Danzo was the Fifth Hokage, but not how he had expected it to come about. On this October 11th, the one-eyed man was simply the only choice after Jiraiya refused. The 4th and 3rd had died the previous night after the damn Fox escaped it's prison. Luckily it had quickly been sealed into a new container that was currently rolling around fitfully in his sleep in a basket on the Hokage's desk. The fact that it was sleeping at all was only due to a genjutsu, otherwise the child would still be screaming as it had for several hours previous. The infant, not even twenty-four hours old, was the container of the most powerful tailed beast.
"Naruto, Naruto, Naruto," the man muttered under his breath, pondering the situation. "What am I going to do with you?"
Rumors had escaped, of course. The villagers knew that a child was the new container, and civilians being uneducated idiots, thought that it was just a new form for the demon. When ANBU and ROOT first heard the rumors, Danzo had quickly set up 14 different counter rumors and instructed off duty ANBU to spread them, allowing only a few to know the truth. Nine of those rumors focused attention on the greater clans of Konoha, specifically on their children, though only descriptions of the children were given, not names. Danzo felt this was especially important, considering there was strong evidence that at least one of the clans was responsible for revealing Naruto's status to the general populace. The misinformation would keep any one child from being persecuted and prevent the information from being considered credible to other factions, nations and villages.
It was enticing to have the boy trained as a weapon, but now that it was his choice, Danzo wasn't so sure it was the correct choice. The Fourth was not a soft man. Kindly, yes, but no one could ever accuse him of being weak-willed or soft. He had become a legend in just a few small years and was easily the most powerful Kage since the First Hokage, outstripping most others who had held similar titles. He was a man Danzo had learned to respect, even if it took some time at first. He glanced at the basket on his desk. That boy could easily become his father's equal if trained properly, something that ROOT and ANBU were not equipped to deal with.
There was a reason that ROOT recruited at no earlier than age five. There had been attempts in other villages at raising infants to be emotionless drones, but they were inevitably failures as the children were unable to function in most situations outside of training and almost always broke. The greats, the legends, even those who were best at suppressing their emotions, were raised to be people. Treating an infant like he did his ROOT would only give him an unstable child with a malicious creature inside of him. One only had to look at Suna or Kumo's past failures to know that was a bad idea. While the latest container of the Ox was stable, the others were not, lasting little more than a year at most, a few weeks for the least.
No, Danzo would have to go another route. He pulled out a pair of new mission scrolls. Wetting a brush with ink, he set about filling them in. Glancing around his new office After the task was complete,, he stood up and made his way to the window. "Get me Jiraiya," he commanded simply. The only sign that his ROOT had been there at all was a slightly unnatural breeze and a single leaf spiraling in the wind. The old scarred man didn't have to wait long.
"Danzo," Jiraiya said unhappily. The Fifth Hokage could see the displeasure and borderline disrespect in the man's eyes. It did not take a genius to know the man did not approve of Danzo's appointment, but that was his own fault for refusing the position.
"Jiraiya," Danzo said, handing the man two scrolls. "These are your orders. They are to be completed immediately."
"Orders? We both know I've been running my network and I cannot ignore it for long," the toad summoner replied, barely keeping his temper in check.
"The situation here is unstable," Danzo replied, staring out at the Konoha Monument where his face would soon be carved. "There is no discipline, no order. If I had not acted quickly, rumors of the situation would have nearly started riots. I'm currently tracking down the leak."
"To shut it off?" Jiraiya asked, surreptitiously glancing at his godson.
"To plug it with a Kunai, if necessary," Danzo corrected. "The child cannot allowed to die, nor can it be just thrown into an orphanage as if it is just another infant turned orphan like the others. Rumors die out, but truth stands tall." He turned to stare darkly at the younger man. "The truth will come out, hopefully when I want it to, but recent events suggest that is unlikely. You are to read those scrolls and follow them to the letter."
Jiraiya opened the first scroll and looked up in shock, his gaze shifting between the basket and Danzo. "You want me to take him to the toads?"
"Yes," Danzo said. "The toads, so long as they are allies to the Leaf, make us strong. This is a symbol of trust between us, and added protection for the child. When the time is right, he will be trained and eventually brought back."
"The toads are great allies," Jiraiya said carefully, "but they know almost nothing about humans. They aren't prepared for caring for a child, even less so than I am. Food, cleaning, training, it's all far from what he needs."
"I've already selected a wet-nurse," Danzo replied. "The other scroll is for the boy's caretaker."
"I assume I'm to take them along for a reverse summoning?" Jiraiya inquired.
"Yes, I'm sure you can convince the toads to assist us in this," Danzo said in a voice that made it clear failure was not an option. "Oh, and inform the caretaker that she and her apprentice will be hunted down as Missing Ninjas if they do not comply."
Jiraiya shot him a dark look, but nodded and vanished in a swirl of leaves and wind. Danzo picked up a third scroll from his desk and passed it to a hidden ANBU. "Retrieve her."
The Uchiha clan was not used to dealing with outsiders. This might seem strange on some level, but as one of the two founding clans, the Uchiha had enjoyed a certain amount of autonomy for most of Konoha's existence. So when an ANBU appeared in the middle of a clan meeting and walked up to the Clan Head's wife, they were rather disturbed.
"What is the meaning of this disruption?" demanded one elder, his eyes already spinning red. The ANBU moved nothing but his head, the animal mask staring at the man with no hint of emotion.
"Mikoto Uchiha, you have been reactivated," The ANBU said in perfect monotone. The uproar was instantaneous, the entire clan yelling in outrage at the idea of the interruption and the reactivation of a retired mother only added to it.
"But I-" she said in stunned response, holding her infant son to her chest.
"You are ordered to report to the Hokage immediately," The ANBU said, cutting her off. "Failure to comply will be considered an act of treason by the Uchiha Clan and dealt with appropriately."
The clan elders might have been screaming in outrage, but the ANBU's ninja-to cut off the discussion, the blade touching the neck of the first Elder to stand up. "Jonin Mikoto Uchiha, you are to follow the directions in this scroll explicitly. Do you understand your orders as I have relayed them?"
"Yes, I do," Mikoto replied with a slight bow. The man vanished as quickly as he arrived. She clutched Sasuke to her chest and left the room without even glancing at her fellow Uchiha.
The orders were formal, direct, and slightly horrific. Mikoto read them in shock as she fed Sasuke. She had orders to pack for her and her infant son, but nothing else. Other than to the Hokage's office, no one would know where she was going. Judging by the secrecy, it was an infiltration mission that required a recent mother, but there was little to support that theory. With Danzo as the new Hokage, it could easily be anything. If it had been the 3rd or the 4th, she might have been able to convince them to choose someone else, but Danzo always had several levels to everything he did. While with Sarutobi, one might have to "look underneath the underneath." With Danzo, one would have to look underneath the underneath to find a clue that was probably a false trail so you do the opposite and discover something that doesn't make sense unless you stand on your head at 3:47am and look at the new clue to find what was underneath the underneath of that. The man lived and breathed ninja politics in the worst way, especially since he was fanatically loyal to Konoha.
Unfortunately, she was over-complicating the situation. Sometimes you need a precision tool for a specific job. Sometimes you can just use a blunt hammer, which is exactly what Danzo had just done. It was the first swing in hammering down the Uchiha nail, something Danzo had felt needed to be done for decades. Mikoto was the only Uchiha to have given birth in the last eight years; her first being born almost exactly nine months after the peace treaty that ended the Third Shinobi War. Danzo was, in his own way, being rather blunt by choosing the Clan Head's Wife for the task. By reminding them that any Jonin, regardless of situation, could be recalled, the one-eyed man was telling them that he was Hokage, that he was the power in Konoha, not the Uchiha Clan.
She packed her things, sealing all of hers into one scroll and all of Sasuke's into another, pausing only to burp the baby. She left a quick note for her husband (who was already on his way to protest against the orders), she made her way through the streets, clutching Sasuke to her chest the entire way. Itachi would lose his mother as surely if she were dead. It pained her to think of what would happen to the boy without her influence to temper Fugaku's stern and occasionally volatile nature.
"THIS IS AN OUTRAGE!" Fugaku screamed at the Hokage. Danzo looked up with his one eye. It wasn't a glare. It was more of an appraisal. Danzo inspected Fugaku and found him wanting, like someone looking at a carton of milk passed its sell-by date. He never stopped looking at the ranting Uchiha when he spoke to his hidden bodyguards.
"If he activates the Sharingan, kill him," Danzo said, staring quite specifically at the man's nose. Fugaku looked at the newly appointed Hokage with horror, the rant DOA mid-sentence at the old man's words. "Are you done?"
Danzo pushed himself upright with his cane. "Perhaps I was too subtle for the Uchiha," he said, looking at the Monument once more. "Or perhaps I was not subtle enough." He turned around to face his verbal assailant. "Funny how the Uchiha clan suffered so few casualties yesterday."
Fugaku stopped, pondering what the statement could mean. Danzo continued. "Interesting considering who was responsible for the only other time the Fox attacked Konoha." Danzo could almost hear the gears grinding in the prideful man's head. "I wonder how long it will take the community at large to note similar observations." He paused a moment. "After all, one would think that Fugaku Uchiha was Hokage instead of me with the way he came in here and ranted. One might reach the conclusion that he feels the Ninja Rules don't apply to the Uchiha Clan." He turned and stared challengingly at the man. "Do you, Uchiha? Do you think you don't have to answer to the Hokage? Do the Uchiha think they're a separate village that only shares a few walls with Konoha?"
The man's previously flushed face turned pale. "No, Hokage," Fugaku said quickly.
Fugaku, swallowing his pride as if it were a sea urchin, spines, shell and all, answered quickly. "No, the Uchiha Clan does not believe we are a separate village in Konoha."
"Good," Danzo said. "Because it isn't." He nodded towards the door. "Your clan had best remember that, because I won't forget it."
Fugaku bowed with precisely the correct amount for a Hokage, turned and left the room without another word.
It was disturbingly easy for Jiraiya to find his target. Unlike other instances when Sarutobi or Minato had asked him to look for her, it had taken weeks, sometimes up to a month. This time she was exactly where he thought she'd be: at the Fire Country Sake Festival, a week long celebration of booze and losing money, though the latter was a bit more of an informal celebration. Tsunade was right where he thought she'd be.
He hadn't been able to properly mourn for his sensei, his student and Kushina. There hadn't been enough time. He knew that someday soon it would hit him and he'd cope like he always did: get extra stinking drunk and get laid. But for the immediate future, he had a mission to complete.
"Hey," he said, slipping into the seat across from his old teammate.
"What do youwant?" the blonde woman demanded, her booze threatening to slosh out of it saucer. Jiraiya handed her the scroll, though she probably wouldn't be able to read it until she sobered up.
"New orders from the Hokage," he said simply.
"What, does your brat of a student think he's going to change my mind?" Tsunade asked drunkenly.
"Minato is dead," Jiraiya said flatly. "Sarutobi-Sensei as well."
She grunted and slipped the half full saucer up to her lips. "Always knew that job was a death sentence. You can take it back. I'm done with Konoha."
"The Fifth Hokage, Danzo Shimura, has commanded me to inform you that if you do not agree to this mission, you, and your apprentice will be considered missing ninjas and treated accordingly," Jiraiya explained flatly. His old teammate's eyes grew hard. "I'm not joking Tsunade. I never thought the Fire Lord would choose him after I turned the hat down."
"How long?" she asked.
"How long what?"
"How long ago did this happen?" she elaborated. Jiraiya sighed and ran his hands over his face, feeling every line, scar and crease.
"Damn, I was sure rumor would have arrived ahead of me," Jiraiya mumbled as he poured himself a saucer from Tsunade's bottle. He swallowed the entire thing in one gulp, grimacing at the rather poor quality. "Three days ago, your grandmother's successor's seal failed during labor. Sensei and Minato sacrificed themselves to protect Konoha and transfer the package to a new courier." He refilled the saucer. "I was asked an hour afterward the transfer. Danzo accepted ten minutes after I refused."
"And how long are you going to give me to run?" Tsunade asked.
"None at all," Jiraiya replied coldly. "Take the damn mission, Hime. Don't make me kill you, and you know I'd have to." She looked at him with confusion, as if she couldn't believe that he would actually go through with it. "I don't like that they chose Danzo. You don't like that they chose Danzo. But they-chose-Danzo. He is Hokage, not me, not you, not Minato, not Sarutobi-Sensei, not your great-uncle, and not your grandfather. Danzo."
"Why me?" Tsunade asked.
"You know as well as I do that any Special Jonin and up can be reactivated at any time. He's not playing around," Jiraiya said, setting the saucer down. "He's still the same warhawk he's always been, only this time he's got the Hat and the Fire Lord's blessing. He's not going to be as soft with you as Sensei or Minato were. He's consolidating his power within and without the walls of Konoha. He won't show weakness. You, regardless if you think so, could be a threat to him, so he's not-so-subtly putting you in your place."
"I won't go back to Konoha," Tsunade said. "There's nothing there for me."
Jiraiya pushed the scroll across the table and stood up. "Read the orders. I'll be back tomorrow when you're sober," he said. She grunted at his back and he glanced at her over his shoulder. "Tsunade, don't try to run. Really."
Tsunade looked at the scroll. She hadn't opened it yet, just sat in her room, staring at the rolled up paper. It was the slightly yellowed paper that came from Konoha, something to do with the trees started by her grandfather, the First Hokage. Along one side was a red band that she knew ran the full length of the scroll when unfurled. Fire Red, the colors of the Hokage, a special hue which no one else in Fire Country was allowed to use.
She'd received them before, for missions and such. But then they had always been from Sarutobi, her childhood Sensei and Hokage. She barely remembered her Great-Uncle's reign. She'd not really been able to spend time with the man since he was so busy. Her own Sensei had become Hokage when she was a freshly minted Chunin in the midst of that particular war.
Things had been different then. It was not uncommon for a Jonin Instructor to be taken away from his or her Genin to join up with their old team for missions. She'd been training at the Hospital when her Great-Uncle died. She didn't even know until Sarutobi was wearing the hat.
It had been decades since then. So much had happened. More wars. Loved ones found. Loved ones dead. Travels with her apprentice. Drinking and losing money. Losing lots of money.
With a deep sigh, she pulled the scroll towards her and bit her thumb, careful not to look at the blood. Closing her eyes, she spread the blood across the edge and waited for the seal to open.
She took a deep breath, then another. She channeled chakra through her thumb and wiped the remaining blood away before opening her eyes.
Tsunade Senju read the scroll and grimaced.
Looks like she'd be headed back to Konoha after all.
That's what I've got thus far. Basic idea is Naruto raised by the Toads, Jiraiya, Mikoto Uchiha, Tsunade and Shiuzune along side Sasuke.
I don't know how Sasuke would turn out, but he'd be more of an In-Name-Only Sasuke since he would have an almost completely different upbringing.
I see Naruto being more competent, but still fun loving, friendly, and kind of spunky in personality. I have half an idea of Naruto being groomed into the 6th Hokage by Danzo himself when they return to Konoha. I think he'd try for a blend of himself and the 4th Hokage, since Naruto's got a lot of irrepressible qualities. They wouldn't tell the village at large of the Fox, but explain raising Naruto in secret because of his parents. His ancestry would be revealed when he returned
As for Konoha, it would be a bit more militarized then it is in the Manga. This isn't the same Danzo who almost makes Orochimaru look like a nice guy, but he's still a war hawk who's fanatically nationalistic. This Danzo uses manipulation, rumor, gossip, and politics like stilettos between ribs. I don't see this Danzo as being picky, but the type to never throw away a tool so long as it has a use. Someone like Sakura, for example, would be trained specifically for certain roles like non-combat medic or researcher.
I see the Academy focusing much equally between practical ninja skills and knowledge. For example, Sakura would never be Konoichi of the Year based on her brains alone and she'd be forced to work much harder for her place. They'd be forced much more and trained harder than what we saw in the manga. Graduation would be based more on an overall, unbiased evaluation of a student's skill set, rather than pass/fail based on three techniques. There might even be more focus on tracts of education based on skill set instead of a general base starting at Genin, instead of the traditional Jonin Instructor set up. The evaluations at graduation would select what tract the new genin would go into, so failure in one field might not mean complete refusal. Others who flunk out overall, might end up a clerks in various offices since every society requires some amount of red tape when it gets to a certain size.
Clans would start losing their autonomy and become closer to Konoha as a whole instead of being little fiefdoms of power and skill. Starting with the Uchiha clan, he'd try to spread their power out. They would no longer be in complete control of the Military Police, and would be spread through the ranks of all divisions. He'd fill the empty police spots with other clans, especially the Hyuga, since they'd be useful for investigations.
The Hinata Kidnapping incident might bring Konoha much closer to war. I could see Danzo taking hostages to enforce treaties and using them when those treaties were broken.
I don't see the Uchiha Massacre going quite the same way in this one, though. It might turn into a real rebellion. Or it might not happen at all. Not sure on this one.