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Naruto: The Outsider's Resolve

[A Naruto Fan Fiction] Make the best of what you have, they said... But what I am supposed to do when the best I have are red-eyed freaks, a child who's supposed to be the jailor of the most dangerous being in the world, a snake bastard with serious boundary issues, and a whole world of super soldiers with licences to murder. And you know the best part? None of them like me so much... Oh shut it, old man! Take that Will of Fire and shove it up your— Yeah, this second swing at life isn't panning out... --------------------------------------------------------------- DISCORD SERVER: https://discord.gg/w5dJ82SfMr --------------------------------------------------------------- PATREON LINK: https://www.patreon.com/fictiononlyreader --------------------------------------------------------------- DECLARATION: This story is also present on: FFN, Ao3, SpaceBattles, SufficientVelocity, and ScribbleHub RoyalRoad [to be verified] --------------------------------------------------------------- DISCLAIMER: I don't own any character other than my OCs. The cover pic was commissioned from Kodah.art on Instagram

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———

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A group of workers busied themselves in the Goharu family's drug house, packaging the crushed brown crystal powder of heroin into bricks and small packets. The packets were tagged with an umbrella insignia and the workers wore leather gloves and had long scarves wrapped around their faces to reduce their contact with the drugs.

The number of workers had doubled recently from the increase in business from the Hidden Frost shinobi army occupying the city. Not only were they selling their product to the army, it was also being sent into the Land of Frost to be packaged and sold in neighbouring nations.

Among the workers was a bald man with a stick-like figure in his late thirties. Yamada was one of the new hires. He was previously a carriage driver, but since the city's invasion, he had lost his source of income, and had been unemployed for months before he was hired by the Goharu family to work in the drug house. He had never worked with people like the Goharu family and knew the danger associated with those sort of people , he had a wife, two children, and his elderly parents depending on him as the sole breadwinner of the family—and in tough times, he was willing to work anywhere, and the Goharu family was among the few offering work. At the end of his shift, Yamada stepped out of the preparation area. He removed his gloves and scarf before walking to the office in the back, joining the queue in the front of the office to receive his daily pay.

The boss in charge of the drug house was Waichi, the brother-in-law of the Goharu family's head. He had a mean reputation which Yamada had found to be true from his experience working in the drug house. Waichi had a tendency to yell at workers when they made even the smallest mistakes and cruelly dock pay for each mistake. He ran the drug house with fear and Yamada always felt like he was walking on a tight-rope when the man was around.

The line moved up and Yamada could hear Waichi tearing into others for their mistakes, lack of packing speed, too much talking, and every little thing possible. He clutched the hem of his shirt and prayed for a light to talk to. His turn came and unexpectedly, Waichi directly handed him the pay without any nasty words.

"Good job, today," said Waichi.

Even though it was the bare minimum decorum that should be expected in a place of work, but the words of simple praise made Yamada's heart swell with pride and happiness. He bowed deeply to Waichi, who hummed in approval.

"Keep working like today and I might raise your wage."

"T-Thank you, sir!"

After leaving the factory, Yamada went straight to the butcher and bought some meat for dinner even though he couldn't afford it, but he knew that that his family would be happy—and as long as he continued to work to the best of his ability, his wage would increase, improving the life of his family. He decided to apply for a double-shift twice a week to show initiative.

"I'm home!" Yamada called with a smile. "Dear, I bought meat from the butcher! Have you started dinner preparation?"

The house opened up to a living room where Yamada expected to see his father reading a book, but the room was empty, so he went to the kitchen beside the living room to put down the meat to find it empty.

"Where's everyone?" he whispered to himself.

Not thinking about it too much, he quickly headed straight to the bigger washroom to take a bath as he did every day since he started working at the drug house. He didn't want to interact with his children with any traces of harmful drugs on him. Upon entering the washroom, he was surprised to see not only was the bath unprepared, the change of clothes his wife prepared every day wasn't present.

That's when he realised that the house was too quiet, and when he focused, he heard the faint sound of sobbing from inside his and his wife's bedroom. He instantly recognised his daughter's voice and a chill went down his spine as a hundred bad thoughts exploded in his mind.

"Maiko!"

He sprinted into the bedroom and had just caught the sight of his parents on the bed holding his children close to them and a figure dressed in black robe with a white robe standing near the bed when another similarly dressed figure tackled him into the wall.

"Papa!"

Ignoring the pain from being slammed into the wall and the arm pressing against his neck, Yamada looked at his family. They looked utterly exhausted and scared, but didn't seem to have any injuries on them. He noticed that his wife was missing from the room.

"Where is Hiromi?" he asked in panic as he was dragged out of the bedroom and thrown onto the living room floor. "W-Who are you!? Why are you in my house? Where's my wife? What have you done with her? I swear if one hair on my head is harmed, I will—!"

There were two people dressed in complete black wearing white porcelain masks. Other than their height, their only distinguishing features were their hair, and the patterns on their mask—snake and eagle—and the person standing beside his family had a badger pattern on their mask.

"Quiet down, Yamada," said Snake—she had a woman's voice. "Your family is unharmed."

"My wife—" He tried to get up but Snake kicked him down and kept her foot down on her chest. No matter how much he tried, he could barely shift.

"If you don't stop yelling, your wife won't be fine," she said. The sheer casualness with how Snake threatened him sent a spike of fear down his body, bringing his struggling to an end. He shut his mouth and gulped deeply as the weight of the foot on his chest made breathing difficult. "Good. Now that you're listening, let me make something very clear. The safety of your family is firmly in your hands. Follow what we say, and we won't be forced to make them suffer."

Snake removed her foot from his chest and took a step back. Yamada immediately pushed himself away from Snake, but could only move a few paces back before Eagle kicked him in the back.

"W-Where is my wife?" he asked from the floor, looking up at intruders. His eyes fluttered to the bedroom, his entire being wanting to go console his crying children.

"She's not here. Rest assured, she's completely safe," said Eagle.

"Please b-bring her back; don't hurt her," he begged. His imagination went back to the worst scenarios; the fear of never getting to see her again was too overwhelming.

"As we said, the safety of your family is firmly in your hands... We want you to do something only you can do for us," said Snake and threw a sachet filled with brown crystal powder on the ground.

One look at the umbrella insignia was enough for him to recognise the Goharu family's mark. He knew it by heart as it was put on all packaged products that went out of the drug house.

"T-This is..."

———

.

Two days ago in the factory base, Takuma sat down with Anko, Kameko, and Rikku for a discussion about poisoning the Hidden Frost shinobi through the drugs they had seized from the Renge gang during the police station bombing.

"The drug house is small and well-protected. Sneaking inside to switch the drugs going to the enemy is technically feasible, but I don't have the confidence to pull it off flawlessly," said Anko.

Daiki and her had done reconnaissance on the drug house. The guards at the drug house weren't chakra practitioners. which made them non-threats, but the team couldn't knock them out or get rid of them as that would raise alarms later, potentially sabotaging the plan. The building was small and open enough that completing the mission with total stealth was extremely risky. They also didn't know the drug house's interior and which drugs would go to the shinobi, making the switch unreliable.

She had asked Takuma for two more days to see if she could figure it out, but unfortunately, she still deemed the mission completion without outside help unfeasible without great risk.

"Did you find someone?" asked Kameko.

Takuma, sitting across from them on a sheet metal table, nodded. "We need someone who has access to the drug house and thus has the required knowledge to know which drugs will go to the enemy," he said. "Our new partnership with the Kumi family has already bore fruit. They confirmed that none of the guards are chakra practitioners, and they've given us the information about all the regular workers in the drug house."

If the team couldn't do it, they needed someone else to do it—and who better than a worker inside the drug house.

He pushed the files he had made on the workers and tapped one of them.

"I like him the most," he said.

Rikku opened the file and read. "Yamada... wife, two children, both parents alive. Has been working in the drug house for nearly three months. He's new," she said looking up at him. "Previously worked as a carriage driver. No previous association to the Goharu family or any shady organisations..."

"He has a reputation as a family man. We can use him to sneak in the tainted drugs and have him switch them out," said Takuma.

"Family man, huh," Anko said, taking the file from RIkku. "I can work with that."

———

.

Anko threw down the drug sachet with umbrella insignia on the floor in front of Yamada.

"T-This..."

"Can you tell the difference," she asked him. The Kumi family had procured a sample of the Goharu family's product—sachets with the umbrella stamp— but they had to confirm if they were doing something else with the drugs going to the enemy to avoid raising suspicion. As a worker, Yamada

Yamada nodded.

"Look at it carefully. Is this identical to what's sent to the shinobi? Pick it up and look at it," she said, urging.

Yamada with trembling hands picked up the sachet and observed it after wiping the tears out of his eye. After a few seconds, he once again nodded.

"Do you want your wife back, Yamada?" she asked.

"Y-Yes," Yamada nodded rapidly. He grovelled at feet, trying to grab her leg while wailing. "Please, l-let my wife go."

Anko kicked him back the moment he touched her.

"Good, because we don't want to hold your wife," she said.

To ensure that Yamada would do what they wanted, they had taken his wife hostage. Daiki was with them when they broke into the house and he had taken her away in a carriage provided by the Kumi family to a safe house also provided by the Kumi family.

"Here's what we want you to do: we will give you a bag full of sachets, and you have to replace them with the sachets that will be going out to the shinobi. Refusing to do it or lying to us in any way will result in your children never seeing their mother ever again."

Yamada looked utterly shocked for a moment, but he hastily nodded after. "I'll do it—I will do it. Whatever you want, I will do it—p-please don't hurt my wife. She has done nothing wrong. I will switch the drugs, so please return her," he was once again crying by the end of it.

"Switch the drugs and your wife will be back by the time you come back home," said Anko.

"Please return her now. I will still—"

"This is not a negotiation, Yamada." Anko looked at Kameko in the eagle mask. "Take one of the kids as well, that way the mother won't be lonely."

"NO! I will do it! I will do it! Don't take my children away," Yamada yelled.

"Great," Anko smiled behind mask. "The next delivery is the day after tomorrow, right?"

"Y-Yes."

"We will be staying with your family until then—"

"What?"

"—I promise we will be good guests. Now go take a shower, you're filthy."

.

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The link is in the synopsis!