It was the middle of the morning on a sunny day, scant few clouds floated their way sedately across the sky, and it was just an average day in an average way. People walked and talked their way through their daily routines while the shopkeepers started their openings, the sounds of doors opening, blinds being opened and the walk of village were out and about. It was a happy day and nothing had intruded on it. Yet, to every single bit of light a shadow must be cast and not all that was seen was innocent. These people, those civilians...most had a fear in their hearts, and with that fear, came hatred. Both of those emotions were caused by the unknown and of the past, of something they just could not let go...

Would not let go...

They clung to their insecurities, using it to fuel their anger and rage as silently as they could on a single focus. The insolence and nerve of that...that thing to continue to live and mock them and all they had done. Everyday its taint would cross their path, causing the worst of destruction and tragedy to come to the forefront of their minds and they would retaliate in any way they could. At first, they tried to kill the horrible little beast, but with every attempt, people disappeared while the thing continued to live and breathe their air. Their righteous attempts at ridding the foul thing were continually thwarted until eventually they came to the conclusion that lives were being wasted and just fuelling the life force of the monster.

That's not to say that the attempts stopped, no they were just sparser and far in-between. Of course, some in the past had become drunk and with their minds filled with the intelligence of alcohol, they became brave enough to tempt fate, and yet the monster still continued to live and offend their very senses. They did this for their righteous leader who had thwarted the beast's larger form, sacrificing himself to save all of those within the village. They continued to plan and in outright destruction of the fiend would not work, they would ridicule and scorn it in an attempt to chase it away, maybe even force it to kill itself to please them. They continued for years and years, even unto this very day, with people becoming bold once again. They did not attempt to kill anymore, not they would just beat the monster over and over, instead of out in the open, they took the alleyways, the darkness of the shadows, using it's domain against itself.

And within that darkness, three men hefted their clubs in yet another attempt to do in the vile abomination.

It cried out, a feral sound causing the three righteous men to back away just barely. It continued to scream and rant at them, but they hardened their resolve and moved in to save their families as the thing cowered like it should, taking its punishment.

The first club slammed down towards the intended target and blood splattered itself against the wall, a wail of agony becoming louder and fiercer.

For the first time in years however the sound did not emit itself from that little thing, not it came from one of those righteous protectors of their fellow civilians.

The foul beast had a weapon, and it held it with a sure grip, ready and poised to strike back, sure in its target this time.

The eyes of the men widened as they panicked and their shouts and screams could be heard from the alleyway, they made sure that all could hear that the beast had a weapon; it had attacked an innocent doing their duty to safeguard those around. Soon enough, people had gathered up their own weapons and stormed their way to the alleyway, backing the monstrosity into a corner where it held it's weapon, keeping all those at bay.

It would pay!

There must be a reckoning!

They surged forth as one, bringing their weapons to bear, ignoring the yowls of anger and they attempted to kill the thing once more. Their weapons against the beast started to strike, several people circling around it. As one brave soul managed to pierce the chest of the beast over its heart.

The last things it would know was darkness and pain, the haughty looks of the proud and proper people as it looked down upon the mistake, knowing they had down a job well done, even reaching out to take its eyes with another blow.

Yet before darkness took it over, it saw the looks of sudden fear on the ones in front and this time there was more blood, more screams, and this time, the bodies started to pile...

Add By Dreams

It's Ending and
Now It's coming
It's a Race with Death
And You're In the Running

An old man sat in white and red robes, his large hat askew over his head as he looked down at the body before him in the bed in his private chambers inside of his sub-office. A soft look had crossed his wizened and old features as he shook his head. Why? Why would his people do something like this? To a child of all things? A little girl, beaten for something she had no choice over, left for dead by the very people she was protecting, and to think, that if she had been killed, that her seal might have broken and let out the real threat.

"Hokage-sama." a dead and neutral voice called from just inside the door where he had sat.

"Speak, Weasel." Hiruzen Sarutobi sighed wearily as he pushed his hat back up and turned on his stool to look at his youngest ANBU.

"The survivors have been sent to Ibiki-san."

"How many killed?"

"Inu killed at least ten, two of which were the primary antagonists of this incident."

Sarutobi let out another weary sigh as he continued to look at Itachi Uchiha before turning back towards the little girl passed out in the bed. "So she's back from Snow."

"Yes sir, shall I retrieve her?"


The young teen nodded silently as his body broke up in a flock of ravens before they flew silently out the window while the Third Hokage continued to look down at the red-haired girl, his head bowed in grief at what he was looking at. "You look so much like your mother, dear child..." he murmured while closing his eyes to contemplate and think, it wasn't long before he felt the subtle feeling of another of his ANBU appear in the room.

"Hokage-sama." the woman with silver hair spoke gently.

"Welcome back, Inu. Report." The Hokage's voice was crisp, and Inu knew that her leader didn't want the report from Snow that she had ready.

"Sir. I had just entered the main gates of the village after concluding my mission to Snow when I started to hear screams of anger from somewhere." The woman paused as slowly walked over to his Hokage and the child that lay listless on the bed. "As I got closer, I could smell the blood. I reacted without thinking once I came upon the scene. Sir." the experienced ANBU's voice was starting to gain emotion, anger and annoyance at what she had seen.

"Kakashi, take off your mask." The Third ordered as he turned to look at the young woman whom complied. Her ANBU mask coming off into her hand, one eye a pale color, the other a swirling mass of red and black as three tomoe rotated violently on the left side of her face. "Now calm down. You did the right thing." Honestly, he was surprised that she only killed as few of the fools as she did.

It took a moment of silence and a few angry growls before Hatake Kakashi finally managed to calm down, her eyes closing for a moment before she sighed. "Who managed to get her here?"

"Dolphin took care of it. He should have been there before you even showed up." The Third grimaced slightly at that.

"That's not like Dolphin." Kakashi said, finally taking a seat and looking down at the girl.

"No. He's ashamed of himself really. It seems there was an accident on the other side of the village. We're not sure if it really as an accident or planned in advance." Kakashi looked at her Hokage briefly as she pulled out her headband and wrapped it around her head, covering her Sharingan eye before it began to make her tired. There was a dead silence between them that lasted until it was just barely awkward.

"Sir. I'd like to request my removal from ANBU to Jounin status." Kakashi finally said after a moment, trying to keep calm. "I don't really care about the pay difference..." she trailed off, looking up, her face uncharacteristically remorseful." I just want to stay here in the village and spend some time with her."

"Thank you Kakashi." Hokage said gently, placing his hand on the teen's shoulder as he stood up. "Despite your young age, you're one of the best in the village and having you as a more open face around the child might make things calm down. Really though, these couple of years as ANBU have been too much for you four..."

"I can hope so, sir." the silver haired teen said with a sigh, bringing up the first part, not really thinking about her other teammates all that much at this point. "What about the survivors the others rounded up?"

"They've been taken to T&I. It's Ibiki's training case for being in charge and the same goes for Anko's first real chance since Oorchimaru fled a few months ago." The old man watched the teen's eye harden slightly as they looked at each other for a moment.

"Hokage-sama, I would like to request one last mission as ANBU." Kakashi spoke crisply, trying to not look down at the girl.

"Granted. I would also like you to speak to Anko and Ibiki when you go." The Third smiled grimly, tilting his hat down a little. "Tell them to do whatever they want, they can even experiment." He then pulled out a scroll from within his robes and handed it over.

"Sir. Thank you sir." Kakashi said softly as she took on last look at the girl laying prone in the bed, a hand reaching down to ruffle the crimson hair a little. "She looks so much like her mother..." she said with a faint smile, echoing what The Third had said moments previous, before making a single Ram seal and disappearing in a Shunshin.

Hiruzen Sarutobi took out his pipe and put it in his lips with a soft sign, looking down at the little girl and shaking his head a little. "Sometimes I feel as if I've never done a single thing right." A shake of his head as he made a Tiger seal and lit his pip with a Katon he had invented not long after he started smoking. A quick puff on his pipe before let out a small low ring of smoke from the other side of his mouth. He sat down for a moment, looking over the ghastly medical report as Weasel reappeared from the shadows.

There was silence for several minutes, allowing Sarutobi to continue to look at the medical report. It certainly was a horrible thing to read, eyes slashed at, though he had watched as the scar over her nose and the sides of her face healed and disappeared. Kunai to the chest, piercing past her ribs and nicking her heart. Beaten, bruised, bloody, and pretty much in a coma. A sigh escaped his lips as he finally put it down, he then looked over to listen.


"I need you to watch the child while I call for the council to come early."

"Sir. There was one more thing."

"What was it, Weasel?"

"She was originally on her way to meet with Sasuke Uchiha; it had been planned for the past several days."

There was a pause and the Third pondered if this could be spun to his benefit. After all negotiations between him and Fugaku were starting to fall apart and at this rate Danzo might think to do something stupid to protect the village. He didn't very much well like using the little girl for something like this, but if it would prevent what would happen, he knew she would have been all for it.

"Thank you Weasel." Sarutobi glanced at the eleven year old ANBU for a moment. "With Inu requesting her removal from ANBU, you might be up for another promotion soon."

"Sir, I believe Iris and Dolphin both are thinking of requesting the same." Weasel's voice was monotone. "I do believe Iris, after today, wishes to retire and become a set of eyes in the civilian populace."

"My best squad." The Hokage responded with a dry chuckle, even if two of them were eleven, one was sixteen and the last was nineteen. "It's fine really." He took another puff from his pipe and finally becoming serious about what exactly has gone one. "No one is to enter this room outside of me. Use any means to eject whoever tries. My personal physician has already gone over her and I need to get ready to deal with my teammates and the civilians."


With that, the Hokage gave one of his two youngest ANBU a small nod before walking out the room, closing it and leaning against the door with a small sigh. "I'm so sorry..." he whispered before disappearing in a silent Shunshin.

This is Insanity
So I'm now your lies
Look at me and smile
While everything dies

Kakashi Hatake was not happy. Here she was, coming up on her twentieth birthday, a successful soon to be former ANBU for the past few years and she had finally gotten home after a truly horrible mission to protect kidnap a Princess from the Land of Snow to save her from an insurrection from within. Honestly, the entire ordeal had been a real pain in the ass, especially getting away from the country. "Hope it doesn't come back to bite me in the ass in a few years." she mumbled, looking down at the mask she had in his hand.

She did all her thinking while looking at the mask while walking into Torture and Interrogations.

Ignoring some of the looks she was getting, knowing full well she was getting them because she wasn't wearing his mask like she normally was. She had barely taken the thing off over the past several years after all. "Where's Anko?" She asked one of the Nin behind a desk.

"She's about to deal with one of the men from that attack earlier." He snorted disdainfully, he was one of the Nin that had also had guard duty, and all of the ANBU and former ANBU that did loved their little charge. "I can get her on the Comm and ask her to wait if you want."

"Yeah." She threw a scroll onto the desk. "From the Hokage, concerning the incident." Kakashi sighed and started to walk past the desk as the man started to unwrap it. "I'm taking personal care of the fucker that stabbed her with a kunai."

"You're kidding me, right? That's a fellow Nin?" The man was suddenly disgusted even more.

"Failed Genin, son of a merchant on the council too." Kakashi smiled with her eye as she stopped at the corner he needed to turn down. "If you'll excuse me, I have a stupid son of a bitch to torture. Ja ne." She said the last part almost cheerfully, causing the older man behind the desk to shudder.

It didn't take long for Kakashi to make her way to where she was going, a few floors down, a couple corridors traversed and a few doors opened and closed. Really, it wasn't all that hard to remember, she'd been here before, she'd be here again too. It didn't take all that long until she came across one of the people she was looking for. "Anko."

Anko Mitarashi was a violet haired teenager, as Kakashi recalled; the teen was two years younger than she was. She was dressed in a mesh body stocking covered in chainmail, short skirt and a tan trench coat.

"Kakashi." she responded, ever so slightly annoyed. "What the hell do you think you're doing here?"

"What didn't get the Comm?" She asked cheerfully.

"Don't give me that shit, you lazy bitch." she growled out. "This was supposed to be part of my evaluation; I was looking for a promotion."

"Now, now, that isn't a way to talk to a superior you know." Kakashi said with a cant of her head off to the right his voice going from lazy to serious in a snap. "This is my last mission as an ANBU, personally given by the Hokage. Now are you going to move or shall I move you myself, Chuunin?"

"...What the hell Kakashi?" Anko asked, wide-eyed as she moved quickly to the side.

"...You seriously don't know?" Kakashi asked, stopping in surprise.

"What the hell are you talking about?" she bit out tersely, nearly spitting off to the side in annoyance.

Kakashi's single visible eye narrowed at that, she really would have to have a talk with the newly promoted Ibiki Morino "He stabbed our little charge in the chest with a kunai. She was nearly dead for several minutes, Anko." She spoke before finally moving towards the door. Kakashi knew she was starting to feel a little sluggish. She had just gotten back from a mission and she hadn't rested yet, and hell, she would normally have come to do something like this at least an hour late after going to the meeting stone, but even she knew when to prioritize things.

"Fine." Anko said with a sigh. "Give 'em hell for me, though can I at least watch?"

"I'm not here for information." Kakashi said finally before pulling up her headband, closing the scarred eye and putting her ANBU mask on. "I'm here to beat a son of a bitch to death." The voice behind the mask was creepily cheerful, but hidden away was a dead and blank look. Finally she opened up the door and closed it behind herself.

The room itself was a standard interrogation room in size but it was also covered top to bottom in seals that were done by Jiraiya-sama himself. The seals were meant for recording both visual and audio and relaying it back to another area. They were a bit more useful than camera because they also shut down the chakra of whoever was tied into the chair in the middle of the room. There was a single light situated right in the center on the ceiling and it was also what looked like the base of the multiple seals. It was normally used for only high risk prisoners yet there hadn't really been many incidents within the village, at least not since the Hyuuga Incident and the Kumo Jounin.

"Wake up, you stupid bastard." Kakashi said in a monotone as she reached out and casually backhanded the man strapped down.

Said man that was strapped down was somewhat obese, though not in the way of an Akimichi where that was mostly muscle however, this was just fat. He had greasy and limp brown hair and he didn't seem to be taking care of himself all that well. Of course, that could be from a number of different things. Kakashi didn't care for the man's name, that information had already been gathered thanks to the punk having been a former Genin when he was younger. All Kakashi really cared about was, well...nothing really. Now that she thought about it, this was a total waste of time; maybe it would've been best just to shove a Chidori down the man's throat.

No sense in wasting the chakra on a Raikiri after all. Though with no response, Kakashi simply backhanded him again. "Either you wake up or I pull out a kunai and start stabbing you."

There was no answer. Maybe the man really was unconscious?


Kakashi pulled out a kunai from her weapon's pouch, twirling it on a finger and walking around the man. She was twirling it very closely to the man's ear every time she was near that part of his body. The fat bastard was just pretending and he thought he could pull one on an ANBU Commander? On her fifth little circle around the fat man, she stopped and swiped his kunai and finally nicked the man on the top of his ear causing the man to stiffen and whimper out a pained sound.

"Yare yare, so you are awake now." Kakashi said mock cheerfully behind her mask. "Good. Now we can do this on of any number of ways. Though, I've got a couple personal favourites." She reached up and stroked the chin of her mask in contemplation. "Of course, first off, I'm going to talk and you're going to listen."

The man spat out some blood directly onto Kakashi's mask. "Let me out...of here..." he started to pant out. "...father is...on the...council." he started to huff.

"Oh, is that so? I guess I'll have to do this then..." The twirling kunai stopped and pulled away slowly and the man's face suddenly had a look of relief on it; however that quickly changed as the kunai that had been twirled around, cutting into his ear, was now plunged directly into his thigh and the man bit out a painful scream. "I don't give a flying fuck who's on the council or any of that shit, scum." The word was bit out like a vile epitaph. "You attacked a child, a civilian of your own village. You as a former Genin ninja should've known better."

"Attacked a demon..." The man bit out angrily while trying to fight back the tears of pain, but that was next to impossible now as Kakashi lifted a hand and simply backhanded the man, nearly breaking his jaw with the force of her swing.

"You attacked a child of Konoha, which in itself would warrant interrogation. However, you went against one of the biggest laws and we all know what that means." Kakashi pulled the kunai out of the man's thigh and held it up for him to see the blood coating it. "But wait, there's even more charges too. Drunk and Disorderly, Attempted Murder, I need to go on?"

The man paled at both the sight of his own blood and the charges being listed off, he had to be in the right, and his father had said so! "...was doing it for the village..." he mumbled out through his pained jaw.

The kunai traced a small cut across the man's cheek for that comment before being pulled back and twirled on a finger once again. "That so, huh?"

"...of course!" he breathed out in response.

"So, you did it for, what, The Fourth?" Kakashi asked nonchalantly, watching the man nod vehemently. "My my..." She trailed off and stopped twirling her kunai. "You say you're doing something for my former Sensei, but you're going against his express wishes on the matter. He'd be very disappointed in you." With that said Kakashi walked behind the man and rammed the kunai into the obese man's shoulder blade from behind. Smashing the bone and cracking it apart while leaving it there so the fat bastard could scream in terrified pain. "I should slit your throat right here you useless fucker, but I figure I should let you in on a little secret that isn't a secret." Kakashi pulled back, slipping her mask off while still behind the man and opening her scarred eye. Revealing the Sharingan hidden beneath, she did a quick once over of the seals once again and then she made several quick hand seals, shorting out the bunch. She'd only have a moment before Ibiki or Anko showed up so she'd have to make this quick. "You see, you attacked a little girl, that's contemptible in of itself. Not only that, but you committed an even worse sin. You see, the child is..." She trailed off and leaned in, whispering the rest into the man's ear while making a few more hand seals.

The sudden chirping of birds was the only sound for half a second before Kakashi leaned back and thrust her hand forward into the back of the man's skull and out through the front of his face with a blindingly fast thrust of her hand. The gray and red spray was interspersed with chunks of skull bone and the wet, sloppy material of the man's eyes and even a chunk of his tongue was fried off. None too soon either as Ibiki Morino kicked open the door and growled at almost being sprayed by the dead man's remains.

"God-dammit Hatake. What the hell did you do?" The bear of a man narrowed his eyes as the question was called out.

A shrug was the main response as Kakashi, pulling her mask back on also pulled her kunai out of the half-headless corpse's shoulder. "Wanted to tell him something off the record so he'd agonize while he rots in hell." The scarred man glared for a moment and Kakashi rolled her shoulders in another shrug. "Now if you'll excuse me. I have to write a report up about my last two missions."

"This isn't over Hatake." Ibiki finally stepped aside after glaring down at the shorter man.

"Don't try to make promises you can't keep. You might outrank me officially as of now, but I can still kick your ass from one end of the village to the other, Morino." Kakashi snorted as she walked by the taller, and ever so slightly older, man.

With that, Kakashi Hatake removed herself from the cell, smirking beneath her mask while overhearing how long it would take the seals to be fixed. It'd be priceless to hear his reaction when the seals started working in ten minutes, but the silver-haired woman had things to do and places to go. Though she did stop when she saw Anko at the building exit.

Five minutes later, she had been coerced into a date at a Dango shop later that evening; she even said she would pick her up at the Memorial Stone. After she had showered and changed of course.

Nice girl, that Anko.

Now if only she knew how well her favourite little brat was doing...

this black hole drags
me down under
drowning me with
nothing but a number

It was dark, foreboding, and desolate. There was nothing here, nothing there. All broken and torn apart, and yet, it was oddly peaceful. It was agony, yet it was filled with the emptiness of a gentle order. Silent and alone, left to drift away, waiting for chaos to take it'd hold once again. The blinded truth was always gone, never alive, because they hated.

They hated with their pain.

They held onto their pain because of hate.

Yet there it was, just floating there, the darkness of the soul, pitch black they would say. Never right, never wrong, never here, never there. Always gone, always missing, always just a corner away. A little girl, that's what she was. A little girl, that's what she wasn't anymore. Almost dead and gone, empty shell, the husk of a lifeless soul at the praecipe, staring over the edge.

Just one step.

One final step into oblivion.

The chains of darkness held though, she couldn't take that dive off of the edge like she wanted. The pain and agony wouldn't go away. The blood wouldn't stop dripping down her skin. Then in the darkness, something appeared, something glowing against the darkness. Darkness against the darkness, evil, but it didn't come from without like the other sensations. It had not been a cause but an effect. All from within did it bubble and toil, growing larger, sinister, sharper, finally taking shape, floating just past the edge.

It whispered over to her, beckoning her, wanting her to take that step.

She wanted to take that step.

They needed to take that step.

It would make all the pain go away. The suffering, the anger, the hate, the blood, the bruises, all of it would just go away.

The whispers grew louder...It would, it would, so do it, do it, do it do it do it doit doit doit doitdoit DOITDOITDOIT! DO IT NOW! The voice continues to scream in silence, begging, pulling, wanting.

She did not move.

It demanded the final sacrifice. That the path to oblivion must be taken, to be free from all of the suffering. Free from those hateful glances, the angry mutterings. Don't think of it anymore; take the last step to freedom.

She did not move.

Why? Why? Why must they suffer? Why can't they finally have their peace? Shouldn't they get what they deserve? This was a chance at freedom, and the whispers went from demanding to pleading, whimpering, crying. Yet the darkness remained, the vile emotions sustaining themselves just out of reach, trying to plead it's case one last time. It needed it, she needed it, and they needed it all. It would be right, wouldn't it? The chains within the darkness were starting to dissolve; it knew that the time was nearing.

She did not move.

The whispers, those voices, they ranted and raved while she started to understand the darkness, and empty feeling that was all around her. Suddenly it was all blanketed by an enduring rage and the pitch black gave way to a searing crimson. The voices blanketed, the whispering stopped, the darkness was thrown away, and the mind numbing empty feeling was replaced. All of it gone in what seemed like an instant to all be replaced by the sensations of anger, hate, rage, all of it coming from within. The chains within the darkness disappeared while the chains within the darkness seemed to disappear. The last step was finally so close, that pitiful step to finally quit and have their freedom. Then there was something different, something profound...

'It was only ever your choice...'

She took one step...

Our Fourth soul
She whispers softly to the mirror
'I'm Nothing...
Please just kill me here.'

Naruto Uzumaki suddenly snapped opened her eyes, however the sudden brightness way too much to bare after being enclosed within the darkness causing her to hiss lowly in pain. The low sound was enough to attract the attention of the other occupant within the room. She ignored him however as she shut her eyes so the pain could start to subdue. Even then, it took a few moments of agonizing whiteness before the pain started to subdue itself, and then it was only to be replaced by something different, It took a few moments before she could catch the memories that she was also touching upon, taking a moment to go over them before opening her eyes slowly, taking a few short breaths before finally looking about the room she didn't recognize as her own.

"Jiji'" she murmured to herself, realization coming to her. Looking around, and spotting the ANBU within the room with her, she was able to recognize the mask though that in itself caused her to blink a few times while looking at him. "Weasel-niisan, where's the old man?" Naruto frowned slightly while she looked at him, there was something off about the entire thing but she couldn't comprehend it at all. Not to mention what were all those pretty colors?

"He is meeting with the Council." The monotone voice came back after a moment, his voice muffled slightly from the mask. "Dolphin brought you to Hokage-sama, and the majority of the day has passed." He took a few steps closer to her, inclining his head ever so slightly to get a good look at her, the majority of the damage had already healed, or at least the ones on the surface had save a few here and there.

"I..." she trailed off, biting her bottom lip and looking away, pulling the blankets to her rather small form. "I saw Inu-neesan; does that mean she's back...?" Her voice had gone rather timid at that soft question.

"Yes, child. She was the first one to find you and started to get them away." he continued in his soft monotone.

Naruto remained silent, knowing full well that Weasel-niisan was the most emotionless of the four ANBU she had come to slightly know. Dolphin-niisan was the most cheerful of the bunch while Inu-neesan was always gone on long missions but was the most protective, and Iris-neesan was the one to always treat her to food. "I hope I can see her soon..." she still spoke softly and started to rub her eyes, they were really starting to aggravate her.

Weasel cocked his head to the side, watching the child and after a moment he moved over towards her and gently took her hands away from her eyes, he didn't say anything, but the girl slowly complied and opened her eyes for him to look at. If Weasel was anyone else, his eyes would have widened at what they saw, however, Weasel was a true stoic and nothing disturbed his internal robot, not even something that shouldn't exist. "Everything is fine." he said in his usual monotone, those the barest of smiles slipped onto his mask-hidden lips. "I believe that Hokage-sama will be giving you an early birthday gift though."

It was the perfect distraction and the slip of a red-head suddenly started to smile brightly. "Do you mean it, Weasel-niisan?"

"I do, child. I'll go tell him to bring it with him now." A small murmur as he turned around and a carbon copy of him appeared in a small poof of smoke which then disappeared in almost the exact same way it appeared. He turned and looked and looked blankly at the little girl. "Yes?"

"How did you do that?" Naruto asked, blinking a few times.

"Now that..." Weasel trailed off with a pause, leaning closer and bringing a single finger up. " a secret."

"Weasel-niisan...that was lame."


"Seriously. Lame."

The masked ANBU pre-teen just rolled his shoulders in a shrug, moving past the stolen joke and looking towards the door. "Hokage-sama will be here eventually. Do your eyes still hurt?"

"A little, really." Naruto sighed softly; rubbing her face a little while secretly glad she got her hair cut really short last week. It was always in the way otherwise. "You have a mirror so I can see?"

Weasel quietly slipped his hand into one of his pouches and pulled out a small compact mirror before handing it over quietly before prudently ignoring Naruto, not wanting to listen to the outburst she would likely give concerning the change in her violet eyes. If only The Third would show up soon and he could clear away from the younger child. She was hell on his stoic demeanour.

Outside, a raven cried out: "Ahou! Ahou!"

One blood stained tear...
Another broken body in another day...
Smile 'cause you're dying...
Cry 'cause I'm laughing...
And you have nothing to say...

Hiruzen Sarutobi took a long puff from his pipe and looked out the small window in the room, looking at the clouds as they floated slowly past in the sky. He really didn't want to be here in the council room and he really didn't want to be dealing with the meeting that was about to start. He was alone in the room with his two former team members, now his closest advisors, and he still hadn't really informed them of the goings on. Finally he did turn around, letting out a ring of smoke from the other corner of his mouth, looking at the two of them quietly for a moment before finally speaking. "I'm out of ideas."

The two of them gave off a look of surprise. "What do you mean?" Homura asked.

"By all rights?" Sarutobi asked softly while ignoring the question and moving towards his chair at the head of the large, ornate desk. "She died in that attack." His eyes went flat and both his advisors had very dark looks. "Yet when ANBU got her to a medic, her heart was slowly starting to beat again. Dolphin had originally declared her dead at the scene, but took her to my personal medic anyway. The medical report was ghastly." His voice was cold and emotionless now. It hurt to talk about a little child like this. Like some cold monster.

"Hiruzen..." Koharu said softly.

"What would he think of us? Koharu, Homura...we can't even protect a child from something like this." Sarutobi closed his eyes and let loose another ring of smoke. "Yet, in the end, she somehow made it out, alive." A grimace passed his features as he sat down wearily.

Homura grunted and adjusted his glasses, looking towards the door; he could sense a chakra signature making its way, odd that it was Fugaku showing up before anyone else. "How many of the clan heads know?" he asked after turning back to his Hokage, the un-worded parts of the question readily apparent to the other old man.

"Hiashi Hyuuga and Fugaku Uchiha, obviously. I do believe Shikaku Nara knows, though that information probably spreads to the other two if so, I hope not though. Not sure about Tsume, Shiba, or any of the other clans." Hiruzen sighed and let out another ring of smoke slowly, waiting for the door to open as well.

As it did a moment later, Fugaku Uchiha strode in, looking like he had a purpose and he was on top of the world. "Hokage-sama, Honoured Elders." he said with a simple nod of his head towards the latter.

"You're a tad earlier than usual, Uchiha-san." Hiruzen slipped into his 'professional' attitude, pulling the pipe from his mouth. "What can I do for you, something that can't be covered by the council?"

Fugaku almost let a light grimace pass his lips. He really didn't like the way the day had been turning out so far. Here it was, not even mid-afternoon and a council meeting had been called early. "I was given a report from some members of the village police." He finally said, amicably no less. "I would like to request the location of..." he was stalled by his Hokage lifting up a hand to pause him.

"Uchiha-san, before I hand out that information, may I ask why you're requesting it." Hiruzen arched a gray eyebrow at the man.

This time a grimace did slip past his lips. "My daughter, Sasuke, is worried. They have been playing together for the past several weeks. The child has always been early..." He watched as his Hokage narrowed his eyes for a moment, watching the older man finally nod to himself.

There was silence between the four in the room before it was broken by The Third. "The child is being watched by one of my ANBU as of right now. This meeting is about why that is." he continued to watch Fugaku silently, the man before him was not the clan-head that came to these council meetings, this was a father worried about his children. "Weasel is watching her, she's unconscious right now." He watched as Fugaku's eyes narrowed slightly, the man knew exactly who Weasel was.

"Why him?" Fugaku asked slowly and calmly.

"Out of all my ANBU, I trust him the most to do what is right." Hiruzen finally picked up his pipe again, taking a puff from it. "I'll have a message sent to your wife so she can let Sasuke-chan known while you're here."

"...And the man responsible?"

"Being dealt with in T&I. Probably dealt with before this meeting is even over."

"Good." The Uchiha clan leader snarled.

The vehemence of Fugaku's voice almost took Hiruzen and his two closest advisors by surprise, but they were old hat at the political game by now, and in all honesty, it caused the old Hokage to smile a little. "Why don't you take a seat, Fugaku-san?" He got a slightly raised eyebrow at that, "The others should be here momentarily and this way you can get a good look at their faces when they see you're here first."

Fugaku let a sly grin slide on his lips. Maybe if it continued like this, things would look up and the clan wouldn't be so...adamant about certain things.

That all being said, the Nin side of the two councils starts to make their way inside after a couple moments. Shikaku Nara was the first to arrive, which was usual despite his usual laid back attitude. One doesn't make Head Jounin by doing nothing after all. Following him were his two friends and squad mates, Chouza Akimichi, and Inoichi Yamanaka. They were conversing amongst themselves for the most part, but once Shikaku spotted Fugaku sitting in his usual spot his eyes narrowed at the Hokage who merrily puffed away on his pipe. He did catch a very minor nod though.

Tsume and her rather feral self-came second, along with Kuromaru, which was slightly unusual and when asked about it by Inoichi, she just rolled her shoulders and pointed at their Hokage. The one eyed dog just sat down near the door and didn't say anything. She also stared at Fugaku for almost a full minute.

Eventually the rest of the clan heads filed in, their reactions all somewhat similar to Tsume and Shikaku.

Fugaku held a bland and straight face the entire time, though inwardly he was rather amused and he could tell his Hokage was sharing his amusement as well. Though when Hiashi finally walked in, stopping at the door and flat out glaring at his former squad member, the mask slipped and Fugaku simply smirked at the pale-eyed man. It was a sight to see when the stoic Hyuuga spluttered incoherently for half a second before taking his place next to the Uchiha with a mild glare.

'Maybe I should start coming early to these just to see his face like that.' Fugaku mused silently to himself, allowing a real smile to slip on to his lips.

That of course, set of wide-eyes around the room except for the Hokage, an uncaring Tsume and near emotionless Shiba Aburame.

'Politics. Gotta love it.' The Hokage snorted beneath his breath.

As the small talk continued, the first of the civilian council members walked in. Not but moments later, both sides of the council were present with Danzo being the last one to walk in. Hiruzen let them talk for a moment, basking in amusement at some of the things he was hearing. After all, he hardly ever called the council together, especially not for an early and somewhat emergency meeting. Finally, he set his pipe down and everyone silenced for a moment.

With a faint nod, more to himself than anything, Sandiame-sama steeled his features and looked at everyone within the room. "Before we proceed with why I called for this session early, why don't we get the usual details out of the way?"

The usual details were reports from everyone about varying things from the Economy to how well the Academy was doing. Funds were allocated to various things as well and the paperwork would be filled out by the parties associated with the Hokage giving his final approval at a later date.

"Alright, now that all of that is out of the way." The Hokage paused, picking up his pipe and lighting it once again with a seal less Katon before taking a long and slow puff. "Earlier today there was a commotion on one side of town. While normally that wouldn't be considered much in the way of news, what happened as a result of this rather large commotion on another side of town is of particular importance." Another puff before he continued on, his eyes hardening. "As a result of diverted police forces and some planning, a couple drunken civilians and former Nin decided to attack a child in an alleyway."

There was dead silence within the council chamber that proceeded until another ring of smoke lifted itself into the air.

Every single ninja suddenly knew exactly why the council session had been called, and so did a good portion of the civilian side. Whereas the Ninja all suddenly schooled their features into utterly blank faces, the civilians all ran the gamut of feelings. The Hokage suddenly had some hope as a good majority of them were shocked at the news, though there were a couple that were smirking a little, as if they were congratulating themselves.

"May we ask of the identity of the child, Hokage-sama?" One of the civilians who didn't know the reason why asked.

The aged Hokage shook his head slightly, "For the protection of the child, I'm afraid not."

"What happened then?" Another asked. This one was scowling rather openly at the thought of what had happened.

There was another pause of silence as the Hokage set down his pipe with a grimace. "The child was cornered within an alleyway, as I mentioned a moment ago, when they decided to attack. Obviously they weren't thinking due to their inebriated state, but that doesn't excuse what they did. At first, the child managed to defend itself with a hunk of metal, scratching the hand of one of the two civilians. As a result of this, a large crowd gathered and tried to join in on beating on the child." Another pause to let that sink in. More of the civilians were starting to figure out exactly what was going on. A crowd didn't just form to beat on a child at random. "They gathered together and beat the child down until one of the original three, the former Nin to be exact, stabbed the child with a kunai he should not have had. He stabbed a little child right through the ribs, going for the child's heart."

Two councilmen were almost openly grinning at that. 'Fools.' Hiruzen thought.

"After that, one of the mob decided to, with a kunai still in the child's chest no less, use a knife and blind the child with a swipe across the eyes." The Third made a hand gesture, running from one side of his face over the other with one of his hands. Thankfully, at this point, an ANBU returning from a long-term mission had come across what was going on and dealt with the situation accordingly." Another puff and this time the Hokage formed his own smirk, hidden behind the pipe. One of the two council members paled at that, and Hiruzen didn't bother to expand on how an ANBU deals with something like that.

"With that said, all civilians involved have been put under arrest and are currently explaining why exactly they thought what they did was a good idea. The former Nin-however..." he trailed off and looked at two councillors who obviously had this planned. "Abura Hakuchi is to be executed for his crimes. After his interrogation, I'm sure it's to be taken care of."

"What? You can't do this!" One of the two councillors sputtered out, angrily.

"Councillor Noroi Hakuchi, any Nin, former or current who assaults a member of the civilian populace is usually put under arrest and the penalties are severe. I do believe you were one of the most ardent supports of this not a few years ago." Sarutobi grinned behind his pipe. Now it was coming to bite the man in the ass. "The penalties for almost killing a child are just that much worse."

" son..." the fat councilmember paled even more.

"All the more reason. He should have known better. I refuse to play favourites with this council. In fact." He made a gesture of hand signs and four ANBU appeared within the room. Taking place behind the two specific councillors. "ANBU, take these two to Ibiki and make sure he finds out why they ordered a child assaulted in the middle of the day." The two were dragged out of the chairs and taken from the room after being knocked unconscious.

"Now then, I'm afraid at this point, I'll be dismissing the Civilian Council from the rest of this meeting as there are several high-class secrets that need to be conversed about. Good day everyone." He nodded as the civilians and merchants got up and filed out, all with a few words to the Hokage and a few of the Clan Heads.

Once they were all gone, decorum, for the most part, broke with a single word from Shikaku. "Troublesome."

"Hokage-sama..." Fugaku started to speak but Hiruzen held up his hand for silence for just a second.

"I'm sure you all know who I was talking about. Uchiha-san, there are a few things I would like to discuss with you after this is over." The Hokage lifted an eyebrow ever so slightly as he made a hand sign and another of his ANBU appeared. Fugaku stiffened slightly when he saw the mask, and so did Hiruzen. However, the ANBU bowed his head and whispered something into the Hokage's ear, causing the man to relax, then stiffen slightly and then finally relax once more. The masked ANBU then stood and inclined his head slightly to Fugaku before disappearing into a puff of smoke.

The Hokage relaxed visibly and let out an explosive breath. "Hyuuga-san, I'd like you to stay as well, I'll be needing something from your clan today." He got a curt nod from Hiashi.

"Was there anything else, Hokage-sama?" Shiba asked softly.

"Matters with the Academy. I'd like the Container to start attending early." He grumbled at the use of the word, but made no sign of it otherwise.

"Are you sure that's a wise idea?" One of the clan heads asked.

"No doubt the child will not do the greatest at first but it'll get the child off the streets during the day, it's the safest thing I can think of." The Hokage sighed softly. "I'll need to find a place for the child to stay as well. And no, none of you can take the child in. You know why."

Tsume looked the most disappointed in that, though Inoichi came a close second. They couldn't do anything since Naruto was still technically a civilian and was under civilian laws. Shikaku just grunted in a disconcerted way. Most of them thought back to a couple weeks ago when Chouza found Naruto digging through his trash, looking for food, the child was slightly frightened at the size of the large man, and it had come out that the she had been kicked out of the Orphanage several days previously and she had been starving. Suffice to say, the Hokage didn't spare much in his wrath.

"Alright. That's pretty much everything." The Hokage blinked a few more times before looking around, stopping his gaze at Shikaku for a moment. "Now, whomever knows the actual truth, can you stay behind for a moment longer?" there was just the slight emphasis on that word and most of the Clan Heads cleared out, leaving Danzo, Homura, Mikado, Tsume, Shikaku, Hiashi, Fugaku, Shiba, Chouza, and Inoichi.

"Alright, can you three leave?" He gestured to Danzo and his former squad members since they technically weren't clan-heads. "I know why both Hiashi-san and Fugaku-san know, as it's pretty obvious why Shikaku-san knows. What about the rest of you?" Hiruzen nodded at the rest, watching out of the corner of his eye while the three exited slowly, paying particular attention to Danzo and wondering why the man had a slight frown on his face.

"Shikaku told me before the law was made." Chouza said.

"She looks exactly like her mother; I did try asking her out a few times back in the Academy." Inoichi said with a wry smile.

"Brat smells like her parents." Tsume, obviously.

"Reasons similar to Inuzuka-san" Shiba stated neutrally while he lifted a finger with a couple bugs on it.

"Excellent." Hiruzen steeped his fingers together. "Today could have turned out a lot worse than it did, really."

"Agreed, something like what happened to Kushina could've happened today, that would have been more than just troublesome." Shikaku murmured loud enough for everyone to hear.

Everyone in the room grimaced at the thought of the last holder of the Kyuubi and what happened several years ago. It was still baffling on what happened, or how she managed to lose control and have her seal broken. Someone had to have done it, but no one really knew how or why. It was, frankly, baffling that such a thing would happen, especially on the same day that she was giving birth to her first child.

"Well, to that end. I'll be looking over suitable places for the child to live. I'll personally be paying for things." The Hokage finally said, mulling it over.

"Someone is going to have to buy her things for her. None of the Merchants are gonna wanna sell shit to the brat." Tsume snorted, looking over at Kuromaru whom still sat by the door and inclined his head slightly.

"More than just those two were involved, I could smell it." The dog spoke in a low, gruff voice. "Danzo smelled off as well."

"Wish we could just get rid of the civilian council as a whole, those shits have no understanding about what we do." Tsume declared, getting a few nods from the other clans.

The Third shook his head slightly. "Outside of their blindness when dealing with Naruto, they're the reason we're such a popular village for missions." A small grimace spread past his lips, "They like having a say in things which makes them happier, thus the rest of the populace feels happy too. With that being said. Fugaku-san, Hiashi-san, could the two of you stay behind for a moment? The rest of you are dismissed."

The other clan heads filed out, leaving just the two of the strongest clans in Konoha in the same room. "What I'm going to say here doesn't leave this room, ever." He made a few hand seals and sealed off the room in a barrier that reflected sound and sight. "The reason I've asked the both of you to stay is twofold. First off, in the attack, as mentioned, they attacked little Naruto's eyes." He saw both of the Clan Leaders grimace at that. Both having doujutsu, the eyes were some of the most important things to them and their clans. "Now, as a result of that, it would seem our precious little girl has awakened a Kekkei Genkai herself, or so Weasel has said, also a doujutsu." A pause to let them take than in as he looked almost forlorn down at his now empty pipe. "He's not sure what it is, so in light of that, I would ask the two of you to please watch out for her, especially considering she is friends with both Sasuke and Neji."

They both looked at each other and then both nodded to their Hokage, "Of course, Hokage-sama." They said at the same time as well causing a glare to go between them as well.

"Hiashi-san, I would also like to request some materials from your home, some of the Chakra reflective materials your family uses to build with. Preferably in a reflective one-way mirror." Hiruzen looked at the man who gave it a moment of thought before nodding. "Thank you. If possible, the size of say, a pair of goggles?" He reached into the folds of his robes and pulled out a pair of black goggles with a single eye piece. "It was originally supposed to be for her birthday...but it would seem she needs something like this now until she gets her doujutsu under control."

Another nod. "By your leave?"

"Yes. Thank you, Hiashi-san."

Fugaku waited until his former teammate left before looking at his Hokage, "Anything else, Hokage-sama?"

"Yes...there are a few things I would like to discuss with you."

It would be a couple hours later that Fugaku finally departed the council chambers, another hint of a smile on his features.

Lost in despair
Alone with a fear
Least it's just a dream
Falling down a cliff
...Just a dream...

The room had been silent for a few hours now as little Naruto had fallen back asleep, exhausted after her initial bout of energy having left her. Before she had fallen back asleep, she had pestered Weasel for some food and had gotten a couple sticks of vanilla pocky for her troubles. It sure wasn't ramen, but what really was? Admittedly, the masked ANBU thought it was kind of amusing in a weird way; of course, he'd never say that to anyone without ruining his image when he'd been cultivating these last couple of years.

Why an eleven year old ANBU needed an image was known only to that said eleven year old however. Especially considering that his entire unit was comprised of Konoha's best super-geniuses, well, outside of Dolphin that was. He was the former Dead Last of the Academy even if that kind of thing didn't really mean squat in the real world. After all, what other members of his graduating class were ANBU? Most of them weren't even Chuunin yet.

Weasel's thoughts were cut short as the door to the room was knocked on twice and then opened, standing instantly off to the side with his hand on the hilt of his ANBU katana. Thankfully, he wouldn't have to use it as it was his Hokage that walked in the room. It was no Henge either, thankfully.

"Hokage-sama." The masked boy murmured respectfully.

"Weasel. Stand down." The Hokage said with a short nod. "How is she?"

"Outside of waking up and her eyes hurting as my clone told you, she's been sleeping for the past few hours."

Hiruzen Sarutobi nodded, more to himself then to the quick report. "Sorry it took so long, I was talking with your father about certain things concerning the village and your clan." He watched the boy stiffen ever so slightly which got a chuckle in response. "No need to worry my boy, things are looking up. I also needed to get something from the Hyuuga family for her." Walking over, he tilted his hat down before sitting on the chair next to the bed that Naruto was currently sprawled out on. "Which means, you're dismissed. I can take care of things from here until she wakes up."

"Sir." There was a short pause. "She'll be hungry sir. I gave her some pocky as that was all I had on me."

The old Hokage just smiled at that and nodded, waving off the boy who also nodded in response before disappearing in his new favourite Raven-styled Shunshin. That left just the two within the room and Hiruzen simply waited silently. He'd much rather sit quietly instead of going through all the paperwork he had, after all, a Leader still needed a vacation here and there, right?

Hiruzen was snapped out of his thoughts when he heard Naruto stirring on the small bed.

"Uhh...Jiji...?" she mumbled, stirring on the bed, finally trying to sit up and look at her favorite person in the whole village.

"Ah, good afternoon Naruto. Feeling any better?" The Hokage smiled gently down at the little girl.

The girl finally sat up slowly and looked a little downcast, her face away from the Hokage so he still couldn't see her eyes. "I...guess so." she mumbled. "I wasn't even doin' nothin' wrong." her voice almost seemed dead when she spoke now causing the old man to grimace while looking at her. Thankfully she didn't seem to see the twist of his lips. Though he patently ignored her double negative.

"Well, how about I get you to your new home?"

"Y-you found a place for me to stay?"


"Didn't have to do that for me old man..."

"Think of it as part of an early birthday present, will you?"


"Of course. Now why don't we go over and see Teuchi? I hear his daughter Ayame is supposed to be back for good."

"Can we get Ramen too? I'm starving!"

"Of course. I'll even buy it for you." Hiruzen watched as the little girl finally looked up into his face with a smile finally gracing her face. Thankfully the wounds were all gone and it seemed like Weasel has repaired the cut in her shirt where she had been stabbed. She frowned when she looked at him; though it was more like past him and he also noticed her violet eyes were now slightly different. Maybe it was a doujutsu after all. "Something wrong?"

"Uhh, no, nothing." Naruto smiled brightly. "Come on, let's go!" She pushed the covers off herself and pushed off from the bed at the same time. She didn't want to weird out the old man by saying she was seeing weird colors in the sky. Maybe it'd go away eventually? Well, hopefully at least. She was already at the door, looking back at the old man and blinking a few times. "Well, what are you waiting for Jiji? Let's go-ttebayo!"

"Coming, coming." Hiruzen laughed and let the little girl lead him from the room.

Eventually they found their way out of the Hokage's Tower, away from the mountain that was the backdrop for the village and down the road main road. Once they took a side road and made another turn off before finally making their way to Teuchi's stand, just last week he had renamed the place Ichiraku's, using his last name of course. Everyone traded greetings, Ayame wasn't quite back yet, but she would soon, and the Hokage and the Village Pariah sat down to have a bowl of ramen, or Naruto's case, a few bowls. Teuchi did catch the look from the Hokage when he was about to ask about Naruto's gaze and quieted down, not but a moment later, his younger daughter Ayame did finally show up and the two girls talked between themselves while the older men shared knowing glances.

Once they were done, Hiruzen finally pulled out a pair of goggles for Naruto and handed them to her. They were a pair she'd been wanting, for whatever reason, but they had also been recently modified. He watched as she gaped at them and grinned at her reflection before putting them on proudly, placing them on her forehead with what looked like practiced ease.

"You like them?"

"I love them-ttebayo!"

"Just make sure you always wear them, and start covering your eyes when you start at the Academy next week, okay?"

That got a pause from the girl as she openly gaped. "I can goto the Academy? I get to start early?"

"We talked about it earlier today and everyone agreed that you'd get to start a bit earlier than kids your age."

That last bit threw Naruto for a loop. She heard the words but they didn't register at first. She had been wanting to be a ninja for a couple years now, ever since she really met her band of protectors, but she never thought she'd actually get to be a ninja. Almost everyone on the street told her she was worthless and wasn't worth the time or expense. The idea of actually doing it brought tears to her eyes, though she tried to hide them. "Thank you so much Jiji. Now you just wait, I'll take that hat from you-ttebayo!"

"That sounds like a great plan, Naruto." The old man smiled down at her. "Now why don't I show you were you're going to stay from now on?"

The five year old red-head giggled to herself and nodded vehemently. "Can Ayame-neesan come with us? Pleeeeease?" Naruto battered her eyes, trying for a pouty and girly look that caused the old man to laugh aloud.

The brunette on the other side of the counter smiled, "If it's okay with Father." she drawled.

"Of course." Her Father, Teuchi, grinned while shaking his head a little. He pulled out container and set up a carry-out set. "Take this with you, as a bit of a housewarming gift, 'ne?"

A moment later they were off. Old man Sarutobi was in front with Naruto perched on his shoulders and little Ayame following behind easily with a carry-out container. It didn't take them long until they reached the building Sarutobi chose for little Naruto. It in itself wasn't all that large, but it was closer to the Hokage Mountain than most other buildings, even if it was off to the side of the village, unlike near the center like Hokage Tower. The building was much like the rest of the village housing, though it was walled off a little, much like the Hyuuga compound. All in all, it was a quaint place and there was even an area for a garden to be tended to. In the end, the place was rather tidy and neat.

Setting Naruto down, Sarutobi looked at the little girl and let her run around the area, watching as she shouted this and that about how cool it all was and how she had always wanted her own garden. A moment later, Sarutobi unlocked the door for her and she ran inside looking around at all the rooms while He and Ayame made their way into the kitchen. Once Naruto was on the far side of the house, they started to talk in hushed tones.

"Hokage-sama." Ayame bowed her head, stifling a smile as he waved it off.

"Are you sure this is what you want to do?"


"That makes two of you being confirmed."

"I already did all the paperwork for mine so that you wouldn't have to, Hokage-sama."

"Such a sweet child. Now I just need to wait for..."

He was cut off as Naruto ran into the kitchen and latched herself to his leg, babbling on and on about how happy she was. Though, suddenly she paused, went wide eyes and gasped loudly. "Sasuke! Oh no. I forgot all about her. Old man, I gotta go! See you later Ayame-neesan!"

Before either of the older two could react, Naruto bolted from the kitchen, out the door and towards the Uchiha Compound as fast as her legs could carry her. She left behind an openly laughing Hokage and a secretively smiling Ayame.

"That girl will never grow up." Hiruzen said, wiping a couple tears from his eyes. "You may as well leave that here for her, she'll probably drag Sasuke-chan back here later too."

"Hai, Hokage-sama." Ayame said, her face betraying the small smile as she unpacked the Ramen. "Was there anything else before I got back to my father?"

She got a nod in response from the old man. "Could you pick up some odds and ends for Naruto? I'll have a Genin team doing a grocery run every week but that won't be until tomorrow when I assign it. It'd be better if she had some essentials for when she got home later today."

"Hai. I'll go gather things she might need after I drop this off at the shop." Ayame said, lifting the container before making a one handed seal and disappearing into a sudden rush of fire.

Hiruzen looked around the kitchen one last time, his gaze dragging its way across the wooden cupboards and tiled wall. "I'm sorry it took so long to get her home. Forgive me you two." A sad smile as he made a single seal himself and disappeared in a his usual silent way.

After all, tomorrow would be a brand new day.

Pain is an Emotion
Emotions are Obsolete
Pain is a Feeling
Feelings can be Ignored