Hinata sat, a small frown on her face as she watched Naruto. All day she had been following him, watching as one after another various groups of his fellow shinobe had confronted him. Slowly her opinion of Him seemed to have changed. Yes Hinata still Respected and admired him, but Naruto's actions had brought to the surface a side of him that apparently nobody in Konoha had seen before. For whatever reason Naruto seemed agitated and moody today.

I wonder exactly what it was that made you so angry Naruto-kun. Or perhaps whatever happened was just the final straw in a long line of events.

Currently Naruto was sitting in the shade of a weeping willow, on the bank of the lake in the village park. This wasn't a normal place to find him. In fact Naruto usually avoided an open place like this at all costs. Hinata frowned a little bit as she watched Naruto, as before she had followed him, and again she was hiding. This time she had picked a picnic table in a shelter. The side of the shelter that faced Naruto was boarded over.

Why here Naruto-kun? It's like your hoping for a fight. When you first arrived this place was crowded, though normally you would avoid crowds, today you walked right through the middle of one. When those four boys showed up I thought that I might have to step in, especially after they drew knives. Your usual approach in that situation would be to flee, but today you didn't move a muscle, not even after they insulted you. It was as though you didn't even see them. I'll never tell you, but my heart almost stopped beating when all four of them attacked you at once. I realize that none of them were shinobe, but four on one is bad odds in any fight. But you didn't so much as blink, somehow you managed to not only block every blade, blow, and brick they threw, but you also managed to give them a sound whipping. From the look on your face I don't think that you even noticed them.

In fact Naruto had noticed them. He was also rather disappointed. For the first time ever Naruto would have actively welcomed a fight against a worthy opponent. Unfortunately, even from the onset he had been sadly disappointed by the lack of finesse. It had taken all of two seconds for Naruto to become bored with the fight. After that he had simply let his body move on its own. From a sitting position Naruto had managed to easily beat all four, and all the while he had sat and meditated on why everyone had taken such an interest in him all of a sudden. It had come as a bit of a revelation to him, He had been walking through the crowds hoping that someone would pick a fight when he noticed a blonde civilian staring at him as he passed. She had been about his age, and the only reason that Naruto had noticed at all was because she had exactly zero interest in him until her mother had warned the girl to stay away from him because he was 'Dangerous'. The moment her mother had said that, the girl immediately took notice in him. In fact Naruto could have sworn she had followed him for nearly four blocks.

Heh, and if that wasn't odd enough, even after everyone else left the park I could have sworn that I saw her and about seven other girls pointing at me and giggling… I wonder what they found so funny?

Hinata hadn't even noticed Naruto's other followers, nor did she see the group that was standing just out of range of her Bykuggan. If she had she may have wondered what ten girls were doing looking though a pair of binoculars and giggling. She also might have noticed that the giggling (and even some blushing) Increased when Naruto ran a hand through his hair making his already messy mop of hair even more (Stylishly) messy.

Hinata had been sitting and watching Naruto for nearly forty minutes when she suddenly put her head in her hands and groaned. She hadn't forgotten a meal, and no she wasn't out past curfew. (Even though the sun was beginning to set) No, this was far worse that anything that her father could threaten her with. Just at the edge of her Bykuggan she had spotted a group of people, of all the people in the world it was this group that Hinata would have wanted to see last. It was in fact the ENTIRETY of the rookie nine, and Gai's team. In fact the only people missing were Hinata, and Naruto himself. Hinata was still to far away to hear anything, but from what she could read of Ino's rant (it was pretty obviously a rant) the entire group had decided that Naruto had unjustly slandered them. Instead of taking a hint and leaving Naruto alone they had obviously come to give Naruto a piece of their minds. Naruto couldn't see them yet, nor could they see him. For a brief moment Hinata had considered jumping up to warn Naruto to leave, but the very moment she had made that decision Naruto had suddenly sat up as though startled, and looked right at her (1). It was really unnerving because he had been doing that all day. Every time she had been about to make herself known he had looked right at her.

How is he doing that?

It lasted only a fraction of a minute, but just as Naruto opened his mouth to speak (Again) the entire group caught sight of him. Even in her hiding place Hinata winced to the twin screeches of "THERE YOU ARE!" From Ino and Sakura. Immediately Naruto had turned away from her. For a brief moment a flicker of a smile seemed to have shown on his face, but almost as quickly it was gone. To Hinata (Who almost wondered if she had imagined it) he seemed to have attempted to throw up his plastic smile… He failed Miserably.

Hmmph. Those two a like a pair of harpy's… how on earth do Naruto and Sasuke stand them.

Seconds later the newly christened 'Harpy's' swooped down on our poor Naruto, Followed shortly by the entire group.

"Who do you think you are talking to me lik…."

"I'll have you know that fat gives energy faster tha…"

"…Am NOT Sasuke obsessed, and I'll have you know that my clothes are…"

"…HEIGHT of fashion. Gai sensei assures…"

"… do to train myself as well as my bugs…"

"… is a near immutable force, the effort required to change it is…"

"… troublesome women will just find something ELSE to…"

"…sick of you thinking your anywhere NEAR my level, you just got lucky and…"

"… of women. Furthermore I'll have you know that I am NOT stuck…"

"… am VERY independent. How do you think that I got so good with my throwing…"

Throughout all of this Naruto just sat still, back leaning against the tree and apparently asleep. Hinata almost giggled to herself. The scene, as seen from her point of view, made Naruto look like the calm adult in a sea of whining children. An odd switch as it was usually Naruto acting younger than his fourteen years. It took a moment or two for everyone to realize that Naruto was apparently paying exactly ZERO attention to them. And considering whom it was they were ranting at, this only served to make the group more angry. It was Shikamaru who finally managed to shut everyone up; even then He had to resort to his shadow bind. After a moment's struggle everyone stopped fighting and quieted down. Before catching sight of him they had determined the order they intended to approach him in, but seeing him had apparently driven all thought of it from their minds. It was Sakura who had gotten the first approach, mainly because it was an open secret that Naruto had a major crush on her.



"Naruto are you listening to me?"



"Heard every word Haruno."

This phrase shocked the entire group into silence. Never, not in all the years that he had known her, had Naruto ever called her anything but 'Sakura-Chan' now he had insulted her twice in one day.

"You feel that I don't have the right to talk to you like I have been. You feel that as my teammate you deserve all the respect and attention that I can possibly give you. You are after all the one person I had a crush on, therefore you have the right to ignore me while demanding total respect. Uchiha is pissed because once again I have managed to do something that he can only hope to do sometime in the future. I have managed to up and take a day off with absolutely no consequences. He's also pissed because he feels indebted to me for saving his sorry ass from that pedophilic snake, but being the ice cold asshole that he is, he hopes that he can just save me from something rather than thanking me, something you have never done either Sakura. Shino is ticked because he gets up to go for a one-mile jog every morning followed by a half hour of tai-Jutsu practice with his father. Even though he's never put any effort into it, he feels that it counts as training his body. Ino is pissed off because I managed to strike a nerve with my comment about her obsessions, and is trying to ignore the fact that I'm right simply because she no longer has a crush on Sasuke. Ten-ten is mad because I claimed that she does nothing but follow the crowd. She feels that this is an unjust accusation because she is the only Kounichi in your little group that takes her job as a ninja seriously. What she fails to understand is that training does not make you unique, is simply means you understand the dangers better and so you prepare for them."

It was about here that the people Naruto had been taking about tried to take up their protests again. Naruto silenced them by raising a single hand. (A trick he had picked up by watching Ikrua. It was similar to Orochimaru's 'killer intent' technique, except that instead of radiating fear you radiate authority)

"Just wait, I'm not finished yet. Chouji's argument is that fat has more energy than muscle. He makes this argument while conveniently ignoring the fact that the energy from fat is quickly expended meaning that if you don't end the fight quickly your toast. Kiba is mad because despite my comment, he is quite good at attracting civilian women. What HE is ignoring is the fact that never once has one of them agreed to a second date. Mainly because he spends all night taking about how great he is. Lee is angry because even though his sensei assures him that his gay looking tights are the height of fashion he has never seen anyone else in town wearing them, and has wondered why. Neji is angry because I blew up at him for the biting comment he made to me about the fate bullshit that he still believes in. even though he now believes that you can influence it, he still doesn't believe that fate can be changed. Last but not least Shikamaru is angry because I'm not showing him the 'respect deserved by his position' he also feels slightly insulted because I, the 'Dobe', managed to point out certain truths that he was very carefully hiding from himself. He also feels that accomplishing his tasks fast will make people expect even more from him rather than leaving him in peace. He believes this even while realizing that if he simply warns people that he only intends to do what he was ordered to do and to then disappear when finished he can get away with a minimum of fuss."

Finishing his calm and collected statement, Naruto once again leaned back against the tree and, once again, for all intents and purposes he appeared to be asleep. Back in the shelter Hinata was fighting a losing battle, the scene she had just witnessed was just too funny. There sat Naruto, calmly leaning against a tree beside the lake, and all around him stood his fellow shinobe, their mouths hanging open in disbelief. Hinata wished that she had a camera; the picture would have been priceless. Just when she didn't think she could stop herself from laughing aloud any longer something happened that took her from greatly amused to stone sober in a heartbeat. In a single motion Sasuke drew a kunai and threw it as hard as he could at Naruto. Hinata's heart skipped a beat until Naruto, with a singular fluid grace, reached out and plucked the kunai out of the air. All without opening his eyes, There was a moment of tension and then…

"What was that for?"

Asked an Amused Naruto as he opened one eye to look directly at Sasuke.

"Who are you?"

Grated Sasuke harshly as he drew another blade.

"The dobe would never have insight like that. Not to mention the fact that he's nowhere near good enough with kunai to pull the stunt you just did."

Sasuke's words seemed to ring true in the other gennin as well; the words were barely out of his mouth when the rest of them fell into battle stances while drawing their various weapons. Wearily opening his other eye and looking at the ring of pointy steel that now surrounded him Naruto slowly got to his feet, even as the rest of the gennin took half a step back.

"What the hell is your problem Teme? I am, and always will be Naruto. If you wanted a spar you could have just waited till tomorrow."

"Your not Naruto. I've thought that you were acting funny since this morning but now you've made it abundantly clear that you're not him. The Naruto I know has probably never had a serious moment in his life."

Naruto sighed, in the background he could hear Kyuubi laughing faintly. After all the years he had hid behind his smile he was finely showing his true feelings, and now they thought him someone else.

What did I do to deserve this?

You are one of those stupid Apes. That should be enough.

Shuddup you baka fox.

For whatever reason Kyuubi found this comment singularly funny and to the shinobe watching him Naruto's eyes suddenly went glassy. Naruto Himself was transported into a room that closely resembled a library, or at least the study in a rather well to do house. If his arrival wasn't enough to shock him, the sight of a Young looking (and rather handsome) man dressed all in red, black, and gold was. Especially because said young man was currently kneeling on the floor while tightly holding his ribs. The man looked to be laughing so hard he was nearly crying.

"OK, what the BLOODY HELL is going on? And who the HELL are you?"

Asked Naruto as he reached for his kunai pouch. Hearing this the man straightened up just long enough to look Naruto in the eye and say.

"Naruto…. I... Am your father…"

Then the man broke down again. This time laughing so hard that really did start crying. Needless to say, Naruto was more than a little bit pissed at this point. He was mad for several reasons the first being that this man was obviously having a laugh at his expense. Naruto didn't believe that this pointy faced rouge of a man was his father, Secondly WHEREVER he was Naruto couldn't find his weapons, and finally, because this seemed to be one more person who was determined to tick him off today. Sitting cross-legged on the floor Naruto did his best to calm down as he waited for this stranger to stop laughing. After what seemed like an hour the man finally managed to stop chuckling long enough to get his breath Naruto watched with mild interest as the man summoned an over stuffed armchair apparently out of nowhere and sat down while still chuckling quietly to himself. Naruto waited for the man to finish, and when he did Naruto spoke up.

"Alright. We seem to have gotten off to a bad start. Lets try again. Hello, I'm Uzumaki Naruto. You are?"

The man looked ready to break out laughing again, but instead settled for flashing an amused smile before answering

"They call me Youki no Kyuubi. Kyuubi will do if you like."

Naruto took a moment to study the mans face certain that this had to be another joke of some kind. When the man gave no indication of being anything other than completely serious Naruto felt he had no choice but to at least pretend to take the man at his word.

"Um…. OK. So… errr… Kyuubi. What am I doing here?"

"The same thing you usually do when I drag you here. You're about to beg me in your rather 'unique' way to give you some of my power."

If Naruto had only thought the man crazy before, he had no doubt now that whoever this guy was, he was insane. Naruto opened his mouth to say as much, but the odd-looking man cut him off.

"No, don't bother speaking, I can see that you don't believe me."

For a moment the scene seemed to shift to the familiar look of a water-filled hallway dominated by a large nine tailed fox in a cage. This impression lasted only a moment before it flickered back to the man in the chair. Only now the man had grown fox ears and nine furry tails! Shocked Naruto stumbled backwards. Obviously something terrible had happened, Kyuubi was free of his bonds!

"Oh give it a rest kid. Your rather Interesting father knew what he was doing when he sealed me."

Seeing the look of disbelief apparent on Naruto's face Kyuubi suddenly sprang forward with a snarl. Naruto's eyes widened for a moment before Kyuubi was pulled up short. a golden collar with the same kanji as the seal on the gate had appeared and stopped him inches away from slashing Naruto's face. This demonstrated Kyuubi calmly turned and walked back to his chair. Shrugging he looked at Naruto.

"I figured that if you were going to finally drop the mask I could at least stop terrorizing you in your own mind… although I do have to admit that I found the play of emotions you displayed to be quite entertaining. Anyway kid, get out and leave me be for a while."

With that Kyuubi's chakra seemed to seep up out of the very floor wrapping itself around him. Just as Naruto left he seemed to hear the Kyuubi mutter 'How I'm going to miss screwing with his mind'.

Back in the real world Sasuke and the other shinobe were beginning to get a little bit worried; obviously they had cornered someone VERY powerful. They would have sent someone for backup but anyone leaving could be seen as a show of weakness therefore it was far to dangerous to risk anything of the sort. The tension had gotten even worse when the imposter suddenly went blank and seemed to sag into himself. Although Sasuke didn't say so aloud, it seemed obvious to him that the man was preparing an exceptionally powerful attack. Activating his eyes Sasuke was the first person to throw when Naruto's head suddenly whipped but up. Hinata could only cry out in horror as every single one of the gathered gennin had released at almost the exact same moment… and all of them were aiming to kill. There was only a fraction of a second, a brief moment of time in which to act. Even as Hinata threw herself out of the shelter in a futile attempt to intercept the Kunai, Shrunken, and various other sharp pointy pieces of metal, Naruto was reacting. In a burst of red chakra that threw back the ten people surrounding him, (And froze Hinata) Naruto managed to deflect all of the weapons. After another moment in which no one moved Sasuke spoke up in a slightly awed voice.

"How do you do that Dobe? Every time I'm certain you're beat you always manage to summon that red chakra."

Obviously all of the gennin now believed him. It would have been hard not to considering the fact that he was the only person they knew of that could summon such an aura. Chuckling darkly Naruto replied.

"Why so interested now teme? We have been teammates for almost two years, and this is the first time you've noticed? Oh don't bother answering. I realize that this is only the third time I've ever done this that you know of, but I'd think that the signs that I'm not what I appear to be would have shown up long since… and yet you and Sakura never seem to notice. Any guesses why? Anyone? No? Well then I'll answer myself. Sakura has never noticed because she's been to wrapped up with you! The great 'medic nin' of our team has been to busy following you around and watching your every move to so much as notice when I injure myself. Rather funny considering the number of times I've saved her ass isn't it? She didn't notice how fast I healed from Haku's wounds, she Ignored the fact that I was gravely injured while fighting Gaara to save her even though I know you told her the truth, and best of all she DIDN'T EVEN NOTICE THE GAPING HOLE IN MY CHESTWhen I brought you back. You on the other hand have been too busy brooding over your brother and denying your feelings for Sakura to even notice how hard I worked to catch up to you. It wasn't until I had finally beaten Haku that you deigned to see me, and even then you decided that it was a fluke. The both of you are pitiful excuses of human beings, and it has been my unique displeasure to know either of you. Teammates? Feh. More like weights around my neck."

Naruto had just turned to walk away when Sasuke's voice caught up to him again.

"And what about you? What reason would we have to notice you? All you ever do is talk about Raman and being Hokage! And where does this power come from? You CAN'T tell me it's normal. No amount of 'hard work' could allow you to change the very color and feel of the chakra you emit."

Naruto hunched his shoulders as though he had received a blow, and then, ever so slowly spun back to face Sasuke. His eyes focused on the ground, and hidden by his hair. The Demonic Aura long since faded to nothing.

"I told you before, Sasuke" Said Naruto, his voice a very audible whisper "This 'power' of mine is a curse. A curse no one should have to bare, yet I do. I bare it and I fight it, it has ruined my life since the day I was born and I wish for nothing as much as I wish to be rid of it."

Nearly screaming in his frustration Sasuke replied

"THEN GIVE IT TO ME! Power like that cannot be a burden! It can have no downside! You know as well as I do that might makes right! He who is strongest is the most fit to lead! He who is strongest makes the rules!"

Naruto's eyes suddenly turned cold, Colder that they ever had before, while at the same time they went dead. Naruto, in a voice that seemed to come from beyond the grave answered.

"Is that what you really believe Sasuke? That power is everything? If your family believed that then I can see why Itachi killed them. Nobody that stupid should be allowed to live, and in fact by your very arguments Itachi had every right to do what he did. He was stronger then they, therefore whatever he decided to do to them was justified. Right?"

With an inarticulate cry Sasuke flung himself at Naruto, the other seven people in the group watched in shock as Sasuke's hands closed around Naruto's throat and started to choke the life out of him. All the while sobbing…

"You have NO RIGHT to speak to me like that! I don't know what you did to gain this power of yours, but I would make the same sacrifice a THOUSAND times over to have the power that seems to come so naturally to you! Why is it you that is so blessed?"

Naruto whose eyes had been drooping a moment before due to lack of oxygen suddenly snapped awake again. Out of nowhere his aura sprang back wreathing him in a glow red as blood and intense as all the hatred that had ever been directed at him. Seemingly without effort he picked up Sasuke and thew him backwards.

"Blessed? BLESSED! I have paid for this power in everything I have and everything I am. What I have paid in sweat, blood, and tears is more than ANYONE should have to pay. Only a fool would pay the price once let ALONE a thousand times over! Do you know what it's like to have NOBODY? No parent? No sibling? Nobody to love or look after? Do you know what it's like to be a directionless child in a world where parents curse you and drag their children away? To be completely and utterly alone for the first seven YEARS of your life? To be forced to watch others your age run and laugh, playing games and making friends while realizing that it is something you can never do? DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA what it's like to have assassination attempts made against you on a regular basis EVERY FUCKING WEEK? What? You never knew that? Of course not. You never saw it even when it occurred DURING OUR TRAINING SESSIONS… do you know what it is like… to be alone?"

Naruto stood there exhausted; even as the aura he was projecting flickered and died he stood his ground. He stood, tired both mentally and physically, waiting for something to break the silence…

"What is this curse?"

Ponderously Naruto managed to raise his eyes to meet those of his long time crush. Even as Sakura watched Naruto seemed to age, his eyes showing a world-weariness that came only to those that had seen too much. Sakura was frozen in place, as those dead eyes suddenly seemed to look right through her, measuring her to the last inch, and weighing her to the final ounce. After an indeterminate length of time Naruto spoke again.

"Are you certain, beyond any shadow of a doubt that you really want to know the answer to that question?"

Sakura hesitated only a moment, worried about what she had seen in her teammates eyes. It was only the briefest of moments though before she answered.


For the gathered gennin what came next was as short as it was shocking.

"I am the container for Kyuubi."

It took a moment for her to processes it, but when she did Sakura's eyes suddenly went wide and she took a step back.

"Sakura-Chan… please. I would never…."

"Don't come any closer you MONSTER!"

Naruto recoiled as though slapped. He couldn't claim that he hadn't seen it coming, but to hear her say it aloud… turning Naruto fled, right across the surface of the lake. Reaching the center he suddenly collapsed to his knees, sobbing. What happened next was so unexpected that even years later it was still spoken of in a sort of reverent awe. Hinata, suddenly breaking out of the trance that interplay of team 7 had put her in, strode foreword. She stopped briefly in front of Sakura, and then, before anyone could react slapped her hard enough to throw her four feet backward. Without saying a word Hinata walked over to the lake. The other gennin watched, mesmerized, as she seemed to study it for a moment, And then, with a grace that would make you think she had been doing it for years, Hinata stepped onto the surface of the water. Walking slowly Hinata approached Naruto. Initially he recoiled at her approach, but when she also sank to her knees and pulled him into a hug Naruto didn't resist. Instead he allowed himself to cry openly, drenching her shoulder in his sorrow.

This is it! THIS is what changed. Naruto is no longer the Untouchable Idol. He's no longer the Invincible, Unshakable, and Incorrigible Demi-god I made him out to be. He's every bit as Human as I am… and every bit as fragile.

Hinata's hug Tightened a little bit as she felt Naruto's anger leaving, Feeling his tensions slowly fading as he cried on her shoulder.

My Poor, Poor Naruto-kun. I wonder how long you've agonized about telling us that. I wonder how it must have eaten at you inside as you watched parents glare and pull their children away. I can't begin to imagine what it would have felt like to grow up in your shoes.

"Never again"

Hinata's voice was a barely audible whisper, but even on the shore they heard it. Naruto looked up, His face tearstained and slightly pale. Obviously expecting anger or loathing. The look on Naruto's face almost broke Hinata's heart.

"Never again, my poor Naruto-kun, will you have to bear this terrible burden alone."

Naruto lowered his head to her shoulder again with a relieved look on his face, and again Hinata's whisper carried to the distant shore where the rest of the gennin waited.

"Come Hell or High water, come wind, rain, and storm I swear that I will always support you Naruto-kun. No matter how far apart we are, I'll always be there for you."

Un-noticed Tsunade and Jirayia, as well as Asuma, Kurenai, Kakashi and Gai smiled. After a moment they all silently vanished leaving behind the beginnings of a change that had been due for a long, LONG time.


Naruto stood, silently staring down at the stone in front of him. Reaching down he traced the name.

Hyuuga Hinata

A small smile played across his face at the thought of her. It had been ten years since his mask had slipped. Ten years to the day since his fellow Shinobe and Kounichi had discovered his secret… It had also been four years, three months, and twenty-two days Since the Death of Hyuuga Hinata in the final push against the combined forces of the Akatsuki and Hidden sound. Although it was hard, getting over Hinata's death, Naruto had reluctantly re-joined the ranks of his fellow ninja. Yet every morning he came here. Here to this memorial.

You did well Hinata-Chan. Thirty-two… they cut off you and your party, and yet you managed to get thirty-two of the bastards by yourself before you fell. Who would have imagined that quiet little Hinata had such a strong heart?

"Sensei! Sensei!"

Smiling Naruto turned around and surveyed the three students in front of him Imono Kienno, Hyuuga Juishi, and Nara Hinata.

"Yes Imono-san?"

Kienno was about to speak again when Hinata spoke up behind him.

"Why are you staring at that rock sensei?"

"Because Nara-san on this rock is inscribed the names of Hero's from our village."

"YOSH! I want my name on that stone to!"

"Me to."

"I as well."

Again Naruto couldn't help but smile as he stared down at the young Hyuuga sitting in front of him.

He's so different from you Hinata-chan. Who would have guessed that you sister Hanabi would raise such a spirited child

"Be careful what you wish for Hyuuga-san. This is a stone to commemorate our fallen. The lost heroes of Hidden leaf."

An immediate pall seemed to hang over the group silencing their shouts as they realized what they had just said.

"This stone was first erected a memorial for the dead in the aftermath of the Kyuubi attack… you children know about that right?"

"Of course sensei"

Naruto smiled at the young Imono. His parents were fairly recent to the village.

"And you know about sealed child?"

"But of course sensei, this is basic history. Everyone knows about the Hero."

Naruto smiled at his Nara student, Shikamaru's Daughter, named for the women who had saved His wife's team at the cost of her own life. Naruto's own history had changed after the fight with the Akatsuki. He was now spoken of as 'the hero' although at his request his actual name was kept hidden. Opening his mouth to speak, Naruto was cut short when His Hyuuga student spoke up.

"Anno sensei, did you know that rumors claim he's still in the village?"

"Is that so Hyuuga-san?"

The young Hyuuga nodded importantly

"In fact." And here the boy dropped his voice to a conspiratorial whisper "They claim that he took on a gennin team this year. Do you know who he is sensei? I Bet its Uchiha-sama!"

Shaking his head Naruto also lowered his voice to a conspiratorial level

"Fraid he's not kid, but do you want to know a secret?"

Immediately all three of his student leaned foreword to hear better.

"I am."

With that Naruto sat back up. The look on his student's faces was priceless. Especially considering that none of them believed him.

"Don't believe me huh? How about now?"

So saying he lifted his shirt and channeled just enough chakra to make his seal visible. Looking at his students he couldn't help but show a smug smirk at the looks of astonishment visible on their faces.

"Did you know that I wasn't always considered a hero?"

All three shook their heads in mute disbelief.

"Then let me tell you a story about a young woman buy the name of Hyuuga Hinata, and how she managed to help change my image from that of a demon to that of a Hero. You see it all started ten years ago on this very day…"

As Naruto told his gennin team the tale of how Hinata had managed to look past his smiling exterior, his mind couldn't help but drift back to a young women with dark blue hair and soft white eyes…

Thank you Hinata-Chan… Thank you for everything.

The End

A/N: Well my dear friends, I'm afraid that this is the end of the story. I recognise that I could add more, but Personally I feel that it would only get drawn out and hard to finish if I do. therefore I leave you with this closing thought. At some point we will all lose our cool, over little things, or over big things. the one fact we need to remember however is that we are, all of us, Human. we all make mistakes, and we all need forgiveness. Thank you, one and all for your reviews and suggestions. It has been my privelige to write for you, and an honor that you felt it worthy of responding to. From the bottom of my heart, Thank you.


(1) Originally I wasn't going to explain this, but I realize that a lot of you would be after my blood if I didn't, so here it is. Naruto has been tracing Hinata by scent. It always takes the sixth-sense warning of a group approaching for him to realize that he smells it, because scent does take some time to travel, and as you may have noticed, Hinata doesn't show up until after Naruto is settled.
Well, I do my best

Sorry, but this is the last chapter... if you want a story where Hinata and naruto actually hook up, try my "Return of the lost" Series... I admit that it's only happened in the last chapter or so but...

Dragon Noir:
It's an excellent Idea, but I decided at about the second chapter that I was only going to have him blow up at his 'Friends'.

How'd I do? I realize that it's far from perfect, but I kinda like it.

You, like several others, managed to find the one person that I chose not to rant at... Although I do admit that I could have had naruto blow up at her for being a stalker.

TK Styles:
Welcome to the wonderful world of naruto! how'd I do? Did I resolve everyones arguments to your satisfaction? ;-)

Fic Slayr:
Interesting perspective on things. Why no naru/hina? I personally happen to like the pairing? ah well. You should consider looking into the works of One Anz Dragon. He feels much the same as you do.

Decent Explaination? I admit that fat contains more enery per capita, but that energy is quickly burnt through. Muscle burns away much slower, hence more muscle more energy.

It's really all about perspective, I tried Shikamaru's approach for years, it doesn't work. The nagging takes any joy out of the relaxation time. now I work hard, I work smart, and I've perfected my ability to dissipear. :-D

On-Eno :
Nuff fluff?

What do you think? I personally felt that there was a section that was a little choppy... perhaps I can go back and fix it later.

I recognize the Guy/Gai thing, but I believe that I spelt Shinobe correctly. then again It depends on what translation you read too.

wtf :
Shift in perspective. I was just trying to show you a little of the mental dellema she's going though.

Yes and no. as you see it's not so much a pairing as a relationship.

No 1 You Know:
(Smirk) your wish is my command.

Thank you

Sorry it took so long to update. (How'd my take on Hinata work?)

Silverchild of the winds:
They warned them when everyone was in the raman shop... it's not the teachers faults that their students are morons.

Sorry, I don't dare, I'd like to leave Konoha reletivally intact in this fic :-) (PS. You may want to try One Anz Dragon if you don't like naru/hina)

I love the eyes! Thank you. (do you read WOT by the way?)

Logger456 :
Sorry the update took so long.

Close enough?

Oh, They may be a tad harsh I suppose, but you've got to admit that everyone was warned repetedly.

Doopish Jonesish:
Gotcha! the long way of saying 'Baka'

Dragon Man 180:
The little Authors note at the bottom is there to explain that... Heh, you have no Idea how close I came to simply ignoring the questions about how he traced her.

These were the last. End of story. Hope you liked it

I've always had a problem with the whole 'She-loves-me-so-I-suddenly-realize-I-love-her-to' thing that most fics throw in... pity most people consider my romace style to be far to slow.

Nice to see that someone else is thinking on roughly the same waveleangth that I am. sometimes it's nice to realize that people do think things through. Feel free to err... Rant (if you want to call it that) at me anytime. your reviews show remarkable insight. (PS. Thanks for adding me, it's an honor)

I believe your mistaken. Naruto has repetedly refered to sasuke as 'Sasuke-teme' in the manga... I think anyway...

ranma hibiki:
So close, yet so far. Naruto knew SOMONE was following him. He didn't know who however.

i know (Sorrowfull look) Sad Isn't it?

Close, but no kiss. Sorry.

Sorry it took so long. Work's been a bitch.

I appologize to you as well. like I said to dragoon, works been a bitch. thanks for your patience.

I should have re-read my reviews, I could have added that Evil grin Thanks for the review


How'd I do?

To Everyone Else:
Sorry That I didn't write you a personal response, but with more than sixty people reviewing for the last chapter I just can't reply to everyone. I would like you to know however that I do read, and greatly appreciate your reviews. Thank you.