Firstly, I must apologize for updating so late. I lost my data for my stories followed by me finding files containing the incomplete chapters the stories would follow. However, I didn't like them as much as I once did. This led to me having to rewrite said chapters in my free time.
I'll attempt to give more time to these stories as this one especially has potential consider the road I've decided on going. I won't tell you all where it's going but I hope you all enjoy it.
"Why me?" - Normal talking
"Why then?" – Whispers and Voices from memories. Includes flashbacks.
'Why us?' - thoughts
"Why you?" – Empowered beings.
[Why here?] – Mechanical Voices and radio devices.
"Why now?" - Skills or Techniques
Now, for the disclaimer.
Ahem: "I own NOTHING!"
Prelude to a New Life
It should be known that the strangest things tend to happen around Naruto. Originally, the people of his village had always looked at him with those hurtful eyes, but now a good number of them began to pretend they didn't see him at all. It didn't matter anymore, though. He had a friend now. Although, he would be the first to admit their friendship started off weird and grew weirder over the last seven months, especially when she began to bring him picture books.
How can a cat do those things?
He found himself fascinated with watching her just as she did him. Both curious as to what the other would do next. This path to this mutual comfort with each other wasn't an easy task by any stretch of the imagination. The first month had been filled with following the black cat through alleys and fences, puddles after rain and thorny bushes, but he persevered.
Eventually, he wore her down, or maybe she just finally gained an interest in him, because she began to appear around him more often. It was a few days of this constant occurrence that he decided to sneak her some of his meal from the orphanage, and this would mark the first time she came so close to him. It seemed like nothing special at the start but to a boy with no friends, it had become one his most cherish memories. It was only improved by what she did next.
She spoke to him.
Well, maybe spoke is too direct of a word, but it was the simplest way for him to understand. She did so after climbing up his shirt and nudging his cheek in a show of gratitude. That was when he heard her voice. It was quiet and soft but he heard it. It was a voice that was not his and she had not spoken to him.
"Thank you. My name is…Len."
He blushed at the tone of her voice. No one had spoken to him in such a way before. Shyly, he smiled and began to scratch behind her ear after being given the okay from Len. This would be the first of many times they spoke together.
Several months passed in a similar manner with her teaching him and helping him understand concepts children would normally have been taught at his age.
Before long, however, he began to feel strange. It was a slow process and almost slower to notice but sure enough, he felt changes in his body as well as the aches they brought with them. They faded shortly after a while and they were not bad changes per se.
One such change had been an increase in his hearing. While amazing, it caused him to hear some things that broke his young heart. The people around him were insulting him and calling Len bad names for being around him. It reached the point where he ignored them and trudged forward with his head held high, only caring for Len's opinion of him after very sad heart to heart.
However, this was not his biggest change. No, that honor belonged to his eyes. Around a week or so ago, Naruto's head had begun to ache and his eyes would constantly sting. It was long before he started seeing small cracks in something around him. As of yesterday, he could see cracks in everything, even people. He thought it was cool at the beginning but children are always naïve to danger. Len, however, ask him to promise to be careful after tree collapse with a single touch.
Truly, Naruto did not understand why he had to be so careful but Len was his friend. The pain he suffered didn't help much either.
His eyes would burn and water, but he fought as hard as he could to avoid worrying his only friend. The blonde didn't tell Len but a voice told him to shut up so it could sleep at one point. The voice frightened him, but Naruto was so ecstatic once he realized the pain had begun to dull.
He could sleep without fearing he would be in pain. Doing so, he found himself having dreams of playing with an older girl with long blue tresses. She would hug him and talk to him, even teach him. She would amaze him with a small illusion or even dance with him. However, the most important thing was that he felt safe.
These were the same feelings Len invoked in him. The same feeling he felt as he now closed his eyes while lying on a flowerbed. Maybe she would teach him how to dance again.
- EDS -
Len watched the boy, 'Naruto' she corrected herself, sleep atop a flowerbed. He was a strange human. The child was always by himself when she wasn't around and for good reason. The hostile nature of the people around this strangely large village was not something she would condone so close to her friend.
He was her friend.
Such a simple word but it meant a lot to Naruto and thus to her as well. At the start, she openly avoided him, hoping to discern out her location and escape the volatile presence the humans exuded around this supposed ninja village after waking up stranded. Her explorations caused her to stumble across the golden haired boy, who smelled of fox, sunlight, and, somewhat, death.
The supernatural essence to his scent was much different from those ninja and magus. Therefore, she set about attempting to avoid the strange child's attention. Ultimately, this failed. Instead, she found herself curious and decided to approach him after her attempts at evading him failed.
When he offered food to her, she decided to return the favor and give him some discarded children books she came across behind the local library. In time, this led to her teaching him mannerisms and easing him onto reading lessons. Of course this would be foolish to do where they could be caught, so she had led him into a section of the forest that they had come to call their own. As always, Naruto had soon fallen asleep after she made him recite a several words she had him study.
It was nothing too strenuous for a child but resulted in improvement nonetheless.
He was interesting. He was so young and sad yet he would keep trying. She had decided not to pity him back at the start and was proud of that decision. She had thought he would give in, that he would fuss and whine until she agreed to some other activity.
But he didn't.
He wanted to be near her, to make her proud. Naruto was just as innocent as any other child, maybe more so without an adult to influence his opinions. Slowly, she made a choice that she hoped she would never regret.
What she had done had its own consequences, of course, but he was young enough to adapt over time without any serious side effects. At least, there were none showing for the moment.
At any rate, Len curled in ball next to his head, resting. She would often give him a pleasant dream when he had nightmares, but she couldn't do it too often. Her body was adjusting the foreign energy flowing through it and she couldn't run the risk of being detected by these ninja. They were too cautious at times, paranoid, and would probably kill her at the current time. The atmosphere was thick with energy almost similar to that of mana, an energy which could help her to a degree, but she couldn't take in much. She learned this when it actually caused her a bit of harm from taking in too much and she had been forced to expel it.
The experience alone had been enough for her to decide it was better to wait for her body to acquaint itself with the energy provided by her new master. The feline wouldn't be able to act at full strength for a while longer but she would be able to teach Naruto, to comfort him. She peered at his sleeping form and allowed an expression reminiscent of a small smile form on her face. The golden haired boy was her choice. She'd happily chosen him as her master.
However, she was worried about him. Early this week, the energy his body produced had begun to shift and his blue eyes would change to a deeper, richer sapphire from time to time. She figured it may have been a result of her prana flowing back into Naruto as what seemed to always happen but lately she wasn't so sure. In the beginning, no harm was done so she paid it no mind as her master seemed to have not noticed it, but that began to change a few days ago.
Now, he would see strange, small cracks on everyone and everything; it would give him a minor migraine if his sight remained that way for extended periods of time. It seemed to be a form of Mystic Eyes but she had no clue what power they held. Despite whatever changes he was going through, Master remained cheerful around her. His eyes were continuing to grow stronger each day and he was showing less damage as time passed as his strange healing factor grew stronger.
Was that a bad thing? Or was he truly healing? What would happen when his eyes finished their transformation?
Could it be the result of that presence she felt deep within the core of his being, the main source of his vulpine scent? Or maybe it was something else?
She was troubled as little mattered to her more than her Master's health and development. She had found a home with him and she would continue to stay at his side. He deserved today's little rest as a reward for what he had been going through and continuing to learn despite it.
After all, it's not every day one manages to gain and endure their mystic eyes to such a degree at such a young age without proper help. The odds were heavily stacked against him due to him being so young, but she was positive her golden master would grow stronger from this.
If only, he could stop scratching so hard-
- EDS -
Naruto was roused from his dream by the sound of a twig snapping. Unsure of what was happening in his daze; he merely stumbled to his feet from the flowers below him.
He didn't notice Len's cautious gaze.
The boy just walked slowly toward the sound of an adult swearing quietly. So, imagine his surprise to see a grown man with a headband holding a large burlap sack as the young blonde walked through a set of bushes. He was going to write off the man as another ninja as soon as he spotted the older male's headband but, with surprising insight, Naruto managed to spot the symbol on the headband. It wasn't the same as the ones he saw every day and the man seemed to be scared.
"What's wrong, mister?" Naruto asked with childish innocence. If the scared man had gotten in trouble, shouldn't he just go to his parents and tell them? Surely, they wouldn't punish the man too badly, would they?
The man turned toward him with a start, and gave him a cheesy smile, "Nothing's wrong, kid. I just got lost."
Something was off. Naruto couldn't figure out, but he felt wrong just by being near the man. He felt sick by hearing his voice. The air felt very thick and the man just seemed…wrong, but the blonde spoke up anyway. "Oh. Well, I think the village is over-"
Naruto was cut short by a loud but muffled scream from the brown sack. If that hadn't proved how the man was not lost, then the squirming of the bag had finished the job. Naruto's brows fell into a frown that didn't seem to fit the boy's face. He could feel something from the man.
Noticing the boy's indignant expression due to the wrongness of the situation, the man dove at the boy, ready to kill him as kid froze in place. However, his plans hit a snag in the form of a cat. Said cat had latched onto the man's throat and proceeded to thrust her claws in before ripping downward.
"What the hell!" The man grasped her tightly and began to yank her off. Len couldn't do much due to her body's state of adjustment, but she could stall him. So, the black cat took the last available window and planted an illusion in his head just moments before being snatched off roughly. With her losing a generous amount of what stabilized energy she had, Len couldn't fight him as he tossed her against the truck of a tree.
His first friend, his only friend, had been hurt. Len had been hurt because she was protecting him, and he didn't know how to help her. He was worried and scared. Not for himself. Not of the panicking man before him.
He was scared for Len. So worried for her that he hadn't noticed the man stop shaking until the man drove a kunai directly into his chest. And as he lay there bleeding, the world seemed to have come to a halt and his eyes had found themselves resting on the hazy eyed form of his feline companion crying out for him in pained mews.
That's right. Len had gotten hurt, and he needed to help her, to get her to safety.
-Thump - Thump -
Naruto's heart beat began to accelerate. His eyes started to blur yet sharpen simultaneously. His eyes shifted from his friend to the slowly walking form of his assailant.
Emotions poured from his soul and commands entered his mind from his very core. He couldn't understand it. He wouldn't understand any of it. Not yet, not at all as his gaze repetitively shifted between her and the man.
The young blonde's heart beat began to accelerate as his eyes seemed luminescent in glow of the moonlight peeking through the treetops.
The blue of child's irises began fade as violet shimmer overtook it with a seemingly flaming quality leaving only flecks of sapphire flowing about, and his wound began to repair itself as a malicious, red mist began to seep from his injuries.
Naruto began to rise like a puppet as the man watched the child with what could only be explained as a primal fear. The man's mind ceased functioning as the adult met the cold gaze of the child, a ring of sapphire resting in a sea of amethyst. The boy emanated a powerfully oppressive force and his very being seemed to radiate a presence so powerful it hardly seemed human.
However, Naruto hadn't moved beyond standing in his hunched stance. His stare was nearly blank, not revealing the internal struggle waging within him. The world could cease to exist at that moment and he would not have noticed or cared, such was the faith of a lonely child. This man was bad and his friend was because that man was bad.
Len needed help! He needed to take her somewhere safe.
The bad man needed to pay!
To protect her, this source of ill intent needed to die.
And then there was silence.
Of the four occupants, only one would be found.
- EDS -
Sarutobi Hiruzen was known far and wide as the world's God of Shinobi, a moniker he was both amused by and felt undeserving of. Who wouldn't? He was considered to be on pair with the man who created their way of life. This was very flattery and it boosted his ego quite a bit when he was a few decades younger, but when comparing his strategies to the sheer ability and might of the true God of Shinobi, the Sage of Six Paths, even to the first two Hokage… Well, it left a lot to be desired.
To this day, he knew he made mistakes that would forever have a place in his mind, but he tried to ignore them. Such was the way he felt when he flowed the Elder Council's advice and announced baby Naruto's status as the container of the Kyuubi to the village. For small reason, it was statement to quell the masses in the fear over whether the beast may return. Considering the immediately consequences, such as rumors concerning his citizens anger being directed at the beast's current prison, he found himself add a follow-up law merely a month later prohibiting the people of the village from speaking about the infant Uzumaki's status.
Hiruzen would pretend he didn't know what his choice would do. He would pretend that he had no idea how the boy would be forced into solitude, but he knew.
His main reason was because he knew that the enemy spies within the village would spread word of a new Jinchuuriki within the village, a deterrent against other villages that may have seen the damaged state of the village a sign of vulnerability, and it would deter them, but deep in the crevasse of his heart, there was something else.
Secretly, he hated the boy. Had he not been conceived, his beloved wife, Biwako, would still be alive. He knew it was not the boy's fault, but, as ashamed as he was to admit it, he couldn't help but blame him.
However, he found himself ignoring the boy as much as everyone else after the boy turned two. Now, over two years since he had last looked at the boy, he had made another mistake. In an attempt to bridge the gap between Konoha and Kumo, Hiruzen had made an effort at forming a peace treaty with Kumo.
Everything had gone well until later into the night.
He had no idea the signing of the treaty would result in such a grave betrayal. The heiress of the Hyuuga clan had been taken from her room in a way that spoke purely of treachery from within his beloved village, and it stung. He released several dozen ninja within and out of the village, but they managed to find nothing so far.
Oh, maybe this would be some good news. Clearing his throat, Hiruzen turned toward the nameless ninja before him and spoke in a voice of clear authority, "Report!"
"Sir, Clan Head, Hyuuga Hiashi-sama, has located his daughter…She is unharmed."
At the silence of the ninja before him, the old man felt wary. His didn't fail to notice the pause the man took as he reported the status of the young Hyuuga Heiress. "What of the kidnapper?" Hiruzen demanded.
The man's subordinate seemed uneasy as he gave his leader his response, "He was found, sir…or we think it is him, at least."
Alarmed, the older man's eyes narrowed onto the eyes of the younger ninja, "Explain." It was short and simple, but the weight of that word seemed just as strong as hearing anything more.
"We found his headband…" the younger man turned a bit green, "…among over a dozen pieces of what we suspect to be his remains amongst ashes and dust, but no burn residue." Upon this statement and short askance for the directions of the scene, Hiruzen quickly vacated the room. His arrival at the scene of death was only acknowledged by the saluting and bows of subordinates, but they did nothing more, still transfixed on the result of a stunning act of brutality.
"I'm getting too old for this shit," the Sandaime Hokage muttered in a tired voice as he turned around and barked orders to collect the remains and turn them over to the proper intelligence to have them examined.
The elderly leader's thoughts were trapped in a turbulent storm of grim outcomes concerning the prior incident. How would he go about explaining to Kumo, the travesty committed by their own man only for said man to be found butchered like an animal. What could be the best way to explain the situation and avoid some very disastrous fallout?
He supposed he could tell them the truth and if they threaten him with war, he'll threaten with retaliation and the revelation of proof towards Kumo's underhanded tactics to ruin their credibility. A back up plan would be necessary as well. Maybe something like- Oh, yes.
Hiruzen smiled a bit of a smug grin. He still had an ace up his sleeve. He would wait until tomorrow and approach Naruto Uzumaki under the guise of being a friendly old man. Through that he would anchor the boy's loyalty to the village so strongly that the child would never be able to think against it. The utter hatred and disinterest shown to the boy would be ignored if the boy had a goal, a purpose.
Yes, he would definitely use that idea for the sake of the village.
Sure, some part of him despised the action he needed decided to take against the legacy of his late successor, but it was the best way to ensure the future of the village. He would give the boy a pipe dream and fancy ideals with only a narrow few of them possibly being more than a fool's dream. Maybe the boy would find happiness but it would only be a means to an end for Hiruzen's plan.
However, not all things go according to plan.
I'm not quitting my stories. It may take time but I will update.