Attention - Content Warning

This fanfiction explores the darker side of the shinobi world. There will be violence and training methods that are borderline abusive.

So be prepared for anything dark that could be expected to happen in a not-so-fluffy Shinobi world advocating the use of child soldiers.

There will be no extra warnings for single chapters. So proceed at your own risk.

If you are still here, thanks for sticking around and giving it a try. :-)


This story follows Uchino Narumi, a young child of six years that gets forced into joining Konoha's forces. Her character might strike some of you as weak because she easily obeys the adults around her, but I'd like you to keep in mind that she is a child. A civilian child with a gentle temperament that hates conflict and finds herself surrounded by adult warriors she fears. Warriors, she heard horror stories about. Any child would keep their head down under these circumstances.

But she'll slowly learn to overcome her fears and stand up for herself. After things have gone to hell, of course. So prepare for lots of angst until we finally see the light again.

Theme song for this story: Imagine Dragons - Natural

Chapter 1: Uchino Narumi

If one had to describe Uchino Narumi, they would unavoidably stumble across the words bright and happy. She was a precocious and curious child and loved nothing more than running off and exploring the world around her.

There was hardly a day she did not wander off somewhere, even if it was just the front yard or one of the older kid's rooms. Some had really interesting things in there.

But her most favorite place was the orphanage's kitchen. It smelt deliciously like food and if she snuck in the middle of the night, she always found one or two things to snack on.

Narumi liked eating. She liked cooking, too. One day she would become an excellent chef and stuff everyone with delicious food.

It was her greatest dream, and she could not wait for it to become true.

The children were chattering excitedly. It was Saturday morning. That in itself was not very exciting, but it was not any Saturday morning, it was the second Saturday morning of the month – and that was what made it so special.

Because this was the time the matrons took the children to the local playground and they could spend the entire day there.

It was a rare treat for the children, and they loved that time dearly. Being unable to come along was considered the harshest punishment possible. It was absolutely terrible to be stuck inside while everyone else was out there having fun.

Unfortunately, that was exactly what Narumi had to do. She had been caught trying to put a spider into an older boy's bed and apparently her justification of "He's a bully" had not been sufficient enough.

So she watched with a rather sullen expression as the matrons led the other kids away. Noboru, the boy who had been her almost victim, threw her a mocking grin and sauntered out of the gates.

Narumi huffed and slumped onto the bench next to the front door. Now she was alone. Well, almost alone. Otsuka Masaharu, the caretaker was still here, but he was inside, probably fixing the bathroom faucet yet again. That thing just kept dripping no matter how often he repaired it.

It was strangely silent without the other kids around and Narumi started to get bored pretty soon. She jumped up and entered the house, tiptoeing into the direction of the girl's bathroom. Carefully peeking inside, she saw Otsuka leaning over the sink, cursing quite loudly.

It seemed like he would be busy for quite some time.

Narumi went back outside. The gates were still open. Should she?

She glanced back to the house. Everything was silent. Narumi shrugged and hastily sneaked through.

Just for a short time.

The playground the children were at now was not very far from here. All you had to do was turn right at the gates and walk for about fifteen minutes.

But that was not where Narumi was going. She turned left instead of right and walked to the park at the end of the street. It was close to the clan districts and had a playground, too. But it was a much smaller one and it could never have accommodated forty-five children.

The place was empty when she reached it and Narumi sat down on one of the swings. She loved this park. It was always so calm here. Granted, she did enjoy playing with the others but occasionally she just needed some time for herself, too.

It was not the first time she had snuck out to come here. Narumi leaned her head back and smiled into the sunlight.

Next to her something glinted. Narumi turned her head. It was the climbing frame. She hummed thoughtfully and went over to try it out.

She had already passed past the halfway-point when her hand met something sticky and squishy. Narumi instinctively recoiled and lost her grip on the metal rung.

In a desperate attempt to save herself from a painful fall, Narumi threw her hands forward, trying to grab onto something, anything, but she only met cold, smooth metal.

Narumi panicked, her hands sliding down across the cool surface and she lost her footing.

The ground was coming rapidly closer.


She didn't want to get hurt.


She was almost down.

Narumi closed her eyes, bracing herself for the painful impact, but out of nowhere something warm erupted in her belly. It spread slowly, sluggishly. But suddenly there was a strange tingling feeling in her hands and her fall stopped.

Had she reached the ground? But why did she not feel any pain?

Slowly, she opened her eyes. She was hovering about five inches over the ground.



Had she grabbed onto something? But it did not feel like it.

Narumi raised her head. There was nothing. Just her own hands on the cool surface. She pulled slightly. Her hands were stuck on the metal!

How did she do that?

Had it something to do with the warmth she had felt?

Curiously, Narumi tried to feel for it again, but she was suddenly interrupted by a calm voice.


Narumi turned her head. A man had appeared next to her, his strangely blank eyes fixed on her with a vague expression of veiled interest.

"Focus on your hands," the man instructed her. "Direct the warmth back to you and slowly let go."

Narumi blinked and turned back to look at her hands, commanding the warmth back into her body. It felt strange, but it seemed to work. The warm feeling receded, and Narumi suddenly dropped down.

She breathed in relief when her feet finally hit the ground. "Thank you," she said politely to the stranger who had just helped her. He was still looking at her with those strange eyes and simply inclined his head in acknowledgement of her thanks.

"I am curious," he said finally. "Was this your first time accessing your chakra?"

Narumi tilted her head in curiosity. "Was that what I was doing?"

There was now definitively interest in the man's expression. "Yes," he answered calmly. "What is your name child?"

"Uchino Narumi," she answered honestly and gave him a bright smile.

"Uchino…", the man muttered. "That is not a clan name…Who are your parents, child?"

Narumi shrugged. "Never met them. I live at the orphanage."

"I see," the man replied calmly. "Well it was a pleasure making your acquaintance, Narumi-san, but I will have to take my leave now." He inclined his head once more and left.

"Quite a promising child."

Luckily, the caretaker had not found out about her unsanctioned excursion and her punishment had not been extended.

Now three weeks later Narumi had all but forgotten about that strange encounter at the park and her life had continued as normal.

Until the letter arrived.

The matron looked at her with a serious gaze. "Narumi."

"Yes, Toyo-san?" she replied, looking at her with wide green eyes. "Are you alright?" The woman did look slightly pale.

Toyo-san smiled weakly. "Yes, child I am." She held the letter up. "This one is for you."

"For me?" Someone had written to her?


Narumi was really curious. "What is it?" she demanded excitedly. Maybe she had gotten some mysterious pen pal! That would have been so cool!

"You have been accepted into the academy."

"The academy?" Narumi repeated slowly. "What academy?"

"The shinobi academy, Narumi," Toyo-san answered quietly. "Hyuuga-sama has sponsored you."

Narumi stared in disbelief.

Shinobi academy?


A shinobi?


She wanted to be a chef!

"Can I say no?" she asked hopefully.

Toyo-san smiled sadly and shook her head, unshed tears in her eyes. "The Hokage has already approved it. You will start next term."

Narumi's heart dropped.

The next day Narumi had a visitor. His eyes were just as blank as the man's she had met at the playground. He frowned as he stared down at the pyjama-clad child. "Uchino Narumi?"

"Yes?" she offered, rubbing the sleep out of her eyes and wondering what he could possibly want so early in the morning.

"I am Hyuuga Ryoko. Hyuuga-sama has sent me," he informed her curtly. "I am here to teach you some basics."

"Teach me?" Narumi repeated, utterly confused. "I don't –"

"You are being sponsored by Hyuuga-sama," the man interrupted her sharply. "It is my job to make sure you do not embarrass him."

He threw a bag at her. "Now dress yourself and then follow me. I will be waiting downstairs. You have five minutes."

He went downstairs and Narumi was left to stare at the bag in her hands, still not understanding what was happening to her.

Who was that Hyuuga-sama? Was he the man she had met? And why was he sponsoring her?

She did not like this at all.

Narumi looked around. The man had taken her to a wide-open area at the other side of the village.

"Where are we?" she asked, looking around curiously. She had not even known that a place like this existed.

"Training Ground three," Hyuuga Ryoko answered curtly. "This is where we will meet for the time being. As long as you are under my care you will call me sensei, understood?"

She didn't. "Yes, sensei", she replied anyway. Hyuuga-san no, Hyuuga-sensei did not seem like the type to explain much and Narumi was still too confused to make sense out of everything.

"Good. Now start running. Three rounds around the field."

Narumi stared at the field. It was big.

Very big.

Did she really have to run that?

Narumi glanced at the man, who narrowed his eyes.

Narumi swallowed at the implied threat and obeyed. "Yes sensei."

"Pathetic," Her sensei told her coldly, looking down at her collapsed form. "You barely managed half of it."

Narumi avoided his gaze. She had never been one for long distance running. She was more of a sprinter instead.

"We will have to work on that," the man declared and picked up a leaf. "Now let us see if your chakra control is as terrible as your physical condition." He raised an eyebrow and added cynically. "Unless you prefer to continue prostrating yourself on the ground instead…"

Narumi blushed and hastily jumped up. She took the offered leaf. "What do I do with this, sensei?" she asked, carefully avoiding the man's gaze.

"Use your chakra and stick it to your forehead," he answered calmly.

Stick it to her forehead?

Like she had done with her hands?

Narumi put the leaf against her head and concentrated on the warmth, directing it to her forehead.

The leaf shuddered and disintegrated.

"Again," Hyuuga-sensei demanded sharply.

Narumi plucked another leaf from one of the bushes and tried again.

The leaf fell down.


In the end it took her five tries to get it to stick. Hyuuga-sensei nodded and for the first time this day there was something like satisfaction in the man's eyes.


Narumi felt herself relax. That was the first almost-compliment she had gotten from him. Perhaps he would let her go home now and this whatever it was was finally over?

"Then we will proceed with the next exercise. Do you see this tree? Go and walk it up."

Narumi sighed.

"Yes, sensei."

It was way past midday when Hyuuga-sensei ordered her to stop. "That will do it for now."
Narumi had never felt happier. "We are done?"

"Yes," the man replied. "For today. I expect you back here tomorrow morning at the same time. Do not be late," he added, giving her a warning look. "Until then I expect you to read this."

He dropped a book into her hands. "The first six chapters will do for today. Make sure to memorize it. I will question you on the content tomorrow."

Narumi's shoulders sagged. It seemed she was really not getting out of this. "Yes, sensei."

When Narumi entered the training ground the next day, she was still feeling quite tired and her muscles were aching. She had only managed three of the six chapters last night before she had succumbed to exhaustion.

"Good," her sensei's voice greeted her. "You are on time."

"Good morning, sensei," Narumi muttered quietly.

The man eyed her critically. "You look tired. We will start with a slow jog today. One round."

Narumi nodded but did not get going. "Ehm, sensei?" she began tentatively. "I…"

The man raised an eyebrow. "What? Speak clearly, child."

"I.," Narumi swallowed and lowered her head." The book…I only read three chapters…I fell asleep."

There was a long moment of silence and Narumi fidgeted under his cold, judging stare.

"Make it two rounds," Hyuuga-sensei said finally.

Narumi nodded. "Yes, sensei."

Over the next two months Narumi fell into something like a routine. From seven to one she would train with her sensei, then she had the rest of the day off for the rest of her academic studies.

She had recently started to learn about Konoha's history. The Warring States era had been surprisingly interesting, and Narumi had found herself sympathizing with the young Shodai's desire for peace. But strangely enough, it was Uchiha Izuna who captivated her, even if he had been hardly mentioned. Maybe it was that fact that made him so intriguing.

It was a knock on the door that interrupted her reading.

Curiously, Narumi went to open it, only to find the man she had met at the playground standing right in front of her.

"Hyuuga-sama?" she asked, taking a guess at his identity.

The man nodded. "Greetings, Narumi-san. May I come in?"

Narumi stepped aside to let him in. He entered the room and sat down on the worn wooden chair that had been provided for her.

His pristine clothing and cultured demeanor contrasted strangely with the battered interior of her room. It was more than obvious that he did not belong here.

Strangely enough, the man himself did not seem to be aware of this fact. Or maybe he was and just did not care.

"I heard your training is progressing rather well," he stated casually after she had closed the door.

Narumi's eyes widened. That was the first time she had heard that. "It is?"

She sounded honestly surprised.

"Yes," the man replied with a faint hint of amusement in his tone. "The reports on your progress have been rather positive."

That was really unexpected. She had thought that he was rather dissatisfied with her the way he always criticized her.

She felt slightly proud and at the same time extremely dejected. It was a strangely conflicting feeling as her happiness at being praised by an adult warred with the bitter feeling of receiving said praise for something she couldn't care less about.

She wanted to be a chef. Not a ninja.

"Hyuuga-sama," she began hesitantly. "Why did you choose me?"

The man regarded her silently and Narumi surpressed the urge to twich as she felt his entire attention settle on her. Hyuuga-sama had a strong, overwhelming presence. To have all of it focused soley on her was more than she felt she could handle right now.

"It is no easy feat to unlock one's chakra at such a young age," Hyuuga-sama finally answered, his face completely expressionless. "And you did it while being in a distressing situation. That alone is impressive. But what you did was even more so," he leaned forward and eyed her intently. "You did not only unlock it, but you also managed to instinctively utilize it to save yourself. This kind of control is unheard of. So to put it simply: It would have been a waste of potential to let you go."

Narumi swallowed. Waste of potential to let her go? That did not sound very promising.

The man crossed his fingers and eyed her critically. "Although, you do not seem to be very happy about it." He was really observant.

"Well…, "Narumi muttered. "I…I always wanted to be a chef. Not...not a ninja."

There. It was out. She had actually said it.

Narumi waited with bated breath for the man's reaction. She was prepared for his anger, but to her surprise he only snorted in disbelief.

"A chef?" he repeated, sounding rather incredulous. "With that kind of potential? No, you would be wasted this way." He stood up and patted her slightly on the shoulder. Patronizing. "Get that ridiculous idea out of your head, child and keep training hard. You will make a fine kunoichi."

He said his goodbyes and left as quickly as he had come.

Narumi stared at the door, soundless tears running down her cheeks as her dreams shattered in front of her.

"Hyuuga-sama has ordered me to up your training," Hyuuga-sensei told her when she reached the training grounds the next morning and pinned her with a sharp gaze. "He has also told me of your…ridiculously low ambitions."

A hand grabbed Narumi's chin and forced her lowered head up. "I have not wasted my time training you for months just for you to run off and cook noodles." His voice was filled with derision. "Are we clear?"

"Yes sensei," Narumi answered, her heart beating rapidly.

"Good," the man released her abruptly. "We will be working on your taijutsu today. You will spar with me."

Narumi nervously licked her dry lips and rubbed her aching chin. She had the uncanny feeling that her sensei was going to use this opportunity to beat his message in.

Hyuuga-sensei had not lied when he had told her that they were upping her training. She had only one month left until the semester started and her sensei seemed intent on squeezing as much training in as he could.

Apparently he had taken it as a personal affront that his pupil actually did not want his teachings and was even stricter in his lessons than before.

Narumi found herself on the ground more often than she was actually standing upright.

She groaned as her sensei's foot impacted with her back and pushed her into the dirt. "You are dead", he admonished her, slightly increasing the pressure to get his point across.

They had been simulating a hunting game. Only this time the prey was not an animal, but rather Narumi who was supposed to avoid capture. She had failed. Badly.

"We will try again," Hyuuga-sensei lifted his foot. "You have five minutes. Run."

Narumi dragged her ragged body through the bushes. She was panting with exhaustion. A tiny trail of blood was dripping down her left leg where a kunai had grazed her.

A sudden rustling sound had her whirl around. Narumi could feel the blood rushing through her veins and her heartbeat thrummed loudly in her ears.

She tightened her grip around her kunai and went as tense as a bowstring. For a heartbeat or two she debated whether or not she was better off running, but it was already too late.

A figure jumped out of the bushes. It was Hyuuga-sensei. He had caught up to her!

Running away was impossible now. He would catch her immediately. Narumi barely dodged a shuriken thrown at her, the sharp sound of metal cutting air way too close to her ear.

She threw her own kunai, but her sensei merely flickered out of the way. Of course he did.

Narumi swallowed.

Where was he?

Was that his breath she was hearing?

Or was it just her imagination?

Suddenly a cold shiver ran down her spine and Narumi hastily exchanged herself with a log – and not a second too late. Just moments later another shuriken buried itself deeply into the wood.

Narumi hated this. She hated this exercise. She wanted to go home.

Her concentration faltered and suddenly she knew no more.

She woke with a terrible headache and groggily opened her eyes. The light was almost blinding. Narumi tried to raise her arm to shield her eyes, but it did not move.

Here other arm did not move either. That was the moment she realized that there was something rough against her bruised back.

"You have woken up."

Narumi raised her head to see Hyuuga-sensei standing right in front of her. His face was expressionless.

"Sensei?" she asked, feeling rather confused.

"You failed again," the man informed her coldly. "As punishment you will remain tied to this tree until I see it fit to release you."

Narumi's eyes widened. "What?! Sensei…"

Hyuuga-sensei turned around. "I will be back in a few hours - maybe. I suggest you use that time to review your homework." He flickered away.

Narumi leaned her head against the trunk. Her head hurt, her body was bruised all over and now she was tied to a tree with no way of getting out.

She was so frustrated, she wanted to cry. There was no way she was going to wait here for hours. She wanted to be home. But she was tied up.

She had no idea what to do.

She was frustrated.

She was helpless.

She was…

Such an idiot!

How could she have forgotten about the book Hyuuga-sensei had made her read yesterday. There was a technique mentioned in there - a jutsu to dissolve knots.

She had been so out of it, she had completely forgotten about it. And Hyuuga-sensei had even given her a gigantic hint.

Narumi closed her eyes and concentrated.

It took her half an hour before the ropes fell down her hands.

She sighed in relief and slowly limped back home.