Chapter one: Pain
Edit: April, 2021: I've gone back and polished up certain parts where I could. Certain paragraphs needed to be separated up when Jiraiya and Hiruzen were speaking.
This story is a twinfic with the insert being Uzumaki Naruto. No incest will be in this story. This is also the first story I wrote, the quality of writing improves after the first chapters. I hope you enjoy.
Death. Passing away. Departing this world. The end. So many names for an event that we all will experience at one point or another. I never paid much attention to it. Such a thing was not what I envisioned to happen to me, at least not for many many decades. My first death, yes, the first, was not a pleasant one. It involved nothing sweet such as friends and family surrounding me telling me they love me and that they hope I'll be waiting for them. It involved a cacophony of noise, a cold floor, and far too much blood. Violent deaths are never fun, who would have thought that?
But this tale is not about the end, but of a new beginning.
Minato Namikaze, the Yellow Flash, the Yondaime Hokage, was dead. With the unleashing of the Kyuubi came untold destruction in Konoha to only be stopped by the Yondaime's heroic sacrifice by sealing off the beast using the Shiki Fujin, sacrificing his very soul in the process. With that, the beast was slain.
Or was it?
As the villagers buried their dead and celebrated the vanquishing of the demon, one man was sat at his desk, doing the best of his ability to maintain a sense of stability in the village that was his sacred charge to defend.
It should have been me, not you Minato. Sarutobi Hiruzen, the Sandaime Hokage, thought to himself, sitting behind his desk with a mountain of paperwork consisting of orders to be sent out to Konohas' remaining shinobi fit for missions.
With his successors death, he had been forced to take up the mantle of Hokage again. Despite his desire for retirement, he new that few others could hold the position without showing a sign of diminishment in the eyes of the other villages.
Tsunade hasn't been in the village since Dan's death, and would never take the hat. Orochimaru shows too much cruelty, something good on the battlefield, but leaves him being feared by much of the civilians. And Jirai-, He paused.
Jiraiya was a subject that still left a raw feeling, even after several weeks since their conversation occurred.
"Why not, Sensei?", Jiraiya nearly shouted, his anger clearly visible in his tone of voice and body language, "Minato trusted me to be a Godfather, and I will not shirk that duty. I promised to care for his and Kushinas' child should anything happen to them."
"Jiraiya", Hiruzen responded, his whole demeanor that of someone carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders, "Konoha is in a precarious position. All the gains that Minato made in the War have been undone by his death and the Kyuubi attack. We cannot let ourselves be seen as weak. I am already putting out plans to send most of our elite shinobi out to increase the level of A and S rank missions we complete to give the image of strength. We can't hope to defeat Kumo and Iwa with our forces in the state they are in. We need to give the perception that Konoha still stands strong. I need your spy network to be at full strength, with all your attention put into it. You aren't able to do that when playing the role of parent."
"I don't care about the network," Jiraiya raised his voice even more, "I promised!"
Hiruzen could feel the air become saturated with his student's chakra, before the white haired Sannin seemed to collapse in on himself, his head hung low.
"I", he started, voice cracking with the effort, "I wasn't there for Tsunade when Dan died. I wasn't there when Minato needed me. Please", he practically begged his Sensei, "Don't make me not be there again. I can't fail again", he finished, his eyes shining with emotion.
Hiruzen let out a depressed sigh. He knew Minatos' death had hit the village hard, but no one had been hit nearly as hard by it as Jiraiya. Losing his beloved Biwako left a wound that Hiruzen knew would never heal. He shuddered at the thought of losing either of his sons. He could understand Jiraiya's pain of losing someone he held dear, but he knew there was no one else better to be Konohas' spymaster than Jiraiya.
Jiraiya wouldn't be able to juggle the roles of caretaker and spymaster, despite any of his protests to the contrary.
"Jiraiya", he said quietly, "Minato sacrificed everything for the village. It will be all for nothing if everything he fought for came crashing down within a few years. Protecting the village will protect what he died for. Things can change in a few years, once we have recovered. Please, can you wait some time?"
Jiraiya stood there, still as a statue for several moments, deep in thought.
If I can smooth things out with the network, I can get back to here within a couple years. I promised you, Minato. And I'll keep that promise no matter what. He thought.
Visibly slumping, he gave Hiruzen his answer. "Okay", he said, all the anger previously disappearing. "For Minato, I'll do it."
Hiruzen let out a sigh of relief. He was worried that Jiraiya would let his grief at the loss of someone he saw as a surrogate son destroy his capacity of being one of the few active S rank shinobi Konoha had on its roster. He knew that Konoha could ill-afford the loss of a second Sannin, with Tsunade taking an "extended leave" since the death of her fiance.
"Thank you, Jiraiya", Hiruzen said, a small, but sad smile adorning his face, "I will ensure that there is no danger to Minatos' legacy. I swear it." He finished firmly.
The toad summoner let a small smile his lips, "Now that we've addressed what will be done, can I go?, he asked, the location he wished to go being left unsaid.
"I'll go with you myself", Hiruzen replied as he leaned back, stretching his back until he heard an audible pop. "I've been behind this desk for too long today. It'll do me some good to go out to see the village."
With that, The Professor stood up and made his way out of the tower. He turned to ask Jiraiya if he would walk with him, only to be met with a slight flash of white near the bottom of the window, before it vanished. With a rueful chuckle and a shake of the head, Hiruzen continued his trek towards the hospital to see a very special patient.
Never change, my student. Never change.
Still sat at his desk, a stack of mission reports at the side, Hiruzen lit his pipe and took a long drag before exhaling, relishing the sensation.
I'm sorry for what has to be done, Jiraiya. You can be the godfather you ought to be when we can get the village on firm footing again.
He sighed internally, saddened by what he was forced to do as the Hokage. A Kage must put the village first, even above his own life... and his family. The Shodai and Nidaime died for the Village, a fact that never failed to bring a stab of sadness to the Sandaimes' aged visage.
Hashirama-sensei and Tobirama-sensei died for the village. Minato gave up the very possiblity of a peaceful death, and the chance for his family to be whole and normal, for a Hokages family that is. I hope to kami that I never will be forced to make such a choice. The village, or my heart.
He finished those dark thoughts right as he heard a request for entrance into his office.
"Enter", he called, fairly certain of who the identity of the individual was.
Nara Shikaku, commander of Konohas' Jonin forces entered the Hokages office, a look of fatigue adorning his face.
"Hokage-sama," he announced tiredly. "I have the latest mission reports from our forces in the Land of Fire."
"And?" Sarutobi asked, wishing to hear the details, "how goes the mission rate? Is the news good?" he finished, hoping for good news.
"Yes", Shikaku replied, attempting to keep the evidence of fatigue out of his posture and voice. "Despite our losses, we've managed to maintain the same level of mission turnout before the attack. It's been hard, but we've managed.", He finished.
Sarutobi sat there quietly for a moment, thinking over the positive news he had just heard.
We lost over a fifth of our forces in the Kyuubi attack to fatalities or to career-ending injuries. Not to mention Minato and Kushina. To think that we could keep our mission turnout levels even, is a testament to the shinobi forces motivation.
He knew it would take its toll, he could nearly see the fatigue rolling off of Shikaku's frame, no matter how hard he tried to hide it. They couldn't keep that up for a prolonged period. Not with the numbers available.
The council had pitched a potential idea of slightly lowering the academys passing standard. "It can't be that bad", they had said. "More civilians will graduate, and your own student Jiraiya was from a civilian background. it won't be so bad." The council didn't understand that if it hadn't been for Jiraiya's indomitable will to succeed, and having the right teacher, he would not have been what he's known as today.
Out of all my students, Jiraiya's Will of Fire burned brightest. Shaking himself from his thoughts, Hiruzen addressed his Jonin commander. "Thank you for the report, Shikaku. You are dismissed."
At his leader's dismissal, Shikaku turned to leave, only to be stopped by Hiruzen.
"And Shikaku", He called, "Do try to sleep. You'll do no good when you're half dead on your feet. Get some rest, and spend some time with your wife and son. You've earned it."
At his Hokages order, Shikaku nodded and thanked him before leaving to head home, or more specifically, his sweet, sweet bed.
After Shikaku's departure, Hiruzen reached into one of his desk drawers, pulling out a medical report from a medi-nin at Konohas hospital, looking over the report for what felt like the millionth time.
What ails you dear child? He thought, thinking back to the first time he had heard the medi-nins report alongside Jiraiya.
Walking through the village he called his home normally would give him a feeling of peace. But now, it only caused heartache and sadness. Hiruzen walked towards Konohas' hospital, a cloak of sadness seeming to cling to his frame. Not even in the ensuing days after the Nidaime's death, and his appointment as the Sandaime, did Hiruzen feel such a sense of defeat. The wreckage of buildings from the Kyuubi attack could be seen with no effort at all. It would take months at the least with shinobi aid to clear it all number of dead and unaccounted for were still being counted.
Kami no Shinobi, The Professor, Sandaime of Konohagakure. All these titles and I still couldn't protect my home. My beloved Biwako.
He knew he shouldn't blame himself. He had no idea that the Kyuubi would break lose from Kushinas' seal, causing untold destruction. He didn't know an assassin would slit his wife's throat as she aided Kushina in childbirth.
But it's so easy to blame myself for it.
He shook those thoughts from his head. He knew where he was headed. He knew how much the remaining night would wring Jiraiya's heart. His student needed him. And he would be there for him.
I couldn't stop what happened. But I can make a difference now.
With that thought, the Sandaime quickened his pace, intent on helping his eccentric student in one of his darkest hours.
Arriving at the hospital, Jiraiya stretched out his senses trying to locate his mentor. He probably should have walked with Sensei, if only for the company. Him being on his own gave him too much time to think. Thinking was bad. Thinking made him remember. Remember his promise.
Stop it. Stop it. You'll only make it worse. He thought to himself.
He didn't need to lose what sanity he did have. Never accuse Jiraiya the galiant, toad sage of Mount Myoboku, of claiming he was totally sane. He wasn't sane, but he wasn't crazy either.
After a brief pause, Jiraiya located his teachers chakra signature, bright as it was, and it was headed towards him. Moments later, they faced one another, where Jiraiya broke the silence.
"What room?", he asked, not certain where an appropriate location in the hospital would be.
"Room 16", Hiruzen replied, walking towards the location mentioned, with his former student to his left. "They had to move the room and seal it as best they could. Chakra fluctuations were causing the other children distress."
"Do you know what's causing it?" Jiraiya asked, "Seal malfunction? I wouldn't think Minato", Jiraiya paused, taking a deep breath. "I wouldn't think Minato would make that kind of mistake. Granted, being in the situation that occurred, there might have been an error."
Arriving at the door Hiruzen responded to the other man. "That's why I want you to check it. I'm not the most accomplished in sealing. You'll likely see something I don't."
With that, the two men entered the room, being met by a haggard looking nurse sitting in a chair to the side of the room.
Upon seeing the two men, the nurse nearly jumped out of her chair in fright, attempting to compose herself.
"Hokage-sama, Jiraiya-sama," she squeaked out nervously, "I-I d-didn't think you would b-be here so soon."
Seeing the near terror in the young woman's eyes, Jiraiya quickly attempted to relieve her of her worries. Using all the charm he had in calming women down, it was a lifesaver in his genin team to have that skill, he put his hands out in a placating manner and responded.
"Nonsense, don't feel worried. You have done a wonderful job here. Your skills are only matched by your beauty, my lady. Think nothing of it."
The young woman's face flushed slightly at the complement, unsure on how to respond to being complemented, or was it flirted with, by one of the legendary sannin.
"T-thank you, sir," she said, before composing herself, " I had just managed to calm him down maybe an hour ago," she continued, gesturing towards the crib. "he wouldn't stop screaming for hours when he was alone."
Jiraiya stepped forward to gaze upon the contents of the crib.
Inside, was a newborn baby boy lying on his side with a tuft of strawberry blond hair atop his head, and whisker like birthmarks on his cheek. Intertwined with his right hand, was the hand of a baby girl, also having whisker like marks, but with a small patch of golden blonde hair on her head.
"Hello little ones", Jiraiya whispered, a tear rolling down his cheek, speaking in a tone seemingly far too soft for a man of his physical stature, "I'm your Godfather."
Hello everyone, this is Raging Smurf and this is my first journey into writing fanfiction. Been in the site for a few years but I've decided to try my hand at writing. much of the early chapters may be a bit rough around the edges, I should warn. Any constructive criticism is welcome. Flames will be deleted...Ciao.