I lost myself in the crimson haze.
A group of drunken idiots attacked me outside of the Academy, the day after I became a genin. They were all chuunin, meaning they were dangerous, and while Iruka-sensei was busy fending three of them off, another lunged at me from behind. He had a kunai drawn, intending to plunge it into the base of my spinal cord.
It should have been a fatal strike…
“Naruto-kun!” cried a girl named Hinata, as she took the kunai to her back and fell to the ground. She protected me, even though I never thought anyone besides Iruka-sensei, Old Man, and the nice people at the Ramen shop would. In shock, I couldn’t move as the man attempted to kill me again.
Before the kunai embedded itself into my forehead, I found myself inside a sewer. There were iron bars acting like a prison, the darkness hiding everything but a pair of feral eyes and a sinister grin. Staring at me, the creature spoke.
“Kit…call upon my power,” the dark voice said. “Do you intend to die after that female sacrificed herself for you? It will not happen again.”
I just couldn’t figure out why it happened. Hinata-chan and I never really spoke before, and we weren’t close, so why? “Why did she sacrifice herself for me?”
The voice chuckled. “You are truly blind, chasing after that pink-haired, shrill, fangirl. I’ve smelled the purple-haired kit through you; she is constantly lurking around you, releasing pheromones. She wished to be your mate, if I had to guess.”
“Hinata-chan…she liked me?” I muttered. She never said anything, but she never picked on me. She was like a wallflower: growing on the wall, but never standing out. And she was cut down because of me, plucked before she could bloom.
They. Would. Pay for this.
Everything grew blood red, and hatred filled me. I could take the constant beatings, being robbed and treated like trash, even being called a demon. But they crossed the damn line this time.
The creature lying the shadows chuckled. “Ironic. That man saved this pathetic village, and all he asked was for you to be treated as a hero. But year after year, they treat you worse and worse. Why should you serve this village?”
“N-no…” I muttered, trying to calm down. I wanted them to accept me. I wanted them to treat me kindly, like the Old Man and Iruka and—
“It will never happen here, kit. They fear you because of me. Their fear controls them. I had no intention of ever attacking this village at first, but the masked one was responsible for that. Yet, I have come to understand that few people will ever accept us. Only the one who created us could ever did so, and not since then have I ever trusted another one of your kind.”
“Wait…” I opened my eyes in shock and took a step back from the bars. “You’re the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox!? The Kyuubi!? This is all because of you!!”
“Oh, how so?” the fox chuckled. “I didn’t ask to be sealed inside you. I didn’t want to attack your home. I’m not the one who tormented you, am I? It was all them.”
I honestly tried to refute the fox’s words, but the sad thing was they were all true. I fell to my knees, creating a ripple in the water below me. They feared me for something beyond our control.
“Time is running out. I shall give you enough of my power to deal with these fleas. But it will reveal your nature to the others around you; they will hunt you down without mercy. Use it to save your own life and flee from the village, the only option is to stay and die.”
I blinked and saw the kunai coming towards my face once again. It was slow, moving at a pace that even turtles could surpass. I raised my fist and plunged it into the man’s stomach, and he flew. His body flew into the Academy building, sending him through the concrete that formed the exterior, his legs dangling from the hole he made.
Everyone was silent and watching me, as I turned to face the three that Iruka-sensei was having trouble with. In a blur, my elongated nails became claws and tore into their flesh, fresh blood splattering my outfit. They fell to the ground in pain, clawing at the wounds I gave them.
“Iruka-sensei,” I said in a slightly distorted voice. “Make sure she lives,” I said, pointing to the injured Hinata-chan. “And tell the Old Man…‘I’m Sorry’…and ‘Good Bye’.”
Before he could respond, I kicked off the ground and took to the rooftops, leaving cracked earth beneath my takeoff point. The world around me blurred, as my vision shifted to match the speed I was moving. Passing the gate that led out of Konoha, I entered the surrounding forest and simply ran as far as I could.
The fox finally spoke up, when I was a good distance away. “Sharpen your senses, kit. There are many pursuers coming. You fate will not be kind if they catch you.”
It must’ve been ANBU chasing after me. Forming the cross-seal, I called out “Multi-Shadow Clone Jutsu!” Several pops echoed, as countless clones appeared and scattered throughout the land, running in multiple directions. I didn’t think I could fight any ANBU, I didn’t want to now, but I doubted they could pick me out of all of us.
I learned that I gained the memories of shadow clones once they were dispelled, as several of the ANBU resorted to lethal force. By the time I exhausted the chakra that the fox gave me, I had managed to get away from them and hidden myself.
“You can no longer go back to that village, kit. Nor will they stop hunting you. I recall a memory from a previous host, a safe place for you to hide. Your only salvation lies at the ruins of Uzushiogakure, the Village Hidden by the Whirling Tides…” the fox said.
“How do I get there?”
“Head to the Land of Whirlpools, off the coast of the Land of Fire. You should be half way to the port by now, given how far you ran. Tell no one of my presence.”
With those words, I began my journey. I’ll admit that it was stupid of me to trust the fox, but he didn’t want to die and neither did I. They’d kill me if I went back, and so I could only go forward. I wanted to become Hokage so that they’d accept me, but now I realized that it wouldn’t happen. Not now.
Along the way, I had to steal to survive. The only other way to make money was to gamble, but after winning too much, people had a tendency to try to rob me. I had to use the Transformation jutsu to avoid being caught, and I had to ditch my normal orange clothes to avoid attracting attention.
I was helped by several people, including a fisherman who took me as far as he could to reach the Land of Whirlpools. Needless to say it was surrounded by…well, whirlpools. Good thing the guy was decent at maneuvering the boat. After that, we parted and I watched as he managed to get past the whirlpools once again and left.
As I crossed the emerald green hills that formed a sea of grass, I felt a light breeze on my face that felt wonderful. Once I got to the top of the steep hill I was on, I saw countless broken buildings and stone structures ruined, nothing left behind in one piece. The wind howled as it blew past the remains, as if crying for the lives lost in the destruction. There wasn’t anything salvageable left in the village, no doubt raided after the initial attack or taken by fleeing survivors.
The village was split in the center by a wide river, surrounded by broken pillars with spirals designs similar to the Konoha emblem, with several stones piercing the flowing water. The current met the rocks, and formed small whirlpools.
“You have arrived, kit.” the fox said in a low voice. “I’d imagine this would be a cruel sight for your surviving clan members, who are scattered throughout the world. Nevertheless, the memories of my previous host indicate there is a large whirlpool at the center of the village, in the path of the river. Find it.”
I walked into the ruins and found the whirlpool that the fox was talking about. It was wide enough to fit about five people, rotating clockwise, and was surrounded by about a dozen smaller whirlpools.
“Now, cut yourself and rub the kunai with your blood. Then throw it into the whirlpool.” I did what the fox said, and the main whirlpool began to glow azure blue and rotate counter-clockwise, while the others dissipated from sight. “The fresh blood of the Uzumaki Clan leads the way. Jump in.”
I thought about it for a minute, but I shrugged and jumped in anyway. I had nothing left to lose. It felt like warm water was washing over me, as I sunk into the tunnel of spiraling water. I was gently pulled into a cavern, somewhere underground, where orange flames danced on spiral shaped candles, creating an illuminated path further in.
Deep inside, I found a large building, built into the stone cavern, with the same spiral design as the candles. The entrance door was metal, with a giant seal engraved on it. The seal was a hexagon made of scribbled words, with another spiral in the center. There was a passage underneath it:
This door will only open for the clan of whirlpools.
I cut my hand with another kunai and placed it on the spiral. The emblem lit up with a passive color, and spread to the surrounding scribbles before the door shook. It slowly opened up and revealed the interior of the building. The moment I stepped inside, the door came down and left me in the dark, until several lanterns inside the building suddenly came to life.
Inside the building were emergency rations, bedrooms, supplies, a few weapons, and some scrolls about various things. I saw that some things had been shuffled around and disorganized, meaning that some survivors must have hidden here before leaving the island. In the back of the building was a vault door, which had the same passage as the door did. So, I did the same thing as before and opened it.
Inside were rows of scrolls, each holding techniques and facts about the clan, a few chests with treasure, more weapons and equipments, village headbands, and in the center was a template human puppet with no hair or features, only a seal on its stomach. It was inside an even larger seal on the floor, which circled it.
“Ah, yes…perfect.” the fox whispered. “Place your hand on the doll’s seal and call out the name I tell you to. Concentrate your chakra on the seal holding me in, and move it into the doll.”
“What’ll happen when I do?” I asked. “It won’t kill me, or let you escape will it?”
“As much as I desire to escape, I realized that half of my chakra is sealed beyond my reach. I am no longer as powerful as I was before, and the moment I reappear, another village or that masked man will try to contain and control me. Make no mistake, kit. I will escape someday, however I will only do so once he has been dealt with.”
“Then, what’s with the puppet?”
“If you die, I die and it will be years before I can reform. I need for you to grow strong enough to survive for my sake. You cannot do that on your own, so you need a trainer. The trainer must be loyal to you and keep your existence a secret, so I intend to use the puppet and the chakra the previous host left, whom I know will be loyal and trustworthy…to you anyway.”
Thinking for a few minutes, I slowly placed my hand on the puppet’s seal. “…What’s the name I need to call?”
“Kushina Uzumaki.” the fox snarled. My mind froze when I heard that name. “Yes, kit. Your mother’s chakra is inside me. While I loathe my previous host, she is necessary in ensuring your survival. Now is the time to call for her.”
Gathering the chakra inside my seal, I pushed it forward and into the puppet’s seal. The room itself became illuminated, as the seal on the floor glowed brighter and brighter. Heat began pouring out of the puppet, my hand felt like fire and my vision was obscured. Some kind of pressure built up inside the puppet, slowly become more resistant to fill with chakra, until I was launched backwards and into the wall outside the vault.
My world blinked and grew darker and darker, as I slowly fell into black sleep.
On the edge of darkness, I heard a sweet voice humming a song I never heard before.
On the green hills,
By the spiraling waves,
The birds are chirping above,
The fish lay beneath the waves,
We draw our seals,
We lay in wait,
The whirlpools protect us,
We will rise again.
I opened my eyes, and saw a beautiful woman over me. Her long tomato red hair, framed her face, and her closed eyes somehow put me at peace. My head was in her lap, and her arms were on my chest. She rocked back and forth, while humming her song, giving me a sense of peace and warmth I didn’t know of. When she finished the song, she opened her eyes and reveal gentle blue eyes, only a shade lighter than mine.
“Hello, my little Naruto…” she said gently.
“…Mom…?” I asked weakly, sitting up, only to have her embrace me tightly.
“You’ve gotten so big,” she said. “You look just like your father.”
“M-mom,” I stuttered, my voice cracking. I felt the wet tears trailing down my face.
“As much as I loathe this touching moment between mother and kit, you should probably tell her about the situation in the village,” the fox said slyly. As much as I’d hate to admit it, the furball was right.
I pulled away from her and wiped my tears away. “Mom, I have to tell you about something.”
I told her about my life up until now, including what happened in the village recently. I was basically a missing-nin at this point. She broke down and hugged me even tighter than before, constantly apologizing and saying how she was disappointed in the village, and my godfather, who was apparently a famous ninja.
“As much as I dislike the fox, I am thankful that he saved you. Even if it was for selfish reasons,” she muttered, to which the fox chuckled. “He’s right, Jinchuuriki aren’t exactly liked, but they tend to be hunted. I was the previous host of the Kyuubi and a shinobi, so I’ll train you in our clan’s sealing arts, but first I want to see what’s left of the village.”
She guided me to a dead end, before placing her hand on the wall. The next thing I knew, we were back in the ruins, with a seal underneath us. I looked at her and she said, “It was something similar to your father’s signature technique, but simpler.”
She looked around with a sad look on her face, walking to a building that must’ve stood tall consider the amount of debris. She waded through it, until she reached a certain section and told me to help her clear it. Under the rubble was another seal that responded to her, revealing a hidden staircase.
Inside was another storage room, filled with things that would’ve belonged to a young girl. When I wiped the dust from a picture, it revealed a young Kushina. She was standing in front of a magnificent building, smiling.
“This was your home before you came to the Konoha,” I said. She nodded.
“Naruto,” she said in a stern voice. “I want you to grow up and live as long as possible, in a place that will accept you. To that end, I’m going to be a harsh teacher. We’ll train here for a year, before we set out into the world.”
“What will we do then?”
She smiled at me. “We’ll work towards rebuilding this village.”