Chapter 11

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Hello lovely readers!

Should I do these authors' notes from now on? They're kind of fun to do but I don't want to bother you guys or anything... anyway ^-^;

For those who guessed what was wrong with Naruto, you are right! Kind of... we're gonna learn about Naruto's 'secret' today, so be prepared! Okay, you have been warned...

Enjoy!

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Sakura ran, ran, ran.

Past blurred rooms that meant nothing to her, past faceless people, past everything until she finally reached her one destination- the infirmary.

"Yo, Sakura!"

Sakura stopped in her tracks, breath panting up and down heavily as she stared at the perfectly fine Naruto, who gave her a smile and said again, "Sakura!"

She closed her eyes, allowing herself to catch her breath, and then she marched up to Naruto.

She punched him. Hard.

"OWW! THAT HURT, SAKURA!" yowled Naruto. She gave no notice as she roared, "YOU SERIOUSLY WORRIED ME, NARUTO! WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED? WHY ARE YOU FINE?"

He stopped screaming and scratched his head. "Actually, I don't know," he admitted. A vein throbbed in Sakura's large forehead. "WHAT DO YOU MEAN, I DON'T KNOW?" she seethed. He gave a mousy laugh. "I don't, really. One second I was fine, then I blacked out and found myself in here. My head is killing me, though."

Sakura stopped and gave him a curious stare. "What?" grumbled Naruto. "You're staring at me. It's weird."

"That's only 'cause I'm worried, dummy!" She bonked him again, followed by an, "Ow!"

Shizune and Ino appeared in the doorway. "Oh, good! Sakura, you're here. I see that Lee reached you," said Shizune in relief. "Okay, then, I guess we'll start."

"Hold on." Sakura reached over and tapped Naruto's head. "What happened to him? I'm guessing that this has to do with this 'secret' that no one's telling me about. What is it?" It wasn't that she was straight to the point, it was that she was genuinely curious.

"I don't know-" started Shizune, but Naruto cut in. "No, it's okay. Sakura can know. Everyone else knows, anyway."

Shizune sighed. "Ino, I'll leave you to help him to his medications. Sakura, follow me."

As the door swung shut when Sakura followed suit, she glanced behind her to see Naruto laughing and joking around as usual.

What could be wrong with him?

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They sat in the Hokage's office, waiting.

Sakura didn't particularly like it there. It made her nervous, as if she was a child inside a principal's office. Even if something good was to happen, it still made her skittish and edgy.

The door swung open. "Oh, Sakura. You're here, then?" Tsunade quipped. Shizune nodded, then bowed. "I'll be leaving to take care of Naruto then, m'lady." She left.

"Okay," she took her seat. "What is it that you want to know?" Sakura took a deep breath, then said all in a rush, "IwanttoknowNaruto'ssecret."

"Whoa, whoa, slow down. What?" Sakura said slower, "I want to know Naruto's secret." Tsunade sighed. "Well, I suppose that you would want to know it sooner or later. Let me explain."

"It's not much a secret anymore, not after-" she frowned. "Actually, you don't need to know that either. Okay, here are some pictures of Naruto when his sickness takes over."

Sakura took them gratefully, took one look at them, and gasped.

They were Naruto, but... different.

His eyes were a hateful red, his fingernails' and teeth were elongated extremely sharp, and he was roaring at the sky. She couldn't imagine the friendly, goofy boy that she'd known for half a year would do... this.

"Do you see this?" Tsunade spoke with an urgency to her tone. "This is Naruto. He harbors evil inside of him."

"E-evil?" Sakura stuttered, not quite believing it. "He has... well, to explain it in medical terms, a sort of dissociative personality disorder? What I'm trying to say is.. he lives with more than one conscious in his body."

Sakura stared at the photos, appalled. "But... how does that work...?"

Tsunade sighed. "In this world of shinobi, impossible things exist. Surreal things. Things like spirits, evil beings- and one of them is trapped inside of Naruto's body."

Sakura didn't understand. "How does that work, though? Did he go through a process of some sort?"

"Long story short, an evil being called Kurama is trapped inside of him- and sometimes, its conscious leaks out of him. He's been working to control it, but he has... periods where he loses it. Doctors and skilled surgeons have nothing against him- it's his own fight."

Sakura hesitated. "I understand, but... I have a question."

"Shoot."

"Why do people treat Naruto as if he's a disease or something? Even the villagers at the market were pretty nasty." Tsunade scrunched up her nose as if she was trying to get a bad taste out of her mouth. "Easy. Because he's dangerous."

"That's it? Because he's dangerous?"

Tsunade sighed. "Look, Naruto's past is hard and is difficult to explain- in fact, I bet the only one who could explain it is Naruto. But let me tell you this- his parents made a huge sacrifice to make Naruto the holder of Kurama. They died trying to seal him away- which they did."

Sakura dropped the pictures.

Sure, she went through some hardships, but... how could Naruto bear through it? Getting looked at as if he was a rogue animal, not having anyone to comfort him... and the fact that his own parents died giving him that life just sounded unbearable. "I didn't know," breathed Sakura.

"No, you didn't. And that's why I'm telling you all this. Sakura," She looked up to see the woman's intense brown eyes, "don't treat him any differently than you do already. All he wants is for people to acknowledge him, do you know that? The person he wants to prove, most of all, is Uchiha. That's why he wants to become Hokage so badly."

Sakura stood up silently and said slowly, "Thank you for explaining, m'lady. I'll be off now."

"Yes, good, good."

She left.

"Hey, Sakura! What were you and Grandma going on about so long?" Naruto stood, grinning away like usual, as Sakura found it in her heart to say, "Nothing important. Thanks, Naruto."

She smiled.

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