Prologue: Storming Prelude
There's something to be said about children. They are surprisingly intuitive and clever, when they wish to be. They can be crafty, they can be sneaky and they can be manipulative. Of course, they themselves are often unaware of this and likely doing the things they do entirely without realizing it. The innocence of youth means they are blissfully unaware of their cruelty.
However intelligent they can be, however, there is a simple, undeniable fact that can't be refuted.
They can't learn without someone, or something, to teach them. The most basic of things need to be taught, whether by example or by active effort, to them by someone else, and the only other way of learning is the hard way, through often humiliating and painful research. Instincts can only go so far.
Even particularly clever and crafty children cannot learn without being taught.
One particularly clever child, by the name of Uzumaki Naruto, is certainly no different in this regard. His greatest teacher is circumstance. Being orphaned shortly after his birth by the great king of all beasts, the Kyuubi no Kitsune, he didn't have the parents that would have taken the role.
Being the human container of said nine tailed beast meant that, unlike other children his age, he didn't have the help and aid of the orphanage workers that tried their hardest to be surrogate parental figures in the face of the orphans' lack of anything else. Even though they kept him fed, dressed and covered by the roof of the orphanage, they didn't offer him that which he wanted the most.
The starvation for affection bit at Naruto, and did so hard. He was starved for affection so much that he craved any and all kinds of attention. Even if the only attention they gave him was an angry scowl after he started a fight with someone else by taunting them until they paid attention to him. Being a seven year old boy and even then small for that age, his pastime of picking fights with older boys to get the matrons to look at him, to at least take the time to fuss over his wounds, had been more than a little painful.
But he didn't care about that. Not truly. Sure, he swore he'd beat them next time, swore he'd be a big badass ninja who would never be defeated, but that wasn't his objective in the least. Admittedly, he was improving in this endeavor, although it only caused the nurses who looked after him frustration… up until the point that it became routine and he was once again just a background prop.
So he'd stopped, as the results had waned to the point that it hardly earned him any recognition anymore.
The playground brawls taught him how to fight. The visits to the nice nurse taught him how to take care of his wounds, even if the poor girl had been replaced shortly after he started getting his ass kicked regularly she hadn't gone before leaving an impression. The man that replaced her had been much colder by comparison, but he still taught Naruto many things.
The small blond menace found that he liked learning. At least, he liked learning useful stuff. He liked learning to read because that meant he could read written directions, read notices, name tags and many, many other things that he hadn't noticed before.
Of course, he didn't like learning useless stuff in the least. That whole 'manners' thing that the eldest of the women whom he had seen working at the orphanage had taught the children, for example, Naruto found wholly unnecessary, pointless and boring in the extreme. Thus, he had ignored it entirely and gotten reprimanded for it many a time.
Life in the orphanage taught Naruto many things. It even taught him things that other children didn't learn until they were well away from their parents' supporting arms. Such as how to fend for oneself in what is colloquially referred to as 'the real world', the unforgiving world that preyed on the weak and revered the strong. Admittedly, Naruto's knowledge was incomplete and wrong in places, but the lessons that he had gotten to had been learned.
There is one thing; however, that life in an orphanage had not managed to teach Naruto. It was something rather simple that you could chalk up to common sense, when in truth is only so because of a bit of knowledge that, while commonplace to most, happened to be something that Naruto's specific circumstances precluded him from learning.
You see, he had no adults to teach him the finer things in life. Things that you don't really pay all that much attention to the first time, but would still heed because it was wisdom dispensed by an authority figure. Well, mostly. Things like 'Don't touch that or you will be burned' need to be taught, as they are not instincts.
Yes, you'd be surprised to learn that you need to teach a child not to put his hand in the fire, and even then, you'd find that the same child will stick their hand into the fire to make sure what you told them is the truth if you couldn't convince them the first time.
Things like that were the ones that Naruto had to learn by trial and error. He learned ice cream was cold when he picked up a popsicle that he'd found on the ground and stuck it in his mouth (he'd seen the girl who'd been eating it before). He learned not to shove things he found on the ground when doing so revealed he almost swallowed a beetle.
Despite what it might seem, common sense needs to be taught. You need to give the child a basic set of rules they can fall back to so they can discern whether or not a certain course of action is stupid or not.
They need to be told the difference between 'Safe' and 'Stupidly stupid' before they could learn it themselves.
Knowing this fact, it was no mystery why Uzumaki Naruto, age 7, didn't know better than going out to play in the rain… In the middle of a thunderstorm the likes of which came only once a decade, usually. Nobody had been there to tell him that he'd catch the mother of all diseases if he went out to play in the rain in what amounted to whatever rags he happened to be wearing at the time.
So he did.
Despite the cold water and the strong wind, Naruto went out to have fun on his own. And have fun, he did. Having the park all to himself made up for the harsh conditions, in his young mind. There was no one to glare at him, though there was no one to look at him whenever he did something particularly daring (usually, his doing stupid things that could end up with him hurt ended with at least a stern talking to, though he was sure to get one when he got back to the orphanage anyway). The thunder was a little scary, but Naruto wasn't a coward, so he still pushed on.
There was no one to stop him from exploring the taller trees. Usually, when he went to the park there'd be some adult who would pry him down from the tree and tell him not to climb up to high places since he could fall and get hurt. He should wait until he was bigger and more experienced so he wouldn't fall.
Not knowing the meaning of the word 'fear', Naruto had then decided that he'd climb to the very top of the largest tree he saw. It was made an even more daunting task by the rain making the bark slippery and the cold making Naruto's limbs much more sluggish than they already were (He was a little clumsy already, so this wasn't helping matters at all).
It took him nearly ten minutes to climb to the treetop of the largest tree he'd seen, and when he did, he grinned widely, looking happy despite the fact that he was trembling and shivering as he did. Looking around, he noticed he was higher than most buildings around the park. He was at least three stories up, from the looks of things, and he'd climbed here in the middle of the rain with strong winds and biting cold.
He was badass, plain and simple, and he lifted his hands as if signaling to the world his victory over the daunting task that he'd even managed to do in record time.
The only problem in Uzumaki Naruto's perfect stormy day, however, happened to come when some belligerent god decided that there could be no good things in Uzumaki Naruto's life and decided to send a bolt of lightning to strike him down because of it.