Yay! I finally updated! *gives peace sign and pumps arm cheerfully* ... *sees angry mob of readers* Don't kill me~! *cowers* I have a reason! Several in fact. So...uh...yeah. Update's will be slower this time through the hoop. I've got 5 different story plots going on in my head that I'm concentrating on (more if you don't count those). Four of them are up on this site, the other one is on paper. It's not really fair, but recently I've been OBSESSED with my Harry Potter - Left 4 Dead crossover-that-is-now-a-series fic. Very complicated and very messy in and of itself.

Well, I've taken up enough of your time. To all of you who have reviewed I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I REALLY appreciate all the effort everyone has given to help keep my spirit's up and going writing wise. THANK YOU SOOOOO MUCH!

Laters!
-Sora-

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AR (Alternate Reality)

Eventual romance between Narue and one of Itachi/Shikamaru/Gaara/Kakashi/Haku/Sasuke, not really sure as of yet. Up for vote. Current ballot results at bottom.

Warnings: Rape, beatings, harassment, swearing, morbidness, depression, OOC (duh, if AR doesn't give it away, then what does?), super powerful Narue who isn't stupid, Sakura bashing..?, um…may add more later if something else is brought to my attention…

Disclaimer: Don't own Naruto, blah, blah, blah. Kishimoto's got that right.

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Kyubi talking

'Narue answering Kyubi in her head'

"Regular talking/Narue answering Kyubi out loud"

Thinking

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The Hidden Broken Girl

Chapter 10

For the next few days two of the three young shinobi trained hard and long. Sakura, since mastering the tree walking exercise, guarded the bridge builder while he worked. Narue and Sasuke worked on their skills...well, Sasuke worked, Narue goofed around and acted like she was actually training.

One night Sasuke left slightly early, allowing Narue some time to meditate and breath. She had never had to hold up this specific mask for the amount of time she had recently. Falling asleep outside wasn't in her plans, but truly, like at any time she wasn't in her safe room, the sleep was only a half sleep.

Morning came and with it a young woman.

"You'll catch your death of cold if you sleep on the ground." A voice came from above Narue, slipping past the fog of hazy sleep she had descended into.

How'd she not make me wake up? She thought in worry.

I sensed she wouldn't do any harm. ...damn. I'm going soft! Kyuubi replied with a growl.

Narue yawned and hid a grin grin while looking up at the young woman above her. "Who are you?" She asked, making sure to keep her voice sounding sleepy, even though she was completely alert.

"Haku. I'm gathering medicinal herbs." She said with a smile.

So this is Zabuza's apprentice. She thought, her eyes flashing with hidden knowledge.

"Nice to meet you. I'm Naruto." The blonde said softly, standing and offering her help gathering herbs.

"...So...what were you doing out here at the crack of dawn?" The brunette asked, her voice laced with curiosity.

"Training!" Narue said excitedly, glancing up to see if she bought it. Unfortunately, she didn't.

"Is that so?" Haku asked, her eyes flashing to the headband around Narue's head.

"...not really." She stuck out her tongue and rubbed the back of her neck sheepishly. "I...needed to get away from the others... It's so...hard..." The last broken sentence came out in a mangled whisper, her mask falling without her consent.

"What's hard?" Concern laced the girl's voice, making it sound like a male's for a moment.

"...living. Why do people want to live? It's so hard." She said just as softly, sitting back on her heels and allowing the pain to flash in her eyes.

"You...your eyes...You have the same eyes as..." Haku whispered in shock, seeing the pain, loneliness and hurt deep inside the crystal blue eyes. "...as me..."

Silence descended on the clearing as the two watched each other, one wary, one in shock.

"...tell me, do you have anyone special in your life?" She asked, her head tilting sideways, making her hair spill over her shoulder.

"...a few. That's the only reason I'm still here. For them. I live ...no. I survive for them." The henged girl said in way of reply, starting to get lost in painful memories.

"We're the same, aren't we?" The young woman asked softly, touching Narue's hand to draw her attention away from her memories. Narue connected the dot's quickly and drew her conclusion at the 'girl's' identity.

"It would seem so, Haku, apprentice of Zabuza." The blonde replied, watching as the girl jerked back in surprise.

"Don't be so surprised. After all, who would expect Sharingan Kakashi to have a partner so young?" She asked with a smirk, redirecting the conversation in another direction quickly and efficiently.

"Indeed." The feminine voice dropped away, revealing a soft masculine voice instead. Narue suppressed a violent jerk to the point where it was only a slight flinch. Never the less, Haku noticed and backed up a few feet for her comfort.

"You have no need to worry, I just thought it would be good if we got some communication now since the opportunity arrived. My name's Narue by the way, not Naruto." Narue said in way of reply, undoing her henge and allowing her long blonde hair to show with her more feminine figure, even if the horrid, baggy clothes were still there.

"... Ah. Zabuza-sama's report isn't ready due to the fact we think we may have a chance to kill off Gato soon. Tomorrow most likely, since he is mounting an attack on the bridge builder. If we do kill him, we'll need to fake our deaths so the hunter-nin's do not find our scent again." The long haired brunette added in, his eyes darting around the clearing.

"Hm...you'll have to lay low for three months after this...unless you planned on a long term infiltration mission..." The blue eyed girl said, tapping her chin as she thought.

"Well, those of us with the same eyes need to stick together. I'm sure we'll meet again Narue-san." Haku said, the two of them both sensing a chakra source coming their way while he was referencing their similar pasts. Narue recognized it as Sasuke's and quickly re-applied her jutsu.

"It was nice to meet you Haku-san. Give Zabuza-san my regards and I will inform Kakashi-sempai of the information you have given me. I will hopefully see you tomorrow." The Uzumaki heir replied in kind, diving back under her mask as Sasuke came into view.

Haku started to walk away and turned around quickly, giving Narue a wink as he started in on his parting comment. "Just so you know...I'm a boy." He added in his more feminine voice making the Uchiha heir pause and blink at his form.

Narue hid a smirk behind a gaping 'oh-my-god-are-you-serious?' look quite well, which reinforced Sasuke's opinion that 'Naruto' was an idiot, even though he didn't know that fact when looking at Haku either.

The next day dawned just as bright and cheerful as the last. Narue had successfully reported Haku's information to Kakashi, who had decided she should stay back and protect the daughter and grandson. Which in the end proved to be useful, seeing as they were supposed to be taken as hostages and probably would have been sold in the black market slave auctions in Kiri when the mercenaries got a chance if Narue hadn't been there to stop them.

I need to get to Kakashi-sempai... Haku-san and Zabuza-san should already be attacking. I'll need to head off Sasuke-teme from messing up our well-laid plans. Narue thought as she took off to go after her teammates.

o...X...o

All right, I promised an interlude so...here it is! This one takes place after Narue tell's her teammate's who she really is but before the Uchiha Massacre. I think Narue's about...7 at the time. She may be 6 though, I really didn't put a specific time for this fic, just a general 'Narue's young and the conditions are this' for this fic so...yeah.

Itachi sighed in annoyance inwardly, keeping his mask of slight destain in place perfectly as he walked along one of the many dirt roads that made up Konoha. He was finally back from the chakra draining ANBU assassination and retrieval mission he had been on for the last week with his team and was currently too close to chakra exhaustion to risk using his chakra to use the rooftop ninja roads to go home. Whether this was a blessing or a curse, he had yet to decide. His two teammates had already went home for the night by the time he had been let out of the ANBU medic bay. The wounds hadn't been serious and he had told them to go home after the stress-filled week.

A muffled curse emitted from the alleyway he had passed, which was normal for the time. After all, drunks were out, but the words following the curse made him pause. "Stupid demon bit me! This look like it could get infected to you?" A drunken male slurred to someone else.

The Uchiha heir frowned at those words and hurried into the darkened alley, connecting dots at the normal rapid pace he usually did. What met his eyes when he was far enough into the shadow's made a feeling of horror beat through his mind and body.

Earlier...

Narue groaned as she reached the conclusion that a few drunks had targeted her. After all, she was 'the demon of Konoha.' Why did I not just let myself go hungry for the night? She asked herself as she quickly slipped into an alleyway and hid her grocery bag of food.

"Well, well, well. What do we have here boys? Looks like we've caught the demon." A drunken man slurred out, alcohol practically physically seeping from his pores the scent was so strong. Raucous laughter was heard as the trio of males formed a half circle around the girl-child. One of them was palming a rusted kunai. Easy to obtain inside a ninja village, so it really wasn't a surprise to the Uzumaki heir. From there things only got worse...

Itachi abruptly moved, slamming the three men into the opposite side of the alley, adrenaline pumping though his veins as anger radiated off of him. Sharingan turned on like a light switch being flicked, and he was on them in an instant. Flesh hitting flesh and pained grunts were the only sounds emitting from the darkness around them for a few moments. Itachi made sure the three would stay unconscious before moving back over to Narue's small form. Kyuubi's chakra was slowly knitting the girl's flesh back together as an rust-red blood seeped from the still open wounds. Kyuubi was forcing rust out of the child's body.

"'tachi-nii?" Narue murmured quietly, her eyes clouded and sliding in and out of focus. His eyes burned slightly at the youth and fear instilled in the voice coming from his teammate...no, adopted sister. Yes, that sounded correct.

"Don't worry, rest, I'll take you back to your room. Let Kyuubi heal you." Itachi said quietly, bending down and lifting the girl in his arms.

"Groceries..." Narue managed to murmur out before she passed out completely, Kyuubi taking over fully at that point.

"You'll need to carry me while I act unconscious. My eyes are a dead giveaway. Head to Narue's apartment, I'll get you into her room." The demon fox lord stated, closing his container's eyes after making sure he got the food from behind the garbage cans.

Itachi soundlessly followed the almost command without an ounce of protest. He was in a slight state of shock from the violence he had seen his imouto experience.

The duo arrived in Narue's 'apartment,' though to call it that would be an insult to the word. He quickly put up an obscuration jutsu and Kyuubi explained how to get into Narue's safe room. He washed the blood off of Narue's now healed skin forgetting for a moment his Sharingan were activated. He saw through the illusion immediately. Scar's laced up, down and across the girl's skin, thick, ropy scar's that were layered, making it hard to tell if there was any untouched skin at all. A muffled, pained gasp escaped from his throat before he hurriedly rinsed the rag in the bowl of water he had gotten from the bathroom earlier.

"Don't let her know I let you see." Kyuubi warned the Uchiha, before succumbing to unconsciousness as well. He was tired from healing Narue. It got harder and harder each time he made the scar's disappear, using more chakra up.

Hours passed and with it dawn broke. About two hours after sunrise, Narue woke up quickly to a shadow looming over her. Itachi was broken out of his meditative rest as a fear-filled, choked whine came out on a thread of a voice.

"Shh...Imouto, shush... Narue-chan, imouto-chan, please..." He managed to choke out, the sight of the girl he had come to look at with as much caring as he did his younger brother almost breaking his emotionless mask.

Narue breathed deeply, starting to calm down as she recognized the voice. "Itachi-nii?" She asked quietly, her voice sounding unsure.

"Don't worry Narue-chan, they won't bother you again." After all, Hokage-sama will be doing something about this issue. He finished his sentence mentally, watching as the blonde slowly inched to him.

Arms suddenly wrapped around his chest as tears wet the shoulder of his black shirt. Rubbing Narue's back in a comforting manner, he allowed himself this small crack in his mask. If there had been any way for anyone to see this scene, he couldn't be allowed the compassion, but with Kyuubi's earlier assurances of privacy from the long forgotten ancient seal he had showed Narue how to set up, he could allow himself to show the humanness he usually had buried deep within his heart of hearts.

...and...that's it. Like it? Hate it? ^_^ Tell me please! XD

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RESULTS SO FAR FOR POLE:

KakashiXNarue: 5

SasukeXNarue: 9

ItachiXNarue: 61

ShikamaruXNarue: 67

HakuXNarue: 2

GaaraXNarue: 11

The winning couple so far is ShikimaruXNarue so those of you who don't want it to be that review to vote and those of you who do keep voting! Please note, the double count per review voting for the pairings in the story announcement 'chapter' is now closed. It is now the normal one vote count now. Thank you to all who read through the announcement and reviewed. I truly appreciate your support.

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Well ladies and germ's we are back in business! *grins and laughs*

Not my best chapter but... Sorry, I need to get back into the groove to writing this fic, please be patient with me. I promise to go back and edit, it's just...I felt the need to get SOMETHING out to everyone who's faithful to this fic... *sweat drop* Well, wish me luck with my writing!

Laters!
-Sora-