Chapter 2 – A light in darkness

Beta: Dreetje

Four years had passed ever since people discovered that Naruto would never see in his life. His optic nerves were so damaged and no doctor managed to heal Naruto's sight after close to one month of trying. At first, Mikoto was a wreck, feeling for her surrogate son, what will soon to be his worst nightmare in years to come. Sarutobi Mikoto knew from books on the subject, that a blind person often times suffers far worse than normal people, since for Naruto to learn anything; he wouldn't be able to process anything using his eyes and of course, would have to use his other senses like touch, smell and hearing. The little fellow was now sleeping on his bed and even though he already knew his disability, Mikoto was able to see that her surrogate son was smiling. By seeing this, she couldn't help but smile upon seeing Naruto put up a strong front despite being a handicapped.

I have to be as strong as him with this if I want him to count on me for comfort in the future. – Thought Mikoto as she landed a kiss on his forehead, before covering him a little bit for warmth.

"Mikoto-chan, your father is calling for us in the living room" – Called Kaito from Naruto's door, earning the gorgeous woman's attention, before she nodded.

"Okay honey, I will be there shortly" – Said Mikoto, as he kissed Naruto once more and offered silent prayers for the little boy in the future, before closing the door and heading for the living room to face her father sitting on his favorite chair as he enjoyed a nice cup of tea. Mikoto could very well see the bags below her father's eyes and remembered trying to reason with him to take some rest, but being rejected by Hiruzen, explaining, kindly, that until Konoha is fully rebuilt, he just couldn't afford to rest.

"You called for me, Tou-san?" – Asked Mikoto as she entered the room, earning the attention of her father who couldn't help but smile every time he saw his loving daughter. It was like she could wash away everything that troubled the aged Hokage.

"My lovely daughter, I don't want to disturb your time with little Naruto, there is just one minor subject that needs to be taken care of" – Said Hiruzen, earning a nod from his daughter as he continued. "Naruto will be four years old tomorrow and I wanted, at first, place him in an orphanage where he could be well taken care of; however now that he's handicapped, that won't be possible, therefore I need to think of a suitable place for him to stay. I know you always wanted a child, but I would understand if you said you weren't prepared for taking care of a blinded child. Naruto will need someone for him a hundred percent of the time, at least until he could learn to cope well with his disability. The question is…I wanted you and Kaito-san here to adopt Naruto, but this decision is up to you two. I know Naruto has been a handful to you too because of the recent attack attempts on him and his constant crying because of the pain in his eyes, so I'll leave this decision to you two and you'll give me when you're ready to" – Explained Hiruzen, before he said that he would sleep for the day, leaving his daughter and son-in-law alone to talk.

Mikoto would give the answer right away, because during these four years, she developed a link with the little blond up to the point of managing to ease his anxiety upon not being able to see. She even managed to teach, at least tried to, how to depend on other senses like hearing and smell which on certain occasions, Naruto did manage to. Mikoto remembered when Naruto recognized her smell when she entered his room once, which at the time filled her heart with joy. However, she looked at Kaito to hear if he had some objections to adopting Naruto. She knew how many times people tried entering the Sarutobi Compound to kill Naruto only to meet Kaito's bo-staff. She even remembered when a drunken Jounin managed to land a Genjutsu on her husband and paralyzed him. The man would have been able to invade the compound, if hadn't Asuma stopped him with his trench knifes.

Kaito on his side wondered about the times where he had to stop people from entering the compound and to tell the truth, he felt that the house wasn't as safe as before. He as well, developed a liking to the little blond. When Kaito would train his bo-staff style, he would see Naruto trying to walk on his own, falling down a lot, but never quitting. Kaito was a man that respected strength and strong will and Naruto, at the age of four, despite all the hardships, managed to earn his surrogate father's respect. Actually, the fights he had with people that tried to break in served for training and while he couldn't go on missions until Naruto managed to defend himself (which could take a while), he at least got to test his training against those who try to kill Naruto.

Also, Kaito loved Mikoto more than anything and he very well knew that she developed a motherly link with Naruto. Given this fact, he wouldn't even think of disagreeing with the Hokage on them adopting Naruto. He could already picture the number of things he could teach Naruto about being a ninja and maybe, just maybe, if his son could manage to overcome the blindness, he could very well become a full-fledged shinobi in the future.

"Mikoto-chan, Naruto has been as much of a son to me as he is to you, we just cannot let him go after everything we've been through as a family. I want us to teach him many things in the future and maybe, even, teach him how to be a shinobi, even if he can't ever be one. How about we adopt him?" – Asked Kaito, as he smiled to Mikoto who in turn threw herself at her husband and hugged with utmost intensity.

Upon hearing Kaito's opinion about adopting Naruto, Mikoto couldn't help but throw herself in her husband's arms. Kaito has a firm personality and often time, chose to think rationality than relying on emotion, hence why the beautiful woman thought that her husband wouldn't want to adopt little Naruto. Little did she know, though, that not only Kaito had a soft spot for Naruto, but also the fact that Naruto earned Kaito's respect.

"Honey, I thought you wouldn't want to adopt Naruto, I know how much it pained you the last time a Jounin tried to assassinate him and almost got you instead, not that I'm complaining, but why did you choose to adopt Naruto?" - Asked Mikoto, though the smile never left her face for as this was the moment she always carved for in her life.

"I admit that protecting him is tougher than I first thought and that if it weren't for Asuma, that man would have succeeded in killing Naruto, however throughout these four years, Naruto-kun earned my respect through hard work in overcoming his blindness. That kid has a bright future ahead of him if he decides to become a shinobi and I want to teach him how to be one. Plus the fact that you wanted a kid ever since we married" - Said Kaito as he smiled to his wife, earning a smile followed by a nod coming from Mikoto.

"Indeed, Naruto-kun, even though blind, always managed to smile and work hard to overcome his lack of sight, but I'm a little bit worried if he decides to be a ninja. I've seen how he reacts to father's stories" - Stated Mikoto.

"Chakra is a wonderful thing Mikoto-chan. With due work, Naruto can use chakra to overcome his blindness. I've seen blind shinobi just as skilled if not better than regular shinobi, because, honestly, a blind shinobi wouldn't have to worry about using his eyes for seeing, rather relying on chakra for that. Plus, he has the Yondaime's blood running through his veins. We can't deny him not following his biological father's footsteps" - Explained Kaito, before seeing Mikoto contemplate what her husband said.

"Not being a kunoichi, I fail to understand the very concept of chakra my love, but if you see reason in him becoming a shinobi, I won't be in the way. Every time my father tells him stories of ninjas, I can very well see that Naruto is hypnotized. It's just a matter of time" - Said Mikoto, earning a nod from Kaito, who then ushered his wife to join him in sleeping for the day to which she accepted.

===The next day===

Sarutobi Hiruzen smiled upon seeing the first rays of sunlight reach his window. Every time, he had a good night sleep, the old Hokage would smile for no particular reason. For him, it was a way to better clear the pending documents lying within his office desk and better deal with problems that will sure occur.

Dressing his Hokage attire, Sarutobi would do his routine around the Sarutobi Compound which included visiting his still not official grandson Naruto. He wanted to know right away Mikoto and Kaito's decision regarding the child's adoption, but thought against it since he didn't want to pressure any type of decision. As he walked through the compound's corridors, he received greetings from his servants and family members that enjoyed waking up early. After a while, he reached Naruto's room, before being surprised that Naruto was already awake and using his hands to feel the Braille.

Sarutobi Hiruzen couldn't help but be amazed at the little boy's determination in overcoming his blindness and even with a few lessons on reading Braille; Naruto was already able to read simple tests without assistance.

"Good morning Naruto-kun, had a good sleep?" - Asked Sarutobi before seeing Naruto search for the speaker by the sound of his voice, but still failing miserably as he looked to the opposite side, but still it was commendable to see the boy learning through his disability.

"Hi there Ji-chan; I slept well. I had an awesome dream as well, want to hear it?" - Asked Naruto to which Sarutobi laughed out loud, before acknowledging Naruto's request to share his dream. "Actually, it was about the time where the Yondaime Hokage used his Ninjutsu to defeat Iwa. I dreamed that I was there with him, Ji-chan and the nice part of it all was that even though I was blind in the dream, I managed to overcome it and managed to aid the Yondaime" - Explained Naruto with much enthusiasm, earning a smile from the aged Hokage.

Every time this kid smiles, I can't help but smile in return. He surely can improve the mood. - Thought Hokage as he explained that it was indeed a nice dream, until Naruto cut the old man.

Ji-chan, do you think I can become a shinobi, even though I'm blind?" - Asked Naruto, earning a smile from the old man who actually was waiting for said question to come.

"Naruto-kun, just because you're blind, doesn't mean you can't become a shinobi. It will be harder, sure, but it's not impossible. In fact, with enough training you could use your disability to your favor" - Said Hiruzen, before seeing Naruto display a questioned look.

"While others have to rely on their eyes to be a shinobi, you can't. If you really want to be a shinobi, I can find someone who can teach you how to become one without relying on your sight, but rather depending on chakra along with your other senses like hearing, touch and smell" - Explained the Hokage, until he saw the face of pure realization coming from Naruto and even though his eyes displayed a lifeless green, the aged Hokage could see the will of fire emerging within Naruto's facial expressions.

"Really Ji-chan; can I really become a ninja? That's awesome, I'll be the best shinobi ever just you see Ji-chan. I'll be the best ever" - Shouted Naruto shooting his hands up in the air, earning laughter from the Hokage.

"With this attitude, Naruto, there's nothing that will stop you for accomplishing your dream, train hard and learn to live without your eyes, you'll need this type of experience before you can become a shinobi" - Said Hiruzen, earning a nod from Naruto before he positioned his hand on the chair, so that he could sit on it and return to his story.

===At the Hokage's office===

After arriving at his office, Sarutobi Hiruzen scanned his desk to see the report on the village's reconstruction. Four years ago, he and the clan heads devised a plan of action to rebuild the village along with better improving their shinobi program to a point that even with the fox's attack, the village's income didn't decrease. With Chuunin and Jounin handling, truth be told, more missions than they could afford to, and Jiraiya keeping bad information out of the client's ears, it seemed that the Hidden Village in the Leaves would prosper once more in maybe one or two years.

Placing the report in his first drawer, Sarutobi began to see the mission reports that already arrived from yesterday's missions. Some of them were low ranked, mostly to help citizens to deliver important document to other countries. The other part contained A and B ranked missions that scaled from protecting caravans to top assassination missions. A few S ranked requests reached Konoha and those were handed by elite Jounin or even ex-Anbus that chose to leave the squad in favor of better aiding the village through these desperate times.

A sudden knock on the door alerted the Hokage, before he saw both Kakashi and Jiraiya entering the office. Kakashi was now dressed as a Jounin instead of the regular Anbu outfit since he was among others who chose to do missions for the village and bring income to the village's vaults.

"Ah Jiraiya-kun, Kakashi-kun, nice of you to drop by this lovely morning, take a seat…this won't take long" – Said Sarutobi, before he got up and picked two copies to hand to Kakashi and Jiraiya.

"What is this Sensei?" – Asked Jiraiya as he opened the scroll which detailed plans about one little blond in particular.

"That my student, are my plans concerning little Naruto. Soon, he will be four years old and as I said before, he would be placed in an orphanage. However, something happened four years ago and I thought best not to divulge to anyone outside my family out of fear of wrong people overhearing. The truth is Naruto lost his vision due to over-exposure of the Kyuubi's chakra" – Said Sarutobi, pretty much dropping the bomb on the room, as silence rained the mood entirely.

Both Kakashi and Jiraiya were visibly horrified right now. Bearing the burden of the Kyuubi as an orphan was hard enough on Naruto and now losing his sight wasn't something of this world, they both thought.

"Sensei, why didn't you tell me this?" – Shouted Jiraiya, before seeing the dead serious look in his sensei's eyes.

"This is a sensitive topic Jiraiya, my son-in-law already had to protect Naruto twenty times from imbeciles whose names I rather not divulge from fear of delivering pure rampart in the jail cells, do you imagine what would happen if these attacks would increase if they know said information about Naruto. Now, as you read throughout the scroll, I plan to teach Naruto how to be a shinobi as well as overcoming his disability" – Stated Sarutobi, before seeing Kakashi about to speak something.

"Hokage-sama, how is he doing? I know I didn't take the liberty to visit him ever since he was born, but he's my old sensei's son and …" – Said Kakashi, but couldn't complete the sentence, since he felt kind of guilty for not visiting his sensei's legacy. Sarutobi, though, smiled and explained that Kakashi has been on missions non-stop and wouldn't have the time to visit little Naruto.

"Do not worry Kakashi, Naruto is fine. My daughter is taking care of him together with my son-in-law. Also, I've been talking with them to adopt Naruto" – Said Hiruzen, earning a smile from both Jiraiya and Kakashi. They didn't agree with placing Naruto in the orphanage even if he could see. Jiraiya looked at the scroll once more and then spoke to the Hokage.

"So how do you propose to teach him in overcoming his lack of sight?" – Asked Jiraiya to which Hiruzen nodded, smiling.

"One of our recently promoted Jounin, as you know and already worked with Kakashi, happens to be blind. His name is Tobitake Tonbo. He can teach Naruto how to overcome his blindness and even teach him some basic abilities to better aid Naruto throughout the academy in two years" – Stated Sarutobi, earning a satisfactory nod from Kakashi who in turn remembered Tonbo. For someone who rather usually relied on using the Sharingan, Kakashi was amazed at the man from moving just as good if not better than the other Jounin that were on the mission.

"Did you talk to him yet?" – Asked Kakashi to which Hiruzen negated with his head.

"I plan to do it today, since he has yet to return from a B ranked mission I sent him at a village nearby. On occasions, I've read stories to Naruto about the ninja life and the boy just asks for more, he has his father's blood running through his veins and wouldn't be fair to keep him from falling his father's footsteps. Also, if my daughter and her husband adopt him, they will teach him a lot, hence why he will be able overcome his blindness and grow stronger than most. Could you both imagine not having to rely on your eyes? Naruto could very well be the strongest ninja ever, as this happens to be his dream. So, that's all I wanted to tell you two and I hope that Tonbo-san arrives today so that I can debrief him on his next long-term mission.

===At the Sarutobi Compound===

Unaware of her father's plans concerning Naruto, Mikoto was spending time with her soon to be son. Naruto had such energy to spend and his laughter while having fun spoke highly of his character. Mikoto would understand if Naruto grew up to be miserable because of his burdens, but on the contrary, the boy would never take that smile away from his face and the sound of his laughter managed to warmth her heart immensely.

Right now, mother and son were playing at the main yard, a place where Naruto could get in contact with a number of sounds and odors that could help him in the future. Mikoto took the time to explain the most basic concept of distance by the sound's volume. It took a while but Naruto learned how to measure distance by hearing the sounds of nature. What astounded Mikoto, though, was that while she couldn't hear more than a few meters away, Naruto was able to hear two birds singing on top of a tree at least fifty feet high.

"Okay Naruto-kun, what do you want to play next?" - Asked Mikoto as she began to tickle the little fella, before hearing that laughter of joy once more from the infant.

"Stop...hahhahah...stop Kaa-san...stop" - Said Naruto between laughter, with utmost innocence, but Mikoto was stunned. She heard from some women who had children, that the best day of their lives was when their child called them mother for the first time and now Mikoto heard Naruto call her and she agreed with them.

She couldn't bear her heart any longer as it grew immensely by Naruto's affection. Immediately, she hugged Naruto with utmost intensity and so much care that her tears fell freely and some of them landed on Naruto's hair.

The infant was confused. Because of his inability to see that Mikoto's tears were from joy, all he could know was the sniffing noises and the feel of said tears on his head. All the infant could conclude was that his mother was crying and he didn't have the life experience needed to realize that not all tears were bad.

"Kaa-san, why are you sad? Why are you crying?" - Said Naruto, as he used his hands to feel his mother's face, even managing to dry her tears, thus earning a comforting smile from Mikoto.

"I'm not sad Naruto-kun, I'm just happy to be with you" - Explained Mikoto, before seeing the look of pure confusion coming from Naruto, as expected.

"Kaa-san, how can you cry and be happy at the same time? I thought that we cried only when we're sad" - Stated Naruto, earning a true smile from Mikoto.

"Not all tears comes from bad emotions Naruto-kun, there will be times in life when your heart is filled with warmth and you begin to cry tears of joy, that's why I was crying, silly" - Laughed Mikoto, earning a smile in return from Naruto.

"Kaa-san, what is like to cry?" - Asked Naruto to which Mikoto looked on in sympathy for her son.

"Even though you can't cry Naruto, that doesn't mean you cannot feel either sad of happy. Crying is just an effective response of your body upon being subjected to high pain either physical or emotional. Don't worry about never crying Naruto-kun, if you learn how to share your emotions with those you care for, they won't need to see tears to see what you're feeling" - Explained Mikoto to which Naruto nodded.

From a distance, Kaito watched the scene with a smile on his face. He knew how long Mikoto waited to hear someone call her his mother and when he saw her smiling face, he couldn't help but smile as well. He knew he made the right decision to adopt Naruto, no matter the consequences are and he would train hard enough to be able to better protect the new member of the family until he learns how to protect himself.

Suddenly, though, his senses became alert for intrusion. Hiding behind the tree nearby, Kaito spotted two shinobi managing to get passed by the security seals that protected the compound walls, which meant that they are at least Chuunin level shinobi and Kaito didn't need to know their intentions before engaging, but at least he could stall them by talking while he analyzed their skills.

Vanishing within a small tornado, Kaito appeared in front of the two Chuunin.

"Stop right now! You who dared to invade the Sarutobi Compound, tell me your reasons or I will be forced to kick you out of here and request your execution for trespassing private property without proper authorization" - Said Kaito, before seeing the two Chuunin preparing a couple of kunai, before the one with the green shirt spoke.

"We are here to kill the demon all those associated with him. We'll be heroes" - Said the man to which his partner only nodded, before falling in an fighting stance, that Kaito recognized as an advanced version of the academy style of Taijutsu.

"There will be no killing today as long I'm here" - Said Kaito, until he took his bo-staff and charged the Chuunin who upon seeing the imminent attack, threw a barrage of kunai at Kaito. Sarutobi began twirling his weapon, thus stopping all the incoming projectiles, before jumping and preparing his weapon to hit one of them on the shoulders.

The one in green suffered the hit and in seconds, he saw that Kaito landed on the ground and twisted his body to land a reverse kick to the man's chest, thus sending him flying. The other one with a blue shirt charged Kaito as he began doing some hand seals for a small fire technique Katon Endan (Fire Release: Fireball Jutsu). Kaito would laugh at the man's pathetic attempt of attack, but instead he just settled for a jutsu of his own.

"It's pathetic to use such an attack, take this...Katon Goukakyuu no Jutsu (Fire Release: Grand Fireball Jutsu)" - Whispered Kaito as he exhaled a huge fireball, thus not only overwhelming the tiny flame but also engulfing the stupid Chuunin entirely. The man tried to scream, but It was without avail as the flames consumed him entirely. He wasn't dead but on the very least, his ninja career would be over. The one in green shirt screamed for his partner before looking at Kaito who was now directed at him for the kill.

"Your friend paid the price for his stupidity, leave now and maybe I'll spare you. Stay and share the same fate of your partner. Note that everyone who tries to break in this compound will share the same fate" - Said Kaito, as he positioned his bo-staff facing the other enemy who in turn snarled and left.

"Idiots..." - Snarled Kaito as he headed to the compound. He remembered the man's face and would be sure to report to the Hokage in order for him to be questioned and then arrested for treason.

===At night at the Hokage's office===

Reviewing a couple of reports from the Anbu division concerning a threat they handled, Sarutobi lost track of time as he looked back and realized that the sun was already half way down and the moon was already up. Such disposition was only found in his early days as Hokage and the aged Sarutobi couldn't help but smile at the time he received the honor from the Nidaime Hokage to succeed him as Sandaime Hokage. Hiruzen couldn't help but wonder if he cared for the village as much as the Shodaime and Nidaime Hokage did. The Senju brothers, as Hiruzen called them sometimes, would stay in this very office from the time the sun emerged to the time where all lights in Konoha would be turned off, in other words, pretty late at night.

Whereas Hiruzen stayed at least until dinner was served in his house, which although was later than most places, it didn't match his predecessors. Hell, even the Yondaime Hokage stayed longer than the old man. However, with old age, the brain is better prepared to deal with hard situations much faster. The old man Hokage was just about to get up from his chair when a knock soon followed, before the very presence he was waiting for, entered the room.

"You wanted to speak me Hokage-sama? Sorry it took a little while for my mission to end, but here I am" – Said Tonbo as he closed the door and positioned himself in the middle of the room. Sarutobi couldn't help but chuckle as a blinded man was actually 'staring' at him directly, since he knew Tonbo to be blind. Not much could be described from Tonbo's close attire since he chooses to be rather undistinguished among other with the regular Jounin attire. The only difference, though, was that his head would be covered in straps, leaving only his mouth free and he would hear his headband in front of where should be his eyes are.

"Ah yes, Tonbo-san, please come in…I was about to retire for the night but you managed to get me here. This will be quick on my part…I'm issuing you on another mission. I understand you hold no ill intent against the little kid who was used to contain the Kyuubi, so you're the right choice for this mission, amongst other reasons as well. You see Tonbo-san, little Naruto wants to be a ninja and due to certain complications, Naruto found himself unable to learn what's necessary on his own, thus needing someone to tutor him in such aspects. That's why I thought of you to be his tutor at least until he enrolled in the academy" – Said Sarutobi, before looking at Tonbo, trying to gauge his reaction, but to no avail. The straps covering his entire face kept the Hokage from studying any sort of facial emotions, also Tonbo trained himself hard since not even his body moved.

Tonbo, for his part, wondered about the catch in what the Hokage explained so far. The Kyuubi kid was never the center of Tonbo's hate, but that couldn't be a reason for placing him to tutor the brat.

"Hokage-sama, not to say that I'm honored that you'd choose me as such, why do you feel I'm the one to teach Naruto-san? Surely, are tons of other Jounin in Konoha who would be better fitted to train him? – Asked Tonbo to which Sarutobi nodded.

"As I said, Naruto had certain complications and a said complication is the most important reason of my choice in placing you for his tutorage. You see a day after Naruto was born; I placed him in my house to be well taken care of until he would be four years old. However, one night, the fox's chakra enveloped his body. You very well know that the fox's chakra is poisonous; so on that night, the fox's chakra hit Naruto's eyes with force, thus damaging his optic nerve severely, Naruto is just like you Tonbo-san, Naruto is blind" – Explained Sarutobi with a heavy heart and Tonbo could feel it since he learned to rely on other senses just like any blinded individual had to if they wanted to live. He could very well see that the Sandaime cared much for little Naruto.

"I understand Hokage-sama, so you want me to teach him how to be a ninja despite the disability we share. What will be the topics of my teaching?" – Asked Tonbo to which the Hokage wiped his tears away.

"Apart from of course teaching him how to overcome blindness, I believe it would be adequate to teach him some physical abilities such as Taijutsu, agility and stamina. Also some chakra exercises as well, like tree walking and water walking." – Explained Hokage, before seeing that Tonbo was about to express something.

"Hokage-sama, for Naruto to overcome his blindness, his notion of chakra would have to be dealt with sooner. I developed techniques that happen to use chakra for guidance. After that, we can focus on the physical, when can I start, Hokage-sama?" – Asked Tonbo, to which Hokage smiled and said that he could very well rest for the night and then present himself at the Sarutobi Compound tomorrow at ten in the morning, which Tonbo accepted and left the room via Shunshin.

Afterwards, the Hokage close the door to his office and left towards his house with a smile on his face, upon finding someone to tutor Naruto.

===At the Sarutobi Compound

Five minutes later, he was already inside the compound as he saw his lovely daughter taking care of some plants that were inside the living-room.

"So daughter, have you and Kaito reached a decision about Naruto's adoption?" – Asked Sarutobi, before seeing that smile on his daughter's face, thus telling him everything he needed to know. "Okay then, go and call Kaito-san, I have good news to speak to both of you" – Smiled Sarutobi as he reached his favorite chair and seated before seeing his daughter reach her husband.

It seems Naruto's future won't be so dark, after all – Thought Hiruzen as he drank a cup of tea, while wondering about his new grandson's future as a shinobi.