The streets are extended gutters and the gutters are full of blood and when the drains finally scab over, all the vermin will drown. The accumulated filth of all their sex and murder will foam up about their waists and all the whores and politicians will look up and shout, "Save us!"

...And I'll whisper, "No."

- Rorschach, Watchmen

Neo Uzushiogakure no Sato, Whirlpool Country. Nineteen years after the Uchiha Retrieval Mission, eight years after the founding of Whirlpool

Early morning in Neo Uzushiogakure no Sato. Aside from the Uzu ANBU which patrolled the streets and the surrounding countryside, it was very peaceful.

The previous night, however, it was a different story.

It was the anniversary of Whirlpool's reformation under its current Damiyo. The son of its previous Damiyo, Whirlpool kunoichi Kushina Uzumaki Namikaze and her husband, the Yondaime Hokage Minato Namikaze, he had resurrected Neo Uzu and led it to greatness under his rule. In eight years, Neo Uzushiogakure was one of the strongest Shinobi villages, having surpassed Konohagakure no Sato.

Inside the Damiyo's residence – which was a walled compound, rather than a castle typical for the ruler of the country, the Damiyo in question was in bed with his wife. Clothes were strewn across the floor from the door leading to their bedroom. The room was locked with a seal, which kept any noise made inside out and to keep anyone wanting to come in outside. The man was six feet tall, with a wiry muscular frame. Tousled blond hair framed his face, of which the foxlike whiskers which had identified him as a jinchuuriki were gone. Despite being thirty-one, he still held a boyish charm to his face. He was also awake, as his body was pressed firmly into his wife's backside.

One calloused hand ran along her curves, causing her to giggle in her sleep. Nineteen years, and he knew the contours and curves of her five-foot-six frame like the back of his hand. Like him, she was also thirty-one, him being two months older than she was, buxom with long dark hair ending halfway down her back. Usually she would let it fall down her back, but when she was training the medic-ninjas or sparring, she kept it tied in a braid.

She giggled again. This time, she was awake. "Pervert," she whispered.

"That's Damiyo Pervert to you," was the reply.

She turned around in the bed, so that she was facing him. His azure eyes stared back into those of pupiless lavender, which identified her as one of the Hyuuga, and wielder of the Bykaugan.

Hinata Namikaze stuck her tongue out at her husband. "Well, Damiyo Pervert, you plan on getting out of bed? Our kids are still here, you know."

Naruto Uzumaki Namikaze smiled back at his wife. "We got about an extra hour. You can set your clock to Minato and Hitomi."

He moved in for a kiss, but ended up kissing air, as Hinata had escaped his grasp. She was now standing on her feet, naked as the day she was born. With natural beauty like hers, men would gladly go to war for her hand. Fortunately for Naruto, she was all his.

At least she was considering enough not to pull a substitution jutsu like the last time.

"Just one kiss, Hina-hime?" he mocked begged.

Her response was to throw a pair of pants at him before slipping on a crimson robe over her naked form. Naruto saw that it was the robe he picked up for her from his last visit to Wave Country when he was checking up on the Uzu garrison stationed there. Hinata loved that robe.

"The last time you said that, we ended up destroying the dining room table," she replied as Naruto got out of bed, now naked from the waist up.

Naruto smiled at the memory. It was three weeks ago. Hitomi and Minato were out on assignment, Kitami was roaming the grounds in her fox form, and they were all alone. "In my defense, you started it," he replied, as it was Hinata who instigated the whole thing.

One flash of yellow light and Hinata found herself pinned to the wall by her husband. She could have easily used a substitute jutsu to escape, but she enjoyed teasing him, and she enjoyed his attention to her.

"So..." Naruto gently pressed his weight against his wife. "...if I wanted to stop right now, you think you could stop me?"

Hinata smiled. "I think the question you should be asking me is do I really want to."

They resumed their kissing. Naruto noticed that Hinata was leading him back to their bed. 'Damn it feels good to be the Damiyo,' he thought as Hinata pounced on him.

Neo Uzushiogakure Complex – sometime later...

The Neo Uzushiogakure Complex served as the nerve center of both Neo Uzushiogakure and of Whirlpool Country. Rather than a tower, like Konoha's Hokage Tower, the compound consisted of two buildings; the first housed the offices of the Uzukage and the Damiyo, and the second was known as the House of Sovereigns, which housed not only the council chambers, but it served as the main headquarters of both the Pekara Merchant House and of Neo Uzu's spy network.

Currently, Naruto was inside his office, signing off on several documents. Mostly minor disputes between shinobi and clans, nothing serious. Konan, on the other hand...

Naruto smirked inwardly at his cousin's wife. She loved the position of kage but hated the paperwork. Naruto took pity on her and taught her the Kage Bushin, which saved her the headache of paperwork. Naruto himself used the shadow clones on several occasions, when the paperwork that came with being the Damiyo became too much for him.

Leaning back in his chair, his eyes roamed over several photos that sat on his desk. The first was that of himself when he was younger and the old man that was like a grandfather to him, Hiruzen Sarutobi. Naruto was wearing the old man's Kage hat, while Sarutobi smiled broadly. The second was that of Hinata and himself on his wedding day in Spring Country over a decade earlier.

Naruto smiled at the memory. Turned out that Koyuki had made friends with a priestess from Demon Country named Shion, who conducted the ceremony at her request. Hinata had looked radiant in her dress with the flowers in her hair. It was a private ceremony, with only their closest friends and allies present.

The third picture was a family photo of the Namikaze family. Naruto and Hinata were seated, Naruto dressed in a white shirt, black vest, pants and boots, while Hinata was clad in a stunning black chesogam, and looking very regal in her pose. Then there were their two children. Fraternal twins, rather than being identical. They were both diametric opposites of each other from their personality down to their respective bloodlines.

Minato took after himself in both personality and in skill, as he was a prodigy in fuinjutsu and kenjutsu. He did not have the Bykaugan like his sister, but rather the Rinnegan. Fourteen, with spiky blond hair mimicking his father, with lively blue eyes. Fortunately, he did not take to wearing orange as he once did when he was just a genin, but rather dark colors, more suitable for a shinobi. His hitai-ate was around his head. He was also his heir to rule as Damiyo once he stepped down.

Hitomi took after Hinata in both appearance and quiet personality. Pale skin with short dark hair (think MGS4's Rosemary's hairdo), with the pupil-less lavender eyes that were a signature trait of the Hyuuga. Unlike her brother, she was a prodigy in taijutsu, and a natural in medical ninjitsu. Like her brother, her attire was also dark (i.e., Hinata's Shippuden uniform), her hitai-ate was around her left arm. She would be the next Fox Sage when it came time for Hinata to step down.

They were born a year after their marriage. When Naruto revived his mother's homeland, they were the first to enroll into the shinobi academy. At the age of ten, they both graduated. Three years later, they both received their Chuunin vests after successfully completing the Chuunin Exams.

It was then he noticed the scrolls. They had been dropped off earlier by a member of the Neo Uzu ANBU and Naruto had forgotten all about them as he focused on completing his paperwork. From the markings on the scroll, they came from the ANBU's Intelligence and Recon Division.

Naruto picked up the first scroll and opened it. The scroll was brief, but the message contained inside caught him off guard. It was from the spy network located near the bounty station near the Fire-Lightning border. It read:

Rain invaded Fire Country. Fire Damiyo prisoner inside the Fire Capital.

Naruto looked at the time and date. 'Seventy-two hours old. This happened during the Neo Uzu Festival,' he thought as he opened the second scroll. This one was more recent, as it was only a day old. This one was a bit more detailed, as it said that following the Fire Lord's capture, a crack team of Konoha elite jounin, led by their Rokudaime Hokage attempted to infiltrate the Fire Capital in order to free the Damiyo.

The mission was a failure, and most of the team that was sent in were killed. Naruto read the names of those who were killed in the rescue attempt. Inoichi Yamanaka...Shikaku Nara...Chouza Akamichi...Tsume Inuzuka...Kiba Inuzuka...Asuma Sarutobi...Kurenai Sarutobi...Shibi Aburame...Shino Aburame...Neji Hyuuga...Hiashi Hyuuga...Maito Gai...Rock Lee...and Kakashi Hatake. The Rokudaime, Sasuke Uchiha was grievously injured while fighting the head of Amegakure and had to be carried out by the surviving jounin.

Naruto leaned back in his seat. Even after nearly twenty years, his former village had still left a bad taste in his mouth. Konoha was full of traitors and backstabbers who had showed their true colors on that fateful day. No one – not even his former teammates – helped him. All because he was a jinchuuriki. The dream of earning the people's respect by becoming Hokage died that day, which lead to him and Hinata, along with their sole supporter, Anko Mitarashi to flee Konoha.

He summoned an ANBU who was outside and ordered him to bring in Anko, Konan, Yahiko, Hinata and Kitami to his office immediately.

Minutes later...

"So Ame made their move against Fire Country, huh?" Anko asked as Konan and Yahiko read the scrolls. "I'm surprised this didn't happen sooner. Konoha and Fire Country must have done something big to piss those two villages off."

"Given who's running the village now, I wouldn't be surprised," Hinata replied. "To say that Sasuke Uchiha is a tad unbalanced is to say Water Country is a bit wet."

"But he could be a puppet ruler," Konan said. "The Konoha Council holds most of the power, while the Hokage is nothing but a figurehead. It was a miracle that the Sandaime managed to keep you away from Danzou."

Naruto frowned. That meddling, one-eyed warhawk had been a thorn in his side. Whether it's trying to kidnap him when he was younger, or his attempt to kidnap his children for their bloodlines, he annoyed him to no end.

But Konan did have a point. "Hiruzen always did have a kind heart," Naruto admitted, smiling at the picture of himself and Old Man Sarutobi. "But you're right, Konan. One thing I learned about politics is that you say one thing, but mean another. When the old hag stepped down, the council must have basically handed the Uchiha the position of Hokage, thinking that he could be someone they could control."

"Only problem is that the Uchiha runt does not like to be controlled in one way or another," Kitami pointed out. "The Uchiha wants to be the ones in control, and does not share power with anybody." She smiled meanly. "A side effect of the Sharingan is that it makes the wielder batshit insane."

That got a good laugh out of the group. "You got a point there," Kitami said. "Look at Madara, Fugaku and Itachi. And it's not hereditary, as in Hatake's case."

"Any idea as to who is running Ame?" Konan asked.

Naruto chuckled darkly. "The great-grandson of Hanzou the Salamander – Rashoujin Hanzou. Took me a while to remember the name, but it clicked in my head. We met in Forest Country, remember? That and he showed up several times whenever Uzu holds the Taijutsu tournament."

Naruto remembered the man very well. A hulking mountain of muscle standing six-feet-eight with dark hair and a deep, menacing voice when angered. He was like them at a time – a nomad without a home. He was also a very skilled shinobi and proved it when he challenged Naruto in a test of skills. The battle ended in a draw, but Naruto respected the man's skill. Rashoujin also showed the same respect towards him as well and the two men left the field of battle.

Rashoujin was fortunately, not like his crazed great-grandfather. When Hanzou ended the wars and came out as Ame's new leader, he had his concerns. In the end, he decided to leave the older ninja alone.

"Hmm...Danzou fought in the Second Shinobi War alongside Old Man Sarutobi, the Snake, the Hag and the Perv. I also know that Danzou screwed Hanzou over and had him and most of his family killed," Naruto noted. "Danzou must have heard that Hanzou's descendant had ended the civil wars in Ame and seized control of the village and area, and saw him as a serious threat. So he must have dispatched his ROOT ANBU to Ame to assassinate Hanzou."

Konan immediately caught on what Naruto was saying. "Only problem is that the mission goes south, Hanzou finds out who is responsible, and wants the heads of those responsible. But he doesn't stop there. He wants to get even by razing Konoha to the ground, and Iwa wants in on the action."

"You sure about that?" Anko asked.

"If I was either Hanzou or Kurotsuchi, I would," Yahiko said. "The council need to know about this. And what about our shinobi? If Ame attack them, then we will have no other choice but to counterattack."

"I agree," Naruto replied. "Konan, send word to our shinobi abroad, have them pull back into Suna, Kumo and Haru. They are not to antagonize the ninja from Ame and Konoha in any form or fashion. Follow the Shinobi Rules of Engagement for this one. All shinobi assignments and missions are temporary suspended in the Fire Region until this mess is over."

"There's something else," Hinata said. "I'm sorry for getting off the subject, but I got to ask. Back when we worked as mercenary ninja, you killed the bounty hunters that came after us, my former clansmen, the ANBU and ROOT ANBU."

Naruto saw where this was going. Even Konan, Yahiko, Kitami and Anko were curious. "But you wondered why we spared our former senseis, our former teammates and the higher-ranking Jounin?" He smiled. "Easy, Hina-hime. As shinobi, we are told the many ways we can kill our enemies. Flesh can tear...bones can break. But to wound their pride, to crush their spirit like God's boot-heel is how you truly destroy them."

Yahiko nodded in understanding. "The disgrace of getting one's ass handed to them by the dead last and the worthless heir to the Hyuuga would definitely eat at their ego. And they have to live with the shame and disgrace that the two people who were written off and banished had spared their lives because they weren't worth killing is a fate worse than death. Aside from that, you make even more mistakes, up to the point where you will ultimately bring about your own destruction."

Anko approved. "Psychological warfare at its finest," the snake queen noted. "I like how you think, Naruto. Have I ever told you that?"

The Damiyo of Whirlpool chuckled. "Maybe, but I fail to remember. Go and assemble the council. Might as well tell them about this new development."

The room cleared out, with the exception of Kitami and Hinata. "Something on your mind?" Naruto asked.

"Konoha's been hit pretty hard ever since we left the village," Hinata noted. "They've lost every single alliance they had because of you. On top of that, they've been fending off attacks from rival villages, but without allies, their power and influence has been decreasing."

"There's something else I did not mention about the failed attempt to rescue the Fire Damiyo," Naruto said. "The attempt to rescue the Fire Lord resulted in several casualties. The original Ino-Shika-Cho trio...Asuma and Kurenai Sarutobi...your former father and cousin...the Inuzuka Matriarch and her son...the Aburame...Maito Gai and Rock Lee...and Hatake – all K.I.A."

Naruto noticed the expression on Hinata's face. It was a subtle one, but it soon disappeared, leaving a neutral, stoic expression. Hearing about the demise of her former father and cousin, her former team and sensei left her with mixed emotions, but she squashed them immediately.

"And the Uchiha?" Kitami asked.

"Blinded in both eyes and left a cripple," Naruto replied.

He had long since closed the chapter on his rivalry with the Uchiha, as he had proven to Sasuke and all of Konoha that he was stronger than their precious Uchiha. It wasn't because of the Rinnegan that he wielded either. While Sasuke had everything literally handed to him, Naruto had worked hard to get where he was at. And that hard work paid off when he revived his mother's homeland.

"You know that Konoha will more than likely ask for our help," Hinata said. "They always believed that you would defend your precious people in their darkest hour."

Naruto scoffed. "The people that are precious to me are here. Konoha chose a traitor over me. They did not see me as a human being, but rather the Nine-Tails reborn. Some of them hate the Uchiha runt, but they despise me even more. People I thought were my friends tried to kill me over the years. Teuchi and Ayane with their poisoned ramen...your own sensei with her genjutsu. Even Tsunade and Jiraiya wanted my death for their own selfish reasons."

The Damiyo of Whirlpool rose from his seat. "I will not aid Konoha in this mess of their own choosing. Even if they offer me the position of Hokage, I would not accept it. They made their choice. Now they have to live with it...which is not for very long."