Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto.

Italics are thoughts.

It was a clear and sunny morning as Naruto cheerfully walked to his team's usual meeting spot. Along the way, he had taken the time to wish everyone who crossed his path a delightful morning. Among the adults, his acts of basic courtesy earned him nothing more than resentful stares, but he did not care, he was in too good a mood for it to be ruined just yet. Admittingly, he was busy wondering why his sensei, Hatake Kakashi had asked them to meet at this particular hour, instead of the usual time, which was around two hours earlier.

As he rounded the last corner, he was surprised to see his sensei already there and not even reading that annoying book of his. This was definitely not going to be a normal day.

"Ah, there you are Naruto," said Kakashi in greeting, "And it looks like Sasuke and Sakura are here as well," he added as the couple appeared around the corner. Sakura was gushing over Sasuke as she usually did and Sasuke was not paying her much attention, which was normal for the nonchalant heir of the Uchiha clan.

"Oh, Kakashi-sensei is here on time," thought Sakura to herself, it was definitely not something that happened every day.

"Eh, it looks like I won't be able to train you guys today," announced Kakashi in his neutral voice.

"WHAT!?!" exclaimed Naruto and Sakura in unison.

"Hey, hey, let me finish. Tsunade-sama has informed me that she wishes to assign us a C rank mission. "Although it'll most likely turn into a B rank." Anyway, you guys go ahead and do whatever while I work out the details of the mission." With that said, the grey-haired jounin pulled out his favorite book, Come Come Paradise, and proceeded to leave before he added, "Oh Naruto, try to stay out of trouble this time. I'd hate to have another repeat of last week."

"I already told you that it wasn't my fault!" proclaimed the blonde ninja.

After their sensei had left, the three ninjas stood around, wondering about what they were going to do.

"Oh, Sakura-chan, how about we go and eat some ramen, I'm about to die from starvation!" After so many months of trying go out on a date with his crush, Naruto had pretty much given up hope. He only continued to ask her out as a joke to himself, but his two teammates did not know and still thought his actions to be genuine.

"Heh, what makes you think she'd want to eat ramen with you, Dead-last?" said Sasuke with an especially malicious snicker.

"Don't call me that!" yelled Naruto, anger clearly marked on his face.

"Maybe I went too far this time," wondered black-haired Uchiha. Although he would hate to admit it, Naruto was giving him the creeps. He had never gotten so angry before when he teased him.

"Why do you keep calling me that?!" demanded the furious ninja, quivering in anger.

"Yes, give in to your anger, it will make you stronger," rumbled a voice.

"What! Why would I want to do that?" demanded Naruto.

"What the hell are you talking about?" growled Sasuke,

"You mean you didn't tell me that stuff about giving into my anger?"

"Of course not, you total moron"

"But then, who did?" wondered Naruto out loud. His anger had vanished as fast as it had appeared. That voice he heard was bothering him. He knew it was not a figment of his imagination, so then where did it come from?

"Pff, like I'd know. You probably imagined it," replied Sasuke with another snicker.

"Well, I'm going to go get some ramen," announced Naruto with grin, "Later guys." Even with the thought of ramen in his head, the strange voice still troubled him. Hands in his pockets, he strolled towards his favorite ramen stand deep in thought. He barely noticed that he had already arrived.

Naruto was such a frequent customer that the owner did not even have to ask him what he wanted. He already knew the young ninja's favorite meal so whenever he saw him, he would have a steaming bowl of ramen already served.

The blonde genin needed no further urging as he settled into a stool and began to devour his meal. All the while though, he continued to think about what the voice had told him, about what would have happened had he actually let his anger take control of him. It would have felt good to release it all at once, he knew. His rivalry with Sasuke had caused him quite a few bouts of anger between the two of them, but never had he really let it all out. "I wonder what it feels like," he mused.

On the way home from the ramen shop, Naruto was in a much better mood now that he had food in his stomach. Even the adults appeared not to glare at him as hard as they usually did. To top it off, Konohamaru and his friends had not even attempted to get him to play with them. He thought it cute that the three kids wanted to play with him so much, but after a while it annoyed him, especially when they came to him after he was exhausted from training.

Turning onto his street, Naruto was silently relishing the thought of gaining a few extra hours of sleep. If there were two things in life that he thoroughly enjoyed, it was sleep and ramen. As he was lost in his blissful thoughts, he barely heard a voice.

"Why didn't you listen to what I said back there, boy?" rumbled the voice.

"What! Who's there? Who said that?" yelled out Naruto turning around to see who was behind him. Nobody was around. He was the only person visible on the street. If nobody was around, then where was the voice coming from?

"I think you already know the answer to that question," continued the voice in its usual growl.

Letting out an audible gasp, Naruto dashed into his house, slammed the door shut, triple locked it, and leaned against the door panting ever so slightly. "What kind of genjutsu is this?" wondered the young nin.

"You really are thick, you know that?"

Although possessing a formidable stamina and resistance, nature was not so kind to Naruto in the intellect department. It took him a full minute to realize that genjutsu was not being used, and another minute to realize who was talking to him.

"Are…are you, K…Kyubi?" Naruto stammered, even in his thought.

"Very good, I knew you weren't a hopeless case," replied the Nine-tails demon with more than a hint of sarcasm.

"How is it you're in my head?"  he asked curiously.

The demon let out a mental sigh, "Of all the newborn in Konoha, I had to be sealed in a ramen-obsessed fool. It could have been an Uchiha, or a Hyuga, but no. Sometimes life is exceedingly cruel."

"H…Hey! Instead of insulting me, why don't you tell me what you want."  The sudden arrival of the Nine-tails' presence somewhat scared Naruto. "Did the seal break or something?" he thought to himself.

"Sadly, the seal is still as strong as ever, but that is of no matter."

"What! How did you do that? Can you read my mind?!" yelled out the confused genin in his mind.

Another sigh. "Maybe I'm just wasting my time," the demon thought more to himself than for Naruto, "My spirit is sealed within your body, therefore adding not only my chakra to yours, but my thoughts are now your thoughts, and vice versa. We cannot hide anything from each other."

"What?! Then how come I couldn't hear your thoughts these past years?"

"Mostly because you were too thick to notice me," snickered Kyubi, "Now, although my body was destroyed, I still possess my…considerable knowledge."

"Whoa! So do you know, like, a bunch of really cool jutsus?"

"You really do have a one-track mind. I know all manner of jutsus and genjutsus. I have also assimilated every technique your fellow village members used against me when they tried to stop me. I could even teach you the sealing jutsu that your Fourth Hokage used against me," the demon finished with a mental grin.

"Whoa…!"  The thought of so many jutsus at his disposal boggled Naruto's mind. Maybe Sakura would start liking him, though that was a far cry.

"Since you are my host, I naturally don't want anything to happen to you, so therefore you become strong, just like you dreamed, and at the same time you protect me."

"Hai, Hai. Sounds good to me."

"Excellent. However, if I am to train you, I expect complete obedience from you as is due to a sensei. Anything less and the deal is over."

"Right, right. So what are we going to do now? Train?" Naruto asked gleefully.

"I knew you were going to say that. Alright, as you know you have an immense amount of chakra, too much for your body to control properly as it is. There are two solutions to this problem: either you spend an exorbitant amount of time refining your control, or the shorter, but harder, solution is to train your body to be able to handle the chakra. I prefer the latter myself."

"Yea! Me too…but what should I do?" asked the blonde ninja a bit too enthusiastically, which earned him another sigh.

"Well right now you're going to run ten laps around the village."

"What! TEN LAPS?! Are you crazy?" yelled out Naruto in his mind.

"Remember…complete obedience," grumbled the demon.

"I mean, Hai, right away!"

Already, an hour had gone by and Naruto was only on his fourth lap around the village. His clothes were all but soaked through with his sweat and he still was not allowed to get a drink of water. After he completed his second lap, the demon decided he was to do one hundred pushups and sit-ups at each gate as well. This exercise was by far the most tiring training he had undergone yet. By the sixth lap, the gate guards were placing bets on how many times he was going to circle the village. At the seventh, Naruto's steps became more and more unbalanced and irregular. The thought that he might very well collapse from exhaustion was now very real. "I can't go on anymore," he said to himself.

"Do you want to appear weak in front of everyone, boy?" demanded the fox demon.

"No, of course not, but I really am too tired," replied Naruto.

"Boy, this isn't just about you training yourself; it's also about proving to them what you are capable of."

"Uhh, yea. I guess."

"You've seen them as they look at you: they hate you, and no doubt you hate them too."

Naruto did not understand why the demon brought it up. He knew all too well that the village adults, and the children too, hated him for the Nine-tails sealed inside of him. Why did they hate him so? It was so unfair. He never liked thinking about his situation, but it was too late. The demon had already struck a sensitive nerve and his anger was beginning to rise.

"Yes, that's it, give in to your anger, only then can you be truly strong."

The demon was right. Already as a child, he had developed a hate for the adults who regarded him as "the Nine-tails boy." His desire to achieve the Hokage title was merely a direct result of his desperate need for love, but nobody was there to provide it for him. It was all he could do not to bellow with rage as he pressed on with his training.

As he finished his last sit-up, Naruto dropped his head to the ground, not caring about hurting himself, and gazed up at the sky. He did not realize it was so late. It was almost pitch black but at least the stars were shining brightly. It was the first time he was actually doing nothing but looking at stars and he wished he had done it more often. The peacefulness was rather enjoyable. He could not stay in the outskirts of the village for the whole night though; he needed to get back to his house so he could properly rest after such a grueling work out. Standing up proved to be a lot harder than he thought at first. Every muscle in his body was aching. "Ugh, it hurts even to breathe," he thought to himself.

Walking back to his house was even more difficult as he could barely even keep standing. Many times he had to pause to catch his breath as well as support himself by leaning on a tree. After many pauses, Naruto finally arrived in front of his house. Once inside, he made his way to the bed, but as he was about to lie down on it the demon spoke up, "No, not on the bed. You must sleep on the floor during the training."  Too tired to argue, the boy simply let out a groan and dropped himself down onto the floor. Within minutes he was sound asleep.