This is the first fiction I´ve ever written beyond a 2 page "written in an hour" in school, so I´m a total newbie at this.
The site messed up my formatting quite a lot, I´ll try to fix it and do better with future chapters but I cant promise perfection for a long while yet.
This is fanfiction.
Anyone that believes the material this story is based upon in any way belongs to me is clearly very delusional and should seek medical help as soon as possible rather than waste time or money in taking legal action against me as they are obviously having serious mental issues.
Enjoy if you will, tolerate if you wont.
Being summoned is, surprising.
Still wondering whatever might be behind this summon, Yuuhi Kurenai approached the door with it´s ever present guards.
"Kurenai-san, the Hokage is expecting you." one of the guards said and opened the door for her.
Now she was getting really thoughtful, a lone chunin sent in with such haste?
She really hoped she hadn´t got into trouble, though the guards didnt seem upset, and seeing Hiruzen Sarutobi, the Sandaime Hokage while she approached his desk neither did he, so that didnt seem likely.
"Kurenai, thank you for coming so quickly, I found myself with a bit of time in between meetings and thought this would be a good time to discuss this rather delicate matter with you; your interest in and support of miss Hinata Hyuuga has been noted and I find myself quite impressed."
Well that most certainly wasnt what she had expected.
"Oh I almost forgot, cant be discussing great clans without precautions..." the Hokage said, then quickly forming a complex series of hand seals and whispering something, surprising Kurenai for a moment, and when apparently nothing resulted from it, puzzling her further still, even though it was clear what he had done, she didn´t know anything that should require such elaborate security that it needed the additional misdirection he had just provided.
"Now then that we have real privacy, let´s change over to the primary subject I wanted to discuss"
Handing over a folder he continued "First, I would ask that you look at this report."
"This is quite disturbing" she replied after taking a minute to go over the summary. Of course she knew about the jinchuuriki boy and the common dislike of him, but that it was this bad...
"Despite the fact that only a small portion of the village actually knows the truth, this much enmity?"
"Sadly that so few does know the truth seems to be part of the problem, those who know and are hostile or prejudiced makes a point out of showing it, and too many who know little or nothing have simply followed their lead without further thought. At least there has been little direct hostility and no open violence that we know of."
"Now, could you give me your analysis on the main section of page 3 and onwards?"
Quickly moving to that page she spent a few more minutes reading it, and getting a good bit further upset, but even more so, she became worried.
"Far too many coincidences from what I can see, and it goes far beyond what can be explained by the aversion so many have picked up against him, at the same time I find it surprising that he´s still alive with so many accidents happening around him."
"Fortunately he is sturdy and heals well and quickly, still even then it has made me wonder if whoever caused at least some of those incidents didnt actually intend his death, just trying to keep him from getting a decent chance at the academy or perhaps something else, it´s hard to guess when there is so little to go on." the Hokage replied.
"Yes, it does seem that way" then went on "But, this is awful, and your rule on the matter has likely helped to cause much of the resentment that is behind it!" she said unhappily.
"I´m afraid so, but I had not realised how bad it was, or that there seem to be someone willing to go so far beyond mere thoughts and ostracising him."
He gave a hint of an unhappy sigh and then went on "And I made the rule for a very good reason, it is a part of my attempt to keep him alive, as long as he could be kept unknown, or not known as the jinchuuriki at least outside our village, the threats against him were immensely reduced."
"The Hokage cannot stick his big nose too deeply into the life of a mere single orphan without causing suspicion." the unexpected sarcasm from the man almost made Kurenai laugh, but she morphed it into an amused cough instead, getting a slight smile in return from the Hokage.
"I had the investigation behind this report done on the excuse of making certain that having allowed him into the academy was safe, that was the only way I could get any real insight into his life in a safe manner, beyond what I can do openly." he said with a sad sigh.
"So... I can certainly see why you would be concerned, but I´m not certain how I could help any more than you could get from assigning an ANBU or two to keep an eye on things, and I definitely hope you will do something about the atrocious treatment of the boy..." Kurenai´s voice drifted into a not quite unstated question.
"That is what we are in the middle of figuring out, however I am greatly hindered by politics in this matter, which is why I can not in any way order anyone to do anything about it..."
His short pause underlined the already obvious message "What I can do is to ask someone I know is dependable and who has already shown herself quite capable of supporting a child of a troublesome background, even outside of any official request and without any benefit from it."
"But I´m on active duty and getting me reassigned to something only within the village would be extremely obvious." she never even considered saying no to the question not quite asked.
"I believe you will be looking towards taking the jonin exam within a few years?" the Hokage asked with a slight smile.
"I think I will be good enough for it by then yes..." was the slightly drawn out reply as she wondered at the sudden shift of subject.
"I have asked Kakashi to stay in the village and hold an advanced training class for the next halfyear, "
"As long as you motivate him properly he can be a rather effective teacher actually." he said with a wry smile.
"You managed to motivate HIM enough to agree to teaching, might I ask how you managed such a grand feat, and do you actually expect lazy ass to do it properly?"
"Oh, I just offered him access to the pre-release copies of some series of books he likes, the author always keeps sending advanced copies to me even though he knows I´m not interested, aside from that I also told him to be serious or he might find himself doing a certain D-rank mission endlessly, I´m sure you can figure out which one. I might also have mentioned something about how you were getting close to outperforming him in oh so many areas..."
Books? oh it couldn´t be... seeing the slight smile on the Hokage, she quickly changed her mind, oh yes it probably was. Why would that author be sending copies of the books to the Hokage though?
Thinking for a second about the named threat, it only took her a moment to come to the amused conclusion that he referred to all genins greatest horror of a so called mission, the never to be damned enough cat Tora, belonging to the wife of the daimyo, always running away(not surprisingly with that owner, hah!) and a complete terror to capture, the damn thing certainly lived up to being named "Tiger". It was more dangerous than distressingly many real missions.
She dismissed for now the somewhat disconcerting thought of the books and the more amusing about having Kakashi chasing Tora ever after and focused back on the issue.
"So, getting an experienced jonin to teach some of his tricks to the upcoming, perhaps even some of the other jonin, to allow them to broaden their skills a bit, yes that is certainly a good idea, has it ever even been done before though?"
"Much too seldom, I´m trying to make it a regular thing, to rotate people with experience out of doing regular missions occasionally and instead have them teach advanced classes for those interested and for those who could use it or simply need it to advance themselves further."
"You would want me to attend then to have me stick around in the village, to allow me to bring in some adult assistance and perhaps a bit of protection from the shadows to the life of Naruto, but what about afterwards? That training certainly wont last as long as he will need someone around."
"Oh I think we can come up with something a little better than that." his smile now much broader, giving Kurenai a hint of... a predator enjoying a satisfactory hunt?
"As I said earlier, I really do appreciate your mentoring and support for young Hinata, the report mentions that she actually seems to have become quite a friend of Naruto?"
Again she was somewhat taken by surprise at yet another new turn of the Hokage´s words.
"Ehm, yes I believe it was quite fortunate as they seem to both complement and support each other exceptionally well already, and if they remain this good friends I would strongly recommend that they are allowed to stay together even after the academy, she even brought him with her to some of our training sessions, at an increasing frequency I might add, something she would never have dared merely a year ago."
Flashback around a year
Naruto was seriously doubting that this was a good idea, Hinata had asked him to come with her to the training she had after class, her sensei is just going to get angry about me intruding and then Hinata will get in trouble as well he thought nervously.
When she had realised that he had noone outside of the academy to help him train she had broached the idea and when she found out her teacher would have time for her today, she had very quitely and stubbornly, not trying to argue with him or anything, just quietly waited for him to agree while looking at him with a barely demanding smile and varying degrees of blushing.
He really didn´t want to cause her trouble and he especially didn´t want Hinata to see her great sensei to treat him like so many others in the village, with scorn, rejection or even hatred.
What did he ever to do them anyway!
But now, she was just about dragging him physically with her to the training ground, not giving him any chance to get away without using force, and well, he could never do that, even if he was afraid he would just cause trouble for her.
Reaching the training ground he saw a woman waiting, not quite tall, quite shapely with the sort of well toned muscles an elite gymnast might have with dark fluffy hair down just below her shoulders, turning towards them he saw her strikingly obvious red eyes and that their arrival brought a small smile to her face.
"Hello Hinata, I was just starting to wonder if you wouldn´t be coming today after all."
"S-sorry Kurenai-sensei, I w-wanted to bring m-my friend with m-me so it took a little l-longer."
"Hello there boy, so what´s your name then?"
With more than a little dread Naruto took a moment then "I´m Uzumaki Naruto and I´m going to be the best ninja ever!"
"Huh, so you´re here to help Hinata become the second best ninja ever then?"
Naruto blinked and was stunned for a moment at the reply then with a big grin "Damn right I am!"
Kurenai smiled at the enthusiasm "Well that´s good, Hinata could use someone closer to her own size and skill to practise with, and any friend of hers is always welcome."
"Ok then, we´re going to continue with the Juunan Taiso Ryu today, Hinata start off with the kata´s I showed you last time we trained it ok" turning back to Naruto "meanwhile I´m going to get you started on them as well and then hopefully we can have you sparring a bit later on."
"Juu..., what?" Naruto asked while seeing Hinata already beginning to do some kata that looked rather strange.
"Try following what I do..."
"The Juunan Taiso is a set of movements and fairly simple techniques designed to strengthen the body while also making it flexible and sometimes a bit faster as well, someone however figured out a way to mold those movements into a fighting style, allowing you to train it at the same time as doing the movements is very good for the body, she even managed to get the techniques slightly useful for improving chakra strength and control by adding mental exercises to the moves as well. Though those will come later, today we´re just starting out easily."
While talking she was doing a very slow version of the same exercise Hinata had started with, going through it a couple of times, pointing out mistakes and how to improve, then going on to the next set of movements, and then another, occasionally telling Hinata to change something in her movements.
Naruto concentrated for all he was worth to keep up with her, not even noticing that she didn´t actually shift to the next until he had managed the former correctly at least twice, but he was beyond thrilled, he had never come close to learning anything at such a rapid rate before, totally awesome! That someone was actively trying to train him wasn´t exactly hurting either.
'Interesting, the boy seems to pick things up exceptionally fast by seeing it done. And it´s about time she managed to make a friend. Heh, I´m not sure I should be surprised or not that it´s the jinchuuriki boy, but they seem to get along surprisingly well. Perhaps it will do some good for him also. Damn, I wish I had twice as much time...' Kurenai thought while continuing the lesson, trying to get the two doing as much as possible in parallell.
"Good, good that was my impression as well."
"It seems however, that despite Hinatas improvement thanks to you, her problems with her clan will not go away, and her training other styles than Jyuuken has actually made it worse, as the pride of the Hyuuga clan has ever so lightly been stepped on, despite how it has clearly benefitted her abilities greatly, both with jyuuken and overall."
Kurenai flinched slightly at hearing that her help had actually caused even more problems, and of course Hinata had said nothing about it, heck she might not even know about it.
For a moment she wondered if the source of irritation was Hinata´s father, but quickly dismissed that notion, the man was certainly on her top five list both for most annoying people and people most deserving a serious kick in the ass, but as clan head he was also practical enough not to dismiss improvement in his potential heir just because it came from the wrong direction. No matter how much he might -resent- it.
"Also, it is troublesome that your role is unrecognised both on the subject of simple money but more importantly also regarding your own standing."
"I didnt start it for money or fame, and getting better results out of a Hyuuga heiress no matter how unofficial isnt exactly doing anything bad to my reputation." she interjected.
"Actually I started it because the poor girl needed it so desperately it hurt to look at and because her idiot father, not to forget far too much of the rest of the clan, made me want to break him into very small pieces when I was there to pick her up for academy enrollment, and really, the way that was done it was as if she was already being cast out of the clan altogether, not that being sent off to the academy differs much in their eyes."
"Quite so, but the fact remains that it is a completely informal and even unofficial situation, and sooner or later that will certainly cause either you or the girl problems..."
Kurenai suddenly realised what direction the Sandaime was headed and came as close to panic as she probably could
"Oh no, no no no, you cant seriously suggest I adopt her or something!.? Her clan would go absolutely crazy and kill me the second they found out! And-"
With a smile at the usually calm and collected kunoichi, the Hokage continued after a slight chuckle
"I dont think we need to go quite that far, and indeed it would never be accepted anyway, there is a far better solution however and while it´s not very common and especially not for a chuunin, there is the option of a direct apprenticeship."
Kurenai blinked a few times while trying to remember, it certainly wasnt common, the only example of it she currently knew of was how Maito Gai had recently taken an academy student under his overly, even excessively enthusiastic wings, but perhaps...
"But I would still be away on missions far too much to handle a household for more than myself..." her voice trailed off as she thought more about who they were talking about, heh, even if she would be away for a year, Hinata would easily handle whatever was necessary, quite likely better than Kurenai could herself, even if she was dreadfully shy she was still the potential Hyuuga heir with all the training that included and probably already had better ability to handle a household than most adults, any household, be it a castle or a hut in the middle of the forest... that was when she made the connection with the other part of the conversation...
'He couldnt be suggesting... No?' After a few moments of thinking about it she saw the Hokage smiling blissfully at her and knew that 'oh yes, that was exactly what he was suggesting!'
"You want me to take on BOTH of them as apprentices?"
"I knew you would figure it out quickly, you always were very bright." he said merrily. Then continued more seriously
"It would mean that you would actually get properly paid for all that training with Hinata, in turn allowing you to train her more seriously, as well as for Naruto, and it would give Naruto at least a degree more of safety and support while we can easily obscure it as part of you wanting to try out teaching a bit more, taking in the -village stray- as part of taking on the troublesome Hyuuga heiress who only seems to get truly better under your special tutelage."
"You´re a VERY devious old man" she said with a resigned tone.
"I believe that is part of the job description?" he said with another slight smile, bringing a chuckle from Kurenai before continuing
"Of course, this could be a dangerous task, many people would very much like to get their hands on someone with the Hyuuga bloodline abilities, and it appears there is a clear streak of malevolence against Naruto even if the degree of it is currently uncertain."
"Also, the only other person that knows all about this whole matter will be Kakashi, as he is one of the ANBU that has supported Naruto previously as well as being one of those that can be trusted with such matters, just make sure you never speak of it unless you´re certain there are no others listening in, and if need be you are authorised to divulge as much as you feel required to either Umino Iruka or Morino Ibiki and I will make sure they know to listen to you, although I´m fairly sure Iruka will figure it out by himself pretty soon..."
"Iruka? mmm, he´s the teacher at the academy, I think I´ve met him a few times with Hinata, seems like a good man..." then the impact of the second name was realised, "Ibiki?"
"Iruka quite likes Naruto and Ibiki is one of few that I know I can trust without reservations while he is also both smart and capable enough not to make a bigger mess of things even when thrown straight into it, especially when it concerns something that I would rather keep in the shadows."
Ok, guess that that makes sense, even if she as most others was somewhat creeped out by the head of the interrogation section.
He did have a very good reputation for integrity though, as well as being intelligent and a decent fighter.
"One of the ANBU´s you said, which ones are the others and might they be included on that list?"
"Hmm, mostly Kaori Kusaka and Yuugao Uzuki... you might as well add Anko Mitarashi to the list as well since I know she can be trusted even if many foolishly remain unconvinced and the fact that she has already stepped in on Naruto´s behalf a few times, but please avoid informing them unless there is a need for it."
"Hah, those three, they´re all pretty much friends of mine already, Kaori is a close friend even, I very much doubt that they will fail to figure out on their own for long, it´s far better that I tell them the short version and have them ready to assist if needed."
The old man seemed indecisive for a while but in the end relented "Very well, it may indeed be better to have them informed, just keep it all as limited as you can." he asked and got a nod in return.
"So" he continued "i know your current apartment wont be sufficient for this, and you will need something that can easily be made secure enough both for a Hyuuga heiress and someone with unknown enemies, obviously we will make sure to add whatever new place of yours to the ANBU patrol routes, but it would be well if it is in a good location already... How long do you think you will need to find a more suitable house?"
"Mmm, actually that will be easy, I spent some time just a few days ago gawking at a house I was quite sure I couldn´t even begin to consider for just myself for probably at least a decade yet, if ever, and if it´s been sold since then, I know a good estate agent that should be able to find whatever is needed very quickly, though I may need some additional cash up front?"
"Oh that shouldn´t be a problem, I will transfer enough of the coming stipend for Naruto that it should be quite enough for almost anything."
"And what exactly should i live upon when my part of the stipend is already spent, just in case the Hyuuga declines your idea?" the Hokage´s response was simply a very wide smile
"You´re really selfconfident in this it seems..."
"I think I have no reason to worry."
"Just come back and tell me once you have it taken care of."
Went over it again to try and take care of the worst formatting oddities that still remained. At least now I´ve learned enough of this editor to actually fix them.
Since I posted the first four chapters in a batch, they´re essentially the prologue of the story, my first real notes on the story ended up in ch5. So, while I´m cleaning this chapter up a bit, I´m also taking the opportunity of copying those here and adding to them:
A few things to note in general, for reasons of realism(and a few others that may or may not be apparent later), I´ve raised the academy graduation age by 2 years, Hanabi is also a year older compared to Hinata, and I´ve made genjutsu twopronged by saying outright that it also includes illusions rather than just mindaffecting effects. There´s enough hints in this direction in canon that I think I´m just making it "official" rather than really changing something.
I´ve also in the end figured out a way to handle the somewhat broken canon on technology, but that wont affect much until far later.
One of the original premises of the story is that I don´t want lame characters, nor ones that flip flops between heroic strength and scared incompetence(Sakura and Hinata are the perfect examples of this, at their best they´re outright impressive, while at other times they just stand around playing damsel in distress), and I really do not want characters to RELY on cheap and cheesy powerups or in Naruto´s case, rely on the Kyuubi as a "trumps all" card. So I figured out a reasonably realistic scenario that could give such a result.
While I´m basing myself on canon, the very basics of this story will push it away from canon in some ways at least to some degree. This first "book" of the story, up until where canon starts has become at least twice as long as I first thought, so once I reach the point where the canon anime starts(in another 3-4 chapters(currently at 13)), I plan to start that off as a separate work, so that those who prefers a higher paced story can jump right into that one while this story remains as the "how we got to the starting point" piece for the second "book".