Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to Naruto. Sadly, I do not have a close enough relationship with Masashi Kishimoto where he would feel comfortable giving me the rights. As a matter of fact, I have no relationship with him at all! That makes me sad...
Author's Note: Usually I'd like to put something witty here, but I'm just going to let you all get started with my story. Hope you all enjoy!
Night had long past over Konohagakure, the village hidden in the leaves. With the moon shining in the night sky, many of the residents had gone to sleep. Only a few of its residents were awake at this hour. One of these few residents was the Sandaime Hokage, Sarutobi Hiruzen.
The aged shinobi sat at his desk doing paperwork. Hiruzen was trying to find ways to keep himself awake by doing one of the more mundane aspects of being Hokage. He was, however, more focused on the door to his office. The man was currently waiting for a specific shinobi to arrive so that he could have a discussion with him.
After the Sandaime finished a whole stack of paperwork, he heard a knock on the door.
"Enter." Hiruzen spoke up as he moved his paperwork to the side of his desk.
The Sandaime Hokage watched as the door to his office opened. A young man dressed in the Konoha Anbu uniform walked into the room. He wore a mask that identified him as the Anbu operative 'Weasel'. The young man walked to the center of the room before bowing to the Hokage.
"You can take off your mask, Itachi, and have a seat. I have many things we need to discuss." Hiruzen said.
"Understood." The Anbu nodded.
The young man removed his mask, revealing onyx eyes and jet black hair. The Anbu operative, Itachi, proceeded to sit down in a chair in front of Hiruzen's desk.
"How are you, Itachi? Do you have anything to report yourself?" Hiruzen questioned.
Itachi nodded. "Yes, Hokage-sama. I just left the compound after spying on a personal meeting between my father and a few of the main conspirators in my clan. I have reason to believe that the coup they have been planning will occur in a month's time."
Hiruzen sighed. Itachi's clan, the Uchiha Clan, had been planning a coup d'état against Konoha. The clan, ever since the Kyūbi attack , had been treated negatively by a good portion of the Konoha shinobi. They were under suspicion as possible instigators of the fox's attack. Due to this discrimination and suspicion, the Uchiha Clan had started to resent Konoha and its ideals and were planning to act appropriately. The end result of the Uchiha Clan's actions, as the Hokage and Itachi saw it, would be a civil war that would destroy Konoha.
"Is there any more information you have heard?" Hiruzen asked as he massaged his temples.
Itachi shook his head. "The clan is being secretive about who they let know information, even amongst the conspirators." The Anbu operative paused in his speech for a few seconds before speaking again. "I believe they are starting to suspect that I am leaking information of the coup."
The Sandaime sighed in response again. With each subsequent meeting with Itachi, the information he gave became graver and more upsetting to the aged Hokage. Action was going to be needed soon.
Thankfully, Hiruzen had an idea for an action.
"Itachi, ever since you informed me about your clan's plan, I have been trying to come up with a solution. Tonight, I believe I finally have one." He claimed.
Itachi nodded. The Uchiha had an idea on the Hokage's 'solution'. Earlier that day, he had discussed the coup with Shimura Danzō. Danzō had informed him about the need to remove all threats to Konoha and had encouraged him to eliminate the members of his clan. Itachi, as much as the idea pained him, couldn't fault the logic behind it. The hate of his clan was at an all-time high. Something had to be done to avert the upcoming war and removing the instigators of this war would be the most ideal way to keep Konoha safe. Itachi, having this idea in his head, listened to his Hokage, expecting to be ordered to massacre his own clan.
"I am sick of violence. We just fought the Third Shinobi World War and I do not want to see any more shinobi die. Peace is needed in this village." Hiruzen declared. "Therefore, I have decided that the village needs to strengthen the bond with your clan. I know many of the Uchiha feel underrepresented in our government and feel discriminated against. Something needs to be done about this in order to bring peace."
Hiruzen closed his eyes for a second before opening them again. A smile graced his lips before he spoke again.
"I have decided it's about time Konoha has had an Uchiha Hokage. Itachi, from this day forward, I will begin training you in order for you to replace me and claim the title of Godaime Hokage." He told the Anbu operative.
Uchiha Itachi was a shinobi infamous for his ability to act purely on reason and hide his emotions completely. After hearing the Hokage's 'solution', however, his lauded ability to hide emotions faded. His eyes widened in surprise and his mouth dropped slightly. He remained silent, processing the information. A few seconds passed before he re-obtained the ability to speak.
"Hokage-sama…are you sure of this?" He asked quietly. "I'm not qualified to lead Konoha. I don't have any of the capabilities to do so."
"Itachi, you are more than qualified. You are one of the most talented and respected shinobi of your generation, and you continue to grow in skill and in reputation as the years go by." Hiruzen noted proudly. "I realize you may not be familiar with all of the political aspects of the position, which is why I will be training you. It will be a few years before you probably are ready to replace me. However, I personally believe that there is no other perfect candidate than you."
Itachi didn't say anything, still processing the information. Confusion was evident on the boy's face, causing Hiruzen to sigh. He then started to speak again to further explain his decision.
"Your clan's actions are based on their treatment in the village and how they feel the other members of Konoha view them. They feel as if we are out to get them. So, this is also a political appeasement to your clan. With you, an Uchiha, as Hokage, your clan will see the Hokage is one of them. They will believe that you will not act against their best wishes." The Sandaime elaborated.
"But will it work? And are there not better options than me?" Itachi questioned.
The Sandaime shook his head. "There is no guarantee. However, I know your father and I know the multiple Uchiha that are under me. They do not want needless fighting. They are acting in what they feel is in their best interest. And seeing you as Hokage, I feel as if they will see you as Hokage and, by association, a village with their best interest in mind. I believe this will work!" The Hokage then shook his head again. "And, considering that your clan is planning a coup, I feel that you, the shinobi who informed me of this coup, is the one who is acting with the village's best interest in mind. There is no better candidate than you."
Itachi stayed quiet. His confusion faded, but there was still obvious conflict in his eyes. He remained in deep thought before speaking quietly.
"Hokage-sama…I do not feel as if I am ready to become Hokage. However, I personally agree with most of your logic and I know you know more than me about what is best for the village. If you feel this is the best solution and will help bring peace to Konoha, then let your will be done." He said.
Hiruzen chuckled in response. "You say you don't feel ready, but are willing to do so if it's for the village's safety and peace. Uchiha Itachi, you really are going to become a great Hokage."
'Hokage…' Itachi repeated the name and the idea in his head. After listening to the Hokage's logic and opinion, the Uchiha was starting to slowly accept it and the responsibilities it will bring. 'If it brings peace to the village and my clan, then so be it.'
"If you say so, Hokage-sama." Itachi said, a small smile gracing his lips.
"Itachi, I just declared you my successor. You can drop the –sama." Hiruzen chuckled. "Anyway, you are dismissed. Return to your clan. I will make my announcement about your appointment tomorrow."
The Anbu operative bowed in response before exiting the room. With his discussion with Itachi over, Sarutobi Hiruzen too left the room to head to bed. Both shinobi had only one thought in mind: that this solution would work and bring the village to peace.
"Itachi, you're home late."
Itachi, upon entering his house in the Uchiha Clan Estate, was immediately greeted by his father, Uchiha Fugaku. The man was leaning against the doorway to the house, still fully dressed.
"Father." Itachi bowed to the man upon seeing him. "I am surprised you're up."
"I'm surprised to see you out for so long." Fugaku replied, a slight bitter tone to his voice. "Where were you? I've been looking for you for the past few hours."
Itachi resisted the urge to frown. "Forgive me. I was summoned by Hokage-sama to discuss something with him."
"Summoned by the Hokage, huh?" Fugaku grumbled, his words sounding almost poisonous. He continued to speak, this time louder. "Well, what then? What was so important that he summoned you this late at night?'
Itachi actually gulped slightly. 'This is it….'
"Hokage-sama has appointed me to be his successor. I am going to be the Godaime Hokage." He answered.
Fugaku's eyes widened and he nearly lost his balance. Upon composing himself, he openly gaped at his son, registering his words.
"He s-said what?" The Uchiha clan head questioned, stuttering slightly.
"He said that he was going to train me these next few years in politics. Afterwards, I am to be appointed as Godaime Hokage." Itachi answered again, this time more quietly.
Itachi and Fugaku studied each other. Itachi was trying to see how his father was going to react to the news and whether or not his new appointment would help destroy the plans for the coup. Fugaku, on the other hand, was simply trying to imagine what Itachi had just said.
"…Sarutobi Hiruzen appointed you to be Hokage?" Fugaku repeated the idea again.
Itachi nodded in response.
"…you, an Uchiha?"
Again, Itachi nodded.
The idea seemed so foreign and impossible to Fugaku. Never in his lifetime could he imagine an Uchiha being Hokage: an Uchiha being in charge of Konoha. The village, as he saw it, had been overrun with Senju ideas and had turned against the Uchiha clan in the present day. The very idea of an Uchiha Hokage was just impossible! Now, however, according to his son, the 'impossible' happened.
"Itachi…what does this mean, then?" Fugaku asked.
Itachi shook his head. "What does it mean to you, father?"
Fugaku closed his eyes. Ever since the Kyūbi attack and the first accusations against his clan about the incident, he has grown to resent Konoha and being a part of the village. He genuinely feared that the village would one day wipeout his clan for being 'threats' to the village's safety. He believed that it was going to happen and that he needed to act fast before it did happen! Now, with the idea of an Uchiha, his own son, as Hokage, his fear seemed to be less certain.
"…Itachi, what do you really think?" Fugaku asked quietly. "About everything? The Hokage, the clan, the village…everything."
Itachi remained silent for a second, trying to think of the proper words, before he started to speak. "I've seen enough death already to last a lifetime. I…I don't want to see anyone die, whether they be Uchiha or other Konoha shinobi. I want to do my part to make sure everyone in this village is able to be in peace."
"So you were never in favor of the coup…" Fugaku grumbled quietly. "…never on the side of your clan."
Itachi shook his head profusely. "I have never been against our clan. I want what is best for all of us. I just personally believe that a coup and the war that it would cause would be detrimental for everyone involved, especially our clan." The Anbu operative's eyes narrowed. They were filled with determination. "I want to do my part to make sure everyone, Uchiha or not, is able to live in peace. And if I must become Hokage to create this peace, then so be it."
Fugaku said nothing as he closed his eyes in deep thought. The determination that had filled Itachi was slowly starting to fade again as he worried about his father's response. Just as he was about to speak up, his father opened his eyes and laughed quietly.
"Heh, you know, Itachi, I always imagined you as a leader. I always was expecting you to replace me as the head of the Uchiha clan and lead our clan to greatness. But this…" Fugaku gave his son a proud smile. "You've succeeded my expectations. I'm expecting you to be the best damn Hokage this village has ever had."
"Father…" Itachi's eyes widened. "Does that mean…"
"No clan of mine will turn its back on my son and the village he represents…we won't turn against our village!" The Uchiha clan head stated firmly. "Tomorrow, at the clan meeting, I want you with me as we cancel our plans and reveal to everyone that you are going to become the Hokage."
"Father…" Itachi's eyes threatened to water as he bowed to his father in gratitude. "Thank you."
"Heh, still as stiff as ever. No need to bow to me!" Fugaku was now laughing loudly, filled with joy that he had been missing for the past eight years. The man rushed over to his son and pulled him into a hug. Itachi returned the hug immediately. "If anything, I should be thanking you. You've done a good job as a shinobi, Itachi, and I know you're going to be a great Hokage who will have the village and the Uchiha's interests in mind. I'm proud of you!"
After finishing there hug, the two Uchiha bid each other goodnight and headed off to bed. Ever since he heard about the ideas of the coup, Itachi had been having troubles sleeping. Now, knowing that the coup was going to be over, the Uchiha prodigy was able to fall asleep easily.
The next day, in the afternoon, Itachi arrived at the Hokage's office. Sarutobi Hiruzen greeted him with a knowing smile on his face.
"I take it the news went over well within the clan?" Hiruzen asked the Uchiha prodigy.
"Yes, Hokage-sama." Itachi replied with a smile of his own. "The clan is still celebrating the idea of an Uchiha as Hokage. Nearly all of the conspirators have changed their tune and are now fully in support of Konoha again. They all feel as if an Uchiha as Hokage will improve their reputation in the village greatly."
"Excellent!" The Sandaime cheered loudly. He then recognized a word the Uchiha had used and frowned slightly. "…I noticed you did not say all of the conspirators."
"I didn't." Itachi's smile faded as well. "The main conspirators for the coup along with my father were Uchiha Uragiri, Uchiha Gekido, and Uchiha Ryū. All three men have vanished without a trace. No one has seen them since the previous day."
"No one has seen them at all?" Hiruzen questioned.
Itachi shook his head. "I'm starting to think that they may have heard me talk to my father about the appointment to Hokage. Once they heard that the coup was going to be canceled, they may have fled the village." The Anbu operative sighed. "This is all speculation, but I have no idea what happened to them otherwise."
"This is troubling. That they would be able to escape the village without a single person noticing…" Hiruzen shook his head in frustration. "I'll send shinobi out to search for them. If they do not appear somewhere in the village by the end of the day, they will be marked as missing ninja and will be placed in the bingo book. If they really fled the village because the coup was called off, then they are a danger to Konoha and must be dealt with immediately!"
"Agreed." Itachi nodded.
Hiruzen opened his mouth to speak, but was interrupted as the door to his office was slammed open. A young, blonde boy around eight years old with blue eyes and whisker marks on his cheeks ran into the room.
"Hey old man! You ready to go to lunch?" The little boy asked excitedly. "It's Tuesday! You promised we'd go to Ichiraku's today!"
Hiruzen and Itachi stared at the blonde boy for a few seconds before Hiruzen smiled at him.
"I almost forgot, Naruto-kun. You tend to forget these things when you reach my age." He said with a laugh.
"Ah, come on! I know you're old, but you can't be that old yet! You got, what, another ten to twenty years left?" The blonde, Naruto, wondered with a shrug.
"Naruto-kun, I certainly hope I have longer than ten years!" Hiruzen said immediately with a sweat drop.
"Eh, you probably do. I don't know!" The boy shrugged again in response before his eyes filled up with excitement. "Well, who cares if you forgot? Can we go to Ichiraku's now?"
"Heh." Itachi chuckled slightly at the interaction between Naruto and the Sandaime. He got up from his chair and walked towards the door. "We can talk later, Hokage-sama. You enjoy your lunch."
"Come back later tonight. Again, Itachi, we have much to discuss!" Hiruzen informed him.
Itachi nodded before bowing to the Hokage and Naruto. He then left the room. Naruto studied the young man walking out before turning to the aged Sandaime.
"Hey, hey, who was that? He looks familiar." Naruto mumbled.
"He very well may. He's Uchiha Itachi, the older brother of one of your classmates, Sasuke." Hiruzen answered.
"Really?" Naruto's eyes widened.
"Yes." The Sandaime chuckled. "He's also going to the next Hokage."
Naruto's eyes widened further before he let out a loud scream. "WHAT? BUT I WAS SUPPOSED TO BE THE GODAIME HOKAGE DATTEBAYO!"
Hiruzen's chuckles turned to a loud laugh as he watched the boy he treated like a grandson pout.
"Calm down Naruto-kun. I have faith that you will become Hokage one of these days. It just so happens that Konoha needs a new one right now, and Itachi is the best candidate for the job." Hiruzen told the boy to appease him.
"…hmm…" Naruto stopped shouting and started to think. "Yeah, I guess. You are old, so it's a good idea to get someone younger for now. But what's so special about him?"
"Tell you what, we can talk about Itachi over lunch. You still want to go, right?" Hiruzen reminded Naruto about the reason the blonde came in the first place.
Naruto's eyes widened in realization before he grabbed the Hokage's hand and dragged him out of the office to go get lunch. The boy was mumbling 'Ichiraku's', 'miso ramen', and 'delicious' the entire way out of the building while the Sandaime chuckled at the boy's antics.
The previous night, Sarutobi Hiruzen made a decision to appoint Uchiha Itachi as the future Godaime Hokage. Both he and Itachi agreed to the idea, feeling as if it was the option that would generate peace for Konoha. The two men were unaware of the consequences Hiruzen's appointment would have on the entire shinobi world.
Author's Note: And here is the prologue for my new story, "Another Solution!"
To anyone who is following my other story, "True Potential", fear not: I will be still updating it. I am close to finishing up the next chapter actually! However, I wanted to also start this story as well. I couldn't get this idea out of my head! It was just begging to be written! I have a system in mind for my writing and will be able to update both stories consistently.
I will be working on the next chapter immediately and it will be up as soon as it is done. Please review and give me any criticism or comments that you feel can improve the story and my writing. Anything you say can only improve my stories for you all!
That's all I have to say for now. I will see you when I finish chapter two! Until then :)