Ch. 2 Problems

Two years have passed since Naruto was born, and they hadn't been pleasant years for him. Even though he was too young to ever remember all of this time, his foster family would never forget it. Everything that happened or almost happened to Naruto, they either softened or took in his place, and while it hurt, in a way it brought them all closer.

Tsunade still had not come back to the village or been confirmed seen in that time. Jiraiya had come back a few times to make his reports but never stayed long enough to actually do anything about his responsibility to Naruto, even see him. At times Orochimaru seriously wondered if the peeping tom was even aware of it or Naruto. Sarutobi told him otherwise though a few months ago.

"I managed to inform him about Minato's son being alive and reminded him of his duty." The Sandaime had explained to his one remaining student. "He says he can't simply stop what he's doing since it would take too long to get restarted once he had free time again and he's onto something potentially vital to Konoha's safety. He doesn't like this, but feels it's best to just let things stay as they are for now."

It wasn't that Orochimaru really minded having to care for Naruto, although the frequent feedings and diaper changes in the beginning had been a hassle. Outside that, he liked the boy. The sheer playful innocence of the child was a welcome change to having to deal with shinobi matters all day long, with people that long ago forgot what innocence was. And the youthful curiosity reminded him why he got into R&D in the first place, to help young ninja improve their chances of returning home alive. Over time the concept of lengthening a ninja's lifespan sounded more tempting, and if he ever figured out a promising way, he might try it out. But now it wouldn't be just for his own benefit.

Naruto and Anko both helped the pale sannin a lot in his personal life. Because of his snake-like appearance and albinoish complexion, Orochimaru never really had much of a social or romantic life. All of his friends were business friends he occasionally hung out with when off duty. Like his teammates or Anko's parents. So he had basically given up on love or having a family of his own long ago. Having Anko and Naruto around filled the void he figured he'd just tolerate for the rest of his life, and in a way he considered them the children he never had. Anko still called him 'Jiisan' though and Naruto would too when he saw him. One time as a one year old he hissed instead, making both Orochimaru and Anko laugh a lot.

Anko missed her parents but liked her foster uncle and brother. She was aware him being with them wasn't intended to be permanent, but decided Naruto was going to be her brother no matter what. She proved it by taking several fists and cuts for defending him or just by being associated with him. The first few were adults which were arrested for child endangerment, but after the rest learned they encouraged their children. Many were reluctant, especially those that knew Anko before, but not all so she became victimized all over again. Her only response: "Better me than otouto."

Orochimaru was livid about all this. Even more so when one of the babysitters early on tried to kill them both. Anko had to use a kitchen knife to cut the sitter's achilles tendon before they could do worse than put a few bruises on them both. The sitter tried to press charges but since Sarutobi handled the case the sitter had a restraining order against the residence and occupants since then and community service. After that, he never left them with anyone without a shadow clone or a snake summon nearby. He simply couldn't trust anyone to be near them without him.

At the moment Anko, who was eight years old now, was practicing out in her house's backyard while Naruto took a nap inside their room. The two still shared a room, which made it easier for her to defend him if anything should happen. Anko was throwing some kunais at human-shaped boards to improve her aim for certain spots, a point Orochimaru told her was vital to perfect for her. After she threw them, her personal summons Kogyoku, which Orochimaru had arranged to be permanently summoned to defend the girl until she was older, would retrieve them for her. Naruto had one too, a snake called Sango that was watching him like a guard dog at the moment. Both snakes were venomous and could become as large as boas if they had to. The only way to tell them apart was Kogyoku was purple with red spots down her back and Sango was orange with black streaks. Naruto was probably the only toddler in the world that wasn't afraid of a snake.

Kogyoku had brought Anko her weapons back when she tensed up. "Something wrong?"

"Do you hear that buzz?" Anko quietly asked.

Kogyoku listened. Luckily as a summons she had some skills normal snakes didn't, such as being able to hear like humans could rather than just vibrations thru the ground. "Yeah, I do. Sounds like bees or something."

Soon they both noticed a large swarm of dangerous-sounding small insects flying towards their house and settling around the closed window of the kid's room. They couldn't get in thanks to a few rudimentary seals Orochimaru knew, but they weren't going to stop trying. Anko and Kogyoku almost hid until they saw the bugs weren't after them, just Naruto obviously. Problem was there was nothing either of them could do about it, except one possibility.

Kogyoku saw Anko pull out her emergency paper bomb kunai and stopped her before she could use it. "No don't. It won't get rid of all of them and you'll just make it easier for them to get inside."

"What should I do then?"

Before the purple snake could answer, a mysterious person dressed like an Anbu agent came up behind them and knocked Anko out. Kogyoku grew to the size of a python and constricted herself around the intruder, only for him to replace himself with a log. With only one thing left to do, Kogyoku dragged Anko into a safe spot outside the house, got smaller, and darted to Orochimaru's office as fast as she could.

Orochimaru, one of the heads of Konoha's R&D department, was going over some proposals for funds to explore researching new ideas and why they were advisable. Many were, but they had to be prioritized first. "Hmm... I've got requests for extra protein supplements to the Akimichi's, well, they may have to use their own funds if possible. This guy wants to see if one can find a way to siphon off another's chakra like a parasite... handy, but maybe risky. This guy wants to see what would happen if cells from someone with a kekkei genkai were introduced into the body of someone without one... hmm... I'm intrigued. And this guy... oh, Amachi wants to try new terrain to test possible physical adaptability. Claims to be very promising. Hmm..."

Before Orochimaru could make a decision on anything, Kogyoku came in thru the air duct. "Orochimaru-sama! Danger at the house!"

He took the snake into his hands and shushined away without a word. When he showed up in front he immediately rushed inside and heard hissing coming from the kid's room. He went in to see Naruto sleeping, ignorant of the trouble, but Sango was large and looking outside. Kogyoku left Orochimaru to go check on Anko. "Sango, what happened?"

"A large swarm of bugs, acting like they were on a mission, tried to get in. And some Anbu knocked Anko-chan out but got away before Kogyoku-nee-san could punish them."

"Sounds like an Aburame, but why would they do this? They've never had a problem with us before?"

"Apparently one does." The orange snake stated hastily.

Orochimaru frowned. "I'm bringing this up to the hokage."

Sarutobi knew what to expect when his pale student entered his office. "Well what happened now Orochimaru?"

"Sensei, things are getting out of hand. The clans are now starting to act out against Naruto. They've kept their distance, probably to avoid offending me, but now a confirmed attack from an Aburame shows this situation isn't getting better."

"A confirmed attack?"

"How many ninjas use insect swarms?" Orochimaru sarcastically asked.

"I see." The Sandaime responded. "But can you confirm the individual?"

"No I cannot. But I know this won't be the last time. Sensei, I know you've done what you can for the boy, but... I'm seriously reconsidering whether or not this is the best environment for him. For either of them."

Sarutobi blinked. "Orochimaru, that can't be done. It's not safe for them out there."

"It's not safe for them in here either! If anything it's worse!" Orochimaru shouted angrily. "You've put in so much effort to keep Naruto from having enemies outside the village, but you keep forgetting he has them inside it too!"

"I forget nothing Orochimaru." Sarutobi countered sternly. "I am not oblivious to the torment that has been going on at your household. Have you forgotten that all those arrested have suffered for their crimes?"

"You have helped, but those not arrested just find new ways to hurt them. Usually thru their own children. Are you aware that none of the parents will let their kids play with Anko-chan anymore? Just because she's 'the demon's sister'? She used to have a whole network of friends, now I can count the number of kids that still dare to talk to her on one hand. And do you honestly think Naruto will be in a better situation when he's older? Does this sound like a healthy environment for them?"

"No, but I can't very well tell parents how to raise their children nor the children to disobey their parents."

Orochimaru folded his arms. "Not only that, but many of the merchants are trying things too. Anko-chan can barely buy anything unless I'm right there with her since they won't dare overcharge or deny me, and I know the situation won't be any different when Naruto's older. You think it's good for them to be in a town that denies them fair prices or maybe the right to shop even if they can pay?"

Sarutobi didn't answer, mostly because he knew his student had more to say. "Sensei, I've gone to a lot of trouble to ensure the safety of those two. I even have snakes around them 24-7, and I could only do that by giving Manda four living scarifices, which I got thanks to your order." Sarutobi nodded in recollection. Four Anbu were found guilty of trying to murder the two children by arson and he allowed Orochimaru to execute the punishment. While brutal, at least some good came out of it in the form of snake guardians. "Sensei, I'm seriously considering that this is not the best place for them to live."

"Orochimaru, your concern is admirable-" Sarutobi started.

"Spare me the bullshit Sensei. I know you're going to try to convince me they're better off here. Give me one good reason why I should let them stay here any longer rather than just take them away."

"Simple." Sarutobi stated. "Minato sacrificed his life so his son could protect this village. If you take him away from it, it will make his sacrifice meaningless."

"If the villagers keep trying to kill him it'll have the same results." Orochimaru countered. "If Minato could speak to you right now, what would he say?"

"I don't know. Maybe he'd agree with you, maybe he wouldn't. The council and citizens here have been trying to speak for Minato so much since his death I'm almost afraid to now. But consider this Orochimaru, you're only the acting guardian of Naruto. Jiraiya and Tsunade are still the ones with majority say regarding his whereabouts and Jiraiya thinks that-"

"Shut the fuck up Sensei!" Now Orochimaru looked pissed. "How can you possibly have the nerve to say that? You actually expect me to believe that Jiraiya's opinion of Naruto's well-being outclasses mine, the one who has actually been raising the boy for the past two years? The man hasn't even seen Naruto in that time, and he's the one who knows best? He's not the one who's taken hits for the boy nor has he fed or clothed or sheltered him. Hell Sensei, you know as well as I do Anko-chan and I are the only ones who have any real claim to be the boy's family."

"Well I can't argue that, but still, give the village another chance for the children to fit into. For my sake if nothing else."

Orochimaru sighed. "Fine Sensei, I'll try to tolerate this a little more. But if nothing changes for the better, I will do something about it, with your permission or not."

Sarutobi slowly nodded in acceptance. "Very well. Tell them 'hi' for me." Orochimaru nodded and then poofed away, revealing he had been a shadow clone the whole time. "Guess he's getting even more protective of them both. Does that make him a mother hen snake?"

"So no luck?" Danzo asked from within his secret chamber.

"Sorry Danzo-sama, but the residence is better guarded than previously anticipated." Torune Aburame, a bug-wielding member of ROOT answered.

'Damn, I figured that a sannin would make sure his abode would be secure but apparently he did better than I thought.' Danzo mumbled in his head. 'But I want that tool. Hmm... if I can't get it by force, maybe I've have to try a different approach.'