Warnings: This story is Naruto/Team 7 centric, but will put quite a bit of focus on a character of my own design. Just thought I'd mention this since some people aren't very interested in non canon characters, but if you're not against the idea, I'd urge you to read on, since at the very least mine does fit into the Naruto world.

I'd also like to say ahead of time that it will take me a while to really get going on this story. I will update every now and then, but as of now it is not at the top of my list. My list of stories and their priorities can now be found on my profile page. Ultimately this story will be separated into 4 or more books, but I'm still not sure how long it will be.

Pairings: Yes, there will be some. But for now, the only one I'll reveal is NaruHina. The rest will come later.

Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto.



"Demon/Summon Speech"

"Demon/Summon Thought"


Book 1: The Rising Ripples

Chapter I: The Uzumaki Rogue

The rogue leapt through the thick forest with practiced ease. As he broke through the trees and sighted his destination, he sighed tiredly. He had been wandering for years, and wasn't use to actually having an end location in mind, so finding a ninja village had been pretty tedious for him, even if this one didn't exactly live up to its name. Hidden village seemed to be a pretty common misnomer these days, but he was hardly one to scoff since it had taken him a few hours to find one even knowing he was in the general vicinity. All these trees looked the same to him.

As he drew closer, he felt a sudden fluctuation of chakra and frowned. The source clearly wasn't a shinobi, otherwise he could pinpoint them. The chakra disturbance seemed to come from all around him before it disappeared. He slowly looked around. A seal? That was what it felt like. He gave it some thought and smiled lightly. So that was it. The security seals drawn up around his home village wouldn't have alerted anyone to their activation, even a sensor. He knew that these seals were most likely based off of those, even if they weren't quite as advanced.

Not really caring that someone knew he was here now, he walked up to the entrance of Konoha. He was quickly spotted by two shinobi on gate duty. Their chakra signatures were typical of higher level chunin. He passed through the gates and stopped by the desk to his left, and one of the shinobi greeted him with a lazy smile.

"Hi there. Visiting? Or just passing through?" he guessed.

"Actually no," the rogue responded. "I was wondering what the process was to become an active ninja of Konoha."

The gatekeeper raised an eyebrow and smiled in a very I'm glad I'm not you like manner. "Background checks. Lots of background checks. And most likely a meeting with a Yamanaka."

"Don't forget Ibiki," his partner added.

The rogue shrugged, not really caring who Ibiki was, although he wasn't that comfortable with someone running around inside his mind. He'd heard of the Yamanaka clan before. "I can't say I expected anything better," he said. "When can I get this over with?"

"Right now, if you're feeling up to it," the first gatekeeper answered. "I can fill out the form and escort you to torture and interrogation."

The rogue thought they were definitely having a bit too much fun with this, but didn't really care enough to comment. He indicated that he was ready, and the man pulled out the necessary form. "Name?" he asked.

"Kurano Uzumaki."

The torture and interrogation department was oddly lively today. Ibiki thought that it was a bit too lively, considering what they did. But considering the recent developments involving a certain traitor, this was to be expected. As if that wasn't enough, now he had this to deal with. He fought off a headache as Anko strolled in with an amused smile on her face.

"Hey, is it true? We've got more fresh meat today?" she asked, licking her lips. It wasn't often they got random wanderers requesting to become Konoha shinobi, and even when they did, it usually didn't end well for those 'wanderers.'

Ibiki grunted in annoyance. "If you're asking about our newest arrival, then yes, it's true," he answered. A chunin walked in and addressed Ibiki.

"Sir, we've finished questioning him. We thought you might want to see a record of his answers before we call in Inoichi-san." Ibiki nodded and held his hand out, receiving the printout. He took one look at it and frowned. As he read through it, his eyes narrowed. If this man's story didn't check out, he would likely be detained whether or not he was deemed a threat.

"Alright, call in Inoichi."

Kurano sat in boredom as he waited in a room surrounded by one way glass. He had expected this, but that didn't make it any less annoying. Finally, the door opened, and two men and a woman strolled in. One man looked extremely serious, and his face was littered with scars. The other was more relaxed. He was blonde haired and had a long ponytail. The woman was smiling in a way that would have made him uncomfortable if he was any less experienced..

"Before we get started with this, you have a choice to make," the woman said, grinning ear to ear. Kurano raised his eyebrows and stayed silent, prompting her to continue. "Option one: you walk out of here, we let you leave, and you can forget about enlisting in our ranks. Option two: you give us the necessary consent to infiltrate your mind. If we like what we see, you're on your way to becoming an official shinobi of Konoha. If we find anything suspicious, you never leave here again. Ready? Choose."

"Option two get on with it," Kurano said blandly. The woman's face filled with glee.

"Oh, I like him. Confident one isn't he? Now I'm not even sure whether I want to see him-"

"That's quite enough, Anko," the scarred man interrupted. "Inoichi, if you will."

The blonde haired man, who Kurano assumed was the Yamanaka, nodded before placing an intricate looking helmet on his head. He then placed his hand on Kurano's head and closed his eyes. Kurano guessed that any of his relevant memories were being transmitted to some device outside the room as the man sorted through them. After a few minutes, he removed his hand and opened his eyes. His face was exceptionally grim.

"So, what's the verdict?" Anko asked excitedly.

"Well, his story checks out," Inoichi answered. "I didn't find any seals to block me out or misdirect me either."

Anko raised an eyebrow. "What's with the morbid look then?" she asked.

"You'll find out once you view the transmission," he said with a sigh. The three filed out, and Kurano was left to his boredom again. He wasn't sure how he felt about people knowing his past just like that, but he had already decided he wanted to do this, so for anything short of them trying to torture him, he wasn't turning back. After another few minutes the three walked back in. Inoichi was rubbing his eyes and Anko looked slightly disturbed. Ibiki kept his expression neutral as he walked up to Kurano.

"Your request has been granted. We'll fill out the necessary paperwork for your permanent residency in Konohagakure. The next step is to arrange for you to meet with the Hokage. He'll finalize your authorization to live within the village and gauge your skill and specializations as a shinobi. That way we can determine what rank you'll be granted as an active member of our forces, if you are deemed fit to serve. Thank you for your cooperation."

Kurano nodded and was led out of the room by Anko. As they walked down the hall side by side, he ignored the subtle glances she was throwing his way. He felt this was going to be very a long day.

Hiruzen sighed tiredly as he read over the file on his desk. This was becoming a very long day. He was already disheartened from learning that his surrogate grandson had been tricked by a treasonous academy teacher and almost killed, and that his status as a jinchuuriki had been revealed to him in the process. Now he had just been informed that a survivor of Uzushiogakure had shown up out of nowhere and requested residency within Konoha as an active duty shinobi. That alone wouldn't normally give him the headache that he currently had. He was thrilled to have a surviving Uzumaki in Konoha. The problem was how he was going to explain this to the other Uzumaki that was already living here. It wasn't every day a shunned orphan found out that he had a long lost distant relative. He wondered how Naruto would react, especially after the day he'd already had. The fact that there was a survivor of that clan in Konoha raised some difficult questions, such as just how distant of a relative he was, but he filed them away for later. He was pulled out of his thoughts by a knock on the door.

"Enter," he said. The door opened to reveal the man in question, for he could be nobody else. The man had spiky crimson red hair as well as a familiar shade of blue eyes, which were vibrant in color, and yet frighteningly lifeless in character. Still, he was an Uzumaki if Hiruzen ever saw one. "Kurano Uzumaki I presume?" he said with a light smile. The man nodded. "Please, take a seat," he said as he motioned to the chair opposite his desk. Kurano casually strolled over to the chair before plopping down lazily. He didn't strike Hiruzen as one for formalities.

"I was just looking at your file," the hokage began. "Before anything else, I'd like to extend my sympathies, as well as my condolences. Uzushio was our closest ally. We were unable to aid them in time, and that led to their collapse. I can only imagine what you went through back then, and you have my apologies on behalf of our village."

Kurano seemed slightly surprised at his words. After a moment a light smile manifested on his face. Hiruzen somehow felt that he was witnessing a rare occurrence. "Thanks," the redhead stated sincerely. "I appreciate it." His smile suddenly turned bitter. "But I hardly think you're the one who should be apologizing."

Hiruzen nodded gravely. The cause of Uzushio's destruction wasn't well known, but it wasn't surprising that someone who was directly involved knew. He wondered how much resentment the man had bottled up inside. Kumo and Iwa had been ruthless at the start of the Second Shinobi War, combining their forces to destroy the village of whirlpools before Konoha could come to their aid. Even then, they had still lost a huge number of their forces, but the Uzumaki had been nearly wiped out in the process, and the survivors scattered.

"As I'm sure you've been told, we'll need to accurately gauge your level of prowess before we can offer you a position as a shinobi. In the unlikely case that you are deemed unfit, you may still choose to reside within Konoha. But I have a feeling that this will not be the case."

"How are you planning to test my skill?" Kurano spoke up.

"The quickest way is to pit you against one of our own shinobi in a spar. Your observers will determine whether your performance warrants the rank of jounin, chunin, or genin. The spar will take place tomorrow morning. Until then, we can get you situated. Your residency expenses will be payed by the village until the decision is made. Do you have any questions so far?"

"Actually, I have one, but not in regard to my status," Kurano said. Hiruzen nodded, prompting him to continue. "24 years ago, before the destruction of my village, one of my cousins moved here at the request of the Konoha council. I was never told why, but I am curious to see her again. If I gave you her name, do you think you could direct me to her?" he asked.

Hiruzen gradually paled as the man spoke. He hadn't expected this. "Your cousin is Kushina Uzumaki?" he asked weakly.

Kurano blinked. "Yes, that's right. I guess you remember. Then do you know where she…?" he trailed off, reading the sickly expression on Hiruzen's face, before the life died from his own. "She's not around anymore, is she?" he asked lowly.

"I'm sorry," Hiruzen said quietly. "She died in an attack on the village 12 years ago." His voice was filled to the brim with regret.

"I see," Kurano said slowly, before raising a hand to his face and grimacing. "Sorry, it's just...she was part of the reason I finally came here. I knew her well before she left. To learn that she's passed is...discouraging."

Seeing Kurano's obvious attempt at hiding his despair, Hiruzen's self restraint broke. This man was younger than Kushina would be today. He had most likely just told him that his long lost older sister figure was dead. Consequences be damned. He would not hold out on this man. "She bore a son," he whispered. "On that day, she gave birth to a healthy infant, before dying in the attack along with the boy's father."

Kurano looked up at him in shock, and Hiruzen was relieved to see some of the life that he had just extinguished had sparked in the man's eyes once again. "Is he...an orphan?" he managed.

Hiruzen nodded. "He lives alone. It's quite the tragedy. He's never known any family, and nobody knows of his heritage…including himself. I don't mean to put any pressure on you, but I think your presence in his life could be very fulfilling, and not just for him."

Hiruzen gave him a minute to mull that over. Something in the man's eyes told him that he had already come to a decision. Finally, Kurano spoke.

"Can I meet him?" he asked quietly. Hiruzen smiled and nodded.

"Of course."

Iruka sighed in exasperation as Naruto enhailed his fifth bowl of ramen. This was going to empty out his pockets quite a bit. Whatever. The kid deserved it after what he'd just been through. From being tricked and nearly killed by that bastard Mizuki (who was now in Ibiki's hands, much to Iruka's satisfaction), to learning he had a demon fox sealed within him, to having to recount everything he'd heard to the hokage, he'd earned a few bowls of his favorite food at the very least. Now if only he was having a mere few bowls…

"Iruka, Naruto, I thought I might find you here. I see you are both doing well. That's good to know." They both turned toward the familiar voice. Iruka nodded. "Hokage-sama," he greeted, before glancing at the man beside him curiously. Naruto shouted an enthusiastic greeting to the old man before staring in wonder at the redhead along with Iruka. After greeting an exuberant Tsuchi and Ayame, Hiruzen addressed the blonde.

"Naruto, there are a few things that I would like to tell you. Would you mind if we sat down?" he asked. Naruto shrugged and Iruka motioned to the seat next to him. Hiruzen sat down along with the redhaired man he had come with, and both Naruto and Iruka wondered what this was about. Neither had ever seen the younger man before.

Hiruzen got right down to business. "Naruto, I've never told you anything about your mother, have I?" There was regret in his voice, which Iruka recognized. Naruto's eyes widened and he shook his head. The old man never brought up his parents! He always broached that topic himself when he was feeling extra lonely, only to receive a vague response for his troubles. "Well Naruto, it's time I told you who she was. Are you ready to hear this?" Naruto nodded eagerly, and Iruka leaned forward without realizing it. "Her name was Kushina Uzumaki," the hokage stated. From behind the counter, Teuchi and Ayame listened intently to the topic that had come up. They had both known who Naruto's mother was, but were surprised that the hokage was telling him.

Hiruzen had to give credit to the two. They were some of the few people who knew had made the connection. He commended their self restraint. He had had a conversation with the two years ago, and they had reluctantly agreed not to tell Naruto about them. Even now, the only reason he was telling him was because the relationship between his parents had been a secret for the most part. Still, he would have to be careful from now on. Still, his worries did nothing to deter the happiness that he felt seeing Naruto bounce up and down excitedly in his seat. The boy deserved to know this much.

"So what was she like?" Naruto asked hurriedly. "Was she a ninja? Was she strong? Was she pretty?" Hiruzen interrupted the barrage of questions.

"Slow down Naruto. All can be answered in time. For now, one thing you should know about your mother is that she wasn't from here. She was from a distant village allied with us, called Uzushio, and moved here later in life." The boy nodded earnestly, thrilled that he was learning something about one of his parents. "Another thing you should know...is that she has a single surviving relative to this day, as do you." Iruka, Tsuchi, and Ayame all widened their eyes to epic proportions, while Naruto stared at the hokage, wondering if this was some kind of cruel joke. "Naruto, I'd like to present Kurano Uzumaki, your mother's first cousin, who has just arrived in the village today."

Naruto looked back and forth between Hiruzen and the redhaired man, not knowing how to react. This was too good to be true. He had family? As the man of his flesh and blood stepped towards him, he rose from his seat, and his legs almost failed him. Kurano held out his hand.

"Nice to meet you, Naruto." Naruto stared at the hand for a few seconds, before slowly bringing his up and shaking it.

"You always this timid kid?" Kurano asked, and Hiruzen laughed.

"I'm afraid not. Enjoy this while you can," he said. "Naruto, Kurano is scheduled to become a ninja by tomorrow. How would you feel about him staying with you until then so you two can get to know each other?" he asked.

Naruto gulped, but nodded numbly. Iruka looked at him in worry. This was undoubtedly a lot to take in at once. "In that case, I'll leave him in your care," the old man said with a smile. "Be polite, he's your guest." With that said, he walked off leisurely in the direction of the hokage tower, leaving Kurano with four shocked individuals. The redhead looked back at the hokage and sighed before turning towards Naruto.

"So, feel like showing me the sights, or can that wait until tomorrow?" he asked. Naruto didn't answer, continuing to stare up at him in awe. Kurano's eye twitched. "Alright then, why don't you just lead me back to your place whenever you're ready?" Confronted with a yes or no question this time, Naruto managed a nod. As they walked away, Iruka frowned in slight paranoia.

Both Uzumakis were quiet as Naruto unlocked the door to his apartment and they entered. Kurano took a look around. "Nice place you got here," he said. Naruto rubbed his head and, having finally found his voice during their walk home, spoke up.

"About that...there's only one bed," he admitted.

Kurano shrugged. "I'll take the floor kid. It'll be a step up from where I usually sleep." Naruto looked at him curiously.

"Why? Where do you usually sleep?" he asked.

"On the ground," he redhaired man answered. "I've been living off the land for a while now." He turned towards Naruto, and blinked. The boy was starry eyed.

"That's so cool!" he exclaimed. Kurano raised an eyebrow.

"You would say that. You've never tried it before," he said. Naruto paused for a moment as he stared at the ground, before looking up at his elder relative.

"Kurano-san?" he said. The redhead grimaced.

"Drop the honorific kid. What's up?" Naruto seemed to hesitate, before taking a deep breath.

"Can I call you aniki?" he asked. Kurano seemed taken aback by this, but after a moment a small smile graced his lips.

"That one's fine I guess," he said quietly. Naruto beamed.

A/N: So there you have it. As I'm sure you've already guessed, Kurano's presence in Konoha will cause many changes to the Naruto verse that will only grow as the story continues, hence the AU part. By the way, the title of this story is a most likely amateur translation of the Japanese term 'Uzumaki' which may or may not be accurate. While I know that 'Uzu' means whirlpool/vortex and 'Maki' means saga/volume, I don't know whether the two words convey this attempted meaning when combined. If any of you know better, please feel free to correct me.