It was a day after they were taught to unlock their chakra coils (and boy hadn't that been a mess, the classroom was ruined!) and it was so wet that some of the shinobi thought they had accidentally come to Rain village instead of the Leaf.
One child, still running a massive fever from unlocking his chakra coils, was shivering out in the cold rain. As he closed his eyes, possibly for the last time, he didn't hear someone approach.
"This could be very interesting indeed. Oh the chaos it would cause!" said the odd old man with glee.
He thrived on making things difficult for others...the problem was that he got bored very easily and ended up moving onto his next victim of what the more 'modern' students called trolling. The child was unconscious, and he was bored. If the kid kept his interest, he might even be nice enough to take it easy on him later.
Kiritsugu looked at the child who had appeared for no apparent reason a few days after the birth of his daughter Illyasviel.
Normally they would either use the child for a magus experiment or send him on his way once the fever broke, but one of the house homunculi noticed a note.
A note from a rather well known (and not in a good way) Wizard Marshal named Zelretch.
He said that he had found the kid and didn't feel like raising him, so he was dumping him on someone who wouldn't give the child a big head when he took up magecraft. So he dumped him on the infamous magus killer Emiya.
Kiritsugu didn't know whether to curse out the blasted master of the Kaleidoscope, or to just take the hint and do nothing.
Instead he asked his wife.
"I'm sure Illya would love an older brother."
It wasn't until the fever broke a few days later that they learned the boy's name...and unfortunately on Kiritsugu had been able to understand his surprised babble.
"Where am I?"
"One of the Einzbern castles. What is your name?"
"Uzumaki Naruto. Who are you old man?"
"My name is Kiritsugu Emiya, and this is my wife Irisviel. And the little one is my daughter Illyasviel. Do you remember how you got here?"
"I remember passing out in a rainstorm because my landlord locked me out, even though I was feeling crappy since class ended...and someone cackling in a way that kinda freaked me out."
"Why would a three-year-old have a landlord?" asked Emiya.
"I'm five, and I've been living in my own apartment since I was four after the orphanage kicked me out. Something about not wanting a demon brat in with the 'normal' kids and corrupting them anymore. Senile old bat, she deserved having all her wigs dyed pink for throwing me out..." said Naruto under his breath.
Any doubts he had about taking the boy in were washed away with that information. Anyone who would throw a four year old boy out and force him to learn how to live on his own was clearly not ready to deal with a child.
Once Naruto fully recovered from the fever that had been in his body (several hours after regaining consciousness) Kiritsugu watched how he interacted with them. He seemed content to be around Illya and Iris, and carefully watched how the homunculi reacted to him first before doing or even touching anything.
It all spoke of heavy abuse, and it only made the decision to keep him here as an older brother to his daughter all the stronger.
A month after Naruto came to the castle, Kiritsugu asked him if he wanted to stay around as Illya's older brother. Naruto had taken to calling her 'Little Snowstorm' after a particularly loud series of bawling from the tiny girl one night when he had been half asleep in her room, curled up under a blanket.
It had been Naruto who calmed the girl down five minutes after it started, and helped Iris to keep an eye on her.
Naruto looked overjoyed by the idea of a family, even one as odd as theirs. He looked delighted to finally have a sibling, even one as loud as Illya had been in those first few months.
And he took to any training Kiritsugu gave him with a knife with surprising ease...at least until he told the man that the village he use to live in had been a shinobi village, and that the class he had taken before his disappearance had been training for the shinobi forces.
Kiritsugu hated the idea of child soldiers, but considering how well Naruto took to his lessons in being an assassin, he was willing to put up with it.
Naruto certainly had no problem being the man's apprentice.
When Naruto was nine, Kiritsugu was chosen as a Master for the fourth Grail War, a very high honor. Being no stranger to death, he understood like any Magus that it had a high death rate for any participant, for it was always easier to kill the Master instead of the Servant.
Which was why, when he first saw the Servant that the Einzbern all but demanded his father summon (the ignored him and acted like he didn't exist...a distinct improvement compared to his old home) the first thing that came to mind wasn't her looks, but her stance.
She was a true swords-woman, this Alturia Pendragon. Indeed, she found a warmer reception from little Naruto than from her actual Master Kiritsugu, who was still dealing with the shock that King Arthur had in fact been a young woman.
So, whenever his father was off on another paid mission from either the Church or the Magus Association, Naruto would beg Saber for sword lessons while Illya learned from their mother.
Illya loved her rather cheerful older brother, even though Iris had explained to the girl he was her adopted older brother when she was old enough to understand that news.
About the only real interaction Naruto had with the main family, that of the TRUE Einzberns (which said pricks had no issue reminding him he didn't belong) was when Acht had told his father Kiritsugu that if the brat was going to stay he would learn magecraft their way, instead of the half-assed method Kiritsugu was known for using.
Naruto didn't mind learning new things, as shown by his willingness to learn how to use a sword from Saber, the best of the Knight class Servants. But some of the things he might have balked at had he still been a shinobi-in-training.
The second the Einzberns realized he had a ridiculous recovery rate, Naruto was given even harder training, which he took to with relish as Kiritsugu had been impressed by his ability to handle the best of the best the Einzbern had to offer his adopted son.
The Einzbern weren't afraid to make contingency plans in case Kiritsugu lost this Grail War, or to make use of the man's daughter. If Emiya lost this one, then Illya would be their Master in the next, and they would have her summon Berserker...and Naruto would be right next to her with whatever Servant he could scrounge up.
Just because they were mildly impressed with him didn't mean they had to like him. Naruto held no illusions that the family outside of Kiritsugu, Illya and the family homunculi barely tolerated his existence at best.
Considering that he had been used to active dismissal and outright hate from adults for no apparent reason, he bore this with disturbing ease.
Then the worst happened. During the Grail War in Fuyuki, Kiritsugu disobeyed his orders and destroyed the Grail, leaving no clear winner. Acht was so mad that he poisoned Illyasviel against her own father while Naruto was away in the Clock Tower learning under proper teachers.
He had been accepted because of a startling discovery when he was thirteen by an Enforcer.
There was a high-level Mythical Beast sealed inside of him, likely from birth. He might have gotten a Sealing Designation from the Clock Tower had a certain pain-in-the-ass Wizard Marshal not intervened and took him as his apprentice.
People hated Naruto almost as much as they hated his current teacher, Zelretch.
It was two years before the Fifth Grail War, and Naruto was about to summon his Servant.
"I hate you Oyaji," said Naruto deadpan. Zelretch chuckled evilly at his apprentice, who had come a long way from the abused child he had dumped on the infamous Magus Killer.
Naruto had a surprising aptitude for Kaleidoscope, though that didn't surprise Zelretch too much.
One of the requirements to master that branch was to have alternates you could borrow from...and as long as the Kyuubi was inside the boy, he would have a near infinite amount of Naruto Uzumaki to borrow from. What many would see as the curse of a Jinchuriki had become a blessing in disguise.
"Don't be like that. I did help you earn your Command Seals after all," chuckled Zelretch.
"And teach me the finer points of trolling people who should be respected," said Naruto grinning.
The undisputed Queen of the Clock Tower had not been pleased when Naruto had taken up that hobby from his teacher.
Naruto stood before his circle and waited for the time to summon. Then he started to chant, feeling his innate magic rise in response to the glow.
"Come forth, Keeper of the Balance!"
There was an explosion of magic, and he could hear someone breathing. He blinked when he saw what he got though.
It was a woman in rather revealing clothing for someone of her bust. She had a pair of fox ears and a long wavy tail to match. She was definitely Japanese.
"Servant Caster has answered your call. I ask of you, are you my Master?"
"I am," said Naruto, holding up his command seals, which looked like a strange three-pronged kunai.
Caster looked at her twenty-three year old master with a smile on her face.
"I have the feeling we'll be in for a fun time!" she said with a grin.
Zelretch just laughed. When he had taken Naruto as his personal apprentice at the age of fifteen, he never expected the boy to be this entertaining.
Naruto had a sense of humor who could appreciate his own, which was surprising considering the hard-ass family he was raised in since Kiritsugu adopted him as his son. The only one in the family Naruto had any connection to was his 18-year-old sister Illyasviel, and the rare occasions that Acht needed him to deal with someone in the family that were becoming an issue.
Such as family heirs who were annoying him or were about to damage the family reputation in a way he wouldn't tolerate. Considering the Einzbern family head could have thrown Naruto out after Emiya betrayed them, he counted his blessings.
Acht either didn't know, or care, that Naruto had meet his adopted father five times before his death. He had even met their step-brother Shiro, who Kiritsugu adopted after the mess the Grail had made in the last days.
Shiro seemed happy to know that he had step-siblings, even they couldn't be seen together because of the fact his new father had apparently pissed quite a few people off before he came to live in Fuyuki.
They settled for e-mails instead, and it was thanks to Naruto that Shiro was as far ahead as he was in magecraft.
He was however, eager to meet the 'Little Snowstorm' as Naruto called Illya.
"Well at least Acht won't have any complaints about my Servant. Remember how much he bitched about me learning the shinobi arts?" chuckled Naruto.
Zelretch snorted. He had given Naruto all the books he stole from Uzushiogakure, his birth mother's homeland, from before it was destroyed and told him to learn all he could about being a shinobi. Ironically enough his magus training doubled as his chakra training, though his control wasn't worth speaking of.
Considering he had power to spare, that was of little concern to the Einzbern clan.
Naruto was currently on par with an elite jounin from Uzushiogakure, or had been when Zelretch dumped him there for a year when he was twenty as training, to the displeasure of Illya. As far as the records would show, he had died during the war.
"Naruto-nii has summoned Caster, Grandfather," said Illya when she hung up the phone he had given her. Satellite phones were quite useful, as they didn't require any cell towers.
"Surprising," snorted Acht.
"He has agreed to act as the dagger to my axe in the war, to bring glory to the Einzbern family," continued Illyasviel.
Last night she had summoned Heracles the Berserker. It had always been the plan to have Naruto summon something like Assassin to complement her Berserker and insure victory. That is until they found out about the mythical beast in his body, then Zelretch had snatched him up before he could be used for experiments.
So long as he proved useful, he could be considered under the protection of the Einzbern family.
"And what of the boy Emiya took under his wing?" asked Acht. He was still pissed about that one.
"He shall die by my hand, Acht-jii-sama," said Illya with a curtsey.
Naruto had the odd habit of not giving proper respect to authority figures, which had unfortunately carried over to his sister Illya. As such he tended to call their great-great grandfather, the head of the Einzbern clan, Acht-jii-san. Illya just changed the honorific to avoid getting punished.
"Please?" begged Caster.
"No and hell no. The last time I let you go shopping you bought all those skimpy clothes and I got glared at by the old hag in the tower!"
The old hag being, of course, the Queen of the Clock Tower Lorelei. She had been so pissed when he first called her that in Zelretch's hearing. In return Naruto gave her free shots at him whenever she was in a bad mood, so it all evened out. Well, that and she gave him others to annoy that she couldn't because of her position.
Caster pouted, her tail moving this way and that under her highly provocative clothing. If he were any less of a gentleman he might have taken advantage of her. That and he knew his sister would have Berserker try to maim him if he even considered the idea.
"Come on Master, can we please go shopping?" whined Caster.
"No! Why don't you go harass that pansy Waver if you're so bored?"
Zelretch had introduced him to Lord El-Melloi once the command seals had made their appearance two years earlier. Naruto spent a year under the former Master learning about the Grail wars...and quite a bit about Waver's Servant Alexander the Great. Naruto had the feeling that the former king and him would have gotten along just fine. Gilgamesh, not so much.
Caster pouted cutely, something that sent the lesser mages to the floor with nosebleeds.
"But we don't leave for Fuyuki in five days!"
"Go read!" said Naruto.
"Caster, the only reason I am even participating is to save Illya. I could honestly care less about the Grail or a wish," said Naruto.
The only thing driving Naruto to become a Master in the war wasn't because Acht had demanded it, but because Zelretch had given him his word that he would save Illya once the war was over and her use had ended to Acht. According to the old vampire, Illya wouldn't live past this war unless someone 'fixed' her body which had been altered by the Einzbern family while she was still in the womb.
Zelretch had told him that if he participated in the war and survived with his sister, then he would fix Illya before her body started to break down because she would be chosen as the lesser Grail. He could do so, since he had spent countless alternates examining her out of boredom.
Caster sauntered up to Naruto with a grin on her face.
"I know something fun we could do to pass the time..."
"My sister would kill me, or at the very least beat the crap out of me. She'll be pissed anyway because of what you're wearing!" said Naruto.
It wasn't that he was adverse to the idea, it was just that Illya had the worst big brother complex he had ever seen and she was far more protective of him than most girls her age.
If Shiro survived the war, he was so going to transfer that problem to him to get some freedom.
"It's not like she'll have to know," purred Caster, her tail wrapping around his waist.
Naruto looked around them tiredly.
"If Acht has spies around me at all time, which I know he does, he'll tell her himself just to piss me off," said Naruto flatly.
Said 'spies' smirked and gave him a wave in confirmation of this statement. It wasn't like Naruto didn't already know they were working for the old coot anyway.
"But I'm bored..."
"I'm sure Zelretch has some supplies for you to play with...or you could make some seals to blow that Makiri heir sky-high when we get there. Not like Illya would care," said Naruto.
Caster perked up at the idea. Naruto had it out for the Makiri after Zelretch told him why their last Master Kariya had been in that war, despite being unsuited for it. The idea of implanting those disgusting crest worms into a child not even ten disgusted him...and Acht had already told him he was free to wipe that entire family out if he wanted. Caster went off in search of the old vampire for some sealing supplies to play with.