In the Shadows (NARUTO fanfic)

Twelve year old orphan, Taiga lives in wilderness of the Fire Nation, just outside of the Konoha village, along with some other orphans. But that all changes when Taiga's “family” is killed by a gang of outlaws. Soon after, he meets Hatake Kakashi, a ninja from Konoha village. After being taken in by Kakashi, by orders of the Hokage, Taiga joins the ninja academy and meets the prankster, Uzumaki Naruto, love-struck fan-girl, Haruno Sakura, and the anti-social youth, Uchiha Sasuke, as well as many others. Whether fighting infamous villains or training for the chunin exams, Taiga struggles to keep his true identity, and gender (female), a secret. Disclaimer: I don't own NARUTO, all credit should go to Kishimoto Masashi and the people who made the anime. I only own the OCs and ninjutsu I create. Also; sorry for any and all OOCs that I may commit.


2. 1) The Promises

Third person POV

"Run, Taiga-dono!" A voice shouted out through the pouring rain. "Run! Don't look back! You must escape!"

"But, Hitoshi!" The small child cried out in fear. The young man, Hitoshi, held the child's hand as they quickly ran through the storm. "I'm scared!"

"You'll be alright, Taiga-dono!" Hitoshi reassured, giving Taiga a small smile. "I'll keep you safe! I won't let anything happen to you!"

Suddenly, five shuriken shot out of the darkness behind them. Hitoshi grabbed a kunai from his leg-holster and threw it back in the direction of the assailant and grabbed Taiga as he quickly jumped out of the way of the enemy weapons.

Thanks to his quick actions, Hitoshi had managed to slightly injure their pursuer and protect Taiga at the same time. Protecting himself, however, was another matter.

"Hitoshi!" Taiga shouted, staring at Hitoshi's back in horror. "You're hurt!" Three of the shuriken had managed to deeply embed themselves into Hitoshi's unarmored back.

"I-I'm fine, Taiga-dono," Hitoshi struggled to speak through the pain as blood seemed to pour from his wounds "I'll get you to safety. Trust me."

"No!" Taiga tried to argue. "They'll kill you! It's me that they want! Just give me to them and they'll leave you alone!"

"No," He ignored the child's requests to save himself. Even if Hitoshi decided to betray his precious Taiga-dono, which he would never do, Hitoshi knew that there was no way that he would be spared by the ones who were hunting them. "I swore I'd give my life to protect you, and so I shall."

"Hitoshi?" Taiga looked at the young ninja in confusion. "What are you doing?"

"Forgive me, Taiga-dono," Hitoshi said as he hit a pressure-point on the back if Taiga's neck, causing the child to gasp in pain before struggling to keep consciousness.

Hitoshi laid the child at the roots of a large tree, and hidden by bushes, low hanging ivy, and other shrubbery. Hitoshi took of the necklace that he always wore around his neck and placed it around Taiga's.

Hitoshi took a few steps away from Taiga, who was now completely hidden by the plants, and made some hand signs. "Tsuchi bunshin no jutsu," Hitoshi muttered under his breath. An earth clone appeared next to him. Next, he did another jutsu. "Henge no jutsu." The earth clone transformed into a perfect replica of Taiga.

Hitoshi picked up his transformed clone, not unlike how he had been carrying Taiga not three minutes prior, and ran off.

The last thing that Taiga saw before fully becoming unconscious was the retreating form of the ninja, followed quickly by their enemy, who had managed to catch up with them, but not so much as to have seen Hitoshi's little trick.

"H-Hitoshi..." Taiga managed to croak as darkness cloaked the young child.

Three years later//Taiga's POV

"Taiga-kun!" A male's voice shouted out to me. "To your left! He's coming to your left!"

At this new information, I quickly changed my stance, facing in the direction of the target. "You're not getting away this time," I growled, holding my ground. However, unlike how a normal human would be standing on his legs, I was on all fours, my hands outstretched in front of me with my back slightly arched, like a cat about to pounce on it's prey.

The target came closer and closer still as I waited for it. Almost, I thought as the rustling sound came closer.!

I pounced at the target just as it came within range. "Got it!" I snarled gleefully as I grabbed the creature in my hands. I held the surprised squirrel up, over my head and shouted. "Shigure-nii!" I called out. "I got 'im!"

"Hai!" A fourteen year old boy with red-orange hair, gold eyes and three scars running along his right cheek said gleefully as he raced over to me. "Good job, Taiga-kun!" Shigure praised as he pet my head. "You really helped us out, there!"

Shigure and I walked back to our camp where three other orphans lived along with us.

"Shi nii-chan!" An enthusiastic seven year old girl with long brown pig-tails ran towards us, carrying a pink stuffed bunny toy. "Tai nii-chan! You're back!"

"Yep, Yui-chan!" Shigure grinned at the little girl, hiding the squirrel behind his back. "And guess what?"

"What?" Yui asked, cheerfully. "What is it, nii-chan?"

Before Shigure could answer, a voice boomed out, making me jump a bit. "Taiga-kun!"

"H-hai?" I asked, turning my head to face the speaker.

Standing before me was a fifteen year old boy with pure white hair. He was one of the oldest of us orphans, second only to his older twin brother.

"Hai, Kuro-nii?" No joke, his name was Kuro, meaning "black". "What is it?"

"You left without shoes again, didn't you?" Kuro yelled, pointing to my bare feet. "You know you could get hurt if you aren't wearing shoes in the forest!"

"But, I don't like wearing shoes," I lied. The truth was, the only pair of shoes I owned were two sizes too small, but I knew if I told anyone that, they'd get me new ones. And since we were just a bunch of unwanted orphans, none of us had jobs or the money to buy shoes. They would have to steal them. "Shoes are really cumbersome; they bother me."

"Hmm..." Kuro leaned down to stare me in the eyes. "Is that so? Are you sure you don't need new ones? I can get you some, you know."

"No!" I waved my hands in the air in front of me. "I'm fine, really! I don't need new shoes at all! I just don't like 'em!"

Kuro looked at me before sighing sadly. "Alright, Taiga-kun. Alright. So," Kuro turned to Shigure. "You find anything to eat?"

"Hai!" Shigure smiled, pulling the squirrel out from behind his back. "Look! Real meat!"

"Did someone say meat?!" A new voice demanded. I turned around to face another boy of fifteen years of age. He had messy black hair and was Kuro's older twin. His name was Shiro, meaning "white". "Where?! Where is the meat?!"

"Shiro-nii!" I greeted him, smiling at his love for meat. "I caught a squirrel today! We can eat meat for the second time is month! Isn't that wonderful?"

"You caught it, Taiga?" Shiro turned to me. "Good boy!" Shiro picked me up by my underarms and spun me around in circles. "Good boy, Taiga! Very good boy!" He set me back down on the ground a pet my head as if I were a dog.

Now see, a normal human probably would have shoved his hand off or told Shiro to stop treating them like an animal, but I wasn't normal at all.

I purred as Shiro continued to rub my head before Shigure's voice brought me back to the matter at hand.

"So, Taiga-kun," Shigure said. "Since you were the one who caught it, how do you think we should eat it?"

"Uh..." I scratched my head, thinking. "How about...roasted?"

"Alright then!" Shigure said, pumping a fist in the air. "Roasted it is!"

"Yay!" Yui cheered.

"Make sure it's fully cooked before you eat it," Warned Kuro.

"Meat!" Shiro practically drooled.

"Clowns are scary!" I joined in. "And so are leprechauns!"

My companions stared at me as if I were crazy.

"What?" I looked at them, genuinely confused. "They are!"

After our dinner of roasted squirrel and acorns, we settled down in our make-shift tents which were little more than shredded blankets tied to low hanging tree branches.

Kuro and Shiro shared a tent, and as did Shigure, Yui, and I. However, I wasn't in a tent like my friends were right then; I was sitting in a tree, watching the night-time clouds roll by.

A cool, night's breeze came, brushing my chin-level, black hair across my dark blue-gray eyes. I gripped the necklace that I always wore around my neck and remembered something from three years ago, the day the Hitoshi most likely died.

"Taiga-dono," Hitoshi had told me on that fateful day not so long ago. "You have to remember; from now on, you must only call yourself Taiga-kun. You must not let anyone no your last name, or the fact that you are a girl, not a boy. If you do, then your life will be at an extreme risk. They will find you," Hitoshi looked me in the eyes. "Do you understand, Taiga-dono?"

"Hai, Hitoshi," I had nodded back at him.

"Good," The ninja took out a kunai and lifted it up to my head. "Now," Hitoshi said, grabbing some of my hair. "Let's start with your hair." Hitoshi cut my pitch black hair that once reached my elbows, ear length, like a young boy's. After my hair had been cut, we moved on to my outfit.

We trashed my elegant, traditional-style dress and traded it with long, gray pants that were to long for me at the time, a dark green tee-shirt, and a pair of old boots.

Shortly after that, we were racing through the forest with the enemy right on our heels, which was when Hitoshi left me with his necklace, and hunted down.

"Tai nii-chan?" A sweet voice called silently from the ground, bringing me back to the present.

"Yui-chan?" I asked, looking down at the young girl. "What are you doing up? It's almost midnight."

"I had a bad dream," Yui glanced down at the ground, tears threatening to escape her eyes. "You were in it."

"Oh, Yui..." I jumped off my tree branch and landed cat-style to look her in the face. "Tell me, what was it about? Maybe I can help."

"Y-you said that you were g-going a-away..." Yui whimpered as tears dripped down her cheeks, falling onto her pink bunny. "You s-said that you didn't like me...That you didn't c-care what h-happened to me...Y-you said you h-hated m-me..."

Her words broke my heart. "Yui-chan," I looked her in the eyes, tears in my own eyes. "I would never leave you. And I don't like you," Yui glanced at me fear fully but I continued. "I love you, Yui-chan. You're like a little sister to me."

"Nii-chan," Yui glomped my neck in a hug, which I gladly returned. "Thank you..."

"Of course, Yui-chan," I smiled. "I'll protect you forever."

Little did I know, that the promise I had just made, would haunt me forever.

"Get back here, you brats!" One of the two armed bandits yelled at us as we ran away as fast as our weak legs could carry us.

"Yeah!" The other, crazed bandit laughed. "Come back so we can chop you up! Wah ha ha ha gah!"

"Kyaa!" Yui screamed as the crazed bandit threw a spiked knife at her.

"Yui!" Shigure jumped in front of her, the knife embedding itself into his shoulder. "Gyaah!" He screamed in pain as the thorns ripped into his flesh.

Shiro turned back to help Shigure right as the first bandit appeared behind him.

"Shiro!" Kuro screamed as he watched his older brother being slashed in the back four times by a pair of twin swords.

"R-run, guys..." Shiro forced the words out as he coughed up blood before collapsing to the ground, unmoving as blood poured from his back.

"Shiro!" Kuro screamed, tears cascading down his face as he stared at his dead brother. Kuro fell to his knees and put a shaking pair of hands on Shiro's shoulders. "Oi, Shiro," Kuro shook his brother as if to rise him. "Oi, Shiro. Wake up...come on, man. Wake up..." As Kuro was still in disbelief of his brother's death, the bandit who murdered his brother, soon killed Kuro as well.

"Oi, boy," The bandit with the knives appeared before Shigure who still held onto Yui protectively even through the pain of the knife in his arm. "You got in the way of my prey. Now," The bandit held a knife to Shigure's throat. "You'll have to pay." The bandit moved to slice open Shigure's jugular but two small hands clamped around the Bandit's wrist.

"No!" Yui squeaked, placing herself in front of Shigure. "Don't hurt nii-chan! Nii-chan's good!"

"I see," The bandit smiled cruelly at the brunette. "So you want to die first? Yosh!"

"No!" Shigure and I screamed as one. "Don't!" Shigure reached out to Yui to pull her out of the way of the murderous weapon.

But he was too late.

"No," I whimpered, glancing down at Yui's lifeless form. "Yui..."

"You bastard!" Shigure screamed at the man, punching him in the face hard enough to make him fall onto his back. "You bastard! Bastard!" Shigure continued to scream as he beat the man.

"Shigure-nii..." I gripped onto his arm. Shigure stopped punching the man to stare at me with a crazed look in his eyes. "Shigure-nii...stop. Don't them...please."

The murderous look in Shigure's eyes slowly became under control and he was filled with guilt when he noticed that the knife bandit had been beaten almost beyond recognition and was unconscious.

"Taiga-kun..." Shigure looked at me regretfully. "I..."

"Ah, ah, ah," A cold voice scolded from behind me. "You shouldn't have done that, little boy."

"Taiga!" I heard the scream before a sea of red clouded my vision.

Щ(OДO)Щ___ So? What do you think? How was the first chapter? Oh! And just to let you know, this is my first NARUTO fanfic. Actually, I've had this story in my mind for some time now but--huh? You're already gone? Well, ok then. It's not like I care or anything. T^T *cries alone in corner*

Taiga; Ri does not own NARUTO. ___Щ(OДO)Щ

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