Title: A Dream Born of Nightmares
Characters: Uzumaki Naruto/Namikaze Minato
Summary: Deep asleep, Naruto dreams of a never ending battle. A battle raging in his mind between a blond man and a terrifying Fox of gargantuan proportions.
Disclaimer: I do not own or make profit from Naruto or this fanfiction in any way.
No one knows quite where Naruto's dream to be Hokage originated from. Some would guess it stem from his desire to be recognized. While this answer seems to make sense, it is absolutely wrong. Even when he was too young to really 'see' the villagers glare at him, or to understand the deference the Leaf natives, nin and villager alike, showed their leader, Naruto knew he wanted to be Hokage.
It didn't come from his desire to be the greatest ninja, or replicate a jutsu, or hide from those still bitter from the Kyuubi attack.
Naruto's dream to be Hokage was born out of something much more terrifying, much more primal: his nightmares.
The seal to contain the Kyuubi was painted on a newborn boy with blood and tears of Konoha's greatest leader. There is much power to be found in the art of sealing, but even the most ancient of shinobi arts could not fully contain the Kyuubi's influence.
In recorded history, since the Cataclysm, the Nine-tails had never been successfully contained. The other eight bijuu had been subdued periodically, albeit with significant difficulty, it was known to be possible. Every attempt to subdue the Kyuubi, and to create the most powerful Jinchuuriki, ended with unmitigated failure and nearly always death.
What the Yondiame Hokage accomplished, in defense of his village with friends and subordinates alike dead all around him, was considered by the greatest minds of his day to be impossible.
Even with an ancient seal developed centuries ago by the original Seal Masters, shadowy men who knew how to rewrite the laws of the world using their own blood as ink, the sealing would fail. Men, who were no longer recognized by history as being men at all, but were reborn as legends. Their ancient and most esteemed art was not enough; the Kyuubi would not be contained.
Yondaime Hokage, an unparalleled genius and ninjutsu creator, desperate the save everything he loved, modified the seal as never seen before. A seal, fueled to by the self-sacrifice of the most powerful ninja alive. Shiki Fuujin was born. The Kyuubi still fought.
A seal, a cell, a prison that the Kyuubi was forced into by a Shinigami, a being whose nature mortals could not even begin to comprehend.
It took all of this power to contain the Kyuubi. However, to subdue such indomitable power, took more than sacrifice, genius and sealing. It took time.
Unknown to any living soul, every night Uzumaki Naruto slept for the first five years of his life, he had the same dream. Ever night he slept, a war raged in his dreams. When sleep took him, Naruto was transported to a surreal land, ravaged by unceasing conflict between two combatants. A lifeless world of barren earth pocketed in craters.
A man stands alone in front of an impossibly large fox, a lurid orange sky shifts and flickers unnaturally above. An unnatural wind whips at the man's coat, his blond hair ever shifting against the gales.
A village lays half a dozen miles in front of the fox, with only the man between them, defenseless but for that one man. The village might have mattered once, in another time, another place, but the fox only has eyes for the man now.
It was the man who forced him into this mindscape, this world of dreams. A world the Kyuubi found itself unable to escape from a long as the man remains. The demon's chakra brought it much power here, but in this ever shifting and unnatural mindscape, willpower proved to be the greater boon.
At first, the dreams began with a mocking laughter that seemed to come from everywhere at once. The beast did not speak with words, exactly, but managed to convey its intent none the less.
HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! So you still resist mortal? I cannot be contained. I am the *HOWLING WIND*! I am the *TSUNAMI*! I am the *EARTHQUAKE*! I AM *NATURE*! I WILL NOT BE RESISTED AND I CANNOT BE CONTAINED!
The man doesn't reply, he never does. His eyes are less giving than steel and his only response is with the delicate raising of his hand, palm up, from his side. Looking at the beast, its tails whipping around it in a combination of anger and amusement, the man smiles. From his palm a beautiful blue ball of swirling wind and light forms and the man suddenly breaks into a dash, a charge, at the personified forced of nature.
So be it Shinobi, a sigh seemed to accompany the words. It was so much more than that though. The world around them seemed to sigh, conveying a sense of aspiration. We will fight again this night. You are mortal and will tire. I am *TIMELESS*, For a brief second Naruto and the man saw time as the beast did, an ever marching endless stream, on which they were but specks, and will never know *DEFEAT*.
Each night, they wage war in Naruto's dreams. Though too young to understand the nature of the conflict, Naruto is returned each night to the desolate land to act as a witness to their fight.
Nights pass, years pass. The once empty landscape changes slowly. Where once there was only vast openness, bars have formed. Slowly, very slowly a cage is being born.
The demon's taunts never cease, in a world where the greatest currency was willpower, words were the most dangerous tool. But night after night the blond man returned, willing to continue the never ending battle, unshakable in his commitment in opposing the fox.
The last night Naruto ever experiences this dream is the week before he is enter the Ninja academy, exactly the day he turns five.
Everything has changed. The once barren land is gone, replaced by a menacing cage. The man and the fox are surrounded on three sides by thick bars, impenetrable bars, impossibly strong. The sickly, shifting orange sky and dry, lifeless dirt have been replaced with cold, strength sapping steel.
The village that once stood at the man's back has slowly faded. Gone was carved mountain of stoic faces and gently sloping tile roofs, to be replaced by the only exit to the budding cage.
The fox speaks first and its 'words' convey admiration wrapped in bitter resignation and tinged with rage. These feelings are faint shadows in the face of its kitsuse curiosity.
Tell me your *NAME*, mortal. Tell me your *NAME* so it is never lost. Few have attempted to *RESIST* me. *NONE* have succeeded before you.
TELL ME YOUR *NAME* AND KNOW YOUR *MEMORY* SHALL LIVE FOREVER WITH ME.
For the first time since the dreams began the man speaks. With a laugh the man proclaimed, "I am the Yondiame Hokage! Master of Toads! I am Konoha's Yellow Flash." There is a smile on the man's face that Naruto has never seen before. He is shouting to the sky, answering the Kyuubi, but most importantly speaking to Naruto himself, as never before.
"I am the Terror of Iwa! I am the man who crushed Hanzō in his swamp and brought the Shinobi world to its knees!"
With a roar he proclaimed, "I am Namikaze Minato and I WILL protect my precious people! You never stood a chance! BELIEVE IT!"
"I will make you sorry you came to Konoha Beast," he shouted.
The beast charges and they fight, but the tone of the combat is different. Naruto is riveted watching their never ending battle of wills. He is still watching as the gate to the cage swings closed, trapping them together inside.
He watched as a seal slowly appears, binding the gate closed tighter than any lock and chain. All that Naruto can see is the beast's massive red eyes. The man is lost to him.
But the last image of the blond man remains. Standing strong in front of the great beast shouting to the heavens, "I am the Hokage! I WILL PROTECT ALL OF MY PEOPLE!"
Naruto is taken from outside the cage. That night, he sleeps peacefully and without dreams for the first time in his life.
Years would pass, and the memories of blond Hokage would fade. But the man's insurmountable passions and unshakeable determination were forever ingrained deeply into Naruto's mind.
A dream was born.