# Action Pack Issue 1
June 23, 2008, 8:45 am
A brown-haired teenaged form woke up and frowned, his expression one of annoyance as he slammed down on his alarm clock and grabbed a clean set of clothing consisting of black pants, black sandals, a dark blue shirt, and a green Chunin vest. He ran a hand thrown his hair as he went into the kitchen and got out a cup of instant ramen.
Uzumaki Kira waited as the bowl heated up and looked through the fridge as he sorted through the food, meticulously throwing out any outdated food and considering that he had to buy the already ripe food, it was no surprise that most of the fruit and vegetables had to be thrown out.
Kira gathered up the garbage and the ramen boiled, causing him to pour it into a bowl and began eating out of it, the carbs being converted into energy that served as a ‘pick me up’ for him to snap him out of his semi-aware state of mind and the last traces of sleep faded from his orange eyes.
The brunet put his dishes into the sink and grabbed the garbage and headed out of his apartment and paused for the barest of moments as he thought about his brother’s first C-rank mission. He felt a sense of pride and protectiveness come over him at that before tossing the garbage into the disposal bin at the front of the apartment complex and sent chakra down into his legs to jump onto the nearest building and jump from roof to roof to avoid the glares he’d get from walking amongst the villagers.
Naruto could still keep his idealism of this place and continue to have any hope of this village accepting them. He couldn’t crush that spirit; it was one of the few things that had him still clinging to that last shred of humanity that his brother still thought he possessed.
Kira had long ago given up on this place after finding out their mother was still alive, albeit in a coma. It had been an accident on his brother’s part when the boy had been eight and had been sent to the hospital because of a particularly nasty attack on him when he’d been out of the village on a mission.
Oh, he’d made those who dared to touch his brother pay dearly for attacking him. He didn’t know who specifically it was, so he’d just opted to make the whole damn village suffer for it, even doubly after his brother had asked him if their mother was still alive. He’d been confused as to what Naruto had been talking about at the time and asked to explain, and the boy did, saying he’d seen a woman who looked just like Kushina sleeping in a hospital bed hooked up to a machine.
Kira had been understandably angry at the news that their mother’s survival had been kept from them, and he’d voiced his anger to the Sandaime, who’d tried to explain he didn’t want to give him or Naruto any sense of false hope of her waking up.
Naruto, like the ever hoping idealist he was, had accepted this, but Kira had not been so forgiving, and what little respect he’d had for the man had died that day. His respect for pretty much anyone he’d known before his father died had dissipated.
Jiraiya, Tsunade, and Kakashi, they’d all turned their backs on them as they allowed him and Naruto get kicked out of their home and be sent to the village orphanage.
Naruto didn’t remember any of it because he had still been an infant at the time, but Kira remembered it all too well. The first few weeks there had been the hardest as he’d already been emotionally scarred from watching his father die right in front of him and leave him with the parting words of ‘I know you’ll do what’s right.’
Kira had foolishly held onto hope that one of Kushina or Minato’s friends would come and take them away from that place, but no one ever did come. His growing hatred of Konoha had only festered as he and Naruto were locked in one room and only got to eat the leftovers from the kitchen, and even at that he had to sneak out and nab some food from the fridge and milk for his brother.
He’d been worried about taking care of his brother at first and was terrified that he’d mess something up, but Kushina and Minato had taught him how to take care of a child should they not be around, as the lessons would be good for later on in life.
Even now Kira felt a harsh bout of irony at how right they’d been.
It was a good thing that they had been kicked out of the orphanage several months later because they told him that Naruto was just crying too loud and it was bothering the other children. Kira had looked at the woman in disgust as he’d heard the other babies crying in the night and no one complained about them. If they were going to kick them out, at least they could tell a good lie.
The then four year old had used a drop of his brother’s blood to allow access into their father’s home, as Kira wanted his brother to know what could have been, even if he’d never remember it. He could at least hope the imprint of their parent’s proud and happy expressions were in the baby’s mind.
Well, at least they still had each other.
Their life inside their home had been peaceful, but sadly it was too good to last, as someone had caught a glimpse of him outside the building in the garden that their mom used to relax and plant vegetables. Kira had at the time had never been a fan of gardening as his young mind found it too be too hard, but after they had died, he learned to appreciate this haven of food as it mean he didn’t have to leave his brother alone in case he needed him.
After though he’d been spotted, he’d met the Hokage at the gate, as he wasn’t going to very well going to go out in the open. The old man had tried to be kind about bringing up the subject of how he got into the building as his advisors and the ninja council had been with him.
He’d bluntly stated that he used Naruto’s blood to get in. When countered that only someone with the Yondaime’s blood could have worked, he’d stated in a flat ‘Duh.’ And his overall opinions of adults plummeted that day as well.
They’d finally seemed to realize what he meant because they’d asked him how that could be. He’d seen the old man’s nervous expression, but he’d ignored it as he stated that the old man had been the one to sign the witness statement of his parent’s secret marriage, even going as far as to ask them whether or not they wanted to see the certificate.
He’d also withheld the fact his parent’s had made a copy of it. They weren’t idiots after all.
The ninja council had seemed very angry that this had been withheld from them and some of them even volunteering to adopt Naruto into their Clan, Kira had taken careful notice that none of them seemed to want to adopt him though. When he’d told them that it was either both of them or neither of them, their offers stopped quite abruptly.
The fact his brother was soon enough outed as the Yondaime’s son after getting kicked out of their haven, as no matter how nice a tone the words were said in they were still being forced to leave their home, and got put into a rather small apartment.
The villagers had mixed reactions about his brother, as some of them seemed to grudgingly accept this, while other’s still hated him but knew better than to do anything about it. Amazingly though, the secret never left the village as no one wanted any other village to have Naruto, no matter how much they hated him.
Kira though had been continually treated like a pariah, so this wasn’t anything new to him when they still kept glaring at him. As long as his brother remained safe, that was all that mattered.
Kira was brought out of his reverie as he landed on the ground in front of the missions building and walked inside to see several Chunin sitting at the desk and he marched up to the desk. He held out his hand without a word and he was handed several mission scrolls and he walked right out of the building.
Kira opened the first one and saw that it was a D-rank mission to clean the Tempura restaurant out and walked down the street to the restaurant district. He ignored the glares he was receiving and as he past the Dango shop, he noticed a familiar head of purple hair.
Anko Mitarashi had been his Genin sensei and he had been her one and only student, the irony never having let up. She hadn’t seemed to care about the fact he was only 10 and the first lesson was throwing kunai at him in a game of ‘tag.’ She also encouraged his own sadistic attitude and while he certainly didn’t like her, she was probably the one adult exempt from the adults are useless rule he had.
She looked up from her plate and grinned at him. “Hi kiddo, how ya doing?” she asked and didn’t seem put out when Kira didn’t reply and she just shrugged it off. “Me? I’m fine, oh,” she reached into her trench coat and pulled out an official looking scroll, “from the Hokage, told me to give you this.” She said and Kira accepted the scroll. “Later kiddo.” She added scooping up her remaining Dango and ruffled Kira’s hair up before departing.
Kira’s stoic expression cracked slightly as a silver of annoyance came over his face and he flattened his hair back down. He turned his attention to the scroll and looked the content over, his expression growing steadily darker as the air around him dropped several degrees.
This could not be allowed.
Gates outside Konoha, 8:35 am
Uzumaki Naruto saw the gates of home approaching, and the melancholy of what had happened in wave lessened even less. It just meant that he’d be able to see his brother and mother sooner, even if his mother was in a coma. He wanted to clench the locket his brother had given him under his orange jacket, but resisted that. He’d spent the entire mission not looking at it, and soon he’d be able to see the real deal again.
But still, the picture contained a picture of his family, and it meant more than that because it was the only picture had that had him in the photo as well. It was also a source of comfort at the Academy as it served as a reminder to him that his parent’s had loved him, even if it was only for an hour.
He’d never been able to fit in with his classmates and despite the fact he was the Yondaime’s son, he was ostracized because of it. Or maybe it was the fact that no one liked Kira-nii. He didn’t want to think that was the case, but he noticed just how badly people treated his older brother compared to him.
It honestly wasn’t fair, but then again, Kira told him from the start that life wasn’t fair.
Naruto glanced over at his teammates and sensei, feeling somewhat uplifted as he thought that they were his friends. Or the closest thing he had to friends anyway. He knew they didn’t like him at the beginning, even in the Academy that had been blatantly clear, but he thought that they were warming up to him. He’d been annoying then because he’d been so desperate for friends and he made it intensely hard for the other kids to like him.
It didn’t help that the other kids thought he was stupid because the teachers seemed to go out of their way to make his school life miserable. If it wasn’t for Kira teaching him at their apartment, he wasn’t so sure about what he would have ended up like.
They passed the gates and he looked around, but he couldn’t help but feel the automatic disappointment when he noticed Kira wasn’t around. He knew it was foolish to think Kira would be at the gate waiting for him as he didn’t know when he’d be back.
Kakashi looked up from his book at them. “Let’s go file the mission report.” He said lazily.
“Alright, how much do you think we’ll get for doing this? I’ll need some more money for ramen!” Naruto exclaimed.
Sakura hit the blond over the head. “Can’t you stop thinking about your stomach for once?!”
Naruto rubbed his head and covered up his hurt by whining, “Aw, but Sakura-chan-”
Sakura cut him off as she hit him on the head again. “Don’t call me that!” she huffed before storming off with their other teammate and sensei toward the Hokage tower.
Naruto felt the throbbing stop and felt a piece of him break again as Sakura kept hitting him. What was he doing wrong? All he wanted was to be her friend, and how did she get the idea that he had a crush on her? He only chose her because she’d seemed as miserable as him in their first year, but then she got mean and catty.
Kira called him an idealist, always trying to see the good in people, and had even said he wished him the best of luck with that task.
The blond wasn’t interested in romance, just friendship, as he wasn’t comfortable around girls, with the exception of when he snuck into the hospital to visit his mother. But she was in a coma, and she was his mom, so he wasn’t sure if it counted.
Naruto caught up with the rest of Team 7 and they walked up the steps of the tower. When they got there, his initial greeting died on his lips as he caught sight of the picture of his father on the wall and wondered if his dad had ever brought Kira here.
He was so distracted by his thoughts that he missed their sensei giving the report and felt a sweltering pain in his head as he looked at Sakura. “What was that for?”
“You weren’t paying attention to Kakashi-sensei’s report!” Sakura yelled.
“Ma, ma, Sakura,” Kakashi waved it off, “it’s quite understandably that Naruto would be a little…spacey here.” He added as a strained edge appeared in his voice as he too glanced at the picture of the Yondaime.
As if on reflex, both Sakura and Sasuke also glanced at the picture and they both grimaced as they were reminded once again that the village hero had such an idiot for a son.
The door slammed open and everyone jumped in surprise at the killing intent that filled the room as Kira came stalking in, his face showing an expression of barely supressed rage. He ignored Team 7 and walked right up to the Hokage and shoved the paper into his face.
“Explain.” He growled.
The old Hokage didn’t even read the paper as he sighed, his face seeming to be aged before their eyes. “I…had no choice.”
Kira’s expression was scornful as he clearly looked like he didn’t believe what the old man was saying.
Naruto looked between his brother’s unusual burst of emotion and the Hokage’s weary face, he knew something was wrong. “Old man, what’s going on?”
“Don’t talk to Hokage-sama like that!” Sakura shouted and hit Naruto again over the head.
Kira whirled around and glared at the pink-haired girl, who suddenly realized it probably wasn’t the best idea to hit Naruto with his brother in the room. “You hit him.” he growled darkly. “He’s always called the old man that, because he’s allowed to. And you have no right to hurt him for that.” His voice never changed from its eerily calm tone, but his eyes were getting brighter and redder by the second.
“Kira-nii.” Naruto said quietly and Kira looked at him, but he didn’t flinch from the look, as he knew very well that anger would never be directed at him.
“And you.” He said in a noticeably more gentle tone. He walked past the rest of his brother’s team and gestured for Naruto to follow, who did as instructed and the two of them departed.
“Can he just leave like that?” Sakura asked as her fear turned to indignation.
The Sandaime sighed. ‘I need a drink.’
Down in the lobby, Kira grabbed ignored the mission scrolls and took out several sheets out paper from the filing cabinet, but Naruto couldn’t see what they were, as he was waiting for Kira to continue talking, and he did. “It’s not okay for her to hit you for something so trivial you know.”
“But she’s a girl, and I can’t hit a girl.” Naruto replied.
Kira gave his brother a look. “Naruto, that is stupid. Women can be just as dangerous as men, and are our equals, that also means if one punches you for no reason, you punch back.” He explained. “We live in a place where being ninja is an equal opportunity thing, and as such, you shouldn’t pull punches or else you’ll wind up hurt or worse.” He sighed heavily. “And besides, that girl isn’t worth it.”
Naruto started at that. “She’s great, she really is! Honest!”
Kira gave him a skeptical look. “If that’s true, then why do you let her hurt you?”
“She’s…she’s starting to like me?” Naruto asked weakly.
“Naruto…” Kira paused as he frowned at him in concern, “you don’t hurt someone you like! That’s called abuse, and it’s not okay.”
Naruto nodded in a subdued manner, as Kira wouldn’t lecture him unless he meant what he was saying. “So,” he shuffled his feet nervously, “why were you so angry at the old man?”
Someone Kira’s anger returned to his eyes. “I got a scroll from the old man saying that the council refuses to continue to let mom stay in the hospital for free, so unless we can do something…they’re going to pull the plug on mom.”
Naruto froze as he stared at his brother in horror. “They…can’t do that!”
Kira’s expression turned grim. “I know they can’t, but do you honestly think they care about what we want?”
Naruto tried to see the bright side, but couldn’t disagree with what Kira said. “What are we going to do then? I…I don’t want to lose mom.”
“We’re not going to.” Kira said determinedly as he showed him one of the papers he took from the filing cabinet. “What do you say about a change of scenery?”
Naruto looked at the paper and saw that it was a pamphlet, and the picture of a picturesque scene of a park was on the cover, the title being in English, but they’d taught a languages class at the Academy if someone got assigned an international mission. “’New York City,’ hmm, sounds nice enough.”
(# Action Pack Issue 2: While Kira makes the plan to transfer their mother to New York, Naruto breaks the news to his teammates just as the Chunin exams arrive around the corner, making him come to a difficult decision. Leave with his family or stay with his friends?)