..::..

So here is the first chapter of the overhauled story, please know that the chapter will be VERY similar to the Original Story but will consist of extra information and … wait for it … less exclamation marks! ^_^

I will be merging Chapters 1 to 5 into the new and improved 1st chapter of the overhauled series.

Without further ado … please enjoy the newly edited old chapter.

..::..

I DO NOT OWN NARUTO OR AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER!

..::..

"Ramen" – Speech

'Ramen' – Thoughts

"Ramen" – Biiju/Summon Speech

'Ramen' – Biiju/Summon Thoughts

"Ramen" – God/Deity Speech

'Ramen' – God/Deity Thoughts

..::..

Hiruzen Sarutobi was a tired old man. He was the Sandaime or the Third Hokage, the strongest Ninja in Konoha; the Hidden Leaf Village, having survived not only War, but the Kyuubi attack three years prior true; but he was still an old man. His successor and then shortly after predecessor, Minato Namikaze, the Yondaime or the Fourth Hokage had perished along with his wife, Kushina Uzumaki, the second Jinchūriki of the Kyuubi or the Nine-Tailed Fox.

A masked man, whose identity was still unknown managed to engage in combat with Minato with surprisingly enough; relatively equal skills and in doing so, managed to locate and force the seal that contained the Kyuubi on his wife's stomach open thus releasing the Kyuubi upon Konoha and using the Dōjutsu known as the Sharingan he forced the Kyuubi to attack Konoha.

The sheer destruction and chaos caused by Kyuubi was so great that the death toll and collateral was even greater than the Second and Third Shinobi Wars. Towards the end of this catastrophe the Yondaime Hokage managed to press his attack and forced his foe to flee, he then turned his attention to the Kyuubi. The Kyuubi, however, was still under the influence of the Sharingan and was spiralling out of control and continued to attack with reckless abandon.

The Yondaime's only chance was to re-seal the Kyuubi; his only problem was that he couldn't re-seal the Kyuubi into his dying wife, Kushina. Having researched various Sealing Techniques for this very possibility he knew that the only way to re-seal Kyuubi was to use his newborn son, Naruto Uzumaki–Namikaze! So using a forbidden Uzumaki Sealing Technique known as the Shiki Fuin or the Death Reaper's Seal he managed to seal the Kyuubi at the cost of his own soul and life.

Hiruzen arrived on the battlefield shortly after the Sealing was complete accompanied by the leader of the Hokage's Private ANBU Team; Kakashi Hatake, who was the last of Minato Namikaze's Gennin team, the infamous Team 7 and there they both bore witness to the final words of the great Yondaime, Minato Namikaze.

His only dying wish was to see his only son become a hero for holding the Kyuubi at bay and with his dying breath warned the Sandaime and final student regarding the fact that while the seal was strong, it, like the very first seal of the Kyuubi needed love to help combat the truly vile chakra that Kyuubi was made of in order to re-inforce the seal.

The Sandaime and Kakashi both swore that his son Naruto would be cared for and protected, even if it cost them their lives to ensure his protection and safety. Minato Namikaze then died with a smile that could only be given by a man that had faith in his Village and predecessor, soon to be successor, he along with his final student Kakashi Hatake would keep their word.

..::..

That was three almost four years ago and the Sandaime was full of regret and guilt. He had failed Minato completely and he knew that his successor was probably rolling in his grave at the treatment of his son and heir. It was this reason that he refused to even visit the child. His only comfort was that the Konoha's Orphanage was looking after the boy.

Then there was Minato's final student Kakashi. Kakashi had dived head first into countless missions as he too refused to visit his former teacher's son. For Kakashi, Naruto was the only remaining link to his late father like figure but was constantly reminded of the fact that it was his Sensei's sons' survival that caused his sensei's death. Kakashi knew that he was being childish and stubborn by not even visiting the youth but he found that he simply couldn't face the child … after all what could he say to the boy that would make up for three years of neglect on his part; absolutely nothing, so he crushed the feeling of guilt and used the countless missions as an excuse to stay away.

..::..

Naruto, the heir in question, was silently and cautiously making his way through the Village. It was quite late, with the moon full and high in its place in the night sky as it illuminated the streets with its eerie glow, casting the much needed shadow in the deep places such as the alleyways and hidden corners. Naruto clung to these shadows as he attempted to find a safe place to spend the night as the Orphanage had just kicked him out with nothing but the overly large thread bare t-shirt and a small pair of shorts that he wore constantly; both pieces of clothing, if you'd call them that, had holes littering them; he was never allowed to wear sandals or socks and was told to be grateful for the 'clothes' that he'd been so kindly gifted.

Naruto was an extraordinarily intelligent boy. If one had paid enough attention they'd have seen the keen intellect or the sharp eyes that memorized absolutely anything and everything that he saw or heard. It was this keen intellect that had helped him to learn to read, write and speak with a level that befitted a child of at least ten years of age, he knew; at least that he was as smart as a Shinobi child in that regard as Chakra circulated through their bodies; causing them to be more intelligent than that of regular civilians; or at least far more developed mentally speaking.

However; that wasn't Naruto's main concern as aside from his age and the hate and scorn that he'd noticed aimed at him he was more concerned with the other looks he received. Usually he was the victim of various hate filled glares and mutterings but sometimes he received other looks. He didn't quite understand why he received these particular looks but he had a theory. You see Naruto looked unbelievably feminine. He never knew why he looked or sounded so much more girly than real girls but the looks he constantly received by the cook and some of the other male staff at the orphanage managed to ring alarm bells to the blonde, the looks caused him to be very nervous around any grown up man, they were the person/s that gave him the look the most.

Naruto was a slim, petite child. With his smooth, long, butt length blonde hair and a creamy pale complexion he was often mistaken for a girl, though his hair was tangled and dirty from the grimy neighbourhood and his skin even paler than normal from the cold weather; his skin too was dirty and smudged by grime. He had a feminine build complete with dainty, delicate features and had eyes so blue that the oceans would be jealous. They were framed perfectly on his face with long, delicate eyelashes that only further highlighted his eyes natural beauty and depth. Finally, to complete his angelic features, he had delicately soft and pouty lips that were a gentle, feminine pink. All these features made one thing perfectly clear: if he really was a girl then he would've grown up to look like a true, natural beauty; the kind of beauty that was highly sought after.

As such the workers would give him those looks that made him want to run and hide. The workers had taken to calling him 'Demon Brat' or 'Kyuubi Spawn' or their personal favourite 'Abomination' when they thought he couldn't hear them. The other children had taken notice of how their elders treated him, with his abnormally pretty features and shy personality and sought to mimic their potential parents or carers so with the encouragement of the Matron, their elders and the staff they too began to mistreat Naruto, they pushed him around and started to call him 'Freak' or 'Weirdo' and while these insults weren't as bad or viscous as the adults' insults, to a child of three (almost four) they hurt like a blunt kunai to the heart. The children soon found these activities boring and repetitive as Naruto would never retaliate or stood up for himself; so they began to become increasingly more violent by beating him for longer periods of time and then they started to change their insults soon changed to match their elders.

Naruto often wondered if the children even understood the words that they had started to copy from their elders or if they, like he, himself was just desperate to fit in and be adopted. Though anything Naruto did to try and fit in never worked of course as the tasks given to him … chores they were called, though Naruto was the only child to be given them … had gotten increasingly more difficult and if he failed even the smallest of tasks he was deprived of his measly portions of food or beaten by the Matron with her nasty walking stick.

..::..

Naruto wandered the streets for the entire night before resigning himself to sleeping in an old drainage tunnel/pipe that smelled absolutely dreadful for the night. Naruto reasoned that it must have been connected to the Konoha Sewage System … he was used to the smell as it was often one of his 'chores' to clean the piping and plumbing for the Orphanage. Once while he was cleaning the tank for the Matron he had been pushed into the network by one of the larger boys at the Orphanage and he had to navigate his way out, luckily for him the exit was very close to the Orphanage but unluckily the Matron chewed him out and beat him with her walking stick before using the garden hose on full pressure to 'bathe' him; she then sent him inside back into the basement where his 'room' was without any dry clothes.

There were many such occasions where these 'occurrences' took place but he forced the thoughts out of his mind to try and sleep, he'd need his brain power to search for a more suitable place to sleep for the rest of his life anyway.

On his third day after being kicked out Naruto succeeded in finding a reasonably safe place to sleep, it was a small shed sized structure though years of neglect had left only one and a half walls standing, what was left of the walls were thankfully bricked or made of stone and had very few holes on them. This derelict building or what was left of it, luckily protected Naruto from the harshly cold wind and damp weather that would slowly get colder as it signified the coming of winter.

There Naruto stayed for the next week or so, only venturing out to find food or something to act as a makeshift blanket, he was lucky to find an old curtain that was only half damaged by the weather that he could use as both shelter and for said makeshift blanket. Later Naruto was exceptionally happy to find some small, slightly opened tins of what tasted like peas; the expiration date couldn't be read but they hadn't made him sick yet so he continued to eat them.

About nine days after finding his makeshift home the weather had started to get progressively colder rather quickly and to a three almost four year old like Naruto … that was not good at all. He had already eaten the tins of whatever was in them and had to begin looking soon before the cold got too bad; so steeling his nerves he stood in search of food.

..::..

'This is very bad' Naruto thought worriedly as he tightened his grip on the curtain that he was using as a blanket in a feeble attempt to block the cold winter's breeze 'I can't find any food here and that means that I'll need to go closer to the village's centre … I was almost spotted last time and the looks on the villager's faces were worse than the Orphanage's workers.'

Naruto was amazed to see an alleyway that led into the village's centre was empty and hesitated briefly before continuing down it. It was then he spotted it! He had just spotted a full garbage can at the other end and started to walk faster into the alleyway, though he'd never used this one before, the enticing sight of a possible feast of food hiding within that lone garbage can overrode his usually cautious instincts … it was then that Naruto was startled from his thoughts of food by a sudden banging noise coming from right behind him.

Quicker than most would expect from someone of his age, Naruto spun around and nervously faced the cause of the noise whilst re-tightening his grip on the curtain hoping dearly that it would shield him from who or what caused the noise; steeling himself he raised his gaze and … it was a cat; a female cat to be precise, that was a rich brown in colour and had a red bow that sat on her ear. The cat hissed at Naruto for several minutes and slowly circled back and forth as if sizing up her foe before she suddenly stopped and simply stared at him intently.

Naruto had the strangest feeling as he felt like he was being examined by a deity rather than a cat, as it looked as though the cat was staring right through him. After a further few minutes of being scrutinized, the cat made an odd grunting noise in the back of her throat before she then trotted over to Naruto and began to rub herself against him, purring all the while and Naruto just couldn't resist.

He gracefully sat behind the garbage can in the shadows of the alleyway that they were in and gestured for the cat to come forward. Naruto had never had a friend before and he loved animals. The cat wasted no time in practically leaping into the effeminate boy's lap and fell victim to the ministrations of the child as she was petted gently. Naruto paused to bring the curtain turned blanket around them making sure to be extra careful so as to not scare the adorable purring mess in his lap. With the combined warmth of the cat in his lap and the blanket around them both, Naruto soon began to grow tired; his eyes began to droop and a less than a few minutes later he was asleep.

The brown furred cat peered up at the sleeping boy from her perch that was still the child's lap and after a few moments of thought, she shuffled as softly and gently as possible to snuggle deeper into the child as to help keep him warm. Konoha's nights were quite cold this time of the year. She'd heard from her owner that it might even snow this winter season; after snuggling into the child to get comfortable she too, drifted into a slumber.

..::..

Naruto slowly opened his eyes as he awoke and found himself in a strange place, he seemed to be in a sewer or at least an old water way. The walls were old, very old and seemed to be cracking in some areas while other sections seemed beyond repair. Then there was the water that was everywhere, the water level easily reached his thighs though there was no current … strange. Another oddity was that there was no awful smell that usually accompanied the Konoha Sewage System, having previous experience in knowing that particular smell. It was dark no matter which way he looked and it added to the … strange emptiness that the location gave; it was this lonely, desolate feeling the place gave off that made him feel horribly sad.

He glanced behind him when he was sure he heard a slow breathing sound coming from behind him so he slowly and cautiously got to his feet and despite his feeling of unease, he found his feet automatically start walking toward the sound. It seemed that his body was instinctively drawn to the direction where the sound originated and his mind with each and every step told him that the answers to the questions plaguing his mind would be answered if he only reached the source of the sound. So with his mind made up he took a deep breath and pushed his nervousness to the back of his mind and picked up the pace before his nerves could come back.

After many twists and turns (all of which he effortlessly memorized) he arrived at the source. He was standing in a giant room with bars that separated said room and made it look like a giant animal cage; complete with a lock that only had a single piece of paper that simply had 'seal' written on it.

'How strange,' Naruto thought as he looked deeply into the darkness of the cage.

"So … it seems you've found your way here after all … how peculiar" spoke a feminine voice in a soft and gentle whisper.

"W-Whose there and where am I?" Naruto questioned with a hint of fear in his voice as he strained to see what was behind the bars of the cage; Naruto was now feeling scared, was there another person here?

He suddenly wished that the room wasn't as dark, he wished that the room had access to a light, like the sun. Yes; like the sun … warm and bright light for a cold, dark room such as this. Imagine his, and the voice's surprise when they both felt the warm, gentle embrace of the sun. The appearance of the light illuminated the darkness and gave way to the voice's visage. It was a fox; a fox with nine tails that swayed almost hypnotically behind its body and what appeared to be human-like hands, which were held up in a nonthreatening manner.

It took several minutes but once Naruto's mind caught up with his eyes it all made sense to him; like a lightbulb suddenly 'dinging' he just understood.

'The looks, the whispers and the hate …' he began 'It all makes sense. I'm looking right at the Kyuubi, the Nine-Tailed Fox!'

Naruto's mind became a storm of thoughts and questions and his inner turmoil was clearly expressed on that pretty face of his. It took him ten minutes to figure out that the Kyuubi was simply observing him and giving him the needed time to come to his own conclusions.

'For a creature of hate and rage it sure is patient and pretty; I like its fur!' Naruto thought absently though his inner animal loving mind woke halfway through his thought process.

"Why thank you child. 'Patient' is not something I've been called in quite some time and I'm rather flattered that you like my fur; it is pretty isn't it? Though don't mistake my silence as patience. I was merely interested as to how you're here when it is not only too early to be acquainted with each other; but I also did not summon you to this plane" said the Kyuubi as it continued to stare at the child in front of its cage. The Kyuubi raised itself to its full height and then spoke once more;

"All things considered though; it is not an unwelcomed visit. It is terribly lonely down here!"

As Naruto gazed around the giant room his confusion was evident so the Kyuubi continued.

"We are in your mind child; a place where your subconscious meets mine. Ah … but it seems that I've neglected proper decorum and failed to introduce myself … I am Kurama, the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox, Ninth Biiju of the Nine Biiju, Empress of the Fox Clan, and finally … your prisoner!"

Naruto blinked. Then he blinked again. Then his brain finally rebooted itself, he sucked in a breath and gazed up in awe upon the form of the Kyuubi … 'No Kurama!' his mind supplied.

"Well?" began the amused female voice of Kurama "Surely you understand manners and decorum?"

Kurama heaved a deep sigh at Naruto's confused look before continuing;

"I have formally introduced myself child so please do me the courtesy of doing the same."

That snapped Naruto out of his reverie.

"Ah … forgive me Miss Kurama!" Naruto sheepishly bowed in respect, surprising Kurama greatly. "My name is Naruto. Just Naruto as I'm unsure of my last name … I'm three, almost four year's old and well … that's all I'm afraid."

He bowed again nervously for good measure and thought 'I hope that was okay … I've never had to introduce myself before.'

Kurama eyed the child before heaving another sigh. "It seems like my work is cut out for me. Decorum will have to be added to what I will teach you."

Naruto started at that and nervously looked up at Kurama, "Teach? You wish to teach me? Forgive my surprise but you are regarded as a creature of rage and malice." he quickly caught himself at the stern look Kurama was giving him and he stuttered out. "I-I m-mean we've only just met and I know nothing about you but your name and titles."

Kurama continued to look upon Naruto sternly before conceding to his point. "I suppose you are correct, nevertheless we are stuck with each other and I will not have a rude, noisy or uncouth girl as my vessel! As for your name; you were born Naruto Uzumaki-Namikaze, though I find it such a strange name for a girl."

'Naruto Uzumaki-Namikaze? That's my ... my name? I like it.' Naruto mused with a dreamy expression, then he blinked, then coughed, then finally blushed as he replied, "Um … I'm a boy Kurama-san."

Kurama looked at him in disbelief then blinked and quietly whispered, "Please give me a moment."

Kurama's eyes glazed over as she began to 'dive' through Naruto's childhood memories and after 15 minutes or so she returned and blushed as she replied, "Forgive me child, your appearance seems to be a result of my being sealed into you. You see my previous hosts were both female: Mito Uzumaki-Senju and Kushina Uzumaki-Namikaze, who was your mother by the way, had the unknown *cough* benefit of having my pheromones and chakra affect them. Most assume that I am either male or genderless but of course neither is true; I am a female and as such my chakra enhances and augments the natural beauty of my host. As I was sealed before your chakra coils were formed my, shall we say 'excess' chakra saturated your body and did what my chakra does best: change your genetic makeup to be naturally beautiful, and in your unfortunate case, womanly or feminine. You will actually become progressively more beautiful as you age until you reach about 16 or 17 years … sorry about that!"

Naturally, Naruto was embarrassed to know that he was going to look like a beautiful woman when he grew up as he'd imagined growing out of the 'pretty and girly' stage and into a man of outstanding quality, that is to say; a manly man. He was instantly depressed as a result of his dreams of being manly shattered.

'I'm going to look like a pretty girl forever? Why? Does Kami hate me or something?' he thought morosely; it was then that Kurama's revelation completely sunk in. 'Mother? She knows my m-mother … she knows my name of course it'd make sense for her to know my mother as well.'

"You knew my mother?" he asked quietly and at that moment, for the first time in their meeting did Kurama finally see the vulnerable child that Naruto truly was. "Does that mean you know who my father was too? You must tell me … please!"

'He sounds so small, so fragile,' Kurama thought sadly as she gazed down upon Naruto. She decided right then and there that she'd raise Naruto. Raise him to be a person that would do his parent's memories justice.

Naruto was suddenly blinded as Kurama was engulfed in her bright red chakra. Her form began to shrink and change until eventually she'd transformed into what looked like an 18 year old woman with soft features, similar to Naruto's features in fact and though her floor length blood red hair and eyes stood out they didn't subtract from her obvious beauty. She stood there in a plain dark blue, almost black sun dress; it was simple in design but it showed off her graceful curves and beauty.

Naruto stood there frozen and stunned as she transformed and once she had finished he found himself thinking of another red-haired woman with the same hair … where the image of this woman came from he didn't know, perhaps a distant memory but when she stood there in front of him with her arms stretched out as if inviting him into her embrace with a tender smile he'd seen other young women give the other children he didn't think twice; Naruto practically leapt into her arms and he wept as she held him gently yet firmly.

"Yes Naruto, I knew your mother quite well. Your father not so much but he was a kind man and a shinobi of great charisma and courage. Through the eyes of your mother I witnessed his kindness and his character. You remind me of him you know and though your appearance mostly come from your mother aside from your hair and eye colour, your mother- Kushina thought your father was 'girly' too." she giggled the last bit.

She continued to talk about his mother and father as she held Naruto closer to herself as he desperately clung to her like a lifeline. 'Poor Naruto … this is your very first hug isn't it? The first time you've been embraced and it was given to you by a 'demon'.'

Naruto sniffled quietly to himself as he simply absorbed the warmth and security that surrounded and embraced him through the hug. 'This is wonderful,' he thought to himself as he snuggled further into the warmth.

"It's alright Naruto, it's alright now! I'm not going anywhere, I'll be right here! Shhh!" Kurama soothingly whispered into his ear as her blood red hair covering Naruto like a safety blanket; it only made him feel even more safe in her arms and eventually his tears slowed and became sniffles and sobs.

"Better?" she asked gently, when he timidly nodded she smiled that tender smile and continued. "Your father was the Yondaime and his name was Minato Namikaze. Know right now Naruto that he had NO choice but to seal me within you so please don't despise him for doing what needed to be done."

Naruto thought upon what Kurama had just told him and despite his first feeling of betrayal he then felt … nothing; absolutely nothing at all. He wasn't feeling angry or betrayed. If anything he felt … content. While it was true he was saddened to know that his father died he felt relief at knowing it was Kurama sealed within him and not a mindless being. That reminded him … "Why did you attack Konoha Kurama-san?" he asked quietly.

If not for her augmented hearing she would have never heard him, but, she did and sadly it was a question she hoped wouldn't come until much later…

"You see Naru … I was forced out of your mother's seal. A masked man with formidable combat skills managed to force the seal open and the first thing I saw as I was forcibly drawn out was his Sharingan Eye. Naru … there is a way to control a Biiju and the Sharingan's evolved stage known as Mangekyo holds the ability to hypnotise a Biiju into doing the user's bidding. I'm not proud of what I did that day; controlled or not I was still the one who did the damage."

She lowered her head in shame and whispered out, "Do you hate me now?"

Naruto didn't say anything at first and that scared Kurama more than the Sharingan itself but he shuffled in her embrace to look at her. She sucked in a breath when she looked into his eyes; it was a deadly technique, the look he was giving her. 'So innocent … so adorable' it took all her self-control no to scream 'kawaii' and hug the boy to death.

Eventually though, he spoke his thoughts. "No," he whispered, his voice hoarse "I don't hate you Kurama-san. How could I? You've done more for me than anyone in my life so far. You told me about my parents, you want to teach me and you're really nice and pretty. So no Kurama-san; I don't hate you … y-you could say I'm glad it's you who's sealed into me. You could've been a real asshole instead you know!"

"Language young man!" she snapped "You will never use that language in front of me again understand Naru?"

"Yes Kurama-san … Ma'am!" Naruto replied instantly then began to whine, "Wait? Naru? That's a girly way to say my name!"

"Tough. I like it and it suits my precious little Naru. And no more Kurama-san; you can be more personal you know." she giggled out before gently petting his hair. Naruto began to subconsciously lean into Kurama's ministrations and blushed as he let out a purr momentarily, Kurama giggled at him and he pouted cutely.

"Mou! Kurama-chan please don't laugh at me," Naruto whispered pathetically as he tilted his head and looked up at her with a cute little pout. He reminded her of a baby fox from her clan and this time she couldn't hold back the urge.

"KAWAII!" she exclaimed loudly, burying his face in her ample chest. She rubbed her face against the top of his head. After holding onto him a little while longer she gently released him.

"It's time to wake up now Naru." Kurama whispered tenderly. Then, at seeing the look on his face continued, "I'll be with you always Naru. I'll open a mind link so that we can talk, it's so I can train you as well."

Naruto tilted his head in thought and then finally asked "Can you teach me to be a Shinobi as well Kurama-chan?"

She smiled at him then kissed his forehead. An action, Naruto decided, that he liked. She nodded her head to him in agreement and shooed him off with a final hug and kiss to the forehead. "My little Naru. I'll teach you to be the best you can be."

That was the last thing Naruto heard as his mind pulled him out of his mindscape. His body shivered though as that last bit was laced with a sadistic tone that made him very nervous.

..::..

Naruto drowsily opened his eyes but he instantly winced at the harsh light that had crept up on him during his lovely meeting with Kurama and he pulled the curtain up to let his eyes focus themselves.

"Aww … I thought it was lovely too Naru-chan." he heard in his head. Naruto whipped his head around the alley searching for the source, hoping deep within that she existed outside his mind.

"Oh my dear, sweet Naru-chan; I may not be with you physically but I will always be with you wherever you go." the soft delicate voice of Kurama whispered to him, comforting him instantly, "Just think of what you wish to say to me and I'll be able to hear you little one."

'Mou! Kurama-chan … I'm not that little.' Naruto thought petulantly, 'I'll be big and strong when I grow up!' Kurama giggled in his mind and he sent her a mental pout.

'I wonder if he remembers what I said last night. The poor thing has forgotten that he'll never be 'big and strong' he will forever be soft and delicate like a girl.' Kurama thought to herself, she then smirked mischievously as her thoughts continued, 'Oh my Kami … he'll forever be adorable … I'm so glad I was sealed within this child! I may already love him like my own kit but I am a fox … he'll be SO much fun to tease … Ufufufufu!'

For some unknown reason Naruto felt a chill run down his spine and that feeling of unease returned.

'I feel nervous all of a sudden … Kurama is there anything wrong?' he asked her.

"No; nothing at all," she said to him before quietly finishing with, "… … little one … Ufufufufu!"

Naruto sighed to himself before he recognised the feeling of being watched, he very carefully glanced up from his seat behind the garbage can to see the cat that he had been petting the previous night sitting in front of him licking her paw whilst watching him from the corner of her eye. She continued to clean herself for a few more minutes until she finished with a contented and pleased huff. She then proceeded to trot over and butt her head softly against his leg before she peeked nonchalantly to his lap, Naruto followed her gaze to see half a piece of roasted chicken breast sitting there innocently; the piece of roasted chicken was cold, very cold but it was food and Naruto's stomach rumbled its displeasure of being empty.

"Did you bring me this to eat Kitty-chan?" Naruto asked quietly, "What about you?"

The cat actually seemed to understand Naruto, which in itself was odd but he wasn't going to turn down the offered food, he had gotten rather used to old and cold food after all and the fact that it was most likely from the nearby garbage can never even fazed the blond with dirty and tangled hair, the cat mewled at Naruto and he found himself shocked to be able to understand the cat's mewling as if it was speaking the human tongue.

'Kurama-chan? Am I going crazy?" he hesitantly asked, "The cat said that she's already eaten and I understood her!"

"No Naru-chan. You're not going crazy. As my host you will find you'll be able to understand most animals, perks of being unofficially affiliated with the Fox Clan!" Kurama replied "You'll find that understanding animals like felines or canines far better though … it'll take practice but you'll soon be able to communicate with all creatures just as I can little one."

' … Oh …' Naruto answered dumbly as he was already dreamily imagining the things he could learn just from the various animals that were in and around Konoha. Though he was snapped out of his reverie by the brown furred cat; she must have gotten impatient as she decided to claw his big toe that had become visible from under the cover of the curtain.

"Ouch" Naruto squeaked, "I'm sorry Kitty-chan … I didn't mean to ignore you." The cat huffed and mewled at him once more.

"Tora? Your name is Tora?" he gently asked the cat. The cat 'Tora' seemed to startle and stare at Naruto further before nodding very slowly; unsure as to whether or not the pretty and nice human child could actually understand her.

"…" Tora mewled

"Nope … you're not crazy Tora-chan … I really do understand what you're saying."

"… …"

"Really … I'm serious." Naruto answered cheerfully before pitifully whining out a "Hey … stop looking at me like that Tora-chan!"

"… …"

"Wow … that was a mean thing to say Tora-chan." Naruto pouted as he crossed his arms.

"…"

Naruto gasped then blushed then timidly whispered "Y-You … said a bad word Tora-chan! Kurama-chan says using that kind of language is bad."

Tora stared flatly at Naruto for a few minutes then huffed, "… … …"

"Oh? Then you're forgiven Tora-chan." Naruto chirped brightly. Tora sighed and then finally gestured once more to the chicken and Naruto got the message 'EAT … NOW!' So Naruto ate, his eyes suddenly widened and sparkled gloriously "This is amazing dattebayo!" He winced as he received a sudden pain in his head.

"Naru-chan …" Kurama begun menacingly, "That verbal tick must go … a lady must always speak clearly for you are not a barbarian."

'Kurama-chan. I'm a boy remember.' Naruto replied in a whine with an eye twitch.

"… … It matters not …" she huffed "You must speak clearly from now on and here's your first lesson as a shinobi; use everything at your disposal to your own benefit. Your feminine appearance is a plus to you, both men and women will be enamoured by your beauty so regardless of whether or not you look like a girl, you must learn to act as a girl … being underestimated is a useful tool Naru-chan … do you understand?"

"I get it … so if I act like a girl then other shinobi or kunoichi will underestimate me and be in for a nasty shock later when they find out that I'm really a boy." he exclaimed with a smile worthy of a Kitsune as Kurama's words were instantly absorbed by his eidetic-like memory.

Tora hissed, bringing Naruto back to reality … he looked to Tora and thanked her profusely for finding him food. Tora waved her tail in a dismissive fashion before jerking her head, gesturing for Naruto to follow.

Naruto followed Tora through many twists and turns (all were effortlessly memorized) before the duo emerged in front of a grand manor. The manor or castle, yes, castle was huge and was clearly designed for royalty. Tora seemed to suck in a breath, as if bracing herself, before jumping through an open window, Naruto following after another look from Tora. He followed as Tora led him through the castle, stopping when she stopped and sticking to the walls when she demanded him to do so … he assumed that it was to avoid any unnecessary contact with the various staff running about to and fro; less than five minutes later they reached a beautiful sitting room. Naruto, despite his usually overcautious nature failed to realise though, that the room had two people already enjoying the warm sun that the room was naturally gifted with. There was a man and a woman; both were immaculately dressed with clothes of humble yet exquisite taste and they were already seated at a perfectly sized table quietly drinking tea. The silence was shattered with a joyous shriek of "Tora-chan!"

Naruto immediately jumped and ran towards the corner of the room, seeking the safe feeling of the walls behind him, he attempted to try and sink further into the corner when the attention of the other occupants snapped to his trembling form. Tora immediately bounded over and proceeded to try to comfort and calm the child by mewing and rubbing against him in a gentle fashion. The two occupants shared a look before the woman slowly stepped forward, as not to further startle the absolutely filthy child.

..::..

Madame Kaoru Shinji, the Fire Daimyo's wife was enjoying a peaceful morning as she was currently enjoying tea and biscuits with her husband. Her only concern though was that her dearest Tora-chan had fled the castle last night for some reason that she couldn't fathom. They were enjoying a lovely cuddle (smother) but Tora had managed to wriggle free and fled out the window and didn't come back that night. (She'd asked the servants to keep an eye out.)

And here was her Tora, trotting into the room followed by a pretty little child that was covered in dirt and grime. Her first instinct was to run and comfort the dirty child but after witnessing both the child's extreme reaction to her joy and Tora's interaction with the filthy child she had immediately stopped.

Madam Kaoru Shinji was a rather plump woman of 35 years of age, she was dressed in the latest coat available on the market to 'cover' her plumpness and she always made sure there was a hood so that if she wore it, it wouldn't mess up her hairstyle. She had dark brown hair that, while it was down now, was usually meticulously styled into a bun. Her usual makeup already done, consisted of eye shadow of a most interesting shade of pale purple and she wore a common yet expensive pink lipstick. Her husband, the Fire Daimyo by comparison looked much different.

The Fire Daimyo, a man named Masahiko Shinji, a man of 38 years was a thin man compared to his wife and the other nobles often chuckled at the difference, he too, often found himself sharing a laugh or two with his, still to his eyes; beautiful wife in regards to their different sizes. The Daimyo had dark grey, almost black round eyes, they were eyes common to the Land of Fire and as such he'd inherited the common yet distinguished trait and he possessed dark brown almost black coloured shoulder length hair that had minute traces of grey along the sides of his head. He generally wore his tailor-made kimono that was made in the finest yet hardy of silks as unlike other Daimyos he didn't care much for the flimsy kimonos and robes worn by them, especially since they weren't reliable if he had to get his hands dirty. The courts actually highly respected his intellectual prowess and that combined with his 'I don't mind getting my hands dirty' approach often provided him with the upper hand whenever the other Daimyos convened to discuss trade and peace.

Being the single most influential and not to mention the richest person in ALL of the Land of Fire he had the first and last say in the Land of Fire … in other words, his word was law and as such; even the Hokage was powerless against his commands. That being said, Konoha; The Village Hidden in the Leaf served his country, his court and most importantly his family. Family … that was something that hit him hard every time he thought upon the subject as while he and his wife were very much in love, she was infertile. Kaoru Shinji was unable to have children, and he as Fire Daimyo must produce or name an heir by the time of his, hopefully long life ended. They both tried many times and many options before Kaoru offered a suggestion; take a second wife … so after trying a little more he took his beloved wife's advice and eventually took a concubine as a second bride; that way he was still legally able to have an heir ascend to the throne upon his death.

The concubine that he had chosen and courted accordingly was named Yuki. Yuki was an exceptionally beautiful woman of about 30 years and had long flowing white hair, she had a delicate porcelain-like complexion and beautiful amethyst coloured eyes. Yuki possessed a sweet, kind disposition that caused her to fit right in with the Daimyo's family, even Madame Shinji was not disgusted with her presence; in fact Madame Shinji often discussed politics with her and made it her personal duty to spend a lovely meal or drink tea with her as often as could be spared.

Yuki however harboured a deep and dark secret; it was not a secret that was unknown to the Daimyo's family of course but it was a secret that was kept from the rest of the shinobi world. For you see, her white hair and delicate features were a result of her heritage but … her heritage they were hiding was that she part of the extinct Kaguya Clan and though she had never awakened the Kaguya Clan's infamous Kekkei Genkai or Bloodline Limit known as the Shikotsumyaku or Dead Bone Pulse; she was still considered 'dangerous' by the other countries that made up the Elemental Nations.

The Fire Daimyo Masahiko and his wife Kaoru however, didn't care though and made sure they told her so daily so that she truly felt at home and at peace with them and happy and at peace was exactly what she felt every day.

..::..

Snapping out of her reverie Kaoru shared a look with her husband as she slowly moved forward towards Naruto as if approaching a cornered animal. Kaoru made no sudden movements and slowly held her hand out to the frightened child and gestured for said child to come forward; all the while she was smiling gently. Naruto regarded her cautiously for a moment before seeing her smile at him; it was like Kurama-chan's smile and he liked that smile; so Naruto slowly unwound himself from the tight ball he had been curled up in and timidly took her hand.

Madame Shinji smiled serenely at him and pulled him gently to his feet.

"There now child … we won't hurt you." she spoke softly, still not wanting to scare the pretty child, she began coaxing him out further with a biscuit from the tea she was sharing with her husband in the silence before and Naruto cautiously took the biscuit and with growing courage finally spoke.

"Pardon me Ma'am? What is this? Is it food?" his voice was quiet, gentle and feminine and rang with a tinkling sound that mesmerized Kaoru and her husband. The child's face looked so … hopeful at the last part of the question.

Hadn't this child ever had a biscuit before? Granted these particular biscuits were imported from the Land of Tea (where all the best tea and biscuits came from) but a child that had truly never had a biscuit; such a simple piece of food was unbelievable to the woman.

"Yes little one, it's called a biscuit and it's a very sweet snack … you usually eat them with milk or tea," she kindly explained.

A small, amazingly beautiful smile blossomed on the child's face as he whispered the word to himself as if testing it on his tongue, he then looked up at her with his head tilted in contemplation 'KAWAII!' she mentally squealed … before he sniffed the biscuit; he paused and seemed to be preparing himself to eat it; treating the biscuit as if it could be poisoned.

'What a life this child must of lived' she thought sadly as her mind was racing with questions.

"Go on Naru-chan." he heard Kurama gently say in his mind "I sense no negative intentions from the two people here … or the other woman behind you."

Naruto sniffed it once more before nibbling the end of the biscuit carefully, his eyes widened and sparkled like precious gems and he again, captivated the room with his smile. Naruto then began nibbling more fervently, thinking that it must be priceless or expensive food that was clearly only fit for royalty and in the back of his mind Kurama shed a tear and mentally cursed the villagers.

In the real world the now three occupants in the room had a feeling of dread settle in the pits of their stomachs as they watched the child nibble and savour the biscuit as if it would disappear … this precious child was clearly an orphan but the Fire Daimyo and Madame Shinji had personally donated sweets, biscuits and the like every week; so either the child had never lived in the orphanage (which was impossible as Hi no Kuni or the Land of Fire had the lowest homeless rate in the Elemental Nations, so low in fact; that it was practically non-existent) or there was something clearly wrong with this picture.

The Fire Daimyo was inclined to believe the latter of the options and that concerned him. He snapped to attention as Naruto finished nibbling on the biscuit leaving just about half remaining with a dreamy expression on his face; he suddenly looked very nervous once more and seconds later, he timidly held the other half of the biscuit back out to Madame Shinji.

"This must have been really expensive ma'am and I'm sorry I ate so much of it. Here … there's some left." he timidly bowed though he smiled proudly when he mentioned that there was some of the biscuit left; he was proud of his self-control!

Yuki Kaguya, who had entered the room shortly after had taken the offered treat instantly looked to the Daimyo with a heartbroken and pleading expression and the Fire Daimyo instantly understood what she was saying; 'I want her!'

Masahiko Shinji smiled softly and silently nodded to Yuki, the smile she gave him clued Madame Shinji in and she also nodded her head in agreement to the silent plan. Yuki gracefully stepped forward and knelt before Naruto; who was now eyeing her wearily, his body coiled and ready to flee if he had to.

Imagine Naruto's surprise when she spoke to him with such a musical tone of voice that he instantly thought must've belonged to an angel, though he promptly blushed when she giggled softly and it was then he realised that he must of said that out loud … 'How embarrassing' he thought to himself.

"Child; my name is Yuki Kaguya. What is your name little one?" she asked softly. Naruto pouted cutely as he heard Kurama giggle in the back of his mind to her question.

"Mou … I'm not little Kaguya-san." he chided in a delicate tone that had the females in the room (and his mind) squealing mentally and the Daimyo feel oddly protective of the child. Naruto tried to look stern; really he did but it was absolutely adorable coming from the child. "And my name Naruto … Naruto Uzumaki-Namikaze!" he finished softly but proudly.

"Naruto?" Yuki repeated questioningly and as if muttering to herself (just a little too loudly) continued, "Odd name for a girl."

The Fire Daimyo and Madame Shinji mentally agreed with her statement as they looked once more to Naruto's adorably scrunched up face. Yuki, Madame Shinji and Kurama had to physically (or mentally in Kurama's case) restrain themselves from smothering the child by hugging their arms around themselves; the Fire Daimyo wasn't faring any better as his arms twitched to hug the adorable creature standing before them. For you see Naruto was now pouting but not his normal pout no; this was a devastating pout that, coupled with the teary, puppy eyes he was unconsciously using and the sudden pathetic whine he gave made him seem like a fox kit or a kitten that was just doused in water.

Tora, who had remained vigilant in standing beside the child, however had no such restraint and immediately jumped up onto Naruto's shoulders and started rubbing her head against his cheek in comfort … and was she starting to groom him?

"Yes she is grooming you; like a mother cat to her kitten … you seem to give her the impression of a being a kitten in need of being cared for." Kurama giggled, though her giggle became a laugh soon after. "I'm sorry Naru-chan but it's just so funny."

Whilst Kurama tried (and failed) to control herself; the three other occupants in the real world were simply amazed. Tora was never this well behaved or close with anyone.

'That settles it … the child's staying with us.' was the collective thoughts of room's occupants. Meanwhile, Naruto was nervously trying to get Tora to stop grooming his cheek as it not only made him feel weird but it also tickled.

"Mou … Tora-chan … please stop! That tickles … T-Tora-chan!" Naruto giggled as he was relentlessly assaulted by the cat in question.

Whilst the adorable scene continued and the women gushed over said scene, the rest of Naruto's name finally registered with the Daimyo and he certainly knew that name; it wasn't hard after all.

After all … the Namikaze Clan was a very infamous Clan; they were utter demons on the battlefield, especially if angered and their speed was only rivalled by the Jinton or Swift Release users of Kumo. They were feared so much … that the Clan was hunted to extinction and as such; there were only two known survivors: Dan Namikaze and Minato Namikaze. Minato Namikaze … he was a supposed orphan from the war but the Fire Daimyo knew differently for the former survivor Dan Namikaze was subsequently also Minato's father. Why anyone never put the two pieces together was rather simple for Minato's mother was the legendary Tsunade Senju.

No one had known that Dan Namikaze and Tsunade Senju married in secret or that the Fire Daimyo was the one to preside over their union. As the last of the Senju Clan and a woman … she was bound by her Clan's Laws and as such … Dan Namikaze took his wife's Clan name and became Dan Senju; Dan met an untimely death during the war and it was due to his early death that they never announced their union to the Village.

Masahiko Shinji knew all this because it was just after Dan's death and right before she left Konoha that Tsunade came to him seeking sanctuary and as the last of the Senju once more; it was impossible for him to decline her request. It wasn't only that though as he was indebted to her for finding out why he and his beloved wife Kaoru were unsuccessful in having children. The many court healers proved to be rather useless as they just kept recommending medicine after medicine but it was Tsunade that found out why his wife was unable to conceive.

As requested; Tsunade had sanctuary there at his Castle in Konoha until she had given birth a healthy baby boy; a son that Tsunade rejected and as such … she refused to name him. For each and every time that she looked at the child; all she could see was her dead husband and all she felt was her heart break.

As soon as she could; Tsunade left with the child and placed him in a random orphanage claiming she had simply found the child and that she only knew his last name and left; she never returned to Konoha after that but rumour had it that she took her husband's niece Shizune with her; hopefully she'd return one day and be healed from her scars and would have made peace with her inner demons.

It was only when Minato was named the Fourth Hokage that he saw that little boy again, he had recognised him immediately and ordered a blood test done to be absolutely sure it was him. The results were positive: Minato Namikaze was without a shred of a doubt the son of Tsunade Senju: The Slug Sannin and her deceased husband Dan Senju … formally Namikaze!

Then there was the Uzumaki in Naruto's name. The feeling of dread had returned instantly for his country, his court and his very family owed a debt to the Uzumaki Family when they were still residents of Uzu no Kuni or The Land of Whirlpools. The Uzumaki Family was Royalty in every sense of the word and when Uzu fell in the war to a surprise attack launched by the recently formed alliance of Kumo, Kiri, and Iwa (without the support of their Daimyos he might add) their only daughter, Kushina was the only survivor of the Royal Family; she then moved to Konoha and became the second Jinchūriki of the Nine-Tailed Fox.

Oh yes: he knew all about the Kyuubi! First with the battle of Hashirama Senju and Madara Uchiha that ended up with Hashirama's wife, Mito Uzumaki-Senju becoming the very first host. Then as Mito started to pass on, the responsibility was passed on to another member of the Uzumaki Royal Family: Kushina Uzumaki. Throughout many trials and tribulations Kushina found acceptance with her friends, her new home and her lover, who eventually became her husband; Minato Namikaze. Then finally, the Kyuubi attack: According to the official report from his spies, Kushina Uzumaki-Namikaze passed on shortly after child birth as she fought to her last breath against the Kyuubi no Kitsune. Minato had then surrendered his life force and soul over to the Shinigami or Death God for the power to save the Village by sealing the Kyuubi away into a child: Minato's only child; Naruto Uzumaki-Namikaze … so with all the facts laid before him the Fire Daimyo came to the inevitable conclusion … Naruto was who he says he was.

He was Naruto Uzumaki-Namikaze! Heir to the Namikaze Clan. Descendant of the Senju Clan. Heir to the Uzumaki Royal Family and to the Throne of Uzu. And finally: the Third Jinchūriki of the Nine-Tailed Fox. The Fire Daimyo was trying to control the raging inferno that was his anger. Heads would roll for this travesty! This child was Royalty and he was treated in such a manner as this … like he was filth?

'Hiruzen … you and Konoha shall suffer for this! Maybe not today or tomorrow but you will suffer for your actions or rather your inaction soon.' the Daimyo swore to himself.

Madame Shinji looked up in time to see her husband's expression and she couldn't resist the feeling of fear; her husband's look was truly terrifying and she swallowed heavily … she had not seen that look on his face since the attempted Coup instigated by the Guardians of the Ninja Twelve last year; it was a look that held no mercy and a look that swore vengeance.

'Konoha has not heard the last of this.' she thought to herself with a shiver 'I almost pity them … almost!'

Inside Naruto's mind Kurama had sensed the Daimyo's intentions and smirked. Perhaps things were looking up for her dear little Naru after all.

..::..

Naruto couldn't remember a time where he felt so at peace with himself or around others but with the warm feeling soothing him from his mind, 'Definitely coming from Kurama' his mind registered, coupled with the gentle embrace of the pretty lady holding him kept the feeling pulsing through his little body. He vaguely heard the adults murmuring and whispering with each other and while that usually translated as 'run for it' for Naruto; for some strange reason his body refused to move. It was simply wonderful for Naruto and one could tell if they were to witness the dreamy expression of utter bliss plastered onto his soft face.

He was brought from his blissful little dream world when Yuki gently petted his hair, as if to gain his attention. It worked of course, too well in the adult's opinions as he leaned into Yuki's ministrations and sighed contently. The women giggled and it was then that Naruto really snapped out of it; pouting cutely he let his attention drift to Yuki, who had just stopped petting him.

"Naru-chan? You must be hungry and you certainly need a bath, so how about we get you cleaned up and into some fresh, clean clothes hmm? We'll then go get you some food okay?" Yuki said in her musical tone.

'Kurama-chan? Why does everyone that's nice to me insist on calling me Naru? Or little one?' Naruto whined to his … wait. What was the right term of endearment for Kurama? Certainly not prisoner … tenant perhaps? No, that wasn't right either … 'She's nice like what I pictured a mum to be like and her hugs are really soft and nice' here his nose crinkled adorably, 'but doesn't look like the other mums I've seen. I feel close to her though, like family … … AHA! Kurama-chan? Can I please call you big sister?' he finished with a mental version of his radiant smile.

Kurama was still wondering how the Fire Daimyo was going to avenge her dear Naru-chan while unconsciously sending wave after wave of soothing chakra to 'hug' her little one when her thoughts were interrupted by Naruto's questions and his own thoughts reached her. She blinked and her eyes began to mist over but it was the smile that caused the tears to flow and affect her most.

"YES! Of course you can Naru-chan," Kurama cried, tears of happiness still flowing, "Of course you can call me big sister, no, even better; you can call me Kura-nee and I'll simply call you Naru." She trailed off about to go into her own world when Naruto interrupted her.

'Kura-nee? Are you okay? You went silent for a little while, Kura-nee?' Oh. Naruto must've thought something bad happened. His mental face was expressing his worry. 'KAWAII!' She thought "I'm fine Naru. Just happy," she trailed off in the end with a slight drop of blood leaving her nose as she went into a mini-coma of bliss, her thoughts running off on their own. 'Ufufufufu! My little Naru is so sweet'

'Ne? Ne? Kura-nee … my question?' Naruto nervously asked 'And what was that weird vibe I felt just now Kura-nee?'

Wiping her nose quickly Kurama coughed before finally answering "You are little Naru. Though most would use the term petite" 'petite and utterly gorgeous; Ufufufufu.' *cough* "Oh? Weird vibe? You must be imagining it Naru. Yes, it's just your imagination" Kurama nervously finished 'Please buy it. Please buy it. Please buy it.'

'Oh … okay Kura-nee.' Was Naruto's oblivious reply. Kurama released a sigh of relief. 'That was close' she thought "Naru? The other people are staring at you now. Remember to show respect as these are very important people okay?"

'Yes Kura-nee.' was the dutiful reply.

Back in the real world Yuki was trying to bring Naruto back; he just zoned out completely and had been unresponsive for the last 5 minutes or so. Tora was trying to help by butting her head against her new favourite human and mewling.

"Naru-chan? Naru-chan? NARU-CHAN?" Yuki didn't know what was wrong. Was he injured or sick? She spun to let the other occupants know something was wrong when she heard his breathing return to normal.

"Naru-chan?" she tried once more and he finally looked up at the room's occupants with those eyes, chewing on his lower lip nervously.

'Oh My Kami! I'm going to have to start beating people away with a stick,' thought the Daimyo with a heavy sigh and after a second glance, his arm twitched dangerously. 'A really, really long stick.'

"Ne? I'm sorry Yuki-san; I was talking with Kura-nee." Naruto whispered out

"Kura-nee?" all three adults asked simultaneously whilst Tora just tilted her head questioningly.

"Eh? Ah! Kura-nee is Kurama-chan, she's really pretty and nice … nice like all of you that is and we met last night even though the orphanage threw me out over a week ago; Kurama-chan is the Kyuubi and she's going to teach me to be a shinobi." he rambled excitedly.

Kurama face-palmed 'Should've told him not to mention me' she sighted though a moment later she giggled dreamily 'He said that I was really pretty' she smiled dreamily once more before realizing that she had to pay attention, though the light drop of blood was left unnoticed.

Naruto's statement caused alarm bells to ring in the Daimyo's head. Kyuubi? He was communicating with the Kyuubi and it had a name? While he had read the journals of his fore-fathers (hence his knowledge about Hashirama vs Madara) the only entry that sounded familiar was a passage written by one of his deceased relatives after talking with the Uzumaki Royal Family after the very first sealing as they had talked about how the Kyuubi was different from their old texts. Kyuubi was originally appointed by its creator, a god in a man's body whose name slipped his mind, to watch over the balance of peace throughout the lands. The Kyuubi and its brethren, the other Tailed Biiju did their governed task for many years but like all things pure; there will always be people to try and corrupt that purity.

Through the human race, the Biiju witnessed true horrors; such as the horrors of war, greed and hatred. As the Biiju continued their appointed task that hatred and greed grew, war became more destructive and finally when all was said and done; the humans turned that hatred and greed upon the Biiju themselves. The Biiju were sick of watching what their father, their creator had given them being used in such ways and when the humans turned against them; the Biiju snapped and fought back.

Sheer destruction covered the land. One conflict after another, each longer than the last, and finally a single man stood tall. This man possessed the chakra of their father as they'd have recognised it anywhere of course and slowly; one by one the Biiju remembered themselves as they were subdued by this man and his chakra: The man's name was Hashirama Senju.

The Kyuubi was the only Biiju left untouched after the ferocious battle.

Faced with the choice of flee or be captured, Kyuubi chose to flee and flee Kyuubi did. For years not even the strongest sensor could pin-point the Kyuubi's location until that man came; Madara Uchiha.

This man like the last had inherited something of their fathers: his eyes … the Sharingan. Using its evolved stage known as Mangekyo he managed to cast a Genjutsu or Illusion so powerful that even the mighty Kyuubi fell victim to Madara Uchiha's whims for he ensnared the Kyuubi and forced it under his control.

An epic battle of monstrous proportions waged against both the men with their battle re-shaped the very land on which they fought. The Creator's Chakra vs The Creator's Eyes.

Madara used his formidable battle prowess, the Sharingan and the Kyuubi while Hashirama used his own battle prowess with sealed weapons, his natural ability to subdue the hate filled chakra that Kyuubi was radiating and finally; his fabled Mokuton or Wood Release. In the end (according to history anyway) the Creator's Chakra won; Hashirama Senju defeated Madara Uchiha in mortal combat and with the help of his wife Mito Uzumaki-Senju: they sealed the Kyuubi away within her body.

Shortly after this epic battle; Hashirama Senju as Shodaime or the First Hokage gifted the Biiju as a notion to peace between the Elemental Nations. Sadly, said peace didn't last and something that should've never been forgotten; was forgotten. The Biiju became 'monsters' of man's own design; much like the Jinchūriki in the various Hidden Villages.

Jinchūriki literally translated as The Power of Human Sacrifice and were the Sacrificial Vessels in which the various Hidden Village's sealed the Biiju into and as such; Jinchūriki were hated and scorned. Jinchūriki were treated as tools of war and tools that weren't very well looked after. Jinchūriki tended to be ignored or abused by the very villages that they were supposed to protect, looking at Naruto was a perfect example: Dirty rags that shouldn't even be used as clothes, no sandals or socks, and he certainly looked well beyond malnourished and bordering on deathly thin; even though it made him look even daintier and more fragile and therefore prettier.

Then a thought hit the Daimyo. If Naruto was this pretty, then had anyone tried doing things to him? He growled in his throat and swallowed his anger to the best of his abilities; it wouldn't do any good to have Naruto scared of him. He chanced at look at Naruto to see if he'd scared him and choked on his breath; it was that doused kitten look again. He heard the women shuffle closer to Naruto and his arm twitched once more.

'Control … you are in control.' He chanted to himself mentally like a mantra over and over again. Once positive that he was indeed okay looked right back up and once more fell victim as Naruto (who thought they were mad at him) let out a hiccupped sob.

For a creature as adorable as Naruto: the hiccupped sob was made at just the right moment and immediately crippled all defences raised up by the Fire Daimyo instantly. 'Forget the damn stick! I'll write a bloody law. Get too close to Naruto and you'll lose your head (and he didn't mean the one on your shoulders either). He mentally gave his best evil cackle, oh yes; just try to get close to his child!

'Wait? My child? When did it become so easy to think that?' he thought to himself.

In the end though he found he simply didn't care; if it was already so natural to think of this adorable child as his own then it was a sign, a very good sign. 'Kami must have set this up.' Then the Daimyo smiled and gently knelt down in front of Naruto.

"Naruto," he coaxed gently then asked, "Do you trust your Kura-nee?"

"Yes your highness," Naruto replied softly, he then continued growing more confident with every word. "She's my first friend. She gave me my very first hug and I know I only met her last night but I know that she cares for me too. She's my big sister and … and that's that!" He finished dramatically with a beaming smile on his face that warmed the cold morning air, his eyes flickered with emotion and the slight tremble of his body seemed to melt away with the morning air. Naruto would've liked to have thought that that was his first 'manly' man moment but to everyone else?

"…"

"…"

"…"

"KAWAII!" screamed the women, all self-control gone with the cold in the room. They all pounced upon the confused child and despite his still filthy appearance they hugged the boy to themselves. Even the Daimyo, this time had to at least make sure this feminine boy was indeed real; so he gently plopped his hand down and petted his head. 'Wow. Despite being absolutely dirty it's so soft." He thought absently.

"Naruto. I will give Kurama-san the benefit of the doubt right now but we must have answers later alright?" The Daimyo stated firmly.

Naruto beaming with his ever beautiful smile was beginning to purr once more and while not used to this much attention thought to himself, 'Could this day get any better? Kura-nee?"

When all he got was silence he just assumed she was sleeping. Even Biiju had to sleep right? Kurama meanwhile was in fact, asleep or rather unconscious surrounded by a puddle of blood if one heard her last thoughts they would have heard, 'Ufufufufu. So adorable. Ufufufufu.'

After enjoying the moment shared by the unofficial family Madame Shinji stood to her full height and spoke, "Naru-chan? Child, my name is Kaoru Shinji, but if you let me; I'd very much like to be your new mother."

Naruto froze. Was this real? "P-Please don't be a d-dream." He whispered with a stutter, "R-really?" he spoke just a little bit clearer but you could hear the desperation in his voice. It was then that Yuki came forward and grasped his dainty hands within her delicate ones, she didn't say anything; she just smiled tenderly and simply nodded. Naruto trembled, his emotions were running on a high and he squeaked suddenly when the Daimyo gently laid a hand on his head once more. Naruto followed the man's arm and eventually reached the man's face; it was there that Naruto looked into the man's eyes as if searching for an answer and when he seemed to find it he smiled a small soft smile.

"H-Hai! I'd love to be a part of this family." Was all he said before the women squealed and hugged him once more. The Daimyo simply smiled to himself and nodded once, a simple gesture but to Naruto who'd never had a male role model? It was a moment to remember. He woke up that morning to nothing but a friendly cat but now he had a family.

"Very well then Naruto. My name is Fire Daimyo Masahiko Shinji; most don't know that so they usually call me 'My Lord'," the Daimyo told him quietly, "But you Naruto, may call me father or anything of that sort."

"And my full name is Yuki Kaguya-Shinji, and second wife to his highness," Yuki introduced with a smile, "You could also call me mother; just remember to call Kaoru and I different titles ne Naru-chan?"

Naruto, still in shock, nodded quietly and looked to the various people, 'No. My family.' His mind proudly corrected and his smile bloomed into the most beautiful smile of his life, a smile that had his family sucking in a collective breath and then the hug held that little bit longer and wait … was Tora trying to groom him again? He sighed to himself but didn't try to stop the affectionate cat, after all; she was the guide that led him to his new family; so instead he snuggled further into the family hug.

In his mind we find Kurama, wiping her tears and smiling faintly to herself 'I hope you're up there Minato, you too Kushina. If you could see what a simple act of love has done! I know that his power will keep burning bright. I can already feel the seal being re-enforced.'

She smiled sadly in the darkness when something miraculous happened. That singular spot of sun that was created by Naruto upon their first meeting suddenly grew and lit up the darkness further. As her eyes re-adjusted themselves she noticed something carved into the side of the room; she gasped, then snarled in anger and then, when calming down smirked.

'Most interesting indeed! I thought I felt something off about his body. You foolish mortals, it may take me time to repair this setback but you've dabbled in something that is beyond your comprehension or control. All I need is a potent source of blood and wait for his chakra to stabilize so I can do the rest!"

And with that she reverted back to her original form and curled into her now warm cage, as her eyes drifted close she let out a singular word "… Soon!"

"Oh ... by the way" Naruto pouted as if finally remembering an important piece of information "I'm a boy."

"WHAT?" cried Yuki and Kaoru in perfect sync whilst Masahiko just laughed heartedly ... things were going to be entertaining from now on.

..::..

Fire Daimyo Masahiko Shinji was seated on his throne and he was certainly not pleased. While not livid anymore, it was still there simmering away underneath his skin. That was not the reason for his displeasure though, you see, once their little Naru-chan accepted their offer to join their family something that he'd never forget occurred.

FLASHBACK

"I'm happy you want to join our family Naru-chan" Yuki exclaimed cheerfully, "Now let's get you cleaned up. A nice hot bath and some clean clothes are in order for you."

Naruto tilted his head slightly and peered curiously at his new mother. He got a nervous look after a moment however and took a step back slowly.

"What's nice about a bath? The matron bathes me but only during winter though. She uses the garden hose at full power and bathes me that way." he whispered it but they heard him as clearly as if he'd shouted it out. "She always drag me back to my room after that. It was very cold that night."

Swallowing her sheer fury at his response Yuki replied "That wasn't a bath Naru-chan. How about I go with you? We could bathe together and I'll show you how to do it yourself for when you want to take a bath next time okay?"

Naruto was apprehensive for a moment before he nodded shyly and Yuki gently took his hand and led him further into the mansion pointing out the shiny things that caught Naruto's eye along the way.

FLASHBACK END

Fire Daimyo Shinji was so angry that he'd excused himself moments after they'd left. Kaoru deciding to organise some clothing for Naruto and so here he was; brooding and stewing in his thoughts.

"I must be careful. There's no telling how soon Hiruzen will notice Naruto's disappearance." He muttered to himself "Then there's the issue of his obvious state of health and of course his personal safety."

He pondered this for quite some time when he suddenly thought of something: His guardians or what was left of them anyway; they held the answer. It was time to test the loyalty of his remaining guardians.

"Bring me Asuma Sarutobi and Chiriku at once!" he shouted to the seemingly empty room and seconds later, a shadow dropped to the ground in a low bow and disappeared as quickly as it had appeared.

Moments later two men entered the throne room of the Daimyo, they quickly made their way to his throne and taking a knee; bowed to him. (I'm not going to bother describing them as you know what they look like and how they dress ... if not: please google them with google images.)

"My Lord" they intoned in perfect sync "How may we serve you?"

The Daimyo was pleased at their swift response to his summons, though they were the ones responsible for stopping the coup; he could only abide by complete obedience. He motioned for them to rise before he took on a stern look.

"I have summoned you both for two reasons" the Daimyo spoke with a strong voice, a voice that made you stop and listen carefully "Firstly, in regards to our talks about the disbandment of the Guardians of the Ninja Twelve; I do hereby decline your request. I'm truly sorry my friends but recent events do not sit well with me and I'll need you both in the Capital; my family will be moving back there within the month and I suspect there might be problems … particularly from Konoha."

Both ninja tensed; when the Daimyo had such a feeling and told them of said feeling it usually meant trouble. Chiriku responded first.

"My Lord, surely there must be another way to protect you and still disband the Guardians. There's only Asuma and I now remaining anyway; perhaps the ANBU force?"

"No; Konoha is to whom I suspect there will be trouble from." the Daimyo spoke sharply though he pondered Chiriku's answer deeply before glancing towards Asuma.

"And your answer Asuma?" he questioned

"Honestly? My time here has been both good and bad, I admit that while I miss Konoha deeply, I could not in good conscience leave you and your family unprotected: I am loyal to you first and Konoha second My Lord." Asuma responded confidently and with conviction.

Chiriku's face softened and a smile appeared.

Masahiko stared both men down whilst Asuma was speaking and by the time Asuma had finished his declaration a smile had appeared on Masahiko's face.

"A very good answer Asuma; that's exactly what I wanted you to hear. For the Guardians are loyal and serve me and the ANBU report to the Hokage." He responded thoughtfully.

Asuma and Chiriku both raised a brow at the Daimyo but didn't comment as they were starting to get the feeling that there was more to this conversation than their Lord was telling them and while they understood his concerns ... they soon began to ponder what the Fire Daimyo was considering; especially in regards to Konoha or their futures as Guardians.

"I wish for you to begin looking for replacements for the positions of the Guardians at once!" Masahiko ordered with authority "Chiriku … you shall begin this task with haste but Asuma; stay for a moment."

Chiriku bowed and disappeared swiftly to begin his task while Asuma obeyed the command and stayed, all the while Asuma couldn't help but feel nervous. Was there something wrong? After a tense few minutes the Daimyo let out a sigh and clasped his hands together. He eyed Asuma intently and could see the man sweating.

"An impressive declaration Asuma but I need to know right here and now" Masahiko spoke firmly and with a deeper edge he continued "Where does your loyalty lie? To your Daimyo? Your Clan?" a second of silence "Your Hokage? Answer me now Asuma Sarutobi. On your very honour answer me correctly!" he boomed the last bit and it echoed through the room.

Asuma swallowed hard before he took in a much needed deep breath; why was the Fire Daimyo questioning his loyalty now especially after everything they'd been through. Asuma opened his mouth to respond but found himself closing it a second later. 'My father never really cared for me, only his position as Hokage and Konoha certainly didn't feel like a home to me … apart from Kurenai there's nothing to tempt me back to that filthy hell hole of a village' "I serve you My Lord and I swore my loyalty and honour only to you My Lord Daimyo!"

Masahiko's stare drilled into Asuma's eyes, searching for something Asuma wasn't quite sure of but after what felt like a lifetime, the Daimyo spoke once more "Good Asuma; very good. Your loyalty has been tested and you've proven yourself so I have a new assignment for you; whilst Chiriku guards me and searches for recruits: you are to guard my new son."

The seriousness never left the Daimyo's face and Asuma just knew that this was something he couldn't screw up … wait a moment … son? Yuki wasn't pregnant … was she?

"Forgive me but I don't understand My Lord … I wasn't aware that you had a son." Asuma spoke his words carefully as he was still on edge after the previous conversation. Masahiko found himself smiling softly in reflection of his new child and Asuma found himself gawking; the Fire Daimyo had never smiled so freely in such a manner to anyone … that was unless he wasn't in the company of either of his wives.

"Yes Asuma; my wives and I have adopted a small child and at the moment … his identity is to remain a secret from even your father; the Hokage … do I make myself clear?" the Daimyo stated firmly with a look that radiated authority.

"Of course My Lord" Asuma gulped his reply.

"Good … my new son is currently being bathed but you will be introduced soon enough but my questions of your loyalty comes down to this moment" there was a steely edge to his voice "My new son's name is Naruto Uzumaki-Namikaze. He is the son of Minato Namikaze and Kushina Uzumaki-Namikaze."

The statement echoed through the room and Asuma couldn't stop his loud gasp. "B-But My Lord, isn't he Konoha's Jinchūriki?"

His question was met with a stern gaze and a threatening tone "Be careful of what you say next Asuma."

Asuma shivered; that look was the same look that he possessed when he had the other Guardians executed without mercy for their treason and attempted Coup d'état. "I have no problems with the child so even if you hadn't adopted him I would aid him if he were in danger … I swear it on my oath and loyalty to you." Asuma replied honestly.

"Very well … he will be here soon. Do not be … shocked by his appearance." The Fire Daimyo told him, mirth swimming in his eyes and Asuma found himself raising an eyebrow 'What could be so funny about his appearance … was he deformed?'

..::..

Soon after leaving the outer tea room, Yuki along with Naruto and Kaoru, headed down the warmly coloured hallway towards the bathroom. The walls in the hallway were a simple but soothing pale blue colour and along with the smoothly polished wooden floor; it gave off the feeling of floating in a sky of blue. Naruto was rather enamoured by the simplistic decorations and the young boy constantly shifted his attention to various decorations and paintings in an attempt to memorize everything that he could in case it was a dream; it had both Yuki and Kaoru frowning sadly.

"Yuki … I shall go and find some clean clothing for Naru-chan" Madam Shinji finally spoke, breaking the otherwise silent journey "If you could please bathe him; I shall return soon."

Yuki nodded and turned to the curious but slightly fearful gaze of Naruto.

"You have nothing to fear Naru-chan" Yuki spoke calmingly to him "I'll be there with you and show you how to bathe correctly okay?"

Naruto's gaze turned cautious but he still nodded his head in acceptance. Again, Yuki smiled tenderly at Naruto and he found himself smiling shyly back; he really liked Yuki's smile … it made him feel warm and loved. Yuki and Naruto turned around a corner and Yuki gently led him into the closest room on his right, Naruto scrunched his eyes shut as the moment the two entered; warm steam hit his face.

Not used to the warmth of the steam, Naruto flinched briefly and quickly latched onto Yuki's kimono. Yuki noticed and her eyes began to mist over, it was being made abundantly clear that her new son had never had a real bath before and if his reaction to steam was this bad, then he must've suffered hot steam constantly in a negative way; had he been made to clean hot pots and pans or something similar?

The moment Naruto latched onto her kimono, Yuki smiled soothingly at the scared boy "Nothing will hurt you Naru-chan … I'm here and I'm perfectly safe; so long as I'm with you … nothing and no one will hurt you okay?"

Naruto instantly calmed his breathing as Yuki gently brushed her hand soothingly through his hair. She explained that he needed to remove his clothes and then follow her inside. Naruto did so, but only after convincing Yuki to do the same … they both entered the bathhouse and she introduced him to the various products; such as shampoo, conditioner, lotion and soap. Naruto took several minutes committing the newly acquired knowledge to memory before allowing Yuki to wash his hair.

"My … Naru-chan; you have beautiful hair but you need to take care of it so watch carefully as I wash your hair so that you can do it yourself in the future." Yuki spoke calmly to not startle the already tense child further; she remained patient before getting an idea. Yuki began to hum quietly to soothe him and after ten minutes he started to relax completely. Yuki spent a little longer teaching Naruto how to wash his body and then the importance of using the lotion afterwards so that his skin didn't dry out after they left the bath.

After properly washing Naruto and teaching him to do so in the process, Yuki ushered Naruto to a giant tub of relaxingly hot water. Naruto was content to stay there silently next to his new mother and was infinitely pleased to feel her soft hands brush soothingly through his hair. After about ten minutes Yuki stood and instructed Naruto to follow; so follow Naruto did as they headed towards the bathhouse's exit.

Naruto left the bathhouse feeling more relaxed than ever before and unbeknownst to him, he had begun to hum the very same tune that Yuki had hummed to relax him. Walking back into the change room he found his clothes gone but replaced in soft, pretty clothes like Yuki was wearing before their bath.

Yuki explained how to dress in the kimono as she dressed both herself and Naruto before sitting down and petting the bench beside her, Naruto understood her gesture and sat on the bench waiting for further instructions. Yuki felt anger bubbling inside of her; the swift and prompt obedience that he displayed was something that had to have been trained and she had the feeling that it may have even been beaten into him. Sighing sadly she took a nearby hairbrush and explained what it was in haste as she saw a flash of fear pass over is features; did he think that he'd be punished for something? Nevertheless, she calmed his fears by showing him how to brush his hair … what she didn't expect was for Naruto to begin purring rather loudly and the fact that he hadn't noticed meant that he wasn't aware that he was doing so … but she internally squealed at the adorable child.

She unconsciously found herself braiding some of his hair before she caught herself and she apologised sheepishly for doing so but Naruto merely shrugged and embarrassingly murmured that he didn't mind. They both left soon after and she gently took his much smaller and daintier hand in her own and escorted him to the Fire Daimyo's Konoha throne room; she knocked on the giant doors that had instantly captured the attention of the curious child with her and after waiting an appropriate length of time … she entered the throne room with Naruto following meekly after her.

She spotted Asuma and briefly tensed before a mischievous look took its place on her face as Asuma's complete attention was on the adorable child following after her … seconds later she heard Naruto squeak quietly and hide poorly behind her legs; oh how she wanted to squeal and hug him. Yuki somehow quelled her inner desire to smother the child and was happy to see Naruto come out of his shyness by smiling and waving nervously at the Guardian Ninja.

"Do you think that you can say hello to the man and your father?" Yuki quietly whispered as she bent down to Naruto's ear "Masahiko would really like it if you do … and it's also good manners Naru-chan."

Naruto perked up and spoke as clearly as he could while bowing respectively "I-It's nice to meet you sir!"

..::..

Fire Daimyo Masahiko Shinji and Asuma Sarutobi were brought out of their thoughts by a knock at the giant doors to the throne room. Asuma turned and saw Yuki escorting a young child into the room and Asuma actually swallowed 'What an adorable child. Give that girl ten years or so and people from far and wide would willingly go to war to win her hand!"

The Fire Daimyo and Yuki had instantly both noticed the awestruck look on Asuma's face and they chuckled silently. Upon noticing the other presence in the room, Naruto quickly hid behind Yuki's leg and Yuki soon found herself suddenly sporting a rather mischievous smile. The Fire Daimyo however; felt a sudden surge of protectiveness surge through him and unknown to either himself or Asuma; he glared heatedly at him.

Naruto curiously peeked out from behind Yuki's leg and observed the man in front of him before he smiled shyly at him and waved timidly.

Asuma stared at the adorable creature hiding behind Lady Yuki's leg though the little lady wasn't doing a good job of hiding.

The child appeared to be petite and delicate; she wore a simple soft white kimono/yukata that had a bamboo and a crane print on the leg area, close to the feet and her feet were covered in simple white tabi socks and he assumed that she'd wear geta sandals with them if going out into the gardens or outside into the village. Her butt length blond hair looked soft to the touch and fell in silky, smooth tresses aside from the simple single braid on the right side of her head.

Her face though is what caused him to choke on his breath: breathtakingly beautiful ocean blue eyes stared curiously at him; they were framed by long delicate eyelashes topped with her soft, gentle blond eyebrows. She had a pale, yet creamy complexion and if you squinted you could make out very faint marks on her cheeks that looked like whiskers. When the adorable child shyly smiled and waved timidly at him it took all his training and fortitude to resist the urge to go and pet her head.

The Daimyo had noticed the changes as well and swallowed deeply. 'That law sounds terribly appropriate now and are those whiskers?'

Yuki whispered something in Naruto's ear and he perked up with a delighted smile on his face.

"I-It's nice to meet you sir!" he bowed with a grace that very few could achieve and Asuma was once again, spellbound. Naruto then gathered his courage and approached the Fire Daimyo as well as his new father.

"Nice to see you again T-Tou-chan." He gently whispered as if guarding a precious secret. It was a lovely voice Asuma mused to himself 'Soft and delicate … like chiming bells.'

The Daimyo froze and his mind snapped. He swooped down and hugged Naruto, lifting him up and onto his lap. Naruto squeaked loudly (once again not helping his image) but once settled on his father's lap he found it quite comfortable indeed. Naruto smiled his usual dazzling smile and in a rare fit of childish courage; hugged his new father back.

'Yes.' The Daimyo yelled internally 'Progress' coughing to clear his throat he decided to introduce them to each other.

"Asuma? This is my new son … Naruto Uzumaki-Namikaze. Naru-chan? This is Asuma Sarutobi, your new but temporary bodyguard."

Asuma gawked, Naruto tilted his head cutely in thought and Yuki giggled.

"Sarutobi? As in the same clan as the Hokage? Does that mean you are a shinobi, a ninja?" Naruto questioned softly, head still tilted cutely. That snapped Asuma out of his thoughts and he coughed to cover his gawking.

"Err yes. Same clan. He's my father." He said the last bit bitterly, not that Naruto noticed " And I am a ninja. I protect your … father and family from harm and that means that I protect you too now … I guess" he shrugged 'Here it comes' he thought bitterly 'Questions about my old man.'

"That's … that's amazing!" Naruto exclaimed happily, eyes sparkling with that stunning smile of his back "You must be incredibly strong. Ne? Ne? Could you teach me?"

Asuma blinked once, then twice before chuckling out loud. "Maybe when you're a little taller kid"

"Mou" Naruto pouted with a huff, puffing his cheeks out "I'm not that small!"

Yuki was twitching constantly 'So adorable' she mentally squealed.

Asuma twitched once more 'Must resist the urge to pet'

Meanwhile the Daimyo didn't care for once. 'Because Naruto's all mine for now. Ufufufufu.' He chuckled evilly in his mind. Outside however he just petted Naruto's hair. Naruto was completely oblivious to all this but he did like his hair being petted if the utterly blissful look was of any indication.

"I love my new family." He whispered as he slowly dozed off. Masahiko just smiled fondly and passed Naruto to Yuki; whispering to take him to a room.

..::..

It had been almost a week since Naruto had met Asuma and later, Chiriku. After a brief but detailed report about Naruto's habits, Asuma had gone into the garden with Naruto to speak a little more and bond; mostly about shinobi. Asuma was already impressed with the keen intellect that Naruto displayed, despite his timidness and as such; he was preparing to teach Naruto shogi as Naruto had expressed an interest to learn more about the game after he spent half an hour watching a game between Chiriku and Asuma and by watching he meant predicting a winning strategy that helped Asuma finally beat Chiriku.

Masahiko Shinji was deep in thought once more, he knew that he needed to be very careful and to play his cards close to his chest, he considered every option available and decided to simply send a messenger-nin to Konoha to inform Hiruzen of his intention to move to the capital for 'political' reasons. Hiruzen wouldn't suspect his motives as he'd done this many times before, the last being a month before the Kyuubi attack three to four years prior and according to Naruto, Hiruzen had never took the time to meet him and never visited the orphanage personally … so that meant that he had no idea of what Naruto currently looked like and that was definitely an advantage.

He was brought out of his thoughts when he felt an incredibly powerful shockwave pass through the castle grounds, it caused an incredible force of wind to blow open his locked window like it wasn't there, it scattered all of his paperwork across the room along with the large shards of splintered wood and shattered glass. He was instantly on guard and jumped to his feet immediately, he rushed to the window fearing the worst as Naruto and Asuma were out there but what he saw would impact him for the rest of his life.

Asuma was standing there in shock with his mouth gaping as he stared at Naruto. Naruto stood a little further into the garden under the shade provided by the great wall that surrounded his castle with brilliant blue chakra swirling around him. He noticed, of course, that the chakra was much brighter and clearer than normal chakra with a similar appearance to his wonderfully expressive blue eyes. He was suddenly rather glad that Mito Uzumaki-Senju herself had engraved sensor protection seals on said great walls and all around his castle as it meant that whatever this chakra was, it wouldn't be detected outside his castle's grounds by Konoha Ninja.

It swirled violently around Naruto like a natural storm and caused a reaction with the very elements around him. The earth surrounding the swirling chakra was being pushed away from Naruto, not cracking like the effects that ordinary chakra caused, but being; bent? Yes, that as an appropriate term. The earth was being bent and flowed smoothly away from the vortex of chakra surrounding the child. It was the water he noticed next; it was swaying to an imaginary rhythm being made by his chakra. He watched the water being absorbed by Naruto's chakra before gracefully continuing it journey around his body; again Masahiko found himself watching in awe as it bend to Naruto's will. There was no point in trying to explain the massive storm of wind that'd picked up as a result as he'd felt it earlier when his paperwork and window were both literally blown to pieces.

Naruto let out a monstrous roar to the heavens and it was then Masahiko witnessed the fire; a cataclysmic force of blue coloured fire shot out of Naruto's mouth and into the sky; it was simply breathtaking! The blue flames were so hot that it felt like the very temperature around him had increased tenfold.

The Fire Daimyo quickly ducked under a branch from the once beautiful cherry blossom tree that had been ripped off and ran up to Asuma though all that Asuma continued to do was to stare at the child, his eyes were glued to the 'storm' that had engulfed the feminine child … it was an incredibly beautiful sight.

Naruto's blonde hair was flying in every direction as his potent chakra and the wind that said chakra had summoned swirled around him, the cherry blossoms that were currently in season were flying in a mesmerizing show of colour and surrounded him; it created an image that would forever be etched into his mind.

"Beautiful" Asuma whispered to himself. It was then he saw the Daimyo duck under a branch and rush to his side.

"What the hell is happening Asuma?" the Daimyo shouted though he was barely heard over the howling wind.

"Naruto asked me how he could unlock his chakra and I told him how, I wasn't expecting this I swear!" Asuma exclaimed "He's actually accessed his chakra on his first try … It's a first for me too as the only other person to do this from his generation is a child from the Uchiha Clan, who goes by the name of Itachi Uchiha."

"It was all going smoothly until he tried to 'push' his chakra outwards like I instructed." Asuma was nervous. Naruto already had this much chakra? It certainly wasn't the fox's chakra as he'd felt it's maliciousness the day it attacked Konoha; this was something else … his chakra was so dense and potent and it was bending the environment around him; it was something that he'd never seen before and it caused sweat to form on his brow.

"Wait a moment … Jinchūriki are given the power of something by their Biiju right? Look at the current Mizukage, Yagura … he has a godlike amount of control over water. If the Kyuubi was able to topple mountains and create tsunamis with its tails then that ability to manipulate the elements must have transferred to Naruto!" the Daimyo explained "It's the only explanation that makes sense."

Asuma pondered the theory provided by his Lord … yes, that could explain it … but Kushina never displayed this level of power over the elements and the fact that Naruto did; worried the man. That scared him more than he'd ever admit because if Naruto possessed even the slightest inclination to Minato's level of genius and ruthlessness on the battlefield then the world would be in for a great force of change and anyone that incurred the wrath of this child was in for a crude awakening.

Both the Fire Daimyo and Asuma watched as the chakra finally slowed before it eventually dissipated completely and they both gasped at the mesmerizing scene before them.

As the winds died down and the fire stopped ascending into the sky, the scene was one of something you'd read about in a fantasy story as Naruto stood there, the very visage of a being at peace with himself. There was a gentle smile gracing his lips as the cherry blossoms surrounding him gently floated to the ground, it was almost ethereal, godly, like something that should never be seen by mortals.

Masahiko and Asuma both stifled a gasp as Naruto opened his eyes; they were glowing while he still wore his soft smile, glancing at Asuma and his father with a serene expression.

"Ne? Ne? Asuma-san, how was that?" Naruto exclaimed happily "Was that okay? That felt amazing, like a piece of me was pulled out and to the surface … chakra is awesome! I'm going to be a super cool ninja now."

Asuma opened his mouth to respond but closed it again seconds later, he continued to follow this routine for several minutes and Naruto instinctively picked up on Asuma's nervousness.

"Ne? Asuma-san, did I do something wrong?" Naruto had dropped his excitement after seeing the looks from both Asuma and his father. "Did I do a bad thing?" he asked softly

"Stage one of release complete." He heard from his mind. Ah. Kura-nee.

'Kura-nee? Why are they staring at me like that?' Naruto muttered quietly 'Did I make a mistake?'

He heard what sounded like a sigh from his big sister before he got a reply.

"Absolutely not Naru-chan. You've merely experienced the effects of my chakra breaking one of the seals hindering you but as my willing host you also receive the ability to control the elements, not with chakra but the actual elements themselves. You'll need to learn how to control this power as like water, it can be soft and calm one moment but it can also cause great destruction the next." Kurama explained softly, as if speaking any louder would upset and scare her Naru-chan "I will add this to your lessons. If your new mothers teach you etiquette I will be able to teach you more, furthermore, if this Asuma Sarutobi can teach you the Ninja Arts it would give me more time to instruct you in the ways of bending."

"Bending? Seals?" Naruto thought out loud, unknowingly snapping both men out of their stupor.

"What do you mean by bending Naruto and why did you just mention seals?" Masahiko stared Naruto in the eye, all but demanding the truth from him.

"Uh … well Kura-nee said that what I did is called b-bending and it's her gift for being her host" Naruto stuttered out promptly "She also mentioned something about seals that are hin … hinda –ring … no that's not it …"

"Hindering?" Asuma finished, his eyes narrow 'I wouldn't put it past the council to do something like that.' "Who's Kura-nee?"

"Eh? Kura-nee is the Kyuubi Asuma-san." Naruto replied as if he were commenting on the weather.

"Urgh." Kurama face palmed "I need to remind him not to say that without thinking first. They'd think he was being controlled or influenced or something."

That was what Asuma was indeed thinking, he glanced at the Daimyo with a questioning gaze. Masahiko thought about what was said to him and looked back to Asuma with an 'I'll explain later' look. Asuma nodded slightly and waited for the Daimyo to further think.

"This proves to be a problem … Asuma, change of plans, we will be leaving for the capital at once. We can hire a ninja team to seal any extra clothing or required items here later; we must leave at once!" Masahiko ordered swiftly though he was brought out of his planning to the quiet voice of his new son.

"Leave Konoha? … but this is my home." he spoke softly

"Naru-chan" he heard his Kura-nee reason "This place is where you were born yes; but in order to become a fine shinobi and protect yourself and your new family you must leave Konoha behind. You can return once you are ready."

Whilst having his Kura-nee explain this both Masahiko and Asuma shared another look and when they noticed Naruto return to reality he whispered a simple "I understand Tou-chan … just please promise me that I can be trained as a Ninja; I will protect my family and I will protect this land!"

They were both stunned as they saw the raw determination that had entered his eyes; it was a fire that they didn't expect from the usually demure child and it was made stronger as his eyes glowed with power.

'This is the true Will of Fire.' Asuma thought with an internal smirk 'He has spirit … just like Kushina-sama.'

'Am I seeing who Naruto truly is at last?' the Daimyo thought to himself 'If this is a mere snippet of his show of power and confidence then I will have that sharpened and polished. Naruto will shake the very earth when I'm through with him.'

"Think very carefully about this Naruto." the Daimyo spoke sternly with an air of authority "If you choose the path of a shinobi then I will have you worked to the ground. If you give up and refuse to continue then I will see to it that you never become a shinobi ever again … so Naruto … my son, answer me right now: will you protect Hi no Kuni as a member of my forces?" he bellowed the last bit with a voice of power, the voice of the ruler of Hi no Kuni; one that inspired loyalty.

That fire that burned within Naruto dimmed for a few seconds as he second guessed his resolve.

"I believe in you Naru-chan." He heard from his big sister "I believe in you Naruto Uzumaki-Namikaze, protect the people and prove them wrong."

That simple statement, just the very act of having someone precious to him declare that they believed in him caused the fire in his eyes to burn stronger than anything that Asuma and the Daimyo had ever seen before. Naruto's eyes glowed with an ethereal power once more; it was a power that was beyond the grasp of mere mortals and it caused both Asuma and Masahiko to shiver internally.

"I declare to you now Asuma-san, father; I will never back down. I will never quit. I will never go back on my word and I will, with all that is in me, all of my power and even if it costs me my very life, I will protect the future of Hi no Kuni and prove to its people that I am Naruto Uzumaki-Namikaze! This is now my nindo; my Ninja way!" Naruto declared this in a clear voice that radiated the power that was present in him, causing, if possible, his eyes to glow even brighter.

Asuma and Masahiko were stunned by the maturity in Naruto's voice, not to mention the vocabulary he was displaying … was this really the shy little boy that they knew?

"Very well then Naruto Uzumaki-Namikaze, I hereby declare you a ninja in training. You will train with Asuma, Chiriku and anyone else I deem fit until such a time as deem you fit for service and then you can prove Konoha wrong," declared the Daimyo with equal power in his voice. 'This child, my child, will go far … he reminds me of his parents: I did marry them after all.'

"Asuma? Gather my wives and Chiriku for we make for the capital at once. Furthermore; once we arrive I'll have either you or Chiriku begin searching for two people that need to answer a few questions of mine and above all else; remember to keep this secret from anyone in the village." The Daimyo ordered to his friend. 'We still need to find out about those seals as well'

With a smirk as he pulled out a cigarette, he final spoke "As you command My Lord." 'I can't wait to hear about the chaos once my old man finds out that he can't find his precious Jinchūriki … after all, he hasn't even visited the kid and even though I know next to nothing about seals, I know that Jinchūriki's need love for their seals to function properly … if anything this'll prove to be very entertaining … the kid's not too bad after all.'

With that thought he lit his cigarette as he left the garden. 'The kid is going to be something after some training. He's only three … almost four … and if he commands that much power now, what will happen when his chakra coils and reserves settle and mature. That is a frightening thought.'

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And that's it for the first chapter of the rewritten Pretty! As you can all see, the story is still mostly the same. I have edited the conversations and added scenes to, hopefully, create a smoother flow to the story … and yes; there are less exclamation marks … Ta-dah. XD

I hope you all find that the wait was worth it and I thank you for your patience.

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AS ALWAYS: PLEASE READ AND REVIEW!

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\^o^/