22. Graduation [4]
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[12 year-old Hinata P.O.V]

I... I was alone from the very beginning, I didn't feel loved, I didn't feel care, even so, I still wanted to help others, I didn't want to... hurt others, even though I was stronger, I wasn't the strongest but I was strong enough to protect myself at that time, even if father looked to love me, this changed a few years ago after I couldn't bring myself to hurt my sister and win the fight.

The time that I met him.

I was alone after running away from home, I ended up bumping into these three boys, they started bullying me, I couldn't bring myself to hurt them, I didn't want to hunt them, it changed when 'he' appeared, when 'he' saved me, when 'he' showed me care.

Naruto Uzumaki, I learned about him, he was different from other boys, he was the one that saved me from the darkness, he didn't show it directly but as if coincidence, every time I was in trouble, he appeared, I felt curious about him, the one that didn't care about facing others, the one that saved me.

So I started studying, Uzumaki Clan, a long destroyed Clan that were expert on Fuuinjutsu and masters at Kenjutsu, the Senju and Uzumaki Clan can be considered cousins, their most notorious characteristic being their unique red-colored hair, I wonder why Naruto-kun don't have one, I prefer him the way he is, though, it wouldn't change anything to me.

Naruto-kun is strong, stronger than any other Student and even Genins that came to challenge him, he's pretty famous because he's invincible, some Chuunins even challenged him but failed, through intense time searching, I found something - Naruto-kun was hated by almost everyone, only the 7 of us, the Heirs to our respective Clans, through the entire class, didn't hate him, there was also that pink-haired girl, despite being a Commoner, she's talented enough to become a strong Kunoichi in the future.

I couldn't fall behind Naruto-kun, I wanted to be strong as him because I want to spend time with him but... every time I get near him, I get too nervous, even so, every single time I think of that one, rare smile that he showed me, Naruto-kun was a hurt soul, I started to find more about him, I... my heart started to hurt so... so much after I learned about everything he suffered, he didn't smile often.

Every time he smiled, I would record it in my mind forever, I wanted to be with Naruto-kun, it was also at that time, the time I realized what I felt towards him, it was strange but good at the same time, always that I thought about Naruto-kun rare smile, my body would feel heavy and I almost always fell unconscious, however, I was sure about it.

It was love.

[Naruto P.O.V]

The Graduation Exam was approaching and it would happen in just a few hours, I decided to release Kyuu-san seal, it was time to do so already, I'm 12 years old, after all.

Even so, I couldn't help but be nervous, not because I was afraid of Kyuu-san but rather, I was afraid, would Kyuu-san still be my friend even after that? He wouldn't... hate me, right? Shaking my head, I removed these thoughts from my head, it was just occasional ones I had due to past things, I can 'feel' it, Kyuu-san isn't like that, he's more human than most humans, after all.

Closing my eyes, I appeared on my mindscape, Kyuu-san told me I needed a 'key' to release the Seal but I didn't really need it, I just studied the Seal for some time before I found a way to release it, approaching it, I 'floated' before it.

With my five fingers, I hit my own 'stomach' as the gate suddenly started to change, the spiraling-like thing disappeared before a paper with Sealing Symbols stood in front of me, Kyuu-san looked towards it with stoic eyes but I could see the deep excitement hidden within his eyes, he just sucks at hiding his true feelings, even if he improved slightly at hiding it.

Just as my hand touched the Sealing Paper, I was sent back a meter back as a tall, blonde man appeared before me, I narrowed my eyes, of course I knew him, the famous Hero of Konohagakure, the Fourth Hokage, Minato Namikaze - more commonly known as my father.

''Do not release that seal, if you do that, it will be released! Kyuubi controlled you to release its seal!'' My father said, his face was serious, so serious that I couldn't help but... laugh, I laughed loudly.

Minato stood there confusedly before he said temptingly ''Um... Why are you laughing? Don't you want to know who I'm, Naruto?''

''Oh, it's nothing, it's just that I thought the great Fourth Hokage was a great person but seeing you in person just makes me feel more and more disgust.'' Naruto said after wiping out the tear coming from his eyes after laughing so much.

''...?!'' Minato fell in silence 'Disgust? Why would he feel disgusted towards me?'

Naruto smiled before he said ironically ''Don't you know what happened to your dear son, Hokage-sama? The one you chose to abandon, the one you chose to sacrifice to save the Village, the one that was tortured for years, isn't it ironic, Hokage-sama? You wanted them to see me, your son, as a Hero, it's indeed, ironic, they did the exact opposite, they judged me as the monster that destroyed the Village...''

''This is not possible, Hiruzen wouldn't let that happen! Naruto, I didn't choose to save the village, I chose to make you a Hero! It was...'' He said before hesitating, then, he added

''It was for the greater good!'' Minato said as Naruto could, somehow, imagine an old man with already white hair and a long beard instead of that young, blonde man.

''No wonder you're the Fourth Hokage, they're always spouting that bullsh*t 'Will of Fire', 'Greater Good', they're all lies, anyway, Kyuu-san didn't control me, I chose to release him because he was my very first friend, if not for him and Kakashi-nii-san, my mind would've broken long ago, Hokage-sama.'' Naruto said as Minato's face cracked, his expression fell, waves of sadness hitting him, suddenly, the blonde felt as if thunder struck him before he realized all the wrong things that happened.

Minato then shook his head, a smile appearing on his face ''I failed as the Hokage, Naruto, however, the important thing is - I failed with you, my own son, I know you're feeling betrayed, I won't ask you to forgive me or the Village or whoever mistreated you, I don't have much time but know that no matter what you choose from now on, I will support you.''

His figure started disappearing slowly, however, a smile was on Minato's face as he said his last words ''Live well, my son. I'll always be watching you from above!''

As if his soul had redeemed itself, Minato soul fragmented in many parts before it shone in a bright light, disappearing forever.

Naruto couldn't be more confused than ever but he didn't forgive his father in the slight bit, maybe he could think about it in the future but not now, he had someone important to meet, someone that never stopped caring about him.

''It's time for you to be released, Kyuu-san!'' Naruto said as Kyuubi just harrumphed but an excited smile was on his face 'Sigh, you never learn to hide your true feelings, Kyuu-san!' Naruto thought before removing his seal.

As the red-colored bars opened up, Kyuubi roared in happiness but suddenly, he stopped before looking towards Naruto, then, with a serious expression, as if he decided something extremely important, he said ''Kurama. My name is Kurama. Remember it, brat!''

With his trademark smile, Naruto said ''I hope we can continue to be partners, Kurama!''

The already unbreakable bonds made by two hurt souls were once again reinforced, a friendship and partnership that nobody ever forgot about, a friendship bonded by their own very souls, at that time, they didn't know about it yet, however, these two wouldn't ever be removed from each other again.

They were both best friends, brothers and partners, their friendship something that couldn't be described by mere words.

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