A Scrap of Humanity

Part I

To be strong for him

It was nights like this that Naruto hated. Nights when it was cold and there was no moon or stars to be seen. Nights when the rain and thunder sounded like the footsteps of an Oni on his small rooftop. Another flash of lightning and another rumble of thunder and the blonde was cowering in the corner of the small apartment. The wind blew making the sound of ravenous wolves. The small boy curled even closer on himself. The sound of splintering filled his ears, and suddenly his door was blown open. He squeaked as lightning zigzagged across the sky again. His frightened eyes focused on something, some one. A presence of power. He could feel it emanating from the being standing on the balcony to shield himself from the rain. On all fours he crept forward closer to the open doorway, to the source of power that made him forget about the storm.

It was nights like this that Itachi loved. Nights where nature showed it's true form, showed that it was indeed not tamed by humans. He sighed as some rain whipped across his face. Eyes closed in concentration as he exhaled, waiting, possibly.... They suddenly snapped forward as he felt an intense chakra behind him. He turned swiftly startling a small figure. His crimson eyes glowed as he stared about the dark doorway that was open. Whimpering could be heard from within. As the young ANBU stepped across the threshold his senses focused on the large amount of chakra and then on a small boy sitting in a fetal position on the floor. His eyes softened a bit at least from the harsh red back to a deep coal color.

"Are you alone...?" his soft voice started. The boy nodded. "Why?" he asked while stepping closer.

"I dunno, 'm always alone." he mumbled between sobs.

"Are you afraid?" Itachi started again in a soft whisper. The boy paused and the shook his head negatively until thrunder clapped and he unconciously scooted closer to Itachi's leg. "Is that so?" he mocked quietly.

"'m lonely..." he answered while burrowing into Itachi's clothing.

The dark haired boy leaned down and pat Naruto's head softly. "We're all lonely. What's your name?" he whispered near the blonde's ear coaxing him away from his leg and closer to his chest.

"monster..." he whimpered.

"No, your real name. I'll tell you a secret if you tell me your name." he coaxed again.


Itachi smirked to himself. He had figured it out. The imense chakra from before had indeed come from this boy, the one who carried Kyuubi. He took the young boy in his arms and held him in his lap. "I'm not supposed to tell you my name... I'm a hunter." Naruto seemed to stop shaking and he coiled closer to Itachi's warmth. Another smirk crossed Itachi's face, but a soft one. "You're so trusting of me Naruto, is that wise?"

"Why should I be 'picious?" He gazed up at Itachi. The young man's face was so soft and beautiful. "You're too pretty to be ebil." He reached a small chubby hand out to stroke Itachi's cheek. "And soft... Ebil people are hard and ugly." He stated with a pout.

Itachi chuckled softly. "That's right they are Naruto." his finger traced the lines that distinguished that Naruto was indeed the legendary vessel of the demon. "How can one so innocent be strong enough to contain such power?" He wondered briefly. His hand stole down Naruto's small body to rest on his stomach. "I know you're alone, but you can't be afraid anymore." He whispered while rubbing the small blonde's stomach softly. "You need to become strong..... for me..."

"Why's that? no one cares about me. They don't want me to be strong. I'm a demon they said." he started to cry. "They all hate me." He pushed into Itachi's chest and weeped not caring how weak or afraid he appeared.

"More the reason to show them how strong you are. To show them what their words really do. Don't let them make you weak." Naruto stopped as he felt Itachi murmur in his ear.

His voice was soft and silky. Naruto stopped sniffling and stared up into the cold dark eyes before him. It seemed for a time that he was in a trance. Itachi continued to rub his stomach soothingly while pulling him closer. Itachi wondered about Naruto for a minute.

"Do I frighten you?" Naruto answered negatively while offering a small innocent smile to the Uchiha. "Become strong for me then." He chuckled as Naruto gave him a confused look.

"But why? You're already strong... why would you want anything to do with me?"

"You'll just have to get strong and find out." Itachi set the blonde back on the floor and stood to leave.

"No. You can't go." Naruto latched onto Itachi's ankle, but was quickly removed. "I don't wanna be alone, 'sides! It's still raining."

Itachi gazed at the innocent boy. Innocent and unmarred by the Kyuubi. Kneeling, he picked the smaller boy up and took him to the bedroom and set him gently down on the bed.

"You'll get strong for me and then you won't be alone. You'll always be with me." The blonde nodded and yawned while smiling at the thought of being kept. "Go to sleep and think of becoming strong." Again he nodded before slipping off to pleasant dreams.

When he awoke all he could think of was the soft warm arms that had craddled him, and the satiny words that had pushed the fear from his heart. He hugged his blanket able to smell the musk of the hunter faintly. His eyes drifted closed for a second replaying the memory from last night. Starting today, he was going to be fearless, he was going to make everyone understand.

He grinned. He would start today. He walked out toward the training grounds to watch the jounins spar. A bunch of people glared, but nothing could soil his sunny mood. That was until the jounins noticed him and launched a few kunai in his direction. He stared eyes wide. He couldn't move. Small arms came up to block the kunai from hitting his face. He winced silent tears falling from his eyes as the two kunai lodged into his lower arms. They laughed, but stopped as they noticed the young dark haired ANBU approaching the small boy. A hand reached toward him and Naruto slapped it away despite the pain in his arms. A small growl came from his thoat as he backed up, but then noticed the mask moved aside to reveal the young hunter's beautiful face.

"Fearless..." he whispered then turned to face the other two shinobi. "It's weak and stupid to prey on a kid." He said coldly while brushing past them.

They were afraid. He could sense it. He didn't understand their fear. The hunter was so soft spoken, and so gentle with him. He just didn't understand the fear that the jounins had for this boy. Naruto watched him walk away. Even so, he could feel the power radiate from him.

After that, the jounins never really paid attention to Naruto. They just pretended that he was not there. He watched enthusiastically wanting to do every move. He mimicked the hand seals to himself making note of what each one did in his head. At this point he was still to young to understand the mechanics of ninjutsu, but he promised to himself that he would learn.

As for his daily routine, there was a downside. Going to the training grounds to watch meant walking by himself through Konoha. This induced many people to throwing garbage and rotten food at him to tossing derogatory names at him as one might toss a stone. It always hurt. Some nights he would come home dripping with the odor of old food and all he could do was to sit and cry.

One evening he had actually been hit with a pebble that some one's child had thrown. No one cared though. At his young age life was incredibly rough. Naruto returned to his house the small gash on his forehead bleeding, although not severly, enough to make a normal child cry. Not him though. He was a demon and demons didn't cry. Did they? Small arms encircled his knees as he crumbled on to the floor next to the toilet. Crimson flowed down the center of his face as he silently weeped. There was no way he could be strong.

Strong arms wrapped around his trembling shoulders. Naruto cried for all he was worth pulling close to the sudden warmth. "Naruto...." soft lips caressed his forehead in a soothing manner.

He sniffled and looked up to be gazing into the face of the young hunter. "I can't do it...." another sniff came from him, "I don't know how to ignore them. It hurts." He whimpered while pushing his head into Itachi's chest.

Itachi gazed down expecting to find blood on this clothing, but was surprised to find that Naruto had quick healing capabilities. He smirked inwardly. This was going to be worth it. He brought Naruto to look him in the eye. His eyes were so naive, so wide and blue, so trusting, but Itachi could see the darkness that lurked in them. The boy's soul was so open, it was almost as if the Sharingan could see into the fox's eyes.

"You're going to become strong. I can put my trust in that. You will show Konoha what true power is." That said he tapped the boy in the forehead much like he would his younger brother and then place him back down on the floor.
It was raining again. Storming actually, but Naruto had since gotten over that fear since the one night. That night when the dark young hunter had come to him telling him to be strong. He sighed happily. The hunter that had visited htat night, well he didn't know his name, but he was happy to have some one that acknowledged him. He smiled while hugging the pillow between chubby arms. Every night that he was afraid now he would hug his pillow and imagine those same soft hands holding him gently and the same silky voice whispering to him. That had been a few years ago. Naruto was now used to living on his own and in the beginning classes of the ninja academy.

A loud knock derailed his train of thought. Small feet padded across the floor to investigate the noise. As the door opened Naruto almost jumped for joy. There he was. The beautiful hunter. Naruto gazed up at him through naive blue eyes. He looked especially alluring tonight drenched in rain. The young boy quickly ushered him inside.

"Naruto..." he started quietly.

Naruto's nose picked up the scent of blood. "Nee nee.... are you alright?" he interrupted while stepping closer to the taller boy. "I smell blood... I think."

The darker one moved back slightly. "I'm leaving Konoha. I'll come back for you when you become strong."

"What?" Naruto asked suddenly. "No.. you can't leave. I don't want you to." He raced forth and hugged Itachi's legs.

Itachi disappeared in a puff of smoke and appeared behind the boy hugging him close with bloodied hands and whispering in his ear. "I have something important to do." He turned the young boy to face him. "Get strong for me so that when I come back, you'll be ready to go with me." He kissed Naruto softly on the lips and then moved back toward the door. "And Naruto, stay 'innocent for me."

"Wait!" The boy was crying again. "You didn't tell me your name."

"Itachi.... remember it." and he was gone like a whisper in the wind.

"No... Itachi!" Naruto bawled tears rolling down his face. "Don't leave me here alone. I dunno how to become strong." His crying slowed to hiccuping sobs as he watched the rain flow into his home.

A lurking sadness was in him now. Despite the promise to come back for him, Naruto was still sad. He was alone again. Get strong he had said. Naruto whimpered as he felt fresh tears assaulting his eyes. He wanted to go with Itachi. He set his resolve to not let the cold behavior to him affect this. He would get strong for Itachi and he would be ready to go with him.
A/N: This is the start of a wonderful Ita/Naru fic that I am typing for ItaNaru fanfic contest thingy. It's posted on LJ, AFN, and FFN. THis is only the beginning. Expect more. Itachi has to do the naughty with Naruto and make sasUKE totally jealous. This is slightly angsty. Oh and also the Idea is from thinking what exactly would Naruto, Itachi do if they met when Naru was still young and before Itachi did his whole slaughter deal. Anyhoo enjoy.