Five Hokages That Never Were
He is brilliant like few in Konoha rarely are, and even then he is something more. He is brilliant with neither the self-serving ambition that has led many of his seniors astray nor the self-sacrificing single-mindedness that have been the end of just as many loyal shinobi. A lifetime of puzzle-games and cloud-watching has given him the patience to bring plans to fruition and the detached ruthlessness of a mastermind to move soldiers as easily as game pieces.
And that is why he knows, even if no one else does, days spend shut away from the reality of steel will make it all too easy for him to forget that reality is paid in blood and wagered on hope.
His humanity is not found in a lonely office above all others.
And that is why he kneels.
Even his enemies admit there is no greater patriot than Danzo. Every move, every wager, every mistake have all been made in the name of an eternal Konoha.
But somewhere between a sacrifice made in honor and a sacrifice made in desperation, Danzo misplaced his humanity.
So while there is no greater patriot, by the time he wrestles the right to be called Hokage, more than one shinobi kneels and counts the days till it is time to honorably kneel before another successor.
He is a warmongers for a nation of people breed on war.
And in the end a true Fire Shadow must be more than his people.
Danzo does not know what it means to dream of peace.
Even if someone dared ask him exactly why he wanted to be Hokage, he isn't quite sure what he would say.
There are the obvious benefits of power, knowledge, command over the strongest shinobi force, and all manner of things. But a genius of his stature knows Hokage isn't the only path to dominance, even if it is the most straightforward.
But before he was the bedtime story parents told to warn children against straying into the dark, and before he was the shinning jewel of his generation, and before he was one third of an awkward whole, and even before he was recognized as a genius, he was an orphan.
And like a whiskered-blond orphan decades later could commiserate, those early years were spend with one all-consuming thought: I want.
Before he is a man, he is a ninja. And before he is a ninja, he is a boy. And like all boys he dreams of things bigger than life.
Except even as a child he has been different.
He is Senju, the Heir of Konoha's founding fathers. He is noble and proud and conscious of his responsibilities. In what seems like pre-written destiny, he is born with the strength of character and resilience to one day inherit the august office of Hokage.
But only in death are ninja names ever written in stone. Because to be a ninja means to live in fire, in the wind, in the earth, in the water. And just because he has the strength to bear responsibility does not mean he has the luck to see it through.
So that is why he dies on a battlefield, his sister raging above him, and the yellow-sun and blue sky shinning brightly over a future he will not see.
So yes, he is a little bitter.
He wonders if Tsunade can bear the weight of being Senju's Heiress.
And perhaps he's also a little…tired—
He is another child of legacy, born into names that define much of what he will become. He is a child that can either bend or break under his birthright.
But Konohamaru is lucky in a way. There are always hands ready to hold him should he stumble.
He is noble and bright and strong in spirit. He is Sarutobi but above that he is Konohamaru. In any other time he would have eventually followed his grandfather's footsteps and one day ascended into the highest office in his village.
But he is a child and even as a self-absorbed boy he recognizes those whose fire burn brighter. He is a child during the Elemental Nations last greatest conflict and even if he should still one day ascend to Hokage he will inherit an office that means something entirely different from what defined his grandfather's term.
Because while he is born in an era of endless conflict, he counts himself lucky to see Aoitsuki—the blue dawn.
He is only the second person to believe Uzumaki Naruto would change the world.
AN: yeah, I'm still kicking.