Summary: Something goes wrong with the sealing ritual and Naruto ends up losing his vision in the process. With the help of one man, the boy will grow strong and show to the world the real meaning of hard work. However, being the village's scapegoat and without his sight to aid him, can he survive? This story is a response to Pudgypudge's challenge called "Darkness is my friend".
Chapter 1 – Unexpected
Nothing but rain could be felt as Minato managed to defeat the almighty Kyuubi no Yoko. He was lying on the ground looking at the sky as it was crying because of what he had to sacrifice for the sake of the village. After a while, he looked at the only person that was next to him at the moment. He looked at the little infant for what seemed like forever, since he knew it would be the last time he would get to see him. Minato could only imagine the type of burden he ended up placing on his son. The young Hokage knew about the path of a Jinchuuriki and he very well knew that their lives were far from normal.
He remembered the request he made to those he called his family, but Minato was skeptical to believe that the village would treat him as the hero he deserved to be. The fox was responsible for so many deaths and destruction that the civilian population would think it would be wise to simply kill Naruto and end their misery.
Even on the verge of dying, Minato was crying now. The reason was that he remembered his wife's passing just after giving birth to Naruto. And while he knew he would meet her up there, Naruto, on top of facing the burden of the Kyuubi no Yoko, would have to face it as an orphan. However, the only thing he could do right now was to cry for he knew that any second now, his last breath would vanish and he would leave this plan of existence. He only had maybe a couple of minutes before the Shinigami came to collect his soul.
Approaching his crying son, Minato managed to dry his own tears and held Naruto like any parent would when they wanted to calm their offspring. He hugged Naruto with utmost intensity, before one Anbu member and Jiraiya arrived. They saw the scene being placed and looked down in sadness for this moment would never happen again.
"Jiraiya-sama…" – Said Kakashi, but was interrupted when Jiraiya looked on the ground in dismay.
"Let them be together Kakashi. This will be first and last time father and son get to spend some time together. The sad part is that Naruto won't even remember, but at least Minato could go to the beyond with the notion of what it meant to be a father." – Said Jiraiya with the utmost control on the outside, but on the inside, he was holding his tears from falling down his face. However, just looking his prodigy crying as well, Jiraiya wasn't strong enough and just let it all out. He began to cry as well, knowing deeply what Minato was thinking at the moment.
They saw the light vanish from Minato's eyes , but instead of falling on the ground hard, the blond Hokage gently laid Naruto on the ground next to him on the ground before letting gravity run its course. After that, Jiraiya approached the two blondes and kneeled next to Minato, closing his eyes and offering a silent prayer for the gods. While this was going on, Kakashi approached and hugged the crying baby before looking at Jiraiya to know what to do.
"Jiraiya-sama, what should we do now?" – Asked Kakashi, earning the sannin's attention.
"We'll take him to sensei; I believe he's at the Hokage's office right now, dealing with the emergency issues. I believe Minato here gave instructions to him" – Said Jiraiya, earning a nod from Kakashi.
===At the Hokage's office===
The Sandaime Hokage was found once again seating behind the most honored table in all of Konoha like he did at the last great shinobi war. However, the old man was really feeling how old he was when he first seated after stepping down. It was astounding the pressure right now and Hiruzen Sarutobi had to control his breathing so as not to feel crushed. Right now, the entire village's decisions were resting on his shoulders and he was old enough to wish that someone would be on his shoes without even thinking of being selfishness.
However, the only person ready to deal with the responsibilities of a Hokage right now was dead so the Sandaime Hokage would have to step up once more. For now, the only order he had to give was for the remaining shinobi to gather a complete report of the damages sustained by the village because of the Kyuubi no Yoko. Right now, the hospital was filled with both wounded shinobi and civilian waiting to be treated and Sarutobi feared that he would have to use other spaces for treatment. When both Jiraiya and Kakashi entered the door, Sarutobi managed to see the blond infant on Kakashi's arms and sighed in dismay.
For all his wisdom concerning shinobi aspects of life and the decisions that followed, Sarutobi was lost concerning the only offspring of one Namikaze Minato, the Yondaime Hokage and vital key to Konoha becoming victorious at the last shinobi war. He read Minato's instructions concerning his actions and how to address his son in the future. Sarutobi saw reason behind referring Naruto as the hero that saved Konoha from the almighty fox demon; however his old age taught him many things as to how people deal with loss.
He remembered his two students abandoning their village because of it, although he at the time cursed Orochimaru's motive for leaving. Tsunade, though, left the village because she couldn't deal with the pain of losing both her little brother and her soon to be husband because of the war. So, the 'professor' as he became known throughout his career, knew that showing Naruto to the population with the truth would cause hatred and grief to those who, as Tsunade suffered so much. Sarutobi knew that the fox would be the main reason of hatred from the population and he feared that Naruto could end up being a scapegoat.
Not to mention being on the end of a considerable number of individuals who think that ending the boy's life would be the solution to their problems.
"Ah Jiraiya, I only wished you could take this seat instead of me, but you wouldn't like that, don't you?" – Said Hiruzen, before seeing his student's dejected look. Normally, the perverted Sannin would give a nasty reply, saying that he wouldn't be able to do his research and even making something up about maintaining his spy network, but now he didn't have what to say to the old man.
Sarutobi could only smile in sympathy for a man who just lost the man he always considered his son.
"Don't worry Jiraiya, I know of your loss...Minato-kun was like a son to me, but I can't imagine how it must be for you right now. Now, we must discuss about the boy in Kakashi's arms" – Said the Sandaime, earning a nod from Jiraiya and Kakashi. "Minato-kun, before leaving with his son, entrusted me with the welfare of the village until I find one suitable to be the Godaime Hokage. I know it will take a while for that to happen, but at least I'll have some help running this village. I'll instate both my teammates and create a council that will aid the Hokage in all matters both civilian and shinobi" – Said Hiruzen, earning a nod from those present.
The reason was simple, Konoha was devastated. The village needed money to rebuild the village and medical supply for the wounded. However, a hidden shinobi village's income is measured by the amount of missions they do. So the shinobi population would have to step up and carry out the immense pile of mission requests that was so carefully separated.
Giving the recent events, Sarutobi could deny all mission requests and he would have a valid reason for such. However, if he did this, he would condemn Konoha's future for two reasons. One, other hidden villages would know of the weakened state and start another war, something which the hidden village in the leaves couldn't afford at the moment and the other reason would be that the minute one mission is denied, the village's reputation would decrease, thus not receiving as much missions as before.
Looking at the list once more, Sarutobi let out another sigh and looked at his student.
"According to Minato, he wished that the truth behind the Fuinjutsu (sealing technique) to be shared with the public and that Naruto is to be referred as the hero that saved Konoha from the Kyuubi no Yoko. And while I tried to dissuade him of this idea, I cannot do things differently. Minato deserves this much from us" – Sandaime exposed Minato's wishes regarding Naruto, but both Kakashi and Jiraiya frowned regarding the blond's naivety. However, all those in the room knew better than denying the Yondaime Hokage's wishes. It was the least that they could do for Minato and give a silent hope that Naruto has as less trouble as possible while growing up.
"Sensei, where is he going to live? Who is going to take care of him?" – Asked Jiraiya to which Sarutobi frowned and fell into a thinking pose once again. Truly, Naruto needed treatment for the first two years, in order to be able to grow up healthy and nourished. Sarutobi didn't think that far ahead for simple reasons. The entire village just suffered sufficient damages and very soon, all the decisions would fall to him and his council. Now, he would get to assign someone to take care of the child. Now this was the tough part, he couldn't think of someone to take care of this child without thinking of taking advantage and try to kill him.
He had no choice but to take care of the child, at least until he had enough age to join Konoha's orphanage.
"I'll take him to my house and assign someone of the Sarutobi Clan to take care of him until he is four years old. After that, he'll be placed at the orphanage, he'll be well taken care of" – Said Hiruzen, hoping he would be right in the future.
Jiraiya and Kakashi nodded at the idea, knowing that the Sandaime Hokage would be busy this whole time to take care of baby Naruto.
"Now, Jiraiya I have an S ranked mission for you, starting now. Our reputation outside the village walls must be maintained spread the word to your spy network about our welfare. If the clients know of our situation right now, they will spread the word and we're doomed. Kakashi join your Anbu squad and assist the remaining shinobi with anything they need. I'll expect a full report of the damages sustained by the village in about two hours" – Said Sarutobi, earning a nod from both Jiraiya and Kakashi. Jiraiya immediately vanished and Kakashi would as well, but he first placed Naruto in Sarutobi's care, before disappearing via Shunshin no jutsu.
Sarutobi, after looking at the vanishing Kakashi, looked down to the sleeping blond. Naruto was sleeping so peacefully that Sarutobi couldn't help but smile at the innocent smile of a baby. Leaving the office, he headed towards the Sarutobi Clan's compound.
===At the Sarutobi Compound===
Sarutobi Hiruzen walked inside with a blond infant. The remaining members of the clan approached the old man and asked him about the village's damages.
"Asuma, my son, the fox nearly destroyed the village, but the Yondaime managed to stop it. I'm waiting for the damage's report. I have to deal with something first, though. Is Mikoto-chan here?" – Asked Hiruzen, before hearing the voice of his daughter coming from behind the old man. The Sandaime's daughter was stunning in every way. Black hair and green eyes, with a perfect skin, Mikoto earned a lot of stares. For some reason, yet unexplained by Konoha's medic department, she couldn't have a baby of her own and it frustrated both her and her husband, one Sarutobi Kaito. Kaito was a Chuunin of Konoha and very proficient with the bo-staff style of fighting his father invented. Mikoto didn't want to become a ninja simply because her father's stories kind of scared her.
She looked at the eyes of her father and saw the huge bags below his eyes. The events that happened in Konoha did that to people. However when she looked at the infant, it was an instant motherly reaction. She ran to her father and grabbed the little boy as he began crying.
"Shhh, it's okay little one, you don't need to worry…..I'm here" – Whispered Mikoto to Naruto's ear, before the baby's noise subsided. Naruto instantly opened his blue eyes and looked at Mikoto for a while. However, just as everyone knew he would cry once more, the baby began to smile and extend his little arms and try to caress Mikoto's face, earning a giggle from the woman, who dreamed of this happening. So cute, this little boy.
Sarutobi Hiruzen smiled at the scene and wondered if Naruto was the missing piece of Mikoto's happiness, just as Mikoto was to Naruto's life.
"Mikoto-chan, we have to talk about this little infant" – Said Hiruzen to which Mikoto looked at him before nodding and walking to the living room.
After everyone got comfortable on their seats, Sarutobi Hiruzen began explaining everything what happened. As he explained, Asuma and Kaito frowned upon hearing that Kyuubi was sealed inside the baby, but Mikoto was already showing signs of crying. Poor little baby, she thought. To grow up not only carrying such a burden but also missing the warmth of a parent for comfort. She could only imagine the hardship young Naruto will face in the future. When Sarutobi explained that he took upon himself to raise the boy until his fourth birthday, Asuma protested right away.
"Father, are you serious? This boy harness the fox inside of him, if the fox escapes, he'll kill us all" – Shouted Asuma, before looking at the serious face of his father.
"Asuma, Minato's seal is perfect. Even Jiraiya, one of the Sannin, attested its effectiveness. We are safe from the Kyuubi's power. In regards to my choice, I'm sticking with it" – Stated Hiruzen, before turning to his daughter. "Mikoto-chan, I know of your situation as being unable to conceive children, so I'm asking you a favor to take care of little Naruto at least until he is four and able to step up for himself" – Asked Hiruzen, before watching his daughter with apprehension.
The Sandaime Hokage loved his daughter like no other, even more when his wife passed away and she was not only their offspring, but a living memory of his beloved. He wanted her to accept Naruto like the son she never could, for two reasons. First, he felt devastated when Mikoto explained that she wouldn't be able to conceive and second because she was the only one in Konoha who would provide unconditional motherly love to little Naruto without having second intentions.
Mikoto for her part, looked at her father and then at her husband for a while. She wanted to say yes right away, but if she was to be a mother to Naruto than Kaito was to be his father, so she couldn't do this without him. It was his smiling nod that filled her heart with joy, since she would be finally able to take care of someone like her own son.
"Tou-san, I'll gladly take care of little Naruto just like his mother would've done had she been alive right now, you can trust me" – Concluded Mikoto, earning a smile from Hiruzen, before hearing Kaito's approval as well of taking care of the blond.
"Thanks a lot you two. I'll issue one of the family physicians to look after him from time to time, so as to make sure nothing is wrong with the boy. Now, let's settle little Naruto somewhere warm since I'll have to return to my office" – Said Hiruzen to which Mikoto nodded and carried her surrogate son to his new room.
===At the Hokage's office===
After arriving at his office, he saw the report on top of his table and frowned immediately. He knew about the devastation since he saw the whole thing happening. But numbers managed to gave him a precise idea of Konoha's losses because of the attack and quite frankly, he wasn't looking forward to reading it. Upon seating at his chair, he controlled his breathing and opened it the scroll to read its contents.
As he read through the report, the old man couldn't help but feel useless to this whole ordeal. The village's population took a heavy blow and almost forty percent of it was dead. Sarutobi was a firm believer that while the village walls are destroyed, the village would still live on since the ones living within would rebuild as much as possible. However, not only the buildings were destroyed, but also many lives were taken away.
Flipping the page, Sarutobi was now reading the shinobi report regarding their numbers right now and those who lost their lives trying to defend the village from the monster. The greatest loss was on the Chuunin department, since they are supposed to be on the front lines. The Jounin suffered as well, since they were second in line with the Genins following close behind, since they were responsible for securing as much of the civilian population as possible. The Anbu division was similar to the Jounin.
The old Hokage grabbed an empty parchment and began taking notes. The surviving Genins will be tested to see if they could become Chuunin and assume the C and low B ranked missions and the Jounin would take the high B to A ranked ones. Sarutobi could say he was pleased with the fact that S ranked missions weren't amongst the requests or else he would have to deploy a team of elite Jounin to do it. Thinking in details, the improvised Chuunin test would consist of combat fighting to test their abilities and a field test to see if they have what it takes to perform tougher missions. Normally, they would be tested in terms of teamwork as well, however due to their circumstances; the test would have to be cut short.
Sarutobi also wrote about the academy. For Konoha to reestablish its military strength, the academy would have to increase its training regimen. Because of the attack, the total shinobi losses consisted of thirty percent which meant close to five hundred to a thousand ninjas that would need to be replaced.
After writing about the new academy, Sarutobi looked at the next page which contained the wounded both civilian and ninjas. One thing was sure; he would request a meeting with the Daimyo for some medication supply. As Konoha stands, word can't be spread of its necessities, so the Sandaime would have to meet with the Daimyo in person, explaining the situation and requesting immediate assistance. Also, Sarutobi saw the damage to the buildings and frowned once more. The damage was extensive and the old man doubted Konoha had the human resources to build everything from scratch. He would have to contract some engineers and architects for the village's reparation, however this subject he would leave with the council as it's not shinobi related.
For now, it was all he could do at the moment as he finished reading the report.
"Genma, please appear before me" – Yelled Sarutobi, before the Chuunin appeared.
"What do you request of me Lord Hokage?" – Asked Genma as he kneeled in respect of the old man.
"Genma, please assemble my teammates Homura and Koharu as well as all the current clan heads, I must address them right away" – Ordered Hokage, earning a nod from Genma, before he vanished in thin air.
Not even a half an hour later, all those who were summoned were present at the Hokage's room.
"Thank you all for coming despite the recent events. I know that everyone in this room sustained great pain because of the Kyuubi no Yoko, however I will address certain aspects in order for our future to be bright. First of all, Homura and Koharu are to create a council that will assist the Hokage in all matter that do not concern shinobi. I trust that you two will be able to provide me with enough help for me to be able to secure the village's welfare and prosperity. Now, I've read the damage report and found that our shinobi force was heavily reduced. So it will be up to us to help increase our numbers once more. The clan heads and I will gather tomorrow to create a new Chuunin exam for the existing Genins to progress and take the huge pile of missions. Also we'll think of ways to improve the academy regimen in order to improve the quality of our future shinobi. Any questions so far?" – Asked Sarutobi, before he saw the Nara clan head raise his hand.
"Hokage-sama, if I may ask, how did the Yondaime managed to defeat the fox? I know it's not related to your explanation so far, but the village deserve to know the truth" – Said Shikaku, before seeing the new Hokage sigh in dismay.
"I apologize for not explaining to you about it, as I had a lot to process in my mind, I'll explain everything to you…" – Said Sarutobi, as he began to explain the story behind the fox's sealing on Naruto. The old man told them everything, of course leaving the part where Uzumaki Naruto is the son of the Yondaime. To say the clan heads were surprised would be an understatement. They all heard Minato's wishes to Naruto being treated as the hero that saved Konoha from the wrath of the fox and while some of them felt pity of the boy, others thought the opposite. Of course, those who wished against his living were those who sustained a great number of losses and couldn't put it pass them to realize that the boy did nothing to receive such death sentence.
"I'll soon address the population to explain the same thing I'm explaining to you all and tell them about this village's hero as per Minato's wishes. That will be all for now and I'll see everyone tomorrow for the meeting" – Said Sarutobi, before seeing the clan heads along with Homura and Koharu leaving the office. However, only one remained and Sarutobi addressed him.
"What is it Kakashi-san?" – Asked Sarutobi, seeing the frown in dismay from the man who thought of Minato as his father.
"Hokage-sama, pardon me but I'm concerned about Naruto's safety after you tell the news to the population. They will certainly think of a way to kill him in hopes of getting rid of the fox and we can't let sensei's son unprotected" – Stated Kakashi, earning a nod in understanding from the Hokage.
"Kakashi-san, my son in law will be responsible for his well-being until I can find a suitable suitor to protect him at the age of four. He is one of my clan's finest and no civilian would dare break in my clan's house and try assaulting Sarutobi Kaito. Also, both Asuma and I live there as well, so I believe Naruto will be well protected. I know you're concerned about the boy Kakashi, but right now we have most urgent matter to attend, like the village's reconstruction" – Said Sarutobi, earning nod from Kakashi before the silver haired man vanished.
===At night inside the Sarutobi Compound===
Sarutobi Hiruzen did not require much sleep in his life. Even in his old age, the Sandaime Hokage was always alert to his surroundings and only needed close to 4-5 hours of sleep. However, tonight he would settle for a full 8 hour sleep, after what happened today. After the meeting in his office, he assembled the villagers and explained what happened and about one Uzumaki Naruto as being the hero of Konoha. However, after he explained, the villagers immediately begin to shout for the child's elimination as expected. While the old man knew about this, he expected that some of them understood the boy's side, but instead he had a unanimous vote.
It wasn't until Sarutobi unleashed his killing intent, that the crowd stopped talking in fear of unleashing the professor's wrath. Now, Sarutobi knew that perhaps his son-in-law wouldn't be enough to protect Naruto. He would have to place an Anbu to protect the house from the outside in order to prevent anyone from breaking in the compound's territory. He conversed with his son-in-law and explained that he would be full time with his wife taking care of the baby instead of doing missions for the village. Kaito at first urged the man to reconsider, but after some reasoning from the old man, he accepted his duty and gave an oath to protect Naruto like he would protect his own son.
Closing his eyes, Sarutobi was in less than five seconds, already asleep as he would need his full energy tomorrow.
===At Naruto's room===
The infant was asleep as well. He had a lot of milk from Mikoto and now he felt like sleeping just like any baby whose stomach was full. However, inside of him, someone wasn't happy as sounds of screaming could be heard. The fox demon was responsible for almost leveling the entire village and now here he was trapped inside a baby. He would slam his body on the cage, but to no avail since the seal placed in front of it prevented the fox from escaping.
"Damn that puny human, how dare he do this to the almighty Kyuubi no Yoko. I'll skin him alive for this…." – Screamed Kyuubi, clearly not bothered that Minato was already dead because of the sacrifice that he needed to do.
His chakra was flaring like crazy inside Naruto's stomach as the fox tried everything to break free of his prison. The seal, though, wouldn't allow it as it managed to harden the cage once more, thus preventing the chakra to leave the cage. However, the seal wasn't strong enough to contain the fox's chakra and Kyuubi was able to leak some of it outside the cage. From the outside, Naruto woke up violently and began to scream with pain as the fox's chakra began to surround his body. Almost immediately, the chakra was felt by everyone inside the compound as they rushed to Naruto's room.
The Sandaime felt it the second it emerged and cursed the heavens for not giving the village some peace after everything that happen. He was the first one to arrive at the scene and saw the red chakra pouring out of Naruto's tiny body. Afterwards, Kaito, Asuma, Mikoto and Naruto's medic-nin arrived as well.
"Father, what's happening? I thought you said the seal would keep Kyuubi at bay" – Shouted Asuma, but Sarutobi wouldn't hear it and inspected the seal. The seal didn't break, it's still intact, so Kyuubi must be leaking its chakra somehow – Thought the Sandaime as he considered doing something to subdue the fox's chakra back to the seal.
The old man Hokage would do something with his limited Fuinjutsu knowledge, but out of nowhere, the seal on the blond's stomach began to shine for a while, before the red chakra disappeared. However, Naruto's pain didn't stop and the medic-nin rushed to see what was causing such pain. Mikoto was holding her heart and barred her face on her husband's chest. She didn't want to see her surrogate son like this, she didn't want to hear him cry any longer. The medic began to scan the little body to see where the pain was coming from, until he reached the region of Naruto's eyes. Sighing in dismay, he used the basic healing technique around Naruto's eyes, thus subsiding Naruto's pain entirely. The boy stopped crying and soon fell asleep.
"Houshou-san, what's the problem? What happened with him?" – Asked Sarutobi, clearly concerned after he saw the man using the medic technique on Naruto's eyes.
"Sandaime-sama, it's with great sadness that I tell you this and I hope that you along with your family can understand the seriousness of this situation. I don't know why or how It happened, but when I scanned Naruto's body, particularly his eyes, I found that the optic nerve was severely damaged. I believe that it happened due to over-exposure to Kyuubi's poisonous chakra" – Explained the medic, but by the looks of those present, they didn't understand the implications.
"Sir, when said nerve is damaged, the main organ function is eliminated" – Explained the medic, this time earning gasps from both Hiruzen and Mikoto who finally understood what happened to the boy. Mikoto dropped on the floor unconscious and Kaito grabbed her while Sarutobi Hiruzen could only speak a certain number of words.
"So, you are saying that….that Naruto…" – Said Sarutobi, not daring to complete the sentence, but unfortunately, the doctor filled in the blanks.
"Naruto is blind, sir" – Concluded Houshou as he looked at the old man Hokage who this time didn't care if other saw him being weak. The Sandaime Hokage cheeks were stained with tears, both for him and for Naruto who wouldn't even be able to cry, because of what happened. Oh my god Minato, what will happen to you son now? – Thought Hiruzen as he saw the rain beginning to fall. Are you crying as well Minato? For yet another burden has been placed on your son.