Disclaimer: I don't own the official Naruto. But my ideas are mine.


Chapter 4

Konoha

The Hidden Villiage of Leaves: Konoha. Its existence was both feared and respected by many throughout the Shinobi world. At one point, it was commonly believed that it was the single most powerful hidden village in the world, despite being one of the youngest. This was commonly believed to be largely due to Konoha's startling number of 'Heroes'. Ninja's that rose far above the average level and transcended into another league all together. It began, of course, with the first Hokage. Tthe founder of Konoha himself: Houou Hananoki was more commonly just called Shodaime out of respect. He was known for having a unique and interesting talent: the use of Mokuton Jutsu. An entire new branch of techniques that was reserved specifically for the Shodaime. According to legend: he used his gift to construct the basic structure for Konoha in a single day. During warfare, his ability to create ramparts and drastically alter the landscape turned the tides of many battles. Then there was the Shodaime's brother, the Nidaime: Houou Idomizu, whose raw combat ability struck fear and awe into armies, and who's mastery of Suiton jutsu was acknowledged even in Mist Country. The Sandaime: Sarutobi Fuuyou was called the professor. He was known to be fair and diplomatic, but he was equally known for his near-encyclopaedic knowledge of jutsu and seemingly endless list of abilities for any given situation. The Yondaime: Namikaze Minato, also called Konoha's Yellow Flash, was a name that was borderline taboo in certain countries. After a time, he was universally deemed to be completely invincible in straight combat. Entire battalions were instructed to cut there losses and just run for their lives if they were ever unfortunate enough to meet him on the battlefield. There was Konoha's White fang: Hakate Sakumo, who was known as the ultimate assassin before his choice to neglect the rules in favor of saving his friends and his subsequent forced Hara-kari. Konoha, to be blunt, had consistently produced select people that were just too powerful. No one knew exactly why that was, but it was sometimes thought to have something to do with the social values of the general populace and both their accepting and their encouraging nature. As Houou Naruto trailed beside his mother through the whispering and increasingly unfriendly streets of Konoha, he found that particular explanation a little difficult to agree with.

"Relax, Naru-chan…" Tsunade mumbled, as she swept her hawk-like gaze over the whispering crowd. "We're almost there. Don't worry."

Naruto absorbed his mother's words silently. His usually upbeat attitude subdued for a change by the speculative and gradually more hateful gazes that were beginning to surround him on each side.

Naruto did not know it, but news traveled faster than his own walking speed in Konoha, and news of the Kyuubi container's return was apparently at least twice so quickly spread. Apparently, the medic-nin that had scarred Naruto's cheeks had spread the word of her accomplishment to the villagers. Giving them the knowledge to easily identify the Kyuubi container on sight. Nearly six years away did little to dissipate Konoha's hatred towards Kyuubi.

x-Recap-x
"She used a solution on the scalpel to stop the blood from clotting; and another to stain the skin, even when I heal it. It looks like a damn whisker tattoo, except I can't remove it like one. I'd be impressed if I weren't so disgusted."
x-end Recap-x

"Relax, Naru-chan…" Tsunade repeated. "If anyone tries to hurt you, I can kick their asses, easy." Spying the obvious tension in the balled fist his adopted mother kept at her right side, Naruto was not sure whether she was trying to address his feelings, or her own. While there wasn't much that scared a woman like Tsunade; there was a lot that pissed her off. And seeing the villagers of Konoha gossip and glare was one of those things that really, really pissed her off.

Shizune trailed behind her obviously annoyed mentor silently. Disgust and concern were welling up slowly inside her, though her face tried to remain carefully neutral. That was her precious otoutou those villagers were glaring at, but it was her childhood home that was doing the glaring. What should she feel at a time like this?

"I knew this was a bad idea." Tsunade muttered spitefully under her breath. "… At least we're here."

Naruto looked at the building of their destination. No, make that 'buildings'. Before them, there was a large wooden fence, clearly cutting off the district within from the surrounding one. Two white eyed, pupil-less guards stood rigidly straight and at attention to each side of the arch that signalled the main entrance to Konoha's own Hyuuga District.

A man, standing straighter than the guards, came walking out through that arch to meet them just as the Houous reached the entrance. The event seemed as if he had taken practiced care to arrive at exactly that time.

"Ah, Tsunade-hime. How good to see you grace Konoha once again with your prescience" the rigid man greeted. Though his sentence was genial enough, not a ghost of a smile filtered across his stony set face. "Please, come in for some tea. The Houous are, of course, always welcome at the Hyuuga District Could I ask if you'll be staying long?"

If the Hyuuga's stony expression affected Tsunade at all, she didn't show it. "Tea sounds good about now, Hiashi." She sighed, while leading the group through the wooden arch that signalled the start of Hyuuga territory. "Depending on certain things, I may be back for good."

By the surprisingly easy exchange between Tsunade and Hiashi, it could indeed be surmised that news of the Houous arrival had stretched beyond them. The question that was brought up in Naruto's mind was that of why the Hyuugas, knowing of their arrival, had basically put out the welcoming mat as if it were a given. His adopted mother seemed to assume that she'd be welcomed by the Hyuugas as well. He pondered this as he walked slowly past traditional houses kept immaculately clean and proper on each side, still holding his mother's hand. The one story structures bespoke of either pride, wealth, or a healthy mix of both. His speculation didn't last long, as he halted it in favour of gawking at the large building that they were being led to enter.

-
x-Inside-x

Naruto sat uneasily at the low table, legs folded underneath him. His mother sat beside him. The stony faced man and who Naruto guessed was his daughter sat on the opposite side. "Kaa-chan…" he whispered to the side, "why did Nee-chan have to wait outside?"

"She's not a Houou…" Tsunade answered, as if that explained anything at all. She didn't seem to particularly care that she was carrying on a private conversation in front of their hosts, which were being ignored.

"So?" Naruto prompted. His face screwed up in confusion. "Are we some high-class family or something?" he asked sarcastically.

Tsunade's eyebrow rose delicately as if to mock such a question. "I've adopted you as my son, you know. That means your great-grand-father was the first Hokage and founder of Konoha." She reminded. "Your great-grand-uncle was the second Hokage." Tsunade continued listing flatly "Your grandfather was the most successful apothecary in history, and your beloved Kaa-chan is the patron of modern medical theory that doubles as a ninja on the Kage level"

Leaning closer, Tsunade peered at her son as she spoke flatly. "So what do you think? Are we a prestigious family?"

Oh shit! Naruto hadn't thought of it like that. Everyone knew that his adopted mother was the first Hokage's grand-daughter, but he'd never paid it any mind… Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit! His great-grandfather founded the damn village! His mother's work had saved thousands of important lives! He had a damn legacy to uphold! Were his clothes straight enough? Were they white enough? Did he comb his hair today? Did he ever comb his hair? Crap, he didn't! Quick: look noble!

Seeing her poor adopted son sweat bullets and give Hiashi a run for his money in the rigid posture department, Tsunade spoke up. "Relax, Naru-chan, your great-grandfather made sure we wouldn't become a clan. The Houous are just a little famous to some people… it's not like you'll have clan head responsibilities or anything" Looking at Naruto, she sighed seeing her words having little effect. Different tactic. "Besides, your great-grandfather would have already been proud of how you've lived your life until now. You don't have to worry" she informed, ruffling Naruto's oddly fluffy hair.

"Really?" he asked dubiously.

"Yes: really" Tsunade grinned, seeing the tension ease out of Naruto's posture as he seemed come to terms with the revelation. "Now get back to being the annoying brat I love so much."

Naruto, fears abated, now bristled at the tease. Shooting his mother an annoyed look, he scolded her. "I'd insult you back Kaa-chan, but our ancestors up in heaven would be disappointed if I sunk to your level" he informed factually. Then pointedly ignored his mother's prescience all-together and turning to his host. "Could I please have a cup of tea as well, Hiashi-sama?"

Hiashi, similarly ignoring Tsunade's insulted expression, motioned for his daughter to begin pouring the tea. "Of course, Naruto-sama."

"WAIT!" Tsunade interrupted, having recovered from Naruto's backhanded insult. "You brat, what did you say about 'sinking to my level'?"

With his mother's arm suddenly wrapped around his neck, Naruto's head was pulled in closely to her ample chest in a headlock. It was a position many men dreamed of, but Naruto only knew fear. "Let go of me, you barbarian!"

All right, that did it. "Vengeful Mother's Secret Technique: Noogie of Instant Humiliation!"

"GAH! There were even handseals this time!" Naruto cried in disbelief before the Noogie session began with a vengeful force.

x-later-x

Hiashi had quickly gotten used to tea with the Houous, which was decidedly different from tea with anyone else. They would be the picture of quiet nobility one moment, but were prone to short bursts of rancorous insults or general tussling. Once whatever argument they suddenly had was just as abruptly resolved, they instantly returned to their polite and dignified veneers. Seeing this, Hiashi didn't have any major problems with the odd behaviour. It was even mildly entertaining. "You may not be a clan," Hiashi lectured, "but you are a family of greatness. The nobility, ability and intelligence shown by your forefathers are something that the Hyuugas have always respected. They accomplished great things."

"I see…" Naruto mumbled, "then you don't mind me being the Kyuubi's container, just because I'm also a Houou?"

Hiashi took a moment to get over his surprise. The boy revealed his secret status as the Kyuubi container quite easily. "Yes. Whatever would be subtracted from you in our eyes is more than made up for in your dignified family name."

"I understand…" Naruto nodded slowly.

"The Hyuuga have a long history with the Houous" Hiashi continued. He felt the need to ease the mind of this child, though he knew not why. "I'll say it again: the Houous will always be welcome at the Hyuuga compound. Though for now at least, you two are the last remaining Houous in this life."

Naruto was silent. It was a kind offer: to always be welcomed somewhere. A great promise. But whether the rest of the Hyuugas would abide by that promise –and if so: to what extent– would have to be seen later.

"Hiashi-sama," Tsunade prompted over her tea cup, "I'm going to need to talk to Sarutobi-sensie today. Please look after Naruto for me."

"Of course" Hiashi responded as if it were a given. "Though that raises a question: where are you planning to take up residence, Tsunade-hime?"

Good question. Her old house would be a wreck from over a century of neglect. For the moment, she'd been planning to stay at a hotel.

"Because…" Hiashi led in, "the Houous will always be welcome at the Hyuuga complex" He informed once again: with a new undertone this time.

Tsunade's eyebrow quirked upwards as if to say "you're serious?" "Thank you Hiashi-sama. I'll tell Shizune to unpack." An offer without an offer. Nothing new from the Hyuugas. She didn't really mind the game of words. The game of putting up fronts to show one's strengths while strategically hiding one's weaknesses. Listening to what is said, and what is not said. Speaking in curves and implications, instead of direct statements, all the while watching your opponent like a hawk. Trying to wheedle inside their brains with a wedge of polite inquiry. It was like riding a bike for her: it was easy to play that game even after all this time.

But hell, that didn't mean she wanted to get used to it.

Didn't mean she wanted Naruto to get used to it either.

"I'm off kid" Tsunade informed, standing up. "I'll be back later."

"Yeah, right" Naruto said, sarcastically. He stood up as well. "I'm coming too!"

Tsunade made a disgruntled sound. "Just sit tight, brat. This is between Sarutobi-sensei and me. I'm leaving Shizune behind too. Just play with Hiashi's daughter or something. Or hell, help your sister unpack."

Tsunade breezed past her son. She was halfway through the door when his voice paused her movement. She glanced at him over her sholder.

Naruto's deep cerulean eyes met hers, looking like wells of deep understanding. And why not? He was her precious son, after all: No book-smart genius perhaps, but certainly no-one's fool if he could help it. "Just… tell me the important stuff later, okay?". If there's going to be news that concerns me, I want to know about it.

Tsunade's eyes flickered to the door and back to her son. Hiashi spied this as a sign of quick consideration and forethought. Tsunade let out a breath: not quite a sigh. "Fine, brat. If you're sure you can stay awake through it all". I'd like to protect you forever, but that's impossible even for me. I still think you're too young to be protecting yourself, even a little. But you're too young for a lot of the things you've done and dealt with so far. You'll manage: I know. But any mother would worry about what that would do to you as a person.

Naruto watched Haishi follow through the door after his mother; presumably to 'show her to the door'. He turned to Hiashi's daughter, who was still kneeling dutifully at the tea table. "Hey…" he began, but stopped short. Blinking, he realized that throughout one solid hour of polite conversation with side orders of tea and arguments, he hadn't ever gotten her name.

He shook the oddity off. "Hi, my name's Houou Naruto" he proclaimed. Whatever, he'd just re-introduce himself.

"U-Um…" the little girl stuttered. She was being put on the spotlight? She was deathly afraid of being the centre of attention. She had quickly learned that when she was the centre of any attention: she inevitably did something to drive her audience to hidden disgust. Steeling herself, she spoke for one of the few times since Naruto had met her. "H-Hyuuga Hinata"

"Cool, let's go play!"

"E-Eh?" Hinata was startled by the sudden outburst.

Naruto, in turn, shot her a flat look. What was there to be confused about? Did this girl not know how to play? Looking at her, she was pretty small. And dressed in that kimono: she reminded him of a doll. In fact, could she even run in that kimono? Whatever. He continued to drag the Hyuuga heiress into the garden area. "Let's play hide and seek!"

-
x-Hyuuga Complex: Central Garden-x

Naruto had someone to play with, as well as a place that would let him stay indefinitely in a village that might just end up being his home for a long time. Taking care to keep an eye out for signs of un-acceptance from the Hyuugas, he found none. Could he really stay here and not be glared at? Very cool. Things were looking up!

"Okay, I'll be 'it' first! You just go hide and I'll count to twenty over by that big tree, okay? Go!"

-
x-Hyuuga Complex: Interior-x

From an overlooking window at her bedside, Hyuuga Hiatari gazed upon her daughter happily. It was both unprecedented that she would have a new friend; and that she would be playing in the main garden with that new friend. Slowly, she felt her heart bubble with a relieved happiness that rose through her chest and –upon reaching her eyes– brought tears thereof. She let them fall. And the happiness remained with her, even as the scene gradually disappeared behind a descending curtain of darkness. She would be afraid that the world was fading away from her view so unstoppably, but for now there was a very clear image of her daughter running around for a place to hide, and with that warm thought to cloak her mind with, fear could not touch her – for now.

-
x-Hyuuga Complex: Central Garden-x

"Ha! Found you!" Naruto declared victoriously. He pointed a finger at the Hyuuga heiress and grinned. "It's your turn to be it now." He hadn't played this game in a while. It was a good game.

"Did…" Hinata started hesitantly, still crouched behind her bush. "Did I fail?"

"What?" Naruto blinked. "Fail? What are you talking about?" He seemed to take a while to seriously muse this over. "Is it possible to fail 'hide and seek'? I don't think so…" he mused briefly. "No" he concluded. "It's not possible to fail 'hide and seek'. I'm pretty sure it's just a game."

"I didn't… fail?" Hinata asked, almost hesitantly.

Naruto just shot her a look. "Stop asking silly questions, already! You can fail to play well, but you can't fail 'hide and seek'. You play it for fun. You're having fun right?"

After a brief period of consideration: hesitantly, Hinata shook her head.

"The hell?" Naruto exclaimed loudly. "You're not having fun?" he asked incredulously. The concept itself took a while to sink in. "YOU FAIL! Completely! Put more effort into it!"

Hinata 'eep-ed' and scurried over to the tree Naruto had been at earlier.

"Now COUNT!" Naruto demanded, reminiscent of a drill sergeant.

"O-One… T-Two…" Hinata stuttered, diligently covering her eyes with both hands.

"No..." Naruto ground out. "COUNT LIKE YOU MEAN IT!"

"O-One!" Hinata cried. "T-Two!"

-
From a carefully unnoticeable location off to the side, Hiashi watched the exchange with a piqued interest.

x-sixteen 'counts' later-x

"Nineteen! Twenty!" Hinata finished. She looked around. It was her turn to find Naruto.

Tentatively beginning her search, Hinata sheepishly checked several bushes only to find nothing. But wait! A gleeful snicker alerted her to what was probably Naruto's location.

Behind her?

Hinata's mouth fell slightly open in a show of surprise.

Naruto's eyes were gleaming victoriously as he clung harshly onto the one tiny, lone branch he'd managed to get up to. Odd thing was: the branch was on the big tree that was being used as the 'counting spot'. He'd hid behind the very tree Hinata had started counting at. He'd hid where no sane person would ever expect him to be. He was so clever! Devious, in fact! He could not contain his glee, and cackled out loud.

"U-Um, Naruto-sama… I found you" Hinata informed.

"What?" Naruto paused his cackling. "How?" He demanded, still hanging from the tree-branch with both hands.

"Um, you s-snickered…" Hinata mumbled, embarrassed and hesitant. "And then you… c-cackled evilly…"

"Damn" Naruto swore. "It's always the cackle."

CRACK!

Naruto needn't have concerned himself. If his snicker hadn't alerted Hinata to his presence, the much abused tree branch snapping – which he'd been hanging from for some five minuets - would have.

"Ow…" Naruto rubbed his sore posterior. "My super-sly, devious plan of great sneakiness… ruined!" He lamented openly and with great enthusiasm. If only he could walk up the tree with chakra like his adopted mother and sister. Not for the first time, he cursed his inability to do so. The chakra control exercise somehow managed to elude him to this day.

Hinata, frankly, didn't know what to say…

"Oh well," Naruto perked up. "Moving along…"

"Wh-What?"

"It's my turn to be 'it' now!" Naruto informed.

"You're not m-mad?" Hinata asked timidly.

"Huh?"

"I f-found you…" Hinata stuttered. Would he be angry?

"…" Naruto looked at her. Really looked at her, and Hinata suddenly felt as if those blue eyes were far deeper than she'd ever remembered them being. "Did you have fun?" Naruto asked softly.

"…Y-Yes?" Hinata blinked, having been surprised by her own words. When had she started having fun? She didn't know. Somewhere between counting from the number sixteen to seventeen, she'd stopped stuttering. Somewhere between seeing Naruto snicker and then cackle, she'd learned to trust him. He really did only want to have fun. And he only wanted her to have fun, too. She could trust him… not to look down at her with disappointed eyes. She somehow felt very, very sure of that.

"Well, as long as you're having fun… then no, I'm not mad" he grinned, eyes glinting. Hinata had to squeeze her eyes shut because at that moment, the sun had seemed kiss his hair, seeming to make him shine in it's golden light – just for a second. "Okay, I'm going to count! Be ready for it! One, Two…"

Hinata broke out of her daze and 'eep-ed' before scurrying off to find somewhere to hide. She did not know it, but a small, childish smile slipped onto her lips.

"… Nineteen, Twenty! Ready or not, Hinata-sama, here I come!"


Omake

Shizune's nose twitched. Instantly, she dropped the insanely large scroll that contained her mentor's backup supply of sake. Her eyes crossed comically as she peered at the twitching nose intently. It was her secret weapon against the forces of evil. Over the years, she'd found that whenever her precious otoutou was being corrupted or swearing more than was forgivable, her nose would twitch. It was her equivalent of a sixth-sense, but oh, so much more reliable. Now how she always managed to get from wherever she was to wherever Naruto was quickly enough to stop the proceedings… well, that was just a damn mystery.

ZOOM!

"#$+-#$#!" Naruto swore openly, causing his playmate to blanch and cover her mouth in shock. "-#$#$#!" He continued. He'd fallen from the damn tree for the sixth time! And this time he fell on a large rock! He was going to have to numb the pain with a jutsu, how ridiculous was that? Taking a deep breath, he was on the verge of beginning another lengthily list of swear words he'd picked up from his adopted mother.

It was then that the temperature plummeted. Oh – Shit. He spun just in time to see Shizune tower above him and Naruto could swear he could almost see the outline of either an undertaker or an incensed legal-court judge.

"O-TOU-TOU!" She bellowed darkly.

Oh boy, Shizune was pissed. It was all that damn rock's fault! Angrily, he glared at the offending object, which only sat there innocently, of course. In his mind, he cursed it and promised to haunt it from beyond the grave.

"I can't believe that you–!"

The horror! Naruto's mind screamed out in suffering as he had no choice but to sit through what must have been his adopted sisters own personal version of hell. For two solid hours, he was lectured angrily. How she could even keep yelling at him for that amount of time was yet another mystery that would remain unsolved for all time.

But alas his weak heart. He could not run. His love for his sister added a dull sting to her words and kept him chained firmly in place: the bond stronger than steel. Damn that rock! Even now it still sat there, playing the innocent. Its blank surface mocked him, his numbed mind insisted. It mocked him!

x-two hours later-x

Naruto kneeled, panting. His mind was numb and his energy was somehow exhausted just from living through that hell. Such... terrifying power. His adopted sister's rant was something that should be classified as an S-Rank technique. Nothing could stop its terrible might.

Shizune let loose a long, resigned sigh. "I'm sorry, Naruto-kun" she admitted. She looked it, too. "I was too hard on you, forgive me?"

Having just lived through hell, Naruto was tempted not to forgive her so easily. Alas, his weak heart. "It's okay, Nee-chan. I'm sorry too. I just fell on this rock and…" and where normal kinds might say "Ow, ow, ow, ow, ow!" or make hissing, pained noises without consciously wanting to, Naruto had been exposed to large amounts of swearing –on purpose. And so "Ow, ow, ow, ow, ow!" was replaced by colourful expletives of varying degrees of inappropriateness.

Naruto proceeded to reiterate his tale. And afterwards, Shizune nodded emphatically, she knew where the true blame lay. She felt slightly ashamed for exploding on her precious otoutou like that, though she knew it wasn't really his fault. She couldn't help herself; the true culprit was not somewhere that she could currently scold her at. But of course, it was only a matter of time until Tsunade returned home to commence with the 'real' scolding.

"I'll make it up to you, Naruto-kun, I promise. How about you two take a break for some Ramen?"

Ah, wonderful, sweet Shizune. Was it any wonder he could not have run away? "Come on, Hinata-chan, we'll have a Ramen-eating contest!" he proclaimed.

"Ch-Chan?" Hinata stuttered, voice small. It had just gone from "-sama" straight to "-chan"!

"Well…" Naruto scratched the back of his head. "We already play together, right? I can't keep calling you Hinata-sama…"

Hinata rolled over this idea in her head. It didn't necessarily seem normal, but Naruto clearly had his own way of seeing things. "Th-Then… N-Naruto…-kun?"

"Yeah?"

"N-Nothing, I just wanted to say your name…" Hinata mumbled, overcome with a blush. That hadn't sounded right at all! "I-Is "-kun" okay?"

"Of course! I already told you to stop asking silly questions, didn't I?"

End


It is possible for rumour to travel faster than a person can walk, especially if the rumor were treated more like critical information. It would still be very unusual, though.

I made mistakes concerning Kakashi's dad. The correction has been plugged in, but there is more information that needs to be put out there: Due to his abandonement of his mission, many lives were lost during the war that was waging at that time.

The forced Seppuku was to regain his honor.

Seppuku is a Japanese ritual form of suicide. It has actually been preformed and been commanded to be preformed, though that was with Samurai. The ninja equivilent is called Hara-kari.

I'm fairly sure that the Hyuuga clan members live in thier own little area of Konoha.

"-hime" is added to a name much like "-san" and "-chan", ect. It's used for princesses. Though Tsunade is not a princess, she is still called this sometimes, perhaps because of her relations, or perhaps because some people were so afraid of her and didn't want to take any chances in not grovelling enough.

The Sho-daime or Shodaime is the same as the First Hokage.

The Ni-daime or Nidaime is the same as the Second Hokage.

The San-daime or Sandaime is the same as the Third Hokage.

The Yon-daime or Yondaime is the same as the Fourth Hokage.

Counting to four in Japanese: Ichi/Sho, Ni, San, Shi/Yon.

I made a mistake with the Shodaime's name. "Sho" is the formal form of "One", and is used at the start of a long list of things. I used to have Ichidaime, but Shodaime is correct.

Tsunade really is the Shodaime's granddaughter.

The Nidaime was the Shodaime's brother, if I'm not mistaken. Thus, Tsunade's grand-uncle.

Tsunade's father's history was made up by me. He isn't really mentioned in the show to my knowledge.

The name Hiatari was also constructed by youre's trully. She's Hinata's mother and once again, I don't think she's mentioned in the show. Hiashi means "position of the sun" or "daytime", Hinata means "in the sun" or "sunny place". So I picked the name of Hinata's mother as Hiatari, which means "exposure to the sun" or "sunny place".

"Hide and Seek" is a game that's sometimes played by children, for any that don't know it. It's about what you'd think it is

How Naruto will be paired is yet a mystery. If I knew -and I'm not saying that I don't- I still wouldn't tell you.

I felt horrible about the mistakes with Shodaime and Kakashi's father. Thanks for the information, as always, guys.

Working at summer camp was painful for several reasons, but I survived.

"Thank you" to all those that have showed interest in my story up until now. I've come to be proud of my story and myself just a little more than before.

This was a bit rushed. Not by much, but I wanted to get something out. We are all just fortunate that I couldn't stay for the second week of camp chef duty.

Please Review.