A New Chance

Author's Notes:

Jiraiya and Tsunade took Naruto away from the village as soon as the fox was sealed. Sarutobi told everyone Naruto was dead.

This will be a Naru/Hina story. Other pairings might happen at a later time but are undecided for now. I am leaning though towards Neji/Ten, Shika/Temari, and Ino/Cho. This could change later.

I will try not to bash any characters (except Orochimaru).

Chapter 1: Beginnings

Hokage Tower

It'd been two hours since it happened. The Yondaime gave his life to stop the Kyuubi no Kitsune, leaving a broken village to recover with many of its strongest shinobi dead. In the Hokage Tower things were hardly better.

"How is Kushina?" An aged man asked the woman next to him. "With Minato's sacrifice she is the only one in Konoha he has left."

Tsunade sighed. "She's not doing well. We aren't even sure what's happening to be honest... After she gave birth she slipped into a coma. I'm afraid being as close to the front as we were she might have been poisoned by the Kyuubi's chakra. Normally it wouldn't affect humans but she was already weak from labor. If that's the case she may not even make it through the night."

"Poor little guy." A third occupant stated. "From the looks of it he might not ever know either of his parents." Jiraiya tried to calm down the baby he was holding. Soon the child was resting again. "Looks so much like his father too."

"Hmm... This is not good. Young Naruto will need some sort of parental figure if he is going to live a normal life." Sarutobi started to eye his two remaining loyal students. Tsunade had moved up beside Jiraiya and was helping to calm the baby boy. Both of them had their problems he had to admit. One had a drinking and gambling problem and the other a self proclaimed super pervert. Suddenly Tsunade was staring at him with a hard, determined look in her eyes.

"I'll take him. He needs a good home and shown love. Shizune and I can give that to him." Sensing Jiraiya was about to speak next to her she held up a hand to stop him. "No. There's no way I'm letting you take him."

"Come on Tsunade-chan, you know..." he froze seeing the sudden look in her eyes and a twitch appear.

"I told you long ago, you will not call me that!" In an amazing show of skill Tsunade not only leveled Jiraiya with a mighty punch but also took Naruto from him without disturbing the child. "I don't care how long you've known me, YOU will not call me -chan!"

Sarutobi chuckled slightly at the sight. He still remembered when his two students were younger and something similar happened. Tsunade at first didn't seem to mind that much. But after Jiraiya published his first copy of Icha Icha Paradise she refused to let him call her that. The first time her tired to after she warned him Jiraiya had ended up in the hospital for a week. This time though having Naruto in her arms seemed to be keeping her calm now. Perhaps Jiraiya would get off lucky this time.

"Are you sure you would want to take him Tsunade? After all, you already have one apprentice and you do tend to drink quite a bit..." Sarutobi stopped as soon as Tsunade started to glare at him.

"I know I have a slight problem with drinking, but I can control it better than he," she gestured to the still dazed Jiraiya on the floor, "can control his perverted habits. I don't care if Minato was his former student and loved that trash they call books, I was a friend of both of Minato and Kushina. I don't think she would be happy if her son was raised by him and I don't know what other options you have." With that she put her finger in front of the young baby's face and he tried to grip it. In a quieter voice she continued, "Anyway, I never had a kid of my own..."

Sarutobi saw the look in her face then. He knew it pained her to come back to the village. She had only come back to aid in the birth, and now she had lost yet another dear person in the village: the hurt could have only grown. Sighing slightly, he looked her straight in the eyes. There was a longing there. A longing to protect the bundle she now carried in her arms. After all, just as the necklace she wore was a reminder of the other precious people she lost, so too was the bundle in her arms. However, this reminder also carried with it hope. Hope that something good would come of this night and that her friend's memory might live on.

"Alright. You may take and raise young Naruto." Sarutobi then looked over to Jiraiya, who was just getting off the floor, "Jiraiya, you will help as well." He quickly raised a hand to stop Tsunade who was getting ready to protest. "Tsunade, treat him like you would your own son. However, Jiraiya, you will aid in his training. You trained his father, and one day I hope to see young Naruto again. He will need to be strong, perhaps an even greater shinobi than his dad if he is to survive."

Jiraiya looked over at the baby now asleep again in Tsunade's arms. "I'll train him, just like I did his father. By the time he comes back he will be strong."

"And he'll have grown up knowing love..." Tsunade stated.

Sarutobi nodded with a slight smile on his face. It was nice to see his two students getting along and agreeing on something again. "Now, we must decide how to tell the council about all this. They are not going to like having Naruto live let alone leave the village."

Tsunade and Jiraiya both turned to look at their old sensei thinking the same thing... 'Surly he can't be serious. Doesn't he realize that Naruto can't live a happy life if any one else knows?'

"Sarutobi, maybe you shouldn't tell anyone. Why do they even need to know?" asked a now concerned Jiraiya.

"Because, it was the Yondaime's wish that Naruto be seen as a hero in the village. He wanted his son to be looked on as the Jailer of the Kyuubi and the reason the village is safe."

Tsunade spoke next. "No offense, but I don't have faith is this little village. The fewer people who know the better. Besides, if it came out that this was Namikaze Minato's son he would be hunted by his father's enemies."

Jiraiya stepped closer, slightly in front of Tsunade in a bit of a protective manner, "You're right, they would never let him leave here, assuming that the council will let him live. I will not have the son of my greatest student killed out of ignorance and fear. I can tell you now, short of Naruto himself breaking the seal, it will never fail. I will stake that on my life and reputation as a seal master."

Sarutobi, if he was honest with himself, knew before he had even said anything that he shouldn't tell anyone. After hearing both his students jump to Naruto's defense so quickly he knew sending the boy off with them was the right thing to do. As such, he couldn't tell the council or anyone else for fear they might try to keep him there. "So be it, I will not tell anyone yet. I might never tell anyone. But, you must make me a promise." Seeing both of them nod he continued, "You must return once a year with Naruto so I may see him AND bring him back when he is old enough to take the Genin exam."

Tsunade didn't like this. She hated coming back home to this village. The only reason she was here now was due to Kushina giving birth. Being forced to come back every year was asking a lot from her. And if he came back to take the Genin test and passed, which she was sure he would, that would mean he would have to stay here as a ninja. "Why? Why should he come back to take the exam. We'll be training him, surely that's enough. He can live like Shizune and I, free of this village."

Sarutobi sighed. "His father died to protect this village and I will not have his son become some freelance ninja. Minato wouldn't want that. He would want his son to be a Konoha shinobi, protecting the village as he did."

"Protect it?! Are you kidding me?! All my loved ones, the people I have held dear to have vowed to protect this place and died! I will not have my best friend's son do the same!" Tsunade was nearly in tears. She couldn't stand the thought of more pain. The pain of the bundle in her arms dying to protect some stupid village. No, not again.

"Tsunade, be fair." Jiraiya stopped as Tsunade started to glare at him. The killing intent that she was sending out was almost stifling... almost. "Think of what Minato and Kushina would have wanted. If Naruto is to become a ninja they would want him to become an official ninja, someone that protects people and serves people." he said trying to be as soothing as possible. He knew this was hard for her.

"...If he comes back then he will have to stay..." Tsunade said in little more than a whisper. She knew they were right. But she would have to either stay or leave the boy at that point... and she hated the thought of staying.

Sarutobi looked at his student. He felt for her, she had lost the will of fire the same as so many other people had. But he thought that, given time and perhaps a particular little boy, it might be rekindled. "Tsunade, I'm sorry, but those are the terms. I must insist that Naruto be allowed to return when he is old enough. If you choose to return sooner that would be even better, but I will not count on that."

Tsunade looked down in defeat. "When do you want us to leave?"

"Well, first I need to give you something." Sarutobi reached into a drawer in the desk. "I found these sitting on the desk whenever I came back here from the battlefield. They were written for Naruto by his father." He handed Tsunade 2 scrolls before continuing, "He also left these for Naruto..." He proceeded to pull out a frame with a picture of Minato and his wife along with a tri-tipped kunai.

Jiraiya knew immediately what the kunai was and couldn't believe that he had left one for Naruto. Perhaps one of the scrolls had information on how to use it. After all, besides the creator of the Jutsu no one else could do it. Did Minato want to pass this along to Naruto? Or was it just that he wanted him to have something to remember him by?

"Now Tsunade, I don't know what is in those scrolls or why he left him the kunai. However, do not give them to him until he is at least 5 years old. Even then, only give them to him and tell him his heritage if you think he is capable of handling it."

She looked at her former teacher and nodded. Then she realized something. The name Namikaze was very well known in the shinobi world. There is no way that Naruto wouldn't discover his heritage. "How do you plan on keeping it secret, his heritage? After all, the name Namikaze is very popular."

Sarutobi had already thought of that. "Simple, he shall use his mother's maiden name. After all, while everyone knows of Kushina, very few knew her family name before she married into the Namikaze. I doubt few on the council would have been happy to have known that their Hokage was marrying outside the village. Not to mention someone with no political influence." Sarutobi chuckled softly to himself. "Little did they know that when she arrived with him, already married, she was from Whirlpool, and not even from a clan. Had they known she was an Uzumaki they would have been furious. I can only figure they all thought that she must have been some important ninja from some strong village for him to have married her without their 'approval'." Sometimes he hated the council. It gave the Hokages such headaches.

Jiraiya took the scrolls, picture, and kunai off the desk. He then produced a sealing scroll of his own and proceeded to seal them away. He then handed it to Tsunade. "Here, this way all the stuff is in one place. When the time comes you can give him the scroll, then he can open it and unseal the items left for him." Jiraiya then took on a more serious tone, "However, I would like to be there when you tell him if possible. Please, he might have questions and, although you might have known them both, I knew Minato the best."

Tsunade, after taking the scroll looked directly at Jiraiya. "I will let you know before I tell him if possible. However, if he finds out himself and asks me questions then I might have no choice but to reveal the truth to him without you there."

Jiraiya nodded in agreement. Sarutobi then stood and walk around from behind the desk and up to Naruto in Tsunade's hands. "You are a very handsome child. I can not wait to see you grow up. I believe you will be a strong man, just like your father was." He gently wiped a hair off of Naruto's forehead. 'If you can see us Minato, know that we are doing everything that we can for your son. He will be well cared for.'

"Now then, the two of you should leave the village soon. A council meeting has been convened and has likely started by now. And I expect to see you back here sometime Naruto." The Hokage reached down and gently touched his nose and proceeded out of the room. As soon as he was gone Tsunade and Jiraiya were on their way to the hotels they had stayed at. There were items that they needed to pick up. Their destination would be a village a few day's journey away where they could rest and discuss matter more.

xxx

"What do you mean Yondaime-sama is dead?!" shouted one of the council members at the Sandaime Hokage.

"I mean just that. He died, along with his newborn son, in order to defeat the Kyuubi." Sarutobi was not happy. After he had walked into the room several of the council had asked him why he was there. When he proceeded to explain what had happened and sat in the Hokages seat a few were enraged. Apparently some didn't want him to be Hokage. They felt that the Yondaime, if he had truly died, should be replaced by someone young. After all, the Sandaime had already had his turn they stated.

"Then we need to find a new replacement for him immediately!" shouted another council member.

Just as Sarutobi was about to respond the council doors opened. In walked several battered and tired looking ninja. The clan heads had finally arrived off the battlefield. Good, now maybe some progress could be made. After all, the civilian portion of the council in his mind were idiots and had no right to be there. But they were here so he just had to deal with them.

"Ah, the clan heads have arrived." The Sandaime announced.

Several of the council looked at them as they entered. Some expecting to see the Yondaime enter with them. Others just wanted to see the reaction they would have to seeing the Sandaime sitting in the Hokage's chair. Both groups were disappointed though. The Yondaime never entered and none of the clan heads seemed surprised or upset at seeing the Sandaime back in the Hokage's seat. In fact, a few might have even looked relieved that he was there.

Hyuuga Hiashi was the first to speak. "Hokage-sama, the clean up of the battlefield is going well. There were quite a few injured still alive after the battle ended."

The civilian council members looked shocked. The Hyuuga clan head had just referred to this old man as Hokage. Sure, he had been the previous Hokage, but he had retired. Many, if not all, thought that it was time to move on. One council member finally worked up the nerve to open his mouth. He tried to be very respectful, "Excuse me Hyuuga-san, this man isn't the Hokage. The Hokage is dead out..."

Hiashi interrupted him, "I am sorry, but the Yondaime Hokage is dead on the field of battle, yes. However, unless you believe me blind, the Sandaime Hokage is sitting right there. And there is no one better to fill the Yondaime's position than he." With that Hiashi gave a slight bow of his head towards the Hokage.

Sarutobi was happy for the support. Hiashi had been a friend of the Yondaime and knew that Minato was close to him before and after he became Hokage. "Thank you Hiashi-san."

This little exchange gave the clan heads enough time to fill into their seats and seemed to have shut-up the civilian members for now. "Now down to business. As you all may or may not know, yes, the Yondaime Hokage Minato-san is dead. Unfortunately, his son also died as a part of the sealing."

This made Hiashi sad. Although he would never show it, his wife and him had been very happy to hear that their friend Minato had taken a wife a year back. Even more so when they heard she was with child. He was going to be the child's godfather, along with Minato's sensei of course. When Hiashi had seen the Hokage die on the field of battle he had hoped that his family could take in Kushina and her new child. But, he could have sworn that he had seen Jiraiya on the field of battle departing the scene of Minato's death rather quickly, and he thought he was carrying something in his arms.

"Excuse me Lord Hokage-sama, are we certain that his child died? Have we found the body? After all, Minato-san seemed sure his son would survive the sealing." Hiashi asked.

Sarutobi was starting to realize that he was going to have trouble with at least Minato's friends in convincing them that Naruto was dead. "No, we haven't found a body, but we believe that the child's body, similar to the body of the Kyuubi, just vanished after the sealing." He then reached into his robes and pulled out his pipe and began to light it.

Hiashi though knew something was up. He could tell Sarutobi was lying and he would confront him about it later. However, for now there were more important matters, "What of Kushina-san, his wife? Surely she survived the birth and is well?"

Sarutobi's face was suddenly very grave. "No, she survived, just barely. However, she is not likely to recover. She is now in a coma and may never wake up. Apparently, the stress of birth weakened her body, and being so close to the battle we believe the Kyuubi's chakra infected her. We have no way of knowing if her body will ever be able to heal itself. Demon chakra is very dangerous to anyone. However, normally direct contact with the chakra is necessary to be affected. Even then a healthy body can survive an exposure to low amounts unharmed. Sadly, the birth weakened her and the some of the chakra radiating from the Kyuubi affected her afterwards."

Everyone was quite for a moment. The clan heads were quiet because they had all known Minato and Kushina. Some, like the Hyuuga's, were even close friends with them. The civilians though didn't care about that though. They were all thinking one thing. Finally one of them broke the silence.

"I for one am glad the child is dead. If he weren't then we would have needed to kill him now." Several of the civilian council members nodded in agreement. The clan members though were suddenly alert and very angry. Well, most of them.

Even the Aburame seemed to be buzzing. "That would have been most unnecessary. Killing an innocent out revenge for its prisoner would be pointless and illogical."

"The pup was apart of the Namikaze pack. Had he lived we would have honored his pack and offered him our protection." snarled the Inuzuka clan head, Tsume. "We thought of the Yondaime as a friend, as such, his pup would have deserved our protection."

Several other clans were all nodding in agreement to this. However, one clan head wasn't. "If he had been alive now he would either have had to be slain or placed into ANBU protective custody. That way when the seal failed he could be killed quickly like the demon he was." stated Uchiha Fugaku.

Hiashi wasn't pleased to hear this. He knew the Uchiha didn't like the Hyuuga or the Yondaime, but to speak such about the recently deceased Hokage's son was despicable. "Fugaku, you would do well to hold your tongue. I, Hyuuga Hiashi, head of the Hyuuga clan, do not believe the boy is dead. When he is found alive he will then have my clan's protection. It is the least we can do for our friend Namikaze Minato-san."

"He will also have our protection too!" shouted Tsume. "We will not stand to see the Yondaime's son dishonored. And we have faith in the seal. The Yondaime told us it would never break and we are willing to believe him."

"The Aburame clan would also like to offer our protection should the boy ever be found to have lived."

Although he couldn't show it, it made Sarutobi happy to see that most of the clans would have honored the Yondaime's wishes. For now though, until he was older, Naruto would remain hidden. In time he would reveal the truth of that night, but only after he had a chance at a happy childhood and was stronger.

"Because a body was never found, and there is still a slight chance he might be alive, the events of this night and what happened are hereby classified as a class S secret. No one will speak of this to anyone that doesn't already know the truth. That way, if the boy is ever found alive, he can have a chance at a normal life." Sarutobi was sure some of the council wouldn't like this. But he didn't care. As soon as the words left his mouth people started yelling and arguing about the new law. Quite a few were opposed to it. Some though thought it wise.

"That's enough!" The Hokage raised his voice just a little. When he noticed several wanting to continue arguing he added some killer intent behind his look. "I have spoken, and it will be done." With that the meeting was pretty much done.

xxx

Tsunade and Shizune had packed up everything that they would need and were heading with all due haste to the gate. Jiraiya had taken Naruto with him to his room since he had less to carry. In fact, he had nothing to carry. He headed straight to the gate instead so he could try to avoid as many people as possible.

"Where is that pervert at? He should have been here by now." Tsunade was slightly rushed feeling and wanting to leave as quickly as possible.

"I'm right here." Jiraiya stepped out of the shadows holding the still silent Naruto. "I was trying to hide because people would be suspicious of me holding a baby. Come, let's hurry and leave before anyone sees us."

With that, Jiraiya, Tsunade, Shizune, and little Naruto left the village of Konoha.