Chapter 2:

Disclaimer: No, Naruto's not mine.

Author's notes: Heh, amazing what can come with a bit of an odd little idea huh? This will not be a lemon though. At most, maybe a lime, but not lemon. Still, there will be plenty of innuendo, and lots of teasing and flirting.

As well as some very red faced (for a multitude of reasons) girls.

Now to begin

"So, I take it last night went well?" the words were tinged with humor as a blonde face suddenly appeared in front of the distant look in Iruka's eyes as the man sat quietly behind his desk, watching as the students trickled in, individually and in small groups.

"GAH!" the man instantly reacted, jumping back as his hands rose defensively before recognizing the face in front of him, "Dammit Naruto!"

"Whaaaa?" the boy grinned softly as he would lean in, that mischievous grin plastered on his features, "Ninjas are supposed to be sneaky! You're just letting yourself get distracted!"

"I was not..." the man began before sighing softly and giving a mild glare at the boy, "Fine, I was distracted, happy?"

"Mmm depends, are you?" Naruto grinned back at the man as his eyes danced with mischief, "Are you?"

"If you're asking how the date went, why don't you ask Anko?" the man responded, as a slow smirk crossed his lips and he crossed his arms about his chest.

"Oh, I did," the look suddenly became flinty, cold as the boy looked down at him, "Which is why I'm going to do what I am..."

Instantly the man froze in his seat, staring back at Naruto with wide, worried eyes as he couldn't help but feel a trickle of fear run down the back of his neck, "Wh-what!? We had a good time! We had dinner, saw a movie, went for a walk!" he threw his hands up, "She was smiling the whole way back to her apartment! She even gave me a kiss!"

"Oh, so, you're saying you enjoyed your date with Anko-chan?" the boy's voice responded, as if in a tone of disbelief.

"Yes, I'm saying that I enjoyed my date with Anko-chan!" the man shot back rather loudly, before a sinking pit shot through his stomach as he realized just what it was he'd said so loudly.

"Really Iruka-sensei," The boy admonished with that wicked grin suddenly back on his face, "You don't have to yell it that loudly, though, I'm sure that everyone's happy to know you've found yourself a girlfriend!"

Meanwhile, Iruka's silver haired fellow teacher Mizuki was staring back at Iruka, "Anko-chan?" the man blinked a moment before his eyes widened, "As in Anko Mitarashi? You went on a date with Anko Mitarashi?!"

Iruka gave a flat look back at his coworker before sighing softly as he heard the rising snickers erupted from the class in front of them both, "Yes, I went on a date with a lovely kunoichi last night. We had a good time, and I think we'll be doing it again soon, something wrong with that?"

The last of it directed towards the class in a hard, flat look, while Mizuki couldn't help but continue, "But... But... Anko! Mitarashi! THE Anko Mitarashi!"

"I don't know of any other Anko Mitarashi that are kunoichi, Mizuki-sensei," Naruto offered helpfully before grinning at Iruka, "Do you Iruka-sensei?"

"No Naruto, I don't," the dark haired teacher responded before he leveled a look at Mizuki, "Would you be implying that there's something wrong with my dating a lovely kunoichi like Anko, Mizuki?"

"Well..." the man paused, still wide eyed before he continued, "Its Anko Mitarashi!"

"And...?" the word came in simultaneous, matching cold tones and icy stares from both Iruka and Naruto as Mizuki could feel a line of sweat slowly trickling down the back of his neck.

"Errr..." instantly the man seemed to shrink down on himself under the sudden spikes of killing intent washing off the two, "Nothing! Absolutely nothing!"

"Good," again the replies were simultaneous as the pair looked at him once more with those frosty glares before turning back to one another.

"Now, Naruto, if you would be so kind as to take your seat?" The man spoke in a calmer tone of voice, "We do have the exams today if you'll remember."

"Yup, whatever you say Iruka-sensei!" Naruto grinned back before almost dancing up the steps to flop down into a seat next to the pale eyed, dark haired Hinata Hyuuga, "Heya Hinata-chan, ready for the exam?"

The girl blushed softly in response before slowly nodding, her fingers lightly pushing together, as she asked in a quiet voice "How about you Naruto-kun?"

"Pretty good, though, a little twitchy," he grinned softly, "Didn't get my morning chase in though," he pouted slightly at that as he would stretch slowly.

The girl paused a moment, lightly biting down against her lower lip before blushing again, "You shouldn't torment them so much Naruto-kun, its not nice."

"Hey, I'm just helping to keep them on their toes!" he grinned back, waggling a brow at her, "Afterall, if a 13 year old academy student can pull things like that on them..."

"Well..." she blushed softly before giving a faint, reluctant nod of the head as she lightly twiddled her fingers once more, "All right Naruto-kun."

"Oh, by the way..." his voice took on a casual, conversational tone as he turned his eyes towards the front of the class, "I want my book back."

The soft blush on her face instantly exploded into a full crimson as she shuffled nervously in her chair. Her first attempts at words, came out as nothing more than a mousy squeak, before she managed to stutter out, "Wh-what... b-b-book Nar-naruto-kun?"

"Hinata-chan..." the words were soft but stern as he held his hand up to her expectantly.

Still caught in a hot, full body blush, the girl rummaged around in her over-sized coated then reluctantly handed over a small blue book. The look on her face went beyond sheepish as she gave him a small, hesitant little smile, "S-s-sorry..."

"Its all right Hinata-chan," he smiled back at her now as he brought the book over to him, "Just ASK next time, that book was supposed to go to the old man," he paused a moment, before grinning as he leaned in, whispering lightly into her ear, "Do I need to be worried about you reading this with sticky fingers Hinata-chan?"

The girl seemed to grow even redder if it was possible, shrinking down into her jacket, as if trying to make herself completely invisible as she refused to look him in the eyes. When she didn't say anything he sighed softly and shook his head as he lightly reached behind her and rubbed her back, "Calm down Hinata-chan, I'm just teasing you," he paused a moment before grinning softly, "Though, hmmm... I wonder, how much an autographed, Hyuuga flavored book would sell for..."

The girl couldn't help but let out a soft, strangled whimper as she finally looked at him, pleadingly over the top of her jacket, her wide eyes almost filled with tears as they stared pleadingly at him. Her breaths came heavy and labored, as he watched her, before gently he kept stroking her back, "Easy Hinata-chan, easy..." He sighed, just a bit before looking down into her eyes, "One of these days we're gonna get you over all that."

Gently he reached up and began to stroke her hair soothingly as he waited for her to calm down while he carefully used his other hand to put his book away. After a few moments, when her labored breaths finally slowed down he looked at her again, "Better?"

She nodded quickly, blushing still before she managed a stuttering, "S-sorry N-naruto-kun."

"You're getting better," he offered her a grin as he would keep stroking her hair until she fully extracted herself from her jacket, when his fingers pulled away earning a slight, yearning whimper from the girl as she looked at him like a begging puppy, "I swear Hinata-chan, you're worse than Akamaru about getting petted."

The girl's only response with a pleading little whimper, as those puppy dog eyes returned in full force as she looked pleadingly at him. With a resigned sigh, he reached up and once more began to stroke his fingers through her hair, earning a contented sigh as she leaned over against him, "Thank you Naruto-kun."

"Yeah yeah, you're just trying to ruin my hard earned reputation," He grinned softly as he would lightly caressed his finger a finger just behind her ear, "Though, I will admit, you do make quite the cute pet..."

The blush instantly returned in full forced, though, she giggled softly, a small trickle of blood running down from underneath her nose, veins throbbing around her eyes. Coughing softly into his free hand, he spoke, "If you don't stop staring under my pants Hinata-chan, I'm gonna stop."

"Hehehehe," the girl giggled softly, her eyes distant and only half focused as she lightly licked her drying lips as she would grin in response, getting an eyeful before she would finally deactivate her eyes, "Mmmmm..."

"You're such a pervert Hinata-chan," the blonde boy sighed softly as he looked at her before casually continuing to stroke through her hair as she reddened.

"A-a-and what does that m-make you then Naruto-kun?" she reddened for a moment before grinning shyly back at him.

"Damned good," he winked and laughed as she blushed again, then nodded quietly as they simply sat there, waiting for class to start, or at least trying to.

"Will you two knock it off?" there was an angry growl rumbling past the lips of a pink haired Sakura Haruno as she whipped her head around and glared at the two, "Go be perverted somewhere else!"

"Sorry Haruno," Naruto smirked softly, "No can do, we're here to graduate."

"Ha! You mean like the last two times you tried, dead last?" she glared at him, "Like you could pass!"

Seeing the look of irritation that grew on Hinata's face as she stiffened beneath his fingers, the boy decided to simply nip the problem in the bud, "Don't mind Haruno, Hinata-chan," He grinned as he spoke to her in a stage whisper, "She's still pissed that her precious Sasuke-kun is more interested in what's in my pants than wants in hers."

There was an unintelligible shriek of rage that erupted past the girl's lips as Sakura almost threw herself at the boy in an attempt to beat his skull into a bloody paste. She got as far as getting to her feet before a voice shouted out back at her, "SAKURA! Sit down and calm down! No fighting in class outside of designated combat!"

"But Iruka-sensei!" the girl began, "He started it!"

"Sakura," Iruka just gave her a look, "He was talking to Hinata, at no point in time did he address you or say anything to you until after you spoke to him. If you can't control yourself enough to keep from exploding in class just because of what's said, how can you hope to control yourself during a mission?"

"I..." the girl blushed slightly before looking down, fidgeting lightly where she sat before falling silent.

"Yeesh, Forehead," a blonde haired girl sitting a few seats away called out, her blue eyes sparkling with a bit of sadistic amusement, "You keep acting this way and Sasuke-kun will be all mine before you know it!"

"Ino-pig..." The girl growled back in response as she glared warningly back at the girl.

"Both of you shut up already," the words were cold as they shot out of the mouth of a black haired, black eyed boy who never even bothered to look at them as he spoke, "I have no interest in either of you."

The pair startled as they heard the words come from Sasuke Uchiha's lips before both stared at him with wide eyes and open mouths. With nothing coming past their lips, the boy simply sat there, chin resting against his propped up hands, waiting patiently for class to finally start. All the while, he simply ignored the hurt, confused looks the girls gave him as they seemed at a loss for what to say.

"Mmm... I was wonder how long it was gonna take him to crack," Naruto murmured as he kept stroking his fingers through Hinata's hair.

"Tsk, you're troublesome, you know that Naruto?" a boy with a black spiky pony tail grumbled in the seat next to the blonde.

"And you're lazy Shikamaru, your point?" the boy grinned back as he lounged in his chair himself.

"Just pointing it out," the boy responded with a yawn, "So, passing this time?"

"That's the plan," the boy grinned softly before looking at where Hinata was snuggling against his arm, "At least, as long as Hinata-chan lets me actually get out of my seat."

"Tsk, you're both troublesome," the boy responded before smirking slightly, "Though, at least you're amusing."

"So glad you approve," Naruto chuckled back, ignoring the pouting glare that Hinata shot towards the other boy.

"Naruto-kun," there was a syrupy sweetness to the girl's tone as she smiled up at the blue eyed boy, "Don't you think Shikamaru would make an amusing practice dummy?" she turned her head, and locked her pale eyes onto the other boy, "He's certainly, troublesome enough..."

There was a blink, then another as the dark haired boy gave a blank stare back at Hinata before looking at Naruto, "Tsk, very troublesome."

"Don't look at me, you brought it on yourself," the boy grinned in response.

"Tsk, troublesome," there was a sigh before the boy again just left his head resting on the desk.

"All right class," there was a brief pause in his voice as Iruka stood up, looking across the classroom, "Its time to begin the graduation exam," He paused a moment as he held up a list of names, "To graduation, you'll need to perform the clone technique when you're called to the next room."

And so, it went, each person entering the room one by one. Hinata and Shikamaru had both already gone when it finally came down to Naruto's turn. A slight grin on his face, the boy wandered into the room and stood in front of one of his instructors. Shifting slightly, he stretched back, his head cupping the back of his neck before he spoke up, "Oi, whenever your ready... Hey where's Iruka?"

"He was called away," the silver haired man responded with an easy smile, "I'll be proctoring your exam on your own, how about you show us your clone technique?"

"Whatever you say!" the boy grinned, making the appropriate hand signs before suddenly there was a poof of smoke, and ten Narutos stood around the boy, "That good enough?"

"Looks that way," the man nodded before he gave the boy a grin, "Looks like you're ready to take the real academy graduation test!"

"Huh?" The boy blinked slowly as he looked at the man, cocking his head lightly to the side, "What do you mean the real test? Mizuki-sensei, I never heard anything about this!"

"You're training to be a ninja Naruto!" the man grinned back at him, "You just have to perform a task set out specifically for you, are you ready?"

"Sure, bring it on!" The boy responded smirking softly, "You're not gonna stop me from graduating this time!"

"All right then," The man grinned in response, "Your task is..."

-Several hours later-

"Iruka!" The man in question blinked as he looked up from where he was seated across from Anko in the Dango shop, as he looked up to see a worried looking Mizuki calling out to him, "We have to get to Hokage-sama's! Naruto has taken the scroll of The Forbidden Seal as a prank!"

"What?!" both Iruka and Anko shouted, even as Mizuki was already on his way out, running, leaving the pair to glance at one another with a worried look.

"That doesn't sound like the brat," Anko spoke up, a tinge of worry in her voice, "Some thing's wrong about this."

"Yeah, you're right, but we better get to the Hokage's mansion and see what's going on," Iruka responded with a nod, "Lets go."

It only took the pair a few moments to reach their destination, where they found the old man standing, a frown on his lips as he addressed the crowd, "Yes, the scroll, forbidden by the previous Hokage was removed from the mansion earlier today, if used in a certain way it could cause extreme danger."

The man pause a moment before taking a deep puff from his pipe, "Its already been half a day since the scroll was taken, we must hurry and find Naruto!"

"Dammit, what the hell is going on?" Iruka narrowed his eyes as he growled back to Anko, "Something isn't right about this! I'm gonna head to the cabin in the forest, start west from there and work your way towards me, hopefully we'll find him somewhere between us."

"Right," The woman responded with a nod, noting the worried look in Iruka's eyes, "We'll find the brat, don't worry."

"I hope so," The man paused giving the woman a nod before they separated, each racing off in their own direction to try and find the boy, "What's going on Naruto?"

-In the forest a short time later-

"There you are!" Iruka let off a relieved sigh as he came across a dirtied and scuffed up Naruto, grinning back at him with the scroll strapped against his back.

"Hey Iruka-sensei!" The boy merely grinned back as he stretched lightly, "I guess I passed huh?"

"What the hell were you thinking?! Stealing a forbidden scroll?!" The man growled in response as he glared back at him, "What're you talking about passing? All you had to do to pass was perform a clone technique!"

"Huh?" Naruto blinked this time, a look of uncertainty flashing across those blue eyes, "But Mizuki-sensei said I had to do this as the last test... sneak this scroll, learn a technique from it and show you it!"

Before Iruka could respond, he noticed a sudden flurry of kunai racing towards him. Acting on pure instinct, the man roughly shoved his palm against Naruto's chest, pushing the boy out of the way as the storm of knives slammed into him. Grunting softly in the pain from the impact of those multiple blades, Iruka uncrossed his arms and looked up to find Mizuki smirking down at him from a tree.

"So I see you found the moron," The man smirked before looking over towards Naruto, "Naruto, give me the scroll!"

"What the hell's going on here!" The boy growled as he looked from the bleeding Iruka to the smug looking Mizuki, "Why the hell are you attacking Iruka-sensei!"

"Naruto!" Iruka yelled as he pulled a bloody kunai from his body, "Whatever happens don't give him that scroll! He used you to get his hands on it! It contains a dangerous forbidden technique!"

"There's really no point in you having it Naruto," The silver haired man smirked as he looked down at the boy, I'll tell you the truth... about why everyone in this village hates you."

"No! Don't!" Iruka lurched forward, anger burning in his eyes, "Don't you dare break that law Mizuki!"

"What law, what're you talking about!" Naruto spoke up, confusion evident in his eyes.

"You know about how the nine-tailed fox attacked this village 13 years ago, don't you Naruto," the man spoke up, grinning wickedly at the boy, "The day the Fourth died, the day Iruka's parents were killed, the day a law was placed down on the village to prevent anyone from revealing the truth of what happened that day..."

"Mizuki!" Iruka growled out.

"The nine tails died! The Fourth killed it, everyone knows that!" Naruto snapped back defiantly even as he could feel a growing pit of ice spreading through his stomach.

"Oh No!" Mizuki laughed at that, "The law, the rule... that everyone's afraid to break, is that the nine-tails didn't die. YOU are the nine tails! And the technique on that scroll was used to seal you up!"

"What...?" The boy blinked a bit at that, before canting his head at Mizuki, "That doesn't make sense."

The silver haired man almost dropped the over-sized shuriken he'd whipped out at the boy's calm response, "That's why everyone in the village hates you, that's why they shun you, even Iruka hates you!"

"No, he doesn't," Again the boy spoke up, a pit of anger in his stomach before he shook his head and looked up defiantly at Mizuki, "You can say all the crap you want, but that doesn't make it true! You say everyone hates me? BULLSHIT!"

Anger, was burning in those brilliant blue eyes now as he growled towards the man, "If that was true, I wouldn't have had my friends, I wouldn't have had my sensei, I wouldn't have had the precious moments I cherish. If I was that demon, I wouldn't care for this village, or want to protect the people in it!"

He unslung the scroll from his shoulders and put his palm on it, his eyes dark and warning as his coat fluttered lightly in the night breeze, "I am Naruto Uzumaki, a shinobi of the leaf, and practitioner of BONDAGE STYLE!"

The blonde suddenly let loose a brilliant flare of chakra before a pair of knotted ropes slid down the sleeves of his jacket and into his hands, "And I won't let you take what you want traitor!"

"Heh, so they demon has some claws after all huh?" the man smirked as he grinned wickedly down at the boy, "Well, I'll just have to carve them out before I kill you and run off with that scroll."

"Naruto, run!" Iruka screamed out at the boy as the kid shifted into a loose stance, "Take the scroll and run!"

"Sorry Iruka-sensei, but Anko-chan would kill me if I let you get any more hurt than you already are," the boy responded, "So..."

"Heh, just shut up and die already demon!" Mizuki screamed as he would launch the massive, spinning star in his hand, directly at Naruto.

In a flash the boy was rolling out of the way, as one of his ropes snaked out, the knotted length striking atop the spinning projectile to knock it to slam into the earth far short of where it was originally intended to hit, "Neh, gonna have to do better than that ya piece of shit!" The boy stuck his tongue out at the reddening man, as he would continue to spin the ropes about in his hands.

"Heh, you think that pathetic style's going to stop me?" Mizuki responded as he started to jump down from his tree, only to find himself caught in the path of a bloody kunai embedding itself deep into his arm.

"Forgetting about me already Mizuki?" Iruka smirked ligthly with a slight cough, "I'm not dead yet."

"Bah!" the man snarled as he landed on his feet, roughly pulling the blade out with a smirk, "A wounded chuunin and a not even genin? This won't take long!"

"And how about with a jounin added to the mix?" a cold feminine voice spoke up as a figure stood on a tree above him, her brown eyes smoldering coldly as she glared the man, "Or better yet, how about we make that a pissed off jounin bitch who's boyfriend is bleeding because of YOU!"

As Mizuki took his eyes off of Naruto, to focus on the newly arrived threat of Anko, he suddenly found one rope snapping out, its rough, knotted length rapping about his throat as the other lashed against the top of his thigh just barely enough to propel a knot directly into the man's crotch. As the man began to kneel over, half squealing in pain as he seemed unable to make a choice between struggling against the rope at his throat, and the pain between his legs, Naruto struck.

"What did you call pathetic, Mizuki-chan?" the boy hissed angrily before he started to run, directly at the man's body. Half way there, he again grasped onto the rope, yanking hard on the one attached to the silver haired man's throat, jerking it back to send his body directly into the path of the boy's launched kneed, as it impacted savagely against the side of his face.

For a moment, all he knew was the shock of that impact, before, another struck, two boots, nailing into his stomach as Anko had dropped like a missile directly into the man's body throwing him off balance again. The earth, was a cold, harsh impact, giving nothing of comfort or care as it did not embrace him, choosing to rebuke him in an uncaring manner as his body battered against it. As he struggled to breath, struggled to scream he felt the dull thuds, before his knees exploded into pain as Iruka drove a kunai into each joint.

As the woman stepped off the man's beaten body, the boy would roughly roll him about, ignoring the gurgles of protest that escaped his mouth as he bound the man, palms forced open and spread as ropes were quickly bound intricately over his arms and torso. Grumbling he would glare down at the man, "Insult my style will you? Grrrr..."

"So... I'm gonna take it that he's the reason the brat grabbed the scroll..?" Anko asked curiously over the moaning Mizuki before she sauntered over to Iruka and gave him a casual look, "You know, red doesn't really suit you Iruka."

The man managed a short laugh before he shook his head, "Eh, if the occasion's right I don't mind, better me than Naruto."

"Oh, I see..." then woman turned her attention towards the nervous looking blonde, "And what do you have to say about that blondie?"

"Umm... so, what's this about me and demon foxes?" the boy responded with a nervous grin.

The woman paused a moment, before just glaring venomously down at Mizuki, "He didn't."

"He did," Iruka responded solemly.

"Well brat, sounds like we've got some explanations to go through with you..." the woman responded with a sigh, "Should give us something to do while we wait for the lazy ANBU to arrive. Hmm... Know how people use scrolls to seal kunai and stuff in things?"

The boy merely gave her a slightly vexed look as he pulled off his coat, and turned it inside out, showing her the array of seals built into the fabric. The 'what does it look like' glint in his eyes made the woman feel more than a little sheepish as she nodded and continued, "All right, moving on, basically you're scroll that's got the seal and the nine tails in the kunai, except he can't get out."

"Mmm, I see," the boy shrugged slightly, "I always wondered what the seal on my stomach was for. I just figured it helped make room for all that delicious ramen!"

"I wonder about you sometimes brat, I really do," the woman chuckled softly as she gave the boy a look, "So, where's your headband?"

Iruka coughed softly, into his hand, "It would seem Mizuki mislead about what all he had to do to earn his headband."

"And I would've gotten away with it, if it wasn't for you damned bastards and your bitch!" the man snarled before taking three simultaneous kicks to the head.

"Damned idiot, doesn't know when to quit does he?" Naruto grumbled softly.

"Heh, hey Naruto, come over here and close your eyes," The man grinned softly at the boy, "I've got something to give you."

"Huh? What?" there was a curious note to the boy's words as he turned his head slightly but complied, stepping forward then closing his eyes in front of the man, "What's that Iruka-sensei?"

He felt something shifting about on his forehead and pulling tight at his head, before he could hear Iruka speaking up, "All right Naruto, go ahead and open your eyes."

"Huh?" the boy blinked as he looked up at the smiling faces of Anko and the now headband-less Iruka.

"Congratulations on graduating Naruto," The man smiled as he lightly patted the boy on the shoulder, "We'll go get some ramen later all right?"

"Only if we pick up some dango on the way!" Anko piped up, "Damned bastard ruined my dango fix." Again she glared down at the still subdued Mizuki before crossing her arms about her chest and pouting.

"Sure thing Anko-chan!" the two responded quickly enough, before sighing as they waited for the ANBU to finally arrive.

"So, wanna see who can make him scream the loudest?" Anko suggested innocently enough.

Then and there Mizuki knew, tonight, was going to be a long, painful night. Even discounting the rounds he'd have to endure with Ibiki. Getting caught by Anko with able cohorts, was never, EVER a good thing.

-Several hours later-

"You can come in Naruto," the old man sighed softly as he gave a slight roll of his eyes, even as a soft little smile graced his lips.

"Errr heh," the boy grinned softly as he would lightly slip in to perch on the windowsill, "Sorry about earlier old man."

"Its all right," the Hokage waved it off with a slight smile as he took a puff from his pipe, "You've had quite the eventful evening."

The boy sighed softly as he dropped down into the room before taking a seat against the wall, just beneath the window, "Yeah, I really screwed up huh?"

"Somewhat," the man responded as he pulled a chair over near the boy and took a seat, "You could have gotten confirmation from Iruka, and you should have noticed it was odd that you only had one proctor for your exam instead of the two you were supposed to, but its not too unexpected of a thing."

The man paused, taking a slow, deep puff from his pipe before continuing, "Of course, at the same time you were given a mission as a part of a graduation test. A reasonable addition, and one I have to say, we might actually be adding into the graduation exam in the near future. A mission that you succeeded in I should also say."

"Eh, I'm a ninja, its what I do," the boy responded with a negligent wave of his hand, "No big."

"Naruto, you broke into a Kage's mansion, and made off with an extremely dangerous and important scroll," the man said with a firm look and another puff of his pipe, "And, you would have gotten away with it if you hadn't been told simply to learn a technique from the scroll and report to Iruka. It was very impressive."

"I still messed up," the boy responded quietly, "I should've known better."

"I see," the man paused a moment before looking at the boy, "So, did you manage to learn something from the scroll?"

"Yeah, shadow clones," the boy responded with a shrug, "Interesting and scary for a guy like me to have huh?"

"Oh, and what do you mean by a guy like you Naruto?" the man asked curiously.

"Huge chakra reserves? Close combat preference, " Naruto paused a moment, before reluctantly continuing, "Stuck with a demon in my belly?"

"Ah, I had heard Mizuki let that slip," the man said slowly as he took another slow puff of his pipe.

"Did... sensei know about it?" the asked reluctantly as he looked up at the man.

"Of course she did," the old man responded with a smile and a nod, "She, knew that you weren't the demon. She saw you for who you are, Naruto."

"She wasn't lying when she told me she knew my parents, was she," the boy spoke softly, looking up quietly at the old man who could help but flinch back against the eyes that looked so much like his father's.

"No, she wasn't," the words were soft, rasping past his lips as he suddenly felt a heavy weariness fall on his shoulders, "Your parents... were both very very powerful shinobi Naruto. You need to understand this, they made enemies that to this day would kill you just for being their child."

"In other words, you're not going to tell me anything about them or who they were," there was a soft glare in Naruto's eyes as he looked up at the man who'd been like his grandfather his entire life, coupled with no small amount of hurt.

For a moment Hiruzen Sarutobi fully felt the weight of his years on his shoulders as he would slowly, quietly force his head to nod in agreement, despite the screaming demands of his heart, "I want to Naruto, I really do. Every time I look at you, I can see so much of your father in you, and I want to tell you what kind of man he was, the things he did, who he was, how proud he would be of you."

"If you say so," the boy sighed a bit as he leaned his head back, resting it against the wall, the frustration almost tangible in the air as he would close his eyes, "She was going to tell me about them, when I was older, when I got stronger. I just... Its not knowing... Would things have been different?"

The Third Hokage, the Professor, the God of Shinobi, paused at the boys words, a thickness in his through he could barely force his words through as he looked down into the boy's eyes, "In... what way Naruto?"

"Would they have loved me, or would they have pushed me away like most everyone else?" the guilt on his words made the air thick, heavy as it wrapped around him. He knew that parents were supposed to accept and love their children unconditionally, that they were supposed to care for them no matter what. But, at the same time, he couldn't help but wonder.

The old man lowered himself to his knees then, quietly and wordlessly wrapping the boy in his arms, and pulling him to his chest, as he could feel the hot tears beginning to run down the boy's cheeks, and down his own. For a moment, he couldn't bring himself to speak, couldn't bring himself to say much of anything at all before finally he some how found the strength to speak, "They LOVED you Naruto, do not doubt that, ever. The look in your father's eyes when he first held you, the look in your mother's..."

He pulled back then, and looked fiercely down into Naruto's eyes, "They LOVED you Naruto. Never, EVER doubt that. They wouldn't, COULDN'T push you away. You were a part of them, and I know, that they're proud of the man you're becoming."

Slowly, the boy nodded his head, a soft look of gratitude on his features as he gave the old man a tight squeezing hug before pulling back, offering a slight smile on his lips as he carefully rubbed the tears from his eyes, "Thanks old man..."

"Its all right Naruto," he gently ran his fingers through the boy's hair before lightly patting him on his back, "Go on and get some sleep, you've got to get your ID taken tomorrow and meet your team, remember?"

"Yeah, I know..." he stood up, moving himself into the window before looking back at the old man, "You will tell me about my parents one day old man... Just... make sure you don't die and leave me with nothing."

And with that, and a flutter of his trench coat, Naruto Uzumaki slipped out into the night, leaving behind a man, who could feel nothing but the press of time, and the weight of the burden the boy had left him as he whispered into the night, "I know Naruto... You deserve to know about them both... without having to live in the shadows of their legend."

Quietly, the man shut the window then settled down at his desk, brush and ink in hand as he began to write. This was one thing, he would not let Naruto down on. On this one thing, he would make certain not even death would stop him. Some day, he would know who his parents were, and what he came from.

-End Note-

Ok, its a little shorter than I like my chapters to be, but, I couldn't bring myself to continue on from there, just felt... write to end it like I did.

Things lighten up again during the next chapter, hopefully at least.