Summary: It all started the day of the Kumo incident at the Hyuuga compound. One action sped up the course of history. NaruHina, SasuSaku, NejiTen, and others, but not until later. These are mostly non-negotiable.
The night was cold, at least to the people of the village. It was a typical night in December in Konohagakure. Most of the villagers were asleep in their beds after having spent the day celebrating Konoha's alliance with Kumo. But, those that weren't were keeping to themselves.
A little three-year-old blond child wandered around the village with his head down and contemplating his purpose in life. He'd sneaked out of the orphanage - but it wasn't like they'd have noticed. they never looked at him. They never talked to him. How was he going to become Hokage if no one told him how to get there in the first place? He was lost in his loneliness. The only person to have acknowledged him was Hokage-jiijii and after seeing how everyone loved the old man, the blond had decided that he would be just like him. Moreover he would be better than him and his deceased successor, and predecessor, Yondaime. The Yondaime, the man who saved the village, was his hero. And since everyone loved him so completely, Naruto wanted the people of the village to love him too.
After all if he was their protector, as the Sandaime had said was the job of the Hokage, then the village would have to acknowledge that he was as much a person as they were. Even if they left him alone in the orphanage for being a 'demon,' though they never explained what they meant by that.
A muffled cry interrupted his depressing thoughts and he quickly hurried in that direction, curious.
In front of him stood a tall man with a bundle under his arm. What was strange was that this bundle looked like a person and the blond was pretty sure that was not supposed to be normal. So, he looked up at the man who had frozen in front of him and said, "What do you think you're doing -ttebayo? I'm going to be Hokage, so you better leave!"
The man stared at him for a moment and then shifted the bundle in his arms, "Like you could do anything." His sneer served to make the boy angry and he tackled the man's legs, which coupled with the unbalance caused by the sack in his arms, forced him to drop the bundle that now appeared to be a little girl about his own age that promptly sat up and stared with terrified, pale lavender eyes. The man hadn't been expecting the child to actually attack, but the next assault was more expected and he quickly twisted the boy's arm behind his back; the blond cried out and the man sneered.
"You can't become Hokage, you don't have the guts or the strength. Besides, I'm going to kill you now, there's no need for any witnesses. And, from the way everyone treated the Blond pariah, I'm sure no one will miss you."
The boy froze, the villagers had all told him he'd never make it to Hokage, but when the man said how no one would miss him, he believed. No one missed him while he was alive . . . But . . . he still wanted to be Hokage, to make them miss him like they missed Yondaime.
"N-No! He's wrong! D-Don't give up . . . please!" The little girl cried.
The blond turned to her shocked; she had begun to cry. But before he could do anything, the man had hit her.
"Just be quiet and stay down. We'll get you to Kumo soon enough and then you can make all the noise you want."
The blond froze. This girl had been the first to acknowledge him, besides the old man who was far too busy to do more than spend a meal with him, and now this man was saying he was going to take her away?
He saw red.
His head was throbbing, and his limbs felt like they may have burned and then plunged into ice-cold water. Everything was hazy and the little blond looked around him to see the man dead and in front of him completely mutilated. He could feel a kind of horror growing up in himself.
Had he done that? Had he killed the man? The blond's breathing was speeding up and he seemed to have a hard time getting back to normal. He looked at the girl, but she still hadn't woken up. That was good. She didn't need to see this.
Before long, a patrol of ANBU had come across the sight and gaped at the destruction wreaked upon the man before they crouched in front of the blond, picked up the unconscious little girl and told him that they had to take him to the Hokage's office.
The blond nodded numbly before allowing the ANBU to pick him up and carry him away.
At the Hokage Tower they found a few white-eyed men arguing with the Hokage about how someone had taken the heir and had gotten away before they could do anything.
However, at seeing the Hokage, the blond surged forward, "Hokage-jiijii!" before leaping into the older man's lap.
"Naruto? Now's not exactly the right time to-"
"Daddy?" the little girl had awoken and struggled to get out of the ANBU's arms. Her father, too shocked at her appearance, simply wrapped his arm around her, taking her from the ANBU and allowing her to hide her face in his robes and looking confusedly at the Hokage.
"Hokage-sama," the ANBU stepped forward, "We found them by the mutilated body of one of the Kumo ninja."
The Hokage's shocked face spoke volumes. But, he shook the blond, Naruto, and the child lifted his head.
"Could you tell me what happened?"
"I . . . I was walking in the village and . . . I heard her . . . and I followed him dattebayo and I told him to put her down and I tackled him . . . and . . . and I don't remember anything after that . . . I woke up and . . . and he was . . . was . . . dead."
The old man stared at the little boy in his lap before he turned to the Hyuuga council before him and sighed. "Hyuuga-sama, I think it would be best if you went home and secured the compound."
"Hai, Hokage-sama!" The clan head responded, picking up his daughter and exiting the tower.
"Now, Naruto . . . what really happened?" the old man asked softly as the child looked up, wiping tears from his eyes..
"She . . . she acknowledged me. And that man was going to take her away . . ."
Lifting his head, the Hokage called the ANBU forward. "Find Inu, bring him here," he ordered before turning back to the child, "Naruto, you need to train, we can't let this happen again."
The child nodded and held on to the Hokage tighter.
"I'm a monster, right . . . I don't even have real parents, right, that's why you don't tell me about them, only that they died in the Kyuubi attack." The blond was crying at this point.
"No, Naruto, your parents loved you very much!" but the boy wouldn't listen, a large part of him didn't believe the old man's words. After all, he'd never seen them - maybe the old man was lying, maybe his parents didn't exist at all.
"You're just saying that."
The aging Hokage grimaced, the child needed a name, a picture at least. But, to tell the child any names would risk him finding out about who his parents were and make conclusions as to why he was left alone and why no one knew or liked him.
No, in this case, with the kid having killed someone, there was only one conclusion.
"Naruto, do you know what it means to be Hokage?"
The child sniffed before responding, "It means you protect the village with everything that you have, because you love them."
"Yes, Naruto. Sacrifice, like the Yondaime. Look at that picture over there, that is the Yondaime." The blond turned to look at the wall of pictures and his eyes immediately fixated on the blond. The Hokage pulled a picture from one of his many drawers. "And this is him with his wife. His name was Namikaze Minato, and hers . . . was Uzumaki Kushina." The blonde's eyes widened. "He had many enemies, particularly in Iwagakure because of the Third Shinobi War. You are your parents son, but no one can know, otherwise you will be in danger, do you understand me?"
The boy stared at the redhead and the Yondaime, his role model. The one he had sworn to surpass. His father. The phrase was foreign to him, but brought a warm feeling to his gut.
"How did okaa-san die, I know how otou-san did, but . . ."
The old man looked away from the child in his lap. His eyes held a far away quality to them and for a moment, Naruto saw why this seemingly frail old man was called the Professor and the God of Shinobi.
"Your mother . . . her clan . . . Uzushiogakure was really good at fuuinjutsu. They were destroyed in the Third Shinobi War, and any survivors were scattered to the wind. She was the only Uzumaki left in Konoha. She taught your father half of what he knew in sealing and had a special chakra that could manifest itself into chains. She was the jinchuuriki of the Kyuubi before your birth, which is why you have those whiskers on your cheeks, but it got out. The night of your birth, and the Kyuubi attack, she held the Kyuubi down with those chains and your father . . . defeated the beast. They both died that night."
Tears had leaked out of his face at the beginning of the explanation, but now he was bawling. "Jiijii! I'll make them proud! I'll be just like dad! I'll be Hokage dattebayo!"
The old man smiled before looking up at Inu's entrance.
"Inu, tonight there was attempt by Kumo to kidnap the Hyuuga heiress. Naruto stopped them, however, I'm afraid Naruto won't be the same. I'm placing him under ANBU's care."
Inu paused, as if unsure how to take care of the kid, but nodded. "Hai, Hokage-sama!" He took the child's hand and tilting his head as he went back toward ANBU headquarters. They passed at least ten ANBU before stopping at a door.
"This will be your room. I'll come by tomorrow and we'll begin learning how to be a ninja."
Inu seemed distant, but at least he looked at Naruto when he talked to him, unlike the ladies at the orphanage. That, Naruto decided was what made this guy worthwhile.
Kakashi stared at the boy. He had inhuman stamina. There were moments when he thought the child had had enough but each time he suggested that they stop Naruto jumped right back up again with renewed vigor. Already, with Kakashi adjusting his grip two or three times, the boy had begun to hit the practice target dead-on. The child was a genius that learned by doing. Only a day had passed, and already the child was an expert with kunai and shuriken, with the right instruction.
Kakashi almost felt guilty about leaving the kid alone for the first three years of his life.
The blond looked up at him, "Hey, Inu! Why are you wearing your dog mask now, are you on duty?"
Kakashi chuckled, "Yes, it is my duty to look after you!" Naruto's face fell. "But . . . your father was my sensei. I am Hatake Kakashi." The boy's face lifted at the mention of his father and then his face filled with awe as what the ANBU revealed registered in his mind. His father's student the Yondaime's student, was teaching him! His face split into a wide smile.
"Oh, okay Kakashi-nii! So I was thinking dattebayo, do you think it might be possible for me to have special chakra like okaa-san?"
Kakashi stared at the blond bundle of energy for a full minute before responding with a shrug, "Anything's possible."
"Kakashi-nii, I'm going to become Hokage one day dattebayo!"
"I'm sure you will."
Naruto grinned before returning to his training.
The Hokage stared at the demand in front of him made by Kumo. They wanted the death of the one that killed their emissary, or the treaty of non-violence would be null and void. Sarutobi Hiruzen chuckled before he began to pen out a reply. Thankfully, Naruto was not ninja yet and due to the fact that he was protecting another technical civilian, their actions were completely justified. The Raikage would not be willing to risk war over this so soon after the end of the last one.
Hiruzen smiled as his brush met the blank scroll.
I am surprised by your demand. I am sure that your daimyou would completely agree with me, you see, you violated the treaty by attempting to kidnap the Hyuuga heir. As such, you have no right to demand anything of us.
The one that you want is a child and not a ninja. Our Will of Fire does not allow us to give him up. As a result, I regret to inform you that our agreement is null and void due to your ninja's attempt unless he was acting without orders.
Sandaime Hokage Sarutobi Hiruzen
Hiruzen rolled up the scroll and handed it to his secretary before turning back to his paperwork. It was up to the Raikage now, to do what he would.
Kakashi was prowling through the clothing store like a child afraid of getting caught with his hand in the cookie jar.
He was picking out the standard slacks, and black sandals, a mesh shirt, with a long-sleeved over shirt that most jounin would use under a flack jacket, and a white jacket, with orange stripes along the hem and going down the arm. Naruto would look just like his father, especially once the kid became a chuunin, which Kakashi was pretty sure wouldn't take all that long.
The kid had already unlocked his chakra and memorized the hand seals, all the while proclaiming loudly that he was going to become Hokage, and that if Kakashi just let him study seals, then he'd be able to make his parent's proud.
Kakashi had had mixed feelings when he first started training the kid, but in the short two weeks that the kid had been with him - and attached himself to Kakashi's hip, he'd also attached himself to Kakashi's heart. He was like the little brother Kakashi never had, but would have had the Kyuubi never gotten out.
One thing he'd noticed in the two weeks he'd been taking care of the blond, however, was that when he went out with Naruto people would glare at the child, reminded of the Kyuubi. Kakashi, feeling particularly spiteful, wanted to freak everyone out with how much the 'Kyuubi Brat' looked like Yondaime.
He snickered under his breath as he grabbed another two pairs of blue and black slacks, making sure that orange was somewhere, if only a line of fabric.
Naruto stared at the package that Kakashi gave him in wonder. No one besides the old man had ever actually given him a present. He looked up at Kakashi-nii for approval and received an eye-smile in response before he tore the package open and stared at the Shinobi outfit in happiness.
He ran to the bathroom in his ANBU quarters and quickly changed into the outfit before jumping out as the spitting image of his father.
Kakashi smiled psychotically imagining the creeped out faces of the village.
"Kakashi-nii, can you teach me the academy stuffs?" Naruto asked with all the hope that the three- year old could muster.
"Sure." This kid was going to rock the Elemental Nations.
As they walked down the corridors of the ANBU headquarters, they were subject to many stares, but Naruto seemed to be ignoring it. He was jumping skipping, going back to Kakashi, and running ahead again.
Hiruzen looked at the council that had been called and scowled. Koharu, one of his old teammates, triumphantly smirked as she spoke up to address the council, Hiruzen burning holes into her back.
"Kumo demands the life of our jinchuuriki due to the death of their emissary on the night the treaty was signed." With that she nodded ever so slightly to another council member, Shimura Danzo and as she was moving to sit a chorus of voices rose up, mostly from the civilian side.
Just as Hiruzen was about to respond he paused. Hyuuga Hiashi stood up and everyone quieted, "Kumo attempted to kidnap my heir. Had Naruto not been there, they would have succeeded. Due to his services to the Hyuuga clan we extend to him our protection and proclaim him a friend of the Hyuuga." He sat down and glared at the council, daring any to go against the child.
Hiruzen smiled, bowing his hat slightly to hide his face before lifting it again and addressing the council.
"Kumo has already received my answer. They can forget it, as can you all."
"But, Hiuzen!" Koharu began but the old man silenced her.
"That is my decision."
"But . . . he cannot be allowed to roam free! He killed a man!" a civilian cried, and Danzo smiled cruelly. It seemed he'd finally get the jinchuuriki to mold into the perfect weapon.
"He is being trained by one of my most trusted ANBU." And his plans for the boy came crashing down.
"Who?" Hiashi inquired curiously.
"The last surviving student of Yondaime?" Uchiha asked with a scowl and still upset that a non-Uchiha had the Sharingan.
"Hai, he seems to have taken to the boy." The aged Hokage replied with a smile.
"But . . . he killed a man! What if he turns on our children? The boy cannot enter the academy, he is dangerous." That same civilian shouted in panic. Some other Shinobi voiced their agreement while the shinobi clan heads shook their heads in disbelief.
Hiruzen himself simply sighed and nodded in assent, "He won't need the academy, Kakashi will teach him all he needs to know and as soon as the child is ready he will take the graduation test and become a Shinobi. After that he will be under my command and you will not have to concern yourselves with him. Now, all we can do is wait for Kumo's response. There will be war, or there won't. If that is all, I think this meeting is over."
The council was grumbling as they left, however Hiashi stayed behind and approached the man. "Please give this to the boy and tell him, should he need anything of the Hyuuga, all he needs to do is present this to one and they will help him. We will forever be in his debt." The clan head gave the Hokage a pendant and left, leaving the few remaining in shock.
Hiruzen, however, smiled and stood to take the boy his gift and write a letter to one of his old students.
Kakashi took one look at Gai, his 'eternal rival' and sighed. "He's my apprentice," He explained and smirked when Gai began to cry exasperatingly.
"Kakashi, you beat me at getting a disciple to whom I can teach my flames of youth!" Naruto peeked out from behind Kakashi.
"Kakashi! He sees you as his brother? No! I will not be defeated! I will find an apprentice of my own! And if I do not, I will climb the Hokage Mountain using only my toes!" Gai went running off into the village, aiming for the academy and proclaiming the wonder of youth, hoping beyond hope that he'd find a disciple worthy of his teachings.
Kakashi looked down to the frightened form of his sensei's son.
"Was that a mutant frog? Because I like frogs, or rather toads, but that was just creepy." Naruto whispered clinging to his nii-san and refusing to let go.
"No, that was one of the jounin, but don't worry, he's one of the craziest. He's completely unique and, hopefully, when he gets an apprentice the child will not follow in his sensei's footsteps completely.
"Oh! So, he's strong but freaky dattebayo?"
Kakashi stared at Naruto for a moment before throwing his head back in laughter, "Yes! Exactly!" Kakashi affirmed between laughs and giggles.
Jiraiya stared at his spy in shock, his sake bottle hitting the table with a thunk. Kumo had demanded the life of a child of Konoha because one of their emissaries died while trying to kidnap the Hyuuga heir? Surely Sarutobi-sensei wouldn't . . .
Jiraiya flew to his room, quickly packing, and rushed as quickly as possible back to Konoha.
The Raikage reread the Hokage's letter and scowled. He didn't really want a war, but he had expected the peace-loving Hokage to jump at the chance to avoid it before he would be called on his bluff. But no, the Hokage had called him on it and now he wouldn't be able to follow through with his threat. Kumo simply did not have the resources at the moment for another war. Maybe in three or four years they would, but certainly not at the moment.
Raikage A slammed his hand onto his desk, effectively breaking it before barking to his secretary to call a council. The negotiations with Konoha had failed; perhaps he'd have better luck with Iwa.
Jiraiya had traveled for two days before he made it to the gates of Konoha. Once he had, he immediately searched for signs of preparation for a war. Seeing no obvious ones, he assumed the worst. Had his sensei really handed the child over to Kumo? Thoughts of the like haunted the Gama-sennin's mind as the sage headed through the window of the Hokage tower.
"What's this I hear about Kumo demanding the life of a child?" he growled at his old sensei that looked up at his entrance.
"Ah, Jiraiya! I've meant to contact you!"
"Answer me old man."
Sarutobi sighed and looked down, "Naruto-kun saved the Hyuuga heiress and the seal cracked. The Kumo nin died and the Raikage demanded the culprits head." Jiraiya's eyes had gotten large and he looked about to murder his sensei who suddenly looked up and smiled, "I told them to stuff it, that it was a child, and that they broke the treaty first; they had no legal right to demand anything."
Jiraiya stared at his sensei with a new found pride. The man still had a backbone when it really counted. Then he thought about it some more and froze, "What has Kumo said?"
"They can't really say anything, I did tell them that I would not tolerate that. And they did break the treaty. If they try to ignore that we have Suna. Kiri is in the midst of its own Civil Wars and both Kumo and Iwa are still recovering from the last war. We'll be fine."
Jiraiya looked skeptical, but sighed and nodded. "I sure hope so sensei."
Kakashi had decided that he would teach Naruto tree climbing and water walking because the kid had way too much chakra to make a simple bunshin and terrible control. And so, the next morning that was what he planned to tell the little blond.
"Alright, Naruto. Today we are going to learn how to climb trees." Kakashi nearly laughed at the incredulous look on Naruto's face.
"What about the bunshin?"
"This is a step toward that!" Kakashi eye-smiled at his charge, "Concentrate chakra to your feet and climb!" to add effect to his words Kakashi began to slowly climb the tree vertically. Naruto's awe-filled eyes actually made Kakashi feel good about himself - if only slightly.
"Okay, you try, but start at a run."
"Watch! I'll get this down by nightfall." The boy declared with such conviction and confidence that for a moment Kakashi actually believed the kid
"Just don't exhaust yourself. I'll be over here if you need anything."
"Hai!" And so Naruto tried . . . and tried . . . and tried.
"You're really good at this dattebayo. Can you tell me what I'm doing wrong?"
The child was right . . . he did learn the tree climbing by the end of the day. And he was bragging to any that would listen to him in the ANBU dining area. Considering he was not even four yet and could already tree walk, the ANBU had proclaimed him a prodigy and told Kakashi that he should look into teaching a bit more.
One, however, had his doubts and readily voiced them. He was called Tenzou. "Don't you think you're pushing him a bit too much? He might not have had enough chakra. Why teach him something so difficult?"
"He doesn't have the control for the bunshin or the regular henge because he has too much for chakra his age. He's made the henge solid but it uses much more chakra. With better control, as soon as he learns the bunshin, technically, he could pass the academy, what with all the history lessons I sneak in before he sleeps, and our hour-long sessions of shougi, logic puzzles, and math."
"He can actually do all that? A solid henge? That must take a lot of chakra . . . it would make him perfect for infiltration . . . "
"Maybe in another year he'll graduate. He still needs to work on the academics. He's getting the hang of it though, and it shouldn't take too long."
"And how long have you been training him?"
"About a month. Come on Naruto, it's time for you to go to bed!" Kakashi called out to the blond that simply looked up and smiled brightly.
"Okay, Kakashi-nii! Can you tell me more about Yondaime and that cool flashy jutsu?"
"No, today I'm going to tell you about Obito-nii and Rin-nee!" Kakashi replied with a sad smile seen by none, yet all, the ANBU.
"Who were they?"
"Some very good friends of mine and students of Yondaime along with me!"
"Really? Cool, they must have been great ninja! Can I meet them?" Naruto asked enthusiastically and yet Kakashi-nii, for some strange reason got a really sad look in his eye that Naruto could identify immediately. He'd seen it in the mirror many times before. It was loneliness.
"They're no longer with us. They are heroes of Konoha."
Naruto's head lowered and he suddenly wasn't so excited. But, then he remembered, his otou-san knew them (and TAUGHT them) so they had to have been great people. Naruto's head lifted and he looked up at Kakashi-nii, "So . . . what were they like?"
And they left the cafeteria, and three dozen shocked ANBU, and returned to the blond's room where Naruto learned all about Uchiha Obito and Rin, their team medic. This in turn led to a long winded history lesson, told in simple terms for the three and a half year old, about the founding of Konoha, the Senju and Uchiha, and how the Shodai Hokage fought Uchiha Madara.
Naruto really wanted to meet the Uchiha and make friends of them; they seemed so cool!
Morning came all too soon for Naruto, but he smiled widely when Kakashi-nii told him that today he'd try the bunshin and that if he didn't get it he'd learn to walk on water. The child, that was not yet four years old, grinned in anticipation.
Regardless, Naruto really wanted to impress Kakashi-nii and so he focused really hard on making a bunshin. And he made two . . . dead ones. Sighing in defeat, Naruto scratched the back of his head, a habit he had unknowingly picked up from the ANBU from said ANBU's babysitting duties a year ago.
"Well, it looks like we have a bit more work to do. Come along, this is the second stage of what you learned yesterday, you have to keep a steady stream of chakra to stay up."
"But . . . I don't know how to swim . . ." Naruto replied shyly.
"Don't worry, I'll fish you out and we'll learn swimming another day!" Kakashi's smile raised Naruto's spirits immediately.
His first attempt was as successful as a wet cat. His second . . . was perfect. Kakashi couldn't even hide the fact that he was smiling.
"Alright, try the bunshin again. If you can't do it, I'll go talk to the Hokage."
When Naruto failed again he nearly cried, but, Kakashi-nii simply place his hand on Naruto's head and smiled. "Practice some taijutsu for a while, I'll go talk to the Hokage. Don't feel bad! Most children your age can't even throw a kunai straight!"
Kakashi's smile was enough for the three-year old. As he began to practice his kata Kakashi-nii left. But due to the fact that Naruto was still high off of the praise he continued his excercises, he was too delirious with happiness to even wonder if this was all a dream or if Kakashi-nii wouldn't come back, because Naruto knew Kakashi-nii would come back. He had too.
Kakashi entered the Hokage's office in full ANBU attire. There he found the Toad Sanin, Jiraiya, and the old man himself.
"Ah, Inu! How is Naruto's training going?"
"He's almost ready to graduate the academy," the Hokage's pipe nearly fell out of his mouth and the Toad Sage openly gaped, "I teach him History in the form of bedtime stories and we spend two hours a day on academics. He has been found to be a natural at kunai and shuriken once his grip was corrected and is near perfect now. His taijutsu forms are getting steadily better, and when they are put into practice he proves to be very unpredictable. Ninjutsu . . . he's learned two of the academy three."
The Hokage's shock was palpable. "He's only three!" Jiraiya whispered.
"However," the two old men looked up at the teenage ANBU, "he doesn't have enough control for the bunshin. I've taught him tree-climbing and water-walking, but it's still not enough. Do you think the fox could be interfering with his control?"
"It's possible. Perhaps another type of bunshin would be better for the child. Find out his elemental affinity. If it's water or earth, teach him one of the ones you know. If not . . . perhaps we can teach him kagebunshin, as long as he understands its dangers. His healing ability and the Kyuubi should negate it, but just to be cautious he should be aware of what it entails."
"And Inu . . ."
"This is a thank-you gift from the Hyuuga. Perhaps Naruto would like to play with some Hyuuga children? He shouldn't have to grow up so fast just because he did an honorable service."
"I'm sure he'd enjoy that."
Kakashi left as swiftly as he had arrived and Jiraiya turned to his old sensei, "That kid is a genius, maybe an even bigger one than Minato and Kakashi combined!"
Sarutobi smiled, "And he has the will of fire already . . . he claims that he will be Hokage and protect what his parents sacrificed their lives to protect. He may very well be my next choice if I live long enough to see him grow."
Jiraiya's small smile was enough to lift the Hokage's spirits; he hadn't seen his student smile since the night Yondaime died. That boy was destined for great things.
"Alright, Naruto, channel some chakra into this." Kakashi-nii held out a paper to the blond.
Naruto looked curiously at the paper and then up at Kakashi with a curious expression on his face. "Why?"
"It's for training. We're going to see what kinds of jutsu are more natural for you to do.
Naruto's eyes lit up in anticipation and he furiously concentrated on the slip of paper in his little hands which promptly split in half, startling the child.
"Just like his father," Kakashi mused out loud.
Naruto looked up hopefully at his surrogate brother, "What does that mean? What does that mean!"
"Your elemental affinity is wind and I can't teach you any of the elemental bunshin as there is none for wind."
Naruto's face fell.
"It also means the Hokage has given me permission to teach you the kage bunshin." And Naruto's interest was piqued, "Now this is a kinjutsu. Do you know what a kinjutsu is? No? Well then . . ."
When Naruto heard that he was a 'friend of the Hyuuga' he thought it was a joke. At least, that was what he thought before Kakashi-nii gave him a necklace with a flame emblem on it. After that, he wanted to go meet that girl that he'd saved. That was what led to the two walking around the village in the direction of the Hyuuga compound.
All around glares were directed at the blond. He didn't yet understand why they glared, but he was very glad that he had Kakshi-nii as he clung to his surrogate brother's jounin uniform. The kid didn't want to wear his outfit until he became a genin, which Kakashi-nii said he was qualified to become, but wasn't because he still needed to learn a few academic things that would help him over all as a ninja. However, he couldn't wait until he could look just like his father and nii-san!
Naruto skipped into the compound, once they finally arrived, and startled a few Hyuuga that were not used to hyperactive children. The glares had ceased outside the Hyuuga gates, but there was something else in their eyes. It was a feature unfamiliar to the child; they were grateful. Not used to the approval by so many people at one time, Naruto clung closer to Kakashi's pants than he had before.
Naruto breathed out the breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding once Kakashi-nii stopped them at the door to the clan-head's office.
"Hello Hyuuga-sama, this is Naruto. He'd like to see Hinata-sama and see if she'd like to be his friend!" Kakashi introduced with that perpetual smile on his face and placing his hand on the blonde's mass of hair that, due to its untrimmed state, was beginning to look like his father's.
It was yet another ploy by Kakashi to freak out the villagers.
"Hai, we have met before. You have the clan's gratitude Uzumaki Naruto." Said blond blushed, not used to the praise but happy with the acknowledgement.
"I'm going to be Hokage one day! Kakashi-nii even said I might become a genin soon!" Naruto proclaimed loudly, slightly startling the Hyuga clan head who simply nodded.
"Hinata is with her mother at the park." The clan head told the one-eyed ANBU captain.
Naruto began bouncing with excitement, "Ooh, ooh! Kakashi-nii, can we go see Hinata-chan? Maybe she'll let me play with her!" His head bobbed up and down as he desperately tried to reassure himself that when she acknowledged him that night a month earlier had not just been a fluke, and that her mom was not going to pull her away like so many others.
But he was awesome, so he shouldn't worry, right?
Kakashi smiled and looked up at the Hyuuga head that simply nodded and returned to his paperwork – the bane of all those in the position of authority.
"Ne, ne, Kakashi-nii! Who's that?" Naruto pointed at a tall woman with midnight black-blue waist length hair.
"Her?" Kakashi received an affirmative nod, "She is Hyuuga-sama."
Naruto rolled his eyes at his surrogate big brother. "I know that! Her eyes say so! I mean who is she? She's so pretty, almost as pretty as okaa-san was!"
He received a bop on the head. "That is Hyuuga-sama, as in the wife of the clan head and mother of your little friend."
"Oh!" Naruto rubbed his head where his brother had smacked him and looked up playfully angry at his brother, "You should have said so!"
"Ah, well. Come on, let's go introduce ourselves!" No sooner had the words left the teenagers mouth than the blond grabbed a hold of his brother's hands and began dragging said brother toward the 'pretty lady.'
"Hi! I'm Naruto, and I'm going to be Hokage one day dattebayo!" the blond proclaimed to the Hyuga matron.
She'd been having a relatively peaceful day. After the near kidnapping of her daughter, many in the clan had been slightly nervous, and once they heard of Kumo's attempt to demand compensation in the form of the life of the one that had killed their ninja they'd been more so.
She shuddered to think what would have happened had one of the Hyuuga been the one to stop the Kumo nin. Would the Hokage have been as firm in denying Kumo, or would one of her clansmen been sacrificed for the good of the village? She had found herself very grateful to the blond jinchuuriki that had saved her daughter, and found herself thinking back on her days in the academy where another Uzumaki had proclaimed that she would be the first female Hokage.
From what her husband had told her, the two acted very much alike and he was already showing small signs of the verbal tick for which that female Uzumaki was so famous.
She was startled out of her thoughts when a blond, the same blond that had occupied her thoughts moments earlier, came up to her and proclaimed, "Hi! I'm Naruto, and I'm going to be Hokage one day dattebayo."
If she hadn't known any better she would have thought that her old schoolmate had switched bodies with said schoolmate's crush of which everyone knew but did not have the courage to confront her about. However the blond was looking at her with expectant, and surprisingly guarded, eyes.
"Oh really? Well, you had better listen to what your teachers tell you then!" she replied to the waiting blond with a smile on her face.
"I do!" he replied with a pout which he quickly replaced with a smile at the nice lady that hadn't yelled at him yet. "Kakashi-nii said that you're Hinata-chan's mom! Do you know where she is?" He asked slightly shy but not at all put off by the regal woman.
Her entire face lit up as she thought of Hinata's first real friend. She needed a friend. "Why yes I do. She's somewhere in the playground. Why don't you go look for her?"
The blond, too exited from actually get permission from a mother for once, went bounding away quickly in search of the lavender-eyed girl that he'd met a month earlier.
"Thank you." Kakashi told the Hyuuga once the boy was gone and she turned to him with a small smile on her face.
"Hinata needs this friendship just as much as he does, I believe. She is too shy for her own good and . . ."
Kakashi turned to the Hyuuga lady, "Is something wrong?" She had activated her doujutsu.
"There . . . there are those bullies again. They pick on her because she stutters and because she is of the main house."
"Should I go stop . . . " she had a smile on her face and had turned off her doujutsu, "them?"
"No, it's alright, it seems Naruto has just found her and scared them off with a well placed punch." She turned her smile to the one-eyed teen. "Thank you for bringing Naruto here today! I'm sure this is simply the start of a wonderful friendship between the two!"
The Tsuchikage leaned back in his seat with a perpetual smile on his face. So Kumo had failed in their attempt to capture the Byakugan? They risked war in calling for the murderer of their dead ninja? With the two forces of Iwa and Kumo they'd be ready for war in three years, and then Iwa would get its revenge on Konoha for what the Kiiroi Senkou did.
He leaned over his desk to write a reply to the Raikage. They'd strike at the Chuunin exams that were set to be held in Suna in three years time, and then Konoha would have no allies on which it could fall back. It was perfect, absolutely foolproof. There would be no recovery for the arrogant Konoha-nin!
On Naruto's fourth birthday, he ditched Kakashi on his lessons and spent the day at the Ichiraku Ramen Stand. Teuchi, the owner of the stand, was really nice, and Ramen . . . ramen was heavenly. There was no equal.
Ichiraku even boasted about how the Yondaime Hokage came and ate there with some redhead - that Naruto knew was his mother - and she was his best customer, being able to eat bowls upon bowls of ramen.
And so, Naruto decided that since ramen was so amazing, and since his mother was such a big fan, he would be too!
A four and a half year old Naruto looked around the corner of the ANBU headquarters' main hallway. If all had gone according to plan they'd all be running out in five . . . four . . . three . . . two . . . bingo.
In every hallway was a Naruto clone that, as soon as it came into contact with the now multicolored ANBU after him, would henge into a Gai that looked as if he had been thoroughly doused by a water dragon. And in spandex that does not look good at all . . .
The blond snickered as he sneaked into the kitchen that had been vacated by the ANBU and poured powder into the ramen soup. It was laughing powder designed to make even an Aburame laugh.
He quickly crept out and hurried to his room before dispelling all his clones. The prank had gone without a hitch. The Hokage mountain had been painted using disappearing reappearing ink last night that would disappear as soon as he applied it and reappear when a clone applied chakra and the paint bombs had been set off by low key explosive tags. His diversion had gone perfectly and he wasn't even caught yet.
Mind you, he respected the Hokage greatly, especially his father which was why he left that one mostly alone and only added a nosebleed because face it: his mom was gorgeous and his father would have to have been gay to not have had any naughty thoughts of his mother which he knew was not so considering he was alive, but he couldn't show absolute favoritism on one Hokage and not the others and he needed a huge diversion to keep all the ANBU busy. They all had the same treatment. Especially since Kakashi-nii had been late for their weekly shougi matches.
Naruto didn't like shougi, but to be late when you set something up is just rude!
He froze when he heard the knock on his door. They caught him already? Shoot. He'd have to work on his escape tactics a little more.
He slowly opened the door and plastered on an innocent smile on his face. It completely fell apart when he looked at the many colors of all the ANBU. Their masks and hair were not spared. Weren't these supposed to be the elite . . . although he did catch them in the headquarters . . .
He'd never get away with something like this ever again. Ah well, he'd just have to go BIGGER next time.
Uh . . . what's bigger than the Hokage monument? He'd have to consult Hinata-chan on this.
So, it turned out that the Academy and the Police headquarters were great targets to prank. All of the kids were older than Naruto, and he was due to go and take his test there within nine months, which meant that it would be nice and clean by the time he went, and he'd be off of his grounding!
He'd planned it for three hours, while he couldn't sleep, and had ten clones running around the Academy while everyone was asleep. The Uchiha-police had gone home for the day, and there were only two chuunin on guard.
He snickered as he put his plan into motion.
The next morning found all the academy walls in tie-dye, all the kunai bright orange, and the tests all written on. Ah, life was great. This time, Naruto was hiding with Hinata-chan at the Ramen shop!
"I'm going t be a big sister in late March or early April!" Hinata repeated, again a large smile on her face.
"Cool! I'm going to be taking the graduation test on April fifteenth!" he said brightly, "We can teach her to be a great ninja like us too!
"That's a great idea Naruto, though . . . I don't know if it'll be a boy or a girl."
"It'll be a girl." Naruto said convincingly. "And she'll be just as nice as you and your mom!"
"What is it?" Naruto had been staring at the wrinkled bundle in Hyuuga-sama's arms for about five minutes and he still couldn't understand where Hinata's little sister was.
Much to the blond five year old's irritation everyone chuckled. He wasn't a ninja yet! They shouldn't laugh at him for not knowing something. He looked back to the wrinkled little bundle.
"Well, what is it?" He was getting quite impatient.
"T-that's my new little sister."
"Why is she so small?"
"That's how babies are, silly!" he leaned closer to look at the child.
"Are you sure she'll get bigger?" his skeptical face made Kakashi unable to keep his snort of laughter contained.
"Hey Hinata-chan, were you ever like that?"
"A-ano, I think so!"
Her okaa-san's laugh was like a chime. "So were you, Naruto-kun."
"Psh, me? Never! I'm going to be Hokage one day! That's not what a Hokage looks like!" he pouted and crossed his arms across his chest.
"Even mighty Hokages were once this small." His wide eyes displayed his incredulity. "Watch, she'll grow to be a nice strong shinobi one day."
He leaned over the bundle again and sighed. "Well then, she'll need a nii-san too, right, and one that's not always so 'I'm a Hyuuga, I will suck your blood' or 'happiness' or whatever."
Hinata smiled and her cousin Neji glared. Life was good.
Naruto sat on the swing. Hinata was later than usual and he was waiting all alone at the park. His ninja test was almost coming up. This would be the last time he and Hinata would get to play. AND THAT DAMN THEME SONG WOULDN'T GET OUT OF HIS HEAD! The night before, Kakashi-nii had turned on the television and the theme song of the anime show was really catchy.
So as he swung he hummed and sang the only words he remembered. "I really want you to realize the fact that you're beautiful . . . hmmmm hmmm hmmm. If you'd notice your beauty, I would be happy. I'm thinking of you Please realize your beauty."
And that was how Hinata found him – sitting on the swing and repeating the ending of that song.
"Hinata-chan!" the word was more a whine than anything else and Hinata's eyes widened. Was he talking about her? She felt her face heat up and things started to get black. She couldn't see anything! But she could hear . . . odd.
She was blind and getting dizzy.
"Naruto-kun?" her panicked cry brought him running.
"Hinata-chan, are you okay?"
"Naruto-kun, I can't see!"
"Sit down Hinata-chan! I'll help you."
She sat and her vision began to return. "Naruto-kun, thank you, I can see again. Ano . . . what were you singing?"
"Hm? Oh Kakashi-nii turned on the TV last night and the song's been stuck in my head since then! Hey, why were you late, Hinata-chan?"
"A-ah, my otou-san wanted to work on some more juuken a bit." Her head lowered. For a moment she had thought that . . .
That was the day that Hinata discovered that she cared about Naruto's opinion of her and how he felt about her.
That is the first chapter! I hope you like it, please review! My pairings, for the most part, are set in stone such as NaruHina and NejiTen. However for any side pairings, feel free to suggest!
I am looking for a Beta! So if you are interested please PM me or leave it in your review!
There will eventually be a Wave Mission, but that is in the far future and, yes, Haku will be a guy. Sorry to any that feel that he should be a girl. That is how cannon does it and I can't really bring myself to change that about him. Furthermore I do not write Yaoi or Yuri. I do not have any problem with homosexuals, it's just that it is something I, personally, feel uncomfortable reading and writing.
Remember to review! Until next time!
P.S. I edited the chapter, this is the revised version. There are mostly just some spelling mistakes here and there that I fixed. This will not occur often as I have found a beta reader!
P.S. AGAIN I rewrote a bunch of it and have added some too. I hope it seems more realistic . . . I also took out the Omake, added a bit more, and put them as a series of events here. :)
Thank you kagi-chan! I completely missed that the first time reading it!