A mob of people chased a young boy through the alleyways of Konohagakure, but this boy was not like others. He ran from them on all fours, his knees bent the wrong way, moving swiftly, had three whisker-like marks on each cheek, his golden blonde hair hiding the kitsune ears that are pulled back against his head, and the same color tail trailing behind him. His name, Naruto Uzumaki, age 5, born the day the Nine-tailed Fox, Kyuubi no Youko, attacked the village. After being used to contain the demon, he was condemned to a life of pain and suffering at the villagers hands, for they saw him not as the container, but as the demon itself.
He had no love for this village, everywhere he went he was spat upon, and beaten, but it was the glares that hurt most, far more than any physical treatment. There were only three people who even seemed to care about him, the Hokage, who Naruto knew was the only reason he was kept alive after the sealing, the owner of Ichiraku's Ramen Bar, Teuchi, and his daughter Ayame. He was told of the fox when he sprouted his tail on the morning of his fifth birthday, after that point, his eyes become cold and emotionless and the mask he had worn to hide his pain was shattered.
Running through the alleyways was a common occurrence, and as such, Naruto knew them very well. With his heightened senses, he could hear every word the mob was saying and could smell the alcohol on they breath. The walls were nothing but blurs as he went past them, heading for the edge of the village. 'I'm fucking sick of this shit! The old man protects me when he can, but he's not going to be around forever. Things will only get worse if I stay here, I have to leave.' Without realizing it, he had run into a dead end and the mob closed the only way out.
"We have you now demon, you have no way to escape."
"You think so?" Naruto smiled and jumped, instinctively using chakra to propel himself on to the rooftop. He ran along the roof, leaping to another when he couldn't. He could hear curses as the ninja in the group followed on the roofs while the rest tried to keep up on the ground. Even though they were ninja, the ones following him couldn't keep up, but were able to keep him in sight, which wasn't hard because of the orange jumpsuit he wore. He dropped back to the ground when he neared the wall that surrounds the village.
'I need to find a way out that won't cause attention.' When he got near the gate, he saw the diplomats from Sunagakure preparing to leave. They had a merchant with them, who sat in his wagon of goods as they were being inspected by a chunin. 'Perfect, when he's not looking, I'll sneak under the wagon.' Naruto could hear the mob approaching and the chunin was taking his sweet time, but Naruto caught a break when a women called out a name and the man turned around and stopped a young girl.
Naruto took advantage of the distraction and moved at incredible speeds to get under the wagon without being seen. "Are we done? We must leave now to avoid the roads at night and still travel a good distance."
"Yes, everything checks out. I sorry for keeping you." Naruto crept silently as the wagon started to move. He looked from side to side to see if anyone noticed and caught the girl's gaze. She continued to stare at him and he did the same as he moved. He knew those eyes, the eyes of a Hyuga, but they weren't the same. Where the other were always white, hers where lavender and held kindness instead of spite. He bowed his head to her as he passed through the gate.
Naruto planned on continuing to move under the wagon until he was far enough away from the village, but his pressense was agitating the horses pulling it. The diplomat and his escorts started looking around for the source of the problem, but obviously couldn't find the problem. "I don't get it, the horses are reacting to something, but I don't see anything."
"It could be wolves or some other predator in the woods."
"Just to be sure, take a head count and check the surrounding area." Naruto got nervous and for a brief second, his concentration slipped, the masking of his chakra disappeared. The men surrounded the wagon. "Come out now!" Naruto slowly crawled out from under it. "A child? Why are you here?"
"I needed to escape from Konoha, I was planning on leaving you before long." His tail flicked to the side and it brought they attention to it.
"What are you?"
"I'm a five year old boy that contains a demon. Its chakra has had some effects on my body."
One of the ninja walked up to him and knelt down. He had sandy blonde hair and caring eyes. "What's your name?"
"Naruto Uzumaki. Who are you?"
"I'm Yashamaru. I'm sorry if we scared you." Naruto stood up, his knees popping as they fitted back together to support his full weight.
"It will take more than you to scare me. I'm sorry for making you worry, now if you'll excuse me, I'll be leaving." Using chakra again, he jumped on to a branch over head. He started sniffing the air. "You might want to get moving as well, someone's coming this way." With that he took off through the trees. He could hear he sounds of fighting and screaming as he leapt through the tree. A large gust of wind come from behind him, bring along with it a smell he was all too familiar with, the smell of blood. Fighting his instincts to run away, he turned and started back to the road.
He hid above them in the trees, all but three of the Suna ninja were dead, Yashamaru among the three. They were bounded to a tree while a group of seven stood around them, all with weapons of some sort. Naruto's blood boiled. 'These people are no better than those from Konoha.' Without thinking he dropped to the ground. Landing soundlessly on his feet, he released the chakra mask. All seven men turned around and were hit by a wave of killing intent. They froze in place and stared at Naruto, they eyes wide in fear. His eyes were no long blue, but blood red and the three whisker marks on each cheek were more defined and thicker.
He smiled a pointy tooth smile that foretold pain. He slowly advanced on them and took their weapons, and one by one he gave them back into their chests. They watched as he killed the others, moving down the line, powerless to stop him. When he reached the last one, he released the killing intent, allowing him to move again. "You will fight me. If you don't… actually, either way you will die." Naruto threw his weapon to the ground in front of him and waited for him to pick it up. The man turned around to try and grab one of the sand ninja. Before anyone saw any movement, Naruto was standing next to the man, his hand was dripping with blood and the man fell to his knees holding his throat. "Pathetic."
He moved over to where the Suna ninja were bound. He ignored their fear filled eyes as he went around behind them and cut their bindings. By the time he reached Yashamaru his features were back to normal. "You alright?"
"I've been better, but I've also been worse."
"Some shinobi you guys are, beaten by those weaklings. I barely used any of my power. That killing intent was only a drop of the real thing. The first time I used it, I used about a fourth and the whole village felt the effects." He chuckled. "Probably made some of them piss themselves. At full power, I'd guess all of the Land of Fire would feel it."
"Naruto, would you like to come to Suna with us? I'm sure that the Kazekage will allow you to live with me and my nephew."
"I won't be wanted there any more than I was in Konoha."
"At least allow us to repay you."
"There's no need, I didn't do it in hopes for a payment of any kind."
"Then why did you, you could have just as easily left us to their mercy."
"If I had, I'd be no better than them. The reason I did it is simple, the strong should protect those who can't protect themselves, not attack them because of it."
"That's what ninja do."
"Ninja are murderers for hire. They do not care who they work for or what they do as long as they're paid."
"Though that may be true, but if there is a threat to the country, we will fight to protect everyone we can, whether we're paid or not. You could also be trained and become stronger, if you wanted to. Besides, no one said that if you came, you would have to be a ninja. You could live as a civilian and make a living some other way depending on your talents."
Naruto snorted. "My talents. When it concerns a demon carrier, the only talent anyone cares about is only good for causing death. The old man probably did care about me, but I was still a weapon in the making. Hell the only reason the council agree to let me live is because they thought they would have control over me."
"My nephew, Gaara, is like you, he contains Shukaku. No one will stay near him if they can avoid it, what's worse is that even the children know."
"With any luck, he realize what I did and leave. If not, I wish him the best of luck."
"So you won't leave us to our fate, but you will him?"
"Fate is bullshit, it's circumstance. If another baby was born that day, I might not have been chosen to be the container. Had I not come back you would have died. If I don't go, he might be overcome by the prejudice, he may get wise and leave, or he may be able to live with it. He has you to care for him, and I would take his life over mine any day."
"What about if you do come, have you thought about the good things that would come of it?"
"Yes I have, and the bad far out weigh the good, but at least there are some good." Naruto sat down and searched Yashamaru's eyes for a hidden agenda, finding none. "I'll come with you, I'll even become a ninja, but I tell you this now, I won't be used as just a weapon. I may not have full access to Kyuubi's power yet, but I have enough to make your village regret attempting it."
"I understand, but there is something that could prove a problem. Konoha is our ally and since you are a citizen there, they may demand you be returned."
"I won't go back and I won't hide who I am, I've had enough of masks. Besides, they'll be happy that I'm gone."
One of the remaining ninja walked over to them. "Sir, we should get moving, there may be more close by." Yashamaru nodded as he and Naruto stood up.
"We still have a few days walk to Suna. Along the way, I'd like you to tell me what you already know so I know where to start."
Naruto shrugged. "Not much to tell, you know I can suppress my chakra, but other than that, I was it out of necessity and don't know how I do it. I know what chakra is, but I don't know how to use it at will."
"Do you know the hand signs?"
"Three or four."
"Then that's where we'll start." Yashamaru's smile never wavered through out the trip as he taught Naruto the basics of using chakra.
The guard at the gate eyed Naruto warily when he stopped them and asked for their papers. "He's with us. We need to see the Kazekage immediately, please send someone head to inform him."
The guard nodded and signaled to another who disappeared in a swirl of sand. "Sorry for the inconvenience, he shall know of your arrival by the time you get there." The man bowed and the gate opened. Allowing them to proceed. On the way to the Kazekage's office, Naruto could feel the looks he was getting, most weren't like those he got in Konoha, they were looks of puzzlement and wonder.
When they made it to the building in which they would see the Kazekage, they were ushered to a large hall-like room where he sat. "Yashamaru, who is the young boy with you?"
He was about to reply when Naruto stepped forward. "My name is Naruto Uzumaki, I came from Konoha in hopes that you would allow me to live here." He bowed his head slightly, keeping his eyes on the Kazekage. "If not, please allow me to leave peacefully and I will not bother you again."
The Kazekage smiled. "You don't trust those around you, I can see it in you eyes. It's a wise decision, but I don't wish to harm you. I have already heard that the container of Kyuubi had fled from Konoha." Naruto's ear went flat against his head. "I will allow you to reside here, if they were cruel enough to drive a mere child away, then they have no right to complain that you are here." He turned to Yashamaru. "Are you willing to take him as well?"
"I had intended on asking for it."
"Very well, he is in your care, my son should be happy to have someone his age around. Now what other news from Konoha?"
"The treaty will still be enforced, and unfortunately, we are all that remain of the ones sent. We were ambushed by bandits."
"Naruto, perhaps you should walk around the village, get to know the layout now that you're living here." Naruto nodded. "Be back in a hour, we should be done by then and Yashamaru will take you home." Once Naruto was gone and the door shut, the Kazekage's face was serious. "Tell me everything."
As Naruto walked, he felt a slight pain coming from his lower back, more specifically, the same place his tail grew from. His increased hearing picked up on the yells of 'Demon' and 'Monster' and he quickly turned his head from side to side, looking for the source so he didn't run towards them. He didn't see anything and it took him a few moments to realize that the voice were too far away to be towards him.
His eyes widened as he remembered Yashamaru saying Gaara was like him. 'Shit, they're going to try and kill him!' He bent over as his knees popped in a backwards position and took off towards the yelling, going against everything he taught himself in order to survive. He quickly found the source of the yelling and stood back up. He walked silently up behind them and with a single blow to each, they fell to the ground unconscious.
He looked down the alleyway to see a boy his age with red hair crouching in the corner of the dead end with his hands gripping his head. He walked towards the boy only to be intercepted by a wall of sand. "Stay away! I never did anything to you so please don't hurt me!"
"I won't hurt you. My name is Naruto Uzumaki, you're Gaara right?" The boy slowly lifted his head and nodded. Naruto smiled at him. "Sorry if I scared you, I heard what those people were saying and I couldn't let the get away with it." Gaara looked past him and saw them on the ground, he gasped. "Don't worry, they're not dead, just knock out."
"How did you do that by yourself?"
"I've had to take care of myself since the day I was born, in order to survive I had to get strong. Come on, I'll take you to Yashamaru." Naruto turned around and started walking, but when he reached the opening of the dead end, he realized that Gaara wasn't following him. He turned back around to see Gaara's mouth hung open and his eyes wide. "You okay Gaara?"
"You have a tail."
Naruto chuckled as he walked back to Gaara. "So that's it, I knew I forgot something. Gaara, do you know of the Nine-tailed fox that attacked Konoha?" He nodded. "Shortly after I was born, the Yondaime Hokage sealed the fox into me and I was seen as the demon because of it, just like you. They drove me out of the village because of it."
"You're like me? Why do you have a tail?"
"The fox changed my body to be able to handle the stress of its chakra. I have one tail because that's all I can handle at the moment. If I train, I could grow eight more and have access to all its power." He held out a hand to Gaara, who took it and helped him to his feet. Their eyes met and Naruto saw that Gaara's were bloodshot. "Do you not sleep out of fear of the villagers?"
"No, Shukaku becomes active when I sleep and tries to take over by eating away at my soul. If I sleep, it can only be for a few minutes, normally I meditate to regain my strength."
Naruto shook his head. "It sounds like it wants you to go insane." He bent over his knees bending backwards again. "Hop on, I can get us there a lot faster than if we walk. Once we're there though, we'll have to wait about forty-five minutes, he's meeting with the Kazekage." Gaara's eyes fell to the ground where the sand started shifting. "You don't like him much do you?"
"He's my father, but it's like I don't exist to him."
"In my opinion, Yashamaru is your father. He may not be your birth father, but he's the one that cares for you and looks after you, that is a father. Simply creating something is meaningless, unless you leave your mark on it. If you don't want to go there yet, we can do something else, but I'm suppose to meet Yashamaru there about an hour." He stood back up, his legs shifting back.
"Does it hurt when you do that?"
"The first few times it did, but not anymore. My legs don't have kneecaps, instead the bones that hold the joints together are on the sides. I can move faster like that than most people can run. What about you, surely it gave you something."
"I can control sand, and it protects me."
"So that was it was, and it protects you from any attack?"
"Anything that would cause me harm."
"I can't do that, but I heal minor injuries almost instantly and the more serious ones take about a day, two at most." They started walking down the alleyway. "What do you want to do until we meet up with Yashamaru?"
"We could get something to eat."
"As long as it's not ramen."
"Then you came to the right place, there are no ramen stands in this village."
"Thank god, I don't think I could stand to eat another bowl. The people that ran the one back in Konoha were nice and all, but it's noodles and broth, you can only eat it so many times before you get sick of it." They started walking and when they passed a dumpster, Naruto threw his orange coat in after taking out his money. "I gotta get some new clothes, it's way too hot for this stuff."
"It's because you're from Konoha, it's colder there, but you'll get use to the heat."
"The heat's not the problem, the thickness of these clothes are. Even when I was there, it was hot because of these. These just scream 'I'm over here!'" They choose a BBQ place and sat down. The waitress was shaking as she took their order, and Gaara's head dropped. She walked away quickly afterwards. "Don't let it bother you too much. People are ignorant and deserve our pity for not being able to see us for who we are instead of what we are."
"It still hurts to have people hate me for something out of my control."
"I know, people fear what is different from them, and through we are still human, we are different. We have power that some people would kill for. With that power, we could do great things, or terrible things, it all depends on the choices we make." The waitress came back with their food and left quickly. While they ate, they spoke only once in a while.
When they were done, Naruto looked at the clock. "It's almost time to meet up with Yashamaru." He pulled out his money and paid for their meal. They went outside and Naruto went down on all fours. "Hop on, and hold on tight." Gaara did and Naruto took off through the streets. Gaara pointed the way to get back and they arrived as Yashamaru was coming out.
"I'm glad to see you met each other. Naruto, did you tell him."
"You'll have to be more specific."
"That you're going to be living with us."
"Nope, it slipped my mind. What with Kyuubi, the tail, lunch, and all that."
"But won't your family be worried about you?"
Naruto's ears lay flat against his head. "I don't have one."
"Don't worry about it, you didn't know." That night, Naruto lay next to Gaara as they stared up into the clear night sky. "Hey Gaara, what is it you want to do with your life?"
"I've never thought very hard about it, but probably what everyone wants, a family, friends, and that kind of stuff. What about you?"
"While I will probably come to consider you and Yoshimaru family, I doubt I'll have a wife or children. Friends would be nice too, but I don't know what to do with my life. Before, I planned to become Hokage to get respect from the villagers, but I was just kidding myself, they'll never respect me. I could devote my life and save the village time and again, but they would still only see the 'demon child'." He stayed up with Gaara until well past midnight before sleep claimed him.