Where a Blonde Blasphemes
After an examination by a physical therapist the next morning, Naruto was pronounced able to leave the hospital and resume light activities that included light stretching and light-duty runs of the kata Minato had been teaching him for the past few years. The walk was slower than he would have liked, but the fact that Minato was even letting him do it without a single word of fuss was beyond his comprehension. It's like in the 6 weeks he was out Kushina took someone who looked like his brother and moulded him into a new person! Just because Minato stopped excessively henning him didn't mean he escaped it completely. Every few minutes the blonde would ask if he needed to stop for a break, or if he needed help whenever he slowed down a bit. He would never admit it, but he was glad that Minato hadn't completely changed. He could deal with this new toned down Minato just perfectly.
"Naruto-nichan!" A child's voice rang loudly down the fairly packed street. Naruto saw a head of spiky black hair dodging in between villagers before parking itself in front of Naruto. The raven glared up at the blonde before punching him in the gut. It wasn't enough to really hurt, but he still winced and almost laughed when Minato caught the boy's arm and glared at him so hard Obito looked about to wet himself. Naruto smiled and the boy, still throwing glances at Minato and rubbing his arm, wrapped his arms around Naruto's waist and squeezed him tight.
"Don't ever do that again! You made sensei cry a lot!" Naruto smiled sadly and knelt down to his level. "I know, I'll make it up to her, you'll see! Now about you, why are you out in the middle of the streets by yourself? You may be an academy student but you're still only 9." Obito puffed his cheeks out and gave Naruto a sour look.
"I'm ten now, you missed my birthday when you were out. Besides I'm not alone! I'm with oba-chan!" Naruto looked up and saw a pretty black haired lady smiling and waving at Minato. In her arms she carried an infant that appeared to be only a week or two old. The baby had black tufts of hair on the top of his head and was sleeping soundly, oblivious to the bustle around him.
"Ah Minato-san. What a pleasure! And nice to finally meet you Naruto-san. Kushina told me a lot about you from the time you spent together. How are you feeling?" Naruto straightened, placing his hand on Obito's head ruffling the black spikes a little.
"Ah, I'm feeling a lot better than the doctors say I should be," Naruto gave a short laugh and said, "I'm sorry. I don't know your name?" Mikoto laughed and placed a delicate hand to her chest. She reached out to shake his hand and spoke with a kind sounding voice.
"I'm Uchiha Mikoto." That name sounded familiar to Naruto but he dismissed it. There were a lot of Uchiha wandering around these days. "I've been Kushina's best friend since we were children in the academy." There, he might have heard Kushina mention her then. Mikoto dropped his hand and gestured towards her newborn and said with the smile that only a first time mother could make, "and this is little Itachi-chan." Naruto froze half-smile. He had not been expecting that. Not one little bit. Sasuke had told him the circumstances of what had really happened and why, but this baby, this tiny wrinkly, pink baby would one day grow up to kill his entire clan save for a brother not even thought of yet, in cold blood.
"-uto-kun?" Naruto blinked and looked over at his brother. Concern was written in bold all over his face. "Are you ok? Should we go back to the hospital?" Naruto shook his head and smile embarrassingly.
"Sorry, I just got a bit of a cramp. It was sudden and shocked me a bit I guess. Was I making a face?" Minato eyed him before pursing his lips and didn't say anything else. Facing Mikoto again he apologized. "He's very cute, Mikoto-san. Itachi is a strong name too. I'm sure he'll grow up to be a very good ninja!" Mikoto smiled softly again. Minato wrapped the conversation up and Mikoto and Obito eventually left, leaving Minato to turn his full 'concern' on and he bombarded the younger blonde with questions, most of which he didn't know the answers to.
Climbing up the steps to their small apartment, Naruto had to stop on the third flight to catch his breath, and again on the fifth. It was embarrassing. Minato jiggled his keys into the lock and swung the door open to a horrible sight.
"Sensei! What the hell are you doing?" Jiraiya started and squeezed the carton of milk he had been drinking. The white liquid squirted all over his face and emptied itself onto his shirt and the floor. In the sennin's other hand was a sandwich, and on the counter was more evidence of the thievery that Minato couldn't believe Jiraiya, the frog sennin, had lowered himself to. Unbelievable. Naruto just laughed at the scene.
Wiping his face on the hand towel, Jiraiya ignored Minato's protesting and scrambling to clean the floor up. Dropping the towel on the counter and smiled and opened his arms to Naruto as if to invite a hug. Naruto looked him up and down, still soaked with milk and stood his ground. Jiraiya dropped his arms and said, managing to sneak a little fake-hurt into his voice, "Ah, my boy! You're awake and home! The old man told me you had woken up a few days ago but I didn't expect you to be out so soon!" Naruto shifted his feet and said, "Yea barely any of my muscles atrophied so they told me I could start light exercise and chakra work." "Excellent! Listen are you hungry? I have stuff I need to talk to you about; I'll take you out to dinner."
"But you just ate! My food!" Minato cried out indigently. Jiraiya shrugged and said, "I'll buy you some groceries so shut up. I need to talk to Naruto alone." Minato opened his mouth again, but seeing the look that was starting to creep up on his brother's face he closed it again. There was fear, apprehension, hesitation, and resignation on the boy's face. He mentally noted it and stored it away. "Sensei, he just got out of the hospital. Are you sure it's a good idea?" Jiraiya smiled and said loudly, "Sure! Tsunade-hime was my teammate; I learned a thing or two about medicine. He'll be fine, he's a strong lad!" Naruto didn't say anything as Jiraiya wrapped his arm around his shoulder. In truth, he didn't even notice. The blonde was too busy trying to come up with answers to questions he hadn't been asked yet. Minato hesitated but nodded and informed Jiraiya that he was to bring home Naruto as soon as he got tired, and that he was under no uncertain terms to begin any sort of physical training yet. Jiraiya huffingly agreed and practically dragged the blonde out the apartment.
At first the white haired man was tempted to sneak him into a bar, but he figured that he was about to talk about sensitive information, so he brought Naruto to the still new Ichiraku ramen. The blonde perked up at sight of his favourite restaurant, but started to wilt when Jiraiya asked for the private room that Ichiraku usually had reserved for business clients. Forking over some cash, the woman that Naruto had been introduced to as Teuchi's wife, led them to the room and took their orders. Jiraiya didn't say anything at all until the ramen arrived some ten minutes later. It was unnerving and Naruto found that his appetite was missing. He poked at his noodles until Jiraiya started to talk.
"Do you know what we need to talk about?" Naruto looked up and wanted to wither at the stern look. "Not really." Naruto responded, although he and Jiraiya both knew that he did.
"If you want some good news, although it hasn't been crossed off the list because you really never know, neither I nor the Hokage believe you to be a sleeper agent. You show none of the signs of that." Naruto felt a heavy weight lift off of his shoulders. He knew that he arrived under suspicious circumstances and this was a shinobi village after all, suspicion was ingrained into them. Naruto looked up when Jiraiya spoke again.
"But just because we don't think you are a sleeper, doesn't mean you aren't the enemy. Minato is one of the strongest active jounin in the village at the moment, and the old man has told me that he is considering adding him to the running of potential candidates to take over his position when he retires, depending on how well your brother handles the work involved." Hearing that his older brother was already working his way into the office made Naruto want to puff his chest out. His brother had all the qualities for Hokage and after living with him for almost three years, it wasn't hard to see the man he'd become and be famous for.
"I know you know that I have been taking note of every little thing you do." Naruto looked down at his untouched ramen. It was blasphemous, but he didn't think he'd be able to take eating any of it. "And some of the things you do can be explained by amnesia, but others... I just can't figure it out." Jiraiya put his hand up to his chin and made a thinking pose. "So help me understand."
Naruto shifted uncomfortably. He was torn. This man was the closest thing he ever had to a father. Iruka tried his best, but Naruto had always thought of him as more of an older brother. "I can try... I guess." Jiraiya lowered his hands.
"I've been searching around using my contacts to their full extent to find anything about you, and I have found some very mysterious information. Would you like to hear about it?" Naruto nodded, trying to keep some colour in his face. "Do you know what the Kyuubi no Youko is?" Naruto gulped and nodded.
"It's a giant fox demon with nine-tails. It's supposed to be terribly evil and made of pure chakra." Jiraiya nodded and said, "Yes yes, until it was sealed away into Uzumaki Mito during the fight at the valley of the end by Uchiha Madara and Senju Hashirama, the first Hokage. The fox escaped once about 15 years ago, but was quickly subdued by Mito-sama, at the cost of her life."
Sealed up in Kushina, he means. Naruto thought, scrunching his nose slightly. This was a touchy subject with him, despite the fox being gone from his body for years. "What does the Kyuubi have to do with anything?" Naruto asked; he genuinely didn't know what was going on.
"About 15 years ago, around the time you were probably born, there were a pair of brothers from Kumogakure. When the Kyuubi had rampaged for the two weeks before Mito-sama sealed it up, they had tried, like many others, to defeat the demon. Impossible of course, and the first thing the fox did was to swallow them whole. Now normally this would be the death of anyone, but the two brothers didn't die. They survived for the entire two weeks by eating bits of the fox's flesh and hopefully giving it a bad stomach ache." Jiraiya winked and Naruto smiled weakly. "The fox spit the brothers up and reportedly they have been able to use chakra similar to the Kyuubi's." Naruto smiled a bit more. Despite being Kyuubi's jinchuuriki for the better part of thirty years, no one ever wanted to tell tales of it, other than the devastation it caused to Konoha.
"The most interesting part, though, is that the only physical manifestation of being exposed to so much pure chakra was three scars on either side of their cheeks. Rather a-lot like whisker marks, I hear." Naruto paled again. He had never figured out whether he was born with the marks, if they were scars from a bad caretaker when he was a baby, or if it was just exposure to Kyuubi when he was an infant.
"Do... Do you think I was exposed to its chakra?" Naruto asked, touching his face. Jiraiya shrugged and said, "I don't know, but the timing seems about right. Maybe your mother died when the Kyuubi attacked where ever it was she was being held, or hiding, or whatever happened." Naruto sat back and looked shocked. He had never really given the marks any thought, and the fact that they had occurred on others made him wonder why Kushina didn't bear any marks.
"Is that what you wanted to tell me? You could have said that in front of Minato." Naruto said, stirring the now cold ramen with a chopstick. Jiraiya stopped smiling. "I like you, gaki. The old man likes you too. He says that you remind him of me when I was your age, albeit a little less..." Jiraiya was at a loss for what to call his special talents so Naruto finished for him. "Perverted?" Jiraiya clicked his tongue but didn't argue.
"There is something strange about this whole thing though. Nothing makes sense. I see that you don't like doing it, especially to me for some reason, but you lie all the time when you talk about yourself. I can see that some of it is a partial lie, and some of the things you tell are truths, but whether or not they are in context, I don't believe you have amnesia. Not in the sense that Minato and the Old Man thinks anyway." Naruto gaped. He didn't know how to respond to that, so he didn't. He just stared with wide, scared blue eyes.
"Because I like you so much, I'm not handing you over to the interrogation squad. There is something in your eyes that shows you know way more than you are supposed to, and I'm giving you your chance right now." Naruto sat and stared down at his ramen. He sat and started to think. No matter how hard he thought though, it seemed like every answer, every story he came up were flimsier and more ridiculous than the last. Taking a deep breath he looked up slowly and right into Jiraiya's eyes.
"I...Ok. I want two conditions before I say anything." Jiraiya's eyes were immediately interested, but his body language immediately turned a bit hostile. If Naruto was an enemy he'd have no choice but to incapacitate this kid, and that thought was threatening to break his heart. The white haired man nodded sharply and Naruto took another breath.
"What I tell you does not leave this room. I don't want the old man Hokage to know about this...yet, or ever. I trust you a lot more than I trust him. So the ANBU detail there," he pointed above him to the ceiling, "and there," he pointed to the far wall, "need to leave. As well as any other surveillance device you are carrying." Jiraiya looked startled and there was a small thump that sounded through the floor of the ceiling. Jiraiya nodded and waved his hands, and Naruto felt the chakra signatures disappear. Jiraiya pulled out the small wire he had in his poket and dismissed a tiny little toad no bigger than his thumb. Naruto closed his eyes and felt around. He snorted quietly when he found nothing that would impeach his conditions.
"I realize that Hokage-sama will be very interested to hear this, since I dismissed his ANBU, but to be honest, they aren't very good at hiding themselves. I've been noticing them since Ni-san started training me years ago. I'll tell him eventually, I suppose. But he can wait until the time is right. I'm feeling the pressure of this whole thing and I need an ally." Jiraiya almost smiled. He liked this kid more and more.
"This is a long and awful story and I really hate thinking about it, much less thinking about it. So stop me if you have a question, I will not repeat myself." Jiraiya nodded after a second.
"And the second requirement?" Jiraiya asked, causing the blonde to let a small smile slip onto his features.
"Sake. You should order us Sake. I haven't had any in years." Jiraiya's eyes opened wide and then narrowed. What responsible adult let children have sake? Jiraiya poked his head out of the room. Jiraiya was many things, but 'responsible adult' wasn't one that came up very often.
Jiraiya poured the first up of hot sake and watched as Naruto slammed it back like a professional. At least, until he started coughing. Naruto beat his chest and frowned. "I guess I'm not as healed as I thought I was."
Jiraiya poured another cup for himself and Naruto, who sipped it slowly this time.
"I guess... A good place to start is that, well, I'm from the future."
Naruto scratched the back of his head and sighed. "It's really hard to explain. I... I tried to kill myself and someone activated a presumably unheard of and forbidden jutsu and tried to send me back to the day before to undo my mistake, but it was interfered with and I got sent a lot farther back than I thought I would." He saw the look on Jiraiya's face and took another gulp of the warm liquid.
"This is so ridiculous I can't even tell if you are lying." Jiraiya finally managed.
"Is it more ridiculous than if I told you I was 29 before? And a father?" Pain flashed behind Naruto's eyes as they always did and Jiraiya let his mouth fall open.
"Kami-sama... You..." Jiraiya rubbed a hand through his hair and looked around to see if someone was waiting to jump out and yell "Surprise!" but no one was there. Of course not. He let his hand fall down and said, "Alright. Start from the beginning. Wherever you see fit." Naruto nodded. Jiraiya's reaction had almost been amusing.
"I'll start from the beginning. My life's been a mess since the day I was born." Naruto took a deep breath and told his life story. All the way up to the day little Hinata died in Sakura's equally cold arms.
Naruto stopped to wipe tears off of his face, and saw through the window that the sun had fallen and Minato was probably furious. Standing up he dusted his pants off and left without a word. Jiraiya watched him leave but he didn't stop him. The white haired man had been relatively quiet, only asking a few questions here and there, but Naruto had no doubt that after a night of stewing on it he'd have a whole book of questions to ask.
He made his way home slowly, stiff from sitting, but the exercise felt good. He was right in that his brother was worried; Minato wouldn't sit down and didn't stop berating him, Jiraiya, and the entire village until he had personally tucked the younger blonde onto his futon, much to Naruto's chagrin. Telling Jiraiya was oddly uplifting, he felt as if a lot of weight had been lifted from his entire being, and he was pretty sure that he fell asleep before his brother even stopped talking.
End Chapter 16
:O Sorry, I had this finished for a few days but my mom's dog chewed through my laptop cord and I had to wait until my dad fixed it for me. Also as to Jiraiya's reactio, I hope I portrayed it in an easy to understand way. I imagined that at first he'd be like "what." but after seeing no lies in Naruto's body language he decided to entertain him. Whether or not he believes Naruto is an issue for another time. :)