I will not own Naruto for the entirety of this story. Afterwards, well, who knows? Tomorrows a new day, and you never know what will happen.
Well, without any further ado, lets get on with the fic!
Loneliness. To those who are surrounded by friends and family, they can never understand that pain. That was the pain felt every day by a ten year old boy named Naruto Uzumaki. He was sitting on the roof of a small apartment complex, watching those below him go about their lives. He looked at those who had friends, parents, even lovers, and he felt that always constant, aching pain in his heart worsen. He used to wonder what was wrong with him, that if he could just find out why everyone hated him, he'd be able to apologize, and everyone would love him. The night before had seen an answer, of sorts, to his question. He wished that he had never bothered to ask the question.
Naruto watched happily as his small mountain of ramen bowls was taken away. Ichiraku Ramen was always the best. One bowl was never enough to satisfy them. Hearing voices, he paused, and then paled as he recognized the voice of Councilman Sagashimi. Out of all those in the village, he was the most vocal in his hatred for Naruto. Naruto could truly do nothing right. It seemed as if his very existence was an affront to this man. There was another voice as well, and not wishing to be humiliated in front of Ayame and Tuechi, he paid for his food and left. He was creeping past the two men, Sagashimi and one other, when he heard his name mentioned. "I think it would be best if you warned your children to stay away from the brat, Naruto." Sagashimi whispered, his face twisting, as if Naruto's name had a revolting taste.
The man he was talking to looked confused. "Why? Tensu and Jishi are a little lonesome, and if the lad wants to make friends with them, he's more than welcome to."
Sagashimi sighed pityingly. "There are things about Naruto that you don't know. What I'm about to tell you is a high-class secret. That fool Sarutobi has made this punishable by death, but only if you reveal it to anybody in that brat's generation. This little loophole means that I can tell you, but don't go blabbing it to your children. That innocent looking blonde brat is in reality the Kyuubi No Kitsune."
Naruto froze as he felt his entire world crumble. His hopes, dreams, everything left him, only to come surging back, with more force than ever, at the next words said.
"You mean that that little kid is the jinchurriki of the Kyuubi?" the man laughed. "You think that makes him some sort of tool for the demon?"
"He's playing a game with the village that, mark my words, will have us all killed in our sleep someday. He should have been destroyed, not allowed to live, but Sarutobi was adamant that he live." Sagashimi said heatedly, his distaste for Naruto evident in every word.
"You know, I've dealt with Jinchurriki before. I'm surprised at how often they are mistaken for the demons that they contain. If that Naruto boy is a jinchurriki, he's not the demon itself, but the warden of the most high-security prison imaginable. Nor are the demons themselves truly evil. Think of them as more along the lines of walking natural disasters. When your whole life is destruction, do you really pay attention to what you're destroying? Think about that when you next see the boy. Now, I should probably be getting home. My wife will be worried sick about me." the man said, then turned and walked away, right past Naruto's hiding place, leaving Sagashimi gaping like a beached fish.
Naruto tried to put what he just heard into terms that he could understand. 'So, I'm some sort of super prison for the most evil demon ever, but I'm not really evil? Is that why all the villagers hate me?' he thought, unable to think of anything else as he hurried to his home, where he fell into a fitful sleep.
The man who had spoken to Sagashimi turned the corner and, in a puff of smoke, became the white haired form of Kakashi Hatake. He had achieved his goal. His beloved Sensei's son would at least know why he was hated, and he had planted the seed's to help the young boy come to peaceable terms with the secret. Kakashi hoped that what he had done was enough, but would watch the boy the next day. Elsewhere, three henged clones poofed out of existence, and the fiction that had been the life of Kakashi's henge was forever cast into oblivion.
Naruto's eyes tightened at the memory. He was unsure whether or not he was happy. On the one hand, his questions had been answered, but on the other, he had no idea what to do with the information. He grinned. It'll be the ultimate form of revenge if I become the Hokage still. Then all of the village will have no choice but to respect me. he thought. Contrary to the beliefs of many, Naruto wasn't a fool. He knew you couldn't command someone's love, but as Hokage, he could command their respect and recognition. Hearing a whoosh behind him, Naruto got up, ready to run, when he was grabbed by his jumpsuits neck and hoisted into the air. The hand twisted, bringing his captor into view. Naruto saw that he was being held by an ANBU wearing an Inu mask. "So, do you have a reason for skipping school today, or are you just being lazy?" Inu asked, showing no strain at keeping Naruto in the air.
"Being lazy is more Shikamaru's thing, not mine. I'm taking a mental health day." he replied, not at all respectful of the ninja who had caught him.
"Today's the final day of the school year! You tell everyone that you're going to be the Hokage, but how do you expect to attain that level of skill if you're always the dead last in your class? Those kinds of things are habit making, and you can't be Hokage if you're the worst ninja in the village." Inu said conversationally, his voice betraying slight impatience.
"How am I supposed to escape being the dead last if my teachers hate me so much that they won't answer my questions, and everything gets so confusing? I can't learn on my own." Naruto said, unable to restrain the emotions in his voice.
Under his mask, Kakashi frowned. He hadn't expected that, but it would explain his grades. Spotting something out of the corner of his eye, he smirked. " Well then, how about I get you a tutor? Of course, you'll have to convince her to tutor you, right after you convince her not to murder you." Inu said, and then hurled Naruto off the roof.
Life sucked, that much Anko knew. The kids she had been in the academy with were all turning twenty, and here she was, a twenty year old stuck in a fourteen year olds body, thanks to her traitor master and a stasis seal of great power. What's more, even though she hadn't willingly gone with Orochimaru when he betrayed the village, she had in fact already been under the influence of the stasis seal,which meant until its removal two years ago, she had no memories, hadn't even aged, and she'd still been put on probation for being Orochimaru's frozen in time test dummy when Konoha ninja had found her. A three year fucking probation! Thankfully, and woefully, there was still a year left on her probation. Probation meant no missions, no missions meant no money, and no money meant no food. She was far too proud to take handouts from the Hokage, so the year ahead of her was looking pretty lean. Yep, life sucks, and then a screaming orange something falls from the sky right onto you. Somehow, Anko wasn't surprised.
Naruto's brain was jittering as he tried to come to terms with the fact that he was still alive and breathing. The first thing he noticed was that his head was on something very soft. Lifting his head, he realized that that something soft had been a pair of modest breasts, and looking up the valley between them, he saw the beautiful face of perhaps the most furious kunoichi in Konoha. She was most certainly the most beautiful girl he had ever seen. He scrambled up, getting off of her as quickly as he could, and then helped her to stand as well. He had time to take in every detail of her face, from the spiky, jagged way that her hair was arranged behind her head, to her brown and gold eyes, which seemed to have no pupils, before he was grabbed by the hair and a kunai pressed to his throat. "Any last words, gaki?" she asked, the kunai starting to dig in.
His brain was starting to melt down. Going from seeing the face of the most beautiful girl to ever live, to having said girl threatening to kill him, well, it put a lot of stress on his ten year old mind. He gabbled for a moment before blurting the first thing that came to mind. "Will you go out with me?"
Anko stopped just as she was about to drag the kunai across his throat. Not deep enough to kill him of course, but deep enough for her to have a little bliss as he screamed in pain. 'What the hell did he just say?' Anko thought as she looked at the little twerps face. She almost blushed when she noticed his awestruck gaze locked onto her face. It was a step in the right direction, considering most men looked at her…assets, first. Looking at him again, his eyes brimming with adoration, she groaned. 'Just what I need, a pint-size stalker.' she thought, annoyed and embarrassed at the same time. She would admit that those blue eyes of his were gorgeous; he would do quite well with the ladies when he got older, and they were seemingly bottomless. However, bottomless eyes usually meant empty-head, and how would she look if she was caught torturing the village idiot. That was just to humiliating to continue contemplating. 'OK, so I can't kill him, so what options does that leave me? Hmm, I'd say it's a toss-up between accept the invitation and make him pay for the food, thereby saving me some much needed cash, or a harsh turndown.' she thought, and then sighed. She may be sadistic, but that was only in a physical sense. She was much too nice to maintain a clear conscience while playing with a little boy's emotions, and she new it. Harsh turndown it was. Pulling together her sadistic, and slightly creepy, mask of emotions, she prepared to crush the poor fool. "Why in the hell would I go out with you? You don't know me, I don't know you, and to be perfectly honest, I don't feel like taking the time to get to know you. Besides, your way to young for me." Anko said, her snide tone biting into Naruto with every syllable. Anko's mask almost broke when she saw the hurt, loss, and surprisingly, rage, flash across the little boy's face, before she saw something else, a glimpse of loneliness so profound that it was chilling. Almost as if some puppet master had grabbed her strings, Anko opened he mouth again. "Listen up brat; I've got some relationship advice for you, real basic stuff. For one thing, if you want to ask somebody you don't know out, introduce yourself first. Trust me; it'll work better than just asking without an introduction. Second, when you ask somebody out, try not to be wearing something that looks like it should be burned. Right now, I'm tempted to burn it while you're still residing in it. Might I suggest a change in wardrobe? If you can do that, there is a slight chance that somebody, someday, will say yes. Just don't ask me again. You're still too young for me."
She watched as his face lit up like a million watt light bulb. His face was almost as blinding. "My name is Naruto Uzumaki, and I'm gonna be the next Hokage! Believe It!" Naruto said, giving a Good Guy pose eerily reminiscent of Might Guy. "Some day you, the most beautiful kunoichi in Konoha, will go out with me!" he paused, looking a little confused. "Um, what's your name?"
Anko felt her face starting to heat up. 'It's just because he's funny, it's not because you're embarrassed that he called you the most beautiful kunoichi in Konoha. Right, keep telling yourself that and maybe it'll come true.' she thought, while she answered the cheerful baka's question. "The name's Anko Mitarashi, Genin of Konoha, and the self-declared number one dango lover in the world. Now, if you want to impress any girls, isn't there something you should be doing?" Naruto nodded vigorously, before tearing off down the street like he had a blood-thirsty mob after him. Anko watched him disappear down the street, before continuing her walk. It was with some amusement that she caught herself smiling. 'Well, well, that little gaki managed to cheer me up. That's one interesting little kid.' she thought, before she started to whistle cheerfully, an action that had a cold chill run down the back of every adult male within a three block radius.
Meanwhile, up on the roof, Kakashi couldn't believe what he had just seen. Underneath his Inu mask, his face twisted into a frown. 'Well, I suppose it wasn't a total loss. He did manage not to get killed, and Anko did a favor for the entire village by convincing him to get rid of that horrid orange outfit, but still, I send him to get a tutor, and he tries to get a girlfriend. It's really no wonder he's the dead-last in the class. Huh, I'm gonna need some help with this.' he thought, and then disappeared in a swirl of leaves.
Naruto was excited, and determined to become the kind of person that Anko would date. The first thing he had to do was change how he dressed, and he knew just the place to do it. The Haruno Outfitter's was the largest retail shop in Konoha that catered exclusively to shinobi, as well as academy students. Normally he wasn't allowed to go in, but running around the corner, and coming in sight of the store, Naruto slid to a stop. For a few minutes, he watched the entrance, then slipped in amongst a small group of ninja going in, then quickly escaped the sightline of the register. Once he was hidden by a solid barrier of clothing, he breathed a sigh of relief. 'Now, what do I think Anko would like? Um, maybe something with a fishnet shirt. Oh, I need some help.' Naruto thought, wandering aimlessly around the section, before he ran straight into a familiar looking pinkette. Reeling back from the impact, Naruto had a sudden thought 'Sakura-chan! She can help me!' Naruto immediately pounced forward, grabbing the poor girl by her shoulders and shaking her as he gave into a frenzied babble. "Sakurayougottahelpmethere'sthisreallybeutifulgirlandIhavetolookcoolfor
Sakura was, among other things, an accomplished fan-girl, and where most people heard only a long string of uninterrupted gibberish, she heard a clear and concise plea from Naruto to help him get new clothes. She almost said no, but decided that she might as well. Naruto wasn't overly intelligent, but he was annoyingly persistent. That had been proven by his inability to get the point when she turned down his offer to take her on a date. Whoever this girl was, Sakura hoped she was as stubborn as Naruto; otherwise, she'd eventually be going on a date with him. Naruto was, to quote Shikamaru, troublesome. "Where you looking for anything in particular?" Sakura asked, as was her responsibility. She did work in the family store, but she just usually made sure everything was stocked. This was her chance to prove she could handle customers!
"Well, to be honest, it needs to be really cheap." Naruto replied.
"How cheap we talking here?" Sakura asked, dreading the answer.
"About 400 Ryo is all I have on me." Naruto said sheepishly.
Sakura groaned. That was about as cheap as you can get, then she brightened. She walked towards the back of the store, Naruto trailing behind her. She stopped in front of a large rack with a word in large capital letters over it. "Welcome to the clearance rack!" Sakura said happily. All told, it took the pair about three hours to finally settle on something that they thought was stylish, affordable by Naruto, and most important to Sakura, completely devoid of the color orange. Sakura had to admit, when he came out of the changing room in his new clothes, he looked a lot better. Ninja pants and sandals, and a fishnet shirt under a sapphire blue vest. That one was an especially lucky find. The hue satisfied Naruto's demand for attention, and the vest itself looked exactly like the ones that Chunin and Jonin wore. Thanking Sakura, Naruto took the tags, and went up to the register. Hoping that he would be able to get away, he ran past the register, slapping the money onto the counter, along with the tags. Unfortunately, he wasn't fast enough. He hadn't even taken three steps before he was grabbed from behind. His assailant spun him around, bringing him face to face with the now angry cashier.
"Are you trying to steal from me, you little brat?" she said, her face beginning to take on an ugly, mottled red hue.
"The money is already on the counter, Haruno." said an elderly voice behind Naruto.
The Haruno's eyes flicked upward, then widened in surprise. "Hokage-sama!" she croaked out, letting go of Naruto, who quickly took the opportunity to back away as fast as he could. He kept backing up until he felt a kindly hand tough his back. Looking up, he felt a wave of relief go through him. It was the Hokage!
"I trust that will be all, Haruno?" the Hokage said, the grim note in his voice dissuading the Haruno from saying another word. The Haruno nodded, and the Hokage led Naruto outside. "Inu, front and center." the old man said, and Naruto saw the ANBU who had thrown him off the roof appear in front of them, head bowed in deference to his Kage. "Inu, the matter we discussed is approved in its entirety. I will pay the bill myself, but you will set the criteria for improvement, and the reward for success. Do as you see fit. Now, I must be getting back to my office. The paperwork never ends, and this matter will add a whole new mountain. Naruto, you will follow Inu-san. He will show you what you will be doing on your vacation."
Naruto considered arguing, but the look in the elderly Hokage's eye said that he wouldn't take no for an answer. There were some things even he wouldn't argue against, and this was one of them. Glumly, Naruto nodded, visions of relaxing all vacation dwindling away. With a small smile, the Hokage disappeared, heading back to his office in hopes of finishing his paperwork. Meanwhile, Naruto began to follow the Inu masked ANBU. The walk was surprisingly short. After just a few corners turned, Inu guided Naruto to the most rundown apartment complex in Konoha. He then stopped in front of the rattiest looking door of them all. Naruto looked around in surprise. 'Even my place is better than this' he thought, beginning to get worried. He really hoped that he wouldn't be spending the vacation trying to fix this dump up. That would be a real bummer. Looking at the door in front of him, he wondered who would live in such a place. He nearly jumped out of his skin when Inu started pounding on the door, every blow making it shake in its slider. A few seconds later, the door was opened by none other than Naruto's crush, Anko, playing with a snake with one hand, while fiddling with a kunai with the other. Naruto immediately felt his brain start to short circuit.
Anko was rather surprised when she opened the door to see the gaki from earlier, as well as an Inu masked ANBU. "Anko Mitarashi, meet the academy's dead-last, the boy you will be tutoring for the next two months." Inu said. This had the immediate effect of bringing Naruto out of his momentary short circuit.
Anko blinked. "What?" was all she could initially say, than she gathered herself. "Why the hell would I do that?!" she snapped, almost seeming to bite the words.
Inu shifted slightly. " Do you mind if we come in?" he asked. Anko sighed, but nodded. Stepping to the side of the doorway, she motioned them inside. To Naruto's intense surprise, the inside was actually quite neat. The place was a one-room apartment, with kitchen, bedroom, and den in one modestly sized room. Along one wall was a large terrarium, which Anko deposited her snake into. "Anko, I understand why you don't want to tutor him, but the Hokage is willing to make you quite the little deal." Inu said once he had gotten comfortable, leaning against the wall.
"What kind of deal are we talking here?" Anko said suspiciously, completely ignoring Naruto, except to note the he had followed her advice on the clothing.
"Tutoring Naruto will be regarded as a C-class mission, and because its going to take a while, there will be weekly paychecks. The Hokage is also willing to shorten your probation if you do well with Naruto." Inu answered, and Anko's jaw dropped.
"Just how much would he shorten my probation by?" she breathed, unable to believe her luck.
"The Hokage feels that if Naruto's improvement is significant, your probation would be shortened by ten months." he replied, and Anko took on a flabbergasted appearance, before she gathered herself.
"That is one hell of a deal. In fact, that deal is so good, and so designed for someone in my position, that it raises a few questions. What's wrong with this kid? Why's the Hokage being so generous for the sake of this one little gaki?" she questioned, and Inu stiffened.
"I was asked to look into Naruto's education, and upon my report, the Hokage felt that the boy hadn't been given a fair shake at the academy. I personally observed him in class, and almost all of his teachers ignore his existence. He's also being given tests of a much higher caliber than his classmates are. This has made it all but impossible to tell his actual rank in the class without the interference of his teachers. The Hokage feels that he needs to correct this unfortunate occurrence. Therefore, at the end of his vacation, he is being given a test that will set him a new rank within his class." the ANBU said, rubbing the back of his head. Most of what he had said was even true.
"What are his current grades?" Anko asked suspiciously, a note of dread audible in her voice. Inu wordlessly handed her a sheet of papers that he produced from inside of his vest. Anko's eyes widened. "The academy is still graded on a scale of zero to five, right?" she asked in a weak voice. Inu nodded, somehow managing to look woeful even with his entire face covered. Anko looked like she was about to cry, and for good reason. 'Great Kami, his grades suck! Taijutsu-1.1, Genjutsu-0.1, Ninjutsu-0.5, Ninja Theory-2.9, Basic Shinobi battle tactics-1.3, General academia(math, reading, and writing)-2.6. These grades are so bad, and they don't bode well for the poor gaki. If these are an accurate representation of his grades, then he'd be dead in a second in the field. Normally, I'd just think that he was an idiot, but according to Inu-san, this kid's education has been neglected in a way that's not only dangerous to him, but to all those around him. It's really so pathetic, and I feel like I've been guilted into this.' Anko thought. "One more thing. How much improvement do you think would qualify as significant? Don't be afraid to be specific."
Inu grinned. He knew he almost had her. "I'd say that if you get everything two and above, that'll be good."
Anko sighed. "Well, at least I'm getting paid, right?" she said, then turned to Naruto, who had begun to feel left out of the whole conversation. "Gaki, until the two months is up, your ass is mine. You sleep when I say sleep, you eat what I tell you to, and you study when I tell you too. Every day will be devoted to a specific subject, with an hour a day given over to General Academia. Do you understand?"
Naruto quickly counted things up in his head. "Hey, doesn't that still leave two days a week free?" he asked tentatively.
"Oh joy, you can count! Every Sunday will be a rest day, and every Saturday will be devoted to the study of a subject you will pick in the Konoha Public Library." Anko almost purred.
Naruto lowered his gaze, nervously kicking the floor of the apartment. "The librarian lady won't let me in. Every time I go in, she hits me, and I don't like being hit." he said nervously.
Anko's heart went out to the boy. 'The stupidity of people is really amazing. It'll never cease to amaze me.' Walking up to the boy, she calmly flicked his forehead. "She may not want you in there, but until the end of your vacation, I will treat you as my own apprentice, and if she hits you, it'll be the last thing she ever does, okay?" Naruto nodded, and Anko smiled. "Good! Now, unless you both want to be castrated, I'd suggest you get out of my apartment. Naruto, if you aren't here by 5 A.M., I'll feed you to my snakes, and if you haven't improved in two months, every horrible, painful dream you've ever had will come true. Now, scat!" Anko said in a sing-song voice, taking great pleasure in slamming her apartment door behind their rapidly retreating bodies.
Well, I hope you guys liked it. Trust me, there is a lot more to left to go. There is so much more left to go before I can skip to his graduation, but please be patient. Also, please tell me if I'm portraying the characters well. A certain amount of OOC is to be expected, but I'd like to know if you think its just too far out.