Chapter Eight: "Roots"
Naruto was currently in his apartment reading of the old green book he managed to buy from the book store. He managed to escape being overcharged by the storekeeper by using a henge of a common villager. The storekeeper fell for the jutsu and gave the book to Nrauto for a decently low price since book didn't sell much at all. In fact the owner even forgot he even he the book in stock.
After hurrying to his apartment, Naruto started reading the book and was shocked to hide out what the main protagonist's name was.
""Naruto"," Naruto said in surprise, "His name was "Naruto"?"
For the next three hours Naruto read the book and as he did, he thought back to that dream he recently had…
"The lead character of this book is someone I'd like for my son to turn out as. In fact, Kushina and I were hoping we could have your permission to name our unborn son after the lead character of your book."
"Are you really sure you want to do that," Jiraiya asked in disbelief, "I mean, I only came up with that name while eating a bowl of ramen. Though if you did name your son after the character of my book, I guess that would make me his godfather, right?"
"It's a beautiful name, dattebane," Kushina agreed with Minato, "I'd love for our son to have and bear that name, Na-"
"'Naruto'," Naruto said, "In my dream she was about to say 'Naruto'. Right before my alarm went off. This can't be by chance that I knew the existence and name of this book from that one dream, and the fact that the lead character and I have the same name.
"If Minato said that he and Kushina wanted to name their unborn son after the main protagonist…that would mean that…"
The green book fell from Naruto's hand as a huge revelation dawned on him all at once. When he thought about it and pieced everything together, From Kushina's mannerism in her speech and behavior to how he possessed an uncanny resemblance to Minato for reason everyone else failed horribly to pay attention to, everything started making sense.
"That would make me their son," Naruto realized, "The son of Minato and Kushina. I'm the son the Konoha's beloved Yondaime…"
Naruto paused for a moment to think about something else that dawned on him. He thought back to how since the time of his days in the orphanage how his life was, from how he was mistreated by caretakers of the orphanage until they kicked him out to fend for himself as a homeless five-year-old, from how he was cruelly treated by the ninjas, villagers and children as the scorned outcast, from recently finding out the village's darkest secret about himself that no one else told him, it all started adding up.
The more Naruto thought about it, searing rage and hate started rising within his soul; a hateful rage he in his entire life never felt before as bloodlust started pouring out by truck loads as his canines grew into sharp fangs with his nails changing into razor sharp claws. His whisker marked cheeks started becoming more feral as his ocean blue eyes started turned blood red with cat's eye slit for pupils. A red chakra aura started forming around his body adding more of its influence into Naruto's transformation.
"I'm here for you Naruto-kun," a voice said in his mind. Naruto calmed down upon hearing that beloved voice.
"Hinata-chan," Naruto said in a feral but calmed tone as he saw Hinata in his mindscape.
"You're my closest and dearest friend, and my boyfriend," Hinata said, "You make me happy all the time and I want to make you happy all the time too as your life-long partner. My father is fond of you though he does have his own way of showing it, just not openly. Hanabi is also fond and interested about you too, which is why she tries so hard to find out so much about you on her own."
Those were Hinata's words to him earlier today while they were watching the sunrise on top of the Hokage Monument. Remember her words helped to calm down his rage. Despite how his life was earlier in his life, in the end, he wasn't alone anymore, he had precious people in his life now and they in turned allowed him to be part of their lives, the main family of the Hyuuga clan of all people.
"You're not alone Naruto-kun," Hinata said, "I don't care about what others think of you for something that was never your fault and I don't care what they think of me for wanting to be with you. All I care about is how I feel for you and how you feel for me. You'll always have me, and I'll always want to be with you, as your Moon's Eye Spring Rabbit."
Naruto's hateful rage subsided as he started changing back to normal. The red chakra soon vanished as well.
"I'm not alone," Naruto said to himself, "Hinata-chan was always there for me. Her father and sister treat me kindly despite my ill-viewed reputation and in a number of ways they treat me as part of their family."
Hearing that word "family" coming out of his mouth caused the young teen to shed some tears. His tears though weren't tears of sorrow or anguish, but tears of immense joy and realization that he had been acknowledged and respected all this by his girlfriend's father and sister.
"Man I'm stupid," Naruto laughed happily with tears still coming down his face, "All this time I always thought Hiashi and Hanabi merely tolerated me being around them and Hinata! Hinata-chan told me that her father told her that my failure in the Genin Exams would make both him and Hinata-chan look bad. I can't believe how blind I was all this time! It's just too funny!"
Naruto laughed so much he dropped his anger and replaced it with feelings of happiness and inner peace.
"I'm fondly viewed and cared for by Hinata-chan's family," Naruto said happily, "I'm not alone in this life."
Naruto looked at the clock on his cabinet and saw that the evening hours were approaching.
"It's getting late," Naruto said, "Mizuki-sensei's Secret Test is fast approaching. I better get ready for it."
With new positive feelings of optimism, Naruto set out to perform his next task.
(Later That Night)
The Hokage Tower was quiet while ANBU and other ninjas were out on patrol. In all this, a figure in the shadows managed to evade and bypass all of the security put in place around the tower. The cunning figure then made his way to where his prize was being kept. Quietly racing through the hallway, the figure entered the room where his target was being kept in. As he approached the cabinet for his prize…
"Naruto," Hiruzen said was he stood behind Naruto, "What are you doing here at this hour?"
"Oiroke No Jutsu," Naruto said as he performed his jutsu, knocking Hiruzen out in a heap of nasal blood loss.
"So much for stealth!," Naruto said seeing that of all people he was caught and seen by the Hokage, "I better hurry."
Going over to the cabinet, Naruto opened it and took the large scroll out and placed it on his back with the strap hanging around him. With his prize, Naruto hurried to make a quick exit out of the tower. Standing by the opened window, Naruto turned to the Hokage still lying on the ground.
"I'm not through with you yet jiisan," Naruto said with a neutral tone, "We still have unfinished business."
With that said, Naruto leaped out through the window and into the shadows of the night.
Soon, Hiruzen regained consciousness and moments later recalled what happened.
"Damn," Hiruzen grumbled, "I let my guard down again."
He looked and found the cabinet opened with the Forbidden Scroll of Sealing missing.
"Oh No," Hiruzen realized in bewilderment, "Naruto stole the scroll! But why? And how did he even know about that scroll's existence?"
Not wasting further time, Hiruzen hurried and summoned all of his available ninjas from Chuunin to Jounin, Mizuki and Iruka being among them. Upon their arrival, Hiruzen brief them on what happen while leaving out the part of him being knocked out by Naruto's jutsu. He instructed them find and bring both the scroll and Naruto back to him alive and in one piece.
As the ninjas dispersed, Iruka could only wonder what could have led Naruto, the same day after all his efforts to finally become a Genin, to commit a treasonous act against the Hokage. Something wasn't adding up. He could only hope to find and bring back Naruto himself before anyone else found and got to him before he did.
(Three Hours Later; Outside The Village Walls)
During the hours Naruto was alone in the forest, he looked through the scroll he stole from the tower and opened it to see what useful jutsus he could learn and master. He found Kage Bushin No Jutsu among them but he disregarded that since he already learned that jutsu. He found a few useful ones and memorized the seal sequences for them though like Kage Bushin, some of the other jutsus looked rather familiar to him. One in particular he practiced with his kage bushins until his got the sequence and usage mastered.
When he was done, he closed the scroll and tied it close in time to see a figure appear behind him.
"Naruto," Iruka asked standing behind the blonde Genin, "So this is where you've been hiding? What were you planning to do with the Forbidden Scroll of Seal?"
"Iruka-sensei," Naruto greeted, "You made it! I thought I would have to wait longer than I was told to."
"What do you mean longer than you were told to," Iruka asked.
"Mizuki-sensei told me of a rare secret test that only a few selected Genin graduates are given," Naruto explained, "He said that this kind of test was giving in order to expose new ninjas to the true life of shinobis and the dangers that comes with it. He said that if I make it this far without getting caught for three hours until he arrives, I pass the test."
Iruka now understood what was going on and how Naruto was being used and deceived.
"Naruto," Iruka said urgently, "Listen to me. We can clear things up with the Hokage if we hurry back and-"
Several kunais came flying at them. Iruka managed to leap away as the kunais were aimed at him. Naruto and Iruka looked to see Mizuki approaching them.
"Well done Naruto," Mizuki said with a smile on his face, "You actually did it. You pass the test. Now please, hand over the scroll to me."
"Don't do it Naruto," Iruka warned, "Don't give him the scroll! That test he told you about was a ruse! He deceived you into stealing the scroll for him!"
"Naruto," Mizuki said, "Give me the scroll and in exchange, I'll tell you the truth behind why everyone in Konoha despises and mistreated you so much throughout your life. It's a secret that even the Hokage never told you about though even Iruka knew the truth."
"Mizuki," Iruka yelled, "That information is classified as an S-class secret. Naruto don't listen to-"
More kunais was thrown at Iruka. The Chuunin managed to evade them, as Mizuki continued…
"Do you remember the story about how Yondaime killed Kyuubi," Mizuki said while fighting with Iruka, "Well, it was all a lie. Yondaime never killed it because there is no way to actually kill a bijuu. So before his death, he did the next best thing."
"Mizuki don't!," Iruka yelled.
"He turned the Kyuubi into you," Mizuki yelled, "You are the Kyuubi that attacked Konoha and killed all those people years ago; from friends to family members to loved ones, even Iruka's parents! That's why Iruka and everyone hates you so much!"
"That's a lie Naruto," Iruka pleaded as he jumped and backed away from Mizuki to face Naruto, "I don't ha-"
Iruka never got to finish when a Naruto kage bushin appeared from behind and knocked him unconscious. The Chuunin fell to the ground, leaving Naruto alone with Mizuki.
"Well done Naruto," Mizuki said, "Now you know the truth, as I promised to tell you. Now please, hand me that scroll."
"What reason is that that I should trust you after I give you this scroll," Naruto asked, "You're no better than the villagers of whom you speak!"
Mizuki saw that Naruto was debating whether or not to listen to him.
"Look Naruto," Mizuki said, "You don't owe this village any favors, considering how they treated you. The Sandaime failed to have you protected from the people when it was within his power to do justice against them for how they abused you. You can have them and the Hokage lose that scroll as payback for all that they put you through. Consider it your greatest prank against them."
There seem to be an eternal moment of silence between them. After another minute, Naruto grabbed the large scroll and looked at Mizuki
"If I give you the Forbidden Scroll," Naruto asked, "What's in it for me?"
"I'll let you learned a jutsu or two from it in return," Mizuki offered, "Powerful ones. That would be a fair trade off."
"But how I can stay in this village knowing that Iruka-sensei and others knows that I stole the scroll," Naruto stated, "How will I explain what happened when I return to jiisan?"
"Just tell him that Iruka tricked you into stealing the scroll for him so he could sale it to an unknown buyer," Mizuki suggested, "You can add that the deal went wrong and Iruka was double-crossed by his buyer who attacked and left both you and him unconscious before escaping with the scroll. The Sandaime is too kind and soft of an old man to let severe punishment befall you if you can convince him that Iruka used and deceived you."
Naruto thought about what Mizuki's words. After another minute he made his decision and tossed the scroll towards Mizuki's direction. The traitorous Chuunin ran to catch his prize.
"The scroll," Mizuki said hungrily, "It'll finally be in my possession."
Two few seconds before Mizuki caught his prize, the scroll exploded in a large explosion, catching Mizuki in its range. Mizuki was now unconscious and heavily injured and bleeding with a series of burns around his body and ninja clothes and gear with smoke coming off him.
"Ninpo," Naruto said coldly, "Henge Bakuhatsu No Bushin No Jutsu."
Naruto walked over to Mizuki and stood over him.
"For the record," Naruto said, "I already learned a few jutsus from the scroll, one of them I used on you just now."
(Ten Minutes Later)
Iruka woke up to see that he was leaned up against a tree with Naruto and Mizuki no longer in sight. Panicking, he got up to hurry after them when…
"I'm happy that I didn't hurt you too bad," Naruto said as Iruka turned to see him sitting next to a nearby tree, "I can't say the same for Mizuki-sensei after I was through with him."
"Naruto," Iruka asked, "Wha-"
"My kage bushins are on their way to return the scroll and have Mizuki brought in to jiisan. I did all this after I knocked you unconscious and not by using Oiroke No Jutsu," Naruto interjected. Despite the serious of the situation, Naruto chose to be just a little humorous.
"Things will be cleared up with jiisan and an explanation for everything that happened up to taking Mizuki out will be made," Naruto added, "The search party for both me and the scroll will be called off."
"Naruto," Iruka said, "About what Mizuki said to you with that false test he gave you-"
"I knew he was lying from the beginning before I did what I did," Naruto explained, "I was able to see that parts of his story didn't make sense. Infiltrating a Kage Tower and stealing secret documents or scrolls without getting caught, having such a test given to an inexperienced Genin the same day he graduated from the Academy? Such a test is ridiculous unless there was an ulterior motive."
"But you went along with it anyway," Iruka stated.
"I had to expose Mizuki somehow," Naruto shrugged, "It was my word against his. Therefore, I played the role of the misled Genin to bait him to expose himself as true culprit before I gave him a false forbidden scroll which was a trap that didn't go well for him."
"You planned this didn't you," Iruka realized.
"It's not that easy to trick a trickster," Naruto grinned, "Something I had to brutally teach Mizuki firsthand."
Naruto stood up and looked like he was about to leave when…
"Naruto, listen please," Iruka started, "About Kyuubi and what happen-"
"I already knew the truth," Naruto interjected, "For almost a year in fact. I'm the Jinchuuriki of Kyuubi No Kurama."
"Kurama," Iruka asked with a confused expression.
"That's Kyuubi's true name," Naruto said, "Don't ask how I know, I just do, along with the names of all the other eight bijuus."
There was a secret behind how Naruto found out, but he wasn't going to reveal that to Iruka. Iruka was wondering if Naruto somehow managed to open a link of communication between himself and Kyuubi.
"You knew the truth all along," Iruka asked in disbelief, "But-"
"I hinted at it yesterday in your class Iruka-sensei," Naruto replied, "When I said how I don't understand how Yondaime, a mere human could killed such a creature like Kyuubi. When I said that story behind Kyuubi's defeat didn't add up, I was giving you hints that I already knew the truth that Yondaime sealed Kurama into me."
"But how did you find out," Iruka asked, "Sandaime passed a law forbidding anyone from telling you or their children about what happened thirteen years ago. It was done in hopes that you could live a normal life."
"And we all saw how well that plan went," Naruto remarked cynically, "Most of the villagers, and by most the stupid ones, see me as a walking reminder of that creature. They can't see the difference between the container and the object being contained."
Iruka flinched knowing that was the irrefutable truth.
"How I found out that I'm a Jinchuuriki you wonder," Naruto said, "A little research I did about bijuus after sneaking into the shinobi library while no one notice. I went into an area where only Chuunins and Jounins are allowed to enter. There, I found a few books discussing facts about Jinchuurikis and their bijuus, the treatment of some of these Jinchuurikis in foreign nations. After putting two and two together, relating the facts to my own life, it wasn't hard to make the connections clear."
As the Chuunin stood there, he saw that in front of him wasn't the same goofy Naruto he was used to seeing in class all the time. This Naruto in front of him was an entirely different person. He was led to believe that the Naruto in front of him was the real Naruto while the one he was so used to was nothing more than an illusion.
"So you're the true Naruto," Iruka said, "This is who you truly are, while the one I and others are used to seeing is nothing more than an illusion you cast for everyone. Sandaime was right to suspect something about you ever since the Academy Field Day four years ago."
"I knew for a very long that you, jiisan and others were on to me," Naruto replied, "And it made holding up my illusion rather difficult."
"You wanted no one to know the truth about your true character," Iruka acknowledged, "Not even me. I can't say I blame you, most of us never really did earn your trust."
"Only Hinata-chan knows the truth but I trust her to not reveal that until much later and I request that you don't either and that you continue treating me as the troublemaking dead last of our class."
"Why," Iruka asked perplexed, "You're obviously a lot smarter and talented than you let on over the years and I see now that you failed many of my tests and other things at the academy on purpose. If anything, you should have been your class' Rookie of The Year. So why continue this charade?"
"We're shinobis," Naruto simply replied, "Deception is one of our primary weapons. If many knew what my true abilities were, they would formulate ways to counter and handle me. To lessen the chance of that happening, I play the role of the dead last and the village clown who's beneath Sasuke's level. In some unforeseen yet inadvertent way, Sasuke is my living decoy."
Iruka took the time to soak in everything he was being told. It was like everything he thought he knew about Naruto was all a lie.
"…You're a true ninja Naruto with two faces," Iruka chuckled with admiration, "A true face and a false one. You played the fool so well that we became the fools who had succumbed to your long range illusion.
"But changing the subject, you said earlier that most of the villagers had mistreated you as a Jinchuuriki but not everyone."
"Hinata-chan learned of my status as a Jinchuuriki from me only a couple of months ago," Naruto said, "She's the only person I told this to. Despite that, she never changed the way she looked at me, and she said that she sees me as the hero who saves her and Konoha everyone by jailing the bijuu. The old man at Ichiraku and Ayame-chan despite knowing that I'm a Jinchuuriki, treat with kindness and never looked or treated me unfairly like many others. Hinata's father and some from the Hyuuga clan, mostly from that Cadet Branch part, also treat me kindly regardless of the fact that I'm a Jinchuuriki. Hinata's younger sister, like many other youths her age and older, doesn't know yet and I prefer that for now.
"Saving Hinata-chan from those bullies five years ago was the best thing I did. It led the way for her clan to gradually accept me though some still look at me with disdain. Besides jiisan, the old man and Ayame-chan, Hinata's clan became a family for me and Hinata-chan is my dearest and closest best friend. These are the very factors that helped me deal with the villagers' discrimination and prejudice against me for something that was never my fault."
"I'm happy that you have such a dear friend like Hinata in your life Naruto," Iruka said, "I really do mean that. I also want you to know that even though I knew you're the Jinchuurirki, I never looked at you as if you were the Kyuubi itself, but its jailer. You weren't the monster that attacked Konoha and killed of all of those people and my parents all those years ago
"I know as your sensei I've always been hard on you because I saw a lot of myself in you to tell you the truth. I understand what it's like to be an orphan. Like you, I made lots of jokes, even if they were on me, just so I could have attention from as many people and children as I could possibly get. But it was a lonely life and I cried many times because I had no family."
Iruka sighed and his lowered his head, "In spite of all this, as your sensei, I failed to empathize with you and instead I scolded you countless times rather helping you where you needed the most help in. Uzumaki Naruto, I'm truly sorry."
This was the first Naruto ever seen Iruka apologize to him ever so sincerely. He found no trace of hypocrisy in Iruka's speech.
"Hey Iruka-sensei," Naruto replied with his huge trademark smile, "Don't worry too much about it. I still became a Genin earlier today even though you delayed me one year. But that's water under the bridge and I managed to make Konoha safer with one less traitor to worry about."
"You did," Iruka agreed, "You helped make Konoha safer. I suppose I can reward you."
"I'm good," Naruto said, "Besides I have to get ready for tomorrow to take my ninja photo ID, and there's something personal I have to take care of before the night is over. I'll see'ya."
Iruka was about to say something to Naruto but the hyperactive blonde had already took off from the scene.
"And I used to think I had Naruto all figured out," Iruka said to himself, "I wonder what more I'm to find out about him."
(At The Hokage Tower)
Hiruzen sighed after he watched the entire scene between Iruka and Naruto from his crystal ball. He was happy that things didn't get out of hand and that the real traitor was exposed and stopped. Leaving his private quarters, he went to his office and sent out a message calling off the hunt for Naruto, stating that the true criminal was found and that the scroll was being returned with the criminal brought in for questioning.
While in his office, Hiruzen took out his pipe and filled it with tobacco and lit it before taking a poof out of it. He exhaled the smoke from his mouth as he relaxed. His time for relaxing was cut short when Naruto appeared with both the scroll and a severely injured Mizuki being brought in by his clones.
"Here's the scroll," Naruto said as he entered and placed it down on the Hokage's desk, "And one of the many trashes of this village."
His clones dropped the still unconscious Mizuki on the floor without so much of a look of remorse. Hiruzen nodded and snapped his fingers. Two ANBU ninjas appeared seemingly out of nowhere.
"Take Mizuki to Ibiki for questioning," Hiruzen ordered. The two ninjas nodded and picked up the unconscious traitor and disappeared with him. With them gone, Hiruzen turned back to Naruto.
"Well done in exposing and capturing a traitor in our ranks Naruto," Hiruzen said, "Though your first unofficial solo mission, I'll give you a B-rank pay for it. Still, it's grievous that we have those willing to betray the will of fire this village possesses."
"Tell me something," Naruto asked, "Who was Uzumaki Kushina?"
Hiruzen almost dropped his pipe from his mouth upon hearing that name being pronounced from Naruto's mouth, but his many years of experience as a ninja helped him keep his control and reaction in check.
"Naruto," Hiruzen asked, "What are you-"
"Don't play me for a fool jiisan," Naruto interjected, "She and Yondaime were married and I so happen to be their child, correct?"
Naruto reached into the pocket of his orange jacket and pulled out his green book. He tossed it onto the desk next to the scroll in front of Hiruzen.
"They named me after the very protagonist of that book," Naruto explained, "A book that was written by your student and my father's sensei, Jiraiya. And if I'm correct he's also my godfather as a result."
Now Hiruzen was nervous, very nervous. Naruto knew more than he should, Hiruzen realized and was mentally trying to figure out how he could possibly know everything he was saying.
"It makes sense really that Yondaime, Namikaze Minato would use me as a host to contain Kyuubi No Kurama," Naruto continued, "I mean, what father would ask another father to sacrifice their newborn child and their own life in the process in order to seal Kurama away? I'm sure my father as the Yondaime couldn't ask anyone to do something he himself wasn't willing do with his own son. I'm sure my mother Kushina died that same day too though I don't exactly know how, but I'm certain it wasn't through childbirth."
Hiruzen knew that there was no point in hiding the truth from Naruto anymore.
"I want answers, jiisan," Naruto said, "And I want them now."
"How were you did find out about your parents," Hiruzen asked.
"I had to do my own private investigation and research seeing how you and no one else knew exactly how I came to be part of this village," Naruto remarked cynically, "It wasn't easy but I was able to gain access to some very special files. Plus I found it remarkable that my date of birth corresponded to the very day and year Kyuubi No Kurama attacked Konoha."
"Why do you refer to Kyuubi as Kurama," Hiruzen asked.
"That's his true name," Naruto replied, "Not Kyuubi, but Kurama."
Could it be that somehow Naruto was able to establish a line of communication with the fox which is why he knows what he knows now, Hiruzen wondered, Considering that it's Kyuubi, that possibility is highly unlikely. There must have been another way Naruto found out.
"I'm sure you're contemplating on how I found out my information," Naruto said, "Well, you don't need to know. It's not important right now."
"…," Hiruzen stared at Naruto but give him no answer.
"I trusted you all my life jiisan," Naruto said, "I always thought of you as the kindest old man I knew. I always wondered why I was treated so badly by the populous, why I was thrown out of the orphanage when I was five years old when I did nothing wrong, why I was looked upon by the ninjas and villagers with intense loathing and disgust as if I was some sort of abomination, why parents would pull their children away from me and tell their children to stay away from me, why their children adapted their cruel behavior and view towards me, why I would be chased out of stores and restaurants while others overcharged me for their reluctant services, why everyone would sneer and call me "Kyuubi-Brat" or "Demon" under their breaths, why I spent the early years of my life always going to bed crying!
"I couldn't understand why I was treated by the populous so cruelly and I couldn't understand how you being the Hokage kept making excuses for such inexcusable actions against me, the son of this village's most beloved Yondaime who was made into a Jinchuuriki by his own father and not by my choice!"
Hiruzen felt aged and the weight of everything that happened in Naruto's life becoming heavier on his shoulders.
I never knew Naruto bottled this much anger and resentment towards me and all of Konoha, Hiruzen thought sadly himself, He hid it so well behind that smiling mask he always wore. Yondaime and I put too much faith in hoping that the villagers would eventually see Naruto as a hero jailing the Kyuubi.
"I kept the knowledge of your parents' identity a secret for your own protection. Both Minato and Kushina made many powerful enemies from both Kumo and Iwa; enemies that would have come after you repeatedly in an endeavor to get revenge on your parents by killing you. At that time Konoha was heavily weakened after the losses suffered from the Kyuubi's surprise attack. The only way to keep you safe was to keep your identity as Yondaime's son and descendant of the Uzumaki clan secret."
"Like I couldn't keep a secret if I was taught about my family," Naruto retorted unconvinced, "Now I'm hearing that my last name Uzumaki was in fact the name of a clan I never knew existed at one point in time."
"I was planning on telling you after you made Chuunin," Hiruzen said.
"And what if something had happened to you before that time," Naruto shot back, "Then what? Who else would have told me if not make sure I didn't get promoted beyond Genin?"
Hiruzen inwardly flinched at Naruto's logical jab. In all honesty, Hiruzen never took that possibly of his death before revealing to Naruto his heritage into consideration.
"You had no right to keep that information about my clan and familial roots hidden from me," Naruto continued, "You have any idea what it's like growing up not knowing your heritage and familial line or if your parents really cared about you or abandoned you to fend for yourself? No you couldn't possibly begin to understand that feeling so don't pretend to empathize with me."
"I'm sorry," Hiruzen apologized while feeling worn down as he acknowledged that Naruto's respect for him dropped several notches, "I know I have made mistakes. I did try to do my best but I'm far from perfect and some in the council back then even called for your immediate death after the sealing which I had to completely oppose, explaining that killing you would release Kyuubi. Another person suggested that we turn you into a living weapon which I also had to strongly oppose.
"When it was announced that you were the Jinchuuriki of the Kyuubi, the one that jailed it, the ninjas and villagers, out of rage and feelings of the sorrow and loss for their loved ones and close friends looked at you as the weakened version of the Kyuubi and called for you to be immediately executed. It almost turned into an all-out riot. I passed a law forbidding anyone under penalty of death from telling their children who knew nothing of your status as the Jinchuuriki the truth about what truly happened on the night of Kyuubi's attack."
"And in blind faith you and along with a few others hoped that this would allow me to live a normal life," Naruto replied.
"It was your father's final wish that you be acknowledged as the hero who saves Konoha everyday by jailing the Kyuubi, believing that someday you'd develop and find use for it in protecting Konoha," Hiruzen added, "I couldn't deny Yondaime's request, which he practically made on his deathbed even though I suspected what the reactions of the populous would be."
"Suspected or knew," Naruto replied, "Either way, I was used a scapegoat by the villagers to vent their anger and sorrow on, thinking that it would give them payback against Kurama; an act of cowardice if you ask me!"
"All that I can say is that I'm sorry for the mistakes I, the ninjas and the populous made," Hiruzen said, "I truly did what I thought was best at the time. The populous did nothing to openly defy me. Though traumatized by their grief and loss, they didn't dare try to kill you unless they themselves were looking to be immediately executed and the same rule applied to the ninjas. The villagers obey with their lips but disobeyed with their hearts. It was malignant civil disobedience but I couldn't just very well force the populous against their free will to acknowledge you as one of our own unless I or one of my loyal ninjas stood behind them 24 hours a day. Even as Hokage my authority and powers are limited."
Naruto stared directly into Hiruzen's eyes and answered, "Your and the mistakes of the stupid ones of this village would have cost all of you dearly if I had become a self-fulfilling prophecy in becoming the very monster everyone believes me to be."
Hearing those words sent of cold chill down Hiruzen's back.
"It's because of Hinata-chan that I didn't become such a self-fulfilling prophecy," Naruto calmly added, "Even though the old man at Ichiraku and his daughter Ayame-chan treat me kindly and allow me to eat at their establishment with no hostility towards me whatsoever, in all it was Hinata-chan who saved me from my darkness and loneliness. She sees me for me and not as Kyuubi No Kurama even after I told her the whole truth about my status as a Jinchuuriki. I care for her and she's very precious to me. And believe me when I say I'll battle and fight this entire village and anyone else to my death to protect her, even if that means protecting her from you jiisan!"
Despite his words, Hiruzen couldn't help be form a large smile on his face with a light chuckle escaping his mouth before bursting into all out laughter, much to Naruto's surprise.
"And what's so funny," Naruto asked indignantly, "You take me for a joke?"
Hiruzen calmed down to get his bearings back together.
"You remind me of so much of your father with that same attitude it's scary," Hiruzen answered, "He was just as protective of your mother while they were Academy students growing up back then."
"He was," Naruto asked curiously.
"Like you and Hinata," Hiruzen explained, "Minato and Kushina knew each other since they started the Academy. Your father always had a huge crush on her though Kushina at first didn't acknowledge him. Your mother was a foreigner from Uzu No Kuni, which was once a prestigious village ruled by the Uzumaki clan, a clan once renowned and feared by other elemental nations and villages for their great seal masters."
"They were," Naruto asked, Maybe it's hereditary that I'm developing and mastering all of those seals then, not that jiisan needs to know what I've been doing over the years.
"In fact," Hiruzen said, "Many of the seals we use in Konoha originated from your clan who designed and created them."
"What became of the Uzumaki clan," Naruto asked.
"Being a nation known for their powerful seal masters earned for them many enemies that feared and hated them," Hiruzen explained, "Uzu No Kuni was destroyed by other foreign nations that banded together in the effort to wipe the Uzumaki clan in its entirety. I don't know if there were any survivors besides you being their last legacy now."
"I see," Naruto said quietly, "…But before me was my mother. So what happened between her and my father back then?"
"Kushina and Minato's romance didn't start out perfectly even though he always had an obvious attraction to her. Like you Naruto, your mother was treated as an outcast but that was because she was a foreigner. Your mother though didn't tolerate anyone's mistreatment of her and she would fight and beat up anyone her crossed her. Minato though saw passed all her faults and bias views of her and from the shadows he'd always watched over Kushina, admiring her while in hiding from her sight."
"Sounds a whole lot like what Hinata-chan used to in connection with me," Naruto remarked seeing a forming parallel between himself and Hinata with regards to his parents.
"One day though Kumo ninjas infiltrated Konoha and kidnapped your mother," Hiruzen went on.
"Why," Naruto asked, "What did they want with my mother?"
"There's a secret about your clan's bloodline you must know before I continue and why Yondaime used you as the host for Kyuubi," Hiruzen said, "You see, only an Uzumaki can hold Kyuubi, anyone else would die in the attempt to become a Jinchuuriki for that bijuu. This is because the Uzumakis were known for their longevity, massive chakra, stamina and endurance. You Naruto, are the third Jinchuuriki of Kyuubi."
"What," Naruto asked, "I'm the third Jinchuuriki of the Kyuubi No Kurama?"
Hiruzen nodded, "The first one was a woman named Uzumaki Mito; she was the wife of our late Shodaime Hokage. She used herself to seal Kyuubi away. After many years she when approaching the end of her life a new Jinchuuriki was needed before her death. Your mother had special chakra that she could form and solidify into chains strong enough to hold down Kyuubi, which was why she was chosen and brought to Konoha, to become the second Jinchuuriki."
Naruto was shocked and speechless by that bombshell.
"My mother was the Jinchuuriki before me," Naruto asked.
"She was," Hiruzen continue, "Sometime later after she became a Genin, Kumo got wind of Kushina's abilities and sought to use her as their instrument. No one else was aware of Kushina going missing, but Minato did and went after her before the Kumo ninjas reached the border and singlehandedly defeated her kidnappers and rescued Kushina."
"My father was that strong even then," Naruto asked.
"He loved your mother to the point that he traced her red hair deposits she dropped to the ground as a hopeful trail for our trackers," Hiruzen said, "Only Minato caught onto it. Kushina fell in love with Minato ever since. Just as Minato saved your mother from her loneliness and kidnappers, Hinata saved you from your loneliness and darkness, just as you said before; quite the parallel."
Naruto stayed quietly momentarily to take in everything he was now being told, information, though brief, he wanted to know for many years. Soon though, he broke his silence.
"How did they die," Naruto asked, "What were the exact circumstances?"
"…When you mother became pregnant with you," Hiruzen explained, "It brought about a dangerous situation with it that threatened Konoha's safety."
"How so," Naruto asked.
"When a female Jinchuuriki becomes pregnant," Hiruzen continued, "Their seal containing the bijuu is at its weakest during childbirth. That was also the case with Uzumaki Mito after she become pregnant for Shodaime. During that critical situation and for Konoha's safety, both Mito and Kushina had to give birth outside the village in the event Kyuubi managed to escape. All preparations and ANBU security were made for your birth at an undisclosed chamber a good distance outside Konoha's walls. My late wife Biwaki and a young female medic were with both Minato and Kushina when Kushina went into labor. Minato was to keep the seal holding Kyuubi stabilized while Kushina gave birth to you.
"But something went terribly wrong during your birth and Kyuubi was released. I'm sorry to say Naruto but I don't know exactly what happened that led to Kyuubi's sudden escape from Kushina's seal and both my wife and her medic assistant were killed in the process. Deep down though, I knew foul play was involved even though we made sure no one within Konoha's walls knew of Kushina giving birth.
"Were the villagers aware that my mother was a Jinchuuriki," Naruto asked.
Hiruzen shook his head, "Her status was never disclosed to the public so we were confident that no one knew; but we never thought about anyone outside Konoha knowing of it and knowing when she was due to give birth to you."
"How do you know foul play might have been involved," Naruto asked.
"All of the ANBU ninjas selected for the security detail were found dead but not by Kyuubi's hands," Hiruzen explained, "But through strangulation. My wife and her assistant's bodies were also found and upon medical examination, nothing showed that their deaths were the result of Kyuubi's attack but by the same unknown enemy who stabbed them. What happened between that enemy and Minato is unknown but I believe Yondaime fought the attacker before turning his attention back to Kyuubi who was wreaking havoc on the village while my ninjas and I were doing all we could to hold that bijuu off.
"When Yondaime appeared, he summoned Gamabunta, the Toad Boss and had him grabbed and hold onto Kyuubi long enough to relocate the both of them. Using the very jutsu that made him known and feared as Konoha's Yellow Flash, Hiraishin, Minato teleported both himself and Kyuubi over to the very location where you and Kushina were. A few of my ninjas and I hurry as fast as were could to follow after him once we saw how far he teleported with Kyuubi. It was a while before we arrived but when we did we found that Kushina, despite being fatally injured from Kyuubi release, used her remaining chakra chains to hold Kyuubi down while your father began the sealing ritual."
"What did you do in all this after your arrival," Naruto asked.
"…There wasn't anything I or my ninjas could do," Hiruzen sighed, "Yondaime formed a large barrier around himself, Kushina, you and Kyuubi. It was clear that they were going to stop and seal away Kyuubi by themselves without outside interference. All we were able to do was listen and watch as things played out. Your father, through the use of an S-class kinjutsu ougi known as Shiki Fūjin, sealed the dark half of Kyuubi's chakra into himself before using the Hakke Fūjin on you to seal Kyuubi away into you."
Shiki Fuujin, Naruto thought, I remember coming across that jutsu with its required complicated hand sign sequence in the Forbidden Scroll earlier. But I never got to actually read up on the nature behind that jutsu.
"What exactly does that kinjutsu ougi does," Naruto asked.
"It summons the Shinigami," Hiruzen said, "An unearthly being that's not of this world."
"Obviously," Naruto remarked, "What's the payment for such a summoning? Is it like the other summonings we read about in class that requires a little blood payment?"
"No Naruto," Hiruzen replied, "For that jutsu an even heavier price is paid…Your soul is devoured by the Shinigami along with the soul of the target that's to be sealed away. Once devoured the sealer and the sealed can never rest in peace. Instead they suffer for eternity in the belly of the Shinigami. The souls of the sealer and the sealed are entwined in hate and are forever locked in combat."
Naruto's expressions turned pale on hearing and understanding the nature of the jutsu his father used on himself.
"He chose to use THAT kind of jutsu," Naruto screeched, "And everyone calls me crazy? Why didn't he just seal both halves of Kyuubi into me seeing that my mother had the whole thing in her at one time like Uzumaki Mito?"
"I don't know to be honest," Hiruzen admitted, "He evidently knew something we didn't and died with whatever it was he knew."
"So this Shinigami instantly ate my father's soul right after sealing the dark half of Kurama within my father," Naruto said.
"No," Hiruzen said, "As Minato prepared to use the Hakke Fūjin to seal away the Kyuubi into you, your dying mother got weaker, enough for Kyuubi to be partially freed from her chakra chains as he aimed to kill you to prevent himself from being sealed away inside you. Your father and mother saw this and rushed to you, using themselves as human shields to protect you as Kyuubi ended up impaling the both of them with his claw as the chains around him tightened. Your parents imparted their final words to you though I don't know what it was they said to you right before they sealed Kyuubi into you. But I do know that they died smiling knowing you were their surviving legacy and that they got to see you before their tragic demise.
"After Kyuubi was sealed into you, Yondaime deactivated the barrier seal, which allowed me and the ninjas with me to rush over to where the three of you were. Kushina by that time had already died in Minato's arms. Your father, with his last breaths, asked that you be acknowledged by the villagers as the hero saves them by bearing the burden of jailing the Kyuubi. He wished the very best for you even though things didn't turn out the way he have hope."
"And what became of my godfather, Jiraiya," Naruto asked.
Hiruzen sighed, not believing that Naruto would like what he was going to hear.
"He's still alive on active duty many miles outside Konoha's walls," Hiruzen explained, "But he hasn't stepped foot back in Konoha for a long number of years since weeks before your birth."
"And he made no inquiries over my well-being," Naruto remarked, "I guess being one of Konoha's famed Sannins and loyal shinobis took higher priority."
"…Naruto," Hiruzen said, "I know you must be angry at Jiraiya. But his job as Konoha's best spymaster and keeping up with his large spy network left him little to no time to do things I'm sure he'd have love to do."
"Besides peeking at pretty girls and writing Icha-Icha Paradise books which many of us, including you, enjoy buying and reading," Naruto shot back cynically.
"Being on the road all the time, lodging from place to place, having clothing and having resources to fight off dangerous high class enemies requires income," Hiruzen said, "He also had to finance his huge spy network and take care of himself in whatever ways that worked."
"I guess that makes sense now that I think about it," Naruto admitted.
"Understand Naruto that it would have proven very difficult to raise and protect you while performing his job protecting Konoha from the outside," Hiruzen explained patiently, "As a Jinchuuriki and Minato's newborn son you would have had a massive price tag on your head with many bounty hunters coming after you day and night. Even as a Sannin who trained your father, Jiraiya is not invincible and he also has limits to what he can do."
Naruto wanted to give a remark to everything he was being told. After so many years, he finally heard and learned many truths about his background and origins. Knowing his heritage, familial legacy and that he's the last known survivor of a great clan and foreign nation of seal masters that Konoha owes a huge debt to, Naruto felt of a sense of completeness, joy and peace of mind.
"You kept this information from me all my life jiisan and lied about not knowing anything about my parents saying that it was for my own good and protection," Naruto said calmly, "To be quite honest part of me truly hates you for that and that same part of me even hates Konoha as a whole for what they've done to me."
Hiruzen felt like he was stabbed through the chest by a dulled rusty kunai from hearing those words from Naruto. But for all that Naruto suffered through all his life, he felt he and Konoha deserved Naruto's hatred of them.
"At the same time though," Naruto said, "Part of me owes you for not leaving me alone my entire life and checking up on me whenever you could. That and Hinata's affections for me and the bonds I formed with her, her father and younger sister are the very factors helping and saving me from being consumed by my anger and hatred. It'll be a while before I can fully forgive you and Konoha though I'll still respect you as Hokage."
Hearing that made Hiruzen's heart feel relieved, realizing that he still had a chance to make it up to Naruto.
"Thank you," Hiruzen said, "I will earn your forgiveness Naruto, that's the best I can tell you."
"Out of curiosity though," Naruto asked, "What happened after I was put out of the orphanage even though you found a place for me to live at?"
"I personally fired everyone that worked at the orphanage and had their child-caring licenses and other related certifications revoked," Hiruzen replied truthfully, "They also spent time in jail before I was able to find suitable replacements to work at the orphanage."
"You did all that," Naruto remarked with a smile, "Well I guess it won't be long before I fully forgive you then. Anyway, it's been a really long night and everything I learned tonight gave me a whole lot to think about. So I'll be on my way now."
As Naruto turned made a quick exit from Hiruzen's sight…
"Naruto," Hiruzen said, "Now isn't the time for the truth about your backgrounds to be made known to the populous. I trust that you will not try to publicize your parentage to them for now."
"Even if I did they wouldn't believe me," Naruto admitted but he smiled brightly, "But still, when the time comes they will believe and accept me as I will bring about a new rise to the Uzumaki clan! And in time, I will take that hat and robe from you and become this village's strongest Hokage!"
Naruto turned and left the the aged Hokage by himself. Hiruzen sighed as he leaned back on his chair.
"Minato, Kushina," Hiruzen said lowly to himself, "I made many mistakes I wish I could go back in time and change. But I'm happy that Naruto's will of fire never extinguished from his heart. If he's as great as we hope him to be Yondaime, I'm sure he'll live up to his determination and surpass all of us."
(At The Hyuuga Manor)
Hanabi was in her room dressed in her sleeping kimono. While alone in her room, Hanabi was pacing back and forth wondering how Naruto found out what she's been doing for some time now and without him being detected.
"I was certain that I was careful," Hanabi whispered to herself, "I made sure that no one saw me. I even used my Byakugan to make sure that no was around. So how did Naruto find out?"
The fact that Naruto was able to dodge her Byakugan worried her and the very fact that he caught her in the act more than once frightened her.
"Was he spying on me," Hanabi asked herself, "If so, when, and how could I have failed to catch him in the act?"
Hanabi couldn't exactly get angry at Naruto for spying on her since she herself frequently spied on him trying to find out more about him since she was skeptic about the stretched rumors and remarks she heard about him.
"Despite telling neesan that father trained me in being able to read people," Hanabi said lowly, "I got too used to Naruto's presence and let my guard down with him. I saw firsthand how he handled those Jounins when they were pursuing him for vandalizing the monument. But what he caught me doing took place before that vandalism incident."
The more Hanabi thought about how she failed to watch herself while moving stealthily through the night's shadows to do what's she's been doing unnoticed by her own father, sister and clansmen, the more she wanted to know how Naruto was able to catch her in the act multiple times while also avoiding getting caught by her father, clansmen and even Hinata in the process.
"This Sasuke and others always say that Naruto is a troublemaker, the worst student and dead last of the Academy," Hanabi said, "But everything I've seen and everyone he victimizes with his pranks and blackmails contradict everything they say about him. It's like no one knows the real Naruto…no one but neesan. That has to be one of the reasons why she evades all of my questions about Naruto.
"Well then, if neesan won't tell me what I need to know…I'll have to find out for myself and find out something on Naruto to use against him for a change! That ought to even things out between us for sure!"
Hanabi felt confident that she would be able to do what she said she was going to do. She made it her aim to not let Naruto have the upper hand against her. She also knew that she had to be discreet in how she would go about this.
"Hanabi," Hinata called out from behind the door, "Are you OK in there? I heard you talking to yourself just now."
Embarrassed by her careless act, Hanabi replied, "I'm OK neesan. I was just thinking out loud to myself."
"May I come in," Hinata asked. Hanabi considered dismissing her sister but decided to allow Hinata to give her some company. She went over and unlocked the sliding door to see Hinata also dressed in her sleep kimono.
"Hanabi," Hinata asked with concern, "You seemed troubled earlier today after what Naruto-kun told you. Do you wish to discuss it with me?"
Hanabi sighed at this. Controlling herself, she replied, "I told you neesan, it's alright. You don't have to worry about me. I can handle myself just fine."
"I'm not questioning whether or not you can," Hinata assured, "I just…"
"Neesan, it's late," Hanabi said, "If you're here to try to get me to talk about what happened between me and Naruto earlier, please drop it. Besides, you won't tell me what makes Naruto so special to you, so I won't tell you what it was Naruto whispered to me. And you better not try to get Naruto to talk about what he that said to me either."
Hinata let out of breath of defeat.
"Alright Hanabi," Hinata relented, "I won't press the matter further."
"Thank you," Hanabi said, "Now please neesan, I'm tired and in need of much rest."
"I'll leave and retire for the night," Hinata said politely, "Sleep well."
Hinata turned and exit room before sliding the door close. After a minute, Hanabi went over to the door and opened it again to make sure no one was around. Seeing that no one was there, she went back inside and closed the door back before locking it. Dimming lights down, she went over to her closet and opened her cabinet holding all of her training clothes and gear. Underneath all of her stuff was the prize she was keeping in hiding from her father, sister and other main house members.
"It's safe," Hanabi smiled as she reached for the medium bottle and opened it before closing her eyes and taking small sips of the substance she stored in it, savoring its taste for every drop she sipped. Closing the bottle, she prepared to hide the bottle back in its original spot when her eyes caught sight of a note that was previously resting under the bottle.
"I don't recall putting that piece of paper there before," Hanabi said lowly as she opened the folded paper and read the note. Despite the darkness, the wording on the note was still legible.
Sweet dreams My Little Firecracker.
Don't drink too much before bed.
Hiashi won't approve of you being less than sober for your morning's training.
"Damn him," Hanabi cursed lowly under her breath while wondering how long he had been spying on her and how much more he knew about her. And on top of that, he had been in her room and went through her things and clothes without her even knowing of it.
"Pervert," Hanabi remarked lowly, "I'll get even with you somehow!"
Naruto now knows the truth about his parentage and heritage. Armed with his new knowledge, Naruto has set out to re-establish the Uzumaki clan as one of his life's goals besides becoming Hokage. And will Hanabi find a way to get even with Naruto in their private spy war? Will her endeavor to learn more about Naruto prove to be more trouble for her in the long run? Find out next time.
Kyuubi No Kurama=Kurama the Nine Tails
Ninpo: Henge Bakuhatsu No Bushin No Jutsu=Ninja Arts: Transformed Exploding Clone Technique.