A/N: For some odd reason, this fic was deleted. Sorry for the inbox spam.


Of Patriarchs
By: Pridefall

"My father taught me that one of the most important abilities in life is to be able to take the pain and persevere, and for years this lesson had served me well."
- Anon


Uzumaki Naruto never knew his father.

"So…"

He knew of a man who shared his last name; of a mythical warrior, whose eye's were as pure as blue steel and whose hair shone brighter than the sun, of a man who could travel miles in an instant and could gather the force of the very tempest in his hand and let them lose upon the world.

"…That's him?" he asks, his eyes squinting in the bright sunlight to read the name.

They're standing in a field a sunflowers a little over a mile outside of Konoha. Jiraiya is smoking, which is a change of pace, and Naruto is kneeling down near a worn, unremarkable headstone that juts out from the earth like a single, rain-worn tooth made out of grey stone.

"Yep. Uzumaki Arashi. Your father and the Yondaime Hokage." Jiraiya smirks when Naruto looks back at him, his face somehow both proud and cocky; as if he were daring Naruto to so much as doubt him. "Ain'tcha proud, brat?"

Naruto leans forward, his eyes running across the length and width of the grave. "…Hm. Uzumaki Arashi…"

Yes, he knew of that man. He's heard stories of him; heard that he could do everything under the sun and then, but Naruto never really had father – he's only had myths of a legendary shinobi who stood up to a legendary demon calling for his death and boldly, defiantly said to it: "I will not."

"Something wrong?" Jiraiya asks as the blonde keeps on scrutinizing the grave marker in front of him, his hands now running across the surface of the stone as if he were a blind man trying to imprint it on his memory.

"Hm."

Naruto is so intent on the grave that he doesn't see the vein in Jiraiya's forehead begin to pulse.

"Hm."

Or Jiraiya close the distance between them.

"Hm…"

Or his fist smack into the back of his head.

"OW!" Naruto vocalizes, jumping to his feet and pointing an indignant finger right in Jiraiya's face. "What the hell was that for old man?!"

Jiraiya gave him a stern, even look. "What's with all of those 'hm' sounds'? You sound like a goddamn broken vibrator."

Naruto's face turned stark red. Obviously the brat had read past page twenty of the Icha Icha Paradise volume. "What the hell, Jiraiya?!"

The old man would've been proud if he wasn't almost ready to throttle the blond. "You sounded like a broken vibrator, explain."

Naruto crossed his arms and threw his nose up into the air. "I do so not sound like whatever the hell you called me is!"

"Then why were you making those noises?"

"Because I was thinking, you damn pervert!" Naruto screamed, throwing up both of his hands for effect and waving them about like a lunatic.

Jiraiya took a step back at the outburst. Naruto put his hand down and slowly turned his back on Jiraiya. The Sannin raised an eyebrow. "The hell is wrong with you?"

Naruto's shoulder rose; slumped. "His name was…Arashi, right?"

Jiraiya put his hand on the blonde's shoulder and squeezed it tight, more prideful than reassuring. "Yep, Konoha's Yellow Flash, Uzumaki Arash-"

"He's not my father." Naruto cut him off, his tone surprisingly pained for a child who just found out who his father was. Jiraiya's mind didn't quite know what words to put together to answers that, so all that came out when he realized what Naruto said – but not what he said, as most women would tell him – was: "What in the flying fuck did you just say?"

Naruto looked to the ground, shrugging off Jiraiya's hand as the man tried to make him face him. "Forget it."

Jiraiya stepped in front of Naruto and put both of his hands on the blonde's shoulders. "No. Uh-uh. What the hell did you mean by that?"

Naruto bit his bottom lip and looked to the horizon, his face a mixture of confusion and apprehension. "I-it's nothing. Forget it."

The way he looked didn't stop Jiraiya from shaking the ever-living crap out of him. "Don't gimme that bullshit, Kid!"

Naruto broke away from Jiraiya faster then the old man counted on him to move. Jiraiya was about to wallop him when he regained his footing, but stopped mid-blow when he noticed how straight Naruto's back was and how hard his hands were bunched at his sides.

"…You okay, kid?"

Naruto exploded. "That man is NOT my father! He's…He's a coward! He's a stupid idiot who left me to fucking die!"

For a moment, Jiraiya was speechless.

"That man died for you, you ungrateful little piece of shit!"

But only for a moment.

"So?! Why did it have to be me!? Why couldn't he let someone else be the Fox's prison!"

When Naruto screamed; like, really, really screamed, it was a sound so loud as to be deafening. "Who was HE to chose MY fate, goddamit!? Didn't he know that the entire village would hate me! That I'd be cursed for the rest of my life! If he was so smart, then why the fuck couldn't he find another way!"

Naruto whirled to face Jiraiya, his hands throw out at his sides and his eyes closed in such absolute concentration that Jiraiya was a little afraid of what the blonde might do to him if he so much as spoke a word.

"WHY ME?"

Of course, like his speechlessness, this only lasted for a moment.

"What in the fuck was he supposed to do, Naruto?" Jiraiya began, his hands trembling at his sides. "Give the Kyuubi to someone else? Let the village be destroyed?!" his anger welled, fast and tempestuous. "So what if you had a shitty life? So what. Arashi did what he had to do and you…You…" He searched for the right words to say, part of him wanting sincerely to just beat the crap out of the blonde to make him see his point.

"You should be grateful that Arashi had the balls to do what he did when no one else did."

Naruto looked reproachful for a moment, and Jiraiya thought he'd finally gotten through to the blonde until…

"Like Hell! If he was the fucking legend that everyone made him out to be he would still be afuckinground to make sure none of this shit happened to me!"

…And before Jiraiya knew it, he had smacked his protégée in the face.

"GODDAMN BRAT!"

Naruto, flat out on the ground, his lower lip bleeding and his cheek already beginning to swell up, still managed to look defiant. "A father…" he began, spitting out blood as he rose to his feet. "Doesn't leave his mess for his child to clean up!"

Jiraiya hit him again. Maybe physical violence would get his point through. "Arashi is your father! Stop…Just fucking stop!"

Naruto got up yet again. "That man is not my father! He never will be!"

"Then who the fuck is your father, Naruto?!"

The blonde grabbed Jiraiya by his vest and yanked him forward, his fist crashing into his chest as he screamed:

"YOU ARE!"

The sheer hurt in Naruto's voice was like a slap in the face.

"You are!"

The way the boy melts into Jiraiya's arms as he feebly beats his fist into his chest is like a kick in the ribs.

"You…a-are…"

They slowly fall to the ground, the tears Naruto's been holding back for what seem like years mingling with the blood on his lips and mucus running down his nose.

Jiraiya doesn't know what to say.

He looks down to Naruto; broken and crying for something that actually meant something to him, and slowly put his hand on the blonde's head, ruffling his hair.

"…Naruto?"

The blonde looks up.

"Y-yeah?"

Jiraiya smiles.

"I'd be proud to call you my son."

--

Finis