Naruto Fan Fiction ❯ Colors of Life and Death ❯ Old Wounds ( Chapter 19 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

Naruto paced up and down the floor in Tsunade's office. His stomach was positively bursting with butterflies as he sighed for the millionth time.
"Naruto, you're getting on my nerves," Tsunade grumbled. Naruto had been pacing for the better part of a half hour.

Just then Shikamaru poked his head into the room. "Excuse me, Tsunade-sama. We're ready," he informed her.

Naruto stopped pacing and turned a few shades of green. Tsunade saw this and gave him a hug. "It'll be okay," she said warmly. She released him and stood up. "Now remember, wait here until I send for you."

Naruto took a deep breath and nodded, silently reminding himself that it was not possible for his heart to burst through his chest.

Tsunade walked out the door and headed for the roof of the Hokage tower. As she went to open the door at the top of the stairs she herself took a deep breath, then turned the knob and stepped out into the bright afternoon sunshine.

The murmuring in the crowd ceased almost immediately when Tsunade appeared at the edge of the roof. The fabric on the sides of her Hokage head gear fluttered in the gentle breeze as she watched the crowd for a moment, hoping to discern the general mood. "'s now or never," she thought.

"Thank you everyone, for coming out here on such short notice. I have some announcements to make and I'm sure at least one of them will make you all very happy." She paused for a short moment before continuing. "To the children gathered here today. It is time for you to know that the Kyuubi was not killed in the battle fourteen years ago. It was sealed inside a human container by the Fourth Hokage. And that container was Naruto." A flurry of whispers broke out among the children who hadn't already known. Tsunade waited for them to die down a bit then held up her hand to silence them completely.

"I have more to tell you. The Kyuubi...has recently died," Tsunade informed the crowd. The reaction...was not what she expected.

All at once there was loud cheering from about three-quarters of the crowd. Both from those who believed Naruto was the Kyuubi, and from others who didn't. But there were also a good number of people crying. Some people were stunned into a horrified silence and still others seemed angry for some reason.

"Please calm down everyone," Tsunade said loudly. It took a moment, but the crowd became quiet. "On a happy, personal note for me. I recently adopted one of the village orphans," she said with a wide smile. "This will be interesting," she thought. She turned around and nodded her head at a jounin who was near the door. Unseen by the crowd, Naruto came out the door and stood just out of everyone's line of vision. "I would like to introduce you to my son." She turned her head and waved someone forward. Naruto walked up and stood next to Tsunade. The reaction from the people of Konoha was explosive.

Some people were ecstatically happy (Although confused) and about half the crowd looked like they had just been shown the most horrible monster they could think of. From at least a quarter of the people came angry shouts of protest. Tsunade heard "What the hell is this?!", "LIAR!" and "You said he was dead!" above the roar of the crowd.

Tsunade surveyed the angry ones with a venomous stare. She glanced at Naruto, who looked like he was about to hyperventilate. "SILENCE!!!!" she roared. A few last retorts were thrown, but eventually everyone stopped talking for fear of provoking Tsunade. "Now ALL of you will listen to me!" she yelled angrily. She took a moment to calmly stare at the crowd, as if daring them to say something. "This boy, no matter what you may think, is not now, nor has he ever been the Kyuubi! He has also never been a danger to any of you! When I first came back to this village, I learned a lot about Naruto's past–enough to make me disgusted and appalled at a good majority of the people here." The eyes of some of the angry audience members softened a bit.

"He has done nothing to any of you...except keep your loved ones safe for the past fourteen years," she informed the people, glaring. "And what I told you is true. The Kyuubi is dead. Orochimaru took Naruto a month and a half ago, wanting to transfer the Kyuubi to himself, but wound up accidentally killing Kyuubi in the process." Smiles returned to some of the previous complainers. "Now...I know it will take time for you to see Naruto differently...Some of you may never let go of your hate. But I hope that someday, the people of this village will once again become the people I remember. A people who are kind, who help strangers on the street and who have love in their hearts for the people who need it the most," she said glancing at Naruto. "That's all I have to say...dismissed." She put a hand on Naruto's shoulder and together they walked away from the stunned crowd.

TenTen stood stock still, her mind still reeling from what she'd just been told. She looked at others that were still at the base of the tower. Many people looked deep in thought, some looked disgusted but she was surprised to see that nearly half of the people around her looked...sad. "They probably realized they've been acting like serious assholes," she thought in contempt. She looked up at a clock on one of the surrounding buildings. "Better go train." With a final glance at the Hokage tower she disappeared in a puff of smoke, earning complaints from the people closest to where she had been.

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TenTen walked onto her favorite training field and was disappointed to find someone already using it. It was even worse that that person happened to be someone she thought of as extremely gorgeous. She didn't have a crush on him, but she couldn't help blushing when she was in his presence.

She watched as he blew a tree to shreds with Chidori and felt her heart skip a beat. "God, I love strong men." she thought with a playfully predatory smile as she walked towards him. "Hi, Sasuke-kun."
Sasuke blinked back his exhaustion and turned to face the one who had interrupted him. "Sorry, but I'm busy at the moment TenTen," he said respectfully. Truthfully, she was the only kunoichi he respected. She didn't swoon whenever she saw him like the others and, she was strong. He may have changed a bit since the waterfall battle, but he still had little patience with weak people.
TenTen looked around the training field. Several trees had been mutilated. "Wow...." she thought. "Oh...Mind if I wait here?"

Sasuke frowned as he thought for a moment. "Do as you like," he answered.

TenTen nodded and sat down on a log a safe distance away.

Sasuke pulled out a few kunai and flung them at a tree he had previously prepped with tiny targets.

As she twirled a kunai on her right index finger TenTen watched his technique with a frown. "Hmm. Only ninety four percent accuracy," she thought. Sasuke threw another kunai and TenTen winced. "GAH! He was off by half an inch!!" she thought as she fidgeted by twirling her kunai faster. With each throw Sasuke made that wasn't completely dead center she found it harder and harder to stay sitting. Finally, she flung her hands forward in frustration, accidentally throwing the kunai in the process. It whizzed by Sasuke's right ear and landed perfectly in the middle of the target he had been aiming for.

"What the hell?" thought Sasuke, who had been blocking her view of the target at that moment. "She did that without being able to see the target...How?" He turned to see TenTen standing stick straight with a nervous grimace on her face.

"S...orry. It was a reflex," she explained, scratching an itch on her finger that had been the product of friction from spinning the kunai for so long.

Sasuke cocked an eyebrow and looked back at the tree. "One hell of a reflex," he said with mild interest in his voice.

TenTen smiled. She thought for a moment. "Um...want some tips?"

Sasuke frowned. "You can't teach better aim. Only practice can do that."

TenTen scratched the back of her neck. "Um, actually...your technique is wrong."

"Excuse me?" Sasuke replied indignantly.

"You need more snap to your wrist when you throw. You arc it too much," TenTen replied carefully.

Sasuke's frown deepened. "I don't need help," he said firmly.

((An eight year old Sasuke gritted his teeth in frustration. He had missed his target by a whole two inches. He heard a cough behind him and groaned inwardly.

Itachi stood about six feet away. He had his arms folded and was shaking his head. "You need to relax more, Sasuke."

"If you would help me practice I'd be better by now!" Sasuke retorted.

"Hm," Itachi remarked as he shook his head and walked away.

"Damn him. Why won't he teach me?!" he thought angrily as he watched his brother walk away.))

Sasuke made a short, irritated hiss through his teeth at the memory.

TenTen saw Sasuke's expression, but decided not to comment on it. She closed her eyes in defeat and sighed. "Have it your way then. I'm gonna go find somewhere to train. Watching you is gonna drive me nuts," she replied with a small laugh.

Sasuke watched her go. Once he was sure she was a good distance away he turned to the target and threw a kunai; snapping his wrist just a little more than usual. The kunai hit dead center. He folded his arms. "Hm," he remarked with an intrigued expression.

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Three weeks later Naruto sat on the ground in the middle of the Hokage training field, waiting for Jiraiya.

(("When he gets there, tell him I said to tell you the truth," Tsunade said firmly.))

Naruto frowned and sighed. "What did she mean by 'the truth'?" he wondered. It was at that moment that the person he'd been waiting for appeared on the back of a medium sized summon frog.

He looked around for a moment before turning to Naruto. "Where's Tsunade? She said she wanted to see me."

"Um, actually. She said she wanted me to talk to you," Naruto said with a bit of confusion. "She told me she wants you to tell me 'the truth'."

Jiraiya stiffened, realizing he'd been tricked. "Damn you, Tsunade," he growled in his mind. He sighed loudly and sat down next to the boy, cupping his chin in his right hand as he thought of what to say. "What I'm about to tell you...may make you hate me for the rest of your life...." he said sadly.

"Hate you?" Naruto echoed in confusion.

Jiraiya put up a hand in order to ask Naruto to be quiet. "As you know, Arashi was my student. He was like a younger brother to me. On the day he became Hokage, I couldn't have been prouder. By that time he'd already married your mother. She was one of the most amazing kunoichi I've ever seen. Younger than me, but already the captain of my anbu squad." He paused, taking a moment to calm his emotions a bit.

"On the night Kyuubi attacked she was eight months pregnant with you. As she was getting ready to join the fight I arrived at the Hokage residence with a message from Arashi. He wanted her to stay out of it, but...." ::Pause:: "She wouldn't hear of it. She loved Konoha so much. When I tried to block her from leaving she threw me into a wall. I ran out the door as soon as I could think straight. By the time I got to the field...she had already...." He wiped away some unshed tears. "She was mortally wounded...There was nothing anyone could do. Her injuries caused her to go into labor. I...I was...I was the one who delivered you."

Naruto's eyes widened in shock. " me?" Naruto stammered. He suddenly felt like he'd been handed yet another family member. He smiled widely.

Jiraiya saw Naruto's happy smile and became sick to his stomach. "Naruto..." The seriousness in his voice made Naruto's smile falter a bit. "That's not all of it. You see...there were only three people who knew you hadn't died at birth. Arashi...Sandaime...and me...." he finished with as much regret as human eyes could hold.

This news shattered Naruto's feelings of family toward the aging Sannin like the most delicate of crystal. " KNEW?!!!" Naruto yelled, his fists balled so tightly that his nails drew blood. He stood, moved in front of Jiraiya and punched him in the face, knocking him over. "WHY?!!" he screamed, years of loneliness and pain all coming to the surface in an instant. "WHY DIDN'T YOU TAKE ME WITH YOU?!!!"

"I...I couldn't. I had no idea how to raise a baby," Jiraiya said with nothing but sadness in his voice as the tears welled up again.

Naruto's whisker marks became a bit more defined as his breath came in angry puffs through his teeth. "That's just a BULLSHIT EXCUSE!!!" he raged, punching Jiraiya again; this time knocking him back a few meters. Tears began to fall from his cerulean blue eyes. "YOU COULD'VE GOTTEN BOOKS!" he screamed, backhanding Jiraiya. "YOU DIDN'T WANT ME!" The tears flowed down Naruto's face in force now and by this point his voice was cracking frequently. "IF YOU HAD YOU WOULD'VE FOUND A WAY!!!"

Jiraiya's hatred of himself grew with each angry syllable. He knew Naruto was no match for him, but he didn't care. He knew each punch Naruto threw was well deserved and so he simply let the boy punish him.

It wasn't until Naruto created twenty or so bunshins of himself that Jiraiya began to wonder if he shouldn't try to stop him. "Naruto!"

"SHUT UP!! I...hate...YOU!!!!" With that last word Naruto's voice dropped in pitch. In his new, deeper voice, he screamed out his attack. "U!" Eight of the bunshins slid in and kicked Jiraiya into air. "ZU!" A second group was thrown in to the air by the first group. Jiraiya was propelled even higher by the second barrage of kicks. "MA!" Ten more clones used the tops of the surrounding trees as launching points and shot themselves at him. They kicked the surprised man to a deadly height. "KI!!" Naruto screamed as he led the final group of clones in for the finishing move. "NARUTO RENDAN!!"

With tears streaming down his face Jiraiya watched as six Naruto feet came down from the sky above him and drilled into his torso. Blood sprayed from his mouth as his body shot toward the ground.

Jiraiya's head was spinning and he was barely able to think as he summoned Gama Bunta. The great frog appeared and Jiraiya landed with a thud on his head.

Gama Bunta rotated his eyes upward just before Naruto landed in a crouching position near Jiraiya. "Hmm? What the hell is going on here, Brat?" he asked as Jiraiya stumbled to his feet.

Naruto didn't hear Gama Bunta. His eyes turned red as he ran over to Jiraiya with a kunai in hand.

Jiraiya barely managed to shield his face with his arms as Naruto brought down the weapon.

Gama Bunta frowned and used his tongue to pluck Naruto off of his head then transferred him to one of his large, webbed hands. "OI, BRAT!" Gama Bunta said with irritation as he maneuvered Naruto so he could see his face. "I asked you a question!" he demanded firmly.

Naruto thrashed around violently in an effort to escape as he yelled curses at the giant frog. "LET ME THE FUCK GO! I'M GONNA FUCKING KILL THAT PIECE OF SHIT!!!"

Gama Bunta decided he wasn't going to get any answers out of Naruto in his current metal state. "Jiraiya, explain this."

Jiraiya took a moment to tie off the cut on his arm with some medical wrap before answering. "It's...personal. Let's just say I deserved what I got," he said sadly as he closed his eyes in emotional pain.

Naruto kept struggling and making animalistic screams at the top of his lungs. "GRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!"

Jiraiya watched him with the heaviest of hearts. He sighed heavily, reached into his hip pouch and pulled out a small jar of green powder. He poured a small amount into his hand and blew it at his former student and friend. Naruto's eyes rolled back into his head and he hung limp in Gama Bunta's grasp.

Jiraiya replaced the top of the jar and returned it to it's hiding place. "He should wake up in about an hour." He turned his back to Naruto's sleeping form. "I won't be back. Could you tell him when he wakes up that I'm...sorry," he said in a chocked voice.

Gama Bunta frowned in thought. "Hai," he agreed.

Jiraiya nodded numbly and jumped away into the forest. He hadn't known this much pain since the death of his prized student and friend. He felt like he'd lost him all over again. After a few minutes of running he stopped on a very wide tree branch. His hand covered his eyes as he slid down the trunk into a sitting position. His sobs of despair were heard only by the creatures of the forest...and the wind....