AN: These scenes have been stuck in my head for a bit, so I figured I may as well put them down. Reviews/comments encouraged! \AN
Chapter 1: Revelations
Leaning against a small woodshed and reading the forbidden scroll Mizuki had asked him to steal, Naruto smiled. The plan had gone off without a hitch, and now all he had to do was learn a jutsu. Glancing through the jutsu listed in the forbidden scroll, Naruto's eyes widened. This thing was so awesome.
Absently rerolling the forbidden scroll, Naruto raised his eyes to meet Iruka's, giving his sensei a wide grin.
"I did it, sensei! I learned one of the jutsu! I can graduate now, right?"
Approaching his orange-clad student, Iruka felt a cold chill crawl up his spine.
"Who told you that Naruto?"
Mizuki appeared in a tree behind Iruka, launching a barrage of kunai and shuriken just as Naruto opened his mouth to answer. Despite being taken unaware, Iruka managed to avoid most of the barrage, taking only a kunai in his leg and shoulder.
"I see you found our little hideaway, Iruka."
Next to Naruto, Iruka gritted his teeth as he glared daggers at his traitorous comrade.
"So that's the way it is, huh? I should have known!"
Mizuki gave Iruka a smirk before turning his attention to the blond-haired boy standing next to him.
"Naruto! Give me the scroll now!"
Naruto stepped away from both of his sensei, eyes wide.
"What's going on here?"
Gripping the kunai embedded in his leg, Iruka withdrew the weapon and sent it speeding towards Mizuki.
"Naruto! Don't let Mizuki get the scroll! It contains forbidden jutsu that can put this village in grave danger! Mizuki used you to get the scroll for himself, for his own power."
His head spinning, Naruto began to backpedal away from Mizuki.
"Naruto! Iruka is just trying to scare you because he doesn't want you to have the scroll!"
Stopping abruptly, Naruto shifted his gaze to Iruka who gritted his teeth in frustration.
"Stop lying Mizuki! Don't let him trick you Naruto!"
Standing to his full height on the branch, Mizuki looked down on Naruto and began laughing.
"Oh I'll tell you who's really lying."
Sensing Mizuki's intentions, Iruka's voice acquired a note of panic.
"They've been lying to you your whole life Naruto-since the decree twelve years ago. Everyone knows except you. Iruka's trying to hide it from you even now. He'd do anything to shut me up!"
Naruto turned his complete attention to the chunin in front of him, sensing that—at least for the moment—he was telling the truth.
"What is this decree? Why does everyone else know about it?"
Mizuki smiled, preparing to bring the young blond's world crashing down around his ears.
"The decree states that no one can tell you that the nine-tailed fox is inside you! You are the very demon that almost destroyed Konoha!"
Naruto stumbled backwards at Mizuki's words, years of glares, beatings, and abuse resolving themselves into a single clear picture.
"They've all been sneaking around hiding things from you your whole life. Didn't you think it was strange how they treated you? Like dirt! Like they hated you for just being alive!"
Naruto could only watch as Mizuki drew one of the large shuriken off his back, sending the projectile speeding towards him. Naruto watched as Mizuki's shuriken bore down on him, and yet, he couldn't force himself to move. It all made so much sense. The hatred, the beatings, it was all because he held the Kyuubi within him. The warm splatter of blood across his face brought Naruto back to reality. Above him stood Iruka, Mizuki's shuriken embedded in his back.
Naruto watched as Iruka's eyes unfocused, memories playing before them.
"Because you're the same as me. After my parents died, no one ever complimented me or recognized me. Being the bad student I was, I screwed up a lot during class…because I wanted to get everyone's attention. I couldn't get attention when I was a good student, so I acted like an idiot. It was tough…right Naruto? You were lonely, and it was tough."
Iruka coughed and Naruto heard Mizuki's laughter in the distance.
"I'm sorry, Naruto. You didn't have to feel that way if I was more aware."
Taking one last look at his academy sensei, Naruto scrambled out of the clearing, running as fast as he could away from Mizuki and the truth of his childhood.
"Naruto! What Mizuki said back there was all a lie! Hand over the scroll to me! Mizuki is after it!""
Naruto stumbled as the sound of Iruka's voice drifted through the forest, followed moments later by his own. Turning, Naruto made his way back to a clearing where Iruka was standing over…him. Withdrawing a kunai, Naruto crept forward.
"How did you know I'm not Iruka?"
With a sign, the Iruka-henge dropped and Mizuki appeared. The Naruto clone smiled up at the traitorous chunin.
"Because I'm Iruka."
His target identified, Naruto loosed his kunai at Mizuki and landed in front of the downed Iruka, eyes blazing. Mizuki dodged Naruto's throw and smiled at the new arrival, his eyes shifting greedily to the scroll on the boy's back.
"You hurt someone who accepted me."
Naruto crossed his fingers into his newest handseal.
"And now you're going to pay."
Across from Naruto, Mizuki broke out into laughter.
"And what do you think you're going to do boy? You failed the graduation test three times! I'm a chunin!"
Naruto ground his teeth together, putting every drop of his chakra into his new jutsu.
"Kage Bunshin no Jutsu!" (Shadow Clone Jutsu)
Mizuki's eyes widened at the sheer number of clones now surrounding him. Without a word, all of them drew kunai and descended on the chunin. When the blond-haired boy finally dispelled his clones, Mizuki was nothing more than a mass of blood and bruises. Glaring down at the man, Naruto delivered one last swift kick to his face before turning back to Iruka.
"Naruto, there's something I believe you've earned."
Untying his hitaite, Iruka limped forward, moving to tie the headband on Naruto, halting when he met the blond's glacial eyes.
"Naruto, what's the matter?"
Stepping forward, Naruto disappeared in a flash of speed, appearing behind his injured instructor and driving the butt of his kunai into the back of Iruka's skull. Naruto watched as his academy instructor collapsed, his unconscious body landing on the forest floor with a dull thud.
Picking up the hitaite Iruka had been about to give him, tears flowed uncontrollably down Naruto's face. After allowing himself one last look at the only Konoha shinobi to ever show him kindness, Naruto took off through the forest at breakneck speed.
A small, blond-haired boy stood atop a cliff overlooking Konoha; below him the Fourth Hokage's likeness gazed down on the village he had saved, the village that had tortured his son. Naruto's hands clenched at his sides, his knuckles whitening as the moon steadily climbed higher in the sky.
The question came out as little more than a whisper, lost in the wind the moment it left his lips.
"WHY DAMMIT? WHAT DID I DO TO DESERVE THIS?"
His chest heaving, Naruto absently noted the blood dripping from his balled fists. Turning his attention back to the village, Naruto's eyes narrowed; he had played the fool for them. He had shown them a smiling face and forgiveness, only to be beaten, starved, and ignored for his entire childhood. The villagers were fools-he had decided that long ago. He could accept their ignorance and hatred. It was the betrayal of his Jiji—no, the man no longer deserved that title. It was the betrayal of the Sandaime that had hit him hardest, the man's blatant deception obvious as soon as Mizuki had uttered the word 'Kyuubi'.
Naruto couldn't restrain a low growl as his attention shifted to the Hokage tower, the Sandaime's office awash with light at even this late hour. He had trusted the sandaime when he said that he didn't know why the villagers hated him, didn't know who his parents were. The old man had smiled and lied to his face.
Naruto felt a sudden need to retch as all the atrocities of his childhood unraveled before his eyes. He lived in the most powerful ninja village in the world, was on personal terms with its leader, and somehow couldn't manage to go a week without being beaten? The idea was laughable. The Sandaime was known as 'the god of shinobi' and 'the professor', but didn't realize that asking an academy student with more chakra than most jonin to do a bunshin was a tall order? Despite himself, Naruto felt a low chuckle rumble through his chest, before breaking out into full blown laughter.
It was all so idiotic. The Hokage didn't care about him; he cared about the Kyuubi and keeping it weak. It was so painfully obvious. After several long seconds, Naruto managed to regain control of himself, wiping a single tear from his eye.
"I won't forget this old man. I will never forget what you and this miserable village made me go through."
Shifting the forbidden scroll attached to his back out of the way, Naruto drew out three kunai and all of the explosive tags he had purchased earlier that day-just before he had failed the academy's exam for the third time. Bending over, Naruto attached the tags to the kunai, placing his finished product in a neat row at his feet. Checking over his gear, Naruto looked over the village that had been his home for the past twelve years, mentally wishing old man Ichiraku and Iruka goodbye. Slowly drawing out the hitaite that Iruka had attempted to give him, Naruto picked up the first of his kunai and carved a long line through the leaf symbol emblazoned on it. Standing to his full height, Naruto tied the hitaite proudly around his forehead, the loose cloth blowing in the wind behind him. Without a word, the newly-minted nukenin drew back his arm and sent his three explosive tag laden kunai towards the Hokage's tower, turning and running into the darkness as the sound of the explosions washed over Konoha.