Naruto: A New Direction
DISCLAIMER: The following piece is a fan fiction. Many of the characters, settings, and techniques in this fan fiction are based off the manga of Naruto created by Masashi Kishimoto. I claim no credit for the majority of characters, places, and/or techniques that already exist in the world of Naruto. This is the story of Naruto told in a different way.
Volume 1: Leaf Buds Arc
The sun was shining brilliantly in the sky as it cast its rays down upon the land. It was peaceful spring day, a perfect day to mark a momentous occasion in a special village. This village was different from others because it did not just house civilians; it was also a village of ninja from various families and clans. This particular village was located in a place called the Land of Fire, the largest country in the eastern lands; this village was known as the Village Hidden in the Leaves and, just like the Land of Fire, it too was the largest ninja village in the eastern lands. It was true there were other ninja villages-some were just as old as the Hidden Leaf while others were more recent.
The Hidden Leaf Village had stood as the main military strength for the Land of Fire, but it also stood for many other things-including a harbinger of peace. Over the last few decades, a war had been waging between the ninja villages with no end in sight. The war had been building up because of rumors spreading amongst the villages and all it took for the war to finally break out was a single incident. The war-now referred to as the Great Shadow War-claimed the lives of many innocent souls, both ninja and civilian alike. But then, everything changed when a group of Hidden Leaf Ninjas discovered the true perpetrators of the war: the Ronin, the wandering ninja. After the Ronin were exposed, the villages stopped fighting amongst themselves and worked together to weed out the enemy, which had infiltrated the ninja villages. It wasn't long before the Ronin disappeared into the shadows and were never heard from again. The war had finally come to an end. Since then, all the nations, great and small, enjoyed an era of peace that they hoped would last a long time.
The Hidden Leaf Village was bustling with life; the people of the village, both civilian and ninja alike, were pouring out into the streets for today was a magnificent day. It was the day that the previous Hokage would step down and a new Hokage would step forth to lead the village. Everyone was very excited, for the new Hokage was a person who was loved by all the people. This man, who had earned the title of Hokage, had strived down a very difficult road and had faced many great trials including losing some of his dear friends. This man was a legend not just within the Leaf Village, but also throughout the various countries for he was the biggest contributor to ending the Great Shinobi. This man had many aliases; the most famous of these was "The Yellow Flash of the Leaf."
It was roughly midday as the entire village gathered around the Hokage tower. It was a large, round building with a crown-like structure on the roof; on the front was the kanji for fire to symbolize the Leaf Village's allegiance with the Land of Fire. On top of the roof, the crowd could see several other people standing off to either side; they recognized the people instantly. The two on the left were the village elders, Homura Mitokado and Koharu Utatane; Homura was an old, grizzled man who wore thick-rimmed glasses and had graying hair combed straight back while Koharu was an elderly woman with squinty eyes, wrinkled features and graying hair that was tied in a bun in the back. Despite their age, Homura and Koharu had served as advisors to the Hidden Leaf Village for several years now; they had earned the trust and respect of all the ninja of the Hidden Leaf Village.
There was another group of people who stood on the opposite side of the elders-three men and one woman. One of these people was Hiruzen Sarutobi, the Third Hokage of the Leaf Village. Hiruzen was an elderly man about the same age as Koharu and Homura with a slight receding hairline and brown eyes; he wore a long white cloak with the kanji for Hokage on the back. Hiruzen had become Hokage at a very young age, making others worry he was not ready to perform such a great task. But time and time again, he proved to have the skill and prowess needed to protect the village as well as the clarity and level-headed thinking to make the right decisions; these skills are what earned him the his other title, "The Professor." Right next to Hiruzen was a young-looking woman with dark brown eyes and bright yellow hair tied into ponytails behind her head. Her name was Tsunade, the Fourth Hokage. Tsunade had served as the Fourth Hokage of the Hidden Leaf Village since the middle of the Great Shadow War; it was thanks to her that almost every ninja team had a medic ninja and a medical academy was set up right next to the original ninja academy. Tsunade had truly been a beacon of hope for the people of the Leaf through the Great Shadow War.
There were two others right behind Tsunade, patiently waiting for the new Hokage. One was a man with long, spiky white hair tied into one long ponytail. He wore a special headband that had two horns protruding from it with the kanji symbol for "Oil" imprinted on the front. He also wore a red hakama (Japanese jacket) with the kanji for "Toad" imprinted on the back. His name was Jiraiya, the legendary Toad Sage and Tsunade's husband. Standing next of Jiraiya was a man with short gray hair that hung around his face, covering his eyes; he had pale skin and a long jacket with sleeves that had the kanji for serpent on the back and a sword with a snakehead-shaped hilt. His name was Yashagoro, the legendary Serpent Master as well as Jiraiya's and Tsunade's old teammate and best friend. As she looked back at the two of them, she couldn't help but smile at seeing her old team together again; it made her feel nostalgic.
Suddenly, the voices of all the people dropped to subtle whispers. The new Hokage had appeared; the two groups on top of the tower turned their heads to watch as their new leader stepped forward. This man had spiky blonde hair with two long bangs hanging on either side of his face; he had clear blue eyes that shined in the morning light; he had a smile that could put anyone at ease. This man wore a dark green Leaf Village flak jacket with the usual dark blue ninja shirt and pants; he also wore a long white coat over himself-it had flames along the rim and kanji on the back that stood for the virtue, wisdom, compassion, and strength. As he drew closer, he got mixed expressions from both groups on either side of him. To his left, he could Hiruzen, Tsunade, and Jiraiya's faces all brimming with pride-Yashagoro usually kept his face blank, but he let a small smile creep onto it this time. To his right, however, he could see a sour look on the faces of Homura and Koharu, most likely because they had doubts about the new Hokage especially since he was the youngest Hokage since Hiruzen. But the man did not let this bother him, he just continued to walk forward until at last he stood at the brink of the tower, looking over the tower.
A hush fell over the crowd and Homura knew it his time to do his duty. He stepped forward, stood next the new Hokage, looked out to the crowd, and cleared his throat, "Ahem
All hail Minato Namikaze! All hail the Fifth Hokage!" To which the crowd immediately responded with cheering and applause
Later that night, the Hokage tower was brightly lit; a celebration was being held for the new Hokage. Inside the tower, people were enjoying themselves, talking amongst themselves of old times and fond memories as well as enjoying the food and drink provided for the party. The guests mainly consisted of ninja who knew the Fifth Hokage well; but there was one person at the party who was not partaking in any of the festivities. It was a woman with long red hair that hung down to her stomach and dark brown eyes; she wore an orange shirt underneath a long black dress that hung loosely around her. This woman's name was Kushina Uzumaki, soon to be known as Kushina Namikaze, the wife of the Fifth Hokage. It was so hard for Kushina to believe that at long last, she and Minato would finally be bound in holy matrimony; they would no longer have to keep their relationship hidden in the shadows, away from the prying eyes of the elders and other certain individuals.
As Kushina walked around the room, she received various stares from the party guests; some of them were mainly admiring how much of a beauty Kushina had become, but what really grabbed people's attention was Kushina's bulging tummy. Kushina was pregnant with Minato's child; some people in the room already knew of Kushina's pregnancy, but it came as a real shock to the rest village, particularly the female population who felt crestfallen after discovering Minato was taken. As she walked around the room, Kushina was trying to be careful where she walked, placing a protective hand over her belly as if to make sure nothing would happen to her unborn child. She was looking for Minato, her soon-to-be official husband, but couldn't find him anywhere; she had already asked Jiraiya, but he had no idea where his old student could be. As Kushina scanned the room, looking for Minato's trademark spiky yellow hair, she spotted three individuals off to the side whom she instantly recognized.
One was a young boy with long, spiky silver hair who wore a mask that covered the entire lower half of his face from his nose to underneath his chin. He was wearing a blue ninja outfit with steel shoulder and shin guards. Next to him were a boy and girl; the boy had short, spiky black hair, wore a pair of goggles and had a shirt with the symbol of a fan on the back while the girl had short brown hair and two purple lines on her cheeks. These three young ninja made up Minato's old team; if anyone would know where Minato was, they certainly would. As Kushina approached the trio, she made sure to watch very carefully where she walked, making sure not to bump into anything. As she drew closer, the boy with the silver hair was the first to see her.
"Ah, Lady Kushina, nice of you to join us this evening," the silver-haired boy said.
"Stop it, Kakashi," Kushina said with a little giggle, "you don't have to call me 'Lady' anything, it's just Kushina, okay?"
"Heh, sorry, it's an old habit," Kakashi said as he rubbed the back of his head, "but seriously, how are you doing this evening? I must admit, I'm a little surprised to see you here."
"I'll say," the dark-haired boy said, "I didn't think you would come, considering what you're, um, ahem, carrying
Kushina giggled. "Thank you, Obito, but I'm fine. Besides, I wanted to be here for Minato on his big day. It's not often that your husband becomes the newest Hokage."
"That is a pretty big deal," the young brown-haired girl said, "so tell us, Kushina, how far along are you?"
"Aren't you the medical ninja Rin?" Kushina asked. "Can't you tell just by looking at me?"
"Hehe, well I may be a medical ninja, but I'm nowhere near the level of Lady Tsunade," Rin said with a slight blush on her face, "I still have a lot to learn."
"That's not true, Rin," Obito said as he put his arm around her, "I think you're an amazing medical ninja already."
"Oh, stop it, Obito, you're making me blush," Rin said.
Kushina couldn't help but reminisce upon seeing Minato's old team; she remembered how they used be. Kakashi Hatake used to only care about following the rules and completing the mission no matter what the costs, even if it meant risking the lives of his team. He used to be so serious and showed so little emotions; it almost seemed like he was empty inside. But now, he was a much different person; he actually smiled every now and then, although no one could see it because of his mask. He was also more relaxed, often times showing up late to meet the team. He had also come to care more for his teammates than he did about completing the mission. Obito had also changed as well; he used to be such a crybaby who always ran late and wasn't much of a fighter, often times making up excuses for both. Now he was a strong, responsible young man-he was still late when meeting up with his teammates, it just was not as bad as it used to be. Rin had also changed, though not as much as the boys; she was still the same caring medical ninja who always put the well being of her teammates first. The only thing that had changed with Rin was her feelings; it used to be that Rin only had eyes for Kakashi while Obito only had eyes for Rin. It was on one particular mission that Rin finally discovered Obito's feelings and, thanks to a little help and understanding from Kakashi, Rin was able to find where her heart truly belonged. Kakashi had once made a small joke, saying that if Obito and Rin ever wed, he wanted to be the best man at their wedding. Rin almost fainted when she heard that; Obito promised so long as he got to be Kakashi's best man one day.
"Oh dear, I almost forgot why I came over here," Kushina said as she snapped back to the present, "have anyone of you seen Minato? I've been looking everywhere for him."
"You mean sensei," Kakashi said, "well, I don't know. Sorry, Kushina
"I haven't seen sensei either," Rin said, "come to think, I haven't seen him since the party started. What about you, Obito, have you seen sensei anywhere?"
"Now that you mention it Rin, I think I did," Obito said as he scratched his chin, "I believe I saw him heading out to the roof."
"Really? Thank you Obito," Kushina said as she gave a quick bow before moving on.
Kushina quickly found the exit and walked outside into the cool night air. She then began to climb the stair up to the roof; it was there that she found Minato standing in the exact same spot when was announced as the new Hokage. It almost seemed like he had never moved from that spot; Kushina smiled as she watched her lover stand there with the moon gleaming behind him. It almost seemed to give him an ethereal glow that took Kushina's breath away. She then slowly approached Minato before she gently wrapped her arms around him. Minato didn't even flinch; he just placed a gentle hand on hers.
"Nice of you to join me, beautiful," Minato said, "but what are you doing here? I thought you would be at the party right now
"I was, but I couldn't find you," Kushina said as she nuzzled his back, "Besides, shouldn't you be done there as well? It is your party, after all."
"I was down there earlier," Minato said, "but then I just felt like coming out here and seeing the village from this view point one more time
didn't you already see the village when you came forward earlier today?"
"I did, it just didn't sink in at that time
"What didn't sink in?" Kushina asked.
"That I am Hokage now," Minato said as he turned around slowly and wrapped Kushina in his arms, "that I am responsible for the lives here in the Leaf Village, that I have the most beautiful woman in the world as my wife
and that I am going to be a father soon."
"Oh, Minato," Kushina said, her face blushing red. She began to draw Minato into a passionate kiss, until
"Ahem, I hope I'm not interrupting anything," said Jiraiya as he came up the stairs.
Minato sighed. "Sensei, sometimes you have the most impeccable timing." He said.
"Coming from you, Mr. Yellow Flash of the Leaf, I'll consider that a compliment," Jiraiya as he walked over to his student, "So tell me, why aren't you at the party?"
"You too, sensei?" Minato asked. "You're the second person to ask me that tonight
" And so, Minato explained himself one more time to his sensei as he stood there, still in Kushina's arms. "
And that's why I'm out here."
"I see," Jiraiya said as he walked over to take in the view with his student, "That certainly is a lot to take in for just one day
Yup, sure is
Minato rolled his eyes, instantly seeing right through his sensei. "Okay, Jiraiya-sensei, why are you really up here?"
"Am I really that transparent? I must be losing my touch
" Jiraiya sighed a little as he looked to Minato, then Kushina, and finally to the bump on Kushina's belly. "I just wanted to know
if you're really going through with, you know, the name."
"Are still asking about that, sensei?" Minato said, a little surprised, "I already told you, it's a great name and it will be perfect for our son when he's born."
"I know you already told me, but why that name?" Jiraiya said as he began to scratch the back of his head. "I just came up with it when I was eating a bowl of ramen. I'm really starting to think I should've chosen a better name than Naruto. And besides, how do you even know it's going to be a boy, anyway?"
"But it's a very beautiful name, Master Jiraiya," Kushina said as she placed a gentle hand on her abdomen, "besides, we want our son to grow up to be just like the character in your book; strong, brave, determined
it would be so wonderful if he could be just like the Gutsy Ninja. And if it does turn out to be a girl
well, we'll still go with the name; we just may need to change it a little bit."
"Jeez, Kushina, it almost seems like by picking that name, you're asking me to the child's godfather
" Jiraiya chuckled as a little, until he noticed the looks on Minato and Kushina, "Wait, you're serious?"
"Of course, sensei," Minato said, "We couldn't think of anyone else who could do a better job of raising our son in case of our absence."
Jiraiya couldn't help but feel something wash over him; it was something he could not describe. It felt like a mixture of fear and pride-it was like Minato was giving him a grandson while at the same time saying he wouldn't be around to watch over the child. Jiraiya could only hope he was wrong about this feeling; thankfully, Jiraiya had a tendency of letting his imagination run wild with him.
"Okay, if you're sure, I won't stop you," Jiraiya said, "now, come on, you need to get back to the party and mingle. People are really starting to get antsy down there and I don't think I can keep them under control for very long."
"We'll be down in a minute, sensei," Minato said, "I just want to enjoy this moment a little while longer. Besides, shouldn't you be down there to make sure Tsunade doesn't drink too much sake like she did the last time
"Oh crap, I completely forgot!" Jiraiya raced over and down the stairs, heading back to the party room and hopefully to a still sober Tsunade.
Kushina giggled. "Sometimes, I am amazed how those two wound being married to each other. They're so different
"One could say the about us, Kushina," Minato said as he gently kissed her lips, "and I think we turned out just fine. I remember when you used to be such a tomboy. But now, you've turned into one of the most beautiful women in the whole village."
"Oh Minato, stop, you're making me blush," Kushina said as she drew him for a quick kiss. "But you really do need to get back to the party."
"Fine, we'll head back and stay for a few minutes," Minato said, "but after that, we'll get you and your little passenger home. You will both need your rest
Kushina giggled as she took Minato's hand and they started to walk back for the stairs. Little did they know that up in the sky, a single speck of light twinkled against the darkness of the night. But this was no ordinary light; it was light that could only be seen by a few special people
and neither Minato nor Kushina were one of those people. So they could not see the light streak across the sky and head straight for Kushina, striking her directly in the back, causing her to stumble. Reacting quickly, Minato caught Kushina in his arms.
"Kushina, what happened? Are you all right?" Minato asked as he helped his wife back to her feet.
"I think so, but I don't know what could've made me trip like that?" Kushina said as she placed her hand over her belly and felt something that filled her with joy. "Minato
I think the baby just kicked!"
"What? Really?" Minato then placed his hand over his wife's belly and felt a small push against his hand. "You're right! I feel it too! Oh, you're impatient, aren't you little one?"
"Well, I hope he isn't ready to come out yet," Kushina said, "The doctors said he would another four months. I'm not ready to give birth just yet
you'll have to be a little more patient, my little angel."
And so, Minato and Kushina headed back down to the party, completely unaware that there soon-to-be-born child had received a gift from the heavens, a gift that would lead to a world of great adventures.