Mizuki smiled as he stepped into his home where his wife Tsubaki was making dinner and his children were rolling around on the carpet either playing some sort of game, or fighting over whoever had cheated at said game. Life was good. He had power, he had respect, and he had the love of a good woman and the perfect family. While he himself wasn't in the Hokage seat, he had the ear of the man he'd helped put there.

At one point, nearly a decade ago, he had almost thrown all of that, and the family he hadn't yet had at that point away for something that would have led to his death instead. A traitor to the village named Orochimaru had played on his one major fault, and had almost led him to his doom. Had he not remembered the words and utter contempt of an alternate version of the Rokudaime - who he had met during an escort mission years earlier when the man had saved him and his teammate from an enemy-nin - he would have either died that night or been executed soon after.

While he'd started out with the best of intentions long ago, he had grown cruel at one point. He'd had a jealous streak which had initially been a mile wide, and grew even wider as the years passed until it had practically consumed him. That jealous streak had nearly destroyed all of his friendships and driven away those he held dear. Tsubaki, who had loved him for the good man she had seen him to be, for the kind personality which had increasingly become a front over the years, would never have condoned his betrayal of Konoha. Iruka, whom he'd initally befriended because the younger boy had looked up to him would have one day spotted the fact that he'd been deliberately making him miserable to make himself feel better after people payed attention to the poor orphan rather than him, as he'd become more blatant in his cruelty over the years. His new Hokage Naruto...Well, back then, he'd only seen the demon he'd initially believed the young man who had been a child at the time to be, the power it had and never used, and its possible use to him back then.

The first time he'd been kind to Naruto, it had been to sabotage him. The second time he'd been kind to the boy, it had been to lure him into a trap. The third time he'd been kind to the boy, it had been out of self-preservation as he realized what had caused the contempt in the adult Naruto's eyes, and that it had meant his death. Self-preservation eventually gave way to friendship, and with that friendship, all of the things he'd thought he'd deserved, the things that Orochimaru had falsely promised him, came to him.

As his children, his older son who looked so much like his mother, and his younger son who was his spitting image, complete with his bluish white hair raced up to greet him, he found himself remembering the early days when he had started on the path that had led to where he was now...