Hello people of FanFiction! Here I am again with another crossover story idea!

Before I begin, I want everyone to know that, while this is a Paper Mario crossover, the story won't have paper styled elements. Also, I'm gonna really lay it on Jiraiya in this. I'll explain why at the ending notes of the chapter.

As always, I do not own anything!

The Maelstrom and the Thousand Year Door

Chapter One: Prelude to a New Adventure

Within the borders of the Land of Fire sat a blonde haired teen in a bright orange jumpsuit. He was sitting on a bed inside of a hotel room, back leant against the headboard and gaze towards the ceiling. His deep, cerulean orbs were dulled as he laid in thought, thinking over the past and recent events in his life.

About a year ago, someone that he had considered a brother had tried to defect from the Hidden Leaf and didn't hesitate to try and kill him to do so. He still had the scar from their clash at the Valley of the End, caused by a jutsu tainted with dark chakra. A sigh escaped his lips as he recalled the ultimate result being his loss of the fight and the failure of stopping his wayward friend from leaving.

"Dammit, Sasuke," he muttered with frustration lacing his tone. "Was our bond really so meaningless to you?"

He sighed again and closed his eyes, putting thoughts of the Uchiha into the back of his mental processing. Coming to the forefront were thoughts concerning his tenant; a being made of chakra and possessing immense power and nine tails. The Kyuubi had surprisingly helped him in that fight, saving him from death not once, but three times. A part of him knew it was just the fox trying to preserve its own life, but another part felt grateful towards the chakra beast.

With nothing else but a whim, he relaxed his body and slowly entered the representation of his mind and the seal holding back the fox. The sensations of the hotel room faded away, replaced by the atmosphere of the seal and the feeling of water reaching slightly above his ankles. Opening his eyes, he saw the cage and seal holding back the fox, and said beast's gleaming crimson eyes poking out of the darkness it resided in.

"Kyuubi," he greeted, surprising himself at how calm he had sounded.

"Boy," returned the Bijuu, resting its head on its forelimbs. "Why are you here?"

The blonde shrugged, hands in his pockets as he stepped up to the bars of the cage. "Nothing important. I just wanted to thank you for helping me back then against Sasuke. I… I really appreciate it."

A furry brow rose at the statement. "What brought this on?"

"The realization that I would've died many times if you didn't step in and give me some of your chakra. I used to think that I was strong and could take on anyone…" He sighed, eyes closing in resignation. "But that fight with Sasuke was a real eye-opener. On my own, I'm not much, and most of my victories have been won either by dumb luck, or with your chakra helping me." He started to raise fingers as he continued, "Haku, Orochimaru, Neji, Gaara, Dotou, and now Sasuke… Those were all of the times your chakra saved my ass and gave me the strength I needed to win."

"And here I thought you had a spirit like fire," taunted the fox. "What are you getting at with this?"

Blue eyes narrowed. "Nothing. I'm not trying to get anything out of this, fox. I'm just letting you know that you were right; I'm not as strong as I made myself out to be."

The Bijuu snorted. "Of course not. You had guts, there's no doubt there. But when it came to backing up your claims...well, you could savor the fact that they were always amusing to witness."

"No need to rub it in. I already know where I stand, but that doesn't mean I'm gonna stay there. The Pervert is gonna use these next couple of years to make me stronger than ever."

"Is that right?" queried the fox, nonchalance in its tone. "And where exactly is that wart-riddled hermit at now?"

That stopped Naruto short. "Well… He's uh…"

"Giving into those so-called 'vices' that he warned you to stay away from?"

He cringed at that. "...most likely…"

"And how exactly do you expect to get, in your words, stronger than ever if that fool is out gallivanting like the imbecile he is?"

"...I don't know," admitted the Uzumaki.

The Kyuubi rolled its eyes and continued, "Let's also not forget that this so-called Sannin swindled you out of your money for his own personal pleasure, nearly KILLED you, and by extension ME, just to get you to summon, and left you on your own right when those two cloaked ninja were on the hunt for you."

Naruto winced at each point the Kyuubi brought up. Looking back, he frowned as he took each scenario apart. If Jiraiya had stayed with him, those two nuke-nin wouldn't have caught him. Itachi had said that fighting Jiraiya would have been either a loss or a draw for the two of them.

"Alright, you've made your point!" he relented, shouting it out in frustration. "What should I do then?"

"If you want to have any kind of chance to get better than you are now, then what you have to do is take your training into your own hands. If that idiot wanted you to use my chakra within a month just for summoning amphibians, then what do you think he'll want you to do with it in the span of a couple of years?"

"And knowing you, you'd make it next to impossible to meet his expectations, wouldn't you?" he asked back knowingly.

"Of course I would. What do you take me for?"

"How exactly am I supposed to take matters into my own hands when I know so little?! I can barely control my chakra, my greatest trick is to copy myself, and my one jutsu that could take down others needs a damn clone to help me do it! And so far, all the pervert has taught me is how to dispel a genjutsu, which should've been taught to me by Kakashi-sensei!"

Annoyed at the teen in front of it, the Bijuu bashed its head against the cage and snarled, making him step back in fright. "I don't need, nor want, to hear you whine like a pathetic child! You always go on about proving people wrong; well, prove it! You can't have someone hold your hand through everything, brat! You're not an infant...or are you?"

Naruto glared at the fox before he cut off the connection between them and refocused on the room he was in. "Damn fox…" he muttered, hating that it was right. Too frustrated to do anything else, he laid back down on his bed and eased himself into a difficult sleep.

"Alright kid, let's see how far along you are on summoning," declared Jiraiya late in the morning.

With the conversation from the night before still fresh on his mind, Naruto had a frown on his face as he went through the motions for the jutsu. Placing his bloody palm on the ground, he brought out the son of Gamabunta, Gamakichi.

"You're kidding me, right?"

"Hey!" called out the toad indignantly. "I'm awesome!"

"You're a child who can't fight," immediately shut down the Toad Sage.

"And you're a lousy pervert who is a terrible teacher!" raged Naruto, letting his frustration take over.

"Whoa, where did that come from?" Jiraiya asked in slight surprise.

Naruto point towards the Sannin, eyes narrowed in agitation. "Ever since we've met, you've done nothing but drill me on summoning and having me figure out a complex jutsu on my own! When you're not doing that, you're off with MY money, wasting your time with women that I've heard were called sluts, and doing crappy research only to get your ass beat every damn time! In fact, you're so perverted that I have to resort to using the Sexy Jutsu just to keep you the least bit motivated in training me!"

The man frowned back. "You know, most people would've been happy to have received my training. Or did you forget that I-?"

"Trained the Fourth Hokage?" cut off Naruto. "Oh yes, because it's not like I've heard you use THAT line so many times before! You used that line to pick up women, and you expect me to think it matters now?"

"I'll have you know that I'm a damn good teacher, brat! You just don't know how to appreciate what I'm offering you!"

"And what have you offered me, you goddamn pervert?!" he roared. "A quick death?! Or did you forget that you pushed me off of a fucking cliff, into a ravine, with zero chance of saving myself unless I miraculously summoned a toad?! Thank the Kami I summoned Gamabunta, or else you'd have to explain why I didn't show up to the damn Finals and why my corpse was at the bottom of a damn chasm!"

"I taught you one of the Fourth Hokage's greatest jutsu known throughout the Ninja world."

"Taught?! All you did was give me water balloons and rubber balls to pop without giving me a damn clue on how to do it! What makes it worse, I have to use a clone to complete it since my chakra control sucks!"

Jiraiya crossed his arm as his eyes narrowed on Naruto. "Really? And whose fault is it that you have crappy control? In fact, teaching you the Rasengan should have refined it."

Naruto held out his hand upward as he attempted to use the Rasengan. The only thing that happened was chakra haphazardly swirling around before dissipating. "Did that looked refined to you?! If you had actually helped me with the Rasengan, I'd probably be doing a whole lot better with summoning or even my Shadow Clones!"

Without thinking, the Toad Sage yelled, "Well, maybe the problem is that you're a terrible student! It's not my fault you can't learn what I try to teach you!"

That made Naruto stop his rant in exchange for a look of shock and hurt. It was quickly dropped for an angry glare before he turned and walked away. As he left, he muttered, "Fuck you, Jiraiya…"

That made the Sannin wince, knowing that he went too far. "You're a real class act," said Gamakichi, frowning at the white-haired man. "From what pops told me, you were just as bad as him; and you didn't have a Bijuu to drag you down. If he's a bad student as a Jinchuriki, what does that make you?"

With that said, the toad went back home and left Jiraiya alone to wallow in the guilt of his own words. He was right; Jiraiya had been a terrible learner and struggled through everything taught to him when he was Naruto's age. To make matters worse in comparison, Naruto had a valid reason for his difficult time learning while Jiraiya did not; and he ignored that just to save face and not be told off by someone less than half his age.

He sighed as he realized his success with the Fourth Hokage had gone to his head, making him arrogant as a supposed instructor. Minato was actually a genius in comparison to Naruto, not needing anything other than someone to point him in the right direction. And that was all Jiraiya had done; show him the first steps before Minato took over on his own. And then Minato went on to teach Jiraiya the Rasengan! His own student was the one to teach him a powerful jutsu!

"You fucked this one up, Jiraiya," he muttered to himself, self-loathing in his tone.

Naruto was in the middle of a training session between himself and his clones, three of them against him at the same time. It was much easier for him this time since he had been doing this for a while; not to mention he was able to read the clones all telegraphing their moves.

'Do I really fight this bad?' he mused despondently, as he dispatched the three clones with a pair of kunai slashes. He sighed as he put away his weapons, moving over to a tree so that he could pull out a notebook. He needed a break, and his muse had been sparked during his rant at Jiraiya.

Not many people knew this about Naruto, but he enjoyed reading adventure stories and was in the midst of writing his own. It started after he found out that it was Jiraiya who wrote that smut that Kakashi read all the time, and he figured that if a pervert could become a famous writer so easily, how hard could it be?

And so, during moments of free time when his muse was awake, he would write down his ideas and continue his story. Like the ones he read, it was an adventure story that had a hero and the companions that tagged along with him rescuing a woman from a fierce monster.

He felt a little self-conscious at naming the main character after him, but he figured it was something that many authors did. Oturan Uzuki was the name of the character, and he was trying to rescue Princess Momo from the clutches of Ryūkame and his underlings.

So far, he had written about Oturan fighting four ninja brothers at their fortress, an ancient spirit in the middle of a desert, a monster that devoured ghosts, and a general locked inside of a child's toy box. Now, he was writing about the hero and his six companions riding a giant whale to an island that houses a tribal people and a sacred volcano. (1)

"What do you hope to accomplish with this book?" questioned the Kyuubi.

'I just want to see how people will respond to something I write. I know that I won't have much luck in being well-liked thanks to holding you,' the fox snorted, 'but maybe I can be famous as a fantasy writer. It could happen.'

"Your desire for acceptance is almost pitiable...but the drive you have is commendable."

'Am I hearing things, or is that you starting to come around, fox?' asked the blond with a mental smile. 'Y'know, we could be friends, if you want? I wouldn't mind starting over with you.'

The Bijuu rolled its eyes. "And why, pray tell, would I want to be friends with you?"

'...Maybe because I'm the only person you can talk to at the moment?'

"That doesn't help whatsoever," shut down the fox in a deadpan tone.

'Well, how about the fact that I've thanked you for your help and I understand that I took your chakra for granted?'

"That just shows me that you know I was right."

'You're not making this easy for me, are you? I really want to try and establish some kind of connection with you beyond the obvious. Is there anything I can do, besides removing the seal?'




'...Well uh, if you come up with anything, let me know,' awkwardly finished Naruto before he cut off the connection and resumed writing.

Later that evening, Naruto was still avoiding Jiraiya, too angry at having a wasted year under his belt when it could've been much more fruitful. He had asked for a separate room at the check-in desk and was now on the floor above the Toad Sage.


He jumped when the Kyuubi suddenly spoke up. 'Geez… You scared me! What's up?'

"You want to try and start fresh, right?"

'Yea…? That's what I said earlier. Did you come up with something?'

"As a matter of fact, I did. You remember how this toad summoner was somehow able to alter the seal on you?"

Naruto cringed at the memory. It was halfway through the first year that Jiraiya decided to try to loosen the seal a bit and give him more access to the fox's chakra. Problem was that he was nowhere near ready to handle the corruption the chakra brought forth, making him go into a berserker rage as soon as he accessed it.

'Yes, I remember that. What's your point?'

"Only a practitioner of seals could have any kind of chance of doing what he did, even if he had the key on hand. So, here's what I want you to do; search his belongings for anything related to fuinjutsu."

'What exactly will this accomplish?'

"With enough training and practice, you could find a way to alter the seal to benefit the both of us without repercussion. When that happens, we'll become a true Jinchuriki and Bijuu team."

The notion sounded appealing to the blonde Uzumaki, and he grinned at the fox offering him a way to establish a friendship. 'Alright, I'll do it. But how am I supposed to get to his st-?'

"The pervert is out of range with some random woman," deadpanned the fox.

That made him sweatdrop. '...Oh.'

With that, he went down to the lower floor and stopped at Jiraiya's room. Easily picking the lock, he was unaware of a seal lighting up before it corroded away thanks to the Kyuubi pulsing its chakra in a split second. Stepping into the room, he checked Jiraiya's belongings and found a few journals; most of them related to the man's Icha Icha series.

"Come on… Where the hell are his-? Oh," he said, cutting off his question and holding up a notebook stuffed with papers and sticky notes. "Here it is."

"Good, now get back to the room and take a look at it. And fix up the room, or else he'll suspect someone was in here."

Nodding, he replaced everything where he found it and snuck back out, locking the door and rushing up to his room. Locking his own door, he sat on the bed and opened up the notebook to the first page. "Alright, let's see… The intricate art of fuinjutsu is one of the most diverse and difficult studies in the ninja world..."

"Okay… Just need to fix this mark here… Add a couple of strokes there… Adjust the formula…" murmured Naruto as he looked over a large sealing array he was working on. Two months had gone by since he had taken Jiraiya's notebook concerning fuinjutsu, and the Kyuubi had made a mental copy of it after having its container skim through it all.

Being a chakra construct given life had its advantages, and one of them was something similar to an eidetic memory. It was thanks to that perk that the Kyuubi was able to do this, allowing Naruto to easily replace the notebook back with Jiraiya's belongings so that the man was none the wiser to it being taken.

"You missed a couple of strokes up top," advised the fox.

'Right, thanks.' Fixing it, he stepped back and observed his progress. 'Alright, that looks about right. What do you think, fox?'

"Let's see how it works out. Go ahead and activate it."

The teen nodded and knelt down with his palms on the seal. Pumping his chakra into it, the array lit up a whitish-blue and covered the room in its glow. After a few moments, chakra bubbles began to form and float from the seal, each one taking on one of five colors: blue, orange, brown, green, and yellow.

"So far, so good…"

The bubbles began to slowly float in a circular motion, like a carousel before the one that glowed green floated to him, followed by the one that glowed yellow; though the yellow one shrunk in size as it neared him. Both fell into his body with the chakra rippling like a calm lake before the array died down.


"It looks like it worked, and it was accurate. It showed your Wind affinity, along with your lesser Lightning affinity. Nice work, brat."

Slumping comically in the corner, the Uzumaki mumbled, "I'm not a brat…"

The Kyuubi rolled its eyes at the childish reaction. "Quit fooling around. With this, we can move on to the advanced notes."

'Awesome!' he cheered mentally, dropping the sulking act in an instant, before he flinched and held his head. "Huh… Looks like the clone I left with Jiraiya finally dispelled. Anything worth noting, fox?"

"Just a spar over the nearby river. The seal held up though, so the clone didn't immediately dispel after the first hit. Although, don't expect this trick to last for too long. He's not an S-Ranked ninja for nothing."

"True… I better personally show up for the next couple of sessions. At any rate, I had a question."


"How is it that I can understand fuinjutsu so easily? I've never done this before you had me take that notebook, so what gives?"

"Let me answer your question with another. Tell me, why do you think that red swirl you wear is also on the flak jackets and mixed into the Leaf symbol of your village?"

He blinked in total confusion. "Uh… Can I call a lifeline?"

"Idiot… The symbol is in fact that of the Uzumaki Clan and their village within the Land of Whirlpools. You weren't just given that last name by coincidence; you are an Uzumaki by blood."

"And you know this because…?" he asked, entering the seal and staring down the Bijuu.

"Because it was your mother and ancestor that held me the first two times before you did; your mother being my second Jinchuriki."

"M-Mother?!" Naruto's eyes widened with surprise and moved closer toward the cage. "Who was she? What was she like?" He started firing out question after question.

"Calm down, brat and let me finish. The Uzumaki were known for their proficiency with fuinjutsu, as well as their potent chakra and incredible life force; or longevity. Your mother, Kushina, had such a unique chakra that it gave her the ability to manifest it into chains that had enough power to bind me, a Bijuu with near limitless levels of chakra; and she did this while severely weakened."

"Kushina…" he whispered, savoring the sound of his mother's name and smiling at how amazing she was. "How was she weakened?"

The fox narrowed its eyes at its container. "Are you sure you wish to know?"

Naruto stared back at the Bijuu with a hint of desperation laced in his voice. "Please…I have to know..."

The vulpine beast sighed as one of its tails poked between the bars, the tip stopping inches from Naruto's forehead. "After this, you may have second thoughts about trying to get all buddy-buddy with me. You should know that before I show you what happened. Last chance to back out."

The desperation turned into determination and he nodded firmly. "Show me…"

With that, the tail tip poked his forehead and his vision went dark for a moment.

The following morning had Naruto seated on the rooftop of the hotel he and Jiraiya were staying at. The rising sun slowly illuminated his body as he looked downward with a thoughtful expression. Last night's revelation was quite the dropped bomb if he was putting it lightly.

How was he supposed to react to finding out that it was a man masquerading as Madara Uchiha that forcefully removed the fox from his mother? How was he supposed to take in the reveal that his parents gave up their lives for him and that the Fourth Hokage, his own father, had been the one to reseal the fox for the third time and inside of him? It was a lot to take in; especially knowing that the mortal blow to his parents was dealt by the fox itself.

"There you are," commented a familiar voice that he didn't react to immediately.

"Jiraiya… I don't feel like training today… I've… I've got a lot on my mind," he said softly, cutting off the man from saying anything else.

The man stepped over to his student and sat down next to him. "I noticed. Care to share, or is this too personal?"

He gave the man a sidelong look with narrowed eyes. "What do you care? I'm just your 'bad student', right?"

That made the man cringe and sigh. "I shouldn't have said that back then… It was uncalled for and unfair to you when you've been trying so hard to get stronger. You were right, y'know." Turning to look at the Uzumaki, he continued, "I wasn't the best teacher for you. I left you on your own so much because it was how I trained Minato, believe it or not. He was able to get so far on his own that all I really needed to do was point him in the right direction."

"So what, am I supposed to just forgive you for assuming I was some genius ninja like he was? I'm not him, pervert; I've had to struggle at every turn to get to where I am, and even then it didn't feel like I truly got anywhere."

"I know… I should've noticed right away since I was like you when I was starting out. I always had trouble learning a new jutsu or skill that I was deemed a loser by many of my peers; especially Tsunade and Orochimaru. When I left you to your own devices, I expected another Minato, but instead I ended up making a second coming of myself before I became a Sannin."

"Gee, thanks," he retorted, voice dripping with sarcasm. "That makes me feel so much better." Naruto took another glance at Jiraiya before looking back down. "What made you think I was gonna be some prodigy ninja, anyway?"

"I thought that since you looked like him, you might have shared that same learning curve; that zeal to succeed in anything you put your mind to."

"So, because I looked like him, I was expected to grasp all that you taught me with just a pointer or two?"

"No, just…" The Toad Sage sighed heavily before mumbling lowly. "Why couldn't he have been more like you, Minato, instead of his mother?"

Unfortunately, Naruto heard him. "My mother?!" he asked, playing shock. "You knew my mother and you never told me?! What the hell, Jiraiya?!"

The man held up his hands placatingly. "Now listen, I didn't tell you because you weren't ready to know."

He quickly realized that was the wrong thing to say when Naruto, empowered with the Kyuubi's chakra, grabbed the front of his clothes and slammed him against the wall. Glaring at him with blood red orbs, he raged, "Wasn't ready…? Wasn't ready?! Where the fuck do you get off telling me when I am or not ready to learn about my parents?! Who the hell do you think you are?!"

"...Your godfather," he answered after a slight pause.

Naruto bared some fangs as his head lowered and his hair shadowed his eyes. Letting go of the man, he growled out, "Get away from me…"

Jiraiya sighed and left in a Body Flicker, arriving at another rooftop with a frown. "That definitely could've gone better…"

Back with Naruto, he had entered his mindscape again and stood in front of the fox. "Damn perverted bastard…"

"I have to say that I didn't expect him to say he was your godfather. I thought the only link he had to you was teaching your father…"

He was pacing the flooded floors as he tried to calm down. "Doesn't anyone think I can handle whatever is connected to me? I bet the old man lied to me too whenever I asked about my parents!" In a spark of anger, he turned to the cage, eyes narrowed on the seal. He moved over to it, gripped the corner, and prepared to pull.

But a hand gripped his wrist and a male voice was heard. "I wouldn't do that, son…"

The statement brought him out of his angered state and he turned to the blonde man grabbing his arm. Recognizing him, he asked, "How are you here, dad?"

Minato smiled to his son and answered, "When I sealed the fox into you, I placed a portion of my chakra as well so that I could show up if you tried to take off the seal too early."

"Well, isn't this nice?" mused the Kyuubi, staring down at the deceased Hokage with a careless expression. "I didn't think you'd be here or that I'd see you again, Fourth."

"I did this for my son, Kyuubi. It's not like I wanted to see you again."

Naruto cut in, "Dad, the fox has actually been helping me a lot in my life. It helped me-"

"Yes, I know. I was able to witness your life from the seal, and I can't tell you how sorry I am that you had to go through all of that. I'm also extremely disappointed in both sensei and Kakashi for not doing more for you when they should have," the man said with a frown. "I'm not here to do anything other than to tell you to be careful with what you're doing. Fuinjutsu is a dangerous art if you're careless, and I don't want to have you die when you still have so much to live for."

"You mean like how you want me to be this Child of Prophecy that you didn't live up to be? I'm not a hero, dad; I'm just Naruto Uzumaki…"

"No, you're not." He placed a hand on the teen's head, ruffling his hair with a warm smile. "You're my son, and I believe in you."

Naruto then felt two arms wrap around him from behind. "We both do, sweetheart," declared a woman's voice, making his eyes widen in shock.

Turning his head, he saw some stunning red hair and whispered in surprise, "Mom…"

She smiled at him and turned him around so that he could face her. "Look at you," she gushed. "Oh, my baby boy turned out to be so handsome!" She hugged him again and smirked at her husband, "He's much better looking than you were, Girly Boy."

Minato sputtered at the old nickname while Naruto and the Kyuubi both snorted in laughter. "Kushina!"

"Oh calm down, Minato. You know I'm just teasing." Stepping back from her son, she continued, "I'm glad to see that you're doing so well with fuinjutsu; even if old Fuzz Butt had to get you started."

"Would you rather I did nothing, woman?" challenged the Bijuu.

"Of course not," she immediately answered. "I just wish he started learning out of interest and not as a last resort to get better. I swear, when that pervert kicks the bucket, I'm gonna kick his ass back to earth just so he can die again, ttebane!"

"...ttebane?" asked Naruto with a chuckle, making her blush in embarrassment. "Thank goodness I'm not the only one who has a weird tic, ttebayo."

She laughed at his own tic and hugged him again. "At least you got something from me. Although I kinda wish you got my hair…"

"Me too! It's an awesome color, mom!"

The woman smiled softly at her son. "Thank you… Did you know that there are three very special words I say only to the men who love my hair?"

"No. What are they?" he asked while Minato smiled and the Kyuubi smirked.

Leaning down, she kissed her son on the forehead and said, "I love you…"

Blushing, Naruto gave her a grin that she mirrored while Minato smiled at both of them.

"As much as I want this moment to last," he began, "I'm afraid that this reunion will be short-lived."

Naruto stepped back from his mother and looked at both his parents with confusion. "What do you mean?"

"What he means is that their chakra is fading. I can feel it filtering out of here as they talk to you."

"But I have so many things to ask them!" Tears began to well up in his eyes as he considered what would be the last, and only, time he would see or speak with his parents.

Smiling sadly, but knowingly, Minato approached Naruto and ruffled his hair. "I know this is hard to accept, son, but I want you to remember that your mother and I will always be with you. Also, I want to give you something before my chakra fully fades." Placing his hand over the seal on his son's stomach, the trio and the Kyuubi saw an orange flame glow from it and spread to his right arm all the way to his fingertips, leaving black markings all connected as a seal array.

Curious, Naruto asked, "What's this?"

"That, son, is the key to the seal holding back the fox. Since you and it are starting to connect further than your mother was able to," she huffed at her husband pointing out her shortcoming, "I figured you should have that."

"You think I'm ready? I mean...I'm not like you or mom, dad," he said, looking down. "I'm not a genius like you or a badass like mom…"

While she enjoyed being called a "badass" by her son, Kushina didn't like how critical Naruto was about his own skills. "Naruto, listen to me. Sometimes in life we get knocked down and have to fight our way back up. And sometimes those moments last for a long time; like for you." She crouched down and placed her hands on his shoulders, making him meet her gaze. "But, what makes someone a splendid ninja is not smarts or strength. What makes them splendid is them having the guts to stand up after getting knocked down, and to show the world that they're not to be forgotten. That's why I believe that you are a splendid ninja, sweetheart." She grinned at him. "You're Naruto Uzumaki, remember?"

He smiled back at her through teary eyes as she pulled him into another embrace. However, as mother and son hugged, Naruto's parents began to fade; their bodies slowly becoming transparent to the eye. "Naruto," Minato began, getting his son's attention, "don't ever stop fighting for what you believe in. You carry our wills with you; so don't ever doubt yourself."

He nodded. "I won't, dad. Thank you for everything. I'll make you guys proud!"

Before he fully disappeared, he was heard saying, "I know you will…"

Kushina kissed her son's temple, pouring all of her love into it. "I'll see you again, Naruto; but don't you dare make me see you too early, ttebane!" she warned, trying to sound stern as she fought her own tears.

"Promise," he replied.

She smiled and finished, "Thank you for being our son, Naruto… I love you…"

She fully faded at that, and Naruto stared at where his parents had once stood with tears running down his face. Smiling, he wiped them away and said, "I love you guys too…"

"Well, that was awkward," the fox commented jokingly, ruining the moment but still making Naruto chuckle. "What will you do now?"

After finishing wiping away his joyful tears, he turned to the Kyuubi and the Bijuu saw determination blazing in his eyes. "Now, I keep training!"

Another month passed after his reunion with his parents and Naruto was finishing up another sealing array that was six feet in diameter. His Elemental Reading Seal had sold for plenty of money to resupply his need for ink and scrolls. It helped that Gaara, now Kazekage of the Hidden Sand, had offered him a good deal for them.

Jiraiya had dropped Naruto off at the village while he met with a contact somewhere else in the Land of Wind. This was fine for Naruto since he wasn't particularly keen with being around the perverted hermit at all. Some time by himself was definitely needed after so many revelations.

Another thing that had been a success for the Kyuubi Jinchuriki was his book, The Seven Trials. It was greatly accepted and sold out after a week on the shelves. More copies were being made and distributed around the Elemental Nations, and Naruto was happily surprised when Koyuki had sent him a letter congratulating his success.

She even asked if he wanted her to bring it to her director for a possible film adaptation.

Right now though, he had just finished the sealing array and was inspecting his work. "Alright, the Transportation Seal seems ready… If this works, we could probably establish better connections with the other Hidden Villages."

"I wouldn't get your hopes up, kid. For one thing, there's a very weak Cease Fire agreement between them, and for another, we don't know if this will work yet."

'Don't be so negative, Kurama!' admonished Naruto to his friend, having learned of the fox's name during the past month. 'You gotta think with the glass half full!'

"Whether it's half full or half empty doesn't matter to me; it's just water in a glass."

'Let's see if you still believe that after this seal works!' challenged the Uzumaki before activating the array. Like many seals, it gave off the usual whitish-blue glow to show activation, and Naruto saw a small distortion begin from the array's center.

That's when things went wrong. The array turned an ugly black with a violet outline while the circular border of the array started to sprout jagged edges, making it look like a buzz saw blade. Then, the edges sprang upward and dived at him, making him gasp in shock and roll forward...right into the center of the array. As soon as he stopped moving, the edges linked together into a tall, cylindrical barrier of crisscrossing lines. As the barrier grew, it broke through the ceiling of the room he was staying in and caught the attention of the Hidden Sand ninja forces.

Arriving quickly were the Sand Siblings and a few of the village's ANBU. One of them made to step forward, but Gaara's sand was faster and tried to pierce the barrier, only to instantly break apart and disappear. "Don't make contact with it!" he warned everyone there. Staring down at his trapped friend, he saw the blonde breaking away into nothingness and whispered, "I'm sorry my friend…"

As soon as he said that, Naruto had finished fading away and the barrier collapsed in on itself, destroying all of the symbols in the array that had been made.

With Naruto, he found himself hurtling through a vortex of swirling light and he groaned in effort as he tried to move against its natural force, desperately inching his right hand towards the seal. 'Kurama!'

"Kid, what the hell are you doing?!"

His fingertips finally reached the seal on his stomach, and he offer a smile to no one, even though the Bijuu knew it was for it. 'Remember me, my friend!' declared the Uzumaki before he made a twisting motion, opening the cage and ejecting the Nine-Tailed Fox from his chakra core. The Bijuu was sent hurtling back to where Naruto had entered the vortex while Naruto kept going, unaware of the red wisps of chakra reaching his body and altering it.

The last thing he knew was a bright light engulfing his vision, and then nothing.

1~ This is referencing the N64 Paper Mario plotline

And that's that! That's chapter one of this crossover!

Before I continue, I want to give a HUGE thanks to my bud, DJexe for helping me plan and even type this story! You're awesome, man! *grins*

DJexe: Thank you, thank you. You're too kind. *formal bow*

Now, as for the bashing on Jiraiya, let me ask you guys something: Was that two year trip really that beneficial? All that Naruto gained from it was a bigger Rasengan, basic knowledge on Genjutsu Dispelling, and refinement of what should've been basic knowledge. Jiraiya wasted two years of Naruto's potential growth to get him to try and focus on harnessing a Bijuu's chakra when said Bijuu had ZERO interest in offering said chakra. In short, Jiraiya was a terrible teacher who left Naruto with the shit end of the metaphorical training stick!

What do you say, bro?

DJexe: To be honest, looking back at everything Naruto showcased in the beginning of Part 2, his abilities seemed...lacking. Jiraiya could have at least taught Naruto about the trick behind the Shadow Clone since it's his signature move, like the Rasengan.

Glad someone agrees with me. Tell me what you guys think as you review! Hope you all enjoyed the premiere chapter and I hope to see you guys next time!