The Hokage's Legend
(Summary: After Pein's defeat, Naruto is chosen as the Rokudaime Hokage. But with a Great Shinobi War just over the horizon and internal forces plotting his downfall, how will he lead Konoha to a new age of peace and prosperity? Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto or any of it's characters though I kinda' wish I did)
Chapter 1: Rokudaime Sama
"Thank you Naruto Sama!!"
"We knew you could do it!!"
"You're our hero!!"
The people's words still echoed in his head. Their acclaims literally poured in like an avalanche. After a lifetime of hate and rejection, Naruto would be lying to himself if he said that he didn't enjoy it.
Finally, people recognized, loved and respected him for something he did for them and NOT ostracize him for something that was not even his fault in the first place. It was a feeling which Naruto longed and craved for all his life.
But as he looked at the comatose figure who layed in a hospital bed in front of him and thought about the tragic fate of the man who was initially responsible for Konoha's destruction and yet was also the reason for it's rise from the ashes, he couldn't help but feel how hollow their victory had been.
"Tsunade Baasan...." Naruto whispered sadly as he gazed at the woman he had come to regard as a surrogate mother. Without the genjutsu maintaining her youthfully gorgeous look, Tsunade looked tired, old and somewhat frail. Also standing around the bed looking on were Kakashi, Yamato, Shizune, Sakura, Fukasaku, Morino Ibiki and Nara Shikaku.
Naruto then grew angry at himself. When he came back with Kakashi after his fight with Pein, he got caught up in his moment of glory and had celebrated with the people like a mindless, inconsiderate fool without even thinking of checking on the people who mattered most to him.
The fact that Tsunade Baasan was not there to greet him should've been his first clue. Sakura was the one who broke the news of Tsunade's condition to him and when he heard, he couldn't get there fast enough to see her.
"Some 'Child Of Fate' I'm turning out to be." Naruto mutters bitterly. "If I came back just a little earlier, all of this wouldn't have happened."
"You shouldn't blame yourself Naruto Chan." Fukasaku said as the diminutive elder toad hops up to his shoulder. "For some reason, Kosuke who's the toad we left here to summon us in case of trouble is now missing."
"But that's impossible." Shizune spoke up. "I saw Tsunade Sama send him off just as Pein started his attack and he was supposed to summon you."
"He didn't make it back." Fukasaku said grimly. "And that could only mean two things. One is that he's still here in Konoha which is not likely. The second and more probable reason is that somebody eliminated him right before he left. Somebody who knew that Naruto was our only shot at defeating Pein but for some reason, didn't want that to happen."
"But why?" Sakura asks. "Why would somebody want Pein to destroy the village?"
"Actually, I don't think whoever delayed Naruto's return really wanted Pein to destroy the village. Merely do enough damage to cause panic and chaos for whatever reason he had." Shikaku spoke up. "And he certainly did a good job of it. How troublesome."
"So who could be behind this? I find it a little hard to believe that someone would purposely risk the village's safety for their own means." Naruto stated.
"You'd be surprised by just how many people who are willing to go that far just to have things go their way." Yamato said soberly.
"I could think of some names." Ibiki supplied with a frown. "But they're pretty damned good at covering their tracks and don't leave any evidences behind."
"If they're smart enough to do that, then those guys are real professionals." Kakashi opined. "If that's the case, then we're up against some real tough competition."
"B-But if they're ruthless enough to do that, then there's no telling what they may try next. We have to find out who they are and stop them." Shizune exclaimed.
"Even if we were find out who the culprits were, we don't have a single piece of evidence that'll point to them anyways." Shikaku pointed out. "What we need to do is hang back and wait for a bit. The guilty party is bound to make their move real soon. And when they do, we'll be there waiting for them to show their ugly mug for the entire world to see and hopefully, implicate themselves in the process."
Before anyone else could speak, an ANBU appears behind Shikaku and spoke. "Shikaku Sama. You are being summoned to the council room for an emergency meeting."
"Huh.... Sooner then I expected." Shikaku grumbles and gives Naruto a thoughtful look before speaking.
"Naruto San, I want you to come with me to the council meeting. I know this is a difficult time for you considering the condition of the Godaime, but I think that it's vital for you to relay everything you know about Pein to them." Shikaku said seriously. "And if I'm right, you're going to be a key part of whatever decision they may make of Konoha's future. All I'm asking is that you trust me with your life like you trusted my son."
Naruto stares long and hard at the elder Nara. If Shikaku was anything like his son, then he's got something cooked up that involves him in a major way. Something that may very well shift the balance of power in Konoha.
The question is, was he ready to take such an important step in his life?
Naruto looks at Jiraiya's old book and then at the paper flowers Konan left him before recalling the promise he gave Pein and Konan.
"I'll be the one to end all this tragedy. It's the mission my master and my fellow students left me with. You've taught me to become stronger so I swear that I'll do everything I can to make it happen even if it kills me."
"I gave my word...." Naruto mutters under his breath.
"What?" Shikaku asks, a little confused by his statement.
"I said I gave my word to end all this tragedy that's been happening in this world." Naruto said looking first at Shikaku then at the rest of the tent's occupants. "And my word is my nindo. What kind of Hokage.... No.... What kind of man will I be if I can't keep my promises? I'll do everything I can to help Shikaku San."
Shikaku smiles at the blonde's statement as did the rest of the room's occupants. "I know you will Naruto." Shikaku said before adding mentally. "And at the rate you're going, you may become Hokage sooner then you think."
"If that's the case, then I think it's best that I accompany you there Naruto Chan." Fukasaku said. "I have a few questions and the elders are the only ones who can answer them."
"That's a good idea Fukasaku Sensei. Come to think of it, I've also got few questions for them to answer." Naruto said, thinking back to his conversation with the Yondaime Hokage.
"Questions about what?" Fukasaku asks curiously.
"Questions about my heritage." Naruto replied simply causing the older ninjas in the room to tense up.
"When did you find out about it?" Ibiki asks tersely.
"When Pain tried to destroy my seal." Naruto said, touching his naval. "It was restored by an imprint of 'him'."
Kakashi regards his student with an unreadable look. "So you know. Now what are you gonna do?"
"Business as usual." Naruto replied. "I'm good as is. Besides, there might be more trouble if this info got out, neh?"
Kakashi looks at Naruto a while longer before giving him an eye smile. "You've grown Naruto. I'm proud of you."
"What are you guys talking about? What about Naruto's heritage?" Sakura asks.
Naruto faces his pink haired teammate with an apologetic grin. "Sorry Sakura Chan. But there are some things I can't tell you just yet." Naruto said, scratching the back of his head. "I hope you understand."
Sakura was about to reply when Yamato places a hand on her shoulder. "You'll have to trust Naruto on this one Sakura. He'll tell you when the time is right."
Sakura studies Naruto for a moment before nodding. "Alright then Naruto. I trust you. I know that whatever it is you're keeping from me is THAT important."
"Thanks Sakura Chan." Naruto said before turning to Shikaku. "We should go now."
The Nara clan leader nods and promptly disappears together with Naruto and Fukasaku, leaving the rest of them to watch over Tsunade.
Inside the council chambers and seated at the head of the long conference table is the Daimyo of Fire Country. To his right sat 4 of his advisors and to his left sat the Sandaime's old teammates Homura and Koharu, the current ANBU commander as well as ROOT's head, Danzo. There was also a vacant seat on the shinobi side which belonged to Konoha's senior jounin Nara Shikaku who had not arrived yet.
Currently, they were discussing Konoha's current predicament.
"....First we have to come up with a budget and consider the strain on the other countries." An adviser said. "After what has happened to the village, the land of fire will put every effort in getting it rebuilt and strengthening it's defenses."
Homura nods at this. "We thank you for this. And rest assured that Konoha will continue working with other countries against the threat posed by Akatsuki."
Danzo then speaks up. "There is another pressing matter that we need to discuss first. Who shall be the next Hokage?"
The daimyo looks at Danzo. "Can't we just wait until Tsunade has recovered?"
This time, it is Koharu who speaks. "My lord, Tsunade is still in a coma and we cannot decide on a plan when she will wake up." Koharu said before adding with derision. "Besides, Konoha's destruction IS partially her fault."
"Hey! Is that how you treat a person who's now in a coma because she saved a lotta lives?!?" A youthful, angry voice said.
The occupants of the council room turns towards the door and sees the lazy looking head of the Nara clan enter with a blonde teener wearing an orange-black jumpsuit whom the denizens of Konoha recognized as their jinchuuriki.
"Shikaku. What is the meaning of this?" Homura asks.
"First off, please forgive me tardiness. This has been a trying time for all of us and my duties as clan head took up more time then I anticipated." Shikaku said as he took his seat. "I also ask that you forgive my companion's emotional outburst however justified it is because he does raise a valid point."
"And what would that valid point be?" One of the advisors asks.
"I believe that we are doing Lady Tsunade a great disservice by shifting some of the blame on her for Konoha's destruction." Shikaku said, gazing at an irritated Koharu. "In all her years as Hokage, she has shown nothing but loyalty and concern for Konoha as it's Hokage and even thinking that she had a hand in our suffering is totally uncalled for."
"But had she not given this boy free reign, we wouldn't have to suffer like this. Her relationship with the Jinchuuriki has adversely affected her better judgement." Koharu defended herself.
Fukasaku got in Koharu's face, shaking his cane at the elder advisor. "Do NOT speak ill of the boy when you don't know a damned thing about him. You don't know the risks he took, the sacrifices he made just to ensure that he became strong enough to defeat Pein. And besides, even if you did decide to take control of Naruto Chan, that's not a guarantee that Pein won't attack."
"How dare you...." Koharu started, angry that this little toad was questioning her.
"Now look here 'ya old coot...." Naruto snarls and scoops up Fukasaku before Koharu tried anything.
The Daimyo's voice silences them.
"Enough!" The room falls silent at this as the Daimyo gives the elders a look before turning his attention to Naruto. "Identify yourself young man."
Naruto gives Shikaku a look who nods in an encouraging manner before answering. "My lord, I'm a genin of Konoha, the Gama No Senin Jiraiya's pupil and Kyuubi No Kitsune's Jinchuuriki, Uzumaki Naruto...."
Before the daimyo could answer, Naruto spoke again. ".... At least that was my name before I found out the truth. My real name my lord is the name I was born with. And it's Namikaze Naruto."
Instantly, a livid Koharu was on her feet pointing a crooked finger at Naruto. "The sheer nerve!! Don't you dare use the name of our Yo..."
"Skip it Grandma. I already know the truth now plus the village law doesn't apply to me because I AM the subject of that law." Naruto said.
"But how? There's no way you could've known that." Homura exclaimed.
"Yes.... Please do explain yourself Namikaze San. All this is getting just a tad confusing." The daimyo drawled.
And so Naruto narrated about his battle with Pein and how his destruction of Naruto's seal caused a pre-programmed jutsu which allowed the blonde to meet a astral form of the Yondaime who repaired his seal.
He also spoke about the Yondaime's theory that there was a darker force in Akatsuki and Konoha who was behind the Pein's invasion of Konoha.
All the time Naruto was speaking, Danzou's apprehension grew. If Minato and Pein had spoken to the Jinchuuriki, then there's a chance that he might already know of his involvement in the creation of Akatsuki.
But much to his relief, not once was his name mentioned. But with the way things were going, there is always that possibility that he and his ROOT would be suspected and THAT was not acceptable.
He would need to change his plans a bit to divert any suspicion away from him.
"Oh ho ho ho.... So you're the son of the famed Yellow Flash. Such an outstanding pedigree you have young man. If you are aware of this, why do you still not take your father's name?" The daimyo asks.
"My lord. My father had many enemies outside of Konoha and the fire country. Had they known that he had a surviving son, they would've tried anything and everything possible to kill me and destroy Konoha in the process. I still believe that the Sandaime and the elder council made the right decision when they kept my identity and heritage a secret though my status as a jinchuuriki was common knowledge." Naruto explained and paused dramatically before continuing.
"However, I still find myself wondering why people were allowed to mistreat me when I was a child knowing what I had sealed inside me." Naruto continued. "I mean, weren't they afraid that I might turn out unstable like the Godaime Kazekage had been before he took control of his life? And he only contained the Ichibi while I contained Kyuubi. Just think of the damage he could've caused to Fire country." Naruto said as he glanced at the elders and Danzou who all looked visibly shaken by the prospect.
The daimyo frowns at this, the implications of such an event not lost to him."That is a very good question. A question which I expect to be answered when the time comes." He said as he turns to the elders and Danzo as well and giving them a look which clearly said that they WILL be answering the question before continuing. "But I must commend you for having such a responsible outlook of your situation and it speaks highly of your maturity and development as a loyal shinobi of Konoha."
Shikaku couldn't help but chuckle to himself at the blonde's performance. Even though he had briefed and instructed Naruto on what to do, the blonde's natural ability allowed him to pull it off perfectly. He was a surprisingly devious and accomplished player of the political game and probably learned the tricks of the trade from Jiraiya himself.
"I mean putting aside the fact that you are the Yondaime's son then. Your record as a shinobi is should serve as a shining example to all." The daimyo said, looking at a scroll. "It says here that you were an integral part of our missions which resulted in our alliances with Wave Country, Snow Country, Demon Country and Moon Country, Sunagakure, Takigakure and Hoshigakure. Add the fact that you're Jiraiya's disciple and successor as Toad Sannin. Quite an impressive feat for one so young." The daimyo said, causing Naruto to blanch.
"My lord.... I am hardly worthy of taking over as Jiraiya Sama's position as...." Naruto started but was cut off by the daimyo.
"Hohoho.... There's no need to be so humble young man. You ARE the sole holder of the Toad summoning contract, are you not?" The daimyo asks.
"Well.... Technically yes...." Naruto started but was cut off by the daimyo again.
"And you were also the one responsible for defeating Pein, are you not?" The daimyo asks again with Naruto opting to simply nod his confirmation.
"So why in the world are you still a Genin? You should at the very least be a Tokubetsu Jounin, don't you agree Shikaku?" The daimyo asks.
"Definitely." Shikaku answers with a smirk, noting Naruto's slackjawed expression at the news with amusement.
"Then please see to his promotion with my full authorization." The daimyo directed before an idea hits him and he speaks again. "And while we are in the topic of choosing a new Hokage, I have decided on a most suitable candidate."
The occupants of the room looks at the daimyo in surprise and waits for him to make his decision. "I had thought about making Jiraiya the Hokage since I liked him well enough. But since he is no longer with us, somebody else will have to take his place."
The daimyo then pointedly looks at Naruto. "Uzumaki Naruto. I hereby appoint you as the Rokudaime Hokage."
Instantly, the room erupts in argument.
"My lord! Surely you are joking! Uzumaki Naruto is nowhere fit to become Hokage let alone Tokubetsu Jonin!" Koharu protested.
"I must agree my lord." One of the advisors said. "He is still way too young for the responsibility."
"Our Yondaime and the Godaime Kazekage were also quite young when they took over. I don't really see the problem." Another advisor said.
"Well.... It may be time for a change. Uzumaki HAS proven himself to be an invaluable asset to our village so I believe we should at least give him a chance to prove himself as Hokage." Homura opined, causing Koharu to glare at him.
This statement comes from Danzou who still sat quite still in his seat. "The daimyo has made his choice and we must comply." The old warhawk said as he looks at Naruto. "Uzumaki San. I know for a fact that you were particularly close to the Sandaime and as such, believed in his teachings. But let me tell you right now that I think that it was his teachings made us look weak and that weakness caused your unfortunate childhood, Orochimaru's betrayal, the Uchiha Clan's massacre, Suna's betrayal during the chunin exams three years ago and now, Pein's invasion."
Angry at the way the old bastard was dissing Sandaime Jiji, Naruto clenches his fist so hard that his fingernails dig into the palm of his hand and causing it to bleed. Only a restraining hand by Shikaku held him back.
"What we need now is a strong leader who can put an end to this wretched situation, bring about change in the ninja world and reinforce the laws which govern us." Danzo continued before shakily standing up.
"That being said though, you ARE strong and have proven time again that you are deathly loyal to Konoha which are two things I respect. I may not truly believe that you are the correct choice as Hokage but I will bow to the wishes of my daimyo and sincerely hope that you will lead Konaha through these trying times and into a glorious future." What Danzou says and does next surprises the occupants in the room. The old warhawk tilts his head in a bow and says. "I am at your service. Hokage Sama."
His actions were mirrored by the other Konoha denizens inside the room in front of a stunned Naruto with Shikaku wondering what the hell Danzou was up to.
A smiling daimyo faces Naruto with a smile. "And that is the end of that. Rule well Rokudaime Hokage, Uzumaki Naruto."
Author's Notes: Another new story inspired by "The Hokage's Will" by airheaded dude and "Hokage" by adrien skywalker. As usual, R&R and enjoy! :)