"I am Uzumaki Naruto, and I-"

Karin could almost hear the violin string within her mind snap. Her clan was the only thing that she put any real value in, because that's the only reason she was of any use to Orochimaru whatsoever. Her medical chakra, the reason her team had even accepted to take her along on this, most important of missions, was a result of her clan's bloodline manifesting in her in an odd way.

Orochimaru had seen what nobody else saw in her. He saw value. Others saw her merely as a source of healing juice, to be used and abused at the leisure of the townsfolk (and some had suggested she be used in other ways). There were reasons, after all, why she chose to follow Orochimaru of her own will. Providing her with an education in shinobi arts as well as a purpose (see the village that betrayed her clan fall) was enough for her to swear loyalty.

And it had been because of her heritage that she had gained such a possibility. So when this blond little fucker claimed to be a member of a clan as great as her own, she did not take kindly to his ignorance. "Bullshit!" she nearly screamed, getting up and glaring angrily at the blond fucker. "I won't let you throw my clan's name around like it belongs to you!"

The blond nearly recoiled. "Clan!?" it seemed he'd focused on that rather than Karin's anger, clearly dismissing everything else upon learning that the Uzumaki were a clan. The nerve of Konoha! How could they let a genin who didn't even know who the Uzumaki were graduate? How could that idiot even claim to belong to such an illustrious clan, said to be descended from the sage himself through the Senju (though Karin's parents, before their deaths, had expressed their belief that it was the other way around)!

"Shut the hell up!" snarled the test's proctor, standing up. "If you're gonna have a lovers' spat you might as well do it outside! If you don't wanna be disqualified you'll park your asses on those chairs and shut up!"

"This is treason to the Uzumaki! How can you let this idiot take our name for granted like that?!" while Karin herself didn't quite know as much as she wanted to about her clan, as Orochimaru's library of information had little in the way of intelligence on them, she at least knew enough. "It's obvious he's not an Uzumaki! He doesn't even have the trademark red hair!" she said, grabbing at her own long, smooth and most important of all, vibrantly red curtain of hair and waving it around.

"I don't know and I don't care!" yelled the proctor. "This is your last warning, genin!"

Karin huffed, and sat down, angrily glaring at the blond moron, who even now looked shocked.

"I'm too an Uzumaki!" Naruto suddenly yelled, glaring at Karin. "So what if I'm blond and not a redhead? What does that have to do with anything!? I'm Uzumaki Naruto, and I'm just awesome enough to be unique, 'ttebayo!"

Karin really should have thought twice, counted to ten, thousand if need be, and tried to calm herself down after sitting down. She should have just ignored the idiot, should have just carried on with the test so as to not upset her lord's plans any more (the fact that she'd called attention to herself already didn't help, since she was supposed to wait for further instructions while making it as far along as possible with the Kusa team she had been assigned to (right down assholes though they might be, both were strong enough to carry her to the finals if they had to... probably...), but...

The idiot had crossed a line by continuing to insult the only thing Karin could truly take pride on, the legacy of her ancestors (for she knew for a fact that her own talents in the Shinobi arts were mediocre at best), and the tenuous control of her emotions was shot to hell.

So she just lunged at the idiot and tried to sock him across the face, but of course he was faster and stronger than her (even if he seemed to be even worse than she was at melee combat... it took TALENT to be worse than her!), so he could subdue her.

"Okay, that's enough! You two, and your teams, get the hell out of this classroom! You're all disqualified!" snarled the proctor, slamming his hand on his desk. When the two were too shocked to move, he glared harder. "NOW!" screamed the angry man, and sheer fright almost saw them fleeing from the room, while their teams, all with angry scowls on their faces, followed them.

Those within the classroom could still hear the sounds of screaming as the verbal fight grew, with the redhead refusing to acknowledge the blond as an Uzumaki.


"You don't even have the slightest proof! I at least have the red hair!" Karin said, glaring at the idiot, as her team members were off to fetch their teacher. Some part of Karin, one that she didn't want to think about, worried about and feared the consequences of her loss of control. She would either be punished severely or discarded entirely.

No! Orochimaru wouldn't throw her away like that! She was useful! She was valuable! He'd said so himself, when he rescued her!

The silver haired man that had been introduced as Hatake Kakashi, this Naruto guy's teacher, and he seemed outright bored. "We do have papers, you know," he said, conversationally, sighing and rubbing the bridge of his nose. "I realize you're not entirely at fault, Naruto, but you still should've known better..." instructed the man, sounding almost bored.

"B-But Kakashi-sensei, she attacked me! I was gonna do the whole motivational speech thing so that Sakura didn't quit-"

"Sakura was about to do what!?" Kakashi asked, bewildered.

Karin snorted. "That girl is a bloody coward! And rightly so! She has so little chakra that the Shingan had trouble picking her up!" Karin's hands immediately went to stop her mouth from blabbing anything about her bloodline anymore.

Kakashi hummed. "Kagura Shingan, huh?" he asked, raising his one visible eyebrow in clear doubt. Karin felt for his chakra, and it seemed to be as sharp and focused as an arrow pointed at her neck. This was a goddamn pro that was way beyond the pitiful jounin that taught her Kusa teammates. "It seems you really are an Uzumaki, then..."

"So I have family?" asked Naruto, eyes shining.

"So it seems. I was unaware Kushina-nee had any family remaining... You're probably distantly related. Not even cousins, probably," said the silver haired man.

"Kakashi-sensei! You have to punish Naruto! He got us disqualified!" Sakura nearly yelled, breaking into the conversation, obliterating it, and moving on to another topic altogether.

"Hm. Witnesses here tell me you were about to quit, therefore disqualifying your team members, is that true Sakura?" asked Kakashi, looking at Sakura. Karin felt the girl's already tiny chakra withdraw into itself further. She'd been caught and the bravado that permitted her to call out her teammate on his stupidty vanished.

"Pathetic, both of you!" Sasuke nearly snarled, clearly furious. Karin was deeply disgusted by the feel of his chakra. So much hatred and anger. The worst part is that he was actually kind of handsome and his chakra had a mysterious, almost otherwordly feel to it that would be incredibly attractive, if only she could look past the anger, fear and loathing clouding it.

By contrast, the pretend Uzumaki's chakra felt warm, inviting and almost familiar. Much as she hated to admit it, he might actually be an Uzumaki. If they had papers proving his heritage... Then she had found what she'd been looking for since forever. She'd been looking for family, ever since her parents got killed in the line of duty serving Kusa... And now she had it.

And she'd be damned before she let this idiot go. Even if she had to do all those horrible things she'd read about, the ones that happened to Kunoichi that got captured, to get her lord to spare her family. Even if that family was composed of a complete moron and whoever his parents were.

The Uchiha huffed and left in anger, clearly going to vent in a way that wouldn't wind up killing his chances of promotion permanently. The pink haired twit trailed after him like a lovesick puppy, trying to 'cheer him up', as she'd muttered to herself before leaving.

Karin felt sick to see that. Unbeknownst to her, this is utterly hilarious in hindsight when one learns how mindlessly obsessive she would've become, had her temper not been tested by an over-eager idiot. Yep.

"Anyway... if you're truly an Uzumaki... then I've got to meet your parents! They could know so many things about our clan..." even if they'd kept the existence of the clan a secret from him. Maybe they just didn't want him growing up with stories of how great they used to be and how much their situation sucked by comparison? Yeah. It was possible. Her own parents had been against her learning of her heritage, because they'd thought she would feel a deep seated loathing of the people who betrayed them that would lead to her impaling herself against Konoha in a futile attempt at revenge.

Well, they'd been close, but no cigar.

The blond looked dejectedly to the side. Karin suddenly felt very, very stupid. It didn't take a genius to discover that the kid either didn't get along with his parents, which was utterly ludicrous as the Uzumaki family had made it part of their clan motto to look out for their own (and it was, in fact, very nearly ingrained into their heads since childhood), or he had no parents to speak of. He could've been delivered by dying parents to Konoha, who then turned to raise him, keeping him ignorant of his roots to ensure his loyalty to the village.

The Uzumaki were naturally strong in chakra and body, with accelerated healing, powerful and unusual chakra and large reserves of it. This boy's reserves were astronomically huge, and it seemed to run wild and untamed in his body... he was strong and fast despite sucking at hand to hand combat, which meant he didn't train to be that strong and fast. Ergo, those were natural traits.

"Wait... you mentioned a name before. Kushina... That was the name of his mother, right?" asked Karin, turning to the silver haired man.

"Kakashi-sensei.. .you knew my parents!? And you never told me?" the boy seemed actually hurt by that revelation.

Kakashi rolled his eye and leaned against the wall on the far side of the hallway. "You never asked. I knew your mother. Uzumaki Kushina... We called her the Red Hot Blooded Habanero, she had a temper to match the name and was just as much of an arrogant brat as you are. Of course, unlike you, she actually had the skill to back up her claims," said Kakashi, obviously insulting as he spoke. "But that comes with time and a lot of practice," he added, patting Naruto in the head. "It's not as if it is some big secret. I thought you weren't interested."

Karin sighed. She knew the Red Hot Blooded Habanero from the bingo books of ages past. One of Konoha's more obscure legends, mostly because while she led a very succesful career before disappearing altogether, her feats were much smaller than the other legendary figures of the time, such as the Sannin or the legendary Yellow Flash. "I guess that confirms it. We're family."

Naruto felt like his heart was about to burst, like he absolutely had to scream in glee and elation, hug the daylights out of Karin (even if he still wanted to sock her across the face for getting them kicked out of the exam), proclaim to the world how he had family, steal Karin from Kusa, go complain to the Hokage about the whole bloody affair and a lot of other things.

So he settled for grabbing Karin by the hand and dragging her off to do everything he'd always wanted to have a sibling to do with him (hilariously, most of that came from an angry and jealous little boy looking with envy at how a then-young Sasuke played with his elder brother, and what a mess THAT turned out to be).

Such as playing on the swings, on the see-saw, playing Ninja, and doing all sorts of undignified things Karin kept complaining ninja with any sort of dignity or self respect would never be caught doing, and no, just because she laughed until her tummy hurt didn't mean she'd enjoyed playing with the Konohamaru Corps., dammit!

That night, after Karin went back to the hotel room she shared with the team she had come with, Naruto went to sleep with the biggest, goofiest, silliest and happiest grin he'd ever sported on his face. It persisted throughout the entire night, even.