Naruto is the creative property of Masashi Kishimoto, who created this wonderful anime/manga series. Anything not attributed to Kishimoto-san belongs to their respective owners, such as references to Cowboy Bebop (the Swordfish II) that is a creation of Sunrise and Shinichiro Watanabe, BLEACH is a creation of Kubo Tite, and vice-versa. This story is written purely just for fun, guys; please for God's sake, don't sue me! I'm just a college student with too much free time on his hands! On the other hand, any specific author created characters I created for this fic (despite how unoriginal they may be at times) are mine. So without further adieu, let's get on with the show!
The Surgeon General's Warning:
Read at your own risk. Multiple pairings inside folks, with UraharaxYoruichi (maybe a Soi FongxUraharaxYoruichi three way?) to name one, but I ain't gonna give away who will be the gal who gets Naruto's heart just yet! w00t, for Fem-Haku! You never know what you're going to get so read on (I might even do some alternative stuff, if you know what I mean).
How to be a Mr. Nice Guy
Ore no Nindo / My Way of the Ninja is...
How It Started
A Naruto-BLEACH fanfic by James "Ray" Edwards
The battle was over, the day won, and yet, it had come at a terrible price. The Yondaime, the fourth Hokage of the Hidden Village of Konoha was dead. Just like the saying he always liked to say that being Hokage meant that he had promised his life to the village, and just like that, he had given the ultimate sacrifice, the ultimate expression of love for his people by giving up his own life. The Kyuubi, the dreaded Nine-Tailed Fox demon had been sealed in the belly of a child, an apparent orphan with no family to speak of, and for the rest of his natural days, he would carry the demon with him.
With any luck, this hairless boy who had not even a name or a stitch of clothing to him yet would ensure that not a soul would ever be harmed by the Kyuubi again.
"But you gotta wonder, was it worth it, Sarutobi-san?" chuckled the "younger" man beside him in an amiable baritone, just the right mix of melancholy and mischief. Truly, he was worthy of the moniker of "The Wise Fool." He sure acted like a fool, an absolute child in a grown man's body with his antics, but this man with his pale straw blonde hair and near permanent five o'clock shadow was anything except a fool. "And better yet, how much more do we still have to pay?"
Sarutobi never expected he would outlive his own prized pupil, his successor to the responsibility of Hokage, but reality did not always follow his expectations. It was because of this very incongruity they he now stood at the Hokage Monument's overlook giving him an expansive comprehensive view of the price that had been extracted from the living. His beautiful village, his city, his home was burning to the ground, dust to dust and ashes to ashes.
Teams of his best nin were scurrying from blaze to blaze trying to get the firestorm under control, and by his calculations, it would be another three hours at least before they would gain any ground on the fire. A majority of the Hidden Village of Konoha would have to be rebuilt from scratch, a massive post-war reconstruction effort that would take years to complete and cost astronomical sums of capital from the village's coffers. The Yondaime was dead, and there was no choice but to reinstate an old man such as himself as the Sandaime once again.
Truly, it was the miserable end of an equally miserable day, and that was why presently he was in the company of one child, one wise fool, and one black feline. Of course, the cat was out cold in the lap of the wise fool. The child in his arms, wrapped in a white makeshift blanket made from a torn of curtain, was sleeping peaceably well enough with three sets of black "whisker" marks etched into his cheeks.
The wise fool was splashed with blood from head to toe, stripped from the waist up with only a set of stained black hakama, tabi socks, and straw sandals for modesty. Amazingly, there was not a single scratch on him, and somehow, he had kept his hands from being soiled as well. He stroked the equally blood stained fur of the unconscious black cat gently with a kind of idle joy, as if he were seeking solace in this simple repetition. Laying beside him, propped against the wooden bench he sat upon was a nondescript wooden cane.
The four of them made a very strange quartet indeed.
"So what happens now, Urahara Kisuke-dono?" Sandaime spoke up first, doing absolutely nothing to hide the catching anxiety in his voice. He was honestly getting much too old for this sort of ugly business, and quite frankly, he felt he deserved a break after such a long, hard day.
The wise fool laughed, echoing much of his own insecurities amiably. "That's a good question, Sarutobi-san."
"Truth is, even I don't have a definite clue of what to do next. In the end, we were too little, too late. The village is burning; Arashi-kun, what a guy, is dead along with a ghastly number of other people caught up in this conspiracy."
"But the Kyuubi has been sealed. Surely, it was not..."
"That's what they want you to think, San-dai-me. Those tricky bastards won completely. This game from the start was a win-win situation. They've got the souls they want, and God only knows, what else they've managed to accomplish."
"We're ruined, completely ruined. I've lost everything. My home, my life's work, my colleagues, my very existence; all gone because of them, and on top of that, I dragged Yoruichi-san into this mess too. She's just as much an exile, a fugitive as I am now."
"I see..." Sarutobi nodded sullenly. "Will the Shinigami come after you?"
"Yup-yup, with deadly certainty. I'd say my future prospects are looking pretty grim, Sarutobi-san."
"I find it hard to believe you truly are several centuries old with that kind of attitude, Urahara-dono."
The bloodied man giggled girlishly, which sent a few cringing chills up the Hokage's spine despite his years of experience. It was really disturbing to hear Kisuke giggle. "Oh please. 'Urashara-dono' makes me feel like an old man. Kisuke-chan or just Urahara!"
"Ah, of course..."
"So what happens now, Sarutobi-san?"
And so the tables between he and I have turned, so it seems, thought the old man with a chuckle. "That's a good question, Urahara-kun."
"Oooo, 'Urahara-kun'! I like the sound of that!"
"Rebuild. Konoha needs strong leadership and guidance more than ever. Thanks to the Kyuubi, our position as a ninja village is in dire straits, and I fear that we will soon have to fight for our survival once again, not against another demon, but against our fellow humans."
"Ah, that's true. The daiymo lords don't really care about you all. One ninja village is about as good any other ninja village as long as they get the results they want."
"So what's to become of the boy?"
Sarutobi frowned, his shoulders tensing up abruptly. "I --- don't know."
"Ouch, it's that bad, huh?"
"Likely, I can persuade the nin of this village not to seek retribution against the boy, but the villagers, the citizens of Konoha, will not be so kind I'm afraid. They have suffered much. No, everyone has suffered, and they'll all be looking for a scapegoat. They won't care if he's just a child, innocent and naive. Vessel or no vessel; the villagers will perceive to be the Kyuubi regardless, and alas, the nin will undoubtedly not think much better of him."
"'Because of him, the Yondaime is dead!' or something like that, isn't that right?"
"Yes, and their loved ones and more."
"Looks like he's about as screwed as I am too."
The Sandaime did a spit-take at the utter crudeness of Kisuke's remarks. "Urahara-kun, watch your language!"
"Oh, phooey, he's asleep, Sarutobi-san! No harm in me dropping some mild language right, like fu-"
"ENOUGH!" the older man roared, cradling the infant in his arms protectively. It was a small miracle that the boy had not awakened thanks to their brief bickering.
"Okay, okay, geez! I was only kidding," Kisuke mumbled back sheepishly. Moodily, he stared out at the fiery cityscape when suddenly a peculiar idea struck him. It was insane, utterly absurd, and if Yoruichi was conscious, she would have probably killed him for such a ridiculous idea. However, he had to admit it was completely brilliantly. Why he could barely hold back the urge to jump for joy and shout "Eureka!" passionately.
"Say, I got a great idea, Sandaime-san!"
"I'll take care of him for you, and don't you worry because I'll find away to get him read to be whatever it is he wants to be! Who knows, maybe he even wants to be an inventor just like me!"
Sarutobi stared flatly at the blood soaked man.
"Urahara-kun, you do realize that is the most preposterous proposal you've made since you set foot in this village, yes?"
"Even crazier than my Plan B to take care of the Kyuubi?"
"Yes, even crazier than your Plan B to take care of the Kyuubi."
"Awww, and I thought it was a brilliant plan too." The former shinigami smiled wryly, a tell-tale sign that he was in fact quite serious, much to the Hokage's private exasperation.
"Urahara-kun, do you have any experience with children? Any?"
"Well, I was one once, a long, long time ago. Right now, sounds like a good time as any to revisit my childhood aspirations. So does that count?"
Sarutobi sighed with forlorn resignation. There was no stopping the eccentric self-proclaimed "scientist" once he got himself worked up about something. "Would you perhaps reconsi-"
"Reconsider? What's there to reconsider, Sarutobi?" Kisuke demanded emphatically, raising his voice for the first time and dropping all pretenses of propriety. The man's stern eyes, clear as crystal, glared at him with a resolution that bordered insanity, as he raised an accusing finger towards the burning cityscape, choking with ashes, the screams of humanity, and darkness. "Do you seriously want him to suffer by growing up in this wretched hell hole?"
"This is NOT Konoha's finest hour, man! It's chaos down there, a literal Hell on Earth."
"Yes, but the people of Konoha-!"
"Open your eyes! Look! Down there! All the ugliness in the human heart is bubbling right up to the surface! Even a blind fool can see it! The people who survive this will change, and they will hate him, detest him, and kill him with their malice openly or otherwise. There's nothing for him here, Sarutobi. Nothing at all. Can you imagine what'll happen to him once the parents begin to teach their children-"
"I won't allow it, Kisuke!" the Hokage roared back defensively. "I'll think of something. A rule, perhaps, that no-"
"You're just running away from the problem, Sarutobi. The boy will never have a life. It'll be a miracle that he doesn't become a monster when all of this is said and done."
"I can understand you love your people --- but think about this from the boy's perspective. Think about his wants and needs! Not about the village. You know you can't raise him; your position as Hokage would never allow --- well, you can imagine what the Council of Elders and the people will think."
He knew the shinigami was right, but the truth did not make his decisions any easier to bear. It had been years since he had felt such a righteous indignation because here was this man insulting the very home, the very people, and the very ideals he had fought and bled for, yet...
"Shout, scream, cry, or do whatever it is you have to do, Sarutobi-san. We're only mortal at the end of the day. Even shinigami don't live forever, and we're just fallible as humans."
"But, how do you expect to raise him, dammit? Have you forgotten the consequences you mentioned so clearly to Arashi and I, the consequences we would have to face by accepting your aid?"
Kisuke laughed, shaking his head as the light from the bright flames flickered hauntingly in his eyes. "Of course not, but a man needs something more than revenge to live for, right?"
"I've only seen a few things destroy a man faster than revenge, Sarutobi-san. Vanity. Pride. Yup, they're pretty high up on the list, don't you think so?"
No further words were said between the two men. Hands exchanged predictably with the sleeping baby of a boy wrapped in his impromptu white sheets going to Kisuke while the unconscious black cat went to the Sandaime. Interestingly, as soon as he laid his on the child, the boy began to cry, earning an amused laugh out of the shinigami as he stood to his full prominent height. The smell of blood, apparently, was not to his liking in the slightest, and the blonde-haired man had to admit aloud that he smelled dreadful, like a slaughterhouse.
Sarutobi sighed inwardly, doubting whether he had made the right decision. However, as he stood there, watching Kisuke dote upon the child, cooing to him and making all sorts of absurd contortions with his face in order to get the boy to smile or to laugh rather to wail loudly, he had a small instinctive gut feeling that everything might turn out all right. It was a going to be a long twelve years before he would ever see the man --- and the boy again, but in the meantime, he would do his best to secure their future.
The old, wizened man could only hope he could withstand Yoruichi Shihouin's righteous feminine indignation once she learned of the "crazy" or better yet "insane" scheme that was being set into motion without her say.
"Say, did Arash-kun ever mention to you what he would have named his first-born son?" Kisuke asked him in a solemn good-natured voice, as he continued to play with the child. Apparently, the nameless boy was very much interested with this apparent game of trying to capture his fingers by any means possible --- "Ouch!" --- including biting.
"Hmm, a name is it? You're much more thoughtful than you appear to be, Urahara-kun."
"Of course! I always try to please."
"I'm afraid Arashi never talked much about his aspirations for a family, at least to me anyhow. The only person who would know is the sannin, Jiraiya, but he's already long gone, unfortunately."
"So what to call him then? Jinta... Kyo... Kenji... Naota... Agh, they just don't suit this little guy."
"How about --- Uzumaki Naruto?"
"U-zu-ma-ki Na-ru-to. Hmmmm, Uzumaki Naruto. Naruto. Uzumaki. Naru-chan! Uzu-san! Maki-yan! To-han! Hmmm, Uzumaki Naruto! I LIKE it! Did you hear it, kid?"
As if understanding the shinigami's own words, the child with his bright blue eyes gave a gurgling cheer, raising his arms as high as he could.
"Your name from this day forth is: UZUMAKI NARUTO!"
And so it began...
To be continued...
Well, there you have it. Chapter 1 in all of its glory. Thoughts, feelings, questions: hey, fire away, fellas.
Thank you all for tuning in and remember, I always encourage each and everyone of you to feel free to comment, review, and/or discuss the story. Your comments can really make a difference, I assure you, and if you're up to it, feel free to ring me up on AIM, or even send me an e-mail (although you really don't need to boost my ego too often). You know how to get in touch with the maestro here.