A/N: Well here's another sotry I made in my free time. I've had this idea in my mind for quite a while now, but I've yet to see a story on FF that sates this appetite. That being, Gin being a father figure to Naruto. Dunno why, but I always wondered what would happen if Gin was there to protect our blonde hero and to raise him in his own ways. Anyway, hope you like it. R&R.
Silver Shinobi, Chapter 1:
Naruto ran for his life, and this time it really seemed like it was his life that was on the line. Normally kids would chase him, or random drunken citizens. This time though, he had far more on his plate as a duo of shinobi led the chase to catch him. He was panting heavily, the sweat dripping from his face in huge globs. Every now and then a tear would fall from his eyes. He was so confused. What had he ever done? Every day the people of the village would abuse him one way or another, either mentally, or sometimes physically for stealing food and cloths. But could they really blame him? He had no money, and he barely had enough to eat most days. Several times he'd gone a week without food. He was six, and by now he'd just accepted this was the way things were.
He was so desperate to get away he didn't notice the rock in his path and he ran full on into it. He instantly reached up to clutch his head and nose which when he pulled his hands back noticed it was now bleeding. It stung horribly and his head was no pounding, but the rushed footsteps behind him urged him to move on. He was absolutely terrified by ninja. Villagers he could handle; they didn't hit so hard. But shinobi he knew from stories that they would kill without mercy. As a child, he shouldn't have been able to understand the concept of killing, but he did, and he was afraid of it. Of death.
His only hope now was to get back to the village. The gates were already in sight, but he wasn't on the main road. After being chased off from the market place, he decided to go out to the forest to gather foods he thought he could eat. Sometimes he would eat poisoned fruit but even though his stomach would hurt badly, it always subsided an hour or so later. Sometimes he didn't have a choice but to eat something he knew was poisoned just to survive.
But while he was looking for something edible, the two ninja had shown up. They hadn't said a word the entire time they'd been chasing him. The only reason Naruto knew they were out to get him was when one lazily threw a knife right by his face, cutting his ear to scare him. Naruto knew he needed to run and did so. Naruto knew little of the ninja system, but he knew they were divided by ranks. He hoped the ones chasing him were lower level shinobi; he might be able to outrun them.
He looked back again to see two shadowy figures leaping after him. He was in the tall grass right now, and it was over his head in height. He wanted to sit down and hide, but that wouldn't work against a ninja. To him, ninja were liked gods, capable of doing anything, finding anyone, and destroying everything. The Hokage had always been nice to him, and told him that he would have ninja guarding him every day. Where they were now he didn't know, unless, dare he entertain the idea that the ninja behind him were his guards.
He was getting closer to the gates now, and hope glimmered in his tear-stained eyes. He was sobbing as he ran, the emotions of fear and incomprehension overloading his six year old mind. But just as he was about to dash into the clearing, he heard a light whistling sound and a sharp pain emitted from his calf. He fell to the ground with a cry. Skidding to a halt, his hands instinctively reached down to his wounded leg. He wasn't looking at it as his eyes were shut in pain, but he could feel the problem. There was a knife imbedded deeply into it, and trying to pull it out only hurt even more.
The soft sound of grass rustling behind him made his wails cease in terror. Hesitantly, he dared to look behind him. He regretted it immediately. They stood there, arms crossed, walking casually up to his bloody form. One stopped at his feet while the other circled around to his head. Naruto didn't dare move. Like a wounded animal, he stayed absolutely still, tears still running freely down his face. The one in front of him leaned down on his haunches, and pulled out another knife. He held it up in front of him as if examining it, Naruto's eyes also looking at it, but for him it was in fear. The man grinned looking at it, and then his gaze fell on Naruto.
Immediately Naruto tried to scurry away on his hands and knee, but a quick stomp down from the other man behind him on his other legs halted his escape. The snapping of bone could be heard for several dozen feet. Naruto cried out in pain, not like he had with the knife in his leg. This was a completely different type of pain altogether.
"It's too bad you're just a kid. If you were a little older, you might have been able to get away." The one with the knife said as he brought the blade to Naruto's throat.
"W-w-w-hy a-are y-you d-d-doing t-this to m-me…?" He stuttered out through pain and tears. The man offered no answer but grabbed the blonde's hair and lifted it up, exposing his neck. He brought the knife to the skin and pressed the sharp edge against it. He grinned and began to drag the knife slowly across the boys' neck when his partner, the one whose foot was currently crushing Naruto's now broken leg, called out softly.
The man with the knife stopped just short of cutting the boys' jugular, but not before he had already started to slice over to it. "What is it?" He asked.
His partner looked over to him. "Can't you feel it? Something powerful is coming!"
The knife wielder instantly looked alert and wary, glancing around at his surroundings. He quickly dropped the boy's head and used the hand that had held it to smother the boys' cries. "How powerful?"
The other closed his eyes and brought his hands together in the ram seal. After a few tense seconds he opened his eyes again. "I can't gauge it accurately, but its stronger than both of us!"
"Damn it. Guess we'll have to hurry this up." He raised his hand up and was ready to simply hack his way through the blonde's neck when his partner grabbed his wrist and stopped him.
"No! If it's someone from the village and they find him dead and link him to us, we'll be killed ourselves! At least if he's still alive we won't be killed." The other wasn't happy about this but grunted in frustration and got up, kicking Naruto's body one last time for good measure before they both dashed away.
The forest was quiet now, except for the sobs that came out forcefully from the small boy. But even though battered, bloody, and bruised, he knew he needed to get into sight of some public place. The main road to the village was nearby, and he could try to crawl, but with a knife in one leg and a broken other, it would take quite a while before he got there. It was an agonizing fifteen minutes of dragging himself through the forest, over roots and dried leaves, leaving a trail of blood and dirt. When at last he could see the road, his spirit went into a frenzied fervor to get to safety. With one last shove of strength, he dragged himself onto the road. He could see the village gates in the distance from here, but he decided he was in far too much pain to try and make it. He would wait a while and see if anyone came by. His neck was bleeding, his leg was bleeding, his nose was bleeding, his left leg was broken he was sure, his right's muscle was probably shredded, and his meager little arms were weak with exhaustion.
He simply lay there, crying in abrupt sobs. He was scared and hurt, and no one was around to care for him. He was sure this was not the way other six year olds were treated. But what had he done? All he wanted was to have a normal life and be friendly. He had never done anything to make people angry, as least as far as he knew. He didn't know why everyone hated him. Presently, soft footsteps could be heard coming from behind him. Even though he was six, he was smart enough to know people not from the village would be nice to him, for some reason. So the fact that someone was coming from the opposite direction toward the village meant they were visitors. But he didn't dare think they were ninja or he'd probably go into a fit of hysterics.
The footsteps grew louder and louder until the ceased to exist. He hesitantly raised his head to look at the stranger in front of him. "Hey now, that ain't right." The voice was smooth and flowing, and carried and air of humor to it. Naruto's tear filled eyes tried to focus on the man's face, but all he got was a blurry fuzz. All he could see was a basic outline of the man's body and basic colors. He wore all white, from what Naruto could see, and he had fair, un-tanned skin. But the one thing that stood out to Naruto from the man's attire was his silver hair.
The man stooped down to examine the pathetic heap, turning the boy over until he was laying on his back. Naruto hissed as the knife in his leg was pushed further in, and he did his best to position it so the knife wouldn't be affected. The man seemed surprised by Naruto's condition and muttered something under his breath. The man seemed to have taken pity to him, which for Naruto was a good thing. The man reached down and gently brushed a finger or two over his face, wiping away some of the tear stains.
Naruto heard some shuffling and the cried out in pain as the knife was removed from his leg. "They sure did a number on ya. Whoever y'are." Naruto thrashed in pain and tried to get away from the man, but his flailing hands were caught in the man's own. "Don't worry, I ain't here ta hurt ya. That's the worst it's gonna hurt, 'K?"
His accent was strange; Naruto had never heard of it before. But regardless, it held a soothing tone to it, and Naruto willed his body to relax, which it did slowly. The man grasped naruto's sliced up leg and held a hand above the wound. Instantly Naruto felt relief wash through him. What he didn't know was that the wound was slowly closing and repairing itself. 'This kid's got a neat little body there. The wound shouldn't be closing that fast even with me fixing it,' the man thought with surprise. But t didn't show on his face. Naruto's head was resting on the dirt path, and he didn't seem to mind the rough ground. The calm sensation in his leg vanished but he felt no pain after word. He opened his eyes to see the man's hand now resting above his neck.
"Hold still now." Naruto did so and the relaxing feeling returned. Soon it disappeared too, and again he couldn't feel anything from his neck. No pain at all. The man went down to his other leg and examined it. Broken, as he had guessed.
"So what's your name kid?" The man asked lightly. Even though naruto had been through such a major incident, he seemed at peace with this man. He didn't know why. He reached up to wipe away the water from his eyes. "…U-uzumaki Naruto…"
He looked at the man for the first time with fresh eyes. Now that he could see clearly, he found the man wore a sort of formal white outfit that Naruto had never seen before. The man's face formed in a permanent grin, his eyes closed in the smile. His hair was silver still, but it actually held a sort of purple tint to it.
"Naruto huh? That's neat little name ya got there. Mine's Gin…" The man held a hand out to the blonde. "…Ichimaru Gin."
Naruto looked up at the man, not quite surprised his name was "silver." He accepted his hand, with some hesitance, and the man swung the surprised boy up onto his back. "So, mind tellin' me why yer so beat up?"
Naruto didn't answer at first. Instead he merely sunk his head down as if trying to escape attention. "…I-I… I don't know why."
Gin for his part took the answer without batting an eye. "So where ya live then?"
"…I don't know." Naruto said again solemnly. The man's face changed, instead of a smile, it changed into a surprised frown, but his eyes remained closed. "Don't ya have family or somthin'?"
Naruto shook his head. Gin turned back to the road that Naruto now realized was leading back to the village. Instantly the boys' blood went cold and he began to shiver. "D-don't…"
Gin looked behind his shoulder in confusion. "What'd ya say?"
"D-don't… p-please don't take me back there!" Naruto whispered while holding on tightly to the stranger.
"Don'tcha wanna go back?" Gin asked.
"No!" Naruto answered a bit more forcefully than he intended. Gin looked at the boy surprised. "Well I can't fix that leg by myself. Yer gonna need a hospital fer sure."
Naruto looked all the more terrified and he clung to the man with all his might. "NO! I Don't wanna go back there! Never again!"
"O-o-ok then. You don't have to go back." He said quite surprised at the boys' reaction. "Sheesh, didn't think kids were that afraid of hospitals…" he commented to himself. 'But I really can't fix that leg. Maybe I can just leave him with someone.'
"Tell ya what… We go to the hospital and I stick around until ya get out."
Naruto looked skeptical and was tempted to outright deny him as quickly as he had before. But something about the man's face, despite its cunning look, seemed to make it hard to say no.
"…P-promise?" Naruto asked quietly, his eyes shining with hope.
"Promise." Gin raised his left hand behind his shoulder and extended his pinky. Naruto looked at it in surprise. He knew that linking pinkies and shaking was like making and ultra-super-cool promise that you can't break, but he'd only ever seen other kids do it. He'd never done it himself. Shakily extending his own hand he reached out with his pinky finger and linked it with the man's own slender one.
"Yubikirigenman. Usotsuitara, harisenbonnomasu. Yubikitta,*" Gin sang out in a melodious voice. Slipping his finger out from Naruto's, he picked up Naruto's broken leg again by the thigh and he continued onward. "If I break my promise I have ta drink a thousan' needles. Now I can't break it, can I?"
Naruto seemed to settle at this. Even though the shirt below him was stained with a little blood from his nose, he found the man's shoulder extremely comfortable. Closing his eyes, he relaxed into Gin's body. Unbeknownst to him, Gin's smile had faded into a scowl and his cyan eyes blazing.
When they reached the gate the two guards nearby rose from their seats in surprise, but didn't stop him. His features had returned to their normal state by then, and he wasn't surprised to see the strange glances from the guards. But as he traveled further into town, he received more and more glances, and to his surprise, glares from the villagers. They all seemed to look at him in disgust, but when his squinting eyes turned their way, they averted their own.
'That aint weird at all is it?' He thought sarcastically. He stepped to the side where a random woman was sitting on her porch.
"'Scuse me, miss?" There was no way she couldn't have heard him since she'd been staring at him for a while. When he saw he had her attention, he continued. "Mind pointin' me in the right direction?"
The woman looked from his smiling face to the boy on his back. Her eyes narrowed. "What are you looking for?"
"Hospital." He said, his expression unchanged.
Her frown turned into a scowl when she realized he was taking the boy to the hospital, for whatever reason she didn't care. "For that thing?" She asked pointing at his burden.
"Mind rewordin' that question?"
They both found themselves in a stare down with each other. The woman's scorn-filled eyes looked on disdainfully at both him and the blonde. But as she looked at the sliver haired man, his squinting eyes, even though closed, seemed to pierce her resolve.
Turning her gaze from him she spoke. "Just keep heading that way," she said pointing down the road he'd been on.
"Thanks," he said after a dangerous pause. And he continued on. Sure enough, a great many glares later, he came to the hospital. Walking in, he addressed the secretary thus.
"Sorry ta bug ya, but this kid's got a broken leg I can't fix. Mind findin' someone to help out?"
The secretary looked up at him and smiled, but when she spotted the boy on his back, she scowled, something Gin found this village far to willing to dish out at the child. "I'll see if we have a room available."
"Doesn't look like yer very busy," he commented, looking at the open magazine on the desk.
"Looks can be deceiving," she retorted with a fake smile.
His grin grew for some reason and the clerk was obviously disturbed by it. "I wonder 'bout that…" and he approached the desk even closer. The secretary was surprised when he reached out with a lanky hand and brushed his fingers over her cheek, that insane grin still on his face.
"I really hope yer lying…" he began. "Cuz if you are, then I'll be able to remove another pesterin' person from this world, got me?"
The threat did not go unnoticed and the woman shivered in fear and bead of sweat dripped down her cheek. "I-I'll find something for him," she stammered out before using the intercom to call a doctor. One came by soon enough; he was dressed in full white including a strange hat that covered his entire head. He looked at Gin and Naruto and walked up briskly. "I'm Kizuki Guun, follow me please."
As the man turned away Gin threw a victorious glance at the woman at the desk that he was sure she didn't miss and followed after the doctor. They went up the stair until they were on the third of four floors. Not too far down the hallway, he stopped and gestured to a room. Gin stepped in and looked around. It was sparse but not overly so. It had its tones of brown and beige, brown from the wooden furniture and beige from the walls and floor. The hospital bed was stark white, but it did match the room.
"Bring him over here please." Gin did as he was told and laid Naruto on the bed, making sure to keep his broken leg from sitting wrong.
"Please describe the injuries," the doctor asked briskly.
"Broken left leg."
The doctor looked at it and nodded. "Alright." He went over to an intercom and pressed a button calling for two nurses to assist him. They came in presently, one woman and one man, and he explained the situation. The newcomers frowned, but Gin couldn't tell if it was at the boy or at the wound. He guessed the former.
The nurse and second doctor worked on setting the leg while the doctor worked on healing it. Gin may not have been a doctor, but he knew when they were doing a good job, and they were only doing a decent one. Naruto yelped suddenly in pain and the male nurse held him down and let the second one handle setting the bone. Naruto suddenly began thrashing when he saw the doctors around him, having fallen asleep on Gin's shoulder. Even though he was held down, his eyes bounced in his head, looking around the room until they landed on Gin over to the side. He instantly began to calm down and relax despite the pain in his leg.
For Naruto, he didn't know why, but even though he'd never been able to trust any adult or age-mate before, he felt as if this Gin would be someone he could believe in. It was almost as if there was an invisible connection between them. 'We've only just met, but…' He couldn't explain the feeling of similarity he had. But the man had kept his promise, and that was more than anyone else had done. There was a twinge of pain, but he didn't feel it.
The procedure lasted for about half an hour and when they were done, Naruto was as good as new aside for the splint on his leg he would have to wear for a few weeks, or so the doctor said. The nurses cleared out as soon as he was done and seemed all too eager to do so.
The doctor however stuck around the make sure everything was all right. "Well, you should be fine. Just lay off of it for a few weeks and it'll be good as new."
Naruto nodded numbly.
The doctor took one last look at the various instruments in the room, then turned to walk out. As he passed Gin, who was leaned up against the door frame with his hands in his pockets, the silver haired man stopped him.
"Mind havin' a little chat with me?" He asked without looking at the man, but seemed to be looking at the orange clad boy on the bed. The doctor looked at the man and nodded. They both stepped ut of the room and shut the door.
"That kid… What's his deal?" Gin asked.
The doctor looked at him surprised. "You must be a foreigner. A noble probably?" He asked, judging from his all white robes.
Gin made no indication as to who he was. "Maybe. But answer the question."
The doctor looked at him hard and sighed, getting nowhere form scrutinizing the man. "I can't tell you. It's a law that cannot be broken, and if I do tell you… Well, let's just say it's not something worth dying for."
Gin raised an eyebrow but said nothing. The doctor bowed. "If that's all, then the both of you can leave any time you wish."
Gin looked back at the slumbering blonde. There were few times he let his mind wander, but he allowed himself the pleasure of it this time. There was just something about the boy that made him want to protect him. Maybe it was just human instinct, but it made him want to be something to the poor boy. For whatever reason, the village he belonged to didn't hold him in high regard, and Gin was far too noble to allow child abuse to go on when he could have stopped it.
Suddenly a light bulb went off in his head. 'Hmm… That could work…'
Naruto woke to the faint sounds of rustling paper. "Ah, you're awake."
Naruto turned his head to see Gin sitting in one a chair next to him reading a book. It had an orange cover with a big red circle with a line through it on it. "Ichimaru-san…? Where am I?" He asked groggily.
"Yer in a hospital." Naruto sat up instantly and looked around in fear.
Gin almost chuckled at the child reaction. "Don't freak out on me already kid." Naruto looked at him in surprise.
"You broke your leg earlier, 'member?"
Naruto thought back to earlier that day and indeed did remember. Gin almost smacked himself as the child curled into a ball and held onto himself.
Gin let the silence go on for several seconds before he spoke. "Hey kid, you got any parents?" Naruto's silence was his answer.
Gin pressed on. "Shouldn't you be in an orphanage or something then?"
Naruto shook his head and barely mumbled, "they kicked me out," to which Gin both wanted to frown and grin at. He stood up and pulled Naruto from the bed and onto his back. Naruto let out a surprised exclamation, but Gin merely carried him out the door and down the stairs.
When they reached the reception area, Gin didn't even spare a glance at the clerk but walked right on out. The gleaming afternoon sun warmed their faces as it shined brightly down on both of them. Gin looked around as Naruto snuggled into his shoulder; he'd had a long hard day, and his body was probably tired from post-shock.
Deciding to let sleeping kids lie, he continued on the road until he saw a large red building in the distance; his destination. Unfortunately he was tired of walking. Not so much for the stress of it, but from the consistent dirty looks. Looking around him he decided, 'might as well' and vanished in a blink. The next second he was at the doors of the giant red building. Near the top there was a large golden circle with the kanji of "Fire" on it.
Of course he didn't land directly in front of the building. That would only scare people out of their pants. No, he landed nearby. Walking up to the door of the building, it was opened by a middle-aged man and he stepped inside.
It was fairly comfortable, with the air conditioning running that kept the room temperature at a comfortable level. There were various potted plants hanging from the ceiling, and several indoor trees, though they were so spaced it that it kept from looking like a jungle. In the center of the room, up against the wall was a secretary's desk. Behind it was a woman filing her nails while looking at a book in front of her.
"Hey there!" Gin called out to the woman. She looked up and smiled at him, not noticing the orange clad six year-old on his back. "Hello! How can I help you?"
"Well, I'm new 'round here and I kinda wanted to see the guy up top."
The woman nodded, noticing his foreign attire. "I don't suppose you have an appointment, do you?"
Gin laughed sheepishly and rubbed the back of his neck. "Hehe, nah I don't. But it is kind of important, so fast would be great."
The woman smiled and nodded. "Well normally you'd need an appointment but you look important, and since it's a slow day, I'm sure the Hokage will be thankful for a distraction from his work. Up the stairs on the left, you can't miss it."
Gin gave her a loose fingered salute. "Thanks," and he moved on up the steps to the right of the desk and continued until he found the appropriate door. He rapped his knuckles on the door lightly.
"Come in." he opened the door and looked around. The floor was green with tan walls. There were bookcases along some of the walls and a set of panoramic windows that showed a great view of the village. In front of those windows sat an old man in white robes. There was a stack of papers on one side of the desk and he was currently reading out of a file folder. He looked up from it to see Gin and took on a surprised expression.
"Oh forgive me, I wasn't aware I had a meeting at this time." He said as he placed the file aside and folded his hands on the desk. "So what can I do for you?"
Gin chuckled awkwardly and scratched the back of his head. "Actually, you didn't have an appointment. This is sorta one of those spur o' the moment things."
At this moment the old man seemed to have taken notice of his passenger and the look in his eyes went from amused to worried. "What happened to him?"
It wasn't so much a question as it was a demand, and Gin had to admit he felt compelled to answer him. "W-well, I found him outside the town. He was pretty beat up so I took him to the hospital. He had a broken leg I couldn't fix so the doctors did it."
"When was this?" Again, it was more of a demand than a question.
"I found him earlier this morning."
The old man leaned back in his chair, an expression of contemplation crossing his features. He finally spoke. "My name is Hiruzen Sarutobi, Sandaime Hokage of Konoha. What's yours?"
"Ichimaru Gin, Thir-…" He cut off abruptly and Sarutobi raised an eyebrow.
"Nev'r mind." Gin's facial expression as it always was, impassive, frozen in that permanent smile of his. Internally he corrected himself. 'That title doesn't exist here. Not that it belongs to me anyway.'
"I see. Then Ichimaru-san, what business do you have in Konoha, and what can I do for you?" Sarutobi asked curtly.
Gin chuckled. "Well, about that…"
A/N: And there's chapter one! Chapter two is already half way finished, and I just couldn't wait to post this one! Tell me what you think; good, OK, needs work? Please let me know :)
P.S. The little chant Gin sings is roughly trnaslated as...
*Pinky swear. If you break the promise, I'll make you drink 1,000 needles. Pinky Swear.
Hope that helps!