asked an amused voice behind the young counciller
"would the group of you be looking for me"
"So let me get this straight. You have proof that Uzumaki Naruto is in fact Namikaze Naruto, and is therefore the successor of the Yondaime with all rights and privileges thereof, and you're only just now coming forward with it?"
"Saratobi-Sama already knew, even if he didn't have proof. He felt it better for Naruto to grow up without his father's enemies chasing him around. Jirayia has probably guessed by now considering how close his looks to his father. Kakashi was informed before he was named Team7's Instructor, and I had thought it best to let you settle into office for a while before being informed."
Tsunade stared at him for a moment over steepled fingers. At his request they had retreated to the Hokage's tower. Haishi however wasn't even slightly perturbed. Returning her gaze with an annoyingly emotionless look of his own. After a few seconds had passed in silence Tsunade let her attention shift to the picture of Minato that hung on the wall. She studied his face for a moment. In truth Haishi had only confirmed what she had suspected since meeting the boy. Sighing she turned back to Haishi and replied
"While I do thank you for bringing this to my attention, It complicates things for me."
The only change in Haishi's expression was a slight quirking of a delicate eyebrow.
"At approximately nine o-clock Tuesday morning, Uchiha Sasuke attempted to defect to sound."
Haishi's face to on a look of tired resignation.
"I see, troubling if not unexpected. How does that affect the matter at hand?"
"Due to outside circumstances the only chuuin available was Nara Shikamaru, he led a group of Gennin, including Naruto, to recover the traitor. At the time it looked like a kidnapping, it wasn't until Haruno Sakura came to me with information that he had left of his own free will and under escort that I realize exactly how much of a problem his retrieval could be. Though it necessitated pulling them away from other duties I sent Sabaku no Gaara and his Siblings after them, Followed some time later by Miterashi Anko and a squad of ANBU in response to the Youki flare we all felt."
"You sent the captured..."
"For the record they surrendered and were only under protective custody until they could be sent home. They were in fact helping with the rebuilding as a 'show of Suna's remorse at begin tricked in such a manner"
"Indeed, and why are you telling me..."
Haishi's question was silenced by Tsunade's glare.
"So that you'll understand why this information complicates things, now stop interrupting. When the ANBU squad reached the source of the flair they found the Body of Sasuke."
"So the traitor is dead."
"Let me finish." Tsunade Snapped "They also found an unconscious two tailed fox."
Tsunade was gratified to hear Haishi curse softly under his breath.
"As ordered they collected the bodies and brought them back. I have spent the last couple of days patching that retrieval squad back together and trying to decide what to do about the fox. As of two hours ago, the situation was complicated further by said fox morphing into a human body and insisting that he was in fact Uzumaki Naruto."
Haishi's eyebrows had climbed to his hairline and his mouth opened and closed silently for a few second before he manange to croak out a question.
"Do you believe him?"
Tsunade sighed and rubbed her temples.
"Kind of irrelevant isn't it? For the protection of Konoha I don't dare keep him around, But for the Protection of Konoha I don't dare dismiss him either. As little as I like the Idea I briefly considered having him executed but frankly that's not an option I can in good conscience exercise as regardless he seems to honestly believe himself to be Naruto. Now you bring me proof that he's the Son of this village's hero..."
Haishi absently rubbed a cheek as he considered the implications of it all.
"inconclusive. He tests mostly human, but he's either a Hanyu or he now has a bloodline."
Haishi waved dismissively
"We know he has one of those already, Did it shift to something new?"
"What did you just say?"
Haishi frowned at her slightly
"I asked if his bloodline shifted to something new."
Tsunade's eyes narrowed dangerously.
"New... there was nothing in his medical file to indicate and existing bloodline."
"Of course not!" Haishi replied in exasperation "Do you think we want to announce something like that before it's part of an established, proven, and most of all Viable clan? For all we know he's like your family, Yes there's a bloodline, but it's so damn unstable it could become anything! Like information on the Senju it's only available in his sealed documents."
Tsunade leaned forward to rub her temples.
"The sealed documents... How the hell did I forget about those."
When she opened her eyes again Tsunade had to frown at the slight upward curve of Haishi's mouth. From a man who had practiced emotional control most of his life, this little bit of a smile indicated a great deal more amusement than she liked. She couldn't help the small snort that escaped however when she realized that she of all people should have known to check there first for information on Konoha's jinchikurri.
"Alright, enough laughing at your boss. For my peace of mind would you care to tell me what his bloodline was?"
Haishi's small smile grew just a little bit, and his eyes seemed to warm slightly.
"Advanced healing of course. I don't know whether or not his level of regeneration would be passed along to his children, but his parents both had Very interesting bloodlines that were just beginning to manifest in their respective families, and the two seem to have fed off each other in regards to their son. I'm told that Minato-sama would have torn his body apart with the Harinshin if he did not, and Kushina would have died from her wounds when whirlpool fell. Regardless, having the Kyuubi sealed into the boy seems to have greatly improved his Innate ability to heal. You mentioned shape shifting however? He showed no signs of this before. There was a clan with some moderate shape changing abilities some years ago, but we lost the last of them about ten years before the Kyuubi's attack, and their genetic structure was incredibility amorphous."
Tsunade shook her head at this.
"Not that then, or at least not the same way. Naruto's genetic code is stable, just very, very odd."
"Indeed. Well then I suspect we will have to..."
Haishi didn't get a chance to finish however as he was interrupted by a pounding on the door. Tsunade's frown came back in full force, and Haishi's face returned to it's normal 'Blank slate' look.
Tsunade's voice was noticeably chilly, and there was enough passive Ki in the air to make the chuuin who had been knocking visibly swallow. However he had been well trained walking in quickly he bowed low.
"Please Forgive the interruption Tsunade-hime, but the council met in secret an hour and a half ago, and they have just issued a proclamation I doubt you'll approve of. Uzumaki Naruto has just been declared a non-entity."
Tsunade Froze. Shocked she whispered.
"The council has just announced that the Uchiha was kidnapped, recovered, and is on the mend, and that there is no record of there ever having been a boy named Uzumaki Naruto born in this village."
Tsunade's rage lit the room with enough expressed chakra that from the outside the windows literally glowed, and the Ki was great enough that every ANBU in the village immediately dropped what they were doing and raced for the tower. Fearing attack. Inside Haishi and the chuuin had both hit their knees trying to catch a breath of air that wasn't saturated with foreign chakra.
"Ts.. Tsunade-hime" Gasped Haishi "Please control yourself."
And like someone had flipped a switch the chakra and Ki vanished as though they had never been, and a horrifyingly cold and Angry Hokage stood, studiously ignoring the concerned ANBU pouring in from every conceivable direction.
"I think it's time" She growled "That I had a word with the 'council'"
-An Hour Earlier-
Naruto sighed as he stared at the ceiling in the white room.
'To dangerous yet' my ass. Old hag just likes torturing me.
Sighing again he turned toward the other wall, all four were the same blank, uninteresting white.
I mean I suppose I can understand security and whatnot but really it's not like i'm...
Naruto's train of thought derailed as he noticed something he hadn't before. One wall was not in fact the same blank white. At first glance he had thought it was, but now that he was staring at it harder it seemed to be giving off light independently of the ones in the ceiling.
Odd. Why would it do that?
Unconsciously Naruto channeled more chakra to his eyes, and on the other side of a one way mirror covered by a particularly potent genjutsu Kakashi and Jirayia were both treated to the sight of Naruto's eyes taking on a glow that had nothing to do with mischief, boredom, or anything that could be attributed to mere emotion. Acting on impulse Kakashi hit the switch that would slowly dim light to the room, and as they faded to half power it became readily apparent that his eyes did in fact give off a soft blue glow of their own.
"Jirayia, are you seeing..."
Jirayia stared dumbstruck as Naruto walked toward the clear steel that separated him from them, a small frown playing across his godson's face as he studied the wall. Tentatively touching it before splaying his hands across the surface.
"Drop the genjutsu."
Kakashi gave Jirayia a questioning look but complied, and the moment it fell Naruto jumped back in shock at suddenly being confronted by his own Visage. Through the speakers both men distinctly heard him mutter.
"that was strange..."
After a moment of studying his own face he cupped his hands to the wall as though trying to peer inside. Apparently however it didn't help as he went back to studying his own appearance again after a moment murmuring to himself.
"I swear that I saw a glow but... it vanishes and suddenly I see a mirror? Genjutsu? But which is real?"
"Hinata? Hinaaataaa? HEY NEE-CHAN!"
Startled Hinata jump slightly and turned to face her pouting little sister Hanabi.
"Nee-chan! Pay attention to me!"
Hinata tried not to giggle. Her sister might be cold eyed and formal when fighting, but when they were alone Hanabi tended to revert almost immediately to the little girl she was.
"Sorry Hanabi, I was just... thinking."
"About that blonde kid?"
Hinata choked slightly on the water she had been drinking.
"Wha? Um... I don't know what you mean."
"Suuure you don't. You have no Idea what so ever who I'm talking about."
Hinata could feel her face heating up.
"I'm sure I don't"
"Then why have you tried to go see him every day since that big secret mission hmm?"
"I... Um... I was v...visiting Neji!"
Hanabi chuckled at little at the declaration.
"Your a horrible liar Hinata."
Hinata's cheeks flamed a bright scarlet red despite her best efforts to control it.
"W...where do you think f...father went?"
Hanabi tilted her head slightly to one side as though she was trying to decide whether or not to let the change of subjects go unchallenged. After a long (for Hinata anyway) couple of seconds she shrugged.
"Dunno, council business probably. At least he took the third that are firmly on his side with him."
It was a well kept secret within the family, that there were three factions of Hyuuga in Konoha, Haishi and his compatriots were a force of change within the family. They were mostly younger members that had stood behind Haishi when he first took control of the family and had tried to implement some rather sweeping changes immediately upon his ascension, Sadly they failed. The second faction was The council of elders. A group of traditional old men a number of whom had been around when the caged bird seal had first been applied, and uniformly, Main or Branch house, they felt it was for the best to keep on the way they were. The third branch simply didn't care one way or the other. So long as they had food clothing and shelter, they were content. Oddly enough there was roughly equal proportions of each of these factions, and as it required at least a two thirds majority to make sweeping changes Haishi's grand dreams had been reduced to just that. Dreams.
"I suppose we'll find out at supper toni..."
Hinata didn't have a chance to finish her sentence when a voice called out by the gate of the Hyuuga compound.
"Attention to all citizens of Konoha. A general assembly has been called by the council of elders. All shinobe not on missions are required to attend, all civilians are strongly recommended to. This gathering will take place in front of the Hokage's tower in approximately two hours, ten O-clock sharp. That is all."
Hinata and Hanabi shared a shocked look. The last general assembly called had been the ascension of the Hokage, and before that the last had been Saratobi's announcement that he was retaking his old position. General assembly was never called on a whim. There was news, and whatever it was, it was going to be big.
An hour and fifty minutes later found Hinata and Hanabi standing in a crowd, surrounded by many other people, including no small number of their cousins.
"People of Konaha. I fear today I am the bearer of bad news."
Immediately the crowd started murmuring, and Hanabi turned to to Hinata, her eyebrow's raised in suprise. It wasn't the Hokage addressing the crowd, but Danzo, the leader of the Advisors council. Tsunade and Haishi were noticeably missing, as were a number of the more moderate council members. A quick scan of the crowd showed the heads of the Nara, Akamichi, Yamanaka, Tenpai, and Karin clans standing in a knot toward the back and scowling at the group on the stage. Several others including Kakashi and Jirayia were missing all together
"Approximately a week ago Uchiha Sasuke Vanished."
The crowds murmurings increased
"It is believed that he has been kidnapped by the traitor Orochimaru in an attempt to steal the Sharingan."
The uproar that comment caused took several moments to calm down enough for Danzo to be heard again, but Hinata noticed immediately that most of the civilians seemed to be all in favor of storming Sound to retrieve him, several of the ones around her seemed to be considering doing it themselves if the Hokage wasn't going to.
"When this kidnapping was discovered several hours later a team was dispatched to help him fight free. This team was led by Nara Shikamaru and included several notable shinobi including Shibi's son Shino, Haishi's nephew Neji, and the infamous Uzumaki Naruto. The results of the their mission are still being considered by this council, but I can tell you that the uchiha was indeed recovered!"
Hinata frowned at this. Danzo made it sound like he personally ordered Sasuke's retrieval, the crowd however roared it's approval, and Danzo motioned genteelly, obviously accepting the praise for a job well done. Hinata noticed the scowls on the 'missing' councilors deepened.
"We are waiting on Tsunade,"
and at the lack of honorific Hinata noticed a handful of shinobi frown
"but I'm sure that with the world's best medic on the case he'll be up and about in no time."
Refuse to give me any information at all will you, lets see you hide him now. Thought Danzo as he waved magnanimously to the crowd.
"despite the entirety of the party fighting a number of high level sound nin I am pleased to say that Shikato's son was able to bring them all home!"
At this most eyes turned to the Nara, and he was forced to put on a sickly smile as he accepted praise he was sure his son wouldn't want.
"They are all recovering well... all except Uzumaki Naruto. He hasn't been seen since the mission when he purportedly ran off, supposedly in pursuit of more Sound ninja. At first it seemed to be on the up and up as he has shown himself to be a courageous if somewhat reckless asset in the past, but during a routine background check of the personnel involved it was found that there is no record of his birth."
The crowd's muttering turned uneasy, and though she tried, Hinata couldn't hear the conversations around her well enough to find out why. The flare of quickly suppressed anger from a number of the gathered shinobi was impossible to miss too, granted Hinata was a little to upset to notice.
Did that bastard just imply that naruto-kun may have defected?
"Therefore we are asking that anyone with any information on the boy, especially concerning his origins, please come forward to speak with one of the Anbu by the stage here after the gathering."
Hinata noticed distantly that the didn't recognize any of them,but was more concerned with trying to sort out what she knew. Something wasn't adding up, but she wasn't sure what it was.
I know he's here, I've been trying to see him for the last couple of days... but... why would they keep us out... I know I'm not the only one who's tried to get in to see him...
"Hinata! Hey! Hinata!"
Startled Hinata glanced around for a minute before she noticed Kiba making his way through the crowd toward her.
"Hey! You've seen him right? You did that cool eye trick and saw him in the room right?"
Hinata slowly shook her head 'no' and Kiba frowned. Hinata was fairly sure she wasn't supposed to have heard him mutter 'That makes three', but before she could ask Kiba was talking again.
"Listen. Shino says his bugs say he's not in the room they claim he is. Which match's up with what Akamaru tells me. Shino says he's somewhere in town though. His bugs can find Naruto, but they all come back confused and claiming his chakra has been slowly changing. They can't tell us how to get to him either. Apparently Ino went past his apartment yesterday and somebody trashed it. there's graffiti all over the place calling him a monster. But the place looks like it hasn't been visited in days."
"Um... did you notice that almost a third of the councilors weren't up on stage?"
"I didn't at the time, but now that you say it, that is odd."
"I didn't notice Kakashi or Jirayia around either.. did you two?"
Kiba and Hinata both jumped at Ino's question, and hinata was shocked to find that she, Neji, chouji, and Shino had all shown up while she and Kiba had been talking.
"N...no I didn't. Did any of you?"
Neji appeared to be about to answer when the hokage's tower literally glowed and the six of them saw the nearby ANBU vanish, presumably in the direction of the massive chakra flare that accompanied the light
"What the hell..."
Hinata was about to reply when one of her aunts tugged her gently by the elbow.
"come Hinata-sama. We need to return home."
Hinata was ready to argue when she noticed that a collection of relatives and clansmen had shown up for each of the others as well. Nodding she turned to the rest.
"we can finish this talk tomorrow. Training ground seven. By the memorial stone. Three o-clock if you can make it."
her response was a round of nods and waves as the group headed toward their respective homes.
"Kiba... Kiba get up!"
Kiba rolled to his feet, kunai automatically coming to hand as the bucket of water his sister at thrown at him splashed across the bed he had vacated a second earlier. Blinking the sleep from his eyes he glared at her.
"great, now I have to sleep on a wet bed or the floor. Thanks."
Hana shook her head. How he could hear water flying though the air when she couldn't arouse him with a brass band was a complete mystery to her, but apparently years of her tossing cold water on him to wake him up had imparted him with an unusual skill.
"Anytime" she replied absently. "now get downstairs. Clan meeting."
Kiba glanced at the clock
"at three AM?"
"yup. Now get going"
grumbling, kiba complied, not realizing that similar meetings were taking place across the whole villiage.
"But father, that's highly illogical, how could those not have been the hokage's ANBU?"
Shibi looked at his son, and the resignation in his scent was unmistakable. Most people considered the abrume to be emotionless, but anyone with an advanced sense of smell could tell you that they were anything but.
"I don't know Shino, but a number of the other clan heads agreed that over a third of the ANBU at the meeting were unknowns. On top of that they all smelled of a chemical that kept our kaiki bugs from coming too close."
"Mind washed..? who and how?"
Inochi smiled slightly at his daughter's question. She might not act like it around her peers, but she had a sharp mind when she applied herself.
"I don't know. But the feel was the same as ROOT before they were disbanded."
Haishi nodded to his nephew.
"a group of anbu trained under the direction of councilor Danzo, known for carrying out their mission no matter what the cost as well as strict emotional control. They are where I received my own training. Their methods are... harsh. The group was supposedly dissolved by Minato-Sama."
"I see. What do you want us to do."
"Be on the lookout for more of them. They tend to have blank eyes, and the one's we noticed were all quite pale, as though they have been inside for extended periods of time. The most obvious sign however is that unlike regular ANBU, the cloaking field used to hide their faces centers on a series of runes located at the forehead rather than the cheeks. This is observation only. None of you are to approach them, only observe. Something odd is going on, and I don't like it."
with one last glance around haishi stood, nodding to the various clansmen he took his leave signaling that they could go back to bed if they wanted. Hinata sat still, thinking and watching as most of her clansmen did just that. She wasn't the only one unsatisfied with what they had been told however, and from what she could hear she wasn't the only person who had noticed her fathers absence at the general assembly either. Shaking her head in frustration Hinata went back to her room, Something was definitely amiss, and she didn't like it at all.
Naruto sighed as he idly kicked his legs against the side of the bed he was sitting on. He was bored stiff, Slept out, and hungry. Even playing around with shapeshifting had lost it's appeal hours ago. Idly he looked around for the umpteenth time searching in vain for something to do. His discarded shirt sat crumpled in a corner, and he had torn a hole in the back of his pants for his tails when he shifted. The shirt had gotten uncomfortable however so he had discarded it all together. He couldn't help but perk up however when Jirayia stalked into the room literally radiating Chakra. Naruto grinned, his eyes taking on a slight glow as he unconsciously prepared for a fight. Jirayia briefly wondered at this before realizing what was going on and reigning himself in. Naruto pouted as the annoyance washed it's self from the Sannin's face. It took several seconds however for him to recognize what had just happened.
Jirayia was studying him now, not quite sure was to make of his student-cum-Hanyu.
"Would you mind checking if any of Kyuubi's chakra is actively affecting me anymore?"
Jiraya frowned slightly but made the prerequisite hand seals lighting up Naruto's chakra pathway's with his own reflected chakra.
"Nope. Why do you ask?"
"Well..." Naruto trailed off unsure how to answer for a moment "When you came in here radiating like that, I got ready for a fight."
Seeing the quirked eyebrow on Jirayia's face he hastened to add.
"it wasn't a conscious action, and I was... well... I was looking forward to it to be honest."
Jirayia took a deep breath and let it out slowly, his eyes closed as he considered, finally coming to a conclusion he nodded sharply to himself before opening his eyes back up.
"You probably got a number of instincts from Kyuubi, this I suspect is just a heightening of your rather obvious love for a challenge."
Naruto nodded slowly.
"That... would make sense. It wasn't a 'fight to the death' kind of ready. More of a 'this will be fun' kind of feel"
Naruto's tails danced behind him in an almost catlike manner. One of them brushing the back of his neck caused him to whirl around quickly for nearly two full revolutions before realizing what it was that he had felt. Jirayia had gone suspiciously quiet at this and Naruto glared at him before adopting an air of wounded dignity.
"If your quite done laughing at me..."
Jirayia snickered, and Naruto arched one eyebrow imperiously at him before continuing
"...You can tell me what had you in such a funk."
Jirayia snorted in mirth again before growing serious.
"I think you and I are going to be leaving the village for a bit. Call it a 'training mission'."
Naruto kicked his legs again, finding their swinging a momentary distraction before turning back to his mentor.
"Cool. How long?"
Jirayia would have thought his student was taking things too lightly if he hadn't seen the spark of steel in Naruto's eye as he ask the question.
"Dunno. Couple months, couple years, who can really tell when it comes to sannin level training."
Naruto's eyes narrowed a bit, ignoring the obvious carrot Jirayia had tried hanging in front of him.
"A couple of... years... Hmmm... sounds a bit excessive. What will we be learning on the road that couldn't be learned here in Konoha?"
"Ah... well... that is..."
Jirayia sputtered for a few minutes he couldn't exactly teach his godson to tap Kyuubi's Youki anymore now could he..
Too damn observant for your own good gaki.
Said a new voice causing both of them to jump and turn glares on Tsunade who was leaning against the door frame, a slight scowl on her face as she finished.
Jirayia sucked in a breath
"But they could?"
Tsunade's frown deepened
Jirayia's breath came out as a deep hiss.
"Hello! Some of us don't speak fill-in-the-blank here! What the hell is going on?"