Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto.
A/N: This is the rewrite of Chapter 2 including a more epic sealing of the Kuubi!
There. He could feel it. He was close.
Naruto slowly approached the large crevice ahead of him, sulphuric gasses boiling up from the massive crack in the earth's crust, under lit sinisterly by a furious red glow. Even from this distance he could feel the heat as shown by the perspiration dotting his forehead. He held his staff before him like a dowsing rod, the ancient metal thrumming as it tasted the beast's volatile chakra. Even if he didn't have his old prayer staff he'd be able to tell where the monster was in an instant. He'd been acquainted with its progenitor's repugnant energy long enough to taste the faintest traces on the air, sometimes even days behind the demon.
Although the sheer amount of killing intent this particular demon was giving off helped somewhat at well.
Barely fazed by the oppressive aura he forged on over blackened earth, a minor wind jutsu keeping the poisonous air out of his lungs and instead purifying it for him to breath. His white cloak was grey with soot. Eventually he reached the edge of the crevice and peered over the edge.
In the maps he had read this place was called the Devil's Maw. It was a massive fissure in the earth, many miles long underneath which were dozens of giant superheated caverns filled with blazing magma that bubbled up from the earth's core, the smoke from which would blot out the sun for nearly a kilometre in every direction; a permanent blackout. Places like this were famous for their mineral deposits, geological surveys and whatever else scientists thought was interesting. But there hadn't been any activity here for years. All activity just seemed to stop with no questions asked or answers given. For those who had knowledge about such things however, it was easy to tell that a mighty demonic presence had invaded the area, claiming it as its own.
And it was that mighty demonic presence that at the moment was snoring loud enough to send tremors through the ground.
Naruto shook his head as he listened to the monster's rumbling snores below, in one of the larger magma chambers below him. Leaping over the edge, he nimbly hopped from rock to rock down into the chamber, adding a little more chakra to his jutsu to cool him down. Stabbing his staff into the rock face, he used it to swing himself over a pool of superheated rock to land softly on a single platform jutting from the fires beneath him.
It was then that he got his first glimpse of the legendary Kyuubi no Youko.
He'd never actually seen what forms the nine parts of the Juubi had taken, only heard about them. To be honest, he was a little disappointed. While it did have somewhat oppressive chakra and quite a bit of it too, it had nothing on the monstrosity that was the Juubi. Where the Juubi stood taller than most mountains, the Kyuubi was a good deal smaller, although it was undoubtedly taller than any animal summon you were likely to meet. Reddish-orange fur that glowed in the light of the cavern covered a mass of sinewy muscle from the tip of its large muzzle to the ends of its nine flowing tails. The beast lay in the largest pool of magma like it were a hot spring, its gargantuan head resting on the stone platforms that had yet to crumble into the lava flow. Its black rimmed eyes were scrunched shut as its great body heaved with every snore, its hackles pulling back slightly over razor sharp teeth that would likely render a man with no trouble at all. Naruto stared at the slumbering demon for a moment before a small smirk slid onto his face.
It was time to get to work.
Leaping from the pillar of stone, he scaled the walls of the chamber, pulling a scroll from his robes and bloodying it. From the smoke appeared large sheets of parchment paper each inscribed with a large complex seal array which he slapped to the wall in seemingly random places all over the chamber. He headed out of the cavern and into the long valley-like crevices that spread out from it, targeting the ones that were large enough for the Bijuu to move through and attached even more to the walls there. For almost a mile in each direction he lined the top of the crevice with dozens upon dozens of smaller seal tags, each painstakingly and perfectly spaced and aligned with each other.
Landing on a larger platform of rock, Naruto glanced back at the slumbering demon. It was fortunate that the thing appeared to be a lazy bastard. It had taken almost two hours to set up the seal array so far and it would be another while before he was finally ready.
Setting aside his travel scroll and sword, he stabbed his staff into the ground in the direct centre of the platform before shucking off his shirt, wrapping it in his soot stained cloak to protect it from the blackened smoke and ash that spewed from the magma pits. He scrambled around in his things before extracting from the travel scroll a smaller scroll marked "Trinkets". A swipe of his hand and from the parchment appeared an ornate marble bowl of dark green and black, a ceremonial dagger of the same material inside it.
Taking the dagger he ran it over his palm, slicing the skin open just enough for a steady stream of blood to leak out as he held his hand over the bowl, letting the crimson liquid fall into the hewn marble. He clenched and unclenched his fist to prevent the blood clotting. It took a while but eventually the bowl was full. Holding his hand palm up to prevent any blood from hitting the ground he made a single seal and around his hand appeared a green glow which promptly sealed the wound closed. With his skill and the healing abilities granted to him by the Juubi that made him almost invincible he had never paid much attention to healing jutsu passed the creations stage, only going into an in depth study of the more powerful ones, but small jutsu like this one came in handy when the kids hurt themselves doing the stupid things kids do.
Wiping the knife clean he resealed it before withdrawing from the scroll a very expensive looking calligraphy brush, the handle of which was of the same polished marble as the knife and the bowl, the bristles as fine and as perfect as they had always been. He dipped the brush into the blood and, making sure it didn't dribble, began to carefully draw a series of concentric circles around the staff at measure intervals. Muttering to himself he traced his hand around the circles, seemingly measuring them, then began to paint very small but very fine kanji, making sure that he never stood on the blood at all. His hand in constant motion, he created a seal construct that any aspiring Seal Master would sell their very soul to possess.
It was long, tiring, sweaty, tedious, and precise work and by the end he had one of the worst ever cases of cramp in his wrist but in a short ten hour space of time he had himself one perfect Bijuu capturing seal all marked out on the top of the platform.
He glanced at the demon. About three hours before, he'd tenses when the fox moved but instead of waking up the thing just rolled over, muttering in its sleep. It wouldn't be long now.
Flipping off the sealing platform, he landed on another, slightly wider pillar of stone, giving himself a moment to shake out his legs after crouching for so long. He glanced at the bowl in his hand. The blood had long clotted and now was becoming hard. It would waste unnecessary chakra to try and pull moisture from the air here to clean it so he simply took his dagger and refilled it with blood. He placed it to the side before making a hand seal. Instantly, four identical clones appeared beside him silently, each wielding a calligraphy brush. They got to work.
Dipping their brushes into the fresh blood they began to craft another seal, just as complex as any other he had set up that day, directly onto the flesh of his exposed torso, arms and back. He remained stone still during the entire procedure. The slightest mistake would force them to remove the blood and start over from scratch which was something he had no intention of doing. The small wind jutsu he had kept up may have kept him cool and the air around him clear but the bright orange, red, yellow and white glow of the lava combined with the audio calamity that was the Kyuubi's snores were driving him up the wall.
Closing his eyes he fell into a deep state of meditation. It had taken almost four hours of travelling to reach the Devil's Maw, two hours to place the seal tags around the cavern walls and ten hours to draw the seal on the stone platform and he was beginning to fell the lethargy. He was no stranger to staying up for long hours. Hell, the battle against the Juubi had taken an entire week and stretched across three countries with only a few hours sleep in between each clash. The Kyuubi would be not threat but it was better to go into a fight fully charged when you could. No reason to hinder yourself unnecessarily after all.
It was many hours later when one of his clones tapped him on the shoulder. Slowly, his eyes slid open, squinting a little at the bright light after being closed for so long. With a mental order, the four clones dispersed and he immediately went through the acquired memories they each had of painting the seals on his body, noting with pride that they were perfect. Nary a bit of his skin was left unmarked, covered in thousands of tiny seal kanji running from around his neck to his waistline and the ends of his fingers.
With great care not to smudge the seal array, Naruto stood and collected his bowl, knife, calligraphy brush, gi, hat, cloak, staff and sword and sealed them all into his scroll before grabbing the lot and leaping over to a small group of rocks and stashing them there where they would be out of the way before jumping back over to the main sealing platform.
He took a deep breath, standing resolutely in the very centre of the seal; his feet standing in specially allocated spaces. He rolled his neck and his shoulders, groaning in pleasure as the muscles loosened up. His eyes settled on the behemoth before him as he began.
He made a hand seal. "Gan'yuu."
Suddenly the seal tags that lined the top of the crevice flared to life as a powerful barrier appeared glowing with vibrant purple energy. They would ensure that the demon wasn't going anywhere.
There was an old saying that has been passed down through time, changing slightly with the current trends and beliefs. It usually refers to ferocious animals and how NOT to deal with them. Most people would think of this phrase and say, "Well that's bloody well obvious!". It was too. Just a little common sense was all. However, Naruto wasn't like other people. So in this case the phrase "Never wake a sleeping demon" didn't really apply to him.
Therefore he had absolutely no qualms about hitting a slumbering Kyuubi no Youko in the eye with a rather powerful lightning jutsu.
The Devil's Maw caverns quaked as the mighty beast roared in pain, one bleeding eye clenched shut as it thrashed in the pool of lava, scattering the molten rock into the air. The caverns shook again when the mammoth fox's head connected with the powerful barrier that kept it sealed within the caverns, a sharp yelp squeaking from its muzzle. The demon fell to its side before slowly and cautiously rising to a crouch, one eye glaring up at the barrier in fury.
WHAT!? The monster's gravely voice raged, its one visible bloodshot red eye bulging as it darted about its lair, seeking the one who dared try to attack it. Suddenly it eyes snapped to the single white haired boy standing on a pillar of rock a few hundred meters in front of it. A HUMAN BOY!? IN MY DOMAIN!? YOU DARE ATTACK ME MORTAL!? Its hackled rose as it bared its teeth.
"I would!" Naruto called back, his young but strong voice echoing around the caverns. "I have a duty to uphold and your disposal is part of that duty, demon!"
FOOL! I'LL ENJOY DEVOURING YOUR SOUL FOR THIS INSULT! The demon thundered towards the boy, crouched low to avoid that damnable barrier above its head.
Naruto's hands slammed together, flickering between seals at blinding speeds. The Kyuubi reared up before him with an earth shattering roar, its massive jaws opening wide enough to devour him and the pillar he stood upon whole. It snarled as it lunged downwards.
Naruto's hands slammed together. "Issenhyoushi Shuukusari!"
The dozens upon dozens of seal parchments that lined the walls suddenly pulsed bright before thick iron chains, each link as thick as a tree trunk, shot out to wrap around the massive body of the Kyuubi, binding its legs, arms, tails and head, the metal cutting deeply into the flesh. The demon's head jerked to a stop mere meters above the boy, its jaws still wide, unable to close them now because of the chains wrapped around its upper and lower muzzle. The beast gave a choke growl as it tried to thrash, to cast off the chains, but the restraints held true. Furious, it tried to gather its chakra, attempting to incinerate this entire cavern and every thing within miles. It suddenly froze, its eyes wide in horror.
It couldn't gather its power.
Something was binding its chakra.
Naruto grinned victoriously as a pair of large red eyes swung downwards to glare at him in a mixture of fury, surprise and fear. His hands began to race through even more hand seals, causing the demon to redouble its struggle but to no avail. "Your arrogance has become your downfall, Kyuubi! This world will finally be free of you and your damnable kin!" He shouted as he hit the final seal. "Tanjou no Jinchuuriki!"
The seal array beneath his feet lit up as vibrant arcane energy, the blood glowing white and seeming to outshine even the blinding glow of the cavern as a ethereal wind began to howl, pulling at Naruto's white hair and clothes as chakra poured off him. Two chains, far thinner than the ones binding the Kyuubi in place, slithered from the ground at either side of Naruto. The teen dropped his arms to his sides, allowing the links to circle up his arms before vanishing into the seals on his skin, binding him to the platform beneath him. His blue eyes, alight with energy, glared up at the beast before him, a beast which he himself had created in an attempt to spare the world the tyranny of the Juubi. The demon roared to the heavens, its great frame shuddering as it tried to break free, to avoid what it knew was coming, but it was all for naught.
Red eyes met blue, one pair filled with unfathomable rage and the other with blazing determination. Naruto's voice rang out, audible over the rushing of the lava, the roaring of the Kyuubi and the howl of the unearthly wind as he spoke a single word that sealed both their fates.
White hot agony erupted before his eyes. Naruto was forced to his toes as his back snapped into a perfect arch, his face twisted in a silent scream. Both he and the Kyuubi gave jarring shudders before a pair of agonized screams tore from their throats. The chains binding them both began to glow red and the Kyuubi began to change. Its eyes swivelled frantically as its fur began to change from a vibrant heated orange to a darker maroon with patches of grey which only grew in size and in number, falling out in great clumps. The tons of corded muscle that lined its body began to sag and vanish as it wasted away, becoming more and more emancipated by the second. Violent red chakra began to seep from its decaying body and slither up the chains, disappearing into the seals on the walls.
That was when the seal beneath Naruto changed from a brilliant white to a tormented red. The kanji began to glow as they started to slide across his body, the tiny characters racing as they absorbed more and more chakra. His necklace, the gift from his wife, began to glow a hot red, throbbing with power. The demonic energy sucked from the beast wafted up from the seal, absorbed by the chains, and which was quickly taken in by his shaking body as he continued to scream in pain.
Naruto fell to his knees, his back arching so much that his head nearly touched the ground behind him, his eyes rolling to the back of his skull leaving only the whites visible. His hands were curled into painful claws, his muscles jerking as the destructive chakra of the Kyuubi pounded through his once pure chakra system.
Biting his lip, Naruto tried to gather enough of his mind. Blood flowed freely down his face as his newly elongated fangs pierced the soft skin. Clenching his fists so tight that he was faintly sure that he had broken his fingers, Naruto forced his eyes open as he fell forward onto all fours. He slammed into the stone as another wave of pain hit. With a scream his chakra blazed into life, creating a corona of purple flames that roared around him, flickers of red in their depths. Blood flowed as the seal kanji began to burn into his skin, trails of steam wafting from the marks. He latched into the demonic chakra with as much mental power as he could. Even after all this time there was still a small part of himself left in the demons chakra from his time as the Juubi's Jinchuuriki and he still had a good measure of control over it. He redirected the burning energy into select chakra paths, forcing it to bend to his will.
The Kyuubi was almost gone now. Its fur was a mangy black in the very few places were it still clung to the giant fox's skeletal frame. Gleaming white bone protruded from parchment thin skin, exposing an empty rib cage, the organs long gone. Its face was more of a skull now, its one remaining eye bulging. Its decrepit frame shuddered one last time, a whimper of a roar issuing from its gaping maw before it slumped forward. What little remained of it crumbled to ashes, falling free of the now slack chains which slithered back into the seals they came from.
Naruto tore at his hair, trying to stifle the screams. This was agony in its purest form. It felt like liquid steel was being poured through his veins, the heat so great that he was sure that it would make the lava that surrounded him seem cold in comparison. He could feel it building within him, a verifiable dam waiting to burst. He thought he was going to explode from the pain. He was lifted to his feet as a final wave of torment wrapped its clawed fist around him. His jaw opened as wide as it could, his eyes dilated almost into nothingness.
A pillar of pure black energy erupted from the seal, smothering him with its malign presence, reaching so high into the stratosphere that clouds were forced apart. The lava filled chamber emptied as a wave of pure chakra flew from him, launching the magma into the air.
The Devil's Maw erupted.
The ground split as the night was lit up with baneful fire, clouds of ash and smoke billowing from the cracks as the ground was forced apart.
The world seemed to shake.
The winds roared.
Then everything was silent.
That was the first thing that came to his mind. Wincing, he pried open his eyes only to snap them shut again as his head throbbed painfully. He brought his hand up to press against the throbbing side of his skull, trying to relieve the pressure. Slowly, his mind started to filter the messages that his body was sending him. He was laying on the now glass smooth stone of the pillar, he was covered in dry blood, his head felt like it was split in two, his throat was raw, his bones ached, his muscles felt like rubber and his back felt like someone had held a white hot branding iron to it.
With what felt like Herculean effort, Naruto pushed himself to his knees, his hands bracing heavily against the ground. The first two times he tried to clamber to his feet he nearly keeled over his limbs were shaking so much. The third time though proved lucky and he managed to push himself up onto unsteady feet, almost going over the edge of the pillar. He wind milled his arms to try and prevent himself from falling over the edge and barely managed to stay on.
He rolled his shoulders, wincing as the fresh seal burns pulled taunt. He glanced around. The cavern was empty now, the lava blown away by the backlash of the sealing. It would probably find its way back into the chamber eventually but it would be a while. He looked down. The seal array that he had painted on top of the pillar had burned into the rock, creating a permanent replica in the hard stone. He'd have to fix that. He couldn't leave any evidence. Cracking his neck, he leapt from the pillar to the small area where he had secreted his gear.
He stumbled as he landed but caught himself quickly. Shaking his head to clear it of the light cloud of fog that permeated his mind, Naruto grabbed the large scroll, thankful that it hadn't blown away in the backlash. He unsealed a small bottle of water and a rag and began to wash off the dry blood that coated him. Under the blood his arms and torso were unmarked, if a little red. Finding difficulty in reaching his back, he created a clone with instructions to wash him. He blocked out the pain from the burns as hardened blood and dead skin were washed from his back, revelling in the coolness of the water. He waited until the clone was finished with his task before dispelling it, absorbing its memories and seeing the results of his work.
Over the tan skin of his back, covering all of his upper back, was a large, extremely complex seal. At first glance it appeared to be a spiral with three swirls, each of which ended in a stylish flame, spaced at even intervals. Around this was a perfectly shaped circle of spiky kanji, the characters flowing from one to the next without a single break.
The seal was complete.
Naruto drained the last of the water from the bottle, chucking the thing aside when it was empty, and began to redress himself. He slipped into his gi, thankful that the soft material didn't irritate the still sensitive seal, before unsealing his cloak, staff, hat and sword. He regarded the long blade for a moment before shaking his head and resealing it. He wouldn't wear it until the irritation faded and plus he doubted he'd even need it if there was a fight on the road. He slipped the strap of the scroll over his shoulder before tossing on his white cloak. He let his straw hat dangle from his neck on its cord and took up his staff.
He paused for a moment as if forgetting something then snapped his fingers in realisation. He turned towards the sealing pillar and formed a few hand seals. The top few inches of the rock, the inches that the seal array had been burned into, broke apart, becoming a fine mist of tiny stones. Naruto gave a sweep of his arm and the black cloud scattered, leaving unmarred rock in its place. Naruto dusted off his hands. With the Kyuubi's body crumbed to dust, his clearing the sealing pillar of any markings and the seal tags burning away after use, it would be a long time before anyone realised what happened here, if ever.
He donned his hat and leapt up the rock wall, out of the caverns. Now all he needed to do was find his way to Konoha.
Naruto had many hobbies and habits throughout his life. He was undisputed when it came to jutsu and seal theory and application, he was an avid astronomer, a lauded academic, a warrior without equal (At least in his previous life, something he didn't intend to let slip), a master strategist, fairly religious and had a taste for good sake. But if there was one thing that could describe him it was that Naruto was a wanderer. He loved to travel. Even as a boy it was difficult to get him to sit still, preferring to go off and sate his natural curiosity. Hell, when he had been but twelve summers old he had climbed a mountain just to see what was on the other side. He just loved to move around. Of course, he finally settled down in one place with his wife to raise a family but by that time he had already seen most of what the world had to offer. He had learned a myriad of different languages, customs, theories, observed religious rituals, had been taught highly ancient techniques and more. But now the world was different. Many of those languages had changed and evolved or died out all together, replaced with new ones. Customs had also changed and theories were either now proven or even more complex given the evidence and research unearthed over time. Everything was different.
As such Naruto was in no hurry to get to Konoha.
It took him nearly a month to get to the Hidden Leaf. He admitted that at a dead run from the Devil's Maw caverns he could have been there in three days, maybe four but he had his reasons for taking his sweet time. He continued to read up on history, learning as much as he could both to catch him up on the happenings of the time and to quench his own curiosity. He wasn't worried about the time it took. If he was needed in the village any time soon then surely Kami would have told him. He casually and haphazardly made his way in the general direction of Konoha, sometimes deviating for a few days when something caught his attention. He also discovered how much he loved today's economy. He had stopped into a temple museum in a city a few days into the Land of Fire and had noticed with a chuckle a collection of old coins from his time. The plaque said they were extremely old, predating the founding of the Elemental Nations, being somewhere over five thousand years old. Time had eroded the coins, making them little more that black twisted pieces of metal but he had overheard a tour guide claiming them to be worth quite a bit of coin. Naruto couldn't resist and so he sauntered into the museum curator's office, dropping three of the coins from his scrolls onto the expensive hardwood desk.
A few hours later saw Naruto exit the museum, his purse a good deal heavier with usable currency. He grinned. With the value of pristine pre-Elemental coins he gained enough money that with his simple tastes he could live happily for a good few years with what he received for the coins.
He didn't feel the need to mention that he was carrying a bloody fortune worth of the coins around in a single scroll. Needless to say he'd never be strapped for cash.
So it was after eating a variety of new foods, sampling a multitude of sake (Without anyone noticing. Damn those new underage drinking laws.), meeting some very interesting people, seeing fascinating places, sparring with a few travelling warriors, being attacked by bandits three times, escaping molestation by some rather sultry women four times and a small hiccup concerning some sake, a pig and a preacher's daughter that he finally made it to the Village Hidden in the Leaves.
Currently the reincarnated Sennin was seated in a lavish waiting room in what he had since learned was the Hokage Tower, the centre of government in Konoha. At the large main gate he'd been asked his reason for visiting which he'd honestly replied was seeking asylum. The guards had looked at him for a long moment, glanced at each other then asked him to wait a moment. A few minutes later two ninja in grey armour with white animal masks covering their faces appeared before him and bade him to come with them. They led him to a large conical red tower flanked by two smaller towers inside a large perimeter wall, the kanji for "fire" proudly emblazoned on the front. Leaving him in the finely furnished waiting room he was currently in they told him that the Hokage himself wanted to talk to him before they vanished, leaving him alone to his thoughts.
Naruto reclined on the comfy sofa, his staff propped up against the arm rest alongside his scroll. He'd left the sword sealed. He knew what was going on. He had a large chakra level and they could feel it since he did nothing to hide it. This indicated that he had ninja training and when a ninja wanders into the village presumably seeking asylum then it was bound to be treated with caution. That didn't make them stupid though. He could feel several chakra signatures hidden outside the room and there were two hiding under a moderately powerful illusion in the corners of the room. He ignored them, playing dumb.
He had been there for a while and had taken a book from the shelf, idly flicking through its pages, when there was a knock at the door a second before it opened, revealing a kunoichi wearing an otter mask, her long red hair tied back in a ponytail.
"Naruto-san, the Hokage will see you now." She politely said. Naruto nodded, grabbed his things and followed her through the corridors of the tower, feeling the hidden ninja following behind. They eventually came to a large circular reception desk against the wall, beyond which was a plain oak door protected by four more of the masked ninja. Naruto followed the kunoichi past the desk without a word, waiting as she knocked on the door.
"Enter." A young, strong voice called.
The redhead pushed the door open and beckoned Naruto inside. He entered, feeling her sticking close behind him, presumably with one hand on her weapon or at least near it. It was then that he got his first look at the young Namikaze Minato.
The first thing to hit him was the blonde hair. How could it not what with it reflecting the light from the large window straight into his eyes? The next thing he noted was the almost similarly blinding white of the unblemished robe draped over his shoulders, over what he now knew to be a standard Konoha Jounin uniform. From the look of it, it was the outer jacket of the robes of the Hokage. Namikaze had forgone the white undershirt and red gown, leaving the tri-point piped hat on his desk. His features were sharp and angular and he could easily be considered handsome. A pair of blue eyes regarded him as he entered.
Naruto cast a quick glance around the room. The strong wood that comprised most of the office was polished to a pristine gleam, the walls painted a calm crème. Four pictures adorned the wall to his left, one for each of the Hokage that had ruled and in one corner, resting on a coat rack, was the famous flame rimmed battle coat of the Yondaime, the white material immaculate.
Naruto stopped before the desk and gave a low bow. "You wished to see me, Hokage-sama?"
"I did." Minato said, his voce pleasant and light, his fingers laced before him. He gestured towards the seat before his desk. "Please have a seat."
Naruto nodded and lowered himself into the rather comfy chair, first removing his heavy scroll and hat, his staff resting across his knees as he leaned back into the leather. He felt the woman behind him take up a flanking position.
Minato regarded the teen before him. The boy had chakra and he did nothing to hide it, that much was obvious. If he had to guess then he'd venture that it was easily high Jounin levels and it was immaculately controlled with no spiking that he noticed. He seemed to glide across the hardwood floor without a sound, his body totaly relaxed and at ease with the world around him. By large scroll it was easy to tell that he had at least some knowledge of seals. The personalised hitai-ate gave him pause but he quickly noticed that the engraving on it didn't proclaim an allegiance but an ideal. The boy's face was calm and pleasant and for the life of him Minato could discern nothing of the white haired teen's thoughts or feelings.
"My ninja tell me," Minato began. "That you wish to become a resident of Konoha. That you want to claim asylum."
Naruto nodded. "Yes, Hokage-sama."
"They also tell me, and now I can tell for myself, that you have access to chakra."
"Yes, Hokage-sama." The boy didn't look surprised that they knew.
"You understand that this is a very unusual situation." Minato said. "While we do receive our fair share of refugees they don't usually have access to chakra, never mind the levels that you yourself do. If they did one might suspect them of being either ninja sent to spy on the village or Missing-nin on the run."
"And you suspect that I may fall into one of these categories considering the fact that I have access to chakra." Naruto interpreted with a smile.
Minato nodded cordially. "The circumstances do point towards it."
"True." Naruto admitted. "But there is a third category that you may not have considered."
"That I am neither an insidious spy nor a man on the run but simply a boy who has received training as a ninja." Naruto said.
"And are you?"
"Yes." Naruto nodded pleasantly. "But if you wish we can make done with the poorly hidden meanings and I can simply tell you my story."
"By all means." Minato allowed, leaning back in his chair and folding his arms, a look of intrigue on his face.
Naruto too settled himself into his chair. "I was born on a farm in the Land of Rain to parents who loved me unconditionally. Sadly complications during the birth took my mothers life leaving my father to raise me alone. For years I lived the life of a farm boy; harvesting crops, herding cattle, being routinely chased by angry fathers with daughters; the usual. We lived a simple but happy life. In the years before he met my mother, my father was a ninja and although he gave up that life to raise a family, he still taught me what he knew both so that I could protect myself but also so that I could be more useful when it came to farming." They chuckled at that. "So I trained as I grew, honing my skills even if I may never have need of them. In my tenth year bandits attacked the farm while I was at a neighbour's home. My father had been suffering from an illness for a while and as such he was severely handicapped when the attack began. Though he managed to kill the bandits he was fatally wounded in the struggle. I returned to find him dead and my home burned to the ground. I ran back to the neighbour who took me in and raised me for two years before I decided that I had had enough. I had grown tired of a life as a farmer and decided that I would take my father's teachings to another level and become a ninja."
Naruto rested his head back against the padded leather of the chair, staring out of the window, at the world beyond the glass. He sighed. "Hokage-sama, I won't lie. My homeland is in shambles and the people in power leave much to be desired. I love my home with all my heart and seek to one day return it to its former glory but I feel that change can only be achieved from the outside."
Minato sat in silence throughout the boy's speech. He saw the dimming of his eyes when he spoke of his parents dying, heard the fire in his voice when he spoke of his home and felt the contempt he held for those in power. This could either be very good or very bad. "And what if you came up against a ninja of Ame?" Minato asked, carefully reading the teen's expressions. "Would you be able to kill them in Konoha's name?"
"Yes." Naruto said quietly, his gaze shifting from the window to lock with Minato's steady blue eyes. "If they left me no other choice I would."
The room was silent for a long time before Minato asked, "Why Konoha?"
"To be honest?" Naruto asked with a lopsided smirk. "It's because of all the villages out there Konoha is least like a true ninja village."
"What do you mean?" Minato frowned. How could the strongest ninja village be least like a ninja village?
"Deception. Lies. Backstabbing. Untruthful. Deceit. These are words that most accurately describe a ninja. They are nothing like say a samurai who go to great lengths to maintain their image. They would do anything no matter how disgusting, degrading or inhumane to achieve their goals. Now while most ninja maintain a certain amount of decorum with how they go about it, it cannot be denied that there is no honour among ninja. Respect, yes, but no honour. It is in this way that Konoha is least like a ninja village."
"I think I'm catching on." Minato said slowly.
Naruto nodded. "In a world where deceit reigns Konoha stands apart from its fellow villages. You try to coexist with others, seek peace and understanding instead of bloodshed. Where some would try to usurp and conquer, you have been known to make friends and establish alliances. You follow your "Will of Fire" I believe you call it. Some call it weakness while others call it strength. I won't say that Konoha isn't a ninja village; you can lie, cheat, steal and kill with the best of them but you aren't as much of a true ninja village as other nations. That is the reason I came to Konoha." Naruto grinned cheekily. "You're least likely to screw me over."
Minato looked at the boy long and hard. He had to admit he was fascinated with the teen's view on the world. True he was a little insulted what with his home being called the least ninja like of the ninja villages but he realised that it was a kind of backwards compliment. They were the least deceitful murderers in a world of deceitful murderers. He thought for a few long minutes, his fingers drumming against the desk. Naruto sat silent, leaving the young leader to his thoughts.
Finally Minato blew out a breath. "Okay. I'm willing to take a chance. I'll allow you to stay here for a month while we run a few background checks. If in a month nothing turns up then you'll be cleared as a full citizen of Konoha after which we'll discuss your chances of joining the ranks. Sound fair?"
Naruto nodded with a smile. "More than fair. Thank you for the opportunity, Hokage-sama."
Minato just waved him off. "No problem. Do you have any way of supporting yourself?"
"My parents left me a generous inheritance."
"Good. Otter here will lead you to the apartments set aside for people seeking asylum. It's fully stocked for living in but you'll need to get your own food. I'll send word once the probation time is up."
Naruto nodded and rose, giving Minato another bow before following the silent kunoichi out of the room. From his chair beside the window, Minato watched as a speck of white hair exited the tower before disappearing into the sea of people making their way around town.
'Interesting kid.' Minato thought as he turned back to his work. 'I wonder what kind of ninja he'll be?'
Naruto closed the door to his new apartment. The kunoichi had dropped him off, placed the keys in his hand and took off without another word. He slipped off his cloak and scroll and placed them neatly beside the door. He'd unpack it later. He hung his hat on one of the hooks and wandered his new home, taking it all in. It was small and modest; cheap but sturdy housing for the poor and unfortunate. It had everything he'd need to survive: a couch, two chairs, an empty bookshelf he could fill at his leisure, a comfortable bed and hot water.
Still there were some weird looking thing in the apartment. Like those big metal things in what he assumed was the kitchen. He only assumed it was the kitchen because he recognised the sink but little else. There was also a glass bulb hanging from the ceiling in each room. He had since learned that people had actually managed to use electricity to power their homes, giving them plenty of heat and light for when they needed it. Most of what the book was saying was a little jumbled to him though and he made a mental note to go back over it later.
Looking over his new home, Naruto lowered himself into the comfy couch, only to frown in confusion when he sat on something. Reaching under his butt he pulled out a small black...something. It had many little buttons, some large, some small and some coloured. Confused, he pressed a few of them trying to discern what the hell the thing was for only to come up empty when the small device remained unaffected. That was when he noticed a bright red button which was slightly larger than the rest at the very top. With no other ideas, Naruto pressed it and nearly had a heart attack when the apartment erupted in a calamity of noise.
"AND IN WEATHER TODAY"--SMASH!!!
Naruto's breathing was ragged, his heart pounding as he stared at the remains of the... thing in the corner of the apartment. It was a large box shaped device with wires running out the back of it, connecting into the wall. The once smooth glass screen was now in pieces on the floor, his staff impaling the damnable device to the wall after he'd reacted to the sudden unexpected racket and tossed it like a spear towards the source of the noise. Sparks flew as smoke wafted from the innards of the thing, clouding the room in a thin layer of smoke.
Naruto waved his hand to ward of the smoke as he approached, his nose crinkling at the smell of burnt plastic. Taking a hold of his staff he jerked it out in one smooth motion, wiping a few pieced of debris off its gleaming surface. He crouched down to inspect the strange object, not familiar with any of the components. He was about to give up when he noticed something written underneath the now demolished glass screen.
"Samuoe...Televisions..." Naruto read out slowly. That only served to confuse him more. Who the hell was this Samuoe character, what the hell was a 'television' and why the hell was it in his home?
Suddenly this mission was looking to be a bit more complicated than he'd first anticipated.
There you go. A new chappie!
A/N: Calling all Lord of the Rings fans! Or anybody good with nicknames! I am asking you all with a love of Tolkien's work to help me with a small favour. I need a series of nicknames and titles that Naruto will be known as during the course of this story. I don't mean like the "Yellow Flash of Konoha" or anything like that but names as you would expect from Tolkien's books just like say...Gandalf had titles like the Grey, the White, Mithrandir, The Grey Pilgrim, Stormcrow, the White Rider. If you have questions then please ask.
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