Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto. Kishimoto Masashi does.

The Outcast Hokage

The Yondaime stood staring at the body of his recently deceased wife. How had this happened? People didn't still die in childbirth in this day and age did they? Especially not in the middle of one of the finest hospitals in the world. Wrenching himself away from the sight, he knew he didn't have time to mourn.

The Kyuubi was attacking. Now he needed to grab his newly born son, Naruto, and then ... then what? Could he really seal the beast in his own son, leave him to grow up, not only an orphan, but saddled with the burden of a jinchuriki?

Looking at his son he was in awe of the tiny life. He idly noticed the boy already had a full head of hair the same color as his own. He held Naruto and tried to calm his wailing. The infant had no way of comprehending the tragedy that had already befallen him that day, or the fact that his fate was now in the same hands that held him.

No, he couldn't do it. Maybe if Kushina had survived, he would have trusted her to look out for Naruto. But he just couldn't bring himself to do this to his newly born son right now. There had to be some other way. Decision made he handed the boy to a doctor with orders to take care of him and made his way to confront the demon.

Summoning Gamabunta, they made their way to the battlefield as quickly as they could. He was dismayed to see the current state of the defenders. So many of them had already fallen. He heard a cheer go up, signifying he had been spotted by the remaining ninja. The morale seemed to improve dramatically just from him being present. He hoped he could live up to their expectations.

He knew that without sealing the Kyuubi, there was no way he could defeat the biju, but if he could just lead it away from the village, perhaps he could still save it. Setting his plan in motion he and Gamabunta began to attack the Kyuubi with everything they had.

They managed to put on the quite the light show of fire, lightning, explosions, and general destruction. He was the Hokage after all. Not that it seemed to do much good, as any damage was healed almost instantly. Still he achieved his first goal as the beast turned its focus on him.

Charging him, the demon slashed at the two of them with one of his claws, but both he and Gamabunta were easily able to avoid the attack, separating from each other as they leapt in opposite directions. This wasn't so bad. It seemed maybe Kyuubi was all power and no speed. If that were true, dodging all day would be no trouble for the Yellow Flash.

It didn't take Minato long to realize he was underestimating the Kyuubi. While he was still in mid leap from dodging the first attack he saw one of Kyuubi's tails approaching him at a speed so fast that he had barely registered it before it impacted.

It was said that a swipe of one of Kyuubi's tails could level mountains and Minato was inclined to believe that. He didn't think anything had ever hit him that hard before. The new record wouldn't last long, unfortunately, as the ground decided it wouldn't be outdone. The impact left a very impressive crater.

Minato was one of the strongest ninja in the world. He had trained his body beyond what many would have thought possible. Because of this, he was actually able to remain conscious for a few moments after he landed before blacking out.

******

Minato sighed. It had been a few weeks since the Kyuubi attacked. None of the defenders being able to stop him, he had made his way to the city and almost completely obliterated it. Then, it left to who knows where. Probably because it couldn't find anything left to destroy.

Thankfully most of the villagers had already been evacuated, so civilian casualties had been light. But they'd lost many good ninja, including his last surviving student, Kakashi. He wondered how many of them would have survived if he'd gone through with his original plan. But he knew that line of thought wouldn't be any more productive than the hundreds of other times he'd agonized over it since the fight.

It was hard not to think about it today, though, as it was his last day in office. Somehow, word had gotten out the Minato had a suicide jutsu that could have stopped the Kyuubi. He didn't know how they knew as much as they did, but the general populace was now convinced he'd been too afraid to give up his life and use the technique.

Almost immediately, calls had been made to remove the 'coward' from office. He'd resisted initially, wanting to oversee the rebuilding of Konoha. But eventually it became clear that he was going to be replaced whether he liked it or not. That and the fact that he wasn't sure they were wrong led him to resign. Today the reigns of power were going back to his predecessor, the Sandaime Hokage.

Minato supposed he should look on the bright side. At least he'd be able to spend more time with Naruto. And even better, he was done with the paperwork. He wondered briefly it he should be guilty about being more excited about the paperwork part but then decided he didn't care. Sleepless nights and changing diapers seemed almost a vacation in comparison.

******

7 years later

"Happy Birthday, Naruto." his father told him handing him one of his presents. "I think you'll like this one best."

Tearing into the package Naruto excitedly discovered it contained a set of training Kunai. "Wow! Thanks dad." Naruto replied enthusiastically.

"I figured that with you starting the academy next year, you're old enough now to start training." his father said.

"Yeah that's great," Naruto said distractedly, his focus on the rest of his presents, "but what else did you get me?"

His father was right though, the first present was the best. The rest was just clothes and a board game of some type. It didn't matter much though, the first present was cool enough it even made up for the lame clothes. His father hadn't even gotten him that neat orange jumpsuit he'd pointed out in the store. All these clothes had boring colors like blue or black.

Still, he couldn't wait to show off his kunai set to his friends. "Can't I have my party today?" he pleaded with his father, giving the best puppy dog eyes he could.

Usually that worked, but this time his father found the will to resist from somewhere. "I'm sorry, Naruto," he told him, "but we already told your friends your party would be on Saturday. I have things to do today. Speaking of which, I need be going. You can go to one of your friend's houses if you'd like, just leave me a note telling me where you'll be."

And with that his father was out the door. Naruto tried to throw one his new training Kunai at the door his father had just left to show what he thought about that answer. But apparently it was poorly designed or something as it fell well short of its target and skidded across the floor.

"No throwing your Kunai in the house." his Father yelled from the other side of the door to Naruto's chagrin.

No doubt his father was off to drink. He did that way too much and Naruto seemed to recall he always got really wasted on his birthday for some reason.

He knew a lot of people really hated his father and wondered if that was the reason. They always called him a coward though, and that was just silly. His dad was a former Hokage and a war hero. You didn't get to be either of those things if you were a coward.

He might not be the best father in the world, but there was no denying he was a great ninja and Naruto wanted to be just as good of a ninja as he was. Without the drinking though.

Now to go outside and find stuff to throw his kunai at. Maybe he'd be lucky and spot Tora, the stupid cat that belonged to the Fire Daimyo's wife. He'd teach that cat not to scratch someone just for trying to pet it.

******

"Really Minato, a bar fight? Have you sunk so low?" the man asked him. Said man was an Uchiha, who Minato's alcohol addled mind informed him he should know but refused to supply a name for.

"You shoulda heard what they was saying." Minato drawled out in reply. "They deserved more than they gots from me."

"And what horrible thing did they say that incur your righteous judgment?" the Uchiha asked.

Minato paused to consider that. "I don' remember." he finally said. "But I know he shouldn' a said it."

"Well, it looks like you'll be sleeping in an Uchiha cell again tonight. Maybe this time you'll actually learn something from the experience." The man said.

That didn't sound so bad to Minato at this point. He somehow managed to make his way there, albeit with more than a little help from the man beside him and a stop to vomit along the way. Once behind bars in his cell he quickly fell asleep.

******

Minato awoke to the familiar torture that was a hangover. Forcing his eyes open he tried to figure out where he had ended up. It appeared he was in an Uchiha jail cell again. Certainly not his first choice but far from the worst place he'd woken up after a night of drinking.

He supposed he should see about getting out of here. "Guard." he called out after making his way to his feet. "Hey Guard." he called out a little more forcefully. A bit too forcefully he thought as his head protested the action.

Finally processing the state of the room he realized why there was no response. There were two Uchiha guards in the room, but both of them were lying in pools of their own blood.

His training taking over, he was able to ignore the effects from last night and immediately come to full alertness. He began to yell out loudly for anyone who might be in range of his voice.

It wasn't long before a young boy about his son's age entered, apparently drawn by his voice. Sasuke he believed his name was.

"Hey kid," he called out, go get an adult quick. It's important." Rather than leaving the boy was just standing there staring at him for some reason. It appeared he was in shock.

"He killed them. All of them. They're all dead." Sasuke said.

He killed all of them? Minato didn't know who this 'he' was, but it appeared this was bigger than just a couple of guards dying. He needed to get out of this cell and figure out was going on. At that moment, he saw a masked man running through the door weapon kunai held in front of him. It appeared he was aiming to kill the boy standing in front of him.

The cell, however, was never made to hold a ninja of his caliber and hardly slowed him at all as he burst out of his cell and sent the would be attacker into unconsciousness with a single swift blow.

Looking at the man more closely he was wearing some sort of a dark featureless mask that wasn't any type he recognized. Removing it he was shocked to recognize the face underneath. That was a Konoha nin, a member of root if he recalled correctly. This situation just kept getting worse and worse.

"I'm going to take you someplace safe and then I'm going to figure out what's going on." he told Sasuke. The boy was just staring vacantly and didn't seem inclined to say anything else, so he scooped him up and made his way out. Something was rotten here and he wasn't going to rest until he knew what.

******

"I know what happened." Minato told the Sandaime. The two were alone at the moment and Minato was glaring at the man sitting behind his desk.

"I'm afraid I don't know what you're talking about." he replied.

"Don't play dumb with me!" Minato yelled slamming his hands down on the desk. "I know you're behind the massacre of the Uchihas. I may have been out of office for a while but I still have my contacts."

The older man sighed. "It was an unfortunate event." he said slowly acting as if the whole thing pained him, but Minato wasn't buying it. "The clan was no longer loyal to Konoha and we had to strike first."

"Don't give me that." Minato growled out. "I read the report. There were grumblings of discontent as to how their clan had been treated that had become a common subject of discussion recently. Maybe in a year it would have turned into something more, but that's all it was at the time."

Minato was glad to see he finally seemed to be getting under the man's skin. "Would you prefer I waited until they'd actually acted?" he retorted. "What if their first move was my assassination? What would I do about it then?"

Minato decided to press forward with his verbal assault while he had the advantage. "And how convenient for you that you had such a loyal dog like Itachi lying around to do the dirty work and take the blame. So very gracious of you how you kill him as soon as he'd finished. And as an extra bonus you try to finish off the one person he'd refused to kill for you."

Minato was almost starting to enjoy how easily he was riling up his predecessor. Or was that successor now?

"It would be unwise to leave survivors who would have a motive for revenge if they ever discovered what happened." the Hokage spat out. "Unlike you I do what needs to be done."

Minato deflated at that. How dare he bring that up? This was different, wasn't it? Minato knew their argument had shifted and he had to try to salvage something from this.

"I won't let you kill Sasuke." he said stubbornly. "If you do I'll expose your part in this to the whole village."

"Very well." the Sandaime said. "I just hope this turns out better for the village than your last act of kindness."

Minato certainly hoped it would too.

******

AN

There. First chapter of my second fanfiction. I've got this story planned out for quite a ways, and it should be longer than my last one.

Minato was the star of this chapter, but while he will remain a major character in this story, Naruto will be getting much more time in future chapters.

It's my portrayal of Sarutobi I expect to raise the most eyebrows, however. I don't feel I'm making him too OOC. This was more how I picture his reaction to the events of the Kyuubi's attack. He saw the result of Minato trying to find a better solution than the one he had and ending up with a situation that was worse.

Now he simply doesn't want to make the same mistake as Minato. So he's a little less inclined to let kindness affect his judgment and a little more inclined to listen to Danzo's advice.

This lead to ordering the attack on the Uchiha's earlier than in canon and trying to be a bit more thorough in wiping them out.

I've got a lot planned for this plot, and hopefully have a few surprises in store for the readers. I don't know if my writing skill is up to the level of doing justice to the story I have planned but I'll do my best.

Please review with any advice or criticism you have on that front. Really please do. I like even harsh criticism as it lets me know where I can improve.