REVISED AS OF 3/29/15
This is an ongoing project. I have revised the first five chapters of this story on this day of 3/29/15. Every day or two, I will be replacing one or two of the original chapters from 6 onward with new versions until I have decided I revised enough chapters to bring them up to my current writing skill and style. This might go on until at least chapter 17 or later. You will know if the chapter's been revised by looking at the top of the page for 'REVISED AS OF (DATE). If not, then be warned you're reading my old writing and there's a big drop in quality and there might be issues with some scenes story-wise. I hope to finish all the revising in the next week or so, so please be patient and wait for a new revised chapter to appear the next day. I won't be sending out notifications, so you'll have to check each upcoming chapter once in a while to see if it's been revised.
This chapter has been revised for better spelling, grammar, and improved story flow. I also wrote in some new things I hope both new and veteran readers will enjoy. This is to flow better with later events in the story.
I bid you welcome to my first story on this website.
I hope any reader, both new and longtime, will enjoy this story and let me know if they find something wrong in reviews.
This story is more of an alternate reality in which a smarter and less socially inept Naruto meets Kurama early in his childhood, and the demon fox turns out to be not quite so...hateful. She -yes, it's a she in this story- realized that pushing to escape her previous containers was getting her nowhere, and she wanted to try working with her latest container as an equal this time. This story will show the result of Naruto and Kurama training together for him to achieve his dreams.
That...and he'll be meeting hot girls along the way. :-)
I know harems aren't so believable in real life, but can you imagine only one single girl falling in love with Naruto...especially when he'd be smarter and stronger in this story? I mean...I counted at least five girls off the top of my head hot and bothered for the idiotic yet charismatic canon Naruto.
As of this revision, the firm harem list is this:
There might be more girls, at least several, in the future if I feel good about writing them. We'll see how that goes.
Anyway, I'll let you get started on reading this new and improved version of 'Outfoxed'. Enjoy!
Warning: This story will contain graphic depictions of violence and gore, mature language, and sexual themes.
DISCLAIMER: I do not own Naruto or any of its characters. Otherwise, Naruto would be a smarter badass earlier in canon.
Chapter 1: The Beginnings
Some time after the Kyuubi attack
It was a clear night in Konohagakure, the shinobi village in service to the Land of Fire, one of the five major Elemental Nations ruling the large continent. Arguably the most powerful of the five Great Hidden Villages, Konoha endured and survived attacks from the others and their allied minor villages in three separate large-scale conflicts called the 'Great Shinobi Wars'. Even more impressive, they came out among the decisive victors in each of those wars.
Thanks to the powerful, and somewhat eccentric, shinobi in service to the village that helped secure those victories, it was a quiet and peaceful night for citizens of Konoha without any fear of unprovoked attacks from outside forces. Despite that, members of the Uchiha Police Force were diligently keeping the peace with their silent patrols on the streets and rooftops. In addition, the special operations force ANBU, while unseen, also watched for any danger from the shadows.
All whispered conversations in the shadows and drunken mumbles from a few stragglers ceased abruptly when they all sensed a growing presence in the air. Glancing up from whatever they were doing, they noted a lone old man walking down a dirty and poorly maintained street, a good sign that he was in one of the poorer parts of Konoha.
He looked as if he already had a particular destination in mind with his wizened face set in stone and his dark eyes never wavering. Four ANBU were easily keeping pace with the old-looking man from the rooftops, slipping between shadows silently and unseen. It wasn't because they considered this man a threat like one might think.
Instead, they would give their lives to protect him from any slightest indication of danger coming from any direction.
This village leader, and the powerful commander of its military, was known as Sarutobi Hiruzen, or the Third Hokage. His large white haori with red accents flared out at the bottom as he walked - more like glided - silently down the street toward an old and decrepit apartment building. He stopped in front of its entrance gate for a moment, and shifted the front brim of his large and iconic conical Hokage hat up to glance at the fresh graffiti covering the front of the building and its perimeter wall. He sighed despairingly as he stroked his graying pointed goatee and read over the painted text.
'Die!', 'Demon!', and 'Go, away, monster!' were some of the kinder words he made out.
It's already been years since the Kyuubi attack. Why do the people of this village still carry so much hatred? he thought angrily as he almost forced the creaky old front gate off its hinges opening it and continued onward into the building. The four ANBU guarding him split up, with two going inside after him in almost invisible blurs while the other two took up vantage points on the rooftop.
After making his way up several flights of stairs to the top floor, he arrived at the door to the apartment belonging to one Uzumaki Naruto. The young boy was living here by himself, ever since he was forced out of the orphanage last year and the Third had to give him a place to live in since no one were able to adopt him due to politics involved.
As soon as he moved in, the tenants all immediately moved out…even the landlord. In all senses, it was an abandoned building slowly falling into disrepair. Only the occasional genin team hired by the Third himself to do maintenance on the building barely kept it from being unsafe to live in for the young boy.
He raised his hand to knock on the door, having come here to check in on Naruto and hand him an envelope holding this month's allowance. Waiting patiently as the knocking echoed almost forebodingly throughout the hallway, the Hokage's thoughts began going over what had been happening to this child not for the first time…and certainly not the last time.
He couldn't help but blame himself for not being able to save his former successor, the Fourth Hokage Minato Namikaze, from sacrificing himself to seal the Kyuubi into his own newborn son, Naruto, during that disaster on October Tenth so long ago. Naruto's mother, Kushina Uzumaki, who was already fatally wounded from when the Kyuubi inexplicitly broke out of her seal while giving birth, sacrificed herself holding the demon fox down with her unique chakra chain jutsu to help her husband complete the sealing process.
If only Hiruzen had managed to get there before the Fourth's Shiki Fuijin sealing ritual took place, he would have gladly taken Minato's place in the Shinigami's stomach. That would have at least allowed the young man to live in order to be able to take care of his son and protect him from those who resented his jinchuuriki status.
Instead, after the deaths of Minato and Kushina, Hiruzen, even as he mourned his beloved wife's death, was forced to come out of retirement and retake the Hokage hat until another suitable replacement could be found. Somewhat regretfully, he was also forced to keep Naruto's parentage a secret; even from the child himself.
Iwagakure in Land of Earth would have likely attempted to kill any offspring of Minato Namikaze, the man who single-handedly decimated a large portion of its army in one battle with his deadly techniques in the last Great Shinobi War. That would include sending assassins after an infant. The Hokage could not risk that with his village still recovering its shinobi force from the war and the Kyuubi's destruction; at least until Naruto himself grew up to be strong enough to defend himself from most adversaries.
Unfortunately, due to his parentage being secret and having to be hidden among Konoha's many orphans as a legitimate ward of the village's civilian council, this left him alone to face the coming animosity. When it was leaked that the Kyuubi was sealed into this young boy, most of the village believed him to be a true reincarnation of the monster itself instead of being its container.
The Hokage and many other respected shinobi did try to stem the coming storm by publicly announcing that Naruto was just a human child who had the misfortune of being chosen to carry a heavy burden. For that, he should have been viewed as a hero. The villagers, in their grief and hatred over losing their beloved Fourth Hokage and many of their loved ones, ignored their pleading and tried to openly attack and kill the infant anyway.
After seeing his ANBU stop so many attempts, the Third became angry and passed a law forbidding any talk of Naruto being the Kyuubi container on pain of death. He hoped that the hatred would not be passed down to the child's own generation at least, though he knew that was a fool's hope at best.
In the years since the attack, quite a few shinobi, like the Yamanaka clan head and the famous Hatake Kakashi of the Sharingan, found themselves blocked in every attempt to take Naruto in thanks to the village council making it a mission to put up impassable red tapes in order to keep the child isolated as much as possible.
Blinded by their hatred toward the Kyuubi, the civilian council refused to believe the child could not be the demon fox and kept finding ways to discreetly have their ward die early without intervention from the Hokage. They began by denying him even the basic necessaries of life by often having him kicked out of stores and restaurants and overcharging him for anything; even expired food. It was only luck that there were no attempt to attack Naruto outright due to the ANBU standing guard around him in the shadows almost all the time.
The old man had to allow a small smile as he remembered how his most powerful, and rather anti-social, ANBU, recently promoted to Commander, was quite protective of the cute and innocent infant back then.
The Hokage, in all his power, could not do much as there weren't any evidence that the council was going behind his back. Instead, he could only watch over Naruto from afar as the child continued to be more isolated from everyone in the village. Even the children his age avoided him due to their parents warning them to stay away from him without any explanation.
The old man was brought out of his grim thoughts by the cold silence that followed his knocking. It unnerved him somewhat, since he felt this wasn't due to the stillness of an empty apartment.
His shinobi senses, refined by age and experience, told him this was unnatural.
To confirm, he waved a hand and two ANBU seemed to melt out of the walls on both sides of the door. They immediately went down to one knee where they stood in salutation to their leader.
"Has Naruto-kun left the apartment at any time tonight?" Hiruzen asked the dog-masked ANBU with gravity-defying silver hair kneeling to his right. This particular ANBU captain was called Inu or, more famously, Hatake Kakashi of the Sharingan whenever he wasn't wearing his ANBU mask.
"No, Hokage-sama. He entered the apartment mid-afternoon and hadn't left since. Before that, we followed him through his usual routine. Aside from eating lunch at Ichiraku Ramen, nothing of interest happened today." Inu replied quickly. The Hokage seemed to contemplate this for a moment before the ANBU added.
"But…he seemed out of it. I think he's depressed."
A small shiver went down the Third's spine at this observation, and one thought went through his mind out of instinct.
It couldn't be. It should be impossible for a young child to think about …that.
He immediately pointed his index finger at the door and four ANBU, the two guarding Naruto plus the two that followed the Hokage into the building, quickly surrounded the door with two on each side. Inu, on the right side, picked the lock almost instantly and slowly opened the door. When it tapped fully open against the wall, all four masked shinobi quickly zipped into the apartment with a textbook criss-cross entry procedure. The Hokage, walking calmly but decisively, then immediately followed them in.
The first thing he noticed was the deep darkness and the unnatural quietness permeating throughout the entire apartment. Even if Naruto was sleeping, shallow breathing should have been heard at least.
Inu and his partner were standing in the unlit kitchen to the left and the other two ANBU took positions in the empty living room to the right. After a quick scan, all five noted some dim light leaking out from under the door to the bathroom down the hallway opposite from the entrance. The Third desperately hoped that the young child was just taking a bath and ended up falling asleep.
Inu shattered that hope into a million pieces.
"Hokage-sama, I-I smell b-blood. So…much of it." he whispered haltingly with his uncovered eye widening behind his ANBU mask
Not wasting any time, the Third, with speed not seen by any for years, blurred to the locked bathroom door and, using nothing but his natural strength, easily ripped it off the frame with a thunderous crack of its cheap plywood construction around the hinges. Tossing the door aside with the ANBU immediately moving up behind him, Hiruzen prepared himself for what was beyond…and still could not contain his shock.
If one had to describe the horrific sight the Hokage and the ANBU saw in the tiny bathroom in one word, it was simply that.
There was so much of that viscous live-giving liquid covering nearly every inch of this enclosed space in large splatters and blots. The cheap tiled floor was covered wall to wall with a thin sheen of bright red color, because the water overflowing from the bathtub diluted the blood. Also, next to the tub laid a rusty and chipped kunai, apparently discarded by a random shinobi long ago. It was nearly covered handle to pointed tip in that viscous liquid as well.
It was at this moment that the Third made the grisly discovery.
A blood-soaked blond boy was slumped down in the tiny bathtub filled to the brim with red water. His eyes were closed and his face was deathly pale with shallow cheeks. His left arm was sticking out over the edge of the tub, his limp hand hovering over exactly where the rusty kunai was located.
The last thing to hit everyone was the putrid metallic smell of dried blood in this tiny space.
The Third had to choke back some vomit, and it was only thanks to his years of seeing death and gore on the battlefield. One ANBU with him wasn't as steeled against this sight and smell, and immediately took his mask off to vomit his last meal onto the hallway floor. Inu slowly removed his mask, revealing one wide eye and his mouth obviously gape behind his facemask. He became still and unable to speak, not believing the sight. The last two ANBU stepped back in shock and had to turn away. They were all used to seeing this kind of scenes involving adults, not a child so young like Naruto.
Snapping out of his shock, the Hokage quickly moved to Naruto's still body and scooped him out of the bathtub, getting blood everywhere on his white and red haori; not that he even bothered caring.
He cradled the small and fragile body to his chest as he checked for a pulse. It felt like an eternity as he held his breath until he finally found one tiny heartbeat, but it was barely there. He then quickly searched for any cut on the neck or the arms to stop the bleeding. To his surprise there were none; not even a scar.
"Why…" a small and weak voice barely reached Hirzuen's ears. The old man immediately stopped his frantic checking and looked at Naruto's face. What he saw broke his heart.
Coldness, despair, and crushing emptiness were all he saw in this child's half-open eyes.
"Why…didn't…I die? I wanted…to." the pale boy managed to whisper out. Hiruzen began to tremble, and he had to allow some tears out as he clutched the fragile boy tighter to his chest. His four ANBU couldn't stand to watch this and went off to pretend to check the surroundings while dealing with their own emotions.
"Naruto-kun, you need to tell me why you did this." the suddenly frail old man choked out.
"I'm tired…of not being seen. I want to…exist." Naruto tiredly whispered out before breaking down sobbing softly with an anguished expression. Each wrack of the boy's sobbing form was like a knife stabbing directly into Hiruzen's heart. "I c-cut m-my wrists…f-four times. Every time, I-i go to sleep, but I still w-w-wake up…with no c-cut."
It must've been the Kyuubi's chakra. How ironic…your 'curse' saving your life. the Hokage thought sadly as he watched Naruto slowly fade away into unconsciousness, now completely exhausted. At this point, he finally stood up, carefully wrapped up the naked boy with his ruined haori, and quickly carried him out of the apartment.
He then made a beeline for the hospital with his best speed, and Inu was hot on his heels while the other ANBU remained behind to clean up and try to get over what they just saw.
Next day at the hospital
The Hokage marched into the front lobby of the hospital with a tall jounin by his side, both carrying grim expressions on their faces. This new man wore a regular Konoha jounin outfit, with a heavy green long-sleeved shirt and a loose red cloth vest layered over the flak vest being the only variations. The hitai-ate was displayed on his forehead with clear pride, and he had his long dirty-blond hair tied into a high ponytail. His pale blue pupilless eyes displayed determination, but also some worry.
The receptionist gasped and stood to greet them with a nervous expression. A stern hand gesture from the Third implied no greeting was necessary as the two men walked past the stunned woman to the stairwell. Upon arriving at the correct floor, they continued briskly to Naruto's room that was currently under heavy watch with two guards at the door and an ANBU hidden in the ceiling inside the room.
The Hokage immediately dismissed the guards with a gesture. As they entered the room, he then waved his hand to allow the ANBU to appear from the ceiling. It turned out to be Inu.
Glancing at each other briefly, all three men then had a quick look at Naruto in his hospital bed. He still looked pale and unconscious. A small and pained intake of breath from the new man was the only sound anyone made.
While the blond jounin stood still staring almost despairingly at the patient, Inu and the Hokage immediately set to putting up several security seals around the room. After a moment of tense silence, the Hokage finally spoke up.
"Yamanaka Inoichi, what happens here never gets past these four walls. Is that understood?"
The answer was a grim nod from the now identified head of the Yamanaka clan, and one of the top experts in mind arts.
"Now, I wish to thank you for discreetly taking care of the ANBU who were with us, as well the doctor who was here last night. I doubt they would miss the memories anyway, and we absolutely have to keep this to as few people as possible." the Hokage offered with a sad smile.
"I wouldn't want to remember this either if I had a choice, Hokage-sama. To think this child is the same age as my daughter…" Inoichi trailed off as he stared sadly at the feeble blond boy sleeping peacefully in the bed. This was the child he and his wife wanted to adopt since birth. He felt red-hot anger flare up inside against this village's civilians for impeding them so much, and had to work to remain calm.
The Third nodded before turning toward Inu.
"Inu, would you like to have your memory from last night altered?"
The ANBU slowly took his dog mask off to reveal a man with one lazy-looking eye; the other was covered by a small black eye-patch designed to fit inside his ANBU mask. A dark blue spandex facemask covered the bottom half of his face all the way up to his nose.
Hatake Kakashi shook his head in response.
"No, I need to remember this, Hokage-sama. It'll encourage me to make sure he's better protected from now on." he replied in an unusually serious tone for anyone that knew him personally. The Third nodded again with a sad smile before turning back to Inoichi.
"Inoichi-san, as we have discussed before, I would like for you to go into Naruto-kun's mind and completely remove any trance of the past forty-eight hours from his memories. Then go back to the time he just left the orphanage and work from there to the present, altering some events he encountered in subtle ways that may help him feel a little better about himself. Even random acts of kindness from non-existent strangers will help. As for why he ended up here, an accident involving him hitting his head should work and explain the foggy memories he may have after this. If you wish to object about any ethical issue with this, now is the time to do it and I will note it in the report that I'm making for Hokage's eyes only."
Inoichi shook his head. How could he object to this? No child should ever have to think about committing suicide. He then walked over to Naruto's bedside and pulled up a chair so he could sit comfortably as he dived into the boy's mind. Upon reaching up to the boy's forehead with his hand, the Hokage decided to give the clan head a warning.
"Be careful, only Minato-kun knew exactly how the Kyuubi's seal works, and you may encounter the beast in there. If you do, give it a wide berth and try your best to fix the memories. It should not be able to harm you, but it may attempt to speak to you. Be wary of it."
Inoichi only hesitated for half a second before touching his hand to the boy's forehead. The closing of his eyes and slight slumping of his shoulders were the only signs he had successfully entered Naruto's mind. The Hokage sighed as he sat in another chair.
"I hope this works." he mumbled as he and Kakashi watched over the two blondes.
Two hours later
Inoichi blinked awake as he removed his hand from Naruto's forehead. The Hokage and Kakashi looked up at this movement, and they were surprised to see the blond jounin shoot up out of his seat with his body trembling from unbridled rage.
"How dare they…" he growled out quietly before exploding.
"THOSE BASTARDS! HOW DARE THEY!" he roared before slamming a fist on a nearby wall, cracking it a little. Afterward, he had to work to regain control and managed to calm down a little.
The Hokage and Kakashi were stunned to see the normally calm clan head fly off the handle like this. They decided to give the blonde a minute to calm down more.
"Did you see anything notable?" Hiruzen finally inquired after an eternity of tense silence.
"Nothing. Absolutely nothing, Hokage-sama!" Inoichi bit out. This odd statement confused the other men.
"That's the thing. This young child was never attacked. The worst they ever did physically were selling him bad food and throwing him out of stores and restaurants. Apparently they didn't see the point of directly harming him since it would most likely mean their death due to your law."
The Hokage nodded for the blond to continue. Inoichi let out a pain-filled sigh as he stared down at the unconscious Naruto with trembling eyes.
"They just acted like he didn't exist. They ignored him and cursed him anywhere he went. The only times he actually got positive attention was whenever he saw you or ate ramen with a middle-aged man and his daughter. He has been dealing with that ever since the first memory he could remember. I wonder which is worse…physical harm or having your entire existence cursed and denied anywhere you went?"
The Hokage's expression slowly became grim as he began to understand what the clan head was getting at. Kakashi was now glaring intensely at a particular spot on a wall. After a moment of silence, the Third finally spoke up.
"Do you think you did enough alternations that his mental state might be improved after this?"
"It's hard to say but in my study of his mind, he was so desperate for attention that a single encounter with a kind stranger boosted his belief in his existence exponentially. I created and scattered several 'encounters' like that throughout the past year and altered some of the negative events he encountered to have somewhat better outcomes. I even put myself in one of the new memories so he would feel comfortable talking to me if he sees me again around this village. I will likely introduce my daughter to him to be friends at that point."
"The civilians will object to seeing these two together." the Third stated calmly.
"They all can go to hell for all I care!" Inoichi snarled in response, before taking a breath to continue calmly. "My wife and I have allowed ourselves to be pushed around by them and their red tapes whenever we tried to adopt young Naruto. We've dealt with it long enough, and if we cannot go that route, then we will involve ourselves in his life another way. It's not like they can legitimately order Ino-hime to not be friends with him."
The Hokage nodded in response.
"I couldn't agree more. I will support you and whoever goes this route fully. Did you do anything more in his mind?"
"I couldn't because I'm sure he'd notice. I believe when he wakes up, he should be in a better mood. Even then, I still hope he will become friends with my daughter and the others. That will go a long way toward validating his belief in his existence." Inoichi spoke in an analytical tone.
"Very good…what about the Kyuubi? Did you encounter it?"
"No, Hokage-sama. I easily felt its presence in the mindscape but Naruto's memories were located far away from the Kyuubi, so I was able to work unimpeded." Inoichi replied with apparent relief.
"Good. The Fourth did an excellent job with the seal then. Now, I need you two to understand why none of this leaves the room." the Hokage began with a firm gaze at the two men before continuing. "If news of this got back to those who are still angry about the Kyuubi, they will believe whatever they were doing was working and will intensify their efforts, making this worse and isolating him even more. I do not want to see a repeat of what I've seen the night before. Naruto-kun and suicide should not exist together in the same sentence. I know you believe this as well."
The other two men nodded in firm agreement. The Third sighed before putting his hand up in a half ram seal and whispering 'Kai' to release the security seals in the room.
Inoichi slowly rubbed his palm on the young blond boy's forehead with a sad expression before it changed to one of full-on determination. He then excused himself to leave.
Kakashi, sensing that Naruto was coming out of his sleep, decided to put his dog mask back on and returned to his hidden position on the ceiling. Hiruzen calmly straightened out his Hokage outfit a little bit before taking a seat next to the bed. It wasn't long before the young blonde began to stir and yawn, as if he was waking up from a long and fulfilling night of sleep. The other two occupants of this room immediately noticed the changes in the little boy's cerulean blue eyes. They weren't as empty or soulless as before. They showed some of their usual brightness with some visible confusion as the boy took in his surroundings.
"Hokage-jiji?" Naruto muttered in surprise as he saw the Third and then surveyed the hospital room with a confused pout. "What…what am I doing here? Did something happen?"
Sarutobi Hiruzen, the Third Hokage known as the famed 'God of Shinobi' and 'The Professor', was suddenly stumped and silently cursed his stupidity at forgetting to ask Inoichi for details regarding the supposed 'accident' that had the boy land in the hospital. He heard the tiniest bit of snickering and glanced menacingly in the direction of the hidden Kakashi. The corners of his lips barely twitched upward when he heard a gulp. He still got it.
"Naruto-kun, I'm glad you're ok…and you're in the hospital. I was told you were admitted here unconscious after you hit your head. What was the last thing that you remember?" he tried to fish the fake event out without suspicion. He saw Kakashi shrug and did a 'so-so' gesture with his hand out the corner of his eyes. He frowned in slight offense…maybe he should make the one-eyed ANBU a sensei for three brats as punishment.
While the old man was contemplating unfair punishments, young Naruto was concentrating to remember what 'happened'.
"I was…walking through the park and I saw a girl trying to climb a tree." Naruto muttered as he continued to work through the fogginess in his head. "All I could remember about her was that she had long brown hair. I didn't even see her face. I was watching her and she suddenly screamed and slipped off. I…ran toward her and tried to save her. I guess I hit my head when I jumped under her because that was the last thing I remember."
The Hokage nodded empathically while inside he was considering giving Inoichi more pay for this.
A brown-haired girl in this village? Needle in a haystack.
Still, he'd make sure the boy wouldn't needlessly look for the 'girl'.
"That's right, Naruto-kun. That child and her father brought you in asking for you to be admitted. That was two days ago and you have been sleeping since then. That was a rather nasty lump you had on your head." the Hokage continued to spin off the 'event'. He saw Naruto brighten up considerably at this 'act of kindness', which made his heart clench painfully. Just how deep was his need to be acknowledged?
"Is…is she still around?" the child inquired hopefully.
"Unfortunately, not anymore." Hiruzen's heart almost broke at the boy's visible disappointment before he quickly continued. "It turns out she's the daughter of a traveling merchant and they have left the village. She was playing in that park to pass the time while her father did some business. She did leave the staff a message to pass on to you, however."
Naruto perked his head up, waiting to hear the message.
"She wanted to thank you for saving her…and that she hopes to see you again eventually." the Hokage said with a warm smile. Naruto's smile was enough to brighten up the room. The Third saw Kakashi give a thumb up for his acting…maybe he'd put off making the jounin a sensei for a while longer.
"Now…Naruto-kun, you get some rest and I have to get back to my duties. You will be released tomorrow morning. Get some sleep in the meantime, all right?" The Third stood up, getting ready to leave. Naruto gave an enthusiastic nod; his smile still plastered on his face as the old man stepped out and closed the door. Kakashi immediately appeared at his side.
"Keep an eye on Naruto-kun and let me know of any change. In the meantime, make a list of the stores and restaurants that kicked him out or overcharged him. I will personally take care of them. We're going to make sure things improve, if only a little, for him from here on." the Hokage dictated to the ANBU. The dog-masked man nodded as he took an orange book out of nowhere to begin reading it.
The Third suddenly put on a grin with a small blush on his cheeks.
"So…you get to that part with Ami-chan yet?"
Kakashi let out a perverted giggle.
"That was the best so far, Hokage-sama! I wonder how Jiraiya-sama got the 'research material' for that?"
Suddenly, the temperature in the hallway chilled a few degrees. Both men note this and looked around to see several angry female nurses and patients glaring at them as if they wanted them to combust on the spot. The two men gulped and quickly Shunshined out, lest they suffer the women's wrath.
Back in Naruto's room, the still-smiling boy let out a long sigh as he watched the Hokage close the door. His fake smile faded like a wisp from his face as he leaned back into his bed. He could feel his crushing depression and shame crash over him like waves.
"Sorry…whatever you did in my head, I still remember everything. It didn't work and this…still hurts so much." the blond boy trailed off, with his bright blue eyes dulling to near darkness as he curled into a ball and began shaking with silent sobs.
Soon at Yamanaka Flowers
Inoichi let out a weary sigh as he took his shoes off in the entranceway of his home. A beautiful brown-haired woman with almost gem-like hazel eyes appeared to greet her husband with a chaste kiss.
"How was your day, darling? They called you away so suddenly." Yamanaka Kana asked with some concern at her husband's bedraggled expression.
"I can't tell you since Hokage-sama declared this a village secret. I'm sorry, my hime."
Kana nodded in understanding, knowing this was quite serious. Inoichi's expression then turned determined.
"However, whatever happened today has finally convinced me to get off my ass and really do something about our blond comrade." he said resolutely.
Since there were so few blondes in this village with many coming from their clan, Kana and Inoichi took to calling Uzumaki Naruto their 'blond comrade'. It was one of their favorite inside jokes.
Kana was surprised to hear this and frowned. She was sharp enough to know this 'secret' had something to do with Naruto if Inoichi just brought him up out of the blue, and that it was bad enough to shake her usually composed husband up. She was coming to many conclusions, all of which she didn't like at all.
"How? The morons running that orphans office have blocked us at every avenue whenever we tried to adopt him. If only Hokage-sama would just use his power to force it through…"
"You know as well I do that if he did that, then his political enemies will use this to go to the Fire Daimyo and raise a stink. The Hokage may be in charge of the village, but the Daimyo still carry more power than him. He's also a civilian and will likely side with those bastards if they present a convincing argument. All this will result in is Hokage-sama losing political credibility and power. As much as I want to do something for young Naruto, we can't risk this with that old war hawk Danzo chomping at every bit."
"Fucking politics." Kana spat out quietly with a nasty scowl, irritated enough to curse. Inoichi smiled and put his hands on her shoulders to kiss her forehead, getting a pleased hum out of her.
"All we can do is bide our time and wait for the opportune moment. Shikaku and Chouza definitely do not like this either, and neither does most of the other clan heads, too." he muttered before smirking ferally. "Which is why when the moment comes - and it will - we'll attack ferociously. Danzo and the others will not be able to do anything, and they'll be lame ducks before long."
Kana grinned devilishly and hugged her darling tightly around his waist.
"You know that kind of talk is a big turn-on for me." she murmured lowly before kissing him softly.
"In the meantime, the adoption route isn't working. We'll have to go another way." the blond man declared as he moved out of the embrace and stepped into the living room.
"What're you thinking?" the brunette asked softly at his side and saw that he was gazing lovingly at the living room's large bay window overlooking the street in front of their ground-floor flower shop.
Sitting on its cushioned surface was an adorable young girl with shoulder-length pale blond hair staring out at a lone cloud high in the clear blue sky. She was swaying her head gently side-to-side and humming a nonsensical but happy-sounding tune.
"Friendship." Inoichi declared quietly with a prideful expression he reserved only for their beloved daughter. Kana grinned even more devilishly than just a moment ago as she hugged her darling's right arm tightly to her ample chest.
"That brain of yours is why I married you, my darling." she whispered into his ear seductively. Her husband grinned roguishly down at her, making her shiver with excitement.
"Only that, my beautiful hime?"
"I suppose your devastatingly handsome looks and wonderful personality are nice bonuses too."
They chuckled, getting one young Yamanaka Ino to stop her humming and turn her head to find her parents standing in the living room's doorway staring and smiling at each other in a way that usually resulted in her having to leave the room for some reason.
The cute blond girl frowned briefly at the couple for interrupting her 'super awesome fun' singing time with their adult things, and turned back to follow the lone cloud with her striking pale blue eyes. She began humming again with a bright grin.
She never bothered to notice her parents sneaking away for a small dose of their own 'fun'.
Land of Wind
At around the same time in Sunagakure, the shinobi village protecting Land of Wind, one eight-year old Sabaku no Temari was walking down a street with her family. She had dirty blond hair done up in four separate ponytails, giving her a unique hairstyle easily recognizable by many. She wore a simple but expensive-looking dark blue kimino that brought out her teal eyes and she was carrying a small ornate fan in the sash; it was a memento of her deceased mother.
Sabaku no Karura passed away after giving birth to her youngest brother, Gaara. Temari still never forgave her father along with the Two Elders of the village council for the circumstances that led to her beloved mother's death.
On her left was her seven-year old brother, Kankuro. He had brown hair, wore a simple t-shirt and cargo shorts, and he had a nice face. He would like have an easy time getting women to notice him in the future if she didn't have to wonder about his growing obsession with creepy puppets and makeups.
On her right was her brownish red-haired father, the Yondaime Kazekage of this village in his full Kazekage robes. Despite his somewhat short stature, there was no denying the power that radiated from him. His ability to draw out and control gold dust from anywhere in the environment around him was the only reason the village hadn't gone bankrupt in the years since its massive losses in the Second Great War. All this was also in spite of the Wind Daimyo beginning to send more missions to their current ally, Konoha, due to its lower rates.
Next to her father on the other side was her youngest brother who just turned six, Gaara. He was basically a mini-version of the Kazekage, with short and shaggy dark red hair and the same blank expressions on their faces. They even shared the same black rings around their light green eyes, making them look somewhat like raccoons. He wore a simple black full body suit with a white tunic draped over his right shoulder and wrapped around his waist. He also carried a small gourd, full of his near-sentient sand, on his back.
Everyone on the street gave the family a wide berth. Temari knew it wasn't out of respect for the family, who were basically royalty in this village. It was because they feared Gaara due to the fact that he was the host of the Ichibi, or One-tailed Beast, named Shukaku.
At the urgings of the Elders and the council, the Kazekage tried to increase the quality of the village's shinobi force to attract more business from the Wind Lord by sealing the Ichibi into Gaara still in his mother's womb. This led to complications during the childbirth resulting in Karura passing away as she held the tiny and frail Gaara.
Temari gritted her teeth at the memory. Since her mother's death, the family became broken and dysfunctional. Temari and Kankuro barely managed a tiny semblance of a sibling relationship while living in constant fear of their youngest brother's occasional psychotic episodes. Their father became cold and distant, deciding to focus all of his attention on the village instead of his children. The worst off from that death was Gaara himself, however.
Due to his sentient sand controlled by the Ichibi inside him, other people feared him and kept away from him. At first, Gaara wanted to make friends but his sand kept accidently hurting and killing some people. The longer this went on, the more desperate the red-haired boy got until he was finally broken some time ago by the betrayal of his caretaker, his mother's brother Yashamaru…the only one to ever show him compassion in his lonely existence.
From what Temari knew of that event, their uncle tried to kill Gaara out of revenge for his sister and, upon failing, he told the little boy that his mother hated him, cursing him throughout the childbirth until she died and that his own father ordered the assassination attempt.
That was what broke Gaara's hold on his sanity, and he had his sand crush his uncle to death. He then swore to live only for himself and went around validating his existence by killing at will. Since then, the village feared and hated him even more.
Temari let out a sigh. How did her family become this fucked up? She didn't even understand the reason for this walk together. They rarely did anything remotely family-like since her mother's death. She hated her father, but wouldn't go against his wishes so that was why she was walking among them, ignoring the villagers' stares.
Out of nowhere, she heard several soft thuds.
What was that?
She looked to her right to see some kunais embedded into Gaara's suddenly raised sand wall, their sharp tips inches from his face. He wasn't expecting that and suddenly screamed in surprise and rage. His sand then flared up and quickly shot for a rooftop close to the Sabaku family.
In response, the Kazekage immediately shoved Temari and Kankuro into a nook between two buildings with a muttered warning to stay there. Gaara's shrill screams continued to fill the air as everyone around them panicked and immediately retreated into their buildings or hiding spots. The last thing Temari saw before entering the nook was Gaara's sand dragging a surprised Suna shinobi down off the roof of a nearby building by his leg, his face frozen in terror.
The blond girl noticed offhandedly that the Kazekage had already taken his stance calmly, almost too prepared for this sudden attack. It was as if he had been expecting this.
As she hid in the nook with Kankuro with her whole body trembling at the rising killing intent in the air, she instinctively wrapped her arms around her similarly trembling brother in a feeble attempt at protection. It wasn't long until Gaara's screams stopped. After a moment of hearing the soft sounds of shifting sand and groaning, the two children almost considered peeking out of the nook to see what was happening.
That notion was immediately shot to hell.
Loud and bloodcurdling screams of terror and agony filled the air and the two poor children trembled even more. Temari could smell the scent of urine coming from Kankuro but she paid it no mind. She wouldn't blame him since she was about to piss herself in terror too.
Suddenly a sickening ripping sound was heard even over the shrill screaming, and there was a wet thump somewhere. One more incidence of such disgusting noise followed another few seconds later.
The agonized screams were no more by this point, so the third ripping sound, longer and even more revoltingly wet this time, was burned into Temari's memory forever with total clarity. Trembling, she finally spared a glance at what she could see outside the nook. There was nothing but an empty and dusty street from what she could see.
She would regret her decision to look outside a moment later when she saw an apparently discarded corpse suddenly land in front of the nook with a wet thump as if it was a gift to the children trapped inside.
Only that it wasn't a whole person. His left arm was missing leaving behind a bloody socket, and his body was ripped in half at the waist allowing her to see the insides spilling out. She also easily noted his spinal cord with some tendrils of nerves sticking out at its torn end, as if they were searching for the other half of the body. Despite this being only a half of the body, there was so much dark red blood pooling under the remains, soaking into the dusty dirt covering the street.
However, the most horrific thing she saw was the frozen look of terror on his face with sand dribbling out of his wide open mouth and nostrils, as if he had seen pure evil itself.
Taking this sight in, she finally let her bladder control go and opened her mouth wide in a silent scream as her body instinctively prevented her from making any sound in pure self-preservation. The last thing she remembered before fainting due to the stress of this horror were seeing the glitter of gold dust floating from the ground as her father apparently prepared to subdue Gaara.
The last thing she heard in the darkness enveloping her somewhat lovingly was her youngest brother's insane cackling.
Somewhere in an abandoned laboratory in Land of the Sea
"Oi ….are…ok? Wake….," was all the twelve-year old Mitarashi Anko heard through the fogginess of her consciousness as she slowly woke up. She felt some light slapping on her right cheek. Her light brown eyes hurt as she opened them slowly to see a dim light directly overhead. She could barely make out two moving outlines at her sides.
"Wha…?" was all she could manage to say before she was struck silent by her sudden inability to move her limbs.
"Don't worry…we'll get you out of this. Just remain calm." one of the two outlines spoke in a soft feminine voice.
"Why should we? She's that traitor's whore…we should just cut her throat and be done with it!" the other outline growled in an angry male voice before the female hushed him harshly.
Wait…what? Where's sensei? Last thing I remember was when I was leaving with him on our training trip. Anko thought as she tried to get up again only to be restrained by something.
She shifted her head down for a look at her body what she saw shocked her so much she shrieked loudly.
She found herself completely nude and strapped to a cold metal table, her arms and legs restrained in a spread eagle fashion. She panicked as she strained and failed to cover herself up instinctively. So complete was her terror that she failed to notice that her body looked more grown-up compared to when she left with her sensei.
"Get her something to cover up now!" the female outline hissed at her male counterpart.
"Why should a fuckin' traitor care about her mod-?" was all the man retorted before the female struck him hard on his masked face. It was a thunderous crack echoing through the large room, and it actually made Anko pause briefly in her struggling.
"That was an order. Is. That. Understood?" the female's whisper was low and deadly. Obviously the male outline responded with a nod since the woman continued even when Anko didn't hear any vocal reply.
"After you find something for her, do not say a single word for the rest of this mission or I will have you up on insubordination!" the female ground out through gritted teeth over the young girl's continued whimpering. The stunned male silently bowed and left Anko's line of sight.
The young girl continued to whimper and struggle at the restraints even as the female-voiced outline tried to shush her gently while working to free her. After a long minute of struggling, Anko was finally freed of her restraints. She then immediately curled up into a fetal ball and began to sob loudly with the female outline trying to soothe her with a gentle hand on her back. At this point, the male returned with an old discarded blanket found somewhere else in the lab. He then quickly left the immediate area to stand guard while his female squad leader spoke to the young girl.
After what seemed to be hours, but actually just a few minutes of crying, the purple-haired girl finally regained her composure somewhat and stopped trembling, feeling less exposed with the blanket covering her. She slowly sat up to take a glance around and saw that she was in a large experiment room, apparently abandoned if papers strewn about and missing equipment were any indication.
Even in the dim lighting, she could make out nine other tables just like the one she was found lying on, and each had a corpse strapped to it. All of them apparently died not too long ago and were beginning to show effects of decomposition. Was she the only one who survived whatever experimentation she went through? If that was the case, why was she left behind?
Her eyes finally adjusted to the dim light and she took a good look at her female rescuer.
Her savior turned out to be a Konoha ANBU. The taller masked woman was wearing a dark blue armored and sleeveless outfit, showing her bare upper arms with a tattoo on each shoulder denoting her as an ANBU and a captain of a squad respectively. She had beautiful long purple hair somewhat lighter in hue compared to her own purple hair. Finally, Anko noted this ANBU's mask to be shaped and painted like a cat's face.
She took a shuddering breath, resolving to figure out what happened to her.
"Neko-san, I…don't know what's going on. Where am I?" Anko forced the words out of her throat, hoarse and dry from her panic a few minutes ago. The cat-masked ANBU seemed to take a moment to consider her response.
"Before we start on that, I need you to answer a couple questions honestly. I'm afraid what you say now will affect what's going to happen to you from here on. I hope for your sake that you're innocent in this whole thing." she began in an even tone.
Anko grew more confused but nodded anyway.
"First, what is your name and age?"
"Mitarashi Anko. I'm nine." Anko stated quickly, and the older woman was taken aback at that reply.
She already knew who this girl was, so no surprise there. However, Anko definitely did not have the body of a nine-year old from what she glimpsed earlier. This girl had already begun developing her bust and hips, plus there was an odd mark on the left side her neck. However, the ANBU didn't sense any sign of lying.
"Ok…Anko-chan, what was the last thing you remember?" she inquired, trepidation clear in her voice.
"I was on the road with Orochimaru-sensei. We just left Konoha in the middle of the night a few days ago."
Neko was absolutely stunned to hear this. If this was true, this meant that this girl had the last three years of her life wiped out. She had to ask one more question and she'd decide if she would have to kill this young girl right now, or take her back to Konoha for more questions.
"When you left, did Orochimaru ever say anything about why he was suddenly leaving? We know it was a last-minute departure. Did you get an explanation?" she asked with a slight edge in her voice as she subconsciously slipped her right hand into her leg holster for a kunai. Anko was puzzled at the lack of honorific for her sensei but paid it no mind.
"Sensei said that he was taking me with him on a long-term training trip and told me we were leaving at that time because he just felt like it. It was typical of him, so I didn't think much of it. Why do you ask? Did something happen to sensei? Has he been captured and experimented on too?"
Sensing no malice from Anko as she heard genuine concern in these rapid questions, the ANBU let out a silent sigh of relief and moved her hand away from the kunai to put it on one of the young girl's hands.
"Anko-chan, I'm sorry, but there's no easy way to say this and I'm just going to let it all out now. You'll learn more about this while we escort you back to Konoha. The night you left with Orochimaru…he betrayed the village. He was caught doing inhumane experiments on kidnapped villagers and shinobi. He then escaped from Hokage-sama and Jiraiya-sama, and must have taken you along at the very last minute. He then apparently fed you lies about his reasons for leaving. If you had admitted knowing about his betrayal at any point up till now, I'd have killed you right now for treason instead of simply questioning you." the cat-masked ANBU spoke, her heart breaking as she watched the young teen's face change from confusion to shock, then to absolute betrayal. She had to continue before she lost her resolve.
"That's not all. He apparently thought of you as an experiment, not his student, because he used you in whatever this was. This room is part of a laboratory complex that the intelligence division believed to have belonged to Orochimaru. We were sent to investigate here and that's how we found you. You're the only one alive in this entire place."
Anko's expression continued to break down as her light brown eyes began to leak tears non-stop.
"Lastly, it's been three years since Orochimaru's betrayal. You're not nine, you should be around twelve now." the ANBU quickly got out as she watched Anko's spiral into total despair with sympathy.
The young girl couldn't believe it. Her sensei, the one she looked up to and admired for years, used her and threw her aside like a piece of trash. She lost three years of her life. Worst of all, she's been associated with a traitor and she now felt dirty and tainted. After a few minutes of trembling and sobbing, she turned her despair into pure and unrestrained rage.
"I'm going to kill that son of a- AAAAAHHHH!" she suddenly cried out at the top of her lung, unable to bear the pain of what felt like red-hot fire growing throughout her body as she clutched futilely at the strange mark on her neck. She slumped back onto the table and started thrashing all over it in pure agony.
The shocked ANBU tried to hold her down and immediately stuck three of her fingers into the girl's mouth, preventing her from biting her tongue off in this pain. She then noticed the strange mark on the girl's neck glowing red and it seemed to be wriggling around a little.
Another loud scream of agony ripped through the abandoned base and the sea surrounding it.
Konohagakure, the Hyuuga Compound
The large Hyuuga clan meeting hall was where the elders and leaders of both main and branch families met to discuss any issue about the clan or the village. Right now, it was filled to near full capacity with many members of both branches awaiting news about a special event happening now.
The young clan heiress Hyuuga Hinata was one of the many members kneeling properly on the well-polished main floor, her hands clenching tightly at the fabric of her richly-appointed lavender kimino as she willed herself not to run away from the harsh scrutiny of her older relatives. The reason why she was nervous was because she was left alone, away from her parents who usually protected her from those that hated her shyness and gentleness. These were traits apparently unbecoming of a Hyuuga heiress in the eyes of the more arrogant and prideful members of the clan.
Ever since Hinata was born, all she knew was scorn from most of the clan's main branch for her kind nature. All Hyuuga clan members were supposed to be strong and take pride in their clan being arguably the most powerful in the village, always competing with the Uchiha clan for that position. The fact that she hadn't shown the 'required' amount of clan pride was a point of offense for the older Hyuugas. Instead, she preferred to see herself as equals with others, including the branch members.
This was a sore subject for many, especially when a branded branch member named Neji was clearly the clan's rising prodigy; not her or any one of the other main branch members. Meanwhile, the Uchiha clan head Fugaku already had a talented child in Itachi, who was just promoted to ANBU at age ten and would make captian rank before long.
The only solace Hinata got from the constant harassment by the entire clan she might be in charge of one day was her mother and father. Her mother loved her unconditionally and allowed her to be who she wanted to be. Her father, while stern in public, cared for her deeply and refused to take the elders' negative words about her to heart. She believed that she would survive even the most horrid treatment as long as she had the love and support of her parents.
This day was grating on her already low self-confidence however.
"….who knows, maybe this new child will replace that weak girl and we can finally have a proper heiress. She'll be branded and thrown in with the branch members she apparently adores so much." one elder was overheard speaking somewhat loudly. Several branch members in earshot, including young Neji and his father, frowned.
This cruel banter was only a small part of all Hinata had to hear throughout the day and her resolve was starting to break. However, she had to remain strong for her parents, who were currently occupied with giving birth to a new child. She knew she would be rewarded for her perseverance with having a younger sister to love and grow up with.
She also hoped the bleak news about her beloved mother's condition would improve soon.
Finally, after what seemed like eternity, the main doors to the meeting hall slowly opened to reveal one Hyuuga Hiashi, Hinata's father. The entire hall fell silent with his presence, since being the powerful head of the clan demanded that respect. Hinata almost jumped up in delight, and had to work to keep her composure as a 'proper' Hyuuga in front of the others.
Any hope of this being a happy occasion was shattered when she saw something wrong in his grim expression.
It can't be…oh, please don't let it be true!
Hiashi was feeling numb and broken on the inside, despite keeping up the charade of a powerful man on the outside.
He had known that there would be complications with this childbirth due to forewarnings by many doctors, and were prepared for whatever could happen. However, he hoped with every fiber of his being that his beloved wife would survive the childbirth and they would be welcoming a healthy baby girl into this world together.
The baby, now named Hanabi, did survive and was in perfect health. However, Hyuuga Hitomi did not live through the process.
Hiashi had to allow himself a long few minutes to shed his tears over his wife's covered body and regain his composure. It would not do him any good to look weak in front of the other main branch members…now that he needed to be stronger than ever for his two beloved daughters.
Sometimes he wondered if he was truly in control of the clan, rather than the elders who tried to run things from behind the scene.
As he stood in the doorway, he spared a glance at his eldest daughter and his resolve almost shattered into a million pieces as he watched the painful realization slowly creep up on her face with her pale lavender-tinted eyes widening and becoming watery. However, she hadn't allowed any tear to escape yet. He would have been proud of her for being able to keep up a strong appearance this long if the situation didn't require the opposite reaction in his opinion, which was to let it all out and fall into a sobbing heap. He would allow her that chance soon.
"I bring you mixed news. We have given birth to a very healthy infant. Our newest daughter's eyes are excellent and she will be a strong member of this clan. She shall be called Hanabi, and it is my hope that this clan will help her grow into an outstanding individual." the clan head spoke with a hint of fatherly pride, but there was no happiness in his voice.
No one in the room had said anything or moved to congratulate him. They were obviously sensing there was more to this. He continued.
"However, due to complications during childbirth, my wife Hyuuga Hitomi passed away peacefully in her sleep just after she had enough time to hold Hanabi in her arms and name her."
The room remained deathly silent. Only one sound could be heard, and it was coming from Hinata. She was slowly grinding her teeth with trembling eyes, and her hands were now clutching desperately at the fabric of her kimino as she was trying to keep her composure for a while longer.
"With this sad news, there will be no celebration and I wish to retire with my daughters to our house to grieve in privacy for the rest of the day." Hiashi finished with a tone that left no room for objections. He gestured for Hinata to rise from her kneeling position and allowed her to walk past him as he closed the doors.
The entire room then broke into whispers.
"My daughter, you may go ahead. I will retrieve your new sister and join you soon." Hiashi spoke with as much affection he could spare in his tone. Hinata did not object as they split up, and she quickly picked up her pace toward their house.
Hiashi arrived a few minutes later with a tiny bundle in his arms to hear loud sobs and wails filling the house's common area. After a brief second of searching, he found his eldest daughter kneeling on the floor by the living room table. Her head was buried in her arms resting on top of it as she continued to cry loudly, her tears wetting her kimino that became loose and disheveled from apparently running the rest of the way here.
As if sensing the mood, the little bundle in Hiashi's arms named Hanabi began to wail loudly too. Sighing painfully, the father of two could do nothing but take his seat by Hinata with a soothing hand on her back as he allowed a few tears to run down his cheeks as well.
So...that's the first chapter. I hope you enjoyed reading it. Don't worry...the story won't be this dark all the time. There should be plenty of opportunities for humor and happy moments. I just have to be sure to capitalize on these as the writer. But it is not my intention to make this story primarily a slapstick comedy. There WILL be serious parts.
As you can see, I took a few liberties with this story from canon. First, there's Naruto and his attempt at suicide. Don't worry, he won't be that dark again. I wanted something different to start him off before he meets the others, and I was tired of the normal 'mob chases after him, stabs and burns him to death and he miraculously recovers from wounds that not even canon Naruto would survive' trope that usually started off most of the other stories I've read here on this site. So why not do what canon implied? That Naruto was basically ignored his entire childhood with only whispers and glares around him?
The Yamanaka part is a totally new addition in this revision along with Inoichi's larger part in the hospital room scene.
Considering Ino was going to be important to him soon enough, I wanted to put in a small scene with her and a few more over the next few chapters. I think it improves her character development considerably.
Temari...I didn't do much to change her from canon yet in this chapter. She was just a scared young girl who had to deal with Gaara's newly acquired insanity up close.
Anko...I made her several years younger than canon and I had Orochimaru's betrayal occur AFTER the Kyuubi attack. Although it was never exactly implied when it happened anyway and with new information revealed in manga, there was a good chance that he did leave Konoha during Naruto's early years.
Hinata didn't have any noticeable change in this chapter but you will see a big one next chapter.
I hope you enjoyed this first chapter and things should get better from here on as I listen to criticism and advice on how to improve my writing. Please be sure to leave your reviews as long as they are constructive and reasonable. I don't mind tons of praises either but I'll take what I can get. :-)