Sincere apologies for the delay, but a lot of shit has been going down recently as well as a lack of internet access. I'm not sure about the quality of writing here, but it did achieve what I wanted it to do, which is go into a bit of depth about Naruto and Kurama's relationship and Naruto and his parents. Not a lot of action, the major fights will be covered next chapter. Anyway enjoy and please review. As far as last chapters reviews the reply thingy wasn't working so I figured I'd wait and do it here. And thanks for all the reviews! The response has been awesome!

Don't own Naruto

Review responses

Bakapervert, wong jowo, Frostius, Naginator, karthik9, naruto no Juubi, fanficreader71, ddcj1990, ruhiko, aishiteru naru, OoOXylionOoO, OSR fanatic, Dark Ripper77, Crypton89, Blacksword Zero, IAmAFreakingNinja, Soulhope The Wolf. Thanks for the kind words.

Azurealkaze: bit of a mention of that here, it has been something I've considered before. And for the record that swords ability is actually really useful if you think about it, a sword that will never need to be fixed, not matter how many times it breaks.

Tristan76: I went back and fixed that up a bit, science isn't really my thing, but Naruto's abilities aren't exactly the same as the Sandaime, he can use the techniques but the style is closer to Gaara than the Sandaime and Yondaime. Yes Naruto is weaker, considering that the Sandaime was a Kage and Naruto at this point is just a strong Genin/Chunin. Pairing will be Temari, Pakkura I don't know enough although she will have a very very minor role at some point.

Otaku24: at this point I'll go with, the bloodline hasn't developed enough yet, although much like Cannon this Naruto is a bit of a show off so that played a part too.

Kagami Kamiya: pretty sure I replied using Pm when it was actually working if not let me know.

Ruckyree Dun Goof'd: The chap was written before that, but it has been changed.

TheDemonKingNaruto: this chapter addresses some of that I think.

SuperSaiyan9: again elements of the chapter address that here. And why would Tsunade care? From what I remember of Cannon, Minato and therefore Kushina only really had anything to do with Jiraiya. That said I haven't yet worked out what to do with her.

Orchamus: There will be variations as suggested here.

T00STr00nG: that would be telling, hopefully it will be as interesting as I see it to be anyway.

MadDogMatt13 Thanks, I thought about it, but there wil be some departures from cannon so the preliminaries are kind of important.

Shindaiyo: think I fixed that up more of an oversight on my part than anything.

Mtziggorot: remains to be seen the whole killing people thing, although I have yet to make my mind up.

ShadowStorm666: covered here

Cho Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: that was the intention lol

Harem Lover 72: same as above

Karibanu: addressed here. Although Minato's plans will become more evident over time.

Let the Games Begin!

Kushina Namikaze nee Uzumaki fingered the photograph of her son, her fingers ghosting over the aged photo. It was nearly seven years old, taken only slightly before he had vanished. It was a terrible photo for all that it represented, showing a young boy with nothing but hate and anger in his eyes. It broke her heart to think that she had been responsible for causing that, not for the same reasons that the rest of the village had, but for different ones, not that they were anymore justified.

It had been so hard in the beginning, she had struggled to find acceptance and her own place in the Shinobi corps and despite the fact that she was a Jinchūriki her inability to mould chakra normally had meant that much of her development had been stunted. As a result by the time her children had been born she had been a Chunin for nearly nine years. It was galling to think that she didn't and likely never would have the skills to merit a promotion to Jonin and the fact that much of the community saw her as nothing more than the yellow flashes lover made her blood boil. Being the Jinchūriki had given her an identity outside of that, even if she and the beast had never gotten on, She knew that her predecessor Mito had had something resembling a civil relationship with it, but from day one it had hated her and she was only too happy to return the feelings.

When Naruto was chosen to bear the title, despite not having the burden she had resented him. The fact that he had taken all that set her apart from every other Kunoichi who failed to make it past Chunin had made her want to hurt him. The fact that as he grew older and she realised that in his own way he was cleverer than both his parents only added to it. She didn't know how he'd match up to Minato in straight smarts, but she knew for a fact that Naruto had a far greater understanding of humanity that Minato ever would, which was in its own way a greater intelligence than any other. Minato thought that people would be willing to sacrifice themselves for his dream, and he had only been too willing to offer their son up for that same dream. She doubted the fact that Naruto would hate and resent them because of it had ever crossed his mind and when it did he lashed out against the boy, cutting him off almost entirely from their family. She hadn't done anything at the time, she was willing to admit that she drew some savage satisfaction from watching the boy who had stolen what made her unique suffer.

She wasn't sure when she had changed her opinion, maybe it had been the day she told him he didn't deserve friends and she saw for a brief instance the hurt that flashed in his eyes before he hid it again. But after that she had done her best to shield him, not from the realities of life, Mitsuko was lost to her by that point, but for Naruto she would ensure that he knew life's cruel realities just as she had. Then he had vanished. She knew in her heart that he wasn't dead and depending on circumstances she suspected that he had probably joined another village. She even wondered if he was here for the Chunin exams, coming back and showing them how he had flourished despite them was something that she would have done in his situation, and she liked to think that Naruto's mind flowed in a similar manner to hers, especially considering what he had done while he was in the village. The fact that he had driven Minato and Hiruzen apart to the point they didn't speak was proof of that. Sarutobi wouldn't have been friendly in any case but Naruto had ensured that there would never be reconciliation between the God of Shinobi and his successor. In his own way he had weakened the leaf just as badly as the Uchiha massacre had, another instance of Minato eliminating people because they were in opposition to his dream.

She let out a ragged sigh, it was pointless to dwell on the past but she couldn't help it, the last male Uzumaki was gone and she wouldn't blame him if he had dropped his clan name, hell she expected he had, what had the Uzumaki ever done for him? She wondered how her daughter was doing, it had been three days since the exams began and she knew for a fact that her team hadn't made it yet, not that she expected them to, Sasuke was the only one with real skill and the boy wouldn't be able to carry them through by himself, that was asking too much of an already broken child. Suna was rumored to have two very effective teams entered, she suspected that their Jinchūriki was present too, she had lost most of her Kyuubi given abilities but she did pick up on the slight hints in the air that there was another Biju or a host foreign to Konoha. She didn't plan to tell Minato that though, despite the fact that she wasn't one anymore, she would protect her unknown sibling, she owed both them and her lost son that much at least.

She stood up and gathered some bags; she might as well go and buy the groceries, that was about all she could do these days anyway. She would go and look at the finalists with Minato when the second stage finished, it was always interesting to see who made it and what the other villages were showcasing. Hopefully Mitsuko wouldn't die, her refusal to use anything but the Kyuubi chakra and the fact that she had yet to actually gain access to it meant that she was a liability to the village being the Hokage's daughter with no ability to protect herself. Kushina was too much of a realist these days to deny the fact that her arrogant daughter ran the risk of being taken hostage or even killed. And the thought of losing her last child froze her blood. She would check up when the second phase ended, if only to make sure that her last child wasn't gone from her too. She never wanted to be the last Uzumaki again, but it was a fate that was starting to look increasingly likely.

XXX

Naruto browsed the scroll absently; he had to admit it was a stroke of luck that there was a scroll library at the tower. It was something that Suna would never do, allowing foreigners access to information, but then again he was profiting from it so he wasn't complaining. Truthfully the plan to unleash Shukaku, in all its insanity scared the shit out of him, he wasn't strong enough to handle Shukaku, he struggled enough when Gaara went into his basic transformations. So it was that he was here reading all the scrolls that he could on sealing techniques. He thought that this had a lot of potential and would be easier to get the hang of than the final technique that the Third had theorised was possible but had never gotten round to working out. That was at least two years off being developed, but Naruto felt that it was possible and he would achieve it, if only to honor the man who had given him an identity beyond the outcast son of the Hokage. But for now he was content to try and develop a couple of Sealing jutsu's using his sand as a medium, it offered far more potential that the traditional ink did in any case. And the blood that would be needed wasn't even an issue, he could pull iron from people's blood well enough, it was too much effort if they were still alive, but he had no problem using corpses to feed his power.

He looked up from the notes that were covered in his own messy handwriting, he had been taught to write fast not neatly and if there were only about five people who could read his writing what did it matter? He smiled when he caught the eye of the Inuzuka, Kiba he had learnt the kids name was, the three of them were absolutely petrified of both himself and Gaara, he actually suspected that they were more nervous around him, a mistake at the end of the day. While he could decimate this village, it was Gaara who if he really put his mind to it who could unleash a beast that would be only too willing to bury all of Konoha under the desert.

He continued to look about; there weren't that many teams that had made it at this point, just Gaara and himself, Kiba's team and a team from Kiri, notable only for the fact that they were all Kenjutsu users. He guessed that they would be swordsmen trainees, preparing for the day when Kiri actually got their famous weapons back. He thought he would be able to have a bit of fun with them when the time came. He felt Kurama laughing within the confines of his mind, his partner did so enjoy watching Shinobi being made to look like fools. Then again Naruto probably would have similar thoughts if he spent most of his existence trying to escape being captured by beings that were the equivalent of ants to the Biju. He'd do something about them tomorrow. He returned to his notes and began to sketch some of the designs that he thought they would work best with. It was a shame that Chiryo refused to see anyone in the village, the old hag was the only one in Suna with any real experience with seals, even if she was hopeless at them, Gaara's seal being an example of that little fact. In an ideal world he would have been able to get into his parents' house, Minato had raided the ruins of Whirlpool not long ago and Naruto knew that those documents were what would turn these techniques into something truly amazing. Maybe he could get one of the snakes flunkies to do it, they were willing enough to do anything that would lead to the destruction of the village, even the ones that were a part of it. It was truly bizarre, he had more reason than anyone to burn the place down and all he really wanted was to have as little to do with the place as possible.

He shuddered when he felt a pair of hands cover his eyes. Instantly the sand around him condensed into a singular tail. Its jagged tip about to spear his attacker until he heard her voice.

"Guess who?"

"Damn it Temari, I could have killed you there." Naruto responded angrily, prying her hands which were curiously smooth and rough at the same time from his face before rounding to face her, "What the hell?"

"Jeez calm the farm," Was the blonde haired girls reply, "You wouldn't hurt little old me would you?" She asked in what Naruto could safely say was a very cute voice, one that he was until now sure that she was incapable of using.

"What took you so long?" Naruto asked, avoiding the question, truthfully he would never hurt the girl, shit he was willing to die to protect her, a fact that Kurama did not like at all, Still he wasn't about to tell her that, she would probably think that he was saying she was weak and end up braining him with that fan of hers.

Temari didn't miss the change of subject but she had a fair idea of what it meant, Gaara responded the same way usually. It was strange to think that the two of them found admitting they cared for others to be some kind of weakness. Still she knew they cared and that was all she needed to know and wanted, 'at least for now' she thought as she slyly ogled Naruto, he wasn't particularly tall, but he still cut a fine specimen, even if he could grow additional iron appendages when he felt threatened.

"We got dumped in the middle of nowhere and it took us two days to find a team with the right fucking scroll." She replied angrily, the heat in her words not surprising Naruto too much, she did hate losing, and it had been a competition albeit a nonverbal one to try and beat the others to the tower.

"Where's Kankuro?" Naruto asked, his studies momentarily forgotten on the slate grey flagstones beside him.

"Cleaning Karasu." Was the simple statement that held a much deeper meaning for them than anyone else in the immediate area would have had from hearing those simple words. Naruto's face briefly twisted into one of distaste, a feat mirrored by Temari.

"It was messy then?" He asked, already knowing the answer on some level but at the same time seeking some kind of confirmation.

"Oh boy was it what," Temari shot back, her eyes misting over slightly as the memories of the past two days passed through her mind. "There were about three teams that were really insistent."

Naruto simply grunted in response and gathered his notes up before the wind could blow them away, out of the corner of his eye he caught Temari eying them critically.

"Fuinjutsu?" She asked, the curiosity in her voice so obvious that it seemed like he could taste it on the air.

"it'll help for dealing with him when the time comes." Naruto replied, putting more stress on the word than the others, Temari immediately grasped what he was saying and she nodded her head in agreement.

"It will help." she added quietly, silently mourning the fate that had landed two of the people closest to her in the positions that they found themselves in. Fate may have been inescapable but it was a cruel mistress all the same.

"Come on, I'll show you where our rooms are, the one next to us is free, we uh made something of an impression on one of the Konoha teams." Naruto said as he led the girl towards the accommodation section of the tower.

XXX

Minato frowned as he read the reports about the second stage of the exams, the fact that Orochimaru was present in the forest was a cause for concern as well as the fact that he was seemingly after the last 'loyal' Uchiha. He hadn't wanted to have them taken out but the fact that the Uchiha were threatening his rule meant that they had to be eliminated, he was only thankful that Itachi, a child he was willing to admit might have one day been able to challenge him had he not been forced into the life of a missing nin, was willing to do it. They needed the Sharingan and the opportunity to build it up without the corrupting influence of the past was too much of a good thing to pass up.

Still Sasuke seemed to have been corrupted all the same, much like his missing, presumed dead son. He should have packed them both off to Danzo the first chance he got. Truthfully his refusal to let the son become a nin hadn't been intended to do more than motivate the boy into trying. He had gone to a lot of effort to turn Naruto into what he had been and it pissed him off to think that his creation, who would in its own way be stronger than his daughter ever would be, had vanished before he could harness the child. Still no sense mourning the past, despite the fuck ups that had occurred over the last couple of years, not that they had been all bad, the Hyuga twins had always mocked him as a child and the fact that Hizashi was now dead went some way to making him feel better, he was alive and his childhood bully was dead who was the best now huh? He shook his head to banish the thoughts, that was the past now and he had to deal with the present, Jiraiya would be coming soon and be able to teach Mitsuko the skills necessary for her to change the world, something that would ensure that he, Minato Namikaze, once some no name orphan would go down in history as the father of the girl who changed the world, it was the next best thing after all.

There was the issue with the man in the orange mask to deal with as well, it didn't seem possible that the man was Madara, but then again stranger things had happened. The best that could be hoped now was to deal with the present, find out why the chakra in Mitsuko's body wasn't working the way it should and then proceed to change the world and bring peace like the Toad Sage wanted. The chakra was a major issue and Minato really had no idea what the issue was, in theory he had split the chakra from the will so it should work without Mitsuko having to fight the beast itself. The fact that this didn't seem to be the case both confused and angered him. Still these exams would allow him to see exactly how much power the other villages had and hopefully Mitsuko would be put in a position that would force the Chakra to reveal it to protect the host. He growled, the seals had been perfect, he had developed them specifically to create a perfect Jinchūriki and yet it didn't seem to be the case. Still none of that mattered; the problem at the moment was dealing with his onetime rival for the Kage position. He was better than Orochimaru and Hiruzen had known it, the fact that the snake was such a sore loser just went to show that he was a spoilt child and he, Minato was a better Shinobi and person.

XXX

It was getting hard to see where he ended and Kurama began, and he couldn't help but wonder what would ultimately happen. Naruto thoughts reverberated in his head as he eyed his targets. The Kiri nin, weren't particularly important in the grand scheme of things, but a war with them wasn't what Suna needed after this particular instance of idiocy on Naruto's Kage's part. He eyed them critically. They weren't anything special, their faces held a few battle scars that clashed with their close set eyes and raven coloured hair. He wondered if they were related considering that their only differences seemed to be size, but gave up in the end, it didn't matter. His hand closed around the magnets in his hands, he rarely used them, but they were useful in certain situations like this. His cerulean eyes glanced up at them again, they weren't looking at him, hell they were looking at the Hyuga girl in fact, likely sprouting that bloodline nonsense that Kiri seemed to be so keen on. His grin turned savage, 'idiots' he voiced in his head and was rewarded with the Biju or rather his other half's laughter again. He liked Kurama's presence in him, it was like he was never alone, it was a feeling he knew that on some level Gaara appreciated as well, even if his passenger was completely insane. Once again his sand spilled out and condensed around the magnets, quickly forming three replicas of the original blades. With a gesture they drifted out, quickly moving to the pile where the Kiri nin's blades lay. Soon they were replaced, the originals sealed away in a scroll Naruto had on him. He could and would sell them for a profit; swords were popular in Suna not as much as fans but the wind element did make Kenjutsu a popular choice for many. A quick pulse of chakra into the magnets ensured that they would keep working until the magnets were broken or the swords came into contact with a solid object, it should prove to be interesting in any case. Naruto allowed a final smirk to come to his face before he turned around to head back to his room.

XXX

Kurama the former Biju and now the what? Truthfully he wasn't sure, he had bound himself so tightly to the psych of Naruto that they were actually closer to reflections of each other than anything else. Still it wasn't all bad; Naruto had always treated him with respect, an alien experience to the being and was even wont on occasion to let him out to 'play'. He was loathe to admit it but he actually considered the blonde a friend, another alien concept to the being. It didn't even consider its fellows friends after all. Still it had slowly been picking up different aspects of humanity through their shared link, just as Naruto had come to behave and think in a way that was akin to the Biju itself. Their deal made so long ago had created a true pseudo-Jinchūriki, far superior to those flesh bags it had vomited back up all those years back. There were few who would be able to match them when they were fully matured, among humans in any case with the exception of the true Jinchūriki. But Kurama had no interest in the cages of its kin. It was mortal now, but this was better than the alternative of being trapped in the child's body as he was slowly driven insane from the chakra present in the body's chakra system before dying painfully.

It wasn't pleased to be back in the village that had caged him, even less so than Naruto but it did prove to be entertaining, something that it had found to be its primary motivation in almost everything it did. Odds were Naruto would let him come out anyway. Naruto had some basic close range abilities but much like Shukaku's brat ultimately he relied on Kurama to deal with the one's he couldn't deal with at range. They made a powerful duo if Kurama did say himself, in many ways they were the dream of any Jinchūriki, two beings working as one to crush any who opposed them. He grinned again, his ghostly form still present in the black void that had replaced the sewer that had once existed, although he now only possessed one tail, notable in that it was the only solid thing in its body, And of course it was forged from the Iron shards that now served as a manifestation of what had once been a true child of the Sage. Uchiha and Senju were tainted by the fact that they were born by a woman, but Kurama was a true child, carried by the Sage until that great man's death and then thrust into the world to live as he wished. Something that had persisted until Madara had come. It hated humans in general, but it was nice to think that it had known the only two worth knowing as intimately as he did. It made the suffering that he had been put through bearable, if only slightly.

XXX

Naruto eyed the people he would be fighting with critically. Kurama recognised most of the children here, or rather their clans for the most part. And he felt that there was little to pose a threat to them or his siblings. He was surprised that Mitsuko had made it, although both she and Pinkie seemed strangely subdued, not to mention Pinkie's hair had been cut short. Not that it mattered, ultimately they were all less than he was. He returned his attention to his father, who was giving some pathetic speech about what a Chunin needed. Everyone needed to display the traits he was talking about irrelevant of rank. Idiots soon died after all in the world that they lived in.

He caught Minato's eye and almost burst out laughing when he saw the man's eyes widen fractionally. He grinned so widely that it threatened to split his face open, not to mention that it displayed his sharpened canine fangs to the man, giving him a far more savage and bestial appearance. "Hello daddy." He mouthed, his grin turning to a smirk when a grimace came over the older man's face. The man returned to ignoring him and went back to his speech, Naruto ignored his words, choosing instead to look around and see who he recognised in the stands, the Sandaime wasn't present which made him grin, he liked the Old man and he hoped that he avoided the exams, he didn't want him to see what was going to happen. Kushina was here however, although she was staring at the ground and failed to meet Naruto's eyes.

He realised that he had missed the rest of the speech and the Proctor talking about the rules when the man asked if anyone wanted to quit. He was slightly surprised that Kabuto was volunteering, but then again the spy would have duties that would prevent his involvement in this part of the plan, no doubt it was for the best. Pinkie wanted the Uchiha to quit too, but he was refusing, Naruto's near constant grin returned, Kakashi may have warned him not to underestimate the boy but as the saying went, pride comes before the fall. It was something that they all suffered from. Gaara less so than Temari, Kankuro and himself but it was still there. Still he recognised his weakness and did his best to combat it, something he doubted that Sasuke did. He was somewhat surprised that his sister seemed to know Kabuto, but then again the Hokage's daughter would be the perfect person for someone like him to befriend. The comments about what could only be a cursed seal were interesting, he had seen the snake eying him before and he had been offered a curse seal at one point. He had refused naturally, you didn't allow things to be sealed onto you unless you knew exactly what they did and Orochimaru was not known for his Fuinjutsu skills. Still Pinkies concern for 'Sasuke-kun' was amusing.

"I just want to fight strong people." The statement echoed out across the near silent courtyard and Naruto cast a glance and Gaara, who was smirking. Well the Uchiha certainly would be getting his wish; they weren't the coddled children he was used to by any means.

"We have twenty four contestants and we need to cut it down significantly." This came from the Proctor and Naruto nodded his head, he drowned the rest out, choosing instead to look at Temari's arse. Before he headed to watch Sasuke fight Kabuto's team mate.

XXX

That first fight hadn't held much interest to Naruto, the ability to drain chakra was interesting, but ultimately it turned into a glorified Taijutsu battle, something that he wouldn't be able to gain much from. Although he had to applaud Sasuke for managing to give so little away, however unintentional that was.

Shino against the sound Nin wasn't anything amazing either really. He recognised that the bug nin could pose a threat to him, but that was something that he would need to address when the time came. The sound nin was fodder in any case not worth his time.

"Finally." Naruto glanced up and nodded his head in Kankuro's direction. He wouldn't take it seriously Naruto knew, however dumb it was, still Kankuro was another person who had the word prodigy thrown about all the time, he'd do fine Naruto was sure. A statement that was proven correct when Kankuro true to form became the first person to kill their opponent.

"Well none of this has lived up to the hype has it?" Naruto said as the middle brother re-joined them, Baki's grunt being the only response he was rewarded with. He snorted and turned to watch Pinkie and Ino Yamanaka proceed to have a fight that seemed more suited for the soap operas on TV with its rivalry over the Uchiha and the comments about their old friendship.

He could feel Temari getting angrier and angrier by his side and he hid a smile.

"Disappointed you didn't get to fight her?" Naruto asked, noting that Gaara was listening, Kankuro was still too caught up in his fight to pay attention however and Baki was doing… something the man had always seemed a bit odd if you asked him, not that he could talk, he had basically given himself a split personality disorder after all.

"Yes." She huffed, then turned to look at him critically. "You're finding this funny aren't you?"

"It's hilarious, two fan girls fighting each other, neither of which seem to know anything beyond the most basic techniques, why would you want to fight them, it'll be far more satisfying to annihilate the winner later." She didn't reply but studied him, her eyes boring into his.

"Humph." She made a curious snorting sound and turned back to the fight, Naruto aping her, chuckling softly.

The fight was pathetic, there was really nothing to redeem it in Naruto's eyes, and it ultimately finished in a draw, which was quite frankly the most interesting thing to happen all day.

"Man there are a bunch of weirdo's here." He turned and studied Mitsuko as she stared at Gaara, an action that a few years ago would have ended her. Naruto chose to simply watch her, she had no idea, not to mention that she was just as much a weirdo as the rest of them.

"Ohh I'm up, I'm up!" She suddenly exclaimed and began to clamber down to the arena, an action copied by Kiba who was acting in much the same way. A smirk flashed across his features as they took their positions. 'Things were starting to get interesting finally."He thought, as he shifted his position to a more comfortable one to watch the upcoming fight.


A.N I thought I'd take an opportunity to talk a bit about Minato and Kushina who while they don't play an essential part in the story yet and I have yet to decide if they ever will, they are important in the fics history/back story if you will.

Kushina was the previous Jinchūriki but considering that no one seemed to recognise the name Uzumaki I doubt she was particularly highly ranked. The Chunin thing I'm not sure about but I got the impression that her typical nin skills weren't anything special due to her 'special chakra'. So hence here, she has essentially had the very thing that made her 'special' taken from her and reduced to a glorified trophy wife, which would i think make anyone bitter

Minato on the other hand is an exceptionally skilled nin and I have some ideas that I want to implement about what makes him so impressive. That said, I think that his portrayal here has elements of cannon in it. Minato wouldn't have been a nice man I don't think anyone can be a Shinobi and be a nice person, Cannon Naruto excluded. Even Jiraiya once you get past the idiocy comes across as a very complex character, and one that will have killed hundreds for the village. Minato will play a more important role further into this arc, but for now I hope that I've given enough info to explain some of his actions.

Anyway the next update will happen eventually; at the moment real life is taking precedence to just about everything. I also have some other stories that I want to do, so we'll have to see where I end up.