AN: Alright folks. First fanfic to be posted. (Title was inspired by April Sixth's song)
Disclaimer: I am telling this only once, since in the time I will be writing this fanfic I doubt I'll be able to change the fact that I don't own Naruto.
She honestly believed that as time passed things would change for the better. After years of waiting she decided that nothing was going to change after all. That's what life was like. Things might be changing on the outside but on the inside everything stayed the same. Or maybe it was just her personal luck... or lack thereof.
She crept up the stairs and opened the door to her apartment., standing still in the doorway for a moment and letting out a sigh she didn't know she was holding.
Flipping on the light, she warily made her way to the bathroom. Once inside, she stood before the medium sized mirror, staring at her reflection. The blond hair hung limply in front of her face, covering it completely. She was used to it by now, but it was a major pain when she first decided to keep that hairstyle. In fact, her hairstyle was almost comical. While the hair in front of her face was thick enough to hide it from view, the hair on the back of her head was rather short, for a girl anyway. It was tied up into a low, very short and spiky ponytail.
Carefully she pried the mirror from the wall and put it on the closed toilet seat.
Undressing was a simple and quick matter. The dark blue, long sleeved jacket was discarded first, followed by the form fitting shirt underneath. Pants and bandages that were formerly tied around her ankles went next, leaving her in only her bra and panties. And bloodied bandages.
She examined her body for any new injuries and followed it up by looking at her old, not yet healed wounds.
From afar people would say she had a figure of a good looking young girl, even if a little short. Up close they would first stare and then slowly back away. It was natural, really. Her skin was mutilated to the point that almost all of it was covered in scars. Be it the long, even ones or winding and short ones, she had them all. She usually tried not to think about how exactly she received them.
Of course, her face was no exception, which was the main reason behind her current hairstyle.
After taking care of her injuries she made her way back to the rest of her apartment. In her bedroom she put on a pair of sweat pants and a simple t-shirt and went to bed, shutting off the lights with a well aimed but blunted kunai.
And then... Uzumaki Naru dreamed.
What do you mean the entire clan was annihilated? It's impossible! They are the Uchiha! They have the Shari-...That's what I overheard in the street...
...the boy? We can't leave him by himself. Someone will have to adopt him. But-... That's what I heard when I stayed with Jiji at the Hokage tower.
...can't let the major clans have him. They would only use him and shape him into the next Itachi. But they have the best chances with the-... That's what I heard Jiji say before he asked me to bring him some tea.
...right?! Please tell me you're not serious! What kind of gamble is that?! If they adopt the Kyu-... That's what I heard not five seconds after Jiji asked me to bring him some tea.
...is Sasuke and this is Sakura. They will be your siblings from today onward. This young woman is going to be your new mo-... That's what Jiji told me when Sasuke and I were adopted by the Harunos.
...only adopted you because of Sasuke-kun! Cause I asked them to! So don't you dare -... That's what Sakura told me when Sasuke and I were adopted by the Harunos.
...dead last? So what if you graduated? You don't even have a team. And you call yourself a kunoichi? Really, and what about that strange graduation? I mean, we've all seen how you failed the exam and now you're here with a hitaiate? Honestly, Na-... That's what Sasuke told me when I graduated.
...exams are over, you'll be assigned a team and a jounin sensei. Don't worry. I'm sure you will like them. You've probably met them already, at the academy. They were in the class below you, so at the very least you should have already seen them. They are an energetic bunch, so you'll fit in just fine. And by the wa-... That's what Jiji told me before the chuunin exams.
...this total pervert! He's a complete idiot, but he's stronger than that elite teacher Kurenai-sensei told me to train with and he knows his stuff when it comes down to it, so I thought I'd stick with him for the time being. I asked around afterwards and found out, that this guy is actually one of the three Sannin! Can you imagine that?! He's teaching me this cool summ-...That's what I heard Kiba say when he and his team stopped by at the Ichiraku's.
...irst mission. Make sure to complete it properly."
"But Sandaime-jiji said that I was going to be assigned to a team and-"
"That would have been the case, but after the invasion we are lacking jounins. Besides we can not possibly allow genin to be placed in the same team as you. I will not beat around the bush. In my opinion, you are a dangerous, ticking time bomb and I intend to keep you out of the village as much as possible."
"...I... Understand."-... That's what I've been told by the council after the Sand and Sound invasion. In the end, even after Tsunade-sama was brought back and took the position of the Godaime Hokage, nothing changed. I doubt she even knows I exist.
As she continued to dream about the past and the events playing out before her became more and more recent, she began to actually see things playing out before her. She was at least spared from reliving those horrible experiences again, instead observing them from the sidelines.
It was a mission gone wrong. As usual, Naru had been assigned an S-rank, despite her genin status.
In the meantime she was able to figure out, that it wasn't a sign of trust from the council but rather an attempt to get rid of her without dirtying their own hands.
This time they really outdid themselves. Sending her into enemy territory, in the land of Rice with the mission to invade and destroy multiple Sound outposts. At the age of fourteen, Naru considered herself to be one of the best kunoichi in Konoha. Despite her lacking genjutsu and rather sloppy taijutsu, her ninjutsu and her supreme speed more than made up for it. Though, she would grudgingly admit that it was still pure luck that she survived to get this far. She never had a sensei to show her new strong techniques, neither was she instructed in the proper ways of chakra control and taijutsu forms. Still, by observing the training of jounin and their genin cells she was able to pick out bits and pieces of information that she used in her own training schedule.
Of course the main reason she survived was also the reason she was sent on S-ranked missions in the first place. If she had to be completely honest with herself, she would have to admit that without the Kyuubi she would have died on more than half of the missions she had been on.
Either way, now she was done for. Her strong points as a kunoichi have been infiltration, assassination and one on one combat. She could just swarm the area with shadow clones, but usually they didn't last long, seeing as they had too little chakra to perform any useful techniques and Naru herself wasn't that good at actually evading damage. Destroying the outposts one by one with those skills would have been hard but not impossible. However, as luck would have it, the third outpost she infiltrated had one unexpected factor.
The aforementioned factor had silver hair, wore glasses and could kill or make you incapable of movement by just touching you, which was exactly what happened. While Naru was occupied fighting off a sound jounin that discovered her, the silver haired medic-nin attacked her from behind and with a couple of swift movements she was sprawled out on the floor and not able to move either of her limbs. Of course that wouldn't have been enough to stall her for long, seeing as the demon fox within her could repair such damage in mere minutes, but apparently the silver haired guy wasn't going to let her wait that long.
Another swift movement of Kabuto's hand and the world went black.
The next thing she remembered was being locked in a cell, stripped of all of her possessions and with a strange device connected to her stomach. The device had a round core, with something akin to a yin and yang sign on it, except the sides which should have been black and white were done in red and blue respectively. As she later noticed, the strange machine was blocking her chakra.
A week after her imprisonment, Kabuto showed up to see her. After examining her he proceeded to leave her for another week. However, unlike what Naru thought would happen to her, namely interrogation followed by death, she was instead transported to another location.
And that's when the true horror began. Apparently the glasses wearing sound nin had noticed her rapid healing despite the chakra blocker that still rested on her stomach. The leader of the Sound, Orochimaru, took interest in that and decided to see just how much damage Naru's body could take.
Naru didn't know how long the experiments lasted and whether or not they stopped at all. Hours of torture turned into days and days into months. She drifted in and out of consciousness, sometimes finding herself inside her own mind, which resembled an enormous sewer, and sometimes she was blessed with simple blackness.
Whenever she found herself inside her mind she would hear the Kyuubi just beyond the seal. She never approached the gates that separated them, and never tried to talk to the vile being.
True to Kabuto's expectations her body healed and not even scars were left to show that the body suffered damage at some point. However as time passed, the healing slowed, and finally came to a stop.
Naru found herself inside her mind again. But this time she couldn't hear the demon that took residence inside of her. For the first time in her life, the blond kunoichi approached the gate that was held together by a seal. What she found there disturbed her to the deepest part of her soul.
Instead of the enormous and bloodthirsty beast, as Kyuubi was usually pictured in stories, she found an enormous but almost lifeless body. A red, slitted eye stared at her tiredly. She could see a thin stream of some red essence flowing from the beast into the seal, spreading from there into the pipes of the sewer that was her mind. She was shocked speechless until the very moment that she found herself waking up again.
Her torturers were fussing about, but she didn't really care. What really surprised her, was her treatment. Instead of making new wounds they were closing the ones that were already made. After she was sufficiently bandaged, she was transported out of the room, for the first time since she arrived there. They placed her into a cell again, and left. A week later they returned and started their experiments anew, but when her healing factor didn't reappear after two days of torture, she was once again brought back into her cell.
This routine was repeated every week, however her injuries didn't heal any faster that those of a normal person. In those periods Naru found herself in her mind again. When she went to check on her prisoner, she found the cage empty. She went past the bars of the cell, but could discover nothing but blackness all around her.
After a month of fruitless attempts the torturers, who called themselves scientists, gave up. Naru was locked in her cell, and it was another two and a half months before she was visited by someone else, other than the guard that brought her food. At that point in time the young girl had given up hope of ever leaving Rice Country alive. But fate seemed to love to prove her wrong. Her visitors were a team of jounin from Suna who, along with several other Suna teams, had attacked and destroyed the outpost that Naru currently inhabited.
After confirming her identity and treating her wounds to the point of her being safe for transportation they sent her back to Konoha with an escort of several chuunin. Upon arrival, they instructed the chuunin guards to take her to the hospital as soon as possible. The guard obeyed since, as Naru figured out later, in between the bandages and the scars her body was beyond recognition.
In the hospital she was attended to and her wounds were treated. When she woke up they demanded an ID. After receiving it they quickly refused to treat her any longer and said that she would be fine on her own.
Naru never woke up gasping and in cold sweat, even after nightmares like this one. Her eyes just opened and that was it. Regarding her ceiling with a bored look, the now sixteen year old girl wondered, whether or not she would be able to get rid of the scars sometime, at least the ones on her face. It wasn't that hard really. The medic nins even had a special jutsu just for that, which explained why there were so many kunoichi and shinobi who were actually attractive. After all, the head was one of the most often targeted areas of the body. Some ninja chose not to remove the scars, like her former academy teacher Iruka. She supposed that the scar held some emotional value to him. That didn't matter though, as he was long dead, killed in the Sand and Sound invasion four years ago.
It had been almost two years since the Kyuubi's supposed death. On the very same day Naru was back in Konoha and after being treated in the hospital, she hastily wrote two reports, as she usually did. One to the Hokage and the other to the council. She knew for a fact that neither of the parties read it. Tsunade disliked paperwork and avoided it if she could help it which resulted in reports and other paperwork getting piled up and still catching dust somewhere in the Hokage's office.
As for the council... They didn't care either way. Naru knew that they were merely interested in seeing her dead and even if they had read it they probably wouldn't have believed it anyway.
Which pretty much described her current situation. She had moved out from her adopted family's home even before she had been sent on that disastrous mission. They were never a real family to begin with which was made painfully clear to her on the very first day by Sakura.
Naru wasn't in Konoha for more than ninety percent of the time. And she had somehow managed to survive even without Kyuubi. It did help that improving her chakra control became ridiculously easy after the demon fox vanished. If earlier her ninjutsu was formidable, she doubted that there was even a single ninja in Konoha who could match her now, not even Tsunade. Though, she had yet to test this theory.
She steered her gaze from the ceiling and moved it to the window which, according to her instincts, should open right about now. And open it did. As usual the chuunin assigned to deliver her next mission crept in and, all the while trying to hide his presence, made his way to the desk that was placed against a wall in her bedroom. As usual he didn't notice that Naru was actually wide awake.
Once he left, Naru stood and opened the scroll. The mission was somewhere in wind country and had to be carried out immediately. Which was also pretty much usual. The young kunoichi never had a break and essentially she didn't have a life outside her missions anymore. Apparently the council was not satisfied with her survival and wished to finish the job as soon as possible. From their perspective it was like killing two birds at the same time, seeing as Naru was almost never in Konoha and didn't interact with the villagers, thus posing no threat to them.
Naru sighed and headed to collect some supplies she would need on the mission.
Shizune stared at her mentor in awe as Tsunade continued to read and sign the many different forms and documents that had been strewn all over the place not a week ago.
"Tsunade-sama, at this rate you might actually finish all of it! Even all the old ones that collected over the time!" She almost felt like crying, seeing her master work so hard. It was a rare occurrence to say the least. The older woman had been at it since the beginning of the night and still showed no signs of stopping anytime soon.
"Of course! This way I'll be able to have some time without doing any paperwork at all! And besides Sakura keeps bugging me about it. She even..." Tsunade abruptly stopped talking and her eyes narrowed, as she stared at the paper she was currently holding.
"...It seems that something strange has been going on in this village for quite some time." She frowned and handed the piece of paper to her apprentice.
"I don't see anything wrong here, Tsunade-sama."
"Yeah, it would seem so at the first glance. It's a report from an S-ranked mission. The thing is, I don't remember handing that mission out. And according to the law, all S-ranks have to go through me and I am the onlyone authorized to assign them to anyone, since they are usually missions requested from our village and not an outside contractor. That's what made me curious first. I thought that it was just long ago and I'd forgotten about it, but then I looked at the rank of the assigned shinobi." Tsunade paused and watched with satisfaction as Shizune found the appropriate piece of information on the report and her eyes widened.
"A genin?! Alone?!"
"Exactly. All S-ranks I ever assigned were handed out to jounins or special jounins. And moreover, that name... Uzumaki Naru... It seems kind of familiar... But I'm sure that there is no high ranking shinobi with that name, so this is not just some mistake." Tsunade frowned even more and crossed her arms beneath her chest. After a minute of consideration she made up her mind.
"Get that Uzumaki into my office now. Let's see what this is all about." She ordered with finality and then proceeded to skim through more paperwork, seemingly in search for something.
Shizune bowed shortly and departed, quickly seeking out Inuzuka Kiba who was currently stationed in the Hokage tower doing paperwork because of an injury that took time to heal.
As Tsunade continued her search she found more and more reports from the very same Uzumaki Naru, all of which were either S-ranked or A-ranked. She noted that the A-ranked ones dated back to even before her assignment as Hokage and the very first report was made shortly after the death of Sandaime.
She frowned. Did Danzou make his move in the time period when there was no Hokage and planted one of his little toys? No, that didn't seem likely. He would have known that she would notice something as unusual as this.
Tsunade stood up and made her way out of the office and into one of the rooms that were in the same corridor. Once there she walked along the shelves until she reached the one that was labeled with an "U". The vast majority of the shinobi listed in this section were Uchihas, but as she traveled further, she finally found what she was looking for. There, together with two other folders was another one that had "Uzumaki Naru" written on it. The ones next to it read "Uzumaki Kushina" and "The Uzumaki Clan Records".
Tsunade sighed. She knew that the name sounded familiar. However, those things were in the past and now she had to deal with whatever Minato's and Kushina's daughter had been up to. She took out the appropriate folder and made her way back into her office. Once there and seated in her chair she began to skim through it. She paused a little when she saw one of the photos that was placed over a small article, which described the close relationship between the Sandaime and the girl. The picture showed the old man, without his hat, seating at the counter of some small shop and smiling at the small girl that sat at his side. The girl in question was busy slurping noodles out of a bowl with a light blush of satisfaction on her face.
Tsunade grinned. If anything, the old man knew how to deal with kids.
There were several other photos, showing the small blond with different people. Not all of the photos radiated the same happiness as the first one though. Tsunade was genuinely surprised to see her own student Sakura, along with Uchiha Sasuke and Sakura's family in one of these photos. Both girls had to be around eight years old at the time. Tsunade noted how Sakura's father had his hands on Sasuke's shoulders and Sakura's mother on her daughter's while Naru seemed to be just a part of the background.
The Godaime read the article below out loud.
"At age eight adopted by the Haruno family along with Uchiha Sasuke. The Haruno household seems to have adopted her due to Sandaime-sama's request. See Uchiha Sasuke's folder for details."
Tsunade frowned and decided to see what this was about later and continued what she was originally doing. Soon she found herself at the last pages of the folder. There were several notes, describing her overall ability as a future kunoichi and a large article dedicated to her graduation. Apparently she graduated after learning the Kage Bunshin, but did not pass the initial exam. Because of her late graduation she was left without a team and had yet to be assigned to one.
The last page dated more than four and a half years back. Tsunade frowned even deeper. Did the girl get killed in the Sound and Sand invasion and someone was now using her name to fake reports and get paid for missions they didn't do? But why didn't Sakura tell her anything about her adoptive sister? Then again, other than brief glimpses, the Godaime had seen little of her apprentice's family. She didn't even know that Sasuke was related to her in such a way. Tsunade found herself rubbing her temples. And here she hoped to get rid of the paperwork...
Her musings were interrupted by a knock on the door.
"Enter." Tsunade ordered and lifted her eyes to look at the newcomer. She was met with a somewhat fidgety Shizune.
"Did you find her already? That was quick. So, where is she?"
"Err, yes Tsunade-sama, we did find her. Shall...shall I let her in?" Shizune fidgeted a little more. Tsunade raised an eyebrow.
"Yes, but after you tell me why you are so nervous."
"Err... Um, I... I find her a little... unsettling, that's all. I'm sure you'll understand what I mean once you see her." With that she swiftly opened the door and motioned someone to enter. Whatever Tsunade had been expecting... was not even close to reality.
Naru finished packing her backpack and headed for her closet. Taking out a new set of dark blue clothes that covered as much skin as possible, she proceeded to put it on. Really, had it not been for the world outside of Konoha, Naru doubted she would have lived through these four years. Though, when the Kyuubi was still around and healed her wounds, she still needed something to eat, seeing as demonic chakra alone didn't fill her stomach. Finding a store in Konoha that would sell her anything would have been a hassle in itself, but between all the missions she simply didn't have the time or the energy to look for one. Because of this, whenever she returned from a mission, she took a detour to some village or town to get clothes groceries and... other things that became necessary shortly after she turned thirteen. It was also nice to have people be, if not nice, then at least polite to you. They were nice when she still had a face but after her mutilation experience even that changed.
After dressing herself and strapping on her kunai holster and weapons pouch she made her way back into the bedroom. She walked up to the nightstand and picked up the two photos that stood there. One was of herself and the the old man Hokage, when he treated her to ramen at Ichiraku's, the other one was of herself and her adoptive family. Even though, as she kept telling herself, they never accepted her as a part of the family, she couldn't bring herself to throw away the picture. She had doodled a little on little Sasuke's face though, giving him a mustache at age eight. The main reason she moved out was because they didn't believe her when she told them she was going on an A-ranked mission (The council first thought that A-ranks would have been enough to kill her. They changed their mind about a year later, when Naru kept coming back, even though she looked like she might keel over at the spot.). When she came back, exhausted, hurt and after having had to kill for the first time in her life, her adoptive mother told her to stop pretending, go wash up and to stop running away because her siblings were better shinobi than her. Naru didn't find it in herself to argue. The next day she started looking for an apartment and soon enough found one. It was in the old part of Konoha, where almost no one lived anymore, seeing as most buildings were destroyed or damaged beyond repair in the Kyuubi attack. The manager agreed to let her rend the apartment as long as she paid double the normal fee. He made a deal with the devil. Naru smirked at the joke only she could laugh about.
Then there was a knock on the door.
Naru tensed immediately. No one ever paid her a visit. Ever. Not that she was there most of the time. Her adoptive family didn't even know where she lived, as she had just packed her things and left. (Now that she reflected on it, it was a pretty childish thing to do.)
Taking a kunai out of the holster on her thigh she made her way to the door and waited.
Whoever was on the other side raked his knuckles against the door again.
Slowly the blond reached for the door and unlocked it with an audible click. She then put her hand on the knob and turned it, opening the door.
Before her stood two people. One of them she recognized, the other one she didn't. Kiba stood there with a raised eyebrow and the woman with short black hair at his side smiled sheepishly.
"Please, excuse us for coming here in the middle of the night, but are you Uzumaki Naru?" She asked. She was obviously uncomfortable about something, but Naru was pretty much used to it. She admitted to herself that while her hairstyle effectively hid her face it was also pretty creepy.
"What's with the hair?" Kiba asked as tentatively as only an Inuzuka could.
Naru turned her head slightly to show that she was facing him and said nothing.
"Sheesh, just curious." He said and turned to face the wall, finding the cracks in it very interesting.
"My name is Shizune, pleased to meet you. Hokage-sama wishes to speak to you right now. If you would follow me please?" The woman said.
Naru didn't hesitate for a moment. Her earlier attempts to get an audience with the Hokage were ignored, most likely the requests never reached even the Hokage's secretary. If she now had the chance to at the very least try to change her current situation, she would take it no matter what.
She nodded curtly and closed the door behind her, leaving her packed backpack in the apartment. The council could kiss her scarred ass together with their mission. According to the law, the Hokage's orders came first.
Shizune took a nervous glance at Kiba and turned to leave, Naru following close behind. It appeared that her presence made her two companions rather nervous, but Naru didn't care. The only thing that mattered was the appointment with the Godaime.
Soon enough they arrived at the Hokage tower and entered. Kiba excused himself to get back to work. Naru was shortly surprised, never having thought that Kiba was one to go for paperwork but dismissed it quickly in favor of her appointment.
As they reached the double doors that were the entrance to the Godaime's office Shizune turned and asked her to wait for a moment, knocking on the door and entering upon hearing an audible "Enter." From the inside. After a few seconds the door opened again and Shizune motioned for her to come inside.
AN: Alright folks. To make some things perfectly clear. This will not be SasuNaru. It also won't be yuri or shoujo-ai. This also won't have any bashing of any kind. Don't expect fast updates, I have a very busy life right now. Also, English isn't my mother language, so if you find some mistakes, feel free to point them out but don't rub them in my face. And lasltly... Review! Thanks in advance.