There are a couple things I need to say before we get started here. The first is that this is a Naruto Neglect Fan Fiction. I have read a couple off and on over the past couple months and figured I might as well give it a try. In each of these stories there are certain parts that I like. So my goal for this story is to put together all of the elements that I liked from the different stories I've and hopefully create a product that is entertaining and worth the read. I'm going to be heavily incorporating an OC to train and bond with Naruto. I will be doing some slight bashing to help the story along, but I'm not a fan of the stories that take it WAY overboard. So I will also be making some changes from the cannon universe in order to better fit my story. The changes are made to the world not just the Hidden Leaf. They are listed below with brief explanations;

· The graduation age of the academy is now 16

o Don't get me wrong, I love the original Naruto series, but I am hoping to set up a more mature setting and don't think that can be accomplished by having a main cast of 12-13 year olds.

· Tsunade and Jiraya area still very involved with the village

o They now have a family to look out for and will have large supporting roles.

· I am making the characters much stronger

o By making the graduation age older I was planning on just making the whole cast a bit stronger to balance out the whole story. The Genin will be as strong as cannon Chunin, the Chunin as strong as Jonin, and so on. I will even be giving the Kage a power bump so that way they can keep up with the OCs I have in mind.

· I am going to be skipping minor plot points within the story.

o Sorry for those of you who love reading about D-rank missions and long overdone training arcs.

· Naruto is going to be using a combination of normal cannon attacks and some original ideas I have thought up.

o I just feel like it is an author's job to leave their mark on their stories, and within the Naruto universe there are only so many combinations you can come up with before it gets repetitive

· I'm going to be tweaking the personalities of some of the characters to what will best serve the story

o For example, Ino won't be an overly obnoxious fangirl (Sakura will still be), Hinata won't have a crippling shyness (she will still be rather conservative) and characters like Tenten and Samui won't be one dimensional and bland, I'll give them some personality.

· Some of the arcs that happened in the background will be moved around a bit for foreshadowing and character development.

o So the mobilization of the Akatsuki and the Kiri Civil War will be moved around a bit so there is never a dull moment

Don't worry, I will still be covering all the major arcs of the original series like the Academy, Wave Arc, Chunin Exams, and Sasuke retrieval arc. I will also be keeping everybody else's powers like the cannon series for the sake of not recreating the entire universe.

The most important part is reader interaction. I want you to let me know what you think, if there are grammatical errors, and ways you think I could improve the story. I am going to do my best to paint every scene and attire in as much detail as I can. In doing so, I am going to be making references to sounds, weapons, and attire from other anime, video games, movies, and TV shows. That way you can just look up a picture if you are having trouble imagining it.

Well, it's about time for me to get started. So sit back, relax, and enjoy…

And no, I don't own Naruto

Chapter 1

The Hidden Leaf Village is a beautiful place. Harshirama Senju, the First Hokage, picked out the location along with his best friend Madara Uchiha. Together they established the strongest of the Elemental Nations and paved the way for the rest of the world to follow.

Here we find ourselves, overlooking the Village Hidden in the Leaves from atop the very same mountain Madara Uchiha and Hashirama Senju once stood. Of course, there have been some changes made to the surrounding landscape. Now, down below, rather than a lush a green forest, there is a populous and thriving village. Shinobi and civilians interacting and living their lives. The Village was always a happy place. Today marks the five years anniversary of the defeat of the Nine Tailed Fox at the hands of the Fourth Hokage, Minato Namikaze and his Triplets. With the help of his wife, Kushina Uzumaki, the third hokage, Hiruzen Sarutobi, and two of the three legendary Sanin, Tsunade Senju and Jiraya the Toad Sage, Minato Namikaze was able to split the Nine Tails into threeseparate containers. One, his eldest daughter Mito, who was a carbon copy of her mother, his youngest daughter Narumi that had his hair and blue eyes, and the other in his youngest son Menma. Menma had a similar body structure to Minato but Menma got his crimson hair and violet eyes he got from his mother.

From the top of the Hokage monument you can see them walking through the streets to their favorite restaurant Ichiraku Ramen. Along the way, the villagers are all smiling at the site of Minato (26) and Kushina (also 26) parading through the busy streets with the Prince and Princesses of the Leaf. Mito, Narumi, and Menma are celebrating their 5th birthday before with some lunch at their favorite restaurant before they get ready for their birthday party. Each year they are showered with gifts from Council and Clan Heads alike. This year they were excited because they would be starting training. They expected to get all of the best shinobi weapons and attire from their god parents, Tsunade and Jiraya, and the other clan heads. But they had no idea what their parents were going to get them. They had tried to find out only to be told, "It's a secret, but you're gonna love it!" Whatever it was, both parents seemed to be excited about it. This feeling of joy and excitement rubbed off on everybody. Whenever the 10th of October rolls around, the entire village just seems happier.

Well, all except for one.

Atop the Hokage Monument, on the head of Tobirama Senju, we find Naruto Namikaze; the eldest child of Minato and Kushina Namikaze and heir to the Namikaze-Uzumaki clan. Naruto had spent the day all alone, just like he spends any other day. His parents always ignored him for his younger siblings and the rest of the village seemed to follow. Today is his 6th birthday, but he was the only one who knew it. Every year he would wonder if his parents would remember. He wanted nothing more than to celebrate with his family and just have someone to be around, someone who loved him.

While Minato and Kushina never directly tried to hurt him, he was always treated as an annoyance. He was constantly seen as inferior to his siblings and he couldn't understand why. Naruto learned a lot about himself on his fifth birthday, none of it was shared.

(FLASHBACK: 1 year ago)

Naruto was excited. He couldn't sleep all night because he was so excited for today. The day he turned 5. This wasn't just your normal birthday, no, clan heirs are typically trained from the age of 5 on through their time at the Academy so they can graduate at the top of their classes. Naruto had noticed that his parents never seemed to have an interest in him for as long as he could remember, but this would be the year he changed that. This year he would work hard and show that he will be the best clan heir you could ask for.

Naruto ran downstairs to see his parents decorating the house with "Happy Birthday" signs. Naruto couldn't help but crack a 100-watt smile at his parents who were just noticing him.

"Awww, I knew you guys would remember," said Naruto, tears forming in his eyes from the sheer happiness that was flooding his system. Kushina and Minato exchanged a quick glance before looking at their son with a confused expression.

Kushina spoke up first, "Of course we wouldn't forget your brother's and sisters' birthday." She came across as offended at the fact that her son believed she would forget such an important day. Naruto's eyes widened, horror and sadness quickly replacing happiness.

"W-what do you mean, 'brother's and sisters' birthday?" Naruto choked out, holding back tears at this point. Minato was very confused now. First his son comes down, happy as can be, then Kushina talks about how they are prepping for the Triplets' birthday and now he is on the verge of tears.

It was at that moment Naruto knew, he was really nothing to them. His birthday, the one day a year that he was supposed to be happy, and his parents didn't even bother to remember it. The tears were flowing freely now as Naruto ran back upstairs and slammed the door. He couldn't believe what was happening. His parents forgot about his birthday. For as long as he could remember, he hadn't had a birthday party or been involved in the party with his siblings. But this year was worse. He knew deep down he shouldn't have gotten his hopes up, but couldn't help budget excited about being a part of his family.

He didn't was extravagant presents like the Triplets would always get. He didn't want big parties and hordes of guests. All Naruto wanted was to be accepted by his family, and they basically told him he was insignificant.

Naruto cried for hours, no one ever coming to check on him. He heard when his siblings woke up and went downstairs to see their living room covered in decorations. The sound of laughter and happiness was like a knife to his heart. It only got worse at the party.

Everybody treated Naruto like he didn't exist. He was treated like a bother and when the occasional visitor talked to him, it was always about is siblings. "What's it like being related to the Prince and Princess of the Leaf?" or "How are Lord Menma, Lady Narumi, and Lady Mito today?" or the one that crushed his spirits like a nut in a nutcracker, "I didn't even know Lady Mito, Lady Narumi and Lord Menma had a sibling."

After realizing that no one would miss him if he left, he wandered into his parent's library. On the table, he saw a couple books laying out titled Introduction to Chakra Control, Beginner's Chakra Theory, and My Training Regimen. There were two copies of the last one. Naruto started to look through the books only sparing a brief glance at each page.

Right as Naruto was looking at the last couple pages of Introduction to Chakra Control, Minato and Kushina walked into the room, each smiling. They saw Naruto looking through the twin's gifts and reacted naturally.

"NARUTO! Don't touch that, it doesn't belong to you!" Kushina's scream startled Naruto making him rip the page he had in his hand. The gates of hell were opened.

Both Kushina and Minato started yelling at Naruto so loud the party downstairs stopped. Everyone present bore witness to one of the harshest verbal lashings ever given to anyone, let alone a 5-year-old.

They accused Naruto of being jealous a brat, just being an all-around bother to them. Naruto couldn't look at them. He stared at the floor and cried. As the lashing intensified, Naruto could barely maintain his composure. He was muffling his sobs when his mom grabbed him by the face. Lowering herself to his level she continued.

"What the hell are you crying for?! You break your siblings' present and now you think you can get off if you just cry? Get out of my sight. I don't want to see you for the rest of the night." Kushina hollered, inches away from Naruto's face.

Naruto dragged himself out of the library and to his room.

He didn't sleep that night.

(PRESENT TIME)

As Naruto thought back he discovered two things. First, he has a photographic memory. All he needs is the slightest glimpse or exposure to something and he can remember is perfectly for the rest of his life. He remembered every single word his parents said to him that night. The mere memory of that night wrecked him emotionally.

Naruto had made a few attempts to bridge the gap between him and his family. His father had started to train Mito, Narumi and Menma every day, often times leaving his paperwork for the night so he can fully dedicate himself to the Triplets. They weren't exactly quick learners.

Minato was considered a prodigy and Kushina was one of the hardest workers on the face of the planet, so naturally they were able to rise through the ranks and become the two strongest ninja in the Hidden Leaf.

They were also determined to make Mito, Narumi, and Menma as strong as possible, for the fate of the world rested on their shoulders. Naruto remembered hearing about some prophecy pertaining to the Triplets, but little did he know that was the reason he was pushed aside.

(FLASHBACK- 1 week after the Nine Tails attack)

"Are you absolutely sure Jiraya?" asked a troubled Minato, sparing a worried glance at his wife.

Jiraya had just rushed back from an emergency summons to Mt. Myaboku. The Toad sage had important news he needed to share with Minato immediately. Jiraya had received a prophecy form the Toads about Minato's and Kushina's children. According to the Elder Toad's foresight, a child of the Yellow Flash and Crimson Death would use powers never seen before to bring the world into an era of either peace or chaos. Immediately Jiraya believed it to be either Mito, Narumi, or Menma since they would be trained in how to harness the power of the Nine Tails. The only previous container, Mito Uzumaki (yes, in this story, Kushina was never the Jinchuriki of the Nine Tails, hence she survived the attack on the Leaf), had never been able to do much more than suppress the beast. The fact that the power was a split up into two containers would make the chakra usable and maybe the Triplets would one day master their power. Jiraya had believed completely forgot the eldest child of the Namikaze-Uzumaki family.

"There isn't a doubt in my mind. One of the Triplets will be the child of prophecy. We need to do all we can to put them down the path of peace and not chaos. That means they need 100% of our attention. Kakashi, Tsunade, the two of you and I will have to do everything in our power, make the village see them as saviors and not monsters, train them to fight so they can handle the hardships they are destined to face, and above all else keep them happy. We can't afford to have the child of prophecy fall into darkness." Jiraya said with unwavering conviction. His words rallied Kushina for the upcoming tasks, Minato still had some worries.

"What about Naruto?" Minato said. The others in the room could sense the worry in his voice. He and Naruto had bonded within the year since his birth. Naruto was a carbon copy of Minato. Minato had never felt as happy as the day of Naruto's birth. All the accomplishments and praise he received meant nothing to him. The undying love he felt for his child was unlike anything he had ever experienced. Never having parents of his own, Minato wanted nothing more than to have a family when he was growing up. He had the love of his life with him and was able blessed with a healthy son. He would never forget the day, October 10th. It was the day he was completed. He had a son to bond with, tell stories too, tease, and do everything he never got to. Now, Jiraya was telling him to put Naruto aside for his new kids. Now don't get him wrong, he loved Mito, Narumi, and Menma just as much as Naruto, but he knew what it means to be alone in the world, and he wouldn't wish it on his worst enemy. He had to deal with it because his parents had died in the 2nd Great Ninja War. The day of their funeral, a 5-year-old Minato vowed that he would become strong enough to defend those close to him. He would protect his family and never abandon them to the cruel shinobi world they lived in. Looking at Jiraya as if daring him to say the wrong thing, Minato awaited an answer.

Kushina beat Jiraya to the punch, "Hell no! We are not going to abandon him. He is as much our child as Mito, Narumi, and Menma, we just need to focus on the Triplets a bit more."

(FLASHBACK END)

HOKAGE OFFICE

… A bit more. Minato thought to himself as he signed off on his and Kushina's gift to the Triplets. Minato deeply regretted not shooting down that prophecy nonsense as soon as Jiraya brought it up. Every time he saw Naruto his heart broke a little. His eldest seemed to be completely broken. Minato would often catch Naruto watching the triplets interact with his family and friends. His eyes full of remorse and longing. The Namikaze name carries merit and power all around the world. Minato had built a legacy for his children to build from, but you wouldn't think that Naruto was Namikaze by the way he is treated.

Most of the village had forgotten he even existed, and those that didn't gave him the moniker of The Other Namikaze. When Minato heard that it took Jiraya, Tsunade, and Kushina to keep him from killing the civilian council member that addressed Naruto in such a way.

He wasn't the only one with doubts. Kushina, while stubborn and headstrong, wasn't entirely sure this was the best course of action. It pained her to see Naruto heartbroken, but she knew that the fate of the entire world was in the balance. She kept telling herself that she just had to make it to the Triplets 5th birthday, then they would start training the Triplets.

Kushina figured when they started training the Triplets things would be easier. She would fully devote herself to Mito, Narumi, and Menma and she wouldn't have time for anything else. She never went back on her word, and on the day Jiraya came to her and Minato with the prophecy, she vowed to be the light for her Mito, Narumi, and Menma. She wouldn't allow them to slip into darkness. The pain she felt in her heart never faded though. It got harder and harder for her to see Naruto, so much so that she would often blow up at anything Naruto did and send him away. Her emotions often shifted from sadness to anger in the blink of an eye. Naruto would often get scolded over minor things because Kushina needed to vent some of the anger she held for herself. She figured eventually things would smooth out with Naruto. Today the Triplets would start training. Mito was always self-motivated, but would get discouraged easy and Menma's laziness rivaled that of a Nara. Narumi was always kind hearted and trying to make everyone happy. It killed her to see Naruto sad all the needed to come up with a way to keep them focused and something to remind them to push on when their training was hard. She had come up with it and convinced/forced Minato into going through with it. Tonight was going to be a big night.

PARTY AT THE NAMIKAZE COMPOUND (yes, they have a compound, not just a small house like in cannon)

Tonight, was very important for all the leaf residents. To score points with the Hokage, many civilians and shinobi alike would pull out all the stops and get only the best gifts for Mito, Narumi, and Menma. One year, Minato wanted to turn away the gifts, but Kushina rejected the notion, saying they weren't his gifts to return. Wanting to keep the Triplets happy, he complied, albeit reluctantly. This year was the worst yet.

In the back corner of their rather lavish living room stood three mountains of gifts. One for Mito, one for Narumi, and one for Menma. If one were to look to the left of the impressive stacking feat, they would see the eldest Namikaze.

Naruto was sitting at the end of the stairs in a plain black shirt and dark gray shorts. His messy blonde hair shadowed his eyes from all the party goers. He was forced to attend the party every year, as if to rub in his face the fact that his siblings got more than he could ever dream of, while he got nothing. No love. No acceptance. No real family or friends. A single tear ran down Naruto's face over his trademark whisker birthmarks, three on each side. He was pulled from his agony by his mother speaking up to gather everyone's attention.

"Thank you all so much for being here tonight. I really appreciate you all taking the time to come and celebrate Mito, Narumi, and Menma's 5th birthday." Kushina said with a beautiful smile on her face, reminding many why she was one of the most sought after maidens in the Elemental Nations. "Anything for the Prince and Princess of the Leaf." A rather drunk civilian slurred out sincerely. Kushina's smile widens as she looks back at Mito, Narumi, and Menma sitting next to each other with Minato to the right on Menma with Narumi to his left, and Mito to her left. "We are going to start opening gifts, so please if you would do this orderly, we wouldn't want a repeat of last year." Kushina warned with smile that promised pain to anybody who ruined Mito, Narumi, and Menma's big day.

Minato laughed nervously. He remembered what his wife had done to a few civilians that rushed to share their gifts and ended up running into and end table and breaking her favorite vase. The crowd remembered too, so they organized themselves into a line, civilians first then shinobi second.

Naruto watched with envy basically oozing from him. He watched as his siblings received top of the line training gear, masterfully crafted weapons, jutsu scrolls, and countless books pertaining to combat intelligence and chakra theory.

His siblings were well mannered for the most part. Some of the books got a disapproving look from Menma but with a dangerous glare from Mito and Narumi, he quickly shaped up. Now their godparents were approaching them, each holding the sealing scroll. The twin's eyes widened to the size of dinner plates as Jiraya and Tsunade laid the scrolls on the table, and gesturing for the twin to sign them. With a childish glee, Menma signed the Toad contract and began yelling about how he would become the strongest shinobi ever. Mito and Narumi were much more reserved but still wore a rather large smile as they signed the Slug Contract.

The room was in shock. All the shinobi had heard stories about two of the strongest summons clans, the Toads and Slugs. They also knew that only a handful of people in history had signed those contracts, putting the Prince and Princess in some very good company. The onlookers started to applaud as Kushina and Minato rose from their seats. As they were walking to the front of their children, Naruto noticed that his father was holding something in his hand that had the official seal of the Hokage on it. A little curious, Naruto rose and inched his way through the crowd until he was directly behind his parents. When he got there, he could clearly hear something that would change his life forever.

Minato quieted the crowd and noticed his eldest had made his way to the front row. A moment of eye contact with Naruto made Minato consider scrapping this entire idea. He wasn't sure he could this to him in the first place, but to do it at a time like this, in front of all the important figures in the village? That would make things immensely harder. Minto thought that maybe, by some chance, this whole ordeal would go over Naruto's head, he was still a child after all. Steeling his resolve, Minato decided to continue.

"I would like to thank you all for the gifts and on behalf of my entire family, I hope you enjoyed the night and we can celebrate like this many more times in the future." Minato cracked a charismatic smile that was reciprocated by the entire crowd. For some reason, Naruto got the feeling that something terrible was about to happen. Looking around he didn't see anything out of place around the room so he decided to curb his thoughts and return his attention to his father.

"We just have one last gift to give to Mito, Narumi, and Menma tonight," Naruto narrowed his eyes, the foreboding feeling returning, but this time much, much stronger than before. "As the Fourth Hokage of the Village Hidden in the Leaves, I, Minato Namikaze, name Mito Namikaze-Uzumaki the heir of the Uzumaki clan, Narumi Namikaze-Uzumaki the heir of the Namikaze clan, and will personally be training Menma so he can one day take my place as Hokage." The crowd reactions were mixed.

The overwhelming majority erupted into a craze of cheers and clapping. Some even went as far as to whistle and scream like they were celebrating a victory in the Chunin Exams. A select few knew what this meant. Shukaku Nara, the Nara clan head and his son Shikimaru stared in disbelief. They knew Naruto and even kind of like the boy. He was kind and warm hearted to everybody, but his eyes held a sadness that is indescribable. They didn't really know what caused the sadness, but now they got their answer. A couple in the crowd looked on stoically. Hiashi Hyuga and Fugaku Uchiha seemed indifferent towards the news. Behind Minato, Jiraya and Tsunade were hugging and congratulating Menma and Mito respectively. Both children were the happiest they had ever been in their life. Menma was shedding tears of joy while he buried himself into Jiraya's chest, laughing and smiling the entire time. Mito was uncharacteristically expressive too. She was smiling and openly laughing with Tsunade, going as far as to jump off her chair and into Tsunade's waiting arms. Narumi ran and gave her father the biggest hug imaginable. The celebrations were cut short when there was a sudden explosion of chakra in front of them.

All eyes widened at the display of power and jaws became acquainted with the floor when they saw who was emitting this suffocating presence.

In the center of the room stood Naruto, shooting a glare at his father that would turn Medusa to stone. Around him whipped vicious wisps of light blue chakra, tearing up floorboards and blowing back civilians and shinobi that were unfortunate enough to be nearby. His eyes held pure rage and betrayal, while his body released more chakra than the average Jonin. His parents looked at him with wide eyes, for several reasons. The first of which was they didn't know that Naruto had awoken his chakra. Secretly Naruto had been training in chakra control and studying chakra theory at the public library. He naturally was able to mold his chakra easily, making the Tree Walking Exercise and Water Walking Exercise child's play for him. He had even asked Tsunade for some basic medical ninjutsu he could train in, but was sharply denied. The second reason was the sheer amount of chakra he was emitting. While the Uzumaki blood ran strong in his veins, even a full-blood Uzumaki's chakra reserves were dwarfed by Naruto's. If he has the equivalent to a Jonin at the age of 6, what will he be like when he gets out of the Academy? Or even after that? Or even after that? Mianto's thoughts were almost identical to the thoughts of Tsunade, Kushina and Jiraya. Naruto cut their thoughts short as he took a step forward, the wood floor splintering under his feet. "Excuse me?" Said Naruto, far too calmly for the situation he was in. "If I heard you correctly, you just took away the only thing that this family has ever given me." Naruto continued to walk towards his parents, snapping them out of their trance.

"Naruto, you don't understand. We were just-" Kushina was cut off when Naruto's chakra jumped up to a whole other level. Kakashi looked at Naruto in awe. He's radiating more chakra than I have… He was interrupted from his thoughts when Naruto spoke again. "I don't understand? I DON'T UNDERSTAND?!" Naruto yelled, releasing even more of his stored chakra, shattering windows and blowing everything in the house away like a tornado. "Let me tell you what the fuck I understand! None of you care about me! You ignore me for years because of those three and now you take the only thing I ever had. The only thing that ever proved that I existed!" Naruto continued as tears were flowing freely down his face. "Do you know what today is?" he asked his parents. Most of the crowd was trembling at this point from the sheer charka being whipped around the room. "DO YOU?!" Naruto hollered, making everyone in the room wince.

At a loss for words, Kushina and Minato tried to talk but nothing came out of their mouths. The sadness and neglect in Naruto's eyes was replaced by pure rage. Minato's eyes widened in realization but before he could speak, Naruto did.

"TODAY'S MY BIRTHDAY!" Naruto yelled so loudly even a certain pink haired banshee councilwoman was shocked. The room fell into a state of disbelief.

Minato and Kushina stared at their son. Shock, sadness, self-loathing, all fighting for control over their emotions. Now they understood why Naruto always acted the way he did on this day. For 5 years, it hadn't been his birthday, it had been the Triplets' Birthday. Never had he be acknowledged alongside the Triplets, he had always been alone in the shadow of the Triplets. He wasn't there voluntarily. He was put there by his parents and godparents. Their obsession with the prophecy and the Triplets had made it impossible for him to get the one thing he wanted. Love. He felt unwanted by his parents and unloved by his godparents. He was sick of it. He may be six, but he had the intelligence of an Academy graduate. He was a genius, a prodigy, but his parents wouldn't have known. They never took an interest in him. Naruto remembered all of it. Each painful rejection, each unwarranted chastising, all of it was burned into his mind because of his photographic memory.

Tears started to fall from his parents' eyes, but Naruto didn't notice. "Maybe it would just be better if I just didn't exist!" Naruto yelled as the entire house was enveloped in a bright flash and when everyone recovered Naruto was gone. Minato was the first one to snap out of his daze.

"ANBU!" He yelled uncharacteristically loud. In the blink of an eye there were four masked figures in generic ANBU garb kneeling in front of him. "Find him! Please find my son!" As soon as Minato finished, the ANBU dispersed, mobilizing 4 battalions of ANBU and other shinobi to find the eldest Namikaze. Minato turned to his family to see a troubling sight. Instead of the happy laughing children he has seem moments ago, Mito, Narumi, and Menma were trembling and being comforted by the two Sanin. Then he looked to the left and saw his wife, she was a combination of sad and enraged. She was in a heap on the floor crying, rethinking everything they had done to this point. Minato could only hope that his ANBU found Naruto before he did anything to harm himself.

(TOP OF THE HOKAGE MONUMENT)

A very drained and pissed off Naruto laid flat on top of the Second Hokage's stone face. His emotions were a hurricane of sadness, rage, and disappointment. He had trained himself into the ground for the past year to try and impress his parents. He just wanted to be accepted by his parents and godparents so he trained. Every waking moment was dedicated to bettering himself and further enhancing his natural abilities. This wasn't how he wanted to reveal them. He just wanted his family to be happy for him. He just wanted them to be proud of him, not treat him like a nuisance.

Naruto cried quietly to himself, looking off the edge and considering jumping. He was interrupted by a ruffling in the bushes behind him. He expected it to be one of his father's ANBU, but was surprised when instead he came face to face with a particularly unique character.

In front of him stood an 18-year-old who looked like he was in his early 20s. He had shaggy brown hair that sat in a sort of organized chaos on top of his head. He stood just shy of 6-feet, and wore black sweatpants that covered his legs completely. Instead of the usual shinobi sandals Naruto had grown accustomed to, the stranger wore jet black combat boots to match his sweatpants. His torso was covered with a dark gray muscle shirt. Black straps could be seen wrapped around his body supporting the sheath for two 9-inch black-bladed Bowie Knives. The stranger was spinning one in his hand like it was second nature. The knife whipped around his hand in a blur, but looked completely natural. The hilts were a vibrant gold, while the handle was covered in black leather. The knives were place parallel to his spine and on either side. His build was on the larger side. His chest and stomach was out in the open, covered only by his skin-tight muscle shirt. The shirt did little to veil his battle-hardened body. His chest and abs were well defined and you could make out every detail in his arms (his body is like Captain America as soon as he got out of the pod). Over everything he wore a brilliantly gold cloak that was open in the front and rimmed with black outlines and accents along the edges and pockets. He had a weird design on the back of the cloak that looked like a small Star of David within another larger Star of David. The stars were connected by many extravagant lines and tomoes encircling the design.

The design was perfectly symmetrical as if it were meticulously created. Around his neck was a golden necklace with a white gold anchor charm in the center of his chest. Lastly, on his back were two identical swords. Each had a handle that was a quarter of a meters, covered in black leather like the knives on his back. The blades were exactly one meter long. The hilts were covered by some sort of medical bandage that sealed the swords in their sheaths. The details of the blades remained secret to any onlooker. His neck was exposed showing a few nasty looking scars that seemed to run down onto his torso. His face and jawline were very prominent, lacking any kind of fat or excess weight. His face was absent of scars but his eyes were piercing. The gold around his pupils seemed to glow in the dim lighting of the forest. His eyes expressed wisdom beyond his age, interesting Naruto to no end.

Naruto couldn't take his eyes off the man as he approached. His stature and demeanor demanded respect, but it was well deserved. On top of the confidence that came off him in droves, he had the most welcoming aura Naruto had ever experienced. Something just made you want to be around him. As he got closer Naruto just seemed to be at ease. All the emotions that were running rampant in his minds were all calmed in his presence. He carried himself like a deity, his steps making no noise. The moonlight reflected off his cloak to give his overall appearance the mystical feel.

"You know I've thought about it too." The mysterious stranger said as he took a seat next to the still standing Naruto. He continued with his gaze fixed on something in the distance. "How easy it would be to just end things now. Nobody would miss me. All the pain I feel would finally end. I wouldn't be alone anymore." Naruto noticed his neighbor's eyes changed from welcoming and comforting to extreme sadness. What did you have to go through to carry that much sadness?

"It turns out somebody else had different plans." The man said with a slight chuckle as he took the knife in his right hand, rolled up his left sleeve to his elbow, and cut his left wrist all the way down his veins. As blood started to pour out Naruto began to panic. In a shaken hurry, Naruto grabbed his arm and tried to apply pressure to the wound. As he pushed down he felt something shifting under his hand.

As Naruto removed his blood-soaked hand from the stranger he watched in awe as the wound rapidly closed, leaving a bit of steam as the skin reconnected. Naruto looks up to meet the eyes of the stranger, his eyes begging for answers. His curiosity was met with a low chuckle from the stranger.

"Imagine my shock when I jumped of a building to end it but everything grew right back just like before I landed." He fixed his sleeve and returned his gaze to Naruto, the look of compassion and acceptance had returned.

"It took me trying it to realize it was the right choice. People like you and me, we may be pushed aside. We may get left out or ostracized. We may be hated and even hunted to the ends of the earth, but it's our responsibility to do as much good as possibility. We can't let their ignorance and stupidity be our downfall." The man stood up and walked away from the edge. Once he was about 10 feet from the edge he extended his right hand and opened his palm. In a flash of brilliant rainbow colored flame (the same flames as the dragons in Avatar: The Last Airbender) a two-meter golden staff appeared in his hand. Upon closer observation one would notice the black indentions running all through the length of the staff. The tip facing Naruto had what looked like spread eagle wings, and in between the two wings was a gem that was constantly shifting colors like it was alive. On the back end there was another gem, but this one was pitch black, making it look almost like the tip of a kunai.

"I see too much of myself in you, Naruto. I see the pain and sadness in your eyes that I carried when I was your age. I want nothing more than to help you, to give you the one thing you always wanted." The man said as he turned to Naruto with his left hand extended. "I'm asking you to trust me. If you want to be strong, I'll make you the strongest shinobi on the face of the planet. If you want to travel the world, I'll take you along for the ride and we can see everything the Elemental Nations have to offer. As much as you want a family, I want one too." He said as he took a few steps toward Naruto, his left hand still extended.

Naruto didn't know what to do. Just after his parents had finally confirmed his worst fears, he had this teenager come and offer him everything he ever wanted. Naruto wanted to be skeptical, if his own family didn't want anything to do with him then why would a stranger. As his internal war raged on, he didn't notice the man walk towards him and embrace Naruto.

Every doubt he had in his mind was erased right there. He felt the sincerity in what the man had told him. He could feel the desire to help and tears began to form in his eyes. He had never been hugged like this by his family, they rarely spoke to him and outright avoided physical contact. In this man's arms, he felt something he hadn't in a while. A rush of every positive emotion he hadn't experienced in years; happiness, relief, and acceptance flooded his mind as he buried himself in the chest of this stranger.

"T-thank you…" Naruto choked out as he tried to maintain his composure.

"Ace. My name is Ace," The former stranger share,. "You aren't alone anymore. I will always be there for you, Naruto. Happy birthday, Naruto." Ace released his staff as it disappeared in the same flash it appeared in. He pulled out a necklace like his own from his right cloak pocket and put it around Naruto's neck. He then fully embraced the boy feeling many of the same emotions as Naruto. As tears fell from their eyes, they knew one thing. They weren't alone anymore.