Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto or any other series that I might use for inspiration.
"Oh sochi-kun! It's you, it's really y...aaaaaah!" Kushina cried out in surprise as the blonde Uzumaki grabbed her by the shoulder and threw her over his head, sending her crashing into the ground.
Without skipping a beat, Naruto sent a super fast punch straight toward his fallen mother's abdomen, the impact of the attack sending shockwaves throughout the surface of the earth, causing dust and debri to fly around as a big crater formed under and around where he was standing.
'I...I missed...!' Naruto thought in surprise, realising that the Uzumaki Kushina that he was about to take out was no longer positioned where she was before he executed his move, which could only mean one thing, he had missed, and he had missed because she was fast enough to keep up with his top speed.
"Somehow, I pictured my reunion with my son to go a little differently from this. Hugs and kisses, tears of joy, a big smile, and love declarations would have been much more appreciated. It pains my heart that my own son would so readily attack his own mother without so much as a greeting, I think I need to have a little 'word' with whoever was raising you up until now. Clearly they know nothing about raising a child." Kushina said with a stoic expression, although, if one paid attention to her eyes, a whole storm of emotions could almost easily be identified.
'A nine-tailed chakra cloak, is that the source of her speed...?' Naruto thought as he looked up at his mother, a very beautiful woman she was Naruto had to admit to himself, with long, silky red hair, beautiful violet eyes, smooth, creamy skin and a body to die for - wearing tight black shinobi pants, dark blue shinobi sandals and a sleeveless blue top with the a small Uzumaki spiral at the centre of her stomach and a big one at the back. She was also wearing black fingerless gloves and ofcourse was covered in a red nine-tailed, fox-shaped chakra cloak.
"I'm afraid that person is unavailable at the moment, I'll be sure to pass on the message though." Naruto replied casually
'Why couldn't I sense her chakra before, even when she was literally touching me?' Naruto pondered.
"Are you mocking me...?" Kushina trailed off with a threatening undertone, finding it very hard to resist the urge to grab Naruto, bend him over her knee, pull down his pants, and give him a hard spanking for mocking his own mother, the thought of doing her first act of motherly duty however warming her heart and quickly erasing the ire and righteous indignity she was feeling only a few seconds ago, causing her to smile happily out of nowhere, the blonde Uzumaki wondering why such an emotionally unstable person was made a jinchuuriki in the first place.
"Who knows, maybe I am mocking you, maybe I'm not. Does it really matter?" Naruto asked patronizingly.
"I guess it doesn't matter, I just wanted to confirm that you are my son. Now I'm sure of it, the way you look, the sound of your voice, the way you fight...and this feeling I have deep in my heart when I look at you, I'm certain now that you are my Naruto-kun I don't know how that masked bastard made such a convincing fake corpse, but I know without a shadow of doubt that you are my real son, I can feel it...!" Kushina trailed off darkly, feelings of rage and even insanity bubbling in her heart at the thought of what she would do to that man if she ever met him again for taking away the first twelve years of her son's life away from her.
"So...what are you going to do about it, the fact that I am your biological son that is?" Naruto asked condescendingly.
"I'm going to make sure that you never leave my side again. I will coddle you, kiss you, hug you, and shower you with all of the love in me. I'll hold on to you forever...I'm never going to lose my baby again, I'll make sure of it!" Kushina exclaimed passionately.
"I see...well, before you do that, how about you answer a question for me. You can consider this your first lesson to me from mother to son if you want..." Naruto trailed off.
"Wow! I never even thought of that! My first imparting of knowledge to my son? Okay! What do you want to know sochi-kun?" Kushina asked excitedly.
'Is this idiot really my mother?' Naruto wondered once again.
"Well, I just want to know why it is that I couldn't sense your chakra earlier. Do you think you can tell me about that?" Naruto asked with feigned politeness.
"Oooooooh! Your first lesson about the history of our clan! This is so wonderful I...I think I'm going to cry!" Kushina said happily wiping a few tears from her eyes with the back of her hand.
'Okay, there is no way that she could have survived this long by being this stupid, surely she isn't that much of an idiot. Maybe she's just eccentric that's all, an eccentric woman who might just be using her eccentrics to distract me, but for what purpose? To buy time for back-up to arrive maybe?' Naruto thought to himself.
"Okay, enough crying, how about that lesson now...?" Naruto asked softly.
"I'll tell you if you say 'please mom'." Kushina said, giving the blonde a,in his opinion, ludacris ultimatum.
"No, I will not say that." Naruto said plain and simply.
"Then I guess you'll never know." Kushina replied, sticking out her toungue childishly, causing the blonde Uzumaki to sigh in exasperation.
"That's fine by me, it's not like I don't already know your secret anyway. All I wanted was confirmation." Naruto said dismissively, causing Kushina to deflate considerably.
"Y-you know? But how...wait a minute! This is a trick isn't it? You don't actually know anything, you're just trying to trick me into telling you. Reverse psychology...haaaah! As if that would ever work on me dattebane!" Kushina exclaimed childishly, causing Naruto to sigh once again, unable to believe that he was actually going to fall for this fool's taunting remarks.
"The ability to completely extinguish your chakra is not unique only to you you know. There have been others before you, more especially in the Uzumaki clan, the Shodaime Uzukage being one such person, and the Nidaime Tshuchikage, Muu being the only non-Uzumaki known to possess such an ability. I must confess, I was completely caught off guard earlier when you managed to sneak up on me, I never even considered to make provision for someone of the current generation of shinobi to have that kind of ability, it doesn't make it any easier that this info is not recorded in your bingo book entry either." Naruto explained neutrally.
Ofcourse, Naruto knew that both he and Zetsu possessed such an ability, but their's was limited. They could only completely erase their chakra signature as long as they were merged onto a surface, especially trees, unlike Kushina who could just extinguish it at will.
"That's because I've killed everyone that I've used this ability against, with you being the only exception, Naruto-kun." Kushina said with a loving smile.
"A decision that I am shortly going to make you regret, but before that, explain to me how it is, that even with that ability, you are able to completely extinguish your chakra considering your...special circumstance?" Naruto asked curiously.
"You mean considering the fact that I'm a jinchuuriki?" Kushina asked retorically.
"Yes." Naruto confirmed.
"Well, chakra is chakra at the end of the day, whether it is mine or the Kyubi's. Besides, only a small portion of my bijuu's chakra filters through my chakra system at all times, the rest remains constantly locked away in the seal. Consider the seal as another dimesion of sorts, and imagine that there is a small pipe linking that dimension to my chakra network, and that pipe had a gate that regulates the amount of chakra passing through. As you are in the same dimension as me, as a sensor type, which I'm sure you are, you can sense my chakra and the kyubi's chakra circulating in my chakra network, but you cannot actually sense the rest of the kyubi's chakra because it is locked away in the seal, in other words, in another dimension. Now because you can only sense the chakra that is circulating in my network, all I have to do is to extinguish that chakra, which consists of mine and the little bit of the kyubi's chakra that is there at all times, and bam...! I become totally undetectable." Kushina explained carefully.
"I see what you..."
"Finally...!" Kushina cut in crisply, not liking for Naruto to interupt her during a lesson.
"My chakra is special, even within the Uzumaki clan, it has special chakra supression properties that made me an ideal jinchuuriki candidate, in other words, I can supress other people's, or creature's chakra just as well as I can supress my own. So even if you could sense all of the kyubi's chakra, I would still be able to supress and extinguish it anyway, and if you plan to rebel against me right now...you will get a first hand account and experience of my chakra supression abilities..." Kushina trailed off with a threatening undertone.
"Rebel against you...?" Naruto asked with a quirked eyebrow.
"What else would you call a son who attacks and tries to capture his own mother for a criminal organisation that plans to extract a bijuu from her and kill her? A son who refuses to come home willingly when his mother asks of him, what can you call such a person either than a rebel?" Kushina asked retorically.
'Great, now they all know about our plan thanks to Itachi! I guess there's no point in pretending to be a simple mercenary organisation anymore...' Naruto thought irritably.
"You said it yourself, you're special even within the Uzumaki clan. You survived the first bijuu extraction, therefore, you can survive another one. Allow yourself to be captured, and we promise not to harm you or anyone of your loved ones...or anyone from your ninja village! If you resist, alot of people are going to die for your sake, are you really that self-centred? Are you really that selfish? That you would let so many people die because you want to hold on to the power of a bijuu?" Naruto asked with mock concern.
"That's your ultimatum? Surrender and allow myself to be captured and you promise not to harm me or my loved ones and comrades? Well, let me give you a counter ultimatum, surrender and allow yourself to be raised in a warm and loving home, by both your mother and your father, who love you very much, or I will kill and destroy everyone of your thug friends from Akatsuki, one by one until you change your mind." Kushina said furiously.
"Have you forgotten about the corpse on this battlefield, the corpse that I am responsible for? Hypothetically speaking, if I were to accept your offer, how would you keep me out of prison, how would you keep me from being executed for my crime? And even if you could do that, wouldn't that put your husband's position in jeapardy, surely everyone would see it as blatant favoritism, surely there would be a risk of a revolution against the Hokage?" Naruto asked retorically.
"Don't be silly, we'd obviously blame the whole thing on Madara and Itachi. They are both already responsible for many deaths in the village, adding one more shinobi to that list won't make a difference really." Kushina countered swiftly.
"And what of Kakashi, Kurenai and Asuma? They know I was the one that fought Gai, they'd know that you are lying." Naruto pointed out.
"We would make knowledge of that an S class secret not to be discussed or ever mentioned again, even in one's own thoughts...under the penalty of death. And that is only because of Minato-kun, if it were up to me...I would personally silence them myself!" Kushina said darkly.
"I might still do that if they prove themselves unreliable..." Kushina trailed off with a thoughtful expression.
"Wow, you're such a sadistic woman." Naruto stated matter of factly.
"Another lesson for you to learn, this is the Uzumaki way. We don't put anything before family, family comes first...always!" Kushina said with a serious tone.
"Then come and join me, stand by my side and create a new world with us, the Akatsuki. A world without war, without pain, without losers, and without suffering, a world of peace. Akatsuki is the new world order, those who aid us in our quest for peace will be rewarded, those who stand against peace will be slaughtered. This is the time to choose sides, I advise you to choose wisely..." Naruto trailed off with a warning undertone.
"You're just a child, my child! I don't get to join you, you are mine, and you will follow my lead. This is a lesson you're going to have to learn, and it seems like you're hell bent on learning it the hard way, in which case...I shall indulge you!" Kushina exclaimed at the end, having begun with a much softer tone as she flew at the blonde Uzumaki at an incredible speed.
'She's fast!' Naruto thought as he blocked Kushina's punch, however, having underestimated his delicate looking mother's physical strength, the blonde Uzumaki found himself getting pushed back a great distance, totally outclassed by his mother in the strength department, his legs digging a long trench into the ground before stopping a good 30 metres away from his starting position.
'Not only is she faster than Gai in his seven gates mode, but she's also stronger. She almost broke right through my guard, is this the power of the nine tails?' Naruto thought to himself.
"What makes you think you can afford to space out on me?" Kushina asked as she sent her left arm now at the blonde Uzumaki's face, Naruto reacting by grabbing Kushina's fist with the palm of his smaller hand, the impact creating a powerful shockwave as the blonde Uzumaki used all of his strength just to stay standing, the strain visibly showing on his facial features, as much as he tried to hide it.
"You seem to be struggling there tigre, is mommy being a little too rough on you? Should I take it a little easy?" Kushina taunted with a sadistic smirk.
"This is nothing." Naruto replied with a surprisingly calm tone, although the strain could absolutely not be hidden from his face no matter how much he tried.
'He's way too strong for someone this young, if my chakra is strong even within the clan, then without a shadow of a doubt his body is strong even within the clan. He'll probably match or even surpass my strength and speed in this mode in three to four years.' Kushina thought as she pushed harder against the blonde, moving him further backwards but not that far and not that fast either.
'I thought he would change tactics by now, but he's determined to try and outmuscle me no matter what it takes. I guess I'll have to show him the real difference between he and I.' Kushina thought, instantly manifesting a chakra limb that quickly encircled the younger Uzumaki in a death grip, squeezing very very hard against young Naruto's body, causing him to wince slightly as the strain on his body intensified.
"Give up Naruto-kun, it's over. You're going home with me. You may have matched me in speed, but my strength and diversity are superior to yours. You're no match for me in a taijutsu battle." Kushina taunted triumphantly.
"It's true that your taijutsu is superior to mine thanks to your superior strength and your extra limb..."
"Extra limbs!" Kushina cut in, correcting the young Akatsuki as she used chakra shape manipulation to turn her remaining eight tails into identical arms to the one that was holding down the blonde Uzumaki.
"Tche...show off." Naruto commented with a small roll of the eyes.
"It's not that I want to brag to you, I just wanted to make clear to you the difference between you and I, so that you may realise just how futile it is for you to mount a resistence against your dear and loving mother. I want you to know that you will never be too old for me to give you a good all loving spanking." Kushina said with a small smirk.
"I can't believe such an ignorant and arrogant show off survived this long in the shinobi world, do you really think that all battles are decided by taijutsu alone?" Naruto asked retorically.
"What do you..." Kushina was cut off before she could finish asking her question as a circular, transparent barrier formed around the blonde Uzumaki before spreading out, forcefully loosening the chakra limb grip that Kushina had on the blonde Uzumaki until the limb became completely useless, as it was no longer able to hold onto the young Akatsuki.
"Gunbai Barrier Technique" Naruto whispered as he floated down back to the earth in the bubble like barrier.
'A barrier technique, executed through that battle formation fan? Come to think about it, didn't Uchiha Madara...' Kushina trailed off, eyes widening slightly as she put one and two together in her deceptively brilliant mind.
"I didn't really want to believe it, I mean, everything pointed towards it being true, but somehow, I wanted to think that the masked bastard was just an imposter. But that weapon on your back...I guess you really were raised by the legendarily pathetic Uchiha Madara." Kushina said with a tone fully laced with hatred and disgust.
"A difference of opinion, anyway, what are you going to do now, mother? Your superior taijutsu doesn't seem so powerful right now does it?" Naruto taunted with a straight face.
'Seems like they have been gathering intel on Madara-sama, I wonder how much they actually know about him? Did Hashirama or Tobirama leave any records behind about him?' Naruto thought wearily, knowing that, having fought him on so many occassions, the Senju brothers would know more about Madara than anyone else out there, excluding him, Zetsu, and Obito ofcourse.
"You really need to get that huge stick out of your ass you know sochi-kun..." Kushina said irritably.
'Damnit! By the looks of it, nothing in my arsenal short of a tailed beast ball can breach that barrier, and even then, there are no guarantees. Not to mention, he also has that gunbai reflection technique that he used to defeat Gai, a jutsu that reflects all forms of attack back to the caster. I could use that as an opening to attack him from his blind spot since he has to drop the barrier in order to reflect my jutsu, but a tailed beast ball explosion is not ideal considering how close we are to the village. I guess at the end of the day I'll have to use that jutsu...although I can't help but feel like I'm cheating..." Kushina thought contemplatively.
'Oh well who cares, as long as I get my sochi-kun back I don't give a rat's ass really.' Kushina thought with a mischievious smirk, clasping her hands together to form a single ram hand seal.
"I don't know what jutsu you're planning to use, but whatever it is, I wouldn't bother if I were you. Nothing can breach my gunbai barrier." Naruto said matter of factly.
"Hn! Lets find out shall we?" Kushina replied with a confident smirk.
"Secret Sealing Art: Chakra Suppresion Chains!" Kushina whispered, causing a sealing matrix to appear on Naruto's torso, the seal releasing a multitude of chakra chains, the chains exhibiting a gold aura as they intantly wrapped themselves around the blonde Uzumaki's body, the chains rendering him completely immobile despite his best efforts to wriggle free of them, the gunbai barrier also dissipitating instantly.
'I can't mold chakra...I see, so her chakra extinguishing abilities are not limited to herself, she really can extinguish any form and anyone's chakra.' Naruto reasoned.
"Aaaaaw don't look so disapointed sochi-kun, it might very well be that no attacks can penetrate through your gunbai barrier, however, what if the attack was launched from within the barrier?" Kushina teased.
"Rubbing salt into my wounds huh? You know, if you were going for the sweet and loving mother persona, then you have failed spectacularly." Naruto said matter of factly.
"Haah! Don't get ahead of yourself Naruto-kun, you're far too young to know what true love is, or how it is expressed. Actually, as a man, you can never understand the true dynamics of a mother's love for her son." Kushina retorted.
"Whatever." Naruto said dismissively.
"You know, you don't seem overly concerned about your capture, surely you don't really believe that you can escape my chains do you?" Kushina taunted.
"You can't keep me in these chains forever, at some point, you're going to have to release this jutsu. I could make my escape at any time after that point."
"Hn, baka baka baka baka! Do you honestly believe Minato-kun and I would ever allow you to leave us again? Don't be stupid! Minato-kun will tag you with his jutsu formula as soon as I introduce you to him! After that, you'll always be within our reach! You can rebel all you want, but eventually, you'll become our sweet and caring son like you were always meant to be. I will personally make sure of that, it is a mother's duty after all..." Kushina trailed off darkly.
"Hn, you can believe whatever it is that makes you happy, I don't care." Naruto said dismissively.
"You'll come around eventually. In any case, I'm curious, you don't seem surprised by my chakra supression chain. I already know that you're not a clone, so why is it that you don't seem even remotely bothered?" Kushina asked wearily.
"I did feel a slight tingle on my torso when I dropped you onto the ground earlier, and I sensed your chakra making contact with me. At the time, I thought that it was just because you activated your chakra cloak, that it was just your cloak making contact with my skin. But now I realise, you're a perfect jinchuuriki, which means that you have taken the Kyubi's chakra and made it your own, thereby syncing it with your own chakra, that's why it was difficult even for me to discern exactly what was happening at the time. In any case, even if you hadn't used that deception, there really isn't anything I could have done about this seal even if I knew what you had done." Naruto explained.
"Wow sochi-kun, that was so...perfect!" Kushina squeeled with stars in her eyes.
'My boy is so smart, powerful, and talented! Take that Mikoto-teme! My son will surpass even Itachi-kun! You just wait and see...' Kushina thought happily.
"But...there's one thing that you got wrong, it would have made a difference if I hadn't used that deception with the fox's chakra, because I wouldn't have been able to move fast enough to execute this sealing jutsu without using this mode. In any case, I hope this doesn't deflate your confidence too much sochi-kun, you're far more powerful than any 12 year old in the world I'm sure, in fact, having defeated Gai so comfortably even in his seven gates mode, you're clearly capable of fighting at the level of a Kage. You just need a little more experience that's all, and ofcourse, a mother!" Kushina said excitedly.
'What does having a mother have to do with that?' Naruto wondered, resisting the urge to roll his eyes once again at the one track minded fool in front of him.
"So sochi-kun, shall we go home now?" Kushina asked retorically, stretching her arm out with her palm facing the blonde Uzumaki, another chakra chain bursting out of the palm of her hand and attaching to the chains restricting the younger Uzumaki, Kushina prepairing herself to literally drag her son back to the Hidden Leaf Village.
"Well, you beat me fair and square, however, let me apologise in advance, because I don't have any intention of going home with you just yet, Okaa-sama." Naruto said with a sinister smirk.
"What do you...nooo...!" A horrified Kushina screamed, releasing the most heart wrenching cry that had ever come from her, at least, not since that day twelve years ago when she found out that her son had been killed right after birth, the Uzumaki princess watching in horror as her son's body morphed and shapeshifted into the body of middle aged rogue shinobi, a middle aged shinobi who was clearly dead now, his face spotting a horrified and pained expression in his death.
"So that's my mother huh? Hn, that crazy woman, I bet she's crying her eyes out right about now." Naruto thought out loud, a sinister and satisfied smirk morphing onto his facial features.
He was currently inside a cave about fifty kilometres away from Konoha, the cave having been secured by a combination of his barrier techniques and Itachi's genjutsu, after all, it would have been bad for them if anyone had stumbled upon them while they were unconscious, especially if said person had any unfriendly intentions. Right across from him was his partner Uchiha Itachi, seated, much like he was, with his legs crossed between the other and his eyes closed.
'So he hasn't been defeated yet? I imagine if Kushina was the one who came after me, then certainly the powerful chakra I sensed near Itachi must have belonged to the Yellow Flash. What are they doing, exchanging intel about Akatsuki? Kuso! I could so easily kill this traitor right now, he wouldn't even know he was dead until he was reunited with his clan in the afterlife.' Naruto thought in frustration.
"There they are, two of the legendary sannin, Senju Tsunade and Jiraiya." Itachi said neutrally, he and Naruto watching the super pervert, the legendary sucker, and a dark haired girl with a pet pig, presumably Tsunade's apprentice, from the top of a hill as the trio conversated, walking in the streets together in the small civilian town of Tanzuki.
"So, how do you want to go about this?" Itachi asked.
"We'll use this." Naruto replied, with a puff of smoke, a small, brown puppy suddenly appearing in the blonde Uzumaki's hands.
"A puppy? Is it a ninken?" Itachi asked curiously.
"It's just a normal puppy. I stole it in the last town that we went past." Naruto replied as if he he was merely commenting on the weather of the day.
"Naruto-kun, how is a normal puppy dog supposed to help us defeat two of the legendary sannin?" Itachi asked tensely, seriously contemplating maiming the young Uzumaki right then and there.
"I don't want to wait for them to leave the city, we have no idea how long that might take. They might even stay for a month for all we know. But we also can't fight them in the middle of the town, that will draw too much attention to the incident." Naruto started to explain, only to be cut off by his older partner.
"Naruto-kun, you may not know this since you don't know them as well as I do, even though I myself don't know that much about them, but those two would never engage us in the middle of the town anyway. If we attack them now, they'll likely run away and lead us to a secure location outside the village. Whatever plan you have for that puppy is irrelevant."
"I kind of figured that myself, however, I didn't want them to be the ones who choose the battleground, I planned to use this puppy to lead them to a spot that I have hand picked myself." Naruto explained.
"Does this plan of yours involve me using my genjutsu on the puppy and having it draw their attention and lead them away from the town?" Itachi asked.
"So you figured it out?"
"It's a very simplistic plan Naruto-kun." Itachi deadpanned.
"I know, that's the whole point. Either they'll think it's too simplistic to be a trap, or they'll underestimate whoever they think is on the other side of the trap. If we used an elaborate plan and they caught on to it, they might just run the opposite direction rather then voluntarily trigger it." Naruto explained much to Itachi's surprise.
'I see, so it wasn't that much of a simplistic plan after all.' Itachi thought wearily, actively reminded himself not to underestimate his new partner again.
"But Naruto-kun, doesn't all that make it an elaborate plan after all?" Itachi asked with feigned amusement.
'He has a tendency to send clones out to do his dirty work behind my back. I can't let him execute this plan, there's no telling what kind of trap he has set up for Jiraiya and Tsunade-sama.' Itachi thought wearily.
"Hmmm..., I guess you're right. Okay then, we'll stick to your plan, come, lets go and confront them right now. I'll take care of Tsunade and the other girl, you make sure you take out Jiraiya." Naruto said, quickly re-sealing the puppy as he started running down the cliff, Itachi having to quickly get his balance before following behind his new partner, not having expected him to act so quickly.
'He's different to Kisame, he takes on a submissive and subservient role when nothing is happening, but as soon we get close to a target, he takes over and starts barking out orders. Doesn't he trust me to take lead, or is that just his personality?' Itachi wondered as the duo made quick work of the distance between them and the two sannin, the two young Akatsuki members closing the way for the three Konoha ninjas as they appeared in front of them with a shunshin technique.
"Hello, Senju Tsunade, Jiraiya of the Sannin, Shizune, and Tonton." Naruto greeted politely.
'He knows me? And even Tonton?' a startled Shizune thought.
"It's been a long time, Jiraiya-dono." Itachi greeted.
"Uchiha Itachi...? What the hell do you want with us? And why are you with that kid? Is that supposed to be your newly adopted brother or something?" Tsunade asked with a hardcore attitude as usual.
"We're sibling apprentices, but that's as far as it goes." Naruto replied.
"So you're also a student of Uchiha Madara, Itachi? The Uchiha massacre suddenly makes a lot more sense now." Jiraiya replied, getting absolutely no response from the two stoic teenagers, actually, one a teenager and one a pre-teen.
'He knows about Obito nii-sama? I guess I shouldn't be too surprised, he is the yellow flash's sensei after all, and he is close to Kushina too I believe.' Naruto thought.
"U-Uchiha Madara...?" A shell shocked Shizune thought out loud.
"Jiraiya! What the hell are you talking about? Have you finally gone senile? No, actually, you've been crazy since the first day I met you, but this is a surprise even coming from you..."
"This is not a joke, Tsunade! You may not know this, but the Kyubi incident twelve years ago didn't just magically happen, and Kushina and Minato certainly didn't just lose control of the kyubi. Someone was behind the Kyubi's escape, someone attacked Kushina, Minato, and Konoha, using a sharingan to control the Kyubi in the process. Doesn't that seem familiar to you?" Jiraiya asked retorically, causing both Shizune and especially Tsunade's eyes to widen in horror, unable to help but make the obvious comparison between this incident and the one that took place all those years ago when Tsunade's grandfather went to battle against Uchiha Madara.
"Three days ago I received a letter from Minato through the toad communication channel, the letter explained that Minato's son, who was thought to have died twelve years ago, arrived in Konoha in the company of Uchiha Itachi. They were operating under orders from the Akatsuki to capture his mother, Uzumaki Kushina. Tsunade, the Akatsuki are after the tailed beasts." Jiraiya explained.
"I-impossible! Jiraiya-sama, surely you don't mean..."
"I'm afraid so, Shizune, that boy right there is Minato and Kushina's son. I didn't believe it either, but there's no doubting it now that I have seen him with my own eyes, the resemblance is uncanny..." Jiraiya trailed off with a grave tone.
"Jiraiya, how sure are you about Uchiha Madara, I mean, he would have to be over a hundred years old right now." Tsunade asked skeptically.
"Minato fought the man himself, like you, he had his doubts about it, obviously he did, so did I and Kushina. However, all evidence seemed to point towards that reality, also, take a look at the battle fan on Naruto's back, doesn't that look familiar to you?" Jiraiya pointed out, once again, causing Tsunade's doubt to dissipitate rapidly.
'Hmmmm...Kushina also made a comment about the gunbai. That settles it, these guys have definitely done their background research on Madara-sama.' Naruto thought wearily.
"How cruel! After almost destroying your home, for the enemy to then take your own son away from you and use him against you? I can't imagine how Kushina-sama and Minato-kun..Minato-sama feel." Shizune thought out loud, tears threatening to fall out of her eyes.
"Seems like someone has less than innocent feelings for the Yondaime Hokage." Naruto said with sinister smirk.
"W-what! No way, i-it's not like that at all!" Shizune exclaimed with a heavy blush, taking nervous glances at Tsunade and Jiraiya in the process.
"Well anyway, you'll never get a chance to confess your feelings to him if you stick around here. Why don't you go back to your hotel room and leave this to your sensei. We are under no orders to dispose of you, just your sensei and her friend. You don't have to die here." Naruto offered casually.
"I'm sorry, but I'm not leaving Tsunade-sama's side. Furthermore, I'm taking you back to your father, by force if neccessary." Shizune declared, her attitude changing completely from what it was before, now really looking and feeling like the trained killer that she was.
"Hn, interesting that you didn't mention my mother but only my father. You really do love him don't you? Oh well, I guess killing you would be one way of finding out if he feels the same or not, for your sake, I hope he cries for you." Naruto said with mock sympathy.
"Enough chit chat already! What do you guys want from us anyway? We don't have any bijuu!" Tsunade demanding, her patience wearing thin very fast.
"You may not have any bijuu yourselves, however, you are potential obstacles in our mission to capture the kyubi. We must eliminate all the obstacles that stand between us and Uzumaki Kushina, that is our mission from our leader." Itachi explained, as usual, not showing any visible emotion at all.
"I see, well, don't think this is going to be as easy as it was for you when you took out the Uchiha clan, Uchiha Itachi!" Tsunade said as she prepared herself for battle, immediately releasing the seal on her forehead, a sealing matrix spreading over her face and body, the seal originating from the diamond on her forehead.
"Byakugo from the start huh? I guess you guys are not taking us lightly." Naruto said off handedly.
"Hn, I wouldn't be so confident if I were you gaki, you're about to find out just how ignorant and arrogant you are to actually believe you can take out a sannin." Tsunade retorted heatedly.
'How does he know about the Byakugo?' Tsunade thought with confusion.
"Don't underestimate him, Tsunade! I'm not supposed to tell you this because Minato has made it an S class secret, however, this kid easily defeated Asuma and Kurenai, and more importantly, he overwhelmed and killed Maito Gai...Gai's seventh gate was rendered insufficient." Jiraiya said darkly.
"Impossible! This brat killed Maito Gai?" Tsunade exclaimed in surprise.
"That's not all, apparently, at the time, he wasn't even using his real body, but some kind of shapeshifting clone technique." Jiraiya added, magnifying Shizune and Tsunade's state of shock even more than it already was.
"Now you understand why you shouldn't be here, Shizune-san? You'll never get to make that confession..."
"S-shut up! I'm not that desperate as to make a declaration of love to a married man! Besides, even if I was, I wouldn't be willing to share, neither would Kushina-sama I'm sure..." Shizune trailed off with a sad expression.
"Well in any case, we didn't come here to discuss Shizune-san's love life, we're here strictly on business. Jiraiya-sama, I'm going to be your opponent today, also, unless you intend to endanger the civilians in this town, you'll follow me so that we can find an appropriate battlefield." Itachi said politely, turning around swiftly and walking in the opposite direction, only to stop ten metres away when he realised that Jiraiya wasn't following him, the Uchiha turning back again with a questioning expression directed at Jiraiya.
"Hn! Just who do you think you're dealing with Gaki? Me? Follow you? To an obvious trap? I don't think so." Jiraiya replied with a cocky smirk, causing Itachi to spot a small smile.
"I was hoping you'd respond like that, Jiraiya-sama...no, actually, I was counting on it. Thanks to you, I now find myself in a perfect position to strike." Itachi replied.
"What do you mean..."
"Amateresu!" Itachi whispered harshly, a deadly expression morphing into his tone and expression as he sent a butterfly of black flames at Naruto, the flames seemingly appearing right at the spot where the blonde Uzumaki was standing. However, much to Itachi's surprise, he found his flames rapidly reduced to nothing, the flames getting absorbed into Naruto's Gunbai.
"Gunbai Reflection!" Naruto whispered without even moving an inch, he too now taking on a murderous expression, the atmosphere suddenly becoming extremely intense, so much so that some of the civilians who had stopped and gotten closer in anticipation of a clash started dropping on the ground like flies, all of them finding it hard to stand or even breathe under such an intense pressure.
To say Itachi was surprised to find himself having to defend against his own technique would equate to a gross understatement, the Uchiha never in his life having expected for someone to not only defend against his amateresu, but to even go so far as to counter against him with it. However, there was a significant difference between the Amateresu he sent and the one that was returning, the difference being that his Amateresu could be manifested anywhere within his line of sight, whereas the one returning to him had to fly all the way from Naruto to him, giving him a significantly larger window of time to react to the attack, the Uchiha instantly manifesting a full possession Susano'o complete with the Yata mirror and the Sword of Totsuka, the Yata mirror instantly dissipitating the amateresu.
'That was close! I didn't expect him to counter like that, he almost got me there.' Itachi thought wearily.
"So you've finally decided to make your move? Well, I guess I can't complain, it's not like I didn't expect this to happen." Naruto said neutrally, still not turning around to face his traitorous partner.
"Are you saying that you expected me to attack you?" Itachi asked darkly.
"Ofcourse I did. We know about your secret, Uchiha Itachi, a Konoha spy sent to spy on Akatsuki's activities under the guise of a criminal. How arrogant of you, to actually believe that you could outhink and outsmart Madara-sensei?" Naruto retorted, shaking his head in dismay, an act that caused Itachi's eyes to narrow slightly at the blonde Uzumaki.
'They knew all this time?' Itachi thought with trepidition.
"What's going on here, and w-what is that thing Jiraiya? I'm not even a sensor type, but I can feel that that thing's chakra is so vile and immense!" Tsunade asked wearily.
"Honestly, I don't know what's going on, or what that thing is, however, brace yourselves, anyone of them could attack at any moment now." Jiraiya ordered.
"But Jiraiya-sama, it looks more like they're about to attack each other." Shizune argued.
"I agree with Shizune, Jiraiya, it does look like they're about to take each other out. I'm surprised, but I'm not sure how much I should be, I mean, Itachi did betray not only Konoha, but his clan too. It should not come as a surprise that he would betray Akatsuki too." Tsunade added.
"That's where you're wrong, Tsunade-san..." Naruto said darkly.
'Well, there's no point in keeping Itachi's secret now that he has officially betrayed us.' Naruto thought.
"What do you mean, Gaki!" Tsunade demanded.
"You're right that Itachi betrayed the Uchiha clan, but you're wrong about him betraying Konoha. You see, eliminating the Uchiha clan and joining the criminal organisation Akatsuki as a spy for Konoha was actually Itachi's last and final mission for Konoha. He didn't betray his ninja village, just his family." Naruto said with a sinister smirk.
"Jiraiya-sama, Tsunade-sama, Shizune-san, that information is an S class secret, of which revealing it to anyone without Hokage-sama's authority is a criminal offense punishable by death! You will take this information to the grave if you know what's good for you..." Itachi said with a dead serious tone.
"W-what's going on here, is this some kind of joke, Itachi! Or are you two trying to play a prank on us? Get us confused and then attack when we're not expecting it?" Tsunade asked with a healthy dose of paranoia.
"Hmmm...I wish that were the case, but it's not. The reason Itachi is attacking me is plain and simple, it's because he is a loyal Konoha shinobi. If we carried out this mission and took out two of the legendary sannin, Konoha's strength would be drastically reduced, and we'd be that much closer to capturing the kyubi. Also, Itachi feels betrayed because he and Madara had struck a deal that Madara-sensei and Akatsuki would keep away from Konoha and in return Itachi would serve Akatsuki. However, this mission, in a way, qualifies as a breach of contract." Naruto explained.
"I don't get it, why was Itachi surprised that you knew he was a loyal Konoha shinobi, and why was he surprised that you knew he would betray you if he had this kind of deal with Madara to begin with?" Jiraiya asked suspisciously.
"That deal was made on the premise that Sasuke would only be safe as long as Konoha wasn't destroyed or weakened enough to be successfully invaded by an enemy. It was under the pretence that my concern for Konoha went only in so far as Sasuke's safety was concerned, but Madara clearly no longer values our agreement." Itachi explained.
"Is that true, Naruto?" Tsunade demanded.
"That's not a clear response, is it true or not!" Tsunade shouted.
"It's partly true. You see, Akatsuki has two leaders, there's Madara-sensei, and another leader. Only one of the leaders, Madara-sensei, knows about Itachi's secret, the other leader is not aware of this. The order to eliminate Shimura Danzo, the two of you, and Hatake Kakashi came directly from the other leader, who as I said, didn't know about the agreement between Itachi and Madara-sensei. Itachi simply assumed that he was betrayed and acted without knowing the facts." Naruto explained.
"I-impossible! Pein doesn't know?" Itachi asked in surprise.
"Ofcourse not! Do you honestly believe you'd be alive now if Pein-sama knew the truth about you? Stop joking around here." Naruto rebuked.
"Well, it doesn't matter, that still doesn't change the consequences of this mission if it were to succeed, I'd have had to act regardless. I'm sorry Naruto-kun, but I'm going to have to capture you, unlike me, you can still go back home." Itachi declared confidently.
"You sound so sure of yourself, let me make one thing clear, Itachi, you couldn't beat me even if all four of you teamed up together, in fact, I'm going to kill all four of you right now." Naruto retorted.
"Who's so sure of themself now?" Itachi retorted.
"I know what you're thinking, Itachi. You have the Sword of Tosuka, the sword that seals everything it pierces into a world of drunken illusions, and you have the Yata Mirror, a shield that changes it's properties to defend against and reflect all attacks. Furthermore, you have the susano'o, a jutsu that expontially amplifies a person's attack and defense. If that wasn't enough, you have the so called strongest ninjutsu on your right eye, the unexinguishable flames of amateresu, and one of the strongest genjutsu in existence on your left eye, Tsukiyomi. With all of these powers vested in you combined with your intelligence, you must truly believe yourself to be invincible..."
"I'll admit that I'm more blessed and more fortunate than most, but no one is invincible, not even Madara." Itachi retorted.
"In that case, I'm glad that we understand each other..." Naruto trailed off as a gigantic dragon made entirely out of trees broke through from under the ground and wrapped itself around Itachi's Susano'o in an instant, the dragon, because of its size and power, destroying a multitude of the buildings around the city, killing a great number of civilians and injuring alot of others.
'A wood dragon? When did he...I see, he must have summoned it earlier, this must be the trap that he'd intended to set up for Jiraiya and Tsunade-sama. Still, I never would have fathomed that he could use Mokuton ninjutsu, especially at this level of jutsu.' Itachi thought with trepidition.
"The Yata Mirror reflects all attacks, and the Tostuka seals everything that it pierces, however, your Susano'o can't even move right now and its chakra is being suppressed. There's also the fact that the yata mirror uses chakra from the user in order to perform it's functions, without access to that chakra, it's practically useless." Naruto said as he adopted a ram hand seal.
"Wood Style: Invasion Of A World Of Roots!" Naruto exclaimed, instantly growing a multitudes of roots from under Itachi.
'Your susano'o also has one glaring weakness, it doesn't protect you from below the surface!' Naruto thought triumphantly, only for Itachi to thwart his celebrations of victory, the Akatsuki traitor quickly canceling his susano'o and jumping out and away from the wood dragon and the roots that continued to chase him around in an attempt to constrict him.
"You're not going to get away that eas...nani?" Naruto trailed off, unable to finish his sentence or continue with his assault on Itachi as Tsunade came flying at him with a superhuman powered punch, the blonde Uzumaki blocking the punch with a cross-arm guard, getting pushed back ten metres before coming to a complete halt, his legs digging a trench into the ground as a result, a shockwave washing over the area, such was the power behind the attack.
'N-no way! He stopped Tsunade-sama's attack?' Shizune thought in disbelief, her thoughts shared by both Itachi and Jiraiya as well, heck, even Tonton.
'It's a good thing I took care to release the gravity seal earlier' Naruto thought.
"That was an impressive punch, you really are the strongest woman in the world after all!" Naruto exclaimed at the end, the blonde Uzumaki, with unreadable speed quickly sweeping Tsunade's legs right from under feet, breaking both legs in the process, following up by kicking her like a soccer ball before she even hit the ground, make contact directly with her back, shattering her spinal column in the process, the Senju princess sent flying away with an incredible force.
"Tsunade-sama!" Shizune cried out.
"Forget her, Shizune! Don't take your eyes away from the enemy, you'll die if you do...!" Jiraiya warned.
"She's fine! She activated her Byakugo didn't she?" Jiraiya shouted angrily.
"Hmmmm...this is going to be more difficult then I thought. I thought I would have killed Itachi by now, and that woman isn't easy to kill either, plus, she actually managed to fracture the bones on my arms, I guess I'm not quite as strong as I thought I was." Naruto said casually.
'This guy...I can't believe that he managed to block a direct taijutsu attack from Tsunade. Fractured bones or not, that attack should have completely destroyed him, not to mention that he can use Mokuton. There's also the issue of that insane speed, he destroyed Tsunade in a taijutsu battle in the blink of an eye. Minato, Kushina, what manner of monster have you created?' Jiraiya thought wearily.
"Itachi! Why the hell are you just standing there! If you're on our side, then do something, at least give us an opening!" Jiraiya shouted across, wondering why the hell Itachi was just standing there behind Naruto and watching as if he wasn't the one that started the whole thing.
"There are two reasons why he's just standing there behind me. One, because he is standing behind me, on my blind spot, I can't go on an all out attack on you, he'll take advantage if I lose him for even a split second. He's waiting for that window of opportunity." Naruto explained.
"The other reason is that he's trying to figure out a weakness in my defense, you see, standing on my blind spot actually makes it harder for him to take me down than it would be for him to stand in my line of site. Why? Because all attacks are rendered useless by the gunbai on my back, they'll simply reflect them back to him, even the sword of totsuka, a spiritual weapon, will be reflected by my gunbai. His best bet is to be in my line of site where he can capture me in his tsukiyomi." Naruto explained, Shizune and Jiraiya both never having expected such a logical and stategical reason for just standing around and doing nothing in a battle as your comrades get a beat down.
"Are you alright, Tsunade-hime?" Jiraiya asked as Tsunade came up next to him.
"I may heal from the injuries, but it still hurts like bitch nonetheless, but...I guess I'm alright." Tsunade replied.
"Why did you attack so recklessly anyway? We're supposed to bring him back to Minato alive you know." Jiraiya asked.
"Honestly, I expected him to dodge my attack, I didn't think he'd actually attempt to block it, much less succeed in doing so." Tsunade replied.
"What was the point if you expected him to dodge anyway?" Jiraiya asked.
"I planned to cause a fissure on the surface of the earth by hitting the ground, that way he'd lose his balance and one of you could take advantage in that moment. Also, I thought that the display of strength would surprise him and that moment of shock and hesitation could be exploited."
"I see..." Jiraiya trailed off.
'She seems different, more humble than she was before that exchange. I must finish her off quickly, a humble opponent is a dangerous opponent, that is because, a humble opponent is fully aware of her strengths and weaknesses, and never acts without thinking things through.' Naruto thought, only to be cut off from his thoughts by the emergence of a new presence right next to him, black zetsu emerging from the ground right next to the blonde Uzumaki.
'What's that black thing?' Shizune thought, her thoughts shared by Jiraiya and Tsunade.
"Zetsu? Why did you reveal yourself? You could have been a trump card if things got out of hand." Naruto chastised.
"That doesn't matter right now, Madara-sama has ordered a retreat." Zetsu replied.
"I'm under orders from Pein-sama right now, how will I explain a retreat to him?" Naruto asked, not wanting to earn the ire of the God of Ame so soon after his employment.
"Madara is having a word with him as we speak, Pein knows about the order, and he has approved it." Zetsu explained.
"This is not a good decision, Itachi has too much intel on us, and so do these guys now. Isn't it better to eliminate them right here and right now?"
"You can take it up with them, I'm just the messenger."
"Are you going to disobey the order?" Zetsu asked curiously.
"Hmmm, I can't say the thought hasn't crossed my mind, however, if I start disobeying orders, it will set a bad example for the other members and they might start disobeying orders themselves. Also, both Madara-sensei and Pein-sama have tons more experience than I do, so I'll just have to trust and believe in them." Naruto replied with a subdued tone.
"Lets go then..."
"Okay then, but before I go, let me say this to you, Jiraiya, I'm well aware of the shadow clone that you sent out while I was busy with Itachi, and I can also sense that it's attempting to gather chakra from nature itself. Let me make this clear, an amature sage like you would never stand a chance against me, if you take that long to gather nature chakra, than you're obviously an amature and don't know what you're doing, that, or your body and chakra are not powerful enough to control and balance it properly. Either way, entering sage mode would not have made a difference for you, and I could have stopped that clone at any moment between the time that you summoned it and now. But...that wouldn't have been half as fun for me compared to having you watch your friends die before your very eyes as you anxiously and desperately hoped that they'd survive until you were ready to do battle...aaargh! Zetsu!" Naruto exclaimed, Zetsu wrapping his mokuton roots around the blonde Uzumaki and pulling him underground before he could finish his morally degrading speech.
"You talk to much for your own good!" Zetsu said simply, he and the blonde Uzumaki disappearing into the ground, their presence vanishing as soon as their bodies became submerged.
What followed next was totally unexpected, Itachi, Tsunade, Shizune, and Jiraiya, all four of them almost died in a matter of a few seconds after Naruto's departure, none of them having expected Naruto's gigantic wood dragon to be able to attack on it's own without Naruto actively controlling it. Fortunately, they were all able to avoid the initial attack and head for the forest, however, much to their suprise, the wood dragon did not follow them, the dragon resorting to drawing it's targets back to it by attacking Tanzuki Town and its citizens.
Tsunade and Jiraiya couldn't stand by and watch while the innocent were killed, and Itachi too couldn't stand by and watch as they fought the dragon, otherwise, if they got killed, the consequences of his betrayal of Akatsuki would have been for nothing, and Shizune ofcourse never left Tsunade's side. Naruto's plan was therefore clearly working, forcing the four Konoha shinobi to fight at an emotional and physical disadvantage against his wood dragon, physical because they had to take care not to end up harming the citizens with their own techniques.
The battle raged on for a full twenty minutes, and Tanzuki Town was completely destroyed in the process, rendering Jiraiya and Tsunade's intention meaningless in the end. However, if there was a light in the darkness, it was that they themselves survived the dragon's assault and managed to defeat it, although it took all four of them to the brink of their limits to do so, Tsunade being forced to use three thirds of her chakra just to summon half of Katsuya's main body and Jiraiya, Ma, and Pa being forced to summon a whole toad army, including Gamabunta, Gamahiro, and Gamaken, all just so in order to hold down and subdue the Wood Dragon.
The reason all of those summons had to be brought to the battlefield was because ninjutsu didn't seem to work against the Dragon, and that was because of it's chakra absorbtion abilities, the Dragon absorbing all ninjutsu used against it and using it to grow bigger and stronger. What was even worse was that the Dragon could also use ninjutsu, and the dragon's ninjutsu, because of its sheer size and volume of chakra was at a ridiculously large scale level, although it was only limited to earth and water style jutsu. The only way they could have defeated the dragon was for them to bring the largest form of Katsuya they could at the time, and an army of toads to hold the dragon down, and then for Itachi to decapitate the dragon with the sword of totsuka, although even that was difficult as it took a whole six chops for Itachi to completely cut through it, the dragon completely wilting and rotting in a matter of seconds after its fact.
"I've heard stories about the great Senju Hashirama, but I never thought that he was capable of such a terribly strong ninjutsu." an out of breath and chakra depleted Pa said.
"I've never heard of Grandpa's wood dragon breing capable of moving and attacking on its own, and I never saw or heard of it being able to use water and earth style ninjutsu, or any ninjutsu for that matter. In fact, I'm relatively sure that it wasn't capable of these two feats." Tsunade said with a serious expression.
"So in other words, you're saying that Naruto's technique is different, or rather, that he has taken Shodaime-sama's jutsu to another level altogether?" Itachi asked retorically.
"That's what I think, yes." Tsunade replied.
"In that case, the question that we all have to ask ourselves is whether this is the only technique Naruto has surpassed your grandfather in, or...if he has surpassed the man himself entirely, as in, in every field of Mokuton application." Jiraiya said with a weary expression.
"I think we can all agree that Naruto is strong, that right now, none of us can take on him alone in a straight up one on one battle, at least not without prior preparation and intel. But that's exactly what's wrong, he is stronger then each one of us even when he is not fighting at full strength, what would happen if he went all out?" Shizune said, she too spotting a fearful expression.
"What do you mean, Shizune-chan? I mean, how exactly can you say with certainty that he was not fighting at full strength?" Ma asked with a confused expression.
"For one, he wasn't even here when we were struggling against his wood dragon, I imagine it would have been a hell of alot harder to win if he too was attacking us. Secondly, I believe that Naruto is, much like you, Pa, and Jiraiya-sama, a sage, no...actually, his senjutsu mastery might be superior!" Shizune stressed.
"I have to agree with Shizune-san. If what Naruto said about Jiraiya-sama's clone there at the end is anything to go by, then it is possible that he is also a sage..."
"No Itachi, it's not possible, it's a fact that he is sage." Jiraiya cut in.
"How can you be so sure, Jiraiya-chan?" Pa asked curiously.
"Because he said that he could sense that my clone was attempting to gather chakra from nature itself. As you know very well, only a sage has the ability to sense nature chakra."Jiraiya explained.
"I see..." Itachi trailed off.
"What's on your mind, Itachi?" Jiraiya asked curiously.
"I'm thinking that I have to get stronger, and that I might have to live longer than I planned to after all, in order to defeat Madara, Naruto, and the Akatsuki." Itachi replied.
"What do you mean by, live longer after all?" Tsunade asked curiously.
"Well, for one, I was planning to die in battle with Sasuke, this was because, I wanted to make Sasuke, my brother and an Uchiha, a hero of Konoha for taking me out, me, Uchiha Itachi, the evil and ruthless criminal, one of Konoha's worst next to Madara and Orochimaru. Then there's also the fact that I am dying because of a supposedly incurable disease. However, things have now changed, I believe that we need as much firepower as we can get and as many minds as we can put together in order to defeat Akatsuki. My death could prove detrimental to that goal, as I have inside knowledge about Akatsuki and I am not too bad either in combat." Itachi explained carefuly.
"So killing the Uchiha clan really was a mission for you? And you left Sasuke alive because you loved him too much. But even if the Uchiha planned a coupe, I fail to believe that Minato would make such an order, in fact, I know for a fact that Minato had a plan to deal with the situation in his own way, which means, you either acted on your own, or you colluded with Danzo behind Minato's back. Which is it?" Jiraiya asked sternly.
"Both. I both acted on my own and colluded with Danzo. But how would you know if Yondaime-sama had a plan? You didn't even know about my secret until about an hour ago?" Itachi asked with confusion.
"Minato is my student, I know him better than anyone else out there except for maybe Kushina. There is no way that he didn't have a plan, and if you don't believe me, that's fine, I'll prove you wrong when we ask him what his plan was." Jiraiya said confidently.
"So, I underestimated him and didn't have neough faith in him, is that what it boils down to?" Itachi asked with regret.
"There's no point in beating yourself up about it, Itachi. You were just a kid back then...you still are. You shouldn't have had to deal with so much pressure at such a young age. Kuso! This is the kind of bullshit that made me leave Konoha in the first place! How many more people have to be sacrificed for that place to continue to stand!" Tsunade exclaimed furiously.
"Don't be like that, Tsunade! Minato is the child of prophecy, he'll change everything! You'll see!" Jiraiya said with conviction.
"Whatever Jiraiya! I'll admit that Minato is a nice kid, and he's incredibly powerful and talented, but so was grandpa Hashirama, and look how things turned out." Tsunade argued.
"Minato is different, don't say I didn't tell you so." Jiraiya said.
"Tche, whatever. Anyway, Itachi, I couldn't help but take note of what you said earlier about an incurable disease. Was that a backhanded challenge to me?" Tsunade asked with a serious expression.
"No, it was a request? I would be eternally indebted to you." Itachi said humbly.
"No!" Shizune exclaimed suddenly.
"What's wrong, Shizune?" Tsunade asked.
"We have to verify his story with Minato-sama first, for all we know, this could be Akatsuki tricking us into healing one of thier prized assets. He and Naruto could have faked the whole thing." Shizune explained.
"I see...well, my gut tells me that isn't the case, but, if we can easily prove it by the Hokage's testimony himself, then all the better. Jiraiya!" Tsunade ordered.
"I'm on it!" Jiraiya replied, biting his own thumb as he prepared to summon a messenger toad.
'I'll have to tell Sasuke the whole truth soon, I can't risk him hearing it from Naruto or Madara. Also, we'll have to exchange eyes, I'm going to definitely need to awaken the eternal mangyeko sharingan in order to stand a chance against Pein, Naruto, and Madara. Hopefully, Tsunade-sama finds a way to deal with my illness, if she can't do it, then probably no-one else can, at least, no one that would be willing to help me.' Itachi thought
Earlier: Akatsuki Base in the East...
"I haven't been in this base for quite a while, why did you bring me here, Zetsu? I thought for sure you'd be taking me to where Nii-sama and Pein are." Naruto asked curiously.
'Well, it doesn't matter where you take me in the end. The order was for me to retreat, but no one said I can't continue my attack from here. I just hope that the wood dragon takes out at least one of the sannin, Itachi himself if possible.' Naruto thought deviously, a small smirk morphing into his facial features, only for his self glorification moment to be cut through by Zetsu's response.
"I have a small present for you, I found him seven months ago. He was actually dead for about forty five minutes, but I healed and risuscitated him." Zetsu replied.
"You rescuscitated someone who was dead for that long? Wow, that's quite incredible, Zetsu." Naruto praised.
"Not really, there was someone who was rescuscitated after two hours of death in the second shinobi war. My achievement is a far cry compared to that." Zetsu replied dismissively.
"I see. So anyway, how is this person supposed to be a present for me? Surely you didn't organise a political marriage for me, Zetsu?" Naruto asked with trepidition.
"Don't be ridiculous, why would I organise such a thing? Actually, don't answer that, just listen to what I have to say." Zetsu ordered.
"Okay, I'm all ears." Naruto replied.
"This is a shinobi just a year older than you are, and just like you, he is a once in a generation talent. His name is Yuki Haku, he is the late Demon Of The Mist, Momochi Zabuza's adopted son and former partner." Zetsu explained, waiting patiently to make sure Naruto had no questions at this point before continuing where he left off.
"His bloodline limit is the ice release, the ability to combine water and wind element chakra. He is well trained and skilled in all forms of combat, and he also has quite a high aptitude for medicine and medical ninjutsu. This aspect was a bit underdeveloped under Zabuza's tutelage, but I made sure to give him all the access to knowledge and resources for the development of this talent. Anyway, to summarise it, he will make a very powerful and skilled partner for you." Zetsu explained.
"Did you just say, partner? Zetsu, I don't know what impression you have of me, but ummm...I don't swing that way." Naruto replied.
"Not that kind of partner you imbecile! Akatsuki! Akatsuki partner!" Zetsu said furiously.
"Oh...!" Naruto said, scratching the back of his head sheepishly.
"Well in that case, I can't wait to meet my new partner! Thank you, Zetsu!" Naruto said excitedly, causing even Zetsu to soften up at Naruto's childlike exuberance.
"You've never had a chance to interact with people of your age. My original goal was to determine if Zabuza would make a suitable candidate for our organisation, but when I started following his movements, I discovered his apprentice, Yuki Haku. I had decided to recruit both of them, however, Zabuza was killed by the copy ninja Hatake Kakashi, and Haku, because of his inability to kill his emotions, was also killed by the tag team of Uchiha Sasuke and Sarutobi Konohamaru..."
"Wait a minute, when you say that Haku couldn't kill his emotions, do you mean that he doesn't have the heart to kill even an enemy? Why would you recruit someone like that? And make him my partner of all people?" Naruto asked.
"Because his fragile heart makes him the perfect candidate. You see, I told him about the moon's eye project. Killing won't be a problem anymore, since he believes that everyone he ever loved, along with everyone he killed, will be revived and live happily ever after in the dream world. Also, he will do everything in his power to make sure the plan succeeds, because failure will force him to live in a world where he murdered alot of people for nothing. That is something that he absolutely doesn't want to have to face."
"And there's also the motivation of reuniting with his most precious person when we execute the project. I see, you've really thought this through huh, Zetsu. Still, I don't want to operate under assumptions, the human psyche is too unpredictable. Have you actually tested this hypothesis, as in, have you made Haku kill anyone since you recruited him?" Naruto asked curiously.
"I've already done that. Haku killed all of his targets with no hesitation." Zetsu replied.
"In that case, can I meet my new partner now?" Naruto asked.
"I sent a spore to get him, he should arrive anytime now. But I have to tell you something before he..." Zetsu trailed off as an ice mirror appeared a few metres infront of him and Naruto, a beautiful boy walking out the mirror, the boy spotting long dark hair with two long bangs framing his face and a ponytail, dark eyes and smooth creamy skin, wearing the standard Akatsuki uniform.
'Didn't Zetsu say that my partner was a guy? Kuso! Don't tell me this bastard really organised a political marriage for me.' Naruto thought with an accusatory stare at Zetsu.
"Good afternoon, I'm happy to finally meet you, Naruto-sama." Haku said with a submissive, waist level bow of the head.
'It's a guy...but even his voice is adrogynous, if Zetsu didn't tell me earlier, I would have never noticed.' Naruto thought before responding.
"It's okay, Haku, you don't have to bow like that, and you don't have to use that kind of honorific, or any kind for that matter. You're my partner, not my subordinate. Also, I want us to be friends, so if you accept my offer of friendship, then call me Naruto, and I'll call you Haku." Naruto replied.
"I accept your hand in friendship, but you are still Naruto-sama, because you are also my master." Haku replied, now standing straight up and facing the blonde Uzumaki.
"Master?" Naruto asked with confusion.
"Zetsu-san said that you would fill in for Zabuza-sama until we accomplish our mission, therefore, you are my master, and I am at your service. I am willing to serve in anyway possible, I am a tool at your disposal, Naruto-sama." Haku replied.
"In that case, I only have one order for you, to be one hundred percent loyal to me and to be the best friend that you can possibly be to me. Actually, make that two orders, the other one being to do everything in your power to make sure the moon's eye plan succeeds. Can you do that, Haku?" Naruto asked.
'I understand why you groomed him like this Zetsu, Zabuza raised him to be a tool, that is all he knows how to be. In which case, I'll make him sharpest tool in the world, and I'll be the best master too.' Naruto thought.
"I've never had a friend before, but, I feel so happy that Naruto-sama wants to be my friend, so happy, I could cry right now. Naruto-sama, I accept your terms and conditions, I'll be the best and most loyal friend to you I can be, and I'll do everything in my power to help achieve the moon's eye plan." Haku replied, tears trickling down from his eyes despite his best efforts to keep them at bay.
'Haku is a good replacement for Itachi, a much more reliable partner. I have a feeling that these two will be the key to Akatsuki's success.'