So, to those of you who had voted for a rewritten version of Unorthodox Change of Fate, I present this to you. Yes, in case that you haven't read the latest chapter of the aforementioned fic, which was an AN (that's also the title by the way: an AN.), this is a rewritten version of UCOF.
You don't need to read the previous one if you don't feel like it, but to those of you who have read the previous one, I hope you find this better than the original one.
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto.
Chapter 1: Divergence and Birth.
"It never changes huh...?" muttered a man, standing tall in a rooftop of a village known as the one hidden amongst the leaves, "Humans... or their variations anyway, always succeed to thrive, to be the victor over the battle with nature itself... Sometimes to the point of conquering it all on their own."
The man went on unbidden, as if lost in his own thought, "But through it all, there will always be rules... Conflict of some kind will always arise. There will always be the greater threat, looming over them, sometimes without their knowledge."
He then raised his left hand slightly, "There will always be a chaotic force, either made or just is."
Then he raised his other hand to the same level as his left hand, "There will always be those who will stand tall against the oncoming storm..."
There was silence before he dropped both of his hand, "And there will always be those who just stand in the middle. Either unaware or privy to the supposed secret. And either insignificant in the grand scheme of things... Or pivotal in the situation they are in."
The man smiled as he looked upon the sight far in front of him, something so far away from him that one wouldn't know what it was exactly that he was looking at.
But he was very much capable to see from such distance... To him, it was as if he was seeing something that was merely a few feet apart instead of being separated for six hundred meters.
"But then..." the man uttered again, "There is always the one focal point in the oncoming chaos. Either an artifact, or a person. And that also holds true here."
Smiling to himself, the man placed his hands unto the pockets of his thick, hooded coat...
"Which shouldn't be surprising... After all, this is the place where he grew up after all. In a manner of speaking." he said cheekily before he said; "Let's see what would happen with a little bit of intervention."
And after he said those words, he vanished, leaving a trace of static electricity lingering in the air for a few seconds before it vanished as well.
Such a word that brought a myriad definitions of happiness into the would-be mother.
Kushina was her name, Kushina Uzumaki. One of the very few people that could be said as the remnants of the proud Uzumaki clan of Uzushiogakure, which was once Konoha's greatest and most formidable of allies.
She had been with her baby for five months and three weeks now, more than half the duration she would have to go through before the baby could be delivered.
But she just couldn't wait. After all, this was the product of the love between her and her beloved husband, the Fourth Hokage of Konohagakure.
She had been quite giddy at the prospect of raising a son or a daughter, if it were a he, then she would be the strict but warm mother who would be the one who would reprimand him if he had done something that was not proper.
Especially if he turned out to be just like her...
If it were a she, then she would be the playful but nevertheless orderly mother who would encourage her daughter to be someone who would go out, challenge the world, and become the most powerful kunoichi that had ever lived, surpassing her predecessors, Shinobi and Kunoichi alike.
'Oh, that would be just wonderful...!' she thought as she walked in the park area.
She was currently spending her time outdoors, one of many things that could bring her a great degree of enjoyment during her maternity leave.
Now while she's very happy to be expecting a child, there were certain things that it had deprived her from, such as the ability to be as agile as she had been before the pregnancy came along.
Considering that this was her first one, she was very careful in keeping the baby inside as healthy as possible, and if that meant she had to sacrifice her hobby of practicing kenjutsu along with minimizing the amount of ramen that she could eat in the span of a month into one bowl for about ten months time, then that's what she's going to do.
But the initial depression had been overwhelmed by the expectant happiness that came with Naruto.
Naruto. Naruto Uzumaki-Namikaze. The name of the baby as propositioned by her husband.
Though one might wonder why would someone name their child 'Naruto', considering that it could mean fishcake, one of the many ingredients used in Ramen, it was not because she liked it so much that she decided to name the baby after her favorite ingredient of her favorite meal.
Despite her reputation of being slightly air-headed, even she wasn't that idiotic. Who would name a kid after a meal anyway?
No. It was the namesake of the character of her husband's mentor's first novel. The character who will not give up as he fight the whole world, who cynically judge his idealistic, yet just, cause as something that will not bear fruit.
Kushina and Minato were hoping that the baby would become someone who could live up to his namesake, a charismatic character that could not be broken by the cynical world in which he lived in, a great person who would achieve many things in his life.
And that his name would be fondly remembered even after he's succeeded by the numerous generations that comes after him.
Such a dream that Kushina wished for her child. A dream of grandeur, but it's considered as normal for a parent to wish that their firstborn would become a great person.
Knowing Kushina Uzumaki, the life she wish her son would have was something that she would spend her lifetime to fulfill. For the sake of her beloved child, Naruto.
A sigh, a sign of tiredness, exhaustion, be it mental or physical.
It could be heard coming from the mouth of the man who had been watching the red-haired pregnant woman from afar, and then, he uttered out with a shake of his head, "Found her... and him."
Looking around his surroundings, the man then went on to say; "Well, this might either bite us all in the ass in the future... Or we might gain some invaluable things from this. A lesson perhaps. To not mess up with things when it ain't broken." he finished rather sarcastically.
Remembering about a concept that was coined from a TV series that he once watched, he couldn't help but to say it in his own words and within the context of what he had been involved in for a long time; "Interference with the progress of a society within a world or in other words, playing god with uncivilized being is strictly prohibited... Well guess what boss? Consider this my present for that help."
He procured a rather wistful smile as he said; "Thanks for what you did." but then it turned into a mischievous grin, "Let's hope that you won't become an evil overlord or something. ...Nah, your inherent goodness will prevent you from turning into that anyway."
As a man of action beneath the intelligence and wit that he possessed, Minato Namikaze found the work of a high-ranked official, or more commonly known as paperwork, to be something that really dulled his mind and body.
And that was the reason why several Shadow Clones of him could be found scattered in his office as the original sat on his desk, thinking some other things besides the goddamn paperwork sitting on the Hokage's work desk. His desk.
One of which was the woman that he had married, Kushina Uzumaki. The other was the baby which she was carrying for more than five months now, her child, his child. Their child.
Thinking of those things brought a smile to his face, he was very ecstatic when he heard the news of his wife's pregnancy, the prospect of having a family, a child to be raised, the things that they could do together, such things defined the 'true' happiness that he covet so much.
Being on his own since he was small was the incentive for him to dream of having a functional, loving family that his child could have and grow up in. A dream that would occur with Kushina, of that, he had no doubt.
Even with the knowledge of her being a Jinchuuriki of the Nine-tailed Demon Fox could not change the fact that Minato thought of her as a beautiful woman. A beautiful, free-spirited, though most-of-the-time-stubborn woman that no other woman could emulate.
Though one could easily like her because of her appearance alone, Minato loved her due to her personality, which was a reversed version of his own personality.
Where there's calmness, there's boldness. Where there's the capability of forethought, there's the tendency to act first before thinking about the consequences.
Like Yin and Yang, the opposites attract each other, and with that, they clicked.
Though that incident with the kidnappers from Kumogakure no Sato did help matters a lot, Minato had to admit.
Then Minato heard a knock at the door, and so he said; "Who is it?"
"It's me honey." Was the sound of his wife coming from the other side of the door.
Minato smiled as he walked towards the door and opened it himself, and when their eyes met, Kushina said; "Hi." she greeted him with a smile.
"Hi." Minato said, reciprocating her smile with his own. "Come on in."
After Kushina went in, she saw the clones Minato working their respective duties, and she couldn't help but say; "Wow, you're really laying it on thick with the Kage Bunshin, aren't you?" she said rather cheekily.
Minato closed the door as he said rather sheepishly, "Well... Come on, you know how much it really mess me up here." he said as he gestured to his head with both of his hands.
Kushina grinned as she chuckled, "Yeah... not really someone who's suitable for a desk job are you?" she said as she quickly kissed Minato's lips.
Minato ruffled his head as he said; "Well, I can. It's just I don't want to."
"Then how come you're ordering yourself to do this kind of thing?" asked one of his rather flippant clones.
"It's because you're me that I'm fine with it." Minato replied to that particular clone of himself with a smirk, "It's not really an abuse of authority nor it is slavery if I use my clones."
Then that particular clone grumbled indignantly before he returned to what he was doing.
Minato, the original one, sighed at the look that his wife gave him as he then said; "Alright, you know what? Tidy the place up, make it as neat as you can, and afterwards, your tasks for the day would be considered done, okay?"
"Alright boss!" said all of them at once with a chipper tone of voice.
Kushina chuckled at that and said; "It never gets old, hearing your voice so cheerful and bubbly like that."
Minato laughed and replied to her remark with; "Still feels weird though... Hearing my own voice like that. Really put things into a weird perspective."
"Alright... let's get this started..." spoke a certain man as he rubbed his hands together to prepare for what he's going to do next, he took a deep breath as he extend both of his hands to his sides and said; "Alright. Let's do this... Remember Cole, don't be like John... Don't burn it hot..."
Suddenly, blue-colored lightning materialized around his hands, crackling and sizzling as a faint blue aura began to cover his very being, and his skin began to glow faintly with luminescent blue light. The man then smiled as he then said; "...But burn it bright."
Then, he clapped both of his hands together, creating a reverberating wave of energy that was invisible to naked eyes.
When the last of his clones went away in a puff of smoke, Minato smiled at Kushina as he said; "So where do you want to go, love? What do you want to do for the day?"
"Oh, neglecting your duty as the Hokage are you?" she asked playfully.
"It's not called neglecting when there's a more important duty to perform now." Minato defended himself with his jovial tone, "Which is to say, the duty of a husband to tend to what his wife's desiring."
"Aww~, well there is this one thing that I want to have..." she trailed off, as if knowing that her husband would know what she really wanted to have.
Minato smiled sheepishly as he then continued to say; "Ramen is not really... something to be eaten when you're pregnant, Kushina. The amount of nutrition it has is less that what the baby needs to-"
"Oh come on~!" Kushina whined as she said; "I've been going without ramen for weeks now, I gotta have it soon or else I'll go mad~! And besides, I'm sure that Naruto wouldn't mind..."
"Well, I would." Minato replied, "But... (sigh)... alright, we'll do whatever you want."
"Yay!" Kushina yelled out as she clenched her fist, "Finally! Some ramen after such a long time...!" she then looked at Minato and continued with; "Don't worry though, I'll limit it to one bowl only."
Minato's smile widened as he said; "You know what? Just for that, you can have as many bowl as you want."
"Oh don't tempt me. I have Naruto to think of here..." she chided him lightly as she patted her enlarged stomach.
The pair was about to leave the room when...
Hearing his wife so suddenly yelled like that, Minato turned to her, grasped her shoulders with both of his hands and said; "What? What's the matter? Is something wrong?"
"N-Naruto, I think..." she began as she then procured a bright smile, "I think Naruto just kicked!"
...When a human was conceived into the world through their mother's womb, that human's sense of self was not yet formed. Human's cognitive ability to think for itself and to acknowledge its surroundings only came about a few days after they were born, and even then, it would need more time before it could 'realize' one's self, the world surrounding it, and capable of complex thoughts.
All animals, without exception, could never be 'aware' of itself when it was still at the stage where its physical form was still inside the 'shell' in which it was being molded by the DNA of its parents.
However, what if this wasn't the case for a certain human child? Human mind, no matter at what stage, be it in its initial stage, is self-conscious to a degree after all...
"Really?" asked the ecstatic Minato as he went and placed his hand onto Kushina's stomach.
Feeling the movement of the baby, Minato's smile widened as he felt the feeling called joy bubbling up from inside him, "He did! Wow... that's amazing..." he said rather breathlessly
"Yeah! He... is... amazing, isn't... he...?"
Hearing the sound of his wife without the vigor that she had previously made him turn his attention towards Kushina, "Kushina?"
And he saw that Kushina's face was reddened, it was as if she was hit by a fever or something similar. "Kushina, what's wrong? Are you okay?"
"I-I'm fine..." she said with a smile that was intended to be a bright, energetic smile, but it came off as a weak-looking smile, showing a slight frailty of his wife that he rarely saw, "...Okay, on... on second thought... I don't think I'm fine... Help me please."
Without spending another time to be wasted on words, Minato helped Kushina stand on her two feet, he then placed his hand over her head and true enough, she was hit by a fever, "Honey, you got a fever, quite bad too. We should go to the hospital."
Kushina nodded rather weakly, "Alright... Go ahead."
Minato then activated a certain jutsu of his, a jutsu that allowed him to essentially move through dimensional void to reach a certain place in the matter of a single second.
And with the sound of displaced air, Minato and Kushina was gone from the office of the Hokage.
"Alright. That's done..." muttered the man named Cole under his breath as the faint bluish glow began to disappear, "Hopefully they didn't notice it until its effects take place. Then again, they won't be able to know what's going on wi-"
He stopped talking when he received a mental feedback that caused him to stumble slightly. He grabbed the right side of his head as he clenched his eyes shut and chuckled, "...Boss. Nice to hear your voice too. Couldn't you give me a couple of minutes notice beforehand?"
What he heard on his head was much yelling. Yells that were made out of anger.
But the man merely rubbed his head as he replied with; "I should've known that you would figure out what I was doing even from afar... But if you have doubts... just trust my judgment. Considering who we're dealing with... I'm sure you understand that this won't change him for who he is."
He then stood up and wiped off some of the dusts on his pants. "This isn't a blindly made bet. The odds are in their and our favor. Whoever it is that would go up against him wouldn't have a chance in hell." he spoke rather cockily, "And if he's anything like you, which I have no doubt in, his footsteps will be followed by everyone around him."
Sensing that there were multiple presence closing in, the man named Cole decided that it was high time for him to leave.
Gathering his energy, he focused on the presence of electricity in the air and created a single lightning bolt that fell from the sky and hit right in the spot where he stood, surprising the people nearby due to the sudden sound of thunder and the flash of lightning in such a sunny weather.
And when the sound died down and the light was gone, the man was nowhere to be seen.
Arriving at the location where the mysterious beacon of energy had been located, the members of ANBU that arrived at the location could only see an empty spot where it had occupied.
The sudden pulse of energy was something that could be said as a 'bomb' of a sort. One that created an explosion of invisible, seemingly harmless energy in such a large amount that spread with such velocity and a yet to be counted area-of-effect, but presumably massive, judging by how quickly it spread and how it didn't even begin to disperse even after it already went 20 miles away from Konoha's outer wall.
And when they were tasked to quickly find the object, a lightning struck down from the clear sky that caught them slightly off-guard, but it did provide them the specific direction that they must take to quickly get to it.
But now, seeing that the object or someone who had brought it here was nowhere in sight, the leader moved on to the next best thing to be done.
"Search the whole village! Every nook and cranny, every alley, every building, every house, and every room! Whoever or whatever caused that must still be around here!"
Little did they know that the man who caused it had gone far, far away from Konoha. Their efforts would be proved futile, and only several people of Konoha would know the sensitive details of what had occurred. And even then, their knowledge would be very limited.
And none of them would have the slightest idea of what would follow. No one in Konoha nor in any village in any country within the Elemental Nations would know.
But in time, there would be one person who would witness firsthand, the everlasting effect of the mysterious anomaly that would be known as The Irregularity upon those who reacted in an unique way to the invisible energy.
And that person's name was Kushina Uzumaki... The jailer of the legendary Nine-tailed Fox.
Kushina groaned in pain as she's suffering in the agony of giving birth to her son, Naruto, after eight and a half months of pregnancy.
The birth was performed in a secluded location combined with several precautions placed around the room to prevent something else inside her besides her own son from interfering. The nurses and doctors that's helping her was pretty cautious as well, mostly due to the fact that her water broke when it had just been approximately two-hundred and fifty-four days instead of the estimated three-hundred days or more.
It could mean that she's just delivering the baby a little earlier than expected due to no fault on the mother's side, or it could mean that due to unknown external factors, the baby would come out earlier than expected.
And the examinations that she had done to check the baby's condition during the past months had produced some results that could be said as mysterious and strange.
Though the baby was healthy and suffer no physical defects, they found out that the baby's body was... different in a way. A glaring example would be the fact that the baby's brain was far more developed than a normal one during that time within the womb.
Other differences would be a more developed pair of eyes, refined bone structure, denser muscle fibers, more durable organs, and the indication of a more versatile motor skill. Indicating that this baby was not only healthy, but physically more refined than a normal baby's.
Such physical development in such a short time was nothing short of scary in itself, but nevertheless, they would do their best to deliver the baby. After all, with the wife of Hiruzen Sarutobi, Biwako Sarutobi, personally helping the birthing process and her husband helping with the Kyuubi's seal.
"You're doing great. Just a little bit more, grit your teeth and bear it!" the old woman barked.
"I-is she going to be okay?" asked the Yondaime Hokage as he kept the Kyuubi from breaking free. "I never saw her in so much pain before, is it going to be-"
"Don't gape and ask such questions, pull yourself together! You're the Hokage for goodness' sake!" yelled Biwako, "And do not worry about her! This much pain might kill a man but women are strong! She can endure this!"
Minato nodded as his resolve returned, "Right. Stay strong Kushina, you can do this!"
And do it she did. A healthy baby boy was born.
"He's out! Hot water! quickly!" Biwako ordered the nearest nurse, who promptly did what she was told.
Kushina, in her exhausted state, tried to turn her head towards where her newborn son could possibly be, but due to her bed-ridden state, she was only able to look sideways, and so she needed to ask, "...I-is he here? N-Naruto? Whe-where is he? I don't hear him crying..."
"He's here, he's here!" assured Biwako, "He's alive, breathing, and healthy, but he isn't crying!"
"W-what's wrong with him?" asked Minato, as worried as his wife was.
"I do not know... But don't be discouraged, from what I can see, he's fine and well." Biwako said as she covered Naruto with a cloth, "Come on now, child... Your parents are expecting you." she said softly to the blonde-haired baby who appeared to be sleeping.
She brought him over to Minato and Kushina, who looked at him with expectant yet worried eyes.
After a second of tense silence, the baby coughed once, twice, then repeatedly.
"N-Naruto! Naruto?!" Kushina yelled out of worry at seeing her newborn son coughing profusely.
But afterwards it stopped as he began to breathe regularly, prompting a relieved sigh from his parents. "Thank goodness... w-what's going on with him?"
"I do not know..." Biwako answered Minato with honesty, "He looks healthy, there's no apparent physical defects... But he's strangely calm for a newborn baby... Why he is, I do not know."
Then, Kushina saw his eyes fluttering, as if he's trying to open it, "Oh, l-look..." she weakly said to the others.
As they focused their attention to him again, Naruto slowly opened his eyes, and the first thing that he saw was the face of his own mother.
His blue eyes found Kushina's purple ones, and she found that his gaze was quite intense, it was as if he's evaluating her. But she smiled, her happiness unbidden at seeing the face of her firstborn. And then, she said; "Hi... Hi Naruto..."
He blinked once before he tried to reach Kushina with his hands, moaning as he did so.
Kushina smiled as she used her hand to caress his small, plump cheek and moved her head closer so that he could reach her, "Hello... I'm your mother..." she said softly to him.
When Naruto touched Kushina's cheek and rubbed it slightly, she felt happy. Happier than she had ever been. This little baby, this little, healthy baby boy was her son. She looked at the strands of blonde hair on his head, his brilliant blue eyes, and thought, 'He looks just like Minato... hehe... I'm kinda glad he doesn't have my red hair...' she thought to herself, remembering that despite the fact that her husband liked her hair, she had preferred her child not having that particular physical trait of hers.
Hearing her husband's voice filled with worry, she turned her gaze from Naruto to Minato, "Minato? What's wrong?"
He then swiftly moved towards the seal located on her belly and immediately strengthened the seal, "The seal! It's...!"
She then directed her eyes towards her belly and saw that the seal keeping the Bijuu at bay was spreading across her body, and one of the tendril-like ink even moved up to her cheek, specifically, the place where Naruto's hand was.
Biwako immediately pulled Naruto's hand away, and the seal's tendril retreated back, and Minato wasted no more time in giving his own chakra to strengthen the seal.
"W-what was that?" asked Kushina, who was still afraid because of what just happened.
"Whatever it was, I hope that is the last we will see of it." Biwako said as she saw Naruto, who seemed oblivious to what has happened, "Still, I had never seen a baby so calm and collected... Not to mention with eyes so intense, it seems as if he could comprehend his environment."
The old matriarch of the Sarutobi family couldn't fight the feeling that this baby was somewhat confusing. There's something that made him feel so alien that she couldn't help but to be baffled, but not really knowing why her instinct was acting that way.
"But despite my hopes, I think it will be best if he doesn't touch you for the moment. Just to be cautious."
"This is not an argument, Kushina." said Biwako, cutting her off, "We do not know what happened, but it's clear that being in the proximity of your boy caused that to happen, so for now, he will be put out of your range until we can safely test this again. Am I understood?"
After Kushina begrudgingly agreed, Biwako and the other nurses performed the usual procedures before she brought Naruto away, leaving Kushina and Minato alone in the delivery room.
"The Kyuubi, it... did it react to him?" she asked Minato. "I saw the seal trying to reach him but... that, that can't be it, right?"
Minato was unsure about what he had seen either, the seal's strange reaction to Naruto was something that made him afraid. He sighed as he replied with; "To tell you the truth Kushina... I don't know... But..."
"But what...?" she asked as her vigor's slowly returning.
"That was, undoubtedly, a reaction. A harmless one it may be, but Kyuubi... did react to his presence." Minato said, "What that means isn't... exactly clear. But I can hypothesize that either Kyuubi's the one who wanted to interact with him... Or it's the other way around."
An inhuman growl could be heard from within the prison reserved for the Nine-tailed Fox, who is tied into a large boulder by numerous chains.
For the past few minutes, it had been trying to break free from the one holding it at bay, when it sensed the barrier getting weaker due to its container's physical condition and exhaustion, it tried its hardest in attempting to escape.
But its container's significant other, the one they called the Yondaime Hokage, was not someone that it could underestimate. As he managed to maintain the seal's strength despite the nearly overwhelming odds. After all, it did put everything it had to try and break free.
After a while, it had begun to give up, until finally, it decided to let go and to accept the fact that it would serve another indefinite amount of time within its jailer's psyche.
But after a few moments of will-crushing defeat, it felt something.
Something, whatever it was, tried to connect with it, bypassing the seal and its jailer's mental fortitude within the span of a few seconds. And so Kyuubi responded back in turn, hoping that whatever this... interference was, it would be able to help it break through the seal.
But then, like all good things that had come its way for countless times before, it was taken away once again, leaving it with nothing more than a fuel to be fed to his ever-growing feeling of hatred.
However, as it felt the seal's strength returning ever so slowly, and imprisoning it once more in the dark corners of its jailer's mind, Kyuubi also felt that the previous interference had caused a difference within its jail.
It was similar to the feeling that a human would have when they entered their house after leaving it for a while and found out that the location of all the furniture in the living room had been subtly changed in his absence.
There was something that just doesn't belong here, was what the Bijuu thought. Something that gave a slight but noticeable feeling of wrongness. Like a piece of modern furniture in a room filled with antique objects, or a sad, melancholic song with grim undertone being played in a supposedly festive occasion.
As if on cue, the chains that kept it bound rattled, as if there was something that's manually shaking it. Then, it felt the tremor that shook the whole room, and for the first time in several decades spent being sealed to two different people, it grinned...
The giant fox then grabbed the rattling chains and gathered its energy and squeeze them to try and break them...
And to its glee, it managed to do precisely that.
Then it roared as its anger and hatred towards its jailer began to return with a vengeance now that there's a chance for it to break free from the abominable cage.
Biwako was about to reach the room where she would place Naruto in when the whole building shook, as if an earthquake had occurred.
"Wh-what's going on?" one of the nurses asked.
The old woman looked towards the location where the tremor originated, and her expression turned to one filled with abject horror as she realized what was going on.
"Taji, we do not have time to gawk. Namikaze-san can handle this and with that spike of energy, the other ANBU members must've been alerted and responded. We need to get this boy to safety first." she said as she began to increase her pace, fully-intent on bringing the newborn to a safe place.
As the whole building began to tremble and collapse, the old woman felt her frailty affecting her as she slowed down slightly to catch her breath after just a few minutes of running, "Biwako-sama, are you alright?" asked Taji.
She took a deep breath before she said; "I am... alright... But I can't go faster, my body just won't... let me." she then gave Naruto to Taji and continued; "Take him. You are younger, physically much more capable, and an ANBU to add. Go. Get him out of here, if possible, get him to Hiruzen. If what I'm suspecting is true... then this building will not last long. Not if that creature is indeed free."
"But Biwako-sama, I can't just leave you alo-"
"Do not argue with me, go!" she ordered Taji as she pointed towards the direction of the exit.
Her expression changed from a face filled with uncertainty to one filled with resolve as she nodded and said; "Hai."
When Taji ran away with Naruto in her arms, the old woman attempted to regulate her breathing as she leaned over a wall, 'That boy's but a few hours old... And I had already gone through many decades. If I were to die here, and him to go on living... then so be it...'
Orders are orders. One of the many excuses for a soldier to follow even the most atrocious of directives.
And despite being an ANBU, due to her profession overlapping with being a medic-nin, some of the time, Taji had difficulty in following orders. Of course, thanks to her ANBU training, her hesitance would always be suppressed so that she would have no feelings of burden in following them.
But due to her somewhat small experience in being an ANBU, she couldn't deny that most of the time, she cared more about the lives and well-beings of people around her rather than doing the most rational option available.
'There were only a few ANBU near Biwako-sama.' she justified what the wife of Sandaime Hokage had told her to do, she turned her head slightly towards the sound of destruction and added, 'And most of them are probably handling Kushina-san's problem with the Kyuubi... if that is indeed her Bijuu...'
The haunting howl akin to what one would consider as the roar that came out of a terrifying monstrosity of an unimaginable scale echoed throughout the area, and Taji immediately increased her speed, not because she was afraid... But because of who she was holding in her arms.
The faint moaning sounds that came from the baby became an incentive for her to survive, so that in return, this boy could also live on.
After she finally got out of the building, she did not stop and continued running, she didn't even hesitate and turn her head back...
Until she heard the sound of a building being completely decimated. It was similar to a sound of an explosion of great magnitude, in that it brought the feeling of dread that crawled in her spine.
She didn't stop, but she did take a look back...
And she saw the terrifying figure of the legendary Nine-tailed Fox, roaring into the shining moon up in the night sky.
Its howl alone was terrifying to be heard. But its physical appearance magnified that feeling of terror several folds, the gigantic human like body with the head of a fox covered in bright orange fur, a pair of red eyes that conveyed its anger, and the nine giant tails which was the reason why it was called as such.
The most powerful of the Bijuu, they said it was. And even though she was far away from the beast itself, the sheer power that it exuded made her believe that notion without hesitation.
Taji then re-focused herself to the task at hand and turn her head away from the beast. 'Hokage-sama will be able to handle it... I need to get his son to safety... I...!'
Seeing the baby, Taji couldn't help but to feel slight despair and uncertainty. She knew that the possibility of this boy's mother surviving the ordeal of the Bijuu's breakout was very, very small. And now that the beast had broken free, she had a lingering doubt that made her thinking that the Yondaime might not be able to survive from attempting to contain the Kyuubi.
But Taji steeled herself, even if the possibility of this boy growing up without his birth parents around was quite likely, she would not allow herself to believe that this boy would become an orphan. Not when there's still hope that they, or at least one of them could still be alive after all of this was over.
She looked at Naruto, who looked back at her with such innocent, curious gaze and thought, 'You've been brought into this world by parents who love you and have been expecting you for a long time... But why would such a thing happen on the day of your birth...?'
The medic-nin just couldn't take it. She hated the fact that fate could be so cruel and callous at times. "Naruto... Don't worry, okay? Your parents will be fine." she said to him, not caring for the fact that he couldn't possibly understand what she's saying, "Don't you worry... Everything's going to be alright. The Nine-tailed Fox will be put down, they will come for you, they will take you home, they will take care of you, they will watch you grow up, just like any parents would do to their child, okay?"
Struggling to compose herself, Taji then said, "...So don't worry... They will be there for you... I promise."
And so, as the moon loomed over the legendary beast, the Hokage, and the child-carrying medic-nin, the events promised for the future had changed. Veered from its supposed course due to several missing and added variables that influenced the direction it had been going before.
In another universe, this memorable day was not supposed to occur until two months from now. In that universe, the Fox's breakout was caused by another man.
Someone who was slightly... incapacitated as of this moment.
Deep within an artificially created underground system, the echoes of a man growling in pain could be heard throughout its whole area.
The sound originated within a small chamber, the man's pain was unmistakable as the thing that afflicted him so reached to cellular-level. Such a thing had assured periodical bouts of agonizing pain would befall him for an indefinite amount of time.
But, the man was not without patience and perseverance. He endured the pain for he had experienced hell once in his life before, and this one, to him, was not as painful as what he had experienced.
So it will not destroy him. For he had been destroyed long before this mysterious affliction came by.
Despite knowing that it was the time to enact the plan of his master, he could barely move during the intense bouts of pain that had been increasing during the past few weeks.
Endure it he could, but to utilize his body during said affliction was something that he couldn't possibly do.
Even with the help of his 'mutual friends', he was unable to overcome the pain. And so he had to let go of the one chance to enact the plan to forcefully release the beast known as the Nine-tailed Fox and control it to destroy the village in which its jailer lived on.
Little did he know that it had already happened despite his lack of involvement...
But nevertheless, when he did find out, it would not satisfy him. Nor would it give any semblance of happiness for him.
For his master's plan, the one that he had sworn to help in succeeding after his demise, was irrevocably ruined.
Knowing this however, he resolved to form a new plan. One that would be similar in spirit to his master's previous one, but different in its execution.
However, all of it had to wait until this affliction goes away in due time. Preferably in the shortest amount of time as possible.
But even if it would not be gone in the near future... The man's patience and perseverance would not bring him down.
'If I could endure the hells that I've been through for the last couple of years... What difference would going through another couple of weeks or months of the same old thing make?' he thought bitterly.
He growled in pain again due to the near-constant agony of having the alien biological structure that had been implanted on him for several years on the right side of his body was being rejected in conjunction of it growing new ones to replace it in such a continuous, but slow pace.
'...This will not defeat me... I have to make something out of this... I will make something useful out of this... I swear...for all that I've worked for, for all that I've lost... I will come out of this stronger than before. I will not become weak!'
Curiosity. The desire to know. To learn. In his eyes, everything must've seemed... wondrous, amazing, and each of them different.
The intensity of his gaze was very adorable to Taji's eyes. It was as if he's trying to comprehend the things around him. And she had a feeling that he's learning many things with every second he's spent awake.
It was just thirty minutes ago when she finally reached Sarutobi Hiruzen, who had already heard the sound of explosion that came from the remote area that was caused by the Kyuubi and was about to prepare a group of Shinobi to come along with him to investigate.
When he saw that she brought Minato's child with her, he had immediately asked her about what was going on.
She immediately told him what had happened. The Kyuubi somehow broke free, and in the wake of the beast's breakout, the ANBU members that was guarding the building where Kushina was delivering Naruto in had came to Yondaime Hokage's aid to quell the beast.
Almost immediately, Hiruzen Sarutobi became the stern leader known as the Sandaime Hokage, he immediately gathered many Shinobi and Kunoichi from Chuunin to Jounin class to aid Minato while ordering the civilians and the would-be-ninjas and Genins be protected by several Jounins and members of ANBU.
Taji was ordered by him to secure Naruto's safety. And she immediately brought him to the nearest shelter and had been staying there to this moment.
It was a shelter that she shared along with several others, most of them civilians, who were filled with fear. Fear that the Kyuubi's power would prove to be too much for even the Hokage to handle.
Even she could only hope that what they're assuming wasn't the case. 'Hokage-sama... please, don't die. Your son is waiting for you... Please, save Kushina-san and return...' she pleaded.
Hearing the soft voice of a woman calling out to her, she raised her head and met with a woman with jet black hair and onyx-shaded eyes. The physical traits of an Uchiha.
Like her, she also carried a baby with her. Taji could not see whether it was a boy or a girl, nor of its exact age. But if she were to guess, the baby was probably a month old.
"I can't help but notice... that baby looks very similar to Minato Namikaze." she said with a low volume, "Is he his son?"
Taji nodded as she said; "Yes. This is Minato-sama's son." she said as she smiled at Naruto.
Then, the Uchiha woman's face turned rather apprehensive as she went on to say; "They say that the Kyuubi was sighted nearby, is this true?"
"Yes. It is indeed, true." Taji answered.
The woman then seemed to be contemplating something before she sat down in front of her and whispered, "My name is Mikoto Uchiha... And I know about the Yondaime's relationship with Kushina Uzumaki."
Taji's eyes widened, she knew that Mikoto Uchiha was a close friend of Naruto's mother, and so she would know about some things that the public of Konoha are not aware of.
And she proved it when she continued with; "And I know... that she's the Jinchuuriki of the Kyuubi."
There it was. If she knew about her status as a Jinchuuriki, that would also mean that there's a possibility that she also knew about the meaning of Kyuubi's sighting. "What is going on with Kushina? Is she...?" she trailed off, as if not wanting to speak further.
Taji could only shook her head as she said; "I do not know... I was tasked by Biwako-sama to get this boy out. And now, my task is to keep him safe... I know nothing about what's going on."
Mikoto took a deep breath and a depressed sigh, knowing that her friend, Kushina, might be dead. "...Is Minato still...?"
"...I see." she said after a moment of silence. She then decided to ask; "What's his name?"
Taji smiled again as she said; "They named him Naruto."
Mikoto procured a melancholic smile as she muttered; "Naruto, huh...?" she asked rhetorically.
Seeing the blonde baby boy looking at her so intently, Mikoto couldn't help but to smile, 'He has his father's looks...' she thought. Then, she turned to the sleeping baby that she's holding and said; "Well, Naruto... this is Satsuki."
The baby girl was shown to Naruto, whose eyes almost literally sparkled with curiosity as he went and try to reach her with his hand.
Mikoto smiled and said; "He's very aware of his surroundings, isn't he?"
"Yes... he is." answered Taji.
Ever since his birth, Naruto had demonstrated his advanced cognitive functions that should only come up once he's a little bit older than a few hours. 'He's not an ordinary child...' Taji thought.
"By the way... what's your name, if I may ask?" asked Mikoto.
"My name's Kanzaki. Kanzaki Taji." answered Taji.
It was about an hour or more after their meeting that the it was declared that the whole situation had been resolved and they could sleep peacefully.
However, before they could go into their respective homes, the Hokage had something to say for the population of Konoha. And so, Taji, along with Mikoto, went into the center of the town to hear what he had to say...
Before they arrived at the town center, they were expecting Minato Namikaze to stand and tell them that the Kyuubi had been put down. And that what he wanted to say was an assurance of a sort, something that would calm the fearful masses down.
But what they saw was Hiruzen, he stood there, surrounded by some ANBU members as he waited for the gathered population to calm down so that he could explain the reason why they were gathered there.
Then after the masses had all calmed down, he began his speech.
"People of Konoha..." he began, "Today, we of the Shinobi forces had responded to a threat posed by a Bijuu. The Nine-tailed Fox, to be exact. And I am here to tell you... that the threat it posed... is no more! The Kyuubi has been defeated and pushed away from our village!"
The people began to cheer out of relief, glad that they were safe from harm's way.
"However!" shouted Hiruzen, silencing them again, "We didn't manage to do so without losing some people in the process."
When that statement was spoken, the whole crowd became tense and silent, and then the old man said this; "In the aftermath of the battle... Among the few who lost their lives, there was one remarkable person who has sacrificed his life for ours... Minato Namikaze, the Yondaime Hokage, has fallen in the line of duty."
Murmur of disbelief, grief and sadness began to wash over the crowd, and it hit Taji the hardest, because her hope for the boy's life had been crushed with that simple sentence.
"Due to his death, I shall once again take the mantle of the Hokage. We shall prepare a proper funeral for the Yondaime Hokage and the others who died protecting us all." he stated, "And as the current Hokage, I order you all... to take a moment of silence for Minato Namikaze and these brave people."
And so they did. Out of respect for their fallen leader, who sacrificed himself for their safety. And after it was finished, Hiruzen continued; "That is all. Go to your home, all of you. We've lost a few but great men today... Let their sacrifice be remembered."
With varying degree of grief, the crowd dispersed as they began to leave the premises, their vigor considerably lessened after the news of Yondaime's death.
But Taji didn't leave, she walked towards Hiruzen, her expression filled with sadness, despair and grief, combined together. "Hokage-sama." she called to him.
Seeing her, Hiruzen immediately went to her, he looked at the baby boy as he cast his head down as he said; "Forgive me child..."
"Hokage-sama, w-what about Kushina-san?" Taji asked, hoping that at least the baby's mother lived still, "Did she survive?"
The Hokage's reply was his silence and his grim expression... And Taji knew that the answer was not the one that she had been hoping for. "...I-if so... then what would happen to him?" she asked about Naruto, now concerned about the baby's well-being.
Hiruzen sighed as he said; "It will be discussed by the council... But nevertheless, I will have the final say. I will do what's best for him, I promise."
Taji nodded, "Good... good. Thank you so much Hokage-sama, I..." she stopped when she was reminded about who she had left behind, "Hokage-sama, did Biwako-sama made it?"
Hiruzen nodded, "She did, but... She suffered many injuries. The best medic-nins in this village are trying to save her, but..."
The old Hokage sighed before he noticed how close Taji was holding Naruto and how attached she was to the little baby boy, 'Hm... Maybe I could...' he procured a faint smile as he thought, 'Perhaps... I will see whether or not she would agree to the notion.'
"Taji, if there is a chance of you becoming the one responsible in taking care of Naruto, would you take it?" Hiruzen asked.
"...I-I'm sorry Hokage-sama?" to her, the question seemed so sudden and out of nowhere, so it was the only response that she could form.
Hiruzen smiled and said; "Would you be willing to be his adoptive parent if there is a chance for it to happen?"
"A-ah, I-I..." she was somewhat incapable to immediately answer that, but despite that, deep down, she knew what answer she would give. So she took a deep breath to compose herself before she said; "I would, Hokage-sama. I... I cannot bear to think of him growing up alone. If Minato-sama and Kushina-san isn't around... And if I were chosen to be his parent... Then I shall do my best to raise him."
Hiruzen nodded as she patted her shoulder, "Then I will see what I can do to make that happen."
Taji smiled as she nodded, "Thank you Hokage-sama."
He nodded before he left, and as he performed a Shunshin to reach the Hokage building, his thought was; '...Minato... I will make sure of Naruto's safety and well-being... I promise you with my life.
'And I'm sorry as well... for what we had to do...'
To be continued...
So, what do you think? A new story altogether with some elements from the old ones. Took some elements from some comic books as well, which would be glaringly obvious in the next chapter if not in this one.
If you're wondering who the heck Kanzaki Taji is, she's not an OC that I made up, she was a canon character made by Masashi Kishimoto that was assigned to the task of helping Kushina deliver Naruto. Since the only background information about the character was just 'she was an ANBU tasked to help Kushina delivering her baby before she was killed by Tobi', she's essentially an OC Stand In, and so I decided to use her and add a surname to her given one.
And why would Hiruzen try to assign Taji to adopt Naruto? Well, in many fanfiction stories that addressed the question why Naruto was not given to a specific clan to be adopted or to Jiraiya or Tsunade and instead leaving him as an orphan, it was to prevent him from being known by Konoha's enemies like Iwa or Kumo.
Take that as you will.
Anyway, the next chapter will be set eight years after the ending of this chapter.
Thank you for reading. And if you would be so kind, please leave a review.