A/N: Hey all! Got another chapter out - thanks for all the reviews! I'm pretty terrible at replying to them, so... sorry? I got a lot of requests/questions about if the fic was abandoned, so i'll state for the record that I don't abandon fics without announcing it - it may take me a year (or two!) to actually update it, but fics don't just get ditched. Also, I'm way better at updating on AO3, so if you have an account there, I always post there first. I get here eventually, it can just take a while.

Even if I die/amnesia/AWOL, I have arrangements for announcements of discontinuity to get posted on all my fics so people know for sure no updates will happen again, so barring an announcement an update WILL happen, someday. Might be a long time coming, but it'll happen.

Anyway, thanks for sticking with the story everyone and hope you enjoy this chapter too!

Whistling was a habit he'd never gotten into – mostly because it was too useful a communication method for him to be willing to rely on it for recreational distraction, and misunderstandings of that nature were only funny in films and Icha Icha – but right after a smooth-as-butter assassination mission with no potential moral sticking points and no bizarre restrictions or staging instructions from drama-happy clients? He was always sorely, sorely tempted.

Instead, he pulsed the chakra he was using to water-walk in time to one of the old Uzushio tunes Kushina had always hummed while she cooked. Not something he could do without feeling at least somewhat secure already and excellent chakra control exercise besides. It was almost like dancing, without actually having to give up any forward progress in his path or look even vaguely unprofessional.

The rest of the mercenaries Gatou had employed were dead and carefully sealed away so it would look like they had just vanished, leaving the occasional bloodstain he hadn't bothered washing up behind. Most of the ryo was equally sealed away, but he'd left enough for all of the prisoners to have a decent start and had broken all the cell locks while henged as a drunken guard, laughing and tormenting them with the possibility of escape.

They'd eventually leave, and realize they were properly free. Probably.

Whatever, it wasn't his problem anymore. No, his problem was now getting back to Konoha as soon as possible with the goods so the intelligence division could figure out how to access Gatou's accounts and claim the money for themselves. Hells, if he got there fast enough there might be time to arrange a few takeovers for corners of industry Gatou had dominated and as shinobi responsible for the gain, he had top pick of the beneficiaries for that sort of operation.

The Hatake clan's mercantile allies might just be getting some extra business sent their way.

Ah, fuck. Sasuke was twelve and hadn't been raised as the heir to his clan, he probably had a very small idea of what sort of contacts and resources he was going to be expected to manage on his majority. Shit, technically majority was on attaining chunnin rank, at least for a clan head, and he doubted his team would be able to get out of attempting the chunnin exam for more than a year – he was going to have to set aside some time to work with Sasuke on clan resources.

It was a blessed miracle his clan had kept obsessive records and that Minato-sensei had been willing to help and drag some of his own clan-heir friends in for tutoring sessions. It hadn't been much, but by the time Minato had become Hokage he'd felt reasonably comfortable in his headship.

Depending on the Sandaime's permission for revealing some of Naruto's heritage, he might have to do the same for him. Hopefully he could push it as an additional chance to build team-spirit, especially if he focused on the Uzumaki Kushina angle – he'd have to file another request when they got back to Konoha. One day the old man would give in, even if he had to leave shadow clones to file daily requests hidden between his mission reports.

If he bought the desk-shinobi the right gifts, they'd even sort them into appropriately diverse piles for him, so the Sandaime would never know when he'd strike…

Stepping onto solid ground, he made his way towards the bridge-builder's home, taking care to have his book out and circle the property a few times to make it look more like a standard patrol winding down before he headed inside. Answering Sakura's challenging cricket chirp imitation with a quiet bird-call of his own, he jumped up to join her on the roof and patted her shoulder approvingly.

She looked up at him briefly before turning back to scanning the tree line, murmuring, "All finished?"

"All done," he replied lowly, crouching next to her. "I'll take the watch, Sakura-chan. We'll head back for Konoha in the morning."

"Oh good," she sighed, "I'm about out of spices. Here's your alert seal."

"No, no, keep it," he said, pushing the paper tag back towards her. "You're the only one with the chakra control to make it useful at the moment, Naruto would blow it up and I'm fairly certain Sasuke would set it on fire. Until we get tracking and alert seals on pendants or something that's your best shot of having a way to signal me in an emergency. Might as well keep it handy."

"Will it just alert you or will it be more of a village-wide thing?" she asked, carefully slipping the seal into her pocket.

"It'll be a flare of chakra patterned so I specifically notice it and know to come immediately, but most jounin and ANBU will notice it – they probably won't actively respond, especially if they notice me shooting over there, but they'll know it went off," he clarified, pleased that she'd asked. Even if she couldn't think of a specific scenario where they'd want him and not random bystander shinobi, the fact she even realized that those scenarios were possible and worth thinking about was a plus.

"Okay," she said, frowning thoughtfully, "Thanks sensei. We heading back to Konoha tomorrow?"

"We are, yes," he said, "Go ahead and pass that on to the boys when you can. We'll leave right after breakfast."

His kunoichi only nodded before swinging down from the roof to head to her bed. The boys would probably wake up when she walked in – yes, there was Naruto's best attempt at murmuring. He was getting better, no one asleep would have noticed except probably Asuma – yes, there was his fellow jounin's grumbling about noisy brats before going back to sleep – but he wasn't quiet up to par yet.

Of course, figuring out how to improve that without resorting to nothing but hand-signs was going to take some thought. Maybe a stealth drill where they were required to recite some classic poetry the entire time they were hiding? Gain culture for any future high-class missions, undercover or not, and train them to keeping their voices low, yet clearly understandable.

He'd definitely have to pick out the classiest dirty poems he could find. Maybe Anko would have some recommendations.


He saw the Sandaime more now that he taught a genin team than when he lived and breathed ANBU with double S ranked assassination missions serving as water. It was ridiculous, but the children were the future of the village, and those genin who made it onto teams usually included clan children – so it was politics. What shinobi would all the clans agree to trust with the knowledge of all of their children?

The Hokage.

"And to finish off - this scroll contains Gatou's corpse, this one the heads of his guards to check for bounties – we didn't recognize them from sensei's book but his is just the field guide. This one is all the papers from the pirates, and this one is papers from Gatou's estate that sensei gathered, and these two are Zabuza and the fake hunter-nin, and this one – "

"Naruto, we labeled them," Sakura interrupted, the Sandaime smiling around his pipe while Naruto just laughed sheepishly and dropped the rest of the scrolls in the basket the Hokage had presented for the purpose. Most of the time these things would be presented with the report, carefully labeled and referenced within the report itself for cross-cataloguing, but that process was never really set up for genin-team missions. With only one or two scrolls it was reasonable.

With the armload they'd managed to accumulate from their four missions, the usual method of handing them to the Hokage wasn't going to cut it.

"A well-presented verbal report, nonetheless," the Hokage praised and Naruto preened, "Though as you mentioned, you will need to develop a more coherent style for presenting simultaneous memories. All three of you will be expected to submit written reports to the administrative office within five days; one of each mission, cross-referencing as necessary. Explaining your training is unnecessary and not recommended; the reports are to refer to the mission itself, not what you did on your free-time."

"Get the reports to me day after tomorrow for edits, take tonight off," Kakashi ordered, catching the Sandaime's gaze and nodding shortly. The Hokage returned the gesture before focusing on the genin and saying, "Very well, Team Seven – dismissed."

The three saluted – Naruto's form needed some more work but he managed pretty well – and filed out. Sakura seemed on edge, but the two boys were already exchanging glances from what he could see. Undoubtedly she was heading home to talk to her parents and tell the scar story Naruto had come up with. It had elegance, he'd give it that. Little overwrought, too dramatic for his taste, but not unbelievably so.

"Determining the pay-scale for that last mission of yours is going to be a nightmare," the Hokage grumbled, activating a security seal array with a near absent-minded set of gestures. "At least they don't have any sense of proportion for pay so they'll take what I give them so long as you agree."

"I'm probably going to have to explain bank accounts to Naruto at least," Kakashi sighed, "Perhaps I'll fob that job off on one of the other kids. Hokage-sama, we need time in the village. All of them need temper-control exercises, and time to decompress and figure out how these missions changed the dynamic. Will that be feasible?"

"Managing to complete two missions successfully before backing up another genin team will get us leeway. Rumors have been carefully spread already, adding some facts to the batch will just make them spread faster. While I would not say we are safe, you can take your time for a few weeks at least."

"That's good to hear, Hokage-sama," Kakashi said, feeling some of his tension fade at that. Hells, he could use the time to decompress and figure out which way he was steering these three next.

"Now, what is the matter you actually wanted to stay behind for?" the Hokage raised an eyebrow, "Their verbal report was complete?"

"Aa. Wanted to ask in advance about the odds of the other two getting told about the nine-tails, also wanted to petition to tell Naruto about Uzumaki Kushina, he took to storage scroll sealing very well, and started on customizing explosive tags. Anything much more complicated I'll probably want to get Jiraiya-sama in, but I can keep him busy with the basics for a bit longer."

"The nine-tails… no. Not at their current rank. Perhaps when they all reach chunnin, if Naruto wishes to tell them, he can petition me himself at that time. For Kushina – impress upon him secrecy. He may know, he may even admit to the relation if it comes up among comrades, but he may not crow it from the rooftops."

"I will impress it upon him, Hokage-sama. Thank you."

"Allow him to know that his father's name will be revealed when he has proven he can handle this knowledge responsibly," the Sandaime said finally, leaning back and lighting his pipe, "Dismissed, Jounin Hatake. Go tend to your students."

"Hokage-sama," he bowed politely before departing through the window. He wanted to get some of Kushina-san's things from his clan compound. He'd stored everything he couldn't bear to lose and couldn't bear to see there, under as many security seals as he could manage. Getting in to fetch those things would take some time.

Hopefully Sakura would have worked up the nerve to speak to her parents by then. He'd rather sweep in to clarify a bit rather than drop by and explain everything.


"Okay, so what's the plan?" Naruto asked, slurping some instant ramen down while Sakura and Sasuke poked at their own cups. The three of them had retreated to his apartment to regroup before heading out to spread Sakura's scar story. "It's before closing time for your family shop, right?"

"Right, and it's Tuesday, so mom is going to be the one at home," Sakura took a deep breath before continuing, "Okay. So I want to break the news to mom first, no two-for-one. That'll have to be solo, get the hugging and tears out of the way – because there will be tears, on both sides."

"Yeah we'll pass," Naruto grinned, "So we lurk around a corner being obviously sneaky and wait for the sounds of crying to stop – do we show up before or after your dad?"

"Immediately after," Sasuke said, "Let him register, don't let him fully comprehend."

"Knock hesitantly, when the door opens insist on seeing Sakura and making sure she's okay? Oooh – no, dramatic wails that they can't keep Sakura from our team because we're the best team ever dattebayo!"

"Look grimly determined with a few flashes of nervous," Sakura prompted, "Here, run through - "

"OY! Don't you dare pull Sakura-chan from our team! She's our teammate and we're not going to let her go dattebayo she's the best!" Naruto bellowed, jumping to his feet and shaking his fist at the imaginary Haruno father, eyes wide and the hand not in a fist almost hidden behind his back and shaking.

"Wow. That's pretty good," Sakura said, impressed, "Sasuke?"


"Don't worry, he can glower awkwardly with the best of them," Naruto assured her with a grin, "Hopefully your parents blink in shock, you interrupt embarrassed at our antics and introduce us, and we get a chance to tell the story of your and Sasuke's Heroic Adventures!"

"Ah… we'll make sure not to spread it around too much though," Sakura assured Sasuke, "The fan club might get a little overzealous otherwise."

"I only approved the story when Naruto made an offer for clone-henge swaps," Sasuke said shortly.

"Fair," Sakura said, clearly amused. Looking at her ramen cup, she sighed and shoved it over to Naruto, who cheered. "Let's get going."

Sasuke echoed the gesture and Naruto walked out the door with a steaming cup of ramen in each hand, looking utterly content with his life choices.

Amazingly enough things went pretty much according to plan. Her mom welcomed her home, spotted the scar and gasped dramatically before hugging her and Sakura was not even remotely ashamed of the fact she immediately burst into tears. She hadn't really gotten to have a good cry over the whole mess she'd found herself in months ago and her mom gave the best hugs – and didn't ask too many questions while she was crying.

Sensei had let her cry on him twice, but he'd patted her on the back so regularly she's ninety percent certain he was literally counting the seconds between each one, and once she'd subsided to sniffling he'd shove some tissues at her and hover for a few more moments before vanishing as soon as she said thanks. One time it'd been in the middle of the day, and he'd come back in ten or so minutes with a new vest.

She definitely gave him credit for trying, but it just wasn't the same.

"Rumor has it Sakura's team is back – Sakura! What's wrong?" her dad switched gears the moment he registered she was already home and crying, door shutting behind him before he joined the hug.

"I'm okay dad," she sniffed, pulling back a little and wiping her eyes on her sleeve, her mom promptly handing her a tissue instead. "It's just – it's been a long few weeks."

"Oh honey – looks like you had a fight?" her father asked, running a finger over the scar gently, "Healed up all right? No eye damage?"

"No – we were too far from a medic ninja to keep it from scarring though. I still have some scar reduction ointment to put on it at night," Sakura said.

Both of her parents sighed, exchanging looks before looking back down at her and her father continued, "We knew you'd be in danger being a field ninja, Sakura, but we hoped it'd wait till you were a bit older. You're so young."

She was twelve. They'd heard enough from sensei – she knew enough from history class – to know that she was old for a just-turned-genin, historically speaking. Her uncle had been a ninja, and died when he was fifteen in the Third War, so her father at least knew very well that twelve was old enough to be in danger.

But they were at peace, had been for years. She could understand the assumption.

Right on time, there was a pounding on the door and her mother tightened her hug while her dad went to open it. She could see one side of his face from her angle and couldn't help but giggle at his surprised expression when Naruto immediately bellowed, "You can't take Sakura-chan away from our team, 'ttebayo she's the best and we're gonna get better and better and you can't stop her from being kickass!"

"What he said."

Sakura would like to say the fact that Sasuke had said actual words in their team's defense didn't make her heart flutter, but it totally did. And she was probably blushing given her mom's amused look.

"While your eagerness to keep my daughter on your team is touching," her father said, tone undoubtedly dry, "You are aware that there's a five year minimum service requirement for any graduate of the academy?"

"Well yeah but you could ask for her to transfer off our team or something," Naruto quickly subsided to mumbling, and she'd bet he'd ducked his head and started scraping his sandal on the ground. "And she's awesome, dattebayo."

"Oh invite them in, Kenchi!" her mom called, "I'll get some tea going, Sakura, go sit with your teammates."

"Okay mom," she said, heading to the door and smiling at the boys, "Hey guys."

"Hey Sakura-chan!" Naruto grinned, eyes squinting as he kicked off his sandals. "Hehe, sorry I was so loud."

"You're always loud," she snorted, shaking her head, "Come on in mom's making tea."

"You have a lovely home, Haruno-san," Sasuke said to her father, and Sakura couldn't quite help the incredulous stare she gave him, Naruto echoing it and Sasuke just scowled at them and looked away, a flare of color on the back of his neck.

Her father just looked between the three of them, clearly bemused, before saying, "Thank you, Uchiha-kun, both of you are welcome in our home. Please, have a seat."

They sat down at the dining table and Naruto hissed in her ear, "Hey, hey they know the story yet?"

"Haven't gotten that far," Sakura muttered back, knowing very well her parents could hear both of them in the kitchen and hoping Naruto knew that too.

"Dibs on the story!" Naruto grinned at her, "You'll sell yourself short, Sakura-chan, you totally did when Ino asked!"

And now her parents had a perfectly good reason for why Ino might know a different story than the one they were about to get. Naruto had really thought this through…

Sasuke just crossed his arms and nodded slightly in agreement.

"So, what happened? How were your missions, you went on two this round, right?" her mother asked, setting a tray on the table and pouring tea for all of them. Naruto was carefully pacing his moves to follow Sasuke's so Sakura took this one.

"We were sent out on two, we ended up going on… three? Does the Wave thing count as one mission?"

"I think so?" Naruto replied doubtfully, scratching the back of his head, "I was only going to write one report for it so I hope so!"

"One set of orders, one mission," Sasuke said shortly, taking another sip of his tea.

"We got sent to Wave because a client lied about the threat level on his mission and Team 10 got in trouble, so we went to reinforce them since we were close and that's when Sakura got hurt," Naruto babbled, taking a breath before rushing on, "We had to sneak in and sensei had to use contacts to get us to Wave and then we got there and I sent clones out and there was a major missing-nin attacking Team 10 and we had this kickass plan to get him away but he had an accomplice and we didn't know."

"Sakura and I weren't an active part of the trap," Sasuke interrupted so Naruto could sip his tea and continue.

"So sensei's finishing off Zabuza and then Sakura screamed and Sasuke was hurt and couldn't move his arm and there were these walls of ice everywhere and senbon and Sakura was kick-ass!" Naruto beamed, "She'd gotten cut in the face but she was still dodging senbon and making sure Sasuke stayed clear and she even deflected senbon it was awesome and then sensei killed him and she just started making sure Sasuke was okay 'cuz his arm still wouldn't move."

"Sensei can use some medic jutsus so he helped fix me up," Sakura said quietly, "But he's not great at them – and we were already in Wave and leaving early wouldn't make sense, and I was fine. So we stayed to finish the mission."

"And did awesome!" Naruto cheered, punching the air, "A-rank, at least!"

Her parents had looked a little pale as the story went on, but that last bit made her father go dead-white. "What?" he croaked, knuckles white around his teacup, "An A-rank mission for genin! How on earth – what sort of mess did you end up in, sweetheart?"

"That was the dangerous part," Sakura assured them, "After that was clean up – it was mostly because the guy who hired Zabuza was this merchant powerhouse guy, Gatou. Sensei dealt with all those details, we just helped Team 10 guard their client, and after Zabuza was dead no one else tried to attack him."

"But you are all healthy and fine now, right?" Sakura's mother said worriedly, "Have you been checked out by an actual medic?"

"Yeah, that's how I got the cream," Sakura replied, hesitating before looking between her parents, "You're not mad?"

"Sakura how could we possibly be mad?" her mother said, smiling sadly, "You might not remember this, but it took three weeks for us to actually sign the permission slips for you to join the Academy. We knew what you were going to be getting into, at least a bit."

"We thought we'd have longer to get used to it, admittedly," her father said, chuckling, "But you're so smart, Sakura. Figures you wouldn't stick to the easy stuff for long."

She launched herself over the table at her dad, who caught her with a startled grunt but just hugged her and let her cry into his shoulder and just –

Her parents were the best.


Hearing the crying start up again, Kakashi winced and settled back against the door frame again. He'd arrived at Sakura's home in time to hear the end of the explanation and had spent the next few sentences working up the nerve to knock, because he'd never actually met the parents of his kunoichi. They were the only set of parents he had to worry about and he'd just – continued to dodge the idea. They weren't shinobi, so they couldn't force the issue.

But it was rude, and not speaking to them after a rough mission would be noticeably so, and he really didn't need any other things drawing scrutiny to his team.

Things had subsided to sniffles very quickly, she must have gotten some crying out of the way before the conversation had started, so before it could start up again he straightened and rapped his knuckles on the door. By the startled murmurs none of them had noticed someone lurking out here, so he should get his kids started on at least the basics of detection because he hadn't tried to hide his presence at all.

He unconsciously hid a lot of traces, it was habit, but it was something for them to work towards.

The door opened to Sakura's mother, Haruno Ikuko, who blinked at him for a moment or two before stepping aside and opening the door wide, "Hatake-san," she greeted, "Please, come in."

"My thanks, Haruno-san," he replied, stepping through the door and sweeping his gaze over his kids – looked fine, not too stressed, and Sakura was pressed up against her father's side. Seemed this had been resolved fairly well then. Now, to keep the Haruno's from thinking they'd colluded on this, "Team, all well here?"

"Just explaining how Sakura-chan got hurt and that she's totally kickass and so are we and we're gonna get even more kickass so she has to stay on our team!" Naruto beamed, Sasuke nodding mutely but didn't quite manage to hide the way he rolled his eyes at Naruto's phrasing.

"Yes, of course," he replied blandly, "The kickass factor is very important."

Turning his attention to the Haruno's he said, "I wanted to come and answer any questions you might have for me, and check in that Sakura had explained her injury and treatment to you."

"While their report answered most of our questions they were a little light on technical details – we're not medics, by any means, but to confirm – it's primarily superficial damage? They're certain her eyesight isn't compromised or skull structure damaged?" the father, Kenchi asked. The file had mentioned a deceased shinobi brother, so he probably had the best idea of what a shinobi or kunoichi should be worried about when it came to injuries.

"Entirely superficial," he confirmed, "Medical assessment agrees, I have a copy of the file for you, if that's all right with you, Sakura."

She looked a little startled before nodding, obviously deciding to trust he wasn't going to do something stupid like pass her parents a medical report dated for over a month ago. "Sure sensei," she agreed, accepting the file he handed her and passing it to her father, who just smiled at her.

Excellent, he'd showed his – heh – face, and everyone looked content or at least not majorly distressed or upset, and even better, Naruto had just finished his tea. Time for an exit strategy.

"Right, boys, come on, let's leave the Harunos to their reunion. Sakura, usual time tomorrow. If either of you have any questions or concerns, let Sakura know and she can pass the message on to me and I'll escort her home from training so we can discuss things," he said, bowing to the pair of them and practically herding the two boys out after they bade farewell to Sakura and gave their own bows to the Harunos.

"Good work you two," he said, resting a hand on each of their heads. "Now, I have some things to discuss with Naruto, Sasuke, are you all right heading home?"

"Clones didn't do anything to the house you stay in," Naruto reported, shrugging sheepishly at the looks they shot him and continuing, "Maybe we could skip D-ranks tomorrow so Sasuke has a chance to check it out? They found a lot of stuff."

"Yeah," Sasuke said shortly, hunching his shoulders slightly, "Okay."

"We can do that," Kakashi said immediately, eyeing his dark-haired student before crossing his fingers and having a clone appear on Sasuke's other side. "My clone will go with you, in case you need anything."

"Thanks sensei," he huffed, nodding at Naruto before heading off. They watched the pair go down the street a bit before Kakashi shook it off and looked down at Naruto, tilting his head slightly before saying, "Your place, Naruto-kun."

Naruto looked nervous but nodded and they didn't speak at all during the walk to his apartment. They had a fair amount to discuss and it wasn't just the Uzumaki Kushina revelation, though he was definitely going to save that for last. Discussing the Kyuubi would be a good segue for that though, so at least the conversation would have a satisfying flow to it.

He read too many novels.

"Um. Tea? Sensei?" Naruto offered, and by the fidgeting fingers – very consciously not hand-signs, good, that was a habit he didn't need to get into – he needed something to distract him for the moment.

"Certainly. Thank you," he said, taking one of the tall counter seats rather than settling at the table. The place was still relatively tidy, much better than the morning inspection he'd done before team assignments. Seemed having Naruto's apartment serve as a meeting place forced him to clean the place up and keep it nice. He'd have to encourage meetings here for a while longer then, make sure the tidiness habit stuck.

Naruto had crates set in strategic locations around the kitchen to give him easier access to the appliances. He had a stepstool lying around somewhere – Gai had gotten it for him when he'd had chakra exhaustion one time, insisting he had to be able to change a lightbulb or something. Once he found it, it would have to mysteriously appear in Naruto's apartment. Like the vegetables he had taken to depositing every so often – the gardens at the Hatake compound had always been good, and the few groundskeepers he'd kept on always dropped off baskets of the resulting produce for him.

He'd have to find some other calling card for security testing – or maybe he'd just leave one vegetable, instead of a whole basket? That gave some interesting potential for puns and dirty jokes, depending on the target. He'd have to think about that, but in the meantime his student had finally settled down a bit and was pouring steaming tea into two chipped mugs.

"This about the fox sensei?" Naruto asked, sitting across from him and sliding a mug across the counter.

Kakashi took a sip through his mask to stall but didn't see any purpose in prevaricating longer so nodded, saying, "Partially, yes. Your clone gave mine a basic recap of what you'd felt and remembered, but I'd appreciate hearing it from you again."

"Yeah, uh," Naruto ducked his head, rubbing the back of his neck before mumbling, "Okay. So…"

"Naruto-kun, you're not in trouble. I need a report, that's all. This is something we figured might happen, it's one of the reasons I was assigned as your sensei."

"Oh," Naruto said, looking up at him with wide blue eyes, "Because you could kill me. Right?"

Kakashi raised his one visible eyebrow and made a mental note to pass that phrasing onto Umino, because for that to be Naruto's very first response… well. It might mean nothing. It might be trouble. He'd kick the problem to someone a little more emotionally stable than him.

"If the Kyuubi had fully taken control?" he said instead, making sure to sound dubious. "Depending on timing, but my first priority would be getting your teammates the hell out of there. Then yes, field execution before the Kyuubi can break through the seal entirely is the standing order. The way your seal is constructed, if you die while the Kyuubi is sealed, it will be dispelled – but it would reconstruct itself in a few years."

"That would not be my first step though," he continued, ignoring for the moment the way Naruto had ducked his head again to stare at his tea, "I rather think calming you down or knocking you out would be preferable. As we saw this time, you can calm down even with its chakra running through you – it wasn't much, not compared to what its full power is, but it was a good test case. Naruto, you did extremely well for an untrained jinchuuriki."

"So I can be trained?" Naruto asked, clearly latching onto that idea like a lifeline. "It's not just – hope I don't get angry enough to wake it up?"

"I believe so," he temporized, wanting to get Naruto's report before he explained that Naruto was only the latest in a line of jinchuuriki. "Is that what happened this time? Your anger woke it up?"

"Not – it's not all clear. But yeah," Naruto took a deep breath, straightening his shoulders before looking up and saying, "I was a little winded from the clone swap thing. I think that made it easier for me to – uh. Call on, the Kyuubi, I guess would be the right words – anyway. Sasuke was throwing shuriken and senbon with his chakra strings, and Sakura was checking on his arm, and I was deflecting ice shrapnel from your fight. The hunter-nin had those ice blocks scattered around and apparently could jump between them somehow – he vanished from in front of you and showed up near us – he was fast, Sensei, and Sasuke was already down and Sakura was distracted and I couldn't watch them die! And – um. That's when things went – red. The world looked red and I felt – stronger. Faster. But I couldn't think it was just – stay between my team and the hunter-nin, get hit first, and hit back harder, that was all I could really think about doing.

"Then you were there and the hunter was dead," Naruto finished, taking a sip of his tea, "I was still – I was angry, though. But didn't want to be? I could see the target was dead and knew I needed to calm down but it was too – it burned too much. Not like, actually burned but – uh. Mentally burned? I couldn't not be angry? Until you started talking. That – that did the trick. I guess. It got through and I could be – not angry. Again."

"You'll have to write that into your report," Kakashi informed him, "So work on coherence. Have it as a separate draft from your main report, don't reference the Kyuubi at all in the one you bring to the team meeting. You'll write up two reports – the main mission report, and one on this incident. The incident report will be cross referenced with your main report, so people know where it happened."

"But I don't have to write two whole separate reports?" Naruto asked, perking up at that.

Kakashi snorted, shaking his head, "Surprisingly, no."

Much of Naruto's tension had faded, and instead the genin was happily sipping his tea. Kakashi let him have that for a few moments before he set his own mug down with a firm click of clay on tile, getting his student's attention immediately.

"You handled the situation well," he repeated the praise because all his genin were needy that way, at least a bit. "And because of that, I asked the Hokage for permission to read you in on certain truths. You're being trusted with something important, Naruto-kun. This is a gift – and it is also a test. You understand?"

The bewildered expression on his genin's face was hysterical, he'd have to try and get that expression again later when he could use the Sharingan without ruining the mood.

"Uh – yes! Yes. I understand," Naruto blurted, wincing slightly as he did and Kakashi huffed a laugh, pulling the file he'd stuck pictures and documentation in out of his vest. Storage seals inside his vest were the best thing, Minato-sensei teaching him to embed seals in fabric had been utterly worth the months of disasters his old clothes had suffered.

"A few people in the village know of this," he said, "No one's been read in in a very long time."

And I didn't exactly ask permission to tell you this whole story, so keep your mouth shut, he didn't say. He'd invaded his genin's apartment and installed security seals while the trio were off in the Forest of Death – Naruto's had none, and he didn't need permission from anyone to add them. Adding seals to a civilian home, even one with a kunoichi residing there, required far too much paperwork to be worth it. If Sakura asked, he'd help, but he wasn't initiating it.

So he curled his chakra into the proper activation set, and was more than a little impressed when Naruto twitched, brow furrowing as he looked around at the visually unchanged apartment.

"Security seals," he explained, laying the folder on the counter. "You need better chakra control before I can teach you to activate them."

"Right," Naruto said, brow furrowing before he shook it off and looked intently at the folder, "So what's the big secret?"

"You're not the first Kyuubi jinchuuriki – that's not too much of a secret, anyone with a knowledge of history would know that there have been others. But who they were – well. That's become more and more privileged information as time went on," Kakashi said, flipping the folder open and turning it to face Naruto, an old photo of the first Hokage and his wife smiling up at him.

"Uzumaki Mito, wife of the first Hokage and fantastic kunoichi in her own right – she was the first person to ever seal a bijuu inside another living being, that being the Kyuubi into herself when Uchiha Madara set him on the first Hokage in a battle," Kakashi explained, Naruto's eyes widening as he stared at the woman who'd founded the entire institution of jinchuuriki. "She's an important historical figure and it's a damn shame so many people only remember her as the first Hokage's wife."

"Uzumaki," Naruto breathed, reaching out to touch the black and white photo carefully, "She – is that why I have the name? Because I'm a jinchuuriki like she was?"

Kakashi smiled faintly through his mask and flipped that picture over, revealing a color photograph of Kushina laughing hysterically on a stool at Ichiraku ramen, a stack of empty bowls in front of her. Naruto's eyes widened as he stared at the photo, looking up at him and waiting for Kakashi to nod before he picked it up, hands shaking a little as he stared at it.

"Who was she?" he asked, voice hushed.

"The second jinchuuriki of the Kyuubi – and your mother. Uzumaki Kushina."

Naruto's breath hitched and tears gathered in his eyes as he stared at the photo, "My mom?" he asked, "She – I really am an Uzumaki?"

"You are," Kakashi said quietly, waiting for the demands.

"But – but why – you knew?" Naruto asked, looking up at him again with wide blue eyes. "Why didn't anyone – this is a secret?"

"Uzumaki Kushina was a terrifying kunoichi," Kakashi said, shoving her not-too-classified mission record under Naruto's nose. "It was widely suspected in other nations she was a jinchuuriki, but more critically she was an Uzumaki - your clan is mostly gone, she was one of the last to bear the name and now – I haven't found anyone bearing the name, aside from you and I swear to you Naruto, I have looked. Your clan was known for three things – longevity, insane chakra reserves, and sealing."

"I have insane chakra reserves," Naruto breathed, switching his gaze back to the photo of his mother. "And – and you started teaching sealing – what's longevity?"

"Living a long time," Kakashi replied simply, "Uzumaki Mito outlived all of her contemporaries, and while some suspect the Kyuubi had something to do with it Uzumaki would regularly live into their early hundreds."

"Hundreds?!" Naruto yelped, eyes huge because for Kakashi that was unimaginably old, for Naruto it must be ridiculously so.

"Barring death in the field or due to some experiment gone wrong, yes," Kakashi replied.

"Every Uzumaki had their own way of manifesting their chakra," Kakashi said, flipping over the report to show another picture, this one of Kushina smirking, arms crossed over her chest as her chakra chains held a shrieking Uchiha Mikoto above a scummy looking pond. "Your mother had these chains – you can almost make out the seals that were in them – she'd incorporated enough sealing knowledge that her very chakra could form them to what she needed. In this case, the seals prevented use of basic escape jutsus, but I saw her hold back the Kyuubi itself with them during the attack. It was only for a few moments, but it allowed the Yondaime to finish his own seal."

"Who's this lady?" Naruto asked, blatantly ignoring the last chunk of that speech, instead pointing at the picture, "She looks like Sasuke."

"That would be his mother, Uchiha Mikoto," Kakashi said, grimacing slightly, "She and Kushina were best friends. I know she petitioned the Council for permission to speak to you every other month, at least, but between her position as the Uchiha clan head's wife and the desire to keep people from figuring out you were Kushina's son and the jinchuuriki besides, she never managed to get it."

"Oh," Naruto said, setting aside the picture of Kushina at the ramen stand and picking up this new one. "Um. Do you think Sasuke would want a copy of this?"

"I can make one," Kakashi said, rather than answering the question because he had no idea.

"Is that why you never talked to me?" Naruto asked after a few long minutes of silence, staring at the photos and files and more photos Kakashi had stuffed into the file. He'd managed to get one of Kushina shoving Minato's face into the mud, so you couldn't actually see anything of him other than blond hair and flailing arms, but he'd wanted to give Naruto a picture of both his parents, even if he couldn't say that yet.

"I was on your guard detail for a few years," Kakashi said, nodding his head towards the window, "Lurked outside for a while. But – I didn't try for a long time, Naruto. I didn't start really trying until I took you as a student. The attack – Naruto, I've been psychologically a mess from the time I was five. My teammates died, you heard one of those stories, and my sensei was all that was left, him and Kushina. Then they both died in the Kyuubi attack, a few months after I'd joined ANBU and by the time I had my head on straight enough to coherently remember the outside world you were six."

"That's… "

"A special kind of fucked up, I know," Kakashi snorted, shaking his head, "I kept an eye on you when I could but – hells Naruto. All I have are excuses. I should have tried harder."

"But you did, now, at least," Naruto said, staring at the file. "You – you asked for this permission. Didn't you. The old man didn't – he didn't tell you to do it."

"No," Kakashi said quietly, "He did not."

"Yeah. Uh. Yeah. Okay," Naruto gave a bitter little laugh and Kakashi winced but he'd promised not to lie to his students too often. Also, this directed Naruto's mistrust to someone he really shouldn't trust to have his emotional well-being at the forefront of their mind, so this was good for him and didn't cost much.

"So," Naruto finally said, wiping his eyes on his sleeve, "Do you know who my dad is, then?"

"I do," Kakashi admitted, "But I asked if I could tell you."

"Said no?" Naruto said sourly, shaking his head and staring at the array of photos, "Course. What do I have to do to earn that information?"

"Hokage-sama says he'll consider it when you've achieved chuunin rank and shown you can handle this information responsibly," Kakashi said, placing a light emphasis on the suffix because not trusting the Hokage to have your emotional comfort at the front of his mind was one thing, but not trusting him at all?

Naruto was already at higher than usual risk for a field execution one day. No need to exacerbate the issue.

"What's responsibly mean for this?" Naruto asked immediately, eyes narrowing and Kakashi made sure his smile was visible to his student because that was a very important question to ask.

"Don't crow it from the rooftops. You can tell a few people, you're not expected to lie about this, but you're also expected to show some discretion."

"I can tell the team?" Naruto asked, and at Kakashi's nod he looked relieved, staring at the photo of his and Sasuke's mothers, "Good. I want to give him a copy of that photo. And they need to know becoming chuunin is important now, not just because we have to win."

"When you all become chuunin is also the point we can revisit telling the other two about the Kyuubi – if you stay as a team after that, they'll need to know about it for training and scenario planning."

"Can we tell them the red chakra they saw has an answer and we might be able to talk about it after we're all promoted?" Naruto asked and his grin was positively Kushina at Kakashi's nod.

"Excellent," he cackled. Looking at the photo of his mom with ramen bowls, he said, "I'll probably have more questions, Sensei but – thanks. For telling me about this."

"When you're ready, I have a lot of stories, and lines on a few more," Kakashi promised, standing and reaching across the counter to ruffle Naruto's hair. "See you tomorrow, Naruto-kun."

"See ya Kakashi-sensei."

He deactivated the security seals – none of the files actually mentioned the Kyuubi, and Uzumaki Mito's photo could be explained away as her being a cousin to Kushina and him wanting to reinforce Naruto's loyalty to Konoha or some such bullshit – before heading out the window. That had been a remarkably low-key conversation, and he was rather proud of the way Naruto was taking the time to process things before exploding.

He'd been planning on starting more one-on-one training, he'd just include discussions in that. It'd give a chance to see where the genin all stood as far as information, comprehension and maturity without direct comparisons to influence them. Also, it'd give them time to really associate him as their Sensei in a more personal sense, which could only be useful going forwards. Teamwork needed to include him, after all.

His clone hadn't dispelled from escorting Sasuke yet. Hopefully that wasn't going terribly.