Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto.
Slight AU warning.
Don't forget to review when you're finished reading!
Summary: What if Konoha was a destitute, paltry city that bred nothing of worth within its walls? The people of this miserable community barely keep going every day. The shinobi are no different. However, the dreams of one ninja triggers a feeling of rebirth within their hearts and now they strive to reach their own dreams. Will they find themselves on the right road...or lost forever?
Note: Italicized lines often mean thoughts of a character. Bolded lines often mean Inner Sakura's dialogue.
The Author Speaks: Also, beforehand, I'd like to say thank you for reading this new fanfic, and I hope you enjoy it. There will be multiple couplings, but romance is not what is this fic is completely centered around. Despite this, you won't be disappointed come romance time. Look for the teenage ninja angst however! I will warn you, there will be heavy amounts of violence, swearing, blood, substance abuse, molestation, you name it! I don't like flames, but I do like constructive criticism. Also note; money! I have no idea what the equivalent to a dollar is when it comes to ryo, so I'm just doing it simple. 100 ryo equals 1 dollar. I'll trust you're intelligent enough to be able to perform equivalents with that piece of information given.
Timeline: Being as how it's slightly AU, the time period is the same except most of the characters are fifteen instead of thirteen. Also, Otogakure is the main village of the Land of Fire, the biggest city with the most powerful army. It's located where it is in the series, except the Land of Rice Fields is no more; it's part of the Land of Fire. And yes, you guessed it! The Otokage is Orochimaru.
Beta Reader: Need one!
Songs: "Tokyo Nights" and "Travelling" by Utada Hikaru
"Holding Out For a Hero" by Frou Frou
"Welcome to Paradise" by Green Day
"Money" by Vitamin C
"Animal" by Nickelback
A quick explanation about the above section; I was inspired by backlashsymphony (totally recommend this author if you like great OrochiSaku stuff!) to start this up. The song(s) should describe the chapter's mood, so I suggest you look for the song(s), and look up the lyrics at Animelyrics (dot) net. The song can probably be downloaded at dogpile (dot) net, that's where I found it. If you can't find the song, just look up the lyrics! They work fine on their own.
Show Me a Hero
Chapter 1 – Beginning Of a Legend
Not too many people believed that there was a place in the world that offered nothing. Everyplace contributed in some way or other. Unfortunately, this was not the case. Konoha took a lot and gave nothing back. Those traveling through the hidden village would agree in the end.
Konohagakure, or Konoha as it was romanticized, was a small village that was nestled within the Land of Fire. It had no long-lasting cloudy days and sunless skies; on the contrary, the weather was perfectly mild and comfortable most of the year. The unattractive aspect of Konoha was not the weather. It was everything else.
The streets were unpaved and craggy, pebbles and rocks of all sizes scattered unevenly throughout the roads. The houses looked like shacks, far too small for the times, yet perfectly acceptable in the feudal ages. The larger buildings appeared to be in better condition, but it was only an illusion caused by the size. Broken streetlights lined the corners of the roads next to empty, paint-peeled store carts. A half-crumbled wall separated the previously-described residential district and the working district, the latter being full of tall and sickly-looking buildings where people slaved away at jobs that paid little and took up a lot of time. There were a few sad excuses for parks placed around Konoha, expectedly small and famished. Healthy trees and plants could be found, if one looked hard enough. The whole town was nestled on the side of a bare, ominous mountain, where a few buildings and the ninja academy were kept.
Konoha was ironic. It was a self-providing village, making items that only it would use, yet at the same time it would take from the Otokage in order to keep itself going. The few citizens who did leave brought crime and low morals with them, and not even the crimes were successful.
Konoha had a few schools other than the nin-academy. Not a lot of people went to school—those that did usually quit after a while or tried to get somewhere. They failed. The schools had incompetent teachers.
A lot of the teenagers had to become ninja. They had ninja parents, and in order to fill up the quota of supplied ninja so the Otokage would keep on funding the academy, all children with shinobi parents were forced to go to school. They all ended up graduating in the end—failing or not.
The older ninja knew. They weren't model ninja. They weren't even models. Most of them didn't even acknowledge that they were. Outsiders would never be able to tell that Konoha was a hidden village.
Konoha wasn't listed in any history books. It didn't do anything special. It could be found underneath one entry, along with every village or town or city in the country. Its name, population, and size were recorded. No one looked at that anyway.
Konohagakure. The Village Hidden Among Leaves.
The old man was trying desperately to get everyone's attention while the crowd babbled on with each other. He adjusted the microphone at the portable podium.
"Pay attention everyone!" he said into the microphone.
Five minutes later, everyone was completely silent.
"I'd just like to say a few words before I let you all go. I want everyone who has graduated from our academy to take a minute and think of how hard you worked to get to where you stand at this moment," said Lord Sarutobi. He was the nominal leader of Konoha, an old man who seemed like he didn't belong in such a place.
The crowd began talking again. He sighed heavily and waited for them to stop 'thinking'.
"Don't forget to meet with your new teachers at the designated spots tomorrow morning," he added. "Thank you, and good luck."
As he got down from the podium, two girls rounded on each other, full of chatter.
One had long, bushy blond hair and sported icy blue eyes. She was holding a headband with a metal plate bearing the symbol of Konoha, playing with it. "Well that was two hours of complete boredom," she said to her best friend.
Said friend had medium-length wavy pink hair that contrasted well with her stunning green eyes. She rolled her eyes while smiling. "You're always impatient Ino," she said.
Ino shrugged. "I wanted to get home. I totally lost a night of good money because of this."
Ino Yamanaka was the daughter of the only florists in Konoha. They had the loveliest garden in the village, and their plants were always fresh and wonderful and appealing. However, they struggled because no one bought flowers in this village. Ino only went to the academy because her father had made her. He himself was a ninja, a high-ranked one who had gone off training at Otogakure and one of the few decent ninja she knew. She only went to humor him, and at nights usually worked the streets, getting good money off of customers. All she needed was a tight skirt and a short top and she found herself busy all night.
"If you aren't interested then you know you shouldn't come. What will your new teammates think?" her pink-haired friend asked.
"You take all of this seriously, Sakura, because you want to actually be a ninja. You didn't even have to sign up because you're from a non-shinobi family. My teammates are fatass Akimichi and dickhead Nara. I hardly think they're all fired up about this," Ino said. "Lord Sarutobi kind of made everyone do this so Otogakure would still send us money."
"I know that. I wonder how many graduating students really deserved this," Sakura wondered, tying her headband on her hair with the metal pointing towards the dark sky.
"Don't know, don't care. What I do care about is the hottie you have on your team!" Ino exclaimed, scanning the departing crowd for him.
"Sasuke Uchiha?" Sakura asked. She had a crush on the raven-haired boy, and when Ino was concerned lewd comments were bound to be said.
"Duh! He's so sexy. I'd fuck him any day—for free!" Ino laughed.
Sakura's eyes narrowed sadly. "Could you not?"
"What? I embarrass you? Oh, that's right. You like him too. Well I wish you luck; heard he's a cold son of a bitch." Ino flipped open a handheld mirror stashed in her purse and checked her heavy amounts of makeup while she talked. "The guy's brother got all depressed and went on a crazy murder-suicide spree with some sort of jutsu. He killed every single person in the Uchiha clan! I heard before he died himself he was crawling at Sasuke trying to kill him. Fucked up, eh?"
"Very," Sakura agreed. "But that's alright. I don't think he wants to be reminded of that, so I'll just not mention it around him."
"Up at eight am just to meet my teammates and do ninja crap. This fucking sucks!" Ino complained, abruptly changing the subject. "Should I even show up? Yeah, my dad's gonna expect it. Man, how am I gonna work this out?"
"I'm sure you'll figure it out," Sakura patted her friend on the shoulder.
With that, they departed, Ino going off towards her home by the flower shop still adjusting her makeup and mumbling about how she can use training as an excuse to work the streets while Sakura walked to her apartment. She watched moths gather around the few lit streetlamps and sighed as they electrocuted themselves getting at the light.
Being greedy gets you hurt, Ino. Remember that.
When she arrived at her four-room apartment, she immediately locked the door behind her and threw herself on her bed. Her parents weren't home. They were almost never home. They found it upon themselves to run off and get jobs in other villages and cities, leaving her by herself for long periods of time. They were a couple that was content with each other, and they trusted Sakura a little too much.
I'm a ninja now, Sakura thought as she stretched out on her bumpy mattress.
Cha! You sure are! I knew you'd pass that exam!
It was really easy. Ridiculously easy. Any other hidden village would scoff at our exams. And even if someone didn't pass the exam—the scary thing is a lot of people didn't—they still graduated the class.
Konoha's a desperate place. Idiots! If I were running the show everything would be a whole lot different!
I can't lead an entire village. Lord Sarutobi can barely do it himself. He tries...it's not his fault we're like this. It's our fault.
Sakura got off her bed and crossed her tiny room to her window. Opening up revealed she lived on the fourth floor of the apartments, right by the local grade school. She looked at the decrepit playground with sad eyes. She had somehow managed to live here for fifteen years, and had come to accept Konoha the way it was. Still, some things just didn't sit right with her.
Of course, how could she change anything?
Sakura closed the window and, with a heavy sigh, headed to their cramped kitchen/dining room to make some dinner.
Eight o'clock came earlier than usual that fine morning. The sun was shining, the worst glares blocked out by puffy white clouds that floated listlessly in the periwinkle blue skies. The air was pleasantly warm, breezes catching long hair and begging it to follow.
"Stupid goddamn wind!" Ino spat, tying up her blond locks in a ponytail. She wore a short blue miniskirt that ballooned out, along with a matching tank top and clogs. Her face was concealed behind mascara, eyeshadow, cover-up, and varying creams.
"Check the time Yamanaka. Whores doing morning shifts now?" Shikamaru Nara asked, leaning against a tree. They were waiting at the forest-side for their sensei.
"Fuck off," Ino hissed.
"If I give you five hundred will you do it for me?" The brunette laughed.
"Good one!" Chouji Akimichi said, nearly choking on his potato chips.
Ino glared at the large boy with rusty-brown hair. "Don't go laughing; I wouldn't screw you for fifty thousand, fatass."
Chouji stuck up his middle finger at Ino, who did the same thing back.
Shikamaru rolled his eyes and looked around. "This is such a drag...where is our sensei?"
"Asuma Sarutobi's his name, right? The son of Lord Sarutobi...I dunno," Ino replied.
"Well I didn't drag myself out of the house just to sit here with you." Shikamaru stood up. "This is totally not me...but Chouji? Wanna go to the snack-shop? Better than hanging out with 'Fucks for money' over here."
Chouji smiled. "Sure! I'm running out of chips anyway."
Ino kicked a tree. "Fuck you both! And not literally!"
"Fine, fine. If we're not back when Asuma-sensei arrives then tell him we went to gather our...ninja supplies." Shikamaru and Chouji departed, laughing.
Ino folded her arms. It was going to be a boring morning, wasn't it? She plopped down on the ground and opened up her hand mirror. As she checked her hair, she realized that there was quite a lot of damage done to the tree. She smiled, feeling kind of proud.
Across town, in one of the empty parks, a black-haired girl with a short cut was thrown against a tree. She gasped and gripped onto the bark behind her, straightening herself out as a boy with a furry grey coat and red marks under his eyes grabbed her hands and held them above her hand as he began to kiss and bite her neck roughly.
"K-Kiba...stop it..." she gasped in a soft, high voice.
"Aww c'mon baby, it's been a week! I need some satisfaction," he whined, unzipping her coat and caressing her breasts underneath a black top.
"Kiba! Not here, please!" she said, squirming.
"You're such a prude Hinata! I don't think he cares," Kiba said, jabbing his thumb at a brunette with eyes hidden behind sunglasses, who was gazing off at the empty swing-set, not taking any notice of his two new teammates.
"S-S-Still...I don't w-w-want to do t-this now!" Hinata exclaimed, shivering as Kiba stroked her thigh.
Kiba let out a low growl. "Gods...hey, bugboy! Shino!" he yelled.
Shino turned his head slowly to meet Kiba's eyes.
"Do you care if we have some fun?" he asked, tracing her curves with his clawed hands.
"If it doesn't involve me, I don't care," Shino replied bluntly.
"Shino! Please..." Hinata said, wriggling as Kiba licked her neck.
Kiba moved away from her, sighing. "Alright, fine. As long as you stop whining."
"Thank you..." Hinata said, moving away from the tree, shaking slightly.
"But you're free tonight, right? Are Neji or Hanabi gonna be home?" Kiba asked her, smiling and showing off large canines.
Hinata winced. "U-Um...I think so..." she murmured.
Kiba smiled wider. "No they're not! I can tell when you're lying. Alright, I'll be over tonight and we can have fun under the sheets. Which position do you wanna take?" he purred.
"Our sensei's here," Shino said, interrupting their conversation (which Hinata was thankful for).
Kiba watched their sensei bid good-bye to someone she was walking with. This 'good-bye' took five minutes, their lips not wanting to leave each other. He laughed and his gaze traveled over to Hinata. Her lavender eyes purposely avoided his doglike black ones.
Finally, a black-haired woman with crimson eyes approached them, wearing the antithesis of a sensei's proper wear. She wore a very short tube top that matched her eyes underneath a black leather jacket along with ripped black short-shorts. Her shoes were spiky heels that could be a weapon on their own. Kiba was tempted to ask her if she was a whore who got dropped off at the wrong place—except she wore a headband around her neck.
"Alright, so this is Team 8 huh?" she asked, chewing a wad of bubblegum. She smiled at all of them. "I'm Yuhi Kurenai. Call me Kurenai-sensei."
"Hey, Kurenai-sensei!" Kiba said, smirking at his teacher. "You're fucking hot!"
She giggled. "Why thank you!" she said enthusiastically.
Hinata blushed. Kiba...why can't you control your outbursts?
"Okay, seeing as how I've gotta do all of this...um...yeah. I gotta know why you guys are here. Goals and shi—stuff. So! Let's start with the pretty lady over here," Kurenai said, her eyes on Hinata.
Hinata shifted. "Uh...I-I'm Hinata Hyuuga...of course you know that...u-um...I'm h-here because my parents w-were ninja, s-so I had to go t-to the academy. They're dead th-though...my cousin said this will get me o-out of the house more."
"Okay..." Kurenai said. "Wait, your cousin is Neji Hyuuga right?"
"Yes," Hinata replied quietly, looking at the ground.
"Holy shi—stuff! He's hot!" the teacher said with a giggle.
Hinata's face grew red. Wh-Why is she talking about N-Neji like that? She's too old for him...
"Okay, next. Kiba Inuzuka, a very attractive young man," Kurenai said, winking at him.
Kiba smirked. "I'm here because I have to be here. Though my sister and mom would kick my ass if I didn't come here. They'd sic Kuromaru and the Triplets on me."
"And Shino Aburame?" Kurenai asked, giving him a little air kiss.
He ignored it. "I have to be here. And also...I heard it gets me money. Money that will help me buy...needed items."
Kurenai raised an eyebrow. "Okay, let's go with that. Are you cold or something?"
Hinata and Kiba looked at Shino. They hadn't noticed it before, but he was actually shaking slightly, especially his hands. Shino shook his head. "No, don't worry about it."
"Well I was going to let you borrow my coat," their attractive teacher said, smiling at him flirtingly.
Shino frowned. "That's not necessary."
She sighed. "Looks like I got a boring one. Oh well. Hey, I'll be frank. You guys can act like adults right? Which means I don't have to babysit you. You train on your own time, whenever and wherever you want. But don't let it get in the way of your social lives! I know how annoying that can be."
"That's my kind of thinking!" Kiba said with a laugh.
Hinata stared at Kurenai disbelievingly. How is she qualified for this?
Hatake Kakashi knew he shouldn't have taken the job. Sure, he got a slight pay raise that way...but at luck would have it; he got the one determined team out of all of them. He could tell just from asking the standard question of why they were there.
"At first, I wasn't even gonna show up. But then I thought; hey being a ninja couldn't be so bad! Besides, I really got bored with painting expletives on the mountain and I really have no money. But I think being a ninja really means something. I really wanna grow up to be strong like the Otokage, to be respected and admired," said blond Naruto Uzumaki, a boy who contained the kyuubi inside of him. The boy knew about it, but never let it bother him. It had helped save Otogakure from destruction, and also gave a huge reward to Konoha, although they wasted that money away quickly.
"...I couldn't stop my brother. I knew it was too late for him, but I could've saved my fellow clan members if I hadn't been such a coward. I want to grow strong, like my dad hoped for," was Sasuke Uchiha's reply. His raven hair was spiked in the back and his eyes were as black as his hair.
"A lot of people wondered why I was going to the academy, because they know my family has no ninja in it. They were really surprised when I said it was because I wanted to, because I wanted to be an actual ninja. I don't have any crazy dreams...but...this is what I want." Sakura Haruno was a real surprise to him. He had expected and thought she was like Ino.
He was now looking through their files of their progress at the ninja academy while they trained for a while.
He had their files spread out around him. Sasuke and Sakura passed the test with flying colors, while Naruto completely bombed it. Of course, anybody who knew chakra basics could pass the test. I know Sasuke is ready for actual combat and the responsibilities...but Sakura and Naruto hardly are. They've got ambition, but they don't have training. And this is where I come in. Problem is, I can't teach.
"I wonder what's taking him so long," Naruto thought out loud as he slumped against a wooden pole.
"I saw him with a bunch of files; he's probably looking through our records and whatnot," Sakura said.
Sasuke was practicing taijutsu on a training stump. Sakura was watching him with a smile, while Naruto kept on whining.
"I'm hungry." Naruto patted his belly.
"It's not like we can just walk off Naruto. Just relax and be patient," Sakura assured him.
She walked over towards Sasuke in order to make it look more apparent she was watching him. He swiftly threw shuriken into all of the holes he had created in the log. When they hit the mark, she clapped. "Good job Sasuke! You're really a good marksman," she praised.
He didn't turn towards her. "It's something I was taught to do when I was a child. It's basic, and I'm hoping you can do it." He gathered the shuriken from the holes and handed them to Sakura. "Here. You do it."
Sakura was taken aback. In the academy, they had only taught weapons for about a week and shuriken for less than a day. She hadn't handled one in a while. The shuriken felt cool and prickly in between her fingers.
Alright, relax Sakura. You can do this, she thought to herself as she readied her aim at the holes. Naruto had ceased complaining and was now watching her intently. She felt a little intimidated by their gazes, so she pushed that to the back of her mind and threw.
They missed by a long shot, some falling far short and some flying over the log and falling to the ground ahead. She immediately felt a blush creep up her cheeks.
What the hell was that?
I...I wasn't concentrating hard enough!
Sasuke chuckled. "Knew it. You really have no talent. Just a girl who wants to be tough and thinks this is the way to go. You really need to go back to working the streets."
Sakura's eyes widened and Naruto frowned. "What the hell did you say to her?" he asked in a bitter voice.
"I was stuck in that school with no-talents like you two. A girly whore and a stupid, slow loudmouth with no regard for rules are my teammates, and if it hadn't been you two, it would have been some other low-lives. People like you make me sick," he spat.
Sakura felt her heart crush. She had barely known him for a half-hour and already he hated her. But...to say such things angered her as well. She knew well that Konoha was a miserable place. But she did nothing wrong. She had no training, and neither did Naruto.
Kakashi was putting things back in their place, making sure not to mix up information. I don't know how to teach and I'm not experienced enough to be able to teach them. I'm not even a great ninja myself. I have nothing to teach them. Sasuke, I'd be happy to pass. But Naruto and Sakura will never be able to survive.
He reached his students just in time to see Sakura rounding on Sasuke, yelling at him.
"How dare you judge me? You know nothing of my life! Of our lives!" Sakura bellowed, referring to Naruto as well. "I know you were raised as a happy little Uchiha, possibly the only civilized people that once lived here, and that you had training and lessons and extra practice because you had all these books and people around you who could teach you! And even though that's all gone, you still have your lessons learned! I have had nothing! My parents are always away so I had to get a job at my friend's flower-shop and at the factory in order to keep my apartment, so I had no time to train, and even when my parents are home I still have to work because they piss away all the money they earned in the city for honeymoons and other worthless garbage. Romantic, yeah but do they care about me? Yes, but they're too stupid to stop being crazy-in-love and get into reality! So I came to the academy to learn something! And even there I learned so little, and I've just gotten to my team and you have the nerve to call me an untalented whore? I don't work the streets! I'm a virgin! I have talent! But I don't know what it is yet! So don't judge me until you really know me!"
Kakashi was frozen, looking as stunned as Sasuke was. What had he said to trigger such an outburst?
"Sakura..." Naruto said, trailing off and approaching her.
"I'm going to show you, Sasuke. That I'm not like the others. I want to be a success," Sakura said quietly.
"And I want to be a success too. But my dream's a lot bigger. And I know I'll make it. And if I can make it, so can you," the blond said gently.
She was on the verge of tears. Sasuke narrowed his eyes. "You want me to look at you differently? Then show me what you can do. Prove it. Both of you. Prove that you can make a difference."
Sakura and Naruto looked at him. It sounded like a sneer, but when they looked at Sasuke they saw a challenging smile on his face.
Naruto glared with azure eyes, but inside her wasn't so angry. Sakura wiped her tears away and chuckled. Even after what he said, I still like him...hormones are crazy...
Naruto found a shuriken on the ground and held it to his palm. "Kakashi-sensei! Be a witness!" he said.
Kakashi approached. "Naruto, what are you doing?"
He smirked and slashed his palm, blood escaping his fresh wound not a second later. Sakura gasped. "Naruto! What was that for?"
The kyuubi holder watched the blood drip to the ground. He handed the shuriken to Sakura. "Your turn."
Sakura bit her lip as she took the shuriken. She didn't know why she was doing it, and she hesitated with the shuriken pressing against her skin.
"Do it. Ninja experience pain all the time," Naruto said.
This was true. She gritted her teeth and slashed her own palm, shrieking at the pain that shot through her body. She dropped the shuriken and held her arm, weeping.
She can't handle pain. She was a regular girl who was put in a world that doesn't belong to her, Kakashi thought.
Sakura shakily held her hand over Naruto's blood puddle, her lighter blood mixing with his.
"Upon this pain, I take an oath—to know that this pain will become my future and I should expect it. I will grow strong and respected by all; I will become a Kage!" Naruto said.
"Upon t-this pain, I take a-an oath—to know that t-this pain will become my future and I s-should expect it. I will develop into a s-successful and strong ninja," Sakura said, trying to quell her tears of pain.
Sasuke smirked, watching them. You'd better not forget those oaths. I'll be watching.
Kakashi looked on with a sad face hidden under his mask. Memories began to call to him inside, and he almost drifted away. I knew two people who had that exact same dream. Three people, actually. ...Even if you try to commit yourself...you don't always make it.
Those three people he knew wanted to make it big. They all had a pact, a pact they swore they'd never break. In the end...no one achieved their goal. Their pact disappeared.
Kakashi didn't want them to have their hearts broken in the late run. He couldn't. Although he had only known these children for a morning, he felt a strong bond with all of them. He didn't want Naruto's playfulness to disappear from the streets. He didn't want Sakura's laugh to not be heard from a window. He didn't want Sasuke to mourn.
So, he knew what he had to do.
Even if it shattered their dreams.
Whoah. That was a serious first chapter!
This story is very dark, so for those looking for fluffy things, you won't find it here until later chapters. I was really satisfied with the little speech Sakura made. Yes, the circumstances of the Uchiha clan's massacre changed, and yes Itachi is dead, but this will become an important aspect in later chapters. Yes, Kiba was trying to get dirty with Hinata. They're a couple, but this is life! Couples change. This story will have a lot of couples. Popular ones and slightly obscure ones, mind you. And yeah, I killed off Hinata's family sans Hanabi and Neji. It made it easier that way. The story doesn't focus completely on one character, though the spotlight will be tipping in favor of certain people. I was just setting up the base for this fine fanfic. And when I said there would be heavy amounts of swearing; I wasn't lying! I know there are people out there who believe that swearing is unnecessary, but in this fanfiction; it's very necessary. It's chockfull of teenagers! What do you expect? There are many characters who will act very much OOC; once again, this is a fanfiction! I can do whatever I want! Yes, Kurenai's a flirt and a major slut. Yes, Ino's a whore. Yes, Kiba's a sex-deprived creep. That's just how it is. Everyone in this fic has some type of problem. So you gotta see if they're able to pull through it all.