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Theft with Etiquette
He never had a family. At times, he was deeply saddened by that fact. There was no one to commend his achievements or console him when he inevitably failed. As a result Naruto was learning to value his small accomplishments. He had achieved everything all on his own. He was proud; proud and excited. He now had someone to praise his success.
His anticipation and pride was snuffed out rather quickly.
He wasn't totally inept. He knew being caught and punished was nothing favorable. Although he had admittedly made an error and attracted unnecessary attention, he had also taken the initiative. Instead of demanding constant guidance, he had setup his own plans and challenged himself. He proved he was smart and capable of clever scheming. If anything, he'd behaved like a true demon; inflicting pain and confusion while earning the ire of all those around him.
He couldn't understand why the fox was not pleased.
"I am not pleased because you went against my demands."
With a dejected frown, Naruto thought. The fox instructed him to avoid unnecessary attention because...
"You are not yet strong enough to combat the inevitable opposition!"
Yes. The fox had said something similar to that.
However, he brushed that information to the side. The strongest person in the village would not kill him. At present, he was viewed as a mere child. The old man wouldn't kill him unless he proved to be a threat.
"Kit! How can you not see how wrong you are? You just provided the very reason you are not meant to draw attention to yourself!"
Naruto shifted his gaze about in confusion.
"Your actions have revealed to me a number of your faults. First of which is your inability to think things through. You claim you are learning and becoming smarter but your actions say otherwise. I told you to avoid suspicion for a good reason. You stated yourself that the old man would not attempt to kill you if you were not a threat."
It all made sense when he first thought about it. The Hokage thought he was unaware of the fox. He even created some sort of rule against him knowing of the demon's current residence. As long as he didn't flaunt the awesome power of the fox, he would not be considered a threat.
"What would you, as the leader of a shinobi village, consider a demon vessel capable of creating and executing advanced ambush tactics at age three? Most children your age still crap in their own drawers."
He was beginning to feel nauseous. He hadn't fully acknowledged the consequences of his actions. Any other child could do what he did and receive a simple scolding and possibly praise for such genius. He, however, was a demon vessel. Any type of wrong he did would be blamed on his master and used to warrant his execution.
"You've failed to think things through with careful consideration and endangered us both."
Thoughts of pride and accomplishment had long since evaporated. Instead, Naruto felt shame and rising panic. The fox said they were in danger somehow. Reexamining his punishment, he couldn't single out anything that spelled his swift demise.
His panic escalated as a result.
Biting his lower lip, Naruto tried to discern what part of his punishment would be a threat to the Kyuubi. He was simply suppose to aid the injured for three afternoons. Right?
"I'm certain there will be someone there monitoring you under the guise of a civilian. Whether an injured human or a medical specialist, their true intentions will most likely involve observing your behavior and chakra composition."
Naruto breathed deeply as he processed the meaning of the fox's words. Someone would be watching and reporting his every move. If the fox's life energy was detected...
How could he have screwed up so badly?
He'd carelessly boasted an intelligence that was not his own. His attempts at training himself ended up attracting the direct attention of the Hokage, the highest power in Konohagakure. His impulsive planning landed him in an extremely tight bind.
The fox would be sealed away, beyond his reach. Or worse.
They would remove the fox and end his very existence.
Eyes blurry with burning tears, Naruto fought to suppress his rising anguish. He saw no way to fix his situation. He knew so little about seals and chakra. There was no way he could learn to suppress something he only knew about in theory.
" Remain calm Kit. This can be dealt with."
Naruto ceased the sporadic movement of his eyes. Instead, he let a tiny speck of hope shine through his cerulean blues. If the fox said the situation could be salvaged, it would be.
"I will handle our chakra problems. You will focus on our outward performance."
He was curious. The fox had a way to avoid detection. Naruto was eager to ask so many questions. What else could the fox do? Could his master teach him how to control his chakra too?He showed restraint. He'd gotten himself in serious trouble and his master was offering a solution. Now was not the time to interrupt with trivial questions.
"You can no longer masquerade under the guise of a blissfully ignorant child. You've already proven you aren't a normal brat. Returning to that behavior will only imply you are hiding something."
Naruto raised a questioning brow. If this was punishment, he would have to cause more trouble in the future. He was eager to shed his old skin. While the fox was teaching him the value of being underestimated, he couldn't stand being teased and ignored.
"You must continue to behave as you did today. Only this time around, you will need to be a bit more responsive."
Naruto couldn't help but inwardly smile. It had been wonderful to ignore someone else. After ignoring the strongest ninja in the village, he could see the appeal. Denying a person the attention they craved would ultimately cause them to do all sorts of things; entertaining and crazy things.
Things he could watch.
"In time people will come to accept this as your true temperament."
Naruto nodded in understanding.
"Furthermore, you will post pone all of your...plans. Until we discover the Hokage's way of monitoring us, you cannot act hastily."
Naruto contemplated his next move. He would be making a serious gamble. The fox might forgive his blunder and commend his brilliance or his master could be upset and scold him for attempting yet another problematic endeavor. He was so young and yet he loved to gamble. How could he not?
He had so very little to lose.
The streets were slowly coming to life. Shopkeepers prepared their stores for business as parents dragged their drowsy children along the road to the academy. Naruto chose the academy rooftop as his perch this time.
His high vantage told him news of yesterday's events traveled fast.
Concerned parents flocked to the school yard. They demanded the safety of their precious children. Naruto sat idly by, watching the hapless instructors as they tried to console each whining parent.
He could strike again at any time. Their promises of security and protection meant nothing. He could terrorize the students of the academy when and however he pleased. He would not do that though. He needed to take control of his impulses. He performed better when he thought things through.
His tiny bag of powered glass was proof of that.
Bored by the exchange between the instructors and parents, Naruto carefully crawled to the stairs. He would have to learn more about ninjutsu soon. Climbing up five flights of stairs and cautiously crawling around the slanted roof was not stealthy. He knew ninja could leap across great distances and stand in gravity defying positions with ninjutsu. Those skills could help during his stealth and evasion training. Ninjutsu would have to come later, right now he needed to get to his class.
Naruto's tolerance for Ebisu was almost nonexistent. He lost what little respect he had for his tutor yesterday. The man was an avid ass kisser.
"Your recent behavior has opened my eyes to a number of things Naruto. It seems you are lacking the proper discipline needed to interact with your superiors."
Naruto was listening carefully. He heard Ebisu's every word. He also made sure he didn't look the least bit interested in anything his tutor was spewing. His half lidded gaze was fixed securely on the classroom window.
Ebisu scowled in anger. Naruto's nonchalant attitude was grating on his nerves. He could understand and overlook such behavior if Naruto was an elite heir, but Naruto was not any kind of elite. He was an impudent orphan boy in need of strict discipline.
"After careful consideration, I concluded you are not entirely to blame. After all I can't expect a lowly street urchin to comprehend the rules that govern elite society."
Naruto's budding pride screamed in agony. It wanted to retaliate with a jeer of it's own. However, the fox taught him one swift act of retaliation was less gratifying than long term torment. The insults and degradation laced in Ebisu's words would be endured. It was worth it. Watching his tutor's face turn so many shades of red while he shuffled his shade about was too amusing. This response, although not grandiose, was what Naruto wanted all along.
He was finally getting attention; recognition.
Ebisu was doing all he could to gain his attention and it felt fantastic. For once he was the one to make another feel like a useless nuisance. For once he wasn't the clown making a complete ass of himself to get attention. Naruto paused his inner musings. His clown was simply too entertaining; he couldn't help but watch.
"As the only well- adjusted adult in your life, aside from the Lord Hokage himself, I've decided to instill in you the manners needed to function in modern society."
Naruto simply sighed his indifference.
"For the duration of your punishment, you will utilize this class time to learn and practice proper etiquette."
He wasn't perfect. He'd only just begun to practice concealing his emotions. His eyebrows wouldn't obey his demands. They slipped into a sharp slant and twitched in irritation. They squirmed above his darkening eyes.
"He can't be serious."
His tutor couldn't possibly believe he would actually spend his time learning to grovel at the feet of the very people he despised. He'd rather eat shards of broken glass. Like hell he would...
He needed to calm down. This was his problem. He'd go with whatever emotion popped into his head. He was a master tactician in training. Despite his small list of successful traps, that weren't pranks, he'd proven himself resourceful and clever. The fox said so during the previous night's endeavors. He just needed to calm down and think. He could twist the situation around and make it to his advantage. Somehow...What could simple pleasantries be used to accomplish? Etiquette and political niceness only served to piss him off.
"Oh...Oh that's good..."
This would be ideal training. Ebisu's constant and bothersome antics would help him better conceal his emotions. With his tutor dishing out subtle provocations, he would learn to control his instinctual anger. He could also use this etiquette to mess with the village samaritans. With the power of duality he could demean them through simple greetings and compliments.
Yes, the fox was right. He certainly came up with better plans when he thought things through.
Letting his face return to it's normal state of apathy, Naruto turned his gaze back to the window. The tiniest of smirks made it's way onto his face. He could find the benefits of any challenge.
This challenge was indeed frustrating. He was finding it hard to breathe evenly. Etiquette had to be the most asinine subject one could study. Naruto seethed in irritation. The large dictionary atop his head was shifting again.
"Balance Naruto, balance."
He swore he could feel a vein burst. He never expected anger management would be this hard. He openly swore twice, resulting in his tutor washing his mouth out with soap. Then he called the Hokage an old fart. That earned him a paddling. He hated the paddle. Later, he slouched in his seat. For that, he could no longer sit down. Instead, he had to continue the day's lesson while pacing back and forth with a heavy dictionary on top of his head.
He was a hairsbreadth away from slitting his tutor's throat with a ruler.
The only thing preventing him from doing so was the fact that he was actually learning to control his anger. Slowly, he began to stop resisting Ebisu. He focused on ignoring his tutor's snide remarks and started formulating his own. As long as he followed the rules of proper etiquette, he could covertly call his teacher an asstard and suffer no repercussions.
"Okay now, Naruto...Review! Summarize chapter three and be sure to demonstrate the examples we practiced.
Naruto ground his teeth together. He wanted to deliver a swift kick to his tutor's balls. He wouldn't thought. Etiquette, and this entire plan, was about maintaining control and concealing one's true intentions. He would remain calm and in control. His tutor wouldn't control him or his emotions.
I'm in control...
After a deep breath Naruto calmly recited the key points of his third lesson.
"Chapter three addresses the usage and types of honorifics found in the Japanese language. Honorifics are required to produce proper speech. They are used in polite language and should also be used when addressing one's superiors..."
He paused to regain his balance as Ebisu nodded for him to continue. While he remembered every detail covered in the chapter, balancing the book while walking and talking was somewhat difficult.
"The common honorific used to address one's superiors is -sama.
The honorific -sama may also be used to address the people one greatly admires. In practical application I, a common place citizen of Konoha, might address the Hokage as Hokage-sama or Hokage-dono because he is my superior and is deserving of my respect and admiration."
"Yes! Excellent Naruto. Please continue!"
His tutor was genuinely happy. He was smiling as he tapped a ruler against his hand. The fool. As if he'd ever truly respect the Lord Hokage.
"Hokage-sama...pft... Kyuubi is the only one that deserves such high esteem. Hmm... Kyuubi-sama? That's too stiff...Let's see...Kyuu? Kyuu-sama. Yeah. That sounds right."
"The honorific -sama should never be used to address oneself. The use of -sama in that context implies arrogance. The honorific used to address ones peers..."
Ebisu raised his hand, signaling Naruto to cease his explanation.
"You've proven your mastery of the first three chapters. We will begin chapter four tomorrow. Right now I must escort you to the hospital."
With a sigh of relief, Naruto removed the book from his head.
"Don't become too at ease. Your punishment does not exclude you from your regular lessons. I expect you to complete chapters one through three in your workbook."
Naruto didn't groan or growl. The time was drawing near. He didn't have time to focus on homework. This was far more important. He couldn't afford to make a mistake.
He liked the hospital. While the strange smells and blinding lights were mildly annoying, he loved the sight of injured people. It pleased him to see the same people that would slap or push him bleeding profusely from rather painful injuries.
"This way Naruto. This is the front desk. You will need to check in with the receptionist here each day."
Naruto was barely listening. His gaze was fixed on an old man in a wheelchair. He remembered that man. The bastard pushed him into a mud puddle for simply walking past him. It appeared he lost the use of his legs somehow. He would have fun with him later. He directed his attention back to the receptionist and an older boy that joined the conversation sometime ago.
"This is Kabuto. His father is the chief of the medical core so he is quite knowledgeable and assists some of the doctors here. You will help him with whatever he asks you to do understand?"
Naruto gave a slow nod. He was trying to determine the best way to proceed. If this Kabuto asked him to do simple grunt work his plans would be made a bit easier. That most likely wouldn't be the case. He'd probably be kicked out or left to his own devices. It didn't matter which option came to fruition. He would have to make his way around the hospital discreetly. There were a few cameras in the hall ways. He would simply have to work around them.
"Okay that's everything you'll need to know. Make yourself useful and don't be a burden."
Naruto heard and remembered her instructions. He was suppose to help out the medic dork and clean the bathrooms. That worked out well enough. A public toilet was the perfect place to dispose of the evidence.
He wasn't thrilled about cleaning said toilets, but he thought of a way to dissuade people from using the toilets he would clean.
"I won't be needing an assistant for a while. So you can start on your cleaning duties."
It was kind of amazing how predictable people could be when it involved interacting with him. As Kabuto walked off, Naruto made his way over to the front desk. After maneuvering a few books and papers to form a small tower, Naruto stood atop the stack and gently turned the camera to face away from the lobby. He carefully climbed down and put things in their original place. Looking at the stairs, Naruto thought of his new daily tasks. His first task was to clean the second floor bathrooms.
He would get to that, but first...
He skipped around merrily. Humming loudly, Naruto bounded over to the old man in the wheel chair. He danced and hopped all around. After a short bout of kart-wheels he made up a song.
A song about the joys of walking...
The old man was red with anger. He even tried to grab Naruto a few times in an attempt to stop him. Naruto continued on. There was no one else there to put a stop to his behavior. Finally, it seemed the old man had had enough.
He scooted forward in his wheelchair in attempt to grab Naruto. Noticing the man's actions, Naruto let the man grab him. With his hand wrapped securely around Naruto's arm, Naruto dashed forward.
Naruto held in his laughter.
Instead a maniacal grin was plastered on his face as he looked down on the struggling man. The man cursed as he tried to crawl back into his chair. Just as he was making his way back into the chair, Naruto walked around to face the struggling citizen once more. He crouched down and smiled sweetly at the man.
After administering a swift stomp to the the man's hands, Naruto kicked the chair across the room, causing the man's face to hit the hard unforgiving floor.
The man was seething now. With clenched teeth and a scorching face, the man tried to drag himself to Naruto and his wheelchair.
Naruto wasn't smiling any more.
He was getting bored quickly. Kicking the man's chair around would eventually get old. He needed to think of something to make things interesting again. Regaining his joyous grin, Naruto turned the fallen wheelchair upright. His tiny hands wrapped around the handles as he set his sights on the old man. He slowly pulled the chair back. Once he had enough distance, he charged forward, intent on running over the old man.
He didn't yield the exact results he was looking for, but he was happy with the outcome. Upon collision, the man tried to grab at his feet. In his panic to avoid being caught, Naruto jumped and ended up crushing a few of his fingers. The man was now crying in agony.
That was his cue to leave.
Naruto swiftly climbed the hospital stairs in search of the bathrooms, but not before rolling the old man's wheelchair out of his reach.
Thank you all for the praise and criticism.
I do realize that one of this story's most unrealistic traits is Naruto's young age.
I wanted him to be young for a variety of reasons. One of which is his skill set. I read a lot of fan fiction and the thing that irks me the most is when I read about all these different moves and fighting styles and realize that they're never once been mentioned before. Starting at three gives me a chance to work in some skills before he meets some of the other major players.
Naruto's young age also allows room for his bad behavior. His personality and perception of right and wrong is still under construction.
Starting at three allows me to build his character from the ground up, rather than morphing his loud and joyous character into something sinister.
However, if it gets to the point where his age and behavior become to much to bare, you have two options.
Hit the back button located at the upper left of your web browser. If you are still having difficulties attempting to move to another page, click the the close button, located at the top right of your screen.
2) You can always wait until I edit and finalize the story to see if any major details change. If the details you want to see change, go unchanged, please see option one.