Happy Birthday Naruto,

Sixteen years and not once was he given the gift of knowledge of who his parents had been.

Every year he wished on his cake and candles that he would buy himself for the knowledge of who his parents had been. But every year he would get not a single clue as to who his father was. He had found out through Jiraiya that his father was quite influential in the village but not once had he been told how much of an influence his father had.

This year he had spent his birthday training with the sage toad and mourning over Jiraiya's death. He had finally had a father figure and that too was taken away from him. Naruto was slowly starting to believe that maybe he wasn't destined to have a family and parents.

But one smack from the toad reminded him that family wasn't always blood relations. He was reminded of a brother who had become lost on the path of revenge, he was reminded of the beautiful girl on his team who had turned into a sister like supportive yet abusive figure. And he was reminded of the lazy sensei who had been there for him in the background teaching him about the things he would have never known if not for Kakashi's guidance.

So this year when the Sage Toad bought out a cake with lit candles, Naruto didn't wish for a family or the knowledge of his parents.

He wished to have the power and the ability to keep his family safe and with him at all times.

Because sometimes friendships run thicker than blood.