Uzumaki ~ Detective Chronicles

Chapter One: Case One - The Innocent Killer

Red Light Zone, Midnight

In a dark street on the seedier side of Konoha, two shadowy figures slowly materialized on either side of the street. One stood to the side of the road, bathed in the pink neon lighting emitting from the sign above a nearby strip club, while the other was standing in the centre of the street, gazing up at the moon from behind a black mask that covered their entire face.

The pair started walking towards each other, their near identical black cloaks brushing lightly across the tarmac. They stopped when they were within 5 metres of each other.

"Do you have the money?" murmured the one with the mask. The voice was soft and gentle, obviously female, and edged with panic.

"..." The second person looked around before placing their hands in the ram seal. Chakra started emanating from their body, causing the cloak to flutter around on an invisible wind as it surged outward in a single pulse. The wave of chakra moved away from the caster in a rough dome shape, causing the last of the autumn leaves to fall from the trees and the neon tubes of the strip club sign to burst. "Just checking that you weren't followed." he said in a gravelly tone, the deep baritone voice revealing his gender.

"Please, tell me, do you have the money I asked for?" said the female, bringing her hands together in front of her chest in a vague begging motion. "It's very important that I get it tonight."

The male seemed to gaze at the woman with a look of pity before opening his mouth. "Unfortunately for you, my boss has decided that our money would be better spent investing in another business. She just doesn't feel that you will be able to repay the loan... no matter how lucrative your business may become."

The masked woman glanced down, disappointment evident in her slouched shoulders and sagging knees. The man started to turn and unnoticed by him, the woman reached into her cloak and withdrew three senbon needles.

"It was a pleasure doing busi-" was all he could say as a senbon lodged itself in his throat. He whirled around sluggishly, sliding a kunai from the folds of his cloak, when two more senbon pierced through his wrist and heart, causing him to drop the kunai and fall to his knees, making a pitiful attempt to staunch the bleeding from his throat and heart with one hand.

The woman moved closer to him cautiously as he coughed up blood, the dark red liquid reflecting the stars from the night sky as it spattered thickly on the ground below him. He struggled to look up as she came closer, fear widening his watery brown eyes, then the light left them and he fell to the ground, sprawled out in an almost comical manner. The masked woman seemed reluctant to look at her handiwork, instead glancing away quickly as her hand came up to her mouth, retching as she swiftly hurried away and faded into the darkness of a nearby alley.

Uzumaki-Hyuga Detective Agency, Midmorning

Naruto Uzumaki was bored. He sat at his desk, slumped over onto the large, walnut brown table, watching the vent on the air conditioning unit move up and down, bringing the already cold room to sub zero temperatures; just the way he liked it. He sighed and slowly stood up, making his way over to the small kitchenette in the corner of the room. He reached under the counter to the shelf which held his beloved instant ramen cups, grabbed one and examined it.

"Chicken again huh?" he sighed, then placed the cup on the counter with a glint of resolution in his bright blue eyes. "I haven't been to Ichiraku's in a while, and I'm in serious need of some miso ramen. Ayame-chan and Old man Teuchi must be missing me and my enormous appetite. Cause I sure as hell have been missing them!"

A grin lit up his face, and he turned towards the door to his office. I know, I'll bring Hinata along with me! His grin took on a more wicked edge as he thought of a new way to tease his insanely cute assistant.

Making her blush is always fun, though I'll never understand why such simple teasing causes such a reaction with her. "Ah well, it's more fun that way!" he chuckled to himself, stroking the whisker marks on his cheeks with his thumb and forefinger as his trademark foxy grin spread across his face.

"Hinata-chan! Do you mind stepping into my office for a minute?" he called, as he chakra walked up the wall next to the door and positioned himself on the ceiling in front of the door. He crossed his arms and stood there grinning, ready for the moment she opened the door.

At the front desk of the small building where she and Naruto worked, Hinata jumped and then blushed. "Naruto-kun is calling to me," she murmured to herself "I didn't forget to file the last case report did I? Or is he unhappy with me for something else? Was it that I didn't make him ramen today? What could I have done?" by this point Hinata was absolutely flustered as she slowly made her way to her bosses' office.

She knocked on the door, and opened it slowly. She entered the office to find... No one. She looked around in confusion. "N-Naruto-kun?"

Suddenly a figure dropped from the roof, and hung upside down, their face nose to nose with hers. "Hey Hinata-chan," said Naruto seductively "How 'bout you and me go out on a date?"

Hinata's cheeks reached that full bright redness that Naruto found so cute and she stuttered "N-N-N-Naruto-k-kun..." She managed to utter. He's so close, this is... Oh what do I do? Do I say yes? Quick Hinata, if you take too long, he might change his mind!

"I-I w-would l-l-lo..." at the word 'love' her embarrassment was at its limit and all the blood in her body was in her face. Her brain shut down as her pale lavender eyes rolled back into her head and she started to fall backwards.

"Oops." Naruto sighed before he jumped down from the ceiling and caught Hinata before she hit the ground. He glanced at her still flushed face and sweat dropped. "Ah heh heh, maybe I went a bit too far there."

He sighed again and moved to place Hinata in what was now named the 'recovery couch'.

Red light Zone, Midmorning

Officer Haruno Sakura of the 7th Precinct, Konoha City Police Department was stumped. She stood on the other side of the yellow 'Do Not Cross - Crime Scene' tape gazing down at the body sprawled in the middle of the road. The corpse was lying in a pool of blood that had half dried, staining the road a dark crimson. She took off her blue officers' hat and ran her fingers though her pink hair.

Her partner Officer Nara Shikamaru slowly made his way up to her from the coroners van sighing and stretching while gazing at the cloudless sky above him. "This day is such a drag, there's not a single cloud in the sky."

"Good, that might keep you focused on the murdered man over there." replied Sakura. "Anyway, what have you got for me? Do we know who he is or why he's here in Konoha's red light zone? Apart from the obvious reasons of course." she quickly added after seeing Shikamaru smirk and open his mouth.

"Well," said Shikamaru in a bored drawl. "Meet Hideto Ryuuji, a man who used to be Takami Sayu's right hand man. Frankly I find it strange that she would send her main man down here to what was most likely a meeting with a client."

"Yes," said Sakura, "That is strange, however, whoever he was meeting must not have liked what he proposed for us to find him like this." she sighed. "This isn't going to be easy is it? We've already got five more men and women killed in the same manner as him. And all of them were the agents of Konoha cities' biggest crime lord."

Shikamaru glanced at her thoughtfully. "Either this is the work of some vigilante trying to bring a very misguided justice to the streets of Konoha or someone is systematically killing off the major players to assert themselves as the leader of organized crime."

Sakura placed her cap back on her head and struck a determined pose. "Whatever the reason, no serial killer will get away with murder while Officer Haruno Sakura is on the case! Shannaro!" she yelled pumping her fist in the air.

The officers and paramedics around her smiled or rolled their eyes as she made her usual dramatic statement.

"Right Shikamaru?" she said, looking around for the lazy genius. She scowled as she spotted him lying on the bonnet of her squad car, arms behind his head as he gazed at the sky without a care in the world. He sighed and sat up, feeling the killer intent emanating from his partner.

"Women, so troublesome," he muttered softly, wary of Sakura's famous 100m punches.

Sakura shook her head and sighed. "Well, this case is shaping up to be a difficult one. I think it's high time we called him in."

Shikamaru nodded in agreement. "Oh yes, this kind of case is right up his alley. I just hope he'll take some of the credit this time, it's embarrassing to be shown up by him and then steal his lime light afterwards."

"Hmm yes, Nar... I mean Detective Uzumaki is funny like that."

Ichiraku Ramen, Noon

The detective in questions was currently walking down the main streets of Konoha City, heading to his favourite restaurant hand in hand with the girl whose love for him was a fact he was completely oblivious to.

"Hinata-chan," said Naruto, gazing straight ahead with a glazed look in his eyes.

"Y-yes Naruto-kun?" It had taken quite a while for Naruto to convince her that using the -kun suffix in place of -san with his name was fine during the early days of their partnership.

"Do you think a guy like me could ever find love?" He turned his cerulean eyes to her pale lavender ones, gazing intently as he waited for her answer.

"Naruto-kun!" Hinata blushed profusely. "You ask very strange questions."

She squeezed his hand gently. Oh Naruto-kun, if only you knew... If only I had the strength to tell you how... How I really feel... You would know the answer.

Her train of though was broken as she felt pressure around her own hand in return. She held his gaze, seeing the usually well hidden emotions laid bare for all to see in his eyes, eyes that desperately wanted an answer to the question that had plagued him since his lonely childhood.

She sighed, knowing that he could see the same question reflected in her own eyes. She probably knew him better than anyone else and Naruto knew what she had gone through as well. Naruto had been the one that had saved her from her family in the first place.

Her long, dark indigo hair whipped into her eyes as the breeze around them intensified. Somewhere during her moment of reflection, they had stopped walking, the blonde waiting expectantly for an answer.

"Naruto-kun, whatever happens, you'll always have me." she replied simply, with no trace of her stutter.

Gratitude seeped into his eyes as he tugged on her hand gently, pulling her forwards as he resumed walking.

"Thanks Hinata-chan."

They reached Ichiraku's without further delay and were given a very warm welcome. As Naruto pushed the curtains aside and led the way inside, still holding Hinata's hand, a shadowy figure jumped him.

"Naruto-kun!" screamed an excited Ayame, wrapping Naruto in a warm hug. "Where have you been all this time? We haven't seen you in ages!"

Naruto grinned and returned the hug, his arms enfolding around her waist, equally happy to see one of his most favourite people. From behind the counter, Teuchi smile and nodded at Naruto, the true happiness of seeing his favourite customer evident in his wide grin and shining eyes. He immediately began pulling out the ingredients for Naruto's usual five bowls of Miso Ramen whistling a cheerful tune as he worked.

Ayame glanced over Naruto's shoulder and spotted Hinata, who had been standing by the entrance watching the display with a small smile, happy that Naruto had other people in his life that cared for him as much as she did.

Ayame smiled brightly at her and release Naruto, grabbing Hinata's hand and leading her to a stool. "Hinata, it's been too long! What have you been up to?" she adopted a stern look and placed her hands on her hips. "You haven't been working Naruto so hard that he's had no time to come see us have you?"

"N-no! I would never do that to N-Naruto-kun. I-I-" Hinata struggled to speak, becoming more flustered by the minute.

Ayame chuckled. "Still as cute ever." she said, patting Hinata's back reassuringly. She led Hinata to the stool next to Narutos'. "So what will you have Hinata?"

"One bowl of miso please."

"Naruto," said Teuchi from the small kitchen next to the counter. "I heard about your last case with the Hokage's stolen crystal ball. I must say, it's impressive how you deduced that it was one of the guards that stood outside the office, how did you know it was him?"

"Well," said Naruto, getting ready to tell his story, with a few exaggerations. "Thanks to my amazing ability to read people, I immediately knew it was the guard, however I pretended not to know to lull him into a false sense of security and..."

As Naruto regaled those present with the tale of his capture of the renegade guard, with accompanying wild hand gestures, Ayame, Teuchi and Hinata listened and laughed, enjoying Naruto's self-indulgent but fairly accurate story telling skills.

"...but really without Hinata-chan, I don't think the case would have been solved." Said Naruto, patting his partner on the shoulder.

Hinata blushed a deep crimson at his praise and started pressing her index fingers together. "I didn't do that much Naruto-kun, I..."

"Nonsense! Without your Byakugan we never would have found where the guard was hiding and where he threw the crystal after his capture. You're the reason the case was solved! Well done partner!"

Naruto clasped her hand warmly and smiled that wide foxy grin she loved so much. Ayame and Teuchi were also congratulating her but she had eyes for only one person.

Thank you, Naruto-kun.

Konoha City Main Street, Noon

Haruno Sakura and her partner Nara Shikamaru were strolling down Main Street at a brisk pace, their eyes set on a familiar old road side stand.

"It's lunch time. Where do you think Naruto could be?" asked their head of precinct, Yasuki Fumito. The man had answered his communicator grudgingly, having been roused from the middle of his post lunch nap for the call.

Sakura answered without hesitation. "Ichiraku's."

"Fine, you can bring him on-board the investigative team. Good luck Haruno." He hung up abruptly.

Sakura glanced over at Shikamaru as she placed the communicator back on the small clip on her waist. "Looks like we interrupted the boss during nap time. He didn't sound happy."

Shikamaru smirked. "He's got the right idea..." he trailed off nervously as Sakura glared at him, and then walked off. "Women," he muttered. "So troublesome."

Sakura and Shikamaru drew up in front of the small ramen stand. From under the curtain, they could spot the familiar orange pants of their hyperactive blonde friend seated at the counter, a baggier, dark blue set of leggings on the seat next to his. Despite the situation, Sakura could feel a smile inching on to her lips. She was seeing Naruto after quite a while and, she had to admit, had sorely missed his infectious good humour. Unfortunately their jobs left them little time to catch up with the other.

Sakura often offered Naruto a position as an official detective with the Konoha City Police force, but seeing as they would not accept Hinata, who had not had any formal training except from what Naruto had taught her, he decided firmly that he would not abandon his partner.

Another one of the traits that make Naruto such a great friend, he's loyal to a fault she quietly reflected as she pushed aside the curtains and made her way inside.

"... And that's how we, the amazing detective team of Hyuga and Uzumaki, solved the case and put an end to Kabuto's serial killing spree! The police were absolutely stumped 'till we came in! What would they do without us?"

A vein twitched on Sakura's forehead. She reached forward and knocked the blonde detective into his recently emptied ramen bowl with a well-aimed punch. "Hey!" shouted Naruto, his voice muffled by the bowl. He sat up with the bowl still on his face and 'looked' at where the punch had come from. 'Who did that? What gives?"

Sakura found herself control slipping away from her, no matter how hard she tried to maintain it. The sight of Naruto glancing around in anger with the bowl wedged tightly to his face was one of the funniest things she'd seen all week. She started giggling and Naruto froze.

Shikamaru ducked under the curtains to see what all the ruckus was about and snorted, an amused smirk playing about his lips. Naruto scratched at the back of his head sheepishly as he recognized the sounds of his friend's laughter at his expense. Even Hinata was struggling to keep a straight face, trying hard not to giggle at the sight her poor Naruto-kun had become.

Sakura reached forward, an amused smile gracing her features as she gently prized the bowl off Naruto's face. Slowly, the impossibly wide grin was revealed and as soon as the bowl was clear of his face, Naruto leapt at Sakura, enfolding her in a firm but gentle hug.

She returned it with a smile, then put her hands on his shoulders and held him at arm's length. "Naruto, it's time to get to work. We have a case we'd like yours and Hinata's help in..."

"But Sakura-chan!" Naruto said, pouting childishly. "I haven't seen you in ages! We have to chat and catch up with each other!" he sat back on the stool, crossed his arms in front of his chest and turned his face away in mock stubbornness. Hinata smiled at her partners' antics.

He really does act quite silly around Sakura. But that what makes Naruto-kun so cute, he's still in touch with that confident inner child I fell in love with.

"Later, after you help us solve this case," said Sakura, quickly falling into her all business demeanour. "After all, what would we do without Detective Uzumaki to solve the cases that leave us common police officers scratching their heads?"

Naruto scratched the back of his own head and looked down, grinning an apologetic grin. "I didn't mean it quite like that..." Naruto then looked Sakura in the eye determinedly, blue eyes piercing into green. The air of confidence that surrounded him seemed to intensify. He leaned forward. "So, tell me, who's dead?

7th Precinct Headquarters Mortuary, Afternoon

Naruto, Hinata, Sakura and Shikamaru stood around a small stainless steel table. Harsh white lights shone down on a body covered by a clean white cloth. Sakura nodded to the medical examiner, who adjusted her glasses and leant over to pull the cloth down.

Naruto gazed at the face before nodding to Hinata, who activated her Byakugan. "Male, mid-thirties, 5 ft. 2', name Hideto Ryuuji." he murmured, scribbling into an orange notebook he pulled out from his waist pouch.

Sakura started. "How did you know his name?"

Naruto mumbled an answer while writing, not taking his eyes off the notebook. "Met him when I when I… Uh… Went undercover in one of Takami Sayu's operations during a case."

Sakura was curious, and looked ready to ask more questions when Hinata piped up, cutting through, and effectively ending their conversation. The pinkette made a point to mentally file away the questions for another time.

"Cause of death: severed jugular vein and puncturing of the heart by multiple senbon. Time of death: level of rigor mortis and faint tint of cloudiness in the eyes indicate the victim died around 11:30pm to 12:30am." Hinata whispered to Naruto, slowly so he could get the information down in his notebook.

Sakura watched from the other side of the bench, clearly impressed. It never ceased to amaze her how good the pair were at their job. Shikamaru was glancing around the room, trying hard to mask his awe with an air of indifference.

The two officers jumped when Naruto snapped his notebook shut. "Well, that seems to be all we can get from here. Is there anything else we need to know?"

Hinata moved over to the coroners' desk and sat down quietly, relaxing as the Byakugan faded from her eyes, the veins sinking back below the skin.

Sakura ran her fingers through her hair. "Yes, but all the necessary files have been sent to your office. Hideto is just one more in a recent string of murders of Takami Sayu's henchmen. All were killed the same way; one senbon to disarm, and two more to kill."

Naruto looked thoughtful. "May I see the senbon?"

7th Precinct Headquarters Evidence Lockup, Afternoon

Sakura handed the sealed evidence bag to Hinata, who held it up to the light. "These senbon are an odd colour." She remarked. Naruto pulled out his orange notebook and scribbled down a quick description.

The senbon were a light yellow-brown in colour and rather delicate; it took Naruto very little effort to snap a small piece off the end of one of the senbon through the bag.

"Naruto! Don't destroy the evidence!" said Sakura sternly, but stopped when Shikamaru placed a placating hand on her arm.

"Just let the man work, he hardly does anything for no reason... When on the job." Shikamaru quickly amended when Sakura stared at him incredulously. She sighed in defeat, and handed a few more bags over to Naruto.

"Here are the senbon from the other victims. You find they are of the same type and brand, whatever brand this may be; we've yet to identify it. We do know however that chakra has been moulded into them while they were being made, making it easier for them to penetrate the target."

"Most senbon have some form of label or marking from the maker." Naruto said, gazing off into the distance. Those who were present knew this was one of his moments of insight, and everyone knew not to interrupt him during this time. His eyes, glazed over as he thought, quickly refocused as they locked onto Sakura's. "Do you have any I could take with me? Preferably one that did not enter a victim's body. I have a few tests to run."

"And what tests might those be?" Shikamaru piped up. "Never mind, you're not going to tell us now are you?"

Naruto grinned. "Nope."

Sakura reached into the box which held the few scraps of evidence from the case. She sighed and handed him a bag with a single shattered senbon. "This was a senbon from the first of the murders. We found it on the ground from where we calculated the killer stood. This one appears to have been dropped as three more of these senbon were found in the victim. Shikamaru here was the genius who stepped on it, compromising any potential fingerprints."

"Just one slip up and she doesn't let it go, nagging me about it at every turn. It's such a drag." murmured Shikamaru to Naruto, moving closer to him; mindful of Sakura's vengeance.

Naruto chuckled. "Well if that's all, Hinata-chan and I will head back to the office. It was nice seeing you again, you two."

"We'll catch up later, after the case is solved." Sakura promised.

Naruto looked at his long-time friend and crush. The crush had simmered down as they got older, but he still felt a twinge in his gut whenever he saw those beautiful jade eyes and bubble-gum pink locks.

He smiled softly. "I'd like that, Sakura-chan."

Uzumaki-Hyuga Detective Agency, Evening

Hinata knocked on the door to Naruto's office and upon hearing "Come in!" quietly opened the door, shifting the massive pile of folders in her arms to one hand. Naruto looked up as she entered and quickly jumped up to help her with her load.

"Hinata-chan, you know you don't have to knock right?"

"I'm sorry. I'll remember next time Naruto-kun." she looked down at her feet, pressing her index fingers together in her usual nervous tic.

Naruto smiled sadly. However hard he tried, he just couldn't get her level of self-confidence to rise. Granted, she had come a long way since they first teamed up, but there was still room for improvement.

He placed the files on his desk and quickly gave Hinata one of his surprise hugs. As expected, when he let go, Hinata was blushing and smiling. It's nice to know a simple hug still means so much he thought.

Plastering his trademark grin on his face, he leant forward, his face inches from hers. "So are you ready to catch a killer?

Hinata smiled and nodded. "L-let's do it Naruto-kun!"

They both turned to massive stack of files that Sakura had sent on the case and prepared for a long night of reading.

Takami Mansion, Night

Takami Sayu was not having a good day. She had just received the news that Hideto Ryuuji, her Sargent-at-Arms had been killed the night before, in the same fashion as her other subordinates. She slammed her fist on the desk, frustration pouring from her hazel eyes and taut shoulders. One of her men, a woman in fact, materialized in front her desk and bowed respectfully. She was dressed in dark blue, with a blood red scarf wrapped loosely around her neck. An X shaped sheath on her back held twin katana blades while a belt at her waist held two wakizashi. As she bowed, her scarf lightly brushed against the cream coloured carpet.


"What is it, Saeko?"

"I have the police report on the death of Hideto. He was killed in the same way as the others. Three senbon were used, one to disarm and two to kill."

"As I suspected. Saeko, I'm making it your mission to locate the killer."

Saeko bowed her head, her twin katana gleaming in the low lamplight like burnished bronze. Sayu always kept the lighting low in her chambers, it helped her concentrate, she would say. "If you please Milady, there is more. The police have approached Detective Uzumaki and he has agreed to collaborate with them on their investigation."

Sayu's face lit up for the first time in days. "Is he now? That is good news for us. With him on the case, the bastard who's hunting my men will be brought to justice. Saeko, your mission parameters have changed. When Uzumaki Naruto comes here tomorrow, I want you to assist him with his investigation. However, you will not make your presence known to the police, is that clear?"

Saeko straightened. "Yes Milady, but how do you know he will come?"

"My men are being killed. Unlike the police, Uzumaki-san is smart. He'll know to question me first is the only way to begin the investigation. You are dismissed."

"Yes Milady." Saeko vanished, leaving the spacious room feeling empty and quiet yet again. Sayu stood up from her chair and moved towards the large bay windows overlooking the city of Konoha. Her long, maroon, off the shoulder dress hung elegantly off her lean frame.

Sayu stroked her long cocoa brown hair thoughtfully as she gazed at the city lights. The city was vibrant and alive, the young men and women of the night were slowly appearing like moths to the flame, ready to indulge in another night of revelry. She stared at her reflection in the glass, wondering, not for the last time, as to the level of stupidity the killer possessed to think they could go around Takami Sayu's organization, killing whoever they please.

"Detective Uzumaki Naruto, with you on the case, things are sure to be interesting. I look forward to seeing you again tomorrow. But do you remember the debt you owe me? You gave me your word, and I'll hold you to it on your honour. I think the time has come for me to collect, to make good on that promise."

Sayu turned away from the floor to ceiling panes of glass, and strode purposefully to the door of her office. It's been a few years since we last spoke. I must be ready for Uzumaki-san's arrival. Prepare yourself, Detective.