Summary - When a young Naruto runs due to the villagers' hate, he ends up in the care of a very unlikely person. -"STUPID BRAT!   That's my gambling money!"-

A/N – I'd just like to mention a few things. First, if you haven't read the manga, and don't know a lot about the serious, some of this may be confusing. Another thing, that woman who travels with Tsunade (I think her name is Shizune, but I can't really remember) isn't present in the fic. Lastly, I'm going to try and make this fic free of pairings as well, seeing as I could never please everyone. However, I may or may not write a sidestory, or even something of a sequel containing a pairing. Anyway, I hope you like it! Please review! Tell me what you like and dislike, but please don't flame. Criticism is only welcome when it's constructive. Oh, and I'd like to apologize for any mistakes or grammar errors. I try to avoid those, but I'm too lazy to double check. Thank you! ^_^

 Disclaimer – I don't own Naruto


The Hand Fate Deals

Prologue – Shuffle the Deck

"Stupid cheating scum," a blond woman muttered as she stalked down the street. She was having a very bad day. Her luck (which was usually bad) had been worse than usual. The other players in the game were likely gloating over winning a good ¾ of her money at this very moment. One of these days she would win big. Yup, one of these days…

            So involved in her thoughts, she never noticed the young boy until he'd run into her from behind. "Watch where you're going, dumb kid!" she snapped, still fuming from her recent loss.

            "Sorry, miss," the boy muttered, eyes downcast. He quickly tried to scramble away. Tsunade's arm snapped out. Her iron grip held him in place. The boy's ragged and scuffed appearance caught her attention.

            "Where do you live, boy?" she asked suddenly. "Where are your parents?"

            "Nowhere," the kid muttered, "I don't have parents," he whispered. She crouched in front of him.

            "Hey kid, look at me," she requested. Slowly, the child's innocent, tear-filled eyes rose to meet hers. Tsunade's heart went out to him. Her grip on his arm loosened as she realized that she'd probably caused bruises.

            As soon as she'd loosened her grip, those blue eyes immediately hardened. He wrenched his arm away and dashed into the crowds on the street. Frowning in confusion, it was a few seconds before Tsunade realized what happened. Her eye violently twitched as she felt the absence of her money pouch. The entire village heard her scream of rage. "STUPID BRAT! That's my gambling money! GOD DAMN IT!

            Thinking fast, the legendary ninja leapt onto a nearby roof, searching for a small boy with a mop of spiky blond hair. After several seconds, she spotted him. He was working his way slowly through the crowd. By the lack of worry on his face, it was obvious that he thought he'd lost her. It was humiliating when she realized that he nearly had. Well, she definitely would not underestimate this kid again.

            Cracking her knuckles, Tsunade swept down on her unsuspecting prey. Before he knew what had happened, she'd snatched him. Ignoring his struggles, she headed towards the inn where she was staying. The people they passed send odd looks towards the strange duo. Tsunade just grinned maniacally and waved at them. She sauntered down the street until reaching her destination. The odd looks continued as she ascended the stairs and passed through the halls to her room. Once there, she locked the door and proceeded to temporarily disable the kid's legs with her charka.

            Still grinning, she plucked her money pouch from his pocket. Depositing it on the dresser, Tsunade then pulled up a chair. She sat and stared silently at the sulking youth on the floor. Now that her money was no longer endangered, she was in a much better mood. However, she fully intended to do something about the little menace. The boy began to fidget nervously after a few moments of silence.

            "Just what," Tsunade began finally, "possessed you to pick my pocket? Don't you know that you can get in serious trouble?" she continued. He glared at her.

            "Never been caught before," he said, defeated. She frowned. This child definitely seemed unstable.

            "You're lucky it was me, then. If you cooperate, there won't be any problems. If it had been a lord, you'd be missing a hand right now, at the least," she informed him. He paled visibly.

"What's your name? How old are you?" she questioned after another period of silence. He hesitated before answering.

"I'm eight. My name's Uzumaki Naruto."

At his words, Tsunade bolted up out of her chair. Naruto flinched, something she didn't fail to notice. "So you really are an orphan," she said, knowing that he was the boy with the fox demon.

"You hate me too," he said softly. It was not a question, just a simple statement. The lack of emotion in his eyes seriously bothered Tsunade. They were like a broken doll's.

            "Why," she began, "would you say that?"

            Naruto's eyes widened. "Everyone hates me!" he exclaimed.

            "I don't hate you. Not that I'm happy that you tried to steal from me, but I don't hate you," she said vehemently.

            "Really," he stuttered, slight hope surfacing in his eyes.


The sheer joy and relief in Naruto's eyes with that simple reply changed something in Tsunade. The old wounds in her heart began to heal. Fate had dealt this boy a harsher hand than hers. Her past was difficult, but it was in the past. She needed to move on. But this boy, he was living with the consequences of his horrible fate each day. So she made her decision that very moment. Tsunade would do everything in her power to help Naruto bear his burden. He would no longer have to be alone. And neither would she…