A/N: Again, thank you to all you lovely readers and reviewers! I love to read everything you have to say!...er...write! I really hope I don't lose my muse for this story, but I'm feeling really... inspirational-less at the moment, especially with College work hanging over my head all the time as well as a full time job. Most of what I write is done during my breaks, and in the middle of the night (damn you insomnia!) Well, anyways, here is the next chapter! Enjoy!
"Sign Language/ANBU coded signing"
Chapter 6: Answers
Minato couldn't help the feeling of absolute dread come over him as he made his way to the Hokage Tower. Everything in his body down to a molecular level was screaming at him to go home and leave it be. To simply turn around, and fail the homework, to be considered dead last until he graduated. Had he not been such a stubborn person, he more than likely would have listened to his gut feeling rather than continuing his trek to the Tower.
'It's fine, if he has questions, I'll answer as honestly as possible...' Minato thought to himself, trying to calm down as he stepped into the building, heading up to the Hokage's office. Once up the floors, Minato quickly told the Hokage's secretary, who sneered and had a look of complete disgust as he spoke to her, that he wished to talk to him. Of course the horse of a woman told him the Hokage had no time for no good little brats like him and he should leave immediately before she called ANBU to kick him out.
Bristling slightly, he kept calm and told her that he would see him anyway, and simply walked past her and entered the spacious room where the Old Man was sitting behind his desk working quite diligently on the massive piles of paperwork that were surrounding him.
"Hi, jiji!" Minato greeted the aging man with a small smile, still inwardly seething at the horse-woman that was at his heels.
"You cannot come in here!" she screeched at him, her face turning an unappealing shade of purple. "Forgive me, Hokage-sama, let me take this little brat out of the Tower." she said before reaching for Minato's arm.
In a swift movement, Minato stepped out of her reach to the left and watched greatly amused as she tripped and fell to the floor.
"Why you little dem-!" she began only to be interrupted heatedly by the Hokage's stern voice.
"That will be enough, Kayako-san. You are dismissed, and Naruto, take a seat please."
Noting the look of absolute hatred the woman gave him, Minato shrugged and sat down in front of the Hokage's desk with a small bounce. He always did enjoy watching the Sandaime bring down arrogant people like her, it was so rare to see the old man act stern since it was hardly necessary during times of war when everyone knew they had to work together.
"Sorry about that, Naruto." Sarutobi apologized sincerely.
Shrugging again, Minato said, "I'm used to it, jiji." And oh how terribly true that was.
A sad gleam graced the Sandaime's eyes as Minato said that so nonchalantly. It was something that no one should simply get used to. 'And for that I am sorry...' he thought to himself. "So, Naruto, how was your first day at the Academy?" he asked with very well hidden anticipation at his answer.
"It was hard for a lot of us, jiji." Minato answered, not specifying whether or not it was hard for him, "Shika said it's hard for first years cause you try to "weed out" all of the kids who don't have what it takes to be shinobi."
Nodding, the Hokage puffed his pipe and said, "That's true. We set a harder curriculum for first years so that we don't get stuck with a dozen unsuitable shinobi in our ranks. It saves both time and lives."
"Yeah, and the homework is really hard, jiji. I mean, Iruka-sensei didn't even cover most of it!" Minato exclaimed, channeling Naruto's very essence as he said so.
His eyes narrowed, Sarutobi pulled out his pipe from his mouth and placed it on the desk, away from any of the piles of paperwork that continued to breed like rabbits. "May I see your homework, Naruto?" he asked calmly, his hand stretched out to grasp the papers Naruto would give him.
With a small nod, Minato grabbed the small stack of papers and handed them over to the Hokage. He sincerely hoped that this would be all they spoke of. He was still racking his brain for a plausible explanation for his 'prodigious knowledge.' He knew he had messed up more than once during the weeks he had been back in the land of the living. He knew he hadn't forced himself to move as an untrained child, or that he didn't look as though he were really listening to Gai talk about chakra and several other things. He had allowed himself to be caught, at least a henged shadow bushin, by one of the Jonin he hadn't met.
'What can I say that won't send me to be tortured or mind raped?' he wondered grimly before the Hokage's voice broke his train of thought.
"This isn't the homework you should be getting, Naruto." he said with scarcely contained anger, "Most of this is used on Chunin examinations, and some is of Jonin level knowledge. Most of this you won't even hear about until your at least a Chunin."
Nodding slowly, Minato said, "I thought it was funny. I didn't remember Shika's or Choji's homework looking like mine, but I didn't think much of it until I was walking home."
"Hmm, don't worry about any of this, Naruto." Sarutobi said putting the papers in a small side drawer. "I'll be sure to address this fully."
Shivers ran up and down Minato's spine when he heard the Hokage's tone. He most certainly did not envy the Academy teachers. So far it looked like none of the teachers even wanted to tolerate his presence. Though he had to admit Iruka really hid his discontent well. The man, who he still could not quite place in his memory, obviously held no love for Naruto, leading him to believe that the boy had lost someone close during the Kyuubi attack like the majority of everyone else that hated Naruto. Even so, he attempted to treat him fairly. Far better than any of the other teachers, that was for sure.
"Uhh, thanks, jiji." Minato said scratching the back of his head, a nervous tick he had developed in the early years of his life.
"No problem, Naruto." Sarutobi smiled a grandfatherly grin down at him, "I wanted to ask you, Naruto, how you have been? I hear your training is going well." 'Awww, damn. He's going to ease into the conversation I really don't want to go into...' Minato groaned in the back of his mind, making sure his face was in a small smile.
"I'm fine, old man." he answered automatically, "Training is great! Gai-sensei is kind of weird...but he's a really good teacher. Kakashi-sensei doesn't really teach us, just kind of watches... even though he always reads that orange book."
"Good, that's really good to hear, Naruto." Sarutobi nodded with the same smile gracing his lips.
"Yeah! I can't wait till I learn awesome ninjutsu! I'll be the best ninja Konoha's ever seen! Believe it!" Minato exclaimed with his sons foxy face-splitting grin across his face which caused the Hokage to chuckle slightly at his antics. He had to play the part of a seven year old boy, an abused seven year old boy...when he was mentally nearly two decades older. He deserved some sort of award if he got to graduation without anyone figuring him out.
"You'll learn soon enough, Naruto. Don't rush to grow up." the Sandaime stated, a slight tone of regret sprinkled over his voice.
"But I want to be a shinobi as soon as possible!"
"I know, Naruto. But you will be, with time."
Pouting a bit, Minato sulked into his seat, the Hokage emitting soft stifled chuckles at his position, at least before he became truly serious.
"Naruto, I need to know something." he said, causing Minato to look up at him with a confused stare. "I know that...I know that I haven't been able to protect you from a lot, Naruto, and for that, I am truly sorry, but I need to know if there was anyone teaching you, before Gai."
'Oooh, they think I was being trained by someone else? That makes sense...train me and take care of me to be loyal to them rather than Konoha...making be a possible threat of unknown power, especially considering the Kyuubi.'
"No, Jiji." he said, "It's always just been me."
Noting the small sigh that left the Hokage's lips, Minato listened intently as the aging man continued to speak. "Has there been anything else? Anything happening to you that is unusual?" he pressed.
Soft anger was beginning to bubble in Minato's core. He was positive that being called 'demon brat' and 'monster' were under the umbrella of 'unusual' but he doubted the Hokage would do anything about it. It wasn't as though he could do anything about it. The Villagers would continue to be ignorant and cower in their fear, turning that fear to anger at the Kyuubi which just so happened to be sealed in the body of a small weak child, something they could take out their anger on quite easily. He would never forgive the village for what they had done to Naruto, but he could move on and show them how wrong they were, prove that his son was worth more than ten times the village, and then some, and hope they repent for everything they had done to his son.
"Nothing out of the ordinary, jiji." Minato answered with a slight cold look in his eye, "Same as always."
"...You've changed so much, Naruto..." Sarutobi muttered to himself, thinking he had said it too lowly for Naruto to hear, though the man in a boys body had indeed heard.
"I died, Hokage-sama. What do you expect?" Minato hissed out before covering his mouth immediately after he had said the words. 'Shit! I did not mean to say that out loud!' he mentally slammed his head into a wall for his carelessness.
The Hokage looked up at Naruto's eyes, full of anger, sadness, and unbridled hatred. Though the boy's words continued to echo in his mind. 'Died?' he thought to himself. 'DIED?'
"Naruto..." he began lowly, "What do you mean?" The Hokage's voice was stern and commanding, and Minato knew he should have just let the homework be and had went straight home. Now, he had no choice but to answer.
"I died, Hokage-sama." he said honestly. "Naruto Uzumaki died. Murdered."
"You... you're not the Kyuubi...you can't be...the seal...!" Sarutobi mumbled out, his entire body gone ridged and tensed in preparation for an attack of any kind.
"No! I'm not the Kyuubi! The Yondaime sealed him up completely in this body. He can't influence me, he can't speak to me unless I allow it, which I will never allow!" Minato answered, internally sweating bullets. One wrong word, and shit would hit the fan.
"But...Naruto?" Sarutobi asked uncertainly
"Yeah...it's me. Sort of." Minato said, trying to be the picture of calm.
"How did you know about the Kyuubi? Or the Yondaime?" Sarutobi asked, still tensed in his seat.
"I died Old Man...I died...and I saw my parents." he lied convincingly, looking straight in the mans dark brown eyes.
"Hai. I know that I'm the son of Minato Namikaze and Kushina Uzumaki, last of both the Uzumaki and Namikaze clans. I'm the Yondaime's legacy, and Jinchuriki of the Kyuubi no Youko." he said in a dull tone, as though he were reciting a report, when a sudden flash of sheer brilliance struck him, "Otou-san placed a fail-safe in the seal, he locked some of his own and kaa-sans chakra so if I was ever close to death, they would stop the Kyuubi from being released because I was so weak. They used most of their chakra to bring me back to life though...pump their chakra through my heart to get it to start again. He told me everything. Taught me everything he knew, and Kaa-san taught me a few things too. "
Sarutobi looked as though he were going to have a heart attack right on the spot from the information that was being given to him. He was suddenly very glad he had activated the privacy seals when he began to question Naruto on how he was.
"So that's why you seemed as though you knew everything... you did..." he mumbled out, staring wide eyed as Naruto nodded.
"It felt like years, I think that's why I was asleep for three days instead of one like usual." he added, knowing that small little tid-bit made his story far more believable. After all, Naruto always bounced back from major injuries in less than twenty-four hours. It was odd for him to be out longer.
"You know everything then, Naruto..."
"Kami... I- I'm sorry...so sorry." the man, in that moment, looked as though he had instantly aged another ten years. The wrinkles on his face became more pronounced, his eyes filled with unmasked grief and pain. He felt a pang of emotions went through Minato's heart as he watched the man he respected with all his being, a man who Naruto thought to be a grandfatherly figure, beg for forgiveness. A part of Minato screamed to let him wallow in his guilt, that he deserved it for not doing anything. But the memories... the soft pats on the back...the kind words of encouragement...the love shining through the mans eyes... what the Shinigami had said stopped that thought completely. Sarutobi was a good man, one who truly cared for Naruto with all his heart. A good man, but an incredibly flawed man.
Taking a deep intake of breath, Minato walked up to the near broken man and hugged him. He could feel the man tense before wrapping his arms around the small boy.
"It's not your fault, jiji..." Minato mumbled in the elderly mans chest, "It's not your fault..."
They stayed in that position for a long while, merely holding onto each other for much needed comfort. He couldn't remember the last time he had seen Sarutobi lose control of his emotions. He hadn't seen the man, in a long time, grasp onto someone as though they were a life line. He was the Sandaime Hokage. He was the Professor. The God of Shinobi. Nothing could touch or harm him on the battlefield. So many thought he was invincible.
So many forgot that Hiruzen Sarutobi was just like the rest of them; a man.
Reviews are loved!
Edit: Yeah...I'm making this story a little slow paced at the moment. I want to build relationships and develop the characters more before I get into the canon era. So there won't be any sort of time-skip in the near future. Anyway, look forward to a few more complications coming up for Minato! Till the next chapter!
I think this was well put, and should be put here for everyone to see. Thank you Veasna
Honestly, why are ppl so negative sometimes? If you want a fanfiction to follow the canon, then stick to the manga. The point of a fanfiction is for ppl to express their ideas and creative intake on the original story. Personally for myself if it is to close to the manga I don't even bother to read it anymore because it is boring and predictable. If you can't offer constructive criticism then, stop reading. Nobody is forcing you to read it. You yourself chose to do that. If you think you can do better then write your own and stop trying to bring down other's ideas and hard work.