The Beginnings of Change: Hengesai Naruto

Summary: In a world were Mizuki wasn't evil, and he and Iruka had been training Naruto in secret during his time at the academy, Naruto will realize his true potential, and become the true Henge Master! (Note: I am not that good at summaries.) Warnings: Sasuke bashing, Sakura bashing, slight Kakashi bashing, possible Harem for Naruto, good Orochimaru (not pedophile!), possible non-Yondaime father. Possible Soul Caliber Crossover.

Pairings: tentative (Subject to change w/o warning)





Lee/Sakura(onesided:If Sakura is redeemed, she will return his feelings)



Prologue: The beginnings of Change

It was a fine night in the Ninja Village of Konohagakure. The weather was absolutely beautiful for the Academy Graduation Exam that had occurred earlier that day. The test covered a written portion, a taijutsu portion, a weapons portion, and a jutsu portion. The Jutsu Portion of the exam covered the E-rank Ninjutsu: Bunshin, the illusionary clone used by new genin in order to distract their enemies. All of the academy students passed the exams...

...except one.

Naruto sat with the scroll upon his back, tired from the effort he had put into learning the jutsu he had chosen from the scroll. He had finally mastered it, and that meant he had passed Mizuki-sensei's make-up exam.

He had been certain that he would have to wait until the next Academy Exam for another chance at the test to become a real ninja, which was probably what Iruka-sensei wanted. He knew that neither Iruka-sensei or Mizuki-sensei hated him the way so many others seemed to, and that Iruka-sensei was holding him back because he felt he wasn't ready for the harsh shinobi world yet. While he knew Iruka-sensei meant well, and was only trying to protect him, he wanted to prove to everyone in his class that he was not a weak useless pathetic excuse of a ninja. If he didn't graduate with this class, he'd end up graduating with people his own age, but he'd loose the few friendly acquaintances he'd made.

That was why he was taking this strange make-up exam of Mizuki-sensei's, even though part of him felt uneasy about it.

Sneaking into the Hokage's tower to get the scroll Mizuki-sensei had described had been easy enough, and his Oiroke no Jutsu had dealt with Ojiisan, though he planned on apologizing to him after he finished the test and got his hitai-ate. He was sure the Hokage knew about the exam he was taking, but it would make him feel better to apologize for using that jutsu against him.

It was guaranteed to work against perverts after all. Especially the ones that read the orange books he'd found once in the desk in his office. He had also seen a man with silver hair and a face-mask covering the lower half of his face walking around with his nose buried in it.

He shuddered in remembrance of that apathetic pervert, who'd looked at him with such blank and cold eyes. He'd felt like something small and insignificant under that bleak, uncaring gaze. Looking down blankly at the jutsu he'd mastered from the scroll, his eyes unseeing as he recalled that dark, desperate time before he'd begun his act.

Almost everyone in the village had looked upon him with cold, apathetic, or hateful eyes back then. There was no doubt in his mind that those people wished he'd never been born. Once he'd put on his mask and begun playing pranks on them, it was as if some kind of veil had been lifted, and people could see him, instead of through him.

The only people who'd never had that veil in the first place, and weren't fooled by his antics, were the people he'd decided he would do his best to protect. Hokage-jiji, Teuchi-ojiisan, Ayame-neechan, Mizuki-sensei, Iruka-sensei... He needed to get stronger in order to protect them, and the only way for him to get stronger was to become a true ninja so he'd have more training opportunities.

Of course, that might mean that he wouldn't be able to train with Iruka-sensei and Mizuki-sensei for a long time. He smiled at the memory of some of their more memorable training session, like the time when Mizuki-sensei had started teaching him how to throw weapons properly. The first time he'd thrown them in training, he'd pinned Iruka-sensei to the tree, when he was standing behind him.

Mizuki-sensei had been rather amused by the unintentional display of nascent skill, and had begun training Naruto extensively in the ideal main weapon for the boy. With his skill in thrown weaponry and handheld weaponry, especially given how little real training he'd had with either, he had begun training him in the ways of the chain-sickle, the kusari-gama.

That had been a year ago, after he failed the Academy Graduation Exam for the second time...

Brought out of his wandering thoughts at the reminder of what he was supposed to be doing, Naruto began to reach behind himself for the scroll he'd rolled up so he could practice the first jutsu in it. Now that he'd gotten that down, he wanted to get started on the next one. Since the first seemed so very useful when he read the instructions, he could only imagine what the second might be capable of doing.

So caught up in his imaginations images of what the next jutsu might be able to do, like blast an enemy ninja into another country with a single pulse of chakra, the blonde orange-wearing ninja didn't since his instructor's presence until he'd already arrived.

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"Gotcha!" the brown-haired chuunin was shaking slightly, as though restraining himself from doing something to his young student that he'd regret later, when the emotional surge of learning Naruto had stolen the Forbidden Scroll from Hokage Tower died away.

"Oh, hey Iruka-sensei! I found you!" The blonde's exuberance, while amusing most of the time to the scarred chuunin, just made him more frustrated now.

"No, you idiot! I found YOU!" When Naruto didn't continue in his argument, Iruka took a closer look at him. When he'd learned what Naruto had done from Mizuki, and learned that it had been a couple of hours ago that the scroll was stolen, he hadn't been really thinking about what Naruto might be doing with it.

Iruka wanted to hit himself over the head; he'd been Naruto's sensei for years, and it never occurred to him that Naruto would train on the techniques in the scroll? Mizuki was right, he did need to work on his shinobi skills more if it took him this long to reach the correct conclusions.

"Naruto, why did you do come out here like this, and why do you have that scroll?" Even if this course of action was what Naruto would do if you gave him a jutsu scroll, he wouldn't have stolen the scroll like this on his own. Naruto had a very healthy respect for the idea of personal property. Something didn't add up...

"Oh this? Mizuki-sensei told me about it, and about this place! He said if I could show you that I'd mastered a technique from this scroll, you'd let me become a real shinobi!" What? But Mizuki would never tell Naruto to do something like this without telling the appropriate persons involved in the exercise...

Unless it wasn't really Mizuki!

Iruka grabbed Naruto and threw them both out of the way of the kunai that flew from the hand of the imposter in the tree above the clearing were Naruto had been practicing the technique from his stolen scroll. Unfortunately, he didn't dodge all of the onslaught, getting caught in the thigh by a single kunai.

It was moments like this that he blessed his genin teammate and assistant instructor's persistance in forcing him to train alongside their student when working on physical exercises. He'd never have been able to dodge most of that without Mizuki's habit of teaching people to dodge by throwing things at them. Since Anko did that too, he wondered if they both inherited more of their sensei's characteristic's then he did.

Shaking himself out of memory lane, he looked up at the imposter, adrenaline waking him up enough to see through the henge he should have noticed as soon as the imposter knocked on his door to rouse him. Unfortunately, he hadn't noticed in time to prevent the confrontation between his student, and this imposter.

"I'm impressed that you figured out where to go." the faker even mimicked Mizuki's voice!

"Now I understand!" He reached down to pull out the kunai stabbed into his leg. In the moments he was dealing with the revelations and his injuries, the imposter turned to Naruto.

"The scroll Naruto, give it to me." The confusion on Naruto's face was enough to tell Iruka he had no idea what was going on. His heart went out to his student, who was staring up at the imposter with such a confused look in his eyes. Iruka was almost certain that Naruto knew that the person before them was not Mizuki.

"Naruto, don't give up the scroll! It contains the record of a completely forbidden ninja art! You must protect it at all costs!" Naruto looked over at him with slightly confused and frightened eyes, but he was definitely listening to him.

"He used you because he wants it for him himself!" Naruto glared up at the fake in anger, most likely at being taken advantage of that way.

"Naruto, even if you've read it, it will still be meaningless! I can show you what it means!" No way, he couldn't possibly be thinking to reveal...

"Sh-shut up you fool!"

"You...know what really happened in the incident where the Kyuubi no Kitsune was defeated again twelve years ago, don't you...?" Iruka looked on helplessly as Naruto looked on in confusion. This person was really going to break the Sandaime's law.

"Since that incident, the people of our village have been bound by the strictest decree."

"I don't remember any decree..." Naruto's confusion was evident in both his face and the softness of his voice. It made the look-alike very smug and confident in their plan.

"You wouldn't. Part of that decree was that everyone would know about it...except you!" Now Naruto was becoming indignant, and Iruka struggled more to get up, not wanting his student to be hurt.

"! ...Why not me? What law are you talking about?" In response to Naruto's rising confusion and nervousness, the man wearing Mizuki's face chuckled menacingly.

"What...what was the decree? What?" Naruto looked so very vulnerable, yet he really wanted to know what was hidden from him.

"That no one must ever tell you...that what you really the Kyuubi no Kitsune!" His evil smirk was demonstrative of how much the bastard was enjoying this. Naruto's face blanked in shock.

"What? Wha...What are you talking about!" Naruto came out of it fairly quickly, but he still looked completely confused by this revelation.

"STOP!" Iruka yelled in frustration, making it to his knees.

"In other words, you...are the Kyuubi no Kitsune that destroyed the village! It was you who murdered Iruka's family!" Iruka couldn't look away from the shocked expression on Naruto's face.

"Until at last, our beloved hero, the Yondaime Hokage, trapped and bound you, in this form."

"Stop it!"

"Since then, you've been played as the fool by everyone in this town!" His hateful tone changed slightly becoming curious underneath the hatred.

"Didn't you think it was strange? To be despised, no matter where you went?" Naruto's eyes were closed, and tears were beginning to leak from his eyes.

"If he were honest, even the noble Iruka would admit that he hates you, too!" The twirling of the giant shuriken undercut the harsh and spiteful words, and Iruka looked on as his student's body unleashed chakra in his distress.

'It seems I was right, after all. Your behavior away from Mizuki and I, and even at times with us, was all a mask. One that hid loneliness, and pain! You were willing to do almost anything for attention, no matter what kind, so long as it meant someone was looking at you, and not through you. It was no wonder that you latched onto pranking so swiftly.'

"No one will ever accept you! The scroll you've stolen was the instrument of your bondage!" The crazed look in the fake's eyes told Iruka that the ninja was about to strike Naruto down. He had to do something!

'It was a brilliant performance, Naruto... but it was all a facade, a sham that hid your loneliness, and pain!' Iruka didn't even have to think when the shuriken was released. Before anyone knew what had happened, Iruka was on his hands and knees above Naruto, with the shuriken protruding from his back, dripping blood and tears onto the pale-faced form of his precious student.

"...why...?" Naruto was looking up at him with such confusion and distress, that it brought to mind much of Iruka's own past as an orphan. The loneliness, the pain, of having no one who looked at you, and was proud of you.

"I'm sorry, Naruto...Sorry it took so long for me to truly recognize how much this hurt you... please forgive me, for being such a poor sensei..." as his tears landed on Naruto's face, he looked shocked by what Iruka was saying. After a few moments of absolute still silence, Naruto fled with the scroll off into the forest.

"Naruto!" Iruka called after him, worried about what his student might do after all the emotional and physical strain finally caught up to him.

"He's going to take the scroll and get revenge on the village now. Did you see the eyes of your protege? Those were the eyes of the Kyuubi no Kitsune!" Iruka pulled the shuriken from his back as he tried to get up, angered by the words of this psychopath.

"You...don't all..." his voice was labored by the strain and bloodloss, not to mention pain, but he managed to convey his disgust in the person with his tone.

"I don't have to know the boy to kill him! It's the scroll I'm after now, I'll finish you later." The fake jumped off to head after Naruto.

'You can try.' Iruka pulled himself off the ground and prepared himself to take down the person trying to kill his student.

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"Naruto! Quickly, give me the scroll! It's what Mizuki's after!" There was the sound of two bodies impacting, then one hitting a tree and the other the ground.

"Wh-what's wrong Naruto?" then a poof of smoke.

"How did you know I wasn't Iruka?" it was Mizuki's voice again.

"Heh heh heh..." his own voice, then a poof of smoke.

"Because I am." Iruka-sensei... he was here.

Naruto hid behind his tree, wondering what would happen now.

"I see..." it appeared that the deranged Mizuki was going to talk for a bit. Naruto was still trying to figure out was wrong with the man who had always been so fair and kind to him in his own behavior was so different now...almost as if it wasn't the same person. Then he heard a muffled sound to his right. Looking over, he held in a gasp.

There, behind the tree to the right of his own, was Mizuki-sensei, bound and gagged, with hazy eyes that looked like he wasn't all there, cradled in the roots of the tree, head lolling slightly against the trunk. He couldn't help staring for a moment, before turning to look back over his shoulder toward Iruka-sensei and the other person.

'If Mizuki-sensei is right there, then who the hell is that guy?'

"Heeheeheehee, so noble! Saving your parents' murderer...and for what? What happens if we let him live?" Now that Naruto thought about it, Mizuki-sensei would never have behaved like this guy was.

'Damn it! I let my depression at failing blind me to the truth! Mizuki-sensei would never have had me do this!' and because of his blind stupidity, Iruka-sensei was hurt.

"Then maybe the scroll is safe from a complete scumbag." What was Iruka-sensei doing, talking to this guy like this? He should be running, getting away from the bastard. Not sitting there bantering... almost as if he's trying to by time for Naruto to get away...

"You're a fool. Naruto and I are two of a kind." The man's voice was full of a sadistic mirth, as though he enjoyed having Iruka-sensei at his mercy and helpless with pain. The bastard...

"Two...of a kind?" there was such confusion in his sensei's voice as he asked that question.

"I can use that scroll to achieve the same kind of limitless power! The demon within him hungers for that kind of strength! You were right to fear despise him..." Those words were like a blow to Naruto's mind, as the silence stretched for a moment after those words.

'So, it's true...what they all said...Iruka-sensei really does hold contempt...' as he began to enter another depressive spiral downward into despair, Iruka's voice reached him.

"Maybe I do hate the fox..." Naruto looked up for a moment at the tone of strength in Iruka-sensei's voice, one he had rarely heard before.

"But not Naruto. Not the boy. For him, I have nothing but respect. He's an excellent student." The tone that Iruka-sensei used was another shock to his system, but it brought so much relief.

"...He works with all his might...but sometimes, even so, he's awkward, clumsy...a screw-up...people have mocked and shunned him..." Iruka stopped for a moment, the pained sound of his breathing all that was heard for a few moments.

"And it's given him empathy. He knows what it is to be in pain." the honest affection in Iruka's voice was bringing tears to Naruto's eyes.

"That boy was never your Kyuubi no Kitsune! He is...a citizen of Konohagakure no Sato...Uzumaki Naruto!" Naruto could feel the tears of relief and joy running down his face at the vocalized acknowledgment of Iruka-sensei's feelings and beliefs regarding him. With tears streaming down his face, he moved over silently and removed the binds on the very much out of it Mizuki-sensei.

"Awww...that's so sweet! Just hearing you say that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy!" The sarcasm in his voice as the man spoke to Iruka-sensei made his blood boil. No one was allowed to talk to Iruka-sensei like that...

"Hrrnn..." The sound of pain that Iruka-sensei made as he tried to move was a shock to his system. Iruka couldn't move with the blood-loss from the shuriken to the back he'd taken for him.

"Well, Iruka...I had planned to save you for last... but sometimes things just don't work out the way you GOODBYE!" The sound of the shuriken being spun around faster and faster underscored the deadly promise of the imposter's mocking words, and Naruto didn't even need to think about what he was going to do.

He felt the momentary impact of the faker's face against his knee as he leapt out of his hiding place and struck, sliding for a brief moment across the ground when he landed.

"...He can...He really..." He kept his eyes on the downed form of the bastard hiding behind a Henge of Mizuki-sensei, glaring at him with intent to harm. Setting the forbidden scroll on the ground beside him, he declared his own intentions towards the fake.

"Keep away from Iruka-sensei, or I'll kill you." his voice was clear with his intentions to follow through on his threat, and Iruka-sensei shifted slightly behind him, obviously worried for him even now that he was so injured.

"Stupid kid...should have stayed away! Get out of here! Save yourself!" Iruka-sensei was always trying to protect others that way...

"Loudmouth brat! I'll finish you off in one blow!" Naruto moved his hands into a newly learned position of a cross, and gathered chakra.

"Bring it on, you big dick. Anything you throw at me I'll give you back times a thousand."

"You're welcome to try Little Fox!" there was silence as both the older ninja looked on in disbelief as the entire area filled with orange garbed clones.

"What?! How did he?!" The man wearing Mizuki's face looked around in shock, and Iruka was staring at the sight before him with the look of amazement that Naruto loved bringing to his features.

"What's the matter, tough guy? Come and get me! I thought you were going to kill me with one blow!" The poor imbecile who had hurt both his sensei just gaped in shock. Naruto sighed as he and his clones pulled out their practice kusari-gama.

"Well then, I'll just have to come to you!" The violence that followed the assault caused a great deal of noise in the forest, but they were fairly isolated, so no one noticed save the Hokage who had been watching with his crystal ball.

When Naruto dispelled his Kage Bunshins, the henge on the fake was gone, but his face was unrecognizable from the bloody, bruised mess that the Naruto Swarm had turned him into.

"I guess I got carried away..." Naruto said sheepishly as he looked at Iruka-sensei were he sat with his elbows on his knees.

"Naruto...come here. I've got a present for you." Iruka-sensei said as Mizuki-sensei finally headed over to them from behind the tree, having woken up fully when the beating began.

"Close your eyes..." Naruto complied, and waited in silence for something to happen. For a while there were shuffling and rustling sounds, and then silence. Naruto waited a few moments, but wanted to know what it was, so he decided to speak up.

"Iruka-sensei...May I?"

"Yes Naruto, you may open your eyes." Slowly blinking his eyes open, he looked at the smiling, bare-forehead face of his sensei in disbelief. Mizuki-sensei was holding his goggles, so what was keeping his bangs up...?

"Congratulations...Graduate!" At that moment, he realized that Iruka-sensei had given him his own hitai-ate. He could only stand there in shock, barely registering the two instructors' promise to take him out for ramen in order to celebrate. When they both smiled at him, he couldn't resist anymore. With a leap, he hugged Iruka-sensei hard, barely hearing the stifled cry of pain as his wounds were shifted. He had done it, he'd become a shinobi.

Now all he had to do, was get strong enough to protect all of his new family.


To be continued...

This idea just came to me one day while I was reading some fanfiction, and someone convinced me to share.

I'll have the next chapter out once I finish writing it, but in the meantime, you can tell me what you think if you want.