Legacy of Uzushiogakure
During the Second Shinobi World War, the tiny country of Uzu was destroyed out of fear for its Hidden Village's prized Fuinjutsu. Its inhabitants were left slaughtered or scattered in the wind. However, what if the members of the famed Uzumaki weren't as scattered as people were led to believe? What would it mean for one Uzumaki Naruto? A chance - some might even say fated meeting between the lost Uzumaki and the last descendant of the Clan Heads will rock Konoha to its foundations.
Author Page Standard Issue Disclaimer Applies.
Pairings(since that seems to be all-important for some)
Undecided. I'll figure it out as I write, and if you've read Emperor, you know I'm not above disregarding my own favourite pairing for something that fits the story better.
Just to clear things up for those who might later say "Why didn't you tell us [insert complaint here] before we started reading?":
1. This story does use the occasional Japanese phrase. Naruto is a Japanese creation, and much of the flow of its universe goes over smoother when using the occasional Japanese terminology. That doesn't mean I'm about to pull a James D. Fawkes on you all and write up whole conversations in Japanese, but certain phrases or expressions will pop up. The same applies to techniques; some will be in English, some in Japanese. Expect translations at the bottom when this occurs.
2. Chapters for this story will be shorter than the average chapter of Emperor. Why? It fit the flow of the story better, and doesn't require writing up major scenes of political, social, and economic situations of the entire goddamned Elemental Nations.
3. This story is secondary to Emperor. Expect me to work on that story first and foremost. That means that while I will be pumping out chapters for this one, the ones for Emperor take precedence.
4. No harem in this story.
5. No yaoi. If there's a LGBT character anywhere in this story (and I don't guarantee there won't), they'll not be paired with one of the canon characters.
Now then, on with the story!
Hikari smiled at the store clerk as she stepped inside, pushing aside the flap that marked the entrance. It'd been a while since one of her clan had come to Konohagakure, the Village Hidden within the Leaves, but she was glad for it. After all, her clan's contacts had informed them that the village might have some of the medicine they'd been searching for.
Still, she wasn't about to finish her business all at once. While some of her clansmen would've undoubtedly been more efficient in searching for the medicine, it was her first time leaving the clan compound on this sort of quest, and she wasn't at all hurried to go back — especially since her relatives tended to get...loud.
Just the thought of her relatives made Hikari put a hand on a nearby wall and lean forward tiredly, a dark aura forming around her as she sighed at her family's men's penchant for idiocy.
...Not that the women were exempt from the family's typical merry-making, unfortunately. Hikari was all too aware that her cousin Nobuko quite enjoyed drinking her own father under the table, proving — somehow — that her liver was either made of steel or was a medical miracle.
Then, of course, there was Kimiko, whom everyone depended on for maintaining clan discipline, despite her young age. A Kuchiyose specialist, she was so skilled she was considered one of the clan's elites, right behind Nobuko's father and Elder Keisuke's grandson Raiden. Only Elder Keisuke himself, even at the insanely old age of 70, towered above them all in terms of strength, which explained how he'd kept the clan together.
...Though even that didn't stop them from nearly flattening the clan estate whenever one of their parties went...out of control.
Which was, unfortunately, every other day.
Unaware of the fact that she was causing a minor scene, Hikari wept silently, grumbling to herself comically at her misfortune for belonging to a clan full of fighting-happy morons. Just watching the young girl stand in that corner, mumbling to herself, had the store clerk silently pondering, even as she sweatdropped, whether it'd been a good idea to let the weird girl into the shop — particularly given the awkward stares other potential clients were giving her.
"Eh...miss?" she tried to snap the girl out of her self-induced funk. "I apologize, but you're scaring the other—"
"Ha...?" the expression Hikari wore when she turned around was enough to have the clerk squeak in fright. Much like the rest of the clan she cursed, Hikari had inherited a hair trigger temper and a dislike for being interrupted in her musings. Thus, when she turned her head to face the clerk, a dark shadow passed over her face and she sneered at the woman like a yakuza — completely going against the perky, happy image she'd presented upon entering the store. "You say something?" she demanded rudely, her tone very, very easily conveying the fact that anything but a negative answer would result in pain.
The clerk again squeaked in fright and shook her head quickly before dashing for the safety of her cashier...though one had to wonder how much safety the lump of metal could really bring to bear against the pissed off young girl in the corner of the shop.
Finally snapping out of her dark musings — some involving how best to punish her...exciteable male relatives — Hikari noted the looks she was getting and quickly figured out that the clerk had been asking for her to tone down the (she guessed) murderous aura she'd been projecting.
Sighing and once again blaming her family for this debacle, Hikari went for the medicine aisle to check what the store had in stock. Humming a clan song under her breath, she glanced at the labels with curiosity. Headache medicine, cold medicine, hemorrhoid medicine — she idly wondered whether she should bring some for Elder Keisuke, but then scratched that idea, since he'd probably beat the crap out of her for suggesting he needed it.
"Nara, Nara, Nara..." she mumbled, foregoing her humming in favour of reminding herself the brand of the medicine she was looking for. After all, that seemed to be the way this store arranged their products; so far, she'd seen Yamanaka headache pills, Akimichi soldier pills, and Hyuuga eye drops.
"Looking for something?" a young male voice asked. Turning her head to her left, Hikari blushed almost instantly as a handsome young man smiled charmingly at her. Oooooh...she'd really hit jackpot when she'd asked to come to Konoha! Who knew they had such cute boys roaming around?
Ha! Who's the cow-breasted freak of nature lacking in sex appeal now, Moriko?!
Putting on her most winning smile, Hikari bowed shortly in greeting. "Oh, I'm sorry!" she apologized with extra sweetness and her posture arranged to emphasize her...assets. "I'm new in town, and I heard Nara medicines were the best to be had!" she then pouted as cutely as she could pull off — and judging by the gleam in the young man's eyes, it was quite a lot. "But I can't seem to find them..."
3. 2. 1.
"Why, allow me!" the young man, suddenly way more exuberant than his prior calm, cool charm had suggested, cried out, all but hypnotized by the delicious female morsel before him. It was just like her auntie, Nobuko's mother, had said before passing away: men are weak before the power that is the female form.
Heck, Hikari just stood back and watched as the young man went through nearly every shelf picking out medicinal products made by the Nara clan, each time asking her if that was the one she was looking for. After nearly fifteen no's, she squealed happily as he lucked out and provided her with the bottle she'd been searching for.
Rewarding the young man with a kiss on the cheek and slipping him a time and place for a date for the next day, if he was interested, she quickly stocked up on the particular medicine and went for the cashier, who eyed her warily — still remembering the dark aura she'd emitted only moments before.
When she finally left the store, Hikari was smiling brightly, happy to have accomplished her first out-of-estate clan mission. Pouting, she remembered how vocally Elder Keisuke had argued against letting clan men and women leave the estate before they reached the age of 18. Even knowing that children of 10 to 11 left the Great Villages as ninjas hadn't dented the man's stubborn streak. In fact, Hikari could honestly say that the reason she was even out of the clan compound was sheer dumb luck.
The Elder had been incapacitated by some illness — at 70, what wouldn't floor him? Honestly. — and thus the decision regarding who to send out for medicine had rested on the shoulders of her Uncle Hiroki, who was much less of a stickler for rules. As such, he'd easily allowed Hikari to leave the compound, trusting her skills and know-how to keep her safe, even as she made her trek for Konoha.
….Okay, so maybe it hadn't been that easy. She'd had to convince her cousin Nobuko to slip copious amounts of booze into her uncle and then arranged for him some rather risque company to dally with. After that, it'd been a simple matter of asking him for the favour, and, being made pliant with booze and women, he'd readily agreed.
Hikari shuddered to think what Elder Keisuke would do to her uncle once the elder found out he'd been manipulated by his daughter and niece. Oh well; served him right for not keeping his guard up.
Still, it had been a worthwhile journey so far. The world outside the clan compound had always fascinated her. Uncle Hiroki would always tell the clan children stories of his adventures whenever Elder Keisuke sent him out on a mission, and she'd grown up hearing wondrous tales of ninja battles and the slaying of wild beasts that terrorized the countryside. She'd even heard of the Bijuu, but then what children of her clan hadn't? The Bijuu and her family had a special history, after all, and growing up they all had to learn everything there was about them.
So much so, in fact, that her clan treated the Bijuu like just another family tradition - nice to know about, but nothing really to get your panties in a twist over.
According to Elder Keisuke — who really loved imparting stories of his youth — that wasn't always the case. There used to be a time, he'd told them, when the Bijuu were central to their clan's very existence. He had, he claimed, personally known Senju Hashirama, the Shodai Hokage, whom the clan was taught to respect as the first man who managed to defeat the greatest of all the Bijuu — the Kyuubi no Kitsune.
Which made Hikari all the more giddy at being in Konoha. Growing up, she'd viewed the Shodai Hokage as a hero, and to now stroll through the village he'd co-founded was quite the trip. Looking towards the famous Hokage Monument, she couldn't help but sigh pleasantly at the carved faces of the Four Hokage. Even carved in stone, the expressions of the Four conveyed nothing but authority and power, and yet also a sense that they were watching over their village protectively.
Smiling to herself as she gazed upon the majestic stonework, Hikari ticked it off on her list of things to do while in Konoha. Unfortunately, that didn't exactly make the list shrink by all that much, considering she'd been all but assaulted by her underage relatives in order to get her to bring them souvenirs from the outside world.
As she went over the list — thank heaven for eidetic memory! — she sighed in resignation, again leaning against a wall, as she realized she'd have to go shopping for more sealing scrolls. Nobuko's order alone — enough alcohol to make a lush giddy for a year — would take up an entire scroll by itself.
Elsewhere in the Elemental Nations, a blonde, double-pig-tailed blonde sneezed just as she rolled the dice in a craps table, making the treacherous ivory cubes land on double 1's and increasing her gambling debt threefold.
Hikari sighed to herself in self-sympathy, wishing not for the first time that she could just live in a town like Konoha, rather than at the clan compound. She understood Elder Keisuke's reasons well enough — one of the principle rules of the clan was that there should be no secrets amongst clansmen — but as she walked down the streets of the busy town, wearing her usual clan getup, she couldn't help but notice the weird stares she attracted.
Then again, there weren't many people around who went about their business carrying a massive scroll on their back. It wasn't an exaggeration, either; the bloody thing was maybe a foot taller than her, and the only way she could carry it without dragging an edge across the road or acting like a walking barricade was to keep it diagonally strapped to her back.
Little did she know that it wasn't the scroll itself that attracted attention — rather, it was the fact that some petite girl could carry it without any seeming unease.
Not that Hikari was oblivious to the gazes she was attracting. Ever since setting foot in Konoha, she'd felt like she was being watched, and attributed that feeling to the ANBU her Uncle Hiroki had told her and her cousins about. Idly, she wondered if she'd get to meet one face to face...or face to mask, if the stories were true.
Then again, that would mean she was in trouble, right? Maybe that wasn't such a good idea after all...
"Yare, yare..." she sighed as she strolled down the market lane, her eyes half-lidded as she gave passing stalls a cursory glance for anything her relatives might want. After all, unless one of the clan left the compound on a mission, which they did every once in a while in order to feed, house, and clothe the clan, her family had no real links to the outside world.
A flash caught her eye then, and she turned her head towards the stall to the right, recognizing its wares as Iwa-crafted jewelry. Eyes sparkling, she quickly shuffled over to the stall, admiring the offered products like the young girl she was.
To be fair, Hikari had only ever seen this sort of high-end jewelry in the hands of some of her aunts, and even then, most of it had been melted down after the war had erupted and her clan was forced to flee from Iwa ninjas. The same happened to anything they'd owned from Kumo, for that matter. What little they had from either country were now considered bitter heirlooms, as a matter of fact.
Starry-eyed, she lifted one particularly pretty brooch, admiring it under the watchful gaze and grin of the stall vendor, when she heard a commotion brewing further down the street. Reluctantly, she turned her head towards the source of the noise, much to the vendor's disappointment, and was surprised to see what seemed to be the young store clerk she'd intimidated before shooing out, quite rudely, a young boy wearing the most god awful orange jumpsuit Hikari ever had the misfortune of laying eyes on.
Seriously, just looking at it made her want to claw her eyes out and purge them via exorcism ritual.
Still, something didn't quite sit right with the way the clerk was treating the young boy like some form of undesirable street trash. Sure, he seemed a little rough around the edges, but surely she'd made a worse impression than he did, right?
"Ah, it's that boy again..." she heard the Iwa merchant muse.
Hikari blinked and glanced curiously at the vendor. "Pardon?"
The man eyed her for a moment. "You from out of town, un?" he shrugged as she nodded and took a seat behind his stall. "Been seeing him around here for a couple of days, un," he grunted before taking out a pipe and lighting up. "Kind of a troublemaker, un."
Hikari didn't know what to make of the man's verbal tic, but it was starting to grate on her nerves. That said, she did find his information on the kid interesting, even if he did seem like the town pest, from the sound of things. "That bad?" she asked, resting an arm on her giant scroll container.
Again, the Iwa native shrugged. "He's not bothered me, un," he said noncommittally.
Hikari grunted in acknowledgement at the comment but otherwise stayed silent, keeping her eye on the downtrodden child as he trudged away from the shop.
'I guess even Konoha has its rejects...' she mused privately.
Naruto had called it: today officially sucked.
First of all, the Academy tutors had all but thrown him out for the day on a barely acceptable technicality — well, barely acceptable in his opinion, since he didn't consider pranking grounds for suspension, even if it did mean the teachers were covered in itching powder — and Iruka hadn't been around to stop his suspension, as he usually did.
To make matters worse, he'd forgotten his lunch at school, and since he wasn't allowed on school grounds until tomorrow, that meant he had to suffer through hunger, given his sparingly rationed foodstuffs back home.
The blonde, orange-clad child sighed sadly to himself as he took a seat against the wall in a nearby alleyway. His latest attempt at window shopping had failed, too, on account of the prissy clerk at the cashier. Naturally, he'd called the harpy every name in the book as he was all but thrown out, though it did serve to reinforce his belief that the town hated him.
He scoffed then. What did he care? One day, he'd show them all! His eyes, almost instinctively, fell on the Hokage Monument. Whatever pranks he did on the place, it was a simple truth that he practically worshipped the village leaders. From the Shodai Hokage to the prematurely deceased Yondaime Hokage, he saw the great leaders of Konoha as an inspiration.
Thus, his dream to follow in their footsteps, and in so doing achieve the respect and acknowledgement of his peers.
Naruto had long ago learned that no amount of crying or shouting would really get him any acknowledgement. Pranks? Sure, he loved pulling those off, and yes, they did garner him some attention. However, he was also well aware that it wasn't the attention he wanted. For now, it kept him afloat, but he'd never dreamed of settling for that.
He flinched as he felt and heard his stomach growl. Ideally, this would call for a trip to Ichiraku's Ramen Stand, the only place in town which would willingly and happily serve him, but he'd not yet managed to scrape together enough to pay for it. Sure, Old Man Teuchi would probably give him a freebie, seeing as he was cool and all, but Naruto hated charity. He really did.
A man, he believed, needed to be able to stand on his own two feet.
Still...maybe sitting in an alleyway wasn't the best way to ignore the hunger cramps. Picking himself up, he slowly emerged back out into the street, deliberately ignoring the looks of disdain and disapproval that marred the features of many of Konoha's citizens. He'd long since grown used to them, and while they still bothered him on an emotional level, he got his revenge by pranking the more serious offenders.
"Oh, look, it's that kid..."
"Tch...brat. Always making trouble."
"...Can't believe they let him enter the Academy..."
The comments always seemed to follow him wherever he went. Usually it was gossipy women, since the men of Konoha preferred more direct forms of disdain, like tripping him, "accidentally" throwing garbage in his way, and other, similar petty actions. Occasionally, if Konoha was nearing October 10th, he'd have to be on his guard for drunken revelers who wanted to "teach him a lesson," whatever that meant.
Honestly, what was up with these people? His only comfort was that whenever mobs started to form, the ANBU were pretty quick to head them off and dispersed the drunken idiots.
Twitching irritably every time they threw out disparaging comments, Naruto finally felt himself snap when he overheard one particular civilian call him the forbidden word.
Whirling around, Naruto planted his feet wide and pointed at the offender, wide eyed and pupil-less. "WHO'RE YOU CALLING A TINY SPECK OF DUST, HAGE!"
Naturally, this earned Naruto a chase through the market street by the offended civilian, whom Naruto enjoyed taunting terribly as he kept himself out of reach. Eventually losing the violently-inclined civilian, Naruto felt a grin form on his face as he came down from the adrenaline rush. Yeah, that was what he'd needed. A good old fashioned chase to get his blood pumping!
His mind having now blasted away any traces of thoughts relating to hunger, Naruto cackled to himself as he began plotting, from the safety of his darkened alley, who to prank for the day and how. Maybe it was time to pay the Akimichi food stores another visit? Last time he'd done so, the poor fa—...err...hefty bastards had gotten laxatives into their systems, making the whole nearby area declared under quarantine and somehow causing a massive shortage of village-wide toilet paper.
Naruto cackled as he remembered that particularly enjoyable week. Even the Aburame's bugs wouldn't near the Quarantine Zone!
Granted, Choji had beaten the crap out of him when he'd (admittedly stupidly) boasted about the prank during lunch time. To be fair, he had it coming, and Naruto liked his...big boned...classmate. At least he didn't call Naruto names. Sometimes he even tagged along for a prank, along with Kiba and Shikamaru.
Sure, they weren't friends...in the strictest sense of the word, but they tolerated each other well enough.
Granted, it was also stupidly easy to bribe Choji into doing anything. Give him a bag of chips and you could probably have the hefty boy pick a fight with the Kyuubi!
Speaking of classmates, Naruto wondered if perhaps his newest adventure in pranking should be targeted towards Konoha's darling boy: Uchiha Sasuke.
The leading candidate for Rookie of the Year was one person that really grated on Naruto's nerves. Glowering all the time and maintaining a brooding atmosphere about him, Naruto couldn't stand the sense of smug superiority that the duck-butt haired boy emitted anytime he lay eyes on him.
A fact only made worse by the fact that all the girls in the class thought that the emo boy was, in actuality, "mysterious" and "cool".
Honestly, if he continued to hear them lay praise at the altar of Sasuke's greatness, Naruto swore he'd hurl.
It was one of the few points of agreement between him and his male classmates, too.
Scratching his chin thoughtfully, Naruto wondered if perhaps there was an excellent pranking opportunity to be had there. After all, the emo boy wonder felt so secure in his superiority that he would likely overlook someone like Naruto.
Cackling again, Naruto was unaware of the sweatdropping passerby who looked at the darkened alley as though someone crazy was about to pop out.
Unfortunately for Naruto, his "brilliant" calculations had left out one teensy, yet unequivocally crucial detail.
Sasuke was front-runner for Rookie of the Year because he deserved it.
Cursing the horrible entity known as logic, Naruto jumped roof after roof as a pair of Chunin who'd gotten in the way of the "masterful" prank chased after him — courtesy of a just-as-masterful dodge by the aforementioned duck-haired emo boy wonder — both of them covered in pink paint and sparkling body glitter.
"JUST WAIT TILL WE GET OUR HANDS ON YOU!" roared one of the sexually threatened Chunin.
"I'LL KILL YOU!" roared his life part — I mean, colleague.
Naruto grinned over his shoulder. "You know, denial is a sure sign of —-" he squeaked as he barely dodged a Fuma shuriken aimed at taking his head clean off. "Oi, that could've killed me!"
"THAT WAS THE POINT!"
Squeaking again as he dodged various implements of pointy death and/or maiming, Naruto craftily eluded the pair by casting a henge on himself in order to appear like a trash can, which the enraged Chunin rather foolishly overlooked as it stood on a roof.
Dropping the henge, Naruto grinned as the walking gay pride parade continued on a wild goose chase in the opposite direction. Cackling mischievously, Naruto made his way towards his apartment building which, while decrepit and barely suited for human habitation, was nonetheless home for him.
It also helped that no one else lived there, since no one wanted to share even so much as a building with him. In fact, he'd often wondered why the building was still there, considering the manager himself had left quite a while ago. Oh well, at least he didn't have to pay rent!
As he drew nearer to his home, however, he began to notice what seemed to be a glow coming from the street — the type you usually saw coming from fire at a distance. Frowning, the young boy stopped his trek on the rooftop in front of his building and crouched down — experience having taught him that the less he stood out at night, the safer he was.
Naruto didn't regret that decision one bit.
Crowding outside his building was a group of his...well-wishers. Drunks, for the most part, but also the occasional sober mind who just got their kicks from hurting him. As a group, he watched them all but storm his building and start painting graffiti on the walls outside his apartment. A few even broke his windows, but none of that was damage beyond what he was used to. Thankfully, Old Man Teuchi didn't mind shopping in his stead, so long as Naruto fronted the money. The man was kind, not stupid.
Naruto watched silently as the crowd trashed the outside of his home, not really caring anymore. Thankfully, they'd long since stopped invading the apartment proper, since they'd realized he had nothing of value.
It took maybe half an hour before the group tired itself out and began leaving the building, and Naruto could see they seemed a little disappointed at not having caught him.
Though, he was pretty sure that even if they did catch him, they wouldn't have had the balls to do anything more extreme than hurl a few words of abuse. While gang beatings had been something of a worry in the past, Naruto had noticed that after the first couple such occasions, the mobs had all but disappeared, instead settling for pretty much making his life as much of a living hell as they could without actually laying hands on him. He never did quite figure out what had made them change their minds regarding visiting grave bodily harm on a child, but had decided not to look a gift horse in the mouth.
Let's just say those were the days Ibiki Morino, Head of Torture and Interrogation, had been at his happiest and leave it at that.
Once the last of them had left the building premises and started making their way home, Naruto finally jumped down from his hiding spot and began the final leg of his journey home. He was right about to start the first flight of stairs up to his apartment, however, when he felt an incredible pain in his chest and was flung backwards, landing heavily on the ground, his breath all but gone.
"Knew I'd catch ya if I waited long enough!" declared a youthful (no, not that kind of youth) male voice as he emerged from the shadows of the staircase. Naruto's attacker was a handsome young man with a cruel expression as he looked down at his victim. "The rats always come back to their nest, after all."
Naruto, usually one to give as good as he got, was unable to reply as he still had trouble breathing.
"What's the matter?" taunted the young man as more hidden assailants began to emerge from their hiding places. "No smart-alec taunt? No defiant declaration?"
He rammed his boot into Naruto's stomach, launching the small boy a few feet away and further complicating his breathing problems.
"Trash like you ought to disappear," sneered the young man as he and his associates closed in on the fallen boy. "The adults might not have the guts to do it, but I do. Get'im, boys."
With roaring laughter, the group began to wail on Naruto, who instinctively curled into a fetal position to avoid getting hit in sensitive areas. To his credit, the young blonde refused to cry out in pain — he plainly rejected giving his attackers the pleasure of seeing him squirm!
After a moment, the young man raised his hand and the group stopped their assault. Squatting down, the ringleader grabbed a handful of Naruto's hair and lifted up his head. "Had enough, trash?" he sneered.
Naruto, finally able to control his breathing, merely grinned painfully in response. "Bring it on, asshole," he challenged defiantly. He was rewarded with a vicious right hook to the face, further aggravating his condition.
"Tch..." the young man clicked his tongue as he got back up, noting the redness of his knuckles. "Little bastard almost made me break skin," he groused before giving his victim a swift kick in the ribs — which, other than making Naruto twitch, got no reaction out of the boy.
"Oi, what now boss?" asked one of the less intellectually endowed members of the group.
The young man glared at his subordinate as though he were stupid — which...to be fair, he was. "What do you think?" he sneered. "Get rid of him. This village won't miss him, and dad'll finally be able to get rid of that eyesore," he added, jerking his thumb towards the decrepit building.
"Oh, so that's how it is."
Hikari had trouble falling asleep once she returned to the hotel.
She didn't know why, but seeing that downtrodden child had really bugged her. It was odd, since he wasn't by far the only street urchin she'd seen, and she was realistic enough to understand that she could feasibly do nothing for them.
That one boy, however, had really stuck in her mind. Even as she packed the medicine in her bags (not that she was leaving; she was going to milk this visit for as long as she could), she couldn't keep her mind off of him.
There was also a sense of familiarity in him that bugged her. Like, as though she was looking at someone she should know, but couldn't remember clearly. She knew, instantly, that he wasn't a clansman who'd run away — there was no such thing in their compound. Everyone who'd left during the Great Exile remained, as far as she understood, within their assigned groups. None of the other cells had sent word of a runaway, and to seal the deal for her, the kid was blond, not a traditional Uzumaki redhead.
Unable to fall asleep, she did the next best thing — go out for a walk. Actually, that wasn't accurate enough; rather, she went roof jumping.
She'd always loved high places, and roof jumping was a natural way for her to clear her mind as she simply focused all her thoughts on the next jump, and the next. Add to that the physical conditioning benefits and ongoing practice in chakra control, and she'd landed herself with a nifty and healthy way to calm her mind.
Unfortunately, her habit also had a tendency of making her stumble upon some troublesome situations. Why, one time, she'd accidentally slipped mid-landing and fallen on her fifth-degree cousin Amaya, who'd been trying to woo her cousin Yuki, the stepson of her Auntie Nana. Suffice to say, the Water user had been very displeased, and made it abundantly clear by using her techniques to wash her away into a stream.
Potential homicide and death by hypothermia aside, Hikari had learned to watch her step. Unfortunately, she was also prone to forgetting her lessons whilst roof jumping, landing her in the type of situation she was in right now.
Just as she was about to take another jump, she'd snapped back to reality quick enough to see that she'd reached a dead end, so to speak. Beneath her, only a street lay, and the nearest rooftop before her was several stories up. Sighing, she was about to change directions and continue her travels when she heard the familiar sound of a beating being delivered.
She then sighed despairingly as she recognized how messed up it was that she could instinctively recognize what a beating sounded like. Damn cousins and their stupid, boyish tempers!
Snapping out of another rage-inducing daydream, she blinked as she heard a familiar voice and looked down at the street, frowning as she recognized one of the group of people as the young man who'd assisted her at the store earlier that day. What on earth were they doing? Sparring at night?
The question answered itself quickly enough as the small crowd of thugs drew back, revealing a badly beaten boy. The sight was enough to make her dry heave in disgust, and she immediately levelled a glare at the young man whom she thought had been attractive mere hours ago.
Just as she was about to enter the fray and teach those idiots a lesson, however, she listened in on the boy and the young man's exchange of words, smiling despite herself as she listened to the child defy his attacker. She flinched, however, when she saw the young man viciously punch the boy in the face, and figured she'd waited long enough.
Raising her hands and making a familiar seal, she listened in as the young man ordered the thugs to get rid of the boy and his reasons for hurting him. Her glare only got more vicious as she realized he was just some two-bit dandy who probably lived off his daddy's money.
"So that's how it is," she announced loudly, catching their attention and diverting it from hurting the boy any further.
"What the...?" started one of the thugs as they all looked up towards the roof and saw the redheaded girl standing there, a mightily displeased look on her face.
They had no time to say anything else, however, before a surge of chakra flowed through her and she separated her hands from in front of her face to slam them on the ground on each side of her.
"Kuchiyose no Jutsu!" she called out, causing seals to form in a circle around the area she'd slammed her palms. "Yamainu! Kerberos! I call on thee!"
Twin howls sounded out in Konoha that evening as puffs of smoke heralded the successful completion of Hikari's Summoning technique. From the smoke, already mid-lunge towards the thugs surrounding the boy, were two massive wolves — one with a grey pelt, the other with midnight black — their jaws wide open as they went for the kill.
"Shit! A kunoichi!" shouted one of the thugs in alarm as they all fled from the wolves, who unfortunately missed their targets. Nonetheless, the duo took protective positions in front of the fallen boy, and their mistress soon joined them by hopping off the roof and gracefully landing between them.
The young man, however, kept his cool, even as the two canines snarled at him with barely restrained viciousness. He'd recognized the woman as quickly as she'd recognized him, and felt sure his charms would win her over, especially considering who she was guarding.
"I remember you," he called out to her with a slick smile. "The girl from the shop, right?"
Hikari maintained a glare as her hands fell on top of her summons' heads.
Undeterred, the young man reached for his pocket, causing the wolves and Hikari to stiffen, and then brought out a piece of paper that Hikari recognized — the proposed date she'd slipped him. "A little early for our date, aren't you?" he asked playfully, though Hikari could now see the malevolence that hid right behind that thin veil of charm.
"About that," she said with a wry smirk. "I'm afraid I have to cancel. I don't go out with child beating losers."
"Come now...there's no need to be so feisty," the young man brushed her insult aside. "If you come over here now and leave the brat be, I promise to show you a good time..."
Hikari raised a thin, reddish eyebrow at the proposal. Apparently, the idiot really believed you could smooth talk your way out of trying to kill a child. "You're joking, right?"
The young man blinked at her once, then twice, and finally sighed as he held his head in his hand, shaking it in disappointment. "Ah...what a pity," he mused out loud. "I guess this'll have to go down the hard way. Boys, get her."
Thankfully, the mass of less-than-admirable gentlemen hesitated to do so, seeing as how they now knew her to be a kunoichi. "B-But boss...she's..."
The man clicked his tongue irritably. "She's just one person with her two pets. Surely you lot can deal with that much? Or do I need to have my father evict you useless lumps from your homes?" he chastised.
That sealed it for the thugs. With a somewhat hesitant roar, the group of muscle-bound idiots charged her and her summons with wild abandon, somehow missing the trio rolling their eyes at the sheer idiocy they were displaying.
"Yamainu, left. Kerberos, right," she ordered calmly. Both wolves grunted in assent and dashed for their assigned side, leaving Hikari to fend off the thug vanguard by herself. While dealing with petty thugs wasn't outside the realm of her abilities, however, she couldn't leave the boy undefended, for which she slammed her hand on the ground beneath her with a grin directed at her attackers.
"Kuchiyose no Jutsu!" she cried out. "Shiba! I call on thee!"
Another howl pierced the sky as the third of Hikari's wolf summons, of the Shikoku breed, charged out of the plume of smoke and held its ground a mere foot away from Hikari. "Shiba, protect the kid. I got these idiots," she ordered, receiving a growl in response.
Leaping over Shiba, just as the wolf hopped back to protect the boy, Hikari grinned at her attackers as she drew back her fist and nailed one of the thugs in the chin, dropping him like a stone. Then, pivoting on her foot, she used her free leg to roundhouse kick another couple of thugs before using it as another pivot to bring her now-free leg to smash in the nose of a third thug.
All the while, Yamainu and Kerberos, two of Hikari's most aggressive attack wolves, had launched themselves at the mass of thugs from the sides, quickly spreading panic amongst them as the duo latched on painfully to legs or arms, only letting go when their prey began to flee.
As Hikari and her wolf pack tore into the thugs, Naruto slowly regained consciousness — and just as quickly regretted it as pain wracked his senses. Glad, for once, that his healing factor seemed to be working overtime to keep him in one piece, Naruto groggily opened his eyes as the sound of fighting reached his ears. Were the thugs fighting each other? Well, they looked stupid enough, so he guessed it was a possibility.
And that's when he saw the wolf looking at him.
Freezing, the blonde boy stared at the wolf wide-eyed, as if hoping that lack of movement would make it choose something else to prey on. All the while, he kept a steady mantra in his head.
'Please don't eat me, please don't eat me, PLEASE DON'T EAT ME!' he repeated to himself almost hysterically.
And then the wolf licked his face.
Residents around Konoha would wonder for days afterwards as to where that distinctly shrill scream had come from. The ANBU, in particular, deployed forces all over the hidden village in the event that an invasion had occurred. Suffice to say, the experience was enough to make Naruto pass out again.
Meanwhile, Hikari was having the time of her life as she finally let loose and really did some damage on these child beating punks before her. Back home, all she could do was spar or brawl with her relatives, and none of that had the satisfying feeling of a real fight.
This time around, with no elder around to tell her to stop, she could really lay it into the enemy, and she took to that like fish unto water. Crouching down to avoid a jab, she twisted her lithe body ever so slightly and then drove a screwdriver uppercut to her current opponent's chin, effectively lifting him off his feet and knocking him out for all intents and purposes.
Then, seeing in that split second that two more thugs were going to flank her on both sides, she twisted mid-air and landed a roundhouse kick, nailing both and knocking them, as they say, the fuck out.
Landing in a crouch, she swept her leg out, knocking a few of the idiots over, making them prime prey for Yamainu and Kerberos, who swiftly pounced on them as though they were fallen deer. By the time the dust settled on the fight, Hikari held one of the thugs by his shirt, the man long since unconscious, and her fist bloody, but otherwise completely fine. Hell, not even her getup was much affected by the fight. Then again, they had been civilians.
"I'm sorry," she taunted the ringleader. "Didn't you say they were going to get me?"
By now, the young man was well and truly aware of how out of his depth he was. Initially dismissing the girl as just some wannabe, village-less kunoichi, her three summons and herself had taken out his best enforcers. "Just who the hell are you?!" he demanded as he stepped away from her and her summons.
Hikari sighed as she dropped the unconscious thug and stretched her arms above her head, feeling a pleasant pop in her joints. "Man, what a drag," she complained. "You're that type? One little fight and you go blubbering like some nancy boy?"
She clicked her tongue irritably then, pointing and tapping at what the young man had assumed was just some custom embroidery just above her left breast on her low-cut, short-skirted white-and-purple yukata, under which a black mesh shirt could be seen, along with black mini-shorts peeking under the hem of her yukata. The symbol, however, was unmistakable: a spiral.
"Uzumaki Hikari," she introduced herself proudly before pointing at him, instigating her summons to slowly stalk towards him. The young man squeaked in fright as he was backed into a wall, though recognizing the family name she gave, of course. "Kuchiyose Specialist of the Uzumaki Clan."
"Uzu...maki?" he breathed, suddenly very aware of how much he'd fucked up. If that didn't tell him, though, the advancing wolves' gleam in their eyes did. He glanced at the fallen boy behind her and then back at his advancing doom. "You're...his family?!"
That comment alone froze the three wolves and Hikari. Snapping her head back to stare at the unconscious boy (who, by the by, was also foaming at the mouth from his too-close-for-comfort meeting with Shiba), her eyes widened at the revelation that this boy might be one of the Uzumaki clansmen, or a descendant of one, who'd disappeared over the years before the Great Exile was carried out.
Now feeling a fury unlike anything she'd ever felt before, she slowly turned her gaze back towards the young man she'd, at one point, deigned to date. Nothing of that impression remained now — all she could see was an enemy of her clan who needed to be destroyed. Lifting her index finger, she pointed at him, a cold, vengeful gleam in her eyes. "Get'im."
The loud screaming soon caught the attention of a nearby ANBU squad, who quickly arrived to investigate. By then, however, all they could find were numerous heavily wounded civilians lying in a heap, a rather viciously disfigured young man mumbling hysterically to himself by a wall, and a note left on the heap that had many of the veteran ninja sweatdropping.
"There was so much trash in the street, I took care of it!
Remember to recycle! ❤"
It said. The fact that it also had a small, impromptu drawing of what seemed to be a grinning, short haired redheaded girl giving a peace sign merely served to add to the absurdity of it.
In the end, the ANBU squad merely decided to do what they always did when something like this happened: inform the Hokage.
While the ANBU were doing the cleanup work after her thrilling escapade, Hikari had taken the young boy and brought him silently into her hotel room, having deduced that her charge seemed to be the object of disdain for most of the village. Dropping him on her bed, she left him asleep there and took a seat opposite the futon, against the wall.
She drew up her knees and rested her head against them as she gazed at the sleeping, bruised boy. She hadn't stopped, in fact, since she'd put him on her futon and let him sleep off his beating.
Missing Uzumaki clansmen from before the Great Exile was a well known fact amongst her family. As they grew up, Elder Keisuke made sure to beat it into the younglings' minds to show respect toward their perished or missing clansmen. Every year, on the anniversary of the first day of the Great Exile, the entire clan — literally — would go to the family temple and offer prayers to the hundreds of names inscribed on a massive stone tablet — an everlasting monument to the sacrifice of the Uzumaki clan of Uzushiogakure.
The problem was, it had been years since word had come of any Uzumaki clansmen living in Konoha. Certainly, there'd been a time when her family would've populated the ninja village, and she knew all about Lady Mito and her relationship with the Shodai Hokage. She even knew of the Lady Kushina, Mito's chosen successor when the time had come for her to...pass on her burden. However, according to what the clan had learned, she had perished during the Kyuubi attack thirteen years ago, the great Bijuu disappearing along with her.
And with Kushina's passing, so did the last of the Uzumaki Clan Heads.
Originally, Lady Mito had been slated for succession, but her marriage to Senju Hashirama had eliminated her from the succession, and effectively transferred the responsibility of Clan Head to her father's brother's son, Kushina's father. When he died, the responsibility had fallen on Kushina, and just as the Uzumaki had been about to gather in order to agree to settle in Konoha, the Kyuubi attack happened.
For days, the Uzumaki elders had waited for Kushina to arrive at the meeting place, only to find out her fate by word of mouth.
Elder Keisuke always told the story of how the elders had despaired at the news. But as he told it, it was not a moment of failure and surrender, but perseverance. Hikari still remembered how he told that as the meeting fell apart, he'd sworn to keep the Uzumaki name alive, and called on the Clan to split into manageable cells in order to keep themselves and their heritage safe from the prying eyes and jealous greed of the Great Nations that had destroyed their homeland.
Hikari had only been three years old when the Split happened. All her life, she'd only recalled living in the compound, but she never once forgot the story of Lady Kushina and how the Uzumaki had gotten so close at settling in a new home.
Her steady gaze never wavered from the young boy. Could Lady Kushina have left an heir they didn't know about? Was he really an Uzumaki to begin with? His bright, yellow hair seemed to defy their age-old trademark...but then she knew of several cousins who shared this boy's lack of red hair.
Hikari growled in frustration as she scratched her head furiously, unsure how to proceed. If the boy was a long lost relative, then clearly she had to bring him to Elder Keisuke. Then again, she wasn't quite clear on what the boy's circumstances were, and bringing a total stranger to the compound would undoubtedly give the old man an aneurysm.
That meant Keisuke had to come to the young boy. There was really no other way around it. She guessed they could send Hiroki first, but then he was Lady Kushina's third degree cousin, so not exactly close.
She softly tapped her forehead to her knees, hugging them close to her body. Elder Keisuke it was, then. He'd been around long enough to know what to do.
Still, she couldn't help a small grin of excitement to form. If this panned out...
Maybe finally the Uzumaki could call a proper village home?
Post-AN: Oh yeah, forgot to mention: this is a slight crossover with another anime. Sort of. In reality, all that's really crossed over are the characters themselves, and even then the names have been changed (where applicable) in order to fit the Naruto universe. If you can guess which one between this chapter and the next one, kudos. Either way, expect everything technique-related to work based on Naruto universe rules. EDIT: Yes, it's Fairy Tail.
Also, I'm ashamed I actually resorted to use the "Mob beats up on Naruto" schtick. I even tried writing up alternatives but nothing really stuck. Well...at least I've established it's not a usual thing...
December 13, 2013 Update: Chapter has been revised.
Irasshaimase - Welcome (to the shop)!...or something to that extent.
Yare, yare... - Dear, oh dear...
Hage - Baldy
Un - Yeah
Kuchiyose no Jutsu - Summoning Technique