Disclaimer: I have never, and will never, own Naruto.

Summary: When Sasuke killed Naruto, Naruto expected to go visit the angels in heaven. He never knew that sometimes the thing you most desire is often found if you just open your eyes…and unlock your heart. When the mission ended, everyone thought Naruto died, but when the Sound attacks a weakened Konoha, a ghost from the past will show them that life will go on, and angels do exist.

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Chapter 9: Ghost of the Past; Hero of the Present

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"Naruto?" Kakashi asked again. Looking at the teen with through his Sharingan-red eye. Sure that there was no illusion, he took a step forward, stopping when the large fox rested her startling blue eyes on him.

"It's me Kaka-sensei," Naruto said softly, keeping his hand in place atop Kyuubi's head. "It's me."

"You're dead," Kakashi spoke, stating a fact. "Kazekage-sama and Lee-kun watched you die."

Kazekage? Naruto thought, confused. Gaara, he realized. Kakashi must be talking about Gaara. Somehow, it didn't surprise him.

Then, Naruto turned his head away, trying not to think of the past. "I did die," He murmured softly. "I died and I came back." His eyes met Kakashi's, startling him as it was the same shade as the kistune's.

Kakashi nodded though still cautious. He wanted to believe that this blond was his dead student but they were at war. The boy could be anyone. "And him?" he nodded towards the sitting fox. The shinobis around them were silent as they watched the exchange.

"Her. Kyuubi no Kitsune."

Anger erupted as the Konoha shinobis heard the hated name of the demon that destroyed their village 16 years prior. Salira walked up and stood beside her brother while Mingan lowered the shield that had protected the villagers from the fighting and he too, trotted over to stand in front of the twins and Kyuubi, tail erect and snarling at the shinobis.

"Halt!" a feminine voice ordered. Immediately, the shinobis stopped reaching for their weapons and turned in the direction of their village. "Hokage-sama," the trained ninjas murmured in sync, bowing as their village leader walked briskly down a cemented path leading from the marketplace to the Hokage Mountain.

"What's going on here?" Tsunade roared out. She had heard the explosion from her office and ran down to the marketplace, surprised and relieved to find no casualties. Then, remembering the concert, she had run down to the Monument, only to discover hundreds of Sound-nins dead and her shinobis about to attack what appeared to be Koumyou. She wasn't, to say, in a good mood.

"That's the Kyuubi no Youkai!" an enraged chunin yelled, pointing at Kyuubi.

"Kyuubi?" Tsunade repeated. She glanced back at Koumyou and noticed that yes; there was indeed a large nine-tailed fox sitting calmly beside the blond, whiskered-boy. Wait…rewind. Tsunade looked back and her eyes widened as she noticed that the boy had looked like an older version of the boy that had been like a brother to her. Confused with the change of appearance, she called to them: "Koumyou?"

Salira turned to Tsunade, bowing her head in acknowledgement. "Hokage-sama."

"You told me you weren't Shinobis." Her eyes narrowed in anger. It was clear now that the band had been under a complex henge, a technique that should only be known by ninjas.

"And I spoke the truth, or most of it," Salira clasped her hands in front of her, keeping her gaze level with Tsunade. "I'm not a shinobi. Neither is Mingan, the wolf, or Kyuubi. My brother's the only person that ever was a shinobi."

Tsunade once again turned to the blond. "Brother?" she questioned.

Seeing that her twin didn't know what to say, Salira spoke for him. "Yes. He's my brother and my twin. His name's Naruto."

More reaction, this time, everyone was startled into silence.

"Lies." Tsunade spat out. "You lied to us from the beginning and you're lying to us now. Why should we believe it's any different?"

"Hokage-sama, please! That's not completely true," Salira cried out desperately. "With all due respect, all we lied about was our identity. As you can see, that was out of necessity."

"Uzumaki Naruto is dead. He died three years ago."

Kyuubi tried to comfort her partner, rubbing her head against Naruto's hand as she felt the pain radiating from him.

"He died yes! He's not dead now!" Salira waved her hand towards Naruto. "He's alive and he's in front of you! Open your eyes! What proof do you need?"

"Hokage-sama?" The ANBU that let the quartet into the village stepped forward.

Tsunade glanced at the Hyuuga that had appeared next to her, "Neji-kun." She nodded her head, giving the young ANBU a chance to speak.

"Uzumaki and I fought in the chunin exam close to three-and-a-half years ago. One of the things I noticed was his odd chakra paths, a peculiarity that had nothing to do with the fox that had rested in his navel and was unique to only him. The person in front of us has that same trait."

Tsunade and a few other shinobis couldn't help nodding to that knowledge. Oddly enough, it was Kakashi's logic that confirmed everyone's beliefs.

"The Kyuubi's here. It has to be him, what other fox do we know of that has nine tails. The fact that it-"

"She," Naruto corrected absently.

Kakashi smiled beneath his mask. "The fact that she is here with the blond is reason enough to believe that what they said about their identities was, and is, true."

Still, despite the evidence that it was indeed Uzumaki Naruto standing in front of her, Tsunade was still uncertain. Slowly, she walked up Naruto, ignoring everything else. Standing in front of the teen, she gave the boy a quick glance over. Out appearances showed that Naruto had matured and grew outside of Konoha. But, did the inside change, too?

She noticed a single black cord hanging from his neck. Slowly, she walked forward, dragging the cord from beneath his shirt. Her eyes widened as she saw the string for what it was. A simple necklace with a teal rectangular gem hanging from it; the cursed necklace that she, herself, had given him.

"Brat," Her voice was little more than a whisper, but Naruto heard it nonetheless.

A smile, distinctive only to the boy she loved, appeared on Naruto's face. "I've missed you, you old hag."

No one, out of all of her shinobis, displayed such insolence towards her, not even the Third's grandson, Konohamaru.

"Show some respect gaki (child/kid)!" Tsunade growled, smacking the boy's head. The bantering was so typical, that it took the Hokage a while to realize that three years of mourning for the boy had gone by. Tears, that she would later deny having, welled up in her eyes, refusing to fall.

Naruto expected an interrogation, denial, anything that would claim he was a spy. He didn't expect for his 'old hag' to wrap him in a hug, squeezing him so hard that he could have sworn he heard his ribs cracking. He hugged her back just as fiercely. "I'm home. I'm finally home." At the moment he couldn't have cared about the villager's disgust and hatred towards him. He had his family, and he had his friends. What more could a guy ask for?

Tsunade drew him back and glared at him, "Where the hell have you been, boy? We all thought you were dead!" she gave him another smack over the head for good measure. "Oh, what does it matter?" Ever emotional, she drew him back into her embrace, murmuring words for his ears only, "I thought the necklace had taken you from us…"

Naruto discovered that his own eyes were stinging from tears, "I'm sorry. I just couldn't come back before now. I had so much to discover first. But, now I'm home. And I know where I belong."

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The band retreated back to the Hokage's office along with Kakashi, Neji and Tsunade: the only three present at the stage area that had been friends with Naruto.

Tsunade dismissed Neji, telling him to report to his captain with the orders to check the state of the village before he was to spread the news that Uzumaki Naruto is alive and has returned. Bowing, Neji had left, clasping Naruto's shoulder before exiting, a silent message evident in that simple gesture: It's good to have you back.

Once the ANBU member had left, Tsunade gestured for Naruto and Salira to have a seat. Sighing in relief, Naruto plopped gratefully into the plush chair. Salira sat down more gracefully that her brother, crossing one leg over the other.

To Tsunade, the relationship between the two was clear. Twins, siblings if nothing else. The blood relation was clear in the way they held their heads, tilted slightly with a stubborn chin yet still attentive; and with their appearances, same blonde hair – though one was slightly lighter than the other's – and same blue eyes.

Tsunade watched as Kyuubi curled up at, and nearly on top of, Naruto's feet while the wolf sat at the girl's side with the girl bringing her had to rest on his head. She then clasped her hands together and nodded to Kakashi, standing slightly to the side, before turning her attention back to the blondes. "I'm to assume that since Kyuu meant Kyuubi, and Toru meant Naruto, that there is an alternative name for the two of you?" She looked at the blonde.

Salira smiled softly, "You assume right, Minny here, the wolf, his real name is Mingan no Ookami while mine is Salira, Uzuriel Salira. I'm Naruto's older sister."

"Twin," Naruto growled.

"Sorry," Salira didn't look the least bit apologetic. "I'm Naruto's older twin sister."

Naruto sighed in defeat, sticking his tongue out at his sister's smug face, while the rumble for Kyuubi could be taken for a chuckle. Naruto tried kicking Kyuubi in the side but that only made the fox adjust her position until she was laying completely on Naruto's feet.

"You do know that you're extremely heavy." He growled to his companion.

"Suck it up" was the ever-encouraging reply.

Salira let out a whoop of laughter while Mingan closed his eyes, a smile appearing on his furry face. They grew more prominent when Naruto struggled to kick Kyuubi again but failed miserably.

"Stupid fox," Naruto muttered loving to the kitsune.

To Salira and Mingan, some things never change. To Tsunade and Kakashi, nothing stays the same. The two shinobis never realized the cheerful bantering for what it was: a distraction from the twin's last name.

"Is that really the Kyuubi no Youkai? The same one that attacked us?" Kakashi inquired, asking the question that was on everyone's mind.

Kyuubi bowed her head and closed her eyes, allowing Mingan to comfort her as he laid his warm body next to hers.

Naruto tilted his head, gazing at Kakashi. "Yes," he replied. "And no."

Tsunade was curious, "What do you mean?"

Naruto turned his attention back to Tsunade. "Yes, it was her. No, she did not do it, alone and willingly at least. She-" He stopped when Kyuubi glowed and became Kyuu. "Kyuubi?"

Kyuubi lowered her eyes, sadness evident as she gazed at Naruto. "It's my story to tell," she stated quietly. She shifted weight from one foot to the other before sighing, this form wasn't the most comfortable to her but it was easier to talk in. She rested lightly on the armrest of Naruto's chair, Mingan returning to his previous position and sat between Salira and Kyuubi. "To understand, you must have knowledge," she chose her words carefully.

Tsunade and Kakashi, eager to know what really happened that night sixteen years ago, stayed silent.

"I care not for interruptions, so keep your thoughts to yourself," grumbling and sensing their questions, Kyuubi glared at them in turn. "Now, I know you're smart enough to realize to whom the surname 'Uzuriel' had belonged to, so I won't waste my time explaining that part of the twin's heritage. Naruto and Salira's parents combined their clan names, Uzumaki and Uriel, when they married in secret, which is why you people have no written knowledge of it, but that's also to the fact that there is no…what do you humans call it…marriage license with the Uriel clan. Its much like most animals, mating and bonding for life.

"Soon after, Uriel-sama, Naruto and Salira's mother, was pregnant with twins, something highly unlikely among the Uriel clan, a clan that has either really high life expectancies, or really low ones," Grumpy and irritable, she snarled as she saw Kakashi about to speak. Satisfied that he would keep quiet, she continued. "When a Uriel is born, they're immediately bonded to an animal spirit that was born on the same day that the human's had been conceived. Mingan and I were chosen. Yet, the week before we were supposed to meet our pair bond, something happened. Something that, although I do not expect you to understand, I regretted.

"A man, a snake charmer came and placed a jutsu on my mind. A jutsu that, even though works only on spirits, was so strong that it wasn't until I died that I could have been reborn," Kyuubi wrapped her arms around her torso while Naruto closed his eye, mentally reassuring his fox. "When Mingan went to meet his pair bond, I went to cause destruction, only feeling a great need to taste blood and create chaos.

"Uzumaki-san was with his mate, preparing for the twin's birth. I do not know all the details but Uriel-sama died in childbirth. And when only Mingan arrived, telling Uzumaki-san that I was attacking Konoha. Realizing me for who I really was, he left instructions for Salira to be taken care of, and took Naruto with him when he returned to this village. He then sealed me in Naruto in hopes of negating the jutsu. And the rest you know." Exhausted, she returned to her original form and curled next to Mingan and closed her eyes.

Silence filled the room and moments passed before anyone said anything.

"So your father…" Kakashi trailed off.

"Is the Yondaime Hokage," Naruto finished, giving a small smile, finding the situation ironic. He grew up admiring the monumental figure only to find out that he was his offspring.

Tsunade held her chin in her hand, drumming her fingers on her desk as she went over the information that she just learned. "The village, they're not going to like this."

"I don't care. Maybe a long time ago I did but…not now. I have everything I've ever wanted growing up. I got a place where I belong, even if Konoha rejects me."

"Naruto-" Tsunade began, distress made obvious from her tone.

"I'm going to still protect my village Tsunade-baba. I'm just not going to stay here if my family and I aren't accepted. Not when I have a home outside of these walls."

Tsunade nodded. "I understand." She couldn't keep him here, no matter how much she wished to. He deserved happiness more than anyone else that she knew.

They talked until the sun started to set and painted the sky fuchsia and gold. When Kyoumou finally left, everyone in that room had a lighter heart. Acceptance was something that shouldn't be taken for granted.

What the quartet didn't realize was that a mob of friends were waiting anxiously to see their once dead companion in the lobby of the Hokage Tower. Or maybe they did realize it and that was why they were laughing as they leaped from the tower window, returning to their comfortable apartment.

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Personally, I didn't like this chapter. The beginning seemed rushed and, no matter what I did, I couldn't put some action into it. The explanations seemed wordy despite my attempts to keep it brief. All in all, this was probably my worst chapter.

If you guys have any suggestions to possible reactions from the characters of Naruto, I'd gladly listen to them and possible place them in my story.

Love you guys and gals a bunch!

-Pheox