

"Uhh, he should be in his office this time of the morning," Kotetsu Hagane responded quickly; the oppressive intent emanating from the Sannin enough to get his mouth moving of its own accord.

He visibly relaxed at hearing those words but was already moving, his brisk pace slowing to a quick stroll through the village. Yugito was hot on his heels before the two gatekeepers could even ask what she was doing with him but they figured they probably shouldn't follow that up. He was Jiraiya; he must have had his reasons.

"What was that all about?" Yugito asked when she caught up to the white haired man, "Actually, you've been antsy all morning and you're only now setting a pace that isn't basically running, what is it? It's been driving us crazy,"

Jiraiya's eyes narrowed and he stopped, his head turning toward her, "Us?"

Yugito laughed nervously, "Oh yeah," she hesitated, "Me and the cat," she said poking her belly playfully.

A growl of discontent was all she got in response from the tailed beast sealed within her.

Jiraiya remained standing still, staring at her cautiously before she continued, "I was locked in a room for three years with no one for company, you think I never tried talking to it? One day I got an answer," she muttered, shifting her gaze downward, not wanting to talk about it anymore, "Now tell me what's been bothering you,"

"Huh," Jiraiya grunted, acknowledging her explanation before he began walking again, although this time he answered her, "I had a feeling. A bad feeling, kind of like the feeling I get when someone close to me dies. You don't live this long without listening to your gut and my gut was practically screaming at me this morning, I thought something might have happened to the Hokage. Obviously I was wrong, but there is still something wrong, and I intend to find out exactly what it is."

He might have been a pervert, and he may have liked to live vicariously but no one would ever say that Jiraiya didn't care about Konoha and the people who lived in it. It was his home and they were his family. Which was why what Orochimaru had done was sickening beyond belief.

They quickly made their way across the village, shifting to the rooftops once the attention they were receiving from passers-by began to irk the legendary shinobi. Today was not the day to be asking for autographs.

It didn't take long for them to reach the Hokage building and he quickly scaled the side, perching himself in the window to look at the tired Hokage sitting at his desk, a man whose age was showing on his face much more these days. He'd left Yugito down on the road outside the compound. If she needed to be invited up he'd let her know. For now he needed to talk to his old sensei alone.

Hearing the disturbance at his window Hiruzen looked up with a raised eyebrow, surprise showing on his face.

"Normally news of your arrival reaches me before you do," the Hokage said with a small grin.

"Yeah well normally I'm not in a hurry," Jiraiya replied, as he got comfortable in the window, resting his back against the frame.

"And why would that be?" the Hokage asked, his fingers steepled on the desk in front of him.

"Because I had a feeling something was very wrong and I'd heard there had been an attack on the village some time ago."

"An attack no, but something is very wrong and your timing could not have been more appropriate; you are just the person I need," Hiruzen paused for a moment to raise an eyebrow at his former student, "Although I didn't expect you to be so prompt in your return. How goes the hunt?" he queried.

"As always, the trail is cold. Now get to the point old man. What is it you need me to do?" Jiraiya grumbled; he didn't need the reminder of his failure to bring his old friend turned enemy to justice.

"There are two boys currently sitting in a hospital room fretting over the condition of their guardian. I need you to take them out of the village for about a week until things here die do-,"

"I'm not going to be some baby-sitter Ojii-san, I've got my own problem to deal with right now. I picked up a kumo refugee who happens to be a Jinchuuriki with a potential blood-line and who is seeking asylum in Konoha."

That caught the Hokage mid sentence, his mouth hanging agape in shock.

"If Kumo finds out where she went…" he trailed off, his tired eyes losing focus; why were things always going from bad to worse?

"Exactly, but it's even worse if she's not telling the truth. The worst part is that I can't actually tell. If what she says is true Kumo's brutality is at a new high. If she's lying to me she's the best liar I've come across and it begs the question of what she is really here for."

Hiruzen just sat back in his chair and brought his hands to his face, chuckling for the briefest of moments before he let them drop.

Jiraiya's heart sunk, to hear the laugh of a defeated man was something to dread, and from the Hokage no less.

The leader of the great village of Konoha sighed a tired sigh, looking up at Jiraiya before issuing his order, "Do you believe her story?" he asked sternly, now was not the time for weakness given Jiraiya's own situation.

The Sannin paused for a moment before nodding, "For the most part yes. I have my doubts but I can find nothing out of place."

Hiruzen nodded in thought at his response, Jiraiya was rarely wrong about the character of the people around him, "Take the girl with you anyway. Keep an eye on her if you have to. I assume you'll be able to handle that?"

Jiraiya paused to think for but a moment, "I guess, but who are these brats and why are they the cause of all your problems?"

"One of them you already know of, but seem to be avoiding your responsibilities too," Jiraiya's eyes narrowed at these words but before he could retort the Hokage continued, "Yes, yes I know you've been busy, but you have to confront him one day to let him know he isn't alone."

"Okay, and the other child?"

"Well, he's the cause of all sorts of trouble. I fear the stability of the village with each passing council meeting and I need him out of harms way and prying eyes for a while," the terse look on the Hokage's face was enough to convince Jiraiya that he needed to help, but he wasn't doing so without information.

"What's so special about one kid, it's not like we've had another Jinchuuriki just fall into our laps is it? I mean things come in threes but that's just ridiculous," the Sannin chuckled at his own joke before ceasing his laughter at the rather serious look on his sensei's face, "You've got to be kidding right?"

"Oh he's more trouble than a Jinchuuriki but for a bunch of different reasons. Now come in and sit down, I've got a lot to fill you in on, and I don't want you falling out of that window in shock."

Once Jiraiya was seated the Hokage began to speak in earnest about the arrival of Gohan and everything that entailed; neither of them noticed the tiny white insect sitting in the folds of the cloth shade of the Hokage's hat.

XXXXX

The roar was deafening, a continuous ominous rumbling that bounced around the city-scape only occasionally changing in pitch, releasing high shifting piercing sounds as the energies within the tumultuous cascade of colour, light and sheer power shifted one way and then the other.

Goku's muscles bulged as his body flared with red, the blue of the Kamehameha wave in stark contrast to the colour of his enhanced ki. The ground around him was slowly being broken apart from the energy of the conflict; debris was beginning to float into the air around him while elsewhere in the city skyscrapers were succumbing to the vibrations and shockwaves of the conflict.

Cracks began appearing on their surfaces and the top half of the massive man made monolith that had been at the heart of the clash between the two deadly attacks was now making its way earthward. It fell inward toward the beams, the metal and glass standing no chance against the destructive energies; any material coming in contact being obliterated in an instant. The screams of people who had been too slow or too naïve too evacuate were barely audible over the noise of the clash of super-powers.

On the ground the Z fighters were now down a warrior and fighting desperately to stay the ape of a man in Nappa. A little falling debris was nothing to him and quickly charged down Tien while brushing Piccolo aside. If he wanted the satisfaction of toying with his prey he'd have to do it soon. He had no doubt that Vegeta would finish over-powering Kakarot at any moment.

In his haste to close the distance to Tien he never saw the full power energy blast coming from his left. It knocked him off his feet and sent him tumbling to his right; a plume of smoke and debris erupted as he collided with a pile of wreckage.

Chiaotzu stood panting with effort as he lowered his hands and looked down at Krillin who was now making it to his feet.

"Wow Chiaotzu, nice shot!" Krillin exclaimed as he dust himself off and rolled out his shoulder. The young pale warrior couldn't help but smile at his attack.

"No Chiaotzu! Look out!" Tien screamed in warning at his over-confident young friend. But his warning came too late.

A high pitch screech accompanied the brilliant yellow energy blast that erupted from the smoking pile of debris that Nappa had been blown into. In the blink of an eye it had crossed the field of their conflict.

Even with Tien's warning Chiaotzu was too slow to react and Krillin could only watch in horror as the young fighter in front of him was struck with a blast that was much too powerful for him to handle. He was engulfed in a yellow haze, and his small corpse flung down the road they were standing on, twitching as it came to a stop on the asphalt.

Tien went mad with rage and Krillin's resolve hardened.

"You'll pay for that you bastard!" Tien screamed in anger before the energy he was emitting doubled and he disappeared only to reappear in a blur before Nappa, his strikes driven by a burning need for vengeance.

"Piccolo!" Krillin screamed now that Nappa had his hands full.

"Yeah what is it?" the Namekian responded, he normally wouldn't waste his time talking to trash like Krillin but Nappa was on a whole different level.

"If you can hold him still I've got an attack that will do the trick."

Piccolo hesitated for a second but as he looked over at a raging Tien and a composed and laughing Nappa he knew he didn't have much of a choice. Tien wouldn't last long and there was no way he could handle the Saiyan by himself.

He turned to Krillin and nodded, "I'm on it," he said loud enough for the bald warrior to hear before mumbling to himself, "I haven't seen this play out before or anything."

Tien was on a fierce offense but anyone watching could see that he was losing strength fast and Nappa wasn't anywhere near succumbing to defeat. Every strike the young fighter made Nappa was ready for. For such a large fighter the Saiyan was incredibly nimble and any attack that he couldn't outright over power he simply avoided.

He had to laugh. It was reactions like these that made killing fun. To see the pain in the eyes of all those that cared for his victims was a delight.

Looking over to the fight with Goku and Vegeta between attacks a thought occurred to him, 'I should probably pick up the pace, Vegeta looks like he's about sick of holding back,'

He turned back to Tien with a smile, "Alright kid, play time's over!"

Nappa could see the anger in his eyes deepen at those words before he responded, "This is over when I say i- ARGH," Tien's words were cut short by left handed fist to the gut. He doubled over in pain and shock, coughing blood over the ground as Nappa moved in closer.

"Like I said. Play time's over," Nappa muttered in his ear before he struck him down into the ground with a monstrous punch from his right hand. He raised his leg to finish the job with a chuckle on his lips only for his joyous expression to be cut short when he felt himself be put into a full-nelson.

"Oh you have got to be kidding me!" he screamed in anger as he struggled against the force behind him.

"Alright Krillin!" Piccolo roared, "I can't hold him forever so you better hurry up!"

"Got it!" the weakest of the remaining fighters replied as he stretched a hand above his head and turned his palm toward the sky, focusing his energy into a yellow disk that began spinning ominously in the air above it.

"Ki-Enzan!" he roared as he launched the disk toward the two struggling fighters ahead of him.

Nappa could only watch in horror as certain death approached him; his struggle against Piccolo yielding no results.

XXX

(10:30 AM – Konoha Hospital)

Jiraiya and Yugito both followed the Hokage down a corridor well-lit by the natural light flooding through the windows on one side.

"You kept me waiting for over an hour and now you're telling me we're leaving again?" to say Yugito was frustrated was an understatement but she knew she had to be careful with what she said. She had no say over what Jiraiya did, and she couldn't slip away. As far as he was concerned he was responsible for her and if she went missing he'd know something was up.

They continued down the hall toward a guarded room and Jiraiya turned to her, "Yes, and if you have a problem with it then you're shit out of luck," after everything he'd just heard he didn't need to deal with her, but due to exactly what she was and the fact that he was the one that granted her asylum he was going to have to, "I don't need trouble from you right now. Especially because we're picking up a few companions for our trip and you're gonna have to play nice."

Exposing one Jinchuuriki to another was never a good idea if you could help it. They could normally pick each out of a line up any day of the week but it didn't matter in this instance. Yugito was either going to be a refugee living in Konoha or a spy incarcerated within Konoha. So her knowledge of Naruto was the least of their worries.

They crossed the threshold into the room and Jiraiya almost froze in his tracks when he saw the young boys resting on each other in their chairs next to the bed. Both of them were sleeping peacefully; it was almost surreal. However what shocked the Sannin was the resemblance the young Jinchuuriki shared with his father, and that was what pained the old shinobi. He could feel the dull ache of loss that he had been trying to avoid for so long beginning to surface.

Yugito just stood and watched, a look of shock on her face as she came to terms with the elephant in the room.

"I'm glad you feel it too," she heard her constant companion echo in her mind.

'So much power,' she thought to herself.

"I know," Matatabi replied, "But which one do you mean?"

That was what scared her the most. While the blonde was downright brimming with the power of the Kyuubi there was something off about the other boy. He didn't feel powerful so much as different. He felt like he could have the power of a Jinchuuriki yet at the same time he felt normal and it was a feeling that only a Jinchuuriki would be able to pick, or a highly trained sensor. Besides the feeling of dread she got from simply directing her attention at the boy he felt completely normal.

The Hokage stepped forward to rouse his young charges gently from their slumber. Naruto yawned rather loudly and accidently hit Gohan in the face as he stretched, half-asleep; the young Saiyan, still dozing rather heavily, didn't feel a thing until he fell from the chair.

"Ughh," he mumbled until he realized exactly where he was and who was standing around him. Within moments he was back in his chair, straightening his clothes and rubbing the sleep from his eyes.

Jiraiya couldn't help but crack a grin.

"Oh hey ji-ji," Naruto yawned again, showing how relaxed he was in the company of the Hokage and completely ignorant of the fact that he'd just pushed his friend over.

Hiruzen, a small smile on his face that he hoped would last the day, replied, "Hello Naruto and Gohan. I'd like to introduce you to someone," he beckoned towards the Jiraiya, "this is Jiraiya of the Sannin and he'll be looking after you for a time while Kurenai is getting better."

At the mention of the man's name Gohan's eyes went wide in awe.

"Hah, you heard of me kid?" the large sage asked, noticing the boy's reaction.

Gohan nodded sheepishly, "Yes Jiraiya-sama," he replied, "They told us all about you in history classes. Yuugao-sensei said you taught the fourth Hokage,"

At this Naruto's ears perked up and his attention shifted from the Hokage to Jiraiya himself, "Woah!" he said, wide eyed.

The Hokage chuckled, "Yes he did teach the fourth Hokage and I myself taught Jiraiya here," he smiled with a proud smile.

"Wow Jiji you must be super old!" Naruto cried in surprise at hearing that Jiraiya was the student of the Hokage.

He immediately deflated as if he was a balloon that had just been let out and Jiraiya roared with laughter; Yugito herself couldn't keep from a small grin at the Hokage's expense.

Recovering quickly it wasn't long until he was back on track explaining the situation to the young children, "Anyway as I was saying this is Jiraiya and this young lady here is Yugito. I am telling you this because while Kurenai is recovering Jiraiya will be looking after you and will be helping with your training to be shinobi,"

Now Naruto was really excited, "You mean we're going to get trained by the person who trained the fourth Hokage!" he jumped off the seat in joy and jumped around before realizing exactly why they were receiving this treatment. Gohan had already come to the conclusion sooner and was staring at the still unconscious and resting Kurenai; the young blonde was quick to quiet down, leaving a somber feeling in the room.

"We can still come visit Kurenai-neechan though can't we?" Naruto asked quietly, all the energy gone from his voice.

The Hokage sighed, "You'll have to stick with Jiraiya for a week but then you'll be returning to the village, and you'll be able to visit whenever you aren't in class," he finished with a smile.

"Can we at least wait for her to wake up so we can say goodbye?" Gohan asked, his quiet voice barely heard over the beeping of her monitor.

"Sorry kid," Jiraiya said apologetically, "We really need to head out as soon as possible. We can't afford to hang around," as he said this he sent a knowing look to the Hokage who simply nodded in return; the exchange was lost on the two youngsters.

Naruto and Gohan both looked sad that they wouldn't be able to say goodbye to their guardian and big sister but the Hokage was quick to dispel their fears with a smile, "It's okay boys, she'll make a full recovery in no time and you'll be able to see her again in a week."

That was enough to get the boys to go along with Jiraiya for the moment who lead the three of his charges out of the room and down the corridor. Just as they were about to leave a loud grumbling noise emanated from nearby that put both of the older shinobi on alert.

They just as quickly dropped their guard when they saw Naruto pointing at Gohan trying not to laugh as the young Saiyan held his stomach with a woeful look on his face.

"I guess we better get some lunch before we head out," Jiraiya conceded reluctantly to the delight of the children.

Yugito herself was in a much better mood now. She knew seeking the help of Jiraiya of the Sannin was a good idea, but the fact she was in the company of two very strange children, one of them a Jinchuuriki, was just the icing on the cake. This week outside the village might not be so bad for her mission after all.

XXX

(11:00 AM)

Fugaku had been having a rather pleasant early lunch with his wife and eldest son at rather upmarket restaurant. It was an occasion that they rarely got to enjoy with Itachi always on missions and Mikoto was beside herself with happiness. The only thing that would have made it a more complete outing was if Sasuke were there, but he was busy at the academy. An endeavor all of them understood.

"So are you really going to withdraw Sakura from the academy? I thought that was all she wanted to do?" the three Uchihas heard from a rather excited conversation two booths away.

"That seems rather harsh. What has she done to deserve that?" another women enquired. Murmurs of assent were heard accompanying the question, all clamoring for an answer.

"It's nothing she's done," Mebuki Haruno replied, "She's scared, and now I'm scared of the violence of that place."

"What do you mean? They are only five," another woman added, "surely they aren't doing anything too dangerous."

It was idle chatter, nothing really to be paying attention to, just women worrying about a little girl who seemed to have bitten off more than she could chew. Fugaku was about to turn his attention back to his lunch when he heard something most disturbing.

"That's not what Sakura told me. She said that Sasuke Uchiha had his ribs broken by another boy and that Ino Yamaka suffered a serious attack as well. And would my precious little girl ever lie?" Mebuki's rather serious question was answered by a murmuring of no, but that wasn't of importance anymore, because Fugaku knew it was true. He had seen his son limping.

Mikoto gasped, shocked that such an injury had befallen her youngest son and could no longer stomach the food in front of her. The fury in Fugaku's eyes at the deception was not lost on Itachi as his father leveled his gaze at him.

The three of them waited in terse silence for the women in the neighboring booth to quiet down and continue their conversation.

"Yes, I believe she said that a boy named Gohan hit the Uchiha boy and she was saying that the Hyuuga girl Hinata was responsible for Ino."

Fugaku's grip tightened in broiling anger, the chopsticks in his right hands snapping under the pressure with a loud crack, his gaze never leaving his eldest son.

"You seem the only one unsurprised by this. Why would that be?" Fugaku questioned. Mikoto was concerned at the implication but she knew not to interrupt her husband when he got like this; he rarely ever got this serious with his children.

"Because I was the one that picked Sasuke up from school and helped him back home."

"You didn't think it wise to tell us?" Mikoto asked worriedly, "He's just a boy, he's my boy."

Fugaku continued before Itachi could respond, "Yes, why didn't you inform us of his injury? I noticed his limp but figured he'd just suffered a wound training by himself."

"Exactly. That was all he wanted you to think. He made me promise not to tell either of you. Sasuke is not one to take lightly father and he didn't want you thinking him a weakling for losing a spar at the academy so soon after starting," Itachi replied calmly, he was merely protecting Sasuke's wishes, and trying to reduce Gohan's already negative publicity, but his father didn't need to know that, "My younger brother is much tougher than either of you give him credit for. I promised I would not tell but now that you know by other means I guess I can talk about it."

Fugaku's eyes narrowed at the explanation before he addressed his other point of interest, "And this Gohan child. Do you know what he looked like?"

Itachi tilted his head slightly as he feigned remembering details, "Sasuke did talk to the boy as we left, he wanted to apologise. Average height for his age, black hair. Aside from that no real distinguishing features."

That was all he needed to hear. Hiashi was telling the truth then, about the name of the child. And it would seem he was already up to no good even in the academy. He was sure that he had something to do with the explosion at his own residence as well. The boy needed to be locked away.

"And what do you know about it? How did Sasuke receive the injury from this Gohan child?" Fugaku queried.

"Nothing much. Just that he received the injury in a spar during class. The teacher was trying to find out how much each child knew about fighting. His spar got a little out of hand and he suffered his injuries."

Fugaku didn't bother with asking after any more information. He had enough now to know that he and Hiashi had a valid reason to be concerned. There was too much mystery surrounding this boy. The Hokage would need to answer their questions now.

With Fugaku's questioning over and the mood spoiled, they spent the rest of the meal in silence.

Heknew exactly who this mystery child was, and if he was right then that would mean the Hokage had something to answer for.

XXX

The high-powered disk of energy rocketed across the battlefield, its edges arcing ominously, crackling with power. It raced toward Nappa and Piccolo as the two great alien warriors struggled against one another.

If Piccolo was going to survive this his timing would need to be perfect. A deadly yellow spinning disk of ki wasn't something you wanted to be on the receiving end of and Piccolo didn't have any plans of becoming a martyr. He would have to time his jump to the milli-second.

He just needed to keep a hold of Nappa and hope Goku could handle Vegeta; they could feel the heat from the beam exchange from all the way over on their side of the battlefield.

The two continued their struggle as Nappa fought in vain to break free before finally he stopped.

"That's it," Piccolo spoke loud enough for the Saiyan to hear over the roar of the encounter between Goku and Vegeta, "accept your fate."

It was a roar that still continued to reverberate through the environment, accentuated by higher pitched crackles and rumbling as offshoot power from the beam struggle broke apart the structures of metal and glass surrounding them.

"You'll pay for this you green freak," Nappa replied derisively, "Oh look here comes your payment now," he chuckled as he surged with Ki, releasing all his pent up energy in one motion, breaking the fearsome grip that Piccolo had desperately maintained on the man and knocking his head back into Piccolo's, stunning the fighter.

Reaching over his back he grabbed the Namekian by the shoulder and launched him one handed across the battlefield, directly in the path of the approaching disk.

There was nothing either of the Z warriors could do.

The attack sliced straight through Piccolo at the waist, sending his legs tumbling along the ground while the Namekian himself tried to reduce the pain of his impact with the ground using his arms before he collapsed in agony.

Nappa simply proceeded to roll under the attack that had taken his strongest opponent out of the fight and stood tall, an imposing sight for Krillin, the only Z fighter remaining.

A smile can do a lot of things.

Oftentimes a sincere smile brings happiness, joy, or even content embarrassment to others.

The sincerity of the smile Nappa's face couldn't be doubted, he was after all enjoying himself. However the sadistic smile that played on the lips of the deranged warrior as he slowly approached Krillin did far from instill any positive feeling in the young Z warrior. He was frozen in fear, looking death in the eyes.

The Saiyan roared with laughter at the scene before him. Piccolo was struggling on the ground, coughing blood as he fought to stay alive. Tien, one of the stronger fighters and a season warrior lay crippled after only two strikes, using all the strength he had to even lift his head. And then there were Chiaotzu and Yamcha. Both of them never stood a chance.

So as Krillin stood facing down death he could only hope for a miracle. Because he had just used the last chance he had at survival and it had failed. He had pinned all his hopes on that last attack.

Nappa lived for moments like these. He could smell the fear of the fighter before him and he relished in it.

Meanwhile Goku, the only person capable of saving his childhood friend was struggling with his own battle as he slowly lost ground. He had no time to pay attention to the others and if things continued like this he was going to run out of energy.

Vegeta had finally pushed his Kamehameha wave down to just in front of his hands and he was feeling the heat of the Saiyan Prince's evil attack.

"What's the matter Kakarot? Getting a little tired?" Vegeta mocked from his position on high before laughing in his victory.

"You'll never get away with this Vegeta!" Goku screamed at the top of his lungs, desperately fighting for control of his Kamehameha.

"Who's going to stop me when this planet is destroyed?" he continued to mock with a grin on his face, "You're all a bunch of weaklings anyway."

'I'm sorry King Kai, I know you said not to use it but I have no choice,' Goku thought to himself as he reached the final stages of his desperation.

"KAIO-KEN TIMES FOUR!" he screamed, the Ki around him turning an even darker and more intense red. His muscles pumped up, reinvigorated with the dangerous power and straining under the pressure. He channeled his extra power into his Kamehameha wave, causing it to extend away from his hands, now steadily overpowering Vegeta's attack.

"I am the protector of this planet! HAAAA!" Goku announced valiantly with a grimace as he screamed, unleashing the last reserves of his energy. His attack rocketed up toward Vegeta with incredible speed.

"What? That's impossible!" Vegeta roared fearfully as he tried to control the ascent of the beam and bring it to a halt, his hands shaking from the strain.

"Good will always triumph over evil!" the hero of Earth screamed one last time as his power overwhelmed Vegeta. The blast rocketed into the sky, sending Vegeta with it until the Saiyan Prince fell sideways away from the attack and toward the ground, bloodied, bruised and broken, his body smoking from the heat of the blast.

XXX

(Later that night – Konoha)

Fugaku sat heavily, ordering himself two drinks; he hadn't bothered talking to Sasuke about his injuries, an urging from Itachi had dissuaded him. There was no need. He knew everything he needed to know. It was however time he met with Hiashi; things needed to be discussed about their future plans. They needed to get this village back under control.

He looked up when he heard the stool next to him creak under the weight of a new arrival to find Chouza ordering a drink.

"Alone again huh?" Fugaku half-smirked to his new arrival. It seemed to the police chief that both of them felt rather defeated and all he got in reply from the large shinobi was a grimace and a grunt to affirm his suspicions.

Waiting until he'd received his order and downing the portion sake he turned to the head of the Uchiha, "I've been thinking about what you said. About something strange happening in the village, and I want to know more; we've got families to protect after all."

Well this was news; Fugaku smiled, his mood vastly improved, "Between certain high ranking shinobi being frequently indisposed," he paused as if another thought occurred to him, "Tell me Chouza, do you remember the first night we were all informed of the nature of the attack?"

"Yes," the big man replied before a small smile formed on his lips and he laughed, "Haha it was rather big news how could one forget it?"

"Good, do you remember who was asked to remain behind when the rest of us were dismissed?"

"Well, I believe it was," he paused. Only now was he making the connection for himself, "Shikaku, Inoichi, Ibiki, Kakashi and the elders."

"And who do you know that is frequently busy at the same time of late?"

"Don't mock me Fugaku, I understand your implications," the large man replied, having already connected the dots.

"Good, I'm glad you understand things. What you may not know is that before the time of their last disappearance, my son had his ribs broken by Gohan, who you might not know is the child of the attack," the chief of police added after lowering his voice. The bar was relatively active that night and the ambient noise was loud enough to cover their conversation but one could never be too sure with matters like this.

"Not only that, but now they are missing again, no doubt meeting. Last night there was a gas explosion that I know definitely wasn't a gas explosion. I've seen accidents like that and this was not one of the-,"

Chouza cut him off, jumping in with his own thoughts on the matter, "Let me guess, it involved this Gohan child?"

Fugaku's lips were touched by a smile for a brief moment, "Yes, it did. From what I've noticed of their absences and the people that were selected that first night, I think it is safe to say a small group of very powerful and very intelligent shinobi are meeting with the Hokage to discuss matters involving this boy. There is clearly information about this child they have been withholding from the rest of us and I will not feel this village is safe until we have that information. He was an immense danger during the initial attack and it is clear he is still a danger."

"Hmmmm," Chouza murmured as he pondered the situation, "I'll not be striking out at my friends in any way, you must understand that but I do see your point. What would you have me do?"

Fugaku paused, weighing up his options. He could have just made a strong ally for the days to come if things were to go awry. "For now, nothing," he said, "But I will be in touch when the need arises."

As Fugaku began to stand and turn away from the stool Chouza caught his arm, pulling him around to stare into his eyes, "Don't keep in me the dark with this Fugaku, I have just as much a right to information as you do. I will not be used," he added gravely, wary of the plans of the Uchiha.

"Do not fear my friend. What kind of police chief would I be if the safety of the village was not my priority?" Fugaku replied with a smile as the large man released his arm.

Chouza could only huff skeptically as the black haired Uchiha made his exit and the larger Akimichi clan head went back to drinking.

xXx

Goku's muscles ached as the red Ki around his body faded and his chest heaved with each ragged breath. It had taken everything he had to overcome Vegeta's attack. He was just lucky that it was over. He watched as the body of Vegeta fell to the Earth with a crash before turning his attention to the others.

Only something felt wrong.

He turned, and found himself frozen in horror as he watched the large brute Nappa pick Krillin up with one hand.

The young warrior struggled, clawing with his hands at the large arm that held him aloft, grappling at the fingers that were wrapped around his neck in an ever-tightening embrace, pure unadulterated fear in his eyes.

And Goku, using all of his strength to remain upright watched as his friend fought for his life, unable to do anything from so far away.

It wasn't long before Krillin's vision faded, the circulation having been cut off by Nappa's herculean grip. His limbs began to slow as he lost the strength to fight and he blacked out for the last time, his body limp.

"NOOO! Don't!" Goku screamed in desperation across the battlefield.

"Hah!" Nappa laughed, "It's not like you can stop me," he roared in response. He stared into Goku's eyes watching for the pain that he was about to cause, reaching up with his other hand and grabbing Krillin's head in both of his gargantuan palms.

"Don't, please!" Goku pleaded, tears running down his face, knowing there was nothing he could do but beg.

Nappa, looking straight at Goku just smiled as he gave his hands a quick twist, snapping the neck of an unconscious Krillin.

"Nooo!" Goku screamed, his body shaking in grief and rage as he stared at the ground, "No!" he said again, this time turning his whole body to face Nappa, his fists in balls as he tried to contain his fury.

"No what?" Nappa roared with laughter, "You can barely stand as it is," he added with a grin, making his way slowly across the battlefield, ready to end the fight.

"You," Goku shook with anger and his body rippled with power, "Will," a strange yellow light began to illuminate the lines of his muscles and the tips of his hair, "PAY FOR THAT!" He screamed at the top of his lungs, his hair turning a golden yellow and his eyes flickering to green as wave after wave of power emanated from his body, buffeting Nappa as he tried to walk across the battlefield. Each of the buildings in the nearby area, fell prey to the destructive power that Goku had summoned to assist him in his grief, the steel supports and concrete pillars of each building buckling under the sheer pressure of the ominous energy.

Goku screamed at the sky in rage as he unleashed the power within himself and the city collapsed around him.

Nappa could only watch in fear at the Saiyan in front of him. The Saiyan who had just been on his last legs after his clash with Vegeta. What was this power?

Goku continued to scream in grief and rage as the power of a Super Saiyan coursed through his body. Empowering his frame with the energy he needed to avenge his friend and protect the planet.

And then the screaming stopped.

"Ughhh," Goku gargled, "Wh-," he tried to speak before he spat blood, sputtering the dark crimson substance over the ground in front of him as his transformation halted and he fell to his knees.

He looked down at his chest to find two feet of steel rebar extruding from his heart. And as the mighty warrior of Earth coughed through the blood that was now pouring out of his mouth and fought the blackness that was encroaching on his vision he saw a bloodied and battered Vegeta pace around to stand in front of him, panting from his own exhaustion, bloodied, and near defeat.

"I know what that was," Vegeta growled, "And that is not power that someone as lowly as you can wield," the Saiyan Prince spat at Goku's knees before he raised a hand.

He didn't have the strength to move

The last thing the valiant warrior Goku saw was the bright purple light of the evil power of the Saiyan Prince Vegeta.

XXX

Kurenai woke, the dull ache of her bones, masked only barely by a haze of painkillers, having been enough to bring her out of her rest. Moonlight shone through the window. There wasn't much of it but it was a clear night, one half of the room sat in a pale blue light while the other was cast into darkness.

She was about to attempt to fall back to sleep when she noticed that someone was sitting next to her.

"Ho-Hokage-sama," she stuttered, her words slightly slurred from a combination of having just woken up and the myriad number of drugs she had coursing through her veins.

"Kurenai," he replied in his warm tone accompanied by a smile.

"What are you doing here so late?" she asked, raising an arm to rub sleep out of her eyes before she winced in pain at the movement.

"I finished late and I wanted to see how you were doing. That and things are becoming serious. I didn't want to worry you, but I need you to tell me exactly what happened last night," he asked with a concerned look on his face, "I don't have time to wait for an official report, I'm sorry."

"No, no," Kurenai said, trying to dissuade his concern, "It's okay, I can try and remember everything."

"Start from the beginning if you would," he said with another smile before sitting back in the chair to hear what she had to say.

"Well, after I took Naruto and Gohan home Gohan was upset about what had happened at the academy. Yuugao would have already told you about him injuring Sasuke, I'm sure," Kurenai was finding it rather easy to recount the prior evening, although the pain of her injuries was a lot clearer now. Maybe there was something wrong with her drip? 'I'll have to enquire in the morning,' she thought to herself before she continued.

"Anyway, he was upset, and Naruto was training with kunai in the yard. Gohan came out later and I managed to convince him to try and practice throwing kunai. It was strange, I spoke him through the actions and next minute he'd buried the kunai up to the hilt in a tree across the yard. I wanted to report that to you as soon as was possible, but I guess what happened next got in the way," she chuckled, wincing in pain at the movement it caused.

"And what did happen next?" Hiruzen asked politely, but still with a sense of urgency.

"We did chakra training after dinner. Naturally, Naruto has been struggling, due to his Jinchuuriki status. But Gohan, I never thought he'd be able to draw chakra. And I guess I was right."

"What do you mean?" the Hokage asked again when it seemed that Kurenai was going to stop her report.

"He did manage to draw something from within himself, but it wasn't chakra, it was something much more destructive. It seems if he's pushed in the right way he has power we can only imagine," she stopped, thinking about what happened next, "After he did that he couldn't control it. And that's how I ended up here."

"Thank you, Kurenai," the Hokage said as he stood and walked to the other side of her bed, "Your help was much appreciated."

He began tapping on her monitoring machine, changing the settings and toying with the numbers.

"Ho-hokage-sama, what are you doing?" she wondered aloud. Now that her drugs were beginning to wear off however, she could finally comprehend the feeling of dread that had been sitting hidden in her stomach the entire conversation.

"Well, we can't have loose ends now can we? I'm sure you'll be remembered," was all he said in reply dropping his henge and turning back to face her as four snakes emerged from beneath her bed and wrapped her arms and legs to its railings.

She opened her mouth to scream but the young boy was much too quick for that, placing his hand over her mouth and loosing a final snake summon that wormed its way into her throat.

He left her struggling on the bed, unable to make a sound. With a few strides he stood at the window and in another few seconds it was open. Adjusting his glasses with his right hand he smiled.

'Orochimaru-sama will be please,'

He launched himself into the open air, relishing the feeling of the cool sensation on his face before disappearing into the night, leaving Kurenai to her fate.

Nobody ever heard the final screams of Kurenai Yuhi as she lay bound to a bed, unable to breath, the slimy, scaly creature in her throat leeching the life from her as she tried to draw breath.

As her oxygen levels dropped and her mind began to wander, her thoughts settled on what made her happy, and the final image she saw before her life left her completely was that of Naruto and Gohan sitting at the dinner table with her.

She looked down at them and smiled, she was their big sister, and she would look after them wouldn't she?

Her heartbeat monitor beeped into the night, each ominous pulse a lie echoing into the world.

XXX

Masinori simply chuckled as he lay in his cell.

These Konoha cells were quite comfortable, he'd seen much worse after all, and he couldn't say that the day hadn't been successful.

He had all the information he needed to return and receive full commendations from the Tsuchikage, but it couldn't hurt to hang around a little longer. While the news was disturbing he couldn't risk even greater intelligence slipping out of his grasp before returning home. He wouldn't let Konoha keep its secrets. They had taken too much from him for him to allow them such a kindness.

Only once he was under threat of cracking did he have any plans to make his escape.

He had a source within the Hokage's office, for now he'd just see how things played out.

xXx

Vegeta had almost not made it in time.

Had he let Kakarot, that filthy traitor scum, finish his transformation and overcome his grief and rage he was sure there would have been no stopping him. He had not doubt that he had just witnessed the power of a super Saiyan.

He walked over to Nappa just as his companion finished dispatching Tien, dropping his corpse to the ground with a broken neck.

"Hahaha, those weaklings never stood a chance against you," Vegeta laughed before his attention was drawn to a nearby movement of rubble, pieces of rock and concrete shifting as somebody struggled to crawl.

"Look what we have here Vegeta, the green man is still alive," Nappa spoke with a sadistic glee as he strode over to Piccolo and picked him up off the ground with one hand, holding him at eye level.

Piccolo looked anything but amused as his torso was cavalierly thrown toward Vegeta, landing at his feet.

Vegeta picked up one foot, reading to obliterate the Namekian with a simple stomp.

'Quick, Piccolo, tell them about the dragon balls,' the prideful warrior heard spoken in his mind, 'Tell them that they will only work if you are alive. It is the only thing that will save you, it's the only thing that will save the planet,' there was only one person that would dare invade his mind at a time like this. Kami.

He hated that old man, but if there was one thing he hated more than listening to that prattling old fool it was dying, and if Kami had a plan to save him so be it.

"Wait!" Piccolo spoke urgently, preventing the impact of Vegeta's heel with his head by only a fraction of a second.

"Vegeta, why don't you just kill him?" Nappa, complained, "I'm getting bored of this planet already."

"Shut up Nappa. With what Kakarot just did I'm curious what this pathetic green excuse for a fighter has to say," Vegeta spat callously at his companion, before turning his gaze toward Piccolo, "What is it. And this better be good or I won't be killing you quickly."

Piccolo growled before he continued, "If you kill me, you won't be able to use the dragon balls."

"The dragon what?"


Well there you have it! Sorry it took so long again. And don't forget to read and review! Keen to hear what you think :).