Snakes and Foxes
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto.
A/N: This story is merely based on speculation and my imagination. It is meant for enjoyment purpose. I realize the manga has not explored Naruto's parentage at all. I am only taking two characters who he shares characteristics with and trying to make an interesting story. Enjoy.
Summary: It is natural for a Hidden Village of ninja to have its secrets, but some are better kept than others. A secret envolving the Fourth Hokage and Anko may change Naruto's life forever. Meanwhile Orochimaru is preparing an insidious trap.
Timeframe: Almost 2.5 years after Sasuke left Konoha and Naruto started to train.
A/N: This started story started during the break inbetween Part 1 and Part 2. As a result it is now completely AU, but I am continuing it because the idea is still great and I wasn't even close to revealing the shocking ideas I had. However, don't be surprised if any elements from Part 2 sneak in. Also, as of Chapter 5, I've revised a few minor details to make it fit smoother as a "what if" to Part 2. I'm sure no one remembers that far back, but for new readers I wanted it to fit more smoothly with future chapters.
Chapter 01: Introduction
His opponent stared at him with blue, confident eyes. A slight smirk on his face lacked any cruelty; it just had certain boldness to it. It was as if his opponent knew he was going to win even though all the odds said otherwise. It really was annoying.
He swiped his feet apart, preparing for an offensive position. The motion stirred up the dirt of the empty, abandoned quarry. It was already filled with craters and a few forgotten kunai knives and shuriken from his previous efforts to train there.
The sun was already over their heads. The heat pounded down on the both of them as they both stood completely still in a combat position ready to fight, each waiting for the other to make the first move. He could a feel sweat produced by the heat alone appear at his forehead, but he didn't dare raise his hand to wipe it way. That was just the movement his opponent would take advantage of.
The sweat drop slowly slid until it reached his nose and then it suddenly dropped.
His opponent disappeared, raising the dirt from underneath his feet into a cloud. As quickly as his opponent had vanished he felt a solid fist connect with his jaw. All this happened before the sweat drop hit the ground.
It took a great amount of balance and skill to keep him from flying from the punch. He attached his feet to the ground with his chakra at the last second and his muscles aching he managed to keep from bending over backwards. Instead he thrust himself forward, using his chakra to anchor him to the ground, and gave his opponent a punch as well. This punch sent his opponent flying.
They simultaneously wiped the blood off their lips like a mirror image. They had the same clothes, the same blond hair, and the same blue eyes, only their expressions were different: one overly confident and the other lacking confidence in himself. It was hard to tell which one was the real.
"What the matter? Are you getting slow?" asked his opponent. His eyes looked suddenly hard and sharp. It was unsettling.
"Idiot!" he yelled back. "I'm just getting warmed up!"
He hurt. His body still ached. Why didn't his opponent hurt? Technically they received the same pounding from the Akatsuki.
The memory burned inside. It made his heart ached for entirely different reasons. Two and a half years hadn't been long enough. He still wasn't strong enough. He hadn't been strong enough to save…
"Damn it!" he yelled as he launched himself toward is opponent, while trying to avoid the memory in his head. He grabbed three shuriken out of his pouch, one between each finger, and three them, but once again his opponent vanished, leaving only a cloud of dust.
Three days ago Jiraiya had gone to off to talk to his informant. Ironically, it wasn't about the Akatsuki, but a series of disappearances in the village. Word was that a local merchant who owned a mansion in a rural area was involved, but he was only the greedy type. It wasn't enough to explain what was going on, but on Naruto's urging Jiraiya begin investigating.
"Damn it! Damn it!" he yelled as he quickly turned, dust billowing all around him; only to have a foot smashed in his face.
Jiraiya hadn't returned. Naruto had sensed the massive use of chakra in the area and followed it, but it was already too late.
"Are you really a ninja?"
He moved again, this time trying for up close taijutsu, but his opponent blocked every move. It wasn't as if he wasn't moving fast, he knew he was also moving so fast an ordinary ninja wouldn't be able to keep up with him, but his opponent wasn't ordinary.
"You aren't fighting like yourself. Did you forget all your techniques after the Akatsuki kicked your brains in?"
A ball of swirling blue chakra formed in his opponent's hand. He saw it clearly in front of him, so close that his opponent just had to thrust his arm forward and it would connect.
It took all of his chakra control to make his body move faster than normal, to twist out of the way of the incoming attack and kick his opponent in the chest making him move far enough way he was clear of the Rasengan.
The chakra-amplified kick had been the first solid hit he had on his opponent. The young man hit the ground hard and didn't back up immediately.
He looked at his hand and remembered.
"Ouch! Eh, are you finally waking up?" asked his opponent.
"Shut up," he said softly.
"So, you're just going to stay here and brood some more?"
"Shut up," he said again. He was tired of that voice.
"What about those people? You were so enthusiastic about saving them before."
"I don't-" he yelled, but stopped himself. He couldn't say it. It wouldn't be true.
"Care? That is so unlike you."
"I was always getting Perverted Hermit into trouble. I was always sticking my nose some place where I didn't belong. Sometimes he bailed me out. Sometimes I got out on my own, but he never yelled at me…"
"I seemed to recall he did," his opponent said.
"He would call me an idiot or a brat, but that was different. He never once called me demon or looked at me like I wasn't me inside. He believed in me…"
"What? I didn't hear you," his opponent urged him.
"I'm Uzumaki Naruto! I'm the one he taught. I'm the one he wanted to succeed him!" he yelled as he pointed his thumb to his chest.
Naruto stood straight up and glared at the shadow clone. The clone ignored his glare and stood up as well with a fox-like smile on his face.
He knew he needed someone to beat some sense into him and the shadow clone was the answer. The clone wasn't really different from him: same amount of chakra, same techniques he knew, and same appearance. The incredible amount of chakra in it even prevented it from disappearing after this long of a fight. However, Naruto created the clone to lack any of the self-doubt he was feeling now.
The Perverted Hermit would have rolled his eyes if he saw Naruto's newest idiotic method of training, but then again he would have hit him over the head if he saw him brooding away like Sasuke.
Naruto shifted into a defensive position. His arms were spread out and his hands were as far as part as could be.
"You can't even perform a technique like that!" laughed the clone. Naruto smiled. The only knew as much as he knew at the time of its creation. If he learned something during their fight, then the clone would have no idea what it was.
"Finally!" the clone yelled as he ran straight forward, just as Naruto would have.
"I'll show you how to really perform the Rasengan!"
"Still too slow!" the clone yelled as he rushed forward, prepared to punch him while avoiding the closest hand to him, but Naruto wasn't as slow as the clone thought and quickly caught his wrist with one hand and showed the clone the palm of his other hand. The clone tried to pull away, but Naruto wasn't letting go.
"You meant to grab me?" the clone asked, but it was already too late.
The blue ball of swirling chakra formed easily in his other hand. After three years of training he had painstakingly learned how to do with single handedly and quick. It had been difficult, maybe even more difficult than when he first learned it, but he did it and he never forgot the proud look on Perverted Hermit's face. He wanted to believe so hard that it wasn't the look of a teacher, but it would be the same look a father would give a son.
The clone didn't even bother to give him a shocked expression as the Naruto thrust the Rasengan through him. It didn't take long for the clone to explode into a puff of smoke.
It was over and Naruto felt better than he had in days.
There were some people who needed saving and it didn't matter if he was alone now. He would keep on moving forward so he wouldn't have any more regrets.
"Alright, let's go!" he yelled to no one in particular, but himself.
Two and a half years seemed like forever.
While children led energetic lives that never seemed to slow down and they continued to grow and learn at a none stop rate unlike adults, two and a half years could take a long time, especially when waiting for someone.
Sakura had spent a lot of the last few years just within the Hokage Towers. The Hokage often taught her while putting off some duty or another and unfortunately sometimes found herself as Tsunade's assistant rather than her apprentice. Still it was a job that allowed her to learn much about Konoha that she hadn't known before.
However, that didn't include knowing where all the rooms were.
"The second level, five doors to the left of the stairway," she said to herself not for the first time. "Geez, there is no fifth door! You would figure Tsunade-sama would know the Hokage Tower better than this."
It was not the first time that Tsunade had sent her to the wrong room, but as with the previous times she was reluctant to turn back and admit defeat. Tsunade was sure to lecture her if she did and Sakura had learned it was a legitimate excuse for exploring.
She was now trying the third floor and there was a fifth door from the left of the stairway, but it was not the room she was looking for. However, something caught her attention.
It was a quiet, dark room with a couch inside. It wasn't large and hardly unique except for five pictures mounted on the wall facing the couch. The fifth and last picture had been easy to recognize. It was a color portrait of her the Fifth Hokage, her teacher, Tsunade.
"Haha! These must be pictures of the Hokages!" she said in excitement. She had never seen a color picture of them. Everyone's image of the previous Hokages was based on the Hokage Monument.
She started with the First, then the Second, and then the Third.
"The Third Hokage looks so young!" she said with amusement.
Sakura was so engrossed into memorizing every feature, the color of their hair and eyes, and their expressions that she didn't even notice she had been caught.
"Sakura, what are you doing here?"
"Kakashi-sensei!" she said after about jumping out of her skin. She turned and saw her former sensei standing in the doorway. "I was running an errand for Tsunade-sama and found got lost!"
"Oh? So in other words she sent you the wrong directions again and you took the opportunity to explore."
"Yes," she admitted in defeat as her shoulders slump, but she knew she wasn't really in trouble. There was a certain look in Kakashi's only visible eye that told her when he was really smiling under his mask.
Running around the Hokage Tower was not without its restrictions. She had passed the rankof alowly Genin who wasn't allowed to visit except when receiving a mission or making a report. Even after becoming a Chuunin, there was still certain places that only high-officials and special individuals were allowed. Sakura was given a certain amount of access to the Tower due to being Tsunade's apprentice and while she certainly had the skill to be more than just a Chuunin-level medical-nin, there were some who took her true rank very seriously.
Fortunately, Kakashi was not one of them.
"What are you doing here, Kakashi-sensei?"
"Oh, just picking up a new mission. I'll be gone for a while so I thought I drop by and say hi," he explained as he walked into the room.
Inner Sakura cursed. She was a ninja without a team. She rarely went on missions and instead studied under Tsunade or sometimes Shizune constantly. All of the Konoha rookies had become Chuunins by now, all except Team 7. Tsunade had offered to make arrangements for Sakura to join another team, but she rather stubbornly held her ground. She wasn't going to take the Chuunin exam unless Team 7 was whole again.
"Ah, I see they finally managed to put of Tsunade's picture," he said as he looked at the last picture. "At least that went better than the talks with the Monument sculptors."
Sakura cringed at that. She witness the rather violent argument between Tsunade and a head sculptor who believed the stone face for Tsunade should be true to her real age. It hadn't gone well after that point.
She turned and looked at the last picture to examine, that of the Fourth Hokage.
"Hmm? What is wrong Sakura?" asked Kakashi as he noticed her confused expression.
She saw a young man with spiky blonde hair and blue eyes, exactly the same color as Naruto's. The face wasn't similar, but there was an eerie resemblance. Somewhere in the back of her mind she remembered all the times Naruto confidently claimed he would become the next Hokage. It wasn't hard to imagine Naruto's face there.
For some reason it made her smile.
She was still smiling as she read the nameplate below the picture. It was strange when she thought about it. Except for the Fifth Hokage she really didn't know the names of the other Hokages. She only knew the Third'sbecause Tsunade still affectionately referred to her former teacher by his real name. Yet, it was asif an individual's name meant nothing compared to the title of Hokage or the responsibility over the entire village rather one's family or oneself. So it was interesting to read the names of the Hokages, until she saw the name of the Fourth.
Kakashi sighed wearily. How was he going to explain this?
Next Chapter: Kakashi's Flashback!
Author's Note: I felt Jiraiya had to die because he was Naruto's protector and kept him out of a lot of the trouble that he could get in. It also provides a chance for a dark Naruto who has lost someone very important to him. Jiraiya is one of my favorites, but I felt the impact he had on Naruto could be explored after he was gone.
1.0: Added a new chapter 1. The previous chapter 1 is now 2 and the previous 2 is now 3. It was done to make a flashback much more smoother.
1.1: Cleaned up the header and replaced the summary. Added "Author's Note". The timeline is now 2.5 years instead of 3 to reflect the actual time used in "Part 2" of the manga. Changed Sakura from a Genin to Chuunin (never expected Kishimoto to make her a Chuunin so early).