Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto. I am aware of this, and will take this down if need be.
Mini-disclaimer: I'm going to be introducing a little Greek/Roman mythology into the Naruto-verse. You don't like it, stop reading, don't try and roast me with scathing reviews.
Author's Note: The first arc of this fic is set when Naruto is around 9 or 10. Later, there will be a time skip to the start of the manga/anime.
Rivers of Hades
An actual lunch break was a rare occurrence for Sarutobi. Normally, lunch was eaten in his office, so being able to leave was a treat. It was also rare for his lunch break to actually line up with the actual lunch hours. His path today happened to bring him past the academy. Seeing some academy students run past, he looked in the direction they had come from. What he saw came as a rather unusual sight to the aged village leader.
He saw a young blonde wearing orange sitting on a swing. The sight was not unusual, but the look on the boy's face was. The boy Sarutobi considered a second grandson (and hopefully his successor) was staring at the ground, not in depression or sorrow, but in deep thought, with just a hint of self-doubt. Wondering just what had happened, the Sandaime walked over.
"Is something the matter, Naruto-kun? You seem...distracted."
"Aw, hey oji-san. It's just something I've got on my mind."
"Did something happen at the academy today?"
"Not much. Just a lecture on famous or important shinobi in Konoha history. I didn't think it was that bad at first, but..."
"What about it?"
"It eventually turned into something like, 'if you're from a major clan, you're someone important. If you aren't, you won't amount to anything.'"
"Ah, I see. Are you giving up on your dream to replace me?" Despite his light tone, Sarutobi was deeply worried. Not just for what could happen if Naruto decided he no longer wanted to defend the village, but more importantly, if Naruto didn't want his job anymore, that meant that he couldn't retire again, and would be forced to continue with the damned paperwork. Currently, there were only two people in the entire village who had both expressed a desire to take over as Hokage and the potential to actually make it. Naruto was one, and the other was his biological grandson, Konohamaru. Danzo may want the job, but Sarutobi had made sure that no amount of scheming, even with the council, the entire village, or even the Fire Daimyo supporting him, would let Danzo get his war-mongering hands on the office of Hokage.
"No, I still want your hat, but the lecture made it sound as if you had to be from a major clan in order to ever be really great. I think I know better than anyone else how hard it is to try to become a ninja without generations of shinobi in your family, or without clan techniques to learn."
As Sarutobi listened, he was impressed by how mature Naruto could be when he wanted to. 'Sigh...If only you knew the truth. Well, maybe there is something I can do to help. He seems to be ready for at least part of it.'
"Naruto-kun, after the academy lets out for the day, stop by my office. There's something I think you should have."
"Huh? What do you mean, oji-san?"
"You'll see." That was all the wizened old man said before he walked off to find lunch before he returned to the tower to face a seemingly invincible foe.
Next Chapter: The Talk