This story has been remastered and heavily edited. It was also inspired by the Dracula: Untold trailer. And no, there are no vampires.
Also, I changed Naruto's age. He's three years older now, meaning he's six in this chapter.
Hero or Monster
Chapter One – Awake
Some say my father was a hero. In the eyes of our people, he was nothing but. In the eyes of our enemy, he was a butcher. He cut down the strong, the weak, and everything in between in the name of peace.
The line between life and death is more intimate than we humans realize. They both accrue every day, sometimes at the same time. Hundreds of people are brought into this world and hundreds more leave it, and it's impossible to completely manipulate such things that are the unknown.
We – humanity – spend our whole lives trying to do just that; live. We cling to the idea that just existing is enough. Life and death, said to be polar opposites…
I see them for what they are though…
My father, Namikaze Minato: Hero… or Monster?
Sometimes, the world doesn't need another hero.
Sometimes, what it needs, is a monster.
My name is Uzumaki Naruto, and I am a monster.
A six year old Uzumaki Naruto lay on his back in the cold dank alleyway that his attackers left him in not five minutes ago. He was beaten and broken, so much so that his body felt numb. Good. It was better if he couldn't feel the pain right now. He could somewhat hear the faint noises that the still going celebration was making in the distance, mocking him with its cheery attitude, completely ignorant of his suffering.
After a random man walked right into the young blond, said man decided, after noticing who it was he bumped into, that he was going to relieve some pent up stress on the village pariah.
At some time during the beating others began to join in. Before it ended there seemed to be at least ten of them.
One boy – one child – against ten adults, an entire village, an entire world…
Yet, the small smile on his face never faded, even as the tears rolled down his cheeks to meet the damp ground. It had rained the day before, he had remembered. He wondered if, hadn't the member of the zoo not shown up, would they have stopped like they did? Would they have kept going until he no longer drew breath? He was curious, was all.
He always could feel what others felt. He could feel the pain and rage they experienced when they caught sight of him. Just like how he knew they weren't angry at him, but at the thing inside of him. That never stopped them from projecting their anger on his young body though.
Did they ever notice that he never resisted?
He didn't understand what exactly he housed in his gut, but he was sure that it was the ire of the village. He'd heard the stories of the Kyuubi no Kitsune, the "Demon" that attacked the village a few years ago.
He put two and two together and figured the red hot and oh so angry feeling in his gut was the supposed destruction incarnate.
When he calmed his breathing and focused he could feel the massive aura that was the Kyuubi. He would search, search for something else, anything else within that storm of rage.
He understood the feeling he found completely.
Naruto had been all alone since he was born. No parents, no friends, nothing. It was a nightmare, except he couldn't wake up. He was stuck.
That never kept him down though, because with his innate ability to feel those around him also came the ability to understand them completely. And when you can understand someone completely, you can't help but love them. And Naruto did, he loved his village, his people, with his entire being.
He could connect to others on such a level that if someone paid even a sliver of attention to him, they would realize that the boy was capable of feats no other human was able to perform. He, in the simplest way to put it, was doing the impossible, the unthinkable, the amazing.
To connect and understand another's feelings and intentions to such a degree that you could practically understand what the other was thinking was as scary as it was incredible. And that was only the beginning of what Naruto could do with his natural talents. Compared to his other skillset, the empathy was just a small drop in a very large ocean.
He had never used his other ability on another living being before, but he knew; the outcome would be terrifyingly effective.
Sighing to himself, the little Uzumaki finally stood, already healed of the beating he had received. If his pain caused others joy, even if only slightly, then he would take it. He was the only person who understood the pain of each individual as much as they themselves did, so it just stood to be true that he would be the only one who could handle their anger. He could and would take it all, the pain, like it was his life's mission. He would do that for his precious village.
Dusting off the dirt that now occupied his clothes, Naruto began to walk, where to even he did not know. He felt… drawn to something the moment he first stood. Like something, no, someone was calling out for help, calling out for him. They were scared, terrified, and helpless against whatever it was causing their intense fear. It was so strong that it hurt his heart, his soul and whole self.
He needed to get to them quickly.
He decided to try out an idea he had a few days ago. With the use of his other ability, he thought that it would be possible to run faster than he usually was capable of.
Pulling in that beautifully bright and unbelievably powerful essence that was all around him, always roaming the world – or was it the world itself? – he flooded his body with it to the spilling point. He was now brimming with the unnamed and unknown energy, and he began directing it to his legs. Just like he had thought, his speed doubled. Not enough! He wasn't fast enough, not yet. He forced even more of the energy into his legs, his speed tripling. More! He repeated the process again. His speed quadrupled. Not yet. His speed quintupled.
He was so fast everything seemed to be in slow motion. He was no longer visible to the human eye, or any eye for that matter.
He suddenly came to a complete halt, like he wasn't traveling fast enough to clear the whole village in seconds. He was directly in the path of someone he had never met, or felt, in his village before now. He was in a different uniform than the shinobi of his village, and his forehead protector was not of the Leaf as well.
With the foreign energy flowing through his body, Naruto could see perfectly in the dark. The man had white bandages wrapped around the top part of his head, his hitai-ate slanted on his face, completely covering his right eye from the world with a black piece of string holding it all together. He had brown hair, if his brown facial hair was anything to go by. And he was tall, a lot taller than the blond.
Naruto immediately recognized the small form that was held in the man's left arm as the person he felt. He could still feel their fear even now. He wanted to change that – immediately.
The man looked down on the small boy in front of him and snarled, "Out of my way runt!" the Head Ninja of Kumo barked.
Naruto was silent for a moment, too angry to even move his body. He had felt the unknown man when he arrived and he now knew his intentions. He was taking what was not his to take. He was condemning an innocent and – what he now knew – gentlest girl he'd ever felt to a life of servitude and abuse.
He knew the man thought of her as nothing more than a pawn, a means of reproducing powerful and, if her eyes were anything to go by, special shinobi. Naruto truly despised this man; he was the scum of this earth.
Something inside Naruto clicked. He knew what he had to do. He could now feel and understand himself.
He knew what he was now.
The dark-skinned shinobi vaulted over the child in front of him, knowing that time was against him. He had no time to deal with someone who was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
He kept running, making decent distance, until he was stopped once more. Again, the blond-haired boy suddenly flashed in front of him, almost too fast for him to react to. In the back of his mind, he was worried just how strange it was for someone so young to be so fast.
He snarled, and went to grab a kunai from his pouch to dispense with the nuisance. That's when he felt it…
Naruto's hand raised into the air, ignoring the man's attempt to bring out a weapon, and began to do the impossible. The world – which was the only way he could describe it – began to twist and turn, producing the same energy that was currently occupying his body. However, now it was different, more refined, sharper, and tangible. From the very air itself, bright golden – the same color as his eyes – particles began to appear, floating in the sky above him.
With the flick of his wrist, the particles stirred, slowly rotating, grinding itself in a circular motion, enthusiastically obeying its master's whims. The grizzled man's eyes widened, he didn't exactly know what was happening, but he was able to understand that it wasn't all that good for his health.
It was supposed to be dark out, being well past sundown, but with the golden matter that was flying around, the sky was ablaze in a molten gold fury. It briefly passed through the Head Ninja's mind that, for a moment, it had looked like the heavens themselves opened up to bring forth their wrath on him.
It was the most terrifyingly beautiful thing the seasoned jonin had ever seen.
Naruto's hand shot open, spreading his fingers in the air. That's when the particles took form, mimicking his right arm, the spread fingers and all, just in a much larger proportion. It looked like it was the right hand of god more than a small child's anger.
Naruto gave one more soul piercing glare at the man, their eyes meeting for mere seconds. In those chaste moments, the Head Ninja had thought the boy could actually see his soul for what it was; tainted.
He had never felt sheer terror like this before.
So why was it so serene?
For a moment, the Kumo-nin wondered why he wasn't moving, why he wasn't cutting this strange child's throat and vanishing into the night. And then he knew, with a strange, detached realization that he couldn't.
Whatever the thing in the sky was, it demanded all his attention. Not even the fear of being caught by the Konoha shinobi could spur him.
The Uzumaki could feel the familiar presence of who he guessed was the girl's father. Familiar as in he had felt the man before; he had by now memorized all of Konoha's citizens. He nodded at the man, and the older Hyuuga wasted no time to leap forward and scoop his daughter in his arms. Once he leapt back out of the way, Naruto had no reason to wait anymore.
In the back of his head he knew he was being watched, he could recognize Hokage-jiji's presence anywhere, and he was always with members of the zoo, so they too he was very familiar with. Especially the lazy feeling one, he was the blond's favorite.
That didn't matter now though. All that mattered at this very moment was to rid the world of this disgusting man.
Like an enraged god bringing down his divine judgment, Naruto clenched his hand in a fist while slamming it down into the ground at his feet, cracking a large portion of it.
He unleashed all his anger with a monstrous shout, something that sounded more animal than human.
In a blink of an eye, the gold hand-like structure fell to the earth right above the would-be kidnapper from Kumo with earth shattering might.
All the shinobi present actually had a hard time withstanding the blast, using a large amount of chakra just to stay in place and upright. The power behind the attack had to be equivalent to twenty or thirty explosive tags going off at once.
It was a terrifying sight.
When the incredible golden light finally faded away, all that was left was a deep scar in the earth. A very deep scar.
Naruto stood from his prone form, letting his fist unclench as he did so. No one said a word, no one moved a muscle, and everyone tried to hold their breath.
Silence reigned supreme in the now very large street as everyone just stared at the boy in disbelief. Not only did the "Demon Child" completely and utterly overpower and decimate the Head Ninja of Kumogakure no Sato, but he did it with ease, without the help of his charge, and for the sake of another Konoha citizen.
It was incredible, it was amazing, and it was unbelievable.
Everyone tensed as the village pariah moved forward, towards the Hyuuga Clan Head and Heiress. When he was standing right next to the man, Naruto gave him a gentle and warm smile, already able to feel the man's gratitude and unafraid feelings. That made Naruto happy, someone appreciated him.
"Is she okay, Mister?" Naruto asked softly, his gentle smile never leaving his face. Hyuuga Hiashi gave a smile himself, something not many were privileged to see – ever – and nodded.
"It would seem so. I have you to thank for that, Naruto-san," the Hyuuga man replied, still holding his first born. "I am forever in your debt."
Naruto shook his head. "I'm just glad she's okay."
Hiashi nodded. "As am I."
Sarutobi Hiruzen landed next to Naruto and gave the boy a questioning look. "We need to talk, Naruto-kun," were the only words that left the aged Hokage's mouth before he Shunshined (Body Flickered) away, taking the blond with him.
As Naruto sat in the chair across the Hokage in the man's office, he felt no fear. He already knew what the man was going to ask.
And he was going to answer with a smile, because he knew he had done the right thing. He had saved an innocent, and was proud of it.
That made him a hero.
He had taken another's life, and enjoyed it.
That made him a monster.
Whatever others saw him as didn't matter now though. He had found a way to feel. He felt alive. He felt free.
He was finally awake.
I've decided to come back to this story. I know a lot of people love it, so I'm going to go through and edit things a bit. Nothing huge, just some grammar errors and stuff. If anything, I'll probably add a few things. So even if you've already read this story, you can read it again and, hopefully, fall in love with it all over again.
Also, Wrath of The Sun Deity is doing a reading/watching story to this one. It's a Percy Jackson and the Olympians crossover, where the Olympian gods 'watch' the events of my story. I'm not involved in his story at all. Everything he writes is his own, I have no input. Check it out.
Special thanks to Dreaming of the Phoenix for all the help.