Konohagakure, Hokage's Tower

Sarutobi found himself becoming steadily more annoyed by the village he loved. First, he was forced to send away his successor's son and pupil on a journey that involved an untested seal array to a largely unknown dimension so they could seek sanctuary with said successor's grandfather. Then, he had to deal with the corrupt civilian council's attempts to assert themselves as the dominant body, which was made somewhat easier by the surprising assistance of Danzo. And finally, he just finished addressing the village as a whole, revealing their foolish gambit had cost them the son of their hero AND an up and coming Jounin.

"Doing all right there sensei?" Jiraiya then came into view on the balcony of the window.

"Yes Jiraiya. After all the shit that has gone on after the Kyuubi attack, I still have to deal with the unholy demon that torments all leaders in power. Paperwork." He still shuddered at the word even after so many decades.

"That's why you'll never see me take the hat. I only write for enjoyment. So, any ideas on the future? I know with Naruto's departure, we've lost not only the thing left to us by Minato, we lost Kakashi, who could easily be a candidate for Hokage in the coming years."

"I know Jiraiya. The future does seem grim for Konoha right now, but we'll pull through this. Just like every other disaster we've faced, the Will of Fire shall burn brighter than ever. I'll make sure of that," finished the aged Hokage with a steely glint in his eye.

"I'm sure old man. I just came by to see how you were coping, and to let you know that I'm leaving for a few years. I got word that Orochimaru joined up with an organization by the name of the Akatsuki. The only things that can said about them so far is that there a mercenary group compromised of S-rank nuke nin who seem interested in the bijuu."

"Very well. I only ask that you send an update every few months."

"Gotcha sensei." Jiraiya then took off in a shunshin, leaving Hiruzen to continue his never ending battle against his nemesis.

Akatsuki Base, Unknown Country

Sitting at a strange tree with a the upper part of what looked like a human male with eight hands surrounding it, Tobi was recovering from his battle with the Yondaime Hokage. Zetsu then phased through the ground to address his master.

"Well? What is the status of Konoha after the Kyuubi attack?" asked a somewhat annoyed Tobi. First, he lost in a fight to that blasted Namikaze, and he probably already sealed the beast away in his brat. Second, he had to replace his arm and recover from said fight. Madara would have been sorely disappointed by the fiasco.

Feeling a rare moment of fear, Zetsu relayed the news of what had happened during and after the Kyuubi's sealing. Tobi remained silent after mulling over the new information he'd been given before letting loose a dark chuckle.

"Well, this actually turned out a lot better than I thought it would." Seeing both halves of Zetsu confused, he continued. "Not only do we no longer have to worry about Kyuubi's jinchuuriki being a future nuisance, the only practical weakness to my Kamui technique went with it as well. Konoha will be mourning for the supposed loss of their saviour and his family, making it a bit easier to carry out our operations. Sure, we'll have the toad sage to worry about snooping around. But he can have Orochimaru after he has outlived his use. Zetsu, I want you to siphon the remainder of Kyuubi's residual chakra for sealing inside the Gedo Mazo. We only need a tails' worth at best to complete our plans for the Juubi. And tell Pein that I will rendezvous with him in the near future about these new factors."

"Hai, Tobi-sama." Zetsu then phased back into the ground to carry out his orders.

Taking off his mask, Obito looked up at the full moon. "Thank you once again Minato-sensei. It seems that in victory, this defeat will be a blessing in the long run for my plans in the future." His right eye then warped to its Mangekyou form. "And then, I can be reunited with dear Rin-hime," he finished with a whisper.

Konoha Forest

Zetsu appeared out of the ground like a ghost, the two halves arguing with itself.

"But Tobi-sama said-"

"Fuck what Tobi said. We'll go along with what he said for now. But we have to find a way to retrieve Kyuubi in the future. Madara-sama said that in order for the plan to succeed, ALL BIJUU must be retrieved and sealed in the Gedo Mazo. It appears he might have to be revived sooner than expected if Tobi continues to act so rash. He may carry Madara-sama's name, but we carry his will. And as such, we must continue to carry it out until he returns," finished the black half in an annoyed tone.

"You're right brother. You always are," said White Zetsu in a sad tone.

"Damn right I am. Now, let's get this chakra so his royal highness won't bitch and try to burn us alive for failure," growled Black Zetsu.

The two halves then split in two to retrieve the chakra before anyone caught on to their presence. Had they paid attention, they would have seen a small white snake with sickly yellow irises looking at them.

Asteroid M, Antarctica

"Lord Magneto, I bring some interesting news." A blue skinned woman with red hair wearing a white dress walked along the metal corridor to a man wearing red body armor and helmet sitting at a giant monitor.

"Very well, Mystique." The man didn't look away from the monitor as he kept examining some equation that flashed across the screen.

"I was observing the Xavier Institute as you have ordered. Sometime during dusk, I detected a fluctuation of energy. At first, I dismissed it since Xavier usually telepathically scans the grounds for intruders. But the power continued to grow until at surpassed any of Xavier's power level recorded in the past. I made my way to grounds in the form of a raven, and observed a rift opening near the mansion."

Catching the last statement, Magneto turned to face his subordinate. Although his face was shadowed to her, he raised his eyebrow in slight surprise. "Continue."

"Once the rift closed, I saw a boy dressed in a strange uniform appear. With him, he was carrying what appeared to be a bundle. The weather manipulator who is staying with him the levitated down to the boy, where she took the bundle from the boy who lost conscious shortly after. The bundle was a baby, who she then gave to Xavier before returning to bring the boy into the mansion. The only other significant event was that Logan returned to mansion later in the evening," Mystique said as she concluded her findings.

"Very good, Mystique. For your next assignment, I want you to return to Bayville on a more permanent basis. Establish an identity for yourself, and continue to observe Xavier until I give you further orders. On a related note, I want you at some point to infiltrate the high school. Either as a teacher, or even the principal. From there, you will observe the students for any sign of mutations for recruitment in the future. I expect a report every six months composed of all your findings."

"Yes Lord Magneto." Mystique then walked out of the room, leaving Magneto to his thoughts.

"Just like all those years ago," he muttered to himself. Memories of Mai and Charles Xavier and the time he spent with them flashed through his mind briefly, before a small smile appeared on his face.

'Looks like things will be changing fairly soon in the near future.' Magneto then returned to the monitor to continue working on his project.

Not an actual chapter, but I figured I'd post something like this to show what's happening in the Elemental Nations with Naruto's absence. Things will be mainly canon until the Suna-Oto Invasion with small splashes of AU. I'll post something like this every few chapters until I reach the Sentinels appears. There, Akatsuki will make their first appearance in the Marvel universe. After this, I'm going to work on A Devilish New Beginning for a few chapters since I finally kicked the writer's block. I've also been editing for any mistakes, but would really appreciate recommendations for a beta. Until next time, Ja-ne.