As a child, Naruto is found by Momochi Zabuza, believing he was abandoned he is driven by an undying thirst for vengeance, 14 years after Kyuubi attacked Konoha, Kirikaze Naruto returns to his vill...
Well, here's another Naruto story of mine, titled Hidden in the Mist! Anyways, you should have already noticed by now, but if you haven't, I'll clear it up for ya! This is an AU, where Naruto is raised by Zabuza and Haku. Later on (as in, the next chapter) they will get another teammate, and finally they will be admitted back into the Hidden Mist. A bigass influence on Naruto's character in this story comes from SerpentSannin's Puppet Master Naruto! Naturally, I didn't want to copy his character, so I made a few changes here and there... but you'll find that out in due time. Anyways, I'm scraping a few canon parts and going for logic, since there is no way in hell Naruto is younger than Sakura or Sasuke, if he really failed the Genin exam two times. Yeah, Naruto is fourteen.
Before I start, I have to apologize for the shortness of this prologue, but it's tough writing monologue's, y'know! The next few chapters will have similar length, but it'll get longer later on. The prologue doesn't introduce Naruto or any other major character, it's mostly Sarutobi talking to Konoha after the Kyuubi attack.
Lastly, I haven't settled on a pairing yet and I'm not sure if there will be one, but It's pending between NaruTenTen and NaruTem. No yaoi, or yuri for that matter (although I would've loved to put some in, I just don't have the talent to pull it off (yet!)) so those that are into that, get out, except for you yuri fans. You're cool, you can stay.
Without further delay, I present you...
--Hidden in the Mist--
--a Naruto story--
It was over! All the shinobi slumped back onto the ground, their breath quick and unruly. Sarutobi was leaning against his staff, just wishing to fade away so that the terrible heat would dissapear. His old weary eyes drifted to the giant red toad, surprised to see his succesor still standing. Knowing that the Yondaime may be on his last few breaths, he performed a Shunshin and appeared on the toad with a puff of smoke. Seeing the blonde Hokage on his knees caused him to hurry forwards and keep his student's student from falling unconscious.
"Minato-kun..." He whispered, gazing at the blonde in his arms. The man threw him a sickly grin before his face crunched up in pain and his body twitched uncontrolably. The ex-Hokage hugged the blonde tightly, as if to guide him through the momentary pain.
A few seconds passed, and the blonde calmed down. He finally opened his mouth, and with a weak, drained voice managed to shoot out a question.
"W-Where's m-my s-son?" The old man holding him looked away from the two piercing blue orbs... The Yondaime, as if all his strength had returned, sat up, a mixed look of surprise and dread on his face.
"Sarutobi, where's my boy?" The gray haired shinobi sent the younger Hokage a pained look, hoping that he'd understand and spare him from informing him vocally. Blue eyes widened and a few tears found their way down his chin. "No!! It can't be!!" He yelled, spit flying out his mouth, not that he cared. Right now, his son was the most important thing to him. For more than one reason.
"I'm sorry..." The former Fire Shadow whispered, with considerate regret evident in his voice.
Sarutobi was rubbing his temples, giving his best to restrain the coming headache. The masses were gathering, but it would be along time before they all gathered. Afterall, the news of the Kyuubi's defeat still hadn't reached everyone. And those that did hear about it were most likely doubting it. Not like he could blame them, if he wasn't an eye witness, he'd be hiding in the mountains.
With a sigh, he let himself plump into the chair. Feeling a momentary pain, he snapped a careless eye towards the two ANBU that were standing on each side of him.
"Kakashi, do you have the final reports?" The old man asked, and the ANBU with a dog mask shook his head.
"Unfortunately no. As of now, the victim count is as high as three-hundred and sevety-three Jounin, one-hundred and three Chuunin, and we still didn't find any Genin. The civilian count is much lower, since they were already in the mountain road since two weeks ago. Fifty-seven so far." The ANBU commander said without emotion, as if he wanted to be anywhere but here. But, one must furfill his duty.
The old man noticed this and called him on it. "I know you'd rather be at the hospital, but the village needs you. I need you, and I know Minato is stronger than you think, he'll pull through it." His drained voice spoke, awakening at least a bit of the ANBU commander's patriotic feelings for the village.
"Did you find his son?" Sarutobi inquired after what seemed like hours of silence. Once again, dog mask shook his head.
"No, I had my best squads comb the entire forest, more than once. They didn't even find a single string of hair." Sarutobi frowned.
"This... Have them comb out the nearby villages, perhaps a civilian of sorts found him. And send a squad of Inuzuka trackers after anything that smells even remotely like Minato." Sarutobi snapped.
"Will do." The ANBU commander said and dissapeared in a puff of smoke.
Sarutobi sighed once again and relaxed ever-so-slightly. Shortly after finding out that his son had dissapeared without trace, the Yondaime slipped into a coma. He would probably live, if his luck served him well. That caused a frown to form on the old man's already wrinkled face.
Minato had sacrificed his soul to the Shinigami in exchange for sealing the Kyuubi, and if he succeeded, there would be no coma. Only a body. With that realization, his eyes widened... That would mean that the fox was still loose... But... no... that just couldn't be true, besides, he saw ithe beast dissapear, tail by tai--!!
His eyes widened at the possibility, and without thinking it through, he motioned for the ANBU.
"Tenzou, I want the best seal master we have prepare a dozen Chakra Surpression Seals, then take a squad of Aburame to the forest. I want their bugs to sniff out any remnaints of the beasts's Chakra." He paused, "If you come across a fox that looks out of proportion, slam those seals on it the very second you see it." The ANBU nodded. "I want the reports of what you found on my desk by morning." After Sarutobi finished his sentence, the ANBU dissapeared in a puff of smoke.
Once again, the old man started to massage his temples, problem after problem seemed to appear. After this, he would almost definitely take a vacation... three years after passing on the title of Hokage to the best ninja he had ever seen, it was apparent that he was awfully out of shape.
Silently hoping that Jiraiya's blonde student would get out of this mess and spare him the pain of either taking the title back or giving it to someone who still didn't quite deserve it, the old man slumped back in his not-so-comfortable chair. His weary eyes were once again dead-set on the crowd that was gathering infront of the still standing Hokage Tower. Closing his eyes, he gathered all that he knew about his oncoming problems, and the paperwork that would no doubt come out of it.
Alright, so far, he had three reaccuring problems, and they werenaturally all connected by the red-furred demon that attacked them not less thantwelve hours ago.
First, the Yondaime's son, Naruto. Minato had sacrificed his life, his afterlife and the life of his son so that he could save the village. In the middle of it all, the fox had somehow managed to lash out at the giant toad and the Yondaime on top of it, causing the sealing to go unexpectedly wrong. The demon dissapeared, but so did it's vessell.
Naruto was just a baby, so the possibility of the small bundle actually standing up and simply walking away shouldn't even be considered. He frowned, the two most likely options were pretty grim.
The child could either be dead, not unlikely but still a possibility that had a small chance of happening, but he could've also have been found by someone and taken away.
Or, the least possible possibility, judging by his current luck, was that the child was still lying there in the forest, crying it's heart out. Sarutobi, with all the politeness a man of his stature could have, only managed one word. "Fuck."
And yet, that was not all. His succesor-slash-predecessor-slash-succesor again once he wakes up, was lying in a coma while he should, by all accounts be dead. Once you perform the Hakke no Fuuin Shiki and the Shinigami appears, it's over. He takes your soul in exchange for whatever you desire. Unless that is not possible, then nothing occurs. The Shinigami is a man... uh... creature? No, that would mean it's alive... thing! The Shinigami is a thing of it's word afterall.
Slightly amused by his inner conflict, Sarutobi got back to the matter at hand. Once you performed the seal, you die. There is no coma, nothing. Simple, painless, death—without the afterlife. But Minato was in a coma... a weak one at that, he would awaken in a week tops. And that meant that the deal wasn't furfilled, either completely or at all.
Which meant that the Kyuubi was still loose. Scowling at his revelation, he shook his head. No, no, that couldn't be. Hn... The most obvious proof to deny his theory was the fact that he existed at that very moment. And there certainly wasn't a rampant, raging, nine-tailed demon fox crashing mountains and causing tsunami's around him. Not as far as his eyesight went... Okay, that wasn't particularly reasurring, since he needed glasses to see anything further away from him than three feet.
Right, so that meant that only a part of the fox was out, and the other part was sealed in the infant that was still to be found. That was the reason why he sent those Aburame out for a chakra hunt, while he silently hoped that he was wrong, a small, quiet voice in the back of his head was telling him how true his suspicions really were.
Gods, he was tired, both in body and mind. Tired wasn't really the word for it, he thought, dead but breathing would be a more accurate term. Closing his eyes and taking a deep breath, he relaxed once again and then opened his eyes. The remnaints of the village were packed, and people were still flooding in from the gates. He decided that he'd wait for another ten minutes before starting his little speech.
Practically drowning in the troubles that weren't supposed to be his, he tried to relax, ignoring the noise of the external world. Using visualisation to isolate himself further from the outside world, he found himself sitting in a full-lotus position in a small and sunny clearing. It was... beautiful... and peaceful, oh so peaceful... beautiful contrast to the real world.
Instead of thinking of whatever was troubling him, he focused on the good points in his life so far. Not really finding much, Sarutobi slightly tensed. Then relaxed and slightly shifted his position, his head leaning towards the right, with his feet still entangled together. A spectator would wince when thinking of the pain the old man must be feeling in his legs, but Sarutobi didn't feel a thing... only sheer nirvana... so peaceful...
"Hokage-sama!" Abruptly brought out of his meditation, the slightly unnerved former Hokage snapped at his intruder.
"What?!" The man he identified as a Chuunin named Satoshi winced at the old man's tone before bowing once more.
"Hokage-sama, the village is packed, we can't take any more people. We must shut the gates!" Satoshi explained and Sarutobi grudgingly nodded. The Chuunin performed a single handsign and dissapeared in a puff of smoke. Several seconds later, the crowd shifted towards the exit of the village when the gates slowly but surely started to close.
Groaning sliently, the former Hokage of Konohagakure stood up. With slow steps, while clearing his throat, he approached the microphone. With a loud thump, the gates of Konoha closed and the murmuring amongst the crowd got louder by the second. Gathering his words, Sarutobi looked around the crowd and spotted some of his closest associates, who promptly nodded to him in an effort of encouraging him. Eh, easier said than done.
"My people!" He started and the crowd immedeatilly shut up. "A great tragedy has befallen on our village. Countless victims... shinobi and civilians alike... But we made it through!" He said almost victoriously, his voice booming across every corner in the village, his voice being absorbed by every listening citizen like a sponge.
"But at what cost?" Sarutobi whispered softly. He regained his composure and resumed with his speech. "No, your eyes are not deceiving you. I am the Sandaime Hokage of Konoha. The hero that saved us, the Yondaime, was willing to sacrifice his life to save us from the Kyuubi's wrath." This caused some hastened whispers in the crowd, but they were quick to shut their mouth when the former Hokage continued his speech.
"While he is not dead, he is in a coma. The medic's aren't sure about his condition, but so far, it is certain that he will wake up." He said while frowning, this certainly caused some commotion.
"But..." The old man started once again. "We have much more pressing matters at hand." Seeing the expected reaction, he continued.
"Our village is in ruin, it is not a matter of 'if' but a matter of 'when' Iwa or some other village attack us. Our forces are decimated, and we cannot defend ourselves." The whispers got louder and louder, until they weren't whispers anymore, but full-blown arguements.
"Silence!" Everything went quiet in an instant. "That... is why I'm calling for a country-wide mobilization." There was chaos. Konoha almost never utilized the services of shinobi that weren't born and raised in the village. There were exceptions, such as the ninja from Whirlpool country when their village was destroyed, or during the Second Great Shinobi War, when a certain white-haired boy from Suna was admitted into the Academy.
But... it had been more than thirty years since Konoha last called for the services of foreign shinobi (well, they weren't really foreign but...). And even then, they weren't even necessary! But for Konoha, the greatest of the Big Five to be this desperate... that was certainly a reason to be worried.
"We will send a representative to each minor village in Hi no Kuni, and some to the clans that don't live in Konoha." He paused for a brief second once he noticed that an ANBU had appeared behind him. "And we might need to ask the Daimyo for help."
Those people that weren't worried before certainly were now. Konoha had never asked their Daimyo for anything before. It was always the other way around. Hell, if you asked ten people in the village, at least seven of them wouldn't even know the Daimyo's name!
Meanwhile, the old man had created a Kage Bunshin that was talking to the ANBU that appeared.
"Sarutobi-san, the final reports have arrived." The ANBU commander started. "Four hundred and twenty one Jounin, one hundred and fifty two Chuunin, thirty one Genin and seventy seven civilians." The bunshin winced. "Six hundred and eighty one victims in total. Almost seven hundred. Quite the number, don't you think?" Kakashi said emotionlessly. The clone nodded and dissapeared in a puff of smoke.
Feeling the information sink in, Sarutobi winced. He prepared himself to continue his speech, when he heard a question amongst the crowd. "-should we ask the Daimyo for anything?" The old man blinked.
"What?" He inquired, before identifying the man who asked the question as one of Danzou's most favoured followers. The former Hokage rolled his eyes. Figures.
"Why should we ask the Daimyo for anything?" The slightly irritated voice repeated his question. Confused, Sarutobi cleared his throat.
"Care to elaborate, Shoukou-san?"
"I meant, why should we ask the Daimyo for anything? That would just be a sign of weakness, and any village could use it against us." The man identified as Shoukou noted, and several people around him nodded in agreement. He did have a point.
"No matter how right you think you are, we ARE weak at the moment." Sarutobi said with a scowl.
"The reason we need the Country of Fire's help is that any village could use our situation against us. I know how hotheaded some of you are with this topic but, there is no other choice." The man scowled, obviously not happy with the answer he received, but it would have to do.
"Now, the final reports have just arrived." He started. "The victim count is very high, almost seven hundred." Finishing his sentence, he winced the second he saw their reaction. "Six hundred and eighty one victims in total; four hundred and twenty one Jounin, one hundred and fifty two Chuunin, thirty one Genin and seventy seven civilians." The former Hokage finished. Frowning, he continued his monologue.
"This, is exactly the reason we will be needing the Fire Daimyo's assistance. On our own, we will not be able to rebuild the village. We need all the help we can get, this isn't a matter of pride, we simply need the help!" Sarutobi stressed. A scowl showed up on his face when he saw the glare in Uchiha Fugaku's eyes standing in the front row.
"Some of you," He paused, looking at the Uchiha head. "May think that this is a shameful move, that we are begging for help. It couldn't be further from the truth. By helping us, in essence, Hi no Kuni is helping itself. We are the source of it's military might, and without us they are as helpless as a rat when facing a snake." Content with the way the Uchiha's face lightened up a bit, he stopped, gathering his next words.
"However, the task of rebuilding the village is not the only problem we have right now." Almost instantly, the faces of various clan heads snapped towards him, as if predicting his next words.
"We have some... administrational issues as well." Frowning as he saw Danzou grinning, he continued. "We will have to set up a temporary council, and assign a temporary Hokage."
"Anou..." Hyuuga Hikari, the wife of the Hyuuga clan head Hiashi, who was in the hospital at the moment, spoke. "Does that mean that you—" Her question was interrupted by the answer.
"Yes." The old man spoke with certainty. "I will not take up the position, at all. Not even if the Yondaime dies. That is for certain." He failed to notice Danzou tensing when he heard his little slip-up.
'Hn. Heh, old man, you are getting senile afterall. Weren't you so certain that Namikaze would wake up before?' The retired shinobi general thought smugly, certain that he would find some use in this information.
Seeing the dissapointed look in the Hyuuga woman's pupilless eyes, Sarutobi let a small smile appear on his face. "I am too old, my time has passed." He noted sadly. With a quick recovery, he adressed the situation. "This will be properly debated over the council meeting however, it is not a matter to be discussed quite so openly." He noted seriously.
"However, I can assure you that he or she will be a great shinobi. That much is definite." With that, he sighed.
"We have yet another problem." He started darkly. "Though, this one is more personal." This got the attention of several clan heads.
"The Yondaime's child is missing." He didn't like the way Danzou's eyes darkened at this. He opened his mouth as if to say something, but he was interrupted by someone in the crowd.
"Sarutobi-kun," It was his former teammate, Koharu. "With all due respect, but why are we concerned with this? For all we know, he might be dead! It is a tragedy, I'm sure, but so are the other victims of the attack." Seeing the glare from Sarutobi, she took a step back.
"Because, Koharu-chan," He started in a mocking tone. "Because, he is the container." He finished darkly, noting the shocked looks from some smarter people in the crowd, as well as those who were clueless.
"T-the container? W-what do you mean, Hokage-sama?" One of the 'braver' and richer civilians asked, earning a glare from the man he adressed.
"First of all, I'm not the Hokage anymore. Second of all, what, did you really think an immortal demon could be killed?" Seeing that they were slowly realizing what he was saying, he decided to go all the way.
"You can't kill it. It's not possible. What you can do, however, is seal it. Which is the only way to defeat it." He finished.
"Th-then that means--!!" Inuzuka Shinto, the head of the Inuzuka clan yelped.
"Minato-kun's child, the one that is missing..." He started, his eyes distant.
"Is the container of the Kyuubi no Youko."
Yo again! Hope you liked it, if there were some parts that felt rushed... it's because they were. I was writing furiously the last couple of days, passing by dozens of drafts, since I was long overdue, finally, I settled on this little piece of work. Meh, can't say I'm really satisfied, but I'll manage.
Anyways, I'll probably update Job Description: Assassin next, after that maybe I'l get to write the long anticipated second chapter of School of Cool... if you want to thank anyone for the long wait, by all means, do pay a visit to RyushiTheDutchEroSennin, my dear partner on the fic that still hasn't given me his part on chapter two. And after that, I'll see you guys again back here! The next chapter is fourteen years later, the Chuunin Exams where we meet Team Zabuza! Sadly, there won't be a lot of action, but what the hell.
So... see ya next time I suppose.