It was his fifth birthday, and the fifth anniversary of the day Minato Namekaze, the forth hokage, sealed the Kyuubi no Kitsune into a certain blond newborn. It was this of celebration that Naruto Uzumaki feared for his life. He had been kicked out of the orphanage just that morning by one of the 'Kyuubi abolitionists', for no reason apparent to the young child.

But this was no shocker for him. He knew that he was hated by the adults, and that they would do anything shy of killing him to make his life a living hell. These 'Kyuubi abolitionists' as they had taken to calling themselves, would refuse Naruto food, clothing, compassion, and any sort of services above the bare-minimum. They would yell and throw rocks. Sometimes on his birthday they'd get in a group and use their fists to, in their words, 'teach the demon brat a lesson'.

Naruto was forced to scrounge for leftovers when it came to everything he owned, the result being that he didn't have any sort of nice things at all. Sadly in these circumstances that can be considered a blessing in disguise because when he was kicked out of the orphanage there was nothing to be thrown out, short of Naruto himself.

Currently a crowd of drunken Kyuubi Abolitionists were on a fox hunt. That was why the sapphire eyed boy had taken refuge in a trash heap. It was because the villagers of Konohagakure failed to see the difference between Naruto and the demon that was sealed in his belly, but the young blond didn't know that. All he knew was that everyone hated him and he didn't know why.

He listened to the villagers passing by as they drunkenly searched for him. They were saying things like, "When I find that demon I'm gonna wring his neck!" or "That fox is gonna pay for what he did to us!" or even "Sasha! I will avenge you, my dear!"

'Why do they want to hurt me? Why do they only treat me like this? What did I ever do to them?' Naruto shed silent tears for himself as he thought in self pity. He didn't get too far though, because one of the villagers in their drunken stupor had fallen and knocked down the trash heap, and by extent revealed Naruto's hiding spot. They starred at each other for a moment, wet sapphire eyes bore into dark drunken orbs. The man was the one to recover first, shouting "Hey! I found the demon fox! He's been hiding in this trash heap!"

That shout had knocked Naruto out of his own stunned surprise. He turned and ran as fast as he could to find a new hiding spot. But now the adults were on his tail and gaining quickly. They were making their presence known as well, letting loose howls of "The chase is on!" and "Get back here you demon fox!"

The noise of the initial drunks had attracted others and soon the group tailing the poor boy had quadrupled in size. They were almost on top of him now, grabbing at his already torn and ripped cloths in an attempt to drag him into the waiting onslaught. Naruto did everything he could think of to try to escape, he zigged and he zagged, he wiggled and he wobbled, he even jumped through windows and tipped some barrels. But the villagers were relentless in their chase, always more and more popping up everywhere. It was like fighting a colony of insects, they swarmed him.

Naruto was finally caught when he jumped out of the window of some convenience store and what seemed like a third of the entire adult civilian population came at him in every direction. Wide eyed he looked for any sort of escape route, but found none as the villagers had formed a ring around ham and were quickly closing in. So in a last ditch effort Naruto shouted "If you think I'll just lay down and let you beat me up you've got ANOTHER THING COMING!" and ran to the closest man in the ring and kicked him in the shin as hard as he could.

"Ow! The demon brat has turned violent! Get him!" And with that every adult present let loose a deafening war cry as they rushed in.

At that moment everything seemed to stop for Naruto as he realized the gravity of his actions. But just couldn't bring himself to feel concern for his own wellbeing, 'Nobody else cares, why should I?' Never in a thousand years would Naruto even dream of receiving a response. "You're wrong, Kit. I care."

With that Naruto was drawn into the recesses of his mind leaving his body to drop to the ground.


Naruto's mindscape

For Naruto the change in scenery was both sudden and disorienting. One moment he was about to fight to the death against the civilians of the village, the next he was in front of some kind of huge cage. "W-what is this place?"He called out to no one in particular.

From the pitch black behind the cage a pair of blood red slited eyes three times the size of him opened and gazed at him, "We are within your subconscious, Kit. Currently those vengeful villagers are ravaging at your unattended body, so we'll have to make this quick. My name is Kurama and I'd like to be your friend." Naruto was stunned at the sudden proposition, it happened so fast that the only thing that he understood was that whatever it was behind these bars with the kanji for seal wanted to be his friend. "Huh? Why are you crying? Does the prospect of being friends with me really make you that sad?"

"No, you misunderstand Kurama.*sniff* You see I've never had a friend before, and I'm just so happy." Humans and their emotional reactions really boggled Kurama sometimes, of course he'd never admit that but they still did. With the acceptance of his friendship Kurama began initiating his plan, "It's obvious that you won't be able to survive this on your own so my first action as your friend will be to help you out a bit. After all, that is what friends do, right? They help each other." And with that Naruto was wished back into the physical world.


The real world

The civilians had been pounding away at Naruto's unmoving body when they froze from the amount of killing intent that suddenly fell upon the area. As they all watched in terror Naruto rose from the pool of his own blood, his wounds healing right in front of their eyes. Slowly, ever so slowly, he turned to gaze at everyone present with his blood red eyes, the civilians who were gathered to kill him, the ANBU who were watching from the roofs of the surrounding shops, and the passers by who chose to do nothing.

Then he walked off with the parting words, "It isn't worth the effort." The civilians, scared shitless, parted their ranks to allow the 'Demon Brat' passage through. Except for one man. It was one of the many blacksmiths of Konoha who sneered and blocked the young boy's path, "Not worth the effort? Not worth the effort?! I'm not going to let some demon brat disrespect me like that!" The blacksmith yelled and swung his large fist at the young boy's head.

For Naruto the world was moving in slow motion, he watched the large man's sweaty fist make it's way at him. The blond smiled to himself as he stopped the blacksmiths burly fist with his pinky finger. He removed the obstacle by striking the man's midsection with both hands. The surly blacksmith flew past the crowd and into the side of a building from the force of Naruto's attack. As the villagers moved the blacksmith to the nearby hospital Naruto heard them all saying something along the lines of "The demon brat has a dojutsu/kekkei genkai?"

'Dojutsu? What the heck is that?' As Naruto wondered what the previously murderous villagers had meant his nose picked up a delicious scent off of the slight breeze, following his nose halfway across the village he found himself standing in front of some sort of food stand. Naruto took the seat next to the black haired boy with the green vest who was already there and kept his head down. "What can I getcha, son?" Naruto was surprised at how the chef acted right off the bat. Shaking his head Naruto stood on his chair to get a look at what the man was cooking. "Um, what's that?" He pointed to the pan at which the heavenly scent was wafting from. The man chuckled and said, "That is a pan of miso ramen."

"Uh, I'll have some of that." Naruto then put down most of the money he had found among the discarded belongings that he often went through. The man shook his head, smiling "Oh no, the first bowl is always free for new customers." Naruto lifted up his head to gaze into the man's eyes, "Really?"When the man nodded Naruto smiled brightly "Oh thank you sir! Thank you thank you!" The man nodded as he began preparing the food, "No problem, kid. Say, what's up with your eyes? I've never seen anything like that."

Naruto figured that since the man had been nice so far that he'd tell the truth, "I'm not sure, when the large group of civilians who tried to kill me were walking of I heard them saying something about a dojutsu or a kekkei genkai or something." The other person at the ramen stand's hand made an almost invisible twitch as he paused while in the middle of lifting the noodles to his mouth, "Why were they after you?" Naruto shrugged, "I haven't the slightest clue! But they come after me in large mobs like that every year on this day. and to think, people are supposed to be nice to you on your birthday."

The girl who had been silent the entire time looked at Naruto questioningly "Today's your birthday?" Naruto nodded as he finished off his bowl of the nectar of the gods. "Um, what's your name?"

"Naruto."

"Like one of these?" She held up one of the ramen toppings, it was basically a white disc with a red swirl. Naruto looked at it with a puzzled expression in his crimson eyes "Is that what that is called?" The girl nodded "Then I guess it is like that." The four of them collectively chuckled at the similarity, "Well then Naruto, happy birthday." Then she turned to the chef "Hey dad, can Naruto have another free bowl? Ya'know, since it's his birthday?" The man now identified as the girl's father nodded with a smile, "I don't see why not Ayame." The older boy then reached behind him into a pouch on his belt and handed Naruto a kunai "Yes, happy birthday Naruto. From me to you."

"Thank you, thank you all!" Then suddenly a thought stuck Naruto "I haven't heard your guy's names yet." The other two males looked at each other and then Ayame's dad placed a second bowl of ramen in front of the young blond "I'm Teuchi and this here is Itachi!" Naruto nodded as he dug into the meal, not knowing when he'd be able to eat fresh food again he downed that second bowl in ten seconds flat. That was when Teuchi noticed the sky "It's that time of night again already, huh? Sorry guys, Ayame and I've gotta pack up the shop so it's time for the two of you to go to your homes." The two boys nodded and left in opposite directions.

As Naruto walked through the silent streets he heard the voice of his first friend. "I think that it is time for you to receive my birthday gift, Naruto." The blond looked around him to try to see where his friend was hiding, "Where are you hiding?" Naruto heard Kurama chuckling and wondered where his enormous friend was hiding. "I am inside your subconscious my friend, and to talk to me you need only use your thoughts. I think you'll find it useful to not have the general populous think you're insane as well as other things." Naruto continued his walk to nowhere in particular 'So you can hear my thoughts?'

"Each and every one of them." The young boy put his hands behind his head and smiled broadly 'That's. So. Awesome! So, what's your gift?' The Kyuubi smiled inwardly at the boy's enthusiasm "To receive my gift you must first go to someplace solitary with minimum chance of others eavesdropping on you." With that being all the incentive the young boy needed, Naruto sped off towards the first place that came to his mind. It was a place that he'd never seen anyone go into or come out of, it was a large forest surrounded by a large fence labeled with the number 44. 'How's this place?' Kurama was silent while inspecting the area "Perfect…"