Uzumaki Naruto glared up at the Missing-Nin who had just stomped on his headband. That had been a gift from Iruka! There was no way in hell he was going to let some bastard trample it underfoot. With little to no regard for his safety, he raced towards the headband which had been one of the few non-edible gifts he'd received in his entire life, the symbol of his status as a Ninja of Konoha.

"Uzumaki Naruto, you get back here!" Sakura screamed. Recently, she'd taken to yelling at him as if he were a misbehaving toddler, thanks to a D-rank where he'd wandered out of sight for a couple of minutes. It really annoyed him. While the concern he'd heard in her voice was somewhat heartwarming, it was annoying nonetheless.

&!&!&

"Uzumaki?" both Zabuza and his water clone said in surprise before peering more closely at the boy who had snatched his headband from beneath his unresisting foot before he was almost immediately thrown on the ground once more.

"Not Uzumaki Sato's son?" he asked, further studying the reckless child that was now standing and retying his headband while making some pointless speech about becoming Hokage someday.

Looking at the boy, he could see that he had a round face that would almost assuredly thin out as he grew just as his own had. The hair and eye color had obviously been inherited from the boy's Konoha parent as his own hair color had been inherited from his father whom he closely resembled.

What little he'd seen of the boy's fighting style, resembled that of his relatives from his mother's side of the family.

&!&!&

"My mother's name was Kushina!" Naruto yelled, almost daring the man to make a comment as he remembered the embarrassment and the teasing he'd received when he'd first started at the Academy after one of the Instructors had rather rudely informed him and the rest of the class that Uzumaki had been his mother's surname not his father's and strongly implied that his father had never identified himself because he was ashamed of him.

The old man had told him afterward that his father had loved him very much, but had died before he could legally marry his mother. He tried to hold onto that while his classmates and the older children called him a bastard, but it still hurt.

The man and his water clone had apparently recognized his mother's name, because the next thing he knew, the water clone yelled "Cousin!" and he found himself being gathered into a cold and somewhat wet hug.

The hug didn't last very long because he fought to squirm away from it, and continued fighting to rescue his Sensei, but during the continuing battle, he could feel that the man's attitude regarding him had changed somehow - it was almost as if he had been excluded from the man's list of enemies - and he could almost swear he saw respect in his eyes when he managed to free Kakashi from the water prison he'd been trapped in.

All too soon, the battle was over.

He had known intellectually that when the battle was finished either they would be dead, or the enemy would but...

Why, why, why did it always have to be him? Why did his enemy have to be the only family he had? Why couldn't he have anything good in life without it or something of similar value being taken away from him almost immediately? Why?

He barely noticed Kakashi's attempts to comfort him until the man passed out and nearly crushed him when he collapsed.

As he helped carry Kakashi to Tazuna's house, he swore that if he ever saw that Hunter-nin again he would kill him.

(**!**)

Author's Note: Due to certain revelations about Kushina and the Land of Waves/Whirlpools there will be some differences from Family Reunion. Kushina will still have a shitload of siblings in this story as she did in Family Reunion, but she'll have gone to Konoha before her Konoha bound siblings did. Her oldest Sister will have headed to Mist already and married and some of her siblings will have gone to join her.