Regrets and Consequences
Disclaimer: Nothing of 'Naruto' is mine, if it was I would be rich, but it's not so I'm not. Alas.
Summary: A look into the life of Naruto and the Yondaime had he survived the sealing along with his wife. Some things once given up can never be reclaimed.
Part One- Regrets
The Yondaime looked out on the village from his office and smiled in the warm evening light. From the Hokage Tower, he could hear the village beginning to settle down after a long day, he could see shinobi heading home over the rooftops and parents calling children in after a day spent playing in the pleasant heat of a late spring day. He sighed and turned back to the large pile of paperwork still left on his desk, at this rate he would not be able to get home for quite some time.
His musings were broken by the some distant shouting which quickly gained in volume over the next few seconds as more and more voices joined in. He was not startled by the sudden appearance of the owl faced ANBU kneeling before him.
"The disturbance is in the market place. It is the beginnings of a mob. The target is Uzumaki Naruto." The kneeling shinobi said in a monotone, face respectively bowed.
The Yondaime sighed. "Send squad two and seven if needed to disrupt the mob. Find the instigators and take them to Ibiki and bring Uzumaki Naruto to the hospital if necessary, Hijano-san is the medic that usually treats him. Dismissed."
Uzumaki Naruto. The Yondaime winced as he thought about him before firmly pushing his emotions aside. He still had a lot of paperwork to do, perhaps later he could visit the boy if he was still in the hospital.
A few hours later, with the night firmly established, he stretched, his body cramped from hours spent over his paperwork. He groaned in relief as his back cracked and smiled at the thought of going home to his beautiful wife. That smile was quickly wiped off his face as he remembered that Naruto had had quite a severe concussion that even the kyuubi could not immediately heal, and he was staying in the hospital overnight for observation.
Nodding to the anbu stationed outside his office doors, he headed towards the hospital at a slow pace, nodding to the few civilians or shinobis still out on the streets who greeted him with a respectful bow and a smile.
The soft swoosh of electric doors greeted him as he entered the hospital and calmly by-passed the reception desk. The corridors were quite empty as he made his way to Naruto's room, only a few nurses or doctors on the night-watch were visible, none foolish enough to point out to the Hokage that visiting hours were over quite some time, a perk of the job he supposed.
The quiet beep of a heart monitor was the first thing he heard as he entered the darkened room. There were no flowers or cards wishing the young boy to get well soon, only a discreetly hidden anbu in the corner whom he gestured to leave.
He looked down at the small blond in the bed, he looked so innocent and fragile and the Yondaime's heart gave a tug as he observed the carbon copy, his son. The Yondaime's fingers blurred through seals and he tapped Naruto's forehead, ensuring the boy would remain asleep and settled himself comfortably on the hospital bed beside him.
His son, his innocent little son. The one he had sealed the most powerful and evil demon inside. The one he had first damned and then abandoned.
The great Yondaime, the strongest shinobi in all the lands, he who had gone toe to toe with the awesome power of the Kyuubi no Kitsune and survived to tell the tale was undone just looking at his son's face. He had sacrificed his son for the village, a sacrifice few villagers respected. Today's mob was thankfully an extremely infrequent occurrence, verbal and occasional physical abuse on the other hand was unfortunately extremely common event for the former and far too common for the latter.
Thankfully most shinobi respected the boy and protected him, from harm, but no-one could stop the villagers muttering abuse at the boy as he passed, and every 'accidental' accident could not be stopped.
He sighed once more and tucked his sleeping son in, it was commonly known among the ninja population that Naruto was his son, you had to be blind not to see it, but it was unspoken. The civilians on the other hand seem angered by Naruto's resemblance to their Hokage, he had even heard one villager muttering about how the demon was mocking them with its similarity the Yondaime.
He could see the well hidden respect many of the ninja had in their eyes when they looked at his son, but none approached him, wary of drawing attention to their saviour and their Hokage's son. Similarly none would adopt him, knowing his family would reveal themselves to the solitary boy when the time was right and not wanting to come between them.
The fact that Naruto was the jinchuuriki to the kyuubi and that he was his son were both S-classed secrets. He had so many enemies amongst the other shinobi nations, Iwa in particular that if the knowledge he had a son was revealed, he knew there would be so many assassination attempts that one was bound to succeed. Even if they didn't succeed, Naruto would have to stay surrounded by anbu, anbu he didn't have to spare right now. The kyuubi attack had decimated their ranks, the number of shinobi already depleted after the last secret war and every shinobi was essential doing missions to retain Konoha's reputation as the strongest shinobi nation.
No, Naruto would be told when he could protect himself, when he was a ninja. In the meantime he made sure he was rarely, if ever, seen in the vicinity of his son, all he had were these nights where he crept in to watch his son sleep, or watch him during breaks in his paperwork though the Hokage's seeing ball. That did not mean he did not regret this course of action, Kami it hurt him so much every time he saw his son alone and in tears, or sadly watching other children with their families.
He knew though, that though this hurt Naruto, it would make Naruto strong. He only hoped Naruto would understand when the time came.
Kushina had been understanding when he had spoken to her in the hospital as she held their almost dangerously pre-mature son, as he had explained his plan to seal the kyuubi in their child. She had only insisted he not give up his life in the process of sealing. After much heated debate with his severely weakened wife he had called in his old sensei and the Sandaime to aid him, the latter who had suggested using the soul of a prisoner or traitor in place of his own. The sacrifice did not have to be a willing one, a soul is a soul.
On the other hand Kushina had been furious when he had told her only a day after the sealing, that they must give up their only child to a life of loneliness for his own protection. The news that she had been so weakened by the complications of her pregnancy and birth that she could not only never carry another child, but that she would never be the same calibre of shinobi she had been before, had shocked her to the point she had almost meekly agreed. Anything to protect her son.
He knew she took many pictures of their son and had heavily used albums full of pictures of Naruto. Even now, six years later, her face twisted into a rictus of grief whenever Naruto's name was mentioned, and she had to look away whenever she saw him in the streets. She had never been able to hide her emotions, it was one of the reasons he had fallen in love with her but it hurt him to see her in pain as she paged through the thick photo albums.
Like her husband she understood. They were shinobi. The village always came first.
The Yondaime glanced at the position of the moon outside, it was getting very late and he had to get home if he was going to get any sleep tonight. He leaned forward and caressed his beloved son's face. He kissed him tenderly on the forehead and with a whisper of displaced air was gone.
Part Two- Consequences
(Six years later)
Naruto had always been a quiet boy, he had been alone for as long as he remembered and when he was younger had gone through days at a time where he had seen no-one else, that he had never become accustomed to talking to or interacting with people. By the time he had reached eight years old, the age one entered the shinobi academy, the precedence was set. He barely opened his mouth, content to sit in the background observing those around him, moving around the village had thought him it was better to be quiet and unnoticed. He had learned many lessons in his youth, lessons he had continued to use as he grew older.
He was often quiet because he was thinking. There were many odd occurrences in his life, from the scrolls with various different low level jutsu and training tips and techniques that he found in his apartment at just the right time, to the unexplainable and often sad looks he often got from most ninja and some civilians, to the way the students from the ninja clans treated him so protectively at the academy.
He did not understand why he was treated the way he was by those around him, nor did he understand the reactions he got from them.
He had once heard Inuzuka Kiba, one of his louder classmates complain that he was even quieter than an Aburame, and had apologised to him the next day, a very chastened look on his face. An apology to which he had just nodded his acceptance and silently moved to the back of the room.
One of the girls, whom he had later learned was from a civilian family, had tried to make fun of him and called him mute, but immediately those from clans had shut her up with a barrage of insults.
Another reason he was quiet, was that he rarely got answers to his questions when he asked, so he stopped asking.
When he was four he had moved out of the orphanage, very young compared to the other orphans. He had been given a small apartment in a moderately well-to-do area of the city, while his caretaker had oddly enough been a shinobi. At first he had thought that perhaps this was because the ninja knew his parents and had asked the ninja quite excitedly one day, the ninja had looked so sad for a moment as he had said that he did not. This was an example of the odd extremes he got to certain questions, some screamed at him that his parents had hated him and abandoned him, others just looked blankly at him, many just looked sad.
It was the last time he asked about his parents. He was five.
A less noticeable oddity about Uzumaki Naruto was that he disliked crowds and he really, really disliked being touched. He did not panic in a crowd, but avoided them if it was at all possible, similarly he had had few good experiences with physical contact when he was young and so evaded it where he could.
He had been mobbed three times in his life, all very painful and memorable experiences. He remembered once when he was nine, a nurse trying to hug him after one of his frequent 'accidents' in which a civilian 'slipped' while holding a knife and cut him quite deeply, he had jolted so severely he had almost fallen off the examination table. The nurse had almost been in tears for some reason when he looked up at her.
So he just sat in the back of the classroom, silently in his dark clothes and watched and learned and tried to understand the odd reactions that those around him seemed to have only towards him.
Uzumaki Naruto would always remember the night of his graduation as the worst in his life. The test itself had been easy, while he had not been rookie of the year, one of his protectors Uchiha Sasuke had been, he had graduated second and not begrudged the Uchiha his title. He knew the dark haired boy had worked hard and trained almost incessantly, having frequently come across him in his wanderings around Konoha.
No, what had made that day so foul had been the revelations that had occurred later in the day.
He had decided to relax and not train at all today as a reward to himself for graduating near the top of the class and finally completing his first c-rank jutsu yesterday. So, after many a celebratory bowl of ramen in Ichiraku's he had just wandered casually around the outskirts of Konoha, through the less well-used training grounds.
His relaxing walk had been disturbed by one of his now-former academy sensei's Mizuki, who had made the revelations that completely turned his life upside-down.
He rubbed his stomach as he thought over the conversation and revelations that had ruined any chance he had had of having a normal life.
"Oi Naruto, come here a minute will you? I have something for you," the silver haired teacher had asked, with an odd almost twisted smile on his face.
Naruto had grown quite adept at reading a situation, and the way his sensei was acting had set alarm bells ringing inside his head. He had approached the chunin warily, and had stopped out of immediate arms reach of the man.
Mizuki had noticed the distance between them but raised an eyebrow. "I have no intention of hurting you, I am actually here to help you."
He chuckled at Naruto's look of faint disbelief
"Tut, tut. So young and already so jaded. I have a gift for you, something that I'm sure you've been longing for, for quite some time. In this file are answers, answers to questions I'm sure have been bugging you. I'm going to give you this file and let you read it. When you have finished I shall return with an offer for you, I would consider the offer. It is a generous one."
With that the chunin reached inside his flak jacket and slowly pulled out a thick file. He carefully set it on the ground in front of the tense genin and then disappeared in a whirl of leaves.
Naruto opened the file to see a picture of himself attached to the first page and underneath the name Namikaze Naruto. In confusion he had looked around him, wondering what was going on but then he had read the first page, and his heart dropped like a stone.
It was his birth certificate, Namikaze Naruto, son of Namikaze Minato and Namikaze (nee Uzumaki) Kushina. Feeling sick he had sat down. He had parents? Why had they abandoned him?
He had not understood the next line, Namikaze Naruto; jinchuuriki of the Kyuubi no Kitsune. What was a jinchuuriki? How was he connected to the nine tailed fox? Unfortunately the file had explained, it had even had a rough outline of what he had thought was some sort of odd clan mark on his stomach, but was apparently a seal.
He had feverishly flicked through the rest of his surprisingly thick file, every hospital visit he could remember was in this, even some could not. Every aspect of his life was in this file, from his favourite food to his favourite colour to his average percent accuracy throwing kunai. The file fell from numb fingers and papers spread everywhere, Naruto guessed he would have collapsed had he not already been sitting down.
Mizuki returned to this depressing scene.
"Well, Naruto, I hope this has been an enlightening experience?"
"What do you want? What do you gain by telling me this?"
"He talks! For a while there I was worried you were mute!" Mizuki exclaims sarcastically.
At Naruto's weak glare he returned to the original trail of the conversation.
"Me? I want nothing. My master on the other hand has an offer. As I have already said, it is a generous offer. " A slightly sour look overtook Mizuki's face
"My master is offering you a position in his ninja village, a village that has not cursed, shunned or abandoned you. You would be personally trained by my master, and given a position of great power."
There was a long pause where Mizuki seemed to be waiting for Naruto to speak, seeing as no questions were forth-coming he continued.
"My master is Orochimaru the snake Sannin, strongest of the legendary three and kage of the village hidden in the sound."
Again he paused as if waiting for Naruto to speak.
"I see you have a lot to consider. There is no time limit on this offer. You may come to me anytime with your answer or with further questions. "
The ninja left as silently as he came, leaving the devastated blond amidst a sea of papers.
It seemed only minutes later, but was in all probability a few hours later his brooding was interrupted by the appearance of an anbu wearing a horse mask. The black clad ninja had paused for a moment to observe the silent boy, and then gave an almost unprovable start as they read what was on some of the sheets scattered around the clearing.
The anbu swiftly gathered up all the papers, and placing a hand on the small blond's shoulder brought them to the Hokage building leaving only a few scattered leaved behind.
They were greeted by an atmosphere of suppressed excitement, and many of the shinobi looked eagerly at the blond as they passed.
Naruto had never been to the Hokage tower before, but everything seemed to almost whirl around him as the anbu hurried them up floor after floor.
Finally they reached the top floor, and the shell –shocked blond was gently guided into a seat outside of an impressive set of doors. Doors through which the masked shinobi hurriedly entered after a brief knock, the file clutched tightly in their hand. He was left alone but for a middle-aged woman, obviously a secretary, who was scrutinising him with great intensity and a soft smile on her face.
He just couldn't get his mind around all that he had learned today, it hurt. It hurt like nothing he had ever experienced before. He had a family, one which had not only thrown him away, but had also cursed him with a demon. Kami it felt like a kunai through his heart and he clutched his chest, trying to alleviate the pain even a little.
His thoughts were interrupted by the door opening again and the horse masked anbu gesturing him inside. His eyes were immediately drawn to the couple standing behind the desk at the far end of the spacious office.
How could he have not realised he was related to this man? It was almost like looking at himself in twenty years time, aside from the whisker marks. The man, no -the Hokage. He corrected himself was serious as he gestured the genin to a seat in front of the large mahogany desk.
"Hokage-sama," he murmured with a bow, not noticing the flash of pain in the older man's eyes.
"Naruto, please sit. I'm sure you have some questions, but first if I may ask a few."
He nodded in reply, struggling to keep his face emotionless and kept his face bowed respectfully.
"This file, your file, I presume you read it all?"
"Hai, Hokage-sama" was the quiet reply
"Where did you get it? Who gave it to you?"
Disbelief flooded Naruto. This man, his father, the man who had thrown him away like yesterdays trash wanted to know where he had gotten a damn file. He didn't care about Naruto. Not in the slightest. He felt his hopes trickle away. They had gotten rid of him. Why had he thought they would care now? Bitterness flooded him and he cursed himself for a fool. A fool for hoping that maybe he would one day have someone who would care for him, to ask him how his day went. He had thought that perhaps his parents would be those people, but clearly he was wrong. He closed his eyes briefly, fighting back tears.
The blond gestured at a figure in the shadows who disappeared.
"Did he say why he gave it to you?"
The blond paused,"No Hokage-sama."
"Do you...do you have any questions Naruto?" The red haired woman standing beside the hokage asked.
"No Kunoichi-sama. I have none," Naruto answers.
The two exchanged concerned and nervous looks.
"I am Namikaze Kushina, your mother. I..." Kushina announces hesitantly.
She glanced at her husband beseechingly
"Naruto please look at me."
The genin obediently raised his head but kept his gaze slightly to the left of the hokage.
"As you already know I am you father, Namikaze Minato, but you may call me Otou-san and your mother Okaa-san. We have much to explain, and really we would have preferred you had not found out this way about us or the kyuubi this way. We always intended to tell you when you became a genin."
The young blond bowed his assent.
"As you know the Kyuubi no Kitsune attacked Konoha twelve years ago, and you now know that it wasn't killed, that it was sealed inside you. What you may or may not know is that the kyuubi is basically a force of nature. It cannot be killed and the only way to stop it is to seal it.
The only thing powerful enough to seal it within is a human and the only human strong enough to survive the sealing is a new born child. There were other children I could have chosen from, but I chose you. I knew I could trust you to be strong enough to deal with the kyuubi mentally if it became an issue, and I knew I could not ask anyone else to make a sacrifice I was not willing to make."
He paused to observe his son's reaction, and as Naruto's head was again bowed subserviently, he did not notice the worry in his father's eyes at his tense but deferential body language.
"As the Hokage, it is my duty to protect the people of Konoha and I knew you would have made the choice if you were able."
Naruto's muscles tensed only the slightest bit more.
"Unfortunately as a result of the kyuubi attack our shinobi forces were severely diminished. They still had not recovered from the previous war and this left us in a very vulnerable position, you in particular."
The Hokage sighed heavily.
"A shinobi obtains many enemies over time, a Hokage even more. Due to my actions in the war against Iwa, I am hated beyond measure in that country. They would try anything, and I mean anything, to hurt me or to weaken Konoha in a desperate bid for revenge. Going after the family of a shinobi for revenge is not an uncommon tactic, but I fear the lengths to which the Iwa nins would go. Kushina was greatly weakened in the aftermath of your birth and would have been unable to protect you. She herself was the target of many assassination attempts.
You on the other hand were obviously a far easier target tan a weakened jounin. They would likely have attempted to kidnap you to use against me, or against Konoha as a weapon. . It is likely they would have taken you and raised you to hate Konoha. The fact you are my child along with the power of the kyuubi would have made you an irresistible target, if they could not have abducted you they would have killed you and that was a risk I was not willing to take.
The only method of preventing this would have been an around the clock watch by anbu and we didn't have the man-power at the time. I'm sorry Naruto, I did the best I could," Minato explained in a tired voice.
Rage burned in his veins, hot and terrible, and for one second he had just wanted to rip and tear and make the blond man across from him pay for what he had done. How dare he make these assumptions? How dare he do this to him? What gave him the right to bind his soul to a demon's? He wanted to make him suffer like he had all alone for all those years. No-one there to hug him, to comfort him after the villagers or shinobi hurt him, no-one there to even talk to him or welcome him home. Yes, he did the best he could. The best he could for Konoha. The best he could as the Hokage, not as a father. He would always come second to Konoha, a city that hated him. Perhaps, if the kyuubi ever became dangerous his father would kill him, he knew the Hokage would do it in a heartbeat to save Konoha.
"Naruto, son, don't believe for a second that we don't love you. We do. We always have. You are our child and we want to get to know you. We couldn't before, but now you are a strong shinobi, and it is thirteen years after the war ended, wounds in Iwa are not as deep and people are beginning to forget. It is safer now than ever for you to be announced as the son of the Yondaime, and perhaps, if you want, you can come home. We would love you to, we have missed you so much. " Kushina hurriedly exclaimed.
Distantly Naruto thought it likely that they did love him, but not enough.
He looked down at his clenched fists, and noticed faint tendrils of red chakra twisting in wisps around them, suddenly he felt cold.
The air seemed to turn frigid as he stood up from his chair and bowed to the couple in front of him.
"I'm afraid you are mistaken Hokage-sama, Namikaze-sama. I am Uzumaki Naruto, an orphan of Konoha."
The quiet click of the door as he closed it behind him was deafening.
A/N: Will Naruto go to Orochimaru? Will he remain loyal to Konoha? It's up to you. Hope you liked the story. S