Everything has changed. Two of the three legendary ninja, the sannin, are dead. The Sound Village no longer exists, its leader two years rotting and most of its shinobi killed in the resulting attack on Konoha. This attack lead to a political upheaval in Konoha: Danzo usurped the last living sannin and became the Rokudaime.
Uchiha Sasuke had been returned to Konoha for those two years when Jiraiya began the journey back to the hidden village, his pupil in tow. One week after his projected return date, Jiraiya’s body was found. Uzumaki Naruto has been declared missing. Two weeks of searches have resulted in the pronouncement that Akatsuki killed the sannin. Occam’s razor dictates that Naruto has been captured and killed, the demon ripped from his body.
There are those that refuse to give up hope: he’s out there, they swear. The importance of the life of one boy necessarily wanes when Akatsuki continues to target Jinchuuriki, growing stronger with each demon, and closer to accomplishing its goal. When despite even that, the greatest threat may be within Konoha walls.