Author's Note: This story is a sequel to the previous story, The Hokage Great and Terrible. For those of you who have read the previous story this one will be much less dark. It picks up directly where the last one ended. For those of you who have not read it I would strongly suggest that you do. But I will still provide a synopsis just in case. I warn you all now that this is a very different AU that has nothing in common with the canon beyond the characters. The previous story was not one of my more popular ones. But the people who did like it seemed to like it a great deal. I hope the people who do read this will enjoy it.
Synopsis: Minato was not the one chosen by Sarutobi to become the Yondaime Hokage. Instead he put his faith in his greatest student, Orochimaru.With his unquestioned genius Orochimaru succeeded in trapping the Kyuubi within a crystal gem granting him access to its unlimited power. With such power at his disposal he began to reshape Konoha into what he believed it should be. Under his leadership Konoha conquered all the ninja lands slaughtering all who opposed them. Konoha became rich and powerful, but also cruel and suspicious. A place where the wrong word to the wrong person could lead to death or worse, a stay in one of the camps. Orochimaru's power over life and death seemed complete.
However aided by dreams from the imprisoned Kyuubi, Minato is given the one way to defeat Orochimaru and end his reign… free the Kyuubi and allow her to destroy Konoha. Horrified by the very thought Minato eventually agrees in order to save his son from being used and twisted by the evil Orochimaru. Before unleashing the Kyuubi he sends Naruto, Hinata, and Haku out of the village.
The story takes place ten years after the destruction of Konoha, in a world filled with chaos and strife. In a small newly founded ninja village called Minato, where Namikaze Naruto is Kage.
Naruto woke up as a little five year old girl jumped on top of him. As he came awake he saw his saw his little Hanabi jumping up and down and smiling at him. She had long dark blue hair and the same pale lavender eyes as her mother. In fact she looked almost exactly as her mother had at that age.
"Daddy, mommy is making breakfast. She says it's time for you to get up."
In reply he reached up and began tickling his little girl and she began to howl with laughter. Ah, he loved Sundays with the family.
Hinata came out of the kitchen with large plates filled with food. Eggs, ham, potatoes, bacon, and bread with butter. They all drank fresh milk with their meal. Both his boys dug in and began to devour what had been set in front of them. Both boys were the spitting image of their father with spiky blonde hair and beep blue eyes. Minato was seven and Keitaro was six. They were typical brothers who constantly felt the need to compete with each other.
Minato was excited about entering the ninja academy come the fall. Minato had been lording the fact that he was becoming a, 'real' ninja over his brother. Naruto had seen to it that the academy was a bit different than it had been. The students wouldn't be slaughtering any animals to get used to killing and bloodshed. He had also made sure that the spars and the general atmosphere was less brutal than it had been. Orochimaru had wanted his ninjas to all be hardened killers when they graduated. Naruto wanted them to be strong but also well rounded and capable of independent thought and initiative. He did however maintain the same standards that had been there during his one year. Every student would be expected to have decent taijutsu, code breaking, stealth and infiltration skills. They would also need to be able to perform the basic academy jutsus; henge, transformation, body switch, body flicker, and at least one elemental jutsu in whatever element they happened to be strongest in. The students also learned how to set traps, detonate explosive tags, walk up trees, and walk on water. They were expected to learn all this within four years, by the time they were twelve. If they had difficulties they could have up to three additional years of remedial training. If they were unable to pass the graduation test after seven years of instruction they would not be recognized as ninja.
His son Minato would be part of one of the academy's larger class; there would be twelve of them. His father had told him that back in his day there was a second test administered by the Jonin instructors. If it was failed the students went back to the academy for another year. Orochimaru had ended that practice; he wanted his ninja in the field not in the classroom. Squads of three were assigned to a Jonin sensei who was required to accept and train them. Being given a squad was considered to be an assignment just like any other. Naruto had decided that there would be no second test by the Jonin. Honestly, he thought it would be pointless. If they could pass the academy graduation test they would become ninjas and receive a hitai-ite.
He wore his around his forehead and Hinata wore hers around her neck. All the ninjas of the village wore one. Originally Naruto and Hinata had decided to stop wearing their old leaf hitai-ites as the reminders were too painful. Haku of course had been stripped of his and had no wish to ever look at the leaf symbol again. That had been fine, until they began recruiting former leaf nins to join their new village. Some of them continued to wear the leaf symbol with great pride. Others had thrown their hitai-ites away and did not want to be reminded of the old village. The issue had caused dissension and hard feelings and so Naruto had finally come up with a solution. All ninjas of the village of Minato wore a hitai-ite with the symbol of a cherry blossom. There were cherry trees throughout the land and so it seemed a fitting symbol of their new village.
As he sat there and ate with his family he thought about some of the changes that he had seen. One change was that he couldn't remember the last time he'd seen an orange or even a bowl of rice. The local farmland was rich and now that farmers were protected and allowed to work the land in peace there was plenty of food. The problem was that with all the fighting and chaos in the world trade with far off places was next to impossible. Caravans traveling within the territory protected by his village were completely safe. Once they left that protection though they were on their own. The result was they mostly depended on what could be grown and made locally. That wasn't really too much of a problem. Instead of having a meal of fish and rice with a little sake they would have pork or chicken with potatoes and bread with beer.
He looked at the digital clock and smiled. It had taken them awhile but they had finally found enough copper to wire the village for electricity a few years ago. He and Shikamaru had designed some wind mills that would power the local generators. Occasionally on still days he or someone else would have to cast a few wind jutsus, but they had electricity. That and clean running water meant they lived better than 90 percent of the people in the ninja lands did. About the only people who still had those luxuries were the ones living in major cities and a handful of rich lords.
After a very hearty breakfast he played with his children for a couple of hours before deciding to take a little walk around the village.
As he left his estate he looked back at the house with a little bit of pride. It was a large two story building with thirty rooms. It was the largest building in the village. Larger than the Assembly or the, 'Tower.' Most people referred to his home as the Namikaze mansion. Hearing that made him laugh as his current home wasn't a tenth size of the one he'd grown up in. Still, it was very spacious and luxurious. He had designed and built it in a week using hundreds of his clones. He was almost as proud of the beautiful rose garden that Hinata and Ino had created. To him the garden they had created was even more spectacular than the one from the old estate.
As he walked he thought about the things that were different now and the things that were the same. People greeted him and were not afraid to come right up to him to talk. That was certainly different. His father had told him that old Sarutobi had been like that when he was Hokage. Maybe, but all of his memories were of Orochimaru as Hokage, and Orochimaru had not been a man of the people. Oh he loved to put on shows for them and he loved to hear their applause. But he never wanted to have to be near them.
He thought about his vast estate and about those of the other clans, that had definitely not changed. Even as he tried to share power among all the people the ninja, and especially the clans, were given favorable treatment. There was really no avoiding that if he wanted to recruit them and keep them.
As he walked along the streets there was no ANBU squad detailed to watch him. There were no ANBU, period. Partially that was because there were just not enough ninja in the village to make an entirely separate organization really necessary. More difficult tasks were simply assigned to the better ninjas. Naruto doubted that he would ever create an ANBU even if the numbers rose enough later. In his eyes every ninja in the village was already part of an elite fighting force. Creating an elite within the elite seemed to be a bad idea to him. He wanted people to feel united not separated.
Then there was the question of money. With a smile he reached in and pulled out gamachan, his frog wallet. He knew the thing looked silly but it had been a long ago gift from his dad and he loved it. He pulled out a thick wad of ryu notes in 50, 100, 500, and 1,000 denominations. Haku was on the 50. A shy looking Hinata was on the 100. He was on the 500 with one of his big cheesy grins. And the 1,000 bore the image of his father. Growing up he had never learned much about economics or given money much of a thought. One of the many lessons he'd learned was that nothing had a set value. Things were only worth what someone would give you for them.
All the old ryu notes became worthless over night. Every individual, 'nation' (read every independent city and every feudal lord with his own troops) began making their own. The value of these notes varied but one constant was always that they were worth the most in the place where they were printed, a lot less in neighboring lands, and they were nothing but colored paper beyond. His village's money was no different, though as they continued to expand each new village or town that joined them was required to accept the notes at their full value.
Reaching to the bottom of his wallet he pulled out a couple tiny gold coins. Each one had an image of his father on one side and a cherry blossom on the other. Along with the master scroll filled with all the material in his family library his father had given him a ten pound bar of gold and a small pouch filled with diamonds. The bar had long since been melted down and turned into coinage. It had been a huge help at those times when they actually had to go trade for something.
Surprisingly the diamonds had turned out to be the least valuable of his father's gifts. Each one was so precious it was almost impossible to get enough trade goods to make it worth selling. Over the years he had only sold a few of them. He took a number of them and made a magnificent diamond necklace for his wife. The rest remained in the original velvet pouch in a safe at home.
His walk led him to the commons, a public park in the heart of the village. He walked up to a fifteen foot tall bronze statue of a ninja smiling down at him. It was of course the image of his father. He looked at the plaque that was on the statue's pedestal.
Ninja and hero of the village hidden in the leaves. Beloved father and protector. Namesake and inspiration for the village of Minato. May your love and courage never be forgotten.
He stood there and thought about his father. About everything he owed to him and everything he could never repay. He did this a lot, especially on Sundays. It was his own way of paying respect.
He didn't know how long he stood there before a familiar voice caught his attention.
He turned around to see Shikamaru slouching towards him. He had one arm around an eight and a half months pregnant Ino who was waddling along and not looking real happy.
Naruto grinned at them. "Shikamaru, Ino, what are you two doing here?"
"Looking for you obviously!" Ino huffed.
Shikamaru rolled his eyes but was careful to do so where Ino couldn't see. "When Hinata told us you'd gone for a walk I knew you'd be here."
"Well there's no outsmarting you Shikamaru. So why are you looking for me?"
"We want you to marry us tomorrow." Ino said.
Naruto's jaw dropped. "You two have been living together for five years and you want to get married tomorrow?"
Ino frowned at him. "I am not having my baby out of wedlock. My daddy and mom would both be rolling in their graves."
Shikamaru shrugged. "The only reason we've waited this long is because neither of us wants to give up our family name. I'm the last Nara and she's the last Yamanaka. It would be a lot easier if we didn't love each other so much." He looked over to her. "You are so troublesome."
She punched his arm. "Jerk! You should be grateful that a woman like me is willing to put up with you."
While rubbing his arm he sent a Naruto a little wink. The two of them were always fighting, but they were never far away from one another.
"All right, so will your baby be a Nara or a Yamanaka?" Naruto asked.
"Neither," Ino replied. "and both. The two of us are forming a new clan, the Narayamanaka clan."
Naruto smiled. "So that's how you solved the problem?"
Shikamaru shrugged. "It seemed like a fair compromise. Normally I would have let her have her way, but I just didn't want to lose the Nara name."
"And you only now thought of using both names?" Naruto teased. "Shikamaru my faith in your genius is deeply shaken."
"I thought of this five years ago." He turned to Ino. "But a certain troublesome woman only agreed to it this morning."
Ino's well thought out answer was to punch him in the arm again. "So Naruto, will you marry us tomorrow?"
Naruto rubbed his chin thoughtfully. "Well I don't know, Mondays are usually pretty busy." His smirk disappeared and he backed up a couple of steps as a torrent of killer intent came off of Ino.
Shikamaru was looking at her nervously. "Kage-sama please say yes. I'd hate to have to try and find a replacement for you."
Naruto sent an apologetic look at the angry woman. "I'm very sorry Ino, I was just kidding there. I'd be honored to marry the two of you." To Naruto's relief the killer intent vanished instantly.
"Good! The wedding's going to be at four at our home so you had better be there at least half an hour early. And there will be a lot of pictures so I want you in your kage robes and they had better be clean. I also want you to give a little speech at the reception since my dad won't be there, you know nothing too emotional. Just maybe fifteen minutes about how much the two of us mean to you. Then…"
Naruto stood there listening. Her list of wants was depressingly long. The wedding might be tomorrow, but she'd obviously given a whole lot of thought as to exactly how she wanted it to go.
With the exhaustive efforts of Naruto, Shikamaru, Hinata, Tenten, and a great many others the wedding and reception were set up pretty much to Ino's specifications. Naruto even managed to show up with his specially made white Kage's cloak with the orange flames along the bottom. It was a beautiful ceremony in front of a large audience of friends. Chouji got to be best man. They talked about how they wished Asuma had been with them.
The reception was a feast filled with music and free flowing beer. As the adults drank and danced the children ran around playing. Everyone was having a good time.
Until a ninja that had been on patrol arrived shouting for the Kage.
"What is it?" A slightly tipsy Naruto asked.
The ninja bowed to his leader. "Kage-sama, we ran into a foreign ninja who wishes to speak to you."
This was a surprise. Ninjas didn't seek them out that often; normally they had to be recruited. And a foreign ninja? There were only a handful in Minato that had been born outside the old borders of Fire country. This was certainly rare, but not completely unheard of.
"Well send him in." Naruto said.
"Ah, actually Kage–sama she is a kunoichi."
Naruto shrugged. "Fine." The ninja disappeared. Naruto looked to his wife. "Uhm, honey? Could you help me get rid of the beer buzz?" He didn't want this kunoichi's first impression of him to be that of someone who wasn't quite sober.
Hinata giggled as she nodded. "Of course dear." Performing a simple medical jutsu she neutralized the alcohol in his system.
It seemed like a real waste to be sober after drinking so much damn beer. But Naruto was willing to make the sacrifice.
In short order the two ninjas arrived escorting a stranger.
She had shoulder length auburn hair and was dressed in a loose fitting grey tunic and tan pants. She was looking distinctly nervous as she looked about. She was surrounded by dozens of ninja with their hitai-ites on.
Naruto approached her with a welcoming smile. "Hello, my name is Naruto and I am the Kage of this village."
She focused her attention on him for a moment. "Are all of you ninja?" she asked.
Naruto nodded. "Pretty much, if you've come here to join us you'd be welcomed to."
That seemed to get her focused. "No, I am not here to join you. I am a messenger."
"Well that sounds interesting, but could I know your name first?"
"Of course." She bowed to him. "My name is Matsuri of what was once the land of wind. I am here to deliver a message from the emperor."
That got a chuckle. "Emperor, huh? There are at least two right now, which one are you referring to?"
Her lips twisted down and she spoke with complete sincerity and firmness. "There is only one true emperor! His imperial majesty, Gato the First!"