In a back alley, blood splatters cover the ground as a single boy is seen. His legs are seemingly crippled as he grips the ground pulling himself. He claws his way into the ground as onlookers pass by without a word, without sympathy. The night seems young with the moon out in full. His sobs, soft and heartbreaking as he continues to pull. Before long, he has stopped clawing, his face pressed to the ground. His body is bruised and broken, scattered with cuts. He continues to sob, his tears wiping away some of the blood that covers his whiskered cheeks. And as the moments pass with him silent, he slowly fades into unconsciousness from loss of blood.
He awakens in the darkness with only the drip of water to echo in the emptiness. He walks forward, moving towards the slow drip. Looking around, his eyes begin to adjust and he can see the sewer like environment he finds himself. He is surprised to see he is able to walk, given the condition he remembered passing out in.
"Hello. Is anyone there?"
"Who is that? Where is this? Where are you?"
Frantic now, hearing his name echo, he runs. Finding himself among a maze of halls and rooms, he finally makes it to a single room that is large with a ceiling that is so tall, he cannot see it. As he approaches a cage, he can now clearly hear his name.
"Who are you?" He continues to approach the cage, making out a piece of paper with some sort of scribbling on the front.
"I'm just another tenant of your body. I have an offer for you young man."
"What offer is that?"
Moving up to the bars, Naruto now can clearly see a large red fox grinning at him with his sharp fangs showing. The fox licks his teeth as he continues to grin.
"How about you let me take over? You won't ever have to hurt again. Your pain will be gone. Just remove this seal and I can make that happen."
Approaching the seal, Naruto began to lift his hand. Reaching out, he began to take a hold of the piece of paper on the cage. Before he pulls it though, he stops and looks at the fox. "Who are you though?"
"I am the great Nine-tailed Fox. Do you not know who I am?"
"Wait a second! You're the demon that attacked the village. You even killed the fourth Hokage. No, I'm not going to let you free. People will die and Konoha will be destroyed again. I won't let that happen."
Moving away from the cage, Naruto kept his eyes on the fox as his grin did not disappear.
"Why not? Look what they have done to you?" As he said this Naruto's body began to take on the appearance of the damage he had received that very night. "See all that pain you endure. All because of Konoha. All from the same people you would protect. Can you tell me you never considered hurting them as they have hurt you?"
"I just want them to stop! I don't want to hurt anyone."
"HA! Do you hear yourself? You are naive. You who have continued to endure, only because of one reason. Me!"
"Why are you in me?"
"You weren't told? Of course you weren't! Why would they reveal the reason you are to endure the hate of others. I was sealed inside of you, boy. You are the jail for which I am to serve out my sentence of condemnation. And for this reason only do they attack you. You are the representation of the pain, death, and destruction that occurred those 8 years ago."
"But, I'm not you." Naruto laid there with his body mangled. His respite from his pain was short lived as he laid on top of the water, still talking to the demon within. As a result, he began to sob as he spoke. "I just want to be normal. To live, have fun, grow up, be happy. Is that too much to ask?"
"For you, apparently so. After all, you are now the scapegoat of their anger. You will, for your entire life be an existence for the focus of all other's hatred. You will adorn a crown of thorns and live upon the alter of judgement for all to condemn. Even though you have done nothing!"
"Stop it. Stop." Naruto continued to sob. Hearing each word was another wound upon his already beaten body. "What if I died? Would all this stop if I was no longer alive?"
"Well, yes, but I would be gone too. I don't want that. So, its simple. Let me take over. You will no longer suffer, and I will have my freedom. It's a simple trade, and you'll get exactly what you want. You'll be free of the pain and anguish. So, what do you say?"
"I told you no. I would never hurt others as I have been. No one deserves this. No one."
"So you would rather kill us both?"
"If I had to choose between one or the other, I would rather have us die than have to face this pain for the rest of my life, or to allow you to cause that pain to others."
"Haha. A strong a resolute one aren't you. Much like your stubborn father."
From the shadows, two figures walked out next to each other. "Was someone talking about me?"
Naruto heard the voice but could not move. He simply sat and waited to see what would happen, whether or not it was an illusion.
"Naruto!" A redheaded woman ran up to Naruto, lifting him up. He turned to see this woman, looking at her and sensing a familiarity, but he could not place who she was to him. With a wave of his hand, the blond haired man was able to remove all of Naruto's wounds. Turning to the two adults in front of him now, he stared at them.
"Who are you two? I thought it was just me and the demon in here."
The blond man smiled looking to the child. "It is. We're actually fragments of chakra that were left in you since birth."
Now the redhead was kneeling in front of him. "Naruto, we're your parents."
"What? But you're both dead?"
"We are Naruto. But in our last act to save you, we put our chakra inside of you so that should you ever be in the position to release the Nine-tailed Fox, we would appear. Naruto, I'm Minato Namikaze, the fourth Hokage, and your father."
"I'm Kushina Uzumaki, Naruto. I'm your mother."
Crying uncontrollable, he engulfed his parents in a hug. Pressing his head into his mother's stomach, he continued to sob and cry. Anything that came from his mouth was coming out incoherent as each of his parents held him, caressing his hair.
"Naruto. We're both so sorry. As the Hokage, I wanted others to see that your sacrifice was heroic, not reason to hate you."
With solemn looks at each other, they continued to watch as Naruto could not stop crying his eyes out. Kushina knelt down to place her arms around him, trying to comfort him. "It's alright Naruto, I'm right here."
"Naruto, I know how it must feel to finally meet your parents, but there are some things I have to tell you."
Wiping his eyes and trying to compose himself, he turned to his Dad. "What is it, Dad?"
Smiling at his son, he knelt down to his height. "Naruto, you have to make sure that no one else can get the Nine-tailed fox. He may be a demon, and he could try to take over your body, but at all cost, you cannot be captured. There will be people who will want the fox in order to have power. You have to be strong my son."
"But Dad, how? I have no power as it is. No one comes near me as it is, and when they do, I end up being hurt. I want to be strong like you ask, but I don't know how I would even begin to do so."
"Son, if that is true, I'm sorry I've put you in such a position. I could not ask any other to offer up their child, so I chose to place this burden on you. But, I believe in you. Both your Mother and I know you are a good child, and we love you. If you need help, ask the Hokage where my old home is. If it is not in use, look behind my desk. There should be a loose board. Knock three times on the top of it, then twice on the bottom. It should lift to reveal some scrolls. These are the original techniques I created. In order to learn them, it will take a long time son, but I know you can do it."
Naruto nodded as he kept looking at his Minato. Kushina in the meantime was still holding her son tight. She moved her head back to look into her son's eyes.
"Naruto, I was born in a village called Uzushiogakure. It was war torn, but many of our clan secrets will be in the village vault. If you ever go there, look for a cave on the north side of the city. Inside, go to the very back and place you hand on the largest boulder. You'll need to smear your blood on the stone, but it should open to the Uzumaki clan vault. I do not know how much will be in there, nor how much help it will be, but it is part of your heritage Naruto. It is yours to claim."
Naruto nodded again as he looked at his mother. With both his mother and father kneeling, they hugged him once more. Kushina began to sob as Minato wore a solemn face. "Naruto, your Mother and I will be fading soon. So, I want you to remember that we love you, and are very proud of you. We know you'll do your best."
"We love you, my Naruto."
"Mom, Dad, I love you too."
And in the darkness, their two bodies faded away from his arms. He looked at where they used to be, looking at the hands that moments ago were holding onto the only two people who had given him any love. Without warning, he began to sob again uncontrollably. He clutched himself wishing he had more time, wishing he would still be able to touch and hold the family he lost before he could ever know them.
"Naruto." The Fox was now growling with a much more serious face. He waited until Naruto finally turned around to face him. "I respect the man who was willing to sacrifice himself to defeat me. And if he says that you are targeted, I assume my kin will be as well. So, I'll make an accord with you, boy."
"And what is that?"
"An agreement. Seeing as how you will not free me now that your father has given you explicit instructions, and how I do hate to experience the detestable actions of your kind, I will give you a present. A painful and miserable present, that will make you infinitely stronger, should you survive."
"What are you talking about?"
"Let us just say this will be your test for whether you are worthy of the Nine-tailed fox. I can promise you if you pass, you will be able to not only be strong, but strong enough to do as your will dictates."
"What is the catch?"
"Simple, if you should fail this, your body will belong to me. If you should succeed, my power shall be yours."
Naruto kept staring at the fox, not trusting the fox he had just become to know. The same fox that had laid waste to much of Konoha and even killed his parents. Yet, he could see the genuine grin the fox had. "Fine. If it means I can be strong, I'll do it."
"Excellent. I suggest you take your body somewhere safe. The process you are about to endure will be one you will never forget."