Naruto belongs to Kishimoto and Shounen Jump.
The Struggle of the Uzumaki Clan
Chapter 1: Clans
His dreams were fuzzy and filled with shapes that made no sense. Slowly he could make out trees and bright greenery. It took him a minute to reason he was awake. The light of the day entered through the flaps of the tent. Summer warmth bathed his face. It still felt like a dream. Then another thought came to his mind; this one having to deal with reality. He groaned realizing he had to get up or he would not get any breakfast.
He took his blanket and wrapped it around his shoulders before leaving the warmth. He skirted other tents before reaching the center of the camp. People moved fast not giving him a second glance or thought. They got their portion, ate and then started packing.
The young boy got on line before receiving a warm bowl of ramen. There was almost no meat in it, and that was because he was late. He sat on a log around one of the fires. Almost no one talked though they were usually chatty but the news from a week ago still had them in shock. For him, someone so young it did not mean much. To him it was just another place they would move to, and maybe, though not surely this time they would have to stay.
"Naruto, come here" he heard someone call him and he responded after placing his bowl in the pile to wash.
"Yes Granny?" he asked to the elderly woman. Her light blue eyes smiled at him as she patted a place between herself and her husband.
"Your grandfather and I need to talk to you," she said in a calm tone. The boy nodded and joined. Secretly enjoying the warmth of been between them.
"Naruto-kun" said his grandfather ruffling his wild morning hair "today we will be moving back to Konoha. You know what that means?"
"Yes" Naruto was not impressed by the idea. To him it would be another boring city. Since he could remember they never stayed in one place for long. He didn't see how this so called Konoha could be any different.
"Naruto" his grandmother had a more serious tone though she had was busy grooming his hair with a hairbrush she always had ready for him "Konoha is one of the largest cities, and listen to me; many things will change for our clan once there"
"What do you mean?" asked Naruto. He didn't like change. Like the time his favorite shoes were too small and they had to get him new ones.
"As you know" but he really didn't remember "we left that city at the beginning of the war because some people of our clan were targeted and because of the dangers we all ran" said his grandfather making sure to keep a hand on Naruto's shoulder. He didn't want him to feel afraid. After all, the boy was only five years old.
"We have been planning for the best way to keep our clan safe through these hard times. We have been successful until now, but Konoha is still our ancestral home and we must return to help them" his grandmother said in a unhappy tone. Naruto agreed with her . Why did they have to help them if they were a danger to his family?
"The Uzumaki clan will disperse around Konoha and each family of the clan will severe their links for sometime" His grandfather said tightening his hold on Naruto knowing what was coming.
"What! But why!" he tried to stand up but his grandfather kept him down. However, his shout could not be held back.
"That way it will be harder for the enemy to know who is an Uzumaki," said his grandmother smoothing the spiked hairs that broke on his mane.
"But..." he could feel tears accumulate. It wasn't fair!
"I understand your fear, but you can't be protected by the clan forever" his grandfather let go of him and at once Naruto pulled all of his tears back. His grandfather rarely lost his smile.
"What's the point to me, I don't have the right blood," said Naruto not being able to hold back a pout "I don't know anyone in Konoha, and we are a clan, why can't we be together?"
Both grandparents looked at each other before they smiled. They loved their grandson and they wanted him to feel at home in Konoha but most of all with a purpose. Seeing his worry over the clan confirmed that he was the right one for what they believed was his destiny since he came to their care.
"We have a mission for you Naruto," said his grandmother and Naruto looked at them shocked. He was too young to have missions! But that didn't matter because he didn't want to let them down.
"We won't stop being a clan, even though we will keep away from each other," said his grandfather and soon they caught the attention off those around them.
"We are going to need a representative, one that keeps the clan safe and makes us proud though he doesn't have our kekke kenkai, he still is an Uzumaki" his grandmother made sure her eyes and his were connected, they were the same blue, only age differenced them.
"You mean me?" he asked standing and he could feel eyes watching carefully.
"Hai" said his grandfather "you are still young but the current representative wants to retire in a few years and the position will fall to you" his grandfather stood up.
"It's your duty to become a strong shinobi," said his grandmother "to help lead us"
"But you are the leaders" said Naruto
"Naruto" said his grandmother standing with tired bones "we are old, and since you are our only grandchild we need you to preserve our ideals for the clan. Other leaders may be chosen after our retirement but it is you who will make the Uzumaki voice be heard"
"I will do my best!" Naruto shouted and the rest of the clan stood still, listening "I will become the best representative this clan ever had!"
The children looked at each other wondering what he meant. The adults smiled and it was because of his bright smile in that morning that the path towards Konoha did not feel so heavy. So what if they would barely see each other, they were still in total a large family, called a clan.
Naruto watched every family that made up his clan take a different path to Konoha. He was left only with his grandparents and Kiki who assisted them. He was nervous and kept having to run to catch up with them. Kiki played some games with him but most of the time they just followed. He wondered how the old couple could still walk so much. They stopped and Naruto guessed they had finally tired.
"We are a kilometer away," said his grandfather looking at a sign. "He should be here soon" he and his wife sat on large rock on the side of the road.
An hour passed by and then two, Naruto yawned as he played with some rocks.
"Damn you Kakashi, you got me late and now they will have my head" they heard someone coming down the path. Annoyed shouts and some mumbling between two men.
"Well you see, there was this hospital on fire and..."
"Just save it"
The two men arrived to their point. Naruto looked at them suspiciously. He had rarely met people who wasn't part of his clan.
"Almost all are in the village by now," said the largest of the man handing a notepad. He had long white, wild, spiky hair and an odd headband. He wore large black shinobi pants, a heavy looking dark red jacket and a large scroll on his back. He had a funny mole on his nose and red lines going down his eyes.
"Kiki is here with us, so there is no need to worry," said Naruto's grandfather taking the paper alone and burning it with a snap. The other man didn't seem disappointed to see his work gone so fast.
"Alright then, let's go," said the tall man.
"Jiraiya let us talk here first. You never know who can be listening within Konoha," said Naruto's grandmother not moving from the rock.
"I see," said the tall man looking at Naruto
"This is Naruto; I hope you remember him though he was only a baby when you met him. He will be the next representing the clan once you have trained him correctly and thoroughly" said his grandfather using a serious tone.
"You don't look like an Uzumaki to me," said Naruto to Jiraiya snobbishly.
"So what brat? It is easier to keep my profile down like that. You in the other hand, we should just tattoo Uzumaki on your forehead along with a bull's-eye" said Jiraiya before a fist connected with his skull.
"I recommend you to save such comments to yourself ," said Naruto's grandmother "remember that he is our grandson"
"Right, right" said Jiraiya rubbing his head 'though you didn't raise Minato to be such a brat'
"From now on we will take on our family surname 'Namikaze' and we are not to use the Uzumaki clan name, not even alone. Konoha is filled with spies from the Hokage and other clans. Some might actually be traitors or infiltrated enemies, so we have to be careful," said his grandmother mostly for Naruto and Kiki who had left the city quite young.
"You will train Naruto after he is done with his academy, and you will do it as a favor to us," said his grandfather to Jiraiya.
"I understand," said Jiraiya. It wasn't a favor. He had no choice. He wondered if they would they also command the boy in such way when his time came.
"So what about him?" Naruto said pointing at the man that came along with Jiraiya
"Oh Kakashi, sorry we didn't include you" said Naruto's grandfather truly embarrassed.
"Is alright" said the man reading a book. His hair was white and spiked like badly packed hay. He wore black pants, and a green vest. His face was covered with up to the bridge of his nose with a black mask and his left eye with a tilted headband.
"Naruto, this is Kakashi, he is an ally to our clan and helps to keep an eye out for us" at those words Naruto's grandfather burst out in a laugh.
"You are really getting old Shin," said Jiraiya though Naruto's grandfather was only two years older than him.
"Oh I get it!" said Naruto looking at Kakashi's covered eye. He started to laugh just like his grandfather.
'I hope this means something good' thought Jiraiya, Kakashi, and Naruto's grandmother Michi. Kiki just shook her head with a smile.
When they went through the gates, Naruto gasped.
"It's a protection, since this place has grown so much an illusion was placed so that it can't be seen from outside" said Jiraiya
Konoha was huge in every way. He looked up wondering where the buildings ended, or if they touched the clouds.
"We have to meet the Hokage at once," said Jiraiya, "he has been expecting you for the last two hours," this he said giving Kakashi a glare
"We must leave Naruto with someone until the meeting is done," said Shin with a hand on his grandson's shoulder. Half a second later Kakashi had disappeared in a cloud of smoke.
"So much for keeping an eye out for us" said Michi before Naruto and his grandfather snickered "oh, enough you two"
"Take him to the Hyuuga, they will love it" said Jiraiya with a smile
"That might as well do," said Michi "you two go ahead"
Naruto took his grandmother's hand and they walked.
"Hyuuga?" Naruto asked.
"They are friends, at least some people in the clan are. The meeting might last until night time so I don't want you to be too precocious, they get offended"
"Eh?" 'What does that mean?' he wondered and before he could ask his grandmother had pressed a doorbell. Naruto looked around them. There were only long white streets, no doors but the one they stood before.
"Name?" a voice sounded from the intercom.
"Michi Namikaze, I am here to see Hizashi Hyuuga"
There was a long pause "One minute" but it was more like five before a man with white eyes opened the door
"MICHI-sama!" cried the man before embracing her and lifting her off the floor.
"Hizashi-kun! Please put me down" she cried before he did.
"But...but what are you doing here?" asked Hizashi before he caught sight of Naruto. His face became serious.
"I have a meeting and I can't take my grandson with me for that, could you please look after him?"
"I will be honored," said Hizashi
"Naruto" she said to him "behave, alright?"
Naruto nodded before she left. He wanted to stay there until she was out of sight but Hizashi led him in. There were several houses and a little far he could see one larger than the others.
"Follow Me," said Hizashi in a neutral voice. They walked to the largest house. It was old style and well kept. They moved through many halls, most of them empty and when there was someone, that person had the same kind of eyes as Hizashi.
"Glad to see you made it in time, but who is this child Hizashi" in the next turn they met with a talking mirror. Naruto looked back and forth before seeing their clothing was different.
"I apologize Hiashi-sama," said Hizashi "Michi Namikaze came by and asked me to look after her grandson"
"They are back?" Asked Hiashi with a frown before he looked at Naruto "your name?"
"Namikaze Naruto" he said before turning his eyes away from the man.
"I see" then he said to Hizashi "We will allow him inside, but next time ask Michi-sama to call before asking the favor"
"I understand," said Hizashi before they went inside.
It was a dojo and two children stood in the center. As soon as they saw the adults, they stopped chattering. They stood straight in black training uniforms
"Hinata," said Hiashi before the girl approached timidly "this is Namikaze Naruto, grandson of two of the city's counselors. Naruto, this is my daughter Hinata Hyuuga, heir of the Hyuuga clan"
"Is very nice to me...meet you, Namikaze-kun" said Hinata Hyuuga with a bow
Naruto bowed as well, just like his granny taught him "Hinata-sama, nice to meet you"
"Now let's start the training," said Hiashi. Naruto sat next to the boy; he wanted to ask his name. Hizashi sat to his other side. Naruto watched as them, seeing Hinata train with her father.
'She is not half bad' thought Naruto before she fell
"Stand again" said Hiashi and she did. She ran half-heartedly and tried to hit him with an open palm.
"Wow" said Naruto with eyes wide. Hizashi looked at him study the technique of the Hyuuga "I have never seen fighting like that"
"That's the Hyuuga's clan style," said Hizashi
Naruto looked at his hands, he had been taught a little and he had been taught to fight with closed fist, not open palms "it's really odd"
"It's the best fighting technique in the whole world," said the boy next to him.
"You can't know that," said Naruto
"It's the style best suited for us" said Hizashi "One that gives our clan advantage over all other of Konoha, because it balances with our skills and gifts"
"OH I SEE!" Said Naruto a little too loud before Hizashi made him bow to Hiashi "sorry," he said with a smile.
After an hour they were brought some lunch
"It's really cool how you fought," said Naruto to Hinata
"I...I still have a lot to learn" she said not looking at him in the eyes
"Yeah of course" said Naruto before Hinata got a hurt look "but that you are learning is just as great. My grandpa says that even though some people are born with gifts, those who don't have any can grow their own, even though it takes sometime you just have to work really hard"
Hinata turned red like a tomato when she saw his smile.
"Naruto-kun" said Hizashi "how old are you?"
"Hm...five" he said
"Just as Hinata" said Hiashi
"What about you?" Naruto asked to the boy
"Neji is six, one year away from the Academy," said Hizashi.
"You do want to be a ninja, right?" asked Hiashi
"Of course!" said Naruto "I want to be one of the best!"
"That's a little tough; the strongest and the best shinobis this city ever had lived a long time ago" said Hizashi with a smile "though it can't hurt you to try"
Naruto gave his large smile "I know, that's what my granny says"
"What about your parents?" asked Neji tired of hearing about his grandparents "what do they say?"
"Neji" Hizashi knew it was too late
"I don't know," said Naruto in a bored manner "my mom died when I was born and my dad a little bit after. So my grandparents are the ones who take care of me"
"I am sorry," said Neji realizing his mistake
"Hey don't worry!" said Naruto patting him on the back "I think granny and grandpa are almost like my parents"
"Hiashi-sama, Hizashi-sempai, there is a man by the name of Shin Namikaze at the gate. He wished to see you," said a young guard after approaching them.
"Let him in" said Hiashi, a few minutes later Naruto's grandfather was there.
"Hiashi-kun, Hizashi-kun I see your children have grown well" said Shin with a gentle smile before Naruto ran to him and hugged him. It was the first time he could remember to be alone with people that wasn't from his clan "I hope my grandson wasn't much trouble"
"He is a curious child," said Hiashi "and that is ok"
"I know, he just wants to know everything" said Shin giving Naruto a nudgy "though I am sure he has asked things and said things he shouldn't have"
"You are not a psychic gramps!" cried Naruto trying to escape his hold
The Hyuuga smiled, some more than others.
"We better get going, I am pretty sure that old house of ours needs a cleaning worth five years of absence" said Shin
"If you wish, I could send some servants to help you," said Hiashi
"No, that's alright, this boy filled with energy will be enough" said Shin
"What!" Naruto cried in protest
Hizashi escorted them out before returning to his brother, he had already dismissed the children.
"He looks just like Minato" said Hiashi "but his character is different"
"In that matter he is more like his mother" said Hizashi
"What he said about gifts, it has me thinking," said Hiashi
"Do you think he didn't inherit his father's kekke kenkai?"
"That can't be known until he is older, but by the way he talks, it feels as if Michi and Shin have taught him to not believe it"
Both brothers wondered why they would do such a thing.