*!* blah *!* time skip



Chapter 2

The flames surrounded Naruto, the burning heat evaporating the moisture from the air around him. He couldn't move due to the immense amount of injury he had sustained only moments ago. He watched in fear as the flames grew closer to him. He wanted to cry for help, even if he knew no one would come. "Why are you doing this to me?" he asked in a pitifully weak quivering voice, tears streaming down his cheeks.

"Do you not know what is inside of you brat? What is it like to not know what you truly are?" A cold sadistic voice asked him. "You are the-" Naruto woke with a start to the sound of beeping, his body drenched in cold sweat. He looked around his dark room. The light was just starting to come in through the small window. He winced as he sat up in his bed. The pain had only been in his dream but the echo of it still seamed to linger on his body.

He got out of bed, preparing for the long day ahead. He would once again have to face his team. Why had the Hokage made him go on a team? It wasn't that he was mad or thought that being on a team was a bad thing, it's just he didn't want to slow anyone down. He knew, or rather thought he knew that he wasn't much good.

He walked down the street; the glares followed him as he went. He stay out of the busy main road but all of Konoha seemed to be awake and out. When he finally made it to the training ground Sakura and Sasuke were already there. Kakashi however was nowhere to be seen. "So the twerp finally shows up. You are half an hour late!" Sakura yelled at him. Naruto shrunk back trying to hide behind the tree Sasuke had taken to leaning on. "Don't think you can hid from me you brat! I don't see why you even came, you'll just slow my Sasuke-kun down, and I'm obviously the only one suited to be on his team." Sakura praised herself, doing an ever-revolting hair flip to accent her point, however stupid it may have been.

Sasuke grunted. 'Says the girl who barely made it into the team. I'd rather…' he paused for a moment in his thoughts for a moment, trying to think up the most revolting thing possible. Well, besides going on a date or being on the same team with one of his numerous fan-girls. 'I'd rather be stuck in a row-bout full of maggots in shark infested waters for a week.' Sasuke was rather proud of his most recent I'd rather thought but quickly reminded himself that he couldn't act like a child and returned to his brooding state.

Sakura stormed around the tree to yell at Naruto more about how late he was and that he should just go home, but he was no longer standing behind the tree. "Naruto, where are you hiding? I'm not done with you yet!" she yelled at the tree. Naruto looked down from the top of the tree his female team member was currently yelling at.

In the years of evil glares and comments he had become quite good a stealth. He'd even learned to mask his chakra years earlier that most genin since a large portion of the people who had him on their out to get list were ninja's and had taken to tracking him down like that. That was, until he learned some better stealth techniques. He thought it best if he stayed hidden until their sensei showed up. 'But Sakura is right. I shouldn't have come today. I'll just slow everyone around me down and get them hurt.' Naruto bowed his head, tears of shame forming in his eyes. He sat on a wide branch of the tree, pulling his knees into his chest and placing his head in them.

"I'll burn the whole forest down if that's what it takes to find you baka!" Sakura yelled from the ground. Naruto's eyes widened in fear at the thought of walls of flames surrounding him. The flames licking at his skin, burning all that was in their path including him. His body began to violently shake, fear overtaking his mind. The very tree that he sat in was shaking from him. "I know you're up there Naruto, get down here." An angry voice called, he didn't know who it was. He felt as if he should know it but they all sounded the same. Other voices joined in, calling for his slow and painful death. His vision began to fade; the flames become a burning red blur. He knew he had to snap out of it, but his head was spinning. A sudden feeling of weightlessness and something hard hit his back and head. Whatever had happened seemed to be the final straw and everything went black, the fear finally fading from his panic stricken mind.

Hinata run by just in time to hear Sakura's threat of burning down the forest. 'Oh no, this isn't going to be good.' She thought to herself as she sprinted over to stop Sakura from throwing Naruto back into a state of emptiness. The tree started to shake violently, just like Hinata had seen that time two years ago. A flash of a younger Naruto sitting in a dark corner of the Hokage tower, shaking and burned, his hair was almost as black as the Uchiha's with soot. His blue eyes like great empty baron oceans, gazing off into nothingness. A look of utter terror was on his face. Hinata shook her hear to release it from the terrible memory.

"I know you're up there Naruto, get down here." Sakura yelled up the tree, an evil grin on her face. Hinata tackled the girl. Sasuke was shocked at the purple blur that suddenly rushed in front of him before colliding with his team member.

"What the hell do you think your doing to Naruto you evil bitch?" Hinata yelled her face contorted into a venomous glare. She could here quiet sobs coming from the tree above them. Sasuke had never seen the Hyuuga so mad before. Sakura looked up at the girl that was currently sitting on top of her blankly. Hinata was the last person she had ever expected to do something like that. "Can't you see that something is wrong? Why the hell are you so damn compelled to destroy Naruto like the rest of the stupid village? You're supposed to be his teammate. Not another enemy, that's the last thing he needs." Sakura didn't know what to say. She'd never seen someone this mad before, let alone see Hinata show another colour of red other then blushing.

"I-I-I don't know…" Sakura stuttered stupidly. Sasuke still stood frozen with shock. He could feel the tree shaking beneath his back, as if he was could understand the fear that Naruto felt. He didn't know what had set him off like this but he could make a pretty good guess.

Two years ago there had been a fire in the residential area. The news had said it was arson but there was no evidence to who it was and as no one, according to the newspaper, was hurt they didn't feel it necessary to further investigations. That part he already knew about, the part that the newspaper had conveniently left out was that the whole building was evacuated except for one apartment at the top, which Sasuke and known was where Naruto lived.

Now, Sasuke was smart enough to put two and two together and knew that Naruto was the jailor of the Kyuubi but he hadn't expected the village to try and kill Naruto. After all, he was the one who kept the demon from flying off the hook and killing them all. He had always felt a bit of respect for the brat, even if he didn't show it. He hadn't always felt like that, it had mainly happened around the same time as the fire now that Sasuke thought about it.

Naruto hadn't shown up for school for two weeks now and no one except for Hinata and Kiba knew why or where he was. Sasuke had known where Naruto lived because he had been a friend with him years ago before the whole Kyuubi thing got out of hand and his father had banned him from visiting his friend. When Sasuke went to check on Naruto's place to see if he was hiding in the remains of his old home he didn't find Naruto, but something much worse. The walls had something written on them, as scorched as they were you could still make out some of them. Hokage Murderer, Demon, Damned Fox, Killer. There where ton's more but there was too much damage. At first he had thought Naruto must have wrote those, but on closer inspection he noted that they were all different styles of writing. He walked into another room, here there was only one marking on the wall, Die.

He had no clue that Naruto was so hated, sure he had noticed the glares but he thought it was because of his pranks. It was at this point when Sasuke realized how much they were alike but still different. The village hated Naruto for something he couldn't control, but they almost worshiped him for something he hadn't been there for. In short they both were outcast of the village, Naruto forced into it and him choosing to be one.

The shaking in the tree was getting worse bring Sasuke out of his thoughts. It was like he was having an attack of some sort, and Sasuke's concern took over, even if he wasn't open friends with him he still cared about him. He didn't want to show that he cared, but he couldn't help it. Naruto had been somewhat like a brother to him. He wasn't just going to stand by and do nothing if it turned serious.

"Could you two stop fighting for like five minutes? Naruto's been getting worse, why don't you do something if you so concerned Hinata?" Sasuke pointed out. 'There, and now there's still a chance that they might think nothing of since I didn't take direct action. Stoic-ness saved.' Sasuke leaned against the tree again to monitor the shaking genin. Hinata got off Sakura, her usual tint of pink back in her cheeks, even though she was till sending angry looks at the other girl.

Sasuke's eyes opened wide the shaking had stopped suddenly. He looked up but before he could here anything there was a loud thump and there in front of him was an unconscious Naruto. His condition appeared to be worse then he had thought. His face was contorted into a look of pain and fear; cold sweat covered his "God damn it, if you're just going to stand there and not doing anything run and get help before he's gone for good!" Sasuke yelled at the shocked girls. The both nodded and ran in opposite directions, Hinata to the Hokage tower and Sakura to find Kakashi.

Sasuke kneeled down to make sure that Naruto was still even alive, he had hit his head pretty hard and a small path of blood seemed to be oozing out of a cut in the back of his head. Not only that but he seemed to be having a hard time breathing, his breathes were coming in short sharp gasps. His left arm was also seemed to be at a strange angle, it was probably broken. "Man, you are one unlucky guy Naruto. First you get stuck with the shitty banshee and now you fall out of a tree after having a panic attack." Sasuke pulled some bandages out of his pouch to stop the bleeding. It was the most he could do until help got there; he couldn't do anything to help his breathing. 'If you were anyone else I wouldn't care, but you've already been through enough. Hinata was right, another enemy is the last thing you need right now.'

Kakashi walked up the path to meet his team. "Four hours late, that should be long enough to wait, now the only thing left to do is come up with some philosophical reason for my being late." He contemplated his ideas as he came to the spot they had planed to meet at. But when he got there things were not as he had expected. What he had expected was to find Naruto hiding in a tree while Sakura pestered Sasuke. However, that was nothing like what he found. Sasuke sitting with his back resting against a tree with his eyes closed and an unconscious Naruto with fresh bandages around his head in front of him. "What the hell?" As he got closer he could see that blood was already seeping through the bandages on the blonds head.

Sasuke opened his eyes and looked up at the jounin. Sighing, he calmly began to explain what had happened. He started from were Sakura had made the threat about starting the fire. Kakashi had seen the fire and knew what had happened to Naruto. The Hokaga had made it clear that no one was to talk about it and anyone found talking about it would have to deal with Anko, which was a good enough threat without going into any detail.

Anko had been oddly protective of the boy when he was younger, but she soon became jounin and was too busy to help Naruto. But he didn't want to imagine the fury and rage that they would have to face for hurting Naruto that badly. "So, what do we do about him? We can't just leave him here." Sasuke asked his eyes were softer then normal as he looked down on Naruto.

"Are you showing a soft side Sasuke, well I never thought I'd see the day." Kakashi said in a mocking surprised voice, though it made some sense. Not many people knew about it but Naruto and Sasuke had been friends years back.

"Just shut up and help him would you?" Sasuke said crossing his arms and looking away, trying to hide the light blush the tinted his cheeks. "And don't tell anyone…" He turned away completely. Kakashi could have sworn he heard a tiny please whispered, but it was too quiet to be sure. "So I can guess the training for today is postponed?" Sasuke turned back his features back into their normal place. Kakashi nodded, not really paying any attention as he was still looking over the boy who's condition seemed to have no change. Sasuke slipped away just in time to avoid Sakura who came running up the road panting.

"Sasuke- *gasp* couldn't- *gasp* find Kakashi." Sakura panted, her face flush from running. She looked up to find her sensei sitting right in front of her already working on the blond. "Oh, you're already here." The guilt Sakura felt took over, tear weld up in her eyes. "I'm sorry Sensei. It's all my fault that-" She was cut short by Kakashi as he put his hand up to silence her.

"Sasuke already told me what happened and Hinata's already going to find Hokage-sama so just sit there and be quiet please." Kakashi pointed to a spot on the grass. 'So that ways your reason for leaving so quickly Sasuke, you had to leave me alone with the moaning banshee. You are going to get it someday.' Kakashi returned to his student, he had sustained a concussion, some cracked ribs and a broken arm, but nothing life threatening. Well, nothing life threatening compared to some of the things that happened to him in the past. The Hokaga was not going to be very happy with him; his late privileges were so going to be gone. 'Well, speak of the devil and the devil will come.'

This time it was the Sandaime's turn to make an entrance. "What it Kami's name happened here?" The he asked his line faced more lined then usual with worry. "Hinata said Naruto was unconscious but she was too flustered to give me anymore detail."

"If you would please calm down I'll explain what happened, but first we need to get my student some help, he as a few broken bones and a bad concussion." Kakashi explained as he carefully lifted Naruto as to prevent further harm, he was still breathing in gasps and to tell the truth he had no clue what to do. He wasn't medically trained all he knew how to do was see what was wrong with a person. Sarutobi stood shocked.

"Did you just say student you student? So you're passing them without the test?" The old man asked. Kakashi had never passed a team that had made an attempt at the test let alone a team that had not even tried.

"Yes, I'll explain later, now would you please concentrate on what is important right now? You need to take Naruto to the hospital for treatment and you're the only one they'll listen to there when it comes to him." Kakashi passed the unconscious form of Naruto to the Hokage. "Now, I should probably go find a very frantic looking Hyuuga."

Sarutobi sighed, getting the hospital to take good care of Naruto was always hard, he had to have at least one loyal guard with Naruto at all times. Otherwise there was no telling what they would do. In the past doctors and nurses had been paid off by the villagers to 'accidentally' give Naruto an overdose on a medication of some sort. He nodded to Kakashi and headed of the hospital but not before saying one last thing. "Hinata is probably still in my office, she seemed to be in a daze when I left."

Kakashi nodded in reply and then headed towards town again. It was funny really, in town if they had known that Naruto had been injured they would be having a party or celebration of some sort. But right now it looked like a normal day, the Sandaime would have to be careful getting Naruto through town or he would have a riot on his hands. When Kakashi finally made it the Hokage tower he found Hinata really easily. Well, more like she found him. As soon as he opened the front door she seemed to just appear in front of him asking questions at about thousand km/h.

"Hinata calm down, Naruto should be fine, there was nothing life threatening. Hokage-sama took him to get treated." Kakashi comforted the panicking Hinata. "Is there anything else you can tell me about what happened?" he asked leading Hinata to a chair she seemed to be dizzy and he didn't want two unconscious genin on his hands.

"I don't know, all I know is that Sakura threatened to burn the forest down, she wasn't really seriously going to burn it down, she just wanted to get Naruto down. After that Naruto just started to shake, it was like two years ago." Hinata seemed to drift after she said that. Kakashi waived his hand in front of her face to get her back. "It seamed to just get worse until he fell out of the tree and then Sasuke told us to go get you and Hokage-sama."

The memory of what the villagers did to Naruto two years ago was still fresh in Kakashi's mind. He had been one of the people sent in to help. The blaze had been so big that the villager fire squad couldn't do anything. He wasn't the one that found Naruto, but he remembered seeing him when they got him out. His hair was so thick with soot that it was completely black. He wouldn't do or say anything. He just sat in the corner shaking and looked into the distance as if reliving the whole event over and over in his head. The one thing that Kakashi didn't get was why Naruto hadn't got himself out of the fire. He was perfectly capable of it. But since Naruto wouldn't, or rather couldn't talk about it they didn't know a thing. "Thank you Hinata, you should go meet with you team now, I'll tell you if anything happens." He reassured her as they left the tower. Hinata nodded and headed off to join her team who were most likely wondering where she had disappeared to.

Naruto laid in the hospital bed, his body once again almost covered in bandages. He didn't remember why he was there and the pounding in his head didn't seem to want to let him think clearly. To his right was the door and on the other side he could just see an ANBU standing guard through the window. To his left was a window showing a view of Konoha and the surrounding forest. The Sun was just touching the top of the tree lines. Unfortunately that meant that he had been out all day. The room was all too familiar to Naruto as he had been here multiple times in the past. Now why was he here this time?

A knock on the door raised Naruto from his thoughts; the ANBU opened the door letting in the very old and tired look Hokage. "So your finally awake, how's your head?" He asked with a worried look. He sat down in the chair next to Naruto's bed and looked around the room. Most people in the Hospital had their rooms filled with cards and flowers and that from friends and family. But this was never the case with Naruto's room, on the cupboards sat two lone sunflowers, one from Hinata and one from Sakura who only gave him one out of fear from an angry Hinata. There was a brightly coloured card standing with them that was no doubt from Naruto's only other friend, Kiba. The three of them had been here earlier; of course Sakura wasn't the happiest about it.

"My head still hurts, what happened?" Naruto replied with another question, but it was bothering him that he didn't know why he was there or how he had sustained these injuries. Sarutobi sighed; maybe it was best that he didn't know what had happened. But if that was true what was he going to tell the boy? It might just be best to honor the truth and tell me what happened.

"Well, you seem to have had another attack and you fell out of the tree you had been sitting in, your injuries were quite substantial so I'm guessing you were sitting pretty high up." Sarutobi explained. The boy frowned; he didn't have any memory of that happening, but that seemed to always happen when he had an attack. This was no life, living in fear of something that couldn't hurt him but made him panic and hurt all the same, hiding from the glares and insults from the villagers. But what could he do? Nothing, that's what. He turned his had away from the Hokage.

Another knock on the door made both of them jump, the Sandaime got up to see who was at the door. Relived that it wasn't a villager trying to injure Naruto further he gladly let in Hinata and Kiba. "Hey buddy, you're finally up!" Kiba said with a big smile plastered on his face.

"I'm glad to see that you awake Naruto-kun." Hinata said calmly sitting down on the edge of his bed. It was hard to see her friend like this, but she was getting use to it. As good as that may sound to people in only meant that Naruto was in the Hospital far too much.

"I'll leave you three alone, don't get him too excited, he just woke up." The Hokage warned as he left the room. Kiba pulled a face at him when the door closed then sat down on the other side of the bed. Naruto gingerly sat up so he didn't set off any of his most recent injuries.

"Old codger, what are we going to do. Take you dancing." Kiba joked then stood up and started to dance around the room with a very unhappy looking Akamaru. Hinata laughed at the pair and Naruto smiled. They always knew the best way to cheer him up.