Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto.
An annoyed sigh slid past his lips. The old man's eyes glanced around the small clearing. Focusing his attention finally on one of the only people for the next five miles. Or at least he really hoped that to be the case. But knowing his luck it was most likely not to be. Someone else would know or at the very least would find out soon.
We can't have this. Not now. Not with everything going around.
He couldn't in all honesty blame anyone other then himself though. He knew this day would come. And what would come of it could ony be called his own fault. If he had said something before hand to the boy at least things would not be so hard. But now as it was he would have to do a lot of explaining.
"So what do we do?"
The old village leader didn't answer verbally. Instead he began to move towards the blond boy. Side stepping the glittering spires with ease. It was really a remarkable sight. Towering spears the colors of the rainbow had tore through the ground. The failing sunlight dancing in their reflection. It was a moment that Sarutobi would always remember. But he couldn't stop to stare now. Too much work to do in too little time.
"This won't turn out good sensei. No matter how much we try to hide it."
Sarutobi snorted as he approached the downed gennin. "Don't you think I know that? But it can't be helped at this point."
Jiraiya of the sannin shifted uncomfortably. "I don't think anyone else was around when it happened. But we have to assume that others know." A pause as something occured to him. "Does anyone else know?"
"My former teammates." Sarutobi answered as he bent down and moved his hand to check the boy's pulse. "And a few more trustworthy ANBU who reported it originally. I can trust them well enough to keep it a secret considering they've done it up to this point." He smiled wryly. "Why do you think those two put up with Naruto's foolishness for so long?"
The sannin frowned. "I would have thought those two the worst to know. How did you keep them under control?"
The old Hokage turned his head and shot his old pupil a frown. "Contrary to your believe Jiraiya my teammates are not heartless monsters. They only do what they think is best for the village, the same can be said for Danzou. They understand that the burden Naruto bears is large enough as it is. Putting him in the spotlight or breeding programs would have caused unwanted questions. And it wouldn't be long before that information spreads out to other villages. What do you think would have happened then?"
The sannin's frown deepened. He didn't have to think hard. Obviously they would begin to pry. Which would lead them to the facts that Konoha wanted to keep the most quiet. Eventually they would all be unraveled. Naruto would be ousted easy enough as the Kyuubi jinchuuriki. Then they would inquire as to his ancestry. Which would get him in deep shit with earth and lightning. Everyone would want him. The only choices though would be kidnapping and assassination. He would be too loyal to even consider betraying Konoha.
All in all it would not be pretty.
"What are we going to do?" The sannin inquired. Obviously at a lost. "A seal?"
"No!" Sarutobi responded quickly as he rose. "I've already sealed him once. This ability surfaced earlier in his life... When he was emotionally distressed. He doesn't remember, far too young, but I don't want to even begin to think of doing it to him again. Besides, we can't if he was supposedly screaming bloody murder. "
"Why didn't you say something to me before?" Jiraiya began to argue. "Why would you keep something like that under wraps for so long?"
"For the same reason I keeped the Kyuubi a secret." Puffing on his newly lighted pipe with his back still turned. "To keep him safe."
The sannin opened his mouth to say something but quickly closed it. He could find no fault with that. Naruto needed all the protection he could get.
"Well there are some positives. When he first showed this talent it had been more then surprising to say the least. The last I believe to have it was Kushina's grandfather. He was ancient when I saw him. But I do have a good idea of some of the techniques he used. Saw a few of them. It is really useful. It would most certainly be one of the more powerful ones had it been more constant." Sarutobi nodded absentmindedly.
"If anything this will help him greatly if he can keep it under wraps enough. But this is Naruto were talking about." Jiraiya started with a frown. "In the mean time it changes things quite a bit. His chakra's violent reaction has opened up a new can of worms to say the least. And it completely changes the way I had planned to do things."
"I'll train him."
Jiraiya blinked. Surprised. The words had been said so quickly and at the same time so resolutely.
"I'm sorry? Come again sensei?" He had to make sure he heard that correctly.
Sarutobi finally turned to his former student. Eyes full of conviction.
"For too long I've held Naruto back from his potential. Held him from the truth. Not anymore. I am getting old Jiraiya. I am no longer a kage in terms of strength. But I am a teacher. You a primary example." He pulled his pipe from his mouth. "So here's what well do. I'll take over his training for the exam. There's still a month and half left to teach him from here on out. You, and my teammates, will help... He will be the future protector of Konoha just as he always wanted. Just like his father wanted."
Jiraiya's face became grave. "What are you talking about sensei? You have a village to run!"
The old Hokage shook his head again. "Not anymore. My time is almost done. I have only a few years left. If worst comes to worst Kakashi can take over for me. But for right now, while I have the chance and the ability to still move, I want to begin to train my successor. Just like my sensei did for me."
"Your successor?" Jiraiya asked incredulous? "Do you really believe he can do it?"
The Hokage snorted. "You've known him for two weeks now. Do you doubt?"
To this the sannin could say nothing. The boy was more than a little rough around the edges but the talent was there in spades. He was a mess in terms of the fundamentals but made up for it with his unpredictable nature and sheer determination.
The boy had the natural talent to be sure. It was the skill and experince he needed.
"It will take time, maybe more then I have left, but I will at least see him on his way. You have seen the amount of potential he has. He needs no kekkei genkai or bijuu. His determination and drive alone can push him to the top."
Jiraiya smiled. "He's a lot like her in that way." Another pause. "Does he know of her?"
Sarutobi immediately shook his head. "No, too young to remember her. Another grave mistake of mine. But again for his protection. Just think of the fall out around the village if they found out he was related to the killer of our last Daimyou."
Again. No thinking necessary. They would have skinned him alive.
"Another knock... Kid is going to flip."
"Correct. Which is why you have to place an overlapping seal in place."
"It's actually already done. I wanted him to grow first on his own power. This came about because the seal I placed limited the Kyuubi's chakra and forced his out more. Then I taught him water walking, he got it. His chakra control when the seal is released will be great improved. From there I moved to work on his natures... That's when it happened."
The Hokage replaced his pipe. "I suppose that's when things went south per say."
"Of course. Wind, earth,... and water."
"Three?" The Hokage asked with genuine surprise as his eyebrow rose up. Three? He had three. But he considered himself the only one. Every other shinobi he had met only had two at the most. Bit then again it did make sense. Then again if Naruto had the talent he expected than there would be no reason to think he would stop now. "And your worried if he has the potential."
"Didn't say that." Jiraiya protested. "I question his maturity."
"Which will come in time. I will make sure of it. Afterall you were a handful as well." The Hokage began to weave around the crystals again as he stepped back to the sannin. "His chakra is spent. Which means he be out until tomorrow at least. We have to move quickly to turn this in our favor. I'm going to take Naruto with me and find my teammates. You get rid of the evidence... If you know how."
"Yes. I saw it, lighting, wind, and fire nature chakra can tear them down if I hit them hard enough. Or I can just use the pure chakra nature of the Rasengan to break them apart."
"Good. I'll inform them of the plan and then I'll tell him. From there it's up to me to work at him. I'll start with working on jutsu befitting his nature. You'll work on what techniques you do know regarding this release. They will be impersonating me to keep everything as quiet as it can be."
"Alright then... This is going to be tricky to pull off."
"Yes. But not impossible. Hurry now."
A grin accompanied the hiss of words. His left hand reaching out and firmly grasping his right wrist in an attempt to apply pressure and stem the flow of blood. His middle finger had been broken in two places, his ringer finger tilted sideways, and he was missing his thumb. Hand now in ruins. It would have been a grave and serious injury, career ending in fact, for anyone. That is anyone except for him. It was one of the few positives his unique situation brought him.
His teeth snapped together as he fell back on to his behind and leaned his back against a free tree. Closing his eyes and forcing himself to think of something other then the pain ripping through his arm right now. It was his own fault really. What reason did he have to really push this hard? After all he really had no real intention of continuing on his path of a shinobi. For what reason did he have to push himself to such harsh extremes? Especially when he knew it would only lead him to more failure.
Because it's the only way you'll ever get any answers Naruto.
The grin faltered for half a second before it completely feel apart. A pain filled sigh racked his body. It wasn't physical though. It was mental. Emotional. Naruto, age twelve, was so so tired of living. Of life in general. He had liked to think of himself as a good person with good morals. He didn't like causing people harm. And he didn't think his dreams and aspirations where anything to laugh at. Or at least he didn't used to... But now... Was kami laughing at him right now? Was his life just one big joke? Just a big fucking sitcom? It had to be. It was the only explanation that he could think of.
No use in feeling sorry for yourself though. He had learned a long, long time ago that crying would not fix your problems for you. Or at least not for him. There were no fixing his problems. Only adding to them.
You really are a pathetic sort aren't you?
A bitter smile broke out over the thought. The pain in his hand now a dull ache. It would be completely healed by tomorrow. That had been assured by the fox demon the moment the injury had occured if the sudden twinge in his stomach was anything to go by. An increase in the amount of chakra that the seal let through had been an unwanted side effect of the seal work done by the toad sannin. He couldn't blame the man though. He was trying to help prevent something awful from occurring thanks to his old traitor teammate.
Still. Would it have been so bad? He found himself questioning as he leaned his head back against the tree bark and closed his eyes. Letting it all end here? Fade away-
"Why do you do this to yourself?"
The training grounds in the village hidden within the leaves were unique in the way they were made. Terrains usually varied but at the same time were suitable for all sources of training. With that in mind people rarely ever ventured too far away from the center of the village when looking for somewhere to train. But unfortunately for Sarutobi Hiruzen the boy he had tracked this far wasn't most people. And for that reason he found himself far from his home on this chilly fall night.
His old tired eyes looked on to the form of the small child sitting in front of him. Chest heaving ever so slightly to show how the physical exercises had taken it's toll on his usually god like stamina reserves.
One eye opened and regarded the short man with a pensive look before snapping back shut. Shooting the Hokage a devilish grin the boy leaned backwards and flopped on to the ground.
"Why not push my self? Should I really be concerned?"
Sarutobi Hiruzen frowned. Unable to fully impede the sudden flash of annoyance that rushed through his body at the casual response. But he could not deny that it was true. It was useless to do so anyway and useless to get upset by it. Irrational even. He should have expected that exact response from the moment he opened his mouth to voice the question.
"Do you hate me Naruto?"
"I'm nearly overflowing with hatred."
Sarutobi jumped in surprise despite how soft the words had been spoken. Turning his eyes to the blond laying before him. The emotion behind each letter flowed from the blond and in to him. Deep within his pores and spreading through his entire being. He could almost feel that same emotion in his veins.
"Not with someone or something in particular though." Naruto continued just as softly. "And most certainly not at myself. Not anymore at least. But rather with the whole of our existence."
The Sandaime Hokage could not prevent himself from inhaling deeply from his pipe. A reaction that served as a sign to his comfort levels. A little tick that was bad for ninja to have. One that only seemed to surface around this particular boy. He unconsciously pulled his ceremonial robes even tighter to his body in an attempt to ward off the sudden chill. Despite there being no wind.
"I see." He muttered around his pipe. One blue eye snapped open again despite the fact that it could not see the old man standing near the base of the feet. The other joining it as the blond gave a noise of disapproval.
"No. I don't think you do. In fact I know you don't." The boy contradicted. "This isn't just a great disgust or high dislike for life in general. No, this is full blown hatred. I hate this existence. Or rather the lack of my own. The way the world seems to disregard me entirely. This is a legitimate hatred."
To this Sarutobi could not respond. Closing his tired and weary eyes in an attempt to shake of his budding headache. A tired and long sigh escaped him. One of pity for the boy who laid before him. No one, especially not this child, deserved to be so worn down. To be so old and feel so tired despite the fact that he was so young. And yet he would never let it show for the fear that the boy would take it wrong. Naruto was far too strong for pity. Far stronger then he could ever be.
"Let me ask you something Naruto." Pulling his pipe free from his lips. He paused until he was sure he had the boy's attention. "Do you hate some more then others?"
The in question snorted. "Of course I do. Or I be nothing more then a damn monster like they always said I was. Unable to determine what exactly started this cycle. What a sad thing that would be." A brittle smile. "At that point I'd just be giving in to them huh? A monster. A product of my environment. I never want that damn thing to happen."
Sarutobi nodded. "And who in particular do you hate more?"
"Do you honestly need me to answer that question?"
No. Of course not. Because I already know.
"I'm sure you never wished you were just an orphan." Naruto began. "But then again I don't know your situation growing up."
Nothing like your's I assure you.
"But I do. I wish it all the time now. I would rather have all my family dead. Or have all my family be ignorant of my life. Hell, I'd think I'd be better off just wondering. But to have family and for them to not even look at you. For them to treat you like these other ignorant people..."
Sarutobi resisted the urge to protest that. To say he believed in him. Because he could not in all honesty say that he never entertained the idea that Naruto would be something other then what the Yondaime Hokage had said. Not without disrespecting both of them. And he had come to respected both of them far too much for that.
An echo of words spoken what seemed so long ago by this very boy rang out in his head. Bringing new light to how wise the boy had always been.
"There's no worse pain in the world then to have something for the first time in your life. Only for it to be let go. And then finding out that you have family out there. Just as you always wanted. But for them to not even acknowledge your existence..."
It was the only time Sarutobi had ever even considered Naruto broken. But to his credit the boy had just managed to keep going. He would have surely faltered long ago.
The boy was in sudden movement. Pulling his legs up until his knees met his chest before sliding his hands back behind his head and pushing himself in to a half flip. Catching himself on to his feet and turning his back to the old Hokage. Sarutobi looked away to the sky as the blond dusted off his orange jumpsuit. A mockery. Good ninja didn't wear bright colors. Only legends did.
If your good enough to kill me. Then so be it.
He knew this symbol would be universal some day.
"See ya around old man. Got a lot to do tomorrow."
Sarutobi gave him a nod of agreement as he looked off in to the night sky. For some reason the moon always shined brighter on this particular training ground. Looking like a big diamond in the sky. And in his mind's eye he could remember as it reflected off her eyes-
"Hey old man." He turned his head to the blond. Naruto had stopped walking but had not turned his head to meet his gaze. "Do you think it's okay to want to die?"
If he was disturbed or surprised by the question he did not show it. Instead taking another puff of his pipe.
"Yes. No one should ever wish for death. And for doing so they are a coward. No one ever has an excuse for it."
A weak grin.
"Except you Naruto."
He could tell that was exactly what the boy wanted to hear.
"You really are a dumb ass huh?"
The blond boy cracked open one eye and raised it up the tree. Speak of the devil. The toad sannin, self proclaimed super pervert, was staring down at him. Looking none to happy. Whatever it was Naruto didn't seem to think he could bring himself to care anymore.
"Your better then this kid."
He couldn't stop the snort that escaped him. "How would you know? We've only just met right?"
"I've seen enough in these two weeks. I've seen what you've been like before kid. And this isn't you. Or at least it didn't used to be." The boy could practically hear the disappointment in the man's voice. Not that he cared any way. It didn't matter what the old ninja thought. He was done looking for the approval of others.
Jiraiya took his silence with a frown and dropped down without a sound on to the ground in front of him. Naruto regarded him with a one eyed look for a second before closing it again. Relishing the brief moment of silence. Unfortunately for him it didn't last long enough.
"Look kid. I can understand where your coming from. I'll never fully comprehend but I can gain a good view." Naruto met his words with a disbelieving snort. "But I'll be damned if I let you sit around a wallow in your sorrow. Your father wouldn't like for you to-"
"I don't give a damn!"
The words had been a near shout and had been spoken with so much venom in them that he was surprised himself. Jiraiya physically stepped back and flinched at the sudden explosion. Looking at him with a glare before finally sighing and closing his eyes.
"I don't give a damn about him. Or what he wanted. I don't give a damn about anyone else. Just like they don't about me. I'm tired of being the good guy. I'm tired of always being the cheerful idiot. I'm tired of being too obtuse to see past what's really happening. Tired of acting like I don't understand. I'm done with it. Don't speak to me about him or his family. Or the a woman who gave birth to me. And most certainly don't speak to me abou-"
The words caught themselves in his throat and he nearly chocked himself on the emotion. Bowing his head to the ground and hiding his eyes from view behind his bangs. He would not cry. Not anymore. He was done. Done with being sad. Done with being happy. Done with being mad.
But Jiraiya wasn't.
"Look kid. I don't know what to say. But I know you shouldn't be mopping around like this. You haven't been to training in days."
"And I don't plan to go." Naruto muttered. "I'm done with being a ninja."
"After all the talk? About trying to be Hokage?" Jiraiya snorted. "That's crap because you want to be out here training right now. You said you want to be a legend. What's changed now?"
"That was before your old teammate showed me how useless it all was. No matter what I do those people will never respect me. Not even my own blood does."
A surge of anger ran through the old shinobi and he could not help the snarl that ripped through his mouth.
"Then make them respect you! Make me respect you! Because I've lost it all! Show everyone you aren't one to be trifled with..." His face falling and expression growing pensive. "Show them by proving them wrong. They deemed you as insignificant. A useless tool. People have used you up and thrown you away before. Now it's your turn for pay back... Getting even."
To this the blond did look up. Giving Jiraiya a skeptical look. "Forgive me for finding it hard to figure out what your talking about."
"Like you haven't thought about it. A deal then? You get off your ass. Train hard. Get strong like we both know you can. And not with the fox demon. I mean on your own strength. If you strong enough you can make it on your own. And in return I'll put everything else in to second place to concentrate on finding the answers you seek. I'll find everyone that made you feel this way. And then you can beat the answers out of them. It'll be my top priority. Even over what the Hokage wants me to look for."
The skeptical look had turned to one of pure disbelief now. It was too convienient. Too easy.
"And what do you want in return?"
"I just get the satisfaction of seeing their faces when they realize how wrong they've been."
"Do you really think I can?"
"Of course. The real question you need to ask is to yourself. Are you willing to put in the effort to have what you want the most? To reach your goals?"
Yeah. Your goals. Your new goals... Do you really want it?
He didn't need to answer.
Those two words had been said with such command that the body could not help but follow. Or at the very least try. Unfortunately Naruto's body had pretty much been spent now. Still he managed, after an extra minute or so, to push himself to his feet, swaying for a second as he fought for balance. The old Hokage frowned at the display but made no move to help the young boy. He had choosen to continue when he had been given the option to rest. It was the boy's own fault for trying to work himself in to the ground.
"That was a pathetic attempt." He continued to comment. "If anything your technique regressed with that last one."
Naruto grinned weakly and shrugged.
"Unacceptable. Try it again."
Three hand seals later and the boy was trying to fill his lungs with as much air as he could. Focusing his slowly dwindling chakra around the sacks of air before expelling it as quickly as he could.
The Hokage watched impassively as the ball of condensed air exploded from the boy's mouth. It fired along the projected line towards one of the the training post and collided with the wood. A grim satisfaction feeling him as he watched the wooden post become half a cloud of saw dust under the force of the ninjutsu.
Acceptable for now.
"That was the best one so far." The Hokage commented, dressed in his own battle uniform for this occasion. "It didn't lose form until it reached the target and did a suitable amount of damage."
The blond didn't reply. Hands on his knees as he struggled to fill his lungs with needed air after forcefully expelling it.
"It will take time to manage the ninjutsu without adverse side effects like the one your experiencing. But it also comes with extra benefits. Such as expanded lungs. If anything the human body under uses it's potential. We don't use all our brain power and limit our physical abilities. Examples of this are seen under times of pressure. You do things that you were never before capable of because of the force of your will. You make your body step up to the challenge and because of it your abilities rise to the occasion. This is the idea behind the gates."
Naruto again said nothing. Simply nodding his head as he returned to upright position with his hands on his hips.
To tell the truth the Hokage was more then a little surprised by how attentive the boy was. He had expected one of two things. The first being the usual hyperactive and squirming young man people had come to know Naruto as, unwilling to sit and listen for directions. The second, and thought to be more likely, was a scowling and moody boy who did only what was necessary with little to no real effort, angered by the betrayal that had been set upon him. To his pleasant surprise he received neither. Instead he was met with a boy who did everything to the fullest. Who did intake everything he wanted to say and put it in to practice on his next attempt. A boy who easily withheld the information and theory he was speaking of. It was a little frightening to be truthful.
Had he always been capable of this? Had he, the person who claimed to only want the best for him, overlooked him like everyone else did?
The answer was a painful as it was obvious. He had. He had also painted Naruto in the light that he would struggle as a ninja. Not because of the way the boy acted. But because he had just originally assumed the boy had only average potential. How stupid that had been in hindsight. This was the only child of the Yondaime Hokage. Greatness was in his blood. Power and potential were his birth right. How many times had someone just sat down and began to work with him? How many times had someone taken the time to put aside their misconceptions enough to offer him individual training like they no doubt did for everyone else. Had Kakashi even considered taking Naruto on for some one on one work like he had jumped to do with Sasuke?
Of course not. And because of it Naruto had been unable to grow.
Mountains of wasted potential.
"Can you go again?"
A nod and his hands clapped together to begin seals.
Sarutobi could not stop the grin that slid in to place even if he wanted to try.
"What I want you to do is actual very difficult."
Naruto frowned as he listened. Enhaling deeply as he struggled to catch his breath after another grueling training session. The old Hokage leaned casually against a nearby tree as he observed his newest pupil. It had been two weeks since they had began to train and Sarutobi was more then a little impressed. The boy had always struggled through school work and didn't take well to verbal instruction. But when you actual showed him with movement and examples things seeped in at an alarming rate.
Once Sarutobi had learned that the boy was more a kinesthetic learner the way to his brain opened like the petals of a flower. The man had quickly learned that the best way to show the boy how to do something was to show him before beating it in to him.
It was working perfectly.
"As Jiraiya no doubt told you jutsu can usually be broken down in to two different types of techniques. Nature manipulation and shape manipulation. One uses pure chakra and the other changes chakra to match a certain element type."
"Like fire and water ninjutsu." The blond commented as he followed along with the old shinobi. "And things like kawamari fall under the manipulation category."
Sarutobi nodded. "Correct." It showed that he had indeed been listening. His biggest problem. "In order to make or truly master a ninjutsu you need to have at least a deep understanding in one of the two categories if not both. Jutsu that use them together are usually the most powerful types that fall under at least the b-rank category. A strong example of this is the water dragon jutsu which uses nature manipulation to mass together a great deal of water and than shape manipulation to form the dragon it is named for."
The gennin nodded as he followed along in what he had been saying. It made sense now that he had began to rationalize it in the terms the Hokage had used instead of the the in depth concepts that Umino Iruka preferred.
"With that being said I'll take the idea of nature manipulation a bit deeper." Sarutobi said as he reached in to his white robes and removed his customary pipe from where ever he hid it. "I want to explain the idea behind elemental techniques. Of which most are blood inheritance."
The blond sat up a little straighter as his train of thought merged on to the path the Sandaime Hokage must have been going towards. He formed a fist with his right hands as excitement started to run through him. He was finally going to begin what had always been denied to him.
If Sarutobi noticed his sudden change in body language he said nothing as he calmly lit his pipe with a fine manipulation of fire chakra. He took a deep breath and savored the sweet and smokey flavor of his tobacco before he removed his pipe and exhaled slowly.
"Some bloodline limits." He began slowly as the smoke dissipaited. "Are actually not restricted to blood lineage. In reality they simply need the right combination of chakra elements and the skill needed to combine them equal in order to produce the needed results. With that being said they are usually restricted to families due to the chakra combinations being similar. From there it takes simply the proper training from older and more experienced members. Who of course would not share the secrets with those who aren't of the blood."
The young shinobi remained silent as he listened intently to his teacher.
"Those techniques are usually called kekkei genkai, the same as actual physical abillites such as the Hyuuga's Byukugan or the Uchiha's Sharingan. However there is something even more rare and in most cases more devestating."
He paused here and stood from his position leaning against the tree to take a few steps to the gennin. He placed his pipe back in to his mouth and took another deep breath as he stopped just before the blond.
"As I just said an elemental kekkei genkai or bloodline limit uses two elements that are combined equally to create a completely new element. What many don't know is that there are an even more powerful combination of elemental chakra that requires at least three different elements." He paused to let that sink in. "This sort of combination is known as a kekkei tota or bloodline selection."
The gennin blinked in surprised as he took in what the man had been saying. His mind briefly went back to the battle in wave country and the techniques the young boy who had taught him so much. It matched exactly what his opponent had told him before his final moments.
"By now your no doubt thinking about your mission to wave country." The Hokage correctly guessed. "And if not that is the example I will use. According to the report you became friends with a young boy who turned out to be one of your enemies. Now, apart from the fact that you should be more careful about who you speak to, I want to talk about his unique ninjutsu."
"The ice techniques." Naruto said. "He mentioned everything your saying. I just didn't undertand it like now."
Sarutobi nodded as he took another puff of his pipe.
"The Yuki clan used to indeed reside in water country." He continued. "They specialized in water and, as you've guessed, ice ninjutsu. During the time before the great shinobi villages, when the clans did nothing but engange in constant battle with others, the Yuki clan once held an entire region near swamp country where the used the natural moisture to their advantage. And as such had decades to perfect their techniques.
"That is an example of an elemental kekkei genkai. As you can say from experince it is extremely powerful and versatile. And as such the secrets are guarded jealously. It's what made the report about the boy you encountered so surprising. I had little personal contact with members of the Yuki clan but I've never heard in all of my years as the Hokage of an ice based technique that created mirrors.
"I'd wager that he personally created that technique under Momochi Zabuza's guidance. For someone his age to have used it with such a devestating effect meant that he had to have practiced extensively with it. With that line of thought I can come to the conclusion that the boy created the ninjutsu quite a while before you ever encountered him. Years perhaps. For him to only have been a year or so older than you speaks volumes about his natural talent."
Naruto nodded slowly as he listened. Indeed it did say a lot about the kind of shinobi Haku must have been. The boy would have been hailed here in the village as another clan genius without a doubt. Maybe even more so than Sasuke or the Hyuuga boy. And yet for all that talent he had died so easily when it all came down to it. It was a sombre line of thinking.
He had nowhere near as much talent.
"Now, with that being said I want for you to understand the difference in ability between an elemental kekkei genkai and and elemental kekkei tota." The Hokage continued. "First and foremost are the rarity. As I said before kekkei tota are mostly unknown. The largest reason for that are the lack of them in our world. Apart from the ice ability you came across I can tell you off the top of my head around five other elemental kekkei genkai with the first two coming to mind being the scorch element made famous in Suna and the wood manipulation that my sensei became renoun for before he took on the mantel of the first Hokage."
The Hokage removed his pipe and fixed a strong look on to the boy which froze him in place.
"I can, in all my years as a shinobi, only tell you of one ability that officially counts as a kekkei tota. And the only two people who have ever shown the ability both became Tsuchikage."
The blond blinked as he took in the words and processed them. The idea that the abilities that Haku had shown were still another level under what they could have been was mind blowing to say the least. The boy had been so powerful. Easily high chunnin level. The only real weakness he had shown was his own kindness. And despite the fact that he was the personal student of a well known A-ranked jounin who specialized in stealth and assasinations it still said volumes about the strength of his blood ability.
But here the Hokage was telling him that in his seventy years as a shinobi he had come across a technique that was not only rarer but far more powerful. So much so that the only two people who could use it were S-class in terms of strength.
Naruto was many things and far from bright but he wasn't a complete fool. The fight between Kakashi and Zabuza would never truly be forgotten and it helped show just how far he had to go. But even so he knew just from his less then five minute bout in the second portion of the exams that the gap between Kakashi and the man known as Orochimaru was beyond large.
The idea that one extra element meant the difference between high chunnin to kage was astounding.
"The jinton or dust release was first used by the Nidaime Tsuchikage. Mu had been known as the 'Null-Man' for his stealth capabilites. But even more devestating were his ninjutsu techniques based around the jinton element. With this power he could destroy entire armies and crush his enemies at their most basic levels. In addition his mastery over his ability even allowed him to fly for a period of time and lift objects well over a hundred times his own weight."
Naruto swallowed as he listened attentively. The techniques that the Sandaime Hokage were describing seemed beyond imagination. For as amazing as ninjutsu and the ninja arts in general were Naruto never thought anything of this sort were remotely possible.
"That man passed the techniques on to his prized pupil, a distant nephew, who also shared the same three chakra natures he did." The Hokage smirked as something passed in his eyes. "The battles I waged against the man who became Sandaime Tsuchikage were ground shaking. And the more I think about it the more sure I am that we, along with Ame's leader in Hanzou, have to be of a dying breed. From a time where the world around us was much more wild."
The old shinobi shook his head to clear his mind. It would do him no good to start drifting down memory lane right now.
"Now, as I said the dust release is the only official example I have of a kekkei tota. But for quite some time I have come to the conclusion that two other special elementals combinations could also require three natures. One is the magnet release of the now dead Sandaime Kazekage who used his special chakra nature to combine shreads of iron powder used for smithing in to something monsterous." He paused again and looked the boy in the eye. "The second. Is the crystal release."
Naruto froze still as he realized what the old man had been leading up to. The special ability that he had apparently only been able to use accidently to this point. The chakra based ninjutsu that caused all of this and made him feel as if he were being ripped apart from the inside.
The memory of the pain was terrifying but the idea that he had his own special ability was beyond exhilirating.
"The ability you've shown twice now." The Hokage said. "Was only seen by one other person in my time... A man known as Shinto. Uzumaki Shinto." He paused for a second before he dropped the bomb. "The man who would have been your great grandfather."
The boy's heart nearly stopped as the words reached him. Another portion of his history revealed. More proof that despite what everyone had once told him about himself the name Uzumaki actual did mean something.
"When I first meet that man he was far along in his life. But like the Uzumaki clan had always been he was full of vigor and healthy beyond what those his age should be. He sparred once with my sensei, the Shodamie Hokage, as an example to us of the younger generation about how far we had to go." He grinned here. "Maybe if he had been twenty years younger my supposedly unbeatable sensei would have lost."
He turned his attention to look at the sky above them. The sunlight had began to fail them and the stars would soon begin to peek at them from the night sky. They had been training for such a long time and even still it wasn't enough. This day would not be over any time soon.
"Your test with the chakra paper yesterday confirmed my long held suspicion." He continued as he brought his attention back to the gennin seated on the ground before him. "Your chakra is far more developed than anyone else your age. Perhaps this is an effect of the Kyuubi or something to do with your status as a member of the Uzumaki. Or maybe your just as special as you've always said you are. Any way you spin it you have an advantage most people never have let alone most ninja under jounin.
"I intend for you to use that."
Naruto simply nodded as he began to stand. His breathing had long since calmed down and he had retained everything the man had told him. He had so many questions and things he wanted answered but he had learned that there was a time and place for that. Now was not that time.
"We'll begin right away." Sarutobi said. "We don't have the time needed to show you how to properly manipulate elemental nature. That's something that takes decades. However the fact you've used this ability twice now without any prior training means the requirements for at least early usage is low and your body has the chakra memory necessary to use it."
Naruto nodded as he took another deep breath and rolled his shoulders.
"Good. Now to start we have to first begin on the basic applications of each three natures." The Hokage began as he led his newest student on to the path to controlling his unique elemental chakra.