Naruto - Legacy of the Hokages
Disclaimer: I do not and never will own Naruto, no matter how much I want too. Any and all characters, jutsu and places that I create are mine; if you want to use them please ask permission.
() authors voice/usual use for brackets that I cannot be bothered to describe
Italic memories/writing/Spirit voice
Bold emphasis on word
… Pause during speech
We open our story on Konohagakure no Sato, the village Hidden in the Leaves. A large, normally bustling town, filled with busy people moving about their daily lives with a carefree indifference. Every building, every home has a history within Konohagakure. This seeping feeling is all because of the nature of Konohagakure, its past. Its name means Hidden in the Leaves, and it is a shinobi village. Founded years ago by some extraordinary people, Konoha has since grown to be a strong place, and this is all reflected in its buildings, its homes. Because of its nature, there have been times when Konoha and its people have been attacked, times of war and suffering that fill the hearts and memories of those involved till their dying days. Everywhere you look within Konoha, you see the old and the new together in one magnificent amalgamation. Old wooden building originally built around trees, patched up with metal sheets and hasty brick construction work. Apartment building held together by planks, billboards mounted on precarious posts, like a warren of humanity.
Held within the perimeter of a great wall, created by several hundred vertical beams of the strongest, most solid oak. Not beams in the conventional sense, but rather whole tree trunks nailed into the ground, some say by the Shodaime himself. And to the rear of the village, a great mountain peninsula known as the Hokage Mountain, and carved into the foremost rock face is four faces. These faces are the faces of the Hokage of the Leaf, the four greatest shinobi that Konoha has ever seen since its found, the Four shinobi who have led the village into prosperity. These natural features, combined with the strength of its shinobi make Konohagakure no Sato one of the most well protected hidden villages in the entire East continent, perhaps rivalled by Sunagakure or Kumogakure in its impregnability.
Since its founding Konoha has grown from strength to strength. It has one of the greatest known hospitals in the Eastern Continent, a shinobi academy unique to the Hi no Kuni and a bustling marketplace. But today, as it has been so there is a slight difference to Konoha. Something is out of the ordinary, and that something is silence. There is no sound what so ever emanating from anywhere, nobody is going about their daily business, no one living their lives as they would usually.
There is a reason for this unnatural silence. A reason that happens to be several hundred feet tall, has nine tails and is covered in crimson fur. The Kyuubi no Kitsune, the great Nine-tailed demon fox has once again descended from its den in the Smokespine Mountains to wreak destruction upon humanity. This particular time, by some cruel twist of fate, the Kyuubi has chosen to advance on Konoha. It is said that the Kyuubi is the greatest of the Bijuu, the most powerful of its brethren. With one swish of just one of its many tails it can topple mountains, or create mighty tsunami's to cover the earth in fire and water.
But today it shall not be Konoha that is covered in fire and water, it is not the Hokage Mountain that is toppled by the sweep of a tail. For fate had other plans for the village, and to that end it gave the people their saviour. A man born and raised amongst them, a genius whose only dream would be to protect them. From the masses of potential shinobi there rose one man from the crucible of the Third Great War, when Fire fought Earth and Air he rose to protect the people. The Yondaime, the Fourth Hokage of Konohagakure no Sato. Faced against a demonic force of nature from the bowels of hell itself, he is once again going to do his duty and protect the people.
"Minato-san, it is time to join the others. They cannot hold out much longer against the fox" came the old voice from behind him.
Minato Namikaze brushed aside the strands of blonde hair from his eyes and turned to face the group behind him. All of the preparations had been completed not too long beforehand, he had simply been using some stolen minutes to retie his hitai-ate and dust off his clothes. He was dressed in his usual old jounin attire. Dark blue pants, his custom chuunin vest and his old white trench coat. Proudly emblazoned on the back was a fiery swirl, the eternal symbol of the Will of Fire.
Behind him was a small group of individuals, some of the finest shinobi of the current generation. The former Hokage, Minato's predecessor Sarutobi Mizaru. He was dressed in his old battle attire, a black full body suit with a plate armguard and a samurai style helmet, an heirloom of the Sarutobi clan from their samurai roots centuries before. Beside the venerable shinobi, the remaining two of his former students, Tsunade and Jiraiya of the Densetsu no Sannin. Both of them only 39, on the verge of middle age. Jiraiya the Gama-sannin, the tallest of the whole group. His most distinguishing features being the mane of white hair down his back and the two red lines down his cheeks. Cheeks that bore solemn, nigh on emotionless expressions. Like her counterpart Tsunade stood out from the others but in her own...unique way. The blonde hair tied at the back in twin ponytails, and the two large hemispheres to her front, not that anyone else notices. The medical ninja lifted a sleeve to wipe away the small trails of tears.
And with the old Team Sarutobi, the remains of Team Minato stood. Minato's own two pupils completed the circle of trust; they were the only people who the Yondaime trusted enough with the truth. Houtai Rin and Hatake Kakashi, two young teenagers of just 15 who had already witnessed more war and death than most other normal people could ever possibly fathom. Both of them were looking towards their sensei, both with pleading looks on their faces.
"Sensei please..." Kakashi asked in earnest "...there must be some other way. There must be another way to stop the Kyuubi, some other jutsu but this one." The silver haired jounin looked his sensei with his one visible eye, a new hitai-ate covering the other. One eye visible, but showing all of the emotion of two.
"Hai, I agree with Kakashi-san. There has to be something other than what you have planned. Something we haven't thought of," exclaimed Rin, her trademark plasters adorning her teenage cheeks.
"No. Kakashi, Rin, everyone. You all know there is no other way. Every moment we waste means more lives are lost keeping the Kyuubi from reaching the village, and as Hokage that is something I cannot allow to occur. Not after the numbers we lost during the last Great War, this village cannot afford it. The Kyuubi has withstood every jutsu we have used, we are grasping our last straw." Minato replied, his voice no more than a whisper, but laden with authority.
"But you don't know if your jutsu will work, you haven't even tested it yet. This isn't like the Rasengan or Hiraishin, this is a suicide jutsu. I know in these circumstances it is difficult to look elsewhere, but there are still other options. Tsunade-hime and me could launch a summoned assault, draw the beast away that way." The white haired toad-sennin spoke with a silent wisdom that only showed itself in times the crisis, most of the time he was considered to be a half-mad pervert. Amazingly, everyone else nodded, agreeing the new idea
"Jiraiya-sensei, you know I have..." Minato started to argue but was interrupted by the sound of crying in his arms. All the noise had woken the precious cargo cradled by his arms. He looked down at the bundle of white cloth and smiled at the baby within. Blue eyes looked into his own as Minato gazed at his sons face. He silenced the baby by tickling his belly, producing a giggle from the infant, who then closed its eyes and went back to sleep, happy that everything was alright. Minato's face grew stern as he finished comforting his child, and he gazed into the eyes of all those present.
"This must be done," he said in a voice that brooked no argument. With those words, he reached into one of the inner pockets of his trench coat and produced two scrolls. Handing them to Sarutobi with a nod, he continued saying "These are my last will and testament, my final instructions. You may read the one with the red seal, for it contains all of the plans I had for the village, but the blue seal is to be kept until the day my son asks you for it. It is for his eyes only. Understand."
The old man sighed deeply, allowing himself to momentarily feel his age. "Hai, Minato-san, as you request I shall do it to the best of my abilities" he replied with a nod.
The Yondaime moved from one person to another, bending in close to give them each a personal farewell. He received strong hugs from Tsunade, Rin and Kakashi, and solemn smiles from Sarutobi and Jiraiya. When he was finished, he tied the bundle in his arms tight to his chest with two lengths of strong fabric looped under and around his arms. Once he felt the child was secure, he bent his legs slightly and with a great leap shot out of the window. Biting his thumb hard, he moved his hands through several well known seals. With a great shout he cried out "Kuchiyose no jutsu," and in an instant he found himself standing upon the back of a giant red and black toad. The ninja smoke quickly cleared, only to be replaced by more smoke from a massive ochre pipe.
"You ready Minato" spoke the Toad in a booming gruff voice.
"Hai lets go Gamabunta-sama…" sighed Minato, as he took one last look at the face of his only child "…forgive me son." With those words said, Gamabunta slowly made his way through the streets of Konoha, careful not to damage any buildings on his way. When he got to the edge of the village, the great toad coiled his legs and shot into the sky.
There are few things that can inspire true fear in the hearts of men. Most think they have felt it once in their lives, but they have barely scratched at the surface. And what Kushina was currently staring at was the very essence of that gut wrenching, body numbing fear. A three hundred foot tall crimson fox, its nine long tails swishing through the air wildly. The noises they made were like small sonic booms, only just taking the edge of the mad growling coming from the inhuman beast's throat. But what really cut into her, what really made her want to collapse into the foetal position and cry was the killing intent. The sheer malice radiating from the eyes of the kitsune, laced with a monstrous chakra that made her blood run cold. Then she thought of her home, and the small son she was fighting for.
"Hold the line!! Teams 8 through 12, give me some cover fire over here! Push it back!" she shouted her orders left and right, trying to keep the dishevelled army of shinobi going. They were dying by the minute, be it of chakra exhaustion, stray jutsu or a giant paw crushing their bones it didn't matter they died anyway.
"Uzumaki-san..." a stout jounin called over to her. She recognised him to be of the Akimichi clan, the red cheek tattoos and equally red hair giving it away. "...we need the Yondaime to speed his approach, were losing ground!"
"I know Chouza, we just have to keep pushing..." she replied, leaping into the air as a great tail swept by. She pushed as much chakra into her leg muscles to get the most boost, but try as she might she and the stout shinobi got caught in the rushing wind caused by the tails movement. They were flung into the air like rag dolls into a nearby copse of oak trees. Chouza was large enough to smash through the trees limbs and hit the ground below, but Kushina hit the trunk with full devastating force.
There was a terrific crunching sound, and the flash of pain from her chest and right leg told her she had broken a couple of ribs and her femur bone. Reacting quickly, she ran through some hand signs and activated a medical jutsu Tsunade had taught her to deal with any possible external or internal bleeding. It was rushed and she found it difficult to breathe properly, but she managed to stave off the worst of the wounds. Gritting her teeth against the pain, Kushina found herself moving albeit awkwardly. 'God dammit Minato where are you?' she thought to herself, her mind racing with the fatigue and adrenaline. Then she felt a tingle down her back, and a huge shadow passed over her head.
With a thunderous crash, the great shape of Gamabunta landed in the forest crushing tree's beneath his warty bulk. In a second he was leaping again, this time to gain ground to shoot great spheres of water at the kitsune. "Suiton! Teppodama!" he cried out, firing seven of the projectiles at the fox.
The Kyuubi turned to face the attack, and took a deep inhaling breath. With a roar it blew out an intense gale of air and pure chakra. The watery cannonballs were disintegrated into a light spray of water on contact, which rained down upon the battlefield. But the fox's attention had been pulled away from the frantic shinobi beneath its feet, and with bestial hatred it gazed at the newcomer. It was another upstart human standing atop a giant toad. Snarling, the fox dug in its haunches and moved to attack.
Gamabunta recognised the impeding assault and drew his massive tanto from its scabbard. "I'll only be able to hold it off for so long Minato, so hurry with those preparations. You've got three minutes kid" he said gruffly, fixing his beady eyes on the marauding beast. In a flash the Kyuubi was upon him, and the deadly dance began.
Minato heard his friend and ally, but was to busy to reply. Taking a large scroll from the pouch resting on his right cheek, he quickly rolled it out onto the warty moist skin of the toad beneath him. On the inside of the scroll was a complex series of lines and signs designed to form one half of the jutsu Minato intended to use, with an empty space in the centre. With the written seal added to the fuinjutsu, the focus of the soul imprisonment would be diverted into the stomach of his young son and not his own. Minato took a small moment to apply a chakra based magnetic effect to keep the scroll from falling off Gamabunta, who was already moving at great speed in his armed combat with the Kyuubi. 'Now or never…I pray this works' Minato thought as he carefully placed his child within the scrolls circle. With a look of determination he began to run through the seals of the Shiki Fujin.
Meanwhile from her vantage point further away from the action, Kushina watched with several other shinobi as the Yondaime began his battle with the kitsune. Lying against a tree supported, in a reversal of roles, by Akimichi Chouza, the kunoichi could only barely follow the last movements of her husband. 'I hope whatever plan you've come up with works Minato. Protect Konoha, protect our son' she thought, wiping a bead of blood from her chin.
Gamabunta scowled at his opponent as he fended off swipe after swipe with his blade, whilst dodging whip-like attacks from the nine coiling tails. 'Gotta pin him down so Minato can pull out his soul' he thought, and in a flash of toad brilliance came up with an idea. He waited for the fox to launch another right hook, and with a quick flick he shot out his long pierced tongue to ensnare the furry limb. Fighting the urge to gag on the bloody fur, he moved with his tanto and with all his amphibian might drove the blade straight down through the paw and into the ground below. There was a crash as the attack rocked the forest, and the fell beast roared for the first time that night in pain and not anger. Capitalizing on the brief advantage, Gamabunta wrapped both limbs around the weapons grip and leant with all of his weight to keep the impaled limb and by extension the Kyuubi pinned. He did not escape from this manoeuvre without injury, as the angry kitsune lashed out with its free paw and scored a great bloody slash down the left side of the toads face. "Damn that'll leave a scar…" he grumbled, before shouting out "…now kid! Do it now!"
Having a few seconds ago completed the series of signs, Minato took the hint and prepared to seal the fates of three souls in a single final blow. He looked behind and saw the grim image of the shinigami he had summoned, and for a moment he felt a strange sense of amazement as the being lifted its left arm up. As the beads rolled into place and the strange markings appeared on the limb, the god of death pushed its arm into the ephemeral faceless image of Minato suspended before it. The Yondaime felt a strange feeling in his abdomen and knew it was his time to act. Calling forth the power of the shinigami with every fibre of his being, Minato pushed from within. A ghostly blue arm of pure spiritual energy shot out from his stomach like a blazing firework, extending far beyond any natural length to reach its target. The struggling fox could only stare in surprise as the limb shot forwards, beyond the mortal barriers of flesh and bone to grab its very soul.
Crying out with the effort, Minato mentally began to pull with his willpower, using the death god's strength and the fox's surprise to their full benefit. The Kyuubi tried to struggle, but for all its might and raw power it found itself, for once in its long existence to be wanting. It could only howl to the heavens as its foul tainted soul was pulled from its form. As the last of the soul left its fleshy case, the crimson body of the Kyuubi no Kitsune, the harbinger of nature's demonic fury, toppled over with an almighty crash into the wasted forest around it. The surrounding shinobi gave a great cheer; their leader had vanquished the monster. But they were only half right.
As the shinigami removed the dagger from its hungry drooling mouth in preparation to sever the souls of the Kyuubi and its summoner, it paused. Something new was occurring. It had been summoned in different ways before my mortals, and always the price was their souls for its service, but this one was doing something different.
Minato was moving as hastily as he could, forming a new set of seals as his body began to go numb. He struck his right hand down onto the seals of the scroll and cried out "Fuin!" The ink glowed a shining blue, and the captured soul of the Kyuubi began to move in a new direction. Like water being drawn down a plug hole, the soul spiralled around and around down into its new target, the navel of the infant lying in the scrolls centre. The child cried in distress and the air around it hummed with power, and the Kyuubi's soul entered his tiny body via the belly button. The soul swirled until all of it was drawn into the navel, and with a strange popping sound the jutsu ended and the beast was sealed. Minato sighed as his calculations proved correct, and a Shisho Fuin with complementary Hakke no Fuin Shiki formed on the stomach of his son.
The shinigami scowled and ground its teeth in annoyance. The mortal had altered the technique at the last moment to divert the stolen soul into the newborn, and since the infant did not perform the summoning he could not claim its soul for sustenance. Nor could he now claim the summoning mortal's soul either, since their contract stipulated two souls, those of the summoner and the target. Well, technically it could devour the upstart, but it immortal mind was already remembering its other commitments and so the death god decided to depart. The ephemeral effigy of Minato drifted away as the shinigami departed, and rejoined with its host body.
Minato felt life return to his limbs as the deathly numbness washed away, only to replaced by a different sense of fatigue. Since the technique was a final resort, it used a tremendous amount of physical and spiritual energy and so Minato could barely move his body at all. He only had the strength to pick up his son and hold him tight to his chest before falling backwards onto Gamabunta's back. The great Toad boss was faring almost as badly, with the final attack of the fox causing him greater pain than he believed it would. Unable to help himself, he felt the links binding him to Minato's plain of existence unravel, and before he could warn the man he disappeared in a might poof of smoke.
Minato felt the sudden lack of substance beneath his body, and recognised instantly the feeling of freefall as he hurtled downwards towards the ground hundreds of metre's below him. He put all of his failing energy into holding his son tight and keeping the child protected. 'Guess I'm gonna die anyway…damn' he thought tiredly, and with a smile he closed his eyes and waited for the impact. Then everything went black.
Some time later
Silence. There was nothing but silence as Kakashi moved through the tree's, hurriedly making his way through the undergrowth in the direction of the Kyuubi's corpse. He had to find his sensei; he had to make sure the man was alive. He eventually emerged in a large clearing of flattened tree's and scorched earth, and his one uncovered eye was drawn immediately to a single spot. In the centre of the clearing, in the middle of a large crater lay the body of the Namikaze Minato the Yondaime Hokage of Konohagakure, his sensei and his friend. "Over here!!" he yelled, throwing kunai with several explosive tags tied to it into the air as a makeshift flare. Not waiting for the telltale sounds of his comrade's, he quickly advanced into the central crater. He collapsed onto his knees at the sight before him.
The Yondaime had indeed defeated the Kyuubi, sealing it away never to return within the body of the infant within his arms. The said infant was currently bawling loudly, unsure and upset by what was going on around it. Minato still held the child firmly with the rigid grip that only death could give him. His face was paler than the spiky blonde hair atop his head. Kakashi held back the tears that threatened to spill from his eyes, and felt a hand upon his shoulder.
Behind him was Sarutobi, the newly rechristened Sandaime Hokage of Konoha. Behind him were the fully gathered shinobi of Konoha, the survivors of the Kyuubi's attack. Everyone had pained sad expressions on their faces; many had begun to weep silent tears as they gathered around their fallen leader. The most notable was Kushina, still supported by Chouza she wept openly at the sight of her beloved's seemingly lifeless body. Walking past Kakashi, who had moved to comfort the weeping Rin, Sarutobi bent down to pick up the baby from its father's arms. 'So you sealed the beast only to die shielding your child from the fall…fate truly marked you as a noble man Minato-san' the old shinobi thought.
He began to turn when he felt a strong grip of his ankle. The Fourth had jerked awake suddenly, and with the last of his fading strength was holding the Sandaime still. He began to mumble some words from his cold dry lips, and Sarutobi bent down again to hear them better.
"His name...is Uzumaki Naruto…" he spoke with laboured breath, gazing into middle distance "…I have cough sealed the Kyuubi inside of him...so that one day...the greatest threat to cough the Leaf, can become the power of its cough greatest hero. Maintain his anonymity…protect his identity from everyone who does not cough know of his existence. Do not...hate Naruto; do not treat...him badly. He is only a cough vessel for the Kyuubi, he is...still...human cough still just a innocent boy"
The Fourth then tilted his head to look at his bawling son, and in the faintest of whispers, his eyes framed by tears spoke softly "In you my son I have placed everything I know. Grow up strong; protect the village as I have done. Take up my legacy...and become...a great...leader cough, cough I...love...you...my..."
And with that, Namikaze Minato, the greatest leader Konoha had seen since the Shodaime founded it with his brother, the Nidaime, died. One shinobi looked at the bundle and asked "Hokage-sama, who is that child?"
Sarutobi looked at Kushina, who weakly nodded in agreement to what he was about to say. The Sandaime also looked at Kakashi, Rin, Jiraiya and Tsunade, the other four individuals who knew of Naruto's heritage and he received similar motions. "He is an orphan baby, chosen by the Yondaime to serve as the prison of the Kyuubi no Kitsune. His name is Naruto"
"Give him my clan name Sarutobi-san…" uttered Kushina as loudly as she could "…let him bear the name Uzumaki. Let this boy carry it, since my own newborn son…died before the attack"
Sarutobi hummed as he caught onto the woman's cunning ruse, and nodded to continue the charade for the other shinobi present. "Let all who bear witness to this event, remember this child's name. Uzumaki Naruto, bearer of the Kyuubi's curse and hero of Konohagakure no Sato" he said with commanding resolve, his old nuances from his previous tenure returning effortlessly.
One by one the shinobi survivors peeled off, leaving those closest too the Fourth alone with the body. Sighing, Sarutobi turned his attention to the infant in his arms. The baby stopped its crying and gazed quizzically at the old mans face, before reaching up and tugging on his beard. Smiling at the antics of the baby, Sarutobi turned back to gaze at the body of his friend.
"It shall be as you ask, Minato-san"
The next day, Konoha would awake to find their beloved leader dead, and the only one they would have to blame would be a young infant not three weeks old. The childs mother, Kushina, died a day later from internal bleeding and organ damage as a result of her injuries. She was mourned by many, who took solace in the fact that she was joining her beloved in the afterlife. Tsunade left with her apprentice Shizune not long after, the events bringing up bitter memories for her. It was the same for Jiraiya, who needed to get away from the village for a while to deal with the death of his pupil. Only Kakashi, Rin and Sarutobi remained to watch the infant, who to maintain the illusion was placed into the care of the village orphanage. The spiteful villagers would never see the boy as the hero his father intended, only as the demon that took the lives of their loved ones, their friends. And so the story of Uzumaki Naruto began, for better or for worse.
HOT DAMN!! For those of you who write, you know the satisfaction that comes from achieving a goal, and this was one hell of a goal for me. The original prologue was the first piece of fiction I ever posted, and to be honest it sucked compared to what I find myself able to write now. So its need to a tune up was greatest amongst all of those I have planned, and I feel great for finally doing it. The date is the 8th of January 2008 just so you know, for update reference and what not. Everything else continues apace, I have a little free time this week so I hope to use it to finish the updates and post my new chapter so keep your eyes peeled. The 'Wisdom of Time' chapter will be the next update, and the rest to follow afterwards.
Shisho Fuin – Four Symbols Seal
Hakke no Fuin Shiki – Eight Trigrams Sealing Style
Kuchiyose no Jutsu – Summoning technique
Suiton! Teppodama – Water Style! Cannonballs
Shiki Fujin – Dead Demon Consuming Seal