Charger cord is dead on laptop that I write updates on. Will take at least a week before I get a new one. Until then, only a few stories will be updated. Sorry for the wait!
When the Kyuubi attacked, there was one very special soul in Konoha that horrible day.
Kushina wasn't an orphan, but she let people assumed she was because of what her father was.
Her father was a good man, but a horrible parent. When Kushina chose to become a shinobi rather than join him, he honored her choice and made it a point to send her presents from all over the world.
Kushina never told her husband who sent her things using such colorful birds, and as long as she never cheated on him he never asked.
However on the eve of giving birth to her first child, her father decided to make an appearance in person for the first time in five years.
He was the first one to the room after the fox was resealed.
Red-Haired Shanks was a notorious pirate. But what people didn't know was that he was originally from a shinobi clan, one who had been wiped out because people were afraid of them. He had gotten pretty far with the family sealing arts (mostly to hold more liquor in his ship along with storing food for longer periods) but he had never bothered to learn how to fully use his chakra outside of solid clones.
So after he sees the shinobi seal the fox, he immediately headed to the hospital to find anyone under the name Uzumaki. Or at the very least any newborns with red hair.
"What?" barked the medic nin irate.
"I'm looking for anyone with the last name of Uzumaki, or red hair," said Shanks flatly. He flared just a teensy bit of Haki at the woman to get the point across.
"Nursery, one floor up and on the left," she stammered. Something about him set off all her fighter's responses.
He left her alone and she barely refrained from calling the ANBU. The hospital was already packed. They didn't need more injured.
Shanks made his way up to the maternity ward and looked for any newborns with bright red hair. It took him five seconds to find a baby girl not even an hour old with a strange seal on her stomach.
"What do you want? We're already full up dealing with injured children!" barked the doctor.
"I'm here to retrieve my daughter. Has Kushina Uzumaki been admitted?"
"Uzumaki... Kushina Uzumaki was killed by the fox, same as most of their parents," said the doctor.
"She was supposed to give birth today, or within the week. Is it possible to do a test to confirm relation without having to wait?"
If Kushina was dead, then her husband likely was too. In that case he would have to take the child in. At least Yasopp knew how to handle newborns.
"Come over here. If you are related to anyone in this ward, the stone will glow blue at whichever child is yours."
If he was retrieving a newborn, that meant one less child to deal with, and supplies could be used to help someone else.
Shanks channeled what little chakra he could remember how to use into the stone, and it sent out a signal to the one with the newborn with the seal.
"Sign here, here and here, along with your relation and take her. We need all the space we can get after this," said the doctor with some relief.
Shanks picked up the girl, stole a few supplies so he could return to his ship in one piece, and left the village without anyone the wiser for several hours.
"What's with the kid captain?" asked Beckman.
"My granddaughter. Kushina was killed," said Shanks.
His crew was silent for a few minutes in respect to the Captain's daughter. Kushina rather liked her father's crew when they visited her in Uzushio. She was practically family.
"So what's her name?" asked Yasopp.
Seeing Shanks' face blank for a moment, the lone father of the crew pressed the question.
"She does have a name right?"
"Ehehehe... I think so?"
Yasopp leveled a Look at his captain.
"So she doesn't even have a name yet?"
"There was an attack when she was born! Kushina might have died before giving her one!"
Then Shanks grinned.
"That means we'll have to name the newest member of our crew!"
Which sparked a long debate on what to name a little girl.
"Gale!" yelped Shanks when he realized what she had gotten her hands on.
How the hell had a five-year-old with only basic chakra training find the sealing supplies?
Everyone on the crew knew how to make a basic seal, and most of the advanced ones. It was an easy way to keep them from getting too out of hand by making it a game to see who could create the biggest boom with the sealing supplies Shanks always stocked up on whenever they visited an Elemental Island.
And now a five year old kid who loved explosions and knew how to make a basic exploding tag and way too much chakra for it to be natural was painting on the walls with one of the sealing inks.
Of course he was going to panic!
Gale (because when she started walking she was an unstoppable force of nature and loved to move around during high winds) giggled. Her dad was funny when he was freaking out.
"Gale, what have I told you about painting with the big kid's ink on Daddy's ship?"
"Only paint with the smelly ink on the ships with the white-outfits," said Gale dutifully.
"That's right. We don't our ship unless we want to spend the time to fix it back up," said Shanks.
Gale pouted, but put away the brush.
"Come on, let's go raid the pantries. I hear there's ice cream in there," said Shanks.
"Ice cream, ice cream!" cheered the girl.
"Captain, Marines on the port side, closing in!" shouted the lookout.
"Aw..." said Gale disappointed. However Shanks knew how to cheer up his little force of nature.
"How about this... you go paint on their ship with the smelly ink and we'll have some fireworks once we're done?" said Shanks.
"Fireworks, fireworks!" cheered Gale.
Gale did paint a few explosive tags, but when one of the Marines tried to capture her the crew took offense.
If any of them made it to the next island to report Gale, Shanks would be very surprised.
"Land sighted!" shouted the lookout.
It was Gale's eighth birthday and they had been in the general vicinity of the Fire Island.
Originally it was called the Elemental Nations, but a massive earthquake shortly after the Kyuubi was sealed resulted in the lands being split apart by five miles of oceans. They were now called the Elemental Islands.
Surprisingly enough, the islands split evenly along the lines of the map.
Each island nation developed it's own navy in response. They didn't answer to the World Government, which made them a haven for pirates so long as they didn't piss off the locals too much. The only reason the Marines didn't try to enforce order was because the shinobi which had rules the massive land before were a much better task force.
Last time Shanks had been there, the civilians had learned rather quickly the easiest way to deal with idiots was to have a series of fines for anyone causing trouble in the port. Most people didn't go too far inland.
Because he was actually more of a local (being from the Uzushio island before it was wiped out) the fines were a little less than the Marines had to pay.
"So which village are we visiting first Tou-san?"
"We're going to head into Wave and from there we'll visit Konoha. Haven't been there since you were born," said Shanks.
Gale was bouncing up and down in excitement.
"The more things change, the more they stay the same. Ready to go explore Konoha Gale?"
"Yup!" said Gale, popping the 'p' sound.
Gale was in her favorite outfit which made her look like a white and red fox.
She had white paws and white gloves...and a more recent addition after Shanks caught her using Haki by accident when a Marine foolishly ruined the picture she had painted (normal paints, not the sealing inks) a pair of red fox ears with white tufts of fur inside. On her backside was a long red tail with a white tip.
Seeing quite a few glares leveled at her direction, Shanks warned them off with a little Haki. Gale pouted because every time she tried to use more than the bare bones of it she left the entire crew out cold except for Shanks.
Why oh why did his granddaughter inherit the same colors he did?
Gale was eating ramen at this quaint little stand with the gold she had earned working around the ship. They rarely got quality ramen, as their cook staunchly refused to even try to keep up with the demand from Shanks and Gale.
Those two could put away more of the stuff than even the crew could eat. Beckman swore that it had to be genetic. Who could eat that much ramen and not get sick?
Teuchi, the owner and cook, was happy as a clam as the girl had shown him all the gold she had on her and kept on eating. (And he did check that it was real gold.)
"Hey! Having fun?" asked an unshaven man with bright red hair and a straw hat he had found.
"Tou-san! They have the best ramen!"
"How many have you had?"
"In that case, four bowls of miso and pork! I can't let my adorable little brat get ahead of me in a ramen eating competition!" said the man with a laugh.
"Coming right up!" said Teuchi with a large smile. These two were eating as much as an Akimichi.
Shanks and Gale devoured bowl after bowl, leaving shocked shinobi in their wake. Finally Shanks admitted defeat and shoved what was left of his bowl to his daughter, who happily finished it. Seeing the looks of the people around them, he patted his stomach and said with a grin, "Never underestimate an Uzumaki's capacity for the food of the gods!"
"Here, here!" said Gale.
Shanks left a good portion of gold with Teuchi to pay for the bill, leaving a happy ramen chef behind them. He might have protested at the fact that the red head had given him too much gold, but Shanks laughed it off saying that quality ramen like that deserved the extra tip.
Sarutobi Hiruzen felt every bit of his years. Eight years ago the Kyuubi attacked the village, leaving death and destruction in it's wake. Mere minutes after leaving the new container for the damn demon, and she goes missing.
All that was left behind was a piece of paper with the name "S. Uzumaki" along with the confirmation that the girl was related to the man.
He still cursed the council for all the hassle they gave him when they learned an Uzumaki had been in the area and claimed her five minutes after he put her in the maternity ward. The seal wasn't even set yet!
Jiraiya traveled all over the islands, trying to figure out where the unknown Uzumaki had taken her. He believed that the one who had claimed Naruko was Kushina's father, but Hiruzen refused to believe it.
Everyone knew Kushina had lost her immediate family in the attack. Though to be fair she never mentioned her father and she always got the strangest letters...
He shook his head, and reached for the globe.
He smiled as he watched a little girl and what appeared to be her father enjoying what was clearly an early birthday. He was about to put the globe away when the girl turned to face him directly and his heart nearly stopped in his chest.
Those eyes...they were the same shade as Kushina's and she had whisker marks on her cheeks. Her hair, now that he got a good look at it, was the same Uzumaki red as Kushina herself...and the man beside her.
He had to know whether or not this was the missing girl. If it was, and that really was an Uzumaki then he could breath a little easier.
The Council couldn't force him to return the girl to the village if it was an Uzumaki who had claimed her to begin with. That fell under clan laws, and one of the primary tenants of the village was that the council couldn't interfere with clan business.
If they could, then the branch house of the Hyuuga would have been gone years ago.
Shanks stayed awake at the local bar while his daughter stayed with some of the crew in the hotel and waited. Gale had sensed someone watching them while they were at a local park, and he had a feeling it was the Hokage.
Sure enough, five minutes into his drink an old man walked in.
"Thought you retired old man," said Shanks with a smile.
"Had to retake the position after the fox hit us. And you are?"
"Shanks. Captain Red-Haired Shanks of Uzushio. Should see the look on those Marines' faces when they found out I got a discount for bein' a local," said Shanks grinning.
"Uzumaki?" asked the Hokage.
"Kushina's father. She always found it amusing that no one thought to ask her if her father was dead already. Everyone just assumed I was. I came by that night because she mentioned she was going to have a baby, ended up rescuing my granddaughter with a freshly painted seal on her stomach," said Shanks, knocking back another shot of sake.
"Did you have it confirmed?"
"Doctor made sure I was related to one of the infants before she even allowed me to take her. Didn't you see the paperwork that woman made me do?" asked Shanks with a shudder.
One of the reasons why he had gone pirate rather than shinobi was to avoid ever having to do paperwork.
"Mind if we confirm that you're related to Kushina? If you're a direct blood relation it would keep the council off your ass later when they find out you came back with her," said Sarutobi.
"Lead on!" said Shanks. No way was he allowing this village to kidnap his daughter from him because the wanted the fox back.
A few hours later, Sarutobi had it confirmed and in triplicate. Shanks was Kushina's biological father, and therefor the last living close relative Naruko had. Which meant he had full authority to claim the girl and there wasn't a damn thing the council could do about it.
Shanks was about to leave when he saw an ANBU give him an old hand signal meant for those who had shinobi training, but weren't shinobi themselves.
The Hokage wanted to see him. They were leaving because Shanks had heard rumors about the Uchiha clan that worried him.
He left Gale with the crew at the ramen stand and went to see Sarutobi.
The first thing he saw was a young Uchiha kid, barely a few years older than Gale herself in full ANBU gear. He knew something was up.
"Shanks, meet Itachi Uchiha, known as ANBU Weasel. Weasel, this is Shanks Uzumaki. A pirate."
"Whatcha need Old man?"
Sarutobi sighed before he rubbed his forehead. He had cleared the room the moment Itachi came to him.
"Itachi has come with some disturbing news. Apparently the Uchiha are aware that there is a mole in the clan warning us of a...mutiny...I believe you would call it against my office. They haven't pinned it to Itachi yet, but it's only a matter of time. Originally I planned to send him to a growing problem over in the Amegakure village three islands over, but with your presence I was hoping you could take him instead."
"Sir?" said Itachi confused.
Shanks leveled a look at Itachi. He had to be a good fighter if he made ANBU at that young, and he barely remembered how to use chakra to begin with. Gale could use a big brother figure to train her.
"Itachi, you know my feelings on child soldiers when it's not a time of war, and frankly the idea of forcing you to spy for the village sickens me greatly. However, sending you on a long term information gathering mission about the world outside the Elemental Islands could prove beneficial in the long term."
Seeing Itachi's confusion grow, Shanks explained.
"I'm an Uzumaki pirate. Wasn't on the island when it was hit, but I kept in contact with Kushina before her death. Gale could use someone who knows how to fight like a shinobi, since I've mostly kept to the sealing arts. We've got plenty of room, and we travel around the world seeing the sights. If you join up you'll likely end up with a bounty eventually since I'm rather infamous. The higher the bounty, the more people take you seriously."
Itachi's eyes widened in shock. Become a pirate?
"Plus, we won't force you to give up your allegiance to the village. At best you would be our intermediary for the Uzumaki and Konoha," added Shanks.
"What is your choice Itachi? A long term information mission, or an undercover one that might not end for some years and puts you on the nuke-nin list?" asked Sarutobi.
Itachi weighed his options, before a thought occurred to him.
"If anything happens to my clan, can we bring my brother along? With how much emphasis is on our eyes I would not feel comfortable leaving him in the village with the council and their sycophants."
"If anything happens to the Uchiha, we'll send Sasuke straight to you as the older family member," said Sarutobi.
"Why not? Gale could use someone to play with, and she gets lonely occasionally while we're traveling. Besides one of the principle codes of the Uzumaki was that family stuck together. It's why Kushina still wrote to me, despite the fact I chose the life of a pirate."
"I think I would rather travel and send information back about the outside than go undercover, sir," said Itachi finally.
Shanks' grin was wide.
"Welcome to the Red-Haired pirates," said Shanks, holding out his hand. Itachi shook it and went to get his things.