A\N: I do not own Naruto. If I did, his Bijuu Mode would either not exist, or it would have tails instead of that stupid cloak. It still looks like a coat to me, not a cloak. And in the "old days", when he went berserk and his skin started to peel off his body, his clothes would either burn down or get torn into shreds, instead of reappearing when he calmed down.
PyrothTenka is an awesome beta. Also, thanks again to Blaizekit, Duesal Bladesinger and cael05. They're always willing to kick me when I get stuck for too long.
When he woke up, the first thing he was aware of was the hard mattress he was lying on and the unnaturally sterile smell that he had come to associate with only one place during his relatively short life.
'Why am I in the hospital?' thought Naruto. The last thing he remembered was the the welcome back party going out of control. And a weird dream with his father in it.
A battle against his father. His apartment being destroyed by the destructive jutsu used.
And then his mother joined too, with Gaara rescuing him. And it ended with Ero-Sennin appearing and doing that stupid kabuki dance of his.
'Damn, I was really smashed yesterday' he thought, groggily opening his eyes.
He winced at the sudden bright light that blinded him and tried to raise his arms to block it out. Only to discover that he couldn't move his hand.
"Whaaa―" he wobbled, trying to get up and finding out he wasn't able to. He was tied to his bed with various straps tightened around his limbs and torso.
Turning his head, he checked his surroundings. His bed was the only furniture, placed exactly at the center of the room, under a set of very bright spotlights.
It was a windowless room. Did the hospital even have windowless rooms?
'Huh. Seems that Sakura-chan and Tsunade-baachan don't want me to leave the hospital. Again.'
Then he noticed the seal tags covering his body.
And the metal door.
And the security cameras, watching him with cold, electronic eyes.
"WHAT THE HELL?!" he shouted. This time, those two had really gone overboard, even if it was 'for his own good'.
Naruto started to struggle under his bindings, in vain. Normally he would be able to free himself quite easily, but those straps just didn't want to snap.
He was starting to get quite worried. Now that he was more alert, he could feel how wrong the whole situation was. And the smell… it was not the smell of the hospital. It was similar enough, but the antiseptic odor seemed to be mixed with other distant, old smells.
Like blood. And fear.
Naruto's hair bristled on the back of his head. This was really, really wrong.
"OY!" he yelled at one of the security cameras "This joke has gone on long enough, baachan! Let me out! I'm fine!"
Of course, no response came.
After a few minutes, he started to struggle again to free himself, but he realized after a while that it was a futile attempt.
Forcing himself to relax and calm down, he started to think about a possible course of action.
He couldn't free himself because the bands were too tight and wouldn't break.
He couldn't use jutsu because of the seals―or at least he thought so―and he couldn't do handsigns since his hands were bound too far apart anyway.
He didn't want to shout because he didn't want to be treated like a child, just in case it actually was a joke, or Sakura and his almost-granny were just being overprotective.
He could free himself with Sage Mode or using the Kyuubi's chakra, but… what ninja needed senjutsu or the power of a Bijuu to free himself from a bed?
Speaking of the Kyuubi…
'Hey, Kurama! What happened? Why are we here? Last thing I remember is playing sake-shoji with Shikamaru!' called Naruto mentally '...and losing like there was no tomorrow.'
He waited for a reply from the ancient fox for a while, puzzled at the silence.
'Kurama?' he called again. He vaguely remembered something about the fuzzball being silent, but―
"Naruto… Shut up. Let me sleep," the greatest among the Bijuu finally responded.
'Oh, hell no. Wake up, you overgrown ball of fur! I woke up in an empty room and I don't remember how I got here! What happened?!'
The only explanation he received was a loud, inhuman snoring.
'Great. I'm alone, trapped in a room, tied to a bed, and the stupid fuzzball decides to sleep,' thought Naruto, pouting 'Could it get any worse?'
After a few minutes of boredom, Naruto realized that he had to go to the bathroom. And from what he could tell, whoever had strapped him to the bed hadn't put a catheter on him.
Minato had an A-rank, maybe even S-rank, headache.
And to think the day had started out so well…
He had just dismissed the emergency council meeting, which had lasted six hours.
Hours that Minato had passed mostly trying to calm down councilmen that were continuously jumping at each other's throats. They launched accusations about which branch among Konoha's military was responsible for allowing this ill-planned infiltration inside the village walls. After all, Konoha was supposed to be safe.
To calm them down and finally start to move on with the meeting, Minato had had to release enough killer intent that the poor chunin secretary who was attending had fainted.
They'd had to call in a substitute.
And a substitute for the substitute. After that, the meeting had started to resemble a discussion between civilized adults about the issue at hand.
The first thing asked for had been a damage report, but, surprisingly, the village had been almost entirely unharmed.
Sure, there had been some property damage, especially around "The Building" as well as to the actual construction itself.
But there had been no major casualties among either the intruders or the forces of Konoha. Just various injuries among the ANBU and the Uchiha. Half of the Military Police Force had been more or less forced on leave, either because of injuries or―hopefully temporary―trauma.
Fugaku and the other senior officers included.
That had left the young Masahiro in charge, as the highest ranking member still standing. He hadn't been really enthusiastic about the job, and had shoved most of the responsibilities off onto his poor sister.
The enemies had been either captured or had surrendered, which didn't make any sense.
According to the reports, and his own fight with the other blond, they were quite powerful shinobi. Definitely A-rank in the least, and unbelievably, there were four S-rank shinobi among them.
Nobody became an S-rank shinobi without appearing into the Bingo book, nobody. But these kids had.
They should have been able to resist, or kill, the majority of the forces that had attacked them.
Why had they infiltrated―or attacked―Konoha? All of them were in their teens, unarmed and mostly in various states of undress, complaining of some sort of condition ―nausea and hangover, according to the medical personnel and all the empty sake bottles they'd found― and practically everything else that one wouldn't expect from any enemy trying to invade their village, especially one of the Great Five Villages.
However, the greatest mystery, despite all of these irregularities, was that at least two of the captives possessed bloodline limits that were believed to exist only within Konoha.
The sharingan and the byakugan.
The councilors had been speechless for a while, when Masahiro and the ANBU commander had told them that. Only to start screaming again, as the first medical report had confirmed it wasn't a case of transplant, like Kakashi.
And when Minato had been able to calm them down again, Shikaku had told about the abilities of the trio he and his squad had captured.
The room had fallen into chaos.
Accusations of stolen clan secrets, paranoia about a possible infiltration among Konoha's ranks or an imminent attack from Iwa―or Kumo―and demands to send the prisoners into the worst T&I cells had been thrown around.
Once again Minato had had to re-establish order among the more vocal councilmen. Those prisoners were under special surveillance by members of said clans, but the Yondaime would have preferred it if clan politics hadn't entered this already complicated affair. Not that he could have told the council that. He was frustrated, not stupid.
All the prisoners had been placed in isolation, inside the more secure cells Konoha could offer, so there was no reason to panic. And the security had been tightened on his orders, thanks to the potential risk to Konoha's safety. That had seemed to calm down the councilmen, as long an investigation about a possible mole inside the village was conducted.
Once that matter had been settled―for the moment―Minato had brought up the topic of the seal found by one of the ANBU teams sent to scout "The Building".
Its purpose, unknown. But it was powerful, that was sure. And unstable.
Minato had tasked Jiraiya and Kushina to examine it, being among the best seal masters the village could offer. He and Hiruzen would have helped, but Minato had been stuck with the council. And the Sandaime had asked to start his own investigation for a possible ROOT involvement.
That had been one of the things he hadn't told to the council, in mutual accord with the ones aware of the intelligence recorded by the ANBU teams.
The same was about the possible involvement of Tsunade Senju. That was just a big can of worms he wished he didn't have to deal with. Minato wouldn't have ever doubted the self-exiled Sannin. Even for given all her bad history with the village, she would never betray it, he was sure of it.
But that didn't explain why some of the prisoners had mentioned her name. Or how an unknown kunoichi who, for now, had received the codename "Pinky"―from Kushina's report―had demonstrated abilities identical to that of the only female Sannin.
The only explanation was that Tsunade had taught her, and even then "Pinky" would have had to have had great chakra control and a talent for medical jutsu to have learned it. No wonder she was in one of the most secured cells, with the seals Kushina had planted on her still in place.
If Tsunade had really betrayed Konoha…
Minato didn't want to imagine what kind of damage could be done to Konoha if one of the Sannin had gone rogue.
Tsunade had to be found and taken back to the village for questioning.
Willingly or not.
He just hated thinking about who, of all people, he would have to send to catch her.
His thoughts were interrupted by an ANBU that appeared in his office, and gave him a quick report.
"Blondie woke up," was the simple message received.
Blondie. The codename Masahiro had come up with for the infiltrator that Minato had fought, who right now in the deepest cell of the highest security facility in the whole village.
'Oh good. A distraction,' thought the Yondaime.
He really needed one right at that moment, and interrogating the guy that had stolen and inexplicably improved his technique would be quite a welcome distraction indeed.
The walk to the facility that held the prisoners was quite uneventful.
Immediately after their capture the invaders had been placed in separated cells, buried deep under the surface and secluded from each other. As Minato strolled its hallways, he ignored the other levels and immediately went for the deeper one, where the S-rank prisoners were being held.
He had qualified personnel to interrogate the inmates, just a simple questioning for now―even though he knew that Inoichi had asked permission to prepare a "Yamanaka Special"―but he wanted speak with the younger blond personally.
As he finally passed the last security check, he noticed something unusual. One of the doors on the last floor was covered with seal tags of various kinds. Said door was guarded by quite a lot of ANBU who looked tense, like they were expecting an attack instead of just guarding a prisoner.
They finally noticed Minato, giving him the usual greeting reserved for the village leader, without losing any of their wariness of the sealed metal door.
"Sandman's cell, Hokage-sama. We had to secure the door with seal tags," one of the team leaders said, answering the Hokage's unasked question.
'Sandman? Oh right, the redhead that captured my hand in his sand technique,' thought Minato massaging his temples reflexively. He really shouldn't have let Masahiro choose the intruders' codenames until their identities could be verified.
"Why did you have to seal the door?" he asked, already knowing that he would not like the answer.
"They won't stick to him, the tags just slide off," the ANBU said, gesturing to the seals tags.
"Slide off? What do you mean, 'slide off'?"
"His sand, sir. The tags can't adhere to it, the grains just shift and the seal tag falls off," the ANBU responded apologetically.
"Are you saying that one of the S-rank shinobi that attacked the village is not restrained?!" asked Minato, eyes widening.
"We couldn't restrain him, sir. That's why we sealed the door."
Minato's headache came back in full force. This was not good, not good at all.
"Open the door. I'll do it," he commanded.
"Hokage-sama! You must not risk―" the ANBU started , before being interrupted by the Yondaime's cold glare.
As Minato got closer to the metal door, the ANBU started to peel off the seals.
With the last seal tag removed, he entered the antechamber of the high security cell. It was a small room, little more than a broom closet, with two doors. The one that Minato had just opened, and another one that led to the actual cell. A specially designed mechanism rendered it impossible to open one of the metal barriers if the other one was opened. He heard the door behind him closing.
When Minato opened the cell, he was greeted by the sight of the red-haired teen standing right in front of the door, his arms crossed. Behind the redhead, the whole room was filled with sand.
"Yondaime Hokage-sama," greeted the teen, seemingly not impressed by being in the presence of one of the leaders of one of the strongest Hidden Villages.
"My ANBU report that they're having difficulties placing restraining seals on you," Minato stated succinctly .
"I dislike seals," the prisoner replied simply. No expression was readable on his face.
"Well, you're a prisoner of Konoha now. Let those seals be placed, or I will find something stronger to keep you here," the Yondaime said with a steely tone in his voice.
The two shinobi stared into each other's eyes for almost a minute, engaged in a battle of wills.
"Very well," the red-haired captive finally replied.
Minato hadn't been expecting him to give up so easily, but didn't show it. He quickly placed the seal tags and, when he was sure that they were set in place, left the room to attend to what he'd originally come down here for.
"Put those seals on the door again, just to be sure," he ordered the ANBU as he resumed his walk towards Blondie's prison.
He never saw the specks of sand that had entered into his pockets.
Gaara could hear the ANBU on the other side of the metal doors replacing the seals used to keep him inside.
Not that they would have been enough if he'd wanted out, but for now it was better if he played the part of the good prisoner.
When he was sure the Yondaime Hokage was far enough away, he let Shukaku's chakra run along the sand covering his body.
The surge of bijuu chakra overloaded the seals, making them fall off.
He had agreed to let the seals be placed on him. He hadn't specified for how long.
Raising a fist to his face, he started spying on the Yondaime's surroundings, forming the Third Eye with the sand he had planted on him.
Minato finally reached the final ward of the lowest level in the holding complex. The place where the most dangerous shinobi and criminals were put until they needed to be interrogated in a more specialized room. And where they were executed.
He nodded to the ANBU posted outside of the door. One of them knocked on the metal surface. A spy-hole opened for a good second before shutting quickly. The door finally moved, welcoming the Hokage into a room filled with security monitors.
As the operators saluted him, he started to study the figure visible on the screens.
"How long has he been struggling like that?" he asked without looking at the guards.
"Since he woke up, Hokage-sama."
"Any unusual behavior?"
"Well," started the guard, hesitating, "he screamed towards the camera―"
"That's actually normal for a prisoner," interrupted Minato.
"Yes, Hokage-sama. But, well, he seemed convinced that it was some kind of prank from this 'baa-chan' of his."
Minato would have been surprised, normally, but he had already received quite a few surprises in the last several hours and he was pretty sure nothing else could surprise him ever again.
'Meh. Kid's probably putting an act. No way he can really believe this is a prank,' he thought.
"I'm ready to go in. Open the door," ordered the Yondaime.
The guards immediately started the procedure to open the pressurized door that could only be controlled from this station.
"Seals in the passage: disabled," the first guard said after a flurry of handseals.
"Traps: disabled," his colleague added, pushing a series of buttons on a console.
There was an hiss and the entrance slowly opened, revealing a long perfectly lit corridor behind it.
"Here, Hokage Sama,"the older warden said, passing him an earpiece "We'll close the door behind you. Once you're inside the cell, the traps and the seals will be reactivated."
Minato nodded, putting the earpiece on. As he entered the hallway, the six-inch thick door started closing behind him.
He knew that, should the defences have been active, he would have immediately found himself unable to mold chakra, injured or killed by various traps and\or poisoned by a chemical agent that would have dispersed itself ten minutes after his demise.
Sadly this was the only cell of its kind in Konoha, created during the last years of the Sandaime's reign. Had it been otherwise, he would have put the other prisoners into similar ones.
They hadn't been able to build more during the Third War, for budget reasons. Minato had proposed to add more, but the motion had been voted down by the council since it hadn't been not a priority, and those resources were instead used to expand the the Ninja Academy Program to help replenish their numbers.
He hoped they saw the irony of it now that they had four S-rank shinobi as prisoners after just a few months into his Hokageship.
Karma was a real bitch.
As he finally arrived at the end of the hallway, he signaled the guards to open the door.
'Alright, Namikaze! You're the Yondaime Hokage. Put your scary face on. You have to interrogate a prisoner. Nothing different from the usual,' he thought as the pressurized entrance emitted a hissing sound.
He waited for the door to open itself completely before entering the room. Minato knew the noise had attracted the prisoner's attention. The Yondaime deliberately waited at the cell's entrance, while the specially arranged lighting gave a more theatrical effect to his appearance. It was a simple psychological effect designed to increase the cell occupant's anxiety.
Judging by the prisoner's expression, and the fact that he had stopped struggling, it was working.
With every single slow step Minato made, the prisoner's eyes widened a little more in recognition. And incredulity, if the Yondaime interpreted his facial expression right.
Minato stopped a few feet from the side of the bed, never breaking eye contact with the captive.
Then the mysterious S-ranked shinobi teen that was strapped to the bed emitted a girlish scream.
The echo of a high-pitched scream could be heard throughout the whole facility. When it reached Orochimaru he stopped for a moment before brushing it off. Screams and other similar noises were not uncommon in the underground complex, so why bother?
It wasn't like he actually cared for the prisoners.
Well, that wasn't true. He cared about one prisoner, the boy with the strange chakra-construct jutsu. Who apparently also possessed the sharingan.
As he approached the ward guarded by the Uchiha clansmen, he passed through them without even giving them a passing glance. They just let him by.
It was good being a Sannin, and probably the most feared of the three. It had its perks.
It was probably one of the last things he still had, after the Namikaze brat stole the title of Hokage from him.
Finally entering the antechamber he was looking for, he stopped once more, but this time it was for an unusual and unexpected reason.
In addition to the guards placed to secure the prisoner's cell, there were also three Uchiha shinobi, all sprawled on the floor, unconscious. A medic-nin was tending to them, so concentrated on his work that he didn't sense Orochimaru's presence.
"Orochimaru-sama," greeted one of the guards with a small, polite bow.
"What happened here? Is the prisoner secured?" the snake Sannin asked.
"The captive used some kind of genjutsu, by the means of his..." the Uchiha paused, gritting his teeth, "by means of his eyes, Orochimaru-sama."
"You mean his sharingan, correct?" asked Orochimaru, smirking.
Every Uchiha in the room tensed at that. With the exception of the three passed out ones, of course.
'Touchy subject,' he thought, amused.
"Yes, exactly, Orochimaru-sama," the guard continued stoically. "These three were tasked to interrogate the eye-stealer. They each tried, but the result was the same. So far, they have yet to regain consciousness"
"I see," whispered the pale shinobi. "What measures have been taken?"
"Checking the surveillance feeds, we understand that whatever genjutsu he was using requires simple eye contact. So we blindfolded him.
"Only eye contact? Why, I have never heard of such a thing," Orochimaru said, arching an eyebrow. "Has any progress been made with the interrogation?"
"No, sir," admitted the Uchiha. "Whenever questioned about his origins, he immediately uses his technique."
"Is that so? Then I suppose I should attempt to interrogate him myself. Don't you agree?" he said with a sly smile that didn't reached his eyes.
"But, Orochimaru-sama! The prisoner has the bloodline of the Uchiha clan! Surely this could be classified as clan business. We should ask―"
"The prisoner is an enemy of Konoha, who attacked Konoha shinobi," Orochimaru interrupted without changing his tone even a bit. "Which means that he's Konoha's business, not just Uchiha business, even if he has your bloodline. Am I wrong?"
"No. You're not wrong, Orochimaru-sama," the guard admitted with a frown "but this is not exactly standard procedure. Have you asked permission from Hokage-sama for interrogating the prisoner?"
"I had hoped to spare him this triviality in the midst of this very… eventful day. I am sure that I, Orochimaru of the Sannin, can be trusted to interrogate one of the infiltrators? Or must I really bother Yondaime-sama to obtain permission?"
The guard hesitated one more moment, before shrugging it off.
Orochimaru knew that he had a point, after all. And being a Sannin really had its perks.
Finally, he was let inside the prisoner's cell.
The prisoner, tied to a metal chair, looked exactly how Orochimaru remembered him from when he and his allies had surrendered suddenly. Resigning himself to his fate after having saved Fugaku's life.
For some reason he couldn't really discern. A shinobi of such a caliber could have... should have put up more of a fight. Surrender meant death, even more so if caught during an invasion against another village. But in this boy, powerful as he was, there was little logic, if his reaction after stabbing Fugaku was an indication. Or how he saved the Uchiha clan head's life, minutes after almost ending it. That was a very illogical thing to do.
'Madness, maybe? His behavior so far has been disturbing enough to indicate something like that,' though the pale shinobi as he silently sat in front of the prisoner.
The teen raised his head, and he could see the improvised blindfold the guards had placed on his eyes, hardly more than a strip of bandages tied around his head.
"Orochimaru," the prisoner whispered in a stony voice.
Orochimaru narrowed his eyes slightly. Had this boy really recognized him so easily, even if they had met only briefly during his capture?
'He really is an S-rank shinobi, even if he is so young… such potential...'
"I see that I am at disadvantage here. You know who I am, but I don't know anything about you… what is your name?" he asked, sounding genuinely curious.
"Sasuke," the strapped captive responded after a while, his face donning a slight frown. He seemed very careful, guarded even.
"Very well, Sasuke-kun," continued Orochimaru, without changing his tone "Let's have a chat, you and I. Where are you from?"
The prisoner seemed to flinch at the honorific, but responded without hesitation.
"Somewhere very far away."
"Is that so? And tell me, please… does this far away place have a name, perhaps?"
At this, the young Sasuke remained silent. Not that Orochimaru was expecting him to actually respond to that question, but he'd had to try.
"I want to speak with the Hokage," Sasuke demanded.
Orochimaru's jaw tightened slightly.
"I'm afraid Hokage-sama is busy right now. That's the reason I'm here, you see," he responded, managing to keep his voice calm. He was a professional, after all. "You can say to me what you have to say to the Yondaime."
The young duck-butt-haired boy frown deepened. No response came after that.
"Very well, let's change topic," Orochimaru conceded."After all, you will be able to answer that question later, during a more...strict interrogation from our specialists," he added, with a sly grin.
If this Sasuke understood the reference to the Torture & Interrogation department, he didn't show it. The Sannin waited an entire minute to let that sink into the infiltrator's head before he asked the next question. "Why did you attack Konoha?" he asked. "What was your objective?"
"We didn't attack Konoha," the prisoner answered immediately. It was almost a whisper.
"Oh? Forgive me then for misunderstanding, but from the way you were―"
"We didn't attack Konoha!" Sasuke snapped, oozing killing intent. Orochimaru was not impressed. "It was an accident…" he whispered once again.
"You honestly think you'll fool anyone with that? Who do you take us for?" replied the Sannin in a low, dangerous tone. "There is no way you could transport an entire building into the village by accident. Yours has probably been the most successful, and at the same time, least efficient invasion Konoha has ever faced."
"It was an accident," the captive repeated once again, like a mantra.
"An accident? Like when you stabbed Fugaku Uchiha? Or when you devastated the Military Police Force with your chakra construct that was impervious to all forms of attack used on it? Speaking of which―"
"Wouldn't you like to know?" Sasuke snorted.
It was Orochimaru's turn to remain silent. His frown deepened. The boy was not taking him seriously. Time to push a little harder.
"You could tell me about it...or I could wait to read the reports from your interrogator. Or of one of the Yamanaka clan, I'm sure you've heard of them," he mused for a second. "One of their more advanced...procedures is to wipe the subject's personality completely clean, you see. In the end, the prisoner is little more than a puppet willing to spill all his secrets, if asked. It's rarely used, most of the time a simple mind-walking session is sufficient. But sometimes...it's not."
He left the threat hanging out in the air for a whole minute, before speaking again.
"I'm not sure if the result is permanent. Or reversible."
Normally, at this point, even seasoned veterans would have at least shown some sign of uneasiness. A twitch, a layer of sweat on the forehead, screams and threats, begging for mercy… Something. The idea of being violated in such a way, inside their very mind, should have been terrifying for almost anybody.
The only thing this "Sasuke" did was take a deep breath, as if trying to calm himself.
"Let's change the subject, shall we? Tell me about your companions…"
"What about them?" the teen asked, in a too forced neutral tone.
'He is wary again,' Orochimaru thought, smiling inwardly. 'Good.'
"You could tell me something about them. For example, who is the leader of your little group? The one that organized the invasion?"
"Our… leader… was not among us, but the one responsible… I would bet it's Naruto's fault," Sasuke said with a faint smile.
'He would bet? How badly organized are these people?' Orochimaru thought in confusion.
"Naruto?" he asked, putting a good show of being intrigued by that name. Why was it so familiar? He could swear he had heard it before.
"The blond idiot," his captive clarified.
"Oh, the sage. The one who fought the Yondaime," Orochimaru replied as a matter of fact. "So his name is Naruto, mmh?"
"He fought the Yondaime?" Sasuke whispered.
"Indeed. He was difficult to capture, from what I've heard. Care to tell me why you would bet that your invasion is his fault?"
"How did they capture him?" Sasuke demanded instead.
"What?" Orochimaru asked, narrowing his eyes. Was the boy daring to try to get information from him?
"Tell me how they captured him, and I will answer your last question," Sasuke said patiently.
Orochimaru didn't say anything for a while, but he realized this teen cared about this 'Naruto'. He could use that. What could Sasuke gain from knowing the circumstances of the blond's arrest?
"He fainted when Jiraiya, my teammate, arrived on the scene," he revealed. He was a little ashamed to have had to tell such a thing.
At this, Sasuke snorted in what seemed to be genuine amusement.
"Your answer," the Sannin prompted.
"It's Naruto. I would be more surprised if something strange didn't happen around him… still, this is the strangest by far," Sasuke smirked. Orochimaru decided then and there to not exclude the possibility that the boy had some sort of mental condition, but he had his proof of some kind of bond with the captive blonde.
Time to use his hard-gained leverage.
"You know," Orochimaru continued,"maybe I could have this Naruto go through that Yamanaka practice I told you before…"
Gritted teeth. Clenched fists. Small tremors… Finally, a reaction from this stoic raven-haired boy.
Time to push further. As Orochimaru pondered how to do that, he recalled something about Sasuke's capture after his surrender. Perfect.
"What about that red-haired girl? Maybe she could go through―"
"DON'T YOU DARE TOUCH THEM!" Sasuke snapped all of the sudden, struggling against his shackles, trying to launch himself at the Sannin.
Orochimaru grinned wickedly.
"Oh, I will… unless you tell me more about that jutsu of―" he stopped, seeing how Sasuke was wrestling with his restraints, jerking his head violently.
"What are you doing, you foo―"
Orochimaru wasn't able to finish his question. The bandages tied around Sasuke's head, loosened by his violent movements, fell enough to expose the boy's eyes.
He tried to divert his gaze, having learned what happened to the other interrogators, but it was too late.
He met two whirling pools of black and red.
Naruto kept screaming until his lungs begged for air.
Then he stopped, took a deep breath...
And started to scream again.
"Please stop doing that…" the man who looked exactly like his father muttered.
He stopped, but in shock, not because he was asked to. The voice was identical! Just like in his probably-alcohol-induced dream...
Was he still dreaming? Naruto tried to pinch himself, but he couldn't move his hands, so he opted for scratching his palm with his nails. He could feel them on his skin.
It was real?
"You're real?" he whispered, not really talking to the man.
At the strange question, the man raised a quizzical eyebrow, slightly confused.
"Yes, I am. Now, I have some questions for―"
"OH CRAP! I ALMOST KILLED YOU!" Naruto yelled, unable to control himself.
"Yes… you did. I was there," the carbon copy of the Yondaime replied, staring at him with a puzzled expression.
"OH CRAP! YOU ALMOST KILLED ME!" the younger blonde yelped. He couldn't believe it! It didn't make any sense!
"Well, since you did attack me with deadly force first, I―"
"But… but how? You're supposed to be dead!" the teen blurted out before narrowing his eyes suspiciously "Wait a minute… how do I know that you're actually Minato Namikaze? Maybe you're lying! I bet you're using an henge, or something!"
It was the older man's turn to narrow his eyes. Naruto felt a shiver go down his spine.
"I don't know what your plans are, but I don't have to prove my identity to you, impostor."
"Impostor?! You're the impostor! You… fake!" Naruto sputtered, unable to believe what he was hearing. How dare this jutsu-stealer…
"I'm not the impostor strapped to a bed here, you are," the fake Minato said in annoyance
"No, you are!" Naruto muttered in a childish tone.
"That… doesn't make any sense," the Yondaime impostor said with the same voice that one would use to reprimand a child.
"You are! You are!" Naruto insisted. Who cared if it didn't make any sense? He was right.
"ENOUGH!" the man claiming to be his deceased father roared in frustration.
The atmosphere in the room chilled immediately as the (fake) older blond emitted a huge wave of killing intent.
Naruto somehow managed to maintain control of his close-to-bursting bladder. He had faced far worse in the past, but those had been different. Zabuza, Gaara, Orochimaru, Nagato, Obito, Madara… none of them had stared at him like that using his father's eyes.
Like he was scum.
'I'll never forgive you for this,' the jinchuuriki thought.
He watched silently as the scowling blond slowly walked around the bed, forcing him to strain his neck to follow his movements and reminding him of his constrictions.
"Right now, you're in the most secured cell of the highest security facility in all of Konoha," said the older man in a steel voice. "All of your comrades have been captured, but as I'm sure you can understand, we have many questions for you. Who are you? Why did you attack Konoha? Why did you infiltrate the village in such a… flamboyant way? You are powerful, but you were ill-prepared to face the whole village. You could have caused much more damage, but mysteriously seemed to be disorganized and disoriented to the point of near uselessness. Which makes no sense… So, what was the purpose of this attack?"
Naruto heard all the questions, but his mind had to reboot a couple of times before he could start to process the nonsense he had just heard.
He was in Konoha. Alright, he could suppose that was true...
He was in Konoha and someone who looked like his father was interrogating him, telling him that he and his friends had attacked the village.
"Are they okay?" he whispered.
At his question, his interrogator arched an eyebrow.
"My friends," he specified, "are they okay?"
"They're all in custody," the man replied evenly after a bit.
That didn't help Naruto relax one bit. 'In custody' didn't mean unharmed.
So, he was in Konoha, being accused of attacking the village, by a man who had his father's face for some reason… what else?
"What about Tsunade-baachan? What did you do to her?"
"Tsunade? What's your relationship with Tsunade?" his interrogator asked.
Naruto decided to remain silent. He wasn't sure why the guy insisted on the disguise, but he was sure that he was not a Konoha shinobi. Everyone knew about how he was supposed to be Tsunade's all-but-official heir.
'Actually… all of the Elemental Nations should know about that… well, the ninja, at least… Where was this guy hiding during the war? Under a rock?'
After a while, the Minato look-alike spoke again, leaning forward, his eyes like cold blue fire.
"You better answer me, boy… or I swear I will authorize the use of a Yamanaka Special on you. Hokage's promise."
"Tsunade is supposed to be Hokage! Not you, imposter!" Naruto exploded, losing his temper.
The man froze, his eyes widening a little. He leaned back, away from the bed.
"I see, so that's the reason…" he murmured, lost in his thoughts. "What's the deal you have with her? Did she train you too? After seeing what your pink-haired friend is capable of, it's clear she was taught by Tsunade. What about the rest of you?"
"Wait, you mean Sakura-chan? Of course Tsunade taught her. She's her student!" Naruto blurted out, before biting his tongue. Sakura's status as the Godaime Hokage's student was another well-known fact, but he didn't like the idea of giving information to a potential enemy.
'Damn my loose tongue!' he thought. 'No more talking! This guy isn't going to get anything from me!'
Seeing him remain stubbornly silent, the older blond moved on, apparently with more questions.
"What about the Uchiha? Well, I'm sure Fugaku wouldn't call him such, but he's clearly a descendant of the clan. What can you tell me about him? I doubt Tsunade taught him his jutsu… not really her style. Did she have help from other shinobi to train you?"
Naruto remained silent, his resolve wavering in the face of the man's accusations against his baachan, but the man kept going.
"And what about the Hyuuga girl? Where did she learn the Gentle Fist? That's not supposed to be taught to anyone outside the Hyuuga clan who are loyal to Konoha. I know that for sure… I have my ways. Her appearance has caused quite a stir among the elders..."
He had to bite his tongue to strengthen his resolve to not give the man the satisfaction of answering.
"There are also your companions who have shown… peculiar abilities. Like the sand-user that rescued you. Or the bloodthirsty brute who mauled everyone he could get his hands on. Or the guy made of water. I suspect that finding such… talented individuals, would require time and resources. Do you have anything to say for yourselves?"
Naruto raised his left brow at the man's ridiculous notions.
'Tsunade-baachan recruiting Gaara, Juugo, and Suigetsu? This guy is crazy...'
If he hadn't decided just a little earlier to not respond to the questions this man had, he would have exploded in a loud laugh just from the absurdity of such a thing.
"Then there are all the others. Quite skilled, yet so young. How did Tsunade manage to obtain the services of so many A-ranks shinobi under twenty? There's also how she was able to teach them secret clan jutsu...Speaking of jutsu..." the older blond said, lowering the volume of his voice and adding a deadly edge to it. "How did you learn the Rasengan? Only Jiraiya and I are currently capable of using it."
"Jiraiya?... The kabuki dance wasn't part of a dream?" Naruto whispered, forgetting his self-imposed silence.
"I'm afraid not. My sensei is… quite eccentric," replied the man, sounding almost apologetic.
Naruto gaped at the older blond, speechless.
Interpreting his lack of answers as another sign of stubbornness, said older blond spoke again in a hissing tone.
"Enough with your silence! Your plan has failed, give me the answers we need, or your friends will suffer the consequences."
But Naruto wasn't listening the man's threats anymore. He was lost as his mind. "Impossible…" he whispered. "You're lying…"
"No, I'm not. I don't need to lie to you, boy."
"What happened… what happened?"
"You were captured, that's what happened. Let's not start going in circles. Now… answer my questions!"
Naruto was struggling under his restraints. He needed air. Fresh air.
"What happened, Kurama?" he murmured in his panicked state, not realizing he was actually talking aloud. "Answer me, dammit!"
His interrogator blinked in confusion.
"Who's Kurama? Your sensei? Is he the one who taught you the Rasengan?"
"I'M NOT TALKING TO YOU!" Naruto snapped. To hell with the pleasantries, he needed to get out of here!
Closing his eyes, he started to concentrate on the natural energy around him.
Only to feel his body convulse like he was having a seizure. The scraps of energy he had started to absorb dispersed throughout the room.
"WHAT THE HELL?!"
"You revealed you were a sage during our fight, remember? We took precautions. Special seals made by Jiraiya, the Toad Sage," his interrogator replied calmly. "Anytime you try to mold natural energy, the seals activate, forcing your muscles to contract randomly. That way you can't concentrate enough to enter Sage Mode."
Naruto stared at his father's look-alike. That was actually a pretty clever move.
And only a sage would know about the details of how the natural energy worked. Which reinforced the claim of Jiraiya being…
'KURAMA! ANSWER ME OR I SWEAR I'LL SHAVE OFF ALL YOUR FUR!' he screamed mentally. The universe didn't make sense anymore, so who cared about not ticking Kura-chan off?
Finally, from the deepest part of the seal, he felt an answer.
"Tired… so tired. What do you want, kid?"
'Finally! Kurama, what happened? Who is this guy? And why are you sleeping so much?!'
The mighty Fox grumbled, closing his eyes again. Naruto waited patiently for an answer.
Then he heard a snore.
'Oh no you don't! Wake up! Answer me! What's wrong with you?!'
"Chakra exhaustion… need to rest."
Naruto observed the big, orange Bijuu inside his mindscape for a few moments before speaking again. He didn't want his furry friend to fall asleep again right when he needed answers!
'Kurama, how can you have chakra exhaustion? You're made of the stuff! Wait… how did you use all that chakra?!'
"You used it. Idiot," was the only response the tired Fox gave him.
'What do you mean, I used it? I don't remember such a thing.'
"You were drunk," Kurama said, yawning. "Drunk enough to affect… even me."
'What are you talking abou―' Naruto started, only to stop.
He remember, vaguely, that something happened at the party. Well, sure, something happened. Like the doppelganger of his father destroying his brand new apartment. Even if he had to admit he'd caused a lot of damage too. But did something else happen? Maybe? He wasn't sure. Too much sake… and too little sleep.
Even in his drowsy state, Kurama noticed his puzzled expression.
"Don't you remember? When everybody was… asleep. Sleep… come on, try to recall what happened so I can sleep…"
'Something...something about something. After the party...books? Oh yeah. The Icha Icha books Jiraiya left me. Along with―'
Naruto's eyes widened, both in his mindscape that his true ones.
'Kurama, please just tell me what the fuck happened, and who this guy in front of me is!' Naruto said to the Fox, almost in a pleading tone.
"We are in the past, moron. It's your fault. That guy in front of you… is your father. Now SHUT UP AND LET ME SLEEP SO I CAN RESTORE MY STRENGTH!"
With those last loud words, Naruto found himself kicked out of his own mindscape, something that hadn't happened to him since he was twelve. He found himself still tied to his bed, his interrogator staring at him impatiently since, in his eyes, he had probably zoned out.
He was in the past, in front of his father.
He was in Konoha, in the past, with his friends.
And his father and the village believed that they had attacked the Leaf. And they had given them enough proof to cement that belief.
Naruto started cursing and screaming inwardly, using all the profanities he knew, managing miraculously to maintain a perfect poker face.
This was even worse that he feared.
"I'm awaiting your answers..." Minato Namikaze prompted in the most un-fatherly tone he could muster. At least in Naruto's opinion.
'Oh, shit. What do I do?'
Naruto knew that he had two options.
One, tell all the truth, risk being taken for a liar, a madman, a fool that was insulting the Hokage's intelligence, or a crazy madman that was lying to insult the Hokage's intelligence just to fool around. Only an idiot would choose this option.
Two, creating a contrived lie made of deceit, cunning plans, and contingencies that would probably be discovered sooner or later. It would require the skills of a master manipulator.
Sadly, when the academy had covered manipulating others for your own advantage, he had skipped class.
"Hey, I know it'll probably sound crazy, but…" he started, laughing nervously and looking Minato straight in the eyes. "Would you believe me if I said that I'm your son from the future?"
A long, very long pause followed that question.
"No. No I wouldn't," his father said slowly sighing. "I see you're not taking this seriously."
Without another word, the Yondaime Hokage turned his back to Naruto and walked towards the door, muttering something into his earpiece. The door opened.
"Huh… where are you going, Dad?" asked Naruto, confused.
"I'm going back to my office to authorize the use of a Yamanaka Special on you, should you keep acting like a fool during your next interrogation," Minato answered in a matter-of-fact tone of voice "Think about it, 'Son'."
"Hey, hey, hey! Wait! I need to go to the bath—" Naruto yelled as the door closed, "—room."
Naruto stared at the metal door for a while, listening to the mechanism inside it sealing him off from the outside world.
Then he started banging his head on the bed in frustration.
'I could have handled this mess waaay better than that,' he thought once he'd stopped, staring at the ceiling and trying to ignore his suffering bladder.
After a few minutes, a question popped into his head.
"What's a Yamanaka Special?" he asked to nobody in particular.
Of course, no answer came.
A\N: I hope you liked this chapter! Because I HATED it. It just didn't want to get written. The scene with Minato recalling the meeting with the council? I wrote it in two weeks. Orochimaru's POV? Took me one week. Minato speaking to Naruto? The rest of the time was spent on it. I just kept getting stuck!
Let me know what you think about this chapter! Would you kindly?