So this is an extremely long one shot for me. 10 pages. Wow. Anyway, I'm not sure where it came from and it is slight AU because Naruto meets Jiraiya at a much younger age in this story. I just really liked the idea of Jiraiya being a good person and helpling Naruto. Anyway, please enjoy, and review. Reviews are nice XD This might be a working title by the way, feel free to make any suggestions (appropiate ones mind you) for a title.

"Heaven forbid you end up alone,
And you don't know why.
Hold on tight,
Wait for tomorrow,
You'll be all right…"

Heaven Forbid by The Fray

In the eight years of Naruto's life, he had come to a realization. He had come to the conclusion when he was younger, but it was cruelly reminded to him as he grew older, and just became that much harsher. That was the realization that was he wasn't wanted. And not only that, but the people around him in the village were cruel. Reality was something that Naruto was almost more than willing to get away from. But, being only eight made that hard.

So instead, he would try to conjure up reasons as to why he was so hated as he sat alone on his wooden swing. But in the end, he failed to find a real legitimate reason. He wondered once if it was because he was an orphan; no parents there to help raise him, and keep him in check with love and reason. But then he saw how every girl in the Academy with him swarmed around Uchiha Sasuke. And he saw how they avoided him like the plague.

Naruto moved onto a new idea. Brushing a thin hand against his warm cheeks, he ran a small skinny finger over his whisker marks. It was a bizarre thought; being hated just because of something on your face. But then again, in Konoha, the people seemed to be extremely bizarre to Naruto. As he pondered more about the possibility of it being his whiskered cheeks, he recalled how other children had marks on their faces too. Inuzuka Kiba had a red triangular mark on each cheek, and people seemed to like him fine. The same went for Akimichi Chouji, who had thin red spirals on each cheek. Naruto scrunched up his face in thought.

"Those marks are weirder than mine…" he said aloud to himself. Letting out a flustered 'Hmph' Naruto tried desperately to come up with more reasons. He leaned his head back and stared up at the leaves dancing in the wind above him. There was a slight breeze pushing against his back, making him move ever so slightly back and forth on his lonely swing.

The thought that his fashion chased people away danced around in his head. He quickly shook that off, deciding that compared to some of the other children, his clothes were perfectly normal. Naruto couldn't help but kick his foot into the dirt in frustration, sending a dust cloud up and swirling in the breeze. Everything he had come up with for reasons of being hated, some one else was loved for.

So the people of Konoha were hypocritical and cruel?

Naruto gave out another huff and hopped off of his swing. The wooden seat creaked as Naruto moved off of it, and continued to swing gently back and forth. Naruto shuffled his feet as he walked away from the swing, and shoved his hand in his pockets. He just couldn't wrap his mind around they way he was constantly treated. He was a mere child, and people avoided him like he was an old hardened criminal. As if he were something deadly, and his existence meant their downfall. What had he done? What made the people hate him?

Naruto had been too busy watching his feet kick up clouds of dust to notice the other students from the Academy playing along side the street. One child had backed out into the street, not seeing Naruto coming. Before long, Naruto ran right into the other boy, making both of them fall on their rears.

"Oi! Watch were you're going!" the boy cried as he brushed the dirt off of his hands and pants. He still hadn't looked straight at Naruto, so he thought it was just another student.

"Sorry, I wasn't watching," Naruto dusted his hands off as well and stood. There was a small crowd of other boys from the Academy, one of which was holding a bright blue ball. They paid little attention to what had happened, as it was hardly eye catching to them and continued to toss the ball around and kick it. Naruto's eyes glimmered; it looked like fun. "Can I play?" he asked with a hopeful voice.

The boy he had knocked down now looked at him, while starting to say "I guess you ca—" he stopped when he saw the bright blonde hair. He knew it was Naruto. "No, you're not allowed to play with us."

Once again, Naruto was dejected and mistreated. "But why not?" he asked with a sad frown and large eyes.

"Because, you knocked me down!" the boy glared. "Besides, we don't want to play with a loser like you!" The boy shoved Naruto away and ran back to the group of children and acted as if he had never noticed Naruto at all.

Naruto bit back the tears threatening to fall from his eyes. He didn't want the other children to see him cry; it would only mean more teasing and tormenting for him. Quietly, he shuffled his feet away from the group and went back to his home.

--

Naruto buried his face into his soft and worn pillow. It helped muffle his cries and it only seemed fitting to do when one was crying. Two wet spots had formed under his eyes and were starting to make him uncomfortable. He sat up and rubbed his puffy red eyes and sighed heavily.

Crying again?

Naruto groaned inwardly as a voice came to his mind. He had heard it before and it tended to poke fun at him, yet he had no idea who or what it belonged to. "Lemme alone," Naruto huffed as he turned his pillow over, giving him a new, dry side to burry his face in.

If they make you that upset, then why don't you kill them?

"Because, I don't want to kill them," Naruto's muffled voice said to the empty apartment. He knew the voice was in his head; he had figured that out when no one else responded to it.

You're pathetic.

"I said, leave me alone," the blonde growled.

Just think about how strong you could be if just killed one of them. Then they would quit making fun of you, brat.

"I never asked your opinion, now shut up."

They wouldn't dare try to hurt you then. They would fear you.

"I don't want to be feared…" Naruto replied. "I just…want to be respected…"

It would be respect on a different level.

"No it wouldn't!" Naruto sat up straight, throwing his fists into the bed.

Oh, I'm sorry, am I making the poor little brat angry? Heaven forbid I do that.

"SHUT UP!" Naruto shrieked.

You don't have to listen to me. Just know that you'll always be hated. These people will never accept you for who you are.

Naruto slapped his hands on his ears, hoping it would stop the voice coming from within. "I wasn't listening to you anyway!" Naruto tried desperately to sound threatening to the voice, even though it only gave its deep rumbling laugh in response.

Hmph. Sounded to me like you were listening, brat.

"Well, I wasn't. Now go away," Naruto slid off of his bed and went into his kitchen. He thought that if he ate something the voice would go away. He had no way to know if it would, but to Naruto, it was worth a shot.

Anyway, if you don't want to kill those little bastards, then why do you stay here? I told you, no one will ever want you.

That particular sentence, though Naruto didn't want to admit it, struck a chord in Naruto's heart. Why did he stay there and take the same harassment, beatings, and insults everyday? What made him keep going back to the academy just to be picked on? My dream to be Hokage, that's what, Naruto told himself. But he had forgotten the voice prodded its way into his thoughts. Another deep rumbling laugh echoed through Naruto's mind.

You're an amusing one brat. You, Hokage? You shouldn't get your hopes up.

"I didn't give you permission to read my mind!"

I don't need permission. I know everything you do, regardless if I try or not. That's one of the tortures of living in this prison.

Naruto shook the voice off. The voice had no idea what it was talking about, right? It was just lying to get him to cry again, wasn't it? Wasn't it?

No, I'm not lying. They hate you here. You should just go before they decide to do more than just abuse you.

"W-what do you mean? What would they decide?" Naruto stammered as he stood in the middle of his kitchen, his small form shaking.

Heh. Before they decide that your presence is sickening enough to kill.

"They w-wouldn't…kill…m-me, would they?" Naruto whimpered.

I wouldn't put it past them. They hate you brat. And they always will.

Naruto felt his knees start to shake. He had never thought that their tormenting would lead them to try and kill him. He knew that he was not wanted, but not once, had he thought he was unwanted to be point of being killed.

Run away. Go to a new village, where no one knows who you are. Then they can't hate you.

"But I don't know how to get to any other villages! I've never been outside of Konoha!"

That's not my problem brat. I've roamed all over, but I'm not the one they're trying to kill now am I?

Little did Naruto know the voice was in fact the reason he was hated. And the reason that anyone may try to harm him, even to the point of killing. Tears welled in Naruto's eyes again, but more from fear than rejection.

Just leave, they'll never notice. They wouldn't care even if they did.

Naruto stood still for a moment longer, staring down at his feet. The voice had a point. No one would care if he was gone. Naruto took a deep breath before grabbing his Gama-chan wallet, and ran for the door. Being at one of his lowest points, Naruto didn't stop to think about his dreams or ambitions and simply listened to voice. The voice cackled in its bottomless tone. This was exactly what it wanted.

--

Naruto continued to walk through the winding forest even as night fell. He had been walking since earlier that day when he had managed to get past he village gate. The full moon showed Naruto the surroundings only a little ways ahead of his path, but it was enough for him to see where he was trying to go. Sleep was setting into the young boys' mind and he wasn't sure how much longer he could keep his head up.

Before long, Naruto began to walk in a zigzag sort of pattern, unable to keep in a straight line. His blue zori rubbed at the backs of his ankles, and his small toes, leaving large and raw blisters, making it even harder to walk. His feet throbbed, his stomach knotted in hunger, and his throat burned from lack of hydration. How long had it been since he left Konoha? How long since he ate?

How much longer could he go on like this?

It wasn't much longer until Naruto felt his knees finally give way and buckle, sending the rest of him falling to the ground. He laid flat on his stomach, unable to move any part of his body. Every part of him ached with exhaustion. A chilling and damp fog was spreading through the forest which made Naruto want to curl up in a ball to keep warm. But, no matter how much he tried, his body would no longer listen to his commands. He could scream as loud as he wanted at his arms and legs but it wouldn't do a bit of good.

"Move, you stupid arms," Naruto growled, but didn't sound the least bit threatening in his weakened voice. He tried to push himself off the wet forest floor. All the movement his arms gave was a derisory twitch in his fingers. "Come on," he begged, this time trying to get his legs to move as well. After a moment of struggling and only managing to make himself that much more tired, Naruto let out a miserable whimper. He pressed his face into the softness of the dead leaves of the forest floor and cried.

Despite the fact that no one was around to see him cry, he still didn't want to be seen crying. To Naruto, while there wasn't a person, there were stars shining down on him. Dirt smudged on his face and pieces of dead leaves stuck in his hair. He was already slightly dirty from being in the woods for over a day or more, so it didn't matter much to him. As long as the stars couldn't see him.

They always seemed to watch, almost taunting Naruto. There were many nights where he would lay awake, starring up at the brilliant night sky. They twinkled with a mocking spark. All of the stars belonged with each other, and no star was singled out for any reason. Not being picked on because of their brightness, color, or anything. Naruto sometimes ended up glaring at the stars, feeling they were laughing directly at him. They all fit in, the same or not, but Naruto didn't. It wasn't fair.

"It's not fair…" Naruto sniffed, trying to ignore the smell of the dirt. His tears finally dried up as he just lay on the forest ground, weary and fatigued. He was too tired to even try to cry anymore. "Maybe…if I sleep some…I…can…." Naruto's voice drifted off as he started to doze. His eyelids felt like they weighed a ton and closing them seemed like the right idea. Until he heard something coming.

Naruto froze. What if it's a wolf? His mind asked in fear. The steps were coming closer, but the more Naruto listened, the more he realized it was not a wolf coming near him. In fact, he wasn't sure what it was. The steps came in heavy thuds, and they were more like jumps than actual steps. The ground shook slightly as the creature came closer. Naruto squeezed his eyes shut in fear. Whatever the creature was, it stopped right in front of Naruto's body.

"What's this?" a deep voice asked. Naruto kept his eyes closed. A man? Is he riding some sort of animal or something? Naruto thought to himself. The owner of the voice stepped down off of whatever had been carrying him. Naruto could hear the soft crunch of wooden geta moving towards him. "Ah great, the last thing I need to find is a dead kid! While I'm traveling too!" the man groaned and Naruto heard a smack. The man was probably smacking his hand against his head.

Maybe I should open my eyes…so he knows I'm not dead…Naruto thought to himself. The adrenaline pumping through him woke him up enough to manage to say something. He slowly peeked open one eye and nearly screamed at what he saw.

A rather tall man with long spiky white hair that had been pulled into a ponytail and scroll tied around him and hanging at the small of his back was pacing before him. Next to him, sat an equally huge red frog with small green spots all over it's face. Naruto wasn't sure what scared him more, the man or the frog. The man failed to notice that Naruto was now staring wide eyed at him. However, the frog did take notice to the child. It made a low croaking sound, getting the man's attention. The pony tailed man looked at the frog.

"What is it?" he asked his hand still on his chin as he was trying to think of something. "I'm a little busy trying to figure out what to do with the dead kid."

"But that's the thing…" the frog rumbled in a deep voice. It can talk too!? Naruto nearly screamed again. The man gave the frog a puzzled look. "Jiraiya, the kid's alive," the frogs eyes darted down to Naruto.

"What?" Jiraiya said, more to himself and looked over at Naruto. Naruto shook as the big man kneeled down next to him. "I'll be damned! He is alive!" Jiraiya flashed a large, toothy smile. "Well that takes a load off my chest!! I didn't know what to do with a dead kid!" Jiraiya inspected Naruto further, bending a little closer to see his face clearly. "Although you're not in the best of shape," Jiraiya frowned. "Where are you from kid?"

Naruto pondered on answering. He was still gaping up at Jiraiya, a little shocked by his overall actions, and for the fact that he was riding a huge frog that could talk. To an eight year old, that wasn't a regular occurrence. However, Naruto digressed. Who ever this bizarre man was might be willing to help him, and even possibly take him along to wherever he was traveling. Naruto wasn't sure he wanted to go with Jiraiya, but if it meant getting a free ride into the next village, he would. So Naruto answered, with a raspy "K-Konoha."

Jiraiya had an interesting expression on his face now; his brow line furrowed slightly under his metal headband and his eyes focused on the ground, instead of Naruto's face. Naruto couldn't pin a specific emotion on to it, and the closest he could come was concentration, almost as if he was trying to think out what he should do. "Hm…" he mumbled before standing up and walking back to the frog. Naruto felt his heart sink, thinking that he was about to be left behind. "It sounds like you need a drink," Jiraiya said over his shoulder.

Naruto watched as Jiraiya dug through the various satchels on the frog, throwing around a collection of pens and pencils along with a few notebooks. To Naruto it looked like he was still trying to come up with a plan of what to do, and because of that, was too distracted to notice he was only making a mess of his things instead of finding a water canteen. Eventually, Jiraiya took to digging through is pockets, but only let out an aggravated sigh.

"Sorry, it looks like I don't have anything," he scratched the back of his head and kneeled down next to Naruto. "All right kid. I'm not sure what you're doing out here in the middle of the forest, but I can't leave you here. That'd leave a nasty stain on my conscience, and not to mention, you're only a kid."

Naruto had no protests when Jiraiya reached his arms out and pulled Naruto off the ground. The movement only hurt slightly, simply because of how his muscles ached from walking so much. Jiraiya carried Naruto over to the large frog and sat the boy on the frog's back. Naruto was scared to be on the frogs' back until he was reminded of how tired he was. He tried his best to wrap his hands around the beaded necklace the frog wore. He was so drained that he couldn't keep his grip and started to slip off the frog's back.

"Come on kid, at least try to hold on," Jiraiya said, pulling Naruto back up before he fell to the ground. Naruto tried again only to start to doze off again and his hands let go of the necklace. Jiraiya let out a disgruntled sigh. This was becoming a little more complicated than he wanted. Naruto felt his hands being pushed under the necklace and warm hand on his back. "We'll just have to walk slowly," Jiraiya told the frog.

The frog started to walk the best he could. He wasn't necessarily accustomed to taking his awkward steps, but he couldn't move too much or else Naruto was sure to fly off. So, he continued with his waddling, gauche walk the best he could, while Jiraiya kept his hand on the boy's back to make sure he stayed on.

Oddly enough for Naruto, he was comfortable. He hadn't expected the frog to be as warm as it was, but didn't feel the need to complain. He loosely held onto the necklace as he finally started to fall asleep. He wasn't sure where their destination was; he hadn't asked or found the need to, but Jiraiya made no effort to ask Naruto anymore questions either.

--

"You found him in the woods, eh?" The Sandaime said as he looked up at his past student from underneath his hat. Jiraiya glanced over at his old sensei and looked back at the white hospital wall. They had stepped into the hall way after Naruto had been put into a room.

"Yea, he was just laying on the ground. How long has he been gone anyway?"

"The gate guards reported seeing who they believe to have been Naruto running out of the gates about a day or so ago," the old man sighed. "They said they couldn't get a clear look at him because he was trying to blend with a small crowd also exiting the gates at the same time."

"Hm," Jiraiya replied as he leaned against the stone wall, his arms folded across his chest. "Well, I might as well stick around for a while," he sighed.

"What for?" Sarutobi asked inquisitively. "Naruto will be fine, if you're worried."

"I'm worried about more than that," his eyes narrowed slightly. "The kid was pretty weak when I found him. Much longer and I'd say he would have been a lot worse," Jiraiya began. "And if he happened to reach that point of physical weakness, his mind would most likely be in a fragile state as well. Who's to say that the Kyuubi wouldn't try to take over?"

"But he wasn't to that point," Sarutobi frowned. "And he's recovering quickly."

"I know, but the point is, Kyuubi could still try if he's weak enough. While the boy is recovering, Kyuubi may use this chance to try and break free. I mean, Kyuubi's part of why he's recovering so fast, and if Kyuubi just happened to decide to go over board and use more power, he could take over. Slim chance or not, it's not worth being careless."

Sarutobi had to admit he was impressed with what Jiraiya had said. He wasn't expecting his past student to want and wait around to make sure that nothing went wrong. A small smile appeared on his features as he moved away from the wall. "Well, since I know you'll be here to make sure everything is all right, I believe I'll return to my work," he laughed as he walked down the hall way. Jiraiya felt his eye twitch momentarily, but didn't argue. It would be useless.

--

"Mm…" Naruto's eyes opened slowly, blinking a few times. The bright lights burned his eyes some and he was still adjusting to his surroundings. He sat up in his bed and rubbed his tired eyes. His body wasn't nearly as sore as it was when he fell asleep, but still had a dull feeling throughout it. "Where…?" Naruto looked around the room.

White covers. White walls. He looked up. White ceiling. So much white…what's extremely white? Hospital.

"Hospital!?" he mumbled before shoving the covers off of his legs and jumping to the floor. The cold tile made his bandaged feet tingle as he nearly sprinted to the window. He threw the blind up and squinted his eyes against the bright sunlight. After they adjusted, he looked around at the surrounding buildings and took in all the details.

"That guy brought me back to Konoha…" Naruto gasped. Suddenly, he wished he would have played dead.

--

Jiraiya jumped at the sudden crashing noises coming from the room in which Naruto had been put. It sounded as if a violent struggle was taking place, but Jiraiya knew Naruto was the only one in the room. Shit…Jiraiya thought as he ran and threw open the door. I was hoping I was wrong about the Kyuubi thing…

Naruto spun around when he heard the door open and close. His face was wild with anger and surprise; his eyes set in a wide glare. Behind him, the covers had been thrown off the bed, and the curtains torn off the window. There was no sign of the Kyuubi's chakra, however, or that the boy had been taken over. There was only an extremely angry eight year old throwing a fit.

"YOU!" Naruto growled, pointing an accusing finger at Jiraiya.

"…Me?" Jiraiya asked in a confused tone. He had run into the room expecting to find a demon getting ready to destroy Konoha. Naruto in turn, responded to Jiraiya by flinging a plastic cup full of water that sat on a table next to the bed. Jiraiya easily dodged the cup, only being splashed by a few stray water droplets. Naruto let out a frustrated growl.

"What's wrong with you?" Jiraiya asked curiously, cocking an eyebrow at the blonde.

"Why'd you bring me here?" Naruto shoved the small rolling table at Jiraiya this time. Jiraiya simply stopped the table by just holding out a hand, only angering Naruto further.

"You needed help and you said you were from Konoha," Jiraiya answered. From what the Sandaime had told him, and from how Naruto was acting, it was obvious that he was trying to run away. But Jiraiya wanted to know why. "So you mind telling me what you were doing out there?" he asked. He was answered with a pillow flying at his face and colliding with his head and something darting past his legs. Jiraiya blinked a few times and shook his head. When he looked around, he saw that Naruto was no longer in the room.

"AH! Watch where you're going!" A woman cried from the hallway. Jiraiya sighed heavily. All he wanted to do was travel, but now he had to stop the unholy terror of the eight year old was going to cause. He almost wished it had been Kyuubi. He didn't find many kids amusing, let alone trying to calm one down.

--

Naruto continued to sprint down the halls of the hospital, clumsily dodging wheelchairs, some with and some without patients, gurneys, and a slew of doctors, nurses, and a few ninja. How big was this hospital anyway?

"Hey! Come back here brat!" Jiraiya called from a distance behind Naruto. Naruto just looked over his shoulder, stuck out his tongue mockingly, and then crashed with an empty gurney after not paying attention.

"Itai…" Naruto rubbed his now red-marked forehead. He was just tall enough to meet the metal edge of the gurney. Naruto quickly snapped his head back up when he heard the clacking of geta coming closer. He grabbed a hold of the metal bar of the bed and swung it around with all of his might. Jiraiya, seeing it coming as he drew closer, tried to miss it, but it connected with his knee and sent him onto the gurney and rolling down the hallway.

"Damn kid…" he muttered angrily.

--

Meanwhile, Naruto had successfully made it to a new corner of the hospital. He crouched down in the shadows of the corner and hid behind an unused wheelchair. Jiraiya was no longer right on his tail, but he couldn't risk the chance of being caught by him. It was true that Naruto was glad Jiraiya had come along, or else he would still by lying on the forest floor, hungry and weak. But, Jiraiya did bring him back to the place where he had run away from. So Naruto declared himself to be 'Irritably Thankful' as his mind put it.

After a few minutes had passed, Naruto began to wonder if the man had given up his chase. Now the only problem would be sneaking out of the hospital and once again getting past the main village gates. Naruto huffed and scrunched up his face.

"More work," he complained. His mind started to cross out the 'thankful' part of his earlier idea when suddenly, something wrapped around his torso. Something pink and wet. Naruto screeched and kicked his legs around as he was lifted into the air and held up by a giant frog's tongue. "W-what's going on!?" he struggled to get free, but it was useless.

"Shut up already! You're way too much of a hassle, ya know that kid?" Jiraiya growled from atop the frog. Naruto started at him for a moment and noticed a red mark on Jiraiya's face that had not been there before.

"What happened to your face?" he asked curiously. Jiraiya sweat dropped, more from the question then from the sheer lack of an attention span on Naruto's part.

(A short while ago)

Jiraiya continued to roll down the hallway on the gurney until it came to a stop. Just as he was going to stand up and chase after the obnoxious blonde, a nurse scurried over to the side of the gurney, assuming Jiraiya was a wounded ninja.

"Oh, I'm sorry sir! Did you need some help?" she asked in a worried tone. She bent over to look Jiraiya in the face. If she had known that Jiraiya would only start to drool, she would have stayed away. "Sir?" she asked again when Jiraiya didn't answer.

"Ohohoho…" Jiraiya giggled quietly, drool slipping out of his mouth as the nurse leaned closer, and her cleavage got closer to his face. Jiraiya soon found that the nurses as this particular hospital were much better than any other hospital. The nurse heard his quiet giggling and promptly swung her hand at his face.

--

"That's not important," Jiraiya said, clearing his throat. "Besides, just what do you think you were doing, running around and causing a commotion?"

"I wouldn't have if you wouldn't have brought me here!" Naruto glared, and stuck out his tongue again. Jiraiya glowered at the boy.

"Just what were you running away from anyway?" he growled. Naruto's eyes went wide for a moment before looked away. "It's kind of obvious you're scared of something. Maybe you didn't like the academy? Too tough for you?"

"I didn't want to be killed, that's all!" Naruto cried defensively. Jiraiya cocked an eyebrow at the blonde.

"Who was going to kill you?" he asked. Apparently the decree that said Naruto was not to be harmed wasn't holding up very well in the village.

"The voice said the village would…because they hate me…" Naruto whispered; a heavy frown on his face. Jiraiya stared at Naruto for a moment longer in alarm.

"The voice?" He asked. He had feared the Kyuubi had something to do with all of Naruto's recent action, but he hadn't thought the boy would be able to communicate with the Kyuubi. "Did this voice tell you to run away?"

"…Yea…" Naruto muttered. "It told me that I wasn't safe here! And that…that it wasn't going to be much longer until the people tried to kill me!" Naruto's eyes welled slightly in fear. The thought of being killed terrified him. Jiraiya sighed, a frown now spreading across his face as well.

The Kyuubi was manipulating him after all. But not with chakra…I never expected mind games to come into play. Hell, I didn't think the kid would know how to talk to Kyuubi, let alone be convinced to run away. Though the Kyuubi wasn't completely lying. Jiraiya thought to himself. Now the only problem was convincing Naruto to stay in Konoha and not listen to the 'voice' anymore.

"All right," Jiraiya said, letting Naruto down and free from the frog's tongue. He stepped down off of the frog, letting it disperse into a cloud of smoke. Naruto stood before Jiraiya, his eyes still red and watery. "This voice, do you talk to it a lot?" Jiraiya asked, kneeling down to be face to face with Naruto.

"Not a lot…" Naruto thought for a moment. "It usually only talks to me when I'm sad…or angry," he explained. "And it usually only says a few things before it goes away. It never says anything nice to me either."

"Why don't you just ignore it then, and not listen to what it has to say?" Jiraiya tilted his head to the side. Naruto blinked a few times in thought before answering.

"I do ignore it!" His hands balled into fists.

"Then why didn't you ignore it when it said to run away?"

"Because…" Naruto paused. "It was right. No one likes me here," he looked down at his feet.

"If they were going to kill, they why haven't they already?" Jiraiya asked. It was true, that was partial lie. The decree the Sandaime had made protected Naruto, but not the best. People did want the boy dead, but Jiraiya couldn't say anything about that if he intended on keeping Naruto in Konoha. "You should never listen to that voice. It'll only bring more harm than good," Jiraiya said with a stern voice.

"Really?" Naruto perked up some. He tossed the thought of staying around in his mind for a moment.

"If you leave, then that's proving to the village you're scared. But if you stay, then you're proving you're strong and determined!"

"Right!" Naruto cheered. "I guess I will stay then."

"Good, now how's about I take you home, because I'm not sure the hospital wants either of us here right now," Jiraiya laughed nervously. Naruto looked up and saw they were now surrounded by doctors and nurses with very angry expressions.

--

"So this is where you live?" Jiraiya looked around. It was the greatest apartment that was for sure. And the fact that an eight year old lived by his self in it didn't help much.

"Yep. It's really not that bad…well, I'm used to it anyway," Naruto smiled. Jiraiya gave a small smile in return.

"Well kid…I must say you definitely took me off schedule, but oh well. When I think about it, I can do my research whenever I want, so there's no need to worry," he laughed, mainly to himself.

"Research? What kind of research do you do?" Naruto asked with a certain intrigue.

"…Nothing you need to worry about, kid," Jiraiya waved his hand dismissively in the air. "Regardless, I should be on my way," he headed for the door.

"Thank you," Naruto called as Jiraiya went out the door. He heard a quick 'Yea,' from the doorway just as it closed. In the long run, Naruto was glad he had run away, met the bizarre man, and returned to Konoha. It had given him a better sense of belonging, in a way. Now he had his heart set on proving himself to Konoha more than ever, and proving the voice wrong.