Chibi-Kari: I said I would never do a Naruto fanfiction...I obviously lied. Here's my first attempt at one. It's going to be cannon, yet not cannon at all so please stick with me and you'll see what I mean in the next chapter. Feedback is always helpful! And of course, I don't own, but it would help me immensely if I did!
Early morning patrol was quiet. As captain, Fugaku enjoyed pacing the streets of a sleeping Konoha. Although ninjas never abided by normal times, they tried to be discrete this early. It made for peaceful mornings, something he didn't get often with two relatively young sons under foot.
The sun was just peeking over the horizon painting the city in reds and yellows. 'It'll be a good day' Fugaku thought looking up at the sky. That was when he heard it. The uneven pattering of feet and felt the undulating chakra. He immediately tried to identify it, as was procedure in the police force. Frustratingly, he found it much too different yet shockingly similar to clearly come to a conclusion.
Rushing towards the noise, he came upon a boy no more than 12, wide-eyed and stumbling around. Immediately, he understood who this was and why the chakra was so familiar.
"Naruto." The words left his mouth before he could even think. How could he be sure the boy even knew his own name? He'd been gone-stolen-for years now. Almost his whole life. But there wasn't a doubt in his mind as to who this little boy was. Chakra patterns were specific to families, thus family jutsus, and he knew that family well enough to identify the boy. And it obviously helped that he was able to sense some of the tainted chakra from the kyuubi.
The boy's wild eyes met his own and for a moment Fugaku only saw confusion in his eyes. Of course, he thought to himself. Why should the boy know him? He hadn't been in the village for years, everyone was sure of that fact.
Fugaku raised a hand in what he hoped was a calming gesture. "Welcome home, Naruto. Why don't you follow me?" He had to secure the boy quickly. Simply assuming he escaped and alluded his captors wasn't enough The village couldn't be too careful simply because the boy had made it into the city. These men would be back, be after him. Years ago, whoever these people were infiltrated the village and kidnapped their Hokage's son right under their noses and they made it look easy. It was an insult to the village and one especially to the Uchihas. Obviously, the boy wasn't back to attack them based on how terrified he was, but that didn't mean they were all safe. "I'll bring you home." He hoped that was reassuring; that somehow, no matter how unrealistic, the boy would remember home and calm himself.
Of course wishes and dreams don't run the world and the boy immediately crouched into a defensive posture, one that Fugaku had only seen on orphans from some of the worse off countries...the ones where the lucky children had already died.
There was a raw fear reflecting from the boy's slightly unfocused eyes and it terrified Fugaku. More than he thought possible. As unrealistic as it now seemed, everyone had pretended that although the boy was kidnapped he was being well taken care of and possibly even loved. Anything other than that didn't seem real, but now that the boy was staring at him he knew all too well that their hopes had been a simple delusion.
The wild look and clouded confusion in Naruto's eyes made the answer simple. It was a long term genjutsu. He knew what that looked like and he was impressed that the boy was even alive after that. But the real question was what type of genjutsu it was. What type of torture had they put the boy through? The frozen postures of both ended as the boy's eyes slowly tinged a deep purple. With a quick movement, Fugaku had the young boy unconscious and slung over his shoulder.
He was moving at high speeds towards the Hokage tower when the loud voice met his ears, "Uncle!"
Fugaku flinched slightly before realising just how perfect this situation was. They needed to find the men that did this. They needed to pay and they would certainly be close behind the boy and even if they weren't, tracks would still be fresh. They needed to act now to secure the village.
Fugaku stopped and turned to his nephew and the boy's teammate. Within seconds, he sensed Kakashi realising just who he had over his shoulder. "I need you to track about a mile back. Find the men." The order was vague but he knew both young men immediately understood.
"Uncle, is that-"
"Now isn't the time to ask questions, Obito." Fugaku commanded firmly.
"Understood." Kakashi responded quickly, pulling on Obito's arm gently to pull him from his stupor.
Obito glanced at his uncle once more, his eyes more resolved and colder than Fugaku had previously seen. "We won't fail."
Fugaku paused to nod even though both men were long gone. He didn't look forward to arriving at the tower. There was no way to explain this.
He entered the first empty private suite in the tower. Normally, these were only reserved for diplomats and their families who had traveled from long distances, but this would have to do. He needed a secure location for the boy and there weren't many places quite as secure as the tower. It also offered a level of privacy that was needed. News of the boy's return didn't need to be spread before they could be sure of what happened. Before they could make sure the boy would recover. Before they could capture the people that did this.
He placed the small boy on the large white bed in the corner of the room. Fugaku couldn't help but compare the boy to his own son. It was like night and day. Even though it was obvious that the boy had not seen the sun, his pale skin was still darker than Sasuke's. His skin tone came from Kushina and after a few hours in the sun he would be just as dark as his mother. The boy was also smaller than his son. A few weeks obviously made a difference...and probably malnutrition. He shook his head trying to clear the image of the two boys playing side by side that had taken root. That was supposed to be their life, not this.
Fugaku took a deep breath before touching the seal that would alert the Hokage to the room. It was setup for public relations. It looked better to have the Hokage coming to you than simple members of staff. He tapped his fingers on the doorframe for a moment before heading towards the window and releasing a crow that would fetch Inoichi.
The minutes seemed to crawl by before the door to the room opened to a mop of blonde hair, "Fugaku. I was wondering who was contacting me. I knew the room wasn't in use. What's wrong? Has something happened in the village?"
Fugaku raised his hand to stop the barrage of questions. "We do have an issue." Fugaku turned slightly and gestured to the bed. There wasn't really anything he could say. 'We have your son back' wasn't quite right.
Minato stepped back a moment before rushing forward towards the bed. "This is-."
"Yes. Your son." Minato sat heavily and Fugaku took a breath before continuing. There was no good way to explain what had happened...what was happening. "He's not well. Naruto was in a state of complete confusion when I found him. He didn't seem to recognize Konoha and was immediately defensive when I approached him. I had to incapacitate him."
"What would do that? The confusion, I mean." Minato asked as he looked sadly at the smaller version of himself lying still in the bed. They had just got him back. He wasn't supposed to be like this. Damaged like this.
"Genjutsu. Long term genjutsu. We've seen it in a few small cases during interrogation sessions that went on for slightly too long, but never to this magnitude." Fugaku frowned. You didn't do this to children and the extent of the damage he couldn't even be sure. The boy was defensive and terrified. It almost seemed like he had been in the genjutsu for longer than he had been in the real world. And sadly, that could all too easily be the truth.
"How long would you judge it to be?" Minato was sure he didn't want the answer, but he had to ask.
Fugaku shook his head slightly. "To be sure we'd have to consult Inoichi. I've already sent for him."
"Can you guess?" He could wait the few more minutes for Inoichi to arrive, but he needed to know it wasn't as bad as he suspected. He had to know.
With eyes closed and a slight sigh Fugaku answered. "Years...probably a decade."
Minato nodded numbly before sitting heavily on the bed next to his son. It wasn't what he wanted to hear. "How is that even possible?"
"I don't know."
"Why would anyone-?" Minato's voice failed. It was his child. His child they stole so many years ago.
"I don't know."
The door opened, breaking the silence that had fallen between the men. Although the footsteps were coming closer, neither of the men could bring themselves to look away from the boy.
"I was called for?" Inoichi glanced at Fugaku's solemn face and the Hokage's hunched form before finally settling on the boy in the bed. The shocking blonde hair and profile of his face made for an easy understanding of the situation. "Is that-?"
"My son? Yes." Minato finally turned to look at the newcomer.
"Are you certain this isn't a trick or something?" It was hard to believe that a boy who had been missing for almost twelve years could have returned so easily. There was no top secret mission. No great rescue. The boy was just here. It felt wrong.
"He is." Fugaku nodded to the boy. "There is no question of that."
Inoichi would take his word on that. Fugaku was good at his job and if he was sure then they all could be. "What do you need from me?"
"We need an examination." Fugaku took over the conversation while Minato simply stared at the child with his fists clenched.
"For what exactly?"
"The child was placed under a long term genjutsu."
"How long are we talking?" Inoichi saw Minato cringe from his peripheral vision.
"Too long." Was Fugaku's frank assessment of the situation.
Inoichi nodded before walking to the other side of the bed. Genjutsu's could be extremely dangerous when used for longer periods of time and could make the mind unable to distinguish reality from the illusion or even dreams once released.
"Minato, I think you should get Kushina and brief her on the situation." Fugaku commanded gently.
"I want to stay." Minato stated firmly.
"And I suggest that you brief Kushina. Inoichi and I will come find you at the tower with a summary of the findings if you don't come back within the hour. I've also sent Obito and Kakashi out to find who did this. A mission form needs to be filled out before they return, which based on where I found the boy should be be relatively soon."
Minato looked up seeming to want to argue again, but he trusted Fugaku. They had been family friends for years because of their wives close friendship. Although it seemed like the man was trying to keep him away from his son, Fugaku was only being logical about the situation and he could be trusted to keep Naruto safe. With a sigh, Minato nodded and stood, pausing to look at his son once more. "Hurry."
"We will, Hokage-sama." Inoichi responded.
Fugaku closed the door firmly behind the devastated father. "Do you need anything before we begin?"
Inoichi shook his head. The only thing he really needed was for this not to be happening. Closing his eyes he leaned forward and placed one hand on the small boy's head and the other on his shoulder.