Summary: At the age of five Naruto is badly beaten and left for dead. Where Tsunade comes across him and raise him as her own. Will Naruto still dream of being Hokage or has that changed?
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto or any of the characters created by Kishimoto
Chapter 1: Farewell to a hero. (Revised)
A cool refreshing breeze blew through the village of Konoha on this starless night. But it was not as dark as one would think for the night sky was brilliantly light with flashes of light and the burning multicolored remains of embers that slowly floated to the ground. This spectacle came from the fireworks that were set off to celebrate the demise of the Kyuubi that was defeated by The Yondaime Hokage five years ago. The entire village was decorated in streamers as well as having food and activity stands, which ranged from a simple fish catch game to a more advanced targeting game meant for the shinobi of the village, lined the dusty streets. To the casual observer it seemed like the whole village was into the celebration.
But if one would take a closer look at the village they would see that there was one boy who wasn't in a celebratory mood, in fact he was downright terrified every time this day rolled around. The poor boy had yellow uncombed hair that sprouted out in all directions and wore an extremely bright orange jumpsuit. This boy's name was Uzumaki Naruto and he was currently in fear for his life as he fled from a group of angry shinobi.
When Naruto landed on a nearby rooftop he let his fear get the best of him and looked over his shoulder to see how close his pursuers were. Unfortunately for him this hesitation was all one of them needed. In a swift and fluid motion this particular shinobi pulled out a kunai and flung it at Naruto just before he shouted "Die Demon!"
Naruto managed to duck his head at the last moment and dodge the kunai before he pushed himself harder than any five year old should have been able to and took off at an incredible speed. As the pursuers chased Naruto all over the disserted areas of the village, he brought his left hand up to a necklace that he had just gotten as a gift, and tightened his grip on it before he thought to himself. 'If only Anko-neechan was here, she would make them all go away.'
Just as he finished that line of thought he suddenly felt an intense pain shot through his left leg. Since Naruto didn't want to break his stride he decided to just ignore the pain and continue on, but when he put his full weight on this leg the pain became too much and it gave out. The result of this sent him tumbling into the dark and spooky alleyway below. Naruto hit the ground with such force that you could hear his left leg bone snap. He screamed in pain before he looked down at his leg and saw that not only was his leg twisted in an unnatural position but that the cause of his tumble was a kunai that was still imbedded at least two inches into his calf muscle.
But before he had the chance to pull it out his pursuers had caught up with him. Despite the pain shooting through his leg Naruto managed to turn over on his stomach and tried to crawl away from the group. When the group saw the wounded boy they quickly descended on him like a pack of vultures, and delivered a hailstorm of punches and kicks, many of these attacks snapped more of Naruto's malnourished bones. As the group continued to beat the poor child one of them, a shinobi from the looks of his headband and standard chunin uniform, ripped the necklace off of Naruto's neck. He then haphazardly threw it into the darkness of the ally while he snarled "A demon doesn't need such things."
A few moments later another shinobi started to do hand-seals for a Katon jutsu, but before he could finish the last hand-seal the leader of the group put his hand on the man's shoulder as he said "Don't… if you do a jutsu here Hokage-sama or one of his ANBU will feel your chakra spike and come to investigate. We don't want to be caught… now do we?"
The man silently nodded his head in agreement, before the rest Naruto's attackers pulled out a wide variety of weapons, ranging from kunai to swords, and started to hack and slash at Naruto's flesh.
While this gruesome scene was going on more of his bones were broken in the process which eliciting a bloodcurdling scream before he looked up at his attackers. The only thing he saw however was a look of pure and utter hatred reflected in their eyes. When the pain and blood loss started to make Naruto feel disoriented and drowsy, but before all cognitive ability was lost to him he heard their leader bark out orders. "Now that he's dying we need to get rid of the body, so it can't be traced back to us."
The leader then pointed to two of his men and said "You two! Take this creature far from here, so it can't be found."
As the two men started to head towards Naruto the damage done to his body finally started to take its toll. With his body starting to shut down Naruto used every ounce of willpower he had left to focus his eyes and get one last good look at his attackers. That's when he noticed that they all had red eyes with comma like marks circling around the iris. With this final scene burned into his memory the world started to fade to nothingness but before he lost consciousness he thought to himself. 'What did I ever do to deserve this?'
(On the road to Tanzaku Town)
Tsunade felt a shiver run down her spine as the cool night air blew past on the old dusty road surrounded by trees and bushes. Once the breeze had died down she looked up into the star filled sky and let out a sigh as she wished that she was already in town. She couldn't wait to relax in the hot springs while she drank some of her favorite sake before she hit the gambling halls and end this losing streak she's been on lately. She turned her gaze from the night sky to the long road ahead while she thought about what awaited her once she got to the casinos. 'I'm going to win so big this time. I can feel it! And then… and then I'll use all those winnings to buy even more of my precious Sake!'
Her fantasy was short lived as her apprentice, Shizune, noticed two figures coming out of the bushes off to the side of the road, about fifty yards in front of them. Shizune immediately dropped into a defensive stance as she shouted "Who are you? And what are you doing over there?"
The two men froze in place before they turned to look at Tsunade and Shizune. Once they saw the two they cursed their bad luck before they disappeared in a puff of smoke. Tsunade's right eyebrow arced ever so slightly and she got a curios look on her face as she thought to herself 'Well that was… strange.'
She soon forgot all about the two men when she heard a very weak moan coming from the bushes that the two men came from a few moments earlier. Letting her curiosity get the best of her she went over to investigate but when she pushed the bushes aside she froze on her spot and started to tremble.
"What's wrong Tsunade-sama?" asked Shizune as she was overcome with a deep sense of worry at Tsunade's reaction. But when she looked down to see what her mentor was staring at a look of horror spread across her face as she saw the battered and bloody body of a 5 year old boy. Her hands covered her mouth as she thought to herself 'Oh my god!' Her medical training kicked in moments later and she immediately ran over and began to check his condition.
However when Shizune turned the boy over Tsunade received another shock to her system, because this small child just happened to resemble someone that she cared deeply about a long ago. As she continued to stare at the boy's bloody and dirty face it caused only one thought to run through her head. 'H-He looks just like N-Nawaki.'
As she continued to stare visions of her loved one flashed through her mind. She remembered his laughter, his bright vibrant smile and the deep love he held for his friends and family. But then her memories turned dark as images of his dead and mutilated body flashed before he eyes. A low groan broke Tsunade out of her thoughts but when she looked down she didn't see the injured five year old, instead she saw her brother Nawaki laying there dying at her feet. She shook her head from side to side to clear the vision from her mind while she thought to herself. 'No not again! I won't let it happen again!'
A new resolve course through her veins as she found the courage to push aside her fear of blood and she quickly knelt down next to Shizune to begin to heal the badly beaten boy.
'Tsunade-sama…' though a shell shocked Shizune as she never in her wildest dreams thought her sensei would be able to overcome her fear of blood. Pushing those thoughts to the back of her head for now, she turned all her attention towards helping Tsunade as they tried to save this child's life.
The two worked feverously to save the boy but it was starting to look bleak. That's when Tsunade noticed something odd. A dim red glow enveloped the damaged area's and seemed to help heal the boy at an accelerated rate, deciding to file this away for a later date she went back to saving this young boys life. After several hours Tsunade let out a sigh of relief as they had finally managed to heal all of his life threatening injuries.
Tsunade gently picked up the unconscious boy and shoved some of his blood soaked blonde hair out of his face before she turned to Shizune and said "With all the damage his body sustained… it's a miracle that he was able to live long enough for us to treat him."
"I completely agree Tsunade-sama. I still can't believe we were able stabilize him." replied Shizune as she looked at the boy in her masters arms.
After a moment of silence between the two women Tsunade grabbed the edge of her green coat and wiped some of the blood and dirt from the boy's face before she said "Let's hurry and find a hotel so he can get some rest."
Shizune silently nodded her head in agreement and both of them took off towards Tanzuku Town as fast as they could safely carry the sleeping boy. A short time later they entered the hotel room and noticed the plain white walls with an open kitchen and two doors in the back one leading to the bedroom while the other lead to the bathroom. Tsunade made a bee line for the bed room and put the boy down on the soft bed. After she quietly shut the bedroom door she turned to Shizune and whispered "Just who is that boy? There is no way he should have survived all those injuries."
"I know what you mean Tsunade-sama, I've never seen someone so severely injured before survive. It has to be a miracle." replied Shizune as she let a small smile spread across her face. This good feeling didn't last long however because once she noticed the concerned look on her Sensei's face she got a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach. "What's wrong Tsunade-sama? We didn't miss anything did we?"
"No, no nothing like that. It's just… didn't you notice that even without our help his wounds were already healing at a faster than normal rate?" asked Tsunade as she brought her right hand up to her chin to ponder this further. 'It shouldn't have been possible for that boy's wounds to heal so fast… unless.'
As realization dawned on Tsunade her apprentice Shizune opened the bedroom door a crack and glanced into the room to check on the boy. As she looked at his sleeping form she muttered "Now that you mention it yes. I did notice that his wounds were healing at an unusually fast rate. But where are you going with this Sensei?"
"It's just a theory mind you. But I think that he could be a Jinchuuriki." commented Tsunade as she got a sad look on her face. "That would also explain why he was beaten to within an inch of his life, and then left for dead." But before they could continue their conversation further they heard a noise coming from the next room, and rushed in to check on the boy.
At that very same moment Naruto slowly opened his eyes and let out a low groan of pain as he started to look around the room. The first thing he noticed was that it was a simple white room, with cheap paint on the walls, and an old cracked mirror hanging over a simple wooded dresser. Then as he laid eyes on the old oak door it suddenly swung open and two ladies rushed into the room. The trauma of Naruto's near death experience became very apparent when his first reaction was to jump out of the bed, run to the nearest corner of the room, curled up into a ball, and screamed at the top of his lungs "Don't hurt me!"
Tsunade and Shizune both cringed at the sheer terror and panic in the boy's voice. Tsunade decided to implement a different tactic and cautiously made her way over to him while she tried to calm the poor boy down. "Shhh….. Just calm down. No one here is going to hurt you. We're the medics that made all your injuries go away. My name is Tsunade, and this lady here is my apprentice Shizune. Now that you know our names could you please tell us yours?"
Naruto just sat there in shock; he just couldn't believe that this lady didn't know who he was. Everybody knew who he was and they all hated him for it. But out of all the questions swimming around inside his head, there was one that kept coming to the forefront: 'Why is this lady being so nice to me?' After a few moments of silent contemplation he decided to go for broke and answer her question. Naruto lifted his head above his knees and in a soft and quiet voice muttered "I-I'm Uzumaki Naruto."
'The Kyuubi vessel! Sarutobi-sensei… how could you let this happen to him?' Tsunade thought to herself as an overwhelming sadness crept into her heart as her mind pictured the kind of life he must have lead up until know.
When he noticed that the pair looked at him with sadness and sorrow instead of the usual fear and hatred the question that had been gnawing at his mind earlier became vocalized. "How come you don't know me? Everyone knows me…" He then lowered his head as a sense of doom and gloom washed over him before he whispered "And hates me."
Tsunade's expression darkened at his words and she promised herself that one day she'd find the ones responsible for Naruto's current mental state and make them pay. Shoving such dark thoughts to the back of her mind she got a warm smile and tried to cheer up the poor boy. "Not everyone hates you Naruto. While I can't speak for that village, I can say that Shizune and myself don't hate you."
"R-Really?" Naruto whispered hoping against hope that Tsunade was speaking the truth.
Her smile took on an even warmer glow than before as she ruffled his hair while she said "Yup."
Naruto just sat there in disbelief unable to fully comprehend what he had just been told. Aside from old man Hokage, Anko, and Teuchi and Ayame from the Ichiraku Ramen stand everyone else hated him. 'Man I wish the old man was here. He'd know if I could trust this lady.' Naruto thought to himself as he suddenly realized that aside from the two ladies there wasn't anyone else in the room.
That's when he quickly scanned the room but couldn't find any trace of the aged Hokage. He started to get really scared as he franticly searched the room again for any sign of him. When no trace could be found of even a visit Naruto started to panic as he spouted out question after question. "Where is he? Where's old man hokage? Did something happen to him? Why hasn't he come yet? He always comes to visit me when I get hurt!"
That last statement hit Tsunade harder than she thought it would, and as dark emotions started to fill her mind a sour look spread across her face before she thought to herself. 'He's been hurt like this before? Damn it Sarutobi-sensei! When I get my hands on you…'
Taking a few moments to purge those dark thoughts from her mind Tsunade took a deep breath and decided to tell Naruto the truth. "Listen Naruto there's no easy way to tell you this. So I'll just come out and say it. You're not in Konoha anymore." She paused for a moment to let it sink in but when she saw the confused look on Naruto's face she bit her lower lip in worry before she finished what she was going to say "You're in a town called Tanzaku Naruto. We found you on the side of the road and brought you here."
Naruto's reaction was unexpected to say the least, he just had a blank expression on his face and with a voice devoid of all emotion he muttered "So they throw me out, huh? I guess they finally decided to throw out their trash." The torrent of emotions Naruto had bottled up over the years finally reached their limit and tears started well up in his eyes threatening to burst forth at any moment.
Tsunade's long dormant maternal instincts started to kick in as she grabbed Naruto and pull him into a hug. She then rocked him back and forth in an attempt to ease his pain. Not use to such close contact Naruto's muscles tightened ready to escape at a moment's notice, but once he realized that there was no malicious intentions he quickly relaxed into the warm and comforting embrace. The dam finally broke for Naruto and all of his pent up emotions came to the surface as he buried his face into Tsunade's shoulder and balled his eyes out.
This outpouring of such raw emotion tugged at the two Konouchi's heart strings, and Tsunade found herself pulling him into an even tighter embrace as she did her best to ease the boy's pain. "There, there it's going to be alright. Don't let their words get to you Naruto. Because you're not trash, and don't you dare think otherwise got it? You're far better than that"
"H-How would you know?" sniffled Naruto as he lifted his head and looked at Tsunade with an almost pleading look in his eyes hoping for a thread of truth in her words.
"Because…" Tsunade then got a nice warm smile on her face and put her hand on top of his head before she tousled his hair and said "I know just how special you really are."
Those kind words stuck a cord with Naruto. Never before had anyone said he was special and this brought forth an emotion he had very little experience with, happiness. As a new wave of tears streamed down his face he tightened his grip on Tsunade's shirt before he buried his face once again into her shoulder and cried tears of joy. Tsunade gently placed her hand on the back of his head as she continued to rock him back and forth until he finally fell asleep. A faint smile spread across her lips as she ran her fingertips through the young boy's hair and after a few moments of contemplation she came to a decision that would in time rock the very foundation of Konoha.
"Shizune. I'm…" Tsunade stopped for a moment and looked down at the boy, before her eyes reflected a resolve that was thought to have died in her long ago. "I'm taking Naruto with us."
"Are you serious Tsunade-sama?" balked Shizune as she just stared at her mentor unable to wrap her mind around what she just heard. Soon the turmoil within her mind became vocalized. "In all the years I've known you. You've never done anything like this before. So why start now?"
A vein started to throb on Tsunade's forehead as she stopped playing with Naruto's hair and taking great care not to wake the boy she said "Are you saying that we should just throw him back out there! Just leave him so those jackals can do this again!"
When Naruto stirred Tsunade was afraid that she'd woken him. But once he just nuzzled closer to her and started to snore she let out a sigh relieved that she hadn't. With that concern out of the way she turned back towards Shizune and glared at her expecting an answer.
"O-Of course not! I would ever what him to go through that again Tsunade-sama. It's just…" Shizune trailed off unsure of how to put her feelings into words but with another harsh glare from her mentor she finally said "I'm surprised that you want to take him with us. After what happened to Uncle Dan and Nawaki… I never thought you'd open your heart up like this again."
"It's because of Nawaki that I'm doing this…" Tsunade mumbled more to herself than Shizune as she once again looked down at the child sleeping in her lap. When Shizune didn't say anything for several seconds Tsuande looked up at her apprentice only to see her friend's face contorted in confusion. After she let out a deep sigh she explained further. "When he was injured out there, at first I didn't see Naruto lying in that ditch… I saw Nawaki."
Shizune brought her hands to her mouth and let out a small gasp but before she could say anything Tsunade continued: "That's what let me get over my fear and help you save him. I'm not sure if it was Nawaki's spirit guiding me or not. But…" Tsunade paused for a moment to collect her thoughts. "I do know I feel a connection to this little guy, and I think Nawaki would want me to look after and protect him."
"…And I think Uncle Dan would want that too" Shizune added more as an afterthought than anything else. She then got a meek smile on her face and as she gave a quick nod of agreement she thought to herself. 'Well I guess it won't be so bad. After all…, I've always wanted a little brother'
With both ladies in agreement a warm smile spread across Tsunade's face. "Then it's been decided. Naru-chan is now part of the Senju Clan!"
"Naru-chan?" muttered Shizune with her right eyebrow arced ever so slightly as she gave her mentor a questioning look.
A tinge of pink spread across Tsunade's cheeks as an emotion long thought lost flooded her system but before it could be used against her she decided to quickly change the subject. "Anyway since Naru-chan is going to come with us. I think it's time he learned how to defend himself. Because I don't want anything like this to ever happen to him again. Don't you agree Shizune?"
"Oh absolutely Tsunade-sama." replied Shizune as she let her lips curl into a warm smile thinking about all the things the two of them couple teach the young shinobi to be..
Tsunade rain her fingers through Naruto's hair one more time before she gently laid her hand on his head. Naruto's reaction to this was to snuggle up even closer to her and left out a sigh of contentment. Tsunade's lips curled into a smile as she looked down at the sleeping blonde and thought to herself 'Well Naru-chan, I wonder how you'll react when you find out that your now part of a family.'
(Hokage Tower the following day)
The early morning rays of sunshine came through the window of the Hokage's office accentuating the finely crafted oak desk that the Sandaime Hokage was currently working at, its high finish and ornate design was clearly designed to instill a sense of power and prestige to anyone lucky enough to lay their eyes on it. After he stamped his approval on the document in front of him, he looked over at the huge pile of paperwork that he had yet to complete before he let out an aggravated sign of frustration. He really hated all the backlog of paperwork that was created by his participation in the Kyuubi Festival the night before. As it approached midday Sarutobi had finally started to catch up with all his work and that's when he noticed that Naruto had yet to come by and pay him a visit like he usually did after the festival, this fact alone caused him to become a little concerned. But as the day wore on and he had yet to even receive any news about the boy's pranks or emergency notices concerning the young blonde caused him to become really concerned about the child's wellbeing. So once Sarutobi had finished the last bit of paperwork he was currently on he let out a sigh and got up to go and look for Naruto.
Just then a loud commotion could be heard behind the finely crafted wooden doors that lead to the reception area. Then before he could even get out from behind his desk the duel doors got knocked off its brass hinges and went crashing to the ground. As the dust settled to the ground a very pissed off Mitarashi Anko barged into room, her long tan trench coat moved as though an invisible wind blew past her as she dragged one of the Chunin guards in with her. Once Anko was in front of Sarutobi's desk she unceremoniously dropped the guard to the floor and with a glared that would send a shiver down her old sensei's spine she made her aggravation known. "All right! Were the hell is the Gaki!"
Sarutobi let a breath he didn't realize he was holding as all his worries about Naruto's safety melted away, after all if the young woman in from of him is this pissed Naruto must have played a really nasty prank on her. With a grandfatherly smile on his face Sarutobi asked "And just what has Naruto done this time?"
"Done… Done! What the hell are you talking about!" screamed Anko a look of utter disbelief clearly present on her face as she tried to comprehend that he had no clue as to what was going on. Finally her anger and concern for the person in question got the best of her, and as she clinched her fist to contain her rage she snapped "I want to know where the Gaki is right now!"
Taking note of the desperation hidden under all the anger that was just displayed Sarutobi got a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach. Wanting to get more information before he came to the wrong conclusion Sarutobi walked out from behind his desk and he got a serious look on his face to show Anko he wanted answers. "Anko-chan you need to calm down, and tell me what exactly is going on here?"
The tone in Sarutobi's voice snapped Anko out of her blind rage and after she took a couple of deep breaths to help collect her thought she told him what she had discovered. "Look… all I know is that after I got back from my mission, I went to go check on the Gaki and wish him a belated birthday… since I missed it yesterday." She sent a harsh glare at the Hokage to get her point across that she wasn't happy about that at all. When she saw the man flinch under her gaze she got a small smirk on her face before she continued with her story. "But when I got there the door was unlock and the place was a mess…"
"Anko-Chan …" interrupted the Hokage as he grabbed the tip of his hat and pulled it down slightly as he started to wonder if Anko had pushed herself too hard in the last mission to make it back here so fast. "You know Naruto never locks his door and his place is always a mess."
"That's not what's got me worried!" retorted Anko, as she got right in the Hokage's face to emphasize her next point "There was ramen spewed all across his kitchen table and a shattered bowl on the floor!"
When Sarutobi heard this the sinking feeling he had in his stomach earlier dropped into a bottomless pit as he thought to himself 'Naruto would never let a bowl of ramen go to waste… this is not good, not good at all.'
Without a moment's hesitation Sarutobi went over to his desk and pushed the intercom button just to the right of his big pile of paperwork before he said "I want Kakashi in here now! Tell him if not here in the next 10 minutes then I'm going to make him a jonin sensei and have them doing nothing but D-rank missions until I say otherwise!"
"Y-Y-Yes Hokage-sama." his secretary quickly stuttered and the faint nose of a chair being knocked over could be heard from the other side of the intercom before it went silent.
With that out of the way Sarutobi's mind quickly went to what would be needed for when Kakashi arrived and once he came up with a plan of action he turned to Anko and relayed his orders "Anko if Kakahsi is going to be able to find Naruto we'll need something that has Naruto's sent on it. Go to his apartment and find whatever you can to accomplish this task."
"I'm on it Hokage-sama." Replied Anko as she quickly bowed her head in respect of the aged leader before she channeled her chakra and vanished in a swirl of leaves.
Not even 5 minutes later Anko puffed back into the room with what was needed to find Naruto, his funny little nightcap with two big teeth hanging down in the front and giant eyes sown into the material. But as the time passed the ten minute mark Anko got more and more agitated until she was no longer able to stand still and she started to pace around the Hokage's Office in order to vent her frustration. Then when the time nearly hit the twenty minute mark she could no longer contain her rage and she slammed her fist into the wall as she snarled "Where in the seven hells is he?"
As if to answer her question the oak doors to the Hokage's office opened and in walked Kakashi, with a lazy carefree expression on his face. However before he could give his customary greeting Anko grabbed him by his Jonin vest and slammed him into the wall so hard cracks began to form. She then pulled out a Kunai and placed it up against his crotch before she growled "What the hell took you so long Kakashi! And I swear to Kami if you don't have a good reason, I'll give you a sex-change right here!"
Though Kakashi didn't show any reaction to his current situation on the outside, mentally however he was sweating bullets, especially when he felt the tip of the Kunai press up against his precious manhood with enough pressure to cause some discomfort without any serious harm being done. Still after pondering the situation he didn't think she would actually go through with it with the Hokage present, so he simply just stared at Anko and in his usual carefree way said "Well you see there was this problem with my mask. It seems to have shrunk in the wash so I had to go buy a new one."
Anko's right eyebrow twitched in irritation for several moments before she tightened her grip on his vest and shouted "Ok that's it! It's time to say good bye to your little friend Kakashi!"
But before she could go through with her threat Sarutobi grabbed her wrist and after he gave her a harsh glare that sent a clear signal that he wasn't in the mode for these games he said "Anko I know you're distressed over Naruto, but I will not tolerate you maiming my Shinobi. Now release Kakashi so we can proceed with the task at hand."
After a moment's hesitation Anko pulled the kunai away from Kakashi's nether regions and released her grip on him before she stormed over to the other side of the room grumbling about lazy perverts and wanting to castrate them all. With Kakashi out of anko's crosshairs for now Sarutobi leveled his gaze on the man and said "Kakashi I don't have time to deal with your tardiness right now so we'll talk about that later."
Once he let that sink into the Jonin's head he pulled out the nightcap Anko retrieved early and relayed his orders to his tardy Jonin. "Now Naruto is missing and it is possible that he's hurt. Use this to track him down immediately."
"Hai Hokage-sama." replied Kakahsi as he was already going through a series of hand-seals and channeling the chakra necessary to perform the jutsu needed. After he formed the last hand-seal needed he slammed his hand onto the ground and called out the name of the jutsu "Kuchiyose no jutsu!" A puff of smoke erupted from his hand, and encompassed an area the size of a chair, then once it cleared a dog wearing a Konoha headband could be seen sitting in the very spot Kakashi's hand was just moments before.
"Yo." was the pudgy little dogs greeting as he waved his right front paw, but when he noticed the Hokage and a very irate kunoichi he turned towards his summoner and asked "Ah… what's up Kakashi?"
"Pakkun we have a problem. It appears that Naruto is missing and we need you to track him down." stated Kakashi as Sarutobi not wanting to waste any more time pulled out the child's nightcap for the dog now known as Pakkun to sniff.
Pakkun took one whiff of the nightcap before his highly sensitive nose picked up the scent of the one thing he detested most in the world. His face turned a dark shade of green and as he brought his two front paws up to his mouth to restrain his gag reflex he said "Does this kid bath in ramen? I mean really who could really enjoy that vial stuff anyway?"
Anko made it across the room in the blink of an eye and picked up the small dog by the scruff of the neck before she snarled "I don't give a shit what your personal opinion of his eating habits is. Now can you track his sent or not?"
"Geez lady what's got your panties in a bunch?" questioned Pakkun but when he felt her tighten her grip he decided to not push her any further and started to rapidly sniff the air in the hopes of placating the pissed off women. Just then a faint breeze blew in from the open window and he stiffened he picked up the scent of blood mixed in with a heavy dose of ramen. He quickly wiggled out of Anko's iron grip and as he jumped out the window he said "Quickly follow me."
Anko, Kakashi, and Sarutobi wasted no time and followed the little dog out the window and into the streets of Konoha. After several minutes of running along the tiled roof tops of the older wooden buildings of Konoha in the early evening hours, Pakkun's sensitive nose finally located the source of the blood mixed with ramen scent and jumped down into the garbage and maggot infested alleyway below. When the other's landed in the alley they were frozen in place at the scene that lay before them.
If a common villager were to look around this particular alleyway they would have gotten a sick feeling deep in the pit of their stomach. This particulate alleyway was covered in blood, from the walls to the dumpsters; even the ground had a large pull of blood in one spot close to the back of the alley. As Anko surveyed the scene in hopes of finding any clue to Naruto's wellbeing her eyes caught sight of a simple blood-soaked necklace just lying on the ground. Anguish and despair began to overtake her being and as the tears started to well up within her eyes, Anko focused solely on the necklace that she recognized all too well before she mumbled to herself "No…"
(Flashback 3 days ago- Naruto's Apartment)
"But Anko-neechan!" whined a watery eyed Naruto, who was barely able to hold back the tears that threatened to run down his face. As he looked up at Anko he gave her the best puppy dog eyes he could muster in the hopes that he could get her to change her mind. "You promised me that you would be with me on my birthday."
The sheer outpouring of emotion caused a sad smile to spread across Anko's face and in an attempt to lighten his mood a little she placed her hand on his head, and started to ruffle his hair before she tried to explain the situation "Look brat I'm sorry I really am, but orders are orders. The mission is real important for our village, and is expected to last at least three days. This means that I won't be able to get back to the village until the day after your birthday. Now suck it up, you are a big boy right? And big boys don't get upset about things like this."
"O-ok…" sniffled Naruto as he tried his best to be the big boy he wanted to be and make his sister figure proud of him.
When Anko saw how hard Naruto was trying to put up a brave face she got down on one knee so that they were face to face and she lightly ruffled his hair again before she said "Well brat, since I won't be here for your birthday. I think I'm just going to have to give you your present a little early."
Naruto's mood instantly brightened at the prospect of actually receiving something from someone other than the Hokage. His bright and vibrant eyes watched intently as Anko put her hands behind her neck and removed the necklace she was wearing. She then carefully put the necklace around Naruto's neck before she clasped the two ends together; she then gave it a gentle tug to make sure it was secure. Once her she got back to her feet she let a smile cross her face as she watched Naruto examine his new possession with the awe and reverence only a child could have. "Now I expect you to take good care of that alright." Said Anko as she put her hand on his head and ruffled his hair one more time.
After Naruto got away from Anko's antics he gave her the best foxy smile he hand and cheerfully replied "You bet Anko-neechan! I'll never take it off. That's a promise!"
'Otouto…' Anko thought to herself as the emotional turmoil became too much and she collapsed to her knees. With a shaky hand she picked up the necklace and once it was in her hands she could no longer hold back the current of emotions she'd had bottled up since she first found that destroyed bowl of ramen. As the tears slowly rolled down her face she made a silent prayer. '…Please be alright. I… I don't know what I'd do if I lost you too.'
Meanwhile Sarutobi had just finished surveying his surroundings with a heavy heart, and as he rubbed some of the blood he had wiped of the walls between his fingers he thought to himself 'With this much blood all over the place, it's unlikely that anyone could have survived. Naruto… were you really the one hurt in this alleyway?'
When he was brought out of his thoughts by the sounds of sobbing he quickly shifted his gaze over to the source only to find Anko on her knees clutching what appeared to be a simple necklace with tears streaming down her face. 'Anko's crying? I've never seen her cry so openly before. What did she find that put her in such a state?' The bewildered Hokage thought to himself as he made his way over to the poor girl.
By the time he made it over to her he finally got a good look at the necklace that she had in her hands, it was a simple amulet with what appeared to be a rope tied around it, and that's when his eyes widened in horror as he finally placed where he had seen it before. 'Oh my god! That's the necklace that Anko gave Naruto for his birthday!'
Sarutobi's desire to find Naruto doubled and he quickly used his advanced shinobi skills to scan the alley yet again in the hopes of finding any sign of Naruto but with this attempt came to no avail he turned his attention to Kakashi and relayed his new orders; "Kakashi! Gather your most trusted ANBU, and start searching the village and the outlining areas for any sign of Naruto, We need to find him now!"
Obeying his orders without question Kakashi merely nodded his head in acknowledgement before he disappeared in a puff of smoke. Once they were alone in the alleyway Sarutobi placed his hand on Anko's shoulder and put on his best grandfather face in an attempt to reassure the distraught woman. "Don't worry Anko-chan I'm sure that Naruto is just fine."
But when Anko didn't respond to him and just continued to stare at the necklace she was holding with a far off look on her face, he sighed in frustration and finally let his emotions to the surface by allowing a single tear to run down the side of his cheek. After his little outburst of emotion he turned his gaze towards the Hokage Monument and more specifically the Yondame Hokage's sculpted face and thought to himself. 'I'm so sorry Minato-san, but it looks like I've failed you.'
The early morning rays of sunshine came through the window and started to bath the hotel room in its warm light, and when those rays fell upon a young blonde boy, who was still resting his head in Tsunade's lap, began to stir. Naruto slowly opened his eyes and as he rubbed the sand form them he noticed that his pillow was unusually warm and comforting, as if it was filled with the love and compassion that was sorely missing in his life. But when he looked up and saw that his head was in the lap of a blond haired lady the memories of what happened the night before flashed before his eyes.
Once his recollection was complete he instinctively reached for the necklace his neechan gave him only to discover that it was no longer in his possession. After a frantic check on his person with still no sign of the necklace the realization that he broke his promise to Anko sunk in and he did the only thing he could do, he curled himself into a ball and let the tears freely flow down his cheeks.
As the sounds of Naruto's crying became louder and louder the noise started to rouse a still groggy Tsunade. She slowly opened her eyes and stared at the ceiling above her for several moments before she glanced over at the far wall and saw the time on the clock. 'Man… I really hate mornings.' She thought to herself just as the sounds of Naruto's crying reached her ears.
When she turned to look at the blond haired boy she got a pain in her heart at seeing him in such an emotional state. With the gentlest of gestures she tapped him on the shoulder and asked "What's wrong Naru-chan? I didn't squash any part of you while I slept did I?"
The moment Tsunade heard what she had said she flinched and let out an aggravated sigh as she thought to herself 'That sounded really lame. Argh! I'm no good at this sort of thing.'
"No… nothing like that." sniffled Naruto as he wiped the underside of his nose before he lowered his head so that his chin rested on his knees and mumbled "I-I broke my promise to Anko-neechan."
"You have a sister?" Tsunade practically shouted as she racked her brain but couldn't recall Naruto having any surviving relatives, in fact the only person she could think of that would qualify as family was his rumored Godfather Jiraiya, but since he never took any responsibility in raising the boy she quickly dismissed that as a possibility.
"She's not my real sister…" muttered Naruto as he rubbed his puffy red eyes to clear his watery vision. He then looked up at Tsunade and when he saw her questioning look he elaborated, "But after she saved me last year she started to look after me. You know check to make sure I was alright and stuff like that… when she wasn't on a mission of course. She even trained me on how to avoid the villagers. That way they wouldn't be able to hurt me."
"Sounds like she cares about you very much." Tsunade whispered into Naruto's ear as she allowed a faint smile to cross her lips at the news that not everyone in that horrible village hated him before she decided to discreetly get ahold of this person and inform them of Naruto's survival, and who knows she may even agree to be their eyes and ears within the village, an advantage that would be invaluable in the future should they ever come to suspect that Naruto survived.
"Yeah, I guess she does!" chirped Naruto as a warm fuzzy feeling filled his being at the thought of all that Anko had done for him, then his mind drifted to their last meeting. "She even gave me my first birthday present early, because she would be on a mission and would miss it. It was this necklace that she always wore." added Naruto as tears started to well up and threated to overflow as he reached up to where the necklace hung from his neck just the day before he sniffled "A-and, and then… it was taken from me when those shinobi with weird eyes attacked me."
Without a second thought Tsunade pulled Naruto into a hug and gently rubbed the back of his head while she whispered reassuring words in his ear. "Shhh… It's alright. You didn't break your promise to your sister. Always remember that it wasn't you that lose the necklace. It was taken from you and I'm sure she won't hold that against you… she cares too much for you to do that."
Once Naruto started to calm down Tsunade looked down at the boy and asked the question that had been bugging her since he made that comment about the eyes. "Naru-chan you said they had weird eyes. Could you tell me a little more about that?"
"I'll never forget those eyes as long as I live…" Naruto mumbled to himself as his eyes glazed over slightly when he pulled that terrible memory to the surface. "They were red with these weird marks that went around in a circle. They were filled with so much hate that… that…"
Naruto never got to finish his thoughts as Tsunade pulled Naruto into an even tighter hug and without even a word spoken between the two Naruto buried his head into her chest and began to cry anew. Tsunade let out a sigh of despair at the emotional outpouring of the poor neglected child before she looked out the nearest window and hardened her gaze as she thought to herself, 'So it was the Uchiha Clan that did this to him. I swear… one day I'll make them pay for this.'
After her little moment with Naruto Tsunade realized that she had yet to hear a peep out of Shizune. But when she looked over where she last remembered seeing her apprentice she couldn't help the smile that spread across her face. The reason for this was simple she saw Shizune with her head on the tabletop with a little bit of drool dripped out of the bottom of her mouth that formed a small puddle on the tabletop and her arms just daggling at her side.
'I swear Shizune. You can sleep anywhere.' Tsunade thought to herself as she shook her head at her apprentices sleeping habits.
While all this was going on Naruto had managed to calm himself from his earlier crying fit and asked the one question that had been swirling around in his head since Tsunade told him where she found his broken body. "Tsunade-san…what will happen to me now?"
Tsunade couldn't help herself she chuckled at his comment, and figuring she'd kill two birds with one stone said "Naruto, please don't call me Tsunade-san. After all… is that anyway to address your new Kaa-san."
Unable to believe what he just hear he just sat there frozen in place, and after he got over the shock his eyes got as big as dinner plates. But with a nagging voice in the back of his head telling him he heard her wrong Naruto pulled away from Tsuande and in a quivering voice mumbled "W-W-What did you just say?"
"I said…" Tsunade paused only for a moment so that she could put her left hand under his chin and she raised his head so he could get a clear look at her face. She then let her smile get even bigger before she continued "Is that anyway to address your new Kaa-san. After all, I've decided to take you with us and raise you as my own. That is… if you'll have me."
Naruto got really quite and he lowered his head so that his hair cover his eyes but just as Tsuande started to worry that he was going to take this the wrong way he said "Can you promise me just one thing?"
But before Tsuande had a chance to form any kind of rely he lifted his head up so that they made direct eye contact and as a few tears rolled down his cheeks he finished his line of thought. "Promise me… Promise me that you won't abandon me? I don't want to be alone anymore."
Tsunade's smile softened as she quickly enveloped him in a hug and in a tone that one would expect a mother would use to comfort her child she said "Don't worry my little Naru-chan. I promise that neither Shizune nor I will ever leave you. You won't ever be alone again."
When Naruto heard this he returned her hug this time and with a genuine smile on his face he kept repeating over and over "I have a family. I have a family!"
"Now Naru-chan…" Tsunade started to say but stopped and decided to wait until he had calmed down from his excitement at finally having a family. When she saw that she had gained his full attention she continued "What do you say we go wake up Shizune? That way we can properly celebrate you joining your new family."
Naruto jumped out of Tsunade's embrace and pumped his fist into the air as he shouted "Yeah! I've never been able to celebrate anything before so this is going to be so awesome!"
Without any form of prompting from Tsunade Naruto ran over to the where Shizune still slept and jumped onto Shizune's back while he said "Wake up Nee-chan! I want to go celebrate with my new family!"
The poor victim of the boy's attack shot up from her chair and much to the surprise of Tsuande Naruto managed to stay on Shizune's back by wrapping his arms around her neck. As Shizune looked over her shoulder at the blond haired boy shock was clearly evident on her face as she shrieked "What's going on!"
Ignoring her apprentice's question Tsunade walked up to the pair with a smile on her face as she said "Now since we are celebrating Naru-chan's introduction into my clan, I'll let him decide where we should go."
Tsunade's smile got even bigger when she saw the look of shock and awe on Naruto's face at being able to choose whatever he wanted. When she saw that he wasn't going to respond right away she asked "Well Naru-chan? What would you like to have to commemorate the day you gained a family?"
The shock and awe was quickly replaced by an overwhelming since of happiness a deep happiness that he has never experienced before and as his fox-like smile got plastered all over his face he shouted "Ramen!"
Author's note: Well there's my rewrite/revised version of chapter 1. I'm still on the fence about going back and doing the rest. Let me know what you think. Thanks in advance.
P.S. I'm still working on future chapters of this story, as well as a new project I'm working on.