A/N: This is my very first fic!!! I've often (the exceptions being a few of my fav fanfic authors) been dissatisfied with what I've read when Naruto confesses to any of his friends about his furry tenant. They always seem too quick for what I'd say should be a longer, angsty piece. So, instead of moaning about it I decided to see if I can do any better. I'm starting this story out as a one-shot, but if there are any more ideas that come to me, say, in the form of reviews, I'll be more than happy to continue. This will be left slightly open ended so that there is room for a continuation, but I will make sure that the story is complete (begin and end with all the jazz in between.) Warning: There is a little blubbing, but I think you'll understand given the circumstances. This takes place in an AU where Sakura and Hinata have no idea about Kyuubi. (In the canon anime series, Naruto tells Sakura, but she already is aware of it whilst they are on the way to rescue Gaara.) This is also set in the period after Naruto and Jiraiya return to Konoha after Naruto's training. There will be another short note on the end, but enough of that. Njoy!!! Onward with the story!!! (Big fanfare sounds)
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto. Do you think Masashi Kishimoto-sama will give it to me? I do own this fic, but there is no profit apart from fun that I get from it. Cool, huh? Yep.
A gentle summer breeze wafted over the tall trees surrounding Konoha as three travellers made their way down the path, cooling them down. They were returning from a long and dangerous mission in the Greenery Country. All three were lost in there own thoughts, each with a different expression playing across their faces.
The indigo haired, lavender eyed kunoichi was even quieter than usual. She was normally shy, but at least she would answer questions and occasionally give her input. Now however, she would only answer with a shrug of the shoulders or simple movement of her head. She was unnaturally depressed.
The pink haired, green eyed kunoichi who was usually very calm and collected in her genius mind (unless you were stupid enough to make her angry with you, of course) was unnaturally jumpy, getting large frights whenever the third member of the team, the blonde shinobi, would give his input.
For the normally loud and excitable blonde, he was worried. 'I'm going to have to tell them everything,' he thought gloomily, 'They know too little to understand everything but, what they saw needs to be explained. All of it.'
Naruto was terrified. He'd never been so terrified in his life. He could take care of himself. With Kyuubi around, even the kunai in his chest was nothing beyond a few seconds of healing chakra. Hurt his friends however, now that was something no amount of healing chakra from the Kyuubi could heal.
They had been captured by an enemy ninja team from Iwa who were determined to prove to them that the Hidden Stone Village, Iwa, was strongest. Hinata had attempted to use her Jyuuken, but the Iwa shinobi had simply overwhelmed her. Sakura, with her inhuman strength had also caused much damage, but was now completely exhausted. They had Naruto pinned to the ground with his face forced to turn to his team-mates.
"Hey, blonde brat! You gave us just a little too much trouble to be allowed to walk free. I'm gonna enjoy watching you scream as we torture your friends. Don't worry though, most weak people like your two girlfriends here can only last a day or two of what we're going to do to them, so you'll only hear their screams for so long. You, on the other hand, made us nearly fail our mission to take over this country. You'll get a special treatment. You can first watch us with your friends before we take our time with you. First up, your blue haired kunoichi friend. I hear these Hyuuga's have strong eyes. I wonder, what will happen if we slowly burn them out? Or should we let her watch as we have her pink friend scream? Hahaha! This will be fun!" said the dark leader cruelly, as he stepped over to where Hinata was pinned.
"NO!" screamed Naruto frantically as he struggled against his captors. "Leave them alone you cowards! If you touch them, I'll kill you! I'll KILL YOU!!!"
"What? You mean like this?" the leader asked as he gave Hinata a swift kick to the gut. Laughing hysterically, he turned back to Naruto.
Red chakra began to swirl around Naruto as he screamed in a blind rage. It began to cover his body, and one powerful chakra tail burst out of the bottom of his spine. Nobody was laughing anymore. Waves of killer intent were now washing off from the blonde with such ferocity that the Iwa nins jumped away from the blonde. The normally soft whisker marks on his cheeks widened and deepened. His normally joking blue eyes had turned an evil red with slits for pupils. There was no joking in them now. There was nothing funny either about the elongated claws or the sharpened teeth with a wide, sadistic foxy smile spread on his face. "Now! It's! My! Turn!" came the guttural growl from Naruto.
Time seemed to stand still for the Iwa nins as one by one they were slaughtered in such speed that they did not have time to hear anything but the blood-thirsty howl of their destroyer before it was their own turn. Sakura and Hinata could only watch in mute horror as Naruto collapsed from his work, his features returning to normal. Sakura screamed and Hinata sobbed in fright, waiting as if it would be their turn next. Neither understood what that evil chakra was or where it had come from. Neither understood how Naruto, albeit a gifted shinobi, could kill so many in so little time and with apparent relish. His wounds were also completely healed as though his normally insane healing rate had been multiplied several times over. As things settled down, both kunoichi stumbled over to Naruto's unconscious form, both with tears in their eyes, one from terror, the other from shock.
As they approached the gates to Konoha, Naruto paused on the road. "Sakura-chan, Hinata-chan. We need to talk." said Naruto in a defeated voice as he watched Sakura jump once again at the sound of his voice.
"I need to explain what happened to us out there. You need to understand all of it if you will ever truly begin to accept it," said Naruto to the two people he was most terrified of losing in the whole world. "You need to know all the facts. Please."
"What do you mean? I don't want to understand! I don't want to accept it. I want to get as far away from those memories as I can. That was just sick!" shouted Sakura hysterically. "Look at me! My clothes are still covered in blood despite how many times I washed them over the past few days. You and Hinata are no better yourselves! It was sick!"
At these words Hinata began to sob again. "Sa-Sakura p-please. P-please let's just... l-let's hear what N-Naruto-kun has t-to say." sobbed the small blue haired girl.
"Thank-you, Hinata-chan. Sakura-chan, I would rather have it that you two to not have seen me like that, but the fact is, you have. Now that you know part of the truth, I have to tell you all of it. It is probably the most heavily guarded of secrets that exists in Konoha. There is a law in Konoha that ideally would have all of our generation ignorant of the truth, even me. Especially me. Nobody but myself or the Hokage is allowed to reveal the secret. Practically by law you must come with me now. Come and let me explain. Please? If you want nothing else to do with me afterwards, I… I… I won't stop you." said Naruto as Sakura slowly began to nod.
When Naruto turned to Hinata however, he was surprised to see her head hanging low with her shoulders heaving with her soft sobs. Tears were falling from her barely visible chin to pool on the ground. Feeling a pang in his heart, Naruto stretched out his hand and placed it on her shoulder in what he hoped would be a comforting gesture. At the contact however, Hinata looked up in shock, turned a brilliant red, and gasped. Naruto immediately retracted his and said, "Hi-Hinata-chan. I'm sorry! I didn-Hinata-chan!" shouted Naruto as Hinata promptly fainted on to the ground.
Seeing this, the two guards on duty raced over to the trio. As they approached, they shouted at Naruto, "How could you attack the Hyuuga heir? Haven't you caused enough trouble?" and one of them hit Naruto over the back of the head, sending him flying into a nearby tree.
Sakura jumped in the way and said, "No! You don't understand. She just fainted as usual. She always does it. He's done nothing to her. Please just go back to your duty. We'll take care of her."
Both guards scowled and turned back to the gates, grumbling under their breath. Sakura did manage to hear what one of them said however and she nearly snapped. Feeling the anger, both guards suddenly bolted back to the gates and acted as though they hadn't just been scared out of their minds by the angry Sakura. Sakura decided to think over what the stupid guard had said and ask Naruto about it after they'd given their report to Tsunade. 'Maybe that's what he wants to explain. Maybe he's going to tell us why the villagers hate him so much. He did nothing to Hinata, and yet they reacted like that? Something is very wrong here. And then they go and call him... they call him a... a monster that should have been slaughtered at birth? What's he done to deserve that? Do they really have a reason. Have I become friends with someone who truly deserves these glares?'
Naruto, rubbing the rapidly receding bump on the back of his head stepped past the thoughtful Sakura to where Hinata still lay in a heap on the ground. Crouching down to pick her up, he was just scooping up her shoulders, when her eyes fluttered open. Seeing Naruto leaning in so close and feeling his arm around her shoulders, her eyes once again widened, she turned bright red and... fainted again. When Naruto noticed her faint again, he became worried, 'Why does she keep fainting like this? I'm not stupid despite what everyone thinks, but this isn't normal. She feels a little warm, but that could be because she is bright red, so does this mean what I think it means? Is she really... Does she feel... Does she really have a... a... fever of some sort?'
He picked her up gently and turned to Sakura who was still lost in thought. "Sakura-chan. Let's go. We need to talk and we also need to go and see Tsunade-Baachan. Our mission might have been successful, but I have a feeling she's not going to like the report about Hidden Stone's invasion. (sigh) And will you please stop jumping like that? I'm not going to attack you. In case you've forgotten, I'm your friend." he said in exasperation.
Sakura nodded her head, and they turned and headed through the gates into Konoha. As they walked through, Sakura glared at the two guards who immediately whimpered in fear of her rumoured monster strength with the temper to boot. She was said to have been trained for three years by their Hokage, Tsunade-sama, after all. Sakura, smiling in satisfaction at the look of fear on the guards, immediately turned in the direction of the Hokage Tower.
"Sakura-chan... I'm really sorry, but we need to talk before we go to see Tsunade-Baachan. This is very important, and she would likely insist on this herself. Please? We need to talk somewhere private. Let's go to my apartment... It's on the way to the Tower after all. We will just need to wait for Hinata-chan to wake up. We can have tea and I'll even let you have some of my precious ramen. It's this way." he said as he carried Hinata bridal-style towards his apartment.
Sakura, struck by his unnatural calmness and the resignation in his voice, nodded and followed. As they walked, Sakura was once again thoughtful as she couldn't help but notice the glares directed at Naruto. The glares seemed to even be magnified to the point where no-one seemed to even be trying to hide it any longer. 'These people really, really, hate Naruto. Do they already know whatever it is Naruto's going to tell us? Is what Hinata and I saw a week ago the real Naruto that they all hate? Have I been kidding myself thinking I know him best, well... OK, I know I don't. Hinata does. Or is it just because we're all covered in blood, and Naruto is carrying Hinata. Ha! We must be a real sight: three ninja stumbling through town looking dead on their feet; wait, scratch that. One kunoichi, stumbling through town, another being carried whilst she's still out cold, and strangest yet, a worried and worst of all... quiet Naruto. That must be something to see. I wish they'd stop glaring at us though. It's getting really annoying!' thought Sakura as she stepped through Naruto's apartment building gate.
"Here we are, Sakura-chan!!! (Sigh) Sorry," said Naruto in his usual voice. "My key is in my pack. I can't put Hinata-chan down. She's still out. Do you know why she keeps fainting? Is she really that sick, because she always seems red when I look at her?"
"(Sigh) Naruto, you really are clueless, aren't you?" said Sakura in exasperation as she opened Naruto's pack. "Hold still while I get the key. Did you really have to bring ramen with you on this mission? It's spilt all over your pack. Ah, I've got it. You should have brought more gear for the mission so we wouldn't have been under-prepared for… for… them." She began to sob softly as the flashbacks came and they stepped into Naruto's apartment, and she sat down.
"I'm sorry, Sakura-chan. There was no possible way we could have known about that invasion attempt. We were only there to provide extra security at the Daimyo's mansion for the party. We… did what we needed and guarded the country. They were really grateful. I'm sorry you and Hinata-chan had to see me go like that. I'd do it again if it meant either of your lives being saved, but I'm sorry you saw that…" Said Naruto as he walked in over his threshold, still carrying Hinata bridal-style, "I'll put Hinata-chan on my bed to wake up, and then get the water to boil."
Sakura nodded and sat down. She was swiftly getting antsy again as she waited for the water to boil. She got up from her seat and began to pace the room. Naruto looked up in exasperation and said, "Sakura-chan, please. You're worse than I am when I wait for my ramen to cook. Rela-"
"Naruto, go and check on Hinata or something! We need to see Tsunade-sama still," Sakura said in irritation. "and do you have a bathroom in this dump that I can use to clean up? I'm in a mess!"
"You want to use the bathroom in a dump to clean up? Odd." Stated Naruto matter-of-factly.
"GAH!!!" Shouted Sakura as she threw a punch at the swiftly dodging blonde.
Naruto sighed and pointed the way to the bathroom as he got up and went to his room. Sitting on the couch next to his bed, he waited for Hinata to awaken. 'She looks so peaceful right now like that. I'm glad she can get a little rest, especially if she's not feeling well. I wonder, what is she dreaming about?' thought Naruto.
"Naruto-kun…" sighed Hinata softly.
Naruto looked up in surprise, only to see that she was still asleep. 'I suppose she probably would be unable to dream of anything but me after what she saw a week ago. It's surprising though that she's not having a nightmare. I'm glad, but still I'm surprised. She's the one taking this whole situation the best, and people called her weak? She is the strong one. I'm glad that I have such people as my friends. She has been my one of my best friends. She sees through my mask when I'm down, and then she picks me up. She encouraged me before my Chuunin exam final, and in the process revealed herself as she really is: A true friend that won't give up on her friends. She has also desired to prove herself as a strong kunoichi and not the weak waste everyone thought of her… You're just like me, Hinata-chan. I wanted to prove myself as a human, not Kyuubi. The only difference is that with you, everyone saw your attempts and dragged you down, saying it was just because you 'have no talent.' With me, there was at least some mercy because kids didn't know why they should be cruel to me or in many cases that their parents wanted it. You, Hinata-chan, have stood up to all of that and still you came out strong. Still you came out with so much. You are my precious friend, and I'll protect you with my life. I swear it!' thought Naruto as he blinked away the tear that had been threatening to fall.
As he did so, he looked into Hinata's face and saw her lavender eyes flutter open and look into his eyes. As their eyes met, they locked. Neither heard Sakura as she came into the room until she spoke up, "Well? Are you two just going to stare at each other all day?"
"Naruto-kun…" sighed Hinata dazedly
"Are you feeling any better, Hinata-chan. You gav-" started Naruto
"HELLOOO!!!" shouted Sakura, getting impatient with the two ignoring her.
Hinata got a huge fright and she launched off the bed, narrowly missing the wall. 'GAH!!! This isn't my room. Does this mean I wasn't dreaming? That I've just been staring into his beautiful eyes for so long? That I'm really in Naruto-kun's apartment? I was just lying on his bed. How did I get here? That must mean I didn't dream him picking me up too…' thought Hinata as her face turned a violent crimson. She nearly swooned again as Sakura and Naruto scrambled to keep her conscious and standing.
"Perhaps we should go sit around the table in my kitchen. We can have tea and ramen while… (gulp)… whilst I talk." Said Naruto to his two friends.
They moved into the kitchen, and once the ramen and tea was prepared, they all sat around the table. Naruto placed his ramen cup on the table and cupped his hands around it, as though to draw some sort of comfort from it's warmth. He fell silent as he stared at it thoughtfully. "Well?" demanded Sakura, "Are you going to get on with it or not?"
"I'm trying to figure out where to begin. I could come right out and tell you, but that would only hurt everyone. I don't want to live in fear that one of my friends will find out everything about my past. I'm tired of having to hide the truth. I don't want there to be any more secrets between us. I need to start in the right place. I guess... I just... I need to..." (sigh) started Naruto, and he fell silent again.
At his silence, Hinata again looked up at him and saw the tears rolling down his whisker marked cheeks. She hesitantly reached her hand forward, building up the courage to cover Naruto's hand with hers. Once she did, she could feel how his hand shook in his extreme fear and sadness. 'I wonder what has Naruto-kun feeling so scared and sad, even bringing to the point of tears. I haven't seen him cry like this in years, although he didn't see me watching him. It's not nice to see him like this and if there is anything I can do to help, I will,' thought Hinata to herself, 'that's a promise!'
"(ahem) Well if you are quite ready, I am waiting. There's no reason for you to get all touchy-feely with Hinata, Naruto. So if you…" said Sakura rudely.
Hinata turned and gave Sakura such a sharp glare that she stopped mid-sentence with her mouth hanging open stupidly. That little shock however was nothing compared to the one when Hinata opened her mouth to speak. "Shut up Sakura! Can't you see he's under enough stress as it is? Stop thinking about yourself for once and open your eyes to the others in the room!" shouted Hinata without even the slightest hint of a stutter.
Sakura pushed her chair back a little bit just to get away from the angry kunoichi who was still staring daggers at her. When Hinata turned back to Naruto however, she immediately ducked her head again to hide the furious blush on her cheeks from Naruto, who was staring at her with a look of shock and awe on his face. "Wow, Hinata-chan! I haven't seen you shout like that since we went on that mission to find the Bikouchuu when I thought the cockroach I'd seen was one. This was against Sakura-chan too. I never want to be on your bad side again. That was amazing!" said Naruto in awe as Hinata invented new shades of red at the praise.
Naruto warmly covered Hinata's hand with his own. Hinata let out a barely audible sigh, and didn't retract her hand. Naruto continued to watch her for a moment, then thought, 'OK. It's now or never.'
Taking a deep breath, he took back his hands, immediately regretting the loss of comfort. 'Hey! My hands have stopped shaking. What jutsu does Hinata-chan use on me to calm me down like this? Whenever I'm around her and I'm nervous, she simply has to do whatever this jutsu is, and I'm good-to-go! She must teach it to me sometime.' Thought Naruto. 'GAH! I'm staring at Hinata-chan again. She's beautiful though… (sigh) GAH! What's wrong with me? Sakura-chan is here too and yet I keep staring at Hinata-chan. Ha! Can you believe it? Pretty eyes though… GAH! I like Sakura-chan! I like Sakura-chan! I like Sakura-chan! I LIKE SAKURA-CHAN!!!'
"I guess the best place to start is to say that I'm sorry you guys had to find out as you did. I would have preferred had it been that I could tell you on my own terms instead of you seeing me at my worst. I really am truly sorry. It almost says that I don't trust you enough to tell you, but that's not true. I trust you with my life. Both of you are special to me and I would never do anything to sacrifice that with you." Began Naruto.
"Please know that. Please also know that after I've bared my most hated secrets to you, I will still be the great Uzumaki Naruto, future Rokudaime Hokage. I will still be the number one most surprising ninja you both know. I will still stand by my friends and I'll never give up!"
Both girls gave small giggles at this pronouncement, one still nursing her pride and nerves, the other looking at her own Naruto-free hands in disappointment. 'Naruto-kun's hands have calmed down quite lot. I wish he hadn't let go though. I thought it was a dream.' Thought Hinata.
"The only thing to change will be that you know me a little more, you will know perhaps a little about why I act the way I do, or even the villagers the way they do. I won't lie to you and I won't hold anything back. It's time you knew all." Said Naruto, not realizing he had been gazing at Hinata the whole time.
Hinata kept darting looks up at Naruto and, seeing him speak as if she was the only one there, she blushed furiously and began to poke her fingers together in her old habit. 'Why is he talking as if only to me? Is he finally starting to notice me, or is there just something on my face? No, he really is talking to me, as if I'm the only one in the room. Eep!!!' thought Hinata inside with a smile starting to streak it's way across her hidden face.
"You also should know that what you are about to hear cannot leave this room under any circumstances by anyone other than myself and the Hokage," continued Naruto, and he waited for their nods before he carried on.
"It is all to do with the law that I mentioned earlier. The very existence of that law is kept secret from anyone who is in our generation and, it was hoped, especially me. I found out the night of the day we graduated. It was created by Sandaime Hokage in the attempt to give me some sort of hope of a normal life. Unfortunately, I never received the hero status Yondaime Hokage wanted me to, or the chance of a normal life Sandaime Hokage also wanted," said Naruto.
Both girls looked confused. "Wait a minute, Naruto. Sandaime? Yondaime? You, a hero? What on Earth are you talking about, and what do the Hokage's have to do with you? Not to mention you still haven't explained what is in that law. How is this related to that incredible power we felt when you… when you did… that?" asked Sakura in confusion, and Hinata nodded.
"Yondaime wanted me seen as a hero, but knew I wouldn't be. Sandaime saw that to the village I was seen as nothing more than a… hated, particular monster… and so he made the law that no-one was allowed to speak of what happened the night Yondaime died. People who break this law are severely punished, and it is done quietly." Said Naruto.
(gasps) "Hey! The guard that hit you outside the gate said… that you were a… a… monster-who-should-have-been-slaughtered-at-birth." Said Sakura quickly to Hinata's horrified gasp.
"Ha!" barked Naruto as a soft sobbing could be heard from Hinata. "Yes that is one of the more common ones. You'd have thought they would be a little more original. Some of the others are, 'Why shouldn't we just kill it? It's not as if it has any feelings!' or, 'Stay away from that monster! He'll kill you in your sleep.' It's okay though. I've gotten used to it. I just smile and I don't allow it to get to me" said Naruto bitterly.
Sakura looked into his face and for a moment, she saw Naruto's mask slip, before it was quickly replaced with a fake chuckle. She saw it for what it was. Both she and Naruto jumped at a sudden outburst from Hinata.
Sakura and Naruto both looked up surprised at the normally shy girl in the room. She had her hands over her mouth with a horrified look in her eyes. She was looking at Naruto with tears brimming her eyes. "That is not true! You're not a monster. How could they even think that? What have you ever done to deserve that? You have done nothing but protect the village. You're the one who always tried his best to become stronger. You're the one who never gave up no matter how many times you failed. No, you never failed. You never gave up. You continued to try until you won. You've shown nothing but love for this village even when they looked so coldly at you," said Hinata, blushing at the shocked look on Naruto's face with his jaw hanging somewhere near the floor. "Yes Naruto-kun, I've seen the way they look at you. You never allowed yourself to retaliate to them. You only sought to prove them wrong. You have no idea how many people you have changed in your never ceasing quest for acknowledgement. I... I am one of them. I have been on missions with you where I have seen people start out thinking you are an idiot, but by the end, they're weeping in your arms. You have shown many people how to think of others even more than of themselves. You're changing me. I am weak, but I have a nindo that says I will never give up, and I will never go back on my words. I will never abandon my friends."
Upon hearing these words, Naruto managed to pull his jaw off the floor and speak. "YOU ARE NOT WEAK!" then realising he'd said that a little louder than intended, softened his voice as a realisation hit him. "Hey, that's... that's my nindo!"
Hinata, now even redder than before replied, "I... I know. I got it from you in our first chuunin exam. R-remember? W-we s-sat to-together." and she began to find her tenting fingers very interesting again and couldn't bring herself to look up and meet his intense cerulean gaze.
Naruto was stunned. He remembered it like it was yesterday. He'd been very worried about the written part of the test, and then suddenly Hinata offered him her test to cheat off of. He'd refused thinking she would get into too much trouble, but that actually turned out to be the entire purpose of the exam: seeing who could 'gather information' effectively without being noticed by the examiners.
Naruto was touched by what she'd just said. "Thank-you, Hinata-chan. Nobody has said anything as kind as that to me in a very long time. In fact, I think you were the last person who spoke like that to me. It was that time before the third test in the chuunin exam, before my fight with Neji. I don't know if I ever told you this, but after what I heard Neji say to you in the preliminaries, I swore on your blood that I would beat him. Those exams bring back so many memories," said Naruto nostalgically, not noticing he'd taken Hinata's hand in his own once again. Hinata did and she began to hyperventilate and feel dizzy once again.
"Well, back to my explanation I suppose. Please don't interrupt any more though, as this will be much harder to do so then. You can both see my cheeks (Hinata blushed and ducked her head at this, but nodded softly with Sakura) and the faint lines on them. They're not birth-marks like most people our age think. You have both also seen my stamina and unnaturally large chakra capacity, not to mention the fact that you both saw I have two colours of chakra, red and blue, the day I went a little um... hehe... feral. Once that was over, I think you both saw that, whilst exhausted, I was completely healed due to my fast healing rate." said Naruto.
"Those are the positive things with me being like I am. There are plenty of negatives as well. You've seen the way the villagers glare at me, and you know what they say when they think I can't hear them. Because of me having two types of chakra, both of them being in massive amounts, my chakra control sucks. That's actually the reason I failed at the academy those three times. I can't even to this day produce a simple, good bunshin (clone)despite me being a jounin now, and yet I've been able to perform Taju Kage Bunshin no Jutsu (mass shadow clone technique), which requires masses of chakra, since the night we graduated. Strangely enough that's the night I finally found out why I am always treated like a monster. I can also summon Gamabunta, the frog boss. Nobody apart from Yondaime and Ero-sennin have ever been able to in many years until I signed the toad contract in my month of training before the finals in the chuunin exams. If you look closely at my canine teeth, you'll also notice that they are longer and sharper than normal, another reason the villagers are convinced I am biding my time to attack the village. All of these things come from the same source." said Naruto dejectedly.
"(sigh) In all the world, there is only eight potential other people who will ever be able to have the same sort of attributes as me. From the only other one that I've met, I think this shows up in different ways. For him, it protected him, and also gave him a powerful weapon. I think it's safe to say that he also lived with the hatred of others all his life, and if there are any others like us, they most likely have done so too."
"What do you mean, and who is this he you're talking about?" asked Sakura in a confused voice.
"Shh, Sakura-chan. I'm getting there, so be patient." replied Naruto. "I must just say, Hinata-chan, what you said earlier was not completely true. I have not only ever shown love for this village. When I was young and did not understand, I hated people for the way they treated me, much like this other boy I mentioned. I however, eventually gained my precious people. These were people like team 7, Iruka-sensei, you, Hinata, and more and more people that were added as time went on, even Neji and this other boy, who started out trying to kill me. You both know him by the way. These people have turned me away from that path. It could have been devastating. I would have become the monster that the villagers are so terrified of. Instead, now I want to protect them all. I want to be the one who shows them they were all wrong all these years, and that I never wanted to kill them all... that is what they are scared will happen. Ha! As if I would want to become the monster that nearly destroyed the village." said Naruto, now idly stroking the shocked Hinata's hand.
Sakura slowly started to fidget and press her fingers together in a very Hinata-like fashion and push her chair backwards, whilst whimpering softly in fear. Hinata, however was just too stunned to react and her hand was being happily stroked so she didn't want to interrupt or take her hand.
"Hehe... sorry. It all started on the night I was born. I don't know if you two have ever noticed, but I always request missions to take me out of the village on my birthday, October the tenth. The night that Kyuubi attacked and nearly destroyed the village. (sigh) I have never been able to celebrate my birthday as a result. Also, it has become the worst day of the year for me. Even celebrating the day that Kyuubi fell to Yondaime, or even hearing Yondaime's name on that day leaves me depressed." said Naruto quietly as a fresh trail began to course down his cheeks.
"Naruto-kun..." said Hinata softly and gave his hand a gentle squeeze, surprising him, but he returned the squeeze all the same, thankful for the comfort that strange jutsu she always performed on him was giving him.
'So this is why he always tries so hard to get out of the village at that time. I always wanted to celebrate at the Kyuubi festival with my team-mates, and then Naruto's birthday with him, and then he'd just up and disappear.' thought Sakura crossly still nervously whimpering.
"The Sandaime's law forbids anyone from the generation that was there on that night mere hours after my birth from telling anyone the truth. Anyone apart from me and the current Hokage is punished if they tell someone who isn't aware, or from our generation about what really happened the night Kyuubi attacked," said Naruto, looking back and forth into each of their eyes in turn. "It is impossible for me to hate Yondaime Hokage, though some would expect it. He was just protecting the village, which I wish to do some day too. I'm actually doing it now, and have done so every day of my life, but someday I will do it as Rokudaime Hokage. I was supposed to be seen as a hero for how I am daily protecting the village, but that was not to be."
"HA!!!" laughed Naruto with a fake chuckle, now not fooling anyone. "I wonder what my life would have been like had that happened? My life would certainly have been very different. I might have grown up knowing what it was like to have a family even long before I joined what became my family, team 7. I would have had people look at me with gratitude instead of trying to see who can burn off my skin faster with just a glare and mutter under their breaths. I would have been loved by the village instead of beaten for the smallest infringement on anyone's idea of proper behaviour. Just by my remaining loyal to Konoha I save it. I would have most likely gained credit for the other times I've saved the village, instead of pretty-boy teme's (cough-Sasuke-cough) that did nothing, such as when Gaara unleashed Shukaku in the Sound/Sand invasion. Hehe. I probably shouldn't mention that just yet."
"Everyone was lied to about what happened on the night I was born. Yondaime couldn't kill Kyuubi. No-one could. He's just far too powerful. On that night, Yondaime summoned the Death God in a contract forbidden jutsu that requires the user's life as payment for sealing a dangerous soul away. It worked, leaving Kyuubi sealed, and Yondaime dead. The problem was that if Kyuubi was sealed into anything too weak like an animal or a pot or whatever, he would break free. Kyuubi would return and destroy the village. He could probably even return if he was killed. The only way that he could be destroyed once and for all, is if he merged with another soul, and then when that soul's body died, Kyuubi could never return again as their two souls, now one, crossed over," said Naruto before taking a pause to see their reactions. He could see the fear on Sakura's face and hear the soft sounds of her terror without much trouble. Hinata looked like she was carved out of wood, not moving and scarcely breathing, her face pale.
Naruto sighed, and ploughed on, "The only thing that could hold a bijuu (tailed beast) as strong as Kyuubi is a new-born baby who has only just had its umbilical cord cut, and its chakra coils aren't fully developed yet. Me. I am that baby that Yondaime chose for some reason," said Naruto to the shocked silence in the room.
To say Hinata was shocked was to say water is wet or fire is hot.
To say Sakura was hysterical was to say Sasuke was a warm, friendly and loving guy - it was just too stupid to even consider. She was way beyond that point by now. Sakura kept looking at Naruto's serious but worried face as though he was about to jump out and shout, "April-fools!" just like one of his old pranks even though it was the end of September.
When Sakura only saw the truth looking out of Naruto's eyes, she gasped, visibly paled, and threw all pretence to the wind. She jumped backwards out of her chair and slammed her back against the wall as far from Naruto as she could go, as she began to stutter and hyperventilate in horror at what she'd just heard. "K-k-kyu-Kyuubi!"
Naruto and Hinata, seeing their friend's reaction both stood up. "Sakura-chan, calm down. I would never hurt you! Nor would I let Kyuubi escape to do so! I'd die before I let that happen." said Naruto in a worried tone.
"S-Sakura, you n-need t-to calm down and br-breathe slowly. N-Naruto-kun is right. He c-cares too much for y-you for th-that." Said Hinata at the same time, unsure of what else to do.
It was a little too little too late as Sakura's eyes rolled back in her head and her body was introduced to the floor and head to table with a resounding thump, darkness claiming her.
'Wh-what ha-happened? Wh-where am I? This doesn't smell like my room or feel like my bed. What's this damp thing banging my sore head on my forehead?' thought Sakura as she slowly came to and opened blurry eyes.
The sight that met her eyes instantly had her scared again. She was lying on Naruto's bed, still in his apartment and Hinata was using a damp cloth to wipe her forehead down and keep her cool.
"Aah… what happened?" groaned Sakura weakly, trying to get up, "My head…"
"Oh… good, Sakura you're awake. When you fainted, you banged your head on the table. Naruto-kun was really worried about you… he asked me to look after you." Hinata said as she pushed Sakura back down onto the bed.
At the mention of Naruto's name, Sakura gasped and in a high pitched panicked whisper asked, "Where is he? Is he here?"
"Naruto-kun? He'll be back soon I suppose. He asked me to look after you before he left. He went to see Tsunade-sama to give our teams repo-" Hinata began before being interrupted by Sakura's frantic squeak.
"We need to get out of here quickly Hinata! Quickly! Hey! Let me up!" squeaked Sakura as she began to redouble her fruitless efforts to stand up. "Quick before Kyuubi comes back!"
Sakura had said the wrong thing. Hinata was now officially ticked off. "He is NOT Kyuubi! He is actually his jailor or prison warden if that's what you prefer to call it. He's the one who really saved the village almost 18 years ago, and he's the one who is stopping Kyuubi from returning to destroy the village. He'll never attack his friends but would protect them with his life, even to the point that he has to give up his life for them. Even if the villagers will not acknowledge him as their hero, I will always do so for what he daily does for the village, though they don't deserve it."
Sakura, overcoming the shock of Hinata's stutter free rant, snorted in derision, "Hero? That baka? To me he's always been a loud, annoying idiot, and now I've found out that he's an incredibly dangerous one to boot. I mean, look at yourself. Your clothes are still covered in those Iwa nins' blood from what Kyuubi did to them, despite washing so many times. Can you imagine wha…"
Sakura stopped speaking very quickly as the room temperature dropped significantly, and the air seemed to crackle with the cold electricity in Hinata's eyes. Hinata's byakugan had activated for the first time in her life without any seals, but rather from the sheer force of her anger. Sakura's mouth stayed frozen open stupidly mid-word. She knew she'd crossed a line... the very, very wrong one.
Hinata began to speak in a low, deadly voice, "He is NOT the Kyuubi! You never deserved his attention… you're acting just like those absolute bastard villagers. You never deserved the love and care he has shown you, but he's always given it to you regardless of how you treated him. That's just the type of guy he is. He's always protected you, not only from Kyuubi but in your life as a kunoichi. Gaara… remember him? I found out that he had you in his sand claws, and he told Naruto-kun to fight only for himself, but instead he fought for you and Sasuke-teme, saving you both from Shukaku even though you were unconscious at the time. Kyuubi would never do that! Never, ever call Naruto-kun that again!!!" ended Hinata in a voice that was just barely below a shout to Sakura's "Eep!" and frantic nod.
"Right then," said Hinata perfectly happily as though she hadn't just terrified her friend. "Before Naruto-kun left to see Tsunade-sama to give the report and tell her what he'd just told us, he finished what he'd been saying. I'll tell you everything."
"SAKURA-CHAN!" Shouted Naruto as Sakura fell hard onto the floor.
He and Hinata rushed forward to check on her and found her crumpled on the floor next to the small table. Hinata began to check her over for injuries from the fall, and saw she only had a small bump on her forehead. "She's okay, Naruto-kun." She said to the anxious blonde who was staring from Sakura to her with a worried look on his face.
Naruto let out an audible sigh at the news. "Oh thank goodness! I was worried she might have hurt herself," he said. "Perhaps I should carry her to my room and put her on my bed until she wakes. Then we need to chat a little more."
"M-m-more? J-just us?" Asked Hinata nervously as a blush returned to her cheeks.
"Yes. Don't worry though. You have already heard the hard parts, I just need to make sure you're okay with this. I'll understand if… I'll be right back." Naruto replied as he stooped down and picked Sakura up and carried her into his room.
Whilst Naruto saw to Sakura, Hinata began to think about what she heard Naruto say about him and the Kyuubi. 'What am I going to say to him? I'm scared just as Sakura was, but I also know Naruto-kun better than most, if not everyone else in the village. Kyuubi hurt the Hyuuga clan badly, but Naruto-kun has done nothing but help us, not to mention the village.'
When Naruto had returned, he had a sombre expression on his face. Motioning to the table again, he sat and waited for Hinata to do so again too. She sat with a blush and faint smile. Naruto sat nervously in his seat watching Hinata as she nervously kept ducking her head every time she saw him watching her.
Every time that she looked up, she saw him watching her quietly with a very worried expression on his face. Eventually, she heard him speak up. "Hinata-chan, I want to say thank-you for still being here. Most people would be half way out of town by now, but that says quite a lot about you. You're still here, sitting across the table from me," said Naruto. "How are you feeling?"
Hinata sat there for a bit to consider what to say, then decided, "A-at first N-Naruto-kun, I was s-scared, but seeing the way you were worried about Sakura, I remembered," began Hinata thoughtfully. "I-I've a-always w-watched you N-Naruto-kun. I saw the way the villagers treated you, and then I saw you not trying to hurt them b-back but wanting to be Hokage. I saw the way you worked to be able to become Hokage, the ninja that protects everyone. You always want to protect everyone. Kyuubi didn't want to protect everyone. He sought to kill the people of the village. You can only come to one conclusion from that then: You are not Kyuubi. You are Uzumaki Naruto-kun. Now I feel much better after you reminded me of how you will protect everyone. You care for your friends and will never let them down or give them up."
"Thank you Hinata-chan. That means… so much coming from you," said Naruto softly. "There is a little more that I need to tell you about what I said earlier."
"H-hai!" Hinata replied nervously with a blush, now unable of meeting Naruto's gaze. Instead her gaze fell on her hand, and she was surprised to see Naruto's hand hesitantly begin to stretch out, then pull back as if he was unsure about it.
Naruto's hand eventually snaked across the table to half way, and lay there. Hinata's blush deepened as she realized that if she wanted to hold his hand again, now was her chance. 'His hand is waiting… SQUEEL!!! He wants to hold my hand! Is he starting to notice me as a girl? Okay girl… CALM DOWN!!! Stop acting like a stupid fan girl! Take his hand,' she thought as her blush darkened.
It only darkened further as she reached out across the table and took his hand, relishing the warmth and comfort it provided, not to mention the fact she was doing the same for Naruto.
Once she calmed down, she noticed that he was still speaking and she hadn't heard. "Gomen, Naruto-kun. Can you repeat that?" Hinata asked.
"I… Oh, sure Hinata-chan," he replied as he noticed his hand, blushed, yet was internally jumping up and down and thinking, 'She took my hand! She took my hand! She took my hand! Okay, Rokudaime Hokage (in his mind a done deal)… CALM DOWN!!! Stop acting like a stupid fan boy!... wait… Sakura-chan… what about her? I like her, but… Hinata-chan (sigh)… GAH!!! My sore head!'
It was then he noticed that Hinata was still waiting for him to continue. Blushing at his spacing-out, he spoke, "I… I was just saying that the other person who I mentioned that was like me is Gaara. When he first arrived here for those um… eventful… chuunin exams, he was convinced that his purpose in life was to kill everyone else that wasn't himself. He told Shikamaru and me the one day that in his village, he'd been born and raised as a weapon. Shukaku, the one tailed raccoon was sealed into him at birth. He… he killed his mother then and there."
"Gaara said that when he was six, his own father, the Kazekage, the one who'd ordered Shukaku to be sealed in his son and thereby dooming him to a life of nobody showing him any love… he decided Gaara was too dangerous, and ordered Gaara's caregiver uncle to assassinate him. Shukaku's sand protected Gaara, and before Gaara checked who the assassin was, crushed him. Gaara's uncle, the only person in the entire village who'd ever shown any care for him, told him that he'd never loved him. He had always hated Gaara for taking his sister's life at birth. He told Gaara that his mother had died, cursing the village for what they'd done to him. She wanted Gaara to only love himself, to fight only for himself, and to kill everyone but himself," said Naruto, his voice beginning to shudder at the memory. "That could have been me. Gaara's life could have been mine. I've since heard that some people in the village believe that I should have been raised as a weapon. I mean, who would be able to fight and live if the Kyuubi kitsune was their enemy?"
Naruto sighed. "I'm thankful that Sandaime put a stop to that. Gaara lived with so much pain in his life, and for so much longer than me. I… I was able to make friends, but he… he was alone. I first had Sandaime, though I didn't always because he was so busy. Then there was Iruka-sensei, team 7, the rookie-9, team Gai, Ero-sennin and finally Gaara and his siblings," said Naruto. "If it wasn't for all of them, you being one of the rookie-9 Hinata-chan, I don't know where I'd be. If ever you wanted to know why I protect my precious people so fiercely, that's why. Gaara was saved when he saw that true strength comes from protecting your important people after he fought me when I was defending Sasuke and Sakura-chan. He became Kazekage of Suna. I first wanted to be Hokage so that everyone would see how great I am, but after those chuunin exams when Sandaime died to save the village, I changed. I want to be Hokage so that I can defend my important people and, this time, the whole village would be a part of that."
Naruto stood up and looked down to Hinata with a true smile on his face. He pulled her up by the hand and turned to look at Sakura still lying on his bed.
"Please look after Sakura-chan. I will go and see Tsunade-Baachan and give our report. I will also need to tell her what I've told you both. I won't be too long. You can also use my bathroom to refresh a bit. Perhaps you also need a little time to think things through. No doubt it's come as a little bit of a shock to you too," said Naruto quietly before his face fell a little. "I… I… I thought Sakura-chan would be one of the ones that would be a little more sympathetic… who'd listen and tell me it was okay. I really am sorry you found out like you did."
Hinata couldn't take it any more. She couldn't stand to see her precious person in such obvious pain. She surprised herself as she stretched out a hand and wiped a tear from under Naruto's eye and held his cheek. She gazed into Naruto's stunned eyes and said, "Naruto-kun, Sakura is just a little shocked at the moment. She'll come around. I'm your friend, and as another who proudly bears your nindo… I must say I will stand by my friend."
'Is she just saying that because it's her nindo?' Naruto thought.
"I know what you're thinking Naruto-kun. You're one of my precious people too. I have seen your pain for years, but I never understood why it was there. You never give up… you taught me never to give up. I am still heir to the Hyuuga because of that. The Hyuuga council saw me as weak, but you saw me as strong, and then showed me what you saw. The Hyuuga's that doubted me changed when I saw that strength and began to show it. That is why I will not abandon you. Thank you for showing me more of my strength. Thank you too for telling me your secret. It is safe with me, as are you," said Hinata, and she blushed at the double connotations of that.
"Thank you, Hinata-chan. I… really, thank you. It means so much to me," said Naruto as he began to turn away. "Ja ne! I'll be back later!"
He looked much more cheerful as he turned to the door. Naruto was back… back to his normal old joking self at last.
((End (extra long) flashback))
"You didn't need to tell me all the touchy stuff," said Sakura in exasperation but with a knowing grin adorning her face.
"Oh, right sorry. Hehe. I got a little carried away," replied Hinata with a shy smile.
Hinata was lost in thought for a while, a dreamy look on her face, until Sakura decided to break the silence. "Why do you care so much about him anyway. It's not like he noticed your attention or showed you there was a chance between you. Why do you like him?"
Hinata thought for a moment and a blush covered her face. "Naruto-kun always had my attention. In him, I saw a person who'd had a harder life than perhaps even Sasuke whose entire family was slaughtered by his elder brother. Despite all his pain in life however, Naruto-kun never grew bitter and vengeful to the village but rather wanted to prove them wrong. Naruto lived almost his entire life alone in this apartment, yet he always continued to live to put a smile on other people's faces. He even painted them on the faces of the Hokages (amongst other things)," Hinata paused a short while to let it sink in before continuing. "My attention grew to liking him when I saw that he believed in his own worth. He wasn't willing to give up on his dream to become Hokage even when others laughed at him or were cruel to him. He had the strength I always wanted. He was everything I ever wanted to be. I'd grown up with my father calling me weak. My clan was ashamed of me because I was the heiress, and yet I was weaker than my cousin who was in the branch house. During my chuunin exam fight against my cousin Neji-niisan, Naruto-kun cheered me on and caused me to try my hardest. I, who'd always been shy and scared about failing, was able to raise me head and fight, even though there was no chance of winning."
"You're right Hinata. Naruto has always been able to see the strength in others and get them to see it in themselves. I shouldn't have reacted the way I did," said Sakura and she looked up.
Hinata watched Sakura for a moment, but didn't see where she was looking wide eyed. As Sakura was about to open her mouth to say something, Hinata quickly spoke. "I've liked Naruto-kun for many years now. When he saw what I hadn't in me and cheered for me, I started to realise that 'like' was no longer a fitting word to describe how I felt. I know that there can't be anything between him and myself either because he doesn't know how I feel towards him or because he doesn't feel the same way, but I want Naruto-kun to be happy and to get his dreams. After what he's been through in life, he deserves them because I… I l-love him."
Several things happened following this pronouncement in quick succession. From the direction Sakura was looking a little behind Hinata, came a loud male gasp. Sakura finally managed to say what she'd been wanting to say before Hinata (of all people) interrupted. "Naruto, I'm really sorry!"
Hinata's face paled and, spinning her head around she spotted a very shocked Naruto looking into her eyes, obviously not having heard a word from Sakura. She let out an "Eep!" before she fainted.
Naruto managed to get out a soft "Hinata-chan" before he too fainted onto the floor at the same time. Sakura saw her sensei, Tsunade-sama step out from behind the door holding her sides in laughter.
A/N: I don't know if this has been done before, so if it has, sorry, but I didn't know. I also don't care as to my knowledge this is entirely original. Sorry this was a little longer than expected. I originally thought it would only be maybe 3000 words, but the story ran away from me (including notes, in Microsoft Word it is 10069 words). My next dilemma was whether or not to make this a one-shot or a multi chapter story. If it was a multi chapter, it would have been broken into three chapters. Anyhoo, I hope you enjoyed this minor AU story. Yes, I know that this was a little OOC… okay a lot OOC, but I think that that has its reasons. BTW, there are some stories that I do like the way this whole confession takes place, but this is the way I see it happening. PLEEEEEASE review!!! I'm desperate to know what you all think. It is a little open ended so I can continue, but the story is in effect complete unless enough ask me to continue. Thanks for reading and NJOY!!!