Ever since the beginning of his memories, hostile eyes were cold, accusing when they stare at his figure before he understood their meaning. Sneers and scowls of disgust had twisted human faces into a crowd of monsters that surrounded him every day of his life.
They were the villagers of Konoha.
They were proud citizens, and stood together against harsh obstacles not only for themselves, but for each other for their love of the village. They were also the people that stood in crowds against him, watching him from the distance, and trying to ruin his life despite being outcasted already. Words full of cruel intentions sprouted from their lips and stood in his way to prove his existence. The pain and anger he felt from their hypocrisy almost influenced him to let go of his humanity and released Kyuubi, the demonic entity who was the real cause of everyone's rage and misfortune.
At a young age, he already knew of the demon's existence, who wanted to release its power of death and destruction once more. Dreams had filtered into his mind as he slept and every day, he was tempted more and more to get revenge from every accusation many villagers.
It hurt a lot to face them every moment he stepped out into the streets. There was incidents that made that enticement grew, but she was always there in the shadows, quietly supporting him and soothing the hurt away.
He could still remember the day that he first met her.
Hunger grumbled loudly in his stomach and he decided to go to a shop and pay for a meal with his own money for the first time. The third hokage, affectionately known as jiji-chan, was the one who helped him to where he was now. It was he who had saved Naruto when the orphanage had kicked him out. He had given him a home when no one else cared and it was jiji who had also given him his first allowance after settling him for the first time.
The hokage was the most important person in his young life.
He was also the first member to become part of a family he never had.
Life was starting to be great and it was going to get better, especially when he plans to sign up for the academy in the future. He will become hokage one day and become unbeatable. Like jiji, he was going to be the strongest and make sure no one could pick on him anymore. The villagers will accept him someday and he will be able to help people the way jiji had helped him.
He would make his most important person proud of he would become.
No one will stop him.
It was a new beginning in his life and he was going to start it with his first paid meal.
Instead of eating scraps or gruel he had from the orphanage, he was going to eat meat and rice and whatever he could find. It would be fresh, properly cooked, and actually fill his stomach. He didn't have to go hungry anymore.
It made him excited.
He ended up standing in front of a butcher's shop.
There was a menu taped at the window, showing a list of food choices and their prices.
Racks of roasted pork, ducks, and other things he didn't know were displayed. The faint scent of marinated sauce and cooked meat filled his nostrils and the anticipation of eating them filled his mouth with saliva. Grinning widely, he walked to the door with a bounce in his step.
He couldn't wait to eat.
The bell hanging above the door jingled as he pulled the door open and entered.
The shop was designed in a way that most people would expect. It was small and narrow. A tall counter stood near the entrance in a corner with the racks of fried and roasted meat was held. The tables were small and squared, leaning against the wall past the counter. A strip of space was left open, leading towards a set of steel doors of a back room.
It was simple and ordinary, but it made Naruto thrilled.
His first few steps of independence were starting.
He looked around for someone so he could order, but one was there so he called for help.
"Hello! Is someone there? I want to order."
A moment of silence passed and someone answered.
"Just one moment; I'll be right there."
The voice was male, low and gruff, and Naruto assumed that he was in charge and the owner. He was a little impatient since he was starting to starve, but there weren't any waiters or waitresses to take care of him like he saw in other shops he passed by. The man was probably on his own so he felt a little lenient when he answered back cheerfully.
"Alright! Take your time."
Trying to pass by the time, he picked a seat closest to him, climbing onto the chair with somewhat difficulty. His short stature forced him to struggle a bit before he sat in a more comfortable position. He sat with his hands on the sides of the chair and began kicking his feet back and forth, back and forth. He also started humming a simple tune as he swung his feet along.
After a minute or two, he heard stomping footsteps approaching the steel door. The volume of the stomping increased until the bang of an open door revealed a tall, plain middle aged man. He was wearing a dark navy blue top and pants with a stained, white apron on top of his outfit where it tied behind his back and neck. He had dark eyes and hair, his body still lean with some muscle. His skin and his face was tan and somewhat weathered, depicting his age.
He looked ordinary.
His eyes were warm and gentle to welcome his customer from the wrinkles in the corners of the eyes to the light that brightened his face. His lips were closed, curved slightly in a smile. The doors behind him slammed as he walked towards Naruto and his mouth opened to speak.
The man froze as his eyes landed on Naruto's figure. His feet stopped moving and he took in the wild, blond hair, the innocent blue eyes, and the thick whiskers on the boy's cheek.
The man's brows narrowed his eyes darkened in his glare at the boy. He scowled and started stomping his way to him, his arms swinging at each step. His hands clenched into white fists. Stepping in front of Naruto, he placed his hands at his waist and glared harder. The boy was not welcomed and he questioned the boy in a very rudely tone. His voice was cold and dark, reminiscent of a frosty winter in his displeasure of the boy's presence in his shop. He wanted the monster out of the shop.
"What are you doing here?! You are not welcome in my shop!"
The shout made Naruto step back with startled eyes, looking up at the man who stared back with malice. Hate dripped like black venom from the owner's lips and tension thickened in the air of the shop.
Naruto was feeling a lot of things.
His throat had swallowed and something fluttered in his stomach.
It was not a pleasant feeling and his limbs were twitching ever so slightly in his tremble.
His body felt empty of oxygen, leaving him heavy like lead.
What did he do to be treated like this?
He had barely said a word and the owner was in his face, yelling for no reason.
There was no question that the man hated him.
He acted a lot like the caretaker in the orphanage who never cared for him fairly. She gave him dark looks whenever she saw him and she always gave smaller portions when food was passed out. She ignored him when he had a question or needed help.
This man was the same.
He and every other adult glared or shouted at him anytime he got close.
It was as if they deemed him a criminal!
He never did anything to be treated like this. He was just an orphan. No one should have cared about anything about him. They didn't care about the other kids who lost their parents.
Why was he different?
It was supposed to be better, Naruto thought.
He wasn't just a nobody anymore, considered worthless as if he wasn't human.
Why wouldn't anyone let him prove it?
The despair and frustration began piling up and filling his soul. His body felt like weighted lead. His head drooped forward, his eyes covered by the long, blond bangs that were pulled down by gravity. His fists clenched by his sides and shook.
Naruto shouted in his mind, 'it was supposed to get better!'
His head shot up and sky blue eyes were fierce from a face of determination. The words poured out from his mouth without hesitation or thought.
"Old man! I am a customer and you should give me some respect!"
The man scoffed.
"You are not a customer of mine and you will never be! Leave, you won't get anything else from me you monster!"
'Me, monster? I'll show him who's the real monster!'
"FINE! I'll leave. And I'll scream down the whole street and tell everyone that you and your food stink! You're so rude, no one will want to come when they find out this is how you treat someone who is innocent!"
The man stalked forward and his height intimidated Naruto. Naruto stepped back and back as the man continued advancing. Naruto felt his back hit against the door and the man started hollering.
The bell jingled merrily as the door was pushed back.
The wind blew coolly as it caressed the flush skin of the back of his neck.
Two hands, big and squeezing tiny shoulders harshly, pushed him to the ground.
The whoosh of the wind was barely heard as his back hit the cement floor.
His ears were ringing from the roar and his back was in pain.
The man had bellowed out the sentence and Naruto was pushed out of the door and onto the ground. His ears were ringing with the owner's bellowing echoing in his ears.
The commotion started attracting people's attention nearby. A crowd was quickly forming. They were tall, standing above him and barricading the shop, leaving him in the middle without escape. He could hear the jeers and taunts whispering around him while he stood up and attempted to stare down the man.
Naruto felt detached from the scene. He could hear the man started yelling again, using vulgar insults supported by the crowd. Naruto was vaguely aware he was shouting back, stating his rights as a customer, but he knew it would mean nothing.
They were all the same.
No one would help when they all thought he was a monster.
In the background, he could hear two women speaking at his right.
"Look, it's that boy."
"What's he doing now?"
One of the women scoffed.
"Looks like he's trying to get a meal and service."
"Like the demon brat should have the privilege of being served."
This conversation was tame compared to the other whispers.
The rest wanted him to die.
He turned his head to glare at the villagers and missed the owner approaching. The punch the man threw directly hit his stomach and Naruto was in pain as he fell to the ground again. Moaning with a hand to his stomach, he stared at the owner in a daze.
The man pointed at him.
"DON'T EVEN THINK about coming back or I'll beat the shit out of you! You will never, ever, be a customer of mine! Not after all you've done!"
He turned around and returned to his shop.
Naruto squeezed his eyes shut and got up slowly, ignoring the satisfaction he felt among the crowd that still surrounded him.
"I wished I got to do that."
He ignored that too.
Naruto felt very frustrated.
What did these people want from him? He knew it wasn't right to be treated like this. And how were they any different if someone blameless as him was hurt like this? He saw some of them grinning and his temper grew. He brought his fist shaking in the air when he saw them leaving like the owner.
"OH YEAH! WHEN I BECOME HOKAGE, I'LL MAKE SURE YOU'LL RESPECT ME AND BEG FOR ME TO COME BACK! AND I WON'T BECAUSE NARUTO UZUMAKI DOESN'T NEED YOU! IT'S NOT LIKE YOUR FOOD IS ANY GOOD!"
The door of the shop slammed open and the man returned. He carried a red bucket and stomped his way to Naruto, dumping its content of him. It was red like blood and white chunks.
It was absolutely disgusting and he was drenched.
Naruto screamed in disgust.
"HEY! WHAT DID YOU DO THAT FOR?"
The man snarled. "Get off of my property brat. Your yelling is disturbing my business."
Then he and the empty bucket returned to the restaurant.
His nose scrunching at the smell, he began tossing the white chunks to the ground. He looked up and thought he heard a sound, but there was no one there. Turning side to side, he couldn't see anyone. Shrugging, he continued to clean up as much as he could, squeezing the liquid from his shirt.
Moments later, he heard something again and turned. It was a girl, short and around his age. She was leaving an alley and as she started turning around the corner, his eyes met hers. The girl suddenly stopped and stared at him. Her pale lavender eyes looked at him with so much intensity. Believing that she was staring at the mess he was, he looked down flushing.
She probably thought it was hilarious.
Like the rest of the kids who mocked or avoided him, she probably was laughing at him whenever the adults treated him like dirt.
Well, Naruto thought fiercely, if she was going to insult him, he'll show her too.
Naruto Uzumaki was not someone you could just make fun of.
He heard footsteps approaching him and saw her walking towards him. He studied his new opponent. Blue black hair cut in a princess style and large eyes staring back in in round face, she looked like a porcelain doll. She was walking like one too. Shoulders straight and walking gracefully with small, confident steps, she looked regal.
Even if she wasn't dress like one, she looked like one of those snobby kids from nobility.
When she was closer to him, he was prepared.
The girl reached for something from her pocket.
Thinking it was a weapon or something to throw at him, Naruto quickly placed his hands in front of him and widen the distance between his feet, ready to defend himself. He did not expect a folded handkerchief to be handed to him.