Title: Odds Against You, Naruto!
Author: Luna Knyte
Rating: From PG13 to Fanfiction M
Summary: When everyone is against you. When no one, not even your own family, believes in you. When demons are out to get you and people turn their backs on you. Then you must be Naruto Uzumaki. Black sheep of the Namikaze-Uzumaki family, shadow of his rival, Sasuke, and complete outcast of Konoha.
Naruto walked through the streets of the kingdom with his hands behind his back. Being here was very different than being in Konoha.
Unlike in Konoha there weren't any glares or hatred towards him. On the contrary there were looks of admiration and awe.
Since the castle grounds were far bigger than the Hokage mansion Naruto had a lot of time to himself. After being introduced to the kingdom, him and Kyuubi were given their own sleeping chambers. Though by request their rooms were connected by a bathroom. Even though he was free, Kyuubi felt odd about being away from Naruto, and even though they were in the safety of the Kingdom, he felt uneasy about being away from "his kit".
It was odd and a bit annoying after a few days. Naruto was used to Kyuubi keeping him unconscious while he took care of some things but Kyuubi's new Mother Hen act got overbearing. All the hovering and constant reassurance Kyuubi needed to make sure Naruto was alright now that they didn't share thoughts anymore, was very odd.
"Having a nice walk?"
Naruto looked behind him to find Yuri a few feet from him. He smiled at her and nodded, "Yes. The grounds are beautiful."
Yuri smiled back and caught up to him, "Kyuubi-sama was been searching for you. If it hadn't been for father ordering him to go training with him I am sure he would have kept his search going."
"I'm not used to being that protected and looked after. It was one thing when Kyuubi was in my mind, but it's something totally different now that we're two people," Naruto told her.
"It must be different going from not being watched to this, ne?" Yuri asked.
"Very," Naruto replied as he continued his walk with her.
"May I ask you something?" Yuri asked.
"Go ahead," said Naruto.
"Kyuubi mentioned that your father was a leader...one of the biggest and most influential leaders in the human villages. Is that correct?" she asked.
"Yes, that's right," Naruto answered as he wondered what she was getting at.
"If that were true, may I ask why Kyuubi-sama has so much...contempt, for him?" Yuri asked as she looked at anything but Naruto.
"It's because Kyuubi hates my father...and my mother and the rest of my home village. There were barely a handful of people there that he tolerated really," Naruto saw the confusion in her eyes and saw her hesitate. She was unsure if she should further ask. Normally Naruto didn't like talking about it but he supposed that was because back in Konoha there wasn't any one he could really tell. Kyuubi already knew what he thought of the other humans. His team, though they would understand, also liked everyone he didn't. If anyone else heard him talk ill of his parents he would be reported or beaten up. Here, these people would side with him, they would sympathize even. He realized he didn't mind telling her.
"In the human world Kyuubi and other demons are seen as the enemy. From what I've learned from Kyuubi, the only times when demons make connections with the humans was when it was important business. But there had been times when lesser more barbaric demons have found their way to humans. Those caused disaster and misery. They gave demons said reputation. Kyuubi had been summoned against his will and was used to cause a panic for someone else's vendetta.
"Scared and confused Kyuubi did what anyone else would, he defended himself. He fought. Of course the humans didn't take too kindly to the destruction that came to their home. And Kyuubi was so powerful they couldn't kill him, or risk merely leading him away. They needed to capture him. They needed something, or rather someone, to be his cage. I was the most recent born and I was chosen.
"Since then the humans saw me as the beast that destroyed their home and not as the hero that kept the monster at bay. The villagers treatment was cruel and barbaric. The council and my father turned the other way when anything happened. My mother loved my father far longer than she did me, and since the day I was born I carried a monster inside of me. She wasn't sure if I was even her baby anymore...
"My father was a master sealer. It made it so Kyuubi couldn't escape, even with my help. It enraged Kyuubi. At first because he couldn't just kill me and be free. But then after some time he actually started to like me, and hence, hated all those that took out the anger of him on me. He had lived thousands of years...he was used to fighting and pain and hatred...I'm only fourteen...and I get that from the people who were suppose to love me," Naruto said the last sentence quietly.
They had stopped in front of a fountain, both looking at their reflections.
"Hisakata-nee-chan mentioned something like that. Yuki-nii-chan told her that she was being ridiculous. I didn't know what to believe. It must have been horrible...and lonely," Yuri said.
"If it hadn't been for Kyuubi refusing to die like that I would have been dead before my fifth birthday...and at first it was lonely. And confusing. I didn't understand where the hatred was coming from. I hadn't understood why people acted like that, what I had done wrong. But I wasn't completely alone. Other than Kyuubi there was a handful. Kakashi became my friend when I was five. Sasuke and Iruka when I was eight. Sakura when I was twelve..."
Yuri reached out and grabbed his hand and turned to face him. Her blue eyes held his but for once he saw something in them that he only ever saw very little: understanding, acceptance, and promise.
"It's different now Naruto-sama. Here...it's safe here. Father will make it so you will never be harmed, and you can not forget about Kyuubi-sama. From what I've heard from father Kyuubi-sama never cared for politics so if anything he'll merely train and fight but there isn't any need. It's been quiet and peaceful for some time now and with word spreading of Kyuubi-sama being here, no one would be foolish enough to try anything," Yuri said.
Naruto's eyes widened a bit at the last part.
"Word is spreading that Kyuubi's here?" a bit of panic in his voice.
"Yes...what's the matter?" Yuri asked.
"Will word ever reach human ears?" Naruto asked a bit urgently. He felt safe assuming that his father and the council wouldn't come looking for him but he was willing to bet that Jiraiya or Kakashi...hell, even his team would try to look for him. If word of Kyuubi being alive reached them...
"I need to speak with your father," Naruto said as he turned on his heel and headed towards the castle.
"Wait! Naruto-sama!" Yuri yelled as she caught up to him, "What's the matter?"
Naruto stopped and sighed, "Up until a few days ago I was Kyuubi's vessel. Like I've said, it was that reason that my life back home was hell. I'm not worried about my people coming to look for me but there are some who might. And if word is spreading that Kyuubi is alive..."
"Oh..." Yuri whispered, "What are you going to do?"
"You said that word is spreading, well we just have to use that to our advantage," Naruto said as they reached the castle.
"How?" Yuri asked.
"When I had a name for what I was I did some research. What I learned was that once you become a Jinchuriki, you're one for life. The demon is attached to your soul so if the demon were to be removed from the human, the human would die," Naruto explained.
Yuri's brow furrowed in confusion, "Then how has this become possible?"
Naruto shrugged, "I'm not completely sure myself. From what I've asked from Solomon and Hisakata it's a mixture of science, medicine, and magic. Plus humans have a very limited area of understanding. Your fathers medical team are far more advanced and had a better idea of what they wanted to do and what they needed to do it."
"So you are going to ask father that while word is spreading of Kyuubi-Sama being alive here, you want to send a type of decoy to the human world? Make them believe that the horrible demons carelessly removed their hero from the pathetic human?" Yuri said with air quotes.
Naruto chuckled, "I was just going to ask if he could make sure it never reached human ears, but that's a better idea."
Yuri stopped and Naruto stopped as well and looked at her, "Like my sister Hisakata I have the ability of an Empath. I have been able to feel your emotions since you first arrived, even though you were unconscious. It's been a mixture of grief and pain and the worst kind of unhappiness I've ever felt. It's overwhelming. And though it sort of feels like eavesdropping I can't help it when the emotions and feelings are practically being yelled into my mind. And with some of the emotions I sometimes get visions...
"At night when you're alone and only have time to think...your mind does wonder off to you father. You ask yourself a lot of questions and you think of horrible times. He's a monster in your mind..."
"Why are you telling me this?" Naruto whispered, looking away from her.
Yuri stepped closer to Naruto and placed her hand over the claw marks on Naruto's side. He hissed at the pain that erupted by the simple touch. It was a flame that burned so hot to the point it was icy cold.
"It's not your own will causing you to think those thoughts Naruto-Sama. Before the operation to give Kyuubi-sama his own body you didn't have those kind of thoughts. That was because Kyuubi's presence kept them at bay. This scar...this curse is supposed to grab and leech off of your deepest insecurities and emotions of pain and misery. The more in pain you are, the more emotionally drained you are, the stronger this demon gets."
"What do you suggest I do?" Naruto asked as they climbed up the staircase.
"Talk with Kyuubi-sama. He's worried. Now that he's not a part of your subconscious anymore he doesn't know what you're thinking...doesn't know what to do to make it better," Yuri said.
"...He sent you to spy on me didn't he?" Naruto asked with a sigh,
"He only has the best interest Naruto-sama," Yuri insisted, blushing at being caught.
Naruto chuckled, "I don't blame you, but please, stop pretending to be my friend if it's for those reasons. That old fox really needs to get laid and leave me alone."
Yuri blushed and Naruto realized that she must not be used to such crude speaking, while he was constantly around three of the biggest perverts alive, one who used to live in his mind.
"I don't want to pretend to be your friend Naruto-sama...I think you're a great person and would be honored to be your friend," Yuri whispered.
Naruto smiled, "Well, if you want to be my friend you have to do something for me first."
"What?" Yuri asked.
"Stop calling my Naruto-Sama. Naruto is just fine," Naruto said.
"But...that's rude," Yuri said.
"Not when you're friends, and we're friends right?" Naruto asked and extended his hand to her.
She looked at it for a minute before smiling and taking it, "Friends."
"Awe...isn't that just precious Yukito? The little lovebirds are spending time together!" Hisakata cooed.
"Nee-chan!" Yuri whined.
Yukito chuckled, "Come now Hisakata, don't tease the little ones. Let their romance blossom on its own."
"Aniki!" Yuri whined at her brother this time. Her pale face as rosy as a cherry blossom.
Hisakata huffed, "Fine! But! Naruto, father and Kyuubi-sama want to see you immediately."
Naruto sobered up and asked, "Where are they?"
"In my father's study. Come I'll show you. Say farewell for now. Yukito has to take Yuri-chan to training," Hisakata said making kissing noises in the background.
Naruto and Yuri blushed and looked away from one another. Yukito chuckled some more and led Yuri back outside. Hisakata grabbed Naruto's arm and led him down the hallway.
"I think it's cute," Hisakata commented.
"We barely know each other...in fact, we just became friends," Naruto said objectively.
"Awe...that's so adorable! Father will be pleased, and so will Kyuubi-sama! Unless...he'll be jealous if he's already claimed you as a lover," Hisakata asked with a wink.
"WHAT!" Naruto demanded as a blush went through his entire body.
"Oh don't tell me you've never thought about it," Hisakata said idly.
"No!" Naruto said but his voice rose a few octaves and broke a little in the end.
"Awe!" Hisakata squealed as she hugged him.
"Hisakata, leave Naruto alone," Kyuubi threatened.
"Ah...But he's so lovable," Hisakata chimed.
"Yes I know that but he's mine so get lost. We've got things to discuss," Kyuubi said as he crossed his arms and mocked glared at her.
Hisakata gave Naruto an "I told you" look and went off on her marry way.
King Ryoku and Kyuubi walked on and entered a room with Naruto right behind them.
"Have you liked the kingdom so far Naruto-san?" Ryoku asked as he walked towards the desk in front of the giants glass windows. The office was lit by the sunlight from outside but there was a chandelier overhead for the night time. On the side walls there were book shelves that covered the whole wall with texts as old as the readers themselves and from different sizes and types. From books to charts to parchments.
"Well so far I've only seen the palace, but I love what I've seen so far sir," Naruto replied. Kyuubi had leaned against the window behind the desk. He had his arms crossed still and was glaring outside at something or at nothing, Naruto had no idea.
"Good. I'm glad to hear that," Ryoku said.
"Sir...I've been told that word of Kyuubi's return has been spreading," Naruto said.
Naruto saw Kyuubi's ears twitch at that, but he didn't look at Naruto either. Hisakata's words coming into mind as well as Kyuubi's. It wasn't that Naruto was frightened or disgusted or anything...it was just that due to his past, the only time he's ever thought about a relationship was with Sasuke, which wasn't too strong because he knew that no one would ever accept it. Eventually his father would have looked for Sasuke's bride, or if Sasuke made a fit, a lover. He dared daydreamed of a time with Kakashi but still, that was all it was, a daydream.
"Yes. I've been sure to be careful as to who hears word of this, but it's only a matter of time before everyone hears the return of the great and powerful Kyuubi," Ryoku said.
"I wanted to ask that if possible, this be kept from the humans," Naruto asked.
"I had no intentions of this reaching human ears but there are few who manage to catch wind of such matters," Ryoku said.
"What about alternating the truth?" Naruto asked.
Ryoku raised an eyebrow, "What do you mean?"
"As far as the humans know, if a demon is removed from a Jinchuriki, they die. I want the few who are looking for me to stop," Naruto said.
Kyuubi went from glaring at something at the ground to looking up at the sky with glazed eyes.
"I'll make sure to pass on the message. Is there anything else you want Naruto-san?" Ryoku asked.
"No...but I do want to know what's been found out about the demon that did this to me," Naruto said as he gestured to his side.
"At the moment we're conducting an investigation. There are some that we suspect but it's difficult to say one way or another. Once we find something concrete we'll let you know," Ryoku said.
"Thank you," Naruto said. "Hey Kyuubi...can I speak with you for a bit?"
Finally Kyuubi looked towards the blonde and shrugged and headed towards the exit. Naruto raised a brow and looked at the king for an explanation, but all he received was a shrug.
Once outside Naruto looked for Kyuubi to see that he had walked down the hall a few feet. Naruto caught up to him and turned him around forcibly.
"What's wrong with you?" Naruto demanded.
"Nothing..." Kyuubi replied absentmindedly.
"Not likely. What's up?" Naruto asked more kindly.
"What? Now you like my company?" Kyuubi asked tensely.
"Is this what this is about? Because I got tired of you being a mother hen?" Naruto asked in disbelief.
"I was not being a mother hen!" Kyuubi exclaimed.
"You wouldn't let me eat anything without having a servant taste it first," Naruto said.
Kyuubi sighed and placed both his hands on Naruto's shoulders, his emerald green eyes looking into his blue ones, "Look kit, this is weird for me. I've never been as attached to someone as I have been with you. Before I've been able to hear your thoughts and know when you're in danger. I'd either see it through your eyes or if you were poisoned or something I'd feel it and fix it...I can't do that anymore and damn it if I hate it!
"I've gotten close to you kit, and I refuse to lose you. Especially now that we're out of that hell hole."
Naruto was stunned by the proclamation. He smiled tenderly as he cupped Kyuubi's face and then hugged him, "You silly old fox. I don't mind that you care but...don't over do it. You know better than anyone else that I'm not used to being overly protected like that..."
"This is weird Naruto..." Kyuubi almost never used his name unless he was serious.
"I know...listen," Naruto started and then darted his eyes. A blush making his way to his face.
"What? What is it?" Kyuubi demanded and raised Naruto's chin with his fingers to look in his eyes.
"Yuri-chan said that this thing is draining me of power because it's leeching off of my bad moods, my insecurities, and my misery. It's making me think of a lot of depressing things and...it's giving me nightmares.
"Yuri-chan thinks that if you're there...they wouldn't...you know...happen..." Naruto whispered.
"So?" Kyuubi drawled.
"Would you sleep next to me so I don't have nightmares?" Naruto asked as he looked intently at his feet.
Kyuubi smiled, not smirked, but smiled and hugged his brat, "Sure kid. I'll see you later tonight. I have to talk to this old coot for a while."
"About?" Naruto asked.
"I hate politics and I don't want to take a part of them in the future. So we're gonna discuss what it is that I'll be doing," Kyuubi replied.
"Whatever it is, make sure I'm there with you," Naruto said, but both of them knew it was a demand.
"You got it," Kyuubi said and Naruto was left to wonder the grounds a bit more.
Kyuubi walked back in and sat in one of the chairs in front of the desk.
"You are a lost cause," Ryoku said with mirth.
"Shut up," Kyuubi tsk'ed.
Ryoku shrugged and said, "All I'm saying is that you've got it bad and I can't say I blame you. It has been over a decade since you've gotten laid, and you've had to be caged in a child, and you had to be there when he reached puberty...and he's still a virgin...god, do you wish for me to get you a rent boy or girl?"
"Are you finished?" Kyuubi gritted out.
"I suppose. So what do you want me to do? I was partly serious," Ryoku said.
"If I wanted to get laid I wouldn't need to go to a prostitute!" Kyuubi said darkly.
Ryoku sighed, "Lie all you want to Kyuubi. You are my friend and I can read you like a book. But whatever...now about this humans hearing the rumor you're alive thing...any impute?"
Kyuubi sobered up and said, "Yes. Don't let them think Naruto is dead."
Ryoku raised an eyebrow, "Why not?"
"The kid suffered his whole life there. If they think he's dead they'll have to come to terms with it, eventually putting it behind them. And in time they'll forget him and he'll be just another freaking name on that stupid memorial stone. No, I want them to suffer. As nice as hope is, it's a great evil, it prolongs torment and misery. With hope, they'll think that Naruto is still alive...still in enemy hands. They'll be plagued with guilt and misery themselves. They'll be kept awake with nightmares and words not said and actions done in the past. I want them to pay for hurting my Naruto!"
Minato tossed and turned in his bed. Sweat covering himself from head to toe. He was forced to return a few days ago. He wished he hadn't. The look of utter disappointment and despair in Kushina was enough to make him fall to his knees. He loved her, she loved him, they were supposed to love their son, none of this was supposed to happen...why was this happening?
He hadn't been able to sleep for the first two days. Those nights he was there to calm down his wife when she woke up shrieking, a nightmare. A nightmare where their baby was being harmed, being hurt, or being killed.
He'd hold her as she sobbed. She'd cry for her baby and his heart would break more and more. She would then look up and sob more.
During the day she wouldn't look at him...she couldn't.
It was twisted that this was the way he learned a part of Naruto's curse of being his son.
Being his son before this whole disaster, he was the demon child who looked like him. Naruto was hurt because he dared be alive and look like him, tainting his image.
Now...he broke his wife's heart because he looked like her baby, but wasn't him. In fact he was the reason her baby was hurt. She couldn't look at him because he wasn't the man she married, and he looked so much like her son...her son that was in the hands of vile demons doing who knows what to him.
After the second day Kushina would take refuge in Naruto's room. Sit in the middle of his bed and hug his pillow to her with all her might. She would look out the window, it was his preferred way of entering. If he came back, he'd use the window.
His heart kept breaking, even more with acts like those.
With all the despair and exhaustion his mind and body took over the last week or so he finally crashed and fell into a restless sleep. His own nightmares plaguing him.
Minato woke up in his office. He looked around and wondered how he got there. Looking at the clock he realized that it was late. He needed to get home to his wife and his toddler son. As he walked out he found it odd and somewhat creepy that he hadn't seen anyone. Not a soul.
When he made it to the streets it was the same.
Until he heard a little pitter-patter of small feet. His heart clenched in his chest. He knew that sound...
In the distance he saw the little body run away. Minato ran after him.
"NARUTO!" Minato yelled after him but Naruto didn't stop. He seemed to be heading towards the Hokage Monument.
When he reached the stairs of the monument he could make out the little body at the top of Sarutobi's head. Slowly and carefully he made his way up. He could finally see his little boy. So small and fragile...hair so soft and blonde and eyes that were so blue that you could just drown in them.
"Naruto..." Minato called out.
Naruto didn't look back but tensed. Minato stopped for a moment but kept getting closer.
Minato reached out but Naruto fell into a fetal position and started to whimper.
"Naruto!" Minato cried.
"I sowy I sowy I sowy!" little Naruto cried.
Scared, Minato reached out and touched Naruto's arm but when he did Naruto's flesh sizzled as if the touch was acid, "AH! I SOWY I SOWY!" Naruto continued the mantra and tried to back away from Minato.
"No! Naruto please! I...I don't want to hurt you! Please...I'm sorry!" Minato yelled.
"Get. Away. From. Him!" A shadow appeared from behind Naruto. A tail like shadow wrapped around the burn and it began to glow red and was healed. Naruto looked up at the shadow with a smile, wiped away his tears and raised his arms towards the shadow. There was a growl as the shadow disappeared with his little Naruto.
Minato turned around and came face to face with his fourteen year old son, "Naruto..." Minato wanted to reach out and touch him, to see if he was real, but Naruto stepped back, fear of Minato ever clear in those sapphire eyes.
"Naruto...I'm sorry..." Minato whispered.
"It doesn't matter...I can bleed all the blood I have and all you'll ever smell is demon's blood," Naruto said as he walked towards the edge.
"That's not true! You're my son! I love you!" Minato declared.
"A little late don't you think? You and Kushina killed me," Naruto replied.
"You are not dead!"
"Maybe not physically, but you both, and the place that was supposed to be my home killed me a long time ago...I'm nothing but an empty shell. You never let me figure out who I was. All I ever could be to all of you was the monster of your past. I was just the honorable son. Sasuke's best friend. Kakashi's student...I was never Naruto," Naruto was walking backwards. Every sentence he took a step back until he was at the edge.
"Naruto!" Minato yelled and tried to advance but he couldn't move.
"The best thing you've ever done for me in all of my life was not believing me. Had you believed me about the demon you could have saved me...I would still be here...in this hell. I hate it here! I hate that red headed bitch! I...HATE...YOU!"
Naruto leaned back and fell towards the ground that changed from the mountain side of the monument to an empty black void. Finally free from the paralyses that held him, he ran and looked over the edge. Naruto's eyes were full of fear and panic. But then they became vacant as he was swallowed by the darkness...his little boy was gone.
"NARUTO!" Minato bolted up right in his bed. He was soaked in sweat. He looked to his side and found it empty. He got up and walked towards Naruto's room. He peeked in and saw her there. Kushina had finally submitted to exhaustion and had passed out. Still clutching Naruto's pillow, still crying...
Looking closer at his wife Minato notice that she was also clutching to something else. Walking into the room that belonged to his own son, Minato couldn't help but feel like an intruder. Taking the item from his wife's solid grip he saw that it was a picture of Naruto and his team. They were all smiling.
A droplet fell onto the glass and Minato realized he was crying again.
This was the only photo of his son in the whole house. The only one he knew of anyway. He had a hunch Sasuke may have more. But during his nights of insomnia he's roamed the house and hasn't seen picture or paining of the younger blonde.
What's more, in here, he's not faking the smile. He's genuinely happy to be around these people. They make him happy, they let him feel safe. A sudden pang of jealousy and hatred for all of them ran through him.
He hated them for being close to his son. For knowing him so well...for loving him so easily when the rest of the village couldn't...when he couldn't.
Kushina started to scream in panic and fear. He placed the picture down gently and held her like he'd done the night before, and the night before that. She'd cling to him, and for a few seconds look at him and think it was Naruto, only to have her heart broken to realize it wasn't him. But she'd still hug Minato, in the need for someone's shoulder to cry on.
As he held her he looked up and saw his reflection in Naruto's mirror.
Blonde untamed hair, sapphire blue eyes, but no whisker scars...
Minato looked away. He too couldn't look at himself without his heart shattering all together, and being disgusted to his stomach.
It was a cruel joke fate played on him. Looking like his son...tomorrow morning, and until Naruto returned, he'll take down every mirror in the mansion.
He took the picture from it's frame and folded it and placed it under his shirt, over his heart.
"It won't be long Kushina. I promise I'll get him back...I swear," Minato promised but he couldn't be sure if it fell on deaf ears or not. These days his promises didn't mean what they used to.