This is Ray "pain17ification" Smith with the first chapter of a Naruto/The Last of Us crossover; the winning idea of my recent poll.
To those of you who don't know or haven't played the game, I strongly suggest that you do. Not just so you could keep up with the story, but because that game is easily in my Top 3 for "Best Games of All Time".
Without further ado, let's begin!
Disclaimer: The rights to Naruto and The Last of Us belong to Kishimoto and Naughty Dog respectively. I own nothing and am merely using concepts for a non-profit written work.
Look for the Light
Part 1: Summer
Chapter 1: The Truth Shall Set You Free
It's one thing to ignore the warnings of people who care about you. It's another to not have been warned in the first place.
For Naruto Uzumaki, resident Kyuubi Jinchūriki and freshly appointed Genin of the Hidden Leaf, most of the time his blunders were results of the latter. It took him already having witnessed or experiencing something negative for any of his adult figures – namely the Hokage, Teuchi (aka Pops), or his sensei (Iruka) – to warn him against such things.
Of course, these past mishaps did little to sway his natural curiosity to the ninja world and its capabilities. While finally accepted as what amounted to a soldier of his home, the young man was still a teenager of 14yrs of age. He had lived the majority of his life with things hidden or blatantly kept away from him; most of which he was unaware of to begin with.
While he respected his adult figures (even if it seemed he didn't), he always felt like they were leaving him in the dark about many different things. It was as if he could just tell they weren't being upfront; and it bothered him. The Hokage and Iruka-sensei had gone on and on about the concept of trusting their judgment; but what about trusting in him? Wasn't trust a give-and-take based concept?
What made him so untrustworthy that they hid things from him; things like the Kyuubi that he had barely been told about – and by a traitor, no less – just last evening? It was unfair to him.
While he was still getting over the lies the Hokage had told him about why he was ignored and disliked, his mind was slowly resolving itself to a final alternative. If they wanted to keep things a big secret from him to the point where he learned them from people out to kill him, then he would take matters into his own hands and discover them beforehand.
The idea grew more appealing as he imagined what else the aged village leader had also lied to him about. What if he knew who his parents were, or if they were still alive? What if he knew why the Uzumaki boy, out of the hundreds of thousands of villagers in the Hidden Leaf, was chosen to house a being of chakra and rage?
He had to know.
Sometimes, he really worried about the security measures of his village. Honestly, he had broken in, knocked out his perverted Hokage, and stole a major artifact the other day. Shouldn't it have been next to impossible to break in a second time?
Sighing and shaking his head, he climbed through the window he had carefully pried open and quietly stepped into the Hokage Office. He had more important things to focus on. Getting his head back in the game, he checked the desk drawers, the shelves filled with scrolls and files, and the astonishingly large pile of papers that had been placed on its own separate table.
By the kami, was this what a Hokage did all day; be a glorified secretary of the village? Maybe he should rethink his plans for taking the position in the future. He still wanted it, but there was no way he was doing crap like that all day.
He skimmed through the piles of papers, mentally complaining that he couldn't have clones help him out with any of this. They would've cut the time by more than half; but he couldn't take any chances of his jutsu's chakra use being sensed. He had heard of the rare Sensor Ninja before, and he had become respectfully wary of their likely existence within the village's ANBU.
He was just glad that he waited until late in the evening – just about midnight – to do this.
After close to a full hour of looking, he was about to call it quits and think of another place to look on a different day. He took a last cursory glance around the office before locking his gaze on the three frames of the three other Hokage of the Leaf; the First, Second, and Fourth respectively.
Moving over to them, he admired the artwork that had put into their portraits. The First, Hashirama Senju, was in his signature red armor standing atop the Hokage Mountain staring down at his home with a smile on his face and a healthy tree next to him. The warmth in his expression made Naruto smile, for he saw a man who viewed the villagers as his children who he would lay his life down for.
The Second and brother of the First, Tobirama Senju, was in his own signature blue armor. He was in a battle pose holding a handseal while a water dragon was circled around his form. The intensity of his gaze almost made Naruto take a step back on reflex.
The Fourth and youngest upon death, Minato Namikaze, was in standard Jonin gear with his signature flamed cloak on. In his hand was one of his famous tri-bladed kunai while his other hand held what looked like a swirling ball of death. He was standing atop of a large red toad while his blue eyes held unwavering determination. Naruto couldn't help but wonder why he looked so similar to this man.
"Uncanny, isn't it?" an elderly male voice asked, making the young teen jump and turn around in shock.
In front of him was an old man with bandages covering his right eye and forehead. He had black, shaggy hair and a cross-shaped scar on his chin. He wore a white shirt, with a dark grey robe over the top of it covering from his feet to just over his right shoulder. Unknown to him, the robe also covered the man's fully bandaged right arm.
"Who are you?" he asked nervously, knowing that he was in trouble.
"My name isn't important right now, young Jinchūriki," the man stated, making the blonde flinch at the title. "You do not appreciate what you are."
"Of course, I don't!" Naruto cried with a frown. "I have the beast that nearly destroyed my home and killed so many people in my gut! Who would want that?"
"More people than you can imagine." The man moved over to the portrait of Minato, his expression never changing from professional stoicism. "Jinchūriki, much like yourself, are often used as military deterrents."
"What does that mean?"
"It means that you were meant to become this village's secret weapon in the cases of invasion or war." He ignored the surprised gasp the Genin gave. "Hiruzen didn't want that for you, and tried to keep it from happening by hiding the truth from the younger generation; yourself included. You were to never know until he believed you could handle it." He scoffed at that. "Foolish… The chances of you accidentally tapping into the beast's power while on a mission are too great for you to be in the dark about what you are; or even who you are."
Naruto raised a brow at the man's words. "Who I am?"
"Another thing kept hidden from you. Hiruzen kept the identity of your parents – your very heritage – a secret from you because he feared those who despised them would target you in their absence."
"Who were they?" he asked desperately. "Please! I've wanted to know for years, and you can tell me!"
"True, I could inform you of their identities. However, such knowledge comes at a price." He looked down at the Uzumaki, staring hard into his anxious blue orbs with his single black one. "Are you willing to pay that price, Uzumaki?"
Naruto didn't even hesitate. "Yes."
Danzo Shimura, leader of the ROOT of the Hidden Leaf, stared impassively at Naruto's emotional rampage in the training bunkers of his underground base. The Uzumaki didn't take the reveal of his parentage well, nor the fact that his father had chosen him to hold the beast. He was currently covered in a red haze and attacking his ROOT trainees in a manner akin to a wild animal.
Clearly training him to control his emotions would be the first thing he'd need to accomplish. It wouldn't do to have an emotional Jinchūriki who could fly off the handle in a moment's notice.
"Sir," an ANBU called out, appearing a second later on one knee with their head bowed.
"Report," the Darkness of the Shinobi ordered.
"We found the notes of the Fourth, sir. The Hokage had them hidden behind his portrait by means of a high-level seal. It took longer than expected with what knowledge we have on fuinjutsu, but we retrieved them."
"And the ANBU who know of it?"
"They had been returned to Jonin status some time ago, sir. Only Uzuki-san has remained in ANBU, but has been assigned to take over the squad Hatake-san once commanded."
"Good. Were you able to open the notes?"
"Negative, sir. The seal on them requires the blood of the Fourth."
"I see. Place them on my desk. I need to start training the village's weapon."
"Sir," the undercover ANBU bid before they headed for the man's office.
Turning back to the one-way mirror, Danzo witnessed the last minute of the boy's rampage that ended when one of the trainees landed a knockout blow to his head. Pressing a button to turn on the PA for the room, he ordered, "Take the Jinchūriki to his new room. We will begin his lessons shortly."
"Sir," saluted the trainees before two of them took Naruto away.
"When you're finished, gather the rest for training," added the elderly man before he headed for his office.
The following week was hell for Naruto. He hadn't been allowed to leave thanks to the deal he had made with Danzo; though, part of him felt it was worth it to finally get some real answers instead of lies and secrets.
He had been told everything; about his parents, the attack on the village and the suspicion of the Uchiha, the sealing, and even how he had a godfather that had never once checked up on him. He didn't care if the man was the spymaster of the village. It shouldn't have been hard for him to check up on him once or twice.
As for his parents, he had been especially mad at his father for putting the Kyuubi inside of him. But, what made him angrier was how someone had gotten the beast free from his mother; who he had been told was the previous Jinchūriki. When he had been told, he asked Danzo if he had any idea who had done it. To his misfortune, the man only had suspicions; most of which were already gone or were highly unlikely.
In exchange for the truth, Naruto had agreed to be trained as a "proper" Jinchūriki. While he had no doubts that Danzo was a sneaky and dark person, he couldn't help feeling that he truly did have the village's safety at heart. He and the Hokage were similar in that regard; they just used different methods.
Currently, he and a couple dozen clones were studying up on fuinjutsu so that he could better understand his father's notes on his most notable jutsu; the Flying Thunder God. He honestly thought the name was a bit arrogant; even if the original version was created by Lord Second, who was – in Naruto's opinion – a badass.
"Progress?" Danzo asked as he entered Naruto's room, prompting the teen to dispel the clones in sets of twos. The first time he dispelled them all at once, he was out cold for hours to try and process the information. "Well?"
"I'm getting the hang of this, sensei," he answered. "It's actually really interesting to read and study; not like the books at the Academy."
"Those books could hardly be called reading material for ninja hopefuls," the man almost sneered, staying in emotional control. "If anything, the Academy glorifies ninja and makes the naïve believe they could all be more than what they are." He looked to Naruto with a stern gaze and quickly asked, "What is the definition of ninja?"
"A tool in service to their village; by any means necessary," Naruto recited, mentally disliking the way the truthful statement sounded. It made him feel inhuman and without his own identity.
"Never forget that. We protect the great tree; Hiruzen in the light with the other leaves while I do so from the shadows with its roots. It is why we are known as ROOT, Uzumaki."
"I understand, sensei. I'll get back to studying."
"Good. I want you to start testing your knowledge on sealing in the coming weeks."
Before the man left, Naruto asked, "Sensei, does the old ma- I mean the Hokage know that I'm with you?"
"I didn't see a need to tell him right away; but I have little doubt that he already knows," the man answered truthfully before he left the Jinchūriki alone to resume his studies.
The Light and Darkness of the Hidden Leaf were currently in a deadlocked stare down, which had begun upon the reveal of Naruto's location and status.
"He wasn't ready to know," Sarutobi declared.
"In your eyes, Hiruzen," smoothly argued Danzo. "However, while you were trying to protect the boy and keep things under wraps," he ignored the irony, "he could've tapped into the beast's power and be left totally unprepared for it. It would've resulted in unneeded and preventable casualties. He needed to know beforehand."
"And his parents? Did he really need to know about them so soon; with the Stone's defeat by Minato or the Cloud's failed capture of Kushina?"
"You fear old grudges when the boy could be trained to wipe them out in an instant. Besides, he chose my training and is beginning to understand my methods, Hiruzen. I'm afraid that he's lost quite a bit of faith in you."
Glaring, the Hokage accused, "Because you took advantage of his emotional state."
"Like a true ninja would; to both enemy and ally alike," Danzo defended calmly, not missing a beat. He then stood up and added, "The boy will be this village's greatest shield against those who wish to bring ruin." He moved to the door, stopping in front of it with his back to his old rival. "And to guarantee that those who fail don't get a second chance," he looked over his shoulder to lock eyes with Hiruzen, "he will be the blade that cuts them down."
Once the man left, the Hokage gave a weary sigh and, if one were there to witness, seemed to age considerably. With regretful eyes, he looked to the portrait of his late successor-turned- predecessor and whispered, "I'm sorry Minato… I should've done more…"
"Geez… My old man's notes are really in depth; even if they're ripping off Lord Second's work," Naruto praised and insulted at the same time, looking over the unsealed scroll.
"How long until you're prepared to test out the technique?" Danzo asked.
"Based on where my clones are in terms of study and theory, and how it looks like the Uzumaki Clan had a hand in making this seal with Lord Second," Naruto paused and looked thoughtful before he looked to Danzo and finished, "I'd say about a couple more weeks."
"Make it one," ordered the man, getting a frowning nod from the teen. "In the meantime, you will continue your physical training and chakra control. They're both still unsatisfactory."
"Understood," Naruto replied, creating fifty clones to continue studying while he went to one of the training rooms for his next session.
Just another day in paradise.
Things had gone down the shitter without any warning. He had deciphered and gotten a more than applicable understanding of his father's notes – as well as the originals that Lord Second had made – and yet it still ended up being a clusterfuck.
The reason? The Kyuubi's chakra had begun leaking into his chakra system ever since his rampage over a month ago. The corrosive and highly potent chakra slowly mixed with his regular chakra, making his control spike at random times.
It was just his luck that one of those random moments was right when he had tried to use the Flying Thunder God. Terrific…
He was unable to stop himself since he had locked onto the kunai he had thrown, which had become corroded and was distorting the reality around the wall it had stabbed into. In a flash of malicious red, the boy was gone and the distortion grew out of control.
While he wanted to curse and rage at the obvious loss of the village's Jinchūriki, Danzo needed to deal with the impending backlash that the failed jutsu was about to unleash. With a scowl being the only visible sign of his fury, he left in a flurry of leaves that was followed by many of his operatives. Less than a second later, most of the underground base – as well as the unexpecting citizens that lived above ground over it – had been wiped out by a massive burst of purely corrosive chakra that left a giant, steaming crater covering a large part of the village.
What only added fuel to the fire that was Danzo's rage was that the notes of both the Second and Fourth Hokage had been caught in the blast; never to be seen or used again.
A throbbing headache and a sore body were the first sensations Naruto felt upon waking up. Once his discomfort had been fully registered, he felt that his body was laid across a couch; one that was much more comfortable than the one he had back home.
With a groan, he sat himself up, wincing at his body's protest as he scooted backwards to rest against the arm of the couch. Looking around, he saw that he was in a dusty, yet comfortable, apartment. The living room, where he was resting, was openly connected to a kitchen and dining area. There were three doors; one for a bedroom, one for the restroom, and one that exited the apartment by his guesses.
One of them opened, and he got his first glimpse at his rescuer. It was a woman, easily past her twenties with brown eyes and matching hair that was worn half-up with a bandanna tied around the middle. She had straight eyebrows, and wore simple, practical clothes that consisted of boots, worn jeans, and a dark shirt covered by a button purple vest. Her face was thin and angular – as well as a little harsh, in his opinion – with a few scars while her figure was slim.
"Finally up, huh?" she asked rhetorically, though he couldn't understand a word she said.
"What'd you say?" he asked back, making her frown.
"Cut the bullshit," she ordered. "What's your name?"
"Look, lady, I have no idea what you're saying," he shot back, crossing his arms and looking her dead in the eye.
Thoroughly annoyed, she reached behind her and pulled out a strange metal object that had an opening pointed at him. "I said cut the bullshit," she ground out, showing Naruto that she was holding a weapon.
Raising his hands up for the universal sign of giving up, he spoke up as calmly as he could. "I don't understand you, miss. Can you please not point that thing at me?"
With the weapon still pointed at him, she used her free hand to reach over, grab him by his scarf and shirt, and lift him up to her eye level. "I'm not playing, brat. Speak English!"
"I don't know what you're saying! Can't we figure something out, please?!"
The growing fear in his eyes and the desperation in his voice made Tess slowly realize that the boy didn't know English. She couldn't understand his language, but it sounded distinctly Asian; which was strange since he looked nothing like an Asian. If anything, he looked American with his bright blonde hair and blue eyes.
'Looks like I'll need to cash in on that favor from Chang,' she thought, remembering a bilingual Asian man she had helped a few months back. She had saved his ass from being bitten by one of those things, and he promised to repay her someday.
Letting the boy go, she holstered her gun and took a couple steps back, letting him slowly sit back down on the couch. Leaning her back against the counter, she came up with a way to get the ball rolling. She pointed to herself and said, "Tess."
He blinked and tilted his head, making her roll her eyes and repeat it. Realization dawned on him, and he pointed to himself. "Uzumaki Naruto, ttebayo."
"Uzu…maki?" she repeated slowly, earning a nod. "Naru…to." Another nod. "…ttebayo?"
To her interest, he looked embarrassed and rubbed his head with an awkward chuckle. He said something in his language that she had no hope of understanding; so, she gave him an annoyed look to get her point across. Thankfully, he picked up on it and stopped talking. Now, she needed answers.
Grabbing her backpack that held her gear, she walked over to the door and turned to him. "C'mon, kid." He gave her another confused look, making her sigh. Pointing at him deliberately, she then pointed at herself before pointing at the ground right next to her. He perked up and nodded, getting up off the couch and letting her get a better look at him.
From the head down, she noted how his blonde hair spiked everywhere as if daring a brush to even try smoothing it. He had an elastic black cloth around his forehead that had a sewn-in plate with an odd insignia etched into the metal. Bright and expressive blue eyes regarded her, and the strangely cute whisker markings on his cheeks made his curious expression remind her of a cat; or a fox she had once seen outside the wall.
Around his neck was a dark green scarf with lighter green stripes and loose-threaded ends. (1) He wore a form-fitting black shirt that stopped above his elbows and had a red swirl symbol over the heart. For leggings, he wore dark gray cargo pants with large pockets and a knife holster wrapped to his right leg, and black sandals that left his toes and heels exposed. What was interesting about them was that they looked durable enough to compete with boots.
With him now following her, she exited the safehouse and led him to the nearest tunnel. Hopefully taking him to where she found him would give her some answers.
Wherever he wound up was definitely nowhere near the Hidden Leaf; or anywhere he had read about during his training under Danzo. The Hidden Rain had tall structures like this place, but it was under a never-ending downpour and there wasn't a ninja in sight.
Instead, he saw people walking around and interacting with others, all of them having a depressing air about them. He also saw men and women dressed in padded clothes, wearing helmets and carrying larger weapons than the woman he was following.
Another thing he noted was how casual she was playing; as if she was trying to stay off the radar. Instead of being dissuaded by her behavior, he found himself interested. From what he guessed, the city was under watch and she could've been a part of some resistance group. If not that, then she was a mercenary trying to remain anonymous. She certainly had the intimidation of one.
He heard her talk to some random strangers that looked at him funny. He said nothing since there was an obvious language barrier between himself and the citizens of this place. Standing quietly, he watched as the woman and one of her acquaintances pushed some furniture to the side and revealed a hole in the wall.
Gesturing for him to follow again, he jumped down the hole with her and followed her beneath the building, arriving to an outside area overrun with grass, weeds, and other vegetation; enough that it had grown on large metal objects that had rusted over time. She took him to a random abandoned building and showed him to a room that looked as if it had been firebombed. There was still a couple of stray spots where smoke was rising.
"This is where I found you," she said, pointing at him and then at a corner of the room that had a charred pile of debris on it.
He looked to her and then the corner, repeating the action a couple more times before he realized what she was trying to say. He must've landed in this room after the failure with his father's jutsu. But that still left his location a mystery to him.
Although, from the looks of things, this woman was nice enough to take him to her apartment to recover when she could've left him for dead. That was enough for him to repay her somehow. Showing gratitude, he turned to her and bowed while thanking her.
She didn't look impressed by his thanks, but he chalked it up to not knowing what he was saying or how his people thanked one another. Once again having him follow her, she led them back into the city and to another apartment. Knocking on the door, the two waited for a response.
Opening it was a short man with black hair that was shaved short and matching eyes that were protected by thin glasses. "Tess?" he asked in surprise, opening the door wider for her to walk in with Naruto. "How can I help you? Will I finally be able to repay you for saving my life?"
"I'm counting on it. The brat with me is named Uzumaki Naruto, and he can't speak English."
"Really?" Chang looked to the blonde, giving him a small smile and greeting, "Nice to meet you, young man."
"I didn't understand a word you just said, old man," Naruto deadpanned in response.
Hearing him speak, Chang perked up and turned back to Tess. "You're in luck. He's speaking Japanese."
"Japanese?" she repeated. "What the hell is a Japanese kid – who doesn't even look Japanese – doing here in Boston?"
"I'm not sure. But thankfully, my father was Japanese and he insisted I learn his language. I should be able to translate between the two of you."
"Try to get him started on learning English too. He's a rescue like yourself, after all. I don't save lives for free."
Nodding, he turned back to the boy and cleared his throat. "Hello. My name is Yamamoto Chang. Your name is Naruto, right?"
Perking up, Naruto gave a bright grin and nodded. "Finally! Someone who speaks my language! I thought I was going to be in a shitload of trouble with the damn language barrier, ttebayo!"
Chang chuckled at his exuberance, not caring that the young blonde was casually throwing out curse words during his speech. "I'm going to act as a translator between you and Tess here. Do you understand?"
"Yeah, of course! I'd like to pay her back for letting me rest at her apartment, after all."
"He says that he was already planning to repay you for letting him recover at your place," Chang informed.
"Ask him how he got here?" she ordered, sitting down on one of Chang's chairs. She and him were seated across from Naruto so that they could both watch him as he spoke.
Once Chang had translated her question, Naruto began to explain the last thing he remembered before waking up in her apartment. "He says that he was running a test on a…jutsu that his father was famous for."
"What's a jutsu?"
"It translates to art. But in this case, I'm assuming he means a technique of some sort. Anyway, he said that things went wrong and he flew through some space-time distortion before waking up in your apartment."
"Space and time? What the hell is this kid on?" she asked, giving the boy a disbelieving look.
"She doesn't believe you; and I honestly have trouble believing it myself, Naruto-san. Perhaps if you could prove it?"
"Hell no! I'm not trying that damn jutsu again! I don't wanna go through another warp in reality, ttebayo!"
"He says that he doesn't want to try the technique again because he's worried about it failing once more and sending him somewhere else."
She scoffed at that, leveling a hard look at Naruto; one that he didn't back down from. Without looking away from him, she said, "Have him show us something else then. And tell him that if he's playing around, I'll shoot him."
Gulping at the idea of her gunning the boy down, he nodded and turned back to Naruto. "She says to show us something else, and that if you're lying that she'll kill you."
Officially nervous, Naruto nodded and stood up from the table. Taking a few steps away from it, he made a cross seal and called forth a Shadow Clone. The burst of smoke made the two adults back up while Tess whipped out her gun on instinct.
However, both were rendered utterly speechless when they saw a carbon copy of the blonde revealing itself from the dying smoke. "You guys act like you've never seen a ninjutsu before," the original mused.
Tess regained her composure and kept her gun aimed on the clone while Chang stammered out, "H-How did you d-do that?"
"It's a ninjutsu. Y'know, a ninja technique? Don't you guys have ninja…wherever this place is?"
"What'd he say?" Tess ordered.
"H-He said that i-it was a ninja t-technique," Chang answered, still stammering. He stopped while Naruto spoke up some more, making the man start to sweat. "He also s-said that he has o-other techniques he can use; t-though he's disappointed at o-only knowing three that he c-can actively use."
Once Chang had translated for Naruto, he had his clone use the Transformation to turn into a copy of Tess before he switched with the clone using the Replacement. The whole time he displayed his jutsu, he explained how they worked – as well as the learning ability of his clones – to Chang, who translated for Tess.
Dispelling his clone, Naruto returned to his seat at the table. Chang nervously sat down afterwards, still trying to get over how the boy in front of him performed unnatural feats. Tess, meanwhile, looked thoughtful and chose to lean her back against the wall with her arms crossed instead of sitting back down.
The apartment was quiet as Tess went over her thoughts, Chang tried to compose himself, and Naruto waited for either of them to say something. Tess broke the silence after a few more moments when she turned to Chang. "How soon can you start on teaching him to speak English?"
Taking one last calming breath, the man turned back to her and answered, "I can start now, if you want."
Nodding, she said, "Teach him as much as you can for the rest of this week. Tell him how this city works, and about the Infected, too. Based on that little display of his, I'd say that his space-time bullshit isn't all bullshit."
"Will you be coming back to pick him up?"
"Yes, but it'll probably be after curfew since I have a job later in the week."
"I understand. I'll make sure he knows enough by then," Chang promised.
"You better," she replied, grabbing her gear and heading out of the apartment. When Naruto made to follow, she stopped him with a raised palm before pointing at him and then at Chang. "You'll be staying with him for a few days to learn how to talk to me."
After a translation, Naruto nodded and gave her a grinning salute. "I'll learn your language no problem, Tess!"
Having an idea of what he said, Tess gave the boy a nod before leaving him with his new tutor. While she headed back to one of her safehouses, she couldn't help but wonder how her already fucked up life was having something even crazier thrown into it. However, at the same time, she had some steadily growing excitement at how the boy's abilities could be a major bonus to her jobs in the future.
It looked like she was going to take him under her wing in this shitty place.
1~ That scarf was the one Kushina made for him before he was born. Naruto had it during The Last movie before it was destroyed and he accepted the one Hinata knitted for him.
Alright! That's it for this opening chapter! Just so you know, this is starting out a few weeks before the start of the game; around the same time Ellie and Riley snuck into the mall and got bitten by Infected.
Tess will have a bigger role in this story, being a future mentor for Naruto and showing him the ropes on living in an Infected, survivalist country. Next chapter will have her take him on his first smuggling job.
My plan for Naruto is to have him struggle with a number of things: different language and culture, the Infected and Hunters, the Kyuubi, and his own feelings on how the USA has become after the outbreak that started twenty years ago. As for why I chose his Genin age, it was when he was relatively still weak and didn't know any of his powerful techniques (like summoning or the Rasengan). I want him to be on a level closer to that of a human fighting for their survival.
I hope that makes sense AND makes this story a bit more enjoyable instead of having Naruto troll through everybody. Stories like that get old REALLY fast.
Last thing: the poll specified that this story would be Naruto/Ellie, and I'm keeping it that way. So, don't ask for anyone else to be paired with Naruto (specifically Riley since she won't survive her bite).
Until next time!