Colors of Life and Death: Book 1

Changes

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Naruto opened his eyes the next morning to find Tsunade sleeping, sitting up, next to his bed. He smiled. He stood up and tapped the Fifth Hokage on the shoulder. "Hey, Granny Tsunade."

Tsunade opened her eyes. "Morning, kiddo. How are you feeling?" she asked as she stretched her arms above her head.

"Better." He paused for a moment. "Hey, Granny?"

Tsunade twitched. "Naruto? Would you please stop calling me that!" she said in exasperation.

Naruto simply laughed and scratched the back of his head in an impish manner.

Tsunade sighed in defeat. "What did you want to ask me?" she said as she got up and worked the kinks out of her joints.

Naruto's face became more serious. "What's happening to me?"

Tsunade looked thoughtful. "Come sit down," she said as she walked toward the couch.

Naruto followed and took a seat across from Tsunade on his slightly beat up, puffy armchair.

"What you told me about Kyuubi last night got me thinking. So, after you fell asleep I had Hinata take a look at your chakra."

For reasons he was unsure of, this made Naruto uncomfortable. He didn't want anyone looking at his insides, much less a girl.

"Your chakra has changed Naruto," Tsunade said as leaned forward, she interlaced her fingers and rested her chin on them

"Changed?"

"Nm. It's now yellow. And the reason for that is that the 'gift' Kyuubi gave you, was his chakra. What happened last night was the result of the two chakras merging."

Naruto's eyes went wide. "Will it happen again?" he asked with a bit of fear in his voice.

"I don't think so. I think last night was the completion of the process," Tsunade answered reassuringly.

Naruto visibly relaxed. Thank God, he thought. Suddenly, understanding dawned on the blonde's face. "Does...does that mean," A smile began to work it's way across his face, "that I'll have that power all the time now?"

Tsunade nodded with a smile. "Yes."

Naruto jumped up from the armchair and punched the air. "YES!"

Tsunade blinked, startled for a moment, then laughed.

"YES! YES! YA-HAAAAAAAA!" he whooped loudly, jumping over and over again.

Tsunade took a break from her laughter and stood up. "Naruto," she said as she placed a firm hand on his shoulder, "Naruto, Calm down. There's still more we have to discuss," she said with a warm smile.

Naruto resumed his former seating arrangement, still grinning like a Cheshire cat.

Tsunade eh hemed. "Now, this also means that you need to do some heavy training for a few weeks," Naruto happily nodded, "under my supervision." At Naruto's sudden, kill-joy frown she added, "So that we know what to expect with your new chakra."

"I've controlled it just fine before," Naruto grumbled, his arms folded across his chest.

"Using someone else's chakra while they are still alive to help you control it and having their chakra merged with your own are two entirely different things, Naruto," Tsunade said firmly.

"Alright," Naruto said reluctantly.

"And during this training period you will be staying at my estate," Tsunade added.

"WHAT?!" Naruto yelled incredulously.

"I thought you might react that way. But it's an order as your superior, so go and pack your things," Tsunade replied in a authorative tone.

Naruto made a low, irritated growl as he stood to go to his room. After a few very noisy minutes, mostly due to the fact that the room was an absolute disaster area after the events of the previous evening, he reappeared with an insanely full backpack. "Ready," he grumbled under his breath.

"Look at it this way," Tsunade said as they headed for the door, "You get a chance to see how a Hokage lives," she said with a wink.

Naruto brightened a bit and the two walked out the door into the warm, morning sunshine.

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Naruto just stood there, his mouth hanging open. He could have easily been mistaken for a statue as he gaped at the massive building that was Tsunade's home.

Tsunade watched Naruto with a bemused smile. "If he likes this, wait till he sees the indoor hot spring," she thought to herself. Truthfully, she could have just gone with him to the training grounds every day. He didn't have to live with her. She was hoping that being at her home for a few weeks might make him more susceptible to the idea of staying there permanently.

"Naruto," Tsunade called. "Naruto!" Naruto shook his head rapidly and looked at the fifth. "Let's go," she said as she headed for the front entrance. Naruto hiked his backpack up higher and followed her.

They walked through the gardens that covered a large portion of the front yard. A few higher level ninjas, who were walking around carrying various reports, stopped for a moment to greet Tsunade. She said hello and took a look at some papers they wanted her to sign. Naruto just stood there, not saying anything. He was naturally a bit cautious of the Konoha adults at first. Always suspicious of their inner thoughts.

"Hello, Naruto," said a female chuunin brightly, while awaiting her turn to talk to Tsunade.

Naruto looked at the girl speaking to him. He decided she seemed genuinely nice. "Hi," he said with a smile.

"I'm Nabiki. Nice to finally meet you."

"What do you mean?"

"Tsunade-sama's told me so much about you, that I feel like I know you already," Nabiki said with a grin.

Naruto smiled. He loved the fact that Tsunade seemed to care about him like family. He used to be able to count the number of people who cared about him on one finger (Namely Iruka-sensei), but now they just seemed to keep on coming. Sakura, Sasuke, Kakashi, Hinata, Shizune, Jiriya, Lee...so many people. They cared for him, accepted him. He had never imagined before a year and a half ago that it was possible.

"I practically live here so you'll be seeing me a lot," Nabiki said as the jounin who had been speaking to Tsunade left. "Oh! My turn. I'll talk to you later," she said with a smile.

Just then Shizune came walking down the stone path. "Ah, Shizune," Tsunade greeted. "It'll be a few minutes before I'm done here. Would you mind showing Naruto to his room?"

Shizune bowed warmly. "Of course, Tsunade-Sama." She turned to Naruto. "Follow me please," she requested with a smile.

As Naruto walked through the large front entrance of the house he couldn't help but think, "I can't wait till this is mine."

Shizune led Naruto through the main foyer, down a long hallway lined with doors and up a flight of stairs, finally ending up at a door that had the kanji for 'Naruto' on it. The foxy ninja was confused. "Hey, Shizune-san?"

"Yes, Naruto?" Shizune replied as she put her hand on the doorknob.

"Why's my name on the door? I'm only staying for two weeks," Naruto questioned.

Shizune froze for a second. "I have to come up with an excuse...fast!" she thought. She smiled brightly. "Tsunade-Sama just wanted you to feel at home."

Naruto smiled and followed Shinzune as she walked inside the room. For the second time that day, he lost his ability to do anything, but stare. The room was at least twenty by twenty five feet in diameter with a nine foot ceiling. There was a bed twice the size of his at the end of the room to his left. The sheets and pillowcases were a burnt orange color, just a little darker than his jacket. The bedspread was dark blue with a yellow Konoha symbol in the center. An area rug that matched the bedspread lay in the center of the room. A small stereo was on the far right wall, next to the doors for an enormous walk-in closet. There was also a T.V with a video game system near the stereo. A phone and an alarm clock sat on a cedar nightstand next to the bed. A large dresser was nestled in the space between the two windows and plain, square mirror hung above that.

Naruto blinked away his trance-like state, walked further into the room and set his bag down on the bed. "Wow," he said softly.

Shizune smiled. "I'm glad you like it."

Naruto snapped to life. "Like it?!" He ran over to the stereo and pointed at it. "I have a stereo! And a Playtendo!" he finished as he jabbed a finger in the direction of the game system. He then turned around, ran in the other direction, executed an aerial flip and landed perfectly in the middle of the bed. "And the best freaking bed EVER!"

Shizune laughed. "I'll leave you to get settled," she said, still chuckling in amusement. She walked to the door and opened it. She turned her head back to Naruto (Who was now sprawled on the bed, looking, for all the world, like road kill). "If you need anything just pick up the phone, dial five six four and I'll be right up."

Naruto nodded. "Thanks, Shizune-san."

Shizune smiled. "My pleasure," she replied. "I'll see you later," she said as she walked out the door.

"Bye," Naruto replied. As soon as the door was shut he closed his eyes in comfort. "I could get used to this," he thought with a smile.

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Sakura began to run toward Naruto in slow motion. "Naruto-kuuuuuuun!"

"Sakura-chan!" he yelled back with his arms stretched out for the impending romantic hug. When Sakura got to him though, instead of hugging him, she began poking him in the arm.

"Naruto...Naruto wake up," Sakura said. The scene blurred, then Shizune's face focused into view. "Naruto! We're going to be late!"

"Uhnnnn. Shizune-san?" Naruto said as he sat up and rubbed his eyes. He frowned. "You ruined a great dream," he grumbled.

"If it involved that Sakura girl, I don't want to know," Shizune said with a wave of her hand.

Naruto did a double take. "How'd you know?"

Shizune giggled a bit. "You talk in your sleep."

Naruto turned tomato red, suddenly wishing the earth would open up and swallow him.

"Anyway, you need to get up. Tsunade wants us in the practice field in fifteen minutes," Shinzune remarked, attempting to get back to her reason for waking up the blonde ninja.

Naruto groaned and looked at the clock. "Six fifteen in the morning? Damn. She's as bad as Kakashi-sensei" he thought groggily. He rolled out of bed and shuffled over to his closet.

Shizune, seemingly satisfied that she wouldn't have to wake him up again, walked back to the door. "I'll be waiting for you by the front gate," she announced.

Naruto simply nodded and pulled out his usual outfit."Good morning Naruto," Tsunade said as she saw he and Shizune coming onto the field.

"Morning, Granny," Naruto said with a yawn.

:Twitch: "Eh hem." She waved a hand around in a circular motion. "Welcome to my personal training ground."

Once Naruto's eyes adjusted to the bright sunlight that had assaulted them after leaving the protective shade of the trees, he grinned at his surroundings. Now this is kick...ass.

The field had to have been at least a good three acres. A nasty looking obstacle course took up nearly a third of it. In the middle was a small lake for practicing water related jutsus, which also had jump poles in a small section of one end. There were various throwing targets and dummies scattered around the third of the field closest to him. A tiny wooded area to his right had a sign up that read: Trap evasion course. Enter at own risk

"Okay. First thing we are going to do..." Tsunade began.

"The obstacle course!" Naruto interrupted, practically drooling at the sight of it.

Tsunade 'Eh hemmed' loudly. "First thing we are going to do is have you mold some chakra."

Naruto looked absolutely crestfallen. "Why?" he complained.

Tsunade simply cocked an eyebrow at him.

Naruto sighed and was about to do as asked, when he got an idea. She wants me to mold chakra, eh? I'll show her some chakra, he thought with a mischievous grin. He put his hands into his favorite seal.

Tsunade's eyes went wide. "NARUTO! WAIT!"

"KAGE BUSHIN NO JUTSU!" Instantly the entire first acre of the field was filled with Narutos, all pushing and scrambling to get out from under one another. This included the trap evasion course, which set off every single trap...all at once.

"GET DOWN!" Tsunade shouted as a hail of spikes shot out of the woods, barely missing everyone and taking out most of the replications in the process. After the danger was past, she stood and glared at her temporary student.

Naruto desperately wanted to be somewhere else. "I..." he began.

"That... is why," Tsunade growled as she stood to her full height. She took a deep breath to regain her composure. "Now...just mold some chakra," she said in a mildly dangerous tone.

Naruto gulped. "Y, yeah." Making a basic molding seal, he pushed out just enough chakra to give himself a yellow glow.

Tsunade nodded in approval. "Alright, now a little more. Keep going until you feel yourself loosing control, then stop," the Fifth Hokage instructed. She then turned to Shizune. "Shizune, you may want to step back a bit."

The memory of what had happened with the Kage Bunshin still fresh in her mind, Shizune didn't hesitate to move back by a good fifty feet.

Naruto's 'glow' had taken on the likeness of a bonfire as it continued to grow in size. Keep control. Keep control, he chanted in his mind.

Tsunade watched with a thoughtful gaze as the chakra aura towered over it's owner by nearly six feet. I think two weeks may not be enough, she thought wearily. Suddenly, the chakra flattened down to the ground, shooting sideways as a ring of energy, pushing rocks and dirt toward Tsunade and Shizune with frightening speed. Tsunade managed to jump to a branch in the tree next to her, but Shizune was pummeled to the ground just before a fist sized rock hit her in the head. "SHIZUNE!" Tsunade screamed. Tsunade immediately jumped down to her friend's side, her eyes wild with fear.

"SHIT!" Naruto yelled as he ran over to the two women, regret and fear flooding his features. "Shizune-san!" he yelled as he skidded to a halt next to them. He watched Tsunade treat her friend, a lump rising in his throat. "Is she gonna be alright!" he asked in a choked voice as tears filled his eyes. No answer. "Granny Tsunade!" he yelled.

Tsunade sighed with relief. "Yes. Amazingly, it's just a concussion and some mild lacerations."

"Tsunade-sama...I..." Naruto began.

Tsunade held up a hand. "We'll talk later. Right now I want to get her to my infirmary," she said as she cradled Shizune in her arms and stood to leave.

Naruto nodded and followed the Hokage back through the trees.

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A doctor stood at the end of Shizune's bed with a clipboard. "I have all the information I need. I'll take care of her." She looked in the direction of an open door. "You go take care of him," she said, referring to the boy slumped on the bench in the hallway.

Tsunade made a slight half-smile, half-frown, then went to see Naruto. "She'll be alright," she said as she sat down next to him.

"Yeah," Naruto replied with a monotone voice.

"Naruto, look at me," she said as she placed a gentle hand on his shoulder. Naruto looked up, but his expression was empty. It hurt to see his usual, carefree grin replaced by such a ghastly hollowness, but she smiled reassuringly anyway. "It was an accident. I know exactly what you're thinking and you're wrong. I'm not going to stop caring about you over this. And I know Shizune will tell you the same when she wakes up."

A small amount of life came back to the young boy's eyes. "Really?"

A warm smile found its' way to the Hokage's face. "Yes." She put two fingers under Naruto's necklace, lifting the stone up a little. "I've considered you family ever since I gave you this necklace and I never abandon family because of an honest mistake."

Naruto wiped away the tears that had started to form and smiled. "Thank you, Granny Tsunade," he said as he gave her a big hug.

The doctor came out of Shizune's room. "She's awake." She turned to Naruto. "She wants to talk to you," she said with a smile.

Looking a little nervous, Naruto stood and followed the doctor inside the room. "Sh...Shizune-san?"

"Naruto...I'm okay," Shizune said with a weak smile.

"I'm sorry..." Naruto began.

"Naruto, it's alright. You didn't mean it." Shizune winced as her headache spiked a bit. She put her hand to her forehead. "Although, I hope you don't mind if I don't go to your next training session," she said with a small laugh.

Naruto allowed himself a slight chuckle as he wiped away some fresh tears. He sniffed. "No problem."

Shizune yawned. "I think I'm going to take a nap."

Tsunade smiled and ruffled her friend's hair. "Glad you're okay. Sleep tight."

Shizune looked slightly annoyed. "Tsunade-Sama!" she scolded. "I am too old for that kind of treatment."

Tsunade simply chuckled and waved goodbye as she walked away.

"Bye, Shinzune-san!" Naruto said as he fell in step behind the Fifth.

Shizune just smiled. "Good luck," she thought.

...TO BE CONTINUED

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Well, that chapter was...eventful. LOL. Hope you guys like it. :) More soon!

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