Konohagakure, more often referred to as just Konoha, was a hidden village that trained ninja for both self preservation and to accomplish missions to earn money for the village. After the third great Shinobi war, it was one of the major powers left in the region, its shinobi were among the best, the Third Hokage, the third leader of the village since its creation, was known throughout the land as 'The Professor' for his wisdom and knowledge of the ninja arts. His three students became equally famous throughout the elemental countries as the Sannin of Konoha, each of which was a formidable sight in battle. However, after the war, the most famous of all the ninja in the village was one Kazama Arashi, the Yellow Flash of Konoha.
Arashi had earned a name for himself in the war, by single handily saving a small contingent of Konoha ninja from a far superior Iwa force. Yes the legend of the Yellow flash still gave the Stone shinobi nightmares, even though the war was over. The Tsuchikage, it is said, became so enraged at the number of death certificates he had to sign after every encounter his shinobi had with Arashi, that he not only repainted his house and office so that no color that resembled or was made up of yellow was visible, but he also outlawed the use of the color all together.
Yes, in this time of peace, it was alright to be a Konoha citizen. Well, except for now. The Kyuubi, a monstrous nine tailed fox demon was attacking the city and decimating the village's ninja population. With one swing of its tails it could form tsunamis, and with a swing of another tail, a fire would erupt so large, that is made some of the volcanoes that give the fire county its name, seem like candles. Currently, Arashi was pacing his office, trying to figure out a way to circumvent the situation he had created. The only way for him to defeat the demon, was to seal its chakra and soul into a baby, for only a baby could possibly survive the shock to its chakra system that the sealing would create.
But Arashi didn't have a baby, nor did he have a girlfriend, or wife who knew any pregnant women, whose baby he could use. The Yamanaka family had given birth to a baby girl a month ago, along with the Nara family. The only other family he could think of was the Hyuuga clan heads wife; although he doubted that they would allow him to use their heir or heiress as a vessel for the demon. His train of thought was interrupted by a knock on the door.
"Come on in." Arashi commanded, assuming that it would be another report on the battle.
Instead it was Hyuuga Hiashi, the head of the prestigious Hyuuga clan.
"Hokage-sama, how goes the battle?" The formal white eyed man asked.
"The battle goes poorly, and the war just as bad." The blonde Hokage answered.
"I know of a way to defeat the beast, but it requires a newborn baby, and I am fresh out of baby at the moment." Arashi sighed, closing his blue eyes and rubbing them. He hadn't gotten any sleep in a while and it was beginning to show.
"I…I may have a child for you." Hiashi spoke quietly.
Arashi's eyes jerked open in shock.
"I was unaware that someone in your clan, other than your wife, was expecting, Hyuuga-sama."
"No one besides my wife is expecting, Hokage-sama." Hiashi answered the question with as little information as possible.
"You cannot be offering me your own child! Your wife isn't even due until November!" Arashi was almost yelling.
"Due to tonight's…occurrences, my wife is experiencing complications and the doctors have ordered an emergency c-section. They assured me that with care my children will be fine."
"Ch-children? As in plural? As in 'more than one child?'" He stammered. Perhaps there was hope yet for the village.
"Yes, a boy and a girl, well technically a girl and a boy. My daughter Hinata is the oldest by a minute and a half. Complete luck of the draw, the doctors tell me. But I know as well as you that they just damned Haran to a life that…that I didn't want anyone to have to live through again. So please, Hokage-sama, please…take my son…use him as your vessel…and then change his appearance…that way, that way he may escape the hatred that has plagued my brother." Hiashi broke down as much as a Hyuuga could, tears seemed to stream from his eyes and his voice was ragged with sadness.
Arashi understood. Hizashi and Hiashi were identical twins, born into the Hyuuga main house. But Hiashi was born first and Hizashi was relegated to the branch family, despite being Hiashi's equal in almost all aspects. It was quite easy to see where Hizashi's displeasure with the main house originated, and now, in one of the most ironic twists of fate Arashi had ever seen, Hiashi's own son and daughter would share the same fate…unless he took Hiashi up on his offer.
"Hyuuga-sama…I accept your proposal. I will use your son as the vessel for the demon fox, and I will change his name and appearance so that your council cannot touch him. He will be called…Uzumaki Naruto. I will place a henge on him until he is old enough…I will leave instructions with Sarutobi. Do not worry; I will arrange everything for him."
Hiashi nodded his head and exited the Hokage's office with tears still on his cheeks, and a heavy, yet lighter heart. He headed back to the hospital to check on his wife, who was still asleep after her surgery. He noticed the two cradles in the room and walked over to them. Picking up Haran, he gazed upon the face of his only son. The twins had the same hair color, a dark purplish black, and the same pale Hyuuga skin, and right now they looked identical. But Hiashi knew that his daughter would be the one that the clan council would recognize as the heiress, thus condemning his son as a branch family member.
A soft knock on the door interrupted Hiashi's musings. Walking slowly, so as not to wake his son, he opened the door to find the Yondaime standing there.
"Is that Haran?" Arashi asked.
Hiashi just nodded his head and handed the bundle to the man who would seal his son's fate.
"He is a beautiful child, he will do your family proud…weather they know it or not." Arashi's compliment was received graciously.
With those last words Arashi, Yondaime hokage disappeared to do his job, and with him he took Hyuuga Haran, son of Hyuuga Hiashi. Moments later, the sounds of the fighting stopped as the great demon Kyuubi was sealed into the boy. Along with the demon, Kazama Arashi placed another seal on the infant, one that hid his true appearance, that of a Hyuuga, and showed the world Uzumaki Naruto, miniature Yondaime.
The years had not been the kindest to Naruto. True, his appearance as a possible son of the Yondaime had kept any major outbursts of anger or rage against him minimal, but that didn't mean that he was well liked. The stares that followed the six year old boy around were colder than ice. Even in the ninja academy it wasn't much better. He was constantly picked on to answer questions that were not a part of the required curriculum, or were too advanced for most children his age to answer.
However, Naruto was far from average. Since he was three, the Sandaime had been passing scrolls onto him about various subjects, everything from anatomy to stretching exercises, to a history on all the major clans of Konoha and even some of the minor ones. Naruto was one of the most physically strong five year olds in the village thanks to the scrolls he had received, the last one dealing with chakra manipulation and control. This was something that Naruto seemed to have problems with, yet in reality he was a natural at controlling his chakra. He wasn't sure why, but the tree walking exorcize seemed to be easier than he had anticipated. Today was Naruto's six birthday, and while normally he would wander around the town before the festival celebrating the defeat of the Kyuubi, today he was headed towards the Sandaime's office. The old man had requested that Naruto stop by so that he could give him a birthday present.
Ignoring the glare he received from the secretary, Naruto knocked on the large door to the office and waited for the Hokage to let him in.
"Come in Naruto-kun." The voice of the elderly fire shadow called the young boy into his office.
"You wanted to see me?" Naruto asked politely.
"Yes, yes, please sit down, how was your day?" Sarutobi asked, motioning for Naruto to take a seat at a table off to the side of the office that wasn't overflowing with paperwork
"It was alright, I suppose, the teacher kept asking me stupid questions about the Kyuubi, and then yells at me when I couldn't answer a question about the seven tailed demon. I mean come on! No one knows much about the Shichibi!" Naruto took the glass of water that the Hokage offered him and downed it quickly. He then handed him two scrolls and an envelope. Opening the first scroll, he found it was an introduction into the art of seal making while the second scroll was a continuation of the first. The envelope contained his usual allowance money, plus some extra and a number of coupons for free ramen at his favorite restaurant.
"Thank you!" Naruto was extremely happy about his gifts, especially the scrolls and ramen coupons.
"Naruto, I have something I must tell you, for I made a promise to the Yondaime." Sarutobi took a big breath before he began his tale.
"When the Kyuubi was attacking the village, the Yondaime made a decision. He knew he couldn't kill the demon the best he could hope for was to seal it. The problem was that he needed a medium to seal it in."
"Me…Yondaime-sama needed me to seal the Kyuubi, didn't he?" Naruto's voice was small and weak. All of the glares made sense, all of the names he was called when people didn't think he was listening. It explained why the villagers seemed to hate him more than usual on his birthday.
"Yes. He needed a new born child so that the chakra of the demon would eventually meld with the developing chakra system of the child. I know that the villagers only see you as the demon, they don't see you as a person, but you are human, and you are a hero, just like the Yondaime wanted." Sarutobi monitored Naruto carefully as the information was digested into the energetic boy.
"Sarutobi-sama, can I ask why Yondaime-sama chose me as the vessel?" Naruto asked, curiosity shinning in his eyes.
'Naruto…I hope you don't take this poorly.' Sarutobi braced himself for the possible backlash that was about to come. "My predecessor didn't choose you exactly…you were…volunteered…by your father. He wanted to save you from the life that his brother led, so he convinced the Yondaime to use you as the vessel. He wanted what was best for you."
Naruto just sat there staring at his empty glass and thinking. It was up to Sarutobi to break his thoughts.
"Naruto-kun, would you like to see what you really look like?"
Naruto's head shot up with a jerk. "You mean I don't really look like this?" He demanded.
Sarutobi just nodded. "Please Naruto-kun; could you take off your shirt, I will remove the seal on your appearance."
Naruto complied and immediately started looking for a seal. Why hadn't he noticed it sooner? Surely he would have noticed a seal on his body…right?
The Sandaime stepped behind the boy and bit his thumb, drawing blood. He quickly swiped the blood over a small seal on the boy's shoulder blade. It was nothing more than a dot, so small that it resembled a mole. Not for the first time Sarutobi was reminded of what a great seal craftsman the Yondaime was. The appearance of a blonde boy with wide blue eyes and whiskers on his cheek wavered, before it vanished completely revealing Hyuuga Haran for the first time in six years.
Naruto's now white eyes danced around the room, searching for a mirror. He found a near full length mirror hidden away in the corner of the room. Stepping up to it, he was astonished by the change.
His once bright yellow hair was now the same color as a girl he remembered from class, Hyuuga Hinata. He now even had the same eyes as her! His skin was still tanned slightly, but it seemed to be softer now, as if his skin was meant to be pale. Most importantly, those whiskers were gone from his face completely. The skin they once occupied was blank and revealed a 'dignified bone structure', whatever that meant. In short Naruto now looked like a Hyuuga through and through.
"So, I guess this explains why chakra manipulation and control was much easier than I expected." He stated, still shocked at his appearance. "Hey, don't you think that I look kind of like that girl, Hinata, from my class?" He asked the Hokage.
Sarutobi chuckled. "I suppose you do, after all, you two are fraternal twins."
Naruto very nearly fell to the floor in shock.
"Hinata is my twin sister?" He chocked out. Then something clicked in his head. "Wait, she must be the older of the two…because if my father volunteered me…it must mean that I was going to receive that branch family seal I read about."
Sarutobi laughed at the expression on the boys face. "Yes, you were younger than Hinata by one minute; your mother had an emergency delivery due to the Kyuubi. You two weren't expected until November."
"Then why does everyone celebrate Hinata…nee-chan's birthday in December?" Naruto asked.
"That is one thing I do not know." The Sandaime answered truthfully. "By the way, I suppose you want your real name to go with your real identity, right?"
Naruto nodded his head furiously.
"Your parents named you Hyuuga Haran."
Naruto almost burst out laughing. "Hinata and Haran, huh? Sunny and Stormy, that's a hoot!"
A while later, Sarutobi watched as Haran walked out of his office with a smile on his face. They had agreed to keep up the Naruto façade until the clan council couldn't hurt his family. While a henge would be easiest to do, dying his hair and buying contacts would be the best way to hide his appearance. The transformation technique can be canceled, dropped, or seen through, after all.
Over at the Hyuuga Clan compound, the mood was somber. The majority of the clan was celebrating the defeat of the Kyuubi and mourning the loss of the Yondaime and the number of Hyuuga that had died in the attack. Hiashi was once again doubting his choice to allow his son to be used in the sealing process. He had seen the looks of disgust the villagers showed his son. He wondered if he hadn't saved him from servitude only to send him to hell.
Hinata was training by herself, something she often did on October 10th, her birthday had no happy memories, from loosing her brother to the Kyuubi attack, it was no wonder her father picked December 27th as the day to celebrate her birth. Or it could have been because she was born at 12:27 in the morning; she wasn't sure and frankly didn't care. She always wondered what would have happened if Haran had been born first. Surely he would be a better heir than her. She was constantly being told by various members of the clan that she was weak, and they wished that it had been her that disappeared instead of her brother.
For all his worry about his son, Hiashi had never noticed the harsh comments his daughter received. It puzzled him that she could go from being near perfect in her forms one week and terrible in them the next. He decided that he would train her specifically to help her. It was while he was planning out her training schedule that a small bird with a note tied to its leg landed on his study windowsill. Untying the letter, he read the neat handwriting that he had come to associate with Sarutobi. When he was done, he immediately destroyed both the note and his training program for Hinata. He began to work feverishly on a new schedule, the contents of the note running through his mind over and over. It had said very simply: He knows.
(A/N: This is the result of a rather nasty plot bunny that got stuck in my mind around, oh beginning of summer, and just wouldn't dislodge itself. To those who may worry about Naruto of the Mirage have no fear, chapter 16 is nearly done and will be out at latest Wed, in some form or another. This story will be multi-chaptered, but don't expect updates very often. My concentration is on Mirage and school work, I just wanted to get this down on virtual paper. Please review; I'll never know how insane my mental ramblings are without outside input.)