Keeper's of the Will
Summary:Hmm... okay. Before the Yondaime dies he makes a last request of Kakashi. Danzo feels the Sandaime's decisions are only hurting Konoha. Where do the Nara fit into this?
Prologue:My brother... My purpose
It was a bright, cloudless night. The moon was full; shining its light down on the world, the stars in their perfect constellations glittered like the eyes of a million gods. It was a night that could have been peaceful, but it wasn't.
The soul tearing roar of the Kyuubi cut through the cool air, its red tinted orange fur seemed to glow with an inner fire, but it was those red slit pupiled eyes that held what could have truly been called the fires of hell. Each of its long thick tails danced around it, batting away shinobi as though they were harmless flies.
Kakashi hung back with his men, looking for an opening of some sort that he could manipulate.
But the demon was a flawless fighter, throwing out balls of chakra as though they were nothing.
Kakashi's Sharingan eye burned from the sight of the beast, he felt for sure that any other doujutsu user out there felt the way he did, that he would go blind from the sight. It was like staring into an eclipse with the naked eye. Behind his plain and unremarkable ANBU mask his single eye watered.
"Taicho(1)," one of the men in his squad spoke up.
Kakashi's eyes never left the thrashing beast that tore up the forest simply with its presence,
"Shouldn't we be out there holding off the Kyuubi?"
"The Yondaime ordered that this squad not take any unnecessary risks," Kakashi couldn't keep the bitterness from his voice. Damn his sensei and his overprotective tendencies.
Thankfully Neko left it at that.
His whole squad was tense, and Kakashi couldn't help but feel that all that tension was directed at him. Their fellows were out there dying and every one of them felt that they could make a difference out there, even if they couldn't, it was a characteristic that made them such valuable ninja. Kakashi knew it was hard for them to follow such orders, especially when they came from a fourteen year old boy. It was always difficult for Kakashi to find men who would follow him, but his squad were faithful to the Yondaime, and through his influence they followed the orders Kakashi gave. But these orders were pushing their loyalty and Kakashi knew that, and he hated it.
Finally his patience broke, "Neko, there are probably some shinobi down there who could use some medical assistance."
"Hai," it was as if Kakashi had loosed some invisible leash from the man who took off as fast as he could to aid his fellows.
"Deer," Kakashi caught the Nara's(2) attention.
"If you catch the Kyuubi in your shadow imitation technique, can you hold him?"
Deer's shock over a fellow ANBU knowing his identity didn't last long, he had probably figured out Kakashi's identity as well as at least half the squad with that Nara intelligence. "Hai, Taicho, but only for a few seconds."
Kakashi nodded, "That will have to do, once Deer has the Kyuubi immobilized we will try to take out its legs, it may be a monster but it is still flesh and blood with muscles it is dependent on."(3)
Before his squad could even move to carry out Kakashi's desperately simple plan a call rang out, "It's the Fourth Hokage! The Hokage is here!"
Kakashi's eyes were drawn to the large form of Gamabunta and the small figure of his Sensei perched on the large red toad's head. The Yondaime made quite an image, his sun-gold hair, paled by the moonlight, danced in the light breeze.
Those intense blue eyes could be perceived even from a distance, but it was his sensei's eyes that worried Kakashi most. Kakashi had fought alongside Minato in the Third Shinobi War, he watched as his sensei fought to protect his village and how his eyes would seem to glow with an almost supernatural blue fire.
But those were not the eyes Kakashi saw now as he faced the Kyuubi. These eyes were cold, sad and barren. Then he started a series of seals that Kakashi could only follow because of his Sharingan eye, and Kakashi felt his heart drop into his stomach.
"No," he whispered, feeling a chill run down his spine, like the skeletal finger of a shinigami, a small foretelling of what was about to happen to his dear sensei. It wasn't until the last seal was complete and Kakashi could make out the strange dark chakra forming from nothing behind Minato that feeling returned to Kakashi's numb limbs and breath return to his lungs.
"No!" Kakashi's shout was lost among the cheers of the shinobi at the appearance of their leader. While their souls rang with the joys of salvation, Kakashi's shattered with the anguish of loss. Tears burned their way to the surface and Kakashi leapt from his perch without a second thought. Somewhere in the back of his mind he noted that his squad never saw his desperate departure, the only one who followed him, was Deer. But that was not what concerned him, he had to stop him, he had to save him. His Hokage, his superior, his sensei, and his surrogate father, he was all Kakashi had left. Branch after branch he stepped over, his breath coming out in desperate, hyperventilating gasps. Somewhere in the back of his mind a voice logically whispered that it was already too late, but that voice was drowned out by the defiant thundering that echoed in the Kakashi's ears, declaring that Kakashi refused to live alone. His Sharingan eye followed the dark chakra of the shinigami that wrapped around the soul of the Kyuubi.
"Taicho," Deer struggled to catch Kakashi's attention, "Taicho what's wrong"-
"He's killing himself Nara! That technique, I helped him make it!" Kakashi's voice was sharp and impatient, laced with frenzied fear. He wasn't going to make it.
"Maybe the Hokage found a way around it, he's a genius after all," the Nara was trying to calm him down with a soothing voice, but Kakashi was far beyond its reach.
"There is no way around it! There is no other way to perfectly seal a soul without offering another to death, it is the balance! It is the way! Damn it! Damn him!"
Kakashi's heart sank as the last long tail of the demon was pulled towards the large toad and disappeared in a bright white light.
As Gamabunta disappeared in a burst of smoke Kakashi realized Minato had begged the help of the boss summon who ran out of chakra after the sealing. He watched his sensei's limp body fall through the air. It was only with a desperate burst of chakra that Kakashi was able to leap the remaining distance to catch Minato and ease his descent to the long and untamed grasses that thrived outside the walls of Konoha. The extra weight caused Kakashi to collapse to his knees cradling his teacher's body against his chest.
"Baka," Kakashi shouted as soon as he caught his breath, his voice cracking with emotion.
His teacher's face twisted with a ghost of his usual carefree smile, "Sorry, Kashi-kun, I'm so sorry."
"You promised me! You promised you would never use that technique! Why did you do it?" Kakashi was ranting.
"You said you wouldn't leave me! You promised that you wouldn't leave me alone!"
"Kakashi, please," somehow, Minato's whispering voice managed to cut through Kakashi's self pitying rant, leaving him only to sob at his own misery.
"Kashi-kun, I'm sorry, making that kind of promise wasn't fair to you. It was arrogant of me to believe I would always be here."
Kakashi felt his heart bleeding despite no visible wounds, he was alone. He would always be alone. Why was everyone leaving him behind?
"But you are wrong Kakashi."At his teacher's words Kakashi looking once again into those slowly dimming blue eyes, they were sad and slightly desperate. "I'm not leaving you alone. I need you to do something for me, please."
Kakashi felt an electric pulse race through his system, a mission. His teacher was giving him one last task, Kakashi knew that he would give his life to it if he had to, "Yes, Hokage-sama, what would you have me do?"
Minato's body relaxed slightly of the little tension it could hold onto, Kakashi could feel his pulse weakening; the Yondaime didn't have much time left.
"Kushina is gone, he is all alone too, Kashi-kun…"
Kakashi frowned, who…
As if called by the Minato's voice, Kakashi felt something under his arm squirm, and found in his Sensei's limp arms, a light blue blanket bundled around a small infant.
Carefully laying his Sensei in the carpet of grass, Kakashi took the bundle from his arms and found himself looking into a familiar face. Small wisps of blond hair shuddered in the breeze, but the child continued to sleep.
"Take care of him Kakashi…"
Kakashi tensed at those words, he wanted him to…what?
Minato's eyelids were drooping; shuttering closed those iridescent blue eyes.
"Please, Kakashi, you are... like my own son… he is … your brother… please."
"Hai, Hokage-sama, I will complete this mission."
Minato gave another ghost like smile, "Naruto… is a… hero, Kashi… no matter what…I'm so… proud… of… both of you…"
Kakashi watched as the last of the chakra in Minato's system drained away, his soul was gone to the shinigami; now all that was left was his corpse.
Nara, who had been standing just behind Kakashi for quite a while, stepped around his captain to take the Hokage's pulse.
Kakashi stared at the body in wonder; he had seen many corpses, some before the age of ten. But Minato's didn't look like a corpse. If it were not for Obito's sharingan Kakashi might have believed he only slept, his face erased of the worry lines that had been apparent the past few weeks, his eyelids softly closed. No, Minato looked like nothing like the corpses Kakashi was familiar with, bloody, crushed and distorted bodies.
Several chakra signatures appeared around them, shinobi to witness the death of their most beloved Hokage.
Kakashi was drawn from his study of his sensei by Deer touching his arm lightly, "Captain, we should go."
"Why," Kakashi protested, their whispers were lost among the sobbing and solemn voices of other Konoha nin. "I don't want to leave him."
"Hokage-sama gave you a mission, taicho. And the babe is going to catch a cold if we stay out here much longer."
Kakashi felt another electric pulse run through him, he had a mission, a purpose. His eyes fell to the infant in his arms, his sharingan eye picking out the healthy pulse of chakra and the remains of the newly activated seal. The child, - is the vessel of the Kyuubi… no, Minato's son… his brother.
Kakashi's arms tightened around little Naruto and he forced himself to stand. It was only because of Deer's gentle guidance that Kakashi was able to find the way back to Konoha.
Kakashi woke to unfamiliar surroundings, there was too much light in the room, Kakashi's apartment didn't have nearly as many windows. He quickly checked his condition, no pain, muscles fully functional. First making sure he was alone, he slowly opened his eye. The room was plain, almost empty save for the futon he slept in.
Where was he? He struggled to remember the previous event and found his memory assaulted by the vision of the burning demon fox.
A baby began crying, quickly followed by a second and Kakashi jumped to his feet, leaving the futon a rumpled mess behind him. With a kunai already in hand, he rushed to the only door and into a small hall, a single dark haired woman rushed to the door next to the room Kakashi had slept in.
She gave Kakashi a weary smile, "Good morning Kakashi-kun. You don't have to worry, newborns are always this vocal."
Kakashi stared after her blankly as the faintly familiar woman entered what looked to be a nursery where she picked up first a small infant with faint brown hair from a white crib, and then she picked up a newborn boy with thin blond hair, and familiar brilliant blue eyes. Kakashi felt his body seize up as memories rushed back to him.
Kakashi lowered his kunai, and nodded to the woman… Yoshino. Yes Deer had brought him to the Nara district and to his sister who just gave birth to her own son. Nara Yoshino smiled at Kakashi, "Shikaku is in the kitchen eating breakfast. He has been waiting for you to wake up."
Kakashi nodded, taking a reassuring look at Naruto who was being soothed in the arms of the woman, before following the hallway down the stairs which led right to the kitchen.
Kakashi immediately recognized the head of the Nara clan who ate out of a bowl of rice with one hand as he looked over a scroll held in the other. After a moment of observing the man, Shikaku became aware of Kakashi's presence and glanced up at him. "Come in Kakashi-kun, sit down. Yoshino was hoping you would be awake for breakfast and made more than she normally does."
The fourteen year old boy nodded warily and sat at the table with his fellow ANBU Captain and served himself, all the while Shikaku watched him and waited until he was served before speaking. "You were a bit worn out last night so Shigeru-san told me his account of what happened."
Kakashi lowered his mask, not caring that the Nara saw, and ate without responding to Shikaku's comment.
Shikaku continued, "This is an unusual situation you and that boy are in, Kakashi-kun."
"How is that," was Kakashi's only reply.
Shikaku sighed, "You have no idea how to care for a child, you are barely a child yourself"-
Kakashi's glare cut him off, "Don't patronize me, Shikaku, I haven't been a child since I found my father's body in his study impaled on his own sword, I am a shinobi and your equal, don't you dare call me a child."
"I am only saying what others will say," Shikaku replied patiently
"Why should what others say matter?"
"Kakashi you don't understand, every clan in Konoha will try to take Naruto from your care once they find he is the Yondaime's son. Even the Sandaime might be convinced you are unfit to care for him because of you age."
Shikaku felt a chill run through his body as Kakashi glared at him from across the table with an eye as black as onyx and said with a voice colder than ice, "No one will take my otouto(4) from me. Not even the Nara clan."
Kakashi's killing intent was incredible, and Shikaku struggled to correct his mistake, "The Nara clan? Kakashi I just had a son who keeps me and my wife up at odd hours of the night, I don't need another brat running around here!"
Kakashi's fury eased only slightly, but he did turn that cold eye back to his food.
"Kakashi, Danzo might even come after Naruto."
Shikaku's words caused Kakashi to freeze, his stomach rolled and for a moment Kakashi believed he would throw up the food he just ate. Danzo… every ninja in ANBU heard of Danzo's special division of skilled shinobi. ROOT, he called them. Rumors of the training methods used were vivid in detail and morally appalling.
"Fine, Shikaku, what do you suggest?"
Shikaku sighed; relieved he had managed to get the boy to think rationally instead of emotionally, "You can be protected inside the Nara district. We can help you care for Naruto, with out us taking him into the clan, you will still remain as his official guardian. Honestly I'm afraid Yoshino has become too attached to the brat."
"I thought you said your family wasn't interested in him," Kakashi accused.
Shikaku shook his head, "Not politically. I am only concerned for his well being. The boy will be considered a prince of Konoha, especially since he is the only son of the Yondaime. But clan's like the Uchiha and the Hyuga, who are always looking for a political footstool, would sell their eyes to get their hands on him."
Kakashi's expression changed from defensive to skeptical yet still slightly reserved, "Shikaku, the Nara are prized for their intelligence and their strategies, how do I know you are not just trying to manipulate me?"
Shikaku grinned, "Because, it would be far too troublesome."
Shikaku decided to keep Kakashi and Naruto's presence in the Nara district quiet, let them be discovered when it happened. The only time Kakashi left the Nara District was to attend Minato's funeral, everyone gave him a wide birth during the ceremony. Afterward Kakashi returned to Shikaku's home to hold Naruto as he cried.
The next few months were very pleasant for Kakashi, who trained each morning with Shikaku and spent most of the day with Naruto, Yoshino and Shikamaru. Unfortunately spending the day with a mother and two infants meant Kakashi usually ended up doing tasks he would never have done before and would probably never tell another soul he did. Like changing diapers… Naruto was the worst in that area.
Perhaps it was because of the recent attack and the effort put into recovering and rebuilding, but it was well into November before Kakashi was visited by the Sandaime in Shikaku's home.
Unfortunately when the current Hokage decided to visit Yoshino was giving Shikamaru a bath and Kakashi was in the living room feeding his otouto some of the special formula Yoshino had instructed him to.
Naruto was calmly lying in Kakashi's arms and grabbing at the bottle with his two weak hands that still couldn't hold the bottle's weight, though the fact that he could lift his arms already was incredible to Yoshino. Kakashi found the moment of silence soothing, since it was such a rare occurrence with two infants barely a month apart; in fact he felt he might take a nap with Naruto once the child was done eating. The quiet was interrupted by a knock on the door, Yoshino had said that Shigeru, Kakashi's ANBU subordinate, might stop by that day, so without even check Kakashi called out, "Come in, it's open."
It was the chakra signature that alerted Kakashi to who the visitor actually was.
He struggled not to look up from Naruto, to not even show a hint of surprise on his face which, despite the mask he wore, the old man always seemed to be able to read like a book. He surprised himself by the calm in his voice as he said, "Good morning, Hokage-sama."
He dared himself to glance away from Naruto to the old man who stared at Naruto with wide eyes; it was the first time Kakashi had truly seen him honestly shocked. There was no doubt he recognized the child and who the father was. Kakashi turned his eye back to Naruto who continued to drink eagerly from the bottle. He waited for the old man to say something, anything. Yet it was several minutes before he spoke.
"Kakashi, why do you have Minato's son?"
Kakashi's left arm which supported the child tightened around Naruto as he remembered Shikaku's words, that even the Sandaime might be convinced to take Naruto from him. He wouldn't allow it. Naruto was his, was the last mission his sensei gave to him.
"Sensei asked me to look after him before he died," again Kakashi surprised himself with his calm tone.
"Kakashi, half the village has been looking for him, the council is starting to believe that foreign nin kidnapped him," Kakashi only shrugged, it wasn't his problem.
"I have a witness who can testify that sensei asked me to look after Naruto before he died. I am only carrying out my Hokage's wishes."
"Kakashi, do you know… what Minato sealed into this child?"
Perhaps it was the way he said 'what'. With complete disgust, and that was being said about Naruto. Kakashi glared at the Sandaime, "Of course I do, Hiruzen, I helped sensei create that technique." Normally he would never speak to the Hokage in such a familiar way, but he was feeling extremely defensive. He had to protect Naruto, no matter what.
"Kakashi, I don't know if you will be able to help Naruto, you're an ANBU Captain. The reason I came here was because you refused to report to the tower for missions, and right now we need you in the field."
Kakashi's eyes had been fixed on Naruto for the most part of their conversation, his mind fixed on the fact that he, being extremely paranoid as Yoshino had said, placed a kunai on his lap under Naruto's blankets in easy reach. If he needed to, he would be prepared to fight, even his own Hokage.
But as he finally looked up to meet the Sandaime's eyes, the Sandaime almost flinched away. He recognized the light in the single visible eye; it was always something he valued in his ninja. Kakashi's eye glowed with the "will of fire" which was something Sarutobi Hiruzen refused to extinguish.
Kakashi was not in the state that the Sandaime had expected him to be in. Kakashi finally lost everyone he held dear, Hiruzen expected him to be walking around like a ghost, unaware and uncaring. But this Kakashi he was faced with… this Kakashi was truly alive. More than he had been since Uchiha Obito died.
Hiruzen's eyes fell to the infant in Kakashi's arms, and smiled. Well, Minato, he said sadly to the spirit of his deceased successor. Looks like you didn't leave Kakashi all alone after all. You knew that this would happen, didn't you? That no one would watch over and protect your son better than Hatake Kakashi.
He could just imagine that blond idiot grinning at the three of them. If he were there he might even have a hand on Kakashi's shoulder to support him. Oh yes, Minato knew what he was doing. Kakashi was a dog with a bone that wouldn't let go. He would be consumed by the will of fire before someone took Naruto from him.
Damn you, Minato.
Shikaku watched his wife bustle around the kitchen to prepare dinner, checking out the window to trying to catch a glimpse of Kakashi returning with Naruto. He could understand her nerves, Kakashi had been meeting with the Sandaime for picnic lunches every Wednesday since he found Kakashi had Minato's son. Kakashi was usually home by four, it was now half past five.
"Naruto will be hungry. I fed him a lot so that he would sleep through their meeting, but that was hours ago. He will need a nap too. Shikaku! You need to go find that boy! I don't care that he is meeting with the Hokage that baby doesn't need to suffer for stupid politics."
Normally if his wife had told him to do something that required so much effort Shikaku might have put it off, or complained about it being too troublesome. But he was worried too. What happened to that boy? So he only nodded to his wife and headed to the door.
As he opened the door he came face to face with Kakashi, and out of breath Kakashi with shifting eyes, both eyes, his body tense, his arm wrapped protectively around the sling Naruto now fussed in. His right hand stretched out for the door knob apparently going to open it at the same moment Shikaku had.
This wasn't just Kakashi being over protective, this was Kakashi ready for battle. Shikaku grabbed the boy by the shoulder and pulled him into the house while activating the protective seal on the back of the door.
Shikaku didn't even get the chance to ask Kakashi any of the questions that came to mind, the boy said firmly and distantly, "the Sandaime Hokage has been assassinated."
(1)Taicho- Captain (learned this from watching bleach, don't know if it is the same with Naruto but I'm taking a ristk. Let me know if i spelled it right)
(2)Original huh? Nara ANBU wearing a deer mask, lol
(3)Kakashi's desperate plan, not a good one, would have never worked. Also falls under unnecessary risk :D
(4)Otouto- Little brother
Shigeru- was just a name I found while googling Japanese names, I have no idea what it means and I've never heard of Shikamaru have and uncle, on his mothers or fathers sides. He's just a plot character to get Kakashi and Naruto to Shikaku. If anyone does know what it means i would like to know.
A.N. Bad Solanum! Using a cliff hanger on the first posting. Sorry reader's I'm a sucker for cliffies, you'll probably come across them a lot during this story. But that is if you want me to keep going, i won't post anymore chapters unless i get some reviews and I am very cautious about this one because I'm afraid some of the characters seem out of character. I have this whole story planned out but i don't know if i will bother writing more if no one wants to read it.
BTW, most of the info i used for this fic was based off of the anime I've watched and manga I've read and Narutopedia (i realize most of the info on that website is hardly reliable but it gave me Kakashi's approximate age and that Shikamaru was a month older that Naruto. No idea if it is actually true.)
this fic was inspired by Jedi Honor Bound Ninja's: The Fox and the Hound and Pryotras: Hakumei