Shibi quietly walked into the room where the Village council meeting would be held and took his usual seat. He was always the first to arrive at these meetings or at least the first Clan Head to arrive. He looked over to see the Anbu Commander standing against the wall in the corner as usual. He nodded his head as a form of greeting to which the Anbu did the same. He then looked over to the three civilian Councilmen who were talking to themselves about usual things. How's the family, and so on. He would never admit it publicly, but he always found these particular councilmen to be annoying. They never took their jobs seriously. They constantly asked for increases in pay under the third Hokage. And worst of all they had to be some of the most violent civilians in the Village, calling for the death of captured Sound ninja as well as the death of Naruto on multiple occasions. Shibi stopped looking at them when one of them stared right at him. This councilman was a man named was a man named Kenta whose hatred and lust violence seemed to be much higher than the other two. Acting as the sort of ringleader, the other two councilmen usually stood with him on issues. Having this man stare at you was unsettling even to a trained ninja.
Hearing more noise outside the room, Shibi turned toward the door where two voices could be heard outside.
"Hey Inoichi, How's Ino doing?"
"She's doing well. We went out and picked some rare flowers yesterday to sell at the store. It was nice. We rarely have time to spend together these days."
"Glad to hear it."
"How's Shikamaru holding up after the mission?"
Shikaku sighed before replying. "He could be doing worse. He blames himself for what happened to Chouji and the others as well as the mission being a failure. But he's a strong kid he'll pull through. Even if it takes some convincing from a Sand girl."
'A Sand girl?" Inoichi repeated confused.
"Yeah, oddly enough he got a talking to from the former KazeKage's daughter. I think her name was Temari."
"The girl he beat from the Chunin Exams? Carried a giant fan?"
"Yeah. Weird isn't it?"
"True. It's not every day you end up getting saved by someone you defeated not too long ago." Inoichi agreed.
"Hmph. You're one to talk. Didn't I save you from that twelve Stone ninja a few years back after you defeated me?" Chouza asked coming in to the Council room.
"If you can call 'saving' just rolling over a few of them." Inoichi said with a hint of amusement. "How's Chouji?"
"He made it." Chouza said with relief. "We weren't sure he would but…he made it."
"Wow. He truly is your son Chouza." Shikaku replied happy for his friend. "Only he would be able to eat all your family's pills and survive."
"Of course having the greatest healer in the world look after him helps." Inoichi added relieved as well.
"So anybody know why we are here today?"
"I think we are here to discuss what will be done now that Sasuke Uchiha has left the Village." Shikaku told them.
"So it is true." Inoichi confirmed. "I was hoping otherwise. Ino isn't going to like this."
"Well let's get it over with then."Chouza stated. "Sooner we do, the sooner we go home." And with that all three entered.
After Shikaku, Chouza, and Inoichi took their seats, Hiashi Hyuga entered and took his seat without saying a word to anybody. A few minutes later Tsume Inuzuka made her way to her seat looking bored out of her mind. A few moments after her Tsunade appeared without her advisors.
"Okay I'm sure we all have better things to do then sit around here so I'll make this quick and simple. By now you've all been told that Sasuke Uchiha has betrayed us and left the Village and is now with Orochimaru."
All the councilmen nodded. This information was made public yesterday with the arrival of the Sand Trio.
"What you may not have been aware of is that Sasuke Uchiha is in fact not with Orochimaru and is instead with us right now. She said as she took out a scroll and placed it on the table before them. She then made a hand sign and released the seal.
Everyone except the Anbu Commander, Kakashi, and Tsunade immediately gasped in horror as the horribly burned body of Sasuke Uchiha became visible.
"Two days ago Sasuke Uchiha was killed in combat. This is his body." Tsunade said with great difficulty. After everyone had seen it she quickly sealed it back up. "The body has been slightly repaired since it was retrieved. Be thankful you didn't get to see the full extent of what it looked like." Tsunade finished.
"How could this have happened? Did the Sound ninja kill him for resisting?" Kenta asked.
" No Kenta, Sasuke was not killed by the Sound Ninja." Tsunade said
"Well who killed him then?!" Inoichi asked fearing the answer.
"Yes. Who? We must find this assailant and bring him to the Village for execution." Kenta agreed.
"Before we continue, I would like to make it clear to all of you that Sasuke left the Village of his own free will. For all intensive purposes he had betrayed the Leaf Village and its people." Tsunade told the Council.
At hearing this many of the Clan heads sympathy for the Uchiha disappeared. It was one thing for a loyal ninja to die in combat but quite another for traitor to die in combat.
Tsunade took a deep breath as if preparing herself for an oncoming storm before replying."Sasuke Uchiha was killed by Naruto Uzumaki."
Once that was said all hell broke loose.
It was late evening when Naruto was able to leave the hospital. A normal person would have been in there longer but normal people don't have a powerful healing factor. Naruto also never liked hospitals so the doctors were eager to get him out to stop the complaining. He quickly dropped by the others to see how they were doing and then left. As he walked through the streets of the Village, many things were on his mind.
"How am I going to tell Sakura? What is the Village going to do to me when they find out? Are Shino and Hinata alright? How did they beat that Plant thing?" All these questions and more had been plaguing Naruto since he regained consciousness that morning.
" I guess, I could try to find Shino and Hinata to make sure they are all right before going to meet Sakura and Kakashi. I need to thank them anyway." Naruto eventually decided before dashing off towards the Aburame compound.
When he arrived Naruto spent a good minute just staring at the building. He had never been to the Aburame building before and seeing it now just made him more nervous. The building itself was huge seeing that it housed the entirety of the Aburame clan but the way it was shaped made the building look like a gigantic bee hive of some kind. In short the building looked rather intimidating. Pushing back his nervousness, Naruto walked up to the front door.
Before he knocked he thought he heard shouting coming from inside.
"…..Oh and if you think for a second that you've dodged a kunai because you didn't have to go see the Hokage you are INCORRECT. She and I have worked out the perfect punishment for you young man and when it's done, I guarantee you will never try something so stupid again!"
"Mother is all that really necessary?'
"Absolutely! First you don't come home after you mission which made the welcome back dinner I made for you completely useless. Then you leave the village AGAIN to go out into a dangerous forest full of Sound Ninja without telling me, the Hokage, or anyone. And while I am out there looking for you worried to death you came back and your father tells me. 'He looks tired Suzume. Let's let him rest for tonight' . After all that, you are lucky I don't ask for you to be removed from the ninja program! Now why do you have so many…"
KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK
Not wanting to keep eavesdropping, Naruto knocked on the door to make himself known. "That was Shino's voice but who was the woman?"
Before long an Aburame came to the door. "Can I help you Mr. Uzumaki?" He said devoid of emotion.
"I uh I wanted to just drop by and see Shino." Naruto managed to say with his nervousness returning.
"One moment." The Aburame replied before closing the door and leaving. A few minutes passed before he returned. "You may come inside." He stated opening the door and letting Naruto walk in.
"Shino and his family are just up those stairs." The guard said point to a staircase down the hall. "Just be warned, Shino doesn't have much energy today so If you would be…..not so hyper, Lady Suzume would greatly appreciate it." He told Naruto before disappearing in a swarm of bugs Leaving Naruto alone.
Naruto made his way down the hall and up the stairs albeit nervously. The hallway was empty and completely silent and the staircase squeaked under his feet which only served to frighten him even more.
"Disappearing guards, Empty creepy hallways, squeaky staircases, I swear if I see a ghost I'm out of here." Naruto thought to himself.
When he came up the stairs to another hallway, he found a door with light coming out from under it. Figuring it was Shino's room he knocked. Shino didn't come to the door.
"Greetings, Mr. Uzumaki. I am Shino's mother Suzume." Suzume stated without any emotion bowing toward Naruto.
Naruto hearing this tone of voice was confused. "I could have sworn the woman I heard was named Suzume but she sounded like she …..had emotion." But he brushed it off. Not wanting to look like an idiot, Naruto bowed back. "Hello. I was wondering if I could speak to Shino."
"Of course Mr. Uzumaki, come on in." She moved to the side to let Naruto in their room. As Naruto stepped in the room he realized how huge it was. "Wow…. I could fit my apartment in here three times." Naruto thought to himself as he looked around the room.
He noticed a large Kitchen right next to the door he came through and what looked to be a living area directly in front of him, all doubled in size compared to that of a regular home.
"Shino is down the hall on the right." Suzume told him pointing towards his room.
Naruto looked down the hall
"Okay thanks. Your house is huge Mrs. Aburame."
"Yeah I know. It never ceases to amaze me how…..oh Damn It!" Suzume suddenly shouted surprising Naruto. "I was doing so well to!" She said as she looked down depressed.
Naruto was cut off guard by both the outburst as well as the….emotion that came out of Suzume's voice. "Mrs. Aburame….Are you okay?"
"Well Of course I'm okay! I haven't fallen over and died have I?" She suddenly asked annoyed before looking guilty again. "I thought I could do it this time. Ugh!"
Naruto just stood in silence trying to wrap his head around the fact that Shino's mother was….not like Shino. "She's Shino's Mom? He doesn't act anything like her."
"Well why are you standing around me for? Don't you keep my son waiting? And don't be so hyper around him. He's still a little weak from the process. Also let me know if you want something to eat I've got plenty of food left over from…I've just got left over's." She said still angry as she made her way into the kitchen.
Not wanting to make her angrier, Naruto hurried to Shino's room. He knocked before entering.
"Hey Shino its Naruto, can I come in."
"Come on in Naruto." A voice replied behind the door."
As Naruto entered he took a look around Shino's bed room, it wasn't all to different from his own. No posters were on his walls. The room was spacious but not overly so and it had a very simple feel to it. The differences came with the fact that Naruto's room was...not clean. While Shino's was the definition of clean.
He saw Shino sitting in his bed reading a book in simple clothes that made it possible to see his face. The sunglasses however were still on so the eyes remained a mystery.
"Naruto. I'm surprised you are out of the hospital this early." Shino stated nonchalantly never looking up from his book."
"Yeah well, it pays to have a high healing factor I guess. "
"I'm also surprised that you decided to visit me. I've never seen you come by the compound before, so what brings you here?"
"Yeah… I just wanted to drop by and say thanks…for going out and getting me I mean."
At hearing this Shino suddenly closed the book he was reading and tossed it onto the floor. "Worthless."
"Oh. Apologies Naruto, I didn't mean to speak that aloud and you are welcome. However there is no need for thanks. Friends help out each other. I'm sure you would have done the same for me." Shino finished picking up another book.
"Yeah…..I think I would have." Naruto said with a grin on his face.
"Anyway it is not me you should be thanking."
"Hm? What do you mean? Kakashi sensei said you went with Sakura and Hinata to go rescue me."
"Exactly. I went along with Sakura and Hinata. You should be thinking those two more specifically Hinata. She is the one who decided to go out and get you. I just figured out you were the one still out there and told them."
"Really? But…..Why would Hinata decide to go out after me?"
Shino looked up from his book directly at Naruto for a second before answering "That's something you'll have to ask her yourself Naruto. It's not my place to say."
"Do you know something I don't?" Naruto asked annoyed.
"I know many things you don't know, Naruto. This is just one of the many." Shino replied.
"Alright then. I was going to stop by her house anyway. I'll….."
"I'm not so sure it would be a good idea to see her tonight Naruto." Shino interrupted.
'What. Why not?" Naruto asked.
"She's has other things to deal with right now, and you going there tonight wouldn't help any of it. I would advise seeing her tomorrow."
"If you say so….. What is with all these books anyway?" Naruto finally asked picking one off the floor and looking over it.
"It is of little importance." Shino told him. " Naruto do you remember what the thing in the woods?"
"The plant guy?"
"Yes. Whatever it was made my insects shutter….That has never happened Naruto and I don't like it." Shino told him with a slight edge in his voice. "I intend to find out what that thing is and I was wondering if you had any information on it."
"I'm not sure if this will help but when I fought it, it said it was called Zetsu."
"Zetsu?" Shino asked to be certain.
"Yeah I think so." Naruto replied. "Hope that helps."
"It just may Naruto." Shino replied flipping a page in his book.
"Hey if you don't mind me asking, you mother said you went through some sort of process?"
"The Kikiachu Replenishment Process."
"You have no idea what the Kikiachu Replenishment Process is, do you?"
"Nope, not a clue." Naruto said sheepishly.
Shino just sighed before explaining. "Basically it is a process of when an Aburame needs to replenish on Kikaichu insects due to a massive loss of them from the host's body."
"Oh. Sort of like getting a refill of Ramen after you eat it all." Naruto replied.
"Not exactly…" Shino replied. "But it is the same principle." Shino finished after thinking about it.
"Okay. But how did you lose all your insects?" Naruto asked curiosity getting the best of him.
"Before I went out to look for you, I had just returned to the Leaf Village from a mission where bandits were using poison gas to terrorize a small town. I've built of an immunity to that type of poison but my insects have not. So I was able to defeat the bandits at the cost of most of my hive. I lost even more when I helped rescue you." Shino stated with what sounded like sadness in his voice.
"Oh…I get it. Sorry about…your loss." Naruto spat out nervously. The sight of a sad sounding Aburame was unsettling.
"Thank you for your condolences Naruto." Shino replied. "A hive is not something one can just replace. One grows attached to creatures you've known for a long time regardless of what animal be it human or insect and when you lose them… It hurts."
"Yeah…..I can understand that." Naruto said with his voice taking on a sad tone.
Shino looked over toward Naruto about to ask how he could understand but when he saw Naruto's face the pure image of sadness it had he decided against it.
Naruto was silent for a moment having run out of things to say before getting ready to leave. "Well you look like you're busy so I'll….."
"What has you so worried Naruto?" Shino asked interrupting him.
"Nothing I'm not worried about anything I just…"
"Naruto from the minute you've walked into my room you've been worried about something. I don't need my insects to tell me that. If you don't wish to inform me, I have no objections. However I would like to ask that you don't deny it." Shino replied looking up at him.
Naruto sighed before replying. "Am I that easy to read?"
"To the trained eye, yes." Shino replied.
Naruto kept facing the door and replied "I…I just have a lot on my mind right now. That's all."
Shino was silent before nodding his head. "Very well Naruto. You have my thanks for stopping by. You are welcome to return anytime."
"Thanks Shino. Oh before I go two things have been bugging me."
At this Shino looked up from his latest book to listen.
"Where are all the other Aburame? When I came into your compound it felt pretty deserted."
In response Shino grew what looked like a microscopic smile on his face. "Contrary to popular belief, my clan is made up of regular people who have lives of their own to live. Many of which enjoy the night life in the Village and don't like being cooped up in the compound."
"Oh... What did Grandma Tsunade say she was going to do to you guys for leaving the Village?" Naruto asked as he opened the door.
At this Shino became annoyed. "The lord Hokage has seen fit to give Sakura and Hinata D rank missions and a private training match, while I….have been tasked with studying native plant life in the Village."
Both Naruto and Shino heard a loud laugh coming from the Kitchen area after Shino finished.
"Your mom's idea?" Naruto asked.
Shino replied by burying his head into his current book.
"Good luck Shino." Naruto replied chuckling before leaving.
After Naruto was out of the compound, Suzume came into Shino's room. "He isn't as hyper as I was led to believe." She said looking at Shino
"Naruto is not his usual self." Shino replied to his mother. "He has many things on his mind."
"Well did you ask what they were?"
"No." Shino stated simply.
"Well why not?! He looked like something terrible had happened to him." Suzume asked annoyed.
"What Naruto wants to keep private is his choice. As a friend I won't push him on the subject. Even if I'm curious as to what it is." Shino replied placing his book on the floor.
"You are so much like your father you know that?" Suzume replied still annoyed.
"Speaking of which, why are you still trying to speak in a monotone voice mother? You know father doesn't mind?" Shino asked his mother.
Suzume turned a shade of red similar to a young Hyuga girl. "That's not of your business!" She yelled before slamming the door to Shino's room.
Shino silently chuckled to himself before picking up another book. This one titled Clan Archives.
"We need to execute the Demon Now! He has just cost us one of the most valuable resources the Village had and deserves to die for it!" Kenta cried.
"I agree. This makes him a threat to Village Security." The Anbu Commander stated emotionlessly.
"Who exactly are you talking about?! That BOY risked his life to go after a TRAITOR. Why should we execute him for not being able to bring back a traitorous piece of trash?! As far as I'm concerned he his squad deserves to be rewarded not punished! " Tsume Inuzuka yelled in response.
"Rewarded?! He cost us one of the most powerful eye bloodlines in the world! How is that deserving of a reward?! This only proves that the Demon needs to be executed immediately!" Kenta continued.
" I stand with the Inuzuka on this matter, my son was injured and Chouza's son is in surgery over this retrieval mission. I'm not about to sit idly by and watch a member of that squad be executed because of some irrational hatred and fear." Shikaku replied with a small amount of anger in his voice.
"Do you not understand that Sasuke betrayed us? Because it seems to me that this is less about the Uchiha being dead and more about you wanting Naruto dead." Inoichi stated staring holes into Kenta.
"Pfff. Do you not understand the since even since he has done nothing but cause trouble since the day he was born. This only proves that he is unstable!"Another councilmen cried.
"Kenta is right. The Uzumaki has been nothing but trouble. Now he has crossed the line!" The third councilman said siding with Kenta.
"He's a Demon!" Kenta and the other Civilian councilman cried
"He's a Ninja!" The Clan Heads yelled back
"ENOUGH!" Tsunade cried as she used her fist to bring order into the room. "This is a meeting between the leaders of the clans of the Leaf Village. Not a Shouting match between Academy Students!"
No one replied to this comment and let Tsunade continue. She turned towards the Councilmen representing the Civilians.
"Okay. I want to get one thing straight with you people. Hiruzen may have put up with you bull shit, but I'm wont. Naruto Uzumaki in the past few months has done more for this Village than I have in the past ten years, and you have the gall to ask for his execution because he failed to bring back a ninja who betrayed us? If I hear so much as a whisper of executing Naruto again then I will personally escort you to your tombstone. Is that clear?" Tsunade asked in a rather threatening way.
The other Councilmen besides Kenta nodded their heads vigorously while sweating before replying "Y-Yes Lord Hokage."
"Kenta… Am I clear?" Tsunade asked while cracking her knuckles and sending him a death glare.
"…..Transparently. Lord Hokage." Kenta replied with venom evident in his voice.
"Excellent. Oh and for future reference that statement applies to anybody ninja or civilian. Understood?
All the councilmen nodded their heads giving confirmation.
Tsunade accepted this before turning to the Anbu Commander. "You I can understand a bit more since it's your job to be paranoid. But I want you to understand something. Naruto Uzumaki is one of the sole reasons I came back to the Village and took up the title of Hokage. He has my full trust and I don't want you worrying about him anymore Commander. Understood?" Tsunade asked in a more civilized tone."
"Yes sir." The Anbu Commander replied before vanishing.
"Now that those two are taken care of we can get down to business. I know that most of you have spoken up about this situation but I would like to hear input from the Hyuga, the Aburame."
Shibi surprisingly spoke first. "Naruto has proven himself to be a competent ninja albeit an unorthodox one. I see no reason why an execution would be necessary."
"You could have told me you us where the meeting was being held Tsunade, we are a part of it." An annoyed voice interrupted.
Tsunade sighed before turning to see her advisors and Danzo walk in and take their seats. "So much for getting through this quickly." "My apologies Homura I just thought you and Koharu didn't want to be bothered with something so minor. And quite frankly Danzo doesn't have any business here."
"Ah Tsunade, you've always had it in for me haven't you? I never understood why."
Tsunade just gave him a hating look.
"Anyway I'm here because the Kyubi Ji….
"…Naruto needs to be controlled and I am willing to make him my apprentice and train him to protect the Village."
There was silence in the room before Tsunade exploded in rage. ""Have you finally lost your mind in your Old Age?! There is no way IN HELL I'm going to let that happen.
"It maybe necessary considering what you've told the us." Hiashi stated coming out of his silence.
"Exactly how is giving him to Danzo necessary Hiashi? And your answer better be a damn good one." Tsunade told him visibly angry.
"Lord Tsunade, you said yourself that Naruto killed Sasuke. Now let's take out the fact that he was the last Uchiha. From the reports I've read it seemed that Uzumaki thought of the Uchiha as his best friend. Why then would he kill him?"
When Tsunade didn't give an answer Hiashi continued. "Simple he killed him because he lost control of the Kyubi's power."
"We don't know that Hiashi." Tsunade disagreed.
"Then explain how the Uchiha's body was having been scorched beyond recognition. Uzumaki doesn't have any history of fire type moves in his arsenal. Unless his teacher has noticed something and hasn't told us." Hiashi said turning toward Kakashi who had been standing in the room in complete silence.
"No, Naruto has no history of fire techniques." Kakashi replied.
"Thank you Kakashi. Now….."
"However Naruto has never once shown a lack of control of the Kyubi and doesn't need to be transported to Danzo's control." Kakashi added. "If the council is so eager to have him learn how to control the Kyubi's influence then I will take care of it."
Not willing to let his goal of getting Naruto slip away Danzo fired back. "Oh is that right? Tell me Kakashi. You were in charge of Team 7 for how long six months, a year at most?
"A year yes." Kakashi confirmed not seeing where the question was going.
"A full year. And in that time as a teacher, What exactly did you teach the Uzumaki and Haruno?"
"What does that have to do with…."
"It has everything to do with this Kakashi. In the time you have been the teacher of Team 7 you've taught them one thing together. How to run up trees."
Kakashi's eyes widened at realizing where this was going.
"Mean while individually, you completely ignored Haruno and Uzumaki and taught the Uchiha an A rank assassination technique which he could have used to kill the Uzumaki. I fail to see how someone who taught his student only one thing is able to teach him to control the Kyubi." Danzo finished with a rather evil looking smile.
The council members were surprised by these statements and they all turned to Kakashi hoping for a reasonable explanation.
"Kakashi….. Please tell me that you had a logical explanation for ignoring your other two students." Tsunade asked hoping to hear one.
Kakashi put his head down and was silent before he replied. "I… don't have one."
"As I thought." Danzo replied. "I would like Hiashi to continue."
Hiashi nodded his head before continuing. "As I was saying, if the Uzumaki is able to kill his best friend, then who is to say that he won't be able to kill others. Him going around through the Village alone puts everyone at risk without someone who can teach him to control the Kyubi and since Hatake, has proven to be an ineffective teacher, Danzo seems to be the only one who can fill that position, unless one of you can name a more suitable candidate."
"Why do we even need a candidate? Perhaps we could take a third course." Another civilian councilman added. "What about banishment? That way we could remove him from the Village without bloodshed."
As soon as he finished a colossal amount of killer intent came upon him courtesy of both Tsunade and Danzo.
"That has to be the single DUMBEST idea I've ever heard!" Danzo and Tsunade said at the same time.
At hearing that they said the exact same thing, Tsunade and Danzo immediately turned to face each other.
"Well it's nice to see you aren't a total idiot Tsunade." Danzo said with a smile.
"Shut up." Tsunade replied. "How could I have the same response as him? I'm starting to hate this job."
"What Lady Tsunade and Danzo mean is that, Naruto Uzumaki is the ninja of the Kyubi, the most powerful of the tailed beast. Councilman, if we banished Naruto from the Village not only would we be getting rid of a powerful resource, but other villages would seize the opportunity to capture him and turn him against us. Which makes your suggestion quite idiotic." Homura stated simply.
The councilman who suggested the banishment just sank down into his chair.
"Not to mention that the Akatsuki would have a field day, and be one step closer to getting all the Jinchuriki." A voice agreed.
"Jiraiya. I was wondering if you were going to show up. You never seem to." Koharu stated as Jiriaya walked in.
"Well I've never had much incentive to come. You're usually here." Jiriaya said with smile
As Koharu silently fumed, Jiriaya continued. "I heard that you guys were discussing ways to control the Kyubi and you don't need to worry… I will take care of it." He finished turning toward Danzo.
"Are you saying you will take Naruto as your apprentice?" Homura asked for confirmation.
"Yes. I will take him as my apprentice." Jiraiya confirmed smiling. His eyes never leaving Danzo.
"I think this is a reasonable agreement." Shibi stated. "Lord Jiriaya trained the Fourth Hokage, one of the most powerful ninja the Leaf has ever seen. I think he is more than capable of training Naruto."
"As do I" Shikaku agreed.
"I can think of no one better." Inoichi nodded.
"Sounds good." Chouza agreed
"Makes sense." Tsume agreed. "What do you think Hiashi?"
Hiashi stared a Jiriaya for a moment before replying "While Jiriaya has a horrible background when it comes to training teams….."
At the mentioning of this Jiriaya turned toward Hiashi with an angry glare.
"He has proven to be a great teacher of apprentices. He is a prime candidate to train the Uzumaki."
"Excellent. Are there any who object to Jiriaya being the teacher of Naruto?" Tsunade asked to all the councilmen.
The Clan Heads looked satisfied, Danzo looked like he wanted to object but kept quiet, and Kenta and the Civilian councilmen just kept quiet.
"Good. Then I think we are about done here. Just one final piece of information, I am going to address the entire Village about what happened to Sasuke in a few days so until that time, consider his death an S class secret. Clear?"
Everyone nodded in response.
"Good. I think we're done here." Tsunade said getting up from her chair. She was swiftly followed by the others.
Lord Hokage, I need to head out and…..inform my team." Kakashi said kneeling.
"Yes of course, Kakashi…" Tsunade replied saddened, "You do realize though that after what I just heard…. We will need to talk."
"Yes, Lord Hokage." Kakashi stated before disappearing.
After all the Council went home, and Danzo just went…wherever he goes, Tsunade and Jiraiya met privately in her office.
"You were listening the whole time weren't you?"
"No…Not really….Kind of…."
"You annoying….. How about you just show up to these things on time? It would be nice to have someone else I know backing me up."
"Just forget it. Why did you suddenly burst in when you did?"
Jiriaya sighed before replying "I heard where things were going and I didn't want Danzo to get his hands on Naruto."
"Oh so you think he will be safe with you?" Tsunade stated with an eyebrow raised.
"I think he will be safer. Actually I think it's a guarantee he will be safer with me training him." Jiraiya responded.
"I can't argue with you there…..Damn it." Tsunade sighed as she rubbed her head. "How is Naruto doing?"
"He's….not doing well. When I saw him in the hospital he looked downright miserable. Like what he did was eating away at his being. He tries to hide it but…..he's suffering." Jiraiya stated saddened.
Tsunade was silent before pulling out a bottle of Sake. "I hope Kakashi and Sakura can understand why he did it."
"Do you know why he did it?" Jiraiya asked holding his hand out for a drink.
"I can't say I know for sure….Probably for the same reason you try to find and kill Orochimaru….."
Jiraiya just looked at her with a weird look.
"….Because he was your best friend."
Naruto arrived at team 7's training field a little bit after night had fallen over the Village, It was a nice night. Very little clouds in the sky, a light breeze that rustled the surrounding tree leaves, nocturnal animals coming out to live their lives, the kind of night one usually is happy to be alive. Naruto at this point was not.
"What do you have to feel sad about child? The Uchiha tried to kill you and nearly succeeded and now that he's dead…"
"….Are you trying to deny it?! HA! You are truly pathetic!"
"Shut up! I know Sasuke is…."
"Dead child. Your best friend is dead….You killed him." The Kyubi chuckled evilly.
"SHUT UP!" Naruto shouted aloud alerting the other occupant there.
Sakura had arrived a few minutes before Naruto did.
"It had to be here. Of all places, this is where he said to meet." Sakura thought to herself as she looked toward the three logs in the field. Memories came flooding back to her of the survival Exercise, the Wave mission, the Chunin Exams, Everything.
"Is this it?"
"NO! Sasuke is still out there. We can bring him back! Cha!"
"But since Naruto didn't bring him back…Thant means he's with Orochimaru."
"Screw Orochimaru! We're getting Sasuke back even if it kills us."
"You're right. With Kakashi sensei and Naruto we can definitely…"
Sakura came back to reality hearing a cry echo across the field. Turning toward the direction of it she noticed Naruto a few feet away with angry look on his face.
Hearing the voice of his teammate, Naruto immediately came back to reality. "Oh…..hey Sakura." "Why did she have to be here first?" !Naruto said in nervously.
"Are you okay?" Sakura asked worried.
"Yeah….. Doing fine." Naruto said as he walked towards Sakura.
"Hey. I'm sorry for not visiting you, I was stuck teaching academy students all day."
"No big deal, I don't usually stay in those things very long anyway." Naruto said as he leaned against one of the logs with his head facing the ground still looking nervous.
Both sat in silence for a while before Sakura decided to speak.
"Hey….Naruto…..about Sasuke…I don't blame you."
Naruto never looked up to her.
"It…It was my fault he ran away to begin with…and I begged you to go after him…..Because of me I nearly got you killed and the others…I just want you to know it wasn't your fault he got away."
Naruto just kept his head down and he was starting to shake.
"We'll be able to get him back though. I'll get Tsunade to train me and you can get Jiraiya to train you…"
"And with Kakashi sensei, we'll be able to find Sasuke…."
"And bring him back home to the Village….."
"SAKURA PLEASE STOP!" Naruto shouted looking up to face her.
When he looked up to her, Sakura got a glimpse of what Naruto was feeling. Tears were streaming down his face and Naruto looked like he was about to break down in sobs. Naruto was giving off an aura of pure sadness and agony, the likes of which Sakura had never felt before and to see her teammate having this reaction hurt Sakura immensely.
"Just….please….Stop." Naruto restated looking back toward the ground.
Sakura was left speechless by the outburst and just sat in silence before Kakashi arrived.
When Kakashi arrived he knew things were going to be tough. However when he saw his students faces it nearly broke him. One full of pain of killing his best friend, and the other full of fear and worry for her crush and teammate. These faces just further proved that he failed. Kakashi knew however that they couldn't just stand in silence. They all needed to have this meeting.
"I would say I'm sorry for being late but…..Sorry for being late." Kakashi said making himself known.
Hearing her sensei, Sakura looked toward him.
"Hey Kakashi sensei." Sakura replied with a small smile.
"I….Sakura… do you know why we are here?" Kakashi asked her nervously.
Sakura's smile vanished almost immediately. "We're here to talk about Sasuke right?"
"Yeah….About Sasuke." Kakashi replied also looking down.
Seeing her teacher and her teammate looking so depressed hurt Sakura so she tried to be optimistic.
"We'll get him back though right? I mean, We can train and get stronger and bring him back….Can't we?" Sakura asked her head switching from Kakashi and Naruto.
Kakashi continued his silence and Naruto broke his. " Sakura I….I don't think we'll… ever get Sasuke back."
Sakura immediately turned to Naruto. "What? Why not? He's our teammate of course we'll get him back."
"No… We won't. He's…He's…." Naruto tried to finish but couldn't.
"Sasuke is gone, Sakura." Kakashi finished for Naruto.
Sakura turned to Kakashi with a look of despair. "Gone? What do you… You can't mean….. But he…." Sakura couldn't finish as the thought terrified her.
Kakashi took a deep breath before finally telling her. "Sakura…..Sasuke is dead."
Sakura was stoic for a few moments, facing the ground not looking at her teacher or her teammate as her mind tried to digest what she just heard. All the memories she had with her team, all the hopes and plans she had to get Sasuke back, all the optimism, gone. Shattered by this revelation. Unbeknownst to her tears began to form in her eyes as if the body had accepted it while the mind had not. As the tears began to slide down her face Kakashi walked over to comfort her.
"You…you're lying. Sasuke….he's not dead. He's not dead." Sakura whimpered aloud as Kakashi approached.
"No you're lying. Sasuke isn't dead. He can't be dead." Sakura's voice grew louder and she stood up.
"Sakura just listen….."
"NO! SASUKE IS NOT DEAD! HE'S NOT DEAD!" Sakura shouted to Kakashi as she began to sob.
Kakashi stopped a few feet away and stood still as Sakura broke down sobbing.
After a few moments Kakashi put her hand on Sakura's shoulder and then turned to Naruto. "Naruto….What happened over there?" Kakashi asked his other student while tears of his own became visible in his one eye.
Naruto faced his team and wiped away tears of his own as he began to recall what happened.
"We… I caught up with Sasuke at the Valley of the End. He….didn't want to come back so I…tried to beat some sense into him." Naruto stated difficulty.
Sakura was still sobbing but Kakashi was listening.
"We then fought….all across the Valley… Neither of us were able to beat each other…..It seemed like every time I would get the upper hand he would fire back with something stronger….He uh…..Eventually broke my neck." Naruto stated depressingly.
Kakashi's eye widened at that statement and Sakura at this point had temporarily regained control of herself and was listening
"I was…..able to comeback though and I thought I had him…..but even then he…..came back stronger than ever….." Naruto stated tears returning and smiling as if remembering Sasuke's tenacity made him miss his friend even more. "It came down to two last attacks. His Chidori and my Rasengan."
Naruto and Sasuke each stared each other down across the waterfall at the feet of Hashirama and Madara with their amplified signature jutsus in hand.
"Kid…..You need to use all of your Rasengan's power if you want to beat him."
"No. If I do that it could kill him."
"If you don't he WILL kill you! That lightning is more than twice as strong as it was before!"
"I don't care!"
At nearly the same time Sasuke and Naruto leaped across the Valley towards each other.
"Rasengan!" Naruto cried
"Chidori!" Sasuke Cried
As the techniques clashed the very air itself began to crack under the weight of the chakra being used. They were then swallowed up into a sphere of light that expanded across the falls. Inside the sphere the techniques battled for supremacy and Sasuke's was beating Naruto's.
" OF COURSE HE IS! He has always beaten you! Because you refuse to match his power!"
"I…can't. He's my best friend."
"A best friend who you've never beaten! A friend who tried to kill you and nearly did!"
"It could kill him….. I can't!"
"YES YOU CAN! For once in your life you can beat him. Here and Now. Just use your full power!"
All the memories of Sasuke beating Naruto came flooding into Naruto's memory at once. Sasuke standing over him in the academy, Sasuke beating him during sparing, Sasuke saving Naruto's life, Sasuke being loved by everyone, Sasuke being everything that Naruto ever wanted to be. Realization hit him immediately and Naruto finally saw that this was his chance to beat Sasuke and become loved by everyone.
"I…..I CAN BEAT HIM!" Naruto shouted as he put all of his strength and Chakra into his fading Rasengan.
The fading attack was immediately recharged and made stronger than ever and it slowly overtook Sasuke's Chidori until it was completely obliterated. Once it was gone the Rasengan powered on through to Sasuke's body. Burning his skin as it made contact. If Sasuke had screamed in pain or remained silent Naruto did not know. All he knew was this time he was beating Sasuke. This time he would win.
"Give me more Chakra! Now!" Naruto demanded inside his mind
"Gladly!" The Kyubi responded gleefully.
The Rasengan's power was amplified yet again and as it kept in contact with Sasuke what skinned wasn't being burned was then scorched. All across the body, heat and fire engulfed the skin reducing the Wings and Sasuke's clothes to ashes.
"FINISH IT!" The Kyubi cried.
"ARGHHHHHHHHHH" Naruto cried aloud as the Rasengan blasted Sasuke out of the Sphere and into the opposite side of the Valley creating a massive crater in the Valley wall.
The sphere almost immediately disappeared as Naruto fell to the ground completely out of energy.
"Good work kid. Hehehehe" The Kyubi chuckled.
Naruto however paid no mind to him as he picked himself up with great difficulty and walked toward Sasuke. All the praise he would get from the Village from Sakura. He would finally be welcomed by the Village and not ostracized.
As he closed in on the body he failed to notice it started raining.
"Okay Sasuke. I think it's time to go home." Naruto told him with a smile. When there was no answer, Naruto thought he just knocked him out.
"Maybe I hit him a bit too hard." He chuckled to himself aloud. As he got closer and closer however he became increasingly worried. He was able to see Third degree burns across Sasuke's body and began to smell the scorched flesh that was swiftly diminished by the rain.
"Sasuke….Come on….Sasuke get up." Naruto ordered Sasuke's body. The body remained motionless.
"Sasuke get up! Sasuke…..." Naruto couldn't finish his sentence as he finally saw the entire body of Sasuke, completely scorched. No hair, no clothes, nothing that made him recognizable. Only the eyes remained unharmed.
Realization slowly dawned on Naruto on what he had done.
"Sasuke….Sasuke wake up!...Sasuke get up!" Naruto shouted as he grabbed the body and started shaking it as if trying to waken it from a deep sleep. Not realizing that the body was still very hot.
As his hands burned he continued trying to wake his friend.
"Sasuke! Please get up! SASUKE PLEASE!" Naruto cried as he continued to shake the body.
"SASUKEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!" Naruto cried for a final time as tears began to roll down his face.
Naruto then let out an earth shattering scream of pure agony and rage that echoed across the Valley and the surrounding forest. Alerting Kakashi to his whereabouts.
By this time Naruto was very close to breaking down as well in front of his team but he kept on going even though he didn't want to.
"I…Left the Valley after that….and wandered around the forest….I eventually decided that I would come back here and face the consequences for what I…..did." He was silent before finishing
"I killed Sasuke." Naruto finished as he finally broke down sobbing not caring who saw him.
Kakashi had been staying still in silence as Naruto told his story not daring to interrupt him. As he listened he finally realized just how alone he really was and the absolute agony he was in. The picture reminded him so much of himself after Rin died.
"Damn it. I'm sorry Minato sensei….I failed." He thought to himself ashamed. He turned to face Sakura worried about what she would do
Sakura while still having tears in her eyes and sniffling had listened to Naruto's recollection completely. After he had finished she grew an unreadable look on her face and sat quietly for a moment. She then picked herself up and walked toward Naruto.
Kakashi wanted to intervene but something told him not to. He felt he needed to let happen whatever would happen.
As Sakura made her way closer to Naruto, she tightened her fist and began to channel chakra into it all the while her face was unreadable. All the memories, all the good times she had with Team 7, Sasuke, were gone and it was all because of…..Naruto.
As Naruto kept sobbing he didn't notice Sakura approaching and did nothing to stop what was coming.
When Sakura was directly in front of Naruto she raised her fist in preparation for a strike. As her fist was about to come down on Naruto however, she suddenly remembered what had been said to her yesterday.
"I hope you don't blame Naruto….He will hate himself enough." Shino stated
"What ever happened.........I don't blame Naruto."
Remembering those words, Sakura was immediately reminded of who Sasuke was to Naruto. She looked down toward Naruto again and all the anger she had previously had for him was replaced with sorrow and grief. She then slowly lowered her fist and collapsed onto the ground right next to Naruto.
Sakura then joined Naruto in lamenting the loss of their teammate.
Kakashi just walked over to his students to try and comfort them the best he could.