Naruto Fan Fiction ❯ Training for the Job ❯ Volume 4 Chapter 3 ( Chapter 63 )

[ Y - Young Adult: Not suitable for readers under 16 ]
Volume 4 Notes: Remember a while back I said I wasn't quite sure what all I'd be doing with Moegi's sudden connection to the kyuubi? I know I'd already used it a time or two before, but now, guess what. I figured her role out... and it's happening this chapter. I wish I could say that the long delay was because I was writing a really, really long chapter, but I can't. A higher-end of the average range, yes, but the delay was actually caused by a cold (with flu-like symptoms) that made it impossible to write for several days. Sorry.
Chapter 3
Shikamaru found Tsunade where he had found her each morning of the week since the arrivals from Blossom. She was always awake, alert, and sitting in the makeshift hospital room they had placed Naruto and Sakura in, sitting and staring at them. She obviously was writing something the entire time that she sat there, but he didn't know what it was and she was always just chewing on her pen instead of writing whenever he came through the door. A couple times, he'd found Jiraiya or Kakashi waiting with her, but usually she was alone. It disturbed him, somewhat -- not just her unusually sober behaviour, but the way she seemed so obsessed with the health of these two people. He understood, to some extent -- he kind of liked Naruto and Sakura, too -- but he had seen her care for people she liked, before, without showing nearly this much concern. It was quite apparent she was planning something... although the big question was what. And what it had to do with these two, if anything.
This morning, there was someone new waiting with her. Anko, who Shikamaru only vaguely recognized as one of the instructors for his chuunin exam, was sitting at Naruto's bedside. Tsunade, herself, was staring not at her usual targets of Naruto and Sakura, but at the dark-haired woman. The hokage looked pale and shocked, and Shikamaru wondered just what was going on. "Hokage-sama?" he whispered gently, trying to break the unusual tention in the room.
She ignored him, focusing on Anko. "There are times I think of him as my own child. Both of them, actually."
Anko nodded. "I'm glad. I wish I had the luxury to... to..."
"You will," Tsunade snapped, shaking her head as if to clear it. "I'll be sure of that."
"You will!" she repeated forcefully. "He... he deserves it, after all, and so do you."
"Hokage-sama?" Shikamaru said once more, a bit louder, hoping that she would acknowledge his existance at the very least.
"Oh, Shikamaru-kun," she said, startled as if she didn't know he had been there. Which was patently ridiculous, since she was a ninja and should be more observant than that... but it seemed to be quite genuine to him. "What... why are you here? And... how much did you hear?"
He grimmaced wryly. "Well, I heard you say you thought of them as 'your own children,'" he replied. "But that was the only thing I was able to understand."
That wasn't quite true. Shikamaru suspected that, if he spent long enough thinking about what he knew and what had been said, he could probably figure out what was going on. That knowledge, he feared, would have been rather... troublesome, was the word he wanted. It would have probably been yet another big secret he would have to keep despite not wanting to. He really hated this job... but, then again, he hated just about every job he'd been given to date.
"So," Tsunade said, apparently changing the subject. "How was the Sand Ambassador this morning?"
Shikamaru sighed. The 'Sand Ambassador,' a.k.a. Temari, had been living with him for a couple years now, and he was constantly being teased over it. Truthfully, he was getting almost everything he wanted out of life -- he'd spent long enough as a ninja he could retire with a nice pension, marry, and have a few kids. That Temari wasn't exactly 'not too pretty' was a bit of a problem with his intention of marrying someone 'not too ugly, not too pretty,' but not an unpleasant one. Although he supposed he might be a bit biased in assessing Temari's beauty, so perhaps he would manage it... when he married her. She still found him too annoying to say 'yes' when he asked her to marry him, but it was only a matter of time. He was wearing her down, and... well, the sex was pretty good on both their parts, he felt -- good enough she wouldn't want to give it up if it came down to it, and he might force the issue with that. Was it cruel to target a girl for marriage and use sex as part of an ultimatum in that regard? Well, perhaps, but he was fairly certain she was just looking for an excuse to marry him despite his being 'annoying,' and if it helped her to be 'forced' into the marriage, so be it.
Still, being asked about 'how the Sand Ambassador was' by the hokage, each morning, was starting to get a bit troublesome. "Well enough," was all he said after containing his annoyance.
"Still not said 'yes,' yet, huh?" Tsunade asked, smirking. "You know, 'tricking' a girl into marriage doesn't always work. She's more likely to want to be the one to 'trick' you into it..."
Shikamaru's eyebrow twitched. "Perhaps I should be tricking her into tricking me, then. I'm not sure she cared enough to try anything on her own."
Tsunade giggled slightly. "Hm. What you don't know, I suppose, won't hurt you... in this case." She paused, then gestured to Naruto and Sakura. "Let her know I'm going to want to see her when they wake up. I've got some official business with her regarding them."
"Regarding what?" Shikamaru asked. Perhaps he would finally learn whatever it was Tsunade was spending all of her time working on, lately. As the hokage's assistant, he had thought he would learn things like that much sooner then anyone else... but apparently not. She hadn't confided in her for... well, just about anything, and he was often the last to know when there was important information he needed to know. He wasn't quite sure what to make of it, and had to wonder just how Shizune had dealt with it all.
"You'll know soon enough, I'm sure," came the answer -- one he had heard all too often, before. But then she added something he wasn't expecting. "She will have permission to discuss it with you, of course, and I doubt she'd keep it a secret from you anyway, but I'm going to ask both of you to keep whatever I tell her to yourselves. I don't want anyone outside of certain select individuals to know anything about this... and that includes Naruto and Sakura."
Shikamaru blinked. "Uh... sure."
"Have the people of Blossom begun their day of liberty, yet?"
"Konohamaru left alone to see his clan, and Hanabi left with Moegi and the baby. The rest of them should be heading out as a group, soon," Shikamaru said. "To the best of our knowledge, their departure went relatively unnoticed."
"I'm still not sure of this," Tsunade sighed. "But we had to do something. If anyone tries anything, it'll be in daylight hours, at least... and it should cut down on some of the public demand to visit 'relatives.' Plus it'll let Konohamaru and Moegi introduce their new baby to the families. But the risks are still very high."
"We have agents posted all over the place to keep an eye on things," Shikamaru sighed. "If anyone tries anything, we'll be able to react in time. Everything should be fine."
* * * * *
"I really have to thank you for this," Moegi said. "I realize this might be a bit uncomfortable for you, after all."
Hanabi had expected to have to push the crippled girl down the street in her wheelchair, but it turned out that was not the case at all. Instead, she had been given the baby, Dashi (whose family name had yet to be determined as both Moegi and Konohamaru kept their family names when they married), to carry while Moegi pushed herself down the road on her own. The Akimichi girl viewed it as 'exercise,' and Hanabi couldn't fault her on that.
So, she wound up carrying the baby... which was a bit awkward. It wasn't that Hanabi disliked babies -- although one could hardly say she saw what was so 'fun' and 'special' about them. They were just... immature human beings, and that was that. She wasn't one to fawn over them or anything like that. She wasn't entirely against the idea of having her own kids some day, but she wasn't exactly looking forward to it... nor was she entirely sure she which of her male lovers she would rather have father her children when the time came, if either of them. She remembered a few times when she had been given 'babysitting' duties as a genin, and that experience had soured her opinion on the 'joys of motherhood,' but Dashi seemed to be a nice enough kid. At least, he was when he was asleep, and somehow she had managed to carry the baby all the way from the Administrative building without waking him up.
"Well, I admit babysitting was my least favorite of the class D assignments I was given," she said. "But Dashi-chan isn't too much trouble."
"So when are you going to have kids?" Moegi asked slyly. "It's pretty obvious you have a couple boys willing to help you with that, you know."
"I think I'll let Umiko-chan have first crack at it," Hanabi replied wryly. "I'm not sure motherhood is my thing."
"Perhaps not," Moegi conceded. "But you might change your mind at some point. I certainly didn't plan on becoming a mother quite so soon, after all -- not that I didn't want to be one at all, just... not for a few years, yet. But one day, I just... dropped the birth control techniques from my daily regimen -- I didn't want to 'stop' myself any more, and... well, you're carrying the result."
"I could have kids now, if I wanted," Hanabi replied. "After all... I'm a main-line Hyuuga clan member. Despite how persecuted the branch family feels it is, we lower-ranked main line family members are probably worse off. I wasn't really aware of it a few years ago -- I mean, I think back to how I treated some of my cousins and I feel... ashamed -- but we really have little control over our own lives, even if we have a lot of control over the lives of others. The branch line may have to serve us hand and foot, be our guardians and protectors against thier will, and fight to the death in our service... but they have the 'right' to risk themselves. Father was... reluctant to allow me to be a ninja, despite training me himself from birth until my graduation, and only relented because he knew it was safer for the clan if it was split in the two villages then if it was all in one. Even back then, I think he knew this whole civil war was coming, and he was making preparations for it."
"What does this have to do with having a baby?" Moegi asked, curious.
"I'm little more then breeding stock... to both my parents. Father's nicer about it then mother, but that is how they treat me. I'm one of very few girls in the clan able to pass down the family traits, and so I am supposed to be 'bred' with a strong man to produce a stronger child. Initially, I think both of my parents were planning on one of my branch family cousins, but when I went to Blossom and found Adaha-chan, those plans were... not scrapped, exactly, but set aside in the hopes of keeping the family intact. It's fortunate for my clan that I love Adaha-chan... but I'm not even sure I want to have kids with him, much less one of my cousins."
"Well, allow me to save you from that particular life decision, 'daughter,'" a voice growled suddenly.
Hanabi's eyes widened recognizing that voice, even though she couldn't tell where it was coming from despite her byakugan, which she had activated the moment she realized the danger. "M-mother?"
"It is all too obvious to me that you are against me," the disembodied voice answered. "You have refused to come to our aide when I summoned you four years ago, you have taken lovers outside of our clan, and you have sent your emmissaries to the Traitor. I have seen enough."
"I am not against you," Hanabi cried out, still unsure where to direct her voice. "I am neutral. I chose to stay out of the fight, so that the clan would survive even if it killed itself."
"Better our clan die then a traitor such as yourself should lead it," her mother snapped.
Hanabi was in a major dilemma. She knew an attack was coming, but not from where or how. She also knew she would need both hands if she wanted even a partial hope of defending herself... but she was carrying a baby that was not her own. Her responsibility was to the childs protection, and not her own... but the baby was not the target, she was. Yet any movement could be her last, even something to try and get Dashi into the protective arms of his mother, and there was a good chance the child would be caught in the crossfire.
"At least allow me to get this innocent out of harms way," she called desperately. Perhaps there was a chance her mother would hesitate to enrage both the Akimichi and the Sarutobi clans by endangering their newest member.
"No," came the threatening reply.
Moegi was almost in a panic. She could see the Hyuuga traditionalist clansmen -- about a dozen of them, appearing both in front of them and to either side -- but it seemed fairly obvious that Hanabi could not. It might be possible to retreat backwards, but she suspected that would only send the two of them deeper into the trap they had stumbled upon. She saw the flare of chakra belonging to a jyuuken attack from one of the male Hyuuga clan members in front of Hanabi as a fist was being driven to the other girl's heart. The fear for her friends life was amplified as she realized to get to the girl's heart the fist would be driven through her own baby....
She screeched something illegible, leaping out of the wheelchair. Red flickers of chakra flared around her as she moved with a speed even she had never managed before, throwing her fist in a desperate effort to block the blow. Hanabi managed to back away a step, seeing that Moegi was moving, but the most she could do was protect Dashi from where she suspected the attack was coming. She felt the blow strike her shoulder, never seeing where the attack was coming from, and felt the bones in her shoulder shatter. She was knocked back and knocked to the ground, but she'd managed to keep the baby alive.
Her attacker didn't fair as well. A hand clamped around the unknown Hyuuga's wrist, squeezing hard enough to grind the bones underneath into a powder, and the man was dragged closer to the enraged Akimichi woman.
"You have threatened our own," a curiously throaty voice snarled out from her. "This cannot... will not be forgiven. All of you will die for this... starting with you."
* * * * *
"What the hell is that?" Ino asked, pointing to a pillar of red rising to the sky. She was leading most of the ninja of Blossom across town, but the sudden lighting change startled her enough to turn around and see the unusual sight.
Inari blinked. "I... I think I know, although the only two people who I thought could do it are currently under the care of the hokage, recieving medical treatment at the moment," he said slowly. "Naruto-sensei would occasionally flare his red chakra like that as an emergency signal when in combat, a signal calling the rest of the team to him."
Futaba's eyes widened. "Moegi-chan! She's had that red chakra, too, since our chuunin exam! But... no, Moegi-chan's not the target."
Inari, Ran, and Adaha looked at each other in horrified agreement. "Hanabi-chan!" they cried, leaping to the rooftops.
Futaba joined them without comment, whistling for her dogs to follow. Hana cursed, and leapt after her sister. "Wait! We need a plan!"
Not wanting to be left out, Chikan, Shiro, and Sousou leapt after them. Ino grimmaced. Obviously, there was a problem that demanded attention, but they needed to come up with a plan before charging in to whatever was going on. The only problem was that she was alone, and everyone else had left. Just about all of them had run off in a panic. "I guess it should be all of us, then," she sighed, and taking a deep breath followed.
* * * * *
Tsunade sighed, writing a little more for one of the hand-written dispatches she had been preparing since she heard that Naruto would be returning to Konoha. She had a plan in mind -- one which would finally, hopefully, restore peace inside of Konoha... even if it wouldn't necessarily do so outside of it. The reports she'd heard from the Sand about the movements the Rock were making were... disturbing, to say the least. It seemed as if things went from tense crisis to tense crisis... and so far, not one of them -- not the Sound, not the Hyuuga conflict, not the search for certain missing nin (Sasuke and Itachi being the most prominent), and now not the Rock situation -- had been resolved, successfully or not. Blossom had paid dividends, however, resolving another crisis in the making for her with the Ogata business. Still, that wasn't enough... something more had to be done to stabilize Konoha... and so she'd made her plans.
However, those plans required Naruto to reawaken -- and Sakura too, if possible. That she felt about them as if they were her children entered into why she kept a constant vigil on them, but that was hardly all of it. Anko's little revelation about her own role as Naruto's mother had complicated matters some, but they wouldn't ruin her plans... she hoped. At any rate, she would have to discuss things with Naruto and Sakura... and, hopefully, soon.
She was startled out of her thoughts by a sudden flare of chakra outside. She ran to the window to see the eerie red glow coming from the middle of town. It didn't take a legendary ninja to feel it when a corresponding flare erupted in the room with her. She turned to see Naruto and Sakura awake for the first time since their arrival.
"Naruto-kun! Sakura-chan!" she exclaimed happily. She wasn't sure why they had awoken so suddenly -- probably whatever was going on in town had something to do with it, but she had no knowledge of what that was, even -- but she was quite pleased to see them finally conscious.
Naruto glanced at her, nodding in acknowledgement. "Later," he said, standing. It was then she noticed the red eyes and fangs emerging from his mouth... and Sakura's, now that she had a chance to look at her, too.
"What? 'Later?' What does that mean?"
"Reunions later," he clarified, turning to the window. "We are needed. Out of the way!"
Without saying another word, or even pausing to change out of hospital clothes, he crashed through the window towards that column of red she had just seen. He rushed by her so quickly she was knocked back by his movement. Sakura followed him a moment later, having yet to saw a word, and Tsunade was knocked to the ground at her passing. "What's going on?" she cried.
Anko, who had been in the room with her but had been asleep until the window was shattered, caught her before she fell. "Are you alright, hokage-sama?" she asked.
"What's going on?" Tsunade roared impatiently at the red contrails of her two pseudo-children, pulling herself to her feet with as much dignity as she was allowed.
Shikamaru burst in a moment later with an answer to her question. "I've just recieved a report from the surveillance teams we sent out with the Blossom ninja this morning," he said. "Hyuuga-sama is leading her faction of her clan in an ambush. Moegi and Hanabi are under attack, and... just about everyone else from Blossom is on their way to her."
Tsunade blinked, then glanced out the broken window. "Oh, hell."
* * * * *
The Hyuuga male who had attempted to attack Hanabi through Dashi's body felt his spine shatter into millions of pieces, his ripcage crumble, and his internal organs collapse into jelly with a single blow from Moegi's fist. Fortunately, he didn't even live through it past the first split second, or else the pain of having the rest of the bones in his body turned into a coarse powder as he was launched in the air to slam through a building almost a kilometer away would have been even worse. She stood defiantly in front of the rest of 'Hyuuga-sama's' faction, prepared to treat them all in a similar manner.
But 'Hyuuga-sama' laughed. "Oh, my. So, it seems you are quite the little powerhouse, aren't you? Stay out of this, girl, this is clan business."
"You have tried to harm my own," Moegi growled, her teeth sharpening into fangs. "Your death is now my business."
"Bah," the older woman snorted. "Brats are more trouble then they're worth. But I'll even let you take the baby and leave, if you simply must protect it. But that's the only offer which will allow you -- and the brat -- to get out of here alive. I suggest you take it."
"Your death is now my business," Moegi snapped again. "So--"
"So nothing," 'Hyuuga-sama' shot back, gesturing to her family. "I'm sure you know what I mean when I say, you are within the range of all of our divinations." The rational part of Moegi's mind realized that she was in trouble. Yes, she had the power to kill all of these people... one at a time. But eleven on one was a bit much, and if she really was 'within the range of their divination,' then she wouldn't even be able to get an attack off before she was felled. She tried to think of a new plan, but before she could even start to come up with one the Hyuuga matriarch snorted in disgust. "Fine. You had your chance. Attack!"
There were too many of them coming at her to deflect the attacks without giving ground, so she stepped back... and stumbled over a tripwire. As she started to fall, she saw no fewer then five attackers that she knew she couldn't defend against. She moved to minimize the damage, even though it was futile, and braced herself... only to see all five attackers she couldn't defend against felled in an instant, dogs of the Inuzuka clan clenching their jaws around Hyuuga wrists. Moegi let herself fall the rest of the way to the ground, now that there was some back-up. The tripwire wound up being to her advantage, it seemed, because now it forced her out of the way of her allies attack.
Futaba and Hana landed in front of her, weapons at the ready defensively. Inari, Adaha, and Umiko surrounded the injured Hanabi protectively, incidentally guarding Dashi as well. Ino, Chikan, Shiro, and Sousou were on the surrounding rooftops, prepared to fight as well. Sousou dropped seemingly into the shadows to where Moegi couldn't see her. Shiro could be seen fingering kunai, wires, and various other impliments which worked well with his elemental techniques. Chikan dropped from the roof and disappeared as well, likely burrowing underground with the techniques he had learned by working with the moles for over three years, now. Inari pulled out a bowl of instant ramen, Adaha's eyes flickered slightly as he activated what most people had started referring to as his proto-byakugan. Umiko had yet to do anything, but looked to be mustering the chakra for a summoning. And the dogs, once the advantage of surprise had been worn out, had released their opponents and reformed on Futaba and Hana's flanks. Slowly, her eyes still flashing red, Moegi crawled to her feet.
Hana, however, was the one who spoke next, obviously taking charge of the impromptu assault force. "You will not harm either of these young women," she snapped. "The ninja of Blossom will not allow it."
"I've never heard of a Blossom clan," the Hyuuga matriarch snorted, then paused as if reconsidering. "Oh, you mean that little rat-hole of a village we shunted all of our losers and outcasts into, huh? Oh, real threat there."
"You should view it as a threat," Futaba snarled. "You lack knowledge, bitch, and it'll prove your destruction if you continue to challenge us."
"Oh? Then perhaps I should fight you to guage this 'threat,'" the Hyuuga matriarch laughed, amused. "All of Konoha trembles instead of challenging the power of myself and a handful of the main line of the Hyuuga clan. Do you really think you are more powerful then us?"
Moegi stepped forwards. "One of our number was able to conquer a village single-handedly -- Naruto-sensei. Another was a man with the powers made legendary by the Uchiha clan, Kakashi-sama. Another was a legendary sannin -- Jiraiya-sama. Another two were the apprentices of the hokage -- Sakura-sensei and Shizune-sama. Over the past four years, they have taught all of us their techniques, their courage, and their ethics. Not a single one of them would have 'trembled' if it came down to a fight with you... and none of us will, either." Her eyes narrowed, her voice becoming more gutteral. "And you have attacked and harmed our own. You will all die for that, however powerful you are."
"I'm so scared. You learned from the hands of a hapless prankster, a man who stole another clan's skills, a has-been, a never-was, and a never will be. I'm tired of talking... if you're going to kill me, do it already -- I'm getting bored."
It was apparent the stand-off had turned into a game of 'make the other side flinch,' as each was trying to taunt the other into attacking first. Moegi, however, was following an old lesson of making sure to plan for looking underneath the underneath, and grinned. "Well... I guess we're ready by now, so okay. Attack!"
A hand rose out of the shadows, grabbed one of the Hyuuga by the hair, and pulled them back as a kunai was thrust forward hard. Munamoto Sousou had started things out by making the first kill.
The speed with which the Blossom ninja's attack decimated their opponents startled even them. Inari's chakra-enhanced ramen tied one up, allowing Shiro to launch a devastating fire attack that maybe didn't kill their enemy, but certainly wounded him. Umiko's eagles -- much larger then she had recalled ever being able to summon before, and in greater numbers -- flocked down to carry off yet another Hyuuga, taking her away without anyone -- even Umiko herself -- knowing what became of the woman. Ino employed one of her family techniques to set two of their opponents against each other. Moegi, mysteriously back into her top form, was moving too quickly for her opponent to attack, and striking too hard for him to defend. Futaba, Hana, and their dogs had cornered three others, and were tearing into them.
The Hyuuga matriarch couldn't react until she saw one of her remaining clanswoman being dragged under the ground. Another of her clan was being caught by what she could now see was an animal of some kind, so she struck out and freed her subordinate, only to nearly be caught by two other beasts herself. She pounded them away with expert application of the jyuuken before deciding enough was enough.
"What is this, whack-a-mole?" she groused. "All right, that's it -- retreat and regroup... and then let's show these upstarts what the Hyuuga clan is really like."
A couple well-applied kaiten freed the three being attacked by the Inuzuka women, and the one she had just freed from the moles turned to join her... but everyone froze as they turned to look at her. Or rather, to look behind her. It was then that the Hyuuga matriach sensed it, just on the periphery of her byakugan. And as it got closer, she started to realize that perhaps she should turn to see it with her real eyes, as she hadn't felt a chakra like that in over twenty years, and the last time she sensed it the chakra wasn't human.
She couldn't be entirely certain it was human this time, either. The chakra was too blinding to see anything else, and it was in the shape of not one, but two nine-tailed foxes. That certainly didn't fit with the last time she'd sensed this presence, before -- there should be only one, and he should be much... larger. As large as Konoha, itself, and not merely the size of a couple buildings. Did the kyuubi have puppies or something? She knew the original beast was trapped inside the body of Uzumaki Naruto, who she also knew was in a coma and, according to her spies, appeared unlikely to wake from it. She, herself, had been part of the team to ensure the demon had been properly sealed inside the boy when he was a baby, and knew better then just about anyone how secure it really was. These creatures couldn't be the kyuubi itself... but what were they, then?
The chakra fell back into itself, resolving into the bodies of two people... two people easily recognized as the same couple who had been brought in on stretchers more than a week ago -- Naruto and Sakura. There were some obvious changes -- the red chakra was still quite visible, their eyes were red, their teeth had become fangs, their fingers had become claws, and their postures were more hunched -- but there was no question who they were. Which meant she had been wrong -- it was the kyuubi, indeed. But that would only explain Naruto's transformation -- what had happened to this Haruno girl over the years to give her these features as well?
The middle of a battle was not, perhaps, the best place to be wondering such things, however. "Retreat is not an option for you," Naruto and Sakura chorused throatilly -- their words also echoed by Moegi behind her. "You struck at our own, tried to kill our own. All these present gathered to stop you are a part of our own, and you fought with them as well. Your crimes are compounded by resisting... and we shall destroy you."
The Hyuuga matriach's eyes narrowed. "If that is the kyuubi speaking, know this: I fought you once before and lived. I may not have triumphed, but I was not beaten either. You won't be able to beat me this time, either."
"This time," the three once again chorused. "We are more then just the kyuubi."
"This time," Moegi said from behind her. "Instead of fighting without care to the use of any technique, the kyuubi loans his strength to the powers of an Akimichi." A fist slammed the ground by the Hyuuga matriarch's foot, causing a small fissure to form in the road and forcing her to jump aside and into the reach of Sakura. "And that makes us better then either of us could do alone, for I am an Akimichi, and the kyuubi aids me wherever I have need, and allows me to think and fight as I should."
"This time," Sakura continued from the other girl's lead, "Instead of fighting without any control or precision, the kyuubi loans its chakra to the dynamics of a Haruno, who can think as two people and therefore fight as two people." The red chakra formed a clawed fist as she moved in, grabbing the Hyuuga matriarch's wrists and repelling any possibility of an attack while her real hands formed a rasengan, though had yet to deliver it. "For I am Haruno Sakura, and the kyuubi aids me wherever I have need, and allows me to think and fight as I should."
"This time," Naruto said, circling around to get behind the Hyuuga matriarch's new position. "Instead of fighting alone and friendless, the kyuubi allows its strength to be directed by those wishing to preserve the lives of our friends and family, and gives its aid to those who need it. For I am Uzumaki Naruto, and I fight to become the ultimate protector, the hokage greater then the hokage, and the kyuubi has yielded his strength to my dreams."
Again speaking together, the three concluded, "To the kyuubi is given wisdom, control, and purpose. From the kyuubi is given strength and endurance. A bargain has been reached to protect our own... and our own has been threatened. Moegi, who kyuubi adopted to save her life, was threatened. The life of Dashi, the son of kyuubi's adopted child, was attacked. Hanabi, the ward of the kyuubi's host, was attacked. For these transgressions, all four of us are in agreement: Punishment must be rendered, and that punishment is death."
Moegi moved to restrain the remaining Hyuuga that were likely to interfere. Sakura delivered her rasengan precisely, sending the matriach sailing towards Naruto. Naruto himself had, seemingly without any seals or words to help perform the necessary technique (although, in truth, he probably had... just too fast for anyone to see it), created a shadow clone and started an odango rasengan... in which was tossed several kunai. Normally, someone or something being hit by a rasengan would only feel the effect of a tornado making a direct touchdown on their person. Painful, yes, but survivable in some cases. The maelstrom in front of her, however, was like a hundred meatgrinders all ready to grind the same piece of meat. That... was considerably less survivable.
She must have instinctively raised her arms to ward off the attack, since she certainly didn't remember doing it herself, but now... now she couldn't get them down. And it was taking her far longer to hit that maelstrom then she thought... in fact, now that she looked, she wasn't on target to hit it. Naruto's arms were raising themselves, as well, taking the powerful attack with them. She couldn't move to brace herself as she fell, however, and wound up skidding to the ground at his feet.
"No!" the young blond-haired man howled above her. "Let us go! We must have our revenge!"
"Calm down, Naruto!" a new voice snapped... one easily recognizable as that of Tsunade. "This isn't necessary, and I'm certain you would regret this if you delivered that deathblow in cold blood. Now, calm down, and we'll release you."
The red chakra -- as well as the rasengan -- seemed to dissipate slowly, gradually. The various shuriken which had been tossed inside the whirlwind fell to the ground -- some around her, some on her, one in her (though not deeply). Finally she heard him speak. "O-old hag?"
"I thought I told you not to call me that!" Tsunade growled... then laughed. "But I'm glad to see you're still in control, here."
"Where... how did I get to Konoha?"
"That's a long story. Shikamaru, I think you can let him and Sakura-chan go, now... but don't let Hyuuga-san up until we're out of here, okay?"
Tsunade started talking to Naruto, Sakura joining him after looking at Hanabi's arm, as they and the rest of the Blossom ninja started walking down the road as if nothing had happened, chatting among themselves. A few moments later, she felt a foot nudging her over onto her back, where she recognized the Hokage's latest assistant.
"You've been released. You can get up now," he prompted tiredly. "Sheesh! This is a mess. And I think I need to stay around here until you and your friends, here, pick up all the weapons and repair the roads before I go." He paused. "It'd be too troublesome to do it, myself."
Her eyes narrowed. "How dare you--"
"Or I could just bring Naruto-san back to finish you off. I won't bother to stop him that time. The only reason I did this time was that the hokage said she didn't want to make a martyr of you, but sometimes a dead martyr is less troublesome then a live enemy."
Realizing, suddenly, that the Nara boy had used his family techniques to save her life, the Hyuuga matriarch hesitantly bowed apologetically. "Very well," she said. "We'll clean up here. But be certain to let the hokage know... I am not done. That young woman who was once my younger daughter is now, like the older one, under a sentence of death among the true Hyuuga clan. And we will expect apologies from the heads of certain other clans, as well, whose members stuck their noses where they didn't belong--"
"Look, you can rant if you want, but get to work. I don't want to have to stay here all day listening to you ramble on," Shikamaru said. "Sheesh!"
It had been a long time since someone had treated the Hyuuga matriarch with such disrespect, and she couldn't help but gape at him in wonder. The remaining survivors of her assassination squad, however, had already seen the writing on the wall, and the repairs were almost half done by the time she had regained her composure. But there was one undeniable truth, here: For the first time in a very long time, someone had stood up to the Hyuuga clan, had beaten it, and did not appear to be in fear of any sort of retaliation.
The Hyuuga matriarch finished the repair work absent-mindedly. She had plans to make... plans which would make certain that Hanabi, Naruto, Sakura, Moegi, the remaining ninja of Blossom, and even this rather disrespectful fool of a Nara, all learned the most important lesson she could teach them: No-one defied the will of the Hyuuga clan and lived to enjoy it. No-one.
* * * * *
Next chapter: Tsunade has an important announcement to make. So important that political representatives from most of the ninja powers in the world are invited to Konoha to hear it.