Another KakaNaru piece of mine. Why? Because the net needs more of this pairing. This is going to be in a more serious tone and a slightly different approach to Naruto's coming of age than my other fic, "Why Not". I've typed about two or three chapters ahead, but I'm still making changes on them like every one hour or something. All I can say, that for this fic is - TISSUE ALERT. I'm having a hard time blinking tears away just typing it. Oh, the emotions!

crickets chirp

Anyway, on with the show!


Naruto stared at the setting sun, sitting on top of the fourth's head, a rather old and worn out scroll in hand. It'd been a long and tiresome year. After the attack of Orochimaru, Konoha was left scarred with a decline in the number of shinobis. Many of those who survived were going through intensive healing and the hospital had never been this full before. The children were actually shaken by the whole event and even with the new Hokage, it was still painful for the village because they lost a passionate leader as well - the third. Not only did Orochimaru attack them but Itachi also paid a lovely visit to Konoha and Kakashi and Sasuke ended up in a coma for quite some time. After that, there was the issue of Sasuke's betrayal.

Naruto felt that he could no longer relax, as did Sasuke. But Naruto wasn't as lucky as Sasuke. Sasuke had a teacher, who in turn had Sasuke as his favorite student. Sasuke had someone to teach him his bloodline, Sasuke had everything that Naruto didn't. He had the famous copy-nin. Sure, Naruto had trained with one of the legendary three for quite some time but that was months ago, ever since he mastered the rasengnan. After that fateful day and him getting knocked out due to too much chakra consumption, he found himself in the hospital, the very scroll in his hand beside him. Jiraiya left to travel for some time, leaving him a note that said he'd come back someday. But it had been nearly ten months since that incident and Naruto was giving up hope.

The Chuunin exams were in two days time and Naruto did not want to enter. He just didn't think he was ready enough ever since he read the scroll he held in his hand. Sure, he knew the rasengnan. He knew several jutsus. He was good with taijutsu and okay with genjutsu. But it was not enough. He needed more training. But for the sake of his teammates, he'd go far enough for them to go on their own. He'd heard that it was going to be the same as the previous ones due to the lack of shinobis. It wouldn't be that difficult.

Naruto held the scroll in his hand up to his face. He opened it once more and began to read it again - even though he had memorized the entire thing by heart already.

My dearest son,

I dare not imagine what you've been through up to this point. And me apologizing is not enough. But you must understand, that as a Hokage, the village and its people comes first above anything else. Please know, that in my heart, I have always loved you. I couldn't be there for you birthdays or Halloweens or Christmas or graduation, but I am still proud of you.
Because you're reading this, that would mean that you are still alive and that you most probably know about Kyuubi. Do not treat the demon as something to be hated, but treasure it as a gift because of all the chakra you can get from him. And I know that someday you'll find a way to control it and overcome it.

My surname was originally Uzumaki but I changed it when I became a shinobi to Kazama, which is why I am known as Kazama Kaoru. I gave you my original surname because no one knew of it. No one knows I'm your father except for your mother- Kunimitsu Hana-, Jiraiya-sensei, Sarutobi-sensei and Tsunade-san. Not even my favorite student Kakashi knows. And I want it to be kept that way, until you can see the way I saw the village. Until you can learn to forgive the villagers for mistreating you throughout your life and find it in yourself to love the village the way I did.

As for what I leave behind, that would be the rasengnan. By the time you get this letter, you would have already mastered it. Below is a list of other types of genjutsus and ninjutsus that I created myself but my most special and prized one is the rasengnan. The ones below are just to help you out.

Moonlight Shadow no Jutsu

Kiss of the Phoenix no Jutsu

Ice Barrier no Jutsu

Time warp no Jutsu

Mind force no Jutsu

Understand that these jutsus have been used on people who never lived to tell the tale about it. So use them wisely. Unless you can come up with a Jutsu to counter clan abilities of those in Konoha, then I guess you'd be free to use them whenever you want. I was working on a jutsu to protect those I have but I haven't completed them yet. I called it the copyright Jutsu - and the title serves its purpose. I've left the details on it below. If you can find a way to complete it, so much the better.

I've left all that I have. All I can suggest to you is that you master a style of taijutsu that will benefit you or come up with your own and try to gain high-speed movement. There are some things that require a teacher and a team and some things you have to do on your own. And sometimes, speed can be your advantage in battle.

My dear son, know that I'd give up anything to be with you now. But it just doesn't work that way. But I want you to know that I am proud of you to have reached this far. You are my son and no demon or any of those things is going to change that. I love you and I always will - and your mother too. She was so happy when she got pregnant. She loves you so much Naruto. Never forget that. Never forget us. And just to remind you that we are always here for you, keep the ring attached to this scroll. You don't have to be lonely anymore.

Love from your father,

Uzumaki Kaoru

Naruto's eyes threatened to spill the gathering tears. He had started working on his taijutsu by asking some help from Gai and Lee who were most happy to help him out. He and Lee would spar together often and although Naruto still had some flaws on his taijutsu, Lee was always there to support him and Gai to guide him. It took him nine months to master everything he needed to know about Gai's taijutsu technique and, like Lee, he opted on wearing weights around his shins, which lay hidden behind loose black pants that replaced his orange hip-hops. He and Lee were becoming the best of friends. During the war with Orochimaru, Lee had lost his parents and was orphaned so Gai resigned his position as a genin instructor and became Lee's legal guardian.

Naruto sucked in a shaky breath and a tear escaped is eye. He heard footsteps behind him, which stopped once the person or people were a good three feet away from him. "Naruto? You ditched training today to enjoy the view?" Sakura snapped. Naruto quickly wiped at his eyes and then stood on his feet, casually dusting his clothes clean.

"You've been here all this time dobe?" Sasuke asked, narrowing his eyes at him.

"Yeah. Sorry." Naruto grumbled.

"Just to let you know, Naruto, that just because the Chuunin exams are coming, doesn't mean you should forget about teamwork." Kakashi pointed out and Naruto gave him a nod.

"What's that?" Sakura asked looking at the worn out scroll Naruto had in his hand. Thinking that it was some sort of historical information, Sakura grew interested. "Let me see." Naruto's eyes widened a bit and he took a step back, hiding the scroll behind his back, afraid that Sakura, Sasuke or Kakashi might see its contents. "Oh geez, Naruto! It's an old scroll! Give it here!" Sakura tried to grab it from Naruto and when she got her grasp on it, Naruto panicked.

"GET OFF!" He yelled and pushed Sakura away - hard! Sakura landed on the ground and stared at Naruto with wide eyes. Naruto blinked, and took a step back.

"Naruto." Kakashi warned. "That was not necessary." Sakura got up and began to dust her clothes.

"Sheesh! Keep your crappy little scroll to yourself then! Who'd want to read a old and mangled scroll anyway?" Sakura said, angry for being shoved to the ground. Sasuke rolled his eyes.

Kakashi watched as Naruto stared at the scroll in his hand and how his lips trembled. "You'll never understand." He whispered and then turned to leave. "I'm not coming to training tomorrow, Sensei. I'm not feeling well.

"Chuunin exams are near, dobe." Sasuke warned him.

"I'll be fine by then. Besides, I have two days to rest anyway. I'll show up, don't you guys worry." He turned and began to walk away. "Good night." He waved and then disappeared down the path that lead to the heart of the city.

Naruto reached his apartment and locked the doors. He took a shower and went straight to bed, scroll tucked beside him. He reached out for the black chord around his neck and pulled out the necklace Tsunade had given him and stared at the ring that he'd added as a pendant. He stared at the silver ring that his father wore as an Uzumaki heirloom. It must have been fate or something but the Uzumaki symbol was a spiral pattern. Naruto smiled and tucked the ring and chain under his shirt and went to sleep, not feeling so cold and alone anymore.

The next day, he went to the woods and did some taijutsu training and practiced some basic jutsus. After that he did several laps around Konoha and some more taijutsu. Just before sunset, he sat on the fourth's head and stared at his locket. The same thing happened the next day, until the day of the Chuunin exams arrived.