It was an ordinary day when they appeared. Naruto had been chased out of yet another store, the civilians beat him to a bloody mess, and the ANBU dog chased away the people who had hurt him. All in all it was a regular day for ten year old Naruto.

He hated it. The glares, the yelling, the look of disgust.

But he bore it all with practiced ease. He didn't have a choice. It was either grin and bear with it, or go on a killing spree and live out his days in fear of the place he had once called home.

It wasn't until he was eleven that things turned around.

He had made it back to his house, unscathed. Iruka had dropped him off right after treating him to ramen.

Before Naruto went to sleep (having done his daily exercises fifty times) he stared at the moon and thought to himself...

I wish I had someone to talk to. Someone who could help me bear this loneliness and show me how to be a better ninja...

He woke up with a start...and stared.

On his bed were two eggs. One was a bright sunny yellow, roughly the same color as his hair around the bottom were toads. The other was a burnt orange and it had crimson waves along the center.

He gently picked them up and was shocked to find them warm against his hands.

Since he wasn't in the mood for eggs that morning (they were too interesting to eat, and he decided that he could possibly raise whatever came out as a ninja pet) he ate his breakfast quickly and got to the school.

Right as he was worrying about the test he had to take, he felt one of the eggs shift.

GAH! I hate paper tests! I can never remember the answers!

And just like that, something clicked. The symbol on his shoulder, which was normally a spiral, abruptly shifted to flames.

Then why not change? From a dead last to a child prodigy!

And suddenly Naruto remembered the answers, as if the book was right in front of him. He was the first to finish, much to the shock of Iruka. Iruka's eyes widened when he decided to grade the test anyway, since he knew full well the other teachers would flunk Naruto no matter what answers he gave.

Naruto had gotten a perfect score! And there was no chance the boy could have cheated, since he was the first to finish.

Naruto spent the rest of the class practicing his aim. But while his body was focused on getting better, his mind was free to wander.

What the hell just happened? One minute I couldn't remember a thing, the next I finish my test before Sasuke and Shikamaru!

He heard a crack. And pulled out the golden egg.

What came out shocked the hell out of him.

It was a miniature version of himself, only older with longer hair! He was wearing a coat that was eerily reminiscent of the Fourth, and on his shoulder was a toad.

"Yo! Name's Namikaze!"

If the little person wasn't floating, then Naruto would have dropped him out of complete and utter shock.

"What...the hell?"

Once class was over, Naruto went into the creepy forest that the civilian avoided like the plague.

It was called Area 44, and it was the only place in the village where people would actually leave him alone and not chase him. Well, except for a crazy lady who always smelled of dango, but she never bothered him.

" what are you and why were you in an egg?"

"I'm a Guardian Character! I'm the person that's sleeping inside of you, if given a chance to come out and shine!"

Naruto grinned. He didn't really understand it all, but he knew this.

He finally had a friend!

"Cool! So who should we prank first?"

Namikaze's grin was positively evil.

"ARGH! DAMN YOU NARUTO!" screamed the ANBU he had just hit with a paint tag.

Namikaze and Naruto laughed as they ducked the kunai sent their way.

Pranking shinobi may not be a very practical way to use your ninja skills, but it definitely improved your stamina! Besides, they had earned everything they got!

Naruto took a breather once he reached the forest. Not even the ANBU would think to chase him in here!

Namikaze was laughing his head off.

"That was sooo cool! I can't believe you were able to avoid those kunai like that!"

"Years of practice. I heard from this ANBU dog that there's a Naruto Dart Board in their lounge from all the times I've hit them! I wonder why no one pranks them more than I have. It's a great way to improve our skills!"

Namikaze grinned at him.

For the next week, Naruto practically lived in the training area. It was the only place safe from retribution.

Naruto had just turned thirteen. And he was in total panic mode.

It was a week before the Genin qualification test, Naruto was freaking out. He knew, he just knew, that the test would involve the bane of his existence.

The clone jutsu.

Ever since Namikaze woke up, Naruto had been able to at least pass his written exams. That didn't mean he liked taking them, he was more of a practical lesson person.

Iruka couldn't have been happier, since it meant Naruto was no longer the dead last of the class.

(As a result, after every test Iruka treated Naruto to ramen.)

Namikaze wasn't worried. He had a plan.

It wouldn't be hard to convince Naruto to make his clones solid instead of an illusion. Naruto had the hardest time making illusions...his chakra control was slip shod at best. Yet he had the largest amount of it in his class. No matter how many jutsu he used, he still had more than his peers.

Which could account for some of the looks the other children shot him during their lessons.

Naruto, who had learned through trial and error that it was usually a better idea to listen to the tiny Chara, decided it was worth a shot. It couldn't possibly be harder than the regular way!

To the collective shock of both Namikaze and Naruto, he not only managed to produce a solid clone after fifteen tries, but he had created at least fifty of them!

Naruto blinked, and the clones vanished in a poof. He had to sit down from the head rush.

Namikaze cheered! Perhaps this time Naruto would actually pass the exam!

For the next week, Naruto experimented with the new clone jutsu he had discovered. It took him a few days to figure out whatever the clones learned, he learned too.

After that he decided to set them practicing jutsu while he was in class.

Then, without warning, the genin exam was upon him.

Naruto aced the taijutsu, narrowly passed the written, and barreled through the kunai and shuriken test.

All that was left was the ninjutsu. And he was unhappy to find out that yes, the clone jutsu was still on it.

Fortune, however, favored him this time, because Iruka was at the table. Which meant that he would at least be fair about it. Sadly, Naruto knew from past experience that even if he had passed the other three, if he didn't produce a clone then he would be flunked out...again.

He set his mouth in a determined line, and put his hands into the seal that he found worked best. The others were a bit iffy. He sent his chakra down the paths he had marked, and produced no less than four perfect clones.

Iruka and Mizuki's mouths dropped from outright disbelief. Until Iruka gathered his wits and finally asked him...

"Naruto...who taught you the shadow clone jutsu?"

Naruto blinked.

"That's what it's called? I just thought solid clones would be easier to make than those fake ones..."

Iruka face vaulted, before he recovered.

"Naruto, the shadow clone jutsu is a jounin level ninjutsu!" he sputtered.

"Huh...does this mean I pass?"

Iruka actually grinned at the boy.

"Congratulations Naruto, you finally passed the genin exam!"

Naruto cheered, loudly, before taking his headband. He walked out with a thousand watt smile, to the disbelief and shock of his classmates.

"No way!"

"The loser actually passed?"

"I don't believe it!"

Naruto ignored them all, and sat next to Hinata. She had her headband on around her neck, to his amusement.

"Con-congratulations...Naruto-kun..." she said quietly.

"Thanks Hinata-chan. I couldn't have done it without Namikaze's suggestion though..."

She gave him a confused look, so he elaborated rather quietly.

"Namikaze is the person I want to be when I grow up. He said he's called a guardian character, born out of the desire to be my real self. I have another one, but I think he's really lazy cause he hasn't woken up yet."

"A person born out of your wish to be who you really are?" she asked, surprised.

Naruto nodded.

"It's our little secret. Since Namikaze showed up tests don't bother me as much... Still hate taking them though."

Hinata laughed, and went back to the awkward silence.

Right before she went to bed, she made a small wish.

I wish I could be brave, like Naruto-kun. And strong like mother was.

The next morning she awoke to an egg on her pillow. No one else seemed to notice it.

She heard the news about the traitor Mizuki-sensei, who had somehow tricked Naruto into stealing an important scroll from the Hokage. Naruto had brought it back, so he wasn't in too much trouble.

Flashback to the Forest with Mizuki...

Mizuki sneered at Naruto. Iruka had beaten him to the boy, so Naruto knew he had done something wrong. It looked like he had been practicing for a while though.

Naruto glared at him. Mizuki-sensei had not only lied to him, he had tried to get him killed!

Namikaze was awake and he looked furious.

Then Mizuki had dropped a real bomb on the two. The reason why Naruto was hated by almost everyone in the village, and why the parents never allowed their children to be friends with him...was because the Fourth had sealed the Kyuubi no Yoko in him as a baby!

Namikaze was furious for some reason, but Naruto couldn't figure out why.

Something inside Naruto snapped. Iruka looked beyond angry at Mizuki. He was pissed off.

It was then that the second egg that Naruto always carried with him woke up. And he had to fight the urge to stare.

The second Chara was nothing like Namikaze.

He had red hair and fox ears. His eyes weren't warm at all, and looked sort of like a cat's. He had nine burnt orange tails that waved in the wind. And his outfit was rather like Naruto's, only with red being the main color with gold being the secondary. Around his neck was a choker with what appeared to be a sealing charm hanging from it.

"Name's Kurama, brat. Now let's take care of that whiny traitor so I can go back to sleep."

Naruto went to run from the large shuriken Mizuki threw at him, but to his shock Iruka blocked it from hitting him.

He listened to Iruka's words, before he bolted. He needed time to think.

Naruto was actually crying when he realized that even though Iruka knew about the fox inside him, he still cared about him enough to consider him a valued comrade. When Mizuki went to kill him for getting in the way, Naruto acted.

Kurama the fox Chara grinned cruelly as he let Naruto character change with him. Only Mizuki saw the red eyes and whisker marks becoming more feral.

The resulting beating he got from the boy would put him in the hospital for a week, though he was only given the minimum of care before the T and I Department got their hands on him.

Iruka had smiled at Naruto, and since the boy clearly had been tricked, treated him to ramen.

(Unseen by Iruka, Kurama and Namikaze kept stealing from his ramen bowl. Naruto nearly choked trying not to laugh.)

Flashback end...

Naruto left his apartment with a spring in his step. Today was the day he got his picture taken. Namikaze had convinced him away from the face painting, reminding him that camera shinobi were generally less than friendly to genin.

He really didn't want a pissed off camera shinobi on his ass.

On his waist was the new belt he had bought, which had two pouches that were perfect for his eggs. Kurama preferred to sleep, since he had only been awakened due to the shock Mizuki had given the kid. Namikaze took his usual perch on Naruto's shoulder.

Not for the first time, Naruto noted the odd resemblance Namikaze had to the Fourth Hokage. He had always shrugged it off before.

But after looking in the Forbidden scroll (and stealing several jutsu from it, mostly at Namikaze's insistence to keep certain ones that looked interesting) he started to suspected as to why they looked almost alike.

Naruto was beginning to suspect that Namikaze was in fact the spirit of the Fourth Hokage, given a new form. A form only he could see at the moment. If he was right, then Kurama wasn't just a normal Chara either. He was the Fox that had been sealed inside of him, given a chance for some fresh air without being able to hurt anyone.

So long as he didn't try anything, Naruto could live with that.

The Hokage chuckled when he saw the picture. He had honestly expected Naruto to do something silly, like paint his face.

Instead, the boy defied his expectations and the only prank he had pulled was the rather amusing pair of what appeared to be cat ears on his head.

Since the boy honestly could have done much, much worse, he decided to let it slide.

Though he did wonder what the little doll on his shoulder was doing there, with a victory pose. And where Naruto had found such a realistic doll of the Fourth Hokage.

Then again, he had noticed the little doll before, and had said nothing. He noted with amusement that Naruto had found the belt he had specifically ordered a week ago. Unknown to the boy, he had borrowed the second egg that Naruto always carried around and had it measured. It was rather simple to have the one clothing store who wouldn't throw Naruto out on sight make a belt so he could carry the eggs around safely. He had even added a third pouch in case another one showed up.

He didn't know what the eggs were, or what they did. All he knew was that ever since they had shown up, Naruto smiled more and was no longer the dead last of the Academy. He just assumed they were a good luck charm, and let the boy carry them everywhere.

Just then, his grandson showed up. And then his day went to hell.

Hinata couldn't believe that she had somehow given birth to a strange egg. Fortunately for her, no one else could see the egg.

The day before she was assigned to her genin team, the egg hatched.

A small red haired woman with mischievous eyes smiled at her.

"Hi! My name's Kushina!"

"H-Hinata Hyuuga."

Kushina was a bright, bubbly little person. She strongly reminded Hinata of her crush on Naruto. Well, aside from the hair anyway. This was only exasperated by the fact that Kushina had the oddest verbal tic.

When she was flustered she would end her sentences in with the word dattebane.

(Naruto had a similar tic, since he usually ended his with dattebayo.)

It wasn't until her father attempted to 'train' (read: beat the living hell out of her under the guise of training) that she learned the side effects of Kushina being around her.

Kushina, enraged by the way Hinata's father abused his daughter, character changed with the girl and then lit into the man.

He was so shocked at the sudden change that he stopped hitting his daughter and really looked at her. Hinata, when she regained control, fled the mansion rather embarrassed that she had shouted at him.

Kushina was unrepentant.

It was when she happened to pass by Naruto that she finally realized he had a small doll like thing on his shoulder. It resembled the Fourth Hokage picture she had seen in her books.

She hid in the shadows, too embarrassed to be seen by her crush.

Kushina wasn't having that.

Chara change! From a shy girl into a real kunoichi!

Hinata's face turned red when she realized Kushina had taken over again.


'You shouldn't be so embarrassed. You're a kunoichi, and you're stronger than you believe. I am the person that was sleeping inside of you, so I would know. You have to believe in yourself!'

Hinata decided to take a chance and go for it. Unfortunately Naruto had already moved on.

So Hinata went home. To her surprise, her father didn't chastise her for being out so late.