A Fresh Start
A.N: This is a bit different I hope from my other story, Hopefully its not too cliched. My other story will remain my main focus, but I wanted to do this one long before I started NOTH. So I will work on this too, although at a slower rate. NOTH should be updated later this week for all those interested.
I don't own Naruto
Namikaze Naruto was a very intelligent boy, who in other circumstances would have been hailed as the next generation of Konohan Shinobi genius. That fact was something anyone would have been able to tell you, had anyone wanted to spend time with him. However the bright future that he may have had in his home village was prevented by the simple fact that he was chosen to carry the hate that was leveled at the Jinchūriki twins, even worse, his own father had made it so. His father Minato the fourth Hokage had claimed that in time he would see that it was for the best and the village would be stronger because of it, However all Naruto had seen was he was hated as a demon because he contained the conscience of the Kyuubi and not even one tail of its chakra, while his sister contained the rest, she was a hero while he was hated, and what made it worse was his father encouraged this, hell even his mother though it was a good idea as it ensured that Mitsuko would become great, and unfortunately her brother would have to become a footnote in history.
However if there was one defining aspect of his personality it was Naruto's determination, and in this case he was determined to escape and show this village, one day just what they had lost when they had chosen his idiot sister instead of him.
It was night and Naruto was hidden under a tarpaulin that covered a shipment of good's to Suna, the village hidden in the sand, Naruto had little reason to choose this caravan above the others was that it was simply the most convenient. Slowly it began moving and eventually it reached the gate. Naruto attempted to hide himself even more, knowing that it was here that he ran the greatest risk of discovery. Suddenly the canvass that covered him and a black haired boy who couldn't be older than eleven stared into the wagon, his eyes glowing red, Naruto recognised them as the Sharingan, or copy eyes of the most powerful of the clans, The Uchiha. Naruto inwardly groaned, his bid for freedom was over before it had even begun, he looked at the eyes that bored into his very being, after what seemed like an eternity but could not have been more than a couple of seconds the Uchiha turned and covered the wagon again, Naruto barely heard the whispered,
"Good luck, may you find the release that I never could."
Naruto frowned at the words and would consider them for the next six days as he continued to be an unknown passenger, he never found an answer for the questions that the Uchiha had provoked with that single statement, and the words would continue to haunt him for many years to come.
The consciousness of what had once been the Nine tailed Biju floated within its prison, wondering what the hell it was going to do now, its power was never coming back, and eventually a new Kyuubi would emerge from the mass of Chakra that was housed within that blonde idiots daughter. Now here it was bound within its host, a human it found the most bearable out of the people it had been housed in, mostly because it wasn't yelling about God damned Ramen or looking at the tree hugger continuously. It was an existence it was somewhat content with. That was up until he realised that his host was leaving the village, which meant another Biju and while his power may be gone, the sentient chakra's sense of self-preservation was not and so it was that what had once been a force of nature waited for its host to sleep so they could work out just what the hell they were going to do.
Minato Namikaze was not a bad man, if you asked anyone in Konoha they would excitably tell you what a great man he was. Admittedly if you asked someone from Iwa or his son the answer would be different but you can't please everyone. It was his Son that had him sitting at his desk at this moment, he hadn't returned from whatever he went to do, although he hadn't had any reports from the hospital to say he had been beaten again, so he'd turn up at some point Minato was sure. It was a tricky subject the matter of his son, but the fact of the matter was his daughter was the child of prophecy, Jiraiya-sensei had said so and in order to get her to her best one of the children had to carry the usual Jinchūriki burden. It was easy to make a decision about that and one day when the world was at peace, civilians like Naruto would thank his daughter for the peace she had bought, for he was in no way planning on making his son a Shinobi that might undermine Mitsuko's position and that could not be allowed no matter what Kakashi and the Sandaime wanted. Content with his decision and confident that one day Naruto would accept and see the wisdom in it he made to leave, after all these things always work out for the best right?
Naruto finally drifted off to sleep, around two hours after the scare with the Uchiha, he woke to find himself in a sewer, "This is odd." He said, his voice bouncing off the walls of the massive underground complex, shrugging he began to make his way through it assuming that answers would become apparent when he found someone or something to answer his questions. Finally making his way to the room's center he was shocked to see a large cage with a strange seal, which upon closer examination he realised was the one used to split and seal the Kyuubi into his sister and himself. "So you bought me here?" he asked the seemingly empty room.
"Perceptive ningen, clearly you are indeed the more intelligent one; your sister from what I have seen seems to be incapable of higher though processes."
"I assume you want something then Kyuubi?"
"You are correct, I wish to know where we are going, admittedly Konoha holds few good memories for me, having spent the better part of sixty years there, but there are many other places that could be worse."
"The caravan is going to Suna, the sand village, its small and they need Shinobi recruits, I figured I'd have a better chance there than anywhere else."
"True, but the problem there is they will be cautious due to you being an outsider, if you had one of those Kekkei Genkai then they would welcome you with open arms. Hmm it's the Shukaku's domain as well, although it's the weakest, it could easily kill us." The faint outline of a fox that could be seen behind the bars seemed to be deep in thought, seeming to come to a conclusion it looked directly at the boy who contained it, "There is an answer, when I was contained in your mother, I heard stories of a man who could control iron sand as a result of his bloodline, this was used to control the Shukaku when it's host lost control, much like you sister will do so when that Chakra in her begins to develop a sense of self, I have no wish to die and yet you and I find ourselves in a unique position. I will ensure you get this magnet bloodline to protect us and I will guide you at various points seeing as I have much more experience than you with the world. Are we in agreement?"
Naruto looked at the fox, even he could see that it was weak and what it was offering was a way to ensure that he became a Shinobi and survived, he would be a fool not to take the offer.
Turning to the cage he spoke the words that would alter his life from that point forward and ensure that Minato Namikaze's plans all fell apart. "I accept." The fox smiled a sickly grin that showed its teeth, its eyes glowed red as the last of the chakra it had begun to swirl around it. "Very well, I will contact you when I am done, it will take several days, and your journey will likely be at an end before this is ready." Naruto nodded and turned to leave, his figure fading from the former Biju's sight. The fox let out a growl, it wasn't what he wanted but this was better than nothing, and who knows? It was a better deal than his Chakra would be getting, plus a chance to catch up with Shukaku wouldn't be too bad, they hadn't seen each other since the day the Sage of Six paths had created them.
The Yondaime Kazekage frowned as he thought about his son Gaara, it was clear that what he had done was not in the villages interest and now his six year old son was killing everyone who looked at him sideways, Shinobi or civilian. Not for the first time he wished he could go back and change how he had done things, Gaara's value to the village had decreased severally because of his own actions. The other issue was that none of his children carried the Magnet release bloodline, one of the few that Suna actually possessed, it didn't bode well. Especially with Gaara listening to the Shukaku more and more, He sighed. Hopefully he would have the answer soon; he didn't know what the hell he was going to do with the current cuts to the village finances. Looking out into the desert he could only pray to God that something would come that could turn his village's luck around.
Five days later found Naruto wandering around the village of Sunagakure no Sato, wondering what to do now, he supposed his best bet was to go and see the Kazekage but he had no idea how to do that unless the bloodline the Kyuubi was talking about showed itself, something was definitely happening, he could tell that, his body felt different but there weren't any flying Kunai so he assumed the fox was still working on it. He absently kicked a stone. He hated having nothing to do, if you had nothing to do, then you were exposed to the loneliness. Looking around he noticed he had come to a field, like the ones that he was chased away from back in Konoha, he laughed mirthlessly, the only time he came to a field he was allowed on and there as no one here. Looking around he was shocked to see that there was another kid here, one who was kicking a ball around with what looked like sand following him around. Intrigued Naruto walked towards the child, wondering if he had finally found someone who was alone like himself.
Gaara watched the strange boy approach, the sand was behaving oddly, rather than feeling angry at the person coming towards them it felt calm, even mother had stopped shouting and seemed to be waiting for something so Gaara decided to wait too, Mother would know what to do once he came close enough. When the boy approached, he felt a surge of recognition from Mother, like he had always known the blond, whisker marked boy in front of him. Looking at him and feeling no urge to kill him Gaara broke the silence by asking "Do you want to play?" he flinched waiting for the boy to run away because of his sand like everyone else.
Naruto looked at the boy with facial markings like him but different. When the question came he was shocked, no one ever asked him to play with them, usually they ran away screaming and his mother would tell him he wasn't allowed any friends because his sister had to fulfill the prophecy some old toad had made. Recovering from the shock of the question he looked at the boys eyes and once again was shocked, 'He knows the pain of loneliness he thought'.
"Sure I'll play he answered, outwardly he showed nothing, but inwardly he was ecstatic about finding someone who actually wanted to spend time with him. The boy looked at him and said
"You're not scared of my sand? Everyone else is."
"No," Naruto said, "why would I, it's cool." Gaara upon hearing this was confused, no one had ever said his sand was cool; usually they just screamed and ran away calling him a demon. Deciding to not worry about it as this guy thought his sand was cool, Gaara kicked the ball towards him and soon the ball was being passed quickly between the two six year olds, neither of them paying attention to anything beyond the ball and their new friend.
"Kazekage-sama, you're not going to believe this!" The Kazekage frowned as he looked up and saw Baki, one of his better Jonin run into the room. "What is it Baki?" he asked already dreading the answer, knowing that Baki was the one assigned to watch Gaara today. "Gaara seems to have made a friend." That stopped the village leader cold. Looking at Baki he could only ask "Pardon?"
"Uhh well, Gaara was sitting at the northern field you see with a ball, and this blonde kid turns up and he walked over to Gaara and the sand does nothing, so we watch and they talk for a bit and then they start playing with the ball together, like its nothing unusual."
The Kazekage stared at the man for a moment before he collected his thoughts, standing up he grabbed his robes from the chair next to him and after throwing them over his clothes he gestured for Baki to follow, "Come I need to meet this child for myself, he may be of value if he can calm Gaara down." Privately he wondered if this was the answer to at least one of his problems.
Loathe as Naruto was to admit it he was having the most fun he had ever had in his short life convincing him that leaving the village of his birth was in fact the cleverest thing he had ever done. However the game was interrupted with the arrival of a Suna Shinobi who called his new friend Gaara among other things a monster and a demon and attempted to kill him with a number of thrown Kunai, the sand around Gaara rapidly formed a protective ball, while Naruto unwilling to let his new friend be killed stuck his hand out and willed the iron Kunai to stop. And it was this scene that the Kazekage and Baki walked in on.
The Kazekage was shocked at the sight before him, not so much the Jonin trying to kill his son, but at the fact said son appeared to have made a friend, and said friend seemed to share the same Kekkei Genkai that he himself possessed. Baki quickly dealt with the Jonin trying, 'Rather pathetically' he thought to kill Gaara while the Kazekage himself rushed the two boys off to his office, all the while thinking that God must have heard his prayer and sent him this godsend of a child.
The Kyuubi relaxed, it had only just finished implementing the bloodline when the older Ningen had attacked his Ningen and the Shukaku brat, although he had never seen that protective doom of sand before he supposed that Shukaku would have come up with new techniques in the intervening years. He recognised the robes of the Kazekage and after that little display the man would be interested, The Kyuubi could only hope he wasn't going to regret this and with that thought it began the final process, melding itself into the mind of its holder, things were about to get interesting were the beasts final thoughts as an independent being from Naruto Namikaze.
The Kazekage sat the two boys down in front of his desk, impressed that Gaara seemed to be able to remain in control, while this boy was present; he would have to ascertain if this child had any value beyond that. He studied his son's new friend, Whisker marks, blond hair and blue eyes that looked surprisingly like a man who he had met with only a year earlier. With a sinking feeling in his stomach he realised who had befriended his son and likely why they got on so well. "Who are you?" he demanded, already knowing the answer
"Naruto Namikaze." He sighed; he knew it was too good to be true. "What is the Hokage's son and Jinchūriki of Konoha on top of that doing in my village?"
"I ran away, and I'm not the Jinchūriki, at least not in the true sense of the word, my sister holds the Chakra." He was thrown at that.
"My father," he took note at the loathing and hatred in the boys voice as he said that, "Sealed the consciousness of the Kyuubi along with a minimal amount of Chakra into me while my sister was sealed with the rest, the intention was to have me live the usual life of the Jinchūriki while my sister, lived the life of a hero. I was unwilling to do that, especially when he forbade me from becoming a Shinobi so I left, and came here." The Kazekage nodded it made sense to an extent, he recalled what people had said about the boy, even his own father and mother. He may be a cruel man but even he had never said he hated Gaara.
"How did you stop the Kunai earlier?" this was the second question, it would not do to hear that the Namikaze were gaining the power of the Magnet release as well. The boy frowned, almost like he was talking to somebody; mind you he did say he had the consciousness of the Kyuubi within him, in al likelihood the child was talking to the beast itself.
"The Kyuubi and I have no wish to die, upon discovering I was heading to Suna, it decided that I needed something to combat the Shukaku, it gave me a Kekkei Genkai it had heard was used to control it when it broke out of its host. It was my hope that with this as well as the fact that I now have something of immunity to Genjutsu that I would be accepted for the villages Shinobi programme."
The Kazekage studied the boy in front of him, clearly there was no love lost between him and the village he had called home, he possessed an ability that had the potential to put him on par with the Third Kazekage and himself, on top of that he could be partnered with Gaara to ensure that his son didn't kill everyone he met. In the end, he solved far too many of the Villages problems to refuse the boy. "Fine, you will be staying with Gaara and my other children, none of them possess the magnet based powers you and I do so you will be joining our family, blonde hair, isn't unheard of so I will claim that you are a cousin of some sort. 'and i'll be able to keep an eye on you.' he added. Those whisker marks give you away however, are you willing to have them removed?"
"These?" the boy gestured to the marks on his cheeks, at the man's nod he snorted, "Please, they tie me to my former family, I'm more than willing to have them gotten rid of." The Kage nodded again, inordinately happy with the answer.
"Very well, Gaara take him to the house, inform everyone that Naruto will be joining us as a member of the house hold, send Baki in as you go we need to discuss certain things." Gaara nodded and the two boys rose, leaving the room, a few seconds Baki walked in and took a seat. "What do you think?" Baki didn't need to ask his Kage what he was talking about, "He could be a huge benefit to the village, he ensures that there is a magnet user in this generation and as well as that we can partner him with Gaara to restrain the Shukaku, on top of that, the kids clearly smart and if we give him a home and train him he should be thankful." He finished speaking and looked at his commander awaiting the replay.
"Yes, it seems that this would be for the best, he hates the Hokage with a passion, and he has provided valuable information about the identity of Konoha's Jinchūriki, something they have kept hidden for a long time, on top of that it seems that Gaara is calm around him as befits our ultimate weapon, we can keep the boy close to ensure that he can cover for when I am not around. Yes I believe that this is for the best, he will be a valuable addition to the village." Baki nodded, "I want them to be trained, and perhaps it is time that the Iron Sand rose again from the desert."
"You would trust the boy with that?" Baki gasped out, shocked that his leader would consider such a thing.
"Not immediately, but if his loyalty to the village can be proven then there is no reason to keep it from him. There is no point in keeping my father's techniques locked up and he has the potential to surpass me in the use of the Kekkei Genkai, Yes I think this will be for the best, see that they begin training, Temari should begin as well and Kankuro can begin to learn puppetry, he's shown an interest, the next generation needs to be strong enough to ensure the villages survival, and those four will be the ones to lead it, I can feel it." Baki nodded and dismissed himself allowing his leader to look out over his village and think for the first time in a long time that the Village would be in safe hands when he passed on.
Meanwhile in Konohagakure no Sato
While Naruto formerly Namikaze negotiated his place within Suna, his father was wondering where the hell his idiot son had gone. The general unwillingness of the population to search for him however meant that there was no real attempt to find him and Minato was left to conclude that he was dead in a ditch somewhere, no real loss. Kushina was in fact quite happy with this turn of events, now she could focus entirely on her daughter while not feeling guilty at all. The sad thing was there were only three people in the entire village who were sad that he was gone, the eleven year old Uchiha Itachi who had recognised the child as someone who was incredibly similar to him and mourned the loss of a prodigy to another village, Kakashi Hatake who had found the boy to be reasonably intelligent and would have made a good Shinobi, and the Third who had never approved of his student and successors actions regarding the boy. Although upset, they were forced to accept the fact that the boy had no reason to return to Konoha, which had fallen far from the ideals that the Third's sensei's had wanted and was no doubt happier where ever he was.
Six years later
five figures made their way towards the great gates of Konoha, the Chunin on duty taking note of the figure approaching and trying to identify them, the first was wearing what appeared to be a cat suit, with paint or make-up on his face with something wrapped in bandages on his back, this was in sharp contrast to the girl with her hair in four pig tails and a large fan on her back, the group was rounded up by the final three, a man with half his face veiled, quickly recognised as Baki the Jonin commander of Suna and two boys, one of which was red haired and had a large gourd strapped across his back and the kanji for love on his head, while the other was dressed in a large grey robe, with a thick neck of what looked like fur, with his shoulder length blonde spikey hair held back by a Suna Hitai-ate and a bored expression showing through his cold blue eyes as he gazed at the village beyond them. Baki made his way towards the guards and presented the identification papers,
"Jonin Baki and teams Suna teams one and two here for the Chunin exams in a week." The guards looked at the information and seeing nothing out of the ordinary waved them through.
"Your hotel is about five hundred meters in." the guard added.
"Thank you." the male blonde spoke as he walked past, the others falling in behind him and the red head.
"Odd sort, don't you think?" one of the guards asked his companion,
"They live in the freaken desert, their brains must be cooked, did you see the dude in the cat suit? I mean what the hell."
"One of them looked a bit like Hokage-sama."
"Nah, just a coincidence, there are a few blondes in Suna, it's just a coincidence."
"Yeah why would Hokage-samas kid be a Suna nin? Hahaha what a joke." And so Naruto Namikaze returned to his birth village with no one any the wiser. As the group made its way down the busy streets, Naruto whispered something that only Gaara and Temari caught,
"Hello Konoha, did you miss me?"
It was official; Kakashi hated his team. Not for the last time he wished Naruto had stayed in the village, just so he could have taken the kid as an apprentice and had nothing to do with the brats he had been saddled with. Sasuke Uchiha, sat and brooded and no doubt plotted to kill Itachi, someone who was so far out of his league and would continue to be so simply because Sasuke lacked the ability to surpass a genius like his brother, Kakashi couldn't imagine a situation where Sasuke didn't die in the confrontation, unless he somehow managed to come upon Itachi in his sleep. Sakura Haruno was a fan girl, with minimal reserves and whose primary motivation in life was to marry a very clearly not interested Sasuke. And then there was Mitsuko Namikaze, the real Jinchūriki of the village and dead last of her graduating class at the academy, this amused the masked Jonin to no end. It wasn't that she didn't have talent, because she did, it was just she seemed convinced the Kyuubi Chakra would save her, despite spending six years trying and failing to access it. And failing that she was the daughter of the Yellow flash, no one would dare harm her, despite Haku Yuki making short work of her in their last mission. All of them had failed to learn anything from the last mission and so Kakashi had decided to enter them in the Chunin exams, an action supported heavily by the Hokage although for different reasons, namely to show the world Mitsuko as a future leader of the leaf. The truth was the girl was an idiot who lacked focus and was convinced of her own superiority, as well as a lack of knowledge in all areas of Shinobi skills.
Still the Chunin exam's would show them what they were up against, as loathe as he was to admit it he was hoping that Gai's team would show them how much effort they needed to put it in. He finished handing out the forms and then left, he didn't want to spend any more time with the brats than he had to, the truth was Sasuke was the best of them and he would have rather done Gai's challenges for a day than spend more time than he had to with Sasuke. As he walked away he heard the Sandaime's Grandson Konohamaru insult Mitsuko, the kid hated the Hokage's daughter and made no secret of it, she turned to chase him and he ran off, Mitsuko in hot pursuit while Sakura followed Sasuke who had followed Mitsuko. Kakashi sighed and went to go and talk to Obito; at least he was pleasant to be around.
After dropping their stuff off the sand siblings and Naruto left to do the various tasks they needed to do before the exams began. And so it was that Naruto and Gaara left to go and buy some Kunai for Naruto to grind up to make more sand. They then found themselves at an intersection; Naruto was nearly bowled over when a little kid with a too long scarf ran into him. Frowning he grabbed the boy and picked him up just as a blonde girl appeared, whisker marks marking her face, Naruto's frown deepened when he saw his former sister, while Temari who had appeared with Kankuro from wherever they had gone had to stifle a gasp.
"Oi you," her voice was irritating, and grated on his ears, "Give me the brat he needs to be punished for insulting the Hokage's daughter."
"So you beat up eight year olds?" Naruto managed to ask pleasantly although inside he was seething, while the voice of the Kyuubi was hoping like hell that his old chakra wouldn't recognise his presence, it didn't thankfully.
"He insulted me, he needs to be punished." She said again, clearly not used to getting her way, Temari and Kankuro were staring at her now, clearly shocked at her behavior, another girl, this one pink haired had appeared and was asking about someone called Sasuke-kun, while the kid in Naruto's hands was yelling at Mitsuko. Finally everyone calmed down and noticed the Suna headbands, which led to another round of questions, at which point 'Sasuke-kun' appeared and was revealed to be the 'Last Uchiha', which translated to another spoilt brat. After realising that she would not be getting the kid to 'punish' Mitsuko walked off at which point Naruto had lost interest and just wanted to go back to his room. Gaara made one of his usual creepy comments, shocking Sasuke and his fan girl before they too left. When the street was quiet Naruto turned to the kid and said,
"Come on, we'll walk you back to your home." The kid, who was called Konohamaru he learnt nodded and lead them towards his grandfather's house who was they learnt the Sandaime, Naruto smiled a bit at this pleased he had helped the grandson of one of the few people who treated him like a human when he had lived here. "So are all your Genin, like that?" Temari asked as they made their way through the village, "Nah, most are pretty good, that team's called the Brat team by some of the other Jonin, everyone feels sorry for Kakashi for being their Sensei." Naruto snorted at that and Kankuro laughed outright. They made their way to the Sarutobi compound and bidding the boy good bye they turned and walked by to the hotel, Gaara speaking for all of them when he stated that, "The leaf Genin offer little to validate my existence with." Naruto could only nod at that, wondering just what the hell the academy taught if they allowed people like the ones he had just met through.
Naruto was back in Konoha and it was clear that he had done so much more for himself since he had left, at least compared to anyone from his age group that had remained in the village and gone through whatever pathetic excuses for an academy that had produced the monstrosity that was Sakura Haruno. He had seen Temari's expression when she saw the girl and knew she was in for a rude awakening when the exams began.
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