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Once upon a time in the stars above, there was a boy.
When he was young, he met an angel who fell from the sky.
To let the Angel return to the stars, the boy risked his life in a trial no human could complete, and won.
For his bravery, he was taken with the Angel, to the stars where the Gods roamed.
Naruto Uzumaki is a quiet child. He doesn't squirm or cry, he rarely makes demands, and he is, often simply there, like furniture, seen and forgotten. Even his fellow children ignore him.
The Matron at the orphanage however, knows that Naruto and a certain demon were invariably linked together. And ever since that fateful day, not too many years ago, she carries with her a burning hatred of the thing which has ruined her life, the Nine Tailed Fox, Kyuubi no Kitsune.
It was a gloriously unstoppable beast. For the few minutes where the Yondaime Hokage had not reached the battlefield, it had cut a swath through Konoha's shinobi. Young or old, Chunin or Jonin, it mattered not. Many were taken that day. None could say they had not known any of the dead. And finally, it was defeated, taking the Yondaime's life with it. But Konoha still stood then. And Konoha still stands now.
The matron at the orphanage looks at the creature before her with a barely hidden shudder. She had been a ninja, retired Chunin. Yet she still cannot reconcile that great thing, the unstoppable beast with what she was seeing. It was a small child, of 4 years old. Yet, there is something quite not right about the boy. Something just quite so…different.
It's the sadness she thinks. For the avatar of that massive engine of destruction, the boy behaves remarkably calmly and sadly. There is none of the anger at the other children's actions. They boy is like a rock that stands firm in the sea, against wind and water. He is, she decides, unnatural.
The days after that one unnamed day, are not particularly memorable for anyone.
When the boy notices that the outright malice of the previous time has disappeared into a strangled bitterness, he does not react. When the Matron starts to act blankly horrified at him, he does not do anything.
Life is a cycle and he was born anew. The only thing he does is to live and train. He has the force. But he also has something else. It is wonderful, to just be a child, free from the chains of his past life, free from the ravages of his past injuries. But mostly, he is grateful to be free to of his master, and free to grieve.
He sometimes whispers in his sleep, names of the past that still hold meaning in his heart.
And sometimes, when he is consumed by his past regrets, he whispers another name, one he did not know the significance of, until after he had died.
He knows that he is not silent in his sleep. The Matron whispers the foreign sounding words sometimes, trying to make sense of a boy she does not, indeed cannot understand. It is fitting, he thinks, that even in a new world, in a new life, he is still disliked, perhaps even hated. He might not enjoy torment, but he is almost too ready to do penance. In this life, he vows, he will not be a monster.
He also wonders sometimes, of when life will test him on that.
The children of the orphanage do not like Naruto. He is different, and children cannot handle differences. There is a basic human nature at play. All human, indeed, all sentient life organizes themselves into tribes. But this boy, he is not one of the tribe. So he is left alone. They test him, in that infantile manner of children, alternatively reaching out and provoking him. But he does not react like one of the tribe, or even one outside the tribe. He smiles sadly, and gently rebuffs them. Children, are not yet of an age to handle that and soon ignore him altogether. It is something that the Matron is all too willing to tolerate.
The Matron is confused. And she does not react well. Her life was much simpler before the Hokage dropped that blonde haired baby here right after the worst day of her life. She does not know whether to hate him or love him. But the latter is beyond her anyway, so she does not bother. The other children over the years have ostracized the boy. They instinctively seemed to keep away from him. And yet the boy simply smiled. It was ever so unnatural.
The Sandaime Kokage, Hiruzen Sarutobi sometimes wondered what had happened to the boy.
He came to orphanage, once every few weeks, to all the orphanages. It did his heart well to see the future that they had sacrificed so much of themselves for. The other purpose was of course to inspire the children into being shinobi, future defenders of the Village, and Konoha's soldiers to be. It is something of a dissonant thought, that the same children he loves will one day die for Konoha, perhaps even in missions assigned by his hand. But Hiruzen has been Hokage for a long, long time. He is hardened to life, and to death. He has made his peace,
But what of Naruto, the son of his beloved successor, yet forever placed beyond arm's length?
The delicate politics of the hidden village, balanced on truth and lies, secrets and rumours meant he had no way to take the boy into his own house. It was one of his many, many regrets. But now, he finds he has a new regret.
Naruto, what happened to you?
The boy, is a mystery.
It is not the Kyuubi, of that he is sure. The seal was and is a masterpiece, the strongest Jinchuuriki seal in the elemental countries, a construct that was the pinnacle of Uzumaki sealing arts, and powered by human sacrifice to the Shinigami itself. The Kyuubi might as well not be there.
But yet, the boy is different.
He did not laugh, he did not cry. He simply went through life, sometimes smiling sadly, at thoughts nobody knew. It is, Hiruzen thinks, unnerving to see someone so calm, at so young an age. Sometimes, the boy resembles nothing more than some ancient Fire temple monk , aged and withered, and infinitely wise. To see something like that on someone so young, it is disconcerting to him. Still, Hiruzen tries to be there for the boy, which is more than can be said of Kakashi and Jiraiya. He consoles himself with the thought that he could only do so much. Sometimes, that doesn'treassure him as much.
Naruto once asks about the world and the stars. He wonders why, in a world where men can become unto gods, nobody has gone to the moon and beyond.
And Hiruzen tells a half remembered legend, of the people who came from the stars to the moon and later settled here. He is pleased to see a glint in the boys eye. But then Naruto smiles his first happy smile he has smiled, and Hiruzen Sarutobi feels a few years younger. He feels like more than just the Sandaime Hokage.
And then the moment passes and the boy smile turns sad again. Except, there is a hint of wry amusement, which Hiruzen dismisses from his mind.
Naruto Uzumaki never brings up the stars again. Neither does Hiruzen Sarutobi. It passes on, as moments are wont. But Hiruzen is content. They are closer now, and he feels like Naruto has, in his own way, started to respect him, maybe even become a but happier.
Minato, he thinks, looking to the fourths giant stone head, you would be proud of him.
But Naruto does not forget. And one day, he decides, he too will return to the stars.
Just a one shot for now. Have started working again, so I'm afraid my "lack of muse" has been joined by "working" in my list of bad excuses. Still, I do have hopes to continue this one, if irregularly. I've finally made my peace with the fact that "Regular Schedule" and "Womgi's fanfiction" will never go together in a positive manner. I'm a bit resigned to just doing one shots at this rate.
But sometimes, I do get inspired, and sometimes I try to experiment. So while my eternally unpublished Star Wars Harry Potter crossover gets its 4th rewrite after nearly 70k words written in total, I do try to generate something or the other.
The writing on this really is an experiment as I try to give a sense of here and now to it. Since I don't have experience with this style(though I've seen some excellent examples of this), I beg forgiveness for any disappointments. Still, if you have advice about how I can improve, or if you have any other comments, please review. I do appreciate your opinions. Actually, I'm sure almost all writers appreciate feedback. I'll try to reply to all reviews if possible, though I've not been able to do much with my internet for a while