He lives in you
The day started out like every other ordinary day, the sun rising high in the sky. One would think that absolutely nothing could go wrong. Naruto of course knew that they most likely would. You see he was the most hated person in the entire Konoha village. Deep inside Naruto housed the nine tailed fox. Several years ago the demon had attacked Konoha, and nearly destroyed it. The Forth Hokage had sacrificed his life and that of a newborn to seal the demon. Naruto was supposed to have been seen as a hero for keeping the village safe, instead he was looked at as if he was the actual demon. No one cared that he was an actual twelve year old boy who had feelings that could be hurt. As it was right now, Naruto was forced to live right outside the village gates. He couldn't read or write, no one had ever taken the time to help him. He was passed from class to class without actually being taught anything. Nobody ever wanted to teach the demon anything.
Naruto would lie at the base of a tree every single day and wonder at the day's cruelties. He wondered how the village could get by with doing what they were doing. He was like everyone else; he didn't understand why he was treated differently. He sighed and tried to ignore the aching in his stomach. He hadn't eaten again today. The venders refused to sell to him. He wondered if the Third Hokage knew what was going on. Naruto didn't think he did. How could he know what the villagers done to him on a daily basis and let them do it? How was it possible that the Hokage didn't care about the villagers he'd sworn to protect?
Naruto sighed and wrapped his arms around himself; he supposed he couldn't blame the Hokage for his current conditions. It wasn't the Hokage's fault that his landlord had kicked him out and refused to let him back in. Something had to change and soon, he couldn't spend the rest of his life living outside. At some point the weather would turn cold, he wouldn't be able to sleep outside then.
He closed his eyes and tried to go to sleep, it took a little while but he eventually drifted off to sleep.
Two guys both fairly tall stood at the edge of the Konoha village. They were wearing black capes with red clouds all over it. Naruto stood at a small distance away, hidden up in a tree. If they looked up they would see him, but he was hoping they wouldn't. He didn't understand exactly why but he had a feeling these guys were dangerous and not to be messed with.
He was close enough he could hear what they were saying and it confused him.
"Naruto Uzumaki, the host of the nine tailed demon, resides within these walls. Our orders are to capture him alive and bring him to Master Pein for extraction." Naruto frowned whatever they were talking about didn't sound pleasant to him. He wondered what nine tailed demon they were talking about, and how was it possible that he was the host for it. Last he remembered he wasn't very well liked so he couldn't very be hosting anyone or anything. What did they mean by extraction? Naruto didn't understand anything he'd heard. Something told him he needed to run and get as far from Konoha as possible. He couldn't do that however, he owed it to the village to become a strong ninja because his dream was to become Hokage. He wasn't going to run because some other ninja's decided they wanted to extract something from him. Something told him it would mean his death if he was caught but still he couldn't force himself to run. Even when the two missing nin said they were planning to go after Naruto in only a matter of days. He waited until the two nin had gone before he dropped down from the tree he'd been hiding in. he knew he had to go and tell the Hokage what he'd heard but he wondered if the Hokage would believe him. he sensed that the Hokage was a good man, but he wondered if he'd be treated the way the villagers treated him; with contempt. He could only hope not.
The scene changed and Naruto was standing at the village gates with tears in his eyes. He had been humiliated beyond words. Because of his pink haired teammate his whole team now knew just how illiterate he was. It had never been his fault that no one taught him anything, he'd tried to his best to learn, but it wasn't easy when you had no one to help. He could hear Sakura's voice ringing in his mind.
"At least Sasuke can read and write, he's stupid, and he actually has a place to live." The words brought a blush to Naruto's tear stained face. Now even his sensei knew his problems and that he was indeed homeless. He had never wanted his team to know that. He just wanted to become a strong ninja and protect those he'd come to love despite their hate. He only wanted to be loved. Was there something wrong with that? He was tired of being friendless and hated. Why couldn't anyone see that he was just like them, expect he'd hadn't had anyone who'd care whether or not he learned. Now that even his teammates knew he wasn't sure how he was supposed to face them again. Sighing, Naruto turned and looked out the village gates; he knew something his teammates didn't know. Missing Nin were coming for him, were in fact probably pretty close, and they were going to attack the village to get to him. He wondered if they would attack if he went with them willingly. Naruto knew that if he went with them it would probably mean the death of him. But he didn't want anything to happen to his village. They hated him but somehow after everything he was still able to love them and want them safe. A thought occurred to him, what did they want with him, if it was indeed true that he housed the nine tails demon what made Naruto think that after they extracted the demon that they wouldn't still attack the village anyways. He frowned. He couldn't go with them but at the same time neither could he stay where everyone knew that he was illiterate. It far too embarrassing, he wasn't even sure how he'd become a ninja, unless his sensei's had really just passed him to get him out of their class. That thought depressed Naruto even further. Would he ever find someone who truly cared for him? It certainly didn't seem like it.
Groaning under his breath, Naruto turned and headed towards the bridge. He liked to sleep close to their so that he would always be on time for his team meetings. When he reached the place he'd preferred to sleep: right under one of the trees at the training ground. It went in a little clearing so you couldn't exactly see him if you were their training. Sitting down, Naruto scooted back so that his back was resting against the tree trunk. He lowered his head into his hands. He had no idea what he was supposed to be doing. He couldn't leave, giving those guys unimaginable power, but neither could he let his village be attacked. It was a problem he wasn't sure he could fix, not without becoming a missing Nin himself. Naruto closed his eyes as if to continue thinking about the problem, instead he found himself drifting off to sleep.
He woke with a start when he felt rather than sensed that danger was near. Opening his eyes, he stared directly into Itachi Uchicha's eyes.
"Well, if I had known it would be this easy, I wouldn't have waited so long" Itachi said.
"What do you want with me?" Naruto demanded as he pushed himself to his feet. Something within him was screaming for him to run.
"You hold the nine tailed demon within you, I don't think you realize how much power that is."
"You just want the power it holds" Naruto said "what happens to me since I'm the one keeping it safe."
"The extraction process will likely kill you" Itachi replied "Which is kind of a waste but it is what it is."
"I don't want to go with you" Naruto said "I want to protect the village from the likes of you."
"How nice protecting the village that hates you, that refuses you the chance to be human." Itachi said alluding to Naruto's illiteracy.
"So" Naruto said "I'll find a way to learn those skills but being a ninja is more important to me."
"Whatever, you're not going to be alive that much longer" Itachi said turning his Sharingan on. Within a matter of minutes Itachi and Kisame had Naruto captured and unconscious.
Itachi had tossed the unconscious Naruto over his shoulders so he didn't see the ripped cloth from his cape slip from Naruto's limp fingers.
Naruto sat up suddenly, his forehead covered in sweat. That had been one hell of a nightmare. He wondered if it meant anything. At the rate that his life was going he wouldn't be very surprised. Sighing, Naruto threw up and arm and wiped away the sweat. He would have to take a dip in the river before heading to his team meeting. He hoped it wouldn't be too noticeable that he'd taken his bath in the river. Then again no one ever really paid enough attention to tell where he bathed or not.
Hanging his head, Naruto wished he had been born someone else. Someone that wasn't so difficult to love. He couldn't understand why he was treated this way, and then again maybe something in the dream had explained it. He sensed that somehow his dream had been a premonition, and that everything discussed in it was true. He didn't know he hoped it wasn't but it was an explanation for being treated worse than an animal.
"What are you doing out here?" a kind voice asked from the entrance to the clearing. Naruto's head shot up. No one ever came here because they knew he lived here. So who was this person who dared come to his home? Naruto frowned; he'd seen the older ninja around, the one with the hair in a ponytail and the scar across his nose. He had the friendliest eyes Naruto had ever seen. But he didn't dare trust him no one was ever kind to him so why would anyone start now.
As if sensing Naruto's nervousness, Iruka slowed his approach, not wanting to frighten the boy. The Hokage had told him about Naruto, and despite the fact that Naruto housed the demon that had claimed his parent's lives. He'd wanted to help Naruto. No child deserved to be treated as Naruto was. Naruto was suffering needlessly and Iruka wanted to put an end to it. He couldn't understand the village, especially if what he'd heard about the boy was true. Naruto should be respected not tossed out in the street to figure out a way to live.
"I'm Iruka" Iruka said approaching Naruto's side. Naruto frowned again and attempted to back away. Ninja's liked to beat up on him, for no reason other than they wanted to. So was that why this man was here, to hurt him?
"Can you even talk?" Iruka asked, a sadness weighing down on his chest. When he realized just how abused the boy had really been. He watched Naruto back away from him and frowned. It was much worse than the Hokage had thought, so much worse that Iruka wanted to cry. He wished he hadn't stayed away from the village for so long, maybe then none of this would have happened.
"How did they get by with doing this to you?" Iruka wondered out loud wondering why the Hokage hadn't interfered sooner. No one deserved to be trying to live on their own at his age. What really got to Iruka was the sadness in Naruto's deep blue eyes, along with fear.
"I'm not going to hurt you" Iruka spoke softly and slowly like he would to an injured animal. "I'm going to take care of you; you won't have to sleep outside anymore."
Naruto looked up at the ninja, almost too afraid to hope, that good was finally coming his way. Still when the kind looked ninja reached out his hand towards him. Naruto flinched, he couldn't help it; it came from years of being hurt.
Naruto opened his mouth, but no sound came out. He lowered his head in shame. He was stupid; why else could he not do anything? Naruto didn't see the sympathy in Iruka's eyes.
"I will teach you" Iruka said hating the look in the boy's eyes. This wasn't right. Someone should have been held responsible for this child; instead it seemed that he had gotten lost in the system. Never again, Iruka was determined he would take care of the child himself, even if he had to adopt Naruto and give up missions. One way or the other, Naruto's life was about to change for the good. If anyone deserved for some good to come their way it was Naruto.
Naruto looked at the ninja who wasn't trying to get any closer to him. Naruto sensed that he had good intentions but still he wasn't certain. He'd tried trusting ninja before but it didn't turn out well for him. In fact it was almost always the ninja who would beat up on Naruto. Still, something was saying he could trust this one, maybe it was the kindness in his eyes, or the way he seemed to understand that Naruto needed space and so he stayed several feet away from him. Naruto watched him wearily and Iruka didn't blame him, he wouldn't trust anyone either, if he'd lived through what Naruto had.
"I need you to come with me" Iruka said softly still afraid of spooking the child. "We need to get you into a better place to sleep." For a few moments Iruka wondered if Naruto would come with him.
Sensing that the ninja before him was actually good, and wanted to help him; Naruto decided that for the time being he would trust him. Pushing himself to his feet, he stood and walked slowly towards Iruka. Iruka smiled and felt like a small battle had been won. It looked like Naruto had decided that he wasn't dangerous at the moment.
"I promise I'm not going to hurt you, and while you are with me, no one will hurt you again." Iruka stated. Naruto came within a couple of feet of Iruka and stopped.
"Let's go home" Iruka said softly and Naruto frowned, he didn't really have any idea what the concept of home was. There were a lot of things he didn't understand, like his need to protect a village that constantly shunned him. Maybe Iruka would be able to explain it to him. If he could find a way to express what he was talking about first, that is, Naruto had problems speaking as well as being unable to read and write.
Naruto shuffled his feet and stared down at the ground while he followed Iruka through the town. He was more nervous than he had been when being forced from class to class, when he attended school. He was only 11 and was already so lonely, enough so that on most days he tried to get into trouble. Lately though, he hadn't felt like it so he just stayed out of everyone's way, ignoring the kids that made fun of him for his lack of learning. it wasn't like he was truly stupid and unable to learn it was just that people refused to teach him, though somehow he had a feeling that with Iruka things were going to be different. He hoped they would at least; he was so tired of all the bad that had been going on in his life lately.
A few short minutes later they arrived at Iruka's apartment. Opening the door, Iruka held it open for Naruto to enter. He walked through the door expecting someone to start yelling for him to get the hell out, that animals didn't deserve to live inside. Naruto paused to look around, from the door way he saw the kitchen with the normal fridge, stove and cabinets and a small table for two. Looking towards the living room, he noticed a bookshelf with several different scrolls. A little distance away from the bookshelf was a small sofa sitting with its back towards a window.
"Are you hungry?" Iruka asked after walking in after Naruto and closing the door. "I can make you something to eat if you want." Naruto looked up at him with his blue eyes shining with tears; Iruka felt his heart break at the expression on Naruto's face. It almost seemed as if Naruto was begging for food, it hurt Iruka to know that villagers had purposely withheld food from Naruto.
"Anything you like in particular?" Iruka asked heading towards the kitchen, he was trying to get the sight of those blue eyes filled with tears out of his eyes. Naruto was obviously not used to receiving any kindness from people, and it hurt Iruka more than he could explain. Naruto shook his head but followed Iruka into the kitchen. He sat down at the table and watched while Iruka made some noodles. He couldn't explain why he felt like crying his eyes out, and he didn't understand why Iruka was being so kind. No one else had, so why was Iruka going out of his way to make him comfortable?
A few short minutes later a steaming bowl of noodles was placed in front of Naruto. He reached into the bowl with his fingers and winced when he was burned.
Iruka grimaced it was becoming more and more apparent that Naruto hadn't been taught anything he needed to know. Iruka hoped he would be able to change that. He reached out and taking Naruto's hand placed a fork in it. Once Naruto had a grip on it Iruka stuck it in the noodles and proceeded to show Naruto how to eat with a fork.
Later that night Iruka showed Naruto to the room where he would be sleeping. Naruto frowned, the bed looked like it was going to be comfortable and he was surprised that Iruka wasn't making him sleep outside. Tears formed in Naruto's eyes again and they silently slid down his face. He would never be able to pay this man back for his kindness.
When Iruka saw that Naruto was crying again, he felt another sharp pain go through his heart and he felt like crying himself. He kneeled down in front of Naruto and gently as if he was afraid of scaring the boy, wrapped his arms around Naruto in a comforting hug. Naruto of course, froze, unsure of what was going on. He wondered if that was when Iruka intended to hurt him, he was more than a little surprised when Iruka didn't do anything more than hold him.
After a few minutes Iruka let him go, Naruto watched while Iruka pulled the blankets down and urged Naruto forward into the bed. Once Naruto was covered Iruka gently ran his hands through the spiky blonde hair.
"You're going to be okay now, Naruto that I promise you." Iruka turned and walked out of the room, afraid that his tears would show if he stayed any longer. "I'm so sorry they didn't take care of you" he whispered as he made his way to his own room.
So this is slightly different from the storyline but still one that I hope is worth reading. Thanks for reading and reviewing have a great day. Liz