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I had a theory that the fox did feel compassion of sorts like a parental mammal. Actually, I sorta thought of how the whole of a wolf pack would care for the alpha pair's litter.

And then later in life, when the litter gets to adolescence, they get more tough love 'cause they're old enough to take it and the hormones have started to kick in fully. The older ones, especially the alphas, use this tough love to maintain dominance.

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A young Naruto once again feels this… comforting presence.

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Six-year-old Naruto sat on a swing, not really doing anything, just watching the grass he was kicking underfoot. All of a sudden…SMASH!

A glass bottle had smashed on the tree the swing was hanging from, just narrowly missing his head. Looking up wildly, he saw a mean-looking gang of teenage boys.

"Look, it's the little beast!" "Get lost scum!" "Just die!" "Let's show him who's boss!" "Come here shrimp!"

Naruto's eyes widened in fear and he fell backwards off the swing as the boys approached. Trying to scramble away backwards, Naruto backed into the tree and the teenagers surrounded him.

"You are just worthless scum," one of them said as he kicked the child.

The rest of them kicked as well until Naruto's inexperienced voice cried out. One of the boys picked him up by the throat and smirked with satisfaction at the pained expression he held.

Naruto's expression turned to one of anger and hatred. Quickly pulling the kunai from his back pocket, he stabbed the teenager in the hand that held him. The boy dropped him and two of the others went for him.

Naruto threw a kunai into the stomach of each and ran during their moment of distraction. The uninjured boys and the one he got in the hand chased after him.

.."Run faster kit."..

Naruto ran the path he knew well, to the top of Hokage Mountain. When he reached the top, he stumbled and fell, landing not too far from the edge.

"We got him!"

Naruto turned to see the boys edging towards him with manic grins of victory. He stood and tried to edge around them, looking for an escape. The boys moved towards Naruto in a line, blocking all possible routes of escape.

Naruto edged backwards, being the only escape to him.

One of the boys lunged forward, "Boo!"

Naruto stumbled back off the edge and quickly grabbed the edge with his hands. He heard the boys cackling loudly as they ran.

Naruto tried to use his arms and legs to scramble back up. His hands slipped and he started to fall with a yell.

"Don't worry kit."..

Swirling red chakra enveloped the boy and moved his hands and feet to cling to the mountain face. Naruto watched in awe and felt a push edging him upwards.

Cautiously climbing up the mountain face, Naruto smiled and continued to watch his red chakra filled hands.

Naruto reached the top and felt a push that directed him away from the edge.

.."There you go kit."..

"Th-Thank-" Naruto tried to stutter out an apology with his inexperienced voice.

.."No need to thank me kit. Try to play safe. Run along."..


The source of the red chakra and the voice felt a well of pride and affection towards the boy it was looking out for.

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