|Naruto: Rogue Fox
Author: Axenome PM
Fox Hunt: In the depths of the ruins of Whirlpool, Naruto seeks answers, while Akatsuki and Konoha close in from either side. Fox Hunt Chapter One up.Rated: Fiction M - English - Drama/Adventure - Naruto U. - Chapters: 39 - Words: 217,892 - Reviews: 1,291 - Favs: 2,003 - Follows: 1,753 - Updated: 05-09-12 - Published: 08-20-08 - id: 4488167
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: I Do Not Own Naruto. Suing me, while possibly satisfying,
is counter productive as I own nothing, and you will miss out on all the
free advertising for the Naruto Manga and Anime this story provides.
Disclaimer: I Do Not Own Naruto. Suing me, while possibly satisfying,
Prologue: Alone in a Crowd
Naruto's eyes widened as his heart skipped a beat. "Wh-what is the secret?"
"Mizuki!" shouted Iruka. "Don't tell him!"
Just a few words, lost in a conversation known only by a few...
"Yes, it's true that I hate the demon fox…"
"Then why do you defend him?!" yelled Mizuki, cutting Iruka off. "Why stop me from killing him?!"
Just a few words extra, spoken rashly in haste and anger...
Naruto huddled beside the tree, feeling his world crumble, waiting... why? Why didn't he kill me?
"Because Naruto at his worst couldn't do as much damage to the village as you at your best!" Iruka snapped back defiantly.
Naruto's world turned to ash. Iruka sensei hadn't said wouldn't... he'd said couldn't.
Not that it wasn't something Naruto would do, but simply that he wasn't capable.
Only a few words different... and what difference could they possibly make?
No matter what I do, Naruto thought to himself, they will never accept me.
He missed the last words Mizuki spoke before hearing the sound of the Fuma shuriken being spun into its deadly rotation. And then, everything slowed, ground to a halt... faded... to black.
NO, THEY WILL NOT.
Naruto gasped, and opened his eyes.
The forest was gone. He was standing in a moist and misty hallway.
He felt the seeping cold and damp of wetness on his feet. There was a layer of water ankle-deep around him. And some several yards in front of him, there stood a massive, barred gate.
The silence in the hallway was absolute, but for the distant echoes of water trickling from somewhere, and the slow, steady sound of his own breath.
He took a step forward, and heard the sussurant splashing of his steps as he drew closer to the gate. Though there was ambient light around him, beyond its bars he could see nothing but blackness, an expanse of shadow deeper than the void. Gazing into the darkness, Naruto felt a chill, a trilling of terror beyond fear, beyond naming, beyond thought itself.
There's nothing there, he told himself. There's nothing to fear. Just... nothing. His pulse slowed, his breathing calmed as he kept repeating this to himself.
He was almost convinced when, suddenly, in the shadow, there was motion. A split in the darkness, as a massive eye opened, from eight feet up in the air. It blinked once, slit-pupiled and bloodshot, before it directed its malevolent gaze downwards and began to focus on him. Then, shattering the silence, a monstrous voice came, both nowhere and everywhere. It was the voice of a breaking storm, laden with threat and power and an ancient hate. It was the voice of a nightmare come to life, uncaring eldrich power noticing something beneath its toes that it was considering whether to avoid stepping on, or to crush beneath its feet to end its pointless motion. It was the voice of the ending of worlds.
Naruto felt his fear begin to ebb as his mind gave name to what he was seeing before him. "You're the Kyuubi... Aren't you."
BRAVE KID, the voice said with a chuckle. COME CLOSER, IF YOU ARE TRULY SO BRAVE.
Naruto edged closer to the gate, his heart finally calm, although caution had not yet left him. His slow, measured steps left miniscule splashing sounds that accompanied the distant echoes with almost melodic notes, harmonic and melodious, only to be drowned out with the terrifying screech of claws on metal as the Kyuubi attempted to slash through the bars at him. I WANT TO DEVOUR YOU, BUT THIS SEAL...
Naruto felt no fear, even after the terrible power of the attempted attack. His eyes drifted down to a simple piece of paper that covered the gap between the two gate doors, a fragile slip of paper incanted and covered in scrawls incomprehensible. A simple slip of paper; a tiny ward... "So that's the seal..." he murmured.
The massive eye looked down at him with interest. YES.
"Just that tiny piece of paper..."
DESTROY IT. OPEN THE GATE. FREE ME.
Naruto gazed at the ward for a long time before he finally said, "No."
The silence was again shattered, even louder than before, by the Kyuubi's roars of hate and anger.
They stilled instantly when Naruto whispered, "Not yet."
The rage gave way to trembling anticipation. YET? it asked expectantly.
"Maybe I could let you out someday," Naruto said, amazed by his own temerity. The seed of an idea was forming in his head.
AND WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE IN RETURN? it demanded.
What difference, indeed? Only… everything.
Naruto: Rogue Fox
Mizuki sniffed contemptuously, his mocking smirk brought fully to bear on Iruka. "Well then. I'd planned on getting rid of the fox-brat first. But you know what they say about the best-laid plans of mice and men..."
Iruka coughed, a fine spray of blood hitting his arm and the ground in front of him before he gave a rueful chuckle. "Heh. I've always wondered… what do they say?"
Mizuki shrugged. "Not a clue. I've never actually heard the end of that proverb. Doubt anybody even knows it." There was a vicious whirring noise as Mizuki spun the fuma shuriken into a rapid rotation. "Pretty sure that neither of us will ever hear it. In fact, I'm pretty sure that this is the last conversation you'll ever hear at all." Mizuki's expression turned cold. "Good bye, Iruka-san."
Suddenly Mizuki froze in shock as he heard the words, "Taiju Kage Bunshin no Jutsu!"
And just like that, they were everywhere. Naruto's stood everywhere, as far as the eye could see. Several of them puffed immediately out of existence, their solidity slowing the flying shuriken to a halt before it fell to the ground. One of the clones stopped at Iruka's side. "We gotta get you back to the village!" Heaving the chunin onto his shoulder, he ran, leaving the sounds of fighting far behind. Mizuki had already stopped screaming, but Iruka continued to hear the wet stabbing noises and impacts long after they'd gotten out of earshot.
Iruka awoke to the sound of voices. "You gotta take care of him! Please!" said the high pitched boy's voice... Naruto?
"That is no longer your concern. You will come with us now," said an older voice.
Iruka opened his eyes groggily, still somewhat dizzy, as he felt himself being put down on the ground. "Naruto? What's-"
"Iruka-san. We'll get you to the medical corps. We've got the kid in custody. Your job is over," said a gentle voice. Was that Morisato Shinji?
"No. You don't understand. Naruto, he-"
"Don't worry," said the voice reassuringly. "He's made the last mistake he'll ever make."
The world spun crazily and, before Iruka could protest, he passed out.
Sarutobi looked gravely at the boy. "Well, Naruto, it seems you have gotten into a little bit of a mess today."
Naruto hung his head. "I'm sorry I caused such a mess. I've never been good enough for anybody. Cause of that demon fox in me. I know now."
The Third Hokage closed his eyes, letting out a painful sigh. "Naruto…" he began, but the blonde cut him off.
"I know it's true," Naruto said with a sniffle. "I'm not good enough for you here." With a quick swipe at his eyes, he adopted his best smile — the one that broke Sarutobi's heart every time he saw it, knowing it for the lie it was. "But that's okay. I'll show you I can be better. I'll be more… I'll be a good enough ninja, even if they hate me, I'll still protect everyone. I'll be the strongest ninja in the village and I'll make sure that everyone is safe, even if I have to leave the village to do it!"
Sarutobi felt a stab of alarm. "Naruto, what are you—"
His alarm turned to horror as Naruto vanished in a puff of smoke — a shadow clone. The jounin, Genma's mouth dropped open, and his ever-present fukimi bari dropped out of it onto the floor. "Call the rest of ANBU!" he shouted. "The fox-kid is still out there!"
Sarutobi shuddered at this development. Ah, Naruto, you poor, silly child. There's no way I can shield you from what will come of this.
A small note on my intentions for this fic- an idea ran through my head as to what would happen if Naruto never really knew he'd gained his first friend- what if the first person he ever trusted was the Demon Fox? He's going to be a lot stronger than in canon- because he has the Kyuubii's full support. He'll also be a lot trickier, since again, the Kyuubii will be whispering in his ear all the time. Anyhow, C&C as u like.
-UPDATE: Preread completed.