I do not own Naruto. Any parts that seem like they are from the Anime or Manga probably are.
I know the beginning is unrealistic as no parent would forget about their child but it's a plot device, just go with it.
- E.P - E.P -
It was late in the day in Konoha and most were heading for their homes, their work completed for the day. There were a few exceptions, the Ninjas who worked every hour, jumping from roof to roof and a small blonde boy who was pushing at the boundary seals for one of the clan compounds.
"Stupid Otou-san," Naruto muttered as he tried to move past the barrier seals that marked the edge of his family's home, "forgotten about me again. And he's taken be off the entrance list, I don't see why he resets it every month, even if he is Hokage it's not like anyone can hurt him."
The four year old sighed before turning and walking away. It wasn't the first time it had happened but this was the latest in the day he had been locked out, usually he would just wander around the main shopping district until he spotted Otou-san or Okaa-san and go back with them but now? Now they would be inside cooking for Natsumi and Natsuki, his sisters.
He knew that they had been used in the sealing, at least as much as his four year old mind could wrap itself around the concept, but so had he and surely the bit of the Kyuubi he had was just as important as the bits his sisters had. Right?
Okay so maybe the whole village idolized them and held them as the villages saviours and maybe they would grow up to be really good kunoichi because they were jin... jinch... containers for the Kyuubi but Otou-san wasn't and he was the strongest ninja ever! Why could people see him and see that he could still be awesome if they gave him a chance. As to how he knew this, he had overheard his Otou-san telling his sisters that Natsumi had the Yin and Natsuki had the Yang, then they had asked about him and Otou-san frowned as if he had forgotten something then replied that he held the Soul.
Surely it was more important that he held the Soul back, even if he didn't get any cool abilities or Chakra boosts like they did...
He hardly noticed the village as he trudged past the shops heading towards his hiding place. It wasn't much, but was someplace that was completely his and gave a good view over the main high street. If his parents did come looking for him he would be able to see them easily without anyone seeing him and asking why he was out on his own this late at night. The main road came to a T-junction there and at the top of the T there was a large space behind the billboard that looked down the street. It was enclosed by buildings on the other sides and had a tarpaulin pulled over part of it from when he had been hiding there and it had started to rain.
He shivered as the cold closed in and pulled a spare blanket over himself to keep it off. He was sure they would come looking for him fairly soon, tomorrow at the latest
- E.P - E.P -
Inside the Seal
Kurama sighed in relief. He had used what limited chakra he had been able to hold on to during the sealing and the little he could take from his host to modify the mind of his sealer and those of the other ningens so that they would not remember where the third seal was located. During the sealing his chakra had been pulled away from his Soul using his former host chakra chains and perfect jinchūriki abilities. His Soul had then been sealed into the boy whilst his chakra was split between Yin and Yang and sealed in the girls.
Damn blonde ningen and his spawn!
This was the weakest he had been in a long while, possibly ever. He had no chakra and would only be able to pull a little from the host and that would only last until he started control exercises, then he would be stuck in this prison waiting to die.
That was not a position he was willing to stay in, hence the mental modification. He had removed the knowledge of the location of his soul from the minds of those ningen that knew where it was, which was luckily very few. He doubted he would have been able to do any more than he already had.
It had, as a side effect, resulted in his host being forgotten as the sealers son, as he agonized over having to use his children in the sealing more than the events themselves. The sealer knew he had used his children but didn't differentiate between them, allowing Kurama to wipe the fact his host had even been involved. Right know they were all having trouble remembering that the host was the sealers son and soon, he would just be another orphan from the attack.
As no one knew the seal existed, they wouldn't attempt to kill the host to get to him. As long as he never revealed his presence to the host, the only creature he could interact with on any level, he would be safe, at least until he became a ninja. But if he was armed then the host would be more able to defend Kurama.
The perfect disguise, safety in anonymity.
Kurama hoped it would do.
- E.P - E.P -
Naruto awoke the next day still beneath the blanket he had pulled over himself the night before. Had they not noticed he was gone? He brushed his clothes down and dropped onto the main road.
No screams of 'Honourable Son! Where have you been?' if it had been Natsumi or Natsuki missing. Except they'd be Honourable Daughter, obviously. Well they hadn't noticed he had been gone over night he doubted they would notice he was gone until the afternoon at the earliest. He knew that his Otou-san had started training his sisters in being a ninja during the mornings and though he had been asked if he wanted to join in once or twice, he had been forgotten for the other times.
Well if they were going to be mean and forget about him, then he didn't need their stupid ninja training! He would train himself and be an awesome ninja! He didn't know how though...
Maybe if he went to the library they would have some scrolls on how to be a ninja. Naruto grinned, that would definitely be the way to go. And he doubted he would get in as much trouble if he was reading.
- E.P - E.P -
It didn't take long for Naruto to reach the library and the little four year old was rather impressed by the amount of books and scrolls it had inside. He wondered why it was so empty though, surely if this was the way to becoming an awesome ninja it should be really busy? He shrugged and wandered over to the closest set of book shelves.
"Fiction – Romance," he muttered to himself, reading off of the plaque on the shelves, "that doesn't sound like what I want. And neither does Fiction – Crime..."
Looking around it didn't take long for him to spot the librarian behind her desk. She would definitely know where the ninja scrolls were.
- E.P - E.P -
Fubuki was a career chūnin and had never really enjoyed fighting like some of the other frontline ninja. She had moved into an administrative position immediately following her graduation from the academy. After five years working in the library she had been promoted to allow her access to some of the restricted documents. She was currently on an ongoing C-rank mission and, whilst it didn't pay as well as the frontline missions, it was enough to allow her to live comfortably.
That and she rather enjoyed it.
Now though she was leading the small child who had asked her about ninja scrolls to the public domain scrolls. She was fairly sure he wasn't actually a ninja, and as he hadn't shown any I.D she wasn't going to give him the benefit of the doubt.
Most of the ninja related scrolls in the library required the rank of Genin to view, although there were a couple that required Chūnin rank to see. Most of the scrolls were to do with secondary ninja skills, survival, disguises and the like, whilst the Nin, Gen and Taijutsu scrolls were held by whoever had created the jutsu, their students or their clan. This was why most Konoha ninjas had similar core skills but then developed their styles similar to their sensei or clan.
The few academy level scrolls she had were the standard ones given out by the academy, supplementary ones for other areas, such as Fūinjutsu or Iryōjutsu, or advanced, at least for academy level, Nin, Gen or Taijutsu.
"These are the ones you're looking for I believe," she said to Naruto, who was looking at the scrolls with interest, "you don't have a library card so you can't remove the scrolls and the use of jutsu in the library is prohibited, however you are free to take notes from the scrolls and copy down what you need. I'd recommend starting with the scroll called An Introduction to Ninja. Is there anything else I can help you with?"
- E.P - E.P -
Naruto shook his head and watched the librarian walk away. Turning back to the bookshelves he pulled a few interesting scrolls off the shelves along with the one she had recommended. He settled down in a nearby chair and started to read the first scroll. Soon he'd be an awesome ninja!
An hour had passed and Naruto had finished reading the first scroll. He had thought before that ninjas were all awesomely powerful warriors like his Otou-san and Okaa-san but the scroll said that all ranks and positions of ninja were necessary. Whilst frontline ninja brought the largest percentage of income into the village, the village itself wouldn't be able to function without the large support structure that was behind them. Administrative ninja, 'like the librarian,' he thought, Medical ninja, courier ninja, the list went on and on. It was unlikely that they would ever see combat but they had been trained for it and could defend themselves, although most of their training revolved around keeping the villages secrets safe.
What the scroll really tried to impress was that these ninja were just as important as the frontline ninjas, perhaps more so given their considerable rarity and the amount of training required to make one. It gave examples such as the couriers who ended a war by delivering messages through the warzone itself, medics who saved the lives of the Hokages and border guards who prevented the village from being surprised by invaders.
It went on to say that a lot of the more specialized roles required high levels of chakra control rather than a greater chakra capacity, which was why most of the ninja clan were frontline rather being held back to fill other positions. He liked the sound of that. It seemed that it would be much more challenging than being a frontline ninja and even if he failed at it he could fall back to being that.
Plus it would be really different from his parents' styles. Stupid Otou-san.
He pulled he scroll marked Basic Control Exercises over and started to read it. 'Leaf concentration exercise?' He thought, 'Is that useful?'
- E.P - E.P -
It had been a few days since then and Naruto was started to get bored of sleeping behind the billboard. He had been debating sleeping in the woods but that would have been worse than his current spot. He had started looking around Konoha to see if he could find a better place that was more protected from the environment and believed he had found a decent spot in some abandoned buildings. By the looks of it they had been damaged during the Kyuubi attack and most of them were little more than a few walls leaning against each other.
One however wasn't in as bad a state as the others. It was a small apartment building by the look of it, and yes, it was missing the entire south wall and part of the east but the north-west corner looked relatively untouched and it was here that Naruto was prodding around at the moment.
He had found an apartment that wasn't too badly damaged and decided that this was probably a better place to stay than behind the billboard. Given that he still hadn't been noticed as missing from home he had realised that his parents had forgotten about him and stopped bothering to watch the main road to see if anyone would be looking for him. Most of his time had been spent either in the library reading from the scrolls or behind the billboard practicing what he had learnt.
He'd also looked through the academy scrolls to see what he would be doing when he joined as there was no point learning anything twice. He would wait until then to start learning about the academy three jutsu but decided that he would start on weapons training as that was only lightly touched upon, mainly by throwing kunai and shuriken. He doubted he would be able to buy a sword or something similar but a quick scour of the training grounds had found him a couple of damaged kunai and shuriken, the ones that weren't broken were fairly easy to find and recover and most ninja didn't want to waste them for no reason.
Senbon however were a different matter, he had easily found plenty of bent ones on one training ground and a look in one of the outfitters revealed why, they were damn cheap! He had taken a few minutes to straighten them out and, whilst being much more difficult to use than kunai, he had quickly gotten the hang of them, even if his accuracy did leave a lot to be desired.
He had also continued with the leaf concentration exercise, which was much harder than it looked although the scroll did impress just how serious an issue chakra control was, and could just about hold the leaf on his forehead. The next step was trying to hold two leaves and, well, that wasn't going very well at all. He thought the problem was the size of his reserves but he wasn't sure.
He wasn't going to let it get him down however, he was still going to be an awesome ninja!
- E.P - E.P -
Before Naruto knew it a month had passed, a month living on his own in an abandoned building. He had rigged up a system to get the shower to work consisting of a barrel, cut in half with a kunai, that had been filled up with rainwater and piped into his showers. It only had one temperature, that of freezing cold, but it kept him fairly clean so he wasn't planning on changing it.
The scroll on surviving in the wilderness had been particularly useful, showing what roots and berries could be eaten and how to catch fish. That had been a rather disgusting experience and he had learnt not to hold the fish in your lap when you were gutting and filleting it.
The rest of his studies were coming on particularly well although the lack of proper tools had held him back a little. And this had led to his current scroll, Poisons of Konoha, with which he had started gather up some ingredients. He had wondered why some of the plants were listed in the survival scroll as do not eat, but having read their description in this one he was glad he hadn't experimented. Some of them were nasty.
The one he was preparing at the moment was a fairly slow acting, temporary paralysis poison, suitable for coating weapons with. He was planning to test it on some of the fish in one of the streams, if he could hit them with a Senbon although he would prefer to use it on something larger, like a rabbit or something similar.
He had gotten fairly accurate with the Senbon, as in most of them hit the target, but he wanted to be hitting bullseyes all the time and he was still far off from that. He couldn't hit the target at all if he was moving, unless it was a fluke.
He had also started reading the scroll on Fūinjutsu, even if he couldn't start drawing his own until he was at least a Genin due to the next set of scrolls location in the library, and had been using it to identify and decode existing seals. Whilst only simple seal components were covered in the bit he had read so far, he had seen how some of these fit together to make a storage seal. He knew the seal on his stomach contained the Kyuubi and he thought it might be constructed from similar components to storage seal, but he couldn't have been more wrong. He didn't understand any of its components, not even one. It was kind of depressing, he thought he had been doing well...
- E.P - E.P -
Eventually the months turned into years as Naruto grew. The village continued to recover from the Kyuubi's attack and Naruto himself grew stronger. He had grown a fair bit, standing at about four foot four inches although he was still quite thin thanks to his hunters diet. He was wearing a pair of grey trousers, taped down at the bottom into his black sandals, with a shuriken pouch bound to his right leg. He had a long sleeved grey shirt on with a green jacket over the top of it. He had a bandanna covering his blonde hair, as it wasn't exactly inconspicuous, and a set of goggles over his eyes or forehead, depending on whether he was using them or not.
He still wasn't old enough to start practicing Taijutsu or increasing his strength however, but his accuracy with Senbon was pretty good, bullseyes being scored about half the time, though that dropped to a third if he was moving or the target was. That had been some odd practice, he had been running in circles throwing lumps of wood in the air and trying to hit them with his Senbon before they hit the ground. It was difficult but useful, as he doubted many enemies would just stand still and let them hit him, or give him time to stop and line up the throw.
His chakra control was quite good now, he had started combining the water concentration exercises with tree walking. He had to channel chakra to his feet to allow him to walk up the walls of his apartment whilst also holding a disk of water on the palms of his hands. It definitely wasn't as easy as it sounded. The chakra flow to each foot had to be constant whilst the flow to each hand had to vary to keep the water in a disk shape and attached to his hand.
He hadn't been very good at it in the beginning hence the growing patch of damp in one corner of his apartment.
Today was the day he got better though. He had signed himself up for the academy a few weeks earlier and he had been told to return for opening ceremony which was in an hour's time. He was fairly sure he had everything he needed, a couple of blank scrolls, kunai and shuriken were in his pouch whilst the remainder of the space had been filled with a dozen Senbon.
His last checks all done, he closed the door to his apartment and started to make his way out of the building. The stairs down had been ruined in the attack and he used to have to climb up and down, but learning tree walking allowed him to stroll down the walls. It was a bit of a walk to get to the academy, given he lived on the outskirts of the village but he had plenty of time until it started.
Twenty minutes later he arrived to see quite a large crowd milling around outside of the academy building. He recognized his mother, her long red hair a dead giveaway, with Natsumi and Natsuki talking to some other girls their own age. Both of them had their hair fairly long, blonde for Natsumi, like their Otou-san, and red for Natsuki, which she got from their Okaa-san. They were wearing orange skirts with black shorts on underneath along with an orange shirt and jacket. All in all it wasn't the most camouflaged of outfits.
By the looks of it they were talking to a Hyūga, and Naruto spotted several other clans milling about, Inuzuka and Akimichi two of the more obvious, their Nin dogs and weight giving them away. If the group of people near the Akimichi were who he thought they were in a few years time there would probably be a new Ino-Shika-Cho team, the platinum blonde hair and slouched postures giving them away.
The rest of the crowd looked to be mainly civilian families, except one who could be Uchihas, their bright colours giving them away. He watched them for a while before noticing a father and son pair stood off to the side and looking a bit isolated. The high collars and concealed faces, along with the space everyone was giving them, meant they were probably Aburame. Generally quiet and logical, they sounded like his kind of people and with that in mind Naruto wandered over to speak with them.
"Uh, hi I'm Naruto. Are you starting the academy as well today?" He mentally slapped himself, what a great introduction. The younger of the two glanced up and, upon receiving a nod from the elder Aburame, introduced himself.
"I am Shino Aburame and I am indeed starting today. You are a civilian born student are you not? How do I know you may ask? You have not been escorted by another member of your clan and I am unaware of any other of the clan heir beginning today. In fact I may surmise that you are in fact... an orphan?"
Naruto stared. The scroll just didn't get across how logical he would be, although he didn't seem too quiet.
"Indeed, I am an orphan, I lost my family because of the Kyuubi attack," not quite a lie, from a certain point of view, he thought, "Have you done any prior ninja training?"
"Aburame clan members are traditionally introduced to their colony at a young age. Why you ask? It allows a greater bond between colony and host the longer they have grown together."
"Insects?" Naruto asked, "Are they useful?"
"They are very useful at gather information and can be used offensively although I have yet to learn those techniques. Do you have a specialty?"
"I don't have too much to my name, but I'm fairly good with Senbon and poisons, as well as a couple of chakra control exercises," He replied as they turned to head into the academy building.
"There are a couple of species of poisonous insects that I am rather interested in...
- E.P - E.P -
Shibi looked on with pride as his son and his new friend walked into the academy, still discussing the poisons they had found. He knew Shino had been a little nervous about not making any friends and had stifled a small smile as his son had started to babble, a nervous tic he had picked up from other members of his clan. The boy, Naruto he had said his name was, seemed nice enough and they obviously shared interests, although he hadn't expected the civilian born child to know any ninja techniques.
Shino would be able to tell him later if the boy had been truthful or not.