Summary: Naruto is a High School student, known to many as Naruto Uzumaki, the clown, the moron, and the punching bag. His dark life is kept a secret, and his whole life is an act. What else could he be hiding? Will the help of a caring teacher, and a close bond with the new girl at school finally reveal the true Uzumaki Naruto? NarutoXHinata

Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto.

Behind This Mask

Naruto awoke with the repetitive beeping of his alarm clock. He rested an arm on his forehead, thinking of what he had to look foreword to today. To his displeasure, his mind came up blank. He sighed, but inhaled sharply as pain reverberated throughout his body. That's right. He came home yesterday. Naruto forced himself up, ignoring the searing pain ripping through his body.
He delicately lifted his bloodstained shirt to check his wounds. Nothing too horrific. At worst his ribs were cracked and slightly bruised. This was nothing compared to what happened when he was drunk AND angry.

Naruto chuckled inwardly at the morbidity of his relief. Most kids his age weren't subjected to the psychological and physical abuse that he endured nearly every night. Most kids his age were worried about zits, exams, and dates. Those were on the bottom of his list of worries. After all, its as he had said;
"You are not like most kids. You are an evil murderous child!"
Naruto knew that those words were untrue. He knew that they were said just for the sick pleasure of having inflicted mental abuse along with the physical abuse. And yet, even with this knowledge, something deep down inside of him agreed with what that man would repeat on a mundane level.

Deep down he knew that on that day, where the sun seemed less bright, the birds flew less freely, and how his innocence and happiness was utterly obliterated like the remains of a sand castle during a tsunami, he was the cause of what had happened. He shook himself of his thoughts.
"Thinking like this is gonna give me heart problems at an early age!" Naruto playfully muttered to himself.

He limped his way to that bathroom. He had nearly forgotten the eminent pain in his leg. His slight limp was his fault. When he reached the bathroom he took a hot shower, dried off, bandaged his sore torso, and got dressed.
He was bracing himself for the hardest part of his routine; getting downstairs without causing a commotion. Which was considerably hard because of his injuries. He just had to tough it out, and be quiet enough so that he wouldn't wake him.

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Now for the hard part of his routine; remaining quiet on hardwood flooring.
He cracked his door open wide enough for him to slick through. He inhaled and held his breath, as if the action would somehow make him lighter. Naruto took three steps foreword from his door, one step to his left, and several more foreword until he reached the staircase.

He looked at the bottom of the stairs, listening intently for the rummaging of bottles, and the opening and closing of the refrigerator. When no such noise came he quietly descended onto the first step, leaning heavily on the hand railing.
He cautiously lifted his foot and stretched it to the right side of the stairs, three steps down. He gently pushed off from the railing and gracefully lowered himself to the other side of the staircase. After skipping those three steps, the rest of the way was a breeze. These last steps didn't make any loud creaking noises when stepped on lightly.

When Naruto made his way down he laughed inwardly at himself. How pathetic was he? To have strategically memorized which steps creaked when a certain amount of pressure was placed upon it. He exhaled his breath and made his way to the kitchen. Sure enough there he was, lying plastered on the kitchen table. A beer bottle still in the hand that's arm was draped over the edge of the table. Small amounts of beer were spilling from the rim of the bottle with every rise and fall of the man's chest.

Naruto ground his teeth together at the very sight of the man. His hair was short and silver, reaching just above his shoulders. If one hadn't known the man like Naruto knew him, you would think very highly of him. Just as the villagers did. "Mizuki the intrepid" was what they called him. Naruto had yet to see the man live up to his reputation in the household. The only things that the man managed to keep up to were his rumored abilities to fight. Naruto had learned first hand how well the man could fight.

You would think someone having such a 'fantastic' father figure in your life would be treated at school as if he were King Midas himself, but truth be told, Naruto wasn't treated much more differently then he was at home. The funny thing is that Naruto had built up such tolerability to physical abuse that it would make the most tight-lipped Prisoner Of War ask for tips. Thus, when 'beat up' at school, it would have little to no effect at all on him. Yet he had to act like it did.

He had to remain in obscurity. For him to be himself would mean straight A's in all of his classes, and he would have to beat up any schoolyard cliche of a bully when confronted by one. For reasons unknown to him, Naruto had never once decided to come out from behind his mask. Maybe it was due to fear of accomplishment and positive feedback. After all, he had never once basked in the glow of self-accomplishment and praise that seemed to motivate the school's top students.

Everyone only saw him as he wished to be seen. A hyperactive knucklehead with absolutely no hang-ups or problems whatsoever. Yes. He was Naruto Uzumaki! The class clown, the school punching bag, the next to be voted "Least likely to succeed." And as far as Naruto cared...he didn't. So it was rather easy to keep the facade that he had created all of these years.

Change. Now THAT was something that Naruto couldn't, and wouldn't, even consider. Such a drastic change in his personality would cause pandemonium and widespread panic. People would look to the sky just to make sure that the sun hadn't exploded, causing an apocalyptic end for their village.

He thought about the last time that he had answered a teacher's question correctly in his history class three years ago. Everyone had looked at him as if he had just announced to the class that the universe was made out of cotton balls and glitter.
Naturally, he made a note to never cause another culture shock like that again.

He cleared himself of his thoughts when he saw Mizuki stir and mumble in his sleep. He glared at the man with such a deep burning animosity that would make a professional wrestler whimper . This was the man that was ultimately respondsible for his hardship. Staring at the man made dark thoughts birr through his head. Of course it had occured to him to take the man's life one of the many times that he lay drunk after having given him a beating. Heck, the world would be better without the man. Unfortunately for him, the village saw him as an 'upstanding citizen', and his dissapearance was sure not to got unnoticed.

He had even planned out the man's death to the very last detail, and yet he was unable to execute said elaborate plan. He liked to believe that the reason he hadn't gone through with it was because he had come to his senses. I mean come on, killing him would be impulsive, and cowardly. Not only that, but killing Mizuki would bring him down to said person's level of sadism. Truth be told though, deep down Naruto knew that it was because he lacked the main ingredient within himself to finish the job, and that was courage.

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Alright people, that was the first chapter, I hope that you like it. You are welcome to voice your opinion about it and such. Just go easy on me, this is my first time posting a fanfiction and I have yet to get the swing of things! If there is any confusion about the story, ask away.