Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto. This story was written for fun, not profit.
This was mostly written as a build-a-character exercise and it probably shows. I fully expect Kishimoto to blow all my speculation out of the water - and I will be so happy when he does, because ZOMG BACKSTORY. And this site seems to have played merry hell with my formatting, for which I can only apologize and beat my head against a desk.
Ten Extremely Unimportant Facts About The Yondaime Hokage
When he's five years old, he marches up to his parents at their fruit stand, balls his little hands into fists, and tells them exactly what he wants to be when he grows up.
He still doesn't understand why a grocer-nin is so funny.
He hates ramen. Unfortunately the rest of his team loves it, so he puts up with it for their sake and spends his evenings throwing noodles at them.
His specialty is seals and his weakness is genjutsu. He's at his best when he has something to protect and at his worst when he's fighting for no reason, just because someone else tells him to.
He's also the fastest student in the academy - but since he spends his first three years there yelping and ducking anytime someone spars with him, it takes a while for people to notice.
Both of his teammates come from shinobi families. They also fight like cats and dogs - big, loud, brilliant cats and dogs - and so he spends a lot of time standing off to one side while Jiraiya-sensei holds the Sarutobi boy and the Uchiha girl upside-down by their ankles and tells them to shut the hell up already.
Everyone assumes he's going to be the team medic. Until he kills his first enemy, he agrees with them.
The worst student in his academy classes is a girl with spirals on her face and a big booming voice. She will never be more than a poor chuunin and everyone knows it, but she tells them she's gonna be Hokage anyway. Promise of a lifetime.
He's the only one who doesn't laugh.
When he's twenty-four, he takes her dream away.
She tells him he's going to look stupid on the cliff wall, and she'll be waiting to take over if he ever screws up, asshole. Then she tries to punch him and sends him teleporting halfway across the village.
When he's twenty-six, he marries her.
He thinks of Kakashi as a son, Obito as a little brother, and Rin as what he could have been if he were kinder and gentler. One of his biggest regrets is that he never tells them any of this.
When he makes his decision, his wife is already dead and the Sarutobi boy is beside him with chakra burns all along his arms. Kakashi and Rin are out there with the Kyuubi, fighting back-to-back to stay alive. Somewhere in the village, the Uchiha girl is standing on her broken leg and defending her sons - the elder clutching the younger protectively, because that is what brothers do.
He believes he is a failure for not protecting the village.
It would surprise him to know how many people disagree.