Are You Sure it Doesn't Say Arashi?
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto.
Note: It always drives me crazy when I come across a fic that calls the Yondaime 'Arashi' and since we only actually found out his real name was Minato a year ago – if that – it's everywhere. I guess people had to call him SOMETHING, though. Stupid illegible handwriting…Maybe 'Arashi' and 'Minato' look more similar in Japanese than in English?
15-year-old Namikaze Minato rubbed his forehead irritably as he tried to force away his pounding headache by sheer force of will. "I am so hung over…" he groaned.
"As well you should be," his unsympathetic instructor, Jiraiya of the Sannin, remarked. "I've never seen anyone knock down shots that fast other than Tsunade-Hime."
"How much did I have to drink, anyway?" Minato asked, paling a bit at the thought of last night's apparent drinking binge being comparable to anything Tsunade might get up to.
Jiraiya just shook his head. "In the interest of ever being allowed to be alone with a child ever again, I'm not going to answer that."
"I never drink," Minato stated matter-of-factly. "Why was last night an exception? Did I need to drag you out of a gay bar again and need to rid myself of the memories?"
"That was only one time!" Jiraiya protested. "When you're that wasted, it's hard to tell what kind of establishment you've entered and it really doesn't seem to matter much as long as they serve sake."
"I noticed," Minato said dryly. "But drunk people can be handsy people and…seriously, stay away from those because next time I'll just leave you there to be pleasantly surprised in the morning when you sober up."
"It's not like it was on purpose," Jiraiya muttered. "Besides, we agreed that that never happened, remember?"
"What never happened?" Minato asked innocently.
"Good boy," Jiraiya said, patting his apprentice on the head. "And to answer your question, you were going through the initiation into the toad summoners last night."
"Did I pass?" Minato asked, a little anxiously. Getting to become a summoner was a big deal and he didn't particularly want to have to go through the initiation again, even if he didn't really remember it. Scratch that, especially since he didn't really remember it.
"Barely," Jiraiya replied. "But yeah. See?" He took out a scroll and showed Minato the list of toad summoners that was recorded on it. He cocked his head and frowned, puzzled. "That's funny…I don't see your name on there."
"What are you talking about?" Minato asked, equally confused. He helpfully pointed to his signature. "It's right there."
Jiraiya examined said signature closely. "No, that says 'Arashi'," he declared.
Minato stared at the scroll, where his name clearly stood out. "No, it says 'Minato.' Because, you know, that's my name."
"I know that!" Jiraiya sounded a little insulted. "But even knowing what it's supposed to say, I just don't see 'Minato.'"
"Well, why would I sign my name as 'Arashi'?" Minato asked reasonably.
"What did you say your nickname was again?" Jiraiya inquired politely.
Minato didn't even blink at the apparent non sequitur. "I didn't. But it's NOT Arashi. And even if it was, why would I sign my nickname on the scroll?"
"Because you were really drunk?" Jiraiya suggested.
Minato shook his head. "Not when I signed that," he insisted. "I may not remember this, but I know that if I wasn't listed as a summoner, I wouldn't need to prove myself to Gamabunta."
"I don't know. You could have shown up drunk," Jiraiya argued.
Minato was almost afraid to ask. "…Why would I have done that?"
Jiraiya shrugged blithely. "You're a teenager. I know how you people think."
" 'You people'? I feel so stereotyped," Minato murmured. "And I highly doubt that somehow."
"Sure I do," Jiraiya claimed. "Legally being allowed to drink is something many technically underage people take full advantage of."
"And I am not one of them," Minato pointed out. "And even if I were…before training? I'm a teenager, not stupid."
Jiraiya laughed. "I'm afraid that's a contradiction of terms right there, Minato."
"If you say so," Minato replied dubiously.
"Seriously!" Jiraiya persisted. "You want to find all the truly insane people in the world, nine out of ten of them will either be teenagers or in their twenties."
"That's because most of the truly crazy people in the world wind up shinobi and either get some sense knocked into them or end up dying," Minato explained patiently. "Or both, I guess."
"Not all of them, though," Jiraiya countered. "My teammates, for instance…"
"Your teammates?" Minato asked, raising an eyebrow.
"Hey!" Jiraiya objected. "I'm perfectly sane."
"Only someone truly insane could say something like that with a straight face," Minato decided.
"Yeah? Well only someone truly insane could think that says 'Minato'," Jiraiya shot back, pointing once more at the scroll.
"I wrote it," Minato reminded him. "I think I should know what I wrote."
"Yeah, you should," Jiraiya agreed. "But you clearly don't. You don't even remember writing it."
"But I had no reason to write 'Arashi'," Minato protested.
"I'm sure you did," Jiraiya assured him. "You just don't remember."
"What POSSIBLE motive could I have had?" Minato demanded, beginning to get frustrated.
Jiraiya shrugged. "Damned if I know. You didn't feel the need to share and I didn't realize that you wrote that until a few minutes ago."
"I didn't feel the need to tell you why because I didn't sign using a pseudonym!" Minato insisted.
"Look, it's either that or your handwriting is so bad that it doesn't even look remotely like what it's meant to," Jiraiya said bluntly.
"That's obviously the case either way as I had always intended to sign my own name on that scroll," Minato informed his teacher.
"How did you even manage to graduate with your handwriting so atrocious?" Jiraiya asked incredulously.
"The graduation exam was multiple choice," Minato replied with a small grin.
"Well, I suppose my handwriting wasn't that great when I graduated either," Jiraiya conceded. "Then again, I was kind of six at the time."
"It's really not that bad!" Minato claimed.
"Want to bet?" Jiraiya challenged, a glint in his eye.
"No," Minato responded automatically.
"Huh?" Jiraiya was surprised. "Does this mean you're admitting that I'm right?"
Minato snorted. "As if."
"But you just said-" Jiraiya began.
"I said I don't want to bet and – believe me – I don't. That never ends well. EVER," Minato declared.
"Well, how about we bring in a third party?" Jiraiya offered.
"No bets?" Minato asked suspiciously.
"No bets," Jiraiya promised.
Minato looked thoughtful. "What do you have in mind?"
Jiraiya quickly summoned a tiny orange toad. "Gamabunta introduced me to his new kid a few weeks ago. I only saw him once so he should be relatively impartial. His name is Gamakichi."
"I'm hungry," Gamakichi announced.
Minato blinked. "Pardon?"
"Does anybody have a snack?" Gamakichi asked hopefully.
Jiraiya dug though his pockets and pulled out a package of Pocky. "Here kid," he said, tossing it Gamakichi's way. "Toads are always hungry until they finish their growth spurts," he explained to Minato.
"Yay!" Gamakichi cheered. "I think you may be the most amazing human who has ever lived," he said seriously.
"So much for impartiality," Minato muttered.
"We don't have to tell him what we want to hear," Jiraiya assured him. "So it still works."
""Tell me what?" Gamakichi demanded. "Don't act like I'm not here!"
"Sorry Gamakichi," Jiraiya apologized. He pointed to Minato's signature. "What does that say?"
Gamakichi squinted. "It's kind of hard to tell; the handwriting is pretty bad…Ah. It says 'Arashi.'"
"I rest my case," Jiraiya said smugly.
"I hate you both," Minato announced.
Jiraiya shook his head ruefully. "Teenagers. Honestly, they have no respect…"