Chapter 1: Mistaken Identity

I now have a very reliable Beta Reader, thank you too 'argentorum' for taking time so thank you for taking the time for editing my story! Edited on: January 5, 2012

* Konohagakure *

Two ninjas were currently running along a battle torn land, making a hasty escape after they accomplished their mission in Konoha. If all went well this would be a big score for both of them. Both ninjas had on a headbands that had three diagonal lines as a symbol for their ninja village, Yugakure. The two men wore slim burgundy flak jackets, white pants, and carried retractable weapons on their hips.

One of the men, who had messy brown hair, a distinctive scar running diagonally across his face over his nose and had his headband wrapped around his forehead shouted, "Make sure you don't lose the package! Our village will be wiped out if we fail!" The second man was bald with his headband tied around his neck, " I know dammit! Just worry about running for our lives and getting away from those leaf ninjas!"

The two men kept running relentlessly, trying to put as much distance between them and Konoha as possible. After a bit the brown haired man slowed down till he was directly behind his teammate, opening up a pack he had on his back. He looked inside to make sure their package was intact, "I can't believe we are getting paid this much money to capture this. What do think Ryu?"

The bald man named Ryu answered his teammate, "All I know is that the Tsuchikage better pay up. It's only natural that the Tsuchikage would want this kid. How much longer until we reach the checkpoint, Wadomaru?"

Wadomaru zipped the pack back up and told Ryu, "We're suppose to meet a contact that will tell us where the Iwa nins will be and then there will be a trade off. The town is called Moulin and we need to get there by tomorrow morning, so let's book it and get paid." Ryu agreed and they ran off faster than they were going before.

* The Next Day: Moulin Town *

It was about eight o'clock in the morning when they first caught sight of the town and they hadn't even rested once since they left Konoha. They looked for the contact at a casino called Royal Castle. The two were exhausted from their flight but they henge into two travelers and made their way into the casino. Once inside they desperately looked around for their contact. Ryu leaned to his partner asking him, "What does the contact look like?"

Wadomaru answered, "He's from Takigakure, or rather he was. Apparently he is a mercenary taking any job that a ninja village wouldn't." Ryu said, "So we are looking for a waterfall headband… Found him." Ryu pointed to a man sitting in the corner counting some chips on a table that was next to him. They took notice that his face was covered in a mask and a slash going through his headband. The most visible trait he had was his tan skin with stitchings covering his body like he was sewn together at the joints and turquoise eyes with red where the white should be. The two men walked close to him and Wadomaru said, "May the glory of Iwa stand tall."

The Taki ninja looked up at the two men and said, "Follow me." The masked man stood up and the two disguised men follow him into the back room. They walked through all the workers that were in the back as security in case something went wrong in the casino. The three men entered into a secret room and began conducting business. The two Yugakure ninjas dropped their disguises. Ryu took his pack off and gently placed it on the table telling the Taki ninja, "Alright here is the package. Now where is the money mister- ?"

The rouge ninja told the two, "Kakuzu." He quickly snatched the pack off the table and unzipped it looking into it seeing something he wouldn't have guessed was the package. "This is the package?"

Wadomaru answered, "It is. The Tsuchikage told us everything we needed about what we were to obtained. I'm just glad that the village was already under attack by the Kyuubi, we had used the distraction of the attack to sneak into the village and get it." Kakuzu reached his hand into the pack and pulled out a blanket that was wrapping something else up. He moved the blankets aside and saw the face of a baby, a blonde haired baby that was sleeping peacefully.

Ryu slammed his hand on the table shouting, "You got the kid now give us the money!" Kakuzu wrapped the baby back up in the blanket and placed him back into the pack gently. He placed the pack off to the side and told the two, "The Tsuchikage told me that should you complete your mission, I am to give you your reward." Kakuzu reached under the table and pulled out a metal case and placed it on the table. He opened the case and said, "Here is your reward, 50 million ryo."

Wadomaru reached ahead to make sure it was the right amount, but Kakuzu slammed the case shut on the man's fingers making him wince in pain. Before Ryu could react, Kakuzu leapt over the table and punched him in the face making the man's head knock against the wall knocking him out. The nuke nin grabbed Wadomaru by the back of his neck and slammed his head into the table.

Wadomaru shouted, "What the fuck is wrong with you!" The man simply answered, "The Tsuchikage won't care if the kidnappers he hired were killed by, let's say, Konoha's ANBU unit. As long as he got his package he shouldn't mind." The man widened his eyes in horror and Kakuzu pulled his head off the table only to snap his neck quickly. He snatched the retractable weapon from the dead man and drove it into Ryu's skull keeping the man pinned to the wall.

Kakuzu wiped the blood off of his hands using a piece of cloth from one of the dead ninjas. He picked up the money that spilled out of the case. After he picked up the money he heard a crying sound. He looked around the table and saw that the pack was moving and he knew the baby was awake now, no doubt from all the noise he made when he killed the men. Kakuzu grabbed the pack and opened it up. He needed to shut the kid up if he was to go; as it wouldn't do good if a Konoha ANBU ninja heard the crying and decided to check it out. Looking inside he saw the baby crying his eyes out. He picked the kid up as if it were a foreign object and held the baby with his arms outstretched, not sure what to do next.

All his years as a ninja didn't prepare him to take care of a baby. He had to move. If the baby continued to cry surely someone would hear it and wanted to see what happened. And would see the bodies. He placed the baby back into the pack despite the constant crying and grabbing the metal case full of money. He did a few handsigns and slammed his hand on the ground making a small hole just large enough for him to go through.

He crawled through the tunnel and appeared out of the ground in a store that didn't seem to have anyone in it. Before anyone found him he looked around for something that he could use to shut the baby up and found a bottle of milk. Taking it quickly, he left the store without anyone noticing him.

* Twenty Minutes Later *

Kakuzu was far outside the town of Moulin and took refuge in a cave. He had ripped a large cloth off of a traveler on the way there without them noticing and poured some of the milk onto it, soaking it completely. He placed the cloth in the baby's mouth letting the baby suck out the milk from the cloth, when the baby opened his eyes Kakuzu saw cerulean blue eyes that reminded him of someone, but couldn't think of who. He got curious and unraveled the baby and looked inside his diaper and said, "So you're a boy." The little baby boy stopped sucking winced, making a strange face.

Not knowing what to except what he saw and heard about over the years he sat the baby up on his knee and began to pat his back until the baby made a burping noise. Then he wrapped him back up and said, "Listen kid I'm only taking care of you until I get you to the Tsuchikage, don't take this the wrong way, I can't have you dying on me." He placed the baby back into his pack and picked up the money case as he set off to began his journey to Iwagakure. The only bad thing was that the Tsuchikage had set up his meeting with the kidnappers in a town that was far east of Fire Country, which meant he had to travel across the Land of Fire and across Takigakure territory to Iwagakure to collect his reward.

He felt the baby move in the pack and tried his best to ignore it; up until he began to cry…

* A Day after the Kyuubi attack: Nightfall: Konoha *

In Konoha, at the base of the mountain stood a tower belonging to the village's leader, a man called the 'Hokage'. The village beyond it was in desperate need of repairs after a giant fox called the Kyuubi attacked causing massive earthquakes that destroyed a good deal of the village. Currently residing in the tower was a young man with spiky blonde hair. His hands buried in his face as he sat at a desk in the top floor of the tower. He wore standard jounin attire, a green combat vest jacket and a blue long sleeve ninja shirt with blue ninja pants. He was also wearing a white cloak that went over his attire with red flames along the bottom. This man looked to have seen better days and his eyes showed that he had been doing a lot of crying.

The door to his office swung open revealing a young boy wearing a porcelain animal mask, standard uniforms consisting of black and gray armor, metal arm guards, and a signature spiral tattoo on his left shoulder. Though the animal mask of a dog covered his one could still see his distinct gray hair that was defying gravity as it pointed from the left side of his head.

The man politely bowed in front of the Hokage's desk saying, "Still no sign of him Hokage-sama. We don't even know where to start off. Most of the land and the village itself is greatly damaged and it's near impossible to find out what direction the kidnappers might have gone." The man didn't even respond and seemed to be a statue. The boy moved a little closer saying, "Sensei?"

The Hokage took his hands away from his face revealing cerulean blue eyes, tear marks making their way down his cheek. He looked at the body asking, "Kakashi… Your sure you didn't find anything?" The young ninja named Kakashi shook his head, "No sensei, nothing at all. All the available ANBU tracked looking for your son, but are coming up empty handed."

Young kage leaned back in his chair and said, "Kushina is tearing herself up about this and no matter what I do she seems to get worse." Kakashi didn't know what to say. After everything that's happened he was at a loss for words. Minato said again, "Nothing went how it was suppose to. Arashi wanted siblings and he finally got not one, but two. He was even happier then both Kushina and me when he found out that Kushina was having twins."

Kakashi took his mask off, showing his headband that had a leaf on it that headband was slanted to cover his left eye. He placed his mask on the desk saying, "With all due respect nothing always goes as planned, not even for a kage. We are ninjas after all and nothing is set in stone for us." Before the Hokage could respond his door opened up and walking through it was a tall man with long spiky white hair, clad a long red vest, a green gi, a net shirt underneath that, red sandals, and a large scroll on his back.

When the man saw who it was he stood up asking, "Jiraiya-sensei! Did you find out anything!" The older man named Jiraiya shook his head, "Sorry Minato I didn't, but I've only been to a few villages outlying Konoha a good distance away and found nothing. Whoever kidnapped your son may have gone off farther to avoid being seen, but to what village or town is unknown. Sorry I couldn't find anything."

The Hokage named Minato fell back into his chair, cursing under his breath. Jiraiya looked at Kakashi and then to his student walking over to him telling him, "Minato listen, I don't want to say this, but if your kid was kidnapped by one of your enemies, well then his chance of survival is zero." Minato looked up at his sensei and couldn't believe what he just said. Jiraiya saw his eyes and continued, "Minato you have to live in the reality of the world. Even if it wasn't one of your enemies and just a random kidnapper, then that doesn't make it any better."

Kakashi walked up to his sensei as well, "He's right sensei. As much as the village would like to see the brighter side that we will find Naruto, they need to understand that that's not how the world works." Minato refused to believe any of what they were saying, but before he could say anything Jiraiya told him, "Listen Minato, you have a beautiful wife that needs you, your older boy Arashi needs you, and your daughter Haru will need you the most. She has the Kyuubi sealed inside of her and she will need you to guide her and teach her how to control her power."

Jiraiya's words sunk in a little and watched as he leaned back into his seat. Jiraiya ran his hand through his spiky hair saying, "I suggest you let me take over as temporary kage until you can get a handle on everything. Go home and rest… your family needs you." Minato stood up silently and walked out of the room, leaving the two ninjas in his office.

* Hokage Mansion *

Minato walked to the most secure place in the village, the Hokage's mansion. It was a two story home with a large front and back yard and a very big training ground. He stopped in front of the huge gate and lazily opened the door, walking across the path to his home. Looking ahead he saw a lot of toads large, small, and some giant ones taller than himself. Each toad was croaking a sad melody and their stone eyes watched him walk into his home, he dragged his feet across the ground and up the stairs slowly. After he got up the stairs he stopped in front of a door with two names hanging on the door that read 'Haru & Naruto's Room'.

He opened the door up and saw half the room was painted blue and the other half was painted pink. The room had two cribs, two chairs, and one changing table that was on the farthest wall. Minato noticed that both cribs were empty and he left the room closing the door behind him. He walked down the hall quietly stopping outside the master bedroom.

He moved to open the door, but it opened by itself revealing a blonde haired woman who looked to be in her thirties with fair skin, brown eyes, and a small violet diamond shaped object on her forehead. Except for her bangs, which are parted in the middle and fall down the sides of her face, she has long blonde hair that was tied into two ponytails using bands in the same color as the seal on her forehead. She was wearing a grass-green robe with the kanji for gamble written in black on the back, inside a red circle. Underneath she wore khaki, kimono-style blouse with no sleeves, held closed by a broad, dark bluish-grey obi that matches her trousers. Her blouse was cut quite low, revealing her sizable cleavage. And on her feat she wore open-toed sandals with low heels and nail polish in the same color as her trousers and obi on both her nails.

The woman looked saddened and said, "She needs you right now gaki." Minato nodded and said, "Thank you Tsunade-oba, I'll take it from here." The woman Tsunade moved to the side letting him through and she closed the door behind him. Minato walked into his dark room with the only light coming from the moon's rays outside his window. He looked at his kingsized bed and saw his wife sitting up on the bed. Their oldest son had his head on her lap and she had her baby girl in her arms rocking her back and forth humming a soothing melody with a few sobs coming out of her mouth every now and then.

Minato walked over to the bed, letting his cloak he had on fall to the floor. He sat on the bed and faced his wife, reaching out to move a few strands of her long red hair from her face and looking into her dark violet eyes. She looked up and saw Minato with a concerned look on his face. He asked his wife, "How are you?"

His wife simply said, "I want my son… I want my Naruto… Where is he?" Minato let his hand fall and he replied, "Kushina you need to rest." Kushina shook her head and said, "I don't need rest I need my son… Where is he?"

Minato winced as she asked that and had no choice, "Kushina-chan, they couldn't find any trace of where the kidnappers could've gone. With the Kyuubi attack every shred of potential evidence might have been wiped away." He looked at the tiny baby in her arms and noted her appearance. The small baby girl had blonde hair and three whisker birthmarks on each cheek, he pulled the blanket off of her looking at the seal on her belly.

His wife held the baby closer to her chest letting a few tears slide down her cheek. Minato got up and sat right next to her, pulling her into a hug, rubbing her head to try and soothe her. Arashi woke up at that point and sat up looking at his parents, he saw how sad they were asking his dad, "Dad? Did they find Naruto yet?" Minato looked at his son and pulled him into the hug as well, "No my son they didn't find him yet… I don't think they will either…"

Arashi hugged his dad back and he could hear a sobbing sound coming from his father, but couldn't look up. He said to his parents, "Mom, Dad… When I get older I'm gonna find Naruto, I promise I will." Minato smiled and he rubbed the top of his son's hair telling him, "Even if they don't find him, we shouldn't give up hope that he's out there somewhere; and if you say you'll find him, then you'll find him."

Kushina heard what her oldest son said and felt more relieved by his words. She tried to hum the melody she was doing before to keep her baby Haru asleep. They all laid back down believing that their baby Naruto was still alive somewhere.

* Three Days Later: Land of Earth *

Kakuzu was in no hurry to get to Iwagakure as he was sure the Tsuchikage wouldn't be happy to see him after a unfortunate incident years ago. He stopped at a small restaurant for travelers and he took a seat. Ordering his food, he took the baby out of the pack and pulled out bottle filled with milk he got awhile back. If he wanted the reward for this mission then he needed to make sure the baby was well taken care of until he got to Iwagakure. One of the waitresses came over giving him a bowl of curry he ordered and saw the small baby in his arms commenting on how cute the baby was, "Oh he's soooooo cute! What's the little one's name?"

He stopped feeding the baby for a moment and handed the baby to her asking, "Hold him for a moment." The girl was confused but took the baby and watched as he turned his back to her and began to eat. She sat down and unraveled the baby from his blanket and inspected him finding a band on his little ankle. She said out loud, "So your name is Naruto Namikaze is it? That's a cute name."

At that moment Kakuzu froze and put his bowl down and turned to the woman taking the baby, he quickly pulled out some money and slammed it on the table before taking his leave. He was in such a hurry that he left his pack and a few other things back at the restaurant. He began to run, all the while thinking, 'That fucking idiot! He had those two ninjas kidnap the Yondaime Hokage's son! How did I not see it, the blonde hair, the blue eyes, and now that fucking name!' Kakuzu picked up the pace running even more quickly. He glanced down at the baby and saw that his eyes were open and staring right at him still giggling.

He said to the baby, "Don't give me that look! I have to get you to Iwa now!" Naruto began to giggle and held his arms out to Kakuzu, but the ninja tried to ignore him and kept running, wanting to get this over with now.

* Iwagakure *

The rocky mountain ranges that surround the village and country make it a natural stronghold. The village profits from this advantageous position and is proud of its strong defenses. The village itself sits among a mountain range consisting of small narrow waterfalls, made of buildings composed of rock and stone, shaped from large, elevated formations of rock into tower-like structures. Many of its buildings sit on cliffs and are connected by a network of bridges. The Tsuchikage's palace seems to be the tallest structure with a cone shaped roof.

Though for Kakuzu that made it more difficult as getting through these mountains was no cake walk. He reached up and took off the metal plate of his headband and buried it, reaching into his ninja pouch he took out a scroll that had the Iwa symbol on it, two rocks with the smaller rock in front of the bigger rock. Setting his other weapons on the ground where his headband plate was he kept the baby cradled in his arm and slowly walked to the entrance of the village.

When he got close to the gate he found himself surrounded by ten Iwa ninjas. One of the Iwa nins asked, "What business do you have here stranger?" Kakuzu used had Naruto cradled in his right arm and used his left hand to hold out the scroll to the ninja. The man carefully took hold of the scroll. Unraveling it, he read its contents and then closed it up. He told Kakuzu, "This way."

Kakuzu followed the man across a bridge to the Tsuchikage's tower. They entered the tower and came to a stop at what he assumed was the Tsuchikage's door, the Iwa nin knocked on the door and heard a deep voice say, "Come in, come in." The ninja pushed the doors aside and walked in with Kakuzu following behind him. Kakuzu noticed two other men in the room that took their leave when his group entered. He saw that both had strong chakra signatures and noted each of them.

The first was a older man wearing a large headpiece consisting of a three pointed crown-like ridge, bearing both his Iwagakure forehead protector and ring, along with a prominent black piece of armor running across his cheeks and the bridge of his nose. Despite his advanced age, his hair was a solid red color.

The second was a very tall man that was heavily armored with a furnace on the back that emitted what looks to be steam. His armor extends all the way to the bottom half of his face, covering it completely. Aside from his red armor, he also wears a red kasa (conical straw hat) that seemed to be composed of metal. Over his armor he wore a black gi with the sleeves torn off.

Kakuzu looked at the desk and saw a very short man as small as a child. His facial features included a triangular beard and a mustache with angular corners. He had a big red nose and thick eyebrows. The top of his head was completely bald, although he had some white hair at the back and sides of his head, the back of which is tied with a yellow ribbon into a ponytail.

The old man told the three Iwa nins in the room, "You may take your leave." All three men nodded and walked out. However the Tsuchikage told the two other ninjas, "Roshi, Han." Both men stopped at the door and looked at the Tsuchikage.

The old kage told them, "Remember who you serve." Both men nodded and left the room closing the door behind them. Kakuzu saw out of the corner of his eye an Iwa ANBU ninja came out of the wall using a jutsu the Iwa nins are famous for. Kakuzu handed the kid over to the ANBU and he took the baby who began to cry the moment he left Kakuzu's arms, over to the Tsuchikage.

The ANBU ninja placed the baby on the kage's desk and moved away as the Tsuchikage investigated the baby, checking him over twice to be sure and then even a third time. After he was done he sighed saying to Kakuzu, "Tell me that you have a powerful genjutsu over this baby and that you can dispel it right now." Kakuzu didn't understand asking, "What the hell are you talking about?" The Tsuchikage grabbed the baby by the blanket he was wrapped up in and tossed him at Kakuzu.

Kakuzu reacted by instinct and grabbed the baby. Despite being thrown the baby stopped crying and started to smile when he was with Kakuzu. The Tsuchikage said in a low tone, "I paid fifty million ryo to have the baby of the Yondaime Hokage brought to me, the baby that has the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox sealed in it. Do you know how difficult it was to get information like that? Do you know how much careful planning it took to make sure that the package containing the Kyuubi would be delivered to me? That's what I wanted and yet this baby has neither the seal on his body nor any characteristics that he has the beast in him."

Kakuzu made his voice low as well arguing back, "My job was to bring the baby to you, it was those two incompetent ninjas you hired who failed you. Don't make this like I failed the mission Onoki." The Tsuchikage Onoki shook his head telling Kakuzu, "I cannot let this go unpunished. I will kill you and the baby of that bastard as well. I can't have you going around letting rumors spread that I authorized the mission to kidnap the Yondaime's baby. That would turn out very, very bad for me."

Onoki held his hand up to his ANBU saying, "Kill him." The ANBU ninja hoped into action quickly, charging at Kakuzu. The nuke-nin however wasn't intimidated and opened up a wound in his arm pulling out an explosive tag. The next thing the village heard was a loud explosion that came from their kage's tower.

Kakuzu jumped out of the building at blinding speed and kept running, going faster than he'd ever run before, still carrying the baby. He was lucky he avoided any ninjas and ran to where he left his weapons. He found the spot where he left everything and jetted off once he got what he needed. He had to get out of Iwa now. The back of his shirt began to move around and thread like wings ripped through the back of the that he used to fly at amazing speeds, putting as much distance between him and Iwa as possible.

* Two Hours Later: Takigakure *

Kakuzu made it back to Taki territory without stopping and took a moment to rest after his ordeal with the Tsuchikage. He set Naruto down on the ground, still wrapped in his blanket, as he said to himself, "I'm screwed… The Tsuchikage is after me, my village wants me dead, I have the son of the Yondaime Hokage with me… Fuck… I can't keep this kid with me." He looked around and made a kind of small boat out of twigs and some of his threads coming from his body. He placed the boat next to a stream with the baby on it.

He lifted up the boat and baby and held it in the stream ready to send the baby off. Little Naruto opened his eyes and looked into Kakuzu's eyes almost as if pleading him not to do it. Kakuzu began to have a struggle within himself saying, "If they connect me with your kidnapping then Konoha will be after me quick… but what if they catch me without you?" After he thought over a few different scenarios he grabbed Naruto and said, "You're a nuisance, but I could use you."

He got up and walked away. He looked at the baby cradled in his arm and watched in amusement as the baby kept giggling and smiling, Kakuzu kept walking through a forest saying, "The moment you start to walk little Naruto your gonna begin your training. And whether you like it or not and it will not be a cake walk." Kakuzu moved through the forest, taking on a student he intends to protect himself.