Ore Wa Kimi No Mono
Chapter 20 – Past, Present & Future
The door was pushed open and for a moment Naruto was blinded by the bright light inside as his blue eyes were adjusted now to the gradually darkening sky outside. The inside of the log home looked more like a conference room or meeting place with a 12 person table situated in the front room. There was a staircase to the right leading to an upper level with several rooms. The kitchen was to the left here on the main floor but it was not in use at the moment. There were more rooms to the right but none of that even mattered to the Kitsune.
The brown Fox entered first, bowing to the people gathered at the table. Jiraiya was second, eager to see his old friends again. Then Naruto and Sasuke entered but were slightly hidden from view by the young girl and the Toad Sage.
"Namikaze-Sama, the refugees have been saved and are being taken care of now as you requested," she murmured politely. Naruto wasn't able to see the people at the table as the girl and Jiraiya wouldn't move just yet.
"Thank you, Moriko-chan," a man answered back, his voice low and disconnected as if he was distracted by something. The girl named Moriko cleared her throat slightly, trying to catch his attention.
"Namikaze-Sama… sir, you have important guests here to see you!" Moriko piped up, a wide grin on her face. She was almost as excited as Naruto was. Though despite how excited the Fox was, he was also incredibly nervous. Would they like him? Did they want him? Would he be good enough for them?
"Who is-" the man stopped talking as he looked up. His crystalline blue eyes widened and his jaw dropped as he saw his old friend standing there with a Cheshire grin. "Jiraiya! You old fool, how have you been?!" the Village Leader jumped over the table unceremoniously and ran up to the Scribe.
Jiraiya laughed heartily and hugged the blonde haired man. "I've been doing great! Lots of research and the like, you know! How have you been, Minato?" he teased the man and ruffled his hair. Minato playfully shoved Jiraiya away with a chuckle, moving the man over and revealing Naruto, though the boy still remained unnoticed.
"I've been better without you around to treat me like a kid! And I know Kushina didn't miss you spying on her and all the ladies!" Minato teased back. Though he really was glad to see Jiraiya again; it had been a few years since he had seen his long time friend. Jiraiya flushed a light pink and chuckled nervously, scratching at the back of his neck.
"Heh. How is the wife, by the way?"
Naruto watched the exchange with great interest. So this was his Dad? Namikaze Minato… Jiraiya hadn't lied when he said Naruto looked like him! They had the same sunshine mop of spiky hair, the same sky blue eyes and tanned skin. The only difference was that Naruto had three whisker-like scars on each cheek where Minato did not. Nestled in the shaggy blonde hair was a pair of bright orange, white tipped fox ears and swishing happily behind him was a matching tail.
Just like Naruto.
"- and your troop came in the nick of time I suspect to save the rest of them," Jiraiya gestured to the spaced out Naruto and the brooding Sasuke.
Minato glanced at the teenagers, back at Jiraiya then stopped dead. His eyes widened as he looked again at the nervously grinning Naruto. "Wh-what… who…?" the man turned his body and full attention towards Naruto, looking down with disbelieving eyes at the boy.
"Uhm…" now that the moment finally had come, the moment he had been dreaming of his entire life, he didn't know what to say. He just stood there staring at the man who was his Father.
The Toad saw that nothing was going to be said between the two shocked Foxes so he stepped forward, placed a gentle hand on Minato's shoulder, and smiled softly. "This boy found me in a village while he was journeying to find the Fox Clan… Minato… this is your son, Naruto."
"Naruto?" Minato spoke his name to confirm it. Just to say it. He hadn't said that name in a long time. He and Kushina had agreed to not bring that name up because it only hurt the both of them to think of the son they had lost so long ago… "Naruto?" the mans' voice cracked and shook, his body trembled and his blue eyes watered as he looked at the near perfect image of him.
"Hi… Oto-san…" Naruto murmured, feeling tears come to his own eyes. Just seeing the emotion and the love, the hope that barely dared to show… Minato stepped forward and held a quivering hand out, his orange fox ears laid flat against his head, his tail hanging limply behind him. Naruto smiled weakly, feeling so happy all of a sudden. It was an overflowing well inside him, constricting his heart, cutting off his voice as his father touched him. His large hand was calloused and rough from work and labour but was so warm and comforting.
He leaned his face into the touch and felt a few tears escape his hold. Then suddenly he was wrapped in large, strong arms, squished against his fathers' chest in a tight, loving hug. This was real. This was happening. He had a father who loved him, longed for him… and now he was here… what Naruto was feeling was indescribable. "Oh, Gods, Naruto… oh my… I can't believe… We thought you were… but your not! You're here! You found your way home, my brave, brave boy… Oh Gods… we abandoned you!" Minato squeezed his son harder, tears flowing freely down his tanned face and into his boys' hair as the rush of guilt consumed him.
"Naruto… please forgive us… if we had known, we never would have… Oh, Naruto, please forgive us…" Minato pleaded, murmuring into Naruto's golden hair and feeling sick to his stomach. He knew he should have gone back to look! How could he abandon his only son? It was so unforgivable!
Naruto shook his head and replied with his face pressed against his fathers' firm chest. "I know, Oto-san… It's ok… I forgive you." It was easy to. It was easy to forgive his father for a mistake he didn't know he made. It wasn't Minato's fault Naruto was left behind. And just seeing the guilt and the love was enough to settle Naruto's heart. It wasn't that his parents didn't want him… they wanted him more than anything, they loved him… They just didn't know he was alive because of the chaos and confusion of that fateful night. Naruto could hardly blame them for that.
Minato jerked away suddenly and called up the stairs, his voice still cracking with emotion, "KUSHINA!" Immediately, they heard a door smash open in panic and hurried footsteps down the hallway.
"Minato?! Are you ok? What's going on?" a beautiful red-haired woman with violet eyes stormed down the stairs. She had reddish-orange, white tipped fox ears and matching tail. Her eyes were only focused on Minato but as she reached the bottom of the stairs she realized that Minato was hugging someone. A kid it looked like. Minato was crying but his face was full of happiness and she wondered just what would make him cry like that. But a few feet away she stopped dead in her tracks and gasped, a delicate, pale hand over her mouth. This was a sight she never thought she would see in her wildest dreams. "Oh… oh my…I-is that… Minato, what's…?" she breathed, staring at the wet, wide blue eyes and blonde hair, staring at the boy who looked just like her husband and mate.
"Kushina… this is our son, Naruto… he made it home!" Minato smiled, tears still streaming down his face as he held his boy close to him and held out a hand to his wife.
The woman cried out and dropped to her knees, tears immediately flowing from her eyes like an out of control flood. "Oh my Gods… Naruto? It can't be…" her voice wavered, her violet eyes fixed on his blue ones. Minato dropped to his knees beside his love and pulled Naruto with him. Naruto hesitated only slightly as he waited for Kushina's reaction. Was this real? Dare she hope that what she was seeing was truth? Had her one and only beloved son made it home? She did much the same as his father did; reaching a shaking hand out to touch his tanned skin. The moment she made contact, she cried out, a heart wrenching, disbelieving cry and pulled the boy into her arms and held him close to her chest. Minato wrapped his arms around them both and Naruto cried into the loving comfort of their arms.
He was home.
It took some time and many tears and hugs and embarrassed chuckles, but finally the family reunion came to a close. There were a lot of questions and inspecting to see just how their son turned out and more questions.
"How in the world did you survive, Naruto?" Kushina asked, a bright smile on her pale face as she inspected his rough and dirty hands.
Naruto grinned and shrugged. "I dunno. I just always did. I mean, it was hard because I lived off scraps and made my den out of rags and other things I found in the garbage but I did ok."
His mother gasped and frowned. "Garbage? Scraps? What on earth are you talking about?" she demanded.
"I was homeless. No one wanted me. I was chased around and hunted and got hurt a lot so I always went at night. Less chance of running into villagers then… So I took what I could when I could and made it into something better," Naruto smiled. Like living like that was the most natural thing in the world for him. And it was. For his entire 16 years, that was his life. He didn't know any different until Sasuke took him in.
"That's terrible! Why did they hate you so?" Kushina asked, completely horrified that anyone could treat her precious son like that. Minato was frowning as he listened, contemplating his words.
"It's because of my family," Sasuke spoke finally, stepping forward with a lowered head. He bowed respectfully before the Village Leaders and his lovers parents. Kushina and Minato noticed the Wolf for the first time and eyed him up carefully. Wolves were their enemy, after all, yet here was one right before their eyes.
"And you are?" Minato demanded.
"I am Uchiha Sasuke, youngest son of Uchiha Fugaku and Uchiha Mikoto…Leaders of the Uchiha Wolf Clan and the Heads of the Village where Naruto lived." The Foxes eyes narrowed as they scrutinized the Uchiha before them.
"What are you doing here, Uchiha? What do you want?" Kushina demanded, pulling her son to her and holding him close as if to protect him from Sasuke. But Naruto wiggled free and stood by Sasuke loyally.
"Sasuke saved me, Oka-san. I was being beaten by some villagers when Sasuke told them to stop and he saved me… brought me into his home, bandaged me, fed me…" he flushed slightly, remembering the other things Sasuke did for him then too. It seemed so long ago now… "If it wasn't for Sasuke, I never would have learned about that night, 16 years ago or what happened to the Fox Clan. Without Sasuke's help I never would have made it this far… I owe everything to him and I beg you to please accept him. He's not like the others…"
Minato and Kushina exchanged glances, knowing looks, and smiled back at the two teenagers. "Of course, Naruto. We trust you and your judgement completely. If Sasuke-kun is a friend of yours, he is a friend of ours! He is welcome here." Naruto smiled with relief and reached for Sasuke's hand but the Uchiha pulled away.
"Thank you for your hospitality."
"We should celebrate!" Moriko cheered from the side, clapping excitedly. Everyone glanced over at the teenager and she flushed prettily. "I mean… I think it's only appropriate but only if that is something you wish, Namikaze-Sama…" the girl corrected herself and hung her head humbly.
Minato chuckled and shook his head, "You're right, Moriko-chan! We should celebrate! There isn't much time to prepare but have the cooks get to work right away and send message to the rest of Konoha! Our son has returned!"
Moriko squeaked with excitement and ran to do his bidding, shouting as she ran, "Naruto is alive! He's back! We are celebrating the return of Minato and Kushina's long lost son!"
Kabuto hated people. He especially hated happy people. It was hard for him to walk freely among the refugees and try to mingle, mix, blend in with them. He wasn't a happy person. Only when his Master was around.
But still he put on a smiling face, helped distribute blankets and food and immersed himself in conversation with strangers. Gaining trust was what it was all about. Message had been sent to his Master so he would be able to inform Uchiha Fugaku where this hidden village was and the status of Naruto and Sasuke. He even told his Master about killing Sai, the disgraced assassin. Orochimaru-sama would be happy to hear that.
Though keeping an eye on Naruto and Sasuke was getting harder. Now that Naruto had been reunited with his parents, he was constantly surrounded by people. And because Naruto and Sasuke were attached at the hip, Kabuto was having a hard time keeping them both in his sights. But at the celebration feast, he tried to get a seat close to them so he could monitor them and also hopefully pick up important information from Minato or Jiraiya. Whether it was his mission or not, he always went the extra mile to please his Master. Any information that might give him an upper hand in any occasion pleased him greatly and Kabuto was always handsomely rewarded for his efforts…
"And so I told him, 'That's not a dragon! That's my mother!'" Jiraiya chuckled, slapping a hand to his knee as most of the men around him laughed heartily. Jiraiya was always a great story teller. But down at the end of the table, Minato and Kushina were busy prying information out of Naruto about his life.
"So you got pulled out and attacked?!" Kushina asked, increasingly more appalled, the more she learned about the way her son lived for 16 years.
"Yeah. But then Sasuke saved me! He told them to leave and he carried me all the way to his home when I lost consciousness," Naruto explained with a proud smile.
"Don't sell yourself short, Naruto. You took down a few on your own before I came along and stopped it," Sasuke interrupted.
Naruto flushed slightly and shook his head, "It was by accident. I didn't mean to hurt them…"
"What do you mean you didn't mean to hurt them?" Minato asked, his blonde brows furrowed as he looked between the two boys.
The young kitsune fidgeted uncomfortably and stayed silent for a moment. They were his parents and deserved to know that he was the vessel for the Kyuubi but at the same time he wasn't sure it was something he should explain here… Was it ok for others to know too? "I uh… I have…uhm… well, do you remember the Kyuubi?" he asked tentatively. He raised his blue eyed gaze up to look his parents in the face as they nodded. Minato however already knew where this was going.
"Well… I have his power. I was born with him inside me and Jiraiya had been training me to control him because I lost control a few times and hurt a lot of people…" the boy explained, feeling ashamed. His orange ears were folded back.
Minato was the first to speak, "You truly have the Kyuubi's power harnessed within you?" At Naruto's reluctant nod, Minato's frowning face turned into a wide grin. "Then this is a joyous occasion! Having Kurama in our Clan means great things, Naruto! Be proud, son!"
"Yes, the Kyuubi is only a title for the beast. The Nine Tailed Fox. That is only what he is. But his name, his true name, is Kurama," the Alpha explained patiently. Naruto, feeling encouraged and emboldened, smiled.
"Kurama… is he a God, Oto-San? Or is he just a demon?"
"Oh, he is a God. He is the Creator of our race, in fact. Every race of Demon or Human has a Creator. Though many have long since forgotten who they are and do not care to trace back their heritage… the Foxes have never forgotten. We also have some written history of other Gods and them sharing their power. There are only a few I know of though I know there are more. There was Shukaku the Raccoon Dog, Matatabi the Cat, Isobu the Turtle, Son Goku the Monkey, Kokuo the Horse, Saiken the Slug, Chomei the Rhinoceros Beetle, and Gyuki the Ox…"
Naruto stared wide eyed at his father, listening, hanging onto every word. "There are more like me?" he asked disbelievingly.
Minato shrugged and nodded, "It's been a long time since the Gods have shared their power with us. I don't know if they have shared their power with others. But to know that Kurama resides within you and you have already gained control is a good thing."
"Or an omen of ill fate… for where great power shows itself, an enemy will arise to take it," Kabuto spoke up. He hadn't really meant to but he couldn't stop himself from muttering the cryptic words his Master had repeated to him time and again. All eyes had turned to the Snake and he put away his anger and slid on a cheeky, embarrassed smile. "Or so I've been told!" he chuckled, trying to pass it off.
He hated Naruto even more now, knowing he was the vessel to an abomination calling itself a God. These people were deranged if they thought such things existed! Chances were Naruto just had an incredible reserve of power that was a freak accident. Every few generations, Kabuto knew some were born with incredible gifts like that. It was always usually in time to prevent some war or to help lead people to a time of peace and prosperity. People needed that; to believe in something or someone powerful, to have someone pull them out in a time of disparity. It was silly in his opinion as there was no greater power than your own. But to go and call an odd gift of power a 'God' was just plain laughable.
The conversation was slow to start up again but it started none the less. "Either way, Naruto, you are blessed. We haven't seen the Kyuubi's power in a very long time so finally seeing it amass itself is a hopeful and encouraging sign. How long have you been training?"
Naruto shrugged and glanced over at the Toad Sage talking animatedly to a group of demons a little further down the massive table. "Since he discovered my power when Bears attacked us and I killed them all by accident… almost a month ago. But I stopped training when we joined the group of refugees and led them here."
Kabuto tuned out the rest of the conversation and regarded Sasuke coolly, noticing with no small amount of satisfaction that he was depressed and quiet. The Uchiha seemed to be staring dejectedly at Naruto and glancing over at the brown Fox sitting next to Naruto and clinging to every word he said. Hmmm… seems like there was already a bit of a one-sided love triangle forming here… that could lead to an advantage later on.
What was Sasuke depressed about other than having a female Fox encroaching on his territory? What was eating at the Uchiha to make him look like a kicked and lost pup? Kabuto didn't fail to notice a certain Cat demon glaring at the Uchiha either. Perhaps some words were said, a seed of doubt planted? Oh beautiful! There was nothing the Hebi loved more than doubt, suspicion and people's suffering… Oh his Master would be so proud of the plan he would put into action here!
Orochimaru chuckled as he read the report his faithful servant sent him. He would have to give the man an extra reward for his diligence. This was all going brilliantly. Sai had been disposed of, the useless dog. The hidden Village of the Foxes had been located finally after 16 years. Naruto and Sasuke had been located and are in constant sight. Kabuto had infiltrated and become a part of the refugees successfully so no one suspected him at all. And he was gathering useful information while there. Fugaku would want to know this. So the man made his way to the Uchiha estates and called on the Wolf.
"This had better be good, Orochimaru!" the black haired man growled, his pure black Wolf ears laid back against his head, agitated.
"I have word, sir. Your pack has been defeated; not one escaped," Orochimaru preferred bad news first to see the frustration and anger. That was his favourite.
Fugaku's face reddened and a menacing growl ripped from his throat as he stood there glaring at the Snake. "What?! How is that possible!?" he demanded, his hands clenching into fists. "I sent a small army of my best to capture two measly little brats!"
"It seems those brats have joined a group of refugees. They have been saved and rescued by a troop of Foxes," Orochimaru smirked menacingly, his thin, pale, scaly face and bright pallid eyes all knowing and superior as he watched the 'powerful' and 'revered' Uchiha break down into a manic fit.
"That's impossible! Foxes are extinct! They don't exist and haven't for over a decade! The only one left I should have killed off a long time ago before he became such a nuisance!"
"They do exist and are hiding up in the mountains in a place called Konoha. It's where quite a few refugees have actually taken residence and joined a sort of resistance against you… good news though; they are stuck up there for the winter. They can't go anywhere so come spring time, you can mount an attack on them, destroy them once and for all and get your son back…" Orochimaru suggested.
The Wolf paced the room, a hand on his chin in thought as he considered what to do about this situation. He could use the winter to train new recruits and double his battalion size. If he had a bigger pack, he would be easily able to overwhelm whatever poor defences they had and finally destroy the Fox Clan for good. There would be no 'Kyuubi', no 'God' able to save them from this massacre. There would be no peace, no truce; no offering that could sway his decision.
There would be a final battle.
"Very well… Keep your man on Sasuke and keep me informed. In the mean time, I will prepare for an attack in spring…" the man finally announced before dismissing the Snake and going back to his dinner with his mate, Mikoto. He would also have to tell Itachi about the new arrangements. The poor man had been worried sick about his little brother. What a good brother he was!
Itachi had been pressing Fugaku hard to even go out himself and retrieve Sasuke and kill that devil Fox. While Fugaku would have been proud to let his eldest son do just that, he would not take the risk during winter. It was a dangerous season all around. But now Itachi could have something to look forward to come spring time. If Fugaku didn't take the honour himself, he would make Itachi kill that damned Kitsune that started this all. Though, if he could somehow convince his youngest son to kill that devil that would be even better… Though time would tell… that young pup was easily influenced and suggestible.
Oh my goodness, another fun filled chapter I was excited to write! Things are slowly coming to a climax! Oh my goodness! I can hardly contain my excitement! I really hope you guys love this as much as I do! AHHHH! Haha
Anyways, please READ & REVIEW! I really like to hear from you and know what you think. Am I doing well? Anything I can improve upon? Criticism is welcome. Anything to help me grow as a writer!
All my love,