* Updated 10/3/13 - Reversed chapter 1 & 2. And edited a few little dialog, thoughts and typos that were driving me crazy.
Kokoro of Konoha
Chapter One – Sunshine
If anyone happened to be on Training Area 5 at 4:42am this particular morning, they may have been able to spot a flashlight shining through the shadows of the forest, which was helping a blue-eyed, orange-clad boy find abandoned kunai; left behind by ninjas too tired or lazy to pick up after practicing. Yeah, so they're a little used with nicks and scuffs, but they're still good enough to train with. Other ninjas' trash is my treasure. Naruto smirked as his flashlight flickered off of half a dozen shuriken stuck into one of the trees. Cool! Not a bad find! He proceeded to pull them out and plop them into his collecting bag hanging around his shoulder & neck.
Technically civilians, (let alone schoolboys who weren't even in the Ninja Academy), weren't supposed to be in any of the training areas. But, most ninjas never came to these areas before sunrise. The little 6 year old blond knew quite well how to be quiet and sneaky; it was another of his "Ninja Games." Codename: Collect practice gear & don't get caught. He'd had a few close calls, but somehow he'd always been able to hide and slip away undetected before being noticed. Practice makes perfect.
The sky was gradually turning from blue/grey to rosy orange. He liked orange. It was a good bright color. He smiled at the sky, No one can ignore orange. He'd have to leave soon. He turned off his flashlight and put it into his bag with the kunai & shuriken. Time to go.
There was a loud rustle and thump. Naruto stiffened. He looked around frantically seeing nothing. The noise continued to get louder and louder. Naruto then deduced the thumping was coming from above in the tree limbs and about to go over his head. He looked up in time to see a masked ninja with white hair make another leap over his head from one tree branch to the tree branch behind him. That's soooo cool! Following the figure, he saw a scruffy child asleep on his back. Squinting his eyes, he realized, Wait that kid's… bleeding?
Naruto ran after them; ducking and weaving though the trees barely keeping them in sight. Whenever he lost them, he listened to the sounds of the thumping and followed them. The forest broke into a clearing with a path to the village roads. The ninja landed softly, barely stopping his momentum, and continued towards the hospital.
Naruto ducked behind a corner of a building, to catch his breath, after he saw where the ninja was headed. He hated the hospital. But, I guess if the kid's really hurt there's no choice. He took after them again with determination and curiosity burning in his blue eyes. He couldn't ever remember seeing ninjas coming back from a mission with kids. Genin yes, a kid dressed in rags that was wounded, never. As Naruto maneuvered through the alleyways towards the hospital, his mind buzzed with questions. Who is she? How'd she get hurt? If the kid's not from around here ... maybe they could be friends? Naruto shook his head bitterly. As if that could ever happen, the grown-ups will just take her away like all the others.
He arrived just in time to see the Ninja run through the Hospital front door, calling for help. As the nurses and doctors surrounded the ninja, Naruto was able to slip in and hide behind one of the large arm chairs in the lobby as the masked ninja began to explain to the head nurse, "She has 3 wounds, all on the left side, shoulder, arm and leg. Gave her a couple of blood pills to counteract the blood loss, but she may have blood poisoning." The emergency staff lifted her from Kakashi's back and gingerly put her on the rolling stretcher that was brought out for the child. "She's been injured at least a day, maybe more. Oh, be careful with this one, she's a sensor type with a rather long range. Can't handle large crowds and is afraid of hospitals." One sympathetic nurse clucked her tongue while shaking her head as she took notes on a clipboard. After finishing a couple of scribbles the nurse gave the girl a glance, "She's pale, but she should pull through. I've seen worse and they've survived. When she stabilizes we can put her in the old east wing on the far side. Anything else?"
Kakashi stretched as he watched the emergency crew wheel her away, barking the girl's stats and condition to others. "Yes, I'm guessing she fell into an old ninja trap left over after the war. I have to make my report to the Hokage." The desk nurse nodded, "You can let Hokage-sama know you were able to bring her in time. The doctors will probably want to monitor her for a while for possible blood poisoning." Then she finished noting his information down and asked one last question, "What's the child's name?"
He tilted his head as he spotted a familiar looking orange cloth peeking out from behind one of the arm chairs in the lobby. He turned back to her as he shrugged, "Good question." The nurse rolled her eyes and sighed at the impending paperwork for the nameless girl. Then rushed off to catch another nurse's attention to cover the nurse's station while she relayed the information to the emergency room.
Kakashi walked towards the door; pausing to place the girl's walking staff near the corner by the front door. Speaking quietly so only his orange shadow from the forest could hear him, "She seems to be quite fond of this walking staff. I'll just leave it here so someone can give it back to her." Naruto blanched. Dang it! He saw me! Then he blushed as he realized. But, why didn't he tell on me? Kakashi shrugged, "Who knows." Naruto blanched again as he watched the masked ninja take off for the Hokage tower.
Kakashi smirked under his mask. That should make the Hokage happy. Have to give Uzumaki credit to follow all that way from Training Area 5 to the hospital, should be worth some sort of reward for keeping up. Playing with his head was just a perk for masked ninja. But, can't let him think a Jonin wouldn't notice being followed by a gaki, now could I?
He didn't have a prejudice against the boy and was placed as Uzumaki's guard often enough while he was back in the ANBU to see that the kid wasn't a demon. He was well aware of the abuse and the numerous attempted assassinations the boy suffered. Interestingly, he'd been the agent to prevent most of the latter. Obito had been marginalized within his own clan because of his beliefs and last gift to him. To be ostracized by the whole village for some unknown reason… If the blond boy was the demon, he would've snapped long ago.
Besides, there wasn't much chance with how shaky his legs were at the moment and all the soldier pills he'd taken that he'd be awake when she needed someone. Well, at the very least, she won't wake up alone. With that last thought, he walked into the Hokage's office to deliver his report.
Back at the hospital, Naruto had snatched the walking staff and managed to sneak down to the old East Wing unnoticed. A few key lights were on, such as the hallway and the nurse station area. Random window blinds were open to let in some light as well. He was quite familiar with the old East Wing, since this was where he always woke up after the more serious "accidents." Kinda fun walking around with a staff; very Hokage-like.
Not knowing which room she'd be put in, Naruto ambled to the waiting room by the nurses' station. He liked that one best because it was the only window with a view of the Hokage Monument.
Then his stomach grumbled that he hadn't had breakfast. So he went back out to the kitchen area. Looked in the fridge and picked out some apple sauces, ice creams, a wrapped-up sandwich and a few orange juices, putting each into his bag and went back to his favorite window. If he didn't hate the hospital so much, he'd probably hang out here more often.
Leaving the waiting room light off and the door slightly ajar, the starry blue-eyed boy sat down to eat at the window. It's not ramen, but it's okay. Ninjas have to rough it when they're on missions anyways. Gazing out at his favorite heroes; daydreaming of the adventures he'd have of when he was the Hokage. After finishing his makeshift meal, he did what came naturally to any young hyper boy left alone with a staff and ninja daydreams. Reenacting how he'd save the village from countless bad guys. Let's just say that it must've been providence that kept any lamps and other breakable items out of that room for such a day as this.
About 4 or 5 hours later a bored Naruto finally walked back into the kitchen area, on a mission dubbed, Codename: Leave no trace behind in which the super sneaky ninja threw away the wrappings and cartons from his breakfast. Having barely completed said mission, the blond heard voices and wheels coming down the hallway. He slipped under the sink and waited, catching the beginning of the Nurses' discussion.
"Hana-senpai, how'd she reject chakra like that? It almost left the doctor with 1st degree chakra burns! Shouldn't civilians have some to work with, even if they can't use it?"
"Kami only knows, but, not to have any… that shouldn't even be possible and still be alive..."
"His first aid was probably the best I've seen in a while though. Don't think she'd have made the journey or through the non-chakra treatment without it."
"You do know he's from the 3rd War, right, Rika-chan?"
"Wow, well the veterans always did first aid better than the newer recruits nowadays. Mmm, wonder if he's single."
"Yeah he is, just spends his time with his nose in one of those perverted books or out on the Memorial Grounds."
"For real?", poor Rika-chan sighed as they wheeled the unconscious young girl into the room at the end of the hall. "Why are all the cute guys always so odd?"
He stayed right where he was; waiting under the sink while they did their nurse things, making the bed, moving her to the bed, etc. What's "Reject" mean, that mean she can throw fire? Not having Chakra sounds cool. Well for a girl anyway. What's "chakra"? Gotta ask the old man. Will Old Man let her stay or will she get lost like the other kids at the orphanage? He widened his eyes when he realized that he'd left her walking staff in the waiting room.
He snuck a peek down the hall and heard that they were still in the room doing Nurse Stuff. The super sneaky forgetful ninja dashed back to the waiting room to find the staff where he'd left it. He grabbed the staff before hiding behind the door.
"I'll get the water, Hana-sempai."
"Oh, get me another IV bag, too. This one's out already. That's 6 bags so far. Kami! How dehydrated was she?"
Finally after another 10-15 minutes that felt like an eternity, the nurses left, talking about boys, make-up and something about "the plague of the hot springs."
Waiting until he couldn't hear their voices or footsteps anymore, Naruto made his way to the orphan girl's room. Tilting his head to read the door number, he noticed it was the same room they always used for him; Room #1227. As he walked in, he finally could get a good look at the girl he waited forever to meet. His eyes gazed at a plain-looking, brown-haired, skinny, pale-faced girl, sleeping. They had dressed her in the typical hospital gown, white with pale blue trim. Her arms lay atop the blanket that covered her, with her left arm bandaged in a sling and an IV in her right hand. Why are doctors' always sticking needles into you? He unconsciously rubbed the back of his right hand against the side of his leg.
He'd never really seen anyone asleep before, He wasn't allowed to sleep in the same room with the other kids when he was back at the orphanage. At first he was rather curious, then felt funny looking at her without her knowing. Embarrassed, he rubbed the back of his neck with his right hand. Now what do I do? So he went over to look out the window instead. Outside was just dirt, no trees or lawn; just measly patches of weeds scattered about. Scrunching his nose up in annoyance. He hated the view from this window.
Something about her suddenly put Naruto on edge; an overwhelming urgent feeling to escape, to get away from her. The future Hokage wasn't afraid of a helpless girl. was he? That was weird. Like it wasn't really me, but somebody else inside me... really, really scared of her? The fleeting feeling left as quickly as it came. Puzzled but not one to dwell on confusing things, Whatever! Naruto's left hand tightened its grasp of her staff to remind himself he had a mission. I'm not gonna run away from her like all the others do to me. No matter how weird she is!
The blue-eyed youth, lost in his musings, was oblivious of how the morning sun's warm rays were anointing his blond hair; creating a soft heavenly glow. Naruto turned back towards the girl, only to find her puzzled brown eyes watching him with a slight smile on her lips. Startled, the brave future Hokage flinched his head backward against the window, only to be propelled forward again for his goggles to collide with the staff being held in his left hand.
Author's Notes: Special thanks to my Beta Readers: my mom; our family's Spelling & Grammar Queen. And my fellow Hinata fan, Yume Kioko: u/2497446/YumeKioko.
Trivia Question: What is the connection between Hinata and Room #1227
Check chapter 3 for Trivia answer.