Magnus: Here goes a new chapter, and you'll see Naruto take a very special choice that will set his life into a special course, enjoy! And remember, Read and Review!
Disclaimer: We don't own Naruto or Too Human, as well as anything you believe is being mentioned in this fanfic
The Path of the Defender
It took three days to Hiashi to finally accept that the Naruto that Hinata kept talking about as a demigod, was indeed the same Naruto that was the Junchuriki of the Kyuubi no Kitsune, the same blond troublemaker he once offered to adopt the day Minato sacrificed himself for the village, the same scrawny little boy that the council negated to be adopted at all. But Hiashi had to see him with his own eyes, he had to see if this once scrawny boy was now the strong kid that his daughter seemed unable to not name every minute of the day… And he had to know who was the one that Naruto kept naming father. That's why he decided to accompany Hinata for the first time to the academy, not that it pleased the elders.
"Father… Thank you for walking me to the academy…" Hinata said, blushing and as if in cloud nine, this was one of her dreams come true, to walk along her father
"Hn. I only want to make sure this boy that has you so much infatuated is at least half worth it. I can't allow you to have a feral boy like an Inuzuka as your friend, that would speak poorly of you and of our clan" Hiashi replied, he really didn't meant half of what he said, but he had to protect the image of the clan, such was the tradition… But if Naruto was at least as half as well mannered as Hinata said…
"Of course, father. Although it would be nice if you could walk me to the academy some other time" Hinata said, still sounding too happy
"You know that I can't walk you daily to the academy, I have my duties as a clan head" Hiashi dryly replied, too late he noticed that he sounded a bit too harsh
"I know. But it would be nice if you could, at least once more time" Hinata said, not relenting on her happiness, she eyed Hiashi's hand, she wanted to take a hold of it, but decided to do it another time, things were good as they were, there was no need to push her luck
As usual, Baldur was walking Naruto toward the academy. He had no fear on people harming his son, mostly because after his first bite on Idunn's apple, Naruto became more like him, and less like these shinobi. No, what Baldur was keeping an eye open for, was for the possibilities of certain Hokage to try to coarce Naruto on never leaving the village, and start reversing him into the weak child of some years ago, not that Sarutobi had tried it anyway before, but he had to be protective of his son, Nyanna would have wished it to be like that.
"So, when am I going to meet this pretty maiden of yours, son?" Baldur asked, it was no teasing, just the fatherly thing to do, meeting a possible candidate of bride for his son is a common thing for his kin
"I wish that to be soon, although I usually meet her until class starts. I have yet to tell her to meet us here, so she can properly meet you… But father, she is not mine, she is free, and I don't believe appropriate to press our culture into them… she is so shy…" Naruto replied, sounding dreamy as he described her as shy
"So, you prefer them shy?" Baldur asked, for in only three days Naruto seemed to have decided what kind of women he preferred.
"I know I don't like them noisy and loud…" Naruto replied, his face suddenly looking trouble
"Son, I still doubt this girl is truly a Banshee. You memories truly show her as noisy, but the decibels aren't that high" Baldur said, he thought that Naruto was exaggerating, even when the memory crystal was fixed to not allow certain harmful sound-waves, Baldur was sure that the pink haired girl couldn't be that harmful on the ears of his son
"If you say so, father… By ODIN's beard! There is Hinata! And that man? Could he be her father?" Naruto suddenly said, sounding surprised, and happy
"Aye, it seems so! May as well greet him too, and let him know that there is interest in both parties" Baldur said with a smirk that could scare many brave soldiers
"Father! I beg you! Don't make any proposition until we learn enough of the Hyuga tradition. She is my first human friend, and I don't want to lose her for a misunderstanding" Naruto voiced his concern as they approached
"Worry not, my son. I will not harm your starting relationship with your maiden. But I encourage you to interact with other humans too" Baldur replied, easing Naruto's heart a bit
Hiashi's gaze fell upon the cloaked figures, and he couldn't be more astonished. If his guess was anywhere right, the short figure was Naruto, and by short he would have to say that he was taller than any kid his age. The other figure was an entire different matter, he was freaking tall, and carried himself with not only an air of greatness and innate glory, but with the unspoken declaration that he had rightfully won every ounce of it.
"That is Naruto! And that must be his father!" Hinata suddenly said, sounding a little bit shy, but not anywhere near her usual shyness, Hiashi didn't had time to tell her anything, for in an instant, Naruto and Baldur were with them.
"Hi Naruto! Is him your father?" Hinata asked, sounding eager to meet them, and not shy. Hiashi was taken by surprise with this move, for he truly expected her to hide behind him. Hiashi also watched how Naruto lowered his hood, the feral features were ignored, as well as his respectful face, what caught Hiashi's attention, were the shining blue eyes
Hiashi activated his byakugan, only to play safe, and got royally scared, Naruto's chakra system was flowing with the intensity of the sun, the usually barely bright chakra channels were like rampaging rivers, the tenketsus looked like capable of withstand the Jyuken hits of anyone weaker than a jounin Hyuga, and the eyes were like orbs of fire. Hiashi then turned to look at Baldur, and got scared, but for a different reason. Whatever Baldur was wearing below his cloak, was shielding his chakra system from the Byakugan, a feat deemed impossible… However, Hiashi noticed numerous unknown symbols adorning whatever Baldur was wearing, all of them shinning with an eerie light, and his eyes, where like two suns, which spoke of unrivaled power.
"Aye. This is my dear father, Baldur son of ODIN, he is the God of Light and Justice. And Father, this is Hinata of the Hyuga, along her father, if my guess is correct… My apologies if it isn't" Naruto presented them, and then Baldur lowered his hood too, revealing not only his shiny eyes and face scars, but a now growing hair which was blond with a slight red tint into it, and while short, it looked untamed, much like Minato's, much to the surprise of Hiashi
"Greetings, Hinata of the Hyuga. My son speaks highly of you. And greetings to you too, elder of the Hyuga" Baldur greeted in a voice that sounded full of authority, and at the same time it was sweet, ancient and regal, yet soft and approving
"H-Hi! It's an honor to meet you… And yes, this is my father" Hinata replied, full of admiration for the man that was Naruto's father, a god walking among humans. Suddenly Hinata tugged Hiashi's arm, so he could say something
"Greetings, I am Hiashi Hyuga, clan leader, and not yet an elder. My daughter here also speaks HIGHLY of your son. I just had to meet him after all she speaks about him" Hiashi stated, making Hinata blush a deep shade of red
"It is pleasant to see untainted hearts in this village, may I ask if your entire clan is like this?" Baldur asked, and while it sounded polite and respectful, Hiashi felt that it was also more authoritative than the Hokage, the voice also carried a much more stronger command power
"I'm afraid that such is not the case. As we are proud to be the finest that this village can produce, our ranks are not without taint, albeit different from what you've seen. You won't see any Hyuga openly say anything, but inwardly, some are as rotten as the tainted hearts you've heard about" Hiashi replied with all the truth, he didn't believed Baldur to be a god, but he was grateful that Hinata was saved from the intolerant kids
"Aye, I believe you. But this corruption of the youngsters must be stopped, what is your Hokage doing to accomplish this?" Baldur asked, while showing a small holographic video of Naruto protecting Hinata, including his rather heroic words. Hiashi's mind went into a sudden stop, it was the mixture of seeing the scene with his own eyes, the idea of seeing it like a vivid memory and not a video or words in the wind, and the image of Naruto posing as a protector for his daughter… Suddenly, the idea of this man being a god was not so crazy.
"Father, we must depart to class. Hiashi of the Hyuga, I do request your permission to escort your daughter to home after the end of classes" Naruto said, making Hiashi's mind to restart, forcing him to reply fast, although he managed to say something useful
"Yes, of course. I'll feel more at peace knowing that you of all people will be at her side… Although the guards at our home will not let you go inside, clan rules, nothing personal" Hiashi replied, and Hinata almost fainted, these were true gods, bending her 'Hard as Steel' father to their will as if he was only a lesser man
"That's acceptable. Father, Hiashi of the Hyuga, we will depart now" Naruto announced, and then took Hinata by the hand, walking away a tad bit faster than needed
"You have done an exceptional work with him. I don't dare to think how he would have been raised by any other person, or alone…" Hiashi suddenly said to Baldur, who covered his head again with his hood
"That is part of what will not be. He is my son now, and soon will become a God. Although it is refreshing to see the acceptance of at least another adult, I was beginning to think that only the Hokage and that loud green warrior were men of honor" Baldur stated, he seemingly liked Hiashi, or at least the way of thinking he has shown up to now
"Are you comparing me with Maito Gai?" Hiashi suddenly asked, but before Baldur had any chance to reply, they were interrupted by a sound that may as well could have come from the depths of Helheim…
"SSSAAASSSUUUKKKEEE-KKKUUUNNNN!" The damaging high pitched scream came from a girl with pink hair, who, as well as many other girls, were chasing a raven haired kid. Hiashi and Baldur soon found themselves covering their ears with their hands, both of them silently agreed that this was a harmful thing, and should be avoided
"Naruto was right. I will add a sound dampening system to his suit… and armor… I'll make one for your daughter too, as the banshee attends classes with them. Fare thee well, Hiashi of the Hyuga" Baldur said, and then began to leave
"Yes, you do that. Fare well, Baldur son of Odin" Hiashi replied, still rubbing his ears, promising to himself to never be around a Haruno ever again
"Naruto, if your father is a god, when are you going to become one?" Hinata asked, she decided not to ask why he wasn't, for that may lead to something Naruto most likely resent, and she didn't want to lose him
"When the time comes. I already took a bite on Idunn's apple, which have granted me some divinity, the base to ascend me. To take the next bite, I have to chose my path" Naruto replied, and then took a bite on his steak
"What do you mean by path?" Hinata asked truly puzzled, he already was walking the path of a shinobi, was there another?
"The paths of the AESIR. ODIN's warriors are divided into five categories: Champion, Defender, Berserker, Commando and Bio-engineer. Each one of them serves a specific purpose on the front lines. Each one of them chosen to lead the army, each one of them an army by themselves" Naruto explained as if he talked about saints of a religion, and Hinata couldn't help but to try to imagine how could they look… failing miserably in doing so
"And which one will you chose?" Hinata asked now, fascinated by the stories, and what Naruto will do next to become like his father
"Honestly I don't know. I could walk my father's path, and be a Champion, mastering gravity and anti-gravity runes, being the leading hero against the forces of evil. I could be a Berserker, channeling ODIN's rage, bringing unstoppable destruction on our enemies, inspiring fear in their hearts and strike from above and below with unrestrained ferocity. I could be a Commando, focusing on coordinating the armies, using ODIN's knowledge to mow down the opposition with the holy weapons. I could even be a Bio-engineer, using ODIN's blessings to heal any wound or sickness, ensuring that the troops remain alive and in fighting conditions, becoming the light of hope for the people. Or… The path of the Defender, the unyielding martyr, taking entire armies myself, so no one else is harmed… so you are never in harm's way…" Naruto lowered his voice at the end, as if realizing something
"That sounds incredible…" Hinata muttered in an absent way, imagining Naruto doing all the things he has described
"I believe Naruto-san has came to a decision, and I believe he has chosen well" Shino suddenly said, appearing out of nowhere. He became friends with them almost immediately… Or more likely, just after Ino Yamanaka screamed in horror after seeing him play with some insects on his hands, that day he was rejected by almost everyone, except by Naruto and Hinata, who welcomed him to their table
"Shino-kun!" Hinata shouted in surprise, for she didn't noticed him
"Ah! Shino of the Aburame! I'm glad you accepted our invitation to share this time of relaxation" Naruto greeted, and Hinata nodded happily, having more friends was part of her dreams, dreams that were becoming real so fast, that she decided to have a small altar for these new gods
"Yes, and I believe that I will share this special time every day with you, except if you wish some privacy, which I'll happily give and protect. I also got some beverages from the vending machines, as they can't reject me as others have done" Shino replied, is not as if he was talkative, it's just that it was easier to communicate with Naruto and Hinata than with the Inuzuka heir, who was always talking and never listening, not that he said anything of importance
"Thank you very much" Both Naruto and Hinata replied at the same time
"Naruto-san, I do hope that your advancement to Defender grant you the confidence to walk into battle with us at your side" Shino said, sounding eager to march to battle, but only with them as teammates.
"Shino of the Aburame… How did you know I was thinking on becoming Defender? And what do you mean by 'us'?" Naruto couldn't help but to ask, thinking that Shino may as well be introduced into sorcery and witchcraft, since he seemed to have some degree of divination. Naruto had his first answer with Shino looking suggestively at Hinata, making her blush, and then delivered the other answer
"A shinobi doesn't walk alone, after graduation we'll be placed into groups of three. How are these groups sorted is still unclear, but with some pressure of the clan heads of our clans, we'll be most likely placed into the same team" Shino explained, while moving his sunglasses to a more comfortable angle, should he had been sitting and in a table, he would have crossed his hands in front of his face
"You are right, Shino-kun! That way we can be together forever!" Hinata exclaimed truly happily
"Aye! Then I'll make haste to rise in the ranks, so I can closely take care of you. I will never let harm come to you, Hinata, Shino" Naruto softly stated, while placing his hand forward. Hinata and Shino quickly understand this, and mimicked the action, soon their hands where over Naruto's, and he placed his other hand over their's
"Together forever, believe it!" The three said at the same time, making a brotherhood oath. Naruto made his final decision in that moment, these were humans he will never allow to be harmed, even if he had to use his body as a shield. He will not only be a Defender, he will become the greatest Defender of history, with ODIN as witness, and his father to ensure hard training
Hringhorni, later that day…
"So, your decision is final, son?" Baldur asked with a raised eyebrow, is not as if he hasn't expected this turn of events, but he was curious in the why
"Aye, father. These shinobi works on teams of three, and I won't let my friends be harmed during a fight" Naruto replied, while Baldur kept replaying the conversation between the kids
"Perhaps we should bring them here to train their weak bodies… Anyway, if this is your choice, I have no voice in that, except for telling you that I'm proud of you. Now step into the tank, and take another bite of the golden apple" Bldur stated, and then Naruto took off his clothes, standing only on the full bodysuit that is the AESIR skin. He stepped into a metal circle in the floor, and once he was in the middle, walls of crystallized energy raised up to the ceiling, and the tank got filled with a clear and bright liquid, Naruto inhaled deeply, allowing his lungs to be filled with the nanos, and then gave a thumbs up to Baldur, who took his place at the computer, to begin the process
"Very well. Let's begin with your advancement. Allfather ODIN, God of War and all wisdom and Knowledge, here I am, presenting my son Naruto to you. You have previously deemed him worthy to follow into the steps of your sons, the gods of war, and today he seeks your blessings for the path of his choice is not an easy one" Baldur began to pray as he typed commands. Naruto began to shudder as the nanos started to work on his body, the Aesir skin was disintegrated instantly, leaving him completely naked, and his implants began to spread more, taking the place of some nerves and muscles
"He has chosen to forfeit all glory in exchange of the well-being of his loved ones. He has chosen to sacrifice his body so those who fight by his side won't have to. He has chosen to give his life for others, and for that, he will forever live as your DEFENDER!" Baldur finalized, and a new AESIR skin was built over Naruto's body, this one looked stronger, thicker, and at the same time, it was far less restrictive. The liquid was flushed away from the tank, and the walls returned to the floor, but when Naruto felt that he was about to fall face first due to the dizziness, the new nano servo motors and balance compensators kicked in, making him stand tall and strong.
"I feel… strange…" Naruto said, looking at his hands and feet, he actually felt as if he were made entirely of nano forged steel, unbending, unbreakable
"Do not mind the new sensation, it will fade with the time. Now we need to look for a proper weapon for you, Tyr left some interesting data on how to bind the soul of a greater best into a special nanoforged weapon, but, we lack the actual beast to try it. Anyway, take this data, and study it well, it's your instruction manual for the features of the Defender" Baldur said while tossing a datapad to Naruto, who eagerly took it.
"Thank you, father, I'll have it memorized by midnight… That remembers me, why don't we use the beast that haunted my dreams three years ago?" Naruto asked with a smirk, which Baldur actually returned
"Ah! That sounds vindictive, and functional, I'll run some simulations tomorrow, then we'll see about it" Baldur replied, and then left Naruto to his self instruction
"Defender's resilance…" And so, Naruto began to trace his path to be the most Epic Defender…
Meanwhile, at the Hokage tower…
Hiashi didn't know why the Hokage was calling him, he just was sure it wasn't anything bad or wrong. Hinata was perfectly fine, if only in cloud nine for being escorted by Naruto AND Shino. So far there weren't any more attempts on Hinata after Naruto's intervention, and any attempts on Naruto by the other kids seemed as futile as trying to hide food from an Akimichi, so, he could only ask
"Hokage-sama, did you call for me?" Hiashi finally asked, gaining the attention of the Hokage, who was reading a lot of reports… or doing a lot of paperwork, whatever the pile of papers was
"Ah! Hiashi! Glad to see you could come, please take seat" Sarutobi greeted, so friendly that Hiashi knew something was truly wrong
"May I inquire on the reason of this calling?" Hiashi asked, trying to sound as demanding and polite as possible
"Of course. You'll see, it has come to my attention that your daughter Hinata is getting close to Naruto, and since it's imperative that he remains in this village, then I was going to propose that you give her for marriage to him, so a permanent bond can be formed with this village, that would have been the wish of the Fourth" Sarutobi stated, mentioning the Fourth for more effect
"Sarutobi, I already met Naruto, and while I could be inclined to accept this proposal for the happiness of my daughter, you know that the elders will never accept this" Hiashi stated, sounding even pained for the depression of Hinata that was bound to happen somewhere in the future
"And if he happened to be Minato's son?" Sarutobi whispered now, earning a face of pure shock from Hiashi
"Hiruzen… What have you done?" Hiashi asked enraged by the implications… He was about to learn way much more than he could have wished
Magnus: Well, I hope you've enjoyed it, next chapters will set the adventure in motion, aiming for epic battles, and some major twists, see ya in next chapter!
Ankiseth: And just to let you know, there is a special poll on Magnus's profile, so you can decide who will be paired with Baldur!