*This story came to me when I was taking a shower. Literally, the premise hit me while I was taking a shower and my mind fucking ran with it. I think it's pretty cool and makes the story of Naruto a hell of a lot cooler, hopefully you think so too. I just had to get this out, it was too good of an idea for me to just keep cooped up in my head.
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto, or else it probably might look more like this story does chances are…
The Sealed Kunai
(Naruto – Age 4)
"Come on jiji! Let me be a ninja already!"
Hiruzen Sarutobi, the Sandaime Hokage massaged his temples as he looked down at the little blonde boy who had a determined look on his face. He had been visiting the boy in order to give him a monthly allowance and help him shop for groceries as he lived alone. It might be odd that a little boy like this lives alone, instead of with his parents or in an orphanage, but the little boy held within him a massive little deterrent that kept most from wanting to care for him.
Naruto Uzumaki held within him the ultimate biju, the Kyuubi no Yoko. The same demon that had attacked and nearly annihilated Konohagakure no Sato, the village in which this story takes place.
"Naruto I can't let you enter the academy."
Naruto's face scrunched up, trying to decipher why, "But jiji, you told me other kids ninja as young as me training as ninja, why can't I?"
Hiruzen did have to admit to that nugget of truth. Clans in Konoha such as the Uchiha and the Hyuuga trained their children from around the time they could walk to become shinobi. Kakashi Hatake had graduated from the academy at the age of 5 and even been promoted to chunin at the age of 6, same for other prodigious ninja such as Itachi Uchiha. Hiruzen knew it was somewhat hypocritical of him to deny Naruto the same chance that they received.
But the people of Konoha would never accept the 'demon spawn' training in the ninja arts right in front of them, this was more for Naruto's safety. The worst thing to him was that he couldn't even tell Naruto why he couldn't allow him to join. That the irrational fear the village as a whole had of him being the Kyuubi reincarnated wouldn't allow them to see him as just a little boy that wanted to prove himself to them all.
Hiruzen patted Naruto's head and looked down at him patronizingly, "I'm sorry Naruto-kun. Maybe one day soon I can let you join, but not now." Naruto watched the old man walk towards his door and shut it on his way out.
Naruto walked aimlessly around Konoha, trying to ignore the looks that he wasn't getting. He didn't get why jiji didn't want him to be a ninja. He knew he would be the best ninja ever, that was all he would settle for, no matter how hard he had to work.
There was something he wasn't getting, and trying to think about it made his head hurt. Eventually, by the time he had stopped pondering all of the absurd reasons that he wouldn't be allowed into the academy (He even came up with a strange conspiracy that there was some sort of demi-god stuck inside of him and everybody knew but him… crazy right?) he found himself atop his favorite place in the village, Hokage Mountain.
"It's beautiful isn't it?"
Naruto whipped around suddenly to see a man with his head and one eye in bandages, and his right arm in a sling, also wrapped up. Naruto couldn't feel any real malicious intent from the man so he allowed him to come closer. He stopped next to Naruto and looked out at the view from the top of the mountain, "Truly being a ninja to protect this village is something that I've always felt is well worth the sacrifice."
Naruto's eyes widened, but then he looked away sadly, "Jiji won't let me be a ninja. I don't know why though… I mean I'll work hard, and I know I'd be good at it."
The man made a noise as if he was thinking of Naruto's words, "You would really work hard? You would do whatever you had to in order to become the greatest ninja you could be?"
Naruto grinned widely at the man, "Not just the best ninja I can be, the best ninja ever, dattebayo!"
The man had a small smirk upon his lips, "Well then, I think I'd like to take a hand in training the greatest ninja ever. How would you like to be a ninja for me?"
Naruto's grin could have split his face as he latched onto the man excitedly, "Thank you, thank you! I can really be a ninja?"
The man held Naruto off of him, "Little boy, the first thing a ninja should know is to never show emotion. I can understand your excitement, but when we begin training I do not want to see that from you. Do you understand?"
Naruto cowed himself and nodded, "Ano, um I don't even know your name…"
The man turned and motioned Naruto to follow, "You may call me Danzo…"
(Naruto – Age 7)
Underground the sounds of contact were made. The sounds of physical combat were common in this place. Sparring was intense and brutal to condition the ninja to field conditions.
An unnamed teen hit the ground hard, groaning as his eyes flicked in and out of consciousness. The blood caking his face was just another sign of the intensity of the session. Standing over him was a blonde boy sighing in relief at the conclusion of the spar, "Takeshi… you hit way too hard…"
The blonde slowly walked away from the room, checking himself over. He scratched at his fists, flaking off the dead skin covered in dried blood. He checked his mouth and sighed before digging into the back of his mouth and pulling out a molar, dropping it on the ground as he walked away, he didn't care too much about it, it wouldn't be the first time he lost teeth down here, and they always grew back, 'Thank you furball.'
As the boy clad in black practice clothing entered the hall he came face-to-face with the man responsible for training him, "Ah, Danzo-jiji… Good to see you."
Danzo frowned at Naruto's disrespect, "Boy if you weren't so damn good at what you do then I'd have you go back through emotional conditioning again…"
Naruto gave him a cheeky grin, "But that's just it. You know I'm too damn good to waste going to do that crap, and besides, you know I can turn it on the second the mission starts. I can be as blank as everybody else when you say go."
Danzo let a ghost of a smile appear on his face, he remembered putting Naruto through the paces to rid himself of his emotions. No matter how bad he had Naruto beaten and conditioned he would still keep a spark of his old personality, even after several months of that treatment, treatment that had broken everyone else Danzo had trained for decades until that point.
Danzo motioned for Naruto to walk with him, "I have a mission for you, solo this time."
Naruto went into business mode upon hearing those words, "What do you require of me Danzo-sama?"
Danzo would never openly admit it, but he did rather like the fact that Naruto could turn his ninja mode on and off at the blink of an eye. It made training a bunch of emotionless tools more bearable if one of them had enough self-awareness to actually speak to him with even a hint of cordiality.
They weren't necessarily close. Naruto was well aware of the fact that Danzo saw him as nothing more than a tool, a weapon to be brandished to protect Konohagakure, but people have shown that they can value objects and tools above many things in this world, plus Naruto's childish streak got a kick out of making Danzo twitch… you've got to enjoy the little things, "This one is probably going to be suicide for anyone else other than you. Even you will find it rough going I would say."
Naruto nodded as a sign of his hearing the advice, "If this even hints at going under you get yourself out of there, failed mission or not." A shimmer of his eye revealed from Naruto to Danzo that he was affected by those words. Danzo just couldn't tell if it was because he gave the very rare order for him to retreat if necessary or if it was because he was offended for suggesting that Naruto might fail this mission.
Naruto looked up to Danzo, icy blue eyes lacking the solid feeling they were full of just moments ago, "Your orders Danzo-sama…"
Danzo smiled, 'I think that he might just be the greatest weapon I have ever had.' Training Naruto had not been even a chore. When it came time to learn how to fight, how to kill, how to win, Naruto had shown himself a quick study. Danzo relied on Naruto for more of the higher class missions that he knew many of his other operatives couldn't handle, because the kid seemingly didn't accept anything short than a successful mission. That made him invaluable, 'And he'll only continue to grow in strength… I would probably rely on him before I thought of backing one of Sarutobi's soft elites. Oh my old friend… How did you let this gem of a shinobi go?'
Danzo continued his briefing as he and Naruto had arrived at the armory, "You will be infiltrating Ta no Kuni. There have been reports of a new hidden village based out of that nation rising to prominence."
Naruto quickly changed from simple practice clothes to gear reminiscent of Anbu armor, clicking the chest protection shut, "Hai Danzo-sama."
Danzo continued, "You will find the location of this village and if possible get inside and keep tabs on what you can see and find. When you believe that you have sufficient information to determine whether or not this village is a threat or not you are to return to base and debrief. You may leave on your own mark, this will be a long-standing assignment."
Naruto packed himself with kunai, shuriken, flash tags, exploding tags, smoke bombs, anything that he might need, and he packed to the brim, sealing whatever he couldn't carry in a scroll, he didn't know whether he would need to restock on this mission or not. Upon his completion of arming his person he turned to Danzo and bowed, "I will leave as soon as possible Danzo-sama. You will hear from me upon my return."
Danzo nodded, "By your leave Uzumaki."
Naruto stood and walked from the armory, ready for his next assignment. Naruto slipped his mask in with his combat gear, as he had replaced it all with simple street clothes as he had to keep up his appearances. Ne was the opportunity that Sarutobi never gave him. He knew all he needed to do to prove his worth as a ninja was a chance, and when that chance was given he took it.
(One Year Later – Border of Hi no Kuni/Ta no Kuni)
An explosion drew Jiraiya's attention away from returning to Konoha. He had just gotten through going through Ta no Kuni looking into rumors of a new hidden village rumored to be called Otogakure. After finding enough to bring back to the Hokage he made a hasty retreat to the border, and from the sounds of things he wasn't the only one.
Jiraiya eventually found himself on the heels of a blur in the darkness. Jiraiya slipped into the shadows of the trees to speed ahead of the fleeing mystery shinobi. However this was unnecessary as the person in question collapsed and dropped to the forest floor in exhaustion. As Jiraiya walked closer he saw deep cuts and gashes all over the body of the Anbu, or so his armor had him believing.
Jiraiya whistled as he took in the age of the blonde boy on the ground, "…They're sure starting 'em younger these days…" Jiraiya refrained from moving the mask of the boy, on which he saw a leaf insignia, as Anbu had to keep their identities secret for as long as was feasible to the masses.
Jiraiya picked the boy up and made for Konoha, interested in this current situation.
Jiraiya had set the boy down in Sarutobi's office and had requested that his Anbu guards leave the room, "Sarutobi-sensei, you could have sent me a message that you already had someone in Oto checking things over. I think I might have blown his stealth when I made tracks and left that place."
Hiruzen's eyes darkened, "I didn't send anyone into Ta no Kuni, I expected you to look into it yourself and send word back, like you are now. This Anbu isn't mine. I would never allow a child this young into their ranks, never again, not after Itachi."
Jiraiya scratched his white mane, "Well I kind of figured that, but I thought you might have made an exception or something."
Sarutobi rose from the desk and walked over to where the masked boy lay. He narrowed his eyes at the kanji he found right by the leaf symbol on the forehead, "Danzo… Ne again?"
Jiraiya sighed, "I thought you handled him and that group of blank faces. He's still doing this?" Jiraiya shrugged, "Well at least he also recognizes Oto as some kind of unknown quantity."
Hiruzen reached down and pulled off the mask. What he saw almost gave him a heart attack, "N-Naruto!"
Jiraiya ran over looked down, gaping at the sight, "Kami, he looks just like Minato. Wait… Sarutobi, is this Minato's child?"
Hiruzen settled himself somewhat, "Yes Jiraiya. This is his child. Danzo must have gotten his hands on him. I should have known. When I went to see him he was becoming progressively more aloof and secretive. I stopped getting reports about him around town completely. I figured he must have just been keeping a low profile, but I never would have guessed…"
Jiraiya looked angry, "Danzo turned Minato's son into a mindless drone? I'm going to-."
"Jiraiya wait!" Jiraiya turned to face his teacher with an angry look, "The council wanted him to be trained under Danzo's watch anyway. They'll see him in the right if this gets out. You and I are the only ones that know about this."
Jiraiya bared his teeth, "He won't tell us anything about Danzo. Even if he had any real reason to tell us anything Danzo has seals on his ninja that keep them from speaking about Ne too freely, I've seen it."
Hiruzen nodded, "I know. So what if instead of using him to get to Danzo we just take him away from that place entirely." Seeing Jiraiya's confusion he elaborated, "Danzo won't move to retrieve him no matter how valuable he knows a jinchuuriki is to his goals. All we need to do is keep him under watch and seal him."
Jiraiya nodded in agreement, "So what? Memory seal? Chakra seal? What exactly are we sealing?"
Jiraiya's eyes widened, "Now when you say everything…"
Hiruzen stood back up, "I mean everything. His entire mind and body have been utterly conditioned by Danzo to fight. He would have never been out there if he wasn't at least as strong as one of my jounin, Danzo wouldn't have allowed it. Seal it all. If we just seal his memory then he would still be infinitely more powerful than any academy student, even without the knowledge of all of the techniques, just with the academy techniques he would still obliterate any academy student."
Jiraiya looked at the unconscious blonde on the floor, "I don't like this Sarutobi-sensei. What will you do with him then?"
Hiruzen picked the boy up and put his mask back on, "I will allow him to enroll in the academy. I'm wearing the council down, soon I can get them to let him attend, him staying off of their radar has helped considerably."
Jiraiya followed Hiruzen down to the depths of the tower to commence with the sealing of the young boy.
(Ne Base – Konohagakure)
The sound of a door shutting sounded through Danzo's speakers on his desk. The injured man put his face into his hand and groaned, "Uzumaki… Damn it…"
Jiraiya… How was he to know the wandering sage was in Oto as well? From the sound of things the flamboyant shinobi had placed their forces on high alert upon his own exit, and with Naruto stuck inside that buzzing hive, with everyone searching high and low for anything amiss, the boy had run into quite a bit of trouble when he took to making his own hasty retreat.
Danzo's weapon was lost to him now. He knew Sarutobi would never allow him to get anywhere near Naruto again.
Danzo pulled out a bottle of sake and poured himself some. After tossing the alcohol back he grimced slightly, "And we move along…"
(Four Years Later)
A blonde in an orange jumpsuit sat down deep in the forests of Konoha, "Man that was so easy! Why wasn't that the regular graduation exam?" The boy unfurled the scroll in his grip and read it, "Oh man! Kage Bunshin no Jutsu? Bunshin… my worst technique…"
He sighed and put on a cocky grin, "Right then… Let's get started!"
Iruka Umino; chunin, and teacher in Konohagakure's Ninja Academy, stood in astonishment. Naruto Uzumaki, the dead-last of his class, the failure. He had just witnessed the boy in question call upon an almost endless horde of Kage Bunshin to beat his former teacher's aide Mizuki into a bloody pulp.
Naruto stood over the groaning man smiling at Iruka sheepishly, "Whoops… I guess I went a little overboard huh?"
Iruka smiled and called Naruto over to him, "I've got something for you Naruto. Close your eyes."
Naruto did as he was told and felt his goggles shift on his forehead.
"Okay, go ahead and open them."
Naruto opened his eyes and saw his smiling instructor, sans hitae-ate, holding his goggles, "Congratulations Naruto. You graduate!"
(Six Months Later – Forests outside of Konohagakure )
Naruto was smashed back by Gaara in his monstrous form. Naruto sailed through branches until he landed against a tree and slumped against it. Naruto grunted in pain as he sat up to look at the insane Suna ninja.
Gaara had a maniacal grin on his half demonic face, "You are weak Uzumaki! You lack power!"
Sasuke landed on Naruto's branch, looking worse off than Naruto himself was with strange black markings on the right side of his body, "Naruto, get out of here. Get Sakura and run, I'll handle this guy." Naruto went to speak when Sasuke clinched his fists, "If I can't win here… Then I'll never be strong enough to defeat him. I will have reached my limits."
Naruto looked at Sakura, pinned to a tree trunk with Gaara's sand slowly crushing her.
Naruto stood up and wiped the blood from his lip. He looked down at Sasuke, "Don't worry Sasuke. I won't lose here."
Naruto flipped through hand-signs and slapped his palm to the tree branch. A puff of smoke revealed a small orange toad, "Hey there, I'm Gamakichi! Got any sweets?"
Naruto flipped out, "I can't believe this crap! What's with you stupid toads? I can never get a useful one. This is really not the time for this!"
The small toad jumped onto Naruto's head and gave him a raspberry, "So you're an amphibian hater huh?"
Gaara had had enough of this, all the time spent allowed him to fully turn into his mini-Shukaku form, "Suna Shuriken!"
Naruto saw the spinning disks of sand coming his way and cradled Gamakichi with his body, taking the hits. He flew back and hit another branch, Gamakichi looked at him in concern as Gaara cackled, "You see Uzumaki! Only when you fight for yourself can you truly be strong! I'll wait for you to realize this and leave your friends here to die so you can escape!"
Naruto wordlessly placed Gamakichi down and turned to face Gaara. The look in his eyes irked Gaara, who sent another salvo of sand shuriken at Naruto, hitting him dead on and sending him back again.
Naruto stood up almost immediately, "What is this feeling? I feel stronger… Like that didn't hurt at all…"
Sasuke looked at Naruto as he saw Naruto's strength returning to him. As a burst of visible blue chakra erupted from Naruto, the blonde's look of confusion and awe at himself turned to a wail of pain as he clutched his head and dropped to the ground screaming.
The Kyuubi no Yoko was bored. Bored, bored, bored. It had been bored for years, ever since Naruto's memories and skills had been sealed away there wasn't any action for it to watch, or even partake in as Naruto was wont to do from time-to-time.
When the boy finally made his return during his month of training with Jiraiya he was noting like the Naruto that had earned his respect in his childhood. This Naruto was loud and brash, with no true talents to back it up with. The old Naruto wasn't nearly as loud, and while he had his moments of being a loudmouth he always had the talent to go with it and the drive to do better. The seal had handicapped him and his thinking for four years.
The Kyuubi really couldn't even say that the new Naruto had potential. The old one had potential, and he had started achieving it, then it was taken away, and no one can have potential twice in their lifetime.
As it pondered how exactly it was going to break out of its rotting prison, many markings appeared on the outside of the Kyuubi's cage. At first it was confused, until it remembered the exact same patterns appearing four years ago right before everything turned to shit, "Oh it's about time! Took you long enough ningen!"
Focusing its chakra into a line it pushed it out from the bars of the cage slowly so as to not upset the Shiki Fuujin. Finally the chakra made contact with the walls and began to cover the lines, following them straight to the source.
As the Kyuubi watched the lines turn red and rush off down the halls of Naruto's mind it allowed itself a triumphant smirk on its vulpine features, "Welcome back kit…"
Temari had seen the Uchiha fight Gaara. He had done well until he ran out of chakra and began getting decimated by Gaara until his orange wearing teammate came onto the scene. Then he ended up getting beaten down too.
During his beating however he began to gain energy, taking Gaara's shots and walking right through them. He exploded with raw chakra, and Temari had never seen anything like that before. Chakra visible to the naked eye, so much that it seemed strange to the boy himself. As he began getting a handle on the situation he collapsed, screaming and holding his head all the while.
As he lay on the tree branch a strange mark appeared on his head, forcing lines to branch out over his entire body, covering him from head to toe. Temari shook in place on her branch, "They're all freaks… Every last one."
The lines suddenly turned red as a massive pressure filled the immediate area, it didn't feel evil, malicious, angry, or anything. It just felt like Naruto… just magnified 100 times. The lines faded away from the downed blonde.
All attention turned to him as he groaned and stirred on his belly. He quickly snapped to his feet and looked around his own body, flexing his fists and shaking out his legs. The only noticeable change in his base appearance was the scar going down his eye, a battle-scar that wasn't existent a moment ago. He had an angry sneer on his face before he shook his head pitifully, "Kami, I suck… I'm as weak as a kitten like this. What happened to me? I'm confused..."
Sasuke looked up at Naruto. It was the same kid that had been there a second ago, and yet it wasn't. He looked like Naruto, but he didn't move like Naruto, he moved like he was coiled and waiting to strike, as if he expected an attack coming from anywhere. His eyes were the same bright blue like Naruto, but now they had more in them than just the infinite brightness they usually held. It was still there, but there was more that Sasuke couldn't quite see.
He was as calm as they came. You wouldn't even know that he was preparing to get into a fight from looking at him, and he looked out at Gaara without fear, anger, interest or anything, and he accentuated this by sighing and speaking his next words, "Alright Gaara… I don't know what the hell is going on with me right now. I have an idea, but I need some damn answers, but to do that I need to go back to Konoha. I need to go back and end this invasion and you're in my way, so… it's time to get you out of the way."
I think I'll like writing this story. It's not taking over as a main project like Fullmetal Shinobi or Naruto:S.O.F., but I'll put out a few chapters of good length and see if I get a response. If people like it then I'll keep it up with the same pace as my other stories, either way I'll end up updating it quicker than a lot of other authors so yeah.
Next chapter should be out later today actually. I just need to rest after I got off of work.