Title: Konoha's Lonely Wolf
Genre: Drama/humor X-over
Rating: PG-13 to R at some point
Disclaimer: I don't own these characters. Don't sue me, I'm poor.
Summary: Naruto was being mistreated and ignored for most of his early life in the village hidden in the leaves. Worse yet, he was ignored by those that should have cared the most for him, his own surviving family. Lucky for him, his uncle Shiranui Genma has seen enough. Of course Konoha's #1 bachelor jounin can't raise a small child due to the danger in his job. But, his dear cousin Mai and her husband Andy, who live beyond the boundaries of the elemental territories, are willing to step up where the rest of Naruto's family has failed.
indicates Kyuubi speak
"Demon! Monster! Miserable Wretch!" the calls carried as five year old Uzumaki Naruto ran for his life while being chased a several angry villagers. The boy once again wondered just what he did to anger people as they tried to corner him in an alleyway. Fortunately for the boy who dreamed of one day being the Hokage, he was small and clever and was able to crawl through a small hole in the corner of the wooden fence in the alleyway and escape to safety.
Unfortunately for the villagers, several jounin and ANBU loyal to the Sandaime and his orders were attracted by the disturbance and were more than willing to take the small mob in for questioning over their behavior.
Once they were cleared out, two jounin remained to see that the boy made it safely back to his new apartment without letting him know he was being watched. It just wouldn't do for him to grow too dependant on his bodyguards in the face of a life as a shinobi in the future.
Truthfully, the thought that Naruto was living on his own at that age because the Hokage could no longer find a proper person willing to care for him that the Council would approve of made one jounin in particular, namely Shiranui Genma, sick to his stomach and angry as hell all at once. He, more than most, understood just how important Naruto truly was to the village and its people. Genma knew of the Kyuubi no Kitsune Naruto protected them from simply by living to act as the cage and jailer for the legendary beast, of course, but he knew more than that. He knew what few outside of the Hokage and the Council knew. He knew Naruto was the Yondaime's only son. Of course it would figure that Genma would know that, his sister Shiranui Yuki had been the blonde ball of childish energy's mother, after all.
Once he and his partner for the operation, in this case one Mitarashi Anko, had seen the boy enter his hovel of an apartment and struggle to make himself some instant ramen his purple-haired companion left to make her report to Hokage-sama without so much as a word. The treatment of the blonde boy struck a chord in her as well and she didn't want to remain in sight of the child long enough recall how the ignorant people of Konoha had treated the apprentice of a certain S-class missing-nin until she got tough enough to scare them into leaving her alone.
Genma stayed long enough to frown at the lonely child as he watched him through a window from across the street before he disappeared in a puff of smoke.
This just isn't right, damnit. I can almost excuse the rest of the damn village for their ignorance, but how can our clan do this to him? We're shinobi, not mindless civilians. Genma ranted in his head as he chewed on one of his ever present weapons of choice, the senbon needle.
Of course, he knew why the Shiranui clan did not claim Naruto. In their eyes he had three major strikes against him. First, and least important to them, truthfully, was the Kyuubi. Second was his gender. The Shiranui clan specialized in kunoichi that used seduction to gather information and assassinate their targets. They worked from the shadows with coy smiles and promises of pleasure. Hell, they were upset at him for training to be a shinobi beyond the rank of genin. Graduating the Academy for appearances was all well and good, but in the eyes of the Shiranui the only thing he was good for was making more kunoichis to mold. The very idea he would become an accomplised combat jounin was detestable to them. The dangers of the life of a combat jounin could put his all important Shiranui kunoichi producing seed into jeopardy. It was also why they claimed he was unsuitable to care for his sister's son. After all, he could perish on a mission and leave the boy orphaned all over again at any moment.
It was the final 'sin' Naruto committed in the clan's eyes that made Genma want to scream in frustration, though. Namely, Naruto was born. Oh, they weren't upset that Yuki gave birth to the Yondaime's heir, per se. They were upset that she defied her grandmother, the current clan head Shiranui Tsubaki, who had not given her approval of Yuki's relationship with Kazama Arashi or her insistence on remaining faithful to him alone. A Shiranui unwilling to use her body to seduce people wasn't worth bothering with in the eyes of the clan head. Naruto's very existence was proof that Yuki had defied convention just like Genma had.
And just like their great aunt Keiko had defied the clan. The elder sister Keiko had left Konoha and the Elemental Countries with her new husband Jubei decades ago rather than bow to clan pressures. In a way Naruto represented the resentment Genma's grandmother had toward her own sister who left her with the burdens of becoming the clan heir.
"Hmm. Great-aunt Keiko. That gives me an idea. Doesn't Mai-chan have a husband and a couple of kids now? I wonder if she might be willing to weigh in on what's happening to the kid?" Genma muttered to himself as he entered his apartment and headed right for his desk.
Dear cousin Mai... he thought as he began to write a letter to his elder cousin Shiranui, now Bogard, Mai.
/Two Weeks Later/
The day was not going well for one Sandaime Hokage Sarutobi. The Council had blocked his request to send more funds into Naruto-kun's expense account and had rejected five more candidates willing to take the poor boy in, including the owner of Ichiraku's Ramen stand and several well respected shinobi of lesser families. His favorite Icha Icha book had been found by his daughter and burned. He was out of his favorite imported tobacco for his ever-present pipe (something he hoped to one day convince Asuma was better smelling and more dignified than simple cigarettes.)
But the primary reason this was a bad day was an unexpected one for him. Namely there was a gorgeous kunoichi with huge breasts in his office. Unfortunately this occasion was neither a happy reunion with his former genin pupil Tsunade, nor was it anything more... pleasurable.
No, instead he was staring into the fierce eyes of one Bogard Mai, self-proclaimed Kunoichi of Love from the King of Fighters Tournaments the people outside of the Elemental Countries seemed to care so much about.
It was bad enough he was facing an outsider for all intents and purposes. The citizens of the Elemental Countries took careful pains to associate with the outside world as little as possible, going to the lengths of maintaining a monstrous multi-national genjutsu that hid their entire territory from the unknowing. Although he had to admit to himself that Mai, a descendant of Shiranui Keiko, was technically a citizen by proxy of Fire Country. She had even visited there a time or two when she was a young girl of about thirteen.
"How dare you treat a child like this, much less a member of my family. Leaving him on his own at the age of five? I've never heard of anything so negligent and irresponsible in my life," Mai spat at the old man in front of her. She had arrived in Konoha all of three hours ago and was treated to the sight of her cousin's child being chased out of one store for wanting to buy food and being sold expired milk at a huge mark-up at another. Needless to say, she was less than pleased.
"Now, Shiranui-san, please. My hands were tied by the village council. The orphanage would no longer care for Naruto-kun, and the Council will not approve any of the caretakers I select so long as he has living family in the village. But really, he is a quite resourceful lad and this will help teach him the life lessons he will need to become a great shinobi," Sarutobi tried to explain.
"The village council can kiss my ass, Hokage-sama. Especially that old bat obaasama was forced to call her little sister. Do you really think I can't figure out why Genma-chan wasn't allowed to raise his own nephew? Naruto-kun's being punished for his mother violating the ridiculous edicts of those worms I'm ashamed to call my family set before her. If he had been born female you could be certain they'd have taken the child in. Yuki-chan must be turning over in her grave at what you've been allowing to happen to her child," Mai sneered at him with a look that promised serious pain for the village as a whole. Even Geese Howard would have taken a step back at the look in her eyes right then.
"I know the situation is unpleasant, but there is nothing more I can do right now to rectify the problem," Sarutobi finally snapped in irritation. He was no more pleased with Naruto-kun's treatment than she was. Couldn't she see that?
Mai looked strangely satisfied as she folded her arms under her generous chest and smiled at the old man before her. For some reason that sight was not nearly as pleasurable for Sarutobi as he would have thought it should be. "Lucky for you, I have a solution. I will be taking your problem off of your hands," the kunoichi declared with certainty.
The Sandaime did not share her pleasure at that notion one iota as he adopted a stubborn posture and retorted, "Absolutely not. Naruto is a citizen of the village, a shinobi prospect, and a hero to us all with what he has endured no matter what the civilians of the village might see. He is NOT leaving." There was no way he was about to let Arashi's only son be taken not only from the village, but from the Elemental Countries all together. It was inconceivable.
"Oh, Naruto-kun is definitely coming with me, old man. With or without your approval," Mai replied with a sure certainty that only a wife and mother could muster when she knew she was right.
"Is that a threat?" Sarutobi bristled in agitation.
"Threat?" Mai asked innocently. "Of course not. It's a fact. I'm not going to fight you and these idiots to get Naruto-chan out of this hellhole you've left him in, Sarutobi. I'm going to take my case to the Daimyo of Fire Country. I think we can both agree that a blood relative willing to adopt Naruto, an abused child by every definition that is mostly hated in his current place of residence, will have more than enough right and authority to take him."
At that, Sarutobi knew he was beat. There was no way he could countermand an order from the Daimyo, and he knew all too well the man would give the boy up without a thought. Within the eyes of the law Mai had every right to claim the child.
Still, that didn't mean all was lost. "Perhaps we could come to a compromise, Mai-san," Sarutobi ventured earnestly.
"What KIND of compromise could I possibly be interested in at this point, Hokage-sama?" Mai asked with deep sarcasm.
"Well, the thing is, Naruto-kun holds a deep desire to become a shinobi of the Leaf. In fact, he desires to one day take my position from me. He can't do that from outside the village, now can he? Losing his dream like that would devastate the lad," Sarutobi explained.
"I can train him well enough in how to use chakra, and he'll learn more about martial arts from my husband and I, not to mention my brother-in-law, Higashi-san, Rock-kun, and several other friends we have then he could ever learn here. I might even be able convince Yagami Iori to help train him in how deal with his... tenant. Kagura Chizuru owes me a favor and she has a way of talking Iori-san into many things he'd normally refuse," Mai informed him imperially.
Sarutobi actually smiled as he responded, "Ah, but all that knowledge won't aid him in becoming the next Hokage."
"I'm not moving my family here, Hokage-sama. Keiko-obaachan left for a reason and I still abide by it," Mai replied in a monotone.
"Nor would I expect you to move here, Mai-san. But I think we can come to an arrangement. What if say, you take Naruto-kun for now, but promise to train him in at least the academy jutsus and history lessons. I can arrange for some copies of the Academy scrolls to be sent with you. All that I ask is that you return with Naruto-kun when he is thirteen so that he can take the Academy exit exam and become a genin. Then we will train him until he reaches the rank of chuunin. At that point what the child chooses to do will be up to him. Does that sound agreeable?" Sarutobi suggested.
"And what if Naruto-kun doesn't make chuunin? Men of the Shiranui clan don't tend to do well in the exams, Genma-chan excluded," Mai asked skeptically. "He takes the chuunin exam once, and then he gets his choice," she countered.
"That's not even plausible, Mai-san. Most genin fail the exam their first time. He should be able to take it five times at the very least," the Sandaime haggled.
"Three times, or I go to the Daimyo and make it zero," Mai responded flatly.
Sarutobi looked a little upset but finally nodded his agreement. "Deal," he announced with a nod of his head. "I'll have the paperwork for the agreement drawn up. If you like I'll summon Genma-kun and he can take you to meet your new son."
Mai smiled a smile that lit up the room and bounced a bit in place, much to the Sandaime's pleasure, as she replied, "That sounds wonderful. It will be so nice to finally get to see Genma-chan again. It's been so long. And I'm sure Naruto-kun will be so thrilled to learn he has a family."
Sarutobi smiled sadly as he glanced out the window to the face of the Yondaime on the Hokage monument for a moment and said, "Yes, I'm certain he will."
"So, how bad is it really, Genma-chan?" Mai asked as she and her cousin roof hopped to Naruto's apartment.
"I didn't dare put how horrible they treat him into my letter, Mai-san," Genma replied only to recoil a bit at the frosty look Mai was giving him. "Gomen," he ammended, "Mai-neechan."
The kunoichi of love beamed as she responded, "That's better. You and Yuki-chan were always the only two people here I ever cared to call family. Well the only ones since I was never notified of Naturo's existence."
"Hokage-sama and Tsubaki-obaasama knew you'd claim the kid if you knew about him. Neither wanted it to happen for their own reasons. I had a hell of a time just notifying you he existed. It wasn't right, and I could ignore it while Naruto was cared for in the orphanage, since they treated him like a person even if they were indifferent to him. But once he was released and placed in his own apartment while I knew the Council was blocking attempts to adopt him? Well, that was too far," Genma replied with a shrug.
Soon they reached a small and somewhat dirty apartment complex in one of the poorer neighborhoods of Konoha.
"Is this it?" Mai asked as she looked the area over carefully. She knew there wasn't a crime problem in the ninja village the way there had been in a place like Southtown (especially not with the Uchiha acting as the police force), but the air of desperation around her still made her feel wary.
"Yep. This is all the Council would spring for. They said he was small so he didn't need a bigger place to live," Genma seethed. Kami-sama he wanted to tell those old fossils off sometimes.
"Do you think he'll like me?" Mai asked, suddenly nervous as they approached Naruto's door.
Genma could only smile sadly as he responded, "I think he'll adore you. After all, you are family."
With that said, he knocked lightly on the door and the pair waited for a response.
"Yes?" a small voice finally asked timidly from behind the door. Young Naruto had already learned to be cautious about people who knocked at his place.
"Uzumaki Naruto, could you please open the door? We have official business to discuss with you," Genma responded formally as Mai just looked on in anticipation.
There was no response for a few tense seconds before the door barely opened a crack and a cerulean blue eye peeked out to regard the strangers at his door. He relaxed visibly when he saw the hitae-ate on Genma's head. Ninja never tried to hurt him in the streets. They even saved him a few times. It must be something to do with the old man if there was a ninja there.
"Does ojiisan need to see me?" Naruto asked with open innocence.
"Yes, but not quite yet, Naruto. Actually we need to talk to you for a moment first," Genma replied with a kind smile.
"About what?" the boy inquired in confusion.
"About you living here," Mai finally said as she entered the conversation for the first time.
"Why, did the landlord lady get Hokage to make me leave like she said? I said I was sorry for the fire. They never let me cook for myself at the orphanage. It was an accident! Honest!" the Kyuubi vessel pleaded.
"No, no, no. That's not what I mean Naruto-chan. What I meant was do you want to live here alone?" Mai explained to the frightened child.
"Where else would I live?" Naruto asked in confusion as he scratched his head and tried to understand what the pretty lady before him was asking.
"Well, I was thinking you could come live with me," Mai said with a smile.
"Huh? But I don't even know you. Why would you want me to live with you?" the boy asked, even more confused.
Mai had tears in her eyes as she replied, "Well, you see, Naruto-chan. We're family. I'm your kaasan's cousin Mai. This man with me is your ojisan, Shiranui Genma."
"But I don't have any family. They said so at the orphanage. That's what bein' an orphan means. You ain't got any family," the boy stated.
"Your parents have passed on, Naruto-kun, that's very true. But Genma-chan and I are both members of your family. The council said he couldn't take you in because he's a single jounin and his life is too dangerous, so he called me so that I could ask if you wanted to come with me," Mai explained.
"Wow! You're a jounin, Genma-ojisan?" Naruto asked with bouncy enthusiasm.
Genma almost lost his emotionless facade as his nephew called him uncle for the first time. "Hai. I'm one of the first male jounins in our family, Naruto-kun," he responded with a smile.
"And I get to live with you and Mai-san now learn about being a ninja, and maybe learn to be Hokage someday because the old man said I could if I really tried hard and then everyone would respect me like they do him," the boy began to babble on as he started to grasp that something good was happenning to him.
Mai held in a winch as she put her hand on the boy's shoulder and said, "That's not exactly right, Naruto-chan. I asked if you wanted to live with me not with Genma-chan."
"Huh?" Naruto asked confused again. "But I thought you guys were family. Doesn't a ninja family all live together in the nice part of the village?" he asked.
"Not always. Genma-chan and I are both part of the Shiranui clan, but only he lives in Konoha. I live in a far away place called Japan with my husband Andy, and my daughter Kimiko, and my son Ataru. You would come to live with me there, and I'd adopt you and I'd be you kaasan, Andy would become your tousan, Kimiko would be your new oneechan, and Ataru become your ototochan," Mai elaborated with a reassuring grin.
Naruto thought long and hard over what the pretty lady had to say before he inquired, "You mean I'd have ta' leave Konoha?"
Mai could hear the shock and disappointment in his voice as he spoke. It was clear he was already developing the unhealthy disdain most in the Elemental Countries had for the outside world even at this young age. She sighed a bit as she answered, "Yes, Naruto-chan. You would have to leave Konoha to live with me."
"But then how would I become Hokage and get everyone to respect me?" the boy asked in obvious distress.
Genma took that moment to chime in as he said, "Well, Hokage-sama got Mai-neechan to agree to bring you back here just before the genin exams for the kids your age in the Academy and let you take them. You could still become and ninja and be on your way to becoming Hokage. You just would have a family around you until then and you wouldn't have to deal with things like when you had to run from the villagers two weeks ago."
Naruto looked ashamed as he asked, "You saw that?" thinking it was his fault the way the adults had claimed it was.
"Hai," Genma confirmed. "I was one of the Jounin that made sure they were punished for acting that way. It wasn't your fault, Naruto-kun. From what I've seen it rarely is," he assured the boy.
Naruto paused to process all he had just learned for a few more seconds before he asked hopefully, "So you'll be my kaasan, Mai-san?"
Mai nodded happily as she answered the inquiry. "Hai, Naruto-chan. I'll be your new kaasan, if you'll have me."
Her answer was something Naruto had only seen at the playground before until he was chased out of it be villagers. The boy ran to her and hugged her legs tightly as he happily shouted "Kaasan! I have a kaasan!"
Mai started to cry a bit in happiness as she kissed the top of Naruto's head and replied, "Yes you do, my son. Yes you do,"