Ain't Never Had A Friend Like Me
Chapter 17 – How to make a Uzumaki
(OR – How to get away with Identity Theft 101)
A/N – Yo. So on parings. They've been decided, all of them. I can't wait for you all to see what's inside my twisted little head. Don't forget to follow me on Tumbler, where I can and will answer all your questions, and chuck you a follow – Akari-chaan . Get on that! P.S – yes, the tattoo of Hogwarts is mine. Pretty cool I know.
So, I'm also thinking of explain something from last chapter. For those of you who managed to pick up on the fact that it sounded like Hinata having a crush on Kakashi, congratulations – you were right. No, dear god, nothing of that sort will ever happen. But, come on, haven't you ever had a crush on a teacher at that age? When I was 16 I had the biggest crush on my Literature teacher. It's a thing that happens at that age. I feel, like it's typical and essentially needed.
Oh, and to the unreachable person who PM'd me and said Willow was a Mary Sue… what fic have you been reading? Lol. She's like, one of the least perfect characters I've ever written. She's impulsive, rude, ignores people's feelings, and for most of this, she's actually being rather selfish (unless Naruto is involved.) I mean, unless the term Mary Sue has changed since it was last defined to me…
In the grand scheme of her life, Willow wasn't sure if she'd ever put much thought into any of her plans. It had alway been Hermione who conducted any plans. The ill-timed and not very people-friendly plans. However, she didn't need to be Hermione Jean Granger to know that she was better at making plans than Uzumaki Kushina was. Even if her plans always did fizzle out in an unexpected glory.
"Oh man, she's so cute, tattebane!" Kushina had gushed the second she'd laid eyes on Karin. The older woman's dark green, translucent eyes were shining. "You can tell she's a Uzuamki! You can't let her go! Tattebane!"
Willow ignored the ghost, and had gone on with her day. She wondered how long she'd be able to keep Kushina in the land of the living. She was wary of all the stories she'd heard about the stone, and being able to bring back the dead, but it having a negative effect on one's mindset. Not really being able to tell the difference between alive and dead. On the other hand, Willow was starting to realise that her new powers were connected with the Deathly Hollows. She was curious to how far she could push it. Would the effects of the hollows be the same on her, even though she didn't have the items physically on her?
After all, the ability to see someone before they died? Wasn't that the purpose of the clock to conceal? The ability to summon dead spirits? That was certainly the stone. She just wasn't sure what powers the wand had given her, not yet. And with Kushina around, she didn't really have the time to think about it. "Come on! We need to go to the Hokage, tattebane."
"I'm not telling him," Willow complained, forgetting for a second that she was talking out loud, and in front of Iruka who glanced up at her, looking confused. Willow waved him off but from the expression on his face, she felt that her talking to herself wasn't something he was going to let go.
Willow huffed, reseating herself in her comfortable beanbag, and re-propped up Icha Icha. This man, seemed to think she was talking to the book more often than not when she had it popped up in front of her, and she could let the man second guess himself. That and he thought she was some sort of pervert (which she was, now that she thought about it). For she enjoyed reading the series a bit too much to be considered otherwise.
"Aw come on," the red head whined, her arms draping of her shoulders, sending tingles down her spine. Once again, Willow was caught wondering why she could touch things sometimes, but not all the time. "Karin-chan obviously wants to stay here, with Naruto! Plus, you could have a really big Clan again! Think about how amazing it could be! The Uzumaki Clan back and running again!"
Her green eyes twitched, and she scrunched her face up. She didn't want to start a bloody Clan, and she didn't want to have to deal with family politics over here again, either. Kushina sighed dramatically. "You're really stubborn, tattebane!" she complained loudly, but that didn't matter, as Willow was the only one that could hear her. "Wouldn't it be nice to see them have a nice big house and family to come home to? You don't have to do anything, just let me talk to the Hokage through you!"
Willow raised her eyebrow, snapping her mouth shut to make herself conscious that she couldn't talk with Iruka in the room. Kushina was annoying. "Think about how much safer Naruto will be with a Clan name to back him?" Willow froze, and the ghost grinned, obviously happy to have hit a sore point. "Having my Clan name behind me has helped me so much. It makes me so sad that Naruto, my baby," she sniffed for effect. "Won't get the same. Won't be able to think of his family with pride and happiness-."
"Fine! I'll do it!" Willow snapped loudly, before throwing her book right through Kushina's head. Not that the celebrating ghost seemed to mind.
"Um, Willoo-san," Iruka had said, breaking her out of her moodily staring at her book that had flown halfway across the room. "Are you feeling alright?"
"No," she snapped, turning her glare onto Kushina, who was merrily doing a fist bump in the air, and mindlessly blabbing on about things that really had no concern for her. "I need to see the Hokage. Now."
His brow rose but she was hardly paying much attention to him. "It's really, very important," she continued, before he could properly respond.
"Tell him it's a life or death situation," the ghost chimed in helpfully. Not that Willow thought she was being particularly helpful, at all. The green eyed girl scowled at the older woman before turning back to the confused instructor.
"It has to do with Naruto, and it's really, of the up most importance that I see the Hokage."
Iruka sighed before nodding, and starting to slide his folders shut and store them in little paper scrolls that had Kushina humming with delight. Willow narrowed her eyes at the woman, before following Iruka out of the apartment, not bothering to lock it behind her.
After all, who was stupid enough to actually try and rob the place? That, and the only thing of any value in there was her lamp, and numerous Icha Icha books. Those books, she thought, however, were worth fighting for. Shaking her head, she shifted that out of her mind – and consciously, she tuned out Kushina, because no matter how nice she thought the woman was, she was annoying.
Willow had thought she was like Naruto, (or Naruto took after her), but she was wrong. Well, not really wrong, but Naruto was half of Kushina. Meaning, the boy was a lot calmer than she was, and he was quieter for it too. Less likely just to say anything that sprung to his mind, which might have something do with her influence rather than anything else, but it still made the boy less annoying. Willow sighed loudly, and ignored Iruka's concerned gaze.
She seemed to be ignoring people more often lately, she mused darkly. Either ignoring them, giving them life altering news, or making them angry with her. Couldn't she get anything right? With a huff, again, and ignoring Kushina's pestering questions, they finally reached the Hokage's tower, and tugged towards the top.
If Willow could describe the Hokage's waiting room, she'd explain it in two words; Unorganized chaos. There were, as always numerous ninja milling around, all bickering about how they needed to see the Hokage first, and how they'd been waiting longer – and their mission was more important, or this person was bleeding out. And to her alarm, she could see a ninja who was bleeding, and clutching her arm in pain, though she just sat on a seat stoically, and waited her turn to see the Hokage.
The receptionist that sat by the door was no help in keeping the order down, because whilst she did look like she was doing work, she didn't do much in organizing who was going to see the Hokage next. Aside from those who had appointments, it was just a 'who can run in first' sort of thing. Iruka ignored all those waiting, and strode right up to the woman who glanced up at him and sighed. "Do you have an appointment?" she asked, voice bored, but like she already knew his answer and was mentally preparing herself for the speech she was about to give.
"No, I'm sorry," the man began, indeed sounding rather apologetic. "But I need to see the Hokage over Uzumaki Clan business."
She sat up, and Willow could feel the woman's eyes locked onto her. Heck, she could even feel the burning gaze of a few of the ninja behind her, who had heard what he'd said. She wished he hadn't said that, but she understood why he had when the woman nodded her head sharply, and eyed Willow curiously before saying; "you can go in right after he's finished with this appointment."
"But I booked my appointment two weeks ago!" one of the ninja from behind her protested.
"Are you more important than a whole Clan?" she snapped, not caring one bit for her own safety. Willow started to feel rather guilty again. "No! That's right. Thank you. You can go next. Kami."
It was obvious in the way she spoke, that this woman hated her job. She gestured to the seats, the closest one being next to the stoic-faced bleeding ninja, with a sharp look in her eyes. "Take a seat. It should only be a few minutes."
There was quite a bit of hesitation in her steps, but she final took a seat next to the injured ninja, and she bit her lip to keep her from looking over at her. "Hey, hey! Willow-chan would you look at this wound! It's so nasty! It's so cool!"
Willow tried as hard as she could to ignore the woman's bright words, but failed and turned her head, gaze falling on the injured skin. Realising quickly that staring at a wound was bad manners, her eyes flickered up to look at the woman in the eyes, before giving her an apologetic smile and turning back around, trying not to flush red at the look of utter disdain she'd gotten in return.
Man, being nice in a ninja village was hard. "I wonder what did that, tattebane. Hey, hey, could you ask?! It sounds like an epic story!"
She ignored Kushina because she knew that following the other woman's advice in this situation was not the best, and that this woman, dead or not, was absolutely insane. She was not asking the ninja who was sitting next to her, and glaring at her why there was blood gushing out of her arm. Honestly, she also didn't want to know how the other guy looked either.
As if on clockwork, Willow shivered, and the door to the Hokage's office swung open. And the woman behind the desk's gaze went right to her. Willow took her look to mean 'get in there right now before someone else tries to.' So she did exactly what she was meant to, and prodded Iruka in the arm and followed behind him.
Was she really more important than the guy who actually booked an appointment? Or the ninja who was bleeding out of her arm? No, she reasoned, she really didn't think she was. It was too late now, however to back down. "Oh man, he's gotten super old," Kushina gushed the second they walked through the door. The ghost sounded utterly delighted. "Old man Hokage," she snickered.
Willow rolled her eyes the second the Hokage looked up, and he raised his eyebrow at her blatant attitude. Oh damn it, he hadn't meant – the redhead gave the Hokage a weak smile and prayed to Merlin that he didn't take attitude too seriously. Damn Kushina. "Willow-san, Iruka-kun, to what do I owe this pleasure?"
Iruka nodded towards Willow briefly, not saying a word, but giving her these curious looks that left her rather embarrassed about being in the room. "Yes, well, I uh, I have a problem with uh, Naruto and-."
"Man, you aren't getting yourself anywhere," Kushina complained, sidestepping in front of her with a frown. Willow hadn't even realised she'd broken off what she was saying until the Hokage gave a little cough. "Tell him that you're trying to scheme to keep the Kuso Uzumaki here. I bet he's already trying to! We just need permission, tattebane!"
"That doesn't even make-," Willow cut herself off before she could fully respond to the ghost, flushing red at the way the other two in the room were looking at her. This had to be why they didn't recommend having the spirits with you at all times – you forget others can't see them and respond. "I mean, I kinda, maybe have an inside source to every historical, and Clan-related secrets of the Uzumaki?"
The Hokage raised his eyebrow, and gave her a look that she considered it for him to be taking it well. Iruka on the other hand didn't even blink at the information, indeed, he looked more confused that she was telling the Hokage this. "I might need uh," she looked over at Kushina to see her mouth the word 'permission', "Yes right. I need permission to possibly tell Karin and even Naruto more about the Clan?"
"Iruka, will you please give us a minute?" The Hokage asked softly, and the man bowed his head, threw a curious glance behind him, and walked out of the room. After the male ninja left, the Hokage intertwined his fingers together and settled his gaze on her, he paused briefly, like he was considering his words carefully. "Willow-san, would you care to explain to me how you might have acquired the information that you claim to have."
"I'm a magical genie?" she tried, with a raised eyebrow. The Hokage didn't look too impressed with her answer. "I asked a Uzumaki."
The Hokage said nothing for a good long few minutes, his eyes had locked onto her, analysing every inch of her body, like he couldn't quite decide what to make of her. "And how, may I ask, you manage to ask any Uzumaki when the only two left alive, are thirteen year old Genin, who know nothing about the Uzumaki?"
Willow sighed, and tried to ignore Kushina buzzing around shouting about how he needed to tell him about her. She was right, and she was the one who got her into this situation. If it was left up to her, she'd have just taught the damn kids without permission. Who needs permission, anyway? "I might have the ability to communicate with the diseased."
The Hokage's eyes widened, and he physically had to lean back. After the brief moment it had taken him to digest said information, his eyes narrowed at her. She knew that he didn't believe her, almost instantly. "I can prove it," she said hastily. "I can summon them. But only I can see them. It's a …genie thing. I mean, I could summon someone of your choice and ask them a question that I couldn't possibly know the answer to?"
That was a smart move, she congregated herself, before he could shoot her down he continued. "My old Headmaster, Professor Dumbledore," she continued, feeling like she was about to start rambling to the Hokage of a ninja village. "Used to always make sure that I would ask him a question, so I would know that it was him – in a society of people who can change what they look like, it was a really common practice – and the question I asked what was his favourite jam, which was strawberry and-."
She cut herself off before she truly began to ramble, and she smiled at the Hokage sheepishly. "You can summon anyone you so desire?"
Willow winced, and tried to stop her feet from shuffling nervously, only to fill miserably. "Kinda, I mean. If you sold your soul to the Shinigami for example, I can't summon you, but if you just died, I mean – it's all good."
She didn't understand why it didn't work, either, she felt almost like she was cheated out of something. After all, how she is the 'Mistress of Death' if she didn't have full control over it? Then again, she thought shuddering, she wasn't sure anyone could have full control over something like death. Like a light went off over his head, Willow realised that he knew, that she'd tried to summon Namikaze Minato, and failed. "I see," he paused softly. "I can assume the reason you were so disjointed with your speech earlier was because you were communicating with a spirit?"
Willow nodded eagerly, before it turned rather nervous. "Yes! Tell the Old Man Hokage about me! This is going so well! It was a fantastic idea, tattebene!"
"Uh, yeah – Uzumaki Kushina is like, right there," she gestured to her left, only to glance up at the red haired woman who was punching the air wildly. Forgetting momentarily, that the Hokage couldn't see the hyper woman, and instead, it looked like she was gesturing to thin air. "She's… quite like Naruto. Right down to her verbal tick. Though Naruto tends to favour dattebane over tattebanne."
Obviously she had said the right thing, because disbelief suddenly sprung over the Hokage's face like a wild cloud. And Kushina dropped to the floor in despair, crying about how she hadn't wanted her baby to develop such a habit. Willow glanced down at her, scratching her head, and wondering what she would have been like alive. Suddenly, she really, really wanted to know what Namikaze Minato was like.
Was he as hyper, and outspoken as his wife and son? Or did he counter them perfectly? She really, really wanted to know. "What exactly is Kushina-chan proposing to you?"
Willow was visibly startled, not expecting that sort of question to come up, and so soon too! "Uh, she's," Willow looked over at Kushina who quickly realised what was happening, and began slamming out phrases, that Willow just parroted. "Saying we should reinstate the Uzumaki as a Clan. The basic requirements of at least three members would be met, if we lied about me. I need to grow my-, hey! Dammit Kushina, I like short hair!"
"Pretending to be an Uzumaki won't work unless you grow your hair out. You need to be able to hide your foreign features with long lengths of hair!" she protested, and Willow rolled her eyes, and waved the woman off.
"Anyway, back to what Kushina was saying," Willow continued not even bothering to dignify the hair argument with a response. She was sure to have copious amounts of time to do that later, anyway. "If we brought the Clan back in, we could have just reason to offer Karin-chan a place here and Kuso won't want to fight a power like Konoha over a genin. By doing that too, Willow – I mean me, will be the Clan Head. I don't want to be a Clan head, why do I have to be a Clan head?" she broke off again, and ignored the way the Hokage was sighing.
"You're the oldest," she retorted, "and even I you aren't a real Uzumaki you can just pass it off to Naruto when he becomes a Jonin."
"Oh okay, then I pass it over to Naruto when he becomes Jonin," she said, like this was one great big conspiracy, which it was. "Right. Clan Head. Become one of those, and I can successful block the council from trying to force Karin-chan and Naruto-chan into any sort of marriages, and block any ill-intent towards Naruto – making your job easier. I don't understand that last bit, actually," she tried, but the look the Hokage gave her, she shut her mouth and continued anyway. "Never mind. And then the country looks stronger because they've welcomed the Uzumaki Clan, officially into Konoha."
"If we make you a Clan Head, Potter-san, you gain an awful lot of sway in Konoha's political climate, and a seat on the council," he said this like he was discussing the weather. She shot Kushina a betrayed look – she hadn't known that! "Forgive me if I'm worried about allowing a foreigner, a genie at that, this sort of power."
"I don't want – I don't care about politics, can't I just trust whatever you say and back you unconditionally?" The Hokage raised his brow and she glanced over at Kushina, nodding at what the girl was saying to her. "Oh okay, Kushina also says that I'm the only way to bring back the lost arts of the Uzuamaki and any risks with politics doesn't even compare with the knowledge that I can gain."
The Hokage leaned back in his chair again, and groaned softly. For an instant, she couldn't see a great amazing ninja, and she saw a tired old man who was just about hearing his last crazy thing before he declared he couldn't handle any more crazy things. "I will take these words into consideration, and you will have your answer by the end of this week. Be prepared, Willow-san. This would mean taking up the last name Uzumaki permanently. Agreeing to stay in Konoha for the foreseeable future. Swearing yourself to Konoha. And taking on the pressures of head of a very valuable, and nearly extinct family."
"I can take it," she said, shrugging. Not really thinking too much on what he was saying. Something she was sure to regret later. "After all, what's this to Voldemort?"
"I don't know what that is," the Hokage said gravely. "But I can assure you, Willow-san, that Heading a Clan is much, much worse."
Kushina cackled somewhere in the background, and Willow for once, felt something akin to dread.
She didn't even stop to consider, she was all but lying to the Hokage about her wish to stay.
After the first hour of warm-ups only, Naruto began to question if his Sensei was okay. After all, running laps on a lake, whilst dodging various weapons of different lengths was good and all, but not typical of Kakashi-sensei's style.
Then again, he was a sadistic prick. After that brief mess, Kakashi-sensei then bet it into his head that his Taijutsu – whilst better than it used to be, was still sucky. Naruto didn't much like it when his Sensei pointed out all the flaws in his stances. Which typically didn't matter much. An inch of the foot, or the strength of his shoulders – it didn't seem to matter to the blonde, but Sensei? Oh no!
They then, moved onto the new pair of Jutsu that Kakashi-sensei was teaching him. They were directly being taught in an effort to combat Gaara's sand defence. Water, Kakashi-sensei had said, would be the easiest to use. Of course, Naruto wasn't very good using water. He was only marginally better at water than he was with earth.
Using nature based Justu was hard. He didn't know how Sasuke made the fire Jutsu look so easy, but he did. Back to the point, Sensei had taught him a Jutsu that turned the area around him into a swamp. Something he could use to help draw water from for his other Jutsu, but drawing water to make the swamp was proving rather difficult for him in the first place.
In fact, today was the first time in the entire week he'd been trying to get it, into any semblance of water. His swamp was however, only a third of the size that Kakashi-sensei could make, and half the size that the silver haired man had wanted his to be.
Man, it was a hard Jutsu. It did make it better however, that Sensei was also teaching him the water Dragon technique on the side, and even though his Dragon couldn't even knock a bird down, it was still pretty cool. And Sensei was a pretty cool teacher.
But this is where he got worried, Kakashi-sensei had been rather pleased with the progress he'd made with the two Jutsu. Telling him it was hard to learn a new Jutsu, let alone two as quickly as he was, but today Sensei was just staring down at him, and for once, Naruto couldn't tell what sort of mood he was in.
He hadn't given Naruto his creepy eye smile all day, and he hadn't even pointed out when Naruto had grasped a new part of the Jutsu he was teaching him. He hadn't pulled out his Icha Icha while he mindlessly went over the hand signs again, and again, and Naruto was beginning to become very, very worried.
"Neh, Sensei, are you feeling okay?" Naruto finally had gained the courage to ask, stumbling away from his half-formed swap, and his disaster of a spinner in the water. Maybe he could ask Zabuza o Haku for some advice on water-release.
"I'm perfectly fine, thank you, Naruto," he replied automatically, but his voice sounded frustrated, and his eye didn't curl into a smile like it normally did. "You're putting too much chakra into the Jutsu again. That's why everything looks so deformed."
Naruto glanced down at the mush beneath his feet, before frowning, and trying to pinpoint when Sensei had started acting strangely. He had been all morning when he bodily dragged Naruto out of his apartment this morning. Naruto formed the hand signs again, and tried to reduce his chakra output.
"Ah, Kakashi-sensei, did you and nee-chan have a fight?" Naruto had heard that people got angry and moody after a fight. Naruto hadn't known his teacher and pseudo-sister knew each other that well, well. Well enough for Sensei to be annoyed about it, but that was in the past.
Kakashi-sensei didn't say anything, and Naruto scrambled to fix their friendship even if he still thought Sensei was a pervert that looked at his sister for too long. He wasn't mean, he cared for other, and he wanted nee-chan to have friends. So that then maybe, she would stay. "Don't blame nee-chan please!" he snapped his hands together, like he was going to bow, and he did indeed, bow his head. "She's having a really hard time lately because I keep asking questions about stuff, and she really misses her home and her friends and yeah, dattebayo!"
Kakashi-sensei froze, he was so stiff that Naruto almost thought he'd become a statue, and he looked down at the blonde for a good few moments. He unfroze quickly to give Naruto his signature eye-smile and put on a cheery tone. "No matter Naruto-kun, it's all in the past now! Let's get some of this super awesome training done, eh? One week to go after tomorrow!"
"Right," he said suddenly feeling quite a lot lighter, turning around, even though he felt that Sensei was forcing his cheer a little bit – but, nah. Sensei couldn't fake being happy. No, he was obviously happy because he'd intersected, which in turn, made Naruto one happy little camper.
After she left the Hokage's office, Iruka was nowhere to be seen. This obviously, made her very, very happy. It also gave her the perfect amount of time needed to do something other than sit on a beanbag, re-reading crappy novels, whilst having a ninja stare at her all day. Granted, Kushina was still there, but she was just content on following her around, and chatting insistently in her ear.
Willow wasn't even sure how to dispel her, actually. Did she just wish she was gone? Did she say good bye? Did she just close herself off to the woman – as if her thoughts were a catalyst, the redhead's voice was suddenly muted, and glancing over, she could see the woman disappear. Excellent, so she in the end, was actually by herself and the feeling of being alone actually made her rather giddy.
With a skip in her step, she tumbled down the street, her eyes open wide and gazing into all the stalls that dotted the streets of Konoha. It was about time she actually embraced the country around her, she thought. It was about time that she stopped wishing she was home, and accepting things as they were. Willow honestly didn't know if she was ever going to get home, and the longer she was here the less likely it became.
That, and with her attentions on the Hokage, hers and Kushina's Uzumaki scheme, it was best if she didn't stand out too much. With a frown, she mumbled the name Uzuamki Kushina under her breath, and ducked into a small little alleyway behind a row of houses.
The woman reappeared in a burst of light, throwing her arms up, her hair following her as she yelled, "ta da!"
Willow couldn't help the smile that worked its way into her face at the Uzuamki woman's antics. "I need your help, again."
"What do ya need this time, eh?" the woman said, with a bright grin on her face, and a noticeable bounce in her movements. Briefly, she wondered why Kushina was so hell-bent on helping her? Was it her Mistress of Death thing? The Naruto thing?
"We're going to turn me into a Uzuamki, clothes, I don't know, food choices – and then you're going to lecture me on history, unique talents – everything," Willow said, her eyes scanning around her, to make sure that no one accidently wandered through the ally and saw her talking to herself. "How would a typical Uzumaki woman dress?"
Kushina grinned before lunging forward and grabbing her hand. How did this work?! The woman could touch her, but nothing else? But she could lean on objects, but she could pick them up? Ghosts were strange. Either way, when the woman started dragging her down the street, Willow really did have to focus on making it look like she was going somewhere in a hurry – and not just being dragged forward by some invisible force.
Uzumaki Kushina was a force to be reckoned with, and damn, she never wanted to get in her way. Dead or not.
Willow Potter had a long few hours ahead of her.
Naruto hadn't intended to go straight to the Hokage after training was finished, and when training fished hours after it was meant to, and Sensei for once, hadn't stuck around to take him home, saying something silly about leaving the iron on, he'd decided to take the chance. Kakashi-sensei always, for the last two weeks of their training, at least, had taken him home after training, and been sucked into staying for dinner.
Which he knew that his lazy, a cheap Sensei didn't mind as much as he made out to. Secretly, Naruto thought that maybe Sensei was avoiding Willow-chan, even though he'd said he wasn't angry with her. What had the fight been over, if the man was going to avoid the genie like that? "Hey old man," Naruto had greeted, despite his troubled thoughts, a large smile on his face after avoiding the mess of ninja waiting to see the Hokage.
Naruto loved the fact that no matter how many people were waiting, he always got to go in first, and it wasn't even because the grumpy lady liked him, no. She hated him like everyone else, but she took one look at him and sent him through, no matter what. He loved it. The Hokage glanced up from his paperwork with a smile. "Naruto-kun, what do I owe this pleasure?"
Naruto scratched the top of his head slowly, frowning a bit, before he paced himself back up to what he wanted to say. He was Uzumaki Naruto, dammit, and Uzumaki Naruto didn't get scared over talking to the Hokage. He shoved his hands in his pockets quickly, to stop fidgeting. The old man gave him this long serious stare, when he didn't say anything for a few moments.
He was tired after training, sue him. "I know who my parents are," he blurted out. "You always said they were good people, who died protecting me but I know who they are and…and why didn't you tell me?!"
The Hokage sighed, looking tired, leaning back and rubbing his eyes. "Willow-san," he stated dryly, not sounding angry, or questioning but matter-of-fact. "What has she told you about your parents?"
Naruto jutted his chin out, and glowered at the old man. Not really liking the way he was talking about nee-chan, like she'd done the wrong thing by telling him. Why did nobody ever tell him anything? They wouldn't tell him about the Kyubi, or his parents, and everything in his life is just this massively kept secret. "Uzumaki Kushina, and Namikaze Minato," he said stoutly, and to his surprise, the Hokage flinched. "Why is everything about me such a secret, dattebayo?"
The old man sighed again, a tired look crossing his features but Naruto wasn't about to just let the old man speak, not yet. It was Naruto's turn, and he was actually starting to feel quite angry. "Actually, you've kept everything from me. And you knew old man! You knew this entire time and you never did anything about it!" his voice was steadily growing louder, and he pointed at him accusingly. Before the old man could start to peak again, he continued, bitterly. "You know what I was! You knew I was alone! You knew everyone hated me and you never told me why! Why did you do that!?"
He was breathing heavily, but he wasn't finished he wasn't. He'd cried on Willow-nee today, but he hadn't gotten his anger over it out. How could he be angry at the only person in the entire world who didn't lie to him? She didn't care that he was young, she never lied to him. Always gave him the truth, no, he couldn't be angry at her – but he could be angry at the Hokage. She could be angry with him, and she was angry with him.
So angry. "Naruto-kun is was in your best interests-."
"Best interest that I don't know anything and went around believing that the entire village hating me was normal?" he snapped, not liking that the Hokage was even talking at this point. "Why did ya do this to me, old man?"
The Hokage crumbled back, dipping his head, Naruto's last sentence being his undoing. The blonde boy pressed forward, frowning, his eyes trying to contact with the old mans. "Why didn't you tell me who they are? I can keep a secret!"
"It wasn't you, Naruto," he said softly, but firmly, and Naruto let out a long breath that he hadn't been aware he was holding. "If this information leaked out to the public before you were strong enough to handle it, you'd have been killed for who your family are."
"What about the Kyubi?"
The Hokage said nothing. "We thought you'd be happier."
He froze, happy, huh? "Well I wasn't happy," Naruto said shortly, it was as if every memory he had growing up was coming back to haunt him. The jeers, the stares, the isolation. And he hadn't had a clue why that had happened to him, at the time, he really had just resigned himself into believing that he truly just was a freak.
Before the Hokage could form a response, Naruto was talking even more. This time, he was thinking back to mere month ago, when he went on that mission to Wave. "And I nearly killed Kakashi-sensei because I didn't know, because I couldn't handle it. He knew though, everyone knew."
The old man sighed, leaning back and rubbing the bridge of his nose. It sort of annoyed the young blonde boy that he wasn't really reacting the way he wanted him too. The Hokage was calm, composed and hadn't seemed at all phased by anything that Naruto was throwing at him. "That was a regrettable accident-."
"It could have been avoided," he snapped, cutting the Hokage off. A feat, that if done by anyone else, would've left them in copious amounts of hot water. Naruto's eyes were hard, and his fit balled at his side. "So much could have been avoided!"
The Hokage blinked, before he smiled, this small smile – that sent the boy to a tittering edge. "You've grown so much in such a short amount of time," he said, softly, a rather happy look crossing his features, which left the boy stumped. "Graduating has truly matured you, or perhaps, it's been something else," he hummed slightly, before sighing, and for once, the Uzumaki stayed silent, not sure how to respond. The Hokage nodded his head slowly. "I need you to do something for me, Naruto-kun, can you manage that?"
Naruto nodded his head slowly, confusion rapidly replacing his feelings of anger. "Tell Willow-san that she has the go ahead to tell you all about your family history," he said, leaving Naruto blinking boldly. Had Nee-chan been fighting the Hokage so he could know more? He hadn't even known, not really, that she was even on friendly enough terms with the Hokage for such a thing to occur.
And yet, she was fighting for him when he couldn't see…. Was this what it felt like to truly have a family? This warm feeling? Is that what this was? Naruto nodded his head dumbly, allowing the Hokage to continue. "The Clan business we discussed, will not however, take place till after the Chunin Exam, and let her know, that our plans are in place. You were right, Naruto," the Hokage was now nodding his head toward the boy. "You need to know, and you will know."
"Thanks old man," Naruto said, feeling rather shocked by how this ended, slowly, he began to withdraw himself from the room and barrel his way home to tell Willow-nee about what had happened.
A voice once again stopped him before he was fully out of the door. "I can see how now, you truly are ready to undertake the Chunin Exam, good luck Naruto. I have every faith you will succeed."
Naruto turned around slowly, beaming at the old man brightly. "Thanks old man!" he cheered before bolting out of the tower, only stopping to stick his tongue out at the mean lady by the door. With her glares dancing over the back of his head, he skipped past the door, and ran up the side of someone's house, and started running through the rooftops, pausing only when he reached his apartment, and jumped down, eager to reach home, and have dinner.
Barrelling through his front door, as it was unlocked, like always, he was already shouting about being hungry, only to have a deep chuckle heard from his position. He paused, frozen solid for a minute, not recognising the voice. It wasn't Zabuza, his voice was all scratchy, and it was too deep to be Haku's, or heck, even Sasuke's. So with trepidation, he moved into the next room, where the aroma of lightly seared chicken teased his nostrils, his eye however, weren't on the chicken – or the readhead waving around a metal spatula.
It was on the old guy with long white hair, who had been gazing up at Nee-chan with a gaze that was slightly too focused. What alarmed the boy even further was the little notebook he had resting on his leg, that he scribbled notes on. "Who are you?" Naruto asked pointedly, not bothering to be very nice about it.
"Back later than usual," Nee-chan teased instead, this old guy turning to look at him, his expression akin to someone seeing a ghost. "Was Kakashi torturing you again?"
"Yeah," was all he said, his eyes squinting at the old guy still. "Who are you?"
"Me?" the man gave him a bright bright smile, which only served to highlight the long tear-like red lines running down his face. "I'm the great, the legendary, Toad Sannin Jiraiya!"
Naruto blinked, not knowing what any of the stuff this guy was saying was. Nee-chan coughed loudly, and so violently, that it made him gaze at her with concern. Was she feeling okay? "Are you getting sick, Nee-chan?"
Willow-chan sighed, loudly, and pointedly, something that he couldn't quite comprehend. "I'm fine Naruto," she said, looking at the old man pointedly, which he ignored. "That's your godfather."
Naruto's jaw dropped, and the old man, his godfather of all people, glanced at Nee-chan unhappily. Like he hadn't wanted Naruto to know, because no one ever wanted him to know anything, and oh god, why on earth did no one ever tell him anything!? The old man - his Godfather, groaned loudly before slapping his little notebook shut, wrinkling his nose, and glaring at Willow-chan. "You couldn't have let me tell him?" the old man complained, rolling hi eyes.
"You wouldn't have told him at all," she snapped, her tone sharper than her happy countenance. She then glanced at Naruto with a warm smile, and winked at him, letting him know that everything was okay. That of course, was before a wave of confusion and slight regret flashed across her face, before she smiled again. Girls were strange, Naruto mused, not quite understanding what was going on. "This makes everything so much easier."
The old man, Jiraiya, just scoffed, but turned to Naruto again, with a wide grin and the understanding that he had a godfather, was yet to fully sink in. "So that it kid, I'm your godfather. What do ya think about that?"
Naruto looked the old man up and down for a few moments, realising just how old and uncool this guy looked. Why could he get a cool Godfather that turned up out of nowhere? Why did he get stuck with this dude? "Hey, you're really old, dattebayo… Can you even be my Godfather?"
"Hey kid, I'm not that old-."
"Hey hey," he cut the man off, not caring enough about the mindless arguments the old man was going to come up with. "Old Man, did you what, babysit my parents or somthin'."
He grimaced for a moment, before laughing. Naruto hadn't really said anything particularly funny, so he didn't really understand why the old man was laughing. He must be crazy too, Naruto mused. "Actually, something like that. I was your father's Jonin Sensei."
Naruto's jaw dropped. He couldn't wait to hear more! This old grandpa had stories! "Wow! Can you tell me about him Grandpa?!"
"I'm not old enough to be your grandfather you little brat!"
There were many things that Naruto didn't understand, and Willow-chan, despite being a person, was one of those things he'd never understand. She always made him clean in the mornings, before he went off for training, she always made him eat green stuff, after training. She's always listen to every silly word he had to say about his day.
Karin-chan, was different once again. Though Willow-chan seemed to think that Karin was perfectly normal for a little girl. The fact of the matter, however, was that Karin was his cousin, family, and younger than him, that made him realise, that he was basically the older brother in this situation. However, when it came to learning about their family history, he had to conclude, that neither could be the older sibling when neither knew a thing about the Uzumaki.
So after they had dinner each night since his discussion with the Hokage, Karin-chan would be in their crappy little apartment, allowing nee-chan to give them impromptu lectures about the lives of the Uzumaki, and what their talents were. Not that Naruto thought he'd have much ability in the sealing arts, he resolved to try. There was a brief moment, when he'd wondered how she'd figured it out, then he shrugged remembering that she was a magical genie so these things were to be expected.
Mornings blurred together, with such a full house every morning, it left Naruto speechless. Years ago, when he was smaller, he'd always dreamed of having friends, having a family that cared for him. He'd all but given up on that dream by the time he'd turned twelve. But now, glancing at the group crowded around the breakfast table and the stake of buttery smelling pancakes, he allowed himself to be amazed.
Karin-chan was smiling over at him, and asking for more sugar from Iruka-sensei, who seemed rather elaborated with Zabuza who was chortling some dirty jokes. Haku was sitting on the edge of the table, trying to sneak more off Zabuza's plate without him noticing. Willow-chan was buzzing around everyone, trying to make sure Haku got more than his fair share.
It was like they were all this big family. Karin was like his little sister, and Iruka-sensei was like his big brother. Zabuza would have to be his creepy uncle, and that would have to make Haku his cousin, he thought. That left Willow-chan as hi cool as hell, older sister. There was people missing from his puzzle though.
Sasuke, his best friend, for all purposes and Hinata-chan, who alo hazardly fit into the best friend category. Then Kakashi-sensei, he thought, he was missing too. Which was odd, he frowned, because Kakashi-sensei was normally with them for breakfast. But the sadistic prick that he was, was Naruto's sensei, and he always would be.
Naruto cared about his large extended (not to mention adopted) family, and his team. He never wanted to see it go away. He smiled lightly, his grin growing wider when he heard Zabuza grunt, "Copycat's behind the door. Haku let him in, will you?"
Haku bobbed his head down. Naruto frowned slightly, knowing that for Zabuza to have made that comment, that Sensei had to have been waiting behind the door for a while. He glanced over at nee-chan and wondered what they'd argued about two days ago.
Kakashi-sensei slipped into the apartment after Haku, nodding politely at the gathering of ninja in the apartment before glancing at Naruto and giving him a curt nod, and Naruto took this to mean that training was starting now. Slowly, he got up, only slightly mournful to not be able to eat any more, when it happened.
What it was, Naruto didn't know. But out of the corner of his eye, he noticed something shining, and a loud rattling noise coming from underneath the couch. Glancing around, he realised that the only one who noticed was WIllow-chan, who was frowning at the direction, and maybe Kakashi-sensei, but he was too impatient to leave to really care.
"Right," Willow-chan clapped her hands loudly until all the ninja in her living room stopped chatting, and glanced up at her. "Well, we're all getting nothing by being in here. I suggest we all leave the apartment, right now."
"Are you trying to get rid of us, Genie-chan?" Zabuza said sounding faux hurt, but the fact that his grin was wide, and showing off all his teeth, and they way amusement danced in his eyes. He hadn't taken her all that seriously.
"You? Yes. Go destroy your own apartment," she said hurriedly, a worried look spreading over her face. "You two, go train," she gestured to Kakashi. "You, uh," she paused on Karin. "Take Karin with you actually, she could stand to learn more about that training thing."
Karin frowned at the same time the other woman did, and at the same time Kakashi raised an eyebrow. "Awfully eager to get rid of all of us, aren't you?" Zabuza commented idly. "Gives me the mind to stay – right – here."
The box, started to rattle, this sound however, caught the attention of the other ninja. "What's that?" Iruka-sensei asked, with his brow raised.
Shrugging his shoulder, Naruto got up to investigate the sounds of rattling and by the time Willow had noticed what he was doing, and before Willow could so much as shout; "Do not open that box!" the lid was off, and his expression was twisted with confusion.
Nothing else happened, which left him kinda disappointed, but he could see nee-chan's shoulder slump – and then a swirling mass of black smoke broke out of the box, sucking him right into it.
For a moment he was falling, hearing someone yell, but he couldn't see anything, just blackness. And this odd… Light on the other side?
Another A/N – I feel like I owe you guys a sort of apology for not updating as much as I want to. The reason why my update schedule has been so spotty and strange for the past 6 months of writing this. In April, I was kicked out of my dad's house. I'd never gotten along with my mother, so that was out, and I ended up sleeping on the couch of my brothers one-bedroomed apartment for a month. Now, I had been a university student, but with me not having anywhere to stay, I had to drop out of that course, mainly because I simply didn't have the money to go. I then couldn't exactly find work, or an apartment, and I still can't find the latter (I'm renting a room in someone else's house, currently), and I just (a month ago,) decided to use my job working in fast food to become a manager, and possibly use that experience to transition into a better industry. So, I know this is an excuse, and many of you will say I don't need one, but I haven't had the best of years – and I just wanted to share that with you.
Things are getting better now, heck, I even just signed a loan out for a new car, so I feel that things might be looking up, and we may get more frequent updates soon. Thanks for everyone who has still read this, despite the rather luckstar updates.