Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto or any of the characters created by Kishimoto-sensei.
"Tsunade, you owe me that favor," said the old man that she cared for but was still angry with.
"I owe you nothing," she replied unhappily. She did not like the fact that she had been called back to the village by her former sensei. She did not like the fact that she was called back in the wake of the death of the fourth Hokage.
"I gave you the freedom you asked for years ago so that you could wander the land without Hunter-nin chasing after you. You owe me for that," said the old man forcefully.
"Then send the hunter-nin after me, I'll just kill them all," she replied though not truly meaning it. She truly hated the sight of blood.
"Tsunade you know that isn't true," said the old man starting to get annoyed, "You're the only family he has left."
"I don't have any family," she nearly shouted.
"He may only be a cousin and several times removed but he is your only remaining blood relation," said the old man, "with his father and mother both dead now you are the only chance he has for even close to a normal life."
"I don't want to stay in this village to raise the brat," she said adamantly.
"Then don't stay, take him with you," said the old man simply.
"The places I plan to go will not be good for him," she said angrily that he would even suggest it.
"Better he go with you than stay in this village where he is already hated for something he has no control over," said the old man. It was clear he was starting to fatigue from the long argument with his former student.
Tsunade was getting annoyed now as her argument was collapsing around her. She didn't want the burden of carting around a child, least of all the child of her estranged fourth cousin.
"Tsunade, I know that your past hurts you but this boy needs you now," said the old man sadly, "Yondaime gave his life that the boy might live. Don't let his sacrifice be in vain."
"What about Jaraiya, can't he care for the brat?" she asked desperately.
"You know what Jaraiya is like. Do you really want this boy to be just like him?"
"Why can't another family in the village adopt him?" she asked still more desperate.
"The village hates the boy, they only see the demon fox Kyubi. He is not Kyubi," the old man was starting to tire of this. "This boy has such a great potential but if he remains here it will be stifled by their hatred. I am asking you to care for the boy. Raise him to reach his potential. Then you can return him here and forget him. Hopefully by then the village would have forgotten their hatred or at the very least forgotten him."
Tsunade sighed in defeat, "Does the brat have a name?"
"Naruto . . . Uzumaki Naruto," said the old man.
"You owe me old man," she nearly yelled at the geezer.
The old man smiled, "I know Tsunade, I know."
"Let me see this brat I'm supposed to care for," she said, "I suppose I can always have Shizune look after him."
The old man smiled again and guided the woman to the small room next to his office that had been used as a nursery for the boy.
Tsunade looked at the sleeping baby and her features softened. She gently lifted the boy from the crib waking him accidentally. He looked like he was about to cry but then quieted when his eyes locked with hers. Tsunade would never admit it to anyone but in that instant she fell in love with the small babe in her arms.
"You're a natural," said the old man.
"I still say you owe me for this Sarutobi-sensei," she said softly to the old man as she laid the boy across her chest with his head on her shoulder.
"Well, a monthly stipend has been set aside for you to care for the boy, seeing as you accepted I've arranged for a bit extra to be put in their for your . . . um other expenses," said Sarutobi cautiously.
"We'll be leaving in the morning," she said calmly so as not to wake the now sleeping baby boy.
"I understand," said the old man leading her back into his office. He then reached behind his desk and produced two bags, one blue and one black.
"The blue bag contains some basic provisions that should last you a few weeks for the baby. The black bag is for when he gets older. It contains some scrolls that Yondaime set aside for the boy. I don't know what the scrolls are or what they say but he wrapped a note around each saying when he wants each scroll given to the boy. Birthday presents I believe," explained Sarutobi.
"Whatever," she said nonchalantly but the Third knew that she was listening carefully despite that.
"Please raise him well Tsunade," said the old man emotionally.
"I will," she said softly before collecting the bags and leaving the old man behind. She arrived soon enough at the inn her and Shizune were staying in.
"You agreed?" asked a shocked Shizune.
"The old man guilted me into it," she replied with a bit of an edge in her voice.
"Then we're staying in the village?" Shizune asked.
"Hell no," replied Tsunade loudly but not loud enough to wake the sleeping baby, "We're leaving and the boy is coming with us."
Shizune was in shock, she couldn't believe it, "But . . ."
Tsunade gave her a look that told in no uncertain terms to stop asking and just accept it.
"He's walking," shouted an excited Shizune as she saw Naruto taking his first steps.
Tsunade rushed into the room knocking Shizune aside roughly to see the boy walk.
Upon seeing Tsunade, little Naruto smiled brightly and raised his arms toward her and took a few more unsteady steps towards her. As he was about to fall Tsunade lifted him into the air and spun him around smiling brightly.
Poor Shizune was unconscious from the hit so she didn't see Tsunade's usually cold exterior crack as only Naruto could do.
"Very good my little Naruto-chan," cooed Tsunade to the baby boy causing him to giggle with delight. "Soon we can start training you to be the greatest Shinobi ever, just like your Kaasan Tsunade."
Months later Tsunade and Shizune were traveling to a new town. Tsunade had Naruto on her back in baby seat. Shizune was left carrying the luggage, which she grumbled about frequently.
"Kaasan," came a small voice that shocked both of the women.
Shizune was so shocked she tripped over a tree root causing her to drop the luggage and fall on her face into a large mud puddle.
Tsunade quickly took Naruto into her arms to look at him.
"Kaasan," said Naruto again with a smile.
Tsunade actually shed a tear of joy and hugged the little boy fiercely. She could not have been happier at the little boy's first word.
Shizune though wasn't altogether happy though as she pulled herself out of the mud cursing all the way, "Kuso!"
"Kuso," repeated Naruto with a grin. Shizune panicked as Tsunade turned a glare on her for teaching Naruto such a bad word.
"Kuso, kuso, kuso, kuso," Naruto repeated several time giggling the whole time.
Tsunade turned her attention back to Naruto and quickly tried to change his phrase, "Kaasan, Kaasan, Kaasan."
"Kuasan?" puzzled Naruto with a confused looked.
"Kaasan," said Tsunade again but slowly for Naruto to see.
"Kaasan," said Naruto happily causing Tsunade to smile warmly at her little boy.
Tsunade put Naruto back in his carrying seat and then on her back once more continuing on while Shizune scrambled to pick up the luggage. As soon as Shizune rejoined them Naruto pointed at her and yelled, "Kuso."
At three Tsunade began to teach Naruto basic chakra manipulation, which he struggled with greatly. At the age of three it was very difficult but for Naruto it was exceedingly difficult for reasons that Tsunade could not understand right away.
As the next year passed and Tsunade worked more on teaching Naruto Chakra manipulation she found that because of the Kyubi inside of him it was disturbing his chakra flow. Because of this it meant that Naruto would struggle very hard to learn decent chakra control and manipulation. As a result the first several years of Naruto's training would revolve solely around him learning to control and manipulate his chakra.
At age five Shizune began to instruct him in typical lesson. He learned to read and write, do mathematics, and even a little science, all at basic levels though.
It wasn't until age seven that Naruto received his first birthday present from the Yondaime.
"Naruto-kun," said Tsunade drawing Naruto's attention back to the table and away from the slot machine in the pub they were eating dinner in.
"Yes Kaasan," said Naruto turning his attention back to her.
"You know that today is your birthday right?" she asked.
"Yes," said Naruto with a grin.
"I expect you were waiting for a few presents weren't you?" asked Tsunade with a duplicate grin.
Naruto nodded vigorously in anticipation.
Shizune gave Naruto a large box wrapped in orange paper with a blue bow on it. Naruto tried to lift the box only to find it was too heavy.
"What the big idea nechan?" asked an angry Naruto.
"Just open the box and you'll see," said Shizune ruffling his hair.
Naruto ripped off the bow and as much paper as he could. He opened the box excitedly but then paused when he looked at what was inside. "What is it?" he asked as he scratched the back of his head.
"It's a weight suit for training," she explained, "It's not too heavy but I think it's perfect for you to start with."
"Thank you," shouted a now very excited Naruto giving his sister a big hug in thanks.
"You're welcome," said Shizune ruffling his hair again, "We can start using it tomorrow."
Tsunade went next handing Naruto a much smaller box that he had no trouble lifting or rapidly ripping off the bow and paper. Inside were some boring new clothes, "Oh man, not clothes, why couldn't it be something cool like a kunai or that shuriken set I've been asking for?"
"You needed a new outfit. What you're wearing is getting much too small," said Tsunade as she unfolded the new outfit to show him. It was a pair of black pants and a blue shirt with the red and black swirl on the back that was his clan symbol.
Naruto sat down and pouted as any seven year old would before Tsunade rolled her eyes and handed him another package. This one was much smaller but heavier. Naruto quickly tore through the thin paper that was separating him from his gift. Inside was the new shuriken set that Naruto had been hinting at all month. "You got them. Oh wow, thank you Kaasan," shouted Naruto with glee before he hugged Tsunade and gave her a small kiss on the cheek.
"Now those are real shuriken," chided the excited Naruto, "Not like the practice ones you've been using so I want to make it perfectly clear that you are not to use these until Shizune and I are completely satisfied that you can throw a shuriken perfectly."
"Yes, yes," said Naruto not really paying much attention as he checked each shuriken blade to ensure they were in good condition.
"Put those away, you have one more gift," said Tsunade with a smile.
Naruto was surprised, he would usually only get three gifts, one from Shizune and two from Tsunade-kaasan.
"This is a gift from Yondaime," said Tsunade with great respect in her voice.
"Who is Yondaime?" asked Naruto.
"Haven't you paid any attention in my history lessons?" asked Shizune angrily.
"Of course I have," said Naruto with his generic answer, "I just forgot for a minute."
"Yondaime Hokage was once a great leader of the Leaf Shinobi village, Konoha," said Tsunade with reverence, "He died protecting the village. He left behind some gifts for you when you got older. This is one gift you were supposed to get this year from him."
Naruto was so excited about getting another gift that he never once considered asking why the Yondaime would leave any gifts for him.
The gift was unwrapped and very plain looking but then Naruto knew exactly what it was as he'd seen his Kaasan and nechan reading them occasionally. Usually they wouldn't allow him to read them because they said they were too dangerous for him to use yet. It was a technique scroll.
Naruto took the scroll with awe and wonder in his eyes. Naruto was very careful with the scroll as he undid the tie to read it. And read it he did, sadly though he didn't really understand it.
"Kaasan, I don't understand," said Naruto as he showed her the scroll.
"It's a technique for you," said Tsunade with a smile pushing it back to him without reading it.
"But I don't understand," said Naruto.
"Then you will have to study more until you do understand," said Tsunade with a loving smile at her little boy.
"Can't you just teach me what the scroll does?" complained Naruto.
"I could but I won't. Yondaime wanted you to learn that technique. Not me," explained Tsunade, "It wouldn't be right for me to learn that technique now would it?"
"I guess not," said Naruto as he read the scroll again trying to understand.
A few months later Naruto was in the park with his technique scroll trying to understand it. Shizune was left to watch over him while Tsunade was off losing her portion of the monthly stipend in the casinos.
Kirameki no Jutsu, read Naruto again. (Flash Technique) A technique that temporarily distorts an opponent's sight causing your movements to be seen only as a flash of light. Naruto read the description once more. He understood what the technique was meant to do but he was struggling with understanding the chakra manipulations necessary for the technique to work. It is a genjutsu/ninjutsu hybrid technique that requires four hand seals to use and after mastering could be activate automatically. That was the part that Naruto was really interested in. The problem was that even with the hand seals he struggled with spreading the chakra out enough to be used on another person.
"Ah, Shizune," complained Naruto, "I don't have enough Chakra for this stupid technique." He finally understood the problem.
"Ah, is that the problem?" asked Shizune knowing full well what the problem was from the start just from seeing attempt the technique. She would never use the technique herself or even attempt to master it as it was a technique for Naruto only.
"How can I get more Chakra?" asked Naruto impatiently.
"Well, you could climb trees," suggested Shizune earning her a confused look.
"Huh?" asked Naruto, "how is climbing trees going to increase my chakra?"
"Watch," said Shizune as she approached the tallest tree in the park and walked right up the side of it.
"But how does that increase my chakra?" asked Naruto.
"First, it will help you develop more Chakra control and by using all of your chakra you will cause your chakra reserves to expand," explained Shizune as she walked down again.
"Okay then teach me," said Naruto excitedly.
When Shizune taught Naruto to climb trees without his hands she never imagined what Naruto would do as a result. She thought that Naruto would only practice the technique a few times a week until he emptied his chakra pool. She was quite surprised to find out that every moment he wasn't eating, sleep, or studying he was climbing trees. In two months he'd nearly doubled his chakra capacity. This all came as quite a surprise when at the end of two months Naruto came to Shizune asking.
"Neh, nechan," called Naruto, "Do you think I have enough chakra now to do that technique?"
Shizune hadn't really paid much attention to Naruto when he'd run out the door after class shouting that he was going to the park. So she hadn't noticed his growth. It nearly floored her when she checked it.
"Naruto-chan, you should have more than enough chakra now. How did you get so much?" she asked.
"Everyday after class I went to the park to practice climbing trees. I'd run as fast as I can up and down as many times as I could before I ran out of chakra just like you told me to. So do you really think this is enough?"
"Yes Naruto-chan, I think you could use that technique now," said Shizune, "do you want to try it on me?"
"Can I really?" asked Naruto excitedly.
Shizune nodded slightly nervously.
Naruto formed the four hand seals quickly and shouted "Kirameki no Jutsu."
Shizune could feel the technique affecting her. Then Naruto ran around her but the only thing that she saw was a bright yellow flash every couple of seconds as her eyes caught up with Naruto's movement. "Okay, you can release it now," said the dizzying Shizune.
"Kai," said Naruto ending the Jutsu.
"That was really good Naruto, but you'll have to keep practicing everyday," said Shizune with a smile at her little brother.
"Do you think that Kaasan would like to see it?" asked Naruto.
Shizune smiled and nodded for Naruto.
The little boy ran to the Pachinko Parlor that his Kaasan had preferred in that town. They'd been there for four months and Naruto knew they'd be moving on again soon. But, just like every town they went to one of the first things Naruto had to learn was the town layout perfectly. He had to memorize every important location, the locations that an ambush may occur, the location to hide, the best place to eat Ramen and most importantly where all the casinos were.
Naruto barged inside the Pachinko Parlor and found his Kaasan absentmindedly put coins into a machine.
"Kaasan," he shouted upon seeing her.
"Naruto-chan," she replied with a warm smile.
"Kaasan, I did it," said Naruto, "Do you want to see?"
Tsunade smiled at her little boy and nodded as she stood up, "Let's go to the park and you can show me there. Okay?"
"Okay," said Naruto already running out the door towards the park. Tsunade followed behind at a much slower rate smiling all the way at her adopted son.
Naruto spent almost the entire next year practicing the Kirameki everyday trying to cause the Jutsu effect to expand even further. To his great pleasure and the displeasure of Shizune and Tsunade they were unable to break the effects of the technique despite several attempts. That is not to say that they couldn't counter the technique they just couldn't cancel the technique.
Naruto's eighth birthday was met happily by the boy. He received a new set of clothes again and the next level of his weight suit from Shizune and most importantly he got a kunai set and another scroll from the Yondaime.
Kirameki Shuriken no Jutsu and Kirameki Kunai no Jutsu are techniques that allow for the same visual distortion to be applied to a throw kunai or shuriken. This technique is much more difficult to learn the initial Kirameki as you are attaching the genjutsu/ninjutsu to an object other than yourself. This technique uses two precursor seals, the original four seals to the Kirameki and two finishing seals. Once mastery of the Kirameki has been achieved then only the two precursor seals and two finishing seals are necessary for the technique. Naruto read the description excitedly and was about to run out of the pub to start practicing when Tsunade stopped him and made him finish his vegetables.
Naruto's ninth birthday was once again wonderful in his opinion. Shizune gave him the next level of weight suit for training. Tsunade gave him another new set of clothes but by this age he was starting to appreciate the new set of clothes more than when he was younger. She also gave him two technique scrolls from her. One scroll had a basic healing Jutsu and the other had the most basic Katon Jutsu. The technique scroll from Yondaime was much larger this year than any of the previous years.
"Now you'd better not burn down this village while you're learning that technique," warned Tsunade.
"Yes Kaasan," said Naruto happily.
"From now on you can heal your own scrapes too," said Shizune.
"Yes nechan," said Naruto not paying much attention as he was engrossed in his new scrolls.
The scroll from the Yondaime Naruto saved until he got home, well home for now, before he opened it to look at. It was much too large to open in the restaurant.
Kirameki Taijutsu – First Stage, the scroll title revealed. Naruto didn't read much of the description as he just wanted to look at it quickly before he went to bed. The scroll showed a human figure in several different stances and fighting positions. It also showed a few different strikes. At the end of the rather long scroll it showed four different Kata. Naruto was so excited he had to go back and read the introduction before he went to bed or he'd never get to sleep.
Kirameki Taijutsu is a technique that is dependant upon the user's ability to use the Kirameki no Jutsu. This is a fighting style that is designed specifically for use in conjunction with the Kirameki no Jutsu. This scroll will reveal the base stances and movements to the style. The style will only be as effective if the user is able to use Kirameki no Jutsu. It is highly dependant on the users speed and very little on the users brute strength. While this scroll can teach the user the base patterns and strikes it cannot make a person a master of the style. To master the style is up to the user.
Naruto finished reading and that night he fell asleep dreaming about practicing his new Taijutsu style. Tsunade and Shizune had taught him a little Taijutsu but it was a style used commonly by medic-nin which was something that Naruto didn't really have much of an interest in. He knew it disappointed his Kaasan a bit that he wasn't very interested in becoming a medic-nin but ever since he received his first scroll from Yondaime he had dreamed of becoming just like the man, even as far as dreaming of one day becoming Hokage of Konoha Village.
The next morning Naruto woke up and ran into the small kitchen area to meet his Kaasan and Shizune.
"Morning Naruto-kun," said Shizune, which caught Naruto a bit off guard. She had always called him Naruto-chan before.
"Morning Naruto-kun," said Tsunade also with a smile catching Naruto even more off guard.
"Eh?" asked Naruto, "Naruto-kun?"
"You're nine now, it wouldn't be proper for us to continue calling such a fine young man Naruto-chan," joked Shizune.
Naruto puffed out his chest in a manly way feeling very proud to have lost the chan from the end of his name. It was a right of passage for the boy and he was proud to accept the change.
"So, what do you want to do today?" asked Tsunade.
"I want to practice my new Taijutsu," said Naruto, "Kirameki Taijutsu." Naruto was beaming with pride.
"Do you want some help?" asked Tsunade. She was interested in what that large scroll had on it and now that Naruto was talking about a new Taijutsu style she could only assume.
"Would you really?" asked Naruto.
"Of course," said Tsunade, "But we'll have to leave town and find somewhere private for you to learn it."
Naruto nodded vigorously.
"Then you and I are going camping for a few days so that you can learn the basics," said Tsunade, "Shizune, enjoy the time off."
Shizune seemed stunned. In the all the years she'd spent with Tsunade she'd never had a day off. She wasn't exactly sure what she should do.
Naruto and Tsunade ended up about half a day's journey from town, far off from any of the main roads and farms. Once there Tsunade told Naruto to find a quiet place to start learning the basics while she made camp for them.
Naruto found a very quiet and pleasant spot of grass surrounded by trees to unroll the scroll to its full length, which was more than six times his current height. And this was only the basic technique scroll.
For the next three hours Naruto did nothing but practice the basic stances and shifting between them using specific methods from the scroll. It was a very fluid Taijutsu style and Naruto could see from the start that he was going to need to increase his speed tremendously if he wanted the style to be useful.
"How is it going?" asked Tsunade from the edge of the clearing.
"Not bad," said Naruto tiredly, "I need more speed and stamina."
"I see, have you learned to block yet?"
"No, just the stances, blocks are next on the list," said Naruto looking at the scroll again.
"I see, are there many?"
"Not so many," said Naruto, "but enough. Each stance uses a different set of blocks to increase efficiency for that particular stance. There about four blocks per stance and so far there are ten different stances in the first stage."
"That's not too bad," said Tsunade, "Do you think you can learn the enough to begin using it by tomorrow?"
"I think so," said Naruto.
"Well then, tomorrow I'll test you," said Tsunade with a little smile that made Naruto very nervous. Tsunade then turned and left Naruto to his own devices.
Naruto swallowed nervously as she left. He'd seen that smile too many times and it always meant trouble for him. Suddenly nothing in the world seemed more important than learning to block and defend himself.
Naruto poured through the scroll until it was too dark to read. After that happened, he spent the rest of the night practicing the different moves by the fire light. At the end of the night crawled into bed next to Tsunade and she wrapped a protective arm around him and kissed the back of his head before they both fell asleep.
Tsunade was awoken the next morning by the sound of Naruto already hard at work on his stances and blocks.
As Naruto discovered that morning the first Kata on the scroll was all blocking and defense. It didn't take him long to memorize and start to practice repeatedly. His movements were still very sloppy and not extremely precise but he was improving at a remarkable rate.
Tsunade cooked some miso-soup and rice for breakfast. She ate very slowly to give Naruto a bit more time to prepare for her.
As soon as she finished eating and cleaned the dishes she began her attack on Naruto. He was blocking pretty well but he really needed to improve his speed and stamina has he couldn't last that long against. But she knew that the weight suit was also working against him as it was the newest level and he just began to use it. There was also the fact that Naruto wasn't using the Kirameki no Jutsu while fight which was honestly working to his disadvantage.
For three hours Tsunade would attack and then allow him to rest for a fifteen minutes before attacking again trying to push him to his limit and then some.
At lunch Tsunade decided that Naruto had had enough. So they ate lunch together talking about happier things.
"Kaasan, do you think I can really learn that Taijutsu?" asked Naruto anxiously. He wasn't feeling overly confident after the sparring session finished.
"I think you can Naruto-kun but you'll have to work very hard," said Tsunade, "Those techniques that Yondaime gives you for your birthday were the skills that he developed himself. You are very, very special if he decided that you should learn them."
"Really?" asked Naruto, "So Yondaime knew when I was born that I'd be able to use his techniques?"
"That's right Naruto," said Tsunade.
"Why did he choose me?"
"Well . . . he knew your parents very well. They died fighting Kyubi you know. Yondaime felt he should leave something behind for you because you were so special," explained Tsunade simply.
Naruto knew long ago that Tsunade wasn't his real mother but as far as he was concerned she was without a doubt his mother and always would be. That didn't stop him from being curious about his blood relations. "Thank you Kaasan for helping me."
"I love you Naruto-kun, it is my pleasure to help you," replied Tsunade.
Naruto happily ate his lunch consisting of 'Cup Ramen' and some fruit. After which he returned to the clearing he'd been studying in before to start learning to attack with his new Taijutsu style. The attacks were rather straight forward as there were closed-hand strikes, open-hand strikes and a variety of kicks available in each stance. The scroll he had focused on the most basic of each of those techniques in each stance.
Once Naruto felt comfortable with the different attacks he began in earnest to work through the Kata provided. Each Kata grew in difficulty as he progressed down the list. Also important to note that within the scroll next to each step of the Kata the scroll gave an example of when to use the illustrated move and it what situation it would be most advantageous. This gave Naruto the opportunity to visualize each attack and block as he moved through each Kata. With time and practice and repetition of the Kata the moves, attacks and defenses would become reflex.
Naruto now had several things to work toward over the course of the next year. First, he wanted to improve even more with using the Kirameki no Jutsu and hopefully reach a point of no longer needing the hand seals. Second, he wanted to master the Kata on the First Stage scroll. Third, he wanted to expand his list of Jutsu starting with the Katon scroll and the Healing scroll and then growing from there. His fourth goal was to double his speed and strength. This would be the toughest goal of all of them.
After training he rejoined Tsunade late that night and again crawled into the sleeping role next to her. Tsunade happily wrapped the familiar protective arm around him and kissed the top of his head before they both fell asleep.
The next three days passed very quickly with the early ours of the day passing in a haze of sparring in which Naruto always lost. Naruto would then spend his afternoon working through the Kata on the scroll and then finally fall asleep exhausted next to his mother.
When they returned to town they were shocked to see that Shizune was in the casino for a change. Worse though was that she was losing even more miserably that Tsunade usually did. As a result the trio had to flee town that night to avoid the debt collectors.
The tenth birthday came much faster than any of the previous birthdays. Naruto, it seemed, was always busy. He was constantly studying with Shizune and if he wasn't studying he was training. That year he'd gone through three new weight suits much to the aggravation of Tsunade's wallet.
Naruto's birthday this year once again consisted of his usual three gifts from his family and one from Yondaime. Shizune got him a new weight suit that was three levels above where he was now.
"I thought you could use the challenge," said Shizune with a slight smirk.
"Yes," shouted Naruto excitedly, "I need to get faster, this is great, thank you Shizune-nechan."
That wasn't exactly the response she was hoping for but was happy that he liked it.
Tsunade once again provided him with a new set of clothes, which he desperately needed as he'd nearly worn through all the clothes he currently had. This year she'd given him ten technique scrolls much to his exuberance. He got three new Katon scrolls, two new healing scrolls, two Doton scrolls, two Mizu scrolls, and one Kinjutsu scroll.
Naruto excitedly opened the Kinjutsu scroll, "Kage Bunshin," he read aloud then his eyes widen when he saw what it did.
"Yes, infinite sparring partners," said Naruto excitedly.
"That was my idea," said Shizune. As much as she hated to admit it, her little brother was getting to be quite skilled with his Taijutsu style and she was having more and more trouble keeping up with him.
Naruto while not overly interested in the Healing scrolls always took time to learn them for the sake of his Kaasan. She still continued to try and encourage him to become a medic-nin though she wasn't making much ground.
Finally Tsunade handed him the scroll from Yondaime. It was the exact same size and shape as the scroll he'd received the previous years and so was fairly confident that this was the Second Stage scroll for his Taijutsu.
"Camping trip Kaasan?" asked Naruto as he balanced the larger scroll on his palm.
Tsunade smiled, "Okay, but we're not leaving Shizune with much money this time."
Shizune pouted but didn't say anything. This time when they returned from their trip they found Shizune at home with a little pet pig she aptly named TonTon. Tsunade fell in love with the little pig and thus it became the new family pet despite Naruto's complaints about having to clean up after it.
Naruto's eleventh birthday came a bit more slowly than his tenth did. Although Naruto was still constantly busy with something. In the year that passed Naruto went through three more weights suits jumping up three levels with each new suit. It was starting to worry both Tsunade and Shizune that he was becoming so strong so fast as he was still so young. But then Naruto also had the chakra of a demon fox running through him so the increase in strength, speed, and stamina could be explained thus.
His Jutsu progression wasn't that fast though. In the year that passed he learned only the ten scrolls he was given. On the other hand he learned extremely well. Naruto spent most of his training time working on his Taijutsu and still trying to master the Kirameki no Jutsu. He still couldn't enable the technique without hands seals and it was starting to get under his skin.
Naruto was not a genius and would never considered one, but his work ethic and 'never say die' attitude more than made up for it. That is not to say that he was stupid either. He learned from books well enough and was descent with strategy and tactics.
Tsunade once again presented him with ten new scrolls and a set of new clothes and Shizune one again gave him a new weight suit this time five levels above where he currently was. She was trying desperately to slow him down at least a little. The Yondaime's scroll this year was the Third Stage scroll for his Taijutsu which once more earned him a camping trip with his Kaasan.
Naruto's twelfth birthday was the birthday that Tsunade was dreading most of all. First, it was the year in which she would have to return with him to Konoha. Second, it was the year the Yondaime left instructions for her to tell him about the Kyubi. Neither of these was creating a very happy thought in her mind. She knew Naruto very well and she didn't want him to be upset by this. As such she was racking her brain trying to find a way to tell him.
"Are we going to dinner tonight Kaasan?" asked Naruto.
"We are but I wanted to talk to you about something," said Tsunade. She could instantly sense the worry coming from Naruto.
"Am I in trouble?" asked Naruto.
"No silly, come here and sit on my lap," said Tsunade patting her leg.
"Kaasan, I'm getting a bit old to sit on your lap," said Naruto as he sat on the couch next to her.
She still wrapped an arm around him which he happily accepted.
"Naruto, do you remember how Yondaime died?"
"He died defeating the Kyubi," said Naruto simply.
"True, Yondaime did defeat the Kyubi, but he could not kill the demon," said Tsunade. Noticing the confused look on Naruto's face she continued on, "Because he couldn't kill the demon he was forced to seal it away. The problem was that he couldn't find anything strong enough to seal it away in. That is until he found a small baby boy with his umbilical cord recently cut. This boy was so strong and so powerful that the Yondaime knew that the boy could seal the beast in. He also knew that in the future that little boy would be able to use the Kyubi as a weapon to help the people of his village that he loved so much. Do you know why I'm telling you this?"
Naruto seemed to be contemplating it carefully, trying to put the pieces together. He thought about the scrolls the Yondaime gave to him and no one else. He thought about why he didn't live in Konoha despite asking to visit. He thought about many of the odd chakra that would occasional spring up within him from time to time. Suddenly it was all making sense, "I'm the vessel aren't I?"
"Yes my little Naruto-kun," said Tsunade trying not to show sadness in voice.
"But I'm not the Kyubi right? Just the vessel?"
"Just the vessel," reassured Tsunade.
"And the fox bastard is mine to do with as I please?" asked Naruto.
"Yes," said Tsunade not liking where this conversation was heading.
"Good, then I need to learn some torture Jutsu or something to make that bastard pay for killing my parents," said Naruto adamantly. Of all the things Naruto could have said, she was not expecting that.
"Naruto, although torturing him would probably be nice, I think it would be more advantageous to take advantage of his almost limitless chakra," said Tsunade.
"So that is why I have that strange seal on my stomach?" asked Naruto.
"That seal is very special," said Tsunade, "That seal was made by Yondaime Hokage to trap the Kyubi. Most importantly though it was designed to slowly kill the Kyubi by draining away its chakra into you. That's why you keep getting so much stronger so fast."
"So the Kyubi will die eventually?"
"Maybe, no one is sure exactly how much chakra Kyubi has. It could take one more year or even one million more years but the point is that it is becoming yours. And when you die, you'll take that fox bastard with you," said Tsunade, "it is the ultimate punishment don't you think?"
"Yeah," said Naruto starting to get excited about it.
"But Naruto-kun, this is a secret. There are some people who won't see you as Naruto but only as the Kyubi if they know that it is inside of you," explained Tsunade to her son.
"That's easy enough, I don't necessarily want any enemies I might make in the future to know about it anyway. It might just make me more of a target than I'm already going to be as Hokage," said Naruto with pride.
"Hokage huh?" asked Tsunade slightly surprise, "Tell you what, if you can prove to me that you are worthy of becoming Hokage someday then I will give you my necklace. How's that?"
"You're on," said Naruto, "You should know better than to make a bet Kaasan. You always lose, especially to me."
"Is that so?" asked Tsunade in mock anger but soon she was tickling her young son and student.
Dinner that evening was pleasant. Naruto receive his usual but this time Tsunade only gave him five scrolls.
"Five? Why only five?" he asked. He didn't mean to sound ungrateful.
"Because in six months we're going home," said Tsunade with a smile. Hopefully if she was upbeat about then he would be too.
"To Konoha?" he asked excitedly.
"Yep," said Tsunade, "if you think you're ready to become a Genin.
"You bet I am," said Naruto, "Aren't I Shizune?"
"I don't know," said Shizune teasing him, "You're kind of short."
"Good things come in small packages," said Naruto in his own defense. Truth was that was about his only defense when anyone attacked his size. If he knew what it meant, he would probably admit to having a bit of a Napoleon Complex.
The Yondaime scroll this year was a small scroll. Thus far Naruto had come a very long way in his training with everything the Yondaime left for him. He now had about a fifty percent success rate of activating the Kirameki no Jutsu without hand seals and was getting better with it everyday. His ability to use the Kirameki Shuriken and Kunai also improved greatly. His Taijutsu though was the most improved. Even without using the Kirameki no Jutsu he could beat Shizune in a Taijutsu spar. For him to beat Tsunade though require him to use the Jutsu. In both cases he had to remove all of his weights though while they kept their own on. Still, a win was a win and if Naruto continued to progress at his current rate then that wouldn't remain the case for very long.
Naruto put those thoughts aside as he opened this year's scroll from Yondaime. "Kirameki Tsuki," read Naruto aloud, "High speed strike using either foot or hand that has a devastating cutting edge."
"I can't believe he gave that to you at twelve years old, what was he thinking?" asked Tsunade who was now scowling.
"That is a very dangerous technique Naruto-kun," warned Shizune, "I want you to promise you will never use that in a friendly sparring session."
"I promise," said Naruto solemnly, "I will learn this though. As a shinobi there will be times when I am a fight for my life and I may have to kill someone. I need to have some techniques like this."
"As long as you understand the consequences," said Tsunade though it was clear she still wasn't happy about it.
The next six months passed quickly and before he knew it, Naruto was returning with his Kaasan and Nechan to Konoha to begin the next phase of his life.