Categories > Anime/Manga > Naruto

The Price of Pride

by VFSNAKE 2 Reviews

A little one-shot I came up with after reading Snafu the Great's fic Consequence

Category: Naruto - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Angst,Drama - Characters: Jiraiya,Naruto - Published: 2012/07/01 - Updated: 2012/07/01 - 4793 words - Complete

The Price of Pride

CLANG!

CLANG!

CLANG!

CLANG!

CLANG!

Those were the sounds coming from the a blacksmith's shop in Spring Country, as a man with blonde hair, blue eyes, and faded whisker marks worked on some metal for a sword he had been commissioned to make for a client. It would take a few more weeks refining and honing the metal to be a sharp piece of weaponry that only a sword he made could be in the hands of a skilled swordsman. Finishing up for the day, the man put his materials away, and went to the front of his shop after a buzzing sound went off in the forging area indicated he had a possible customer enter.

Only to glare at who had entered his shop.

"You shouldn't be here. The Spring Daimyo specifically banned all Leaf Shinobi from the village and that includes any Shinobi with the title of Sannin," said the blonde with the man in front of him looking at him with a playful smile.

"I had to. I'm actually ashamed to say it was rather difficult to track you down and should have realized you'd go here if not to Wave Country," said Jiraiya with Naruto scoffing at him like he was stating the obvious.

"I did go to Wave Country first. I stayed there for a few Months, but then Tazuna told me about some ANBU from the Leaf snooping around, and let me take a small discreet boat all the way here. I wasn't about to put his entire family or even Wave Country in danger for having me there," said Naruto with Jiraiya looking surprised by this.

"No doubt Danzo thought he could somehow undo the chakra seals put on you after your exile," said Jiraiya with Naruto again scoffing.

"You would know all abut them since it was by your hands they were even placed on me after the order came down. You didn't even fight it. Didn't plead, beg, blackmail, or argue with anyone during that sentencing on my behalf. You said nothing in my defense for the mission to bring Sasuke back being a failure," said Naruto with the man in front of him letting out a sigh of what seemed like defeat.

"I know. I'm sorry Naruto," said Jiraiya with the blonde man of 18 years scowling at him.

"Your...sorry? That's it? That's all you have to say on the matter? Just that...your sorry?" said Naruto with angry edge in his voice.

"I am. Look Naruto, the village is in dire straights, and we need your help. Konoha needs your help," said Jiraiya with the blonde's blue eyes hardening.

"You mean Konoha needs Kyuubi. They want me to be their weapon again. Something they didn't want from the start. Only now on the brink of destruction does your pride in being the strongest give way and the sudden need to eat crow just to survive," said Naruto with Jiraiya flinching at his words.

So you heard the news huh?" said Jiraiya seeing Naruto's face become a little calmer before he let out a shrug.

"Difficult not to hear. My shop gets a lot of customers. Samurai, Shinobi, bandit, and even mercenary wanting what I've got with information being exchanged in return for them getting a nice discount. From what my sources tell me, the Leaf is all alone, and has no one backing them up anymore against the Akatsuki. All the other Jinchuriki are dead save for myself and Gaara though he was saved at the last minute by Leaf Shinobi while that old hag gave what was left of her life to bring him back from the dead. The Akatsuki is weak right now, needing one more Jinchuriki to make all their plans come true, and yet because of the sealing off of my chakra with the heavy duty seals ever made they can't do it. All of their planning. All of their scheming. All their efforts foiled by your sealing of my chakra and the Kyuubi's too. I can't even go into my mind to talk to him and believe me I've tried since a conversation with the fox was much better then being all alone after being exiled," said Naruto before taking out a cig and lighting it with Jiraiya wincing again.

"Yeah. After that happened, the Akatsuki imploded on itself, and its members were all suddenly killing each other off. Only a select few remain, but they are considered by far to be the most powerful, and most skilling Missing Nin out there," said Jiraiya with the blonde Uzumaki nodding in agreement.

"I know. After that happened, the Akatsuki is considered a minor threat these days with the statue holding the Biju being lost in the summoning realm thanks to the ability to summon it was lost to its designated leader during the fighting," said Naruto blowing out some smoke with Jiraiya frowning at him.

"How do you know that? And do you have to smoke? Its bad for your health and you don't have Kyuubi's healing abilities to prevent lung cancer" said Jiraiya with Naruto just smirking at him.

"Because I was there. I was there to give Kyuubi to them that day and the moment they realized it was impossible because of my chakra being sealed off...they turned on each other in a fit of rage. One of them with an orange mask...did something with his one eye that looked a lot like the Sharingan, but in the middle of getting the attack ready, his aim was off because of the one woman there with the ability to manipulate paper struck the side of his masked face. The statue was sucked into a dimensional vortex, never to be seen again, and the Biju sealed inside to be lost forever. I'm the only one with a Biju inside of him, but because of your actions, I can't use it, and when I die...the fox will die with me. As for smoking, this is my place, and I'll do whatever the Hell I want. Besides, if your worry for lung cancer from smoking was real, you would have convinced the old man, and his son to quick years ago. Maybe they'd have been in better health when they fought their enemies responsible for their deaths, and not perished in battle," said Naruto seeing Jiraiya was shocked by this news.

"That's cold Naruto," said Jiraiya with Naruto just looking back with cold eyes.

"So is life. One of the few things the village actually taught to me that actually stayed in my mind," said Naruto simply.

"Back to the Akatsuki...why did you go with them?" said Jiraiya seeing Naruto smirk and walk over to examine some of the weapons he made with a sense of fondness.

"Out of spite. Spite for you, the Hokage, the Councils, Clan Heads, and the people of the Leaf village in general. I wanted to do something that would make them regret hating and exiling me from the village for what I held while using the failed mission to retrieve the Uchiha as an excuse. How is the idiot anyway? I hear his brother very kind to him when they met after three years of training from Orochimaru," said Naruto smirking and the Sannin rubbing his long white spiky hair.

Sasuke had trained under Orochimaru, gotten stronger, master his Curse Seal, and went after Itachi against the Sannin's orders knowing the man wouldn't hurt him because of his value in being a new host. However, what Sasuke didn't know was Itachi was in no mood to deal with his little brother, and was furious at the younger Uchiha. Why? From what Sasuke had told the Hokage through his wired shut jaw, Itachi had told him the real truth about the Uchiha Clan Massacre happening, the deal struck in sparring Sasuke's life that allowed the deed to happen, and that nothing happened to Uzumaki Naruto in terms of being the village scapegoat.

Despite Itachi being a member of the Akatsuki, the man had been one of the few of the blonde's competent bodyguards growing up, and been fond of Naruto even though he never really showed it. To Itachi, the Uzumaki was everything he wished Sasuke would be in terms of wanting to work hard, and earn things rather then just demand them. After the Uchiha Massacre happened, Itachi had done everything in his power to protect Naruto while in the organization by feeding Jiraiya information, asking about the gaki, and what to train him in to combat several of its members when the time came to destroy it.

After Sasuke defected to Orochimaru, word reached Itachi about Naruto's exile, and his chakra being sealed away along with the Kyuubi's being unable to do anything. Itachi had blamed Konoha's governing body for their backing out of the deal and even Sasuke for being so stupid for going to Orochimaru for power. When the time came to fight Sasuke, the plan to have his little brother kill him had changed to simply beating the crap out of the spoiled boy, and never have any kind of power ever again.

Hence why Sasuke's was paralyzed from the waist down, his eyes had been ripped out, and crushed by Itachi himself before breaking the Uchiha's jaw in several places on both side. Itachi had wanted to smash any chance of Konoha having a pretty boy Uchiha being with a woman and having Uchiha offspring to raise for their village to use as weapons.

"We can fix this Naruto. Look, you remember when I told that the seals used to cut off your connection to your chakra, and Kyuubi were permanent? The truth is, I altered them a pinch from the usual standards for such a punishment so in the event we ever needed you back, I could undo the sealing, and your chakra would be useable again. I have the signed order of Tsunade herself! We'll give you anything you want. Name it!" said Jiraiya with Naruto smiling more though it was an empty smile.

"Anything? Anything I want?" said Naruto with Jiraiya nodding quickly.

"Yeah! Name it. We can give you money. All the women you could want. Status in being the Head of the Namikaze or Uzumaki Clan in Konoha to make all those previous things happen," said Jiraiya hopefully while Naruto laughed cruelly at him.

"You think I want those things? From Konoha no less? You actually think that I can be bought like some cheap whore? Like I'm a Shinobi or mercenary willing to serve your cause for the right price? No. I'm not interested," said Naruto giving him a fake smile and went back to looking at one of his daggers.

"What?! Naruto we need you! Konoha needs you!" said Jiraiya before Naruto grabbed the dagger and threw it at the Sannin with incredible speed with the object hitting the wall behind the older man with a chunk of his white hair being pinned to it in the process.

"Like I said before Jiraiya-san. You and Konoha need Kyuubi. Not me. Kyuubi! I'm not giving you what you want. I'm not going to be your weapon. If anything, I would be the weapon of your enemies, and see them win over the Leaf. Its high time Konoha paid the price in becoming too proud of themselves. It wasn't enough that all its allies and trade agreements I earned the Leaf village in getting while in its service were broken after my exile became known to everyone outside of Fire Country. I think the people in Konoha really need to suffer and the only way for them to suffer...is to have the enemy destroy what you value most deep down at the bottom of their heart," said Naruto seeing Jiraiya look at him in horror for saying such words.

"What about those that missed you? The Konohamaru Corps.? The people at the ramen stand? Hinata for Kami's sake! That girl loves you!" said Jiraiya with Naruto scowling at him now.

"You don't think I don't know that little fact?! I know Hinata loves me. She confessed to me before I left. How she was sorry for not saying anything sooner. How she hated being so weak and shy while being unable to tell me despite knowing I had the Kyuubi sealed inside my body. Not that it matters anymore. In a week, she will married off to a noble in Lightning Country to get the Raikage to make peace with Konoha, but let's face facts, we both know that such an offer of peace is a farce Jiraiya, and that the moment she's over the invisible line that separates Fire Country into Lightning Country...Kumo gets exactly what it wants. That noble has cousin in Kumo, who is a Shinobi, and there is no doubt in my mind the Raikage is licking his chops at finally getting a live Hyuuga on his side of the fence," said Naruto sadly while a tear was shed for the woman knowing Hinata had become a real stunner.

"Give me a chance Naruto. We can even find a way for Hinata to stay. Hell, just say the word, and I'll get the two of you hitched!" said Jiraiya before another dagger was thrown at him that cut through his right cheek.

"You still don't get it! Do you Jiraiya? There is nothing you have to offer that I want! I'm not the same naive Uzumaki Naruto you knew all those years ago. Time changes people and their perceptions of the world. I don't believe in fighting anymore for anyone. I just make the weapons so other people do it in my place. Granted, I'm no pushover from you just witnessed twice already, as I do keep what skills I can that don't involved chakra to be sharp, and keep the more...dishonorable clients from forcing me to give them weapons for free under the disguise of them being gifts," said Naruto before pulling another dagger hanging off the wall and examining it.

"Naruto please! There are people in the Leaf, who do still care about you, and want you back if just to say that much!" said Jiraiya with Naruto letting out an empty laugh.

"You mean the old man and Ayame at the ramen stand? Hardly. Don't think I don't know all about their drugging my ramen to make my mind sluggish or those times when they poisoned me on my birthday when Ayame visits with her 'Naruto Birthday Special' in hand. They burned away quite a few deadly poisons while trying to figure out the best one to kill me," said Naruto with Jiraiya flinching and wondering how the brat figured that out.

"How did you discover what they did?" said Jiraiya with Naruto smirking at him.

"I stole one of their...'secret recipes' from the ramen shop just before my exile became official, and thinking I would miss their cooking when gone. But after looking it over, I soon noticed some of the ingredients were not standard cooking items put in ramen, and after doing a little bit of research...I found out what they were," said Naruto seeing Jiraiya flinch once more.

"And the Konohamaru Corps.? Are you going to leave them to die or worse?" said Jiraiya seeing Naruto frown for a second in thought.

"They're strong. They always have been. They just need a good teacher to bring out their potential and...there is no better teacher then real life experience. Isn't that what taught me when throwing me into the ravine? When finding the old bitch?" said Naruto with Jiraiya scowling at him.

"Don't call her that," said Jiraiya in a deadly voice.

"Why? Its true. She's an old, dried up, spineless, and over the hill bitch!" said Naruto with Jiraiya's eyes becoming murderous.

"Don't say that again Naruto," said Jiraiya with Naruto smirking at him.

"Why? Can't handle the truth?! I sure did when learning of my supposed relationship to you...my Godfather," said Naruto venomously at the end with Jiraiya feeling the hairs on his neck stand on end.

"Who told you?" said Jiraiya with Naruto shaking his head at him.

"Do I have to answer every question or are you just that stupid? Surely the Toad Boss himself gave the reason when he took your name off his summoning contract?" said Naruto with Jiraiya frowning at him.

'That wasn't all the Toads took from me that day,' thought Jiraiya with the memory of being reversed summoned to face the Elder Toad, Ma, Pa, and Gamabunta with them demanding an explanation for his actions along with the rest of Konoha exiling Naruto after sealing off his chakra.

The answer to their questions was less then pleasant. Gamabunta had terminated the Toad Summoning contract with Jiraiya while Ma and Pa Toad had stripped the Sannin of his powers of the Sage Arts. They called him a hypocrite, liar, and traitor being among the few choice words they used before beating him in less then a fraction of an inch of his life with Tsunade almost looking him on three times when trying to save him. Even worse for Konoha was every summoning contract the village had become void when the Toad Boss told every summons of the village's actions. Katsuyu the Slug Boss had been extremely upset with Tsunade, appearing before the woman after the Sannin failed to summon her six times, and told the blonde Senju she betrayed the principles of her very family by letting Naruto be exiled. Tsunade had tried to explain her reasons to Katsuyu, but the Slug Boss wouldn't hear it, and told the Hokage not to try summoning the slugs ever again...unless she wanted to shower in flesh melting acid.

"They came to me after my exile happened and I had just made it to Spring Country to seek an audience with the Daimyo. She granted me citizenship and easily got me a place of my own tax free. I didn't have much skill in anything so I became a student of a semi-retired blacksmith and he told me I had a real knack for it. Said I was a real prodigy. I was the best student he ever had and glad I was no longer a Shinobi. We use to joke about how my teachers thought I was a disgrace because I didn't follow their teaching methods, but in reality it was my teachers, who were the disgrace, and shouldn't be teachers since they can't teach to save their lives," said Naruto harshly while Jiraiya couldn't look him in the eyes.

"So that's it then? You're just going to let Konoha burn? Innocent and guilty alike will perish because you want to teach everyone in it a lesson. Even Iruka?" said Jiraiya seeing Naruto look away now from him.

"There are no innocent people in Konoha anymore. Not for long anyway. Besides, we both know Iruka's act of friendship to me was a fake, and only did so because he feared the risk of Kyuubi getting out after what Mizuki told me about holding the fur ball in my gut," said Naruto sadly while thinking of the Konohamaru Corps. no doubt were going to die and Hinata would be off to be a breeding machine for a noble in Lightning Country while one of the offspring becomes a Shinobi of Kumo.

"But if you sided with the Leaf, it wouldn't be that way, and you could show people that you're not a monster," said Jiraiya with Naruto scowling at him.

"No. Just their pet. A dog on a leash for them to pull and direct whenever they wish to fight for them. I'd rather be a free dog without his fangs, then be an attack dog that didn't have freewill, and served cruel Masters," said Naruto simply before pointing to the door so Jiraiya would get the hint of leaving.

"I'm not leaving here without you Naruto," said Jiraiya with Naruto's eyes narrowed at him.

"Yes you are. Get out of my shop Jiraiya. Get out of my shop. Get out of my sight. Get out of my life! I don't want to see you again. Not now. Not ever. If you die in this war, I'm not coming to your funeral, or the old hag's if there is even one. You tell the people in Konoha that their long lost savoir and hero has heard their pleas for help. Heard them loud and clear from your mouth Jiraiya. Tell them their cries fell on deaf ears of the hero they scorned and refuses to help them just like they refused my Father's dying wish. Tell them they now know what its like to feel surrounded on all sides by enemies, alone, and no one coming to their rescue no matter how loud they cry for help. I took my fair share of beatings when I was younger Jiraiya. Now its their turn to take theirs," said Naruto before jabbing a pointed at the door once more.

"The only difference is they won't survive it," said Jiraiya before walking to the door.

"No. The only difference is none of them are Jinchuriki and can heal from such abuse. I won't ask you politely again Jiraiya. Get out, go back to Konoha, and face your death like a man. Don't run out on it like you did your responsibilities in raising me just to peep on women," said Naruto with Jiraiya looking away from him while at the door and being mere moments from leaving.

"For what its worth Naruto...I am sorry and so is Tsunade," said Jiraiya before he was out the door and gone entirely.

"Not sorry enough. Isn't that right...Kyuubi?" said Naruto to himself with a grin and the fox inside of Naruto grinned evilly too.

"A well played performance kit. You should get an award for that. Still, it was a bit of a pain in keeping my power along with yours suppressed to the point where he couldn't sense it flowing out of you," said Kyuubi, as the two had long since found the tweaking Jiraiya mentioned, and used it to break the seals that held back his chakra.

Of course, they did that after the attempt at extracting the fox by the Akatsuki had failed, and they started fighting amongst themselves soon after. Naruto had actually talked to Itachi and convinced the Uchiha to plant serious doubts in everyone's heads on how the extraction of the Kyuubi might not work. Make them feel that joining the group had been all for nothing and plant the suggestion in the more violent members that getting back at one another in a violent way was the best revenge. Madara had tried to use his Sharingan eye on Pein, but the woman named Konoha had interfered, and shot the statue holding the power of the other eight Biju with its power to send it Kami knows where.

Amid the chaos, Naruto got away from the fighting group of S-Class Missing Nin, and let them turn on each other like bloodthirsty animals.

'I really should. Maybe Koyuki will let me be in her next movie if I ask politely,' thought Naruto with the fox letting out a laugh.

"Won't that piss Konoha off. Ha! Now get moving kit. You have about less then a week before your future mate leaves the village to be some noble's unsatisfied woman," said Kyuubi with Naruto narrowing his eyes since he remembered that all too well.

'I'm just glad the Konohamaru Corps. were able to convince the old bitch to provide the escort into Lightning Country. By the time Tsunade realizes what's happened, the Leaf will look either incompetent, or look like they reneged on the deal out of pride,' thought Naruto before heading to his room upstairs to get dressed.

He couldn't save his future mate looking like blacksmith after all.

(Nearly a Week Later)

The white carriage carrying a depressed Hyuuga Hinata was being driven by one Sarutobi Konohamaru while his two teammates were with the Hyuuga herself. This was done to help ensure she did not try to flee or possibly...stain the carriage red with her own blood. Some women in arranged marriages, who were denied the chance to be with the one they love had at times, in an act of defiance to their parents, and the arranged husband to be they didn't love did such things in order to end their lives.

They trio were assigned by Tsunade to get Hinata to Lightning Country alive, unharmed by any outside forces, and protect her most likely from any defiant impulses that could ruin this chance at peace between the two villages. With Kumo no longer having a reason to fight them by having Hyuuga Hinata, the Leaf could focus on Iwa, and repelling the village that had a grudge against them from the start. Suna wasn't going to help, as it had cut all ties with Konoha, and Tsunade her ungrateful people were on their own from now on.

The only comfort the Leaf had was Orochimaru's and Kabuto's mysterious deaths at the hands of someone the war with the Akatsuki with some suspecting it was Itachi. But the Uchiha had been off the radar after the organization imploded and suspected of being in hiding due to his eyes having long since expired by this point in terms of sight.

Nevertheless, it was necessary that Kumo no longer fight them, and Hinata was the key to peace if only for a short time.

"Don't worry Hinata-chan. Everything is going to be all right," said Moegi, as she put her hand on Hinata's, and the Hyuuga woman smiled a weak smile at her.

"I'm sure it will be," said Hinata before looking down at her hand and wishing Naruto was here to hold it.

"We're here!" said Konohamaru with Hinata tensing at first knowing this was it for her, but frowned when getting out to see she wasn't in Lightning Country, and was actually in...Wave Country!

"This isn't Lightning Country," said Hinata before seeing a ship come in, as a dashing looking blonde with blue eyes, and whisker marks on his cheeks.

It was Uzumaki Naruto. Her crush. Her love. Her everything!

"How correct you are my hime!" said Naruto appeared wearing standard Shinobi attire of a Jounin and an orange trench coat with the kanji for "Fox" being on the back.

"Naruto-kun!" said Hinata, as she leaped into his arms and kissed him right on the lips with all the passion possible.

"I'm here Hinata-chan. Just like I promised when I sent that letter to you after hearing about the marriage and how I had a plan to free you," said Naruto after breaking the kiss.

"I know. When you didn't show up at the village to free me, I feared something had happened, and with each second passing while on the road my fear grew," said Hinata with Naruto soothing her now.

"Its all right now Hinata-chan. Your stupid arranged marriage in Lightning Country won't happen now. We're going to Spring Country and were getting married!" said Naruto with the Hyuuga woman letting out a squeal of joy before kissing him again.

"As much as we like seeing you two get all mushy with the romantic stuff, we need to go before, and fast if we're going to pull this off," said Konohamaru before getting punched by Moegi for interrupting a romantic moment.

"Right! Get on the ship you three. I'll take care of the situation with the carriage so we cover our tracks," said Naruto before he made four special Shadow Clones, each one had explosive tags on them, and henged into their assigned occupants.

The carriage was then sent on its way to Lightning Country where the noble would meet his future "bride"...only to meet a very explosive end that would make Kumo go to war with Konoha without question. Such an act would bring about an end to the Leaf without question and Tsunade wouldn't be able to talk her way out of it since she had assigned those three to the carriage herself.

Konoha's "Will of Fire", which they preached about was going to burn them badly, and when the war was over...it would be burned out of Fire Country completely!

FIN!

(A/N: YAY! I updated. Had this running around in my head too and had to write it. Snafu the Great actually brought about the inspiration with his fic Consequences. Check it out! Until next time...PEACE!!!)
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