AN: LISTEN!¬° Before you get all mad and shit that I'm posting another story just keep in mind that Age Is But A Number is very close to finishing.

This has been sitting in my drafts for about a month, so I figured I'd just release the first chapter and go from there.

Welcome to Wishful Thinking!

This was an idea I had for a bit and didn't really know how to proceed with it. Originally, this was going to be slythefoxx2's challenge fic called "The Council" but I scrapped the idea of actually doing it. (Sorry sly... I'm not really sorry but you know how I am. oink.)

All of my stories thus far have featured either a pessimistic, cynical, and or realistic Naruto. Some could argue about them being all 3 with morally grey elements, but I digress. This story will be completely different to my other works due to how Naruto's personality will be portrayed and the actions he will commit.

I want him to retain that 'Never give up' attitude with the optimistic and positive vibes similar to cannon but doing so more realistically. And yes, I'm aware that realism can get repetitive and boring but y'all know me.

I'm a God at this shit. (:

So enjoy! Or don't! I really don't give a shit either way. All of my old readers will already know this by now.

Also... This is a harem story. Don't ask who will be in it because you'll find out later, the first two will be pretty obvious and the third won't show up for a bit. Th number will be 3. I'm not going any higher.

Don't fucking ask me to add more.

Join the bloody damn Discord Server. Invite code is StPc5Vp

Disclaimer : Rauw Alejandro ft. Farruko - Fantasías

What is the meaning of life?

Is there a meaning to life?

For what reason does one wake up in the morning?

Is it hope?

The belief that one can achieve their goals and accomplish anything life throws at them as long as they keep preserving is an asinine concept to most in the Shinobi World.

Starvation and depression can change any man into a monster.

Every individual in the world is capable of violence and while some take this to extreme degrees, others choose to use it sparingly. Doing so only when circumstances out of their control descend upon them.

Being a pacifist in the Shinobi world would net you a quick death. If you lack the instinct to kill, you will be killed.

The strong eat the weak and the cycle continues once more.

Challenging the hierarchy of the world was akin to suicide. You cannot fight violence with words and history has proven this time and time again.

A cycle of hate so deeply intertwined in the world that individuals with optimistic outlooks on life become targets of opportunity and are preyed on.

What was the meaning of life?

A question that Naruto rarely ever thought about.

Was it to make a positive impact on the world? Leaving a marker on the world that would exceed generations and be looked at with reverence...

What was the meaning of life?

Perhaps it was the giant Zanbato that was currently reorganizing his entrails that made Naruto stray to these thoughts.

A strangled scream tore through the boy's throat as his hands desperately clawed at the weapon that was currently embedded in his stomach.

"Persistent little shit, ain't ya?"

Despite the pain coursing through his abdomen Naruto managed a weak grin at the statement. "Y-yeah... People tell me it's... my best quality..."

If the masked man was amused by the boy's statement he did little to show it. As a matter of fact he just seemed more annoyed.

Which would probably get him killed even faster.

How had things gone so horribly wrong? It was supposed to be just a simple escort mission. Get this old, drunk bridge builder to his home and aid in the work he needed.

Instead of an easy mission they were now fighting for their very lives!

Sasuke and Sakura were dealing with Zabuza's apprentice and they were clearly struggling against the older girl. She even possessed a bloodline like Sasuke and was incredibly strong for her age.

Kakashi-sensei was currently fighting some unknown Kiri Nuke Nin who was with Zabuza and it was clear to Naruto that his Sensei wouldn't be here anytime soon.

And here he was... About to die! Because of the damn 7 foot sword that was currently destroying his stomach! He really did get the short end of the stick with this one.

Naruto's cerulean orbs bore into Zabuza's eyes for a single moment before a large gust of wind expelled from his mouth. The blond teen smirked as Zabuza was sent careening through a small tree.

He immediately placed his hand over his stomach before slowly trying to stand to his feet. He coughed several times before vomiting up a healthy amount of blood. Naruto fell to one knee as he teetered on the brink of unconsciousness.

This wasn't good... Not at all. He could barely even stand, let alone fight! What was he going to do?!

Sasuke and Sakura were depending on him! He had to stall Zabuza for just a bit longer. Kakashi-sensei would deal with that masked man and he'd be here! He just needed to hold out hope.

"Ya know... You're really fucking annoying, kid."

Naruto's gaze snapped up and he saw the sole of a boot near his face. His head snapped to the right as the taste of copper filled his mouth. He tried for a hasty retreat but stumbled from the blow to his jaw and was immediately launched into the air by another fierce kick.

Zabuza watched the young boy fly through the air before slamming into the ground rather harshly. His gaze remained apathetic as he watched the boy's chest heave heavily. While he certainly didn't mind beating up on some fresh Genin he did have some standards.

"Ya got determination that's for sure." His eyebrow rose slightly as he watched the boy slowly struggle to his knees. "Why not just give up? Ya can't beat me, kid. You should leave while you're still alive."

Naruto groaned quietly before raising his bloody gaze towards the sword wielding man. He spit out a large wad of blood before slowly wiping his mouth. "Yeaaaaahhhh... No can do! I don't give up, never have and never will."

Zabuza was silent for several moments before slowly raising his massive blade and resting it against his shoulder. "I admire your guts, kid. It's too bad I'm gonna have to rip 'em out of ya."

The former Kiri Nin disappeared from his position and was in front of the blond teen a second later, swinging his massive cleaver towards the boy's skull.

Naruto's eyes widened from his kneeled position and he could nothing but stare at the steel blade that was an inch away from his head.

Was this really it? Was he actually going to die here?


There was to many things he had yet to achieve... So many things he had yet to say.

The world was so unfair...

Hadn't he suffered enough? He didn't wake up every day in that depressing and lonely apartment, go out and train until the moon rose, just to die on his first real mission outside the village.

That... This wasn't fair!


What did he do to deserve this?!

He treated everyone with kindness! Even those who spit on him and spited his very existence! He helped people and did everything he could to make sure others didn't have to struggle like he did!

It's not fair!

Sakura... Sasuke... Kakashi-sensei...

They were a family now... His family... And he was just going to die? Now?! He wouldn't even get to say goodbye to them!

He wouldn't get to say goodbye to anyone... Not to Ino, not to Hinata, and not to the Old Man...

All of his friends... They'd never speak again...

Life... It really was unfair wasn't it?


"Show me that unwavering will."

Naruto's eyes widened as a deep and menacing voice boomed from within the confines of his mind. The sound reverberated against his skull and his eyes instinctively snapped shut as a brilliant flash of white light exploded from his position.

He placed both of his palms over his ears and clenched his teeth together due to the ringing in his ears. The ringing was getting louder and louder and louder and showed zero signs of stopping.

What was happening?!

It abruptly stopped and Naruto sat motionless in his position. After several seconds of silence he slowly opened his eyes and the sight that greeted him would be etched into his mind for the rest of his life.

His cerulean orbs widened to an almost impossible degree as he stared at Zabuza's body... or what was left of him.

The man's arm and right torso were completely... gone. As if they had never existed in the first place. It looked as if an incredibly sharp blade had sliced the man down from a 45 degree angle. Starting from his skull and ending at his waist.

Zabuza wasn't even bleeding...

He was just... standing there...

Missing almost a third of his body...

Bile immediately filled his throat and the boy retched harshly onto the floor and immediately groaned in pain due to the wound on his stomach.

The blond haired teen struggled to hold himself up as he held his bleeding stomach with his left hand while propping his weight on his right hand. His eyes trailed up towards Zabuza's body and another wave of nausea hit him.

It was... gruesome and not so at the same time. Seeing a man almost cut in half but witnessing no blood...

It didn't make any sense!

Oh Kami, there it goes again...

The boy immediately vomited once more and almost fell into the substance due to his wound. He slowly pushed his body up before back pedaling away from Zabuza's body.

He backed up several feet and he felt his back make contact with a tree. The teen sighed in relief and shifted his position as carefully as he could. He hissed in pain and applied a decent amount of pressure to his wound.

Naruto closed his eyes tightly before tilting his head towards the branches and leaves of the tree he rested under. He groaned in pain for another minute before releasing a shaky exhale.

What just happened?!

He shook his head and refused to even look in Zabuza's direction. He completely ignored everything around him as he clenched his eyes shut.

That voice... an-and then the white light... Then Zabuza...

What the fuck was happening?! This couldn't be real!

Did he do that to Zabuza?! How?! What?!


Naruto's thoughts were interrupted by the scream and his attention snapped towards the woman who was rushing towards his position.

Shit! He had to move! He couldn't sit here! That girl would surely kill him!

Naruto tried to stand to his feet but fell to one knee and cried out in pain. His teeth gnashed together as his eyes trailed towards his abdomen. Blood flowed out from the wound and Naruto grit his teeth in anger.

Not again! He ended up surviving Zabuza's attack, somehow, just to die a second later?!

His luck was being incredibly bi-polar!


Naruto closed his eyes and braced his body as the woman appeared in front of him with several senbon in her hands.

The cry of a thousand birds descended on his position followed by a sick squelching noise. Naruto felt warm liquid splash onto his face and he slowly opened his eyes and came face to face with Zabuza's apprentice.

The girl's mask slowly fell from her face as her long, black tresses fell from the small bun she kept it in. Her fierce black orbs began to slowly fade as a small amount of blood dribbled from her lips.

Naruto's gaze trailed down to the woman's chest spotting a black, fingerless gloved hand that was currently piercing the woman's chest. Residual Raiton Chakra sparked from the wound and the smell of burnt flesh invaded his nostrils. His eyes trailed past the girl's face and noticed his Sensei standing directly behind the woman.

The man's head band was raised revealing his matured Sharingan. He dawned a fierce expression on his face as he slowly ripped his hand out of the woman's chest.

Kakashi unceremoniously pushed the girl's body away from his student and immediately kneeled beside the blond teen, analyzing his wounds. His Sharingan roamed across every inch of Naruto's body before landing on his stomach.

"You ok, Naruto? Sorry I'm late..." The Jonin glanced behind him and stared at the motionless... body of Zabuza in confusion. His Sharingan roamed across every inch of the man's body as he tried to ascertain just what had happened.

But... he couldn't decipher anything. What happened to the man? A third of the man's body just appeared to... Not exist?

There was no blood and there was no tears or cuts on the missing... parts of the man's body.

It was as if those body parts had never existed...

Kakashi slowly turned his gaze back to Naruto before speaking slowly. "Naruto... What happened?"


Naruto stared at the wooden ceiling of Tazuna's spare bedroom with a blank gaze. After everything that had happened today he just wanted to go back home.

It had only been 3 days from the start of this mission and his life had almost ended 4 times. That had to be a record!

Who almost dies four times across such a short timespan?

The blond haired teen shook his head with a soft sigh and he idly rubbed the bandages that wrapped around his stomach.

Is this what he had wanted? He had always said that one day he was going to be a great Shinobi. A Shinobi that everyone would respect.

His dream of being the Hokage had died long ago. Not because he didn't believe it was possible or anything but because he realized that the job wasn't really for him. He had spent enough time around the Old Man to know that the job was...


Paper work, meetings, playing nice with everyone.

That last one was probably the most annoying out of all of them. Naruto was far too blunt to 'play nice' with people. While he treated everyone with respect and spoke kindly to them, he didn't appreciate when others refused to return the gesture.

But that was life after all. People were entitled to their own opinions and if they didn't like you then you just had to deal with it.

"Hey Naruto, you ok?" The blond glanced to his right and noticed that Sasuke was sitting in his bedroll staring at him.

Naruto blinked several times before returning his gaze to the ceiling. "Ye-..." He cut his self off preemptively before sighing quietly. "No... I'm..."

Sasuke's eyebrows furrowed at the unfinished statement before he shifted towards his teammate. "Wanna talk about it?"

Naruto tapped his stomach softly before responding quietly. "When Itachi... Ya know... Uhh. How did you feel?" He glanced towards his teammate and noticed that the Uchiha possessed a blank gaze. "Err... You don't gotta answer or anything. Sorry... I'm just curious..." He finished lamely.

Sasuke stared at the Jinchuuriki for several seconds before his gaze strayed towards the window of the room. He stared at the moon for several moments before responding in a subdued tone.

"Angry... At first anyway... I hated him. There were nights I would lay awake for hours upon hours and envision myself killing him. It became an obsession. I knew that it was unhealthy but I didn't care... He had took everything from me... I mean, am I wrong for hating him?"

Sasuke chuckled lightly but Naruto couldn't detect any humor in it. "But one day... I woke up and I was just..." The ebony haired teen was quiet for several moments before eventually speaking. "I was just sad..."

The Uchiha sighed softly before returning his gaze towards Naruto. "Sad that I'd never see my mom again. Sad that I'd never make my dad proud. Sad that Itachi did what he did." Sasuke leaned against the wall of the room before slowly closing his eyes. "I... don't hate Itachi anymore... I just get sad whenever I think about him."

Sasuke shook his head with a heavy sigh. "I always question 'Why me? Why leave me alive?' I won't ever get an answer until I speak with him face to face... But that day isn't any time soon. I know I'm too weak to even be a challenge to him. But... one day. One day I'll get an answer."

Naruto stared at his friend for several minutes before smiling. "Thanks... Sasuke."

The aforementioned teen turned towards his friend in confusion. "For what?" Why was Naruto thanking him? He didn't do anything.

Naruto placed both of his hands under his head before closing his eyes. "I doubted myself for a second... I... I don't think I'm cut out for the Shinobi life..."

Naruto's confession absolutely floored Sasuke. Naruto doubting himself? That sentence didn't even make sense! Naruto wasn't an arrogant individual or anything of the sort, but he had never shown himself as a person that was capable of doubting their ability.

To hear that the boy was doubting his ability to be a Shinobi was...

"Are you serious?"

He couldn't be. This had to be some sort of joke! Naruto was surely screwing with him. He was the one that was always spouting off that he'd eventually be one of the strongest Shinobi under Konoha. Always yelling about how he'd never give up and always pushing others to follow their goals and dreams.

The blond teen grimaced at the sheer disbelief in Sasuke's tone. "Ye-yeah..." Naruto chuckled slightly as he continued. "I mean, I'm always the one who tells people that anything is possible as long as they try hard enough... Weird how dying can change your viewpoint on life, huh?"

Sasuke didn't laugh at the poor attempt of a joke. Which didn't really surprise Naruto.

"You're gonna give up? Just like that? Really?!"

Naruto flinched at the boy's questions before staring at his bandaged stomach. His eyes narrowed in sadness before he responded. "I... I would have died today Sasuke... There was nothing I could have done..."

Sasuke scoffed in disbelief before responding. "But you're alive... It may have been luck but you're still alive. That counts for something. You're telling me that you're going to let one near death experience change your entire outlook on life? Really? C'mon Naruto. Don't be stupid."

Naruto sighed quietly before slowly shifting in his prone position. He slowly rose to a seated position and placed his head against the wall. "Why do you care what I do with my life?"

The Uchiha glared at the boy before speaking. "Because we're family now, you idiot... Did Sensei's words go in one ear and slip out the other? Something like that affects all of us."

Naruto was quiet for several moments before a small smile formed on his face. "If everyone back home could hear you now.." Naruto chuckled loudly as Sasuke shot him an annoyed glare. "I said I wasn't cut out being a Shinobi, not that I'd give up actually being one. I'm still gonna be here... Someone has to be better than you at all times after all."

Sasuke rolled his eyes at the boy's response before a small smirk formed on his face. Naruto laughed quietly as Sasuke joined shortly after.


Kakashi idly read his book as he stood in a tree overlooking Gato's headquarters. It had been three days after the fight that Team 7 had with Zabuza and underlings. During this time Kakashi had his students rest with light activity. The only individual not participating was Naruto due to his injuries.

The boy would be fine eventually but Kakashi didn't wish for the boy to tear open his wounds... again. While he may heal incredibly fast due to his tenant Kakashi wanted the punishment from Hiruzen to be lighter than it already was.

If Naruto returned relatively unharmed then all was fine. Kind of.

Kakashi sighed quietly and turned the page of his book. This mission was a disaster and it was sheer luck that everyone had survived.

Team 7 was... not prepared for this mission. And that wasn't truly anyone's fault. Kakashi would have never suspected that there would be two Jonin level Shinobi along with three Chunins.

A C-Rank escort mission in all but title. How his team got roped into this borderline S-Rank mission was beyond him. Tazuna was mostly to blame for this but Kakashi wouldn't place the entire load on the man's shoulder.

Afterall, he did choose to continue the mission. While everything turned out to be ok, kind of, it didn't change the fact that everyone could have died as well.

Kakashi continued to read his book for several more moments before abruptly shutting it. He slowly rolled his neck before placing his index and middle finger together. Two Shadow Clones appeared beside the man and began to rapidly run through handseals.

"Katon : Goukakyuu no Jutsu!"

"Futon : Daitoppa!"

Both clones released their jutsu's at the same time. The two elements coalesced into one another as a large tornado of fire descended onto Gato's base. An enormous explosion of fire shot out from the attack, dousing everything it touched in a sheen of white fire.

The real Kakashi placed both of his hands in his pockets and watched the chaos with a small amount of satisfaction. He spotted several individuals on fire who were running around while screaming due to the pain of having their flesh roasted.

Such a grizzly sight would make any normal person cringe. But not Kakashi. He had seen alot worse and experienced alot worse. This was just another day. He had lived through war. Watching people he grew up with die and being helpless to aid them. He had even killed his own teammate and bestfriend during the war.

This was... nothing.

The silver haired Jonin slowly turned away from the large base that was engulfed in flames and began to make his way back to Tazuna's house.

Kakashi just wanted to go home now. Team 7 deserved a break. He deserved a break.


The sound of flesh impacting on flesh was heard as two individuals sparred against one another. A small group overlooked the one sided spar as they silently watched the two clan members trade blows with one another.

Pale, white eyes that lacked pupils stared into a similar set of white eyes. The two brunettes shifted their position before rushing towards one another. Their hands darted in out and of each other's defense as they looked for any openings to disable their opponent.

The younger girl cried out in pain as her partners palm crashed against her collar bone. Saliva launched from her mouth and she was unable to block the follow up blow to her jaw. The small girl crashed into the ground with another cry of pain as her aggressor retreated.

The male teen sympathized with his cousin but there was nothing he could do. He had been ordered to go all out against Hanabi. Neji resisted the urge to frown as he heard his uncle tell the girl to get up.


Neji's fingers curled in agitation before relaxing and settling into the Hyuga's Juken stance. He had been sparring with Hanabi for the last 4 hours with no breaks. The girl could barely even hold her arms up and it was clear to him that she was fighting on pure will power.

"Get up, Hanabi. Again." Hiashi's cold voice demanded from the sidelines. The other onlookers hid their disapproval with a neutral gaze but did not speak against the man. They would be punished if they showed their disapproval.

Hanabi groaned quietly before slowly rolling on the ground. Her torso lay flat against the dirt and she slowly pushed her body up. Her face contorted into a grimace as she rose to a knee before sloppily settling into the Juken stance.

Hanabi's arms shook as one of her eyes closed. Her chest heaved several times as she desperately tried to calm her breathing. She could see Neji's blank facade start to crack and she immediately rushed towards him to prevent it from happening.

If Neji showed displeasure then her father would punish him. Hanabi didn't want Neji to get punished because of her.

"That's enough!"

Neji released a sigh of relief as a stern feminine voice resounded through the small clearing. His Juken stance slowly disappeared and he immediately caught his younger cousin who promptly passed out into his arms. He stared at Hanabi for several seconds before shifting his gaze to the woman who had spoke.

Hinata slowly entered the training grounds with her hands in her jacket. She wore a pair of black spandex shorts that only covered the bare minimum of her legs and her purple jacket was fully unzipped revealing the mesh bra she wore under it. Her entire outfit did little to hide her modesty as she slowly walked towards her father.

The girl's gaze roamed over each of the members in the clearing before landing on her father. She stared into the man's eyes for several seconds before scoffing in annoyance and speaking to her cousin.

"You and Hanabi are dismissed for the day." The navy haired girl nudged her head towards the entrance of the training grounds before continuing. "The rest of you are dismissed. Leave. Now."

Neji shifted Hanabi's body before hooking his arms under her knees and carrying her out of the field. He slowly passed by Hinata before nodding in gratitude. The woman said nothing and held her annoyed gaze but she returned her cousin's nod.

Every Hyuga in the training grounds besides Hiashi immediately left the clearing. Several minutes passed by in silence as daughter and father stared at one another.

Hiashi's blank gaze meeting Hinata's annoyed one as both Hyugas remained silent. Neither one wishing to address the other, believing it to be a sign of weakness. It was eventually broken by Hiashi who grew tired of the girl's gaze.

"You coddle the girl too much."

Hinata raised an eyebrow at her father's statement before rolling her eyes. "Hanabi is not Neji. They are not the same person. Surely your immense and immaculate intellect are capable of comprehending this, yes?" The woman's tone was heavily dosed in condescension and it caused a frown to form on the man's face.

"Your disrespect continues to amaze me. Just like your mother, you lack poise and proper etiquette."

Hinata snorted at the man's insult before waving it off. "Yeeeeesssssssssss... Let me take advice from the man who treats his family like slaves." The girl rolled her eyes dramatically before continuing. "Mother was weak. Do not compare us, Hiashi."

Hiashi's temper flared and his visage shifted angrily. "You shame the Hyuga and its traditions! I will not stand for this disobedience and disrespect any longer!"

A small smirk formed on Hinata's face as she replied. "Then sit." The girl turned on her heel before walking away from the Patriarch of the Hyuga. Her left hand rose from her jacket pocket as she waved behind her dismissively.

Hiashi's teeth gnashed together in anger as he stared at his daughter's retreating form. She had changed heavily once Hizashi died. Growing more and more bold and crude with each day that had passed. Going so far as to completely ignore his demands and orders and even insult him!

She disobeyed when he had ordered her to stay away from the Jinchuuriki, she dismissed his teachings and insulted him at every turn, and disrespected each elder on the council.

If it wasn't for her immense talent then she would have already been branded. Hiashi loathed to compliment his daughter but the girl was incredibly skilled.

Hinata could easily go toe to toe with Neji and showed no signs of struggle like Hanabi would. The girl was deserving of her title as the top Kunoichi of the rookies and she would remind him of that at every turn.

Hiashi shook his head before leaving the training grounds and heading towards his personal quarters. Hinata was unwilling to listen to him and she probably never would. She saw him as a nuisance and he highly doubted that would ever change.


"C'mon mom! It was just one time! It won't happen again... Promise!" A young woman's voice pleaded.

"Ino! You can't invade the minds of other Yamanakas! It's... It's highly disrespectful! You're grounded."

Ino slumped to the floor dramatically as her mother's eyebrow twitched in annoyance. "Why?! Why do you hate me?!"

Saya sighed heavily before shaking her head in annoyance. "I don't hate you Ino-chan. Stop being dramatic." Her brown tresses swung side to side as her daughter groaned loudly.

"How can you ground a Kunoichi?! I got missions to do. That's... that's like treason, mom!" Ino rolled into her back and stared into her mother's eyes before a small smile formed on her face. "Hokage-sama will punish you."

Saya's eyebrow twitched in annoyance as the girl's suggestive tone regarding Hiruzen 'punishing' her. "I doubt Hokage-sama can get it up anymore. Dont start with me Ino."

Ino cackled loudly from her prone position before pointing at her mother's face. "Is that a blush? Oooooohhhhh~! Someone has the hots for old men."

The older woman's hands clenched and unclenched as she resisted the urge to strangle her daughter. Kami, the girl was so much like her it annoyed her! Who's daughter was this?! Saya was ready to put the girl up for adoption.

"You're grounded. Which ultimately means you can't bother Naruto-kun." Satisfaction spread through Saya's body as Ino recoiled as if she had been slapped.


Saya rolled her eyes before crossing her arms under her bust. "Sounds like a personal problem."


Despite the situation, a snort of laughter escaped Saya. "Well, maybe next time you'll think twice about invading people's minds."

Ino groaned loudly from her position on the floor before rolling around like a child. Her skirt rolled up revealing her... Saya immediately looked away with an annoyed sigh.

Atleast wear something under the damn thing. Why go commando with a skirt?! Who does that?!

Well, she did on occasion...

Ino really was her daughter. The girl was still annoying though and nothing would change it.

"If you're going to wear that horrendous skirt then wear something under it."

Ino ceased her childish antics before glancing towards her mother. "Underwear is sooooooooo annoying."

"Wear a thong."

Ino dismissed her mothers statement instantly. "Thongs ride up my ass to much. I'm not into butt stuff like you and daddy are. Thanks, but no thanks."

A dash of pink actually formed on Saya's face as she stared at her daughter. "Th-there is nothing w-wrong with experimenting!"

Ino snickered quietly as she slowly sat up while adjusting her skirt. "I didn't say that... I just think it's interesting that daddy is the one who is experi-"

The blond teen was incapable of continuing due to her mother slapping her hand over her mouth. Saya's face was red with embarrassment as she spoke quietly. "Stop talking."

Ino just smiled in amusement while nodding her head.

Like daughter, like mother...

Or whatever the saying was.


Naruto sighed in relief as he stepped through the large gates of Konoha. His hand rested against his abdomen as he stared at his Sensei.

"You all can go rest... I'll take the brunt of Hokage-sama's fury. You guys get three days of rest and then it's back to business. That means you, Naruto. Don't aggravate your wound. It's healing fine but let's not get carried away."

Naruto nodded his head at the Jonin with a smile. The man stared at him for several seconds longer than necessary before disappearing in a shunshin.

"I'll see you guys later! While I'd love to hang out, I kinda wanna see my mom and dad..." Sakura's tone shifted towards the end as she realized exactly what she had said.

Sasuke raised an eyebrow before shrugging his shoulders. "It's fine, Sakura." The pink haired girl smiled in relief at the boy's statement before glancing at Naruto.

The blond Jinchuuriki smiled at the girl while lightly patting his bandaged stomach. "It's all good. Sasuke and I weren't gonna do much anyway."

The Uchiha placed his hands in his pockets before nodding. "I wanted to train a little more but Naruto can't really spar..." He trailed off as Naruto adopted an overdramatic pout. "You're so annoying."

Sakura smiled at the two teen's before giggling softly. "You're like brothers... I'll see you guys... tomorrow?" She questioned unsurely.

The two males glanced at one another before shrugging and responding in unison.


They instantly glared at one another after their shared statement.

""Stop copying me!""

Sakura groaned loudly before walking away. "You two are too much... Get along."

The two teen's sighed in annoyance as Sakura walked away. Sasuke and Naruto glanced at one another before wordlessly walking towards their home.

The journey was made in comfortable silence as both teen's relished in the peaceful atmosphere.

Well, that wasn't entirely true.

A majority of the villagers they passed by would glare at Naruto and in turn, Sasuke would return their gestures.

It had been this way for years and Sasuke doubted it would change any time soon. The populace disliked Naruto's very existence and the boy was unable to do anything about besides smile and ignore them.

He didn't understand how they could blame Naruto for the Kyuubi's deeds. They weren't even the same thing. While Sasuke understood that many, many, many people lost their lives that night... It wasn't Naruto's fault.

Maybe Naruto was just a reminder of that fateful night... It still didn't mean that he deserved this treatment.

"It's fine, Sasuke. I'm used to it." Naruto shrugged his shoulders nonchalantly.

The raven haired teen scoffed while placing his hands into his pockets. "Doesn't mean it's okay."

Naruto nodded his head at the statement. "Yeah, but you can't change things instantly. Sometimes it takes time for people to change. It was the same for you, right?" Sasuke rolled his eyes and didn't reply but he did nod his head.

The two teen's reached their destination shortly afterwards and began to make their way up the stairs leading to their shared apartment. Naruto slowly followed after Sasuke not wishing to aggravate his wound.

The blond teen threw his key towards Sasuke who caught it without looking. The Uchiha placed the key in the door before opening it and walking inside. He pocketed the key before kicking his sandals off and making his way towards his personal shower without speaking.

Naruto slowly removed his jacket before slipping off his boots and heading to his own shower. He really didn't want to rewrap this wound...

Ugh... Life was so hard!

He opened the door before turning on the light. He unbuttoned his pants before closing the door behind him and turning on the shower. Water slowly filled the tub and Naruto stared at the water with a blank gaze.

Images of Zabuza's body flashing through his mind as a small frown formed on his face. When Kakashi had asked what had happened he told the man the truth.

That... he didn't know what had happened.

There was a deep, menacing voice followed by a flash of light...

"Show me that unwavering will."

Was this the Kyuubi's doing? If so, then why?

Naruto slowly removed the bandages from his abdomen before removing his boxers. He slowly made his way towards the tub before gently sitting down. He hissed in slight pain as the hot water made contact with his wound. A bit of blood seeped through the wound but it wasn't too serious.

Naruto slowly raised his hand out of the water and stared at his palm. He stared at the odd discoloration that had appeared after Zabuza's death.

Was this connected to what had happened with Zabuza? It had to be. He didn't possess this odd mark before Wave and if he had, then he'd never noticed it before. Which he found to be unbelievable.

It was even shaped weirdly... Like a square...

Naruto idly washed his hair as he contemplated everything that had happened in Wave.

Almost dying, liberating an entire country, his first A-Rank borderline S-Rank mission... Kami he hoped this didn't become a trend.

But that would just be wishful thinking.

AN: LUL. Had to be done. So yes, welcome to Wishful Thinking. I've laid out a decent template for you all and you're welcomed to comment your theories and such.



Review, Favorite, and Follow. Until next time nerds.