Behold the advent of Chapter 3! Brought to you with excitement. Still some more set up to the story, but thats what the opening chapters are for right?
Enjoy and let me know what you think.


One week later

Naruto could barely believe the change his life had gone through in the past week. He still occasionally wondered if this were all some big illusion, but Akane and Shiro always reassured him. They had taken a very firm direction of his training and studying, helping him get organized and working in a way he knew he couldn't have done on his own. After his first day at the academy he had quickly gone home to put up the large village map on the wall next to the front door. As he looked it over wide eyed, Shiro and Akane pointed out where various things were, as well as his own home in relation to it all.

"Why do you two know the village so well?" he had asked them in curiosity. "You're in my head."

"Well I don't remember why but the fact that I do know all about this village means that I have to be a Konoha ninja right?" said Akane reasonably.

"Yes, that makes the most sense to me as well" said Shiro. "It would be odd to have a person from a different village in your head, don't you think?"

"I don't know I've never had voices in my head before." Naruto often forgot that they were missing parts of their memories, as they knew so many things to begin with. Not for the first time he wondered where they came from, but passed it off as a bad job. What did it matter? They were there, and that's what counted.

He had also found a large piece of wood next to a building that he brought home to set up as a target for throwing shurken at close range. It went on the wall adjacent the map, to the left of his dresser. Digging in his bag he took out one of the practice shuriken and threw it at the wood where it thocked softly, staying there for a second before falling to the floor.

"Don't worry, you'll get good with practice, but that's for later," said Akane. "Anyway, let's start exploring the training grounds." Naruto spent much of that week running all over the village, mainly getting familiar with the training areas and other parts of the village he had never been too. The best part about it all was that Shiro and Akane knew the village so they were able to help him out if he ever got turned around.

The training grounds were incredibly varied. While some were practically no more than bare stretches of land that just looked cut out of the wilderness, some were filled with targets and obstacles to train with. Only the low numbered training grounds really looked alike. Numbers one, two, four, and six often had academy students and some genin training on the. Those four had also had a good number of long ranged painted targets to use. Training ground three was always empty, though occasionally Naruto thought he saw someone there.

"What's this thing?" he had asked, the first time he came to the area. He was looking at a large shiny black stone shaped like a kunai knife sticking straight up out of the ground. It was on a platform made of the same black stone. Upon closer inspection there were names inscribed on it in tiny writing.

"This is the memorial stone," said Shino. "The people who have their names on here are konoha ninja who have been killed in action. Many of the names here are of those who have sacrifices their lives to save the village when it was in danger. People often come here to leave flowers and other small offerings in their memory." Naruto ran his hand over the cold smooth stone, his fingers feeling the faint engravings of the names.

"So that would mean my mom and dad are on here right?" he said, eyes scanning the names as if the ones he was speaking about would pop out. "I mean," he continued, letting his hand fall to his side, "why else wouldn't they be around."

"I'm sure your parents loved you very much, Naruto," said Akane quickly.

"Yeah," he said, turning away from the monument. "Let's keep going. There's more grounds to see. Where's the next one?"

"It's pretty close by," said Shiro. "Just follow our directions like before..."

And so his week took on a loose pattern. He woke up, ate a quick breakfast, then ran off to the academy where he sat in class and watched Iruka-sensei review what was going to be on the graduation exams. During his time sitting in class, Iruka-sensei told him to practice his concentration and to observe how the older students worked. They would be good examples for him when the new year started. Once class was released in mid afternoon, he would run off to Ichiraku's and have a late lunch, as he never brought anything to eat with him to class. After finishing lunch he would head back home where he would work on studying the map more and the training grounds. He spent much of the rest of the day either running around the village or doing some math exercises with Akane, who insisted that he do at least a little now before he had to do it all the time at the academy. He didn't want to fall behind after all. Once evening came around he returned to Ichiraku's for dinner where he talked to Teuchi about what he was doing, then he headed back home, though he usually had a little extra something to eat for the next morning. He played around with his shuriken or something else for a while until he got tired, and after washing up, went to sleep. Of course, this was when the real training began.

"I'm going to start teaching you hand seals today," said Shiro to a rapt Naruto. Akane sat over to one side on a bed. They were still in the large orphanage room, though Naruto had tried to change it. Shiro explained that he probably had the easiest time creating this space because he lived in it for many years. Also, it appeared that though Naruto was consciously active during his sleep it wasn't affecting him in any way and he still woke up rested the next day. This made the mindscape training perfect. He was also happy to be able to visit them in person, so to speak.

"For jutsu?" he asked excited.

"Yes, you use hand seals to perform various jutsu, however," he said putting a lot of emphasis on the last word, "just knowing the seals won't do anything. There are a number of things that go into using a jutsu, just like there are a number of things that go into using a jutsu effectively. I'm not teaching you any jutsu yet," he finished, crossing his arms with a small smile.

"Aww come on," said Naruto, also crossing his arms. Akane just did her best to suppress her mirth. They really were so similar.

"Naruto," she said, drawing his attention. "What Shiro and I are trying to do is build a very solid foundation in you. Though we may not teach you many techniques at first, we'll be teaching you the tools you need to become the greatest ninja. That I promise."

"There are some ninja that think that just because they know a lot of jutsu they are better than everyone else," said Shiro, shaking his head. "A ninja who can do just one jutsu flawlessly is always better than a ninja who can do a hundred jutsu sloppily. Do you understand?"

"One bowl of Teuchi-san's ramen is better than a thousand bowls of anyone else's!" said Naruto firmly. Shiro just blinked.

"That's right Naruto," said Akane. "Make sure you do jutsu like Teuchi-san makes ramen!" She winked at her husband who just sighed.

"Anyway, I'm going to show you the hand seals and you're going to copy me," he said. "Then I'll make sure you're doing it properly and we'll just go from there."

"Okay," said Naruto, standing up. "I'm ready."

"Great. First is Tori..." Akane watched as Shiro made the bird seal and had Naruto copy him. "Close, put those two fingers together, yeah that's it. Tuck in your thumbs, perfect. This is Tori. Now lets jump to Inu." Shiro made the dog seal.

"Oh this one's easier," said Naruto, copying the simple seal immediately. Shiro looked it over and adjusted the position of his hands slightly before nodding.

"It is right? Now, switch back to Tori," said Shiro, demonstrating the switch in slow motion. "Watch. Tori... Inu... Tori... Inu. You try." Naruto frowned as he went from the simple dog seal to the more intricate bird seal. Shiro corrected his mistakes and just had him repeat the exercise multiple times until he could go from one to the other without messing up either seal. After a little while Naruto's frown turned into a smile; he sped up slightly, enjoying himself and pretending he was doing an awesome jutsu. Eventually Shiro waved to get his attention. "You ready for another one?"

"Yeah!"

"Alright, this one is Uma." They continued to make seals together, swapping between them at Shiro's verbal command and occasionally adding a new one. "Inu, Ushi, Mi, Ne, Uma, Tori, Tora, Ushi, Ne, Inu, Saru!" he shot suddenly, hoping to catch Naruto off guard, but he caught it, completely focused on his voice. Akane was watching them impressed. As far as she knew this was his first time and they weren't going particularly slow. "Good job Naruto," said Shiro happily. "You picked that up pretty fast. There are still four more that we haven't done yet but I'll save those for next time. I want you to practice them all the time when you're not doing anything with your hands. Like when you're sitting in class these days. You need to become able to do all the seals almost unconsciously. The more you do them the easier it is to switch from one to another, and eventually you'll be able to do this," he went from seal to seal slowly at first but quickly sped up to the point where his hands were a small blur.

"How'd you do that..." said Naruto in amazement.

"Practice. Practice, practice, practice," said Shiro. "But don't forget, more important than speed is accuracy. If you don't form the hand seals right then the jutsu won't work as well."

"Right," said Naruto, nodding.

"My turn," said Akane, jumping up and tapping Naruto on the shoulder. "I'm going to teach you all about chakra."

"I'll sit this one out," said Shiro, but Akane grabbed his arm.

"Hang on I'll need a body to poke at for him," she said. "It'll be easier than poking myself." Shiro shrugged.

"Whatever you need."

"Alright Naruto, chakra one-oh-one," said Akane. Naruto just watched intently. He was eager to learn more about chakra after the rush he had felt earlier. "Now chakra is the combination of the physical and spiritual energy stored in our bodies. Some people are able to mould, or shape that energy to do things not normally possible for a regular human body. People who are able to mould these energies are called ninja. With me so far?" Naruto just shook his head.

"What's spiritual energy?" he asked.

"Well, like it sounds, physical energy is pretty much your stamina," said Akane. "On the other hand spiritual energy comes from training your body and mind, focusing yourself, and other things like that. So you take physical energy," she held up one hand, "and spiritual energy," she held up the other hand, "and when you put them together," she slapped her hands together, "you get chakra."

"Alright," said Naruto, understanding.

"Good. Like I said, chakra is formed by combining those two energies, which happens in your chakra coils." Akane pointed to Shiro's middle. "This is basically where the chakra coils are. Once you build up chakra it can be released through things called tenketsu points. There are 361 tenketsu points over your entire body. The chakra circulatory system lets chakra flow to those points from your chakra coils, like blood goes around your body from your heart. So you can put chakra in your hands, in your feet, in your head, in your shoulders..." All the while she was tracing her finger all around Shiro's body, poking him occasionally.

"Doesn't that tickle?" asked Naruto to Shiro. A hand chopped lightly into the top of his head. "Ow, what was that for?"

"Pay attention," said Akane, putting her hands on her hips.

"Chakra goes around the body like blood," said Naruto to prove he was paying attention.

"That's right," continued Akane. "Unlike blood though, we are able to control how much chakra we push through our body as well as accurately control where it goes. That's how we get the leaf to stick to our foreheads, by focusing a small amount of chakra right here." She added one final poke to Shiro's head. "Thanks, Shiro, you can sit now."

"No problem" he said, relaxing at last.

"So, you must know how to gather chakra, am I right?" Akane asked, almost out of a teacher habit than because she was looking for an answer.

"Pretty much," said Naruto. "I only used it for the first time a week ago thought." Shiro sat up from the bed with a frown.

"Is that true?" he asked curiously. "Do you remember exactly when it was?"

"Um, the day before I met you both," he said with a nod. "The doctor said I pushed it too hard but I ended up in the hospital for one night because of it. I never felt chakra before that." Shiro exchanged glances with Akane. "Is that a bad thing?"

"No, not at all," said Akane quickly. "We're just surprised. Anyway that doesn't matter. This should be good for today. Why don't you take the remainder of the night to just sleep. Don't forget, Mikoto is coming tomorrow right?"

"Yeah she said she has a surprise for me," said Naruto excited. "Let's do more stuff tomorrow." He vanished, the mindscape returning to the neutral expanse of black.

"So do you think it's related?" asked Kushina, stretching slightly. It was somewhat annoying that this place always went back to black whenever her son left. Maybe there was something they could figure out at another time.

"Definitely," said Minato. "I'm concerned about how he said he's never felt chakra before that event."

"Sound's like a seal to me," said Kushina, sitting on the ground. "There are dozens of them them I know that I never taught you. Family secrets," she said with a wink. "But on a more serious note, there's really no way we can know what it was for sure, and I suppose we won't ever find out like this," she said, motioning around at the expanse. "What we do know is that Naruto broke it, whatever it was."

"He seems perfectly fine now," said Minato with a nod, joining his wife on the ground. She leaned against him with a sigh. "I've been feeling conflicted."

"About what?" she asked.

"The fox."

"You want to tell him, right?" she said. Minato sighed deeply.

"It isn't something I want to suddenly dump on him at this age," he explained. "Yet how can we allow our boy to continue to suffer the overwhelming aggression and hatred that the village shows him, while he understands none of it? Wouldn't it be better for him to at least know why people are acting the way they do? Of course, I would have wanted him to know from the beginning, so that he could grow with understanding." Minato paused for a moment. "The question remains, can he handle knowing something like that at this age?"

"The longer we wait, the harder it will become," said Kushina. "That is usually how bad news is. I for one would rather we told him ourselves, as opposed to him finding out in some uncaring way by accident. Don't you think that would be far worse?"

"Yes, I won't deny we're in a much stronger position to help him through that particular bit of knowledge." Kushina looked at him with here eyebrows slightly raised.

"What's gotten into you?" she said with a frown. Minato just stayed silent. Kushina put a finger under his chin and forced him to look at her. "You're afraid he'll come to hate you." It was not a question.

"Is that a bad thing?" he asked grumpily. Kushina just smiled broadly and hugged him tightly.

"Of course not, baka," she replied. Pulling away she continued, "Look, why don't we just give him a little time to grow and then show him. There's really no rush, and he'll find out eventually anyway. It'll be alright."

"Okay, we'll just play it by ear."

"Now while we wait for him to wake up, lets plan out some lessons," said Kushina. "I know we didn't want to get straight into techniques or anything but if you ask me it looks really critical for him to be able to henge as early as possible." She crossed her arms with a grimace. "At least so he can go shopping..."


It was Sunday, so Naruto didn't have school that day. He woke up late and did his small amount of morning exercises, mainly consisting of pushups and situps. Shiro told him that until he started taijutsu training it would be sufficient. Checking the clock Mikoto had gotten him last time, he saw that it was close to midday. She had said that she would show up in the early afternoon so he jumped in the shower to freshen up. By the time he was out and brushing his teeth, there was a knock on his door.

"Coming," he called, quickly running over to his dresser and grabbing a some clothes which he threw on. Sure enough, Mikoto stood in the doorway holding a small shopping bag. "Hi Mikoto," he said cheerfully, letting her in and shutting the door.

"Hello, Naruto," she said, eying him with humor. "You're hair is dripping, did you just take a shower?"

"Yeah," he said, going back to the bathroom and grabbing his towel. Rubbing his hair vigorously he followed Mikoto into the back room where she was putting a few things into the fridge. Glancing over at him she grinned.

"You're just too much," she said, putting down the carrot she was holding and grabbing the ends of the towel to set about drying his hair.

"Ah, you don't need to-"

"It's fine, just sit still." She rubbed the towel against his head, starting on the sides and moving slowly to the top.

"You're blushing like a tomato," teased Akane.

'Sh-shut up,' said Naruto silently, his blush deepening. He was glad the towel hid his face. 'I'm not used to this okay?' He expected her to continue but for whatever reason she was silent. 'Akane?'

"Yeah?"

'Do you remember your mom?'

"I- kind of..."

'Is this what it's like?'

"...yeah."

"Hey you've got some water on your face too," said Mikoto softly, running the towel across his cheeks. "There, all dry." Naruto put his hands to his head and indeed his hair was drier than he had ever been able to get it before after a shower or a bath. "Now, take a seat and I'll make you some lunch." At the word lunch he remembered how hungry he was.

"Mikoto is a really great person," said Shiro as she pulled out a frying pan and put it on the stove, lighting it. Out of the bag came a number of vegetables and some meat, along with a small packet of rice.

"Yes," said Akane. Her voice sounded subdued for some reason.

'You okay, Akane?' asked Naruto.

"I'm fine, I wonder what Mikoto is making for you?" she said quickly.

'I don't know but it smells really good,' said Naruto. She rapidly cut up ingredients and dumped them into the pan where they sizzled softly. He sat there in silence while she cooked, humming to herself and occasionally looking back at him, smiling each time.

"Ne, Mikoto," said Naruto after a while. "Do you have any kids?"

"As a matter of fact I do, Naruto," she said, tossing the rice in the pan as well and stirring it. "I have two sons. One of them is a little older than you are, he's actually going to be turning eight in a month from now."

"Really?"

"Yes he's so devoted to training to become a ninja like his brother that I rarely get to see much of him these days," said Mikoto, smiling fondly. "You know he'll be starting at the academy in September this year. I assume you'll be in the same class."

"Oh neat, what's his name?" asked Naruto.

"Sasuke. I hope you two will get along," she said, turning the stove off and dumping the food into a bowl she pulled out of a cupboard. "Be careful it's hot."

"Thanks Mikoto," said Naruto, looking into the bowl. It was a mess of a lot of different foods.

"It might not look that pretty, but it's yummy. I promise," she egged. He took a bite.

"Wah, it's really good," he said, now eating faster. She just smiled at him cheerfully.

"Would you like me to cook lunch for you on Sundays?" she asked on a whim. She liked being around him, just as much as her own sons. Maybe somewhere in her heart she had already somewhat adopted him. It was too bad that she couldn't spend much more time with him, her work at the Uchiha compound had gotten much heavier recently. Still she was happy to sneak away for a bit to see the boy. He seemed much more cheerful these days as well.

"Yeah!" said Naruto nodding vigorously. He finished the bowl and handed it back to her. "Thanks for the meal."

"You're very welcome," she said, now scrubbing the pan and bowl in the sink. "So what are your plans for the rest of today.

"Chakra control, shuriken, and taijutsu," said Shiro, which Naruto repeated at once.

"I see, sounds like a busy day," said Mikoto. She finished cleaning the pan and bowl, putting them away. "Just make sure you don't work too hard at first. You want to start easy and work yourself more as you build yourself up."

"I'll be careful Mikoto," said Naruto. He ran into the main room to get ready to head to the training ground. 'Which training ground are we going to today?'

"We've visited up to training ground twenty so far, so we'll take a break from seeing new ones and just go to uhh," Akane's voice died out as she considered their options. "I don't know, what do you think Shiro?"

"Let's use area eleven," he said. "It will suit our needs fine."

"Alright, training ground eleven it is," said Naruto to himself, finding it on the map at once. So far he remembered the locations of the training grounds pretty well. As he strapped his shuriken pouch to his leg, Mikoto entered the room.

"I'll probably see you in a few days, Naruto," she said, making her way to the door. "Take care of yourself."

"Bye Mikoto," he said with a small wave as she closed the door. "Let's take the fast way today."

"The fast way?" said Shiro and Akane at the same time. Naruto just opened the window and launched himself out. "Oh, the fast way... Are you crazy!?"

"Don't worry, I've done this a million times," he said to the panicking voices in his head. That's when he remembered that the clothes line he grabbed onto last time wasn't there this time. "Actually I'm in trouble," he added as started falling, his fingers just having let go of the window sill.

"Naruto! Push chakra into your hands and try to grab onto the wall!" shouted Akane.

"How will that help!" shouted Naruto.

"Just do it!" Not knowing what was going to happen Naruto gathered some chakra and did his best to move it to his hands, putting them against the wall. He slid for a few seconds before his left hand caught suddenly, dragging downwards at a mush slower speed and causing the wall to crack slightly. Not wasting any time he moved his feet to a nearby window sill and pushed off, quickly jumping to the side onto the nearby lower roof with the chimney which was only five feet down.

"Wow, what was that?" he said, looking from his hand to the cracked wall. "Oh man the Lady's going to really kill me this time."

"Let's just get to the training ground," said Shiro, who was trying his best to keep Akane from finding a way to box Naruto's ears in.

"Right, sorry you two," he said apologetically, moving along the roof to a place where he would have an easier time jumping down.

"Just promise me you won't do that again until you know you can survive the fall," said Akane tiredly. "I was worried you'd get hurt or worse. As punishment you have to get to training ground eleven without our help in less than ten minutes. If you don't get there before then you'll have extra math when we get back tonight." Naruto just blanched and picked up speed. Akane was not a girl you wanted to make mad.

Five minutes later Naruto skidded to a halt at the edge of the training ground. This one was slightly more wooded than the single digit areas, and featured two taijutsu training dummies to one side. They were logs with small arms sticking out in random directions, made for practicing basic blocking forms.

"Nice one, you move pretty fast you know that?" asked Akane, who had let the earlier incident go.

"Haa- haa- thanks," said Naruto. He had sprinted the whole way here. Taking a few more deep breaths he stood up straight, the burning in his leg muscles going away. "Okay, I'm fine now. What should we start with?"

"Well, after the stunt you pulled earlier it's clear that you need to start doing chakra control exercises right away," said Akane. "We'll start with the leaf exercise then go from there."

"Alright," said Naruto. He picked up a leaf.

"Now first try to gather a small amount of chakra," said Akane. "Just a drop is really all you need. Once you can feel that little bit, push it to your forehead while holding the leaf there." Almost immediately, the leaf held at his forehead was propelled away, falling lazily to the ground.

"Wow, what happened?" asked Naruto, never having seen that before.

"That happened because you used too much chakra," she explained. "Use even less than what you had before."

"Um, alright," he said, shaking his head. Frowning in concentration, he pushed an even smaller amount of chakra to his forehead where he was holding another leaf. The moment he let go of the leaf it was pushed away again, though certainly not as roughly as the first.

"Use even less," said Akane patiently.

"How can I use less chakra than that?" complained Naruto, frustrated that it wasn't working. "That was the tiniest ever!"

"At least he's able to direct his chakra," said Shiro reasonably. "Naruto why don't you try making a bunch of leaves stick to your forehead instead of just one. Still try to use the smallest amount of chakra you can manage."

"I can try," he said, grabbing a handful and putting it to his forehead, channeling the trickle of chakra. A couple dropped off when he let go, but the majority of the leaves stuck there. "Hey its working!" he said excitedly. Unfortunately this caused his chakra to spike slightly, blowing the leaves everywhere.

"Good job, Naruto," said Shiro. "At least we know its just a matter of amount and not anything else," he said to Akane.

"Yeah but it's important that he be able to control his chakra absolutely," she said. "How's he supposed to adjust for an ability?"

"Come on I just started five minutes ago," said Naruto disgruntled. "Is there something I can try where I use a lot of chakra?"

"If you really want to you can build some chakra then just slam it into the ground with your hand," said Shiro. Back in the mindscape, Kushina punched his arm. "What?" he asked so that only she would hear him.

"Don't tell him something like that," she said annoyed. "That's the exact opposite of what we're trying to do here."

"I understand that and clearly his chakra control sucks, which is understandable, but it would also be good to have him handle a good chunk of chakra and then tell him why he shouldn't really do it. Plus he should get a good feel for-" he stopped talking abruptly. They could both sense Naruto gathering a fairly large amount of chakra.

"Naruto?" said Akane. "You said you haven't used chakra really at all, are you alright?"

"Yeah," said Naruto, looking down at his hands. He could feel the surge of chakra moving throughout his whole body, building. It felt good. "Is it alright if I do more?" he asked. "The last time I did a lot of chakra the Hokage knocked me out. That's what the doctor said when I asked."

"Don't worry, Naruto, I'm sure he had his reasons," said Shiro. "I'll tell you if you should stop, but just don't go overboard."

"Alright," said Naruto grinning, at which point his chakra spiked to many times what he was holding earlier.

"Naruto too much!" shouted Akane in alarm. "You'll hurt yourself!"

"Super Naruto Ultra Secret Jutsu! Chakra Slam!" he shouted, kneeling and slapping his right hand to the ground and releasing the built up chakra. Immediately his hand was blasted back into the air, propelling him a number of feet backwards onto his back. "Ouch," he said, rubbing his hand as he stared up into the sky.

"Ugh, men," said Akana, clearly annoyed. "I told you that you'd hurt yourself."

"What happened?

"The name you gave that move was so bad it exploded," joked Shiro, at which Naruto laughed. He sat up met with a surprising scene. The ground in front of him was cracked and uneven like a buckled floor. The damage was in the shape of a circle and there was a small crater at the very center of it. "What actually happened was pretty much a super version of what happened when you used too much chakra to make the leaves stick. They were pushed away, and in this particular case, the ground was pushed away."

"Like what happened to the wall of the building when you were falling only if you did this there it would cause the wall to collapse,"said Akane. "Then the landlady would seriously actually kill you."

"All from too much chakra?" Naruto said, feeling bemused. "But it felt so good to use that chakra."

"Clearly you have the ability to produce slightly above average chakra, but don't push it like that again until you've started leaning techniques that require that much chakra," said Shiro.

"When will I get to learn those?" he asked.

"Not until after you graduate the academy," said Akane.

"Ugh that's so far from now," said Naruto in frustration.

"Don't worry, there are plenty of techniques to learn before then," she reassured him. "And the sooner you get a good grip on your chakra control, the sooner we can teach them to you. So that means-"

"More leaf training I know," said Naruto. Walking over to a nearby tree and picking up a number of leaves. He sat with his back to the tree and placed them to his forehead, closing his eyes. This was going to be a long day.


Minato and Kushina were watching Naruto with amusement. He was determined to get down to one leaf on his forehead, but couldn't hold on to any less then six or seven without blowing them all away. Eventually he just settled with six leaves bunched on his forehead and closed his eyes, hovering between awareness and napping. It hadn't taken too long to get the hang of releasing chakra constantly, though keeping it steady was another matter entirely. After about four or five seconds the leaves would fall off, slightly propelled forwards or just straight down his face, at which he would automatically grab another handful and stick them to his head again, focusing his chakra.

"He's cute," said Kushina, laying on her back. She wished that she had a cushion or something. "It's getting pretty late though. Didn't we want to gave him a little shuriken practice and some very basic taijutsu exercises?"

"Yeah, but it's alright," said Minato, looking down at her. "Even after spiking his chakra like that I didn't feel a difference in my presence here. We're still fully supported here, regardless of what happens."

"I was wondering about that," said Kushina, sitting up. "What happens if he uses up all of his chakra one time? It happens to everyone at some point or another. You know that."

"Well logically, if Naruto who we believe is our source of sustaining chakra, runs out of chakra it would make sense that our own chakra would begin to be used up, though to be honest I'm not really sure it even that would happen."

"What do you mean?" she asked. Minato frowned scratching his chin.

"Well I remember what the state of the chakra each of us had that was sealed into Naruto, and it frankly isn't anything like what we're feeling now. It's possible we have a significantly higher amount of sustaining chakra that is making us up here than when we first arrived, seven years ago," he finished, clarifying. Kusina just shrugged. As likely as it sounded, it was still all just speculation, and she didn't really want to dwell on what would happen if they were wrong.

"Speaking of chakra, why did you tell Naruto he only had an above average amount of chakra? He's got way more than that," she said, her voice sounding prideful. "Certainly more than I did at his age."

"I don't want him to get a big head, that's all," said Minato with a shrug. "I mean honestly have you ever heard of someone not being able to channel less than a specific amount of chakra? As far as I knew, a trickle is a trickle, but Naruto's trickle is about as thick as his arm."

"Do you think it's from the fox?" she asked. They had decided to refer to the Kyuubi as the "fox" in the event that Naruto ever overheard them. Again Minato shrugged.

"I suppose it's possible that the fox has had some effect on Naruto's chakra system, but the seal was made to allow their chakras to mix over time. Of course as he gets older he'd be able to draw more, but in his younger years not much at all. Regardless, all the chakra he uses is his own. That I know."

"Yeah I'd be able to tell as well," said Kushina with a small grin. "So how should we help him handle his slightly above average chakra?" she poked. Minato just grinned in a way that she knew meant trouble.

"Isn't it obvious?" he said. "We teach him cooler stuff."

"No Rasengan," Kuchina said at once holding her arms out in a big X. "Completely suspicious."

"You're such a kill joy," he said. She shot him a look at which he put up his hands. "I wasn't actually thinking of teaching him that move. It's dangerous you know? Anyway, you can't teach him how to use those chakra chains of yours. Same reason."

"You know just as well as I do that it's a personal skill," said Kushina flatly. "I can't teach it to anyone. All Uzumaki's have something unique you know."

"Yeah, you're unique alright," muttered Minato, grinning. Kushina just stuck her tongue out at him.

Leaves blew off of Naruto's head for the thousandth time that day. However instead of picking them back up he just stood.

"Hey, are you two hungry?" he asked.

"Of course not," said Shiro with humor. "We just exist in here, remember?"

"Well I'd be hungry," said Naruto, rubbing his belly. "Let's go get dinner okay?" He grabbed a handful of leaves and stuffed them in his pocket for later before heading back to the heart of the village where a hot bowl of amazing ramen was certainly waiting for him. All the extremely low power constant channeling was making him very hungry. As they got closer to the market, Naruto remembered something. "Ah we were supposed to work on shuriken and taijutsu right? Sorry," he said apologetically.

"Don't worry about it," said Shiro. "Like I've said before, it's still really early to be doing a lot. It's better to pace yourself."

"Yeah," said Akane. "Plus, it would probably be better for us to give the initial instruction in taijutsu in the mindscape. So that you can get a better picture of what to do faster."

"Controlling the chakra earlier was really hard," said Naruto with a frown. He turned a left, instantly spotting the ramen shop ahead.

"Given time and plenty of practice you'll get it," said Akane. "I know you'll be able to do it. Work hard, Naruto."

"Hai, but first food!"


"Happy birthday Sasuke!"

"Thanks, Kaasan!" The now eight year old Sasuke sat at the table looking excited at the small cake before him, dotted with lit candles.

"Don't just stare at it," chided Itachi, poking his younger brother in the forehead. "Blow them out, I'm hungry." Sasuke just laughed a bit, rubbing his head lightly. He inhaled deeply then blew all the candels out in one shot. Mikoto took the candles before slicing them all pieces. Fugaku took his with a nod of thanks.

"You've been training a lot Sasuke, I can see your improvement," he said approvingly.

"I'm doing my best to be great like Niisan," he said, looking at his brother in admiration. There was no question of Itachi's absolute skill among ninja, even within the Uchiha clan. Fugaku glanced at him sidelong with a small frown.

"Indeed," he said, taking a bite of cake. Mikoto kept her face level, though the air had shifted perceptibly.

"Anyway, Sasuke," she said, changing the topic adeptly, "you've got a couple gifts, why don't you open them?" She handed him two wrapped presents. "The larger one is from your father and myself, the other one is from Itachi." Cake forgotten he tore the one from his parents open with anticipation. The box contained a set of newly made, high quality kunai knives and a matching black leg holster. There was also a double stack of shuriken as well.

"Wow," said Sasuke, picking up one of the kunai and looking at the edge.

""You'll want to be careful with those, son," said Fugaku. "They are just as good as any the ANBU would use. Keep them put away until you're sure you can use them perfectly. Of course," he added with a smile, "your shuriken work is exceptional. Make full use of those as you enter the academy. It's almost August now after all."

"Yeah, thanks Tousan, Kaasan," said Sasuke. He put the kunai back and closed the lid of the box. Itachi took it from him and replaced it with his gift.

"Be a little more gentle with mine, Sasuke," he said with a small smile. Sasuke looked at him curiously at which his brother explained, "I don't want it to blow up before you get to see what it is." Both Mikoto and Fugaku looked at him sharply but he held up his hands in innocence. Not fully trusting his brother, Sasuke unwrapped the gift just as quickly as the last, though still with a tad more care. Under the wrapping he found a plain box that contained a dozen small marble sized, black balls.

"What are they?" he asked, picking one up and looking at it closely.

"Smoke bombs, what else?" said Itachi. Sasuke's eyes lit up instantly as Mikoto put a hand to her face. Trust her elder son to get him something like that. Of course, it certainly could have been worse. "Do you want to try them out?"

"Yeah!" Sasuke shouted, bolting from the room at once. Itachi stood with a smile.

"I'll be out with Sasuke for a bit."

"Alright, but don't cause too much trouble," said Mikoto. He just grinned before giving them a small wave and following his brother. "That was nice of him," she said to her husband after a few minutes of cleaning up from the small party. "I don't think Sasuke's ever used a smoke bomb before."

"As long as it's just smoke bombs..." said Fugaku, standing up with a small groan. He made to leave the room but was stopped when Mikoto held up her hand.

"A word."

"What is it?" Mikoto looked out of the doorway into the hall before sliding it shut. She turned back to her husband, black eyes serious.

"What has been going on within the clan?" she said, voice low.

"I don't know what you're talking about," replied Fugaku, reaching down to pick up his sake cup.

"Please do not play that game with me Fugaku," said Mikoto, crossing her arms, "I know you well enough to know when you are concealing things from me. We have been married for many years after all."

"Very true," he said. The man quickly downed his sake before looking back at his wife. "I had been meaning to tell you soon in any case, however I thought it would be better... never mind," he said, stopping himself. Fugaku sighed slightly. "The clan has become frustrated with the status quo. We intend to change it."

"What do you-"

"Do not pretend you are not frustrated as well," he said sharply. "When you married me, you became a member of a powerful and well respected clan. Once the Kyuubi attacked the village however that changed. We have been shunned since, confined to the edge of the village where we are kept under close watch. You know this to be true."

"I do," said Mikoto. It was true. She was not pleased with how things had changed, but she was a mother of two children then, and she was resolved to be strong for them. "Though I still don't understand what you mean."

"The clan is also heavily suspicious of Itachi," Fugaku continued. "You know the situation with Shisui."

"Yes, it's utter nonsense," spat Mikoto. "To even suggest that he would-"

"I... have lost my faith as well." Mikoto's mouth hung open in shock.

"How could you say that, he is your son!" she said fiercely, forcing her voice to remain level. Her husband poured himself another cup of sake.

"Before I believed him as you do, however recently he has been acting in a way that I suspect do not reflect the clan's best interests," he said, sipping the alcohol. "I am responsible for the safety of an entire clan, Mikoto, I must remain vigilant."

"But what you're talking about, everything with the clan, changing the status quo?" she repeated. "Such a thing could very well endanger our children."

"You wanted to know what was going on, and I told you. You have a right to know as a member of this clan," he smiled slightly. "Injustice is hardly a fitting place to call home, especially for children."

"Fugaku..."

"It'll be alright, Mikoto," he said, putting a hand on her shoulder before downing the rest of his sake and heading out of the room. She stood there, mind buzzing, unable to think of what to do next. Several minutes passed like this before the door opened again.

"Mother?" said Itachi in curiosity. She turned to look at her elder son. There was no way that he was a murderer. There was just no way.

"Where's Sasuke?" she asked, shaking her head slightly. "Still playing with your gift?"

"No, I convinced him to save most of them for another time," said Itachi, leaning against the door frame. "He's in his room right now."

"Good," said Mikoto, making her way to the hall. She paused beside her son for a moment. "Keep your brother safe. No matter what." She walked down the hall and out of sight. Itachi looked down at the remainder of the uneaten cake, frowning.

"Of course."


Naruto was getting nervous. Finally, after two months of waiting once the academy session ended at the end of June, it was almost time for the new one. Over the last two months Shiro and Akane had done their best to prepare him for the new part of his life. Thinking it over, he hadn't really learned much. He could do all twelve hand seals perfectly, had average aim with a shuriken, wouldn't impale himself on a kunai, and had some basic taijutsu down. Most of the taijutsu training happened in his mindscape when he was asleep because he could actually spar with Shiro and Akane, and they could correct things like the height of his punches and his stance much more easily. He focused on his forms and physical building at the training grounds during the day against trees and practice dummies.

Currently he was standing on the far side of his room, throwing his practice shuriken into the wood target against the wall. As it was so close almost every one found its way to the small circles he drew on it as targets. At first doing such a thing had seemed almost a waste of time, but as Shiro often reminded him, the more you practiced the mundane, the more mindless things became. And being able to do something well without thinking was what separated the good ninja from the truly great. It made sense so he didn't argue.

"Naruto!" came a call from the back room. "Lunch is ready, come get it!"

"Coming Mikoto!" he called back, taking the remaining two shuriken and throwing them at the same time. One hit a target dead center, the other missed his dresser by a few inches, thocking into the wall.

"Nice shot," said Akane. Naruto shook his head, knowing she wasn't talking about the one that actually hit the target.

"I'll get it later," he said, making his way into the back room. Mikoto was putting a second plate on the table for herself.

"Here you go Naruto," she said, sitting across from him. "Beef with rice and veggies."

"Smells good," he said before shoveling large amounts into his mouth. It was delicious. For once he was silent through the meal, taking seconds without a word and staring out of the window slightly. Once they finished, Mikoto couldn't contain her curiosity any longer.

"What are you thinking about Naruto?"

"What?" he said, having been spaced out somewhat. "Oh, I was just thinking about the academy."

"Are you getting nervous?" she asked.

"A little," he said, handing her the plates. "Do a lot of kids start every year?"

"There are usually a lot of them," she said with a nod. "I think about two classes worth every year." Naruto thought back to how many students were in the class he was a part of for those few weeks. Doubling that... it was a lot of new faces. "But you really shouldn't worry. I'm sure you'll make a lot of friends." Naruto looked at his feet.

"Yeah but I..."

"If you're going to say what I think you're going to say then you might as well just stop there," said Shiro.

"Yeah, what about us?" said Akane testily. Naruto didn't say anything but smiled all the same. It looked like he already did have some friends after all, even though they only existed in his head. Mikoto was still talking.

"Sometimes things get hard, but the academy is fun. It was when I went there," she added. Naruto looked up at this, surprised.

"You went to the academy? Wait, you're a ninja?" Mikoto just grinned and held up two fingers like a V.

"Jonin."

"Awesome," he said, still somewhat taken aback that the nice motherly woman who made him lunch on Sundays was a powerful ninja. After a few minutes Naruto went back to the main room where he retrieved all the shuriken from the wall and began throwing them at the targets again. School was giving him mixed feelings but there was no denying that one of those feelings was excitement.

"Naruto," said Mikoto, coming into the main room as well, "I know I came a day earlier than I normally do, but tomorrow is still Sunday so I'll be back around the same time, alright?"

"Alright," he said, putting the shuriken down.

"Maybe tomorrow I'll have you help me cook," she said with a smile, rubbing his head affectionately. "Take care Naruto."

"Bye," he said, watching her walk down the hall and out of sight.

"Have you ever tried to cook anything before?" asked Akane, curious. Naruto nodded.

"Cup ramen," he said.

"That doesn't count," she said in exasperation. "Let's head out and do more chakra control training."

And so the day passed the same as those before it. However when the afternoon of the following day rolled around, Mikoto was nowhere to be seen.

"Do you think something happened?" asked Naruto, poking his head out of the doorway for the fifth time in thirty minutes.

"You shouldn't worry so much, Naruto, she's probably just running a little late," said Shiro, shrugging. "Don't forget she does have her own family to take care of." Naruto sighed and closed the door, sinking onto his bead with a thump.

"Yeah I know she had her own family," he said a little broodily. "Still I'm really hungry."

"If she doesn't come in the next thirty minutes you should just head over to Teuchi-san's," said Akane reasonably. "Then we can find out what happened the next time we see her."

"Alright," he said, grabbing his shuriken from the side table.

Thirty minutes passed uneventfully and Naruto admitted that it would be silly to wait longer to eat. It took no time at all to make his way down to Ichiraku Ramen.

"Hey, Naruto-kun," said Teuchi, noticing the boy and starting to prepare a bowl for him automatically. "How have you been?"

"I'm alright, Teuchi-san," Naruto replied, settling into his usual seat. Out of habit he glanced to the end seat on his left but it was empty. "Mikoto-ehh-san was supposed to visit me for lunch today but she didn't show up," he explained. Teuchi nodded, scratching his chin.

"Ah I was wondering why you stopped showing up on Sundays for lunch," he said. "You've never mentioned it before."

"Really?"

"Yeah, usually you talk about your training," said Teuchi. "How's that been going lately anyway? The new session at the academy should be starting pretty soon am I right? It's the end of August now..."

"It's been good," said Naruto, now talking in between huge bites of steaming ramen. "I was working really hard on a lot of stuff but now I'm just doing more chakra control. They always say I need to work on it all the time."

"They?"

"Ah, you know," said Naruto with a small laugh, trying to cover up his slip, "everyone who's seen me train."

"Well, make sure you work hard," Teuchi finished. About ready to leave Teuchi turned to him. "Actually Naruto, I sent Ayame into the market to grab a few things but I thought she'd be back by now. Do you think you could just take a quick look for her and if you see her, send her back? I need her to help me prepare for the dinner rush later."

"Sure thing, Teuchi-san," said Naruto, running off in the direction of the outdoor stalls that sold produce. It didn't take long to find Ayame. Naruto quickly spotted her starting at a pretty kimono that was on display in a shop window, surrounded by other smaller pieces of girl clothing. She had a small bag in her hands that she was swinging to and fro while humming. She jumped when he put a hand on her shoulder.

"Ahh! Naruto-kun you scared me," she said, stepping back from him. "You should have called me."

"I did," he said quickly. "You didn't hear me. Anyway, what are you doing?"

"I was looking at this kimono," she said, pointing to the piece of clothing. "Isn't it beautiful? I mean its for a lady but I wish I had one like it too." Naruto chuckled slightly and Ayame glared at him. "What!"

"I'm sorry, Ayame-chan," he said apologetically. "I was just thinking this is the first time I've seen your feet."

"My...?" she looked down at her sandal clad feet in confusion. "Oh, because there's always a counter between us."

"Yeah," said Naruto cheerfully. Ayame just looked at him blankly.

"You're weird Naruto-kun, why are you looking at people's feet?" Naruto could feel Akane laughing in his head.

"Anyway, Teuchi-san told me to come find you," he said quickly. "He needs help."

"Ah I forgot!" said Ayame in shock, looking down at the bag in her hands. "Oh I have to run, thanks Naruto-kun!" She darted off, weaving through a number of people before vanishing all together.

"Very smooth, Naruto," said Shiro. He was clearly grinning.

"Oh yeah, you'll be a lady killer at the academy for sure," said Akane.

Naruto just ignored them as he usually did when they were teasing him, making his way out of the main throng of the marketplace. He still felt off about Mikoto for some reason, but there was nothing he could do about it so he decided to to train at one of the training grounds until dinner, if anything just to take his mind off of things. Suffice it to say, it worked well, darkness falling before he even realized what was going on.

"I'm impressed, Naruto," said Akane, completely serious. "You were so focused it was like you were meditating almost. I know you can still only do the leaf exercise with a bunch of leaves but you've been keeping them held for much longer than before."

"It's all the work from the past two months," said Shiro. "You've accomplished a lot."

"But I still don't really know how to do anything," said Naruto glumly. He was heading back to Ichiraku, hoping that it would still be open. Akane just exchanged knowing looks with Shiro. It was alright if he thought that. Eventually he would understand . "Hey, look the lights are still on. Lucky!" He dashed under the awning to find Teuchi in the middle of putting things away. "Teuchi-san, are you still making ramen?"

"Naruto-kun!" said Teuchi in surprise. "It's late, were you training all day?" Naruto nodded. "Well you did find Ayame for me so I suppose I can throw something together with the leftovers, give me one minute. You caught me as I was closing up. We had a large rush today." As Naruto sat there, digging into the food Teuchi continued cleaning up. "So did you manage to find Mikoto-san?"

"No, I've just been training," said Naruto with a frown.

"I'll be honest, the past couple of days I've seen Mikoto-san she's looked fairly troubled," said Teuchi. "Maybe there's been trouble at home?" He grabbed a large stack of bowls and began to walk to the back. "Anyway Naruto, don't worry about paying for that one, I made it with leftovers so it's on the house. Just leave the bowl on the counter when you're done." He disappeared in to the back room.

Naruto finished after a few seconds and jumped down from the stool. Passing back through the awning he looked down the road in both directions. It was deserted, the occasional door having a lit lantern next to it, windows all glowing warmly. Of course, as when he was younger, seeing in almost no light had never been a problem for him. It wasn't like he needed any help seeing though. The full moon blazed onto the village below, unhindered by clouds.

"Naruto, where are you going?" asked Akane. "That's not the way home."

Naruto stopped moving. He had unconsciously started walking in the opposite direction of the apartments.

"Where were you thinking of going?" asked Shiro. Of course, they could read his thoughts the moment he had them. "The Uchiha compound? You're worried about Mikoto." What could he say. He was worried about her. It didn't make sense. He had no real reason to be worried. But he still was.

"Naruto, I don't know if you realize this," said Akane, "but it's late in the evening. It's rude to call on people this late."

"I know but-" Naruto stared back at the apartments one last time then began running to where Mikoto had pointed her home on his map weeks before. "I'll be quick." Akane just sighed, looking to Shiro to say something but he just shrugged. They were passengers after all.

"Alright, just be sure to apologize for bothering them," she said after a second.


Ten minutes later Naruto found himself in a part of the village he had never entered before. The outside of the large area was bordered by a semi large wooden wall with a large opening as wide as the road as the main entrance. Naruto took a few steps inside looking around. It was really no different from outside the wall, though while he had seen a handful of people still milling about the village doing late evening business, he saw no one here. Just as strange, no lights came through any of the windows of the homes he could see from there. Something was off. He took a deep sniff of the air. There was something there, though it was faint. Almost like a coppery tang.

"Blood," said Shiro, his voice deadly serious. "That's the smell of blood Naruto." They could pick up on his senses.

"Something must have happened," said Akane. Naruto walked into the compound, looking around carefully. He still couldn't see anyone. Nor did he make out any lights. Turning one corner he came face to face with a man against the corner of the building. He had a kunai knife buried up to the handle in his neck, pinning him to the wall. His eyes were open and lifeless. The wall behind him was smeared black with blood. Naruto instantly fell back with a cry for fright. Upon looking at the man a second time he immediately rolled over and emptied his dinner on the ground. He heaved until there was nothing left.

"Naruto, are you alright?" asked Akane, wishing she could be there in the physical to hold him. It was inevitable for a ninja to encounter such a thing, but to see such a thing so suddenly, and still young as he was... Shiro said nothing, his eyes dark.

"Y-yeah," he coughed, voice shaky. Fortunately he hadn't gotten any vomit on his clothing. Naruto pushed himself to his feet, forcing himself past the murdered man. Unlike the streets he had been on so far, there were distinct signs of fighting and damage to the buildings. Seeing a number of kunai and shuriken in a nearby wall, he grabbed one, ready for anything. Of course, the weapon did nothing to shield him from the slaughtered people that littered the streets. Akane was talking softly but he didn't really hear much of it. Only one thing was keeping his focus in such a place. He had to find her. For all he knew she could be-

"Don't think about that!" shot Shiro suddenly, speaking for the first time. Naruto jumped at the tone of his voice, so adult like. "You can't think about what might happen! It won't help you find her. Just focus on finding her as fast as possible, she may need your help. Keep your guard up as well. Whoever did this might still be around."

"Right!" said Naruto through gritted teeth. He turned another corner to catch a glimpse of two people standing far down the road, one far shorter than the other. Suddenly the taller one moved off and the shorter one jumped after him, leaving the street deserted again. "I saw someone, but they're gone. This sucks! I don't know where Mikoto is, she could be anywhere!"

"Naruto, Mikoto is the wife of the head of the Uchiha Clan," said Akane quickly. "She probably lives in the center of the area in a large home. Go that way!"

"Alright," he said quietly, dashing down an alleyway. Within moments he came out on a wide road littered with bodies and damage. A dozen meters to his right was a building that looked a lot grander than the ones next to it. At this point there was no reason not to try it, otherwise he'd never get anywhere.

"This looks good," said Shiro, taking in what Naruto's eyes passed over. "Wait! This must be it, look at that picture, by where the shoes are!" Naruto moved over to that area Shiro had pointed out to find a piece of furniture holding who knew what. The important part was that on its top was a small framed picture of Mikoto and her two sons. They looked young.

"Mikoto!" shouted Naruto, bursting through the home. It was quite large. He looked in every room he came across quickly before moving on to the next one. "Mikoto, where are you!" A side door took him back outside on the side of the home. There was a long wooden porch next to a yard with a stone path and small pond. At the other end of the porch was a set of double doors, the right one swinging slightly in the light wind. Beyond that, on the floor...

"MIKOTO!"

She was lying on her back with her eyes closed, a trickle of blood running from the corner of her mouth. There was a man face down on top of her, clearly dead. Naruto ran into the room at top speed, slipping in the splattered blood on the floor, crashing down next to her. He instantly got to his knees ignoring the pain. Tears were already leaking out of his eyes. This couldn't be real. It couldn't be real!

"Mikoto! Please Mikoto wake up!" he shouted, shaking her shoulders. She didn't move. He needed to get her out of there. Naruto grabbed the man's shoulders and tried to push him off of her but he was too heavy.

"Naruto!" shouted Akane, trying to get his attention. "Naruto its-!"

"Shut up!" he shouted, angry at the dead weight of the large man. "She's not dead! I have to help her!" Chakra pumped through his body like a sweet energy. He grabbed the man and heaved, rolling him off Mikoto in one breath, flopping to the side like a rag. Without him obstructing his view, Naruto could now see a huge red stain that covered her whole torso. "Mikoto wake up!" he shouted again. He gritted his teeth, canines gnashing in uncontainable fury, chakra still pumping through his body like fire. "Don't leave me here! I said WAKE UP!" He slammed his fists on her chest hard. Her body convulsed slightly, and she coughed, blood spraying up. Her eyes barely opened, falling on the blond haired, sear streaked face before her.

"Oh my god, she's alive!" breathed Akane in complete disbelief.

"Naruto we have to get her to the hospital right now!" shouted Shiro. Mikoto slowly opened her mouth, her voice coming out in a croak, words unable to form through the pain and the blood. Naruto listened to Shiro as he quickly told him how to get her onto his back, as he would be unable to carry her without killing her otherwise. Finally situated he felt his back become immediately wet with blood. His hands were completely covered with the stuff. He didn't even want to think what he must smell like. "Naruto go now, just run and keep the chakra flowing as much as you can. It'll help you move." He ran outside straight at the wall. He knew the village very well now. The hospital was straight this way.

"Naruto, the wall!" said Akane in alarm.

"I don't have time for doors!" he shouted, massing chakra in his feet and leaping clear over the wall, landing easily on the other side and immediately bursting forward with more speed than he had ever shown before. Mikoto's head was slumped over his right shoulder, leaning against the side of his own head, her mouth near his ear. His back was warm with blood. He even thought he could feel the faint flutter of her struggling heart. For a second he thought he heard her say his name. "Don't worry Mikoto. Just promise me you'll hang on and I promise I'll get you to the hospital in no time. Then we'll cook together when you're better." A wetness that didn't feel like blood touched his ear. His expression hardened, eyes narrowing, pushing for more speed... more strength.

'Hang in there Mikoto!'


Itachi Uchiha, looked back at the sudden huge amount of chakra coming from the direction of his now lost home. For a second he thought it was someone from the clan, but after a second he realized that the chakra didn't match any Uchiha. It was more than likely that someone had discovered the massacre. He was intrigued, almost enough to go check it out, but no. That was no longer important. He though back to the little brother he had left alive, the sole survivor of the Uchiha Clan. His beloved little brother.

"Grow strong, Sasuke. Strong enough to kill me."


A/N: And so we reach the end of the Uchiha Massacre. For the record, we know that Itachi left killing his parents for last, and so neither of them would have been 'dead' for long, especially since I had Naruto find them pretty much minutes seconds after Sasuke and Itachi left. Also, considering the love Itachi had for his brother I can also see him unconsciously holding back on at least his mother. Whatever you make of it, we'll just have to see what happens with her in the next chapter...

Also for the record, I'm not making Ayame a love interest. She's just a nice girl who is the first real girl that Naruto actually gets to know a bit and interacts with.

The academy starts in the next chapter, and with that comes some new interactions with some familiar faces. Oh they're all chibis it's gonna be great.

Anyway, please let me know what you thought. Your reviews are really helpful to me. If you're curious about any specific canon that I don't use or anything like that feel free to ask me about it and I'll be happy to answer your question. If it's really important I'll include a note in an update. Same thing goes for my impression of how chakra works, the academy, the council, or anything else that has structure.

And once again, it'll obviously take a little time to get to genin times but I will get there. It'll be great so stay tuned. Cheers!