Categories > Anime/Manga > Naruto > A Discordant Symphony

Chess Pieces on the Board of Life

by alethia_hartwood 1 review

In which chess isn't a game for begginers, Naruto gets worried and Tsunade is not a happy bunny.

Category: Naruto - Rating: PG-13 - Genres:  - Published: 2010-02-13 - Updated: 2010-02-13 - 1747 words

Still don't own it :(


“What’s taking Sakura so long? She’s normally very prompt.”

Sasuke and Naruto glanced at each other with identical frowns at Sai’s words. He was right - she generally arrived before the boys when they met up like this.

“Maybe she’s just in a meeting that’s overrun. It wouldn’t be the first time…” The blonde shrugged. “We’re in no great rush.”

“You might not be, but I have important business to attend to after this.”

“What do you mean by that, Sai?” Naruto bared his teeth in a childlike gesture. “Sakura’s more important than your stupid artwork - and who says I don’t have important things to do?” Although his tone was dark, all present could read from of his body language that he was more bored than angry.

“Oh, I’m sure you have, dickless - fetching cats from trees is, after all, such hard work…”

“You fu-”

The jônin‘s tirade was cut short by the appearance of a fist under his nose. “Naruto!”

“Sa- Sakura, he was say-”

“I don’t care. You should know better than to rise to his taunts.” She spun on her heel to an innocent looking Sai. “And you should have grown out of baiting him by now.”

Duly chastised, the pair simply scowled, knowing better than to protest.

“Sasuke, could you at least try? Lord knows I could do with another responsible adult around here.”

He merely raised an eyebrow and lifted the corners of his mouth enough to convince her that he enjoyed watching them bicker.

“But they are so confrontational, Sakura - I wouldn’t want to become embroiled in their petty arguments…”

Rolling her eyes, the pink haired woman turned and began to walk down the road towards the old quarter of the town, flanked by her team as they jumped off the wall they had been sitting on to follow her.

“Have you decided where you want to eat today?”

The men glanced at each other.

“You haven’t chosen for a while, Sakura. It’s your turn.”

“Oh?” She glanced round at the three. “Thanks.” The pink-haired woman paused in the middle of the street, biting her lip in a moment of unguarded thought which reminded Naruto and Sasuke of more innocent times.

It was so rare to see such remnants of her younger self that it heartened them to see that some of her habits hadn’t changed.

“How about we go to Mrs. Shin’s on Sand Street? The soup’s good.”

“Lead on, Miss Haruno.”

It took them only two minutes of roof-traversing to land them in front of the tiny shop - there was barely enough room for the six booths that had been crammed into the space, but they offered relative privacy and a pleasant atmosphere. Plus the soup was good.

Once they’d squeezed around the table next to the window (you cold never be too careful), the bustling Mrs. Shin pottered over to hand them two of today’s handwritten menus and inform them that, although they were all out of miso, she had some leek and onion broth that was freshly prepared ten minutes ago.

After ordering four bowls of the broth, one black coffee and three green teas, they settled effortlessly into the usual conversation topics and patterns they frequented so often when the company was more important than the words.

“So, anyway, I told Kakashi that I was paying for it, and he finally agreed to go and have a drink with me.”

“So you saw his face?”

Naruto’s face fell. “Not exactly…”

“What happened?”

“He said he never drinks anything before midnight… And by that time I was too pissed to remember what the hell he looked like.” After a moment of thought, the blonde added (to much laughter on the part of his friends), “And he cost me all my pay from my last mission, the bastard. I had no idea he drank so much..”

Recounting various missions and tucking into the food they had ordered, the next half hour flew by. It wasn’t exactly rare for the four to eat together, but it was a welcome experience nonetheless.

It wasn’t long, however, before the calm was shattered - a Uchiha fan had appeared, quite suddenly, on top of Sakura’s half-empty bowl.


Snatching it up before sharp eyes could read the words written in precise ink, not yet dry, across the folds of the silk paper, Sakura read the missive Itachi had sent to her with wide eyes.

“Guys… I have to go, I’m sorry - I’ll explain later, I promise-”

Before they could so much as leap up from their seats, she had disappeared in a flurry of petals.

“Tha- that was a Uchiha fan…” Naruto’s worried blue eyes rounded on Sasuke’s shocked face.

“And it was my brother’s handwriting.”

“Your… brother? As in the bloody-terrifying-master-of-a-bleeding-million-jutsus-and-head-of-the-effing-ANBU-brother? That one?”

“I only have that one.”



Itachi Uchiha had always been a very patient man - it was a requirement on surviving in the environment he had grown up in. However even he was growing increasingly tired of all the 'emergency' meetings that the civilian council were calling up. Every time they wanted to speak to one of the four shinobi leaders of Konoha - Tsunade, as Hokage, Daizou, as leader of Root, his father, as head of the police force and himself, as head of the ANBU, they felt the need to call all of them up. It really was getting ridiculous.

He had called his medic out of boredom, mainly, and as an excuse to enter the meeting late. He doubted she needed the experience - she'd worked with the godaime for long enough to have attended meetings like this one before - but no matter; it would be interesting for him to observe her whilst in the company of such 'important' people.

"Ahh, Haruno. Meeting room four, I believe."

Sakura nodded, hastening to catch up with the tall man ahead of her as he strode down a corridor. "What's it about?"

"Nothing of consequence, I am sure."

"Ah. One of those meetings."

"The ANBU has to be seen to cooperate with the rest of Konoha's factions. We wouldn't want them thinking we are a law unto ourselves."

The pink haired woman glanced sideways at her poker-faced superior. "Of course not."


The meeting ran fairly quickly - not fast enough to stop Sakura from feeling bored, but with enough done to speed it up to prevent her from slipping into a coma. So many of the council member‘s mission requests were shot down with a ‘We took care of him two weeks ago’ or ‘Her presence has been reported to Suna’ (and even one ‘They are under interrogation as we speak’) that she began to hope that he would run out of ‘issues’ before the time scheduled for the meeting ran out.

Her hopes were soon dashed.

"Item number 12..." The white haired council representative glanced down at the page in front of him, adjusting his glasses as they slipped down his nose. “The council received an invitation to the inauguration of the new Hoshikage.”

“The village hidden in the stars?” Tsunade frowned slightly. “I thought that their Kage only came into power not so long ago.”

“There was a coup, we know that much, but six months ago all our communications suddenly went dead.” Itachi paused, spreading his long fingers in a fan on the table. “Whether our informants were killed, received a higher offer, suddenly developed a sense of patriotic duty or decided to go into hiding we have been unable to ascertain.”

“You didn’t send your men in to find out?” The senior Uchiha in the room frowned at his eldest.

“Yes; they escaped with their lives, but we decided it prudent to withdraw, at least for the time being.” His expression darkened. “One of their number identified two previously missing-nin, last known affiliation Rain.”

“Previously?” Daizou’s bandaged head turned to face Itachi.

“They were seen with Star hitai’ate. What that portents for the future I am unsure of.”

“So we need a team to walk, relatively unarmed, into this vipers nest?”

The councillor nodded grimly. “To assess the situation if nothing else.”

For a moment, the room was filled with the silence that comes when important players begin to move pieces around upon the chessboards of their minds.

“What is Suna’s stance on this?”

Eyebrows twitched a fraction of an inch as each person sitting at the table realigned their strategies at their Hokage‘s words; there were more than two players in this deadly battle, after all.

“We should send someone who is known to them, someone who is already feared and respected.” Daizou put in.

A knight slid from it’s well-protected position on the back row.

“And a wild card; someone unknown in Star, a member of our ranks who will inspire hesitance and doubt.” Itachi smiled wryly. “No more than two, either - anymore will seem like a threat.”

Sakura’s eyes widened as she realised the identity of her superior’s intended knight.

A pawn moved behind it, backing up the piece from it’s right side.

Tsunade nodded. “But there has to be someone senior enough to show that we are taking this seriously, that if they are touched we will take action upon them.”

The pawn was replaced by a bishop.

“May I claim this for the ANBU? I have just the right team.”

Tsunade frowned. “I hope you aren’t thinking what I think you‘re thinking”

“Why? What is it you think I’m thinking?” Onyx eyes glittered.

“Itachi Uchiha. Do you live to make my life difficult?”

“Whatever makes you think that, Hokage-sama?”

The blonde rolled her eyes. “less of the cheek. Who would handle the ANBU whilst you were gone?”

“I’ve left them in the capable hands of Shikamaru Nara before now; I daresay I can convince him to take care of business again.”

“Nara?” Tsunade’s eyebrows rose. “I can’t imagine anything which would ‘convince’ him to do something so arduous.” She narrowed her eyes. “And since when did you ‘leave’ the ANBU? What were you doing?”

“… Do you have a Bingo book handy?”

Tsunade closed her eyes and rubbed her temples.

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