Remarkably, there were no particular reviews to respond to. At least not without giving away spoilers that is.

In case anyone is interested. The idea for Naruto's little mental disorder that was revealed in the previous chapter came to me after listening to the song "Mordred's Lullaby" by Heather Dale. That particular song also gave me another idea that will come into play some time later.

The previous chapter garnered almost 200 reviews, which is the most I've ever gotten for a single chapter by a long shot. You guys are so awesome and I hope you enjoy this chapter as well. I wasn't intending to make it this long, but I'm not gonna go cutting it in half now that it's finished.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

One week after Naruto's defection.

Tsunade sighed to herself as she leaned back in her chair and stared at the pile of paperwork in front of her. Not that the paperwork was really a problem since Naruto had told her about the shadow clone cheat on it, but she just didn't feel like doing it.

She had just recently finished Naruto's bingo book entry and in a few weeks or so, every shinobi in the Elemental Nations was likely to know him. He had already garnered something of a reputation before going missing-nin, but it was nothing compared to what he would have now. That was mostly because they had managed to keep the full breadth of his power and ability hidden since he hadn't gone on that many missions.

With that in mind, she had deliberately made his bingo book entry as imposing as possible, while revealing little in the way of relevant information. The skills revealed in it were mostly things that had already been known and the things that weren't known weren't going to help anyone if they knew about them. She was hoping that everyone would get the idea that he was simply too dangerous to be messed with.

She had been sorely tempted to note his marital status to the Kyuubi in there as well, but caution demanded that she keep that fact hidden as much as possible. It would hardly be the first time that a seemingly irrelevant piece of information led to disaster. Oh, she certainly expected that it would be impossible to keep a lid on the fact that Xanna was free indefinitely, but it was better than blurting it all out openly. Every civilian that lived in a hidden village knew that they weren't supposed to discuss such things with outsiders, but they were civilians in the end...it was bound to get out. His personal relationships were also kept secret for the most part, in an effort to prevent anyone from going after the people close to him.

Ever since her conversation with Xanna about Naruto's mental state, she hadn't been able to shake a sense of resentment towards the village and it was making her reluctant to even continue being Hokage. It was no wonder that Naruto wanted nothing to do with the hat if this was what she felt after learning just a part of what he had gone through. The idea of protecting Konoha with his life must have been laughable.

Tsunade had to wonder just what had happened to Konoha that it's people would be able to do something like that to a child. Oh sure, looking at just the actions of a single individual, it wouldn't be anything too bad, but taken as a whole it was terrible. Her grandfather would never have tolerated that kind of behavior. Despite the fact that the man had been one of the kindest and most generous people you could meet, he would have kicked anyone that did that kind of thing to a child half to death.

Not that it would have ever come to that under his watch. She thought to herself with bitter irony. Though he had died when she had been very young, she could still remember the way that the man had drawn people to him and inspired them to follow him. His charisma had truly been something to behold. No doubt he would have found a way to have Naruto respected and seen as a hero for protecting the village by containing the demon...False though the claim would have been, since Xanna apparently didn't care about Konoha one way or the other.

And that was the crux of it wasn't it...why the village was in such a sorry state compared to the time when the Shodai had ruled. Charisma...Except for the Shodai and Yondaime Hokage's, no other Hokage was particularly charismatic.

The Nidaime and Sandaime had been highly intelligent men, but they couldn't reach the hearts of people. Both had clutched at the shadow of the Shodai's vision and teachings, but couldn't truly measure up to the man as Hokage. They had been effective leaders, but not good ones. They would have made for extraordinary advisors, if only there had been a man or woman out there that could have been Hokage in their place. Senju Hashirama had been a man that had wanted peace for the world, while those who came after him only wanted prosperity for Konoha. It was staggering, how much that kind of thing had influenced and shaped the mindsets of those that called Konoha their home.

The Yondaime did have that charisma and vision, though perhaps not quite on the level of the Shodai. Either way, they wouldn't know since the man had died so young. It was even more tragic to learn that it had been entirely pointless. Though Tsunade had to admit that Xanna could definitely have handled it better than just stomping up to the village in the form of a giant fox. Seriously, what had she expected other than panic?

As for herself...well, she didn't delude herself into thinking that she was a terribly charismatic person. The near rebellion over Xanna being outed as the Kyuubi proved that quite well. If it hadn't been for Naruto directing all the attention to himself with his flashy exit, it was highly likely that she would have been either ousted or found herself in the middle of a civil war.

Either way, she hoped that she could find a successor that would be able to undo the hidden damage that decades of leadership under men who were willing to harm and steal from others in order to benefit Konoha had done. Tsunade would do what she could, but the task would no doubt take longer than she had left in this world, not to mention that she didn't really know where to begin.

Naruto would probably have had some idea though. She thought wistfully.

And there was once again the thought of how much she would have liked to make Naruto Rokudaime. Her fellow blond understood people in a way that she didn't, which was clearly obvious by how well prepared he had been to leave the village. He must have known more or less exactly what would have happened if the secret of Xanna's true nature were ever revealed. Given time, he might have been able to get the village back to it's former glory. Despite his well hidden mental issues, Naruto had a force of personality and will that very few could match.

Though he probably wouldn't have the patience to deal with any politicking and would no doubt have dealt with any delicate situations with the same crude methods that he often employed. The funny thing was that it usually worked for him.

Only now that things had settled down a bit was she able to fully appreciate how effectively he had gutted many of the problematic elements of the village. It had been a chaotic week, but it had been relatively simple without certain people causing her trouble all the time.

The Hyuuga were suddenly much easier to work with now that the main house wasn't constantly pushing for some kind of advantage.

There was no more Danzo to undermine her authority from the shadows. The issue of him using Mokuton and having that many implanted Sharingan brought to mind some very disturbing implications which she would need to get to the bottom of. There was no way that Danzo would have been able to harvest that many eyes unless he had known in advance that the Uchiha would be slaughtered.

The elders were sitting in retirement and couldn't keep irritating her with their aggressive and militant opinions. She really should have listened to Naruto and gotten rid of them years ago. It was remarkable how much less stressful the job was without them. There was absolutely no way that she was ever allowing those two to get involved in village affairs again.

As for the general shinobi population...they were humiliated. One man had run roughshod over the village and completely dismissed them as a threat. He had used their efforts at stopping him to amuse himself and then mocked them openly with that scary roar. Many hadn't even dared face him after that and those who did had been shown that Naruto was as far above them as the sky was above the earth. Just as Naruto had predicted, it had spurred many of them to train harder, though there were also a few that had apparently gone into bouts of self pity, which kind of pissed her off to be honest.

He really had pulled the whole thing off masterfully. The Hyuuga had been neutralised before he'd even started, The Nara couldn't do a damn thing with their shadows at night, the Yamanaka didn't dare use their techniques on him while he was sharing his body with the Kyuubi, he had far too much chakra to be bothered by the Aburame and the Akimichi would only cause more damage while inside the village. The Inuzuka were honestly the only ones that could have acted against him, but they had been rather conspicuously avoiding him, which was cleared up when she learned that Ayame had explained things to them and thus convinced them of the wisdom of avoiding combat with Naruto.

As for the civilians...They generally seemed to have convinced themselves that Naruto had been driven off. Idiots, they didn't have the slightest idea that the only reason that the streets weren't full of blood and corpses was because the demon they so hated and a ramen waitress had managed to counteract the worst of the damage done to Naruto. The truth would likely circulate to them as well soon enough, but whether they believed it or not was the real question. Civilians had trouble understanding that sometimes, a single shinobi could be more dangerous than an army of them.

Tsunade sighed again and raised a bottle of sake in salute."Here's to you, you crazy bastard. I hope you'll be happy with your demon wife and that you get a kick out of your bingo book entry."

She had to snort at the fact that in any other case, that would have been seriously insulting to the wife in question.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Neji felt like tearing his hair out in frustration.

The situation was simply maddening and he wasn't sure how much longer he could tolerate it. How did anyone do this without going mad? How the hell did the Hokage deal with all this paperwork?!

"Such a fierce scowl is unbecoming of you Neji-sama." The amused tone of voice was clashing horribly with the scolding words.

"How many times have I asked you not to call me that Hiashi-ojisan?" Neji asked in frustration. It felt good to be able to refer to his uncle in a more familiar manner, but the overly respectful way that the man was addressing him in return was really irritating.

"Many times no doubt, but it would be unbecoming of a humble advisor such as myself to refer to the head of my clan in any other way." Hiashi replied, much amused.

Not very long ago, Tenten had finished learning how to remove the Caged Bird Seal and then proceeded to remove it from every Hyuuga. The branch house had been elated, but didn't know how to move forward from there.

Hiashi had known that his days as a clan head were over the very moment that the seal was removed and swiftly renounced his position in order to prevent any lingering resentment towards the main house from destroying the fragile peace. Even though everything had been explained to the former branch house members, including his attempts to get rid of the seal, to them he had still been a reminder of their enslavement and that was not lightly forgotten.

After some discussion, Neji had been nominated as the next clan head due to his role in the removal of the cursed seal and his undeniable genius with the Hyuuga clan techniques(along with the fact that he was the most prominent member of the former branch house). This was a matter of great consternation for the young man. Apparently he had not foreseen this happening, since he knew nothing about leading a clan.

Hiashi had offered himself as an advisor, being the only one that actually knew anything about leading a clan. This had caused Neji even more consternation, because it took the wind out of his arguments as to why he couldn't be clan head.

"Yes, I'm sure that's why you're doing it." Neji muttered sourly.

Apparently now that he wasn't under so much stress all the time, Hiashi had discovered that he had a sense of humor. How...delightful...

Neji's dark muttering and frustration was put on hold when Hinata walked in...and she was carrying more paperwork.

"This just arrived for you Neji onii-sama." She said with a giggle at his despairing look.

"Not you too Hinata-chan! What happened to nii-san?" Neji protested.

"He moved upwards in the world." She said and gave another demure giggle behind the sleeve of the casual kimono she was wearing.

Neji's head thunked onto the desk in despair. Was this some kind of revenge from fate for defying it?

The fates were cruel.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Uzumaki Naruto

Gender: Male

Birth date: October 10

Age: 21

Height: 201 cm(6'7'')

Weight: 110 kg

Family:

Uzumaki Kushina (Mother, Deceased)

Namikaze Minato(Father, Deceased)

Jiraiya of the Sannin(Godfather)

Clan: Uzumaki Clan

Classification:

Missing-nin

Kyuubi Jinchuuriki(Full Synchronisation)*

Sage

Fuinjutsu Master

SS-rank

Affiliation:

Konohagakure(Former)

Myobokuzan(Former)

Academy graduation age: 17

Chunin promotion age: 21

Rank upon defection: Chunin (Primary candidate for Rokudaime Hokage)**

Bloodline: Uzumaki Dense Chakra(Extreme level), Uzumaki Strong Body(Extreme level)

Nature Type:

Wind Release

Water Release

Yin Release(Speculated)

Yang Release

Yin-Yang Release(Speculated)

Known Techniques:

Shadow Clone

Rasengan

Hiraishin

Needle Hell

Needle Jizō

Eigth Gates

Uzumaki Secret Art: Chakra Chains

Uzumaki Secret Art: Body of Iron

Water Release. Armor of Water

Water Release: Water Encampment Wall

Wind Release: Great Breakthrough

Red Yang Barrier

Tailed Beast Bomb(Speculated)

Various Fuinjutsu

(Note that Uzumaki Naruto has proven to be highly secretive of his techniques and is known for experimenting to find new ways of using them. Expect his most dangerous ones to still be unknown. )

Tools:

Space-Time gloves

Unique Traits:

Superhuman Durability

Superhuman Strength (Can be enhanced further with Fuinjutsu)

Superhuman Chakra Capacity

Advanced Healing Factor (Suspected ability to Regenerate lost body parts)

Superior Sense of Smell

* Though only observed using the Kyuubi's chakra once, Uzumaki Naruto showed no strain from using it. No obvious weaknesses have been observed in this state.

**Prior to his defection, Uzumaki was considered to be the most desired candidate to succeed Senju Tsunade as Hokage, though he himself did not wish the position.

Cause of defection:

Massacre of the Hyuuga main house.

Murder of Shimura Danzo of Konoha.

Murder of Konoha civilian councilor Akiyama.

Personality:

For the most part, Uzumaki Naruto is a laid back individual with an eccentric sense of humor that is unlikely to act aggressively unless provoked. If he is provoked, he will not hesitate to make use of lethal force and is unlikely to give second chances. Attacking him directly will in most cases only amuse him if the opponent is not on his level, but attacking anyone that he has taken a liking to will result in brutal retaliation.

He has been noted to have a soft spot for children(girls especially) and women. This is likely due to the fact that he is a pervert of the highest order. Any kunoichi attempting to attack him should expect anything from dirty jokes to mild molestation.(aside from the usual dangers of injury and death). Additionally, while he despises rapists and will instantly kill any he comes across, he sometimes refers to rough sex as rape in order to provoke an emotional response.

Addendum: Kunoichi attempting to seduce him in order to impregnate themselves with his children should note that he has rendered himself temporarily sterile through the use of Fuinjutsu. He is the only one capable of deactivating the sterility seal.

Combat Ability: EXTREME

He has shown the capability of fighting against multiple S-rank opponents at the same time on even footing without resorting to the Kyuubi's chakra. In the only known instance of using the Kyuubi's chakra, he was completely untouchable.

Recommended course of action if encountered: Walk away calmly, if you run he might decide to chase you for fun.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

One month after Naruto's defection.

Kumogakure

"Whoa, mister nine sounds like a badass, but I wonder if he has any class?" Killer Bee rapped, having read the bingo book entry over A's shoulder.

"What the hell is that supposed to mean Bee?" A demanded. "Actually, never mind. I don't want to know. What I do want to know is if we could get him to join Kumo now that he's defected from Konoha."

"It would be mighty fine to have mister nine, but what if he steps outta' line?"

A recalled the times when he had clashed with Namikaze Minato, also an SS-rank shinobi. He hadn't been able to even touch the man because he was so fast. The man's son didn't sound like a speed demon though. If anything, he was a power oriented fighter, considering his size and weight. Then again, A himself didn't look very fast either and he was the fastest man alive.

A grimaced at the thought of what fighting him would be like. Kind of like fighting his own father, but with the addition of super fast healing. That would really suck.

And all this wasn't even taking into account the fact that he was apparently fully in control of the Kyuubi's power. The demon fox was a mysterious entity even compared to the other Bijuu, rarely seen and never before sealed. There was no telling what kind of powers Uzumaki could bring forth with the greatest of the tailed beasts fully under his control.

A looked at the picture next to the information and wondered if the man's feral appearance was a result of being the Kyuubi Jinchuuriki or something else entirely. Bee didn't look any different, despite having the Hachibi sealed in him after all, so A suspected that it was more likely the result of being a sage. There was very little information on Senjutsu available to Kumo unfortunately, so all he had was guesswork.

His personality profile insinuated that there was no danger in simply asking him if he wanted to come to Kumo, but immense danger in trying to take him by force. It was also implied that his sudden killing spree in Konoha had been caused by some kind of provocation. A had no idea what that provocation might have been, but it had either been severe, or the Kyuubi Jinchuuriki had no sense of restraint.

"That won't be a problem if we just want a meeting, as long as neither side does anything aggressive. We can decide if we even want him in Kumo after talking to him." A decided. It was more diplomatic than his usual methods, but it wouldn't do Kumo any good to make an enemy out of someone that powerful.

A had to admit that he had been tempted to send a kunoichi to seduce him when he had read that the man was a pervert, but that was quickly forestalled when he had read the addendum. The idea itself still had some merit as an incentive to get the man to join Kumo, but it was unlikely to work. To get that powerful, you needed something to drive you and driven men weren't swayed that easily by a pretty face and easily parted legs, even if they were perverts.

Of course there was also the option of attempting to just take the Kyuubi, but A wasn't confident enough in the sealing abilities of Kumogakure to attempt that one. It had been attempted only once in the past and it had been a disaster. Rumor had it that the crazy Yondaime Hokage had needed to summon the freaking death god of all things in order for the sealing to properly hold the great demon.

"That sounds cool, but how are we gonna get a meeting with this fool?" Bee asked in rap format.

That was a good question. They had no idea where the man was.

"We'll just have to keep our eyes open in case any of our shinobi come across him. I'll have a team with a kunoichi on it on rotating stand by at all times to act as messengers." A answered.

"That's pretty slick, tryin' to get him to think with his dick, but if the ladies get wind of this they'll think you're a prick." Bee rapped with a grin.

"Goddamnit Bee, cut it out with the rap already!" A yelled, losing patience with his tone deaf brother.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Sunagakure

Gaara put down the bingo book, deep in thought.

Being one of those who actually knew of Naruto's close relationship to his Bijuu, he had an inkling that 'full synchronisation' didn't quite mean what everyone else was going to think it meant.

The young Kazekage was also quite sure that Naruto would not have killed all those people without a good reason. He couldn't claim to know the blond all that well, but he felt that he knew him well enough to assume that.

In any case, Gaara had no intention of reacting to this event. If Naruto wished it, then there was a place for him in Sunagakure. He didn't think that the blond powerhouse was going to come around, but he would be welcomed as a friend on the off chance that he did.

XXXXXXXXXXXXX

Kirigakure

"So Uzumaki went rogue did he? I gotta say I wasn't expecting that, he didn't seem like the type." Zabuza said after they had finished reading the newest bingo book entry.

"Ah yes, that's right. You did mention that you've met him before haven't you?" Terumi Mei commented idly, running a finger over the photograph in the bingo book. This Uzumaki Naruto was quite the interesting sounding man and she would have liked to meet him.

"Yeah, not long before I returned to Kiri, though he didn't look like this at the time." Zabuza confirmed.

"What do you mean?" Ao asked curiously.

"Well, his eyes were blue and he didn't have claws. He didn't have those black marks on his face either." Zabuza explained.

"What about his teeth?" Mei questioned.

"Those he did have, though I have no idea why. Probably something to do with the Kyuubi." Zabuza answered with a shrug. He'd been wondering about those teeth himself and it finally made sense when his Jinchuuriki status had been revealed.

"Perhaps he left Konoha because he wanted a...younger Kage." Mei purred to herself, not really expecting an answer.

"I don't think age has anything to do with it Mizukage-sama." Ao said with a sweatdrop.

Mei's eyebrow twitched slightly as her selective hearing kicked in. Age...old? Old Mizukage?

"I'm with Ao on this one. He seemed like a womanizer even then and the little bit of intel we've had on him only supported this. He supposedly goes after every pair of breasts he sees and then drops them just as fast." Zabuza added, annoying Ao slightly with his crudeness.

Mei twitched again. Breasts...drop? Drop...sag? Sagging breasts?

"Besides, we don't have even the slightest idea of where Uzumaki might be, so we can't even offer to let him join Kiri." Ao continued.

By now, Mei was shaking with suppressed anger. Old Mizukage with sagging breasts has nothing to offer Uzumaki?!

"Ao, Zabuza..." She said in a deathly half-whisper, instantly catching both men's attention. "shut up, or I'll kill you."

Both men looked at each other in baffled frustration. What the hell had they said?!

XXXXXXXXXXXXX

Iwagakure

"Hah! So the monster son of the monster father has betrayed Konoha." Onoki crowed gleefully.

He had been quite infuriated to learn that Namikaze Minato had a son, but hadn't been able to really do much about it. By the time he had learned of it, Jiraiya had taken him out of Konoha and vanished for three years.

It kind of pissed him off to know that the son was also an SS-rank shinobi now and at such a young age to boot, but the fact that he had defected from Konoha made up for it.

"Should we send assassins after him gramps?" Kurotsuchi asked with a smirk.

"No, don't be ridiculous. Anyone other than me wouldn't stand a chance against someone like him." Onoki refuted.

Onoki was old enough to have at least heard of the prowess of sages. That alone was not something you messed with lightly, never mind everything else listed in the bingo book. While Onoki didn't believe that this brat had the same skill with the Hiraishin as his father, there were plenty of other things to make him pause, him being the Kyuubi Jinchuuriki being at the top of that list.

"You getting scared in your old age gramps? Konoha is probably just exaggerating his strength to make themselves look better." Kurotsuchi argued stubbornly.

"I doubt it, besides even if they did do that, there's no benefit for Iwa if we go picking a fight with a powerful missing-nin." The old Tsuchikage countered.

Kurotsuchi was silent for a moment as she considered that. It was a valid point, she had to agree.

"How about getting him to join Iwa then?" She asked, smirking again.

Onoki nearly choked on his own spit at the suggestion, having never even considered it. A quick consideration of the idea later and he discarded it. The sudden defection was just a bit too fishy to be trusted. For all he knew, it was part of some kind of ploy/coverup to infiltrate another hidden village and wipe it out from within with the Kyuubi's power. Seriously, who had ever heard of a Jinchuuriki defecting?

The thing with Kirigakure and the Rokubi Jinchuuriki didn't count, because that had been during a civil war.

"It's too risky. Even if he doesn't have any nefarious plans, he can't be trusted. We have no idea what kind of goals a man like that has." The tiny old man declared.

XXXXXXXXXXXXX

Naruto sighed contently as he ran his hand gently over his sleeping wife's naked rear end. They were currently lazing about in a hammock, one of the only items that they had left their hidden sanctuary for, but even that was just a quick Hiraishin teleportation to a town and then back.

Naruto hadn't been sure what to expect out of the hunting grounds of the wolf tribe, but he was most impressed.

It was a vast valley that could only be reached through a well hidden maze of cave systems. The valley still bore the scars of Xanna's rage, but it had healed over well. According to her, after she had been done with it, the valley had been a burned and cratered hellscape, but now it was a natural paradise once again.

Most of the craters had become filled in, either with water to form circular lakes or with earth and vegetation. Even animals had eventually found their way back to it, once more making it vibrant with life. There was more natural energy here than was normal for the world, though not as much as Myobokuzan. He hadn't absorbed it though, seeing no need for that considering that he could now measure his life span in centuries. He didn't want to take all the excess natural energy in the world after all.

It had been two months since they had come here and it was the most relaxing two months that Naruto could ever remember. Neither one of them bothered wearing clothes anymore and spent their days making love, swimming, sleeping or any number of other things. Xanna was also teaching him that chakra skating trick at his request, but it was turning out to be a lot harder than it looked.

Not that Naruto had completely stopped training, because he really hadn't, he was just taking it easy in comparison to how he had trained before, he had all the time in the world after all. He kept up the resistance seals, because there was no way in hell that he was letting himself lose any muscle tone. He had worked too hard to bring his body to the peak of physical perfection to allow it to deteriorate.

He had also managed to bring down the time he needed to lock onto a Hiraishin beacon considerably, instead of nearly a minute it was reduced to about ten seconds. Still not enough to make it truly combat worthy, but worlds better than before.

One other project he had been working on had nothing at all to do with getting stronger and that was to create a true water bed. Condensing water and increasing it's surface tension enough that it would be able to support their weight and then using Fuinjutsu to keep it that way was tricky but he felt that he was close to finished. It should be fun to be able to sleep on a bed of water. That line of research no doubt also had combat applications, but he'd try that out later.

His research into finding a way to become truly immortal hadn't made any progress, but that was alright for the moment. He had an indefinite amount of time to figure it out as long as he didn't die in battle, which was looking ever more unlikely. Aside from the fact that nobody could find them, there was also nobody strong enough in the world to match their combined power. He knew that Xanna wouldn't just watch if he was ever threatened now. He belonged to her and if anyone wanted to take him away, they would need to be strong enough to get past her first. He felt the exact same way and would see anyone that tried to seal her dead at the end of his claws.

The small piece of her chakra that she had entrusted to him way laying dormant in a sectioned off part of the Reaper Death Seal so that it wouldn't interfere with his ability to place natural energy in there. It served as a constant reminder of their bond and worked far better than a wedding band and he often reached out to touch it, finding the feel of her chakra in the seal to be very reassuring.

"Good morning." Xanna murmured, not raising her head from it's place on his chest. It was too comfortable.

"Morning." Naruto replied and continued his fondling of her posterior.

Neither one made any move to get up, despite being fully awake. They would get up when they felt like it and no sooner. They would eventually leave this place, but for now, both were content to simply laze around and enjoy each other without anyone getting in the way.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Zetsu simply could not believe how lucky he was.

Considering how much trouble Uzumaki had caused for Madara's plan, this sudden strike of good fortune was almost too good to be true.

The Sanbi and Nanabi had been sealed, leaving only the Hachibi and the Kyuubi. Remarkably, it had turned out that having the Sanbi unsealed and napping on the bottom of the ocean was actually a good thing in the end. If that idiot Obito had still been alive, Zetsu might actually have been tempted to be slightly nicer to him.

Before his death, Madara had theorised that it would be possible to use the Rinnegan's Outer Path to summon the Bijuu if the Rinnegan bearer was connected to the Gedō Mazō. Madara had been far too old to attempt it though and had instead settled for his original plan of extracting the Bijuu from their Jinchuuriki. It was deemed to be safer that way, instead of summoning a completely unrestrained Bijuu.

Left with no other choice but to try it, despite Madara's wariness about it, Black Zetsu had convinced Nagato to allow him to merge with him and then connect him to the Gedō Mazō.

They had been prepared to do battle with an enraged Bijuu, but it had turned out to be remarkably simple in the end.

Being made entirely of chakra, the Sanbi had been unable to do any harm to the Preta Path and it was highly vulnerable to the Outer Path black chakra rods. Apparently sensing the close proximity of a piece of its lost power, the Gedō Mazō had impaled the Sanbi with its Outer Path chains and swiftly devoured it. The only danger had been getting Nagato's crippled body out of the way fast enough. Fortunately there was a slight delay in the summoning, so it could be done.

The remaining three members of Akatsuki had been rather shocked at how simple it had been. They might have been done sealing the Bijuu already and the world could have been sleeping peacefully in the Eternal Tsukuyomi if Zetsu had known it would be this simple to stuff an unsealed Bijuu into the Gedō Mazō. Or maybe not, considering the fact that every Bijuu aside from the Kyuubi had been sealed in something or other for over a hundred years.

Well, it didn't matter in the end, because the plan was close to completion in either case. Especially since they had learned that the Kyuubi was in fact free.

Pain had been incredibly frustrated to learn that Naruto had gone rogue. This was because he had just about been prepared to launch his assault on Konoha, only to find out that his quarry was no longer there.

Zetsu had gone to discreetly spy on the village, hoping to find out if they might know where he was, but had found out something far more valuable. The man had gone rogue because he was apparently in a relationship with the Kyuubi! Absurdity of the situation aside, Zetsu knew that the Kyuubi was sentient, unlike the other Bijuu, so he didn't disregard the information.

It rankled him that it had taken so long to find this out, especially as he had managed to overhear that it had been free for years now. They could have long since sealed the demon already and Uzumaki wouldn't even have been a factor.

That was unimportant however, what was important was the fact that the mightiest of the Bijuu was free, which meant that it could be summoned and sealed easily. After that, it would be time to betray Nagato and Konan in order to revive Madara.

Technically, it might be possible to revive his creator right away, but he didn't want to risk it. It would take truly insane amounts of Chakra to bring back someone that was long dead, not to mention Madara's body was pretty badly decayed, which was another thing that would suck up tons of chakra to reverse.

If Zetsu forced Nagato to use the Samsara of Heavenly Life now and it failed to properly revive Madara, then Nagato would die for nothing and the plan would be set back even further.

Either way, it was time to do this and hope for the best. He was already merged with Nagato and linked to the Gedō Mazō by way of the Mokuton. The Six Paths of Pain were prepared to subdue the Kyuubi, each holding two chakra rods created through the Outer Path, with more stacked nearby, while Konan was ready to move Nagato out of the way. With the element of surprise on their side, they should be able to defeat the mighty demon before it could bring it's power to bear.

Judging by what he knew of Uzumaki, they could expect retaliation from him, but since he wouldn't know where they were, it would be entirely useless.

"Kuchiyose no Jutsu: Kyuubi(Summoning Technique: Nine Tails)!"

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Xanna's head suddenly jerked up and she went wide eyed with shock. Before Naruto could ask what was wrong, she suddenly vanished in a poof of smoke.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Having a naked redhead appear when you were expecting a giant nine-tailed fox was something of a shocking development, but all the shinobi present were far too experienced to be off balanced by it for very long and immediately attacked.

Xanna too was not the type to let surprise stop her from reacting and instantly launched herself at the closest enemy, only truly registering that they were wearing Akatsuki cloaks.

Unfortunately, that closest enemy was the Preta Path and her hand dematerialised as her chakra was drained by its ability. Only after this happened did she notice the six pairs of Rinnegan eyes in the room. This was a sight that caused her to freeze in shock. The Rinnegan was supposed to be lost! She couldn't understand how there could be even one person with it, much less six at once.

The moment of distraction was more than enough for everyone else in the room to throw the chakra rods at her. Most were dodged, but three of them hit her, causing her to lose control of her human form.

With a loud roar she transformed into her giant fox form for the first time in decades. The vibrations from her roar were strong enough to deflect the chakra rods out of the air and she instantly went back into the attack, hoping to overwhelm her enemies.

She avoided the bulky one with slicked back orange hair, correctly deducing that he had a chakra absorbing ability of some kind that would render all of her attacks against him useless, because even her physical attacks were nothing but chakra given form and momentum.

If she had the time for it, she would have lamented the fact that she had only a basic understanding of the Rinnegan's powers. The old sage had not seen any reason to go into depth when explaining the powers granted by those eyes, believing that it would be forever lost to the world along with him.

Her massive paw descended on another Rinnegan wielder with speed incongruous for something so big and smashed the man with long orange hair into the ground.

While she had done this however, more chakra rods were thrown at her, causing further destabilisation of her chakra. The Preta Path was also taking the opportunity to weaken her further by draining her power with impunity.

The Naraka Path took the opportunity to summon the King of Hell and revive the destroyed Human Path.

Xanna took advantage of her already unstable chakra and dissolved her body in the places where the chakra rods had struck her, causing the black poles to clatter to the ground. Immediately afterwards, she shot a laser like beam of crimson chakra from her mouth towards the giant head surrounded by purple fire, hoping to destroy whatever that thing was, along with the two Rinnegan wielders around it.

Her attack was blocked by an invisible shield of gravitational force generated by the Deva Path, causing the beam to curve around them and smash into the wall.

Seeing that her attack hadn't worked and wanting to get away from the annoying pest that was persistently draining her chakra, Xanna jumped backwards and fired another beam into the ground in front of the chakra drainer, blasting him backwards in the explosion.

Now that she had some breathing space, she started charging up a Bijuudama, fully intending to fire it directly under her feet and blast everything in the surrounding area to dust. The chakra drainer might well have been capable of absorbing even something as powerful as a Tailed Beast Bomb, but the resulting explosion would have absolutely nothing to do with chakra.

Her plans were interrupted by a Rinnegan technique that she was familiar with.

"Shinra Tensei(Heavenly Subjugation of the Omnipresent God)!"

The powerful gravitational push had her skidding backwards even further, her balance only kept due to the fact that she was now a quadruped.

Seeing that any big attacks were likely going to be continuously interrupted, she turned her head upwards, fully intending to collapse the large cave they were in.

The purplishly glowing chains that pierced through her chest from behind put an end to that plan as she suddenly felt weaker than she had ever felt before and even more alarmingly, her chakra was being drained far faster than what the Rinnegan wielder had been capable of.

Taking a look behind her, she saw a massive, dried up looking creature with nine eyes. The chains were extending from its mouth and her chakra was clearly being eaten by this thing.

Unable to fight back any further Xanna instead focused her attention on preventing her chakra from being stolen any more than it had been already. It was impossible, the creature had a powerful hold of it and the best she managed was to slow it down.

Next to the statue was a crippled and sickly looking man with red hair and Rinnegan eyes. He had multiple chakra rods stabbed into his back and half of his face was completely black. Next to him stood a woman with blue hair.

"Success, we have captured the Kyuubi and soon it will be sealed into the Gedō Mazō. Only the Hachibi remains before a time of peace can begin." The red haired man spoke portentously.

Xanna narrowed her eyes at the words, trying to make sense of everything that had just happened and was still happening.

Now that the chaos of battle was over, she could clearly sense the virtually infinite life force of the thing they were calling the Demonic Statue of the Outer Path, as well as its hunger. In addition, she could also sense the chakra of her siblings in there, though it was all mashed together without any distinction between individual Bijuu. Of what remained of their minds, she could sense nothing. Instinctively, she knew that this creature would destroy her if all of her chakra was pulled into it.

With a sinking feeling, Xanna realised that this had to be the physical shell of the Shinju. When the old sage had explained their origins to the newly created Bijuu, he had made no mention of any such thing, but over time Xanna had speculated that it had to exist somewhere, or else all the minor demons plaguing the land wouldn't have been able to exist.

Another realisation that suddenly struck her was the fact that neither she nor Naruto had ever asked themselves just what exactly Akatsuki was sealing the Bijuu into. Neither one of them had really considered the organisation to be anything more than a bunch of idiots playing with fire and had simply assumed that they were sealing them into objects or something.

For the first time in countless ages, she was truly afraid. There had occasionally been periods in her life when she had wished for an end, but this was not one of them. In fact, she had never wanted to live more than she did now. The thought of what her death would do to Naruto did not make her feel any better.

She been too quick to think herself invulnerable.

Her careless dismissal of Akatsuki as a threat had been picked up by Naruto, who had followed her lead and instead treated them as an amusing diversion and a source of ideas for possible immortality.

For thousands of years, there had been no threat to her existence and that feeling of invulnerability had never left her. Despite Jashin's briefly successful attempt at stealing her power and her being sealed for the first time, she had still thought herself to be above anything that the world could throw at her.

They could have wiped these fools out long ago if only they'd taken them seriously, but now she was trapped in a really dangerous position and would need to rely on Naruto to save her. The thought of it was a serious blow to her pride, but that really wasn't important right now. She wanted to keep enjoying her new life with Naruto, not end up as lunch for this dried up carcass of a god.

Though, to be fair...the reemergence of the Rinnegan was not something that she had ever expected to happen.

It was an unfortunate fact that they had prepared themselves well for combating her. The chakra drainer was immune to any direct attacks from her and the black rods weakened her severely. They had also summoned her into a cave, which while more than large enough to hold both her and the statue, was still an enclosed space that prevented escape. All of that had however been just a diversion for the Gedō Mazō until it had started feeding on her chakra. The feeling was very similar to what Jashin had attempted, but far more powerful.

The crippled Rinnegan bearer would find Naruto to be too strong for him, she was sure of it. This was especially true as she had already deduced the secret behind there being seven Rinnegan wielders, it hadn't been too hard to figure out once she realised that there was absolutely no life in six of them. The cripple was feeding his chakra into the others through those black rods, animating their corpses with it and channeling his power to them. It was a clever workaround for his disability, but it was ultimately just a crutch. Naruto might in principle be a great deal weaker than her, but he did not have her particular weaknesses either. Being made up completely of chakra prevented any true physical harm from being done to her, but it also rendered her weak against things that worked directly against chakra, such as Fuinjutsu and many of the Rinnegan's abilities.

That being said, she was still sure that she would have come out on top in this battle if it hadn't been for the Gedō Mazō.

She could only hope that her and Naruto's arrogance in presuming themselves untouchable would not end with her spirit destroyed inside the Gedō Mazō and her chakra once more made as nothing more than a piece of the One Eyed God.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Naruto was already dressed and focusing on the mental connection to his wife, trying to find out what was going on. He could clearly sense that she was in battle and that something had shaken her badly.

Soon after, he knew that the battle was over and judging by the fear he was sensing, it had not ended in Xanna's favor.

Xanna, what's going on?! He asked urgently.

There is a Rinnegan wielder here! He is in possession of the Juubi's physical body and is intending to seal me into it! Find me! I do not know how long I can resist its pull and if it succeeds, I will be destroyed! Was the answer and it caused his blood to freeze with fear.

A second later, a vague sense of which direction he needed to go manifested in his mind and he wasted no time in locking onto the closest Hiraishin beacon and teleported to it. It was still much too far for his tastes, but it would have to do.

As he ran, Xanna described the fight to him and told him everything that she knew of the Rinnegan to give him an advantage. It wasn't as much as he would have liked to know(mostly just the names of the Paths and what she had been able to observe of their abilities during her short battle), but it did contain the most crucial bit of knowledge...the fact that the real Pain was merely controlling the others like puppets. It was good to have that information, because he might otherwise have lost far too much time in figuring out that six of those bodies were just puppets.

The information on the chakra drainer, which Xanna had by now identified as the Preta Path body was especially important, because he doubted it could absorb Senjutsu chakra without actually being a sage.

With this in mind, he stopped his run and went still to absorb some natural energy for the battle, having not filled up the seal in the past two months.

Unfortunately, Naruto was not even close to being in a calm state of mind right now. He was frantic with worry and boiling with rage, making it impossible to properly achieve the state of stillness required for the natural energy to enter his chakra network.

I DON'T HAVE TIME FOR THIS SHIT! He roared in his own mind, frustrated beyond measure at the delay. With every second he wasted, Xanna was closer to being taken from him forever and he wasn't in the mood to play this stupid game just because the natural energy didn't want anything to do with him while he was in this state of mind.

So, instead of calming down and waiting for it to enter his coils, he wielded his powerful life force like a weapon, using it to pull on the environment and forcibly rip the natural energy around him out of it. The world twisted in a way that only one deeply attuned to it would be able to sense, but Naruto wasn't paying attention to that right now, nor did he care. Instead, he brutally forced the natural energy he had taken into submission and locked it away.

Now in Sage Mode, he continued his run towards the place where his wife was guiding him. The aggressive, predatory nature of his Senjutsu only made his rage burn hotter and darker.

XXXXXXXXXXXXX

"Why is it taking so long? The Sanbi was sealed into the Gedō Mazō almost instantly." Konan asked in her standard monotone, no sign of her confusion showing.

Zetsu had already left Pain's body, seeing no further need for the possession at this particular moment. He would possess him again and revive Madara soon. Only the black half of him was present at the moment, due to White Zetsu having been sent to the Mountains' Graveyard, where Madara's body was.

Before either Zetsu or Pain could offer up any theories, Xanna decided to speak up.

"You are fools if you think me to be the same as my mindless siblings." Though the facial expression was a bit hard to decipher in her fox body, the disdainful sneer in the voice was clear.

"You can speak?" Pain asked, slight surprise making its way through his usual portentous monotone. Though he had to admit in the privacy of his own mind that he should have expected it after seeing her transformed into a human woman.

"Of course I can speak you worthless cripple. I see that despite having those eyes, you are just as idiotic as the rest of your species." She snarled in answer, the deep and booming voice of her fox form making her sound like a male.

"It does not matter, you are a necessary sacrifice so that the world can have peace through understanding of pain." Pain droned, disregarding the knowledge of the Kyuubi being sentient as irrelevant.

"You are a fool and you will never know how it ends. By attempting to harm me, you have invited the wrath of my husband and you will find him lacking the weaknesses that allowed you to defeat me." Xanna replied scathingly, the rapidly approaching presence of Naruto serving to calm her fear slightly.

"You speak of your Jinchuuriki, Uzumaki Naruto? He too will fall before the power of god. None can stand in the way of Pain."

Xanna snorted derisively in response. "If you are a god then what is he? Think on that as he tears you apart."

After that she went silent and instead focused on the niggling strangeness she could sense in those Rinnegan eyes. There was a sense of familiarity in them that she couldn't place. At first she had thought that it was something that reminded her of the Sage of Six Paths, but she had already discarded that idea.

XXXXXXXXXXXXX

Takemaru was a Jounin in charge of one of Rain Country's border strongholds that kept the small county isolated and prevented any unauthorized entry. He was a man that just over fourty years of age and was therefore already quite old for a shinobi.

Nothing ever really happened in this particular stronghold, due to it being situated at the border of Fire Country, which was the least aggressive and militaristic of the nations surrounding Rain Country.

Takemaru was grateful for this. He had seen enough war in his life and would be quite happy if he never had to fight another battle again. His wife and son were also grateful for it, knowing well how dangerous the life of a shinobi was.

He didn't really buy into the whole god thing that Pain had spread about, but he did admit that the man was monstrously powerful. Either way, Pain was better than Hanzo as a leader, though not by much. If nothing else, he let Konan, known to Amegakure as the Angel of Rain, run the village in his place. She was considerably better than either of the two.

Takemaru made sure to keep his mouth shut about the fact that he knew that Pain's true name was Nagato, having heard of the man before his defeat of Hanzo. That little bit of knowledge was one of the main reasons the he couldn't buy into the god tripe.

"Takemaru-taichou, something is coming from the east!"

He snapped out of his thoughts at the shouted words of his subordinate and focused on the tree line that signified the start of Fire Country. Hanzo had long since ordered that the borders be deforested to deny the leaf shinobi the advantage of familiar territory and to increase visibility. It was raining as it usually did, so it was somewhat hard, but not impossible, to see what was going on.

It didn't seem like much at first, just a large number of birds scattering, which was what had alerted his subordinate. It didn't take long to see that it was more than just that though, as more than just birds were fleeing the forest.

Animals of all sorts were emerging from the forest, both predator and prey type running side by side, clearly fearing for their lives. Moments after that bizzare sight, an immense pressure of rage and murderous intent slammed into the nervously watching border guards with the subtlety of a sledgehammer to the face, causing them all to instinctively take a step back even though they couldn't see the source of it.

The source of the dread feeling revealed itself to be a very big man with long blond hair flowing behind him like a banner. He was running in a reckless sprint, paying no heed to his surroundings or showing any caution.

Snapping out of the surprised daze that the event had put him into, Takemaru hurried to order his subordinates into a defensive formation. He had no idea who this strange berserker was, but they had a duty to not allow him entry into the country and they would carry it out.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Takemaru lay in a spreading pool of his own blood, not even bothering to press his hand into the ragged wound in his side. There was no point in trying to stem the blood flow when you were missing a large chunk of your body and had your liver, kidney, stomach and probably several other things damaged after all.

He had recognized the charging blond just moments before he had hit their defensive line. Uzumaki Naruto, the newest and most dangerous entry into the bingo book. Not that this knowledge changed anything, since they were still duty bound to prevent him entry, but at least they knew the name of their killer.

Some of his men had actually survived, though it had been because of nothing but pure luck. Those who had been on the outskirts of the defensive formation had escaped death due to the fact that Uzumaki couldn't be bothered to deviate from his mad sprint to kill them. Takemaru had been too close and had experienced the unfortunate novelty of having a clawed hand rip out a chunk of his side.

The blond had run straight through all of their attempts at stopping him without even blinking. Elemental techniques and weapons thrown at him were ignored as if they were no more dangerous than a child's playthings. It couldn't even be called contemptuous, because Uzumaki hadn't even properly registered their existence.

The look he had seen in those burning slitted eyes chilled him even now. Uzumaki hadn't even seen them properly when he had run through them and torn them apart. They might as well have been part of the background setting for all the regard he had given them.

Takemaru could only sigh at his pointless death. He was going to die for no reason, at the hands of a man that probably wouldn't even remember any of those that had died at his hand here. His last sight would be a mane of blood streaked golden hair vanishing into the distance as the pained groaning of his dying comrades rang in his ears.

At the very least, he could rest assured that his wife and son would be safe for now. Uzumaki had only killed them because they had been literally in his way, so he clearly wasn't going to go after any civilians. He could make a wild guess that Pain had done something to provoke the blond to this kind of violent reaction and he knew that the resulting battle was likely going to be making some geographical changes.

He was relieved over the fact that both Pain and Konan weren't in the village right now, having moved closer to the border of earth country for some reason unknown to him. It meant that Amegakure itself was likely to escape becoming collateral damage.

XXXXXXXXXXXXX

Naruto continued to sprint with the same urgent speed that he had been going at from the very start. He cut directly through Amegakure with his gaze firmly fixed on the direction where Xanna was directing him, heedless of the shinobi trying to stop him. Any that got in his way he killed , the others he ignored.

His limited sensing ability allowed him to feel the chakra infused into the rain and he knew that the enemy would know he was coming, but that didn't matter. This Rinnegan user whose name he didn't even know could be as prepared as he liked and it wouldn't matter in the slightest.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

Pain moved his six paths some distance out of the cave to await the arrival of Uzumaki Naruto. He knew it would not be much longer before the man reached him at the speeds that he was moving.

The chakra he felt from his soon to be adversary was monstrously huge and powerful, much stronger than his own. It was also behaving like a caged beast that would tear him to pieces at the first opportunity, the emotions of its owner being so powerful that the chakra was reacting to it.

Despite all this, Pain was fully confident that he would be victorious. He was god after all and his vision of peace would not be defeated here. Uzumaki would simply have to realise that he and the Kyuubi were a necessary sacrifice to pave the way for the future.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Naruto didn't slow his run when he caught sight of the six men in Akatsuki cloaks, despite knowing that these were the Six Paths of Pain. They didn't matter, only saving Xanna mattered.

He could tear them apart after she was safe.

Pain had intended to monologue a bit before the battle started, but his eyes widened slightly when he saw that the charging blond had absolutely no intention of stopping, keeping his gaze fixed firmly in the direction of the cave where Pain's true body was hidden.

The Animal Path quickly summoned a giant rhino to meet Naruto's charge, but once again received unexpected results.

Naruto wasn't intending to take any chances in this situation and he wasn't going to waste time. His strength enhancing seal was already active, so he didn't bother trying to dodge or get around the rhino. Instead, he simply smashed his first into its armored head, sending it flying back at its summoner with its entire skeleton shattered.

Not even sparing a glance at the puppet corpses, he continued his charge towards the cave.

"Banshō Ten'in(Heavenly Attraction of All of Creation)!"

Naruto roared in frustrated rage at having his momentum arrested and then being pulled away from his goal. Turning back, he saw that it was the one that Xanna had identified for him as the Deva Path that was pulling him back. He was familiar enough with gravity thanks to his use of it through Fuinjutsu to identify it for what it was.

Baring his teeth in a ferocious and infuriated snarl, Naruto knew that he would have to destroy at least that one before he could move forward. Not wanting to waste any time, he sent a chain hurtling at it, making use of the pull to give it more momentum.

Before the chain could hit its target, the Preta Path got in the way and started absorbing the chain. Unbothered, Naruto continued his flight forward, preparing to shred both of those bodies with Senjutsu enhanced claws.

Perceiving the attack, the two Paths got out of the way in time to dodge, but were once more surprised as Naruto stabbed a chain into the ground to the side and used it to slingshot around...directly at the Naraka Path, which he knew could revive the others.

His plan was once more foiled, this time by the Animal Path as it used its powers to summon the Naraka Path out of danger.

Snarling in renewed fury, he updated his priority targets.

Naraka

Animal (If he couldn't take Naraka out first)

Deva

The others didn't matter to him at all. He didn't even know what the Asura and Human Paths could do, since Xanna had only known their names and they hadn't done anything special during her battle with them and the Preta Path was completely worthless as anything but a shield against Ninjutsu.

The sense of urgency pounding in his skull forced him to think of a tactic that he would have never used otherwise.

"Tajū Kage Bunshin no Jutsu(Multiple Shadow Clone Technique)!"

The army of shadow clones immediately charged towards the cave where Pain's crippled true body was, intent on turning him into a bloody smear.

Pain's eyes widened slightly, though in truth he was badly shocked at the tactic. His real body wouldn't have the slightest chance of defending himself against that kind of assault and he wasn't sure if Konan and Zetsu could keep all of them at bay without at least one of them getting through.

Feeling that he had no choice in the matter, he sent the Asura Path after the clones, counting on its wide area missile attacks to thin the number of clones that Konan would have to contend with.

Instantly pouncing on the opportunity, Naruto went after the Animal path, knowing that its summoning ability would prevent him from harming the Naraka Path. The Human and Preta Paths moved to block his advance but found themselves brutally overpowered. The Paths were incredibly strong and durable, but Naruto's raw strength was much greater than what they were able to exert.

Unable to disengage without putting the Animal Path in danger, they were forced to stay locked in a Taijutsu battle against Naruto's godlike strength. The two Paths tried to get Naruto into a grapple so that the Human Path could remove his soul, but Naruto wasn't interested in finding out what kind of ability the Human Path had and assaulted it with multiple chains and then ripped its head off with a claw swipe.

The Preta Path moved to absorb the chains, but the blond had predicted that kind of thing and deliberately moved into it and allowed it to grab his arm. The moment that he felt it absorbing his chakra, he pushed a good chunk of raw natural energy towards it and watched in satisfaction as the Preta Path turned to stone.

Inside the cave, the real Pain had sweat pouring down his face due to the effort of concentration he was being forced to exert. Focusing six bodies on a single target was one thing, but being pressed this hard on multiple fronts was a whole other level of difficulty. The clones weren't being stupid and even the Asura Path was having trouble with them, as they were using delaying tactics on it while the main force of clones kept charging at his true body.

With the Preta Path now turned to stone and the Human Path taken out of the battle, Naruto focused his murderous gaze on the Animal Path. As a final act in taking the Human Path out of action, he threw its body as far as he was able to prevent the Naraka Path from reviving it while he was busy hunting the Animal Path.

His headlong chase of the Animal Path was once more interrupted by a most annoying technique.

"Shinra Tensei(Heavenly Subjugation of the Omnipresent God)!"

Naruto crashed against a large boulder and turned it to rubble. Pain took the small opening to summon the remains of the Human Path and then revive it with Naraka.

When Naruto picked himself up, dirty but completely unharmed and saw that the Human Path was on its feet again he sank even deeper into his berserker state of mind. The memories of his clones being destroyed by missiles and paper cuts before they reached the real body did nothing to calm him down. He didn't have time for this! While these stupid insect bite attacks were wasting his time, Xanna was weakening and in ever greater danger of being taken from him!

Roaring his rage, he pulled on the world even more harshly than before, too deep in his anger to even truly understand what he was doing. All he knew was that he needed these pests to be destroyed so that they stopped getting in his way.

Pain watched in apprehension as the ground cracked from the force of the blond's roar and a sudden wind picked up. His Rinnegan allowed him to see the chakra churning chaotically in the air, mixed with the now visibly twisting natural energy, both of them being torn out of place and pulled towards Naruto.

Looking into the those gold-orange irises, Pain couldn't see anything human in them anymore. The only thing he could see in them was an inferno of boiling hate that would never be satisfied or calmed. The reports he had received on Uzumaki's disposition and mental state claimed that he was rather well adjusted(though prone to outbursts of strange behavior), but clearly that was just the surface of it. Underneath that, Uzumaki Naruto's sanity was entirely dependant on some external factor. By what he had learned recently, that would most likely be the Kyuubi. Since the Bijuu was apparently sentient and capable of taking human form, as well as the demon naming itself his wife, this made a sick sort of sense.

If he had time to think about it, Pain would have eventually deduced a fairly accurate estimation of Naruto's life and the reasons for why this was so, but he didn't have any more time, as the previously stiff wind had now become a tornado and nothing that Pain did would stop it. Even using a Shinra Tensei to disperse it only worked for a few moments before it reformed.

Shinobi were always taught that an angry enemy was a reckless enemy and a reckless enemy was a dead enemy. For Pain, this had always been true.

Except for this time. Because this time, an angry enemy was simply one that would heartlessly put the world to the torch if that was what it took. Despite having gone berserk past the point of rational thought, Naruto still knew which ones he needed to destroy to get what he wanted.

The powerful wind picked the Animal Path off the ground and pulled it towards Naruto. Pain knew that he couldn't use a bird summon to get out of this, so he resorted to using a Banshō Ten'in to pull the endangered Path out of the powerful wind.

A chain going towards him forced him to abandon that plan of action or risk losing the Deva Path as well. While the Deva Path managed to escape impalement, Naruto savagely punched through the Animal Path's chest to kill it and then hurled it at the sky with all the strength he was capable of.

The body caught fire due to air friction and eventually broke out of the planet's gravity well, the throw having been strong enough to propel it out of the atmosphere.

"Chibaku Tensei(Heavenly Body Bursting from the Earth)!"

Pain had realised that smaller techniques wouldn't be enough to stop the berserking blond. His incredible durability and healing factor made sure of it. The only thing that would work would be something huge and Chibaku Tensei was more or less the only thing he had that was big enough.

He had already abandoned all the other bodies due to needing all of his concentration and chakra for this technique, leaving them lying around uselessly. The Chibaku Tensei would destroy them as well, but he could always find new bodies to host his Paths.

XXXXXXXXXXXXX

"You don't have to go that far." Konan said in worry. She knew how much strain that technique put on him, even if he hadn't used up all that much chakra quite yet. Though summoning the Kyuubi had been somewhat difficult.

"I have no choice, my opponent is more monster than man." Pain intoned firmly.

"Useless, all your effort is useless. He will not be stopped." Xanna added just to rub it in. She was delaying the drain of her chakra as much as possible, but she didn't have much time left.

Aside from that, she still trying to figure out what the familiar-and-yet-unfamiliar feeling that she was getting from this idiot cripple's Rinnegan was.

Black Zetsu stayed silent. He hoped that this technique would be the end of Uzumaki Naruto so that the Eye of the Moon Plan could get back on track without him screwing things up. He was ready to make his move in case things didn't go so well though. Even if Uzumaki won the battle raging outside, Madara's vision would come true, though the original plan had been badly derailed. It would simply be preferrable if the oversized plan wrecking blond could kindly die first. What he was intending would be risky enough without the threat of being torn to pieces.

XXXXXXXXXXXXX

Naruto glared furiously at the ever enlarging sphere of rock hanging in the sky, his chains stabbing deep into the earth to keep him from being lifted up as well. His rage wasn't lessened in the least, but he retained enough coherency to know that he wouldn't be able to help Xanna if he got himself crushed here.

So instead of attacking the way that his anger would have him do, he forced himself to turn his back on the annoying bastard and used his chains to pull himself towards the cave that was only barely visible in the distance.

"There will be no escape from this technique Uzumaki, I will crush you into the ground and pave the way to the future." Pain said through the Deva Path, feeling the need to make a portentous statement as a finishing line.

Naruto turned his head to see what the orange haired annoyance was talking about and saw the man-made planetoid falling towards him. It was far too big to dodge and even if he did that, it would force him to make a detour towards the cave and was thus unacceptable.

Snarling bestially in utter frustration, hating this man more than he had ever hated anyone in his life, Naruto threw himself at the giant rock with every intention of turning it into dust.

"Kaimon, Kyūmon, Seimon: Kai(Gate of Opening, Gate of Healing, Gate of Life: Open)!"

His chakra network didn't appreciate the sudden flooding of powerful Yang natured chakra, especially not when it was mixed up with natural energy. There was a distinct lack of Yin nature chakra and it unbalanced things quite badly, but he didn't care. He could feel the natural energy shifting around him violently as it was thrown off balance, but he forced it down. He hadn't been able to do something like that when he had been learning Senjutsu, but now with his life force being so much more powerful and himself being much more skilled at manipulating it, he was able to force it into submission.

Readying his fist, he prepared to throw every bit of strength he had behind his punch and obliterate this stupid rock and then do the same to the Deva Path.

"Wakusei Kudaki(Planet Crusher)!"

His fist hit the planetoid with such force that it truly would have cracked the world open if he had struck the ground with it. As it was, the Rinnegan made ball of rock had no chance of resisting the power behind that punch and was turned into a rain of pebbles and dust that fell harmlessly to the ground.

As soon as Naruto hit the ground, He launched himself at the Deva Path. He saw the body sway and then fall to the ground, making him think that the technique was likely a one shot of some sort, but didn't fuss over it. All he did was kick the body's head off without stopping his run towards the cave where his wife was still weakening.

XXXXXXXXXXX

"N-Nagato?" Konan choked out in a tone of stunned betrayal, blood dripping from her mouth due to the chakra rod stabbed through her chest. Turning her head, she saw that Zetsu was once more bonded to her life long friend and the hand gripping the black rod impaled in her was completely black.

Nagato's mind all but shut down at the sight, unable to deal with the sight of his last friend being fatally injured by his hand. Having Yahiko die by his hand had broken him and to see the same happen to Konan was more than he could cope with.

This was all exactly as Zetsu had planned. He was pressed for time and didn't have any time to waste on Nagato's attempts to resist his control. He quickly connected himself to the Gedō Mazō via his Mokuton and began siphoning chakra from the statue to power the technique.

"Gedō: Rinne Tensei no Jutsu(Outer Path: Samsara of Heavenly Life Technique)!"

Xanna had been surprised by the sudden betrayal but not nearly as much as what she started sensing as the technique was used. Though it had been long ago and it was changed since then, she could definitely feel a hint of Madara's chakra in those Rinnegan eyes. What really threw her though, was that it also felt vaguely similar to Senju Hashirama's chakra.

Zetsu felt the technique pulling vast amounts of chakra and raw life force from Nagato and himself and knew that it had been wise to think of siphoning chakra away from the Bijuu to power this. Madara had been very powerful and his body old and decayed. Something like that was not easily overcome just because the Rinnegan granted this technique.

"Naruto! Destroy the Rinnegan!" Xanna commanded urgently, hoping to disrupt the technique.

The newly arrived Naruto obeyed without hesitation and threw himself into a claw swipe that would take out both the Rinnegan user and his eyes.

Despite having no time to evade, Zetsu grinned just a moment before his death. They were too late, Madara was restored to his prime and even with the Rinnegan lost, a new set of Mangenkyo Sharingan awaited him that would be able to evolve into a new Rinnegan soon enough. He hadn't been sure if he would be able to restore Madara without the Kyuubi's chakra fully added to the Gedō Mazō, but it seemed to have worked. It had been far too close for comfort, but luck had seemingly favored someone other than Uzumaki for a change.

Naruto turned away from the ruined corpse and faced his wife. Despite never having seen her in her giant fox form, he didn't waste time gawking and instantly made his way to the chains and tried to pull them out of her.

"You can't remove those chains Naruto! Seal me quickly!" Xanna urged, knowing that her time was running out.

"Damnit, hold on a moment! I need to purge the natural energy from the seal!" Naruto said back in frustration at yet another delay, frantically moving to do just that.

"No time!" The demoness snapped back, her tone harsh because she knew that it would be too late any second now.

Not really knowing what else he could do, Naruto grabbed hold of her and pulled on her chakra, trying to draw it into the seal that way. Xanna pushed her chakra towards him as much as she was able, but the pull of the Gedō Mazō was very strong.

Knowing that her life could now be measured in seconds and not double digit ones, she frantically pushed everything that she was into Naruto, reaching out to the small fragment of her chakra that she had entrusted to Naruto.

Naruto stumbled back when the crimson fur that he was pulling on suddenly dispersed into a reddish chakra mist and got drawn into the Gedō Mazō.

Sitting on the ground and staring uncomprehendingly at the Gedō Mazō, Naruto had no idea how to feel.

He had failed and now Xanna was gone.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

A considerable distance to the north, a man without eyes awoke and smiled darkly. His long awaited resurrection had finally happened, which could only mean that the Eye of the Moon plan was nearing completion.

"Zetsu?" He questioned, feeling the chakra of his faithful servant and creation nearby.

"Madara-sama." White Zetsu said just to confirm that he was here and paying attention.

"Where are we and what is the status of the plan?" Madara asked.

"We are in the Mountain's Graveyard. As for the plan...there have been...complications."

Madara frowned. He hadn't expected everything to go perfectly, but this sounded as if the plan had deviated quite badly.

"Tell me everything."

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

The bloody, pained cough of the blue haired paper using kunoichi drew Naruto's attention and he made his way over to her.

Uncaring of her condition he kicked her over so that she way lying on her back and stared at her with a completely dead gaze.

"You kept me from saving her. You prevented my clones from reaching the real body and made me waste time fighting those corpses outside." Naruto said.

Konan couldn't help the chill that crawled up her spine at the tone. It was more dead and empty than anything she had ever heard from Nagato. What made it worse was that she now understood that she and Nagato had been used as pawns in someone else's plan. Their desire for peace had been taken advantage of by Madara for whatever purpose the man had and now he was no doubt alive again thanks to Zetsu's treachery.

She didn't really understand the relationship between this man and the Kyuubi, but the tone of his voice told her everything that she needed to know. Their actions had destroyed his life and in the end it had caused nothing but harm for everyone except Madara, whom she hated. Yahiko, Nagato and her had wanted to be heroes and bring peace and happiness to people so that no one would have to suffer the way that they had suffered as children. Now that everything was at last revealed, she knew that Yahiko would have been ashamed of them and the ruin they had caused. Not to mention how appalled he would have been that Nagato had used his body to do it.

She would have apologized if she didn't know how hollow it would be. An apology, no matter how sincere, wouldn't bring back what was lost. Instead she just stared at him silently with eyes full of regret and waited for him to kill her. The wound that Zetsu had inflicted on her would certainly be fatal if not treated immediately, but she was sure that the blond looming over her would end her before that injury could claim her life.

Naruto simply stared down at her silently, noting but not caring about the regret he could see she was feeling. He could kill her or he could not kill her...neither option really felt appealing. Nothing much felt appealing really. There was a feeling of aching emptiness in his chest that was eclipsing everything else. The pain of his damaged(though quickly healing) chakra coils due to his reckless use of the gates seemed distant and insignificant.

There was also guilt that settled heavily on his shoulders. Instead of screwing around and thinking of them as a bunch of stupid nuisances, he should have treated Akatsuki as a legitimate threat. If he had done that, then Xanna would never have been in danger.

His mind wandered aimlessly through memories of the wonderful past two months, finding it impossible to reconcile the fact that he had been enjoying a morning cuddle with his wife less than two hours ago with the situation as it was now. Out of sheer habit he reached towards the piece of her chakra held in a sectioned off part of the Reaper Death Seal and froze.

It was about time, I was starting to think that you were going to just keep moping. Though the words were mocking, they were spoken in a fond tone.

Xanna! You're alright?! He exclaimed in utter relief. It was almost enough to make his legs give out and send him crashing ass first to the ground.

In a manner of speaking. The demoness replied evasively, making a worried frown appear on his face. But we can talk about that later, there are several things you need to take care of first, such as that woman and the Gedō Mazō.

Konan's forehead creased in slight confusion as he just stood over her like a statue for several minutes. At first he had seemed almost dazed, as if he was barely aware of his surroundings, then he suddenly looked hyper focused for a moment and then it almost seemed as if he was about to cry. Now he was focusing back on her and seemed to have regained some control of himself.

"What was the technique that was being used just before I came in here?" Naruto asked the injured woman.

"The Samsara of Heavenly Life, a resurrection technique that allows a Rinnegan user to trade his own life force and chakra in exchange for bringing someone back from the dead." Konan explained, ignoring the pain it caused her. If her last act could be giving away important information to an enemy of Madara then that was at least something that she could do right.

"Who was being brought back?"

"Madara I think."

Naruto nodded as if a suspicion had just been confirmed, not knowing that they were thinking of different Madara's, though it didn't really matter in the end.

"Why?" He asked next, causing her to frown in confusion. Wasn't it obvious why Madara had been resurrected?

"Why were you doing this?" He elaborated.

Konan swallowed the sorrow and regret that blocked her throat at the question and answered. "Nagato and I just wanted to continue Yahiko's dream and create a peaceful world, but Nagato lost his way and I followed him. All we ended up doing was causing more pain." She finished sadly, her mind going over the terrible things that they had done. In the end, all they had done was propagate the hatred that they had been trying to fight against.

Naruto didn't know who Yahiko and Nagato were, but could guess that one of them was the Rinnegan user. Though from what Xanna had told him, that Rinnegan had Madara's chakra in it, so it likely never belonged to the cripple that was now hanging lifelessly with his face clawed off in that strange machine.

"We were Jiraiya's students and we couldn't live up to his vision of peace. I know that he was your teacher as well...do you want to create peace too?" Konan revealed and asked when he didn't pose any further questions of his own.

Naruto ground his teeth together in surprised anger and made a mental note to kick the shit out of Jiraiya for not mentioning that there was a Rinnegan bearer out there.

That would have been PRETTY FUCKING IMPORTANT TO KNOW BEFORE IT WAS TOO LATE! He raged to himself

Agreed. Xanna chimed in, similarly pissed off.

His short mental conversation done, Naruto answered the prone woman. "I don't care about peace or the world or any of that fantasy crap. I came here to save my wife from a pretentious bastard that thought he could do anything he wanted just because he had a fancy pair of eyeballs. Now I'm getting out of this pseudo intellectual rathole and making plans to send Madara to the deepest pit of the abyss that I can find."

Konan just nodded slightly, not really surprised. He hadn't seemed like the type to strive for peace, though he was clearly also not interested in war. All he cared about was the woman he loved and she had to admit to herself that it was certainly a better mindset than what most people had. At the very least he wouldn't do any harm to anyone that didn't try to harm him or his first. That was more than could be said for her or Nagato.

"You said you wanted peace?" The blond prodded, making her nod silently.

"Do you want your friends back too?" He questioned further, making her eyes widen slightly in surprise, though she was in fact very surprised. She nodded hesitantly, not daring to hope that he had some way of bringing them back to her, or that he would be that kind.

"Then go to them and you can have both." He said with his voice suddenly much colder and stabbed one of the chakra rods that had been lying around through her heart, impaling it deep enough that it got stuck in the ground under her.

Konan convulsed once from the pain and then went still, her vision already going dark.

"If you wanted peace then you shouldn't have wasted time fighting in this world." Was the last thing she heard before she expired.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Naruto appeared in the secret valley that had formerly belonged to the wolf tribe with the Gedō Mazō in tow and then collapsed against a tree right after.

Sitting with his back pressed against it, he tried to calm down his breathing and stop his hands from shaking, but failed spectacularly. He had been holding himself together before with nothing but sheer force of will and the knowledge that there were things he needed to take care of before he could fall apart.

Killing that blue haired woman whose name he had never gotten didn't bother him in the slightest. She had been one of those that had nearly taken Xanna away from him and there was simply no way in hell that he was going to let that go, even if the woman did seem to honestly regret it.

No, it was how terribly close he had been to losing Xanna that was causing him to nearly hyperventilate. She had always seemed so invincible that having her come within a hairsbreadth of being destroyed was more jarring to him than if the death god had come to his door and told him that he'd been fired and was now a door-to-door carpet salesman.

Shhhh beloved, it's alright, I am here. She cooed at him from within and eventually managed to calm him down.

Hang on just a second, let me get you out of there. He said to her, wanting nothing more than to hold her to assure himself that she was really still with him.

NO! She yelled at him frantically, making him freeze just as he was about to open the seal to get her out.

What's wrong? He asked apprehensively. He didn't think that she would simply be scared of something like that happening again, but couldn't think of what else it could be. He had definitely felt a lot of fear from her at the idea of leaving the seal.

She stayed silent for several long seconds and he could clearly feel that she was both very upset and slightly ashamed of something. I...can't leave the seal anymore.

Why not? He asked warily.

The Gedō Mazō took almost all of my chakra, I have barely enough left to match a strong Jounin such as your former sensei. If I left the seal now, I would be nothing but a formless wraith unable to even create a body for myself. As it takes far more chakra to sustain sentience, I would also lose my mind near instantly. After that, this tiny amount of chakra I have remaining would likely get drawn to the Gedō Mazō and I would end up being destroyed anyway, just as I would have been had you not come to save me. She explained in a resigned tone.

But...but how could that happen? He asked in weak protest, having instinctively confirmed her words. He hadn't tried to gauge how much of her chakra was in the seal before, but now that he had he could indeed sense that it was only a tiny fraction of what it used to be.

The pull of the Gedō Mazō was too strong for us to overcome and pull my chakra away without a complex sealing technique. I could feel that my time was almost up so I tried to push myself towards the piece of chakra I had left in your seal when we got married. Unknowingly, I had abandoned the chakra that the statue was absorbing and moved my spirit to this miniscule fragment.

Both of them were silent for a long while, Naruto because he was thinking the situation over and Xanna so that he could think in peace.

But you'll be okay as long as you stay in the seal right?He asked.

I will not be in any immediate danger as long as you don't die, yes. She confirmed. It would be a sorry existence and she didn't know how long she would be able to tolerate it, but it was better than oblivion...for the moment at least. At the very least, she would still be able to experience the world through Naruto, though she couldn't take control of his body with so little chakra, so she was reduced to an observer.

That's alright then. He said in relief, causing her some irritation because she thought that he only cared about the fact that she would be with him and was dismissing what the situation was like for her. As long as you're in no immediate danger, then I have time to find out a way to return your chakra to you.

After hearing that she calmed down and chastised herself slightly for thinking that Naruto would be that callous. Fortunately she hadn't said anything and her husband would never be aware of her uncharitable thoughts.

You think that you can manage it? She asked.

I'll find a way. He affirmed, which more or less let her know that he had no idea how to do it, but was going to find a way even if he had to punch the death god in the crotch.

But first...we need to prevent Madara from causing anymore problems. He said, remembering all too well that Itachi's Mangenkyo was still out there and Xanna had already told him about being able to sense the Shodai Hokage's chakra in those Rinnegan eyes. He might not know exactly what was up with that, but he could draw enough unpleasant conclusions.

There would be no more taking things lightly and thinking that he and Xanna were too tough for anyone to touch them.

Madara most definitely had his undivided attention right now.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXX

The sky was going dark by the time Naruto finished working.

The entire valley was now ringed with Fuinjutsu defenses so fearsome and impregnable that there was absolutely no chance of anything unexpected happening. Never mind the fact that the valley was already near impossible to find if you didn't know where to look.

There were space-time barriers that prevented any and all summoning from being used...or any other space-time technique for that matter. Additionally there was a chakra blocking barrier that would prevent any sensors from feeling through it.

In short, the entire valley was effectively locked off into a parallel dimension that could only be reached with the Hiraishin and even then only if the user had the proper key to pass through the barriers. If they didn't have the key, they would find themselves teleported into a tightly folded area of space where their mass would be compressed into a ball the size of Naruto's fist, which would be painfully fatal.

Naruto exhaled with a gusty sigh at finally being done, feeling oddly tired. Even with shadow clones, it had taken him all day to do this.

I'm afraid you're not tired just because you've been working so hard beloved. Xanna spoke sadly, alarming him.

What's wrong? He asked, feeling a foreboding case of deja vu. The last time he had asked that, he had learned that she couldn't leave the seal anymore.

It would appear that I spoke too soon when I said that there was no immediate danger. Even sealed inside you, this tiny amount of chakra I have is not enough to sustain my continued existence. She spoke with a soft and resigned tone. She hadn't wanted to interrupt him while he was placing the seals, but now she couldn't put it off any longer.

So...what? Are you draining my chakra to keep yourself going? He asked with a thoughtful frown. He didn't care if she was, sure it would reduce his combat capacity somewhat to have a portion of his chakra dedicated to supporting her, but it was no big deal.

Nothing so simple I'm afraid. Your chakra is not usable to me for that kind of thing. She replied, without revealing the reason for her sudden morose mood.

What then? He prodded, wanting a clear answer already.

What chakra I do have has latched onto your life force and is using it to sustain me. The drain is enough that a normal human would be dead somewhere between one and three days, depending on how strong they were. Your life force is much stronger and will hold out for perhaps a month, maybe somewhat longer. She revealed solemnly, knowing that the situation was unsustainable.

Then I'll just keep draining natural energy from the world to keep us going until I can find a way to restore you. Naruto said without concern, thinking nothing of the fact that his wife was literally sucking the life out of him.

It will not be enough. The drain is too much to be countered like that. Only places such as Myobokuzan have natural energy in great enough amounts to give you a significant enough increase in life energy to sustain us for more than a few days. At the most, we will have gained another month or two, likely less. Xanna refuted.

Naruto gnawed on his lower lip in thought and considered any possible alternatives. He had no idea how long it would take him to get her chakra back and working under a time limit like that was mightily inconvenient.

Would it be possible to seal you in such a way that you would be hibernating and not draining me? He asked.

I'm not a bear Naruto. Despite the dire situation, she couldn't help feeling dryly amused at the suggestion. The only workable alteration you could make would be to change the seal in such a way that you would be siphoning off my chakra instead of the other way around.

Naruto frowned. That option was out of the question. I guess we're working on a time limit then.

I guess so... Xanna agreed with a sad sigh. I do have a request to make though.

What kind of request? He asked suspiciously, getting the feeling that he wouldn't like it.

If it turns out to be hopeless, then I want you to save yourself and eject me from the seal.

No. He said stonily, unable to believe that she would even think of something like that.

Naruto, if it turns out to be hopeless then I will meet the same end whether you do so or not. The only difference will be whether I take you with me. The demoness reasoned.

Naruto had never been very reasonable though. No, I won't do it.

Will you just think about it for a second?! I don't want to die as a parasite and drag my husband to the grave alongside me. There is no need to throw your life away like this. This way you would at least be able to remember me.

I don't care, I would die a thousand times if I can keep you with me for just a moment longer. What good is remembering you if you're not there anymore? He retorted, starting to get angry with this conversation.

Naruto...please. She pleaded, shocking him out of his anger. She had never said 'please' to him unless it was sarcastic. There are still people that you care about in the world. You could even try going back to that Tsunami woman in Wave, I know that you are still fond of her. It makes no sense for us to die together. You can end your life at any time if you can't bear to live on without me, but don't deny yourself the chance to live.

Naruto was silent for a full five minutes, finding it hard to believe that after all the effort he had put into becoming immortal, it was she that was in danger of dying. She, who was supposed to be eternal and who had been there for him for as long as he could remember. The thought of leaving her to die in order to save himself was so repugnant that he couldn't even tolerate thinking of it without feeling his guts twisting in self disgust.

You're such a stupid wife. He said scornfully, feeling her confusion and anger at the words and tone, but continued speaking anyway. This is what you get for skipping the wedding vows. If you hadn't done that, then you would have known better. You would have known that dying together is the only kind of dying that makes sense.

Xanna was silent for a short while before she replied. You will not be dissuaded from this course then? Tsunade's words about his priorities going briefly through her mind. Naruto's resolve to keep her with him for as long as possible was unassailable.

Of course not, I love you and I would rather die with you than live without you. He confirmed.

I love you too husband. Xanna replied with her tone being much warmer and stopped trying to convince him otherwise. It was clear that he wouldn't budge on this. It is decided then, we will stay together to whatever end?

To whatever end. He repeated firmly.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

OMAKE: Hokage Naruto at the Five Kage Summit.

"Strangers from distant lands, friends of old, you have been summoned here to answer the threat of Akatsuki." Mifune spoke ominously to the five Kage gathered in the land of iron.

"I'm sorry, but are you quoting someone? Becase that doesn't sound like something that you would normally say." Naruto interrupted, confused by the weird way of talking that the old guy was using.

He had to hand it to him though...that was an awesome Fu Manchu moustache.

Mifune coughed to hide his slight embarrassment. His grandson had insisted that they watch the Lord of the Rings together last night and it had been a surprisingly good movie. "Yes well...moving on."

"Before we begin talking about Akatsuki, I would like to ask Hokage-dono if he would be willing to open diplomatic relations with the Water Country." Terumi Mei spoke up, placing deliberate emphasis on 'relations' to test the young Hokage's reaction. He looked like such an interesting man.

She was also amused to note that he was the only Kage that didn't have the traditional hat with him.

"I would be delighted, I'm sure that relations between Water and Fire would be quite...steamy." Naruto purred back at her.

Up in the spaces reserved for the guards, Sakura facepalmed. Naruto couldn't keep it in his pants even during something this important. The fact that it looked like it would get him an alliance with Kirigakure instead of a war actually kind of pissed her off. Just once, she would have liked to see Naruto's perversions backfire on him.

She wasn't even going to think about the fact that he was married.

Unknown to her, Xanna was present due to sharing her husband's body at the moment and egging Naruto on to nail that delicious looking redhead.

It was good for married people to share some common interests.

His other 'bodyguard', Anko, was struggling to keep her laughter contained. This was just too good.

Why was Anko here you ask? Because she was Anko.

At least, that was how Naruto had explained it when questioned.

Naruto gave a suspicious glance towards the Mizukage's bodyguards, where he sensed a burst of killing intent driven by impotent jealousy.

Mei held her cheek in simulated shyness, making an 'O' shape with her mouth to top it off. "Hokage-dono! You are so bold. Should I fear for my virtue in the face of such beastly desires?" She flirted back, enjoying herself immensely. The men in Kirigakure didn't have the spine to be so forward with her.

"I have no idea what beastly desires you're talking about Mizukage-chan, but if it makes you feel better you can tie me down." Naruto replied, deliberately making his voice throaty and even more growling than usual to contradict his claim of not having any beastly desires. "I'll even provide the chains." He offered and extended several chains from his hand as a demonstration.

Mei blushed at the implication, as well as the brazen '-chan' honorific he used. That was a diminutive suffix that should never, ever be used in a formal setting, even for those of lower rank. That the blond Hokage had enough spine to use it on a foreign dignitary in the middle of a highly tense meeting like this told her that he was utterly confident in his ability to handle any possible negative fallout from it, and confidence she liked.

Not that there was going to be any negative fallout from her side, since she liked it. It made her feel years younger.

"Enough of this! We're here to discuss the threat of Akatsuki, not get hooked up!" A, the Raikage yelled and slammed his palms on the table to emphasise his point.

"Don't be such a cockblock Raikage! Can't you see that me and the sexy Mizukage were talking?!" Naruto yelled back, glaring the Raikage straight in the eye.

"What did you call me you punk?!" A yelled back, his temper unsuited to dealing with any kind of provocation.

"You mad bro?" Naruto asked slyly, sporting a shit eating grin at how riled up the Raikage was getting.

"HELL YEAH I'M MAD! COME AT ME BRO!" A roared back and slammed his fist into the table, breaking it in half.

"FLIP THIS SHIT!" Naruto suddenly roared as well and flipped his table towards the Raikage.

Before the guards could think to get in the way, the two of them hand their hands locked in a contest of strength. The Raikage had his Lightning Armor active, while Naruto was ablaze with a cloak of demonic crimson chakra.

Growling excitedly with a wide grin splitting his face, Naruto soon proved to be the stronger and forced the Raikage to one knee and then kneed him in the face, sending him flying back towards his seat.

"BOO-YAH! Who's the man?!" He exclaimed with his hands raised in the air. When he didn't get any immediate response(everyone being too busy gawking at him to say anything), he asked again. "I repeat, who is the MAN?! Come on girls let me hear you say it!" He finished, turning towards Sakura and Anko.

"You're the man Naruto!" Anko's enthusiastic reply completely drowned out Sakura's reluctant one.

Mifune tried to enforce some order but got beaten to the punch by Onoki.

"This is what Konoha's Hokage acts like? Disgraceful." The Sandaime Tsuchikage scoffed.

"What's really disgraceful is that you haven't retired yet. How about letting that girl with the cute pouty glare up on the balcony take over for you?" Naruto riposted with a grin.

"HA, see gramps! Even the Hokage is telling you to retire." Kurotsuchi said with a smirk, unable to resist the jab at her grandfather, even though she didn't like the Hokage all that much.

"That is enough!" Mifune snapped, fed up with the madhouse that the serious meeting had turned into. "If Hokage-dono is quite done, then maybe we can get to the point of this meeting."

"Just one more thing." Naruto said and turned towards the Kazekage. "How are your mother and sister Gaara?"

Most of those present gave Naruto odd looks at his rather forward question, except for Sakura who had been present for most of his interactions with the sand siblings.

"Mother still teases Temari about having you for a son in law. My sister has been asking me if I could send her on an assassination mission with you as the target after you sent her those daisy patterned panties in the mail."

"DAMNIT GAARA, DON'T TELL HIM THAT!" Temari yelled from the balcony, but was summarily ignored.

"Does Karura get ever get bored, being locked in the seal and all?" Naruto asked, dismissing the knowledge of Gaara's sister trying to kill him.

"Sometimes, though she compensates by playing pranks with my sand." Gaara revealed.

"What kind of pranks are we talking about here?" The blond asked suspiciously.

Onoki's chair took this moment to collapse, causing the man to break his hip due to the fall.

"Ah, I see." Naruto said in realisation, ignoring the screaming of the old man.

Mifune sighed in despair. Why did Tsunade have to appoint this lunatic as her successor?

XXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Thar we go, another chapter in the quest log of this here pirate ship.

I'm afraid that I wasn't able to come up with any suitably ridiculous way of asking for reviews this time, so I'm going to have to rely on you guys to review without that kind of prodding.