B-But the Third told me . . ." Naruto began.
"The Third told you all you needed to know at the time." Tsunade interrupted. He had his reasons. They were reasons that I had felt compelled to honor. But now . . ." Tsunade’s eyes glistened, and her voice lowered to almost a whisper. "Now things have changed."
Tsunade composed herself. "We will start with your mother, who like the Third must have told you, was indeed from the Whirlpool country. But she didn’t die there."
Naruto felt his breath catch deep in his lungs.
"She was a ninja, Naruto. She immigrated to Konoha, following the man she had fallen in love with, your father, who was a ninja of Konoha. It is her family name that you have carried all your life. Her name was, Kushina Uzumaki."
"Kushina Uzumaki." Naruto repeated the name slowly, as if some lost memory of his mother would suddenly come to him. Try as he might, no secret memory resurfaced from the depths of his subconscious. Tsunade continued her story.
"Your father wished for you to take her name, both to protect your identity and to give you what he hoped would be a chance to make your own legend. He also implored the Third to make mentioning your status as a Jinchuriki against Konoha law.
Naruto’s mind was reeling.
"I don’t understand." said Naruto. "My own legend? My father . . . He knew what I was? I mean, what the Fourth had sealed inside me?"
"Your father," said Tsunade forcefully and with a hint of pride, "was a legendary ninja himself, known far and wide as the Yellow Flash of Konoha, and the Fourth Hokage, Minato Namikaze."
There was a time when Naruto would have hurried off to proclaim this news from the highest mountain top. He would have bragged to everyone he met in the street. He would have made sure to point out "I told you so!" to more than a few people. Although his heart did swell with pride, Naruto sat in stunned silence, letting the meaning of it all sink in.
"Somehow," said Naruto, "Its like I’ve always known this."
Naruto dug his left hand into his chest. "So my father, he . . . he did this?"
"Your parents both loved you very much, Naruto." Tsunade said. "It pained your father so much to do it, but with your chakra structure, you were our only hope." Tsunade placed a hand on Naruto’s shoulder. "Please forgive him."
Naruto’s eyes burned with hot tears. He wanted to be angry, but could not be. Everything he was, everything he had become, it all lead back to a decision his father made. But Naruto was secure in himself; secure that he could achieve anything through hard work and determination. His father’s legacy was to leave Naruto to make his own, and now Naruto was more determined than ever to do that.
"This damn, fox." said Naruto. "I won’t forgive it."
"And yet you must live with it." said Tsunade sadly.
"Hokage-sama!" Yamato called from the entrance. "Someone’s coming."
Tsunade let air seethe between her teeth. "Damn, already?"
"Naruto, listen to me," Tsunade said leaning in close to Naruto and talking urgently. Whatever happens next, you must remain calm. You must not lose hope, and you must trust yourself, as I trusted you."
Naruto followed Tsunade’s gaze to the sliver of blue-green crystal dangling about his neck. He swallowed and nodded. So it wasn’t just about my parents after all?Promise me!" Tsunade hissed.
"I- I promise. But what . . ."