Disclaimer: Don't own, don't sue.
I am absolutely stranded. I left my bag/wallet/phone at a friend's house during the weekend. If that wasn't bad enough, our internet got cut because of some mistake that our provider did.
Public internet = bleh.
Ehh I really can't stand OC's most of the time, so I'm very sorry about the one I'm using. I'll try not to use a lot of OC's –if I do they won't have main parts apart from Tabito.
Namikaze Naruto; The Lost Legend
Time skip – Five years.
"Tou-san!" bellowed an energetic blonde blur, flying down the familiar star-lit street and launching into awaiting arms.
"Maa ma, Naruto," laughed Tabito, attempting to pry himself from the steel like grip that the blonde clutched on with – to no avail. "I know what you're doing," he laughed softly, glancing around at the few watchful adults who smiled fondly at the pair as they bustled about preparing for dinner.
Leaning back to observe his father figure, Naruto grinned cheekily, opening his eyes innocently. "I don't know what you're on about tou-san," he finally released his father figure, stepping backwards slightly.
"Oh, really?" now smirking widely, Tabito bent down until he was at Naruto's level, sweeping his long white hair from his eyes. "I guess you won't mind then if we give ramen a skip tonight," drinking in the horrified look on Naruto's face he continued calmly. "Let's head to the shops now, I'm sure I could whip us up some vegetables," he paused, ready for the assault.
"NOO!" Naruto yelled dramatically, clutching Tabito's trousers for dear life, tears suddenly glistening in his eyes. "Tou-san please, you don't know what those dreaded things would do to me, I could die!" he clutched his throat in seeming agony, dropping to the floor.
"Fine, fine," Tabito chuckled, hoisting the young child up into his arms and propping him on his hip. Used to his common antics, the watching adults dispersed to their own affairs. "Look what you did now, Naruto," Tabito gestured to their empting surroundings, "Your deafening voice frightened everyone off."
"Good!" Naruto laughed delightedly, squirming around in his father's arms – better to observe the retreating backs. "It's not my fault, I didn't tell them to listen in," he nodded his head proudly at his victory.
Choosing to ignore the small blonde's comments, Tabito began proceeding down the street, heading towards their favourite ramen stand. Noticing their destination, Naruto tugged on Tabito's arms to be released, shouting out in excitement as he raced ahead down the sandy path.
Breaking into a jog so he wouldn't fall too far behind, Tabito proceeded after the small blonde, reaching the ramen stand only moments after him. Pushing open the entrance flap, Tabito plopped down beside Naruto, who was already ordering his large portion of miso ramen. The pair often dined at the ramen stand. It was a relatively cheap meal – if you didn't count how many bowls Naruto went through – was close to their apartment and saved Tabito the job of learning how to cook.
Life had been surprisingly peaceful for the pair after their arrival at Suna. Tabito had silently feared that Konoha nin would have swarmed Sunagakure in search of the Hokage's son. He was slightly surprised that his father hadn't sent Iwa nin looking for him. Must have thought I was too incompetent to complete the mission he thought wirily. He was shocked when no one came, yet immensely pleased, and he slowly came to enjoy the life Suna presented without constantly looking over his shoulder.
"Ahh," Naruto's pleased voice brought Tabito back to reality, patting his stomach in satisfaction. He was surprised at the pile already piled in front of the blonde, more than usual; he mustn't have already had a meal of ramen today.
"Naruto," Tabito hastily began scooping his ramen into his mouth as the child turned to him. "What did you get up to today?"
Swinging his legs enthusiastically as he perched on the stool, Naruto beamed happily. "I went to the park and played a ball game with the kids there, I even scored a goal!" He pushed his finished bowl away from him. "I think I'll go there tomorrow to play again, they invited me back," he clapped his hands together happily.
"I'm happy for you," Tabito scooped the startled child into his arms again, ruffling his hair proudly. "It's good that you're making friends with everyone."
"Hai," Naruto ducked his head slightly, hiding his slightly pink cheeks. He stayed uncharacteristically silent for the rest of the meal, Tabito hastily finishing his bowl so they could head home.
After paying for their night's meal, Tabito followed Naruto out of the stand as they began to follow the familiar path home. The pair travelled in comfortable silence, basking in the night sounds that echoed around them. Closing the short distance between them as he saw Naruto yawn, Tabito gently picked up the boy who promptly leant his head on his shoulder. Rubbing his back soothingly, Tabito slowed his pace so as not to not jostle the blonde, struggling not to yawn himself.
Finally approaching the street of apartment blocks, Tabito proceeded towards the familiar door, gently shifting the now slumbering Naruto in his arms to retrieve his keys. Quickly unlocking the door, Tabito pushed open the door with his back, walking down the dark hallway to Naruto's room and flicking on his light. Unconsciously scrunching up his eyes against the bright glare, Naruto mumbled incoherently in Tabito's arms but didn't awake. Gently prying the small fingers from his jacket, Tabito bundled up the small child and lowered him onto the bed, tucking a thin sheet in around him.
"Goodnight, Naruto," Tabito murmured quietly, smiling at the sleeping child as he backed quietly out the door before turning out the light.
Jolting awake in the morning, faint sun rays shining through the gap in his window blinds, Naruto barely hesitated before flinging back his covers. Jumping from his bed, he rushed into the kitchen, hastily rummaging in the cupboards for an instant ramen. Flicking on the kettle to boil, Naruto rushed back into his bedroom, throwing off his pyjamas and replacing with his usual white shirt and orange pants.
Flying back into the hallway, Naruto's small feet barely made a sound as he rushed back into the kitchen to prepare his meal. He passed Tabito in the hallway, who yawned widely before biding him good morning.
"Ohayo tou-san," Naruto managed to mumble out between bites of his breakfast. Tabito ambled sleepily into the kitchen after Naruto and settling into a nearby chair, observing the youth.
"Heading to the park again, now?" he inquired, reaching over the table for the kettle to make himself a coffee – he needed the caffeine.
Nodding energetically in reply, Naruto raised his bowl to his lips, draining the contents. He promptly jumped to his feet, wiping the back of his hands over his mouth as he rushed for the door.
"I'll see you again tonight, tou-san," he cried, slamming the door shut behind him in his haste.
"Ma, he really does need to burn off more energy," Tabito chuckled to himself, settling down to his breakfast.
Naruto rushed along the street which was fast filling with people, beaming at the familiar faces that greeted him happily. He was desperate to reach the playground and resume the game he had been playing with the other locals. He had only discovered the cornered off area mere days ago, stumbling upon it by chance while he was exploring. His small heart swelled in pride as he recalled the other children cheering as he scored a point, claiming he was a natural at the game.
A small part of him wondered if he was somehow cheating in the game. He didn't seem to be playing any different from everyone else, yet the other kids all seemed to tire when they played for a long duration – he hardly felt affected at all. Must be all the ramen I eat, he smiled knowingly, pleased with his discovery.
Veering to the left abruptly, he zoomed down one of his many shortcuts, knocking a trash can flying. Oops, Naruto barely paused to glance back at the destruction, before deciding the park takes priority – turning his back on the bin as he raced away.
Flying backwards from his collision – it felt like he just ran into a brick wall – Naruto cussed softly as he rubbed his head painfully, looking up from the ground to give his blocker a well earned glare. He lessoned his expression slightly as he caught sight of how huge the man was before tensing up slightly – there was a massive bandaged object hanging on his back. The tall man tittered slightly and leaned over him, a friendly smile plastered on his face – Naruto felt slightly more relieved, relaxing faintly.
"Hey, kid," the man reached a hand down to Naruto, pulling him to his feet. "Do you know what you did wrong?" he asked teasingly, a small sparkle of amusement in his eyes as he grinned a mouthful of large teeth. Naruto hesitated for a second, brushing off his backside.
"Umm," Naruto straightened up and scratched the back of his head sheepishly, "I didn't stop to pick up the rubbish?" he waved his arms frantically behind him. "It wasn't my fault, it came out of nowhere," he crossed his arms across his chest, nodding in affirmation to back up his story.
"Oh?" the man raised an eyebrow, looking faintly amused, "I was talking about the fact that you shouldn't be running around so fast." He glanced behind Naruto, back up the alley, "what about rubbish though?"
"Ahh, nothing really, I was only joking," Naruto laughed nervously, "I'll be more careful when I'm running next time, sorry old man." He began moving past the man to continue on his way, once again being stopped in his tracks when a hand was placed firmly on his shoulder.
He glanced confusedly back up at the man who continued to smile down at him, his hand still on his shoulder rather tightly. "Just watch yourself, ey kid? Don't want another accident happening," he grinned at the small boy cowering in his grasp. Finally releasing his grip, the man stepped backwards, pushing Naruto towards the alley exit. "Off you go kid, have fun," he said almost mockingly, waving the blonde child away.
Not needing to be told twice, Naruto quickly faked a small smile before scampering off towards the exit. Once reaching the populated street, he glanced back. The tall man was still standing in the same place, motionlessly watching him depart. Seeing him turn back, the stranger raised a hand casually in farewell before turning and swiftly flitting from the alley, disappearing within seconds.
"What a strange guy," Naruto murmured, eyebrows burrowed. Shaking his head slightly, he placed the conversation before him, restarting his trek to the park.
Slowing his pace to a mere jog when he saw his destination, Naruto couldn't help a wide grin that stretched across his face as he saw a group of children setting up the ball game.
"Ohayo," he cried cheerfully once he was within earshot, rushing to join the other kids who looked up at his arrival.
"Hey Naruto!" echoed through the air as they rushed to greet him, most beginning to squabble about who would get the small blonde on their team.
"Been here long?" Naruto questioned, bending down to tighten his sandals before stretching his legs.
"Haha, only Sakoi," a small unfamiliar boy pointed to the largest of the group, who stood regally before the youngsters. "Everyone else had to wait for their parents' permission, most only just arrived."
"'Kay," Naruto grinned eagerly, joining his selected group on the left side of the field. They had the advantage, facing the buildings rather than the early rising sun.
Play started immediately, it wasn't long before bystanders stopped to observe their furious game. Most of the younger children soon started dropping out, plopping down on the scarce sand patches that were shaded from buildings, and cheering the older children on.
Naruto was one of the smallest players remaining on the field. His small physique was adequate for this game – able to dart around and avoid players quickly. His tiny body did have its drawbacks though – if many players approached at once he had to quickly leave the area or risk being crushed. He had had a couple of close calls already, only barely managing to dive clear of the larger players onslaught.
The game picked up its pace as each player began to get more serious – no team had yet scored a goal. A few of the older children were falling out now, the game comprised of mostly nine-year-olds, and Naruto – he was the youngest child still able to compete.
Watching the numbers in the game continue to drop, Naruto couldn't help but silently marvel at how the others were starting to tire already. His body felt completely fine and refreshed, save for the hot sand that occasionally flicked into his sandals.
"Yes!" screamed an excited voice. Looking around wildly, Naruto saw a tall red haired boy punch the air in victory as he raced away from their goal, the ball visible within its grasp.
Cheers and applause rung out from the captivated audience as the youth ran over to the watching crowd, his assumed parents congratulating him warmly as they embraced the ecstatic child.
"Well, shall we continue?" a vicious looking girl questioned, sweeping her dark blonde hair behind her, eager to resume play. She could only be a couple years older than Naruto at best, yet she displayed a fierce determination to win.
Yells of approval greeted her words, as the game pushed on. Naruto came close to scoring another goal, the children praising him anyway because of his youth compared to the other players.
The game ploughed on until lunch time, ending with a tie between both teams. The blonde warrior like girl had managed to save their team from defeat with a well powered kick to the right of the goal.
"Well done," Naruto commended the other players along with his team, all looking pleased with the results. As the parents and children began to disperse, Naruto rushed ahead to join the older blonde girl, who was walking swiftly away from the game.
"Congrats," Naruto called, racing after her. The girl paused slightly; as if unsure he was talking to her. Finally after a slight hesitation, she slowly turned around, an unfathomable look on her face.
"You're talking to me, shrimp?" she questioned, looking at him in disbelief.
"...Hai," Naruto looked confused as she continued to study him, "you scored a great goal today."
She waved it away impassively, "I guess, it wasn't even that good of a shot though, I can do better," she frowned slightly.
Naruto, now looking slightly awed, stepped closer, unbidden. "Well I and I'm sure, everyone else, thought it was amazing," he smiled encouragingly at her.
"If you thought it was impressive, than you were the only one," the girl snorted stiffly. "I don't know why you're congratulating me though. Your game play though, now that was impressive, you must have awesome stamina, kid," she frowned slightly though as a thought struck her. "No one goes out of their way to talk to me at all, why do you," she looked at him inquiringly, suspicious shining in her bright turquoise eyes.
"Why wouldn't I?" Naruto looked downright confused before brightening somewhat. "I was terrible compared to you, would you be able to teach me to play better, pretty please?" he turned to her, eyes wide in desperation.
"You... want my tutelage?" she stepped backwards in shock. "You want to actually hang out with me?"
"Really? Does that mean you'll teach me?" Naruto cried out joyfully, latching himself onto the blondes arm. "Thank you, thank you!"
"Hold it together," she laughed, shaking free of his grip, a faint pink tinge appearing on her cheeks as she started to laugh at his enthusiasm. "We haven't even been introduced yet."
"Maa, trust me to jump the gun," Naruto laughed lightly before stretching out a hand. "Osaka Naruto, pleased to meet you..?"
"Temari," she smiled faintly before grasping his hand, "Sabaku no Temari."
"Temari-sensei," Naruto repeated, testing out the name, "I look forward to your lessons," he released her hand, letting his own fall to his side.
"Same," she replied simply, turning to continue on her way. "I can't make it back for a couple days at least, can you wait a few?" she questioned, glancing back at him inquiringly. "I'll get back to you when I have some free time."
"Of course," he chirped, already excited, "you can find me here probably every day!" He puffed his chest out and looked around impressively, "can't let my training slack off, you know, not even for a day,"
Rolling her eyes, Temari nodded in agreement, "I'll come look here then," Temari concluded, brushing a piece of hair from her eyes, "wouldn't want to interrupt your training, would I?" she chuckled.
"Course not," Naruto nodded in agreement, waving goodbye as he headed back to the group of children, still assembling around the area. Temari bade his retreating form a silent goodbye before continuing on her way.
Approaching the cluster of kids, Naruto saw that a commotion was occurring with the few remaining. A couple of the younger children started screaming and running in the direction Naruto was coming from, only to be dragged to the ground by what appeared to be a fine string of sand.
Abruptly the screams cut short, as Naruto finally came within sight of the object that was captivating the kids' attention. A small child – even smaller than Naruto – stood crying before the group. The pitiful look on his face as the older children ran to escape his presence broke Naruto's heart.
Within a minute the small area was deserted – apart from Naruto and the similar aged child. Shuffling over to the weeping boy, Naruto hovered uncertainly beside him, waiting for him to cry himself into silence. As his snivelling drew to a close, Naruto hesitantly placed a hand comfortingly on the boys' shoulder. The similar aged child looked up at him in shock.
"Are you alright?" Naruto peered closely at the small red haired boy, noticing his sleep deprived eyes. Shying out from under his grasp, the boy slowly backed away; fear evident in his eyes.
"What do you want?" the boy mumbled out, still cautiously retreating further, clutching a small bear closer to his chest. Why didn't the sand stop him?
Looking at the boy in confusion, Naruto pondered on what had happened to make the boy so wary of other people. "Just seeing if you needed help," he ground out, studying the boy intently.
"Why?" he looked at Naruto, suspicion flashing in his eyes, "Yashamaru is the only one who cares for me," he lowered his gaze, "no one else."
"Well," Naruto hesitated, scuffing his feet through the sand, "If you're alone now, do you want to play with me?" He glanced quickly at the red head, said boy looking confused.
"You... want to hang out with me?" he looked half hopeful, half incredulous.
"Umm, why not?" Naruto grinned, grabbing the boys hand in his own and pumping it enthusiastically. "I'm Naruto!" he beamed happily.
The red head drew his recently shaken hand up to his face, studying it uncertainly, tears beginning to well up in his eyes. "I'm Sabaku no Gaara," he mumbled out, drying his eyes on his sleeve.
"Eh?" Naruto pipped up at the name, his delighted grin becoming – if possible – even wider. "You're related to Temari-sensei!" he yelled, causing Gaara to flinch away instinctively.
"My sister," Gaara looked back at Naruto, "you know her?"
"Yeah," Naruto turned and began to make his way back over to the park, plonking down underneath a tree. "Met her during the game today, she is awesome," he gushed. "She even agreed to train me, so she's on a level even higher than awesome!" he laughed happily.
"I don't talk to her often," Gaara's soft voice barely reached Naruto, the blonde looking over to see that the red head hadn't followed after him.
"Why not?" Naruto frowned, clambering back to his feet, wincing slightly in irritation as his sandals filled with hot sand.
"Don't worry about it, it's nothing," Gaara managed a small smile to reassure the young blonde – finally beginning to open up.
Trudging back to the red head, Naruto pressed no further, despite his mind whirling with curiosity. He was desperate to find out the reason behind Gaara's obvious family issues. But it isn't just the family, Naruto reflected, watching in his mind once again as the other village children ran from the boy. He'll tell me in his own time, Naruto concluded, focussing once again on Gaara, the small boy looking thoroughly embarrassed,
"So..," Naruto broke the tension, looking back at the park, "want to play now?"
At these words Gaara looked highly depressed, gazing longingly at the park awaiting them. "I wish I could," he mumbled miserably, "but I was already due home long ago," he dropped his head sadly."
"Well," Naruto clucked his tongue thoughtfully. "How about meeting back here tomorrow, we can play then!"
Looking up in disbelief, Gaara could not reply, only nodding his head giddily in agreement. "I'll see you tomorrow then, my friend, Naruto," he tested the words, finding immense pleasure about speaking of friendship.
"Friends," Naruto grinned, "I like it. Meet back here in the morning, I'll see you then, bye Garra!" he shouted, turning and beginning to run home at his top speed, sending sand flying.
"Friends..." Gaara repeated slowly, ambling home, still attempting to get his head around the most wonderful day in his life.
"Report," a gravelly voice ground out, voice laced with authority. A steady dripping sound echoed in the background as a large shadow dropped from a gap in the ceiling, landing quite gracefully in the dark cavern.
"It's as you suspected, Pein-sama, the Kyuubi is indeed residing in Sunagakure." The speaker straightened up, shadow becoming more prominent as they towered over the superior. "I found the whereabouts of his home; he lives with only one other. He should be easy to snatch."
"Hmm," the first voice rapped his fingers against a wall in thought. "Let's not be hasty here, we cannot afford to go after the Kyuubi yet, we aren't organised enough." Footsteps began to echo as the shadow started pacing. "Let's allow him a few more years, keep tabs on him though, Kisame. When the time comes to grab him we can snag the Ichibi as well."
The tall figure began chuckling with pleasure. "We're in luck there, Pein-sama," he sobered up. "I followed after the Kyuubi all of today, he seems to be developing a fast friendship with the Ichibi. We probably won't even have to search for them separately when the time comes to collect,"
"All the same keep a watch on their development," Pein instructed sharply. "The plan to get two birds with one stone will not fail," he lowered his voice slightly; "I will not accept failure."
"As you wish," Kisame leapt from the room, leaving Pein in the cavern.
Deathly silence once more settled throughout the cave. Turning his back on the entrance, Pein began to make his way through the darkness, following the sounds of the constant dripping. After a short walk, light began to illuminate up the cavern, throwing the moss-covered walls into more focus. Approaching a now-visible door, Pein gently pushed it open, hardly breaking stride as he strode into the dimmed room, the door closing softly behind him.
"Yes?" a voice immediately broke out from the side of the room, the question piercing through the darkness like a knife. Turning towards the sound, Pein nodded in affirmation at Uchiha Madara.
To be continued ^.^
Uhhh,,, really, really sorry for the loooooooong update.
Still without internet, although it's supposedly being repaired this week – FINALLY
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