AN: I too went through a Naruto phase.
Fortunately I did not possess a FF account at that time, thus you were all spared whatever eldritch power-fantasy, wish-fulfilment, OP/OC shit I entertained back then.
Thank your lucky stars.
However I always thought either Konoha or Kumo would be where I started from. It was when I was browsing the Naruto section for old times sake and happened upon The Iron Gamer of Kumo by nclose9 that I felt the sudden urge.
The dreaded Naruto fic cometh.
I was in what felt like a small, warm box. Everything was cosy, everything was safe. All was right in the world if not for the fact that I just couldn't touch the walls.
No matter how I moved, where I floated, there was no sensation of boundaries. Even though all my instincts certified I was within something, I could not tell nor feel what.
It was scary, rightly so, but the fear was vague and distanced.
Fear itself was out of place… as was thought in general, higher functions weren't meant to be in use. This was a place of instincts and origins.
Looking back, I dimly realise this was why the thought of opening my eyes never occurred to me. It went against instinct.
Needless to say, my understanding of the passing of time was nonexistent.
Still, after some time, an event transpired. It was the end.
I felt those foreign walls shudder, my world was trembling.
For the first time since that fuzzy beginning, my instincts allowed me fear.
And fear I did, finally a flood of terror previously suppressed so thoroughly burst free.
The following moments were even more indistinct than my earlier limbo. All I felt was the faint yet definite sense of being detached from something.
Then the floor fell away.
I dropped. Then I was pushed. Then I was pulled.
Then I screamed.
From my perspective I was greeted by a searingly painful wall of light and deafening, all-encompassing noise. A sensation overload primed at turning me insane.
Another perspective could be summed up in scant few lines:
Date of birth: 23 July 1993
Place of Birth: West-Mountain Hospital
Clan/Family/Institute Name: Ohashi (Great, Bridge)
Given Name: Yama (Mountain)
They went nicely on my new birth certificate.
I was four when I first tucked my unconscious father into bed.
It was a trial, given my four-year-old-ness and his adult-ness, but he was thin, unhealthful so, and I was strong, unnaturally so.
It was only slightly difficult dragging him to his futon, it would have been harder had we used western raised beds but the futon was ground level.
The most troublesome thing of the whole experience was the stench of alcohol. It was clogging thick, like my head was submerged in the stuff making my child eyes water and sting.
It also dried out my throat in record time.
Still, I managed to get him to his futon and straighten him out. It was a weird moment for me. I, an adult in a child's body, was acting like an adult for another adult. There was something detached about the entire episode. Like I was watching my actions in third-person.
From that moment on it became a semi-regular occurrence.
As did cooking. Only dinner at first, but soon I was making breakfast and lunch for the both of us. Clearing up the bottles and tidying the house also became my job at some point, and when I was five, even the regular shopping was delegated to me.
As my father wasted away, I gradually became the homemaker not only for myself but also for him.
Oddly enough, I did not mind.
Other than the monotonous practice of keeping us father and son alive, my only other form of regular human interaction came in the shapes of babysitters.
Mother was a Shinobi, as such, as her son I get slightly special treatment from the military she once served. Such was the way of Kumo.
We were militarised, harsh, strict and thus strong, but we were also caring to those our soldiers left behind. I was what mother left behind.
I had a semi-permanent D-rank babysitting mission posted and available to any Gennin above a certain age free of charge until I reach a certain age.
This was a benefit available for any child of those who gave their lives in the line of duty.
I believe It was also made to account for those like my father; those who die with their loved ones and only remain as a husk of their former selves. He is clearly incapable of caring for anyone, not even himself, but once, only once, I witnessed someone suggest I be taken into the care of a military orphanage…
That was most alive I'd ever seen my father. He was alive with pure, concentrated wrath. My three-year-old self watched as his face contorted demonically as he lashed out madly, taking an eye from the old matron who suggested the notion.
He then, amidst the shocked screams, grabbed me and ran back to the house.
Later, people in flak jackets knocked on the door and he was fined I think, but no other action was taken nor was I removed from his "guardianship".
It was clear to me that regardless of logic or thought, father would never let go of the lasting legacy of his wife while he still lived.
It was pretty cool.
They were the ones who taught me how to read and write, using cute shinobi themed story books at that. They had trouble getting me to speak more often I'm a naturally quiet, almost mute, child by nature.
It might even be genetic, my father and I communicate mostly through grunts and body language anyway… or it could be his depression and my reincarnation hang-ups talking.
My reserved disposition caused my sitters to be more animated, unconsciously covering for the both of us, and it wasn't like I was inattentive, I would nod or grunt when called for and listen to what they had to say, I just didn't speak when I didn't have to.
Still, we all got along fine for the most part.
I counted a total of seven different sitters over two years, but I had a semi-regular rotation of three; one older bespectacled boy in his late teens, and two "genki" girls around fifteen.
I made breakfast, I cleaned, I would sometimes watch my father work in the smithy.
My sitters would come, we would learn and play, I made lunch, I delivered lunch to my father, my sitter would leave sometime in the afternoon.
I would clean again, I would do homework, I would train, I would make dinner, I would deliver dinner, I would read and tend to the fire-pit, then I would sleep.
On the weekends one need only add "drag father to bed" before sleeping.
This summed up the past two years of my four and a half total.
It was five or so months prior my fifth birthday that I decided on the path that would eventually lead to my greater life.
"Father." One of the benefits of not speaking often, is that when you do, people listen. Even depressed, slightly drunk single fathers. "I want to go to the Academy."
He looked at me with muddy eyes, heavy bags hung beneath those listless orbs. "No." He croaked, his voice firm and final despite everything.
He probably thought that was the end of the conversation, I had never argued with him before after all.
"Then what else am I to do?" I interrupted his delusion. "Civilian schooling is too expensive and most of my benefits will end soon. The majority of them only apply 'till I turn six."
We have a year and a bit, but already I'm having to cut back on our food.
"I don't need babysitters," though I'll be sad to see them go, "however food expenses and upkeep on the house would overwhelm us within six months."
We don't actually get a cut on plumbing or electricity, but the discounts on food are invaluable.
"By joining the academy I would be entering service." No matter how peripherally. "That would not only renew my benefits, but we can also apply for a legacy bursary."
A legacy bursary being a normal bursary with extras added, only available for children of shinobi, fallen or not.
"No." Still he croaked, staring intently at his bottle.
"Father, we are struggling as it is and with winter coming we will have to purchase firewood and unless that hole in the wall is fixed properly, one of us is going to get sick." I laid out the facts. Winter is harsh here in the mountains, we must plan adequately for it.
"No." I saw his jaw clench slightly. His stare gradually morphing into something harsher.
"Father, I'm not saying this out of selfishness. It is less that I want to go," though I do, "and more that I need to go. So I can continue buying the food we need."
His head whipped to me abruptly, a nostalgic intensity had stolen his eyes. His face rippled, seemingly on the verge of being possessed. He let out a hissing breath.
Had this been my past life, I think I would have stepped back here. Thin and malnourished as he was, he still towered over my small stature manifold. Not to mention the lack of body fat only served to accentuate those wry, almost grotesquely defined arm muscles.
But this was not my first life. For whatever reason, my fear was non-existent now. It was a distant and foreign thing, truthfully I had never once felt fear in my father's presence.
No matter his drunkenness or varying states of delirium, not even after the incident when he attacked that lady, I've never once feared him.
Maybe because he was my blood, or maybe because I was unafraid of being hurt, or maybe because I knew he wouldn't hurt me.
I did not fear him.
He shuddered, his shoulders shaking visibly as he glared down at me with a reddening face. One fist clenched by his side, the other tightening around the bottle.
We remain like that for some time. He blazing severely at down, me gazing mutely up. Father and son testing wills.
His shudders reached a climax, at that point not only his shoulders but his fists and torso were shaking almost violently.
They stopped suddenly.
With a deep, trembling breath his face also relaxed. He sagged heavily where he stood, as if the strings holding him up were cut.
Wordlessly, he shuffled away. Each step small yet lumbering, he swayed as he went. He looked incredibly old and weathered to me at that moment.
Just as he was about to slide shut the door to his room, I heard a quiet, mumbled broken "No."
There was nothing of the firmness or resolution from before.
In fact I'm not even sure if he said that to me or himself.
I let out a small sigh as the door slid shut. I rubbed my eyes tiredly. I too felt like sleeping y'know.
That was exhausting.
The next morning father didn't wake up. Nor did he wake come noon. Nor did he wake come evening. Nor would he wake ever again.
"A heart failure, he most likely passed painlessly during his sleep." I only dimly recognised the rest of the person's words.
My eyes fixed on the tiled floor. It was too bright. It was cloyingly warm. This person talked too loudly. But I did not say a thing.
I felt numb.
[Title Gained: Orphan]
And so very, very tired.
AN: This is partly inspired by the Iron Gamer so there will be similarities at the beginning, I hope nclose won't be too angry.
Go check his out and tell him I sent y'all would ya?
Also, this is just a breather between writing my Fire Emblem fic (Third Thumb) so don't expect quick updates… then again I said the same thing about Third Thumb so… eh.
I do hope you enjoyed, leave a review if it pleases.