Naruto, the container of the grand demon kyuubi, has reached his eighteenth birthday. He is at the peak of his power and achievement; a chuunin quickly on his way to becoming the most powerful and influential ninja of his age. But something happens that day that will forever change his life. Age, it seems, is not something demons care much about and Naruto is about to learn that the hard way.
I don't own any of this. But you knew that already didn't you.
Spring was in the air. Flowers bloomed everywhere, revealing their happy colorful faces to the world and the sun. Birds sang in the warming air, joyously proclaiming the coming of the season. White clouds puffed by effortlessly on the first of the season's warm breezes. Rivers and streams gurgled happily with cool mountain water that until recently had been snow and ice.
The hidden village of the Leaf could not help but be touched by these signs of the new season. Indeed one could even say it was the cause of the exceptionally glorious change of seasons. The village was the picture of prosperity. It buzzed with happy activity and seemed to radiate a feeling of contentment into the countryside that made the flowers seem just that much nicer.
Spring was also a time for young hearts to blossom and for love to be found in abundance. Konoha wasn't an exception. A city wide sigh could almost be heard as couples new and old strolled the streets or took to the parks for a quite picnic under the trees.
But among these happy couples there was one pair that weren't exactly proclaiming their love for each other to the world. They were the exception to the rule that stated that everyone in town had to know they were together. They were almost never seen together in public and when they were no one but their close friends could tell there was anything going on between them. Considering who the couple was there was good reason for all the secrecy.
They sat together now, on a wide branch of a tree on one of the many training grounds surrounding the city, and simply talked. They were leaned against each other. Their backs pressed together with their legs straddling the thick branch. Their conversation rambled from one topic to the next. Sometimes it was serious and sometimes it wasn't.
Today was one of the less serious days. Conversation started and stopped, the stops frequently stretched into long minutes of comfortable silence until a new thought or topic came to mind.
Finally, after a period of silence lapsed too long, the purple haired girl checked the time and smiled. It was almost time. Even though she knew what she had to do she was loath to interrupt the silence. It was so nice. But finally she forced the words out in a small voice.
A deep but tired "Hmm?" rumbled against her back. She smiled again. She had caught him trying to nod off to sleep.
"Do you want to go get something to eat? My treat."
The mention of food, especially free food coming from his girlfriend, drove any sense of sleep from the blond's body. He craned his head over his shoulder and met the deep pools of soft creaminess that were Hyuuga Hinata's eyes and gave her a rueful smile.
"Are you sure you have enough to cover the bill?" he asked with a wink.
Hinata smiled coyly, a new expression for her, and answered. "I'm pretty sure I can cover it."
"Alright then!" Naruto said briskly. He disappeared from the branch with a puff of smoke and reappeared on the ground below.
With a squeak of surprise Hinata lost her balance and tumbled from the branch only to be caught by the strong arms of her love. Her face flushed as the surprise disappeared. It wasn't every day that she found herself in such a strange position.
Sensing the awkwardness Naruto quickly put her down on her feet and smiled despite the small shove she gave him.
"Please don't do that again Naruto," Hinata said meekly, her voice reverting to it's old quiet unsure self.
"Ok ok. I won't do it again...any time soon," Naruto said as he dodged out of the smaller girl's reach to avoid any further hitting.
Hinata just giggled and reached over to straighten his Chuunin vest for him which made Naruto grin even more.
The two of them, along with many of the remaining Leaf genin that had made it to the semi-finals those years ago, had made Chuunin several years back after another round of exams. Most of the old teams had run the gauntlet together again and had passed with flying colors much to the delight of their senseis, the hokage, and the village. The influx of solid Chuunin had boosted the ninja workforce in the village and helped to bring in more money for the battered village. With their help the city had recovered and was even prospering again.
Hand in hand the two love birds made their way back towards town. As they neared the denser areas of town though their hands separated and they began to talk of training that day, which they hadn't done, and about the training they would do tomorrow, which they probably wouldn't do either. They became just friends again. Training partners that merely shared a few hours of their time with each other before going on their separate ways.
They put up this front for the village because of Hinata's family. When they had discovered their love for each other a year or so ago they had had to cover it up quickly to avoid questions from an already biased Hyuuga household. Hinata's father made it abundantly clear early on that he did not like Hinata associating with "that demon boy". It was obvious he did not like Naruto and neither Hinata or Naruto wanted to push their luck where her father was concerned.
So they had covered it up and "silenced" the three or four people who knew too much already, mainly by using blackmail and bribery. They couldn't very well kill their team mates and Sensei.
Hinata took the lead today and Naruto quickly figured out that she was headed unerringly towards his favorite of favorites, the Ichiraku Ramen stand. His stomach growled appreciatively which made Hinata giggle into her hand.
When they arrived they discovered that they had the place to themselves. No other customers were in sight. Naruto sat with a grin and turned to the man behind the counter and promptly gagged.
The man behind the counter was not who he had expected. Hatake Kakashi, resplendent in a white paper hat tilted at a jaunty angle and with a white apron draped over his Jounin uniform, was busy dipping noodles.
Naruto recovered slightly but still couldn't find words for the extremely abnormal vision before him. Kakashi stopped and simply waited for Naruto to come to. When he did the question exploded from his mouth with such force that the bowls piled up behind the counter shook.
"WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING HERE KAKASHI-SENSEI?!"
The silver haired man continued his work as if totally unaffected by the blond's loud question and answered him calmly. "I needed the extra cash."
Naruto's jaw hung off it's hinges in shock. Had hell frozen over?
Kakashi's sole visible eye curved upwards in a smile. "Surprise?"
With a tremendous puff of smoke a whole host of people appeared around the two seated lovers. They appeared sitting on the counter, on the other chairs, behind the counter, and out in the street. All of them wore huge smiles, or what approached huge smiles for certain people, and together they yelled in one huge voice. "SURPRISE!!! HAPPY EIGHTEENTH BIRTHDAY NARUTO!!!"
Naruto gapped in unbridled wonder as the people began patting him on the back or, in the very rare case when it was a girl, a kiss on the cheek. He knew every one of them. His old teammates were there along with each of the other old rookie teams. Lee's team was there as were the senseis for each team. Jiriaya, Iruka, and even the Hokage herself was there. Konohamaru and his two friends, now Genin, were hugging his arms and legs.
Tears began to stream down the blond's cheeks. They were tears of joy of course and they didn't hinder the huge grin that was spreading over his face in any way. His arms began moving on their own accord, hugging back and ruffling hair when the person happened to be younger. When he finally found his voice again he could hardly manage a thank you through his tight throat but they heard him just the same.
He'd never had so many of his friends and loved ones together before. The fact that it was for a birthday party for him made it even better. As the hugs and kisses and thank you's died down the presents and cake came out and Naruto lost his voice all over again. The cake was a big one, covered in delicious looking orange chocolate frosting that made Naruto's taste buds water in delightful anticipation. Eighteen lit candles ringed the edge of the cake, waiting for the man of honor to snuff them out.
It was all too good to be true. If this was a dream Naruto never wanted it to end. But the feelings were real. The people and tactile contacts were real. And it made him smile and cry all the more.
A small handkerchief came into sight and lightly wiped away the tears. Naruto turned to see Hinata smiling the rarest of her smiles, a broad full faced smile that held nothing back, and dabbing at his eyes with her handkerchief.
Naruto leaned into her hand and felt her return the pressure.
Someone, an annoying raven haired someone, thought Naruto and Hinata were getting a little too into themselves and spoke up. "Hey Dobe! We haven't got all day you know."
Naruto tried to give his rival a scowl but failed utterly. Sasuke rolled his eyes and gestured at the cake on the counter in front of Naruto.
A mummer of agreement swept around the gathered group and Naruto turned back toward the cake. A voice pipped up from his side.
"Don't forget to make a wish Naruto nii-chan," Konohamaru said.
Naruto winked at his part time sidekick. "I'm not about to forget that. And I have a great one ready and waiting."
Naruto inhaled deeply. The gathered friends eyes widened in anticipation.
'I want to be Hokage,' Naruto wished silently as he began blowing out candles.
Cheers erupted as he neared the last of the candles. With a final puff Naruto extinguished the last one.
That's when it happened.
A voice seemed to bubble maliciously up into his ears from within, a voice he was very familiar with by now. That of Kyuubi.
"My gift to you brat...enjoy..." The voice said teasingly.
Then a rush, a surge of demon chakra so fast Naruto didn't even have time to think about blocking it out. It burned it's way through his chakra pathways and spread quickly to the rest of his body. The sensation was unlike anything he had felt before. The sizzling pain tingling through his every cell and pore, but only for the barest of seconds. Then, just as it had come, the burning pain left him, dissipating and retreating back into the depths of his mind.
The only outside clue about what had transpired inside the boy's body was that his long blow of air suddenly turned into a coughing fit. Most took no notice of it, putting it down to burning lungs or getting more smoke then air. The few that noticed the inward happening took no serious note of it...
Except for one.
Naruto recovered quickly. He put on his smile again and acted like nothing had happened. Someone began to cut the cake and there was a general confusion as paper plates and forks were passed around. The owner of the stand had appeared again along with his young assistant and were busy cooking large amounts of ramen for the parties consumption. People began to break up into smaller groups as they received their cake and began to talk, even Hinata stood and moved off with the excuse that she needed to talk to her former sensei.
Which left the blond boy a moment to himself.
His fingers dug into the bar surface in anger. He hadn't had any problems from the demon that resided inside of him for almost a year. Neither had talked to each other for months. Naruto had had no problems on missions or in fights of any sort. The dreams had even stopped, mostly because they had been replaced by dreams of a certain purple haired girl. So it was a big surprise when the fox suddenly made a come back.
"What the hell is wrong with you you bastard fox? You trying to spoil my party?" Naruto inwardly thought, directing the comment through his link to the fox. A rumbling chuckle came back at him from the depths of his mind.
"Answer me damn it!"
The fox went silent, his presence sinking back into it's dark corner of his being.
Naruto growled mentally in frustration. "Fine, I'll deal with you later."
His fingers weakened their death grip on the counter top and his mind returned to the party. Trying to put the small incident with the demon out of mind Naruto picked up a piece of cake in one hand and a bowl of ramen in the other and went in search of his girlfriend.
'This will be a good day. Just don't let the fox ruin it for you,' Naruto thought. 'Heh, what could he possibly do to ruin this day of days?'
Years later Naruto would look back upon that moment with pain and regret. How wrong he had been.
Well there's the intro. For those of you who read my other stories, don't worry. I will be continuing them. I just wanted to get this one started as well. I've been wanting to put this up for months ever since the idea hit me. The story is based off of a ranma/sailor moon fic that is now apparently gone from this site. I don't remember the name, maybe someone could refresh my memory once you've figured out where this story is going. It was probably one of the best fics i've ever read. No there won't be any sailor moon refrences or appearance in this and only a very few ranma ones. Anyway...laters. Hope you enjoyed it. There will be more.