Project Konoha by crimson sun06
Summary: They were trained to be soldiers & assassins. Their work is never done be it war or peace. They are the demons of hell who ensure the peace of our heaven. But sometimes the lights of heaven cast darker shadows than the fires of hell
Categories: General Fiction Characters: Naruto Uzumaki
Genres: Action/Adventure, Drama, General, Mystery, Sci-Fi
Warnings: None
Challenges: None
Series: None
Chapters: 5 Completed: No Word count: 13707 Read: 2946 Published: 21/07/14 Updated: 04/08/14
Story Notes:
A modern day AU with Naruto as a main character. Its probably the grittiest of my stories with a lot of intrigue, espionage and mystery elements. So enjoy and don't forget to leave a review.

1. Stranger in Town by crimson sun06

2. Life on the other Side by crimson sun06

3. Secrets by crimson sun06

4. Museum Blues by crimson sun06

5. Choices by crimson sun06

Stranger in Town by crimson sun06
Interpol case no. 4418 report:-

Date: 05 April 2008

The victim was found in dead in his office at 7 in the morning by one of the cleaning crew. Preliminary reports suggested that the murder took place between 1 and 3 AM November 16. Autopsy reports put the death around 2 AM. The cause of death was determined to be poisoning by hydrogen cyanide traces of which were found on his glass of scotch. The victim was John Sullivan 29 years of age and the son of senator William Sullivan. John Sullivan was a suspected pedophile and was under investigation for over 50 cases of child molestation. The last person to see him alive was the doorman to his office. According to his testimony John Sullivan entered his office around 12:30 AM. He was not alone and was in the company of a 10 year old boy. The witness Blake Rogers the doorman was unable to give a description of the boy except his height which he indicated to be around 5 feet.
The local authorities has ruled the death as suicide.
Case Staus: closed



Chapter 1: A stranger in town

September 2011, Tokyo

A sea of humanity exited the train as soon as the door retracted, while another sea jostled into the train. In this ocean of regulated chaos a boy made his way out onto the station. Unlike everyone else he didn't seem to be in a hurry. His gait was relaxed and his pace sedate.

His blue eyes and Caucasian skin tone indicated him not being a native. Tufts of dark blonde hair peeked out of his gray skull cap. Dressed in a green T-shirt under a gray turtle-neck, with faded blue jeans and black and white sneakers and an orange backpack he looked like a regular teenager.

However a closer look would reveal that his eyes held an alert look darting all over the place. Making his way out of the station he casually handed out his train ticket. The ticket collector didn't give him a second glance as he punched it.

He had reached the city of Akiruno.

The place he was supposed to go to wasn't far from the train station and so he decided to walk. Half an hour later he was standing in front of a group of apartments which had definitely seen better days. The paint was peeling from the buildings and some even had blackened over time. A bunch of kids were playing in an equally rundown park. Taking a deep breath he made his way to what he deduced to be the room of the super. Knocking three times he stepped away from the door and began a backward count from ten. As he reached three the door opened to reveal a middle aged uncouth and unshaven man dressed in blue boxers and white vest, the door latch still in place glaring at him.

"What?" The man exclaimed rudely staring at him with suspicious eyes. It was obvious his experiences while dealing with teenaged kids had been anything but pleasant.

"I am here about an apartment. Teuchi-san must have mentioned me." If the boy was offended by his behaviour he gave no outward indication of it.

"You Uzumaki?" The man barked but his glare softened a bit.
The boy nodded.

"You don't look Japanese." he snapped

The boy now identified as Uzumaki simply shrugged.

He closed the door on Naruto's face.

After a minute or so the door reopened this time the man appeared in a yellow t-shirt and gray pants. If he was surprised by the boy's youth he didn't show it.

"Follow me."

He led him to an elevator and pressed the button for the 3rd floor while firing of a stream of instructions.

"Running hot water between 5 and 7 AM. So try and finish your...duties within this time frame. Your neighbors may get loud on occasions in which case you are on your own. I have better things to do than babysit you."

Keeping up his commentary he led him to an apartment numbered 306. Unlocking the door he led the boy into the room. The boy resisted the urge to sneeze as the super opened the curtains and aired the rooms.

The house consisted of a hall with a cooking platform, and a bedroom with an attached bathroom. Flicking on the switch of the bathroom he saw his reflection staring back at him from a dirty cracked mirror.

"...here are your keys and if you need anything else you know where to find me."

The boy nodded.

"See you around kid."

"Naruto."

"What?"

"Uzumaki Naruto. That is my name."

"Well in that case call me Kensei." the super said offering his hand. Naruto shook it once."Free advice Naruto. Don't get in trouble with 303 and you should do just fine."

Saying so he retreated out of the apartment not wanting to stay any longer than he had to. Maybe the tenant at 303 had something to do with that. Naruto mused.

Naruto dropped his bag on the couch in the hall and walked out, he had another place he needed to be, people to meet before he was done for the day.

As he was locking his apartment a voice greeted him.

"Hey there neighbor."

Turning to the source of noise he saw an attractive dark haired young woman in her mid-twenties in khaki shorts a fishnet under a pale yellow jacket. Her arms folded under her chest accentuating her assets.

"Hello" Naruto greeted back feeling a little apprehensive wondering if she really wanted his attention. Considering he was the only one in the hallway it was a safe assumption. Safe seemed an extremely relative term though.

Walking up to the boy she held out her hand. Naruto took her hand and held on to it just a fraction of a second longer than necessary.

"I am Mitarashi Anko." The woman introduced herself giving him a once-over.

"Uzumaki Naruto." He said trying to be polite to this 'forward' stranger.

"You don't look Japanese." The woman observed.

"I get that a lot."

"So what is a kid like you doing here alone and where are your parents?" She enquired.

The conversation was going into uncomfortable if not dangerous waters and the woman looked suspicious. He hadn't expected to be answering these questions so soon after getting here. Thankfully Naruto had his story covered.

"My guardian trusts me enough to live on my own."

"Mighty responsible of your guardian to leave a 10 year old to live on his own." Anko retorted. "You aren't here to vandalize this place are you? That sorry excuse of a super really isn't much good."

Naruto was liking this woman less and less.

"I am fourteen." He said in a tone suggesting annoyance. "And I just moved in."

"So who is your guardian kid?" Anko continued not giving any indication she heard him.

"Teuchi Ichiraku"

"The one who owns the restaurant down the street?"

"The very same."

A smile broke on Anko's face.

"Well in that case welcome neighbor. Hope you settle in here fine."

"Thank you." Naruto muttered slightly bewildered at the woman. She seemed to turn from an interrogator to a friendly neighbor in the blink of an eye.

"Well off you go then. I have kept you long enough."

Waving at the blonde the woman unlocked her apartment (303) and walked in and just like that the advise of the super made a lot more sense. Anko was someone to be wary of.
He sighed heavily. Just his luck running into someone like her.
Deciding to forego the lift Naruto made his way down the stairs. He was a creature of habit and even if the elevators didn't look like they would break down any minute he would have still avoided them. Just as he had been taught.
Checking the address once more he made his way down a couple of blocks coming face to face with a sign proclaiming

ICHIRAKU'S

Pushing the door to the restaurant he walked in ringing the bell in the process.

A young woman in her early twenties with black hair and brown eyes approached him.

"Welcome to Ichiraku's. How may I help you?"
She said in a practised manner but the exhaustion colouring her tone implied that the smile she wad greeting him with was more for cosmetic purposes than genuine pleasure.

"I am looking for Teuchi san. Iruka sensei must have mentioned me. I am Uzumaki Naruto."

At this the girl's eyes widened fractionally before breaking into a genuine smile.

"Yes of course we have been expecting you. You are cuter than I thought you would be. I am Ayame, his daughter."
If Naruto had been capable of blushing he would have. As such he stood around awkwardly not sure what to do next. The woman taking pity on him just beckoned him struggling to hide a smile all the while.
She lead Naruto to the kitchen area of the restaurant where he saw a balding middle aged man bent over a pot stirring some concoction.

"Naruto is here Dad."

Hearing this the man looked up from the pot and approached Naruto wiping his hands on his apron before taking off his head cap.

"I am Teuchi. Iruka spoke about you. Why don't you join me for a bowl of miso ramen and we can talk." The man said in the same breath.

Naruto nodded his assent he was hungry and the ramen smelled heavenly.

Leading him to a booth Teuchi faced Naruto while Ayame placed two bowls in front of them.

Teuchi stared at Naruto his gaze fixed. Naruto gazed back not unnerved by the man's scrutiny.

"Iruka said you were his student." He finally said breaking his chopsticks before digging in and Naruto followed his example.

"Yes I am...was." Naruto replied.

"What was he teaching you?"

"Psychology."

"A little young to be learning psychology aren't you?"

"He didn't seem to think so."

"Two weeks before his death he contacted me and asked me to be your guardian as a favor to him."

"Yes, he told me to look you up in case something happened to him."

"Was he expecting something to happen?"

"I don't know. But he knew I had no family and i guess he wanted to look out for me." Naruto replied.

"He was a brilliant man Iruka was. Even though he was an orphan his drive to succeed got him where he ended up. Though I never imagined his end to come this way." Teuchi reminisced

"He held you both in high regard." Naruto offered to the conversation before polishing off his bowl.

"So what do you plan on doing kid?"

"I was hoping to join a school." That's what Iruka would have wanted him to do. "and I would like to work for you."

"Are you sure about that?"

"Yes I am."

"Well in that case come here at 8 tomorrow... I will get you admitted in the local school and you can help out afterwards.

"That will be acceptable."
Teuchi nodded once, waving the boy off as he exited the restaurant. As far as first impressions went, the kid could have done worse. A bit on the quiet side perhaps, but he didn't look like a troublemaker. Then again, it was always the quiet ones wasn't it? He shook his head as he banished those thoughts.
He was doing this for Iruka.
He would do as he was asked.
End Notes:
Well that's that. A sort of slow beginning with no clarity as of yet what the story is about. The Interpol reports are indicators and will play a big role in the story. Since its a modern AU requires some build up. But rest assured things will get intriguing and when it does U promise it will be... explosive for the lack of a better term. Until next time.
Life on the other Side by crimson sun06
Interpol case no. 6290 report:- Classified

Date: 30 August 2009

The victim Mustafa Pasha was shot 3 times. The weapon has been identified as an AK-47. Preliminary autopsy reports confirmed that one of the bullets went through his left kidney, another went through the 12th rib exiting through the back after severing the 6th thoracic vertebra, the third and final bullet went through the left ventricle of his heart. All 3 were fatal and the victim died on the spot. The victim was in the process of giving a speech to his child troops and preliminary investigations suggest the assassin was one of his own soldiers. Mustafa Pasha was one of NATO's confidential ground allies. Motive for assassination is believed to be the rivalry with the local warlords. The perpetrator was never apprehended and is believed to have escaped.

Case status: Closed

Chapter 2: Life on the other side

A man in a white coat came approached him. He was lying on a cold metal table stripped naked. A white blinding light bulb hung over his head. The man was holding a recorder in his left hand and a scalpel in his right. He couldn't make out his face.

"Subject 9 shows faster than normal reflexes."The man spoke into the recorder before using the scalpel to place a small cut in his right forearm the cut healed promptly, the pain didn't bother him. He was used to worse...way worse."Along with an extremely advanced healing factor. The subject shows the height development as expected of one his age, but an increased muscle mass and greater bone density along with increased tolerance to pain."

"The other subjects didn't survive the procedure. The reasons are unclear as to why Subject 9 has not only survived but is actually thriving." The man switched off his recorder after detailing some of his other findings regarding him.

The man approached him, his face close to his, touching his face in what could have almost been considered an affectionate gesture.

"You are special subject 9. I expect great things from you." He said in a low whisper his breath caressing his ear.

Naruto opened his eyes. A quick survey confirmed that he was in his new apartment. He didn't suffer from the usual disorientation associated with waking up in the middle of the night. A glance at his watch showed the time to be 2:30 AM, he considered going back to sleep, but eventually decided against it. The same dream again. He never had these before. He started dreaming 2 years ago and had only become more frequent in the last six months. Rubbing his eyes to chase away the residual sleep he flipped off the covers and made his way to the bathroom. Flicking on the lights he studied his reflection in the crystal blue eyes stared back at him, his hair still dark blonde though his natural color leaned towards a lighter shade. He stood at 5'3, a decent height for a boy his age. His pectorals and abdominal muscles were well developed indicating a healthy lifestyle.

Finishing his morning ablutions he walked back into his bedroom. Slipping into his tracks and sneakers he went out of his apartment to go for a run. After an hour of running he had worked up a decent sweat but was still breathing comfortably. Making his way up a small hill he noticed the sun rising in the horizon. By the time he finished his regular exercise regime the sun was completely up. Another look at his watch indicating the time to be 6:30.

Good he thought plenty of time to meet Teuchi. He made his way back to his apartment and was in the process of unlocking his door, when a not so welcome voice greeted him.

"Well someone is an early riser."

"Morning Anko-san." Naruto forced a smile on his face as he turned to greet his neighbour.

Anko smirked evidently not fooled."Morning brat. What got you out so early?"

Naruto just shrugged, not taking an offence to her calling him a brat.

"You are a riveting conversationalist you know that?" Anko said slightly exasperated.

At this Naruto almost cracked a smile... Almost.

"My teachers did complain that I am a motor mouth."

"So you do have a sense of humour. Maybe there is hope for you yet. Anyway gotta go brat. Places to go people to see and all that." She trailed off making her way back into her apartment.

Naruto shook his head as he went into his own.

A shower and a breakfast of boiled eggs and toast later Naruto was ready for the day, hurriedly exiting his apartment before he ran into Anko again, he made his way to Teuchi's.

"Right on time." Teuchi said approvingly. "Your school starts at 9. Would you like some breakfast?"

"No thank you, I had my breakfast before getting here."

"Great so you can wait while I have mine." If Naruto was annoyed he didn't show it.

"Good morning Naruto san." Ayame's voice greeted him as she placed a breakfast of toast and juice for Teuchi.

Naruto returned the greeting politely before taking a seat.

His eyes gave Teuchi's apartment a once over. It was a simple two bedroom apartment, furnished simply but tastefully. The windows had purple curtains, which he guessed was Ayame's doing.
He would have lived with them, but the place wasn't big enough for that. Thankfully he didn't need to. He was thankful for that. Living alone gave him no small amount of liberty and also kept him from answering questions that were bound to arise if he did live with them.
He did wonder how Iruka had convinced them to let him live alone.
He may never find out the answer to that question.
Or the many more pressing questions he had.

His eyes paused at a folded newspaper, catching the front-page headline.

Hyuuga Hiashi elected member of House of Councillors.

Naruto picked up the newspaper and read the rest of the article.

Hyuuga Hiashi ex-president of the Hyuuga Industries was elected as a member of the House of Councillors. He was fielded as a candidate of the New People's Party... At this point Naruto's eyes strayed to the end of the article. Hyuuga Hiashi has been a very vocal advocate of extensive militarization of the JSDF. In an interview he insisted that considering the current political climate of the world Japan can't afford to look weak and he has found supporters to his cause in his adopted party. When asked if it wasn't to further his company's interests, who are known weapon developers, he insisted that his company was there to serve the nation. He emphasized that there were troubled times ahead and Japan would need to be as ready as possible. It must be noted that Hyuuga Hiashi lost his daughter to what many political pundits had called "Blackmail to loosen his stance".

At this point Naruto stopped reading his fists clenching around the newspaper.

"Great man Hyuuga Hiashi. The country could use more leaders like him." Teuchi said buttering his toast when he noticed the article Naruto was reading. "Mind you I had my doubts about the man before, but even the death of his own daughter didn't shake him from his resolve. I can't imagine doing that if I was in his place. You okay kid?" He added when he saw the distress on Naruto's face, but the very next second he was sure he had imagined it because his face had retained its natural nonchalance.

"We should get going." Naruto said indicating the time.

"Yes, of course." Teuchi said cramming the rest of toast into his mouth before getting up. "Have you got all your documents?"

Naruto nodded.

"Name?"

"Naruto Uzumaki."

"Parent's name?"

"Teuchi Ichiraku... He is my guardian."

"I see..... .Well everything seems to be in order." The woman behind the counter said. "You can get your uniform and other supplies from the school stores and here is your class schedule. Your class is 3rd from the hallway. Welcome to Akiruno High."

As he walked out of the office he could see Teuchi in the hallway.

"Thank you for accompanying me Teuchi san. I am sure I can manage from here on."

"Okay kid, see you after school and good luck." Teuchi said amiably patting the boy on his shoulder before walking out.

The school was a simple 3 floor structure, with classrooms lining the hallways on each floor. Following the directions of the school secretary Naruto made his way down the hallway pausing in front of the one proclaiming 8-C.

He tentatively knocked 3 times on the door before doing his usual countdown from 10. At 5 the door was opened by a tall bearded man in a white shirt and black pants. Naruto's observant eyes noticed that the man was a smoker judging by his slightly blackened lips and yellowing fingertips.

"Yes?" The man said staring down at him.

"Ohayo sensei. I am the new student." Naruto said a little uncertainly at the same time handing him the slip of paper the school secretary had given him.

Taking a look at the paper he nodded once at Naruto and allowed him in.

"Well class we have a new transfer student joining us today. So why don't you introduce yourself?"

Bowing once towards the class he said "I am Naruto Uzumaki and I hope to have a productive time here."

"You don't look Japanese." Shouted a boisterous looking boy from the back of the class.

Some of the students snickered at this but most stared at him with a look of vague interest.

"Okay that's enough." Shouted Asuma and the giggles ceased. "There is an empty seat next to Saburo, why don't you get settled in?" The boy Saburo raised his hand indicating where he was as Naruto made his way to the seat. On his way he noticed a blonde haired blue eyed girl eyeing him with a curious gaze. Naruto dropped his bag at the floor near his seat as he turned to listen to his new teacher.

"Well class we will be covering grasslands for the next few classes and a quiz at the end of the week. Uzumaki san you have only missed a week so you shouldn't have too many problems catching up. I am sure your classmates will be happy to help." Naruto nodded.

It was lunch break. He had attended 4 classes since the morning. Geography taught by Asuma, Maths by a man named Yamato, Political science by Yamada and History by a woman named Akiko. He had gym with Maito Gai, science with Meiling and art with Rei after the break.

His thoughts wandered to the newspaper article he had read in the morning as he waited in line in the cafetaria. The name Hyuuga dug up a lot of memories. In many ways that name, or the girl who carried that name had been a catalyst to so many upheavals in his life. He may have argued with himself that it was Iruka but things had really started changing after...her. Taking his tray now filled with assorted nourishment he made his way to an empty table, wanting to be alone with his thoughts.

"Hello I am Ino." A voice broke into his thoughts. He mentally cursed himself for not minding his surroundings like he should have, allowing the girl to surprise him.

Looking up he saw the same blonde haired girl who was staring at him at Geography smiling at him as she plopped in front of him.

Squashing his look of surprise he put a smile on his face and greeted her back holding out his hand, she was being friendly no reason not to be friendly back."Naruto Uzumaki." She took his hand and gave it a gentle squeeze.

"So who is it?" She queried without a preamble.

"I am sorry?" Naruto said thoroughly confused.

"Mom or dad?" Ino persisted.

"I am afraid I don't follow you." Naruto said more than a little nonplussed.

"Your hair and eyes." She stated "I inherited mine from my dad. He is part Norwegian. He gets it from his mother. What about you?"

"Dunno I am an orphan." Naruto shrugged.

"Oh I am so sorry I didn't know." Ino exclaimed her hand flew to her mouth.

"Don't worry about it."

Ino was feeling extremely awkward now. But tried to make small talk anyway.

"So where are you living?"

"Li apartments."

"Well we are practically neighbors then." Ino said recovering somewhat. "So who are you living with."

"I am living alone."He said. "But my guardian lives barely two blocks away." Naruto added avoiding the follow-up question.

"I see. Well if you need any help with anything don't hesitate to ask." She told him. "And not just school work." She added giving him a smile and a wink
"I will keep that in mind." Naruto said not wanting to look foolish though he had no idea what the last part of her statement meant.

"Ino what are you doing there?" Came a high-pitched voice 5 tables down.

"I am getting to know our new classmate. Come on over here forehead. Introduce yourself."

A pink haired girl with a somewhat large forehead made her way to Naruto's table and was immediately followed by another group of guys. All of them dressed in their regulation school uniform making Naruto stick out like a sore thumb. He was attracting a little too much attention. It went against everything he was taught and knew.

Everyone introduced themselves. A boisterous boy named Kiba, a silent boy Shino, an overweight boy who went by the name of Chouji and a languid boy who went by the name of Shikamaru.

Naruto lost the thread of conversation even before it began and was thankful for the bell indicating the end of recess. If he knew what was waiting for him after recess he wouldn't have been so grateful.

"ALRIGHT MY YOUTHFUL STUDENTS. TODAY I WILL BE INTRODUCING YOU THE YOUTHFUL SPORT OF BASKETBALL."

Suffice to say Naruto was thankful once he was out of gym class.

At the end of the day's class he went and collected the essentials from the school stores which included his uniform and books.

Once he was done he made his way out of the school campus and saw Ino waving enthusiastically at him, he returned the gesture with a wave of his own a little surprised with the familiarity the girl was treating him with.

Ino was soon joined by the pink headed girl from class 8-B, Sakura was her name.

Taking a bus, the journey to his apartment didn't take more than 15 minutes.

Dropping his school supplies he went to Ichiraku's to begin his shift there.

"So how was your first day?" Teuchi asked him once his shift ended.

"It was okay." Naruto answered wiping his hands after having finished doing the dishes.

Teuchi studied the blonde in front of him. He was unlike any other 14 year old he knew. He didn't talk unless spoken to first and didn't seek out conversation . Even though he was polite and wasn't a slacker when it came to work he couldn't help but be a little uncomfortable around the boy.

"I will see you tomorrow Teuchi san."

"Naruto wait." Teuchi hailed him.

Tossing him a roll of cash he said."That's for this week."

Naruto pocketed the cash not bothering to count gave him a small smile and walked out bidding good night to Ayame on his way.

"Well he seems like a nice boy." Ayame said addressing her father.

"He does, doesn't he?." Teuchi said sighing heavily.
"What is that supposed to mean?" His daughter exclaimed offended at the hidden meaning in his words.
Teuchi looked at his daughter's affronted face. So full of life and innocence. Untouched by the ugliness of the outside world. He couldn't help sighing resignedly. To her the boy was a potential sibling. A remnant of a man she saw as an older brother. Someone who needed their care and protection.
Teuchi knew better. Something about the kid made him uncomfortable. Something he couldn't put his finger on, and as fond as he was of Iruka he wondered what kind of problem had he saddled him with. But he kept his thoughts to himself. No use alarming his daughter. Je smiled at her and patted her head.
"Nothing kid. Now fix your old man some dinner would you? Its been a long day."
Naruto unlocked his apartment having avoided Anko in the hallway. A shower and a quick dinner consisting of rice and beans later he hit his books and started his homework. It was 10:30 by the time he finished. Not wanting to dwell on his thoughts regarding the events of the day he hit the bed, and was soon in a fitful sleep consisting of memories and nightmares... Something he didn't think held any distinction from other.
End Notes:
As you can see I am trying to build up here. A bit of character development in the introductory arc before the story finds its feet and the action that is sure to follow. Do leave a review citing concerns or adulation. Until next time.
Secrets by crimson sun06
Interpol case no. 6951 report:-

Date: 15 September 2008

The victim Hattori Hanzo was found dead in his apartment with a slit trachea. Preliminary investigations put the death between 4 and 5 PM on August 13. The weapon was a kitchen knife which seemed to have come from the victim's own kitchen. The place showed no signs of struggle and hence it can be safely concluded that Mr. Hattori was caught off-guard. The victim was known to be associated with the Yakuza and it is suspected that he was a victim of gang rivalry. The lack of evidence and a steadily increasing pool of motivated suspects has left the local authorities discouraged.

Chapter 3: Secrets


"Miso ramen for table 5, red bean soup and yakitori for table 9 and chicken ramen for table 12." Naruto rattled off the orders to Teuchi simultaneously carrying the orders already prepared.

"Coming right up." Teuchi responded.

"Busy day huh?" Ayame said to Naruto carrying her own set of orders.

"Tell me about it" Naruto grumbled.


It had been a week since Naruto had arrived in Akiruno and in his first weekend off from school, he was busy running orders for Ichiraku's at 1 in the afternoon.

"Well get used to it Naruto kun, lunch times are bad during weekdays and even worse at weekends." Ayame couldn't help a smirk at the blonde's tone.

"Not exactly making me feel better." He complained, wiping the sweat from his brows.

"Go get the orders for table 8." Ayame told him patting his head. She could sympathize. Weekends were always bad and she never enjoyed them. But at least now she had someone to share her misery.

Naruto grumbled some more and fishing out the pen and pad hooked to his trousers approached the latest customer before freezing in his place.

"Thought I might find you here." Anko said smirking at his expression.

"It's you." Naruto said in a resigned tone on seeing his dreaded neighbour.

"Now now what's with the tone? I haven't seen you in a week." Anko said obviously enjoying the blonde's discomfort. "If I didn't know better I would say you have been trying to avoid me."

"Well apparently I wasn't trying hard enough." He muttered under his breath. "Welcome to Ichiraku's what can I do for you today?" He said out loud.

"Well how about 3 skewers of dango and some jasmine tea to go with it."

"Coming right up."

Relaying the order Naruto went to clear the empty tables. At some point during his shift he saw Ayame making small talk with Anko when she served her order.

She must be a regular here Naruto thought to himself. It was 2 and the end of his shift. In the last few days Naruto had fallen into a routine in his new life. School work kept him busy and when he wasn't busy with school he was working at Ichiraku's. He had made a few casual acquaintances at his school and could tolerate most of them. He even joined them for a game of basketball now and then. Slipping out of his apron he was on the verge of putting his shoes on when Teuchi approached him.

"Thanks for coming today. I know it wasn't your shift but I was a little short-staffed since Yelan took the day off."

"It was no trouble Teuchi san." Naruto said waving his apologies aside. "I will see you tomorrow then."

"Are you sure you don't want some lunch? I can whip you up some ramen." The man offered.

Naruto was tempted.

"Well if you make it miso."

"I don't see why not?" Teuchi acquiesced.

"In that case how can I refuse." Naruto agreed amiably.

In the past week Naruto had developed a taste for ramen cooked by Teuchi and found it hard to refuse when he was offered some.

"So how was your week?" Teuchi asked the boy as he watched him attack the noodles with all the subtlety of a ravenous blood hound.

"It was okay. We have a field trip next week." Naruto replied slurping the noodles.

"Where are you going?"

"I think its to the opening of the new museum. The Sengoku museum I think its called."

"Isn't the Governor inaugurating it?" Teuchi inquired remembering reading about it in the newspapers a few days ago.

Naruto nodded. Apparently they need school children to make the governor appear accessible and friendly. Naruto didn't voice his thoughts out loud though.
After some more general talk mainly involving his time at school and how he was fitting Naruto finished his meal and exited the premises bidding goodbye to his guardian and Ayame.

"See you later Naruto." Ayame said to the exiting blonde.

On leaving the restaurant he was surprised to see Anko standing outside leaning on a Mitsubishi i evidently waiting for him.
"You do know that keeping a lady waiting is rude don't you?" She smirked at him. "Keep this up and you will never get yourself a girlfriend."

Naruto was not amused.

"Stalking a 14 year old I would be more worried about you getting into prison before I became worried about my manners." Naruto replied back.

"I didn't know you cared kid."

Naruto rolled his eyes at that.

"What do you want Anko?"

"Just want to get to know my neighbour a little better you know. I thought for sure a kid like you would be making a more productive use of his time."

Naruto raised an eyebrow at this. "Like?"

"I dunno. Dating girls, hanging out with friends, that sort of thing?" Anko shrugged.

"Earning a living just ranks higher on my list of priorities." Naruto retorted.

"Well when you put it like that..."

"No, really Anko. What do you want?"

For the first time in all of their encounters so far Anko appeared ill-at ease to him. She seemed to be struggling with herself for a while before seeming to make up her mind.

"Lets me drop you home." She offered opening the door to her car. "I will even let you ride shotgun."

"Its just a couple of blocks. I can walk you know."
"But I insist." Anko didn't budge.

Naruto seriously considered refusing, but seeing the resolve in her eyes he realized that she was serious and he couldn't avoid her forever. Wanting to get it over with he slipped into the car putting his seat-belt on. Anko didn't bother with hers.

"So where are you from kid?" Anko tried opening up with small talk.

"Akiruno." Naruto replied.

Anko could have continued with her indirect line of questioning but she could see he had closed up and she wasn't about to get any honest answers from him at the moment suspicious as he was of her. So she decided to switch tactics.

"I have known the Ichiraku's for years, since I was a kid, even baby-sat little Ayame a few times. Kind people they are."

"Yes, I know." Naruto agreed not sure where she was going with this.

"You remind me of another friend of mine who used to hang around Ichiraku's. Iruka was his name."

Naruto gave a start.

"He died recently and from what Ayame told me you knew Iruka."

Anko gave a sideways glance to Naruto.

"You wouldn't happen to know anything about that would you?"

"No I wouldn't." Naruto said. "Can you stop the car here I am sure I can walk rest of the way."

Anko stared at him for minute, his eyes expressionless but the set of his jaw confirmed that this was a sore topic for him.

"I am not your enemy kid." Anko sighed heavily, but doing as requested. "I am only trying to find some answers."

Naruto's eyes softened a touch. Unlocking his door he left her with his parting words.

"I don't have your answers Anko and I hope for your sake you will stop looking for them, nothing good can ever come off it."

Anko's ears burned with anger, getting out of her car she pursued him before holding him by the collar.

"What the hell is that supposed to mean? She snarled at him. "How can you say something like that and just expect me to drop it?"

"His death was an accident." Naruto said unfazed by her outburst.

"What was Iruka to you?" Anko asked him not relaxing her hold on him.

"He was my teacher and I would really appreciate it if you would let go of me." Naruto told her, his voice held just a hint of warning.

Anko realized she was still holding on to his collar and let go, looking slightly ashamed of herself.

"I am sorry." She apologized.

Shrugging off her arm Naruto walked away making his way into his apartment. Anko stared at his retreating back. He is her last link to Iruka, a link she wasn't ready to lose yet. So she will be patient and back off for now.

But one way or another she will have her answers.

No matter what.

Naruto shed his work clothes and made his way to the bathroom for a much needed shower with Anko on his mind. Iruka must have meant a lot to her if her reaction was anything top go by. A part of him felt sorry for not being able to help her... well it was for her own good. Secrets tend to kill people and he would be damned if his secrets took another life.

Basketball season was approaching. The team was busy practicing in the gymnasium and Naruto was busy painting the banner joined by another girl named Shiho. Behind the sidelines the cheerleaders were practicing their routine, Ino and Sakura had been the latest recruits and Shikamaru was reclining on the stands joined by Kiba who was eyeing the cheerleaders rather blatantly.

"You could actually help you know." Naruto said a little annoyed at the antics of his classmates..

"Why would we want to do that?" Kiba snorted.

"Because you volunteered me for this along with yourself."

"I did it for the sights man." Kiba exclaimed eyes still on the cheerleaders. "And you and Shiho seem to be doing a fine job on your own. Wouldn't want to mess up your good work."

Shiho rolled her eyes at Kiba while Shikamaru remained reclining his eyes shut. Earlier in the day Kiba had volunteered both Shikamaru and Naruto to help out with the decor of the gym for the upcoming Basketball season, the first match of which would be hosted by Akiruno High.

"Can't believe you were offered a spot on the team and turned it down." Kiba compained.

"I can't Kiba. I have work after school. And I am not as good as you think." Naruto explained for what seemed like the millionth time.

"No, you are better. Do you have any idea what I would give to be in your shoes? The glory, the women..."

" Are troublesome." Shikamaru interrupted eyes still shut, Shiho took a moment to stop her work and glare at him. A redundant action as Shikamaru didn't even bother opening his eyes.

"Everything is troublesome for you." Kiba exclaimed, "Don't even know what your lazy ass is doing here."

"Needed to catch up on some sleep without Asuma getting on my case." Shikamaru drawled.

"The banner looks great." Naruto paused in his work to respond to the compliment that came from above them. Rock Lee was a student a year above them staring admiringly at their work.

"Thanks Lee- sempai." Shiho acknowledged.

Lee was one of the reserve players for the team. He was guaranteed to start next year being as athletically gifted as he was. Naruto gave Lee a nod of acknowledgement.

"Hello Naruto." Lee flashed Naruto a smile.

"Sempai."

"You know we really could use a player of your caliber in the team. Hayase hasn't stopped raving about your skills." Hayase was the team captain and after one game with Naruto he had exhausted all avenues to get him in.

"I would but I am still new to the school, and have some catching up to do not to mention my job doesn't leave me much free time." Naruto argued.

"Well I had to try. But if you decide to change your mind." Lee trailed off before joining his team for the cool down runs.

"You are crazy you know that." Kiba exclaimed once Lee left.

Naruto shrugged.

"God himself probably couldn't convince you to take up on Hayase's offer."

"Get the devil and I might think about it." Naruto muttered darkly now working to hang the banner they had been working on for the last 40 minutes, balancing himself on one of the ladders while Shiho held the other end, trying to find her balance.

"Make yourself useful Kiba and help her." Naruto ordered.

Kiba grumbled as he moved to hold the ladder Shiho was on.

Naruto felt it before he saw. Some of the team members were fooling around, when one of the guys chucked the basketball a little too hard. The boy chasing the basketball couldn't control his momentum and went crashing into the ladder Shiho was on. A look of terror appeared on her face before she lost her balance completely.

When she opened her eyes she felt something soft underneath her. Turning around she saw a mop of spiky blonde hair and blue eyes of the boy who had broken her fall with his own body and still managing to be concerned for her.

"You ok?" He asked.

"Oh my God, Naruto are you okay?" Came the concerned voice of Ino over the commotion of the crowd that had accumulated around them

"I am okay." Naruto answered giving a slight groan as he lifted himself. Worried faces of most of the cheerleaders and some of the players crowded around him. Gai was tearing into the players responsible at the other end of the gym. Once he was done he approached Naruto and ordered him to the infirmary, despite his protests that he was fine.

It wasn't long before he found himself at the tender mercies of the school nurse Shizune
An attractive dark-haired woman in her late twenties he could have been in far worse situations
"Well everything seems to be in order." She told him after a check-up.

"That's what I said."

"It is a little surprising, you coming out of that fall without so much as a bruise."

"What can I say? I am sturdy." Naruto said nonchalantly.

"Well there is nothing more to do then. However do speak to the principal before you leave. She wants a word."

Naruto nodded once inwardly wondering what he was wanted for as he made his way to the principal's chambers.

Knocking twice on the door he was greeted with a command of "Come in."

Walking in to see a blonde-haired woman with probably the biggest assets he had ever seen.

"Ah! Uzumaki san please take a seat." The principal said.

Following her instructions Naruto grabbed a chair.

"You weren't injured I hope."

"No sensei."

"Good, just wanted to know how you were doing, and if you were adjusting well to our school."

"I am doing fine ma'am."

"I just wanted to tell you that even though it hasn't been a long time since you joined this school, your teachers have been impressed with your work so far."

"I am glad they think so."

"On the other hand they are also concerned that you haven't given any thoughts to co-curricular activities."

So that's what this was about. Naruto managed to avoid rolling his eyes as he repeated his excuse again.

Tsunade nodded. She didn't get too many kids with his background. Lack of parents often forced children to grow up faster than they should have to."I take it you work as a part timer with the Ichiraku's."

Naruto nodded "I work there of my own volition. Teuchi san is my guardian, and I couldn't have asked for a better one."

"I am sure." Tsunade allowed. "Well in that case if you need anything anytime you know my door is always open."

Understanding his dismissal Naruto was about to walk out.

"Good job saving Shiho san." She called out to him.

Naruto nodded once and walked out.

Outside he was ambushed by Ino, Sakura and another girl he recognised as Tenten from a year above them.
"Are you okay?" Ino approached him.

"I am fine Ino."

"That was really brave of you." Added Sakura.

"Or really stupid." Ino countered though her eyes held a glint of admiration for her fellow blonde.

"Thank you for saving my sister." Tenten offered her gratitude.

Naruto didn't know that Shiho was Tenten's sister. The two girls were nothing alike. While Tenten was outgoing and athletic, Shiho was the classic introvert, bookish and quiet.
"Glad I could help." Naruto said."Classes are over what are you guys doing here?"

"We got your bag. And wanted to make sure you were ok." Ino said while handing him his school bag.

Glancing at his watch he suppressed a groan. He was going to be late.

"Sorry guys, I have to get to work. I will see you later."

Before any of the girls could react he had grabbed his bag and exited the school compound.
End Notes:
A sort of abrupt ending. Just a look in a daily life of Naruto. But we will be moving to the action real soon. Anyway don't forget to leave a review. Until next time
Museum Blues by crimson sun06
Interpol case no. 7035 report:-

Date: 01 December 2009

The victim Akira Hongo was found dead in an alley two blocks from his home. Shot twice at point blank range, one bullet in his abdomen the other lodged in his heart. The weapon used was a Beretta M 1951, which was later found to have been that of the victim's. The victim was currently working as a project manager in NASA for the developing the next generation of satellite launch vehicles. While at first glance it looks like case of mugging gone wrong, the motives arising from the sensitive nature of his work hasn't been ruled out.

Case status: Active.

Chapter 4: Museum blues

"Okay listen up brats, the five you have been chosen to witness the inauguration of the Sengoku Museum." Tsunade said addressing the five 8th graders in front of her. "As you know the Governor himself will be the Guest of honor and so I expect all of you to be on your best behavior." She said meeting the eyes of all five of them, her gaze lingering at Kiba's for a second longer than others. Kiba turned pale at the implication in her eyes.

"Put even a toe-nail out of line and I will have you deported to a place where they punish delinquency by death by firing squad."

"There were supposed to be more of you. But other schools insisted on sending their own students and hence your current number. You will be joined by the students from Suna at the bus stop." Kiba suppressed a groan at this while the girls snickered at his reaction.

Naruto raised an eyebrow wondering what Kiba's reaction was about.

"Tell you later." Kiba muttered under his breath.

"I seem to be forgetting something important." Tsunade muttered under her breath. "Oh yes.... have fun."

Kiba grumbled under his breath but promptly shut up on getting a glare from Tsunade who then proceeded to point her middle and index fingers to her eyes before turning them towards him. The universal sign for 'I will be watching you'.

Naruto turned to Kiba, his curiosity spiking with every passing second. It was the day of their museum visit. When it had been announced that only 5 students were to be chosen for the trip, Naruto had been secretly ecstatic, or as close to it as he could get, before he was told by Tsunade herself that he was going to be one of the 5. His protests were over -ruled and Tsunade took great pleasure in reminding him that if he had participated in extra-curriculars she wouldn't have insisted on it. She even went as far to call Teuchi who had been more than happy to give his blessing for it.

"You work too hard. Go on this actually might do you some good, and you are due some time off." Ayame had told him, when he had taken it up with her to get himself excused.

And now despite his reluctance or maybe because of it, Naruto was making his way to the bus stop along with Kiba, Ino, Sakura and another boy named Aoi who happened to be the best academic student of their class escorted by their art teacher Rei sensei.
It made him wonder what Kiba was doing there. He was an average student at the best of times from what he had seen so far. Sakura and even Ino were known for their book- smarts. When he voiced the question aloud to Kiba, he admitted grudgingly that Tsunade and his mother were friends and she had Kiba join the group in the hopes that it will make him more culturally inclined. He used air quotes to emphasize his mother's words.

Naruto couldn't suppress a snort at this. Kiba joined in the laughter. The words culturally inclined and Kiba never went into a sentence together. Over the past few days he and Kiba had developed an easy camaraderie. While Naruto liked Kiba's nice and easy-going if somewhat boisterous nature, Kiba on the other hand admired Naruto for his cool demeanor and athletic prowess. The only complaint Kiba had against Naruto was his constant refusal to join the basketball team.

His school and home life had settled into an easy predictable routine with Anko being the only proverbial thorn in his side. She hadn't approached him since the day she had offered him a ride inquiring about Iruka. He should have been glad for it but he had a feeling she was waiting in the wings to corner him again.

And next time she may not be so inclined to let go of him without getting at least some of the answers.

"Hello Rei sensei it has been a long time." A voice greeted their sensei. Turning towards the source of the sound Naruto found himself staring at a tall, thin man wearing a smile dressed in a black trousers, white shirt with a blue blazer. 5 kids slightly older than themselves werev flanking the man.

"Baki sensei." Rei acknowledged her Suna counterpart.

"Forgive me Rei sensei but I was expecting Gai to be escorting them." Baki said.

"Gai is busy honing the team. The basketball season is approaching after all. In fact I am surprised you aren't with your team."

"Well they are as ready as they can be. Can't do much wrong with them. We are ready to defend our title." Baki told her confidently.

Kiba gritted his teeth at that attracting Baki's attention.

"Ah! Its you." Baki looked like he wanted to say more but refrained, turning to Rei sensei "Shall we?"

"Of course." Rei replied cordially though her eyes indicated that she hadn't missed the way Baki was looking at one of her charges.

"Okay what was that all about?" Naruto asked a little bewildered.

Ino snickered before answering Naruto, not wanting to miss the chance to get one over the boy. "Kiba had incapacitated their basketball captain a couple of years ago causing them to lose their first championship final in 8 years. He has been the most hated kid in Suna High ever since."

"How did you do that?" Naruto turned to Kiba, wanting get the story straight from the source.

"Prank involving a bucket of blue paint, a 30 feet length of rope and lots of skittles." Kiba was trying and failing to suppress the smugness accompanying his statement.

"And Suna hasn't forgiven him since." Sakura said joining in the conversation.

"That's going a little far for a game of basketball isn't it?" Naruto said a little puzzled.

"The jerk was defiling my sister."Kiba snarled.

"He was her boyfriend." Ino countered. Kiba glared at her at that but she refused to back down and stared right back.

Kiba grumbled something incoherent, his sister still hadn't forgiven him for that stunt. They silently followed the Suna students led by Baki into the bus.

The Suna contingent consisted of a girl with straw blonde hair tied in two pigtails, a sneering red head, a black haired brown-eyed girl, another with auburn hair and the last was a tall wiry pale skinned boy.

Making their way to an empty seat naruto couldn't help but comment "You my friend are a flight risk. Can't believe Tsunade is sending you here despite knowing your history with Suna."

"So you would think. But I am sure she is hoping that the Suna kids might kill me for her." Kiba said darkly.

The bus started and Kiba started making random conversation while Naruto tuned him out. As much as Naruto liked the kid he didn't know the meaning of the words inner voice.

Though tuning out Kiba led him to focus on the girls' chatter.

"I can't believe Takeshi asked you out." Sakura gushed. "You had a crush on him for so long."

Takeshi was the point guard in the team 3 years their senior and the only one who had vocally opposed Naruto's inclusion.

"I know. He did so after we made the cheerleader trials." Ino said in an excited tone.

"Isn't he a little old for you?" Sakura said sounding a little apprehensive. "And he just dumped Rimi."

"Maybe he decided I was better and 3 years isn't a lot." Ino protested.

At this point Naruto decided to tune them out as well. Issues of teenage girls wasn't something he was comfortable with and turned his attention back to Kiba. The lesser of two evils in his opinion.

"...and once I make the team Suna is going down."

"Big words from a little runt." Said the red-headed Suna kid sneering at Kiba.

"Come here and say that to my face." Kiba challenged turning around in his seat to face the boy.

The red head was about to jump from his seat, when the blonde girl with pigtails held him down.

"That's enough Kankuro." She said getting the bot to back down.

"That's right, go hide behind a skirt...Hey what did you that for?" Kina snarled at Naruto, who had cuffed his ear. Hearing his protest Naruto pointedly eyed at the teachers who were now staring at them. Seeing what Naruto was implying Kiba gulped audibly before visibly calming down.

"I am sorry about my brother. He can be an idiot at times." The girl addresed Naruto ignoring her brother's glare.

"I am sorry about Kiba. He is an idiot all the time. I am Naruto by the way." Naruto introduced himself ignoring Kiba's muttered curse of "I hate you"

"Temari and this is my brother Kankuro." She offered.

"Nice to meet you."

"So are you excited about the trip?" She asked Naruto making small talk.

"Sort of." Naruto said not willing to reveal that he was forced into this trip. "I am guessing you are not."

"We have done this too many times for it to be a novelty." Temari laughed at his accurate guess. "Trust me it wears out pretty soon."

He fell into a casual conversation with Temari after this as she rattled on about her school and the history of the Sengoku period, which the museum specialized in. He found her relatively pleasant company and before long the hour long ride to the museum had concluded and they were making their way into the parking area of the museum.

Disembarking from the bus Naruto spotted two buses similar to their own. The museum was an impressive 2 floor structure supported by 30 feet pillars. The building was a rounded marble structure giving it an old-fashioned look. It was surrounded by a huge green lawn with walkways leading to the museum lined by pine trees.

The museum had four points of entry and exits. Metal detectors in front of each of them. Uniformed armed guards were manning the perimeter. The security around the museum was impressive. All of them were frisked for weapons once they had passed through the metal detectors, women guards frisked the girls.

Soon they were shown to a part of the compound where others were waiting. Four more schools other than Akiruno High and Suna High had volunteered their students for the inauguration. Naruto counted 20 more students escorted by 4 teachers.

After a waiting for a quarter of an hour a man who looked like the head of security approached Baki. The way the man carried himself suggested ex-military. His name-tag read Akisame.

"The Governor is here, please follow me." The man had a deep voice.

They were instructed to stand on the steps leading to the museum. A bunch of reporters were busy preparing their equipment. Before long a convoy of black sedans stopped near the entrance of the museum. A man in a black tuxedo walked out of one of the Sedans and opened the passenger seat. The man who came out was thoroughly unremarkable. He was a man in his late forties, stood at 5'5. His salt and pepper hair were parted to the right side of his scalp. Two small black eyes shadowed by thick eyebrows completed the picture. As he came out he was mobbed by the reporters. A genial smile played on his lips, obviously enjoying the attention. A man who looked like the proprietor of the museum approached him and and shook his hands reverently before leading him away towards the entrance, the reporters following in their wake.

XcX

The man gazed at the Governor making his way into the museum. He had his doubts about what he was doing. There were so many innocents here, most of them children. Was the cause real worth the blood of innocents? Before he could go to deep into his musings he stopped himself. He had made his choice. The plan was already underway. Back away now will do more harm than good.
Moreover sometimes sacrifices are required for the greater good. No war could be fought without casualties. He quashed his uneasiness, they had come too far for him to be getting cold feet now. This needed to be done and he will see it through.

Come what may.



The inauguration had been completed without much ceremony and the proprietor led them to the exhibits keeping a steady commentary. History was never really Naruto's cup of tea. But even he had to admit the museum was impressive to say the least. It had a good collection of artifacts from the Sengoku period including the armor of Nobunaga Oda. But that wasn't all. The pre-historic section had some pretty amazing specimens too. Including the skeleton of a Neanderthal.


Kiba's eyes had glazed five minutes after the lecture had began. Naruto kept up with the proprietor, Ino and Sakura had found a new friend in Temari, while Kankuro was glaring daggers at Kiba out of the corner of his eyes. It was when they were making their way to the second floor that Naruto's sense of uneasiness returned, as he saw two of the museum guards nodding at each other before switching places and Naruto caught the sight of what looked like firearms in a shoulder holster on both of them. He was sure no one else saw what he did.

"You okay man? you looked like you lost it there for a moment." Kiba said shaking Naruto out of his thoughts.

"Do you have network on your phone?" Naruto asked his voice calm but inside he was getting frantic.

"Now that you mention it no. I haven't had one since we entered this place." Kiba said checking his phone and shaking his head.

Naruto swore under his breath. Someone was definitely jamming the signals and that could only mean one thing.

"I need to use the washroom." Naruto muttered to Kiba. "Make sure no one notices I am gone. I will try and be back in a few minutes. Kiba nodded not thinking much of Naruto's unusual request.
"If you find a snack-bar get me a soda." Kiba said to his retreating back.
Naruto noiselessly separated himself from the group as he walked away. Something was definitely wrong, weapons weren't allowed inside the museum and yet the guards below were armed and they were definitely being herded.

A minute after he had separated himself from the group he heard shots being fired followed by panicked screams.

So it begins. Naruto thought grimly to himself.

Ino's mind had shut down. One moment she was following the peaceful if a somewhat boring lecture of the proprietor, the next thing she knew, men in black fatigues armed with guns had shot the two bodyguards of the Governor and knocked out the proprietor. Soon screams rang through the air as everyone began running in a panicked rush. However there was nowhere to run as the stairs leading downstairs were guarded by two similarly armed guards.

"Now now. There is no need to panic kids." A cold voice rang through the air." The voice inspired terror like she had never felt in her life. The very air she was breathing seemed to suffocate her. Her best friend wasn't faring any better, as she was hyperventilating. Even Kiba looked ashen. In her moment of terror her mind didn't register the absence of Naruto.

The two men ushered them back towards the source of the voice, and for the first time Ino got a good look at their tormentor. He was a tall man dressed in a black muscle shirt, and green cargo pants. His black eyes glinting with malice and half of his face covered with a mask. The governor had been forced to his knees, his bodyguards shot dead. Ino almost lost her breakfast at the sight of the dead guards, and Sakura did, though she wasn't the only one. The man ignored the vomiting children and continued. "My name is Zabuza." The man said theatrically. "You came here to learn a little about our history. I am offering you something better." He gazed at the assembled hostages extending his ominous pause. "A chance to create history."

XcX

It was the weekend and Anko like all weekenders began a late morning. A shower and a cup of coffee later she had just flipped the newspaper open. The front page was focused on how a Government policy had backfired courtesy of a corrupt minister. Anko chuckled at the image of the minister which was given priority on the page. Politicians, when they weren't screwing their mistresses they were screwing the country. The ring of her phone brought her out of her musings. She preferred her weekend mornings to be quiet and relaxing. So understandably she wasn't very keen on reaching for the phone.The ring irritating her. It was her work phone and she silently cursed the caller. If it was Aoba again pestering her for a date she would be busting some balls. You would imagine he was mature enough to understand the concept of a one-night stand. But that didn't seem to be the case. However the caller id displayed a way more important but far less welcome name of her superior. Dreading the call she picked up.

"Hello." Anko said tentatively.

"Officer Mitarashi, its a code green." The cool, no-nonsense voice of the superintendent informed her.

Code green was a hostage situation.

"Where?" Anko said her demeanor turning professional.

"Sengoku Museum."

At this she knew the situation was far from ordinary. The perpetrators more than likely had the Governor hostage.

"I will be there sir." She cut-off the call saying so.

Pulling on her uniform and her assigned weapon she hurried to report to her superiors. This was going to be a long day.
End Notes:
Things finally moving. This ends the introductory arc and we are back in action. Do tell what you thought if it. Until next time.
Choices by crimson sun06
Sengoku museum Time: 11:03 Am

"Is everyone accounted for?" Zabuza asked one of his men.

"All except one." Came the reply.

Zabuza froze. Turning his malevolent eyes on his subordinates,"You have 1 minute to convince me not to rip your head off your shoulders."

The man swallowed audibly. He knew for a fact that the threat wasn't an empty one. Zabuza lead his men using a combination of charisma and terror. He had personally seen him behead his own followers for incompetence. The less said about the traitors the better. Most of them had volunteered for the cause but it was Zabuza who made sure they stayed. He knew he had to talk fast if only to give himself any chance to survive this. "There were 30 students who walked in. 29 are accounted for and are being held in the gallery."

"You are not exactly making your case stronger here you know, if you are telling me its a kid that is unaccounted for." Zabuza taunted maliciously placing the muzzle of his weapon under the man's chin. "You have 30 seconds."

"He must have separated himself from the group during the tour." The man stuttered. "Give me 10 minutes and I will have him here."

Zabuza eyes went blank at that and he pulled the trigger, the result being an empty click. The man huffed a sigh of relief before without warning Zabuza smashed his face with the butt of his weapon. The man collapsed on the floor spitting blood.

"The only reason I am leaving you alive is because I have no one to replace you with at the moment. So you can thank your lucky stars, while I go and clean up your mess." Zabuza said his voice dripping with contempt, leaving his man groaning in pain on the floor he walked into the gallery where all the hostages were being held. It had been 15 minutes since the operation had begun. Everything had gone smoothly but now this snag no matter how small was annoying the hell out of him. He didn't like variables like this. But he will see to it that it is neutralized.
The hysteria which had gripped his hostages had given way to acceptance for now. Good for them, a little more of that and he would have started shooting.

Walking into the gallery he saw the hostages visibly cower at his sight. He couldn't suppress a smirk at this. Good, he thought fear should keep them in line. But he had bigger things to worry about at the moment. Walking to the front of the group he addressed them.

"Well we have a full class here." Zabuza said in a jaunty tone."All eager to learn. But " Zabuza paused for effect. "The class isn't exactly at full strength is it? One of your number is playing truant, and that just won't do..." At this one of his men approached him and whispered something in his ear.

On processing the information his man had given him, he approached Rei. Sitting on his hunches so as to get to her eye-level. Rei flinched at this. "Well it looks like we have a winner. So, sensei it seems like one of your students isn't here. Care to enlighten me as to where he is."

"I don't know." Rei replied in a muted tone not meeting his eyes.

"Well that was highly irresponsible of you wasn't it?" Zabuza said in a sardonic tone. "Teachers like you are the reason the system is going to the dogs."

"Please..... please." Rei was almost sobbing now.

"Hmmm... I really wish I could let this go. But I need to make an example or things will never get better. I am sure you understand." Placing his weapon on her temple he decided to squeeze the trigger. "You're fired."

"Wait." A voice spoke up, halting Zabuza before he could blow her brains out. He knew this would work.

Removing his gun he swallowed his smirk and turned to the owner of the voice, a wild haired, brown-eyed boy.

"Yes?" Zabuza said with a hint of malice in his voice.

"He went to use the washroom during the tour." The boy said.

"How long ago was this?"

"Just before... you know." Kiba said and Zabuza caught his meaning. Just before they made their move. Just great all this planning and it unravels because one brat doesn't have control over his bladder. The universe must really hate him.

"All is not lost sir." Said Gozu one of his more competent underlings. He along with his twin Meizu were Zabuza's most trusted men. . "Its just one boy. Its not like he can get out of here. Nor can he contact anyone else. The jammers have taken care of that."

Zabuza let out a sigh Gozu was right. What could one boy do afterall? But still the boy was a variable and he didn't like surprises.

"Be that may, for now get the others to look for the boy." Zabuza ordered.

"Yes, sir." Gozu replied.

Kiba felt like a dirt bag right now. He was betraying his friend. The fact that he did it to save his sensei's life wasn't making him feel any better about it. He just hoped Naruto could stay hidden long enough for help to arrive. What they would do to him if they found him didn't even warrant thinking.

"Don't beat yourself over it." Came a voice from his right and Kiba was surprised to see it was Baki who obviously had seen his distress over what he saw as betrayal to his friend. "You did what you had to do." Baki said placing a hand on his shoulder. At this one of their captors shouted a warning telling Baki to shut up. Baki removed his arm but his eyes held Kiba's for a little longer, a message of comfort in them. Kiba nodded back at Baki indicating his appreciation.

XcX

Anko stepped out of her car. A look around told her of the gravity of the situation. Nearly every police officer in the city was present there. Right now they were busy setting up a perimeter.

"Sergeant Mitarashi." A voice greeted her. Turning around she saw that it was another Sergeant who had addressed her.

"Yes sir."

"Follow me. The boss has requested your presence."

He led her to Morino Ibiki the Superintendent of her ex-department. A tall intimidating man with twin scars running diagonally across his face. The scars were the results of an undercover operation gone horribly wrong. There were some who disputed it though. Rumour was that Ibiki blew his own cover so as to get the information that was vital to the case leading him to gain the moniker of 'The Shark' due to his dogged pursuit of any clue as a shark would pursue a drop of blood in an ocean for his prey. As an interrogation specialist Anko had only the greatest respect for Ibiki who had been her mentor ever since she had joined the force before she was transferred to Special Assault Team.

"What's the situation sir?"

"36 hostages excluding the Governor. The perpetrators number unknown, though estimated to be more than 10. Its been more than two and half hours since the situation arose."

"What's our plan of attack sir?"

"We have none." Ibiki replied grimly.

"I am sure I misheard you sir, but I was sure I heard you say we have no plan of attack."

"You heard right Sergeant. We have no plan of attack."

"Permission to speak freely sir."

"Granted."

"What the hell Ibiki? What are you playing at?" Anko screamed at her mentor.

Ibiki gave her a levelled glare expecting this reaction.

"You tell me." Ibiki said offering Anko his place along with a pair of binoculars. One look was all it took for Anko to feel like an idiot for doubting her Ibiki as the reason they didn't have a plan of attack became clear to her. The museum was surrounded by 500 yards of open lawns, making getting an infiltration team in impossible. Lack of buildings or any elevated areas in the vicinity put snipers out of the equation as well. Seeing the situation in front of her Anko couldn't help but summarise the situation rather eloquently.

"Shit!"

"I thought so." Ibiki said grimly.

Handing the binoculars back to Ibiki, Anko walked away trying to gather her thoughts. Her brain refused to come up with a plan which wasn't suicidal. Whoever these guys were they were good. If only she could get some one in,if only for logistics. Her thoughts were interrupted by the ringing of her phone adding to her annoyance. Checking the caller id told her that it was an unknown number. Deciding to ignore the call in favor of the situation in hand she cancelled the call. But before long her phone started ringing again. She ignored it a second time, the third time it rang Anko answered it.

"I hope for your sake that you are either a hostage or a terrorist, cause if you aren't either.."

"Well good thing I happen to fit one of the criteria then." A voice interrupted her from the other end. Anko froze forgetting all about the hostage situation, about Ibiki, about everything. Of all the people who could have called her, he was the last person she expected this from. It wasn't everyday that Anko was struck speechless.

"Na...Naruto." She stammered.

"You are a hard person to reach Anko san." Came the sardonic reply.

One hour ago

Part of Naruto was still wondering why he was doing this. He could let the events play out, keep in hiding till they are rescued or they are let go following a negotiation. But another part of him felt responsible. He should have seen this coming. The signs were all there and he had ignored them lulled by the security of civilian life. He didn't know what he could have done to prevent this situation, but the fact that he had ignored the signs alone counted as a failure in his book and he wasn't trained to fail. So he would make this right any way he could. So far he had managed to avoid the guards while keeping an eye on them. There were 15 of them. The exits were lined with C-4 explosives. As far as he could tell the detonator was primed to receive microwave signals. He couldn't deactivate the bombs without getting caught, but if he could somehow get close enough he might be able to change the frequency for detonation. But even that seemed impossible at the moment. He had come up with a plan. One of the shorter guards was within an inch of his height. He could infiltrate this group. He had spent the last hour or so observing his mark. The fact that all of them had face-masks made his job easier. Well time to get to work.

His guard was relatively relaxed. After all the plan had gone flawlessly so far. Now if only they could find the missing boy. But then one pubescent boy was hardly worth the trouble as he couldn't make any contact with the outside world. In another 12 hours they would be out of here with enough funds to fuel their coup. So engrossed was he in his thoughts that he didn't notice the shadow land behind him. He didn't notice it creeping behind him. He did notice the fingers that enclosed around his throat though. But before he could do more than widen his eyes, the fingers had already crushed his windpipe. He died a quick but painful death.

Naruto dragged the body away. He had two minutes at most, before they figured something was wrong. Dragging the body he pushed it inside one of the sarcophagus in the Egyptian gallery. Hurriedly pulling his clothes on over his own. The man was built more heavily than a 14 year old. So Naruto left his clothes on to make up for the bulk, put on the mask and he was ready. Picking up the weapon he was ready to pick up the patrol.

He made his way to the hallway. Modifying his voice to match it with that of his unfortunate victim, he spoke into the radio.

"This is Alpha-1 reporting. Hallway 3 is clear." He waited for confirmation with bated breath.

"Roger that Alpha-1. Keep your eyes out for tangos as well as for the kid. Zabuza's ready to burst a vein if the kid isn't found soon."

Naruto froze for a second on hearing that name. It was a name he was familiar with and it didn't bode well. He knew it was asking for too much when he expected his life to be easy.

"Copy that." Naruto spoke into the radio.

Approaching the doors with the explosives, he started his work on them. This will take some time, though he hoped to be done before someone came to check on them. It took 3 minutes to make one circuit around the museum. There were 3 of them patrolling the floor. Which gave him one minute to finish what he was doing. He needed only 45 seconds. He wasn't trying to deactivate the bombs after all. He just needed to change the frequency, so that Zabuza couldn't detonate them.

Naruto had changed detonation frequency of the bomb by his 6th round of patrol. It had gone smoothly enough, and the others didn't suspect a thing. After nearly 20 minutes of regular patrolling Naruto was feeling a little lost. Deactivating the bombs was as far as he had gone in his planning, which while crucial didn't help the situation much. The bombs were there prevent anyone escaping and there didn't seem to be any possibility of that happening any time soon. So while he had successfully derailed plan B wouldn't make much of a difference if plan A succeeded. He decided to make contact with the cops who were milling outside the compound. Using the binoculars he had found on his victim he gazed out into the compound, and seeing the familiar figure of Mitarashi Anko made his decision for him. Though at the moment he didn't know how. Someone was scrambling the signals making mobile phones useless. While a portable signal scrambler could kill the network of all phones within 15 yards. To do this over this large an area required you would need some heavy duty equipment. Equipment which would require constant supply of electricity. Something like the guard room, which was used to monitor the cameras inside the museum.

Deciding to follow this line of thought Naruto made his way to the guard room.

"This is Alpha-1 I am gonna go check the basement for activity." Naruto reported.

"Roger that."

Walking to a soda machine he grabbed a couple of cans of coke and knocked on the door to the guard room.

"Come in." Came a high reedy voice.

Naruto walked in to find a thin bespectacled man, in his late twenties hunched over a laptop attached to various paraphernalia.

"So how is it going?" Naruto asked.

"Well its all boring for the moment. Scrambling the signals of all the cell phones in the building. Its child's play."

"That is why Zabuza keeps you around. You are useful. Coke?" Naruto offered

"Why thank you. You military types are so uptight. Atleast one of you is approachable." He said popping open the can taking a sip."Aahh...that hits the spot."

"So how long is the range of this thing?" Naruto asked the man.

"This baby covers nearly 500 yards. Need to keep her juiced up though unlike the battery operated ones ."

"Of course. No blind spots I suppose."Naruto said keeping his tone nonchalant.

"Any electronic device outside this room is about as useful as a pebble." The man said before chugging the rest of the drink and burping loudly.

"You really watered down your drink." Naruto said faking amazement.

"Yeah back in my college days I used to be known as the soda chugging king." The man said pride evident in his voice.

"You don't say." Naruto said popping the second can. "Prove it then. Bet you 100 that you can't chug this down in 20 seconds."

"Won't need more than 15."

The man took 13 seconds.

"Wow you are the man." Naruto said in an awed voice.

"Flattery will get you everywhere. I will still need the money though."

Naruto groaned as he placed the money in his hands. It wasn't that big a loss. It wasn't his money anyway.

"You don't mind staying here while I make a trip to the toilet do you?" The man asked him. "Zabuza will have my hide if he learnt that I left."
Naruto barely suppressed a smirk at the successful conclusion of his plan. The room being a chilly twenty degrees didn't hurt and the soda just sped the process.

"Sure man go ahead take your time."

As soon as the man left the room. Naruto took his cell and began dialling the one number he hoped he wouldn't ever have to use. But once he dialled he found that she kept cutting her calls. On his 3rd try she finally answered.

"I hope for your sake that you are either a hostage or a terrorist, cause if you aren't either.."

"Well good thing I happen to fit one of the criteria then." Naruto interrupted her.

"Na...Naruto." Came the eloquent response from the other end.

"You are a hard person to reach Anko san." Naruto said not being able to help his sardonic tone. He knew he was taking a big risk. But he had run out of choices. There were lives on the line here. He had made his choice and he was ready to live with the consequences.
End Notes:
Finally some action eh? What is Naruto planning? Will he be able to save the hostages? What are Zabuza's designs? All this and more next time.
This story archived at http://www.narutofic.org/viewstory.php?sid=11249