Shinigami No Naruto

Part One: Power of the Soul

Chapter One: A Very Different Life

Scarcely sixteen hours had passed and already the council had forgotten the Yondaime. Little more than half a day had passed since the death of Konoha's greatest leader perished, vanquishing the Kyuubi no Kitsune and the village leaders were clamoring for the son of their savior's death.

Uchiha Fugaku had leaped out of his seat to the right of the Hokage's chair, pressing fists to the polished oak. "Sandaime-sama, we must end the demon before it has a chance to recuperate. It is weak now, and we would be doing a great wrong to those it has already slain to let it live any longer. I put forth a motion for the execution of the Jinchuuriki child on the grounds that he is a mortal threat to the existence of Konohagakure no Sato."

Sarutobi Hiruzen, recently reinstated Sandaime Hokage, cradled said "demon" in his arms, his politicians mask concealing the rage he felt toward the First Clansman of the First Clan, the Uchihas. "Fugaku-san, what I hold in my arms here is not the Kyuubi itself, but the prison of the Kyuubi. I would ask you to remember that there is a distinction between the prisoner and the warden manning the walls. I assure you; Naruto-kun is not in any way possessed or influenced by the demon."

"It matters not, whether he is the prisoner or the prison. He should still be put to death. If you are correct, and he is not possessed now, he could be in the future. That child is the greatest threat to this village since the Shodai defeated Madara at the Valley of the End. If the seal were to weaken, or even break, we would be asking to be annihilated. We cannot count on a miracle happening again to save us."

"So basically what you are saying is that you do not trust Yondaime-kun. He was a seal master, and assured me moments before his death that the seal is his greatest achievement."

"I do not dispute that Yondaime-sama was a seal master. However, he was human, and as such, was not infallible. I do not wish to risk the fate of the entire village on the skills of one man, however skilled he may be."

Sarutobi turned away from the Uchiha leader to the rest of the council, "Who else among you believes the same?"

One by one, the council members voiced their opinions. "I, Hyuuga Hiashi, First Clansman of Clan Hyuuga second Clan Uchiha's motion."

"I, Aburame Shibi, First Clansman of Clan Aburame vote against the Uchiha's motion."

"I, Nara Shikaku, First Clansman of Clan Nara vote against the Uchiha's motion."

"I, Yamanaka Inoichi, First Clansman of Clan Yamanaka vote in favor of the Uchiha's motion."

"I, Yakushi Sano, First Clansman of Clan Yakushi vote in favor of the Uchiha's motion."

"I, Akamichi Chouza, First Clansman of Clan Akamichi vote in favor of the Uchiha's motion."

"I, Inuzuka Tsume, First Clansman of Clan Inuzuka vote in favor of the Uchiha's motion."

"I, Kedouin Agari, First Clansman of Clan Kedouin vote in favor of the Uchiha's motion."

"I, Akiudo Jin, First Guildsman of the Merchants Alliance, vote in favor of the Uchiha's motion."

"I, Bunmin Hakuchi, First Councilman of the Villager Council, vote in favor of the Uchiha's motion."

"I see then," Sarutobi said coldly. "It is well that this boy's fate is not up to you then. As the sitting Hokage, I exercise my right to name this child as a ward of the Hokage. Furthermore, I hereby classify the sealing of the Kitsune no Youko as an S-class secret, with the death penalty to anyone who reveals it to anyone who does not have prior knowledge of it, excepting the child himself and the sitting Hokage. Order in Council, et cetera, et cetera."

"Your word is law, Hokage-sama," Uchiha Fugaku bowed formally to him and excused himself, with seven council members following him.

Sarutobi Hiruzen sighed heavily, sinking into the plush chair behind him. "Thank you for your support," he said, nodding to the two councilmen that remained.

"As an Aburame, I know that it is not what is inside one that makes a person. I assume that Shikaku-san feels the same."

"I voted against the Uchiha mostly because it would have been far too troublesome to deal with my wife otherwise."

"You never change Shikaku-kun. Anyways, I need to find someone willing to take care of Naruto here. I do not dare to put him in the orphanage, or adopt him myself. That might give Danzo's faction enough support to unseat me as Hokage. And I know that neither of your clans are politically strong enough to protect him. I don't know any civilian clan well enough to be sure that they won't turn around and cut his throat the moment he is out of sight. I need someone loyal enough to raise him properly, and apolitical enough to be able to withstand the pressure that will be given."

"Then let me have him." The three men turned to face the intruder to see a purple haired woman in a ninja mesh shirt, almost indecently short skirt and long tan trench coat.

"Anko-san, while it is a pleasure to see you, why would you want the burden of raising Naruto?"

"Because he is like me. I was listening to the entire meeting, and see that practically anywhere he is placed he is almost certainly going to be abused. I can raise him to be a competent shinobi when he comes of age. Also, the entire civilian population is terrified of me, almost without exception, and most of the shinobi population is wary of me, so he will be protected from them that way. My place is big enough to house another person, and my salary as a tokubetsu jounin is sufficient to support us both."

Sarutobi was impressed by the eighteen-year-olds speech. It was the most serious he had seen her since she was abandoned by his student five years ago. Leaning back, he considered her offer as the two clan heads left the room. She was certainly one of the strongest tokubetsu jounin in the village. With her temper, he almost pitied anyone who would mess with her or Naruto, assuming that she didn't kill the boy out of temper. He had two sons himself, and knew quite well the stress that an infant could generate. Plus, raising the boy would do her as much good for herself as Naruto.

"Alright. I appoint you the boy's legal guardian. Since Minato's relationship with Kushina was kept a secret, let him keep his mother's surname until he is old enough to learn of his lineage." Hiruzen handed the newly christened Uzumaki Naruto to Anko.

"Thank you Hokage-sama. I will do my best."

The Sandaime let a wry smile twist his lips. "I'm sure you will, Anko-san." With that she turned on her heel and left the council room with her newborn charge.

Two weeks later

Anko was at the market shopping for baby formula. The past two weeks had been a living hell for the newly nineteen year old kunoichi. She had expected to be woken up in the middle of the night to tend to the infant Naruto's needs, but this went beyond the pale. She had not slept for more than five hours at a time since she had brought Naruto home. Normally, she didn't sleep more than five hours a night anyways, but before she would at least lie on her bed and gain some rest that way. Oftentimes, when Naruto awoke it took about two hours to get him to go back to sleep. She spent the entire time on her feet humming and rocking the boy because he didn't like her to sit down. She swore moment her bottom touched the chair; the damnable brat started howling as if she were taking away his favorite fox plushy. So she would pace the house, gently patting his back, listening to him gurgle in pleasure softly.

Then there were the looks. Normally, she wouldn't be bothered by them, after all, she had been on the receiving end of them for the past five years, ever since her sensei turned traitor. It was the glares sent to her charge that got her riled up. She could understand why they hated her, to a very limited extent, but to hate an infant whose only crime was to be the son of the Hokage (although they didn't know that) was inexcusable. She ignored the whispers of the snake bitch and the demon brat. More often than not, she would place a Henge on herself before going shopping for Naruto. The shopkeeper usually gave her odd looks, because she would buy thirty or forty packages of powdered formula at a time, and had been asked more than once how many children she had, to be shocked to find out that she only had one.

Anko visited the Hokage quite regularly, both to keep the old man updated on how Naruto was doing and to ask for advice. She had never been a mother before, or even been in a serious relationship for that matter, and sought the elderly Hokage for instruction on how to care for a newborn boy. She had considered more than once giving the child back to the Hokage, explaining that she just couldn't handle him, but one look at his grinning, cherubic face and she would change her mind.

Thanking the cashier, Anko picked up her bags in one arm, the other holding Naruto and headed for her favorite dango joint. After last night when he absolutely refused to keep any of the formula she fed him down, she needed a stiff drink.

Four years after the Day of the Kyuubi

"Time to get up brat." It was five o'clock in the morning, and Anko was in Naruto's room, flipping him out of bed.

Naruto squawked noisily, flailing around, tangling himself in his blankets as he landed on the carpeted floor with a thump. Naruto sat up and blearily looked at the clock on his nightstand, reading the glowing red numbers. "It's only five o'clock Mom. Why do I have to get up so early?"

"Because today is the first day of your ninja training." That immediately perked the four-year-old blond up.

"Really? I'm gonna start learning to be a ninja like you Mom?"

"Not if you don't get ready soon." Like that Naruto was out of the room in a flash, stripping out of his nightclothes with the lack of modesty that only the very young could achieve. Smirking, she followed her son into the bathroom, picking up the discarded sleepwear and dumping it in the hamper as she went along.

Twenty minutes later Anko and Naruto were outside in the darkened backyard, Naruto shivering in the early morning chill. He was wearing a bright orange tee shirt that she had sewn the Uzumaki swirl crest on and a pair of blue shorts. "All right. We are going to begin your physical conditioning today. If ya want to be a ninja, ya gotta be in shape. When you are good enough, we will be adding weights to your work out. But that's not for a while yet." Looking around the yard she thought for a minute.

"I want you to do twenty laps around the fence to warm up. After that, you will do fifty push ups, and fifty crunches." Naruto hesitated slightly at that, but took off when he saw his mother's face start to harden. The first lesson that he had ever learned was to never question his mother. He already had quite a bit of impromptu evasion training, as Anko was extremely handy with what Naruto termed the 'sharp and shinies.' Finishing he started his push ups, collapsing into a quivering heap after the requisite fifty. Anko was on him immediately.

"Hey, break time ain't yet, ya still got another fifty crunches to do!" Rolling over onto his back, she slowly and strenuously made his way through the last fifty exercises. When he finished, he looked around for Anko, noticing that the yard was deserted. Anko's voice carried through an open window.

"C'mon brat, breakfast is ready." Naruto brightened immediately at the mention of food. Pushing himself up on quivering legs he stumbled through the door and collapsed into his chair. Naruto looked at Anko in surprise when she set his meal down in front of him.

"I thought you said I wasn't supposed to have ramen for breakfast Mom?"

"Well, today is your first day of shinobi training, so I figured that I would cut you some slack today."

Naruto eyed her suspiciously. "This isn't another one of your tests is it?" Naruto had learned quickly not to take for granted anything that Anko gave him, seemingly out of the goodness of her heart. Mostly because she didn't seem to have one.

"Nah," she said, ruffling his already mussed-up hair, smiling gently. "Just enjoy your ramen. But this is a one time deal," she said seriously. "You know what will happen if you try to break into the ramen cupboard." Naruto shuddered. Anko had booby trapped the ramen cupboard with a few small exploding tags last month, when he had tried to sneak some ramen in between meals. They weren't enough to actually harm him, but he did get slightly singed.

"Hai, Mom." Turning to his cooling noodles, he broke his chopsticks, gave thanks for his meal, and dug in. Anko placed a second bowl in front of him when he finished the first, and a third, and a fourth, before he sat back with a contented sigh. She let him sit there digesting for a couple minutes before she herded him back outside.

Next were fifty pull ups, using the gutter lining the house as an improvised pull up bar. Anko had to lift him up of course, and for a while he was too nervous to listen to her. She got his attention by throwing three kunai at him, deliberately missing, telling him next time she wouldn't if he did not get to work. He did fifty of those, and then dropped to the ground to catch his breath. Anko was on him in a second. "Whatcha doing, maggot? I didn't say you could rest yet. Back up on your feet." She grabbed the waist of his pants and hauled him to his feet. "See that tree there," she asked pointing to a sixty foot magnolia. "I want you to see how high you can get as fast as you can." Naruto flashed a grin and dashed to the tree. He bounced up and caught the lowest branch. Wrapping his arms around it, he swung one of his legs over and righted himself. Balancing himself with one hand on the trunk he shimmied up to the next branch, repeating the process until ten minutes later, he stood with both arms wrapped tightly around the trunk, laughing exuberantly as the top of the tree swayed under his weight.

"Alright, enough fun Naruto-chan, get your ass back down here on the double!"

"Okay Mom." He unwrapped one arm from the trunk and waved wildly, sending the tree into greater arcs, causing him to wrap his arm back around the tree, laughing again. He monkeyed his way down the tree again, splaying his arms wide with a stupid grin on his face. "How'd I do?"

"Not bad brat. You could do better, but that is why I am here to teach you. What we are going to be working on is your physical stamina and agility and basic taijutsu." Saying that she settled into a wide stance. "Come and attack me." Naruto grinned mischievously. It was going to be a long day.

Eleven hours later

Mitarashi Anko was walking down the street with her son in tow. She had spent the entire day gauging his talents. So far, he seemed to be leaning to taijutsu and probably ninjutsu, given the stamina he had displayed today. On the flip side of that, he was probably going to suck at genjutsu, showing very little of the mental agility to create genjutsu. Then again, he was only four, so who knew.

"Hey, Mom, where are we going?" Several of the villagers scowled in her direction when they heard his voice. She had taught the villagers a long time ago not to mess with her or Naruto, but that didn't stop them from giving the pair the evil eye whenever they had the chance.

"We are going to dinner Naruto-chan."

"Where are we having dinner? I'm hungry."

Anko let a small smile curve her lips. "Yes I would imagine you would be Naruto. Come here," she said as they reached the corner." Naruto approached her and let her pick him up, covering his eyes.

"Mom, I can't see now."

"Well that is the idea. It's a surprise."

She imagined his eyes widening in comprehension. She continued to walk for another two minutes before she put the young boy down on a padded stool. Naruto burst into a bright laugh when he saw where they were. "Yatta! Ichiraku's is the best! Hello Teuchi-ossan!"

The middle aged man smiled as he saw his favorite customer. "And how are you doing today Naruto?"

"Mom started to teach me to be a ninja today! I'm gonna be the greatest ninja ever when I grow up!"

Teuchi grinned amusedly and looked over to his adopted mother. She was slumped over onto the counter, obviously exhausted. "And how are you doing today, Anko-san?"

"I'm fine, just tired." Gesturing to her son she continued. "Let him have as much ramen as he wants. He deserves it."

"Okay then. What kind of ramen do you want Naruto-kun?"

Naruto thought about that for a minute, resting his chin in his palm in an almost comical fashion. "Give me three bowls of beef ramen and two bowls of miso ramen."

"And you?" The cook asked turning back to Anko. "One bowl of miso."

"Coming right up." Teuchi turned to the rear of the bar. "Ayame-chan, get five bowls of ramen ready for Naruto."

Ayame appeared three minutes later, with a bowl of beef ramen for Naruto and miso for Anko. Anko thanked the girl and slowly set to consuming the noodles and broth. She had never expected Naruto to do as well as he had. They boy seemed to have a nigh infinite well of energy to draw on. When he was finished with one of her tasks, he would sit down and rest for a minute, but be back up and bouncing a minute later. She would never admit this to another living soul but she was extremely proud of her son. Teuchi came back to give Naruto his final bowl of beef ramen when Anko looked up and asked him a question. "Hey Teuchi-san, how was it raising Ayame-chan?"

Teuchi stopped and looked at Anko in shock. Mitarashi Anko was asking him for parenting advice? "Uh, well she was a real handful at Naruto's age. Like most children I would imagine."

"Heh, that's slightly comforting to know. I would never think the day would come when I got run into the ground by a four year old."

"Children are surprising."

"Tell me about it." That was when Naruto's bowl clattered emptily into the stack of other bowls.

"Hey Teuchi-ossan, is my miso ramen ready yet?"

"I'll go check Naruto-kun. Be right back." Anko let her head slump back down into her arms as the elder parent left to go get Naruto the rest of his ramen.

"Hey Mom, does this use up one of my ramen coupons?"

"Nah kid. This is a special treat." The ramen coupons were an idea Anko had come up with a while ago to try to limit the boy's nearly endless ramen intake. Well that and trying to get him to stop asking her if they could eat at Ichiraku's every single night. Whenever he was especially good, she rewarded him with a ramen coupon. He had to use a coupon whenever he wanted to go out to Ichiraku's to eat. She usually worked it so that he was only able to visit the stand about three times a week. He made the limited visits up for the volume of ramen he consumed though. He never consumed less than four bowls, more often eating six or eight. She had explained to him that a shinobi needed to have variety of food other than the various flavors of ramen found at his favorite eating joint.

After he finished his last two bowls of ramen, she picked her now-sleepy son and carried him back to her house. By the time she was unlocking the front door and disabling the traps, Naruto was sleeping soundly, drooling slightly on her shoulder. Years ago, she would have smashed the kid through a wall or three for doing that, but the past four years had smoothed some of her rough edges away. Gently she placed Naruto in his bed and tucked the blankets gently around him. She stayed there for a few minutes, sitting on the edge of his bed and softly stroking his hair.

After a few minutes of that, she got up, silently closed the door and went into the kitchen. She retrieved a bottle of sake and a saucer and retreated into the family room. She poured herself some of the rice liquor and tossed it down, sighing as she felt the alcohol make its way through her system. Tomorrow she would go and see the Hokage to tell him that she was starting to train him, as well as update the old man on his general status.

She picked up one of the scrolls that lined the shelf behind the couch. It was a scroll of seals. She figured that since her son was the Kyuubi container, she should try to learn about the seal that his biological father had placed on him. Of course, there wasn't going to be anything on the Dead Demon Consuming Seal, as it was invented by the Yondaime and it was a kinjutsu, but there was some on the Eight Trigrams Sealing Style, which was used in conjunction with the Dead Demon Consuming Seal to seal the Kyuubi in Naruto. She wasn't planning on becoming a seal master, but she did want to know how the seal worked, and how to strengthen or weaken it, should the need arise. Eventually she wanted Naruto to be able to use the Kyuubi's chakra as well as his own in battle, and to do that here she was.

The scroll was astoundingly dry. Anko marveled that the author had managed to take a subject as interesting as sealing jutsu and make it sound boring. Three hours later, she rolled the scroll up and put it back in its slot, heading to bed.

The next morning Anko woke Naruto up at the same time as the previous day, flipping him out of bed. She started him up with his morning calisthenics. Going back inside, she hefted a training dummy outside, hoisting it on one of the branches of the magnolia that he had scaled yesterday. When he had completed the morning workout she had assigned him, she brought him over to the dummy. She versed him in the basics of taijutsu for three hours until Naruto's stomach rumbled loudly. Naruto grinned sheepishly. "Sorry Mom."

"Well, we have been out here for a couple hours so why don't we break for breakfast?"

"Okay!" Naruto raced inside, rifling through the bottom cupboard, deciding which cereal he wanted to have this morning. Eventually he decided on one, and poured himself four bowls of cereal. Anko paused in amusement as she fished a box of dango from another cupboard. She figured that it was some effect of the Kyuubi sealed inside him that he ate so much. When she first adopted him, she had been slightly goggle eyed at the grocery bill for the first few weeks. She learned from carefully spied upon conversations with other mothers that Naruto's eating habits were not the norm for anyone outside the Akamichi clan.

When Naruto finished his meal, she ushered him upstairs to get a shower and change. "After all, do you want to stink when we go visit the Hokage? The Hokage's assistants probably won't let you see him if they have to pinch their noses when they see you." Naruto got undressed, put his sweaty clothes in the hamper and entered the bathroom. Anko followed him, and washed his hair under the spray of the shower head. She noted that his hair was getting kinda long. She should probably give him a cut in the next week or so. When he was satisfactorily clean, she turned off the spray and wrapped a towel around his head, rubbing vigorously despite his protests. Dried off, he dressed in another orange shirt and green pants. The pair walked to the front door, and Anko locked it behind them. She knelt down in front of the boy, holding her arms behind her. She could practically hear Naruto smiling as he climbed onto her back. Waiting a moment for him to latch on, she leaped to the rooftops, the wind whistling by nearly drowning Naruto's wild giggles out. When she landed in front of the Hokage Tower, Naruto was gasping, adrenaline pumping through his system.

"When can I do that Mom?"

"In another couple years Naruto-kun. Right now your legs aren't strong enough to jump from roof to roof. But that is why you are training every morning now, so that you can become strong enough to do that one day." Taking his small hand in hers, she led the way to the top of the tower where the Hokage's office was situated. Greeting the receptionist, Anko and Naruto entered the old office. Sarutobi looked up from a stack of paperwork to see who had entered. The Sandaime leaned back and smiled. A visit from Anko and Naruto was always a pleasant distraction from the endless mountain of paperwork that plagued him.

"Well, what do I owe this pleasure Anko-san?"

"Well, I just wanted to let you know how Naruto has been doing. I have also started his ninja training. He shows a remarkable aptitude for taijutsu and probably ninjutsu."

"That is good to know. I will want weekly reports on his progress, you know."

"Hai Hokage-sama." Beside Anko, Naruto was fidgeting, wanting to greet the old man, but knowing if he interrupted his mother she would be angry at him. When they both fell silent, Naruto walked up to the desk and pulled himself up so that he could see over the edge.

"Hello, Grandpa Sarutobi."

Both Anko and the Sandaime sweat dropped. Anko cursed herself. He had overheard her cussing the old man out once a while ago, and had taken a liking to the name. Hiruzen sweat dropped for an entirely different reason. He was one of the top five ninja in the world, and here was this munchkin calling him old man. Naruto was a lot like his mother, in more ways than one. Hiruzen leaned forward, placing his arms on his desk. "And how are you this fine morning, young man?"

"I'm good. I had to get up early this morning to do my ninja training. It was still dark when we went outside."

"I see," the old man responded

"I'm gonna train real hard too."

"Why is that Naruto-kun?"

"'Cuz I'm gonna be Hokage one day."

"Really? Then you will have to train as hard as you can. I can only pick the strongest ninja in the village to be the next Hokage."

"Okay Gramps. Just be ready to hand over that hat when I do."

The Sandaime smiled. "I look forward to the day that that happens Naruto. Get strong fast okay?"

"Hell yeah!"

Six years after the Day of the Kyuubi

Naruto was having a pleasant dream of ramen when a piercing yell interrupted his sleep. "Goooooooooood moooooooooooooooooooning Naaaaaaaaaarutooooooooooo-chaaaaaaaaan!" That was all the warning he received before a crushing weight drove into his midriff, divesting him of breath and throwing him out of his bed. A minute later when he had gotten his wind back and no longer felt as if he wasn't going to puke up a lung or something, he got up on his knees and glared at his mother. "Damn you Mom, can't you ever be a normal parent?"

"What, and miss that priceless expression on you face? Hell no. 'Sides, normal is boring."

"Maybe if you are a psychopath," Naruto muttered, unfortunately not quietly enough. He fled his room to the back yard, where Anko took out her irritation at him by doubling his morning calisthenics. Three hours later, an absolutely exhausted Naruto dragged himself into the kitchen. He poured himself half a dozen bowls of cereal, ignoring the smirk that Anko sent his way as she started on a carton of dango. When he finished, he sighed and headed out back to the backyard.

"Hold it there short stuff. Where do you think you are going?"

Naruto turned to face her, confusion painted across his six-year-old features. "Aren't we going to train?"

"Not this morning. We are going to go shopping."

"Shopping for what?"

"Well, clothes for one and ninja tools for another."

Naruto's face lit up the instant ninja tools were mentioned, his mind immediately leaping to kunai. His mother never let him play with any of her kunai unfortunately; saying that he did not know how to handle them properly, to which he would retort that he would if she taught him. Anko would then smile and set him to his calisthenics. "Really Mom? I get my own kunai?"

"Well, duh. You are starting the Shinobi Academy tomorrow and you would look like an idiot if you didn't have your stuff."

"Can we go to the weapon's shop first?"


"Why not?" he asked pouting.

"Because I said so brat."

Scowling and crossing his arms across his chest he sulked. "Well, go get a shower and change into some clean clothes. You can't go out smelling like an armpit. The sooner you stop stinking up the house the sooner we can go."

Naruto was up and out of the room in a flash, forgetting to take care of his breakfast. Anko sighed and gathered the bowls up, closing the box and putting it back where it belonged. Five minutes later, Naruto was back downstairs, his hair still dripping. Extending an arm, she motioned for him to come closer.

"C'mere, lemme smell ya."

He did, letting his mother sniff his hair, armpits and feet, giggling all the while. "Come on Mom. I took a shower. I don't stink like an armpit anymore."

Anko took her time examining him, turning it into a game of sorts. "Well I suppose you don't at that. Now you only smell like a skunk."

"Mooooom," Naruto said, drawing her name out.

"Alright, alright brat. We can go now." Anko locked the door behind them and led her son to a shop in the shinobi district whose owner she was on friendly terms with. "Hey Ikitaro-san."

"Hey there Anko-san. What are you doing here? You don't need more ninja mesh do you?"

"Nah. This trip is for my brat here," she said, ruffling Naruto's hair. "He starts the Academy tomorrow, so he needs some new clothes."

"I see. Well, you know where I will be if you need me."

Anko waved Ikitaro away and followed her son as he wandered around the store, looking at all the various articles of clothing. Spying something that he liked he rushed off down one of the aisles. When Anko had caught up with him, he was holding up a miniature orange jumpsuit.

"Hey Mom, can I get this?"

"Hmm... Let me think," she said, putting her chin in one hand. "HELL NO!" she shouted.

Naruto looked crestfallen. "Why not?"

"One, because that much orange will cause brain damage. Two, how the hell are you supposed to hide when you look like something that escaped from the circus?"

"Well, I could use a Transformation Technique when I had to," Naruto said.

Anko just sighed. "Just put that back brat. I guess I gotta choose your clothes for you since you seem to be color blind."

Twenty minutes later Anko and son stood in front of the cash register with a stack of clothes. In the end, Anko had allowed Naruto to help choose his clothes. He now had half a dozen shirts in dark colors, ranging from blue and black. He also had several pair of cargo pants in black, red and one in white. Anko also grabbed some black cloths, for Naruto to tie over his hair and hide the bright pigment. At Naruto's insistence, she had included an altered tan trench coat. Anko thought it was the most ridiculous looking thing in the entire store, after those jumpsuits, and she let him know it.

"But you wear a trench coat Mom."

"I am also twice your height, so it doesn't look stupid on me." Nonetheless, she bought it.

Next they visited the weapons shop. The Urahara Shop was a small, unassuming building deep in the Black Metal Alley, the blacksmiths and weapon makers' district in Konoha. There were two kids out front sweeping. Well, one was sweeping and the other was slacking off. The one slacking had red hair and an annoyed expression, while his compatriot was female and had her dark hair in two ponytails at opposite sides of her head.

The dark haired girl bowed and greeted them in a soft tone, while the red headed boy took an aggressive stance toward Naruto.

"Hey Anko-san, who's the brat?"

"What brat? The only brat I see here is you, Jinta-chan," emphasizing the diminutive suffix. "If by brat however, you mean my son here, his name is Naruto." Jinta scowled at the kunoichi.

"Well, I don't think there is anything in layaway for you here, so you may as well go away," Jinta said in a dismissive tone, making a shooing gesture.

"Hey," Naruto said, coming out from behind Anko's legs. "The only person who is allowed to talk to my mom like that is me!"

Jinta turned back and leered at the shorter blond. "Whatcha gonna do about it runt?"

"Well I don't think I am going to do anything, but that guy probably will," Naruto replied, pointing to the towering figure with square glasses and a handlebar mustache behind Jinta. Jinta froze, slowly turning to face the smoldering figure of Tsukabishi Tessai. Tessai bent down and grabbed Jinta by the nape of his neck, hauling him up the thirty or so feet it took for the man to straighten, lecturing the sulking Jinta about how customers were to be treated. Anko smirked and gave Naruto a pat on the head, smiling at him when he looked up at her. Tessai ushered the pair into the store proper as he set Jinta and Ururu back to chores. Urahara Kisuke wandered up to the front of the store.

"Well hello Anko-san. It's been a while."

"Yeah it has. I haven't had many missions recently. Mostly because of the brat here," she said gesturing to Naruto. "We're here to get my son supplies for the Academy. He starts it tomorrow."

"Well then. Let's get started, shall we Naruto-kun?"

Naruto nodded vigorously. Twenty minutes later, Naruto was staring at the pile of shaped and sharpened steel in front of him. There were twenty kunai and forty shuriken in two weapon pouches. There was a roll of ninja wire, and a shirt of ninja mesh, basically a finely crafted shirt of chain mail. At a distance it looked just like fish netting, but upon closer inspection one discovered that it was not woven of cloth but steel. Also, there were four steel bracelets with four iron nuggets inset in them, each one inscribed with the number ten. Anko wouldn't tell him what the bracelets were for, saying that he would find out at home during training. Finally, Anko had purchased a pair of bracers and greaves. The bracers and greaves were made of thin steel made more durable than normal by a special process that infused chakra into the material. The armor was padded with leather on the underside to protect against chafing. The bracers were hexagonal, the circle of steel shaped into six planes. The greaves were fashioned in a similar manner, being about twice as thick as the bracers. As Naruto followed Anko home he was on cloud nine. He had his ninja tools, weapon pouches weighing his pants down, the ninja mesh shirt cold against his skin, bracers strapped on under his sleeves and greaves over his pants from knee to ankle, leaving about three inches of pants to cover his feet and the odd bracelets in a bag in his hand. He could hardly stop himself from racing on ahead, eager to get home and try out his new equipment.

When the pair reached the house Naruto was quivering with restrained energy. Anko sighed. The way he was now, he would be up all night most likely unless she really tired him out. She forced him to sit down and eat some lunch before allowing him to escape to the back yard.

"Alright Naruto. I bet you want to try out your new kunai and shuriken."

Naruto nodded madly. "Well that sucks, 'cuz we ain't working with weapons today. Instead, I will show you what these are for," Anko announced, holding the bracelets up. "These are chakra weight bracelets. Basically, what these things will do is improve your physical strength and overall stamina. You are going to be wearing these 24/7 from now on, when you are training, eating sleeping, even at school. However, you are not to tell anyone that you are wearing these."

"Why not Mom?"

"Well, would you tell an enemy all the ninjutsu you were going to use in a battle? No? Well, this is basically the same thing. While they are your classmates, and one day fellow shinobi, that doesn't mean that you should let them know everything about you. In fact, that brings me to my second thing. You know that you enter the Academy tomorrow. As such, I am going to give you your first mission. You are not to tell anybody what I am about to tell you, okay?" She waited for Naruto's solemn nod before continuing. "What is a ninja's greatest asset?"

"His mind," Naruto answered without pause.

"And what is his greatest tool?"

"Deception," he said without missing a beat.

"So what you are going to do is practice using those two things for the next six years. Your teachers will tell you that you should do your best, but you aren't going to do that. In fact, you are going to do the opposite. You are going to be the dead last of your class. You are going to suck at taijutsu, ninjutsu, and genjutsu. Your weapon skills are going to be horrible. Your theoretical knowledge is going to be nonexistent. You are going to do as poorly as possible while not flunking out, okay?"

"Why Mom? If I am better than the other kids, why shouldn't I show it?"

"Because if you do horribly in school, everyone you fight is going to underestimate you when you fight them. Because they underestimate you, it will be easier to beat them later."

Naruto had a contemplative expression on his face, as if he were working through the logic of what she had said. "Okay, I think I can do that Mom."

"That's a good kid," she said ruffling his hair. Now, let's put your weights on."

The next day Anko was crouched in a tree outside Naruto's classroom, a ball next to her. Inside, Umino Iruka was addressing the class. "Alright, when I call your name raise your hand to let me know that you are here. Aburame Shino." A boy in a grey coat and shades raised his hand. "Akamichi Choji." An extremely fat boy who was working on a bag of chips raised his hand. So it went on, until Iruka reached the last name on the list. Uzumaki Naruto." No one raised their hand. "Uzumaki Naruto, are you here?" Iruka raised his voice, examining the handful of students who had their faces down.

Outside, Anko smirked. "Get ready. It's your turn." Hefting the brown ball next to her, she chucked through the window, causing its occupants to flinch, most throwing up an arm to shield them from the shards of glass. The ball bounced twice before coming to a stop in front of the teacher's desk. A muffled explosion was heard a moment later, and the ball started to leak smoke. Completely bewildered as to what the hell the thing was, Iruka jabbed the thing, causing the ball to pop open, revealing a very bedraggled boy inside. Hacking and coughing, with smoke still rising, the boy got to his feet. Quickly turning around, he grabbed a cloth and threw one end up, causing the kunai attached to stick into the ceiling. Turning around to the students, Naruto struck a pose.

"Alright maggots," using the term his mother had used occasionally when training, "Uzumaki Naruto-sama, future Hokage, has arrived!" repeating the phrase that had been painted onto the cloth behind him. His introduction was met with complete silence, the entire class sweat dropping as one, everyone thinking the same thing. 'He's insane...'

In the tree branch, Anko noted how he had trouble getting out of the ball. She filed that away for future reference.

Iruka face palmed. 'This is definitely Mitarashi Anko's kid. God help us all.' Two minutes later, Naruto climbed the risers intending to sit in the back with his only two friends, Nara Shikamaru and Aburame Shino, dragging the remains of the ball and banner behind him. The Nara and the Aburame clans were the only families that did not call him and his mother names, nor try to mess with them on Naruto's birthday. In fact on several occasions, he had had his party at one or the other's places. Finding a seat, he sighed. Shikamaru looked at him. "That was some introduction there Naruto-kun."

"I agree. I do not anticipate anyone forgetting your name in the foreseeable future," Shino agreed.

"Yeah, well, it would have worked better if the ball had exploded like it was supposed to. I guess I didn't put enough black powder in."

"That would be the logical assumption," Shino replied pushing his shades up his nose, a faint buzzing emanating from him. "Your introduction might have had a better chance of success had you tested it out earlier."

"Yeah well, it was kind of a last minute thing." Naruto turned to look the other way when he heard a small cough.

"Um... Hello. My name is Hyuuga Hinata." The smoke stained boy turned to see who had addressed him. She was about his age, with pale grey eyes, and short black hair.

"Hey I know you. You were the girl that was almost kidnapped a couple of years ago."

"Yes, that was me," she murmured.

'That must have been pretty scary, getting taken like that."

"I was very afraid for a while, but I knew that my father would come and get me."

"It must be nice to have a dad. All I have is my mom. Ero-Kakashi drops by every once in a while, but he is too lazy to be a dad."

"Ero...Kakashi?" Hinata asked, barely able to repress a snort of laughter.

"Yeah, he is a friend of my mom's, but he is always reading these perverted books."

"I see..."

"Hey, do you want to be friends?"

She thought about his offer for a minute. She didn't have any friends herself, but she remembered the warning her father had given her about the boy and his mother once. He was so nice though. "Yeah. I would like that."