A/N: Whee, new story…ok enough cheering. Anyways, a while back I had ideas for some elements of what I wanted for my next story, and then recently, I had thought of the beginnings of a plot to incorporate them into. This story's premise is based off of the background story of a minor character in Suikoden 5. The pairing will most likely be a Naru/Shizune, though it will be a while until that point is reached.
Also, I realize that I am using the Roots organization incorrectly in this story, so I don't need you to tell me, if you don't like it, deal with it. Anyways, on to the story.
Sarutobi sat in his office with his head resting on his hands. In front of him sat a young nine year old blonde boy with a small smile on his face. Typically, an adult would feel cheerful when they see a child smiling, but in this instance, it broke the old man's heart. The look in his eyes held so much pain and sadness in contrast to his smile. He inwardly cursed at himself, he had failed the boy. He had promised Arashi that he would protect the boy, and yet a few years ago, the boy had disappeared. He used to be such a cheerful child, and now, seeing what had become of him in that time killed him inside. He cursed the people who had done this to him.
It might surprise people to know that it was not the treatment of the villagers that had done this to him. Naruto had shown an amazing amount of resilience to the hatred of the villagers, even at such a young age. It had only strengthened his resolve to grow stronger so that they would all acknowledge him. No, it was not the villagers that had done this to him, what these people did to him was far worse.
'Roots' Sarutobi thought to himself, 'Damn them, damn them for turning such a cheerful and innocent boy into this.'
Roots, a special unit of the Anbu squad formed by the council during the age of the Great Shinobi Wars. Their purpose was to do the jobs that nobody else wanted to do, the darker jobs of the shinobi world. Nobody wanted to do these jobs, but this was the shinobi world, and jobs such as those needed to be done. The Yondaime had not liked the Roots unit, having not liked those kinds of jobs anyways. He had been an incredible man; through his efforts, the war ended quickly and Roots had not been needed to perform any jobs like that. An idealist to the end, he had been working on disbanding the Roots organization, hoping that the lands were not in need of an organization to perform tasks such as theirs. However, before he had succeeded, the Kyuubi had attacked, and the Yondaime had sacrificed his life. Sarutobi had retaken the position of Hokage, but with the leaf in such a weakened state, he knew that they would need to keep the Roots organization. As much as he detested the kind of work that they did, he knew that in these times, it had to be done, and an organization like theirs was necessary.
That had all changed recently. The Roots organization got greedy and began to secretly take jobs from other villages. At first, most of their missions had not involved the leaf, as most villages figured that they would not work against their own village, but they soon discovered that Roots would take any job from any village, even if it damaged the leaf village. Most jobs against the leaf were insignificant, and they remained undiscovered. Their first major job against the leaf was in the attempted kidnapping of the Hyuuga heir. They managed to set up the kidnapping attempt so that it looked as though in it all, the Hyuuga had wronged the cloud and as such the cloud demanded that the Hyuuga head be delivered to them, after all, to have the eyes of the Hyuuga head was much more valuable then that of their young heir. That plan had been turned against them though, as the Hyuuga sent Hizashi in Hiashi's stead. And then…there was the final mission of the Roots organization, the attempted assassination at the Sarutobi manor.
Roots had taken the job from the village hidden in the stone. They were still upset from the Great Shinobi Wars and were now planning for their revenge. Once the Hokage had been assassinated, they would launch their attack while they were left without a leader. For their role in the attack, Roots had been promised a great deal of money, as well as a position of power in their Stone controlled Leaf village. Roots snuck into the Sarutobi manor that night. There mission had simply been to assassinate the Sandaime, but they went a step beyond that and began to kill anyone that they found. The assassination attempt had failed, but the only surviving members of the Sarutobi clan were the Sandaime himself, his son Asuma and his young grandson Konohamaru.
Roots had been identified during the assassination attempt and thus were forced to flee Konoha. Sarutobi personally led a unit in the hunt for Roots, and they were soon found. Sarutobi and his group raided their hideout and had succeeded in eliminating them, but what Sarutobi had found there was something that he would never have expected.
Sarutobi had just finished off another of the Roots members when he looked over and saw the last person he would have expected to see in a place like this. Standing there watching the battle with a smile on his face was Naruto, the young container of the demon Kyuubi who had disappeared from the village five years ago. Sarutobi had begun to lose hope in finding the boy after having not found him over five years time, but here he stood, in front of him.
After getting over the shock that it was Naruto standing there, he became disturbed by the smile on Naruto's face. Did Naruto willingly join Roots? Was the Kyuubi in control and enjoying the killing occurring all around them? Sarutobi was wondering about all of these things when a woman snuck up behind him and attempted a killing blow, only to end up with her arm twisted behind her back and a kunai at her throat, all done to her by her victim. One doesn't get the Hokage title for nothing.
"Why is Naruto here, and why is he smiling throughout all of this?" Sarutobi asked her. The woman smirked as she answered.
"The brat? We took him about five years ago. Since he had no family and most people hated him, we figured no one would really miss him when we took him. I must say though, he has made quite a useful tool."
"What are you talking about? What did you do to him?"
"Anyone can suspect an assassination attempt from a ninja, but no one suspects a smiling child to be their assassin, the boy has made quite a number of assassinations for us."
"No, your lying, there is no way that Naruto would do all of that for you."
"Oh, at first he refused to do any of those missions for us, but after a bit of 'Persuasion' he decided that doing missions for us wasn't that bad."
"You would beat him and torture him until he did missions for you, didn't you?" Sarutobi was clenching his fists as he thought of what Naruto would have gone through.
"My, how perceptive of you. You are correct, we had to beat him quite a bit to get him to agree to those missions."
"Then why is he smiling right now as people are killed around him? If he was beaten and forced to do these missions, why would he smile at all of this death?"
"It was all a part of his training. You see, no one has any suspicion of a happily smiling child, we had to train him to keep up that smile at all times. If he stopped smiling at any time, then we beat him. Now, he smiles perpetually, he is unable to make any expression other than smiling."
Sarutobi looked over at Naruto's face to see that small smile still stuck on his face, but this time, he noticed the tears rolling down his face past the smile.
The woman began to laugh, feeling no guilt about what they had done to the boy. She didn't live very long after that laughter.
Sarutobi looked at Naruto as he sat in the chair across from his desk, his constant smile still present on his face. He remembered as a child when Naruto would give people his big foxy grin. It was far different from the small smile that adorned his face now. His old smile was one of happiness, his smile now would fool people who did not know what to look for, but once they knew what had happened, they could see the pain in the smile on his face. Sarutobi saw that pain now, and it pained him inside that the boy could be reduced to this. He wanted to do what he could to try and cheer the boy up, though he feared his efforts could have an adverse effect. He wanted to enroll Naruto in the ninja academy so that he could meet with kids his age, but he didn't know what kind of reaction Naruto might have to joining the academy.
"Naruto, how would you like to join the ninja academy?" He asked the boy.
Naruto stiffened at the mention of it, though the smile never left his face.
"Is there something wrong with going to the academy Naruto?"
"…I don't like killing…I don't want to kill anymore…"
Sarutobi was torn at what to do. Unfortunately, it was unlikely that Naruto would make friends with any civilian children, and a civilian life just was not possible for him. He needed money to support himself, and the likely hood of any of the villagers hiring him to work was slim. The only way that Naruto would be able to have a semi-decent life was if he became a ninja, but he knew that if the boy became a ninja, killing would be unavoidable. He didn't know what to do. He looked at Naruto and saw that he was just sitting there, staring at his hands.
"I know that my hands are clean, but every time that I look at them, I still see the blood on them." Naruto said. It was a common feeling for those who had taken there first lives, but the scene seemed slightly disturbing due to the smile on his face that would not fade.
'Damn those bastards, damn them for doing this to him.'
"Naruto, I can't promise you that if you become a ninja, you won't have to kill anyone, but I can promise you that if you do become a ninja, I will try to make sure that none of your missions require the use of lethal force."
Naruto considered this for a moment before coming to his decision. "I…will join the academy."
Sarutobi smiled, praying that this would work out well, and that it wouldn't make things worse.
A/N: A short chapter, I know, but it is just simply an opening with an idea that I had. I don't know how long it will be between updates, because I have to consider where exactly I want to go with this story.
Also, don't give me nit-picky reviews about details. Yes, I know that the perpetual smile is unrealistic, or that it would probably be something that medic nins could cure, but just accept it as is and move on. I really don't want to deal with annoying reviews about small details like that.
Lastly, is Naruto too strong? No. He has simply killed some people caught off guard. It wouldn't take that much strength to stab an unsuspecting man in the back with a kunai. He may have some slight abilities, but nothing really overwhelming, or incredibly superior to others.