Brand new story! Unfortunately updates will come at a CRAWLING pace.
As I said in Changed Paths: Part II, a close friend died a while ago, so I adopted her 6 year old daughter.
Now, I'm a 22 year old college student, balancing out my own tuition, to help pay her costs.
I, uh, went back to a pure-ramen diet for a while, so she could actually get healthy food. -_-
Thanks to a friend, though, he got us a place to stay in his family's old house. It's dusty, kinda creepy, and barely has lighting...but it's got plumbing, electricity, and air-conditioning, plus we don't have to pay rent, which is now saving me enough money to actually buy us food, gas, some new furniture, and other shit.
My only access to internet is either the library, the lab at college, or my phone...so yeah, I'm gonna be slow on the stories.
I know she isn't mine, biologically, but damn it makes me feel amazing when she smiles at me, and laughs.
I figure this is what it would've been like if my dad was there for me growing up.
Meh, anyway, enjoy the story!
I apologize for the abrupt ending, it'll be resolved in Chapter Two!
Chapter Version: 1.2.1
(Corrections revised and new content added). June 23, 2013.
I've decided to take a new approach to the story.
Instead of instantly adding chapters after each update, I'll work on, and collectively fix each previous chapter, before actually updating the next one.
This way, if I develop newer ideas along the way, I can flexibly add them.
I updated the Naruto-Kabuto conversation, in this case.
What is a family?
What distinguishes a family from, say, a group of friends? Perhaps, from an alliance between strangers?
He used to ask himself that every night, when he was little. No older then six or seven years.
It was ironic, really, because of the fact that he was supposed to be part if this picture-perfect family. The diamond-sketched household of Konoha, that everybody looked up to; a few even blindly worshipping.
But they just never saw the broken gears, that cursed a seemingly-intricate clock.
After all, his father was never truly around for him, as neither was his mother.
The words rang hollow in his mind, despite the painstakingly massive desire to fill them with love and affection.
The same love and affection he often saw other parents give their children. The love and affection his parents gave to his younger sister, but not him.
His father, he understood, was the Hokage, a legendary hero to the village of Konoha. A fact that he and his sister, Narumi, once took pride in.
She still did.
The ugly truth was that, through his heroic actions, and self-less sacrifices, all in the name of Konoha and it's denizens...he had inadvertently given up one important thing.
Ever since they were little, when they were told that the Kyuubi had been sealed into Narumi, prior to their birth; Narumi had been givem preferential treatment.
Their parents trained her, leaving him to study basic scrolls on his known, often absent-mindedly dismissing him, in order to hone Narumi's skills. Everytime they finished, they would tell him the same excuse, that they were tired and could pick up the next day.
Only, instead of picking up, they merely repeated the process.
It sickened him, in all honesty.
You know, not that many ten-year olds have depressing thoughts like these...it's making me suicidal...
Ah, the Kyuubi.
His emotional outlet, and the only pers-...entity, that he trusted. It was ironic, how the one thing that the village hated and feared, the one demon that his parents worked so hard to defeat...was locked within him.
At least, his mental conscious, anyhow.
Narumi held the actual chakra of the demon.
Sorry, Kurama-san...I forget you can hear me completely...
You know, gaki, if you're so damn tired if this, why not run away?
And then? What do I do after that? Wander around, like a lost beggar? I need a plan for that to work, one that would take weeks, if not months, to plan and prepare for...no, I want to, but not without a plan...
For a mere pup of a monkey, you possess more intuition and foresight, then most humans twice you're age...I'm moderately disappointed...
Because I'm better then them?
No, because a mere child is more emotionally mature, then the adults...it's pathetic, really...
Oh, well...thank you?
You're welcome, monkey-boy.
Casting all praise aside...what should I do?
Running away, what should I do? I won't lie, Kurama-san...the prospect of a new independent life is...well...rather beautiful...
Oh, er, well...lay low for now, pup...actually, don't you have a graduation ceremony to attend?
Mentally slapping himself, Naruto shot up from his bed, sitting up, standing up, leaping towards the closet, and opening it; all in one fluid motion.
"I'm going to be late! he yelled, pulling out a clean white T-shirt, putting on a white hoodie, navy stripes running down the sleeves. He then changed from his pants into a pair of dark navy-blue cargo shorts, before putting on his socks and shinobi boots.
"Agh! I'm going to be late!" he shouted once more, grabbing his kunai and shuriken pouches, as he leapt out of his window.
Kurama sighed inwardly.
Bah, I'm getting soft...hmm...still, the boy possesses a certain talent...he could become more powerful then even his father, that damned Yondaime...and he's all mine to shape and mold to my own liking...I love how these humans are so easy to influence, when they're young...but still, I need to find a way to re-connect myself again...I'm sure given time, Naruto will help me...heheheh...
"Hey, Kushina...where's Naruto? I thought he was with you?" asked Minato, as he crossed his arms, sitting down in the front row of the Academy graduation ceremony.
Kushina raised an eyebrow, before she began thinning to herself, looking back at him.
"He took a nap, but I told you to wake him up, so he wouldn't be late...you told him, right, Minato?" she replied, her voice taking a calm, but lethal tone.
The blonde Hokage nodded, praying he had...he couldn't remember honestly, but if Naruto didn't show up, he'd have to figure out how to make it up to both his son and wife.
"Kushina-chan! Minato-san!" cried a young boy, his raven hair waving in the breeze, he tan towards the pair. Minato smiled, high-giving the young boy, as Kushina hugged him.
"Sasuke! You've grown up! So hows my favorite nephew doing!?" she beamed, as the Uchiha grinned sheepishly, scratching his head.
"Ahh-haha...I've done better, but I got second place overall, right behind Narumi...she's so awesome! Why can't you two train me like that!?" he asked loudly, but happily.
Minato laughed, patting Sasuke's head, before giving him a thumbs up.
"Well, if I ever find a good shinobi to succeed me as Hokage, I might take up to teaching ninja again" he replied, drawing a wider grin from the Uchiha.
"Don't raise his hopes too high, Minato, I don't want him thinking he's the next Hokage without working for it" started a voice behind them.
Minato turned around, his face blank, as he looked at the source of the statement.
"Oh, come on, loosen up a bit, Fugaku...I don't want to lose one of my advisors, from a stroke" he joked, as the Uchiha leader shrugged.
"So I hear that your kids graduated, and with flying colors, too" he said, drawing a raised eyebrow from both Minato and Kushina.
"Flying colors?...but...Naruto's never showed us his report card...how'd you know?" asked Kushina, as Mikoto arrived.
"Naruto's grades?...he showed us just the other day, when he came to visit Itachi...you would think they were like twins, he's always following Itachi when he can...actually, Itachi was training him the other day...said Naruto wanted to learn to improve his taijutsu" she answered, adding a few details, shocking the Namikaze family.
"I've been busy with paperwork after we caught that Genin working with Orochimaru, Kabuto, I think...I didn't know Itachi was teaching him in his free time...I'll have to see what Naruto knows, I'm rather impressed...and he excelled in his classes? Why didn't he tell us?" asked Minato, as Mikoto turned away, ushering Sasuke towards the graduation stage.
Fugaku shrugged, scratching his head.
"I wouldn't know...he reminds me of Itachi, more relaxed and easy-going...but he comes from an Itachi-mold nonetheless..." replied Fugaku, hoping the lie worked.
The last thing he needed was Minato causing a scene over the truth...
"So how's the ramen noodles, Naruto?" asked Mikoto, as she sat down, serving Itachi and Fugaku, who was reading a newspaper at full attention.
Naruto happily nodded, giving the Uchiha matriarch a thumbs up, as she blushed.
She had always figured Kushina was the better cook.
"It's awesome, Mikoto-san! You're an amazing chef!" he laughed, drawing a smile from Mikoto and Itachi.
Despite his best attempt to hide it, Fugaku felt a small twitch at the corner of his mouth.
That kid had the uncanny ability of drawing even atomic ounces of happiness from the depressed people.
"Hai, thank you, Naruto-kun...we ran out of chicken, and the meat stall was closed, so I used beef, is that okay?"
Naruto once again nodded, bowing his head.
"Yes, it's okay! Besides, you offered me free dinner, so I can't really complain!" he smiled.
Fugaku nodded from behind his paper.
Damn, he loved this kid's personality.
"Naruto, how did your practice go today? I hear you finally got the chakra-concentration...how far did you get?" asked Itachi, causing Fugaku and Mikoto to eye Naruto in surprise.
"Chakra concentration? You're learning that already, Naruto-kun? Isn't that supposed to be until you join a Genin team? That's at least a few years away!" exclaimed Mikoto, as Fugaku nodded in agreement.
"It is true, Naruto...how long have you been practicing it? Most Academy students can't manage that yet"
"He's only been taught it yesterday" answered Itachi, drawing a suspicious stare from his parents. The Uchiha prodigy merely shrugged.
"Call him my protegé" he said, as Mikoto shook her head.
"Why not ask your father to train you, Naruto-kun? He must have time, right?" she asked, before Naruto looked down sadly.
"He spends most of his time training Narumi...most of what I know is either self-taught, or something that Itachi taught me..."
Fugaku cast the other two Uchiha a careful gaze, practically asking,
We have to talk to Minato about this.
They both nodded.
"Have you tried talking to them?" asked Mikoto, knowing that his family was obviously started to place more priority on Narumi, due to her condition.
It wouldn't end good, and she knew first hand what could happen to a child, if there wasn't enough care in their life.
Itachi was proof of that, and it had taken him years to regain his sense of emotions.
"It's okay, Naruto-kun...it's getting late, so why don't you stay here for the night, you can share bunk beds with Itachi" she smiled. Naruto nodded, rubbing his eyes as he yawned.
Itachi stood up, carrying the small ten-year-old upstairs, to tuck him in.
Watching the two disappear, Fugaku and Mikoto sighed.
"You know, he's drifting away from his family it seems..."
"...we can't let them know...we'll give the boy recluse, but they have to fix this as a family...
"So...do you know who is leading each team?" asked Kushina, as she looked at Narumi, who was across the stage, happily talking to Sakura and Ino.
"Yes, there's for...but I only that Kakashi, Asuma, and Kurenai are each leading Teams Seven, Ten, and I think Eight...I don't know who's leading Team Two, though...I heard that the Jonin personally requested just one student...I granted permission, on the grounds it's not Narumi..." answered Minato, smiling at Kakashi, who waved back from across the field.
Kushina nodded, smiling in relief.
"Good, Kakashi will probably have chosen Naruto and Narumi, along with Sasuke" she sighed, much to Mikoto's slight irritation.
Planning your kids' future?...Kushina, please don't repeat Fugaku and I's mistakes...
"Naruto-baka! You're late!" exclaimed Narumi, as the blonde boy landed a few feet away. Minato looked at him, before shaking his head.
He could have sworn that he saw a cold look in his son's eyes...
"Yo, Sasuke" grinned Naruto, ignoring Narumi's exclamation altogether.
The Uchiha, however, merely grunted.
Naruto merely shrugged, walking past him and Narumi, without even glancing at either of them.
A fact that neither the Namikaze, nor the Uchiha, family missed.
"What is wrong with them? They need to show manners!" huffed Kushina, frowning at her childrens' behavior.
Fugaku, however, nudged his head, making sure Mikoto saw him.
Naruto was turning away from his family...quicker then they thought.
"So who do you think got put in what team?" asked Kiba, as he scratched his head, trying to guess who would go with who.
"Heheh, I don't know, and as long as I'm with Sasuke-kun, it's all good" giggled Sakura, as Ino nodded in agreement.
Narumi and Sasuke were too busy focusing on Naruto, however, to even listen to the pinkette's words. They were using every ounce to observe him, taking note of how he constantly distanced himself from the group as a whole.
"Do you think something is wrong with him?" asked Sasuke, glancing at Narumi, who shook her head.
"No, this is normal for him...although he seems more impassive today, but it could be graduation..." she replied, tossing her red hair to the side, as she continued observing her older brother.
Naruto...you're not a normal boy...why can't you just be like a regular brother? Argue with me, tease me about some flaw...anything...I want a true family...and it's like I'm a step away from it, yet that last step is like a mile...maybe if I hadn't bragged about how mom and dad used to always pay attention to me...is it my fault? Am I to blame for what you are now?...I probably am...alright, I'll fix it then! I'll make sure mom and dad see you! I'm going to become Hokage, and I want you there, proud of me!
"You seem troubled, Narumi...what is it?"
The young Namikaze daughter sighed, before smiling at the Uchiha, giving him a thumbs up.
"Nothing, Sasuke, it's alright" she smiled, bringing forth a nod from him.
"Class! Get ready! Team announcements are about to be declared!" shouted Iruka, as the group of children instantly lined up in a straight file.
Almost immediately, the surrounding crowd fell silent.
A few parents were eager to see who their children would be training with.
"Alright! Team Ten! Training under Sarutobi Asuma, is...Nara Shikamaru! Akimichi Chouji! And Yamanaka Ino!"
Naruto closed his eyes, yawning, as Ino scowled, upset at her luck of missing a team with Sasuke.
Eh, good riddance
"Okay!...Team 8! Under leadership of Yuuhi Kurenai! are...Hyuuga Hinata! Aburame Shino! And Inuzuka Kiba!"
"Whoo! I'm on a team!" roared Kiba, before being hit in the head with a rock.
"Shut it, Kiba! You're representing our clan! Don't look like a kid that barely passed!" yelled Tsume, his mother.
Naruto bit back a laugh.
Hell, it was funny, he had to admit.
"And for Team Seven, under guidance if Hatake Kakashi!...Haruno Sakura! Uchiha Sasuke!...and...Namikaze Narumi!"
Widening his eyes in shock, Naruto looked at Narumi, who was busy hugging Sakura and Sasuke, as she waved at their family.
That was it.
He was overlooked.
He didn't have a team.
"Tch!" he scowled, tears forming at his eyes, as he turned away, walking off the stage.
He didn't even bother paying attention to his mother yelling his name.
He just wanted to forget it all.
"Damn, so he got overlooked? That's pretty harsh" started a woman, as she cast a gaze at the young blonde boy storming off.
He quickly leaped onto a tree branch, zooming off in a blur.
He had speed.
"Yes, perhaps...but we need that child, if we're going to go through with this plan...after all, you want you're revenge, correct?"
"...fine, I'll keep an eye on him and anybody near him"
You know, it's not like you would've really reached good potential with those teams, brat
Naruto nodded, knowing the fix was telling the truth.
Still, after the work I put in, I at least expected to have a team...so much for that...
Why not train alone? Make your own name, your own reputation?
It doesn't work like that, though
Never said it had to be here, though
It's not that simple, though...I'm still the Hokage's son, and if I go missing, then they'll send the Anbu after me...and I doubt I can outrun them, when their actually trying
Well, what about inside help?
What do you mean?
There's bound to be somebody here, at a decent position, that wants to leave...if they help you, we might be able to escape
No person here, with a decent position of influence would wish to leave, honestly...hmm...but somebody who has a criminal record might...
What do you mean? What are you planning?
A few days ago, my father caught a young man posting as a Genin, who was working for Orochimaru...Kabuto, I think...
One minor detail, my genius imbecile of a carrier...he's been CAUGHT
Well, it's up to us to fix that error, huh?
You want to break out a high-security prisoner, whos been working for a man who is amongst the Most Wanted, in the Land of For? Won't that be betraying your father? That puts US in a high-probability of death. I won't do it.
You're right...it would crush my father's conscious and possibly shatter his happiness...
Why, he might even curse the Kyuubi for having ruined his perfect life...
He might even be forced into hiding from the shame, and-
Lets fucking do this!
Inwardly grinning at himself, for the creative use of reverse-psychology and manipulation of emotion, Naruto stood up, turning towards the village again.
"Alright...prisoner hours are between five and six...that gives me a one hour window...but I have to cancel my father's Hiraishin No Jutsu, so he can't immediately appear at the scene...but to do that, I'd have to find either mom or Jiraiya...hmm...unless I get Kabuto out of the cell, with the guards' approval! I pose as my father, order a lone interrogation with Kabuto, use that time to formulate a plan, distract the guards' attention while he escapes!"
For a depressed human, you're rather cunning, gaki...I'll admit that
"Well...this certainly isn't what I planned, when I came to instigate a rebellion...but it's close enough, I assume" sighed Kabuto, as he stepped over the unconscious body of Kotetsu.
Naruto shrugged, as he began rewinding the security tape, quickly deleting the escape footage.
"Alright, Kabuto...you'll keep your side of the bargain, correct?" asked Naruto, stunning the silver-haired teen.
"You know, were you anybody other then the Yondaime's son...I would've killed you by now, but...being who you are, yes, I'll take you to Orochimaru...though, I am curious why you wish to see him, of all people..." he replied.
Naruto smiled, before laughing softly.
"That's simple, really"
"Yes, it is...I want to kill my sister"
Kabuto let out an exasperated groan, before rolling his eyes.
"To hell with you, then! The last thing I want, or need, is another one of you emotionally-crippled brats!"
Naruto shrugged, before turning away and making out of the main window.
"Eh, alright, so maybe I over-exaggerated on that, but either way, I simply need her out of my life"
Kabuto felt himself mentally smirk, his previous bad mood suddenly gone.
So, he could use the kid's emotional instability against him? Easy.
"Well, in that case...the way I see it...maybe joining Orochimaru would work to your benefit?"
"Simple, really...he can help train you, make you reach your true potential, actually"
Naruto scoffed, not bothering with the thought.
"Of course, but so could any high profile ninja, give me a good reason, now"
The kid wasn't all that stupid, after all
"Why leave your sister in the past, or kill her, when you could humiliate her? Defeat her, and force her to live with the shame, that if she had treated you better, allowed you to recieve love, she could have escaped this fate"
Naruto closed his eyes, thinking over the proposition.
I can join the most wanted traitor in Konoha history, forever shunning aside my ties to the village...and in return, I surpass my family, and force their blind eyes to see what they created?...it's what I've wanted for so long, but...it's like something is different from what I imagined...like something is stopping me...
Anybody can talk of hurting, and killing, boy...but to actually do it, is another case on its own.
What do you mean?
As much as I hate your father for sealing me away, I cannot deny that you are much safer under his care...even if he barely manages to notice you as it is...
Are you saying I should stay?
I'm not saying what you should do, I'm saying that once you make either decision, there is no turning back. This is not a game, in which you can restart at a good point.
Opening his eyes, he stared at Kabuto, who stood in total silence, awaiting the boy's decision.
"Well? What's your answer?"
This is it...if I go, I can never come back...I'll be a nuke-nin for the rest of my life...
"...let's go...my father makes his usual visits here in about six minutes, and he placed seals all over the village..."
"We have six minutes to clear out of the village? That's impossible, with security as what it will be
"Well, I guess we better hurry up then, huh?"
Kabuto sighed, before nodding.
Better to escape while his luck was good.
So much for weeks, possibly months, of planning, Uzumaki...
Shut it, Kurama...so is this it? I can't turn back, now?
You made your choice, so you'll have to live with the consequences...but, yes, that is correct...you passed the line-of-no-return. Although, I can't say whether to be proud or worried about our safety now.
Well...I guess this is the start of a new life...I wonder if Narumi'll be happy she doesn't have me in her life, now...