Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto. Don't worry, I probably never will either.

By: TF


It was only late at night when the whispers would filter from the back of him mind on up.

When he was little he had been afraid of the whispers, resorting to talking to himself and sometimes even shouting until the quiet words died away. His fear had been abstract, just like his fear for the monsters that were surely living under his bed, something to be outgrown.

But then he'd gone and found the source of the voice, and he'd had a reason to be afraid. Monsters under the bed were one thing, but a monster sealed into your stomach? That was another.

Afterwards it hadn't taken him long to figure out what exactly was being whispered into his thoughts. It wanted out, wanted freedom, wanted food, wanted sex, but most of all it just wanted to speak. Sometimes it wanted these all at once, or even singularly, sending messages and images to his mind that his twelve-year-old psyche wasn't sure how to handle, so he'd shut the monster in his head out for a few days until it learned its lesson for the week. But eventually it'd be back again just as he let his guard down, drifting into his thoughts as he meandered between the waking world and sleep.

It really hadn't taken long to get used to, especially since the thing had been with him all of his life, somehow melding into him in ways he didn't really want to understand. After some time, and some renter-landlord discussions later they'd come to a sort of truce. He would converse with it, mentally of course, and in return he would receive training.

This had all been placed on hold for the chuunin exams, especially since he didn't want the villagers to hate him even more than they already did by trying out demon-related techniques. But these whispers were what had given him the idea that Gaara was like him. The monster comments that the other boy doled out had helped, but there was something in his eyes just before the crimson-haired boy doubled over in pain, clutching his head, that hinted about a voice of his own.

Beating Gaara had been somewhat unreal, like being told that you had an equally hated clone somewhere in the world, except that you didn't look quite the same, and oh, he's homicidal as well. Eerie, was the only way Naruto could describe it once he got over the feeling of awe at finding someone like him. But then Gaara had left with his siblings, and the sand had been swept from the city streets (literally), and there'd been funerals to go to and training to complete and his life had just continued on.

Through it all the voice continued to whisper behind his closed eyes, causing the blue orbs to flicker behind their protective shields.

He'd been training for months with the perverted Jiraiya before he'd noticed the difference, but he knew that his teacher hadn't missed out like he had. Subtle movements had started to worm their way into his usual technique. For some reason his chakra resembled a flame, instead of its usual sphere-like shape, and he'd been quieter on even the most dry and brittle of leaves. Slowly but surely he was evolving.

In the quiet evenings he would sit, partially closed eyes taking in everything yet nothing as he listened to the stream of whispers moving from depth to depth and occasionally adding a comment. The fire would crackle with the settling of wood and he would smile, feeling his element in its heat as he too settled into the ground for the night.

And when his pervy teacher left him alone for the night he would practice the most beautiful thing he'd found in his whole life, something that was now his and his alone.

A small whisper would set the flickering blue blaze glowing on his hand even as he placed it somewhere to burn, yet not burn, for fox-fire would only burn on command. He would watch with hungry blue eyes as fairy-like shadows danced across the ground, chasing licks of blue flame before the dissipated in the cool night air. Only he, and his fox, were able to call upon such beauty at will. Even as the flickering mirage-like flames died and he was forced to return to camp he would be left with the unfailing feeling of peace that only came from watching the shadows dance across many types of ground.

Kitsune-bi. The only present he'd received in his life whose beauty couldn't be tarnished or destroyed.

And afterwards he'd always fall asleep with a small, secretive smile as whispers danced behind his wispy bangs and closed eyes.