Once a battlefield, now a graveyard of unburied corpses has stained the land outside the Fire Country with countless pints of blood and guts all splattered in vain. None of their deaths were worth it, but all of them willing to fight for someone who had committed crimes against Konoha Gakure No Sato. For his crimes, he was hunted, by a tool of the village he defiled. A man who never thought of himself as a tool, a man too young for so much bloodshed at his hand. A man with a bad enough repuation as it is, and the last thing he needed was to give more people a reason to fear and hate him.
"Mission Successful." Naruto thought as he looked at the people he had just killed, and was disappointed in himself for having to go through such heights just to kill one man. His hair, uniform and katana were soaked with blood, almost like it had just rained on him. Blood. Naruto defined it as an internal fluid, a necessity of life, and something he knew the smell, feel, taste, and look of better than he would like to. Even the sound of his katana cutting through flesh wasn't anything to him anymore. When Naruto had first become a ninja, he hadn't seen much bloodshed, but knew he would someday, but never thought he would get used to something so morbid. When Zabuza died, he bled a lot and part of why Naruto cried that day was because he was literally mortified by how much blood his sensei had to lose to fight someone who didn't really deserve to die anyway.
Being a Hunter Nin for the Anbu unit of Konoha wasn't something Naruto ever saw himself doing. It had given him something he always wanted from others, but not like this. He was given a nickname by the other ninja villages. But this nickname wasn't something Naruto was proud of. He was called Konoha no Akuma no Ketsueki. But he had enlisted for the wrong reason, which was why it hurt him so much to now have to acknowledge that he was covered in the blood of about thirty other people, instead of his own. Naruto would much rather lose his own blood than shed the blood of others. It was just his nature. However Naruto was finding himself almost comforted by the fact that he had done his duty, and these people deserved to die. But what Naruto hated the most was that Kyuubi was stirring in his stomache, almost as if telling him that he was disgusted for no reason, and that spilling the blood of others was something that he was born to do and couldn't stop doing now if he wanted to.
Naruto had never had this much of a problem with Kyuubi before, but since being a Hunter Nin required him to kill his prey, Kyuubi took this as an opportunity to satisfy the insane craving for death and bloodshed, and the fact that it was through Naruto made him literally sick.
Before he left this place Naruto had to dispose of the bodies one way or another. Frankly, he didn't want to touch them now that they were dead, but again, this was his duty. Naruto grabbed the bodies with Kyuubi's tails and piled them all up in a short, but fat hill of blood and dead flesh. Naruto then used Katon No Jutsu to light the stack of bodies on fire and watched them all burn, occasionally fueling the fire with chakra to make it burn faster. The smell of rotting corpse and burning flesh was enough to make him puke.
Once that task was finished, Naruto started walking away from the now burnt graveyard. When he noticed the smell of corpse was still potent in the air around him, he started running. Then sprinting before he leaped into the trees around him and started back for Konoha. On his way back, Naruto wondered about what he had thought earlier. About becoming an Anbu Hunter Nin for the wrong reason. He had done it for her. For his best friend that he made a promise to. A promise of a lifetime, he called it, but Naruto was wondering if maybe this was really worth saving someone who didn't want to be saved. For a chance to meet up with an A-rank criminal whom he promised he would bring back to the village. The person that haunted Naruto, and made his way of the ninja nothing but talk, that is until he fulfilled his promise.
As Naruto neared the village he stopped leaping through the trees and walked through Konoha's two large gates and prepared himself for the worst part of his job. Naruto stepped into the village and started to walk through the streets headed to Anbu Headquarters. As he walked, the people he passed looked at his blood soaked figure and backed away from him as if they were terrified. Naruto always knew the people of Konoha were somewhat afraid of his potential power because of Kyuubi, but before they hadn't shown that they were afraid, they showed hatred and disdain. But now the people couldn't even look at his eyes, and the few who did looked as if they were about to cry. As they cleared a path for Naruto, he shut his eyes to avoid seeing that look of shear terror in the eyes of the people he wanted to some day protect. How would these people except him as Hokage if they were afraid him?
Stepping into Anbu Headquarters, Naruto walked into the main office and pulled his bingo book out from a whole rack of bingo books and turned to page twenty-seven. He then crossed out the name of the person he was assigned to kill and wrote the number thirty next to the name on a small line, which indicated how many others he killed. Naruto placed a bookmark in that page and set it in a tray of bingo books that would be recorded at the end of the day, then the next morning Naruto would return and find his bingo book in the "out" rack, meaning whatever name was number twenty-eight would be his next victim.
Once Naruto had filed his report, he made his way to the locker rooms to shower. Once there, Naruto didn't feel so isolated. Just about everybody else there was covered in blood and tired to the bone. Naruto opened his locker, took off his armor, and placed his mask and katana inside and grabbed a towel and made his way to the showers. He took his black clothing off and rinsed them in a large sink to get most of the blood off of them before throwing them into a large bin of dirty uniforms that would be cleaned and ready for him tomorrow when he checked in for work.
Naruto stood there and let the hot water calm his muscles and his mind as well. For some reason, once Naruto was cleansed of all the blood of the days work, he always found it easier to think. So he took the opportunity as he rustled his blonde locks to get the remaining blood out of them, and his body was still eased by the hot water to think without being distracted by his sences.
Being a Hunter Nin was his own choice, but if it weren't for the promise he made to his best friend so long ago, he would've never even considered enlisting. She was heart broken because she was helpless to stop someone she cared for from betraying the village. Not because in that way she would never see him again, but because it was what had to be done to save him. When she had asked Naruto to bring him back, Naruto felt something in his heard shatter as well, as he knew her heart had already fallen to pieces. But he fought his hurt and forced himself to smile and promise her to bring him back. It was then Naruto realized that this girl would never see him as more than an idiot that was just more phyiscally capable than she was. Naruto wondered now why he still cared. She had made him a promise that she never fulfilled. She promised that they would do it together. And what was she doing now? She was a medical ninja, always cooped up in the hospital and hasn't seen a battlefield or a mission in years. She was safe and sound, while he was risking his life for a promise he made to her, when she hadn't upheld hers.
Hell, did she even know he was a Hunter Nin? Naruto never returned with injuries bad enough to send him to the hospital, besides, the Anbu Headquarters was stationed with it's own unit of medics anyways, so if Naruto did return injured, they would take care of it. The hospital asked too many questions, that the Hunter Nin were forbidden to answer due to the secrecy of their missions. So they had to have their on medics take care of their ninja. Naruto then wondered what he would do if he did find that person, or was sent to kill him someday. He would be torn between doing his duty on the spot and killing him then and there, or keeping a promise to friend who didn't appreciate him and bringing him back to the village, and letting the counsil decide what to do with him.
Naruto then wondered about his other teammate, or his sensei, Hatake Kakashi. What kind of missions was he getting? Had he been assigned to another team? Or were his missions strictly solo? Kakashi was one of the village's greatest Jounin and was probably getting the most difficult missions, but knowing him, he was probably easily completing them. Kakashi however concerned him, much more than the other two people he had been thinking of, because he had never done anything to make Naruto believe that he was unappreciative of what he had always tried to do and was probably the only person who still had any confidence in him. In fact, he always did. Naruto remembered the first real lesson that Kakashi had ever taught him. That ninja always look underneath the underneath.
Naruto stepped out of the shower and toweled himself off and wrapped a clean towel around his waist and headed back for his locker. He pulled out his Jounin uniform and put it on. Then took out his katana and started to clean it with the towel that was around his waist earlier. He soaked the towel in water and lightly started to wash the blood stains off, then dried and waxed it clean. Then did the same for his armor and mask. The whole time thinking about what was level in this situation. What was level was always what was easy to see. What it was, was that Naruto was an Anbu Hunter Nin, who was mortified by his job. Who killed because it was his duty to kill. But didn't want to kill anyone, day after day and somehow managed to do it anyway. That was the given, or the level of this problem. The thing that any other ninja could see if they looked at Naruto, or knew him.
Now what was underneath that? Why did he continue to kill people even though he hated it? The promise he had made, was his escape. The fact that Naruto had only done this for an opportunity to fulfill his promise to his other friend. But his friend had broken her promise to him, and was doing nothing to keep her word, as he was giving all he had to making her happy. Why was he trying to keep a promise to somebody who was trash? Trash for betraying him, and that was a bad as trash could get. She had betrayed his feelings for her when they were younger and now her promise to help him fulfill his promise to her, by doing it together.
"Those who break the rules are called trash, but those who betray their friends are even worse trash." That was it. That was underneath the underneath. Naruto was trying to uphold to the second lesson he learned as a ninja, but then again he was trying not to betray the wrong people. Knowing who your friends were was the first step to avoid betraying them. Here he was trying to uphold his word and way of the ninja to people who had first betrayed him, by trying to kill him and breaking their own word, when what he should be doing is protecting those who had always been at his side.
Kakashi had come to bring Naruto back to the village for medical attention when he was injured in The Valley of End long ago. Chouji had killed the person who insulted and tried to kill his best friend and nearly died himself. Neji had shown respect to Naruto and acknowledged his ability to see things that even his Byakugan couldn't see in a person, things you shouldn't need doujutsu to see were the things he was missing and had confidence that Naruto would save the person they were after, because Naruto had saved him. Kiba had decided to run from his opponent then to save the life of his best friend who had been wounded to save him. And Shikamaru stayed behind to distract someone while Naruto went on to catch who they were ultimately after.
These were the people Naruto should be fighting for, and risking his life for, because they were worth it. They were his friends, they were the people that hadn't betrayed him. He was a Hunter Nin for the wrong reason, because the people he was trying to not betray, had already betrayed him, and he could no longer call them friends. Of course betraying others, friends or not, wasn't a noble thing to do, but setting your priorities straight was what Naruto had to do. Until his "friends" woke up from their own selfishness, there was nothing he could do for them.
Naruto then got up and walked into the main office again and pulled a form out from a pile in a drawer, and started to fill it out. Once it was complete he left Anbu Headquarters. The form he had filled out needed to be turned into the Hokage's Office personally. While on his way there, Naruto couldn't help but smile the way he always did. With his eyes squinted shut and his teeth showing. For some reason he felt better than he had in years. Probably because for the first time in a long time, he was doing something because he understood the truth behind his motivations. He walked into the Hokage's Office and continued to smile as this familar place made him feel more content.
As he approached the desk were Godaime Hokage was filling out paper work, and looking rather bored, she looked up and gave him a sad look, until she scanned his body. He was wearing his Jounin uniform and not an Anbu uniform, he was smiling and had a paper in his hand, and she desperately wished it was what she thought it was. Naruto handed it to her without a word and left the office, waving as he did.
Tsunade smiled at Naruto as he left sight and looked at the paper he had handed her and found herself more proud of him then she ever had been. She then opened a file specifically for him and placed the paper inside and then pulled out another paper and added the name "Uzumaki Naruto" under the name "Hatake Kakashi" and ordered another ninja in the room to make changes on ninja registration. She had added his name to team Kakashi, which still had two open slots, but for now, everything was how it should be.