|An Uzumaki Amongst the Dunes
Author: pudgypudge PM
Having been denied his birthright by the council of Konoha, Naruto forsakes the Leaf Village. He leaves for what he hopes is a better life among the shinobi of Suna, taking his family's scrolls and heirlooms with him.Rated: Fiction M - English - Naruto U. & Temari - Chapters: 29 - Words: 172,558 - Reviews: 3,850 - Favs: 4,887 - Follows: 2,605 - Updated: 03-31-09 - Published: 12-28-07 - Status: Complete - id: 3975134
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The first chapter of my new story. I couldn't get this one out of my head so I had to put it online. Hopefully, it will recieve some of the notoriety that my other fics have. One can only hope. Enjoy people. Readers, Reviewers, thank you.
Gaara was safe. The Akatsuki had taken the Shukaku, but Gaara was safe. That was all that mattered. Naruto stared at his stoic friend and a small smile crossed his face. It wasn't often that someone you knew died and then was resurrected. But jinchuurikis don't work inside the realms of normal logic. They are living reminders that they shouldn't be alive, that no matter what, they should have been erased years ago. Human sacrifices weren't supposed to last as long as they had. But this train of thought wasn't helping any and Naruto knew that. Staring his friend in the eyes, Naruto raised his hand and offered it to Gaara. The red head raised an eyebrow and used his sand to lift his hand and grasped Naruto's own firmly.
"Thank you, my friend, for saving my life. I am indebted to you."
Temari and Kankurou stood behind their brother with grins on their faces. It wasn't often that Gaara showed this level of respect and warmth to anyone. Naruto merely nodded his head and clapped his hand on Gaara's shoulder.
"We have to go now my friend. I'll see you again one day."
As the rest of his group said their goodbyes and turned to walk away, a sudden cold feeling washed over Naruto and he turned to look at the form of Gaara several feet behind him. A foreboding sense of premonition washed over him and he didn't want to go home at the moment. Sakura, Kakashi, and the rest watched as he sprinted back over to Gaara and placed both hands on the Kazekage's shoulders, alerting many to how close they were and causing many to fall into defensive stances. The Godaime Kazekage simply puzzled at the distressed look on his friend's face and unfolded his arms.
"What else do you need Naruto? Ask, and if its in my power, I shall help you."
"Gaara, I just had a bad feeling. I need you to promise me that if I ever need to, that I can come live here. I have a bad feeling about going back to Konoha, and I…I just don't know. Just say that I can come here if need be."
A ghost of a smile crept onto Gaara's face and he clapped a hand on Naruto's right shoulder as Naruto dropped his own.
"Uzumaki Naruto, you are forever more welcome in Sunagakure. If you ever need help or refuge, we will welcome you with open arms."
Naruto ducked his head and a single tear crawled down his face. At least, if worse ever came to worse, he was welcome in Gaara's village. Raising his head, he looked past his insomniac friend to the people of Suna and saw nothing but smiles and admiration. He closed his eyes again and stepped away from them all. He turned his head while walking away, and in the tiniest voice that carried on the wind, he whispered.
"Thank you all. I shall see you again soon."
The mission to destroy Akatsuki did not go as planned. Jiraiya was able to live, but he lost an arm to Pein. Sasuke and his Hebi group had engaged Itachi and had not done very well. The gap between the brothers was still as wide as a canyon. Hebi had run away, carrying their wounded leader, and the Konoha nins had not been able to pursue. Their main concern was getting Jiraiya back to the village and having Tsunade fix him up. The mission was a failure. Better to regroup and come out alive, than to pursue a foe that could destroy them all.
After much fussing and frantic crying from Tsunade over the stupidity of Jiraiya and his condition, the old hermit was fixed up and would be peeping on the girls again within months. Currently, he and Tsunade were sitting in the Hokage office with a very nervous Naruto. Tsunade cleared her throat and got his attention.
"Now Naruto, I want you to know that you're not in trouble. Jiraiya and I have something to tell you that will rock not only your world, but the foundation of Konoha as we know it."
Naruto gulped and sat up straighter in his chair. He wasn't in trouble but this had something to do with him and he couldn't really see it being a good thing. The shiver he had after they rescued Gaara all those months ago came back full force and the sense of foreboding was almost overpowering. Everything in him was telling him to bolt, but morbid curiosity wouldn't allow it. Signaling with his hand for her to continue, he readied himself.
"Naruto, this is about your parents, who they were, and what this means for you."
A pin could have dropped and would have been heard with perfect clarity. The sound of inhalation broke the silence and Naruto was seen gripping the handles of his chair so hard that his knuckles were white.
"My…my parents? Who were they?"
Jiraiya smiled at his apprentice and he and Tsunade crossed the room to sit in chairs in front of Naruto. A conversation such as this demanded not that they be professional, but that they be compassionate to a boy who, for all intents and purposes, was like a grandchild to the both of them. Tsunade smiled and started again.
"Your parents, Naruto, were Namikaze Minato and Uzumaki Kushina, two of the most powerful ninja this village has ever seen."
"Namikaze, Namikaze…where have I heard that name before? It sounds so familiar…"
Jiraiya laughed and slapped the arm of his chair.
"It should sound familiar, brat, that's the name of your idol, the Yondaime Hokage."
"My father was the Yondaime Hokage? But…but, why was I never told?"
A sad smile came onto Tsunade's face as she patted his knee.
"Your parents didn't want you to get a big head, Naruto, because of who they were. They were humble people and expected you to be as well. It was your father's dying wish that you be seen as a hero, but we all see how that turned out. Your mother was beautiful, a loudmouth tomboy at heart, but a beautiful person. Despite the way you grew up Naruto, you're one of the noblest people in Konoha by birth."
"Then why was I made to live like trash? I could have been adopted or…or something. Why…why did I have to be all alone? I don't think they wanted me to be all alone…"
Jiraiya sighed and sat back in his chair. A proud smile adorned his haggard face.
"Tell me, Naruto, do you know how you got that name?"
"Your parents named you after a character in one of my books."
"I'm named after one of the characters in one of your perverted books? Great, that's just what I need to know now."
"Hey, that's not true. This was an earlier novel of mine that wasn't as well received. Your mother loved it though. It was a story of a brave warrior who became a hero to his village. In fact, it…really resembled your life up till now. I…I wrote down the Toad Seer's prophecy and didn't realize it."
This had piqued both Tsunade's and Naruto's interest, but only Tsunade had the voice to speak.
"Tell me, Jiraiya, how did it end?"
"It…I never finished it. The publisher didn't like it, so I only got up to the point where the hero meets the villain pulling the strings behind the scenes and then nothing. The rest is a blank slate Naruto. Your future is what you make of it."
"Do you have a picture of my parents? I want to see what they looked like."
The last two of the Sannin stood and motioned for him to follow them.
"We'll do you one better brat. We'll show you your parent's house."
Stepping out into the sun, Naruto realized how warm it was and tied his jacket around his waist. The black t-shirt he wore was just a little tight and showed off his toned body. Naruto wasn't mindful of the looks he was getting though. Today was one day he could care less. Today was the day he learned of his origins. Perhaps, just maybe, that premonition wasn't a bad thing after all. After marching through the village for what seemed like eternity, the trio stopped outside of a set of gates. Naruto stood in awe before his family's home, completely oblivious to the prodding of his two companions.
"Well? Wouldn't you like to go inside and see what you have here?"
He merely nodded dumbly and padded after the two Sannin, up to the door and inside. Looking around, he noticed that the fact that his parents were humble people was very apparent. Instead of a clan house, it was a very quaint four-bedroom home, just big enough for a couple wanting to start a family. It was a very homey place with leather furniture and wood floors, a fireplace, and a larger-than-average kitchen. Naruto spun round and round, taking it all in. He heard Jiraiya sigh and turned back to his sensei.
"You know, the last time I was here was right before you were born. I was in a bit of a slump and Minato and Kushina insisted that I stay with them until I was my normal, jolly self. I'd never seen them so happy, talking about what a great kid they were going to have. Heh, if they could only see the hellion you grew up to be, they'd have never been so upbeat."
Tsunade and Naruto chuckled at his joke. Jiraiya was trying to be enlightening while sorting through his own memories.
"Your mother was beautiful Naruto. Redheads are always feisty ones. You get your attitude from her. She never took shit from anybody, including me. She was always such a blast to be around. Minato, well he's public knowledge. He was a prankster extraordinaire and a very powerful man. Of course, he wouldn't have amounted to anything without my training, but that's beside the point. I loved your parents as if they were my own children and you, yourself, are my godchild."
"Then why didn't you come get me after it was all over?"
"Naruto, I didn't step foot back in Konoha until that day you met me at the hot springs. You have no idea how shocked I was to see you. It was like looking at a fusion of Kushina and Minato, and yet, I didn't want to believe it. You couldn't be real. If you were alive, it was a painful reminder of duties that I had shirked. I'm sorry Naruto."
"It's alright Ero-sennin. I forgive you. I know all too well that the past is painful. Besides, meeting you in that way was a lot more fun and exciting than being raised by you."
The three shared a laugh and eventually quieted back down. As he wiped the tears from his eyes, Naruto's vision settled on a photo of a redheaded woman and a blonde man, both in jounin uniform.
"Are those…are they…is that them?"
Tsunade nodded and Naruto took the photo off the wall and sat in a chair, staring at it intently. He was indeed the vision of his mother in the face, while his hair and build resembled his father's. His chest began to ache and he had to set the picture down before he dropped it. Tsunade sat beside him and wrapped her arms around his shoulders.
"Now, now, don't cry. We have a lot of exploring to do and not much time to do it. We have a meeting with the council soon and you have to be there."
"Because we're going to reinstate you as the last Namikaze. We have your father's and mother's will, your birth certificate, and several affidavits that say you are who you are. Unfortunately, for you to be reinstated as a clan after so long a period of inactivity, we'll need a majority vote from the council. After all, you've been registered as a ward of the state and an orphan since your birth. We have a lot of work ahead of us."
Jiraiya nodded his head and clapped a hand on his shoulder.
"Just know, boy, that you've done a lot of good in your career as a ninja. Not many can do what you can. You're an asset to the village and unless there are a lot of bigots and grudge holders on that council, then we'll have no problem. Now, what say we investigate the rest of this house?"
Naruto nodded and followed after them, a small frown on his face. That bad feeling was back again and this time it was threatening to consume him.
Tsunade had been arguing with the assembled council for a while now and it was disheartening to say the least. Despite all the evidence, despite his shining military record, despite ALL he had done for the village; some still held a grudge against the fox and still saw him as the monster inside him. Jiraiya was ready to blow any second. This is how they treat not only a fellow shinobi, but also a child of noble birth? Gritting his teeth, he seethed to himself. If this had been Uchiha Sasuke, they would have kissed his ass so fast…
Naruto sat against the wall by the door, his head hung low. This must be what the feeling meant. He was denied his heritage; all that belonged to him was lost. He could care less about the land or the house, those were superficial things. He wanted the memories that belonged to him that were inside; the pictures, the books, the scrolls, his family heirlooms. He wanted his parents' legacy and he was denied that. He had stopped listening after their vote came up negative. Tsunade was in a rage.
"How can you deny him his heritage? He is a ninja of this village and you can't deny him his parent's things."
Homura pushed his glasses further up on his nose and sighed. It wasn't that he didn't like the boy; he just didn't hate him either. He was completely neutral. But the Namikazes were good people and there was no sound proof that this boy was their son. He couldn't, in good conscience, let him have something that might not belong to him.
"Tsunade, what you say is true. We can't deny him his heritage, but there is no proof beyond your word that he even has a heritage. There is simply no way that I can vote for him to receive the holdings of the Namikaze property, nor can any of the other council members. I don't speak for everyone, but if there were proof beyond a shadow of a doubt, I would be the first to cast my vote for aye."
"So all you need is proof? That's all?"
"That is all."
"Fine. I want one month. I'll have your proof or we will never speak of this again and the Namikaze estates will be auctioned off. Agreed?"
Heads nodded and Tsunade and Jiraiya stormed off with Naruto in tow. Retreating to the Hokage office was the only thing they could do at the moment. They should have known that those idiots wouldn't let it go smoothly. Now all they had to do was find proof. Naruto, however, had had enough of political scheming and stood up, crossed the room, and placed his hands on the shoulders of his two older companions.
"Enough. I see now that I will never reach the heights I want to here. My dream has always been just that, a dream. But I've achieved a certain goal of mine. I know now who my parents were and I can live happily knowing that I was a wanted child, that my parents didn't desert me or abandon me. But Konoha no longer holds anything for me. I want to leave Tsunade."
"I can't do that Naruto. You'll be labeled a missing nin as soon as you exit the gates."
"But what if I wasn't a missing nin? What if you reassigned me to an allied village?"
Tsunade sat down behind her desk and folded her hands under her chin. Jiraiya took up his station behind her.
"You've put some thought into this haven't you?"
"Ever since we saved Gaara I've had a bad feeling that wouldn't go away, like something was going to happen that would affect me greatly. I asked Gaara if he would give me a home if I ever had to leave the Leaf and he agreed. Please Baa-chan, don't make me stay here where I'm not appreciated."
"But Naruto, we appreciate you. Don't leave because of this. We'll fight it and we'll make it right."
Naruto shook his head and smiled sadly.
"Baa-chan, I'm not stupid. I know that the council is against me. I don't have a future here except to die for a village that doesn't appreciate me. Do you know that I've never had a day go by here that I haven't been glared at, or insulted, or threatened with violence just for breathing? Do you know what I found in Suna?"
"Acceptance. Adulation. Fellowship. I'm just one ninja, Tsunade, and I'm not the best. I'm powerful, but I know my shortcomings. I'm brash and loud and I don't think things through. Maybe in Suna I can find myself and I'll see you again one day, a better ninja and a better man. Please Baa-chan."
Tsunade swiveled her chair so that he couldn't see her face. Tears cascaded down her cheeks as she looked at Jiraiya pleadingly, as if asking him what she should do. He had no answer but a frown and a knowing nod, to which her tears seemed to redouble. It was true what Naruto said. He had no future here, he had no life. At least there, in Suna, the people didn't glare at him, they didn't hate him. And he had friends there, genuine friends who knew who and what he was. A happy thought flitted through her mind. Maybe there, he'd find love from someone who was as strong as he was, in mind and body. No one here would let their daughters near him, and his crush seemed so far away. Yes, perhaps this was for the best. She swung the chair back around and gave him a teary grin.
"Well then, when do you want to leave?"
"I want to do some things first. They may have denied me my heritage, but I'm not leaving without a few things that are rightfully mine, council be damned. I want my family scrolls, I want my family's pictures, and I want my father's coat. The rest you can do whatever you want with."
Jiraiya raised an eyebrow at his demands.
"And how do you intend to get all that brat?"
"I'm going back with you two one last time. I'm taking several sealing scrolls and I'm putting my family's things in them."
Tsunade nodded her head, but then a fear crept into her mind.
"Naruto, those scrolls are important to the village. How do you intend to take them out without it being seen as treason?"
"I'm going to make copies of whatever is written in them. We'll retrieve them and bring them here to the Hokage office, where I'll make copies and then we'll go see the council again and announce my transfer."
"They'll want the scrolls, you understand."
Naruto set his mouth into a snarl and slammed his fist on the desk.
"They can't have them! Family scrolls are for family only and if there are no Namikazes left in Konoha then the scrolls need to be destroyed. I'll burn them myself if need be."
"I see. If you can't have your rightful property nobody will. I like that brat. You know they'll throw a hissy fit right?"
"Like I give a damn. I don't care what they think anymore."
Tsunade leaned back again and opened her desk drawer, taking out a bottle of sake and three dishes. Jiraiya and Naruto both raised their eyebrows while she uncorked the bottle and poured the sake into the dishes. Lifting hers she bade the two to pick theirs up. Jiraiya did so with a grin on his face, but Naruto looked apprehensive. Tsunade sighed and thrust the dish into his hand.
"I wanted to have a drink with you when you were older, but I may not get that chance now. You're going to drink with Jiraiya and me and you're going to like it. We need to get good and shitfaced before we go about destroying important documents tomorrow."
The three lifted their dishes and clinked them together before downing them. Naruto coughed and sputtered, drawing laughter out of his two older drinking buddies and prompting them to utter at the same time.
The next morning found our trio back at the Namikaze household, and standing in front of a heavy oaken door with a red seal on it. Tsunade and Jiraiya had thrust Naruto to the front and stood behind him while he faced the wooden gate to his desires. Looking over his shoulder, he asked for guidance on what to do. Jiraiya huffed and smacked him on the head.
"All those years of studying seals didn't do jack squat with you did it? It's a blood seal you moron. Cut your thumb and run the blood across the seal and the door should open. It'll only do this for a person of Namikaze blood though."
A light bulb seemed to come on in Tsunade's head.
"Wait! If that's true, then that's how we can prove his heritage. They'll have to believe us then."
Naruto sighed and turned around as he bit his thumb.
"You know as well as I do it's a futile effort Baa-chan. They don't want me to be a Namikaze and they'll probably say something stupid like 'the demon altered his blood to that of the Hokage's or some shit like that'. Let's just do what we came here to do and copy them at your office."
Without another word, Naruto swiped his thumb across the seal and it glowed a bright red before the door swung open and a musty smell came from the now open room. Coughing slightly the three made their way in and stared in awe at the large amount of scrolls in the vault. Minato was a lover of knowledge and his library could rival that of the Hokage tower. Kushina undoubtedly had her own stash in here, but the majority was Minato. Naruto smiled as he looked around. His parents were definitely knowledge hogs. Deciding to forgo those thoughts for the moment, he turned to his companions and tossed them some scrolls.
"Whatcha waiting for? Get to sealing."
Several hours later, the three had gathered every scroll in that library and were headed back to copy them all. Naruto looked at Tsunade and Jiraiya and sighed. He needed to do something to thank them for their help before he left. Suddenly an idea came to his head.
"Hey, tell you what. As thanks for helping me do all this, I'll buy you whatever liquor you want, my treat. What do you say?"
If their eyes could have lit up any more, he'd have been afraid their heads would catch on fire. He was soon shoved off to the nearest liquor store with a list as long as his forearm. Perhaps offering to buy for them wasn't a good idea…
The copying process went very smoothly. After sitting there copying for about an hour, Naruto had gotten bored and summoned several clones to keep going while he took a break. Tsunade soon caught on and sent several as well. She wondered in the back of her mind, if that applied to Hokage paperwork too. Jiraiya, with his one arm, had to concentrate hard to get just the right amount of energy, but was able to make two clones to take over his workload. The rest of the evening was spent with the three getting drunk off their asses, while Tsunade sent a message to the council to meet again in three days. Maybe by then, Naruto would have enough time to look over everything he wanted and get what he needed.
Tsunade entered the council room with Jiraiya and Naruto following closely behind her. This would be a day to remember one way or the other. For one, she was about to send a shinobi to another village without warning and that was considered poor taste from a Kage. The second reason was that she was going to allow said shinobi to destroy documents that could prove potentially useful to Konoha and that definitely wouldn't sit well with the council. The third was that she had invited all of Naruto's friends to sit in on the proceedings, an unheard of thing in the history of Konoha. Seeing that everyone was getting restless, she started the meeting.
"Alright everyone, thank you for coming. We are here once again to decide whether or not you will allow Naruto to take up the name Namikaze and take the seat for that clan on this council. Last time you voted nay. What say you all this time?"
Homura, having been named the representative after his speech last time, stood and addressed the Hokage.
"Have you come across any new evidence to support the claims that one Uzumaki Naruto is indeed the son of Namikaze Minato and Uzumaki Kushina?"
A collective gasp was heard from the section where his friends sat. Several murmurs were heard about how he did look like the Fourth and that maybe he was somebody. Naruto grimaced when he heard that. It was as if you couldn't be somebody unless you were from a clan around Konoha. Tsunade shook her head.
"No we haven't found any new evidence. Now what say you?"
The vote went around and it came up nay again. Tsunade sighed and hung her head. This sealed the deal.
"Very well. Uzumaki Naruto may never take the name Namikaze then and the properties shall be sold off. This is the final decision of this council and may not be overturned. I shall now allow Naruto to take the floor as he has something of interest to tell you all. Naruto?"
He nodded his head and walked to the front of the room. Taking a rather large scroll from his back, he bit his thumb and swiped it over the length of the scroll, dumping out several more on the floor. Bending his knee, he picked up one and passed it to the council member closest to him.
"These are the family scrolls of Namikaze Minato and Uzumaki Kushina. As they are family scrolls, they cannot be allowed to fall into the hands of any untrustworthy people either in or out of Konoha. I have brought them all here to destroy them in front of the council, that they may never be used for ill."
All the council members blanched at that and began to call out. Homura raised his hand, calling for silence.
"Whence did you come by these scrolls boy? These were locked away in the Namikaze household, protected by several blood seals and traps. Only one who was of the Namikaze bloodline could…"
The old man's eyes grew large, large enough to bug out of his head. He lifted his gaze and locked eyes with Naruto, who had a sad look on his face.
"You…you really are…"
Before he could finish, Naruto had raised his hand and started speaking again.
"No, I am not. That was the supreme decision of this council. There are no Namikazes in Konoha anymore. Therefore, these scrolls must be destroyed and any evidence that could be used against the village must be destroyed also. I, myself, am no longer a part of this village as of tomorrow morning. I am being transferred to Suna, where I will take up station as a Suna nin, under the orders of the Godaime Kazekage. I am only here to tell you of this myself."
Everyone stood up and began shouting that he couldn't leave, he was the last Namikaze. It was foolish, he thought, that they would say this after a supreme decision. It couldn't be taken back. Besides, his mind had been made up. With a few quick hand signs and a cry of 'Katon: Goukakyu no Jutsu' he incinerated all the scrolls, amidst a chorus of howls of anger. He felt a slight pinch in his heart as he destroyed his father's work, but took solace in the fact that only the originals were lost. His parent's work would live on through him. He turned to the council member who clung to the tiny scroll and held out his hand. He scowled when the man jerked back, cradling the scroll as if it were precious.
"You come in here and destroy our mightiest Hokage's work and expect me to give up the last thing we may have of him? I don't care if you are his son, I won't…"
He never finished what he was about to say because Naruto had leapt over the table and slammed him against the wall. His fangs bared, he snatched the scroll from the man and tossed it onto the bonfire in the middle of the room.
"Never say I'm his son. You idiots all denied me that right and I shall never forget it. I'm going to Suna now, a place where I hope I'll be appreciated. You won't have to put up with the demon brat anymore. You won't have to put up with Uzumaki Naruto anymore. I quit."
He dropped the man and walked out of the room, heading towards his apartment, where he hoped to prepare to leave in the morning. He heard the sound of footsteps behind him and turned to find his ex teammate Sakura, and the rest of his friends. He didn't want to see them right now, but then again, no time like the present. Sakura had decided she'd speak for the group.
"Naruto, you can't just leave. What will we do without you?"
"The same thing you did when Sasuke left. Carry on. Don't worry about me, I'm going to a better place."
Neji took his turn.
"But aren't you the one who told Sasuke that he didn't need to leave the village to become strong? You're running away from your problems Naruto."
"Don't you dare compare me to him. Sasuke never had to put up with the crap I did. He wasn't hated for something he had no control over. He wasn't ostracized. I'm going to a place where I'll be appreciated for what I can do, not hated for what I never did. I'm sorry, but you'll all do fine without me. You did fine when I left the first time."
Hinata walked to her crush, for what she thought could be the last time. Making her way slowly forward, she wrapped her arms around his neck and sobbed against his chest. Naruto smiled and looked down at the shorter kunoichi. She was always so kind, if only he didn't have to leave. But alas, things never go as planned.
"Shh, shh, Hinata don't worry. I'll see you again someday. Promise me that in that time you'll get stronger."
She looked back up at him and gave him a shaky smile, nodding her head. She didn't trust her voice at the moment as she slunk back beside Kiba and Shino. Naruto looked at the rest and did his best to keep his voice steady.
"Neji, I'm sorry but I'll have to break my promise to you. I won't be able to help you change the Hyuuga. I expect you and Hinata to do it in my stead though. Lee, I'm sorry I won't be around to spar with you anymore. TenTen, I'm sorry I never got to know you better. Shikamaru, Chouji, I want you two to take care of yourselves and Ino. Don't let Asuma's sacrifice go to waste and take care of that kid of his. Shino, Kiba, take care of Hinata please. She needs your support more than ever. And Sakura, you'll have to try to find Sasuke on your own with Kakashi. I'll send whatever info I can on him and if I see him I'll try to subdue him, but I'm not making any more promises. I'm sorry guys but this is goodbye."
He turned on his heel and left to pack, his heart breaking into pieces. He always hated saying goodbye to people and now it felt like the weight of the world was on his shoulders. He had people who depended on him here, but they were all strong. They'd get along without him.
The group stood and watched him fade away into the evening and one by one they began to walk off. The last to leave was Sakura. She couldn't believe that yet another of her teammates had left her all alone. She walked home sobbing to herself and thinking that if only he hadn't been denied what was rightfully his, this may have never happened.
Naruto stood at the gates at sunrise, eager to begin his journey. Beside him stood Tsunade and Jiraiya, the only ones to come to see him off. Jiraiya had given him the last book of his series and made him promise to read it when he got a girlfriend. Naruto made a silent promise that if it was any good like the old pervert said, he might buy them all. Tsunade had nearly broken down in tears and hugged him until he turned blue. She was sniffling and hiccupping the whole time and it took Jiraiya grabbing her ass to make her let go. She turned and glared at the one armed man, promising pain later. Looking back at the young man before her, she smiled one last time and gave him a kiss on the forehead.
"That was for good luck. Now, you'll let us know when you get there right?"
"Of course. I'll have Gaara send a messenger bird."
"Are you sure you don't want us to notify him before hand?"
"Yeah I want this to be a surprise. Well I better go."
Naruto turned to walk away before he remembered the one thing that he had promised to do.
"Oh yeah, Ero-Sennin. I need you to do me a favor."
"And what's that?"
"I don't think I should have the Toad contract anymore. After all, it's a Konoha contract and it needs to stay in Konoha."
"That's not up to me kid, that's up to GamaBunta. It's his contract."
"Well, we better take care of this right now then."
With a quick cry of 'Kuchiyose no Jutsu' the chief toad appeared.
I don't see any danger. Why was I called here?
"Down here chief."
Ah Uzumaki. What do you want?
"I need to cancel our contract. I'm leaving Konoha."
If GamaBunta could have looked any more surprised it would have been comical. He merely looked at the boy with hurt in his eyes and asked the inevitable question.
"Because I'm not appreciated here. I'm leaving and I think it's dishonorable to take a Konoha contract with me. I'm sure Ero-Sennin can find a suitable replacement."
GamaBunta's gaze turned sad and he knocked his pipe out on the ground.
There aren't many like you kid. And you're right; I did agree to serve those who serve Konoha. No way I can convince you to stay? I'd rather you be my summoner than one who is unworthy.
"Sorry chief, I can't. I have to do this. I'm really sorry that we never had that drink either. Tell your kids I'll miss them ok?"
I will. And Jiraiya? This boy's replacement better be as good as him or you're toast. Goodbye Naruto. I'm glad to have met you. Your father would be proud.
With a large puff of smoke GamaBunta disappeared and Naruto ducked his head to keep the tears from flowing. The toads had been a part of him since he was twelve and it hurt to cancel his bind with them. Jiraiya put his arm around the boy's shoulder and gave a reassuring squeeze.
"Don't worry brat. I'll make sure it ends up in the hands of someone who deserves it. I'll miss you boy."
"Hai I'll miss you too. You'll always be my favorite godparent."
Jiraiay choked on a laugh and stood back, wiping the tears from his eyes. Tsunade stepped forward for the last time and wrapped him in a hug.
"I'll miss you Naruto. I really will. Come visit sometime ok?"
"I will Tsunade. I most definitely will. And next time, you're buying sake ok?"
She laughed and stepped back beside Jiraiya, who put his arm around her shoulder for support. For once, Tsunade didn't berate him; she just leaned in and took what she could get. With a wave over his shoulder, Naruto was gone into the coming light. They watched him until he faded away, his white coat melting into the morning sun. It was like looking at the back of Minato all over again. Tsunade wiped away one last tear and looked up at Jiraiya, who looked down at her with a smile, which quickly faded as he saw her feral grin.
"Now then, what have I told you about grabbing my ass?"
As Naruto jogged on, he kept thinking he heard the screams of a pervert in the distance. The thought brought a smile to his face as he marched on to his new home. Hopefully, some things would never change.