Heart of Gold: A Naruto Story
Chapter I: Murphy's Law, Repealed
Three year old Uzumaki Naruto stared uncomprehendingly into the eyes of the tall man looming over him. In his short existence, he had experienced emotional pains, from the lack of friends or permanent caregivers. He had gone through a string of nursemaids, each only lasting for a month or two at most before moving on. Similarly, the other children in the orphanage with him sometimes approached him during playtime, but then next day they would start ignoring him like everyone else, almost as if someone were telling them to do so… It hurt, but he could deal with it. This situation… Naruto didn't know if he could deal with.
The chunnin looked down at Naruto, frowning in deep displeasure. The kid was blocking the alley he was walking through, near the merchant district. He didn't hate the child… but the wretched thing reminded him so strongly of the loss of his beloved Naneko-chan… his three year old kid sister who had been killed during the Kyuubi attack. Before he could even understand what he was doing, some half-buried part of his mind was screaming, and his foot lashed out in a chakra-enhanced kick to the child's stomach. Naruto 'whuffed', all of the air leaving his lungs, and his small body propelled against a group of trash cans, breaking his spine in three places. He felt blazing agony as his ruptured stomach poured digestive acids into his solar plexus and both kidneys and his liver began to fail. He passed out without even screaming.
The chunnin, Hamahiru Sato, froze in shock. It was as if he had no control of his actions. He realized that his combat reflexes had acted automatically, pouring all of the rage and anger he had felt since his sister's death into one attack. He was no ignorant fool, and held no illusions Naruto was actually a demon. He knew that he had possibly just killed an innocent child. Quickly, Sato picked up Naruto's small body and jumped from roof to roof as quickly as he could, toward Konoha's hospital. He knew that his life was forfeit if Naruto died, and very likely even if he did not. The blond was under the personal protection of the Hokage himself.
As soon as he entered the hospital, he flagged down a medic. A middle aged man, stern in both appearance and demeanor took the child from him, and place the young box on an emergency room bed.
"What happened?" asked the medic-nin, as he flew through hand-seals.
The chunnin gulped, but answered, "I kicked him, sir. I didn't mean to, my body just moved on its own." Sato looked down.
The medic's head shot up in shock. "Assault of a child?! Security!"
Three beefy looking hospital security ninjas appeared around the chunnin. "Orders, Director-sama?" one of them asked.
"Take him to the shinobi holding facility. Tell them he's critically injured a civilian toddler."
The security guard nodded his head, and the three of them led the shocked man away.
While the conversation had been taking place, the medic-nin had been performing a diagnostic jutsu, giving him information on the boy's injuries. Already Naruto's prodigious healing factor had erased the most damaging of injuries that were inflicted upon him, and as the doctor watched, astonished, over the course of the next ten minutes every trace that he was ever hurt disappeared.
"Astounding," he muttered. It almost reminded him of his adopted son's bloodline, only much quicker and cleaner, though both seemed to use true regeneration. He wondered if he could persuade the Hokage to let him run some further tests on the demon container. Nothing invasive, maybe just some blood screenings and chakra flow tests. He could potentially learn a lot from studying him. The Director of the Konoha Hospital shook his head. Such thoughts could wait for later. Right now, he had to go inform the Hokage of what had happened.
The Kyuubi no Kitsune was furious. Since he had been imprisoned three years ago, he had been able to see, hear, smell, taste, and feel everything that his host experienced, but was powerless to affect anything. Besides boredom, this really hadn't been a problem until today. Never before was his host's life in so much danger, never before had the Kyuubi felt his own mortality so strongly. Besides, that kick had hurt like an absolute bitch. He decided then and there that he would do everything in his power to prevent his host from going through such an experience again.
The nine-tailed demon fox began by changing the boy's genes so that his body would become more durable over time. His skin would become extremely strong, he would grow organic armor over all of his organs, as well as creating redundant spares for his heart, liver, spleen, and spinal cord. His bones would become as hard as diamond, and as tough as carbon nanotubes. His muscles, without increasing in size, would become many times stronger than a normal person's. Many such changes were made to Naruto's physique, not changing his outward appearance, yet making him more than human. The fox even improved the boy's brain, making his IQ shoot up several dozen points and giving him a perfect memory. Many other minor changes were performed, easily making Naruto the most perfect human that had ever lived, in the Fox's own opinion.
The second biggest change the fox made was to Naruto's elemental alignment. He was a natural wind element user, but the fox rearranged his coils to make it possible for Naruto to master every element and sub-element with enough work. It wasn't the same kind of mastery that the legendary rinnegan provided, Naruto wouldn't start out with an affinity for all of the elements, rather his affinities would grow stronger the more he used those elements. It was a powerful gift, but it would need a lot of hard work to be able to utilize.
None of this was enough for the Kyuubi. The changes would take years, as work like that needed time to happen. Also, the changes would need pounds of nutrients obtained from years of meals to be able to grow the physical structures required. Even if he could change the boy overnight, Kyuubi was certain he wouldn't even be a match for a genin. His host, after all, was only three years old. He needed something more… dramatic. And after searching the child's chakra pathways and the entirety of his genome, he thought he had found what he needed to insure the brat's, and thus his own, survival.
The kid had a small mutation, what the other humans would call a "bloodline limit", though it was weak and very subtle. The bloodline caused probability to bend around young Naruto, causing events related to chance to sometimes fall into his favor. The fox thought it would grow stronger as Naruto aged, but it would never be powerful enough that anyone would notice it outright. He decided to do something about that.
Focusing his youki at the gene complex responsible for the blond boy's kekkei genkai, the Kyuubi caused it to strengthen, to become more powerful, and it dutifully rearranged itself into a new configuration—one much more suitable than the last. His work accomplished, the Kyuubi slept.
Six Years Later
Naruto bowed to his sparring partner, Aburame Shino, and entered the ring. Shino bowed back, taking his place as well. Both boys took stances for the basic academy taijutsu style.
"Let's see what you both can do, Naruto, Shino. Remember, taijutsu only," said Umino Iruka, their academy instructor. Both boys nodded to him. "Begin!"
Naruto stood still, never leaving his spot. Shino rushed at him, quick yet calm, and threw a fist into Naruto's face. The blonde's head slipped to the side at the last possible second, evading the Aburame's punch. He flowed past Shino's guard, and launched his elbow into the other boy's ribs. Shino lurched forward in pain, and Naruto quickly spun around, throwing the other child out of the sparring circle, onto the ground. Shino landed on his back with a 'thump'. Iruka, as well as several of the other children in the class winced.
"Excellent work, Naruto. Shino, your attack was textbook perfect, however your guard was too open. Next time, keep your hands closer together, and your feet wider."
Shino stood up, then nodded. Naruto walked over, and smiling, patted his bug-using friend on the back. "You're improving, Shino." The stoic boy hesitated a second, then gave a half-nod and walked to the sidelines. Naruto followed him, chatting happily the entire time, occasionally receiving a nod from his friend.
The watched Iruka direct the rest of the spars for that day, then the class was dismissed. Naruto jumped up onto the nearest building, and began roof-jumping until he was at the edge of the Konoha's residential sector, then took to the trees. He quickly arrived at a small house set in a clearing in the trees. It wasn't much, but it was infinitely better than the terrible apartment that Naruto had lived in his first week away from the orphanage. Like most good things in his life, he had stumbled across the small house by accident, and found a note inside proclaiming whoever found this place to be its new owner. Below the note was the deed to the house, and almost 10 acres of the forest around it. The house had only one bedroom and no electricity, but the stove and bath were wood-fired, so that was alright.
The greatest part of the house was the stack of books and scrolls he found on chakra control and ninja techniques. Using these materials, he quickly surpassed all of his year-mates in every practical skill the academy taught. At the age of nine he could walk up the sides of tress, stride over water, and he was currently learning how to balance on one finger on a kunai planted in the ground. He could even enhance his muscles with chakra to a degree, giving him a huge advantage in speed and strength in spars. Combined with his already far above average physique, he was leaving the other academy students in the dust.
Among the materials Naruto found, there were two medium-sized scrolls filled with water-element ninjutsu as well. He could use them all but one of them by now, including his favorite, the water-clone. It had been hard going at first, learning eleven of the twelve different water techniques written there. In fact it almost felt un-natural, as if he was forcing his chakra into a pattern it wasn't meant to flow in. But by the time he had been practicing them for a year, they had started to feel as natural as breathing. He could now do all five of the C-ranked techniques with ease, including the one-handed variant of the water clone. The technique he was best at, however, was the Suiton: Water Encampment Wall. He had practiced that technique more than all the others combined, and he was currently trying to learn to cast it using no hand-seals, and only his foot as a focus. He had seen a jounin cast an earth wall in the same way, and he hoped to be able to replicate that with his water wall. The main downside to these techniques was that they required a source of water to be nearby, or the amount of chakra needed, and the control required rose dramatically.
The last water technique Naruto was working on had the possibility to solve that little hitch. It was an A-S ranked technique called the Suiton: Baku Suishouha. It would allow the user to expel huge quantities of water from their mouth, in direct proportion to the amount of chakra used. The technique didn't need any control at all to be effective, just enormous amounts of chakra. The major downside was that you had to have almost complete mastery of the water element to be able to make water in large quantities, otherwise most of the chakra used in the technique would be wasted. Naruto was making a lot of progress. The first time he used the technique he had used almost fifty percent of his total reserves, and spat out barely a mouthful of water. These days, he could have a few hundred gallons, enough to fight for several minutes, unless he used one of the bigger techniques. He hoped to master the technique eventually, which would allow him to make hundreds or thousands, or even millions of gallons, enough to fill a small sized lake.
There were many notes made next to each of the jutsu in the scrolls Naruto found, talking about the different properties of each jutsu, its strengths and weaknesses, and hidden aspects of the jutsus. Naruto had read that the water clone technique worked best when used in conjunction with a weapon, as the technique replicated any of the special properties a weapon held. There were some weird notes there about electricity and something called the 'raijin', but the notes didn't elaborate any further on what a raijin was exactly. Naruto thought it was possible that it was some sort of weapons that used raiton natured chakra, which would be extremely useful if it was used with water element techniques. Water conducted electricity very well, after all.
As a result of the writing, Naruto's main project for the past three months had been researching weapons with 'special properties'. He had found out, quite by accident while eavesdropping on a blacksmith, that most enhanced shinobi weapons were created using something called 'fuuinjutsu', which seemed to be the written equivalent of hand-seals. Naruto had looked for books or scrolls on fuuinjutsu in the civilian and academy collections, but there was nothing in either library, except a chapter in the final year academy textbook explaining what fuuinjutsu was. Apparently it was a very rare art. No wonder these 'special' weapons seemed to be so prized and rare. As he was unable to learn fuuinjutsu or how to smith weapons, Naruto decided to be on the lookout for one of these rare weapons, and try to obtain one through any means possible.
The blond boy used his water clones to gather firewood that night, and cooked a rabbit he had caught in one of his traps for dinner, along with some new potatoes and greens from the vegetable garden he kept. He was by no means a good cook, but Naruto had become somewhat decent over the three years he had spent caring for himself. He took a hot bath in his furo after supper, then read through one of his chakra theory books before going to sleep.
So, yeah. I started another story. I figure one of these days I'll make one that's a winner… I can't believe I only got five reviews for my latest chapter of "Rise of the Science-Nin". Anyway, please read and review. Please let me know if I should continue this.