A/N: Yes, it has been a long time. Yes, this is not a long chapter, and it is mostly filler, but the point is that it is something. I could try to add more to this particular chapter, but then there would be no telling how long it would be before I actually post an update. Sorry folks, but I just don't update frequently anymore. Nothing I have started is dead, but the update speed is slow, not to mention that I have a fair amount of school work.
And while I dislike being an advertiser, I did promise someone that I would promote their site, the "Unlimited Fan-Works." It is a simple forum in which you can discuss anime, preview fanfics, etc... If you happen to enjoy things like that, or even if you're just bored need a way to pass time, then please give it a try. It is relatively new, so there isn't too much activity yet, so please go there and start some activity. Start some discussion topics, comment on peoples work, things like that. And if it is any incentive for some people to join, then I'll say this: I now tend to update in bits and pieces on forums to get opinions, and you're likely to read portions of any of my stories on the boards far earlier then you can read them in completed form here. I will place the link for the site in my profile, so please give it a try.
And if you are a TFF member…cut Zeni some slack and try to help out over there, show some support. Anyways, enough said, moving on to the story.
Two children were running around playing a game, enjoying themselves, when they collapsed to the ground, laughing as they lay down to rest. One was an older child with short black hair, while the other was a child with bright blonde hair and shining blue eyes. As the two lie down, the girl turned towards the boy and began to speak.
"This is fun, I never had many people to play these games with when I was your age."
The boy turned his smiling face towards her and responded, "I haven't had many opportunities to play like this either; it is fun."
"I am glad that you are here with us now, I've enjoyed having you here with us."
"So have I, you've all been so nice to me, I wish that I was really part of this family." The boy responded as he stared out into the sky.
"Kyoshi-kun, you are already like a member of our family, does having the same family name really make a difference?"
"But I want people to know that I am a member of this family, because I am happy here with you all."
The two sat in silence for a moment staring at the sky when the boy suddenly spoke again.
"I've got it!" He proclaimed.
"What is it Kyoshi-kun?" The girl asked.
"When I grow up, I am going to marry Shizune-chan; then I will really be a member of this family." The boy proclaimed happily.
The girl laughed for a moment before she responded, "Well, you are a pretty cute kid, so we'll see about that when your older."
The two lie there a while longer before a woman came and called to the two of them to come back.
The scene then changed to that of the same boy, standing over two dead adults, kunai in hand while the girl stood in the doorway, horrified by the whole scene. The boy looked at the girl and disappeared, a smile on his face.
Shizune sat up with a start, sweating profusely and breathing heavily.
'It's that dream again. I swear, I will kill that bastard for what he did to mom and dad.' She thought to herself. 'Still, the beginning of that dream was a bit strange. Usually I just see when he killed mom and dad, why am I remembering things like that?'
Currently, the shrill voice of an angry woman rang could be heard throughout the hokage tower.
"You horrible little monster! Look what you have done to my poor little baby!" The woman said as she pointed at the motionless ball of fur in Naruto's arms that resembled a cat. Naruto finally managed to lift his gaze from the floor to the woman as he spoke.
"I'm sorry, it was an accident…" He managed to utter in a soft, meek tone of voice.
Everyone standing in the room watched as the woman walked up to Naruto, and then they all winced as the sound from a hard slap reverberated throughout the room.
"Are you trying to patronize me? You sit there and tell me you are sorry, and yet you keep that damn smile on your face. You were probably happy to kill my poor little baby you monster!" She yelled at him.
'This is what happens when you sneak up on someone trained to be an assassin…' Kakashi thought. As he watched the Sandaime try to calm down the irate woman, he thought back to the conversation that he had with Sarutobi regarding his student.
Kakashi had decided to meet with the hokage today to see if he could answer any of the questions that he had regarding a certain blonde student of his. He was still very curious about Naruto's abilities, and he had a growing concern regarding his lack of changing facial expressions.
"Hello Kakashi, what is it that you have come to see me about today?" The old man questioned him.
"Well, I was hoping that you might have some information regarding a certain student of mine."
"And I take it that the one that you want information on is the smiling blonde one." The hokage answered as he gazed out the window. "I failed to protect him and this is the result of my failure."
"You're not really answering my question with that. I want to know why he is this way so that I might know whether or not I should be cautious regarding him."
"Kakashi, tell me, what was your childhood like?" Sarutobi questioned him.
"I don't see how this has anything to do with what I am asking."
"Please humor me for now, what was your childhood like?" Sarutobi inquired once again.
Kakashi sighed, but answered none the less, "I felt alone most of the time, having lost my parents. I was considered a genius and chose to become a ninja early, and in doing so lost most of my childhood. I was forced to grow up, did things that no child should have to do, and began to take lives."
"Well, imagine a childhood like that, only without it being your choice to become a ninja, and being beaten if you refuse. Imagine being forced to smile at all times or being beaten. Imagine that all of your missions were assassinations. Imagine all of these combined with your childhood, and you pretty much have what Naruto's childhood was."
After that, the hokage had explained to him exactly what Naruto had gone through, and he had to say that the truth about Naruto's past was far worse then he had imagined. He had always thought that he had a difficult childhood, but what Naruto had been through was worse. To have been alone for all this time, to have been brainwashed like this before even knowing what human warmth was like.
He had watched Naruto as they had done their simple D-ranked missions, and could see that Naruto was the only one that didn't seem to mind performing them. While Sasuke and Sakura complained about the menial tasks that they were doing, Naruto seemed to be happy simply performing these everyday tasks.
Today, they had been searching for this woman's cat. The cat was a rather tricky one and had been able to hide from them for a while. When his team got close to him, he decided to ambush them to confuse them, and then run away while they were confused. Unfortunately for the cat, to ambush one trained as an assassin was a bad idea. As the cat had leapt out to attack him, Naruto had shoved his palm into the cat as sparks gathered around his hand. The cat had not survived the electricity pumped into his body.
As Kakashi's thoughts about the mission wrapped up, he noticed that the hokage had finally managed to calm the woman down a little bit, though she was still rather upset with Naruto.
"I don't want this monster assigned to any missions of mine ever again." She said as she stormed out of the hokage's office.
As the hokage began to list other missions that team seven could be assigned, Kakashi watched the expression on Naruto's face while Sakura and Sasuke tried to convince the Sandaime that they were ready for a higher ranked mission. He knew that to look towards his mouth was pointless, so instead he looked towards his eyes and saw the look of sadness hidden therein. He wanted to do something for the boy, but he didn't know of anything that he could do for him. His thoughts were broken as Sarutobi addressed him.
"Kakashi, do you think that your team is ready for a C-ranked mission?"
"Yes, I believe that they can handle a C-ranked mission hokage-sama." Kakashi replied.
Sarutobi began to look through the C-ranked missions available. He had agreed to give them a C-ranked mission, but he also wanted to keep his promise to Naruto to avoid giving him missions that would require killing. The only thing that he could find at the moment was an escort mission. Killing could occur, but it was not necessary. He gave an apologetic look towards Naruto before he continued.
"I have a C-rank mission here to escort a bridge builder back to the Wave Country."
An older man who was most likely drunk stumbled into the room at this point. He looked at the ninja who were assigned to protect him and was not happy with what he saw.
"Hey, are you telling me that these brats are the ones who are going to protect me on this trip, don't make me laugh."
Sarutobi began trying to appease the man as he spoke to him "They may be young, but I assure you that they are quite skilled for their age, and in addition, their teacher will also be accompanying you, so you have nothing to worry about."
"That guy over there with only one visible eye? He doesn't look like the most reliable type to me. And you expect me to believe that these kids can protect me, bah!"
"Sir, you are only paying for a C-rank mission and as such, we feel that this team will suffice. In addition, that unreliable man is one of our finest ninja, so you are lucky to have him for the rate that you are paying." Sarutobi replied
The bridge builder looked a bit uneasy, but let the argument drop. "Well, I suppose that I will believe your words for now. The name is Tazuna, expert bridge builder."
They all listened to an outline of the mission before Kakashi told them a time to meet the next day to set out on their mission.
A/N: A lot of people have asked for a reference regarding Naruto's smile and what it looks like. Ideally, the best description would be for those who have played Suikoden V as the story is based of the character Sagiri from that game. However, since few of you have probably played it, then I suppose the suggestion of Gin from Bleach can fit, though I intended it to be less smirk-like than his.