Do I Have A Purpose Anymore?
Chapter 5: I'm a Father?
As the dawn broke on a new day, Naruto awoke and his hand instantly went to the hilt of his blade when he felt a small weight on his chest. Looking down he saw young girl who was resting against him and the memories of the day before flooded his mind in a torrent of images. Absently, Naruto ran his hand over the cracked skull-like cap that adorned her head over the young girls green hair. The child in a tender moment yawned, while grabbing Naruto's black t-shirt and snuggled her face into his chest, whilst he wrapped the folds of his black traveling cloak around her. He shook his head ruefully, as it all came back to him and he thought.
'I never thought I'd end up as a Dad when I left the Leaf village.'
Naruto's journey to get to where he was going was proving not to be as easy of a task as he originally thought it would be. Thanks to the attack by the Ino-Shika-Cho squad a couple of days ago. Instead of taking only two days to reach his destination was now going to take four days. Naruto was also being further delayed because everywhere he went there were bandits, thieves, and other mercenaries coming out of the woodwork trying to attack and take whatever Naruto might possess on him.
However, these rogues constantly attacking him never knew they had made the biggest mistake of their lives in doing so. Naruto actually enjoyed the brief battles with the fools that attacked him. However, they were so weak they proved little challenge if any at all to the blonde Jounin and though that was displeasing, he took great pleasure in killing the imbeciles, lest they do harm to any innocents in the future. Naruto took what he could from the bodies before incinerating them with a fire jutsu he had liberated along with several other useful jutsu scrolls from the village library, before he took his leave of the Leaf.
Unfortunately, all Naruto could find amongst the now bloodied bodies he had killed were money, a few kunai, and a storage scroll that was empty. Not that it mattered; Naruto felt he could always fill it with anything he wanted given the chance or need to. Now it was quite full with money that he had taken off of several more prosperous bandits that he had first encountered, when he had set out from the Wave.
However, for now Naruto would use it by storing anything he had hunted such as a dead rabbit here and there or yesterday when he had captured a particularly stupid deer in one of his snare traps. Thanks to the storage scroll the meat would stay fresh and juicy just waiting to be cooked and eaten. The little girl stirring on his chest broke Naruto out of his musings and his thoughts turned to the events of the past couple of days.
As soon as Naruto walked a distance away from the Ino-Shika-Cho team, he quickly teleported away and upon landing promptly collapsed both physically and mentally. Physically from overexerting himself in his fight against Chouji and mentally at seeing Ino again, as it had been two years since she had betrayed his heart after being with him for a year prior. Ino, the final girl of the trinity, each of whom had taken their turns decimating Naruto's heart. Seeing her again had brought back quite a lot of pain that Naruto had hoped he could keep buried, but never could.
Doing his best to rebury his pain, Naruto trudged on and after many hours of traveling the sun would soon be setting and Naruto decided it was time to rest for the day. Walking off the trail he heard an argument taking place and sensed several low chakra signatures in a field ahead of him. Upon reaching the clearing Naruto saw that some bandits had engaged in fight with one another over some sort of dispute, though what exactly he wasn't sure.
'The way they act like animals...sickening.' Naruto thought to himself, while growing both annoyed and tired of their fighting and killing of one another, as he marched towards them sword in hand.
The bickering bandits never stood a chance and it was over in an instant.
He had spared one, as this man's chakra signature was the strongest and Naruto thought he might be of use to him in the future for what he was planning for the Akatsuki. Naruto's gave the lone bandit a message along with the foreboding warning and coupled with the fact that he had been wearing his mask when he charged in out of nowhere and had easily slaughtered all of this man's comrades would ensure that his news was delivered.
"I want to meet with your boss. I know your kind and you all follow one man. Tell him that I'm looking for...employment. Give him my name. Naruto Uzumaki. If I do not hear from him or you in three days, I will PERSONALLY find you, and make your existence hell on earth."
Then, judging by the fearful look in the eyes of the bandit, he had added one last emphasis.
"And then I'll go after your wife."
Needless to say, it had achieved the desired effect, as the tan muscle bound man had gone as pale as a ghost and stammered.
"Y-You know about my Ayame?"
Naruto brought his face close now, his red and black eyes staring into the man's very soul, as his warped voice boomed out at him.
"Would you care to gamble that I do not know of her?"
The panicked bandit shook his head rapidly. He did not want to risk the life of his darling wife.
Naruto's glare bore into his brown eyes for a second longer, until he pulled away leaving a small flare in the trembling palms of the man, who instinctively clutched the small metal rod tightly, as if he thought the small device would shelter him.
"You seem to be a notch above your usual bandit." Naruto proclaimed in a mocking tone of voice. Testing the man to see if he could provoke a fight he then added.
"You actually do have a brain."
Anger flashed momentarily through the eyes of the bandit, but he controlled himself and did not make any move of aggression knowing if he did this demonic being of a man could kill him in an instant.
'It would seem that he wants to live…good.' Naruto thought to himself before he gestured to the flare in the man's hand and warned.
"Don't lose that, it may cost you your life if you do. If you have news regarding your leader's response, toss that high into the air. I will see it and then you shall see meagain, understand?"
The man nodded slowly, as he shakily rose to his feet afraid of doing something that would result in his death.
"G-Got it!" He had sputtered then took off running like the devil himself was hot on his heels.
After Naruto determined that the goon would indeed deliver his message, he had decided to camp here for the night. Seeing as the fire the bandits had started was still roaring Naruto decided he would rest a bit before looking for a spring or riverbed to wash the blood of his clothes since if he walked around smelling like blood he would have to deal with the wild animals that roamed these parts as well. Just as Naruto was sitting down and getting comfortable he heard off in the distance what sounded like a child's terrified scream.
Leaping up to his feet, Naruto focused his chakra to try and sense where the child was. After a moment, he had pinpointed her location, but there wasn't one chakra signature but two. Racing off to find out what was going on, Naruto grumbled to himself, as another distraction was something he did need at that moment. However, he knew that for as much as he had closed his emotions and heart off from people, he was not so far gone that he would let an innocent child be harmed, not if he could prevent it. Racing through the forest at lightning speed Naruto suddenly came upon a clearing and one of the most peculiar sights he had ever seen.
Out in the field ahead of him was a strange thin looking man with long greasy black hair and two horns one of which was broken protruding from his head. The man also bore some type of skull-like mask that nearly covered the entire left side of his face. The strange man also bore a huge crisscross x scar across his chest. However, the most bizarre feature of the man was the fact that he bore three stumps instead of arms on the left side of his body and two stumps on the right side. The only reason Naruto was able to deduce that the stumps had been arms was due to the fact that the middle arm remained on the right side of the man's body and was holding some type of scythe like weapon.
The blonde Jinchuuriki watched with fascination as the emaciated looking man swung his weapon downwards, as he chased after something. It was then Naruto saw what the man was chasing was a terrified little girl in a simple green gown running for her life. Naruto's eyes narrowed with rage at this and when he saw the young girl stumble and fall he disappeared with a yellow flash instantly.
"Nel, its time for you to finally die, you little bitch!" Nnoitra Gilga shouted with glee, as he swung his transformed zanpakuto in a murderous arc towards the little girl lying on the ground.
The sound of metal hitting metal echoed in Nelliel Tu Odelschwanck's ears, as she had closed her eyes and waited for the blow that would end her life. Tentatively opening her eyes, the little green-haired girl was greeted with a sight that confused her. There standing between her and Nnoitra was a strange man dressed in black with blonde hair and wearing a mask similar to the one atop her own head. This man also held a huge zanpakuto that was blocking Nnoitra scythe blade from descending any further. As the former Espada Arrancar #5 and the former Leaf Jounin glared at one another, both were exerting pressure against the other with their blades. Unable to overpower this blonde stranger Nnoitra hissed in anger at the man.
"I don't know who you are, but this doesn't concern you human! Leave now and I will let live!"
"Humph, brave words Spiderman or should I just call you Stumpy considering the majority of your arms have already been hacked off."
"Foolish human, let me attend to my business with that trembling little bitch behind you and once I've absorbed her powers, I'll re-grow my limbs and show you why you should have left when I offered it to you. Then I'll track down that jingle-bell haired wearing freak who did this to me and finish him off as well!"
"I'm afraid I can't do that Stumpy. I highly doubt killing a little girl is going get you what you claim. Besides, if that's what it takes for you to gain power, it's probably better that I just finish you off now."
"Fool, that little girl isn't even human, she's an Arrancar as am I and you have no idea the power we possess when we are at full strength!"
"He's right kit, I've heard of these Arrancar's and I can sense great power in the little girl, but it remains dormant and I don't think she knows how to access it. I'd advise not letting this guy succeed in killing her and gaining that power."Kyuubi's voice echoed a warning in Naruto's brain.
"I hadn't intended on letting him succeed." Naruto replied out loud.
"Sorry Stumpy, I was talking to someone else. Anyway, back to you, I don't give a damn if that little girl is a human, an Arrancar, or whatever? I'm telling you to walk away, because I won't let you kill her. So I suggest you take up my offer or suffer the consequences."
Nnoitra's response was to leap back several feet and bring his transformed zanpakuto up into an attack position before he spat with malevolence and hate.
"Meddlesome human, I'm going to enjoy killing you!"
"Yeah, yeah, whatever. Tell me something, you say you can re-grow your arms, but can you re-grow your head?"
That was the last word Nnoitra was able to say before Naruto disappeared in a yellow flash and appeared in front of the startled Arrancar swinging his zanpakuto and instantly cutting through Nnoitra's scythe and his neck in one fluid motion. Nnelliel who had been watching the entire scene both in fascination and fear uttered one word in shock, as her former Espada comrades head rolled off of his body and fell to the ground.
It was then that Nelliel finally succumb to the stress she had been going through and passed out much to Naruto's chagrin, as he looked down at her sleeping form and thought to himself.
'What the hell am I suppose to do now?'
"Quit whining and take her back to your camp kit. You and I both know you won't leave her out here by herself."
A little while later back at his camp, Naruto sat down on the ground with his back against a nearby tree Naruto gazed at Nnelliel sleeping peacefully on his bedroll. Meanwhile, the Kyuubi no Youko was praising the boy for his merciless slaughter of Nnoitra and was proud of the smooth and effortless grace it had been executed.
"Good work kit! You've done this old fox proud!"
Naruto just heaved a weary sigh, whilst he leaned back against the tree, resting the sore skin of his back against it.
'It wasn't to please you damn fox, I just can't stand the thought of anyone preying upon defenseless innocent lives, not while I'm around.'
"Well if you're so damn noble kit, then why are you planning on joining a group of thieves and murderers who do just that?"
'Because I need an army and one hell of an army at that if I plan to go to the Land of Spring and free Koyuki and her people from the Akatsuki. So, I need to find some potential allies and this 'Bandit King and the men he leads I've heard so much about these past few days sound exactly like what I require to create that army.'
"An interesting and creative plan, it has merit. And with any army going to battle there should be lots of blood and death, which I enjoy. I wish I could join you on the battlefield were I not sealed up in this blasted body by your father!"
Naruto chuckled as he threw a nearby twig into the fire, enjoying the sound of the roaring flames and the welcomed heat that it brought to him.
'You were the one who attacked the Leaf village.'
"You already know that wasn't my fault, but that damn Madara Uchiha!"
Naruto nodded silently in agreement and tossed more broken branches into the flames. He then checked his blade for any dents and scratches from his fights of the past few days. Looking at the firelight that reflected off of the impressive weapon Naruto realized that Zabuza's zanpaktuo was the perfect reminder of the path that he had now chosen to walk. Once he had freed the Spring Country and eliminated the Akatsuki, he would forge his own destiny and go where he pleased leaving everything else up to fate. A few hours later, Nnelliel awoke to smell of food being cooked in a pot. Sitting up and wrapping her arms around her legs she looked around with trepidation and wondered where she was.
"Are you hungry little one?"
Nnelliel squeaked in surprise at hearing the metallic echo of a voice and looked over to see that same mask wearing man who had save her from Nnoitra stirring a blackened pot over a fire. The little Arrancar wasn't sure about this strange man, but for some reason she wasn't afraid of him. As Naruto scooped a healthy portion of whatever he had been cooking onto a plate, he brought it over and placed it in front of Nnelliel along with a cup of water. Walking back over to the steaming pot, Naruto then dished out a portion of food for himself and sat down across from his newest companion taking off his mask and revealing his face to her before saying.
"Go ahead little one, eat. I may not be the best cook in the world, but I promise it is edible."
Nnelliel hesitated for a moment and sniffed the food carefully before deciding it was ok and grabbing a sizable chunk of the food in her cherub little hand stuffed it into her mouth causing her cheeks to comically puff out. Naruto chuckled at this sight before pointing at his fork and saying.
"No need to eat so much in one bite, you can use a fork like I do little one. Little one, I can't keep calling you that, what's your name?"
The little Arrancar in question looked up at the much larger man with curiosity, as to why Naruto asked for her name. In further response to his question she tilted her slightly to the side, as she studied Naruto's face with scrutiny.
Naruto was indeed confused about the young girl's reaction to him. For one thing, she didn't seem afraid of him or his mask and considering she had witnessed him decapitate someone. That non-reaction was indeed surprising to the blonde Jinchuuriki. However, before he could ponder about the little girl any further, Naruto heard a whispery voice one he had heard once before, the one that had told him to take up Zabuza's blade as his own. It was too soft to understand what the voice was saying, as Naruto strained to recognize them before a voice softly called out breaking his concentration.
"My name is Nelliel Tu Odelschwanck, but mothe people call me Nel Tu."
"Nel Tu, that's a pretty name for a pretty girl. My name is Naruto Uzumaki Namikaze, but most people call me Naruto."
Nnelliel blushed at Naruto calling her pretty and stammered.
"You, you think I'm pretty Nar-Naruto?"
"I think you're very pretty Nel-chan, can I call you Nel-chan?"
Nnelliel nodded her head and smiled before Naruto continued on.
"Nel-chan, can you tell me where you're from and do you have any parents or loved ones who are looking for you."
A saddened forlorn visage spread across Nnelliel's face and Naruto could see tears welling in her eyes, as she answered in a choked voice.
"N-Nel is from a place called Los Noches, but I don't want to go back, ith not a nice place. Nel doesn't have parenth or anyone looking for her. Ichigo, Pesche, Dondochakka, Bawabawa, they're all gone from the Arrancar war with the Toul Tociety. Nel is all alone and hath been for a long time."
Naruto could hear the same painful tone in Nel's voice that his own held when he spoke about his own loneliness and at that moment debated what he should do.
"Just take the kid as your own and be done with it, you aren't going to leave her alone and you know it."Kyuubi grumbled in annoyance.
Groaning to himself upon realizing Kyuubi was probably right, Naruto turned back to look down at the little girl and asked.
"You really don't have anyone Nel-chan?"
Nnelliel only sniffled and kept her head bowed down before softly saying.
"Nel has no one anymore."
'What should I do?' Naruto thought with confusion.
Meanwhile Kyuubi had decided his vessels musings on the subject were growing quite irritating. So he took it upon himself to flash an image of Nnelliel sitting in the woods alone at night with several pairs of menacing eyes peering all around her in the dark into Naruto's mind.
'That's a damn dirty low blow you bastard fox!' Naruto shouted angrily within his head.
"Says you kit."
At this point Naruto exhaled a heavy sigh of resignation. The Kyuubi's little picture had done the trick and Naruto knew he couldn't just leave her here, but then again he wasn't exactly good parent material, but what choice did he have.
'How can I be a Father to someone when I'm a kid myself? Considering what I've been doing lately and what I'm going to be doing, I'm not exactly the ideal father a girl should have.'
"Come on kit show some spine. If this kid can handle seeing you lop off the head of someone and isn't freaked out by that mask you wear or the creepy voice it gives you. Then I'd say she isn't going to mind what you have planned just so long as you two are together."
Naruto knelt down and cupped Nel's chin so he could look at her and said with sincerity.
"Nel-chan, if you don't want to be alone anymore, you can come with me. Would you like that?"
Nnelliel looked up wide-eyed and trembled a bit, as the chance to no longer be alone excited her. She liked this Naruto and wanted to stay with him, but then she remembered Ichigo and the others she had lost and suddenly grew scared at the prospect of losing Naruto. The blonde Jinchuuriki noticed this change in Nel's demeanor and in a comforting voice asked.
"What's wrong Nel-chan, do you not wish to be with me?"
"Nel would like to be with you very much Naruto, but Nel is tcared. What will happen to Nel if you go away like Ichigo and the otherth? Nel till misses them and if you were to go away like them Nel would be all alone once again."
"I promise you Nel-chan I won't go away like Ichigo and the others."
"You, you promith."
"The promise of a lifetime Nel, I swear."
Nnelliel smiled brightly before leaping up and hugging Naruto tightly. For the next few minutes Naruto and his surrogate daughter giggled and played before each of them yawned in perfect unison, both of their mouth's opening wide at the exact same moment. Naruto saw this and chuckled a bit, before patting the ground next to him.
(End of Flashback)
And that was how it happened that Naruto had gained a little Arrancar girl named Nnelliel as a daughter. As he looked down at Nel asleep and snuggling up to him in his lap, she looked quite content from what the he could determine from her happy face. However, as content as Nel was, Naruto was still worried about the situation he had gotten himself into as he thought with concern.
'A daughter must always be protected by her Father.' Naruto mused, before wondering what on earth he was going to do now. Becoming a father hadn't exactly been part of is plan, and yet here he was, a single father, without any real say in the matter.
'I don't mind taking care of her, I just don't know how?' Naruto thought to himself before letting out a sigh, as he closed his eyes to think only for them to open again about a minute later when he felt a tug on his shirt. He got a surprising sight as he reopened them.
The girl was now amazingly awake and with life filled eyes looking at him for attention, which Naruto didn't really know how to give since he had no experience whatsoever in being a parent.
"Are you hungry Nel-chan?" The blonde Jinchuuriki asked, before he saw a quick nod from the girl and the sound of two stomachs grumbling that made them both blush in embarrassment.
Letting out a laugh, he patted her on the head before lifting her gently off his lap as he stood up and placed her on his left shoulder before handing her a ration-bar he had scavenged off a dead bandit. Nel didn't seem to mind as she clapped her tiny hands together several times before eating the meal not minding the lack taste in her mouth, as these things were pretty bland. She also clearly enjoyed being able to see things at a much higher altitude. She now pumped a tiny fist into the air, and gave a loud declaration all her own, yet very familiar in its own right, as a certain blonde had often shouted it at the top of his lungs.
"Leth go Naruto, BELIEVE IT!"
Naruto stumbled in surprise, as he heard his own once favorite saying coming from the mouth of this little girl who he had now taken under his wing as her father. But then he calmed himself and shrugged his shoulders in amusement, before gathering his things and with Nel perched on his shoulder, set off towards the road to continue his journey once more. Naruto's new daughter was practically bouncing up and down on his shoulder with unrestrained energy, as they walked. Upon reaching the road Naruto knelt down and got into a runners crouch, before giving his daughter a quick glance and saying.
"Ok Nel-chan let's go. Hopefully we can find some place to eat soon, and with decent food."
Naruto then put his mask back on and added.
"Hang on tight, we've lost a lot of time and I have to run fast to make up for it, ok?"
"Okey-dokey! LETH GOOOO!" Nel eagerly replied, her eyes sparkling with life and energy, as she nodded her head in agreement.
'She's certainly energetic.' Naruto thought with enjoyment before he pushed off the ground with both hands and feet and sped down the road with Nel squealing with joy at going so fast and at such a height.
Author notes: Well there's chapter five, I think it's an important chapter for the story and it did require a lot of rewrite on my part from the original version. I know it took me over a month to get it to you. But I had to take a break from this story so I could get my other stories updated such as "Naruto vs. Sasuke: The Aftermath" I still urge all of you who are fans of this and have not checked out that story please do so. I truly believe you will enjoy reading that tale as much as you do this one. However, let's get back to this story.
Anyway, as you can see this chapter has the first major change from the original story. I wanted to keep NeonZangetsu's version of bringing a Bleach character in as Naruto's adoptive daughter. However I never felt really comfortable with Yachiru being the choice. Her pink hair I always thought would have been a daily reminder to Naruto of Sakura. Plus between the two personalities of Yachiru and Nnelliel, I prefer Nel's character using Nel doeshave it's challenges writing wise especially when she speaks, as she seems to speak with a lisp in her child form, frequently pronouncing "S"s as "T"s. I've done my best to maintain this for her character, but it's not easy, lol.
I'm still very pleased that this revised story seems to be a hit with most people. I also want to thank those readers who take the time to leave a review for the tale. They're very helpful in letting me know how the story is progressing with all of you. And they really do assist an author out in knowing what people like about a story. Thanks again to everyone for all of your support.
Take it easy and be good!