Hi, this is my first Naruto story, so I hope it runs alright. I've had this muse running through my head for a while so I'm hoping to make it as good as I can. Feedback on it would be much appreciated so I know if I'm doing alright with it or not…

My cousin helped me beta this chapter, so hopefully all the kinks have been knocked out.

Hope you like it.

Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto.


Through the darkness and broken glass,
I'll come for you, if you only ask
And there I'll stand
Just for you.

Konoha was lit up with many festive lights as the villagers celebrated the fall of the Kyuubi five years ago. Everyone was out enjoying the activities… all except for a young orphan and the angry mob trying to murder him…

"Die, you accursed demon brat!" one of the villagers screamed out as they chased the child. He was a tiny, scrawny little thing with filthy blonde hair and pained blue eyes. He had scratches all over and he was clad in nothing but dirty rags.

He looked nothing like a demon brat.

"You'll pay for everything you've done to us!" another voice screamed, earning a frightened whimper from the fleeing boy.

"Leave me alone!" the boy wailed, his heart beating a mile a minute. He was running as fast as his short legs would allow him, running to the one place he'd always felt safe: the Yondaime's stone head.

"Don't let him get away!" a particularly malicious villager exclaimed. He'd always been particularly mean to the Jinchuuriki whenever the boy had walked around the village before but the boy hadn't expected him to actually try to kill him!

'Why are they trying to kill me? I haven't done anything to them but they all hate me!' Naruto thought to himself, tears of fright running down his cheeks. He'd just wanted to have a little fresh air after having been cooped up in his small apartment all day. He hadn't expected people to react so violently to his presence… on his birthday, no less!

He came to a skidding halt as he arrived near the edge of the Yondaime's head. He panted harshly as his eyes widened in terror.

He had hoped to outrun the angry mob on his way to the Hokage Mountain but his hopes had proven fruitless. He shouldn't have expected to outrun them as he was…

"This is the end for you, baka kitsune!" the leader of the mob growled maliciously as they all advanced upon the helpless child, not noticing the stirring of angry chakra within the boy's stomach…

Naruto stepped back instinctively… one step too far as he found himself slipping and falling from the tip of the stone head towards the ground below.

The child's scream was silenced as his head struck the edge of the mountain before he began his descent down.

The mob cheered at their apparent victory but the cacophony halted the moment they saw a golden flash blitz past them, leaping after the falling child.

"That was - !" the leader began but his words ended in a hacking cough as he found himself impaled upon an electricity laced hand belonging to none other than the infamous Hound.

Screams filled the air as the ANBU ended the lives of the aggressors at the orders of a pissed off Sandaime.

No one noticed that Naruto's body had never met the ground and had all but vanished…

Naruto woke up to the sound of running water.

Groaning, he tried to get up but found himself pushed down against the bed.

"Rest," a baritone voice ordered softly. "You've got a bad concussion…"

"Who… who are you?" Naruto asked, unable to see anything. His eyes were so heavy… he didn't want to open them. He heard a soft chuckle.

"I'm a friend…" the man said as he cleaned the drying blood off Naruto's head. "Shh… it will be alright," he soothed the whimpering child, who didn't appreciate the sharp pain that came with the hot water meeting the nasty cut on his forehead.

"Why are you helping me?" Naruto asked distrustfully. He'd been shown nothing but hostility and hatred from all of the villagers. The only ones who showed him any kindness had been his Iruka-niichan, the Sandaime, and a strange, silver-haired masked nin that wandered the village…

"You have every right to be weary of me," the stranger mused, his voice saddening. "You haven't had an easy life… and I'm infinitely sorry for that… but I want to take care of you. That is, if you'd let me."

"You won't hurt me?" Naruto inquired in a soft, almost pleading, voice. He felt a soft, gentle caress against his cheek.

"Of course not… I'd never hurt you, little one," the man declared with conviction in his voice. "You are the one most precious to me… never forget that."

"But why? I don't even know you," Naruto said.

"You may not, Naru-chan… but I know you… from the very moment you were born," the man stated softly, running a fond hand through Naruto's blonde locks.

Naruto finally opened his eyes, coming face to face with a translucent man who looked like he was in his mid-twenties, with strikingly gold hair and loving blue eyes. Naruto was too young to notice the resemblance between the two of them but he instinctively felt safe around this stranger… something that didn't happen often in his short but lonely life.

"What do you mean?" he finally questioned. The man smiled mysteriously.

"I'll tell you when you're old enough," he promised before holding his arms out for Naruto. He wouldn't pick him up unless Naruto allowed it, something the boy appreciated greatly. Naruto hesitated for a moment before he allowed himself to be enveloped in the older man's strong arms and carried to the bathroom.

"What are you doing?" Naruto queried, cocking his head to the side cutely.

The man in the flame cloak chuckled. "You're just full of questions today, aren't you?" he mused as he set Naruto onto the floor of the bathroom. "We're here to give you a bath. All that running made you very dirty… and that's not good for your injury. You don't want it to get infected, do you?"

Naruto shook his head, feeling increasingly comfortable with the man in front of him. As the man helped him out of his dirty clothes and into the warm water, Naruto's thoughts couldn't help thinking of all the times he'd been helped by a mysterious guardian angel who had never let himself be seen.

The venders would refuse to allow Naruto to buy any food from them and he'd go back home starving… not long afterwards, he would find a bunch of groceries waiting for him on his counter.

He'd be beaten unconscious by the villagers whenever they were angry… he'd wake up in his own apartment with his wounds treated.

Anything and everything he'd needed but denied had been available to his disposal thanks to his mysterious beneficiary. Now looking at the man in front of him, Naruto couldn't help but wonder if he was the one who'd been protecting him for so long.

"What's your name?" Naruto asked the man, his innocent blue eyes boring into him.

"Minato," the blonde man stated with a gentle smile.

"That's a nice name," Naruto complimented, earning a laugh from Minato. Naruto found he liked it.

"Naruto's a nice name too," Minato replied. 'Given that I was the one who named you in the first place…'

Naruto flashed Minato a genuine grin… causing Minato to fall even more in love with the little child. He'd believed that to be impossible.

"You're the one, aren't you? The one who's been helping me," Naruto said after a few moments of silence. He was being lulled to sleep thanks to Minato's gentle hands.

"You're quite the perceptive child, aren't you?" Minato mused as he rinsed Naruto's body, unearthing the soft tan skin that had been hidden behind layers of dirt. Naruto just 'hmmed' sleepily, drooping forward.

Minato's eyes softened as he removed the groggy Naruto from the bathtub and toweled him dry.

"We'll talk in the morning…" Minato decided as he carried the boy back to his bed and tucked him in.

"You won't leave?" Naruto inquired softly as he snuggled into his covers.

"I won't leave you ever again," Minato promised. "I'll always be at your side…"

Naruto smiled one last time before he drifted off to sleep. Minato leaned over and planted a soft kiss on Naruto's forehead.

"Good night, Naru-chan… and Happy Birthday," he whispered before he vanished. The seal on Naruto's belly glowed gold for a moment before the light faded away, leaving Naruto alone to slumber the rest of the night away.