Chapter One: Changes
Dying is an interesting thing when you think about it. After all, one never truly knows how or when they will die. Until the means of their death comes and hits them when they least expect it, more or less. At least that's what had happened with me anyways.
I was just a guy in his mid-20's who had a big love for anime, manga, and all sorts of other things. One could consider geeky and/or nerdy when it came down to it. I had just recently graduated from college with a major in economics. I was feeling good about myself, even went out with some friends to celebrate.
Then it happened. I died or rather I was killed in essence.
I was walking back to my place a little tipsy but not hammered either. I was crossing the street not seeing any traffic and then I got ran clean the fuck over.
Someone full-on drunk. Was driving with their lights off in their old shitty car. It didn't help that the street I lived on didn't have any working streetlights. Add in the fact the car that hit me was dark in its color, I never had a chance the moment I tried crossing the road.
I only just caught the sight of the car out of my peripheral vision, but it was too late at that point. Next thing I knew, I got slammed full force by the car and my whole world turned seemingly black and red. I barely registered my body rag-dolling through the air. I hit the ground hard and tumbled across, for who knows what distance before coming to a stop.
My whole body registered nothing but pain. It didn't take a genius to figure out that my body had been broken in too many ways to count from the collision. The pain was so great I couldn't even whimper in pain, the shock of it all to great, let alone yell. Probably for the best in all honesty. If I could have yelled, I would let out a string of obscenities so great. It would have even caused an old sailor to blush from it.
I could feel my body twitch uncontrollably from the damage it had sustained. I felt my blood pour out of me and pool underneath from my wounds. I could feel the cold begin to overtake me as my life began to slip away. I could barely make out my reflection in the window of a nearby building. It was rather morbid I suppose, watching myself die in the reflection of the window. Looking at the mangled heap I now was as the life in my eyes began to steadily fade away.
Was I worried about was going to become of me, knowing I was for sure dying? Of course, I was, I mean what rational person wouldn't be? I can't say I was a religious person in sort of way in my life, so I had no beliefs to think about for the afterlife. I could only hope whatever awaited me wouldn't be so bad in all hopefulness.
It was with that final thought the last bit my life left me, and everything went blank at that point.
All I remember after that was being surrounded by a feeling of weightlessness. I couldn't see, I couldn't talk, I couldn't smell, I couldn't move, I wasn't even sure I could even hear. I had no idea where I was, what as happening, or even how long I had been there. Wherever it was I was at in all honesty. Then something happened I couldn't have counted on.
Someone spoke to me.
At least I'm pretty sure that was the intention anyway. It sounded more like someone speaking to me from within my head. Or whatever counted as within my head at this point.
"Do you wish to live again?" Questioned the disembodied voice in a calm and soft voice.
That sounded odd to me understandably. Especially considering the voice was distorted in such away. I couldn't tell if I was being spoken to by a man or a woman. It sounded like an even mix of both in all truthfulness. Plus, I suppose it ultimately didn't matter in the end.
"Do you wish to live again?" Asked the voice once again in the same way as before.
Not sure how to get an answer out to this strange voice I did the only thing I could think to do. I thought out my answer.
"Yes, I wish to live again." I thought, hoping whatever it was I was speaking to would get my answer. All was quiet for a moment before the voice spoke back to me.
"Very well, you shall live once more. A new life far different from the one you once knew." Was the somewhat cryptic answer from the voice.
Before I could even think of a reply, I suddenly felt some kind of force tugging at me. Next thing I knew I felt something akin to heavy drowsiness take over me as everything seemed to fade away once more.
"I wonder how this one will handle their reincarnation?" Mused the strange voice to itself. "It will be interesting to see, how much will change with their inclusion into the world that one will now call home."
He had no idea how long that feeling of sleepiness lasted. Only that when it finally lifted, he was able to open his eyes once more. He immediately noticed that everything around him seemed so large. He tried to move only to quickly realize his range of motion was rather limited. He took a quick look at his hands and quickly came to his first big realization; he was a baby.
There was no mistaking the tiny pudgy hands he now possessed. He was a toddler once more; except this time he was fully aware of himself and his surroundings. He still possessed his memories of his previous life as well. He also noticed the mocha-like skin complexion he was now sporting. That was also a surprise to him, understandable considering he was Caucasian in his previous life.
Deciding not to dwell too much on such a trivial detail, he looked around to gauge the room he was in. He noticed that he was on the floor of what he assumed to be his room. If the crib in the corner and scattered baby toys all over the floor was something to go by. When he looked at the crib, he noticed his new name was inscribed on a plaque hanging on the front of it.
'Ren Yamanaka' it simply read in a language he recognized as Japanese. He was rather thankful at that moment he took the Japanese language as a part of his college schooling in his old life. He also noticed the kanji his name was written in meant 'Lotus' like the flower of the same name. Granted, depending on the spelling of the kanji it could have also could have meant 'Love'.
Something about his name meaning 'Lotus' and having the last name 'Yamanaka' struck a chord in his head. Though he had no idea why at the moment, so Ren decided on the only thing he could do. Explore as much as he could to figure out just where home was for him now. A task easier said than done seeing how his toddler body was incapable of walking yet, so he had to baby crawl across the floor as best as he could.
Whoever had been in the room last, had forgotten to fully close the door. Ren crawled his way over to it and squeezed his way through the opening and into the opening and into a hallway, of what was his new home. As Ren crawled down the hallway, he noticed something about the architecture of the place. It seemed to be designed with a lot of old japan influence but with modern flair added in.
As he crawled Ren noticed an open doorway, with no real other option he crawled into it. He found himself in a room that designed much like the rest of the house, though he noticed someone sitting on the floor. Ren noticed whoever the person was, was deeply engrossed with reading from some sort of scroll. With nothing better to do, he crawled his way towards the person, studying there features as he approached.
The person he was approaching was male Ren noticed. He had long blond hair he kept in a long ponytail. He had a headband of sorts on his head, though he couldn't get a good look at it quite yet. He also noticed he was wearing some sort of flak jacket which Ren found rather odd. The person in question was so engrossed with the scroll. He didn't register Ren being there, until the toddler place one of his pudgy baby hands on a leg.
This snapped the man out of his musings as he suddenly turned his head to the toddler next to him. Ren saw he had very defined facial features and a strong jawline along with light green eyes. He looked down at Ren with some shock.
'Is this guy my new father?' Ren questioned to himself as the man in front of him finally spoke.
"Goodness Ren! How did you get all the way here from your room?!" Questioned the man out loud as he gently picked Ren up into his arms and stood. "And you did so without anyone noticing as well. Well then, perhaps you'll be a very successful ninja once you grow older? Interesting considering your mother and father were both just civilians. Although I suppose while ninja talent skipped your mother, it would then find its way to you?"
That statement suddenly caused the gears in his head to start turning faster. As it all started digging up things in Ren's memory from his past life. His baby face scrunched up a bit as he began trying to piece things together in his head.
'okay so, I'm clearly in some sort of Asia like or heavily Asia influenced place.' He thought. 'My surname is 'Yamanaka' and apparently ninjas are a thing. Dammit! It's all on the tip of my tongue but I can't figure it out. I need one more solid clue I think to figure this out!'
Ren looked back up at the man who while not his father from what he had said. Was still clearly a close relative of sorts in some way he figured. He looked over the man again as he saw the front of his headband. It had a metal plate with a symbol engraved on it. The symbol looked like some kind of swirl with a small triangle of sorts.
'That looks an awful lot like- 'Ren's sentence died in his head when the realization of it all finally hit him. It was the symbol of Konohagakure No Sato, The Village Hidden in The Leaves.
'HOLY SHIT! I'VE BEEN REINCARNATED INTO THE WORLD OF 'NARUTO'!'
Granted, perhaps Ren should have figured that one out sooner. Back in his old life 'Naruto' was one the biggest all-time anime/manga series while growing up. Though while he did follow the series, he wasn't a hardcore fan of it per se. He had always been way more into 'Bleach' then he had been 'Naruto'.
Of course, he needed to get back to the main thing on hand. The fact that the world of 'Naruto' was apparently real after all and his ass got reincarnated into it. Ren reacted the only way he possibly could with such shock in a toddler's body. He wailed and cried accordingly.
"Ahh! Please don't cry, Ren!" Pleaded the man holding him. "If your mother finds you out of your room and crying. She'll be absolutely fur-" His words were cut off by the yelling of a very angry sounding woman.
The man now known as Inoichi froze in place. His face paled and he gulped nervously. He slowly turned to face a woman who looked like a smaller, softer in the face, female version of himself. Except her eyes were a deep blue instead of green.
"Hel- hello sister." Inoichi choked out.
The woman glared at her brother and approached him. The room seemed to grow colder with every step she took. When she was face to face with her brother, she said nothing and simply held out her arms. Inoichi understanding the gesture, gently handed over his crying nephew. Hoping to avoid the wrath of his sister as much as possible. While she wasn't a ninja-like him, she could still be pretty damn scary when she wanted to be.
Ren was handed over to the woman who was apparently his mother by the man who was his uncle. He was still wailing and crying from the shock of things. However, as soon as he was wrapped up in my mother's arms. she began to cradle and soothe him in a way only a mother could achieve. While he was still in shock, his mother's soothing still worked to get him to calm down enough to where he was no longer wailing loudly.
"There, there my sweet boy. Mommy is here for you, so don't cry." She spoke softly to Ren as she then planted a soft tender kiss to the top of his head. Which he won't deny, it definitely helped calm him down even further. Before he realized it, she was carrying him away to somewhere else in the house. After a few moments he was in a playroom of sorts, that wasn't his. Making a quick look around Ren saw a mirror, his mother happened to be standing in front of as she held him.
Getting a better look at himself, he noticed that besides mocha skin, he had blue eyes just like his mother. He also had some bits of blond hair beginning to grow on his head. He also noticed his face while holding male features, was still noticeably much softer looking than the face of most males.
'Man, I really scored big time on the exotic looks department in this new life.'
Ren's mother sat him down on the floor alongside another toddler who appeared to be roughly the same age.
"Ok, you just hang out here alongside your cousin Ino." Said his mother as she left the room, closing the door securely behind her as she did. A few moments after it was closed a very noticeable yell was heard.
"INOICHI! I'M NOT FINISHED WITH YOU!"
'note to self. Avoid pissing off my mother at all costs.'
Now that he had finally calmed down from the initial shock of it all Ren now had time properly think everything out. He went back and thought about everything he knew about 'Naruto'. Trying to steadily piece together where exactly he was in the timeline of the story and what he was in store for in the years to come. Having to live out his new existence in a place he once thought was nothing but fantasy. After some time he felt he had more or less a solid idea about things.
'Alright time to break this down.' Ren mused to himself mentally. 'So I died and wound up getting reincarnated into the world of 'Naruto'. A place I had once thought to be nothing more, but a fun made-up story. Apparently, I was also born into the Yamanaka clan. One of the oldest and powerful clans in Konoha. Seeing how Ino is already born and the same age as me. That would mean Naruto himself is born and has the nine tails sealed within him. which in turn also means there are quite a few years before the main story of the series kicks off.'
Then as he thought more about his knowledge of the series, he made his first big issue at hand.
'Someone by the name of 'Ren Yamanaka' never existed at all in the series. Whether in canon or filler as far as I'm aware of. Which means I'm more or less a totally new player tossed into this world. That in turn also means my mere existence here will have who knows what amount changes on events that are going to be playing out. Not to mention whatever totally new events are likely to happen due to my existence here. While I'm sure certain major things like the land of waves and the chunin exams, will most likely play out most likely how they do in canon. It's whatever slight difference that could go down, that could throw a real wrench into things. When it comes down to it, my best option is just simply to let things play out and react accordingly to things as I recognize them. Man, I'm in for a pretty exciting time in this new life by looks of it all.'
Then the thoughts of his new family crossed his mind.
'I'm a Yamanaka which means once I start my ninja training, I'll be trained in all their mind related techniques. Not to mention I'll get really good with any and all things related to flowers. The clan head Inoichi is my uncle and Ino here is my cousin. Quick side note try to break Ino of her Sasuke obsession as soon as possible. The weird thing is I have mocha skin, something not common at all in this region of the world. That kind of trait is much more common up towards the village hidden in the clouds in the land of lightning. Uncle Inoichi mentioned my father wasn't a ninja-like my mother. Which means he's just some guy that hails from around that region in all likely hood.'
His musings were cut short when Ino crawled her way up to him. Then she pressed one of her baby toys directly into his face. Which also happened to be covered in baby drool.
'That's just all sorts of disgusting.' Thought Ren with a deadpan look, as he readied himself to spend the next few years of living like a toddler.
*Five years later*
Ren woke up, to the sun shining into his room on an early morning Saturday. He let out a yawn and hopped out of bed to begin the day. Not much had truly happened in the five years of his new life. He had spent most of it doing what any other child his age would do. However, that would soon begin to change, now that he was Five. He would begin his ninja training at the start of the next school year. Granted, that was roughly four months away still, but he could hardly wait.
Ren now stood at average size and height for a child his age. He had grown out his clans well known blond hair. However, instead of keeping it neat and in a regular ponytail. A portion of his hair ran down his back and was styled in a thick braid-like manner. While the rest of his hair that surrounded his head was kept at a chin-length, wild and messy. A style that drove his mother nuts but put up with none the less.
He threw on a pair of dark grey colored cargo shorts and a deep purple shirt that had his clan symbol on the back of it. He headed to the kitchen of the house inside the Yamanaka compound. He found his mother already finishing up cooking breakfast.
"Morning mom." He chirped as he walked in and took a seat.
"Morning Ren." His mother kindly replied back as she placed a plate of scrambled eggs and toast in front of him. "What are you planning for today?"
Ren shrugged his shoulders in response. "Nothing much really, uncle said the other day he was going to buy me all my starter ninja supplies once he gets back from his mission. Then he's gonna start training me and Ino in ninja basics. So we can have a head start for when we head to the academy in a few months. So, I'll just roam around the village a bit and see I can find anything of interest."
"Alright then. Have fun and be safe, if you need me for anything. I'll be at the flower shop." His mother spoke as she then planted a kiss on top of Ren's head.
Ren finished up his breakfast and headed out the door with a slight smile on his face. If there was anything about his new life he truly did love, it was his mother. She was a very caring woman who loved her family with all her heart. Though that didn't keep her from unleashing her infamous fury on Ren's unfortunate uncle at times. Ren had kept to his personal promise so far about not inviting that wrath upon himself. Of course the trade-off to that, one could say. Was the fact his father had died before he was even born.
As he had suspected upon first becoming aware of himself in this new life. His father had hailed from the land of lighting. He had been a successful merchant, that had met his mother on a business trip to Konoha. They had hit it off well with each other and he then moved his whole business to Konoha. Just so he could be close to Ren's mother. Eventually, they married and not long after Ren had been conceived. Sadly, he died a few months later from an illness.
Ren had to admit, he was sad about not ever knowing his father in this new life. Though at least he'd been a good man who had truly loved his mother and would have been a good father too.
One of the more challenging things about being reincarnated with all his previous life memories. Was trying to ensure people didn't catch on too much about him knowing so much more than he had any right to. Ren knew from what he could recall of his knowledge of the 'Naruto' world. There were all sorts of danger everywhere in the ninja world, even in a rather peaceful place like Konoha. The last thing he wanted to do was garner too much attention of an old power-hungry war-hawk like Danzo. Or even worse, he garnered the attention of someone like Orochimaru. He shuddered at the thought of what that would mean for him.
That also brought up another constant question to his mind as he walked through the village.
'Just how much can I change with the events of things that are to happen?' He thought.
He knew he had the potential to change a lot depending on how the cards we're dealt with him. He knew that he wouldn't be able to influence every single event that happened. There were a lot of variables he had to take into account after all. There were certainly somethings he wanted to change, some lives he wanted to save if the opportunity to do so presented itself when the time came.
He was brought out of his thinking by a bunch a sudden shouting. He turned his head towards the direction of a nearby alley it was coming from and walked towards it. As he walked into the entrance of the alley, he saw two grown men standing over a downed kid.
"You damn brat! Why are you even hanging around here!" Shouted one man.
"Do us all a favor and leave you little monster!" Yelled the other.
Ren took a moment to study the kid they were berating, though he already had a very good idea who it was. Sure enough, his hunch was right on the money. Spikey hair as blond as Ren's own, blue eyes, whisker marks on his face. It was none other than the future big damn hero of the world.
This was actually perfect for Ren. One of the things he wanted change was to try to give Naruto a better childhood. In his old life when first saw Naruto's story. He felt it was bullshit that he got treated the way he did. That and the fact the old man Hokage didn't do more to help. When he damn well could have. So Ren decided with the knowledge he had and the resources at his disposal. He was going to try to make things better for the knucklehead. He began his advance on the two men and made his presence known.
"Two grown men beating on a kid the same age as me. How very pathetic of you." Mused the young Yamanaka, gaining the two adults' attention.
"What the hell do you want kid?" Sneered one of them.
"Simple" Began Ren. "Leave him be and go away. I don't know why your beating on him, and I honestly don't care. Do as I say, and things won't get ugly for you two."
"Just what the hell does some punk ass kid like you, get off trying to order around adults?" Snarled one of them.
"More then you think actually." Ren calmly replied as he turned to flash his family crest on the back of his shirt. Ren couldn't help but grin a little when they two grown men reacted in shock when they saw it.
"Oh shit! He's a Yamanaka!" Proclaimed one of them.
"That's right." Mused Ren. "In fact, my uncle is the clan head and one of the high ranking members of the village's torture and interrogation unit. A simple word of mouth to him and he can bring you in and 'ask' shall we say. As to why you were beating on a defenseless kid. I'm sure you wouldn't want that, seeing how people as pathetic as you. Would most likely come out of such an experience a bit broken from it all."
Both men paled and looked rather nervous knowing the child in front of them was speaking the truth.
"So I assume we have an understanding then?" Questioned Ren.
Both men simply nodded in reply.
"Good. Now leave and if I ever catch you doing this sort of thing again. You won't be given any kind of warning." Ren growled out a bit menacingly as he narrowed his eyes into a glare.
Both men immediately turned on their heels and ran out of the alley. With that dealt with, Ren then approached the downed Uzumaki.
"They're gone now and are you okay?" Ren asked as he stopped in front of Naruto.
Naruto for his part was a bit shell shocked from the turn of events. He had no idea who the guy the same age as him was. No one had ever defended him before or even asked if he was ok. Naruto though quickly snapped out of his shock and stood up dusting himself off as he did. Ren noticed he was wearing a worn-out looking pair of green shorts and a faded shirt with a red whirlpool on it.
"Yeah I'm fine and thanks for the help." Replied the jinchuriki.
"Name's Ren Yamanaka, who are you?" Ren asked knowing full well that answer already.
Naruto looked at the mocha-skinned and blond-haired boy in front of him a bit skeptically but ultimately decided to reply. "I'm Naruto Uzumaki, nice to meet you."
"Nice to meet you too Naruto." Ren replied as held out a hand. Naruto hesitated for a moment before taking the hand for a brief shake. "So, do you want to hang out Naruto?"
Ren swore Naruto's face glowed brightly and grinned as he had just woken up Christmas morning to a room full of presents.
"I'd like to! Believe it!" Proclaimed the container of the nine-tails.
"Follow me then," Ren spoke as he turned and headed out the alley. Naruto walking along right beside him. They exited the alley and turned down onto one of the main shopping streets in the village.
"What do you want to do?" Chimed Naruto.
Ren paused for a moment to think about that before he finally had his answer. "Let's head to a ninja supply shop. I'll be starting at the academy soon. Though my uncle will be buying me starting equipment. I want to grab something unique to myself for my ninja look."
Naruto simply nodded. "Sounds good to me. I don't have money to buy anything but I'm happy enough just to have someone to hang out with."
With that said both blonds found the nearest ninja shop and waltz inside. The shop was adorned with all sorts of ninja tools, weapons, clothes, etc. Much to the wide-eyed wonder to the two young would-be ninjas. The counter was managed by a middle-aged man, he saw Naruto and raised an eyebrow. When he noticed Ren and the clan symbol on his back, he chose not to do anything.
Ren walked through the store observing all the different items. He had to admit it was all really cool to marvel at. However, he finally found something that really piqued his interest. Sitting in a small wooden box in the back was a type of ninja mask that covered the bottom half of a person's face. It was metal and it was engraved with the design of a dragon's maw on it. There were also some air holes for oxygen in it as well. It had adjustable leather straps with a metal snap together clip. The inside of the mask itself also some filters of sorts. He assumed were for protecting against types of smokes and toxic gas a ninja could encounter. Inside the box he also noticed additional metal pieces, implying the mask could be altered to properly fit. Faces of all sizes and shapes without issue. It was perfect in Ren's eyes.
He grabbed the mask and its box and took it to the register with Naruto in tow. He placed the box on the counter and the cashier nodded his head in understanding. Once the final price was rung up Ren grabbed his wallet and pulled out the needed funds. Thankfully, his mother had started giving him an allowance a year ago. He had saved it all and even did some work in the flower shop for some extra money. After seeing that he had plenty for a mask, a stray thought entered his head.
"Hey Naruto, you want anything?" He asked his fellow blond.
Naruto was taken aback by the sudden question. "Ummm…. No that's ok, I don't want to mooch off of you."
"It's not mooching if I'm offering Naruto, so go ahead a grab something." Replied Ren.
Feeling like there was no point in arguing about it. Naruto quickly went to the back of the store and returned a moment later with a pair of goggles. Placing it up on the counter, it was quickly rung up and paid for. A few moments later both boys walked out wearing the new items.
"Thanks a lot for the goggles!" Exclaimed an excited Naruto with a wide grin.
"No problem at all." Replied Ren with his recently purchased mask on his face. Fortunately, the mask was also designed to not hinder his speaking at all.
The two boys wandered through the streets some more. Ren noticed the stares and behind the back whispering gong from various villagers as they traveled together. Ren ignored this as much as possible and noticed Naruto doing the same. Eventually, they came across a music shop, which jolted a memory of the young Yamanaka's past life.
"Hey Naruto, I'm gonna check something out in here, really quick." Spoke Ren.
His fellow blond gave a slight nod of understanding and Ren entered the shop. Ten minutes later, Ren walked out with a brand new metal ocarina hanging off his hip. It was grey in color with splashes of black. In his past life, Ren had been a huge fan of a particular video game series. Which inspired him to pick up the instrument and actually became quite skilled with it.
'I wonder if I'll be able to learn to cast genjutsu with this as Tayuya does with her flute? He mused mentally, thinking about the kunoichi of the sound four. 'At the very least it will be nice to have this as a hobby again to kill time with.'
"Whoa!" Said Naruto eyeing the instrument. "That's cool! You plan on using it to cast Jutsu with?"
"Hopefully I can learn too. If not, then it will be a fun hobby to have." Was Ren's simple reply. Looking around he noticed it was around mid-day. "Hey, Naruto want to grab some lunch with me?"
Naruto perked up at that suggestion. "Heck yeah! What'cha thinking?"
"How about Ramen?"
Naruto suddenly looked at Ren like he was a messenger sent from the heavens.
"That's perfect! I know just the place too! Come on follow me!" Spoke Naruto with lots of enthusiasm as he began to lead the way. Ren following right behind. After a few minutes of travel, they had arrived in front of 'Ramen Ichiraku'. Which came as an absolutely zero surprise to Ren. Though he had to admit to himself he was very much interested in trying the place out. For how incredibly hyped up it was during the series from what he could recall.
"Ta-da!" Announced Naruto with a wide grin. "Welcome to the best ramen shop in the whole village! Nothing can beat this place!"
"Well then, what are we waiting for? Let's go eat." The Yamanaka replied.
An hour later both boys exited the shop with belly's full of ramen. Ren had to admit the place definitely lived up to the hype. The ramen was beyond good and the shop owner Teuchi and his daughter Ayame. They were just as pleasant and fun to be around as the series had always shown them to be.
"I told you this place was the best! Believe it!" Boasted Naruto.
"It certainly lives up to its reputation Naruto, no doubts about that." Ren replied. "so wanna come over to my place to hang out more?"
Once more Naruto looked at his fellow blond with a dumbstruck expression.
"Well?" Asked Ren after a few moments without receiving an answer.
This shook Naruto of his daze. "Yes! I'd like that!"
Ren simply motioned his head for Naruto to follow him and turned on his heel towards the Yamanaka compound. After some traveling, the passed through the gates of the compound and head towards the main house where Ren lived. In the yard just outside the house was one Ino Yamanaka. She was wearing blue shorts and a long-sleeved shirt of the same color. With the Yamanaka clan symbol on the front of it.
Ino was playing in the yard when she saw her cousin approaching the house. She noticed a few things right away, like her cousin Ren was now wearing some sort of metal mask. Then she noticed someone else walking with her cousin, someone she didn't recognize. Though she could tell they had blond and blue eyes and whisker marks? Strangely enough, that adorned the person's cheeks.
"Hi, Ren! Who's this with you?" Piped Ino as she approached the two boys.
"Hey cousin." Greeted Ren. "This is Naruto Uzumaki. Naruto this is my cousin Ino Yamanaka."
Ino looked over the boy her cousin had brought home. Despite his battered looking cloths, she sensed this Naruto felt like a nice enough person. If her cousin trusted him, then she could too. "Nice to meet you Naruto!"
Naruto looked at the Yamanaka girl in front of him. She looked to be nice, like his new friend Ren. Maybe he would be lucky enough to make two friends in one day. "Nice to meet you as well Ino!"
"So what do you guys have planned?" Wondered the young heiress of the Yamanaka clan.
"Just came to hang out and kill time however we could. Care to join us?" Spoke up, Ren.
"Sounds good to me." Replied Ino.
All three children then took together for an afternoon of fun. They spent hours upon hours playing around the compound. Doing various games and activities. By the time they had started to settle down the sun in the sky had started to set. As Ino, Ren and Naruto were laying on the ground next to each other. As they looked up at the sky.
"Hey, Naruto." Spoke up Ino, breaking the silence. "It's starting to get late; don't you need to get home to your family?"
Naruto sat up with a sad expression on his face as he stared out into the distance. "I don't have a family actually, I'm all by myself. No mom, no dad, no siblings, nothing at all." He replied sadly.
Ino sat up looking at Naruto in shock at the revelation. Ren for his part sat up and did his best seem surprised as well.
"If that's the case, then where do you even live?" Ino questioned.
Naruto gave a brief glance her way before answering. "In some run-down shack of an apartment. It's barely above living on the streets in all honesty."
"So you have no one helping to look after you at all?" Ino asked, her surprise growing more.
Naruto gave a small nod of his head as he went to explain. "Yeah, I have no one at all. I was in the orphanage for a little bit, but they tossed me out as soon as they could. For whatever reason a lot of the people in the village hate and ridicule me whenever they can it seems'. I honestly don't understand why though at all. That's what was happening to me earlier today before Ren showed up and put a stop to it."
Ino didn't know what to say when she heard that. she quickly turned to her cousin to confirm what from him what she just heard was true. Ren gave a slight nod as to confirm all that she heard, was indeed true. Ino turned back to Naruto shock still written on her face. She had a hard time believing people in the village could be so cruel. She might not have known Naruto for that long, but she already could tell he was a good person. Not to mention he was just as old as she and her cousin. So what in the world could he have done to earn such hatred from people in the village? None of it made any sense at all to her.
Seeing things going in the direction he wanted, Ren decided to play his next card.
"Hey Ino, I have an idea." Spoke up Ren, drawing the focus of the other two to him. "Why don't we try convincing your dad to allow Naruto to live here with us? We have plenty of room here at the compound and the house too as well. It would certainly be a huge leap up from what he currently has."
Naruto's practically lit up from the hope of being able to possibly live in a place as great as the Yamanaka compound. Ino meanwhile had a grin spread across her face, seemingly agreeing with her cousin's suggestion.
"My dad should get home in a few hours; we can ask him then." Piped up Ino much to Naruto's delight and Ren's satisfaction.
"There you two are, it's time for dinner." Spoke up a voice directly behind the children. That Ren recognized immediately belonging to his mother.
"Hi, aunt Kairi!" Chimed Ino. "Can our friend join us for dinner?"
"Your friend?" Mused Kairi as she noticed her son and niece's friend. At first, she thought she was looking at another clan member, judging from the hair color. Then she saw the whisker marks on the boy's face. Her eyes widened a bit at the realization. Of all the other children her son and niece could have made friends with. The Jinchuriki to the nine-tailed fox, she did not expect. Granted while she hated the fox for the destruction and death it caused. She knew better than to hold those feelings against the young child in front of her. The boy may be the container to the fox, but he and the fox were two completely separate things. Reeling herself in, Kairi put on her best motherly smile and tone.
"Of course he can. What's your name little one?" Kairi spoke kindly.
"Naruto, I'm Naruto Uzumaki!" The jinchuriki for the nine-tails replied happily.
Ren watched the brief little exchange carefully eyeing it all. He honestly wasn't sure how his mother would react to him to being friends with Naruto. He breathed a mental sigh of relief when he saw his mother. Seemingly held no ill will towards Naruto simply because he was the container for the fox bijuu.
"Okay, you three. Go inside and get ready for dinner." Stated Kairi. It was at that point she finally noticed the mask her son was wearing. She decided not to question it.
Not needing to be told twice all three children made their way inside, closely followed by Kairi.
It was close to nighttime by the time Inoichi returned from his mission. He had just arrived back at the main home in the Yamanaka compound. When he walked into the living area, he saw something he wasn't expecting. He saw his daughter, nephew, and a blond hair boy he quickly recognized as the jinchuriki of the fox. All three happily playing together much to his surprise.
"Dad!" exclaimed Ino, as she ran over to her father, gave a hug, an action Inoichi returned.
"Hi, uncle." Chimed Ren as he approached with Naruto close behind him.
Inoichi paused for a moment when he noticed the mask adorning his nephew's face before he finally spoke.
"I see you decided to acquire yourself some ninja gear of your own and who's your friend?" Wondered Inoichi.
"I took a trip to one of the local supply shops and stumbled across it. I couldn't resist. As for my new and only friend, uncle, this is Naruto Uzumaki. Naruto this is my uncle Inoichi Yamanaka and current head of the clan.
Both individuals gave a respectful greeting to the other before things continued.
Inoichi was a little perplexed at his closest relatives being so friendly with the fox jinchuriki but ultimately didn't mind. He understood all to well that the boy had no choice in his matter of being a jinchuriki. The young whisker faced blond carried a heavier burden then most could ever realize.
"I'm glad to see you've all made such good friends with one another." Spoke Inoichi with a smile.
Seeing his opportunity, Ren figured he should play his next move.
"Hey uncle, me and Ino are wondering something." Said Ren with childlike innocence.
Inoichi inclined his head to note he was listening.
"Well….." Chimed Ren. "Ino and I were wondering if you'd permit Naruto live with us here in the compound?"
Inoichi's jaw practically hit the floor as he began to question if he had heard that statement correctly. His daughter was kind enough to help him realize he did in fact hear his nephew correctly.
"You heard Ren correctly dad." Cleared up Ino. "Naruto is our friend, but he has no family or a real home. He practically lives on the street, not to mention some people in the village. Go out of their way to seemingly to beat and belittle him, for reason's none of us can figure out why? We think having him here with us would really benefit him and us, especially since Naruto is aiming to be a ninja as well."
"How so?" Questioned Inoichi, genuinely curious for the answer.
"Simple Uncle." Cut in Ren. "Once we graduate from the academy will all be placed in three-man genin teams as you mentioned before. Having Naruto alongside me and Ino will give us plenty of practice working in such teams. The experience that will become invaluable once we become actual genin's just starting out. Secondly, you're always telling us of being Yamanaka's as we are. We should always strive to do the right thing for those we care for. Naruto is our friend and someone we care for and he certainly needs the help I think."
Inoichi took a few moments just staring at his nephew. Completely caught by surprise by the wise and correct reasoning of the young boy. Inoichi wasn't honestly sure how to decide on the situation. He thought about refusing to do so and then he saw the faces of his nephew and daughter. The look in their eyes, the expression's they held. He could tell just how much helping out their new friend meant to them. He hung his head in defeat and gave a big sigh. He'd probably catch some hell from the clan elders for this decision he was about to make. Ultimately though he knew how to deal with that. He raised his head and looked directly at Naruto.
"Naruto Uzumaki." Began Inoichi. "As head of the Yamanaka clan, I offer you a place here amongst my clan. By law, you will be allowed housing and protection by my clan, as well as being extended clan rights as well. If you choose to accept, you shall essentially be made an honorary Yamanaka. Do you accept these terms?"
Naruto thought for sure at that moment he was dreaming. He almost couldn't comprehend such an offer was being extended to him, of all people. He felt the swelling of emotions washing over his body at the realization this was really happening. He had to fight back the tears building up in his eyes as he finally gave his answer.
"I…. I accept! Believe it!" Cried out Naruto as he finally allowed his emotions to spill over. Tears of happiness and joy began to stream down his face.
"Very well then. Welcome to the Yamanaka clan Naruto Uzumaki." Proclaimed Inoichi.
Ren and Ino proceeded to run over to Naruto and embrace him in a celebratory group hug. Inoichi simply watched the display with a kind smile.
"You did the right thing brother." A voice suddenly called out. Inoichi turned his head to see his sister.
"I'm sure some amongst the elders will complain but I think this was the right choice as well Kairi."
"Don't worry about those fossils Inoichi, they should be more concerned about enjoying what few years of life they have left. Before they get tossed six feet deep into the ground."
"Oh please, we both know it's the truth." Snarked the Yamanaka woman as she then walked over to the children. "Naruto, follow me and I'll get you situated in one of the spare rooms."
Naruto grinned happily as he followed Kairi with Ren and Ino in tow. A few hours later Ren was laying in bed thinking over the day's events.
'Today went better than expected.' He thought. 'Giving Naruto a place he can actually call home and be happy I can cross off my to-do list. Tomorrow me, Naruto and Ino will start our ninja training together under uncle's watch. Granted, there's still a lot more I want to do. I can only wait until the time comes about for me to put more of my potential plans into place. I'm looking forward to that.'
With that final thought, Ren closed his eyes and drifted off to sleep. As he continued his new life in the ninja world.
A/N: So, me coming up with this story was sort of out of the blue. I was relaxing and re-watching Naruto when the idea for this sprung into my head. It kept so rooted and stuck at the forefront of my mind, I couldn't work on any of my other stories. So I went ahead wrote this out, I can't promise how frequent the updates for this one will be. There will be a pairing or even perhaps parings for Ren. I already know what girl or girls they will be, but I won't say who they are. That would ruin the surprise of it all. Regardless, I hope enjoyed the start of this, please like, follow, and review. See you next time!