Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto
Several months passed as Naruto began to better understand the world that he now lived in. It wasn't as if his family were 'bad' people in any real shape or form, but rather they did things that technically weren't good. Naruto knew that the training he had been doing with Renku, while brutal for the time being, would be beneficial for him in the long run. While the pain inflicted on him still hurt he was becoming more and more adapt at hiding his pain behind fake smiles and passive faces. It didn't look like he was enjoying the punishment by any regards but it looked as if he was merely ignoring it.
Every time that Naruto managed to get a grasp on a new pain threshold, Renku would reward him by upping the pressure of his strikes or focusing on another part of the body. While this would seen by most as a horrible way to treat a child, Naruto worked out that this meant that he was getting stronger and continued to push himself.
Makina's training was much more peaceful, the two of them finding a secluded room and going over letters and numbers in a trivial manner. He absorbed information like a sponge to water but often left critical bits of information out. It was clear that he was always trying his best and he was ahead of schedule, clearly wanting to show Boss that he was more than capable. As Boss was happy with his progress, he gave Naruto a reward. Unlike the reward that Renku gave however this one was more beneficial in a way. That was how Naruto found himself sitting in with Boss and a client.
Most of the conversation went over Naruto's head, he was able to quickly pick up the words but at the same time didn't quite know how to process them. The man talking with Boss was a meat merchant who had started a business in the middle of town but was struggling to make ends meet as his business wasn't well known yet.
"And you say you have the finest products?" questioned Boss as he took a puff on the cigar he held between his fingers. Naruto really didn't understand why Boss put such a disgusting thing to his lips; just the second hand smoke he inhaled tasted yucky, Naruto couldn't imagine what directly breathing that thing in would taste like.
"I employ ninjas to bring me the freshest products from around the country," claimed the salesman who was on his knees in front of Boss. "I refuse to sell my clients anything that's second rate."
"I admire your effort," said Boss as he knelt forward. "I will take your debt from you but you'll pay me back everything you owe me by this time next year along with an extra twenty percent. Furthermore, every week you will provide a hamper and one of my men will come pick it up free of charge."
"You are most gracious," said the salesman as he bowed his head, the top of his brow touching the floorboards. Without another word being said between them, the meat merchant got to his feet and with one more bow he left the room.
Naruto stood there with an array of questions floating around in his head but he dared not speak any of them out in case he upset Boss. Whether keeping his mouth closed for the moment would be beneficial in the long run he couldn't tell, nor did he really mind at this point.
"Something troubling you?" questioned Boss.
For a brief moment Naruto scanned the rest of the room to ensure that there was nobody else in the room. Realising it was just him and Boss, Naruto swallowed nervously before responding. "Nothing important Boss," he said with a minor quiver in his voice.
"What I've found over the years is that every small detail is important," said Boss still not making eye contact with the blonde who now stood by his side. "A change in temperature can mean much more than the changing of the seasons. Most would think of such a thing as nothing but others would pick up on the smallest details and realise that a storm is on its way."
"I think I understand," said Naruto still slightly unsure of what Boss was telling him.
"Show me," said Boss finally turning his head to look at Naruto. "You have by nightfall to find five things that are out of the ordinary and figure out what this might mean. Use those writing skills you're learning from Makina and bring me your results before the end of the day."
"Sure thing boss!" exclaimed Naruto as he rushed off, the challenge filling him full of excitement. As the door closed behind Naruto as he charged down the hallway, Boss found himself being the only one left in the chamber and allowed a smile to creep across his lips. Whether or not Naruto managed to accomplish the task ahead Boss had a present for him for the end of the day.
"Out of the ordinary," repeated Naruto as his eyes scanned around the kitchen, trying to see if he could spot something out of place. He knew that he had to find the best things he could in order to impress Boss, anything less would not likely meet Boss' expectations. Opening up the fridge, his eyes scanned over the same contents that had been there during breakfast. Considering only a few hours had passed there was nothing he could really comment about. With a sigh, he closed the fridge but not before getting his hands on some chocolate that somebody had stashed in the back corner.
With it being the middle of the afternoon there wasn't a great deal going on within the building. It would still be a bit of time before the evening clients came in but waiting for them may not be able to give him more results than he already had. It hadn't taken him long to work out just what it was that happened within the ground floor of the building behind the satin sheets. It also helped that once he learnt how to read the signs that littered the building were numerous rules for guests. It didn't take long to put two and two together.
With nobody being here however this was the perfect chance for Naruto to actually have a look through the areas where he had only been permitted to go when accompanied by somebody else. Finishing off the chocolate he had acquired, Naruto wiped his hands on his trouser legs before turning down the hallways he knew like the back of his hand, all the while his eyes scanning for anything that may seem out of place.
Reaching the room lined with satin drapes, one thing automatically stood out to Naruto, the fact that one of the small rooms was occupied. Calling it a room however was a bit of an overstatement but Naruto had no real idea what else to call it so he simply went with it. Taking a glance side to side he made sure that nobody else was around before sneaking forward.
His logic told him that nobody should be in here at this time of day, heck even most of Boss' employees were out in town somewhere. So why was it that not only was one of the workers but also a client currently locked away?
For the safety of the workers, everybody was forbidden from taking anything metallic into the rooms and all objects were placed in a small basket outside the room. Taking the opportunity, Naruto found himself looking through the belongings, not necessarily to take anything but just to see what the client had brought with them. Needless to say that when he found a couple of kunai and a brand new Konoha headband he was more than a little surprised.
Naruto's eyes squinted as he looked over the items once more. A couple of kunai that had yet to have dirt on the edges or lose its sharpness and a headband that had yet to take a single scratch, the fabric didn't even look like a thread had yet come loose. Naruto's eyes lifted so that he looked at the enclosed space where he knew this person was being 'entertained.' Naruto started adding all of the pieces of the puzzle together.
The awkward timing of the day, a brand new set of kunai and a shinobi headband.
Looking back on his past lessons, his eyes widened as he realised just what was going on. The person who had come in was a fresh Genin, most likely just out of the academy that their Jonin sensei had treated to an adult experience. "Yes," said Naruto as he clenched his fist, happy to have found one thing he could put down on his list. His happiness didn't last long however as he found his face whipping to the side as a cane cracked across his cheek.
The pain was sharp and pinpoint and Naruto had no doubt that some blood had been drawn but thanks to Naruto's training no emotion truly crossed his face other than confusion. Turning to face his attacker he found a boot rocketing towards his face.
Nothing Renku had thrown at him could brace him for this.
Naruto fell to the floor with blood streaming from his nose, the appendage undoubtedly broken from the strike. Naruto did his best to fight back the tears that threatened to swell in his eyes. Unceremoniously he found himself being lifted off the ground by his hair.
"What's going on here?"
Hope filled Naruto's mind as he recognised the voice of his Renku, Boss' faithful bodyguard before the person holding him spoke up. "We found this runt of a brat rummaging through somebody's belongings the filthy little thief. Should we execute him for you or would the holder of your leash want the pleasure of making an example of him?"
"Well let's take him to Boss, I'm sure he'll think of a suitable solution," said Renku as he stepped out of the path of the hallway, allowing Naruto's captors to walk through dragging the blonde haired boy along.
It didn't take long for them to go through the passageways and Naruto found himself once again inside Boss' chambers, this time in the company of these strangers and Renku. Now that Naruto had pushed the pain to the back of his mind he was able to look at Boss without any pain being visible on his face, despite the fact that his clothes had been showered in his own blood.
"What do we have here?" questioned Boss, his voice calm and collected despite the scenario.
"This little prick was rummaging through someone's belongings," commented the man who tossed Naruto to the ground. "Should we cut off one of his hands so that he learns never to steal again?"
"I believe such a punishment is not necessary for my son," replied Boss as he sat back against his chair.
"Your...your son?" repeated the man as his eyes shifted from Boss to Naruto several times as if realising the mistake that he had made.
"I'm sure that this was a simple misunderstanding," said Boss waving the situation off. "I'm sure both of you have learnt your lesson."
"My sincerest apologies," said the man with a small bow. "I didn't mean to strike out at your child and only acted how I best saw fit."
"I believe some introductions are in order," said Boss as the blonde finally turned to look at the man who had struck him. He was a small man with a thin moustache that barely touched his top lip. He wore black sunglasses despite being indoors and wore a very fine suit and tie. "Naruto, this here is Gato, the founder of Gato Company."
Hope you enjoyed.