Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto

Tsunade talking

'A character's thoughts'

Chapter 4: Knowledge, Aliens, and connections

Naruto was heavily panting, his hands resting on his knees in order to prop himself up. His blonde hair was soaked with sweat and some of it stuck to the side of his face and forehead.

The training ground was in a really state of disarray. Multiple craters littered the ground as well as a few kunai knives. Some trees were partially destroyed or up rooted and shuriken were imbedded into the trunks.

"Damn, maybe I went a little overboard. Although all of this training is definitely paying off."

"That may be true, but I don't think that the people who take care of the training grounds appreciate your constant destruction."

"Oh screw them. They get paid to do it and besides they use jutsu to repair the damage. At most they may get a minor case of chakra exhaustion."

"I suppose you have a point. Not like I care, I don't have to clean up this mess."

"Ok then, let's start up another round." Naruto brought his hands up into a cross sign. "Kage Bunshin no jutsu."

Multiple replicas of Naruto poofed into existence, forming a circle around the original. A stand off ensued between the original Naruto and the clones. Four replications charged at Naruto all at once, two in front and two in back.

Naruto moved quickly, cart-wheeling to the right to dodge the oncoming assault. He immediately punched the ground in front of him, causing a giant crater to be formed. Pieces of the ground were forcibly shifted from the blow, and the replicas were forced to move or be destroyed.

Naruto took this time to escape from the middle of the circle. However, he didn't get far before a replica was on him, throwing a punch to his ribs. Naruto leaned back and put his hands on the ground, stabilizing himself. He put his weight onto his hands as he twisted and nailed the clone in the stomach with a painful kick. The clone was vaporized from the assault.

Naruto got back onto his feet, and was immediately forced to jump back to avoid getting smashed by a heel drop. Naruto quickly grabbed as multiple shuriken from his holster and hurled them at the oncoming clones. Twelve of them disappeared in a puff. Naruto used the generated smoke to his advantage.

He quickly hid behind a nearby boulder, to catch his breath and to formulate a plan of attack. However, he only got in a few deep breaths before he was forced to dodge another attack. One of his clones had punched through the boulder, smashing it to bits.

Naruto took a few steps to the left to avoid chunks of what was once a proud boulder. He spun on his right heel while bringing up his right hand. His hand seized a kunai that was sticking out of the nearby tree. He brought it up into a guarding position while his left hand circled around his waist to grab the last of the shuriken from the pouch on his right thigh. Naruto was ready to impale the advancing clones with his projectiles, when the fight was interrupted by a loud growl.

Naruto and every one of his replications froze in their tracks at the loud sound.

"Damn, right when things were starting to get good too."

"Stop your complaining, kid. Shizune's shift at the hospital ended a few minutes ago. She'll probably have lunch waiting for you."

"That's true and if I'm late she'll probably be worried."

"She always did worry at the slightest of things, but that's Shizune for you."

"I'd better gather my kunai and shuriken and then be off."

Each of the replicas grabbed any weaponry that was near them. Naruto securely packed away everything before dispelling the clones and heading home. Naruto sped off, taking to the roof tops to avoid the village. It always seemed so empty to him, plus he'd spent more time training then he had originally planned and didn't want to be late. The last time he was Shizune almost had a meltdown.

Shizune, she was quite……well interesting for lack of a better word. The woman was a good example of a doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. She was very emotional and sometimes allowed them to dictate her actions. Something like this would get in the way of the ninja profession not to mention also being a doctor. However, Shizune could quickly somber up and become the ideal shinobi. She could be calm and rational even in hopeless situations.

Naruto leapt off of the rooftop he was on. He landed on the front walkway of a decent sized house. Brushing dust off of his clothes and tucking away any stray hairs, Naruto walked towards the house. It was the smallest house within the clan compound.

The Senju clan was not a very large clan, at least not after everything that had happened. The last member of the Senju clan had been Tsunade and since she was dead to the world, the estate was sealed. Multiple genjutsu seals surrounded the compound, hiding away the many secrets and ninja arts that belonged to the clan. In essence, the compound was dead to both the village and its enemies.

However, Shizune was Tsunade's apprentice and she held a good deal of power and leeway for her life's work. Being allowed to live on the compound of such a noble and wonderful clan was a major honor. It was said to be considered a gift or at least that's how that old man in the robe said before resuming smoking his pipe.

Naruto had reached the front door and entered. Closing the door behind him, Naruto's eyes scanned the house until they found their target, the clock.

Naruto sighed. "I'm on time."

However, just to be sure that Shizune hadn't entered panic mode, Naruto peered out the window at the sky. He was relived to see that the bat signal was not being projected onto the sky.

Shizune was in the kitchen hard at work fixing lunch. She'd gotten off of her shift at the hospital and was feeling quite ravenous. She'd been pretty busy the last few months. Actually, she'd been pretty damn busy ever since she returned to Konoha. Taking in Naruto and taking care of them both was certainly no easy task.

She'd taken up working at the hospital, hell the Hokage practically begged her to work at the hospital. There was not a great deal of truly skilled medics in Konoha. At least, not skilled in the standards that Shizune was measured in. Not that she was over confident or being pompous, in truth, she knew that there were probably thousands of ways that she could improve and hoped to do so. However, the medics didn't have all of the skills that she did.

Once again she thanked her former master, Tsunade. Tsunade had very high standards and didn't except anything less than perfection from her. Not that there really could be anything less than perfection from a medic. They had to be as close to perfect as possible in order to be as efficient as possible. She'd never be able to forgive herself if someone were to die because she wasn't good enough.

Her skills had been practiced and refined for years of intense training and she was very grateful that Tsunade had taken her under her wing. It was that training that had allowed her to commit such a large amount of medical knowledge to memory and then be able to recall it in less than a second's notice. It also allowed her to be able to properly heal people in the field instead of having to first have them transported to a hospital.

Speaking of the field, she had also become part of a four man squad. It really hadn't been much of a surprise. Tsunade had proven long ago that if a squad had a skilled medic, then their chances of success greatly increased. So really, it was totally expected.

At least she liked her teammates. Genma, Hayate, and Raidou were nice people and she worked well with the three of them. She had been worried that she would be looked down upon because of her career profession and that she was a woman in a group with three men. She was glad that she had been proven wrong.

She was shaken from her musings when she heard the door open, signaling that Naruto was home. She picked up the plate of onigiri that she had made and moved it to the table.

"Lunch is ready, Naruto-kun."

Naruto entered the kitchen and dumped his bag next to a chair before sitting in said chair. Immediately he dropped his head into his hands as he felt a throbbing pain. Receiving the memory of all of his kage bunshins always gave him a major headache. Tsunade said it was to be expected because his mind was practically being "assaulted" by the memories all at once. His sprint home wasn't any help either.

"Another headache, Naruto-kun?" Naruto nodded. "I'll make you some tea. That should help."

"Thanks."

Shizune chewed on her nails as she waited for the water to heat up. This wasn't the first time that Naruto had complained of a headache. In fact, he'd been complaining of headaches almost daily. She examined him multiple times, but she still couldn't find anything wrong with him that would cause his chronic headaches.

Shizune did at least take comfort in the fact that she could use her medical expertise to relieve the pain, although she hadn't been doing that lately. Naruto was getting older and as with age comes the need for independence. It drove her nuts with worry and concern, but she couldn't force Naruto to let her help him. He was just starting to be more open and comfortable with her and something rash like that would probably destroy the progress she had made in their relationship.

Naruto was insanely guarded for his age and it worried her to no end. She blamed the five years before she asked him if he would accept her as family. When she first met him, he was starved for attention and practically jumped at her offer; however, he had retreated back into himself the very next day. She still couldn't believe that he had had such a change of heart so quickly. Although, she couldn't shake the strong feeling in her gut that somehow Tsunade had something to do with him accepting her so quickly the first day.

Once the water was properly heated, Shizune set about putting the tea together. It was an herbal tea that seemed to help sooth Naruto's headaches. It was just a fluke the first day she'd bought it. Now she couldn't keep the stuff in the house, not that she was complaining. It was very healthy and it was better Naruto was addicted to tea as oppose to what else he could be addicted to.

"Here's your tea, Naruto-kun."

"Thanks."

After setting down the cup of tea, Shizune sat down herself and gestured to the plate of freshly prepared onigiri.

"Have some of the onigiri I made. There's plenty for us both."

Naruto took some of the offered onigiri and placed it upon the small saucer that Shizune had given him. He gave it a long, hard stare before taking a bite. As usual, the food was very delicious. Shizune was quite the wiz in the kitchen, which was very fortunate otherwise they'd probably go broke just buying food.

"Bui."

Both Shizune and Naruto turned towards the pink pig that had just made her entrance. TonTon walked over towards Naruto, who rubbed her head in greeting, while Shizune prepared a bowl of water for her.

It had been merely on a whim the day that Shizune had bought TonTon. She'd just been passing by when she spotted the pig. A small traveling family was selling the little pig in hopes of getting some money before they left. Shizune couldn't explain it, but she was drawn to the pig.

What sealed the deal was when the couple started talking about how they could sell the little pig to a butcher. Shizune just couldn't let that happen and so she bought the little pig. It sounded weird, but the little pig was like a baby to Shizune and her instincts refused to let her leave the little pig to its death. Thus TonTon became a member of the Uzumaki family. Shizune herself had taken Naruto's last name in order to keep uncomfortable questions from being asked.

Shizune looked over her shoulder and smiled at the sight. TonTon had jumped into Naruto's lap and Naruto was affectionately rubbing her head. TonTon was having a very positive effect on Naruto. While he was withdrawn and distrusting of people, TonTon was another story entirely. The little pig had worked her way into Naruto's heart and had done him a lot of good.

Shizune placed the bowl of water on the table. TonTon didn't waste anytime in scurrying over to the water. Shizune giggled as the little pig began chugging the water as if she hadn't had it in years.

Grabbing a scroll off of the counter, Shizune took her seat and took a drink from her cup of tea.

"I almost forgot, Naruto-kun. This came for you today."

Shizune handed Naruto the scroll and he wasted no time breaking the seal. Shizune watched as his eyes scanned its contents. She'd been curious, but had respected Naruto's privacy. She didn't want to risk loosing Naruto's trust.

"So what does it say?"

"It's a notice from the ninja academy."

"And?"

"Uzumaki Naruto, we are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted into this year's class of ninja-in-training. I got in."

"Oh that's wonderful news, Naruto-kun."

Shizune watched Naruto as he sat there and placed the scroll down before continuing to eat. TonTon even seemed more excited than Naruto. The little pig had released an extra loud squeal that Shizune guess was out of excitement. However, Shizune had lived with Naruto for three years now had learned to read him pretty well.

Looking closely, she noticed his eyes were wider than usual. He also kept occasionally glancing over at the letter between taking bites of the onigiri and drinking his tea. He was excited and happy about being accepted into the academy.

"Oh, I almost forgot. A notice also came for you from the library, Naruto-kun. Your books are in."

"Wow that was pretty fast. I only placed them on hold a couple days ago."

Shizune stifled a laugh. Ever since she had taught him how to read, Naruto had been reading up a storm. In hindsight, it would put him really far ahead in school, but Shizune was a love of literature and just couldn't bring herself to discourage him. However, she did encourage him to read multiple different types of books so that he wouldn't get to far ahead in school.

Shizune shook herself from her musings and noticed that Naruto had already cleared his plate and was heading for the door. He put the strap from his bag over his head so his bag was strapped to his side securely.

"Come on, TonTon."

"Bui."

TonTon jumped from the table, to Naruto's seat, to the floor and then scurried over to his side. Shizune watched as they both disappeared behind the door. She hated that he was leaving already, but a glance at the clock revealed that she had to get going as well. She had many shifts at the hospital each day along with missions.

Thankfully though, she wouldn't have to work as many shifts. She'd been helping to train new interns at the hospital as well as improve the skills of the medics already at hand. That would allow her more time to help train Naruto. So far, she'd only been able to teach him the book knowledge needed for being a medical ninja and an occasional jutsu. Soon she would be able to kick his training up a few notches.

With that in mind, she grabbed her purse, walked out the door, locked it, and took off.

----- In the village -----

Naruto had arrived at the library, TonTon in tow. The building was located near the center of the village, not too far from the Hokage's tower. It had the largest selection of books and information on just about everything. It was the place to go if you need to find out something.

Opening the door, Naruto walked in and TonTon jumped into his arms. Pets were usually not allowed, but after an incident was almost caused with the Inuzuka clan, that policy was revoked as long as said pet was not really big and didn't disrupt anything or anyone.

Naruto turned his head towards some loud groaning.

"Hey Shiho."

The grunting girl instant composed herself before turning around.

"Hey Uzumaki-san, long time no see."

The sarcasm on the last part was very clear. Naruto had been in the library so much that Shiho had joked about letting him sleep in an upper level.

"What's with all the groaning any way?"

"Oh that," Shiho sweat-dropped and rubbed the back of her head, "well you see we just got in these new computers."

She gestured to her desk and then the boxes on the other side of the room. There was a good number of them. Shiho turned the monitor towards Naruto so he could see that the computer was crashing and the picture kept blacking out.

"Whoa, what's the damage?"

"I'm not sure. They said that this was supposed to make the library more efficient. Unfortunately, the damn things keep malfunctioning. At this rate, I won't be set up for another few years."

"Sounds like a pretty sucky situation. Can I help?"

Shiho pushed her seat back and turned both her hands towards the computer.

"Be my guest."

Naruto walked over and sat down. He didn't have that much computer knowledge, but he did know some things. Computers had only just recently come out and many people still preferred doing things the old fashioned way. However, Naruto had read a book or two on computers so as to familiarize himself.

He untangled some cables and moved some plugs, but nothing changed so he kept rearranging. Finally, he lost his patience with all the work and lack of progress and slammed his fist onto the table in frustration. The table shook, but the computer beeped a few times before rebooting itself.

Both Naruto and Shiho stared at what happened. They'd both worked and toiled at trying to get the damn thing working and nothing had worked. And now it fixes itself.

"And they say violence doesn't solve anything."

Both giggled. Naruto, for his part, was just thankful that he hadn't instinctually enhanced his strength with chakra. For insurance reasons and to avoid lawsuits, he'd been learning to control when he enhances his strength.

"Well, thank you for your help, Uzumaki-san."

"No problem. Anyway, I came because I got a notice that my books were in."

"Oh yes, now let me see."

Shiho browsed the stack of records recorded on the papers on her desk. Her eyes scanned the lines before coming to a stop.

"Here we are, they are all here." She reached below the desk and returned with a stack of books.

"Quite a lot of reading material here, Uzumaki-san. Planning on proving the theory of brain versus brawn?"

"Hn, very funny. Trying for a career in comedy?"

Shiho giggled and scratched the back of her head. "No, no it's just my natural charm is all."

Shiho then moved a pile of books from under the desk and set them next to Naruto's stack.

"Now, if you would please excuse me, I have some filing to do."

Suddenly, both stacks of books were knocked off the counter as if blasted by a very strong gust of wind.

"Oh dear."

Both Naruto and Shiho started picking up all the books and sorting them out. Naruto picked up a book and his eyes widened. The symbols on the cover seemed very familiar, but he just couldn't place it. It wasn't one of the books he'd ordered, but it was like the book was calling to him. He really couldn't describe the feeling.

"Uzumaki-san? Uzumaki-san?"

"Huh? What?"

"You had me worried. You completely spaced out and you had this look on your face. I thought you were going to pass out or something."

"Oh, sorry for worrying you." Naruto rubbed his head and blinked a couple times before getting to his feet. He picked up his pile of books as well as the mystery book that had him so enraptured in it.

"Thanks for your help, Uzumaki-san. Now I really must be getting back to work. Hopefully a miracle will occur and I'll be able to get this damn new technology working by the end of the day."

Shiho reached out her hand, planning on retrieving the book from Naruto. However, Naruto pulled the book back to which Shiho gave him a confused look.

"Is something wrong, Uzumaki-san?"

"Actually, I think I'll take this book too if it's not already on hold."

"Well all of these books were just delivered so they haven't been here long enough. You can take it out if you want, just let me log that."

Pulling the pencil from behind her ear, Shiho made some notes at the bottom of the paper on the top of the stack that rested next to her computer.

"There we go; you're all set now, Uzumaki-san"

"Thanks."

Naruto turned and walked out of the library. He really should tell Shiho that she could call him Naruto. Uzumaki-san made his sound like an old man. Besides, he'd known her long enough for her not to be so formal with him.

"You're pretty comfortable around her, aren't you kid?"

'Is there something wrong with that?'

"No, I'm rather happy about it, kid. She's a nice girl."

Naruto resisted the urge to groan at her giggles.

'Please don't tell me you are planning out a wedding. We're just acquaintances. Actually, I admire her accomplishments.'

"Her accomplishments, right I got ya."

Tsunade didn't bother to even try to stop her laughter. Honestly, the kid was so easy to tease. Naruto growled at her enjoyment of mocking him.

'God are all adults crazy or just the ones I know?!'

"Alright alright, calm down kid. I'll stop I promise."

'Yeah, like I believe that, but seriously. She's only a year older than me, yet her intelligence level was so high in the academy that the elites immediately took interest. I guess that's why they dumped managing the library and setting up the computers to her. Either that or the lazy bastards just don't want to be bothered to do it themselves. Either way, I wouldn't be surprised if Shiho is high up in the intelligence department one day.'

"Wow, you sure are filled with praise for her aren't you?"

'Shut up!'

Naruto gritted his teeth and left the library with his books, securely tucked away in his bag. Tsunade, however, was having the time of her life. Her laughter rang through Naruto's head. God was she enjoying the current situation. Damn, it could only be better if she had some sake.

----- Hokage Tower -----

However, not everybody in the village had such a humorous situation. Yondaime was in his office, starring down the most fearsome menace that any Hokage has to face: the dreaded paperwork!! Piles and piles of paperwork cluttered his desk and the floor on the sides of his desk.

'Curse you evil paperwork! You multiply quicker than rabbits!'

Minato had not been doing well lately. All this paperwork had been keeping him up real late and then bringing him in real early. The dark rings under his eyes could attest to that.

Adding to that, he'd been having trouble sleeping in his home anyway.

The large house was so empty and cold. Every hallway, every room haunted him, flooding him with memories and visions. Visions of his wife, his son, what once was, and what could have been. Basically, it was what he'd had and what he wanted, but would never have.

Kushina was dead. She'd been dead for eight years now and it was still difficult for him to believe. She'd been perfectly healthy during her pregnancy as well as all the time leading up to it. Her death even confused the doctors; both had said she had a clean bill of health. Her autopsy was inconclusive as well.

Minato blinked, feeling the tears pricking his eyes. It still hurt to think about her. However, she was not the only individual that was plaguing him. His son, Naruto, was also haunting him. He hadn't seen his son in so long. He'd been so swamped with paperwork that he hadn't been able to even sneak off and have the weekly dinner with him that had been planned.

He hated himself, he really did. He was a horrible father. Tsunade had sacrificed himself to give him a chance to be with his son and he had blown it. Naruto was avoiding him now and he really couldn't blame him.

Now all of the news that he heard about Naruto came through Shizune. Shizune wasn't too happy with him either and her reports were very cryptic and delivered through clenched teeth. Still, he was very thankful that he was at least able to get her to give him those small tidbits of information.

Minato choked down a sob and tried to dry his tears, but no luck.

'My life is so screwed up and it's my entire fault. God, I'm such a terrible person. I've managed to do everything wrong.'

Tears fell freely from his eyes and he vainly tried to dry them before they could stain the paperwork he'd been working on. His life was burning to the ground and all he could do was watch from the corner he'd boxed himself into.

He opened the draw on the side of his desk and pulled out a bottle of sake and a cup that he'd stashed away. Pouring a glass, he drank it down rather quickly. He filled his glass again before putting the sake bottle back in the draw. He signed the paperwork he was working on before putting it on top of another pile. He read over the next paper on the pile and his eyes went wide.

He grabbed the little calendar that he kept at the edge of his desk.

"Damn."

The calendar confirmed his fears. Today was the day he'd been dreading. Any second now…..

A knock at the door drew Minato's attention.

"Come in."

In walked his secretary, her long blonde hair was pulled back into a bun, the ends of her hair hung out of said bun and almost gave it a crown-like appearance. Her bangs fell to the length of her eyebrows and covered her forehead. She wore the standard jounin uniform pants and sandals. However, she wore a blue t-shirt and a gray hoodie in place of the rest of the standard uniform.

Her name was Fiona and she had been his secretary for quite a few years now. She was still quite young, but efficient. She got the job done well and thankfully didn't have ties to any major clan within Konoha. It would be political suicide to employ someone who was apart of one of the major clans. Fiona did assist him with paperwork dealing with various important issues and if she was apart of any clan, it could cause people to think that that particular clan had unfair influence over the others.

"Hokage-sama, Jiraiya-sama has arrived along with your other guests. Shall I show them in?"

'Hell no!' "Yes Fiona, please show them in."

Minato gulped down the cup of sake on his desk and quickly returned the cup to the draw. Just in time to because his guests had just entered his office. Jiraiya was in the back and he looked very weary. In front of him stood two people that Minato would have preferred not to see.

"Hello Minato-kun."

'She's using that voice which can only mean one thing. Crap!'

----- Naruto's room -----

Naruto was in his closet, digging through everything that was in there.

"What are you looking for kid?"

'Well, that book looks really familiar to me for some reason and I just can't place my finger on it. So I'm kind of hoping that maybe I can find something that will jog my memory.'

"Right, are you sure that you're not just crazy?"

'Very funny. Oh, I think I found what I was looking for.'

With a grunt, Naruto dragged out an old crate from the back of his closet. He pushed it a few feet from the closet. He brought his hand to his mouth and cough a few times because of all the dust.

"What the heck is this thing?"

'Well I'm not completely sure.'

"You're not completely sure?"

'Well, you see, back before I moved in here with Shizune in that glorified shack. And this crate is a whole bunch of crap that was sent along with me when I moved in here.'

Tsunade chose not to push further. She knew that the past was a sore subject for Naruto and didn't want to send him spiraling into a dark depression.

'So I'm hoping that the answer to why that book looks so familiar is in here. I did see some of the things as they went into the box and since I can't place it anywhere else, I'm hoping that the answer is in here.'

Naruto yanked up the top of the box and once again broke out into a cough at the dust. In the box was a bunch of various items. There were some books, a photo album, and other things that one would find in a crate. However, Naruto's eyes were drawn to a small book that was wedged in at the bottom of the crate.

He pulled it out and examined it.

"That's why that other book looks familiar."

It was unmistakable; the symbols on the cover of the book that he'd taken from the library had been roughly sketched onto the cover of this book. And given how intricate the designs were, it seemed highly unlikely that it was a coincidence.

"Wait am minute kid, there's no way that you finding that book was a fluke. How did you know about?"

'You're right; it's not just a coincidence. This book use to sit out on a bookshelf back in my old residence. I couldn't read back then so its designs drew my attention. I use to always wonder what the hell all the designs were suppose to be. And now, hopefully it will provide me with some answers.'

That's the end of chapter 4

I know it's been awhile, but I haven't given up on this story. Hopefully, I can start updating quicker, but life is starting to get a little hectic. However, I don't plan on abandoning this story. I did get a beta; however, said beta wasn't available to oversee this chapter so I hope it doesn't suck.

Now to elaborate a little bit on the chapter. Before you guys start jumping on me about putting computers in there, I did my research and Kishimoto himself has said that they might have computers, but they wouldn't be anything like what we have. Plus, we've been given some insight into the technology that they have there and I think that they probably do have computers. I mean we saw the security they had in the forest of death so I think it's plausible to say that they have some form of computer.

Now before I continue, I must warn that this paragraph will contain minor spoilers for the manga and if you haven't read any of the manga online then you may want to skip down to the next paragraph. Yes, Shiho is the female that was introduced when Shikamaru and Naruto were trying to break Jiraiya's code. I thought she fit in nicely and thought that she would fit in nicely. Hopefully she fit in nicely and I portrayed her well.

Now in regards to the pairing. I've decided that I'm not going to say whether or not there will be a pairing, so you'll just have to wait and see. I do want to say that Hinata will not be paired with Naruto. Nothing against the pairing, but with what I have planned for Hinata, her role would become too cliché. I also want it clear that I am open to yaoi and yuri as well as hetero pairings so if you have issues with this then please stop reading. Leaving a review about how you're not going to read anymore because of my choice in pairing isn't going to make me change it.

And now for the polls that I posted at the end of chapter four. One would be Hinata's second chakra affinity. The first one is water. Also, should Naruto refuse to learn Yondaime's techniques or should he learn then and then improve them and prove his superiority to Yondaime? I also want to say that wind isn't an option for one of Hinata's affinities because it won't work out later on.