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1 Need Feedback on Naruto Fan Fic on Mon Oct 24, 2016 4:18 am

Kakushi Arashi

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Genin
Started writing this a few days ago, finished the first part today. It tells the story of my character, Kakushi, as if he were in the original Naruto anime/manga. Since I intend to incorporate canon characters, this story is set in the original timeline. Please read and give constructive criticism!

By My Sword-Part I-The Fire Awakened:
Long ago, the name Arashi was feared and respected in the land of Konoha. Arashi shinobi were famed across the land for their skills in stealth and ambush. When they struck, they were a storm of flashing blades, so fast and deadly that their enemies rarely had time to even scream before they lay in pieces on the ground. The Arashi possessed a powerful technique that allowed them to control the flight of their shuriken, and it was said that not even the fastest shinobi could evade the shuriken of an Arashi jonin.
However, these powers came with a price. The Arashi, true to their storm moniker, possessed great power. However, if left unchecked, this power could rage out of control, and there was no telling what an Arashi would do if this happened. So, among the Arashi there was an unspoken rule, that not even the leaders of the clan dared break: All Arashi must have a focus, or they will spin out of control into destruction.
For a thousand years this rule was followed, until one tragic day, it was broken. An Arashi shinobi, his name since stricken from all written history, lost his focus. In years prior, the quality of Arashi shinobi had begun to diminish. It was believed that this shinobi would be different, but it was not to be. He was strong, indeed, but in his focus, he fell short. In search of power he could not obtain, he betrayed the Leaf Village. His brother and sister followed him, and together they brought great sorrow and pain upon the Land of Fire. Eventually, the Anbu tracked down and eliminated them, but not before the name Arashi became synonymous with failure and treason among shinobi.
In an attempt to recover their last shreds of acceptance, the son of the traitor refused to become shinobi, instead becoming a trader and merchant. His son and his son followed this path, and eventually all the things that had given the Arashi power were forgotten. They were nothing but traders, though they still carried the stain of the traitor in the eyes of all Konoha, and since the shinobi blood still ran through them, they quickly garnered a reputation for trickery, shiftiness, and greed. Since then, no Arashi has walked the path of shinobi. However, 8 years ago, a child was born. This child was different from all others before him. He didn’t know it, but he would eventually become the catalyst by which the ancient honor of the Arashi would be reclaimed…

“Hit her harder!” shouted the Konoha ninja trainer. In front of him, a young Academy student, a barely eight-year-old boy with brown hair, spit on the ground beside him and with a roar lunged at his target, a girl with blond hair. He aimed a punch, but in a flash his feet left the ground as the girl swept his feet out from under him. He hit the ground face first with a thud. The girl smiled and put her hand on her hip, blowing a loose strand of hair from her face.
“Good one!” the trainer said, clapping. He nudged the stunned boy on the ground with his foot. “Up and at ‘em,” the trainer said, “We’re not done yet.”
From a tree outside the training field, a pair of eyes watched the two students sparring. The eyes were a piercing blue, filled with curiosity as they stared with obvious longing at the world on the other side of the academy fence. The eyes were connected to a young face, white and slightly tanned, connected to a head covered with a mop of black hair. The head was connected to a skinny body, covered with what once was a high-quality shirt and pants now covered with dirt and leaves. Sandals had once covered the feet, but now lay on the ground beneath the tree.
As the boy student picked himself up and the two students resumed, the boy in the tree watched with obvious excitement. He silently cheered for the girl; she looked like she knew what she was doing. As the sparring match grew in intensity, the boy in the tree strained forward on his branch, eager to see the outcome. Suddenly, it happened. The girl dodged a wild punch from the boy and spun around, kicking him square in his rear end and sending him flying. The boy smacked to the ground with a massive thud as the girl, the trainer, and the boy in the tree broke out laughing.
“You ok, Iwa?” the trainer managed to choke out, “Ōkami caught you a good one!” the boy, Iwa, sat up and shook his head clear.
“No fair, Tengoku-sensei!” he yelled, “She must have cheated somehow!”
“Just because you’re from the Lee clan doesn’t mean you can’t be beaten!” the trainer, Tengoku, said, “Maybe if you practiced occasionally, this wouldn’t happen to you!” Iwa grumbled and rubbed the sting from his backside. Suddenly there was a snap, a cry, and a thud as loud as when Iwa fell. The three shinobi whirled towards the fence to see the boy from the tree, lying somewhat dazed in a pile of branches and leaves.
“Ugh, it’s that Arashi kid, spying on us again,” Iwa said.
“Yeah,” said the girl, Ōkami, who now held a small grey dog that looked like a cross between a wolf and a husky, “When’s he gonna get the hint that we don’t want him here?” The dog growled to add to her point as Tengoku turned on the two students.
“Knock it off, you two,” Tengoku said, “I don’t think either of you have ever said a single word to Kakushi.”
“I don’t have to,” Iwa said as he picked himself off the ground and brushed himself off, “My dad says that all Arashi are bad news; good for nothing swindlers.”
“Yeah,” Ōkami chimed in as she pet the dog in her arms, “All they know is how to make a fast buck.” The dog barked in agreement. Tengoku sighed and shook his head, then disappeared in a blur. He reappeared in front of the boy, Kakushi, who was shaking the stars from his vision.
“You all right, Kakushi?” he said. The young boy gave a final shake and looked up. When he saw the man before him, he shot to his feet and bowed.
“My apologies, Tengoku-sensei!” he said, “I did not mean to disrupt your practice!” Tengoku laughed and ruffled the young boy’s hair.
“Don’t worry, Kakushi!” he said, “We were just wrapping up.” As if on cue, Iwa and Ōkami ran up.
“Hi guys!” Kakushi said cheerfully, extending his hand to shake. Both kids simply glared at him. Kakushi’s smiled wilted and he drew his hand back. Kakushi looked like he wanted to crawl inside of his clothes and hide, then suddenly Tengoku smacked him on the back. Kakushi gave out a cry and nearly fell over.
“So, Kakushi!” Tengoku said, apparently not noticing the young boy’s reaction, “When are you going to stop falling out of trees and actually join the academy?” All three kids looked at Tengoku in shock.
“Him?!” Iwa and Ōkami said in perfect harmony. Ōkami’s dog growled in agreement.
“Me?” Kakushi said. He looked a little awestruck, but stood visibly straighter.
“Why not?” Tengoku replied, “He’s old enough, and he’s already got some skills in reconnaissance.” Kakushi grinned sheepishly.
“But he’s an Arashi!” Iwa said.
“They’re crafty and only work for themselves!” Ōkami added.
“Craftiness can be a great trait in a shinobi,” Tengoku said, “As for selfishness, we all have that at times.” Tengoku put his hand on Kakushi’s shoulder.
“Just think about it, all right?” he said. Kakushi nodded and Tengoku turned to Iwa and Ōkami.
“Come on you two,” he said, “You both need a shower, and then we have a genjutsu test.” The two students groaned and the dog whimpered, but all followed their sensei. Kakushi watched them go, and when they finally disappeared around a corner he brushed himself off and began walking along the path, heading in the opposite direction. He took his time, gazing around at the various shops that, this being the early afternoon, were bustling with activity. He tried to ignore the various looks he got as he wandered, hands in his pockets, down the lane. Most everyone in the village knew the Arashi clan’s reputation, those who didn’t found out soon enough. The Arashi were great traders, but they had obtained that skill through wit and cunning, and more than a few people in Konoha had lost money when dealing with an Arashi who knew how to exploit a loophole.
As Kakushi walked, Tengoku’s suggestion that he enroll at the academy swirled in his head. In truth, Kakushi had thought about it more than once. He had even worked up the nerve to ask his father about it a few times, though he had often been shut down before he had even begun his argument. His father told him that it wasn’t worth it to be a shinobi. Shinobi risked life and limb every day in service of others. Why do that when he could inherit the quite sufficient Arashi trade empire and live the same comfortable life while having others work for him? Kakushi had never gotten the chance to say that he didn’t want to be a trader. He wanted danger and adventure. He wanted to help people. He wanted to be looked at as a hero, not the useless, spoiled child of a stained lineage.
Since his birth, Kakushi had been different among Arashi children. He hated his lessons in business and trading, that kept him cooped up in the house for half the day. He preffered being out and about. He wanted to be more than a businessman. Not so for the rest of his family. Most, if not all his cousins, accepted their place in the world with relish. They were eager to take their place among Arashi traders, even if that meant they were looked at as swindlers and cheats by the cititzens of the Land of Fire. After all, who cared if a few poor saps hadn’t read between the lines on a contract? The Arashi were one of the wealthiest families in the Land of Fire; it didn’t seem to matter how many toes they had stepped on to get there.
It was ironic, Kakushi had often thought, that the collective feathers of his family got so ruffled when he presented his wish to be shinobi. They, like his father, always said that the shinobi life was no life for an Arashi. After all, the last three shinobi generations of Arashi had been failures or traitors, and even after a hundred years they were still trying to clean that particular stain. However, when they conducted business, they were as cunning as the shinobi they had once been, and seemingly just made the stain worse. And Kakushi, as the heir to the family, was expected to just accept all that and take his place as the leader of the Arashi trade empire. It was a life he didn’t want, and would never want.
“All I need is a chance,” Kakushi said under his breath as he walked, “Just one chance, to be something more.”
After a few minutes of walking, Kakushi reached his family’s mansion. A hundred years of working to be the best traders in Konoha had been good to the Arashi: the building was spacious and elegant, and easily recognizable. A dark blue and silver banner with the word focus, the symbol and motto of the Arashi, hung from the front gate, fluttering slightly in the breeze. The gate guards, hired mercenaries of course, gripped their katanas as Kakushi approached, but when they saw it was him they opened the gate and welcomed him back. Kakushi smiled and waved as the guards closed the gate behind him.
Kakushi walked through the front garden, enjoying the smells of the flowers and aromatic herbs his mother had had planted here. As he walked on the little bridge that crawled over the small koi creek that wound all the way around the house, he took a moment to just stand in place, staring down into the water. He watched the koi swim back and forth, recognized his favorites. There was Hoshi, a big black one with a single visible silver spot on his back, Kasai, a bright red one with a sprinkling of orange, and Hyōga, a pure white one. As Kakushi watched them swim, he felt a connection to them. Both he and the koi appeared to have freedom, but in truth were stuck in the same cycle, walking the same paths and seeing the same sights again and again. It was false freedom. Kakushi hated it. He didn’t want to spend the rest of his life doing his best to squeeze every last coin possible out of some poor peasant, seeing the same bad looks again and again. He wanted adventure, he wanted danger; he wanted to be shinobi.
“Master Kakushi!” yelled a voice. Kakushi jumped a little as the voice snapped him out of his musings, but relaxed into slight annoyance as he recognized the voice. He looked up and saw Sābanto, the Arashi clan’s head butler and Kakushi’s personal servant, dressed in dark blue robes with a silver sash. The butler, his bald head glistening in the sunlight and brown eyes filled with fear and a little bit of frustration, veritably scurried up to Kakushi, somehow managing to fast walk and maintain perfect posture simultaneously.
“What have you done to your clothes!” the bulter cried in alarm as he pulled a leaf from Kakushi’s collar.
“I was climbing trees,” Kakushi said matter-of-factly as he slipped past the butler and headed towards the house. Sābanto made a few flustered exclamations as he fell in step behind and to the right of Kakushi, continuing to pull leaves from various places on his person. Kakushi let him do it, too wrapped up in his own mind to argue. His parents had made their head butler Kakushi’s personal servant in an attempt to convince him that the luxuries of their lifestyle were worth the cost of decency. They of course failed, but that didn’t keep them from trying.
After a short walk of around five meters, Kakushi and Sābanto passed through the large oak doors and crossed the threshold into the entrance hall, Sābanto still pulling leaves. He kept pulling until finally, as the odd pair reached the mansion’s spacious kitchen, he pulled the last one from Kakushi’s waistband.
“You simply must try harder to keep yourself presentable,” Sābanto, “What will people think when they see the heir to the Arashi trade empire looking like a common street urchin?” Kakushi wanted to say that he would rather he had been born a street urchin, but he just shrugged. Sābanto looked like he was about to give Kakushi a rather stern lecture, but when Kakushi started to walk into the kitchen and the butler caught a glimpse of who was already inside, he seemed to decide against it and simply walked off, muttering to himself.
Hunched over the stove inside the kitchen, stirring her signature homemade ramen, was Meido, the Arashi’s head maid. She looked like the female version of Sābanto, who happened to be her twin brother, except for the fact that she had a luscious mane of brown hair and wore a silver apron rather than a sash over a dark blue knee-length dress. Though she and Sābanto were twins, Kakushi had always liked Meido better, probably because of the fact that she didn’t fawn over him as if she’d lose her job if so much as a single one of his hairs was out of place.
For most of his life, Kakushi had lived in the mansion by himself, with only the house staff for company. His father was always some place or other, using his “signature Arashi charm” to maintain good trade relations in the Land of Fire and the other major shinobi kingdoms. His mother often accompanied him, having picked up during their marriage a good deal of administrative skill on top of the natural wit and cleverness his father had married her for. Throughout that time, Sābanto and Meido had played the roles of mother and father, though Meido was the only one with the decency to at least try and play the part.
That was another reason Kakushi wanted to be shinobi. He’d heard that Academy students were formed into teams after graduation, and eventually became closer than siblings. Kakushi wanted that kind of relationship, where the people were equals and respected and loved each other because they wanted to, not because they had to. Meido and Sābanto were nice enough, but in the end they were still servants, and though Meido did a good job of brushing over this fact, in the end she was still bound by the terms of her contract to serve the Arashi family. No matter how much she and Kakushi liked each other, they would never be equals.
Kakushi stood silently in the kitchen for a few moments, simply watching Meido work. He liked watching. There was a certain poetic beauty in how Meido cooked the noodles and broth, adding just the right spices at just the right moments in just the right amounts to form her culinary masterpiece. As he watched, Kakushi realized that with Meido focus on her ramen, the cookie jar was unguarded. Smiling, he snuck over, watching Meido for any reaction. He stood reached across the counter and grasped for the jar. It was just out of his short 8-year-old reach, so he stood on his tiptoes and strained. His hand gripped the jar and he pulled it towards him, pulling off the top and reaching a greedy hand inside. His fingers were just brushing the top cookie when suddenly…
*smack!*
Something walloped his backside. Kakushi yelped and dropped the lid, which clanged on the counter. He whirled around, shielding his rear end as he rubbed the sting away. Meido stood over him, a smug smile on her face and a wooden spoon in her hand.
“Ow!” he said.
“That’s enough of that young man,” Meido said, “You know the rules: no cookies until after you’ve had your ramen!” Meido was the only one aside from Sābanto and Kakushi’s parents who could talk to Kakushi like that without an instant dismissal. Kakushi scowled at his unofficial mother as the sting began to subside. Meido kept grinning as she put the spoon down and picked up a wet rag, kneeling down to wipe the dirt from Kakushi’s face.
“You know,” she said, “If you at least took the time to wipe the dirt off your face, people might be more attracted to you.” Kakushi shrugged.
“Just seems like a waste of time to me,” he said. Meido laughed.
“You sound like one of those Nara clan boys,” she said as she finished her task and straightened.
“Now go wash those hands of yours and sit at the table,” she continued, “I’ll bring your dinner in a moment.” Kakushi was gone so fast he might have teleported. Meido chuckled as she dished up some ramen for the boy. As she walked in and set the bowl in his favorite seat, she found herself wishing for the thousandth time that he really was her son. He had often told her of his dream to be more than a trader, and it hurt her whenever his father blew him off because of some family problem from a hundred years ago.
Oh well, she thought to herself, Kakushi’s a smart kid. Someday he’ll find a way to get through to his father.
Approximately ten seconds after he’d left, Kakushi bolted back into the kitchen. He sat down at the kitchen table and immediately dug in to his bowl of ramen. Meido watched from the kitchen as she washed the dishes, smiling at the young boy's gusto. He was getting so big. Before she knew it, he would be off, finding his own adventure. That's what she hoped at least.
Like Kakushi, Meido had wanted to be a shinobi when she was younger. However, coming from a family of servants, she had been expected to find a job with a wealthy family where her "true skills" would be best used. Like a fool she had relented, and now she was stuck with the Arashi clan until she died or they released her, whichever came first. Since then she had regretted not pushing harder for her dream, and she didn't want Kakushi to feel that regret. Having practically raised him, she knew him almost as well as his parents did, and one thing was for certain: Kakushi was worthless as a merchant. She wanted to say it, to give Kakushi the encouragement he lacked, but of course, speaking of shinobi, or even just of being something other than what his father wanted in front of the boy was strictly forbidden.
"More please!" Said Kakushi, snapping Meido out of her reverie. The woman laughed as she saw that Kakushi, in the space of maybe a minute or two, had completely drained his bowl.
"Did climbing trees make you hungry?" She asked as she stepped forward and took his bowl. Kakushi frowned.
"How did you..." he started.
"Don't you remember who taught you to climb in the first place?" Meido said as she filled the bowl, "I could smell the tree sap and dirt on you as soon as you walked in the kitchen." Kakushi grinned.
"So that's how you knew I was behind you," he said. Meido smiled back.
"I may not be an Inuzuka," Meido said, tapping her nose as she put the bowl in front of him, "But I can sense a smelly boy from a mile away." Kakushi grinned again as he filled his mouth with ramen. He was savoring the taste when suddenly the front door banged open.
"Master Arashi!" Cried Sabanto, "I hope your endeavor was productive..."
"Enough Sabanto," said the voice of Kakushi ' s father. Meido disappeared into the kitchen as Kakushi gulped down his mouthful and stood. His father, a tall man with the same thick ebony hair and piercing blue eyes of his son, walked in with a storm swirling in his irises. He was wearing a long dark blue robe with with a silver sash like Sabanto, though his was decorated with silver swirls and edging, and was obviously of better quality than the butler's. Kakushi made the customary formal bow and looked up into his father's stormy eyes.
"Kakushi Arashi," his father said in the falsely quiet and calm voice that was often associated with his anger, "You went to the academy today." Kakushi ' s eyes widened and he shrunk back a little. His father knew?
"One of the servants said he saw you today while he was running errands," his father said as if reading his son's mind, "You were taking to one of the trainers."
"But..." Kakushi said, "But I didn't go in." His father's eyes narrowed. He was keeping his composure, but Kakushi could tell that he was mad; very mad.
"Young man that is a massive rationalization," his father said, "I told you that the ninja academy is no place for an Arashi. They have brought nothing but ruin in our family. You deliberately disobeyed me." Kakushi stared up into his father's eyes. He knew that the shinobi thing to do would have been to argue, to say that he wanted to be a shinobi more than anything, to convince his father he was right. Unfortunately, beyond becoming a merchant, disappointing his father was the last thing he wanted to do.
“But I...” he stumbled, “I really want to…to go to…”
“For the thousandth time,” his father said, “You will not be going to the academy. Every minute you waste on that useless dream is a minute you could be studying to fulfill your true destiny.” Kakushi tried to speak more, but couldn’t.
"I have allowed you a great deal of freedom the past few years," his father continued, "But this kind of total disrespect requires consequences. You are hereby confined to the house for the remainder of today and for tomorrow. Tomorrow night your mother and I will talk about whether we should extend it." Kakushi wanted to argue, to say it wasn't fair, but he couldn't form the words. He just hung his head.
"Yes father," he said. His father nodded and turned away, walking towards his study. As Kakushi walked away in the opposite direction and headed up the stairs to his room, he cursed his spineless self. Like so many others, this chance to finally convince his father had failed. This wasn’t the first time he was being punished like this. He had gone to the Academy against his father’s wishes more than a few times. Sometimes he got caught, sometimes he didn’t, but when he did, it always turned out the same way. He tried to convince his father, and was roadblocked with a spiel about his “true destiny”.
Kakushi opened the door to his room and stepped in. He sighed as he saw the mountain of work on his desk. He slumped onto his desk and, crossing his arms on the desk, put his head on his forearms.
“Why,” he said to himself, “Why won’t he just listen.”
The question was useless; Kakushi knew very well why. His father was so wrapped up in making his son into the perfect little Arashi trader, and so concerned with distancing himself from his ancestors, that he refused to think of Kakushi as anything else. Kakushi looked up again at the lessons on his desk. He sat back in his chair and grabbed the first workbook. He sighed again and cracked it open.
If I don’t get through to him someday, Kakushi said, I’ll start to believe him.
After what felt like an eternity, Kakushi sat back in his chair and put his pencil down, his homework complete. His desk clock read 6:00 pm. His father and mother would be sitting in the living room, their dinner eaten, talking or doing whatever it was they did this time of night. On a normal day Kakushi would still be roaming around Konoha, indulging himself in a world that was not his, in a false freedom that his father thought was so good. With a sigh, the young boy stood up from his chair and walked to the window. Outside, a few ninja students from the academy were playing in the street.
Kakushi could always tell a shinobi from the other citizens of the village. Their clothes, the way they carried themselves, even the words that floated up to him from their conversations; all were clues, and tantalizing reminders of his own condition. Kakushi’s heart yearned to be one of them. He felt that if he didn’t he would die.
His father, for all his intelligence, just didn’t understand Kakushi. No matter how appealing his father made it sound, or told him of what would happen if he didn’t, Kakushi just didn’t want to live the life of a rich merchant. He wanted danger and adventure. He wanted camaraderie and loyalty. He wanted to be a hero. He didn’t want to keep feeling useless.
His father’s definition of “freedom” didn’t help his case. He thought that simply allowing Kakushi to roam free was giving him freedom. In truth, being able to see but not touch the life he yearned for just made Kakushi feel even more trapped. Of one thing Kakushi was certain: If he didn’t become shinobi, he would never be free.
Suddenly angry, Kakushi banged his fist on the windowsill.
Curse my infernal ancestors! He cried out in his mind, Curse their infernal lust for power!
“I know your angry,” came a voice suddenly behind him, “But I don’t think the windowsill deserves your rage.” Kakushi turned to see Meido walking through the door with a tray in her hands. A plate of steaming chicken and vegetables was on top.
“Your father let me bring you up some dinner,” she said, putting the tray on his desk and wiping her hands off on her apron. Kakushi felt his heart melt at Meido’s words. Though her voice and posture never changed, she didn’t fool Kakushi. He knew from the time that his parents had already eaten. She had brought the food up herself, risking his father’s wrath in the process. Of all the people in the village, only she truly ignored his family line to give him such kindness. Only she saw him for who he was.
As Meido turned to leave, she was blocked by Kakushi standing in the door. A single tear rolled down his cheek.
“What’s wrong, sweetheart?” she said, kneeling down in front of him.
“Meido,” Kakushi said, “Am I useless?” Meido was shocked at such a blunt and depressing question from her eight year old charge. She couldn’t know that the conflicting desires of wanting to please his parents and follow his dream were tearing Kakushi up inside. He wanted to be truly free, to not be stifled by expectations he didn’t want to meet, and a life he didn’t want to live. However, he feared what his father would think or do when he truly refused to follow the path set before him.
“Is this about what your father said?” she asked. Kakushi nodded, another tear slipping free. Meido wiped both tears away, reminded of how much Kakushi was like herself: trapped in a life you didn’t want, but too scared to leave it.
“Listen to me,” Meido said. She took Kakushi’s head in her hands, and looked into his eyes. She decided, right then and there, she would give Kakushi the encouragement she had been forbidden to give him. Consequences be damned, she was not going to let the boy who was like a son to her be torn apart by the actions of the very people who were supposed to love him the most.
“If you have a dream,” she said, “You should go for it, because if you don’t you will regret it the rest of your life. If you want it that much, then there should be nothing to stand in your way.” It was such a simple thing to say, but it seemed to have a profound effect. With those words, something clicked in Kakushi’s mind. A fire was kindled in his eyes, and without another word he turned around, walked down the stairs, and marched right into the living room.
His father, who was reading a letter in his big armchair, looked up at his approach. A storm appeared in his own eyes, but when they caught the fire in Kakushi’s, the storm seemed to dwindle a bit.
“What is the meaning of this?” he said, putting down his letter, “I told you to stay in your room.” Kakushi walked until he was right in front of his father. His mother, sewing in the corner, and Sabanto, standing ready in the other, stood in rapt attention, fear in their eyes.
“Father,” Kakushi said, “I want to go to the academy. I want to be shinobi.” Kakushi’s father, looking more annoyed than angry now, stood up and stood in front of his son.
“I thought I already made it clear,” he said, “You will not be going to the academy, Kakushi, it is not the place for you.”
“I believe that it is the place for me,” Kakushi said, “It is my dream, and I intend to follow it.”
“Dreams have no place in reality!” his father suddenly snapped, “There is a very good reason that the Arashi clan has not produced a shinobi in a hundred years. They have brought nothing but ruin on our family!” Kakushi looked up at his father and refused to back down.
“I do not care,” Kakushi said, “I will be different from my ancestors.”
“Why do you insist on this rebellion!” his father said, “Why do you insist on trying my patience!” Kakushi said nothing. His father threw up his hands.
“I just don’t understand you!” he said, “I have given you everything a boy could ask for! In nothing have I limited you! And besides that, you know the story of your ancestors! You know the ruin they brought! You know the stain that even now we still carry! Despite all that you have and know, you insist on following this foolish notion!” Kakushi clenched his tiny fists. Meido’s encouragement, so small and so simple, had broken a floodgate in Kakushi’s mind and heart, and now eight years of pent-up emotion were pouring forth.
“I am not my great-great-grandfather!” he yelled up at his father, “Why must I always carry his stain, and never be given a chance to cleanse it!”
“You are being given the chance!” his father replied, spreading his arms as if to encompass the entire Arashi trade empire, “This and more could all be yours if you would just forget this shinobi nonsense! You could make the Arashi name the mightiest in the entire Land of Fire, be the greatest trader in all the great kingdoms, if you would just apply yourself!”
“I don’t want to be a trader!” Kakushi screamed at the top of his lungs, “I have never wanted to be, and I never will want to be!” The room was suddenly filled with silence. The storm in his father’s eyes had been replaced with a look of complete and utter shock. Only after he said it did Kakushi realize that never had he been so direct. Never had he said those words to his father.
“You say that you have given me happiness and freedom, but I have felt neither!” Kakushi continued, rage and pain flowing forth like a gushing river, “All I have ever felt is pain and uselessness and rejection! People avoid me like the plague, even though the only thing I have ever done is carry the Arashi name!” His father stumbled back into his chair.
“You say that you work to cleanse the stain,” Kakushi said, “But people don’t even trust me enough to give me the time of day!” His father’s mouth opened and closed like a fish.
“I don’t want a life of luxury and wealth!” Kakushi continued, openly crying now, “I want danger and adventure! I want to prove that I am more than the spoiled child of a stained lineage! I want to help people, not find new ways to take their money! I want to be a hero! I want to be shinobi!” Kakushi started to say more, but he choked on the words. His anger spent, his fists painfully unclenched as his tensed body relaxed.
“Please father,” he said, “Just give me a chance. I chance to be who I am.” His father, completely limp in his chair, looked as if he’d been slapped.
“Please,” Kakushi said. The entire room sat in silence for what seemed like an eternity. Kakushi stared at his father, waiting with nervous apprehension for what he would say. Finally, his father sat forward, cleared his throat, and looked at Kakushi.
“Very well,” he said, “I will give you a chance.” Kakushi’s spirits soared. He was about to rush forward and give his father a hug, but the storm came back to his father’s eyes and stopped him in his tracks.
“But know this,” he said, “If you fail and bring dishonor back to our family, my wrath will not be the only thing you will have to fear.” An hour ago, such words from his father would have killed Kakushi’s fire right there. Now, however, the storm fanned the flames and Kakushi stood taller.
“I will not fail,” he said, “I will bring honor back to our family, and make you proud. I swear it.”


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Naruto and Naruto Shippuuden belong to © Masashi Kishimoto.