A/N: Has it really been two months since I updated? Damn, I am so sorry readers! I really didn't mean to put this off for so long! I've been adding slowly and slowly onto this chapter for weeks but never got around to completing the whole thing till now. Sorry! I hope you enjoy!
"Sign Language/ANBU coded signing"
Chapter 13: The One Nearly Forgotten
It had been a long and tiring day for Tsunade Senju; both mentally and physically. A mere month ago, Sarutobi had sent her a missive requesting her presence back in the Village, one that she 'politely' declined. She refused to go back to the damned village that had taken everything she loved from her. She didn't need to go back, they could very well take care of themselves for all she cared. It was only when Sarutobi began to send her daily missives from his monkey summons that she had begun to have enough. She had planned to send the last messenger with one of her chakra enhanced punches until Shizune read the contents of the letter. The man was threatening her with marking her as a missing nin if she didn't come back!
At that moment, she packed up her bags and dragged tonton and Shizune back to the Village, hell bent on giving the old man a piece of her mind.
What she didn't expect was that while she stopped in a small town's Casino near Konoha, was to win the jackpot of over 10 million Ryo. Shizune was ecstatic, having enough money to completely settle the growing debts she had accumulated over the years, but Tusnade paled deathly white, knowing what this stroke of 'luck' really was.
When the explosions of confetti began, Tsunade ordered Shizune to cash out and pack immediately; they were going to run the rest of the way to Konoha, before something truly terrible happened. To be completely honest, Tsunade wasn't truly paying attention whether or not Shizune was close to her, though she knew that with her training as a medic she would do well enough to keep up, all she was focusing on was getting to Konoha and praying to every god and goddess known that this luck wasn't as terrible as she hoped it would be.
When the four carved heads of the past and current Hokage's came to view, the last Senju picked up her pace and didn't care to bother with the guards, knowing that Shizune would do well enough to handle her coming back to the village on her own. She had been half way to the Hokage Tower when she felt faint killing intent from near the civilian sector of the village. The pale blonde sennin stopped her roof jumping and turned to the direction of the murderous intent, only to rush forward toward it when she heard yells and screams...then the howling pain of a child's scream.
As soon as the child's screams reached her ears, Tsunade raced toward its origin, and felt rage course through her body before it froze entirely, her eyes wide, unable to look away. The child's body was covered in blood. His hair matted down with it, his arm and leg strewn in odd directions. His cruel torturers were both civilian and shinobi alike, reeking of alcohol as they kicked the child harder into the ground. With another scream escaping the child's strained throat, Tsunade simply stared, unable to do anything, her entire body feeling as though the blood were on her. Her hands drenched in the blood of her brother. Dan's blood dripping down her face.
It was all over her and she was frozen from even breathing.
The boy screamed one last time as he was thrown against the alley wall, his head leaving tell tale spider-web cracks on the stone from the impact. She could see that he wouldn't be getting up from that, for his consciousness had already left him.
"Tsunade-sama!" Shizune's voice broke through her thoughts, if only for the moment, "You need to heal him! We need to stop these...monsters!" she urged her, almost desperately.
When Tsunade wouldn't move, Shizune went on to take down the little boy's attackers without mercy. How was this able to happen? ANBU were stationed around the clock in every part of the village, at least one would have heard the boy's screams for help and come. So why hadn't they?
When each man and woman laid on the cold floor in different states of unconsciousness and pain, Shizune rushed over to the child, her healing chakra already covering her hands as she pressed them to the child's chest. The boy had lost consciousness, either through the last forceful throw into the alley wall, or from the pain, she had no indication of knowing, but as she began to heal him, Tsunade continued to pale.
She could see the sun-kissed skin beneath the now visible bruises covering his body, the sun-dipped blonde hair she had only ever seen on another...and she knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that beneath those closed eye lids held the brightest blue eyes that would shame the summer sky...
She knew that this was Minato's child. That this was Naruto Namikaze.
That this was Tsunade's godson.
It had been during one of Tsunade's drunken stupors that she learned of his existence, that he was the son of the beloved Fourth and Kushina Uzumaki. What she didn't know, however, was that the boy was the vessel to the most powerful of the tailed-beasts.
Even so, she doubled her efforts on his body, breathing in deep breaths of relief as his vitals stabilized, giving her the means to transport him to the hospital where she could properly heal him. Carefully, Shizune lifted the small body to her chest, cradling him as one would a babe, before she shushined to the Konoha Hospital. The woman at the front desk began to shout orders for doctors, and a gurney, but Shizune's glare stopped them all from making a move to take the child from her arms. Instead of paying the doctors and nurses any mind, Shizune rushed to the better part of the Hospital, where each room was fitted with everything she would need to heal him properly without any outside distractions.
It took the better part of two hours before Shizune could relax and wait for Naruto to awaken. His injuries were severe, but thankfully nothing that was truly life threatening; though she supposed she had Kushina to thank for that, as Uzumaki's were famed to have greater healing capabilities as well as generous longevity.
Once he was breathing in deep, uninhibited breaths of air, Shizune went rushed back to where she had left both Tonton and Tsunade, finding the small pig trying to console a still slightly frozen Tsunade.
"Tsunade-sama..." she said softly, placing a hand on her shoulder and lightly shook it, knowing that the elder woman's eyes were still staring intently down at the blood that remained, ANBU finally on the scene and taking the knocked out attackers to holding cells for further questioning. "Tsunade-sama, we need to go...he needs you...Naruto needs you."
Tsunade forced her eyes to leave the blood that painted the street, the blood of her godchild... the little boy that Minato wouldn't stop parading about before he was even born. The little boy that had sent Kushina in the most hysterical bi-polar attitudes while she carried him. The little boy she never even laid eyes on before Minato sacrificed himself and the child for the sake of the Village.
She looked to Shizune and nodded before the younger woman picked Tonton up and they both shushined to the Hospital. Once they were there, she didn't bother acknowledging the idiots that ran the place and followed Shizune as she lead them into Naruto's room.
Immediately, she ran a scan over the boy, glad that her teachings had been fruitful for Shizune healed him as best as healing jutsu's could. Upon looking at his medical records, she couldn't believe what had happened to her Godson. To Minato and Kushina's child. From the file, this was hardly the fist time Naruto had been in the hospital for serious injuries and wounds. She had been told...Sarutobi had sent her a letter that he was going to be fine in Konoha! That even though both Minato and Kushina were gone, he would be well taken care of and loved. That he would be trained, and no one would know that Minato had used him as the vessel for the Kyuubi no Youko...that he would be raised like any other ordinary little brat born in Konoha.
This was the furthest from the truth!
Ohh, the old man would pay once he came through that door. She knew he would come, news of her healing him, or rather a child if no one recognized him, would have already circulated back to the Hokage Tower and into the Hokage's aged ears. He would come in here and she would give him a piece of her mind. Damned if he's the Hokage! Damned if he's her past teacher and once friend of her Grandfather and Grand Uncle! This was unacceptable.
She walked over to the unconscious boy's side, pushing some of his hair aside gently as she glared murderously as the door opened and revealed an older man wearing the most ridiculous hat she would ever lay eyes on.
There would be hell to pay.
Minato stared fearfully at the creature before his anger lashed out at him, filling his entire being with unadulterated hatred toward the creature. True, he understood that Madara had the Kyuubi under his control, perhaps even against his will, but the facts remained that it was this blasted demons fault for existing that destroyed his, and his families lives.
He cooled his expression, forcefully regaining control over his raging emotions.
"Kyuubi." he said coldly.
"So," the Kyuubi sneered, retracting his paw, "You finally show yourself to me? The failure that caused his own son to be murdered?"
Immediately, Minato saw red, his hands clenching into fists at his side before he forced himself to let a deep breath go and his hands to relax. "You," the blonde began, "should know the truth behind this all. This was NEVER supposed to happen as I left EXPLICIT instructions. I cannot be solely blamed for what happened to my son...though I take much of it as it was my decision to use his body to become your vessel."
"Yes. Your pitiful little boy. The one you condemned to pain and suffering because you decided to save your village rather than be a father." the Kyuubi snapped. "I was there every time your precious villagers ambushed the boy." he started, "Every time he wept himself dry at night, wondering what he had done to deserve such hatred. Every punch. Every kick. Every stab. Every burn. I. Was. There. But you weren't. The one person he needed in his life, and you chose the village filled with ignorant little mortals who fear that which is stronger than they are and what they don't understand." The Kyuubi let out a vicious snarl at the Fourth. "You don't deserve to live once more, least of all through Naruto's body!"
Minato stood stock still, frozen in place while his mind replayed the scene of his sons murder over and over again. He knew he didn't deserve a second chance while his sons life was taken from him so early in his life. He knew that had he waited...perhaps waited and attacked the crux of the problem that fateful October day, the Kyuubi would have left on it's own volition once the control was snapped...he would have lived perhaps, and his son would never have been forced to becoming a demon vessel.
Closing his eyes tightly, trying to force the images away, Minato calmed his breathing, and stared harshly at the Kyuubi with tears welling in his cerulean eyes.
"I know." he said firmly, "I know. I watched, hopelessly as my son was murdered by the very people I gave my life to protect. To save. I know I chose the duties of being Hokage over my family...my son...Given the chance, I would have done everything differently." a tear streaked down his cheek, "but that doesn't matter. What's done, is done. Dwelling on the past, and past mistakes accomplishes nothing but self-inflicted grief.
"I can't bring my son back. All I can do is live his life to the fullest for him. To prove everyone that my son is not the demon they make him out to be. To emulate the life that was taken from him as he lives with his mother at Kami's side." The tears streaked down his face freely now. He was so sure of what he was going to do for his son the moment he took his place in the real world. So sure that he would prove to the world that he was better than they were. That he was strong.
That they were wrong.
But now, would it truly be Naruto proving to the world that he was strong? Or would, should the truth ever come out, it be him who proved he was the stronger still?
The Kyuubi snarled at him, his sharp canines barred at him as the nine tailed fox glared hatefully.
"You humans are so pathetic." it hissed out, "The kit was mine, and I failed to protect him. I will do nothing to help you, Fourth." he snarled his title with the utmost hatred, "However, I will protect this body, but only in the most bare minimum way possible. The Kit deserves that much. Now, GET OUT!"
He felt himself be flung out of the sewer, as though he had been tied securely around the waist with a rope and be pulled forcefully back. Minato groaned in pain as he felt himself flutter his eyes open to what he assumed was the real world. He felt himself in the smaller body that was his son's, aching in pain and incredibly stiff. He could hear the dulled sounds of an argument, something breaking, but even as everything began to clear, he couldn't raise his head, or move it to the side to see what was happening before him.
"You're awake!" exclaimed a surprised and relieved voice. It was familiar, uncharacteristically soft if it was who he remembered it to belong to, but heart-warmingly familiar.
He forced his eyes to open fully, or rather as fully as they would in his exhaustion, and saw the blonde haired woman he had named Godmother for his son.
A/N: Ridiculously short, but the next one (which is about two-thirds way done) is currently marked at 5,021 words, so I hope it'll be worth the wait.