Chapter 37

A Man of Many Faces


Like Michinoku prints

Of the tangled leaves of ferns,

It is because of you

That I have become confused;

But my love for you remains.

-       Minamoto no Toru



Teradaya Inn,

Fushimi-ku, Kyoto


It was almost always the same setting in most of these places. The main floor of the inn gave the illusion of being an honestly run business, with customers hunched over steaming bowls of udon or nursing the umpteenth cup of sake as they spilled their tired woes to anyone who gave a shit. Young girls – fresh teens with perky bosoms that teased within pastel kimonos – served in quiet obedience; taking orders from uncouth bastards who would squeeze a breast or swat a firm ass in salutation while cackling with mirth at their daring. The girls – already well trained in dealing with such behavior – would only titter with amusement and shuffle just as quickly back to a kitchen where its jaded owner would bark orders to young men sweating it out over bubbling cauldrons of the next meal to be served.


If it was a particularly good night, you might be lucky to catch a roaming songstress performing on ‘stage’ in a corner of the room; her shamisen droning songs of love lost and broken hearts. On wooden benches outside, old men were likely to be seen playing oicho-kabu; toothy grins and smiles revealed as they cackled at the passing youth and regaled no one in particular with tales of their exploits back in their glory days. They barely looked up when a passing Watchdog would stop by for a ‘check in’, since these were mainly curious new officers eager to make a bust but failing to see anything worth arresting (except for the occasional drunk).


If these officers were more diligent or thorough, perhaps they would have wondered why there were two doors with the signs “For Staff Only” close to the restrooms and kitchen at the back of the main dining hall. If they had remained an hour longer, perhaps they would have noted the steady stream of men disappearing through said doors. If they really cared about their jobs, perhaps they would have noticed that beyond said doors and through a corridor illuminated by a lone weak light bulb, were a short flight of stairs leading to an underground den where so many arrests would have been made to guarantee them some kind of recognition from the higher authorities for a job well done.


The first thing to hit you as you arrived was the billowing clouds of smoke – a combination of the finest cigars, the most expensive of cigarettes, or the sweetness of processed opium and crushed marijuana – to assail the senses. Sake, imported beer and wines flowed like the prohibition gone awry. In a room as large as the main restaurant above, about twenty to thirty men – some in suits, some in yukata of all shapes, sizes, and tattoo markings - sat in a rough circle upon tatami mats, their voices rising as each tried to out yell the other over the haze of alcohol and drugs in a raucous game of Chō-han. Wagers were placed and wads of cash thrown into the circle as the dealer shook the bamboo cup before turning it upside down. Breaths were held for the most minuscule of minutes and when it was finally overturned, several groans (or cries of victory) echoed around the room in a collective wave. Winners grabbed their loot with greedy laughter; losers bemoaned their losses, and yet went in for the next round eager to make up for previous failings.


(addiction was a terrible thing)  


Young women, slightly older than their counterparts above – dressed in knee-high kimonos that exposed creamy legs and enhanced cleavages to whoever cared to grope as they passed – served and entertained their boisterous guests as best they could. If they were lucky, they could attract the roaming eye of a kyodai, who was all too willing to have a quick fuck session in the darker corner of the room. They would shamelessly slide onto the laps of these powerful men, grinding hips and thrusting perky nipples into the hungry mouths eager to suckle them dry; their wanton cries or moans of lust mingling with the primal roars of male conquest.


Shikamaru watched all this dispassionately; his appetite for the scene at an all time low. Once you had been in one of such had just about seen them all, and in the past few months, he had been in more than enough of such hell pits to last him a lifetime. With an inward sigh, he lit a cigarette and threw back his head; allowing the familiar rush to fill his lungs as he leaned against the wall. Beneath hooded lashes – giving one the illusion of being half asleep – he allowed his gaze to travel across the room to the two men engaged in deep conversation within the haze of smoke. He allowed a rueful smile to come to his features as he took note of the body language of the younger; how that lithe figure beneath the black yukata seemed to ooze a sensuality he was unaware of doing. With those familiar blond locks now at shoulder length (having long given up the idea of getting haircut after haircut), and those blue eyes more prominent and piercing thanks to the thin layer of kohl he applied each morning, it was hard to ignore Uzumaki Naruto’s presence in any setting even though he had tried to ‘sneak’ in earlier in the evening without being noticed. His companion was obviously enamored with the blond, for he seemed to lean closer as if eager to inhale every word that was uttered from Naruto’s mouth, though it could also be because the damn room was so loud and no one could hear himself think otherwise. Either way, if Naruto was aware of the older man’s interests, he gave no sign of it. He settled for nursing his cup of sake and trying to ignore the flirtations of the young women (about four of them) flanking their sides like desperate nymphomaniacs eager to have a piece of the Golden Beast beside them.


Who was this man? Only the shateigashira (second lieutenant) of the Bakufu Syndicate.


It was amazing, in itself, that Naruto had finally managed to wiggle his way into getting this meeting with one of the high-ranking members of the Syndicate in the first place. Shikamaru chuckled beneath his breath at the irony of it all. To think that Naruto had been able to pull off something this impossible so quickly was a testament to how smart and determined the blond really was. Shikamaru had to reluctantly admire that, despite the small part of him that had always considered and assumed that Naruto would remain clueless and helpless for the rest of his life. However, Naruto had proven him wrong time and time again, and it had all started on that night after his introduction to Jiraiya’s comrades at the dinner hosted on their behalf. Naruto’s chilling words still resonated with him; words that had been filled with bitterness and a deep-seeded sadness no words of comfort could ever appease.


“Did you see their eyes?” Naruto had asked long after the festivities were over and they were back in his room. “Did you see the way they looked at me?”


Shikamaru, who was slightly intoxicated by the amount of liquor served all night, could barely lift his head off the pillow as he mumbled out some sort of response. He could see Naruto’s bare back to him, the hard muscles and faint scars from the bruises and floggings he had sustained over time like a map of his life etched within the slightly bronzed flesh.


“Like I was...a piece of meat,” Naruto continued in that same ‘dead’ tone. “Like I was just something they could manipulate however they wanted. All their praises...adoration was empty, Shika. It felt like rehearsed lines and they thought I’d feed into it.”


“Or maybe they really do like you -”


“Fuck that,” came the curt interruption. “Don’t you see? This is what they did to my father too! Maybe he really didn’t want to become yakuza or an assassin in the first place, but there were no options left for him to slip out of. Hell, even the pervert must have seen that! I’ll bet he had the ability to stop my father from being a part of all that, but his selfishness got in the way!”


Shikamaru did lift his head at that; looking up to notice the fire within those eyes that seemed to scorch right through him. Yikes. Naruto really did look pissed off.


“Am I missing something here?” Shikamaru asked warily. “I thought you said the reason your father joined was because he had to save some guy -”


“Jiraiya gave him an ultimatum,” Naruto growled. “Join the organization or watch his ‘father’ get destroyed by the yakuza. What option did he have?”


“ What are you saying?”


Naruto threw up his hands and then fell to his stomach to lie beside Shikamaru. He looked toward the closed screen door as if waiting for something or straining his ears to listen to something before whispering beneath his breath.


“I’m saying that I think Jiraiya’s not being straight with me,” he confessed. “I mean...I know he’s done all these good things for us, but I can’t help wondering if he’s really being honest. What if he’s only using me to get back to the top?”


“He retired, Naruto. Doesn’t that say anything about the guy? I don’t think he wants to get back into this business -”


“But you saw the way he acted tonight, didn’t you? Now that he realizes that Ikegami and Danzo could be out of the picture and that I’m asking him to take over when it’s all over...maybe the idea of being in power again is intoxicating to the senses. Maybe he’s remembering how good it all was back then and the whole fucking circle repeats itself again. How many more innocent men have to be taken into the organization against their will?”


“Naruto...the yakuza will always exist even when this war is over. You’re forgetting that the Bakufu aren’t the only factions out there. Besides the Mibu, there are other families that want the power. Just what the fuck do you plan to do? Destroy them all?”


Naruto groaned and flopped his head upon the futon. He formed a fist and pounded it into the mat beside him in frustration. “I hate this. I fucking hate this.”


Shikamaru lifted a hand to rub his friend’s shoulders in sympathy, but was thwarted as Naruto raised his head again; that same fiery passion still in his eyes.


“But I am going to do something about it all the same.” He looked at his friend. “They can’t get away with it so easily, Shika. We’ve got to teach them a lesson in some let them know that they can’t keep fucking around with peoples’ lives like it’s a chess game.”


Ah, shit. This can’t be good, Shikamaru thought with growing worry. When Naruto got this determined with some hare-brained idea...there really was no stopping him. “And just what are you going to do, Mr. Uzumaki?”


There was a long silence as the blond rested his chin on the pillow to stare into the flickering flame within the lantern before them. Finally, he replied quietly. “To be honest...I’m not sure, but I’m not going to stop trying. My father died with that ideology in mind. There are no rules that said I can’t try in his place...even if it kills me in the end.”


“...just don’t do anything too stupid,” Shikamaru whispered as he turned away and pretended to yawn in weariness, though he was now far from feeling sleepy.


“Well...I’ve got you there to take care of me in case, eh?” came the quiet response that was followed by a weak chuckle. Shikamaru wanted to bark that he wasn’t going to remain Naruto’s babysitter for the rest of his life, but to his chagrin, a light snore signaled that the blond was already fast asleep.


(you selfish son-of-bitch. I swear you make me want to throttle you and yet...)


And yet all these months later, Naruto had just about proven him wrong in every way imaginable. He crushed out the cigarette and absently brushed away the woman who had sidled up to him while he was lost in his thoughts.


(I can’t help wanting to see just how far you’ll go. I want to get to the end with you for some dumb ass reason or maybe it’s just Asuma driving me to stick around for the ride)


He dug into his yukata for the pack of cigarettes, while musing over how the wheels for Naruto’s revenge had begun to spin almost immediately after that night. Jiraiya had outlined the plan the next day; a way for Naruto to get noticed by Danzo and his goons easily. With the help of the Mibu Syndicate, Naruto was to assimilate into the faction but without getting a tattoo to signify which group he belonged to...yet. With a small group of seven men specifically chosen by the oyabun of the Mibu, and with Naruto at the helm, they began to infiltrate the Bakufu turf in the Nishikyo region, taking over small time racketeers and businesses. For those stupid enough to challenge them, their deaths were swift and made as a lesson to anyone else that dared to step forward. However, the brilliance of all this was that Naruto was not blatantly obvious in his dealings with the enemies. He let his goons do the ‘talking’ for him, only allowing his name to be spread around as the one behind the destruction. In about three weeks, Nishikyo belonged to them (or rather the Mibu). In less than a month, the Minami, Yamishina, Shimogyo, and Fushimi regions were easily within the grasp of this small band of skilled fighters. Shocking to admit, but the southern part of Kyoto was rapidly being controlled by the Mibu, and it wasn’t long until the Bakufu as well as a certain Shimura Danzo began to take notice.  


Watching Naruto in a leadership role was actually interesting to say the least. For all his goofiness and sometimes lack of attention to detail (and short attention-span), Shikamaru was pleasantly surprised at how easy Naruto made it seem. He didn’t set about demanding the others do whatever he asked of them, and considering these ‘Magnificent Seven’ were seasoned fighters themselves and had many years of being yakuza under their belts, one would have expected some kind of resistance from the beginning. Perhaps, like Shikamaru, they too were waiting for the ‘Blond Wonder’ to make a mistake, for him to falter and realize he was dealing with matters bigger than himself. So far, Naruto was giving them reasons to second guess their doubts. He sought their advice and counsel in as much as he made it clear that he was technically still in charge. He didn’t impose himself unnecessarily, and was still somewhat naively eager to point out the good in them rather than focus on the ‘terrible’ jobs they had to do on a daily basis. If a mission was carried out successfully, Naruto was not averse to commending them for a job well done either by praising them exuberantly or taking them out for a night of sake and good women. If the ‘Magnificent Seven’ noticed that their boss did not readily welcome said women to his side during such soirees, they kept it to themselves. If they noticed that there were times when their boss would fall into thoughtful silence or grit his teeth in silent fury, they were wise not to bother him then.


Bottom line, the Magnificent Seven had come to respect their new boss just as much as he entrusted his safety and ideals to them. It was an odd partnership that worked contrary to everything that should have suggested otherwise.


In the gloom, he watched as the shateigashira (who was actually Simizutani Satoshi) made an overt move by leaning close enough to whisper something into Naruto’s ear, while reaching out to caress the necklace draped around the blond’s neck. Naruto did not flinch or push the older man away, but he gave no inclination of accepting whatever physical advance was made. This was a game to be played after all. If Naruto was to woo the lieutenant’s trust, he’d have to play ball...even if it meant having to sleep with the enemy.




Wonder what Sasuke would think of that, came the errant thought that had Shika’s lips twitching faintly in amusement.


He wasn’t stupid or blind. He had seen and noticed the change in both men’s relationship with each other during the latter stages of their stay at Buk-gu. The fact they had locked themselves away in Naruto’s apartment was more than enough to let anyone know they were now a whole lot more than just ‘friends’. To be blunt, Shikamaru couldn’t say he approved of it, as a part of him was still unforgiving of the Sasuke he had known during his incarceration. That part of him felt that Naruto deserved better, but he would have been obtuse not to notice that Sasuke was doing his best to reverse his past mistakes. He might not have become all warm and fuzzy in the social interaction department, but the ex-captain was doing the best he could, and if it meant being in a sexual relationship with another man (maybe hanging around Orochimaru for so long had made him comfortable with such a thing in the first place), who was he to argue? What was more surprising in all this was Naruto’s willingness to accept such a relationship in the first place. For a guy who had been through that hell while in the dungeons and who wouldn’t even welcome the idea of another man touching him for several weeks on end, allowing Sasuke into his life was a humongous step for him as well.


(the most unlikely of bed fellows...wonders shall never cease)


Still he did know that Sasuke meant a lot to Naruto as obvious with the way the blond would soak up any information he could gather from Temari about how far the Uchiha brothers were coming along with their plans to storm into Byaku-Shinkyou. He would watch the wistful expression come into those blue eyes or the small smile he’d give if something good was reported. It was hard for both of them, but at least he had been able to visit Temari for a weekend of some ‘alone’ time about a month ago. Unfortunately, Naruto had been too busy weaving his spell with Danzo (and now the Bakufu dogs) to even consider taking a break. Not that it would be easy getting to see Sasuke anyway. If they were to indeed meet...


He sat up as he noticed the blink-and-you-just-might-miss-it look flashed his way.


(gotcha boss)


He crushed out his second cigarette and rose to his feet, stretching out unused muscles from sitting for so long. No one paid much attention to him as he slipped out of the room, but he had been doing his homework and Naruto would want to know as much as possible from the information he had gathered so far.


He made his way around the building, stopping only to make sure there were no Watchdogs or Bakufu troublemakers in the vicinity. He nodded absently at two of the Magnificent Seven lurking in the shadows; always on the alert in case of a skirmish, but so far it had been a quiet night, which was a good thing. Shikamaru kept his gaze lowered as he walked past buildings that showcased women in heat, he bypassed the drunkards and the homeless in need of a quick fix, stepped over standing puddles in cluttered and smelly alleys, and several in and out of hidden corners later, arrived at the abandoned warehouse where he had parked the black sports car.


Though he would have preferred not to drive around in a yukata, beggars couldn’t be choosers. He slid behind the wheel and sighed in relief. His neck and back muscles throbbed from the awkward position he had been in all evening, and as he stretched again to get the blood flowing, the sudden sound of the passenger door opening had him sitting up and placing a hand at his waist (the gun had been hidden there all this time) in readiness for an attack. However, with a breathless grunt, the very man he thought he would have to wait for some time slid into the seat and slammed the door shut behind him.


“Drive,” came the curt command that Shikamaru obeyed without question.


Ten minutes in and when it seemed like Naruto wasn’t going to say another word, Shikamaru stole a glance to see if the blond was asleep. Naruto’s gaze was trained outside the window, a hand thrust within the top of his yukata as if caressing his chest absently. Shikamaru couldn’t tell from the other man’s expression what he was thinking, so he cleared his throat and tried to ask as nonchalantly as possible.




Naruto blinked hard as if waking up from a stupor to eye his friend; a wry smile tugging at his lips. “You mean besides him wanting to fuck my brains out?” He gave a short bark of a laugh before allowing his lips to curl in disdain. “Just as I expected actually. He’s willing to work with me...a sixty-forty partnership.”


Shikamaru whistled in appreciation. “Nice.”


“That after haggling with him for a while,” Naruto continued in that same cynical tone. “He at first wanted an eighty-twenty seeing as I didn’t have a lot of options to offer him, but when I guaranteed him I could get Ukyo, Kita and Sakyo within the month...he couldn’t resist.”


Shikamaru smirked. “Ah, offering him something you took in the first place, eh?”


“He doesn’t know I’m the one behind it,” Naruto agreed with a grin that looked nothing short of feral on his features. “To them, Uzumaki Naruto is just a figment of their overactive imagination; a terror out to destroy everything they hold dear. My goal now is to get him in my favor and be introduced to Miyazaki Manabu -”


“The first lieutenant?”


“That’s right. Once he’s in the picture, I can begin to sweeten the deal by promising them turf and businesses Danzo has claimed thanks to his dealings with the very Mibu Syndicate on my side.”


“Tangled little web there, Naruto.”


“I know...and it’s all so delicious, isn’t it?”


They glanced at each other and burst into helpless giggles at how ridiculous yet dangerous it all seemed. And yet Shikamaru couldn’t help the tingle of adrenaline that shot down his spine at just how powerful Naruto was becoming without actually knowing it. He really did have these powerful men groveling at his feet, and except for the missions he was beginning to get from Danzo, everything just might be moving too smoothly.


“What did you manage to learn tonight about my target?” Naruto asked eventually. “The dossier Danzo sent wasn’t as comprehensive as I’d like.”


With a nod, Shikamaru conveyed all he had gathered from talking to some of the men in the gambling hall. Most had dealt with the councilman who apparently took about half of the Inn’s illegal earnings on a weekly basis. His ties with the Bakufu extended into the booze and sex trade business, going as far as indulging himself and his friends with parties featuring terrified teenage Thai or Vietnamese girls for hire. Bottom line, Ishida was a fat, greedy bastard who only cared for himself and had apparently fallen out of favor with Danzo and his schemes to take over the Democratic party. He was simply no longer needed.


“So less guilt in taking him out,” Naruto muttered beneath his breath as he cracked his knuckles.


“If you say so,” Shikamaru replied as he drove down the brightly lit streets. “...he does have a wife and two kids though...”




Shikamaru bit his lower lip and nodded in silent understanding. “So tomorrow then?”


“Right,” Naruto muttered and snuggled closer to the window with his lashes drifting closed. “After his dinner party...he’d have eaten his last meal on this earth.”







It’s not that I don’t care.


It’s just that I cannot allow myself to think of those things or I’d go insane. I thought Shika, of all people, would have understood that. The worst thing that could possibly happen is to have second doubts especially since this is my unofficial first assassination mission and screwing it up was not an option. It’s a good thing I was given someone I could really hate without even trying. Just reading the dossier and hearing Shikamaru’s accounts were enough to get my adrenaline roaring to take him out.


(just one less asshole to worry about)


The big ones would be next. I was just training for that opportunity, that’s all.


I straightened out the necktie and eyed my reflection in the mirror, almost finding it ridiculous that I’d have to get all ‘dressed-up’ just to take out someone. Considering I’d be lying on a fucking roof for most of the night and getting my ass cold in the process, this was a goddamn waste of time. But hey, this was what ‘the boss’ wanted, and I’d have to play the game...for now.


“Looking good,” I whispered at the wig-wearing dark-haired stranger before me in the expensive designer suit and crisp white silk shirt beneath. I adjusted the gold cuff links with the insignia of Danzo’s little faction – a ‘gift’ from the boss for my decision to join his organization. Hell, I could almost laugh at how our meeting had finally taken place, but the stranger in the mirror couldn’t get himself to do so. The grimace on his features was enough to remind him of the bitter aftertaste the conversation had left him with, and as he spun around to double-check his briefcase with its false bottom containing all the weapons he’d need tonight, he allowed his thoughts to drift back to that fateful afternoon.




“He wants to see you.”


My #6 man (Roku) of the group I have nicknamed “The Magnificent Seven” sat before me and slipped the folded note next to my bowl of ramen. I slurped hungrily and eyed it with a raised brow before looking up to meet the amused dark eyes. Roku reminded me of a squirrel for some reason; maybe it was because of his small stature or that he was quick as hell, but I liked him best out of the others due to his sharp wit. Besides, he was the one who introduced me to this fantastic restaurant that serves the best ramen this side of Japan, so he gets major props from yours truly.


“He wants me?” I repeated as I belched and then picked up the note. There was nothing on the outside to give anything away except for little inscription in the corner that simply said ‘kage’.


“His minion dropped the note off,” Roku explained with a flash of his teeth. “Said that his boss would like an answer as soon as possible.”


“Is the minion still here?”


“No...but I’m guessing all the information you need is going to be in there,” Roku said with a tip of his head to the side as if appraising me.


I grunted and tore it open, eyes scanning the neatly written words, and though I gave the impression that I didn’t give a shit about its significance, my heart was currently doing the waltz as Jiraiya’s prediction had finally come true. It might have taken three months to get the job done, but here it was at last. A chance to meet Shimura Danzo face-to-face after all this time. I knew it would take all of my acting skills not to choke him to death the moment I saw him (shooting him right off the bat would be too damn easy because I wanted the fucker to suffer), I knew I’d have to bide my time.


The instructions in the note were clear and direct. I was to meet Danzo at an abandoned construction site on the outskirts of the city...alone. Which was fine with me...just as long as Shikamaru and #2 (Ni) were waiting and watching the meeting from an undisclosed but safe location a couple of miles away. The roles were simple. In the case of an ‘incident’, they were to take down my enemies quickly. You’d be surprised at how well Shika can sharp shoot from a distance, though he’s not quite as good as me or #2.


Anyway, I wasn’t sure if I showed up late because on arrival, there were already two black Sedans parked and waiting for me to appear. Two burly men in dark suits and sunglasses were positioned beside one of the cars and even before I could blurt out a  “hello”, I was frisked and patted down (and I swear one of them even groped me...pervert) before I was considered ‘clear’. The driver of the second Sedan stepped out of the car, made his way around and opened the door of the back seat to introduce the man I had been waiting for (all my life). Sure I had seen him during Gudan, but he had been too far away, and besides, I hadn’t really known his back story at the time. But now...up close and personal, I could feel my insides (stomach) beginning to churn with an emotion that felt blacker and darker than I’d ever experienced.


My jaw felt like it was about to break off from the smile I was forcing myself to maintain even as my hands formed tight(er) fists within the pockets of my jacket as he finally stepped out of the car and into the mid-morning light.


(...not impressive)


He was slightly shorter than me, his body bent slightly from age as he leaned on an ornate-looking walking stick. There was an black silk patch over his right eye while the other revealed a heavily-lidded dark one that was still sharp and piercing in its intensity. There was a perpetual downward curl of his lips as if the very action of smiling was foreign to him. In addition to the wrinkles of age on his features, there was also an interesting scar on his if someone had carved an X into the flesh. I had to admit it made him look more sinister and bad ass, but this was no time to admire his physical appearance. As for the rest of him, his attire was of traditional wear, but instead of the casual yukata, he was in full dress mode: kamishimo and hakama pants of the finest material with leather sandals on his feet. Though the sleeves of the kamishimo hid most of his arms, it still wasn’t difficult to tell that he favored his right; a reminder that Itachi had shot the guy back during the ambush and this was probably the result from it.




“Hmm?” I pretended to act dumb at the muttered words; putting on the face of the innocent as best I could. “What’s that again?”


“Nothing,” he replied with a smile that didn’t quite reach his eyes. “It’s just that you remind me of someone I knew a long time ago. But he is of no importance at this time. You and I, it seems, have a lot to talk about.”


Not of importance? My father was not of importance, eh? We’ll see about that, you bastard.


“Do we?” I said out loud. “I can’t imagine what you’d have to see me about...sir.”


“I do believe we’ve met before...some time ago at a place called Byaku-Shinkyou.”


I shook my head after pretending to think for a minute. “Nope. Sorry...can’t really recall your face. You sure it was me?”


“Unlike you, I never forget a face,” Danzo replied with his shit-eating smirk widening. “You made quite an impression on me Uzumaki Naruto and seems you’re making quite the impression on our dear friends in the Underworld.”


I smirked right back. “So are you gonna arrest me or what?”


He threw back his head and laughed – not that I was sure of what the hell was so funny. “Hardly the case, my boy. I’ve actually been searching for you for quite a while.”


“Oh yeah?”


“Indeed. When I learned you had not perished in the ambush, my top priority was to see that you were safe.”


“How kind of you.”


“Of course seeking your safety comes at my selfish need for your services.”


“Hmph, and if I said I wasn’t interested?”


Danzo’s smile grew hard. “Then I wouldn’t have given you much of a choice. You would not have been able to step a foot anywhere in this country without being arrested on the spot. I can make it happen, you know.”


My jaw worked though I kept the light smirk in place. This guy really was a piece of work.


“I see,” I finally muttered with a nod of understanding. “Guess I would have had no choice then, eh?”


“None whatsoever.”


I shrugged and scratched the back of my head. “ exactly do you want from me?”


“What do you think I want from you, Uzumaki Naruto?”


“How the hell should I know?” I was genuinely irritated now at his evasiveness. “You’re the one who called me out here. If I had known we’d be doing the guessing game, I would have stayed home.”


“Your little faction has been making a name for itself around Kyoto,” he said with a tap of his walking stick on the ground as if to shut me up. “If I’m not mistaken, you’ve managed to silence most of the Bakufu Syndicate in the southern regions...with some help from the Mibu Syndicate, correct?”


I shrugged again and pretended to be bored with the topic. “Yeah, so?”


“It’s fascinating how you are able to accomplish so much in so little time.” I could all but see him drooling at this point; his eye flashing with greedy intent as he parted his lips to reveal white but slightly crooked teeth. “It lets me know that you’re a man capable of getting the job done quickly. I admire that. I, too, am a man who wastes no time getting what he wants.”


“And what is it that you want?” I queried with a raised brow.


“The same thing you do, my boy.” He grinned now and I couldn’t resist the involuntary shudder that wracked through me at the sight. “Power. A little at a time we begin to erase the very existence of the Bakufu Syndicate and those who align themselves with such a corrosive group. Once they were regarded as the stronghold of Japanese ideologies, now, they are nothing more than figureheads tarnishing our reputation.”


“Is that right...?” I eyed him warily.


“With my position as a high-ranking member of the DIET and with favor in the Ministry of the Defense, I have the power to eradicate entire factions if I choose to. However, it seems I am being blocked from achieving this by some members of the opposing party in the DIET.”


He paced away from me, and I noticed the slight limp with every step he took. The overwhelming urge to reach out and kick him to the ground was so strong; I literally had to take a step back to control myself.


“Japan needs strong governing heads, Uzumaki Naruto, and for years I’ve had to sit back and watch it go to the dogs...incompetent leaders who have allowed everything to go to ruins. This is not the Japan our forefathers dreamt of, is it? We were quite happy being Isolationists until the blasted foreigners came in to ruin things! That is the Japan I want to return to! A nation able to stand on its own and defend itself against the evils and strangleholds of Western Civilization!”


He turned back to me and the fevered passion on his visage was enough to have me shuddering again. I realized now that I was dealing with a goddamn lunatic. This man didn’t need to be killed, maybe beaten to a pulp before chucked into the loony bin for psychiatric evaluation. It was just a damn shame my father (and so many others) had to be all a part of his crazy plans for world (or at least Japan’s) domination.


“This is where you come in,” he was saying as he walked closer to me. “This is where I need your youth, vigor, and smarts, Naruto. With you by my side, we will be unstoppable. All I need is your pledge of allegiance to my cause and together, we will make Japan as great as it used to be.”


I studied his slightly flushed features for a long minute before finding the voice to reply. “You really think I can be of some help to you?”


“Of course! Why else would I approach you if I didn’t have the utmost faith in your capabilities?” He reached out to squeeze my shoulder with his good hand. “You have a certain aura around you, young man. An aura that tells me you are a man of strong convictions. Perhaps a dinner with me, where I can explain a little more about my plans, will make my intentions truly clear. What say you? Would you like to share sake with me sometime?”


I grinned. “I’m game to that. Just mention the time and place and I’m there. I’ve got to confess that you’ve got me intrigued, Shimura-san.”


“Good. Being intrigued is a start. I hope in due time you’ll come to share my ideals and goals for what this nation could become. Now then...if you’ll excuse me, I must take my leave. I have quite a few important meetings to attend to.”


“Hey, don’t let me stop you from doing whatever,” I replied with my hands up as if surrendering. He chuckled at that and began to make his way back to his car. However, he stopped as the door was being opened for him and turned around to appraise me darkly for a disturbingly long minute.


“I’ve always been curious about something, Uzumaki Naruto.”


“What’s that?”


“How did you manage to survive the fire at the failure that was Gudan?”


(how did I survive indeed)


I smirked lightly. “Let’s just say it was a miracle.”


He was silent for another minute, his gaze not giving anything away until he nodded as if coming to terms with my answer. “Indeed it was.”


“I’m curious too,” I blurted out before I could stop myself. This time, it was his turn to look at me quizzically. “Whatever happened to that guy...what’s his name or something like that? I know we were both in there, but I couldn’t remember anything after I passed out.”


Danzo raised a brow. “You have no idea what happened to him? Have you not paid any attention to the news?”


I shook my head. “Don’t bother with the stuff. Why? Is he running the place now?”


Danzo’s jaw tightened; his expression as if he was suddenly suffering from a severe case of constipation.


“No,” he finally replied tightly. “The one named Uchiha Sasuke is no longer alive. Unfortunately, he died in the ambush although it is believed that his sibling still exists. However, that is not of importance for you see, the man who currently runs Byaku-Shinkyou is also on my list of those who must be eliminated to preserve the integrity of Japan.”


I was careful to keep my expression as neutral as possible, though I could literally feel my heart beating somewhere in my throat or close to it. I could barely swallow.


“Orochimaru is a parasite,” Danzo was muttering now as if I was no longer in the vicinity. “A blood-sucking parasite that must be destroyed before he causes any more destruction. It was a bad decision on my part and Fugaku’s to assume he could be trustworthy. Now, I see the error in my ways. Fugaku was first and apparently he hopes to eliminate me next...but we’ll see who gets the upper hand when I finally have the power of the DIET in my grasp. My first order of business will be an executive order to dissolve the very existence of that place. What a mockery of the justice system it has become.”


He stopped ranting long enough to realize I was still around, but giving me only a cursory glance and a quick wave of farewell, he slid into the car...but not before lowering the window to peer at me one last time.


“Do not forget our meeting at my home. I will send one of my men with more information about it. I hope you will not disappoint me, Uzumaki Naruto.”


I gave him a mock salute. “You bet I’ll be there, Shimura-san. Won’t miss it for the world.”


And I didn’t.


The next week, I showed up at his fancy house – which was almost as big as Jiraiya’s (if not bigger) – to a meal worthy enough for the royal house. I wasn’t sure if he planned to stuff me to death, but I ate to my heart’s content while listening to him ramble on and on and on about his plans for Japan. By the time he finally got to the nitty gritty; meaning taking on the job of becoming his personal assassin, I was halfway drunk and would have said “yes” to anything he suggested no matter how dumb it was.


“I need not tell you that anonymity is the key here, Naruto,” he had droned. “You’ve already done a great job keeping your physical appearance a mystery to many while your name travels afar. A good thing because of the line of work you’ll be getting into. I take it you accept my offer?”


I must have said “yes”, because the next thing I knew, two shadows drifted into the room (turned out they were two of his goons) with items in their hands that they placed before the old man. He unfurled what looked like a scroll, in which a wicked-looking dagger sat wrapped in a worn, brown cloth. Watching in curiosity – and remember I was slightly intoxicated – he held up the dagger and read something in the scroll, then dipped the tip into one of the bowls the men had brought to him. To my bemusement, he proceeded to slash the inner forearm of his bum right arm and allowed the blood to drip drip drip onto the scroll before him, while still muttering some kind of mumbo jumbo beneath his breath.


“Come closer, Uzumaki Naruto,” he invited.


I really wanted to bolt from the scene or make up some excuse, but I knew I was already in too deep now. There was no escaping this fate I had chosen for myself. At the back of my mind I knew this was some blood oath thing that would seal my loyalty to him for as long as we both lived, and resigning myself to it, I obeyed his command. He tugged my arm roughly  and barely giving me enough time to settle myself, the sudden sharp pain of the dagger’s tip sinking into my flesh and forming a thin red line in its wake was enough to clear away any cobwebs of drunkenness I might have had left. I watched in fascination as my blood mingled with his, and as to my horror, he darted out an abrasive tongue to lick off the wound he had created. It was all I could do not to shudder in revulsion or punch his lights out, but with a curt command to his minion, a cold compress was placed against the wound as Danzo bent over the scroll to scribble out something with the pooled droplets of blood.


“It is official,” he finally declared as he rolled it up again and put away the items with an efficiency that was admirable. He gave me a wan smile. “You may go about your business as deem fit, but every once in a while, you will receive a message from me regarding your assigned mission. Please read whatever dossier is presented to you carefully to get to know your victim properly. You are permitted to tail him for as long as you see it fit to know his schedule, but please make sure the mission is completed quickly and efficiently. I do not tolerate sloppy jobs, and if I see you are of no use to me...”


“I’m toast?” I offered with a smile that was matched by the cold one on his visage.


“Let’s just say no one will miss your disappearance very much, Naruto. Do I make myself clear?”







And now, here I am...almost a month into being Danzo’s henchman and finally getting my first major assignment.


(don’t fuck it up)


Surreal doesn’t even begin to explain the way I feel at the moment; like a fucking out-of-body experience. I’m simply hovering somewhere and watching this man in the expensive suit making his way into the opulent apartment building almost two blocks away from the Grand Hotel itself. Compared to the lessons I had with Sergei, the distance wasn’t all that far, so this could be an easy job all the way around.


Shika and #7 (Shichi) had done a great job scouting the hotel for me and letting me know which vantage point would work best.


I drew no extra glances – as I stepped into the quiet lobby - except for a beautiful woman in a slinky, sexy-as-hell evening gown draped on the arm of a much older man (sugar daddy maybe?). I gave her a playful wink which she returned with a coy smile and a blown kiss as I stepped into the empty elevator and watched the doors close slowly upon her heavily-made up face.


(maybe in another life you and I could have known each other a little better, sweetheart)


1 – 2 – 3 – 4


(quick and efficient)


5 – 6 – 7 – ping


The door slid open and an elderly foreign couple stepped in (they looked European) with polite smiles as I bowed in greeting and pressed myself closer to the paneled wall behind me.


« ... cette fille a oublié d'envoyer le dîner ... »

« Désolé, mon cher. Je vais en parler à la concierge ... »


(yep. Definitely foreign. They talk like they’ve got colds or something. It is funny...whatever language that is)


8 – 9 – ping


They stepped out still chattering like pigeons, and I was left alone again.


10 – 11 – 12 – 14 – 15 – 16 – 17


(quick and efficient)


18 – 19 – 20


Shikamaru was on standby in case of an emergency. Danzo didn’t know he existed – at least I hoped he didn’t. We were both sure he probably had tails on me, but the Magnificent Seven saw to it that we were never bothered when together. If Danzo was aware of Shikamaru’s presence, he had not complained or bitched about it yet.


21 – 22 – 23 – ping


I stepped out to an empty hallway – thank goodness. My feet were soundless on the plush carpeting as I walked past rooms with doors that reminded me of the sort of things you see in the movies. I pushed open the door leading to the fire escape where several flights of stairs would lead me up to the roof without having to go through the penthouse suite. However, as I pushed open the heavy steel-like door, I was just about knocked off my feet at the sudden gust of wind to hit me like a brick wall.


“Fuck.” This couldn’t be good for the bullet’s trajectory, but hey...Sergei had drilled a lesson into me on how to position myself to make sure that even if a goddamn hurricane was right in the path of the bullet, it would hit its target without fail. I think my jaw’s still hurting from the blow he delivered to it after I told him he was full of shit for even thinking such a thing was possible. Live and learn as they say.


“Whew,” I whistled beneath my breath in appreciation, making sure I remained hidden amongst the shadows created by the cooling system units and smokestacks rising from the roof. “Beautiful city, aren’t you?”


And it truly was, though I was currently too busy trying to locate my target building and hotel room in particular. Whistling beneath my breath, I fell to my knees and began to set up my equipment, deliberately keeping my mind blank from any extraneous thoughts as fingers – after endless hours of training – automatically set to performing its duties. So as not to get my suit messy, I shrugged out of the jacket and lay it to the side neatly, rolled up the sleeves of my shirt (grimacing at the faint scar left on my arm thanks to that psycho), and unfurled the blue tarp/plastic lining which I laid on the ground for protection. Hey, it wouldn’t do to suddenly go back downstairs with stains all over my suit, would it? Didn’t need to have to explain anything to anybody.


(and now we wait)


I glanced at my watch.




If Shika’s itinerary was right, Ishida would still be at his party. My hope was that he wouldn’t be one of those guys who partied until midnight or beyond. I really wanted to get this fucking job over and done with.




I had to slap myself awake, but just long enough to peer through the telescopic sight to see if my target had returned.


No dice. Fuck it all to hell and back.


I sat up and stretched aching muscles, wishing I had brought at least a drink or something to keep me busy. If I smoked, I’d do so to kill time, but since I didn’t...


(back to work, Naruto!)


I lay back on the tarp and focused my attention on the building before me. As the minutes ticked on endlessly, I was finding it increasingly hard to remember the lesson of being completely and utterly focused. Every now and then, my mind would drift away to thoughts of a certain someone, no thanks to the message Shika had delivered to me yesterday.


Sasuke was finally on the move. They would be leaving for the North in about a week or so, which was a good thing because with Orochimaru finally out of the way, Danzo would have one less ‘bad influence’ to worry about, but it would also mean that his stranglehold on the justice system would be greatly reduced once it was revealed that the Uchiha brothers were still alive and well. With Byaku-Shinkyou restored, all the ugly seeds (aka Danzo) would be flushed out like the vermin they were. The members of the watchdogs who had sided with the enemy would be replaced with more upright citizens and then the purification of Japan would officially begin.


“Hah...purification of Japan indeed,” I chuckled beneath my breath. “That’s something the old you would have loved to do from the beginning anyway, eh, Sasuke?”


Still a part of me was more than glad he was finally going to deal with Snake Dude face-to-face. It had been years in the making, and God knows I wish I could be there to see the beat down in person, but I guessed I’d have to make do with imagining what the bloodbath would look like. The only thing I was going to regret was never getting the chance to see him before then. All I knew was that he was somewhere in Tokyo, and though it would have been easy for me to ask Temari for more details, recalling that Danzo was still not a 100% sure about me and my loyalties, suddenly visiting ‘the dead’ was bound to raise more than a few eyebrows.


I couldn’t risk jeopardizing our positions with my desire to be with –






The lights were on!


A quick glance at my watch revealed that almost an hour had passed since I drifted off to fantasy land, and kicking myself inwardly for already beginning to fail my mission, I took a deep breath and forced myself to focus again.


Squinting, I looked through the telescopic sight and into the lavish living room of the councilman. Lucky for me his curtains weren’t drawn and I was given a great view of his stumbling arrival with two giggling scantily-clad women beneath each beefy arm.




This could be a problem if the damn chicks wouldn’t get out of the way, and in addition, there were two other men (his bodyguards?) hovering in the vicinity. No...not bodyguards, for they all seemed to be sharing drinks and laughing over something.


Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.


My head was beginning to throb, and I could feel a light sheen of sweat breaking out on my brow and upper lip. Still I remained calm and damn if that out-of-body feeling wasn’t beginning to happen again. The sounds of the city began to fade away until there was nothing else but the steady, thudding sound of my heartbeat drumming within my ears. I stuck out my tongue in concentration as everything before me suddenly seemed clearer than ever before. Fucking 20/20 vision to the max. I could literally be standing on the window sill at this point and no one would notice my presence.


I could feel my teeth pulling back into a cold grin as the councilman fell onto the couch in a position that was absolutely fucking perfect for me. I watched with cold detachment as he rudely shoved one of the women to her knees, his large thighs spread apart to give her better access to his no-doubt fat, ugly dick. As her head bobbed up and down with an eagerness that would have made me jealous (if I was in the mood), her companion was busy having the fat slob’s tongue stuck down her throat while he fondled her breasts...more like squeezed and tugged the poor things as if they were dough.


My fingertip caressed the trigger.


(he has a wife and two children)


He smacked the ass of the girl he was kissing and tossed her to the side like a rag doll.


(he raped several teenage old are these ones? Fourteen? Fifteen? Sixteen?)


He was saying something to his friends who were watching the show with interest. I was almost tempted to take them out too. I would be doing the world a favor, wouldn’t I?


“I’ll send your love to your family later, you ugly fuck,” I whispered.


And just as he reached out to tug the cock-sucking chick to her feet, I felt a block of ice settling into the pit of my stomach as I finally pulled the trigger. All I could sense from my end was the sharp jerk of the weapon bouncing against my shoulder. You could hardly hear the report as the bullet sailed through the distance between us, pierced through the glass so neatly (it was almost beautiful) before lodging itself right between his eyes.  Watching his body stiffen, his lips falling open in a comical O before he slumped back onto the couch was honestly amusing. Hell, even the girl below was unaware she was still sucking the cock of a dead man, until the other one began to shriek (couldn’t hear her but her body language and wide opened mouth was more than enough) as blood began to trickle from the wound I had created.


(quick and efficient. Sergei would be fucking proud)


When the other men in the room finally realized that something was terribly wrong, I knew my time was up. Just as quickly as I had set up, I put away my equipment and shrugged back into my jacket while fighting back a light yawn of weariness. Man, who knew taking out someone could be such a goddamn tiring job. Maybe in due time the shakes would start and the guilt would set in, but to be brutally honest, I think I have long passed that stage. After the first few killings, you begin to get used to it believe it or not, and after a while it just becomes simply another day at the office. Considering how torn up I had been after killing Kojima...


(perhaps you’re losing your humanity)




Maybe I’ll ask Shika if he wants to join me for a late dinner.


I am starving.





Councilman Ishida’s death made the headline news.


Yes! I was finally famous...even if no one knew who the hell I was. Still, it was cool to watch everyone speculate over who could be responsible for the shooting, and since the goddamn current police force was made up of a bunch of useless assholes, it was going to take a pretty long time before they even traced the bullet to me.


Danzo – for his part - was so impressed with my performance; he offered me another assignment less than a week later.


“But you will have to travel this time,” he added as he offered me a glass of his finest whiskey in his fancy office within his home.


“Oh yeah? Where?” The drink burned its way down my throat and it was all I could do not to begin hacking out a lung in protest. Damn this shit was strong.




My heart leapt at the name, though I did my best to mask my excitement at this declaration. Going to Tokyo meant being a step closer to Sasuke, and yes I knew Tokyo was a large place, but how difficult could it be finding the guy especially if I was extra careful? Besides, leaving Shikamaru to do the hunting would make the job much easier for me.


“Who’s in Tokyo?” I finally asked when I was sure I could speak without giving away my state of mine. I was glad to find my voice sounded as bored as it usually did when in Danzo’s presence.


“If I had my way, I’d request you take them all out, since that is the base of the DIET and most of those I loathe reside there, but we are going to take our sweet time with this.”


“Why aren’t you in Tokyo, if you’re a member of the DIET?” I asked with a raised brow. I was met with a light frown as if daring to ask the impossible.


“There were a few...falsities being spread about me,” Danzo finally replied as he settled into the sofa across me with a strained smile. “Let’s just say my enemies were getting quite long winded with their many complaints, and I felt it best to leave the city until the commotion had died down.”


Ah, so Itachi’s plan to spread the propaganda against Danzo actually worked!


He snapped his fingers and his secretary (I think his name is Torune or something like that) appeared with two dossiers which he placed before me.


“You actually have two targets, but getting even one of them is more than enough for me.”


I picked the folders up and opened the first. It revealed the picture of an old guy with the biggest and ugliest nose I had ever seen. His frowning visage didn’t seem to make him any friendlier, and with his Fu Manchu white moustache and beard...this guy did not look like the kind of person you would want to piss off.


“Councilman Onoki,” I read aloud.


“Yes...the very bane of my existence,” Danzo replied icily. “He was one of the people responsible for spreading such lies and rumors about me, and seems to see it fit to drive me right of office despite my excellent record in the government. He has always wanted my seat, and now is his opportunity to take over.”


“But...if you take him out...don’t you think folks will begin to suspect you?”


“I am not in Tokyo,” Danzo said with a light shrug. “I have not been ‘seen’ there in several months, so why would anyone assume I was the one responsible. To most of the members of the DIET, they believe I’ve run away with my tail between my legs, but they would be wrong, wouldn’t they?”


I said nothing and looked through the other folder. This one was to a certain Councilman Sagara, who looked like a caricature of a human being with his skinny frame and oversized reading glasses. His buckteeth were prominent with his leery grin and according to his ‘sins’, he was responsible for the passing of several bills to tighten the regulations against illegal gambling and trading. A tricky case, all things considered, because this guy was actually doing something good, but in Danzo’s world, he was a pain in the ass. Same with this Onoki character, although I had to admit that the name sounded familiar. I just couldn’t place why he was so important though.


“So? Will you accept this assignment, Naruto?”


“Do I have a choice?”


His smile said everything. Saying “no” was definitely not an option.


(Tokyo here I come)


Later that evening I was sprawled out on Shikamaru’s couch in his rented apartment, watching some boring chick flick about girls trying to find their ‘true callings’ in life, while Shikamaru was busy writing up some crap at his desk. I had already told him about my latest assignment to Tokyo, which he was obviously excited about as it would give him another opportunity to catch up with his girl.


Lucky bastard.


I have not had sex in months and temptation had beckoned so often in all my missions or assignments that I was really this close to breaking point. Masturbating can only take you so far, and though I was sure Sasuke was probably no longer in Tokyo (though I was praying hard as hell that they had delayed their departure), I had a feeling I was going to have to break my promise and at least find a willing partner to ease the building tension within me.


“Guess who called me today?” I finally drawled as the not-very-helpful images of the women prancing around the beach in bikinis flashed on the screen. I dug around for the remote control to change the channel fast.


“Who?” Shikamaru asked absently.




“...the second lieutenant?”




“What did he want?”


I shook my head as a small smile tugged my lips. “I told you the bastard still wants me bad. Told him I was going to Tokyo for a business trip and he says he’s going there too...says we should meet up at his hotel when I get there.”


“Don’t tell me you’re going.”


I shrugged lightly. “Shika, my dear clueless friend, you do realize that I can’t say “no” to a very important ally. I have to at least indulge the guy a little.”


“...even when you know he wants to jump into your pants?”


Especially knowing he wants to jump into my pants. Tease him until I get what I fucking want, that’s the way we play the game.”


I lifted my gaze to meet Shikamaru’s. He shook his head and rolled his eyes. “You are such a fucking slut, man.”


“Slut? I haven’t seen any pussy let alone a goddamn dick, that didn’t make me want to vomit, in months!” I protested. “At least you got to fuck Temari for an entire weekend. I’ve been having an affair with tons of lotions and tissues so far.” I sat up to lean over the back of the couch overemphasizing my groan of misery as I pouted at him. “You think Sasuke will be there though?”


“Who knows? They did say they’d be leaving for Hokkaido last week. I haven’t been able to get Temari since then, so can’t give you any update.”


“Maybe I should ask Jiraiya if he has heard anything,” I mumbled.


“Considering you haven’t spoken to the guy in weeks -”


“Bah!” I waved a hand in dismissal and flopped back onto the sofa with another groan. “Oh God! I wanna have seeeex! I’m dying here!”


“Don’t look at me, you insatiable bastard,” Shika retorted. “Go get your kicks at a local brothel. Don’t think Sasuke will kill you for just messing around once, will he? Geez. You guys aren’t married.”


“I made a promise,” I muttered beneath my breath, before it suddenly clicked at what he was implying. I sat up with my jaw somewhere on the ground, though my cheeks felt like they were burning so hot, torching them was likely to scorch me.


“Wait...I mean...what’s that supposed to mean?” I stuttered.


“What’s what supposed to mean?”


“ about Sasuke and I?” I managed to croak out.


Shikamaru snorted. “Hardly much of a surprise, was it? The way you two locked yourselves away for the entire fucking day doing what I’m not interested in knowing by the way. Yeah, I’d just about say everyone knew you two were spending some quality time together.”


“So why didn’t you say anything all this time?”


“What the fuck did you want me to say?” he asked incredulously. “Congratulations! Here have a packet of condoms on the house and try not to leave your cum stains all over the couch?”


I flushed. “Not that! I just thought...well...when we were talking about it one time I think you thought it was pretty disgusting at the idea of even giving him a hickey and...”


Shikamaru sighed loudly and waved for me to shut up. “Listen, I honestly don’t give a damn who you decide to sleep with, and if it turns out that Sasuke’s the one to keep your dick happy, then more power to you both. I don’t need to know the details, and I’m not asking you to tell me the details, all right? Now...goodnight, Mr. Sexless. I’ve had a pretty long day and want to get some sleep. Sweet dreams.”


He laughed as I gave him the middle finger in salute, though my heart wouldn’t stop beating like a snare drum at Shikamaru’s roundabout ‘blessing’...if you wanted to consider it that.


I don’t know why, or how to explain it, but for some reason knowing that someone else knew about our relationship made it more...tangible and real, you know? That all this time, perhaps a part of me had considered the entire thing as nothing more than a fantasy, and that I’d probably wake up some day and realize it had all been one big ugly dream while still trapped within the cold, unforgiving walls of the dungeons awaiting my final purification.


Still I had to admit that even though the chances of meeting him were slim to none, just the very thought of actually getting that opportunity was all the more reason why counting down the minutes, hours and days before my trip...would be the most agonizing wait I’ve ever experienced. 


One could only hope that my desperate prayers would answered. If not, I swear even that bastard Satoshi would have to do for a quick fix.





Chapter 38

Naruto Home












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