"Is everything ready?"
Two men stood at the top of the Hokage Monument, one with spiky blonde hair and blue eyes wearing a beige flack vest underneath a red cloak with small white flames decorating the bottom hem. The other was a massive man who had what appeared to be red stripes tattooed from his eyes to the bottom of his cheeks, with snow white hair tied in a horsetail traveling the whole length of his back. The larger man was wearing outlandish red and green clothes. The two men were some of the greatest ninja the Hidden Leaf had ever produced, Minato Namikaze the Fourth Hokage, also known as the Yellow Flash of the Leaf, and Jiraiya of the Legendary Three Ninja.
From where they stood, small flashes from jutsus and explosive tags could be seen in the distance, and a monstrous beast of red and orange with nine tails whipping around it was clearly visible as it slowly but surely made its way to the East Gate of the village. Behind the creature lay a trail of destruction that could be seen all the way to the far horizon. Trees that had stood for centuries lay broken and uprooted, massive gouges dozens of feet long marred the once beautiful earth created by claws far larger than a full grown man, and craters formed by jutsus and explosions dotted the landscape. In the far distance, a massive plume of smoke and ash rose hundreds of feet into the night sky; it was all that remained of the small trading village of Waru. All were caused by the Kyuubi, which had begun its rampage three months ago in the northern mountains of Lightning Country. Three months and over two dozen villages and towns wiped off the face of the earth, and the Kyuubi still had not been stopped, until today.
"Yes, Minato, everything is ready to go, the baby is on the alter in the sealing room, the seals are all in place there so the Kyuubi will be sealed through you and into him, and the other seal has been placed on his lower back to keep his ancestry a secret. The only thing that's missing IS YOU KILLING YOURSELF LIKE AN IDIOT!"
Jiraiya's voice rose in volume and pitch at the last part of his tirade, he was obviously angered and upset at his student's course of action. But…but…it had to be done, or who knew how many other villages and cities this damn fox might destroy.
His concern and anger didn't seem to affect the younger man however, "Come on Ero-sensei, I'm not gonna be alive in an hour, and this is how you say good bye?" He took a glance at his teacher, who was still frowning, and Minato could see his sensei's eyes becoming misty and understood this was not a time for jokes. But he really couldn't help himself. This was good bye forever, but he would be damned if he was going to be depressed about something he had chosen to do and was willing to do. For Minato, this was his duty, to die for the Leaf. There were just so many people he was leaving behind, and he knew not many would accept his passing with nearly as much calm as Jiraiya was showing right now.
With a sigh Minato continued speaking in a more serious voice "Ero-sensei, this has to be done, you know it as well as I do. So please, let's just not argue about this anymore." There was a pause, as the blonde thought about what his last conversation alive should be about. "How's the baby? I only got to hold him once and kiss Aigyou good bye before I had to leave and I barely had time for even that, but between evacuating the village and making a decent defense…damn it I'm going to die without knowing the name of my son, or did Aigyou name him already." He put a hand to his face and wiped away the small droplets that were forming at his eyes. "How is she, by the way, she's going to have a hell of a time raising a kid on her own."
"Aigyou passed away right after naming him."
There was a shocked pause coupled with a disbelieving stare. "What…" he rasped out.
Jiraiya answered before Minato could finish "Her illness finally caught up with her, I think she only lasted this long so she could give birth. If Tsunade had returned maybe we could have found a cure, but that didn't happen." Jiraiya let out a tired sigh before continuing with his news. "When I learned she was dead I placed the second seal on him without your approval, so no one will know who his parents are. And I think you should know there's a chance that Naruto inherited the disease as well…"
"Is that what she named him, Naruto?" Minato's face was an odd mixture of sadness and amusement.
"Heh, yep, she was the only person that liked ramen more than you. The little runt's full name is Naruto-"
"Uzumaki." Minato cut his teacher off before he could finish, and a few tears rolled down his face as he continued to speak. "He'll take his mother's name. To keep him safe. I'll also need you to alter the records Ero-sensei. Change them so that he's just an orphan, a no-one from an unknown family that we picked out and gave him the last name Uzumaki because… because he was born the day she died." Minato took a shuddering breath before he continued; he hated doing this, but if his son was to live very long without either of his parents there were measures that had to be taken. "No one can know whose son he is. I left some letters and belongings sealed away in a few scrolls that are time-sealed in the Hokage archives, their set for fifteen years so he'll be old enough to know and understand the truth and why we did it. I don't like it, but without Aigyou to protect him this needs to be done, if the wrong people find out…"
Jiraiya didn't need him to finish the sentence. If Naruto's heritage became known, his life would be in constant danger, even with the relative safety of the Hidden Leaf and the ANBU guards that would be placed around the boy because of his role as the Kyuubi's living prison. It was part of the reason why the secondary seal was placed on the newborn child. And thinking of that other seal…
"You know, Minato, when you saw Naruto it was before I put the seal on him, after the seal though, he looked almost like a little clone of you. The seal did its job well, no one should be able to piece together his heritage, which his eyes gave away right off the bat. Once I remove the seal when he's older… it'll be painful when his body changes, but he'll go back to how he really looks. And once that happens" Jiraiya let out a perverted giggle "he shall smite the ladies with his good looks and I shall train him how to use those looks and become the super-pervert of his generation!" As Jiraiya said this he thrust both his fists upwards and plastered a lecherous grin on his face.
Minato mock glared at his sensei for a moment before smiling slightly and looked up at the moon. He paused for a moment before responding. Jiraiya's words, though meant in jest (maybe), struck a chord in him. He realized that he would not get to see what his son became, he would not be there to see the man his little baby boy would grow into. Damn he really wanted to see his son again. He wanted to see Naruto's face, to hold him one more time, just one more time for Kami's sake. Oh, what he would have given for this damn fox to never have existed. He wanted to see his boy take his first steps, to watch him go to the Academy and learn, to follow his father's footsteps. It was times like these he wondered if taking up the mantle of the Hokage was truly worth it. No, of course it was worth it, he loved this village and he even though he was leaving everyone and everything behind he was saving Naruto's life from the jaws of the Kyuubi.
"Well, Aigyou had some distinct features, that's what made her beautiful. Hehe, maybe you're right Ero-sensei, with a beautiful mother and with someone as handsome as me as his father he'll have girls tripping over him when he gets older." Minato stopped speaking for a moment, he couldn't keep thinking about these things. They made him just want to take his boy and run away from here and just live out his life in peace like he had planned, like he and his wife had planned…No! He had a job to do, and he had to make sure everything was ready, that everything would be set for his son once he grew up and learned who he truly was.
"Aside from you and me, Ero-sensei, how many others know the truth about this whole mess?"
Jiraiya was silent for a moment, his brow furrowed in thought, "No one, there are plenty of rumors, sure, of course the one rumor that's true nobody believes." Both of them shared a small laugh at this before the Toad Hermit continued "I think Sarutobi suspects, but he has no proof. After Orochimaru was driven out of the country and we learned that you got Aigyou pregnant, we've done a damn good job at keeping it a secret from everyone. And if anyone sees the seal on the runt's back, they'll just assume its part of the imprisonment seal and leave it alone."
There was a pause, as each tried to fill the silence with something more, something else to say before the younger of two was gone forever. It was Jiraiya who broke the uneasy quiet. "You know Minato, it's kind of funny, now that I'm thinking about it… that despite everything his father did, that little runt ends up the one saving us all." He sent a meaningful glance over at Minato, who was simply staring down the mountain at the village with an unreadable expression on his face. At hearing his old sensei's words however, a twisted smile found its way onto his face "Yes, Fate seems to have one hell of a sense of humor."
A massive roar and the sound of hundreds of tons of stone crashing down was heard in the distance, and both men looked out to the edge of the village where the Kyuubi, shrouded in smoke and rubble and dust, had just broken through the East Gate and was already proceeding to destroy the outlying buildings. Had they really spent so long up here, trying to postpone the inevitable? Both Minato and Jiraiya looked at each other for a moment, before Jiraiya reached forward and embraced his young student for the last time with trembling arms.
"Take care of yourself, Ero-sensei." Minato mumbled into the larger man's shoulder.
"You too, kid." Jiraiya responded as they separated.
Minato looked out over the Village of the Hidden Leaf, his village, his home, for the last time, as if trying to memorize it all and remember it for forever. Both of them walked over to the edge of the mountain and Arashi once again looked at the man he had called 'sensei' since he was seven years old when he graduated the academy. "Hey Ero-sensei, summon Gamabunta for me. I'm gonna need all the chakra I have for the seal to work. I'm probably going take about a dozen or so soldier pills to make sure there's enough chakra to fuel the seal and make sure the Kyuubi can't resist."
As one, they leapt off the edge of the Hokage Mountain. As they fell Jiraiya made a small cut on his thumb with a kunai and, with the proper hand seals yelled out "Kuchiyose no Jutsu!" In an instant, a massive cloud of smoke appeared and hid the two men from view. Out from the bottom of the cloud a gargantuan red toad, wearing a blue jacket and a massive tanto, plummeted to ground. His massive legs softened his impact as he landed at the bottom of the mountain, despite the fact that his very landing shook every building in the entire village. Upon his head stood the only two men still alive who had signed his summoning contract.
Gamabunta looked up at the teacher and his pupil, noting the looks of grim determination on both of them, and then looked out across the village to where the massive fox now stood still and knew instantly what was going on. And knew instantly that his favorite summoner would not be alive by morning. The Kyuubi had stopped its attack as soon as it had seen the massive puff of smoke from Gamabunta and had its head pointed towards the boss toad, with its red eyes narrowed and its massive ears flattened against its head. Gamabunta spoke what he knew would be his last words to his blonde summoner.
"So this is it, eh Minato?" Gamabunta took a long drag from his pipe, and exhaled the smoke through his nostrils "I know this won't really make a difference with what's about to happen, but… you have been the greatest man to have ever signed my contract. That's no lie. All the toads will mourn your passing."
Minato only smiled sadly in response before looking at his teacher, who was still standing at his side. "Jiraiya, this is where you get off." The white haired man looked shifted his attention from the fox demon at the far side of the village to his student. For the first time in eighteen years Minato had called him by his real name instead of that damnable 'Ero-sensei', but it brought no joy or happiness to him. There was only the sad truth that his best student, the man he had always seen as a son was going to die in a matter of minutes.
"Yeah, I guess it is." With that, Jiraiya made to jump off the giant toad but was stopped by his student one last time.
"Ero-sensei one last thing, get that book of yours published, Icha Icha-whatever-it-is. I think if you market it right, and maybe cut down on the smut, it'll be a bestseller. And make sure Sarutobi knows that Naruto is a hero. I may be saving us all right now, but my son will be protecting this village every day he breathes." Minato said with a genuine smile on his face. "Now, I've got a job to do. Let's go, Gama-ojiisan."
Jiraiya jumped off Gamabunta just before the great toad took a massive leap towards the monstrous fox demon. As Gamabunta reached the highest point of his jump, he unsheathed the tanto on his back. As soon as he landed at the side of the Kyuubi, atop some ruined buildings, he twisted to the side and struck out with the blade, creating a wound from the fox's rear leg up to its forward shoulder. Flinching away slightly in anger and pain, the Kyuubi lashed back with three of its massive tails. Minato saw them coming however "Gama-ojiisan, jump backwards NOW!"
"I KNOW!" With a powerful thrust of his hind legs Gamabunta leapt backwards but did not manage to avoid the tip of one of the tails as it swung downward, leaving a bloody gash across the left side of his face. The ground Gamabunta had been standing on moments before did not fair nearly as well. As soon as the tails hit the earth it shattered upwards and outwards, leaving nothing but three small canyons where a market district had once been.
As Gamabunta landed, his left eye shut tight from the pain and blood, the Kyuubi turned its body to face the boss toad. The village it had previously entered was now behind it and no longer its target, no longer its goal. The village could wait, this… this pitiful frog that dared to harm it would be destroyed first, and then it would return to finish killing the little flesh-sacks and crushing their homes.
Minato looked on as the injury caused by Gamabunta's blade quickly healed and disappeared. It was as if the large wound was never even there, but still the Kyuubi's focus was on them and that was what mattered. "Well, we have its attention Gama-ojiisan, now let's draw it away from the village, and then I'll take care of the rest." Minato said, as he pulled out a small bag from one of the pockets in his vest and began eating the small black pills that would give him the chakra he needed to defeat the Kyuubi.
With a grunt of agreement the mighty amphibian took another leap backwards, further away from the Village of the Hidden Leaf. With a throaty growl, the Kyuubi followed.
Twenty minutes later, a group of seals in a small room at the Hokage Tower burned red, and the blond-haired baby laying in the alter at the center began to cry as a burning sensation made itself known in his abdomen. A spiral marking set in a circular seal slowly appeared around the boy's navel as soon as the seals on the floor and walls began to glow with chakra. Within a minute, the seals dulled back to their original inky color, but the baby kept crying even as a balding man in his late fifties with a goatee and three small lines near each of his eyes entered the room. He picked up and cradled the still crying newborn in his arms, and started feeding the boy a small bottle of warmed milk.
The man walked out of the room with the blonde-haired babe and sighed, "Well, it looks like the future is going to be an unusual thing for the both of us, eh, little Naruto? I get back the job that I gave up only a few years ago, and you…" Sarutobi, the Third Hokage of the Hidden Leaf, looked at the small child sucking contentedly on the bottle and smiled sadly "well, who knows. But know that whatever your future may be, I will help you get there as best I can."
First off, let's get the disclaimer out of the way.
I do not own the Naruto franchise or anything associated with it.
Alright, here's the prologue to my first story ever, Everything Begins With Choice. Yes, those words are from the Matrix, so I guess you can say that I don't own the title either. But whatever, the title fits the story in my opinion. This idea came to me when I was thinking how much Naruto would improve with a supportive sensei. Kakashi, while I agree that he is a kick ass ninja, does nothing to shows he cares about either Sakura or Naruto's growth during part 1.
Naruto displays an immense ability to grow when he is properly motivated and instructed. He learned the Rasengan in about 3 weeks with minimal help and the Kage Bunshin in about 5 hours when he had a scroll. Maybe less, since we aren't given a time frame of how long Naruto was out in the forest reading the scroll. With the Kuchiyose Jutsu, I honestly don't know why it took him so long, but I have ideas. His growth could have been massive, but for whatever reason, Kakashi did not even tell Naruto about the benefits of shadow clones until after the time skip. So in this story Kakashi, while he will not be truly bad, Naruto will see him as he does everyone else. Someone who just doesn't care about the fox brat.
This story shows what Naruto might be capable of if he had someone there to truly help him, and about his relationships with his fellow genins during this period of maturing and his increase in skill as a ninja.
A few things for you all to know. I will be keeping to the western style of names. I will not be writing names as Yamanaka Ino or Uzumaki Naruto. It will be Ino Yamanaka and Naruto Uzumaki. I will also be keeping some titles and locations in their English translations. Konoha will be written as the Hidden Leaf, Suna will be Sand, and so on. Also, Subaku no Gaara will be Gaara of the Desert. This is simply to make it easier for people that don't know the Japanese names. However, I will be keeping the jutsu names in Japanese, since I tend to hate the dubbed anime translations and the literal translations are usually too long.
I think that's it. So read and review, and the next chapter will be up soon.