I don't own Naruto.
First two or three chapters are a bit... meh, but it gets better as it goes along.
Naruto is basically an OC in this story, but I needed him to be Minato and Kushina's son. He's called Naruto because I can't see Minato naming his first born son anything else, but in hindsight, I probably should have just used Menma.
Warning: This story is very very dark and it only gets darker as it goes.
On the surface, Konohagakure no Sato was an idyllic place. Surrounded by vast forests of green created by the Shodai Hokage himself, Konoha had a bustling, cheerful populace where ninja and civilian could co-exist. Konoha worked like a well-oiled machine; civilians supplied the ninja and made produce useful for trade. Ninja brought in more money and protected the village from any and all threats.
Under the rule of the young, talented and charismatic Fourth Hokage, they prospered. A healthy future was forecast, brighter than the sun that stood above the village.
However, the brightest light has the darkest shadows and the paradise that was Konoha had suffered its own hardships.
Merely a year after Minato took the seat of Hokage, there was an attack. An attack that would never be forgotten for as long as the world remained. The story of the Kyuubi attack would live on. More a force of nature than a demon, the Nine Tailed fox wreaked havoc upon Konoha, almost burying the village under rubble.
They had been recovering from a war - a war all major nations had taken part in, in one way or another.
It left them all picking up pieces, trying to recover the strength they lost.
Lady luck did not smile upon them. Instead, she glared at them and cursed them.
The Kyuubi Jinchuuriki was attacked whilst most vulnerable, and the beast was freed.
The nightmare had begun.
Man after man was thrown at it, but no results were to be had. It was futile. The fox tore through the streets of Konoha, annihilating all without discrimination. If one saw it, they may say that it was the beginning of the apocalypse.
In a strange, roundabout way, they would not be wrong.
The Fourth Hokage, Namikaze Minato found himself engaged in combat with the instigator of the attack.
After a short battle, Minato stood as the victor, freeing the fox of the man's control. But the man was not dead, and the fox was still on the loose.
He had to make a decision.
Let the man escape and save more of his men's lives in the short term? Or kill the man and let more of his men die, solving the problem once and for all?
He chose the long term solution, and killed the man.
The man would no longer be a threat.
Unmasking the man, he expected to see a shrivelled relic of the past - Uchiha Madara - but he was wrong. To his disbelief, it was his - presumed dead - student, Uchiha Obito. He swallowed any emotion that he may have been feeling. It was his responsibility, his duty.
He flashed away to take the fox to the birth site so that the fox was at a safe distance from the village,
He took his daughter, ignoring Kushina's protests and he faced the beast down. About to seal his fate, he was interrupted by his predecessor. The man, old and wise, knew what Minato was to do, but he did not allow it. He replaced Minato in the sealing process, sealing the yin chakra of the beast into Kushina, saving her life and the yang chakra into Minato's newborn daughter.
The Third Hokage forfeited his life so Minato and Kushina could live.
Were they worth it?
It was already done, so they couldn't change anything. However, they could be there for their twin children.
Naruto and Natsuko.
The whole village mourned for the loss of a great leader - the Third Hokage - and an even greater man - Sarutobi Hiruzen.
However, strange things were happening elsewhere as a result of the events in Konoha. In Kirigakure, Yagura, the Fourth Mizukage, seemed to have regained his senses. He called an end to the civil war and sunk into a deep depression over the crimes he had committed.
He had called for the extermination of every person with a bloodline, declaring them monsters. But who was the real monster, him or them? It was genocide. It was wrong. No leader should turn against his own people.
He had made it a requirement for genin to murder the ones who they had learned and grown with.
All of these acts were simply unforgivable and Yagura knew this. That is why he couldn't forgive himself, even if he wasn't himself whilst committing these atrocities.
It was like he was living inside of his body and somebody else was compelling him to act in the way he had. All he could remember was a red eye with three black tomoes and the Uchiha clan crest.
Yagura was so despaired by his heinous crimes that he committed suicide, leaving his tailed beast to reform somewhere in the country.
There was not a single person fit for the role of Mizukage.
Even though the civil war was officially over, it never really stopped. There was still animosity between the two sides and the people who wanted to exterminate the bloodline users were too far gone to simply go back on what they had been brainwashed into believing. The two sides fought for the seat of Mizukage.
The other villages were completely unaware of that, however. Kirigakure had always been secretive and they made sure that that information never left their isolated island.
Meanwhile, in Konoha, three years after the Kyuubi attack, Kumogakure tried to kidnap the heiress of the Hyuga clan, Hyuga Hinata. The attack was thwarted by the head of the Hyuga clan, Hyuga Hiashi. Hiashi killed the offender and in turn Kumo wanted his head. They wanted the byakugan, the famous dojutsu of the Hyuga clan.
Minato, however did not let this happen. He refused, even at the threat of war. He offered other reparations. Kumo eventually relented bitterly but the tension between the two villages rose.
After this event, Namikaze Minato lived his life peacefully with his beautiful wife and two children. He had always wanted a family and now he had one. It was a better feeling than being the Hokage. His daughter, Natsuko was a bundle of energy and she always managed to bring a smile to his face. She was beautiful, just like her mother. She shared her mother's red hair and had his blue eyes. She had whisker marks on her cheeks and always wore a beaming smile. She literally lit up Minato's day whenever he saw her.
Their son, Naruto was a strange boy. Both parents loved him unconditionally, but he was very different to them. He had spiky blonde hair, just like his father, the same crystal blue eyes, too, and he didn't have whisker marks. He was born with them, but over the years they faded.
His demeanour was… worrying. But, he was a good child. He and his sister were joined at the hip.
Minato could not be happier. Nothing could ruin his life. He had everything he wanted. He had a family, he was Hokage and he was with the love of his life. Everything was perfect.
An eight year old blonde boy wearing black shorts and white T-shirt sat beside a lake looking at it with a completely blank face. He usually had a smile on his face, not because he was happy but because having a smile on his face attracted less attention.
How could something as small as a facial expression have so much of an effect?
He picked up a pebble and threw it across the lake, watching as it skimmed across the surface, small sprays of water rising around it. Each time the pebble touched the water, a ripple was made and the stone slowed down, eventually falling into the depths of the water.
He picked up another pebble and threw it like he did the first one.
One by one they fall and nobody cares. Nobody notices… a single pebble is completely insignificant. Nobody even notices it's gone. When one falls, another replaces it and then that one falls. The cycle repeats again and again and until there's nothing left and then when we do notice, it's too late. Most of the pebbles are already gone.
He stared up into the tree line with his blue eyes that were just as stony as the pebbles that he had thrown. As soon as his eyes met the birds, they all scrambled away.
How dull. he droned in his mind. He was supposed to be at the academy, but he didn't really feel like going. There was no point. He had already learnt everything they taught from Itachi-sensei.
Maybe there was more that he could pick up there, but he did not feel like being around any other people.
He had started learning from Itachi two years ago. Naruto didn't particularly need an extra sensei. His parents were willing to train him, but he accepted anyway. Itachi was an interesting problem. For somebody so emotionally withdrawn, he was easily affected by his emotions. It was funny. Uchiha Itachi had a lot of pressure on him as the young heir to the Uchiha clan. His prodigious talent was the Uchiha's pride and they pushed him hard.
Maybe, too hard.
With the Uchiha clan gaining back their prestige under the Fourth Hokage, they needed a… mascot. Somebody to represent them.
That was Uchiha Itachi.
Naruto didn't hold any personal feelings for Itachi. He was a strong shinobi and had taught Naruto a lot about the profession but he couldn't bring himself to care about the older boy.
"Shouldn't you be at the academy?" Naruto heard a monotone voice say. It was Itachi. Naruto's facial expression immediately changed. He had a small grin gracing his lips and his eyes were closed into slits so his blue eyes were hidden under his eyelids.
"Yes, I should," Naruto said whilst turning around and seeing Itachi's attire from his barely opened eyes. He was in his grey ANBU armour with his mask on his face. "I seem to have got lost on the road of life. I'll make my way to the academy now, crow-sama."
"Do you want me to escort you?" Itachi asked. Naruto hummed, exuding maybe a bit too much happiness in his tone.
"I don't want to be a burden to you. I'll go myself," Naruto replied, bowing. He turned on his heel, walking away from Itachi.
He could feel the negative emotions rolling off Itachi. They were… satisfying.
Since he was young, he was gifted with the ability to sense negative emotions. He'd never really felt hate before. He'd felt mild disdain when his mother had taken him away from Onee-sama, but nothing had ever really elicited a strong emotional response from him.
So, to feel the hate of others, it was oh so fulfilling. Such a strong emotion. How could one feel like that?
Positive emotion was nowhere near as strong as negative emotion; it could be taken away in an instant. Happiness is replaced by sadness, joy replaced by grief, love replaced by hate. Every single negative emotion overpowered positive emotion. If people laugh when they're sad, they still feel sad. The sadness is just covered up by a fake happiness, still lurking, never truly going. It was like a putting flowers over a pile of faeces. A feeble attempt at masking something unpleasant with something pleasant.
Negative emotion, though, was different. Hatred, grief and despair. Those feelings lurk, fester and grow stronger. They control people, making people do things they wouldn't usually do. It was amusing to see. In Naruto's short life he had seen it many times.
It was intriguing.
Positivity was like the colour white: easily stained, whereas negativity was like the colour black: overpowering.
That was why he liked the Uchiha. Well, he didn't like the Uchiha. They were as pathetic as every other clan in Konoha, but they were his favourite group of people. They were the embodiment of hatred. Mistreated, they let their emotions control their decisions, driving them further into their own hatred.
The Niidaime Hokage isolated them, giving them the control of the Military Police force in an attempt to gain some control over them. He held them back from higher up positions and isolated them. Bitter, they pushed the village further and further away, living as a separate faction inside the village within their own bubble.
Their behaviour caused the rest of the population to become weary and suspicious . The hatred towards them was a virus: it was spreading quickly and constantly evolving and they weren't doing anything to help it.
So foolish. So human. So amusing.
Well, that's what he had read.
Naruto walked at a steady pace with his hands in his pockets. Uchiha Itachi wasn't like his clan, he was different. He wasn't so arrogant. He did, however, share their curse of hatred. He had his own darkness. Resentment to his own clan, to the village, to the shinobi world as a whole and even trace amounts of resentment to his little brother, who had it easy.
From the corner of his eye, Naruto spotted an ant hill. Although it looked like his eyes were closed, they were slightly open. He nonchalantly walked over it, destroying all the ants there without a care in the world. Another set of ants would just build over the ruins.
After all, that's how the world worked.
Itachi watched Naruto walk off with a blank look on his masked face. Naruto had grown into more than a student. He had become a friend. He didn't have many. He was glad he offered to train him more on a whim than anything.
He held… it wasn't darkness, but it was something special that would mould him into a fine ninja.
Itachi watched as the Hokage, his wife and his children walked into the Uchiha compound. He was standing beside his mother, father and little brother, face stoic. The Hokage's wife, Kushina, was an acquaintance of his mother's and the two women wanted their children to become friends.
He eyed the family; Namikaze Minato, the Hokage. He was a respectable looking man. He was tall, broad shouldered and carried himself in a way fitting of a hokage. His golden blonde hair and clear blue eyes were as sharp as ever but he had a relaxed look on his face.
Uzumaki Kushina was a beautiful woman with flowing, silky red hair. She had violet eyes and was wearing a green housewife dress over a white shirt. She had a radiance about her that only a happy mother could have.
His eyes drifted over to the children. They were six years old. Uzumaki Natsuko looked like she was practically bursting with energy. She had shoulder length pigtails and was wearing tomboyish clothes, an orange shirt and black shorts. She immediately looked at Sasuke and her eyes brightened at seeing another child her age.
Uzumaki Naruto… Itachi halted and gave the boy a deeper stare.
He had a grin on his face, but if he looked at it it was very unsettling. His eyes were seemingly closed so Itachi couldn't get a good read on him. He had messy blonde hair and a strange aura around him. It was almost unnoticeable but he got a read of it for a second and felt an overwhelming coldness.
For a brief second, Naruto's eyes flickered open and locked with Itachi.
Those detached blue eyes… they were the same colour as his father's but lacked all the warmth. Naruto noticed his gaze and his facial expression reverted back to normal, but to Itachi, it looked twice as ominous. Naruto looked away briefly and looked back at Itachi and the feeling was gone again.
He would make a great shinobi. He had an aura about him that just screamed 'potential'.
"Hokage-sama," Fugaku bowed. Minato grinned in a way that diffused all tension in the atmosphere.
"There's no need for that, Fugaku-dono. Minato would be fine,"
"Very well Minato-dono," Fugaku replied. Their greeting was completely overshadowed by Kushina.
"Mikoto-chan!" she yelled excitedly. Mikoto smiled, happy to see her old friend.
"I see you haven't changed one bit, Kushina," she said.
"Of course not! I've missed you dattebane!"
"It's only been a few months," Mikoto said in exasperation. Kushina pouted.
"A few months too many!" She turned to Itachi. "Itachi-kun, you've grown! Sasuke-chan, too!"
"Thank you, Kushina-sama," Itachi said after a moment of silence. The red haired woman's exuberance was hard to react to.
"How many times have I told you? Call me Kushina-obaa-chan or something!" she rambled.
"... Okay, Kushina-obaa-sama," he droned. She pouted, but it was better than nothing. She went to greet Sasuke, but noticed that Natsuko and Sasuke were arguing over something. She went to scold them and gave Itachi a chance to look at Naruto.
"Hello, Itachi-san, I don't believe we've met before" Naruto greeted with a pleasant tone. Itachi blinked in surprise. He didn't expect a six year old to talk like that. He did as a six year old, but he didn't have Kushina as a mother and he had many more pressures to deal with than Naruto.
"No, we haven't, Naruto-sama, it's a pleasure to meet you."
"There's no need to call me Naruto-sama, Itachi-san." he said. Itachi found himself genuinely believing the sincere tone in his voice. "Just Naruto or anything else you want to call me will do."
"Okay, Naruto-kun," Itachi replied. He stared at Naruto like he was reading a book with no pages. The boy's demeanour and way of speaking told Itachi to be relaxed around him… to feel at ease. A complete contrast to what he felt earlier.
But he couldn't. Not after seeing those eyes. He was like one of Danzo's drones, but with something else. Ambition? Curiosity? Hatred? No, it was none of those. Itachi couldn't place it…
This boy was interesting. Surely, he could invest some of his free time in him.
Yes, he'd offer to train him. Sasuke didn't… have the same potential. He loved his little brother, but he couldn't relate to him. Plus, Sasuke had it easy. He didn't have the fate of the clan hanging over his head and for that, Itachi, somewhere deep down, resented him.
But, at the same time, he did not want to compromise that safety that Sasuke had.
But Naruto, maybe he could mold him into a fine shinobi… and maybe he'd find somebody who was worth testing his capacity against.
Itachi didn't regret teaching Naruto. The child absorbed knowledge, yet he could think for himself and make his own progress. He knew the value of the basics and could use them well, almost frighteningly so.
His chakra control was sublime. It was almost perfect, which was an achievement for his age and reserves. He had also inherited the special chakra properties of the Uzumaki; he could materialise his chakra into chains just like his mother. He could consciously manipulate them after he had shot them out.
He had only learned 4 jutsu. The Kawarimi, the bunshin, the henge and the shunshin. However, he could use them to an amazing effect. Especially the kawarimi.
Naruto took all of his lessons to heart, and he implemented them in more than just training.
Maybe one day Naruto would be the one to test his capacity against.
Maybe one day, Naruto would set him free.
Get strong, Naruto-kun.
Naruto walked into the academy classroom with a smile. The classroom was large. It had a high ceiling and the teacher's blackboard was at the front. From his position, he could see all the students in the class with ease. The students sat on desks. The front desks were on the ground and as they went back a row, each desk was elevated slightly on a step, giving the classroom the appearance of a lecture theater.
Naruto looked at his sensei, Umino Iruka. He had tanned skin, a scar over his nose and a brown spiky ponytail. He wore the standard outfit of a konoha shinobi. A green flak jacket over a dark blue bodysuit with his forehead protector proudly displayed on his forehead.
"I'm sorry I'm late, Umino-sensei," Naruto hummed. He wasn't really sorry at all and Iruka could tell.
"Just go and sit down. You'll have detention after class."
Naruto's demeanour didn't change at all. "Well, that's unfortunate," Naruto commented offhandedly, walking over to a seat next to his sister. "Hello, Onee-sama," Naruto greeted. She glared at him.
"Why did you come in late? Kaa-chan is going to be mad!" she huffed, cheeks puffing out. "You know how scary she is when she's mad."
Naruto offered his sister a smile, hand snaking to her thigh. "I'm sorry, Onee-sama," Naruto said. Natsuko shivered at Naruto's touch. Something just didn't feel right about it. "I lost track of time."
"You're just as bad as Kakashi-nii," she pouted.
"Hm," Naruto hummed, taking his hand off her. "Umino-sensei is talking. You should learn to listen, Onee-sama. After all, his lessons may save your life some day."
Natsuko crossed her arms and huffed.
Naruto took his own advice, and faced the front, spinning a pencil around his hand.
Just because he already knew what Iruka was teaching, didn't mean he would not perhaps learn anything new or be reminded of something to ponder on.
Iruka was talking about chakra theory… definitely a dull subject. He liked history. The propaganda filled pro Konoha bullshit that they sprouted was definitely… amusing. And hearing about the stupidity of humanity over the years was also interesting. What was this nonsense about Minato being the best Hokage?
Naruto didn't hate his father. He didn't have a reason to. But saying that he was the best hokage of all time was foolish.
The best Hokage was the Niidaime. He introduced many systems into Konoha such as the academy, the chuunin exams and everything else that mattered.
He also, hilariously, added more fuel to the fire that was the Uchiha hatred because of his own fear. A bonus, really.
Naruto scanned the room and looked at his classmates. There were quite a few civilians here who didn't really know what they were getting into. Come to think of it, most of the clan children were like that, too.
Yamanaka Ino, a very loud girl. If she did not grow up, she would die. Pathetically.
It would be mildly amusing to see, so Naruto didn't bother to do anything about it. She was still young, yes, but it seemed as if she had no idea what she was getting into.
Haruno Sakura, a pink haired civilian with no real talent other than her excellent control which wasn't really impressive because her reserves were tiny. She was even worse than the Yamanaka. Naruto knew that wasn't bad, but he didn't particularly care.
Maybe it would be fun to see her breakdown once she realises that the job of a kunoichi is not fun and games.
Akimichi Chouji, a big boned boy with an equally big heart. He was much too soft. How… wasy.
Nara Shikamaru, the lazy genius. He had the potential to be one of the best ninja in the village but his attitude was holding him back. Oh, well. He met eyes with the pineapple haired boy who gave him an analytical stare. Naruto applauded his attempt to see underneath the underneath but he wouldn't find anything. Not in Naruto's eyes anyway.
Inuzuka Kiba, an impulsive fool. Hot headed, prideful and easy to anger. A bad combination, but not an uncommon one. His sister was like that, too, but she was his Onee-sama, so it didn't matter.
Hyuga Hinata… what a useless idiot. Timid, weak and soft spoken. She wasn't cut out to be a kunoichi. Everybody could change and she could become a good kunoichi in the future, like every other person in the room, but as it stood… she was pathetic. She also had some sort of attraction to him. He'd 'saved' her from some bullies. It was on a whim, really. He didn't care that she was getting picked on, but too much noise was being made and he was trying to relax so he just scared them away with a glare and a mention of his father's name. After that, she started blushing around him and calling him 'Naruto-kun'.
Naruto then understood that she had gained a crush on him. He wouldn't do anything about it. He would never even consider having some sort of romantic relationship with her, even if he was capable of it.
There was no point in a romantic relationship. He didn't understand much about love, but he knew one thing:
Love was a weakness.
It made you irrational and vulnerable. Two things that he refused to be.
Finally, there was Uchiha Sasuke. There were other notable students, but he didn't have an opinion on them. Uchiha Sasuke was Itachi-sensei's little brother and he absolutely hated Naruto. He hated that he was taking his beloved 'nii-san' away from him and was jealous. That hatred… it fed Naruto's soul. Sasuke had so much potential to be consumed by hatred…
Maybe, he would do something about it.
Naruto walked home through the streets of Konoha he had his detention with Umino-sensei. It didn't affect him either way. He didn't care if he had detention because he didn't really have anything else to do. He had no desire to return home anytime soon.
He looked around the streets of konoha. The civilians gave him smiles and nods as did the shinobi. Everybody loved the Hokage and by extension, his family. He returned them cheerfully.
Fools... he thought. They were smiling, happy and friendly.
Naruto could see it in their eyes… a fire. Not the 'Will of fire' nonsense. No, the same fire a monster has in their eyes. Everybody lived in an illusion of pleasantry, but that was all it was. An illusion. Everybody had a monster lurking within them. They had an air of self-righteousness, but they were willing to do anything that benefitted them in the slightest…
Not like he was any different.
Naruto shook those thoughts out of his head and realised he was at his house. He walked into the modestly sized house and walked into the kitchen. He was greeted by the sight of red.
"Hello, Okaa-sama," Naruto greeted.
"Naru-chan? Welcome home… what's this I hear about detention?" she asked, the shadows making their home around her eyes..
Naruto was unfazed by his mother's dark tone, "It was my mistake, Okaa-sama. I have no excuses," he chirped.
"..." Kushina paused, unsure with how to deal with that response. "As long as you don't make the same mistake again, it's okay," she said finally. Naruto smiled and turned around to see his father who had a distanced look on his face and his sister who was eating a sandwich
"Hello, Otou-sama, not at work?"
Minato grinned sheepishly, scratching the back of his neck. "Err, yeah…" truthfully, he was running away from his paperwork. He had a killer headache. "How was the academy?" Minato asked Naruto, but he was looking at Natsuko when he said it.
"It was fi-," Naruto started, but was interrupted
"It was great, Tou-chan!" Natsuko exclaimed. "We did kunai and shuriken throwing! I was the best! Naruto was a close second, though!" she added the last bit with a beaming smile to her brother.
"Now, now, there's no need to flatter me, Onee-sama," Naruto dismissed. Minato grinned and ruffled Natsuko's hair, causing her to pout and try to flatten it down.
"Natsuko-chan, Naru-chan, it's time to do your homework," Kushina said with a motherly smile. Natsuko's pout deepened.
"I don't wanna…" she whined.
"Well you have to! If you want to become big and strong like your Tou-chan then you have to do all your homework," Kushina said like she was divulging a secret. Natsuko's eyes widened.
"Okay!" she said with determination. Kushina shook her head with a smile and turned to Naruto who was about to walk away.
"You too, Naru-chan!"
"I've already done it, Okaa-sama," he said, looking back with a smile.
"Can I see it, then?"
"Yes, you may," Naruto said, reaching in his pocket and pulling out a piece of paper that had been folded into a small square. He handed it to her and she unfolded it. It took her a while because he had folded it many times. She scanned it over and gave a few nods.
It's all right. Down to the last sentence. He has impressive handwriting for somebody his age, too. He's smart… smarter than I was at his age. He must have inherited that from Minato.
"Alright," she said. "You can go and play or something."
Naruto inwardly scoffed. What was the point of playing? It was no fun. "Okay, Okaa-sama," he chirped. He was going to see Itachi at the Uchiha compound. If he recalled correctly, he wasn't on a mission and well, he wanted an excuse to feel that intoxicating hatred.
"No fair!" Natsuko protested. Naruto simply offered a salute and walked away.
Uchiha Itachi was frustrated. Another ANBU mission and nothing could challenge him. It was so frustrating! His father was piling responsibilities on him. He couldn't handle it. He needed an outlet, a challenge. He was one shinobi, not an army. The Uchiha clan had steadily been gaining power back under the reign if the Yondaime. All the anti-Uchiha policies brought in by the Niidaime and upheld by Sarutobi were drastically lessened by the Yondaime and that appeased the Uchiha, stopping them from doing something foolish. With the Yondaime ruling, they could gain back their glory.
The first step was through Itachi and he hated them for it.
He couldn't get a break. Being a prodigy did not live up to the hype. He was so close to snapping.
He sensed a presence approaching him and he almost sighed in relief.
"Naruto-kun," he said, not revealing an insight to his inner thoughts through his voice.
"Itachi-sensei," Naruto replied. "How are you?"
"..." Itachi hesitated. "I'm fine. Just thinking."
"About what?" Naruto asked with concern in his voice.
Naruto raised an eyebrow but did not reply.
"So, what did you want?" Itachi asked.
"Nothing, really. I just came to see you," Naruto pleasantly replied. A small smile played on Itachi's lips that vanished as soon as it appeared.
"Well, let's get some training done?"
Naruto nodded once and Itachi stood up, leading him to an Uchiha training ground. Naruto noticed all the stares on him from the clan members. They looked at him like he was nothing more than trash, like he didn't belong there.
It pleased him that just his presence could elicit such a negative response in the Uchiha clan.
They finally reached the training ground and Itachi stared at him for a few seconds before reaching in his kunai pouch and giving him a slip of paper.
"Chakra paper," Naruto identified it, his eyes now open. His detached blue eyes just looked at the piece of paper appraisingly.
"Correct," Itachi confirmed. "I assume I don't have to explain it's function?"
"No. It's to find out what your chakra nature is, is it not?" Naruto answered.
Itachi nodded briefly. "If it burns it's fire, if it splits in two, it's wind, if it crumbles, it's earth, if it crinkles, it's lightning and if it gets wet, it's water." He looked at Naruto. "Understand?"
Naruto gave a short nod.
"Put a small amount of chakra in it, don't manipulate it in any way."
Naruto did as he was told. The paper split in half and on each side got soggy.
"Wind and water," both Naruto and Itachi said at the same time.
"Right, I'll tell you what the basic exercises for training your wind or water affinity are. Which one do you want to start with?"
"Wind," Naruto answered immediately. "It is the rarest chakra nature after all," he smiled. In his head, though he was thinking something completely different. Wind can make the smallest flame burn brighter than the sun. he thought. How fitting.
Itachi nodded. "A wise decision," he picked up a leaf off the ground and handed it to Naruto. "Split this leaf in half with you chakra."
Naruto gingerly took the leaf and looked it over. He cupped it in his hands and pumped his chakra through it. "Of course it doesn't work like chakra paper… I assume the goal is make your chakra fit the properties of the element. The chakra paper must have been some sort of catalyst, but now I have to do it without the assistance."
Itachi nodded in affirmative. He got that straight away. Impressive. Naruto tried the exercise again and a tiny slice appeared in the leaf. Itachi's eyes widened minisculely.
Already? I underestimated his chakra control.
"Oh my, this is going to take a while," Naruto hummed.
Naruto sat down with a leaf that was cut a quarter of the way through. He stared at it intently. Apparently, he was getting the hang of it at a crazy rate, but it still wasn't good enough. He wanted to do this, and he definitely would. He had been at it for two hours now. He probably had to get home soon. It was almost his dinner time.
"That's enough, Naruto-kun," Itachi said. "Your progress is impressive but you should be getting home now."
Naruto paused. "I don't want to."
"But you have to. Rest is an important part of training, too."
Naruto's head tilted down and a dark smile graced his lips, but Itachi couldn't see it. "You always say that I have a lot of potential," he looked up and stared at Itachi with eyes almost filled with desperation. They didn't have the normal detached look in them and they showed convincing emotion. "What's the point of potential if I can't use it?"
Itachi's lips twitched.
"I want to get strong. I want to surpass you. I want to get stronger and going home won't make me stronger. I want to train with you… without somebody breathing down my neck. When I'm here I don't feel like I have to be the Hokage's son anymore. All the expectations vanish and I'm only getting stronger for myself. Not anybody else."
Those words resonated with Itachi.
Having strength without expectation, what a wonderful thing that would be.
"But you still have to go for now, Naruto-kun… we can train tomorrow if you'd like?"
Naruto nodded, looking dejected. This is fun... he thought.
"Before you go, can I ask you a question?"
Naruto looked back and gave a nod. All the emotion that was painted on his face before vanished immediately. Itachi just assumed that he was controlling his emotions.
"What do you think about the Uchiha clan? Honestly."
Naruto put a hand on his chin to make it look like he was pondering something. He paused for a while, building the tension, "The Uchiha are a strong clan." he said simply. "Uchiha Madara, Uchiha Shisui, you… they have birthed many legends." He looked into Itachi's eyes, his face devoid of any emotion.
"There is one thing that all these legends and rising stars have in common, though. They don't stick to the ideals of the clan itself. Their 'superiority', their blind arrogance, their pride… that's what holds the rest of the clan back from being the greats that they have the potential to be. All the strongest Uchiha have been considered rebellious, even you."
Itachi was listening. He couldn't deny a word Naruto was saying and with each sentence, he found himself agreeing with Naruto more and more.
"The Uchiha are still strong, but they could be stronger and for that, I think the Uchiha are fools. Clan, family, power… they put too much worth on these useless things. How can they ever expect to grow with all these limitations? It's a truly sad thing to see. The Uchiha need a wake up call, in my opinion."
Itachi didn't outwardly react but inside he was in conflict. He's right. The clan is holding me back, but no matter what I do, I can never be free. Unless...
"Naruto-kun," Itachi said seriously.
"If… I left Konoha, would you join me?"
Naruto paused, looking contemplative, making Itachi inwardly wince but a cheerful smile erupted on Naruto's face. "Sure! You are my only friend, after all."
Itachi gave a small smile to Naruto. "Thank you, Naruto-kun. Do you want me to take you home?"
"That would be nice, sensei."
Two weeks later
Itachi sat by the naka river, waiting for Shisui. He had enough of being held back. He wanted to test his abilities. He wanted power and he was finally going to make his move.
Uchiha Shisui was the perfect person to test his abilities against. He was Itachi's best friend and only friend other than Naruto. If he won… he'd get the mangekyou sharingan… the eternal mangekyou sharingan. It was night time and it was a full moon. He stared at it even as he felt the presence behind him.
"Hey, Itachi," Shisui said casually. His eyes narrowed when Itachi didn't turn around. "So what do you want?"
"You've been acting strange lately," Shisui said suspiciously. "What's up?"
Itachi didn't answer and turned around slowly with a crazed look in his face. Shisui's eyes widened and he tilted his head as a kunai shot past his face.
"What!?" he exclaimed. "Itachi what are you-," he was interrupted as Itachi engaged him taijutsu.
"The mangekyou sharingan," Itachi said with a cool detachment. Shisui's eyes went wide.
"What the hell, Itachi!? I won't let you fall to the dark side. You're my best friend!"
"You have no choice," Itachi droned. "I'll kill you and take your eyes. You will be my new light!"
Shisui activated his sharingan and prepared himself to fight Itachi.
Itachi looked over the dead body of Shisui. His sharingan was now in the form of a three pointed pinwheel. He laughed slowly.
"This power! Is this the power of the mangekyou!? I should test it out…"
Naruto's words from two weeks ago played through his head. The Uchiha need a wake up call.'he remembered and with a plan, he walked into the distance.
Itachi panted as he looked around the Uchiha compound. It was covered in black flames and there must have been some survivors. Even he couldn't take down the whole Uchiha clan. He had just killed his father and all of the police force. It was difficult, but he managed to do it. They put up a good fight, especially his father and the even forced him to use his new mangekyou.
He was in a desperate situation, but some information appeared in his head out of nowhere. The Amaterasu, inextinguishableblack flames that burned for seven days and seven nights.
"Itachi-nii-san" He heard a small voice behind him yell. He turned around slowly, his sharingan flaring. "Tou-san is dead! Kaa-san is hurt. Who did this?"
"I did." Itachi answered.
"What!? Why!?" Sasuke yelled.
"To test my capacity…"
Sasuke fell backwards and started crawling away, "Don't kill me..!"
"You aren't even worth killing, foolish little brother," Itachi stated calmly. Sasuke shivered in fear. "If you want to kill me, despise me, hate me, and live in an unsightly way... Run, and cling to life, and then some day," His mangekyou sharingan glared into Sasuke's soul, "when you have the same eyes as I do, come before me."
"Tsukuyomi," Itachi whispered, looking into Sasuke's eyes and putting him in an illusion for 3 days and 3 nights. He was showing him the Uchiha massacre again and again.
He rushed off the scene. No doubt the disturbance had been noticed. He had to get Naruto and flee. He'd made plans for this.
A rare smile found it's way to Itachi's face. He felt so free. So alive.