This is a Naruto story that takes a special focus on the Uzumaki clan, its history, and Naruto's place in the ninja world, specifically as a piece of that legacy.

Before we begin with the story, I feel it is important to set up some expectations and hopefully clear up any misconceptions that may be present, going into this:

First and foremost, this is ultimately a personal work of fiction, based on the Naruto universe. I do not own Naruto; Naruto belongs to Masashi Kishimoto and I am simply fortunate enough to be able to play around in his sandbox. This ALSO means that I am not entirely locked down into following the canon universe, by any means. While many concepts, present and/or integral to the plot may be borrowed for my work, this is ultimately my own interpretation of elements of the universe. Many creative liberties will be taken for this, especially as pertaining to the Uzumaki clan, of which not much is know within the canon.

I admittedly don't have too much experience when it comes to fanfiction. In the past, I've largely just been content to read and review works that I liked. With that in mind, I hope that you all like what I have to show you all.

Lets get started:

The chasm floor below was rapidly approaching. A young boy's small body hurtled toward that destination, an unstoppable projectile on a highway to imminent death. Oh, and he had tried to stop it. His two broken fingers, snapped just moments earlier trying to arrest his fall on the muddy chasm walls, spoke more than enough of his most recent failure.

"You need to learn to harness the Kyubi's chakra." The pervy sage's words barged to the front of his mind for just a moment before he tossed them out with the same tact they'd arrived with. What did that jerk know anyways? It was his fault that Naruto was about to be turned into paste on the ground anyways. Plus, the Kyubi had seemingly ignored his first call, back when he had first started falling. There was no time to try again, so Naruto stuck with what he knew, and started to improvise.

His two broken fingers crossed messily with those of his other hand, forming a sloppy cross-formation.

"Shadow clone jutsu!"

At once, well over a dozen puffs of smoke erupted from around the boy, dispersing just a moment after to reveal that many identical clones of himself. There was no time to discuss strategy, so they didn't bother. Instead, they latched onto one another, as if knowing exactly what their fellows were thinking and made one more token effort to stall their fall by digging into the chasm wall. Still, even with their collective efforts, Naruto's fall barely slowed, if at all.

The ground was mere feet away and it felt like time had just about slowed to a crawl. Naruto knew deep in his gut that if he didn't do anything decisive right at this moment, he wouldn't get another chance. Just at that moment, a single idea popped into his head, so stupid it might actually work.

"Transform!" He yelled to his team.

"Into what!" The desperation in his clone's voice matched his own, perfectly.

A ball of sorts crossed his mind. "Something springy!"

At once, his clones began to weave hand seals, intending to cast a ninjutsu:

Dog - Boar - Ram

Collectively, they shouted "Transformation jutsu!" amassing themselves into a singular sphere of rubber-like material and surrounding the original.

In their haste, the integrity of the transformation had been compromised, and the results spoke for themselves when the ball burst on impact. His fall softened a touch, barely at all; still, a difference might very well have been made. It would seemingly be the difference between instant death and slow, painful one.

As his body was mercilessly smashed into the ground, courtesy of gravity, Naruto felt the exact moment that his bones shattered on impact. All of them -or at least most of them- were rendered to a fragmented mess as heaps of dust lifted around his broken mass.

Pain was no new sensation for the boy. When you were a ninja, you got used to injuries of all kinds; scrapes, bruises, and broken bones were simply the norm in a field of work such as his. Even still, there was a world of difference between the occasional ouchies in the line of duty and whatever hell this was. Calling it pain would've been too big of an understatement. It was excruciating, agonizing, and some other third adjective that Naruto was too blinded by his own suffering to fish out from his pitiful, concussed head.

Choking back a sob, Naruto tried to flex his arms, then his legs. Both efforts were simply met with more pain and little else; he couldn't move them, no matter how hard he tried. Certainly not conducive to finding help…

What difference would it make?

Even if he could -even if he managed to drag his near-lifeless corpse in search of aid, who would even help him?

The thought came suddenly, and a sense of coldness chased its heels. It was no secret that the people of Konoha hated Naruto. For the longest time he'd wondered why, had desperately begged for someone, anyone, to tell him what he had done to deserve their resentment. Now, he knew that it all came back to the titanic, hateful mass of chakra that resided in his gut: the Kyubi no Kitsune, which had devastated the village thirteen years prior.

Somehow, knowing hadn't helped him at all. If anything, it had just hurt him more. Perhaps if it had been his own fault, he could have convinced himself that he could 'atone' for his mistakes. If anything, Naruto could've at least seen a path toward making peace with the people of Konoha. However, knowing that the source of their disdain was completely out of his control sparked a different sort of pain. Not quite like a myriad of broken bones, but pretty damn close.

Was that why Jiraiya had pushed him off the cliffside? Was his 'training' little more than a facade, an excuse to kill the boy and call it an accident? The man's cold stare flashed before Naruto's eyes for a moment, and all he could feel was resentment.

The coldness in his chest had begun to spread, slowly overtaking the rest of his body. Naruto wondered what his old sensei Kakashi would do in his situation. The man was renowned for being proficient with over a thousand different techniques; no doubt he could whip out some kind of wacky healing jutsu to set himself straight. Hell, Naruto doubted the man would've ever found himself in this situation in the first place, he was so resourceful.

As his mind settled on the silver-haired man, Naruto once more felt that same ugly feeling rear up within him again. Kakashi had abandoned him, there really was no other way to go about it. The man had pawned him off to Ebisu, a third-rate ninja and grade-one asshole, all so he could spend the month teaching Sasuke, instead. Perhaps Naruto's resentment over that particular detail would've been less prominent, were Ebisu not such a dick. Or perhaps Naruto would be less judgemental overall of Kakashi, were he able to think of a single thing that the man had ever taught him, personally.

Oh, there were some lessons that he had imparted onto their team; the man wasn't incompetent. Tree climbing back in Wave stood out as a core memory for the boy. But that had been a special case, and as dozens of moments flitted through Naruto's memory, each of him asking the man for guidance in one way or another, Naruto found a common thread in them all. Each request for training, wisdom, or any other such help had all been cheerfully rejected or ignored by a man who should have had his best interests at heart.

Did Kakashi even consider that his student was currently dying on a chasm floor, while he showered Sasuke with all of his teachings?

… Would he even care, if he did?

The coldness had spread to his limbs, now. It was getting harder to think, and he still hadn't figured a way out of this, yet. There were no ninjutsu that he could cast, broken as he was, and his lungs couldn't take in enough air to even breathe, let alone cry for help.

'I-I'm going to die here, aren't I?' It was the first fully coherent thought about himself that he'd been able to scrounge together, and how depressing was that? 'I'm not going to be Hokage. I'm never going to be respected by the village… I'll never get to prove Neji wrong and keep the promise I made for Hinata.' His bloodied eye sockets began to sting as tears welled up within them. 'I'm going to die here; an unremarkable death for an unremarkable, talentless loser… Just like everyone always said.'

A moment passed, and something sparked within his soul. A rage, unlike anything he had ever felt before, swelled within his body. It was so intense it hurt, worse even than the pain of his broken bones! Why was it that nothing could ever go right for him? Why was it always him who was made to eat the largest share of life's shit cake!? Why was he bleeding out in a hole somewhere while Sasuke got special treatment? Why had Kakashi saddled him with a bitter asshole like Ebisu instead of someone who could help him grow into a splendid ninja? Why had Jiraiya tried to kill him, instead of helping him flourish like the man had promised!? His old teacher Mizuki's words flashed in his head.

"You're just a vessel for a monster! No, you're as bad as the monster, itself! No one, not even Iruka, is stupid enough to let you fool them into thinking anything less!"

He could see it all in his mind's eye; he could almost hear it, even!

The Kyubi.





The whole damn village; they were all laughing at him; they were all mocking his suffering while he died a pathetic fucking death in a muddy ditch instead of living his life with even the most basic amount of decency!

He couldn't die! He wouldn't! Naruto didn't care anymore; he didn't care what he had to do, or what he had to give to make it happen, but he would be damned to hell and back before he ever quit!

The coldness had nearly reached the tips of his fingers when it abruptly stopped. Naruto gathered every ounce of fury in his heart and channeled it, letting its heat fight the ice in his chest. Fire bloomed in every cell of his body as Naruto fought, choking out a cry of determination as he searched once more for the Kyubi's chakra. He'd survive this even if he had to rip the chakra out of the beast, himself!

As if triggered by his rageful thoughts, Naruto suddenly found himself elsewhere. He was upright, and his limbs worked. For a moment, he wondered if his fall had even happened, or if it had simply been a dream. The scene before him was surreal, however, and the deep rumbling that echoed from all around him suggested otherwise.

He was in a sewer, dark and dank, and massive unlike any sewer he had ever seen before. Titanic, red-tinted pipes stretched boundlessly across the walls, past the point of what he could even see with his limited vision. All of them seemingly led to one central point, right ahead of him. Naruto had often been called dense by his peers, but even he was smart enough to know where they lead. His earlier bravado was shaken all at once at the thought of approaching the Kyubi; he felt its sickening presence and knew the pressure before him would only increase, the closer he got. Nonetheless, the boy pushed forward after just a moment of pause. He refused to back down, certainly not when his very life depended on this meeting.

Trudging through the knee-deep sewer water, Naruto tried to distract himself from the apprehension building in his chest. He'd heard enough about the Kyubi to know it was not to be played around with. His experiences with its chakra, both against Haku and Orochimaru, had taught him to be cautious of its power. Now, he would be trying to take it for himself, potentially even against the beast's will, and the thought scared him almost senseless.

Once more, Naruto played in his head the faces of those who had wronged him. He felt that same rage bubbling up within him and knew he would need it for this encounter. He let it bloom, overtaking his own nervousness and steadying his steps. Unbeknownst to him, the vermillion chakra within the pipes had begun to seep from tiny, slowly widening cracks in the structures, steadily encroaching upon his body.

Fingernails lengthened into cruel-looking claws; thick whiskers sprouted across his face, near-completely covering his cheeks; Naruto's once cerulean eyes bled into a deep crimson, his pupils fully morphing into slits. Not even noticing his changes, the boy continued forward, swathing himself in his 'shield' to meet the creature who had ruined his life. The Kyubi's roiling chakra suffused itself throughout his body, peeling away at his flesh with insidious intent. By the time he had cleared the hallway and found himself standing before the massive gate which presumably held the Kyubi, much of his flesh had peeled fully from his body, giving way to a burgundy hide of vile chakra.

From behind the gate, a massive set of eyes watched the boy with growing amusement. Black-muzzled lips stretched fully into a devious grin as the Kyubi regarded the foolish boy currently transforming before it. It had not even needed to say a single word, had not even needed to meet the boy to get him to fall victim to its influence. What hell had the child endured to become so susceptible to the Kyubi's influence?

That gave the creature pause as the tiniest slivers of guilt stabbed away at it. Its host was little more than a child. By now, he had grown so overwhelmed by even the tiny portion of chakra that it had given him that he had gone nearly blind and limp under the weight of the Kyubi's influence. Did a child truly deserve to be treated so callously?

The faces of its previous host crossed its mind, as did the face of its jailer. Kushina Uzumaki and Minato Namikaze, respectively; both of them had been formidable ninja in their own right. They had certainly earned the Kyubi's respect…

They had also earned its undying hatred. The images of its two most hated adversaries overlaid almost perfectly with the twisted visage of its current host, and all of its empathy for the boy shriveled up and died.

"Be honored, boy," the Kyubi finally spoke, knowing the child could not even hear him as he was. "Be honored that your sacrifice will see me free, once and for all. It is not often that a mortal such as yourself earns the thanks of a tailed beast… If you have anyone to blame for your current predicament, blame your idiot parents for allowing this to happen to you."

It would only be seconds now, before the boy's body reached its breaking point and the seal collapsed. Oh, how the Kyubi could feel its freedom rapidly approaching!

Then, all at once, things went wrong as dozens of purple-glowing chains burst from the ground's surface, ensnaring the boy in full. The Kyubi cursed, attempting to match the chains with its own output of power; it knew, however, that its efforts were in vain as the chains simply sucked away its chakra with a greedy pull. Really, it should have been expected that the boy's parents would leave behind a failsafe or two to meddle with its plans.

With an irritated hiss, the Kyubi watched helplessly as its host was dragged beneath the surface below, leaving it all alone to its fury.

All at once, the haze over his mind had left. Naruto blinked once, then twice, in confusion. Then there was pain, a horrible, ungodly source of suffering that was everywhere at once. It was like every nerve-no, every cell in his body had been submerged in boiling hot water. It was like a brick of molten slag had lodged itself in his throat, rendering him unable to even scream properly.

Then as quickly as it had come, the pain began to ebb as a warm palm pressed against his skinless forehead. Naruto could feel the ruined flesh mending itself from underneath the gentle palm of his company, stretching beneath his clothing to restore the rest of his abused flesh.

A sense of peace had made itself known, completely overtaking everything else. It was pleasant. So pleasant that Naruto had nearly forgotten that another person was touching him. However, that particular detail made itself known again in the form of a curtain of thick, crimson hair. Breath hitching, Naruto's eyes trailed up to the source, coming face-to-stunning face of a woman who Naruto was half-sure he'd never met before. Even still, the warmth of her smile lit up his heart with a joy that he had never even known he could feel. Her knuckles brushed his cheek with a caress that spread warmth in his cheeks. Naruto could feel, belatedly, that he had started to smile back.

He'd never been the sort to let others touch him so casually. Absently, Naruto acknowledged that no one had ever tried; certainly not with such honesty, as he was currently feeling from this stranger, before him. The thought brought a dull ache to his chest; this one, Naruto knew had nothing to do with any prior injuries.

The woman's fingers gently cupped his chin, imploring him to meet her eyes. Blue met violet, and Naruto revised an earlier thought. He was sure that he knew her, somehow.

"Does it hurt?" Her voice was equal parts music and serenity, like the chime of bells to his ears. He almost missed her question entirely. Naruto blinked slowly, confused. Then he let out a nervous chuckle, reaching up to scratch his newly mended scalp.

"Actually, I'm feeling a whole lot better, believe it!" At her amused expression, he hastily pushed forward. "A-actually, I have a question! Do you remember where you found me? See, I was on my way to do something really important and I-" He froze, slamming his jaw shut to avoid saying something he shouldn't.

The lady sighed, sadly. "You were going to see the fox, right?" She smiled in response to his bug-eyed expression. "It's okay, X'omaa, I know."

Once again, Naruto was sent reeling by the warmth in her expression. Doubly so, knowing now that she knew of the Kyubi. Really, those two ideas tended to conflict with one another. Thus, it took him a moment to fully register what she had said. "Wait, cho…maw?"

"X'omaa," she sang back. "My heart." Patiently, the woman bore his staggered expression, loosing only a short chuckle as the boy lit into a furious blush. Finally taking pity on him, she cupped the boy's cheeks with both hands. "It seems introductions are in order for us. My name is Kushina." A pause, then, "Uzumaki." Once more, Naruto's eyes widened, nearly bugging out of his head in shock. Kushina added, "and you are Naruto Uzumaki, my son."

There was a long pause, then all at once Naruto began to choke, seemingly on his own saliva, as the weight of her words finally settled firmly on his throat. He felt like he had been sucker punched twice, within a matter of seconds. His brain whirled like the cogs of a machine, trying to make sense of everything he had been told within the last few moments. Uzumaki? His mother? Naruto was half-tempted to call her a liar; he nearly shouted in her face for playing such a cruel prank on him. Yet, a single look in her glistening eyes told him all that he needed to know, and Naruto found himself believing Kushina on the spot.

Once again, he felt the telltale stinging of tears, shoring up around his eyes as Kushina's declaration became truth in his mind. Once more he feels like choking; a shallow sob rumbled at the back of his throat, so intense that it ached as he fully took in her appearance, really seeing her for the first time. He drank in her appearance like a man dying of thirst, trying to sear his mother's features into his mind so that he'd never again wonder what his parents might have looked like. A million and one questions blitzed through his mind, all far too quick for any hope of singling even one of them out. To her credit, his mother simply waited patiently, staring at him with the same kind of intensity, as if reciprocating his thoughts. Her eyes were wet, and Naruto realized after a moment that she was just as emotional as he was .

Naruto felt a touch of embarrassment as he tried to put a lid on his emotions. With a real herculean effort, he sucked down his sobs to ask her the one question, among them all, that he needs answered.

"Where the hell have you been!?" Her sad expression only served to piss him off, his own outrage far outweighing his sense, in that moment. "Do you have any idea how fucking god awful my life has been? Do you know how many nights I spent alone without food, sometimes shivering in an alley gutter, wondering why my mom and dad left me to be the village's punching bag!?" Naruto sobbed, his voice cracking. The old man Hokage couldn't always be on top of things. He was wracked with memories of being kicked out, often juggled from orphanage to orphanage with long periods of homelessness in between… Back before the Hokage had decided he was fit to have his own place. A new wave of emotion hit him all at once. "All alone! I-I was alone, a-and you weren't there! WHERE WERE YOU?" Naruto raged, flailing his limbs with reckless abandon, begging her to see, to understand just what her absence meant to him.

"Dead." Her one word response knocked all of the wind out of his sails. In an instant, his rage melted, this time giving way to horror. "I'm dead, my love."

"Wha- but you're right here? I don't understand?" He was lying, and they both knew it. He understood perfectly what this was, now. He just needed to hear her say it, herself.

"What I am is little more than an echo of the original, left behind to be there for you when you needed her most." With a frustrated sigh, Kushina added, "I know this isn't going to be what you want to hear, Naruto… But your parents are very dead.

If the last reveals were sucker punches, this final revelation struck Naruto with a sledgehammer to the lungs. Dizziness cast its noose around his neck, leaving the boy to tumble to the floor like a marionette with its strings severed. He couldn't take it anymore, and a gut-wrenching wail poured from his lips before he could think to repress it. Unable to think of anything else, Naruto curled himself tight, hoping to god that it'd ward off the brunt of what he was feeling.

"I need you guys so bad, it's been so hard, mom! It's too hard!"

Steady fingers combed through his damp locks, comforting him in a way that he'd missed, his entire life. It was the final straw, and Naruto scrambled to his knees and threw himself into his mother's arms, staining her blouse with snot and tears in equal parts.

"I'm sorry, I-I can't! I'm sorry!" Naruto wailed, wishing that she would understand everything he wanted -needed to say, but couldn't find the words for. "I'm so sorry!"

Patiently, Kushina tucked her son underneath her chin, lovingly nuzzling his scalp and whispering words of comfort.

"It's okay, X'omaa. Tsalo-tzatzikii/Make peace," she hushed him. "It's going to be okay."

The flow of blood had stopped, by now. Naruto's broken body looked little better than it had when he'd crashed into the ground. Even still, he continued breathing shallow breaths. Each inhale was a battle, hard won, but the threat of death had seemingly passed. His fingers twitched as Jiraiya finally slid down the mouth of the chasm to find his corpse.

"Oh dear god," the toad sage gasped. "Good god, kid. This wasn't supposed to happen!" Jiraiya slammed his fist into the wall. "Stupid! Why did I push him! He could barely even pull a tadpole, let alone Gama-fucking-bunta! What is wrong with me!?"

He knew what, though. He'd been too quick to make assumptions with the boy. He looked so much like Minato -too much, even; it was easy to forget he was only a child. Minato himself hadn't managed to summon the toad boss until he was nearly sixteen years old. What was he thinking, expecting a thirteen year old to pull it off? The kid had never even managed to willingly summon forth the Kyubi's chakra! So many assumptions; so many mistakes, all conglomerating into one massive, corpse-shaped fuck up!

Jiraiya sucked down another mouthful of curses. He could roast himself to hell and back after he had gotten the boy medical attention. He'd let the kid beat the dogshit out of him if it meant it'd make up for this; teach him any and every jutsu he knew, if it meant that Naruto would bounce back.

Kneeling down, he made to lift the broken boy into his arms, only to be startled backward as the kid's body shuddered. Then, without warning, a swarm of purple, ethereal chains burst from Naruto's body. They whirled around with blinding speed, catching a few white locks from Jiraiya's head and carving deep, scorching gouges into the wall and ground around them. Jiraiya skipped back, letting the chains ward him off.

A wheeze trickled out from Naruto's mouth as his sightless eyes cracked open, just a touch. From his position, Jiraiya could see what a mess had been made of the boy's eyes. They were red and swollen; at least one of them had seemingly burst. Once more, Jiraiya tossed back a mix-drink of shame and horror, at what the boy had endured on his watch.

The chains began to slowly encircle the kid's body, wrapping tightly around him like a makeshift coffin. The elder could only watch in awe at the sight, momentarily forgetting the situation. He had only ever seen Kushina's own chains a handful of times; the two hadn't been particularly close, other than being mutuals through his late student. Still, he recognized the Uzumaki's adamantine chains, anywhere. They were unlike anything else in the world, and Jiraiya knew to move carefully around them if he wished to keep his head on his shoulders.

With his mind made up, the toad sage formed a cross with his fingers, creating a single shadow clone. Wordlessly, it approached the pile of chains, cautiously moving to lift him. The chains rattled, threateningly, but made no further move against him.

"It's gonna be okay, kiddo. I'll get you help. Then you can shout at me all you want, once you've recovered." Sharing a nod with his clone, the pair took off at top speed, taking care not to jostle his student and further aggravate his wounds.

Their tears had dried, hours ago, leaving the pair to silently hold one another.

Naruto sighed. So his mother and father were well and truly gone -no takesies backsies. That hurt… Still, a part of him was glad, in a weird, twisted sort of way. It was an ugly, selfishly creeping thought in the back of his mind that felt joy that they had died, for it meant that he had not simply been abandoned. If his parents had left him for good, Naruto was at least glad that it had not been by their own volition.

Shyly, he voiced this thought to his mother. "Does that make me a shitty person, mom?"

Kushina chuckled, brushing her son's cheek with her knuckles. "No, X'omaa, though I'd ask that you mind your language." Swiftly, she drowned out his hasty apology with a wet kiss on his forehead. "Only death could have kept us away from you, my love. Both of us. We love you so much that we died for you." After a moment, she added, "and I would do it again and again, if I could."

"But not enough to live for me, huh?" There it was again, that bitter ugliness in him; he was ashamed of it. Naruto quickly forced out an apology, knowing that wasn't a fair criticism. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean- It's just that… I keep thinking of my classmates, and how they get to go home to a loving family. I think of all of the things that I missed -that I'm going to continue to miss, because you and dad are gone." Naruto cast his eyes downward, not wanting to see the judgment in her expression. "I'll never get to learn ninjutsu from you, or how to cook a good meal, or anything else… It just sucks, that's all."

"Don't feel ashamed for how you feel, Naruto. I don't blame you for feeling upset, or for feeling bitter. I can't imagine the suffering you've been through, up until now; I can't fathom the pain you're going to have to endure because your father and I weren't strong enough to be there for you, growing up… I'm sorry. I'm just- I'm sorry, Naruto." She paused for the moment, planting a kiss on the crown of his head. Then, murmuring into his hair, she added, "But don't think for a second that we haven't left you any help. Your father and I both took precautionary measures to make sure that you'll have everything you need to grow into your own." At his questioning glance, Kushina smiled. "Your father left an echo for you, much like myself."

"Then where is he?" Naruto craned his neck to look around, hoping to catch a glimpse of the man. A moment later, he felt foolish for doing so.

"Only one of us can be present at any given time. We designed the seal like that, so that we'd have as many opportunities to help you as we could manage." Kushina sighed. "These echoes of ours cannot last forever… The only reason I have persisted for as long as I have is because the Kyubi screwed up." She bore her son's questioning glare with patience, trying to find the words to sate his curiosity.

"The fox tried to take over your body; it tried to take advantage of your lowest point to slip through the seal and dominate your will with its own." There was a disgust in her tone that told him exactly what she thought of the Kyubi and its actions. "But Minato and I predicted that it might, some day." Smirking, Kushina added that "That's where I came in. I lulled the fox into a sense of security, letting it think it had won. It flooded your body with its chakra, trying to completely overtake you. Then I used my chains to suppress the power it had dumped into you and steal it for myself."

Naruto shared her grin. "So you pranked it, essentially?"

"Something like that!" The pair laughed over her admission, then Kushina firmly gripped his face, plastering her seriousness over her own. "Without its chakra, I likely could not have lasted nearly as long as I have. Heck, I should have faded to nothingness like- hours ago. As I am now though, I still have plenty more in the tank. I could last for days -weeks, even, so long as I'm conservative with my usage.

Something akin to hope flitted across Naruto's face. It was a shy thing, terribly flimsy after all of the other times he'd been disappointed in his life. "So you can stay?"

"Not forever, my love. But for now, yes. I can stay, and I have every intention of making the most of this opportunity we've been given."

There was a hidden meaning to her words, Naruto knew. "What are you trying to say?"

"You said you were sad that you'll never get to know us; you'll never get to learn ninjutsu from the two of us because we're dead… That's what you said, right?" At his forlorn nod, Kushina let a toothy grin melt across her features. "Then we'd better get started, teaching you as much as we can while we have this chance." She could see it now, the realization in his eyes of just what this all meant.

"W-wait but how? Even if we had weeks, there's no way we could get through it all. Where would we even start?"

"At the root of it all, X'omaa. We start with the history of our clan and what that means for you. It all starts with a technique of ours; it's a sealing jutsu unlike any other, which our people used to pass down a gift to our next generation."

Naruto's eyes narrowed, confused at her words. "A gift? What gift?"

Kushina let out a bark of laughter. "Everything"

As you can see, I'm trying to do my own thing with this story. I really want to tackle a variety of different elements differently from how canon handled them. Namely, I want to write my own interpretation of Naruto and his relationship with his clan's heritage, as well as his parents and even the Kyubi.

Fair warning, I'm going to take my time with this, so expect progression to be a bit slow at first while I find my pace.

If you are at all interested and/or enjoyed this chapter, do please leave me a review! Tell me what you liked; tell me what you disliked. The feedback really does help us writers to improve! If you have any thoughts or suggestions for what you would like to see in this story, do let me know! I can't promise that all of your suggestions will make it into this story, but I will consider them all, so long as they are constructive, in nature.

Thanks again for reading!

In regards to the strange language you've seen, translations will generally accompany the text, likely barring specific words that will likely frequent enough or be simple enough to not need it. They will following a slash, for your convenience. Additionally, you can find full definitions at the ends of chapters, if you're curious.

The language is an experiment I'm running to help further develop certain cultural differences I'm trying to build between the Uzumaki and other parts of the world and are rationalized by the fact that they all built their culture on a remote island far out of the way of the other nations.

Obviously, this is new and not found in canon. If you don't like it, I understand and respect that; I'll try not to be too excessive in its use, generally saving it for moments where I think its importance warrants it. However, if that's a major turn off, then this here is your warning.

1 X'omaa/One's heart; the 'source of one's strength'

2 Tsalo-tzatzikii: 'Make peace'. A phrase used for comforting small children.