Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto. If I did I'd be a rich bastard with millions of fans.
Chapter 1: Day of the Kyuubi
October 10th, the Day of the Kyuubi…
Sarutobi, the Sandaime Hokage stood in the office that had once been his, then his successor's. He held a small blond child in his arms as he stared out the window, looking out over the devastated city of Konoha as people scurried everywhere, putting out fires, rescuing the trapped, and gathering the dead caused by the Kyuubi's sudden and violent attack.
Hiruzen Sarutobi sighed and looked down at the child in his arms. The sleeping blond child was smiling faintly. He had an intricate seal inscribed on his belly, and his hair was the same striking blond as his father's.
"I am sorry for this Naruto," Sarutobi said softly as he turned, handing the young child to an ANBU he trusted above all others.
"In order to hide his identity from his father's enemies Naruto must not be told his heritage until he comes of age. As such, he will be christened Uzumaki Naruto, after his mother, and he will be raised in orphanage. Hopefully we will be able to find a good family willing to adopt him soon, one who will look past what he carries inside of him."
Sarutobi sighed again.
"I fear that, despite Minato's final wishes, that the people of Konoha will not view Naruto as a hero for keeping the Kyuubi contained within him."
The old man took a puff on his pipe before continuing.
"Inu…no, Kakashi. I ask two great favors of you."
The ANBU who was carefully cradling the sleeping child look back up at his Hokage.
"I first ask that you personally take charge of the ANBU who will be detailed to keep an eye on Naruto, to ensure that he should come to no harm."
The dog-masked ANBU nodded in acknowledgement of this first request.
"The second is that when he is old enough, should he choose to become a ninja, I want you to teach him the Rasengan."
The dog-masked ANBU nodded again.
"It…would be my honor, Hokage-sama. He is my sensei's son, and if allowed, I will teach him everything I know."
Sarutobi nodded in acknowledgement as he turned to look out the window again. The ANBU, understanding he was dismissed, carefully carried the blond child out of the Hokage's office, heading for the orphanage. Sarutobi took a few more puffs on his pipe before sighing and turning to leave the office himself, heading for the Council Chambers and an emergency meeting of the Konoha Council.
"The demon should be destroyed!" Uchiha Fugaku railed as he stood, slamming his hands down on the council table. All around him in the council chambers the majority of the other thirty two members of the council present muttered their agreement with this sentiment. The only exceptions were Sarutobi Akemi, Aburame Shibi, and Hiashi Hyuuga. At the head of the table Sarutobi Hiruzen crossed his hands, his face grim.
"The boy will not be harmed. It was Namikaze Minato, your beloved Yondaime's, dying wish that his son be seen as a hero for containing the Kyuubi no Kitsune. It is only logical then, even if the Hokage wishes him to be raised under a different name to protect him from his enemies outside of Konoha, that the child be treated with the proper dignity and respect due to him."
Aburame Shibi spoke calmly. Sarutobi silently thanked the man for being a rare voice of reason.
"But he is the demon. We must kill him before he grows too powerful." Councilman Danzo said, calm on the outside, but with anger and hatred visible in his eyes.
An equally calm on the outside Hiashi Hyuuga spoke up.
"The Yondaime was Konoha's greatest Seal Master, surpassing even Jiraiya of the Sannin in power and skill. His seal will hold. The Kyuubi will be contained. Instead of killing his son," and here Hiashi emphasized the word son, driving home the blood relationship between the vessel of the Kyuubi no Kitsune and the village's beloved Yondaime, "which would dishonor the memory of the very man who gave his life to save this village, and who used his own son to seal the Kyuubi away, we should instead ensure that the boy is well looked after and is trained well for the day that he is told his true heritage."
It was a well known fact that the Hyuuga Clan and the Namikaze Clan had had close ties, even before the founding of Konohagakure.
"But that monster killed my husband!" Haruno Ume screeched. The pink haired woman was not a ninja like most of the other clan heads, but she was normally a shrewd politician.
"Enough of this!" Sarutobi blinked as his daughter Akemi slammed her hands down on the table, standing as she did so. "The Yondaime Hokage made his final wishes known, and my father, who you asked to take up the mantle of Hokage again, has made them into law. There is no more need for discussion. The child will NOT be harmed."
The reigning Sarutobi clan head turned to face her father, her face more collected. When she spoke her voice was calm and formal.
"Hokage-sama, the Sarutobi Clan formally requests that the Hokage pass a law protecting Uzumaki Naruto, son of Namikaze Naruto and heir to the Namikaze and Uzumaki clans."
Sarutobi was pleased that his daughter knew him so well. He was also pleased to note that Hyuuga Hiashi and Aburame Shibi had both stood in support of his daughter's request. As the three looked around at their peers slowly others stood. Sarutobi saw the Ino-Shika-Cho trio stand almost immediately, followed swiftly by the representatives of several other major clans, including the Inuzuka, Kuroda, and Yakushi clans.
Finally those who were going to stand had stood, and those who remained sitting glared around angrily at their standing comrades. Uchiha Fugaku suddenly grinned. Of the thirty three clan members present, sixteen had stood in support of the motion, and seventeen had remained seated in opposition. So why was the Hokage smiling.
"So, we have sixteen in favor of protecting Uzumaki Naruto, and seventeen in favor of his execution. Even if the final decision in this matter was not mine and mine alone," the Hokage made eye contact with several members of the council before he continued. "I happen to have in my possession the wills of both Kushina Uzumaki and Minato Namikaze, as well as a signed affidavit by Hatake Kakashi, who is currently performing a duty for me. Kakashi's affidavit grants his vote for any measures brought to a vote during this session of the council in favor of the Sarutobi clan."
Hiruzen Sarutobi paused as he let that fact sink in. He saw several members of the council shrink as they realize he had just tied the vote. After a few seconds he pushed forward copies of two large scrolls, using a variation of the Kage Bunshin no Jutsu place a temporary copy in front of everyone at the table.
"The wills, as you can see for yourself, are authentic, and detail that, in the event of their deaths, who shall carry the votes for clans Uzumaki and Namikaze until Naruto reaches his majority."
Sarutobi grinned in satisfaction as Fugaku Uchiha and Danzo both dropped their heads in defeat.
"So, as you can see, your desire to execute the child of the Fourth Hokage, who has committed no crimes, would never have passed, even if I would have allowed an actual vote to take place. Now, there is a matter to discuss."
Sarutobi removed a simple document from his robes and replicated it so that everyone in the council room could read a copy.
"I have already stamped this and filed it with the official archives. This law hereby makes it illegal for anyone to tell anyone that the Kyuubi is sealed inside Naruto Uzumaki who is not already aware of this fact. It also makes it illegal to tell them about this law as well. The only exceptions to this rule are the sitting Hokage and Naruto himself. The sentence for breaking this law…"
Sarutobi leant forward and crossed his hands before him, his face serious, his eyes cold.
"Is immediate execution."
Sarutobi heard the council gasp at this. Silently, Sarutobi prayed that this measure would be enough to allow the boy to grow up happy.HH
October 10th, Six Years after the Day of the Kyuubi…
Naruto Uzumaki ran. He ran through the streets of Konoha faster than he ever had before.
"Stupid stupid stupid." He muttered breathlessly to himself as he ran, his clothes cut in several places, blood evident on the edges of the cuts.
Naruto knew better than to go outside on the 10th of October. It was his birthday. It was also his least favorite day of the year. For as long as he could remember the hatred that the villagers seemed to show him was always magnified on the anniversary of the Day of the Kyuubi. They didn't just glare at him and avoid him and charge him outrageous prices for spoiled food. They tried to kill him. So for the last four years Naruto Uzumaki had stayed inside, locked his door, and prayed they were too scared to attempt to break into his home.
But this year he took the risk, and now he was paying for it. The day before, the day he normally celebrated his birthday, he had met someone special. She was cute, with nice pink hair and a big forehead.
He had met her while he was in the park. He had been running because he had pulled a prank on one of the annoying shopkeepers who always ran him out of their shops for no reason. He promptly forgot his joy over pulling off a successful prank though when he saw her.
She was kneeling on the ground crying as a group of kids stood around taunting her, making fun of her forehead. Naruto's first instinct was always prank first and ask question later when he saw someone being bullied. He knew what it was like to have people dislike you for something you had no control over, though in his case he still had no idea why they had originally hated him.
Thinking quickly he pulled out a pair of water balloons and tossed them towards the two girls who seemed to be the ringleaders of the abuse.
Sakura looked up at the sudden sound to see that Katsumi and Kazumi, the two ringleaders of the girls who always tormented her and taunted her for her big forehead, we soaking wet, with bits of orange rubber clinging to them. Behind her she heard the lilting sounds of a young boy laughing. For a second she thought he was laughing at her, but then it dawned on her that he was laughing at the two soaked girls.
Turning her head she saw a young boy, wearing nothing but bright orange. He was bent over holding his stomach in laughter, but in his free right hand she could see he was holding an orange water balloon.
"Y-y-y-you brat! Why the heck did you do this!?" Katsumi yelled, glaring angrily at the young boy.
Naruto stood up fully, still grinning. He shot the fallen girl a genuine smile before focusing his gaze on her attackers again.
"You know, you shouldn't gang up on someone. It isn't nice."
Naruto began tossing the water balloon lightly into the air, catching it again each time it fell. His grin grew just a little more feral. As he stepped closer Sakura noticed the strange scars on his face. They made him look kind of exotic. She instantly felt herself blushing faintly.
Kami, could this…could this be my first crush? She thought quietly.
Shannaro!Inner Sakura cried out.
Sakura's own surprise at hearing her own voice speak in her head was promptly forgotten as Naruto flicked his arm forward, the water balloon speeding forward and slamming into a third girl with a wet slamming sound. The girl nearly fell over in surprise. Most of the girls stumbled backwards, abandoning the ringleaders as none of them wanted to get wet. The festival was tomorrow and they didn't want to be grounded for coming home wet.
"Why don't you girls run on home to your mommies. You are obviously too scared to do anything when someone stands up to you."
Naruto stopped and swiftly tossed another two water balloons at the ringleaders. The two stood stock still, disbelieving that anyone would dare insult members of the Uchiha clan, much less attack them.
The two balloons Naruto had thrown had been special. They were filled with honey.
Twin high pitched shrieks rang out as Katsumi and Kazumi were drenched in the sticky substance. Crying they turn and ran off.
Naruto watched them go, grinning, until they disappeared around a group of trees.
"Um, thank you."
Naruto turned to find the girl with the pink hair standing and bowing in front of him.
"It was no problem. I really don't like it when people gang up on someone to abuse them. People have been doing it to me my entire life." Naruto said, blushing slightly and scratching the back of his neck absentmindedly.
People have been picking on this guy? But he seems so nice.
And he's cute! Inner Sakura added, causing Sakura to blush again.
"Thank you. I'm Sakura." She smiled as she said this. "Haruno Sakura."
Naruto smiled back her, a wide, open smile.
"Nice to meet you Sakura-chan. I'm Uzumaki Naruto."
Sakura blushed again.
That was how they had first met.
The two had talked for a while, until an adult showed up and chased him off, yelling "demon" at him. Today Naruto had left his apartment to go to the festival, hoping he could go unnoticed and maybe find the cute girl again. He had bought one of the masks being sold before the festival, a mask of the Yondaime Hokage, and he wore one of his few outfits that wasn't orange. Everything had gone fine until he finally managed to stumble on Sakura by accident.
She had been standing by a group of adults, most of whom had pink hair like she did, looking nervous. She had on a bright pink yukata, and had a sakura blossom tucked behind her left ear.
Naruto snuck close and whispered in her ear. "Ne, finally found you, Sakura-chan."
Sakura nearly jumped at hearing the voice of the cute boy she had met the other day.
"Y-you were looking for me?" She questioned sofly, turning to face him. She could practically see his smile shining through the mask he wore.
"Of course Sakura-chan. I got chased away the other day before I had a chance to ask you if you want to be friends."
Naruto stopped speaking, and after a few seconds Sakura realized he was waiting for a response.
"Yes, I'd like that."
Sakura blushed deeply as Naruto pushed his mask up, revealing his bright smile.
Unfortunately he didn't get a chance to say anything else as nearby someone spotted him.
"It's him, it's the demon! It was all his fault. Get him!"
Naruto didn't even have a chance to say goodbye to Sakura as he leapt away, trying desperately to get away from the mob on his trail.
Sakura watched as he disappeared, wondering why all the adults were chasing after him like he was some sort of monster.
Now Naruto had been evading the mobs for over three hours and night had fallen. He stopped in the dark alley and bent over, catching his breath. A sudden crinkle of paper caused him to look up. In front of him in the alley stood a tall hooded figure. Before Naruto could move to escape the figure performed a quick handseal and spoke quietly.
"Katon: Goukakyu no Jutsu."
Naruto screamed as he felt himself being burned alive as the fireball engulfed him. The last thing he saw before he passed out was the eyes of his attacker. They were red, with three black tomoe spinning in them.
Hokage's Office, Three Hours Later…
Hiruzen Sarutobi was not pleased. Sitting in front of him were three Konoha Shinobi. One held barely restrained fury in check by clenching and unclenching her fists continually. One showed no emotion on his face, but Sarutobi could tell the man was angry. The third sat nervously between the first two, his ANBU mask sitting in his lap.
Finally, after letting the third shinobi stew for long enough, Sarutobi spoke.
"I trust you know why I asked you here." It wasn't a question.
Morino Ibiki nodded, his face grim. Mitarashi Anko growled. And the unmasked ANBU swallowed.
"Earlier this evening Uzumaki Naruto was brutally attacked. He was found by ANBU after having been burnt in an alleyway. Luckily for the ANBU who didn't even learn about the attack until twenty minutes after he had been lit on fire Naruto has survived, and is resting in the Konoha General Hospital. Unlucky for you, however, I have been informed that this was not the first time his guards have been 'late' showing up to intervene when the boy was attacked."
Sarutobi frowned as the man began to frantically try to explain why his men were occasionally 'late' getting there. After about a minute of hearing excuses Sarutobi shared a look with one of the many ANBU who were flanking the man.
"Enough. Kamizuki Saragasa, as I am sure you are aware, having received all records relating to this assignment when you replaced Hatake Kakashi, the ANBU were late only once while Kakashi was in charge of his protection. The man who was late showed up only after Naruto had been beaten by a group of drunken villagers. Do you know what happened to that man, Saragasa?"
Saragasa swallowed and shook his head no. All his records showed was the man had been pulled from duty.
Sarutobi leaned further forward. "He spent the next year as Ibiki and Anko's plaything."
Kamizuki Saragasa had only been this scared one other time in his life. When the Kyuubi no Kitsune had been about to step on him. Unfortunately for Saragasa, he would not be saved by the Yondaime this time.
His fellow ANBU dragged Saragasa out of the room as he cried and begged the Hokage to have mercy. Ibiki followed still frowning. As the doors to the office closed behind Ibiki Sarutobi turned his attention to Anko.
"So what is this request of yours Anko?" Sarutobi asked, taking a puff on his pipe to calm his nerves.
Anko grinned as she leant forward. Sarutobi hated it when she grinned like that. It always meant tons of paperwork for him.
Konoha General Hospital, Two Days Later…
The first thing Naruto became aware of was a bright blurry light. Then slowly figures began to take shape. He blinked.
Naruto was laying in a bed in the Konoha General Hospital. His entire body was wrapped in bandages and he was hooked up to several monitors. Glancing around the room quickly Naruto noted two ANBU standing by the door, and a third ninja lounging in a chair next to the window, absentmindedly chewing on some dango as she looked out at the sun, bored out of her skull.
"Ugh, I feel like I was run over by a truck." Naruto muttered as he tried to sit up. Every part of him felt sore. Then he remembered what had happened before he passed out and suddenly he was trying to tear off his bandages. None of the ninja were fast enough, but they were all shocked when within seconds a very naked and very healed Naruto was standing before them.
Looking down at himself Naruto muttered. "Well, at least the damage healed."
"Hey gaki, you should get some clothes on."
Naruto looked up. The source of the voice was the dark haired kunoichi who had been eating the dango. She wore a tan trench-coat, a miniskirt, and a mesh top, and she wore a Konoha hitai-ate proudly displayed on her forehead.
"Huh? Why? I'm in a hospital room not in public." Being six years old Naruto had no concept of modesty.
Naruto had expected the woman to get angry with him, as most adults did. He was surprised when she instead started laughing and turned to one of the ANBU.
"Haha, I like the gaki, Kakashi. I think he and I will get along just fine."
Naruto's curiosity at what this strange woman meant was instantly forgotten as he realized who she was speaking to.
Naruto practically dove at the ANBU in the inu mask, nearly knocking him over. The ANBU chuckled.
"It's good to see you too Naruto. When I heard that the ANBU assigned to guard you had mysteriously lost track of you I tried to track you down, but someone else got to you first."
Kakashi grinned behind his mask he hugged Naruto back. As much as he attempted to cultivate a cool and collected exterior he had always had a soft spot for his sensei's son. The little boy, prankster that he was, had the same openness and honest love of life as his old teammate Obito, and he had sworn to nurture that in him in honor of his dearly departed friend and sensei.
Naruto hopped off Kakashi, frowning.
"Kakashi sensei, I didn't really get a good look at whoever did this to me. Did ANBU catch them?"
It was the kunoichi who answered the little gaki's question.
"No. I actually caught him performing the Goukakyu on you, but I had a choice between going after him and trying to save you. I think you'll agree that I made the right choice choosing to save you, gaki."
She grinned at Naruto. To Naruto, her grin was unnerving yet at the same time comforting. Naruto smiled back for a moment and then frowned.
"Well, I did see one thing about him. He had these really strange eyes."
Anko and Kakashi both straightened up. Altered eyes were rare, and usually meant a doujutsu.
"Naruto…do you think you coukd describe that person's eyes to me?" Kakashi asked hesitantly.
"Yup." Naruto said as he plopped down on his bed. "They were red and had three black dots spinning in them."
Kakashi and Anko both shared a look, both of them frowning. After a second Kakashi removed his mask, revealing his hitai-ate to be pulled down over his left eye.
"Naruto, if you saw this man's eyes again, do you think you could recognize them?"
Naruto nodded. "Yup. I've never seen anything like them before."
Kakashi sighed and pulled his hitai-ate up. When he opened his left eye Naruto gasped and scrambled backward on his bed. Kakashi's eye was red, and three black tomoe were spinning in it.
"Naruto-kun, did your attackers eyes look like this?"
Naruto nodded from behind the bed.
Kakashi sighed and pulled his hitai-ate back down over his eye.
"It's ok Naruto, you don't need to be afraid. This eye was transplanted into me during the last war with Iwa from my dying teammate at his request. It is a kekkai genkai of his clan."
Kakashi saw the second ANBU perform a hand signal and he nodded. In a gust of leaves the ANBU was gone, off to report to the Hokage that the attacker had been identified as an Uchiha.
The Hokage's Office, One Hour Later…
A healed and energetic Uzumaki Naruto sat in the Hokage's office, sitting between Mitarashi Anko and Hatake Kakashi. He was currently staring at Sarutobi in disbelief.
"What do you mean Anko is going to adopt me? I thought everybody but you and Kakashi nii-san hated me?"
Hiruzen Sarutoi sighed. It was times like these that made him regret what he had had to do to protect Naruto. And it seemed that even the measures he had taken were not enough. Not if a member of the Uchiha clan had taken the risk of attempting to murder him.
"While yes, most of the people in this village may have hatred for you in their hearts, you must understand that it is in no way your fault."
Naruto frowned. "Then why do they hate me?"
Sarutobi sighed. He had been hoping to have this talk when the boy was a few years older. Before he could speak Anko spoke up.
"Before you try to tell Naruto a little white lie to make his life easier, you need to understand that I'm only adopting the gaki if he is told the truth."
Sarutobi looked to Kakashi for support, but finding none he sighed.
"Naruto, before I begin, I need you to understand that I did what I thought was best and safest for you at the time. Six years ago, on October 10th, the Kyuubi no Kitsune attacked Konoha…"
Hiruzen Sarutobi spent the next hour explaining to Namikaze Naruto his true heritage, and about the demon he kept locked safely away inside of him.
AN: Well, here is the start of my second Naruto story. For those who are following along with Phoenix Rising do not worry, I still intend to have the next chapter of that up by friday. But I've been mulling this idea around for a while and I finally decided to run with it. So, I sat down this evening and cranked out an entire chapter. I hope you all enjoy, and please remember to read and review.
PS: I had two titles considered for this, and I went with one. I leave the other hear for you to see, as I am curious as to which my readers think is better. Konoha's Golden Serpent.