The Uzumaki Descendant
Props to Narutoenthusiast for editing this chapter.
CH1: Another Uzumaki Still Lives
(Konohagakure no Sato - Hokage Tower)
The village hidden amongst the leaves was in ruins.
The damage inflicted by the Kyūbi no Yokō stretched for miles; parts of the great wall that once encircled the Hidden Leaf village were destroyed, levelled by the destructive power of the Nine Tailed Fox, a creature capable of causing earthquakes and tsunamis with but a flick of its tails. The wall was not all that had fallen; the damage had spread into the districts of the village, wrecking the Hyūga compound and the Uchiha district along with revamping the plots of land owned by the Nara clan. The village known for its Will of Fire certainly suffered a great deal of damage because of the Kyūbi's sudden attack. Not only had Konoha suffered major economic losses with all the costly damage, but the village had also lost a lot of man power in the attack; many prominent shinobi such as Akimichi Torifu, Uchiha Kagami and many, many others lost their lives during the attack. Perhaps the biggest loss was the Hidden Leaf's Yondaime Hokage, the Kiiroi Senkō, Namikaze Minato. With the loss of perhaps the most gifted shinobi Konoha had ever produced, the political climate was in disarray. The Daimyō immediately called for the Sandaime Hokage, Hiruzen Sarutobi, to come out of retirement and assume the mantle of Hokage once again.
And so there he was, the Kami no Shinobi, the legendary Professor of Konoha and master of all forms of shinobi combat. Hiruzen Sarutobi was now left to struggle with one dilemma that stood out of many the Kyūbi attack had left him with. At the moment, only he knew what had truly happened. Uzumaki Kushina, Minato's wife, the second jinchūriki of the Kyūbi, had through the meddling of Uchiha Madara, been forced to unleash the Kyūbi during labour. It had all happened so fast and before Hiruzen knew what happened, he had lost twelve ANBU operatives, amongst which two of Konoha's brightest medics, and soon after, his dear wife, Sarutobi Biwako.
Madara's meddling had rushed Minato and Kushina into their untimely deaths as they sacrificed their lives to save Konoha and their newborn son, Naruto. Minato had called forth the Shinigami and sealed the fox's Yin chakra within himself, sealing away its spiritual essence and by proxy its physical body. The Yang chakra was sealed within Naruto as Minato knew without a doubt Konoha would come to face great danger, and would need the fox's power to overcome it. The Shinigami then took Minato's soul as payment for sealing the Kyūbi's Yin chakra; while Kushina died along with her husband, drained from her life force during the entire affair. Not even her unique Uzumaki vitality and longevity were able to save her and thus Uzumaki Naruto became not only the third jinchūriki of the Kyūbi but also an orphan in the same night.
'What to do with you now, Uzumaki Naruto ?' Hiruzen wondered, looking down on the sleeping infant. Life would not be easy for this young one. No, whatever normalcy the child could have had, had it not been for Madara, was now out of the question. From an early age he would have to be protected and taught to defend himself and those around him. 'If only I had the time…' Hiruzen reached into the makeshift cribs of blankets and plush pillows and held up the child. 'My dear Biwako… I could really use your help right now.' As the Sandaime Hokage, his duties were to this village first and foremost. The lives of thousands surely outweighed that of one, even if this particular infant was the spawn of the Fourth Hokage and the descendant of the near extinct Uzumaki clan.
And there it was: the answer to his dilemma was right before him.
'Another Uzumaki still lives.'
It was a risky move, Hiruzen was sure of it, but it was the only alternative he had. The Sarutobi clan could not adopt this one child and yet refuse the dozens of other children left without family, nor could he, in good conscience, make Naruto's status as a jinchūriki public. There would be revolts; demands for a public execution by the civilian populous and demands for Uzumaki Naruto to become a weapon with the sole purpose of destroying Konoha's enemies. 'Surely Minato and Kushina would understand…' Hiruzen reasoned with himself. Even if he made Naruto's parentage public, he had his doubts if that would be enough to hail him as the hero his parents wanted him to be known as. And, surely, they would come for him. Iwa and Kumo would undoubtedly seek to assassinate the young boy, as would other villages. Minato and Kushina had, after all, gained fearsome reputations in their respective years of service, and if word of their offspring reached the other villages… the result could be catastrophic, potentially a cause for even.
Hiruzen realised he could not hide the boy, for no matter how hard he would try, a leak of information would inevitably happen. There always were with secrets of this magnitude. Experience of over thirty years in office and fifty years of shinobi service had taught him that.
'Uzumaki Hattori.' Hiruzen almost shuddered at the thought of Naruto growing up with that relic.
Uzumaki Hattori was one of very few, if not the only one, left of the olden days when Konoha had just been founded by the Uchiha and Senju clan. He was old fashioned; brazen and unsociable but at the age of a hundred and seventeen he truly was a relic of the olden days: older than most shinobi villages as he came from a time in which shinobi were often nomadic clans, isolated from the world and servants to the highest bidder... The only village likely to be older than Uzumaki Hattori would have to be Takigakure, although the Hidden Waterfall had an erratic past of achieving power and losing it after a few years of prosperity; they had yet to recover their power after the last war with Konoha, prompted by an attempt on the Shodai's life.
A sharp knock broke Hiruzen's thoughts. "Enter," he called as he adjusted his robes and took a seat behind his desk.
The double doors opened and Jiraiya of the Sannin entered with a half-hearted smile. His clothes were dirty, scathed with mud and ripped in several parts of his trousers. The huge scroll on his back, suspended by rope seemed equally worse for wear. Yet despite his ragged appearance, Jiraiya retained his youthful appearance and exuberant disposition. "Sensei," Jiraiya greeted.
"Jiraiya, I thought I told you to get some rest. You overexerted yourself during the battle." Jiraiya did not waver under his stern gaze much to Hiruzen's chagrin. At thirty-eight years old, Jiraiya was no longer the impulsive youngster that feared his rebukes. He was no longer the foolish genin who used the summoning jutsu on a whim and ended up lost for months. 'How they have grown so quickly,' Hiruzen noted with a sigh as Jiraiya took a seat in front of him and helped himself to the sake, pouring a saucer full for his sensei and drinking from the jug himself.
"What brings you here, Jiraiya?"
The Gama Sennin helped himself to a good swing of the alcoholic beverage before answering. "I want to know your plans for Naruto." Jiraiya met his sensei's eyes and waited patiently for an answer. Years ago, when he was still a youngster, Jiraiya quite enjoyed theatrics; however, the current situation was far too dire, too serious to joke about.
"Nobody but you and I know of Naruto-kun's parentage or status as a jinchūriki, Jiraiya, and I intend it too keep it that way. At least for now," Hiruzen told him. As expected, Jiraiya's eyes narrowed and his eyebrows curved into a displeased frown. "You know why, Jiraiya. Please, I simply do not have the will to argue."
"No, sensei, we are going to talk about this," Jiraiya forced. "The kid's a hero! Why shouldn't the people be allowed to know this kid is just as much of a hero as his parents are? Minato wouldn't have accepted this, and don't even get me started on Kushina. She would probably level this whole village!"
"This is only temporarily, Jiraiya," Hiruzen tried to appease his former pupil. "As I am sure you can imagine there's a lot on my mind. I have yet to speak with the council, the Daimyō's delegates or the populous for that matter. For the time being, it is of the upmost importance that we organise ourselves, treat our wounded and take some serious damage control."
"And then what? After all the fussy clans have been appeased, the politics have been all said and done and the villagers brought out of evacuation… what then? Don't tell me you intend to have the boy put in an orphanage, or even worse, become a weapon!"
Hiruzen sighed. "You are the boy's godfather Jiraiya…"
"No." Jiraiya's answer was direct and firm. "I'm not a parent, sensei. You can't hand over a kid to me, it's just not possible. He would turn out just as messed up as I am. Besides, I can't look after a child when the village needs my intel, now more than ever." He made a valid argument, but truth be told Jiraiya simply did not want to be reminded of his late student. Minato had been like a son to him, his legacy and his pride and joy. Jiraiya hadn't even looked at the infant since he had entered the office. He knew the second he looked into the child's vibrant blue eyes he would see the boy's father. Naruto would serve as a painful memory, one he clearly did not want or need right now.
"Then what do you suggest, Jiraiya? If you, the boy's godfather, will not take him, who will? The council will undoubtedly push for an ultimatum; either Uzumaki Naruto becomes a weapon or he will be executed. Knowing our…" Hiruzen paused for a moment as he searched for the right word, "Misguided Daimyō, he will support the clans that have his favour, the very same clans that will push for either execution or turning the boy into a weapon."
"Why don't you make this public?" Jiraiya suggested, clear desperation in his voice. "Make it common knowledge what a hero Naruto is before the council can make the motion to use him as a weapon. If the people find out want an injustice they're planning-"
"Jiraiya!" Hiruzen said with an annoyed rise in his tone, causing baby Naruto to shift uncomfortably and yelp. "You're grasping at straws. The people of Konoha have just lost countless of loved ones once again. It hasn't been ten years since the last war and now they have once again suffered such a loss – all in one night. They will not take this very well. I'm sure you remember the riots only a few years ago, or have you forgotten? Let me remind you: it was at the time Minato-kun completed the Hiraishin and proved to be capable of decimating the enemy. We were finally beginning to win a war we would have otherwise undoubtedly lost. Do you remember now? The cries for blood – the cries for an attack on Iwa, to tear them apart and forever render incapable of rebuilding just as they had tried to do to us? They will not accept this Jiraiya! The sooner you stop fooling yourself the better. We must come up with a viable solution – one that does not harm Minato's child!"
"Then what do you suggest, sensei?" Jiraiya demanded, venom laced to his tone. "You know I can't take him. And if you're thinking about Tsunade, think again. Last I spoke to her she was still depressed about Dan's death. According to her assistant, she hasn't used any ninjutsu in months. She won't be able to protect Naruto, and like I said, Konoha can't afford the loss of intelligence if I take him. We have to come up with something else."
Sensei and student locked eyes for a moment, sitting in silence and contemplating on what the other was thinking. Hiruzen knew Jiraiya better than his student thought he did. He knew Jiraiya would not want to live with a reminder of his beloved student, but he wasn't nearly cruel enough to confront him about that. After all, he had lost Orochimaru forever only recently. It made no difference if his heart was still beating, the kind boy Hizuren knew years ago was lost forever.
Hiruzen sighed wearily. He felt far older than he appeared to be. "There is one more option, Jiraiya," he began quietly, "Uzumaki Hattori-"
"You've got to be kidding me!" Jiraiya interrupted loudly. "That old man is crazy! Not only does he make you look like a spring chicken, he's completely and utterly crazy! What kind of childhood would Naruto have with him, living with that relic?"
"It is far better than any alternative we have come up with so far, Jiraiya," Hiruzen countered. "Now, if you will let me finish... Uzumaki Hattori is indeed old and rather out of it, but if we have a caretaker along with him to look after the child, Naruto may still have a childhood with some degree of normalcy. A sheltered childhood is better than no childhood at all, surely you would agree to that?"
For a few moments Jiraiya was quiet. The Sandaime's arguments were infallible and he had no better solution than the old man did. "Alright," Jiraiya finally conceded. "Alright... If the old man is willing to take the boy in, and if he is willing to allow a caretaker... I'll make sure to protect the kid to the best of my ability whilst maintaining my information network. I won't be in the kid's life much but it's better than nothing. It's all hell of a lot better than what I had." Jiraiya rarely referred to his orphan childhood, and so there was an uncomfortable silence Jiraiya decided to break after a moment. "Who do you have in mind for this caretaker job?"
"Josanshi Taji," Hiruzen said almost instantly. Hiruzen knew she was the best for the job. "Not only was she one of Kushina's midwives, she was one of her closest friends. Kushina had requested her to be there when Naruto was born... she was to be the boy's godmother."
Jiraiya raised an eyebrow. He had never heard of this Taji nor had Kushina ever mentioned her as her choice for godmother. She and Minato had decided they would pick godparents respectively, and although he had never asked Kushina directly about her choice, it still struck him as odd. "I'd like to see her file, sensei."
"Jiraiya, she's an ANBU operative. You know I cannot divulge you in such information without good cause."
"This shit storm isn't a good enough cause for you?" Jiraiya challenged. Hiruzen's expression remained blank, prompting his former student to glare at him. "Fine," Jiraiya said as he moved towards the door. "I'll just track her myself and test her skills first hand. I'm not going to let an incompetent kunoichi take care of Minato's kid." Just as his hand gripped on to the door, Jiraiya heard Hiruzen give a heavy sigh in defeat.
"Alright! I will fetch the file. Here, take Naruto-kun and wipe that smirk of your face," Hiruzen told him with a frown, passing the newborn to the Toad Sage.
Hiruzen took his seat behind his desk and called for his secretary to take a break for good measures. Receiving a comply, the Hokage stood out of his chair and made his way to the far end of his office by the framed pictures of the Shodai and Nidaime Hokage. A quick ram hand seal later and the walls began to shift and contort rapidly as a safe became visible. Another minute later Hiruzen took his seat once again and placed the file on his table.
"There you have it," Hiruzen said with a motion of his hand. What he had just done, handing over information on ANBU operatives, was strictly forbidden and against protocol, but Jiraiya had given him no choice. He had no doubt in his mind whatever Jiraiya had planned to test Josanshi Taji's skills would likely maim her or perhaps even kill her. Jiraiya was a perfectionist and if he were to trust anyone with the life of his godson it would have damn sure be someone skilled enough to protect him.
"Hmm, let's see." Jiraiya settled baby Naruto in one arm and flipped pages with another, nodding as he took in the information. "Three years in ANBU, not bad. Heh! She belongs to the same squad I was in," Jiraiya moved the page over and continued to read out loud: "First class medic, an affinity for water and fire. Overall considered to be a B-ranked shinobi... I see she's got a clean slate. No previous warnings or reports of misconduct..."
"You will see she is of sound character. Kushina was very close to her and trusted her unconditionally," Hiruzen nodded. "You would perhaps have known of their friendship if you were actually here longer than six weeks a year, Jiraiya."
Jiraiya looked up at his sensei with annoyance, but allowed the comment to slide and continued to read the file. "Alright, she'll do," Jiraiya decided after a long moment of silence broken only by the baby's suckling noises. "The question is, how are you going to hide the fact one of Konoha's first class medical ninja is gone without a trace? Having her declared as a rogue shinobi won't do much good, especially if they sent Hunter Nin after her. She'll just end up endangering Naruto."
"Do not fret, Jiraiya," Hiruzen assured him, balancing the infant in his arms. "I will simply fudge the paperwork. I'll have her set on a triple S-rank mission on papers. It may be a little risky but I have no doubt I will be able to bury her name."
"A triple S-rank mission?" Jiraiya repeated, shifting Naruto's weight. "Do those kind of missions even exist? They're unheard off, old man. Are you sure you're not losing it?"
"They're unheard of, but they exist," Hiruzen replied pointedly. "Common knowledge amongst most civilians and shinobi is that classifications go up to A-rank. However the more seasoned shinobi will know of the S-rank classifications but only the higher-ups of villages will know of double and triple S ranked classifications."
"No need for the history lesson, sensei," Jiraiya commented with annoyance. He wasn't a damn underling anymore. It was simply embarrassing how his old sensei could still speak to him as if he were the same ignorant genin from all those years ago. "How come I haven't heard of them before? I'm the strongest shinobi you've got."
Hiruzen's expression went blank. "Oh, but I did not realise you still considered yourself as one of my shinobi, Jiraiya," he replied with dry wit. "What, with you coming and going as you please, whenever you please. No, I did not believe it to be prudent or necessary to inform you of this mission grade. Only certain groups within the shinobi forces know of and take on these missions. You, Jiraiya, are an individual. One I have long since given up on grooming for my position. Why would I tell you anything that is strictly on a need-to-know basis?"
A pointed silence resumed, in which Jiraiya glared at Hiruzen, who looked at him impassively. Something had broken between them a long time ago. He wasn't sure what or why, but he knew he no longer looked up to the man before him. Even after Orochimaru and Tsunade had left their home, Jiraiya remained as a valuable asset, and yet his former sensei did not seem to appreciate him at all. Still, Jiraiya pushed aside those thoughts. This wasn't about him, this was about Naruto. This was about Minato's child. "That makes sense," Jiraiya replied.
"Of course it does," Hiruzen replied with a mirthless smile.
"If you can pull it off, then by all means do it. What worries me is that old fart, Uzumaki Hattori. The guy is literally ancient. He must have gone senile by now."
"I'm afraid so," Hiruzen agreed. "We must move quickly."
Hiruzen showed an oddly satisfied grin. "You don't expect the Sandaime Hokage to leave Konoha in times of crisis do you, Jiraiya?"
Jiraiya cursed vehemently under his breath.
(A Week Later – Hi no Kuni Countryside)
Within hours after having decided what to do with Naruto, Hiruzen and Jiraiya had taken action. Josanshi Taji was summoned to the Hokage's office and sworn into secrecy over her next mission. The kunoichi had been surprisingly fierce about the proposition and even requested they placed a cursed seal on her to forbid her from speaking of her mission, should she ever be captured. Taji's loyalty to her best friend was admirable and she took her duties as godmother very seriously, although she had never been asked officially to fulfil the duty. Hiruzen had her pack her things an hour after her briefing while he prepared the necessary paperwork for the triple S-ranked mission that would last for a minimum of thirteen years.
Jiraiya took an instant liking to Taji and respected her enough not to make a single inappropriate remark. It was rather unusual for the Sannin but Hiruzen was grateful. The Toad Sage respected Taji for her loyalty and determination and so took a liking to her, promising her she could always rely on him for protection and funds should it ever be necessary.
Within two days all had been prepared and so the surrogate mother, newborn and Sage set off for Uzu no Kuni. The plan was to first make it to Ritoru Wana, a small-time harbour village and appropriate a ship to the island known as Whirlpool Country.
"Jiraiya-sama, Naruto-kun needs to be fed again."
Jiraiya groaned loudly and turned on his heels. "Again?" he asked, to which Taji merely nodded. "I swear, all the kid does is eat, sleep and poop."
"He is a baby after all, Jiraiya-sama," Taji replied meekly.
"Of course," Jiraiya said with unjustified ire. "We're just a few hours away. Can't the kid hold it up?" Jiraiya whined childishly, causing Taji to laugh.
"Sorry, Jiraiya-sama, but my duty is to Naruto first and foremost. If you wish to move on without us, feel free to do so," Taji joked good-naturedly, shifting the infant Naruto in her arms.
"Mou... you sure are serious about this whole surrogate mother business," Jiraiya commented. The hermit walked over to a tree and placed a hand on its bark. Nodding appreciatively, he swiftly chopped at it with his hand. It was like cutting through butter with a hot knife as the tree fell.
"Oh, Naruto-kun enjoyed that," Taji held up Naruto for Jiraiya to see his wide eyes, as if he could comprehend the impressiveness of what Jiraiya had just done. "I must say, he is an unusual baby. He doesn't cry or laugh at all. He only gurgles when he's been fed."
"As shrewd as his old man, aye? 'Course you are!" Jiraiya pinched Naruto's cheek. He instantly regretted the action as Naruto retaliated by vomiting over his hand.
"Ah gross! He did that on purpose!"
Taji merely smiled. "Oh come on now, Jiraiya-sama. He is only a baby."
"Yeah right," Jiraiya pointed at Naruto's smiling face. "Look at him, he's smiling!"
"Oh, my. Naruto has his mother's infectious smile."
(Shores of Uzu no Kuni)
The journey to Uzu no Kuni had taken a little over two weeks in total and had gone smoothly without incident. It took much longer than Jiraiya had anticipated, but it couldn't be helped. They were carrying a child with them after all and the Toad Sage did not mind in the least. During the duration of their journey, he and Taji swapped many stories; even about classified missions they had performed as ANBU. There was no need for anymore secrecy as only one secret now truly mattered and that was Naruto's existence until he was old enough to defend himself.
Naturally, Jiraiya had for more thrilling tales to tell and he indulged Taji in many of his exploits. He told her of the noteworthy shinobi he had faced in battle, the places he had been and even gave her a copy of his first book,The Tale of the Utterly Gutsy Shinobi. Taji promised him she would read it to Naruto, although he attempted to dissuade her from doing so as the only people that actually liked the book were his sensei, Fukasaku, Minato and Kushina. The mentioning of the latter two only further strengthened Taji's resolve however, as she told him Naruto should know what kind of person his parents had wanted him to be.
The journey came to an end not long after reaching the island of Uzu no Kuni. It was a few hours before they had reached their destination: Uzushiogakure. The village hidden amongst the whirlpools. As they neared the outskirts of the village, Jiraiya noted how the scars of battle had yet to leave the landscape. The Sannin had been to the village only on three other occasions in his life. Back then the village had been rather impressive with its wide roads, cylinder-shaped buildings and impressive designs of infrastructure that separated carriages from the pedestrians. In the middle of the village was its monument, a plaza decorated with statues and buildings in honour of their village leaders and other prominent figures that had been produced by the village.
It was a dark chapter of the shinobi world indeed as Uzushiogakure had been raised to the ground. The details were vague and whatever evidence had been submitted was not enough for Konoha to go to war over. It had been too late once Uzu had been wiped out by the massive attack spearheaded by Kumogakure and Iwagakure and backed by smaller shinobi villages.
Jiraiya shook his head as they neared the remains of the walls that once been vast and protected the village. The Sannin ran a few diagnostic jutsu to detect trap seals the village had once used. Strangely enough, he found none. Performing the jutsu once again, Jiraiya received similar results. 'Strange... The old man is either dead or he doesn't care anymore.' Either would be just as bad. If the man was dead, they had wasted weeks of travelling. If he simply did not care, then there was a good chance he would refuse to look after Naruto, descendant or not.
"Follow my lead carefully, Taji," Jiraiya instructed. As she nodded, he continued to lead the way into the ruins of the once proud nation of seals masters.
"Where are we going?" Taji spoke so softly she was almost whispering. Clearly she was just as anxious as Jiraiya was.
Jiraiya merely waved a hand at her and continued to lead the way to the one place he was sure the old man would be at: the plaza in the heart of the village. As they walked through the streets of Uzushiogakure, Jiraiya was reminded how large and grand the city had been, nearly stretching across the entire island which was at least three times as big as Wave Country. 'You've got some rich heritage right here, Naruto. If we're lucky the old fart might have saved some of the scrolls.'
After nearly an hour of carefully threading through the village, they had finally reached the plaza. The plaza retained much of its beauty, although there were some fallen pillars strewn across it. A fountain moulded into a large spiral stood between the statues.
Jiraiya's heart skipped a beat upon arriving in the plaza.
Sat in a lawn chair before the statues was a figure with his back facing them. The figure sat in a rather hunched-back fashion and from what Jiraiya could tell he appeared to be sleeping. The old man had long, white hair that reached the small of his back. He wore black overalls under the traditional marine blue armour of Uzioshiogakure shinobi and a red sash around his waist.
Holding out an arm in front of Taji to motion her behind, Jiraiya cupped hands over his mouth. "Uzumaki Hattori!" Jiraiya called out to the man.
Uzumaki Hattori seemed to wake up instantly at the sound of his voice and began to turn to face him.
(An Hour Later)
Jiraiya sat opposite of Uzumaki Hattori in a cross-legged position and his hands on his knees. The Sannin was still surprised Hattori was still alive but hid it impeccably and engaged the old man in a nostalgic conversation. Hattori had once been a ruthless shinobi, feared on every battlefield he stepped on and challenged by very few. Jiraiya had detested this man since his youth for his cutthroat attitude and old-fashioned views, but the years of solitude had mellowed him out. Hattori seemed as dangerous as a one-winged fly. Jiraiya wasn't even sure the old man was listening to half the words he was saying when he tried to explain the situation to the old man. Hattori seemed to nod every now and then, grunt noncommittally. With his droopy eyes and constant nodding-off, Jiraiya doubted Uzumaki Hattori was in a state to take care of anyone.
"I see...," Hattori croaked with a tired nod. "My great-great-great- my descendant," he then decided to simplify, "Is in danger of assassination by Iwa, Kumo and quite possibly his own birth country for being the jinchūriki of the Kyūbi, and now you wish to hide him here until he becomes old enough to defend himself. I see..."
"Yes," Jiraiya said with relief. It had taken over an hour to explain the rather simple situation to Hattori. "In Konoha he will either end being executed, turned into a weapon or treated with contempt for his entire life. His parents had made enemies in Kumo and Iwa and they would undoubtedly attempt to take his life."
Hattori nodded slowly, encouraging Jiraiya to continue.
"With your permission, we would like to hide Naruto here. I do not expect you to protect him, that is why his caretaker, Taji," Jiraiya motioned the ANBU medic in the corner holding Naruto, "Is here. She will protect him and teach him the shinobi arts. She is skilled in providing for Naruto as well as you if you so wish it."
"The boy's hair is not red. All Uzumaki's have red hair, Jiraiya." Hattori did not pose it as a question, more like a statement and patiently waited for Jiraiya to explain. "Kushina had red hair. Why does this young child not have red hair? He must have red hair."
Jiraiya resisted the urge to groan. "The boy's father, Namikaze Minato, I'm sure you have met him, had blond hair. Apparently Minato's genes were the dominant ones." This was rather ironic, Jiraiya thought with an inward chuckle. In their relationship, it had clearly been Kushina who called the shots and Minato went along with her every command. Jiraiya snapped out of his inner thoughts and put up a serious expression. "I assure you, this is indeed your descendant. You must have some way of testing that for yourself do you not?"
Hattori remained silent for the rest of Jiraiya's explanation and only spoke when the hermit had finished. "Jiraiya, no tests will be necessary. I believe you, I can feel it in this boy myself. He possesses the distinctive chakra only an Uzumaki would." Hattori spoke with his croaky voice. The ancient man reached for the canteen Jiraiya offered him and took a few gulps before continuing with a more grave tone. "Jiraiya, my days are waning. The Uzumaki traits of longevity and vitality have kept me alive for an exceptionally long time, even by clan's standards. However, even I will die eventually. Over the years my hair has gone white, not grey, but white. This happens only when an Uzumaki lives long enough to reach an age where his body can no longer go on and his life force begins to gradually decrease." Hattori paused to allow the information sink with Jiraiya and then continued a moment later. "My life is circling in the drain and soon Uzumaki Naruto will be the very last of the once great Uzumaki clan."
"You wish to teach him?"
"Yes," Hattori nodded. "The Uzumaki clan will live on in Naruto, but he must also carry out our traditions not only in blood but in knowledge. I will teach him, educate him into a fine shinobi. At my age I am no good for ninjutsu or taijutsu, however there are a great many things I can and must pass on to Uzumaki Naruto."
From there on out, Jiraiya and Hattori spend hours upon hours of discussions. Jiraiya clearly did not trust the old man and wanted to know every detail of what he wished to pass on to Naruto. Eventually, after much discussion, Hattori had promptly stood up and beckoned Jiraiya to follow him. The relic led him into the great tower of the village where the village leader ruled from and where the villagers would flee to in case of an evacuation order.
Jiraiya soon came to understand he had never truly seen all of Uzushiogakure as underneath the surface were a labyrinth of secret pathways, tombs and honeycombs of storage facilities as well as hidden training grounds. The founders of Uzushiogakure had truly designed a magnificent village. Those unfamiliar with the hidden underground of the village could get lost for days if not forever in the maze-like underground.
Hattori led Jiraiya through the pathways swiftly and moved without a doubt in his direction. The old phantom knew the underground by heart. Eventually the two came to stop before a huge pair of double doors, twenty feet in width and fifty feet in height.
"What is this?" Jiraiya asked the old man, feeling a sense of suspiciousness. He wasn't comfortable in the slightest with the man in the poorly lit labyrinth under the village.
"This, Jiraiya, is the treasure trove of my people. Of Naruto's people," Hattori told him and promptly bit his thumb and went through a complex string of seals Jiraiya could not recognize. "This is Naruto's heritage."
The massive double doors groaned and moved slowly, causing enough tremor for small chunks of rocks to fall down. They had not been used for years, Jiraiya noted. As the doors split open, Jiraiya's eyes widened considerably. Before him was a giant hall of shells containing thousands of scrolls and books.
"W- What is this?" Jiraiya turned to Hattori with an obvious sense of shock in his voice. "Is this what I think it is, Hattori? Are these-"
"Yes, Jiraiya. These are all the jutsu my people, and Naruto's people," Hattori was keen on reminding him of that, "Have acquired over the years. Some of these were thought to be long forgotten, others were made forbidden and a few were thought to be destroyed. This is the heritage of Uzushiogakure founded by the Uzumaki clan. This is Naruto's heritage."
Jiraiya dropped all inhibitions as he entered the tomb. Even he, the legendary Gama Sennin, had been swept away with such profound shock he could not help to feel like a child in sweets shop. Oddly enough, all the scrolls were kept in pristine conditioning, protected by the array of seals set up by the Uzumaki clan many generations ago.
"Our knowledge was feared so greatly, Kumo and Iwa and many others sought to destroy us. They never found what they were looking for, however," Hattori cackled with glee. "They came in search of power to destroy their enemies and they found nothing!"
"These are amazing...," Jiraiya read the tag on a rather thick scroll and made to reach for it only to violently propel him backwards and into the ground. Jiraiya groaned and swore loudly as he got sat up. "What was that?"
"Only those of Uzumaki blood may touch these scrolls," Hattori explained, walking over to the shelf Jiraiya had been looking at. "Allow me to demonstrate." Hattori reached for the very same scroll Jiraiya had reached for and plucked it off the shelf. A quick hand seal later and the scroll glowed for a moment. "You may copy its contents, if you wish but return the original to the shelf when you are done, will you?"
Jiraiya caught the scroll midair and reads it label with wide eyes. 'The Reverse Four Symbols Seal... this is an S-ranked kinjutsu. It was said to be lost generations ago...' Jiraiya quickly created a Kage Bunshin and had it copy the scrolls contents as he joined Hattori, who stood in his hunched-back posture. "Thank you."
Hattori did not acknowledge his gratitude and got straight to the point in his croaky voice. "You see why it is so important for me to pass on the Uzumaki clan's teachings to Naruto, Jiraiya?"
Jiraiya for his part scratched his cheek in thought. "I can certainly see why you would think so, Hattori. I have no problems with him learning of his clan but I do not want to see him become obsessed with obtaining all jutsu. I have lost a dear friend to such obsession and I will not stand by and watch Naruto follow in the same footsteps."
"Of course not," Hattori quickly conceded. A little too quickly but the ancient shinobi pressed on it quickly. "I intend to only teach him of our seals. That is the most important heritage you will find here. What he plans to do with the rest of the jutsu obtained is up to him. Should he wish to share it with Konoha, so be it. He will be the new head of the Uzumaki clan when I am gone."
Jiraiya's expression instantly lit up, seeing a great chance for Konoha to obtain more jutsu. At times like these, when the village had been greatly weakened, a larger arsenal of jutsu at their disposal was exactly what they needed. "Then I accept your offer. You can teach Naruto all about his heritage as long as you stick to Fūinjutsu."
The following two weeks had passed. Jiraiya spent most of his time with Taji, guarding her and young Naruto. However conversation soon became mundane as Jiraiya had conversed many hours before with Taji on their journey and thus they had run out of subjects to talk about. And so Jiraiya began spending time with Uzumaki Hattori, the oldest man he knew. At the age of a hundred and seventeen, Uzumaki Hattori was like a never-ending fountain of information. The old Uzumaki had many things to tell and had a surprisingly sharp memory as he could remember a great many details Jiraiya had never heard of. As much as Jiraiya enjoyed listening to the old man's story, he was quick to remember why he had never truly liked the man. Hattori was as old-fashioned as it got. He believed in 'might makes right' and other out-dated ideologies. He wouldn't go so far as to call him a warmonger but he would likely see eye to eye with Danzō and that was never a good thing. Hattori had a habit of referring to how things were done in the old days and did not shy away from telling Jiraiya the gruesome details of missions he had gone on or incidents he was aware of. But despite his old fashioned views, Jiraiya knew the man was a hardly dangerous. Over the years his body had become weak and his ability to mould chakra had all but disappeared.
Regardless, Jiraiya stayed for an additional two weeks by Taji's request. The old man too unnerved her and though she was no weakling, being an ANBU operative, she felt safer for herself and Naruto knowing the Toad Sage was with them. Eventually, however, Jiraiya knew he could no longer stay on the island. Konoha needed his intelligence network as well as his presence at this time. The other nations would be significantly less likely to try anything if they knew Jiraiya of the Sannin was there. Although, Jiraiya would most likely only stay for a couple of weeks before moving on with his journey and gathering intelligence for Konoha that would safeguard it and its secrets from their enemies.
"Do you really have to go?" Taji held Naruto in her arms as she followed Jiraiya out of the house they had been making use of the duration of their stay. Jiraiya had quickly repaired much of the damage, being quite dexterous and restored the house's living conditions. "So soon? Naruto and I need you."
Jiraiya neared the door and reached for his red sleeveless coat and sat down in front of the door and pulled on his wooden sandals. "I'm sorry, Taji but Konoha needs my skills more." The sage turned to Taji and smiled reassuringly over his shoulder. "I'll be back in a couple of months. If you need anything, you can send a messenger bird to the old man."
"Are you leaving because of Konoha or because of Naruto?" Taji demanded, hugging the infant closer to her in a protective manner. "Please tell me you're not leaving because he reminds you too much of Minato."
Jiraiya stopped dead in his tracks and temporarily weakened his grip on his wooden sandals. "Look, Taji," Jiraiya began softly, "Yes, the kid reminds me of Minato and it hurts but that's not why I'm leaving." Jiraiya stood up and tapped the getas on the concrete floor before the door, painfully reminded of the fact he had missed out on Minato and Kushina's funeral and he hadn't even gotten the time to properly mourn his surrogate son passing.
"You're his godfather," Taji bit at him. Over the past few weeks she had gotten close enough to the Sannin to know her boundaries and so she no longer referred to him with reverence. "Naruto needs you. And I need you too," she quickly added. "That old man scares the living hell out of me, Jiraiya."
Jiraiya sighed tiredly for a moment and nodded. "I know he does, but the man is harmless. Believe me when I say there is nothing he could do to hurt Naruto or you. He can barely mould chakra and you're an ANBU operative. Have some faith in yourself, Taji."
"Of course," the kunoichi sighed. "You better come back quickly. There's no way I can stand that man on my own for long. Naruto doesn't start training till his sixth birthday but I got a feeling that old man is a bit too anxious to pass on his Fūinjutsu to Naruto."
"Don't worry," Jiraiya assured her. "It'll be fine."
"And you better be here for his birthdays, Jiraiya or I will never forgive you."
"Got ya. I'll drop by every few months or so and I'll try - I'll definitely be here for his birthdays," Jiraiya quickly amended when he caught the scornful look that graced Taji's expression.
Finally and reluctantly, Taji sighed in defeat. "Alright, go. Konoha needs you, Jiraiya."
Jiraiya placed his hands on her shoulders and nodded to her. "Don't you worry, I'll be back soon."
'I sure hope so,' Taji thought as Jiraiya closed the door behind him. Taji moved to the living room and pushed aside the curtains to see Jiraiya walk down the road. 'Because that man… Uzumaki Hattori… he scares the hell out of me.'
As if on cue Naruto began to wail for food, reminding Taji of her duties as both a mother and wet nurse.
So there you have it, chapter one of The Uzumaki Descendant. The title is still up for consideration, but for now I'll stick with TUD.
Just to run a few things by you so you know what you're getting into, this is a story unlike any I have ever read or written before. It's going to be a lot more political than you might expect from me, but I hope to keep the character interactions intriguing enough to spark your interest. Worry not, this wouldn't be a story of mine if it didn't have plenty of action in it.
Fair warning to those who aren't fans, Naruto is going to be very powerful. He will most certainly not be so powerful he can take on a legion of S-ranked shinobi by himself or anything remotely like that - that would be ridiculous – but he will be a powerhouse when the story really begins. Make no mistake; Naruto's power will be believable and tailored to his upbringing.
The main pairing of this story is NaruHarem. The reason for this is obvious: as Naruto is the head of a dying clan, it is left to him alone to continue the bloodline. The two who will undoubtedly be included are Hinata and Ino. Heard of it before? Sure you have. However, the big difference is that I am aiming to portray their relationship in a realistic way. Again, it's all pretty political and hinges on my ability to make the characters act in a way you can deem reasonably realistic. Aside from Hinata and Ino, Temari will most likely be included – but that is it. Note that Hinata will NOT be the shy, timid girl she was in canon. You'll see how that turns out soon enough.