Uzumaki Naruto stood on the Hokages' monument, looking down on the village with contempt. Konohagakure, Konoha for short, meaning Village Hidden in the Leafs, had been his home ever since he was born, but as far as his five-year-old memory could recall, he had been ostracised. His body showed marks of abuse of all sorts, from broken arms to cigarette burns. He had even taken to sleeping in a tree during the warm months rather than risk being cornered in his bed by the orphanage staff. And today, on his fifth birthday, the orphanage matron had taken an evil pleasure at refusing him entrance to the building. He remembered that morning, as he climbed down the big tree and walked to the door to get some scraps of food.
'I will no longer allow you in the orphanage anymore, you devil!' she had shouted.
'Devil? What have I ever done to deserve this label?'
'You exist! Now, get out of my sight before I kill you... and succeed this time!'
Naruto turned around and began walking toward the gate, dropping on his belly on instinct as a kunai flew where his neck had been a mere second earlier. He picked up the kunai and walked off with it as the matron called him a robber for stealing her kunai. He ignored her and made his way to the walls of Konoha, and walked out, turning left to follow the exterior and reach the path leading to the monument. Once on top of the head of the fourth hokage, he sat down and began to think.
First, he needed food, then shelter. He had a weapon, but only one, and he knew by experience that the villagers would try their best to kill him, starve him to death, and force him to live in the dumpsters, if that. They too hated him with a passion and he just could not understand why.
As the sun rose over the mountains behind the monument, Naruto heard animals scavenge for food in the bush. As he saw leaves move, he let the kunai fly, and more out of luck than training, he hit a rabbit in the spine, killing it instantly.
He had watched shinobi trainees learn how to make fire while hidden in the underbrush of the many training grounds that pockmarked Konoha, so he had no trouble collecting the required equipment to prepare a fire pit. He used the kunai to slit the rabbit open, skin it, and empty it of its offal. Once that done, he wrapped the corpse in a thick layer of wet leaves, put the package at the bottom of the rock-lined fire pit, and started the fire on top. That way of cooking was the only one that would work given he had no pots or pans. He kept the fire low, feeding it wood just so. It was not a good idea to start a forest fire in a confined area, he had learned as one trainee got burned so badly he had to be removed from the shinobi training. The smoke was also almost invisible, a light white easily mistaken for a distant cloud.
Around noon, Naruto made his way back to the fire pit after picking up some berries and uprooting some vegetables which he added to the still burning hot ashes. The roots would cook while the meat would finish cooking.
He spent the afternoon cleaning the kunai and sharpening it with sand and rock. As the sun came down, he unearthed his vegetables and the rabbit, and devoured everything. For once, he would sleep on a full stomach! He made his way to another tree and climbed up, making sure not to leave any mark of his ascension. Once up, he covered himself with a banana leaf, noticing the tiny wild bananas trying to grow, but not yet ready to be harvested. The night would be fresher up there than in the village, but he had long learned that discomfort was better than pain.
During the night, he heard some noise below his perch, and listened.
'I wonder where the Container is?' asked a female voice.
'He was here, and from the fire pit, not too long ago,' replied a male voice as he touched the ash. 'The ash is still warm, but there is no fire hazard. Apparently, Naruto knows how to make a controlled burn.'
'I wonder where he learned this? No one wants to even see him, much less talk to him!'
'From what you slipped on, he also knows how to hunt!'
'Right! You needed to remind me I slipped on the innards of a rabbit, didn't you?' growled the female voice. 'He should also have learned to bury these things. It attracts predators!'
'And it was a good way to set a trap for us without we being the wiser! I'm sure he is now aware of our presence, given the noise you made as you fell. He probably took off barely seconds before we reached the fire pit.'
The two shinobi continued searching for Naruto for an hour, without any luck.
'That devil is probably miles away by now!' growled the female.
'And I've not been able to track him. It is as if his chakra is hidden! We both know a five-year old can not hide his chakra, but he does! Not a single foot print, not a single leaf torn, not a single branch broken! It is as if he flew off!'
'Flew off? Did you check the trees?'
'Yes, I did. Nothing. And how could he walk trees? Tree walking is taught at the Academy in the last year as chakra control exercise. He can not know this or have that level of control on his chakra!'
Naruto wanted to smirk, but knew better. A single drop of saliva could reveal his position, right above the two infuriated shinobi.
'Let us go back to the Hokage tower. We will not achieve anything here tonight,' said the male voice.
'I agree. Sarutobi will be pissed! How could a kid clothed in an horrible orange suit escape us? It was forced on the child by the Civilians so they could spot him from afar.'
'To better harass him. If he ever turns coat, I do not want to be in his sights.'
'True. I think the Hokage made a mistake about that one.'
'I do not know what motivated his decision, so I am going to keep quiet on the question.'
The two shinobi moved away, with the male commenting about the need to walk around the left-over rabbit innards so they could make their way down the mountain without leaving a trail for predators to follow.
Naruto slowly released his breath as the two moved off. He had something to think about. The female shinobi had said he was a 'container'. A container? Of what? The question remained unanswered, but it seemed that the Hokage had something to do with it.