Disclaimer: I don´t own Naruto
Chapter 06: The Jonin Gathering (05.10.36 AfoK)
On my way back to the mansion I became aware by the position of the sun, that I had to get ready for the Jonin meeting the Hokage ordered me to attend.
More importantly, I wanted to inform the Hokage myself about Mito.
Allowing Tsunade to preempt me doing that without him having heard my version of the events in a timely manner might increase the resentment he harbors for me.
As I entered the house I found Kushina in the kitchen sipping at her tea while she was staring out the window oblivious to my presence.
"Kushi-chan" I softly called out to her. She nearly jumped out of her seat, my words had caught her unaware and she tried to hide her embarrassment at being surprised in a rather poor way. Nonetheless understandable which self-respecting Shinobi would care to admit at being caught off guard by someone not even trying to do that.
"There is a Shinobi gathering in a few minutes I have to take part in and I don´t know how long it is gonna take." I told her "Can you manage on your own for the next few hours or do you want a Kage-Bunshin of mine to keep you company?"
"It is alright oni-chan, I want to be alone for a while," she said with her voice taking on melancholic undertones.
"If you say so." I said unconvinced "How about we go eat somewhere when I return, I leave it up to you to decide where to go."
I made a mental note, to keep an eye on her to prevent her from falling into a depression.
"I´d like that," she said with a smile that barely reached her eyes.
"Good, see you later." I bid her goodbye.
I went to Mitos study and grabbed the mission scroll regarding her funeral in Uzu the other documents regarding the inheritance she had already delivered by herself, mostly consisting of just changing her testament in naming me her heir. So there shouldn´t be any trouble coming my way.
I walked at a leisurely pace to the Hokage tower, where the meeting was supposed to be held in one of the larger conference rooms.
I arrived with a generous allotment of time remaining to get my things done.
First I went to the mission desk located in a different room than the one handing out the mission. Their job mostly consisted of a threat assessment of the task the client wanted to be done and categorizing them accordingly in S, A, B, C, and D-rank mission, which for the most part determined the cost.
I was lucky, with no one was waiting in front of the room or nearby, sparing from the usual waiting time. A nondescript chunin wearing the standard Konoha uniform led me inside the room.
The room itself consisted of a long desk with two people seated alongside it. It was easy to see they belonged to the intel-squad, tasked with handling and sorting rumors and relevant intelligence about the happenings of the elemental nations, recent information being a necessity in order to assess the to be expected danger a mission might pose and rate it accordingly.
Given the chakra and their age and occupation, the two people with me in the room must have been at least Tokubetsu-Jonin.
I handed the man to the right my already prepared mission scroll with all the details it entailed. He took it from me and gave it an attentive read over before he passed it along to his left and made some notes on the scroll lying in front of him. The other followed the example given by the first one to receive my scroll, there was a short moment in which they exchanged some glances, holding a silent conversation of their own which ended when the right one spoke up.
"On behalf of Konoha, we accept the mission request. Is there something else we might be able to help you with?"
I was about to decline when I suddenly had an idea.
"Come to think of it, yes." I said, "I happened to notice the Orphanage was in a dire state so I would like to purchase two every day recurring D-rank missions for helping the matrons and caretakers with everything they need help with."
"I see," he contemplated my words "there are two orphanages under the direct purview of Konoha one in the center and another one at the outskirts of the village for which one do you want the mission to be assigned to?"
"Two orphanages," I mused "well given the state this one was in I doubt the other one fares much better so two missions a day each."
"I assume the Uzumaki clan is paying for those, too," he asked.
"Yes, that is correct," I said.
I had trouble to hide my smirk, with the increased scrutiny this might bring to those orphanages disappearances of children will be noticed far more likely since the D-rank mission are designed as training exercises for the new Shinobi, therefore every genin team is required to write reports of their missions. Which meant this will create a paper trail and people, shinobi to be exact remembering crying kids demanding for their friends to return.
I didn´t expect Danzo machinations to be directly observed by one of those teams nor did I expect this to be a great hindrance to him all things considered. He would no doubt find ways around that and in the worst case, he would just get his recruits from elsewhere. But it would force him to change his ways to be more careful, perhaps even second guess himself, his methods, and doing so hopefully would warrant his attention his focus and with a little bit of luck, this might be enough of a distraction for him to slip up somewhere.
Personally, I didn´t think the chances of it happening being great, or anything really to come out of this. He was in the business for a long time and you don´t manage that if you are prone to make mistakes. For me, it sufficed to know that with no real effort on my part I generated an additional workload for Danzo. Doing this didn´t even register on the clans bank account since D-rank mission given their nature as training exercises makes them dirt cheap. So all in all a small price to pay to annoy him and to better my mood.
With my good deed done for the day I made my way to the Hokage office, where I was greeted by Kana Hatake.
"Uzumaki-san how can I help you," she asked me with her monotone affectless voice.
"If it isn´t too much trouble I would like to have short chat with the Hokage if his schedule permits it of course," I said.
"Is it a matter of importance?" she probed into my request.
"Well, that depends," I said, "Mito Uzumaki died last night in her sleep."
"I see. I will inform the Hokage, please wait here," she said her face stoic not giving away even the slightest hint of what she might think.
She disappeared into the office and returned shortly after.
"The Hokage asked me to deliver his condolences for your loss, his immediate duties, unfortunately, don´t allow him to do so in person. Am I right to assume you will be taking over the position of Clan Leader."
I just nodded at her words, still somewhat off-balance of being denied an audience.
"In that case please forgive my discourtesies from earlier Uzumaki-sama," she said with a slight bow. Oh right, she addressed me as san, this was gonna take time getting used to being addressed this way.
"No problem Hatake-san you couldn´t have known. I will take my leave then, I wish you a good day." I said and left.
I wondered what that was about? Tsunade didn´t have the opportunity to meet with him, so it couldn´t have been her. Perhaps Mito already informed him of her plans and he was already aware of the consequences and just wasn´t willing to meet with me. Or was it a powerplay to show me who held the reigns?
Nothing I could do about it, for now, time will tell if this might have some repercussions.
When I arrived at the conference room it was empty no surprise there after all I was quite early. I decided to seat myself in the back of the room this would allow me to get a good look at all the other Jonin taking part in today's meeting, get their measure, and a sense of their energy. Being able to identify them might come in handy in the future.
Over the next ten minutes, shinobi were trickling into the room, some of them converged into small groups discussing this and that others kept strictly to themselves. There weren´t many faces I recognized not many of the shinobi present survived long enough for me to have met them, the sole exceptions being the three who would come to be known as the Sannin.
When they entered the room I had to stop myself from getting up walk over to Orochimaru and butcher him where he stood. If not for me reminding myself, that at this time he was no more deserving to die than the average shinobi I might have done it. But for now, he still had some use the moment that changed or he strayed from the narrow path I deemed acceptable for him to walk, I would be there waiting for him.
I was confident in my ability to hide my emotions and that my intentions regarding Orochimaru weren´t noticed by anyone, at least there were no signs of it. Even in the case of me erring, something unlikely with me sensing their energies and feelings, they would accredit my displeasure to have something to do with Tsunade, the fact that she didn´t pay me any attention after seeing me and did her very best to ignore me, were big giveaways.
Something at least her teammates seemed to have picked up upon, given their occasional glances my way. Jiraiya still the overprotective lovestruck fool took a seat in between us, shielding Tsunade from me.
It was really nice to see him alive and kicking. I considered to approach him one of these days and befriend him, but given the current animosity with the Tsunade, it might not be the best of ideas especially since he was still best friends with Orochimaru. And I really had no intention to be anywhere near him except to end his miserable existence.
I was pondering that thought when the Hokage entered the room with him was a man that had an eerie resemblance to Kakashi the facial structure the hair color, even though he wore his hair slightly differently. So this must be Sakumo Hatake, Konoha's White Fang, and if I´m right the current Jonin commander.
He took an unoccupied seat at the very front and by the time the Hokage reached the speakers desk the chatter ceased and the small groups dissolved with all of them sitting down. The Hokage took a good look at the audience and then addressed us.
"It seems like everybody is present so let´s no longer delay and start." He paused for a moment to give everyone present the opportunity to say something to that effect when no one did he continued.
"Recent events made it clear that the village security has grown lax, therefore starting tomorrow there will be a series of training exercises involving every department to once more sharpen the awareness and the skills of our shinobi population with you being the Elite I expect all of you to be paragons for the rest of the forces."
A black-haired man around the same age as the 3rd lifted his hand, the Uchiha fan on the back of his shirt leaving no doubts about his affiliation.
Hiruzen nodded to him allowing him to speak.
"What events are you referring to Hokage-sama?" He asked.
"A few days ago I was notified that a Jonin returning from a long time mission and therefore lacking knowledge about the current security procedures managed to infiltrate the village with relative ease." The Hokage told the audience, in a sterner voice he continued to say.
"I don´t think I have to tell you all how unacceptable this is, for an in this instance unknown shinobi reaching the outer perimeter undetected let alone be allowed to set a foot in the village. I´m filled with horror imagining what an enemy could have done to the village with such an opportunity. I expected better of the shinobi under my command and serving the great tree that is Konoha."
There was no small number of Shinobi in the room looking uncomfortable at being reprimanded in such a way, not living up to the expectations of the old-man. From some of them, I even sensed a flicker of fear at his words their imagination no doubt running wild with possibilities.
"Which is why in the coming weeks there will be extensive training exercises for all not conducting a mission, to get us back into shape to restore the skill and the vigilance I demand from you most of all." He declared and his voice left no room for discussion.
"To that effect, Sakumo-san, coming tomorrow will hand out assignments for you all."
"Old-man, who are those morons? I think I speak for all of us when I say we would like to know their namesand while you´re at it how about telling us about the name of the genius that infiltrated his own village?"
Undeterred the Hokage asked,
"and what Jiraiya-boy do you intent to do with that information?"
"to properly thank them for this, of course." He said I didn´t need to see his face to know it wore a devious smirk.
"I see – You wouldn´t happen to see yourself as being superior to them telling yourself something like `this would have never happened on your watch´, am I right?"
He confidently nodded to that and loudly declared.
"The great Jiraiya-sama is infallible"
"Well, in that case, am I right to assume you volunteer your team to henceforth assist the village defenses to make sure there will no repeat of such a situation." He was asked by Hiruzen with a raised eyebrow.
"Sure, If they can´t manage without the great Jiraiya-sama what other choice is there. For how long?" He wanted to know.
"Well, since you are the only one so convinced about your ability to be able to prevent such incidents from occurring in the future, your posting will have to be indefinite." The Hokage said with a straight face not betraying any emotion. "We most certainly wouldn´t want shinobi tasked with this not being up for it."
There was some muted snickering throughout the room which became more pronounced at Jiraiya's response, who blanched and tried to backtrack.
"I would like to rescind my former statement, I was just joking of course all of my fellow shinobi possess the necessary skills to guard the village ..." He said awkwardly laughing.
"That´s what I originally thought too," The Hokage said "but given the events I just mentioned, clearly that is not the case. This is why I hope this mandatory training will restore my trust in the abilities of my shinobi, so I can sleep at night knowing the village will be still there come tomorrow."
Tsunade raised her hand
"I would like to bring forth another matter." After a nod from the Hokage and she proceeded in saying "In the last few weeks, I studied mission reports and noticed a clear trend that squads accompanied by a medic not only had a higher success but also a far lower fatality rate across the board. This effect was directly proportional to the danger of the mission since the medic-nins were able to administer first aid in the field. Therefore I would like to propose the establishment of a medic training program to allow us to place a medic on every squad."
Wasn´t this the very change Tsunade implemented after she became Hokage, if she had this idea now what prevented the idea from being realized, after all, everything she said was true. In the 4th Shinobi world war, we would have lost even earlier if not for the medics, saving countless lives allowing the injured to live and fight another day.
"That might be, but the village doesn´t have the necessary funds for such a project." was what the Hokage said and if not for Tsunade digging her heels in by calling him out.
"What are you talking about, the village prospers we have more mission than ever which translates into more income ..."
this might have been the end of the matter.
"That is all true," the old man conceded the point "but what you seem to forget is that the Shinobi world war nearly destroyed the economy of the village, we even had to resort to borrowing money just to stay afloat.
Money which took the village years to pay back an action that to this day has repercussion because in order to be granted those funds we had to sacrifice autonomy. Which was the reason it was decided to never allow something like this to happen again."
"So you are telling me the village saves the money for a rainy day, instead of investing it into measures to help safeguard the lives of the shinobi under your command."
"Yes." He stated.
"Why?" she incredulously asked unbelieving to be shot down in such a way "It doesn´t make sense this is an investment in the future every Shinobi saved this way is one whose fighting power is preserved. In just a few years time it would pay off ..."
"That might be so, but until we try we won´t know for certain, and the village just can´t risk its independence for a chance."
Oh, I knew when Tsunade was close to blowing up my conversation this morning surely didn´t help matters.
"How the h ..."
I didn´t allow for her to finish her rant, wouldn´t want her relationship with the Third to suffer, bad enough that I didn´t have a good standing with him, well with Tsunade too I guess.
"I will fund it." I loudly proclaimed. Tsunade and everyone else's eyes landed on me.
The Uchiha from earlier squinted his eyes and asked
"And who are you? I don´t remember having met you."
"That´s because you didn´t. My name is Uzumaki Naruto and I or to be more precise the Uzumaki clan is willing to fully fund the project brought up by Senju-sama. I´m even willing to do you one better and fund the construction of a new facility, a hospital to train medics and care for the injured if my terms are met."
The third eyes narrowed dangerously at me.
"Go ahead, state them."
"First of all the project will be headed by Senju-sama with full authority resting solely with her, there will be no interference from outside with her work, except for one stipulation the Uzumaki clan gets to veto the candidates for her medic program and only those are allowed access to what she teaches including knowledge and jutsu.
I want this to be treated as if those were clan-specific secrets, with the same repercussion for transgressions. This also means the head of that project, for the moment being Senju-sama, is required to enforce this rule with no exceptions. She has to make sure no one, except her pupils, are taught and any and all third parties are exempt from having access to the information I am providing her with.
Her pupils, of course, aren´t allowed to share their obtained knowledge without explicit permission from the current project head, either."
More than one person was narrowing their eyes at listening to me, not that I cared,
"Only if those terms are met, I´m willing to share all my knowledge and my Iryo Ninjutsu with Senju-Sama, which by the way is quite extensive in return Senju-sama is obligated to inform my clan of every new advance they make and any jutsu they develop, think of it as a mutual exchange.
Of course, this does not include personal information or the medical history of patients, nor any clan related secrets I just want the medical knowledge of my clan to be furthered.
By the time a replacement of project manager Head-medic, whatever you decide to call Senju-sama position becomes necessary the Uzumaki-clan head gets to decide Senju-sama successor, the person holding office of course can make suggestions, but the decision ultimately will rest with my clan."
I really had no intention of a repeat of what Kabuto managed to do from allowing to happen – being trained as a medic-nin in Konoha learning the secrets of Iryojutsu and handing them over to our enemies.
"This is outrageous, those conditions are overstepping ..."
Oh, you think you have anything to say in this village Danzo guess what think again.
"You think so?" I innocently asked, "well in that case let me add another condition for this, The Uzumaki clan requires all the Konoha orphanages to come under our direct control and all the children in them to come under our purview in exchange we will fund them and sponsor every child intending to become a shinobi."
The D-ranks would have sufficed to protect the kids until I could take care of Danzo, but having grown up in such an orphanage, knowing what places they are I can do one better, offer them a better childhood and if it allows me to piss of Danzo even ridicule him in public even better.
Yeah, I´m petty like that -
"You nor the kid will be able to buy me off for what you did!" Tsunade scoffed.
"Buy you off" Jiraiya repeated under his breath with a dangerous glint in his eyes, misunderstanding the whole situation given his perverted brain in the worst way possible. Many of the other occupants got her statement wrong too. Surprise, anger, and curiosity became the most prominent feelings in the room.
I wouldn´t exactly consider this off to a good start, was her statement ambiguous deliberately?
The contentedness I sense from her says, yes. For a slight moment, I was tempted to do her one better, claiming she wouldn´t be worth that much, but thought better of it. There was no point in degrading our relationship even more.
So I refrained from saying anything and escalating the situation any further and allowed her this small victory. I knew from experience she needed that; especially if I ever wanted to get a cordial relationship with her.
The Hokage gave her a stern glare, she came dangerously close to events connected to a village S-rank secret. The hint she gave up, could be enough for some to make a connection to Mito death and from there armed with the knowledge about Jinchuriki it wasn´t far to get to the truth.
"That is not my intention I honestly believe you are the right person for the job, the only one qualified, really." I tried to placate her.
"What about yourself? If it is true that you can utilize the jutsu and knowledge you offer up you might be an even better candidate then Tsunade." noted Orochimaru with his disgusting voice, I would love nothing more than to tell him to shove his inquiry where the sun didn´t shine, but that would raise the question of my animosity against him, something I´d rather not explain.
"While that may be true, let´s just say my specialty lies elsewhere and I can be of greater use for the village in a different capacity and leave it at that. But that is beside the point since the decision to accept or deny my proposal is still pending." I looked at the Hokage anticipating his verdict.
I could see him ponder his options, on one hand, my offer was fantastic he got a hospital for the village fully funded, which meant the village saved a lot of money and didn´t have to rely on their wartime reserves. On the other hand, he had to give up power to the Uzumaki clan by giving up the right to appoint the chief-medic of the village and the medical knowledge being declared `clan´ secrets, the question was could he afford not to accept my terms?
After all, a new hospital trained medics as Tsunade already pointed out would greatly reduce the fatalities shinobi suffer on missions, the village, therefore, would undoubtedly profit and it would ultimately save lives. The lives of shinobi those within this room might know - their family, friends, or even their very own.
Denying in this situation meant accepting this unnecessary sacrifice of his soldier's lives when somebody is offering a solution for the small price of the Hokage losing an insignificant amount of power. At worst it might be considered a precedent because it allowed a clan an encroachment into the village hierarchy, but considering some benefits or concession other clans were able to wring from the Hokage over the years this one is minor in the great scheme of things. ROOT says hello ...
Meaning there shouldn´t be a rational reason to deny this one, irrational ones on the other hand are plentiful in existence, from him not like me for some reason to me being the new Jinchuriki.
Which under normal circumstances might have him reconsider his hard stance regarding the village funds and pay for it, instead of accomodating me. But he couldn´t risk it, knowing about the coming war the village might need it, even on the off chance I was wrong could he really risk it?
And if I was right this program was more important than ever.
The question was would he put it past me to have lied to him about the war just to get the things my way?
I put him in a really awkward position, which might have been avoided if he would have met with me earlier. Since the hospital was one of the changes I would have recommended him to start working on.
"The village accepts your proposal." The Hokage finally declared.
"Good, all that I need is a suitable stretch of land and the construction can begin. For the duration the hospital is being built I would like to rent some rooms on academy grounds to allow Senju-sama to immediately start w ..."
"Who said I accepted?" Tsunade fumed.
I looked at her flabbergasted, too stubborn for her own good.
"I did." Hiruzen ended the argument before it could become one.
"Didn´t you advocate for this not a minute ago Tsunade?"
"Yes ... I ..." she tried to find words.
"Then I don´t see a problem and you shouldn´t create one. Am I understood." He said, the commanding tone he used made it clear not to test him on this and shut her up hard, but I could see her anger simmering beneath the surface, I just hoped I wouldn´t end up as the outlet.
"Is there something else that has to be discussed?" He asked into the room.
Silence was the answer to this question.
"Good," He said "you will receive your orders shortly. Dismissed."
Not so sure about the execution of this chapter, especially the way Naruto "demands and conditions" - let me know what you think about the delivery.
Some might have noticed that this scene has a resemblance to the one that resulted in Tsunade falling in love with Dan ... as you can see I changed it up and the reason Dan didn´t voice his opinion is owed to the fact that he is on a mission outside the village.
Naruto arrival in the village and his infiltration resulted in a rescheduling of this meeting - it was held earlier than in canon - therefore prevented Dan from attending. (I haven´t forgotten about him ... but in a similar vein with Minato and Kushina a slight intervention was required to make the relationships work out - even though Naruto found himself at least with Tsunade is in a more unfavorable position than Dan)