No, I do not own Naruto.
A/N: To Inumiru, you're right, I should give credit to Tobitake Tonbo's creator... So thank you, Kishimoto!... What? Tonbo's a VERY minor Naruto character. He's the guy at the Chuunin Exams with the bandages over the upper portion of his head... Look him up on leafninja . com's biography section. He's there. I'll wait.
Found him? Good. But please don't take this as an insult, Inumiru, because, to be perfectly honest, I didn't know he was actually in the show until someone else mentioned him and I had to look him up to be sure he really existed.
Kushina sat under the shade of a tree with three bento at her side, watching as Naruto, now 5, slowly moved through the kata he was being taught by Tonbo. The blind chuunin stood beside his student, ocassionally stopping him and adjusting his stance with gentle nudges of hands or feet.
Both Kushina and Tonbo quickly discovered that Naruto was a quick learner, for any adjustments Tonbo made to his kata or advice spoken by Kushina needed only to be made once as he quickly incoporated the improvements and suggestions into his movements. Both had worked together and with Maito Gai to create a taijutsu style that fit with the child's disabilities. It was largely modelled after the blind chuunin's own person taijutsu style, modified and refined by Gai and Kushina, and added a special weapon into it.
Turning her eyes to the sky, she smiled and called out "Alright you two, its time for lunch!"
"YATTA!" the orange-clad boy cried as he ran over to his mother and the lunches she'd made, followed at a more leisurely pace by Tonbo. Taking a seat in his mother's lap, Naruto snuggled against her warmth as she patted his head and handed him his bento, doing the same for his sensei when the man made it over to them, sitting himself opposite the mother and son.
"Alright Naruto-chan, after lunch, we'll begin working on your kenjutsu, alright?" Kushina asked, and the boy nodded enthusiastically, more excited at training with his mother than he was with Tonbo.
Kushina ate her own lunch as she watched Naruto carefully reach out and take hold of his chopsticks, then proceeded to eat much slower than a child his age should, his movements measured and careful, ensuring that the food reached his mouth sucessfully.
Turning to Tonbo, she watched him eat slightly faster, but his movements were no less measured and careful than those of her son's. She already knew why they ate like that, having spoken to Tonbo as soon as her son's potential kekkai gekkai was discovered. It was because they lacked eyesight, requiring them to compensate to ensure their food reached their mouth, something that she and people with sight took for granite.
She watched as Naruto rested his chopsticks on his bento as a hand reached out to the side, hand slow and steady until his fingers brushed against his cup of juice. His hand encircled it and held it firm, bringing it up to his lips and tipping it up, allowing him to satisfy his thirst before it was set down with equal care, returning to his lunch.
The three continued eating in silence, which ended as soon as Naruto was done with his.
Hopping to his feet, the blonde quickly dusted off his t-shirt and shorts, turning to his mother with a beaming smile as he asked "Can we start sword training now? Can we? Can we please?!"
Kushina sighed, but smiled and rose to her feet, dusting off her clothes as she gathered the bento into a small pile and grabbed two bokken, one smaller than the other. Handing the smaller of the two to her son, he dashed into the center of the field, standing and facing where she and Tonbo were, holding his sword at the ready before him, calling for her to hurry.
"Energetic, isn't he?" Tonbo asked with a smile, one Kushina mirrored as she said "You don't know the half of it, Tonbo. He's been a little ball of energy since he was born. Used to be managable, with his only movements being flailing his tiny arms and kicking his little legs... Then he learned to crawl and everything went downhill. In fact, while me, Tsunade, and Jiraiya are working, we pay Shizune for a c-rank mission just to watch him."
"That bad, huh?" Tonbo asked with a smirk, and before Kushina could answer, she felt a tiny hand grab hers and begin trying to drag her toward the center of the field, Naruto yelling "Hurry! Hurry! Hurry! Hurry!"
"Alright alright! I'm coming!" Kushina said, allowing him to pull her to center of the field to begin training. As they reached it, Naruto stopped, released Kushina's hand, and stood before her, holding his bokken at the ready, face turned to her, and began moving through the opening kata she'd taught him.
Watching him move through the katas, correcting them as needed, she sighed softly and thought 'Minato, you'd be so proud of him. Doesn't let anything get him down, even as steep a handicap as being blind.'
"Naruto-chan, is there anything that scares you?" Kushina asked, and the blonde shook his head rapidly as he said "Nuh-uh! I'm fearless!"
Kushina sighed as she stood before the Konoha shinobi academy, and looking behind her she stared at the head of blonde hair, the face pressed into the back of her thighs, arms gripping her legs as she asked "Naruto-chan, I thought you were fearless. You say it often enough."
"I'm not scared!" the 6 year old blonde said, tilting his head up to reveal his bandaged eyes, a strip of black cloth over the bandages, bearing a smiling orange toad on the front.
"Then why are you hiding behind me?" Kushina asked, and her son said "I'm not! I'm just practicin' bein' a ninja!"
"Oh... So this is stealth practice, huh?" Kushina questioned, getting a nod from her son. Sighing, she managed to get him to release her and turned to face the child. Kneeling in front of him, she placed her hands on his shoulders and said "Naruto-chan, I want you to know that its OK to be scared sometimes."
"But you and Tonbo-sensei don't get scared ever!" Naruto said, sounding disbelieving of a concept that, in his opinion, was the height of ludicrous. Kushina knew that if she could see his pale, pupiless eyes, that they'd be wide, which caused her to smile.
"Of course we do, Naruto-chan. Whenever we go on a dangerous mission, we get scared. We were scared on the day your daddy defeated the big bad Kyuubi." Kushina said, and Naruto asked "Then why do you do them?"
Smiling, Kushina said "We just face our fears. Naruto-chan, being brave isn't never being scared, its doing things despite being afraid. And you do want to be a brave shinobi like daddy, mommy, and Tonbo-sensei, right?"
"Uh-huh!" Naruto said, nodding as he smiled at the thought. Leaning in, Kushina kissed him on the forehead and placed his 'walking cane' in his hands as she said "Well then, go into the academy, learn, and make friends with the other kids."
"But what if they don't like me?" Naruto asked, and Kushina ruffled his hair as she said "Now don't be silly, Naruto-chan! Of course they're gonna like you. Now hurry in there before you're late. And strong shinobi aren't late!"
"Okay!" Naruto said, turning and heading into the building, Kushina sighing as muttered "Tsume was right. This is harder than I thought it'd be."
"I'm always right, Kushina. The sooner that you learn that little lesson, the better your life will be."
Turning, Kushina saw her friend Tsume standing there, watching her red-haired friend send her only son into the academy for his first day at school. Kushina smiled as she asked "Brought Kiba to school huh?"
Tsume nodded with a sigh and said "Yeah. I swear he's so much like Kirou its scary at times."
"Naruto's the same way." Kushina said, Tsume patting her friend's shoulder as she said "It's still hard, knowing that he's gone, isn't it?"
"Uh-huh. If it wasn't for Naruto-chan, I don't know what I'd do." Kushina said, Tsume nodding knowingly as she said "I know that feeling. The hardest part is waking up some mornings, expecting it to be a bad dream, and he's still sprawled out beside me snoring, an arm wrapped protectively around me."
"Yeah..." Kushina murmured, wiping a tear from her eye as Tsume laughed bitterly, tears beginning to flow down her own cheeks as she said "Do you know that the worst part isn't that he's gone, its how he went. He'd survived so many fights, even survived the Kyuubi attack, and he was killed by something as tiny as a blood clot in the brain. A strong, powerful Inuzuka, survivor of the front line of the worst disaster in Konoha history, and a fucking stroke took him away!"
Kushina nodded sadly, having comforted her friend after his death, and said "Come on, lets go get something to calm our nerves."
"Isn't it a bit early to be getting drunk?" Tsume asked with a smirk, and the redhead gave the feral woman a slight glare as she said "I meant a nice cup of tea and you know it, Tsume."
"Yeah yeah... Though a few bottles of sake would work better." Tsume replied, and Kushina sighed as she said "You know, you're starting to sound a lot like Tsunade. Maybe you need to get some breast implants and a pet pig dressed in human clothes. Then you might be a bit more bearable to be around."
"Hey, that hurts." Tsume replied with a melodramatic pout, and Kushina sighed as she pinched Tsume's cheek and said "That trick only works for Naruto, and you're not Naruto. Now lets get that tea before I change my mind about buying."
"Alright, you win, Namikaze-sama." Tsume said, and burst into laughter at the glare she recieved from Kushina, who hissed back "That was low, and you know it."
Entering the classroom, Naruto turned his head, ears twitching as he listened to the conversations going on as his chakra radiated outward and back, giving him a view of the room. Nodding, he began walking up the stairs of the bleacher-like desks, tapping his cane as instructed. It made him seem like a normal blind person, and gave others the misconception of him being truly disabled or weaker than he was. Deception and misdirection, two well-known staples of the shinobi profession.
Walking up the stairs, he could feel the eyes on him, even if his chakra dome didn't show as heads all across the room turned to him, the formerly louding conversations turning into whispered words about him.
Though his classmates thought they were being quiet, the blindfolded blonde could hear their words as if they were whispering to him personally. It, along with enhanced smell and touch, was apparently another part of his new 'kekkai gekkai', aiding his 'ecolocation chakra dome' in percieving with the world around him. In fact, he was having to train with the Inuzuka clan to control these new senses, making sure that offensive odors or overly loud sounds didn't damage his nose or ears.
"Hey Naruto! Sit over here with me!" came the boisterous cry of Tsume's youngest child, and smiling, the blonde sat next to the feral-looking youth, leaning his cane against his chair between.
"How's Kuromaru-sensei?" Naruto asked Kiba, who pouted and crossed his arms over his chest as he said "Still bein' a big stupid jerk! Won't let me roll around in the smelly stuff with the hounds or eat their tasty food. Makes me eat the peas and carrots and junk momma makes instead!"
"Jiji and Baa-chan make me eat that stuff too, and not yummy ramen. Especially Teuchi-jiji's ramen. And I know mama eats it all the time, cause she's always smelling like Teuchi-jiji's yummy ramen!" Naruto said, and then sniffed as he said "It's not fair."
"I know! The dog's food tastes like chicken and beef and good stuff like that, and it even makes its own gravy!" Kiba complained, resting his forehead on the desk as he grumbled more about it.
"You like to eat dog food?! EEEW!"
Both Kiba and Naruto turned to the source of the rather loud admonishment, seeing it to be a pigtailed blonde, her tongue stuck out, standing with a pinkette with her hair pulled back with a red ribbon. The blonde was dressed in a purple short-sleeved shirt and black shorts, while her friend was in a red cheongsam with black shorts under it.
"Whaddya expect? He's one of those wierd dog ninja! I bet they all eat dog food and lick themselves!" cried another voice, and Kiba felt his hackles rise, a growling rumbling in his chest as he all but snarled "Take that back!"
"I heard from my brother that the Inuzuka all smell really bad and have fleas!" another voice taunted, and Kiba rose to his feet, clenching and unclenching his fists, eyes darting around over the people looking at him, unconsciously readying to pounce on the next person to insult his clan.
"Kiba, calm down!" Naruto said, but his friend seemed to ignore him, glaring around the room, awaiting for his prey to voice their insult against his clan.
"Well it's true! Daddy even says your mommy does 'nasty things' with her dog!"
At that, Kiba roared with rage and charged, launching himself through the air and tackling his shocked victim onto the desk. Straddling the boy's chest, he began raining fists down on the stunned boy, blackening an eye and bloodying his nose. The boy tried ineffectually to fight the Inuzuka off or at least shield himself, but Kiba ignored his attempts at offense and defense, still punching as hard as he could.
He didn't see his classmates immediately give a wide berth to him and his punching bag, didn't hear as they began screaming and yelling for a teacher, or care when they began trying to pull him off. At least, not until a pair of arms slipped under his and placed him in a full nelson, pulling him off and away from the other child kicking and screaming to return to metting out what he believed was justified punishment for his insults.
Kiba, gasping for air and glaring at the bruised and bloodied boy, tried to turn his head to see who was stopping him. His struggling weakened as he saw the familiar dark orange sleeves of Naruto's favorite jacket, and blinking, he asked "Naruto...?"
Before the blonde could answer his friend, the entire class had it's attention taken from the scene before them to the front of the class by the tanned chuunin with a scar running across his nose screaming "WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON HERE!"
"The smelly boy attacked him for no reason at all!" the blonde girl cried, pointing to Kiba, who turned a glare on her as he yelled "Uh-uh! He said my mommy does 'nasty things' with Kuromaru-sama!"
"Well she does!" another voice cried out, and the formerly calming Inuzuka was thrown into another fit of rage, kicking his legs and struggling to escape Naruto's hold, the blind boy struggling to keep Kiba from attacking another classmate as Iruka watched, knowing that this was only the beginning of a very difficult schoolyear.
He could already feel the migraine growing as the seconds passed.
Random Fanfic Trivia: When I named Tsume's deceased husband 'Kirou' in Renegades: The Missing Hokage, I'd done so like Kishimoto named Kisame, adding 'ki' (ogre/demon) to an animal ('same' or shark for Kisame and 'rou' or wolf for Kirou). Apparently, 'kirou' is already a word in Japanese. It means, and I kid you not, "old person thrown away in the mountains". That is a cruel name. Kind of like poor Karui, which means "light, non-serious, minor".
You learn something new every day, I guess.