Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto nor The Gamer. I own nothing, really.

Cover Art: Kissuli.

Chapter 100

"I'm still waiting, old man," Eiji said, standing straight. Currently, he was in front of not only the Hokage, but also the man's apparent successor, Tsunade, and the leader of Root, Danzo. One wouldn't have guessed so though, with how calm he sounded, all but demanding an answer to his request.

"It's not an easy thing, what you are asking, Eiji," The old man replied, taking a drag from his pipe.

"And what you are asking of me is?" The boy shot back, making the Hokage grimace. "I don't care about being sent on these missions, old man, I really don't. These people are hunting down Naruto, and Gaara. I will hunt them down, happily at that. But the least you can do is give me this for the trouble though."

Hiruzen sighed then, massaging his forehead as he considered those words. The people on both sides of him remained silent, although Eiji could see that Tsunade was annoyed. He didn't know if that was directed at his request, or something else, but she didn't voice any complaints so far, so he took that as a win. Danzo, for his part, didn't so much as twitch, looking impassively towards Eiji in a way that frankly unnerved the boy a little.

"Sasori is out of the question."

"Old man, I told you that when I asked," Eiji replied, unimpressed, drawing a grimace of a smile from the man. Had he expected that saying that would make him change his mind or reconsider or something? "Will you give me my team or do I have to be… drastic?"

Threatening the Hokage.

Eiji could safely say that he'd never have thought he could get away with that. Especially not so early in his career.

As things stood though, he was the most promising ninja in the village. Not the strongest, he didn't think, not even close. However, he was the one that seemed to be able to go the furthest. He was young, he was still growing by leaps and bounds, and he didn't seem likely to go rogue anytime soon, if they played their cards right. Thus, that made him important enough to not want to antagonize.

With a name behind him, he'd have likely been able to get away with just about anything. Hell, they probably wouldn't send him in the missions they did if he did come from an important family. With all those factors, he had the makings of a high placed council member, if not Hokage. He still could make the second one, as demonstrated by Minato Namikaze. It was also possible that the only reason they were sending him on these missions was because they knew he wanted to go, and they were letting him, because it was also convenient.

Eiji was sure that was how the village saw him, at least. Or somewhere along those lines. Regardless, between that and the fact that he was already quite close with Hiruzen after years of interactions, he thought he could get away with this much. Danzo had practically groomed him to be like this too, to do what he thought was necessary, so he couldn't really complain. And as for Tsunade… Well, she better get used to him, because he wasn't changing, even if she was made Hokage.

"We'll do it," Hiruzen acknowledged in the end, and Eiji nodded, giving the old man a smile.

"I wanted to talk to you too, brat," Tsunade voiced then, drawing the attention of the other two. "First of all, I really, really hope you know what you are doing with Sasori… But after Orochimaru, I think I can give you the benefit of the doubt."

"Thank you for your generosity," Eiji said blandly, not really sure how to respond in any other way.

"Second, and most important," The woman continued, ignoring his words altogether. "You do know what that technique you made with what I taught you does, don't you?"

Eiji tensed then. His body coiled like a spring, even if it was barely noticeable. He almost wanted to disappear from the room. He couldn't very well do that though, could he? Instead, he gave her a forced smile.

"I do."

"So I see," She commented, clearly having seen his reaction, same as the other two. He hadn't even bothered hoping that he would get away with that. It was a lost battle from the beginning. "And you won't stop using it?"

"I won't," Eiji admitted. "Tsuchigumo is helping me deal with that though, don't worry," He said, waving the whole thing away. None of the three believed him, which was fair. He was all but lying to their faces, after all, and everyone knew it.

"So you say," Tsunade nodded slowly, drawing an angry bout of barking from the Chakra Beast inside him. Tsuchigumo took offense to that, evidently. "You are not dumb, kid," She said, which probably could be classified as quite the compliment, coming from her. "Don't do dumb shit."

"Thanks for the vote of confidence," He replied, trying to put as convincing a smile as he could manage at the moment.

"I mean it," She all but growled and his smile turned sad.

"I know what I'm doing," He told her. And he wasn't lying about that, but he wasn't being entirely truthful. It was what it was though, there was little else he could do about the subject matter, after all. Evidently, she was good enough to realize what he was saying and what he was not saying, because he saw her eyebrow twitch and her expression turn even more angry.

"Try and get some interesting missions sent Naruto's way, yeah, old man?" Eiji asked then, changing the topic with the subtlety of a sledgehammer. "And Kiba and Sasuke too, for that matter. They are bored out of their minds, staying inside the village."

"I'll see what I can do," Hiruzen replied with a tired smile.

Giving a nod to the three of them, Eiji left.

Danzo might not have said anything, but Satou almost felt like that was worse. It meant that he agreed with what he was doing, after all. Eiji might have worked with the guy for a while and he might think he was affected by the AU/Butterfly effects, yes. However, it still left a bad taste in his mouth, that he had such a man basically backing him up on his decisions.

It was what it was though.

[}-o-{]

Eiji sat on the ground, hearing nothing but music, feeling nothing but the wind, smelling nothing but the forest, seeing nothing but the drawing on his notebook, tasting nothing but the sweet dango. Honestly, it was one of the most peaceful moments he'd gone through as of late, which was saying something, considering that he'd been back home for a while now. Regardless, there was nothing for him to do in the immediate future, the scenery was great and he'd gotten his team's situation mostly resolved.

It was a shame that one of those was fake.

He was curious, so very curious, about what was going on outside of the Genjutsu he was in, but he wouldn't look, he'd promised. Thus, he continued drawing as he heard Tayuya's music, his back pressed against hers, so that she would know if Eiji tried to peek. They had even had the gall to take away all his wires. He could still use Senjutsu, he supposed, but that was going a little far for this, really. Still, he acquiesced with their demands.

What was going on out of the illusion?

His group of friends had wanted to face his team in an actual battle. It was an interesting matchup, actually. Being completely honest, Eiji didn't know who he would put his money on for that fight, really.

Yugito could take Naruto, that much he knew. His brother might be very dangerous with seals and getting better by the day, but the Two Tails Jinchuriki had him beat by experience, strength and bond with her Bijuu. Hell, he could probably add a few more of his friends there and the result would be the same. They had barely managed to contain her during the Invasion and that was with all of them, after all. And they still needed help in the end.

They might have improved, but so had she, sadly.

Jirobo vs Chouji might be interesting, since those skill sets remained mostly unchanged. It was just that they were generally better than their canon counterparts, really. That and Chouji not being allowed to go all out with his family pills might mean that Jirobo had the upper hand there.

As for Shikamaru, he was better, but so was Tayuya, and this time Temari was on the other side of things, sadly. Then there were Shino, Sasuke, Kiba, Ino, Hinata and Sakura. Hanabi had been exempted from the fighting, much to her dismay, but it had been a unanimous vote on the group's side. Sasori had been much the same but for completely different reasons, obviously. Kabuto, for his part, could probably take care of at the very least two of those… or Sasuke, one of those options.

Basically, the group had quantity and the team had quality, although that was far from all there was to it.

"Back to drawing, Fearless Leader," Tayuya told him through the illusion and Eiji sighed, rolling his eyes as he did as he was told. He didn't know what the big deal was, not wanting him to see, but it was what it was. So, back to drawing he went, this time making pictures of his summons, which he'd tried to spend some more time with. He'd even personally gone to their realm just to hang out, that had led to him training some more Senjutsu for some reason, but he swore that he'd gone just to spend time with them and nothing else.

It was Mother and Father's fault, really.

"And we are done," He heard eventually, the wind suddenly carrying the smell of battle instead of just forest. Ozone, smoke, dirt and a tinge of copper. Judging by the fact that Tayuya's voice didn't sound like she'd said that through her teeth, he could guess who had won already. Storing the notebook in a scroll, Eiji stood and looked around.

Judging by the marks on the battlefield, Yugito seemed to have taken on both Naruto and Sasuke. Jirobo had taken on Chouji, Kiba and Shino. Temari had apparently gone against Sakura and Hinata. Ino, Shimamaru, Kabuto and Tayuya seemed to have played support for all fights.

"Had fun?" He asked, raising an eyebrow at his team. He'd give the group that, at least they had made them work for it, it seemed. Jirobo, especially, looked worse for wear.

"Yeah, it was easy," Tayuya boasted, getting a glare from the group members that were still conscious. "Something to say, little shits?" She asked, throwing a very smug smirk their way.

"With that out of the way," Eiji started then, making his team turn towards him. "Winner fights me, right?"

Silence.

"Were you saying something, little shit?" Naruto asked then, a weary grin on his face.

"Oh, shut up."

[}-o-{]

"You can just stay outside, you know? We can entertain Tsuchigumo on our own for a bit," Hachi commented, but Eiji all but ignored her as he rubbed the Chakra Beast's belly.

"Hachi, I like spending time here as much as out with my friends. It's not a chore, you know?" The boy told her, rolling his eyes. "I didn't call you family just because I'm stuck with you… Well, maybe Kage."

"What?" Said man asked from where he sat.

"Understandable," Hachi nodded, mock-seriously as her lip twitched.

"Oi!"

"But still. You can spend time here whenever. You can't do that with the people that stay at Konoha," The woman continued, giving him a soft smile. "We appreciate it, but we can wait."

"I mean, if it were a few days or just a week, sure," Eiji replied as Tsuchigumo rolled next to him before he planted his hand on top of her head and started petting her. "But more than that is pushing it. I'd miss you, guys."

The adorable Chakra Beast barked at that, rubbing her head against his hand. He turned his focus to her completely for a moment, because, honestly, she was entirely too adorable for her own good. Besides, Hachi and Kage didn't seem to have much more to talk about for the time being anyway.

[}-o-{]

"Your team seems to be alright," Naruto said that night. Most everyone was inside, exchanging advice. Or that was what they were doing when Eiji had walked out for a bit to sit in the garden. "Tayuya is annoying though."

"You aren't telling me anything new, Naruto," He replied, not turning around as he looked at the plants he'd set in a corner, the circle used for taijutsu training, the shurikenjutsu targets against one of the walls. And, more importantly, the night sky over them.

"The question now is," His brother continued then, sitting next to him. "Are you alright?"

"Of course I-"

"Eiji," Naruto interrupted, making Eiji's mouth click shut. "I've known you for quite a bit. I can tell when you aren't doing well, you know?"

"... What gave me away?" He had to ask then, giving himself a self-deprecating smile.

"You've been practically scrambling to spend time with everyone," Naruto noted then. "We appreciate it, but we notice the difference, you know? It's like you need to do it instead of you wanting to do it."

It struck him, as the blonde talked, that he'd never seen Naruto so… calm. His brother was an expressive person, after all, he was happy, excited, sad, angry… but never calm. Eiji would be hard pressed to find a memory of him just… staying still, even when he slept he moved around.

And still, that was happening then.

"I'm… tired, Naruto," Eiji admitted, trying and failing to smile. "I just want to stop, but I can't. I have to go on… just a bit more."

"You know that I wouldn't blame you if you didn't do this, right?" His brother asked, smiling at him. "Even Jiji wouldn't blame you, I bet. You just have to say it."

"Thanks… but I would blame myself," Eiji replied with a weary grin. "I also… I'm afraid, Naruto," He admitted, looking down at his shaking hand and balling it into a fist so it would stop. "I'm afraid of dying," He whispered, low enough that he didn't know if the blonde heard him.

"That's not a bad thing, Eiji," Naruto reassured and while he didn't look at him, Eiji knew, somehow, that he was smiling at him. It probably wasn't a happy smile though. "Nobody would blame you for that either."

"I know that. I just…" He trailed off, unsure of where he was even going with that. Then he just sighed. "I can do this and then… then I'll just do whatever. I think I earned a vacation when all this mess is over."

"Sure did." Naruto nodded, although Eiji could tell he had more he wanted to say about that. In the end though, he just smiled as he looked up at the night sky with him.

"Everything alright with you?" Eiji wondered out loud, turning to the blonde. "You are acting… very unlike you, honestly."

"I've been thinking a lot lately."

"Did it hurt?" Eiji couldn't help but ask, a slight chuckle escaping him as he did so.

"Shut up," His brother mock-growled as he playfully punched his shoulder, even as he grinned back. "I didn't have anything else to do, with Jiji not letting me go out," He grumbled, looking away. "Anyway, I have been, so… I realized something."

"Yeah?"

"Yes." Naruto nodded. "I don't need to be Hokage anymore."

That was certainly not something that Eiji expected to hear, and his eyes demonstrated it. 'The fuck did I miss while I was away?' He had to wonder. That was such a… non-Naruto thing to say, even with the changes he'd made.

"I still want to, but I don't need to," The blonde continued. "I wanted to be Hokage so that people would have to acknowledge me, but I realized, why did I want that anymore? I have people that do that already, you, Hinata, the group. Plenty of people, really. It is… weird, to notice that something I always wanted so much isn't as necessary as it seemed."

"I guess I can get that," Eiji nodded, thinking that over. Or, at least, he could imagine how that must be. If he was ever done with the world's nonsense, what would it feel like, thinking about power? He needed it now, but what would it be like when it became less necessary?

"I'm still gonna be Hokage, you know," Naruto said then, sounding much more like himself. "Someone has to make sure you are paid well for all the crazy stuff you got to do."

"I'll hold you to that, Naruto. Don't think I won't," Eiji replied with a grin.

[}-o-{]

"This is fun," Eiji commented with a lazy grin.

"Fearless Leader, shut up," Tayuya growled.

"I agree with her," Temari said, one eye twitching.

"Be silent, Eiji," Was Yugito's curt addition.

"This is fun though," Shikamaru, the absolute legend, offered.

The three women's eyes twitched. Eiji just ignored them and made his move on Tayuya's board, before turning to Yugito's. He was currently playing Shogi against the four of them at the same time. It was… interesting, to say the least. He'd half expected Shikamaru to take offense, but he'd just shrugged and said that he'd take the advantage.

[Shogi has gone up a level.]

'Nice,' He thought, grin widening. It made things much more difficult to play like this, after all, especially with a Nara involved. He had a feeling that he'd be needing that sometime soon.

[}-o-{]

"You know you didn't have to do this, right?" Eiji asked, giving Sasuke a sad smile as he walked down a corridor. It was eerie, the silence that permeated the place despite being inside a village as big as Konoha. Eiji could hardly mention many times when the village had been so quiet during his life there.

"I don't have to," The Uchiha nodded. "But I want to," He added then, giving him a smile that he almost seemed to mean as he stopped at the end of the passage and opened a door. Inside, Eiji saw a very extensive library. "The Uchiha Clan library," Sasuke announced, barely managing to keep his face neutral.

Eiji looked at the shelves, filled with books and scrolls, knowledge of techniques, styles, villages and anything else the Uchiha clan had ever managed to gather. He did so and… he could only feel sadness. It was so vast, probably filled with more information than any village short of the five biggest ones had. All that, and they had ended up with nothing in the end. Only Sasuke and Itachi remained, and one of them would probably die soon, his memory tarnished for something that Eiji still didn't know the truth of.

He'd long since learned that his notes could be wrong, even about things that happened before his… change, for lack of a better term.

"Sasuke, really-"

"Just accept it, Eiji. I truly don't mind," Sasuke interrupted him, a smile forming on the Uchiha's face, if only a small one. "You need this, it's the least I can do."

Eiji regretted having mentioned that he was working on some new jutsu to add to his arsenal. Particularly the part where he said he wanted to do so with some Fire Release, since he was confident in his Lightning. He didn't have much for his second Elemental Manipulation, really, and fireballs could hardly do much. He needed something more fitted for his style.

Still, he'd never expected Sasuke to offer him a look into the Uchiha Library, that was for sure.

"You know… there was a time when I disliked you," Sasuke said then, looking around the place, almost seeming… nostalgic. Eiji wondered if he was remembering some time when he came here with his family. He probably was, he decided. "You were so good. Growing so much faster than me, and no matter how much I worked for it, I never got closer to you. Even after I started training like you did, I was still further and further away from your level."

He wanted to reply something to that and he would have, had Sasuke not continued almost immediately.

"But… slowly, I stopped caring about that. It stopped being important, to be the strongest around. To grow stronger than everyone else. To…" The last Uchiha in Konoha stopped then, but Eiji could take a guess at where that last part was going. "Maybe saying that I stopped caring is wrong," He mused then, seeming distracted. "I just… I cared about other things more."

Eiji remained silent as his brother spoke, just leaving him to continue. Sasuke never spoke about feelings much, and everyone accepted it. Now, however, he was doing so out of his own volition. He could hardly bring himself to interrupt him. Besides, he didn't seem to be done either way, as was proved when he spoke again.

"I never did thank you, did I?" Sasuke said, one of his hands moving up to touch a shelf in front of him, his eyes firmly on the scrolls and books. "For agreeing to come to my house that day, for answering my questions… for inviting me to train with everyone."

"It was nothing, Sasuke," Eiji replied softly. "We gained as much as you."

"I disagree… But I know that argument will never end if we start," Sasuke commented, his lips pulling up into an almost amused smile. "Regardless… Thank you, Eiji."

"Even if you wanted to thank me, which is stupid, by the way," Eiji said, getting a quiet snort and a shake of the Uchiha's head. "You didn't have to do this."

"I didn't do this to thank you, which wouldn't be stupid, by the way," Sasuke shot back, turning slightly to give him a half-smile. "Father always said that this library was made to help the family," He explained, the grin vanishing as he turned to look at the shelves once more.

He said nothing else after that though, and he didn't need to.

Eiji understood.

"I thought of something, some time ago," Sasuke said then. "The group had gathered and they were talking about how they would eventually have to leave their parent's houses to find their own places. Even you and Naruto… and Karin, I guess," He explained, turning to look directly at Eiji. "I wanted to offer everyone to live in this compound."

"..." He tried to speak, he really did, but he found that the words failed him. Gulping down a knot that had suddenly formed in his throat, Eiji managed to speak after a moment. "Sasuke… We would be honored."

He wanted to say much more than that. Use more words to explain how much that meant. Thank him. Ask him if he was sure. But… He knew Sasuke and he knew how much this meant. Asking anything would be almost insulting. Trying to be grateful would be dismissed. And explaining…

How was he to explain, really?

So, instead of speaking, he walked up to Sasuke and hugged him. It wasn't something the Uchiha would do, it wasn't even something that Eiji did that much. But sometimes, it was easier to tell things without words and it was one such moment, he thought.

Eiji was surprised though, when Sasuke hugged him back with no hesitation.

"Thank you," The Uchiha said then and Eiji wasn't sure what he was being thanked for… but in the end, it didn't matter.

[} Chapter End {]

Hey guys! How's it going?

Doubts, doubts…

I'm sure of the ideas I had for this chapter, I think they are good and all. I'm less sure of how well I might have put that into words during the chapter. I guess you guys will be the judge of that.

Hope you enjoyed the chapter.

Also, hey, we reached 100 chapters! I hope you've enjoyed the story so far.

As always, if you can't wait until next week for next chapter, there's up to three new chapters in my Pa tre on:

P a treon . com (slash) AdrianKing

Discord Link: discord .gg/UTDransjJZ

Random Question: Favorite fruit ? (Might have asked this before but meh, who cares or even remembers at this point?) Mine are oranges.

See you.