Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto. Naruto is the property of Masashi Kishimoto
Piece of the Puzzle
Chapter 1: Picking up the Pieces
It was a warm summer day and the Seventh Hokage, Uzumaki Naruto was walking through the former Uchiha district. He was wearing the traditional robes of office and the fancy hat that came with it.
As he passed alongside the inhabitants they smiled or waved at him. He stopped to talk with a few of them. Naruto had promised himself that when he became Hokage he would find time for everyone in the village.
The district had long ago been opened to the public. It was not just the Uchiha who lived here now, but several families from different clans. There were ninja and civilians living together. The new district was almost its own town.
There were bakeries, blacksmiths, bookstores, restaurants, a medical clinic, school, library, grocery stores, and shinobi supply shops. Of course, the military police headquarters was still here. Uchiha Sasuke himself was the police chief. His wife, Uchiha Sakura ran the local clinic.
The two of them had been married for twenty-seven years, and were dating for two before that. Naruto did not ponder the painful memories of those years for long. They were in his past, in his old life and he left them behind.
Naruto himself was now forty-five years old, but due to his Uzumaki vitality he did not look a day over twenty-five. It was estimated he would have originally lived to be over a hundred and fifty.
After using the Nine-Tailed Fox Demon's chakra so much over his lifetime and its forced acceleration of his already fast healing that estimate was now at only a hundred. That was still amazingly long by ninja standards. It was surmised his aging would continue, but only at half the normal rate.
As Naruto strolled along he inevitably came by the main family house. Sasuke and Sakura had moved into Sasuke's old home when they got married. Sasuke, having finally put his family's spirits to rest was able to reside in his former house in peace.
They raised six children in that home. All of them with the exception of their youngest had moved out and were either living on their own, dating or married with kids of their own. Their oldest child, twenty-six year old Momo lived just next door. The house was a wedding present from her parents. They wanted Momo and her husband to stay close by.
Momo herself was quite the beauty. She had her mother's pink hair, which unlike Sakura she kept very long, much like one Uzumaki Kushina once did. She also had her father's eyes, as she possessed the sharingan.
In looks though, Momo was almost the spitting image of Uchiha Mikoto, Sasuke's mother. She was very popular among the boys growing up, and her husband was the target of jealousy from many men in the Hidden Leaf Village.
Since Sasuke and Sakura were busy at work Naruto decided to pay Momo a surprise visit. He very sneakily approached her house and snuck inside, the occupants none the wiser.
Inside Naruto found Momo with her two children. They were a five year old boy named Hayao and a three year old girl named Himeko.
They both had their mother's eyes, but Hayao seemed to look more like his paternal grandfather and had the same colour hair as his father.
Himeko looked more like her maternal grandmother, but instead of the shade of pink shared by her mother and grandmother, she had strawberry-blonde coloured hair.
Naruto tried to sneak up on Momo to surprise her, but she had gotten used to his antics and knew he was here the moment he stepped into the house. She merely turned away from the kids to greet him.
"What are you doing here?" Momo questioned him. "Aren't you supposed to be at work, mister Hokage?" She further interrogated him.
"Can't a guy take a break to see his family?" Naruto asked her back.
With that he moved over to their kids to greet them. Momo just shook her head, being used to her husband's antics.
"Daddy!" Hayao and Himeko shouted while running into their father's arms.
"I missed you tykes. It's been almost, what, four whole hours since I last saw you two?"
Naruto's children did not respond, they just tried their best to scramble over their father while giggling in glee. Naruto lifted Hayao onto his shoulders and carried Himeko in his arms.
"So if you're here, who's running the village?" Momo asked her husband.
"I've got a shadow clone watching over Konohamaru while he takes the reins. He's going to have the job soon, so he could use the practice." Naruto responded to his young wife.
"Well, as long as you're here, I'll start lunch. Who wants ramen?" Momo asked, knowing full well the answer.
"We do, we do!" Naruto, Hayao and Himeko all shouted back. With that the Uzumaki family settled in for a nice, home cooked lunch.
As they ate Naruto gazed at his beautiful wife and adorable children. At one point in his life he did not think he would ever be this happy. When his first love, Sakura, married his best friend, Sasuke, Naruto thought he would never love again. Little did he know Sakura was not his true love, just a piece of the puzzle.
That night Naruto was preparing to put the children to bed. They were still wide awake, having inherited their father's stamina. Momo was over at her parent's house. She was not feeling well and went to get a check-up from her mother.
Since it was too late to exhaust the kids by playing with them, Naruto decided to tell them a story.
"Alright kids," Naruto began, "since you won't go to bed how would you like to hear a story. I could read you Tales of a Gutsy Ninja by your great-grandfather Jiraiya. Or how about The Tale of the Gallant Jiraiya, the book I wrote about him after he passed away?"
Hayao and Himeko thought it over, then quietly chatted amongst themselves. As much as they liked the stories about their grandparents and great grandparents, there was one story about a couple they had not heard yet.
"Umm," Himeko said in her cutest voice, "we would like to hear the story of how you and mom got together." She even did the puppy dog eyes to make it even more irresistible.
Naruto crumbled immediately in the face of that combo. His little daughter had him wrapped around her finger. Even Hayao knew that, and had his sister do it on purpose.
"All right, I'll tell you that story. I never told it to you before since the time just before we first met is something I don't like to remember. Not to mention that just us being together is a bit unusual." Naruto explained, taking a deep breath before he continued. "You guys know I'm older then your mother, much older right?"
Hayao and Himeko just nodded in reply.
"Well, normally men my age don't get together with women as young as your mother. We got together as a result of some unusual circumstances."
Seeing his kids rapt with attention now he continued his story. They would be so enthralled by him they would stay quiet too, which was nice.
"Alright, it all begins way back when your grandpa Sasuke and grandma Sakura got together. You see, back in the day the three of us were team-mates. We were team seven, led by Hatake Kakashi, the future Sixth Hokage, and student of the Fourth Hokage, who was my father and your grandfather."
Hayao and Himeko perked up at that. Between their Uchiha, Uzumaki and Namikaze heritage they were practically royalty in the Hidden leaf Village, not to mention how Naruto grew to consider Tsunade and Jiraiya as his grandparents as well. Naruto and Momo worked hard to make sure Hayao and Himeko did not become spoiled or develop an ego from it.
"I used to have a huge crush on your grandma Sakura back then. However, she was in love with your grandpa Sasuke, and that would never change. So when they started dating when we were sixteen I was really broken up over it."
Naruto sighed. Even though he had a new family now and the perfect woman there were some pains that never went away.
"I knew then I would never get her to feel the same about me that I did about her. With that dream gone I focused on my other dream of becoming Hokage. Since being around them was too painful I resigned from team seven and enlisted in ANBU. I was going to dedicate myself to my training and performing missions to prove I was right for the job."
Naruto had a fierce look of determination in his eyes then. All the energy he once put into chasing after one dream was shifted to another. His resolve further enhanced, nothing would stop him. Well, almost nothing.
"I did nothing but train and do missions for the next two years. I stopped speaking to your grandparents, but I did see Kakashi-sensei for help quite often. It wasn't until they were about to be married that I saw them again."
This memory was painful, but at the same time it was a happy one.
"I thought they were just going to ask me to come to the wedding, but your grandpa Sasuke asked me to be the best man. I was really surprised. I thought about saying no but I said yes without even realizing it. I had a habit of doing that."
In retrospect Naruto did that quite a lot. For once though, it worked out for him.
"In the end I was glad I did it. The wedding was really beautiful, and being there for them actually helped me get over a lot of my pain. It helped me accept what had happened and allowed me to move on. I decided to ask for some vacation time to start looking for a girlfriend of my own. That's when things went bad."
Bad was a massive understatement for what happened to Naruto next.
"I had gotten word from one of my contacts in the spy network I had set-up while training with Grandpa Jiraiya. The real leader of the Akatsuki was planning on starting the next great ninja war. He had gathered a large number of clones of one of the Akatsuki members and was using a forbidden technique to sacrifice them to create an army."
Naruto had to repress a shudder at the thought of what he saw. Over a hundred thousand clones of Zetsu, all being used as sacrifices for the Summoning: Impure World Resurrection to revive an army of the strongest ninja who ever lived.
The revived ninjas were then to be put under control of Uchiha Madara, and be used to conquer the Elemental Nations. Naruto made sure not to mention his name. He didn't want his children to know they had been related to such a despicable man. Sasuke himself purged all records of Madara that he could find, as he felt the same.
"The original members of Akatsuki had been defeated, but their true leader was going to accomplish what they could not. I had to make a choice. Reveal what I had learned and risk everyone's lives in a large scale battle, or take on the army myself and wipe them all out to the last man."
The answer was easy for Naruto. He was always the self sacrificing type, and would never risk someone else's life. He would fight the army on his own. Was he doing it to be a hero, or was he seeking his own death without even realizing it?
"Using the vacation time I requested I left to fight the army by myself. Between my own army of shadow clones, the flying thunder god technique, sage mode and the Nine-Tailed Fox Demon's chakra they stood no chance. I didn't stop until I beat every last one even when the last of my strength was gone and I was dragging myself by my chin I didn't give up."
Naruto was exaggerating about that last part, although he did end his fight with Gaara like that.
"In the end I won, but I was completely exhausted. I used up all my chakra, and was using every last drop of the fox's chakra that I could. It helped heal my wounds faster, but eventually I couldn't take the strain of using it any longer and my body began to break down."
Although Naruto had managed to separate the Nine-Tailed Fox Demon's will from its power, making its chakra safe to use, there was still a limit to how long his body could tolerate not only its use, but how much he could force his body to keep healing to stay at full strength.
"That was the weakness of using it. I couldn't handle it for long and it started burning away at my body. At the same time it was healing it too, so I had to use it to keep going. If I stopped, I would have been beaten."
Near the end of the fight Naruto had summoned the last of his strength for one last desperate gamble, risking his life in the process. It succeeded, but at a great cost.
"Luckily I had left a message behind to warn everyone of the threat from Akatsuki. It told them of the army and that I was going to fight it myself. If I didn't come back by a certain time that I was dead and had lost, and they should prepare for war. To be honest, a part of me thought I wasn't going to survive, but I would take down as many of them as I could before anyone else risked their lives to stop them."
It was a stupid and foolish thing to have done. Just what someone should have expected from him.
"They ended up finding me, and the remains of the battlefield. I was barely alive, and spent the next twelve years in a coma. Grandma Tsunade retired from being Hokage to look after me and make Kakashi the Sixth Hokage. If it wasn't for her I may have never woken up again."
Kakashi was reluctant to become Hokage, but he knew Tsunade was needed elsewhere. While Tsunade was looking after Naruto she also took over the hospital and started her medical ninja program. In a way, it worked out for the better.
"My chakra coils had been severely damaged so my ability to use chakra was impaired. Grandma Tsunade spent most of the time I was in a coma trying to fix that. That's why my healing didn't help me, it's dependant on my chakra, which is what needed to be fixed in the first place."
Naruto's chakra coils took years to fix. His body itself was fine after a short time. The constant forced healing it went though did cause an unfortunate side effect.
"Grandma Tsunade had finally managed to repair my chakra coils, and eventually I woke up. They discovered that my Uzumaki heritage is what kept me alive. Since we live so much longer then normal I was able to survive the amount of forced healing I went through. It did cost me a third of my lifespan. I've still got plenty of life left in me though so don't worry."
The thought of knowing his children had inherited not only his healing factor, but lifespan was very comforting for Naruto. His family would be healthy and safe for a long time. He would regret not being there to see his descendants grow up, but aging at the same pace as Momo and knowing he would not have to live without her brought solace to him.
"I spent the next year in recovery. I hadn't moved in so long so my muscles had atrophied. I could barely move, and spent a lot of time just trying to do simple things. I had to learn how to walk all over again. I didn't give up though, and pushed myself to regain my lost strength. Eventually I was well enough to leave the hospital and re-enter society."
What Naruto did not say was how he also spent a lot of time getting psychiatric help. Tsunade thought he might be a suicide risk and worked hard to insure that would not happen.
"The day I was released your grandparents were there to meet me. I had breakfast with them and they told me about everything that happened to them over the years. We spent the whole morning together. Just after lunch we went to the academy so I could see Iruka-sensei. It was the day of genin team assignments so he would be free for the afternoon."
Remembering that day brought a smile to Naruto's face. He enjoyed spending time with Sasuke and Sakura. Seeing how they looked older made him feel young, but also reminded him of how much he would outlive them by.
That was not the only memorable part of the day. Although he did not think much of it at the time, his life was changed that day by a chance meeting.
"I guess that brings me to the real start of the story, the moment I met your mother. I remember it as if someone used a flashback technique…"
Authors Notes: This is the slightly revised version of the original chapter. All chapters of this story have been edited to correct a few minor errors and make small changes, like the names of Naruto and Momo's children.
The inspiration for this story is "They all Fall Down" by AzureEmpire and is listed in my favourites.
Beauty and Bleeding, another author, has done some fanart of Momo for this fic. Links to her illustrations can be found in my profile. She also runs her own community, Monogamy. If you prefer monogamous pairings or none at all, check it out.
The estimated length for this story is nineteen chapters, and will hopefully be done sooner than later.
Finally, I have decided to change the rating for the story to "T", as there should be no content that would necessitate an "M" rating. That means there will not be any lemons, as I have chosen not to post any stories with such content on this site.