Hey all! Thank you so much for clicking on this story, now let me do my best to keep you here! Just thought it'd be nice to start off the new semester and the new year with a new fic. I know I may be a tad bit late to the scene, but I just can't let this wonderfully violent universe fade from my mind haha. Speaking of, this will likely be a mix of the usual light moments we all love sprinkled generously with times of intense violence (which at least I love). Fair warning, this is my first Naruto fic, so please don't kill me if it's a bit underwhelming at first. Also, this first chapter may be a bit slow for some tastes, but introductions and exposition and yadda yadda. So please, sit back and hopefully enjoy!
P.S. I love dogs
Konoha. The village hidden in the leaves, located near the heart of the Land Of Fire. The Leaf was usually a safe, happy ninja village. There was a sea of trees surrounding the surrounding landscape, starting a few dozen meters from the large protective wall. The village itself usually had a cheery air to it. The streets would bustle with activity by day and be patrolled by ninja at night, giving off a very non-militaristic feel to most citizens. Despite the lack of an intimidating presence, there have been several times where the Leaf has shown it's great strength. There have been a total of three Great Shinobi Wars, all of which have bred powerful and famous ninja from the victorious villages, Konoha being among them every time. Aside from the devastating times of war when the Leaf had to showcase its might, there was also this day. October 10th.
The evening started off as both a trying yet exciting time for a very important couple, secretive though they may be. This couple was Minato Namikaze and Kushina Uzumaki, otherwise known as the Yondaime Hokage and the secret love of his life. Kushina had just gone into labor, which on its own is a stressful, painful experience. Unfortunately, there was another fact about Kushina that compounded upon their worries. Kushina was a jinchuriki, more specifically, she was the jinchuriki of the widely feared Kyuubi. Due to the nature of the seal that held the Nine-Tailed fox at bay, as soon as the woman entered labor the seal would weaken.
Minato, being the dutiful husband that he is, whisked her away to a remote, safe place with a trusted team to ensure the safety of his wife and child. Despite the Yondaime's best efforts, however, disaster was sure to strike.
This brings us to the current tragedy within the leaf. The Kyuubi had broken free of its jailer and was on a rampage throughout the village. Everywhere there were ninja, defending either the powerless citizens or their beloved home. The Yondaime himself, however, was nowhere to be found. The ninja were rallying behind their previous Kage, Hiruzen Sarutobi, the Lord Third. Valiant as their combined efforts were, nothing could stop the chakra beast. All that was left to do was buy time for the Fourth to return and save his village.
Outside of Konoha, birthing safehouse
There were three people in the small underground room. Well, two people and a newborn baby. Minato Namikaze looked longingly at his exhausted wife who cradled a crying Naruto. As the blond man gathered his things in preparation to save his village, he heard his wife speak out.
"I really hate that you have to go," the fiery redhead said in an uncharacteristically soft voice.
In all honesty, Minato was also hesitant to leave his small yet precious family. "Bah, you know my crazy heroics are the reason you love me in the first place Kushina-hime!" he replied with false confidence, keeping his back turned to hide the apprehension in his eyes. Steeling his nerves, he strode over to his wife and child.
"This is what I get for sharing my hero with the village huh?" Kushina shot back with a little more of her usual gusto, but the tears brimming in her eyes gave away her fear for the love of her life.
Stooping low, Minato placed a heated kiss on his wife's lips, and then a gentler one on his now quiet son's head. "I'll be right back, gotta go do hero stuff."
And with that, he was gone. In a flash.
Naruto resumed his crying for reasons only a baby can understand, his mother joining in with him. The silent tears that streaked down her face as she comforted her son were for her husband. She knew firsthand how horrifyingly dangerous that fox was, but at least Minato had an entire village at his back.
In the midst of tending to her child, Kushina was alerted to a bright yellow flash in the room. Looking up with hope in her features, she only saw a trio of what must have been shadow clones. "Minato?"
Two of the clones revealed scrolls and plain ink and immediately began writing off to the side. The third clone approached Kushina and Naruto as he spoke, "I'm taking you back to our house. The basement stronghold should be secure and secluded, much more so than here."
With nothing more than a determined nod of her head, the trio left in another bright flash that left the two clones to finish their work in silence. After the first clone finished with the contents of the scroll, it addressed it to a man he knew would not only get it but also heed the messages it contained. To Hiruzen Sarutobi, Lord Third.
I am now fairly certain that I will end up trading my life for my village. Do not mourn me too long, for I am honored that I have this opportunity to do the title of Hokage proud. I will also have enclosed two separate scrolls, one that details the last of the reform plans for the Leaf that I have been messing with and one for Naruto's godfather, Jiraiya-sensei. The first scroll will be for whoever my successor turns out to be, and I pray to Kami that it isn't you, old-timer! Jokes aside though, this is goodbye. Keep an eye on the new guy for me eh? These 'youngsters' as you call us tend to muck things right? Please make sure Sensei gets my message as soon as possible, it's a revised request if the worst should happen to Kushina as well. Also… try to keep an eye on Naruto for me. That beautiful little boy looks like he'll have a bit of a Red Hot Habanero attitude to him if you know what I mean. There will also be 'other' circumstances that will make him require an extra eye, a circumstance I'm sure I'll hate myself for up until the very moment I bite the big one. With that, I'll see you later old friend.
Minato Namikaze, Lord Fourth
With the scroll to Hiruzen finished, the clone started on the scroll made out to his successor with his last wishes as Hokage described. As this was happening, the second clone finished the scroll to Jiraiya-sensei.
Hey there you pervy old bastard. If you're reading this, then it's a safe bet that I'm dead. I'm truly sorry that you have outlived yet another student, and I'll miss you, sensei. First of all, thank you. For the training, for the examples you've given me, and especially for believing in me. I couldn't have done it without you, sensei, and I know that sometimes in my life I forget to tell my precious people just how much they mean to me. You are one of my precious people, and for that, I can't thank you enough.
Also, remember how you said you'd be Naruto's godfather? HAHA yeah about that, thanks again! I'm going to have to ask you to take that really seriously if tonight or any other night the unthinkable happens to Kushina. I'll try to prevent that with every fiber in my being, but I can't really do much when I'm dead right? Little bit of dark humor for you there, my bad. By now, you probably already know about my plan to enlist Naruto's help in saving the village. Unfortunately, I know that the village won't see it that way, which is why Kushina kept the fox hidden during her time here. If worst comes to worst, sensei, I need you to take care of my boy for me. You are the only man left that I trust to keep him safe from both the villagers and the damned fox. I would also love it if he could grow to be strong, but just look at his parents! What am I even worried about! Seriously though, keep him safe sensei. He'll take his mother's last name to stay safe from Iwa and the rest of the idiots who hate me. Naruto Uzumaki, has a nice ring to it, doesn't it? If you can, raise him in Konoha. I know it will be hard with your spy network, but I want him to grow to love the village as much as his old man does. Take this as the last wish of your student. I'm counting on you, Jiraiya-sensei. Also, if you impart any of your pervy-ness onto my son Kushina will find a way to come back and castrate you. Her words, not mine!
Minato Namikaze, your Blond Baka
Suddenly, the third clone popped back into the room, adding another scroll to the pile. The scroll was already sealed and signed to his son. Naruto's scroll from him would be one of the only things he would have to remember his father by. With a sad smile, two of the clones popped out of existence as the final clone sealed the scrolls into a final sealing scroll and delivered them to the Hokage's desk. With only enough chakra left for a single hirashin and a few minutes after the technique, the clones flashed back to his family to at least send a few final memories to the real Minato. And from there, the rest is history.
On the outskirts of Fire Country, two days after the Kyuubi attack
Jiraiya took in the haggard appearance of the heavily breathing Konoha ANBU with a critical eye. The man had obviously been moving nearly constantly to reach him. Jiraiya had received word by one of his informant's falcon's a day prior to the attack on his village, and as such was on his way back from the Land of Rice. The fact that the Hokage had sent a runner did not bode well with the Sannin, the Hokage knew that he would be returning to bolster village strength after such an incident. Also, the fact that it was a runner sent to him instead of a bird was worrying.
"Jiraiya-sama, I come with grave news from Konoha. You have undoubtedly heard of the attack already, but I bring you the… last words and wishes to you of our Yondaime Hokage. I… I am very sorry for your loss," the ANBU said in a somber tone, unable to meet the eyes of the renowned man.
Jiraiya stood still, chest and stomach aching as if struck. He knew there was always a possibility, but the confirmation hurt. It hurt worse than almost anything. Minato had been his sole surviving pupil, and eventually, the barrier of sensei and student had dissolved. Jiraiya had never had a son, and Minato was deprived of a father, so the roles filled perfectly with both of them happy with the outcomes. But Minato was gone and all that Jiraiya had was a piece of paper with his student's last wishes on them. Jiraiya would suffer in the stomach of the Shinigami itself before he turned away the wishes of Minato.
With a heavy hand and a heavier heart, Jiraiya took the scroll. "Thank… thank you. I have to tend to this before I continue, please, return home and help our people as much as you can."
The ANBU left with a final bow, and Jiraiya was alone. Silently, He made his way to the nearest town and rented a room. Doing such was an unusual treat usually saved for when he brought company with him, but he needed the seclusion of a room to process what he had learned.
In a cheap, dark room sitting next to a solitary candle, Jiraiya sat and read. And in the dark by himself, Jiraiya did something he hadn't done since he lost Tsunade. He cried.
Konoha one week after the attack
Hiruzen sat behind the desk that had already consumed most of his life. Wearing the hat once more, Hiruzen once again looked at the scroll he had in front of him. This was the second scroll that he had from Minato, albeit unintentionally. There was a separate piece of paper to the side that had a few notes scrawled on its surface. Hiruzen was going to do his best to convince the council to enstate the changes the Yondaime wanted. On the other hand, there was an old, familiar tingle crawling up his spine. Yes, it was unmistakable. Jiraiya was going to do or say something stupid.
Not a minute later, a Jiraiya barged into his office holding a crying Naruto. "Sensei! What the hell am I supposed to do with this thing?"
Yup, there it is. "Well, Jiraiya-kun, you could start by holding him with his head above his feet," Hiruzen told him with a knowing smile on his face. Smiles of any kind were getting rare these days.
"Sensei I don't know if I am cut out for this kind of thing," the Sannin said as the baby slowly stopped crying.
"And that's exactly why I think you're perfect for the job."
"Thank you I'm so relieved I don't have to -" there was a pause as the toad sage cut himself off, "wait what?"
Adorning another smile, Hiruzen gestured his old student to take a seat. "Jiraiya, you have never had to care for a child before. This is a powerful experience that I think you would only benefit from. Not to mention young Naruto here having a constant watch on his seal. I can tell you myself, the headaches will eventually be overshadowed by pride."
Jiraiya fell silent at that, but whether it was from his sensei's advice or from the mention of the seal that locked a beast of tremendous power in the newborn. "If it wasn't for Minato, I'd be drowning my sorrow in missions and women right now. I guess… for his sake I'll make my way through this."
"I'm happy to hear that! I'll arrange for an apartment to be set up for the two of you. Now, let me keep working on this reformed academy idea, would you? Unless… you want to take the hat from me too?" but Jiraiya had already bolted with Naruto, staying as far away from the job as he could. Hiruzen merely chuckled as he got back to making the notes he'd present to the council.
Konoha, Naruto age 4
Naruto sat in the park, playing idly by himself. Jiraiya, his father, had created a tight if odd bond with Naruto. Jiraiya managed well enough taking care of a child, and he was never alone in the task. Naruto had started to notice that people tended to avoid him, but his dad gave him all the attention he needed. And when he couldn't Naruto could always count on his sometimes present uncle Kakashi. Luckily, when one was busy, the other was always free. His dad was out of town on another trip, and Naruto was staying with his uncle Kakashi. Kakashi sometimes let him play in the park while he read his books, but for some reason, older girls don't like it when he reads them. Since the yelling gets annoying, Naruto liked to go off on his own to play. Suddenly, there were four feet next to the small boy, and he followed them up to see who had come over to him.
"Hi!" said a pink haired girl who looked to be about his age. "How come you're playing alone?"
Naruto didn't know exactly how to answer her, no one except his family really bothered to talk to him. Was that what he was supposed to say? He was alone because that's what happens?
"Yeah! Hey, you wanna come play with us on the swing?" said the second girl, a long-haired blond.
Naruto answered this one immediately, and with a lot of enthusiasm. "Sure! My name's Naruto by the way."
"Great! I'm Sakura and this is Ino! We're best friends," The pink haired Sakura told him excitedly as they ran to the swings.
"Do you wanna be our friend too?" Ino, the blond, asked him as she clambered onto the wooden plank.
Naruto was full of happy emotions, so much so that he could speak. His first friends! Naruto nodded vigorously and quickly wiped his eyes as he took turns with Sakura pushing Ino on the swing. Naruto decided then and there that these two girls, Sakura and Ino, would be his best friends. And for the next hour they had a great time, screaming on the swing, playing ninja, and just being children. Much too soon, however, a pair of moms could be seen and eventually heard, drawing the two girls away.
"We have to go now Naruto. You wanna play again tomorrow?" Sakura asked as she helped Ino brush leaves from her long hair.
"Uh-huh! Same time at the swing again?" Naruto asked her, still ecstatic that he had made friends.
"Sure!" Ino yelled as she and Sakura ran towards their mothers. "See you tomorrow Naruto!"
Naruto waved goodbye until he could no longer see their retreating forms. Naruto then ran back to where his uncle was still reading on a bench.
"Ready to go home Naruto?" The masked jounin asked as he put away his book.
"Sure uncle Kakashi. And guess what!" Naruto almost yelled.
Chuckling, Kakashi answered, "What is it that's got you wound up?"
"I made friends! They're really nice and pretty and their names are Sakura and Ino and I wanna come back tomorrow and…" Naruto carried on all the way home. Kakashi listened, happy for his sensei's son and already planning to take him back the next day. Naruto jumped around the road, over and sometimes into old puddles, trying and always failing to soak his uncle as he talked about his plans for the next day.
Naruto had left Kakashi in the same spot as the day before and was already sitting on the swing waiting for his friends. They were a little late, but he didn't mind, his uncle was always late so he was used to it. Naruto kicked his legs idly, his anticipation for the fun he would have with his new friends growing. After another few minutes, he saw a solitary figure, likely one of the girls who had cemented their places in his heart. As the figure walked towards Naruto, he noticed that it couldn't be one of them. This person walked differently, almost like they were afraid of doing so.
"Hi! I'm Naruto Uzumaki, what's your name?" Naruto called out to this small stranger as he started to make out more details.
"He-hello, I'm Hinata," came the soft response. The girl had almost pure white eyes and dark hair. Naruto noticed that she seemed really shy.
"I'm waiting for my new friends! Do you wanna play with us when they get here?" Naruto asked the shy girl a little too loudly, jumping down from the swing to talk.
"Um, y-yes I would! Thank you N-naruto-kun," Hinata told him, although she reacted like something like that would never happen.
Some time passed in silence, Naruto watching the road and Hinata fidgeting with her fingers. Naruto, never being one to sit still for so long, broke the almost-uneasy silence. "Do you wanna start anyway while we wait for them?"
Hinata looked at the blond boy briefly before giving him a nod.
"Great! We can swing for a while so we can see when they get here! Come on, I'll push you!"
Before long laughter could be heard throughout the small park, the two children almost entirely focused on getting higher than their playmate. Well, at least the young girl was. Naruto, while still enjoying his time with his new friend, was keeping a diligent eye on the road for the two girls who had promised to show up. They're just late… they promised, and you can never break a promise!
When Hinata was growing visibly bored with the swingset, Naruto asked her if she wanted to play ninja, following the pattern that had already succeeded in making him friends. She agreed quickly and watched in wonder as Naruto sprinted away with an energy that seemed boundless.
The setting sun could find the two children resting with their backs against the tree that held the swing. Hinata was admittedly tired, but Naruto gazed at the road with an even breath. That hardly made sense to the girl, though. I've already started training with father and Neji-niisan, but I'm more tired than Naruto is! He really is… amazing.
Eventually, the two had to part ways. "W-we should um, play more often, Naruto-kun," that simple sentence took almost all the courage the young girl had.
"You betcha, Hinata-chan!" Naruto yelled back with what appeared to be his usual vigor as he ran off. "Bye! Today was a lot of fun, thank you for being my friend!"
Friends… Hinata thought as she walked towards the Hyuga waiting in the road to escort her home.
Kakashi looked up from his book when he heard the familiar energetic footsteps. Somehow giving an invisible yet genuine smile from behind his mask, his eye managed to show his happiness at seeing the child. "Make any new friends today, Naruto?" he asked, mostly out of politeness than expectation. The poor boy typically didn't receive many kind words from others.
"Yeah! Her name is Hinata and she's really nice! Kinda quiet though, but I like her!" Naruto yelled as he tugged on his uncle's sleeve. "Come on, I want Ramen."
Kakashi noticed the slight change in his tone, the small waver that hinted something other than happiness. "Sure thing Naruto, and I'll even make sure Jiraiya takes us both when he gets back."
"All right!" Naruto jumped around once again as they made their way to get his favorite food.
"Same time tomorrow I'm guessing?"
Naruto gave a slight pause, thinking. "Yeah, I think I wanna come back again."
Kakashi again took note of the repressed emotion behind his favorite brat's happy tone. Likely sadness, but from what Kakashi couldn't tell. In truth, Kakashi wasn't the most 'emotionally adept' member of the village. The death of his father, followed by both of his teammates, and then his father-figure sensei had wreaked havoc on the young man. Naruto was the only thing he'd put any energy into aside from his ANBU missions and the memorial stone. As much as he cared for the young boy, he felt himself becoming drained and needed time to recharge. Luckily Jiraiya was due back within two days, and he could hopefully help out the blond bundle of energy.
The next day, Naruto stood shocked in front of an ashamed Ino. "What do you mean you don't want to be my friend?"
"It's not really that I don't want to, it's just that my daddy says you're no good!" the blond girl told him.
"But, but why doesn't he like me?" Naruto asked her in a quiet voice, his eyes downcast.
"I don't know, but if my dad doesn't like you then I can't either. Bye, Naruto…" Ino stated, slightly confused by the words. As she walked away, Naruto walked to the swing, devastated.
Why don't any of the adults like me? I'm a good kid, I haven't done anything wrong! A tear slipped from the tip of Naruto's nose and fell to his knee. I guess I can't have any friends until everyone likes me… How am I supposed to do that? I don't know why they all hate me! Memories of the disgusted looks he'd get when shopping with his dad, the whispered nasty words he'd hear as he walked past groups of people, and every other instance he'd ignored flashed before him. At some point, Hinata had appeared by his side, laying a comforting hand on his shoulder. Will she leave too when she tells her parents? I don't want to be lonely anymore, I like having friends… I'll just have to make everyone like me. I'll, I'll be Hokage, just like Jiji! Everyone has to like the Hokage! I'll make sure to be the best one ever, even better than the Yondaime!
Naruto thanked Hinata but told her he didn't feel like playing. She understood and watched as the blond wiped his tears on his sleeve and trudged off.
"I wanna go home, uncle Kakashi," Naruto said as he walked up to the reading ninja.
"Naruto what's wrong?" Kakashi asked worriedly, putting away his book.
"I just want to go home…" but Naruto could keep the tears from coming back. "Ino says she can't be my friend! She's not allowed to like me anymore and I want to-" he interrupted himself with a half hiccup, half sob, "-go HOME!"
Kakashi picked up the crying boy, something he hadn't done in years since the kid never stopped moving, and started towards the apartment. Naruto wrapped his arms around his uncle's neck and buried his tear-stained face into them. Yeah, hopefully, Jiraiya would be home soon.
Konoha, October 10th. Naruto's sixth birthday.
Naruto made his way towards the small apartment that had been his home for the past six years. His arms were wrapped around a bag full of goodies, instant ramen chief among them. In his mouth was the remnants of a dango stick, the last bit of the treat hanging just past his lips. Naruto started to cut through his favorite alleyway shortcut and saw one of his newest friends. The puppy was brown and skinny, its ribs visible through its dirty coat. Naruto loved the dog, because no matter how dirty or sad the pup seemed, he always had a friendly smile and time for Naruto. Animals were much better than humans, the boy had found. Animals don't judge you. Animals don't yell at you, or chase you from their stalls or lie about being your friend.
"Hey boy, miss me?" Naruto asked as he set his bag on top of a crate and knelt next to the dog.
Happy yips was his response, and Naruto surrendered his last bite of dango to his friend. "You and Hinata are my best friends, right? You wanna go see her today buddy?" Naruto asked as he pet and played with his friend.
A blissful minute passed. Very few things can be seen as more pure than a boy and a dog enjoying each other's company. Suddenly, Naruto heard a scuffle, then a small change in the air. Then all of a sudden, his little friend gave a loud and painful cry, and blood splattered onto Naruto's arms and face. A kunai was buried into the ribcage of his puppy.
"Holy fuck," came a slurred voice from the far end of the alleyway, "how did, how you misss fucking that?"
"Hey guy, I just aimed for the one on the left mkay?" an equally drunk response was heard.
Naruto heard nothing after that because his shock had given way to despair and desperation. His breathing increased as he cradled the head of his lifeless friend, tears trailing down his cheeks. "No… Please!" was all Naruto could choke out.
"You hear that?" one of the two shinobi said to the wall. "Little demon boy'sss begging for his-" a hiccup, "-his life! Ha!"
The drunk man's counterpart smacked him loudly on the chest as he reached for another kunai with his spare hand. "How pathetical of him… I'll just take his tongue so he can't make to do it no more!"
Naruto picked up the still warm, and hopefully still rescuable, dog and backed away in fear. The two ninja were now towering over Naruto, weapon brandished menacingly. Naruto turned to run, but the kunai flashed by him and knocked over the crate and his bag. Naruto tripped over his own groceries, his birthday treats, and twisted his ankle.
"Damn! Okay, rule new. No more throwing!" a now weaponless attacker laughed as he approached Naruto.
The first thing to go was his ankle. Naruto may have been able to limp off with it sprained as it was, but the merciless ninja stomped a foot down onto the injured joint, snapping t loudly. Naruto screamed out in agony and reached down for his broken ankle.
"Shut up, demon!" the second ninja kicked Naruto in the stomach powerfully, sending him flying into the alley wall and his puppy flying from his grasp.
Naruto felt his head smash into the harsh surfaces of both the wall and the ground, making his vision swim immediately. Naruto's thoughts then became jumbled, and it only added to the confusion of why he was getting attacked and called a demon. Why did these men want him and his puppy dead?
Suddenly, there was a hand gripping Naruto's throat, and he was hoisted up the wall by the cruel grip. Naruto futilely kicked his good leg at his attacker, and it was met with yet another kunai piercing his calf. Naruto didn't even have the breath to scream in pain.
"Looky here, demon," the man whispered into Naruto's ear. His breath stank of alcohol, and there was a sharp point digging into the side of his stomach. "I'm going to stab you riiight here, straight through this little boy you're're're hiding in."
"Yeah, you'll pay for taking our mother from us, you bastard fox!" a thrown shuriken followed this voice and found itself buried into Naruto's shoulder.
"I'm going to stab you, and you'll bleed out here on the ground. A slow, painful death. Still better than a demon like you," Naruto sensed more than felt the blade slam into him, "DESERVES!"
Suddenly, the world started to fade out. Naruto noticed that somehow he was on the ground. Next to him lay his dead dog, and Naruto only had one thought as his visioned filled with a somehow familiar white. At least I'll get to die with a friend. And all was black.
Well. That's done. PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING NOTE! I really have no concrete idea on where this is going to go other than a stronger, smarter NAruto than cannon gives us. I am also horrendous with Japanese honorifics, so if someone feels like I have written something too far off the mark, please let me know! I would absolutely love to hear from any readers this may get, whether it's correcting the honorifics I am so horrible with or ideas on where you want to see this story go.
Again, I am just starting my second semester of college and will write whenever I get the opportunity. Thank you to all of you who have enjoyed this enough to stay, and an advance thank you for anyone who wants to drop me a few words!