Naruto: The Uchiha Chronicles Re-Version

Hello everyone. Welcome to the first actual chapter of the re-vamped Naruto: The Uchiha Chronicles. You'll notice quite a significant change to the backstory.

Arc I: The Origin:

Chapter 1: Hope and Blood

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Village Hidden in the Leaves, Land of Fire, A.S. 991 –

Naruto couldn't believe he was about to die. This week was the best week of his life. Now it looked like it might be his last.

It had started a few days after his first year at the Shinobi Academy. He'd decided to spend the break practicing his Shuriken skills. Just like everything else they learned there, he was the worst in his class.

Like many kids did after the attack of the Nine-Tailed Fox five years ago, Naruto had grown up an orphan. He wasn't like most orphans, though. Most of the others got at least some sympathy. Not him. Ever since he could remember, the adults in his village always looked at him coldly. When he walked down the street hushed whispers would follow him, and parents would warn children not to play with him. It was like they wanted him to just go away. Even the workers at the orphanage he used to live in were like that, save for the elderly matron.

There was only one exception, and that was the Hokage. He was a kindly old man with a funny goatee. Whenever he would visit the orphanage, he treated Naruto just like any other kid. He'd even take extra time to talk to him and didn't mind Naruto calling him "Gramps". That's where he got the idea to be a shinobi. Everyone treated the Hokage with respect. He wanted to become Hokage, so they'd treat him like that.

The only problem was it quickly became clear he didn't have much talent. He was hopeless at the theoretical stuff, and any of the practical lessons that required skill were just as hard. So he had to train. He'd show everyone they were wrong.

That day it was warm in the Hidden Leaf Village. The gleaming yellow sun shone brightly in a deep blue sky. Around him he could hear the trees whisper as they swayed from a pleasant breeze. It swept through the woods and cooled the back of his neck. A creek whispered through the woods somewhere just out of sight. Naruto stared intently at a crudely carved wooden target hanging from one of the trees by a fraying rope. Technically this wasn't a training ground, so he had to bring his own target. He gripped the shuriken tightly. It felt cool against his skin. The black metal absorbed the light rather than reflecting it. His arm swung forward in an awkward arc–WHOOSH!

The Shuriken whizzed through the air and embedded itself with a solid THUNK … a foot above the target. He couldn't help but sigh. It was going to be a long day. His second and third attempts weren't much better.

Naruto wasn't sure how long he was there training. It had been several tedious trips back and forth to retrieve the shuriken and start over. He was about to start another round when a deep voice cracked from age spoke up behind him.

"You should follow through with your wrist."

He jumped violently. With his heart dancing in his chest, Naruto spun around to find the culprit. He stood at the edge of the clearing. An old man, leaning on a cane.. Like really old. The man looked almost mummy-like with gaunt features and a face full of wrinkles. His white hair was cropped short and spiky. It contrasted with his stark black robes. His black eyes gave off a kind air.

"Hey old man, you shouldn't sneak up on people like that!" Naruto complained rudely. He expected the old man to yell at him like most adults when he was rude. But this guy must've been different because he just smirked.

"Sorry if I scared you." He said. "I was taking a walk in the woods when I heard the noise from your training."

Naruto's face heated up in embarrassment. "Hey, I wasn't scared!" He protested.

The old man simply chuckled and waved his hand placatingly. "Of course, my mistake. Let me introduce myself in apology. My name is Daarma."

He couldn't help but stare at the old man–Daarma. There was definitely something different about him. It took Naruto a second to realize the old man was looking at him intently, clearly expecting him to introduce himself. He tried to remember his manners like the matron at the orphanage taught him.

"My name's Naruto Uzumaki, future Hokage, nice ta meet'cha!" He said loudly. Well, close enough.

Luckily Daarma didn't seem put out by it. He took it in stride with nothing but an amused look. "Hokage, eh? That's quite a goal. You'll need to train hard to achieve it." He said.

Naruto blinked in surprise. The breath caught in his throat, and his heart skipped a beat. He almost couldn't believe he heard it. Daarma was the first person aside from the Hokage who didn't dismiss his dream. He felt a warmth in his stomach and a grin stretched his face.

"I will. Though first I gotta get this shuriken thing down." Naruto looked at the target with narrowed eyes. "For some reason I just can't get it to go where I want it."

Daarma looked at the target, and then back to Naruto. "Perhaps I can offer some tips. I used to be a shinobi myself." He offered.

Naruto's eyes widened. Seriously? Nobody really cared enough about him to offer help. For most of his life he'd been mostly alone. Especially so after he left the orphanage. It got painful always being passed over for adoption. He'd had to watch for years as adults came to the orphanage and picked other children. The worst times were when he'd get a look from them. Full of contempt, as if to say, 'you deserve to be here'. So he decided to live on his own when he was given the option after enrolling in the Academy. The Hokage stopped by to visit and give tips when he could. Those times were limited because of his schedule. He had to accept the offer!

"Really, you mean it old man?" He asked hopefully.

The old man nodded. "Of course. Now, the first thing you have to keep in mind is the stance."

For the rest of the day Daarma helped Naruto train. He managed to start hitting the outside edge of the target. But that wasn't the last time they met. Over the next week Naruto often met the old man, and he'd continue to help him with training.

Training with Daarma was fun. Although he didn't make much progress. Still, the old man was a good teacher. He was patient with Naruto, and slowly but surely he was getting better.

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A week after they'd met, Daarma invited Naruto over for lunch. Apparently the old man lived in a cabin on the outskirts of the village. Though calling it a cabin was a bit of a stretch.

He couldn't believe his eyes when he first saw it. It was the oddest thing to see a traditional style two-story house in the middle of the woods. Massive oaks and pines towered over the wood-tiled roof like silent guardians. His host had led him to the porch that circled the house. Past the entryway they turned into a narrow hall, where he was led to a decently sized room with a polished dining table and well-worn chairs. The old man had told him to wait while he got the meal.

While he was waiting for Daarma to come back with the food, a photo hanging on the wall in the next room caught his attention. It was of Daarma and a beautiful blonde woman embracing. He looked a lot younger in the picture, and with longer hair. The photo hung above a fancy looking sword with a white sheath and lavender hilt wrapping. They were the only decorations he'd seen in the house.

"Who's she?" He wondered to himself. He'd never seen the old man with anyone.

"My wife, Kazehana." Daarma said.

Naruto quickly glanced to the see the old man in the doorway to the kitchen with a tray in his hands. Whatever was on the tray, it smelled good. Kind of like the fried food vendors would sell during festivals

"You're wife?" He asked while Daarma started to set the food out on the low-standing table. It turned out to be some kind of fried tofu. The old man got settled across from him. He looked at the picture, and his eyes grew a bit distant.

"Yes, she died a long time ago. Bandits attacked her and my son while they were going to a carnival. She managed to defeat them, but her injuries were too much. My son went missing. I never managed to find him." Daarma explained.

Naruto swallowed heavily. He didn't quite know what to say to that. He felt bad for the old man. All he'd ever wanted was to have family. It was impossible to imagine what it would be like to lose them. "Sorry." He mumbled. Daarma smiled warmly.

"No need to feel sorry. I got over their loss a long time ago. I choose to remember the good memories and not the bad." He said. "Now, let's dig in before the food gets cold!"

That made him feel a bit better. They said a quick prayer and dug into the food. It was delicious. The tofu had been soaked in soy-sauce and filled with rice. It was crispy and chewy at the same time.

"This is really good old man." Naruto said. Daarma smiled in return.

"Thank you, I learned how to make it from my wife. Inarizushi is my favorite dish. Unfortunately, I can't make it quite as good as she did." He said.

The answer just made Naruto more curious about his wife. He didn't know why, but something about her intrigued him. Maybe it was the fact that they had the same shade of hair. He hadn't ever seen anyone with hair as bright blonde as his own. "Say, if you don't mind me asking, what was your family like?"

Daarma shook his head. "Of course, I don't mind talking about them." He seemed to gather his thoughts while looking at the picture fondly. "I don't mind. My son was a pretty energetic boy. He always wanted to know how things worked." He said. "As for My wife, she was a very kind woman. When I first met her, I wasn't a very good man. But she had a way of seeing the good in people and bringing it out." Now that he had started talking, it was almost as if the old man didn't want to stop. "That sword is actually hers. Kazehana was an odd one for a kunoichi. She believed the true path to strength lay in fighting to protect someone you cared about."

After that they talked about other things, but Daarma's words about Kazehana stuck with Naruto.

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Later that day he said goodbye and started back into the forest. He and Daarma had talked for a while after their meal. Now he was headed to get in some extra shuriken practice. The sun was lower in the sky, making the giant trees that towered over him look slightly ominous from the long shadows the cast.

As he walked, his mind was filled with thoughts about his visit with Daarma. Specifically, when he'd been talking about his family. It made Naruto wonder about his own family.

Most of his life he'd been alone. At first he lived in the Leaf Village Orphanage, but he left a couple years ago after it became clear he'd never get adopted. One thing Naruto always wondered about was his parents. He wanted to know who they were.

A strange noise suddenly drew his attention. It was an odd spitting hiss, like some sort of massive serpent spewing its rage. He'd never heard anything like it.

CLANG!

Now that was more familiar. He instantly recognized it as the ring of metal clashing. Maybe someone was training? But then what was that hissing sound? What if it's some kind of secret technique they're working on? I gotta check it out! After all, it wasn't every day he got to see cool jutsu in action.

His curiosity got the best of him. He made his way slowly through the forest towards the sound. It wasn't very far away from what he could tell. The thick underbrush made it hard to tell.

Finally, he felt like he pin-pointed the area the sounds were coming from. It wasn't too far from where he himself trained. He crept through the bushes quietly. Brambles tried to grasp at his ankles, and he had to watch out for the dry sticks that litter the ground like landmines. By now he could hear several grunts of exertion. Perhaps it was several people sparring, and not one like he'd originally assumed. There was a tension in the air. Something unnerving he couldn't identify. As he pulled back the branches on the last bush, Naruto had to stifle a gasp.

It wasn't someone training. A shocking sight lay before him. The clearing he trained in was torn to shreds. Scorch marks blackened the earth. Piles of rocks were scattered around, and thick steam filled the air. He could feel the heat of it on his skin. In the middle of the clearing, he saw a man wearing the Leaf headband fighting off a group of six other people. They wore strange white flak jackets and headbands with a cloud symbol on it. This wasn't a spar. He was being attacked. The man's eyes glowed red as he dodged lunges from his attackers. They wielded a variety of weapons. One of them even seemed to have a sword wreathed in bright blue lightning. He'd stumbled across a group of foreign ninja trying to kill one of their own.

Naruto froze. Ice cold terror sent a shiver down his spine. What should he do? Try to help? That was stupid, even he knew he didn't stand a chance. Run. A voice in the back of his mind urged. That was good enough for him. If he could get away, he might be able to get some help.

He slowly let the branches shift back into place, and backed up. That was when he felt something shift under his foot. CRACK! The noise was deafening to his frightened mind, like the sound of a dry bone snapping. Naruto looked down in horror at the broken branch under his foot.

"Did you hear that?" A voice said from the clearing. It was eerie and monotone. Another voice replied with the same lack of emotion.

"It came from over there. Better go check it out."

His heart leapt into his throat. Naruto didn't wait to hear the reply. He turned and bolted through the woods. His eyes strained to catch every detail around him. Leaves and twigs from the brush got stuck in his spiky hair and left small scratches on his arms and legs where his tee-shirt and shorts left the skin exposed. They stung as the air hit them. A branch snapping in the forest behind him caused him to look over his shoulder in terror. He thought he could just pick out a ghostly white flak jacket among the green foliage. His muscles burned as he tried to push on harder.

Naruto suddenly burst out onto a winding game trail. He recognized it as one that led to Daarma's house. His eyes widened. That's right, Daarma! Maybe he could help him. With that, Naruto took off down the trail.

Blood roared in his ears as his heart pounded wildly in his chest. His breath came in short, panting gasps. But he ignored all of that. He continued on as fast as he could. I can't die here. I just met someone who believes in me!'

That singular thought filled his mind. It drove him forward. There was a sudden shift in his sight. The world slowed down around him, and he could pick up every minute detail. He saw every leaf as branches swayed with the breeze. It was quite disorienting at first. A sudden shift to the side of him made his eyes widen. He could see a kunai cutting through the air with perfect clarity. The black metal passed through the shadows of the vibrant green brush. It was almost like it was moving at half the usual speed. Naruto dodged to the side to avoid it.

"Whoa" He said in surprise. What just happened? There wasn't much time to think about the odd occurrence. Two more kunai were flying towards him. Naruto ducked behind a tree and continued to race in the direction of Daarma's house. Up ahead he could see a familiar boulder beside the trail that made his spirits soar. He was close! Out of the corner of his eye he caught a flash of movement. His eyes widened when one of the shinobi appear next to him. He was a dark-skinned man with light blonde hair. Naruto could see the hilt of some kind of sword sticking out above his shoulder.

The shinobi stared at Naruto intently. That moment seemed to stretch for eternity. Finally, the man spoke.

"Sharingan?"

Naruto stared at the man in confusion. He vaguely recalled learning about something called "the Sharingan" in the Academy. For the first time in, ever, he wished he'd paid attention.

"Interesting. You'll be coming with me. This should make it easier." The man said. He slowly grabbed the hilt and unsheathed a sword. The blade glided out with a wicked ring. It glinted cruelly in a wayward shaft of light that peaked through the trees.

His blood turned to ice in his veins. Terror. Unbridled terror and sadness filled him. It was almost all-consuming. Naruto couldn't believe he was about to die. This week was the best week of his life. Now it looked like it might be his last. He found it hard to breath. By now his adrenaline was coursing through his veins so hard, his arms had gone tingly and numb. All sound seemed to fade away into the background, and he could only hear the rapid beats of his heart. Was this really it?

Bum bum . . .

His mind began to wander to all he hadn't done. He still hadn't gained the recognition of the villagers. He regretted that.

Bum bum . . .

And what of those he cared about? The Hokage and the Ichiraku's, even Daarma, how would they feel? Causing them pain, another regret.

Bum bum . . .

Worst of all, he hadn't found out where he came from. He'd never know who his parents were or if they loved him. The day he left the orphanage he promised himself he'd find out who his parents were eventually. Maybe then he'd know what people didn't like him. Had all that pain and loneliness over the years been for nothing? Would he simply die here just as his life was looking up?

No. He thought to himself. It can't end like this. I won't let it end here. I refuse to die! His mind went all fuzzy and blank, and Naruto entered a trance-like state. It was like he was in a dream. From deep within himself, a power began to well up. A tingling sensation filled him. An odd chakra that felt like it was both pushing and pulling at once. Every fiber of his being seemed to be under pressure from within. It built and built, until finally it had become too much, it felt like that power would tear his body apart. Somehow, he just knew what to do with that power. Naruto instinctually raised his hand.

In an instant the man's sword reversed course so fast it snapped his wrist. The bones broke with a sickening–SNAP. The blade continued on and impaled him through the chest. A spurt of crimson blood stained the white flak jacket.

Naruto froze as the man slumped to the ground. What was that just now? A crack from the forest behind him reminded him that this guy wasn't alone.

He got to his feet and continued to run to Daarma's house. Within moment's the house was in sight. To his surprise, the old man was already outside. He stood in front of the house with more serious look than Naruto had ever seen from him.

"Da-Daarma, he-he-help! Guys're chas–" He tried to speak, but his words came in panting gasps. The old man placed a calming hand on Naruto's shoulder.

"I already know. Go wait inside. This shouldn't take very long." He said seriously. His eyed conveyed an utter confidence that awed Naruto. It calmed him down just enough to listen to what the man said. Daarma glanced at him and then gave him a gentle nudge in the direction of the house. "Go. This is no place for you yet."

Naruto followed the old man's orders. He quickly darted to the door. As soon as it shut behind him, his curiosity got the best of him. As quickly as possible, he dashed around the corner and into the kitchen. He stood on tip-toe at the sink to peak through the window. By now five of the odd shinobi had shown up. They surrounded Daarma on all sides. One of them begun to speak. Naruto had to strain to hear it.

" –are you? What are you doing with the Jinchuriki?" The shinobi–a fair skinned man–asked.

He cocked his head to the side. Jinchuriki? What was that. There wasn't too long to dwell on it. Daarma quickly replied to the man.

"Me? I'm a ghost. As for the other matter, that is none of your concern. Besides, dead men have no use for secrets." He said. The tone of his voice set Naruto on edge. It was cold, as cold as a winter storm. An ominous feeling filled the air. He found it hard to breath, it was like an immense weight had settled on his shoulders.

A blue haze surrounded Daarma. The ground beneath him started to crack, and two of the five men were brought to their knees. Naruto's vision started to go dark. His mind was getting sluggish. The last thing he heard was a single word shouted by one of the men. It came to him muffled, as if shouted from a great distance.

"UCHIHA!"

After that he felt an intense wave of heat wash over him. It felt like a warm embrace inviting him to drift away. Then he knew no more.

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