Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto.
Sarutobi Hiruzen was in his office; early in the morning before the time that any reasonable man could be expected to be at work. He liked to come in early in the morning, it gave him extra time to get started on his paperwork for the day, allowing him to make a sizeable dent before more came in to fill the gap.
It also allowed him to conduct secret mission briefs and debriefings in private without too many unwanted ears and eyes. Although, in a shinobi village, one was never too far away from prying eyes.
For the really sensitive stuff though, the Hokage's office had a built in set of seals that would block all forms of communication outside of the office. Even the very air itself was trapped in the room, meaning that such a seal could only be used for a few hours at the most, before the air inevitably ran out.
The seals were active right now, for this was a very sensitive matter.
"Report." The Hokage's tone was crisp, authoritative and brooked no argument.
"Yes Hokage-sama. I entered the underground ROOT complex in which the target was hiding, and proceeded to make my way through until I came upon a gathering of over 200 ROOT shinobi."
The Hokage did not so much as twitch, even though he was slightly surprised internally.
"Danzo's little army was not as little as I thought."
"I attempted to assassinate the target using long range methods, however that failed and alerted the compound, causing the target to retreat into his office. I was forced to attack head on."
Hiruzen's eyes narrowed slightly. Danzo was a superb fighter.
"I managed to subdue the target, before carrying out my contract.
"And there were no…complications?" The Hokage sounded slightly sceptical, after all Danzo was a powerful warrior, even if his talents lay in subterfuge and misdirection.
"No Hokage-sama, I was able to battle him to a standstill, before using a clone to strike from behind when he was unprepared."
That allayed the Hokage's fears. Anko had done extremely well, and had performed to the best of her ability in carrying out this mission. He said as much to the snake assassin.
Before dismissing her, the Hokage asked her one last question.
"Is that all Anko?"
Anko wanted to scream. She wanted to rise up from the floor and tell the Hokage the truth, about how she had failed him. About how he had placed his trust in her and she had been unable to carry the burden on her shoulders. She wanted to say how she was totally and utterly destroyed by Danzo, and she had been captured like an amateur.
Her body trembled in its' kneeling position, shoulders shaking and legs tensed to pounce.
The seal on her neck, not the cursed seal, but a more recently applied seal, glowed on her neck briefly, exerting its presence on her.
Anko's body calmed, her shoulders relaxed and the tension seemed to bleed out of her legs.
The Hokage nodded. "You are dismissed Anko, have a rest, you have earned it."
Anko rose from her position, and walked out of the room. "Fucking seals!"
The seal, as if in response to her thought, sent a sharp lance of pain through her body.
Hiruzen sat back in his seat, mind replaying the conversation he had just had with Anko. She had seemed troubled, and her movements reminded him of someone in pain. He attributed it to the fact that she had most likely sustained injuries in the battle and was too proud to show it to him. Still, she had pulled through admirably; he knew he could place his trust in her.
Danzo was dead, Hiruzen had played his move, and now the enemy were missing their leader. The ROOT shinobi would be leaderless, and would know what to do. Danzo had created an army of emotionless ninja, but had neglected to establish a clear chain of command; as such the ROOT should be floundering in the dark.
The next order of business would be to deal with his friends. He would not send an assassin this time; he wanted to hear their reasons from their own mouths. For all he knew, Danzo could have strong-armed or blackmailed them into compliance. He still held hope that they would not be against him.
He still held hope, but not naivety. If they were against him, he would not hesitate to strike them down where they stood. None would get away with even entertaining the thought of betrayal. For Konoha, where teamwork and the Will of Fire were of paramount importance, betrayal was the worst of crimes.
Ironically, Konoha had the most notorious traitors in the world.
Rokushou Aoi, Orochimaru and more recently Uchiha Itachi to name but a few.
Putting thoughts of betrayal out of his mind, he retrieved his crystal ball, using it to keep tabs on one Uzumaki Naruto. He had originally helped Naruto and mentioned how to stick to walls, to make his time in Konoha easier to bear and to give him a better chance at escape.
Naruto had taken those few tips, and turned it into something terrifying.
Spying on the blonde, who was also up early and training in an abandoned training ground, he observed Naruto attempting to perfect his, for lack of a better term, breakthrough.
His technique of manipulating his surroundings enabled the blonde to create a bastardized version of every elemental technique. The only thing Naruto needed was imagination.
And lots of Chakra. Sarutobi had attempted it himself. He had found that it required absurd amounts of Chakra, enough to make a jounin stagger after one use, to perform. Thereby making it unique to Naruto. He was the only one who had the necessary imagination and Chakra to use it.
Sarutobi sighed to himself softly "What a wasteful technique. But the possibilities are endless."
Naruto had progressed slightly from two days ago when he had experienced his first success in his current line of training. He was now trying to decrease the amount of concentration needed, or rather, increase his multitasking capability. He was attempting to keep the ball of earth held together and suspended in the air while he simultaneously was hanging from a branch by his feet using chakra.
Well, that was the end goal. At the moment he could about 6 to 7 minutes before he invariably lost control and the ball crumbled.
It didn't matter to him though; he was still chuffed at his victory.
"Who's the man? Huh? I am! That's right I am!" Naruto was not the most humble of people.
"When I finally get this down I'm gonna be so awesome!" He could see it in his mind, him cloaked in a long dark trench coat blowing in the wind, with a shiny forehead protector upon his forehead. Surrounded by enemy ninjas, he would call the earth to do his bidding, while simultaneously commanding the water to wash around him in a deadly typhoon. Huge golems rising from the ground and trampling his foes while horses of fire stampeded through. And him, sitting in the middle of it all, with a bowl of ramen and a cute girl on his arm.
As Naruto fantasised he let out a small dribble of drool from his lips, caught up in the moment.
Time passed by, with Naruto alternately training or fantasising.
It was a nice, sunny morning in Konoha, and people were milling about. The sun shined its rays down upon Konoha's populace, empowering them with energy.
One particular ray, just going about its' business, raying down upon everyone with its brilliant rayness, was traveling through the training grounds of Konoha. After all, even animals needed sunrays, and this ray was going to deliver it, whether they wanted it or not. As it was passing through one particular training ground, it noticed a blonde boy, lying in front of a large pile of dirt, with drool coming out of his mouth.
Despite shining in the boy's face with all his intensity, he still wouldn't stir.
Gathering its' courage, the ray condensed itself into the form of a hand, delivering a swift, sharp slap to the boy's face, before hurriedly retreating into the sky.
Naruto snapped back just in time to see a flash of light in front of him, with his cheek in pain.
Realization struck him.
"IT WAS YOU!" Naruto had found the perpetrator, that cheeky sunray was hightailing it out of there.
Somewhere, Naruto heard a sound, as if a raspberry had been blown at him.
Angry from the slap, Naruto glanced at his watch, suddenly realizing the time.
"Academy starts in 10 minutes, I better get going, wouldn't wanna miss my own team placements!"
With a last glare at the sky, the blonde turned around and started making his way to the academy; mind lost in thought yet again about how he would improve his technique.
8 minutes later
Naruto walked in through the doors of the academy with a pensive expression, walking in and taking his usual seat. He did not expect to see Ino there instead. Giving her a lightly perplexed expression, Naruto said,
"Uh Ino? That's my seat." Ino blinked in confusion, before looking around the seat, inspecting every part of the chair, even getting up and checking underneath to make sure.
Naruto was really confused now.
Ino finished her check before plopping back down in the seat, and turning to Naruto with a questioning look.
"I can't see your name on this chair. So how can it be your seat?" Naruto realized what she had been doing and immediately glared at her.
Ino only sent back an innocent smile.
Naruto sighed, before lowering himself into the chair beside her.
"Excited for your team placement, Ino?"
Glancing at him the girl replied to his question, "Not really, I already know I'm going to be with Chouji and Shikamaru. It's practically guaranteed judging by their success of our fathers' team. What about you? Excited?"
"Hell yeah! I'm gonna be on the best team ever, no matter whom I'm with, cos they'll have me on their team. I bet I'm gonna get a kickass sensei as well. Maybe that Asuma character. I heard he's got blades of wind as his weapons! Ooh I know, I'm gonna get the Hokage himself as my sensei, he's the only one who can handle my awesomeness."
Ino slapped him, stopping his speech and bringing him back to earth.
"Idiot! How can the Hokage be a jounin-sensei? He's got all sorts of responsibilities; he can't take time out to babysit an idiot like you." Ino's face was exasperated.
Naruto just turned his face, and replied to Ino petulantly.
"He's still gonna be my sensei."
Ino didn't even bother to respond, she just settled for rolling her eyes up, as if beseeching some higher power why they had sent this boy to irritate her.
Just then Iruka strolled into the room, taking in the anticipating students with a smile on his face.
"First off, let me start by congratulating everyone on passing the test. I know it wasn't easy and you have all performed excellently. I am proud in all of you. Now then, the teams have been decided, and I must remind you that these teams will not be subject to change. Meaning that whatever team you end up with, will be your team. No amount of complaining will change that. Does everyone understand?"
Iruka called out the teams, which ended up being Team 7 as Naruto, Ino and Sasuke with Hatake Kakashi as a sensei. Team 8 as Hinata, Shino and Kiba with Yuuhi Kurenai as a sensei. Lastly, Team 10 as Sakura, Chouji and Shikamaru were a team with Sarutobi Asuma as a sensei.
Iruka then wished them luck in their careers as Shinobi before giving them instruction to wait for their instructors to pick them up.
One by one, the other teams sensei's came to collect them, whisking away to parts unknown. Team 7 were the last team left. Naruto lasted 10 minutes in silence before breaking.
"What the hell! Where is that guy? He's our sensei, he should be here on time at least!" Naruto was cried out, angry at the insult against his self-worth.
"Calm down Idiot, I'm sure he's slightly busy and probably caught up in something. By the way, I'm more annoyed than you at the team I'm stuck with. I've got an Orange headache and a broody dark prince on my team. What have I done wrong to deserve such a fate?"
Uchiha Sasuke twitched and narrowed his eyes at the girl.
"I mean Naruto, you never take anything seriously, all you do is laugh and joke and prank other people with no respect."
Naruto winced, but didn't comment.
"And you Sasuke, all you do is sit there brooding about your dark past, well wake up loser, you're not the only one with bad memories."
The room suddenly grew colder, interrupting Ino in her ill-timed tirade and causing Naruto to perk up on guard.
"And what bad memories would those be Ino?" Sasuke's voice was like ice, his breath almost seeming to crystallise the air in front of him.
He rose from his seat, and began walking towards Ino, hands twitching almost imperceptibly at his sides.
"Would those be the ones that show you family lying dead around you. The ones that show you how they were butchered like pigs in their sleep. Would those be the memories of you desperately running to save your parents to see them cut down mercilessly. To be too useless, too weak to do anything. The memories that show your entire family being repeatedly killed while you can do naught but watch. The memories that show the streets running red with blood."
Sasuke was almost shouting by the end of the speech, hands balled into fists and eyes glinting with murderous rage. He seemed ready to strike Ino, who had realized that she had overstepped a boundary that should never be crossed.
"So tell me Ino" one could hear the loathing dripping from the name "What bad memories would those BE?!"
Ino cowered back in fear, eyes closing, before she was suddenly covered in shadow.
"Hey Sasuke, step away from her and calm down!" Naruto seemed ready to get physical if required. He had his hands tense and ready by his sides, while his legs were coiled and ready to unleash their energy. Similarly, his chakra seemed to be flickering wildly.
Sasuke looked at Naruto, not as one would look at a person, but as one would look at a sworn enemy, hate visible in his eyes. For a moment, it seemed as if the two were to come to blows.
Sasuke took a deep breath and calmed himself, the tension visibly draining out of his shoulders before his cold, aloof countenance had been restored.
Naruto did not budge, continuing to eye him critically. "You good now?"
Sasuke responded with a curt "I'm fine." Before turning around to return to his seat.
Naruto watched him go before spinning to face Ino, who had regained her composure. She flashed Naruto a wide smile and a quiet thanks, attempting to brush the encounter under the rug. Naruto just gave her an icy stare, not betraying any emotions, before returning to his seat. Ino watched him, confused at his attitude.
The three genin lapsed back into silence.
As the three genin of team 7 were getting acquainted with each other. Shimura Danzo was plotting. It was a plot of nefarious origins, however it was ultimately practical. At least, that is what Danzo thought of it.
Yes, he decided, being dead has its perks. With the suspicion off of himself. He was free to move faster and without fear of discovery. As long as he didn't draw attention, he was effectively invisible, and that fit in nicely with his plans.
The pieces were largely in place. A few more tweaks were needed, but by this point the operation was self-running. With Koharu and Homura providing insider intelligence, his ROOT conducting various acts of sabotage around the village, and him personally supervising the process it was unstoppable.
Yes, within a month, the operation would be ready to launch, and he would be free to take what was his rightful place.
"Danzo-sama" The bandaged elder turned to face his newest acquisition.
"Ahh, Anko-chan, how nice of you to join me. You answered my summons promptly."
"Bastar.." A sharp pain was sent shooting through her body, cutting her off mid reply and bringing her to her knees.
"Well, the untameable spirit is still there, such a strong character Anko-chan." Danzo was smiling now. Despite his prodigious skill in battle, and his shadowy influence that stretched into Konoha's roots, this is what he lived for. This feeling of absolute control and domination. This is the one position in which he felt most content. Giving orders and knowing that they would be carried out without question was an almost euphoric feeling for him.
But it was not enough, control over a single solitary shinobi was all well and good, but any fool could control another. No what Danzo wanted was something similar yet different, he wanted control over the whole of Konoha, from its oldest resident, to its most distinguished shinobi, to its youngest newborn baby.
He wanted everyone to answer to him. Including Sarutobi.
And this feisty snake charmer, would play a crucial role in bringing that vision to fruition.
"Be quiet and listen closely now, I have a … mission of sorts for you. You are to infiltrate the …."
As the bandaged elder laid out his mission, the snake kunoichi grew more and more horrified by the details, and struggled all the more mightily against the seal on her body.
It was all for naught.
Review from ladygoddess8:
I really like Anko and hope she isn't forced to become a bad person just because of Danzo. He needs to die.
Response to ladygoddess8:
Well, I like Anko too, but sometimes certain things must be done. For the plot of course, and not for my enjoyment.
Review from The Immortal Doctor Reid:
Wait if Mizuki isn't there to tell Naruto to steal the Forbidden Scroll, then ergo he doesn't realise he's the Kyuubi's jailer or learns the Kage Bunshin no Jutsu, but maybe that's the idea? Maybe you want him to become better without depending on Shadow Clones? Also, I hope Anko escapes and Danzo dies brutally
Response to The Immortal Doctor Reid:
Mizuki isn't there anymore, but don't worry he will be used as an important plot point. He is needed for now, and still has his uses. Damn, I'm thinking like Danzo atm. In this fic, I tried to make Naruto a bit smarter than he is in canon, and to turn him into a free thinking badass by having him learn in his own way rather than be taught.
Review from Mazzax:
I'm worried about Anko now. I get the feeling that Danzo has something planned for her. Why would Sarutobi want her to go in unprepared, anyway? That doesn't make sense.
I am curious whether Naruto is going to learn Kage Bunshin at some point in this story. I think it could go either way, but I can't think of a way it would come up. Unless he sees his sensei use physical clones, and asks to learn how to make them.
Response to Mazzax:
Sarutobi was a bit panicky, and made the most rational decision under the circumstances, he had just realised his oldest friends were plotting to kill him. That would shake anyone to the core, Hokage or not. What he did was partly revenge, and partly practical. Ergo, Anko had to go in as soon as possible to limit the damage.
Review from Prenumbra:
You're off to an okay start so far. Hopefully you'll pace yourself and not rush the story along. As for chapter two I had to check and see if I was reading the same story about halfway through, that was an extreme shift in tone there. Looking forward to the next one.
Looking forward to the next one.
Response to Prenumbra:
I plan to pace myself, however once exams are over I'll have more time to devote, so it's possible that more chapters may be written faster. Chapter 2 was a tester of sorts, to see what I could get away with, and wether my humour is acceptable.
Review from NoSinglixRule:
Damn, the angry mob and the civilian council... Hidden villages are military dictatorships. There is no such thing as civilian council. It doesn't make any sense. And the mob makes even less sense... Good writing, but the lack of logic behind the story isn't appealing. I'll give the story a chance only because of the writing skills that are above the average.
The council meeting is horrible. Fairness in the ninja village? Really?
Why do the authors keep doing this BS again and again?
Good writing, but the lack of logic behind the story isn't appealing. I'll give the story a chance only because of the writing skills that are above the average.
Response to NoSinglixRule:
Plot device. I couldn't think of any others there, however I do plan on going back at some point in the future and making it more believable/realistic. I am aiming for realism here.
Also, in the Naruto world, Villages are portrayed as being civilian towns, with Ninja forces garrisoned there. I.e, its a normal town that produces ninjas as well. It makes sense for there to be a dual ninja/civilian council, for dealing with their respective matters.
Review from the foxy wolf:
love the paper coming to life and the hokage fighting it, that is new please keep it up!
Response to the foxy wolf:
Thanks for the support, I'll try my best.
Review from zafnak:
Uhhh...the Hokage was attacked by..paperwork? Cool
Response to zafnak:
I know right !
Review from BajanDiva:
You can't suck a reader in and then leave them hanging like that!? What happens to Anko?! What happens to Naruto and the others!?
Response to BajanDiva:
Read on and find out!