A/N yeah, yeah I've said it before and I'll say it again, even though I may forget to write this disclaimer from time to time but 'Naruto' is owned by Masashi Kishimoto not me by any stretch of the imagination, I just find the characters interesting enough to write about and I've watched and read enough Naruto to believe I have something of a feel for the charaters. At least in my own mind anyway, your mileage may vary but hey it's fanfiction after all.
Naruto stood alone in the room as he clutched the key the old man had given him. Everything seemed so big. The table was almost as tall as he was he noted as he walked past it to the refrigerator. Opening the door he looked in and again was surprised at how big everything looked. It probably didn't help that the fridge was completely empty. He sighed, the old man had left him some money on the table but even though he knew that money would get him food but he was unsure exactly how. Still he smiled, no other seven year old had their own apartment the old man had told him. He had said things had been different years ago but these days there were no kids his age living alone. Naruto thought that the old man seemed a little sad when he said that but he had never been happier. Living alone had to be better than that crappy orphanage. At least here it'd be harder for anyone to go through his stuff, not that he really had anything. It had certainly been an interesting day. The old man had brought him to see another old man who looked at his stomach for a while but who had said nothing. Although it looked like he was about to a few times. Naruto continued to explore his new home as the memory of that second old man began to fade away.
At roughly the same time Jiraiya stood before his old sensei fuming. Sarutobi didn't think he had ever seen his former student this angry. It was a strange combination of both fascinating and disturbing the old man thought as Jiraiya paced back and forth in the Hokage office.
"Explain it to me again why you decided not to tell me that Naruto was alive for all these years" Jiraiya growled as he glared at 'The Professor'.
"Jiraiya, it's for his own good and for the good of the village. If Iwa was ever to discover that 'The Yellow Flash' left behind a son they would have him assassinated at the very least, that's if they don't declare all out war on Konoha. You know better than anyone now that if Naruto dies now there's a chance the Kyuubi could escape. It'll be several more years before the damn thing is bonded to the poor child's soul well enough to be dragged into the afterlife if Naruto were to die. If they suspect that as well as who his father is they'll stop at nothing to kill him."
"You're exaggerating, even now they can't afford to take us on in a full scale conflict. The Kyuubi didn't weaken us that much and they still haven't completely recovered from the last war. Why I ever believed your letters about the kid Minato sealed the fox into I'll never know. I knew I should have come back sooner. Besides as far as assassins go you know I can protect him better than anyone. I'm his godfather and it is my duty." Jiraiya grumbled.
"I am sure of that but the village needs you gathering information now more than ever before. Besides only the two of us along with Kakashi know that he is Minatos son and I would like to keep it that way. You've looked over his seal which is expected but if you have any more contact with the boy at this time people will start asking questions." Sarutobi said tiredly.
"So you're basically ordering me to ignore my promise to Minato and Kushina."
"I wish you wouldn't look at it that way but if that's what it takes to keep you away from him then so be it."
There was a long pause of awkward quiet as the two men stared at each other.
"You had damn well better take care of him old man." Jiraiya stated softly before he leaped out of the window and disappeared into the darkness.
A few days later a much poorer Naruto sat dejectedly at his table staring at the only meal he was able to afford with what little money he had left. Luckily the case of ramen was cheap and it certainly didn't hurt that he really liked the stuff. Still he didn't know how he was going to make it to the end of the month on just the one case of ramen. The old man had promised he would receive money at the beginning of each month and that the rent on his apartment was taken care of but it was his responsibility to feed himself using the money he got each month. He was also supposed to buy some of his own gear when he started at the academy next month. He hoped that the old man would take that into account when he got more money. Naruto sighed.
Naruto nearly jumped out of his skin at the sound. Looking wildly around his eyes quickly locked onto a small bright orange frog that had blue spots running down its back.
"Hey, what are you doing in here?" He demanded from the small amphibian.
The frog looked at him with disturbingly intelligent eyes for a moment before it hopped onto his table next to the box full of ramen packets.
"Sorry frog but I don't think ramen is good for frogs." Naruto looked at the box sadly. "I don't think I can afford to share anyway.
The frog looked at him again and suddenly seemed to swell slightly. Narutos eyes widened as the frog began to look very uncomfortable. It opened its mouth widely and Naruto could see what looked like a chunk of green cloth in the frogs mouth. As Naruto leaned over and stood on the chair to get a better look at the strange frog he saw that the green object was getting larger. Somehow it seemed bigger than the frog itself as more and more of whatever it was slid out of the frogs mouth. The frog began pushing at it with its front flipper and that seemed to help. Suddenly there was an odd almost popping sound and the green object was completely ejected out of the frogs mouth. Naruto looked on, wide eyed at the object that was somehow slightly larger than the frog.
"Eww, that's kind of gross." Naruto muttered as he eyed the green lump suspiciously.
He leaned closer and realized that it looked like some sort stuffed toy frog. He reached out for it hesitantly, his eyes never leaving the orange frog. Picking it up he was surprised at how heavy it was. The 'mouth' of the cloth frog was actually a clasp. Narutos curiosty quickly got the better of him and he popped it open. His eyes grew wide and his mouth dropped open in shock as he saw that it was stuffed with what looked like a lot of cash. He turned it upside down and ryo notes of various denominations spilled out onto the table.
"Wow." He looked away from the small pile of cash on the table just in time to see the bright orange frog jump out the window.
"Hey thanks frog!" He called out softly to the open window.
The rest of the month passed quickly and many times he felt extremely grateful to the strange orange frog. Just about everything he bought cost more that he thought it would, a lot more. He checked his pocket and 'gamachan' was much thinner. His thoughts turned to the academy and Naruto looked at the list of required equipment as he sat at his table. It wasn't a long list but he worried that he wouldn't have enough money for everything. Well at least he had plenty of food. He smiled as he glanced over to the two remaining cases of flat packages of 'instant' noodles. His smile got slightly wider as he looked to the side a bit to a third case, one of instant cup ramen. The cup ramen was a little more expensive than the flat package ramen but it was worth the extra cost in Narutos opinion. He only wished he could have bought some more of the styrofoam cups full of noodles. Looking away from the next month or so worth of food he sighed as he glanced at the list again. He had done a little window shopping in a few weapons shops since he got the list and he knew that getting the equipment he needed was going to pretty much completely flatten gamachan.
Figuring a cup of noodles would at least make him feel a bit better, at least they would cut back slightly on his always present hunger anyway. He filled his second hand electric teapot with water and turned it on. Before he could turn back to the table and wait for the water to boil he heard a small thud on his table. Spinning around his eyes widened as he took in the sight of the bright orange blue spotted frog that had given him gamachan nearly a month earlier.
"You're the same frog from before!" Naruto exclaimed as he pointed at the amphibian on his table.
"Ribbit!". The frog replied.
Naruto paused and stared at the frog open mouthed. He had gotten the distinct impression that the frog was laughing at him. As before the frog seemed to swell. It's eyes bulged as it opened its mouth to reveal a tan fabric. Naruto watched in fascination as a standard ninja weapons pouch was ejected onto his table. A moment later there was another soft thud as the pouch was joined by a double leg holster of dark leather. Naruto hesitantly reached forward and took the holster. One of the two compartments was a little wider than the other. He opened that one and saw about a half dozen shuriken at the top. He looked at the length and realized that there had to be at least another dozen shuriken beneath the ones he could see. He closed the cover and opened up the thinner case to reveal three rings. With a grin he pulled one to show that it was indeed a kunai, just like the ones he had drooling at over the past few days during his window shopping forays. He set the leg holsters down and picked up the larger, tan weapons pouch and opened it. He looked inside slightly puzzled at the sight of a folded piece of paper that covered the contents of the small bag. Picking it up he spotted a second item he had never seen in any of the weapons shops. It was a round patch with a white spiral design that resembled the red spiral worn by most if not all of the Konoha ninja. There were two thin cylinder like sections on each side of the spiral that had a cord looping through each of them. The cord pierced a white rod like device with a red center shaft that almost looked like a magic marker. Moving the spiral adorned assembly to the side his face lit up as he looked inside. The interior was divided evenly into two sections. One side had at least another dozen kunai. The other side had a few scrolls, a compact first aid kit, a spool of wire and Narutos eyes widened as he realized there was also a few explosive tags.
Not quite believing everything he was seeing he rubbed his eyes half expecting everything to disappear. Opening his eyes to see all of it still there he tentatively picked up the folded piece of paper and opened it up to see a note that he quickly read.
'Kid, first thing, DO NOT mess with the explosive tags until they are covered at the academy. These ones are ridiculously expensive but they'll still be good years from now if the teachers decide to wait on covering them. Trust me you'd have a hard time scraping up the money up for regular explosive tags when the time comes so don't waste these just to see them go off. Second, the white spiral patch is the Uzumaki clan symbol. This one actually belonged to your mother and I thought you should have it. She would have wanted you to have it so take care of it. You may very well be the last Uzumaki so I doubt you'd ever be able to find a replacement. Third, the three kunai in the leg holster are blunted. Keep them separate from the sharp ones in the hip pouch, you'll need both types in the academy. Work with the blunt ones first until you have some skill handling them otherwise you'll hurt yourself with the sharp ones. Finally keep all of this a secret. Seriously don't tell anyone about getting any of this stuff, consider keeping all of these gifts a secret to be your first ninja mission. With a little luck I might be able to swing some stuff your way from time to time but don't ever count on it. I can get into a lot of trouble for what I've done and this will definitely stop if I get caught. For now you are pretty much on your own. Make sure you destroy this note after you finish reading it.
Naruto slowly put the paper back on the table and timidly picked up the spiral patch. He held it tightly for a moment as a sense of loss washed over him. Glancing at the note again he decided to fold it up.
The next day he had been rather surprised of the negative reactions he received from the teachers. He shrugged them off since at least the kids didn't seem overly hostile towards him. His hopes of making some friends though fell apart after classes when many of the parents showed up to pick up the other students. Naruto knew instantly from the expressions on most of the parents when they looked at him that he wouldn't be making many, if any that is, friends at school. As he sat somewhat dejected on the steps outside of the academy he pulled a cup ramen out of his pack. It was supposed to have been his lunch but one of the teachers had kept him in class for detention, causing him to miss lunch earlier. To make that annoyance even worse, he hadn't even done anything. He was going to have to think about that. He glanced back to the academy and sighed as he looked at the now locked front door. He wouldn't be getting any hot water there. He looked at the styrofoam cup and debated whether or not it'd be edible with cold water from a fountain.
"You're not planning on eating that stuff like that are you?" A strange voice asked.
Naruto looked up in shock, he didn't think anyone was around. It was as if the strange looking man appeared out of nowhere. Naruto wasn't sure what to make of the man. He was big with long white hair and strange glasses that somehow didn't show his eyes. He also had a strange looking and very long moustache. Even odder was his dark vest and bowtie. The more Naruto looked at the man the more he thought the guy looked like some sort of waiter in those fancy places he sometimes peeked through the windows of as he tried to figure out what kind of foods they had that smelled so good. Those places never let him in.
"Well I'm hungry now and I don't think I can wait until I get home."
The man glanced back at the academy for a moment before turning back to Naruto.
"First day at the academy?" The man asked.
"Yep! I'm going to be a great ninja!"
"You don't say. Tell you what, since it's your first day I'll treat you to a bowl of some good ramen. Much better stuff than what you find in styrofoam cups.
"Really?" Naruto looked up with his eyes wide as his stomach rumbled.
In a short amount of time the two of them were sitting at the counter of the Ichiraku ramen bar. Naruto ate two whole bowls and had started on a third when the white haired man got up suddenly and tossed a bunch of money on the counter.
"I gotta run kiddo, that should cover you for some more if you think you can eat it. I've got to head out of town now. Maybe if you do really well at the academy next time I'm around I'll treat you to some more ramen.
"Really?!" Naruto said with a mouth full of noodles.
"Well we'll see I might not be back here in Konoha for a long time but we'll see. Just keep practicing. I want to see that great ninja you were talking about when I come back." The man said as he turned and walked away.
As the man rounded a corner he was joined by another man.
"I could have sworn I told you to stay away from him." Sarutobi growled at his former student.
"Yeah, yeah as if anyone other than you would recognize me through this disguise. Besides a stranger treating the kid to one meal shouldn't arouse any suspicions." Jiraiya replied, his voice cold.
"Jiraiya." Sarutobi's voice held a warning tone Jiraiya knew well.
"Alright, alright, whatever you want but I'm warning you, he had better be taken care of." Jiraiya stopped glaring at his old teacher and looked back towards the corner he had turned. "You won't be seeing me for a while." He stated before he vanished.
Sarutobi glanced around with more than just his eyes. Seeing and feeling nothing of Jiraiya he shook his head sadly before heading back to his office.
Several years passed and Naruto never received any more gifts nor had he ever seen the strange white haired man with the big moustache again. During that time he pretty much completely forgot about them in fact. His life had become much harder as more and more people began to see him as the fox.
Shortly before his twelfth birthday Naruto was walking home from the days classes at the Academy. As he passed a clothing shop a bit of bright orange cloth caught his eye. He stopped and looked up to see that the rack had a clearance sign on it and he smiled. Pushing the other outfits aside he stood there looking at an orange and blue jacket and pants set. Although he had long ago forgotten about the orange and blue frog that had delivered his first gifts the colors of the jacket were almost an exact match to the forgotten frog. A few minutes later gamachan was a little thinner as he continued walking home with a big smile and his new outfit.
Naruto sat in his room thinking about Jiraiya. Shikamaru was right, he had things to do, he couldn't stay a kid forever. At least he had found the key to Jiraiya's last message for them, all because he knew what Jiraiya's handwriting looked like better than anyone else. With that Naruto suddenly remembered something he had forgotten about many years ago. He grabbed his black and orange jacket, it was the last thing Jiraiya had given him just before they returned to Konoha. He grabbed a kunai and very carefully cut some of the stitching along the top of the white spiral patch he had sewed on to the jacket almost immediately after Jiraiya had given it to him. A few more stitches were cut to reveal that the patch had a hidden layer. He pried it open a bit and pulled out a tightly folded piece of paper. Unfolding it revealed that it was the note he was supposed to have destroyed when he got the patch. Looking at it for the first time since he first got it he instantly recognized the hand writing as Jiraiyas.
A/N - no the frog in his apartment was not Gamakichi, it might be the unnamed mid sized toad Jiraiya often summons