Naruto Uzumaki despised Konoha. Just not for the reasons many would assume after learning of his situation.

He ignored the insults, the thrown food, the fact most of the village hated him for some reason, and the fact parents would openly tell their children to avoid him.

Considering the level of 'dislike' aimed in his direction, one would assume he was beaten regularly for no apparent reason other than he existed. He had put an end to that when he was three and he very nearly killed a man by biting through one of the major arteries in the legs. After he made it clear he would reply in kind to that sort of treatment most avoided coming within range of his rather sharp teeth.

No, what pissed Naruto off about the village wasn't the way they treated them. It was the fact that he was stuck in a village full of hypocritical herbivores.

You would think one of the big five would have a few carnivores around, but nooo. They had their fangs pulled by that damn herbivore monkey parading as a carnivore, who kept telling Naruto he wasn't allowed to bite the herbivores who kept treating him like shit to death.

Ironically the only clan he seemed to actually get along with was the Inuzuka family. The head of that clan had taken one look at him when her daughter was stuck babysitting (read: guarding) him for a month and had immediately pegged him as an Alpha Pup and had treated him accordingly. The canines they were partnered with all seemed to indulge him as a 'puppy Alpha' that was still growing into his fangs and claws, and never treated him like a feral wolf.

They, at least, understood pack behavior and Naruto knew it was the Hokage who kept them from adopting them for whatever reason.

As if Naruto didn't need another reason to despise the fake carnivore.

When he was five he made a friend by the name of Tenten, who had taken one look at his crudely made tonfas and had hit it off with him regarding weaponry. She understood his love of weapons at least.

His advanced combat skills and higher IQ had them sharing the same class, and within a week of meeting Tenten began to pick up the same things Naruto had about their education.

There was something seriously wrong with it. Namely in the way the instructors were teaching them.

Tenten had seen how the other teachers taught the older students, and when she displayed even a few of the stances taught by her own taijutsu instructor they had been very quick to correct her.

Considering his own animosity towards the fake carnivore who lead the village, Naruto made no mention of it when he had to tolerate the man's presence in the same room as him.

When he was six, Naruto had enough.

"I plan to leave this pathetic village and never come back."

"I'll help, but I can't go with you. It would raise too many alarms for my dad to just up and leave without much explanation," said Tenten.

Naruto kept quiet. While he enjoyed Tenten's company, the simple fact was that he would likely get farther alone since he was used to caring for himself and had no way to verify if the slightly older girl was worth the trouble of bringing.

Children preferred the stability of their families and her father was unlikely to agree to the idea of leaving without trying to talk him out of it.

He timed his escape perfectly, though he was surprised and slightly touched by the gift Tenten made him.

It was a pair of collapsible tonfas, almost identical to the ones he had before he was somehow reborn.

Naruto looked at his new weapons, then at a slightly nervous Tenten.

"If you're going to leave, then you need proper weapons to fight with. Those wooden ones you managed to keep the teachers from confiscating aren't going to hold up against any real shinobi or bandits."

"Thank you," he said sincerely, his smile almost blinding. He had to wonder why Tenten blushed at the sight of it.

With his weapons back, Naruto had everything he would need to bite any pathetic excuse for a fake carnivore to death when he left. He was, after all, a lone wolf who had no need of frivolity.

"Just remember me if we see each other down the road, okay?"

Naruto memorized her features. He would not forget his first and only friend who had been kind enough to help him escape. He lightly kissed her on the cheek in thanks, causing her blush to get even worse.

"Where are you headed?"

"I have no specific destination, thus I can't give you any details. Besides, the second the fake carnivore monkey finds out I'm gone he will undoubtedly use those blond herbivores with the skill to look through minds to find out if you knew anything. He seems determined to make me believe this pathetic village full of lying herbivores is something I should protect when they have given me absolutely no reason to do so, much less secured my loyalty in the first place," said Naruto.

Tenten nodded. Sadly that made far too much sense.

During the Kyuubi festival, the timers Naruto had placed set off several massive fireworks in the streets without bothering to aim them towards the sky. During the chaos and pandemonium, his 'minders' slipped away to help out since he was expertly pretending to sleep, leaving only the rookie of the team to watch him.

He slipped out the gates, making sure to avoid the sensory seals he had memorized the locations of and any of the stronger fake carnivores that guarded the wall. There was a small hole that was just big enough for someone of his size to slip through, and within seconds he was gone.

The first thing he did was dye his distinctive red hair a more familiar and sedate black. The next thing he did was hide his whisker marks with a bit of make-up he borrowed from the whorehouse close to his was low quality enough that no one would miss it. That annoying Cloud herbivore from his last life was finally proving useful as he expertly cloaked the whisker marks on his cheeks.

Next was the clothes...he detested orange and managed to find a far more appealing purple colored shirt that was so dark it was almost black and some well worn shorts that were easily tied around his waist. The shirt was big enough to hide his tonfas in without notice.

Once he found a proper reflective surface, he checked the transformation. While he was actually rather good at the henge technique, it was far too easily dispelled and he knew for a fact there were seals to detect active transformations. Sometimes going old school was the best option, especially since he normally kept to himself back in Konoha to begin with, spending hours in the forests and around the wildlife.

He barely tolerated the lying herbivores in the village to begin with, and had zero intention of crowding with them if he had the option to avoid it.

His disguise in place, Naruto didn't try overly hard to 'blend in'. As he knew rather well, the best way to hide in plain sight when people were actively looking for you was to act like you had every right to be there. Looking over your shoulder was just a major tip-off that you had done something that warranted being bitten to death.

He had seen it enough times with the herbivores in his old life that had tried to hide they had done something to earn his ire back when he was the demon prefect.

He had to hide a sinister smirk as he watched the fake carnivores from the village glance at him, then dismiss his existence entirely as they searched for him.

It was easy to get himself attached to a caravan heading to other villages...women were suckers for the 'puppy dog' look and one demonstration of his ability to fight (via beating some of the older, tougher men into the ground with ease) and the leader of the caravan was all too happy to let the skinny waif join them so long as he held his own weight and didn't slow them down.

The fact he bit several bandits to death and made a point to catch wild game like an expert only endeared him to the men, and the women found him adorable, if a tad too violent.

The older children treated him like an annoying younger brother, while the few children younger than him saw him as a protective older brother...he did more work keeping them out of trouble than anything, seeing as the civilians were disinclined to make him hunt or fight unless absolutely necessary.

Sure, the pace was slow but it was worth it for every mile he put between him and that lying herbivore village.

Naruto's first impression of Sunagakure was that it was big, hot and reminded him far too much of the fake herbivore village for him to tolerate spending even a second longer than he had to before the caravan moved on.

That is, until night fell and a loud roar echoed through the village.

"Oh gods...the demon brat has lost it again!" moaned the caravan leader. Naruto didn't bother to remember his name overly much, and by this time most of the adults had learned to tolerate his quirk of using animal analogies.

Naruto perked up at the words "demon" and "brat" in the same sentence, and managed to slip past the adults to find out the source of the commotion.

His sharp eyes spotted a small child about the same age as him with bright red hair, apparently asleep on top of a massive raccoon-dog made of sand. From what the adults were saying, this creature appeared every time the child was asleep and went on a rampage.

His eyes gleamed.

Finally, a decent fight!

Naruto raced past the adults, which was tragically easy for someone like him and managed to run up the leg of the massive raccoon dog.

With an expert flip, he got onto the head...and the creature seemed to realize he was there because it's eye looked right at him.

It tried to swipe at him, but he was faster...he smacked the head of the child attached to the sand hard enough that they woke up.


Naruto caught the girl and vanished...he wanted to know if she could bring out the monster again at will so he could play with it properly after he trained his body up.

"...What the fuck just happened?" asked Risa, one of the kunoichi who was supposed to keep the brat from falling asleep.

"I think the brat just got another brat."

"...Not it."

"Not it?"

"I'm not telling the Kazekage that a mere brat woke her up and stopped the Shukaku's rampage before he showed up. And then took off with her."

"...I think I hate you."

Perhaps it was fate, perhaps it was just his luck, but when the Kazekage found out about his fighting ability and the fact he was able to get close to Gaia (the baby raccoon who contained the massive sand tanuki carnivore) without the sand shield coming out, the kage decided to give the brat a generous 'offer', seeing as he was a 'civilian'.

He was giving him the option to become a member of the Suna shinobi corps, on Gaia's team. Which meant he would have plenty of opportunity to 'play' with Shukaku so long as it was kept outside the village limits and away from anyone important.

And to sweeten the deal, he was even "allowing" the small child to "play" with any of the shinobi he liked so long as he didn't kill them outright. Civilians were a no-go unless they attacked first or gave sufficient provocation, but it was still more than the fake carnivore monkey had ever permitted.

Suna had an unstable weapon in the form of the Kazekage's youngest daughter. They could handle a violent little brat with a love for tonfas and small animals, so long as he kept to the same restrictions the full shinobi had while in the village.

After all, they had been losing money for some time now because the Daimyo kept sending missions to Konoha and cutting their funding. If the kid was good enough to toughen up their forces, then he would be well worth the headache of dealing with his odd quirks. And if not, well then perhaps he could at least keep Gaia on a leash long enough to be worth the headaches they had dealing with her.

Naruto's eyes gleamed at the offer. He was liking this village far more than Konoha already.

Even if he had to keep his whiskers hidden until he could fake them being scars from a training accident or something.

(The Kazekage would later learn to hate the phrase "I will bite you to death"...even if it did lead to a number of his men suddenly developing a much higher proficiency in taijutsu and a hatred towards children everywhere.)

Third POV

Temari looked at the tiny, vicious kid named Hibari Kyouya (or so he claimed) and then at her sister Gaia who was meditating peacefully next to the boy. At the tender age of nine, the fan-using future kunoichi had a sudden strange epiphany...namely that should the two grow up into adults, or at least jounin, that the Skylark was going to end up as her future brother-in-law.

She didn't know why she had that thought.

Perhaps it was the fact that Kyouya didn't treat Gaia like a monster, but a small animal that he would secretly spoil and train. Or the fact that he found Shukaku a "fun challenge" rather than a terrifying monster, and seemed to understand that Gaia wasn't an extension of the beast but merely it's prison. Or it could have been the knowledge that Kyouya, despite being at least ten months younger than Gaia, was already skilled and strong enough to take out fully grown Jounin.

Temari had to pause at that thought and hide a wicked laugh. She had thought that particular rumor was a joke until she heard it confirmed from the boy's victim personally while visiting her father. The jounin was beyond mortified that he had gotten his ass thoroughly kicked by a kid who wasn't even eight yet, much less had any decent training as a shinobi.

In the coming years that particular jounin would become vindicated in his humiliation as rumors began to spread out of Suna about a "demon Skylark" that seemed to keep the Jinchuriki on some sort of leash. Sure, Gaia was terrifying with that sand defense of hers and the occasional rampage outside the walls of the village where the Shukaku could really let loose...but at least she didn't actively seek out new playmates to "bite to death".

Temari felt her words rather prophetic when, every time she had to do the introductions of her team she would always refer to Kyouya as her "future brother-in-law", much to the annoyance of her jounin instructor.

On the plus side, she wouldn't be lacking in entertainment in the coming years.