Felt like I left you hanging, huh? Well, you wouldn't be the first actually. I had half a mind to quit too, but what good would be my word if I did that? After reading some reviews, I looked over some chapters I needed to edit before I posted on the site, and I realised my story has a lot of areas that will not make sense. So I scrapped it, wrote something else, scrapped it, wrote something else until I was sure that I'm heading in the right direction. The Plot hasn't been changed whatsoever (It's waaaaayyyyy too good for that) but substantial tweaks were performed to make the story a little more plausible from a different perspective.
Another thing is my laptop crashed completely and I had to replace it (I know, it's not an acceptable excuse for not updating since it only took a week). I lost all my stuff from my damaged PC, including all my work (Again, it's entirely my fault for not updating since I could have saved my stuff on Drive or something) so it took some time getting back on gear.
I'd like to say thanks so much for reading. I don't do this for fame or fortune. I do this for acknowledgement, proof that I'm improving as a writer. I initially set out on this site having little knowledge of English to begin with at twenty three years old (Check 'Changes At Hand' for proof of what I thought was me at my best) and it's opened my eyes to literature. But I wouldn't have been able to change without you guys. No matter the critic, no matter the flame, no matter the negativity, you helped me with your input. Thanks to all of you and enjoy the update!
Chapter 4: Training?
"After analysing all the information, it would seem prudent to form trade with Suna," a council member said.
The council were seated in their usual places. Kushina had busied herself with paperwork during the meeting, reading and stamping anything she alleged as worthwhile. She hardly regarded the conversation with her own consent, satisfied with listening mildly as the council continued their banter.
"I disagree," another said. "Suna at the moment has little to offer us when it comes to resources. They are already struggling as it is with the fundamental well-being of their very own village. Establishing trade with them could prove to be a liability."
Koharu regarded the member's words, then turned her gaze to their Hokage. "What do you think, Hokage-sama?"
Kushina didn't raise her head to look at them, but she visibly paused her endeavour. She took a second longer, but acted too quick for anyone to pay any mind. "This matter does not require my involvement as of yet. Continue to discuss it amongst yourselves."
Homura frowned disapprovingly. "This does require your attention. Although we understand that you brought all those papers and books so as not to lose sight of the copious amounts of administration left by Sarutobi, I can't fathom you leaving such an important decision to us so excessively."
Kushina casually continued her work, saying indifferently: "I said that this matter doesn't require my input as of yet. It does not mean I won't be involved when I see it fit to."
Homura stared at her for a second, and then nodded, seemingly satisfied. "As you wish..."
Koharu decided to pick off where the important conversation ended. "Back to Suna. It would seem that this isn't as easy as Lightning Country."
Tsume nodded her head. "You're right. But in any case, I vote against forming an alliance with the Sand Village."
"Why is that?"
"For reason already pointed out. They do not have the resources that would satisfy and insure our development. If we establish trade with them, then that would mean we would need to share our products and services. From the way I'm looking at it, they'll benefit more from this than Konoha."
Koharu nodded in agreement. It was a factual point that the Leaf Village had more to offer than Sand.
"But," Shikaku chimed in, "establishing a treaty and subsequent trade network could give us an advantage on villages such as Kumo. We will have access to more willing shinobi in both the tactical and medical directorates. It would increase our productivity and safety tenfold. Remember, they have a weapon that could become extremely beneficial if we ever needed it."
It immediately dawned on most of what Shikaku was talking about.
"I see," Mebuki said. "You mean the Sand Jinchuuriki."
Tsume clicked her tongue. "It is a plausible price for an alliance. Adding our Jinchuuriki to the mix would probably give us more power than we can handle."
Kushina stopped reading a scroll and stared at the council members. They had her attention now.
"Yes, but there is still the problem of outweighed value. It is still very little to count when you think about two villages sharing valuable intel and merchandise."
"Weigh the positives from the negatives."
Everyone turned to the person who had spoke, Kushina.
Kushina cupped the side of her face with a hand, dawning a bored, negligent, posture. "If you compare the good from the bad in earnest, then you can come to a solution of what choice is the right to make. You're already there, just simplify it."
"Okay," Inoichi said slowly, "I guess the bad would be they have little resources to trade, meaning we would have little to get."
"A plus," Shikaku continued, "would be they have a lot of shinobi who can offer us support. Furthermore, they have a Jinchuuriki. Combining those two aspect creates a powerful prospect."
Kushina nodded, "Anything else?"
The council exchanged glances, admittedly having nothing more to think of.
"Well, nothing major. I think those are the most important issues."
Kushina nodded again, "Then the decision is easy to make. Taking account that Suna has never been openly hostile towards us, I propose we form an alliance with them."
At first, some members looked to disagree. But after thinking it over, they really didn't know if it was wise to doubt the woman that had so much power over them.
They murmured amongst each other, occasionally glancing back at their Hokage.
Kushina stared back in disinterest.
After a few minutes, the council made their decision.
"You are most wise, Hokage-sama. We agree to allow trade between us and Sunagakure."
"Then that problem has been solved."
Koharu nodded, brimming a smile. "Quite easily, in fact. You're sure living up to our expectations."
"I should hope so. Now, about the subject of the Jinchuuriki of this village."
Koharu blinked at her. "What about the child?"
"I have not been given so much as an explanation on his activities or his whereabouts."
Homura frowned in confusion. "Oh, I thought Sarutobi would have told you by now."
"He has not."
Koharu took a pause to think. "It's strange. He had been adamant to tell you himself, although we couldn't understand why. It wasn't as if the kid was important."
Kushina furrowed her brows, but said nothing.
"Well, reports have indicated that he lives off the streets now," Tsume said.
"That's the first time I'm hearing about this. Wasn't he adopted?" Inoichi asked, perturbed.
"He was," Koharu said. "But you're already aware that no person can ever harbour such a child under them without a motive. It is clear that there was."
"It's not as if the situation with the boy should be taken with too much care," a member put out. "He is just a Jinchuuriki - a weapon."
"Yes, you're right," Koharu said. "The only importance he wields is his value to us through Minato's sacrifice, nothing more."
Kushina continued to listen patiently. It seemed that they had momentarily forgotten about her, but she didn't mind. They were talking. That's all she cared about.
Koharu finally addressed the Hokage apologetically: "I am truly sorry that he shares your last name. But whether we like it or not, he was discovered as Naruto Uzumaki by Sarutobi himself. We cannot change it, unfortunately."
Kushina didn't hear them. Her mind stopped the moment she heard Naruto's name mentioned. Her eyes were slightly wide, realisation hitting harder than she understood.
Koharu saw the look and explained, "It's exactly what you're thinking. The blonde boy at the celebration is him."
Kushina mentally berated herself for the shock, wondering what had come over her. She looked the old woman and spoke softly, "I see."
That was him. That's how this village treated Jinchuuriki; that's how every village most likely treated Jinchuuriki, as nothing more than tools for their use and disposal.
"Meeting adjourned," Kushina said suddenly, standing up and taking the paperwork with her.
Before she went on her way, she eyed two empty seats. "I noticed those seats have been vacant ever since my arrival."
Koharu followed her gaze and said, "Of course, the Uchiha and Hyuuga clan are on undisclosed retreats. They should be back in a few days."
Koharu stared at the Hokage worriedly. Her statement was...odd.
"That will be all," Kushina said, promptly leaving before anyone could converse with her.
The redhead arrived home in record time. The council meeting had been very early in the morning. It had to be due to it's importance. Currently, It was close to eight in the morning.
Kushina made her way passed the gate of her Estate, making sure to lock it in transit. She briefly saw an array of colour flash from the gate itself.
"Hm...it must be the seal."
She went inside, taking off her robes and setting them on a coat hanger. Now clad in a white and red kimono, she strutted into the kitchen.
She took out utensils to prepare sustenance. She decided to make a nice, eatable breakfast for herself and Mito.
She took out a pan and cooking oil. Carelessly pouring the liquid content on the pan, she let it heat up while taking out some eggs and bacon. She looked to her side and retrieved bread from the breadbin.
It was an easy and quick breakfast to make: bacon, eggs, juice and toast. She mentally gave herself a pat on the back. Mito would approve.
"Kaa-chan," Mito yawned, coming into the kicthen in her pyjamas. Her form was anything but presentable. But since she wasn't doing anything in particular, she could care less.
"Morning, little one," Kushina cooed. "Are you ready to eat?"
"You made breakfast without-"
"You helping me, yes. Like I said before, Mito, I'm your Kaa-chan."
"Yeah, I know."
"Come on," Kushina motioned.
They ate breakfast in comfortable silence. Kushina decided it was the right moment to strike up a conversation.
"How old are you, Mito?"
With a mouthful of food, Mito could only chew out a muffled seven.
Kushina chuckled. "Don't talk with your mouth full, sweetie. Anyway, I think it's time to start your training."
Mito blinked at her mother. "Training?"
"Yes, I recently came across this." Kushina took out a little journal from her sleeve, handing it delicately to her daughter.
Mito looked at the cover. Finding it strange, she looked at her mother. "Shinobi Code 101?"
"Yes, little one. While doing paperwork, I read up a few things. I found this journal. Actually, I found two that looked exactly the same." She took out another identical small book.
"What's it about?"
"In order for you to learn to be a kunoichi, you need to understand the basics, from chakra, to manipulation."
Mito eyes lit up. "This will help me become a kunoichi?"
"That's right. Read first and then we can start with other stuff. It was helpful for me to look at it, too. I'm assuming this was Minato's work."
Mito grinned at her mother. "Thanks Kaa-chan! I can't wait to start learning kunoichi stuff!"
Kushina smiled at her. "My pleasure."
Mito jumped out of her chair in cheered triumphantly. "I'll do my best!"
"That's good to hear."
"Do you think that one day, I'll be as strong as Obito-ni-"
"Don't say that name here!" Kushina hissed, cutting the little redhead off.
Mito squeaked at her mother's outburst. Her face was confused for a moment, then she comprehended. "Oh...sorry Kaa-chan. I-I d-di-"
Kushina was hugging her in the next second.
"Shh, it's okay. Just be careful. You must never say that name here."
"I understand." Mito softly said.
"Okay." Kushina let go of her. "I have a few things to do today. Will you be okay without me?"
"I'll be fine, Kaa-chan. Be careful."
"I will. Lock the gate and don't let anyone in."
Naruto stared ahead of him. Out there was the village. He was still hidden in the alley.
He looked around. The box that he originally called home had withered to pieces. He had to get another one, but luckily, there had been no disputes. No one had stalked him down or even discovered his location.
He remembered what the Hokage had said to him yesterday. She requested that he met her at her home.
But there was no way in hell he was doing that.
She had a motive. He knew she had a motive. And he suspected that she had treated him so nicely the other day as a means to lower his guard and strike.
She didn't care about him. Why would she? Even if she was the Hokage, what value did he have towards her? He was homeless, filthy, and obviously alienated. She was up to something, and that something involved hurting him.
Kaa-san, his sweet Kaa-san. Even now he could still remember her face. The smile she gave every time he did something wrong and apologised; the warm comfort of her hugs every time he felt down; her constant declaration of love even when he wondered why she would bother. How could he forget about that? That was just it; she was impossible to forget.
And with that revelation, came the bitter reality that it had all been a lie, a way to lower his guard and literally stab him in the back.
It was the same with Kushina. He knew her game. She was waiting patiently, just like Kaa-san. She was waiting for the moment to strike, and it seemed it could be anytime he let her in his heart.
No, he couldn't stand that, not again.
So it was safe to say that he wasn't going to see her today. In fact, he had planned on finding a new location to hide from prying eyes. But alas, he could not. No matter how he thought about it, it never ended well for him.
His current location was the best possible place when it came to safety. No one bothered coming inside, afraid that the place might be cursed, and that stuck in his favour.
Unfortunately for him, Kushina knew of where he lived. There was no doubt that she would be back, but whether it was to kill him or offer him something, he couldn't know.
He just hoped, no, he prayed that she would just give him a day. He just needed one day to reflect. Only then, could he possibly face her more steadily.
"I thought I told you to come to my house today. Were you planning on staying here?"
Naruto mentally sulked. It seemed fate couldn't care less about his worries. He looked up, noticing the woman in front of him. She had a frown plastered on her face. But she didn't look angry, more annoyed than anything else.
He just stood there, staring blankly at the Hokage, hoping above all hope that she would just leave him alone.
Kushina eyed the boy in front of her. It was the same look as yesterday. He obviously didn't want her near him. She strongly suspected that it had something to do with his past. From what she was able to gather, the blonde had been adopted. So what happened?
Deciding to focus on the current problem, she fixed a stern look to the kid. "I know you don't trust me, Naruto, but I'm not your enemy here. There's a reason I called you to my home. I can understand why you didn't come, but I'm a little irritated in your lack of faith."
Naruto's eyes were wide. It felt...unusual hearing his name come out of the woman's lips. She had said it so cleanly, no malice, no mirth. He had already gotten used to demon, but hearing his name uttered on another's lips brought on a strange feeling. He shook his head, warding off thoughts of the other person who used to say his name like that.
Kushina raised an eyebrow. "I don't think I asked you a question. Whatever...Are you going to come with me willingly, or do I have to grab you like yesterday?"
Naruto grimaced, struggling to gulp down the lump in his throat. He knew it. She came to take him away. Maybe it was for real this time.
"Will you come willingly, Naruto?" Kushina asked, softer than before.
Naruto didn't think it was in his place to answer. Why bother denying the all so powerful Hokage. He nodded his head.
"No, I need to hear you say it."
Naruto looked back at the woman. She had a frown that looked worried. He didn't know what to make of that, but right now, it didn't matter.
Kushina beamed at him, surprising him greatly. "Great, now come along."
She walked graciously out of the alleyway, and Naruto begrudgingly followed. He kept his head down, avoiding eye contact with any village judgement. It wouldn't help to stare back at them, since they all hated his guts.
Now he had to truly wonder where he was being led to. Yesterday had been a bit of a surprise. It was the first time anyone had ever treated him to food (as fake as it was). This day could end up the same way, or worse: death.
It wasn't looking like a bad way to go these days. His life had been horrid from the start, and although he had survived and prevailed for so long, wasn't death the gateway to a better place? Wasn't there somewhere he could live in peace and not be treated like a dirty dog? His childish mind couldn't make a consensus, so he pouted, following the Hokage's feet.
No small talk was exchanged, and Naruto was already used to Kushina's silence. So it came as a surprise when the mother did actually speak up.
Naruto looked up so fast that he resembled a bobble-head. What greeted his eyes was another unexpected view.
Kushina turned her attention to the surprised blond and offered a little smile. "It took some time, asking around, looking from place to place, negotiating deposits, but I guess I can be proud of my one day effort."
Naruto regarded the redhead, silently asking what she was talking about.
Kushina saw the face and immediately picked up on the confusion. "Oh, of course you must be lost." She looked back at the building that stood in front of her. It was a modest complex, with quite a few aligned rooms. It seemed recently painted in a light orange shade. The windows of each section looked brand new or replaced, but that was just the outside.
"*Sigh* I was told it was recently built for retired or off duty shinobi and kunoichi veterans, and since I could hardly find a place that wasn't already 'full', I figured this place would be at least suitable for you. Come on, let's check the inside," Kushina said, already moving.
Naruto was perplexed with what Kushina was saying. He couldn't grasp it, no matter how much his mind was pointing strongly to implications that shouldn't be there. It shocked him, while walking inside and staring at the beautiful furniture and decor, that he was still alive. This certainly wasn't the sort of place to kill a child, it looked too lavish...unless there was a 'secret room' to kill demons.
The pair climbed up a flight of stairs. Once they reached the intended floor, they made a right and passed six rooms. Kushina stopped at the seventh, and Naruto had to halt himself or risk bumping into the Hokage.
He followed her gaze, and noticed the door that was in their way.
"Room 305," he murmured, never noticing he said it out loud.
Kushina actually heard him.
"You can read?"
Naruto flinched at her surprised tone, fearfully deciding to keep silent.
A tad wavered, Kushina returned her attention to the door. "Well, Naruto, It's not much, but I hope you appreciate it."
The Hokage opened the door. Inside the apartment room were boxes of furniture and unpacked foods. In the middle of the room, was a woman with long raven hair, wearing a black kimono and shinobi sandals - in the process of unpacking a few boxes.
"Isai," Kushina called.
The woman jumped, turned around, and hurriedly bowed. "G-Good morning to you, Hokage-sama!"
"Good morning," Kushina nodded.
Isai took a brief look at Naruto. The blonde saw the woman's eyes flash and then she got back to work unpacking. Naruto couldn't tell what that look meant, but his instincts were already warning him of danger.
"Isai is my assistant," Kushina said. "I asked her to be involved in helping you adjust to shelter. You are the first to be treated to free housing, child. If it works out better than I expected, I think I'll turn this entire complex into a shelter for the homeless."
The Namikaze woman specifically chose her words. She didn't want to give any indication of false implications such as harmful intention to the boy. Using words such as 'program' or 'experiment' could probably set Naruto off, the wrong way. She'd already seen how jumpy he could get. It was better leaving him a little confused than giving him bad ideas.
Isai was another story on her own.
Kushina sighed and shook her head, remembering what a chore it was getting the woman involved yesterday.
Isai had refused to cooperate, vehemently. It shocked Kushina when she witnessed the woman show such animosity and fear when she mentioned Naruto. That was before she found out that the blonde boy was the Jinchuuriki.
But Kushina had to force her hand. Isai had graduated with high colours in the medical field. Her expertise in counselling were revered by a lot of people. But it seemed her youth - she was only 20 - was inhibiting her ability to act professionally. Kushina honestly considered casting the woman aside as a candidate, but no one else was best suited. However, she would need to keep a close eye on her.
"Isai, I have company," Kushina said, her rebuking tone causing Isai to jump again.
The woman quickly turned around. "My apologies Hokage-sama. Good morning to you, Naruto-san."
Naruto stood rigid. What was this? Why were these two women calling him by name? What happened to demon? Were they ill-informed?
"Naruto, she greeted you," Kushina informed, expectantly looking at him.
Naruto had no clue why Kushina was telling him the obvious. He stared back at her, his expression blank.
Kushina shook her head. The boy had serious trust issues, very serious. She shouldn't have expected much, aside from the fact that he could read.
"You must greet her back. It's only polite," Kushina said.
Naruto eyes widened. He had forgotten. He looked at Isai in squeaked out a greeting.
Isai was shocked with how scared Naruto looked. It was like he feared being punished. No, he was just hiding his true colours. This was the demon that killed her brother. There was no way those scared azure irises were genuine.
She would put that aside for now, however. If she even thought about harming him, she was sure Kushina would make her pay dearly. The Hokage seemed to have an odd attachment towards the blond, and Isai couldn't discern what the Hokage was thinking.
She would have thought the entire idea ridiculous if there wasn't a catch to it.
"What do you think, Naruto? Do you like the room?" Kushina asked the youngster casually.
Naruto stared at her inanely. He couldn't grasp what Kushina was aiming at. Why was she asking him if he liked the room? What did it matter if he did?
He looked at the area again. It was quite spacious, more than what he was used to anyway. It didn't seem too confined. Well, anything was better than his own 'home'.
He didn't quite understand why his opinion mattered. He wasn't stupid in thinking that Kushina didn't have a motive for asking. She could be offering the place to him as way to temporary confuse him, and then she would strike. It was a plausible setup. The fact that Isai was in the room as well should have warranted worry from him – and oh, it did.
Should he lie then? Should he say that this place wasn't nice, wasn't suitable? Maybe that's what the Hokage was aiming for in the first place – to confirm that she could treat him just like everyone else.
Thinking up too many ifs was making his brain hurt. He didn't know what to do but stare into space.
Kushina's arms were folded. She had been observing Naruto's reaction. It wasn't difficult to think that she had given him something arduous to answer to. Because if she was right, then Naruto was downright afraid of her. He didn't know her, but her title as Hokage might have broadened his judgment towards her. How Sarutobi allowed something like this to happen would always escape her.
"Do you like this place, Naruto?"
He didn't answer.
Kushina massaged her chin. This was turning out to be exceedingly problematic. Communication was key, in this case, and if she didn't get an answer, she couldn't act out.
Isai didn't know what to do herself. This was actually the first time she stood in the same room as the Demon Brat. It wasn't anything she had ever experienced, and she didn't know if it would be wise voicing her thoughts.
"Isai, you may go to the Tower," Kushina informed suddenly.
Isai's head perked up at the sudden request. She didn't expect Kushina to be kicking her out so quickly, but she welcomed the change. With a quick bow, she left the Uzumaki pair to their own devices.
Once Kushina was certain that Isai was gone completely, she turned back to Naruto.
She purposefully walked up to him, ignoring his fearful retreat at her advance.
Naruto took steps back the moment she took steps forward. Kushina had an odd look on her face that he didn't like. It forced a shiver from his spine. His eyes were wide and dancing around; his heart was beating hard against his chest. He couldn't stop his stiff movements. It was like he was overwhelmed with a sense of hopelessness.
When she grabbed his shoulders, he whimpered, shutting his eyes and tightening his body. He had a strong urge to pull away and dash for the exit, but it was difficult with so many negative possibilities.
But when she sat down on a sofa and pulled him into a gentle embrace on her lap, that's when he reacted. The warmth, the comfort, her sweet scent overwhelming his sense of smell…it was just too much to handle. The emotional part of his brain reached critical level, and the logical part declared that his feelings were too unstable, so it blared massive warnings, triggering a desperate attempt at self-preservation.
His struggled against her hold, fervently, trying to shake his body as hard as he could. He mistakenly hit Kushina a few times, but logic wasn't processing clearly. He just needed to survive.
Kushina grimaced when she felt his strong resistance, and took the blows to her body like a champ. She had very little idea why she chose such a reckless approach, but it was actually subconscious movement. She had no idea what her body was doing until it was too late.
She didn't pull away, however, and held on tighter the more he fought her off. The fear his body was exuding was evoking strong maternal instincts in her own body that usually reacted when something bad happened to Mito.
She recalled the time when she first saw him. She remembered how he mesmerised her beyond understanding, how his face forced her into a trance. After that, he never left her mind for too long. But she wondered why that was. She couldn't thoroughly explain it; she didn't know how.
Seeing him suffer made her ache a little, and to someone who didn't give any villager her time of day, that little ache was a very strong feeling. It made her want to do things she cogently knew were wrong. For someone in her position, having inconsistencies in rationality was dangerous, but here she was, hugging Naruto as protectively as she would her own daughter.
He struggled for some time, flailing his arms and legs about like his life depended on it. Well, in a sensible interpretation, it did.
After some time, that adrenaline pumping in his veins vanished completely. He was utterly spent, even laying his head on Kushina's shoulder to catch his breath.
Kushina never lost her cool for a second. She let him do as he wished. It was easier now that he exhausted himself. It meant that he was much calmer to deal with.
Putting strange thoughts entering her subconscious aside, she leaned back on the sofa, breathing softly.
"Do you like this place, Naruto?" she asked quietly, waiting patiently for his reaction.
Naruto nodded his head. He felt too weak to argue. He was slowly losing all sense of reality from the woman's hold. It was so much more placating than Kaa-san. It felt too good to pull away. The betrayed part of him tried its damned best to fight off the unwelcoming feeling. But the lonely boy, looking for anyone to give him attention and security, never felt as safe as this moment.
"Good. From now on, this will be your home," Kushina announced, a bit surprised she didn't get any refusals.
The fact that Isai would be also staying with him didn't seem like a topic to bring up yet. No… Now that she thought about it, this opportunity gave her a very appealing idea. Since she was treating him to free housing, she might as well go all the way. She strongly wanted to.
She looked down, eyeing his blond hair. "Have you ever thought of being a shinobi?"
There was a pause, but Naruto hesitantly raised his head. He tried and failed to keep eye contact, feeling slightly drowsy.
Kushina noticed his fatigue immediately and decided to cut to the chase. "If you become a shinobi, you can protect yourself from those who want to harm you. You can buy things and live alone if you want. You'll be strong enough to make a huge difference in your life. You could even become Hokage one day."
His drowsiness temporary forgotten, he stared at her with eyes so wide they looked like they were going to pop out. Hokage? That was actually possible for him? No one had ever told him of such a thing…Was she lying to him?
"Everything I said is the truth." She read his mind like an open book. "You could be a great leader for this village. Then, people wouldn't treat you like this."
He would be free? They would actually accept him? He knew being Hokage was a big thing, but he never thought it was this big.
But wait…Why lead these people? What had they done to deserve that out of him? Being Hokage sounded like an easy way out of being treated like shit, but could he really live with himself if he gave these people the power to take everything they did to him and cast it aside like an afterthought?
No, they hurt him, terribly. Being Hokage would be like selling himself off to the wolves that bit his hands off. Getting revenge wasn't something he would entertain either. For all her wrongdoings, Kaa-san was a great mother until she tore everything they had apart. Revenge is never good, she said. And from all of Sarutobi's talking with kids, it solidified that belief.
So no revenge, but he didn't want to settle for less. Being a shinobi was a powerful prospect, he knew that quite well. So being the strongest shinobi was the best way to go.
Why was he even thinking these things? He shouldn't be trusting anyone with his life, especially the fearful Hokage. Like he recalled, she definitely had a motive for everything she was doing. Nothing in this world was for free. He had to learn the awful truth the hard way. There was no way Kushina didn't expect something from him.
But…he was way too tired to figure it out. His eyes felt heavy. And for some reason, his instincts weren't warning him to run away. Maybe it was the way she stroked his back, or maybe it was the scent of roses he smelled in the space nearest to her. But in any case, he was too tired to do anything.
Kushina carefully took out a book. She put it on the table next to them. When she looked at Naruto again, she noticed his eyes closed, breathe even, and movements relaxed.
She truly tried, but she couldn't stop herself from smiling at the sight. This kid had a weird effect on her, one she struggled to cognise.
She gently put him on the sofa. She stood up and decided to leave; it was getting late.
She would visit him the next day. There was no doubt in her mind that he would try to make a break for it once he realised that Isai was going to be sharing the same living quarters.
'He just needs time to adjust'.
She knew how difficult that was going to be. He was one person who was struggling extensively with emotional connection. The barrier in front of him could be considered something like a brick wall, breaking through would require hitting it at its weaknesses. It absolutely had to be done. The dangers of his resentment as a Jinchuuricki could very well affect Konoha's existence. That, plus her mind was curiously pressuring her to do it.
She sighed to herself. Until tomorrow, she had bigger issues to deal with as Hokage.
'See you soon, little one.'
As the door closed, Naruto's sleep seemed undaunted. For the first time his body melted into comfortable fabric. The soft feel was effective enough to keep him in slumber, and contently he napped.
His head was rested on a pillow directly against the arm of the sofa. The arm was candidly next to the table.
On the table lay a piece of Minato's work, one of the two things he left behind, most probably for his own children: 'Shinobi Code 101'.
There you go! But it's not over! Nope, it's just the beginning! The next update will be up soon, so don't miss it!
Side Note: For those of you who are reading the original 'For The Love of Family' story, I've decided to scrap it all. I've decided to delete it entirely from the site. So that story will never finish and you'll never see it again...
SYKE! I'M KIDDING!
The next update I will make will be for the original story. So to all you 'For The Love of Family' fans, you'll get your much needed reward for waiting, and it's a doozy (I bet you're wondering if Naruto is going to kill Minato now. Or if Minato really is the bad guy. What about the new team, Naruko, or even Kurama?).
Until then, bye for now!