Disclaimer: Naruto IS NOT MINE! I don't own any of this, except for the changes I am making to the plot of the wonderful creation of Masashi Kishimoto.

A/N 1: Anyway, welcome to my newest project. In honor of Naruto having only a handful of chapters left, I've been in a bit of a Naruto-kick recently. And so I decided to start up a new Naruto story, this will be different than 'Underneath the Underneath' in several ways but I won't say much more since it will spoil things. But moving on from that, I hope you all enjoy this new journey throughout the Naruto story.

'Man, jiji must be really slipping,' a blonde blur thought as it sped through a rapidly darkening forest, a large scroll strapped to his back. The scroll was massive; it was nearly the size of the young boy who was carrying it. 'I can't believe how easy this was, I mean, it was just sitting there in jiji's office.'

As soon as this thought passed through Naruto Uzumaki's head, it caused him to do something that many people believed him incapable of doing, think.

'Why was this so easy?' the blonde pondered. 'Jiji is the strongest ninja in the village, why would this scroll be in his office unless it is really important? But why was it so lightly guarded, I mean come on, I know I'm pretty good at stealth for a kid but there is no way that jiji would let me just walk out of his office with something so important. And Mizuki-sensei knew where is was, how?'

Naruto stopped at a clearing, about a ½ mile outside the village, the place where Mizuki said he would administer the make-up exam.

"There has got to be something going on," Naruto muttered as he slung the scroll off his back. "I should take this back to jiji, he would understand…But what if I'm caught before I find him, jiji is the only one who believes me, the others wouldn't believe me. I think it's too late to turn back now. If I'm right, and this is a set up then the best thing to do is…spring the trap."

Naruto looked down at the large scroll at his side. "I better get to work then, have to make this look convincing," he shrugged. "Come on, open you stupid scroll!" Naruto growled as he tried to open the large scroll. "Ow!" he yelped as he lightly cut his hand on the scroll's edge. Before he could stop them, several drops of blood fell from his hand and landed on the scroll.

The scroll glowed a bright blue and peeled open. Naruto starred at the now-open scroll, he noticed a circle of writing for a spilt second before there came a small explosion of smoke that obscured the scroll. Naruto yelped and scrambled backward from the scroll as a tall man appeared in the middle of the cloud of smoke.

This man had spiky gray hair, with dark eyes that seemed to catch everything and, to Naruto, pierce right through his very being. The man's face was framed by an odd-looking piece of armor with Konoha's symbol etched in the center. Naruto swallowed a lump in his throat as the man looked down at him.

"Where am I boy?" the man asked, his voice sharp and heavy with the air of command. Naruto knew that this man meant business and wanted answers fast.

"Konoha," Naruto stammered. The man nodded.

"Who are you?"

"Naruto Uzumaki."

The man's eyebrow rose at Naruto's answer.

"Do you know who I am?" Naruto shook his head, though the man's face did seem familiar. "I am Tobirama Senju, the Nidaime Hokage."

"Nidaime Hokage? But jiji is the Hokage!" Naruto shouted.

"Jiji? What Hokage is this jiji?"

"Jiji is the Sandaime Hokage," Naruto answered.

"Hiruzen," Tobirama said softly.

"Wait, if you are the Nidaime Hokage, that means you are dead!" Naruto cried. "Are you a ghost?" he asked, his voice trembling.

"I am a Shadow Clone," Tobirama said.

"Shadow Clone?"

"How old are you Naruto-san?"

"I'm 12!"

"Are you a shinobi?"

"Of course," Naruto shouted. "Well, not yet, I am still in the Academy. But once I learn a jutsu from this scroll, I'll be a ninja!"

Tobirama gazed down at the blonde boy before him. He could sense that the boy in front of him held an immense amount of chakra, especially for one so young. But as he sensed deeper, Tobirama felt something that he had only sensed once before in his sister-in-law, Mito Uzumaki.

'This boy hold the Kyubi,' Tobirama thought. 'But it seems that he is unaware of it, if he were, then there is no way that Saru would not have made him a ninja already.'

"Hey clone guy, can you teach me that Shadow Clone jutsu?" Naruto asked. "The Clone Jutsu is the one jutsu I just can't get to work, and I've failed the exam always because of it."

'If he has such chakra and very little control over his chakra, then he would not be able to perform the Clone Jutsu,' Tobirama thought. 'The Shadow Clone Jutsu would suit him well.'

"Very well Uzumaki-san, I will teach you the Shadow Clone Jutsu," Tobirama announced.

"All right!" Naruto shouted with joy, pumping his fist into the air.

"Silence," Tobirama barked, causing Naruto to fall silent. "Do not believe I am doing this as a kindness boy. Even from the short time I have observed you, I can tell that you have no idea what it means to be a shinobi. You believe that being a shinobi just fun and games, flashy jutsu and being a hero. You are wrong, being a shinobi is to become the pillar of strength. Being a ninja is to be the one who will shoulder the burdens of the village. You will do whatever it takes to protect the village; do you think that you can do that? Become the pillar that holds the house that is Konoha upright?"

"Yes sir," Naruto vowed, his eyes brimming with determination.

Tobirama nodded. 'This boy, he is much like you were brother when we were younger,' the Nidaime thought, a small smile appearing on his face. 'But he was able to open this scroll, which means he is related to both of us. Could Akemi-chan have been?'

"I did it!" Naruto shouted as he successfully performed the Shadow Clone Jutsu for the fifth consecutive time.

Tobirama nodded at the sight of the blonde boy running around in celebration for successfully learning a B-rank kinjutsu, of his own make, in only two hours. The clone of the deceased Hokage admitted to himself that the boy, Naruto, had quite a bit of talent but it seemed that his greatest strength was also his greatest weakness; Naruto had too much chakra. If the boy didn't burn chakra, he would get jittery and hyper and that meant he couldn't concentrate.

"Naruto-san," Tobirama said garnering the boy's attention. "My chakra is running low and soon I will dispel."

"What! Why?" Naruto cried.

"It is the way of things," Tobirama said stoically. "Now, I can sense a person quickly approaching our position, so I will make this quick. The scroll you opened would have only done so if the blood spilt on it matches my own."

"What does that mean?" Naruto asked, his voice quiet.

"It means that on some level, we are related Naruto-san," Tobirama said. "Who were your parents?"

Naruto's face fell. "I don't know," he said. "Jiji has only told me that they died in the Kyubi attack and that they loved me."

"I see," Tobirama said. "Well, when you next see Saru, tell him that withholding information can be just as dangerous and damaging as releasing too much. Also show him this scroll and tell him that it is your heritage."

"I will Tobirama-ojisan," Naruto beamed, cradling the scroll like a mother would hold a newborn babe.

"Another thing Naruto-san, you mentioned the Kyubi attacking the village and that your parents died in the attack," Tobirama commented. "Tell me what you know about the attack?"

And Naruto did so, telling Tobirama about how his hero, the Yondaime Hokage, defeated and killed the Kyubi by using some ultra powerful jutsu. When Naruto finished the tale, he noticed the clone frowning at him.

"Naruto-san, I do not know why Saru has told you this fabrication," Tobirama said. "But the Kyubi is a Biju, a massive construct of pure chakra. It can not be killed by any means, only sealed away."

"Sealed away?" Naruto asked, a cold pit forming in his stomach.

"Yes, the Biju can be sealed away into objects or people."

"People?"

"Yes Naruto-san," Tobirama said. "When a Biju is sealed within a person, that person is considered a jinchuriki." A cold trickle dripped down the back of Naruto's neck at the word jinchuriki. "You, Naruto-san, are the jinchuriki of the Kyubi."

Silence fell upon the clearing like a blanket.

"I am the Kyubi?"

"No," Tobirama said sharply. "You are not the Kyubi, you are its prison! You are the one who contains the Kyubi, protecting the village from the Kyubi. I do not know why Saru has not told you of this, he will have his reasons but I am of the mind that one must have all the relevant facts to make the correct decision. Now, Naruto-san, my chakra has just about run out, I am sorry to be leaving you just after telling you this but that is life. Not everything will go your way; you must be able to persevere or you will be crushed. You are a descendant of the Nidaime Hokage, you will be fine. I believe in you Naruto-san, don't prove me wrong."

"Hai Tobirama-ojisan," Naruto said clearly. "I promise you that I will not let you down. I will become the pillar of strength for the village, and I will become Hokage just like you."

Tobirama nodded as a faint smile graced his stern features. "I am sure you will Naruto-san, goodbye."

"Goodbye Tobirama-ojisan," Naruto said softly as the clone dispelled itself, vanishing in a puff of smoke. Wiping his eyes, Naruto turned to pick up the scroll just as a new figure leapt down from the trees.

"There you are!" Iruka shouted, his Big Head Jutsu activating on instinct. "Do you have any idea what you've done Naruto? Do you know how much trouble you are going to be in?"

"Hello Iruka-sensei," Naruto said solemnly. The blonde's calm and respectful response drew Iruka short. "I'm sorry about this, I was told you Mizuki-sensei that if I snuck into jiji's office and stole this scroll and learned a jutsu from it, then he would pass me and I would become a real ninja."

Iruka gaped down at the blonde. 'Mizuki? What's going on?' he thought.

"Ok Naruto, say I believe this, we need to get back to the village and explain everything to Hokage-sama," Iruka said.

"I know Iruka-sensei," Naruto said. "Lead the way."

"Sorry to break up this cozy scene, but you two aren't going anywhere," a mocking voice called down from the trees. Iruka and Naruto looked up to see Mizuki sneering down at them, a pair of fuma shuriken strapped to his back.

"Mizuki, what is going on?" Iruka asked.

"Well I was planning on there not being any witnesses to this but not everything can go as planned," Mizuki chuckled. "This way I can even pin another death on the demon, and I'll be treated as a hero when I kill it."

"What are you talking about?" Naruto asked, playing up his idiocy even though his suspicions had just been confirmed, he had been set up.

"Naruto, do you know why everyone in the village hates you?" Mizuki laughed.

"Mizuki, no! You know it's forbidden!" Iruka cried.

"Why should I care?" Mizuki laughed, sending chills down Naruto's spine. "You two are going to die here and now." The crazed chunin reached back and unclipped one of the fuma shuriken hanging on his back. Naruto and Iruka tensed as Mizuki began spinning the large instrument of death with just one finger.

"Naruto, I'll hold him off," Iruka said. "You need to get that scroll back to the Hokage, you can't allow Mizuki to get it."

"Ah poor little Iruka is trying to protect the very monster that killed his parents," Mizuki mocked. "Tell me Iruka, why are you trying to protect the very thing that made you an orphan. The Kyubi killed your parents and now you are protecting it."

"What are you talking about?" Naruto asked.

"Oh that's right, you still don't know, do you?" Mizuki laughed. "You are not Naruto Uzumaki. That is just some name that the Hokage gave you to try and fool the others, but I know the truth. You are the monster that attacked our home, killed our loved ones and nearly destroyed the village twelve years ago, you are the Kyubi no Yoko!"

Iruka turned slowly toward Naruto with a large amount of trepidation. Now Naruto knew, but the question was how would the boy handle it. "Naruto, you are not the Kyubi," Iruka said, looking at the frozen boy. "You are the prison for the demon. You are Naruto Uzumaki, the number one prankster of Konoha and one of my precious students."

"How touching," Mizuki sneered. "Enough talking, time to die demon!" Mizuki hurled the spinning fuma shuriken at the still unmoving Naruto. The spinning blades sliced through the stale air, gleaming in the bright moonlight.

"No Naruto!" Iruka cried, reaching out toward his student.

Naruto stumbled backward but tripped over a tree root falling to the ground as the fuma shuriken closed in. Mizuki's eyes gleamed with malice and glee as the whirling instrument of death neared its target.

"Gah!"

Naruto slowly opened his eyes as he felt something warm and wet drip onto his cheek. It was Iruka, crouching over Naruto. The blonde's eyes widened when he spotted the large shuriken sticking out of Iruka's back. Blood was trickling down Iruka's chin and several drops had landed on Naruto's face.

"Iruka-sensei!" Naruto gasped as he took in the pain-twisted grimace of his sensei. "Why?"

"Because you are just like me Naruto," Iruka said, his voice rough with pain and several more flecks of blood from Iruka's mouth, landing on Naruto's jumpsuit. "After my parents were killed, all I wanted was for someone to look at me, to pay me any attention. I was a troublemaker and prankster, always trying to find a way for people to just look at me. I am sorry that you had to suffer the pain of loneliness when I knew what you were going through. I was not strong enough to help you and I am sorry."

Naruto starred up at his sensei as the wounded man poured out his soul to the blonde. Naruto was about to say it was okay when a cruel laugh cut him off.

"How pathetic!" Mizuki howled. "You are really trying to comfort the demon, the very monster that killed your parents. Well, you'll soon be joining them Iruka. I wonder what they'll say when they learn that you were protecting the demon that killed them."

Iruka winced as another stab of pain crashed through his body. He looked down at Naruto to apologize once more, for not treating him correctly and for not protecting him. But those words died in his throat at the sight of cold and steely blue eyes looking over his shoulder. He had never seen Naruto look so angry; normally the boy would shout and rage till his face turned blue. This anger was focused and wound so tightly that it sent chills down the chunin's spine that had nothing to do with the large shuriken in his flesh.

"You will not harm my sensei!" Naruto snarled, pulling himself to his feet from underneath Iruka. "You are a traitor to the village and you will face the penalty for doing so."

"And who is going to stop me?" Mizuki laughed. "You?"

"I will do my duty," Naruto said. "Even if it costs me my life, you will not leave here alive. Multi Shadow Clone Jutsu!"

Mizuki's laughter died as an explosion of smoke filled the clearing. When the smoke cleared, it was a sea of orange and yellow. Mizuki felt a cold bead of sweat trickledown his spine at the innumerable cold blue eyes glaring at him from all angles.

"How is this possible? You are just a talentless orphan, how can you create this many clones?" Mizuki shouted.

"Because I am Naruto Uzumaki," Naruto said. "Get him."

The clones gave a nearly deafening roar and surged toward a frozen Mizuki. Naruto watched with emotionless eyes as the horde of his clones descended from the trees and pounded Mizuki into a bloody pulp.

"Naruto, you really did learn a jutsu," Iruka coughed.

"Iruka-sensei!" Naruto cried. The clones that Naruto summoned vanished in puffs and the original raced over to the injured Academy teacher.

"Hey Naruto," Iruka said with a slight wince. "You were amazing, I've never seen anyone create so many clones before, let alone Shadow Clones."

Naruto's face lit up at Iruka's praise. "Well, I might have over done it though," Naruto admitted, rubbing the back of his head."

"Don't worry about him," Iruka growled. "Like you said, he is a traitor and doesn't deserve our thoughts. Now I want you to close your eyes, I have something to give you."

"You're not going to kiss me or something are you sensei?" Naruto asked.

"No you little brat!" Iruka shouted, his Big Head Jutsu activating on reflex. "Just close your eyes."

Naruto gave Iruka a piercing look; it made the scarred Chunin feel like the Hokage was examining him. But the blonde then nodded and closed his eyes.

"Ok Naruto, go ahead and open your eyes," Iruka told Naruto.

The blonde slowly opened his eyes and saw his instructor sitting in front of him, a pained smile on the man's face. Then Naruto felt something on his forehead, he reached up and felt his hand bump into a hard metal plate.

"What the?"

"Congratulations Naruto, you graduate!" Iruka said brightly. The scarred Chunin cried out in pain as Naruto threw himself at Iruka but the Academy teacher looked down at the blonde with a fond smile.

A soft cough brought the bonding moment to a quick end. Iruka looked up to see a squad of masked ANBU standing above them in the trees.

"Iruka-san, are you injured?" the dog faced ANBU asked.

"Inu-san!" Naruto cried. "Iruka-sensei is hurt really badly, we've got to get him…"

"It's ok Naruto," Iruka calmed the frantic blonde. "It's not that bad." Though Iruka's reassurance was lost as he coughed up some more blood.

"Neko, take Iruka to the hospital," Inu ordered. "Tori, Gama, secure the traitor and I will escort Uzumaki-san to the Hokage to report on what has happened."

The other three ANBU nodded and leapt down from the trees to go about their orders. Naruto jumped slightly as Inu appeared beside him.

"Come along Uzumaki-san," Inu said. "The Hokage is waiting."

Naruto nodded, tightening his grip on the large scroll as Inu put hand on the boy's shoulder. The blonde looked over at Iruka who was being given first aid treatment by Neko. "Bye Iruka-sensei."

"I will see you later Naruto," Iruka grinned, though his face twitched as he felt his skin being stitched back together. "Don't worry about the Hokage, just tell him the truth and you will be fine."

Naruto only had time to nod before the forest vanished.

"Whoa," Naruto gasped at the interior of the Hokage's office came into view. "What was that? Can you teach me?"

"Perhaps another time Naruto," an amused voice said from behind a large desk. It was the Sandaime Hokage, Hiruzen Sarutobi.

"Hey jiji," Naruto said sheepishly. "I guess I have some explaining to do?"

"Yes you do Naruto-kun," the Hokage said. "That will be all Inu-san, you are dismissed."

"Hokage-sama," Inu said before fading into the shadows.

"So Naruto-kun, care to explain why you snuck into my office and stole a very important scroll?" Hiruzen asked.

"After I failed the graduation exam, Mizuki-sen…I mean Mizuki approached me, saying that I could still graduate if I completed a make-up exam," Naruto explained. "He said I had to sneak into your office, steal the scroll and learn a jutsu from it, and if I did all that without being caught, I would pass and be able to become a ninja."

Hiruzen set his fingers in front of his face, looking down at the blonde boy in front of him. "I see," he said. "And did you succeed?"

"Yes!" Naruto said. "But it was weird, I accidently cut myself on the scroll and some of my blood got on the scroll and then the weirdest thing happened."

"What happened Naruto-kun?"

"This guy appeared from inside the scroll," Naruto said. "He said he was the Nidaime Hokage."

"What?" Hiruzen gasped.

"I know," Naruto agreed. "But he said he was a Shadow Clone, he even taught me the jutsu, watch! Shadow Clone Jutsu!"

Hiruzen was stunned as three solid copies of Naruto appeared in the office. "Very well done Naruto-kun, you successfully learned a B-rank kinjutsu in just one night," the Hokage said. "There are not many people who can even claim such a feat."

Naruto beamed at the praise from the Hokage and his grandfather figure. "Thanks jiji," he said. "Oh and Tobirama-ojisan said to tell you that withholding information can be just as dangerous as releasing too much. He also said that we were related somehow, since the only people who could open the scroll was someone with his blood."

Hiruzen fell back into his chair in disbelief. "Are you sure Naruto-kun?" he asked. "I am not doubting you but I need to be sure."

"I'm sure jiji," Naruto said looking Hiruzen straight in the eye. "He told me that the only way that the scroll would open is if the blood was of his line, whatever that means. Is it true, am I related to the Nidaime Hokage?"

Hiruzen sighed heavily. "I have no idea," he admitted. "As far as I knew, my sensei did not have a family aside from his brother's family. But I also will say that Tobirama-sensei was a very secretive person, so it is certainly possible. The fact that your blood opened the scroll lends credence to the theory that you are related to him."

"But the Nidaime Hokage died a long, long time ago, right?" Naruto said. "There is no way that he could be my dad right? So what is he to me? Is he my dad's dad or what?"

"I can't tell you for certain," Hiruzen said. "Like I told you Naruto, Tobirama-sensei was very secretive and I did not know if he had a lover or wife. And no, there is no way that the Nidaime Hokage could be your father. I knew your parents very well and…"

"You knew my parents! Who were they jiji? Please, you have to tell me?" Naruto cried. Tears began pouring down his cheeks. Hiruzen felt his heart clench at the sight of his surrogate grandson's face.

"Naruto, your parents were very strong ninja and during their lives they gained many enemies," Hiruzen said. "Enemies who would have no qualms about taking revenge by killing you. I promise that I will tell you about your parents when I feel you are strong enough to defend yourself. And that is my final word on the matter."

"Very well Hokage-sama," Naruto answered curtly. "Is that everything?"

"Yes Naruto-kun," Hiruzen said, masking the hurt he felt from Naruto's use of his title. "If you would just return the scroll…"

"I am afraid I can't do that Hokage-sama," Naruto said. "As this scroll is my family's property, I will be taking possession of it."

"I can not let you do that Naruto-kun," Hiruzen said. "That scroll is much too valuable to be in an unsupervised environment."

"There isn't anything you can do about this Hokage-sama," Naruto retorted. "The Clan Charter, set down by the Shodaime Hokage, means you can not confiscate any scrolls that belong to an active clan as long as the head of the Clan is an active shinobi."

"An active Clan also means a clan that has at least a dozen members in it," Hiruzen argued.

"Then release the Uchiha jutsu scrolls," Naruto fired back. "There are only two members of that clan alive, including Itachi. So don't try and pull that card."

"Naruto, you are too young…"

"Like I was too young to know that the Yondaime sealed the Kyubi in me," Naruto snapped, his eyes growing stormy. "Why didn't you tell me? You knew why people kept looking at me with such hate and coldness but you never did anything about it."

Hiruzen felt every one of his advanced years weighing down on him, Naruto's words struck deeper and more painful than any kunai. "I am sorry Naruto-kun, but I didn't not wish for you to find out like this. I couldn't tell you before because I wasn't sure you would be able to handle the truth."

"You didn't trust me," Naruto accused. Hiruzen winced sharply. "I asked you how many times if you knew why they all glared at me and every time you would tell me to ignore it or blow the question off. Were you ever going to tell me?"

"Yes Naruto-kun but I needed to make sure that you understood the burden that you bore," Hiruzen tried to explain.

"How many people know?" Naruto asked. "How many people know that the fox is sealed in me?"

"The generation above yours," Hiruzen admitted. "I made it a law not to revel your status to anyone that was not already in the know. I had hoped to keep it a tighter secret but that was a fool's thought. I also hoped that you would be able to find friends in your classmates, as they wouldn't know."

"Well that failed miserably," Naruto sneered.

Hiruzen hung his head. "Yes, and I am so sorry about that Naruto-kun," he said.

"You can start making it up to me by letting me keep this scroll," Naruto said. "As far as anyone knows, I am the only one who can open it, so it is my property. I promise that I will not let anyone know that I have it but please jiji, let me have this one piece of my family."

Hiruzen schooled his features as he starred his surrogate grandson in the eye. Naruto's blue eyes were hard and determined; the boy was not going to give this up, reminding the aged Hokage of another Uzumaki.

"All right Naruto-kun, I will let you keep the scroll," Hiruzen said. "On one condition."

"Yes Hokage-sama?"

"Tomorrow after you have your team meeting, I would like you to come to my office so we can examine the scroll," Hiruzen said. "I want to give you some advice, I don't want you to get in over your head in learning my sensei's jutsus."

Naruto closed his mouth and thought about the Hokage's offer, he knew that he was pushing his luck with the Clan Charter card; the Hokage could take possession of the scroll mainly because no one would believe Naruto could ever be the descendent of the Nidaime Hokage. If Naruto tried to fight and the situation was brought before the Village Council, Naruto would be laughed out of the chamber, he had no allies among the Council.

"Very well Hokage-sama, I will agree to this condition," Naruto said. "But I want reasons from you if I am limited in what I can learn, actual reasons, not just that I am too young. Once I accepted this headband, I ceased being a child."

"All right Uzumaki-san," Hiruzen said. "I will also accept your terms and will see you tomorrow. Dismissed."

"Yes Hokage-sama," Naruto saluted before securing the scroll and leaving the Hokage's office, leaving the elder Hokage hoping that he had made the correct decision.

A/N 2: Well there you have it, the first chapter of my newest project 'Bloodlines'. I hope that you all enjoyed this start and will let me know by leaving a review. These first couple chapters will be pretty basic, one of the things I didn't like after finishing 'Underneath the Underneath' was the fluctuation of Naruto's skill level, it wasn't very realistic. I will try and make sure that mistake doesn't happen in this story. Also the timeline might be stretched a bit as we never really get a concrete timeline throughout the entire series except for the 2+ years that Naruto spends training with Jiraiya. Anyway, til next time,

SlytherinKnight