|The Demon and the Dead Man
Author: Lucillia PM
When Naruto is three, he gets a brother. A brother that previously belonged to someone else.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Family/Adventure - Naruto U. & Izuna U. - Chapters: 22 - Words: 45,289 - Reviews: 459 - Favs: 655 - Follows: 650 - Updated: 05-05-13 - Published: 04-10-12 - id: 8011979
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
There are many things that can bond a group together, and one of them is food. As the saying goes, "The way to a man's heart is through his stomach.". In this case, it had been a forgotten lunch that had caused Hideki to go from that poor sucker who got stuck on a team with THEM, to being Naruto's friend, and a recognized member of Izuna's family, as well as a teammate in both their eyes.
It hadn't been Hideki who had provided the food however.
You see, unlike Fugaku and Mikoto who had pretty much settled down and stayed in the village with Mikoto keeping house after they married and started a family, Hideki's parents were both still active ninja, despite the fact that they were both nearing the end of the average life expectancy for such. Usually, the two of them would schedule things so that one of them would be home with the kid while the other was away on a mission, but now that Hideki was a Genin, they both felt free to both be on missions at the same time so they could bring in more income in preparation for their eventual retirement. That generally left Hideki - who both viewed as a disappointment - to his own devices.
As far as they were concerned, because Hideki was now a Genin, he was old enough to look after himself, and it wasn't as if he needed their help with his training since, if one of the clan's top ninja couldn't help him, nobody could...
The problem with the decision his parents had made without consulting him was that Hideki - who had had at least one of his parents taking care of him at all times as far back as he could remember - had little to no idea how to take care of himself. Thanks to an oversight at the Academy, cooking on anything other than an open fire was only covered in the Kunoichi classes, which meant that he had absolutely no idea as to how to do so. Fortunately for him however, his mother had left some leftovers and things that could be eaten raw in the fridge before she left for her mission, which meant that he wouldn't starve before she or his father got back.
Hideki had prepared himself a lunch from the leftovers his mother had left in the fridge on the day in question, a lunch which promptly became absolutely useless because he had left it out on the counter when he realized that he was running late and raced out the door. Throughout the rest of that day Hideki - who had pretty much never missed a meal in his entire life - began to learn what it was like to go hungry, as he had woken up too late to prepare breakfast and had planned on using his lunch as a combination of both.
It had been because of that unaccustomed feeling of hunger that had been gnawing at his belly all throughout the day's training and that day's sucky D-Rank that had involved feeding some ill-tempered geese that he had accepted rather than rejected Naruto's customary invitation to dinner which he had previously turned down with extreme prejudice every other time it had been made. By the time time for dinner came around, he had been exceedingly nervous since Izuna had given him enough "friendly warnings" about what should happen should he misbehave during that evening to scare a normal man shitless. There was food though, which was what mattered the most to Hideki at that point, as he'd gone all day without eating which - for one of the modern Uchiha who had not yet been out in the field - was practically starving to death.
Along with the food, there had been conversation, conversation that had been stilted at first but had flowed more easily as the evening progressed. With conversation came understanding. With understanding, the team had become more cohesive. In any other situation, this would have been a good thing. In this one however...In this one, Fate had given the team only a few short months of something approaching happiness before half the team died a couple months before Naruto turned eight.
Shisui's death marked the beginning of the end.
Actually, the day Tobi showed up marked the beginning of the end, but Hideki would never know that, as he would never see Tobi. All Hideki would really know before he died was that something was brewing in his clan, and that he hadn't been stuck on such a bad team after all.
The day Tobi had turned up had been like any other. The sun had risen, they had gotten ready for the day, and had met at their usual training ground. After coming together, the team had trained for a while in the morning and took a D Rank for the pay more than anything in the afternoon. After the mission which had taken longer than usual and had ended well after sunset was over and the team had been paid, Naruto and Izuna had gone back to their apartment to find a stranger sitting there waiting for them.
The fact that the man had been wearing a mask had been odd, but not too odd considering some of Konoha's other eccentric residents, amongst which was a man who went out wearing only a Genjutsu over what he'd been given at birth a few decades before. The long spiky black hair had been somewhat familiar, but was common to too large a number of people in the village who wore theirs in a wide variety of ways to narrow it down enough to make an identification in regards to the intruder. The eyes however had marked the man as a Uchiha, which was very odd as far as Izuna was concerned since he could recognize all members of the Uchiha clan on sight and the man sitting on the dresser wasn't one of them.
Naruto, being the brave and outgoing boy that he was, had been the one to ask the stranger who he was and what he was doing there. Instead of giving an honest answer, the man had tried to pass himself off as Madara, but Izuna immediately spotted him for the fake he was despite the fact that he still had sizable chunks of his memory missing and called him on it. Aside from the fact that the hair was wrong, there had been something about the man's posture that was just the slightest bit...off.
"I am Madara-sama's representative in this world until his resurrection so, for all intents and purposes, I am Madara-sama." the man replied when Izuna had called the man on his lie. "You may call me Tobi however."
"Why are you here?" Naruto asked again, more curious than alarmed by the man's presence, because nobody who had wished either of them harm had ever made their way into the apartment before, as there were a number of protections on the apartment and in the surrounding area which the boy was mostly unaware of that had previously kept any and all potential threats out.
"I am here because I was...curious." the man replied, his eyes never once leaving Izuna.
"Curious?" Naruto asked the stranger who had intruded upon his and Izuna's personal space while Izuna continued to analyze the situation, unsure of what was going on, but sensing that the man who had broken into their apartment was dangerous.
"I knew that Madara-sama had been up to something near the end." the man said, "But, I had never suspected him of such...sentimentality."
Apparently done with answering Naruto's questions, the man got up from where he had been perched on the dresser and moved to leave the apartment. Rather than block his way, Izuna cleared himself from the man's path because he wanted the man gone, and as quickly as possible at that.
"Has your curiosity been satisfied?" Izuna asked as the man headed towards the door.
"I've never known Madara-sama to do something without reason." the man replied over his shoulder as he departed. "You're obviously meant to serve some purpose, whether or not that purpose is the same one that you originally served remains to be seen. Either way, you can count yourself lucky because you're off the list."
"List?" Naruto asked as the door shut behind the stranger who had broke into the apartment.
"Don't know, don't care." Izuna said before tossing the apartment for any surprises the man may have left behind, and throwing all of the food in the apartment into the trash.
"Why are you throwing the food out?" Naruto cried in horror as Izuna tossed out the cup ramen that the boy was just a bit too obsessed with.
"He was in here for who knows how long." Izuna replied as he grabbed the bag from the trash and started hauling it towards the dumpster. "With a man like that, you can't trust him to not have tried anything."
"A man like that?" Naruto asked as he followed Izuna down.
"You'll learn to see it eventually. Despite the fact that the signs are similar, rather than being slightly dysfunctional like that Hatake person, "Tobi" has gone straight through crazy and come out on the other side." Izuna replied as he finished making his way down the stairs and outside towards the dumpster.
The encounter with Tobi had been a short one, seemingly meaningless, but with what came after, Izuna and Naruto would mark it as the beginning of the end. Both knew that Itachi couldn't have killed the entire Uchiha clan by himself, and both had remembered the list comment, and the fact that it had been Izuna's name which had been crossed off of it, Izuna who could arguably be considered Uchiha by anyone who wanted to destroy the clan for whatever reason.
They both knew the madman Tobi had been involved in the destruction of their team and the death of the Uchiha clan, but Izuna suspected that others had been complicit as well. Others who were in high places. The Uchiha who'd been courting death for years hadn't been as discreet about their plans as they thought, and he knew it.
Before the Massacre though, there had been a brief period of relative happiness, a brief period of time out of a difficult life that both Izuna and Naruto had looked back on fondly. It wasn't the happiest they'd been, nor the happiest they would be in the future, but it was a time of relative contentment in a life that was rather short of such, a brief period of peace that could be remembered fondly during the struggles that were to come.
Rather than being a fifth wheel like he'd initially been, Hideki had become a part of that. Hideki had found people who had accepted him for who and what he was rather than who and what people thought he should be because he was Uchiha. The fact that two of Hideki's three teammates were also Uchiha had made him feel better about himself, because there had been very few members of his clan who had accepted him for him, and his parents hadn't been amongst them no matter how willing they had been to avenge any harm that came to him through the actions of "Outsiders", even going so far as to yell at the Clan Head for his perceived inaction. That of course made it all the more tragic when he died.