Categories > Anime/Manga > Naruto > Herald of the End

Chapter 2: Catalyst

by MachFarcon 1 review

AU The world can be forever changed by the simplest of choices. When Sakura takes a different path home one day after the Academy,Naruto gains a new goal: Protect his precious people. No matter the...

Category: Naruto - Rating: R - Genres: Angst,Drama,Romance - Characters: Hinata,Naruto,Sakura - Warnings: [V] - Published: 2015-05-07 - 4280 words

Sorry for the long wait for this chapter. I had quite a bit of trouble with nailing down a few people's personalities. It would have been easy to simply demonize everyone who has caused Naruto problems, but that wouldn't be realistic nor would it have been following cannon. While I am not going to be following cannon, due to the characters will be reacting differently, until a non-cannon moment happens, all characters should "feel" like their cannon counter-parts.

In addition, I couldn't find what Sakura's mother did as her vocation, so I decided to make her a medic/nurse. Since the show doesn't directly say, I'm marking this as a AU character departure to be safe.

Machfarcon doesn't own Naruto.

And without further delay, here's Chapter 2: Catalyst

Iruka Umino let out a relieved sigh as the door closed behind the last of his students for the day. The last two years had been...interesting. Since the Naruto's abrupt change in class behavior two years ago, many changes had taken place. It had started out slowly, but had quickly spread out to affect all of the students of his class.

The first was Sakura Haruno. She had somehow befriended Naruto. And as Iruka soon realized, when you were close to Naruto, you couldn't just simply stay on the sidelines. Sakura soon found a drive to be the Top Kunoichi of her class. She quickly rose though the rankings until she reached the coveted position. One would think that she could slack off at this point, but Hinata Hyuga was always directly behind her in terms of rankings; so Sakura could not slack off, least she loose the top position.

And speaking of Hinata, she had undergone a character change of sorts. She was still the same gentle girl from before most of the time, but now with a drive to be the Top Kunoichi. She constantly succeed in all of her classes, and only her gentle and timid nature stopped her from being the Top Kunoichi. However, if you badmouthed Naruto in her presence, she had this...look. A look that said that if you were eager to die, you should continue. It was made all the more unnerving by its complete contrast to her normal quiet disposition.

"At least she wasn't as bad as Sakura when it came to Naruto." Iruka rationalized. He remembered when it first became obvious that insulting or belittling Naruto within Sakura's hearing was bad for one's health. ..

"It's because Naruto is stupid. " One of the students helpfully offered when asked why Naruto didn't understand theory as easily as the other students. Most of the students had laughed at the comment. But unlike before, Sakura wasn't one of them. She instead stood up from her desk and calmly walked over to the laughing student. Sadly, the student ignored the obvious danger that was walking his way, and continued to make jokes about Naruto's lack of mental facilities.

"Did you call Naruto stupid?" Sakura asked in a calm tone, with only her clenched fists betraying her anger. The student had grinned and replied that he had. Sakura promptly decked him. She then loomed over his body as he whimpered, his nose bloody and broken, and angrily threatened that she would re-break his face each time he said something bad about Naruto.

It had only taken two more incidents before the class realized that Sakura was very serious about violently protecting Naruto's honor.

Strangely, even though Sakura was one of Naruto's only friends, she still declared herself as Sasuke's "true love". This led to many of the girls in the class, especially the ones of Sasuke's fan club, to train themselves much harder to keep up with Sakura. And because all of the girls were training harder, the boys soon followed. Couldn't have the boys fall behind now could we?

And lastly, but perhaps the most obvious, was Naruto himself. Iruka had believed for the longest time that Naruto was simply untalented. That even though Naruto tried his best, he simply didn't have the talent necessary to succeed. However, about the same time Naruto became friends with Sakura, he seemed to have some switch thrown. He began to listen in class. He was quieter and didn't scream about being "the best ninja ever". And when it was Practical days, well, Naruto dominated them.

But sometimes Iruka caught glimpses of something...darker lurking behind Naruto's bright, innocent eyes. Iruka remembered when he had gotten a glimpse of it during a sparring match.

It had been a normal day in class. Sakura was answering all of the questions that she was asked on the first try. However, some students didn't appreciate a non-clan student answering so many questions. One student in particular had said quite loudly to his friend a comment about the size of Sakura's forehead compared to her brain size. Right after the hurtful words had left his mouth, it seemed that the air itself grew colder. Students shifted uneasily in their seats, all of them quiet for once. And then Naruto spoke to the formerly jeering student.

"You made Sakura-Chan sad. I'll remember that." Naruto's voice was quiet, but it had a certain...deadly calm about it. Soon after the oppressive atmosphere lifted and the lesson resumed. After a few days, it seemed that all of the people that had been present had forgotten all about the incident.

It was little over two weeks later before Iruka saw anything like that from Naruto again. It was Practical Physical day. The students were randomly matched up to spar against one another. And as luck would have it, Naruto was matched up with Sakura's tormentor. What happened next would be forever ingrained in Iruka's memory.

After the match started, Naruto just stood there. Watching his...opponent. Then he spoke.

"Remember what I told you? How I wouldn't forget?" Naruto's voice was deadly calm, but somehow far worse than if he had screamed it.

And then Naruto moved. It wasn't a spar. It wasn't even really a fight. It was probably the most one-sided fight Iruka had ever seen. Naruto's movements and blows seemed to flow from one to another. Each hit was far beyond what any academy student should know. Iruka didn't even spot a hint of the Academy Style in any of Naruto's movements. And the worst part was that Naruto could have ended the fight within the first few seconds. But he continued to...fight his opponent for a minute thirty seconds. At that point, a powerful uppercut from Naruto had knocked the student though the air onto the ground several feet away.

Naruto stalked forward towards the student. When he got close to the student, Naruto had reached down with one hand, and with a impressive show of strength, hoisted the frightened bigger boy off the ground by his collar.

Naruto leaned close to the student and had said in his chillingly calm voice, "Now if you say anything bad about Sakura or my friends again, I'll really hurt you." As he finished, the same oppressive air as before had settled over the ring. "Do you understand?" Naruto asked, this time a hint of anger in his tone.

The student nodded frantically, too scared to speak. Naruto let the atmosphere linger for a moment longer. Then, once again with one hand, had simply tossed the student outside of the ring.
Stunned silence followed. Iruka saw Naruto blink, and then the happy-go-lucky Naruto was back.

Iruka sighed again. He loved being a teacher, but some days were more difficult than others. Ah, well, at least it was a holiday weekend...

Hiruzen Sarutobi sighed heavily as he finished the paperwork for the day. The last two years had been...trying. It seemed that he kept getting more and more paperwork, keeping him at the office for longer and longer periods of time. Hell, he hadn't even been able to visit Naruto in over a year.

It may be just as well, Hiruzen admitted to himself. He had enjoyed a close friendship with Naruto, the village's Jinchuriki, until about 4 years ago. Then abruptly, Naruto had slowly stepped away from their relationship. To this day, Hiruzen had no idea why. And since he couldn't spy on Naruto using the spy crystal ball, he had left it up to Naruto to take care of himself. After all, Naruto was the Jinchriki. And Konoha's last Jinchuriki grew up just fine on her own. Besides, Hiruzen justified it, all the village would do is a little name calling against Naruto.

"I'll visit Naruto the day after the Kyubi Festival. I'm sure he wants to participate in the festival with his friends." Hiruzen decided with a nod. He then withheld another heavy sigh as he looked over at the pile of paperwork still awaiting his attention.

Sakura frowned as she watched Naruto hurry away. He had said something about seeing Teuchi and Ayame, the owners of Ichiraku Ramen, before he had to stay away for a few days. Sakura's face twisted up into an thoughtful look as she pondered the mystery that was Naruto. Naruto, while perhaps not the smartest person around, was a great friend. Perhaps even her best friend. But she wasn't blind. Many villagers seemed to greatly dislike Naruto for some strange, unknown, illogical reason.

And one of the few things Sakura hated was illogical puzzles that didn't need to be puzzles. And she, Sakura admitted to herself, wanted to help Naruto. So Sakura steeled herself, for she was going to do something she thought she never would do. Ask Hinata for help.

Hinata watched as Naruto ran off after saying something to Sakura. "Did she say something to make him leave?" Hinata wondered, slowly getting angry as she thought, "If she did, I-I'll do something back! No one hurts Naruto-Kun!"

Hinata was startled out of her thoughts by Sakura's voice as she ran up to her. "Hinata! Do you have a minute?" Sakura asked.

Drawing upon all of her Hyuga formal training, Hinata turned and coldly asked, "What do you want Haruno?"

Sakura was visibly taken aback by Hinata's tone, and she defensibly replied, "W-well, Naruto has gone off to visit Ichiraku's, but he's acting odd. " Sakura, seeing Hinata start to calm down, hurried on with her explanation. "But it's different than normal. He's acting like he won't see them for a few days!"

Hinata's entire demeanor changed upon hearing Sakura's explanation. "W-what do you th-think is going on?" She stuttered in worry, half expecting Naruto to pop-up and congratulate her on only stuttering twice. When Naruto didn't appear, her worry intensified, "M-maybe we sh-should go visit him at his h-house!" Hinata finished, very concerned about her...friend.

Sakura snapped her fingers and said excitedly, "Yeah! Good idea! We'll go to Naruto's house and see what's wrong!" After a moment, Sakura's jubilation faded as she realized a critical flaw in their plan. "Wait. I have no idea where Naruto lives!" Her head snapped to face Hinata, prompting a small squeak of surprise from the pale-eyed girl. "Hinata! Where does Naruto live?" Sakura interrogated.

"I-I d-don't k-know!" Hinata stuttered, badly rattled by Sakura's intensity. Sakura looked positively put-out by Hinata's reply. How were they supposed to find Naruto now?
"Damn it!" Sakura burst out. "How are we supposed to find Naruto now?" She shouted. Hinata was starting to shy away from Sakura's now open ranting. "And what's with all of the looks people give Naruto? Huh? What did he ever do to them?" Sakura took a several deep aggravated breaths as she recovered from her rant.

"W-what w-would Naruto-Kun d-do in this s-situation?" Hinata questioned, half to herself. Sakura snorted. "Please. The baka would ask me," She attempted to mimic Naruto's voice as she imagined what he would say, "Sakura-Chan! Did you read about this type of thing in one of those books you read?" Sakura then replied back in her normal tone, "No Naruto. I haven't read a book on where people live. That would be at the Shinobi Library." Sakura froze as soon as she finished the sentence. Hinata's and her eyes met.

Naruto hummed happily to himself as he left Ichiraku's. That had been a good meal! He silently mourned the loss of ramen for a few days, but it wasn't safe for him to be out so close to the Kyubi Festival. Mobs of both Ninja and civilian alike tended to look for him on those days. Naruto shuddered slightly in remembrance. Last time they had caught him, it had taken him almost 4 days to completely heal! It had hurt a lot. Naruto, remembering some of the things that they had done, was once again thankful that they hadn't gone for his eyes that time.

As he walked happily home, he failed to notice several shadows following him, waiting to catch the young blonde alone. A sudden blow to Naruto's side sent him flying into a conveniently abandoned alleyway. Naruto grunted softly to himself as he pushed himself off the ground. What had hit him?

The three crowding shadows instantly told him what had happened. Naruto took a deep breath, stifling the icy panic that raced though his veins. He dropped into his combat stance. They weren't getting him without a fight. Not this time!

"Look at this boys! The demon thinks that it can defeat us!" One of the two of the shinobi's crowed as he walked into the ally with his friend.

As they walked closer and closer, Naruto felt his adrenaline begin to pump though his veins. His vision became sharper. Sounds became louder. The smell of the ally increased. Naruto tensed, each muscle waiting in unison to be unleashed. Then Naruto charged!

Naruto's left hand slammed into the first ninja's stomach, knocking him back several feet! The second ninja noticed his friend flying away and swung his fist at Naruto with a snarl of rage. Naruto twisted out of the way of the fist, grabbed the extended arm, and pulled himself towards the shocked shinobi's head. Naruto's knee smashed into the ninja's face with a loud crunch! Naruto hammered his fists into the side of the shinobi's temples, causing the stunned ninja to start to fall backwards as Naruto leapt over the ninja. Naruto reached back and grabbed the shinobi's face as he fell; slamming the back of the ninja's head into the hard dirt as he landed with a dull thud. Naruto dashed off, heading towards the open street and relative safety.

He was only three steps from the road when his body froze. "Shadow Imitation Technique". The third ninja spat. Naruto found himself, unwillingly, walking back into the ally. After walking back past the unconscious ninja he had beaten, Naruto was released from the binding shadows. Before could react, he felt piercing pain in both of his hands as he slammed into the wall several feet off the ground.

Naruto gasped in pain and looked over at his hand. A kunai was buried deep in his hand, pinning Naruto to the wall. The ninja's enraged voice brought his attention back to the two ninja in front of him.

"You Monster! You hurt Gorou! I'll kill you for that! Slowly!" He screamed. He threw two more kunai at Naruto, both smashing into Naruto's lungs with a wet thump. Naruto choked as he felt his lungs slowly start to fill with blood. He refused to cry out in pain. He wouldn't give them the satisfaction.

The Shinobi sneered, "No cries? Don't worry demon, I'll make you scream yet!" The ninja slowly withdrew another Kunai. Naruto's eyes widened. Naruto begin to struggle.
Both of the ninja's eyes widened in fear as Naruto began to slowly pull the kunai out of the wall. "Quick! Do something!" The shinobi with the kunai shouted to his partner.

"Right! Kagemane no Jutsu!"

Naruto slammed back into the wall with enough force to drive the air out of his lungs. He choked and his throat burned as he fought for air though the blood that was filling his mouth. A searing pain in his abdomen snapped him back to the ninja. The shinobi with the kunai had buried it deep within his abdomen with a growl of hate.

"What are you going to do now little demon? Going to cry?" The ninja mocked. Naruto glared defiantly back at the ninja and spat a massive glob of blood in his face. The ninja jerked back as he got it, hissing in disgust. Naruto locked eyes with the shinobi and drew in a breath to spit again. The ninja flinched.

The shinobi paused. He made eye contact with Naruto. Naruto looked back. They both knew who was the real coward was. The ninja looked away. Then he stepped forward with a snarl and grabbed the kunai still buried within Naruto's abdomen. He, with a malicious smile, began to slowly cut his way upwards, slowly slicing his way though muscle and organs.

The pain was almost indescribable. But Naruto knew that he had to fight though the pain and escape. Otherwise, he was going to die! But he couldn't die. Not here. Not now! He hadn't accomplished his dream! So Naruto began to push. He pushed against the shadow, both the one inside his mind and the one outside holding him prisoner.

The dark smile froze on the shinobi's face as dark blue chakra began to waft from Naruto's bloody body. Naruto began straining against the bonds holding him. The Nara commanding the shadow that was binding Naruto began to feel the strain of holding the demon at bay. A low roar began building up in Naruto's throat as the chakra intensified. Both of the shinobi were blasted back as Naruto roared, shattering the shadow's hold on him.

The petrified ninjas quickly grabbed their friend and left, not wanting to be around the demon nor did they want to be there when the Anbu arrived to investigate Naruto's chakra spike.

Naruto never noticed them leave, he was quickly loosing blood as he heaved his body forward, again and again, as the kunais slowly detached from the wall. After what seemed to be a pain-filled lifetime, the kunais gave way; letting Naruto fall onto the ground with a muted thump. Naruto swallowed a scream of pain that threatened to erupt from his throat as the kunais were driven deeper into him as he hit the ground. After several failed attempts, Naruto finally heaved himself to his knees.

He brought a shaking hand slowly in front of him, staring at the kunai rammed deep in his hand. With all the blood Naruto had lost, it took him several seconds to figure out the best way to remove the kunai from his hand. Naruto took a deep rattling breath and steeled himself. He raised his hand towards his mouth. He gripped the kunai's metal ring in his teeth. Naruto pulled.

Naruto clutched his bleeding, kunai-free hand to his chest, barely withholding a whimper of pain. After the pain subsided a little bit, Naruto slowly reached over and pulled the kunai out of his other hand. After Naruto pulled the kunai out, he realized that he was feeling a little numb, as if he was viewing his actions outside of his body. He carefully wrapped his blood soaked hands around the two kunai imbedded in his chest, and gently pulled them out. As blood began to rapidly fill his lungs, Naruto quickly reached down and jerked the kunai from his abdomen. The kunai clattered to the ground as Naruto vomited and coughed, his body desperately trying to rid itself of the blood pooling within. Naruto's eyes burned with unshed tears as his body expelled blood, bile, and ramen. Eventually, Naruto was able to halt his body's violent heaves and staggered to his feet. He made it several steps before the roaring in his ears became too much and Naruto pitched forward into blackness.

Sakura breathed out a sigh of annoyance. Who knew that looking for someone's address could be so difficult? Tracking down Naruto was quite hard and the library lady wasn't helping them in the slightest. Sakura was certain that the librarian had been giving them discreet disapproving looks for looking for Naruto. Sakura snorted quietly. As if she cared what some old lady thought about them!

Hinata carefully looked around. "Where would the information we need be?" She wondered thoughtfully. As she scanned the book titles in front of her, a sudden inspiration hit her. What if they tracked down Naruto's parents instead? They would have to be in the Book of Citizens right?

Sakura huffed again. "Stupid Naruto. He's causing trouble even when he isn't here. Why couldn't he have just told me what's wrong so I can help fix it?" She thought in annoyance and slight hurt. Hinata's voice broke her out of the slight self-pity Sakura was slowly spiraling into.

"S-Sakura-san! I-I think I h-have an idea to find N-Naruto-Kun!" Hinata said excitedly as she walked up to Sakura. Sakura spun around to face Hinata, the look prompting her to continue with her idea. "I-If we go look for N-Naruto-Kun's parents, we s-should find him!" She concluded, half expecting Sakura to decry her idea; especially if Sakura's narrowing eyes were any indication.

"That's a good idea Hinata! Let's go do that right now!" Sakura ordered, a portion of her thoughts wondering why part of Hinata's explanation bothered her so much. The two girls quickly moved to the records section of the library. They quickly found the genealogy volumes that kept the names of everyone with the last name starting with "U". The girls quickly decided to split the volumes up between the two of them.

After about an hour of reading, the girls had gone though several of the volumes. As Sakura neared the end of her forth volume, she found Naruto Uzumaki. However, there was a problem with the records. Namely the fact that Naruto's status was "orphan."

"Hinata!" Sakura spoke, startling the blue-haired girl out of her reading, "I found it!" Hinata quickly moved over to Sakura to look at the information.

"N-Naruto-Kun is an o-orphan!" Hinata exclaimed in surprise, feeling something tickling at the back of her brain. Something wasn't...right about Naruto's status. Suddenly Hinata remembered that day just over two years ago...

"...Why don't you go to your parents and have them get you checked out by a medic-nin. I'm sure they would care enough about you to help you out!"

Hinata gasped. Misuki-Sensei had meant to hurt Naruto-Kun! Hinata was distracted from her building anger as Sakura asked, "What's wrong? Did something happen?"

Hinata turned away from Sakura as she asked, "D-Do you r-remember the d-day Naruto was k-kicked out of c-class t-two years ago? The d-day that y-you met N-Naruto-Kun after t-the academy?"
Sakura blinked. She remembered that day well, she still felt slightly guilty for laughing at Naruto. "Yes." She said crossly as she folded her arms, "I remember. What of it?"

"What did Misuki say to Naruto-Kun?"

Sakura paused. Her forehead crinkled as she tried to remember his exact words. Hinata waited. After a few moments, Sakura's face darkened. Hinata knew an explosion was inevitable.

"Who the hell did he think he was?! Making Naruto sad like that!" Sakura shouted, her fists clenched in anger. "When I see him next, I'll punch his lights out!" Sakura continued ranting for the next few moments, her voice echoing in the quiet library.

"Shhh!" Hinata hushed Sakura quietly, not wanting to get kicked out of the library.

"F-Finding N-Naruto-Kun is more i-important right n-now! W-We'll get Misuki b-back l-later."
Sakura let out a angry "Arrrg!", as she threw up her hands and stormed out of the library. Hinata hurried after her.

As the two headed deeper into Konoha, Sakura suddenly stopped as she exclaimed, "Oh damn! I have to go tell my parents where I am going!" She suddenly spun on her heel and started to sprint off towards her house. "Come on!" She shouted to Hinata, "The faster we go talk to them, the faster we can find Naruto!"

"W-wait f-for m-me!" Hinata quietly shouted back as she chased after Sakura.

After an exhausting twenty minute run, Sakura arrived at her house. The picturesque, two story home felt...different to Hinata. It was odd, for she felt like this simple, two story home had more life and care then practically all of the Hyuga clan-homes combined. Sakura simply barged in the front door and shouted for her mother.

"Mom! Are you here?" She called, wanting to get this finished quickly. Sakura's mother, Mebuki, called back down. "I'm upstairs Sakura-chan! I just got called into the hospital! You can come up to talk!"

Sakura motioned to Hinata to follow her as she headed up the steps. Sakura walked into her mother's room, spying Mebuki gathering up her nursing tools. "Mom, Hinata and I are going to be spending a few hours with a friend. Is that all right?"

Mebuki turned to face Sakura, her face smoothing into a happy smile. "Of course dear! What's your friend's name?"

"Naruto Uzumaki."

Mebuki froze, the blood draining from her face. "Oh no." Sakura, feeling her stomach drop, tried to deny what her mind had just realized. "Mom? Naruto is fine, right?"

Mebuki gave Sakura a sad shake of her head. "He's the reason I am going in." Seeing Sakura and Hinata about to cry, hurried on to say, "Why don't you two come with me? I'm sure Naruto will want his friends there when he wakes up." Sakura and Hinata nodded. Naruto's condition couldn't be that bad. Right?
Sign up to rate and review this story