Author: Riniko22

Notes: The Characters and Places within this story are not mine, and remain the property of their respected owners. As such, I do not own them, nor am I making any money off them. So sad, honored reader, this very tragic tale of penniless author that fell into the spring of drowned …

The characters in this story will likely not act the same as in canon (written or video), so do not flame me about this. Some will have grown up with different influences on them leading them to react in different ways. Advice is always welcome.

Hitotsu ni suru

Chapter 7

Time just seemed to slow down to a crawl as the ball of energy left Ranko's hands and began to streak across the women's clothing store. In this frozen time between one second and the next, she was able to think with a crystal clarity that had been eluding her since this whole disaster began. Ino had just finished talked her into trying on more feminine undergarments than she was really comfortable with, OK forced her by using her weakness, the puppy dog eyes. A powerful persuasion tool that she herself used with devastating effectiveness to gain free food from unsuspecting food vendors, but was unable to resist herself. Little did Ranko know that the Yamanaka family excelled in the art of manipulation, Ino could possibly even teach Nabiki a thing or two about how to get her way. Ranko had quickly given in, trying on the embarrassing lingerie having concluded that no one she knew would ever know and that she had left all the perverts behind when she arrived in this world. Ino wouldn't know that the lingerie would just be setting in her dresser unused after she bought a few sets to make her happy.

That was when disaster happened; Sakura had tripped when she returned ripping the changing room curtain open and exposing her to everyone. An embarrassing mistake that would not have normally have bothered her until Ranko felt the strange vibes emanating from the front of the store. That was when she saw them, Naruto's three former classmates and the white haired pervert. It was at that moment that pieces of Naruto blended more fully within her; it was as if she had been exposed this way in front of Ryouga, Mousse, Pantyhose Taro, and Happosai all at the same time. It quickly overcome her with emotions of embarrassment, then disgust, then something like righteous anger that surged out of her empowering a Ki attack similar to the Moko Takabisha. All this she could have shrugged off eventually, it was just the color of the attack that caused Ranko to escape by passing out. She would later claim that she did not pass out, that she was just still weak from her earlier ordeal.

When Ranko next opened her eyes she was once again back in her room at the hospital grateful that at least someone had clothed her while she was out. There were a few new faces in the room that she did not know along with Sakura, Ino, and the Hokage. As soon as the others noticed that she had regained consciousness, she was promptly assaulted with pleas by a frantic Sakura to forgive her that it was all her fault. Before she could even open her mouth to say that, it was all right that things like this always seemed to happen to her the Hokage spoke.

"Sakura-chan, I am sure that Ranko-chan will forgive you, but I must speak to her in private first. If you and the others would please step out of the room for a bit I would be happy to let you visit her after I am finished." The Third said while pulling his pipe out of his robes as the other left.

"Hey old man, I don't think you are allowed to smoke in here," stated Ranko wrinkling her nose just thinking about it. She did not like seeing the pipe; it brought to mind too many memories of another pipe and the old pervert attached to it.

"Oh, I was just checking my pockets," Sarutobi quickly mumbled while putting his pipe back within his robes.

"Yea, right old man," Ranko said, giving him a look that said she did not believe a word of it.

"Nevertheless Ranko, I have some serious questions to ask you about what happened earlier. Tell me what happened and what was that jutsu you performed?"

Reaching behind her head to rub the back of her neck Ranko's face flushed a bit before she could bring herself to speak. "It's not my fault, I was embarrassed and then when I saw that pervert just staring at me." She looked down, bringing her hands forward and back down into her lap, she began to ring her hands together in her best Nabiki act. "I couldn't help it, everything had just been building up and then the curtain ripped open, exposing me to all those people. I just let it all out. I do not know what happened; I have never used that attack before." I hope that I never do again, realizing what emotions she had channeled to produce that technique, it was not the same as the Moko Takabisha, which used her confidence. Looking up with her eyes starting to water up, she could see that the old man was falling for it. Whoever thought that all the times I had watched Nabiki play her old man would help me. If Nabiki saw this she would be proud, yea right, she would blackmail me with this to her dying day. Well she might be proud, but money's money.

"Yes, well I can understand that you have been under a lot of pressure and unfortunate accidents like this can happen." Remembering something painfully similar involving Tsunade and Jaraiya, it was that event that had marked the beginning of Tsunade's remarkable strength. "However, I cannot have you going around blasting my best ninja through a store window and across a busy street. I will be placing you with someone to watch over you and continue your future training. You along with two other young kunoichi will be placed on her team with one of the girls you have already meet, Sakura-chan. Your jounin instructor, Yuuhi Kurenai-san, will continue to train you in all the skills and techniques that are expected of our kunoichi."

Ranko was initially intrigued by the idea of receiving additional training; as the memories she had received from Naruto had done a lot to make her reexamine her feelings about ninja. She knew that the world she was now in was vastly different from the somewhat safe world that she had come from. She knew the general history of the various countries that made of this world, or at least the history that Naruto had not completely slept through. The people here followed a stricter code of living than she was totally comfortable with. They could not stop at just defeating their opponents when they knew that those same opponents would not hesitate to kill them or the people they are protecting. It made her think back to what had happened with Saffron. She had not wanted to kill him, but he did not leave her any choice, he had tried to kill Akane and their friends right in front of her eyes. He had not cared who he killed; he had forced her to defend them in the only way that was left open to her by killing him. Now, she had to protect an entire village, all of Naruto's special people from others just like Saffron. It did not matter that some of them had hated him; he like her would not allow them to die if she could help it.

Ranko could also understand that the old man could not just allow her to live by herself yet. She was new to the village, so would not be expected to be familiar with all the things that she would need to know. She would not know where the best places to shop for groceries where, where to pay the utilities, and a host of other little things that a minor would not think about. The fact that Naruto had been forced to live alone from a young age, having been thrown out of the orphanage made Ranko quite mad. Just because the old man had helped by finding him, a place and having his bills paid did not relieve him of guilt in her eyes. She knew how being alone had hurt the boy, knowing that there was no one waiting at home to take care of him or comfort him when he woke up in the middle of the night from a nightmare and there had been way too many nights with him lying awake from those.

"Alright old man, I accept. Just know that I will not be keeping secret the fact that I am the child of the Yondaime Hokage or my relationship to Naruto. I will not allow myself to be treated as an untouchable by anyone in this village just to keep my identity a secret, a secret that did not protect Naruto from danger. It just traded enemies from outside the village for enemies within, and from what I have heard so far, they were by far the most dangerous. I also demand you release my inheritance, which you had denied Naruto. This includes my parents personal jutsu and technique library, and do not think that I do not know that they exist. I had access to my family's secret scrolls in my world." There was no need to mention that I was referring to Genma's secret techniques, I was sure that they existed and would have access to them.

As The Third listened to the child's acceptance he at first was pleased. However, this was soon to change as he began to have trouble keeping a steady glaze on the girl. She had turned his control of the situation around quickly by slamming him with his mishandling of Naruto care, and he could not deny that he had failed to protect the boy properly. True he had released the news of the boy's parentage after his death, taking a heavy bite out of the glee of those that had been celebrating it. Many prominent merchant families were now suffering a loss of business by those that found out about their former treatment of the boy. Which was made all the easier by their own admission to the crime when the news of the boys death had first leaked out. He was shamed to admit that he had not realized how badly the boy had been suffering under his protection.

"Very well child, I will not require you to keep the nature of your parentage a secret. At this point, I doubt that I would be able to, as I have already had to explain my reasons for keeping Naruto's identity a secret from many of the village's consul during the last meeting. It will be even less difficult to explain your arrival and relationship at this point." It may even turn out to be a cathartic event, he imagined for the village, allowing many to regain their honor by making up to Ranko for their poor treatment of Naruto. "I will make the arrangements to have the stored effects of your parents returned to you and their properties that have been held in trust secretly to go to you as their heir. None will be able to deny your claims as the evidence of your rights have already been verified. Moreover, there is no one alive currently from your mother's delivery to challenge the contention that you are not Naruto's twin. Many of the records of that day were destroyed during the attack and the resulting fires that followed in its wake."

"Now that we have concluded that unpleasant business, I wish to introduce you to your new team leader and temporary guardian. She will take over your instruction after she evaluates your skills, which will be arranged as soon as you inform her that you have fully recovered." The Third finished as he turned to reopen the door and motioned for the people waiting down the hall to come back into the room.

The next chapter will have Ranko meeting the rest of her team and learning what is expected of them. I do not envy anyone that makes light of Ranko or her team after she learns the truth, something there for future chapters to cover.

Edited for clarity and spelling on 3/18/12