Summary: He's been a Dobe-Naruto for as long as he could remember. Then one day a strange silver-haired man comes telling him that he's to be the next boss of the mafia syndicate known as Konoha. Now, Naruto has to deal with brutal training, fighting off Konoha's many enemies, and learning to be a proper leader for his eccentric Guardians. Maybe, just maybe, they'll learn how to become a true family along the way. KHR Fusion. Gen.
Notes: A couple things to keep in mind—
1) This isn't a crossover. It's a fusion. This has Naruto characters set in the world of Katekyo Hitman Reborn!. It uses elements of KHR fighting and skills combined with Naruto skills. That means that the fighting will not fit either anime. Don't complain at me for messing up people's fighting styles please, I did the best I could to keep with the story I'm creating.
2) As of right now, there are no pairings. They start at twelve years old, after all. There will be a couple mentions of canon crushes, but I'm not looking to pair Naruto with Sakura or Hinata; nor Sakura or Ino with Sasuke. If I decide to include pairings in the future (which would mostly likely be a mix of slash and het pairings), that will be in a sequel story, not this one.
3) There are no Arcobaleno. There isn't a Tri-Ni-Set. There are going to be rings and maybe boxes later, but I'm not going to try to choose what ninja to be the babies. It's just not where I'm trying to go with this story.
4) Pretty much everyone is going to be somewhat OOC in this. They are, after all, not ninjas and weren't raised in the Naruto world. I did keep what I felt was the essence of each character alive.
5) Please don't complain about what characters you think fit what Flame-type better. I thought a lot about what Flame I gave the characters. I understand not everyone may agree with me, but these are the choices I made.
6) Lastly, I'm going to be using elements of plot points of both animes, which means the plotlines of both animes are going to be totally screwed. You don't necessarily need to know KHR to be able to read this. Though it'll probably help if you do, as many aspects of mafia life come straight from that. You do need to know Naruto, but all plot points/sort of spoilers come from only up to the first third/half of Shippuden (with my own twists).
Without further ado, I give you Eyes Like a Clear Sky.
"Uzumaki. Uzumaki…. Naruto!"
Naruto blinked awake and jumped to his feet. "I'm here!"
His classmates snickered. He looked around and flushed. He'd fallen asleep in class again. Umino Iruka, the homeroom teacher of class 1-C, growled. "Can you answer the question on the board, Uzumaki-san?"
Naruto looked at the math equation and gulped. "Um… seven?" he guessed.
Iruka sighed. Naruto felt a twinge of guilt. Iruka-sensei was one of the few teachers who hadn't hated him on sight, but he knew he was probably making it hard on the man. He just wasn't a good student. He couldn't pay attention in class long enough to learn, was all. It wasn't Iruka's fault. At the very least, Iruka didn't call him useless like his other teachers.
Or the students. Naruto sat down as the girls behind him began whispering about how Dobe-Naruto really was very stupid and honestly didn't he know he'd almost didn't graduate elementary school and did he want to fail out of middle school, what a useless boy that Dobe-Naruto.
Naruto hung his head and tried to control his anger. He wasn't an idiot, he just learned differently from everyone else, that was all. He bit his tongue to stop the tears that wanted to come. He wouldn't let them. He wouldn't let anyone see him cry—even if he had no prospects in life, even if he was probably going to fail out of his first year of Kasai Middle School, at the very least no one could say he was pathetic.
"Uchiha-san?" Iruka asked.
Sasuke, the pompous bastard, stood up from his seat in the front of the room. Naruto glared at the back of the boy's head as Sasuke droned the answer in a bored tone. Naruto huffed and looked away as Iruka pronounced the answer correct and the girls behind him changed from casually insulting Naruto to gushing over how cool and smart and athletic Sasuke was.
Naruto looked out the window, staring up at the overcast sky until the bell range signaling the end of school for the day. He grabbed his bag and walked through the school, noticing as everyone gathered into their friend groups and began to talk over their planned activities for the rest of the afternoon before they'd all go home to a nice meal with their families.
Naruto trod across the busy streets of the town of Kasai. He walked until the bright and cheery shops and homes had become downtrodden apartment complexes with paint peeling off the siding and cigarette butts littered the sidewalk. He headed up a squeaky set of stairs to his apartment.
Digging the key out of his frog-shaped backpack, Naruto opened the door. The living room was a mess like always but at least it looked like no one had broken in today while he was gone. That tended to happen once a month, as was usual on this side of the town. Luckily, Naruto didn't really have any valuables.
"I'm home," he called softly.
No one answered.
Naruto's shoulders dropped. He threw his bag on the lumpy couch and headed to the kitchen, intent on making himself a cup of instant ramen for dinner.
Just a normal day in the life of Dobe-Naruto.
"Sandaime," Kakashi said, bowing low to his boss.
"None of that," Sarutobi told him. He cleared his throat. "I have a task for you Kakashi."
Kakashi nodded, stepping forward so he'd be able to see the file on his boss's desk. "Is it an assassination?"
"Not this time," Sarutobi murmured. "I… I must apologize, Kakashi."
Kakashi stiffened. There was something going on here. His honed intuition was screaming at him and he very discreetly readied his Lightning Flames. Sarutobi wasn't one to miss much though and he shook his head. "Calm, Kakashi. I'm not looking to attack you." His mouth twisted. "Though you may wish to attack me after I inform you of, well, of the best kept secret in Konoha."
Sarutobi sighed and suddenly Kakashi could see every one of the man's formidable years in his face. "You know that we are still investigating the mysterious circumstances that lead to his death."
Kakashi closed his one remaining eye briefly. Sarutobi was his boss, because Kakashi was a proud member of the Konoha Family, but Sarutobi was well aware that none could replace Minato as Kakashi's true boss. He and the other two surviving Guardians would never fully recover from their Sky's death.
Sarutobi looked down at his wrinkled hands. "We're no closer to finding Minato's killer then we were twelve years ago, but… I think it's time I told you the rest of the story of that night."
"The rest of the story?" Kakashi questioned, his voice carefully neutral.
"Yes. There's more."
"Then with all due respect, sir, I should not be the only person here." Kakashi glanced out the window up at the overcast sky. It seemed that there had been so few clear skies since Minato's death. "My fellow Guardians deserve to hear this story as much as I do." He may not be as close to them as he might have been had Minato still been there to push them all together, but he trusted those two with his life and beyond. They were the only two he believed could understand his suffering. He knew most of Konoha mourned the death of their fourth and, some said, best boss—but none mourned Minato as much as his Guardians did.
"Kakashi," Sarutobi said softly. "The reason you, or they, haven't heard this before was because… well you know there must be a traitor somewhere in our ranks. There's no other explanation."
"It wasn't them," Kakashi growled. "It wasn't any of his Guardians. If you can trust nothing else, sir, trust that we would have never betrayed Minato."
Sarutobi met his gaze. The tension in the office reached a new peak.
Sighing, Sarutobi looked away. "Very well. They may be able to help you. And regardless, I have a feeling this information will not be kept secret much longer. Call them."
Kakashi ran his thumb over the ring on his right hand. He sent a little jolt through the ring, the surface of it briefly flashing with a bright green Flame, the edges curling like electricity. He got back two quick jolts of acknowledgement, one which felt as warm as the sun and the other as cool as mist.
It took barely ten minutes for the other Guardians to arrive. Gai appeared first. The usually boisterous man was serious as he knocked and entered the room. Kakashi nodded to his fellow Guardian. Gai nodded back and came to stand at Kakashi's shoulder. Kakashi hadn't been a fan of Gai when Minato had first made the man his Sun Guardian, but Gai'd grown on him some. Especially at times like this, when Gai wasn't grinning and giving him a thumbs up. He understood, of course. After Minato's death, Kakashi had turned in on himself, becoming colder and colder, but Gai had turned outward, hiding his sadness behind bright smiles. Both of them had taken their anger and pushed to become stronger and stronger and in that they'd found companionship with each other.
Kurenai arrived then. She'd been the youngest of Minato's Guardians, though Kakashi and Gai weren't much older than her. She gave Kakashi and Gai both a small smile and came to stand on Kakashi's other side.
"Very well then," Sarutobi said. "As I was explaining to Kakashi, there is something none of you have been told. There's more to the situation surrounding Minato's death then what we told the Family."
At his side, Gai and Kurenai both stiffened.
Sarutobi nodded to their stunned silence. "As I'm sure you remember, Minato and Kushina got married in secret about a year before they both…."
"We remember," Kakashi said. They'd all been there for the wedding after all. The picture of them all was the last they'd been able to take where they'd been whole. Obito had died barely a week after the wedding.
"The reason they told you for keeping the wedding secret was the same reason they kept what I'm about to tell you secret," Sarutobi said. "It wasn't that they didn't trust you. In fact, Minato and Kushina argued with me many times about telling you, but I was afraid… we knew even then there was a traitor in our midst. Possibly more than one. Minato had taken over for me as boss, but when I begged him to keep it secret he did."
Sarutobi wouldn't look up from his hands now. "The only ones who know are myself, Jiraiya, and Tsunade. I haven't even told my own Guardians."
Kakashi exchanged a glanced with Gai and Kurenai. "Sandaime," Kurenai began. "Does this have anything to do with why Kushina never left her room for six months before… that night."
Sarutobi nodded. He looked up and in his eyes were unshed tears. "The night Minato and Kushina were killed was the same day Kushina gave birth to their son, Naruto."
Gai put a hand on his shoulder and it was only then that Kakashi realized he was shaking. "Is their son…?" Kakashi couldn't bring himself to ask.
"Was he killed too?" Kurenai asked for him. "Did you deny us the right to mourn for Minato and Kushina's son as well as them?"
"No," Sarutobi said. "No, Kurenai, that is the one happy note in this story. Young Naruto still lives."
Gai let out a low, pained sound. Kakashi understood. Twelve years, he thought. For twelve years this had been kept from them. The son of their Sky and Storm was alive and none of them had known. He looked over and saw that there were silent tears running down Kurenai's face.
"We think it happened like this," Sarutobi said. "Tsunade delivered Naruto. Kushina was weak from the birth, so Tsunade took the boy to the next room to let her sleep. Minato told Jiraiya that he was to be Naruto's godfather and then shooed him out so he could watch over his wife. Jiraiya went to join Tsunade in checking Naruto's vitals. They'd made the birthing room soundproof, because they didn't want anyone to hear Kushina's screams and come running."
"Because of that, no one heard when they were attacked," Kakashi said angrily. It all made so much more sense now. For years he'd agonized over that very fact—how could their boss be killed in the middle of their Family home, albeit at the end of the far wing, and no one had heard anything until it was too late.
"We still don't know how they were killed. Kushina, I imagine, was an easier target because of her exhaustion. Minato was likely distracted trying to protect her, but we can never be sure. Jiraiya only figured out what was wrong when he smelled the smoke. He burst in the room in time to see their dead bodies burning along with most of the room."
Kurenai and Gai flinched. Kakashi only controlled his own flinch began he was too frozen to move. "What happened to Naruto?"
"Jiraiya took him to Kasai," Sarutobi said, referring to the small town several miles outside of Konohagakure where many of the retired members of the Family went in hopes of having some peace alongside the clueless civilians that lived there. "He changed the boy's last name to Uzumaki, the name of Kushina's mother, so that it would be harder to connect the boy to Minato. It doesn't help that Naruto looks so much like him—"
"You've seen him?" Kakashi demanded.
Sarutobi nodded. "I try to visit him once a year. He doesn't know who I am, of course. He thinks I'm a friend of Jiraiya's."
"I'm glad you told us, Sandaime," Gai said. "But why now?"
Sarutobi frowned. "I'm not a young man and Konoha's enemies get stronger each day."
"You want to name Naruto your successor," Kakashi said in a flash of insight.
"That is correct. As you know most of my children have been killed." Sarutobi closed his eyes briefly. Kakashi looked away at the pain on the man's face. "Only Asuma survives and yet he has Rain Flames. He can't become the Godaime."
"What about your grandson, Konohamaru?" Kurenai asked.
"I fear I don't have long enough to wait for him to grow up," Sarutobi said. "Naruto is twelve. I hope to give him at least four years before he needs to take on the mantle."
"Please don't talk about your death so casually, sir," Gai said. "You are youthful still."
Sarutobi smiled at Gai's signature adjective. "Konoha must have a capable successor. There is… Naruto is the best choice. He's rough around the edges." He winced then.
"What do you mean?" Kurenai asked.
"He doesn't have the best grades in school and though he has some athletic ability, it is far less than where he should be." Sarutobi sighed. "I fear it's my fault. Jiraiya had a hard time sticking around as Naruto grew to look like Minato. He asked for more reconnaissance missions and I allowed him to go. Naruto has been alone for… a long time."
"How could you?" Kakashi asked, shocking even himself with his tone. "If you'd told us sooner, we would have taken care of him."
Gai and Kurenai both nodded. Sarutobi looked down and said nothing for a long moment. When he looked up, his face was all business.
"Kakashi, your mission is to train Naruto up to be a proper boss. Help him learn to control his Flames and gather his Guardians."
"What do you mean learn to control his Flames?" Kakashi asked, noticing the slight inflection in Sarutobi's voice.
Sarutobi winced slightly. "There was an incident when Naruto was young. He was attacked. We don't know if the men who attacked him knew who he is, or if they simply got lucky. They cornered Naruto and the boy's Flames lashed out. They were… they were hard Sky Flames."
Kakashi gasped. Hard Sky Flames were redder than the softer type and far more offensive. "He killed all of them, didn't he?"
Sarutobi nodded. "Jiraiya doesn't think Naruto remembers, but yes, he did. He was only six."
"To have that much power at that age," Gai muttered.
Kakashi knew now why Sarutobi had chosen him in particular to train Naruto. After all, he'd been the same. His Lightning Flames had broken free of his core when he was just around six as well. Minato, only a teenager then and still searching for his Guardians, had trained him to control them.
If Kakashi could do the same for Minato's son, then he would. "I understand, Sandaime," he said. "And I accept the mission."
Sarutobi nodded. "Gai, Kurenai, you'll go with him. I fear that soon enough our enemies will be able to connect Naruto to Minato. He looks more and more like his father every day, though he has his mother's personality if anything."
"Oh dear," Kurenai muttered.
"Protect Naruto and his Guardians at all costs. Train them to be ready. At the end of the year, they'll be given the Trial of the Rings. If they pass, we will officially announced Naruto's parentage to the Family."
"Don't you think that's too fast, Sandaime?" Kurenai asked, obviously shocked. "Minato was twenty when we went through the Trial." She didn't mention that she, Kakashi, Gai, and Obito were all only thirteen then. But then the Sky Flame trial was reportedly much harder then the trials of the other Flames.
Sarutobi said nothing. Kakashi bowed, prompting Gai and Kurenai to copy him. "They'll be ready," he said.
"They'll have to be," Sarutobi murmured. "Dismissed."
Naruto scratched the whisker birthmarks on his cheeks. He only had a ten days before the two-week summer break that would split his first year of Kasai Middle School in two. He couldn't wait.
Naruto scowled down at the bright red 30 on his history test. He stuffed the test in his bag and threw it over his shoulder. He hoped his perverted godfather would be home over the break, but he doubted it. Jiraiya hadn't been home in a couple years, though he sent presents and money in the mail fairly often. Most of the presents got stolen, especially if they were valuable, but Naruto always kept the money hidden in a secret pocket of his frog backpack. The one time that had gotten stolen, he'd had to go without food for three days.
Halfway up the steps to his apartment, Naruto paused. Something was telling him to be careful. He frowned, looking up at his front door. Slowly, he walked the rest of the steps to it. He tried the door handle. It was unlocked.
Naruto let the door swing open. He had a feeling whoever had broken into his apartment was still there. He got ready to run as soon as he saw the person.
Naruto shrieked and stumbled forward. The voice had come from behind him. He turned on his heel and stared at the strange man standing there. He wore a plain black suit and a facemask that covered his mouth and nose. A dark green headband covered his left eye. There was a silver symbol embroidered onto it. It looked kind of like a leaf.
"W-who are you?" Naruto asked.
The silver-haired man studied him for a moment with his one visible eye. "Hatake Kakashi. I was a friend of your father."
"I- what?" Naruto's voice cracked a little. No matter how many times he'd asked Jiraiya, his godfather never told him anything about his father or mother. He shook his head. "How do I know you're not lying to me?"
The visible eye crinkled at the corner as if Kakashi was amused. "You don't." He stepped forward and Naruto backed up, holding up his hands as if to defend himself. Before he knew it, Kakashi had backed Naruto into his apartment and closed the door behind them. "Sit."
Naruto glared. "Why should I?"
Kakashi reached into his suit jacket and pulled out a gun. He pointed it at Naruto. "Sit," he repeated.
Naruto felt his heart stop before it restarted twice as fast. He sat down on the couch, hugging his frog backpack to his chest. Kakashi sat down on the armchair across from him, lowering the gun but keeping it in his lap.
"Uzumaki Naruto," Kakashi murmured.
"How do you know my name?"
"I told you already, I was a friend of your father. And your mother." Kakashi looked away briefly.
"I don't know anything about my parents," Naruto said. "So that doesn't mean a lot to me." He jutted his chin out, daring Kakashi to have a counter for that.
Instead of retorting, Kakashi just looked at him. For one brief second, Naruto thought he saw heartbreaking sadness in the man's eye.
And then the expression cleared and the man turned cold again. "Listen carefully. Your father's name was Namikaze Minato. He was the Yodaime, the fourth boss of the mafia syndicate known as Konoha. Your mother, Kushina, was his right-hand."
Naruto's mouth dropped open. He jumped to his feet. "I don't believe you! My parents weren't mafia!"
"How do you know?" Kakashi said. "You said yourself you didn't know anything about them."
Naruto sat down, his head rushing.
Kakashi nodded, obviously satisfied. "Your parents were both killed the day you were born by enemies of Konoha." Now, Naruto was sure he could see the sadness. If Kakashi was lying and hadn't actually been friends of Naruto's parents then he was a really good actor, because Naruto could hear the pain in his voice at having to say those words. "The former boss, the Sandaime, came out of retirement to continue leading Konoha, but he's chosen you as his successor."
"I- I don't understand."
"I'm hear to train you to be the Godaime of Konoha, Naruto," Kakashi said. "Call me Kakashi-sensei."
Naruto stood again. "What if I refuse?" He didn't want to be in the mafia. He didn't want to be a killer. Even if his parents had been. He swallowed roughly at the thought, but he remained firm as he glared at Kakashi.
Kakashi stood as well. He walked up to Naruto and stared down at him. "You're failing all your classes. You can't even do a successful high vault in gym class. You have no friends. Your classmates called you Dobe-Naruto. Your teachers hate you and you prank them back because of it, but that only makes them hate you more." Kakashi said every fault like he was stabbing a knife into Naruto's gut again and again.
"So?" Naruto said, trying to control his shaking. "Doesn't that just show you I can't be what your stupid boss wants?"
Kakashi's expression twisted. "Do you want to be Dobe-Naruto for the rest of you life?"
Naruto glared and said nothing.
Kakashi nodded. "Start by cleaning up this place. It's a mess." He turned on his heels and head for the kitchen.
"What does that have to do with being in the mafia?" Naruto protested.
Kakashi turned back around and pointed his gun at Naruto. "Don't question me. I'm your stay-at-home tutor now." He fired a shot. Naruto flinched backwards and then stared wide-eyed at the hold in the wall. "Start cleaning."
Naruto did. He collected all the papers Jiraiya had left the last time he'd been home and put them in the corner by the mostly-empty bookshelf. He threw all the ramen cups away and took all the glasses and chopsticks to the kitchen where it looked like Kakashi was cooking something.
He frowned at the pot. "I didn't have any meat in the fridge." He couldn't afford meat most days. The stew Kakashi was cooking already smelled delicious.
"I went shopping," Kakashi said simply. "It's no wonder you fail at gym if your food intake consists only of ramen noodles. Your body is horribly malnourished." He muttered something along the lines of neglectful guardians that Naruto chose to ignore. Jiraiya may not be the best guardian, but he was Naruto's godfather.
"Thanks," Naruto muttered, because he wouldn't have expected the man to cook for him even if he was going to supposedly tutor him. He quickly headed back to the living room to keep cleaning.
Half an hour later, the living room was about as clean as it was going to get considering the permanent stains on the floors, furniture, walls, and… well everything. Half of the stains were there when Naruto moved in, but it was all he could afford with what Jiraiya sent him every month and the landowner wasn't one to question where Naruto's legal guardian was.
Kakashi poked his head in and made a show of surveying the room. "Good. Come in here and bring your homework."
Naruto scowled, but listened because the smell of the stew had drifted to the living room.
Kakashi took a couple more seconds to control himself while Naruto got his homework. He wanted to let his Flames loose. His anger was immense—anger at the Sandaime, yes, but especially at Jiraiya. Yes, it was like a punch in the gut to see Naruto's face, to see Kushina's cheekbones and mouth alongside Minato's hair and eyes, but that didn't excuse the boy's godfather leaving him like this.
He'd observed Naruto at school all day. What he'd seen had upset him, of course. At first glance Naruto seemed like a lazy student, like someone as stupid as they all called him, but Kakashi didn't believe it. Kushina had been like that too. She'd never been able to sit still in a classroom and her attention had suffered for it, but when it came to practical knowledge and fighting, she was one of the best. He knew he could teach Naruto to do better. What made him angry was that Jiraiya should have known that too and the bastard wasn't here to.
When he'd arrived at Naruto's apartment, about an hour before Naruto's school was set to get out, he'd found a new level to his anger. The only food in the kitchen had been ramen. There were two bedrooms, both about the size of a shoebox. What's more, Naruto slept in the smaller bedroom though it didn't seem as though Jiraiya had been home in months at least. There was no TV, no games at all, not even any pleasure books or a football or anything for young boys to play with.
Naruto had nothing and Kakashi hadn't known.
He was here now though. He couldn't coddle the boy, because he only had a year and because Naruto probably wouldn't appreciate it after years of taking care of himself. But he vowed to at least be there.
Naruto came in and sat at the dingy folding table with only two chairs that seemed to serve as a dining table. In his hands were several sheets of homework. Kakashi ladled a full bowl of the stew and set it on the counter. He then took another bowl and ladled out only a couple bites. He set that bowl in front of Naruto.
Naruto's face went from nervous to angry to dejected to accepting all in the span of thirty seconds. Kakashi watched and frowned heavily behind the safety of his facemask. Naruto didn't even protest, just ate the two bites he'd been given.
"This is really good," he said.
"Don't talk with your mouth full," Kakashi chided, and waited for Naruto to ask for more.
The boy looked at the pot and then at his bowl, but he didn't ask. Instead, he fidgeted. Kakashi waited. Finally, Naruto opened his mouth. "Is it cool if I make some ramen?"
Kakashi shook his head. Naruto flushed and clenched his fists. "Why not?"
The boy had some backbone for sure, Kakashi saw. He had spirit… it just seemed like his life lacked direction. Kakashi would change that. Naruto might not really understand or accept his legacy yet, but he would.
"You'll get more," he said. "But first, your homework."
Naruto blinked and then scowled. "What?"
"Your homework, Naruto," he said. "What do you have to do?"
Naruto glanced at the pages and shrugged. Kakashi reached for them and looked them over. It looked like a two-sided worksheet for math, some writing exercises, and a science questionnaire on anatomy.
"We'll start with this one," Kakashi said, putting the science sheet in front of Naruto. "For every question you answer correct, you get another spoonful of stew."
Naruto grimaced at his homework. From what Kakashi had learned, the boy didn't tend to turn any in. Judging by the papers he'd seen strewn around Naruto's bedroom, the boy often got to frustrated to finish it. He wondered if Naruto would refuse to do it, but then he glanced at the pot of stew and dug out his pencil without complaint.
Kakashi ate his own stew while he watched Naruto work. Naruto had glanced up wide-eyed the moment Kakashi pulled down his facemask. Kakashi raised an eyebrow.
"You look normal," Naruto said. "Why do you wear a facemask if you don't have a horrible scar or something."
"Because," Kakashi said and left it at that. He pointed to the worksheet and Naruto got back to work.
He felt uncomfortable with his facemask down. It was his first defense against people in general, but he if was to live with Naruto then the boy would see his face sooner or later.
Naruto handed him the worksheet fifteen minutes later. His stomach was audibly growling at that point, likely reacting to the smell in the air and the little amount of food it'd received. Kakashi checked over the worksheet. There were only ten questions on it.
Name all five senses. Naruto got that one correct.
How many bones are in the human body? Naruto put down fifty. Kakashi grimaced. He knew first hand how many bones there were. He'd broken nearly all of them on some enemy or another.
What's the biggest bone in the human body? Naruto said the skull, which wasn't too bad a guess Kakashi supposed.
Name the three bones of the arm. Kakashi shook his head and read the remaining questions. Naruto had gotten them all wrong.
"You only got the first correct," Kakashi said. He ladled just one more spoonful of stew into Naruto's bowl and then rapped the boy on the head. "What's that?"
"My head," Naruto said, ducking away and glaring.
"My… brain? Skull?" Naruto glanced to the worksheet.
"Correct. The skull is actually made up of twenty-two bones." Kakashi rapidly tapped where all twenty-two were. "Not one."
"Ouch." Naruto rubbed his head. "Okay, I get it."
Kakashi nodded. He let Naruto eat his spoonful and then kicked the boy in the thigh. "What's that?"
Naruto jumped back, rubbing his thigh. "My leg!"
"I don't know!"
Kakashi kicked toward Naruto again and this time the boy dodged. He grinned, pleased. The boy could learn. "The bone in the thigh is known as the femur. It is the largest and longest bone in the human body." He didn't give Naruto time to react. He moved onto the arm, punching at Naruto's upper arm first. "This is the humerus." He then pinched two spots on Naruto's lower arm. "Here's the ulna and the radius."
"Stop it!" Naruto yelled, pulling his arm away. "That hurt!"
"Then get it right next time. Now, we have the knee." He kicked toward Naruto's knee. Naruto jumped back and he missed. "That's the patella. Then below that is the tibia and fibula. Which is bigger?"
"Uh, the fibula!"
"Wrong," Kakashi kicked Naruto in the shin, just hard enough to bruise a little. "The tibia is." He pulled back. "Now, name the parts of the eye."
Naruto ducked away as if expected Kakashi to jab toward his eyes, his eyes that looked so like Minato's. "I don't know!"
"Pupil, iris, and sclera," Kakashi said, gesturing toward his own eye. "Now, tell me the longest bone in the human body."
"What… I…." Naruto dodged another kick toward his thigh. "Femur!"
"Correct." Kakashi smiled. "Smallest bone in the human leg?"
"Wrong, the patella is smaller."
Naruto groaned as Kakashi's foot connected to his left knee. He ducked as Kakashi jabbed toward his head.
"How many bones make up the human skull?"
"20… uh 22!"
Kakashi backed away. As he expected, Naruto was a hands-on learner. He doubted the boy would be forgetting those bones any time soon. "Fix what's on your worksheet."
Naruto warily sat down, sending suspicious glares Kakashi's way as he fixed six of the questions. He looked at the others and then at Kakashi as if expecting him to correct him on those too.
"If you want to figure out the correct answers to those, ask your teacher," Kakashi said. In all honesty, he didn't want Naruto's teachers to be too suspicious of Naruto's increase in grades. He didn't want them thinking the boy was cheating on his homework. Turning in a barely passing grade would be good enough for now. He ladled a couple for spoonfuls into Naruto's bowl.
"But I didn't get them right," Naruto said, staring at the stew.
"You didn't get them correct on the first try, but you did eventually," Kakashi said. "For now, that counts."
His heart ached briefly as Naruto eagerly dug in. He wished he could just give the underweight boy the whole pot, but it would make Naruto sick to eat so much so quickly, especially with his body's current condition. He shook his head. "Now, the math one."
Naruto diligently worked on his worksheet for the next hour. Kakashi kept the pot going at a low simmer to keep it warm. He cleaned the kitchen while he was waiting. He'd never been the neatest person in the world but how Naruto had been living was detestable. He noticed Naruto watching him occasionally. Good, he thought. It wouldn't do to make the boy clean and not also do so. He had to lead by example as much as he could.
Not too much though. He hoped Naruto would never become as cold as he was. Minato had been… if Naruto could be a fraction of the boss Minato was then Konoha would be in good hands.
"Here," Naruto said, handing him the worksheet. Kakashi looked it over and internally sighed. The boy had a long way to go, he thought as he marked all but three of the questions wrong.
"Pre-algebra, huh," he said. "Three a plus five equals fourteen," he read aloud the first wrong question. "What's the first step?"
Naruto shrugged. "You… try to figure it out?"
"In your head, I guess."
No wonder the boy was struggling in math especially. "First step is to isolate the variable," Kakashi said, because though he'd been a child genius, he figured this was easy enough. "Think of it like this. The variable is the number of extra people you need to take to a meeting with one of Konoha's allies."
"They may be your allies, but you always want to make sure you're not outnumbered, you understand?"
Naruto nodded hesitantly.
"So fourteen is the number of people your ally is brining. You also need to bring fourteen, got it?" He waited for another nod. "You know you're going to bring five. That means you can subtract five from fourteen. What's that?"
Naruto screwed up his face. "Nine."
"Good. Now you have three a equals nine. You get it?"
"I think so."
"So you know three times the number of people you ask to come will. You only need to ask the a number to come and another three times that will join you." Kakashi figured this analogy was going to break down, but he hoped it'd work for now. It served a dual purpose after all. If he could get Naruto thinking about his math in terms of future Family problems… well that would only work out well for the both of them.
"I need to ask… three times two is six, three times three is nine!" Naruto grinned. "I only need to ask three more people to come!"
"Correct." Kakashi smiled and then ruffled Naruto's hair. He paused halfway through and pulled his hand back. He hadn't meant to do that. Naruto was staring at him. He turned away. "Fix the rest of the worksheet."
He escaped down the hall to Jiraiya's bedroom. The man wasn't going to use it anymore. He didn't deserve to have a spot waiting for him at Naruto's home. And besides, Kakashi needed a place to sleep.
He looked at the small bookshelf of bright orange books he recognized as Jiraiya's porn. He'd used to love reading those. It was the running gag of the Family that one could always figure out who the closet pervert was by catching them reading one of Jiraiya's novels. Of course, the writing thing had originally started as an excuse for Jiraiya to travel the world collecting information for Konoha. No one looked twice at an eccentric romance author seeing the sights, so to speak.
Kakashi scowled. He hated it… but he thought he'd have a hard time enjoying one of Jiraiya's books in the future. He wasn't feeling too generous toward the man at the moment.
Kakashi returned to the kitchen after cleaning up the bedroom for himself and found Naruto just about finished correcting the math worksheet. He was muttering to himself as he worked. "Okay, fifty people. Gonna be a big battle. Gotta make sure to have fifty too and make it a fair fight. Already got twenty coming. That's thirty left. And five times will volunteer. Um… six!" Naruto grinned and scribbled down the answer.
Kakashi smiled softly to himself. He wasn't really the teaching type, but he thought maybe he could do this. For Minato. For Kushina. For the future of Konoha. Naruto would be great, he promised.