Reborn from the ashes of his attack, the great Kyuubi will learn more than just duty; he will learn to live and to love, as he and his container take the world by a firestorm. femNaruto x maleKyuubi
Chapter One – 'The Beginning'
Just an FYI, this isn't in the most technical sense a femNaru/Kyuubi, but it's close. You'll see what I mean by the end of the chapter.
UPDATE: This chapter was updated on December 30th, 2009. Some small lone sentences were added here and there to the scene in the council chambers, the conversation between the three elders and Rin, and a few extra paragraphs added in the brief history skim of Rin and Kachu's relationship. The biggest change was the scene where Naruto and Sarutobi have a conversation, which was about doubled in length.
Within the chamber that the full council of Konoha met, important civilians and merchants, clan heads and elder statemen all, there was a large buzz of conversation as over one hundred people had come together in answer to an emergency summons. The chatter was quickly cut off as the main doors opened, with two retired shinobi and one formerly retired, all in their late fifties, entering the council chambers.
Only a half a day ago, the Kyuubi no Kitsune had been stopped in its attack on Konohagakure, finally beaten only two kilometres out from the village proper. While damage inside the village had been minimal, only caused by the heavy storms caused as a result of the Kyuubi's power, hundreds of shinobi had been slain in the fight to stop the Kyuubi's massacre, morale was at an all-time low, and they would need to call in temporary help from their allies Kusa and Suna to prevent Iwa or Kiri from getting the idea of invading while they were weak.
The Sandaime Hokage, Sarutobi Hiruzen sighed as he faced the members of the shinobi and civilian council, his former teammates turned advisors Homura Mitokado and Koharu Utakane at his side. The chaos that had filled the aftermath of the attack had just died down, as new family and clan heads were elected or appointed to take the former heads' places as council members or advisors. Once the reinstated Sandaime had given them enough time to do so, he had called together all the families and clans to convene for an emergency meeting. He chose his first words carefully.
"Twelve hours ago, the Yondaime Hokage fell in battle through the use of a sacrificial jutsu to take down the Kyuubi no Kitsune." He paused, as his eyes swept the crowd that filled the council meeting room. "For those of you who worry about the Kyuubi reforming and attacking again, don't. The Yondaime was a genius at seals, and for good reason: within the timespan of eight days between the first notice of the Kyuubi's presence on this plane of existence and the end of his life, Minato managed to create a sealing jutsu that summoned the Shinigami, known as the Shiki Fūin." At this partial lie of his, several people gasped in the audience, astounded at what seemed to be an impossible feat in summoning the Death God. Inwardly, the Sandaime almost had a grin plastered on at his deceit. The Shodai Hokage had actually been the one who had created the Shiki Fūin, and it was a secret seal that only the Hokages were allowed access to, and only a few others knew about. Essentially, what Sarutobi was now doing was releasing information of the seal out to the public, claiming that Minato was the one who have invented it, while in actuality he had been using those eight days to do something else.
"Minato offered his eternal soul to the Shinigami to take the Kyuubi with him. For those who do not know what this means, it means that he and the Kyuubi are said to be forced to fight for the rest of natural eternity in the Shinigami's stomach." He watched several people blanch as they quickly realised the cost of the sacrifice which the Yondaime had made, while others began to reformulate their opinions of the man to put him on an even higher pedestal than before. In reality, his successor was unsure if even the Death God could hold the Kyuubi, proclaimed as the strongest demon in existence, on the level of lesser gods even. Instead, he had spent his days altering the Shiki Fūin to seal the Kyuubi into his newborn daughter via a vastly complicated form of the Hakke Fūin, Namikaze Kachu, making her a pseudo-Jinchuuriki – while she might be able to use the Kyuubi's yokai later on in life, she would never be a conventional jinchuuriki, granted manifestation of abilities that their demons could use, such as the past two Ichibi jinchuurikis' abilities to manipulate sand, or the rumoured skill of the Yonbi vessel to use lava.
There were many questions that came at the three, Sarutobi in particular, some which he answered, and some he declined due to the need for secrecy on some aspects. As he dismissed the council, he gave up another sigh. Originally, he was going to grant Minato's wish of telling Konoha about his newborn child's status as a jinchuuriki, and inform them of his wishes to have Kachu seen as a hero. However, Minato had made this wish known to him shortly before Kachu was born: his and Kushina's hope for a second son may have clouded his thoughts on Konoha's possible acceptance of his child the jinchuuriki. Furthermore, Kushina had died giving birth to the red-haired green-eyed darling, something that Minato had been unaware of as he went off to seal away the Kyuubi. Sarutobi still genuinely thought Konoha would one day be able to welcome Kachu with open arms, but he knew that all it took was one bad apple to make her life miserable. His decision was further entrenched when he saw the faces of many in the council – miserable, sullen, gloomy and despairing. Many had after all replaced lost family members from the attack. It would not do good to give them something they might latch onto as a scapegoat now. Perhaps in a few years when people had calmed down and mostly gotten over the attack he could announce Kachu as jinchuuriki to satisfy the Yondaime's wish, but not before. It would be like rubbing salt in their wounds.
Besides that, there was still the matter of answering just WHY the Kyuubi attacked, as well. So far as Sarutobi knew, the Kyuubi no Kitsune was the guardian spirit of the Land of Fire, so why would it attack Konohagakure so abruptly? It was something that didn't make any sense for the Kyuubi to do of its own free will unless Konoha was doing something that was disrupting the balance of nature that the Kyuubi guarded, which for the life of them he couldn't think of either. It was even said that the reason the Land of Fire was so blessed with its warm climate was thanks to the Kyuubi's status as the strongest fire elemental in the world, spirit or mortal. Earlier in his office, when he had narrowed down the possibilities, the Sandaime had come to a chilling realization: somebody either had provoked the Kyuubi into its rage, or had controlled the Kyuubi. He couldn't think of anything that a single individual could do to provoke the Kyuubi into going so far as to actually attack Konoha. The guardian of Fire Country supposedly would be able to see through any sort of deception like that, being a kitsune.
Which left him with the possibility of somebody controlling the Kyuubi: to his knowledge, only Senju Hashirama was able to fully tame the Kyuubi (Senju Tenzou, who had been adopted into the dwindling Senju clan after he had been picked up from Orochimaru's experiments and found to be able to control the Mokuton element, had been deployed against the Kyuubi. However, he had been pulled back after it was found he could only neutralize the Kyuubi for a few seconds at a time), and only Uchiha Madara was able to control the Kyuubi. That had chilling connotations to it, and he couldn't help but begin to be even more wary of Uchiha Fugaku, a man who he already disliked on a personal level. That the possibility of another Uchiha having developed a technique that could control Kyuubi was something he did not like thinking about.
It was food for thought, and he would have to take that into consideration when he decided what he would do with the newborn Namikaze. For now, he would have to continue on with his speeches to the general populace, deceiving people into thinking the Kyuubi was truly gone.
There were only seven people who Hiruzen Sarutobi would trust with the true secret of what his successor Namikaze Minato had done to the Kyuubi. The first was his perverted student, Jiraiya of the Sannin, who would need to know about it anyways; Jiraiya, although overshadowed by his own genin student, the Yondaime, still eclipsed Sarutobi in fuinjutsu. If something ever went wrong with the seal holding the Kyuubi within the young Kachu, Jiraiya was the first person to go to for troubleshooting. Besides that, Jiraiya was the girl's godfather, which meant that he had his duties and responsibilities to live up to. The second was his other, semi-loyal student, the Slug Summoner Tsunade, who unfortunately had been out of town when the Kyuubi attacked (Sarutobi despaired over how many lives could have been saved if she was in Konoha at the time). She and Kushina had gotten along fabulously, and in lieu of Kushina's ability to sometimes take care of Naruto, if Tsunade was around, she had oft babysat the first child of the Yondaime. The third was Tsunade's apprentice/adopted daughter, Shizune, who was usually privy to most of Tsunade's dealings, and could be trusted to keep it secret. However, the latter two were non-factors at the moment, as they it would most likely take a couple of weeks for them to return to Konoha, requiring them to first hear about the Kyuubi attack, and then actually coming back. That was if Tsunade actually chose to return voluntarily in the face of the devastation wrought upon the village her ancestors built. She would probably break down as soon as she heard of Minato's death.
The fourth and fifth were his childhood genin teammates, Homura Mitokada and Koharu Utatane. They tended to be a bit more hawkish than he did, but he knew that they would also think logically; the Kyuubi was the most powerful of all bijuu, and jinchuuriki that were trained to be weapons never turned out well. Reports out of Suna during the Second Great Shinobi War about their Ichibi jinchuuriki, along with the former Gobi jinchuuriki in Iwa, not to mention the current Mizukage, justified that conclusion. They would support him in taking steps to ensure that Kachu would be raised as a human being, and not a weapon, and that she would only become a kunoichi like her mother if she wanted to. Most especially, they knew well enough not to leak word of Kachu to Danzo. The former Hokage candidate kept well hidden the figures on how many ROOT he had, but there were a few of his ninja who had snapped and gone on a rampage from their conditioning. If a jinchuuriki did it, he or she could cause far more damage.
The sixth and seventh he knew he could trust, but he was wary about telling: they were the two remaining members of Minato's genin team. Hatake Kakashi had already lost both his parents when he was young, one who had committed suicide in disgrace when he had put his teammates above a mission, then later on his genin teammate, gaining Uchiha Obito's Sharingan eye in the process. Sarutobi had seen it many times before; Minato's death would break the man, and he would lose himself in his ANBU duties, either dying or falling into the darkness in the process. He would not be able to take any sort of adequate care of Kachu, as he would be unwilling to make any more bonds in fear of them being shattered by death. It would take the man at least a few years to wallow in guilt before any effort could be taken to drag him out.
Nakamura Rin, on the other hand. As Sarutobi thought about her, a plan slowly began to build up in his mind, something he would need to run through with Homura and Koharu and finetune before he would implement it.
Unfortunately, there was one person he could not tell under any circumstances about either the Kyuubi or Kachu's very existence: Namikaze Naruto. The boy already knew about his parent's deaths, and would have assumed that his 'unborn' sister was dead in the womb. To hear that his entire family was dead, and later finding out that his sister was alive? That sort of emotional upheaval could break him entirely. He would probably latch onto Kachu like she was life support, and never let go. As much as it broke Sarutobi's heart to separate the two remaining members of a family that had just been torn asunder, both who would grow up for the next few years unaware of the other's existence, he felt it had to be done.
Sarutobi latched onto his earlier thoughts about Nakamura Rin. Yes, it was an excellent plan, and it was also perhaps the only option he had available at the moment. Letting out a deep breath, he called for his teammates to discuss his idea.
Walking into the Hokage's office, Nakamura Rin couldn't help but be intimidated by the three figures who sat before her. With their greying steel hair and (in the case of the males) beards and hunched bodies, one could hardly call them intimidating, but knowing of their reputations was enough to cow her. Executing a swift bow, she spoke up, "Hokage-sama, honourable elders, you summoned me?"
It was the reinstated Sandaime who was the first to talk. "Yes, we did, Nakamura-san." Hearing the Hokage use her family name made Rin flinch a little bit. Sarutobi had never called her that, even when he was in his first stint as Hokage and Minato was still only a jonin-sensei. Either it was because of the presence of Utatane Koharu and Mitokado Homura that he was being so formal, or it had to do with her duties and her reason for being a kunoichi of Konoha. "As you may be aware, only a few weeks ago you filed notice that you have done five years as a kunoichi of Konoha, and have thus finished the exchange program with the Shrine of Fire."
No luck there, Rin thought to herself. The exchange program that the Sandaime had spoken of was one that had been going on for the last three decades; as part of a cultural, spiritual and knowledge exchange, priests and priestesses in training at the Shrine of Fire located in the heart of Hi no Kuni would come to train in the ways of the shinobi in Konohagakure no Sato. Conversely, pre-teens with certain qualifications received basic training at the Shrine. Konoha ninja would better understand the philosophy of non-aggression, meditation and spiritual attunement, and knowledge of the more mentalenergies the shrine-goers used, while those from the Shrine would be able to understand why the shinobi could and would kill, and their attunement with nature and usage of chakra. Rin was one such priestess-in-training who had gone through the program, becoming a kunoichi for half a decade, and going through the heartbreak that was the Third Great Shinobi War and now the Kyuubi attack. The purple marks on her face were an indicator of a regular priestess of the Order of Fire Monks and Priests. "So you want me to stay in Konoha for a while longer?" She asked, brushing her brown bangs out of the way of her chocolate-brown eyes, and tucking them behind the hitai-ate on her forehead that identified her as a kunoichi of Konoha.
"Not quite." This time it was Koharu who spoke up. "Rather, it has to do with the teachings we know are preached there." Leaning forward in her seat, she seemed slightly afraid of what she was about to say next. "Is it true that the Kyuubi no Kitsune is supposed to be the Guardian of Hi no Kuni?"
Rin could practically feel her body becoming numb at that question. Ah. So that was what it was about. It wasn't one she truly liked to answer, but she wanted to be honest. "Not quite, but close." Not wanting to allow the three elders to obtain any misconceptions, she quickly continued. "Kyuubi isn't the guardian of Hi no Kuni as its modern political boundaries go, but rather of where the multiple fire countries were during the time of the shinobi clan wars. Konoha is still within those geographical boundaries, though." Biting her tongue, she continued on. "So yes, Kyuubi shouldn't have attacked. His doing so runs anathema to our teachings."
The wizened Sarutobi reclined back in his chair, glad that he had opted for a softer chair as opposed to his old wooden one when he had outfitted the Hokage's office again in the last week. "I see." Gaining a few moments' worth of comfort, he sat back up into a straight position, clasping his hands together. "Very well. Nakamura Rin, I am assigning you a final mission, but it requires a lengthy debriefing. Everything I say from now on does not leave this room, and is classified as a double-S class secret."
Rin practically let out an 'urk' at that. S-Class secrets were punishable by death for leaking. SS-Class went far beyond that, however, resulting in the perpetrator being captured, interrogated, mind-raped, whatever needed to be done to obtain the identities of any else who learned the secret, with all of his or her close family and friends being killed as a precaution. It was ruthless and excessively violent, and she had hoped never to hear one, but it seemed that she fit into the grand scheme of events some way.
Rubbing his beard, Sarutobi continued, "Minato believed that the Kyuubi was being controlled by somebody." Homura and Koharu merely gave shakes of their heads, indicating that they already had heard the theory but were still disbelieving of it, while Rin tried to let out a gasp, only for it to catch in her throat. Such an idea was unfathomable. The nine-tailed demon fox, the greatest non-celestial power in existence, being controlled? That was unfathomable. Disregarding her abject expression, the monkey summoner continued on. "In the past, only the Shodai Hokage has been able to neutralize the bijuu, and only Uchiha Madara has been able to actually control Kyuubi." Here, he narrowed his eyes, starting straight into Rin's own pair. "You can see why we worry about the possibility of another Uchiha gaining that type of power, particularly if he or she actually used it to attack the village, perhaps going so far to hide their tracks as to direct the Kyuubi to kill several Uchiha."
Rin couldn't help it. She let out a bitter, insane laugh. The three elders looked a bit perturbed, but otherwise let her be as she grasped her head, collapsing to the floors in maniacal chuckling and sobs. It took a few minutes for her to snap out of it, but she finally did it. Rising up, she saw that her superiors were willing to let her keep her dignity and not speak of the incident ever again. "So an Uchiha tried to destroy Konoha. At least Minato-sensei sealed the Kyuubi away in the Death God's stomach, unless you think the Uchiha could control another tailed beast." Seeing the three elders give each other a nervous glance, she felt her stomach dropping down in her torso like a block of lead.
"Not quite," the as-of-yet unspoken Homura started. "That involves the other half of the double-S class secret." The kunoichi of the former Team Tobirama, Koharu, took the lull in his speech to get up from her chair, and walked over to the corner of the room. Rin followed Koharu's movements, and let out a small gasp when she saw a crib. How had she not noticed it before? She was a jonin, for crying out loud. Her situational awareness should have been able to pick it up. An elaborate genjutsu, perhaps?
The shocker of the hour for the purple-brown-haired Rin, however, was when Koharu picked up an infant from inside the crib, and brought it over to Rin, who was startled speechless when she saw the red hair, whiskered cheeks and feminine facial features. "I-....is this...?" She trailed off, unwilling to complete her thoughts.
"Yes. It is. As you can see," Sarutobi answered her unfinished question, "It is indeed Minato and Kushina's daughter, although unlike Naruto, she takes strongly after her mother. But, well..."
"Minato sealed the Kyuubi in his daughter, who is now an orphan with Kushina's death in childbirth." Koharu was quite blunt, and Rin was trembling again as Koharu parted the blanket around the newborn girl to show a spiralling seal of black ink that was practically pulsing around the girl's navel. "You are only the fifth person living to know this, after us three and Jiraiya-san."
"I...I see," Rin said, before letting out a hiccup, the torrent of emotions inside her threatening to burst. Before her was the last remaining remnant of her sensei, after his son. "But what do you want me to do about it?"
Homura, Sarutobi's male genin teammate on the Nidaime Hokage's genin team, interjected at this point in time. "The girl's birth name is Namikaze Kachu, daughter of Namikaze Minato and Uzumaki Kushina. However, we are willing to pay a tidy sum of money if she goes by the name Nakamura Kachu for a few years."
The point of the conversation hit home for Rin in a moment of sudden clarity at that point. "You...want me to adopt her?" She asked, incredulously. But as she began to think about it, it wasn't quite so ludicrous. Uzumaki Kushina had been practically an older sister to her, having taught her much of her knowledge in the medical field, as well as inspiring her to become a strong and erstwhile kunoichi. While Rin was most certainly not the newborn Kachu's godmother, she felt she owed her big sister Kushina more than enough to raise her daughter in Kushina's stead.
"Yes, yes," Sarutobi said. "We felt that it would be unwise for the people of Konoha to know about Kyuubi's true fate, so soon after its attack." Taking out a pipe, ignoring Koharu's scowl, he lit it and took a puff out of it, the rest of the room waiting for him to be done with his sinful habit. "They would look to her as a scapegoat, while Danzo would doubtless want her as a weapon. Kakashi-kun wouldn't be able to raise her at all, while young Naruto-chan would latch onto her like she was his life support, which in a manner she would be to him. As you can see, keeping her in Konoha isn't the best option at this point."
"There's something else to this though, isn't there?" Rin asked. "There's also the matter of the Kyuubi being inside her."
"Indeed," agreed Sarutobi. "The Shrine of Fire is said to be located at the spiritual central of the Elemental Nations, as well as Hi no Kuni, and it is rumoured to be where the Kyuubi watches and guards his mandated territory from." Taking another puff of his pipe, he continued. "There are even some legends that he occasionally appears in mortal form around there, though whether those are urban myths or true tales I do not know. We feel that if the seal is not perfect, or if unforeseen consequences hide, it would be best if the Kyuubi was around where he usually is purportedly located. If he were to awaken from his hibernation, he would perhaps be pacifistic as opposed to hostile to his container, and in the event he should break free, surely he would not attack the seat from which he supposedly guards Hi no Kuni."
"I'll do it," Rin interrupted, as she took Kachu out of Koharu's arms. She had held far heavier things before, but the last female Namikaze seemed to exert a pressure on her that she could barely keep up with. She kept the weight supported anyways. She wanted to do this. Kushina and Minato-sensei had given her so much, this was the least that she could do to pay them back. "But...how do you want me to raise her?"
"I'd like to say to raise her as you think best," Sarutobi admitted, "But I doubt we can hide her forever. Sooner or later she will have to learn of her heritage, and if she at all wishes to see her parent's home, or meet her brother, she will expose herself to publicity. Even the Namikaze name will make her a target, but if it is found out that she contains the Kyuubi, others may want her for different but still malicious intentions. Raise her as you would your own daughter, but also make sure she is well-prepared for what may come. Teach her in the combat useful ways of the priestess, and in the methods of the kunoichi." Taking one last puff out of his smoke, he finished off. "We will of course fund you for this SS-Class Mission, which we want you to undertake for ten years before you can return to Konoha with Kachu. You can tell your fellow priests and priestesses that you adopted a newborn orphan from Konoha. Will that work as a cover story?"
"Of course," Rin nodded. Feeling the conversation at an end, she gave a short nod in lieu of a formal bow, with Kachu in her arms. "May I leave, honourable elders?"
"Yes, yes," Sarutobi responded, as he took out several packets of documents and handed them over to Rin to carry, the latter putting them into a bag. "Those are your files for release from the Konoha military forces, as well as the official papers for adoption of one Kachu, former surname unknown, now Nakamura Kachu." Gesturing to his door, he continued on, "Make sure to take the secret entrance out, you should know which one, Minato spoiled you too much by telling you and Kakashi-kun about them. It wouldn't do for someone to see you leaving with a red-haired infant. Even my ANBU tend to be too loose-tongued at times. I'm sorry to have to ask you this, but please try to leave the city before the funeral and memorial occurs in a few days' time."
Rin saw that as her notice to leave. Taking a short bow, she finished the meeting with an "As you will, Hokage-sama, elders," before picking up the cradle that she had just finished putting Kachu in, as well as her papers, and then heading out.
As Rin made her leave, Sarutobi got out of his chair, startling his two teammates, heart heavy with what he would soon have to do. The funeral for Namikaze Minato and Uzumaki Kushina would soon begin. He would be there to give a speech after the minister had ordained the funeral, but it was the person who he had to speak with after that he would have troubles with.
"And so, we must remember these brave citizens of Konoha who gave their lives in battle to give us yet another day to live! It is by their sacrifice that we still stand! Remember, that so long as the Will of Fire is strong, Konoha will never fall!"
Sarutobi had to pat himself on the back for how well he could play the audience. Even the slightest boost in morale would help in the following days, particularly for him. He had gotten only twenty hours of sleep in the last week, and he doubted the soldier pills he had been popping were any sort of healthy for him. It would not do to worry his wife.
Just as he had predicted, Hatake Kakashi had been broken by the events of the past week. Already, the man had come to request that his trial run as a member of the ANBU be validated for the normal four year run. It hurt Hiruzen to see the lack of energy in the last Hatake's eye, and the way he methodically moved about, just as he had before he had lost his Uchiha teammate on a mission near Kusa during the Third Great Shinobi War.
But now he was dealing with something he hadn't had to do in a long while; console a child who practically had a broken heart. Namikaze Naruto was red in the face, eyes pink and nose runny as fresh, hot tears ran down his skin, steaming it. His blonde hair drooped over his forehead, with a white sweater with black stripes along the side. Only shorter golden-yellow hair and less deep-set cheekbones kept him from completing evoking the images of a younger Minato. Hiruzen had taken the Namikaze heir into his household as soon as Minato and Kushina had both passed away, but unfortunately had not yet been able to interact with the child; instead, his son Asuma and his daughter Rika, who had both babysat him when he was younger, were taking care of him again (with Asuma going through the gruelling pace of missions that the aftermath of the Kyuubi attack had mandated, however, it was mainly Rika who was looking after Naruto).
"I...I wasn't able to do anything." The blonde was sobbing, the ice cream treat Sarutobi had had his secretary fetch for the boy melting in his hands, uneaten. "I made a promise to kaa-san, and I....I broke it..." Not seeing anything suitable in sight, Naruto had used the wrapper for the ice cream to blow his nose, unwilling to use his sweater.
"Oh?" Sarutobi asked Naruto, caught off guard when Naruto had mentioned a promise. "What promise are you talking about, Naruto-chan?" In trying to console Naruto, he had to know the history behind this idle comment. He knew Naruto valued the integrity of a promise, and would do his steadfast to keep a promise upheld until he either satisfied it or was released from it. If he had broken a promise to his dead mother, then no matter he would still be distraught.
Naruto was still sniffing, "Before kaa-san left for the hospital," Here he began to choke on his tears, "She asked me to promise to take care of my little brother or sister if anything should happen to her." In anguish he stared down hard at the ground, only moments away from potentially collapsing underneath the strain of sorrow. "And...and...I couldn't keep that promise. My imouto or otouto...they're gone..." Having discarded the ice cream wrapper earlier, he had moved to using his sweater to wipe away the stinging hot fluids that ran down his cheeks.
If he had thought it a hard decision to make before, now Hiruzen Sarutobi was glad he had already sent Kachu off with Rin. Sarutobi had already taken to seeing Naruto as a grandson, one who he often looked after during the days that he helped Minato with the day-to-day administering of Konoha proper and Minato had brought the young ball of sunshine to work. It would have completely shattered his will to send the two girls away if he had seen Naruto's reaction beforehand. He felt old and helpless; all that he could do now was to comfort the newly-orphaned Naruto by patting him on the back, and gripping his shoulder with a comfortable hold.
Finally, the well of tears slowed down, and Naruto was fine enough to ask, "So, what's Jiraiya-kyofou doing?" Jiraiya had not been around for the Kyuubi attack, but had only managed to make it back a few days after. He had examined the seal that Minato had used shortly before Sarutobi had handed Kachu off to Rin, having proclaimed it as a job that even he was barely able to decipher, and as a work of genius.
Anxiety gripped Sarutobi's heart as he thought about the best way to answer this. "Jiraiya said that he would only stay for the funeral, unfortunately. Your godfather has to leave Konoha to do his work again, Naruto-chan. We're all very busy right now, and will be busy for quite some time, I'm afraid." The other hidden villages would doubtlessly be eager to elbow their way in and steal some of Konoha's business in the wake of the Kyuubi attack. With manpower low and money being needed to rebuild infrastructure and re-establish their business connections, intel and anti-intelligence operations were some of the Hidden Leaf Village's most important and valuable resources at the time.
Naruto held back another stream of tears at this, and instead sniffed again. "So am I staying with you and Asuma-nii and Rika-nee still, jiji?"
"Well," Sarutobi responded slowly, "Asuma-kun originally asked to leave to undergo training for becoming one of the Shugonin Junishi. However, he has said he will be staying around for a bit until we get back on our feet. Rika-chan is of course dating, you know that. Unfortunately, I'm busy again," He tried to tread around his words without upsetting Naruto by reminding him why he was busy, "So the compound isn't always full, and several of my relations were killed recently." Sarutobi sighed, tracing a pattern through his facial hair. "I can keep you around for a while longer, but when Asuma leaves, I suppose it would be best if I had you live with Yamanaka Inoichi, and Inoka."
Naruto just looked up, and nodded, complacently. There was another bullet dodged for Sarutobi. The Yamanakas had taken about the least amount of damage out of any of the clans from the Kyuubi attack. Their compound was the furthest away from Kyuubi's approaching point, and as their shinobi and kunoichi were mainly interrogators, infiltrators and seducers and seductresses, they were hardly a fit to fight the Kyuubi, and so instead were held behind to help with the civilian evacuation and relief. This made them the most ideal family to temporarily take in Naruto whenever the Sarutobi Clan became too busy and too low on time and resources to take care of him. Then of course there was their relation with the Namikazes.
Inoichi, who had been good friends with Minato during their academy days, a friendship which had continued up until Minato had become the Yondaime, would be a good fit for raising Naruto. Additionally, his firstborn daughter, Inoka, was the same age as Naruto, and was almost like a sister for the golded-haired boy. The two were the best of friends, along with Uchiha Itachi (silently, the Sandaime pondered whether or not he should try to break up that friendship), and the three could make a potentially strong genin team if they graduated together. It was such a shame that Hiruzen couldn't really trust any Uchiha currently, as well as Kachu's departure from Konoha; Inoka had recently gained a new sister, Ino, and Itachi a new brother, Sasuke. The trio could have had a second generation following right behind them, but for the Kyuubi attack.
Sarutobi shook his head again. It wouldn't do well to regret again.
Growing up, Nakamura Kachu was taught how to appreciate nature's beauty. The crisp fresh air of spring, the fluffy white snow of winter, the lazy warm days of summer, and the colourful leaf-filled afternoons of autumn, all spent in the Shrine of Fire and the mountains surrounding it. At the age of five, she had seen enough seasons to declare that all of them were her favourite.
She had also in the process became quite the inquisitive child, often wanting to know the answers to whatever questions popped up in her noggin. In a place where the youngest of the Shrine inductees who were currently in training were at least ten, and the place was often peaceful as priests and monks meditated daily and otherwise tried to achieve enlightenment, as well as documenting both philosophy and science, Kachu was something different. Her tireless energy and occasional prank annoyed a few, but most everyone saw her as a little sister or niece, and doted on her with a great amount of affection.
Kachu realised early on that her mother seemed to be hiding several things from her. When she went over the teachings of the Fire priestesses, being taught by her mother in the process, entire sections would get skipped while material that wasn't in the books would be introduced. Why would she want to learn the reason people such as shinobi and samurai took up their profession? Most mysterious was how, when she went to her daily prayers to pray to the kamis above that had blessed the land, why her mother had always been fidgety when the pair went to worship the Kyuubi no Kitsune, celestial guardian of the fire lands?
A turning point in their relationship had been when her kaa-san had nearly had a break-down one day, when Kachu had learned the most simplified of basics about genetics; the curious girl had asked Rin what her father had been like, and if it had been him that she had inherited her red hair and green eyes from, as opposed to Rin's purple-brown hair and her chocolate brown eyes. Most mysterious were the three whisker marks that adorned each cheek. Kachu had wondered why her mother had dodged around the question for a few days, until Rin finally told her the truth: she had been adopted.
Kachu had had a fit over that, and locked herself in her room for a few days. It was Rin's constant banging on her door and her begging to let her in that had pushed Kachu to finally realise she still loved her adoptive kaa-san, and had declared the elder Nakamura was her real mother. Rin had practically broken in tears at the gesture, called Kachu her beloved musume, and the two had quickly made up.
Kachu had occasionally questioned her mother about her real parents, who Rin had implied she had known, but would often get vague answers. Although Kachu was naturally suspicious, she would let it slide. However, on the occasion Rin would tell her a little bit about her real father and mother.
Tonight was one such occasion.
"Your father...he had blonde hair and blue eyes," Rin told her daughter, as Kachu was in the bed, listening in awe. "His hair wasn't the bleached blonde Kaori has. His was more of a dark golden blonde. His eyes were always a wonder to look at. They were the color of the sky on a clear day. But, your mother. She was where you got your looks from. Bright red hair, like the color of the red sunset or of a crackling fire. Bright green eyes."
"Sugoi..." Kachu said in silent wonder, before something occurred to her. Without really thinking, she voiced her thought, "Kaa-san, what happened to my real parents?" Too late, she realised her mistake, as she saw her mother freeze up. Quickly trying to retract her question, she said, "No, no!" in a panic.
Rin quickly moved to calm her daughter, putting her index finger at Kachu's lips to quiet her. "Hush, musume. You deserve to know the truth." She sighed, putting her hands in her lap. "I was a student of your father in martial arts. The village he was a part of was attacked by a barbarian, and both of your parents died while defending it. They requested that I take you in so that you could at least know true love."
Rin was a bit worried about telling Kachu about this, as she had told her adoptive daughter a heavily modified version of what had really happened; the truth would probably scare her daughter into a shell that she might not come out of, as young as she was. Her worries were assuaged as Kachu quickly hugged her. "Oh, musume, there, there," she said, reassuring the both of them as she pat Kachu on the back. After awhile, she put Kachu back to bed, pleasantly surprised to see that Kachu had already fallen asleep. It was hard to relive her past, painful as it had been. She was just glad that Kachu had never thought to ask about the whiskers that were on her cheek, making her resemble a fox.
If Rin had known exactly what would be happening to Kachu in her sleep, however, she might have been willing to keep the both of them up a bit longer. As it were, she didn't, and so the fates were allowed to progress with their plans.
Despite her self-knowledge that she was dreaming, Kachu still couldn't help but be amazed at the scenery she found herself drawn into. She was standing on top of some tame grass, green plains as far as she could see interrupted only by a few coniferous that dotted the landscape, with one such member of an evergreen species being right next to her vantage point. Expounding on the beauty of her surroundings was a cloudless sunset, its multiple hues of red and orange and pink and yellow casting a nostalgic feeling over the setting, as if she had found a paradise that she hadn't until now realized she was missing. Off in the distance, the full moon could be seen, though it would only make its presence fully known when the sky was no longer dominated by daylight.
"Beautiful, isn't it?" A voice came from behind, startling her. Whirling around, she came to face a young boy, about the same age as her, walking towards her with his arms tucked behind his back, dressed in a sandy brown robe, the hood thrown back. Like her, he had red hair that reached his shoulder, and ;arge green eyes: however, where her hair was a vibrant, fiery red, his took a darker tone, leaning towards a crimson, almost bloody red shade, and unlike her bright emerald eyes, he possessed twin forest-green irises, complete with slit pupils. What truly struck her as odd were the three whisker marks that adorned each cheek, the middle line slightly longer than the outer two on both sides. It was strange, his appearance, as if he was the yang to her yin, opposites, yet the same.
So struck by his appearance she was she barely caught his next words. "As light slowly surrenders entrenched ground to the ensuing darkness, the two sides clash with each other, producing such a show," he said, with a wave of his arms to the descending sun. "The process goes the other way as come the morrow the light makes headway into the shadows, only to repeat the cycle once again the following eve."
Despite being only five, the philosophy of his words wasn't lost on Kachu, though she had to struggle to make meaning of some of the larger words. Still, she found it a bit disconcerting: this boy also seemed five, yet he was thinking of things like this. Perturbed, she asked the only question that could come to her stoked thoughts. "Who are you? And what was that all supposed to mean?"
The boy visibly blushed, realising it rude to have not introduced myself, and was thrown off-kilter. "Forgive me, dear beauty," to which Kachu in turn blushed herself, "But I'm Kaen. Might I have your name, hime?"
Kachu, her guard already low over the thoughts of this being a dream, was completely caught by surprise by the honorific, to the point that she found nothing wrong with giving him her name. "Kachu. My name is Nakamura Kachu." It was such an innocent gesture, she saw nothing wrong with it.
Kaen's eyes widened slightly, before a delightful fox-like grin lit his face, his features practically shining in the dying light of the sky. "Ah, Kachu, such a pretty name. As for what I meant earlier, please, ignore it." He seemed to lose a bit of his composure at recalling his earlier babblings.
Kachu couldn't help it when Kaen spout out his first line: her face began to redden even further, and she felt like she was on fire at Kaen's compliments. Sure, her mother had often commented on how she was pretty and beautiful but to hear it from a boy her own age (she had never met anyone in her own age category, she had just been dying to finally talk to one, no matter if it was a boy) was a different matter altogether. Still, all good things must come to an end, and it was here that she unfortunately spoke before thinking ahead, as she broke the moment to pieces, "Thanks and all, but you're not real, though, are you? This is after all just a dream of mine."
She immediately came to regret it as the grin disappeared, and a depressed look crossed Kaen's face, as his shoulders slumped. "Ah, I suppose that would be a problem, wouldn't it be?" As much as Kaen seemed to be trying to reassure himself, it most definitely wasn't working. "Sorry, I guess I should leave now," and with that frank dismissal, he began to walk away.
That put Kachu into a panic, as she quickly tried to find a solution. Turning around and seeing the sunset, she began flailing her arms and shouted out after the retreating figure, "Wait!" Seeing Kaen stopped, Kachu started to blabber in her rush to get him to stay. "Uh, I'm sorry for saying that. Ano, would you like to stay here and watch the sunset?" Mentally, she smacked herself at saying the first thing she could think of.
In the way that only interactions between five-year-olds could affect one another, Kaen turned around, the smile back on his face with glistening teeth. "I would much like that, Kachu-chan."
It was quite comedic at how quickly the situation had been rectified after it had unfolded with the two having each made a faux pas. Their hostile interactions were quickly forgotten, as for the next hour was spent with the two children on the ground wordlessly watching the sun set beyond the horizon and the sky darken; their mutual silence had arrived by an unspoken agreement not to embarrass themselves with awkward interactions. What had started out as the two sitting separately moved to the two sitting next to each other, hands held together, Kachu slightly leaning into Kaen's shoulder for body warmth as the night chill started to set in an innocent gesture, and finally Kachu lying down, her head in Kaen's lap again innocently, the latter absentmindedly stroking her red hair, up until the last sliver of the sun dipped underneath the sky. Kachu never noticed it when she fell asleep in her own dream.
Kaen did, however, as his vessel's body began to fade away into mist. The contemplative look on his face gained from watching the sunset was erased as sadness dominated at the loss of his newfound companion's company. Bitterly, he thought, standing up, I'm sorry, Kachu, for what has happened and its effects on your life. I can only hope you let bygones be bygones and forgive me when you find out who I truly am.
Silently, he thought as he looked up at the full moon above, he hoped she would. Even if it was a result of the process that had de-aged and was still de-aging his mentality, he had felt better in that single hour of sitting together than he had in the past few centuries.
So, this is the beginning chapter of my latest Naruto fanfic. This is a big, BIG twist on the common Naruto/Kyuubi pairing – instead of being a yaoi (eh, Living Paradox is the only guy who's done anything decent in that category) or Naruto/FemKyuubi pairing, it's a femNaruto/Kyuubi pairing (but as I said at the beginning of the chapter, it's not technically a femNaruto/Kyuubi, since Naruto actually exists in this story; Kachu is his little sister, so in a sense it's an OC/Kyuubi pairing, but whatever). To my knowledge, there are probably a handful of these pairing fics on the site, mainly like half a dozen one-shots and a couple that died out by the third or fourth 1000-word chapter. By doing this pairing and actually doing it justice I guess I'll be breaking new ground here (see the end of the A/N here for all the femNaru/Kyuubi pairing fics that I know of)
Please note that the narration on this story might be a bit odd, though; it'll be more of a past tense narration than present-tense. I've burned myself out a bit on Naruto, so this time around I'll be writing scenes so Kachu will be doing stuff like describing what happened to her in the past day, as opposed to actually living the scene. A lot of stuff will be glossed over and shortened in the same manner, so at times it may seem more like a bunch of Kachu/Kaen oneshots stringed together in between significant story arcs.
A lot of the early non-relationship story that will be going on is what I think would've happened if the giant plothole that was the first 100 or so chapters of the manga was resolved; fundamentally the biggest thing that would've happened was that Naruto would've been properly trained from an early age, especially to control his/her jinchuuriki powers, which of course will happen here in the case of Kachu. Of course, since I'm changing the early stuff, that chain reactions into later events. Of course, as this is AU I'm throwing in my own mix of twists.
As for Naruto's sister's name, Kachu, having 'Naruto' as the protagonist's name is obviously not an option, (and even if Naruto didn't actually exist it still sounds a bit too masculine for my liking), having a copy-cat name like Naruko or Naruki or Natsuki or even Natsumi is just eeeh and unoriginal, and other really out-of-the-way stuff like Haruko (what the...) or Shiki are still far too meh. Kachu at least sounds androgynous and is Japanese for 'vortex' which fits well enough with the water/wind/swirling stuff-elements that Naruto and his parent's names all fit into. I also want to differentiate from the fact that she isn't an actual female version of Naruto, or a twin sister. Of course for the Kyuubi no Kitsune's name, 'Kaen' translates to 'flame', so there you have your title drop. The name Kachu is also a double-entendre, as it can also translate to mean 'in the flames'.
Now for why Sarutobi tells the council that the Kyuubi was taken along with Minato into the Death God's stomach instead of the truth about Kachu's status as a jinchuuriki, there are a few reasons, with it mostly boiling down to that Kachu is a girl. First and foremost, Sarutobi may genuinely believe that the village might obey the Yondaime's wish for Kachu to be seen as a hero, but he also realises there's a problem with that: even if the village WERE to do so, there would still be a few bad apples, and all it takes is for one bad apple to take advantage of Kachu (I think you know exactly what I'm implying here) and boom she's traumatized for life. For somewhat close to the same reason he doesn't want anyone who takes guardianship of Kachu, aka. Rin to have to fend off assassins (in addition to any knives from within Konoha, there are also enemy nations who don't want Konoha's jinchuuriki to grow up and/or believe that Kyuubi's seal is a conventional seal that releases him if he dies, as opposed to dying along with his vessel, and therefore would rampage if set free in Konoha). Do I think that Sarutobi is really that shallow? On this issue, yes. In canon he basically did "Oh I'm so sorry we just stopped a giant demon that killed lots of men and civilians and took our beloved Yondaime with it only hours ago by the way here's the boy the Kyuubi was sealed in please treat him nicely." So yeah. I would think that anyone with common sense would at least wait a few weeks for the immediate mourning period to pass until people aren't quite as lost in their emotions.
Rin's guardianship of Kachu; honestly, there's no subtle foreshadowing or plot twists or anything to be had here. I just needed something to get Kachu out of Konoha, didn't really feel like doing an OC character, Jiraiya wouldn't work, etc., etc., so I made Rin a priestess in training who was in Konoha on an exchange program of sorts. It worked well enough, considering there's basically no information about Rin at all whatsoever in canon. The family name 'Nakamura' is a common fanon name that I have seen thrown about for her, so if you are wondering about it, that is where I got it from.
Finally, there's the matter of Kachu's appearance: vibrant red hair and green eyes, resemblant of Kushina more than of Minato. There are a few reasons I did this; first, I think the fact that basically nobody has Naruto born as anything other than blond-haired and blue-eyed is boring, and I like the words 'fiery' and 'vibrant' which always go well with describing red hair, along with their own set of metaphors (making sunny gold comparisons to Naruto's blond hair and sea blue comparisons to blue eyes gets old). Secondly is a storyline purpose – canon Naruto only needs to lose the whiskers, get deeper cheekbones and gain a few more spikes in his hair to look like Minato. A lot of fanfic authors like to write this resemblance into motivations for Jiraiya or Kakashi or Sarutobi for feeling guilt or staying away from Naruto because it hurts too much to look at him. Not in the case of Kushina, who none of the three would be as attached to or know as well, and so it's a lot easier to ease her into their lives instead of turning away (though there's still a reason provided for why Kakashi can't take care of her in the beginning). Finally, Kyuubi is a redhead and goddamnit who doesn't like the thought of two redheads together?
I realise that the scene at the end is probably more than a bit sappy and somewhat unrealistic for their ages, which mainly is my own problem, struggling with trying to write in the mindset of five-year-olds. This is also my first time trying to write something more full-blown on the romance as A Midsummer Night's Dream has only light romance and Rise of a Kitsune is taking forever to get anywhere. So, don't be surprised if there's a lot of fluff and sap, and don't be surprised if it's not quite realistic. Criticise where you see fit, please. I'll be rewriting some of the stuff in this chapter so that it doesn't seem quite so choppy at bits (particularly since it was written over a time period of six months), as well, in particular the constant changes in conversation with the scene between Rin and the elders.
Miscellaneous Notes: Naruto is five years older than canon. Sarutobi doesn't know about Madara being alive so he assumes another Uchiha has the ability to control Kyuubi. Some more stuff on Kaen's situation will be shown in the next chapter. Yamanaka Inoka won't be a love interest for Naruto, but her existence will be integral. I already have Naruto's pairing worked out, but it won't be coming into play for a long, long time (OC as well, so don't assume it'll be Anko or Kurenai or Hana). Anybody who reads this story after coming in from A Midsummer Night's Dream, be aware that the Sarutobi and Jiraiya of this story are not the Sarutobi and Jiraiya of that story. They are not as ruthless, exploitative, manipulative, willing to sacrifice for the greater good, etc., so clear out any pre-conceptions that you may have about their motivations and behaviours.
As for all the femNaru/Kyuubi fics, here are all that I've seen on (there was another one but it seems to have been removed in the last couple of weeks);
Regular Stories: "A Hanyou's Story" by Wandering-Mind 95, "New World! Same Ninja!" (One Piece crossover) by xXKuroTenshi66Xx, "Guardian DeathAngel" (Harry Potter crossover) by HikariAi (up for adoption)
One-Shots: "Naruko Dances with the Devil" by Kyuubiboy25, and "Opinions" and "The Inner Thoughts of a Demon" by Escape-reality23
One-Shot Lemons: "Wet Nightmare" by Elemental Demon, "A Fox's Love" by Transformations
Planning for the next chapter to be up within a week's time.