Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto

"Windows to the Soul"
by Chronos Astral

Prologue:

'Nii-san'


He was tired.

So tired.

His muscles ached.

His bones were weak.

His lungs, heavy.

His limbs leaked blood.

His face was dirty.

And his heart felt like spilling.

In a few moments, he would pick himself up, battered and bloody, from that dark grimy alley and walk away as if nothing happened.

He wouldn't cry, he told himself, for there was no use for it. Tears did not ease the pain and it only served to encourage his tormentors.

He dragged himself across the narrow passage, putting one hand on the cold wall to support himself as his legs wobbled uncomfortably. The ache would subside in a while, but the pain would always remain. He managed to find his way out into the darkening streets, thankful that there was no one there in fear of having to go through that experience again.

Not like I haven't gotten used to it. He thought grimly to himself.

The small boy looked up to see the graying sky, the clouds converging into a dark mass that blocked away the sun. It was going to rain. Good, he thought. The rain helped wash away the blood and few people bothered to go out in it. He had never caught a cold for as long as he could remember, which he thought was an added bonus.

He limped over to an empty park, already feeling droplets of water tickling his whiskered cheek. Spotting an empty swing set, the boy went over and sat himself down on one of the swings, mildly swinging back and forth in the pouring rain.

Such was a day in the life of Uzumaki Naruto, lonely orphan and village pariah.

There he sat, tattered and bruised, a blonde boy barely 6 years of age, garbed in ragged and ripped clothes over his small frame, hated and spat on by virtually everyone he met save a scant few. His head hung low, blond tresses sagged and wet from the rain. A sad frown formed on his small bloodied lips, his wounds healing and the crimson liquid trickling away and mixing into the mud below.

He always asked himself, 'Why are they doing this?'. 'Why?', indeed. Why the beatings, the cursing, the glares, the hatred, and the name-calling. He didn't know. They did, but they acted as if he himself knew as well.

He sighed, still mindlessly swinging as the rain got stronger. It was as if the heavens cried for him. Tomorrow was the anniversary of Kyuubi's defeat, something he noted since it also coincided with his birthday. He assumed everyone knew it was his birthday because he always got an 'extra special birthday beating' as if to mock his very existence. The Sandaime, as everyone called him formally, or 'Oyaji' as Naruto liked to call him, would always send him a little extra cash on that day and a heartfelt birthday greeting. It wasn't much, but it warmed his heart to know that at least someone cared.

He only wished someone else would care as well.

In his silent brooding, he failed to notice that his body was no longer being pelted by the rainfall.

"It's not healthy for a little kid like you to be sitting in the rain like this, y'know?" A gentle voice berated him from behind.

Naruto jumped away in surprise, landing on his knees in the moist mud and turning to face the source of the disturbance.

"What's wrong? Did you find any money or food in that mud 'cause I'm starving. Mind sharing any?" An incredulous look donned Naruto's face as he heard the stranger speak those words. Said person stood behind the swing he was sitting on, dark green umbrella in hand and a little worse for wear.

Looking closely, the man looked to be quite young with an unusual mess of light blue hair tangled into an unruly ponytail. He wore what looked to be the patched remains of a traveler's outfit, and a large bag slung over his shoulder. His face was dirty and a little malnourished though otherwise fairly attractive if one looked hard enough. His eyes were shut in an upper crescent fashion, which spelled out a strange mix of innocence and mischief.

The man caught him staring. "What? Is there something on my face?" He poked his cheek to emphasize his point.

Truth be told, Naruto has never had anyone approach him like this. Most people would either push him away, call him names, or hit him. Though he wouldn't let his guard down since this man was still a stranger.

"Wh-who are you?" Naruto croaked out, recovering from his disorientation.

The stranger put a hand to his hip and grinned. "Now, now. You didn't even answer my first question. And aren't you supposed to introduce yourself first before you ask for my name?"

This made Naruto blink in confusion. There was no veiled contempt in that voice. In fact, it was quite cheery and playful. Though he doubted that would last if he were to tell him his name. The 'infamous' pariah of Konoha wasn't something taken in good heart by many people.

The blond hesitated before softly muttering. "U-Uzumaki Naruto."

The man stepped closer, putting his hand to his ear. "Whuzzat? Can't hear you."

"Uzumaki Naruto." He repeated a little louder.

The stranger went into a thinking pose, knitting his brows exaggeratedly before grinning and laughing. "Your name means fish-paste cake! Hahahaha!"

"Hey! Don't make fun of me!" Naruto growled.

"Ah, gomen gomen. Just having a bit of fun." He waved apologetically.

"So what's your name then?"

"Me? Well let's see... I know! Toruna Kimazuu." He gave a small bow and smile.

Naruto had a feeling that name sounded familiar before snapping in realization. "Oi! That's just my name spelled backwards!" The man only laughed in response.

"Ahahaha! Gomen gomen! I couldn't help myself. So, do you have any food on ya?"

"You didn't tell me your name yet."

"No food huh? Oh well. I'll just go find a squirrel or something..."

"Oi, Nii-san! Don't ignore me!"

"But then again the forest is a long walk from here... Mmmm..."

"Are you listening to me!" Naruto bounced and waved angrily, trying to get the stranger's attention.

"Maa, I can't think in the rain like this. I'll find some shade first." The person nodded to himself and casually tossed the umbrella at Naruto, who nearly dropped it.

"Wha-!?"

"I'll catch you later." He turned and ran into the thick of the street.

"Wait, Nii-san! You're umbrel-!"

"Keep it!" He shouted back, still running, then disappearing into the dark.

Naruto was confused. That had to be the weirdest person he has ever met considering that most people he's met had a vendetta against him. Though despite his quirky behavior, the man was the first person, besides a few others, who has not thought the worst of Naruto the second he's met him. Plus, he risked his own health by giving him his umbrella, an act of kindness he rarely ever receives from anyone else. It was... nice. A shame, though, that he had never gotten his name.

Wiping off whatever mud that still stuck to him, Naruto trudged down the route to his run-down apartment. A small smile graced his face, having partially forgotten of the events that led to his somber mood in the first place. He glanced at the umbrella he held over himself. It was much too big and it had holes and sown patches in various corners, not to mention smelled quite odd, but to him, it would be one of his prized gifts.

Arigatou, weird Nii-san...

He made his way to his apartment door, fishing out his keys and entering the small room. Upon doing so, however, he felt a strong disturbance. An unshakable feeling that something was wrong. Then he saw it. A most horrible sight.

TH-THAT GUY IS EATING MY RAMEN!!!!

Naruto's eyes were transfixed on the person currently wolfing down on his sacred food at incredible speed. The pantry was left open, several days worth of ramen missing from inside of it, empty plastic bowls littering the floor. Needless to say, Naruto was pissed and had stomped over in a rage to 'calmly' ask the person what the hell did he think he was doing.

"WHAT THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING!?"

The person raised his head mid-bite, revealing himself to be the 'weird Nii-san' from a while ago, with broth and noodles clinging to his face, eyes still closed in a happy fashion.

"Konnichiwa (Good Afternoon)" He greeted with a toothy smile.

"What the hell!? It's night! You don't say 'Konnichiwa' night!"

"Oh? Then Ohayo (Good Morning)"

"Wrong again! And answer my first question!"

"I'm eating."

"I can see that! But that's MY ramen!"

"Really? I didn't know that."

"You can't go off eating other people's ramen! It's not right!"

"Well you didn't have anything else to eat."

"That's not the point! How did you even get in here!?"

"I went inside."

"That makes no sense! The door and windows are locked and secure!"

The man yawned. "Well I'm tired. Gonna go to sleep now." He laid himself on the ground, resting his head in his arms. "Oyasuminasai."

"Oi! Weirdo Nii-san! Don't ignore me-ttebayo! OI! Don't fall asleep!" Naruto violently shook him, having the man's head flail around though still retaining a peaceful expression.

"I can't believe it. He fell asleep..." Naruto gave a tired sigh, eventually giving up on trying to revive the stranger.

The small blond changed into dry clothing, ate his own dinner and prepared himself for his own sleep. Rolling out his futon, he made a side-glance at the slumbering man. Naruto shook his head and gave a tired sigh. The man was an oddball, he knew that. At first he thought him to be a kind person, so much as giving him his umbrella. Now he's freeloading off of him?

Right now, he was too tired to bother. The blond stole another glance at the man, noticing that he was also quite drenched. Grabbing some spare sheets, Naruto draped them on the man hoping that he wouldn't catch a cold in the morning. Turning back to his own futon, he couldn't help but let another smile twitch at his lips before tucking himself in.

"Oyasuminasai." He didn't know what compelled him to say that, nor did he care, and so, let himself be taken into the land of dreams.


First Naruto fic. Gonna make it a harem. Naruto will be stronger, I will assure you that. How strong is still in debate in my head.

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