Disclaimer: We do not own Naruto or any one mentioned in here; it is the sole property of Masashi Kishimoto and whoever he shares it with!
A newly made eight year old was bouncing around a two-room apartment quite gleefully- his sapphire like eyes shone happily on his whiskered face, a joyful smile could be easily seen and finally, his whole being radiated so brightly that even the most ignorant being on Earth could see the child just oozed with content. The ancient nine-tailed fox certainly did so, and it was all the jumping and shrieking around that made his head hurt. Metaphorically speaking of course, for he/she/it could not feel that kind of pain. After all, he/she/it was just remains of a once full-fledged demon; he/she/it didn't even have a body of its own to boot.
The blonde was for once in his shunned and ignored life truly happy and on his birthday nonetheless. That was a day when he usually sulked around his home, crying out for somebody, anybody to come to him, to acknowledge him. But not this time, no sir. Now, he had something precious in his life, something that brought a smile on his face and spread a warm wave throughout his body; he had friends. Not one, not two, but eight! He had eight wonderful people to share his life, happiness and everyday life with; what more could a person want.
A body, that's what.
Kyuubi gruntingly chimed in, which Naruto either ignored or didn't hear. Seeing as he didn't know about a big bad-ass demon being stuck in his tummy, it would be safe to go with the latter.
His first friend had been a gloom and doom boy named Sasuke- which Naruto conveniently cut down to Sasu; Naruto didn't know how or why, but one day, Sasuke came to him, told him he was beautiful and decided they were best friends. Imagine his joy when the next day, four other boys named Shikamaru, Kiba, Shino and Choji went along with Sasuke's decision and befriended the blonde outcast.
Next one to become his closest one was a bubbly blond girl, Ino. After Naruto had called her pretty, she concluded he wasn't a bad guy and said the blondes ought to stick together, for the funs sake. Along came a loud mouth, thick eye browed Rock Lee, proclaiming youthful for speaking against some bullies in the Academy who tortured Lee for his inability to draw chakra.
TenTen, the last one to become Naruto's friend, he met one day while shopping for some weapons. He wanted to train a bit outside the Academy, but no one wanted to sell him kunai or shuriken. TenTen quickly came to his aid and borrowed some of her weapons to the blonde. A friendship bloomed that moment in both of their lives.
Naruto giggled, remembering Sasuke told him to come to his house, where the eight of them, with the help of some adults, prepared a party for the blonde. Naruto couldn't stop the squeal, thinking about the presents and the cake… He could feel his mouth watering at the thought.
However, before he stepped outside his apartment, he remembered the old man's warning from the day before; just like every year, he reminded him not to go outside. Naruto was no fool, he knew if he went and some of the villagers saw him, the situation would turn pretty bad. He was quite unsure why the villagers treated him like dirt or simply ignored him, but he reckoned it had something to do with the night when he was born; the Kyuubi attack. He sighed; lucky him to be the only baby born that day, huh? This also had to do with the fact that around his birthday, when most of them were mourning the loss of their precious people and the Fourth Hokage's death, most were becoming crueler and meaner to him every year.
The thought of his excited friends broke all his resolutions down; he had to go to the party, he just had to. Quickly jumping into his favorite orange shirt with a red Konoha insignia on it and regular white shorts, he rushed out of the apartment. Acting like a ninja he was training to become, he loomed around the corners carefully, hiding from the sight of everyone. He wasn't crazy enough to test his theories whether they will beat him up or not. He knew the answer already.
Somewhere near the Uchiha Compound, Naruto's shoulders visibly relaxed; by now, he encountered none of the villagers. They were probably too busy with celebrating the Kyuubi's death to notice him; try as he might, his blonde hair was a dead giveaway, even with his speed.
That was his first and only mistake; as soon as he started leisurely walking towards Sasuke's house, a greasy and fat hand got a strong grip on his wrist and pulled him into the dark alley-way.
Naruto flinched under the gazes of ten or more angry civilians… Though he could testify two or three were Chunnins and one even a Jonnin. He tried not to whimper or show any kind of weakness; this kind loved drinking in his misery. A bony looking one sneered ugly:
"Look what've we gotten ourselves, lads. A fox kit!" Naruto wondered why were they making that kind of innuendos all of the time they were about to beat him up. He was no fox Naruto was sure, though his scars said otherwise.
"Aaa. Well, we better teach it some manners, huh?" The brown haired Chunnin, who Naruto recognized form the Academy (Nemura, he remembered his name was) said. Before the boy had any time to react, a fist found its way in his stomach, knocking his air out.
He desperately tried to pry himself away from them, 'coz it hurt so much to be beaten up by dozen of them, but to avail. When he felt a sharp object slash across his stomach, he screamed. One of them clamped his hand over his mouth.
"We don't wanna disturb your dog, do we?" He was talking about Hatake Kakashi, an ANBU who wore a Dog mask, was one of the best in his field and the silent protector of the blonde kit. Naruto briefly wondered where he was and why wasn't he helping if he was seeing this, before the pain in his eyes tore his mind away from that train.
Why? Why are you doing this… Oh God, it hurts so much… Please make it stop… Someone… Anyone…. Help me… HELP ME!
When the mob was satisfied by their work, meaning they've beaten him up until he couldn't move and was close to dying, they picked themselves and left. Leaving a bloodied and broken body of a small eight year old blonde behind, with no regrets at all; they even decided to go and celebrate the act they've committed with a drink.
When a dog masked ANBU with a mop of a disheveled silver hair found the little boy, he wanted to vomit his guts out. Not because of the blood that graced the dirty floor and walls, but because such things had been done to a child; an innocent, bright and a beautiful child.
Kakashi calmed himself down and neared the body; he checked for the pulse and was grateful to whichever deity was up there that he found one. Faint, but it was there. He picked the body up in his arms, noticing how small and weightless it seemed before scurrying to the hospital; hoping that someone would know how to help him.
"We will not treat that." Said a nurse, with a foul look on her face. To everyone else it seemed like she was glad the boy was in the state he was. This kind of person pissed Kakashi off, even more so in this situation.
"You will treat him, or I swear to God, I will kill you and every single one of your kin." Terrified by his threat and the murderous glare in his eye (not to mention the K.I.) she hurriedly picked the boy up, grunting, and went to get him treated.
Kakashi turned to another ANBU that just arrived and was standing silently behind him.
"Notify the Hokage-sama." The masked Nin nodded, before disappearing in the thin air.
It took fifteen minutes for Sandaime to find about what happened, five to instruct some of his most trusted ANBUs they were to find and punish the attackers, ten to send message to Naruto's respectful friends and another five to appear at the hospital. When he arrived, a pale and shaking Kakashi attacked him verbally:
"How could you let this happen?" Sarutobi sighed; he should've expected this kind of thing from Kakashi. He drilled it into his brain that Naruto was something like his little brother; of course he would be out of the world from worrying. "Do you know what they did to him? They fucking pulverized him! He was barely alive when I found him!" Here, Kakashi stepped back, his eyes watering. "If he were to die… Oh God, I can't stand to lose him too…" Sarutobi coughed, noticing it was his turn to speak.
"I warned him not to go out. If he stayed inside like he did every year, this would not happen." Sarutobi hadn't even thought about giving the protection to the boy today, he reckoned Naruto will be a good kid like always and listen to him. But, he sighed, when there's a cake calling out to you, one could hardly contain himself. "How is he?" Sarutobi asked softly, truly concerned about the child's welfare. Kakashi leaned on the wall behind him, his eyes closing slowly.
"I don't know… He is the surgery, nobody is telling me…" Sarutobi nodded, understanding the situation fully. From Kakashi's state he could conclude this was severe, very much so, and it would take time and praying for little Naru-chan to be up and about again.
Sensing the nearing presence, Sarutobi turned around; he was pleasantly shocked to see eight little children, paler that ghosts, running towards them. The first ones to reach him were the littlest Uchiha and an Inuzuka heir:
"Where is he?"
"How is he?"
"What happened?" Sarutobi was bombarded with questions left and right, unsure how to answer them all. He was glad Naruto has found friends that truly cared for him and couldn't help but feel pride towards his charge at the moment. In one year, Naruto managed to warm the hearts of these children; who knows what will happen by the time he grows up. Maybe, he will even change this whole world! That was, if everything went well today.
A tired looking man in his mid-thirties neared them, his sole focus Hokage. He bowed down respectfully.
"Hokage-sama." Sarutobi nodded appreciatively.
"Yagami-san. Can you tell us something of Naruto's condition?" The doctor, Yagami, grimaced before shielding his eyes with a trembling hand.
"He's stable. We nearly lost him once, but we managed to stabilize him. But, this accident didn't pass without a price." Here, he looked straight into his Hokage's eyes, his own amber ones painfully saddened. "Naruto is blind." The collective gasp was heard in the unusual quietness of the hospital lobby. Kakashi's eyes widened.
"What do you mean?" Yagami turned to the ANBU.
"The nerves in his eyes, that tie his sense of sight to his brain, are dead. Even with an eye transplant, the boy will never see again." Sarutobi considered going into shock right now; how could this be? Kyuubi should be able to fix a thing like that in a day! It was impossible that…
Yagami seemed to notice the train of thoughts his Hokage had, so he added quickly.
"It was partly because of the wound, but his eyesight was lost because of the trauma. It cannot heal his mental damages." That seemed to pacify Hokage and ANBU for a moment, before the both of them realized the gravity this situation was in.
"Is it true?" The young Yamanaka whispered, clutching the front of the Nara heir. Hokage turned to the bewildered children that were frightened for their friend. He sighed, and for the first time in years, decided to break his law.
"Do you know why Naruto was attacked?" Both Yagami and Kakashi's eyes widened, seeing clearly the decision Hokage made. The little kids waved their head negatively, his curiosity peeking out.
"Eight years ago, when Kyuubi attacked our village, the Fourth Hokage didn't kill him." The Uchiha's youngest eyes narrowed in concentration, while the small bun haired girl stood confusedly, blinking rapidly.
"What do you mean? The Academy…"
"That is the official version of the story. The true one is different." He could feel their burning gazes, full of questions, on him quite so. He sighed yet again. He prayed he didn't make the wrong decision.
"The Kyuubi couldn't be killed, so the Fourth sealed it inside of a new born baby. The only one born that day." Calculating inside his head, Shikamaru came to a conclusion.
"Naruto!" He gasped. Hokage nodded with a dry smile on his lips.
"Yes, Naruto was the one chosen to become Kyuubi's jailor." The little group fell into silence, every single one of them thinking about what this meant for them and Naruto. "Ever since then, the villagers have seen Naruto as nothing more than a demon he carried. Instead of being the hero that kept the monster at bay, in their eyes Naruto became one." The Akimichi heir was the first one to voice his thoughts.
"But he isn't a demon!" Inuzuka nodded feverously.
"Right! To me, he smells just like another human!" A bushy browed pre-teen agreed.
"True! Naruto-kun is a very youthful human, just like us!" The bun girl piped out next:
"He would rather die that hurt anybody!"
"He is too soft to do something like that." The shadow user drawled out.
"Too nice." The Aburame chimed. The Yamanaka girl smiled softly.
"Not to mention, too beautiful to be a vile beast they think he is."
"He is our precious friend." Uchiha finished their group monologue; his eyes burning with a passion only Leaf shinobi were famous for. Hokage smiled content with their words. Kakashi was grinning from ear to ear, and the doctor's lips were twitching upward.
"Then," Sarutobi started „Can I have your word that, from now on, Naruto can rely on you?" The group nodded seriously, all of them remembering Naruto's dream of becoming a Hokage someday. Now that he was blind, it would be hard for him to be shinobi, nonetheless a Hokage.
The Uchiha's fist clenched, which Hokage found adorable, his eyebrows furrowing.
"I swear it on my life; I will always protect Naru-chan." The others, amazed by his guts, quickly agreed.
"From this day on…"
"…we will be his friends…"
"… his protectors…"
"… will never leave him…"
"… always guard his back…"
"…help him in any way possible…"
"… give our lives to him…"
"… fulfill his dream…"
"… And stand beside him the whole time." Sasuke, who was obviously the leader of the young group, finished with a passionate:
"And that is a promise of a lifetime!"
The Sandaime and Kakashi couldn't help but give a grateful smile and turning towards Naruto's room, both thinking, You really have found wonderful friends Naruto. I hope you will stay strong as you always have.
A/N: Hey this is OracionMist! This story here's a joint work between me and enslavedRei. ^-^ It's our first try, but I think we're doing pretty well. Hope you guys liked it, and reviews would be great too! ^~^